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Riding the buses » Cultural travel

Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle

Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle

What is most striking about Sri Lanka, the teardrop shaped island lying south of India, is that it offers such amazing diversity within a small space. In a matter of hours you can go from … Read entire article »

Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers: A symbol of Islamic architecture?

Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers: A symbol of Islamic architecture?

I was visiting Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, a multicultural country with the majority population being Muslim. I assumed Kuala Lumpur would be a conservative city, one that would keep its assets under cover, … Read entire article »

Prambanan Temple, a huge Hindu complex in Java

Prambanan Temple, a huge Hindu complex in Java

Java is the most populous island in Indonesia and the majority of people there now practice Islam. At one time, however, Buddhism and Hinduism were widespread and there are two temples on the island that … Read entire article »

Borobudur Temple, Java, one of the world’s great Buddhist monuments

Borobudur Temple, Java, one of the world’s great Buddhist monuments

One of the reasons foreign tourists go to Yogyakarta in central Java, Indonesia is to visit the Borobudur Temple, which is 42 km outside the city. Borobudur Temple, one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the … Read entire article »

May I introduce Tom Harrisson, the barefoot anthropologist of Borneo

May I introduce Tom Harrisson, the barefoot anthropologist of Borneo

Tom Harrisson (1911-1976) had many labels and amateur anthropologist was one of them. He was bigger than life, so it was said, and one who never failed at anything. He wrote a best-selling book about … Read entire article »

Getting to know Sarawak, Borneo

Getting to know Sarawak, Borneo

Borneo, the third largest island in the world, belongs to three countries, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. It is a fascinating destination and home to one of the oldest rainforests with some of the most diverse … Read entire article »

Guanajuato: In the shadow of San Miguel?

Guanajuato: In the shadow of San Miguel?

If visitors to Mexico were asked to name the best known colonial silver city, it is likely they would choose San Miguel de Allende.  If asked to describe San Miguel, they probably would use words … Read entire article »

Lijiang, China, an ancient town in a dramatic landscape

Lijiang, China, an ancient town in a dramatic landscape

China’s province of Yunnan is one of the world’s must-see destinations. The “mobs” are starting to go there so be sure to stop in if you’re in the neighbourhood. That may not be as difficult … Read entire article »

The Mekong Delta, where life revolves around the river

The Mekong Delta, where life revolves around the river

I have long wanted to visit the Mekong Delta, that vast triangular plain in South Vietnam where the mighty Mekong River branches into nine mouths—known as the Nine Dragons—as it makes its final push to … Read entire article »

All I can do is “mooooo”! Being lost in a Yunnan market

All I can do is “mooooo”! Being lost in a Yunnan market

The guy looked at me a little strangely but didn’t laugh; instead he shook his head and walked on. I will admit that I was acting weirdly for I was mooing, trying to sound like … Read entire article »

The splendid diversity of Dali, China

The splendid diversity of Dali, China

There are travellers who dismiss Dali, saying it was once a place treasured by western backpackers but is now too touristy. I say just ignore these naysayers for they know not what they are talking … Read entire article »

“The Chinese people have stood up”: So says the National Museum of China

“The Chinese people have stood up”: So says the National Museum of China

The National Museum of China underwent a four-year reconstruction and expansion project and was officially opened March 1, 2012.  It is across from Tiananmen Square and from the second floor you can look down on … Read entire article »

Phu Quoc, Vietnam’s largest island

Phu Quoc, Vietnam’s largest island

If you’re looking for an island where much of the shoreline is untouched, that many say has the best beaches in Vietnam along with the best sunsets, then head to Phu Quoc. The island also … Read entire article »

The women who carry rocks on their heads

The women who carry rocks on their heads

I was staying at a B&B in the middle of a rice field on the edge of Ubud in Bali. It’s not far from one of the touristy streets but you can’t get to it … Read entire article »

The Killing Fields: Where monks were made to disappear

The Killing Fields: Where monks were made to disappear

I was having one of those rambling conversations with the Aussie who owns the B&B where I was staying in Siem Reap and found myself saying that what I missed in Cambodia were the temples … Read entire article »

Finding Chiang Mai’s magic

Finding Chiang Mai’s magic

I first visited Chiang Mai when it was one of the must-see places along the hippie trail through Asia back in the 1970s. It was a long trip there by bus from Bangkok but probably … Read entire article »

A Buddhist wedding in Laos: Toss back the whiskey and dance

A Buddhist wedding in Laos: Toss back the whiskey and dance

I was in northeastern Laos and having one of those over-the-top travel days when my guide asked if I’d like to go to ‘a veden’ for lunch. He assured me it would cost nothing.  I … Read entire article »

Tonlé Sap, Cambodia: Where houses float or sit on stilts

Tonlé Sap, Cambodia: Where houses float or sit on stilts

I met a woman from Denmark over breakfast at my B&B in Siem Reap who had just been to Kampong Khleang, a remote village where houses are on stilts. She went there by tuk-tuk and … Read entire article »

Ta Prohm (and the other Angkor temples!)

Ta Prohm (and the other Angkor temples!)

Everyone seems to know about Angkor, that archaeological wonder in the jungles of Cambodia where so many temples have been restored. The most famous are probably the Temple of Angkor Wat and the Bayon Temple … Read entire article »

Plain of Jars: Where giants partied and the US dropped their bombs

Plain of Jars: Where giants partied and the US dropped their bombs

The Plain of Jars has been called the most mysterious place in Laos. Visitors go there primarily to see huge jar-shaped stone vessels. What they are and how they got there is still in dispute. … Read entire article »

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