Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Gibbon Experience

Ever dream of trekking through the jungle of a foreign country?  Zip lining 60 meters over the canopy?  Sleeping in tree houses?  Experiencing nature and the wild like never before?  Yes, you say?  Well, The Gibbon Experience just may be your cup of tea.  It's an eco tourism Project as well as one of the greatest travel experiences I've had in my life.  The concept emerged in hopes to find an innovative method to help protect part of the glorious forests in Southeast Asia from being destroyed through poaching, logging and slash and burn farming.  

They had an idea:  have the locals of the Bokeo Nature Reserve build tree houses.  These aren't your classic childhood back yard tree houses either.  We're talking luxury tree houses.  Better plumbing than your average Southeast Asia guest house, rain shower heads, drinkable water straight from the springs.  They also built a network of zip lines through the reserve, which you need to access the tree houses. You go with a small group of travelers, spend two days and nights trekking and zip lining the jungle, sleeping in the coolest tree houses anyone has dreamed of (as a child or adult) and looking out for the majestic Gibbons.  Each group is accompanied by friendly local guides and fed delicious fire cooked meals and snacks, made by the locals.  If you're really lucky (like my group was) you just may sight a Gibbon or two, or a whole family.  They're fairly small, acrobatic apes that have the most unique song.  We heard them singing one morning and spotted them from across the canopy the next. 

You pay for the adventure of a lifetime,  they reinvest the funds back into protecting the forest, the Gibbons and all the other little (or big) monsters of the jungle. :-)


One of the tree houses:

The bathroom is on the bottom floor.  Just you, nature, a rain shower (head) and water running off over the jungle canopy.



Zip lining up above the canopy so high:



Ready for take-off?



Stunning fields just outside the forest:



One of the locals:


Transport.  Before the road turns into dirt and bumps:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Elephant love

Elephant Love.  Elephants can't hold hands but they've still got trunks and tails.

Chiang Mai, Thailand


Traditional Thai Candle Dance

Thai woman performing a traditional northern Thai candle dance or "Fawn Tian" in Chiang Mai, Thailand:


Chiang Mai, Thailand




Riding off to the hot springs in Chiang Mai, Thailand



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nha Trang, Vietnam

Nha Trang, Vietnam:

Restaurant by a small harbor.  
 

Want a ride? I do!



 On the beach. Nha Trang, Vietnam.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Can Tho, Vietnam

Floating Market

Can Tho, Vietnam 

Fancy waking up before sunrise?  Didn't think so.  I'm not much of a morning person either.  However, one of my favorite wake up at the crack of dawn moments was to do a tour of the floating markets in Vietnam on the Mekong Delta.  It was still dark out when I got into a teeny tiny row boat just before dawn, still half asleep of course.  Our guide took my friend and I on a private tour.  Shortly after he began to paddle away from the shore, the sun began to rise as we made our way into what would become one of the most unique traffic jams I had ever experienced (and I'm from New York).  Small row boats came into vision filled with fresh fruits and vegetables and roosters too!  As we rowed by the other boats we eventually and inevitably got stuck in the morning rush hour traffic jam...on the water.  Nevertheless, it was the most enjoyable traffic jam I've been in (for one thing I wasn't the driver, no foot riding the clutch, no need to pay attention to the constant stop and go, stop and go, beep beep beep).  Just sitting in a boat, on the water, surrounded by a whole new world that gave a new meaning to rush hour.  Our tour guide gave us samples of fresh mango and other fruits.  We got a fresh Vietnamese coffee from another boat as we rowed by.  Though it took a while to get out of the traffic jam, it was still one of the best early mornings I've had.  Here's one shot of a woman rowing her boat (pre-traffic jam).



Friday, October 12, 2012

Clovelly, Sydney, Australia

Clovelly is a small yet charming beach side suburb in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs.  A wonderful, quiet place to relax on a sunny afternoon or "arvo" in Aussie slang. 
:-)






Thursday, October 11, 2012

Floating Market




Floating Market in Can Tho, Vietnam on the Mekong Delta:

 










 









Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved Katie Chua







Vietnam from the sky

Flying over the Mekong Delta in Vietnam:




2012 Copyright Katie Chua All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ganga River Trip - Rishikesh, India












2012 Copyright Katie Chua All Rights Reserved

Diving with Turtles

Diving the Whitsunday Islands in Australia:

You just may end up having a peaceful swim with a turtle.  :-)



Monday, October 8, 2012

Vietnam: Phu Quoc Island

Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam:

Known for pepper plantations and fish sauce, this small Island off the coast of Vietnam is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  Fishing harbors, diving, snorkeling, cheap massages on the beach, a nice market and simply lounging around are just a few favorite pastimes. People are kind, friendly and hospitable.  Beaches are peaceful.  Life is good.

Fresh fruit on the beach:


Sunset on Long Beach, Phu Quoc, Vietnam:


From Long Beach you can rent a motorbike and take a nice 20-30 min drive to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  When I went in early 2010 we took a beautiful drive on a red dirt road with chickens, dogs, cows and the like running around freely.  Just be careful not to run them over!
Sao Beach, Phu Quoc, Vietnam:


Sunset on Long Beach:


 (photos taken about 2 years ago)
Copyright 2012 Katie Chua All Rights Reserved

Words to live by: "Make other people feel special"


Written in the New York City subway:
"Make other people feel special"


When is the last time you made someone feel special?
  Perhaps if we all followed these words, the world would be a happier place for all.
:-)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

HALLOWEEN IS ON IT'S WAY...'TIS THE TIME TO DRESS UP AND PLAY...




2008 Peacock:




2009 Pink Fro:

                                              
2010 Alice and Wonderland's Mad Hatter:


2011 Black Swan:

                                                                                                                            
What will you be this year?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Koh Phangan, Thailand - Full Moon Party

Every full moon Haad Rin Beach in Koh Phangan, Thailand hosts an all night party on the beach.  Drawing a crowd of 20,000-30,000 people every full moon and playing a mix of trance, house, dance, R&B, Reggae and drum and bass well past the break of dawn. A once an a lifetime party experience (just don't get burnt by the limbo or fire jumping games, as I've witnessed many overly wasted people do...)  And please don't be one of the thousands of party goers letting the multitude of plastic straws from the popular alcohol "buckets" end up in the oceans of Thailand (It''s not such a pretty sight or experience for the wildlife in the world class beaches).  Also, unless you're a lover of constant, loud music, blasting from not so quality speakers from 10am to well, sometimes 10am the next day...don't stay on the beach for the entire week before the party.  You just may be "over it" by time the full moon party comes.  Stay on one of the nearby beaches and take some form of transport to Haad Rin for the big night!

,

fire jumping...don't get burned!

 



fire limboooo....

  



                                                                       
                                                                         foam party!




by day...