Friday, March 15, 2019

The Scenic Halong Bay

If I could describe my recent Halong Bay experience in three words, these words would be serene, beautiful, and paradise-like. There's nothing like cruising through its many limestone islands and islets and hearing the sounds of nature while taking in all the goodness of its views.

Halong Bay -- a UNESCO World Heritage site, is truly a paradise found in Northern Vietnam. Fit for all types of traveler, various activities can be done while you're here whether by yourself, with your loved ones, or friends. You can go on a scenic cruise, take a quick hike, explore its enchanting caves, try local food, and/or play a  round of golf while surrounded by such lovely scenery of the bay. You may expect the experience to be relaxing and ideal for the mind and soul.

Take a look at the following photos to see wonderful and fascinating Halong Bay can be. And if you think the places in these photos are amazing, wait till you see them in person. You won't be disappointed.

Until next time, I'm your global friendly traveler, Johnny, inspiring you to temporarily leave your hectic life and embark on a journey of a lifetime.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Balitang America: Sailing Across Myanmar

Together with Balitang America, I take you through my Myanmar adventure! See what I see as I engage with the locals, witness their artistic handiwork, explore their golden temples of worships, and more!

Friday, January 11, 2019

5 Fascinating Things You'll Find at Inle Lake, Myanmar

Myanmar's Inle Lake is a serene place famous for its floating villages, markets, gardens, and one-of-a-kind way of life. There is no trace of any stress brought by the hustle and bustle of the city, and you are free to explore, learn, and experience a life that is like no other. Here, you can witness things found nowhere else in the world.

Here are 5 fascinating things you'll find at the Inle Lake that my wife and I personally witnessed during our tranquil boat tour around its villages.

Intha Fishermen

At Inle Lake, while women weave, the men work the lake. These men are known as the Intha fishermen. To keep their tradition alive, the Intha fishermen use their unique one-legged paddling technique to catch fish. 

It is believed that this practice was first done in the 12th century and has been passed down from generation to generation. One can't help but be fascinated by their amazing sense of balance while performing their snake-like motions.

Hand-woven Textiles

Inle Lake is one of Myanmar's weaving centers. In this serene side of the country, you can witness women of all ages make beautiful textiles by hand. While woven textiles are found in most countries in Southeast Asia, what makes Myanmar's version special is because of the lotus fabrics that they produce which are considered rare in the world. 

Padaung “Long Neck” Women

Myanmar has more than 130 ethnic tribes, and the oldest of them is known as the Kayan Lahwi or Padaung Tribe -- known for its long-necked women. Women in this tribe wear brass coils that can stretch their necks to over a foot and weigh over 20 pounds. This ancient tradition symbolizes beauty, wealth, and superiority. Their astonishing appearance has fascinated tourists from all over the world. 

Stilt Houses

The stilt houses of Inle Lake are also popular among tourists. Each house is strategically built to withstand the dry and rainy seasons and is surrounded by floating gardens. The villages at Inle Lake share the same setting, complete with stores, schools, monasteries, and floating markets.

Burmese Food

Burmese cuisine is a fusion of Chinese, Thai, and Indian flavors, which is also influenced by the culinary traditions of the country's multi-tribes. Food here is very cheap; you can easily buy scrumptious meals on the streets for under $1. Tofu, noodles, rice, curry, and seafood are very common in the area. If you love spicy foods, then Burmese cuisine is for you. 

Until next time, I'm your friendly global traveler, Johnny, inviting you to explore more and experience the priceless rewards of traveling this 2019. 

Monday, December 17, 2018

Popular Pagodas in Yangon, Myanmar

Last month, my wife and I traveled to Myanmar for the first time and explored its unspoiled land while witnessing and experiencing some of its many fascinating wonders, including the country's astounding pagodas in Yangon.

Myanmar's largest city and former capital, Yangon, is home to some of the country's oldest and most popular and highly admired pagodas namely: Shwedagon, Sule, and Chauk Htat Gyi. These pagodas are believed to date back to approximately 2,500 years ago. Originally small, the structures have been rebuilt, renovated, and made bigger throughout the centuries.


Legends say that this pagoda is 2,500 years old, dating back to the lifetime of the Buddha, and making it the oldest pagoda in history. One of the many things that make this place so precious is that it is believed to have eight hairs of the Buddha.  It is no wonder it is the most popular attraction in Yangon that is visited by thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year.

The tallest stupa is coated in real gold plates from different countries around the world, and its tip is encrusted with rubies and diamonds while massive emeralds are positioned around it to reflect the rays of the setting sun. It looks glorious in daylight and is certainly one of the best pagodas ever built.


Another notable and popular pagoda found in Yangon is Sule. Like the Shwedagon, this pagoda is also believed to be over 2,500 years old and is also contains a hair relic of the Buddha. Legend has it that a powerful nat spirit known as Sularata resided at this place.

Chauk Htat Gyi 

Apart from magnificent temples and legendary sites, Yangon is also home to an enormous, 65-meter long Recycling Buddha image. It is located at one of the famous attraction in the city called Chauk Htat Gyi. Originally completed in 1907, it had experienced deterioration and damages over the years but restoration is currently being done to revive its original appearance.

As we wandered around these pagodas, we couldn't help but feel amazed at how beautifully they were built with great consideration of its culture religion, and belief, making these places so sacred and essential to the country and its people. 

On my next post, I'll write more about my travels in Myanmar, and why I believe this country is worthy of becoming one of Asia's must-visit destinations. Until then, this is your friendly global traveler, Johnny. See you out there! 

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Ancient City of Siam (Thailand)

I recently went on a trip to Thailand where I visited Muang Boran, also known as the Ancient City of Thailand and the gateway to the country's cultural and historical heritage. I was amazed at how organized and well-thought this place was during my visit. Getting around the area was easy because they provided us with various transportation options. Here, you can roam around walking, riding a bike, a golf car, or make your way around the floating market on a boat. It really encouraged me and my friends to explore and learn about the rich history, culture, and traditions of Thailand, formerly known as Siam. I learned that this legendary landmark was built with a strong mission to persuade the locals to know more about the history of their own country.

Muang Boran is home to more than 105 architectural attractions and offers plenty of enjoyable activities to both locals and tourists. From its many majestic Buddha temples to beautifully manicured gardens, and from ancient monuments and old town markets to picturesque views with serene ambiance, there's so much to see and a lot of interesting knowledge to gain when you visit.

For those who like to visit this place and capture moments through photos and videos, here are just a few of the many interesting attractions to expect while there:

 photo credit:

photo credit:

Thailand is such an amazing place, not just because of its beautiful islands, friendly people, and sumptuous food, but also of its diverse and wonderful culture. Visiting this place has made me appreciate the true beauty of Thailand even more!

To learn more about the Ancient City of Siam (Thailand) and how to get there, please click here.

Monday, October 8, 2018

A Weekend Market Food Trip in Makati, Philippines

My travels to interesting places all over the globe give me a perspective that somehow activities are inter-related. Take the case of the Sunday market; when you travel to Europe be it in Paris, Copenhagen, Berlin or in Krakow, you get a glimpse of the local culture and products.

In Makati, Philippines, this city also offers these activities that have drawn a lot of attention from both locals and tourists. There are two places you get to visit these markets, depending on the day of the week. There is a public market in Salcedo Village by the Velasquez Park on Saturdays and there is also another in Legaspi Village by the Washinton Sycip Park on Sundays.

Here you get to see a lot of expats (expatriates) roaming these places and looking for something to eat and even the locals who live in condominiums within the area are getting their feel of what they would eat over the coming week. I was surprised to see a lot of foreign chefs offering their specialties to the visitors.

What really excited me the most was the wide range of menus that were lying there in the market coming from different areas not only locally (Ilokano, Visayan, Kapampangan etc), but also International menus like Thai, Indonesian, and popular Chinese meals.

I strongly suggest for travelers to come here and enjoy the local flavors in a local setting where one can experience the authenticity of these places and what they have to offer.  It reminded me of my childhood years when I see all these food around me.