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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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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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Unusual Discoveries: Phallic Symbols in Bhutan

Painting of phallus on outside walls of houses

In Bhutan, it is common to find phallic symbols painted on the walls of houses and in temples and other monastic bodies. Yes, I’m talking about explicit images of penises complete with hairy testicles and layers of foreskin tugged around them. It may be a peculiar sight to us — but for the Bhutanese, the phallus is simply of sign of [...]

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8 Things You Might Not Know about Bhutan

Building a strong identity

Since opening its doors to tourism in the 1970s, Bhutan has quickly risen to become one of the most talked-about country  in the world. So how did a small, isolated country of just under 800,000 people landlocked between the superpowers of India and China suddenly get so much attention’? I came to Bhutan to search for [...]

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Finding Peace at Bhutan’s Most Sacred Site: The Tiger’s Nest

Tiger

According to Sangay, I must have committed quite a lot of sins. I’m huffing and puffing, mid-way up the hundreds of steps that will take me to Bhutan’s most famous sacred site, Paro Taktsang or Tiger’s Nest. The air is thin and crisp at this altitude, and the steps are so steep my calves and ankles are aching with each [...]

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Colorful Nepal: the Temples, Squares and Pagodas of Kathmandu

Swayambunath

Stepping off the plane to arrive in Kathmandu after a long-haul flight was an exhilarating shock — the chaotic traffic, the dusty and polluted air, and the overcrowded streets caught me by surprise. Regardless of where I went in Kathmandu, I found myself surrounded by blinding swirls of colors and senses-assaulting smells. The sensory overload was intoxicating: melodic Hindu prayers echoed through temple [...]

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The Journey to Bhutan: Flying Over the Himalayas

The first peak appears

My recent trip to Bhutan was definitely something special, but the journey there itself was an experience on its own. Onboard Druk Air’s Airbus A319, we took off from Kathmandu and immediately rose above the clouds to find ourselves flying high above the rice terraces and hills of Kathmandu Valley. Once we reached almost 32,000 feet above sea level, a snow-capped mountain peak then appeared before [...]

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Bhutan in Photos: from Lofty Mountains to Magnificent Fortresses and Happy People

The tallest mountain in Bhutan

Of all the 78 countries I’ve visited, none of them have captured me as much as Bhutan did. Here’s why: Entrenched within mighty mountain chains and surrounded by Buddhist myths and legends, Bhutan still remains shrouded in mystery. Having only opened its doors to international tourists in 1974, the country has come a long way in terms of [...]

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Highlights of India: from Lakeside Towns to Sultry Beaches

Jaipur palace

India offers travelers a vibrant escape from the hum drum of the western world and now that Emirates offers flights to India there is no reason not to visit this invigorating land. From the calm backwaters of Kerala, to the colorful market stalls of Old Dheli’s Khari Baoli and the paradisiacal shores of Goa, India will envelop you [...]

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