Page 3 of tja78 Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Philippines » Boracay April 2nd 2012

The Philippines: After some hard core traveling through SE Asia I felt it was a good time for a vacation. I’m trying to coordinate some travel with my friend Mike in Hong Kong or China, but needed to give him an extra week to find out if he could take the time off from work. The Philippines provided a great location, as it was on the way to Hong Kong (basically). I left Myanmar and spent a day in Bangkok doing research on places I want to visit and organized my travel for the Philippines. Luckily I was able to have dinner with Andrea and Kathleen (who were in my cooking class in Chang Mai). They were heading to Myanmar after Bangkok. I think they’re following me. Manila – I arrived in Manila and got talking ... read more
Manila Skyline
Boracay 1

Asia » Burma » Yangon Region » Yangon March 21st 2012

Myanmar (Burma): A few weeks before I left on my trip, the United States reestablished diplomatic relations with Myanmar. Before then all I knew about Myanmar was that it used to be called Burma. I had seen "Beyond Rangoon" about 13 years ago, but I never kept up with the politics. I recognized the face of Aung San Suu Kyi, but didn't know her story. After talking to a few people who had been there I decided to get the visa and see what all the hype was about. Myanmar hasn’t quite been commercialized like the rest of SE Asia. The generals who control the country are starting to implement reforms. Getting to Myanmar involves a bit of planning. You need a visa, which I was able to pick up in Bangkok. Most importa... read more
Shwedagon Paya 5
Happy World!
Bagan 13

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok March 21st 2012

Thailand(Part II): One of the nice things about traveling is when friends put you in contact with friends. Or, when you meet people on your journey and then meet up again. So was the case in Bangkok. I was planning on heading straight to Chang Mai, Thailand from Vientiane, but I would have had to backtrack. I knew 3 people who were going to be in Bangkok between the 7th and 12th of March, so I decided to take the night train from Laos and meet everyone. I have to say that riding a night train was much better than riding the night bus (the one I took from Hue to Hanoi). I met a Russian couple that was my age and we had a good talk about Russia and Communism and just the world in ... read more
From Lebau Hotel
River view
The Royal Palace 1

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane March 13th 2012

Laos: Laos is the second of three Communist countries on my trip and I thought for sure I would be given a proper interrogation, asked about my papers, and possibly burned with a cigarette, punched, and beaten with a billy club before being allowed to walk free. Again, this has not happened. What’s wrong with these “Communist run/corrupt” countries I’ve been traveling to? That’s the problem these days – no one takes the time to do a proper interrogation, draw up some false allegations, and threaten a simple tourist with the 20 years to life of hard labor based on the false allegations. They just want your visa fee now. They even itemize the ‘processing fee’ of $1. I suppose it’s easier. The world is getting lazy! Luang Prabang- I flew from Hanoi to Luang Prabang. ... read more
Waterfall 5
Temple in Luang Prabang
Waterfall 3

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi March 6th 2012

Vietnam: Vietnam was one of the stops I was most looking forward to seeing. I’ve seen so many movies and documentaries on the Vietnam War that I had to see for myself what this country had to offer. The sun had been getting to me over the last few days and I think I might have been fantasizing how my entry into Vietnam would go. I was traveling by bus from Cambodia so I expected to take small arms fire upon entry. I figured I’d be ushered to an air base where I would be given orders to team up with Rambo and head 5 clicks up the Mekong Delta. Rambo and I would discover that our mission had been compromised by a Washington bureaucrat and well, you know the rest. This was not my experience. ... read more
The Family
Spider hole
M-41 tank - US

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh February 21st 2012

Cambodia: Cambodia is one of those countries that are filled with contradictions. You’d expect it to be overtly corrupt, dangerous, non-English speaking. I didn't experience any of that. Well, before I continue, let’s end with leaving Thailand. I took the bus out of northern Bangkok to Siem Reap. To get there I took the very modern sky bridge and then a taxi to the bus station. The online time said the bus left at 9:30. Luckily I showed up at 8:59, which gave me a whole minute to catch the bus, which actually left at 9:00. To get to Siem Reap I needed to take a bus to the border, then walk across the border, then take a bus or taxi two hours to Seim Reap. Well, the actual bus ride took 5 hours, crossing the ... read more
Angkor Wat temple
Kids at the orphanage
Angkor Wat

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok February 16th 2012

Thailand: I decided to use Thailand as a resting point before the major part of my trip begins. I flew to Phuket from Kuala Lumpur and took a bus to my hotel in Patong. Patong is one of the biggest party towns I’ve ever seen. I got there late and was a bit hungry so I walked a few blocks to Bangla Road thinking I would find something. The streets were completely filled with people; with the occasional moped trying to make it’s way through the crowd. The clubs there really don’t have doors since it’s so hot. Each club seemed to be competing with the one beside it for how loud they could play their music. Prostitutes and ‘ladyboys’ were everywhere. I noticed a lot of people video recording some of the dancers from the ... read more
West Phuket
James Bond Island
James Bond Island

Malaysia: Day 1: We landed in Kuala Lumpur in the middle of a heavy rainstorm and deplaned in the middle of the tarmac and had to walk about 50 yards to the terminal. After customs I made my way to the buses to get a ride to the Sentral station downtown. This was my first time in a Muslim country. A lot of the women on the bus were wearing headscarves or burkas. They were the lucky ones because they crank the air conditioning up and it felt like 40 degrees in the bus. My first impressions of Kuala Lumpur reminded me of a Latin American city. In many regards it reminded me of the nicer parts of Mexico City. There were tons of skyscrapers that lined the valleys. The Petronas Twin Towers towered over most ... read more
Bringing down the temple
Downtown KL
National Mosque

Asia » Indonesia » Bali » Ubud February 4th 2012

Indonesia: The total time to get from my place in Los Angeles to my hotel in Bali took over forty hours. I was so exhausted. Not sleeping well on the plane ride to Singapore and being in the heat all day took its toll. The flight to Bali was on a Boeing 777. I sat beside a photographer from Colombia and an archaeologist who were traveling together throughout Southeast Asia, India, and Russia doing research. Entering Indonesia was interesting. I felt like I was narrating my own episode from “url= up Abroad”. Though I was sleep deprived, I could have sworn I saw the girl in front of me paying off the official to let ... read more
Death Penalty?
Monkey at a temple
My bed - first night

Asia » Singapore » Orchard Road January 28th 2012

I landed in Singapore at 3:35 am. I could have waited until 7:00 or 8:00 to take a tour directly from the airport – however I wouldn’t have been able to leave the bus. Instead I decided to go through customs and take a cab into town. Before that I called my parents via Google Voice. Google Voice is a great way to make free calls from your computer. My parents even claimed that it was clear than when I call them using AT&T. I’m so glad that it worked. Before I left I got a dedicated number so I can use it from anywhere and it’s just as if I was calling from the US. This is probably the first major difference from my European trips. Thirteen years ago I had to buy a phone ... read more
Sands Hotel and Casino
Singapore Port
A view from the Flyer

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