…….The World Without Boundaries

Hanoi Again after 5 Years

When I first came to Hanoi 5 years ago, I found myself instantly intimidated by all the surrounding. Thanks God I flew in from Ho Chi Minh City where the traffic was probably crazier so I did manage to hold on and find enough time to gather my senses without losing my mind in the process. There were people everywhere, all running to wherever they wanted to go and that constant honking took a little bit of time to chew in. I had to remind myself over and over again that I was there on a holiday so I didn’t have to keep up with them – that I had to go about things in my own pace only then I’d get to really enjoy all the things that the city had to offer.


Arriving in Hanoi. Yippie!

But I liked Hanoi almost instantly, even more than Ho Chi Minh City, which I thought was quite too modern for my taste. Hanoi on the other side is very oriental yet so European, thanks to the French who had turned it into the Paris of the East. I could gaze and marvel at the architecture all day long without getting bored and believe me, Hanoi is not all about the architecture but a combination of so many other things that are hardly found in any other city. It is a very big city, probably bigger than KL, but somehow there’s something so rustic about it, with a strong flavor of kampong charms, at least in its people who look more like farmers that live in a metropolis that Hanoi is. Read more →

jipp January 10, 2015 Leave A Comment Permalink

My Journey to the Top of IndoChina

It was so good to be back in Vietnam – or Sapa particularly. I went there back in 2010, and instantly fell in love with that little town left by the French when they colonized Vietnam many decades ago. I’d been wanting to go there again – so badly – but I never had the chance until recently when I decided, it was now and never. I cut my Christmas short and returned to KL just to pack up and flew off to Hanoi the very next day. I would be ushering in the New Year – in a foreign land – alone and believe me, it didn’t turn out to be as sad as it might sound :-Ptrains sapa

I saved Hanoi for my last day in Vietnam. Instead, I took an overnight train to Sapa on the day I arrived there, and I arrived in Sapa in the wee hours of the day, at a freezing temperature. I remembered how I was instantly surrounded by hotel agents of sort the moment I got off the bus back then, all wanting to bring me to a hotel so that they could get some commission out of it. This time, nobody came to me so I instantly realized something was not quite right. Read more →

jipp January 8, 2015 Leave A Comment Permalink

The Sea of Galilee

One of the places that I was really looking forward of coming to pending my maiden trip to Israel was the Galilee – sometimes referred to as Tiberias – which was mentioned so many times in the Bible that it actually came to my imagination more than any other place mentioned in the Holy Book.

We stayed at a hotel which was located very much near to the lake that I could even see it (the lake) from the bed of my hotel room. It was not difficult to see why Jesus picked this lake to do most of his ministerial works and did many of his miracles to be immortalized in the scriptures.


Remonim Hotels and Resorts at the lakeside of Tiberias

The Galilee is very beautiful – there is no doubt about it. Surrounded by beautiful mountains (or rather hills – tall ones) which are probably too green for a place located in the ever-dry Middle East – the lake captivated me with its breath-taking scenery the moment I set my eyes on it.

Looking at the mountains, which reminded me a lot of the Table Mountains in South Africa, I really wished I was there as a traveler – or rather a backpacker – instead of being in a group of tourists whose itinerary (and movements) were restricted by a rather tight schedule. I mean, I couldn’t stop imagining myself hiking up the hills and taking in from one of the high cliffs the views that had for so many times come to my imagination ever since I was baptized into Christianity. Read more →

jipp December 23, 2014 1 Comment Permalink

Hiking Across the Grassland of Horton’s Plains in Sri Lanka

Horton’s Plains was the next destination in our trip to Sri Lanka after coming down from Adam’s Peak. There were mixed reviews about the place, so I was hesitant about going or not going there. My travel buddy Audrey had wanted to ditch it right from the beginning but I had to pujuk her to do it may be cause the idea of standing on the edge of a cliff and enjoying the scenery sounded quite appealing to me.

Nuwara Eliya

We entered Horton’s Plains from a very beautiful town called Nuwara Eliya. Nuwara Eliya seemed like such a perfect holiday destination for tourists (as opposed to travelers. Heh). There are beautiful mansions built by the British when they colonized a big part of Sri Lanka, back then called Ceylon, and they have now become private properties probably owned by rich Sri Lankans and some of them have now been turned into hotels and guest houses to meet the demand for a booming tourism in this remote town. Known as the highest town in Sri Lanka, the weather was quite cool, in fact it could get quite too cold at night that I had to wrap myself in layers of clothes to stay warm.

We arrived there on a bus that we hopped right into at the Nanu-Oya train station. We didn’t book any room in advance which turned out to be not a so good idea especially when we had just come down from summiting the Adam’s Peak. My backpack suddenly felt heavier and my knees felt like they were going to break loose any time.


Arrived at Nanu-Oya train station which is about half-hour of bus ride to Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya might be a beautiful place to have a holiday in but there was something depressing about it that made it less appealing to me. We were met by a number of hotel agents (or whatever they were called) at the bus station all trying to persuade us to stay at the hotel that they represented. I don’t even think they represented any hotel – not officially – but more like trying to get some commission out of tourists that they managed to take with them back to the hotel.

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jipp December 14, 2014 2 Comments Permalink

A Little Stroll into the Tea Plantation in Nallathanniya, Sri Lanka

I really like tea plantations. For one they are associated with lush greenery, highlands and refreshingly chilly weather. Here in Malaysia, the nearest tea plantation requires me to drive some 7 hours on a long and winding road from home and it is only a small patch compared to the thousands and thousands of acres of tea plantations that they’ve got in Sri Lanka.

I had my very first glimpse of tea plantations in Sri Lanka while I was on the train from Kandy to Hatton. From Hatton to Nallathanniya, it was all tea plantations but it was at Nallathanniya that I had my first close encounter with a Sri Lankan tea plantation. The guest house that we stayed in was very much located in a beautiful valley whose landscape is dominated by tea plantations, meandering rivers and breath-taking waterfalls. While waiting for our dinner to be ready, I grabbed the opportunity of taking a little stroll into the tea plantation and it was definitely one one of the most relaxing times that I have had while I was in Sri Lanka.


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jipp November 5, 2014 1 Comment Permalink

My Long Long Journey to Kapit, Sarawak

One of the trips that I anticipated most this year was a trip to Kapit, one of the innermost parts of Sarawak in the Borneon island of Malaysia. I had always wanted to go there for the fact that I was surrounded by Sarawakian friends when I was at the university. I’d listen to their stories – ranging from their upbringing environments to the their close day-to-day relationship with rivers which according to them were their lifelines. I was so fascinated by their stories and I tried to imagine to the best I could knowing that one day I’d go to some of those places that they mentioned and see for myself if my imaginations had been anywhere close to reality. Heh.


Wisma Sanyan in Sibu, which at 26-storey, is the tallest building in Sarawak

One of the name of places that my friends kept mentioning was Kapit so when the chance of going there suddenly came knocking at my door, I was ecstatic. Of course there is no other way of going to Kapit more conveniently than by boat – or rather bot ekspres as the locals would call it. I flew from KL right to Sibu which is the point of access to Kapit and took a boat from there via Sungai Rajang, which is as known to everybody the longest river in Malaysia and one of the longest in the world. Read more →

jipp October 26, 2014 1 Comment Permalink