A Trek to Song-Kol Lake in Kyrgyzstan: Yurts, Mountains, and Wildflowers

One last bit of adrenaline kicked in and propelled me to the stunning view at the top of the pass. Laid out before me was a vast grassland, a shallow valley slowly descending to silvery blue Song-Kol lake in the distance, reflecting the snowy mountains that shimmered in the bright sunlight. Behind me, I could see where we’d come from, the yurt camp that was just above ours now just a tiny white speck far, far below. This four day trek to Song-Kol lake was spectacular.

Why India Surprised Me

I didn’t get groped in India on the first day. Not once. On the second day I even took the metro, and forgetting about the women-only car at the front, crammed myself in with all the men. But no groping. One man even accidentally brushed against my forearm and then held up his hand in apology. What was going on?

On the River: Taking the Boat From Sittwe to Mrauk U in Myanmar

Taking the boat from Sittwe to Mrauk U in Myanmar is an excellent chance to see life along the river. The ferry leaves just as the sun is rising through the mist; seagulls follow the boat as it makes its way from the dock up the river, hoping it will churn up a tasty snack. Cargo and fishing boats pass, some loaded down until they’re barely peeking out of the water, and stops at villages along the way make an interesting diversion.

A Wander Through the Back Streets of Hpa-An, Myanmar

I did the tourist thing in Hpa-An. I took a boat across the river and climbed a big hill to watch the sunset. I took a day trip around to all the cave temples and karst scenery. I visited a popular swimming hole. And when I’d done all that? I wandered. Beyond the market, towards the river, I followed a road down a slight hill, into an area remarkably different from the rest of town.