Asia

[Photo Journal] Going on safari in Wilpattu National Park in Sri Lanka plus tips on planning your safari

The Wilpattu National Park in the Northwest of Sri Lanka does have a lower chance of seeing leopards, but may be a good option for a safari if you are near the airport in Negombo/Colombo or near Anuradhapura in the cultural triangle.

Wilpattu National Park was established in 1938, and has an estimated leopard population of at least 50 individuals that were surveyed by camera traps. The park boasts many natural lakes, some that have quite an eerie feel to them.

Lake view from the jeep
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Quick hit list of things to do in Ella, Sri Lanka

I spent 3 days in Ella, and luckily had a little bit of good weather even though it was raining nearly every day at the time. Though I didn’t get to do a whole lot because of the weather, I did get to relax and decompress. There are plenty of things to do in Ella Sri Lanka to take up a few days, even if you just do one major thing per day.

Ella is a small hill town that has expanded in popularity in recent years. A Sri Lankan I met on the bus to Ella there asked me why so many tourists like it. I think it is a combination of a pretty good location, not too big, good options for accommodation (that has only multiplied), chill vibes, and good restaurants. It’s a village that somehow was more ready to serve foreigners and so has become a hotspot. It’s also along a well-known train line for scenic hill country views.

Mini Adam's Peak in things to do in Ella Sri Lanka

View from Mini Adam’s Peak in Ella, Sri Lanka

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Collection of travel moments from 5 weeks in Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Cambodia

I wanted to remember the little moments during my travels that feel special or interesting to me, so I started taking notes. Life is made up of these little moments after all, and travel is especially good for noticing new things about others and about ourselves.

These aren’t really linked to each other except by chronology and by virtue of having all occurred to me on this one trip. But are all moments that I’d like to remember and look back on. Some might mean something, some don’t. Some were fleeting glimpses into other people’s lives, some are feelings that I felt in the moment that I would like to keep.

Some moments reflect on me being a woman, or a foreigner, or being Asian. Besides a few moments of frustrations, nothing to shout about, but sometimes I wonder about things.

Petals and leaves on steps in Ella, Sri Lanka

Petals and leaves on steps from my guest house in Ella, Sri Lanka

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My fellow PhD student, D, at Rochester Park in search of coffee!

[Review] A slow afternoon at Jimmy Monkey cafe

Cafes! I love me a nice cafe. Although Asian countries aren’t known to be full of coffee drinkers, but Singapore has more hip cafes every time I go back. Singapore cafes I like have to have a really nice vibe to it. This one does, and I would return!

It was a hot, hot day. I thought I could collapse on the walk to Jimmy Monkey, and it was only about 450 meters from where I started out for lunch just before.

It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but on the inside there were good vibes all around. They had a nice big communal table in the center of the room, with plenty of books and magazines around to browse through. The ceiling was high, with exposed fixtures. One large corner had a few windows and a few couches for lounging. Most of the other tables were small round or rectangular tables for a few people at a time. We took seats at the end of the big table, smack in the middle of the room.
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[Photo Journal] A garden festival in Singapore

I went to the Singapore Garden Festival while I was there for about 2 weeks recently. I hadn’t been to a Singapore festival until then! When my friend had discounted tickets, I had to grab the chance. It mostly consisted of a maze of indoor and outdoor floral displays throughout the Gardens by the Bay, which usually has many beautiful flowers anyway.

The displays

Some of the fancier displays:
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Should you move to Singapore? (A decision tree)

Moving to a new country is never an easy thing. I sometimes think about how both my parents came to the USA with no English, and very little resources. I don’t think today that I would ever do that! Are you thinking of whether to move to Singapore? I hope this helps!

My parents moved because they knew there were opportunities in the States that they would not have at home in China. So, whatever your reasons are for thinking about for a move to Singapore, remember that it’s your unique situation and your own decision to make. And of course, if you are bringing your family with you, that also changes things. (One thing to be aware of is that Singapore has weird visa laws regarding children born in Singapore. If you don’t earn above a certain pay grade, you’ll have to constantly renew the child’s visa until something more long term can be worked out.) Continue Reading

Blue coffee mug Coffee at Rocket cafe in Bangkok

Bangkok in contrasts

Bangkok is changing very rapidly, just like any other major city in Asia. The interesting thing about Bangkok is that you’ll find areas that have become something entirely cosmopolitan overnight next to others that aren’t changing at the same rate (or at all).

Two sides, same coin

Two sides of a lightrail train station in central Bangkok
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Sunset over the ocean

Young white male asks me for money. Thoughts on #whiteprivilege from a tropical island

I feel like I almost got scammed. I was waiting to get on the ferry off of the island in Thailand to make my way back to Bangkok to catch a flight.

While sitting on a bench, a young white male comes up to me and starts talking to me. At first I don’t understand what he saying, partly because he has an accent and partly maybe because he was speaking quickly. He repeated himself, “Could you give me 100 baht for the ferry…”

My gut immediately refused him. I said I’m sorry but I don’t have any change. Sure, 100 Thai baht is little more than 3 US dollars, but I didn’t feel compelled to give this young white guy my money. Why should I when this person, just by luck of birth, has all the advantages in the world. Why should I, a young, poor, female, minority (in my country) student, give him, a young, seemingly healthy, white, man, my money?
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