我们的天空。。

召集旅游狂和博客!!若有兴趣成为我们的一分子,请留言在chatbox或email我: confessionofdtravelholics@hotmail.com。 Travelholics (bloggers) wanted!! Come and join us by dropping a message in the chatbox or email me confessionofdtravelholics@hotmail.com.

_________________________________________________________________

现在才发现,原来我们的部落格差一点就安了个和大马著名背包旅行作者黄爱琳的两本书书名一样的名字。。。所以如果有一天爱琳再出版第三本书,而书名为《再难也要去旅行》的话,我们并不是抄袭她的哦。。。 ^.^

主编 09年8月1日 ****************************************************************

爱.呼吸

Why you should travel as a student

...A guest post by Samantha Deavin...

Most students finishing their schooling or graduating from their university degrees are faced with the decision of whether to start full time study, enter the workforce, or go travelling. While there are often societal or parental pressures to start a professional career or ‘get serious’, there are also a number of benefits to student travel, and many reasons why travelling when young can have longstanding benefits.

- Cheaper prices. Transport, hostel rooms and tickets to sights and attractions are significantly discounted for those who fall within the ‘student’ category. Often it is just a matter of your age, and whether or not you are studying is irrelevant. If you’re within the age bracket of 12-26 then take advantage of these discounted prices – you won’t enjoy them again until you become a ‘senior citizen’!

- Learn more about yourself. It’s often hard to know what you want to do, or what career path you want to follow when you leave school or university. Taking time to travel, and putting yourself in different situations, environments and amongst different people can help you learn more about the world, yourself, and what it is that you want to do. Rather than jumping into a degree or job that you’re not sure is suited to you and your goals, travelling can give you the opportunity to remove yourself from your daily environment and learn more about what is important to you

- Meet other people. Travelling when young is very conducive to meeting other people. Because student travel is usually conducted on a small budget, most students choose to stay in hostels. Dorm rooms, communal kitchens and organised events make it easy to meet people from all over the world. When travelling, you’ll make friends from all corners of the globe.

- Take advantage of your freedom. Students are often told to take advantage of their youth and their limited responsibilities. What does this mean, you may ask? Travel! When else in your life will you be able to pack up and set off around the world, travelling wherever your fancy takes you? Hop on one of many cheap flights and see where you end up.

- Employers look favourably on travel. When your resume tells a prospective employee that you have travelled, it shows that you are independent, organised and resourceful. Travel is no longer seen as careless wandering, but as something that adds to a person’s skill base, emotional intelligence and employability.

Finishing school or university is an exciting time. What better way to celebrate then to go travelling? Whether you set off on a round the world ticket, or jump on a flight and see where the winds take you, student travel is fun, cheap, rewarding and will have longstanding benefits.

What are you waiting for?

Getting into the Thailand Medical Tourism Blog Contest

by: Claire Algarme of First-Time Travels
You can visit her Medblog page for the final round of the competition. The more visitors her page generates, the more chances for her to win the top prize.

I admit I never expected to be in the final 12 of the Medical Tourism Blog Competition of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. A friend told me about it and participated online. I also never expected to finally meet fellow travel bloggers whom I had some interaction only via online.

Recently, we were introduced to the media. All 12 of us are travelholics and each aim for the top prize. But then again, even without it, we were already enjoying a seven day-six night all expense paid sponsored by TAT and its partners. Below is a press release from TAT.




http://www.medblogcontest.com/blog/11

First-Time Travels of Lonely Planet Travel Bloggers

by: Claire Algarme of First-Time Travels

Jetsetters and seasoned travelers may be “experts on the road” but they also started out learning the ropes of traveling. They now have something to advice on the subject because they have a rich resource of firsthand travel experiences. Some of them, when they were newbie travelers, also listened from those who were ahead of them in the traveling landscape.

I may be able to easily give instructions to taxi drivers or haggle with vendors in Jakarta because I lived there for seven months, but I also struggled during my first weeks trying to decipher the map and learning the local language by myself. I can roam around Bangkok or Hong Kong unguided because I have visited these cities more than once, yet I also shamelessly asked for directions during my first visit there. Although I credit travel books and websites for pointing me to the right direction, my experience on the ground has provided me with more insights any literature could give. Dealing up-close with the locals and getting lost have made me street-smart, something one does not learn just by researching and armchair traveling.

My first trip outside of my home country, the Philippines, was in Thailand. Friends shared my excitement as they gave me lists of tips and places to visit. I was excited on what was in store for me at my destination that I never realized the more practical things to do in embarking on a journey, like packing lightly, paying the travel tax, getting in line at the immigration, exchanging my local currency into US dollars and Thai baht, etc. Like in any other Asian city, bargaining is a skill a traveler should learn when shopping in Bangkok. We visited the Royal Palace and there was a special occasion at that time. I accidentally stepped on the red carpet reserved only for the King and his entourage that a guard scolded me for doing so. Now, I’m more careful whenever I visit a palace or a temple that I don’t break any of their rules or disrespect any of their traditions.

The Lonely Planet blogsherpas walk down memory lane as they share stories of their first-time travels outside of their home country or their innocence when they first stepped into a foreign land. Who would ever think that these travel bloggers also had their moments when they first boarded a plane or when they finally made that big leap out of the comforts of their home? I feel privileged to host this blog carnival, which gives us a glimpse of the joy, frustration, fears, and milestones of the first-time travels our blogsherpas made.

To read their stories, you can visit the original post with the full article at First-Time Travels of Travel Bloggers: the Lonely Planet Blogsherpa Blog Carnival #9.

First-time in the Shanghai World Expo 2010

by Claire Algarme of First-Time Travels
As we touched down at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, everything was World Expo mode. Even the expressways had special directional signs to the expo site.
Photo by Claire Algarme
We were fortunate to have our visit timed during the World Expo, an internationally registered event (major expo) which happens every five years only and the venue held in different cities globally. There are also minor expos but this one in Shanghai is considered a major expo with countries building their own pavilions.
Purchasing expo tickets were not difficult at all, contrary to our belief. We bought our one-day passes at the China Mobile outlet just across the Expo gate at Yaohua Road. Since it was a standard day, we bought our tickets at ¥160 each. However, we had to buy it a day before so we could enter the Expo early the next day.
We entered the Expo site at the Xizang Road with the subway station leading to one of the entrances. Since we entered from the underground, we first saw the base of the funnels that appear at the elevated roads.
As we ascended the escalators, the towering China pavilion wowed us. We were awed by the gigantic red structure where everyone lined up. But for every half a million visitors a day at the World Expo, China only accommodates 30,000 in its pavilion through free reservation tickets that could be availed at 9:00am by the entrance gate.
Photo by Claire Algarme
The Oman pavilion showed the amazing landscapes of the country. There was a tent set up at one side of the pavilion. At the center was a colorfully lighted dome. Some products were also in display and were up for sale.
Beside the Oman pavilion were the Pakistan and the Israel pavilions. We entered the Sri Lanka pavilion where actual gem cutters and wood carvers showed off their expertise. There was also a small hut inside the large pavilion that exhibited some Sri Lankan paintings.
We were supposed to proceed to the Saudi Arabia pavilion, an oasis at the middle of the modern structures in the Expo site. But the line was too long that we decided to visit other nearby pavilions instead. We also thought of passing by the Nepal pavilion on our way back.

Photo by Claire Algarme
All six of us parted in twos to save up time. My friend and I attempted to enter the dune-shaped United Arab Emirates (UAE) pavilion but never got through because there were some who were quarreling at the entrance. We proceeded to the Qatar pavilion which showed its underwater pearl divers.
There was a Bedouin camp set up inside the pavilion with wax figures of Bedouins in their usual garb. A local performance was going on at a small stage area in its first level. Local art, trade products and a diorama of future Qatar were on display near the exit.
The next pavilion we entered was that of Morocco’s. It’s one of my favorites. When we entered, the interior was like a local Moroccan courtyard with a small fountain at the center. The palm trees and arches looked authentic.
Old urns, stamps, and clothes were displayed at the ground floor. There were mannequins dressed like the Prince of Persia character. A camel saddle with intricate weaving was also displayed for public viewing.
The second level was like a marketplace with stalls left and right, showing various Moroccan products. Some had television screens that presented how some of those products were made. My favorite window was that of the colorful slippers and the room that appeared to be inside a Moroccan tent. The topmost floor was all multimedia presentation that projected Morocco’s landscape on a sloping wall.

Photo by Claire Algarme
It was way past noon and we were already starving. We had to cross from Zone A to Zone B where there was a food court. As we walked the elevated walkways, we observed some people eating by the benches with their packed food. There were also Coca-Cola stalls almost everywhere, since they were a major sponsor of the Expo.
When we got to the food court, there weren’t much people around. It must be that we were too late for lunch or visitors opted to eat somewhere else.
After our meal, we proceeded to the Philippine pavilion. It would be a shame to miss our very own exhibit. As we entered the Southeast Asia and Pacific zone, a performance in the open-air stage area near the New Zealand pavilion surprised us. No wonder this area was more crowded than the previous one we visited.
We went directly to the pavilion of the Philippines which highlighted performing arts. As we entered the cube-shaped building, it was as if a concert party was going on inside. People were eating by the small restaurant, buying Filipino goods, viewing the exhibits, and participating on the variety show that was set up for the Expo visitors.

Photo by Claire Algarme
It was truly fun inside and I would have wanted to stay longer. I may be biased because this was my country’s pavilion but I was extremely pleased to be there and proud to be a Filipino. I must say that the people behind it did a great job. It was not just another exhibit but they injected the Philippine spirit of fun and music in it.

To read the full article, including descriptions of European pavilions and some tips around the World Expo, visit http://firsttimetravel.wordpress.com/2010/07/26/first-time-in-the-shanghai-world-expo-2010/

越南旅行记之胡志明市

第四天.。。早上我们吃了早餐后就准备出发了。。我们的导游抱怨我们迟到令整个流程可能会迟了,所以下次要注意了。。。今天我们的行程是在胡志明市的一日游,这个城市与我们吉隆坡差不多,分别可能这边的电单车比我们的那边还要多。我们去了胡志明市的一些名胜地后就去了一家酒店吃午餐,真得很丰富哦。之后我们就出发去了以前打战避难的地下洞。真得很佩服以前的人想出来的避难方法,想到他们打战的时候生活真得非常痛苦。。。之后我们又坐了两个小时的车程回去酒店。晚上我们在附近找到不错的餐馆,其实是街边的大牌档,食物非常美味和价钱也非常便宜,过后就在附近逛逛shopping。不好的是下雨了所以有些地方我们都去不到。。。之后就回酒店休息了。。。













第五天.。。一早我们吃了早餐就出发去了湄公河,我们去了一个类似小村的地方,很多游客在那边买卖,然后我们去了听他们为我们准备的歌谣,还尝试了道地的蜂蜜,真得别有一番口味。。。之后我们就坐sampan围绕整个地方,还蛮刺激的因为一直来往都有船来船往,而且感觉快要下雨所以他们也划得特别快。。。过后我们开船去了另外一个小村吃午餐,午餐也算满丰富的,因为有专人服务我们,非常开心。。。之后我们就去了制造椰糖的地方,看见他们的工作效率真得非常厉害。我们买了椰糖后就准备回去了,因为今晚是我们最后一晚的冲刺所以回到酒店后我们就立刻跑去酒店附近的跳蚤市场,之后我们就去了船餐厅吃我们的晚餐,有点不值得因为没有书里面所说的美丽夜景和食物也还好罢了。。。早知道我们就吃回昨晚的街边小食更好。之后大概九点多就回去酒店了,倒霉的是两个晚上在胡志明市都下雨。。。然后我们就各自快乐,有的继续去附近逛逛,有的就回去酒店休息收拾行李住准备明天一早离开胡志明市回家了。










最后一天。。。今天是唯一一天没有迟到的因为飞机不等人所以全部人都很早起床准备了。。。导游也蛮准时到达酒店接我们,我们还吩咐了酒店打包我们的早餐。就这样准备离开胡志明市了。。。到达机场后,我们给了小费导游,他就离开了而且没有帮我们弄check in和填旅程感想可能他很赶时间吧。之后倒霉事来了,不知为什么我们的班机竟然换时间了,结果我们早到机场整三个多小时,结果我们就在机场傻傻的等待时间过,早知道我们就慢慢吃了早餐才走都不迟啦。时间到后就上机check in准备回去了。。。大家时候也讨论旅程如何,大致上还不错,也明白车程的问题。可能下次少一点历史性的地点就好了但也明白因地方而定。但终结来说这个旅程我们非常满意。。 =)



原作:Nick (终)

Travel information to Seoul, Korea

Have you booked your ticket to SEOUL, the soul city of Asia? Or are you still struggling on picking up one of those cheap tickets offered by AirAsia to Seoul because it's kind of troublesome to update the dates and check the price?

You'll simply love this~ Oh... Don't kiss me for telling you this. =P
Check out AirAsia Price Chart here!

Or redirect to your latest favorite destination here - Seoul!

Good things are meant to be shared. And it's great to get the overview of the flight cost in just a glance. More and more of my friends are using it.

Talking about South Korea, I've been there years ago, just once, but it was nevertheless the most memorable one in my life (experience during uni days). There are too much to be described and said over here. You read it. =) I hope you can read Mandarin, else you can use the Google translation software on the right sidebar.
Seoul...soul of Asia
SEOUL's Best 100 - Daylight in Seoul (#1-8)
SEOUL's Best 100 - Daylight in Seoul (#9-18)
Korea, the beginning of my travel chronicles
出国第一章:韩国 (游山玩水记)Expedition
出国第一章:韩国 (踏步韩国大学)Visiting Universities of South Korea
出国第一章:韩国(秋天的邂逅之首尔闲游)Touring around Seoul

For girls, come back from Seoul with the experience as a Korean beauty:
A Guide to Korean Women’s Beauty Secrets Part.1: Spas
A Guide to Korean Women’s Beauty Secrets Part.2: Jjimjilbang

And a little something more on South Korea - my idol RAIN!
Rain's Coming World Tour Concert (27/1/07)

If you need help or information of South Korea, add me in my FB fans page and drop a message in Wall Post. I'll try my best to answer.

Last but not least, have a great trip to Seoul!

Baby and I at Namsan Seoul Tower.

Tulou: Walking into Living Homes


By Janice Au

This part of China was never on the list of holiday ideas at the time until its now-famous Fujian Tulou (Chinese: 福建土樓) was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Driven by curiosity I decided to have a look at these strange constructions that were once mistaken as traces of UFO on our planet. Well, perhaps this itself was a story created by some business-minded people to boost tourism, I was one of those who were fascinated by the idea and decided to spend my precious holiday there in the mountainous region of Fujian, China.

The coach journey was an adventure itself. My coach could barely fit in those bumpy, narrow and often curvy roads. At the time, the region was not nearly ready for a huge travel coach or stream of visitors, which was good. I got to enjoy the privilege of walking around those largely unspoiled villages. Sad to say though, at the time I could already see signs of the place being commercialized; shops selling typical souvenirs like postcards, snow globes and travel guides.

Each of the tulou was like a little city itself, with its own living area and community. In the ‘King of Tulou’ there were a total of 370 rooms! The local guide told me that at its peak there were 80 families living in this one single tulou. I was simply amazed by the magnificent structure of this circular building and how it could accommodate hundreds of people, given that they were built almost 1,000 years ago when multi-storey buildings were not at all common.

I could actually walk into the living homes of villagers. Only the ground floor of any tulou was opened for tourists, the upper floors were the villagers’ homes. The buildings were still occupied by families, even when it was at the same time open to visitors. This was perhaps what fascinated me most. Tulou was not just a historical relic, but living homes of villagers that I could step into and get a taste of their lives. It was not like visiting an old Roman theatre that had been abandoned for years or some constructions that were historically significant during the WWII. In some parts of the buildings I could actually see villagers on their day-to-day living state: some cooking with the very traditional kitchenware, some hanging laundry out on the balcony.

I was asked a few times why I would take a trip to a place as undeveloped and rural as that. What instantly sprang to mind was a quote by Paul Theroux: ‘The fact that few people go there is one of the most persuasive reasons for travelling to a place.’
 I guess it explains why.

Check out Janice’s travel blog Wide World, Little Places or follow her on Facebook

http://www.wideworldlittleplaces.com

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wide-World-Little-Places/109069755803716

Top 10 Things to Do in Vang Vieng, Northern Laos

by our guest blogger, Elaine Chung

Vang Vieng is a town built for backpackers. If you take tourism away, the town will lose its energetic soul. Vang Vieng (4 hours from Vientiane) has become a pit stop for backpackers who are heading to Luang Prabang. This town is generally known for its “happy” pizzas, booze and party. Apart from that, here are a list of things you can do and find in Vang Vieng.

1) Tubing. If you only have limited time to spare, I reckon river tubing along Nam Song since this is one of the popular activity among backpackers. You can read more about tubing here.



2) Caving. There are a few caves to explore, you can hire tuk-tuk to bring you around.



3) Kayaking along Nam Song. If you are fit enough and up for the challenge, you can take a one day trip kayak from Vang Vieng to Vientiane. Otherwise, a short kayak along Nam Song is sufficient.



4) If you want more of outdoor activities, buzz one of the many tour operators lining up in town for rock climbing, biking and trekking tour packages.



5) Party. There are lots of bars in town especially along Old Market Riverside Road. Loud music, whiskey bucket (mixture of Tiger Whiskey, Coke, Red Bull, lime, lemon juice, honey and ice) and beer lao all night long.



6) Chill out at one of the restaurant while enjoying (if not annoyed) by the endless re-runs of Friends and Family Guy. You pick your restaurant based on Friends or Family Guy preference, period.



7) Hammock is a common sight especially at the guesthouse. If you’re a hammock person just like me, this is a good place to spend a quiet afternoon with a good book to keep you company.



8 ) Local fishermen can be seen along Nam Song with fishing nets. Casting fishing nets required a lot of skills and it isn’t easy as it seems. If you’re lucky, they might ask you to give it a try.



9) To witness a typical routine by mostly women and children, head up to Old Market Riverside Road for the morning market at 7am.



10) Head to Norkeo for Lao food. The typical sticky rice, grilled fish/chicken/beef without any TV (Friends or Family Guy re-runs) insight.


For more interesting trails in Asia, check out Elaine's website - Trail of Asia

The ‘Where are you from?’ Culture



Istanbul is no doubt a great place for shopping. Have a walk in the Grand Bazaar, a virtual labyrinth of fascinating shops; it’s easy to be drawn by the carpets, copper and brassware, jewelry and all kinds of ceramics.

Hmm, no. My story is not titled ‘Shopping in Istanbul’. I’m more interested in people.


It didn’t take long for me to realize this special and interesting culture of Turkish shopkeepers: the ‘Where are you from?’ culture.


The day I arrived in Istanbul I was told that shopkeepers there like to ask that question (if not a little obsessed with it), and no matter what country you answer they will tell you they have a close relative living there, very close to you. I had no idea how true that piece of information was as I’d just arrived in the city. I started wandering around touristy places and reached the Grand Bazaar. I was fascinated by the nicely arranged shops and the colorful ceramics. I stopped at one or two of the atmospheric little shops, was asked where I was from, but didn’t pay much attention to that until I reached this carpet shop.


The shopkeeper started by quite an odd opening, ‘Your eyes are tired.’


Feeling a bit puzzled, I stopped.


‘You’ve seen too many carpets, your eyes are tired.’


‘Ah, yes, quite.’ I was just trying to give the desired answer; I hadn’t seen any carpet at all.


‘Where are you from?’


‘Canada,’ said my partner.


‘Oh, my wife is from Canada,’ he said with that look as if he’d just found a long lost friend. ‘What about you, lady?’


‘Hmm, Hong Kong.’


‘My wife’s sister is now living in Hong Kong!’ The way he responded gave me the impression that I was only given a standard response. If I said ‘Taiwan’ his wife’s sister would have been living in Taiwan; or if I said ‘Japan’, then the response would have been rephrased with Japan.


The rest of the conversation was all about his carpet shop, where the carpets were from, how they were made and such. I didn’t pay much attention, as I was still amused by his response, remembering what I was told when I arrived.


As we kept walking around the Bazaar, we saw so many more shopkeepers who asked just this very same question, ‘Where are you from?’ Quite predictably, a lot of them had some brothers, sisters, nephews, or uncles living very close to us. I couldn’t understand why, but instead of finding it annoying, we found it quite amusing. Each time we were asked that question by a new shopkeeper we exchanged smile as if we were saying, ‘Hee, another one!’ Sometimes we would even prepare a surprising answer to see how they would respond.


We didn’t count how many times we were asked that question, but we would definitely have failed and lost count if we had tried.


Things were pretty much the same in other parts of Turkey.


In Antalya, even the restaurants asked the same question. Each time we walked past an eating-place the friendly waiters would rush to us and show us each item on their menu. In the conversations, they never forgot to ask where we were from.


I remember this one restaurant just at the entrance of the old town. We were not interested in the place, but were stopped by a very talkative waiter. As expected he began by asking that question, we didn’t answer. He continued promoting his restaurant. Still, we were not interested, so we said ‘Thank you’ and walked away. As we walked, we heard the fading voice of the waiter, asking, ‘Where are you from? Hey, where are you from?’ I couldn’t help but feel really puzzled this time. Why was he so interested in asking that, even if we were walking away, obviously not interested in what he was selling?


If I was to write a list of fun memories of my trip to Turkey, ‘Where are you from?’ would no doubt be the top of it. I’d never answered that question so many times in my life, come to think of it.


Check out Janice’s blog Wide World, Little Places or follow her on Facebook

10 things you must do in Langkawi

1. Take a cable car ride up Gunung Mat Cincang and walk the suspension bridge




2. Enjoy a candle light dinner at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club



3. Go island hopping – Pulau Beras Basah, Pulau Tasik Dayang Bunting, eagle feeding



4. Buy a snorkeling day trip to Pulau Payar and swim with the black tip sharks





5. Buy chocolate and drink alcohol like nobody’s business



6. If affordable, rent a chalet by the tranquil seaside of Pantai Kok; else enjoy your stay at the busy seaside of Pantai Cenang




7. Visit the Underwater World of Langkawi and find out how Tun Dr Mahathir brought back the 2 species of penguins to Malaysia




8. Visit Galeria Perdana to know more about the life of our respected ex-Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir



9. Eat seafood!





10. Take a mangrove tour in the fishing boat, enjoy the picturesque archipelago coastline, and bedazzled~


Our footsteps..