Showing posts from August, 2016

Bloody Blistering Beach Break

For our first weekend back in Hong Kong, my friends and I decided to hike out to Tai Long Wan. Sure, it was a hot weather warning (95 degrees!!) but it's only a 45 minute hike down a hill to the first beach, and then another 30 minutes to the second beach, right? WRONG. Due to a landslide blocking taxis from dropping us off at the start of the trail, we added another hour and a half to our hike.

Not a bad view from the trail!
This hike was really beautiful, and despite our crackling skin and parched mouths, we were in good spirits because we knew what was waiting for us at the end of the trail. After reaching Sai Wan beach and chugging some cold sodas, we ventured off to the Sheung Luk waterfalls. This was my first time visiting! It was like a cool oasis just begging to be jumped in. Of course I had to scramble up to the top and jump off the highest rock I could find.

Imagine this waiting for you at the end of a scorching hot hike
Finally arriving at the natural pools of Sheung Luk

The Sanctuary in Koh Phangan

I've written about eco-lodges aplenty on here, and now there's one more to add to the list. Up there with the ranks of Black Sheep Inn, Secret Garden, Bahay Kalipay, Playa Escondida, and Earth Lodge, is a tiny tropical oasis on the island of Koh Phangan in Thailand called 'The Sanctuary.' After what felt like an eternal bout of food poisoning in Myanmar this summer, a vegan yoga detox retreat was just what I needed.

Hired a local speedboat to jet me out to Haad Tien
First of all, Koh Phangan has a reputation. Heard of the Full Moon Party? Aka Spring Break: Asia Edition? That's on a beach called Haad Rin, which I purposely avoided like the plague. I spent my time scuba diving in Chaloklum on the north end of the island, and then took a boat to Haad Tien, home of The Sanctuary. It's unreachable by road, which adds to its appeal.

Approaching The Sanctuary from the water
Oh. my. god. the characters! Haad Tien is part of a string of 3 beaches that can only be reached …

Temples of Bagan

The more I travel, the less unique each place appears to be. A neighborhood in the Philippines might remind me of where I lived in Guatemala. A street in Hong Kong might send me back to a district in Buenos Aires. A pagoda in Japan might be reminiscent of a temple in Taiwan. So I forget sometimes that, no, I haven't seen it all, and human society still has a lot of hidden treasures to reveal.

I was under the impression that Angkor Wat was the most beautiful, special, magical place I would ever be fortunate enough to visit in my lifetime. I was wrong. I had never even heard of Bagan until I started researching travel in Myanmar for this summer and kept coming across images of what looked like Angkor Wat on crack. 2,200 temples on one site? Are you kidding me?!

A high vantage point gives you an idea of how many temples are scattered everywhere
Sunset over temples
Sunset over temples
Bagan was an ancient city in Central Myanmar that was home to 10,000 temples at its peak in the 11-1200s.…

The Depths of the Malaysian Jungle

Earth Lodge in Ulu Muda might be the most unique and personal travel experience I have ever had. For starters, very few people go there. It is not a resort by any means, but a series of cabins deep in the forest (14 kilometers by boat from the nearest jetty). There's nothing really to do except wander for a good animal watching hideout. The only people around are a few jungle guides and maybe one or two other nature enthusiasts. If you're lucky, an Oxford research team investigating the effect of an absence of tigers on Asian jungle food chains might show up and begin spreading their equipment out everywhere.

Check out their website here
Taman Negara is Malaysia's most famous rainforest, and it's located just a few hours south of Ulu Muda. I've done the over-crowded rainforest experience in the Amazon though, and I knew I wanted something different when I began googling 'Asia jungle eco-lodge.' Ulu Muda hasn't yet been pounced on by hoards of tourists be…