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Archive for July, 2009

Three Countries In Ten Days: The Dark Past Of Tuol Sleng

July 31st, 2009 by

In a previous article, I relayed our experiences when we visited the Killing Fields. We shared photos of the mass graves, the monument that held thousands of skulls, the land markings detailing the different sections of the land, and the harrowing story behind the reign of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge soldiers.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

One land marking that was mentioned in that article was about the Truck Stop. The sign stated that:

“Here, was the place where a trucks transporting victims to be exterminated from Tuol Sleng Prison and other places in the country stopped. Trucks would arrive 2 or 3 times a month or every 3 weeks. Each truck held 20 to 30 frightened, blindfolded and silent prisoners.

When the trucks arrived, the victims were led directly to be executed at the ditches and pits or were sent to be detained in the darken and gloomy prison nearby.

After January 7, 1979, one truck remained but it was since been taken away.”

Yes, Tuol Sleng is another story altogether.

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10 Favorite Thai Street Food

July 30th, 2009 by

The people of Thailand normally eat small portions of food several times in one day; thus, street food is thriving in Bangkok and other Thai cities.  Food vendors will tend to specialize in one dish, but as they are bunched up together along the streets, you can pick and choose from a variety of simple and affordable dishes.

Here are 10 Thai street food you must try in your visit to Thailand:

Kanom Krok
Grilled Coconut Pancake (Kanom Krok): A mixture of flour batter and coconut cream cooked in a dimpled cast-iron pan over a charcoal fire. After the flour mix is cooked, a sweet coconut milk topping is added, resulting in a treat that’s crispy on the outside yet soft in the middle.
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India’s Most Beautiful Beaches – Part 3

July 29th, 2009 by

Still exploring the beauty that is India? There are a few more sites to add to your list of India’s most beautiful beaches before you return to your homeland. White sandy beaches? Check! Crystal clear waters? Check! The only thing missing right now is you, so make sure you head towards one of these amazing Indian beaches for even more fun in between sightseeing tours throughout the country.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Andaman and Nicobar Islands India
The islands of Andaman and Nicobar are some of the most beautiful and unique in all of India. Here you’ll find beaches that are relatively untouched by modern civilization – on tropical islands where commercial beach resorts and damaging crowds are very few and far between. These secluded islands will afford you a number of opportunities to relax in solitude or, if you choose, get to know some of the area’s colorful marine life.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands India

Some of the most popular beaches on the islands include:

  • Radhnagar & Vijaynagar Beach – This beach is perfect for environmentalists looking to enjoy nature in a completely unpolluted environment.
  • Karmatang Beach – Karmatang Beach is a great destination for those who want to get close to some of the area’s wildlife. The turtle nesting ground here is fighting against tourism for survival.
  • Corbyn’s Cove And Chirya Tapu – These beaches are perfect for vacationers looking for a place to simply kick back, enjoy the sun, and bathe in the picturesque sea.

Gujarat Beaches

Mandvi Beach-Last snap of Fakhrumasaji

The beaches at Guajarat sit along what is known as the longest coastline in India. Start your journey here with a trip to the beaches on the island of Diu where you’ll enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery on the west coast of India. Head back over to the mainland for over 1,600 kilometers (approximately 994 miles) of warm sandy beaches, cliffs, and wildlife.

Nagoa Beach

Some Gujarat Beach favorites include:

  • Ahmedpur Mandvi Beach – This incredible beach is a popular spot for locals, tourists, and fishermen. Here you’ll have the opportunity to either participate in a number of different water sports or visit with some of the area’s local wildlife.
  • Somnath & Veraval Beach ­- The beaches at Somnath & Veraval are home to one of the area’s most famous temples. The beaches, while wonderful, are part of a very busy resort town and commercial fishermen spend a great deal of time here as well.
  • Gopnath Beach - Gopnath Beach is perhaps the most popular Gujarat Beach, serving as the summer vacation home for the royal family. The beach is surrounded by amazing cliffs, is home to some distinct species of bird life, and will offer you some of the most amazing views of the coast you’ll ever lay your eyes on.

Family Beach Destinations

If you’re traveling with children you’ll want to make a special effort to find some of the area’s most family friendly beaches. While it’s easy to book a room in a resort hotel you will find that there are dozens of other cheap hotels in India, many of which are within walking distance of the coasts and their beaches.

Chowpatty Beach

Not sure where to start? Begin by exploring some of the beaches in Mumbai. Here you’ll find several popular beach resorts on Marine Drive, Juhu, and Chowpatty Beach. All are located in safe areas and are the perfect place for you and your family to enjoy the waters by day and take leisurely walks on the beach under the evening moonlight.

The beaches near Orissa, featured in the first part of our journey, are also great for families. The beaches at Puri and Konark will afford you and your family the opportunity to not only relax in the sun but to visit some of India’s most important temples as well.

Camel on Puri Beach

No matter where along India’s coasts you end up you’re bound to find at least a handful of beaches to keep you occupied throughout your journey. Make sure you leave some time in your busy schedule to relax and enjoy some of the beautiful coastlines Mother Nature has to offer in India!

Six Reasons to Visit the Charming Chinese City of Chengdu

July 29th, 2009 by

Though not as well known as the glitzy and glamorous city of Shanghai or the historical sight filled capital city of Beijing, Chengdu which is the capital city of the Sichuan province has its many special attractions which qualify it as a must-do on any visit to China.

Giant Pandas

Photo Credit:avlxyz

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Three Countries In Ten Days: The Killing Fields of Cambodia

July 28th, 2009 by

THE KILLING FIELDS (CAMBODIA) – Sometime in the 1980s during one of the scheduled video presentations in school, I got to watch a disturbing movie that really left a mark in my heart. I’m referring to The Killing Fields, a 1984 British film, which was produced to share the drama about the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. The movie was about the lives of three journalists namely Dith Pran (Cambodian), Sydney Schanberg (American), and John Swain (British). This film tells the story of Dith Pran and his dramatic journey to escape the death camps which he referred to as the killing fields. The film received a lot of recognition and even won a total of three Academy Awards.

Monument at Choeng Ek

I had no idea that someday I will find myself at the Killing Fields.

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Ponjangmacha: Korea’s Street Food Vendors

July 27th, 2009 by

Pojangmachas literally mean “covered wagons.” At night, the streets of Seoul and other South Korean cities become enveloped by makeshift plastic tents, while trucks and vans are converted into kitchens where all kinds of greasy food are prepared. These street vendors are so commonplace that they are regularly featured in Korean dramas as they  feed the nightlife of Korea, from the party-going teenagers to the white-collar workers out for late night drinking sessions.

Pojangmacha

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Three Countries In Ten Days: Travel From Siem Reap To Phnom Penh

July 24th, 2009 by

We woke up early the day we were scheduled to leave Siem Reap for Phnom Penh. My partner and I wanted to make the most of our trip so we decided to book another trip to Angkor Wat to see the sunrise one last time before we leave. Mr. Rith gamely waited for us so that we can shoot more photos.

Paramount Angkor Express Bus

While we were in Angkor Wat, our hotel arranged for our bus tickets with the bus company. Since we have been doing a lot of traveling by air, we wanted to try something different and travel to Siem Reap via road trip. You can contact the front desk of your hotel in Siem Reap like the Borei Angkor Resort & Spa, as most hotels would be more than glad to deal directly with the bus companies for the arrangements.

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Riding The Logs At Onbashira

July 23rd, 2009 by

Every 6 years, a sacred and dangerous event occurs besides Lake Suwa in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. In a ceremony which spiritually renews the Suwa Taisha (Grand Shrines), the townsfolk of this area cut down 16 huge Japanese fir trees with special axes and ride them as they slide down the mountainside. Welcome to Onbashira, a thrilling festival that claims to be an unbroken Shinto tradition for the past 1,200 years.

Suwa Shrine

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Malaysia’s Magnificent Festivals

July 22nd, 2009 by

Malaysia is a culturally diverse atmosphere, to be sure. The country’s population represents a distinct mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Javanese and several other ethnic groups. With so many rich heritages represented it’s no surprise to find that there are so many incredible festivals and activities happening throughout Malaysia year round. Make sure you time your trip to correspond with one of these fantastic celebrations.

9. Hari Raya Aidilfitri

hari-rayaImage Credit: mylifestory

During the 10th month of the Muslim calendar, immediately following the month of fasting that represents Ramadan, the streets of Malaysia burst into activity as Muslims celebrate and honor the lives of those that have passed on before them. During Hari Raya Aidilfitri, houses are decorated with colorful adornments and each entrance is lit with a traditional lantern. During this time groups of people gather all around the country for prayers and fun family reunions. Read the rest of this entry »

Three Countries In Ten Days: Reach For The Clouds At Pre Rup

July 21st, 2009 by

PRE RUP, SIEM REAP (CAMBODIA) – It is true when people say one’s power cannot be measured by size alone. In the case of Banteay Srei, its small proportion compared to the majestic Angkor Thom or Angkor Wat did not even matter. Banteay Srei was equally fascinating because of its reddish sandstone images and very ornate carvings. Banteay Srei left us giddy.

Welcome to Pre Rup

It started to drizzle while we were exploring Banteay Srei. So we decided to wrap up and leave for another temple called Pre Rup. Actually, we passed by Pre Rup on our way to Banteay Srei but we decided to visit on our way back.

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