Tag archives for Asia Travel

Chartering A Bus vs. Flying

 Bus vs FlyingIf you’re traveling in a group, planning your transportation can be a hefty task. From booking said transportation to funding the trip and ensuring there’s ample room for your group and their belongings, planning group travel requires careful consideration. Traditionally, airplanes have been the preferred method of transportation for single travelers and groups alike. Many people don’t know of the benefits a charter bus can offer to a large traveling group. Discover what charter buses provide that airplanes can’t!

  • Charter buses are more direct. Planes travel at a faster rate, but other factors cause the overall travel time to be longer. Traveling to and from the airport, checking in, and waiting to board and de-plane can add an extra 3-5 hours on to your trip, whereas taking a charter bus will arrange a convenient pickup location and drop you off at your final destination.
  • Charter buses are more comfortab Airplanes are getting smaller and smaller these days. Some airlines even charge more per ticket if you want “extra leg room.” Charter buses typically have a leg room that spans 36” as opposed to the standard 30” or less leg room on a plane.
  • Charter buses are more affordable. Airline ticket prices vary drastically depending on when you book. The closer you are to your travel date, the more your ticket is going to cost. While the cost of your travel depends on where you’re traveling to and from and the length of your stay, the average domestic airline ticket can cost $379 per person, whereas a charter bus ticket are nearly 40% of the cost.
  • Charter buses make eating healthy easy. You’re not limited to what you can eat when you travel by bus. Charter buses allow you to bring your own food and beverage most of the time, and you can schedule pit stops as needed, putting you in control of what goes in to your body. With charter buses, it’s easier to avoid traditional fast-food airport options.
  • Charter buses don’t come with baggage fees. You’re allowed to travel with two bags on a charter bus. There are no fees or rules associated with the bags, unlike an airline that will charge $25 for your first checked bag and additional fees for any bag after. Some airlines will even charge you for your carry-on.
  • Charter buses are an eco-friendlier option than air travel. If you’re a consumer always looking for the environmentally friendly option, charter buses are the way to go. Buses emit the lowest levels of carbon dioxide per passenger mile than any other mode of transportation.

Next time you’re traveling in a large group, give charter buses a try! They offer a world of benefits and are ideal for group travel.

Travel Tips for the Winter Season

Niseko_Mt_Yotei_Ski_large_largeTraveling and winter do not go hand in hand. It is literally hard to travel peacefully during the winter season. With so much adversity in the climate, you are likely to face so many unexpected obstacles in your journey during the winter season. Traveling during winter is stressful but at the same time, you can make it enjoyable if you plan it ahead and considering certain factors.

Depending on the destination and the intensity of the winter season in that place, you can plan out your vacation to make it worth. So here we go with certain travel tips for the winter season so that your vacation doesn’t get spoiled.

  1. Carry Winter Clothes 

Carry winter clothes when you travel during this period. It will make your body warm. Carrying essential winter clothes will save your time and money as well. It will help you survive the cold weather without falling ill. Prior to making your hotel reservation, it is good to check the facilities offered by them so that you can pack things accordingly.

  1. A medical visit before the trip

It is always good to go for a medical check-up before you start your trip. It helps you to have a healthy and safe journey throughout. If any precaution is needed, you can take a note on that. Carry necessary medicines along with you. If you are a person suffering from any ailments, consult a doctor advise before you begin.

  1. Eat Chocolates

Do you have a sweet tooth? If so, you will love winter as it is the season to eat more of chocolates! Not because it is winter but eating chocolates keep your body warm. Traveling makes you tired and the climate will not favour you much. So, you need to make yourself comfortable so that your body does not die out fast.

  1. Pack luggage wisely

No matter what climate or season or the destination you are off to, always make sure to pack your luggage wisely. Do not stuff your bag with too many clothes, food, electronic goods etc. Pack only the essential things which you think will help you throughout the journey. Arrange things depending on the necessity you might need without any alternatives.

  1. Book Early Flights

If you have already planned your trip, it will be good to pick the early flights. Weather is very much unpredictable during the winter season and the take-off can be delayed at times. So always plan your journey ahead and try to book early flights so that even when it is delayed, you will reach your destination on desired time.

  1. Check on the weather before every journey

Weather during the winter season is very much unpredictable. So, it is always better to take a precaution by checking the weather condition before you start the journey.

  1. Travel Insurance

Always make sure that you have taken the travel insurance. Any loss or theft or any mishap if happens during the journey will not let you go down if you have taken the insurance.

  1. Eat Healthily, Sleep Soundly

The season will make you feel hungry all the time and make you crave for food. Eat healthily and wisely during winter. Make sure you eat properly cooked hot food. It will keep your body warm as well as it will help your digestion smooth. Also, give your body the rest it needs. Halt at places after traveling quite a distance.

  1. Carry Winter essentials for skin

It is very much important to take care of your skin like the way you take care of other essentials for the travel. Your skin will become dry and patched during the cold season. Constant moisturizing is needed to make your skin become soft and supple. Pampering your skin with moisturizer and various essential oils will do the good.

  1. Carry medicine

Apart from the regular First Aid, make sure you carry medicines for any kind of allergy and for the illness that might attack you during the cold weather. Know your destination well, the facilities available and the make a note on the precautions you need to take while you halt at such places to stay away from any kind of physical ailment.

Why Taj Mahal is in lime light from centuries?

The Taj Mahal which is set on the bank of River Yamuna in Agra is one of the best guest spots in India. Being perceived as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, this awesome tomb draws various guests from inside the nation and over the world.

For its heavenly magnificence as well as for its history, the Taj Mahal is notable worldwide. It is a spirit loaded up with affection, misfortune and distress. This great place of worship is an illustration how strongly a man cherished his significant other than to keep her recollections exemplary, he constructed an incredible building like the Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal

The couple wedded in 1612 in the wake of meeting and beginning to look all starry eyed at each other five years sooner. The couple were close however in 1631 when Mahal kicked the bucket while bringing forth their fourteenth youngster, Jahan began looking at this gem so as to express his affection and reverence for his significant other.

Construction on the building started in 1631 by bricklayers, stonecutters, inlayers, carvers, painters, calligraphers and craftsman from all around the Central Asia and Iran. Ustad-Ahmad Lahori was the primary draftsman of the consummately adjusted Taj Mahal. Entirely completed out of white marble, the structure is a tomb with both Jahan and Mahal buried inside. It took 22 years to assemble the tallness of affection.

Taj Mahal, synonymous with India’s character, is the best gem of Mughal design in India. The Mughal convention of establishing grand sepulchers in memory of Royal individuals discovered its zenith in the Taj’s stunning shape. The Humayun’s tomb worked in 1562 was a noteworthy impact over Taj’s plan. An engineering wonder, the structure consolidates components of Persian impacts like the outline of the Dome and fuse of angled passages or ‘Iwans’ alongside motivation from present day Hindu plan components like chhatris and extensive blend of the lotus thought. Portrayed by Tagore as “the tear-drop on the cheek of time”, the remembrance encapsulates melancholy grimness transformed into the most wonderful indication of undying affection.

The sublime tomb was perceived as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The site, on the south-west bank of the River Yamuna simply outside Agra, has five fundamental structures which are Darwaza, the Bageecha, the Masjid, the Naqqar Khana, and the Rauza, where the tomb is found. The engineering chic is the fundamental fascination at the Taj Mahal. It is a novel mix of Persian, Central Asian and Islamic design. Features incorporate the sparkling marble checked floor, the four momentous turrets at the edges of the tomb’s plinth remaining at 40 meters high, and the strange center vault.

That is a genuine show-stopper, there are a scope of captivating optical impacts that can be set apart all through the building. For instance, the lettering of the Quranic verses around the entrances has all the earmarks of being uniform in stature regardless of how far it is from the beginning. The pietra dura fine art incorporates extremely perplexing customary components also. In a few places inside the building, there are in excess of 50 adorned gems in a space as little as 3 cm.

If you are the one who’s up for this glorious place of the planet, I am sure you’ll not be taking your eyes off from this masterpiece if you lend your eyes for a couple of moments. Don’t get me started, no kidding. So, if you are planning a visit to Taj Mahal, here are some tips you must consider with a fine tooth comb, alright, have a go!

Most prominent TIPS FOR VISITING TAJ MAHAL

  1. Reach right on time to the ticket counter
  1. Choose your entryway
  1. If you have the financial plan and time to do as such, visit at the oberoi amarvilas agra inn.
  1. You can’t take snacks in with you.
  1. Go for a well reputed cargo company from UK to India if you have excess luggage with you.
  1. Dress legitimately
  1. Know early that however it’s excellent all things considered, the stroll inside is… most certainly not…
  1. Don’t get a guide
  1. Make companions
  1. View the taj mahal from over the stream at moonlight plant
  1. Get a pleasant photograph of yourself

Explore the best weekend treks in the Himalayas

BedniBugyal Trek Weekends are the ideal time to wind up and ease our minds from the hectic daily routines. Therefore, this is the time when you start planning and finding ideas of the best places you can go for treks or simple family short vacation. To others, this is the time to exercise your romanticism by taking those you love to a getaway. Trekking is an exhilarating adventure that can be exciting and enthralling for the entire family. Choosing the right spot for trekking enhances the experience with other activities such as bonfire and camping for a weekend. Here are some of the best trekking spots in the Himalayas.

Bedni Bugyal Trek

This is the most visited place for weekend adventure due to Lush green slopes within Garhwal Himalayan peaks and the forest of Conifers. This place has a high attitude, which makes it interesting and exciting. If you plan for a weekend getaway here, you can either choose to spend the night in a tent or within the surrounding village of Didina. If you have an eye for nature, this place will overwhelm your expectation with the green meadow at the oak forest. The Nanda Ghunti and the Trishul complete natures beauty with their magical charms will take your breath in seconds. Additionally, to complement the nature’s beauty and add value to your money, you will note the snow-capped mountain peaks reflection at BendiBugyal. However, the best times to go for the trek are between April and November.

Auli Gorson Bugyal Trek

AuliGorsonBugyal TrekDue to Auli laden powder slopes during winter, the place has been famous as skier’s paradise in India. During summer, this place develops its charm thanks to the blooming colorful flowers that forms a stretched green carpeted meadow. Here, you will experience a glorious and beautiful view of towering peaks of Dunagiri, GodhiParvat, Nanda Devi, Trishul, Haathi, and Neelkanth. This quaint hill station has several treks of varying degrees, which makes it the best weekend trekking destination. If you happen to plan for a weekend trek within winter months, you will enjoy a double fold trek. The oak and conifer trees bring a fresh smell of the mountain air while the stunning views of Himalayas ranges leave you rejuvenated and refreshed from the hectic routine.

Hampta Circle Trek

If all you want is a place that you will go trekking and feel the difference for just a weekend, this is the place for you. Hampta Circle is located in Delhiites. The trek takes you through dense forests of fir and pine, milky white streams, lush green alpine meadows and melting glaciers in a circular fashion, which is the reason the place has the name circle. This is the place where you will enjoy peaceful canary and calm breath away from the usual routines of your daily experiences.

Triund Trek

Triund TrekAre you adventure enthusiast? Triund Trek may be the spot to exercise your skills and experience the nature’s craftsmanship. Start your trek from Mcleodganj and go through deodar and the oak forest and quaint village of Dharmakot on the way. Enjoy the panoramic views of the valleys of Bhagsu and Dhauladhar ranges while Dharamshala and Kangra await you at the foot of Triund.

Dodital Trek

This place is located amidst the rising Himalayan peaks in Uttarakhand. The tranquil and serene settings of the lake make this the best spot for a weekend getaway for a family of a group of friends. Dodital apart from being the best trek place, it holds a great religious significance to the Indian people since it’s where Lord Ganesha was born. For this reason, many pilgrims visit the beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. As you trek across this lovely trekking site, you can take rest at the Kumaon hotel. The hotel is located at a place where you will enjoy the fresh outward view of the Himalayan Babbler, and many more interesting site. Once you are ready to start your trek, you can begin by a short visit to the Ganesha Temple, which makes the place a peaceful environment.

Let your weekend come and go in style. Take a long walk and review the nature’s beauty to refresh your mind. A long trek trip to a different environment will color your weekend for the better.

15 Things To Do While Traveling In Thailand

bangkokThailand is one of the most beautiful travel destinations in world if you are talking about beaches and religious temples. It boasts of pristine beaches and awe-inspiring temples and temple ruins.

There are many tourists coming in and out of the kingdom of Thailand, but there are expatriates, too — those that have decided to leave the borders of their homeland to teach English. That means travelling to Thailand is nothing to be afraid of. If you are only a few hours away from your flight, and if you do not have a list of things you want to do in Thailand, there are 15 things recommended to do while travelling around this beautiful country.

  1. Go on beach hopping.

Patong Beach, Railay Beach, Maya Bay, Hua Hin Beach, Kata Beach, Lamai Beach, Sairee Beach, and the list goes on and on. It is a home to beautiful beaches and you have to try, at least, three of them and be relaxed and amazed. Their beaches are unlike no other.

  1. Visit the Grand Palace.

Your Thailand visit wouldn’t be complete without setting your two feet on the Grand Palace. It is the home of the Thai king, the whole administrative staff of the government, and the Royal court. It boasts of beautiful architectural design from one dynasty to the other.

  1. Pay Khao San Road a visit.

If you are looking for a place to buy cheap souvenirs to bring back home or simply want to experience shopping like a local without breaking the bank, Khao San Road is a must-go-to place for you. Khao San is famously called the “center of the backpacking universe”.

  1. Eat street food.

If you have ever been eating their world famous Pad Thai in restaurants from where you are living, you will be amazed how a pad thai tastes like when it is cooked by a local right in the streets of Thailand. Aside from pad thai, there are other street food must-try.

  1. Ride a tuk tuk.

It is called by many names in many parts of the world, but it is famously called tuk tuk in Thailand. It is a vehicle used for transportation that is very Southeast asian is look and feel.

  1. Visit the King Cobra Village.

Be amazed at how entertaining these trained snakes are. It is quite scary at first glance, but the snakes there are bred in captivity to perform for tourists.

  1. Buy from the floating market.

You’ve seen this in photos and there is definitely no way that you should miss this. Hop into the boat and make your way into their canal and shop like how you would in your local market. It’s all so affordable, and there are people who are willing to cook for you after buying from the market.

  1. Go white in Wat Rong Khun.

It is privately own Buddhist temple commonly known to tourists as the White Temple. It is breathtakingly white and beautiful, and you can’t find a lot of white temples around the world.

  1. Learn Muay Thai.

There are Muay Thai camps in Thailand that you can be part of. It is quite an experience as nothing feels more authentic than learning this art from where it was originated.

  1. Go on a jungle trek.

Discover Thailand’s wildlife. Go on a trek and experience the other natural beauty they offer aside from the beaches. It’s an adventure worth trying.

  1. Eat insects.

Not everyone would give this a try, but for a full Thailand experience, pick a stick of insects and give it a chew. You will be amazed how tasty they are. It is easy to find one because it is mostly sold in the streets like a typical street food.

  1. Buy Harem pants.

Be a local. Buy Harem pants. It’s like a jogger pants for Thai people. Best part of it is how refreshing it feels when wearing it.

  1. Visit Ayutthaya.

Once a royal city, now it boasts of beautiful temple ruins. Ayutthaya is a World Heritage Site. That alone tells you that this place is a must to visit. It gives you an experience not only your eyes would be thankful but, as well as your soul.

  1. Go to Wat Arun.

Famously called as the Temple of the Dawn. It is a Buddhist Temple. If you’re lucky enough to visit it early in the morning, you will see the first light of the morning reflecting in the temple and it looks magnificent.

  1. Build a community.

Thai people are one of the most hospitable people in the world. It is not so hard to find a new friend in this country. If you want to make your Thailand experience a memorable one, it is best shared with people. Build a community – big or small. It makes you feel that Thailand is your new home.

There are a couple of hundred things you can do in Thailand. If you are going to work as one of the growing numbers of ESL teachers in the country, there is definitely no need to worry. You have a community willing to take you around and help you make your Thailand experience worth it. If you are just going around for a tour, it’s impossible that you will not enjoy every second of it. That’s how beautiful this country is.

 

10 Things To Do In Kenting, Taiwan

taiwan travelSnorkeling and Scuba Diving

Snorkel gear can be picked up at any of the beachy shops in Kenting town. The area around sail rock is popular with snorkelers. If you want to go scuba diving, check out Taiwan Dive for classes.

Rent a Scooter

Most places in Taiwan require a Taiwanese driving license to rent a scooter, but in Kenting, its legal for tourists to rent electric scooters. These surprisingly powerful little bikes can get you over all the hills and to every beach in Kenting for about 800 NTD a day. You can read about the best places to scooter to in Kenting over on my blog.

Be a Beach Bum

You’ve got plenty of white sandy options in Kenting to fulfill your holiday needs of reading a book and splashing around in the ocean. From Baisha Bay to Kenting Town Beach you’re sure to find a quiet spot to relax in the sun or play in the water.

Hike in a National Park

Kenting has two main parks, Eluanbi, which is the Southernmost tip of Taiwan, and Kenting National Park. Both parks have great views, fun hikes, and picturesque gardens to while away an afternoon in.

Explore a Cave

caveKenting National Park is also home to two caves: the fairy cave and the silver dragon cave. Both are bigger than they initially seem from the outside and are fun (and refreshing) to explore on a hot summer’s day.

Learn to Surf

Jialeshuei is the famous surfing beach in Kenting, but other Kenting other beaches are also good for beginners.

Afei’s Surf Hostel is a great place to check out if you want lessons. Even if you don’t want to surf, I can recommend Afei’s as a lovely hotel to stay at.

Snack Your Way Through a Night Market

Kenting Night Market basically shuts the roads down in Kenting town in the evening as tourists and foods stands fill the main road. You can get typical beach food like ice cream and corn dogs or you can branch out and try some wild hog meat and stinky tofu.

Explore Taiwan’s History in Hengchun

Hengchun is an easy scooter ride away from Kenting and it’s a great place to head to for some interesting architecture and Taiwanese history. Walk from historic gate to historic gate down narrow roads and get a feel for what Taiwanese life was like a hundred years ago.

Stand on the Edge of a Cliff

Fongchueisha and Longpan will get your blood pumping if you bike to either of these two look out points for a stunning, cliff-side view down to the rocky waters below.

Stare at Fish from a Glass Bottom Boat

Houbihu Harbor Head to Houbihu Harbor for a ride in a glass bottom boat. It’s 600 NTD a person.

Kenting, Taiwan has a lot to offer the sun-loving vacationer. With cheap food and plenty of sights the South of Taiwan makes an excellent holiday destination.

Travelers Cheat Sheet For Traveling The Philippines

The Philippines is becoming a hot destination for tourists because of the low prices, friendly people, and especially the beautiful country and beaches.

It can be a little intimidating traveling to Asia, when you find out that Asia has over 2,100 different languages spoken their!

The Philippines is a big part of that problem because it consists of over 7,000 islands and many of them have their own dialect that they speak with.

PhilippinesLuckily you don’t need to learn dozens of dialects,  almost every filipino speaks Tagalog or Cebuano. So if you know a few essential phrases you can travel the beautiful country without a problem!

I learned this the hard way the first time I traveled to the Philippines I landed in Manila and jumped into a taxi with my friend. I was ready to see the country and had been studying the language for weeks.

I started talking to my taxi driver name Bong, and quickly found out that the words I had been studying were not going to help me get to the beautiful beaches of the Philippines I had been hearing about!

I soon learned that I did not need to know a lot of Tagalog words, just a few essential phrases to help me travel the beautiful country! Once I picked up the basics I was able to get around without a problem.

Thankfully the team over at HomeAway put together this graphic to help other travelers get around the Philippines more easily.

What phrases or travel tips do you think everyone should know?

Filipino Travel Cheat Sheet

Talking Filipino – A Traveler’s Cheat Sheet Graphic created by HomeAway Philippines

Running A Business When Traveling

Traveling has several benefits. That’s why you should consider getting this on your bucket list. Those who travel more are said to be happier. You also get to experience new things that may not be possible if you constrain yourself in one place.

If you’re an entrepreneur, one of the things that might be stopping you from seeing the world is the business that you have to run. It’s understandable that you would want to be hands on in running your company. You might find it exciting that there are now a lot of business people who are traveling the globe and managing their business at the same time.

Yes, that’s all possible, especially communication and all other business matters can be done over the Internet. In fact, there are even businesses with employees from all over the world connecting and working with each other online. If they can do it, you too can certainly do the same.

The thought of managing your company while going from one place to another might be thrilling, and it really is. However, you should also be prepared for the challenging things that may come your way. If you are aware of these challenges and know how to manage them, travel and business can work together well.

The infographic that we created would prepare you for the issues that you might face when traveling while managing your company.

Learn from the information on the graphic below to make things more convenient:

Diving 101: Safety Guideline for Beginners

As a diving instructor living in Indonesia, one of the best diving spots in the entire world, I meet lots of people who would love to go on a dive but are nervous about the health and safety aspects. I meet even more people, unfortunately, who are so keen to start diving that they completely ignore the health and safety aspects, potentially putting themselves in danger.

My job isn’t just to take people on the trip of a lifetime – it’s also to imbue them with a healthy respect for the ocean and everything that lives within it. Here’s my advice, one that I dispense daily in the course of my work, written down to help out beginners to the wonderful world of diving.

Find a quiet spot to dive

If you’re a beginner diver, you don’t want to be overwhelmed with crowds the first times you dive. Those same crowds might also scare off the marine life, therefore cancelling out the very thing you came for.

My favourite diving spots of all time are Padang Bay which has amazing dive sites, and Nusa Dua which is great for those who love isolation. Moreover, those amazing locations are just scratching the surface of all Bali has to offer – but you really should do some research before you book your diving trip.

Nusa DuaConsider your own health

To be a diver, you really have to be quite physically fit. Cardiac-related deaths make up at least a quarter of all diving deaths, so please don’t become a part of the statistic.

Undergo a physical examination before taking up diving as a serious hobby, and absolutely ask your doctor if there’s anything at all in your health records that could make diving an overly dangerous experience for you. Even if you’re given an absolute all-clear and told you’re healthy, you still have to listen to your body at all times and never get complacent in your health. If you have a cold or the flu or are even just tired from partying, don’t dive. And don’t dive if you’ve been drinking. Just don’t risk it.

However, bear in mind that it’s not impossible to scuba dive if you’re disabled. There are many centers and resources for disabled people who want to try diving.

Plan ahead and stick with your buddy

Before you go diving, you should have planned out every last detail, including how deep you’ll go and how much air you’ll have in your tank when you ascend. If there’s anything you’re unsure about, ask your diving instructor. Never be afraid to ask us questions in fact – it’s what we’re here for.

diving instructor You should have a diving buddy who goes under with you (It’s best if this is someone you already know, but it doesn’t have to be). You should pre-arrange hand signals with them beforehand, as obviously you won’t be able to converse underwater. Keep your diving buddy in sight at all times; don’t swim off the second you spot something interesting. If you do lose them, slowly ascend to the surface to regroup.

Go slowly and relax

It can be scary diving for the first time, but you simply have to relax your body and, if needs be, remind yourself that diving accidents are incredibly rare. If for any reason you start to panic, alert your buddy and your dive instructor and slowly start ascending. That ‘slowly’ is very important when it comes to diving – ascend too quickly and the nitrogen bubbles forming in your blood will make you sick with decompression illness or ‘the bends’. That’s one thing you absolutely, definitely do not want.

Ascend at 30 feet per minute max, and you should be fine. Then, take some time to rest before diving again.

diving is funDiving is fun, the best kind of fun in the world in my opinion, but it’s not a sport for the careless or arrogant. Always follow your instructor’s advice – it’ll save you ruining your holiday with a spell in hospital instead of underwater.

5 Must-See Places in Southeast Asia

“Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience.”

– Francis Bacon

I fell in love with Southeast Asia after reading “The Beach” and “The Tesseract”, both by Alex Garland. Both novels weren’t part of the reading list, which was quite unfortunate. I could compose an essay in an hour or two, but it didn’t matter. The chance to travel to that part of the world came.

I was excited with my trip, along with my course-mates. I dreamed of a Robinson Crusoe moment in a desert isle, but the closest thing to that was Ha Long Bay. Colin, one of my three travel buddies in this trip, remembered our module on Ian Fleming and James Bond. We did went to Andaman Sea, where “The Man with the Golden Gun” was shot, but that would be another tale.

What was it about Southeast Asia that the likes of Graham Greene have used as backdrop for their novels? It was different from what I’ve seen here at home, or the continent for that matter, but that wasn’t the reason. It would be the destinations, but there was more. In other words, it was anything but dull. It was also unique.

Below were my five must-see places:

1. Wat Rong Khun (Chiang Rai, Thailand)

Designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat, this temple war arguably the main attraction in northern Thailand. Compared to the other monastery temples (wat), White Temple was unconventional, which drew lots of tourists. I would recommend spending half an hour looking at the wall paintings, a mixture of Buddhist images and pop culture. So imagine the likes of Harry Potter in the presence of Buddha’s solemn face, which seemed quite awkward at first. Eventually, I warmed up to it.

2. The terraced fields of Sa Pa, Vietnam

This town in northern Vietnam couldn’t be in a better location, as locals would be greeted with the panorama of Phan-Xi-Pǎng (Fansipan), the highest peak in Vietnam, every morning. It looked splendid on a sunny afternoon, but the countless terraces were the ones that tourists shouldn’t passed up. It would take a day or two for trekking, which might not be enough. Several ethnic groups lived there, and my interaction with them was priceless. Be warned that souvenir shops were ubiquitous in the village of Cat Cat, and the some of the locals were too persistent (in selling their items).

3. Angkor Thom (Siem Reap, Cambodia)

thailand travelNot that Angkor Wat was unattractive, but Angkor Thom had an august appearance. One needed an imagination, as all that remained were ruins, which looked gorgeous from certain angles. The Bayon Temple was my favourite, its solemn faces good enough for a postcard.

4. The temples of Yogyakarta, Indonesia

One must go the distance in able to see the Buddhist and Hindu temples in Yogyakarta, located in central Java. Borobudur, a pyramid-like temple, was a sight to behold. The summit looked like a page from a fairy tale, where tens of bell-like structures were arranged circularly. Not far behind were Prambanan and Ratu Boko, more reminders of a mighty civilisation that once flourished in this part of Asia.

5. Ho Chi Minh

East meets West, past meets present. This former capital of Vietnam had many landmarks that revealed its storied past. I visited the French section twice, where one of Gustave Eiffel’s creations could be found. I was referring to the Post Office, its remarkable interior had an old map of Saigon.

Lee Smyth studied Film and Literature, had a stint in dissertation writing services, and did freelancing jobs in writing and proofreading. He would pursue a graduate degree next fall. Check out his blog and Twitter account.

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