The Tongariro Crossing, Part 2

December 16, 2009

This is part two of a two part post. Part one is here. As I took the final few steps to the top, I was rewarded with grand views in every direction…

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The Tongariro Crossing

December 14, 2009

Due to the volume of pictures, this is part one of a two-part post. Reputed as the finest one-day hike in New Zealand, the Tongariro crossing is a winding, nineteen-kilometre trail through a constantly changing landscape. Formed by massive volcanic eruptions, much of the area has such a sinister look that it was used to […]

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Taupo – The Heart of North Island

December 13, 2009

Taupo is a gorgeous lakeside town, and the weather has been spectacular the whole time I’ve been here. Clear, blue, sunny and about 25 degrees Celsius. Today is the first cloudy day, but it’s still comfortable and warm enough. As I type I am enjoying my last day in Taupo, about to leave to the […]

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Rotorua – Sun and Steam

December 10, 2009

After a few soggy days in Tauranga, I moved down to the geothermal hotspot of Rotorua. It’s a rather touristy place, but for a reason. Because the Pacific “Ring of Fire” runs right through Rotorua, the city is home to all kinds of tectonic mayhem. Throughout, the area is dotted with geysers, steamy pits of […]

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New Zealand, At Last

December 4, 2009

My Thailand trip was originally conceived as a tacked-on, one-week diversion from my main destination. I ended up spending four weeks there and having an unforgettable time. Now I am finally in my real destination, and it is even more beautiful than I imagined. In terms of scenery, they are spoiled here. Geographically it is […]

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The Last Stop: Hua Hin

December 1, 2009

The train ride from Trang was fairly awful. Once again I was stuck with the overhead bunk, but I wasn’t worried because the 12-hour ride to Chiang Mai was rather painless. I was concerned though, about the inconvenient arrival time of 3:35am. Almost everyone on the train was headed to Bangkok, and I was only […]

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Trang: The Road Less Traveled

November 28, 2009

I’ve gotten ahead of myself a bit. I am already in New Zealand, but my last two weeks have been rushed and I never reported on my last two stops in Thailand: Trang and Hua Hin. Both posts have been written, just not posted, so keep that in mind when I use words like “today” […]

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Ko Phi Phi: Paradise for Sale, While Supplies Last

November 17, 2009

Best known as the site of Leonardo DiCaprio’s bizarre meltdown in Danny Boyle’s celebrated failure, The Beach, Ko Phi Phi is an island of uncanny natural beauty and now, an exceptionally ugly culture of overdevelopment. Other travelers told me not to come here on account of the overbearing crowds, and though I’m glad I did, […]

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To the Islands

November 13, 2009

After wandering around Chiang Mai entertaining myself for three days, I felt a bit underwhelmed. Eating was always a gratifying experience, but that could only be done three times a day if I was going to be reasonable. Organized sightseeing was all right, but it was expensive and a little too packaged-feeling. For the first […]

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A Week in Chiang Mai

November 8, 2009

Well I’ve been taking it easy in Thailand’s second-biggest city, the northern capital Chiang Mai. It isn’t exactly small, but the pace here is much more easygoing than Bangkok. Motorcycles generally stay off the sidewalks here, and the street vendors are a little less aggressive. I’m holed up very comfortably in the Rux-Thai guesthouse, just […]

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