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Author Archive | Gilles Barbier

Grand Escapades’ Budget Guide To Vietnam

Easy To Travel On A Budget

Van Long Nature Reserve, Tam Coc, Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Van Long Nature Reserve, Tam Coc, Ninh Binh

Type Of Travel

We are basically Flashpackers and this is how we traveled both times we visited Vietnam, in 2003 & 2015. We prefer to stay in hostels or local guesthouses, but always stay in private rooms with ensuite bathrooms. Longer distance we covered by plane, like Ho Chi Minh City to Danang. Good food is important to us, this can be a food stall, small local restaurants and maybe a cocktail sipped on the roof terrace of an international hotel. Continue Reading →

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Jodhpur, The Blue City – Just Get Lost!

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajsthan, India

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajsthan

Do not even try to read a map when strolling the Old City of Jodhpur, simply useless in this maze of narrow streets lined with shops, street vendors and houses that were once blue. Add honking auto-rickshaws, motorbikes, bikes, pedestrians, men pushing heavy carts, cows, dogs and you realize – Jodhpur is a city to stroll aimlessly. Continue Reading →

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9 Hidden Highlights In Yangon

Shwedagon Paya, Yangon, Myanmar

Shwedagon Paya, Yangon, Myanmar

As many Asian capital cities, Yangon at first sight is a nondescript, hot & chaotic city, not an inviting place to stay. Distances are significant, motorbikes and tuk tuk are banned, so your only options are walking in the heat or paying for expensive taxi rides.

Nevertheless, Yangon to us seemed a fascinating crossroad between Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. And if you scratch below the surface and take the time to dive into this surprising city, it has a lot to offer. Three days in Yangon are just right, especially since you will want to find some retreat during the hot hours of the day. Continue Reading →

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Udaipur’s Many Highlights

Udaipur-101

View of the City Palace, during a Boat Ride at Sunset, Lake Pichola, Udaipur, Rajasthan

With its stunning lake view, its magnificent temples, its Havelis and palaces turned into museums or hotels and Rajasthan’s largest palace, it made Udaipur to one of our favorite places in Rajasthan. The stunning view of Lake Pichola is what really got us hooked. It made such an impression on us when we stepped onto the terrace of our hotel! We simply held our breath. But there is a lot more to Udaipur…

 

 

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Happy Holi!

HoliFestival-101

Holi Festival, when Indus celebrate the beginning of Spring, by throwing coloured water and gulal (powder) at anyone within range, Bundi, Rajasthan

The Holi Festival heralds the arrival of spring. At this Hindu “Festival of Colors”, Indians throw color onto each other and wish each other “Happy Holi”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jaipur – The Jewels of The Pink City

Jaipur-101

Hawa Mahal, the “Palace of Winds”, Jaipur, Rajasthan

At first sight a chaotic, congested, hot city, but Jaipur abounds with highlights and is definitely worth spending several days to somewhat scratch below the surface. The good news, if you have enough time to explore more of the city than just the Amber Fort, the City Palace and Palace of the Winds (visited by groups in this very order), you will meet very few tourists.

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8 Highlights Of Agra

It’s Much More than “Only” The Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal, Agra, Rajasthan, India

Taj Mahal, Agra

There is so much more to Agra than “only” the Taj Mahal. It is sad to see that many tours consider Agra only worth a day trip from Delhi. Agra has a lot to offer, and you will need 2.5 to 3 days to explore it all without rushing around.

 

 

 

 

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Myanmar – The Land Of Funky Hairdos

A Photo Essay

Hairdresser, Beauty Salon, Mandalay, Myanmar

Hairdresser, Beauty Salon, Mandalay, Myanmar

It won’t take long until young Burmese men with funky hairdos draw your attention. Obviously the thing to do: a very, very creative part of local fashion! Young men proudly adorn themselves with the strangest haircuts. You think it’s a small number of extravagant people, oh no! It is a very widespread trend. Continue Reading →

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Floating Over Bagan’s 4.000 Temples

A Photo Essay

Pahto Dhammayangyi, Bagan, Myanmar

Pahto Dhammayangyi

A bird’s view of the temples of Bagan left us thunderstruck. Yes, these unforgettable 45 minutes in a hot air balloon cost 320 USD. But what can we say except: “Je ne regret rien”. Seeing Bagan from that perspective was definitely worth every cent, the experience of a lifetime. Besides, it is probably one of the best and most scenic places to have your first balloon flight… Continue Reading →

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10 Things To Do In Mandalay

Mahamuni Paya, Mandalay, Myanmar

Monks @ Mahamuni Paya, Mandalay

Mandalay is neither an attractive nor a pleasant city at first sight: a hot, modern, bustling grid of endless streets lined up with dull concrete blocks. Not a city that invites for long and pleasant strolls! Nevertheless, Mandalay abounds with amazing sites, and you will need at least 3 days if you want to visit those – More if you aim at diving deeper into this surprising city. The good news, even though Mandalay is on everyone’s itinerary, you will seldom see “tourists en masse”, and sometimes really feel like being the only visitor! Continue Reading →

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