Money, Money, Money… Travel warnings!

Picture of foreign currency

Foreign currencies

Over years of travel, I have noticed one thing, regardless of the rising popularity with credit cards and debit cards – Cash is KING.

Majority of small businesses around the world will only accept cash in exchange for services or goods. If credit cards are accepted, sometimes a 3% transaction fee would be added to cost of the item to help pay for the fees charged by banking institutions. Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life (San Telmo)

Spending a sun shining Sunday at the Feria de San Pedro Telmo is a must when visiting Buenos Aires, Argentina.

San Telmo Sunday Market Banner

San Telmo Sunday Market Banner

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How to find Normalcy while Traveling!

Sifting through my receipts and ticket stubs from my 2013 Epic Journey, I came across my movie ticket for “Life of Pi”. This little piece of paper triggered a landslide of memories and emotions…

It was February 5, 2013 – I had just arrived in the city of Valdivia from Puerto Varas in Chile. The last time I was in a town or city with a McDonald’s restaurant was Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 25, 2012. Within that time I had been to Ushuaia, Falklands, South Georgia Islands, Antarctic Peninsula, Ushuaia, El Calafate, El Chalten, Puerto Natales, Navimag, Puerto Montt, Chiloe islands, Puertos Varas, Frutillar and Ralun – they are all local and authentic to their location. However, that is at least 43 days without “city life” experiences, exposure to traditional North American style fast food, shopping malls or a movie on a big screen inside a movie theatre.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections (Angkor Wat, Cambodia)

Panoramic view of Angkor Wat at sunrise

Panoramic view of Angkor Wat at sunrise

In some ways I can be considered a morning person. Most days I naturally wake up around 7:30am – without an alarm. I might take a nap later on if my schedule allows and I mean really, who doesn’t like a nap?! Though I have noticed I wake up earliest while on the road, traveling (with the assistance of an alarm or morning calls). There have been many occasions where I woke up at 3 or 4am for a sunrise hike or early early flights. Mind boggling at first thought, all worth the experience in hindsight!

Back in April 2013, I woke up at 4am to arrive at 5am at Angkor Wat (Cambodia) for one of my treasured sunrise experience.

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Life on the Navimag

In early 2013, after my short stay in El Calafate with a hike on the Perito Moreno glacier and a day trip to Cerro Fitz Roy, I headed to Puerto Natales on the bus with my new friends to board the Navimag. The Navimag operates ferries which are modified cargo ships that travel between Puerto Natales (in the South) and Puerto Montt (in the North) of Chile. It is the quickest and easiest way to traverse between the Lake region and Patagonia – aside from getting on an airplane.

View of Navimag in Puerto Natales, Chile

View of Navimag in Puerto Natales, Chile

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Day trip to Jogjakarta, Indonesia : Part 3 Afternoon!

On the first day of July in 2013, I ventured on a day trip to Borobudur from Bali, Indonesia. For some unknown reason, I diverted to Prambanan and the city center of Jogjakarta before visiting the UNESCO world heritage site of Borobudur. One would think that if Borobudur is my main reason to travel, that would be my first place to visit. But at the same point, I thought it would be a nice way to end the day with sunset at Borobudur.

Now I am usually pretty good at checking for the weather forecast of the day so I can dress accordingly. Continue reading

My first time… Hitch Hiking!

Karen Sze - Single Woman hitch hiking in Chile

Karen Sze – Single Woman hitch hiking in Chile

On my second last day in Puerto Varas, Chile (Feb 2 2013) – I woke up with my mind and heart set on discovering a little known natural hot spring called Termas de Ralún and visiting the Saltos del Petrohue (Petrohue waterfalls). There was a brief mention of the hot spring in my copy of The Rough Guide to Chile. The hot spring is on the northeastern shore of the Petrohue river and borders the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park. Any time I hear or read about hot springs and spas – I want to go!! Let alone, this one is completely set within a forest and without any infrastructure.

How cool is that!? A real natural hot spring. Free of charge. No big crowds. A hidden gem!! I was super excited that morning. Continue reading