Elephant No. 32 – Hpa An, Burma

The main attraction of Hpa An is the collection of stunning caves in the surrounding area. We went in an EXTREMELY bumpy tuc-tuc to visit them (seriously – no metalled roads so way more bumpy than your average bumpy tuc-tuc ride). As they were religious sites they often had ornate entrances like this one, guarded by two white elephant statues. Them being religious sites also means you have to remove your shoes each time you go in – I stupidly wore lace-up walking boots thinking that as they were caves it would be uneven ground – and as a result probably spent more time putting on and taking off shoes than visiting caves. Nevertheless, it was an interesting day-trip, both because of the standard-very-surreal-bizarre Burmese statues in many of the caves, and a delightful boat trip out of one of them. I would thoroughly recommend a stop in Hpa An for anyone in the south of Burma.  (more…)

Elephant No. 17: Batu Caves, Malaysia

After my two solo weeks in Indonesia, I met up with Alex in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Though we enjoyed visiting the sites of the city, especially the stunning Islamic Arts Museum, we found the city hard to get around on foot, with a distinct lack of pavements and crossings, and there frequently wasn’t a public transport option for where we were trying to get to. Also, the city was smothered in a thick smog, so we were keen to try and get out a bit to some greenery and fresh air. With this in mind, we made a trip to the Batu Caves on the outskirts of the city.  (more…)