Travel – John

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A café in Penang, Malaysia

To travel to other countries from NZ, it can be costly and uncomfortable due to its remoteness. But from Singapore, travel options are easily accessible and there are so many locations to choose from! Out of all the places I went to during my exchange, I’d like to introduce you to the two best places that I would recommend going to or else this blog would be too long and boring. Keep in mind that this is only out of my own experience and I’m sure there are many other awesome places to explore depending on your personal taste, so don’t be confined to these places!

  1. Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)

From my knowledge, the city of Bagan applied to UNESCO for recognition as a world heritage site but is not yet accepted (I’m not 100% sure of its current application status). Bagan is an ancient city of Myanmar and it is full of pagodas (Buddhist temples) everywhere you go which are mostly banned from climbing for maintenance reasons. But while our stay in this city, we asked some locals if there are any pagodas that are open for climbing and a few teenage locals led us to a secret pagoda that we could climb on to watch the sunrise/sunset. We were grateful that we finally got a chance to climb a pagoda but their ultimate purpose was to sell some painting. We thought it was a win-win deal so we just bought one for them. Our main purpose of visiting this city was to watch the sunrise and the sunset. Especially during sunrise, the hot air balloons would fly over the air with birds flying and I managed to get a satisfactory shot of them both with the rising sun. Getting up at 6am to get this shot is tiring but let’s say I did it for the gram 😀

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SUNRISE was beautiful – there are special places to see the sunrise and it’s always good to ask locals for advice or do sufficient research in case you might fail. The big black dots are the hot air balloons and the small dots are the birds flying. You can also ride the balloons if you pay but we thought it was just way too expensive and risky
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SUNSET was also beautiful – we paid to get on a boat from a nearby river to watch the sunset and it was a great idea indeed
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On a side note, the boats do look quite dodgy and looks like they’re about to collapse in any minute so just make sure you can swim. We took the risk and managed to survive but our boat was quite shaky
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E-bikes – this e-bike is the best transportation method you can possibly get in Bagan. With it you can explore the whole city as the city itself isn’t so big. There are no ubers, grabs or whatsoever. There is also an option to hire a driver for a day but it was too expensive and we thought it would be fun to ride e-bikes instead. This was the best part of Bagan for me to be honest, it was so fun
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Pagoda (temple) – I forget the name of this pagoda but Bagan is said to have three main pagodas described by a local as the biggest, the most beautiful and the oldest (from my memory). Finding these temples aren’t that hard so it’s best to explore every one of them possible until you get sick of them!
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There are so many dogs lying or strolling around pagodas and the city in general but don’t touch them just in case, you know, things happen
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It really is a thing for restaurants in Bagan to decorate tissues like this inside a cup
  1. Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai is a very chill city and also has a number of interesting tourist attractions. It’s a city that I want to visit again if I have the chance to travel around South-East Asia again. The food here is great and the best part is, the locals aren’t too eager to sell stuff to you just because you look like a foreigner. I just loved how the people I saw in this city were all chill and looked satisfied with their lives.

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“Sah wah dee kraap” – Ronald Mcdonald from Chiang Mai airport
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The best beer I’ve tasted so far in my life. Part of the reason why I want to visit this place again
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This restaurant is called Lemongrass Thai cuisine. We tried Pad Thai, Pad See Ew, and Tom yum soup and all of them tasted fantastic
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Chill vibes of Chiang Mai streets make it an attractive city too
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This temple is called Doi Su thep and it’s on a mountain. I’d recommend booking a tour guide package to go here. From up the hill, you can enjoy the night city scenery of Chiang Mai
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These elephants are intelligent. They know how to draw paintings, play football, troll their trainers by not giving them their hats and when you give them money they dance to express their happiness
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“Tuk tuk” taxis are a convenient method of going around places when you’re not going too far
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White tigers’ visuals are 11 out of 10

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