All posts filed under: South

Paro: Bhutan’s Sleepy Gateway

Our last morning in Punakha started quite uneventfully; James and I had switched back to our pants and shirts and Kinga and Phuntsho to their gho. As usual, we left the hotel at 8.30 but this time instead of moving eastward as we’d been doing […]

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Beauty Has A Name: Punakha

On the morning of our second day in Punakha Valley, we looked up to the sky before leaving our hotel; the sun was mostly obstructed by grey clouds, although it wasn’t as windy as the day before. “There’s a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal,” […]

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Entering the Divine Madman’s Land

Once upon a time in Middle Earth, nine fellows traveled to the east to deliver a powerful ring back to its source. At one point they had to traverse the arduous pass of Caradhras, through snow-capped mountains with harsh weather and enchanted air. It was […]

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Thimphu: Up Close and Personal

“Happiness is a place.” This is the slogan of Bhutan’s tourism campaign which I saw in increasing frequency as soon as I arrived in this Himalayan kingdom. Many people travel long distances to Bhutan in search for happiness, something they can’t quite find amid the […]

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Bhutan: A Sunny Welcome

The Drukair Airbus A319 which took us from Singapore began making its descent, but seated by the aisle meant the Bhutanese sky and clouds were the only things I could see from the windows on both sides of the plane. As James was kept busy […]

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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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Buddhist Treasures Beneath A Rock

Close your eyes, and hold them for a few minutes… then slowly open them, only when you feel you’re ready. Do you see the infinite blue skies I’m looking at right now? We were in faraway Japan the last time I took you into a dream like […]

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Pokhara: Beyond the Hiking Trails

One morning in the middle of Nepalese winter, I woke up to the sound of children singing and playing from a house a few hundred meters behind our hotel. I opened the door to the balcony, stepped outside and let the cold and crisp air […]

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Food Nationalism

Chapter 5, Part 6 Several years ago, the headlines of Indonesian media suddenly flared up with nationalistic fervor against Malaysia following their claims (both official and not) over some cultural items that Indonesians are so dearly and emotionally attached to. Like sibling rivalry, netizens in […]

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Here Come the Europeans

Chapter 5, Part 4 Long after being considered merely as medicine, in the 15th century the Europeans’ perception toward spices began to shift as they were used more in local cuisines. Spices added an exotic taste to the continent’s traditional dishes, and demand from royal […]

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Influences from Bharat

Chapter 5, Part 3 At a heritage house in Kumarakom on the bank of Vembanad Lake, a part of Kerala’s iconic backwaters, I discovered one of the biggest surprises during the Spice Odyssey. On the day James and I arrived, we were served several dishes […]

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