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Why is my hair orange? Tales of a blond in Asia

Why is my hair orange? Tales of a blond in Asia

Me to fellow traveller: “My hair isn’t normally this colour.” Fellow traveller to me: “But it goes well with your eyes.” My hair turned orange in China in a hairdressing salon of a 4-star hotel. That was after it was coloured bright strawberry red with pink roots. The guy who did it didn’t know a word of English but he looked competent. In between colours he made frantic calls to his buddies. Hotel staff lined up at … Read entire article »

Filed under: Memorable moments

Wanting a destination to be what it is not

Wanting a destination to be what it is not

Editorial: Tourism is an important source of income for many countries, particularly developing ones, but it can be detrimental if not well planned. That’s what has happened in South Bali where a recent government study said there are too many hotels (referred to as too many rooms), the traffic is overwhelming, fresh water is increasingly scarce, and there’s a shortage of electrical power. It can be tough to take a taxi through South Bali because it … Read entire article »

Filed under: Editorials

May I introduce: An Aussie who runs a B&B in Cambodia

May I introduce: An Aussie who runs a B&B in Cambodia

What inspires someone with 20 years experience in the hotel industry in Australia to pull up roots and plop them down again in Cambodia? That’s what Matt Elliott did. He first went to Cambodia as a tourist—that was 2008—fell in love with the country (as in “who wouldn’t want to live here!”) and returned a year later to open a B&B in Siem Reap. There are advantages to owning a hotel in Siem Reap for the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cambodia, May I introduce, Travel itinerary

Photo gallery of Bali

Filed under: Photo galleries of great trips

Has Bali lost its way?

Has Bali lost its way?

It took more than 30 years for me to return to Bali, the Indonesian island lying between Java and Lombok, so I had to expect changes. I was there in the 1970s, before the tourism boom that started in earnest in the 1980s. At that time there were very few grand hotels and the government actually decided to restrict the height of buildings to that of a mature coconut palm. Well, good intentions were forgotten … Read entire article »

Filed under: Indonesia, Travel itinerary

Should you “vote with your feet” and skip the Besakih Temple in Bali?

Should you “vote with your feet” and skip the Besakih Temple in Bali?

The Mother Temple of Bali may be the most important temple on the whole island but foreign visitors increasingly skip it because it’s not worth the hassle. “This place is run by gangsters, ” says one blogger.  “Rude children followed us everywhere, shouting taunting jibes; overbearing ‘guides’ at the entrance demanded money even though we had paid,” says another. “Besakih is awful and the tourist authority should do something about this,” blogs yet another. Besakih Temple … Read entire article »

Filed under: Indonesia, Memorable moments, Spiritual travel, Travel itinerary

Photo gallery of Yuyuan Garden

Filed under: Photo galleries of great trips

Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai, China

Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai, China

The Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai was my introduction to classical Chinese gardening. The garden is hidden in the Yuyuan Tourist Mart in the old city—a shopping area made up of rows of stores housed in buildings imitating the architecture of the Ming and Qing Dynasty. How could a garden considered to be a classical masterpiece possibly be there? But when I finally found the entrance after much wandering around I discovered  a paradise and the … Read entire article »

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

Photo gallery of Bali Monkey Forest

Filed under: Photo galleries of great trips

“Will they bite me?” Visiting a Sacred Monkey Forest in Bali

“Will they bite me?” Visiting a Sacred Monkey Forest in Bali

Hanging out with monkeys is not my idea of fun for they can be quite aggravating and even a little scary. But they’re also cute, especially the babies. So when I found myself walking past the forest in Ubud, Bali where four troops of the long-tailed macaques live I thought, why not? Besides, this forest has wardens so if one tries to climb on my back there  is a good chance I’d be rescued. More than … Read entire article »

Filed under: Indonesia, Memorable moments, Travel itinerary, Wildlife

National Museum of China Photo Gallery

Filed under: Photo galleries of great trips

“The Chinese people have stood up”: So says the National Museum of China

“The Chinese people have stood up”: So says the National Museum of China

The National Museum of China underwent a four-year reconstruction and expansion project and was officially opened March 1, 2012.  It is across from Tiananmen Square and from the second floor you can look down on the huge image of Mao that is found in the square. Like the Square, the building is massive with lots of open spaces. The museum provides a crash course on one of the world’s oldest civilizations. The permanent collections include two … Read entire article »

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

Photo gallery of Beijing

Filed under: Photo galleries of great trips

There’s more to Beijing than the Great Wall

There’s more to Beijing than the Great Wall

Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China, lies in the northeastern part of the country, at the foot of the Yanshan Mountain and not far from the East China Sea. It was my introduction to China, a country reputed as being difficult for independent travellers. The drive in from the airport confirms reports that anything that was derelict was carted away as part of a massive beautification program for the 2008 Olympics. The avenues are … Read entire article »

Filed under: China, Great cities, Travel itinerary