Seven Stress-busting Activities in Bangkok

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Bangkok’s flower market—C.Helbig

Bangkok is an awesome city, but it’s also hot, noisy, smelly, chaotic and traffic-choked. Exploring Bangkok on a quick visit and trying to fit in all its spectacular attractions feels like you’ve been put through the spin cycle (a very hot and humid one). Fellow blogger, Planet Bell, said it best: It’s an assault on the senses. I urge you to read his hilarious and oh so accurate description of the craziness that is Bangkok. It’s where I got my inspiration for this post. There’s plenty of information out there on Bangkok’s must-sees. This post is about my very subjective tips on how to survive the must-sees—activities that calm the senses and evaporate the sweat (sort of). Some may surprise you. And, most of them are cheap or free. Continue reading

Categories: Places, Thailand | Tags: , , , , , | 21 Comments

The Fascinating and Troubled Floating Village of Kompong Luong, Cambodia

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 Kompong Luong floating village in Cambodia—C.Helbig

I’ve been putting off writing about our visit to Kompong Luong, a large floating village on Tonlé Sap Lake in Cambodia. Maybe it’s because I was somewhat uncomfortable being there. Also, my knowledge about the community is poor, so I feel ill-equipped to write about it. And, my photos, taken in the bright glare of midday, look as washed-out as I felt. Nevertheless, as I think back at our short time at Kompong Luong it was one of our more unique travel experiences. Imagine, a community of over 1000 families largely dependent on fishing, where everything floats: temples, markets, clinics, restaurants, a police station, even a karaoke bar…Sadly, it and other communities on the Tonlé Sap face major problems.  Continue reading

Categories: Cambodia, Places | Tags: , , , | 28 Comments

Winter hike and overnight at Elfin Lakes, Garibaldi Provincial Park

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Elfin Lakes Trail, Garibaldi Provincial Park—C.Helbig

I have raved about this hike in summer and now I’m going to sing its praises in winter. The snowy mountain scenery along the Elfin Lakes trail in Garibaldi Provincial Park, near Squamish, British Columbia, is stunning. Hiking it on a windstill day, under a cerulean sky is pure happiness for me.  It’s still early in 2018, but our hike to Elfin Lakes and overnight at its backcountry shelter may well turn out to be the highlight of my year.  Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Hiking, Places | Tags: , , , , | 30 Comments

Snowshoeing in Whistler’s Callaghan Valley and Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains

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Snowshoeing in West Vancouver’s Cypress Provincial Park—C.Helbig

There is one silver lining to the incessant rainfall in Vancouver: snow in the mountains, and lots of it! A couple of weeks ago, Whistler had 79 cm  (31 inches) within 24 hours. Our local mountains too, just a 15 minute drive from my rain-soaked abode, have piles of the white stuff. This makes me very happy! During the last few weeks I’ve snowshoed at Whistler’s Callaghan Valley and on the North Shore mountains, in West Vancouver’s Cypress Provincial Park. They were very different experiences, from trailblazing in hip-deep snow to a gentle jaunt in a winter wonderland. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Hiking, Places | Tags: , , , , | 27 Comments

The Simple Pleasures of Being in Kampot, Cambodia

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French colonial architecture in Kampot—C.Helbig

Better late than never as I finally continue writing about our travels in Cambodia. Today I’m reminiscing about Kampot, a quirky, unhurried town that sits on the banks of Praek Tuek Chhu River in southern Cambodia. Other than some interesting excursions in the surrounding countryside, there’s not much to do in Kampot itself. And that was just perfect. After the intensity of Phnom Penh, it felt good to just be, and not to do. In this post, I describe some of my favourite things about Kampot. They may not sound very exciting, but they hold sweet memories and remind me that slow, easy days of simply absorbing a new place can be just as rewarding as visiting big name attractions. Continue reading

Categories: Cambodia, Places | Tags: , , , , , | 51 Comments

The Festivities Continue at Vancouver’s Chinese Lantern Festival

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Entrance arches at Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival—C.Helbig

January can be a bit of a letdown after the merriment of Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s celebrations. A few nights ago, I was thrilled to get another festive jolt at the Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival.  Lantern displays featuring everything from giant dragons to smiling trees light up the night sky at the Pacific National Coliseum (PNE) complex. The holidays have come and gone for many of us, but this festive event runs through January 21. The bonus: no holiday traffic, parking issues and crowds to contend with. Continue reading

Categories: British Columbia, Canada, Crazy Fun Stuff | Tags: , , , , | 28 Comments

Cycling in Battambang, Cambodia: Rice Paper Making 101 and Other Lessons

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Village market near Battambang—C.Helbig

One of our favourite days in Cambodia was spent on a bike tour run by local students through the villages and markets around Battambang. It felt good to stretch our legs, get a glimpse of rural Cambodia and be in the company of young folks. We pedalled through the peaceful countryside, stopping at small villages that retain traditional Cambodian livelihoods. It was a fun and hands-on day. I even learned to make rice paper wrappers (well…sort of).

Continue reading

Categories: Cambodia | Tags: , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

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