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Photo Essay: The Ancient Town of Bhaktapur, Nepal

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Terracotta-roofed pagodas tower over the squares and courtyards. Narrow cobblestone streets weave their way between the houses, red-brick temples, stone statues and cisterns. Artisans are drying their pottery out in the open, while women weave cloth and knead clay by the roadside. This is Bhaktapur, one of the best preserved ancient towns in Nepal. Thanks to its location in [...]

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Learning the Himalayan Way of Life in the Kathmandu Valley

The Himalayan ranges above Kathmandu Valley

The pointy snow-slathered peaks of the Himalayan Ranges stretch across my horizon like an endless sea of mountains. A blue haze covers the lower portion of the mountains, giving the illusion that they are floating in the air. Where I’m standing is almost 5,250 feet (1,600m) above sea level — the world seems so immense and I feel so small [...]

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Annapurna Foothills Trek — Part II: Walking from Sunrise to Sunset

My favorite spot

Read first – Annapurna Foothills Trek Part I: A Walk in the Clouds Day 3: Arriving at Dhampus in the darkness – 18km It’s 7am by the time I leave the warmth of my sleeping bag and head down to the breakfast table on the open porch of Breeze Teahouse. The view before us comes as quite a shock to my [...]

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Annapurna Foothills Trek — Part I: A Walk in the Clouds

On the gravel path

It’s almost late evening by the time we arrive in Nayapul, the starting point of the Annapurna Foothills Trek. After a hectic eight-hour drive from Kathmandu, we have dodged the random fires and riots of election day in Nepal and made it safely to the Himalayas. But now that we’re here, the sky is painted [...]

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Family Time in Singapore and Thailand – Captured on Instagram

Singapore

Our trip back home to Singapore this January/February was a very special one. It was the first Chinese New Year with my whole family together in quite a few years. Joining us for the first time in Singapore was my sister’s boyfriend Gary and their one-year-old kiddo, Dominic (also my current favorite person in the world). We spent our [...]

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The World’s Happiest Countries – Do You Agree?

Copenhagen, Denmark

Since we’re on the subject of happiness, I’d like to share this interesting list of the happiest countries around the world compiled by the World Happiness Report. Every year, United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network conducts a 156-nation survey and rank the happiest countries around the globe based on aspects such as healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life [...]

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Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro: A Quick Guide

Samba dancers in Sambadrome

arnaval is Brazil’s biggest festival of the year, and it is celebrated throughout the country – from the Amazon to the Bahia coast – with week-long street parties, samba dancing and music. While customs, celebrations and costumes vary by region and city, Rio de Janeiro’s Carnaval is the biggest and flashiest. More than 500,000 foreign [...]

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Samba Parade in Rio de Janeiro: The World’s Biggest Carnival

Samba dancers on a float

Samba music suddenly blasts through the speakers and the crowd goes wild. On the Sambadrome’s runway, the Carnival king and queen appear in their shimmering diamond-studded costumes, dazzling the audience with their fast-as-lightning samba moves. Behind them are troupes of costumed dancers: young girls decked out in silver dresses, gym-pumped men adorning brown feather headdresses, sexy ladies dressed in glitzy rhinestone bikinis [...]

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Brazil in Photos: Waterfalls, Beaches, Street Art and Carnaval

Walking towards the Iguassu Falls

Over the last three weeks, I’ve been exploring the southern part of Brazil with G Adventures, discovering quite a bit of what the country has to offer. We traveled from the colonial fishing town of Paraty where we island-hopped (and drank too much caipirinhas) and feasted on fresh-from-the-sea fish, before finding our way to the earth-shattering waterfalls of Iguassu that’s so massive it straddles two countries. From there, [...]

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From the Road: Celebrating Carnaval in Brazil

Paraty

Olá from Brazil! I’m currently writing to you from Rio de Janeiro, having spent the past week or so traveling around the country with G Adventures. I’d long dreamt of visiting Brazil to explore its rugged jungles, see its endemic wildlife, and get lost in its colonial towns. On our four-month trip around South America [...]

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Photo Essay: The Back Roads of Bhutan

Punakha Valley

A trip to Bhutan is not complete without a road trip through the mountain passes, twisting valleys and treacherous switchbacks that characterize the country. Entrenched with the Himalayan mountain range, the country is almost entirely mountainous, blanketed with plunging gorges and steep slopes. 72% of the country is forested — you don’t have to drive far to see acres upon [...]

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Colors of the Tibetan Prayer Flags

Prayer flags made into the shape of a stupa

On my recent trip to Nepal and Bhutan, I was truly captured by the colorful and vibrant Tibetan Buddhist architecture — their prayer wheels, the intricate carvings on their stupas, their regal fortresses, and most of all, their prayer flags. It’s hard to miss them. They’re everywhere. Strung from one tree to another, erected on a [...]

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Dawn on Nepal’s Rapti River: Birds, Crocodiles and Pink Skies

the gharial

Out on the brackish water, a pair of eyes lurks above the surface. Our boat man paddles gently to get a closer look. It stares straight at us and doesn’t move an inch. When we are just a few feet away from it, the motionless creature comes into full view — all of its marble-like [...]

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Meet The Huli Wigmen of Tari Highlands, Papua New Guinea

Napata, the wig specialist

When the first European explorers found their way into the Highlands of Papua New Guinea in the 1930’s, they didn’t find the mountain ranges they were expecting. Instead, they chanced upon heavily cultivated valleys and over one million people living here. Today, this part of the PNG is still the most densely populated area of [...]

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The Lelioa Trek: Going Backcountry in Papua New Guinea

The ridges and rias of Tufi

The air is hot and steamy, and I’m completely drenched in sweat. It rained the day before and the trail is still muddy and slippery. There’s actually no trail to speak of, we are literally bashing our way through the thick vegetation that is sprouting in all directions. I am here on the Lelioa Trek, [...]

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