Signs, signs: Ferry

Here’s another post, recalling some moments associated with the signs that I took a photo of during my Laos trip.

After crossing the Laos border and finishing immigration formalities at noontime, we were picked up by a van along with many other backpackers. The van traversed a smooth highway that didn’t seem to end and with hardly a traffic at that time of the day. The view was pretty much the same as the Cambodian countryside and the weather equally as hot as a sunny day in Cambodia.

An hour or so later, after passing through several villages and Wat Phu signs, we were deposited at a pier (the name escapes me now). A lot of those who were with us in the van were going to Don Det, a small island sitting in the middle of the Laos side of the Mekong River, while my husband and I had to wait for another van that would take us to Pakse.

Don Det island
Khmer Iggy was tempted to take the ferry to Don Det in Laos but it wasn’t part of our itinerary.

Don Det, I found out, is one of the bigger islands of Si Phan Don (meaning 4,000 islands) measuring about four kilometers long and is a backpacker’s haven.


Signs, signs: A bus story

After so many years, I found the SD card that contained most of my travel pictures. Happy head now that I’m reunited with my Laos pictures, some five years later!

This photo below was taken in one of the road trips my husband and I did some years ago. Of course, my travelling doll, Khmer Iggy, was with me during that trip. Khmer Iggy finds the buses in Laos delightfully colourful, except for a few that are -ahem- gaudily decorated. You can find more of Khmer Iggy and her other sisters’ travels around the world here – Postcards from Miss Igorota.

Khmer Iggy posing in front of the overnight tourist bus that took us to Vientiane.
Khmer Iggy posing in front of the overnight tourist bus that took us to Vientiane.

The sign on the side of the bus says “Vientiane, Pakse”.
Paksé is a city in Champasak district of Laos and is the halfway-point to Vientiane, the capital, when entering Laos via one of the border crossing in Cambodia’s Stung Treng province. It is also one of the most-visited cities in Laos due to its popular attractions of Wat Phu (an ancient Khmer temple ruins) and Si Phan Don (popularly known as the 4,000islands, much similar to the Philippines’ Hundred Islands).

In other news, public buses begin test run yesterday in an effort by the government to ease traffic jams in Phnom Penh.


Signs, signs: Friendship Mission

Errrrmm… hello, blog!

It’s been awhile, isn’t it? More than a month.

Aside from a personal issue, I also concentrated on work, preparing for the friendship mission between Cambodia and Singapore.

Signs Operation Smile Cambodia-Singapore Friendship Mission

So no blogs, no tweets, and no Facebook. I swear that after the personal issue has been resolved and that the last mission volunteer has left the country, I think that I shall never go back to my online activities again. But I imagine how much heartbreak it will cause to all my two avid readers, so …

I am back yet again.
Before I see any of you rolling your eyes… I know, I know… I’ve been saying this over and over but, hey, at least I’m not giving up entirely.


Signs, signs: Remnants of Old Japan

In 2006, I was invited by the Japanese NGO ACCU-EE to visit their country and participate in a conference for Environmental Educators. After the 5-day event, I didn’t return to Cambodia right away. I stayed for three more days to experience Japan for the first time.

During my extended stay, I chose a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn)  in the historic Asakusa district of Tokyo. Not only that it is relatively inexpensive there (lots of ryokans, small hotels and and inexpensive hostels and dorms), but it is one of the few remaining places where you experience Tokyo of the olden days.

I went on a walking tour of  Asakusa alone. The weather was nice and cool, perfect for on-foot travel, and I wasn’t disappointed!

On my walks, I tried to avoid the huge crowd and walked the opposite direction. I found myself in Demboin-dori, a calmer, less-crowded street lined with amazing wooden shops.  I was told these traditional wooden shops (craft shops and restaurants) are centuries-old and was left as they were:

Signs Japanese traditional shops in Asakusa

Although I do not understand what’s written on them, I think the wooden signs and the exteriors are beautiful! And the interiors are even better.  As I was on a budget-trip, I restrained myself from getting some really great handmade Japanese souvenirs in one of these shops.


Signs, signs: Push

From Phuket, Thailand, my Signs, signs entry this week came all the way from Kathmandu, Nepal.
As you can see I am still in an arm-chair travel mode, unearthing old photos and reminiscing wonderful memories of my travel adventures, as a solo traveller or otherwise. But I digress.

When I was in Kathmandu for a conference a few years ago, the hosts treated the conference participants to a fancy dinner at the fancy Krishnarpan restaurant inside a fancy hotel. The hotel is called Dwarika Restaurant and, although my colleagues and I entered via a non-descript doorway, we were astounded by what we saw inside. Stepping inside it felt like I was in old world Nepal!

Dwarika Hotel is an amazing piece of property that was a product of a restoration effort spanning some three decades. The details in the hotel – the buildings and in every piece of furniture, pottery and other items there – were gorgeous pieces showcasing exquisite Nepali traditional architecture and arts. An example is this unique door handle of the restaurant – just a small detail yet it charms you right away!

Everything inside the Dwarika property feels luxuriously old-world. I especially love this door handle. I wish brought one back home for souvenir.

I would love to have a piece of Nepal in my own house! Don’t you?
I know I have the “Pull” photo as well but I could not find it as of this writing. I’ll post it if I find it just in time for next week’s Signs, signs meme.

Here’s a post I wrote about Experiencing Old World Nepal and more pictures of the hotel. Hope you enjoy it.


Signs, signs: Dead-end Beach

Still in Phuket…

I saw this sign while strolling along  Kata Beach just a few metres away  from the Kata Thani Beach Resort.

Signs, signs dead end beach

The resort was at the very end of a semi-secluded area with few hotels around; fewer still were the visitors at that time. The white, sandy beach was very inviting even though it was the onset of the rainy season in Thailand when I went there. What ruined a quiet walkabout, aka, beach-bumming, were the obnoxious touts that wouldn’t just leave you alone.