Snorkeling and Relaxation in Trincomalee in Sri Lanka

We do not know why exactly we decided to travel to Trincomalee aka Trinco, one of the regions of the northwest coast of Sri Lanka. In its vicinity there are some dream beaches like Uppuveli and Nilaveli. With a little bit of sadness we leave Maldives but we are eager to tour Sri Lanka! We landed at Colombo airport and it seems that we have changed continent!

We pick up the SIM that they give away at the airport and direct by bus to Fort Colombo. We only step on it to catch a night train that crosses the whole country to finally reach Trincomalee, which was an important fortified port. The bus is full and has a TV where they project an entertaining movie with musical numbers, comedy and action scenes. The road is good without much traffic. The bus stops and picks up people. In sections it is crowded.

We reach the station, chat with people there, who at all times behaves super good with us, while we wait for our train. At nine o'clock it arrives punctually and we look for our seat in third class, and to our surprise it is luxury! The trip was very pleasant and we went through some beautiful landscapes.

We arrived at Trincomalee between yawns at five in the morning! But here does not end the journey. We caught a tuk tuk with a girl and we go to the Nilaveli beach. Actually it is such a little tourist place that it cost us enough to find a hostel to stay. We found some scattered luxury hotels that we can never afford for economic and moral reasons.

We moved and asked all the hostels we head to the Uppuveli area. Finally, after going through a tremendous heat and starving, we chose to stay at one with private bathroom, fan, mosquito net, and wifi. We would visit the city the next day. So we go to the Uppuveli beach. The beach is long with white sand and flanked by palm trees. Next to our hotel there are others (a couple of them more luxurious). All are low buildings, integrated into nature.

Behind them are the homes of the locals. They are simple, and some have set up in them a small grocery store or a home-made restaurant. This area is still developing. The war also hit her hard. Tourism did not start long ago. Our stay there coincided with the Buddha Purnima or Vesak, the Buddhist festival during the full moon.

The devotees, dressed in white, smiled at us and, the more extroverted, greeted us and asked us about our origin. At that time of the afternoon the boats were leaving from that port for the fishing in the night, which they do with lamps. Some kids play cricket. The road leads to the main road.

We booked a tour to Pigeon Island. The tour includes the transfer by boat to the island, the entrance to the National Park and the rental of snorkeling equipment. Also our tour included bananas, cookies and a couple of small bottles of water per person. Getting to the island was a small adventure since our boatmen, to save time, only made half the journey.

That is, we use two boats to get to the island. One to leave the beach and make half a journey and another boat to get to the island. We made a change of boat in the middle of the sea. It was fun but none of us who were in the boat expected it.

When we arrived at the island, there was a circuit marked with buoys and we only saw fins, tubes and girls in bikini in the water wherever we looked. We came to the conclusion that the beaches of Trincomalee are deserted because everyone is on the island.

The boatman left us on the island and showed us the tree where we could leave our things. He showed us the two snorkeling areas. The buoys circuit was the area of turtles and sharks and the one that was on the other side of the island that was the one of the colorful fish. So we went to see if we saw any shark. Upon entering, we saw a turtle eating calmly in the coral.

We also saw squids. I had never seen them swimming and I was very excited. The visibility was pretty bad. I was overwhelmed a little, because the glasses that they had left us got very foggy and did not look good. Knowing that there are sharks around us and that we cannot see them coming did not amuse me. So I came out of the water.

And so, unwittingly, I saw the first sharks of the day. Being on the shore of the beach, I realized that I had a couple of mini tibus swimming around me. The second snorkeling area did not impress us too much. There were fewer people and the variety of small fish that there was nothing spectacular. So we went back to the first area and this time, we saw 3 big sharks.

With that, we could go happy after 3 hours of snorkeling. We returned to Uppuveli with the two boats and spent the rest of the day resting. Coming from Trinco, in that detour we find a pizzeria and a tourist information office. We arrived at the hotel tired and starving. The only thing we wanted was a shower and a banquet. For dinner we went to a restaurant at the foot of a lagoon. We have a seafood menu with omelet, some soups, and noodles and rice with chicken curry. We also drink lassis.

Trincomalee Beach wallpaper images

Day 2

From Uppuveli beach we go in an auto rickshaw to the city that has a boot shape. On its heel is Fort Frederik, an unmissable visit! It is a large extension that occupies all that point, closed by a wall. After passing its old entrance arch, we pass through a temple with stupas, statues of Buddha. We also get aerial views of Trinco. There are several terraces (ideal for breakfast).

Many deer roam around there, and the best is at its end. We see the very beautiful Koneswaram Kandasamy Kovil temple. It is one of the 5 historical Indian temples, and a place of pilgrimage for millennia. It is dedicated to Shiva, raised to protect the island from natural disasters. It is an awesome place.

On its exterior rises a large statue of Shiva with 4 arms and his blue body. We enter that temple full of paraphernalia. Among it is the sacred lingam. We take the path that runs over the high cliff. At the foot of that temple there is a row of stalls selling souvenirs as well as religious objects and offerings.

As the heat tightens there we take an auto rickshaw. We reach the long Dutch Bay, which is the sole of that boot shaped island, with its beach of golden sand. And we got off at the beach pickup, half occupied by the fishermen's boats and half empty since it is a military zone and the area is restricted. We take a bath in the boundary between the two.

Behind this beach there is a lake where the dhobi clean the clothes, placing them in long tendales and on the lawn. There is also a deteriorated temple. We left on foot of this neighborhood that is eminently Muslim. The greeting now is salam aleikum.

We get into the cane of that boot which is the center of Trinco. In 10min we are in that center where the main temple is located. In it we attended a ceremony with two musicians who played flute and drum. A priest places a mark in the middle of our forehead and purifies us with fire, passing a candelabrum over our heads.

After a few lime juices in the luxurious cafe, located in a restored historic building, facing the sea, we go to the St Mary's cathedral, hidden among the alleys. From here we went to Dockyard road where we found a very nice terrace restaurant specializing in Sinhalese burgers. Although they have a variety of dishes.

We ordered a veggie patty burger, chicken hamburger, grilled chicken burger, and rice with vegetables, water and juices. And it was so good that we asked to take with the idea of ​​making a little snack on the beach. We order noodles with chicken and veg fried rice. The portions are huge. They put them in some take away boxes.

Going up the Dockyard road we arrive in 10min to the central bus station where we learn about the ones that go to Polonnaruwa. There are no direct ones. In that bus station we take the one that goes to Nilaveli Beach. It leaves us near the beach, which is also long, with white sand, palm trees, with only a couple of hotels.

Opposite the coast, we can see some small islands. It is the Pigeon Island National Park, very popular for snorkeling and scuba diving. A boatman approached us. After a fresh bath and a beer, at sunset we returned to Uppuveli in an auto rickshaw. We have the dinner on the beach with our take away.

My Experience in Little India in Singapore

Little India in Singapore wallpaper images

We got up to enjoy the last day of travel and vacations. We checked out, and left the bags in the hotel lockers. We had breakfast again in the familiar Starbucks and we just crossed the street to Arab Street, the neighborhood of our hotel. Arab Street, or Kampong Glam is the Muslim quarter of Singapore, the smallest of the three ethnic neighborhoods of the city.

Historically, this district of Singapore was assigned by Raffles to the Malay inhabitants of the Muslim religion. The heart of the neighborhood is just 4 streets flanked by the usual two-story houses of the nineteenth century. They are beautifully restored and painted in colors that is so typical of Singapore.

In that sense there would not be much Arab atmosphere if it were not because Arab Street itself has several dozen Arab restaurants and some carpet bazaars and other Islamic paraphernalia. Parallel to this street to the west is Haji Lane. This street, narrow and quasi pedestrian, is the most pleasant in the neighborhood. We see art galleries, designer clothing boutiques, modern cafes and alternative air.

Towards the east, the Muscat and Bussorah streets end in the north facing Sultan Mosque, that with its architecture confirms without a doubt that we are in an Arab quarter. It is a modern building from 1828 that replaced another 18th century mosque and is the most important mosque in Singapore. It offers us the typical Arab architecture of horseshoe arches, golden domes and minarets.

Although it has charm, we thought it was a bit like a Disney park. The mosque was closed and we could not see inside. The Bussorah street is flanked by palm trees that frame the view of the mosque. We ate traditional Arab dishes with ​​stewed meats, salads, kebab and roti!

We strolled a bit and when we saw that the neighborhood did not offer much more we headed north through a very anodyne area of ​​Singapore to Little India. We passed some blocks of buildings with very photogenic colors. The place is quite clean, tidy and westernized.

Little India is the third ethnic neighborhood of Singapore and probably the most beautiful and lively of the three. It is a residential neighborhood with several temples although there are also mosques and several shopping centers. Coming from the south first we passed by the Abdool Gafor Mosque that we did not visit.

Then we came across the Little India Arcade, an old shopping center that occupies a building of the early twentieth century but was closed. However, in the surrounding streets there was a food and flower market with a lot of local flavor. At the back of the market stands a colorful house called House of Tan Teng Niah.

It is an example of the last surviving Chinese villas in Little India, built in 1900 to be the home of the wife of a prominent Chinese merchant of the region. It is now a tourist attraction. The Little India Arcade goes north to Serangoon Road, the main artery of the neighborhood. It was adorned for some festival with ornaments of gaudy and quite tacky colors.

At the entrance to the street there was a quirky welcome arch to the neighborhood and beyond there was an elephant made with colorful flowers. Across the street was the Tekka Mall, a shopping center with hundreds of small shops selling Indian products. The site is wonderful. There we enjoyed for a while in an absolutely Indian atmosphere.

The two upper floors offers food stores with Indian products and especially Indian textiles and clothing. In addition there are tailors. It is a very local market with an irresistible atmosphere. We returned to Serangoon Street where a few meters further on stands the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, the oldest in the neighborhood, dedicated to the Goddess Kali.

It was closed and we could not see inside but on the outside is a tower decorated with hundreds of small figurines painted in colors much like the temple of Sri Mariamman of Chinatown that we had visited two days before. We took a walk through Serangoon enjoying the atmosphere and returned to the subway with the goal accomplished.

As we had plenty of time we decided to return to Marina Bay. We took the last pictures and we said goodbye to Singapore trying to capture the view of the most beautiful part of the city. We went back by subway and got off at Bugis. On the way to the hotel, we passed the Parkview building, a beautiful modern skyscraper but in an Art Deco style with a very New York look. It is next to the MasterCard tower with a facade with geometric motifs.

We retrieved the suitcases and went back to the subway to get to the airport. In just 20 minutes we arrived at the Changi airport. We arrived at Bangkok airport where we had to re-enter Thailand to check-in the flight back. We take advantage to eat, make the last purchases and at 2:25 in the morning we embark on a brand new A380.

Trip to the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas At Lotus Lake

Today is our second day in Taiwan and we are going to take the red route. We go to Kaohsiung, where we will visit Lotus Lake and Cijin Island. We got up early, had breakfast included in the hotel, checked out and went to the Taipei Main Station to take a high-speed train to Kaohsiung. Upon entering the station we follow the signs and easily reach the ticket office of the high-speed train.

We bought tickets. The high-speed train is one of the few expensive things in Taiwan. The normal train is much cheaper, but we wanted to arrive early so that we would have time to see Kaohsiung. We followed the indications and arrived at the platform without problem. The best thing is to be guided by the train number.

It is the first thing that appears in all the panels and also because of the departure time, because they are very punctual. The trains are very long and on the platforms there is a place for each car. The truth is that it is very well indicated. We got into a car and sat in seats that were free, but at the next stop the owners arrived.

Later we could see that allotting separate seats is a common practice. And so we walked from seat to seat. We got to be the talk of the train. We are the only tourists and it seems that we have strained without paying. Our stop was the last, since the high-speed train currently only goes from Taipei to Kaohsiung.

In a matter of an hour and a half we were in Kaohsiung in Xinzuoying station. Now we had to take the red metro line to get to our hotel. We followed the signs and arrived immediately. It is the second largest city in Taiwan, after Taipei. The subway is new, modern and cheap. We go to the Kaohsiung Main Station, where we have our hotel for tonight.

Our hotel is next to the main station of the normal train of Kaohsiung, which is currently under construction. There is a fence and we can not pass. Google Maps tells us an alternative route. We asked a girl, who in turn asked a boy. He explained it to us very well in English.

We have to enter the station, go up the escalators as if you were going to take a train, ask for a free ticket to go through the bridge on the platforms and exit on the other side of the station. We did it and we arrived right away. It was 11 in the morning and the room will not be available until 15:00, but they keep our bags.

We asked the friendly and pleasant receptionist to call us a taxi to take us to Lotus Lake and we instructed him to leave us at the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas. We could have gone with public transport, but it is necessary to take the metro and then bus, so we prefer to take a taxi and not waste time.

Upon arrival he showed us where the pagodas were, but it was not necessary. They were next door and they were visible perfectly. The lake is located in the north of Kaohsiung and receives this name because on its waters float lotus flowers in summer. Now as it is December there was none. It is one of the main attractions of Taiwan.

It is a huge artificial lake surrounded by monuments, temples and pagodas. It dates from the seventeenth century although some buildings are modern and the rest are remodeled. Ciji temple is the first temple of the many that we will find in the lake. The original Temple was built in the seventeenth century.

At the time of Japanese rule it was used as a military base. It was remodeled in 1959. All the temples surprise us with their beautiful roofs, for the wealth of the interior adornments and for the golden altars. This temple is dedicated to Bao Sheng Da Di, a doctor who saved many lives and who become the God of Medicine.

Always next to each temple there is one or two Pagodas of higher or lower height, but always with an odd number of floors. It's funny, that even in the hotels there is no floor number four, because it's the cursed number. It's like 13 for us. The Pagodas of the Ciji temple are located opposite, inside the lake.

They are one of the main attractions. To reach them we have to cross a bridge over the zigzag lake, which has 9 sections. They say that only demons can cross it in a straight line. The Pagoda on the left has before it a huge Dragon and on the right a huge Tiger. It is very important to enter through the mouth of the Dragon and exit through the Tiger to get lucky and get rid of evil spirits.

If it is done the other way around, the result is the opposite. Inside, the Dragon, it is very beautiful. There are corridors full of sculptures on the walls protected by a crystal. There are sculptures are of bad men who go to hell. At the end of the hall we find a table and a lady who asks for a donation.

We toss some loose coins and she gives us two postcards of the pagodas. I think the postcards were worth more than the donation we gave. After going through the interior of the Dragon we reach the pagoda which has 7 floors. To climb there are some beautiful spiral staircases. We go peeking on each floor. From the top the views are wonderful.

The Dragon Pagoda communicates with the Tiger Pagoda through a bridge. Both Pagodas are exactly the same, with the only difference being that one is adorned with tigers and the other with dragons. We also went up because the views are different. I would say even more beautiful. Finally we went out through the tiger's mouth.

The interiors of the tiger is the same as the dragon, but the sculptures on the walls are of virtuous men who go to heaven. We have entered through the bad guys and we left through the good ones. Going forward we find the Ciming Temple, a three-story palace reconstructed in 1973. It is an oriental style with large stairs to access it. It is bigger than the previous one and very beautiful with a wealth of impressive interior. It is dedicated to Confucius and Guanyin.

In front of the temple are the Pavilions of Spring and Autumn that are the Pagodas belonging to the Ciming Temple. They are two towers of 3 floors separated by the figure of a huge dragon, on which Guanyin rides, the goddess of Mercy, dressed in white and accompanied by two children. Here we also enter through the mouth of the Dragon, climbing beautiful red stairs that pretend to be its tongue.

In the inside are beautiful corridors with high reliefs on the walls that narrate the life of Guanyin. Dragons are very important in Chinese culture because they symbolize power. From the pavilions of Spring and Autumn a bridge that goes into the lake ends in the Wuli Pavilion, which is a symbol of fortune and peace. It is also the tourist image of Kaohsiung.

It has a beautiful spiral staircase. From here we could see the herons that are in the lake. The Beiji Xuantian Shang Di Pavilion is accessed through the Pavilion gate and is reached by a beautiful bridge adorned with small statues. In the background is the giant statue of Xuantian, the emperor of the dark sky.

Repenting of his sins, he tore off his stomach and intestine that threw them into the river. The stomach turned into a turtle and the intestine into a snake that was dedicated to doing evil. That is why he is represented sitting on a large rock holding the Qixing sword of the Seven Stars and stepping on the tortoise and the snake.

We enter the interior of Xuantian, where his sanctuary is, with another figure of God and a huge column of candles. On both sides there are small Pagodas that we no longer pay attention to after seeing so many wonders, but they are very beautiful. At the door there is a kind of rare and original slot machines.

In one of them, a Taiwanese pulled coins very hard to the face of some sculptures and when he was right, they would play their musical instruments. Another of the machines gave a paper, written in Chinese, I suppose that auguring the future. Further on to the left we find the Tianfu Palace, which is the largest temple in the Lake.

Tianfu means wealth and abundance. It was built in 1660 and has been renovated many times to keep it in perfect condition. It is a center of pilgrimage and worship that even offers lodging to its faithful. It is guarded by giant lions that embrace enormous stone balls. A very kind caregiver left us without asking for a book so that we could read the history of the temple in English.

We went ahead and found the Wenchang Temple, which cannot be seen well because it is covered by beautiful weeping willows. In Taiwan there are many temples dedicated to Confucius and this is the largest. It was built in 1684. The door was ajar and we snuck in, but then a worker came to throw us out. It is seen that it is under construction. Fortunately, it gave us time to take a picture, because it is really beautiful.

Finally we visited the Palace of the 3 Hadas, another beautiful temple with an amazing ornamentation. In front there was a market full of stalls that showed that they had sold fruit and vegetables, but by now they were picking up. Here we began to have an experience that would be repeated throughout the trip and is that people look at us, smile and greet us.

Many of us take photos secretly and others ask us to pose for them or take a picture of us as if we were lifelong friends. We had spent more than 3 hours doing this tour and we were tired. We were hungry and it was also hot. Right there next to the Palace of the Three Fairies we stopped a taxi and asked him to take us to the Xinzuoyin High Speed ​​Station.

In the station we bought salads and sandwiches, which we ate there. We had seen some restaurants on the lake, but none were to our liking. We found them very tacky.

Dragon and Tiger Pagodas wallpaper images

Trip to Cijin Island near Kaohsiung in Taiwan

Today is our second day in Taiwan and we are going to take the red route. We go to Kaohsiung, where we will visit Lotus Lake and Cijin Island.

We took the red metro line. Kaohsiung has two subway stations that are in the ranking of the 15 most beautiful stations in the world. First we went to the Central Park station that receives this name for being next to a park that has the same name. It was designed as a garden by the British architect Richard Rogers. It has grass dotted with yellow sunflowers and a waterfall runs between the escalators.

Then we went back to the Formosa Boulevard, the station where the Red and Orange line meet and is more famous and colorful than the previous one. When we get off the subway we follow the signs, and we reach the biggest dome in the world made with crystals, with an explosion of light and color.

It is an authentic wonder that made us go around and around, an work by the Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata. The drawings of the stained-glass windows tell the life of the human being through water, fire and earth. The exits of the station have a shell shape and were designed by the Japanese Takamatsu.

We are now heading to Cijin Island, which is a small elongated island off the coast of Kaohsiung. To get there we took the Orange Line from Formosa Boulevard to Si-Zih Wan. We go to the left everything straight until the street ends and then to the right until we reach the Gushan Ferry Pier.

At the pier we take a ferry to the island. There are two rows with one for those who ride a motorcycle and one for those who walk. The island is famous for its night market, full of restaurants where we can taste seafood. As soon as we disembark and start walking along the main street we come across the Tianhou Temple.

It is very small, but beautiful, with the typical Chinese decorations and the ornamental richness of the interior. From the temple to the beach it is all full of restaurants and food stalls. The restaurants have fishmongers with fresh seafood at the door. They sell it and then they cook it inside.

We love grilled seafood or simply boiled, but there they add sauces that do not appeal to us. We passed by a post that had whole squid pinned on a stick. Taiwanese women who were buying told us that we should taste them. We thought they would give them to us on the stick to eat them as if they were a lollipop, but no, they are half-fried.

They fry heat a pan, cut them into pieces, add fried onions and put them in a paper cone and in a bag to be able to grab them. Following the street forward we arrived immediately at the beach. We sat facing the sea and tasted our calamari. They were good and a little bit spicy.

We returned to take the ferry and the subway to return to our hotel. We saw something that caught our attention. We see a truck with loud music that turned out to be the garbage truck. The music was to warn people. Each one went out with his bag and threw it inside. It is a normal practice throughout the country, because then we saw it in other places and the music was the same.

And we went to rest as tomorrow we had to get up early to go to Alishan.

Cijin Island near Kaohsiung in Taiwan wallpaper images

Road trip through Kenai Peninsula, the wonder of Alaska

The Kenai Peninsula is the gateway to Alaska. Its beauty is breathtaking! Beautiful snow-capped mountains loom in the background. It's amazing to see how all of Alaska's roads are so scenic. We leave Valdez behind and the Richardson Highway to start on the Glennallen Highway. We are glad to return to undo part of the way, since the vision from the opposite side is different.

At first we had many doubts about whether to return by road to Anchorage, or take the ferry and appear in Whittier. It was a complicated decision, but we wanted to go through the Matanuska glacier and experience what an ice climber feels. Since we had already seen part of Prince William's strait, we decided to return by road.

The image from the rear-view mirror of a very white volcano with a reddish sky in the background in the middle of the road look as if it were a postcard. It was time to look for accommodation. At the end we sleep in a very peculiar campsite a few kilometers from the crossroads. It was a kind of antique museum.

The price was a little more expensive than other campsites, but the place where we set up the store also deserved it. It was a green field surrounded by pine trees in front of a beautiful stream. The only downside, of course, were the mosquitoes.

Day 2

The day awaited us with new adventures. A moose crossed us on the road when the sun's rays tried to cross the thin clouds of the sky. The road, once again, was with beautiful scenic stretches. This time it was the turn of the Matanuska glacier, the longest in the United States accessible by car. Our idea was to do a little trekking on the glacier and learn to climb on ice. The blue-white color of the ice was beautiful.

The Matanuska glacier was a beautiful place to practice ice climbing. The weather had cleared completely and the white ice of the ice contrasted with the intense blue of the sky. We did not know yet, but this would be the last day we would have such a perfect time.

We resumed our tour of the Glenn Highway until we approached Anchorage. The road ran parallel to the winding course of the Matanuska River in the Mat-Su valley. It is guarded by the Chugach Mountains to the south and the Talkeetna Mountains to the north.

As we approached Anchorage, we began to see dark clouds coming from the coast. Bad omen, we went straight to them. It was the beginning of the Seward Highway when the sun stopped shining.

We left Anchorage a few kilometers ago and entered the Turnagain Arm. On the left we were escorted by the Chugach Mountains, while on the right we had the Cook inlet, an arm of the sea in which there abound very white beluga whales. The road was very scenic, but the summits of the mountains were covered by a remarkable cloud layer. We look for a campsite where we can stay with the hope that the clouds will dissipate the next day. The temperature was still pleasant, at about 20 degrees.

Kenai Peninsula Alaska wallpaper images

Day 3

So far we had not needed an alarm to get up in the morning. The jetlag, the excitement of the trip, the desire to want to see more and the 24 hours of light made us wake up very early. Today was no exception, although the light was dimmer than in previous days. The clouds remained in the same place.

On the way to Whittier, we stopped at a kind of animal orphanage. We thought that it could be an excellent way to see the typical Alaskan fauna and wait for the sun to begin to appear. One of the most beautiful moments was when we saw how they fed bison pups. Soon a small trickle of water fell. We took shelter in the souvenir shop and as soon as it got dry we decided to take a ferry to see the famous marine glaciers.

Although it did not rain again, the clouds were still very low, almost at sea level! Whittier is a strange looking town. Possibly it has to do with its military origin. During World War II, as a distraction maneuver to hide its true objective, Midway Atoll, the Japanese bombed Unalaska and occupied two other small islands at the Aleutian end, Attu and Kiska. Then the United States seemed to realize that its northern refrigerator was more strategic than it seemed at first.

Thus, several military bases were founded throughout Alaska and a highway was constructed in nine months. It united the territories of the north to the rest of the United States crossing Canada, popularly known as Alcan or the Alaska Canada Highway, of more than two thousand kilometers in length. One of those bases was Whittier, a natural harbor that had the advantage that its waters did not freeze during the long winter.

The military base no longer exists but in the village there have remained as a legacy, converted into houses, several ugly concrete towers that do not exactly do justice to the environment. We took the ferry in Whittier, and the only road access to it is through the Anton Anderson Memorial tunnel. It is a very interesting tunnel, one way and when the train does not pass, then the cars pass, first the one way and then the other.

In the worst case, you will have to wait a quarter of an hour for the light to turn green and you can start the march. I was lucky, because I had the free passage when I got near and I did not have to wait a minute. Since the kayak in Valdez had not gone well, I was thinking about making up for a day of fishing. I booked a passage for a long day of sailing and fishing for the halibut along the coast of Alaska.

At first the clouds were so low we could barely see anything from the boat. That gave us a lot of anger, especially when we knew that the landscape was spectacular. As we got closer to the glaciers we began to distinguish part of the mountains. The truth is that even with such melancholy weather, the glaciers seemed impressive. The waters of the fjord on whose bottom was the port of Seward were like a raft of oil.

We also saw sea otters resting on small blocks of ice, seals, golden eagles, and different types of birds. Late in the afternoon we headed towards Seward. The Seward Highway is one of the most spectacular, but honestly to me all the roads I was looking. The mountains are closer and on the sides we can see several lakes with water lilies. The truth is that I was dying to spend a day in a sea usually as hectic as Bering.

Several hours after sailing we stopped in the middle of the sea and were adrift. I imagine that the sonar would signal the presence of a fish bank and that it turned that place into one as good as any other to throw the hooks in the water. The bait, pieces of herring. I do not know if with a sonar it is possible to distinguish a halibut bank from one of sardines or of a whale.

The reality is that all the fishermen started to take small sharks of the size of my arm out of the water that quickly realized the baits that both the skipper and his assistant were placing on our hooks. After returning to the sea a good amount of sharks (I took three), all alive and with their fins intact, of course.

The boss decided to continue the march for a while and find a better place to fish what we all wanted, a couple of tasty halibut. Of course, I cannot deny that fishing time was as fun as the next one because the sharks they threw enough of the condemned. We set off again to the port. The girl who came as a crew member on the boat spent a good part of the trip back cleaning and preparing the fish.

Most fishermen chose to send their catches, conveniently packaged, home. Since in my case that was not possible I opted to stay with a beautiful ration for dinner that night and donate the rest for charity. In summary, I think it is the most expensive fish ration I have eaten in my life but it was worth it. I had fun.

We started mid-afternoon to Seward. The truth is that it was very beautiful, but we could not see it as well as others because of the weather. However, it should be noted that this road is much busier than others and of course you can not stop at the time you want, unlike the Denali Highway.

Tonight, our idea was to sleep in Seward. We were walking around the coastal town, the day was cloudy and the mountains were not visible in the background. We went to dinner at a restaurant with the intention of trying again to try typical Alaskan dishes. The truth is that the dinner was very good based on fish, although we also paid for it.

There was a campground in the center of Seward. On a clear day the views had to be impressive, although it is true that it gave a bit of a shabby feel. The motorhomes were in the front line, then the stores, but there was no kind of fence with trees and everything was very much in sight. The campground was complete and we had to find another place to spend the night.

As the next day we wanted to climb the Harding icefield, we went straight to that area. Right next to the Exit glacier where the route starts there is a small campsite, with very spacious and intimate plots and quite wild. It was not allowed to leave absolutely no food, creams, neither in the car nor in the store. There was a room specifically for it, and in one of the doors at the height of the handlebar we saw a bear print! It gave a lot of respect, really. Especially since we were practically alone!

Day 4

Today we got up with much desire to do the trekking. I did not have too much breakfast and of course I took very little liquid, just a tea to avoid the morning headache that crushes me whenever my breakfast does not include a coffee or, failing that, tea.

It was practically our last day, the next one was already undoing the road to go back to Anchorage and catch our plane. The trek was amazing! I do not remember very well the duration. It took about 7 hours round trip, but for me was one of the most beautiful excursions I have ever done. We climb up the slope of the Exit glacier, leaving behind the entire Seward valley until we reach the end of an immense Ice field.

From there the road was covered with snow, but the climb was less hard. When you reach the end of the itinerary, the landscape that is seen above Harding is amazing, the view does not reach the end of the ice field! Of course if you are only going to do a trek in Alaska, I would choose this one without hesitation. It is essential if you like the mountain.

It is not a technical trek, but you have to be prepared to climb through snow and be able to cross with bears. But the views that are obtained at the end are impressive. The road that borders the Kenai Peninsula ends in Homer, several hundred kilometers from where I was and that was my destiny at the end. On the way lakes, rivers, forests in the autumn and a few small towns, some of whose small buildings betrayed their Russian origin.

As it was a good day at the end I opted to get to Homer, at the end of the Sterling Highway. Of all the people I met during my three weeks touring Alaska I think Homer was the one I liked the most. Located on the side of a beautiful bay, a tongue of land goes eight kilometers into the sea, forming a barrier that turns that bay into a huge natural harbor.

At the end of the same restaurants, shops, some art gallery and companies that offered all kinds of excursions and activities around a small lighthouse gave the place an aspect certainly picturesque. That night I stayed in a hostel in Homer. The next day I had to get to Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska but not its capital, where my trip to the 49th State of the USA would come to an end. But that is another chapter.

It is impossible to forget how small you feel in front of such a spectacular horizon! It was a great time to immortalize and finish off our Alaska vacation. With these beautiful images and with immense desire to return, we say goodbye to Alaska.

Jungle Adventures in Khao Sok Natural Park in Thailand

We would have spent another day in Khao Lak as in Chiang Mai. In the afternoon after returning from diving we had hired the transfer from Khao Lak to Khao Sok. As we were getting closer to the national park we already felt that we were going to love. It is the most indigenous province of Chiang Mai.

As for the people of the town they were fantastic and they did not stop smiling, with nothing and less you can not imagine how happy they were, without light, or running water, and all their lives living in a village of 5 houses in the middle of the nothing. How much do we have to learn from these people!

Khao Sok is one of the beautiful national parks of Thailand. It's huge. To enter the park we have to pay something, just like entering Similians or Phi Phi, but it's not much. When entering the park there are some posts where we can hire guides and excursions. The hotel that we chose in Khao Sok is the best of the deals we got.

When we arrived we were already half expecting. Then we went to dinner at the restaurant and the manager of the hotel came to greet us, who turns out to be a very young guy. From the same hotel we organized the excursion that we had planned to the Cheow Lan lake. The tour had already been confirmed on the internet with the hotel itself.

The Hotel is also very nice. It is in the midst of nature and we feel completely integrated into it. However, it is a very clean place and curiously there are not too many mosquitoes, only at night in the open air, something incredible. The only problem it has is with the issue of electricity and the light goes out with some frequency. In fact, the rooms have generators for when the electricity goes out.

Thailand Jungle wallpaper images

Day 2

Our real adventure in the jungle began. They came to pick us up at the hotel and moved us to the Takuapa market, a very authentic food market where we could stock something for our excursion. In the market our guide was waiting for us. From this moment, he was with us all the time and it was great.

From the entrance to the park to the lake there is approximately an hour and a half of road route. When we get to the lake, we pay the entrance to the park and you go up in a long queue. In the early morning, we made the elephant ride, crossing rivers, ravines. And these elephants were not like the ones in Chiang Mai with their little teddy and their comfortable seat. I had a piece of wood to sit on, and hold on like I can!

And finally we made the descent (a bit hilly) to the nearest road in a raft made of bamboo trunks. From here we went through the jungle, penetrating through the jungle full of cobras, bears, tigers, thousands of mosquitoes and all kinds of wild animals (no kidding). We saw gibbon monkeys, tarantulas, entered caves, and toured the lake with incredible landscapes. The sounds of the jungle are really impressive.

In addition, it is not a tourist site, so I can feel the loneliness of the place and listen only to the sounds of nature. We had booked at a resort, a very nice place. They have individual cabins in a natural environment taken care of down to the smallest detail.

The place where we stay today are very basic cabins that float on the lake. It is part of the excursion. Being there was amazing. We had lunch with Thai food. It was the best of the whole trip to Thailand. After eating, we walk through the humid forest (it is essential to wear appropriate footwear) and enter a cave where the water reaches the neck in certain sections.

We had kayaks at our disposal for a ride around the lake, which also has a very clean water, and we had a fantastic bath. Of course, this route is not suitable for people who are not adventurous, who do not want to be muddy to the waist or who are sensitive to mosquitoes and other bugs. Finally we take the boat back to the van and, from there, to the hotel.

That night we slept in the cabins after having an improvised papaya cake. One of the most special compliments that you can have, for sure. I will never forget the experience of sleeping on the floor of a cabin made of straw and bamboo canes. Honestly, I have not heard so many animal noises in my life while I was sleeping.

Walking through Taiwan and Taipei 101

We picked up our bags and took out a ticket for Taipei. This train is like a commuter train that at every few minutes stops at all stations. We got off at Taipei Main Station, where we have our hotel for the last few nights of our stay in Taiwan. Next to the hotel, we bought some salads, fruit, yoghurts and then we did the check in.

As it was 15:15, they gave us the room. The first thing we did was to eat, which tasted like glory, after so many days of Taiwanese cooking. The hotel is very old. The worst thing of all is that the air conditioning is very strong and cannot be lowered. It was awfully cold. The only good thing is that it is very close to Taipei Main Station.

We take the Subway Red Line to Soangshan, and then to Taipei 101. Taipei 101 is the tallest building in Taiwan and one of the tallest in the world. As the name suggests it has 101 floors. The design resembles a bamboo trunk. It is the best place to observe Taipei from above. The F1 to F5 has luxury shopping centers, full of branded stores.

Everything is clean, immaculate, chic and very expensive. There is nothing appropriate for a shabby-minded traveler like me. In the F5 there is also the ticket office and the elevators to go up to the Observatory. We get on the F5 in a normal elevator. At the ticket offices we had to wait a while, because there was a line. The entrance is very expensive. When we got the entry ticket we had to queue up to one of the ultra-fast elevators, which take us from F5 to F89.

The truth is that all we notice is that the ears were plugged. The elevator has a luminous panel that indicates the floor we are going through, but the numbers go by so fast that they cannot even be seen. At F89 the elevator left us and where the observatory is. It is full of windows. We went around and see the city in all directions.

The views are impressive. It is a pity that when it arrived it was already night, thanks to the queues we had to wait, but by day it has to be spectacular. From F89 we go up some stairs to the F91. Here is the outdoor terrace. We were lucky because today it was open. We understand that on the days it is windy, they close it for safety.

From here we can take an exterior photo of F92 to F101 floors. On this terrace, fireworks are lighted annually to celebrate the New Year. We went back down the stairs and reached the F88 where is the large golden ball, which weighs 660 tons. It serves as a counterbalance to balance the building so that it does not fall when there are strong winds, typhoons or earthquakes.

The elevators are on the F88, after crossing a corridor full of stand with very luxurious items. In front of exit of the metro is the Court Food, full of fast food restaurants and that is the most Europeanized we have seen in Taiwan. The first restaurant we enter is the Din Tai Fung that has a Michelin star for its famous syou rum pou that are those dumplings stuffed with pork and vegetables.

There are Changhu fries and steamed Hsinchu. They are spread in soy sauce and vinegar. There are several franchises of this restaurant spread throughout Taipei. We had the intention to dine here, since we know it is not expensive, but there was a huge queue. We even had to take out a number and the estimated time of waiting was 2 hours.

We walked around the Food Court and saw some shrimp burgers with their bread and their lettuce, which caught our attention. They were crispy and delicious. When we went through Din Tai Fung again to leave, we still had an hour and a half to wait. I looked for a tea shop. The Taiwanese tea par excellence is the Oolong Tea and there are different types. The Oolong Tea from the Alishan Mountains is very good. From what they told me, the higher the mountain where it comes from, the greener the tea.

We went to the hotel to rest as tomorrow we have one of the most anticipated days to visit the Zhinan temple and the town of Wulai.

Taipei 101 wallpaper images

The Pilgrimage to Sint Maarten in the Caribbean

We get up as usual at 6.30, have breakfast and see how our ship docks in port with two other cruises. We arrived in Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch part of Sint Maarten. The island is divided in two parts. The northern part belongs to France and the southern part to Holland, which is where we arrived. At 8 we disembarked and we got a good first impression since everything is very clean and well taken care of.

Everything is very well organized and there are a lot of shops and people offering tours. Today we plan to go to a good beach and then see the planes land in Maho Beach. We know that it can be done cheaply in public transport so we go to the tourist office to ask how to go to the center from there.

Already with a map in hand, we take the typical photo of arrival and we started the way on foot to the city (we have been told that it is 20 minutes on foot). Before leaving the port area, we found a statue of the last governor who was on the island. We already see that there are signs indicating the way to follow.

Then we come to another area of ​​stores that, because of the early arrival, remain closed. There is also a kind of walk where I try with the help of the map to decide which road to take to find where to go. We decided to go, first, to see Fort Saint Louis. For this we must reach the French capital, Marigot.

The taxi leaves us in a square and we walk up to the fort. Fort Saint Louis was built in 1767 to defend against invasions. It's free, and it's up high, allowing fantastic views of the bay. We walk through it and touch the cannons that was once shot against the Dutch or British who approached by sea.

From there, the street is very long and there are no signposted stops so we were lost when suddenly I see a dark blue van approaching with a sign on the front that says Maho Beach-Airport. Without thinking about the stoppage I ask him if he goes to Mullet Bay and the driver answers yes.

The back door opens and we settled inside as we can. Until we arrived at our destination he made several more stops. The road to Mullet Bay passes through an inland lake and we only make a brief stop at the Princess Julianna airport. So in 30 minutes we arrive at Maho Beach where all the occupants except us get off. He leaves us 500 m further on the road on a path next to the golf course. We got off.

The area where he has left us has shops and some hotels so there are enough tourists. We walk about 100 m and we arrive at Mullet Bay, a large beach that at this early hour is quite lonely. In addition, suddenly it's sunny, suddenly black clouds come and it rains few drops. In the sea there are huge waves, of several meters. So much so that there are several surfers in between the waves.

At the beginning of the morning, we do not dare to take a bath so we stroll along the long beach with calm water that also looks very beautiful. Slowly, the beach gets filled with people from the ship and the hotels and many people dare to take a bath. So we risk it too, although something dangerous because there is a hangover and the waves are very high!

At about 11.30 am to change the beach we collect everything and go back to the golf course and the shops where the Van left us. There is a supermarket there so we bought some cold drinks and we walked towards Maho beach which is the beach in front of the airport.

There is a sign where it warns of the danger of being there but still people do not usually pay much attention. When we get to the beach we see that although it is still cloudy, the water has a very nice color and it seems that there are not so many waves. Also, the first plane arrives immediately.

The beach was overflowing with people! There is almost no where to leave things. One of those giant waves came with so much force and was so big that it covered all the sand of the beach wetting things! Luckily, we picked up the bags in time where the valuables were and that did not get wet but the towels were soaked. We saw how there were people who had the photo cameras and the money soaked. It was a fun time to see all the people shouting when the wave came but then we see the destruction.

While this was happening, the girls were at the bar quietly watching a group of music act. In that same bar, they have a surfboard stuck in the sand with the information of all the flights that arrive that day. We were there for about an hour and saw a lot of small airplanes of a certain size as the airport is right next to the beach. So the landing strip is less than 10 meters from the beach.

When we were already picking up to leave, a very kind lady told me not to leave, as it was time for the biggest plane to land. We paid attention to her and we stayed. That was a spectacle because the plane was very big and felt really close. The atmosphere of the beach frenzied, especially thanks to several small groups of drunk people.

After this plane everyone started to pick up and leave. So we hurried and we got on the first van we found towards Philipsburg. At about 13.30 we get back in the city next to the market. Here we look at several shops but we do not see very interesting things so we do not buy anything.

We continue to the beach and find the old town hall, which we did not see this morning. As it is early and the day has improved a lot, we decided to stay a little longer on this beach that is next to the port. It is called Great Bay and the truth is that it is very good although most of the cruise passengers are right now in it.

From the beach we can see how the port at this time is also full, with the cruises that were missing this morning there. We want to freshen up with a bath but before we ask a lady to take a picture of us at 2 o'clock. Already in the water we continue with the photos.

At 2:30 we decided to go back to the ship taking a walk through the shops that were closed this morning. The area now has a lot of life and as I said this morning, everything is very beautiful. The road to the ship is a calvary because it is very hot and we have burned so we have to take the wet towels on our shoulders to avoid getting burned even more.

When we reach the dock, we see that the huge boats stand between boats in the shade. It is impressive to walk around there. We go along the beach that is right there, quite beautiful and with memories in the form of figures that were filmed there with some of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, with a cool seafront and shops and bars well decorated.

We go to eat something and the rest of the afternoon is spent in the pool in the shade until the time of departure and we go up to say goodbye to St Maarten. Then we go to the cabin, where we meet a new guest. At 19:30 we went to the theater to a very entertaining show that came straight from Las Vegas (that's what they said and the truth is that it was fun).

Afterwards we had a good time in the champagne bar, where today they have a discount on margaritas. The rest of the night was dinner and little else. Night falls in St. Maarten and from the balcony we say goodbye to this beautiful island as we set sail for Martinique.

Saint Martin wallpaper imagesSaint Martin wallpaper imagesSaint Martin wallpaper imagesSaint Martin wallpaper imagesSaint Martin wallpaper images

A trip to Skagway in Alaska

The place where the north wind blows. This beautiful phrase is more nor less than the generally accepted meaning of Skagua, original name given by the Tinglits natives to one of the oldest cities in Alaska. Skagway, one of the oldest cities in Alaska, was the penultimate destination on our cruise itinerary at the northern end of the Inside Passage.

Great travels have something wonderful that their enchantment begins before the departure itself. We open the atlases, and we dream on the cards. We repeat the beautiful names of unknown cities. Alaska! Here is an atypical destination that makes us dream of more than one! I imagined a gigantic land, poor roads, glaciers, and wild animals.

A history of miners, rains and many cruises make Skagway one of the most interesting and popular cities to visit in the Inside Passage. Skagway is a town that was born and grew up with gold prospectors. It was one of the entrances to reach the Yukon River and that involved the ascent of the mountain to the so-called White Pass.

It gave rise to the mythical photos of the gold prospectors carrying heavy weights on their backs. When they arrived at the top they found the border of Canada that demanded that they take a ton of material to be able to survive the harsh winter, in which the hunting was not abundant.

In 1898 they started to build a railroad that reached White Pass, but the gold rush began to decline. Just when it was finished in 1900 almost nobody was going. Now the railway is a tourist train that does not stop impressing the passenger seeing the precipices that almost touch the train tracks.

A trip to Skagway in Alaska

Day 1

I opened my eyes at 5.45 and when I drew back the curtains I found myself facing a rocky cliff half covered by vegetation and partly by human graffiti. The clouds dissipated during the night and the sunrise is magnificent. Due to the absence of clouds at night was cold. In the light of dawn I can see that a white film has covered the landscape.

There are people who climb to leave their mark in the most unsuspecting places. The ship was docking. The sky is cloudy and today we make a beautiful excursion to the border of Canada aboard a train. Its line stretched in full gold rush and crosses majestic landscapes to ascend 1003 meters to Summit Pass. On the other side this is the territory of the Yukon and Klondike.

Skagway, surrounded by mountains, on the edge of the Pacific Ocean is a small town that preserves many vestiges of that insane and violent era. The center is full of buildings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They are now dedicated to entertain the tourist in the summer days.

The journey of just over 100 miles lasts almost 5 hours to Carcross (Caribou Crossing). But I had the impression that the trip was shorter because the landscape is a real spectacle of every moment. I do not have the talents of a writer to transcribe this beauty with words. I remain in awe of the architecture of this village of another era.

There are 3 stops. The longest is in Bennet to eat an exquisite miner's stew at 10.30 in the morning that we have repeated with the classic American apple pie for dessert. We take a short walk through the vestiges of the old mining town which stands in front of the beautiful and extensive lake of the same name.

When we arrived in Carcross, a bus was waiting for us to return by a wonderful panoramic road where we see mountains and lakes of Canadian grandeur and beauty. At 15.30 we got back to the boat. Frankly tired and with our books and music in tow, we spent the rest of the afternoon at the bow observatory in front of the embouchure of the fjord. We are exhausted. We only have dinner and go to bed.

A trip to Skagway in Alaska

Day 2

It's 5 o'clock in the morning and I'm at the observatory on the deck known as the crow's nest with a coffee and a wonderful panorama before me. I woke up very early and since today's stage is over the sea. I preferred to take a preferred place to watch the show.

At 7 o'clock the rangers of this peculiar park go up to explain the characteristics of the glacier calving that we will see. The lounge next to the library has become a small auditorium

I can already see the snowy peaks that surround us and I am sure that this will be one of the main milestones of the cruise that has been so beautiful. Glacier Bay is a succession of fjords that end in a tidal glacier that goes into the sea and that releases icebergs continuously. We hope to spot whales, puffins, otters and sea lions and that time helps. It has dawned cloudy but is bright at the moment. I'm not the only one who has been out of bed, as there are three more early risers in this beautiful room.

It's almost 7 and the rangers' boat is approaching. The landscape is a mixture of snow-capped peaks cutting into an overcast sky that lets in a ray of sunlight, calm waters and shreds of low clouds on the trees on the banks. It is a scene of absolute placidity that produces emotion while the hall is being populated by passengers slowly.

At 7.30 the talk begins by a Ranger named after the bear keeper who explains the tour and introduces us to a native Tlingit. He tells the long association of his ethnicity with these places. He come equipped with musical instruments and tools several used by the Indians of the area. Meanwhile we continue advancing towards the Johns Hopkins and Margerie glaciers that can be seen in the distance, at the bottom of the fjord that divides into two arms.

It is 10.45 and they offer us the traditional Dutch pea soup that feels great when returning from the deck to photograph in the rain and with cold glacier fronts that we are not approaching. It is a pity that the visibility is not desirable, but it does not subtract a little beauty from the panorama. First we visited the J. Hopkins and finally the Margerie. This is much bigger, clean and bluish than the previous one and with a gigantic moraine fed by two high mountains that impresses with its peaks of frozen meringue.

At 1 o'clock in the afternoon, the boat turns around and begins the way back to the entrance of the park near Gustavus, which we will arrive at 5 o'clock. There the rangers disembark and we go out to the open sea to go through this part of the park towards the Gulf of Alaska towards Seward, the end point of the cruise.

Tonight the farewell gala dinner is celebrated and tomorrow we will spend the day sailing, resting and preparing the luggage for the disembarkation. The last thing we see in our cabin before sleeping is the funny animal that every night our room waiter has prepared. Today it is is a monkey. Other days we have had whales, rabbits, turtles.

An Indian Wedding in Kuala Lumpur

During our trip to Kuala Lumpur, we had the great fortune of witnessing, in a casual way, one of the most magical moments of our visit to the Malay city. We were witness to an authentic Indian wedding!

After the colorful visit to Chinatown, we were about to visit the second Chinese temple recommended in the guides. It was when, suddenly, we came across the Indian temple of great ornamentation. It was hidden in one of the streets of Chinatown bordering on Little India. This is Kuala Lumpur. The mixture of cultures is so intense that it is possible to find an Indian temple in the middle of Chinatown.

And so, coincidentally, we come to the incredible Sri Maha Mariamman. Sri Maha Mariamman is the oldest Indian temple in the city. It is located on the edge of Chinatown with Little India on Jalan Bandar. Its door has as an ornament an impressive pyramidal tower (Rajagopuram). It is almost 23 meters high and with five levels where 228 idols appear.

That day we were lucky. Inside we were waiting for one of the surprises of the day and the trip. A few people were celebrating an Indian wedding!

We entered with difficulty, but they indicated that we were welcome. They invited us to take off our shoes. From a corner, and almost invisible, we were lucky enough to observe unique rituals of ancestral character in an atmosphere of incredible smells and sounds.

Indian Marriage wedding images wallpaper

The guests were dressed in their finest silk suits and the most delicate saris. The colorful rituals were accompanied by percussion sounds and drums that gave the ceremony a cheerful, ethnic, and primitive character. The smell of sandalwood and other spices invaded the room.

The floor was adorned with complicated drawings as mandalas of good fortune made with all kinds of brightly colored spices and strong smells. The bride and groom were treated to the brutal rhythm of music with all kinds of offerings through a series of symbols of fire and incense inherited from generation to generation. We did not know its meaning but it kept us hypnotized.

Coincidentally during much of the ceremony, we were the only witnesses of that magical moment. My eyes did not blink and looked with my mouth open everything that happened around me. I remain hidden behind a column not to disturb, caught excited with my objective to capture a thousand and one images of the exotic moment.

The ceremony was held in the Main Hall of Prayer of the Temple which is built on five levels following the shape of the human body. Inside we can see a silver chariot made in India. It is used during the festival of Thaipusam to transport the statuettes of Lord Muruga and his consorts to the Batu Caves. Mariamman is a manifestation of the goddess Parvati, considered protective of the Hindus during their stay in foreign lands.

The bride and groom, dressed in bright colors, were carried away by the moment. The bride looked beautiful in her silk sari embroidered in gold threads. She was tattooed with all the detail of henna in hands and arms and wear her best jewelry and gold pendants. She was emotional in many of those moments and the groom, affectionately, consoled her.

There were very deep and emotional moments, such as when a series of sacred amulets were exchanged, or when the couple delivered a flower necklace as a symbol of acceptance and fidelity. It is interesting that once married, they receive the rain of rice from the guests as a symbol of prosperity.

The hospitality of these people is incredible. We were welcome. They offered us food and dates. We thanked them because we did not want to bother, but we accepted some dates as a courtesy so as not to fall into the offense.

Time stopped in that place. It was an intense morning and always to remember. It was a wedding of one thousand and one nights. It was a dream wedding, and an unrepeatable experience.

3 Days in Bangkok Guide for Backpackers

This is the story of our first trip to Thailand, made during the Christmas holidays, specifically between December 25 and January 1. After reading a few Thailand travel guides and Thailand travel blogs, and taking into account that we did not have too many days, we decided to focus only on Bangkok.

We bought the flights at the beginning of June and I must say that from there the prices did not go up any more. Christmas is an expensive time to fly, I would even say more than the month of August because there is less flexibility. The good thing about traveling to Thailand is that the price of the flight in high season is compensated with the little that one spends there, both in hotels as in food and excursions.

The temples are worthwhile. Chinatown is optional but it fits well by taking the boat directly from Wat Arun. Bangkok is one of the hottest cities in the world, with high temperatures that barely fluctuate and a lot of humidity depending on the time. December-January is relatively chilled. In August it may be harder to do all these visits in a single day. I do not know, but in our case it was perfectly feasible and I do not see any problem.

Day 1 in Bangkok

It dawns on December 25 and Santa Claus could not have left us a better gift as we are going to Thailand! However, this time, the flight left at night and gave us time to enjoy the classic Christmas feast before leaving for the airport to Bangkok. It is what it is to be a travel addict, that every time I need more dose to be satisfied. And the abstinence syndrome is unbearable, of course. Before someone suggests it, detoxifying and quitting is not an option.

It was a trip of a few days and so we only carried a couple of smaller backpacks, and we did not check-in our luggage. So we left the winter jackets in the trunk of the car and went directly to pass the controls to the boarding gates, already with the printed pass from home.

We embarked punctually and the plane left at the scheduled time but we landed at 7:10 pm in Bangkok instead of at 6:50 pm. As soon as we landed, we shot out of the plane to pass the immigration control, where we feared to find ourselves with a queue. That was not the case and in 10 minutes we had already done the pertinent procedures.

Our next stop is the super rich branch of the airport, located on the floor above next to the Airport Rail Link ticket offices, to change to baths. So at 20:10, an hour after arriving, we were already at the Airport Rail Link, the train that connects the airport with the center of Bangkok.

We take the City Line to the Phaya Thai stop, the last of the line. Whenever we can (if the schedule allows it) we use this train to go to the city because it is cheap, fast, convenient and proof of the mythical traffic jams of Bangkok . In addition, it connects with the BTS (Bangkok Skytrain), ideal to move towards the main areas of the city.

Once in Phaya Thai, the road to access the BTS (skytrain) is already indicated. We took the Sukhumvit line and in Siam we made a transfer to the Silom line. Everything was very fast, as we get off one train and get on the other. We stopped at Sala Daeng, from where we had a 5 minute walk to our hotel. On the way we stopped to buy water and get something to eat, although we were not too hungry.

The truth is that the first impression of the city was not very good. When we left the BTS, we were enveloped in a blast of the smoke of cars, strong smells and hectic bustle that, at least in my case, left me a little misplaced. Between the fatigue of the trip, the noise of the traffic, the racking and that was already at night, I felt a bit strange.

I have already realized that this sensation lasted only a few minutes, because after all in Bangkok I felt at home and today it is a city that I love and where I have visited again. The same thing happened to me in Tokyo and possibly in other places that I do not remember now, that initial feeling of being completely out of place and then feeling like a fish in the water.

Our hotel was two steps away from Lumpini Park and Patpong night market. We were given a very spacious room, overlooking the pool and small garden. We did the check-in and retired to bed. Personally, what works best for me to avoid the feared jet lag is that after a long trip, get to the places with just enough time to dine and sleep.

The next day I usually wake up fresh like a rose and at reasonable hours, both when traveling east and west. After the trip back home instead, I usually have a horse jet lag, combined with the classic deep depression that implies the return to work.

Temples of Bangkok wallpaper images

Day 2 in Bangkok

We get up at 6:30 as roses after a night of rest and go down to breakfast. The free buffet is quite good. There are several hot dishes including different types of bread with jam, waffles, cereals, coffee, juices, yogurt and fruit.

After the binge, we set off and arrived at the BTS stop Chong Nonsi just when the Thai anthem sounded. Our first experience seeing how, all of a sudden, everyone was standing, paralyzed and in absolute silence in the place where he was at that moment. This ritual takes place twice a day at 8 in the morning and 6 in the evening, in public places such as BTS stations and Lumpini Park.

After the experience, we took the BTS to Saphan Taksin and followed the signs to get to Sathorn Pier or Central Pier, where the Chao Phraya Express boat operates. We took the cheapest and had a stop where we were interested, but there are other lines that can be used without any problem for a few more bath.

We had planned to start at the Grand Palace, so we went to the Tha Chang stop. As soon as we arrive, we cross a covered jetty, surrounded by small shops, and we go out onto a street where we can already see the Grand Palace. There were lots of people of all kinds heading there with mass excursions of Chinese, tourists and floods of Thai dressed in black due to the mourning for the not so recent death of the king. There was much devotion to the former monarch, who was practically venerated as if he were a God.

Access to this place is expensive compared to the rest of visits, but it is worth very much worth it. The Grand Palace is divided into several areas, and some of them can only access Thais who will pray or pay tribute to the deceased monarch. For us, the point of maximum interest is the Wat Phra Kaew, a temple that is inside the palace grounds, but in which monks do not live. It houses the well-known Emerald Buddha, one of the most revered by the faithful.

Returning to Wat Phra Kaew, as we said, is currently one of the main points of interest in Bangkok, both for tourists and for Buddhist pilgrims who visit it en masse daily. The Grand Palace complex as a whole has more than one hundred buildings and occupies a total of almost 95 hectares.

Luckily when we arrived I was not too busy, I have seen pictures where the temple seems to be invaded by a marabunta and it was not our case. At the entrance are the typical guards with a bad face, reminded me of a nightclub security full of drunks at the crack of dawn.

And various mythological figures, with part of the animal body, abound everywhere. I do not know if at some point someone was mounted a very beast party (never better said) or is that they have a lot of imagination :

In the ordination hall we can see the star of the place, the Emerald Buddha. They also had a multitude of enslaved mythological beings holding things, it is seen that there is a lot of love around here.

It must be said that between the hustle and movement that there was, someone tried to endorse us a child, but it did not come through. Here we have it, trying to fit snugly as who does not want the thing. If it had been a cat we would probably have taken it home, but that was not the case, so we gave it back to his mother.

According to the Thailand travel guide, the Grand Palace was the ancient Thai royal residence. At present it is only visited by the monarchs on rare occasions, such as for ceremonies. It is an area not allowed for visitors, except some other room.

The entrance to the Grand Palace also includes access to the Dusit Palace, where we visit the Vimanmek mansion and the throne room. After visiting the Grand Palace we went to the nearby Wat Pho , my favorite temple in Bangkok. Very, very recommendable. If you go directly here, the nearest jetty is the Tha Tien stop. From the Grand Palace it is very easy to get there. Leaving the Palace we turn left and then again to the left, following the wall.

The main attraction of this temple is its well-known Reclining Buddha, the largest in the city. But apart from this, it has many other attractions. It has the largest number of Buddhas in Thailand and houses the oldest public education center in the country, as well as a well-known massage school. In this case, it does have monastic facilities where the monks live.

Apart from the famous Reclining Buddha, the whole temple itself is spectacular. I take about 1000 photos, now I do not remember exactly. After the visit it was around 12:30 and we decided to eat at a local joint right in front of Wat Pho, where we tried our first pad thais, which were delicious, of course.

Our next stop is Wat Arun, on the other side of the river. To get to Wat Arun from the Wat Pho area, we have to take a barge that for 4 bath per person takes us to the other shore. It was a moment to cross there. This neighborhood is called Thonburi, and it was the capital of Thailand for a time after the fall of Ayutthaya.

The most characteristic feature of Wat Arun is the 82 m high prang, in Khmer style, which was just the one that was full of scaffolding and I do not have good photos. But there are other interesting places.

Another of its distinctive features is its decoration based on small pieces of Chinese porcelain, I have my theory about its origin (you will see it in the other newspaper). The reality is that the Chinese ships that arrived at the port of Bangkok were getting rid of lots of shattered Chinese porcelain here.

And again I could not miss the doorman. I say, the guardian of the temple, with his face of bad host. Although in the fund sure is a good, because here we have it with their cats, and one of my many theories is that nobody who loves cats can be bad person.

Inside the bot we visit the main Buddha, which in theory was designed by King Rama II, whose ashes are buried at the base of the image. Undoubtedly, this visit is worthwhile, although we cannot enjoy the wonderful view of the city from the top of the tower.

Right there, in the garden of Wat Arun, is the pier where boats can be taken (there is a jetty, one for each direction in one direction or another of the river). We decided to take the boat to the Ratchawong stop to see Chinatown. At that time the boats were full of people, but we managed to climb.

Our next stop is Wat Traimit, a well-known temple in Chinatown that houses the impressive Golden Buddha. We decided to visit it before it closed, so when we arrived we went there. The Golden Buddha of Wat Traimit measures 3m high and is made with more than 5 tons of solid gold. You will ask (at least, I wonder), how he will have managed to resist so much gold there, without being profaned, stolen, handcuffed or whatever. The answer is that it was covered by a layer of plaster that camouflaged it.

Again, they have a great fondness for gold, as can be seen in the frames of doors and windows. Apart from the Buddha, the site houses the Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon. The Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Center is a small multimedia museum about Chinatown and its history, which is also open only until 16:00.

After the visit to the ostentatious Golden Buddha, we went now to wander through Chinatown and its main street, Yaowarat. Here you will find a network of alleys and labyrinthine corridors flanked by shops and various stalls, which can be somewhat overwhelming depending on whether you are traveling. The outer streets are somewhat less oppressive.

This neighborhood dates back to 1872, when the Chinese of the city were moved here by royal design. In the area west of the neighborhood is Phahurat or the Little India neighborhood of Bangkok (we did not go). In Chinatown, pomegranate juice is very popular.

After the walk through the Chinatown, where by the way abound the gold-buying stores, it was around 5 in the afternoon and we decided to go back to the hotel. One option is to go to the Hua Lamphong station and take the subway, but we were closer to the pier. We decided to take the boat to Sathorn and then BTS from Saphan Taksin to Chong Nonsi.

After a good shower, we walked around the lively neighborhood of Silom and had dinner at a restaurant next to the hotel. At that point we already loved Bangkok. There are impressive temples, tall buildings and modern elevated trains,and excellent food at cheap prices. It is a fascinating city, without a doubt.

Despite what we have read in some Thailand travel blogs, we find Bangkok quite well organized and very passable with a practical and efficient public transport system. Obviously, you have to be aware of where you are going and it is clear that it is not Tokyo.

Temples of Bangkok wallpaper images

Day 3 in Bangkok

We get up early again to take advantage of the first hours of the morning. Before 8 o'clock we were back at the BTS stop in Chong Nonsi and we followed the same itinerary as yesterday. We take the BTS to Saphan Taksin, and to Pier Central Pier to take a boat to Tha Chang.

After disembarking at Tha Chang, we head for a walk to Wat Ratchapradit, a lesser-known temple. It is located right at one end of Saranrom Park, it is free and quite beautiful. It is a temple built in 1864 in what was previously a coffee plantation. King Rama IV bought the land to build a temple of the Dhammayut Nikaya founded by himself. In this way, the inhabitants of the Grand Palace had a place to practice meditation close to their residences.

The paintings of the main ordination hall stand out, describing the royal ceremonies that take place throughout the year, as well as various events in the life of King Rama IV.

As yesterday, we find the already indispensable disco security and their cats. Ahead, we cross a canal and in the direction of Wat Suthat, there is another worthwhile temple, the Wat Ratchabophit. The entry is free and we found very few tourists. In addition there were monks praying and it was quite interesting.

This historic temple was built by King Rama V in 1869, according to the royal tradition according to which each monarch must have his own temple built in his reign. As we said, the previous one was founded by Rama IV and now it was his successor's turn to mount a handsome gambling den. Wat Ratchabophit combines traditional Thai architecture with a Western-style interior, probably the only one of its kind in Thailand. The site also houses the royal cemetery, where the ashes of the members of the royal family near Rama V rest.

We continue to wander towards Wat Suthat. At the time we flushed a lot, because of the horrible of the merchandise, but a year later we would understand that in Bangkok are simple in this business. Where they really dominate is in Chiang Mai. There we find all kinds of pongos and you can even visit a hatchery at the base of the Doi Suthep.

Wat Suthat is a temple of the prettiest and holds the title of highest of the royal temples. The wihan shows jataka murals (stories about Buddha) and the largest preserved bronze statue of the bronze period, called Phra Si Sakyamuni, 8 m high. At the base of this Buddha are the ashes of King Rama VIII.

The bot also holds the record for the size of the country in its style. This temple is also managed by Brahmin priests, who officiate very important ceremonies for the religion of the country. The furry black pussycat is no priest, but for me he was the highest authority in the temple, much more than any brahman or buddha there would be:

The murals that decorate the doors show us some pretty ferocious fish and looking pissed off, the piranhas and sharks look like sweet little angels by their side. In front of the Wat Suthat is the well known Giant Swing or Giant Swing, which in my opinion has nothing special. From here we walk a little more until we reach the Golden Mountain and the Wat Saket, another place not to be missed.

Mount Dorado or Golden Mountain is an artificial hill with a staircase flanked by trees, pongos and even a chiringuito where to take something fresh before continuing to the top. 344 steps lead us to it, as I said surrounded by pongos everywhere. Once up, the panoramic views of 360 degrees that can be enjoyed are worth mentioning. Apart from that, the stupa above is also interesting.

Inside the building there are altars with images that are venerated with various offerings. After the visit, we went to the Panfa Leelard stop of the Khlong Saen Saep, one of the transportation systems we most enjoy in Bangkok. They are like fluvial buses that go through the khlong and stop at many places of interest, so it's worth using them.

Along the way you will enjoy the bucolic vision of the backyards of the Bangkok houses. The boats have a kind of plastic curtain that goes up so that their passengers are not splashed by the suspiciously turbid water of the canal. We arrived at the Saphan Hua Chang stop, near the MBK center and Jim Thompson's house, our next destination.

At that point it was already 1 noon and we decided to eat at a restaurant-hostel close to Jim Thompson, two pad thais, fruit and drinks for 180 bath all and very good, as always. Then we saw that in the surroundings there were some interesting stops. We visited the Jim Thompson House, a historic building.

It is the old house of an American, silk businessman and art collector. It is said that Thompson served in the precursor of the CIA during World War II and that he settled in Bangkok at the end of the conflict. In addition to getting a loyal clientele around the world in his silk business, he bought and reassembled parts of various typical Thai abandoned houses.

The visit to the house is interesting and the gardens are also beautiful, but nevertheless the most intriguing thing in Jim Thompson's life was his end. In 1967, while he was traveling through West Malaysia, he disappeared mysteriously. It may be that the CIA itself removed him from the world due to his comments and anti-American activities. The mystery remains unsolved.

We decided to go to the area of ​​the hotel walking, stopping at the Erawan Shrine along the way. The road is easy, you just have to follow the BTS line. On the way, shortly after MBK we stopped to get our first Thai Massage in a place that was very good.

If I go back to Thailand, I'm not going to give myself another Thai Massage. I do not want to risk more uncontrollable fits of laughter that threaten my dignity (the little that I have left). Next stop after the beating, I say, after the massage was Erawan Shrine. It is a very strange place, in the heart of the most modern area of ​​Bangkok.

Surrounded by shopping centers, hotels and the BTS is this small sanctuary that was initially built in the 50s with the aim of ending a series of misfortunes produced during the construction of the Erawan Hotel (which was demolished in 1987 and has now been replaced by the Grand Hyatt Erawan).

Despite how small it is, it is an important place of worship for Thais, as we saw. Apparently they go there to ask for material prosperity, and the offerings include things as varied as candles, incense, sugar cane, bananas and teakwood elephants. Donations must be made in multiple numbers of seven to attract good luck.

One can also hire a typical Thai dance for a small fee as a thank you for a wish granted. This sanctuary has a very interesting history. Despite its dark past, it is a special place and is usually considered full of positive energy. Some say that it is in a meeting point of supernatural forces.

From the Erawan sanctuary we continue walking towards the hotel, passing by Lumpini Park, which we would visit the next day. After a refreshing and necessary shower after the walk through Bangkok, we left again at 7 o'clock to visit Patpong night market.

At that time it was still beginning, but there was already quite a lot of hustle and bustle. It is located in an area where there are many strip clubs, bars and other shows well known to all. It is basically concentrated in two alleys between Th Silom and Th Surawong. We did not buy anything. We spent about an hour wandering around and they offered us repeatedly to go to ping-pong shows. It of course did not interest us at all because we were afraid that they would take an eye out of an uncontrolled ball.

Then we went to dinner and have beer. Not as cheap as at noon, but Silom is not one of the most economical neighborhoods. After dinner, we return to the hotel to rest. That day was less hot than the previous one and we found fewer people in the places, so we got less tired, despite the extensive walking tour of the city. The next day we expected a visit to Ayutthaya, one of the most interesting places in central Thailand.

Our Route through the Coral Reefs of Cebu in Philippines

We woke up early because we had to take a plane to Cebu, an island in the middle of the Visayas. We plan to go to an immigration office in Cebu to extend our visa for a month. Apart from that and above all, we want to go to a town in the southeast of Cebu called Oslob. Here we have been told that there is a family of young members of whale sharks settled in their coasts. Here one can Snorkel with them!

But we decided to go first to the north of Cebu and take a boat to the tiny island of Malapascua, one of the few places in the world where one can see the fox shark. It is a 3 meter beast that has not evolved since the Quaternary and that lives in deep abysses, in total darkness. That is why, although they have very large eyes they are half blind, and they are called fox shark because they have a tail almost as long as their body!

This island is surrounded by a barrier of coral reefs that delimit with a vertical wall of more than 100 meters deep. Every morning between 6 and 7 emerge until natural stone platforms that are about 25 meters deep to clean their parasites thanks to little fish that are there waiting for them.

The dive starts at 4 o'clock in the morning to be there at 7 o'clock, waiting for them, lying on the rock platforms. We arrived in Cebu at 7 in the afternoon after a low cost flight, just over an hour long. We take a taxi to the bus station in the north, and at 9 pm we took a very shabby bus to the town of Maya, in the north of Cebu, where the port that would take us to Malapascua is located!

It has been the most macabre bus ride of our life! Finally we arrived at Maya at 12:30 and went to sleep at a cheap and simple boarding house where a boy attended us with a perfect, super nice Englishman! He even brought us a bottle of water, a beer and noodles!

Day 2

In the morning we got up at 6, since the ferry supposedly left at 7 what in the end it was 9 o'clock but that's normal in this country. We have to be patient and take advantage as we have done to talk to people! We are happy every day with these people. And the arrival in Malapascua has been amazing! It is a mini island without roads or vehicles with white sand roads where we can go barefoot and full of vegetation and palm trees!

We leave Malapascua with pity but this country is very big and we want to take the time to see and do a lot of things that we have in mind! We take a bangka, typical Philippine boat, that will take us back to the port of Maya. This time we do not have to wait 10 minutes for it to come out!

The same thing happens with the bus that when we arrived at the port it was already leaving. This new journey by bus has been hell. Being in the morning it has taken almost two hours more than on the way out and maybe even a little more full! Practically during the whole trip it was pouring and at times it seemed like it was sailing down a river.

We're in luck since it only rains when we move in transports and when we arrive at our destination we get a sun that scares! We arrive in Cebu City after 5:30 hours in the bus and we still had a good journey to Oslob, our next destination. As we had no desire to return to catch another bus we decided to take a taxi for a journey of about 3 hours!

Finally we have been able to rest a little and we arrived in Oslob already at night but at a decent hour! As soon as we got off the bus a guy came to ask us if we had accommodation and as we did not have it, he accompanied us to different places. In Oslob we stay in a very nice place. It was a kind of farm, where in front of our room, which overlooked a garden, ran roosters goats and pigs!

We left the bag in the room and decided to give our last massage. We call reception and they send us a couple of girls to give us a foot massage in the room. After an hour of massage and a good shower we went to eat at a Carinderia for dinner in the main street. When we arrive it is already more than 9 o'clock at night and almost all the restaurants are closing. In the end we found an open one and we had dinner.

We walked through the town. In the colonial area, we found a nice place with a local atmosphere. We return to the hotel and as right next to the entrance there is a supermarket, we bought a royal orange and hurry the last drops of vodka that we have left of a bottle that we bought at the duty free. With the same we go to the bed.

Day 3

In the morning we have breakfast in the village with eggs, toast, juices, white rice, coffee and beer. In this town as in many others that we find that we are the only tourists and an authentic attraction for them. While having breakfast it has rained a little but soon the sun appear! We are in luck again!

Then we took a swimsuit, fins, tube and glasses. At 9 o'clock in the morning we were on our way to what really took us to this town, to swim with the whale shark or Butanding as they call it here! We were super nervous of emotion and after a brief explanation of what we could and could not do. They took us out to sea in an area full of corals that was quite deep but with water so clear that we could see them from the bangka.

Suddenly half a dozen of these incredible sea beasts have started to appear! We were only about 4 or 5 people and it has been one of the most amazing experiences of our life! They passed us by centimeters on our side. We submerged ourselves with them, and when we got distracted others came up behind us with their mouths open.

After about 45 minutes, since we were exhausted, we leave them there! We return to Oslob town to take the packages and catch a bus to the Liloan Port in south of Cebu to catch a ferry. We wait only about 10 minutes and we head to the Negros island!

Cebu wallpaper images

Safety Tips for Solo Female Travellers

Bad things can happen when you travel. Bad things can also happen at home. Let’s be honest: you can minimize risks, but there is no guarantee that anywhere in the world will be 100% safe. You can get hit by a bus when you walk out of your own front door. Should fear stop you from travelling? No. But it is a good idea to understand the possible risks of visiting any country, or doing any activity; and to take precautions. So here are a few tips for your solo trip:

Be Aware, But Not Be Afraid

Be cautious, but not paranoid. When you are aware of your surroundings, you walk around with confidence, you notice what goes on around you, but you do not look afraid – you are less likely to be harassed if you look confident and if you act like you know where you’re going. Staying aware of your surroundings means noticing anything odd (like that dodgy guy who has been walking a few steps behind you for half an hour, for example).

Being cautious means avoiding taking unnecessary risks, walking away from dangerous situations, trusting your instinct when you meet someone you are not quite sure about – but don’t be so paranoid you cannot enjoy your time. Some people are great, some people are not so great, and most of us have a gut instinct about people and situations. We have to listen to that gut instinct and take it seriously. If a person feels “wrong”, leave. If a situation feels weird, leave. If the cheap hotel you booked for the night feels unsafe, find another place to stay.

Use Common Sense

Would you walk around drunk and half-naked in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar neighborhood in your home country or home city? No? Then don’t do it in a country or city you have arrived in. We could all walk around drunk whenever and wherever we want to, wearing whatever we want to, at any time of the day or night. Unfortunately the world does not work like that.

Don’t go swimming naked in moonlight on a beach in Goa, however romantic that sounds. Don’t accept drinks from random strangers. Make sure you have safe transport back to your hotel if you have to be out late. Don’t tell people you’ve met in a bar that you’re travelling alone, and don’t proceed to give them the address to your hotel if you’ve told them you’re on your own!

Keep in Touch

If you’re heading out on your own for a daytrip or even a longer trip, let someone you trust know where you have gone and when to expect you back. Tell someone in your hotel, for example. Even if you like the freedom of doing stuff alone (I do, and I generally avoid travelling in a group or going sightseeing with lots of other people) it is a good idea to let someone know about your travel plans and any side trips you’re doing on your own.

Today staying in touch with people back home is easier than ever. Most of you update your Facebook profiles when you travel, or keep family and friends up to date by email. If you are going somewhere where you think you will not be able to send regular emails, and if your friends are used to regular emails, tell them you will be out of touch for a certain time. Tell them also approximately when to expect to hear from you again.

Pay Attention to What You Wear

Here I go again, talking about dress code, but this is important. In many parts of the world women do not show as much bare skin as women in, for example, Western European countries. You could wear whatever you want and do whatever you want without getting into trouble, but in many parts of the world wearing too little does, unfortunately, increase the risk of sexual harassment. Look at what local women are wearing and use that as a guideline. When visiting temples and other religious/spiritual sites, or when going to official environments such as a police station or an embassy for your visa application, dress appropriately.

Do Your Research Before Going

Read about your destination, including the bits in your guidebook that talk about do’s and don’ts. Understand the basics of the local culture and read also about women’s status in that culture – not only to stay safe but to understand your destination better. Learn a few words of the local language. And remember that in many countries you cannot trust the police or other authorities the same way you might trust them at home. Corruption is common around the world, but in some countries it is more visible than in others.

Book Your Hotel Room

for at least the first night, so you have a place to go to when you arrive and you don’t have to run around a new city looking for a room when you’re tired and jet-lagged anyway. Try to arrive in a new city before dark. If your flight arrives in the middle of the night, ask your hotel for airport pick-up or use pre-paid taxi services and airport taxis. If you arrive in a new country at night and have not booked a place to stay, it may be better to wait at the airport for a few hours before heading out.

Diving in Koh Tao or Turtle Island in Thailand

We thought about visiting some beaches of Koh Tao to snorkel, and visit Koh Nang Yuan. So said and done, we got up early, have breakfast. The breakfast buffet was fine. The bees were flying around or perched on the pineapple or some sweets or near the honey. We leave at 8 o'clock. We carry backpack with the reflex and aquatic cameras, and the snorkeling equipment and fins. As we were going to Sairee Beach they took us in an SUV.

The day came out with sun and some scattered clouds. Once there in the area of the taxis that was where they left us a main street, we went down an adjoining street and all the way to the beach. Around there in the background we can see the sign of taxi boat. In any case there was more. It was so soon that it was empty and above the tide was super low and the beach was super wide, and that if too long.

The beach did not impress us, I mean in comparison to others that we had already seen in Thailand and in other destinations. So we told one of the taxi boats that we wanted to go to Mango Bay and Koh Nang Yuan. Then we negotiated. First we agreed to go to Mango Bay and after being there a while to Koh Nang Yuan.

Once boarded we take out the umbrellas so that we did not burn in the sun that began to get very strong already at that time of the morning. And so we go on to Mango Bay. With considerable waves and a few sprinkles, we reached a stable lagoon and approached all along the coast. And so we arrived at Mango Bay. We got off and took out some things like the snorkel equipment and the backpack.

We took some sun cream so as not to get burned and took some pictures of the beach. Right in front we climbed some stairs that take us to the highest point, from where we could see the whole beach, with magnificent views. It was amazing to see little houses on those cliffs in the middle of nowhere with only rocks and the sea around them.

The Mango Bay beach is fine but it is very small and the sand is like pebbles. It is a beach for snorkeling or diving. It is super clean with clear water, and transparent with great visibility. Just down where our boat was there is a small dock. From there, it goes down very well directly to the water to snorkel.

After taking the pictures we put the snorkel equipment on the fins and everything. We threw ourselves to investigate the area and surroundings and see how much snorkeling there was. The lord of the taxi set out to fish with the same boat and another from another boat. It was incredible as they fished with rope and a simple fishhook, and catch huge pieces like a rather large marlin that our taxi driver took.

The visibility was incredible. The water was very clean and transparent. There was a lot of life down there, with all kinds of colorful fish, sea urchins. The only thing lacking was some turtle or shark. We went down the pier, and went snorkeling in the middle and sides.

This school of fish was nothing compared to what was under the dock. After a while we took off the snorkel gear. This time we went out on the beach, and we dried a bit and went back to the boat. The snorkel was very good, and we liked it a lot. And so we headed towards Koh Nang Yuan since it was not far from Mango bay.

We arrived at the wharf, and got out of the boat. We crossed the piers of the dock and arrived at the entrance. There they tell us that it is forbidden to enter with the fins and to leave them there so as not to break and damage the coral.

We move forward and we see the place, the magnificent beaches. On the other side the Japanese Garden is in an incredible and beautiful lagoon. We left the things in a hammock with umbrella. In the morning there were few people but as the time went by more and more people came. It is true that the vast majority was for excursions and in groups.

To me the truth is that it did not bother me a lot that there was something overcrowding, as there was plenty of space and it was not that bad either. Well, after leaving things and taking some pictures around, we followed the direction of the View point to go to the top and take a picture from above. So we follow the directions and cross and go through wooden footbridges in not very good condition.

The thing seemed like it was going to improve, but not. After climbing a lot of stairs and steeper and steeper, the road and the stairs ended and the worst came the rocks and the climbing. Although it is true that the marine park was even worse, but the last section here was not nice.

And finally we reach the top, to a huge stone from which we could see the whole island. It was worth it. I only know that we went down with a tiredness and a heat and a sweat over that we went straight to the water. The water was super clean and clear. After a few baths we went to eat at a restaurant nearby. We have some pizzas and some drinks that we had to gather strength to have a long snorkel time.

On the other side, we go to the Japanese Garden, the lagoon to snorkel. It is beautiful and is great, well cared for, with the perfect corals, a lot of starfish variety. The only thing we did not see is the sharks and turtles. The coral was very beautiful and there was an amazing visibility.

My partner left before me. I still had more time. And so after drying myself, and taking things, we went out and took the fins at the entrance and went to see if the gentleman was in the boat. In the end we rode in one that our taxi driver told us. The boat fills, and so we go on to Sairee Beach.

We arrived at the beach. We all got off the boat and it is nothing like I told you before. While in the morning the beach was empty and super wide at low tide but now that it was super narrow, overcrowded. There are many bars and booths, with lots of young people and a lot of activity.

Well after a while we decided to return to where the taxi stop. We did not take another because nobody was going to take it and we had no other way to go to Mae Haad. The trip was short.

In Mae Haad we had a good time waiting. In the end we get tired and took a taxi with another couple who was also waiting and we went to our hotel and so the taxi cost us a lot less. Once we arrived we asked for explanations about the transfer in reception. We go to rest as the next day it was time to go to Koh Samui.

Koh Tao wallpaper images temples