We finally did it! After an almost year long break that was full of colorful events, unforgettable travel experiences and our busy preparations for moving to the States, our adventures and everyday life moments are up on the blog again! It’s a shame that we’ve always found ourselves busy and haven’t yet finished to write about our Southeast Asia travels, not to mention our prior trips to India and Europe. All of that is coming up in the nearest future, but at this point we decided to slow down and take some time to share the pictures and tell our family and friends about our new life in California. It might be quite a long story about summer vacations in Hawaii or snowboarding in Big Bear in winter, it might as well be a short description of our weekend getaway to Vegas or just a few photos and a couple lines about our daily routine and those precious little moments that our life is all about… But no matter what it is, that’s just a humble attempt to bring ourselves closer to our beloved ones and share our joy and happiness with them.
We honestly thought that LA is one of those cities that you either hate or love and after visiting it a couple times we couldn’t say we were in love with it. We just wanted to finally take a break after working like crazy during the last 2 months and since we didn’t have time or desire to plan too far ahead, buy plane tickets and find a place to stay in advance, we figured that neighboring Los Angeles would be the easiest destination for such a spontaneous getaway. A cup of coffee at Starbucks in the morning followed by a 2 hour scenic drive with our favorite DPBG hits playing in the background made the time fly so we didn’t even notice how fast we got to our new friend Andrea’s house! Since we didn’t really have any plans except for some end of the year bargain-hunting, we fully surrendered to our friend’s welcoming hospitality and let her show us a different side of the city of Angels.
Angkor, the former capital of the mighty Khmer empire, once boasted the population of around 2 mln people when London was a small town of less than 50 thousand. Now we can only imagine what it could be like but for foreign invaders and the devastations of the civil war.
Now it remains the spiritual soul of Cambodia and the 8th wonder of the world, the main tourist attraction and the destination for millions of pilgrims from all over the world.
The temples of Angkor built around 1000AC are the only vestige of the county’s glorious past, since all other public buildings, palaces or common people’s houses did not survive as they were made of wood. And the right to construct the buildings of brick or stone was reserved for the God-kings who were in the course of history desperately trying to surpass each other in architectural design, size and scale which culminated in the construction of the largest religious structure in the world – Angkor Wat.
We landed in Siem Reap, Cambodia at around 7 o’clock in the morning after an hour flight from Singapore…and after just one-hour sleep during the whole night. We took a tuk-tuk and only the fresh cool morning breeze didn’t let us fall asleep on our way to the city. The first guesthouse we stopped by seemed to be pretty good let alone the price – 5 us dollars per night for 2 persons. So we left our bags, took a shower, that was definitely not enough to get some burst of energy and so we were both longing for a good cup of strong coffee. That’s why this time we were not up to a traditional Khmer ‘noudle soup’ breakfast, but rather were so happy to have a common continental one for the first time in our trip. It consisted of a European-style vegetable omelette and good coffee that we were sipping with so much pleasure… Continue reading
Even though we only had a couple of days to spend in Cambodia, there was a lot about this charming kingdom that cast a spell on us…
Contemporary Cambodia is a successor to the powerful and prosperous Khmer empire that during the Angkor period held sway over much of what are now Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. The remains of this empire, that encouraged the development of arts and spiritual culture, can now be found in the temples of Angkor, unrivalled in their splendor in SEA. Continue reading
On our second day in Singapore we realized that we got to see pretty much everything in the city itself which lies in the southern part of the island, so we had several options of a pastime somewhere else on the island. Thinking we deserved some rest we didn’t hesitate a lot and headed to the East Coast Park, which is a stretch of seafront park with lots of leisure facilities, bike lanes and green space along the East coast of the island.
We arrived in Singapore early in the morning, before 5 a.m. We knew that if we had stayed at our CouchSurfer’s place for “a couple of hours” to have some rest, we would have missed the whole day in this amazing city…or country. That’s why we took a quick shower and set out to explore the island at 6 am starting with a nice Indian breakfast.
As Kuala Lumpur grew up from the jungle at the confluence of 3 rivers (here’s the origin of the name: “Kuala Lumpur – muddy confluence”), the city remains one of the greenest in Southeast Asia despite its fast industrial development. And here, in this green city, Lake Gardens is a favourite spot of Malaysians as well as foreigners to escape the midday heat and concrete of the busy city centre. One of its main attractions is…
The visit to Batu caves outside KL was one of the most memorable experiences of our whole SouthEast Asia trip I would say. The system of 3 caves, with the Temple cave being the most popular one, is among the most important and sacred destinations for Indian pilgrims. We were lucky enough to visit the Caves during the Thaipusam festival and watch colourful processions climbing up a flight of around 300 steps, that lead to the temple inside the main cave, and engaging in sort of devotional feats.
Malaysia is a mixture of ethnic communities (Indian, Chinese, Muslim, indigineous people of Peninsula and tribal people of Borneo) that all together create a colourful culture and a fusion of cuisines that make Malaysia such a fabulous destination.
But honestly speaking though the real Malaysian beauty is found in the fusion of it all, the country might seem to be losing its national identity. We personally found Malaysia colourful but faceless: the cuisine is so diverse but you’ll hardly find any typically Malay food, there are so many customs and traditions but God knows what is characteristic of Malay culture, the coexistence of Christian cathedrals, Chinese temples, Muslim mosques and Indian shrines is a predominant feature of KL urban landscape but we didn’t find any examples of particularly Malay religious architecture. Continue reading