Mike & Danielle's Great Asian Adventure

mike dano

Mike & Danielle's Great Asian Adventure!

We are a couple from near London, Ontario, Canada. Having just finished teaching English in Yangsan, South Korea for a year, we are traveling around Asia on our way home.

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Mingun November 30th 2010

Today is our last day in Mandalay, but since the only sights we haven't seen involve giving money and entrance fees to the government, we decide to take a boat ride up the river to Mingun to see the Mingun Paya. Mingun Paya is the remnants of what was supposed to be Myanmar's largest paya ever. Unfortuantely the earthquake of 1938 cracked in parts and the construction was never completed. As it stands now, it is 240ft high, less than half of the intended final height! That morning we made our way to the jetty to catch the boat 1.5 hours to Mingun. We pay 5000K return each for the boat ride. While we waited for the boat to depart we interacted with some local children. It was clear that many families actually lived in tents ... read more
Unloading at the docks
Running towards the tourists

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Mandalay November 29th 2010

We were so excited when Owen and his friend Louie said they would take us to Amurapura because we really wanted to go there but getting there on our own seemed tricky. With locals on our side, it was so easy to hop from bus to bus and very cheap! Amurapura is where U Bein's bridge is located, the world's longest teak walking bridge (over 1km) and is over 200 years old! It is a famous landmark in Myanmar and is very picturesque at sunset - of course we wanted to go there and take some pictures!! We take a couple different local buses, pay 400k each and it takes about an hour to get to Amurapura, then we walk 15 minutes down to the bridge. There is almost no way we would have figured this ... read more
U Bein's Bridge

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Mandalay November 28th 2010

After a long cold (their buses run on MAX A/C the entire time, then have to stop every few hours to cool off the engine because it is overheating. Dress for wintery cold when travelling on buses in Myanmar!) night bus to Mandalay, we arrive at 6am. With the lack of tourist info for Myanmar, nearly every tourist here has the same Lonely Planet book and so all travellers on our bus make way to the same guesthouse recommended in the book. We figured since it was off-season and a lesser-travelled country, reservations would not be needed. We were wrong. After 3 hotels, we find a room at ET Hotel where we pay $12 for a double room with bathroom and breakfast included. The first thing we do is nap for a few hours to rejuvenate ... read more
When the bus is full, ride on top!
Spring shop
Kids playing

Asia » Burma » Yangon Region » Yangon November 26th 2010

Well, it's finally here! This is without a doubt the most highly anticipated destination on our schedule! For the longest time we weren't sure if we would be able to get there due to the restrictions on tourists during the election. In early November, Myanmar had it's first "democratic" election in years and there were many riots and and issues associated with the elections. As a result, the government shut down tourist visas for a while. We were lucky enough to go there just after the ban was lifted! Also, Aung San Suu Kyi had recently been released from captivity and this was a major move for the country. We went from KLIA airport in Malaysia where to go directly to Yangon, Myanmar, the former capital of the country. Recently, the government built a new city ... read more
Shwedagon Paya
Shwedagon Paya
Monk at Shwedagon

Asia » Malaysia » Melaka » Melaka City November 24th 2010

Once we arrived at the bus station outside Melaka, we took a city bus into the city proper and found our hotel, Traveller's Lodge where we paid 35RM for a fan room with a balcony and a great kitchen/common room. We grab some dinner at a nearby mall food court where we get delicious spicy beef soup. The following morning, after a late sleep-in, we wander around the city and see more colonial buildings. This place was invaded by the Dutch and so most of the buildings were in that style and painted red. The souvenirs lining the street were more-or-less crappy and we are starting to get tired of the same colonial type buildings in every city here. We continue on to Chinatown to check out more old buildings, a mosque, and great Chinese temple, ... read more
Dutch heritage in Melaka
Mike in Melaka
More taxis

Asia » Singapore November 21st 2010

Although we originally had not planned to visit Singapore, we felt that after visiting Kuala Lumpur, that we did not need 4-5 days in Melaka so we squeezed in a quick jaunt across the water to Singapore. The bus ride from KL to Singapore cost 39RM and was 4 hours long. Once again our bus is fairly empty, but this time, luck is not on our side. As the bus arrives in Johor Baru (the Singapore/Malaysia border), the driver decides he doesn't want to cross the border with only 4 passengers, so he gives us a ticket for the local bus and drops us at the curb and drives off. We argue and fight his decision but make no progress so we decide to not waste anymore time and board the local bus. The bus takes ... read more
Famous Raffles Hotel
'S' is for Singapore
Christmas decorations everywhere!

Asia » Malaysia » Wilayah Persekutuan » Kuala Lumpur November 18th 2010

As we board our bus early on the morning of the 18th to get to Kuala Lumpur, we were once again the only people on the bus! This time we were on a full sized coach bus, so we reclined our seats and enjoyed the peacefulness of the ride. Partway along the 4.5 hour ride, we pick up another passenger, but it's still a great bus ride and a major step up from what we had become used to. Arriving in KL around lunchtime, we took a shuttle bus from the make-shift bus station on on the outskirts of town, to the real bus station, that was being renovated at the time. Our hotel, Moon Lodge is 1/2 a block from the Puduraya Station. We pay 40RM for a private room with fan and shared bath. ... read more
Mosque Sighting
Merdeka Square
Merdeka Square

Asia » Malaysia » Pahang » Cameron Highlands » Tanah Rata November 16th 2010

Bright and early, at 6am, our bus arrives to take us on the 4 hour journey to Cameron Highlands. We get on the minibus, very tired, and are pleasantly surprised to find out that we are the ONLY passengers on the bus for the entire ride! After Vietnam and Thailand, where they cram as many bodies on any moving vehicle as is humanly possible, this is a dream! We quickly separate, each taking a row of seats and dose off. After a couple hours the road gets windy and we enter the mountainous area. Luckily the winding road wakes us up because this is some beautiful scenery here! Our driver, not wanting to wake us, waits until we are awake before stopping for a break. Here, we sample strawberry coffee, which is not bad, as we ... read more
Workers in the field
Give me a 'T'
Look at this!

Asia » Malaysia » Penang » George Town November 13th 2010

After our amazing adventures in Northern Thailand, we spent a couple low key days in Bangkok to rest up for the last month of our travels. At the end of stay in Bangkok, we visited the famous Golden Buddha, that is 3m tall, 5.5 ton of solid gold! I think it truly means something to say, after allll the Buddha statues we have seen, that this was an impressive statue! We purchase a couple small Buddha statues and then head to the train station, which we take to the airport. From there we board a flight to the island of Penang in Malaysia. We have to catch a bus into Georgetown and from there we walk to find a hotel. We choose The Traveller's Lodge (22RM for a double bed, fan room with shared bath. Although ... read more
Town Hall
Malay flag

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Soppong November 6th 2010

At was an early start to the day as our alarm chimed at 5am. We had arranged for the hotel owner to drive us to the bus station (150B for the truck load) in order to catch our bus to the much-anticipated Soppong. Miraculously, the bus leaves on time and we begin the 4.5 hour journey on one of the curviest roads we have ever been on. Not only was the road curvy, it was also through steep uphills and downhills. Just as we all think we might be getting car sick, the bus takes a short break and we get a chance to let our stomachs settle. Arriving in the tiny village of Soppong, we had a lunch of fried rice at one of the only restaurants in town while trying to arrange transportation to ... read more
Entrance to Tham Lod cave
On the bamboo raft, about to enter cave
Sparkly rock formations in Tham Lod

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