A Ger’s Life
Many Mongolian families lead a nomadic life as herders. They live off the land and move as the seasons change. In the spring/summer, they settle in the valleys by the river, where they camp in traditional tents called gers. There are no rooms in a ger. It is a common circular area where life happens day in day out. Typically a ger houses the parents, children, and grandparents under one roof. This was taken in my first morning out in the western Mongolian province of Bayan Olgii after spending my first night in a ger. After breakfast, we made our way towards the Tavan Bogd basecamp of the Altai range.
At the end of a scorching day, nothing beats sitting back atop one of the abandoned temples whilst watching the Bagan sunset glowing on the horizon. A new adventure awaits tomorrow.
It certainly feels like November around here.
Ever since I picked up scuba diving a fews year back, everyone’s been talking about Perhentian and yet I have never got a chance to go myself. So when the opportunity presented itself last year, I was not going to pass on it. The waters are warm and turquoise. The usual idyllic life welcomes you as soon as you set foot on shore. Underwater visibility was kind of poor during most dives including at Tokong Laut, renowned to be the best site within the area. Fortunately the biggest school of yellow snappers I have seen made up for this setback, along with a few other surprises such as the shark sightings and the Sugar Wreck despite its utter lack of visibility.
Perhentian Islands consist of two main islands: Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil, located off the coast of West Malaysia in the state of Terengganu. Some other smaller islands lie nearby Perhentian Kecil.
Crossing U Bein
U Bein bridge is believed to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world. Built around 1850, this crossing spans the Taungthaman Lake near Amarapura in Myanmar. Being an important daily passageway for the locals, it has become quite the popular tourist attraction for visitors and hence a significant source of livelihood for street vendors. It is, after all, one of the beautiful places in the city to soak in an all authentic local atmosphere especially during sunset. If you are there, sit back, relax, and just watch the world go by as the sun goes down. Alternatively you may hire a small boat to get on to the lake and capture a golden moment or two if you are lucky!
In this picture, a monk is seen crossing the U Bein bridge at sunset. I like how his drab saffron robe contrast against the rest of the scene.
Spirit of Skyland
It was as if some kind of bad omen was trying to stop me from making this trip right from the onset. I have always wanted to visit this mysterious country. Something about it piques my interest and I just had to find out myself. The idea started way before the actual trip happened this summer. Weeks of research led me to my first setback – it was simply too costly to make this a solo trip to where I am going. Determined, however, I decided to share my travel interest on the web hoping to acquire kindred spirits who perhaps are willing to share this experience and cost. I had hope at first. But soon enough this too proved to be somewhat challenging to simply find a common travel window. By this time, I had lost momentum.
Fast forward a few months, I gave it a surge of resurrection. But everything fell through in the end yet again. Stubborn and frustrated I decided to push through by myself. Nothing is going to stop me I thought. If this is how it is going to go down, then let it be. I am going to the Land of the Blue Sky one way or another. Alas, what do I know right? Everything went berserk right from the moment I reached the airport. It was an utter nightmare. In the end, it took me more than 50 hours (for what should have been a 14-hour journey) to finally set foot in Mongolia. This was the turning point of my luck and the rest is history. Sheer beauty just about everywhere you look. Mountains, steppes, lakes, passes, valleys, rivers, streams, forests, cliffs, snow, falls, sun, stars, rain, skies. All raw, rugged, and wild.
This journey was a hell of an adventure and it’s been nothing short of epic. Truly a dream come true for outdoors enthusiasts like me. The first half of the scenes in this video were shot around the Altai range in western Mongolia. In the second half, you will see scenes taken in the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park near Ulaanbaatar.
Thanks for watching and hope you like it.
One of the faintest memories I remember of my childhood adventures was riding a train. The anxious crowd, the bells and whistles, the pickpockets, the street vendors, the ticket counters, the giant clock, the parallel tracks, the cabin windows, the busy platforms, the children cries. While I cannot recall most of the details now, the remnants left me a very fond connection with train travels. There is something about it that reels me in.
This photo was taken through my window on a train ride from Zurich to Paris. Such an exquisite morning with the mist covering most of the lake and the warm sunlight turning the trees golden in late autumn. Meanwhile the shadowy hills across the still waters added some mystery and intrigue. In my awe, I wonder to myself how lucky it must feel to live in the beautiful lakeside home. Such a haven.
The structure of Dhammayazika Pagoda is unique amongst all the temples in Bagan because its base is pentagonal in shape rather than a typical square. It has three receding terraces and a small temple on each of its five sides housing an image of the Buddha, unlike other temples where they normally house four images facing the cardinal points.
In this photo, the pagoda is portrayed in the centre rising out of the forest amongst the surrounding temples at dusk.
Buddhist monasteries in Myanmar offer both monastic and academic curriculum for young children to provide them with basic education for their future. Most of these kids are orphans.
Shwezigon Paya is considered one of the most significant stupas in Myanmar. It is located in Nyaung-U, a little town in Bagan harbouring on the eastern banks of the Irrawaddy River. Legend has it that the site of the pagoda was chosen by a sacred white elephant and that it is said to enshrine relics of the Buddha.
Share the Load
A cute scene of two friends sharing the workload in Bagan, Myanmar. The young monk was curious of me, I knew. So I waited for him to give me another look.
Two adult monks bridging conversation as nightfall approaches along U Bein Bridge near Amarapura in Myanmar.
The Place Beyond the Pines
A house surrounded by serene forest of pines in beautiful Swiss autumn colours.
One beautiful autumn morning in Zermatt, Switzerland with the mighty Matterhorn in the background and a clear blue sky above.
A man admiring the winter vista surrounding the Matterhorn, Switzerland.
Last light of day shines on three sister temples in Bagan, Myanmar.
A village boy in red riding home on his buffalo in the mountainous region of Kalaw, Myanmar.
The North Guni temple sits against the Bagan mountains in the background. A less crowded spot to watch the sunset than the famous Shwesandaw Pagoda. Alas the secret’s out, so head down early to get the best seats in the house.
A cyclist looked on in awe at the colossal Thatbyinnyu Temple. It is the tallest remaining structure in Bagan.
Beautiful tree branches hanging outside the Sulamani Temple in Bagan. The name itself means the Crowning Jewel.