The Singapore Zoo has a great reputation, and for good reason. It isn’t cheap to get in, but for that money you do get a very nicely designed zoo. The zoo also supports various conservation efforts and research projects.
I took these photos on my visit to the zoo a few years ago.
The viewing options were often excellent, like this great view of the lions.
There were several shows in addition to feeding times and talks by wildlife experts. If I remember right these were free (or some were free?).
The National Museum of Korea is a wonderful tourist destination in Seoul. I recommend it very highly.
The modern museum (built in 2005) is very spacious and filled with wonderful works of art. It provides a sense of the long history of Korea. It is very well laid out and includes enough information on the works to give you a sense of the context.
Painted clay pots, Astana, Turfan 6th-7th century. These vessels decorated with pearl rounded patterns were made to be buried with the dead in tombs. The design originated in Sasanian, Persia and spread across Asia.
The museum displays relics and artifacts in six permanent exhibition galleries: Prehistory and Ancient History, Medieval and Early Modern History, Calligraphy and Painting, Asian Art, Sculpture and Crafts as well as one gallery highlighting donations.
I found several great places to eat in Chiang Mai. I enjoy good food. And thankfully I can find very good food all over the world (anywhere I have been). That makes me happy. I have fewer instances of finding really great food that I miss if I move on.
It isn’t that I don’t miss the great food I had but when I find lots of great new choices I am fine. I generally eat fairly cheaply, in stalls some, but also in simple restaurants. But rarely in expensive places (though in cheap locales I will splurge much more than if I am in an expensive city).
Banana Flower Salad at the Achan Vegetarian Restaurant. Absolutely wonderful. All photos by John Hunter.
I found lots of very good food in Chiang Mai. I found 3 places I really enjoyed a great deal (I went to each weekly, or more often). Anchan Vegetarian Restaurant is one of the places I would suggest everyone try. I see it as a highlight of being in Chiang Mai. I rarely find restaurants I feel this way about. To reach this level they not only have to provide great food, atmosphere and service but also capture some of the essence of locale.
The also had Anchan juice which when I asked what it was the waitress pointed to the blue berries on the mural. I didn’t enjoy the juice so much actually, so only tried it once, but it was worth trying.
Chicken Banana Curry at Cooking Love, again wonderful. They also give you very large servings.
Two other places I highly recommend in Chiang Mai are: Cooking Love and Food4Thought.
Neak Pean (or Neak Poan) (in Khmer: ប្រាសាទនាគព័ន្ធ) was built by Jayavarman VII in the 12th century as a Buddhist temple.
The site is within a large reservoir (which measured 3500 meters by 900 meters). The walkway takes you to the man made island that contains the Neak Pean temple.
The temple is within the Angkor archaeological park area. I rode my bike between the many large and small temples while living in Siem Reap, Cambodia for a couple months. You can easily see 10 of these small temples and few large ones by bike in one day.
You do get some exercise (which for me was a plus) and it isn’t very hard as the entire area is very flat. Of course the area is also usually hot. You can rent bikes in town for a few US$ a day. You can also rent a tuk tuk or electric bikes.
Related: Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia – Ta Prohm Temple (Banyan trees) – Borobudur, an amazing Budhist temple built in the 9th century in Indonesia – Wat Lok Moli, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Temple of Literature (Văn Miếu – Quốc Tử Giám, 文廟) was established in Hanoi, Vietnam in 1070. The temple is located in old town Hanoi along with many other items of interest within easy walking distance (see Curious Cat Hanoi Tourist map). The temple grounds are enjoyable and provide a respite from chaotic Hanoi, and the history is interesting.
In 1076, Vietnam’s first university, the “Quốc Tử Giám” or Imperial Academy, was established within the temple to educate Vietnam’s bureaucrats, nobles, royalty and other members of the elite. The university remained open from 1076 to 1779. In 1802, the Nguyễn dynasty’s monarchs founded the Huế capital where they established a new imperial academy.
Bee on flower in the temple grounds.
The temple layout is similar to that of the temple at Qufu, Shandong, Confucius’ birthplace. It covers an area of over 54000 square meters.
I really like the mosaic artwork on the walls of buildings at Wat Xieng Thong in Luang Prabang, Laos.
Luang Prabang is full of interesting temples and is a great place to walk around. The old city has been designated a World Heritage Site by the UN and I highly enjoyed staying in Luang Prabang.
Buddha statues in front of a mosaic wall inside a Wat Xieng Thong temple building.
Chiang Mai, Thailand is home to many ancient Buddhist temples. Wat Lok Molee (or Wat Lok Moli) sits just North of the moat surrounding the old city.
The “zip line” is to bring something up to the Buddha in the Chendi. I don’t know what, but maybe offerings. I have seen the at some other temples but not many.
Although it is know this temple was originally built in the 14th century the architecture of the Chendi (also called stupa or pagoda) dates to the 16th century.
I had very positive memories of the photogenic nature of the Grand Palace in Bangkok. But my photos from my last trip were not digital and I haven’t seen them in over 10 years. I was worried I would be disappointed. I wasn’t.
Emerald Buddha temple, Grand Palace
See my video of the Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand:
One of the most enjoyable days of my life began at Glacier National Park (USA) and continued in the Canadian portion of the park (Waterton International Peace Park). The parks share a long border and amazing natural beauty.
Iceberg Lake Trail, Glacier National Park
This magical day was my fifth day at Glacier National Park, which had already been wonderful.
John Hunter, top of Bear’s Hump trail, Waterton International Peace Park
As a tourist I don’t usually do a great deal of research in advance. I do like to find out what are some of the most popular tourist destinations. And to look for those things I like a great deal, such as hiking.
I useful find myself with a list of things I want to do and a place to stay. Sometimes I had an idea of where things we located and what might be good to do on the same day. But often, I did not. I would sometimes get a list of good restaurants but I would almost never actually get to them.
I do like walking around in a new city and getting a feel for things. Using a good old fashion map worked for this. But I would often waste a fair amount of time when I got lost. GPS mapping seemed like a perfect solution for my travel needs.
While I have been using the internet a long time, I have never had a smart phone. But I got an iPad mini and decided to test out my idea of using GPS and mapping as I walked around. Looking at the options, I decided I would rather create my own map so I could have the details I cared about.
I tried in out (I bought an iPad mainly for this mapping function but also to use as a book reader) in China (Hong Kong, Guilin, Yangshuo, Yunnan and Shanghai) and it went very well. Here is my map for Shanghai:
See full screen
I am now making Curious Cat Tourist Maps available online. I used Open Maps (and umap) which I am very pleased with (Here is a link to the Curious Cat Hong Kong Tourist map as another example). I can include those items that interest me (tourist destination, lodging, eating and transit) and include background info (like what subway stop for a particular designation etc.).