ASIA NOW: The Mystical Banyan Trees of Yogyakarta


It’s perhaps the most difficult thing I have ever done – walk in a straight line. I wasn’t inebriated, but you’ll have to hear this tale from Yogyakarta, Indonesia to believe it. It’s just one story in Asia… now.

It’s perhaps the most difficult thing I have ever done – walk in a straight line. I wasn’t inebriated, but you’ll have to hear this tale from Yogyakarta, Indonesia to believe it. It’s just one story in Asia… now.

SHOW NOTES at Asia News Weekly.

Asia Now is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

The Bank of Korea Museum

bank of koreaRiding home from Seoul this week, I passed by the old Bank of Korea building (and present day museum). From the bus’ window, I snapped this picture with my iPhone and then upped the clarity, and applied the Ansel Adams filter in Camera+.

Seoul’s Express Bus Terminal



This week on the Walk and Talk, we head into Seoul and the massive Express Bus Terminal. Of all the transportation hubs in Seoul, this is the one that I perhaps use the most. Located in Gangnam, the terminal isn’t just one terminal, but two. It’s divided into two areas: the Express Bus Terminal side and the Central City side. Collectively they’re often referred to as the Gangnam Terminal.

The facility is huge with several shops, a Shinsegae Department Store, and tons of restaurants. If you’re traveling by bus in Korea, this is a great launching point since it has transport to just about every corner of the peninsula. The only thing to take into consideration is that different destinations are served by the Express Bus Terminal and Central City Terminal sides. A quick call to the Tourism Line (1330) will let you know which side you need to buy a ticket from.

Purchasing tickets is easy, since everything is in Korean and English.

Hiking Mt. Pinatubo



While in the Philippines this past winter vacation, Jo and I tried to make the most of it. We of course met up with friends and family, but on our last day in-country, we managed to convince a dozen friends to join us as we traveled a few hours out of Manila to hike up the Mount Pinatubo volcano.

This is something Jo and I have wanted to do for some time, but never got around to it. Jo literally planned this trip with friends for a month, while we were cruising throughout Southeast Asia. When the day arrived, it started early – 1am early.

Once up and showered, we hopped in a taxi to grab some coffee and meet our friends. Since this is a trip that’s quite far from where we were, we opted to book with a tour company that included pick-up and drop off in Manila. Many of the tour companies will do this and make all the 4×4 arrangements as well.

A few more hours of shut-eye followed, as the driver made his way to the drop-ff point for Mt. Pinatubo. Once there, we left our 15-passenger van and signed in with the Tour Company. Since we had so many people, our group was divided into several 4×4 jeeps. These off-road vehicles would take us some 40 minutes up a riverbed and flow before the sun rose to the start of the trailhead.

The trail itself is fairly flat, measuring only 5km from the “parking area” to the crater lake. The last 20 minutes or so is the steepest, but nearly everyone in moderate physical shape should be able to make the hike up Pinatubo. The cost for this excursion varies, and is usually dependent on how many are in your party. The more you have, the cheaper it gets. The best deals are around 2,000pp.

How to eat stroopwafels


A few weeks ago while discussing Amsterdam on my radio segment, I mentioned that my favorite treat from The Netherlands was stroopwafels or Dutch waffles. As soon as that VLOG went live, Daelmans reached out to me on twitter and thanked me for introducing stroopwafels to an international audience.

Here’s a little about Daelmans: Enjoy a Dutch classic – Connoisseurs are simply wild about them: authentic Dutch caramel wafers made by Daelmans family bakery (Est. 1909). Enjoy the refined wafers and their characteristic caramel filling. Experience the contemporary taste of honest tradition.

I was more than happy to introduce the food on my segment, because I honestly feel it is the best complement to coffee. Daelmans was so thankful, they offered to send me some stroopwafels. What I got in the mail was a large parcel containing two 36-count boxes.

In today’s video, you not only see my sheer excitement at receiving this amazing gift, but how to eat stroopwafels properly. To make this video a little more special, I even dusted off my Amsterdam Starbucks mug.

In case you’re not watching the video and just want the TL;DR on how to eat a stroopafel here’s how you do it. Place your stroopwafel on top of your coffee-filled cup (tea or hot water also works) and let it sit for a minute or so. The bottom wafer will soften, as will the caramel filling. When it’s soft, remove it and enjoy.

Download QiRanger’s Free Travel eBook about National Parks


In 2006 I decided to take a road trip. I wanted to visit several National Parks, do a little camping, and take a lot of pictures. Ultimately, the trip, or rather journey, changed me. Since I’ve recently started playing with Apple’s Pages word processing program, I noticed one not only had the ability to export documents as ebooks in PDF format, but also as ePub files.

So I dusted off my tale and doctored it up a little to make a free travel ebook available to anyone who wanted to know a little more about me and a particular event that changed my life. Simply click on the links below to download the free ebook in either PDF or ePub format. I hope you enjoy this little story.

RIGHT CLICK AND SAVE AS…

The Journey by Steve Miller as a PDF file.

The Journey by Steve Miller as an ePub file.

Korean Apartment Playground



While heading into Seoul after recording my weekly segment on EBS Radio, I cut through a Korean apartment complex. In between a few of the buildings was a small playground for the children who lived there. What was a little special about the park, was its walking track. Playgrounds like this are fairly common in Korea, but I usually don’t see a path dedicated for walking around the perimeter like this.

The Batu Caves



This week on Get QiRanger Out There! we’re headed to Malaysia. Located a short distance north of Kuala Lumpur’s city center is the renowned Batu Caves. It’s one of the most popular Hindu shrines in the world and key to the Malaysian Thaipusam festival.

Admission to the Batu Caves is free, but getting there might not be. To get the Batu Caves from Kuala Lumpur, ride the Batu Caves-Port Klang KTM Komuter train leaving KL Sentral station. Round trip is only 4RM ($1.22US), making this an incredibly cheap outing. The trip each way takes less than an hour and the train is rather comfortable.

The Batu Caves are formed from limestone and date back some 400 million years. The local Temuan people used a few of the cave’s entrances as shelters. Many of the Hindu shrines inside depict Lord Murugan’s victory over a demon.

While at the base of the caves you’ll find a convenience store, souvenir shops and tons of local delicacies.

Korean Snacks: Carmel Corn Choco (카멜콘 초코)



It’s time once more to take a look at another Korean Snack. Today, I’m going to try something new. Carmel Corn has been around for a while, and I’ve thought about trying them or their “Canadian” Maple flavor. However, being a sucker for all things chocolate, when I say Carmel Corn Choco (카멜콘 초코), I knew I had to give it a try. Let’s see if this will be a win or fail!

The Ultimate Korean Toilet?



While heading home recently, I needed to make a pit stop. While in the men’s rest room, I noticed this Korean toilet. It was located in the handicapped stall for the men’s restroom and might just be the best one I have ever seen.