All posts filed under: Southeast

Architectural Gems of Old Cirebon

Six giant golden shrimps shine brightly under the sun, perched above the half-moon portico of the fine white building. The Indonesian flag flies proudly over a well-manicured garden filled with all sorts of tropical plants. On top of the structure, an emblem also depicting a […]

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Ngempon, Twelve Centuries Later

1,200 years ago in the heart of Java, Buddhism and Hinduism grew as the dominant religions of the people, signified by the construction of a multitude of temples in the island’s mountainous regions as well as the vast plains overlooked by mighty volcanoes. Around the […]

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Fragrant Water and Putrid Air

Any conversation about Indonesia’s natural landscape will almost certainly mention its plethora of volcanoes. Located on the Pacific Ring of Fire – where some of the world’s strongest and deadliest earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur – Indonesia is home to more than a hundred active […]

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Hue Tombs: Opulence for Eternity

Beginning in the early 19th century, much of present-day Vietnam was once again unified after being divided by rivaling feudal lords for centuries. The Nguyen dynasty, the last dynasty in the history of Imperial Vietnam, ruled the country for more than one hundred years, a […]

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Semarang: My Cherished Hometown

“Semarang is squeezed in the middle,” a pun my father once told me about the Central Javanese provincial capital which is also my hometown. We were discussing about how slowly Semarang developed compared to other major cities in Java – Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung and even Yogyakarta. […]

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Hue Citadel: Echoes of Imperial Vietnam

Beginning in the 15th century in a land known today as Vietnam, Dai Viet – an empire of the Viet people from the north – which had successfully defeated their long-time rival, the Chams, expanded their territory further south. Quite the opposite of the Hindu-influenced […]

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A Waterworld Called Inle

On a sunny Thursday morning, the river town of Nyaung Shwe is already brimming with activity. Its quay, the main gateway for locals and tourists alike to visit Inle Lake, is thronged by dozens of colorful slender boats. Our boat, conspicuously painted pink and fitted with […]

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Penataran: Appeasing the Mountain God

Swirling tongues of fire welcomed erstwhile royal families and priests who ascended the stairs of Palah, a late 12th-century Hindu temple located on the southwestern slopes of Mount Kelud. The volcano was so active and unpredictable that a temple was deemed necessary to appease Acalapati, […]

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A Tale of Three Cities: Jakarta

What is there to love about Jakarta? That was a question I asked myself when I first moved to the city back in 2008. The city’s traffic has been consistently ranked among the worst in the world for many years. In my first few years […]

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A Tale of Three Cities: Singapore

The Little Red Dot is a nickname Singaporeans love to use to describe their country: a small but dynamic dot in Southeast Asia. Despite its size (roughly 40% smaller than Rhode Island or 40% bigger than Andorra), Singapore is today among Asia’s leading financial hubs, […]

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Baluran: Into the Wilderness

Our driver carefully navigates the gravel path, flanked by trees and shrubs, tall and low, that cuts through the dense forest. From the national park’s entrance off the main road that connects the East Javanese cities of Banyuwangi and Situbondo, it is a good 13 […]

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