Islands that Changed the World: Ternate & Tidore

Chapter 4, Part 4 As the Age of Discovery began in the 15th century, Portugal and Castille (Spain) sent a large number of maritime missions to seek direct sea route from Europe to… Continue reading

Impressions of Japan

Dreams do come true. It is something that we are constantly reminded about upon seeing other people’s dreams fulfilled as well as ours. However as we grow older sometimes we forget about the… Continue reading

Macau: the World’s Last Portuguese Colony

Chapter 4, Part 3 Two years after the Portuguese conquest of Malacca in 1511, Jorge Álvares sailed to the Far East and became the first Portuguese to ever set foot in China –… Continue reading

Malacca: The Gateway to East Asia

Chapter 4, Part 2 At the turn of the 16th century, the Portuguese significantly increased their presence around the Indian Ocean by conquering strategic ports in the region. It was Afonso de Albuquerque,… Continue reading

Goa and Catholicism in India

Chapter 4, Part 1 For more than a millennium the area known today as Goa had been ruled by different clans, dynasties, kingdoms and sultanates before Vijayanagara took control of it in the… Continue reading

Perceiving Kerala

Chapter 3, Part 3 “If you go to India you have to visit Kerala!” “Why?” “Because it’s God’s Own Country.” Back in 2011 a business consultant from Kochi who worked in Jakarta said… Continue reading

Kochi: From Spices to Kathakali

Chapter 3, Part 2 On the Malabar Coast in the southwestern corner of the Indian subcontinent lie old trading ports which served as the main gateways for ancient traders and explorers, from China… Continue reading

The Fall of Constantinople

Chapter 3, Part 1 Istanbul, 1453. Around two thousand years earlier Buddhism began to spread across the Indian subcontinent, and for more than one millennium Buddhist kingdoms and empires rose and fell, from… Continue reading

Minangkabau: the Land of Buffalo Horns

Chapter 2, Part 10 In the highlands of western Sumatra live a society with a unique culture where house roof is anything but unimaginative and women own the family’s wealth. In spite of… Continue reading

Candi Cetho: A Creation of Those Who Remained

Chapter 2, Part 9 The narrow road keeps going up, climbing the slopes of Mount Lawu, an active volcano rising more than 3,000 meters on the island of Java. We are more than… Continue reading

Cirebon: A Cultural Melting Pot

Chapter 2, Part 8 As Demak rose to prominence and became independent from Majapahit, another sultanate began to flourish on the northwestern coast of Java. Previously under the sphere of influence of the… Continue reading

Rise of Islam in Java

Chapter 2, Part 7 Since more than a thousand years ago, the island of Java has been an important economic and cultural center among the vast archipelago which today makes up most of… Continue reading

Zheng He and the Treasure Voyages

Chapter 2, Part 6 Far from the heartland of Arabia where it was born, Islam reached the farthest side of the world known by the Arabs as Tsin, China. Muhammad himself in a… Continue reading

Sabang and Hikkaduwa: After the Tsunami

Chapter 2, Part 5 We were at Ulee Lheue, a mid-sized port on Mainland Aceh at the northern part of Sumatra where we would catch the boat to take us to Pulau Weh… Continue reading

Banda Aceh over the Centuries

Chapter 2, Part 4 Centuries after the introduction of Islam by Muhammad to the people of Mecca and Hijaz (Medina), the new religion spread quickly from the Arabian peninsula to North Africa and… Continue reading