Blogs from Asia - page 13035

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Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Quang Ninh » Halong Bay May 9th 2006

My luck was running thin in Vietnam. I'd left myself a measly 10 days to travel from Hanoi all the way down to HCMC. I spent the entire time catching buses and covering the highlights. My first hour in Vietnam was most eventful, indeed. I caught a minibus from the airport into town, arriving fashionably late at around 11.00pm with no pre-booked accommodation. Hell, I'd done it before, what was another multi-million over populated big city... By the time the driver had dropped off the other 6 people at their hotels, I was the last one left on the bus. Slightly uneasy about finding a free room this late at night, I told myself it would all be over in just a few minutes... They dropped me off out the front of some building and I ... read more
Lost in traffic, Hanoi
Old lady selling cigarettes
Mobile hat shop, Hanoi

Asia » Malaysia » Terengganu » Perhentian Kecil May 9th 2006

The Perhentians are by far and away the most fantastic islands I have ever seen! You people who have been to Thailand think you have seen a good beach? Get thee to the Perhentians! The sand was soft, the water warm and clear. I could still see the bottom of the ocean when we were on the boat 100m from shore. I could have stayed there for a very long time! We did a snorkelling tour on our last day. We went to several different stops - each one with a specific ocean dweller to spy on. The first was a big ole' turtle. He was a beauty. Unfortunately there were lots of snorkelling idiots there who kept trying to touch the turtle. He wasn't up for that so he kept just slowly swimming away. The ... read more
Rocks at Sunset
Palm Tree
Fi

Asia » South Korea » Seoul May 9th 2006

So, in the fall Yonsei has a huge sports day. It is so big that they have a fairly large sort of pep rally to celebrate several months before the big day. This event it called Akaraka. Over 20,000 students pour into an arena dressed in all blue and white (Yonsei colors). They let out their school spirit through songs and cheers. Since Yonsei is one of the most prominent schools in Korea, school spirit is something they definitely have, unlike Maryville. It is so big in fact that some of Korea’s most famous and popular singers come as the entertainment. People brought blue towels to swing in the air; they wore red, light-up devil horns; they set off sparklers and when all of the sparklers went out, turned on their cell phones and waved them ... read more
Akaraka Arena
Sun setting behind the stage
Sparklers, glowsticks, and cellphones

Asia » Singapore May 9th 2006

Singapore is the sort of place that I wouldn't mind living in for a couple of years. Ok, it's perhaps a bit hot and humid, and some might argue that democracy and personal freedoms are in short supply. But on the other hand, the country functions in a smooth and efficient way that should cause politicians in many countries in Asia as well as Europe to be ashamed of themselves. Per capita income is only slightly below that of many Western European nations (at Purchasing Power Parity for the economists among you), the transport system is efficient, the streets are clean, the crime rate is low etc. etc. It is a melting pot of Indian, Malay, and Chinese culture, which is perhaps most evident when eating your way around the hawker centers. Some seriously nice food ... read more
Merlion Statue
Singapore Cricket Club + Financial District
Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay

Asia » Thailand May 9th 2006

Hey everyone!!! I miss you guys very much!!!! Here is a "recap" of my time since I got to Thailand. The Flight: I flight was fine... I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be. The lay-overs were very long, but I just camped out in some good spots and people-watched. I landed in Bangkok and as soon as I was going to leave the airport to take a taxi, I found out that it was going to cost me 700 baht (around 25 dollars)! That is crazy for Thailand, so I mustered of some courage (YES, I know I am shy) and after asking a couple of people, I found a group of travelers to car-pool with. They actually turned out to be staying at the same guesthouse as I planned on, and get ... read more
War Cemetary in Kanchaniburi
Bridge over the River Kwai
No Safety Standards

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Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Pha-Ngan May 9th 2006

After the delight that was the Perhentians we finally had to move on due to the fact we were fast running out of ringits. However, with Southern Thailand next on the itinerary this didn't seem such a bad thing. We took a ferry and two buses to get to the border. The lack of security was amazing. We walked up to the customs officer on the Malay side and got our passports stamped out. After that it was a quick walk across the bridge into Thailand. We nearly didn't get our passports stamped into the country because the building was on the other side of the road. We thought it was just for people leaving! Luckily some local guy pointed us in the right direction and we were able to enter the country legally. After that ... read more
Rickety Walkway
Rocks
Dog Thief

Asia » China » Tibet » Lhasa May 9th 2006

After our trek, we decided to spend some down time in Lhasa. We did a lot of eating, sleeping, and showering.....you know, all the creature comforts. These 3 days of relaxing gave me time to walk around and snap photos, to seek out the details that make Tibet what it is. There are so many subtleties here. The low murmur of pilgrims making koras around the Jokhang, the sometimes suffocating smoke of burning juniper (i guess it's not THAT subtle), the smell of yak butter, the dirty hands of pilgrims or children asking for money, the almost inaudible squeak of spinning prayer wheels, the late afternoon light that always seems to grace to Jokhang, the constant mantra of shop keepers---"hello, have a look," and the sound of prostrating pilgrims as they scrape up and down on ... read more
monk garments
hands
afternoon at the Jokhang

Asia » Hong Kong May 9th 2006

Day 3 ~ The Invasion of Hong Kong Island has begun! 3 days into Hong Kong and we finally step foot onto Hong Kong Island today. The classic itinerary covered as many tourist icons within a short day. These included a ride on the Star Ferry and the Tram as well as experiencing what Victoria Peak and Central Mid-escalators had to offer. However, our first stop today was still in Kowloon where the Jade Market was located closed to our lodge. We were early & many of the stalls were not ready. Nevertheless, after much haggling, S & C managed a jade pendant for their mums. If Jade Market were still half asleep, the wet market next to it was fully awakened. This was the place where the local housewives shopped for their foodstuffs. Fresh produce ... read more
Victoria Harbour by day
Clock Tower @ Star Ferry Terminal, Kowloon
The Golden Bauhinia, Wan Chai

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok May 9th 2006

Yes, that's right. Bangkok was once known by seafaring foreigners as Bang Ma Kok. I like the old name best. We have been here for a couple of days now. You wake up in the morning and it is hot and stinky. And just when you think it can't get any worse, it gets hotter and stinkier. However it is definitely a city full of energy. Wandering down Kao San Rd there is always something to see. The foreigners provide just as much entertainment as the locals when it comes to people watching. Today we went to the Grand Palace, the temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the Reclining Buddha. Talk about bling!!! Everything was covered in gold and intricate decorations. It dazzles the eye and the mind! Unfortunately there was some sort of official ceremony ... read more
Arrrrrrr.....
Stupas 37-39
Idol Worship

Asia » China » Tibet May 9th 2006

I’ve safely arrived in Xining, the last stop in a major city before I begin the 9 hour drive to 15,000 feet altitude. I spent one night in Bejing on the way. It’s definitely a different universe over here. A major shock to my American eyes was seeing Chinese police and security guards on every block, often marching in formation. Other things are as I imagined - large, boxy, cement buildings adorned with neon Chinese letters, chaotic traffic flow, dusty, littered streets - all juxtaposed by a majestic mountain silhouette. Here in Xining, I’m spending a few days with relatives of Sogan Rinpoche, a Lama that I know from the US. They have a charming apartment and are warm, extremely hospitable people. Chokyong Tsering is the father, and he is a renowned Ling Gesar scholar, the ... read more




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