Mahabalipuram: Rise of the Pallavas

Chapter 1, Part 4 In the time when the Buddhist Mauryan Dynasty dominated much of South Asia, the southern part of India experienced a period of time when Tamil literature and art flourished,… Continue reading

Shwedagon: Buddhism in the Land of Gold

Chapter 1, Part 3 One morning in Yangon James and I walked from our hotel on 33rd Street to Shwedagon Pagoda, some three kilometers away. The sun was shining brightly, but to the… Continue reading

Sigiriya: A Lethal Ambition

Chapter 1, Part 2 In ancient Sri Lanka, the kingdom of Anuradhapura continued to flourish, Buddhism developed further, and colossal dagabas were commissioned. However in the mid-fifth century AD Anuradhapura was attacked by… Continue reading

Anuradhapura: The Advent of Buddhism in Sri Lanka

Chapter 1, Part 1 Some people say what comes to you in life depends on what you choose to do with your life. Today you may choose to stay at home and end… Continue reading

The Spice Odyssey, A Prologue

Asia. Home to 4.4 billion people, more than half of all human beings on this planet. It is where some of the greatest civilizations the world has ever seen flourished. It is where… Continue reading

Out of the Archipelago

After three months exploring Indonesia, from Sabang (Indonesia’s westernmost city) to the Banda Islands (where nutmeg originates) in the eastern part of the country, James and I traveled across Southeast and South Asia to… Continue reading

Three Months across Indonesia

If you have been following my blog for a while, you must have noticed that on July 1 this year I embarked on an extended trip – longer than any I had ever done… Continue reading

Taman Ayun: Beauty in Serenity

It appears on many advertisements and campaigns, from tour companies to the national airline. It is comfortably located in central Bali, off the main road connecting Bali’s capital to the western port of… Continue reading

Hollowed Hill and Enclosed Trees: A Photoessay

In 1884 the British colonial government in Hong Kong built a Victorian-style building in Kowloon as the headquarters of the Marine Police, directly facing the Victoria Harbor on Hong Kong Island across the… Continue reading

From Fish Balls to Submarines

Ask any Indonesians about what comes first in their minds when they think of Palembang, quite possibly most of them would answer “pempek”. Also known as empek-empek, the dish comes in a wide… Continue reading

The Burgeoning Pearl of the Musi

September 2004. First time in almost five decades that the Indonesian National Games (PON) were hosted by a city outside the island of Java. A 40,000-seater stadium was built in Palembang, the capital… Continue reading

Bogor at A Glance

Spread over a basin fringed by Mount Gede and Mount Salak, Bogor lies 54 km south of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, which together with the nearby cities of Tangerang, Bekasi and Depok form… Continue reading

Maritime Asia, Past and Present

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana, American-Spanish philosopher and novelist Since the invention of raft which eventually led to the creation of ship, humans have wandered… Continue reading

Batukaru: Sight, Sound, Taste

The silver minibus speeds through the main highway that connects Bali’s cultural heart at Ubud with the volcanic lakes of Bratan as well as Buyan and Tamblingan further north. Short moments after passing… Continue reading

Jakarta’s Focal Points: A Historical Perspective

“The atmosphere and interior of this cafe fit perfectly my imagination of Nanyang.” Dong Mei could not hide her excitement upon learning how well Cafe Batavia met her expectation: the imagination of an… Continue reading