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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Bewitching Bagan Temples

With a plethora of temples to see in Bagan, it's easy to be overwhelmed. In reality, you only need to visit about 4 dozen. Still a lot, eh? 

Well, the number of temples you'll see and which ones are going to be entirely up to you (or your guide), the length of your stay and the weather. Take note that some of my friends visited more temples than the ones listed below because they biked around Bagan on our second day.

Dhammayangyi & Thatbyinnyu in the distance

We decided to avail of Mya Thida's tour for convenience. Their van comfortably fit our group plus one of the owners also served as our driver/guide.

Now, I won't bore you to death with the historical facts for each temple. You can always Google that, right?

Our tour started with the smaller temples and the ones closest to the 'hotel'.

Manuha Phaya

Reclining Buddha
Inset: Largest of the three sitting Buddhas 

This temple houses 4 Buddhas: a 46 feet high central Buddha and two on its sides each measuring 33 feet, and a 90-feet long reclining Buddha with its head facing north on the verge of Nirvana at the side of the temple. 

They said the cramped state of the Buddhas is a reflection of King Manuha's melancholic state for being under house arrest.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Azumi Boutique Hotel Staycation

Natz and I have been cooking something up for weeks now (hint: our biggest trip yet) and while we both get giddy every time ideas come up in our Facebook chats, we needed to tie everything up in well-detailed plan which called for a staycation.

With two international trips cancelled earlier this year, endless medical expenses and tons of work, I grab every opportunity I can to get away from the mundane.

Alabang's newest cool and hip concept hotel

Since both of us live in the south and Azumi Boutique Hotel seem to fit the bill. It is strategically located in Madrigal Business Park and just a stone's throw away from Molito and Alabang Town Center.

Its distinct gunmetal gray with pops of orange exterior will surely catch anyone's attention. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Waiting for Sunrise at Shwesandaw Pagoda

I placed one of my bags at my feet on the long bus ride from Yangon to Bagan. 

Halfway through the trip, at around midnight, I found the base of the bag soaking wet. I thought the bottled water spilled inside the bag, but saw half the bus's aisle was wet as well.

There was a thunderstorm, and somehow, rain made its way inside the bus. Interestingly, our bags in the bus's compartment remained dry.

We arrived at Nyaung U bus terminal half past three and were immediately swarmed by horse cart drivers. After gathering our bags, we hired 3 horse carts for our group of 7 to bring us to Shwesandaw Pagoda for sunrise.

Bagan was still in deep slumber -- its silence broken by the rhythmic clip-clopping of the horses' hooves. 

Our feet dangling from the horse cart, we marveled at a couple of beautifully lit pagodas from afar. And just as I was trying to adjust my sitting position - trying not to fall off - we suddenly went off-road, and within a few minutes, halted. We had arrived at Shwesandaw.

The moon was still out when we arrived at Shwesandaw Pagoda

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Planning a Honeymoon in Bali? What You Need To Know

Based in Indonesia, the island of Bali has been growing in popularity as a honeymoon destination for loved up couples, just like you and your partner. Yet despite this growth, it still caters for each couple on an individual basis providing beautiful food, scenery and accommodation as well as first rate service. Many people describe the island as "dreamy" and "mesmerising" due to the spiritual influences and stunning natural beauty, and others hold it in high esteem because of the lazy days and party nights. 

Bali can give you exactly what you want as long as you know where to go and what to do. It's certainly helpful to learn a little bit more about the island before you travel though as it can bring you the clarity you need in order to relax and enjoy yourself without worrying about the minor details. And when you are on your honeymoon, you certainly don't want to be stressing out!