We leave 12:50 am April 14 for a 16 hr flight to Taipei. We will arrive in Bangkok on April 15 which is the Thai New Year.

Will be in Bangkok for 3 days before boarding ship. Amazing tours booked in Bangkok.

We are off. An hour late and it’s now 1:30 am Friday. Next post should be Saturday afternoon.

We are in Taipei, Taiwan waiting flight to Bangkok. \24016.5 hours Houston to Taipei. EVA is only way to go.

Business class is only way to go.

Taipei lounge

Taipei airport

Shortest escalator and yes masks are still required here.

View from our room

View from room

Today we have a tour of Bangkok utilizing public transportation. Sally a little freaked out about it but we will get through it.

Our base for the next couple of days is The Prninsula Bangkok hotel. Thank you Layne Gentry. We can’t tell you how nice this was. I’ll have pictures to post later. We were extremely tired last night.

Omg so it was 95 degrees today and pouring shower this morning, making it like a sauna outside. \240Here is a hint to fashion here. Try your clothes on with them soaking wet to see how they will look. Within minutes you will be drenched from the humidity.

We visited the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Palace.

The monks can eat up to 1 pm then must fast for the rest of the day. The monks cannot touch any women even their wives.

The beautiful orchid wall at breakfast.

Wat Arun temple

Emerald Buddha Temple pics

The Emerald Buddha

Offerings to the Emerald Buddha

The Bell Tower

The Palace pics

When the King and Queen came to the Palace, the King rode in on an Elephant. This was the step to get on or off the elephant.

The Palace

When the flag is flying, it means the Princess is in residence.

We then took a canal tour on a longboat

Wat Pakram Temple

The largest in Bangkok at 244 feet.

The Thai people still live in these homes for over 150years

Monitor Lizard

Feeding the catfish

Thai version of DoorDash. Cooking chicken to sell for lunch

Tuk tuk

Today is the tour I’ve been waiting for. We are going to Kanchanaburi and the Death Train. It is not called the death train because of it perilous structure but because many British, Dutch and Australian troops which were captured during WWII died building this railroad from Thailand to Burma. The railroad was constructed in just 13 months with the prisoners working 18 hours per day. There is an excellent movie with Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman called The Railway Man. Colin Firth was a POW that was liberated.

We are also visiting the Bridge over the River Kwai. This is not the original bridge but a replacement structure. \240The current bridge was constructed of remnants of original bridge. If you see the movie I mentioned above, you will see the significance of the bridge. \240The railway is 400 miles long. Over 100,000 prisoners worked on its construction.

Over 12,000 troops ashes are buried here.

The bridge over the River Kwai

Fried pork and sesame peanuts

Railroad ties left from the construction of the Railway of Death

Nen monks as they are called. \240Older monks have 220 rules they must follow. Nen monks have only 10 rules. Sometimes they decide they want to become monks and sometimes the families decide for them.

Inside the cave of Buddha at Tam Ran

The rocks the railroad goes through

Sally and Suwat with sticky rice and sesame peanuts

Today we have checked out of hotel in Bangkok and are heading to ship with a few stops on the way

Buddha (Khao Chee Chan) \240Mountain

Pattaya lookout over beach

Sanctuary of Truth. Made completely of Teak wood with 0 nails. All tongue and groove.

We are now on ship.

So today we stayed on ship to rest up. I’ll be posting a tour of ship.

Explorers Lounge

The lounge has floor to ceiling windows on 3 sides. There is musical entertainment in late afternoon.

One side of the World cafe. The buffet. The other side is exactly alike then the front outside has an infinity pool.

The ladies sauna of which I am partaking this trip.

This is the atrium area

Our room (lived in)

The indoor pool

Today we are on Koh Samui, Thailand

Known for it’s beautiful beaches. Until the early 1970’s the island didn’t even have roads.

Today was what this trip was for. We went to the Elephant Sanctuary for abused and worked Asian elephants. The number of elephants has dropped from approximately 20,000 to now 5,000. At the Samui Elephant sanctuary, we were able to feed the elephants in their habitat.lephants

Today is an at sea day. I’ll try to find some interesting happenings on board. Stay tuned.

Today we are in Singapore. We are venturing out on our own this morning to see what we can find.

Singapore has very strict laws regarding vaping, tobacco and chewing gum of which the latter is against the law to possess.

Hopefully a lot more pictures than yesterday. Yesterday we enjoyed drinks, friends and booked our next cruises.

75% of the inhabitants are Chinese, 13% are Malaysian, 9% are Indian and 3% are others. Once a resident reaches 35 yoa, they can apply for government housing. There is no income requirement just age requirement.

The city is divided into three main sections Malaysian, Indian and Chinese.

Singapore Harbor

One mode of transportation is the sky rail

Marina Bay Gardens hotel

The 2 above pictures are of the Marina Sands Bay Hotel. The hotel currently runs at 99% occupancy so they are building a fourth tower. The three current towers were constructed at a cost of $6.5 million dollars.

Government housing

Little India main street

Little India Mosque

The beautiful green water of the harbor

So there aren’t many cars on the roads in Singapore for two reasons. One, you must register and be selected for a certificate to own a car and these certificates cost $50,000 and are good for 10 years. Secondly, every time a car goes through an ERP lane, they are charged a toll based on the time of day and the number of other cars on the road. The tax on buying a car is 100% the cost of the car. So cost is 200% plus the $50,000 certificate of ownership.

The brightly colored windows are found in the Arab part of the city.

Today we are in Kuala Lumpur.

The view from our room this morning

We visited the Batu caves temple. There are 244 steps to get into the temple.

We are in George Town, Malaysia

Buddha’s birthday is May 4. They are preparing for the big celebration.

The Thai Buddhist Temple built in 1845 on land given to Maylase by Queen Victoria. The dragons and lions are protectors.

The third largest reclining Buddha. The urns contain the remains of prominent family members.

The tallest standing Buddha in Asia

The Burmese Buddhist Temple

The largest standing Buddha

Then we went to the batik factory

This is the Penang bridge. It is 13.5 kilometers long and the only way connecting Penang Island to the mainland of Malaysia

Snakes along the top and snake skins hanging at bottom

Today begins our 3 straight days at sea. I’m getting a massage and spa treatment today. I should be wiped out after that but I’ll try to post some pics from onboard. \240

Those that have been on a Viking ocean cruise with me know this is my favorite part. Gelato bar.

Heading to a cellphone photography class next. Hopefully my pictures will improve.

Sitting in the Living Room Bar listening to Jennifer and Ar-Ar.

New evening theatre

Today is another sea day. We are relaxing, reading, spacing and just enjoying down time.

Another day at sea wrapping up final plans for Taj Mahal visit.

Some people we met are extending 3 more weeks on ship. Oh to be retired.

The middle of the Indian Ocean heading towards Sri Lanka.

Today we are visiting Colombo, Sri Lanka. \240Colombo is the capital of Sri Lanka. Their are 21 million people in Sri Lanka and 8,000 Asian elephants. It was established by the Dutch and Portuguese then was taken over by the British. \240Sri Lanka gained their independence in 1948. The first hotel was The Grand Hotel built in 1837. \24012% Muslim. 80% Buddhist. \240There are 3,000 male Buddhist monks and 5,000 female Buddhist monks.

I have never been so messed up on time. We have switched clocks back and forth the past 4 days. Add an hour, fall back 30 minutes, fall back another hour and lastly add an hour.

Tuk tuk have 100% import tax. Vehicles have 300% import tax. There are over 1 million tuk tuks in Sri Lanka. Gas is $4/gallon. \240The number 1 source of income is money sent back from foreign jobs.

Much of Sri Lanka was destroyed during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. More than 1 million residents were displaced. \24050,000 were killed.

Sri Lanka is an island shaped like a tear drop off coast of India. Sri Lanka has the same weather year round.

Education is cumpolsory up to age 14. The parents are punished if children don’t attend school. Graduation rate is 96.2%.

This was sight out our window this morning. The Lotus tower. The tallest communication tower

The red mosque


British clock tower

Buddhist Temple

Buddhist temple

Sally’s new job. She has decided to stay in Sri Lanka.

School children visiting Buddhist Temple. They are all barefoot.

Buddhist flag. 5 colors

Buddha Park

Independence Memorial Hall

Standing Buddha

Cricket museum

Today we leave port at noon. Very hot outside. I got up early and beat almost everyone to the laundry. Last time on board before heading home. We have a sea day tomorrow then we will arrive in Goa, India. When we arrive in Goa, we and 2 others on the cruise that I met online before leaving home are flying to the Taj Mahal.

Trying King Coconut water.

Last nights local dancer troupe

Colombo, Sri Lanka cityscape

We are in middle of a storm

Today is our last day on board. Weather has cleared and sun is out.

We are leaving the ship tomorrow to visit the Taj Mahal on our own.

Today we disembark for our flight to Delhi, India. We then have a 3 hour drive to Agra, India where the Taj Mahal is. We will fly back to Mumbai, India tomorrow to catch our flight home.

Delhi has 32 million people. It is a 3 1/2 hour drive to Agra. Our driver said to drive in Delhi you need “good brakes, good horn and good luck”.

Our view in Goa

Naval ship escorting us into dock.

Inside terminal at Goa airport

Our friends Cindi and Dale couldn’t get in airport without printed out boarding pass

Inside terminal at Goa airport

Vistara business class to Delhi

Driver met us with flower Malas at airport

Local bus.

Today we are at Taj Mahal. \240Last night driving to the hotel we passed 4 Indian weddings in process. They are elaborate celebrations sometimes lasting as long as 4 days.

We were up at 4:30 am to be there by 5:30 am. Sunrise is the best time to visit. It starts getting crowded and hot by 6:30 am.

The height is 73 meters and the foundation is 73 meters deep. \240It is a pier type foundation as the building is constructed on the banks of the Agra river. You can’t describe the beauty of the Taj Mahal.

The Taj Mahal was built approximately 350 years ago. It was a monument from the Moghal emperor to his favorite wife when she died. It took 22 years to complete. The emperor was jailed before it was completed by his youngest son and died a prisoner. Mantaj’s fake coffin rests in the rotunda and next to it is the emperor’s coffin. Their actual remains are 2 chambers below the rotunda. It is constructed of white marble and semi precious jewels are inlaid above the entrances. The entrances are surrounded by script of the 14 chapters of the Koran.

Cows are sacred in India. When they become to old to work, they are set free by the owners to roam the streets. Organizations and individuals take care of them. Wild monkeys are prevalent.

We rounded out our day at 8:30 by visiting a family owned artisan that does the inlay of semi precious jewels into marble. This family is descendants of those that did the work on the Taj Mahal they are on the last generation that will continue this skill. The children and grandchildren say the work is too hard and do not want to continue.

Now we are on our way back to Delhi for flight to Mumbai. Dale and Cindi are heading back to ship and we will stay in hotel for tour tomorrow morning. \240We landed in Mumbai for a tour tomorrow before we head home.

Entrance to Taj Mahal

Sitting on The Princess Diana bench

The guest house at Taj Mahal. The royal family stays here only occasionally and only for a few hours at a time.

Wild monkeys

Agra Fort

Today begins our last day before boarding plans and hotels for next 50+ hours. We have a 7.5 hr flight tonight to Singapore then a 16 hour layover in Singapore then a 25.5 hour flight home.

In school the students learn 3 languages- English, Hindi and each state has their own language. There are 28 states in India.

Bollywood studios is in Mumbai. In 1947, India gained its Independence and changed all the British names to Indian names. \240Bombay became Mumbai.

Mumbai has approximately 21 million population. \240Approximately 1/2 live in slums. There 3,000 different industries in slums. First, is plastic recycling. Then leather goods then garment industries. Slums by definition means houses built illegally on government land. Those built before 1995 have been legalized. Those after 1995 can be demolished at any time by government.

The Crawford market (outdoor spice market) was the first building to have electricity. \240Fashion street is 1.5 kilometers long and is lined with vendor stalls selling clothing.

Flora Fountain is a Unesco World Heritage site. It is carved out of one block of stone.

With Julie’s and Sally’s excellent adventures there is never a dull moment. We got lost in Mumbai. Our Uber driver dropped us off at wrong location. We stood there looking lost and a nice young gentleman that is an architect in Mumbai gave us a ride to the correct location then gave us his number in case we had further problems.

I just can’t get over the trash and filth in Indian. Even our guide who was born here described the filth as unnecessary.

We are now back at hotel and a wedding is going on outside. We are leaving for airport at 8 pm to head home.

The largest outdoor laundry in India. Workers come in from all over India. They make 150 rupees a day $1.83/day. 95% are men. They do laundry for homes, hospitals and government.

Victoria Station has 12 platforms resembling St Pancreas Station in London. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Approx 7.5 million people ride trains daily. There are 2500 trains that run 21 hours a day.

Gateway to India

Taj Palace Hotel was the site of the 2008 attack.

Ferry to Elephant Island

Where the first Bollywood movie was filmed in 1913.

Bombay High Court built 1827

Mumbai University clock tower designed to resemble Big Ben built 1857

University Cricket Team

Marine Drive better known as The Queen’s Necklace.

We visited the house where Mahatma Ghandi lived from 1917 to 1934

The library on home where Ghandi resided 1917-1934

The most expensive house in India $2 billion

The Queen’s necklace

The hanging gardens

Today we are back in Singapore. We have a flight home at 12:30 tonight. We arrived at 7:30 am. In order to try to get our bodies adjusted, I got a hotel gate side in Singapore so we could rest and don’t have to go through security. If you haven’t done this on long international layovers, this is the only way to go. We had 16.5 hour layover in Singapore.

We flew Singapore Air from Mumbai to Singapore. Love the airline. We had lobster thermador and it was delicious even though it was airplane food.

Tonight we fly from Singapore 25.5 hours to Manchester, England. We get off plane for 30 minutes (I’m guessing refueling) then back on plane for flight to Houston.

It has been an amazing trip.

This is our room at the transit hotel. Very nice and convenient. Big double beds. Of course the beds were made before we jumped in them and fell quickly to sleep. It’s 4:00 pm and getting up to have breakfast, included with room, before catching our 12:30 am flight home. First stop, 30 minutes in Manchester, England.

The hotel has a fitness center and a rooftop pool/bar on top of airport.

As we sit in a near empty Singapore Air lounge at 12:30 am waiting to leave.

On last leg of flight from Manchester,England to Houston. It was an amazing trip but a long trip.

Finally in Houston.