Page 2 of piranha27 Travel Blog Posts


Asia » Thailand » North-East Thailand » Udon Thani March 13th 2014

And so with my fresh new 14-day visa in hand, it was time to start heading back to the capital. But first not without a layover at my third stop in the this mini-Isaan adventure of mine. Just a short 1h bus ride away from the Mekhong, and I found myself in Udon Thani. Like Nong Khai, truth is this was in fact not exactly my first time in Udon. For my Laos trip seven years ago, I'd landed in Udon airport, but was bussed directly to the Friendship bridge. So yes I'd seen the airport, but that was pretty much it. This time though I had a little more time to spend exploring the place. Udon isn't a particularly popular destination for cultural buffs, though it is home to a sizeable population of retired Western ... read more
Nong Bua Lake
Night Market
Ban Chiang Museum

Asia » Thailand » North-East Thailand » Nong Khai March 11th 2014

The march northeastwards continued with a 3h bus ride from Khon Kaen to the riverside town of Nong Khai, fronting the mighty Mekhong. This wasn't actually my first time in this Thai border town -- some seven years ago I'd passed by briefly en route to the Laotian capital of Vientiane that sits just across the river, barely 20km away. Seven years later I finally had the opportunity to see what I'd missed the last time. In fact, not that much, but perhaps that's precisely the charm of Nong Khai. Apart from the weekending Thai crowd from the other provinces who'd made it up here for a quick getaway, Nong Khai preserves its quiet charm throughout the rest of the week. I'd originally planned on staying only three days, but soon decided to spend an extra ... read more
Nong Khai Riverfront Promenade
Mut Mee Guesthouse
Sunset on the Mekhong

Asia » Thailand » North-East Thailand » Khon Kaen March 7th 2014

The day finally arrived again, when I packed up my stuff after a two-month long stay at my Bangkok apartment, and headed for the provinces once more. This time, I decided to head northeast towards the region known as Isaan, and what many might consider the true heartland of the Thai country, populated by the rural working class and rice farmers. And so some 6h later on the comfortable Nakhonchai Air bus, I was in Khon Kaen. If you scroll way back to some later 2012 blog entries during my first stint here in Thailand, you'll see that in fact this wasn't my first time in Isaan per se. Some 1.5 years ago, I'd headed westwards from the capital towards Korat and subsequently Ubon, en route to the border crossing with Southern Laos. This time though, ... read more
Khon Kaen National Museum
Hot Plate Eggs Breakfast Set
Khon Kaen National Museum

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Ko Samet March 4th 2014

This might have been the most anti-climatic beach getaway yet so far. I'd heard much about Koh Samet, a tiny-island about a half hour's boat ride away from the mainland in Eastern Thailand, and had for some time hoped to be able to pay a visit. Being just a four hour bus ride away from central Bangkok, and therefore really an easy weekend getaway, it's a wonder why I hadn't gotten down to it yet, until now. But it turned out to be perhaps not quite worth the wait after all. The reviews on Wikitravel and LP were good, and I also distinctly remembered a fellow traveller that I'd met way back two years ago in Myanmar who'd first raved about the place. But I wonder whether I've been spoiled by too many a beach escape. ... read more
Ploy Talay Fire Show
Eager Beavers
First Glimpse of Samed

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok March 3rd 2014

Yes I know it's been some three months since I left you hanging, back in my Southern China escapade. Well, it does seem like an eternity has passed, but since then I'd returned back home to Singapore for about a month, then headed back up again to my de facto second home in Bangkok once more. I've been here since the start of the year, for another two-month's worth of Thai classes, my fourth stint here since I started on my now almost-two year adventure. The past few months in Bangkok have of course been eventful, thanks to the protests (so what's new?) which saw several major intersections closed and blocked for several months. Notwithstanding the almost daily sniper and grenade attacks at the protest sites during a few particularly tense periods, which resulted in several ... read more
Gnidart Gnaihc Nan?
Look closer
Best Cheap Coffee with Fresh Milk in BKK

Asia » Macau » Macau December 11th 2013

And a quick 1h flight later, I was out of Guangxi and in the so-called Special Economic Zone of Zhuhai in Guangdong, gateway to Macau, gambling capital of the world, and Monte Carlo of the Orient. (Or should Monte Carlo be more aptly known as the Macau of the West these days?) I had read about the exorbitant room rates in Macau itself (USD50 upwards for crappy singles and shared baths??), so my plan was to base myself in more affordable Zhuhai, and cross the border daily. Plus I get the added bonus of a cheaper flight to Zhuhai, and the chance to check out the spill-over prosperity in this border city, which in its own right offered some interesting nightlife. But the game (literally) was Macau -- once an absolutely sleazy backwater with smoke-filled rooms ... read more
Macau Tower
Bars of Zhuhai
Lianhua Street

Asia » China » Guangxi » Nanning November 29th 2013

And so almost as soon as I'd arrived, my time in Guangxi has come to an end. Just five short days in this Southwestern province of China before I make an equally brief detour to its eastern neighbour of Guangdong, before finally calling time on this six-month long leg of my continuing Southeast Asia-Southern China adventure. Prior to arriving at my final destination in Guangxi, the provincial capital of Nanning, I'd in fact taken another quick overnighter in another mid-sized city Chongzuo, just over an hour away on the spanking new intercity highway. Apart from a quick stop at its famous leaning pagoda, Chongzuo wasn't particularly noteworthy, so I thought I'd combine the two blog entries. Nanning, on the other hand, offers more. Truly a large bustling city, serving as a transnational hub for journeys into ... read more
A City after my own Heart
Yong River
I did not know what this was

Asia » China » Guangxi » Detian Waterfall November 29th 2013

After the disappointment of the somewhat wasted detour to the Huashan cliff murals, I fortunately had better luck at my next destination. After another several hour ride and overnighter at another non-descript mid-sized city called Daxin, I took yet another early minivan ride, this time back westwards to the border with Vietnam again (though further north from where I crossed) at the very edge where the world's second largest transnational waterfall lay - the Detian Falls. And yes I know you're wondering - the largest is the well-known Niagara Falls. And while the Detian Falls don't quite match up in terms of sheer size and impressiveness, they are still extremely picturesque, crashing down multiple tiers and from a height of some 70m. It was also a little strange looking across the river to the opposite bank ... read more
No 53 Mere Stone
Welcome to China
Friendly Welcome to the Detian Falls

Asia » China » Guangxi » Pingxiang November 29th 2013

Back on the road again, and it was a 4h+ bus ride northeast of Hanoi to the border town of Dong Dang for my crossing into China. Funny how haphazardly planned and poorly demarcated some of these border areas are - when I entered the Vietnamese immigration building, I realized I had entered from the Chinese side! Huh?! How was that possible since I'd just gotten off the minivan from Hanoi, and walked just a couple of minutes? Turns out the No Man's Land between the two countries is quite faint, and apparently quite porous too. With no intentions of either exiting Vietnam or entering China illegally, I retraced my steps and lawfully obtained my exit and entry stamps. It was dark and late by the time I arrived on the Chinese side, taking my first ... read more
Impromptu Tour Guide
Look Mom No Hands!
Had to contend myself with pictures at the visitor's gallery instead

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi November 24th 2013

Ah, Hanoi. Or rather, Ha Noi (with some tone markings), as it would be spelled in Vietnamese. Yes I've been spending the better part of the last six weeks or so here in the northern capital of Vietnam. I'd remembered thinking during my brief stay here last year that this seemed like a place I would like to experience living for a slightly more extended period, so here I was! And since I was going to be here for a while, I thought I might as well sign up for some Vietnamese language classes. For some reason I had the impression that the Vietnamese language was closely linked to Chinese, so I thought this should be easy. And while it's true that some words are obviously Chinese in origin, many more seem to have nothing to ... read more
Boat Ride to Perfume Pagoda
Lao Cai - Hanoi
Cable Car Ride @ Perfume Pagoda




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