Showing posts with label Zen Journeys. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zen Journeys. Show all posts

Friday, July 19, 2024

Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai: An Enriching Tour

A business trip brought me to Chiang Mai, Thailand, where amidst meetings and engagements, I seized the opportunity (EXPLORING KRABI & PHUKET) to explore both Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Despite my limited time, I managed to visit some sights (HANOI URBAN WONDERS) in these Thai cities. 

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple
What a thrilling ride up the 15km winding mountain road to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep! The journey felt like ascending towards the sky, filled with excitement and anticipation. Founded in 1383, this temple holds deep historical significance in Thai Buddhism. Legend has it that a sacred white elephant chose the site by circling the area and trumpeting thrice before lying down, indicating its suitability for construction (YOGYAKARTA TEMPLES & SURAKARTA HEARBEAT).

Friday, July 5, 2024

Penang, Malaysia: Discover Sightseeing Destinations

I've visited Penang seven or eight times now, hopping between hotels in Butterworth like Ixora Hotel, Light Hotel, Pearl View Hotel, Sunway Hotel, and Aroma Hotel, as well as staying in Penang itself at Flamingo Hotel, Rasa Sayang, Equatorial Hotel, and E & O Hotel. When it comes to sightseeing, Penang, famously known as "The Pearl of the Orient," certainly lives up to its reputation.(KOTA BELUD UNTAMED BEAUTY & KOTA KINABALU UNMASKING).

But regardless of my purpose for visiting Butterworth or Penang Island (PENANG THAIPUSAM), there's one activity I never miss: taking the Ferry Ride. Whether I'm crossing into Penang from Butterworth or returning, I've done it about 7 times already, and each time brings a renewed sense of exhilaration. There's a unique serenity to being out on the water, feeling the gentle breeze against my face - it's like a refreshing reset for my breath, mind, body, and soul (PULAU KETAM: SERENE ESCAPE). 

And when it comes to sightseeing, I've had my share of experiences, and let me begin now.

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Bergen Sightseeing & Denmark-Norway Reflections

As we neared the end of our Denmark (COPENHAGEN) and Norway (BERGEN CHRONICLES & OSLO) journey, our second-to-last day kicked off at Bergen's lively waterfront. Surrounded by boats of all shapes and sizes, I couldn't resist the pull of the sea. Whether it's the ocean's vastness, a winding river, or a tranquil pond, water always captivates me. The blend of nature and history in Bergen stirred a mix of wonder and anticipation. At the port, I snapped photos eagerly, trying to freeze every moment in time. But as I looked out over the sea, my mind wandered beyond the horizon (NEW DELHI REVELATIONS & SRI LANKA DISCOVERIES).

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Bergen Chronicles: From Marine Marvels to Historical Treasures

Bergen, (OSLO & NORWAY)renowned for its frequent rainfall, greeted us with showers upon our arrival and persisted throughout our evening activities, including dinner at a high-end restaurant. The rain continued to accompany us even upon reaching our hotel. Dinner that evening held particular significance, providing much-needed nourishment after a day filled with strenuous activities. Fatigue had set in, prompting a longing for the comfort of our accommodations and the warmth of a soothing shower.

The following morning, we ventured to Bergen Aquarium, braving the inclement weather under provided umbrellas. As we explored the facility, the presence of penguins brought a sense of delight and wonder. Their carefree demeanor and striking appearance captivated my attention, offering a moment of respite amidst the gloomy weather. Observing these charming creatures evoked a sense of admiration and appreciation, reminding me of the beauty that can be found even in the midst of adversity.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Norway's Natural Wonders

The next morning (OSLO), we set off for Vossestrand. The journey was long but filled with stops to immerse in the breathtaking scenery, stretch our legs, and enjoy lunch. Untouched nature lined both sides of the road, making the drive feel like a moving postcard (FREMANTLE EXPLORATIONOSAKA SUNSETS & CHANDIGARH URBAN MARVELS).

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Oslo Norway: Discovering Heritage Through Sightseeing

Even though we rushed to catch our overnight cruise to Oslo, Norway (COPENHAGEN CROWN JEWELS), we ended up arriving even earlier than expected. Was there anything special about cruising to Oslo? Not really. After a quick half-hour stroll around the ship, I felt like I had seen it all. If gambling is your thing, the casino is there for you, but cruising just isn't my cup of tea. Dinner on board, however, was a delight, with a wide variety of options for those who love to indulge. After dinner, I retreated to my cabin, took a refreshing shower, and gazed out at the dark, mysterious sea before calling it a night (HANOI WONDERS & FREMANTLE EXPLORATION).

The next morning greeted us with another fantastic buffet breakfast as the ship sailed on. When we finally docked in Oslo, our adventure began with a visit to the historic Akerhus Fortress. Perched on a hill in the heart of Oslo, Akershus Fortress is surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. This impressive stone structure, dating back to 1290, was originally built to protect the city (SEOUL THROUGH MY EYES). Once a formidable prison, it has since evolved into a venue for official events and functions.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Copenhagen's Crown Jewels: Denmark's Frederiksborg and Kronborg Castle

After a hearty hotel breakfast (COPENHAGEN PART 1), we were eager to start exploring Copenhagen. Our first stop? Frederiksborg Castle (Danish: Frederiksborg Slot), an iconic landmark in Denmark. Perched gracefully on three islands amidst a serene lake and vibrant gardens, the sight was breathtaking. It's the largest Renaissance complex in the Nordic region, boasting both grandeur and charm.

As I wandered the expansive grounds, the garden pathways, majestic trees filtering sunlight, and colourful flowers swaying gently in the breeze captivated me. Despite the crisp air, there was a peaceful aura as I made my way towards the castle. Upon reaching its vantage point, the view was nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Copenhagen, Denmark: Iconic Sights and Beyond

Heading on a nine-day journey through Denmark and Norway, I found myself among a few familiar faces and the rest strangers, all part of a meticulously planned tour. After months of saving and planning, I landed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (FREMANTLE & LAKE LUGANO), gearing up for flights to Amsterdam and eventually Copenhagen Airport, Kastrup.

Touching down in Denmark, our first stop was Slotsholmen, nestled right in the heart of Copenhagen. We kicked off with lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant. Though I didn't catch the name amidst the excitement (PRETORIA SOUTH AFRICA MOMENTS), the delicious dishes set the stage for our dining experience (CHANDIGARH INDIA URBAN MARVELS). As the lone Indian among twenty-nine Chinese travelers, I relished the flavors of the ten mouthwatering dishes, shared with ten people at each table.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Exploring Krabi and Phuket: Thailand's Coastal Gems

Humans are funny creatures indeed. Despite the increasing number of women traveling solo for various reasons (BANGKOK SOLO TRIP) like business, work-related trips, or simply holidays, people still seem puzzled and ask the same old question - why am I traveling alone (? When this question comes from Asians, I can understand their curiosity, as it might be uncommon to see an Indian woman of my age, in my late 50s, traveling solo (HANOI CULTURE). 

However, it's quite alarming when I receive the same inquiry from Westerners, especially considering the thousands of Western women venturing out alone. What could be behind this universal curiosity about solo female travelers? It's a question that leaves me intrigued. While pondering over this, let me share my solo adventure, a short and sassy trip to Krabi and Phuket, which are considered paradises for Westerners (PRETORIA MOMENTS & CAPE TOWN STEALER).

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Pulau Ketam: A Serene Escape into Island Living

After our tea break (PULAU KETAM TIMELESS CHARM), we were eager to discover more of Pulau Ketam. As we strolled, we noticed the police station and faintly saw the schools. In this village, people mainly get around by cycling, with occasional motorbikes on the narrow lanes, which serve as the main roads.


Our walk took us to the other side of the village, where we visited three temples. The first temple was slightly further from the jetty, and the second was officiated by the late Tan Sri Manickavasagam. While at the third temple, we chose to skip seeing the snake in the cage. We also couldn't overlook the captivating murals adorning the walls. Naturally, we couldn't resist snapping photos to immortalize our visit (KOTA BELUD UNTAMED BEAUTY & KOTA KINABALU UNMASKING).

Friday, May 31, 2024

Pulau Ketam: Timeless Charm Awaits

Pulau Ketam, or Crab Island, is a name that carries an air of charm. This island, nestled at the mouth of the Klang River near Port Klang, just downstream from Kuala Lumpur, has enchanted others, while it remained a mysterious enigma to me. Friends and fellow travelers rave about it, insisting it's a place you simply must experience. They talk about it with such fondness, always eager to return. My curiosity was piqued. Getting my husband to join in, we invited another husband-and-wife team, much older, to join us. They too were ready to discover what was in store in Pulau Ketam.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Fremantle, Perth: A Fulfilling Day of Exploration

Venturing out into the fresh air of Sunday, I took a leisurely walk from my hotel to Perth Station, feeling a bubbling excitement in my chest (PERTH WILDLIFE & PERTH PARKS). Today was the day I had earmarked for discovering Fremantle, the port city nestled in Western Australia. As I bought my ticket for the day's adventure, a grin crept onto my face as I pondered the adventures that awaited me (KOCHI KERALA KALEISCOPE, NEW  DELHI REVELATION & COLOMBO DISCOVERY). 

Fremantle, often seen as the jewel in Perth's crown, teased me with promises of captivating maritime tales, striking Victorian buildings, and echoes of Australia's past as a British penal colony. Stories whispered through time hinted at a city steeped in history, with secrets hidden in its streets dating back to the 1850s.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Perth, Australia: Cruises, Parks, and Culinary Experiences

Perth (PERTH PART 1).  My journey wasn't over yet. Eager for more, I decided to explore some sights. I checked online and picked a few spots at random - no set plan, just ready for whatever came my way. Besides sightseeing, I was keen to try the food. Ah, the foodie in me couldn't wait! Let's get started.

Cruising Adventures in Mandurah

By mid-morning, I found myself in Mandurah, just an hour's drive from Perth. Getting there wasn't without its little bumps, but hey, I made it in one piece. Opting for the Dolphin Lunch Cruise turned out to be a fantastic idea. I've always had a thing for being near water, and this cruise didn't disappoint. The views were mesmerizing, and the Fish and Chips they served up were just perfect - crispy on the outside, tender inside. Dining against such a picturesque backdrop really took the whole experience up a notch.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Perth, Australia: Where Culture, Wildlife, and Sky-high Views Collide

Perth, nestled in the sunny corner of Australia, wears the crown as the vibrant capital of Western Australia. It's not just a city; it's a buzzing hive of activity. Especially for students looking to spread their wings, Perth is a top-notch destination, thanks in part to Curtin University, which is like a beacon of learning excellence.

Speaking of Curtin University, it holds a special place in my heart. That's where I honed my skills through their degree twinning program, collaborating with Metropolitan College, where I had lectured for a good 15 years. It's incredible how time flies, yet memories of lecturing Small Business 200 and Entrepreneurship 300 to eager students remain vivid, even though almost a decade has passed. Notably, I also underwent a week-long training at Curtin University Australia, acquiring essential lecturing skills and earning certification.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Hanoi, Vietnam: Unveiling Urban Wonders and Timeless Culture

From HA LONG BAY to Hanoi, our journey unfolded with anticipation (HO CHI MINH CITY) culminating in our arrival in the bustling city by 8.00 pm. Dinner was in a local fast food joint, known for its renowned Pho. However, as a vegetarian, I had to pass on the beef Pho that seemed to delight my fellow travelers. Instead, I savored a different dish, catered to meet the dietary preferences of myself and the other vegetarians in our group. The Beef Pho received widespread praise, with many enthusiastically approving of its flavor. For those Indians abstaining from beef, the Chicken Pho failed to impress. After dinner, some opted for night shopping, while I chose to unwind in my room before calling it a night (KOTA BELUD UNTAMED BEAUTY & KOTA KINABALU UNMASKING).

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Ha Long Bay Escapade: Nature's Splendor and Culinary Delights

The morning started with an unusually early wake-up call at 6.00am. We grabbed breakfast before embarking on the long drive to Ha Long Bay, setting off promptly at 8:00 am. Throughout the day, we made a few comfort stops and enjoyed lunch, but for the most part, we were seated on the coach, trying to shake off the fatigue that had accumulated from days of non-stop sightseeing. Did I manage to catch some shut-eye? You bet I did. Exhaustion from constant walking and exploring during this trip through Vietnam and Cambodia ( Siem Reap, Angkor Wat & HCMH) had taken its toll. 

As we journeyed towards Ha Long Bay, heavy rain slowed us down, prolonging our travel time. Finally, we arrived at our hotel around 9:00 pm, had dinner, and retreated to our rooms for some well-deserved rest. Amidst it all, some curious fellow travelers couldn't help but wonder why I was traveling alone and where my husband was, with a few even attempting to uncover my marital status. But honestly, I paid little attention to their inquiries - after all, Malaysians have a reputation for being quite inquisitive.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Siem Reap, Cambodia: Exploring Heritage and Human Stories

After a jam-packed day yesterday (Angkor Wat), waking up this morning felt like a bit of a challenge. But hey, that's the life of a traveler (Ho Chi Minh City). When you're on a tour, there's a schedule to stick to, and breakfast is usually a window from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. By 9:00 a.m., you better be packed and ready to hit the road for some sightseeing!

Our first stop today was Artisan d’Angkor, and let me tell you, it was something special. This place is all about giving back, providing support and training for underprivileged youth. Stepping into the workshop, we watched these talented individuals honing their craft with such focus and dedication. Despite our attempts in making eye contact with them, they were totally immersed in their work. Still, the experience left us in awe of their skills. After the workshop, we explored the shop, filled with handmade treasures. Sure, the prices were a bit higher than what you'd find elsewhere, but knowing that our purchases were making a difference made it all worthwhile.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Angkor Wat, Cambodia: Unearthing Timeless Treasures

Off to Cambodia, there's one place you can't miss: Angkor Wat. The excitement builds, even the night before, fresh from HO CHI MINH CITY. I couldn't sleep; I was eager for morning to come. Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of the world's most famous landmarks. Our journey began with getting our passes, with choices from a day to a week of exploration. We chose a day. Walking into Angkor Wat (AYUTTHAYA ESCAPADE), we followed a dusty road lined with towering stone pillars and sculptures. The temple's grandeur unfolded before us as we explored every corner (BOROBUDUR ETERNAL LEGEND & SURAKARTA HEARBEAT).

Trust me, navigating Angkor Wat is a breeze if you follow the signs, allowing you to fully admire and capture its beauty. Continuing inside, you'll stumble upon Angkor Thom, the fortified inner royal city constructed by King Jayavarman VII in the 12th century. There's so much to admire until moving further can literally hold you back. Apart from posing and taking pictures for remembrance, it feels like you're in a lost city all by yourself. Thanks to my tour buddies for helping with my pictures; they were fascinated by my poses. Well, it's just me, but soon they were trying new poses too.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Married Solo Traveler's Insights

Setting off on another Solo Adventure after a few quiet months (CHONBURI & BANGKOK) I packed my bags with excitement bubbling inside. This time, I was off to Vietnam and Cambodia for a 9-day tour. It was just me, joining a group (ROME & COMO) of strangers, but the idea of exploring new places made my heart race. At the airport, the local guide welcomed me, signaling the start of our journey together.

When we landed in Ho Chi Minh City around 2:30 pm, the city's energy hit me like a wave. After settling into my hotel room, I felt eyes on me as I joined the other travelers in the lobby. It was probably because I was the  only solo woman in the group. After freshening up, I was ready to dive into the city. Our guide suggested we check out the Ben Thanh Market, a short walk from our hotel. Despite feeling a bit nervous about wandering alone, I decided to go for it. Along the way, locals smiled cheekily and waved, making me feel welcomed and uneasy as well.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Bangkok, Thailand: Solo Adventures of a Lifetime

Returning to my cozy room at Pathumwan Princess Hotel after a day brimming with exploration in AYUTTHAYA, my craving for more of BANGKOK led me to the doorstep of the travel agent's office. With eager anticipation, I decided for the world of entertainment with my first-ever Cabaret Show experience. Flashback to my youth, naïve and wide-eyed at 19, when I innocently tagged along with colleagues to witness a baffling Tiger Show during a trip to Hat Yai. Oh, the memories! But now, in my seasoned years (MYANMAR ACROSS MAE SAI & VERONA ITALY ROMANCE) I was ready to embrace the sophistication of a Cabaret Show.

Before diving into the spectacle, I made a necessary pit stop at MBK Mall to satisfy my hunger. Laden with the quick bites, I returned to my room, relishing them before braving the infamous Bangkok traffic on our way to Calypso Cabaret Show. I traveled in a van alongside the other foreign tourists, as transportation was part of the package deal (CHENNAI INDIA DISCOVERY).

Avocado Creations: Avocado Yogurt Dip & 3 Fresh Recipes

Avocados are common these days that even my local hypermarket has them, and at just RM5.00 each, they’re a real bargain! I used to be so o...