Touring Phang Nga Bay in Phuket with Simba Sea Trips

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Mention “Phuket” and eyes light up at the thought of shimmering beaches and aquamarine sea waters. The island has been immortalised in movies and regarded as the perfect destination for an “exotic” beach getaway. Google images depicting day cruises, sunbathers and picnics on the beach convince you that yes, this is paradise on earth.

The allure is slightly diminished with the volume of tourists in Phuket during busy seasons, but with the right tour company, you can still have a sandy-beach perfect vacation. I was struck when I came across rave review after rave review for this tour company called Simba Sea Trips, when scouting for a good tour of Phang Nga Bay. So I booked, with confidence, albeit with a tiny sliver of too-good-to-be-true doubt at the back of my mind. Plonking down mucho money for two (4,200 Baht per person) via PayPal can make you a bit nervous. Continue reading

The Temples of Bangkok

At the foot of Wat Arun

First time in Bangkok and I had no idea what to expect! Seems like a strange statement to make in this Internet-reliant era, but with the abundance of temples, markets, shopping malls and other attractions in Bangkok, the usual travel sites didn’t really help with whittling down a manageable two-day itinerary; instead I was all the more confused with what to see and where to eat or shop. Case in point: Tripadvisor’s reviewers usually give pretty helpful hints on a destination, especially in the U.S.–I’ve always been able to bank on learning about restaurants most loved by locals, little known places and must-see attractions that ended up being worth my precious tourist time, but this time my search yielded little useful information.

To be fair, Tripadvisor’s list on Bangkok did have many of the attractions that I’d expect a visitor to want to see in Bangkok, but the list is also interspersed with the most nondescript places–like a cross fit club, a cineplex, Kidzania Bangkok, and amazingly, at the top of this so-called attractions list, is an escape room game, instead of the king’s palace or one of the temples. I’m sure the escape room is great, but it’s not unique to Bangkok, and so you can hardly fault me for being dismissive of a list that included so many modern, non-travel related places. Abandoning the travel sites, I went off on my debut weekend in Bangkok without hardly any planning at all–another first during this trip (in a long time, that is.) Or perhaps, my sentiment is indicative of an ignorant view of Bangkok, one of the top visited cities in the world, because… Continue reading

Niagara Falls Inspires Daredevils

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The massive volume of swirling, gushing water at Niagara Falls will immediately captivate any onlooker’s attention.

It sure captured the imagination of Annie Taylor, a 63-year-old American schoolteacher and, of all things, an amateur daredevil stunter who became inspired to secure her notoriety by being the first person to ever go over the Falls. As if that wasn’t enough, she was to do it riding inside a wooden barrel.

Racing towards the cliffs at high speed, water exiting the Niagara River tumbles off the crestline, covering 10 metres in a second and creates a heavy mist towards the end of its’ downward trip into the gorge. Niagara Falls, a series of three waterfalls (Horseshoe, American and Bridal Veil) that sit between the border of New York, United States and Ontario, Canada, is approximately 50 meters in height, allowing the water just about five seconds to hit the bottom.

Imagine what it must have been like for Taylor when she went over for a 50 metre drop — inside a barrel padded only with a mattress, and her lucky heart-shaped pillow — in what must have felt like a heart stopping blink of an eye. It was on 24 October 1901, that Taylor survived her barrel ride practically unscathed, and lived another 20 years to tell her tale. Continue reading