Lost city of Mrauk U

The Kingdom of Mrauk U

The Kingdom of Mrauk U (source: Wikipedia)

So far we have been taking Burma quite easy, travelling to ‘typical backpacking destinations’, not rushing but spending quite few chilled days in each location (I guess a year of backpacking it’s taking its toll!). But going to Mrauk U was completely opposite and made us travel off the beaten path making this part of our Burmeese adventure even more exciting.

What makes Mrauk U so special is the city remote location. Close to Bangladesh and hidden between the mountains with extremely poor road infrastructure it’s not yet popular among travellers. Our journey from Bagan took us in total over 24 hours, which was prolonged by few emergency stops due to the torrentiral rainfall on the way to Magwe and then a 9 hour stop over in  Magwe where we waited for the bus to Mrauk U. This second part of the trip costed $33 per person, which almost gave me a heart attack when it came to paying for the bus ticket. Being the last people getting on the bus we were given non reclining seats and a sleepless night ahead. Tried as hell I was not a happy lady but I suppose this is the price one needs to pay. Continue reading

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Overnight train journey from Yangon to Bagan

Landscape of Bagan

Landscape of Bagan

This slow, extremely bumpy and at times uncomfortable journey will leave you wandering at what point your head will hit the ceiling but with the trains being integral part of burmese infrastructure this experience should not be missed. Only recently, in April 2014 the government decided to make the ticket prices for foreigners equal to the local making traveling by train more affordable for the backpackers pocket. Although for some reasons most reviews on the Internet suggest making Yangon- Bagan journey on a bus, mainly because it’s more comfortable and faster, I would go against their advise and not think twice. Do it by the train! Continue reading

The hills and chills of Yunnan province

Countryside around Shangrila, Yunnan

Countryside around Shangrila, Yunnan

I was very much looking forward to travelling around Yunnan. Mountain air, hills, world’s deepest gorge and tibetan villages were all on our list of things to experience whilst in the area. In the 12 days we had in Yunnan we managed to squeeze in quite few sights and whilst not all of them as exciting as the next there were definitely few gems worth mentioning and worth the effort of getting to.

We started our journey in Kunming from where we took a night train to Lijiang, another UNESCO heritage site. In Kunming itself we only had few hours to spare, so we headed to a beautiful and peaceful Yuantong temple where we wandered around for few hours. The night train took us by surprise because not only there were spaces available for the train leaving on the same day/nigh but ‘by mistake’ we booked ourselves onto a soft sleeper, which was real class! Only 4 people in the carriage, carpeted floor and a flower on the table.  High life I call it! Continue reading

Terracotta Army, Longmen caves and Kung Fu fighting

Kung Fu practice at Shaoiln Temple

Kung Fu practice at Shaoiln Temple

It felt like in our first 7 days in China we have been travelling at the speed of light. After returning from national parks we spent few days in Changsha, trying not to spend too much money (damn China is expensive!!!) and ‘socialising’ at local TV presenter birthday party Jamie got us invited to. It was quite a random night, as back home I would never imagine rocking up to a strangers party, especially birthday one, but here no one really minds. As long as you are a foreign firend of a friend who has a friend who knows the host’s friend your presence will be welcomed and recorded on countless photographs and videos taken sneakily from neighbouring tables. Surprisingly for such a VIP party with a live music, speeches and plenty of food, the celebrations ended just before 10pm. But I suppose an early night was in our favour. The following day our alarms went off at 5am and few hours later we took off to Xi’an, a ancient city most famous for nearby Terracotta Warriors. Continue reading

Tianmen Mountain and Zhangjiajie National Park

Sending peace from China

Sending peace from China

We have left China a few days ago but because of government’s ban on  media that could possibly free up people’s minds and cause unnecessary disturbance to the nation I was unable to access my wordpress blog. Thankfully Instagram seemed to be working fine, so at least I could keep it going by posting endless photos and developing my hash tag addiction. But now I’m back to the blogging business and in the next few post I will quickly wrap up our last months adventures. Continue reading

Sleepy Siquijor, turtle heaven in Apo and Thresher shark diving in Malapascua

Malapascua

Malapascua

So it’s been a while since my last post. And it’s not because we were really busy trying to see everything we possibly can in the Philippines, it’s actually quite the opposite. Arriving with the rainy season meant that some places we wanted to visit, like Palawan and El Nido, were scraped off our list and replaced with areas that were less likely to be affected by the typhoons (so we thought). Instead of rushing around, flying from one island to another and ticking off ‘must see’ destinations spread over 7000 islands we took it easy this time. With no guidebook (Errr…I lost it!) we used weather reports as our main guidelines and decided to head south to Dumagete, a cool student town, from where we could jump on ferries to the smaller islands in the area. Continue reading

Batad to Vigan via Cordillera mountain pass

Pretty Vigan

Pretty Vigan

Today it’s a very quick post for anyone wanting to travel from Batad/Banaue to Vigan, a small World Heritage town on the west coast famous for its best preserved Spanish colonial architecture in South East Asia.

There are two routes that take you there, first option is to take bus from Banaue all the way south to Baguio and then from Baguio travel up north to Vigan, but as far as I am concerned it’s a bit pointless traveling back on yourself. Instead it is possible to travel across the mountain pass, where you can adore some fantastic views and landscapes and have a bit of an adventures journey. This trip takes 2 days with a stop over for the night in Bontoc. Continue reading