Tag Archive: temple


Hue

Got on a bus from Hoi An for 4 (turned 3) hours to Hue stopping at a lookout point called Thua Thien Hue but didn’t get enough time to go to the top (so I didn’t see the point in stopping at all). Yes, nice views, but if there is a hike why not give us time to do it? The sells were very pushy and touched me twice L we also saw a truck full of dogs three times which smelt terrible. The last time we saw them they were getting sprayed down.

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Upon arriving in Hue, we went to lunch at Ushi where I got vegetable soup that ended up being just morning glory in water…only 15,000 though. Walked to central market (went over Truong Tien Bridge which is an ugly color and has construction) which was a lot like Goje market in Busan with souvenirs because it had vegetables and cooking things and housework items. We then walked through a park next to Perfume river and I told a guy I was Korean just for him to go away. On to the Imperial Citadel (palace) which cost 105,000 (which is much more than 55,000 as advertised in lonely planet). It’s pretty much the only thing to see in the city.

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It was mostly construction and trash which makes me question Vietnamese people–why not take care of your history? This was not the first thing we had seen like this. We’re not even sure what we saw because there were no signs. Their map and the lonely planet map didn’t add up either.

The pagoda/rest area-gondola was really nice as were the bushes made like turtles which were both inside the Purple Forbidden City. There was a nice dragon statue just beyond the main gate too, but we could not get over the trash. Closed at 5:30 and one in our group was very concerned we would not get out. Just then, matt found the temples and Hien Lam Pavilion which all looked beautiful. We then walked back to the Ngo Mon gate to find it was closed…so we went around to the next gate (Hien Hhom) to leave. I tried to go in that one at first but it is only an exit. The palace is a lot smaller than it seems. Back to the hotel for 6:30 for dinner at 7:30.

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Dinner at Le’s was good food with good drinks (but really standard drink deals) but the staff were too ‘helpful’. I don’t need someone behind me the whole time or chatting to me about my water bottle and such. They gave us jenga after dinner and asked if we were too tired because we didn’t want to play. Weird. 39,000 for fried rice with vegetables but really good. They were very on top of clearing plates too. Walked to Brown Eyes for free shots after but I went home because I was tired.

In the morning, some of us decided to go to Thin Mu. It was supposed to be 3km from a bridge that was 1 km away but it turned out to be 6.4km total so someone messed up on the map.

The walk was interesting because there was no sidewalk and lots of rundown temples and trash. Another sign of the Vietnamese not taking care of their country and history. Eventually found the pagoda at 11:40 meaning we had to go straight back so 4 of the group could check out and we all could eat. Got some good pics and saw the car a monk rode in before he burned himself because of abuses the government took on monks.

Haggled from 40,000 each to 22,000 each for a boat and then she dropped us at a different spot than she said she would (1 bridge early) because of police (?)

Back to the hotel to find a good restaurant and it turned out DMZ was supposed to be good, based on Trip Advisor. Service had no idea what was going on and food was okay. #5 on trip advisor? Not anymore…Our server could hardly take our orders but she understood when I said their ranking was about to go down. Most got pizza or pasta to bulk up for a 14 hour train ride.

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Around Sihanoukville

Woke at 8:30 to leave at 9 for breakfast which was included in our day out boating and trekking for $20. We didn’t get to use the menu though (like we thought the day before when we booked it), just 2 eggs and a baguette (and a plate of bacon and fruit). Then a bus to where we got on the boat. The river we went down was Pre Toek Sap and we stopped at Ma Ou Ranger Station (I think) which would be a nice lookout if it was not raining. It was a fun building to go up because it was old and dangerous and the top floor had a hole from a fire which is stuck my legs though.

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Back on the boat Visna (our local guide) was cooking our BBQ barracuda/chicken which was interesting because it was a fire on our tiny boat. We saw lots of fishermen including ones looking for scallops or ones looking or clams and some diving birds. No dolphins though.

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Then we stopped at Thomor Tom beach dolphin station for lunch where the park rangers cooked (reheated) and were super nice. The barracuda was delicious. Coke in a glass bottle too. Beautiful looking beach but the smell was terrible once we go there probably because of the bathroom.

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From here we hiked to what is now Chinese beach but was Koh Sam Pouch beach (because of Chinese development even though it is a national park). We saw lots of water buffalo who made funny faces, a mother chicken and her babies, a huge pig (well, a few) and some colorful plants. It was raining and muddy the whole day, but that didn’t stop us!

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The beach was pretty nice and there were waves and pretty shells. Also a very long pier and a swing for fun pictures.  We were here about an hour.

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Next we drove to Kbal Chay Waterfall. One was massive! So many levels of the fall as well. A smaller one met up with it and this was less powerful so we got some pictures in it. Very slippery in the area because of moss on rocks underwater. We then walked a bit to a pool to swim in that lead to the small waterfall. It was cold and clear but didn’t look clear because of the rocks at the bottom. Such a strong current that when I did the breast stroke I didn’t move.

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Back into the van to go to Wat Leo Temple which is famous for monkeys. The temple itself was beautiful and had lots of decorations up. Sit, Visna and the bus driver made strange sounds and called the monkeys over for us to feed them and take photos. We then went to a lookout at the temple which, again, would be better on a clear day. Still great. Van back to the hotel.

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I sent postcards this morning for 3,000 each. Europe and Asia should have been cheaper but I’m not bother by 200 for the 3 that didn’t go to the Americas.

Dinner at the same place (Angkor Beach Bar) and I got veggie curry for $3 and fresh lime juice for $1 when it should have been $1.25. Woop. Leaving at 7 tomorrow for Vietnam.

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Woke at 4:30 to be ready at 4:40 for sunrise where only 3 others came with me. Words cannot describe how pretty it was or how annoying the Chinese man next to us was. Too many pictures. Random white horse, which almost looked like I was hallucinating because of how random it was. Saw it again later all dressed up for rides so it made sense. We were worried there wouldn’t be a sunrise due to the rain the night before but we were in luck.

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Breakfast had amazing eggs. Left for the temples at 9am. 20USD entry, 15USD for bus and guide which was totally worth it.

The moat around Angkor Wat is 5 meters deep and protects 5 acres inside.

The first temple was Ta Prohm aka the tomb raider temple. It has many types of trees including mahogany, rubber, fig (?) and strangler. Some of the rocks there are lava. Here we noticed the rocks have holes which is how they carried them. They are still doing reconstruction. We went into one room where people beat evil out by beating their chest with their fists. You can hear your beating louder in there.

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Next was Angkor Wat. This was where the king hid Buddha statues during wars, put people still came in and stole heads and hands to sell for really good money. The steps are little because it’s easier to carry that way. We learned that head monks wear gold and they probably put it on the Buddha. There are carving of dancers with 40+ different hairstyles and 4000+ different hand and feet positions. We’ll see the dance later but a thumb down means ‘plant’, one finger up means ‘grow’, 3 fingers up means grow ‘more’, touching those fingers mean ‘fruity blossom’, and finally opening the hand means ‘drop’. A man started filming us here. There was a lot of rat droppings as well. There are 4 pools to represent the 4 rivers of India. Found the same spot as the morning to take a photo with reflection.

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Lunch nearby. Pretty expensive. Lime juice for 1.5 and a curry-not-curry in a coconut with rice was 5.5. Delicious though. Best meal I’ve had here so far. The coconut was cut into a heart shape. We then got rained in for about an hour and chatted with kids and were shown magic by sit and Visal.

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Next was the gate to Bayon which is quite far from the temple itself, then the ruins of Bayon.

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It had a lot of faces and reminded me of Promethesus. Here we saw the pulley system they made for the rocks. Because of carvings here we think the people were not slaves. They are happy in the carving and drinking and there is no master other than the king who was not finished.

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Next was the elephant wall which had beautiful carvings of elephants (duh) and people. Across were 12 lookout points and between was the elephant training fields. The wall is 5 meter tall and probably 2 meters underground so it doesn’t fall.

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Yangon

After arriving 2 Canadians, an Australian and I got a cab for 2000 kayat each failed to find the Canadians hotel because it wasn’t open yet. Fail Agoda. We then listened to the Austrian who directed the cab to motherland which is supposed to be 7000 kayat for a single with free airport shuttle. Still free shuttle but 22000 for a single and far from everything. Paid 500 kayat  each to go to my area which looks like what I expect Kao San Road to be (it wasn’t). First place said 22000 kayat as well and no Wi-Fi. Finally found Mahabandoola which is 5 for single (sold out) for 10 for a double. I took it anyway. Free towel and soap. No plugs in the room but who wants my phone battery?

I walked outside to find the Austrian (the Canadians were having none of this area) and was asked to each English from 930-11. Okay, why not? Hopped on a truck, drove a block and talked to girls from 9-930 ranging from 16-42 and all ranges. They said I’m so dark I could be one of them. Then I thought with a mic and board for 40 minutes or so then more foreigners came and we talked in small groups. Then back to me and phonics for 10 minutes then I had each ask me 2 questions then class was finally over. So hard with so many levels and no books. I told them to watch local movies with English subs to help them learn. Called U Aung Hein Kyaw English Class. The monk was from Bahaddanata Dha-Maparala and said I can stay with him for free next time and his monastery has great views of the Shwedaron Pagoda. Not much to do in Yangon, so I was happy to teach.

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I went looking for the circle train and realized I needed sunblock. Then I fell and sliced my hand open.

Mailed the post card for 500 kayat each. They have yet to arrive after more than a month. Asked the same tour office for directions to the circle train station and he seemed annoyed I asked instead of booked anything with him. Sent me to the tourist info office who said it was now 2 USD to go on the next one was at 2:50. I felt like they should run more often but it wasn’t ever close to full except the one leaving after 5. It was still 1 USD.

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A monk kept asking for my number where I was going and saying he loved me. Can’t I tell a monk to f-off? He kept grabbing my hand and trying to play footsey. Once touched by boob. He left after 45 minutes. His friend didn’t even want to sit with him.

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The train was more dull than interesting but it was interesting to see that people dry their clothes next to /on the tracks, fly kites by the wind the train creates (or have teddy bears and are hugging them next to the train) and aren’t as aggressive as online says. No one came in the window to sell food. Kids even threw rocks at the train and some set off fireworks (one pissed off a pig bigger than the boy, causing the boy to run).  It took exactly 3 hours.

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Next I walked (got turned around once) to the Shwedagon Pagoda which is now either 5USD or 550o kyat (should be 4845 kayat) so they messed up the ‘updated’ price or just wanted to rip people off. Downstairs wanted to donation for shoe keeping. Halfway up was pointless security (I guess because they had airport like walk through but everyone got waved though) then you pay entry and I was told my shorts are too short which is incorrect because they go my knees and they wouldn’t listen to a word about making them longer. Had to leave my shoes and take a skirt making my goal of leaving though another exit pointless. I saw other people inside with short shorts on.

Pagoda is overrated. Very crowded. Wi-Fi. …lots of extra lights so every picture is over-exposed-crap pretty much.

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I then walked a bit to get a cab which was 2000 kayat back to the hostel. I tried to find chips but have had no luck and got egg cake and lime juice from Tokyo donuts. Cake was heavy and 500 kayat, juice was a confusing order, I guess and 1000 kayat.

Woke at 530 am for my 830 flight. Had to wake boys sleeping on the floor to open the gate in front of the door. I saw a cockroach in my room too. I got the most senior cab driver who had to wake the others. He told me the US decided to attack Syria (which they didn’t) and then asked tons of English questions. 7000 kayat.

Have to show proof to get in-inside, just like New Delhi (and a lot of Souteast Asia). Security level 1 is passed before going to check in and get your ticket. I was too early to check in though, Met Alicia from the US and Ken from Australia in line and chatted with them. Checked in, changed money to get 44USD back. Immigration with a new guy so it took quite a long time, breakfast of eggs and lime juice for 7USD, security and then waiting with Alicia and Ken again. Ken had a Bangkok subway map and seemed to know his way around while Alicia had stayed in my area before so it was nice to get to know them.

Arrived at 4:15, paid $5 for entry and bought my ticket to Yangon for 22,000 kayat. Were technically in Nyungshwe. Met 4 others, JS (French) and his Chinese girlfriend (Spring), a Dutch girl and Swiss girl. The Dutch and Swiss girls are staying elsewhere (after we tried to all find a place together) but JS and his girlfriend and I are at Gold Star for 13USD a night (single) which is government discount (was 15USD). I tried not to stay in hotels as they pay more money to the government, but there were no guest houses left under 30USD.

We went for a walk to see the town and ask about boats. The best plan was the first guy we talked to and only 1000 kayat more at 5000 kayat each (15000 kayat for a full boat of 5 but there is only 3 of us). We talked about how we just wanted to go out on the boat, not go to the cigar shop or anything like that because we wouldn’t buy anything, and the guy at 2 Thumbs Up agreed that it was best because he didn’t like the cigar shop.

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Had dinner of Shan noodles and watched K drama and Thai vs. Myanmar football. The noodles were different from everything else that I had in Myanmar and great. Only 2000 kayat for 3 people to eat with 1 coke and 1 sprite. I asked for lime soda and got sprite. Oh well.

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Had some issues with the shower here but I guess the one that’s blue and red is hot, not the two that are just red.

Two beds, towels, soap, shampoo, TV (air force one, bandits, here after) fan in room.

When I woke up it was raining and JS and Spring and I were worried about the boat ride but didn’t have anything else to do so we decided to go for it. I went and told the guy at 2 Thumbs Up (the first place we stopped at) who remembered me. Breakfast was eggs and toast but there were other options.

The guy was supposed to meet us at 8 but he didn’t come in so I went outside at 8:15, saw a guy who didn’t say anything and went back in. then we all went outside to walk to 2 Thumbs Up and he said hello. Not a great start. Walked to the canal.

The boat ride was about 20 minutes before we got to the lake (it stopped raining by then).

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Then we didn’t get to the market port until 9:55 and we told we had 1 hour there but we knew it was a 20-25 minute walk which would take longer due to mud. Seemed silly that we had just a short time. We didn’t get there until half an hour had passed. I didn’t think it was special other than the fruit and vegetables I didn’t know I couldn’t be explained to me, so it was unhelpful. Standard Asian market but with mud (many people bought flowers and they are obsessed with Psy).

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From there we went to a shop which we said  yesterday we didn’t want to go to, then another shop with girls with long necks. Odd to take pictures of them like it’s a human zoo. They were sewing and the fabric wasn’t nice because it was very rough. Next he tried to stop at another shop and we said no!

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Then was lunch of tofu curry (not curry by any standard) and lime juice which was 3500 kayat. After we walked to the Paung Daw Oo Pagoda where we made fun of a ‘gang’—the boys were wearing the same pants. 500 kayat camera fee. I thought the chipped floor outside was cooler than anything inside. Inside there wasn’t a Buddha but jars to put gold takes on (but girls couldn’t). A guy was reading into a loud speaker we could here from the restaurant.

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At this point the sun came out so much we all used the umbrellas because we didn’t have sunblock (due to the rain in the morning). Silly, because I knew I should have put it on. We kept going south which worried us (we knew thanks to Springs’ phone) and we went to another weaving shop! I don’t care about discount I don’t want to be here! We talked to our driver though translator and found out next was the cigar shop which even the guy at 2 Thumbs Up said was bad. When we said no more shops the driver was annoyed but whatever guy—we have to be back by 5 thus your day is shorter! He must get commission from the shops.

Next JS jumped in and said there was tons of algae that essentially helped him float. Then onto the jumping cat monastery which we knew did not have jumping cats anymore but I guess some thought it did. It’s still a nice old building which great views and gold. The cats are very lazy now.

Then we had to talk to another guy to tell our driver that we didn’t want to straight back because then we’d be back too soon. They kept trying to tell us all the markets were closed today but we said we want to one. Turns out they were closed by this time. Said we wanted to visit another when we booked it and wish we knew better.

We went to a town on the east side which had a school that was letting out a great view for sunset but we couldn’t stay that late.

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Docked at 5:00. I’m not too impressed with the fisherman. I’m sure using your legs is easy once you’re used to it and they’re probably stronger. Not sure what the slapping of the water was though.

Hung out at the hotel for a bit.

Truck picked us all up around 6:10 and I got straight on the bus for my solo seat 😦 but a creep next to me who kept staring. Water, Pepsi, 2 pastries, and a cold cloth is not unlimited tea and cake like De Anne said. The person in front put their seat all the way back and never moved unless I did to get out after them. Rude. Food stops but since an Austrian guy said he was 2 days bedridden because of food from Bagan to Inle I didn’t try it. Bought some spicy chips and an apple which I lost the next day trying to find a hotel. Slept a lot even though there was a strange French movie playing called District B13 about drugs and guns.

Woke up quite early even for Busan time but just waited because it was too early. Woke up for real around 7:45 for breakfast just after 8:15 of toast with butter and strawberry-sugar jam, watermelon and tea and terrible coffee.

Left around 9 for a day for temples. I can’t begin to describe how beautiful they are. When you think it’s the same as the last you will find something new. Pictures hardly do it justice. Many you can climb to the top via steps or find your own way (climb).

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One where I could see the tallest temple (that you could not climb) had 4 Buddha’s (like most) but the main one was original except the hair, the next original but it was black more recently turned gold via donations, the next was teak wood with original body and the last was new because of fighting in the 70s. This was seen after an AMAZING lunch at Be Kind to Animals. Mostly Indian flavors but with Myanmar tourists. Next to us were a hilarious Sigapourian-Indian couple who got all the recipes. I had a wrap which was more of Dhal with a tortilla around it which you needed a knife and fork for. Magda had a Bagan special dish that was the best of the group using a special leaf (curry). I decided the spiciness of low because it was so hot out. Also had lime soda. 5,000 kayat.

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It started to rain a bit around 3:30 so we stayed in the biggest temple hoping it would stop but it did not so we went onto the main road back, stopping once to check out some deserted temples and walk to one where you climbed the outside. Koreans were there! Then it really started to rain (5:00?) so we headed back and arrived around 5:30 to be soaking wet L shower was silly but washed my underwear (from squatters with no toilet paper) and sweat handkerchief.

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Had dinner at wonderful Tasty which had Nepolise food which I’ve never had was quite good. Lime-Ginger-Juice for 800 and 10 veggie dumplings with soup and spicy sauce for 2,500. Just soup was 1000 it took quite a while but you knew it was fresh because you could hear the chopping and frying.

Woke up at 6:30 to be ready at 7:00 but found out the bus will come to me after 7:30. Oh well. Our bus got stuck in mud for about 30 minutes a truck got stuck when it pulled over to try and help us. We went through beautiful mountains and forests but the road was so twisty I almost got sick. Almost got sick also because an old lady was smoking on the bus (cloves). Lunch was horrible veggies and rice with no flavor.

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Met Sophie and Magda on the bus from Mandalay (Germany and Poland) who were also solo and we decided to stay at Shwe Na Di Guest house for 2 nights for 40 total (13.33 each). It had AC and fan and breakfast and no bathroom.

Went outside while Sophie had tea and rented a bike with Magda for 2000 kayat for 2 days and set off! Well first we tried to get a better map (than the one in Lonely Planet) but ‘BEST Information’ had no one inside. We took Nyaung U Kyaukpadaung Rd towards the airport turning west and going north toward Bagan Viewing Tower but that is private and cost 15000 kayat to go up. No thanks.

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We then then backtracked to nearly the main road, turned the other way and went to a small temple, met a nice monk at a small monastery who spoke really good English and said we were going the wrong way. Oh well. Went somewhere different!

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We then walked to a bigger monastery with caves that people had made for the monks which were a bit creepy dark inside. There I bought 10 postcards for 2000 kayat. After we saw Leimyethna Pahto, Payathonza (which the monk said was really 3), Tayok Pye Paya, Thambula Pahto, Kyat Kan Kyaong, and Nandamnnya Pahto and many more which I’m sure lonely planet cannot fit in the book (again, we were using Lonely Planet).

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For some we had to go through the monks fields (which the monk we spoke to said was fine) and dense spikey brush. My legs burnt a bit for days. I’m sure I saw some that many other foreigners haven’t because of this.

A man in an official looking blue shirt pointed us to one quite far away because the paintings on the walls inside were original. After getting there it was amazing, especially because the paint was original. Hardest one to get to I think. None of the Burmese tourists went that far.

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We met two nice girls, one spoke great English and guided as to her restaurant for water. I think we would have gone there anyway because we thought it was the right direction to get home and it was only 2 minutes away. 400 kayat for water there. She told us the white pagoda (last for the day) was the main one for her village for 6000 people. It was the wrong way, but they helped us get back.

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After water at her shop we headed back going past the watch tower again and seeing our mistake–don’t go down the gravel road to the hotels and tower, keep going straight from the main road.

Missed the hostel because of a delivery truck.

Shower was cold but that’s fine.

Went to dinner next door and it wasn’t great—neither was the beer but it was better than Cass (Korean beer). My prawn curry had unshelled prawn and the green beans were bland. Only 15000 kayat for 3 meals (each with multiple dishes) and 4 beers though.

Took a car with Mr. Linn and Felix and Kris around the towns around Mandalay.

First we saw a very famous temple and almost got lost in it. It was called Mahamuni and cost 1000 for a camera fee. It was quite beautiful but easy to get lost in.  I bought an onion (?) paint paining for 2,000 which he made in less than 5 minutes which I think was quite amazing.

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Next was more towards Amarapura to where the monks live that we can visit anytime, but lunch is best because most came out and wait. Felt kind of bad, except that people take pictures of me all the time. Some of the monks looked to be five years old.

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Next was straight to Sagaing…well if you count the huge traffic jam for the nut festivals last day.

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To get to Sagaing we had to cross a bridge and then climb a hill to reach another very famous pagoda with many Burmese tourists who wanted my photo. This temple was larger and just as beautiful. They had rabbit and frog statues too. Also clothes stores at the top which I found odd. A smaller shrine was to the right but that also looked like a care takers house because there were clothes (non monk) hanging to dry. On the way up and down there are many other pagodas and very points.

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Next we drove to the boat point for Inwa and had lunch (noodle soup) for 2,000 kayat. Many girls harassed us to buy jewelry. I said I had some and one girl said hers was more beautiful so I acted offended which made her laugh. One looked 4 but was 7 (malnourished?).  The boat was 800 kayat there and back. Once there you need a horse cart for 2000 per person. I liked our guy and horse a lot.

First were ruins which I thought were amazing, but the whole ‘island’ is basically ruins so it loses its special-ness. In this one Buddha’s face had been rubbed off or fallen off.

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The monastery was made of teak wood and you can still smell it very strongly. This one is so old it has something’s in it that you don’t see elsewhere because of changed times.

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The clock tower was sad because you could no longer go up although it looked like the leaning tower of Pisa.

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Next, and last, was another old temple, but this one was white. Great views.

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Then we took the boat back but first we saw a girl getting off who wanted nothing more than a handshake and to say thank you. I bought 2 bracelets for 1000 kayat (originally 1 for 2000) and mine were more expensive because of the elephants.

Sunset at U Bein bridge was not too special (maybe because of a cloud) but the bridge was neat and I had my photo taken a ton more. It’s the longest teak bridge in the world. A sign there for locals sounded like a threat to treat tourists nice or else. The boats were beautiful.

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We learned that government jobs pay 40,000 kayat a month which is only good for poorly educated people who have no family to support.

Booked the bus for 8:30, pickup at 7:30 for 12000 kayat which is more than De Anne paid

The truck/taxi was a few minutes late to pick me and some others up but we got to the bus at 8:00 and left shortly after 8:30 making more stops to pick up some locals. Classic rock and strange movies played in the morning and hip hop after our 20 minute lunch stop.

Gyeongju

I went to Gyeongju over the past weekend, which is well known for being a historic city. It has more UNESCO sites than the rest of Korea combined. Most of them are burial mounds. Some were excavated by Sweden, but I’m not sure why. If there are two close to one another they are King and Queen.

You’re allowed to go inside one of them as well, however you have to pay for that. It’s 1,500 for adult entry, but also allows you into a beautiful park as well. It’s difficult to get pictures inside the mound, as it is dark and everything that was inside is behind glass. You’re also not allowed to take pictures, which I saw on the way out, but there was no one there to stop me anyway.

After this we went to Cheomseongdae which was built between 632-647 and is the oldest astronomical observatory in East Asia. It was filled with dirt up to the 12th layer of exterior stones (which are quite large) and people could observe from there up to the 15th layer.

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There is a bug bus that goes around this area as well, which is super cute! This park includes a few mounds, places to keep ice, the tower above, rapeseed fields, old buildings, and at the time, a concert area.

Gyeongju 052From there we went to Anapji Pond, which is very beautiful, manicured, and mostly reconstructed.

Gyeongju 076 Gyeongju 096Nearby is the National Museum, which I didn’t find too interesting. Most is reconstructions of things you will see around the town. Also, the main part is closed right now. Good thing it’s free.

Stayed at Potato Motel which gave us a 10,000 discount from 70,000 to 60,000 when I made a face. Dinner at Han’s Deli was pretty good, but mine was too spicy. If we weren’t too tired, we probably would have sat there for longer so I could eat, but I was going to fall asleep from walking around in 90% humidity and 30C weather.

The next day we went to Bulguksa Temple which is accessible via the 10 or 11 bus which cost 1,500 won each (fitting, as the bus ride takes about half an hour). Be sure to get off at the stop next to the parking lot, not another with a similar name that is surrounded by shops. From the bus stop, go up the right walkway as it goes though a park where people are selling food, drinks and standard Korean souvenirs (the left is for cars but has a sidewalk as well).

At the top you have to pay an entrance fee of 4,000.

Once inside you walk quite a bit more. All of the stonework is original, as that was not effected when Japan burned them down (of course it wasn’t effected, and of course Japan burned it down–like everything in Korea at some point…). However, this was burned down far before the 1911 invasion.

There is still reconstruction going on. Behind the main temple and the largest stairs photoed below you can see a building which ruins the photo. We had to go around and up to see that that is where the reconstruction is going on, and the building is to protect the pieces. Current reconstruction is of a pagoda which had a crack on the 3rd level.

Gyeongju 150We had just missed the bus to go to Seokguram (they leave every hour on the hour) and it was too hot to walk the 30-50 minutes so we headed back.

Buses to Busan leave every hour on the hour, except around 6:00 when they leave at 6:00, 6:40, and then 7:40, 8:40….etc.

Buses there from Busan leave every 30 minutes.

Kuala Lumpur Overview

I had a terrible flight into KL. But that’s not about KL, it’s a whole different story. There is a longggg walk to airport from the airplane, and really lax immigration (my guy was on the phone the whole time). I would suggest booking your tickets into KL in advance, as buying them there is a bit strange. I booked my ticket though AirAsia going to KL Sentral but my boyfriend went before me and said to just get off the bus at Purdyura Bus Terminal. I asked if my bus stopped at both, they said no. I had to go in though domestic arrivals to buy a ticket (past police!, but they seemed to think it was standard) which cost 8 ringgits (2.5 USD). You might hear that Star Shuttle leaves every 30 minutes, and maybe they do during the day, but from 11:00 to 12:00 (midnight) there aren’t any. I bought my ticket at 11:03. Sad days. At least the airport has free wifi. You need to connect then open a web browser and click ‘search’ or something like that.

In the morning we went to the Batu Caves.

After visiting the Batu Caves we went to KLCC (KL City Center) which is where the Petronas Towers are.

After KLCC we walked about half an hour to Times Square, which is a mall/hotel/amusement park (they have Borders which I thought was out of business) that currently has a raffle going on until September 29th, 2013 to celebrate 10 years of being open. I thought by the name ‘Times Square’ it would be outside, like a park inside of a building and the building have the mall, but nope. To enter the contest you have to spend 50 ringgits in one receipt and then you can get a capsule from the world’s largest capsule vending machine! It was on break when we got there. They allow 80 people to try from 12pm and 70 people to try from 5pm. Oh well. It’s always fun to explore a city on foot even if they don’t really want you to–half the walk ways have no sidewalks.

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From here we got food in the Bukit Bintang area (the heart of the Golden Triangle), which is mostly Chinese. This area has a lot going on at night. My asparagus with prawns had surprise mystery meat in it (I think some sort of pig), which for a vegetarian is sad, but for someone who lives in Asia, not surprising. We came back to this area for dinner the next day and everyone’s food was great–we shared a large ‘de-boned’ fish cooked in salt and pepper sauce (surprise! it was fried, and had two bones) and I also got asparagus again because we don’t have it in Korea! This time no surprise mystery meat, just cooked in garlic.

On our way back from Bukit Bintang in the afternoon we went to Central Market and Chinatown.

In the morning we went to a Chinese Temple called Guan Di Temple which was built in 1888. Guan Di is the God of War, however the temple also has the Goddess of Mercy, God of Prosperity and God of Education and Learning inside. There are many dragons, 2 protective warriors, and 4 protective creatures outside the temple. If you’re not a fan of incense you won’t last inside too long (like myself).

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Across the street is an Indian Temple called Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, built in 1873. It was made public in the 1920s. Many gods are celebrated here. It is much more popular to go to than Guan Di Temple. I could hear prayers and chants from Sri Maham Mariamman from my hostel roof, 2 buildings away. Intense.

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After this we walked across the river going to another touristy area of Merdeka Square, where Malaysia claimed their independence in 1957. Coming from the south east, you will go past the textile house which is a very beautiful building, done in red and white in Islamic style. To the east is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building which has housed many things, but most importantly houses the most photographed clock tower in Malaysia. That was a big enough deal on the sign for them to write it. It is nice. We tried to walk to Masjid Jamek, a working Mosque but were turned away because we were wearing shorts. It seemed very beautiful.

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Walking back towards the square, we stopped at the fountain sculptures which have a lot of homeless people around them. Going back towards the square, we walked past The Royal Selangor Club which is a traditional British building; it has a Long Bar inside which only allows men. From here we reached the Flag Pole which is 100 meters high. Continuing along we came to the I ❤ KL sign which is outside the City Gallery. They had some great new photos, which I think you could vote for using your phone, and a 50 ft wide model of what the city will look like by 2015, when they plan on finishing a taller building than the Petronas towers. The model did night and day and had a tourism video playing in the background. I wasn’t listening too much as I was just trying to get photos of the model before the lights changed. Other than that, the City Gallery sells souvenirs. I got a free phone key-chain for liking the facebook page.

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This was when we really started to have problems. We thought to walk to the National Monument. This is a popular bike route, and we could see why after we started it. There is no where to buy water or snacks and it is HOT in KL. Not humid though, so it felt better than Korea. According to GoogleMaps, the walk is 1.9km, and should take 25 minutes. When you only have warm water and have already been walking all day, this is a lot and feels a lot longer. Now I feel like we were just complaining. The walk is surrounded by park, so at least it is not bad scenery, if you don’t look into the stagnant pond. We ran into this same problem of no water or food shops again when we walked though the Perdana Botanical Gardens, Parks, and Museums and around the KTMB HQ. There could just be guys selling water or other drinks from stands and this problem would be solved.

The National Monument is interesting….Men celebrating on a pile of dead bodies. The area around it is beautiful with other statues and 3 domes.

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From here we walked though the Perdana Botanic Gardens,Parks, and Museums–which is just a large park with many different areas. Waterfalls are not all as they appear on signs (small and man-made). The Amphitheater is huge, as is the Bird Park but we didn’t want to go into the Bird Park and nothing was on in the Amphitheater. The Orchid Garden is beautiful and free. They have many different kinds from all over Malaysia, which has over 200 different species of orchids. I guess they don’t have (or I didn’t see) my favorite which is a spider orchid (and which my parents also found randomly growing in the backyard in Florida).

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Continuing in the park, we went past the Planatarium which had at least 3 mini traditional and famous time keeping devices/buildings/structures from China (not sure), England (Stonehendge) and India (Jantar Mantar). We got to touch them! Finally!

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After more walking, getting lost looking for food, realizing where we were, getting food, and going back to the National Mosque it was 2:45 which was prefect for going in at 3:00. There was a bit of a line but we still made it in the first group in–they did run out of covers for men and women. Covers are necessary if a woman shows her legs (they have different covers which are just head scarves for little girls) or if a man’s shorts are above his knees. There was a lot of information inside and the man telling people about the temple seemed so happy to be doing so. From the roof, there are 16 funnels for water, which lead to one in the main prayer room which cleans water for the washing before and after prayer. Woman are not allowed into the main prayer room. The building can hold 1,500 people for prayer time. There was also a few informative posters, including one showing that Mohammed is basically Jesus’ cousin, which included the Muslim names for the same people that Christians believe in (Adam was still Adam but Eve had another time). There are some tombs in the back, with 3 empty spots.

KL 587Overall, KL has some steps to take in cleanliness and homelessness, but the touristy areas are pretty clean and taken care of. Walking is not suggested (but I’d do it again because that is the best way to explore!) as some places don’t have sidewalks and there are no posted maps or tourism signs to help you find your way.