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Giving Alms in Thailand

Posted by on 8:00 am in Asia, Spotlight, Thailand | 2 comments

Giving Alms in Thailand

I washed my hands, wore a spotless white shirt and made sure my face was cleanly shaven. Hastily checking my cellphone clock, I grabbed my bananas, chose seven gnoh (for its religious and spiritual significance) and gingerly placed each item into a plastic bag. With my heart beat steadily increasing and sweat beads forming on my forehead, I proceeded out of my apartment and embarked on the first phase of alms giving—finding a monk. Just a month before, I was taught the proper way to give alms in my Thai cultural teacher training course....

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Glass Walkway
For a Shanghai Tower

Posted by on 6:00 am in Announcements, China | 0 comments

Glass Walkway For a Shanghai Tower

Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai is one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world at 1260 feet tall. A glass walkway was added that allows visitors to walk around and admire the exterior of the top floor of the building. Tourists will be able to walk around the building, at more than 1020 feet on a transparent walkway that has no railings. With a width of only 48 inches, the bridge is not recommended for those with fear of heights. Tourists visiting the Jin Mao tower (Chinese for Golden Prosperity) will wear safety harnesses and helmets to go out on...

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For the Love of Nasi Lemak

Posted by on 6:00 am in Asia, Malaysia, Spotlight | 0 comments

For the Love of Nasi Lemak

I live in the birthplace of one fantastic dish, and it’s one that many have not heard of. Yes, a good old plate of Nasi Lemak. Where am I from? Malaysia. A country that’s filled with different walks of Asians – Indians, Chinese, Punjabis, Malays and a whole number of other races. What makes the country unique is the fact that all come together as one in festivities, cultural celebrations and yes, food. Our national dish has got to be the Nasi Lemak. How could a meal possibly represent an entire country? Well, for one, Malaysians love to eat...

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Slow Boat to Bagan, Myanmar

Posted by on 6:00 am in Asia, Myanmar, Spotlight | 0 comments

Slow Boat to Bagan, Myanmar

I always enjoy using different modes of transportation when exploring new places. Today I was taking a riverboat, leaving Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma) and heading southward to Bagan. Most travelers make this journey by bus, but I chose to take the MGRG Boat instead. True, the bus would have been a bit cheaper ($9.00 vs. $45.00 US), but the chance to cruise down the Irrawaddy River was an opportunity I couldn’t resist. It would allow me a chance to kick back and relax a bit as I watched Burmese villages and life on the riverbank slide past....

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Carcass – The Thar Desert, India

Posted by on 6:00 am in Asia, India, Spotlight | 0 comments

Carcass – The Thar Desert, India

The Desert is a great leveler The Desert provides. The Desert consumes. And you do not get to decide this. The Desert decides. I photographed this Buffalo carcass on my 4th day of my trek across The Thar Desert, Jaisalmer, India with the Youth Hostel Association of India [YHAI] back in December 2014. I had set to cross the entire Thar Desert on foot. The 40km trek was divided between 5 camps. Our Base camp was at the Border Home Guards. Low flying aircrafts and Indian Army personnel were a common scene here. It was an honour to share space...

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The Sleeping Buddha – Nepal

Posted by on 6:00 am in India, ITKT Staff Writers, Nepal, Spotlight | 0 comments

The Sleeping Buddha – Nepal

Amazing things happen when Men and Mountains meet. I had trekked to Sandakphu, West Bengal, India [12000 feet] with Youth Hostel Association of India [YHAI]. More than the climb I was fascinated about the view of Mt. Kanchenjunga under Full-moon light. 25th December, 2015 was supposed to be the Full-moon night. I had selected the Trek batch dates in a way to be on Sandakphu top on the 25th. The range is most commonly known as the “Sleeping Buddha” as it looks like the same in imagination of religious people of India. This range consists of...

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AMA Waterways Expands Exotic Itinerary Options

Posted by on 12:40 pm in Announcements, Cambodia, Vietnam | 0 comments

AMA Waterways Expands Exotic Itinerary Options

Calabasas, CA – (Apr. 14, 2016) – AmaWaterways today announced that it has enhanced its “Vietnam, Cambodia & the Riches of the Mekong” itinerary, providing travelers with even more options to experience Southeast Asia. “We are delighted to introduce flexible new itineraries on the fabled Mekong River this year,” said Kristin Karst, Executive Vice President and Co-owner of AmaWaterways. “Whether it is the direction in which the cruise sails or the numerous included excursions we offer, we truly...

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Ride the Circle Train, Myanmar

Posted by on 6:00 am in Asia, Myanmar, Spotlight | 0 comments

Ride the Circle Train, Myanmar

Myanmar Fascination I have always had a fascination with trains and to me it seems that each country has trains with their own special character. When I arrived in Myanmar, previously known as Burma, I was eager to find a way to sample and enjoy the local train service. I got my opportunity in Yangon when I hopped aboard the Yangon Circle Train. It did not disappoint. Yangon Circle Train Constructed in 1954, the Yangon Circle Train lives up to it’s name, travelling a 45.9 kilometer circular route around central Yangon and its outskirts. A...

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Inspiring Istanbul

Posted by on 6:00 am in Spotlight, Turkey | 0 comments

Inspiring Istanbul

A chill breeze makes me shudder as I sit atop a cruise boat sailing down the Bosporus River towards the Black Sea. The difference in architecture between the buildings on my left side and the buildings on my right side are truly remarkable. This is mainly due to the fact that on my right lies Asia and to my left lies Europe! Yes, Istanbul, the only city in the world to be located in two continents. Istanbul is the definition of a culture fusion. Having visited most countries in Europe and as a resident of Asia I clearly see how this city has...

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Sunrise in Nepal

Posted by on 6:00 am in India, ITKT Blogs, Nepal, Spotlight | 2 comments

Sunrise in Nepal

Mountains know no boundaries. I took this picture at Tumling, Nepal while on a trek to Sandakphu, West Bengal last December with Youth Hostel Associations of India [YHAI]. The beauty of Sandakphu trek was that I constantly moved between India and Nepal. Mountains do not ask for a passport. They just ask for free-will and some guts. Tumling, Nepal was my second camp during the trek. I reached there around 15:00 hours and it was pleasingly cold then. The camp leader informed me about the small hill behind our rooms from where the Sunrise was...

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Guide to Ethically Volunteering in Asia

Posted by on 11:00 am in Asia, ITKT Blogs, Laos, Philippines, Spotlight, Thailand | 0 comments

Guide to Ethically Volunteering in Asia

Volunteering in the Philippines Even at seven o’clock in the morning the sun was riding high and strong over Tacloban City on the island of Leyte. From inside the colorful Jeepney amongst a jumble of spades, sledgehammers and wheelbarrows, a voice called: “Let’s Go Alan!” and our Filippino driver started the engine. From my perch on the roof I held on tightly as we bumped towards the seashore, where piles of debris stood as evidence of Typhoon Haiyan’s recent deadly visit. As a volunteer I was there to help clear rubble so the people of...

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Funny Travel Lessons

Posted by on 6:00 am in Africa, ITKT Blogs, Spotlight, Tanzania, Vietnam | 0 comments

Funny Travel Lessons

My Initiation Traveling has been like my own personal eccentric Kung Fu master. When I began I expected to be gently washed of my narrow world view, but that is not what the teacher had in mind. Rote repetition, bruises, and often just straight up weirdness was to be my guide. Here are six life changing lessons I learned on the not-so-glorious side of the road: The Original Position A friend of mine who lived in Korea for a year gushes (pun intended) about how much better squatting toilets are for the body, and I’ve started to come...

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The Experience of Walking Beside Laotian Monks

Posted by on 8:00 am in ITKT Blogs, Laos, Spotlight | 0 comments

The Experience of Walking Beside Laotian Monks

One Buddhist morning. The colour of the air is infused with orange and pomegranate. And still, it is before dawn. Nothing can be heard except for the quiet barefoot steps of two dozen monks dressed in deep orange robes. And the morning song ( a strong word for this sound ) of the early birds – the roosters. The field with buffalos, the trees and the Buddhist monks in front of me – they are all silhouettes against the colourful sky. The hour is 6am and the place is somewhere in the Laos countryside. No coffee, croissant and fresh...

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Breakfast with the Elephants of Sri Lanka

Posted by on 1:04 pm in Spotlight, Sri Lanka | 4 comments

Breakfast with the Elephants of Sri Lanka

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage Some surprise guests arrived while I was finishing my breakfast. And it was well worth the interruption. I sat outside on my balcony enjoying the view of the Maha Oya River – swirling water studded by emerald palm trees. It was quiet, except for the singing of birds. I sipped a cup of local Ceylon tea. I was called out of my daydreams as the hotel staff alerted me that there was a group of elephants arriving. A herd of six was marching out into the water. With apparent enthusiasm, the regal creatures took on a...

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Flipping Off the Intensity Switch

Posted by on 8:00 am in Jordan, Spotlight, United States, World | 0 comments

Flipping Off the Intensity Switch

On my first visit into New York City I instantly fell in love. I’d always blown through JFK with the quick connection, hurriedly moving on to other destinations. This time my itinerary gave me a full day and night layover so I caught the train into the crowded canyons of Manhattan — it’s actually very simple — to experience first-hand the things that make the material life full. The entertainment, nightlife, sights, sounds, and flavors – I found it all here. However, the colors seem garishly bright and lights sometimes...

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