Chasing sunsets and saving beautiful souls around Asia - Japan, Philippines, Hong Kong, Myanmar - Ma
Chasing sunsets and beautiful souls around Asia - Japan, Philippines, Hong Kong, Myanmar - May '18
So, I'm back on the plane flying across some beautiful islands and thinking of someone special as well as of all the things that happened in 2018.. I’ve got more things to update you on. Sorry about not keeping you posted but it’s been a hell of a year for me and when I got back from my previous rendezvous around Asia (Japan, Philippines, China and Myanmar) I had so much work out of a sudden that I couldn’t write anymore. I was so caught up in everything that was going on: my life, new friends, mess at work and saving some people’s lives even though mine was on verge of turning upside down. So, I just kept going and doing my best because giving everything to whatever I do is my thing, whether it’s teaching, writing, baking, taking photos, designing, painting, creating some splendid content, writing stories and lyrics… Keeping this story going is really important though. So, here we go again. I am multitasking despite being quite drained after all the partying in Dubai. ( I will finish writing about it soon in a separate post). I am on my way back to Oz as we are flying at 41,000 feet, writing, watching a film in the background and having very vivid dreams while sleeping on and off.. Anyway, I kept chasing sunsets in 2018, working hard and saving some people's lives. After coming back from Qatar, touring around Asia was on the cards. So, here it comes - the highlights of my three-week adventure.
Japan & the Philippines
So, it started in Tokyo... I went to Japan to do some marketing and to catch up with a few friends. It brought me some new students for 2019 which is good. Japan was a usual thing. I rented an apartment nearby Asakusa Temple in Tokyo and lived like a local. Caught up with friends and did some sightseeing, practised my Japanese. The food was delicious as always… However, the real adventures started in the Philippines where I was by myself. I flew to Manila and had a friend there who introduced me to her city. It is a relatively busy place with plenty of Jeepnyes and motorbikes driving around everywhere. I checked out the city with my friend. We had so much fun in some of the local places. We hanged out in a few bars and explored a bit of a city. It was enough… I had another flight to catch after 2 days and I headed to Cebu where I met friends of a friend who guided me in Cebu. It is a little island full of beautiful spots and places worth seeing. I didn’t feel too safe there though. It was too hectic, especially the traffic. Everything takes place on the road. People and cars are together. Food is cooked and sold in there too. There are no pavements. It was a bit tough for me but I managed. In the midst of it all, one may spot some shocking poverty. I will never forget the look of a man with a little baby who begged me for money. I had no cash on me at that time and all I could give them was a smile plus my friend pushed me to keep going. I felt sorry for those people and tears started building in my eyes but there was no time and it was dark. Despite the fact that people are poor, they have something deep inside them that keeps them going, it’s stronger than anything else, it’s their strikingly beautiful spirit and the way they keep being united. It’s simply amazing and I am so pleased that I was able to bond with them straight away. So, what did I get up to there? I went to Oslob where you can do some diving with sharks, I checked out the city and went on a tour with some friends who showed me round and took me to the north of Cebu. I joined a special event that they wanted me to attend. They introduced me as one of the members and promoted Australia during the event. I kind of felt honoured to be there and enjoyed those great vibes around me. In addition, they invited me to a party where they had some delicious food including lechon. I really liked their food and most of all the nature and the beautiful vibes which I could spread around. Apart from that, I went to Bohol and Palawan. Bohol was my favourite. I caught up with a friend from Estonia there. We drove around the islands on the motorbikes, got caught up in the rain and drove for hours to get to see the Chocolate Hills, the forest and the Sanctuary with monkeys. I was wearing bikini the whole time even on the motorbike which turned out to be interesting in the rain. I also headed to see some waterfalls and swam around them. I hired a driver as my friend had to go. I forgot to mention I stayed in a really nice place in Bohol. It’s called the Bohol Beach Club, it’s a stunning hotel with a private beach. I loved the way the ocean kept kissing the shore while I was snorkelling in it. There is no better feeling than the feeling of peaceful waves stroking your body and soul. That’s what I do in Australia whenever it’s warm… and that’s what I do everywhere I go except for all the Arabic countries. Being sun-kissed by the sun and the ocean has always been my thing. I feel home at the beach. However, let me carry on… Ocean and love are on my mind. Speaking of which, I focused on spreading love in Cebu, Bohol and Palawan. I went around each place and bought some food for the poorest families and their kids. I also taught them a bit of English and told them stories about Australia, showed them koalas and kangaroos using my roaming! It was meaningful and that's what matters. Everything else is just an addition.
Bohol Island - the main means of transport
Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines
Chasing sunsets - Philippines
Lunch in Bohol, Monkey Sanctuary
Trekking in Bohol, Philippines
Bohol Beach Club
Cruising around the islands - Philippines
Manila, Dunsit Thani Hotel, rooftop bar
Palawan - waterfalls
Waterfall in Bohol
Lunch in the Philippines - I usually don't eat lots while travelling to hot countries.
Just gonna jump in..
Hong Kong & Myanmar
I headed to Hong Kong and Myanmar after spending about 8 days in the Philippines. The tropical vibes of the Philippines were gone. Welcome to Hong Kong baby! - a city so very different to what one may experience in the Philippines. Everything is well organised. It’s terribly crowded and the lifestyle is incredibly hectic, just like in all the enormous cities. It’s a place for tech-savvy people full of gadgets with a hint of some splendid nature. Check out the following top ten must see spots while you are in HKG:
Hong Kong Skyline - get a ferry to discover gorgeous skyline of Hong Kong looking over from Kowloon at night is just incomparable.
Victoria Peak - fancy more impressive sights? Head to Victoria Peak which resembles NYC except for it’s more unique because of its Asian heritage. There is more mystery to it. It’s best viewed from a boat (ferry to Mui Wo and back to the Star Ferry). You can also watch the coordinated evening light show if you take a cruise in the evening. It’s demonstrated by 44 buildings on Victoria Harbour and has been added to the Guinness Book Records. It’s totally worth getting through the crowds.
Hong Kong sunset Cruise - if you are lucky enough to be in HKG during summer, why not take a cruise at the Jumbo Floating Restaurant? It takes place on a traditional Chinese Boat which is pretty cool to board. In addition, you can enjoy some of the Chinese delicacies and unlimited drinks during your cruise. Most importantly, you can see the stunning skyline of HKG and Kowloon from the mid levels lookout, halfway up Victoria Peak.
Traditional markets and the city of Hong Kong - it’s a must see because there is more to Hong Kong than you could have imagined. If you love art, you should check out the graffiti sites and take some unforgettable shots. Speaking of which, I had a photoshoot there. Not only did I document the temples, the skyline but I also took some pretty awesome photos of the graffiti and the art that keeps impressing me. Check out my photos below.
Overall, Hong Kong didn't disappoint me. Nevertheless, the vibes were very different there. People are far too busy to enjoy their lives 100%. I kept smiling at them and kept being friendly even though they didn't feel like smiling.
Hong Kong - skyline
Hong Kong - city centre
Photoshoot with Rance
Hong Kong art
Silk is the most popular material in Hong Kong and China
Hong Kong Harbour views
More art in HKG
Strolling around down town
Chasing my dreams in Myanmar - must see places and tips.
There is no place like Myanmar in the whole wide world. In one word - wow. I have never thought I would find a place like this on Earth. It resembles home, a place fulfilled with love and some unique vibes that I can’t just put down into words. While travelling around Asia, you definitely don’t want to miss this place. There is more than a handful of the must-see places in Myanmar. The landscape is a big deal here, however Burmese are the greatest asset of this mysterious place. Get ready to see what you have never seen. These are different kind of people and they still wear their traditional clothes. They are open to tourists despite not being used to them yet. Make sure you see as much as you can during the 28 days that most tourists are given during their entry. Most countries require visa to enter Myanmar. Transport hasn’t been developed very well yet like in other Asian countries. So, be prepared to take time to commute. Trains are quite tricky. Remember to buy your tickets at the station as you can’t book them online. They are kind of cramped and uncomfortable. Buses are more comfy. Remember to book your seat a few days in advance though. Expenses aren’t that high in there. Expect to spend around 50-100AUD a day depending on what you want to do/see/eat. Take into consideration that Myanmar hasn’t been developed as well as other countries in Asia yet. It doesn’t have as many hotels as Thailand or Japan. It’s easy to find some guesthouses though and mingle with the locals. Prices start from $10 a night which is a bargain. Meals are even cheaper than that - about $2-3 per meal. You can of course opt for more expensive options.
Interesting must-see places: (most places require you to pay a fee of $10-20 to enter, the tickets are valid for several days, so it’s possible to buy a ticket from someone who has just finished visiting one of the following sites).
Yangon - the busiest city in Myanmar where most flights take you to. You will see heaps of businesses here, plenty of temples made of gold and of course you will meet local people who are the kindest people in the world. Local people speak a bit of English.
Bagan - head to Bagan or Mandalay from Yangon. It’s one of the best places to visit because of its famous temples dating back to the 9th century. There are over 2000 tempels in different sizes and designs spread across the city. It’s best to rent an e-bike and discover the city in your own pace. You may want to gaze at those temples for a little longer… Remember to wear proper clothing while visiting those temples. Cover your legs and shoulders. Remove your shoes. Lastly, don’t forget to pay for the Archeological Zone fee (30AUD). It’s valid for 5 days. I really want to go back there once again and marvel at the temples during sunrise or sunset. You can also ride a hot-air balloon which is on my to-do-list for next year.
Mandalay - it’s a huge city where the majority of monks live which makes it more interesting. Check out the Mandalay Palace, the World’s biggest book and Mandalay Hill. Moreover, head to the suburbs of the city and explore Sagaing and Amapura. You could also head to Pain Oo Lwin (3 hours from Mandalay) or Hsipaw - more peaceful towns with some amazing waterfalls and countryside. Although be careful as once you get there, it’s hard to get back to Bogon for example because of lack of transport.
Kalaw - if you fancy trekking, this is an ideal place for you. You can head to Inle Lake from there. Kalaw can be reached by bus from Bagan or Mandalay. It’s really easy to find a tour guide there who can help you out with your accommodation, touring and transport. Trekking will also give you a chance to mingle with the locals more and immerse into their beautiful culture.
Houses in Yangon
So that's it for now. I hope you enjoyed the above entry and you will head to one of the above places. I also hope you enjoyed your Christmas and the New Year's Eve celebrations wherever you were at that time.
I really enjoyed my trip to Europe where I spent Christmas and the fireworks display in Dubai on NYE. I'm still working on its description. Keep checking this space if you fancy reading about the NYE in Dubai and my adventure to Saudi Arabia.
On that note, I wish you all a very happy new year and can't wait to welcome some of you in Australia in the near future.
Till next time :)