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South East Asia

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When I travelled to India, I was a rookie at travel, the real rookie. It was the first time I was travelling solo to a place I knew no-one at all. The most I knew about India was the Taj Mahal. I was travelling to India to volunteer in a village called Boothgargh for two months https://wangechigitahitravels.com/hoshiapur-my-home-away-from-home/. I thus did not carry any medication incase immigration saw them and decided to return me home thinking they were drugs (I had heard stories), I didn’t get any vaccination(I didn’t even know one should do that) and no travel insurance-I didn’t know of its importance. This ignorance combined with naivety came to bite me later-literally. One day as I was walking around the village, enjoying the fresh air,  listening to the chirping of birds, enjoying the sight of green foliage and excited about an event that was to happen later in the day,…

Agra is located in Uttar Pradesh in the Northern State of India. This area is special to me as culture is all over from the preserved buildings of the Mughal-era to the culture of the people.  The area is however popular as it is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites namely Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Most people actually travel to this area just to visit the Taj Mahal. Taj Mahal: Did you know that the Taj Mahal is not a Palace but a Mausoleum? It was  built from 1632-1653 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz  Mahal whom he loved dearly and had died at child birth. Both of them are buried here and it is an expensive expression of Love posthumously. As we arrived at the Taj Mahal, we were met by this imposing red and white structure that…

Dharamshala means “religious sanctuary” or “rest house” in Hindi. This place is indeed a refuge for several religious pilgrims as evidenced by the numerous buddhist monks living here, it being home to the youngest Dalai Lama as well as several refugee Tibetans. It is located in the Himachal Pradesh area towards the mountain region and is crowded with oak and conifer trees thus being a very cool and serene place. My highlights of Dharamshala 1.Visit McLeod Ganj It is famous for being home to the Dalai Lama and several Tibetan exiles and monks. As you walk around the place, you will easily meet with several Tibetans and Buddhist monks and if you are lucky, you may get a chance to actually see and hear the Dalai Lama address the people. 2) Learn about Tibet and its people The  Dharamshala area is a haven for many exiled Tibetans and is refered…

It is the capital of the Himachal Pradesh State. It was known as the summer home for the Europeans during colonization, who retreated here whenever the temperatures rose in other states. It is in the mountains and thus quite cool and the scenery of the Himalaya Ranges from afar is breathtaking. The buildings have been done to have a somewhat Victorian look and the historic central area is a place of peace as traffic is prohibited. This was and is truly a retreat area. I totally went “wild” in Shimla and recommend you follow suit in the following activities. 1) Head to Kufri This is a hill station about 20km from Shimla and a place I highly recommend. It is more relaxed, there are more people to interact with and  learn more about their culture. This is also the place we did crazy stunts as shared below: a)Ride a Yak…

Hoshiapur is a little town located in the North Eastern region of India. The area is generally referred to as Punjab due to having a dominant Punjab community. The closest large  city to it is Chandigarh and I was living in a little village called Boothgarh in Hoshiapur. I had traveled over 5500km, moving from a city life in Kenya to rural lifestyle in India, to volunteer teaching  children in this region.This was the first time I was away from family and friends, away from my norm and truly, this area changed my life in more ways than one.  I met a community that had never seen an African, and a black African at that, yet they took me in as their daughter, sister, granddaughter and  friend. I made some of my greatest friendships here, I started breaking stereotypes here and I started discovering another version of  me here. Below…

After enjoying Taipei for sometime, I chose to venture southwards to Pingtung, that is also referred to as Pingdong. I really liked this place as the people were super warm, the landscape really serene and there was lots to learn about their culture, especially due to the high older generation population. The below is what I got up to, feel free to follow suit. a)Engage with the people I was privileged to have a home stay experience courtesy of my friends Katys grand parents.  These two opened their hearts and home to me and I will forever be grateful that I eventually started calling them grand ma and grand pa. It was interesting watching people observe grandma and I conversing with each other, her in Chinese, me in English, yet we completely understood each other.They became my tour guides and showed me all around the town and its outskirts. May…

1.It is officially known as the Kingdom of Thailand and its capital city is Bangkok. 2.Their official language is Thai but most of them also speak English especially in the major towns. 3.The head of  state is a King while the Prime Minister is the head of  Parliamentary government. 4.It has the second largest economy in South East Asia and is made up of 1430 islands. 5.The dominant religion is Buddhism and they are open to all religions. 6. It is the only country in South East Asia that was not colonized by a European country 7.It is densely populated, especially in Bangkok. 8. It is bordered by  Myanmar /Burma to the North and West, Laos to the North and East, Cambodia to the South East and Malaysia to the South. 9. The head is revered by the Thai people, thus never touch someones head, even children. The feet on…

 1.Hong Kong’s official name is the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, or Hong Kong SAR. 2.Hong Kong’s official languages are Chinese (Spoken Cantonese) and English 3.It is located in East Asia and Hong Kong consists of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the New Territories, and several other smaller islands.  There are 263 islands in Hong Kong. 4.It has the worlds highest number of skyscarpers with most buildings being over 14floors 5.It is the most expensive country in the world to buy a home in 6.It is a leading financial hub, worldwide 7. Hong Kong is a generally safe country with with very low crime rates. It is safe even for females to travel at night 8.The airport staff at the Hong Kong International Airport get an A+ in customer service. When we arrived, to my amazement, I was received with a wheel chair as I was travelling with the aid of a…

Melaka also referred to as Melacca  is a beautiful city located to the South of Malaysia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is currently my favourite place in Malaysia as it is full of culture. There are many old buildings, some in their natural old state with others having been rehabilitated by the government. Things to do in Melaka/Melacca 1.Visit the historical buildings a) I got to visit Christ Church Melaka, which is the oldest functioning Protestant Church in Malaysia. Its construction begun in 1741 and was completed in 1743. It has been beautifully refurbished and one of the main buildings you will see upon arrival. b) A FAMOSA This was a former Portuguese fortress  that was built in 1511 and is the oldest surviving European architectural remains in South East Asia. It was partly renovated by the Dutch and as you walk around it, you can see…

Penang is located on the North Western coast of Malaysia and is the second largest city. Its capital city George town is one of the oldest towns in Malaysia and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you move around the town you will at times feel like you took a time travel into the past. My Highlights : 1)History and culture George Town is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a walk through the town will enable you to appreciate its history and culture. The area is inhabited more by the older generation and most of the buildings are really old. The government however, has tried to restore some of them. 2) Sweetenham Pier Cruise Terminal: This place is a beauty to behold. This is both the entry point and exit points of those travelling here over water. The pier handles millions of passengers yearly from the public…