Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Why Travel Tuesday: Yi Peng and Loy Krathong Festivals

(Every Tuesday, I will be featuring a photograph from a place I have gone to, a photograph which I believe will inspire others to go out and see the world for themselves. For this week, Why Travel Tuesday features two of the loveliest festival of lights on the planet: Yi Peng and Loy Krathong Festivals.)

Loi Krathong 2012, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Lanterns big and small decorate parts of Chiang Mai old town
as part of the Yi Peng and Loy Krathong Festivals.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Magical Night of the Yi Peng Lanna Lantern Festival

Few, very few, events in this world fill spectators with such overwhelming sense of magic, spirituality, festiveness, and peace all at the same time. Those things all came together the night of November 24 when the Lanna Thais of northern Thailand and visitors to the northern Thai capital Chiang Mai went up to the open grounds of Mae Jo University to participate in and witness the great Lanna tradition of the Yi Peng Lantern Festival.

Yi Peng Lantern Festival 2012, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Magical release of the Yi Peng Lanna Lanterns

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Three of the Cheapest Destinations in Southeast Asia

It is by no means an understatement that Southeast Asia is a very cheap destination for travelers and, thus, the perfect destination for cash-strapped backpackers. Sam Hudson is a writer from the UK and is guest posting today. More importantly, he wholeheartedly agrees with me. He has handpicked the top three cheapest destinations in Southeast Asia, two of them my favorite cities. Sam, take it from here.

Backpacking is done best when it's done on a very cheap budget. This is why masses of backpackers embark to countries including Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia where they can enjoy life-changing travels for a fraction of Western prices. If you want to know where your budget will go furthest on the Southeast Asian backpacking circuit, check out my selection of three ultimately cheap and equally exciting destinations:

Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi Night Lights, Vietnam
Hanoi is best experienced at night—chaotic, noisy, and bright.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Why Travel Tuesday: Hanoi Night Lights

(Every Tuesday, I will be featuring a photograph from a place I have gone to, a photograph which I believe will inspire others to go out and see the world for themselves. For this week, Why Travel Tuesday features the bright and lively night lights of Vietnam's capital city, Hanoi.)

Hanoi Night Lights, Vietnam

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Where to Stay in Vietnam - Tran Ly Hotel in Hue and May de Ville Backpacker Hostel in Hanoi

Normally, I don't make hotel or hostel recommendations. I find it difficult because what may be acceptable for my backpacker standards may not be so for some travelers or even other backpackers. There are two exceptions, however. One, the hotel or hostel stay is sponsored, like my my short-term rental in Chiang Mai, Thailand, sponsored by the kind folks at Roomorama. Even then I make sure I stay completely honest about my review. Then, there's number two: the hotel or hostel is so exceptionally and remarkably good that I cannot help myself but rave about it. Hopefully, what little promotion I generate by writing this post will help them continue their business and good businesses need to continue.

Let me start by saying that in no way at all did the two properties I will be recommending sponsored my stay, asked me to write about them, nor offered me anything in exchange for recommending them. That out the way, here we go.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Photos from the Imperial Capital of Vietnam: Hue

Before I started traveling, I did not know there was so much to see in Central Vietnam. The top two destinations in the country are located in the south (the largest city Saigon) and in the north (the country's capital Hanoi). Meanwhile, Vietnam's central regions have, apart from the beaches, quaint old towns like Hoi An, the prettiest one in Southeast Asia, and mountain retreats like Da Lat where Vietnamese coffee, among other agricultural produce, is largely cultivated. Then, of course, there is Hue. Spelled correctly as Huế and pronounced like way but with a quick breath in front. Thus, hway. So what is in Hue, Vietnam? Nothing, really. Just the grandest of Vietnam's structures: the Imperial Citadel.

Hue, Vietnam
The entrance to the imperial enclosure, which is surrounded by a moat, of course!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hoi An, the Prettiest Little Town That I Ever Did See

How do I love thee, the prettiest little town that I ever did see?
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My wanderlust can bear with that twenty-one hour journey in the dead of night.

Alright, so that's about all the Elizabeth Barrett Browning this sad excuse of romance poet can provide you. That's the thing really. When you are surrounded by quaint little houses, small cozy streets, and colorfully lit lanterns all in a relaxed riverside setting, you suddenly turn into the most romantic of romance poets, albeit a bit tired and worse for wear from that long bus ride. This is what Hoi An, a small little town in Central Vietnam, can do to you.

Hoi An, Vietnam