A small cluster of islands called the Ballestas lie off the Peruvian coast near the town of Paracas. Often touted as the “Peruvian Galapagos” or even the “poor man’s Galapagos” because of the low cost and ease to visit. A sanctuary rich with wildlife, there are over half a million birds making this their home. You’ll also pass by the Paracas Candelabra, a prehistoric geoglyph etched into sandy sloped hill. No one knows it’s true meaning or purpose. Then onto Paracas National reserve where vast golden desert meets blue ocean water.
The Selena Miraflores hostel offered a walking tour to the historic center of Lima listed in UNESCO World Heritage with it’s most important monuments. Admiring the architectural styles and colonial balconies we learn about the most important streets in Peru. Hopping from plaza to plaza we also learn where bars were used to lead the revolution on the society and the declaration of independence of Peru from Spain in 1821.
With courtesy of the Selina Miraflores hostel I had a nice 3+hr bike ride around Miraflores and Barranco area of Lima. The weather was perfect at 69 degF and clear blue skies. The cost at the hostel was $8 USD starting at 11:00am. Our guide was Luis and we had introductions for everyone in the group. There was a couple from Tel Aviv and one girl from Queens NY. After getting fitted for our bikes (I got a nice bike with gears) our first stop was at Kennedy Park nearby. Kennedy Park is named after John F Kennedy.
Wat Pho temple is a buddhist temple complex in Bangkok. With a 46 meter long golden reclining Buddha statue it is one of the iconic must see tour stops in Bangkok. As one of the largest temple complexes in the city, It’s just south of the grand Palace. Wat Pho existed before Bangkok was established as the capital by King Rama I.
Swaminarayan Akshardham is a Hindu temple. It's a spiritual-cultural campus dedicated to Swaminarayan, an Indian yogi and spiritual soul who existed during the 18th century. Being one of the largest Hindu temple complexes in India it’s also among the top tourist attractions in Delhi. Amazingly intricate carvings outside and inside the temple, idol statues and gardens cover 100 acres makes it awe inspiring and I thought it a worthwhile visit.
After some pool time and lunch at the hostel I set out to explore the local area. I pass through the Royal Pavilion and look back to see the Golden Mount Temple high up in the distance. But I’m heading the opposite way making a large loop with my goal to see the Golden Mount Temple towards the end of the day.
Mechrey is one of several floating villages in the Siem Reap region of Cambodia. This one in particular is still floating even during the dry season. Several of us from the Lub D hostel have booked this tour via the Adventure Travel Co. and we start our day with a 2:30pm pickup for a sunset visit to this village.
It’s a Thursday the morning after a night on Pub street and I’m feeling up to some more temple exploration in the Angkor Archeological Park. What no one realizes at first by looking at the map is that the whole park is about 400 square km. My first thought was that it would be nice to explore the temples by bicycle but it’s 7.3km just to Angkor Wat temple from the hostel. Then another 7km from Angkor to the next temple, Preah Khan, on my list and today is going to be a hot 36 deg C.
One happening touristy pedestrian street night spot in Siem Reap is Pub Street. Lined with restaurants and bars with beers ranging from 50 cents to $2.50 USD. Everything in Siem Reap is priced in USD. Bright lights, loud music, street vending of anything on a stick, and buckets of alcohol, no really, buckets. Backpackers, young, old, everyone visits this street. How long you can hold up along this street is up to you.
As we approach Singapore in a Qantas flight I’m watching an eerily space-like image from the plane’s tail cam view. Remembering 10 years ago I visited Singapore briefly and I told myself I need to return someday. Back then, after a Tibet/Nepal Everest trip me and a fellow traveler had a long stopover in Singapore. We met up with my old friend and colleague who lives there to give us a tour. We had a delicious salt and pepper crab dinner and a night out. Such a fascinatingly modern and clean city I’m looking forward to exploring Singapore further.