All posts filed under: Asia

Turkey All Greeced Up and Then Some

Get a glimpse of the places I explored in Turkey, Hungary, Serbia, and Greece in my first ever travel video!

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Up and Down the Temples of Prambanan

Just an hour or so away from Borobudur lies another temple compound that’s a must-visit while in the vicinity of Yogyakarta. Prambanan is considered the largest Hindu temple complex in Indonesia, and like Borobudur, it’s landed a coveted spot on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Having just been to Borobudur, it was impossible not to compare the two. While the former gave me that staggering, surreal feeling of “Oh, I’m finally here, and it’s even more amazing than I expected,” Prambanan snuck up on me slowly. Yes, there was that burst of whoa when I got my first full view of it from across that long stretch of grass and plants, but it was calmer. Quieter. Instead of stopping me in my tracks, it urged me to come closer and gained more of my admiration with every step I took. Despite its misleading name, Prambanan Temple, or Loro Jonggrang, is actually composed of 240 temples. If you look at its original model on Wikipedia, you’ll see that it follows a square plan with more than 200 small temples enclosing the main temples and …

Finding enlightenment at Borobudur

I can’t pinpoint when it was that I first realized I wanted to see Borobudur, but it’s been on my list for a while now. Sometimes, when you dream about something for so long, you build it up in your head and end up disappointed when it turns into reality. This wasn’t the case here. The hostel was dim and quiet when I walked down to the lobby five minutes before 3:40 AM. I’d gotten probably two hours of sleep, tops, but I wasn’t about to let that get in the way of my plans. The car arrived late enough that I’d worried they’d forgotten about me, but it all worked out. I sat beside the driver and watched the night pass me by as two men chatted in the backseat. Despite the early hour, life stirred on the streets of Yogyakarta, and as we drove closer to Magelang, the more I saw people going about their morning routines. The sunrise can be viewed from Borobudur itself via Manohara Hotel’s exclusive Sunrise Tour, which gets you inside the temple an hour and …

Touchdown, Yogyakarta!

When I boarded my plane to Yogyakarta, I’d expected to spend the entire two-hour flight asleep. I’d never thought that I’d end up talking to a stranger for majority of that time and learn so much about his life story in the process, all because he’d offered to translate the custom declaration form for me! That encounter set the tone for the entirety of my trip—it was filled with apprehensions and lucky interventions, peppered with new experiences and discoveries, and blessed with happy encounters. Thanks to my friendly seatmate, I arrived in Yogyakarta knowing a lot more about Indonesia than I previously had, such as how they had more than 300 languages and even more dialects, how gudeg was the must-try dish in town (it involves chicken, tofu, jackfruit, and rice), and how I looked like a local from one of the cities up north. That last bit threw me off, but I discovered how true that was when everyone kept talking to me in Javanese and giving me surprised looks when I couldn’t understand them. After sailing past …

These feet were made for wandering…

Just a quick post to let you guys know that I’m still here…though not in the same “here” that I used to be. I’m in the Lion City, baby! By that, I mean Singapore. Until early tomorrow morning, anyway. I’ve been here a couple of times now, but I never run out of places to explore. Today, my sister and I had brunch at Pasarbella, walked the Ponggol Waterway up north (pictured above), then had early dinner at Joo Chiat/Katong in the East Coast. Most of my photos are still on my camera, but I just had to share some shots I got on my phone. If you’ve got podophobia (aka feet phobia. Yes, I looked it up!), better close this window now. Oops, you’ve probably already seen them. Sorry. :)) I’m such a sucker for patterns, and I discovered some darn lovely ones on the streets of Katong. Check them out below. (I apologize for my veiny feet, LOL.)   My feet and I’ll be wandering off to somewhere new tomorrow—and hopefully, we’ll be crossing some things off my …

Hitching a ride on an elephant in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Okay, I’ll admit it. I am a total scaredy-cat. My cousin had to taunt me into riding the California Screamin’ roller coaster at Disneyland (her words, I believe, were, “Don’t be such a pussy”). My legs shook as I climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge (they kept shaking even after I hit solid ground). And I nearly backed out of paragliding in Austria (only I had already coughed up the money for it and was halfway up the mountain). One of the funniest things I’ll admit to being scared of was mounting an elephant. Bareback. All by my lonesome. But more than three years ago, I did it. Here’s how it went down. My sister (“Ate”) and I stayed in Bangkok for a few days before flying to Chiang Mai to meet her friend there. Along with checking out its temples and cultural spots, Ate deemed that we couldn’t leave the city without visiting an elephant camp…and riding one of said elephants. I’d promised myself I would try something new every time I traveled, so I went along with the plan. An …