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

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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

Happy Birthday, Buddha! Attending Vesak Day at Borobudur temple in Java

Closing ceremony

Closing ceremony

We are lucky! I think tomorrow we are going to celebrate Buddha’s birthday, I said to Tim as we were sitting on the train from Jakarta to Yogyakarta. We were on our way to see one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world and so it happened that Vesak Day (celebration of the birth, enlightenment and passing of Buddha) fallen on the day we planned to visit Borobudur. It would have been a first local celebration we managed to plot into our travels, and we both started looking forward to it with excitement. After doing some research on the exact date of the Vesak day the information I found was a bit confusing, so I emailed Borobudur to authorities (info@borobudurpark.co.in) and got provided with some extra details about the day. For me, the less organised half in this relationship, it was an achievement. I knew what was happening and I knew where we were going…Unfortunately this feeling didn’t last long. Continue reading