Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fun in Luang Prabang

Now that you have an idea of what Luang Prabang is about, I'll talk about our activities there. Due to plane schedule conflicts we stayed a whole week in the area. That makes it the place we've stayed the longest, even longer than Rishikesh. There was plenty to do though.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Discovering Laos

and some thoughts about South East Asia

After Cambodia we wanted to make our way to Laos. The big question was to decide where we were going and how. Ideally we wanted to see the south first and then make our way to the north. However it was one of those moments where it paid to be realistic. We didn't have that much time to visit the country and trying to do both would have been really pushing it, so we decided to skip the south and spend more days in the north, in Luang Prabang. We had made the same kind of decision in India where we skipped a place that seemed really appealing, but we never regretted it. Feeling rested and not too rushed is really important. We haven't regretted it this time either.

So to be truthfull, we didn't discover Laos as much as we discovered Luang Prabang, this charming old french colonial town by the Mekong river.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Raiders of the lost Cambodian temples

From India we flew into Bangkok for a couple days while waiting for our friend Jeri who was flying from the US for 10 small days just to visit Cambodia with us (Thanks Jeri!). Once with her we flew into Siem Reap, Cambodia, where we would spend the next week visiting the many temples around, including the world famour Angkor Wat.
Siem Reap is definitely geared towards tourism generated by the temples. The center has many restaurants and bars for tourists and what the city lacks in local charm, it makes up for in comfort and easiness.
During our 6 days there, we visited temples every other day, and hung out, ate, swam and got massages (for the ladies) the rest of the time. Taking the time to relax and visit with Jeri was a great luxury.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world and the hardest place to find a yoga class

The 4 meter Hanuman in front of our Ashram

You may or may not know that I became a certified yoga teacher in San Francisco last year.  It was 6 months of 13hours of yoga a week, plus a full time job at a start up, which is of course, more than a 40 hour work week.  I don't know how many times I said, "thank god it's yoga and I'm relaxed when I'm done with the class", because I wouldn't have made it through.  What does this have to do with travelling you ask?  Well we decided to visit India, and it happens to be the birthplace of yoga and where yoga is mainly taught 1:1.  How fortuitous.  I knew immediately that I wanted to study for at least a week while there.  I was so excited and began researching it months before we even bought our first plane ticket.  I quickly found the self proclaimed yoga capital of the world was Rishikesh and it was to become the longest stop on the trip.  A whole week in one town, something we haven't done yet.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Delhi, Agra and some tidbits about traveling

As I explained in a previous post, our first stop in India was Delhi for a couple days while we were getting our bearings. We first stayed at the Hyatt with some free nights I had left, so that we could transition smoothly. Funnily enough, we felt a little out of place there. We landed late at night from Singapore and took a taxi to the hotel. More than a taxi, it was a beat up old piece of junk and as we were pulling up at the Hyatt we had trouble suppressing a smile. The car didn't quite match the standing of the place.
Once in there, we were apphaled by the price of the food and different buffets. Definitely not what we're used to, and not in our budget. It was actually quite amusing as we felt like clandestine passengers on the Titanic.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Exploring forts and temples in the deserts of Rajasthan

Before leaving Udaipur we took our first luxury trip by renting a car with driver and A/C for the day. Things are so cheap here that it costs the same as it would to just rent a car in the US, and trust me, you need the driver because you don't want to drive in the madness here!

It took him 5 years to grow this awesome 'stache

We took it to visit the fort of Kumbhalgarh and the beautiful Jain temple of Ranakpur. It was only a 300kms loop (190miles) but with the shape of the roads it took all day.