South India ~ Original India

“I don’t speak Hindi”, my guide at the Sri Ranga temple announced – with more than a slight sense of pride. Yes I’m in Tamil Nadu, in the deep south of India, where Tamil has been the language for nearly 4,000 years. Little wonder they feel the Taj Mahal is a very recent usurper of […]

Green Elephant, Bagan

This is the view at dusk from the much-reviewed Green Elephant restaurant in Bagan. But good luck finding it as both Google Maps and Lonely Planet have it significantly mislocated. To add to the confusion, there are actually two Green Elephants, both under the same ownership, and signboards on the main road through New Bagan […]

Myanmar – latest info

Burma has over several decades changed its name, its flag, the side of the road they drive on, and the location of its capital – but very little else. Until a year ago. Now the country is being accepted back into the international community, things are changing at breakneck speed. The biggest impact on tourists […]

The Road to Mandalay

Back in 1890, a young 24 year-old named Rudyard Kipling was making his way back to England from India when his ship made an unscheduled stop in Moulmein, the previous capital of British Burma. He was reportedly so impressed by the looks and confidence of the Burmese women he saw that he was motivated to […]

Myanmar Visa in Bangkok

Myanmar is an increasingly popular destination. Although there has been much talk of a Visa on Arrival system (with or without pre-approval) this still does not operate for tourist single visits. So a visa application must be made and a visa entered into your passport. Outside Bangkok, this requires mailing your passport, application and fee […]

ATM fees in Bangkok

Almost all ATM’s in Thailand levy a Thai Baht 150 fee per withdrawal (about US$5). This can really add up if you like to keep cash in your pocket to a minimum and make regular withdrawals. Fortunately one company – Aeon – offers fee-free withdrawals. This Japanese credit card company does not have traditional branches […]

Nats, Caves, and Giant Spiders

There is some kind of serendipity that visits on occasions when I travel – and usually more often than not when I’m in company with my travel companion, Karyna. This time, none of the six internal airlines in Myanmar had any places to fly from Bagan to Inle Lake. Much research revealed the possibility of […]

Weaving, water, and wineries

Inle Lake in the early dawn is magical. A gentle mist rises, the sky goes from indigo to mauve to blue, and as a backdrop there lie the mountains that cover so much of Shan State. In the far distance is China. And occasionally into view comes a fisherman setting up for the day. No […]

Biking Bagan

I’m not much inclined to get up before dawn. The more so when it’s New Years Day and I’m engaged in trying to navigate unlit streets on an ancient bike with no gears. My body is telling me it wants to be asleep, and my brain is just about registering all the signs of a […]

Hanoi

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Nepal

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Bengal & Benares

Calcutta, or Kolkata as it is now known, is a huge city and once the seat of British India. You would have to say that they made a pretty good job of constructing such a giant edifice that nobody would doubt their divinely-ordained power. And out the front is a huge open space which has […]