• Reunfication Express train on its way to Danang which you can see in the background
    Asia,  Blog,  Travelogue,  Vietnam

    The Reunification Express

    First things first. There is no Reunification Express. At least not officially. It is called the North–South Railway. Covering 1,726 kms, it is the main railway line that connects the political capital of Hanoi with the commercial capital of Saigon. View of the South China sea A bit of history first Construction of the line linking these two cities began during the French rule in 1899.  It took nearly 40 years for its completion, finally connecting the cities in 1936. However, the line was continuously sabotaged and bombarded during the Vietnamese fight with the French, and later during the Vietnam War. It wasn’t after the war finally ended, in 1975,…

  • Blog,  Europe,  Hungary,  Travelogue

    Discover a surreal part of Budapest

    Memento Park is like Disneyland, communism style. It’s home to 42 statues, busts and plaques of socialist heroes fictional and real. Rather than being consigned to the dustbin, they’ve found themselves another home today, albeit not where they would have expected Entrance to Memento Park A bit of history 63 years ago, in 1956, Hungarian students and citizens demonstrated in Budapest demanding reforms. One of their demands was the dismantling of Stalin’s monument in a park in Budapest, that was ironically, only installed seven years earlier as a gift from the Hungarian people to the Moscow and its leader. They proceeded to break the statue, leaving only the boots on…

  • Reclining Buddha at Vinh Tranh pagoda
    Asia,  Blog,  Travelogue,  Vietnam

    Vinh Trang Pagoda

    About three kilometers from My Tho city, in the heart of the Mekong Delta, is the Vinh Trang pagoda. View of the temple It is among the most well-known in the region and one of the most fascinating, not least because of the three enormous Buddha statues within its complex. A standing Buddha symbolising bliss and compassion is located just outside the main gate. As you enter the pagoda gates, a laughing Buddha symbolising happiness and good luck smiles down upon you. A little ahead is the reclining Buddha, meant to symbolise nirvana. The pagoda itself rests on five acres of manicured gardens and fruit trees in My Hoa, on…

  • View of thatched hut on a pond at restaurant in Mekong Delta
    Asia,  Blog,  Travelogue,  Vietnam

    A day in the Mekong Delta

    There is a reason why the Mekong Delta is called the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam. It’s a region that is blessed with endless rice paddies. The delta is so huge that it literally covers about two thirds of the southern part of the country. Farmers till their rice paddies The facts first The Mekong Delta covers more than 15,000 square miles. In fact, the Mekong river that finally ends here is, the seventh longest in Asia, and the 12th worldwide and traverses six countries including China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and of course, Vietnam. It’s biologically diverse, with a variety of animal and bird species. It’s also the agricultural heart…

  • The Saigon riverside
    Asia,  Blog,  Travelogue,  Vietnam

    Aah Saigon!

    Ho Chi Minh City, popularly known as Saigon, can be a chaotic place that asks whether you are ready to go along for a ride. Motorbikes rush past on a busy street in Saigon It starts the moment you arrive into the city. At first, the hustle and bustle of the busy streets can be quite overwhelming, especially with the number of two-wheelers that zip by. However, in time, you realise there is a certain order to this chaos. Let me explain. Crossing the streets must be the most daunting task any traveller would face in Vietnam, and especially in Saigon. While the four-wheel vehicles are fine, it’s the sheer…

  • Artillery gun in front of War Remnants museum
    Asia,  Blog,  Travelogue,  Vietnam

    War Remnants Museum

    A visit to the War Remnants Museum is a must if you are visiting Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as it is popularly known as. While not for everyone, it is an absolute must if you want to understand what transpired under both the French colonialists, and during the Vietnam War. A tank outside the War Remnants museum building Its history The museum originally opened on the 4th of September 1975 as the Exhibition House for US and Puppet Crimes within the former United States Information Agency building. However, with the normalisation of diplomatic relationships between the Vietnamese and US governments, it was renamed as the War Remnants Museum…

  • Main entrance to Freetown Christiania
    Blog,  Denmark,  Europe,  Travelogue

    Bevar Christiania

    Christiania is one of Copenhagen’s, and Denmark’s most popular destinations. In fact, for many residents, it is a way of life that started as a social experiment and continues to thrive today. Always controversial, this Freetown is much loved by many, including locals and tourists. Graffiti spray painted on the outside walls of Christiania The only reason I wanted to go to Copenhagen was to see the Little Mermaid, perhaps the city’s most iconic statue, and based on the fairy tale of the same name, written by Hans Christian Andersen. As luck would have it, she wasn’t there. Instead, she had been shipped off to an exhibition, somewhere in China.…

  • Exterior view Independence Palace Saigon Vietnam
    Asia,  Blog,  Travelogue,  Vietnam

    Independence Palace

    On the 30th of April 1975, at approximately 10:45am, Tank 390 from the North Vietnamese army crashed through the wrought-iron gates of Independence Palace. The first tank to break through the palace gates And with that, the Vietnam War came to an end, literally at its gates. Waiting for the North Vietnam soldiers in the reception chamber was General Minh and his cabinet. It was only 43 hours before that he had become head of the South Vietnam state. For those visiting Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as it is popularly known as, Independence Palace is a must-see. Especially if you are interested in history and have a fair…

  • View of the Golden Mount
    Asia,  Blog,  Thailand,  Travelogue

    The Golden Mount

    It is one of Bangkok’s oldest temples and dates to the Ayutthaya era which lasted until 1767. A shrine inside the Golden Mount Originally called Wat Sakae, King Rama I had the temple restored during his reign which lasted between 1782 and1809. He had it renamed as Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan, or Wat Saket as it is popularly known as. The hill itself is man-made. For many years, it used to be the highest point in Bangkok. Today, it is more famous for its 80-meter-high structure Golden Mount and the gold-plated stupa that sits on top of it. It also hosts a nine-day temple fair each November, during…

  • Billboard with Bui Vien Street name hung over the street
    Asia,  Blog,  Travelogue,  Vietnam

    Party all night long

    As the sun sets over Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as it is popularly known as, there’s one street that is slowly waking up. Bui Vien Street. A street vendor in costume If there’s one word that, to me, describes this street, it’s ‘Madness’. It’s loud. It’s bright. It’s seedy. It can get aggressive. And it goes on till the wee hours of the morning. It’s got to be one of the craziest streets I’ve ventured into. It’s no wonder, as it is also Saigon’s backpack quarter. Which means cheap hotels and hostels, and even more cheap beer and street food. Massage parlours flourish and disco lights light up…