Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Responsible Travelers. Let's!!! ( #CSR )

This is not a travel entry but I do want to call out to all my families, friends, colleagues and of course fellow  travelers to be responsible to our mother nature.

When I saw this video earlier, I have so much to write, say and suggestions but now, it all went blanked (must be the doctor's med). I guess, what I wanted to write is that we should do our part as a good human being and help the best way we can. Perhaps a little CSR during our roadtrips like bringing used toys, school stationary supplies or books to be recycled. We can also carpool from point to point, not only this cut traveling cost, it also helps lessen carbon footprint. Another one I can think of on top of my head is to participate in local charity work such as reforestation, teaching or anything (can't think of anything pulak).

What I wanted to say is that, let's take baby steps and do any CSR activities during our travelers to give more meaning to our journey.

Credit : Youtube

Monday, February 18, 2013

Vote for #MITBCA2013

I realised I have been nominated last week (or was it before that?) in Malaysia International Tourism Bloggers Conference & Awards in 2013 or #MITBCA2013, thank you to the 2 kind friends whom nominated and believe in me. Really thankful you appreciating me blogging or in this case micro-blogging as well.

As a person whose passion is traveling and now a Social Media Addict (realised this a couple of months back [slapforehead]), I felt honored and grateful for this nomination even if I don't win anything, I am still happy and contented. Friends advised that I should have this blog up in respect and appreciation to my nominator (you know who you are) and friends/followers alike, and I agree.

3 simple steps
1. Visit MITBCA website (vote is via Facebook account)
2. Click at Micro Blogger of the Year category
3. Vote for http://lilyrianitravelholic.blogspot.com/  (it'll turn red once voted)

Thank you TravelholicAwesome for everything. Heart!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

#Myanmar | In Dramatic Tone - #Olympus E-PL3

My earlier black & white entry mentioned on my new white baby - #Olympus E-PL3. And this time around I tasted it's Dramatic Tone mode which looks like HDR to me (right?). Anyway, I shall let you judge, Dramatic Tone or HDR? (Ignore the unskill photographer side of me yah)

Enjoy the photos...

My other Myanmar entries :
Visa : Myanmar Visa Application
The Beginning : #Myanmar. How I Remembered It! ( #Myanmargang ) 
Gadget : #Myanmar | In Black & White - #Olympus E-PL3
Day 1 : Temples in #Bagan Myanmar (Part 1)

PS : More pictures in my Facebook Page, feel free to view.

Twitter ID : @lilyriani
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Friday, February 15, 2013

Day 2 | Temples in #Bagan Myanmar (Part 1)

Every country or city have a story to tell, mine will be 'being slapped on the face in Bagan'.

I first fell in love with Bagan a long while ago but Javier's recent photos simply took my breath away. So when Fie asked whether I would want to join her for a trip to Myanmar, I went ............ YES!!!! Like a crazy, excited, blank YES!!!!!

Imagine the excitement when we set foot in Bagan, 'macam beruk dapat torchlight / like a monkey receiving a torchlight' my aunt would say; so excited that the monkey would use and shine it everywhere even in broad day light. Hahhahahaha.... And for me, I want to capture every single moment with my new white baby (#Olympus Pen-Lite3).

From Wikipedia :
Bagan (formerly Pagan) is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Burma (Myanmar). From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom's height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day.

While thinking of how to write this entry, I was torn on how informative I should be to myself and the readers or should I write about what saw and experienced. Yes, I decided on the latter *smile*. Having said that, I will hyperlink the places to make it easy for all, fair huh... *wink*.

Munuha Guphaya Temple
Well, this was the first temple we visited. I honestly have no expectation of the temples in Myanmar, but temple being temple I decided to take a look at the active surrounding instead. Feeling the Bagan aura and culture I told myself (yeah yeah... pretty lame I know! Hahahhaa...).

You can get alot of lacquer ware products as souvenir here (more pics in my FB page). It is similar to those in Cambodia and Vietnam, however the design or motif is slightly different.

I wasn't that impress at this temple, it is pretty small but I do recommend for everyone to visit here, as the surrounding is a great place for photography as shown below.

The resolution drops as I resize all my pic, but trust me, the surrounding is pretty impressive especially if this is the first temple :)

Gubyauk Gyi (Myinkaba) Temple
OK, this temple is impressive with a quiet surrounding. 2 reasons why I fancy this particular temple is because of the brick - orangy in colour, and the setting against clear blue sky that makes it superb for pics. Oh yah! Somehow, it was cloudless sky in Myanmar (during my trip at least); clear.blue.sky. PERFECT!

You get more ornaments and artsy (painting) stuff here, hardly see it again elsewhere. So, if you like a particular painting; grab one here.

We spent a good while here.

Have you been slap on the face at a foreign land? Well, I did.

Notice the signage on top, it's the same for every temple and one should respect.

I did take off my shoe (Yeah! My new Bershka) and what I intended was to hold it everywhere I go. Sure, I did ask the locals whether is it safe to leave shoes in public like that (worried that it'll go missing), and as suspected; they say it won't. Like real I am going to believe that (kat masjid pun cite orang hilang kasut kan).

So, I took off my shoes and hold it as I walk. After a few steps, the driver approached me and ask why did I not leave my shoe there, I simply smile and said it's ok (Lame, I know!). Guess what he said?
"We are Buddhist, we believe in Karma. Your shoes would not be stolen" He said with a smile.
Stunned..... I walked back and left my shoe there. And it was not stolen. 

Padan muka!!! Kan dah maluuuu....

I somehow like the window alot.

One of the reason why I like this temple. The only one that we took pictures with the local kids. Fantastic!

This is the place where I decided to waste my money unnecessarily (slapforehead). As usual, my kiasuness took the best of me. Le sigh......

Again I was lazy to take off my shoe (the rest was wearing a flipflop) and since I prefer to take outer building pictures, I took a stroll at the compound. At this point I have already purchase 10 postcards at earlier temple knowing I need to grab 10 more somewhere.

Suddenly, I heard Anna yelling my name asking me to take a look at the postcards. I ran over and immediately fell in love with them, Jard and myself was having difficulties in deciding which set to buy. Since I like it all, I bought 2 sets and discarded the old one (still in backpack actually). Crazy right?!?!?!? Anyone wants 1 set of 10 postcards from Myanmar (brand new)?

Jard and her nego skill.

Pretty heh!

Awesome view.

Still wondering why the picture looks glaring. Ah...well....

I forgot what temple is this, hahahahhahhah..... and forgot to take the temple name outside too. Duh LILY!!!!!

We did a 5 minutes stop here.... nothing silly happen. Phew... Pfftt...

Here is what we did, we chartered a taxi (van is more like it) to take us to 7 places and the last temple is the iconic Shwe Laik Tu to catch the sunset.
  • Its better if you go in even number group as you can split the cost on local transportation and accommodation (if you are on budget)
  • Hotel and train or bus ride should be pre-book if you plan to travel during peak season OR on time constraint trip
  • Book/charter the whole taxi/van for a day as it gives you more time to cover more places (don't stinge on this)
  • Don't hire the horse cart as it don't have the speed to take you to many places and poor horsy!
  • Bring candies for the kids
PS : More pictures in my Facebook Page, feel free to view.

Twitter ID : @lilyriani
Instagram ID : lilyriani

Pinterest ID : lilyriani

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Myanmar #VISA Application

This is my second entry on #VISA Application tips and I shall make it short, simple and sweet. 

Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
No. 8(C), Jalan Ampang Hilir
Kuala Lumpur
Tel : (603) 4251 5595, 42514455, 4251 6355

Located off Jalan Ampang (heading towards Ampang town). You will pass Embassy for China and Victoria Station Steakhouse (Yeah! The train restaurant) on your right. Turn right at the traffic light (50m after the Steakhouse) where you will see Lanson Place on the right.

Turn left at the small roundabout and Myanmar Embassy should be on your immediate left. You will see large crowd waiting at the gate (hard not to notice).

Operational Hours
VISA Application : 9:30am to 12:30pm
VISA Collection : 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Close on weekends and public holidays

1. Passport (6 months validity)
2. Application Form - download HERE (or drop a comment and I will email you)
3. 2x passport photos (This is a bit weird though because they only took 1 photo [the one appended on application form] and return the 2nd photo upon visa collection). Dimensions 4.5cm H X 3.5cm W. 
4. Front page copy of the passport
5. A copy of Air Ticket (Return)
6. Visa Fee - RM110 per person (as of 2013)

Crucial Info
- Parking is limited (outside the embassy ie by the street)
- You can try to park at Sayfol International School or at Victoria Station (walk safely please)
- The TAT is 1WD (subject to approval) 
- There is no interview required
- Queuing take a long while, my suggestion is to get an agent/runner to do it for you.
- Travelers can stay up to 28 days per visit (please double check)
- VISA is valid for 3 months (please double check)

The rest is pretty straight forward, I will include some pictures tomorrow :)

#MyanmarVisaApplication #Myanmar #Visa #VisaApplication #MyanmarVisa

Thursday, February 7, 2013

#Myanmar | In Black & White - #Olympus E-PL3

As some of you might have known, I just purchased a new camera - #Olympus E-PL3. Yeah! As much as I want to own a DSLR, I am way too lazy to carry it when traveling - HEAVY & LAZY (bad combo).

I realised there is some interesting functions in this cutesy under ART mode. So, I figure I should give it a try and have some fun - and I DID! However, I don't think I max it's capability nor I think I took any good (let alone great) shots but I kinda like the way it turned out - OLSKOOL!!!! Just the way I want it to be, a feel of old Myanmar, mebbe.

Hope you enjoy my pics.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Day 1 | Yangoon to Bagan Train Ride

Mingalabar! Which means Hello but I kept saying 'mengelabah' as that is how we were while planning for this trip. Having said that, we did have fun so don't let the 'mengelabah' worries you if you plan to visit Myanmar yah. Hahhahahaa.... (lawak ulangan, so tak lawak sangat dah!)

Our simple plan :Arrive Yangoon (the capital city of course) > do a little bit of sightseeing > and take the train at 4pm (same day) to Bagan.

The truth :First problem was the train > then there was the journey > and last but not least the 'air' (Yup! Air as it 'the air you breath').

Curious huh!?! *wink*Let me take you on our...... SAGA!

It was perfect (Well, I kinda stretch this truth a little bit. Will tell you more in next entry)! We did our Yangoon sight seeing and managed to get to the train station 1 hour before the train depart, apparently you need to be there 1 hour earlier and here I thought 1/2 hour will just do. 

Few things I noticed about Yangoon Train Station :
  • Relatively clean
  • Drinking water (from pipe - common in Myanmar [at your own risk])
  • Recycled book counter for public
  • Cafe serving #halal food
  • Knick knack store
Tips :
  • Check on peak tourist season (winter)
  • Pre-book your train ticket to avoid problem (via agent)
  • Be at the train station 1 hour earlier
  • Seat61 have a comprehensive information on Myanmar train (as well as the agent web link)
  • There is a station officer who speaks English (not to worry *wink*)
Tourist Information.

The train arrives on time, we went for our 'site inspection' routine (kiasu & kepoh as usual, or maybe just me). This overnight trains run daily from Yangon to Bagan and it departs at 4:00pm, arriving in Bagan at about 9:00 to 9:30am the following day. We paid USD55 for a "luxury" sleeper (USD50 - train tix, USD5 agent service fee).

 However, we were disappointed and upset when we saw our berth, it was fan and not aircon as informed by the agent and the best part, the fan doesn't even work! OH!! So is the light (naik angin tak?!). Bear in mind that we took a night train, no light means no good!

However, we found out that our "luxury" sleeper cost USD40, obviously we make a fuss on price differentiation. The station master/officer took our invoice and make a copy for reporting purposes, we found out later that they actually called the agent on this matter. And yes, we did get our money refunded from the agent later (happy).

 Now that we got that sorted out, we kinda settle with the fact that we will not have any aircon, fan nor light. Apa-apalah monyet..... (Redha je).

After all the hoo-ha, to our amazement, we actually enjoyed the train ride! Seriously, am not exaggerating on this, the journey was truly awesome. Why? (I know you gonna say that)

 Train market in a remote village.

My new experience in an old train :
  • It's not the destination, it's the journey
  • Chances to meet locals and other travelers
  • Experiencing the local transport
  • To feel local, be local
  • To see the their daily life, especially in remote villages
  • Catching the sunrise and sunset(the best experience so far!)

Kids enjoying a simple game of takraw.

The sun setting in.

Of course, there's the beautiful sunrise :)

Knowing that we will be in a 16-17 hours train ride, we figure we should shower first, but after 'surveying' the toilet, we...errrr..... kinda surrendered - YES! We actually showered lah (following Jard's footstep). Let me share in the simplest way.

How to shower in a violently moving train :
  • Towel and soap provided by the train (cool neh)
  • Having a sarong will help (change to sarong when at own berth)
  • Tai chi skill is required (to do the balancing act of not falling down or dropping the soap on the floor)
  • Having tunnel vision will be great (look up and NOT down)
  • Stinge on water, half a bucket per/user.
If you can do the above, you can now officially take the train to #Myanmar!


Ahh.... they've woke up!

Remember what I said on there was no aircon, fan and light. Well, we were all grumpy about it; it was really super hot in the afternoon (I might have exaggerated here) so fan is a must; at leat!

So, we finally decided to unlock and open our window (MY window) and as the sun begins to set, the air became chilier and chillier. Please remember that when the train speeds, it create a 'wind chill', it is so frizzing cold that we were all bundled and cuddled up. Errr.... and we were arguing earlier that we wanted the aircon??? Hahhahahha.... we would be frozen to death by the time we reach Bagan. Anna did say that she read somewhere stating that no fan nor aircon provided except organic aircon. YUP!!! Organic indeed, super cold too. Hahhahahha....

Enjoying the sunrise. (Like this pic alot)
Magnificent heh!

Our next adventure start!

PS : More pictures in my Facebook Page, feel free to view.

Twitter ID : @lilyriani
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Pinterest ID : lilyriani

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