Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cusco, Peru 2014

From 40+ degrees Colombian beach weather, it was a very different scene upon landing in Cusco, Peru at 3400m elevation. The South American vibrancy remained intact with all the colourful textiles, silver and markets. We made Cusco our home before making our way to Machu Picchu to get acclimatized to the extreme elevation. With all the amazing food, shopping and sights it was difficult to leave! 

among the Andes mountain range

hours spent finding that perfect set of silver

the outskirts of Cusco enroute to Aguas Caliente (base of Machu Picchu)

Peruvian locals are not the most photogenic ;)

the colours of a peruvian market..love love love!

Extremely terrifying and agile Peruvian ladies..
do not take a photo if you are not prepared for a scolding!

Goodnight Plaza des Armes!

Parque Tayrona, Colombia 2014

The next Colombian city was Santa Marta which lies only 230km away to the north east from Cartagena. However, with Colombian traffic, flooding highways and the condition of our van being a tad questionable, it took nearly 6 hours to get there. Unfortunately, our misfortune did not stop there with our quest to Parque Tayrona taking a few turns for the worst with an illegal driver and road closures. Nonetheless, we finally arrived at our destination and spent the night enjoying one of South America's loveliest coastlines. 

We stayed at one of the "larger" campgrounds - El Cabo

At El Cabo, you have the option to stay in tents or hammocks. As a huge hammock lover, the choice was a no brainer. 

We had friends of all sorts visiting us throughout our stay ;)

A bit of exploring to start off the morning :D

Look at that clear blue waters!

So what was to be a 1 hour drive + 2 hour hike to the campground took a slight delay with our driver from Santa Marta being illegal and his car being impounded. After 2-3 hours stuck on a closed highway, we finally arrived at the entrance nearing dusk. With only an hour left before dark, we had no choice but to wander the jungle by horse. It was actually pretty awesome so we did it again the next morning ;)

A quick glimpse of Santa Marta

Days spent: 2 nights, 2 days
Type of Lodging: Hostel
Name of Lodging: La Brisa Loca
Activities: Parque Tayrona

There isn't too much to do in Santa Marta as most people travel here to get to Parque Tayrona. Hoping your trip to the national park will take only 30 minutes as oppose to 8 hours. Allow for extra days in Parque Tayrona as you may want to checkout other islands accessible only from there via boat. Click HERE to read more about our trip and reviews.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cartagena, Colombia 2014

It was about time to conquer a new continent so luckily, I had some awesome coworkers who were also down for an epic adventure in South America - a whole new world with chaos and beauty at every step of the way. The first step on the South America tour was Cartagena on the north coast of Colombia in the Caribbean region: beach, heat and Colombian flair all in one little city! Read about our overall south america trip HERE

A beautiful colonial walled city with colours everywhere

Cartagena's Clock Tower (entrance into the walled city)
Gladly getting lost while wandering around the walled city
Cartagena, after the storm, gives the city such a dramatic glow
Just a few moments later, the sun finally makes an appearance
Peace & Quiet (a rarity) while taking a morning stroll
Colombian Fruit Ladies working hard as the bread winners from the neighboring village
Playa Blanca -  a beautiful beach 45 minutes from the city
In search for some naranjas for some much needed Vitamin C

Days spent: 3 nights, 3.5 days
Type of Lodging: Hostel
Name of Lodging: Media Luna Hostel
Activities: Beach bums, lots of Dancing & soaking in the Colonial architecture 

Cartagena is a beautiful city with all its amazing colonial architecture in the old city. Beautiful beaches such as Playa Blanca are only a 45 minute drive away. At night, the strong latino flavour of the city comes alive (Marc Anthony's Vivir Mi Vida will forever remind me of this place). Just remember to stay safe as there are scams and crooked cops at every turn. Click HERE to read more about our trip and reviews.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Koh Samui, Thailand 2012

Getting away from the bustle of Bangkok, we jetted over to Koh Samui. Most people just stick to Chaweng beach but I strongly suggest renting a scooter and driving to the many other great areas the island has to offer. Unfortunately, most of our trip was underwater or in other non-photo friendly environments.Nonetheless, here is a small preview:

Chaweng Beach

Watching the sun set in the East.

Absolutely heartwarming & heartbreaking at the same time. Having watched a lifetime worth of elephant documentaries & youtube clips on baby elephants, watching the real thing in person is a dream come true. However, knowing the conditions these little guys face in captivity just breaks my heart.

Grabbing dinner and watching the sunset along Bo Phut in the North - magical

a time lapse of the sunset in Bo Phut

a time lapse of the sunset in Bo Phut

a time lapse of the sunset in Bo Phut

a time lapse of the sunset in Bo Phut - goodnight!

Hanoi, Vietnam 2012

Considering that within the first 10 minutes of landing, the border guard attempted to scam me into paying for another visa.. me & Hanoi were not off to a good start. I have never been to a place where "chaotic organization" would make more sense. It takes a while to get accustomed to the locals' mannerism, traffic's flow and overall atmosphere that is Hanoi. But your trip would not be complete without tackling this crazy jungle.

mobile vietnamese shops on the go

Hanoi's famous Hoan Kiem Lake

Drinking some Vietnamese coffee while watching the insane traffic unfold beneath us....
the perk of living near the lake is that you get to visit the sight during the day & night
Vietnam - Loud & Proud!

since we didn't get to make our way to Ho-Chi-Minh, this will have to do for now!

a day's venture to Ha Long Bay

Be careful of the tour operator as your trip's experience will heavily depend on it. Also, it may be a better experience to do the 2D/1N option :)

A glimpse of the serene outskirts of Hanoi

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Singapore, Singapore 2012

A quick pit stop to Singapore for Formula 1. Was able to take a few shots from our short stay. 
A stroll around Clarke Quay

Can't stay away from pretty colours!!!

Roof top bar to enjoy our last night. View of the infamous Marina Bay Sands

Bangkok, Thailand 2012

It might be because I was scared from all the horror stories but my trip to Bangkok  was amazing and just left me begging for another visit. From the amazing temples, dodging scam after scam, negotiating with tuktuks, eating the delicious food to venturing outside the city to visit the floating market and play with the animals, Bangkok has it all. This colourful city must not be missed - just stay smart ;)

Strolling around the City Temple
my eyes were getting overdosed by all the colour. LOVED it!

The famous reclining buddha at Wat Pho

Definitely getting our exercise hiking up the Temple of Dawn.

The famous Floating Market.

Purchasing our fruit from the day from this lady. You can get literally anything from fruits to soup noodles to random merchandise.

The amazing day continues playing with our elephant for the afternoon.

And the day concluded with our trek at the Tiger Temple.