Category Archives: Travelogue

The Mysterious Man of Kowloon Walled City Park

kowloonwalledcity

Humidity enveloped my clothing in a blanket of sweat as I trudged from the subway stop, taking great care to follow the path delineated in my Kowloon walking tour map.  Halfway through a week in Hong Kong and its surrounds, I was ready to throw in the towel.  My feet hurt from several days of walking,…

Qingping Market: Snakes and Tigers and Turtles, oh my!

qingping

As an old Cantonese proverb says, “Anything that walks, swims, crawls or flies with its back to heaven is edible.”  In Guangzhou, China, capital of the Guangdong (Canton) province, the go-to place for all things edible is Qingping Market, a collection of dusty stalls that spans a 1 km section of Qingping Road and the…

The spirit of Kecak Fire and Trance Dance

kecak

A low chant rings in the distance. “CHEE hee oh ee CHEE hee oh ee CHEE hee oh ee…” Dozens of men, enrobed only in a plaid sarong, emerge onto the stage and form a circle, their hands waving in the air. The multiple concentric circles formed, the chant breaks into the chatter of a hundred monkeys.

Perasi’s Pasir Putih: Bali’s best secret (for now)

perasi

In the heavy heat of the mid-afternoon, East Bali was beginning to blur. As our driver Ketut zoomed past temple after temple, the only indication that there was anything more to this small village than some nondescript buildings and wandering dogs was a small handwritten sign nailed to a post: “WHITE SAND BEACH.”

Fairmont’s Annals of History

In a 24-hour trip to San Francisco to visit the S.O., the last thing I wanted was rain. Puddle-jumping, plane-delaying, soak-you-to-your-bone rain. But there we were, two kids staring out a drenched window, wondering just what the heck we were going to do with this weekend “getaway.” Armed with new toy in hand, we decided to pull an Eloise at the Plaza and make the hotel our playground.

Hong Kong’s Hidden Treasure: Tai Long Wan

tailongwan

The crowds of Central and Kowloon seem but a distant memory as you hike through the peaceful trails of Sai Kung East Country Park, located in the eastern coast of Hong Kong. Follow the pathway from Pak Tam Au toward Tai Long Wan beach, weaving through a rundown village and up into the mountains for spectacular views before giving way to clean white sand.

Learning the basics at Pum Thai Cooking School

All I wanted was a beach chair and a good sunscreen, but the lifeless gray skies hovering over Phuket had derailed my plans of soaking in the Thai sun. With light rain drizzling from above, I decided to sign up for the afternoon cooking class at Pum Thai Cooking School to learn about the basics of Thai cuisine.

Bicycling through Angkor, Cambodia

Tuk-tuks are the vehicle of choice to the many tourists who visit the Angkor temples, but bicycles lend the freedom to explore. Rent one for $1 per day from a local vendor in Siem Reap, and have your pick of the majestic Angkor Wat, the mystical faces of Bayon, the overgrown jungle of Ta Prohm and more. By bicycle, all of Angkor is yours.

Ghosts of Family Past: Phnom Penh and the Khmer Rouge

tuol sleng

When I told mom I was traveling to Cambodia this summer, she didn’t hide her apprehension. “Cambodia? Why do you want to go to there?” The thought of her little girl in a faraway Third World country didn’t do much for the nerves. But she had every right — she herself had escaped the war-torn country just 30 years ago.

Bargaining in Asia: Tips & Tricks

The Asians, we loooves to bargain. First-time bargainers will find that it’s a bit like chess: easy to learn, hard to master. It’s buyer vs. seller, and the person with the strongest will always wins. Here’s a comprehensive guide to bargaining in Asia, a list of observations made in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China last year while I was satisfying my animalistic consumerism. So many cheap goods and so little time!!

The Best of Thai, the Worst of Thai: My first – and last – elephant ride

I should have known better than to have accepted the tuk tuk driver’s suspiciously cheap offer. Never trust the tuk tuk drivers who approach YOU, I thought to myself. Regardless, my buddy Neil had a mission. We had arrived in Thailand less than 24 hours ago, and our first order of the day was elephants. “If I get to ride an elephant, then I’m set for the rest of the trip,” he proclaimed.