Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lamma Island - Two Small Villages

Lamma Island is the closest outlaying island to Hong Kong Island and the third biggest after Lantua and Hong Kong Island itself. It is a community of fisherman, farmers and Western expatriates. There are only two villages on the entire island and no cars! People ride bikes, or for transporting they use these small four wheel vehicles (as seen below on the right). It takes about an 1 1/2 hours to walk from one village to the other. If you are not like me and take a lot of pictures... it took me almost 3 hours to walk from village to the other..

Below is the 100 year-old Tin Hau temple. To the right is a very traditional religious offering, usually oranges are set out for the offering and you see this outside every establishment in Hong Kong and China to the bless the building or home.

Tennis court right outside the temple, I found that odd. Not too surprised though... because many areas in Hong Kong are tight for space and two establishments are often practically on top of each other.

I lit incense before entering the temple and gave a donation.

Below is the view of the water and land on top of one of the mountains in route to Sok Kwu Wan Village.

Sok Kuw Wan Village (below) has several renowned waterfront seafood restaurants. Best calamari I have ever had here!
                            Several small fishing boats on the water of Sok Kuw Wan Village.
Above is a small place found along the walk of the two villages. If you look to the top right - this place offers "coke and beef" ! Simple menu

12,968,000 Miles Away

 Lantau Island is the second largest island to Hong Kong Island. Here is the biggest outdoor Buddha statue in the world at Po Lin Monastery.
It is 85'' and built in the 1980's. Next to the Buddha is the main temple. (Pictured below)

12,968 km away from NYC!

Big Buddha

Main Temple next the Buddha

Inside the temple

Lighting incense outside the temple and saying a prayer

Cable car ride of the view of Lantua Island. Stunning!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Elephants, Tigers, Bungalows -- Where are we??

 Here is the floating bungalow neighborhood my friend and I stayed at in Kanchanaburi - or at least somewhere in that region. We were on a private tour for two days that we found on and read excellent reviews about. But this trip could have never happened without something like tripadvisor because we were in the mercy of our two tour guides for 48 hours, not really knowing where were, headed, sleeping and just had to trust we were in good hands! Which we were. We went to Phuket after Kanachanaburi where we no longer had our two private tour guides and missed them very much! Much easier and relaxing in a foreign country with personal guides!  

 Drenched by a elephant!

 Elephant trekking and swimming on the tour in Kanchanaburi.
 Tiger temple. Four month old tiger who was startled by a bull that came into its' area.

Big tiger. Although I didn't like this part of the tour. It seemed the tigers were being misused for tourists. They were chained to the ground without a lot of room to roam. They also seemed like they could have been drugged because they weren't as active and aggressive like tigers normally are. Visitors were able to come close to the tigers and I didn't feel like it was humane. Unlike our elephant experience, my friend and I read that it was an Eco-friendly place where they took good care of their elephants. The elephants seemed happy during our time there.

Train from the airport to our hotel. There is a skyline train that is much more modern as well, but glad I got the chance to ride this too

Waterfalls in Thailand

 I went to Thailand with a friend for 10 days. Its a beautiful place. Best time to go is December and January. We went to area, Kanchanaburi (about 130 km northwest from Bangkok). There was a series of 7 waterfalls in which you could swim in. The water was a aqua blue but had a mystic/fogy look to it as well, even though you see through the water.

Here is an area in the waterfalls where small fish eat the dead skin from your feet! Sounds weird. It took some time to get use to. It tickles and just feels weird at first. I have read places where spas offer pedicures like this. Where you stick your feet into a large bowl of these fish. Once I was use the feeling, it felt good!

Mong Kok

Mong Kok is a area in Kowloon island in Hong Kong, where everything is sold cheaply in outdoor markets. There you can find bags, jewelry (some knock-off), electronics, outwear accessories, luggage, traditional Asian merchandise (great for gifts and souvenirs).

Most items don't have a price tag. You ask the seller how much and then bargain as much as possible. From working at my internships, I was told to offer half what the seller asks for. Then begin to walk away and you'll probably get it for half the price. It worked in most cases or close to half the price. Some sellers stayed stern on their prices, said they were 'fair' and if you really wanted the item then you'd need to pay their price.

The area is extremely crowded with locals and visitors also shopping for the bargain items.  Above is a single typical outdoor market.