18 Cheap or Free Things to Do in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Museum of History

Let’s face it, Hong Kong is expensive. So after you’ve shelled out more than you care to for a hotel or hostel, having some more affordable options for your activities is probably well-appreciated if your budget was anything like mine. You can certainly shell out for a day at Hong Kong Disneyland or ferry over … Read more

Heaven on Earth: Top Things to Do in Hangzhou

Hangzhou West Lake scenery

Long renowned as one of China’s most beautiful cities, Hangzhou was my favorite stop of the four cities in my eastern China adventure. Together with Suzhou, Hangzhou is known as “heaven on earth,” as named by a famous old Chinese saying. In my opinion, Hangzhou is worth at least a two-day stop. And it’s one … Read more

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Bhutan

Buddhist monks Bhutan

Now that you know all about how to visit Bhutan, here are 10 surprising things you probably didn’t know about this Himalayan kingdom. Load up on these Bhutan facts before you go! (Warning: there are some NSFW photos below.) 1. The name Bhutan is a transcription The Bhutanese call their own country “Druk yul,” meaning … Read more

Bhutan in 10 Photos: Exploring the Land of the Thunder Dragon 

Druk Wangel festival dancers Bhutan

I first learned about Bhutan in 2013 and was immediately entranced by this isolated Himalayan kingdom that somehow had escaped my knowledge for more than two decades. The costs associated with visiting Land of the Thunder Dragon, however, put it in a TBD category in my mental filing cabinet. (I’ll cover this and how to … Read more

What You Need to Know About Visiting Tam Wua Forest Monastery for Meditation 

Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery opens its gates to all who wish to come. As long as you can be in Thailand legally and get yourself to the monastery, you are welcome. And as long as you follow the rules, you’re welcome to stay for as long as you wish. But before I dive … Read more

Why I Spent New Year’s Eve in Silence at a Monastery

Tam Wua Forest Monastery

As the holiday season approached, I met more and more people on the road trying to figure out what to do for New Year’s Eve and asking other travelers for suggestions. I was no help to them though, as I had already decided to spend my New Year’s Eve in silence at Tam Wua Forest … Read more

The Monk on the River Kwai

On Dec. 28, 2014, an Air Asia flight from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore crashed into the Java Sea, killing all onboard. That same morning, we flew on an Air Asia flight from Bangkok to Siem Reap, and gasped when we got finally on Wi-Fi and saw news of the crash. First, disbelief. Then, thankfulness. And … Read more

Treasures Along the Silk Road: the Mogao Caves of Dunhuang 

From the west came not only Silk Road traders who came to Dunhuang and passed by Mingsha Mountain and Crescent Oasis, but also monks. Monks who would forever change the people and landscape of this Silk Road garrison. Today, we know their legacy as the Mogao Caves, or Thousand Buddha Grottos. It is the largest and … Read more