The town of Ubud, Bali. Away from its polished main streets you’ll find little alleyways like this, narrow walkways cast, ditches cut on each side. Because of the tropical climate, plants grows and weeds sprout in just about every corner, crack and crevice. Balinese traditional homes, sprawled in giant courtyards, line the sides.
Take a stroll, pay close attention, and you may even find an ornate Balinese gate like the one pictured here. Though it looks more like an entrance to a Balinese Hindu temple than a home, it’s “only” a local family courtyard just a few doors down from a home stay where we gathered some rest for two weeks.
Look closer still, and you’ll see Ganesh holding court from inside the gate.
Open up the panorama to full screen and enjoy! Continue Reading »
Since our visit to Myanmar (Burma) in 2008, a lot has changed. Aung San Suu Kyi has been released from house arrest. The junta government seems to be loosening controls and opening up. Heck, it seems like every week there’s a group of foreign dignitaries visiting Myanmar, something impossible during the time of our visit.
But even with all the dignitary visits and changing moods, we imagine that Shwedagon Pagoda is still the same. Continue Reading »
Ah, Bali food. Our relationship with Balinese cuisine got off to a rocky start, but a Balinese cooking class in Ubud, night markets in Sanur and simple restaurants called warungs conspired to change our minds and inform our palates. The result: an overview of the components of Balinese cooking, common Balinese dishes and where to find them when you visit Bali.
Continue Reading »
For a relatively small island, Bali can pack in a lot of activities in just a week: volcano-climbing at dawn, diving in coral reefs, cooking traditional Balinese cuisine, visiting Balinese Hindu temples, taking in a traditional Kecak performance, hanging with monkeys, and enjoying a few Balinese massages.
Remember when you’d return to school from summer break and write an essay entitled: What I Did on My Summer Vacation? Well, here’s our modern-day approach to that question: What did we do on our week-long G Adventures tour of Bali? Continue Reading »
Apparently, it’s easy to be a travel snob. Independent travelers can look down on tour groups as not being “hard core” or “authentic” enough. Luxury travelers can look down on backpackers as cheapskates one notch above street riffraff. Holiday-makers looking to relax with a cocktail on the beach are not “real” travelers while those who are trying to live on $5 a day are “escapists.”
I could go on and on with the stereotypes and slurs that I’ve heard fly in all directions, but that’s not the point. One thing travel can teach you – if you allow it to – is that the world is made up of people whose goals and preferences differ. And those differences — they also apply to travel. Continue Reading »
A stroll down Bali’s Sanur beach at sunset: kids flying kites, fisherman catching the last fish of the day, boats sitting tight on shore in low tide. All the while, the setting sun creates a light show in a marshmallow sky.
Enjoy this Bali moment. Continue Reading »
Got lost in a Balinese market today. Open the panorama below to see what we found when poking around the one at Semarapura (Klungkung) on the island of Bali, Indonesia. Continue Reading »
Keep your eyes open as you walk down the streets of Ubud, Bali. Tucked in between all those trendy cafes and shops, you’ll find wooden doorways — sometimes plain, sometimes intricately carved — built into brick and stone archway gates.
Take a peek and you’ll find these doorways serve as portals to other worlds of green and tranquility. Continue Reading »
“Wait, isn’t your life one big vacation?”
I realize that we, as travel bloggers, do our bit to perpetuate this myth by posting fun updates and photos on an almost constant basis. While all these experiences are true, there are also unglamorous bits, challenging stuff that goes on behind the scenes.
So here’s a bit of the honest truth: I’m tired. Actually, I’m exhausted. Continue Reading »
This is a story about a haircut, some bad news, life in Kuala Lumpur, and crocodile poop.
Before I set off for my first trip abroad to India many years ago, I harbored visions — visions of mystical women in colorful saris who would place their hands upon the crown of my youthful head and say, “I see great things in your future.” Through osmosis, I would absorb their wisdom and they would enlighten me with the path I might take to achieve such great things.
Instead, 14 years later, as I sat in a barber’s chair in Kuala Lumpur, a man named Deepak, a Gujarati Indian barber from Mumbai decked out in too-tight jeans and a checkered shirt, placed his hand upon the front of my head and told me I was going bald.
Where did I go wrong? Continue Reading »