Jarrod Brown

Jarrod Brown

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    What's the best itinerary for three weeks in the South of India?

    completing . . . Bangalore is very cosmopolitian and traffic is glacial. I lived there for nearly four years. Really--you need to sometimes leave hours in advance in order to reach the other side of the city in time. I do suggest taking in the Hari Krishna Temple and visiting the Nandhi Temple. It and the one you would have seen earlier at Belur are among India's largest nandhis. In a single day you can take in the sights with an autorickshaw or by car. There is also Sri Sri has an ashram not far from the city center you can visit that is very beautiful, but if I remember you have to arrange your visit in advance. If you can make the four or five hour journey (depending on when you leave) to Mysore, the cultural heart of Karnataka, then I highly suggest it as an overnight trip. Otherwise, I suggest doing some shopping at Commerical Street and along MG Road or in some of the megamalls like Guruda Mall. If you liked, you could travel to Chennia from here. Take the Shatabdi Express Train to Chennai. If you don't do a lot of train travel it can be a fun and comfortable trip. I used to commute back and forth from Chennai and Bangalore and take the midnight express and be in Chennai fairly early in the morning. A very interesting temple town off the beaten path is Kanchipuram an hour or two from Chennai. You can get off a bus early to get here, and there is a train station (but the Shabadi doesn't stop here--it is an express train). I stayed there for five nights once and never saw another foreigner during my entire time. It is a much more intimate experience than going to and I thought more exciting, and it is a small enough town you can easily walk everywhere and there is very little traffic. I took a very long, perhaps five mile walk out into the countryside from here once and it was really a special experience. I got invited into three or four houses for tea, sometimes when we only shared a handful or words with my broken Tamil and their broken English. If you go as far as Chennai, then you will have crossed Southern India to the Bay of Bengal. If you can, go to Mahabalipuram. If is again very popular with Indian tourists. over 8 years ago

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    What's the best itinerary for three weeks in the South of India?

    TI suggest you begin in Southern Kerala, in Kochi (Cochin), and work your way up the Malabar Coast all the way to Mangalore. From there, you can drive or take a bus on a good, mostly new highway connecting it to Bangalore. From Bangalore you can easily traverse across another good road or take the Shatabdi Express Train to Chennai. It would be leisurely time. Cochin is right in the backwaters. From there, you can easily organize your trip to the backwaters while you explore a place that was an ancient confluence of cultures. The Jewish community here dates back to the Babylon Exile and Nestorian Christians already long established here when the first Catholic missionaries came to India. After the backwaters and seeing a beautiful peak at India's human and natural landscape, you could hop over to an Arabian Gulf beach. Whether you want one that is one of the new "hot spots" for backpackers or try to find one less touched it easy from here. You could even plan on visiting both as you work your way north. After the beach, a night or two in Mangalore will give you enough time to plan a trip to Halebid and Belur (there are a few other temples that can be covered in this "circuit" including a significant Jain shrine) as well as sample some Konkin Coast cooking. Mangalorean Konkani food--a ethnic/linguistic group that are largely Christian--is delightful and like nothing else on the continent. If you are able, try the pork curries (buffat curried) and the famous crabs. Halebid and Belur lie halfway between Mangalore and Bangalore. They are popular with Indian tourists, but over the weekends there will be very few. They are very signficant examples of Southern India art and architecture. It is best to hire a driver or rent a car, but tour operators can help you arrange things if you need help. Please see my comments about Banglore onwards. My answer is long. over 8 years ago

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    How can I get a business visa from Cambodia once in the country?

    Christopher is correct. I could have paid a fortune to have it made without leaving, but it made much more sense to make a quick border run and just get a new visa. over 8 years ago

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    My partner & I are going to be in Kuala Lumpar for 3-5 days, what are some great places & things to do & see?

    Kuala Lumpur is a big city without many chances to see wildlife. You can make a full day trip to Fraizer's Hill is a great place for birdwatching, but its 100 kilometers from Kuala Lumpur and really best accessed if you can do it overnight or have your own car. If you are only planning on a few days, cultural sites are probably the most accessible. The Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) in Kepong is a bit outside the city, but it does offer some cool things including a canopy walk. It might be your best bet for some nature. Within Kuala Lumpur there are some great cultural sites. For modern and glitzy, try the Petronus Towers--if you get there early (like by 7:30AM) you can get free tickets to go across the Sky Bridge. The Lot 10 Food Court also serves up a number of traditional street fare in sanitary conditions--it can be a great way to try some of the cuisines of Malaysia. A visit to Petaling Street and the Chinatown night market is not to be missed--just keep your wallet in your front pocket. The nearby Pasar Sini, or Central Market, is aimed at tourist but is still a great place to look around and shop for handicraft and its foodcourt is also quite nice--I suggest the Kelantanese stand. Try to the nasi lembu. The Thean Hou Temple is notable in Taman Persiaran Desa. There is also the Buddhist Maha Vihara in Bricksfield. Both are very nice to visit. The National Mosque is great and in the heart of the city. Just beside it sits the Islamic Civilizations Museum. It is nicely air conditioned and can easily take up a couple of leisurely hours. Outside the city is the famous Batu Caves. They keep getting less impressive every time I go, but I think it is just because I have gone there so many times. They are very impressive and worth the trip--about a half hour or so each way from KL. However, I personally think that the Putra Mosque in Putrajaya is also a great day trip. Go in the evening so you can catch the sunset. However, again it is a little harder to access without a car or at least some careful planning. over 8 years ago

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    how much would it cost to backpack in cambodia for one month?

    Some advice: Always, always carry an extra $200 with you in cash--in your sock, in a money belt, sewn into your jeans. There are ATMs and Western Unions everywhere, but keep a stash you don't spend. Don't change money from USD to riel particularly at airports or borders. USD is accepted everywhere. A nice single hotel room with a private bathroom and air con can be found for about $12-15 per night. You can find dorms and other cheaper (fan-only) accommodations in the $5-10 range nearly everywhere. When I am backpacking (I currently live in Cambodia), I can slum it for a week or so and then I want a place with air conditioning and a bathtub or swimming pool so I can kick back a little. Be prepared to pay for any attractions as Hana noted and build those into your budget. It is also difficult and expensive to ship things out of Cambodia, so plan on packing all your gifts/souvenirs with you throughout your trip. Bargaining is expected in markets, and usually using tuk-tuks. Always begin by suggesting half or less of what they ask and go from there. Last night I bought a beautiful wood panel for $60. They asked $150 for it. If you eat in Western tourist places, a meal with a drink will run you around $5+. If you eat in local joints you can eat from under $3. I have noodle soup (sup mee) for breakfast in the local pasar (market) here in Siem Reap most mornings and it cost $.75, and my local iced coffee costs me another $.50. A coffee is $2 at the tourist joints on Pub Street. Draft beer is $.50-75 in most places, local or tourist-aimed. Bus transportation between cities runs anywhere from $4-12 depending. There is a $20 tourist visa fee and extra if you don't have a photo. There's a $25 airport exit fee if flying from Cambodia, cash and in US dollars. I would suggest learning some basic Khmer before you go to help facilitate these sort of meaningful exchanges. You can find a free program here: http://bit.ly/gxZWRr It isn't the easiest program to follow, but the first couple lessons will put you miles ahead of most tourists who think the people here speak "Cambodian." over 8 years ago

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    Water purification in Nepal

    You should plan on purifying your water in almost all locales. You can buy water purification tablets but they can also disrupt the natural bacteria in your digestive system. You can also now get mini-UV sterlizers called SteriPens http://www.steripen.com I've used them camping and trekking in Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and the mainland USA and am happy with them. over 8 years ago

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    Boutique hotels in Phnom Penh

    You might consider the Boddhi Tree properties. There are three in Phnom Pehn, all restored houses that are very tastefully decorated and certainly very "chill." You will need reservations. http://www.boddhitree.com/ over 8 years ago

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    sihanoukville's hidden secrets

    Drake--not in Sihanoukville but not too far away inear n Kep are some spectacular caves: Phnom Ta-aun & Phnom Sia Caves. They require about a half-day. There is some fairly decent snorkeling and SCUBA diving available in the area, too--taking the half day boat tours of the outer islands are nice and they will be developed soon, so see them while you can before they are covered in hotels. (Remember your sun screen, and ear plugs help, too--those engines are LOUD). Work has already begun on building one resort area. You might also consider visiting Ream National Park, and Wat Ream is worth a quick visit. Besides natural beauty, nothing cultural/historic in the area is really springing to mind. Most of the temples are located in Western Cambodia . . . almost 9 years ago