Matsumoto

Matsumoto

Continuing on about our first road trip in Japan, this blog post is about Matsumoto, the second largest city in Nagano Prefecture. It’s the second largest city but it does feel small if you compare it to Tokyo. Matsumoto is about 1.5 hours drive from Nagano city and is a noteworthy stop along the way. We drove from Yamanouchi where we had our first encounter with the Snow Monkeys.

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Chinese Legends – Journey to the West

Chinese Legends – Journey to the West

Here is Part 2 of our journey through the legendary Silk Route. You can read Part 1 here where we started from the ancient capital of Xi’an.

When I told my Chinese colleague that I was going to Xinjiang, he wasn’t too impressed. He said I was going to get killed by the Uygurs because I’m of Chinese ethnicity. Well, I survived and lived to write about this trip. We took the flight from Xian to Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang. Urumqi was one of the major hubs along the Silk Route and is the most remote city from any sea – 2,500km from the nearest coastline. Situated at 800m above sea level, the city is quite cooling at 25°C despite being summer in the desert. The flight time from Xian to Urumqi itself takes 3 hrs and it really gave me a sense of how large China is. For more about Xi’an, you can refer to my previous post. Continue reading “Chinese Legends – Journey to the West”

Chinese Legends – The First Emperor and Shaolin Temple

Chinese Legends – The First Emperor and Shaolin Temple

As a child I have always been fascinated by stories of Marco Polo’s journeys and the Silk Route. The opportunity came in 2011 and we got to go on our own little Journey to the West. The first stop was Xi’an, the ancient capital of China and the resting place of the First Emperor of China, Qin Shihuang, and his army of terra cotta warriors. This city is also one of the stops along the ancient Silk Route. Continue reading “Chinese Legends – The First Emperor and Shaolin Temple”

Chasing Whales in the Tropics

Chasing Whales in the Tropics

For most of us here in Singapore when we hear of whale watching, we think that this is an activity that can only be done in some faraway country, and where it’s usually winter weather. For myself, I’ve been on whale watching cruises in Australia and Iceland, and it’s not a totally pleasant experience due to rough seas and below freezing wind chill. So rejoice as I share with you that you can actually see whales in Thailand just 2 hrs drive from Bangkok (in the wild, not in an aquarium) in warm tropical waters, and get a suntan  while doing it. Continue reading “Chasing Whales in the Tropics”

Look Out for the Train

Look Out for the Train

The loud blasts from the train’s air horn shattered the hushed silenced that had fallen a few a minutes ago. People stood aside in awe as metal carriages slowly rumbled pass, sometimes just inches from their faces. In a moment, the train had passed and people started to walk on the tracks following the train to it’s final station just a couple of hundred meters ahead. Awnings that had been pulled back for the train’s passage were pushed out again, store fronts mounted on rollers extended out onto the train tracks, the loud voices of buyers and sellers haggling over prices replaced the silence. It’s just another busy day on the Mae Klong Railway Market. Continue reading “Look Out for the Train”