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The Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks of Haeinsa Temple

SOUTH KOREA | Sat, 13 Apr 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [66]

SELECTING A HOTEL IN A FOREIGN CITY, especially an Asian city, is a crap-shoot—even with Booking.com. We were lucky with Hotel Palace in Gyeongju and we really hit the Jackpot here in Daegu. Not only did we get a great rate, Rivertain Hotel comes ... Read more >

Bulguksa Temple Complex

SOUTH KOREA | Thu, 11 Apr 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [53]

FOREWARNED ABOUT THE “IFFY” BUS SCHEDULE, we opted for a taxi for Bulguksa Temple Complex. It’s only about 20 kilometers from our hotel but I refilled my billfold with won anyway. I can’t speak for Buddha but Confucius say “... Read more >

Cuc Phoung National Park

VIETNAM | Fri, 5 Apr 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [71]

OUR FIRST STOP AFTER AN EARLY START from Tam Dao to Cuc Phoung was ostensibly a restroom break. But by the number of tour buses at the Vietnamese craft center we suspect that the guides get a bit of baksheesh from the paintings, silk, wood carvings and ... Read more >

Around Busan

SOUTH KOREA | Mon, 8 Apr 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [60]

WE ARE USING BUSAN, KOREA’S SECOND-LARGEST CITY, to get acclimated to the country before working our way to Seoul. Which may be more difficult than we thought. The first thing we noticed was the weather—morning temperatures in the 40s, not ... Read more >

Yangdong Historic Village World Heritage Site

SOUTH KOREA | Tue, 9 Apr 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [52]

IT WOULD HAVE BEEN CHEAPER TO TAKE the Busan Metro to the Sasang Bus Station but a taxi was less hassle. Besides, we are millionaires in Korea! Surprisingly few Koreans feel comfortable speaking English and we’re still struggling with gamsahabnida ... Read more >

Good Bye, Vietnam! Hello, South Korea

SOUTH KOREA | Sun, 7 Apr 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [57]

WE FEW, WE HAPPY FEW, WE BAND OF BIRDERS. In a little over three weeks bouncing over several thousand kilometers of Vietnam, we’ve seen more than 350 species of birds—over 200 Lifers for Dave and Noreen and 125 new species for us. We have ... Read more >

Winding Down Our Oz Odyssey

AUSTRALIA | Sat, 10 Feb 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [221]

THE BEST PLACES TO STAY AREN’T ALWAYS at the beach. Tim’s AirBnB in the bush-town of Wandandian is idyllic; green fields, towering eucalyptus, chickens, horses—even Soxy, the affectionate English Chocolate Lab. I wish every host put ... Read more >

Adventures in Paradise

VANUATU | Fri, 16 Feb 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [190]

THE WIND PICKED UP ON FRIDAY EVENING and was blowing a gale by the time we arrived at the Majestic Princess. Circular Quay is a refreshing change from the commercial ports where cruise ships often dock and we spent the afternoon watching as ferries ... Read more >

Tam Dao and the Great Food Rebellion

VIETNAM | Wed, 3 Apr 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [60]

WE HAD PLENTY OF ROOM TO STRETCH OUT on the Vietnam Airlines 787 from HCMC to Hanoi—the plane is huge and was just over half full. The group, sans “the other John,” was heading north for the six-day “Northern Extension” ... Read more >

Australia Day—Always Was Always Will Be

AUSTRALIA | Sat, 27 Jan 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [211]

OFFICIALLY AUSTRALIA DAY CELEBRATES the day Australia was “discovered,” January 26, 1788—roughly the equivalent of Columbus Day in the US. Indigenous Australians vehemently disagree—they have been in Australia for 60,000 years ... Read more >

It's the Journey, Not the Destination

AUSTRALIA | Thu, 1 Feb 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [208]

SOMEONE FOLLOWING OUR ZIG-ZAG ROUTE might think we suffer from terminal Attention Deficit Disorder. Yes, it would have made more sense to come directly from Bairnsdale to Mallacoota near the Victoria-NSW border. But Mallacoota is a popular holiday destination ... Read more >

Bateman's Bay

AUSTRALIA | Mon, 5 Feb 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [207]

BATEMAN’S BAY IS ABOUT HALFWAY BETWEEN Mallacoota and Sydney. It also happens to be about the only place along the South Coast with halfway affordable lodging at this time of year. Our AirBnB is a bit shabby but works as a base for exploring South ... Read more >

Isle of Phosphate

NAURU | Sun, 4 Feb 2024 | By kiwiaoraki | Views [204]

Nauru! Another place where I’ve had to explain to everyone where it is. A tiny potato-shaped island 42 kilometres south of the Equator, Nauru is one of the smallest and least-visited countries in the world. Phosphate is what originally made Nauru ... Read more >

Monkey Business

VIETNAM | Sat, 30 Mar 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [51]

THE MORNING BIRD CHORUS WAS DROWNED OUT by the WHOOP s, WA s and WOW s of the gibbons—Southern Yellow-Cheeked Crested Gibbons to be exact. A couple of black males and a dirty-blonde female with a baby hang—literally—around the park ... Read more >

A Sinking Country

TUVALU | Fri, 26 Jan 2024 | By kiwiaoraki | Views [132]

Pun intended, I'm having "fun" here in Funafuti, the largest and main atoll of Tuvalu. As one of the world’s lowest-lying, least-known, and least-visited countries, Tuvalu is seriously at risk of going under...not due to poverty, famine, wars, ... Read more >

At the Beach with Australian Fairy Terns

AUSTRALIA | Sat, 20 Jan 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [99]

IT WAS BLOWING A GALE when we arrived at MacLeod Morass Wildlife Reserve yesterday. The wind on the water and the scutting clouds made for some good photos but poor birding. When the wind threatened to blow us off the boardwalk we decided it was time ... Read more >

Around Canberra

AUSTRALIA | Wed, 24 Jan 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [93]

SUNDAY WAS OUR LONGEST DRIVE YET—450 kilometers from Bairnsdale through Victoria and New South Wales into the Australian Capital Territory. This is the final week of the Christmas school break and lodging at holiday destinations are scarce and ... Read more >

The Three Sisters

AUSTRALIA | Sun, 3 Mar 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [71]

IT WAS NICE TO SLEEP IN A BED that wasn’t rocking after nearly three weeks afloat. Chiltern, our final AirBnB in Australia, is a charming cottage surrounded by lush gardens in the beautiful Blue Mountains of New South Wales. It’s spacious ... Read more >

Rock Warbler—Mission Accomplished!

AUSTRALIA | Thu, 7 Mar 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [66]

AS WE CONTINUED OUR SEARCH for the elusive Rock Warbler on Wednesday, we were side-tracked not by the Three Sisters but by three Superb Lyrebirds scratching and pecking in the leaf litter along Cliff Walk Trail. We watched until an irate Kookaburra strafed ... Read more >

Do You Know the Way to Hue?

VIETNAM | Sun, 10 Mar 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [62]

IT’S A LONG WAY FROM SYDNEY TO HUE—nine hours and 4300 miles through four time zones to Saigon another 600 miles to the Imperial City. Fewer than half of the A330’s seats were occupied on the Sydney-Saigon leg so we each had an entire ... Read more >

Ngoc Linh National Park

VIETNAM | Thu, 21 Mar 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [55]

HOANG GIA TRANG GUEST HOUSE in Ngoc Linh is as low as we can sink, lodging-wise—at least we hope it is. It’s the only game in town and features rock hard beds with a single sheet and blanket in which we wrapped ourselves like human burritos ... Read more >

Inside the Imperial City of Hué

VIETNAM | Tue, 12 Mar 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [52]

WITH ITS ANCIENT FEEL, IT IS EASY to forget that Hue’s Imperial City isn’t a contemporary of Cambodia’s 9 th Century Angkor Wat or Sukhothai in Thailand. The country we know as Vietnam has existed only since 1802, when Gai Long—... Read more >

Thien Mu Pagoda in the Rain

VIETNAM | Mon, 11 Mar 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [51]

DESPITE THE PERSISTENT DRIZZLE we walked the three miles along the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda, part of  the Complex of Hue Monuments. The term “pagoda” is confusing, as is much about this entire UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thien ... Read more >

Returning to Sydney

AUSTRALIA | Fri, 1 Mar 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [49]

THIS WAS OUR THIRD TIME IN HOBART—first in our campervan, the other on a cruise—so we felt justified in just running some errands instead of sightseeing. Connie has been trimming my hair every three weeks or so but her hair was in desperate ... Read more >

Phong Nha Ke-Bang National Park

VIETNAM | Sun, 17 Mar 2024 | By graynomadsusa | Views [44]

BY THE TIME ANDRE JOINED US for dinner on Friday in Phong Nha, we had already seen 27 species—eight new ones for Connie. While it never actually rained on Thursday, the dense fog and drizzle made photography difficult to impossible. Fortunately, ... Read more >

 

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