A Travellerspoint blog

October 2017

Bagan, MMR


View Oceania + SE Asia on lhuff35204's travel map.

This morning (5 AM) we took a one hour flight to Bagan and checked into our hotel, the Thiripytisaya Resort (I have no idea how to pronounce it and just nod when at reception). It overlooks the Irrawaddy River and is situated within the Archaeological Zone, probably one of the reasons Bagan is not a world heritage site.
The Hotel sent a car to the airport.
large_WP_20171025_008.jpg
Jan's new blue suitcase purchased after she blew out her lifetime guarantee "no matter what" Eagle Creek.
large_WP_20171025_007.jpg
It's a small airport with dirt road to the luggage collection area.
large_WP_20171025_006.jpg
The Bagan Archaeological Zone with it's over 10,000 temples constructed from the 9th to the 13 century is a main attraction for the country's tourism industry. It is seen by many as equal in attraction to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
large_IMG_3061.jpg
large_IMG_3085.jpglarge_90_IMG_3081.jpglarge_90_IMG_3074.jpglarge_90_IMG_3078.jpglarge_IMG_3070.jpglarge_WP_20171025_011.jpglarge_WP_20171025_009.jpg
More hotel photos.
The hotel driver took us around Bagan. We visited several temples, but is's really the collective of all 2,000 remaining temples in the 40 square mile zone that is impressive. Visited an 11 story viewing tower at sunset, but the lighting was in the wrong direction. Went to the sunrise balloon launches ($320 US PP to ride in the balloon) 2 days in a row but there was no wind to propel them so they were canceled.

We'll be adding more photos here.

1 large_IMG_3099.jpg
2 large_IMG_3102.jpg
3 large_IMG_3103.jpg
Ananda Temple with four 10 meter Buddha images.
large_90_IMG_3137.jpg
5 large_90_IMG_3141.jpg
6 large_90_IMG_3142.jpg
7 large_90_IMG_3147.jpg
8 large_IMG_3175.jpg
9 large_IMG_3180.jpg
10 large_IMG_3182.jpg
11 large_90_IMG_3187.jpg
12 large_IMG_3196.jpg
13 large_IMG_3211.jpg
14 large_IMG_3214.jpg
large_IMG_3298.jpg
large_IMG_3297.jpg
I had been using our tap water for coffee until I drew a bath for Jan and saw this.
large_WP_20171027_003.jpg
The hotel moved us to a suite
large_90_IMG_3289.jpg
large_90_IMG_3286.jpg
large_90_IMG_3285.jpg
large_90_IMG_3284.jpg
large_IMG_3281.jpg

Posted by lhuff35204 23:24 Archived in Myanmar Comments (1)

Yangon, MMR

OUR HOTEL BURNED DOWN


View Oceania + SE Asia on lhuff35204's travel map.

Arrived Yangon around 1:30 AM and the airport taxi drivers acted funny when we gave them our hotel name, but they took us. When we arrived it was still dark but it was clear the hotel had burned to the ground. 2 guests were killed. The Hotel's computers were also destroyed so they couldn't notify us.

Myanmar's Kandawgyi Palace hotel destroyed by fire

large__98377681_..884ab91c28b.jpg

We booked into another hotel but we're not sure where we are until it gets light enough to sort it out. First built in the 1930s, it was my dream to stay there. It reminded me of the Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor.

We're in a club room at the Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon. Its' near our original hotel and that's all I know until we get some sleep and explore a little.
WP_20171020_005

WP_20171020_005

WP_20171020_003

WP_20171020_003

WP_20171020_001

WP_20171020_001

Oct 21 - Our hotel room overlooks Kandawgyi Lake, but its isolation from the city makes it a long walk to anywhere. Today we took the hotel bus to a shopping area with a traditional market on one side of the street and a huge western mall on the other. No one spoke English but we were able to buy some necessities. We had a hotel taxi card written in Burmese but this could only get you back to the hotel, so we could not go to another location. Until we can get a Burmese tourist phrase book we are currently limited to one stop per trip. From the mall we walked down to an area with many colonial era buildings. The government has by design, or through neglect, not maintained these buildings so this part of town meets my travel criteria: hot, dirty, dangerous... I could have spent the entire day here, but it also does NOT meet Jan's criteria so I washed her feet upon return to the hotel. :)
large_90_93A84295FF637CF5BDB96472F14A1B0E.jpg
large_IMG_2727.jpg
large_IMG_2726.jpg
large_IMG_2718.jpg
large_90_IMG_2714.jpg
large_90_IMG_2709.jpg

Jan did not want to try Betel Nut
large_BetelNut.jpg
large_WP_20171021_017.jpglarge_WP_20171021_016.jpg
Shopping was good.
large_WP_20171021_013.jpg

We set out again at sunset for the Shwedagon Pagoda. It is said to be the oldest pagoda in existence (2,500 years) and was originally only 66 feet tall.
Over the years it was rebuilt and regilded so that in 1775 it reached its current height of 325 feet. It's a massive complex with its gold and jewel encrusted pagoda that dominates the landscape.
large_90_IMG_2775.jpg
large_90_IMG_2774.jpg
large_IMG_2773.jpg
large_90_IMG_2772.jpg[
img=https://photos.travellerspoint.com/899099/large_90_IMG_2771.jpg]
large_90_IMG_2767.jpg
large_90_IMG_2759.jpg
large_IMG_2783.jpg
large_IMG_2777.jpg

We returned to the hotel, exhausted, ordered room service, and went to bed early.

Oct 22 - We are getting no where, but we don't want to spend our days on a tour bus stranded in traffic and waiting in endless lines at museums and temples. Yangon is crowded with narrow streets and poor infrastructure. Going by bus takes forever, few taxi drivers speak English, and many cannot read Burmese. So what we need is a fixer who can go with us so we can do what we came to do. A Guy. A free lance tour Guide. A Guy'd. Someone who knows the City and speaks English. We tell him where we want to go and he fixes it so we can go by foot, taxi, ferry, train, and rickshaw. Quickly and effortlessly.

1 The burned-out Palace Hotel where we had intended to stay
Before
large_hotel.jpg
After
large_WP_20171022_001.jpg
2 Walking trail around the Kandawgyi Lake
large_90_IMG_2799.jpg
3 Many large trees have fallen, remnants of Cyclone Nargis 2008 which killed 138,000 people and severely effected Yangon and the Irrawaddy delta.
large_90_IMG_2800.jpg
4 Karaweik Palace
large_IMG_2802.jpg
5
large_IMG_2803.jpg
6 Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda with Reclining Buddha- 217 feet long with long black eyelashes, completed in 1973
large_IMG_2812.jpg
7
large_IMG_2823.jpg
8 The Yangon Circular Train was built by the British in 1954. It covers a railway track loop of 45.9 kilometers and stops at 39 stations. It takes almost 3 hours to complete the journey. Trains make both clockwise (Right) and counter-clockwise (Left) journeys daily along the railway loop.large_IMG_2828.jpg
9
large_IMG_2832.jpg
10
large_IMG_2842.jpg
11
large_IMG_2848.jpg

12
large_IMG_2857.jpg
13
large_IMG_2880.jpg
14
large_IMG_2885.jpg
15 Dala is a small township located to the South of the Yangon River. Standing in contrast to the busy streets of Yangon, Dala’s dusty roads and cheerful villagers blissfully oblivious of their poverty stricken lives, are worth experiencing. To get to Dala, take the local Ferry from Pansadon street Jetty. Ferries leave for Dala every 20 minutes and the journey takes not more than 20 minutes.
large_IMG_2892.jpg
16
large_IMG_2895.jpg
17
large_IMG_2906.jpg
large_WP_20171022_042.jpg
18
large_90_IMG_2932.jpg

19
large_IMG_2943.jpg
20
large_WP_20171022_068.jpglarge_WP_20171022_048.jpg21
large_90_IMG_2954.jpg
22
large_90_IMG_2962.jpg
23
large_C51EB4AEB2D277EA875A7C0ED40E79A2.jpg
24
large_IMG_2991.jpg

Last night we returned to "my" part of town for dinner. I did wash Jan's feet when we returned to the hotel.
large_90_IMG_3051.jpglarge_90_IMG_3048.jpglarge_IMG_3044.jpglarge_IMG_3028.jpglarge_IMG_3018.jpglarge_IMG_3017.jpglarge_IMG_3015.jpglarge_IMG_3014.jpglarge_IMG_3013.jpglarge_IMG_3012.jpglarge_IMG_3008.jpglarge_IMG_3006.jpglarge_90_IMG_3005.jpg
If your eyes are closed, all is well... our table is perched over an open sewer and Buddhist chants are blasting from loud speakers across the street.
large_WP_20171024_015.jpg

Posted by lhuff35204 20:04 Archived in Myanmar Comments (4)

Transiting Hong Kong airport

large_WP_20171019_009.jpg
large_WP_20171019_011.jpg

Posted by lhuff35204 07:45 Archived in China Comments (0)

Port Douglas, AU


View Oceania + SE Asia on lhuff35204's travel map.

Moved up to Port Douglas to be closer to the outer reef. Checked into the Ramada Resort, time share and hotel, which immediately seemed odd. The front desk welcomes you with the molasses and the tour desk gives you the sulfur: you are 2.5 miles from town and there are crocodiles on the famous 4 mile beach. I'm going to write an entry about nightmare hotels separately, but now is not the time to be "bad husband". There is a stream and pool down the center of the resort and the restaurant looks like an Australian "river station". It's half Disney and half weird. It kind of grows on you. UPDATE: turns out every restaurant in town has no wait staff. You order your drinks from the bar and your food from kitchen. Condiments and salt and pepper are on the sideboard. WHY DON'T YOU KNOW THIS (maybe posting this somewhere would help). Once you know, it works pretty well. Travel can sometimes be like a thousand irritating cuts, some places are easier than others....
large_WP_20171015_010.jpglarge_WP_20171015_008.jpglarge_WP_20171015_007.jpg
Guests waiting to place their dinner orders (no wait staff)
large_WP_20171015_011.jpg

Four Mile Beach
large_WP_20171017_003.jpg
large_WP_20171017_001.jpg
Photo of a crocodile just 20 meters offshore on Four Mile Beach in August 2017 IMAGE: Newsport.
Croc1

Croc1

Following our Cairns experience, we decided to double up our chances and booked two outer reef trips:
1). Mine is the Quicksilver Wave Piercing Catamaran tour (tomorrow) .
2). Jan's is the Calypso Reef Charters tour (the next day).
Different reefs and boat types.

We'll report back.
Quicksilver Wave Piercer Catamaran
The tour was aboard the 45 meter 480 passenger Quicksilver Wave Piercer Catamaran and its dedicated island platform anchored 72 kilometers out on Agincourt Reef. Travel time to the platform was 1 hour 45 mins (23 knots) the tour included a buffet lunch, semi submersible viewing boats, underwater viewing deck, snorkel gear, and sting suits. Underwater visibility was unlimited with many fish and coral. The purpose built boat and tour platform with its submerged step off snorkel decks, showers, and changing rooms made the trip effortless. Weather was perfect.

agincourt-reef-map-879x1024

agincourt-reef-map-879x1024


large_WP_20171016_001.jpglarge_WP_20171016_007.jpglarge_WP_20171016_019.jpglarge_WP_20171016_022.jpglarge_WP_20171016_025.jpglarge_WP_20171016_039.jpg

large_WP_20171016_048.jpglarge_WP_20171016_040.jpglarge_WP_20171016_036.jpglarge_WP_20171016_035.jpglarge_WP_20171016_034.jpg
large_D6F7BD90C06E681A276CFA1355E42594.jpg
4,000 HP engines

Calypso Reef Charters Tour
This catamaran tour goes to Opal Reef. The boat is 21 meters long 100 passengers (only 30 the day we went) and grantees three 1 hour long snorkel tours at 3 sites. It's more low tech than the Quicksilver and a lot rougher ride. The snorkel sites had higher waves and more current but the extra variety paid off with this meter long Maori Wrasse
large_Poisson-Napol_on.jpg
large_map-great-barrier-reef.gif
WP_20171018_013

WP_20171018_013

WP_20171018_003

WP_20171018_003

WP_20171018_002

WP_20171018_002

Posted by lhuff35204 04:38 Archived in Australia Comments (3)

Trip changes

Canceling Bali has created a lot of itinerary changes and these rest days have given me time to clean up some loose ends.

1). We had to shorten our Port Douglas visit by one day so we could fly to Hong Kong (only weekly service to there from Cairns) then onto Yangon, MM (Myanmar) for 10 days. The only other route not stopping in Bali was to fly all the way back to Sydney and then from there to Jakarta, then Bangkok, and then Yangon, laying over a few hours in each place (18+ hours).

2). We pick up our planned itinerary again in Singapore on October 30, but we arrive there from Yangon late and leave for Kuching, MY (Borneo) early, so that only gave us 2 full days to visit. Singapore is our favorite city so we changed plans again. We're not going to Borneo and we got a serviced apartment right on top of the Clarke Quay MRT (subway stop) for 10 days. With an MRT stop below us you can be anywhere in the City in minutes, and Clarke and Boat Quays is where all of the restaurants and night life is. Singapore is a great city but hotels are very expensive and an apartment really brings the cost down. However, that means Jan will miss the Borneo long house native jungle stay (he's being sarcastic since I really didn't want to go). Hopefully we will see Orangutans sometime in the future.

large_3359605_orig.jpg

3). Andaman Islands Thailand issues: We're flying to the island of Langkawi from Kuala Lumpur and we will enter Thailand via ferry. Because of the popularity and remoteness of these islands, hotels/beach huts must be booked far in advance, and many are non-refundable. We found out that regular ferry service doesn't start until November 21 (3 days too late for our Koh Lipe island stop), so we're researching the safety of hired speed boats and other ferry options. Once we get to Koh Lipe there will be twice daily ferry service to the 6 other islands we are visiting.

large_andaman.png

Posted by lhuff35204 15:01 Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 10) Page [1] 2 » Next