Day 168! Some more pics from the impressive botanical garden that made us long home to our little garden in Spain. Trees are fascinating and imposing when you think how long they might have been around or how fast some of them grow. Makes you want to hug them 😊!
Day 167! We've seen so many school kids in Sri Lanka, most of them nicely dressed up in white, so many that Rebecca almost got lost among them 😂. We've been told they are on school trips and seem to be visiting the same spots we are. People in general are very nice and welcoming here and quite a few speak good enough English so that they can tell us a bit about their country. And then there are a lot of monkeys... Everywhere!
Day 166! The botanical garden in Kandy (or Peradeniya) surpassed our expectations! We really enjoy walking around botanical gardens as you in a small tranquil place have access to so many beautiful trees and plants from all over the world. It's like a quick round the world nature trip 😂. However, this garden is not exactly small... It is huge and full of old magnificent trees, palm avenues, spice garden and bamboo forests so it took us hours before we found our way out to the bustling city of Kandy again.
The first morning in Sri Lanka we woke up early by the sound of a Catholic Sunday mass (to our surprise!) and we saw several crowded churches on our way to Sigirya. That same day we climbed the stairs to the Dambulla cave temple full of colourful Buddha statues and paintings and surrounded by a beautiful white pillar arcade. Later that day, we also stopped to see one of the most important Hindu temples in typical pastel colours. Even more to our surprise we passed through arab-muslim villages on the way with women in burka. So, we kind of got ...
Day 162! Country no. 52! We've had some intense first days in Sri Lanka and it is amazing how much there is to see without travelling too long distances and so much to watch on the way. There have been quite some severe power cuts (whole cities) so we have not had much internet or light (but flashlights and good books 😉). We started visiting the Sigirya area climbing up to see this beautiful landscape and impressive rock formation. It was quite tricky climbing the last part and so hot we reached the top completely soaked of sweat. But it ...
We found a nice little budget boutique hotel in Chinatown, close to the train station, and spent an afternoon exploring the winding alleys. It is quite a contrast to Siam Square and the modern shopping malls of Bangkok!
Day 157! Chiang Mai hosts so many temples! Of all the ones we visited, our favorite was definitely Wat Phra Sing. The buildings are imposing and very well maintained and the place does have a special energy. We ended up visiting several times (as it was just by our hotel) both in the morning and at night, when it shines in a special way under the stars and the moon 🙏🏼.
Day 154! We are still taking in all the things we saw along the Mekong. All those kids waving at the slowboat passing by, swimming in the river or running to meet the boat when we stopped at some improvised port (read sandbank 😊). Kids that most possible don't go to school living in humble villages by the river and where the boats passing by are their only contact with the rest of the world. It was such a privilege to get a glimpse of their lives by the river.
Day 153! Travelling around the world obviously includes a lot of logistics and transportation in itself. Sometimes you are stuck in an old packed bus, on a dodgy road with no views, so you are just going from A to B. Other times you are lucky enough to enjoy the journey as much as the destination itself. Those two days flowing with the Mekong from Laos to Thailand have been spectacular. We had some excellent travel buddies in the boat to chat with and we felt so relaxed just sitting and watching nature and village life go by on both ...
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5 months travelling (!) and continuing putting our taste buds (and stomachs...) to a test. The past month involved a variety of cuisines starting in Malaysia with the mouth-watering traditional laksa (a spicy noodle soup) but we also had nice Malay Indian and Malay Chinese food in Georgetown. Food is everywhere in Malaysia with the streets full of food stalls so we did not go hungry. However, there are some things we really long for. In Bangkok we went to a gourmet supermarket and tasted some cheese and found dark rye bread! The bread was so good we ate it ...
Day 152! We had to wake up early to witness the monk parade, but it was so worth it. It is quite imposing to see them appear far away with the sun rising walking in a perfect line. Their saffron robes add a colorful touch to the beautiful background of Luang Prabang. The locals offer them food and it all happens very quickly and in complete silence. Simply beautiful!
We have not been here for long, but we must say that the people here in Laos are one of a kind. Always sharing a genuine smile, trying to communicate with you despite the language barriers and their greeting, "sabaidee" sounds so beautiful and welcoming. We caught this lady improving her lipstick. Age is a state of mind! Or as we say in Spain: "Antes muerta que sencilla"...
Day 149! Luang Prabang is full of beautifully decorated temples surrounded by lush vegetation and colourful bougainvilleas. The monks come and go in their saffron robes, with peace in their eyes and always a smile on their faces to share. Buddhism is a happy and generous religion, that's for sure! 😊
Day 148! Watching the sun set over the Mekong river is majestic. There is this moment when the water seems to turn into gold! We have been privileged to flow with the Mekong in three different countries and we can't wait to let it take us to the fourth. On a two day trip this impressive river will take us back to Thailand, on a boat similar to these ones.
Day 146! When traveling, sometimes you visit places that you had never heard about and you really like. Other times you have high expectations, but the place kind of lets you down... Luang Prabang has achieved the hardest one: We had heard great things about it and even then, we are definitely impressed. Walking around the main Street at night one feels as in a movie (think "Indochine"!). The houses with wooden shutters, the decoration, classic but sophisticated, the subtle warm lightning and to top it all the magnificent Mekong river flowing by. Unforgettable!
Day 145! We are getting familiar with Laos, country 51 for us! It is so far a wonderful place full of smiles, golden temples and nice food! It feels more organized, cleaner and the traffic is not as crazy as in the past countries we've been. They even drive on the right side! 😉. It does remind us a bit of Cambodia.
Day 142! We are back in Bangkok for the third time. Crazy traffic, temples and gigantic shopping malls with all types of stuff! Today, we are celebrating, having a Chang beer, as we've managed to purchase our Japan railway passes (the exchange orders)!!! To get into the train mood we're taking the night train from the beautiful but old Hua Lamphong station (in the photo) this evening... Guess where!?!