Page 6 of mbrown Travel Blog Posts


Asia » Malaysia » Wilayah Persekutuan » Kuala Lumpur July 10th 2009

After the National Mosque I took a train and taxi out to the Batu Caves, one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India. There are 272 numbered steps populated by wild monkeys up to the mouth of the cave. A 140 ft. golden statue of the Hindu diety Murugan towers above the staircase. The Batu Caves are the site of the Thaipusam Hindu festival, one of the largest human gatherings in the world, bringing 1.5 million pilgroms a year. I received a blessing at the main temple in the cave, held a albino python and hung out with the monkeys.... read more
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Asia » Malaysia » Wilayah Persekutuan » Kuala Lumpur July 10th 2009

Malaysia's National Mosque, Masjid Negara, features a 239 ft. minaret and is a beautiful example of a modern mosque. They were very welcoming to non-muslim guests, although most people have to wear the purple robe. I did not get/have to because I was wearing long pants and my shoulders were already covered. ... read more
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Asia » Malaysia » Wilayah Persekutuan » Kuala Lumpur July 8th 2009

Kuala Lumpur is one of the most "alive" places I have been. There are people out at any time of day or night. So much is going on in the streets. Two of the nights I was in KL, there was an outdoor Arabic Music Festival a block from where I was staying.... read more
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Asia » Malaysia » Wilayah Persekutuan » Kuala Lumpur July 7th 2009

Soon after I arrived, I fell in love with Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. The first thing that struck me was the diversity, which stood in stark contrast to China. Malaysia's population consists of a mix of three major ethnic groups: muslim malays, chinese and indian. Kuala Lumpur, being a large city and an important economic hub for Southeast Asia, has people and influences from all over the world. This incredible diversity is seen in food, dress, architecture and customs. To me it seemed like a paradise: extreme differences with a "live and let live" aproach. Everybody seemed to get along fine. I saw a church, a mosque and a hindu temple all in the same block. I found this place incredibly exciting. KL was the best place I have ever been in regards to ... read more
KL Tower, Kuala Lumpur
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Asia » China » Tianjin July 6th 2009

To leave China I booked a flight from Tianjin to Kuala Lumpur. Tianjin is connected to Beijing by a high speed railway that reaches 217mph (350 km/h). I took the half hour ride from Beijing the day before my flight, so I did not have much time to fully explore Tianjin. The city had a very strange feel to it. Everywhwere I looked there were groups of 10 or 15 grey builings being built, each one accompanied by a crane. It really looked like something out of a science fiction film. It looked sterile and lifeless at dusk, but I found it more interesting than negative. The most notable landmark is the gigantic Ferris wheel on the Hai He River. The lowest part of the wheel is stradled by a highway junction. At night people gather ... read more
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Asia » China » Beijing » Forbidden City July 3rd 2009

Stephanie, Ritu, Nilam & I toured the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. The Forbidden City was built 600 years ago, requiring more than a million workers and has been the cultural and political focal point in China since. It is the largest surviving palace structure in the world. Tiananmen Square lies just south of the Forbidden City through the Gate of Heavenly Peace which displays the iconic portrait of Mao Zhedong. Tinanmen Square is the largest urban square in the world. The Mao Mausoleum is on the south end of the square. I arrived in China during the 20th anniversary of the infamous suppression of the Tiananmen Square protests. I would read China Daily and watch CCTV 9 (the government run english news channel) and saw no mention of Tiananmen Square in the Chinese media. I ... read more
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Asia » China » Beijing » Great Wall of China July 2nd 2009

There are several different areas of the Great Wall that can be visited. I had heard some bad stories about overcrowded and unpleasant Great Wall tours especially the section closest to Beijing. I went to a section about an hour and half outside the city that was beautiful and not over-run with tourists. I signed up for a tour through the hostel where I was staying and met three Canadian girls, Stephanie, Ritu and Nilam, on the bus ride out there. We spent the day walking the length of the wall, taking photos and getting our asses kicked by the sun. The wall was very impressive; I'm very glad I won't have to leave China without seeing the Great Wall. We opted to hike up to the wall rather than take the ski lift up, but ... read more
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Asia » China » Beijing July 1st 2009

Beijing is, in some ways, the center of the universe right now. Many believe the 21st century to belong to China and Beijing is like the control room. It is very different than the parts of China I have experienced so far, especially following the adjustments made for the 2008 Olympics held less than a year ago. I gave myself the challenge of getting from the airport (far outside of town) to a hostel without using a taxi. So it involved a shuttle bus, a couple different subway lines and a fair amount of walking, but I had no problems. I stayed at the Happy Dragon Hostel near Tiannamen Square and The Forbidden City. Michael Jackson died right before I got to Beijing and the hostel had an MJ DVD on a loop almost the entire ... read more
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Asia » China June 29th 2009

Here are some of my favorite ridiculous translations on signs in China. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.... read more
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Asia » China » Sichuan » Chengdu June 26th 2009

Through much research, I found an inexpensive series of flights that would take me to Chengdu (the capital of Sichuan province), Beijing, Kuala Lumpur (the capital of Malaysia) and finally back to Bangkok for a few days before heading home. I was nervous about booking flights and commiting to a particular itinerary considering traveling with little or no plan had served me well so far. It worked out really well and I wouldn't have changed a thing. My first stop was Chengdu with five days to explore this city and some surrounding areas. Chengdu is only fifty miles from the epicenter of the massive 2008 Sichuan earthquake, but apparently the city itself was not hit as hard as one would think. I really enjoyed Chengdu and had a good time getting lost on the local bus ... read more
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