Page 3 of Nomads Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Bukit Lawang June 10th 2007

Gunung Leuser National Park, Just North of Bukit Lawang June 6th The walk - uphill and through hot, sticky jungle - left us breathing hard, sweat from even this small exertion, popping out on our faces and running down our backs. We were on the big Indonesian island of Sumatra, only a few degrees north of the equator and the heat was stifling. Smothering everything in a wet, humid blanket, it sapped the strength and weakened our resolve to carry on. Hemmed in by a solid wall of foliage; bamboos, thorny rattan palms, looping vines and big leaved aroids, we followed the path - that only rarely afforded any views - and pushed on, trying hard to ignore the heat and the reluctance of our legs to keep moving. But it wasn’t far now. The ... read more
Jungle Moon
Chinese Shopfronts
Songkhla Beach

Asia » China » Beijing » Great Wall of China May 20th 2007

I couldn't go any further, a boy with a scimitar stood blocking my way. We were just below the eighth Tower of Heaven on China's Great Wall. Beyond, I could see the Wall snaking its way over razor-edged hilltops and disappearing into deep valleys, only to reappear again on some distant peak. Scowling, the boy said something in Chinese: it was obviously a challenge. Viv was some way behind me. Should I accept the challenge, I wondered, or try to slip past? A few tense heartbeats later however, the decision was taken out of my hands as the boy's mother appeared and led him away with an apologetic smile. Still scowling, he made a threatening stab at the air with his plastic sword. "This time foreigner, you are lucky. Next time we meet, it will not ... read more
The 21.47 to Beijing
Hard Sleeper Class
Research Break

Asia » China » Fujian » Xiamen » Gulangyu May 10th 2007

The rain fell like stair rods as we sheltered beneath a street awning in Bangkok, waiting for it to stop. It rained most days now. People were saying that the rainy season was starting earlier and earlier each year. Was this a sign perhaps, that the effects of climate change were beginning to affect weather patterns that could once have been predicted with a near perfect accuracy? Change was not always for the better. Other changes meant that we had to keep a watchful eye on the number of days we spent in the kingdom. New regulations affecting the amount of time foreigners could stay in Thailand during any 6-month period had come into effect shortly after our arrival in October 2006. Despite being careful however, the final 8 days of our current 90-day allotment seemed ... read more
Island Views
Sampans and Tower Blocks
Pastel Shades

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Pha-Ngan April 22nd 2007

It was mid-March. Despite the fact that the hot season had begun, heralding what was usually a slump in visitor numbers, the "Gecko Bar" was full. Only one table remained so we grabbed it, the five of us pulling up plastic chairs as we noisily staked our claim. Ordinarily, whenever Viv and I were in Bangkok we headed for the "Gecko Bar" as soon as it became too hot to do anything else. Pulling up chairs at a street-side table, we would share a cold bottle of Chang Beer as we watched passers-by and discussed wild schemes to visit Nepal, India or China. But this time it was different. We had been back from Myanmar four days and had been joined by our three girls - Annie, Kya and Jess - fresh out from England and ... read more
Wat Pho, Bangkok
"A Turquoise Sea....
Wooden Beach Huts

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Inle Lake March 12th 2007

For us, the 'road' to Mandalay took many forms, carrying us through the Burmese landscape in a variety of vehicles, from local buses and pick up taxis to horse carts and finally, a boat that took us up the mighty Irrawaddy River to Mandalay. We joined the good ship "Shwe Kiennery II" at the Nyaung Ou jetty at the ungodly hour of 4.45am one Monday morning. No clapped out old fishing boat this one, the "Shwe Kiennery" was a modern, purpose built passenger vessel equipped with two V8 engines, an air conditioning system and a bar. She was capable of a top speed of 13 knots and could carry up to 130 passengers. But on this particular day in February, there were just 18 of us. It was so luxurious that we felt like characters from ... read more
Sunrise over the Irrawaddy
Scenes of Rural Life
Onboard the Mandalay Ferry

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan March 1st 2007

Acre upon acre of temples, scattered across a dusty plain in the very heart of Myanmar - that was Bagan. Last of the ancient 'lost cities' that we had still to see, it captivated us in a way that Cambodia's Angkor had been unable to do. Perhaps because it was not over run with visitors and there was still space to breathe and enjoy a spiritual moment but it was also an amalgam of things; the dry desert climate - hot by day, cold by night. Cactus bushes and acacia trees. Days spent wandering or cycling among temples where, apart from postcard sellers, you hardly saw another soul. The blissful sensation of being able to sleep at night without need of a fan. Crisp, cool mornings and empty star filled nights. One of our favourite pastimes ... read more
On Her Way to Market
Bagan Overview
Monks Collecting Alms

Asia » Burma » Yangon Region » Yangon March 1st 2007

The following are a series of extracts from our journals, verbal sketches if you like, that attempt to capture our first impressions of Myanmar. To those unfamiliar with this little known country, I should perhaps try and draw a brief introductory picture. Formerly known as Burma, Myanmar is an inward looking country ruled by a military Government that has a well earned reputation for human rights abuses. For years it has cut itself off from the outside world and its people know very little of what is happening beyond the restrictive confines of their own country. Much is changing but the Government still maintains its iron-fisted rule, with Government ministers seemingly more concerned about amassing personal wealth and power rather than improving conditions for ordinary people or the country as a whole. Myanmar was once part ... read more
The Shattered Streets of Yangon
Blue Room
Echoes of Empire

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế » Hué February 6th 2007

The sun came up shortly after 6am and most mornings we were up with it, wandering along the beach as the fishing boats came in to offload the night's catch. It was one of the simple joys of staying in Mui Ne, a place many travellers overlooked, prefering instead the glitzy, high rise attractions of Nha Trang - 300kms further up the coast. Round coracles and the bigger squid boats would be out most of the night, the squid boats equipped with long booms festooned with lights to bring the squid to the surface. The squid boats usually moored offshore from the fishing village but the smaller coracle boats landed on the beach, just a stones throw from where we were staying. Each morning, we would wander among the boats as the fishermen untangled their nets; ... read more
Coracles on the Beach
Up the Pacific Coast
Red Canyon

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Binh Thuan » Mui Ne January 27th 2007

The bus dropped us at a Chinese restaurant overlooking the border. Outside it was hot and the restaurant stood on its own in what looked like a field of dust. Not for the first time, I wondered if dust was a major crop in Cambodia. We were certainly going to be exporting a fair amount of it in our clothes when we crossed the border into Vietnam but first, we were going to have to get to the border. The bus driver didn't speak any English but it was clear from his brief mime that he wasn't going any further and that we were expected to walk the remaining 2kms to the other side. Fortified by a drink in the restaurant, we collected our packs and trudged back to the road. In total contrast to the ... read more
Goodbye Cambodia, Good Morning Vietnam
Hall of the Ten Hells
Going Underground

Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor January 16th 2007

If the years under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge represented Cambodia’s darkest hour, Angkor Wat was undoubtedly its finest. Cambodian’s talk with great pride about their ancient city and with good reason for it is easily one of the world’s great wonders. Angkor was almost unknown to the western world until it was ‘discovered’ - lost in the Cambodian jungle - by the French naturalist and explorer Henri Mouhot in the 1860s. Over time, Angkor was gradually reclaimed from the clutches of nature and finally awarded World Heritage status in 1992. Such is the nation’s pride in its ancient monuments that images of Angkor appear everywhere. You will see them on banknotes, adorning the national flag, on souvenirs and even on beer labels. So it was inconceivable that we would come to Cambodia and leave ... read more
Angkor Wat
Riddled with Bullet Holes
"She's Got a Ticket to Ride"

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