Tag: David Loughlin

Cambodia – The Temples of Angkor

Cambodia…hot, balmy, over 100° F in the jungle.  Rich with history, full of adventure, fabulous food and loving people.  A must visit on your bucket list.

A N G K O R   W A T – អង្គរវត្ត

Exploring Angkor Wat or “Capital Temple,” the largest religious monument in the world, measuring 402 acres.  It was originally constructed as a Hindu temple of god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire, gradually transforming into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century.  It was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yaśodharapura (present-day Angkor), the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum. Breaking from the Shaiva tradition of previous kings, Angkor Wat was instead dedicated to Vishnu. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag and multiple prints of Cambodia’s currency,  it is the country’s prime attraction for visitors with more than 7,000 visitors daily.  Approaching from the back, I was able to shoot this early morning shot with the sun in my favor.  I loved exploring this temple even though it was over 100° F.   Click images to view high resolution photos!
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Early morning sunrise shot at Ankor Wat.
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B A Y O N – ប្រាសាទបាយ័ន

Bayon was one of my favorite temples to visit.  Lots of intricate detail went into building this temple and it shows. Built in the late 12th or early 13th century as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII.
David Loughlin


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A local kid showed me this trick using the panorama feature on my phone.  I call this photo “In Two Places at Once.”
David Loughlin


David Loughlin

Buddha’s chin.
David Loughlin


David Loughlin


B A N T E A Y   S R E I  –  ប្រាសាទបន្ទាយស្រី

Exploring Banteay Srei or Banteay Srey.  A 10th-century Cambodian temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Located in the area of Angkor, it lies near the hill of Phnom Dei, 25 km (16 mi) north-east of the main group of temples that once belonged to the medieval capitals of Yasodharapura and Angkor Thom.   Banteay Srei is built largely of red sandstone, a medium that lends itself to the elaborate decorative wall carvings which are still observable today. The buildings themselves are miniature in scale, unusually so when measured by the standards of Angkorian construction. These factors have made the temple extremely popular, and have led to its being widely praised as a “precious gem”, or the “jewel of Khmer art.”
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Special thanks to the four monks who posed for this photo.
David Loughlin


T A   P R O H M – ប្រាសាទតាព្រហ្ម

Exploring Ta Prohm.  Ta Prohm is the modern name of the temple at Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia, built in the Bayon style largely in the late 12th and early 13th centuries and originally called Rajavihara.  This temple is fun to explore as it is over taken by trees which give it that Tomb Raider look.
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Buddha everywhere.
David Loughlin


P H N O M  P E N H – ភ្នំពេញ

Exploring the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh.  The palace was constructed after King Norodom relocated the royal capital from Oudong to Phnom Penh in the mid-19th century. It was built atop an old citadel called Banteay Kev. It faces towards the East and is situated at the Western bank of the cross division of the Tonle Sap River and the Mekong River.  Today was very warm here in Phnom Penh, but worth the trip to capture this shot of the Palace.
David Loughlin

Stupa at Royal Palace in Phnom Penh Cambodia
David Loughlin

Phnom Penh at night as seen from the Mekong River.  Modern, active and full of night life.
David Loughlin

Another beautiful sunset on the Mekong River north of Phnom Penh in Cambodia.  Relaxing.
David Loughlin


K O N P O N G    L O U A N G

Visited a silversmith village in this small town today.  I had an opportunity to see how they apply artistic talent and metal working.  Great place to pick up a couple decorative pieces.  Just follow this road until you hear a lot of clink clank pounding, you will know when you get there. Below is an arial shot I took with my DJI Mavic Pro Drone.
David Loughlin


David Loughlin

Found this highly detailed brass piece hiding on the side of a cabinet in one silversmith’s shop.
David Loughlin

Got a deal on this silver statue.
David Loughlin


David Loughlin


W A T   H A N C H E Y

Wat Hanchey is a hilltop pagoda 20km north of Kompong Cham that was an important centre of worship during the Chenla period when, as today, it offered some of the best Mekong views in Cambodia.  The foundations of several 8th-century structures, some of them destroyed by American bombs, are scattered around the compound, along with a clutch of bizarre fruit and animal statues.  Below are a couple arial shots from my DJI drone.
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P R E K   B A N G   K O N G 
Silk, silk and more silk.  You will not find a shortage of silk in Cambodia.  These master craftsmen are highly skilled at weaving some stunning patterns which in turn create some beautiful clothing.  Shirts, pants and silk scarfs are in abundance here.  I found 100% silk shirts for $20. USD and scarfs for $7.00 USD and that is before negotiating.  Good deals to be had, so stock up while you are here.

David Loughlin


O T H E R   P H O T O S


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Singapore – The Wine Reserve

All roads lead to…Singapore?  Well, maybe not, but I’ve been to Singapore five times in 2017 already and each time I can’t help but visit the climate controlled wine cellar at The Wine Reserve.  Not an ordinary selection of vino by any means. These guys have been stocking highly collectable wines, including verticals and limited production wines from around the world.

Check out this four bottle collection of Chateau Margaux (1990). For a measly $75,000. SGD ($54,965. USD) you can add these to your collection.  Last month I setup a double magnum rack at home, so when I saw the 3 Ltr. of Margaux my eyes lit up like a kid in a candy store.  Perfect for Christmas dinner.

If the Chateau Margaux does not interest you then take a look at the 16 bottle vertical of Chateau Mouton Rothschild for only $32,000. SGD ($23,451. USD).

Yummy Yummy.

 

Morocco – 13 City Tour

Exploring Morocco – المغرب

Nothing like the cooler climate of North Africa to wind down the pace from four months of solo travel abroad.  I can’t say enough about Morocco to describe the amazing experience I had exploring this wonderful country.  After months of exploring countries on the Indian ocean, its not by chance that I end up in Morocco.  As a young boy I had a fantasy of treasure hunting and exploring exotic locals, riding camels across the famed Sahara Desert, so for my 50th this year I knocked another one off the bucket list and trekked the Sahara on camel, spent the night in a Berber camp where we partied until all hours of the morning.  While I was only in Morocco for a couple of weeks, I was fortunate enough to explore more than 13 cities.  Above:  My map of the journey.

I thought it might be a good idea to bring a map…Don’t want to get lost here.  We started in Casablanca, stopped and spent one or two days in each city, looped across the country, over the Atlas Mountains to the Sahara Desert, then back over the Atlas Mountains again to end our excursion back in Casablanca.  This country is a shoppers paradise.  I bought so many items of clothing, coffee, chocolate, antiques, etc. that I had to buy an extra piece of luggage to bring everything back.  Nothing like an aged leather bag from Fez to pack things into.


M A R R A K E C H   مراكش

The open air market in Marrakech.  Enjoying a beer rooftop.

Fun evening out on the town in Marrakech.  Great meal and entertainment at Dar Essalam.  Mmmmm, yummy Moroccan food and entertaining belly dancers.


C A S A B L A N C A

Exploring Casablanca. Great food, wonderful people and great deals on everything.

The Four Seasons, beach-side in Casablanca.  Just got a great deal on shoes and some designer shirts.


V O L U B I L I S

I explored the Ancient Roman city of Volubilis in Morocco.  Volubilis dates back to 40 BC and was once home to more than 20,000 residents. This site has not been fully excavated by archeologists yet, so there are lots of mosaic tiles and pieces of ancient pottery just laying around. What a fun city to explore.
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S A H A R A   D E S E R T

Trekking the Sahara Desert.  Self given birthday gift.  My cell phone was going off in the middle of the Sahara with everyone wishing me Happy Birthday. Ding…Ding…Ding.  With a smile on my face, we rode on in search of our camp.

Below photo:  Sunrise on the Sahara, April 12th with the magical golden sand.  I bottled some of the sand and brought some home…memories like the shells from Indonesia, Singapore, Dar., Zanzibar and Madagascar.
David Loughlin

David Loughlin

Spent the night in a camp and celebrated my 50th with fellow explorers.  Jonathan Bulezuik got tanked on a bottle of gyn and stayed up all night playing drums with the locals while talking to them about hot political topics.  The video below was shot just after dinner in the center of out tent camp.

Sunrise in the Sahara.  What a beautiful morning.
David Loughlin

K A S B A H   A M R I D I L

Stopped and toured this beautiful kasbah in the middle of the lush palm groves.

 

T O D G H A   G O R G E

The drive to FEZ


David Loughlin

One last stop before we reach Fez and my chance to get some Moroccan chocolate for wine pairing and cooking.  Love the spice selection in the local supermarket.


F E Z

Love the detailed stone work in my hotel lobby.
David Loughlin

Leather capital of Africa. Bring some mint if you visit the tanneries.

Need a jacket, shoes, leather bag?  The Leather tanneries of Fez have anything leather you can think of, including fresh mint to mask the smell.

I love it when you go out to eat and the belly dancer pulls you away from the table to tango.


M E K N E S

I found the food in Meknes to be delicious, the merchants were way too high on their prices, but then I was a little over dressed for hard core bargaining.  Nice antiques in this city.  I took this photo of Bab Mansour, a huge gate with arches and mosaic tiling. The gate leads into the former imperial city. The Mausoleum of Sultan Moulay Ismail, who made the city his capital in the 17th century, has courtyards and fountains. Now heading to the capital city of Rabat on the coast.
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A I T   B E N H A D D O U

Below:  Ait Benhaddou, ighrem, along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day Morocco.  We found snow while crossing the Atlas Mountains.  My ears were popping upon descent. Digging the shirt I bought in Ethiopia, the clothing there was pretty cool for a third world country.
David Loughlin


R A B A T
Hassan Tower at the Mausoleum of Mohammed V
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David Loughlin


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Sunset over the Atlantic. The cool ocean breeze is refreshing. Nice way to end in Morocco.
David Loughlin

Madagascar – Island Hopping

NOSY MADAGASIKARA | NOSY BE |  NOSY AMBARIOVATO |  NOSY TANIKELY

Just an hour and a half flight north of Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, lies the sleepy island of Nosy Be (big island in Malagasy). Known for its beautiful beaches, sleepy villages and French influence, this archipelago serves as a jumping off point to a number of smaller islands in all directions. One finds it easy to disconnect from the digital world here, not only because of the abundance of under water dive excursions, horse back riding, island hopping, wildlife and scenic parks, but on these islands you are so far off the grid…electricity is unstable, it can and will vanish during any one of the many fierce lightning storms which pass over daily.

Local fishermen return with this day’s late afternoon catch. Want anything?
David Loughlin

No shortage of resorts along the beach offering a full range of accommodations. Enjoying an ice cold beer at high tide.

A local woman combs the beach in search of buyers of her fresh fruit.
David Loughlin

Low tide Southwest side of Nosy Be, peering south down the beach.
David Loughlin

Warm sunsets with fast moving clouds.  The sky constantly changes.

Raw video of a lightning storm in slow motion to expose the bolts.


Exploring – Hell Ville, Nosy Be, Madagascar

Peaceful drive into Hell Villa, the main town on Nosy Be. Great deals on local coffee, vanilla and many other spices.

Here you will find hundreds of merchants selling anything from freshly caught fish, local produce, electronics or whatever you need.


Island Hopping – Nosy Be to Nosy Komba (Lemur Island)

Off the coast of Nosy Be lies a volcanic island famous for the preservation of lemurs appropriately nicknamed Nosy Komba (Malagasy for Lemur Island). For a nominal fee of $35. USD, about 110,000 Malagasy Ariary you can travel via boat to any number of outer islands and explore the deep blue, snorkel, picnic or in my case, get up close and personal with a community of Malagasy lemurs.


Nosy Ambariovato

After 35 minutes of ocean wind in my face, we arrived at Nosy Ambariovato. A picturesque island, covering 25 km2, complete with lush jungles.  This island once service as a navigational aid to former mariners with its lighthouse.
David Loughlin

Eager to explore the island, we beached the boats inside the cove. Overhead winds from the Indian Ocean provide persistent change of light, as the clouds above cast quick moving shadows on the tropical landscape, alternating between soft and deep rich colors.

Just some stock video footage of our arrival on the beach on Nosy Komba.


Malagasy Lemurs

After a 20 minute hike into the forest we encountered thin trees with curious lemurs, hungry for a fresh banana. Connecting with these guys was an experience…playful, trusting, but mostly motivated by food, they are fun, bold and eager to jump on your shoulders for a bite to eat. Don’t be surprised if some jump on you from behind, they are not shy when it comes to asking for food.
David Loughlin

This little guy is curious to see if we have food. Friendly little animals.

This lemur is fascinated with the cell phone.
David Loughlin


Other Creatures on Nosy Ambariovato

Lemurs a only a few of the natural surprises you might encounter on Nosy Ambariovato. The reptiles are among the most colorful I have ever seen.

I’m not a big fan of snakes, but everyone else took the same picture, so why not.
David Loughlin


Rum & Lime – Sleepy Beachfront Bar

I found a sleepy beach bar offering shots of local rum, a 50/50 mix of rum and local lime juice served with a salted rim.
David Loughlin


Nosy Tanikely

Heading back to Nosy Be, we stopped at an even smaller island in the archipelago named Nosy Tanikely. The lighthouse on the island was once the navigational aid for nautical traffic in these waters.
David Loughlin

Boats tied up, lets explore this island.
”David

David Loughlin

The lighthouse located at the islands highest point is a reminder of days when navigation was visual not electronic.
David Loughlin

Atop the lighthouse you get a panoramic view in all directions.

David Loughlin

David Loughlin

View from the lighthouse – Your chariot awaits. Gazing down at the beach you gain perspective
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Local fishermen
David Loughlin


H O R S E B A C K   O N   N O S Y   B E
The mid-morning start of a half day ride across the lush countryside on Nosy Be. Horseback through the Malagasy countryside, crossing through many local farms and plantations.
David Loughlin

Pausing for a rest and taking in the sights before descending to the beach.
David Loughlin

David Loughlin

A warm day today, so its time to head to the beach for some fun in the bay with the horses.
David Loughlin

Madagascar – Antananarivo

Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar.  A city rich with a blend of Malagasy and French European influence.

Le Louvre Hôtel & Spa

I booked accommodations at Le Louvre Hôtel & Spa during both of my visits to Antananarivo.  The spa sold me instantly.  At the end of each day I booked massages at the end of each day.  Some of the best self love in a long time.

The lobby at Le Louvre Hôtel & Spa

The spa at Le Louvre Hôtel & Spa


Patisserie Colbert Tananarive – Fine Malagasy Chocolate

Stumbled upon this French Bakery just two blocks from my hotel and added a couple kilos of fine Malagasy chocolate to my luggage.


The Open Air Market – Antananarivo

Exiting my hotel, crossing the street and through the park, I reached a set of stairs that leads down to the local open air market, with hundreds of vendors to bargain with.


 


The Royal Palace

 


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Tanzania – Coco Beach

David Loughlin – Exploring Tanzania


Coco Beach reminds me of Laguna Beach, California in the states.  This posh little town just 25 minutes outside of Dar es Salaam is the perfect place to stay when visiting the Capital city of Tanzania.  I spent most of my time at the beach clubs, sampling the local cuisine, enjoying the sunsets and exploring Dar with fellow travelers.

 

Zanzibar – The Spice Islands

Situated on the Swahili Coast, adjacent to Tanganyika (mainland Tanzania), lies one of the most beautiful islands in East Africa.  Formerly known as a center for spice and slave trading in the 19th century, Zanzibar is much more than a stopping point on an itinerary, it’s 1,020 square miles of pure adventure waiting to be explored.

N U N G W I   B E A C H   Z A N Z I B A R

Whether you are an avid diver, beach comber, hopeless romantic, shopaholic, love horseback riding, enjoy fine dining or just want to escape and explore new destinations, Zanibar has something for you.

One of the first things you will notice are the countless miles of untouched beaches, romantic, pristine, untouched pieces of paradise waiting to message your feet.  Since this island is not a high traffic tourist destination, there are plenty of beautiful seashells to be found in the early mornings, before the locals awake to gather these gems for the market.

Zanzibar hosts many luxury resorts waiting to pamper your every need.  While I stayed at several resorts on the island, my favorite is the Sea Cliff Resort situated on the east cost, 25 minutes north of Stone Town.  Whether you like horseback riding, golf, sailing, fine dining, the spa or simply relaxing by one of their two infinity pools, Sea Cliff will sooth your senses.

M A T E M W E
Miles of beautiful beaches line the coastline in Matemwe, north Zanaibar on the east coast.
David Loughlin

S E A  C L I F F   R E S O R T

Riding, Sea Cliff Resort, Zanzibar
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Equestrian lovers will find pleasure in riding horses across the tropical countryside into emerald green waters.
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Private Beach @ Sea Cliff Resort
Enjoy one of the private beaches reserved for guests only.
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Nothing like a a couple of beers, a several hour nap and waking to this scenic view.  Ahhh Yeah.
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D I V E R   D O W N

Whether you enjoy snorkeling or deep water diving, Zanzibar offers an array of excursions to meet your needs.
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Diving The Royal Navy Lighter shipwreck at 30m, Zanzibar
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Exploring artifacts below.
David Loughlin

Shoppers Delight
If you love to barter, then the markets of Stone Town are the place for you.  The city is a virtual maze of alleyways all lined with merchants eager to sell their goods.

Rooftop shot at 5:30 am atop the Maru Maru Hotel, Stone Town, Zanzibar.  Maru Maru means Tile Tile.
David Loughlin

The best deals are waiting to be had if your bartering skills are firm.  Whether you are looking for coffee, fresh vanilla, fish, antiques, artwork or what ever tickles your fancy, you will find it in the market in Stone Town.  Be willing to walk if you do not get the price you want, the merchant will follow you for blocks to seal the deal.
David Loughlin

Open air fish market in Stone Town.  Some unique smells for sure.
David Loughlin

David Loughlin

Day Excursions – Prison Island
There are plenty of day excursions to keep you busy.  Just a 30 minute boat ride from Stone Town lies a little piece of paradise named Prison Island.  This was a former prison, turned tourist attraction that also serves as an animal preserve for the endangered tortoise population.
David Loughlin

The snorkeling is spectacular and the waters are pristine.  Abundant coral lines the ocean floor, rich with a spectacular variety of tropical fish, star fish and much more.
David Loughlin

David Loughlin

We passed some locals fishing on our way to Prison Island.
David Loughlin

The road to vanilla heaven.  Before departing for East Africa I created a bucket list of items I wanted to purchase in each country.  Coffee and chocolate were on the list for every country while vanilla was my primary target from both Madagascar and this island of Zanzibar.  Below are photos of one journey to a vanilla plantation located in the middle of the island.

Farm Country…getting close.

Young vanilla on the vine.

History of slavery is ever present.  This is a former slave cave, over 100 years ago, slaves were stored in these caves after a full day of labor on the spice plantations.


David Loughlin


David Loughlin

Fishing boats.
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Below:  A local spear fishing mid day to feed his family.
David Loughlin

The blue Monkey.  It does exist.
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These kids from a local village want to model for the camera.

Double Rainbow
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Boats
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Foul weather ahead as the sun begins to set.
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Very relaxing evening.
David Loughlin