Sleeper Train in Thailand, Sleeper Bus in Laos & Other Mode of Transportation

IMG_7113It is interesting to note how varied the mode of transport is in Southeast Asia. Coming from a Southeast Asia myself, I was surprised to learn about sleeper bus and train. We don’t have this kind of stuff in the Philippines. Out of curiosity, I took a “sleeper train” from Bangkok to Vientiane. The lower deck is a sofa convertible to bed with a window seat. If you happen to be in the upper deck it is just a small space without window, you can touch the ceiling and you can barely move. In a short description, it is very much like – a coffin. I ended up taking the second decker as I bought the ticket last minute without much option for the lower deck. I was like a dead-living person in a coffin-like sleeper train for 12 hours. But I survived! :)

Another interesting experience which I thoroughly enjoyed is the “sleeper bus” that I took from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. I was wondering if it is like a sleeper train, but NO. The sleeper bus is so much like a bunk bed but the catch is, you have to share it with another person. It wouldn’t be a problem if you are a couple. It could be a dilemma for someone traveling alone. Especially, if the ratio of male to female is odd number. Imagine, there is one bed and you practically have to share it with a total stranger!  And what if the other person is physically big in size and can occupy the whole space, how will you squeeze yourself in :P. Interestingly, I was given a space to share with a Laos lady and we ended up as friends. Though she does not speak a single word in English but we kept talking and I think, we managed to get by haha. It was an enjoyable  12-hour bumpy ride in a rough and rugged road. I hardly fall asleep.

Here are some of the photos and other mode of transportation in Laos and Thailand: Continue reading

Captured Scene: Happy 49th Birthday Singapore!

A Singapore flag from air carried by helicopter

A Singapore flag from air carried by helicopter with a backdrop of Gardens By The Bay

First time in six years, I am not anywhere but in Singapore on its National Day. It’s like a miracle ;). Through this unassuming little blog, I wish to express my gratitude to the pioneers of Singapore. It wouldn’t be where it is right now if not for the Aunties & Uncles who founded Singapore.

Aunties crossing to Parkway Parade

Aunties “jalan jalan” :)) to Parkway Parade

Uncle playing violin at Marine Parade

Uncle playing violin at Marine Parade sidewalk

Do you know that Singapore is among the 3 nations in the world that is both considered a city and a state? Along with 2 others are Monaco and Vatican city.

Although Singapore has a land area of only about 710 square kilometers, it has 63 islands! Yes, Singapore has 63 islands. Among those popular are Pulau Ubin, St John Island and (of course) Sentosa :). (You’ll notice that the land area keeps changing, perhaps those reclaimed ones are being added).

Maybe some of you know the fact that Singapore was previously part of Malaysia. How it became an independent country was not because it was self-sought. Back then, Singapore was already a very busy trading centre and has attracted migrants coming from different places. During that time, Malaysia had face difficulties over control of Singapore. To cut it short, Malaysia, let go Singapore. So on 09 August 1965, Singapore separated from Malaysia and had become a new country.

The  name Singapore was derived from a Sanskrit word – “Singapura”, which means  “lion”. It was discovered by Prince Utama from Sri Vijaya Empire on 11ith century AD. Since, this little island used to be a fishing port, the icon of Singapore which is “Merlion” is half lion and half fish. But time changes so fast – most of us young folks can identify Singapore’s icon today as The Marina Bay Sands and/ or Gardens By The Bay ;).

Interestingly while browsing TODAY’s newspaper, the (contentious) project where I am currently involved is featured in TODAY National Day Special. I would like to think that while development takes place, preservation of the nation’s heritage can go together, not necessarily against each other. But then this premise can be contested. Somehow, it would depend on which lens one is looking at.

National Day Special. TODAY's edition. 09 August 2014

National Day Special. TODAY’s edition. 09 August 2014

In the same article, are those blogs featured which are part of the Singapore Memory Project (SMP). This little blog is part of SMP too. As I pledge it. I got an email from the officer of the National Library Board (NLB) who sent me  a badge to put into my blog. (Apologies Sir, until now I haven’t put the badge, I will work on it. This little blog really needs some make over).

Meanwhile, Happy 49th Birthday Singapore! Cheers! :D

My favorite place to cycle :)

My favorite place for cycling :)

East Coast :)

East Coast! :)

NOTE:  To My dear readers, apologies I have just noticed lots of typo error and some lines/ paragraphs were missed out. I was almost half-asleep while working on this post. I wanted it to be published on the exact birthday of Singapore but it got 1 day later. I adjusted the date anyway :P. Errors has been corrected while those missed out lines were added. By the way, source of those bits and pieces of information I shared, I learned from chit chat with some old folks at the hawker center. Or when I got the chance to pretend like a tourist and join some local tours ;). And yes, I read a bit Singapore’s history – Lonely Planet books collection :).

Thanks for your kind understanding! Mafey XX

Tourist Visa to Austria and Other EU Visas

Mafey Visa to Austria_

Ahhh… I smell Europe :D

Austria is part of Schengen countries, thus the requirements for tourist visa are basically the same as with any European country member of the Schengen state. And guess what, it’s the French Embassy again :). Prior to my preparation for tourist visa application, I learned that in Singapore, countries like Austria, Greece, Monaco and France (of course) – the application for tourist visa is being processed by the French Embassy. And yes, it’s my third time at the French Embassy. “Suki” in my language as you may call.

I’ve mentioned the requirements are essentially the same, as with my post – Schengen Visa in 5 Days: Tourist Visa to Greece. (http://maftravelgraphy.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/schengen-visa-in-5-days-tourist-visa-to-greece/).

The only additional requirements, I’ve noticed added was a copy (original and photocopy) of all Schengen Visas you have had previously. That’s  all :).

Allow me to share the visas I have had since 2008: Continue reading

A Different Kind Of (Travel) Reflection

Driving from Kota Tinggi Water Falls_TRAVEL NOTES 101. Taman Melodies Malaysia. 0058 hours

To My Creator,
I just want to utter a sense of GRATITUDE. Thank you for surrounding me with good people. Thank you for the ANGELS constantly guiding me. Thank you for the help of the Holy Spirit to keep me stay on the right track. When the evil/ ego keeps tempting me – when it is EASY to take the wrong path, You bring me back to the CENTRE.

I realized how I am wasting my time for some petty feelings of the “unfairness” of the world.
When I have a CHOICE. To always choose the right thing – the better way.

I realized that my “own self” is the biggest hindrance, to achieving the very goal of my life, in this season of my life.

THANK YOU for giving me good friends…

I guess, now, I understand men better.
Surprisingly, they also talk and dream about SOUL MATE, they are akin to be COMMITTED, they dream of settling down too. – But,
DISCERNMENT is very IMPORTANT – these are the people – the men – who ARE HONEST – who do not fool around – who are not scared of expressing truly what’s inside themselves.

I guess, we ALL DREAM of living out our DREAMED LIFE, to be with the “Right One”. We all strive to be better (human being). ONLY sometimes, the problem arise from the EXECUTION. But we (ALL) aspire to be better – I think it’s BEST to think that way…

##Mafgoingtoopersonal

Local Scene: Hari Raya Bazaar at Geylang Road and Sims Avenue

Hari Raya4Public holiday always makes me happy – it means I can go somewhere :).
Feeling like a tourist as am currently staying in a hostel. Since the flat where I presently resides is undergoing renovation, I decided to move out temporarily to avoid unnecessary inconvenience. Half-way to the city, I am within the vicinity where local food, bazaar, colorful decorations in celebration of Hari Raya Puasa intersects. Here are some Hari Raya snaps: Continue reading

PEACE amid chaos

PEACE Inspite of ChaosNatural calamities. A strong typhoon (Glenda) occurred in the Philippines killing several casualties and leaving the affected areas in chaos. Glenda has just headed to China. Another tropical depression (Henry) is approaching over the southeastern Philippine sea.

Man-made disaster. Another Malaysian passenger jet (MH17) en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed down at the eastern Ukraine, region of Donetsk, the infested war zone of Ukraine and Russia. Imagine, 298 innocent lives suffered again UNNECESSARILY. I am not only saddens by the untimely death of these people, part of me is in rage. The crashed-down which was believed to be missile-shot would have not happen if there is NO war. This should NOT happen. Pushing through certain political ideologies at the expense of killing another is by any means NOT acceptable. Any form of war only achieves a lose-lose situation. Nobody wins in this cruel game. Whoever have done this barbaric act must be punished!

Ukraine – Russia. Perhaps a Peace Treaty Agreement has to be made. The global leaders must step in.

My heart goes to those whose lives lost… I lighted a dozen candles and uttered a prayer of peace. In the hearts of those families and friends grieving, I mourned with you.

Iguazu Falls: One Of The New 7 Natural Wonders Of The World

Maf at Iguazu!“Love is like a waterfall

it pours out of you forever!” –QuotesDonkeyMaf at Iguazu1“Will you be the rock

that redirect the course of the river?” –Claire Nuer

Maf at Iguazu2“Happiness resides not in possessions and not in gold;

happiness dwells in the soul”. –Democritus 

Continue reading