Lashio train across Gokteik Viaduct in Shan State, Myanmar

Hair-Raising Gokteik Viaduct Train to Hsipaw | Myanmar Travel

Darkness blankets the city as I make my way toward Mandalay station in the pre-dawn hours. I’m alone, but there’s nothing to be afraid of. Myanmar is one of the safest tourist destinations in all of Asia. The locals I’ve encountered throughout my journey have been all smiles. Besides, I know exactly where I’m going. I made this walk to the train station just yesterday to buy my ticket to the far-flung Shan State town of Hsipaw. $4 for a 1st class ticket on one of the great train routes of the world. Score!

But as I soon discovered, “1st class” doesn’t mean all that much. And danger lurks in unexpected places while traveling overseas. read more

beautiful green rice terraces in Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines

Solo in Sagada: Reflections from the Philippine Cordilleras

I wish that I could describe the feeling… awakening in this sleepy mountain hideaway. But try as I may, the words get lost… somewhere in a memory. Traveling solo as a foreigner in the Philippines can be a little scary at times. And other times it can be downright dangerous. But with a few precautions and an extra order of patience, the Philippines will have your heart in no time. read on…

blue sky above the golden Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar (Burma)

Dreams of Yangon: Wandering Back in Time in Myanmar’s Old Capital

It’s a metropolis unlike any other in Southeast Asia, a city frozen in time. Yangon at once dismays and delights with its contrast of extreme poverty set amongst a backdrop of charming British colonial architecture. You won’t at first recognize it as a city of 5 million residents. It has a decidedly small town feel. You’ll notice something missing. There are no skyscrapers. And no motorbikes! They’re nowhere to be found thanks to a citywide restriction. So as you might expect, traffic in Yangon is atrocious. Yet the people drive slow. In fact, they even seem somewhat courteous. read more