The clear blue skies and clear turqoise water. Those were what I was looking for when I headed to Lugu Lake (泸沽湖), an alpine lake sitting at an elevation of 2600+m above sea level and is the highest lake in Yunnan province. Read More »
Let me get this off my chest first – Lijiang (丽江) was a disappointment. A huge, huge disappointment.
The ancient town in Lijiang is supposed to be one of the most beautiful and well-preseved old towns in China. The old buildings with wooden exteriors and winding roads made of cobblestones remain relatively untouched since its heydays. And with a history of over 800 years, the old towns were inducted into the UNESCO Heritage Site list in the year 1997. So, how did someting so promising on paper go so wrong?
Two words. Mass tourism.
Actually, make that 3: Chinese mass tourism. Read More »
Southwest China is full of beautiful landscapes and hiking opportunities. Yunnan province (云南), translated as Southern Clouds had its name was derived from its geographical location in the mountainous region. It borders neighbouring countries Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Tibet (Shhh… don’t tell any Chinese official I said that.) It is known for its snow mountains, postcard-eque lakes, deep rivers and gorges, as well as well-preserved ancient cities.
I don’t consider myself as a serious hiker but I planned a few hikes for my trip. Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡), near Lijiang was my first test. Legend has it that it was at this gorge that a tiger, running away from his captors leapt acrossed the river and thus escaping successfully. Beau and Rob, whom I met at Kunming were planning to hike Tiger Leaping Gorge a day before me. However, since they missed the bus to TGL, they invited me to tag along.
There is a common cliché that claims taxi drivers of all corners of the world know everything. They are well-read, often updated on the local happenings and could talk politics for all night. But of all places, I never expected to discuss Malaysian politics with a taxi driver here in Kunming, Yunnan.
Speak of China and we might be reminded of its authoritarian government, its communist past and its relative isolation from the rest of the world. We might also think about its economic boom of the last 2 decades as well as the increased in wealth of the middle class. Speaking of its people, I’m sure you’re well aware of the stereotypical Chinese caricature and their infamous behaviour. Let’s not even go there.
My trip to China this year wasn’t my first. In fact, I’ve been there twice. The first was with my family to the Psuedo-Siberian state of Harbin during Chinese New Year. Memories of that trip were vague other than the feeling of freezing right down to my balls. Bad experience and didn’t warm (Pun intended, heh heh) me up to the country. Then last year, my girlfriend went to Guilin and Yangshuo, where thankfully we had much better memories to bring home with. Read More »
If someone asks me to recommend a place in Southeast Asia for good food, I’ll send them to Malaysia. Of course, that’s my nationality bias speaking but if there was a second choice, it would be Vietnam. Yup. Not Thailand. Not Indonesia. And certainly not – God forbid – Singapore. (Sorry Singaporeans, no hard feelings!) This blog and its glorious photos will show you why.
Being in long transit is perhaps the worst part of travelling. Whether it’s an overnight bus, midnight plane or a sleeper train, being confined to a narrow personal space for long hours is spirit draining.
After the long minivan ride back from Mai Chau, I followed it up with an overnight bus to Sapa, a town locateds within the northern mountains, close to the Chinese border. As you are probably aware of by now, these buses are not very comfortable. A little brake or swerve by the driver and you will be jolted from your sleep. Plus, despite not having enough legroom on my bunk, I kept my bag with me at all times to avoid thievery.
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