Sep 12, 2014 - News    No Comments

Week 37 – photo of the week – The Laughing Buddha of Dalat, Vietnam

I’ve always been a great nature lover. I can do and from time to time enjoy wandering around unknown cities on my travels but find me  a stunning island, a virgin rain forest or a dramatic mountain range and I am done for you. I can just sit and watch mother Earth unravel her beauty around me. Monuments have never been a big thing for me.

Until you find a place like Dalat in Vietnam and on the back of one of the amazing Easy Riders massive motorbikes (usually Harleys) you venture out into the countryside and you’re welcomed by a sight like this:

week 37 - laughing Buddha

The Laughing Buddha’s size is just one of the things that really took me aback when I first saw the statue. The storm that was coming only added to the experience and as you can see in the picture, it looked pretty epic. The statue, located just to the side of Linh An Tu Temple is very photogenic indeed and just looking at it makes you want to smile.

It is a giant (I know I am not too tall myself but even for a 6 foot something person, this dude would seem pretty huge) but a gentle giant like that.

C and I visited the temple and got to see this smiley fella during out countryside trip around Dalat back in 2011. It was by far one of our most favourite trips in Vietnam (you just get to see and do so much). And if your backpacking budget allows you to spend some extra pennies on a longer trip with the Easy Riders, do not think twice, JUST DO IT as these guys will show you the Vietnam that not many get to see anymore.

Sep 5, 2014 - News    No Comments

Week 36 – photo of the week – a postcard from Thailand

Everyone must have a moment at one point or another when looking at postcards that arrive from your friends, traveling magazines or stunning calendar photos you just think to yourself… nah, it must be photoshopped.

Before going to places Thailand for the first time back in 2009 and New Zealand in 2012 I thought that on several different occasions.

Check this out though…

week 36 - postcard from Thailand

You’ve seen it before right?

One of the most picturesque, beautifully turquoise and golden coloured places in Thailand – The Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Leh, where one of the wannabe backpackers must see movies – The Beach  was filmed.

The Maya Bay on Phi Phi Island and in fact most of the Thai islands whether those on the Andaman Sea or in The Guf of Thailand are just like that… Picture perfect and so stunningly beautiful in their landscape and colours that no major photography skills are needed and definitely no photoshop was involved in this picture either.

The trick is though, especially in those more commercialised and full of tourist places, to either go when most of the tourists are still fast asleep (read: stupid early in the morning) or find the right angle, where you can snap an amazing postcard like picture without having to worry about strangers photobombing your travelling memory.

Aug 29, 2014 - News    No Comments

Week 35 – photo of the week – a chicken massacre in Dalat, Vietnam

Last week I talked about how much I loved Vietnamese markets and how full of colours, aromas and freshness they were.

There is also another side to them… That some might find a little bit disturbing…

Look at this lady for example:

week 35 - Vietnamese markets continued - Dalat

 Her bread and butter consists of snapping chickens heads off and pulling the feathers off them before her loyal customers take them off her hands to prepare their family dinner.

I’ve seen stuff like that back home in Poland. As a kid going to the weekly Saturday market with my mum and dad I was always seeing people queuing up to buy their meat and poultry from local farmers and some of them just like this lady here sold live birds and rabbits.

I really felt like I was teleported back to the early 80’s (as far back as I can remember being born in ’82).

These days we’re somewhat used to almost surgically like cut and wrapped chunks of meat on plastic or styrofoam trays wrapped up in cling film. How many of you would genuinely be grossed out by seeing what C and I saw in Vietnam?

Some of the birds in this picture are already prepped and feathered ready for you to pick up and go. And the local vendor prepping a chicken that a cute little granny just minutes before selected from a bag underneath the counter, still happily clucking away…

That’s what you call a fresh chicken soup for your Sunday lunch right?

(btw I’ve no idea whether it was actually soup that she was planning to cook out of it)

M x