Browsing Category Southeast Asia

My Journey With Street Food of Malaysia – A Photo Essay

A narrative photo essay on street food in Malaysia

 

Eating Street Food of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur

My experience with the street food of Malaysia began in Kuala Lumpur(KL). I arrived late at night in KL. I had chosen a hostel close to Chinatown to eat there as often as I can. I checked in the Travel Hub guesthouse and took a bed in a female dorm. 

A long transit from Bali to Malaysia had left me famished. Overeating has been my die-hard habit. Now I try to eat less for a healthy and sustained living. But then, I gorged on traditional Malaysian food without a thought. I don’t like to overthink calories when I travel. Who would?

From being baffled by the cornucopia of Malaysian cuisines, restaurants, and dishes to knowing where and what exactly I wanted to eat, I had a long rendezvous with the Malaysian food. This food memoir is my attempt to recreate my month-long food journey in Malaysia.

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Dee Doke Waterfall – Turquoise Journeys in Burma

From Mandalay to Dee Doke Waterfall

 

Should I share or hide? While deciding whether I should write about the Dee Doke waterfall, I’ve become more conscious of my responsibilities as a travel blogger.

Dee Doke is a remote and uncrowded waterfall because most people don’t know about it. But if I talk about the Dee Doke falls, more travelers will go there. But would all those visitors keep the place clean and serene, as it is now?

I can only request and rest is upto the people, up to you guys. If I show you some pictures of these turquoise falls, tell you they are about an hour and a half scenic drive away from Mandalay, and the waterfalls are mostly empty, you would want to rush to Dee Doke or Dee Dote, as locals call it. It’s a fair request.

I also went to Dee Doke because I discovered Myanmar travel blogs that suggested me to visit this stunning waterfall. I had an amazing day driving from Mandalay and then swimming in the Dee Dote blue lagoons. So I’m thankful to those travel writers.

I’m just returning the favor now. I only ask for not playing music on speakers there or leaving garbage behind. That’s all. I know you would be good and respectful.

Let’s go then.

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A Stunning Sunset at Mandalay’s Irrawaddy River

A Myanmar Sunset on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, Mandalay

I saw one of the most ethereal sunsets of my life on the banks of the Irrawaddy River in Mandalay. That Myanmar sunset was enough to convince me to wake up before 5 every morning for my twenty day trip in Burma.

It was the last day of 2019. My friend and I had just spent the day roaming around Mandalay ruins, discovering pagodas and ancient temples in the historic town of Innwa, and strolling around Innwa villages. There was a hot pot lunch in between at a place called the Little Panda Hotpot and BBQ Buffet. It wasn’t one of my brightest ideas to stop for a hot pot when we had hired an auto-rickshaw to show us around Mandalay. But the kind driver waited patiently for an hour. Also, I could not be blamed for the do-it-yourself hotpot for I didn’t know the restaurant would ask us to grill and cook everything ourselves without even helping us light the fire under our wok. Let us blame everything on the language barrier.

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12 Myanmar Traditional Food– Eating My Way Through Burma

Curry rich, Asian-influenced, salad-based, unhygienic — these are only some of the phrases that seem to describe Myanmar traditional food all over the internet. 

When I visited Myanmar last year, I had high hopes from the Burmese food: a concoction of not only the culinary taste of the hundreds of ethnic groups within Myanmar but also steeped in flavors, ingredients, and recipes from the colorful neighbor China, Thailand, and India. 

While you can find fish noodle soups and tea leaf salads at every corner of Myanmar, you can also overeat potato samosas, suck into juicy dumplings, and cry out on spicy curries or run away from fried insects— all the later delicacies can be attributed to Myanmar’s neighbors whose people and flavors both have been generously accepted by Burma. 

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A Surreal Drive Up to the Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, Bali

A Misty Day at the Ulun Danu Temple, Bali

Located on the shores of the Lake Bratan in the Bedugul region of Bali, the Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, or Pura Ulun Danu, is a popular Bali temple and one of my favorites. The road to the temple undulates up and down with majestic views of the Bedugul highlands throughout— the Ulun Danu temple is at a height of 1500 meters.

When I visited the Pura UlunDanu I didn’t know that the drive would be so surreal and that we were driving to the second largest lake in Bali which irrigates the entire Bedugul region’s rice fields.

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Saying Goodbye to Myanmar at Mount Popa Bagan

A Monkey-Filled Hill of Myanmar – Mount Popa, Bagan

Mount Popa near Bagan was my last stop in Myanmar. Just before my friend and I were to take a bus from Bagan to Yangon to fly back to India, we decided that we should see this 1518-meter high extinct volcano on the outskirts of Bagan.

How could we not go when every travel blog about Bagan spoke of the Popa mountain. And the pictures of the panoramic view from Mt Popa looked ethereal.

While we couldn’t see something even close to those gorgeous sunset hues that Google promised, for the sky was cloudy that day, we did have a unique, eye-opening experience all the way from Bagan to the Mount Popa volcano.

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Bicycling Around Yangon’s Dala Village – A Photo Essay

A Journey Into the Streets of the Village of Dala, Yangon

 

One fine day in December, I was cycling around in the Dala village near Yangon in Myanmar. Across the river from Yangon, Dalla Township is located on the southern bank of the Yangon river.

Though the Dala township comprises of some 50 villages, bounded by the Yangon river in the north and east, the Twantay Canal in the west, and Twantay Township in the south, I was in the main Dalla village. And I was not alone.

It was one of those rare tours that I sometimes convince myself to take in foreign lands. With Unchartered Horizons Myanmar, I was set to have a local experience in Dala, a hamlet on the banks of Yangon river.

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Sunrise and Shan Noodles at Mandalay’s U Bein Bridge, Myanmar

A Travelogue of the U Bein Bridge, Myanmar.

 

U Bein Bridge is in a township of Mandalay called Amarapura, which was once the royal capital of Myanmar. 

Amarapura, literally the city of immortality in Pali(अमरपुर in Hindi), was the capital from 1783 until 1857, for almost 75 years. In 1857, when entire India was about to burst into its first revolt against the British East India Company, Burma’s King Mindon was building Mandalay as his new capital.

In the construction of the capital, the King wanted to use the old material from Amarapura as the second Anglo-Burmese war, (in which many Indian soldiers fought as one can see the graves of the sepoys in a Yangon cemetery), hadn’t left the royal treasure in blooming conditions. Elephants obeyed their king’s wish by hauling the building material over the 11-kilometer distance between Amarapura and Mandalay. 

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Riding the Yangon Circular train – Memoirs from Myanmar

Riding the Yangon Circular train – One of my best day trips from Yangon, Myanmar

When you search for things to do in Yangon, riding the Yangon circular train comes as one of the top activities. Pictures of travelers surrounded by sleepy Burmese people carrying overloaded bamboo baskets in the Yangon train would fill the internet feed. 

Those Yangon train pictures promised to offer an insider’s look into the local life of the city. So after exploring Yangon for a day, I decided to get my piece of the train.

The little girl inside me who grew up in India riding trains suddenly sprang to life. Before heading out of my hotel, I packed a small bag with my wallet, camera, water bottle, and strode towards the Yangon Central Railway station. 

Finding the train station wasn’t the easiest task. When I arrived at the Google map location for Yangon Central station, I couldn’t find the place. 

A few locals gestured me to climb the bridge at the location. When I did, I could only see the railway tracks from up the bridge, but I couldn’t locate any ticket booth or platform.

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Lovely Things To Do in Inle Lake, Myanmar

Located in the Shan state of Myanmar, Inle Lake is a huge freshwater lake. It is surrounded by mountain ranges from all sides.

Measuring twenty-two(22) kilometer long by eleven(11) kilometer wide, Inle Lake seemed so big that it reminded me of Lake Titicaca that is shared between Bolivia and Peru. People inhabit both these lakes.

While I was trying to find the things to do in Inle Lake Myanmar, only a few travelers talked about visiting the Shan, Intha, Padaung, and Pa-O communities that live on, around, and above the lake in the mountains that so gloriously encircle the lake.

So what was the highlight of the Lake Inle as per most of the people?

I had seen traveler’s feed stuffed with Inle lake fishermen balancing a conical net on their one feet while the other leg rested on the stern of a long wooden canoe that is ubiquitous on the lake. In other Inle pictures, I had seen frail men maneuvering the wooden oar with one leg and their other leg perched on the stern.

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Myanmar Visa for Indians – A Complete Guide

This guide to the Myanmar visa for Indians lists all the possible Myanmar tourist visa options for Indian citizens — Myanmar visa on arrival for Indians, Myanmar e visa for Indians, and the regular Myanmar travel visa from the Myanmar embassy in Delhi.

I had booked a flight to Guwahati and, then from there, I was to enter into Burma by land (always my preferable travel option) via the Moreh (Manipur)/Tamu (Myanmar) border.

But my Northeast India and overlanding into Burma plan was disheveled by the protests in Guwahati. Land travel was impossible under the given conditions, and I canceled my flight ticket and a stay in the Maujuli island, the disappearing land of the east.

As I booked a flight to Yangon, I decided to apply for a Myanmar online visa (evisa) to be assured instead of depending on a visa on arrival as the trip already seemed to be jinxed. Also, I didn’t want to wait in queue for long at the Yangon international airport.

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