adventure, art, Bangkok, Chonburi, culture, fun, Grand Canyon Thailand, happiness, inspiration, life, love, Nikon, personal, photography, Prenuptial, Prewedding, Snow Mountain, Snow Mountain Thailand, thailand
Grand Canyon, Chonburi, Thailand
Thinking of offering free photography services around Bangkok just to practice more and improve my skills.
aborigines, adventure, Anangu, art, Australia, autumn, Ayers Rock, backpacking, Budget Travel Tips for Uluru or Ayers Rock (Outback Australia), camels, culture, happiness, nature, Outback Australia, photography, Red Center, Sacred Uluru, thoughts, Tips for Uluru, travel tips, Travel Tips for Uluru or Ayers Rock, travelling to Ayers Rock, travelling to Uluru, travels, Uluru, wanderlust, wildlife
The Uluru or Ayers Rock is the world’s largest monolith created over 600 million years ago. It is considered the “heart” of the Red Centre or the Southern Australian outback desert. It attained its World Heritage Site position on both cultural and geological categories, among few sites with two listings. (I have a habit of visiting World Heritage sites whenever I travel).
I was determined to visit the area because of the many stories about the place. I was so curious as to why it seems this arid desert resembles the red planet Mars. I’m fascinated with the mythical stories of the aborigines and on cosmic conspiracy theories (Uluru is cited as one of the places in the world with strongest energy fields). You see, too many stories to be immersed, too many interesting facts, myths or fictions to uncover. It’s a gold mine for stories whether cultural, historical or out of this world.
The rock is considered sacred by the Anangu (aboriginal tribe) because they believe that some of their ancients are living in the rock and some of them (during the creation) even became part of the rock. Thus, each boulder, crack or formation has a story. It has no plant growing on it unlike other rock formations. Its color changes from sunset to sunrise from luminous red to purplish maroon. These are just some of the fascinating facts to wonder! Some parts are forbidden to be photographed and out of respect, they ask tourists not to climb, litter or vandalize.
We opted for the 10.1 km full base walk with the sun on its full glory. It was hot (but windy) so bring lots of water and some food. The distances of the water stations are too far so always ensure to fill it up before proceeding. By the way, I don’t know what’s with the desert but there are too many flies! And they are very annoying.
When I first set foot on the National Park, I was already captivated but I became more enthralled as we walked nearer. I saw rock caves, small waterholes and ancient prints! We even met two Anangu ladies asking for water. Some of these tribe folks (dating back 10,000 years) are working in the Ayers Resort and you’ll meet/see them everywhere.
Some Tips for your Travels
Two photos must be credited to my travel companion Mary – the one with our faces and the IG shoes. haha
adventure, backpacking, Chengdu, China, happiness, Jiuzhaigou, Jiuzhaigou National Park, Jiuzhaiguo, lakes, Nourilang Waterfalls, Panda Waterfalls, photography, Sichuan, Spring Airlines, thoughts, travels, Tsingtao beer, UNESCO, wanderlust, winter, Xinnanmen Bus Station
Jiuzhaigou National Park is a testament to Mother Nature’s work of wonder. It gives you a serene feeling, that surge of happiness and the answer to why keep travelling. It is China’s beautiful surprise to travellers. I was surprised! Especially with all the negative travel publicities in my twitter news feed. I was awed that they’re able to maintain the unspoiled look of the landscapes.
The National Park transports you somewhere in countryside Europe. The bus ride reminds me of Isle of Skye, the glassy waters bring back Interlaken, Switzerland and the sceneries are cut-outs from Bavaria, Germany. It’s more than beautiful. More than amazing.
The Park is part of the Tibetan plains occupying 700 hectares. It became a UNESCO world heritage site in 1992 and home to some Tibetan Villages. Don’t be surprised if some of the names are in Tibetan language and not the standard Chinese. Tibet border is only 2 hours away.
They say winter is not the best time to visit but I disagree. The whiteness of the snowy winter was in contrast with the glorious loud colours of the blue mountains, mirror green lakes, cascading waterfalls and the autumn leftover colors of the trees. Some of the lakes and waterfalls were frozen and you can visibly see what was trapped inside.
Based on my research (I researched a lot before any travel!), there is only one route to Jiuzhaigou – the bus – and nope, it’s not a sleeper’s bus. You have to sit for seven to nine hours from Chengdu. The endless view, though, compensates for your aching ass and stiff back. I think they’re already constructing a train but no one knows when.
I have low expectations of our China backpacking leg. I was looking forward to Mongolia but China came as an amazing addition to my travel stories. We never encountered rude stories or unfortunate acts from the locals. We were safe and had really fun. We met a family from Hong Kong with their two little kids following us everywhere. The nine-year-old boy wanted to be in our EVERY photo! What’s best, he became our tour guide! He was part of a tour group and could speak English well. We nicknamed him the TNB (Tunay na Boss) or little boss.
On our way to the park, we met a Dutch couple and they told us to show any kind of ID to the inspector to avail of student discount. Sorry but we obliged. We saved from CNY180 to CNY120 that includes entrance fee and the bus (back and forth) to the top. No worries, the money went to a good cause – tasting their local beers. Tsingtao beer is totally recommended! We met the couple again in the restaurant for dinner with my friend feeling embarrassed to take out our left-overs (she got a little crush on him).
By the way, we recommend our hostel YHA! The owner-receptionist upgraded us from a dormitory to a double room. He doesn’t speak/understand English but he would always find/call someone from his guests to help translate for us. He was very accommodating considering that we paid $5 each (105CNY) only (3 girls). Great location with 10-mins walk to the park and a neighbor to restaurants and convenience stores. Great value for your money.
Cheers from us! if you have questions, ask away!
adventure, art, backpacking, culture, friendships, Gaya's Guesthouse, Genghis Khan, ger camp, happiness, Karakorum, Kharkhorin, Mongolia, Mongols, nature, New Year 2017, photography, reflections, thoughts, travels, Ulaan Baatar, wanderlust, winter
Five days in the Land of Genghis Khan and I’m already planning of visiting it again. Its capital, Ulaan Baatar, is the coldest city in the world so our winter travel itinerary is actually a box of insanity. We bravely embraced the negative 30C temperature (swings to -50 at night) with thermal suits and layered coats. Still, what’s better time than the winter time. Imagine white snow draped over endless landscapes of green or brown ridges with cloudless blue sky or moonless starry night. Picture wild horses and camels traversing along the Gobi sands. Think of a city full of solitude with friendly smiles and tomato cheeks! A country rich with history. Freezing but fascinating.
From Beijing, we took the cheapest but the hardest route of land border travel. We hopped on a sleeper’s bus in Muxiyuan Bus Station (180CNY) and arrived in Erlian (inner Mongolia) the next day. We then took a pick up to Zamyn Udd (75CNY) and crossed over the border (1hr). Here we got on the famous Trans-Mongolian train (22,850 MNT) to the capital for 14 hours. It looks simple but actually not.
Some tips for your future travel:
It was in this journey that we met some interesting people with overwhelming kindness to strangers – Tsuyoshi from Japan and the locals Tsengel, Altaa, Ugna (+boyfriend) and Gaya. Mongolia has one of the biggest black markets in the world so one has to be extra careful. Tsuyoshi who goes by his last name Abe never left us from Beijing to Mongolia and back to China even though we are 3 crazy girls with imposing attitudes. Tsengel, a Mongolian postgraduate student in Beijing, went home to his family only after he walked us to our hotel, exchange currency and settled to a local buffet. All through the night aboard the Trans-Mongolian train, he only slept after looking over us. Altaa, Ugna and boyfriend also helped us crossed the border and mind you, it’s not a friendly place for female travellers. This border is identified as a human trafficking hotspot. Many women disappeared and never resurfaced. So, I was really relieved and thankful that we made it smoothly.
From Ulaan Baatar, we moved to the 13th century capital of the Great Mongol Empire, Karakorum/Kharkhorin, to experience living in a traditional ger camp. The temperature was supposed to be a bit friendlier because it’s down south but we ended in a blistering cold (I was swearing at some point during the night even after chugging on some vodka). Still, the ger experience is one of kind. It offers a slice of the traditional lives of the Mongols. If you plan to visit it, pls contact Gaya and she will arrange everything for you. She has a magic wand to whip whatever you need! Her website is http://gayas-guesthouse.strikingly.com/ or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. She opened the Erdene Zuu Monastery for us!
On our last day, we had an unfortunate event. My friend’s wallet was stolen by a pickpocket in the bus station. Fortunately, her passport, phones and other valuables were not taken. Nevertheless, this incident can never eclipsed our amazing Mongolian experience. It was too short but fun – trekking the old silk road in Karakorum, seeing the Gobi desert, appreciating their culture and cuisine, walking on the paths previously walked on by the Great Mongol Empire and being at the receiving end of the local’s hospitality. It was actually an epic adventure, one for the books.
I think you’ll appreciate Mongolia if you have knowledge of its rich history (Genghis and Kublai Khans, Marco Polo, Manchurias, Yuan dynasty, Silk road etc.). Else, you’ll find it as just one exotic country. By far, this is my coldest travel experience.
[Unedited version] Written aboard the plane yesterday from Taipei to Bangkok. My 1st journal for 2017.
Every person has its own story. Every story has its own ending. Every ending leads to a new beginning. Cheers to 2017.
adventure, Asahikawa, backpacking, Chitose, culture, happiness, inspiration, Japan, JR pass, Kansai, Kansai thru' pass, Kobe, Lake Shikotsu, photography, thoughts, Tips and Tricks When Visiting Japan, Tokyo, Tokyo Tower, travels, wanderlust
This Samurai Country of Contrasts offers endless sceneries, adventures and stories. We backpacked 13 cities from urban to remote areas – from snowy-frosty places to summer-feel prefectures. Autumn is beautiful and so is the fall of snow. October is definitely the best time to visit.
I’m an introvert but when it comes to travel, you’ll see me pushing for things / experiences bordering to being an extrovert. Yes to exhaustion until you no longer feel your legs. Yes to meeting strangers and chatting with them until dawn. Yes to both quantity and quality of fun travel escapades!
I don’t pay for travel just to sit on a fine restaurant or chill on a park. I pay to learn about myself, people around me and the places I’ve never been to. I can always sit, sleep and chill back home. I want everything when I travel and this is what I got in Japan… Everything.
Here are few tips and tricks for those traveling for the first time.
I wasn’t a fan of Japan before. I thought it was overrated but after spending more than 2 weeks from north to south, I can say, it’s worth visiting it. Next time, I’d love to go back to Totori and Nagasaki! And maybe, Wakkanai (can you really see Russia from here???) That would be another great travel to add in my list.
This is a long overdue post. We visited Japan last October covering Hiroshima, Miyajima, Kobe, Himeji, Nara, Osaka, Kyoto, Hakone, Tokyo, Hakodate, Chitose, Sapporo, and Asahikawa).
adventure, Architecture, backpacking, Buen Retiro Park, culture, happiness, Iberia, inspiration, madrid, musings, Nikon, Palacio De Real, photography, Plaza de Cibeles, Plaza Mayor, Spain, tapas, thoughts, Top Five Picks for Madrid, travel, travels, wanderlust
Madrid is the capital of the Spanish peninsula oozing with a vibrant feel that makes the city’s charm even more fascinating. I’ve met some travellers that prefer Barcelona but I’m more drawn to Madrid. There’s so much more history and culture to unravel. The whole city is rich with captivating places that one should not miss whether you are just strolling along narrow alleys or gawking at the architectural brilliance of buildings aged hundred years. The City of Madrid will leave you wanting more as you indulge yourself with a beautiful travel experience.
This park spans 350 acres, the largest in Madrid. It is filled with museums, towering sculptures, galleries, fountains, fancy gardens and a peaceful lake perfect for a laid-back day or kayaking. Don’t miss the Rosaleda garden and the Crystal palace at the edge of the lake!
2. Temple of Debod
Can you imagine an ancient Egyptian temple in an Iberian peninsula? It’s a surprising sight to visit in Parque del Oeste where a beautiful panoramic view of the capital awaits.
3. Palacio De Real
This is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family with 3,418 rooms! It astonishes you with its grand architecture, exquisite interiors and interesting historical facts dating back to 1735.
4. Plaza de Cibeles
This houses the City hall and has become an iconic symbol for the city. In the center stands the famous fountain of Cibeles, the goddess of nature and protector of Madrid. It has long become the meeting point for football fans where championships are usually celebrated.
5. Plaza Mayor
This plaza used to host Spanish bullfights but what I love are the traditional shops and cafes around it where you can enjoy beers and tapas! The whole square is bustling with activities and an engaging crowd. Perfect place to end your day.
I used to know you. But, today, I look at myself in the mirror and realize that the tide of winds has done a good number on us. I remind myself that we’ll never figure everything out – that there is never a guarantee that who we are isn’t going to change today or tomorrow. Time has pushed us to different directions. And whether we want it or not, it happened and it will happen again.
Sometimes, we try hanging on to the possibility of fixing things we think needed stitching. To preserve the past. To dwell selectively. But, there are things we only think needed saving but do not.
Try to stop pushing. We may prevent something that will naturally fall back to its rightful place. Or something that will never be the same again.
Some things may fall apart and end up falling back together. However, some do not. Doors may close and it is no one’s fault. We are not infallible and there will be times when we fail people or fool ourselves. There will always be shortcomings and even hypocrisies. Moments where we treat people like a selfish convenience, just an option or a whim.
Life makes no promises that it will not fail us. It will, at times, and you choose either to move on or linger. It has many imperfections but these will not define you. It may hurt a little or a lot too much but it becomes a part of you that hopefully, changes you into someone better – who knows better. And make no mistake about it; it will be fine. Just let things run their own course.
Someone asked me why I travel a lot.
I answered, “It’s the best way how to feel alive.”
Seoul, South Korea
I miss spring in England! Sadly, there is no spring in Bangkok. Just few more days and I will welcome this beautiful season in South Korea. I am crossing my fingers for cherry blossoms in Seoul. Hopefully.
Behind all these, all the what ifs, all the wishes to make it different; there is nothing I can do when the heart no longer wants what it used to want.
adventure, Architecture, art, backpacker, backpacking, culture, Germany, Glyptothek, happiness, inspiration, life, lifestyle, love, Munich, Museum, Nikon, personal, photography, pinoy, quotations, quotes, travel, traveller, travels, wanderlust
I am not impatient. I only have patience for things that are worth the wait.