Around the world. (Part 5)

This is another post on my travels in Asia. This trip was in  winter 2014.  After visiting Northern Thailand and many places in Vietnam, we flew to Siem Reap where we  visited many temples. It is best  to have a guide who can tell you  about each temples. He knows when it is good to visit them according to the amount of tourists around. We had busy days but  when we travel we know our days are not for resting. This can be done later when we get home.

Angkor Wat is an unique place. I am so happy I got to see it.

We had one more country to see during that trip. From Siem Reap we flew to Hong Kong. When we arrived at the airport, we  bought an octopus card . The MTR is a great way to travel in HK.

When you  see  all the skyscrapers you cannot believe that so many people live there.  We were busy travelers.  Every day we explored a different area of this big city. As usual I brought back tons of photos.

We discovered some quiet areas  such as  the Nan Lian Gardens. We visited a few  temples. We saw nice art in display.  We got to see the Big Buddha on Lantau Island.

After 35 days in Asia ( 4 countries)  it was time to go back home.  If you missed any of my “Around the world” posts,  you can find the 4 previous posts published earlier .

It was an incredible journey that we will never forget. I am  looking forward to other adventures, take more pictures , meet new people, discover other parts of  the world. I learn more about myself as I get out of my comfort zone.

Fun and Life ( which is the title of this blog ) is coming to and end with this post. I am not sure at this time if there will be a sequence  (Fun and Life-2  ?) or not. I’ve got to do some thinking and see if my desire to write about all the fun things  ( mostly travel) is still an important part of my life.

Thanks for reading and be sure that  your comments were always very much appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

Around the world. (Part 4)

Traveling to Asia was  fantastic . I hope to go back again. Today I will share a few shots taken in Thailand and  Vietnam. In the next post, I will share about  Cambodia and Hong Kong.

Let’s start with Northern Thailand . We visited Chiang Mai and many little villages. We discovered  temples and lovely architecture. We saw people working at markets.   I took lots and lots of photos.

Driving in the countryside , we could see smoke as the farmers burn the land to help the  future crops. We were traveling during the dry season but we have to assume there was no danger with the fires.

This is the White temple we can see in Chiang Rai. Very spectacular.

One week in this part of Thailand was not enough  but we were very happy with our visit. We had to fly to Bangkok and then to Hanoi in Vietnam  where we would meet our cycling group.   We visited Hanoi and  Halong Bay  before starting our 11 days cycling days. We did  around 450 km . With my photos you will get a sense of my trip in Vietnam. Motorbikes, bicycles, people everywhere…

We enjoyed the scenery on our way to Halong Bay. We did not  have great weather in the Bay but it was a great experience to see the floating villages.

We had an educational tour as we cycled in different areas of Vietnam. The weather was not that great to start but it got warmer as we got in the southern part of the country. We learned so much and people were friendly .

In 2 weeks, I had been in 2 countries I did not know at all before I got there. Now I look back at the photos and I appreciate so much this experience. Asia is so different than America  and for us it is an amazing discovery for all  our senses. I even tried to learn a few words in thai and vietnamese !

Next week, you will see  more photos taken in Cambodia and Hong Kong. Thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

 

 

Hong Kong ( part 2)

Day 2 in HK. A long long day  of visit . After breakfast, we took the metro to get to the other side of the harbor. We took a tour with Big Bus. The weather was not the best, it was windy and cold. So we just enjoyed sightseeing around. We also went up to Victoria peak with the tram but all was foggy. So, there was no view on the city!!

Hong Kong is an amazing city, with more skyscrapers than NYC!! Many have interesting architecture. We had a short tour on a Sampan (small boat) in Aberdeen. We saw the biggest floating restaurant!

We walked a bit in SOHO . There are more than 260 islands in HK. Many are like countryside and are a great place for people living in HK to escape the big city of 7 million inhabitants. We also did the night tour in Kowloon and saw the light show across the harbor.

Later, we came back in Kowloon. We went out not so far for dinner in  a typical restaurant by the temple market: broccoli, rice, fried noodles. We were almost the only Caucasians. Food was good. We walked a long way in a street with vendors. The famous night market on Temple is a long long row of merchants selling all kind of stuff.

So much to see in Hong  Kong.  I will show you more on my next post. Next Friday. Thanks for reading and if you read it all, it would be nice for me to read a comment  from you .

 

Hong Kong (part 1)

Our adventure in Asia was not over yet. After breakfast in Cambodia, lunch over Laos (probably), we had dinner in Hong Kong.

When we arrived , we purchased an octopus card ( for the public transit) and got HK money. We took a taxi to get to our hotel in Kowloon. The room was very small but we did not need a larger room. We only sleep and have a shower and most of the day we are out. More  hotels are  offering that style exactly because the travelers are not spending much time in their room. I saw it on TV recently.

It was rather cold in Hong Kong and maybe rain was  coming.  I bought an umbrella just in case and got to learn   from the young  lady how to say thanks in Cantonese.  Mgoy! Lots of people speak English in HK so the communication would not be a problem.  In the city many double Decker buses. We did not use them, we walked and we traveled by  metro. And once  we took the tram.

Now some photos to give you an idea of Hong Kong. I must say that the first thing that  I was really impressed with  was the amount of  skyscrapers. Read this info I found on the  web. “The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region  has over 7,840 high-rise buildings, 1,303 of which are skyscrapers  standing taller than 100 m (328 ft) with 316 buildings over 150 m (492 ft). The tallest building in Hong Kong is the 108-story International Commerce Center.

 

In my next post, we will see more of Hong Kong. Thanks for reading and your comments.

 

 

 

 

Cambodia ( part 4)

Hello readers!  It is  Friday  and time to share another story of our travel in Cambodia.

A day to visit  more  temples of  Angkor  with our guide , Mr. Chet. First, we go to see the temple Banteay Srei. Banteay Srei is built largely of red sand stones, a medium that lends itself to the elaborate decorative wall carvings which are still observable today. The buildings themselves are miniature in scale, unusually so when measured by the standards of Angkorian construction. These factors have made the temple extremely popular with tourists, and have led to its being widely praised as a “precious gem”, or the “jewel” of Khmer art.

Later that day, we go to see Kbal Spean . An Angkorian era archaeological site on the southwest slopes of the Kulen Hills. The site consists of a series of stone rock relief carvings in sandstone formations of the river bed and banks. It is commonly known as the “Valley of a 1000 Lingas ” or “The River of a Thousand Lingas”. The motifs for stone carvings are mainly myriads of lingams (phallic symbol of Hindu  god Shiva god ), depicted as neatly arranged bumps that cover the surface of a sandstone bed rock, and lingam-yoni  designs. There are also various Hindu mythological motifs, including depictions of the gods Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Lakshmi, Rama, and Hanuman , as well as animals (cows and frogs). See  some of the photos I took.

After lunch,we visit another temple close by: Banteay Samre. Temple dedicated to Vishnou.

In the temple, this man is blessing me with prayers and after he puts a bracelet around   my wrist. You wear it until it falls off. I think I had it for more than a year. In fact, I had 3 different bracelets after this trips. I had gotten my first one in Thailand.

Often you see kids hanging around the temples. Some kids sells little souvenirs.

But those girls were serious about selling me some scarfs or blouse. It was very inexpensive. I bought a white blouse and I like it very much. They sell stuff in American money. But the money of  the country is the  Cambodian Riel.   1US dollar is 4059 Riels.

This man is cleaning his animals in the lake by the temples.

What  a day ! Back on Pub street for a cheap beer. I must wear my new blouse!  

A good dinner and a  good night of sleep for us after a long visiting day.  More temples to see the  next day. It is coming on my next post, next week.

Thanks for reading my story . And many thanks for you who write a comment.

 

Cambodia (part 3)

Today is another adventure.  I have many photos for you on that post.  21 photos for you to understand the lifestyle of the people living over there.

We went to Tonle Sap Lake and  Kampong Khleang (fishing village).  The Lake is an important commercial resource, providing more than half of the fish consumed in Cambodia. In harmony with the specialized ecosystems, the human occupations at the edges of the lake is similarly distinctive – floating villages, towering stilted houses, huge fish traps, and an economy and way of life deeply intertwined with the lake, the fish, the wildlife and the cycles of rising and falling waters  boats ride on the lake.

It is quite amazing to see how people live in those stilt houses ( can be up to 10 m/ 33 ft high). They have to protect themselves as in the rainy season ( Mid-May through October), the rising water of the Mekong cause the flow of the Sap river to reverse and also the lake surface area increases.

We are getting ready to go on a boat on the lake.

We meet a bigger boat with tourists.

You can see that people are living here in that floating house and the clothing hanging.

They must use whatever they are, they recycle everything to built their house.

Isn’t it amazing? This little girl does not seem afraid at all to climb up to her house.

That water does not seem so clean but this is all they have to wash themselves and their clothing.

Our day was not finish , we had more  temples to see. Beng Mealea.  The movie Indiana Jones  was filmed there.

We came from far way to see another world and I can only be thankful I took so many photos to remember and share with you.

Thanks for reading. Always happy to read your comments. Next week, more on Cambodia…

 

 

 

Cambodia (part 2)

We were up early and excited to see more of Angkor. I am really not  a specialist of this history  but I can show you photographs . Behind me is Angkor Wat .

Angkor Wat is decorated with depictions of apsaras and devata;  there are more than 1,796 depictions of devata in the present research inventory. Angkor Wat architects employed small apsara images (30 cm –40 cm ) as decorative motifs on pillars and walls. Deva is the Hindu  term for deity; however, devata is a smaller, more focused deva. An aspara is is a female spirit of the clouds and waters in Hindu and Buddhist mythology.

Integrated with the architecture of the building, and one of the causes for its fame is Angkor Wat’s extensive decoration, which predominantly takes the form of bas-relief friezes.

Bayon Temple. Many stone faces.

Preah Khan has been left largely unrestored, with numerous trees and other vegetation growing among the ruins.

Ta Nei is a temple hidden in the forest. We had to walk a  bit in the jungle to get there. We are surprised to see a young man selling t-shirt. He paints the t-shirt and gives money to the monks that raised him. We came home with 4 t-shirts. A good cause and a nice souvenir from Cambodia.

Ta Prohm is a beautiful temple, bound by massive roots of huge trees. Back in the days it was very different: one could see walls decorated by precious stones, hear beautiful music, and dancing in the halls. When in late nineteenth century Ta Prohm was discovered by French, they decided not to conduct a full-scale restoration of the temple. The decision was made due to the fact that giant trees, such as fichus and silk trees, were so merged with ancient walls that eventually they became whole.

Isn’t amazing to see this place ? Maybe some of you have been there also and you understand the history of those temples.

More to come on my next post. Thanks for reading and your comments.