Wednesday, June 4, 2014

CHAMPASAK

Champasak is a sleepy town with a fountain circle in the middle of the main street. Just about everything here is spread along the riverside road, on either side of the fountain circle. It’s hard to imagine this place as the centre of power in the lower Mekong basin once upon a time. There is not a whole lot here nowadays except wooden guesthouses and some small markets, but people flock here for its rich cultural history, the Angkor period temples, and the remaining French colonial architecture from the former royal family.


Saturday, May 31, 2014

BEEN THERE, DON DET

Throughout my travels in Laos, I have heard many raves about Si Phon Don (4,000 Islands). What’s funny, is that no one could actually tell me why this place is so amazing, “oh the people, the atmosphere… It’s just awesome. Super chill, you just have to go and experience it yourself.” So, before I left Laos, I made sure to stop by Si Phon Don. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to this one-of-a-kind destination, and here are 10 reasons why:


Sunday, May 25, 2014

PHONSAVAN, LAOS: THE OLDEN DAYS

The name Phonsavan roughly translates to “hills of paradise”. This little town in the northeastern part of Laos is a picturesque countryside full of green hillsides and history. It was heavily bombed during World War II by the United States, in hope to hinder the Ho Chi Minh trail. An unimaginable amount of bombs were dropped here, earning Laos the title of the most heavily bombed country in history. Even after all these years, the marks of World War II still remain, and explosions occur even today from bombs that did not detonate. To give a visual, the red dots on the map below correspond to UXO buried in the ground.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

MUANG NGOI NEUA: GOING OFF THE GRID!

Lush green forests surrounded us as we slowly floated through the Nam Ou River. The entire boat ride was a vast and never ending view of untouched nature. Aside from the water buffaloes grazing on the sandy riverbanks and the occasional fishermen we passed by, the area appeared almost entirely uninhabited. It was beautiful. 



Sunday, May 18, 2014

I LOVE LUANG PRABANG!

Luang Prabang is surrounded by lush green jungles and protected on three sides by the waters of the Khan and Mekong rivers. It’s recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site and is full of colonial charm. Here are some of my favorites while traveling through Luang Prabang:


Thursday, May 15, 2014

FLOATING MY WAY INTO LAOS

As my Thailand visa was quickly expiring, I still had no idea where to go next. With no plans, no booked accommodations and no research on the country, I took the advice of other travelers and booked the gorgeous voyage on a slow boat to Luang Prabang, Laos


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

IT'S TIME FOR PAI!

Pai, a little mountain town 762 curves from Chiang Mai. I didn't even know about its existence when I entered the country, but while in Thailand, the conversation with other travelers always seem to lead to the same question: have you taken a trip to Pai? Then I knew, I must make a trip there before my Thai visa expired. So here I am, in Pai, and I can't get enough of this place!


Saturday, May 10, 2014

LEARNING TO COOK IN CHIANG MAI

When I arrived at my guesthouse in Chiang Mai, I saw a brochure for Da's cooking school that take place on an organic farm, outside the city. I hesitated at first because I've never particularly liked cooking. And when I do cook, it's usually with 5 ingredients or less, including salt and pepper. "Oh you must go" said a girl behind me when she saw me looking at the brochure, "I went yesterday and it was amazing." Sold. If there is one thing I learned in grad school, is that word-of-mouth is the most effective form of marketing.

Friday, May 9, 2014

BEACH HOPPING IN THAILAND

I love Thailand! I have the fondest memory of my time there and the biggest smile on my face every time I think about them. The beaches are truly the definition of paradise and absolutely spectacular! Here are some of my favorites in Phuket and Koh Tao.

PHUKET:

Kamala Beach
Sandwiched between Surin and Patong Beach, Kamala is a hidden gem with all the amenities of a big beach but the tranquility of a small beach. Highly recommended by a friend, it was my first stop in Phuket, and a very good first impression indeed!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

RECHARGING MY BATTERIES IN KOH TAO

After three months of moving from place to place, living out of a backpack, and saying way too many goodbyes than my heart can handle, not going to lie, I am exhausted! When I was stuck in Bangkok for five days waiting for my visa to India, beach was the only thing on my mind. So I changed my plans, booked a one-way ticket to Koh Tao, and went confidently in the direction of the unknown.