Yangon, also know as Rangoon, was the former capital of Myanmar. It is filled with colonial buildings left behind from the British times. We spent most of our time relaxing at the Governor’s Residence Hotel. We did venture out to visit the Bogyoke Market (Scott’s Market) but the highlight was definitely the Schwedagon Pagoda, the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar.
Easter Island or Rapa Nui is probably the most remote place in the world I ever will be, other than Antartica. It is truly in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by water, with no other land mass in sight. A lot of its history is still a mystery because there is no written record and little oral history to be found on the island. It is believed that deforestation, internal wars, rat infestation led to the end of the Moai (the massive statues) period. The massive statues called Moais are believed to be representations of deified ancestors. They are erected along the coastline facing the villages which they watch over and protect.
Atacama Desert in northern Chile is known to be the driest place in the world. Before arriving, I envisioned super dry skin and chapped lips, but strangely enough, it was not as dry as I thought. I have had drier skin in NYC in the winter. What is interesting in Atacama Desert is its Martian landscapes, salt flat and lagoons, geysers and wind-swept canyons.
Agra is the home to the iconic Taj Mahal and Agra Fort and is also the last stop on our train journey before returning to Delhi. The Taj Mahal is widely regarded as the one of the world’s most celebrated symbols of love. This white marble mausoleum was commissioned by Shah Jahan when his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, died.
Jaipur, also known as the Pink City, is the capital and largest city of the state of Rajasthan. It was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amer after whom the city is named. Jaipur is a major destination filled with attractions such as the Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, City Palace, Amer Fort, etc. I wished we could have stayed longer here.
Rajasthan, which translates to Land of Kings, is located in the north of India. It is filled with majestic forts and opulent palaces of the maharajas of a bygone era. The best way to get a taste of Rajasthan especially on a tight schedule is to join one of the luxury train journeys. We took the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels which is an upgraded version of the famous Palace on Wheels.
I was always confused about the difference between Delhi and New Delhi. New Delhi is actually a district of Delhi and it is the capital of Delhi as well as India as a whole. All the government bodies are located in the New Delhi area of the large metropolis Delhi. On this trip, we stayed at the Oberoi in New Delhi which is located next to Delhi Golf Course and very close to Humayun’s Tomb.