When in Prague, it’ll be a total let-down if you did not (or at least tried your best to) cross Charles Bridge. Why, you might ask. Well, simply because Karlův most, as it is locally-known, is a historical 610-meter long architectural creation that is definitely worth the few minutes (or hours) you’d spend while walking through it. My first glimpse of Charles Bridge was in a windy winter afternoon, while taking Sandemann’s New Prague Castle Tour, after we took the free city walking tour that they offered. We were crossing Čechův Bridge, a vehicle- and tram-passable bridge connecting the Jewish Quarter and Letna Park, or the area where we took the tram to the Prague Castle complex, when I saw that old-looking bridge — clearly, I had no idea that it is the famous Charles Bridge. We actually crossed Charles Bridge (only pedestrians are allowed) at the end of the Prague Castle Tour, as it connected the complex to Old Town Square area. Our guide told us interesting trivia about the bridge and the statues lining/guarding it — the most famous of which is that of St. John of Nepomuk’s statue and the plaques under it. Apparently, if you touch the statue of the priest being thrown into the Vltava River, your trip back to Prague (and of course Czech Republic) is assured! 🙂
The Me Nam Chao Phraya is a major river in Thailand, even referred to as the River of Kings. On my second day in Bangkok, during my Rattanakosin Island walkabout, I ended up in a plaza across Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn) where the Chao Phraya river has overflowed, swallowing most of the benches by the riverbanks. If you remember the flooding in Bangkok and Thailand in October 2011, you wouldn’t think that the overflow from the calm Chao Phraya River can be the cause for severe flooding in many of the provinces and its capital city. This photo, taken the next day when I explored Bangkok outside of Rattanakosin, was when I took the Chao Phraya Express Boat so I can have a closer look at some of the sights I have missed! Also coz I’m so cheap to buy the dinner river cruise ticket. Hehe 🙂 We passed under the towering Industrial Ring Road Bridge or officially, the Bhumibol Bridge, named after King Bhumibol Adulyadej (apparently, naming bridges after Kings is customary). By the time I left Bangkok the day after, the city was already frantic trying to prepare for the floods — communities passing and arranging sandbags, construction of 2-feet cemented walls by their homes’ doors, diversion of traffic in some areas. Although the Chao Phraya River caused misery to many Thai people, the River of Kings remain to be an important part of their daily lives — either for agriculture, trade or transport. I hope measures, by government and the communities, are being taken so that the October flooding won’t happen to Bangkok or to Thailand again.
Bangkok is known here in the Philippines, and perhaps in many other countries, as a place to do your bargain shopping. Little do people know that it is in Bangkok where they will be introduced to Buddhism, whether it was their intention or not. As for me, I think Bangkok was my first official Buddhist induction—with Khao San Road, the backpackers mecca where I stayed (well, the next street), and Rattanakosin Island (as in the tourist area) being very Wat (temple) sections of Bangkok.
Don’t worry though, as being overloaded with Buddhism and Thai architecture is something that you should look forward to. I think the Buddhism and IndoChina-rooted/based architecture, religious and cultural heritage is something that is very different from other countries, especially the Philippines. So, without further ado, I give you an overview (so as not to spoil your personal discovery) of what Bangkok is beyond shopping. These photos were selected among the hundreds I took while walking from Thanon Khao San towards the tourist sites of Rattanakosin Island.
I miss Mumbai. There, I said it. I lived in Navi Mumbai (New Bombay, totally different twin city) and I would go to South Bombay (aka SoBo) whenever me and my friends would go out for dinner and drinks. Why SoBo and not in Bandra, the party/gimik capital of Mumbai? I think it’s mainly because it is more accessible and hanging out in Colaba has a more chill vibe. Not to mention, I personally find South Mumbai more pleasant to walk through, with more character and history than the upscale Bandra area.
Needless to say, South Bombay and Colaba is also the most touristy. But hey, when you live in the city, you don’t really mind the mix of the local and foreign crowd. You enjoy it. People-watching and all. Being a foreigner myself, though I am not as tourist as the newly-arrived ones anymore, I always find something new to discover in Mumbai.
Anyway, I am not in a talking (writing) mood much today. Unless I want to end up too nostalgic to function. Haha. Therefore, I would jus want to share with you the images of Colonial Mumbai. I always call South Bombay the British area, primarily because the structures you would see closely resemble what you would find in London. I think (as referenced to movies and TV series).
I’ve included here a series of photographs, showing these British colonial structures. I tried my best to put them in the walking order, although my memory might be messed up already since there were some turns during these several walkthrough of South Mumbai.
I hope you enjoyed these virtual walking tour of South Bombay. Maybe you’ll get to walk through Colonial Mumbai someday too! I’ve heard several mixed reviews of being a tourist in Mumbai. Admittedly, the city can be unnerving and overwhelming but hey, give it more than a day or two and surely, you’ll get to know and feel it’s vibe too. If you need a walking guide (especially for couchsurfers), let me know and I might introduce you to a friend or two who may be able to show you around Colaba, South Mumbai and the rest of the city!
I have been to Singapore twice: first in April 2010 for a quick 4-day Singapore and Kuala Lumpur birthday holiday and second in October 2011 as part of my 4-week backpacking South East Asia trip.
The first time we went, as we had limited time in Singapore itself, I think we only saw a glimpse of the Singapore flyer and the newly-[half] opened helix bridge. The entire Helix Bridge, which connects the Marina Bay area, officially opened in July 2010.
When we came the second time, we spent almost an entire day just walking around the streets of Singapore. And of course, when we visited the Marina Bay Sands area before heading to the Singapore Flyer for our ride, the Helix Bridge served as a pleasant, interesting and [most importantly] shaded connecting walkway.
Not only that. When you walk through the walkway, you also get a chance to have a different vantage point (opposite side of the Merlion area) to appreciate the calm Singapore River with the bustling skyline in the background.