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Travel: Asia (2012-2014)

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If you are living in Asia at this moment, let us travel around regionally.
To travel the world is one of the best education. We are happy to be eternal students.

Check budget airlines, discount coupon websites.
Watch documentaries for pre-trip virtual travel experience.
Check the right timing / season to visit.

Some destinations to consider:

@ Jiuzhaigou, China 九寨沟. Reminds me on the beautiful memory of Plitvice.

This documentary allows you to see underwater of the Five Flower Lake of Jiuzhaigou Valley, which you may not be able to do so even if you are physically there.
I watched this documentary twice in the beginning of 2013.

@ Chengdu: an ideas is to volunteer to take care of panda. Safety?

@ ZhangJiaJie 张家界 / WuLingYuan
Inspiration for the movie Avatar.
It seems to be a much more spectacular and dramatic than ShiLin in Yunnan, ZhangJiaJie has forest, rivers, valleys.
In order to greatly appreciate ZhangJiaJie, one must use not only eyes but also minds (imagination).
The foggy nature of the ZhangJieJie reminds me on the 淡 nature of Chinese paintings, which use less color and saturations than most Western paintings.
Must appreciate ZhangJiaJie from different view points and at different hours and weather condition (sunny, rain, after rain).

@ Pingyao, Shanxi. Why do I want to visit Pingyao?
1. the movie “Raise the Red Lantern”, set in the 1920s, directed by Zhang Yimou. Warning: though this movie is visually artistic, I find the message is negative, i.e. hopelessness for women.
2. a former financial hub.

As a financial investor, I plan to pay a tribute to PingYao. This ancient town reminds me on the Venice of Italy, in the context of economic prosperity and the subsequent downturn. We need to constantly innovate.

@ Nanjing. Plum blossom festival (mid Mar – early Apr). adjacent Plum Blossom Garden (inclusive of Zhongshan Plum Bonsai Garden), Red Chamber Garden. Purple mountain. Plum = symbol of birth and perseverance in the face of adversity.

@ Guilin, Guangxi. Beguiling Guilin. Elephant Trunk Hill (Universal Benevolence Pagoda from Ming Dynasty). Folded Brocade Hill. Reed Flute Cave. Lijiang (Li River). Must watch: Zhang Yimou co-directed Liu San Jie.
Must eat: Li Pu yu kou rou (braised pork). Guilin rice vermicelli.
Must buy: San Hua Liquor, thick pepper sauce from Chaotian and Niujiao peppers.
If visit Guilin, please also visit Yangshuo / Longsheng, which are less commercialized and have cleaner water, according to Trip Advisor.
If possible, also visit Bama, Guangxi.

@ Shanghai. An international assessment of students showed that as China’s economic power has risen, so has its educational prowess. The survey, which rated the aptitude of 15-year-olds in 65 countries, shows teens in Shanghai far outscoring international peers in reading, math, and science. Yet, Shanghai is a magnet for China’s best students and does not represent the entire nation. For its part, the US lags behind countries like Finland and South Korea. Time. Dec 20, 2010. Would you consider sending your offspring to learn in Shanghai?
Metersbonwe Costume Museum @ Shanghai.

@ Beijing. I have been to Beijing twice, yet I still want to come back, to visit, study, or work if I have any good opportunity. It hardly snows in Beijing, can we still see the Forbidden Palace covered with snow? Huaibei Ski Resort ( – surrounded by mountains that are topped with the iconic Great Wall of China. Mutianyu Greatwall. Don’t expect to buy real antique things unless you are with an art expert. Shopping at Zoo Market – must bargain (9am-4.30pm). Eat Beijing copper hot-pot e.g.

@ Moganshan, China where Chiang Kai-shek once honeymooned

@ Haikou, Hainan. Watch the Impression Hainan, directed by Zhang Yimou. Sun. Sea. Sand. Seafood.

@ Taipei. Beitou – Taipei’s hotspring district. Taipei 101 new year eve fireworks. I have visited Taipei as of 2013.

@  Tibet, China. 青藏高原 by 雪莲三姐妹 Qinghai Tibet Plateau by Three Snow Lotus Sisters does represent the spirit of Tibet. Later, I decided that I am uninterested to visit Tibet.

@ Ubud, Bali
rice field terrace.
Perhaps, I will watch “Eat Pray Love” movie, stars Julia Robert, before visiting Ubud. I think I watched partially on a flight but I could not remember at all, perhaps it is boring.

A documentary can also be entertaining:

@ Komodo National Park: are komodo dangerous to humans? Are domestic flight from Denpasar to Labuan Bajo safe?
@ Lake Kelimutu, Flores.

@ Pulau Macan, 90 min from Jakarta. Recommended by TIME.But, In Feb 2012, I checked their rate, the cheapest rate is USD 155 / night / person. It is expensive for a budget traveler like me, especially where you can expect a better bargain in Indonesia.

@ Malacca, Malaysia.
Peranakan : dishes, beautiful shop houses
Malaka Jonker Street Chicken Rice Balls

@ Luang Prabang, Laos (a Unesco Heritage Site), entry from Thailand or Cambodia. In January 2013, I browsed a photography book on Laos and suddenly realized that I do not have the strong desire to visit Laos, unlike Vietnam in the past.

@ Angkor Wat in Siem Reap (1x is enough). Be careful if you decide to cross the Cambodia border to Thailand from Sihanoukville as there are widespread scams that victimize tourists.

@ If you consider backpacking in India, imagine yourself without a bath for a week while travel endless nights and days on Darjeeling express. By Jofelle P. Tesorio, Asia News Network.

@ Philippine has the best dive sites and beaches in the world. Knowing how to dive is an avenue to appreciate God’s creation. Please add this to the things-to-learn list.

@ Palawan, Philippine. Coral reefs. Feed the fish by hand.

@ The Maldives. Expensive. If you have been here once, better spend your $ on some other destinations that are cheaper and better.

@ Bangkok. River taxi – be careful not to fall into the heavily polluted klongs (canal). See orchid at Chatuchak weekend market. Madame Tussaud: pose with the Obama couples.

@ Tokyo. You can find the world’s highest standards in food, fashion, and toilets. SPECIALISATION is part of their culture as skills are handed down through generations from master to apprentice. No tipping.

@ Brunei
Do you want a royal free lunch?
For 3 days each year, at the culmination of Ramadan, the Sultan of Brunei opens the Istana Nurul Iman Palace to meet and feed his public.

@ Rangoon. Eat MOHINGYA: a fish soup touted as Burma’s national dish.

@ New Zealand: Lake Tekapo.

References: AsiaNews, Time, CNN Traveller, Picasa, Flickr, JetStar magazines.

@ gado2 : vegetable, egg, potatoes, rice cake, tofu with peanut sacue.

@ Penang laksa: sour and spicy

@ Yangon shan noodle: tasty broth, lots of egg noodles, interesting spices.

@ Khao neow ma muang: mango + sticky rice.

@ Crabs in black pepper / Padang sauce.

What I do when time and money are insufficient to fulfill my travel dreams?
Read National Geographic or other travel magazines.
Watch documentary program (e.g. National Geography) on Youtube, Tudou.

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