The Unusual Temple - Thailand’s Wat Rong Khun Temple

What do you think of when you hear the words "Temples in Asia"? 

I definitely thought of something like this: 


 Or this : 
Koh Samui Day Tour 




























Never in a million years would I have imagined such a weird and beautiful temple as the Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai. We were on our way to Chiang Mai after having spent a couple of days on the Mekong River travelling from Laos and our guide intentionally made our pit-stop this wonderful place. I am so glad she did as I would have never included this as a place to go! 

The Wat Rong Khun temple is more famously known to travellers as the White Temple designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat in 1997. 





















































You are instantly transported to a fairytale land created through the artist's surreal vision of Buddhist teachings. Every single detail of this temple portrays deep religious symbolism and much of the temples meaning refer to moving away from greed, desire and passion and moving towards a more Buddhist approach to life. 

In order to get to the main temple, you first need to cross the bridge depicted with hundreds of hands and just a wonderful sight to see. 






Once inside the main temple there are images of superheros, angry birds, famous people and the images of the burning twin towers painted into the walls of the hall. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take images of the inside and therefore, makes an incredible reason for you to go and visit this place for yourself! To give you an idea of what you will see, this fictional character leads the way ....



The reason why we pulled over was to use these...the most detailed bathrooms you will see in the whole of Thailand. 




Unfortunately, some parts of this temple was heavily damaged after an earthquake hit the province in May 2014 and the temple was closed indefinitely. The artist almost decided to demolish the entire site until he analysed the extent of the damage and has decided to rebuild the temple back to its original beauty within the next two years. 




If you are in the region, please do have a stop at the White Temple to see how the restoration is coming along and to stand for a moment in a surreal fairy tale land in the middle of Thailand. 

Safe Travels!
Shereen 

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Short Laos Travel Facts

Vang Vieng scenery 

Travelling to Laos sometime soon? Here are some fun facts about it that we learn't on our tour from our guide. 

Lao and Thai people speak similar language 

Lao has under 7 million people

Lao used to have a king, but now has been democratic since 1975

Vientiane is the capital city 
Vang Vieng Town

75% of the country is mountainous  

Has borders with 5 countries - China, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar 

They are inland and don't touch the sea, only has river running through it 
Vientiane, Laos Capital City 

Vientiane, Laos Capital City


No trains only bus from Vientiane to Vang Vieng 

Monsoon season is from end May to October

Opened country for tourism on 1995
3,700,000 tourists into Laos last year
Vientiane Temples 

Luang Prabang Sunset

68% of people follow the Buddhist religion 

49 sub minorities with different dialects 

Lao people learn French and English at school 

Every 9 minutes for 9 yrs Lao was bombed and they are still clearing this 
Out of 17 provinces 9 were bombed 


Happy Travelling 
Shereen


Planning a trip to Laos, get all the information you need with this guidebook below! 






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Tiger Kingdom Chiang Mai Thailand

If you decide to visit Chiang Mai you must visit Tiger Kingdom on the outskirts of the city. A taxi ride from the centre will cost you around 150 baht pp in a group of 4 and will take around 30 minutes to arrive.





















Tiger Kingdom 

Once you arrive you will be greeted with a big foyer with screens indicating which package you wish to purchase, make sure you arrive at around midday, this way you will evade the morning rush and will also beat the afternoon crowd.

The experience starts with the package options, you can decide to visit the smallest cubs to the largest tigers. Each with it's own pricing schedules. The bigger you went the cheaper the experience.  We decided to go for the bigger tigers as we had already experienced small tigers in Europe, we paid a total of 400 baht each and that allowed you a 15/20 minute visit. Once you purchase your package you will be placed on a order list which is dislayed all around the complex. Once your number appears the keeper will call you into the tiger complex.


The Moment we met a Tiger

The experience itself is unique and special, the initial nerves soon faded once we met our tiger, a female who was just eagerly waiting for her lunch to soon arrive. At that point we just hoped we weren't it!


If you have the chance to visit you won't be disappointed. The experience is fantastic, even though you only get 20 minutes that will be more than enough to pet the tiger and even tickle his tail.  The keepers make you feel welcome and you can immediately sense that the tigers are not drugged in any way, they are just given a healthy (and filling) diet. 


Our Tiger Selfie! 
Take as much photos as you can the keeper will surely help you out and take the best picture with the big cat! 






































Stay in touch as we write about our elephant experience in Laos, another experience for the books!

Safe travels
Dylan 


Get your Chiang Mai Guidebook Today: 


Make sure you have a good quality Camera for this Experience!

This one was ours : Go Pro 3+ - Photo and Video capturing every moment
Click on the image for more info. 

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A German goes to Sapa! - By Andi Wohlfrom

Hi I'm Andi, a German friend of Dylan and Shereen who travelled with them from Ho Chi Min City to Hanoi. We shared a lot and recognized that we love each other <3 (Andi, a now lifetime friend of ours!). The difference between us is that D&S went to Laos and I went with my friends to the amazing landscape around Sapa, Vietnam. So Dylan asked me if I could write a summary about my trip. 


Journey to the clifftop mountains

The first and maybe most important thing you have to check is the weather. We had the luck that the clouds which hang around the hills of Sapa disappeared in the middle of the first hiking day. The view is not really good if it`s cloudy. With a clear view the mountains around Sapa are amazing. The terrace rice fields which climbs up the mountains are just legen - wait for it - dary, legendary. 

We did a two day hiking tour. If u have the possibility to stay longer in Sapa. Do it! The first day we did the tour to a small village called Lao Chai in the cloudy mountains. In discussions with our tour guide I found out that the village had no real electricity until 2012. 

 Watch out for the market stall sellers!

The most annoying fact about the trekking tour were the local women who hiked with us. They wore traditional costumes and after the tour they were really persistent to sell crap. That debased the whole trip cause it wasn`t enough to say one time "No, thank you". The people around Sapa speak really good English because nearly the whole economy around Sapa is dependent on toursim. 


Understanding local culture and traditions  

Beside the women it was just amazing. we walked over the terraces, over slippery mud and tiny paths along the mountain. Its really beautiful. What's the perfect thing to do after a hiking day? Of course, football, for the people over the sea: Soccer. I played with a bunch of locals at their unofficial "Sapa Stadium", the big marketplace in the middle of the town. It was a perfect opportunity to talk to the locals and found out about their problems, their worries, their everyday life and their view of the world. Their football preferences are awkward because nearly all of them are fans of English or Spanish teams (Real, Barca, Man Utd and Liverpool) because nearly all of them work in the tourist industry, they are used to talking English in a rudimentary way (like me). The evening was short because we were just exhausted.




















Cat Cat Village 

The second day in Sapa was also really good. We hiked to the Cat Cat village. Most of the time we went downhill and the whole path was stoned - no real challenge for young people.

Needless to say that there was an amazing landscape and a beautiful waterfall. The sun broke through the clouds and the rice fields half sunny half shady were amazing. In the afternoon, we enjoyed the little and tiny market of Sapa, really a place to go if u are in Sapa.

Overall Sapa is recommendable. Make sure that you book a hiking tour that is perfect for your fitness shape and u never regret that trip.



Thank you Shereen and Dylan for the possibility to post my Sapa experience on your blog. I wish u good luck and nice experiences for the remaining part of your journey.

To organise your agenda in Vietnam have a look at: 


Your views on Vietnam!

Have you travelled to Vietnam? What were your highlights? Dislikes? Places you would recommend to others?


Safe Travels!
The Travelling Postcard

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10 Things I Love About China And You Will Love Them Too


Travelling, working and living like a local in China can be certainly an unforgettable experience for everyone. You can not only save up to $18,000 a year for your future travels, but also be a part of different culture, customs, language and cuisine.
Guilin - Jonny
Guilin Highlights
China is definitely a very specific country you might either fall in love at first sight or totally hate it. I sometimes feel both at the same time, but today I would like to share my 10 things I absolutely adore China for:

#1 Safety.

Chinese soldier
Chinese Soldier
China seems to be a very secure and peaceful place to live in. The police are very strict with any violent behaviors here and serious crimes as well as minor offenses are punished rigorously. I’ve never been robbed or attacked in the street (touch the wood) even if I was going back home late at night. Moreover, nobody has never been aggressive to me, neither insulting.

#2 Local hospitality.

Chinese people
Chinese Locals 
Chinese are amazingly hospitable and you feel like you are always warmly welcomed to their country. They are often willing to help you when you get lost and you will be treated with the best food and drinks if you visit their home. Locals will keep inviting you for a lunch and dinner, will give up their seats on the train or bus to foreigners, smile back to you and always say hello to you. They can make a good impression on you!

#3 Diverse landscape.

Longji Terraced Fields (5)
Longji Terraced Fields
Lakes, rivers, hills, mountains, waterfalls, and deserts- you can find everything here as this country’s enormous size gives it a wide variety of landscapes which I love about China. Wanna sunbath on the beach? No problem, go to Hainan province. Wanna see ancient China? Go to Xi’an or Beijing. Wanna do decent shopping and drink glamorous cocktails? Head to Shanghai. China, with no doubts, will make all your dreams come true when it comes to travel whims.

#4 Stunning ancient buildings.

The great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China
From the Great Wall of China to Buddhist temples - China will surely surprise you with its rich culture. The shape (the articulation and bilateral symmetry) and colors (vivid red, green, yellow, green) of temples, palaces and humble farmhouses is just astonishing. The pictures you take here don’t need to be retouched!

#5 Low living expenses.

Dongguan city
Dongguan city
Food, transport fees, house rental and medical care are super cheap in comparison to Europe. You can live here cheaply dining out and going out and still enjoy everyday life with no renunciations. Moreover, working here can make you save some extra money.

#6 Chinglish.

Chinglish
One of the signs at the Great Wall of China
The way Chinese translate single words or full sentences is just way too funny. There are so many grammatical and spelling mistakes you can spot when filling in some official documents or statements, looking at road signs or reading the names of the company on the top of the building. My favourite ones are “tickets ohline”, “crap eggs”, “relic protected- no scratch”, “let us do friends”, “wish you happy and beautiful all life”, “slip carefully”, “easy to slip- take care”, “fresh air can make you naturally breathe”, “less much noise please” and “enterness”.

#7 Events, celebrations, bank holidays.

Celebrating Spring Festival with traditional Chinese mooncakes
Celebrating Spring Festival with traditional Chinese mooncakes
Chinese can party hard during Spring Festivals, national holidays and other big events. There is always lots of food, alcohol and fireworks with some breath-taking performances taking place all over China. It looks like Chinese government doesn’t save money on this kind of entertainment. People dress up, cook nice food and give you lots of present. The whole country looks amazing. There are numerous red lanterns hanging on the trees, houses and buildings all over China. Ach, it’s so beautiful!

#8 Culinary innovations.

Snake meat
Sneak meat served with veggies
Although I've been living over 2 years in China, I still get surprised by a great variety of Chinese local dishes and snacks on the cheap - fried bees, cooked sugarcane with pieces of corn, Beijing duck, sea plants and so on. I can’t imagine my breakfast without steamed dumplings called baozi! I also love tropical fruits here.

#9 Chinese herbs.

Chinese tea
Chinese tea
The Chinese doctors prescribe herbs for any ailment and it really works. You can easily get well, when suffering from stomach-ache, insomnia or migraine, by drinking a cup of herbs after your each meal. It speeds your metabolism up and makes you feel toxic-free. Moreover, Chinese people believe that a major factor of disease is an imbalance of ying and yang and use an acupuncture to help restore ying yang through needles piercing the skin. I’ve tried it and it’s totally great. You feel much more relaxed and calm. I like the spiritual side of China a lot. It’s so mysterious.

#10 Adorable Chinese kids.

Chinese kids
My students
My students are just adorable. Every day is a blessing when I see them. They try their best to speak English and we spend a lot of time together shopping, playing chess and badminton, talking or reading magazines. They are extremely out-going. Surely, China can be a really nice place to live in for a year or two. I keep saying that I've been having one of the best times in my life here and I wouldn't change a thing. There are days though when I feel like packing all my clothes and going away but I guess it's like that everywhere. The grass is always greener on the other side :). Can't wait for other challenges.

Would you fall in love with China? 


Meet eTramping crew - Agness and Cez – best friends and travel companions from Poland. These two are sharing their budget travel tips on how to travel the world with $25 in your pocket. Since 2011, they have been travelling the world while teaching English in different Asian countries such as China, Thailand or Cambodia. They are both photography passionate obsessed with Chinese cuisine and culture.

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