• 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…

  • 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…

  • 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.…

  • 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…

  • Front view of Ben Duoc memorial temple complex near Cu Chi tunnels
    Asia,  Blog,  Travelogue,  Vietnam

    Cu Chi tunnels

    There are two different Cu Chi tunnels. Yes, Ben Duoc and Ben Dinh are part of the same tunnel network. However, they are two different sites. Mannequins of Viet Cong women soldiers Your experience will be different, depending on which of the two sites you visit. I visited Ben Duoc. It is a bit further from Ho Chi Minh City, and is also less crowded. The tunnels are also a lot more authentic and closer to how they were during the Vietnam war. Ben Dinh on the other hand, is mostly reconstructions. Keeping in mind the large number of western tourists who visit, many of the tunnels are wider to…

  • Wall painting on NAM Kitchen restaurant for a fresh look and feel in Saigon Vietnam
    Asia,  Blog,  Resources,  Travelogue,  Vietnam

    NAM Vietnamese Kitchen, BBQ & Beer

    It was the last leg of our Indochina trip and with money running low, we wanted to stay in an area that wasn’t expensive. Which is why any decent place around Bui Vien Street made sense. It is, after all, the backpacker quarter district in Saigon, Vietnam. View of Bui Vien street from NAM Kitchen We also wanted it to be in District 1, which is what most reviews recommended. We chose a hotel next to Bui Vien Street. It’s where all the action is, we were assured by some well travelled friends. On hindsight, we should have asked what kind of action it is that they had in mind.…

  • Gilded Buddha statues at Wat Pho, Bangkok
    Asia,  Blog,  Thailand,  Travelogue

    Temple of the reclining Buddha

    On the banks of the Chao Phraya River lies Wat Pho. Also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, it is Bangkok’s oldest and largest wats. Today it is also known as Wat Phra Chetun or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. One of the entrances to Wat Pho A bit of history When King Rama I established Bangkok around 1782, he ordered the construction of the Wat Pho. It was built on the site of an older, Ayutthaya era temple called Wat Photharam, or Podharam, right next to the Grand Palace. In fact, some of his ashes are enshrined within the temple. The temple complex was further renovated…

  • Asia,  Blog,  Cambodia,  Resources,  Travelogue

    Welcome to the People’s Socialist Party of Wong

    Step back in time and have a drink or three in a setting that takes you to the 1920s. Step into Miss Wong in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Sure, a pint of beer at 50 cents is ridiculously cheap on Pub Street in Siem Reap. And that means, a few pints and hours later, you are still sitting on the same seat, in the same bar you have chosen to make your preferred spot for the day, or evening. But it’s not every evening that you can tolerate doing the same thing, only changing the bar depending on the price of beer. If, for some unforeseen reason, you suddenly tire of…