After getting tired of getting endlessly sprayed with water in Yangon during the water festival, I hopped on a bus north to Inle Lake, one of the most scenic parts of Myanmar. I’ve heard it to be one of the best places to visit in Myanmar, and it did not disappoint – I enjoyed biking around and boating around Inle Lake and its accompanying city, Nyaung Shwe.
Continue reading Travelogue: Inle Lake
Normally, travelers to northern Vietnam always visit SaPa, a small town in the northwest mountains of Vietnam, known for amazing terraced riced paddies and great hiking. But during my time in Hanoi, the weather was supremely uncooperative – rainy, cloudy, and foggy. I didn’t want to make a 20-hour round trip just to see fog, so I opted to visit Mai Chau instead – a small SaPa-like mountain town 4 hours southwest of Hanoi.
Mai Chau was a great town to just relax in, but there’s not terribly much to do, so this will be a photo-heavy post.
Continue reading Travelogue: Mai Chau
After getting tired of all the tourists milling about the old city of Hoi An, I took a bus to Hue, the old capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen dynasty (pre Ho Chi Minh). It’s a city with quite a bit of history, but it’s also got some pretty bad weather – it was cold, cloudy, and rainy every day I was there. In most people’s minds, Vietnam is a warm sub-tropical country, but north of Hoi An, it can get pretty cold! For the first time in a month, I had to pull out my jacket.
Continue reading Travelogue: Hue
After finishing my tour of Saigon and the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam, I traveled north to the old city of Hoi An, in the center of Vietnam. And it’s a very beautiful city, but extraordinarily touristy, a prime example of Disneyfication. In the old quarter, the architecture and ambiance is amazing, but every single building and business caters to the tourists who descend upon this city. Clothing stores, souvenir stores, bars, restaurants, tailors, and art galleries. Everywhere. But quite picturesque.
Continue reading Travelogue: Hoi An
Once the post-Tet celebrations ended, I decided to take a trip from Saigon to the Mekong delta, to the town of Vinh Long and the island of An Binh. For me, there’s something about the Mekong – in my mind at least, it’s got this mystique, this mystery. And after my horrible experience taking a tour of Cao Dai Temple and the Cu Chi Tunnels in Hanoi, I vowed to go to the Mekong by myself, instead of relying on a tour. I was pretty happy with the results.
Continue reading Travelogue: Mekong Delta
Together with Taroko Gorge and Kenting National park, Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) is one of the biggest tourist destinations in Taiwan, but it was among the last places I visited during my stay in Taiwan. Why? Because every time I wanted to go, it would rain. When I was staying in Taishan with relatives, it once rained nonstop for 15 days. I’m not sure if I’ve gone two weeks without seeing the sun before (this was a record for Taipei, too, 15 days of constant rain). But once that nasty weather finally cleared up, the weatherman predicted sunny weather, I finally set off for the Sun Moon Lake, hoping to see some great sights!
Continue reading Travelogue: Sun Moon Lake
To be honest, there’s not terribly much around Hualien (花蓮)- I found it notable mostly for being the nearest city to Taroko (太魯閣), which has a reputation for being one of the most beautiful places in Taiwan. And it lives up to its reputation:
This is going to be a photo-heavy and text-light post.
Continue reading Travelogue: Hualien and Taroko National Park
I initially thought that Taitung / Taidong (臺東, literally East Taiwan), the largest city on Taiwan’s east coast, would only be a pit stop on my way to beautiful Hualien, but I was pleasantly surprised, and ended up staying in Taitung for several nights. Here, I enjoyed this old and park-covered city on Taiwan’s eastern coast, as well some of the scenic points near the city.
Continue reading Travelogue: Taitung
Kenting (墾丁) National Park (國家公園), on the southern tip of Taiwan, is a gloriously beautiful landscape, a symphony of water, wind, and earth. From anywhere on the Kenting peninsula, you can see the clear water all around you, undisturbed by heavy industry, great for surfing, diving, and banana boating. From the southeast blows a powerful trade wind, stirring up the waves and cooling the air. And a rolling, forest-covered mountain to complete the set. A glorious landscape, but unfortunately one that’s been overrun by mainland Chinese tourists.
Continue reading Travelogue: Kenting National Park