Comparing myself to the other globe-trotting out there, I’m still a baby traveler. My green passport said that I’ve been to ten countries, but I actually only been to nine. That one additional country was only for a layover flight. So I can not really count it to be fair, right?
Since this will be my first post, so I think there will be no better way to launch this blog than starting from where I have been so far to give you a recap of the places:
This is the first overseas country that I traveled to. My first trip there was for work actually, but since then I have returned so many times that I lose count. I’ve visited Kuala Lumpur (of course) and its surrounding areas like Genting Highland, Malacca, and Cameron Highland, a culinary trip to Penang, went on a hike to Mount Kinabalu in Sabah and last year I visited Langkawi.
Again, this is another country that I often traveled for work. The city that is known as the hub of South East Asia is more vibrant than Jakarta. Personally, it’s still just another city for me. So I don’t have much to say about this one without being redundant as I believe it been covered so many times in the other blogs.
It’s always exciting to venture out to this part of South East Asia. The food, the natures, and of course, there’s nothing can beat the shopping experience in Bangkok! I can’t forget that the first time I was in Bangkok about ten years ago and eating the insects for the first time — which surprisingly, become my favorite snack now. Watching the sky lanterns illuminated the night sky in Chiang Mai is still the best new year’s eve ever for me. I’ve also been to Chiang Rai, Phuket, Pattaya, Hat Yai and Khao Yai.
4. Hong Kong
I fall in love with this city from the first moment I arrived there. Stepping out into the bustling streets of Kowloon oddly made me feel as if I have finally come home. The city is pulsing, very much alive 24 hours and its high rise concrete jungle caught me up. Hong Kong is something that is hard to explain and just something that you have to experience to understand. Needless to say that Hong Kong is special for me.
A pretty little gem just an hour ferry ride from Hong Kong. I thought I’ve landed somewhere in Europe as I walked down the famous Senado square instead of still being in Asia. And the egg tart! They are a snack to die for. Yes, I like the Macao’s egg tart version better that’s rather burnt on the top that to the Hong Kong’s version.
Actually, I’ve only stepped so far as Shenzhen as far as the mainland goes and I only been there for four hours! So there’s nothing much to say about this one. The only thing I learn here is a new word “jia ge” that means fake. As it turns out there are a lot of fake money circulating there and the RMB that I brought from Indonesia, half of it were fake! No wonder half the time I tried to pay for something, the seller will say, “Jia ge! Jia ge!” That’s quite an experience.
Then there’s Taiwan where I experience my first snow in the Taiping Shan (Taiping mountain). Riding the Bong Bong train in Ali Shan (Ali mountain) and Taroko National park is surely not to be missed. The country has the most beautiful nature that I’ve been so far. And of course, how can I resist the night markets’ temptation in Taichung and Taipei to hunt for the local food.
One thing that I was not prepared was how friendly the Taiwanese are. They are probably the friendliest people whom I’ve ever met during my travel. A grandma guided me from the airport bus to a train station, which I almost failed to understand with my broken Mandarin. Then a taxi lady, who was waited on us and made sure that she really had driven us to the right place for the night before she finally left us there. I still could not forget how nice those people were until now.
The farthest northern part of South East Asia country that I’ve been so far. Hanoi, which is mesmerizing with its beautiful Halong Bay, eating the most delicious banh mi in the world that could only be found in Hoi An’s ancient town, visiting the Marble mountain in Da Nang, and eating pho for one last time in Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh before flying home.
I landed in Laos by chance. I got all the tickets bought and everything to go to Myanmar only to have it canceled at the last minute because their embassy in Indonesia was suddenly closed hence I couldn’t apply for a visa to go there. So a quick change of plan brought me cruising through Vientiane and ended up watching the early morning monk alms-giving ceremony in Luang Prabang.
So there all I’ve been so far. Nine countries and counting and I will officially add the tenth country into my passport soon when I’m visiting Japan in April!