200 days around Asia and still going strong. Unbelievable! I would rather say “still surviving”.
It’s been a pretty amazing journey thus far.
Too many stories to tell. Endless list of out-of-this-world experiences.
90 gigabytes of photos which includes breathtaking scenery, iconic places, random shots of people and fun. Honestly, I haven’t seen all of them.
It’s hard to contain all these excitement and will probably take months to retell them all.
Here are some highlights, for now.
They say it’s a land lost in time…
I found myself lost in a sea of devout Buddhists, friendly happy people and chaos that seem to fascinate me.It reminded me that our lives can be simple if we want it to be. No need for the latest gadgets, no need for material gain. Happiness comes from within. The family unit is an important one. Never forget your humble beginnings.
It’s nostalgic – everything seems like the clock has been turned back in time, but I loved every minute of it. I’m a sucker for old-school stuff. Remember those tacky plastic toys from the 80’s? And those paper-wrapped candy? I love!
Amazing architecture all over. From the golden Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon to the ruins in ancient Bagan.
Everyone knows we both love Vietnam. To be precise, Hanoi is our fave city in Southeast Asia. It’s my 3rd time back here and Ed’s 4th.
To take things further, we spent an entire month traveling from the South and slowly made our way up to the North.
Our journey started in Ho Chi Minh City where it was blazing hot. We went to the beautiful Phu Quoc Island for a beach getaway.
We took a 5-day bike tour with the Dalat Easy Riders which saw us going off the beaten path from Dalat to Quy Nhon. Nope, I didn’t tell my parents about it. I think they will freak out. It was definitely an interesting way to see the countryside from a different perspective and it was just us – so we could easily decide what we want to see or do.
We cycled in Hue. Through some bumpy roads and villages. It rained and we had to cycle through mud. I consider it a success because I crashed my bike when speeding downhill in a park in 2008 and have been pretty paranoid eversince then. I have scars to remind me of that every single day.
The weather was still cold when we arrived in Hanoi. Spent our one week there eating, eating and eating all our favourite street food. It was such a great feeling walking aimlessly around the Old Quarter and rediscovering the same stalls are still there – even the ones we had back in 2006!
We were supposed to spend two weeks here but cut the trip short because we figured that we won’t have enough time (as we needed to be in China by a certain date). Sigh, next trip!
We crossed the land border from Vietnam and took the must-do boat ride down the wild Nam Ou River. The boats don’t start until it is full so we spent quite a bit of time waiting for more travelers to arrive.
It’s a rugged river. Villages dot the river – we stayed in Nong Khiaw and Muong Khua where literally, nothing happens here. A typical kampung. We spent our days lazing around, drinking beer and having a dip in the river.
It was a true epitome of doing nothing. The scenery was picture-perfect.
We’ve been in China for almost six months now. For someone who can’t read Mandarin and speak little of it, I think I’m doing pretty alright here *chuckles at self*
In Shanghai, we ate so much dumplings that by the end of it, I couldn’t down any more no matter how yummy they were.
In Beijing, we had Peking Duck three times! Yes, it’s really that good.
Our time in Beijing saw us visiting Mao Zedong at Tiananmen Square, walking through the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and climbing THE Great Wall. Historical.
I still find big hordes of Chinese tourists with matching caps, trotting behind their tour guide on loudspeakers & waving a coloured flag…annoying. Sorry to be blunt, but you people spoil the mood every single time I’m in a damn awesome place. Can you please STFU? Silence is golden! They scream, shout and shove people around everywhere, even in museums! Now, I’m an expert in ziz-zagging through huge crowds and won’t feel sorry for pushing my way through. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! Gotta survive yo.
Then, we took an epic 42-hour train ride to Lhasa. Tibet – Roof of the world! We made it!
To be honest, I still can’t believe we actually went there.
Tibet spoke to me in a different manner. I’m still trying to find the right words to describe my experience here. For now, I guess the one word that I would use is BELIEF.
Everyone has faith in their religion. Everyone prays all the time. Everyone has a praying wheel.
Despite all the drama, they still believe that one day, things will get better for them Tibetans.
So much vibe going on!
All the people we met were really friendly and helped us whenever they can. Very strong, characteristic people. We’ve only covered a small part of this mysterious land – I will return one day.
We visited lots of monasteries (the famous Potala Palace included), sacred lakes (Yamdrok and Namtso), Gyantse, Shigatse, Sakya, Tingri and Everest Base Camp.
It was freezing cold at the Base Camp! Witnessed the sunset on Mount Everest’s North Face and woke up early the next morning for sunrise only to find it snowing!
BACK TO CHINA
After Tibet, I went on to Shangri-la to volunteer for a month while Ed flew to Vegas.
I gave English classes with my limited Chinese vocab and actually improved my comprehension of the language. Made some great friends with the other volunteers and understood the local culture more.
Then, I visited my godsis in Macau where everything was bling-bling! Casinos and water fountains everywhere.
Funny thing was, I got my ID checked four times while walking through the casinos! Reactions from the guards include “WOW!” and “I cannot believe it. Cannot believe it.” Okay, I must’ve looked like a real kid =_=
Mid-summer and we rejoined each other in Beijing. This time, we headed on to Western China.
First-stop: Xian, where we met the infamous Terracotta Warriors. How the hell did they make these statues?!
Moving on, we dropped by to say HIEEE to our friends – the Giant Panda and Red Panda in Chengdu. Cuteness overdose!
From Chengdu, we took a bus ride to Leshan to gawk at Dafo – the largest carved Buddha in the world. Yes, he’s really huge! It rained the morning we climbed the hill – so we were drenched in rain and sweat!
Finally, we walked through the amazing Jiuzhaigo National Park which has crazily insane beautiful scenery and super clear lakes – even the bottoms were visible!
We’ll be in China for the rest our trip. Heading to more adventurous places after this *wink wink*
What doesn’t break us will only make us stronger – so we’re still going strong!
There’s only one thing I would wish for – be safe in one piece.