All posts tagged: culture

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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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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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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Radya Pustaka: A Forlorn Museum

Try to gather 100 people and ask them the following questions: “Who wants to go to the beach?” Most of them would probably raise their hands. Then ask, “Who wants to go to the malls?” Maybe only 50 to 60 people are keen on the […]

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Advance Australia Fare

Australia is called Down Under for an obvious reason: it is relatively remote on the world map. Its biggest cities – Sydney and Melbourne – are located on the other side of globe from many of the world’s major cities in Europe and North America, […]

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Javanese Royal Palaces: Mangkunegaran

What happens when a claimant of a region is excluded from a treaty that officially divides it into smaller parts? As history suggests, this person will keep fighting for what they believe is rightfully theirs. The success of that usually depends on how much power […]

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Javanese Royal Palaces: Yogyakarta

On August 15, 1945, people across Japan, at that time an empire encompassing large swathes of Asia, heard something they considered unthinkable. The once formidable power officially surrendered to the Allies in an announcement made by Emperor Hirohito himself. Very early the next day in […]

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Javanese Royal Palaces: Surakarta

Considering the total population of Java today, one might be startled to realize just how many people live on this Indonesian island. Java’s land area is slightly smaller than Florida, and just a little bit bigger than the whole of Greece. However, while the Sunshine […]

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