Places Visited

World Tour

2011

  • Trip 6:  Jan 07 — from Vientiane, Laos by night-bus to Bangkok, Thailand

    ...back to Bangkok, but this time I rented an apartment (by the month, that is).

  • Jan 21 — by car to Bonok

    ...a stop-off on the way to Koh Phayam.

  • Jan 22 — by car to Ranong; by high-speed ferry to Koh Phayam

    ...one of the newer "destinations" in Thailand - a wonderful little island with no cars (but many motorbikes), and very friendly locals.

  • Jan 27 — by high-speed ferry to Ranong; by car to Khao Sok NP (pier); by boat to Nang Prai Floating Resort, Khao Prai NP

    ...stayed in a floating bungalow on a beautiful lake with clear, emerald-green water, surrounded by dramatic scenery.

  • Jan 28 — by boat to Khao Sok NP (pier); by car to Chumphon
  • Jan 29 — by car to Huahin
  • Jan 30 — by car to Bangkok
  • Feb 28 — by night-train to Surat Thani; by bus to Krabi; by boat to Phi Phi

    ...my first trip back to Phi Phi Island in long, long days (since shortly after the tsunami in Dec 2004). It has become even more developed and touristy (not to mention expensive!). Heavy sigh!

  • Mar 03 — by boat to Krabi; by bus to Hat Yai

    ...my first visit to Hat Yai. I was there just to catch an overnight train to KL. I was surprised at how many farang (westerners) I saw there.

  • Mar 04 — by night-train to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    ......I decided to give Kuala Lumpur one more try. My first two visits only lasted one night each, and I couldn't get away fast enough. During this third trip, I found the charm of the place - probably because I finally found the right part of the city to stay in.

  • Mar 09 — by train to Singapore

    ...headed down to Singapore to... a) see the Marina Hotel/Casino... and b) catch a cheap flight to the Philippines.

  • Mar 10 — by plane to Angeles City, Philippines

    ...back to the Philippines for the 13th time. ;-)

  • Mar 13 — by bus to Manila
  • Mar 15 — by plane to Cebu City
  • Mar 25 — by plane to Puerto Princesa
  • Mar 28 — by plane to Manila
  • Mar 29 — by bus to Angeles City
  • Apr 03 — by bus to Caloocan
  • Apr 04 — by taxi to Quezon City
  • Apr 05 — by taxi to Pasay

    ...was told there was a Dell Service Center here - and, actually, there was - but they didn't do the type of service I needed.

  • Apr 07 — by taxi to Makati
  • Apr 09 — by bus to Angeles City

    ...had to get away from the pollution of the Manila mega-tropolis so I could get over my chronic cough.

  • Apr 27 — by plane to Singapore
  • Apr 28 — by plane to Bangkok, Thailand
  • May 21 — by plane to Kiev, Ukraine

    ...my first "new" in quite some time. After spending so much time in Asia, seeing so many tall (very tall), blonde Ukrainian women was quite a change for me. ;-)

  • May 30 — by night-train to Odessa

    ...my first time to see the Black Sea - something I've always wanted to do, but, since I grew up during the Cold War, I never thought it would even be possible for me.

  • Jun 06 — by bus to Chisinau, Moldova
  • Jun 13 — by night-train to Bucharest, Romania

    ...my first visit to Romania; it has always been one of those intriguing places I just had to visit sometime in my life.

  • Jun 17 — by train to Brasov

    ...so I finally made it to Transilvania - something (probably) most Americans dream about. I mean, as an American, growing up with Dracula-lore, this trip was pretty much inevitable.

  • Jun 18 — day-trip (by bus) to Bran; by bus to Rasnov and back

    ...headed straight for so called "Dracula's Castle" - which was the home of Vlad Tepes, from which the Dracula legend originated.

  • Jun 19 — and backday-trip (by train) to Sinaia

    ...I arrived too late to join a tour of the inside, but, judging from the exterior, it's more impressive than Bran (Dracula's) Castle. At least, it was prettier, better maintained, and nestled in a beautiful setting.

  • Jun 20 — by train to Sibiu
  • Jun 22 — by train to Cluj-Napoca

    ...I found a hostel I liked (not to mention a Starbucks) at a time when I needed to get some work done for my client. And the fact that it turned rainy and cooler the day after I arrived made it not-so-great for sightseeing anyway.

  • Jul 05 — day-trip (by car) to Turda and back

    ...to see a salt mine - quite amazing, actually!

  • Jul 08 — day-trip (by train) to Sighisoara

    ...I was told I just "had" to see this cute little town, so I stopped off on my way back to Bucharest. The Citadel area of the city was nice, but after an hour, I had seen it all, so I'm glad I didn't plan on an overnight stay. I did have one of the best meals there out of all my travels in Eastern Europe.

  • Jul 08 — by train to Brasov
  • Jul 09 — by train to Bucharest

    ...back to Bucharest, to re-join my Moldovan Lei, which I had left at the hostel hoping that some traveler headed to Moldova might buy it from me. I ended up arriving in Romania with a significant amount of the Moldovan currency, only to find that no one in Romania would exchange it.

  • Jul 11 — by train to Galati

    ...out of desperation to convert almost $200 worth of Moldovan Lei, I made a quick trip to Galati, the Romanian city that was nearest the Moldovan border. My plan was to take a morning bus across the border, do a quick exchange, then back to Galati for an early afternoon train that would get me back to Bucharest in plenty of time for my 11pm train to Sofia, Bulgaria. The only kink in the plan... there's only one bus each day between Galati and the nearest border town on the Moldovan side - departing Galati at 1pm, returning the next morning at 6am. So my plan didn't work out so well after all. But I got to see another Romanian city, and enjoyed another great meal in the process - this time, it was a salmon steak.

  • Jul 12 — by train to Bucharest; by night-train to Sofia, Bulgaria

    ...the post-script to the Moldovan Lei story is that I finally decided to contact the wonderful folks I met at the Chisinau Hostel and ask if I could send the money to them. Then they could send it back to me via Western Union. They agreed, so I sent it off from Sofia (with fingers firmly crossed).

  • Jul 20 — by bus to Skopje, Macedonia

    ...for those of you who don't know how to pronounce this city name, as I didn't, it sounds like "Skopia".  My hotel (no hostels) was on the perimeter of the extensive pedestrian streets of the "Old Town" (which isn't all that old these days.  All in all, a pleasant place to spend a few days.

  • Jul 23 — by bus to Tirane, Albania

    ...this city seems to have a lot of potential.  Unfortunately, I visited just a bit too early... the main area in the city center was a huge construction site. :(

  • Jul 26 — by van to Shkoder; by bus to Ulcinj, Montenegro

    ...Lonely Planet talked about all the coastal towns in Montenegro in one short (rather uninformative) sentence, as LP is known to do on occasion, and followed it with "Try Budva." But from talking to other travelers, I heard that Budva was packed at this time of year, and that Ulcinj (pronounced OOL-sin), with it's 12km beach, was much better. So that's where I went and was vary glad I did.

  • Jul 31 — by bus to Herceg Novi; by taxi to Dubrovnik, Croatia; by bus to Budva, Montenegro

    ...what a beautiful town this is - especially the Old Town - hands-down the best preserved (or, rather, "restored") old town I've seen in all my travels.

  • Aug 02 — by bus to Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina

    ...due to the fact that, whenever I heard anything about Bosnia(Herzegovina) in the news, it was always preceded by "war-torn", I never thought I'd ever actually visit here. But if you stay away from all the unexploded ordinance, everything's fine.

  • Aug 03 — by train to Sarajevo

    ...I walked "Sniper Ave" and passed buildings with bullet-ridden exterior walls.  But for the most part, it's a beautiful city, with few remaining reminders of the 3-year siege they endured back in the 90s.

  • Aug 07 — by train to Belgrade, Serbia

    ...Lonely Planet said, "Belgrade is not a pretty city... even Belgraders will admit that."  But I found it to be just the opposite - at least as attractive and interesting as most of the other places I've visited so far in Eastern Europe.  All in all, a pleasant place to spend a few days.

  • Aug 10 — by night-train to Bucharest, Romania

    ...Back to Bucharest for the third time... mainly because I missed going to the Hard Rock Cafe (didn't know they had one, actually) - but for another reason as well (which shall remain a secret). :p

  • Aug 14 — by plane to Istanbul, Turkey; by plane to Dubai, U.A.E.

    ...I've always wanted to go to Dubai, but was put off by the unbearable heat. Finally decided to brave it for a stop-over on my way from Romania back to Thailand.

  • Aug 20 — by plane/plane to Bangkok, Thailand

    ...back "home" to Bangkok. ;-)

  • Sep 17 — by plane to Hong Kong, China

    ...the original purpose for stopping off here was to get a visa for Russia, for my second attempt at doing the Trans-Siberian Railway trip from Beijing to Moscow. But, as it was already getting into autumn, and temperatures in Russia were already on the chilly side, I decided to skip it at this time. In the end, it wasn't a wasted trip after all, because I was going to mainland China and had to get my visa in Hong Kong anyway.

  • Sep 22 — by train to Shanghai

    ...my first visit back to Shanghai since July, 2006 (more than 5 years).

  • Oct 04 — by plane to Jakarta, Indonesia

    ...it's amazing that, after sooooooooooo many years traipsing around Asia, this is my first visit to Indonesia.

  • Oct 13 — by train to Yogyakarta
  • Oct 19 — by train to Surabaya
  • Oct 20 — by plane to Kuta, Bali

    ...my first time to Bali, though I've been wanting to go for years.

  • Oct 25 — by van to Padang Bai; by high-speed ferry to Gili Trawangan, Lombok
  • Oct 28 — by ferry to Padang Bai, Bali; by van to Kuta
  • Nov 02 — by plane to Jakarta; by plane (overnight) to Singapore; by plane (overnight) to Manila, Philippines; by bus to Angeles City
  • Nov 09 — by plane to Cebu City
  • Nov 12 — by ferry to Ormoc

    ...first visit to Leyte; Ormoc didn't grab me; only stayed one night.

  • Nov 13 — by ferry to Cebu City

    ...to travel just about anywhere in this part of the Philippines, you have to go through Cebu.

  • Nov 14 — by plane to Cagayan de Oro
  • Nov 17 — by bus to Davao

    ...first trip back to Davao in several years; liked it even more this time.

  • Nov 28 — by plane to Cebu City; by ferry to Dumaguete
  • Dec 01 — by bus to Bacolod
  • Dec 03 — by plane to Cebu City
  • Dec 09 — by plane to Cagayan de Oro
  • Dec 12 — by plane to Cebu City
  • Dec 18 — by plane to Manila
  • Dec 19 — by plane to Singapore; by plane to Jakarta, Indonesia

    ...after waiting so long to go to Indonesia the first time, I made my return trip very soon afterward. ;-)

  • Dec 20 — by train to Yogyakarta