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Reflections On 7 Months In Southeast Asia

It has been a splendid 7-month journey through South East Asia. We have met all sorts of interesting people all around Asia… A super cool dude who likes to order “manly drinks” which he can’t drink and me being a nice lady offers to swap my drink with him haha our Mexican brother who we caught up with in three different countries.   A young lad who has been his own boss since he left school. Some crazy Brazilians who will stay up for 24 hours to party with you, my Filipina sister who lives on sugar and my gym/party buddy who made the sessions really fun. We met a Chinese chick who  managed to get a scholarship to study in Australia, learnt English and today she has successful businesses in Australia and Vietnam. Oh ya let’s not forget my  friend who doesn’t like ice cream! Another dude who we meet across Inle lake, we hung out with each other all day long had a blast sightseeing. Oh my goodness, I meet someone who is equally crazy about her dog as I am 🙂 We made a life long friend on an overnight train, who introduced me to my best Thai girl who has decided to live in Madrid for a year Everyone else who didn’t make it to the list above I still love you guys, I was just free writing… a huge thank you to all the people who made this trip very memorable. There are no words can explain how much of an impact you all have made into our lives. Here is a little summary...

Doi Suthep

One afternoon we took our scooters for a nice ride up to Doi Suthep with Breathing Travel . After leaving the city behind and riding up through those icy cool hills, we decided to stop  at Doi Pui Hill to enjoy the spectacular view of Chiang Mai. Over the lookout point we meet a man called O who will sketch your picture within 5 minutes for a small amount of money, he donates part of his earnings to schools and hospitals. He also keeps a first aid kit handy for tourists who get injured on the way up the hill. Go see O for a nice chat either in English, Mandarin or Thai, he will brighten up your afternoon with his true artist spirit 🙂 Before we made our way up to Doi Suthep, we stopped to have some lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, we walked through the streets of the hillside town then we finally made our way to the top of the Buddhist Temple. As you all know when you visit a temple we have to be covered, but if you do get caught out and don’t bring anything to cover there are plenty of stalls for you to buy scarfs or hippie pants. One thing I noticed if you’re not Thai you have to buy a ticket to go into the temple.. now there are 2 ways to look at this, some people may say it’s okay to pay a 30 Baht entry fee as we are guests in this country. On the other hand side you have people like me who feel it’s...

Sapel Spa In Yangon

  After staying in Thailand for 2 and half months, we had our fair share of Thai massages. We were on our way to Myanmar so I started researching and found Saple spa, who specializes in traditional Burmese massages. After a week of exploring Bagan and Inle lake we were ready to stop and relax in Yangon. Sapel spa is truly a hidden jewel, away from all the hustle and bustle right in the heart of Chinatown in Yangon, Myanmar. This spa has a fresh concept with open plan seating, their friendly staff offering a high quality of customer service with western standards of cleanliness. At the Saple spa, all the girls are trained by a masseuse who has been teaching unique techniques for over 25 years. Studies have proven massages to be beneficial for our body and to boost our immunity. Sapel spa offers a variety of packages Foot Relaxation spa Head to Toe retreat The Sapel spa experience We were impressed with our initial 90 minute spa experience so we decided to go back to get our second dose of traditional Burmese massage before we left Yangon! If you are staying at the Grand United 21 or Grand United Chinatown hotel, they offer special discounts for their guests to go and get themselves pampered. Where to find Sapel Street number 16 Shop number 78 Mahar bandoola road Chinatown (Lanmadaw township) Yangon Myanmar Click here for directions Opening hours are from 12 pm to 12 am everyday, to avoid the evening rush go in before 6 pm. Thanks to all the team at Saple spa for our enjoyable...

Loi Krathong Lantern Festival

Loi Krathong  know as Lantern festival which is celebrated all around Thailand each year on the full moon in the month of November. Where people release their hand made flower bouquets into the river or in Chiang Mai they call it Yee Ping where heaps of light up lanterns are sent high up in the sky, while praying and making wishes for good fortune for the year ahead 🙂  Chiang Mai has the biggest celebration at the Tha Pae Gate each year. Which goes on for 3 days with lots of classic dances, beauty pageants and street parades with delicious local street food.  There are 2 types of celebrations which are held in Chiang Mai   The original traditional praying ceremony which goes on for an hour or so to pay respect to the Buddha and it’s all done in Thai, surround by many monks giving their blessings before people let their lanterns go up in the sky. We didn’t make it  to this ceremony, but friends of ours went and they said its a really moving experience! Next time we are in Thailand we plan to be part of this traditional ceremony. This event is free to attend, you will have to buy your own lanterns. This event is free to the public all. The 2nd celebration is held for the tourists and done in English and the cost does vary. It was such good feeling to be a part of this festival, watching thousand of lanterns go up in the sky the whole town was lit up by fireworks and lanterns. Be sure to buy lanterns from...

3 Of The Best Things To Do In Pai

If you stay in Chiang Mai a trip to Pai is pretty much mandatory, so one Friday evening we hired scooters from Chiang Mai for USD7 a day to ride up to Pai in the morning. It was beautiful ride up through the mountains and much chillier than in the city, so wear pants and a jacket. Take care while riding as the road can be slippery in areas – even when the weather is good. Cars or even worse – mini vans will regularly cut corners and cross lanes, which can be hazardous to scooters! Our trip took just over 4 hours with several stops along the way to stretch the legs, grab some food and coffee. Pai has deep roots in hippy culture, art and music. Life in Pai feels slow and closer to nature than in surrounding towns. For a place to sleep, there are plenty of hostels and guest houses – you can find a shared dorm as cheap as USD4 per night. If you want to stay at a fancy lodge there are a number of boutique five star resorts available. We stayed at Pai Highlands – a guest house less than a five minute scooter ride from the walking street. USD9 per night with a fan in the room, from November to March you don’t need A/C as the nights are cooler with temperatures from 12deg to 25deg, we even asked for a second fan which we did not end up using. Here are 3 of the best things to do in Pai 1 – Pai Walking Street Everyday at 6pm – late, Runsiyanon...

Monkey Beach in Penang

When you are in Penang, almost everyone will suggest you to go to the butterfly farm or the Penang hill to enjoy the view. We wanted to get away from all the tourist attractions and relax on the beach, so we asked our hotel manager where we can find a beach which is not full tourists? He suggested Monkey beach. We took bus number 101 to get to Monkey beach, the bus ride is little out of town and it takes about 40 minutes. Tell the driver to let you know once you have reached the National park which is the last stop on the route. Once you get off the bus you are greeted by tour companies which will offer 3 ways to get to the monkey beach. Rent quad bikes Catch a boat across Hike through the jungle which will take 1 hour and 30 minutes It was a beautiful sunny day so we decided to hike through the jungle and take a walk through the little fishing village. Before you enter the National park you have to register at the office, make sure you have a copy of your passport. The officer will get you to write down the detail of your trip e.g. going to visit Monkey beach, just in case you go missing. After walking through the forest for 40 minutes we reached a nice beach where Ben decided to take a quick dip and I chilled on the hammock before carrying onto Monkey beach.   There are plenty of landmarks to keep you on the right track, on our way we came across...

Street Art In Penang

The George Town heritage walk in Penang is truly a hidden gem, this little town has a vintage feel to it with all it’s unique shops selling arts and crafts along the streets. Beautiful old houses from Chinese and Malaysian origins can be found spread through the town. Take a bus from George Town which stops at Little India, If you are fan of Indian food then you are in the right place! There is huge variety of Indian food and sweets to munch on as well as grocery stores with herbs and spices to fill up your cupboard back at home. Little Indian has shops full of traditional Indian fashion with matching accessories at reasonable prices. Here’s a quick tip and story, please don’t buy anything from any markets if you can’t try the garment on, I learnt it the hard way. I bought a dress thinking if I can’t fit it I will take to a dressmaker and get it adjusted, easy right? When I took it in to get it fixed it was going to cost me more than the dress itself and the lady said she wasn’t even sure if it’s going to look right after fixing it. The end result was I had to bin the dress 🙁 This mural of Bruce Lee is a reminder to all of us to be kind to all the animals on the streets as they all have feelings too. The artwork you see all around the heritage streets of Penang was put together by Chinese, European and Malaysian artists to express their feelings and share the culture...

3 days In Kuala Lumpur

We took a short bus ride from Singapore to Johor Bahru, once we crossed the boarder the bus stopped at the Malaysian immigration, with the whole border crossing process being pretty simple. Get your passport stamped with the date of entry, double check if your passport has been stamped with the date you enter the country before exiting the line, if you don’t get the stamp you could potentially run into problems when leaving the country (like we did!)   Walk back down to the bus stop and jump back on, to carry on your journey to JB’s main bus station. We pre-booked our coach ride up to KL at a cost of RM$60 / US$18 pp   We stayed at the Fahrenheit hotel, thanks Aunty Meng and Uncle David for the lovely accommodation! Fahrenheit is right in the middle of Bukit Bintang – one of the biggest shopping districts in KL. We found the Bukit Bintang money exchangers had better rates than the one’s in other suburbs, when carrying cash always hold US$100 bill’s, if you have anything smaller the exchange rate is never as good.     Our first stop was the fresh fruit and food ally, got some Penang style Char Kway Teow and of course Malay chicken curry with rice and cucumber salad on the side! Got some jack fruit and mangosteen our favorite, we were very lucky to have found both of these fruits as the season was coming to an ends in October. If you are going sight seeing around KL you can take the go KL purple bus which is free of...