Land of the Thunder Dragon

It was probably in the early 2010s when the small Himalayan country of Bhutan caught my attention. I remember being fascinated when I learned about what the Bhutanese government has done to preserve its unique culture while at the same time opening up to the […]

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Changdeokgung: The Finest of the Five

Donning a dark blue and light pink hanbok (Korean traditional costume), our guide Jae greeted us at the gate to the Secret Garden at Seoul’s Changdeokgung Palace. Together with around 40-50 other visitors, most of them wearing thick jackets with their hands tucked firmly in […]

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Trowulan: Beauty in Red Brick

I am standing in front of Candi Tikus, its red brick structure almost entirely below ground level as if the earth was purposefully dug out so that it could fit inside. A flight of stairs made from the same material acts as the only entrance […]

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Trowulan: An Ancient Javanese City

“You’re the only person I know who comes to Mojokerto to see its ancient ruins.” Monica expressed her amusement over dinner at a modest, dimly-lit local restaurant in the East Javan city. I knew her from college and this was only the second time we […]

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Heian Shrine: A Blast to the Past

Hosting the world’s fair has become a means some countries have embraced to promote their economic progress and development agenda to an international audience. Since the event’s first run in 1851, which celebrated advancements in industrial technology in the United Kingdom and other countries, a […]

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Jongmyo: Walking alongside the Spirits

In the past, great temples, shrines and places of worship were often constructed to signify the rise of new kingdoms and empires, or to commemorate significant events, or even to appease gods and goddesses. Normally a great amount of time and wealth was expended, and […]

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10 Years in Jakarta

How much can a city change in ten years? If it’s physical appearance we’re talking about, unless it is Dubai, Singapore or places in China, the changes – notably the skyline – in most cities are usually not too palpable. But how much can a […]

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Korean Food: Colors and Textures

It was nine or ten years ago when I first had a Korean dish which, unlike Japanese food, was something I wasn’t too familiar with. At a food court in one of Jakarta’s luxury malls, the colorful look of bibimbap piqued my interest the most […]

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Belitung through My Phone

  Have you ever wondered whether or not you should bring your camera before leaving the house for a trip? And when your decision is to go without it have you ever regretted it? This happened to me on a company outing almost two years […]

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Chasing the Sun in Nara

Holidays are usually a time that people use to decouple themselves from the stress of work and reconnect with things they love; this often involves sleeping in and waking up whenever their bodies want. But when that thing you love is related to outdoor photography […]

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Surabaya: Brash and Brave

Once upon a time in the 12th century, a Javanese oracle foresaw an epic fight between a giant shark and a giant crocodile in the Brantas River in eastern Java. About a century later, an event interpreted as the manifestation of this prophecy occurred: the […]

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Hoi An: A Revived Old Beauty

Four hours after leaving the onetime imperial capital of Hue, we arrived at the outskirts of our final destination in central Vietnam. The pockmarked roads were quite a contrast to the smooth streets of Da Nang, the country’s third largest city. We were in fact […]

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