Wednesday, 9 December 2015

My (personal) 9 politically “incorrect” Do’s for the solo traveller

Never be afraid to try something new, because life gets boring when you stay within the limits of what you already know”
 Many years ago I had a complete lack of knowledge about travelling. Truthfully, I didn’t even know I wanted to travel at all! It never crossed my mind that solo travelling could generate addiction as strong as the most powerful drug, one that would fill me up with knowledge and experiences to fill a lifetime, which would not destroy me but build me and ultimately, make me.
  Back to those years, I would have never imagined that my longest relationship would be with my faithful backpack. I look back now on those days and I realised that I have learned or self-learned an awful lot of stuff and I feel I own to other fellow travellers the right to throw some light into the insights of the solo traveller in Asia, maybe with the hope to make someone’s journey a bit more joyful. 

 By all means, the below tips must be read very objectively and with a hint of sense of humour as they are based on my own personal experiences and indeed, there aren’t two experiences that are the same or lived on the same way, therefore my points are mostly valid for myself, first of all, and hopefully, good for you, too.
 If anything, I hope you find these lines entertaining, I will definitely try to provide you with some valid points and hopefully, get you to smile, too!
  1. You will cross land borders and believe me, 70% of your adventures, frustrations or desire to kill someone will be during those borders crossings! Many and I mean, MANY times they will try to scam you. If you have a feeling that they are doing it, chances are that you are right! Do speak loud and clear to the person in front of you and tell them how it is, chances are that you will still be scammed but at least, they know that you know and believe, it feels good to say it J

2. Before you leave for you trip, research like crazy and not the night before your flight!! You will be glad to feel some sense of familiarity on situations that will occur to you on the other side of the world, like land borders scams! You will be shocked to find out that in some places they have never seen a PC let alone Google and no, your Lonely Planet will not talk to you when you are in need of some urgent answers.  Be adventurous, no stupid.
3. In several Asian countries their habitants don’t get the concept of queues, they just DON’T. You will find that your occidental education totally goes to waste on those circumstances and they will push you as there is no tomorrow, no mercy! Believe, forget to be a lady or a gentleman, you are a gorilla and out there is the law of the jungle, therefore make yourself a favour and imitate the locals. If they push you (and they will) push harder!! Don’t be afraid, Cambodians found me most entertaining when I started pushing them with my backpack like a crazy woman but eventually I reached to the counter, ha!

  4. You may wish to remain alone during your travels (I have done it and that is all right, too) but do not let your fears get on the way of the pleasures of sex with a stranger. You should be able to let yourself go taking always the right precautions and not putting yourself at risk, EVER. Said that, sleeping with a fellow backpacker or a charming local will provide you with beautiful passionate memories that will last you a lifetime and if you are going to do it, then have sex as if there isn't a tomorrow! Nothing matters but the moment, you will find that letting yourself go is very refreshing and chances are that the charming local or attractive backpacker will never become too familiar as neither you nor the other person will remain too long on the same place.

 5. Never ignore the power of a smile witch it can improve your travelling enormously. Smiling is contagious, makes you more approachable, trustworthy and attractive to the world. Discover the world with your best face and many times people will act towards you in the same way; there is no price for the smile of a person. Light up your own days and the days of others and be grateful for the sights you see, you are incredibly blessed to be on that side of the world, what else can you do if not smile for those precious moments?
  6. Don’t let your shyness spoilt a moment of truth. Approach people, say hello, smile, ask questions, do not remain hidden in a corner, go out there with a good attitude, gratitude and sympathy and talk to the world, the world will talk back to you. There are good people out there, sometimes you will find them easily, other times you will feel that there aren’t there but remember that your own attitude makes the journey and a simple hello goes a long way, so don’t let your shyness to stop you making friends, discovering amazing people and giving you intense moments of discoveries.
 7. Eat like a local, travel like a local. Leave the luxury at home and go out there to experience reality. If you are carrying a backpack with you, chances are that you have daily budget limitations. It is a perfect combination; not only you will save money but you will also live and experience the struggles of travelling like a local and get your senses tested with the delicious and genuine food from the streets. Yes, from time to time, you will prefer a bus with AC and you should not stopped  yourself of giving you that pleasure occasionally but do not make an habit of being comfortable, experiencing their realities is what will make you a humbler person.
 8. Trust people, there’s no other way.  Where there is adventure, there is fear and to a certain extent, is normal to travel without rusting people, at the end of the day, you are alone on an unknown country and no one will take any responsibilities for you. That feeling is overwhelming at times and understandably you will feel that the only way to protect yourself is by not trusting others but if you do that, you will lose the sense of the journey. Of course always remain vigilant of what surrounds you but, believe me, there is always good people out there, doesn’t matter where you go. Of course, not everyone can be trusted and myself, I experienced that with a fellow traveller but hey, from all experiences you learn and if you fall for a lie, that is also all right and not the end of the world, just another lesson you learnt!

    9. Do what you are scare of doing. Believe me, those will be the things that you will talk about it for years to come. I took a helicopter ride, walked on pending bridges in Nepal, flew in a tiny plane so close to the Himalayan mountains that to this day, I still don’t understand how we didn’t crashed, landed on  what is known as the most dangerous airport in the world, slept with beautiful men,  swam with bio luminesces at night with a stranger in the Sri Lankan sea, climbed mountains, taught English to local people in the middle of the street sin Laos, joined a family in Sri Lanka that took me to a secret temple for a beautiful intimate religious celebration, saw savage elephants at night in the middle of the road, spoke with monks, joined the street children in Cambodia, made lifetime friends, had a water fight with local children from a village in the Laos mountains and many other wonderful experiences that I would have never had if I let my fear stopping me to go out and discover the world alone.

Trying to make a living off your passion when you are passed your thirties

I often read articles of highly successful people that they have demonstrated with big determination that a passion can evolve to a successful career. The case number of these people being relatively young outnumbers of those making it at an older age.

I have also noticed that in my field of expertise, which is travel and hospitality, the word entrepreneur has started becoming a very familiar term, especially for those travelers that have accumulated certain experience in a short period of time and they possess enough pro activity and creativity to build and sell a product or service out of a passion.

In both case scenarios, the common factor is their young age. Unsurprisingly, the advance in technology and social media makes easier to younger generations to study, travel and build professional profiles. Any person with access to the Internet can get into the professional world and, nowadays, age does not seem to be an issue to grow and succeed in a career. At a young age, that is.

Instagram profiles are full of pro activity; the word entrepreneur is almost starting to become a hashtag on its own right. What is most surprising is that most of these people are building their own businesses and brands out of something that they have a genuine interest towards to; it is something that they feel really passionate about it. Once this passion is recognized, then other skills are clearly necessary to build the cements of something big and profitable.

Companies, investors and older well established entrepreneurs get excited and interested when a young person possesses potential good ideas that can become brilliant. A clear example of this, are several articles written on successful people where their age is a powerful remark.

I love reading these articles because they motivate me in several ways, especially when the person and I share the same passion, I get excited recognizing common traits and I can easily picture myself succeeding equally. However, at the same time, these same articles leave me with a feeling of unease.

I’m older that most of these people that are succeeding in their life at a young age. When I looked back to my professional life and personal achievements, I recognize very humbly that I have done a lot, learnt a lot, I have made wise choices and some awful ones and achieved childhood dreams like travelling the world.

All of these things; each job, position, company, country and trips have helped me to build a strong personality and a willingness to succeed and achieve. I made some bad choices and in the meantime, while I sometimes got it wrong and some others right, the years passed quickly. It wasn’t until a later stage in life that I could enjoy fully my passion for travelling, my most important trip just recently happened.

And I’m back to where I was, out of work but excited because it is at my current age that I am for the first time aware that I want to build a life around my passion for travelling. But I feel that I, somehow, need to explain myself over and over again and almost apologize because it has taken me my whole life to understand what I should do.

This society is cruel, because I feel there is a subtle discrimination regarding age and sometimes society makes you feel that you are too late knocking on people’s door.

Society is wrong because I am fortunate to know what I’m good at and feel passionate about it before I die. My age doesn’t determine my ability to work hard and ultimately, succeed. If anything, the fact that I’m older makes me wiser and with a better understanding of the world.

I believe we should all be praised based on who we truly are and not so much focusing the attention of how much a person has achieved based on the age they are. Some people are lucky to find their passion and pursuing their dreams at an early age and some of us, we do it a bit later. 

I think we need to simply recognize that where there is passion; there is a willingness to succeed.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

An obliged visit to the Lanta Welfare Animal in South Thailand

I’m glad that you are checking out this post right now because here’s a non-profit organisation located in paradise that really needs you.
 Well, not so much the organization itself but its habitants; rescued dogs and cats from the whole Koh Lanta island that have been lucky enough to end up in this admirable place where they receive medical care and much needed love.

 I’m going to try to summarize my experience and what the “Lanta Animal Welfare” is by using my own impressions from my visit when I last was in Koh Lanta this year as much as the information they have available for you to read in their own website, which is informative, simple and with some lovely pics, too.

 By all means, finish my post (keep reading!!!) but then right after, click in their website to get a super detailed information of who they are and what you can do for them.
The Lanta Animal Welfare as the name itself indicates is located in the paradisiacal sleepy island of Koh Lanta, which belongs to the Krabi province (Southern Thailand) a world away from the madness of its neighbour Phi Phi.

 This year was my second time in Koh Lanta and I refuse to think that it won’t be a third. This is an island that treats its visitors well and possesses a great traveller community. It is a favourite of mine because it provides a break from madness, nice beaches, delightful bike rides through long roads that surround the islands and some of the most legendaries sunsets in South Thailand and cheap accommodation is still easy to find (tip: head to Long Beach)

 Koh Lanta is very relaxing therefore it makes sense to fill up your days with some activities. One that you take note of and stick with it is a visit to the Lanta Animal Welfare.
My friend and I rented bikes and from Long Beach we headed there. Driving through the main road and leaving the main town where the ferries arrive behind, we missed the street on the left hand side of the road where there is a sign with the Lanta Animal Welfare logo. In my opinion, the sign is not too obvious so keep an eye for it.

 That day was extremely hot and we visited in the late morning, it was pretty horrible so if you are heading to Lanta where the most extreme temperatures are hitting the country, you may want to check with them if it is possible to visit early in the morning.

A delightful woman welcomed us and she was the most helpful passionate person never. I wish I could remember her name but I don’t. She had short blond hair and was British, other than that, I can only remember clearly that she was very passionate about the place
 and managed to pass that passion onto us.

 Said that, in our guided visit by one of the volunteer girls, we saw many other people both locals and foreigners, who were also volunteering, completely dedicated to run the place and to provide the care and love needed by those animals.
 I was amazed to see the dedication of all these people from all walks of life towards an organization that is purely ran by donations and the good faith of people.

 The temperature in Koh Lanta was really extreme back then and in my opinion, it had to be extremelly hard to work on those conditions but they did tirelessly and it showed.

 Here are some facts about the place that I have extracted directly from their own website.  First of all, there are a few ways you can help them, they are the following;

Adopting one of their friendly dogs or cats from Thailand (their animal adoption programme makes taking an animal from Thailand to your country a very simple process) and you will have given a beautiful animal the home it deserves.  For more detailed information, visit their website.
Donating money or medical and general supplies for their animals; every month, they spend more money on medication and food than they have coming in. You can donate via their website. Talk to your local vet clinic and see if they can spare any much needed medication. You will find a list of their requirements and shipping instructions also on their website.
Volunteering to work with animals in Thailand for at least one month; if you are an experienced vet, vet nurse or simply an animal lover, they need you! If you would like to volunteer there is lots of volunteer. Please contact them also for more details.

 Contact details:

629 Moo.2, Koh Lanta, Krabi, Thailand, 81150
+66 (0)843 044 331

 Or if you would like to get more information about volunteering, then send them an email here: 

For animal adoption queries:

For all other queries:

 And if you are in Koh Lanta and your last stop is Thailand and are about to fly home soon, then you may be able to help FOR FREE by becoming for them a fly volunteer. What is that?
 Some beautiful souls visit the Lanta Welfare Animal falling in love with the animals and want them to become a part of their families. These cats and dogs they can’t normally flight to their new homes right away but when they are ready to leave, they need someone who takes them to their new destination countries.

 If you want to escort one of these cats or dogs to their new homes, you must email them your flight details here You can check now their website to know which dogs or cats must fly soon and where to

They need enough notice about 10 days to book them to flights and complete the required paperwork
Minimal flight duration and layovers
Flights should be within the same airline or members in the same group.
You need to be flying out from Krabi, Trang, Bangkok or Phuket airports

Becoming a flying volunteer for them is 100% legal and 100% free as they will do all the paperwork for you!

 Honestly, if there is one visit in Koh Lanta that you must do, it must be this beautiful place full of dedicate people. I feel lucky and honored that I got to see their job and more than anything, to know that some of those cats and dogs they were often close to die and these people brought them back to life.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

What happens after travelling extensively? Three months later this is how things are

I’m almost scared to touch this subject here because I’m afraid that if some potential travellers are depending on bloggers opinions to take the big jump and leave behind the securities of an ordinary life, they surely expect us to tell them not to hesitate and do it and hell, I’ve been saying that myself since before I left, during my trip and once I ended it.

 But while I have written endless posts about taking that decision and just go (and I will always tell you so) I have not written that much about the post trip and how life looks like for me almost three months later since I returned and got back to normal (or trying to).

I feel an obligation to be honest and transmit how I feel and how normal life is treating me for showing her the middle finger and left her for more exciting experiences.
 I think that us, as bloggers, if we feel we have the right to make you  consider your own life and incline it towards adventure instead of routine, we must also use this right to write that each action has a consequence and leave everything to travel the world comes with a few of them, too. This said, my experience can’t and won’t be similar to anyone else’s and every word that is written about this subject must be taken as just someone’s opinion.

 If some of you have read some of my posts before, then you may also know that my personal circumstances were ideal for me to make big changes in my life.

To break free from things, stuff, people and familiar places was a big deal for me. With the insecurity that leaving all the familiarity behind, came the realisation that I was about to do something big and mentally challenging.

 And it was. For the next seven months I pushed myself until I became a person I liked again and I went to experience life as if no one was watching.
 Before and during my trip I searched and read inspiring blogs from random people with all sort of life backgrounds. I was often in awe reading some posts, in which these travellers/adventurers would tell how, through their trips, managed to build online businesses becoming successful entrepreneurs or would get paid by writing and other amazing antics to get some sort of income while travelling.    

 I badly wanted to be one of them but maybe because I was not focused on those days and I was most of the times wandering instead of wondering, I kept travelling and when the money started to run low, then that also meant that it was time to return.
What I mean is, that some of us we are mean to return and re attached with the life that we ran away from and others, are meant to wander indefinitely.

The last few months of my trip were full of ups and downs. My downs were quite remarkable because being a person that worries senseless about things that they haven’t even happened yet, I became sick with concern about going back home, all the worse scenarios crossing my mind creating a state of high anxiety.

Now sitting in my tiny London room while I’m writing this, I look behind to those moments and I can see why I felt like that.  I now understand that I left without being prepared to returned, that it didn’t occur to me that the journey would eventually bring me back  where I was, therefore meaning that I would have to confront building my life once again.
The end of my trip brought me back first, to my home country and then, back to my adopted one to start building my life. People say that for the first two weeks or so you feel happy to be back and rightly so, that was how I felt.

 Three months later I’m still unemployed and some days I feel sick with nostalgia. I can’t help to think that I could have done things differently while I was there, that with some effort and creativity; I could have become one of these creative bright people that, through their blogs, they make you feel so inadequate because they write about unique ways of living that some of us we can only dream of.

 I visit book shops, look at my pictures and leave my mind to wander to those days in far away lands and I feel almost physical pain that I’m not longer there. I also feel inadequate going to interviews and pretend that I want to become part again of this rat race and be promoted and earn lots shit of money by working twelve hours per day.

 I wish I could tell you that it is wonderful to be back and I’m looking forward to everything that it has yet to come but I can’t. I’m sure time will put things into perspective and a job will again bring me my happiest moments that will come in the shape of amazing trips.
 But three months later I miss the person I was. Some days I want to unfollow all the travellers groups that I have been joining through the months, in a variety of social media websites, because I struggle to be the one reading from home, when not so long ago I was the one offering advice from the lands that I’m now too far from.

 I guess I’m not different from the rest of the world and I often wished I could be someone else somewhere else. But the reality is right this moment, I am not that entrepreneur.

But this is today. Tomorrow anything can happen.


Thursday, 5 November 2015

Backpacks and Sex

 I can’t be blame for the lack of trying but unintentionally, the only stable relationship I have managed to build in my life it has been with my faithful backpack, which somehow this should make me the last person to be writing about romance!

 But on the other hand, I may be your girl because if anything, backpacking solo has given me the dutiful honor of experiencing the briefest romances on the road, therefore yes; I can contribute to the dating world with my tiny bit of romance lived, suffered and enjoyed on the road, ha!

 I have met them all; the dirty backpacker, the romantic dreamer, the exotic local. Don’t judge me now; I didn’t go to the other side of the world to hide away from experiences.
 Let’s be honest, when you are backpacking your standards lower to a minimum and they do because fuck it, I used to look like shit myself most of the times and who can blame me? I mean, make up was not an option because it would melt in the extreme South East Asian temperatures; Comb? I hate the person who invented it, never used it in London and definitely not there!; Shaving? Whenever I could definitely yes but then, I could not all the time (in some bathrooms I was scared that if I remained more than what I strictly needed it, I could have end meeting the mother of all cockroaches); Clean clothes backpacking? What.Is.That? Get what I’m saying? The list could go on and on.

 The good news is that the bunch of them looked as terrible as I did therefore we were united by our disastrous appearances, worn out clothes and carefree attitude and THAT, dress you up more than any fancy clothes.

 Setting free from the rate race that you leave behind puts you on a mindset that makes you more approachable, brave and attractive and that works wonder to have the world on your side, not against you.

 Here’s the make up a backpacker woman wears; a fearless attitude, an approachable smile, and a carefree here we come and we are bloody unstoppable.

What’s not attractive about that and a tan? The combination worked perfectly because that and the fact that I felt liberated enough to experience, brought me some joyful moments with the opposite sex.

 There is something so incredibly romantic about experiencing your sexuality in far away lands; it is the lack of judgement. The freedom to do anything anywhere gives you the attitude to approach situations with a desire to experience them fully.

 Mind you, my own experience tells me that nothing that gets intense disappears without leaving you with certain heart pain but even knowing that, I would not denied me of the pleasure of experiencing it for the world. I rather sit in my bed at night and feel tingles in my stomach when I close my eyes remembering the details of those moments than going mentally through the shopping list!

 And with the experience comes the knowledge. Of course Wiki travel and other similar tools can become your best friend whilst and before you travel but not all the knowledge is there (if you know what I mean)

For instance, hooking up with a local makes you some sort of modern sexual anthropologist; you get a really intimate insight into their lives! They possess a complex culture in comparison to ours, one that you get to experience very closely. That makes you quite unique J

Just  aware remember that with the complexity of their own culture, they also come up with attitudes that we may perceive as unacceptable or wrong but remember that if your trip is temporary, so it is everything else in it.

 And that unfortunately applies to their genre in general; that you are a backpacker puts you on people’s radar always for the good reasons but having fun is a big one. Now, be a grown up woman and remember what fun usually means, hey?

Do you want more intensity on this post? You will have to wait until I write “Backpacks and Sex II”. Of course, there are plenty of tales to share and you’ll have an excuse to click again on my post J

Sunday, 1 November 2015

My trips make me a great candidate but recruiters don’t see it

 I spent the last four years + in my last job and not for a specific reason and at the same time, for many of them, I felt it was the right time to move on. I was under the impression that I was at risk of getting comfortable with the challenges that were starting becoming sometimes too familiar. I hold onto my job for a long time because I loved the team, the property, my increasing responsibilities and the job itself.
I have always believed that in order to become brilliant at what you do, a combination of few but relevant things should exists; going through life with few regrets, waking up excited about the day ahead, good friends, an existing personal life and excitement towards the future.

 I could feel an increasing sensation that I was starting to lack some of them at times and in a personal level, I knew that I had to make
a big chance in my life towards getting them back again,  all of them.

Personally, going through life with as few regrets as possible has always been paramount to me in order to achieve, succeed and
 move forward.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Where is Home?

I’m coming back home
I’m going home
When I get home
I miss home
There’s nothing like home


Sunday, 23 August 2015

Ending seven months of travelling and this is what I know

I'm trying to write these lines from my little charming balcony in one of the few bungalows I could afford to book through Internet in Koh Phagnan under a decent price, considering that the Full Moon Party is fast approaching this week, day in which I would be leaving this island for others to come and get the party started.

Too close now to my seventh month of travelling, the last thing I wish is a party. Boring? Maybe, but hey, travelling this long doesn't come without physical exhaustion or some mental scars.
I thought I would sit down to write a few thoughts about my trip and words would come out just fast enough to type them but here I am, surrounded by peaceful green scenery and I'm struggling about just every word I want to produce.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Can my money buy your love in South East Asia?

This post does not aim in any way to be offensive towards those whom I am going to talk about it here. I must say that, as it has happened often with the lines that I've written in previous posts about several subjects, all of them in one way or the other, are related to my travel experiences and not written based on a genuine knowledge about certain topics; instead, very much based on experiences and opinions that I've been through myself.
I am not Google and, as I often say; if you read my posts I hope is because you can enjoy an entirely honest vision and opinion about things as they happen. If are the facts that you are looking for, then please refer to Wikipedia which I am not!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

No country is perfect. Myanmar; the good and the bad

A friend of mine, experienced traveller on a current mission to visit every single country on earth, has always told me that Myanmar has and to this day still is, his absolutely favourite country in the whole world. Believe me, coming from him that is such a statement.

 He always said, literally, that Myanmar is the best country in the world.

My friend enthusiasm added to the many comments I heard and read from many people from all paths of life; sometimes your knowledge about a country history or the lack of it can influence greatly in how you see and understand a place, however, this does not seem to be the case with Myanmar and, that a determined background or education does not influence in the likes of Myanmar as it appeared to be a country that everyone loved, for one reason or the other.

Of course there are many reasons that, for any of us, they make this country a favourite one to visit and, putting aside people’s enthusiasm, there are the issues and facts that in one way or the other we are all somehow familiar with such as; Aung San Suu KY, a former Nobel Peace Prize winner very popular for her fighting for freedom and justice that finally holds a position in the Parliament and that was under house arrest for fifteen years, a country that is now widely open for tourism just for three years now, a country that has strongly been and is still is governed by a military regime, with several restricted areas, still with current areas of conflicts with Ethnics Groups in the North East of the country…

Without trying to become my friend, since I first visited SE Asia and fallen in love with it, I knew that I wanted to travel to all the countries that compose this fascinating part of Asia and while not all the countries appeal to me in the same way, Myanmar always did, partly influenced for what I read from people and specially from this friend of mine that seemed unable to find in his crusade around the world a country that could steal his heart in the same way. With all these reasons adding up, I just had to go and get my own conclusions.

And because we all know that perfection does not exist and instead imperfection makes the world the fascinating place that it is, these are all the good and bad things that I could observe in this very imperfect and yet truly beautiful country (this is a very personal opinion and of course you may agree or disagree, just don’t red arrow me for pointing out some negative things!)


Its people. They are absolutely delightful, honest, generous, welcoming and heart-warming. I could only think of Indonesians that could be remotely similar to them in the way they welcome and treat tourists (within SE Asia)

Burmese people are extraordinary welcoming and friendly in a way that is shocking and surprising. Think of a very humble country that owns very little with high levels of poverty, which has suffered and struggled for many years, possesses a difficult past and is currently fighting for progress in a government that controls and limits the freedom of its citizens. Sounds far too horrible for the sort of smiley warm happy people you find everywhere.

This is a country where you walk around and people in rural areas leave their houses or choruses to say hello to you, where they have very little and still they offer you their food, where children shyly approach you with a wide smile looking at you with funny curiosity as, many of these children, are seeing tourists for the very first time in their lives.

They hardly speak any English (but this will easily change very soon with the progress that the country will endure in the next few years as they get more and more used to the tourism that is slowly starting to arrive) but their inability to speak English only adds up to the very genuine experience of being in Myanmar and makes it for funny situations.

Accommodation prices are currently higher that most of the most popular countries within SE Asia (very simple rooms with fan and share bathroom can cost anything from $7-$10 and ++). The amount of money that you pay does not match with the quality that you get. Rooms’ lack any comforts and luxuries but then again, if you are backpacking that would be the least of your concerns, however $10 to $12 surely goes over your daily budget for accommodation (at least for me is way too much!)

Of course there is nothing to blame them for as it is very recently (up to 3 years now) that they are getting a consistent flux of tourists and Guest Houses are still very few with exceptions on the most popular touristic places (ex. Inle Lake, where several hotel construction works are currently undergoing). It is very likely that within the next few years, as more private Guest Houses start opening, the competition will make (slowly) the prices go down.

Long uncomfortable bus rides and I seriously mean UNCOMFORTABLE with absurd arrival times to destinations.
The good thing is that there are great bus connexions for the whole country (to the areas that are NOT restricted) and you can pretty much find any bus combination to get from point A to Z. Myanmar is not Thailand by any means and even though I personally took a ride in a very nice VIP bus once, most of the buses are rather worn out and quiet old, so while they are absolutely fine to travel (but they can break up on the road quiet commonly) do forget luxury bus rides across the country.

It also very common that buses will arrive to their destination at 2-3am (quiet normal if you take a late bus). Don’t worry because they will always be taxi drivers waiting outside wherever you are, but arriving at those times sort of reduce your chances to haggle a ride price and force you to stay at the first GH you find decreasing your choices for the obvious reasons, at least until is day light again.
Unless you are travelling at night, the buses (all of them and with NO exceptions) will blast through their on board TV’s insufferable uncompressible Burmese soaps and karaoke songs, on a VERY loud volume and no one will complain, which is something that as much as you know is absolutely insane it will not change, whether you complain to the driver or not. Some things in Myanmar do not make any sense at all and believe me, this is one of them that will drive you absolutely mad.

And last but not least, inside many buses you will feel that you are in the Antarctic and I can tell you from first hand that this is TRUE. It won’t be cool but freezing cold, here’s another thing that makes no sense whatsoever when you see a full bus of locals covered from toe to head shaking with cold and again, no one will complain. One time I thought I would get hypothermia, yes, it was that bad.

 Conclusion, always remember to get your jacket out of the backpack before you get on the bus. If you don’t you’ll remember you read this and regret that you completely ignored it!


The rural areas are absolutely gorgeous. TRULY

You can get to a town and be disappointed that it does not look anything great but remember that specially in Myanmar, true jewels are found outside the towns that can be easily be reached by motorbike or bicycles and they happened to be an absolutely gorgeous way to discover its green fields, rice paddies and heart-warming people.

I would like to specially recommend you to visit Hsipaw and most important and absolutely not to miss; Hpa An which are truly beautiful inspiring places with gorgeous fields and rural villages at short distances from the town.

Also, many people that visit Inle Lake they take the boat and then leave the town not looking back thinking that the boat tour was all they could do. Again no, Inle Lake deserve another day or more than two to rent a bicycle and cycle through the fields, a truly remarkable rich experience.

Something really nice happened to me in Myanmar as a solo traveller that I have never experienced before. You meet, interact and share experiences with other travellers on a different level as you do in any other country of SE Asia and this happens constantly; on bus rides, on hostels, on the road, on the street…..everywhere.

 This is something that I have also commented with other travellers while there and it seems to be a common sensation, too. We have discuss it and got to the conclusion that the fact that there are currently so few of us travelling in a country where there seems to be so many confusing information about it, makes it easier to be more open minded, intrigue to share feelings and opinions, itineraries, and information with other travellers.

There is something about Myanmar that makes us more sociable and willing to share experiences.

Let’s say the food is much less interesting that its neighbour countries. Ok, I’m going to be brave here and say that is boring. There seems to be a lack of fascinating dishes available and after a couple of weeks there is so many noodles and rice you can eat (and I don’t eat pasta…so I spent almost eighteen days eating fried rice).

But here are the good news! Just to days before and I left the country, I discovered what so far, for me, has been the best dish from Myanmar; the Tea Leaf Salad. Absolutely delicious and a welcome change from fried rice. Please make yourself a favour, and try it! Big mmm…. :)

I’m sure this is really good news from you. Myanmar is not the expensive country people at the web make it to be. NO!! I hope you are not putting yourself off visiting this fascinating country for monetary reasons because Myanmar is another cheap SE Asian country to visit (I mean, c’mon, Singapore is expensive not Myanmar).

Of course I already mentioned that the accommodation it is not cheap and this is true for now but I would go as far to say that the accommodation is the only expensive thing you currently find in Myanmar (and it decreases considerably if you are two travelling)

Everything else if cheap; food, buses, beer, renting bikes and motorbikes, petrol…. the exception to this is my following point, keep reading.

Most of entry fees go straight to the military government. This is bad with capital letters, totally off putting. Here’s how much you are going to pay; $20 entry fee for Bagan, $10 entry fee for Inle Lake, $10 dollars entry fee to visit the Royal Palace in Mandalay. All of this goes to their current horrible government and there is nothing you can do because these places happen to be absolutely amazing and not to be missed.

But read this, I have been told that in Bagan if you take a taxi and offer to pay more to the driver, he can take a route where you avoid passing through the main entrance road to Bagan hence you don’t pay the £20. Worth a try only if is not to give any money to their Government!

Bad or Good…? Not sure…
This friend of mine told me that three years ago there were no ATM machines whatsoever, none at all. Guess what? Now there are absolutely everywhere, even inside the temples!!

I’m not really sure whether this is good or bad… I mean, as a traveller with no new dollars on me or many of them, this is undoubtedly good, it makes my life easier and takes stress away as I was sick with worry what I would do when I ran out of dollars, but the amount ATM machines widely available everywhere it only means one thing; progress has started it and I’m sure that is only a matter of years that to this, 7-Elevens will follow up and so on (the westerner world taking over..)
So it is for you to decide whether you are happy reading that ATM’s are plentiful or whether is a disgrace…

OK, the list of good and bad could go on and on but I think the post is long enough. Now is time you make your own list by taking the step to actually visiting Myanmar.
Surely you have read a million times that you must go to Myanmar NOW, before industrialization takes over.  Hearing my friend comments from his visit three years ago and comparing them with what I have seen, I can only agree with these people.

But not matter when you decide to go, the Burmese people will always be beautiful, welcoming and very warm. At the end of the day, this is what makes this country so special, ONLY its people.

Thailand is no longer the country of smiles, Myanmar is.