Sabbatical/Pause: Mountains are Calling

Sabbatical/Pause: the Mountains are Calling, I Must Go Now I am going on hiatus for a bit. I will probably be back, but it is time for some reevaluation. Where do I want to spend my time? On my dear ones and my professional attempts? At the computer writing and editing? In the woods? Behind the camera? How important is it to finish those cookbooks[...]

Guide to Dim Sum

Guide to Dim Sum This is by no means a comprehensive guide to dim sum , but will get you started with dim sum, whether you are in Hong Kong, the United States, or a dim sum restaurant somewhere along the way. For more about dim sum (including the dim sum experience, dim sum etiquette, common dim sum teas, and where to eat the best dim sum in Hong Kong)[...]

Best Dim Sum in Hong Kong

Best Dim Sum in Hong Kong It is said that Hong Kong has the best dim sum in the world. Hong Kong dim sum restaurants are certainly culinary must when visiting Hong Kong. Please see our guide to dim sum. Translated as "so close to the heart" or "to touch the heart," dim sum is an important Cantonese culinary institution. Guangdong (formerly Can[...]

Thai Curry

Thai Curry Kaeng (or gaeng) is the Thai word for curry, which can mean the actual curry paste or a dish made with curry and either coconut milk or water. Like the rest of Southeast Asia, there are a lot of variations; curries can be watery or like a thick stew, but the one commonality is that Thai curry is they usually made from red or green chilis, g[...]

Sweet, Sour, Hot, and Salty: Thai Food and Thai Food Markets

Sweet, Sour, Hot, and Salty: Thai Food and Thai Food Markets These photos are from one of the informative (and delicious!) market tours at the Phuket cooking class with Phuket Thai Cookery School in Phuket, Thailand. Please see my Phuket post for more on the Phuket Thai Cookery School, as well as where to stay, eat, etc. in Phuket. [...]

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week This photo of the week is from one of my favorite places in India, Bodhgaya, India, where the Buddha attained enlightenment. To say Bodhgaya had an incredible energy is an immense understatement: it was almost as if Bodhgaya vibrated. It was my first time, I think, to be be near so many people meditating and praying all at one time. [...]

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week This photo of the week (rather photos) is from a previous post on Varanasi, India, from walkabout I. Nothing can prepare you for Varanasi (Benares), the sacred Hindu city on the Ganges River. It is the essence of India: a completely overwhelming sensory overload, where life and death blend too comfortably amidst sacred ritual a[...]

Quintessential Bali, the Village of Sidemen Bali

Quintessential Bali, the Village of Sidemen Bali Fertile, verdant rice fields scattered about the tranquil Sidemen valley. Subak, the cooperative water system, edged with roadside shrines. Villagers in fresh white shirts and sarongs, preparing for a Hindu festival commemorating the origin of the village temple. School children walking ar[...]

Photo of the Week (and Days that Make You Reflect on Past and Present)

Photo of the Week This photo of the week is from the splendid overlook at Hurricane Ridge, part of Olympic National Park, in the western United States. There are some trips that truly change your life and your life path, and this was one of them. My little sister, Lin, was finishing breast cancer chemo and M and I were out for a long weekend. We t[...]

Tanjung Puting National Park Wildlife, Plants, History, and Geography---and Survival

Tanjung Puting National Park Wildlife, Plants, and Geography Tanjung Puting National Park---more than the orangutans! Although the orangutans are indeed one of the main reasons to visit, as this is one of the last places in the world to see orangutans in the wild. Tanjung Puting Geography Tanjung Puting National Park consists of diverse habitat of l[...]

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week This photo of the week is from Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India. Kanha National Park is near the village of Khatia, a tiny little spot of a place, definitely a sleepy, one-cow town. I was absolutely amazed, but my safari yielded a tiger sighting---such an amazing and magnificent creature. We spotted him on a hill about thir[...]

Quest for Masjid Ampel and the Arab Quarter in Surabaya, Java

Quest for Masjid Ampel and the Arab Quarter in Surabaya, Java I had another night of insomnia in Sanur, Bali, an unfortunately common theme this trip. I woke up just in time for my 04:30 alarm, for the morning flight from Denpasar (DPS) to Surabaya Juanda International Airport (SUB) in Java. I was definitely not at my best. But I am always a fan of pi[...]

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week This photo of the week is from Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was first a Hindu and then a Buddhist temple compound, from walkabout II (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos). Splendid Angkor Wat is one of the Southeast Asia's most important archaeological sites---an absolute must-see, it is worth braving the crow[...]

Padang Food

Padang Food Masakan Padang (Padang food) is one of Indonesia's most popular regional cuisines. The restaurants are characterized by windows of multilevel, stepped rows of pyramid stacked delights, and usually display a proud sign announcing Masakan Padang. Padang restaurants are sprinkled around Indonesia, owned and operated by migratory, mostly M[...]

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week This photo of the week is from an independent day hike with my Hmong friends, Hue and Zhoun, and Zho, to their village, Hong Da, near Sapa, Vietnam. Some children walked with us near the top of the mountain, at this spot overlooking terraced rice paddies. The Black Hmong are one of the fifty four ethnic minorities in Vietnam; Hmong peopl[...]

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week This photo of the week shows the stupa and prayer flags at the splendid Kunzu Pass (Kunzum La in Tibetan), 4590 meters/15,060 feet. This high mountain pass is on the eastern Kunzum Range of the Indian Himalayas. Kunzum La connects the Kullu Valley and Lahaul Valley near Manali with the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, India. Truly[...]

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week This photo of the week is at the Cai Rang floating market (near Can Tho, Mekong River Delta, Vietnam). Light and airy with a crispy, golden brown crust, baguettes (bánh mi tay) are ubiquitous throughout Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Baguettes in Southeast Asia? It may seem like a surprise, but baguettes were brought by the French[...]

Bali Etiquette and Temple Etiquette

Bali Etiquette and Temple Etiquette Palau Dewata—Bali is the island of the gods. Bali is a cultural anomaly in Indonesia, as it is over ninety percent Balinese Hindu in the midst of predominantly Muslim Indonesia. Religion is an everyday part of life in Bali, and small offerings (canang sari) to the gods are ubiquitous, found next to almost every home,[...]

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week This photo of the week is from Angkor Wat, Cambodia, one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. The main temple site can be pretty busy---best to arrive early in the day, rent a bike, and take in the countryside along the outer loop. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was first a Hindu and then a Buddhist temple c[...]

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week This photo of the week is from Kanyakumari, India, the southernmost point of the Indian subcontinent. Three oceans meet at Kanyakumari---the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean---and it is a sacred spot for Hindus and a major pilgrimage spot. Here the sunrise and sunset are visible from the same spot and during the full[...]

Which Gili Island? Travel to Gili Air, Quintessential Paradise Found.

Which Gili Island? Travel to Gili Air, Quintessential Paradise Found Alluring, irresistible, tranquil Gili Air! Nestled in the turquoise waters off the northwest coast of Lombok, Gili Air (AH-year) is part of an archipelago of three islands, Gili Air, Gili, Meno, and Gili Trawangan (Gili T). The Gilis---Sasak for small island---are the perfect de[...]

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week This photo of the week is from the morning monks' alms procession in Luang Prabang, Laos. The sun was starting to rise above the river when I left my guest house, a bit after five am. I paused on the quiet street, not knowing where to go---then some locals motioned up the road and mumbled, “Monks, monks” in a low voice. So I might[...]

Useful Indonesian Phrases for Traveling and Indonesian Language for Travel

Useful Indonesian Phrases for Traveling and Indonesian Language for Travel Indonesia has over 700 indigenous languages, but Indonesian (or Bahasa Indonesia; bahasa means language) is the lingua franca that unites 230 million Indonesians. It is easy to learn the Indonesian language; it is very easy to pronounce, phonetic, each letter has one pronunciation,[...]

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week This photo of the week is from Don Det, Laos, a sleepy, Mekong River fishing village in southern Laos, just north of the Cambodian border, part of the 4000 Islands (Si Phan Don). At least Don Det was still sleepy in 2009; my understanding is the hazy backpacker circus in Vang Vieng, Laos may have migrated to Don Det, and that would b[...]

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week This photo of the week is from Bắc Hà, Vietnam, a sleepy, rural town in the Lào Cai Province in mountainous northeast Vietnam. Thousands of Flower Hmong

Indonesian Visa Extension in Lombok

How to Extend Your Thirty Day Indonesian Visa? Indonesian Visa Extension in Lombok An Indonesia visa on arrival (VOA) is available at certain Indonesian airports and sea ports. VOAs are valid for up to thirty days, and can be extended another thirty days at Indonesian immigration offices. Applicants must have a passport which is valid for at least six mon[...]

Bau Nyale Festival in Kuta Lombok

Bau Nyale Festival in Kuta Lombok I traveled to charming little Kuta (Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia) specifically for the Bau Nyale festival. Bau Nyale means "to catch the sea worms" in the local Sasak language and is completely unique to the island of Lombok. The sea worms, a rare variety of the palolo worm or eunice viridis, are fou[...]

Renting a Motorbike in Indonesia---or What Does a Gal Have to Do to Rent a Motorbike during the Bau Nyale Festival in Kuta Lombok?

Renting a Motorbike in Indonesia---or What Does a Gal Have to Do to Rent a Motorbike during the Bau Nyale Festival? What *does* a gal need to do to rent a motorbike during Bau Nyale? The problem was definitely a shortage of motorbikes. I asked at my hotel and they called around to their friends. Not a motorbike to be found. I checked at the hotel next do[...]

Bali Lombok Ferry Safety, or Choices Made

Bali Lombok Ferry Safety I admit, I was a little concerned about the safety of Indonesian ferries. Lonely Planet warned that this ferry line had safety issues, and that there have been fires and they have run aground---but I convinced myself it was a traveler's tale. I do have this thing about an orderly demise, and a watery death with fireballs and explo[...]

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week This photo of the week is from the village of Copán Ruinas, near the Mayan ruins of Copán, a UNESCO world heritage site. The Mayan temples, plazas, and terraces were excavated in the nineteenth century, and the little village of Copán Ruinas sprouted up around the site to support the archaeologists. The town is a delightfully sleepy [...]

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week This photo of the week is from one of my favorite places, Kaza, near the Tibetan border in the Indian Himalaya. They somehow manage to feed more than one hundred monks in this monastery kitchen at Ki Gompa, near Kaza, Himachal Pradesh, India. Gompa is the Tibetan word for monastery.

Stopover in Padang Bai Bali for the Padang Bai Ferry to Lombok

Padang Bai Bali Today I hit the travel groove. It sure took longer this solo trip, and I have my ideas why. But that is a story for another day! It was a short bus ride (60,000 IDR/$5 via Perama) from Sanur, Bali via Ubud to Padang Bai (too many places named karma, sparkly Buddhas, and yoga on demand in Ubud!) My plan was to catch the slow boat, or pub[...]

Photo of the Week

Hampi---wow, it has been a long time, six year ago, this photo of the week. The sacred places were always my favorite, and Hampi, land of Hanumen, is still one of my favorite sacred places in India. Copyright 2014 www.moiwalkabout.com. All disclaimers apply.

Travel to Sanur Bali: Do Not Judge a Book by Its Cover

Travel to Sanur Bali: Do Not Judge a Book by its Cover   I learned a lot of lessons this trip---first and foremost, do not book free plane tickets when angry. And in Sanur, I (re)learned to slow down and not to judge a book by its cover. I landed in Sanur, Bali as an alternative to bustling, middle-class Denpasar---at first it was just a stop[...]

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week While at my computer on this misty spring afternoon, I decided I wanted a way to remember past wanderings. Oh, what the heck---it was even a throwback Thursday and I was trying to get inspired for hiking season. Particularly since I was nursing a bum hip---not that I had ever done anything for throwback Thursday. So, I bring you, the pho[...]

Island of the Gods: Bali Bound, or Travel to Bali by Public Ferry

Island of the Gods: Bali Bound, or Travel to Bali by Public Ferry Palau Dewata---Bali is the island of the gods. Bali is a cultural anomaly in Indonesia, as it is over ninety percent Balinese Hindu in the midst of predominantly Muslim Indonesia. Picturesque rice paddies and jungle-swathed mountains are peppered with Hindu temples (pura) and ceremonie[...]

Indonesian Street Food and Indonesian Food Vocabulary

Indonesian Street Food No matter how small the Indonesian town, there seems to a warung (food stall or streetside restaurant) or kaki lima (mobile vendor with pushcart; kaki lima means five legs, three for the cart and two for the legs of the vendor). If you do not see a warung, head for the market (pasar). Chinese, Portuguese, and Dutch colonists an[...]

Klotok Hire to Tanjung Puting National Park to See the Orangutans

Klotok Hire and How to Find a Tanjung Puting Guide to See the Orangutans Want to hire a klotok boat to Tanjung Puting to see the orangutans (and other wildlife) and travel the Sekonyer River? The following information is meant those planning an independent trip to Tanjung Puting National Park in the forthcoming high season---and for those who want to[...]

Best Ipad Travel Apps for the Apple Ipad Mini

Best Ipad Travel Apps for the Apple Ipad Mini I am an Apple Ipad mini newbie and needed the best Ipad travel apps. I used the mini on the Panama trip, but this is the first time I had the mini---or any type of computer, or newfangled device---on a walkabout or long holiday. And I do regard those as two very different things! Wifi is very prevalent in I[...]

Mount Bromo Tour: to Tour or not to Tour an Active Volcano?

Mount Bromo Tour or No Tour? One of the first Indonesian words I learned was gunung, which means volcano. Since food and nature were two main reasons for my Indonesian walkabout, gunung were definitely part of my hiking plan. Indonesia is definitely a destination for volcano enthusiasts! Gunung Bromo (2329 meters/7641 feet) is set amidst the lunarlike,[...]
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