Postcards from Abroad

Whether your dream is to stay in a colonial-era bungalow in the middle of a tea plantation, an Indian princely palace, or to cruise in luxury the Irrawaddy to Mandalay, we never tire of searching for your next great travel destination. This is the place to share with us your most recent adventures.

Sri Lanka - Positive and affectionate reflections by James and Cate Fraser

Sri Lanka - Positive and affectionate reflections by James and Cate Fraser

As nearly a year has passed, we have had time to reflect on our trip which was so cruelly cut short by COVID. All looked good when we flew from Stansted with Emirates

Our first stop was at The Mudhouse, an eco-lodge forest lodge, seemingly miles from anywhere. No electricity so candle and lanterns at night. Bikes to get around the extensive site. Excellent trip out to Paramakanda Temple.
Great experience, once you got used to the heat!

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Sri Lanka - The Notable North by James and Cate Fraser

Thanthirmale Buddhist TempleOn our journey to Mannar Island we stopped off at Thanthirmale Buddhist Temple where we admired the large stupa and a huge ancient carving of a sleeping Buddha in the rock face. Whilst beneath the Bodhi Tree we encountered a loud strange and repetitive sound. It emanated from a very small but beautiful Barbel. We were captivated.

 

 

  

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Ayubowan! (Greetings) by James and Cate Fraser

Mudhouse Our eco Mud House visit triggered our Sri Lankan travels. Set in the forest, it was   quite   difficult to find as there are no signposts once off the main road and this added to the   anticipation. We were not disappointed!

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Intriguing Inle Lake and Natural Ngapali

 
James and Cate in Myanmar
  
Whilst sitting in Heho airport we felt in a bit of a daze digesting our action packed itinerary at Inle Lake. Inle is far more touristy than anywhere we have been as it is the place everyone visits; that said it has a charm of its own and we can understand its allure. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Bewitching Bagan and Marvellous Mandalay

James and Cate in Bagan

Bagan, an ancient city in central Myanmar where there are over 2000 temples is quite overwhelming. Some are topped with golden stupas and most contain large Buddha images. The temples are in varying states of disrepair and various earthquakes over the years have have had an effect which adds to their charm and fascination. 

 

 

 

 

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Mawlamyine and Hpa- An (which apparently means 'Frog Vomit').

Where to start?

James and Cate in Myanmar

The last few days have passed in a whirl.

We have been very busy all day, every day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kyaiktiyo: 'pagoda on a hermit's head'

James and Cate at KyaiktiyoOur visit to Kyaiktiyo meaning 'pagoda on a hermit's head' is something we will never forget. This is one of the holiest places in the country which thousands of people visit every day. We were to spend a night on the mountain so we had to prepare beforehand as our suitcases could not accompany us. So we packed very light, a small rucksack each and off we went.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mingalaba - Hello

James and Cate in Hpa AnMingalaba - hello

 

We arrived in Yangon to find that our itinerary had to change because of full moon so after 15 hours of travel (4 am our time), we found there was no rest for the wicked. We were given 2 hours to freshen up and then our adventure began. Noticeable were the longyis - sarong lower body garments worn by men and women and we were also fascinated by the number of people covered in Thanaka, a bright yellow face paint which acts as a sunblock/ makeup made from ground tree bark. Faces vary from subtle streaks to spectacular styles.

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Genial Gwalior and diverse Delhi

Gwalior 4The last one we promise......................until Burma!

 

Sadly our Indian adventure is almost over.....Off the beaten tourist track Gwalior's majestic hill fort dominates, whilst beneath a very busy town of 2 million inhabitants go about their business. The fort's mighty battlements encompass 6 palaces, 3 temples, a few water tanks and cisterns, a prestigious public school and a Sikh place of worship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kempt but kinky Khajuraho and Orsome Orchha

James and Cate Khajuraho..... We do realise it's awesome but.......

Khajuraho is home to India's most famous 9th to 12th century temples known for their erotic sculptures. These are pretty explicit and reflect society in an age free from inhibitions.

 

 

 

 

 

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Venerable, virtuous and vivid Varanasi

James Fraser in Sarnath Varanasi provides a complete assault on the senses.......

 Our hotel on the waterfront is a haven of peace and tranquility, for once you step outside you enter a strange and manic world.

  

 

 

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Hello again from sunny India.

Bhubuneshwar TemplesBhubaneswar and Puri are a breath of fresh air in comparison with crazy Kolkata, equally busy but the traffic is not quite as bad. Having said that imagine this strange but true scene.

We are making our way to the zoo to see a white tiger and are on a three lane road with each section clearly marked with white lines. Traffic hectic, all lanes full, much hooting. Driving quickly towards us the wrong way on one of the lines is a motorbike and the passenger is totally oblivious to any danger as he is engrossed on his mobile phone! Mad!

 

 

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Crazy Kolkata India 2

Mother Teresas AshramAlthough once the capital of the British Raj, the Victorian buildings stand peeling and decaying and the city is choked by traffic. The friendly and helpful natives coupled with the lush vegetation and tree lined streets give it a certain charm; a cyclone in The Bay of Bengal causing unseasonal downpours made exploration hazardous as the litter and dog mess became even more lethal when wet! We survived and the cost was a brolly bought in the local market!

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Postcard from Darjeeling

James and CateNamaste (Hello)

After an extremely long journey via Helsinki, Delhi and Bagdodra we were relieved and pleased to arrive in Darjeeling. The drive from Bagdodra airport began with a meander through villages avoiding wandering dogs, cows, goats, ducks, foraging pigs and people of all ages. Soon beautiful tea bushes dominated the landscape interspersed with trees. Whilst we watched the pickers at work the road narrowed and we began to wind our way up a single track road built by the British in the 1850's. It proved to be treacherous with steep hairpin bends, giant pot holes, landslides and general chaos and was totally inadequate but we made it!

 

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Shy Sa Pa is revealed by James and Cate Fraser

James and Cate at Sa Pa 2Well, after 3 days of cold weather, torrential rain and heavy cloud we got rewarded for our patience; today we actually saw the town and the sun. It was quite a treat to see the lake properly for the first time, gain our bearings and to go by cable car part of the way up to Fansipan, Vietnam's tallest peak ( 3,143 metres) .

 

 

 

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Hallowed Halong and Tam Coc by James and Cate Fraser

Halong Bay KayakOur 2 night cruise in Halong Bay has been interesting. The giant mysterious karsts stand tall in the emerald waters, some contain tiny sandy beaches and others reveal mighty caves and caverns.

 

 

 

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Reflections, and Hectic Hanoi by James and Cate Fraser

HanoiWe arrived safely in Hanoi, and on time; just as in our previous internal flight from Ho Chi to Danang. Vietnam Airlines seem to get some bad press but we have no complaints whatsoever.

We really enjoyed Hue. The hotel, the Saigon Morin, was great, sits besides the riverbank and was an ideal place to stay, particularly as there were 2 excellent restaurants nearby. We can only recommend The Mandarin, where we had lunch every day, and Hanh's where we had supper. The bill at the former amounted to a total of £6 inc beer, while Hanh's came to £10 for many courses and beer. Sad to leave!

  

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Vietnam 2 Awesome An Bang to heavenly Hue by James and Cate Fraser

Khai DinhAn Bang was a delightfully sleepy seaside village consisting of a Main Street with various small roads attached. Mango House where we stayed, set amongst the foliage about 50 metres from the beach, was quite a find. We spent a very relaxing week cycling, swimming and exploring. Great that Eastravel are flexible enough to let us go "off piste" booking accommodation direct as the owners did not deal with agents.

 

 

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Scintillating Saigon by James and Cate Fraser

cateWell, we are not disappointed! Our Vietnamese Dreamliner flight was excellent but we won't dwell on the wait we had to get visas; Khai our guide had given up on us and had only come back to the terminal to have one last check...... In addition, our hotel room was not to be ready for another 5 hours; luckily our hotel in the Dong Khoi area, the Majestic, is very central overlooking the Saigon River so undeterred we decided to wander around.

 

 

  

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Captivating Cambodia by James and Cate Fraser

Dramatic view at sunset of Sous-Dey (hello) from sunny and warm Cambodia.Siem Reap and Phnom Penh are both charming, energetic cities with tree lined streets and riverside promenades. Our schedule however has been relentless and time has passed in a whirl since arrival.

 

 

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