Travel Photo Thursday

Posted by on Jun 22, 2017 in Uncategorized | 5 comments

Travel Photo Thursday will be back next week. My family suffered a devastating loss this week with the passing of my nephew. RIP Brandon, we love you.

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India Travel Resources for the Intrepid Budget Traveler

Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Budget Travel Tips, Destinations, India, Uncategorized | 4 comments

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

 Photo Credit: Tix at HappyTelus.com (creative commons license)

Travel to India…hmmm. I’ve thought about it over the years, and have often daydreamed of standing in front of the Taj Mahal at sunrise. Though, honestly, the sheer number of people that inhabit this vast counrty, 1.27 billion in 2014, has always made me just a tad nervous. I’ve talked to a few people lately who have spent a lot of time in various parts of India, and I’m hearing more good than bad. On that note, I’ve decided to give India some serious consideration for next winter, and I’m starting my planning now. I’m hoping that I’ll have two and a half months. Anyone who follows Budget Travelers Sandbox knows that I like to travel slow. Slow travel stretches those precious dollars further, and it’s the only way I know to really get a good sense/feel of a city, its people, and of course, the all important  FOOD CULTURE. Of course, the fact that it is a great destination for budget travelers appeals to my budget travel lifestyle!

I’ve heard such great things about Southern India that I’m thinking that will be my focus, plus Agra to see the Taj. My tentative plan at this point is to fly from Seoul to Delhi, see the Taj at Agra, and then head down to either Goa or Pondicherry. Both places appeal to me because they are on the coast — I’m missing the water badly these days– and travelers always have good things to say about both places.

These sites have proven very helpful so far…

  • Goibibo: A comphrehensive travel booking platform where you can book domestic flights (domestic fares looked reasonable) within India, international flights, hotels, train or bus travel, travel packages for every price range, and even prearranged taxis waiting on arrival. The site is easy to navigate, and I know that I’ll be going back to it often when I’m doing my bookings. One thing to remember, all prices are in Indian Rupees, so you need your favorite currency convertor handy.

One thing I have read several times is that train travel is a great option for budget travelers. Considering my luck with long, curvy rides in rickety buses, remember Mae Hong Son, I’ll be checking out the trains through Goibibo, and doing some bookings.

  •   Government of Goa–Department of  Tourism: I  like the transportation tab, which includes schedules for flights, trains and buses. The tab for acommodation includes some info for long term accomodation, which interests me.
  • Goa TravelWiki: Well developed travelwiki with information ranging from the best beaches, towns, what to eat, what to do.


There doesn’t seem to be any indepdent traveler blogs devoted to Goa, or at least I didn’t find any. I did find one article here at Wego which was informative.


Vagator Beach, Goa

             Photo Credit: Dominik Hundhammer (Creative Commons)


I’m also thinking of  wiling away some time in Pondicherry (or Puducherry, as it was known by they French. This quote from Pudcherry Tourism sums it up nicely.

“The air filled with nostalgia and the present is living up to a heritage that speaks so much. A trip to puducherry is like a journey in time with a vibrant present celebrating its interesting past. “History goes back to the Roman times, but factually started with the arrival of the French in 1963 (I think this a typo – 1673 seems more accurate!), who founded the town and built it in its present form, during the two and a half century they occupied it.”

Apparently French is still widely spoken, so maybe I’ll get to put my rusty French to good use!



Pondicherry, India

Photo Credit: Avaid2001  (Creative Commons)


A visit to the Taj Mahal is a definite MUST DO on this visit. Who knows, it could be my one and only opportunity!

  • Taj Mahal Official Website –Very comprehensive site including info. on ticketing, how to get there, do’s and don’ts, and general tourism info. for Agra. This will be a site that I’ll use often.
  • Just Another Taj Mahal Post..Recent blog post on a visit to the Taj. Some interesting tid bits to be aware of such as the challenge to get to Agra, rickshaw drivers taking you to places you don’t want to go  🙂  the traffic challenges in Agra,  and of course beautiful photos of the Taj.
  • Taj Mahal Photos


Now I am officially excited. I try to never wish my life away, but I am really looking forward to next winter in India. If you have any tips for me, don’t be shy. Leave them in the comments below.


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Travel Photo Thursday — May 30th, 2013 — Ubud’s Monkeys

Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Bali, Travel Photo Thursday, Uncategorized | 29 comments

Welcome to another week of Travel Photo Thursday. The end of the semester is looming, and things are becoming frantic. I leave for Canada on June 22nd, and I have so much to do before I literally take off. I’m trying not to panic!  I know that between all the work stuff and the personal it’s going to be a whirlwind couple of weeks. Deep breath, I will get through it. Soon, I’ll be enjoying Vancouver, and then my home, Nova Scotia. Today, I’m not taking you to Canada, but to Bali and the monkeys of Ubud’s Monkey Forest Road. Here are two of my favorite photos from my time there.

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Don’t they look serene and harmless? Well, don’t ever let your guard down in the monkey forest. These critters can be very aggressive when they want to be, and will stop at nothing to steal your bag or sunglasses…anything! I once had one grab my water bottle right out of my hand. When he discovered that it only contained water, he flung it to the ground in disgust. Bananas can be purchased at the entrance, if you do want to feed them.


Are You Really Having Fun?


Mom and Baby (Bali)


Travelers Tip

Monkey Forest is located at the very end of Ubud’s Monkey Forest Road. There is a very small charge to enter. The forest is open from sunrise to sunset. The monkeys can be quite aggressive, so I would not recommend going in there if it’s dark. You will also encounter monkeys around the entrance area, so watch your belongings. They think nothing of grabbing whatever you have out on “offer”. Chances are, you would never get it back. Hide those bling sunglasses!

Monkey Forest is a sacred place for the Balinese. There is an ancient temple on the grounds, and depending on the time of month or year there can be ceremonies happening. The Balinese welcome visitors at these ceremonies. However, remember to dress accordingly. Ask at your hotel, to find out when a ceremony will be happening, and how to dress.


Have you been to Ubud’s Monkey Forest? What did you think?


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Statement from the Canadian Embassy on North Korea

Posted by on Apr 13, 2013 in Canada, Korea, Uncategorized | 4 comments

Many of you have written or messaged me regarding the situation in North Korea. I appreciate all your concern. Last night the Canadian embassy in Seoul issued this statement.  It looks like Indy and I are okay for a while yet, or at least until the North gets Windows 8 Up and running! If you missed that headline…The New Yorker. 🙂


Dear Canadian, you are receiving this email because you are registered with the Government of Canada’s Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) service. Please share the following important information with other Canadian citizens in your area and encourage them to register with the Embassy of Canada in Seoul.
The Government of Canada’s travel advice for the Republic of Korea (ROK) remains “Exercise normal security precautions”.  The Government of Canada’s travel advice for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) continues to advise against all travel due to the uncertain security situation.  On March 11, 2013, North Korea issued a statement declaring that the Korean Armistice Agreement is invalid. While past threats made by the North to nullify this agreement have gone unfulfilled, further provocative action could occur. Despite recent statements issued by the North Korean government, we continue to advise that there is no immediate threat to Canadians in South Korea. However, as tensions could escalate with little warning, Canadians should be vigilant, monitor developments and follow the advice of local authorities.

The Canadian Embassy to Korea in Seoul is closely monitoring the situation and will advise the Canadian community in Korea of developments as required.  As the situation evolves, we recommend that you consult the Travel Reports for North and South Korea available at: http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/korea-north-dprk and http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/korea-south, for up-to-date information. You can also subscribe to travel updates at http://travel.gc.ca/news-warnings/subscribe.

We encourage you to invite other Canadians in your region to register with the Registration of Canadians abroad service at www.travel.gc.ca/register . This service allows us to contact registered Canadians during emergencies and disseminate important information, including points of contact and safety and security advice. Registrants should also update their personal information (address or telephone number) with the Embassy ([email protected])

. You can also follow us on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/insidecanadaen  or https://twitter.com/TravelGoC , and consult the web links below for additional information:

Please ensure that your travel documents, including your passport, are valid.

To help you and your family prepare for emergencies, we encourage you to consult the Embassy Web page on Emergency Planning: http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/korea-coree/consular_services_consulaires/emergency_plan_urgence.aspx?lang=eng. Information on government evacuations can be found at: http://travel.gc.ca/assistance/emergency-info/evacuations.

There is no resident Canadian government office in North Korea. You can obtain consular assistance and further information from the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang at Munsudong, Daehak Street, Taedonggang District, Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Telephone 850 (2) 381-7908, 381-7904, or 381-7485 Fax 850 (2) 381-7663; Email: [email protected]ministry.se

The Embassy of Canada in Seoul, South Korea, has consular responsibility for North Korea, but is limited in its ability to provide consular services. Canadian citizens requiring emergency consular assistance can contact the Embassy of Canada in Seoul at 21 Jeongdong-gil (Jeong-dong), Jung-gu, Seoul (100-120), Republic of Korea.  Tel: 82-2-3783-6000; Email: [email protected].

For emergency assistance after hours, you may communicate with the Emergency Watch and Response Centre (EWRC) in Ottawa by calling the Embassy of Canada in Seoul at 001-800-2326-6831, 002-800-2326-6831, or 008-800-2326-6831. You may also reach the EWRC directly by dialing 613-996-8885 (collect call where available) or by email at [email protected].

Embassy of Canada to Korea

Halifax’s Public Gardens (taken by me)

Halifax Public Gardens


Have you ever had to evacuate a country due to the threat of war?


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Through the Sandbox Lens #52 — Chaing Mai’s Silver Ubosot at Wat Sri Suphan

Posted by on Feb 17, 2013 in Featured, Thailand - Chiang Mai, Through the Sandbox Lens, Uncategorized | 7 comments

Wat Sri Suphan in Chiang Mai’s silver district boasts a beautiful silver Ubosot that is not to be missed! An Ubosot looks like a temple, but it has a unique function. This is where male monks are ordained. Women are not permitted in the Ubosot. This is probably the only silver ordination hall in Thailand. Having recently gone through a major reconstruction/renovation, which is not quite finished, it simply sparkles. To learn more about Wat Sri Suphan follow the link.

Wat Sri Suphan Silver Ubosot, Chiang Mai


Travelers Tip…

There is almost never a charge to visit a temple in Thailand or Chiang Mai, but donations are always welcome. 


If you missed Through the Sandbox Lens #51…

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In Celebration of Budget Travelers Sandbox 3rd Birthday…My Personal Travel Trivia

Posted by on Dec 9, 2012 in Canada, Destinations, Halifax, Korea, Myanmar, Uncategorized | 12 comments

Yes, BTS was launched on December 9th, 2009, and in celebration I wanted to share some of my personal travel trivia…

Daecheon Beach, Korea...November 2012(A Korean sunset.)

Did you know?…..

1. I was bitten by the travel bug in 1967 when I visited Expo 67 in Montreal. Our school trip traveled from Halifax to Montreal by train. I fell in love with trains and Montreal on that trip.

2. I traveled to Europe 3 times before I turned 20.

3. I met my first boyfriend in Venice.  No, he was not Italian. He was on the same school trip.

4. I’ve been to Venice 3 times, and would go back again in a moment.

5. I have a picture of myself and two friends taken in a storage room in the Doges Palace in Venice. We are wearing ancient helmets and brandishing swords. The next time I get back to Halifax I’ll find the photo and post it. How did we get into the storage room?? I’m not telling 🙂

Sunset on the Danube, Budapest

(Sunset on the Danube, Budapest)

6. I have traveled to every province in Canada except Saskatchewan.

7. I was held in a locked room at the railway station in East Berlin because we did not have the correct tickets. That was a bit stressful for a 19 year old.

8. I hit a deer one time when I was traveling between Bathurst, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Thankfully, I was on Main Street in some small town, so I wasn’t going very fast. Just the same, I think my heart stopped.

9. I have sat under Hypocrites Tree on the Isle of Kos.

10.  I have slept under the stars in the Sinai Desert.

Halifax's Wave

(Halifax’s Wave)

11. I rode both a camel (twice) when I was in Egypt and a goat. Enough said!!

12. I have visited 36 countries, and quite a few of them more than once.

13. I have snorkeled at Sipidin Island off the coast of Semporna (Borneo). (Highly recommended!!)

14. I have seen an orangutan in the wild. (Also in Borneo, and an awesome experience.)

15. I was almost arrested at the Suez Canal for taking a photo. Apparently, that is a big NO NO.

16. I have taken the train to the top of Jung Frau.

Suez-Canal(The Suez Canal)

17. Back in 70’s I took the train from Banff, Alberta to Halifax. I didn’t have a sleeper, so I set in the observation car for the entire trip. Very LONG trip… The incredible scenery made it worthwhile!

18. I have experienced the magic of feeding, bathing and walking with elephants, in Northern Thailand.

19. I’ve cruised China’s Yangtze River.

20. I’ve walked on the Great Wall of China. However, I need to go back and get a photo. I lost the memory card (:

21. I took a photo of the Chinese farmer who discovered the Terracotta Warriors. As you can see he was not amused!! 🙂

Yangtze River Sunset, China
(Yangtze River, China)

Xian Farmer Who Discovered the Terracotta Warriors

Xian Farmer who discovered the Terracotta Warriors, Xian China

(Farmer who discovered the Terracotta Warriors, Xian, China)

22. I became a cross dresser all in the name of travel. Here I am dressed as the “Korean Bride Groom.”

23. I once traveled back from the Quebec Eastern Townships with two butter pecan pies in my hand baggage. It was the best butter pecan pie I have ever eaten!

24. I stayed in a room one time at the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City that was so small it could only fit a single bed and the TV was built into the wall. The next day I was upgraded to a huge room with a river view.

25. My first solo trip was to Scotland in 1979,  a beautiful country, with too much rain. When I got back home I had to throw out my jeans and runners. They were moldy!

26. My second solo trip was to Australia/New Zealand in 1980 (or maybe 1981). I traveled by bus, including Alice Springs/Ayers Rock. My clothes were orange when I arrived home!

Korean Traditional Wedding Outfit

(Dressed as a Korean bride groom!)

27. I flew over Ayers Rock in a 4-seater. Awesome way to see it!

28. Fast forward to 2010 for another above the ground adventure; a hot air balloon ride over Myanmar’s Ancient Bagan. I loved this even more than the airplane ride at Ayers.

29. I have played a round of golf in Bermuda.

30. I kissed a cod in Newfoundland 🙂

Balloons over Bagan...close to the river

(Balloon’s Over Bagan, Mayanmar)


Which of these destinations have you been to, and which was your favorite?


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