Tag: Travel

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.
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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.”
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Buddha’s chin.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Stupa at Royal Palace in Phnom Penh Cambodia
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Phnom Penh at night as seen from the Mekong River.  Modern, active and full of night life.
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Another beautiful sunset on the Mekong River north of Phnom Penh in Cambodia.  Relaxing.
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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.
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Found this highly detailed brass piece hiding on the side of a cabinet in one silversmith’s shop.
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Got a deal on this silver statue.
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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.

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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.

 

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?
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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.
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Low tide Southwest side of Nosy Be, peering south down the beach.
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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.
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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.
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This little guy is curious to see if we have food. Friendly little animals.

This lemur is fascinated with the cell phone.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Boats tied up, lets explore this island.
”David

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The lighthouse located at the islands highest point is a reminder of days when navigation was visual not electronic.
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Atop the lighthouse you get a panoramic view in all directions.

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View from the lighthouse – Your chariot awaits. Gazing down at the beach you gain perspective
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Local fishermen
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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.
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Pausing for a rest and taking in the sights before descending to the beach.
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A warm day today, so its time to head to the beach for some fun in the bay with the horses.
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Hmm, Where to go next…

Deep contemplation on the next destination.

 

Singapore

David Loughlin – Exploring Singapore

I have visited Singapore three times in 2017 already, mostly two day stays on my way to some more tropical, exotic local like Bali, Sorong and Raja Ampat.  All told, I spent about a week in this country and I must give it credit.  I love the fine dining, elegant hotels, tropical weather and shopping.  I purchased three custom tailored suites for less than $1K, about 65% less than back home in the states and to my surprise, they were delivered to my hotel the same day by 8:00 pm.  Nothing like the pool and bar at the Sands although I am not much for heights, but the view is beautiful.   The social scene at the hotel pools in Singapore is amazing.

Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia

David Loughlin – Exploring Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia

I love islands and the feeling of sand on my feet. Exploring new islands is one of the best feelings ever.  The Indonesian archipelago has more than ten thousand islands, only a few places on earth that create a blank canvas for explorers.  Nusa Lembongan lies just off the coast of Bali, located about 11 kilometers southeast of the main island. It is a small island with the length of 4.6 kilometers at its longest point and width of 1.5 kilometers at its widest.  Only a 30 minute ride by speed boat and your in paradise.

D R E A M   B E A C H
This statue gazing out to sea says it all and gave me inspiration to return to Singapore again, before heading to North and East Africa weeks later.  Singapore, now there is an interesting country.  I have visited Singapore three times this year already,  vastly expanding my wardrobe from all of the great deals and and new Asian designs.  Between Africa and South East Asia, my wardrobe has increased in size by about 45%.  Acquiring stuff along the way.
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Looking out to see from Dream beach with the Devils Tears behind me and Dream Beach to the left.  Exploring this beautiful island.  The roads on these tropical islands are serene.

D E V I L S   T E A R S
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Tourist parking.

The view of Jungatbatu Village from the hilltop above.

On approach to the island…the bay is lined with resorts perched atop the lush green hilltop.  Take some time and resort hop and see what each resort offers, grab lunch at your favorite place.

Boat bobbing in the sea.  My view from a cliff side cafe as I mingle with a group of German ladies on holiday.


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Seashells are like memories
I have combed some of the most remote island beaches over the past 4 months.  Many of the beaches have loads of seashells for the taking.  Just be sure to get up early and beat the locals as they clean the beaches of these beauties before 6:00 am.   Many are the largest and most colorful shells I have ever seen and so abundant I gathered about 15 pounds of them, extra luggage was required.

Picked this Indonesian bridal necklace up in Sorong, a chartered coastal city in the eastern Indonesian province of West Papua.  Hand made of shells and red coral, this piece of art weighs pounds and is almost 3 feet long.  Returning home with this in perfect condition was not easy.  Not sure what to do with it.

Diving Nusa Lembongan
Nothing like a day of diving with Capt. Morgan, not his real name of course, but much easier to pronounce.  What a great human being.

Another beautiful day in Indonesia. Magnanimous, grateful and blessed to be here at this point in time.

Ku De Ta – Seminyak, Bali

One of the most prominent hot spots on the island, Ku De Ta in Seminyak features a unique layout with a main restaurant area, a dedicated bar, a centerpiece lawn bordering the beachfront where special events take place and a special private loft for secluded moments. A dedicated sunset box provides the perfect vantage point to enjoy the crimson horizon and its own in-house international DJ team plays an impressive series of compilation albums, making Ku De Ta top of the list for music. This one-stop dining and chill-out spot has a ‘French bistro-esque’ beach side garden setting with many cozy corners to choose from. The kitchen serves a menu of pan-Asian cuisine including Thai and Japanese as well as Moroccan, European and Mediterranean flavors. Ku De Ta is a perfect venue to enjoy lazy breakfasts, hearty brunches and lunches, as well as tapas. Enjoy candlelit dinners for two at the intimate dining room, called ‘the pergola’.

Opening Hours: 08:00 – midnight
Location: Jalan Petitenget, Seminyak Tel: +62 (0)361 736 969

Website: http://www.facebook.com/KUDETA