Archive from February, 2013
2013/02/26 - Uncategorized

Chiang Mai

We probably made a strategic error in our planning for Chiang Mai: we thought that we could make the best from this city in one and half day, but couldn’t. We should have started the visit of the old town right away instead of waiting for the next morning. The temples in the old city were nice but in a way too similar to the smaller ones in Bangkok (maybe because we were enchanted by Sukhothai the previous day). The old city is nice, but in some parts too touristy. A little bit outside of the old city, the night market seems to be one of the main tourist activities after dawn.

We felt we were missing out on Chiang Mai, because there seemed to be several interesting visits outside of the city, but due to the limited time and the fact that those visits were seemingly temporally mutually exclusive and incompatible with our old city visit, we only stayed in the old city.

One of the visits advertised in every corner of the city was a tiger park, with encounters with tigers of different ages. We were tempted, especially me I’ll gladly admit, but I went online and checked some reviews. It became quickly obvious that we didn’t want to participate in this kind of operation: the tigers are apparently drugged to keep them calm, and physically abused to keep them awake while tourists are being photographed with them.

2013/02/24 - Uncategorized


400km north of Bangkok, Sukhothai is an ancient capital of the Siam kingdom. When we arrived at the airport (with a propeller plane), you instantly get the feeling that it won’t be a big city. The modern city (“New Sukhothai”), where most of the hotels are, is a few kilometers west of the old city and Historical Park.

We went for a full-day bicycle tour to the Historical Park. The tour started in the modern city, so we rode between 30 and 40 km through the countryside. It was a really pleasant adventure with many charming temples and statues.

2013/02/22 - Uncategorized

Bangkok: Chinatown

Wat Traimit holds the Golden Buddha, largest gold statue in the world (3m, 5.5t). The story behind this statue is interesting: it was made in the 13th or 14th century, at some point in time (but before the end of the 18th century) for fear of being stolen it was plastered in painted stucco. It wasn’t until 1954 that the real nature of the statue was discovered.

2013/02/21 - Uncategorized

Bangkok: Wat Pho

Wat Pho is one of the largest and oldest temple in Bangkok, and what’s impressive when you get inside is that you find the reclining Buddha statue inside is almost as big as the building itself.


2013/02/18 - Uncategorized


The monuments we visited in Mahabalipuram are classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The impressive part about those is that they are monolithic and have been sculpted in situ.

One part of the town seems to be dedicated for tourists: there you only find shops, guest houses and restaurants. The upside is that it’s very clean.

2013/02/12 - Uncategorized


Originally we planned to go to Tiruchirappalli after Madurai. But after discussing with some indians and fellow tourists we decided to change plans and go to Thanjavur. In Thanjavur, is located Brihadeeswara Temple, built by the Cholas and a UNESCO World Heritage site. More than a thousand years old, its foundations were laid by the Emperor Rajaraja Chola I.

At the entrance of the temple we were blessed by an elephant (in exchange of a small fee).

The trip from Madurai was the first long bus section: 6 hours.

2013/02/11 - Uncategorized


The main attraction in Madurai is the Meenakshi Amman Temple.

We took an Express train from Kanyakumari to Madurai, so it took only 5 hours to cover the 250km between the cities. This gave us plenty of time to meet some interesting people.

2013/02/09 - Uncategorized


Trivandrum (also called Thiruvananthapuram) is the capital of Kerala. The main attraction we saw there was its Zoo. It was the most obvious way of seeing a tiger in India. The Trivandrum Zoo is said to be a source of inspiration for the Life of Pi novel (now also a movie).

2013/02/07 - Uncategorized

Tested for you: Sambharam

Arriving late in Trivandrum, we chose to use room service in the hotel. Sambharam seemed to be on the menu, some kind of salty lassi, so we ordered one.

Verdict: we didn’t finish and we won’t order it in the future. The recipe is: buttermilk, green chili, ginger, salt.


Varkala and its beach and cliffs are a popular touristic destination of Kerala. The cliffs are surrounded by tourist shops, bars, restaurant and hotels/guest houses. We stayed there about two hours, mostly for lunch.


One of the highlights of Kerala are its backwaters and the house boats cruising in them. The backwaters are networks of lakes, rivers and canals (manmade or natural) that occupy a good portion of the Kerala west coast. Allepey is the main port for houseboats and the starting point for cruises. The most popular format for cruises is leaving at noon, cruise around until five, stop for the night, cruise back to starting point. And that’s what we did.

2013/02/05 - Uncategorized

Periyar National Park

Periyar National Park is a tiger reserve, an elephant reserve and a wildlife sanctuary in general. The name “Thekkady” is also sometimes used which caused some confusion as the name Thekkady, Periyar and Kumily are used interchangeably.

The walk in the forest was nice, the bamboo rafting was mostly irrelevant because the schedule for the whole excursion was much too late to have any chance of seeing any major animal. We were warned the probability for tigers was essentially zero, but in the end all we saw was limited to birds, monkeys, squirrels and dragonflies.


2013/02/04 - Uncategorized


The taxi to Munnar came empty back to Kochi. The 2 other passengers (two swiss girls with a taste for rapid pace) had the same idea we had, so we shared a Jeep taxi to Kumily. Kumily is the gateway to the Periyar National Park.