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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Few words about Burma

Temple in Yangon

Temple in Yangon

We finally arrived in Burma, the country that initially was not on our list. But the more we travelled, more and more amazing Burmesee stories echoed in our ears and few months ago we knew that Burma cannot be missed. So here we are.

Yangon the country’s biggest city invited us with insane bus rides, expensive hotel ($25 for a room with no bathroom!), lack of pavements, limited electricity and with no doubt the friendlies people of South East Asia. Everyone smiled at us with an honest looks on their faces. The man in the car who passed by shouted hello, another one overhearing our conversation about a certain building came over and explained what it was in broken English (he then too apologised he had too much to drink, hence his help was limited). It felt good being back in a place that somehow reminded me of Cambodia and from what we have learnt this is probably the last chance to see the Burma as it is, innocent, modest and unwesternised. 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

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