More than a weekend in Bali

Every year I say it’s a year of firsts – first time to do this and that, or go someplace new.  Despite growing up in the Philippines, I never had the chance to visit Bali before.  Although I know my country has similar things such as rice terraces and beautiful coastlines, coming to Bali still seemed very fresh to me.  My now fiancee took me here on our first trip together, and the pictures below were what we saw in our few days there.

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India: The First Time

If someone would ask me if I’d go to India alone, I’d say never in my wildest dreams.

When two of my friends and I decided a month and a half in advance to go, we were all excited. We attained all the requirements: the visa, the preparation, the local friends to contact in case of emergencies. We were all set.

The moment we landed, we headed straight to our hotel in the heart of Delhi, which we later found out from friends was in fact in a dodgy area (haha!).  We didn’t know and we didn’t care.  We had taken the cheapest flights which was the red eye flight with AirIndia, so when we landed in Delhi it was around 5 am in the morning.  Once we were in the hotel, we began to sleep, but shortly after we were woken up again – we didn’t get the notice that it was the cricket day between India and Pakistan, and by 8 am there was boom boom boom, huge drums playing a few feet outside our window to celebrate the match.  At that time I thought, wow, India is really welcoming us!

We were told that in India clothes were very affordable, so we decided to pack light and just attain our genie pants and tunics from there.  True enough, everything felt like a good bargain!  The moment we got off our first ride from the metro in Delhi, we were greeted with some beautiful handmade bead accessories which were being sold at a quarter of the price of stuff you find in H&M.

Delhi Metro Colorful India We got inspired to “localize,” aside from wearing traditional clothing, we got henna tattooed on the streets and one of my friends got a braid.  HennaArmed with our henna tattoos and complete getup, we were ready to experience India.  First stop, the Taj Mahal in Agra.  Taj Mahal is perhaps the most popular architectural symbol of India – you’ve seen it everywhere.  But in case you’ve never been, it’s a must to know that it’s a 2 hour drive away from the capital Delhi.  We had our first picture taken in front of the red gate below, and yes it is blurred, but it’s the only photo we had in front of that gate which makes it still special:3 girls travel to India Red mosque bicycle Henna tattoo Travel photography Taj Mahal Stories Taj Mahal India The Taj Mahal almost solitude Travel to Taj MahalAfter Agra and Delhi, we moved on to Jaipur by bus.  It was in this bus ride when I had one of those moments where you literally find yourself gripping onto dear life.  I was lucky to have data on my phone because we got sim cards right when we were coming out of the airport, and that connectivity allowed me to sign up for a travel insurance when we were already on the brink of possible death inside that bus.  Okay you might think I’m exaggerating, but I grew up in the Philippines where buses have literally flown out of flyovers (it was a very sad story which killed a lot of people) and I’ve had several scary bus rides before but this one in particular felt like the driver just didn’t care.

After the longest 6 hour bus journey we had ever had, we finally made it to Jaipur – yay!Indian foodjaipurcity of jaipurtempletemple visitAmer FortAmer Fort IndiaAmer Fort JaipurWalls have earsMonkIndian guardsnake charmersInside amer fort6 pointed starIndian tuktuk driver3 girls on a journeydetailsIndian womanblue and pinkIndian spicestravel selfiedeep tunnelglass ceilingsOlder Indian womanAnd then we moved on to Udaipur.  From Jaipur we took an overnight train to reach Udaipur.  If I must say, Udaipur is my favorite among all the cities I have come to visit in India.  It’s THE most romantic, imagine Venice in Italy, with several artificial lakes surrounding the city all throughout.  At night it’s peaceful, and the lake palace sometimes holds weddings which from afar looks like a whole island having a grand party. udaipurInside Udaipur city palaceTravel IndiaUdaipur Lake PicholaRajasthan travel photographyLife in IndiaCity in waterColorful India travelGrand Indian CeremonyBiryani and butter chickenFinally – one of the highlights of our trip… we took a 17 hour train ride from Udaipur to Mumbai.  And this was no ordinary train ride.  We took the no-class sleeper train, and had the most memorable night ever.  I doubt any of us really slept that night.  Luckily, a German guy got assigned to our cabin too, since we were already starting to worry about the looks we were getting from the local men who passed by and lingered in our cabin. Despite being avid travelers, one of our worries as women is the general safety in the places we go to, even if we’re traveling as a group of 3.

Our fellow German passenger was well accustomed to being around locals, and wasn’t afraid to play games with them.  So that night we ended up playing a few games of cards, and in the end it was like everyone were friends in that cabin.  Even the occasional rat that scooted by underneath the seats.  Hey – life is all about the quirky moments right? Mumbai train stationFrom Mumbai we then headed on to our last stop, Goa, which was a famous beach destination.  This west coast port city was once under the colony of the Portuguese, thus the reason why there’s a lot of Portuguese style architecture and even cuisine. Mumbai driverGoan churchIndian street delicacyMasala Chai by the beachGoa Travel India3 girls on a journey through IndiaThat was the end of our journey.  If you’re traveling to India and have a few questions, don’t hesitate to ask and drop me an email in my contact form! 🙂

Cambodian Charm

Being single and financially independent in your 20s has some really fun perks.  It would take a really long post to name every single perk but just to say, one of my favorites is that you get to travel alone or with friends and have really memorable fun.  In a sense your travels allow you to explore who you really are. Call it self research or meditation next time you’re justifying why you travel.

It was a first for me and my friends to travel to Cambodia.  We planned it out to fall exactly on one of the national holidays so we could have a nice holiday without worrying about taking leaves.  Sharing with you a story, one of the most memorable nights we had in Cambodia was one when me and my friends went to a hippie outdoor market.  There were delicious food, nice bands playing, and people dancing anywhere they wanted to.  At some point we decided to try some space cake, thinking it couldn’t possibly be strong… three of us shared one small slice of cake and by the end of the night we were swaying to the drumming sound in our heads.  I can still remember how the ride back to our hotel went when we had to pass by miles of pitch-black dark fields in a tuktuk, and we couldn’t control ourselves from laughing.  We were completely gone. It was one of those nights I will never forget.

Scroll down below to see some of the photos from our trip:

Buddhist Monks Cambodia Travel photography floor patternAnd yes, we did the shameless “meditating in front of a temple” pose.Phnom Penh Cambodia capital Asian marketplace Market Cambodian food Fruits common in Southeast Asia Budda shrine Southeast Asian young students Cambodia Palace Ethnic music friends Above: how can you not have fun when you’re with awesome friends; Below: an attempt to show off my flexibilityself beach life by the sea Asian food Sihanoukville Sihanoukville Cambodia Asian pickled snacks yellow Cambodia Sunset

A Little Taste of Thailand

When people say Thailand, my initial thought is to travel to the beaches that it’s most famous for.  Perhaps it was largely due to Leonardo de Caprio’s blockbuster hit “The Beach” more than a decade ago.  I’ve been to Thailand many times before, and I still recall on my first visit when I was about 12, that my family and I went to this beautiful resort for meditation.  It was extra special because the whole place was built on a stilt house on top of a river, which at night was very relaxing because you could feel the little waves crashing underneath as you sleep.  In the daytime we would eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and sometimes the monks would pass by in a boat really early in the morning and you could give them some food.  It was a lovely memory.

Since then, I’ve been back to Bangkok but it hasn’t been the same.  It feels like I’ve come to an extremely busy junction where I have to look right and left four times before crossing the street.

Anyway, my most recent trip was with my mom and friends from college, it was a half and half trip.  The first half was spent with my mom relaxing in Chiangmai and catching the lantern festival, where we lost each other in the crowd and ended up panicking trying to look for each other.  In the end she released two lanterns and I none… although I was really looking forward to releasing my first lantern there.  The second half of the trip was with a bunch of friends from college. I think there were 8 of us at the time, and it was super fun because we roamed around the streets of Bangkok and rode elephants and stayed in shady hostels, you know the whole thing where you just have clean fun while you’re still young.

Scroll down below to see those memories from that fun trip.

Lemongrass tea Thai herbs silk making herbs Elephant making Clay ceramics Pottery making silk factorySky full of starsLantern festivalChiangmai lantern festivalChiangmai lanternThai SpaThai interiorsLush greenThai massagePink sunriseairport sunriseThai childrenBuddhist templePad thaiGrand Palace ThailandThai embellishmentGrand Palace Bangkokmake portraitsTrain thailandTemple groundsBuddhismSukhothai BangkokThai foodDamnoen Saduakthailandthai riverboat ridevendorfloating market bangkoktop view floating marketthai travelFloating market

More than a Midnight in Paris

Paris was everything as I imagined it to be.  My first time to visit was in November 2013, and all the photos in this post was from that visit.  So many things have happened since that time, and now I feel that if I go back it would probably feel so different.  It’s hard to imagine that one day Europe will cease to exist as a continent, if we are to believe war and prophecies of the EU falling apart, as well as Baba Vanga’s prophecies of Europe being Muslim occupied in a few years time.

Instead of thinking about the dim future, I would like to remember Europe with its old charm.  The music that plays in the streets, the pastries, beignets, coffee cups, stranger’s smiles, that general lightness in the air.

I was so excited on my first visit to Paris, I wanted to see so many things and I remember there was even a Paris Photo exhibit at the Grand Palais exactly at the same time when I was visiting.  Although at that time I was more excited to just be in the city with my then boyfriend than really any architecture or art in Paris itself, we still managed to see so many things and I’ve grown to appreciate them more after some time.

Traveling is amazing that way, sometimes you don’t see the beauty of something until much after, like when you accidentally see those old pictures and remember what it felt like during that trip.

Grand PalaisGrand Palais ParisPhoto ExhibitParis PhotoParis Photo exhibitSacre CoeurSacré-Cœur BasilicaFrench streetArc de TriompheChamps-ÉlyséesParis skylineEiffel TowercarouselParis landscapeNation station parisstreet fashionflower marketParisian buildingParis street signcultural dancersyellow flowerEiffel tower and notre dameFrench flagcute bicyclelittle girl chasing pigeonsvandalismLe ConsulatMagical ParisLouvre museumLouvreLouvre ParisPont des ArtsPont des Arts ParisLove lock bridge ParisColorful ParisMontmartreSeine RiverRomantic Parisjardin du luxembourgjardin du luxembourg ParisInvalidesCannons of Les InvalideTour EiffelVersaillesPalace ParisPalace of VersaillesSun God emblemVersailles ParisVersailles mirror hallFrench historyBlack and white tiled floorPalace VersaillesAutumn gardengrand palacehuge gardenscultpuresAutumnCornerAutumn leavestwo swansserene lakeflock of sheepsheep