Page 5 of WorldWideWanderers Travel Blog Posts

Asia » India » West Bengal » Darjeeling March 16th 2014

A short flight from Calcutta took us north to Bagdogra where our new guide and driver were waiting to drive us up into the mountains, starting from a height of 500ft and ending at 7000ft in Darjeeling. The road was steep with multiple hairpin bends and some fairly rough potholed stretches.Darjeeling is situated in a pine-clad valley, with the town clinging to the steep mountainsides, consisting of small houses, shops and taller concrete townhouses linked by numerous small narrow streets, alleys and steps. We walked up the hillside, slightly out of breath, due to a combination of the steepness and also the altitude, to the Mall. The Mall, which sits high up on the mountain should have spectacular views but we were thwarted by low cloud and mist, is a square surrounded by small shops selling ... read more
Yiga Choeling Old Monastry
Tea Plantations at Darjeeling
The road to Darjeeling

Asia » India » West Bengal » Kolkata March 14th 2014

Kolkata, or more widely known as and still used by most of the local population, Calcutta, is situated in the north east of India in the state of West Bengal. The former capital of the British Raj of India has a somewhat split personality - the old British developed and organised colonial heartland and the surrounding chaotic Indian areas which merge together to form a wonderful city. Our first afternoon, which passed in somewhat of a blur due to tiredness and jet lag, consisted of a tour around the colonial buildings - Victoria Memorial, St John's Church, St Paul's Cathedral and Government buildings. Next day our tour of Calcutta continued with a very varied program. We visited the Sheetalnathji Jain Temple which was painted in brightly coloured pastel shades with pink towers looking somewhat reminiscent of ... read more
Flower Market
Jain Temple
The Black Hole of Calcutta Monument

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap February 17th 2014

Accommodation - Karavansara Hotel Siem Reap Weather - Hot and sunny with occasional clouds 35c There is really only one thing to do in Siem Reap and that is to visit the Temples of Angkor. Our first visit was to Angkor Thom - the capitol city of King Jayavarman VII's vast Khmer empire in the 12th century. The complex was built as an impregnable fortress at the heart of his empire. At the exact centre of Angkor Thom is the Bayon Temple - with 216 smiling faces and extensive bas-relief decoration. The faces are thought to represent King Jayavarman himself as a reflection of his god-like status. A very impressive awe-inspiring start to the temples of Angkor - especially when WanderingAlison was able to stand nose-to-nose with the King!! In the late afternoon we visited Angkor ... read more
Tomb Raider scenes filmed here - Ta Prohm
Stilt houses at Kompong Kleang Tonle Sap Lake
Entry gate to Angkor Thom

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh February 14th 2014

Accommodation - Villa Langka Phnom Penh Accommodation - Bambu Hotel Battambang Weather - Hot, sunny, blue skies with occasional clouds and one heavy rain storm in Battambang for an hour. 32 to 35c Our two days in Phnom Penh went past in a whirl of sightseeing and wandering around. On our first morning we went on a city tour which included the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and National museum. The Royal Palace, situated on the west bank of the Tonle Sap River, was stunning, glistening in the sun, built in the Khmer style, with multicoloured gilded and curlicued roofs, with carved columns. The adjacent Silver Pagoda, with a similar architecture, was named due to its floor, which is inlaid with 5000 solid silver tiles. Near by there is an intricately carved stupa which holds the ashes ... read more
Tuol Sleng Prison - S-21 - Phnom Penh
Vegatables for sale in a small rural village market - Cambodia
Suspension bridge in Battambang

Asia » Cambodia » South » Kep February 10th 2014

Accommodation - Veranda Natural Resort - Kep Accommodation - 4 Rivers Floating Lodge - Koh Kong Weather - Hot & sunny with blue skies and occasional clouds 32c On our transfer from the Cambodian border to Kep we stopped at an interesting cave temple of Wat Kirisan built into the base of a small mountain. Walking through the caves revealed steep limestone cliffs covered with foliage and occasional hidden shrines with gold and silver buddhas. Kep is a somewhat sleepy seaside town, on the Gulf of Thailand, famous for its regional green fresh peppercorns, blue crabs, prawns and other seafood. Kep was Cambodia's first seaside resort, founded by the French in 1908. Fine french-style mansions now lay deserted, burnt out and abandoned following Khmer Rouge invasions during the civil war. We were staying at the Veranda ... read more
King Norodom Statue on the seafront - Kep Cambodia
4 Rivers Floating Lodge on the Tatai River - Koh Kong Cambodia
Along the seafront to the Crab Market  - Kep Cambodia

Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta February 5th 2014

Accommodation - Bassac Boat 3 - on the Mekong River Accommodation - Victoria Hotel Chau Doc Weather - Hot, sunny/cloudy 30c We enjoyed a wonderful Vietamese meal, on our last night in Ho Chi Minh City at May Restaurant which we had found on tripadvisor. A taxi ride through the city was very cheap, only £2, and we then walked up a tiny alley between houses and shops, with the three storey townhouse restaurant at the end. We were seated on the top floor, on an open veranda, overlooking the small street and houses. The staff were very friendly. Our meal of crab, prawn and pork spring rolls with different sauces for each style of roll was followed by sautéed beef with onions and pork in pepper sauce - wonderfully tasty and very reasonably priced. The ... read more
Bassac 3 Riverboat
Small stilt houses on the edge of the Mekong River
Local ferry across the Mekong

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City January 31st 2014

Accommodation - Liberty Central Hotel Weather - Hot, sunny & blue skies - 30c 'Chuc Mung Nam Moi' - Happy New Year in Vietnamese. What a day to arrive in Ho Chi Minh City - Saigon - the Vietnamese New Year's Eve (Tet). The city is in full 'Tet' celebrations. Having arrived at our hotel at 20.00hrs we head out at 21.30hrs, jet-lag keeping us awake, to join in with the fun. Within walking distance of our hotel the streets are ablaze with festive lights hanging across the streets, in the trees, on buildings and there are vast crowds of locals all arriving on an almost never ending stream of motorcycles from every direction. 2014 is the Vietnamese Year of the Horse - which explains why there are so many images and statues of horses!! We ... read more
2014 - the Vietnamese Year of the Horse
Notre Dame Cathedral - Saigon
The globe represented in green lights with Vietnam in orange.

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Varanasi November 23rd 2013

Accommodation - Radisson Hotel Weather - Hot & sunny 28C What an experience Varanasi was!! We thought we had already seen much that India had to throw at us - but no not at all. Varanasi is India on steroids - chaotic, manic, frenetic, noisy - everything we had experienced but greatly magnified - but that is what Varanasi is all about! The sunrise boat trip on the Ganges was sensational - just as we had imagined - viewing the bathing ghats, pilgrims from all over India and the world ritually cleansing themselves in the holy Ganges river. Colourful temples, bright lights and spiritual chantings reflecting across the Ganges with the sunrise casting a peaceful orange light across the water. Would you want your clothes washed at the 'dhobi ghats'? - I think not - knowing ... read more
Sunrise over the Ganges
Bathing ghats
Colourful ghats

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Udaipur November 21st 2013

Accommodation - LaLit Laxmi Vilas Palace Weather - Sunny & blue skies - 28C During our journey to Udaipur we stopped at Ranakpur the site of one of the largest Jain temple complexes in India. Set within the wooded hillside of the Aravallis mountains the central Chaumukha Temple was built in 1439, and is in stunning condition, composed of 29 halls supported by 1,444 ornately carved marble pillars, none of which are alike. On our journey we also saw examples of rural indian life, with an oxen-operated persian style water wheel, a camel carrying dried sugar cane stalks, a village water pump and a visit to a Bishnoi village. The Bishnoi tribe follow strict conservational religious beliefs, protecting the flora and fauna, strict vegetarians and live in tidy small hamlets. The married women wear ornamental nose ... read more
Married Bishnoi tribal ladies wearing nose rings
Chaumukha Temple - Ranakpur
Jain Temple within the wooded slopes of the Aravallis Hills

Asia » India » Rajasthan November 17th 2013

BIKANER Accommodation - Laxmi Nawas Palace Heritage Hotel Weather - Hot & sunny - 30C We had another long journey today, 275km and approximately 6 hours, arriving in Bikaner in the late afternoon. During the journey we stopped at the small town of Deshnok to visit one of the most extraordinary temples in India - Karni Mata Temple. The facade is of carved white marble with solid silver doors but once inside it becomes clear why this temple is so bizarre - there are literally thousands of 'holy rats' running free and being cared for and fed by the large numbers of pilgrims who visit. Karni Mata performed miracles in the 14th century, when her youngest son was drowned, she ordered Yama the god of death, to bring him back to life but when he was ... read more
Karni Mata Temple
Laxmi Nawas Palace Heritage Hotel
The Thar Desert

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