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Photo gallery of the Day of Silence

Filed under: Photo galleries of great trips

The Day of Silence when Bali shuts its door

The Day of Silence when Bali shuts its door

When I first heard about Nyepi I didn’t quite get it. Like there is a day in Bali when everything shuts down and no one is allowed in or out? Seaports and airports are closed and planes are even banned from flying overhead? Cars, and in fact people, aren’t allowed on the streets and everyone has to stay home (or in their hotel) where they can’t turn on the lights or watch TV? Well, it’s the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Indonesia, Spiritual travel

The rice fields of Bali, Indonesia

The rice fields of Bali, Indonesia

When you drive the back roads of Bali you cannot help but be struck by the sheer physical beauty of the place—the land that runs from the volcanoes down to the sea, thousands of swaying palms, huge ficus trees with their massive roots exposed. It is an island in a tropical climate that has been blessed with fertile volcanic soil. Everywhere there are small working gardens filled with many different crops of all shapes and sizes. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Gardens of the world, Indonesia, Travel itinerary

Finding Chiang Mai’s magic

Finding Chiang Mai’s magic

I first visited Chiang Mai when it was one of the must-see places along the hippie trail through Asia back in the 1970s. It was a long trip there by bus from Bangkok but probably those of us who made the detour had few regrets. My then husband and I didn’t know much about the place before we arrived and mostly hung around enjoying the friendly atmosphere before renting a motorbike and venturing a little … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cultural travel, Great cities, Thailand, Travel itinerary

A Buddhist wedding in Laos: Toss back the whiskey and dance

A Buddhist wedding in Laos: Toss back the whiskey and dance

I was in northeastern Laos and having one of those over-the-top travel days when my guide asked if I’d like to go to ‘a veden’ for lunch. He assured me it would cost nothing.  I had no idea what he was talking about and feared it would be outdoor stall food, which is something I usually avoid. But we were having a good time and I didn’t want to spoil the mood so said “Sure.” A … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cultural travel, Laos, Memorable moments, Travel itinerary

Photo gallery of Tonlé Sap, Cambodia

Filed under: Photo galleries of great trips

Tonlé Sap, Cambodia: Where houses float or sit on stilts

Tonlé Sap, Cambodia: Where houses float or sit on stilts

I met a woman from Denmark over breakfast at my B&B in Siem Reap who had just been to Kampong Khleang, a remote village where houses are on stilts. She went there by tuk-tuk and spent her time mixing with the villagers. Her enthusiasm was obvious and though I wasn’t quite sure what the excitement was all about I felt we had similar appreciations, that this village was something I should see. So instead of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cambodia, Cultural travel, Travel itinerary

Laos stole my heart

Laos stole my heart

Editorial: My joints still ache from riding the buses in Laos, a country that I have fallen for. I started my journey in the north, in the town of Luang Prabang, which is well known for the seemingly endless line of monks that gather each morning for the alms gathering ceremony. From there I took a 7-hour bus trip over to Phonsavan, close to the Vietnam border. It’s in the mountains and quite cool when compared … Read entire article »

Filed under: Editorials, Laos

Photo gallery of Angkor

Filed under: Photo galleries of great trips

Ta Prohm (and the other Angkor temples!)

Ta Prohm (and the other Angkor temples!)

Everyone seems to know about Angkor, that archaeological wonder in the jungles of Cambodia where so many temples have been restored. The most famous are probably the Temple of Angkor Wat and the Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom. About two million people come every year to see them along with several others. A favourite of mine is Ta Prohm because it’s the least restored and when you’re there you can just imagine how awed the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cambodia, Cultural travel, Spiritual travel, Travel itinerary

Photo gallery of Plain of Jars

Filed under: Photo galleries of great trips

Plain of Jars: Where giants partied and the US dropped their bombs

Plain of Jars: Where giants partied and the US dropped their bombs

The Plain of Jars has been called the most mysterious place in Laos. Visitors go there primarily to see huge jar-shaped stone vessels. What they are and how they got there is still in dispute.  While there they also see the legacy of a war that most of the world knew little or nothing about. It’s called the “Secret War”. The Jars are near the provincial capital Phonsavan and close to the Vietnam border. During the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cultural travel, Laos, Memorable moments

The Baci Ceremony: White threads, banana leaves and marigolds

The Baci Ceremony: White threads, banana leaves and marigolds

You often see banana leaves rolled into small cones and decorated with marigolds in Southeast Asia. They are sold at markets everywhere, at temples, and other sacred places. These banana leaf decorations are called makbeng and are used in the Baci Ceremony that has been practiced in Laos for hundreds of years. During the ceremony, called ‘su kwan’, white strings are attached to the makbeng and then around the wrist of the person being honoured. The … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cultural travel, Laos, Memorable moments, Travel itinerary

Hmong guide photo gallery

Filed under: Photo galleries of great trips

A Hmong guide shares his story

A Hmong guide shares his story

Kou Vang was my guide for the day when I went to see the Plain of Jars in northeastern Laos. His English is excellent and he is a fine storyteller so we spent much of the time talking about traditions and legends of the Hmong people and visiting one of their villages. Here is his story. The Hmong people are very independent. They may not have a lot but they don’t have a boss. They do … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cultural travel, Laos, Travel itinerary