Wonderful sunset view of some of the beautiful temples of Bagan, Myanmar.

Breathtaking Bagan

Hurriedly scampering up to the 2nd floor of an old temple in the golden dusky light of a rapidly approaching sunset was the perfect introduction to Bagan’s  magnificent landscapes.      Sheer magic is the only way I can describe this first glimpse and it has to go down as one of those truly special moments in…

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Cathedral Square In Old Havana, Cuba

Magical Havana, Cuba

The old city of Havana literally took my breath away with its beauty!   Streets and streets of grand architecture – some restored, some faded and crumbling – but all absolutely gorgeous and alive.   Small shady public gardens peppered with monuments are tucked away amongst the spectacular array of buildings, giving residents (and visitors) a place…

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Morning Alms Procession in Luang Prabang

Lovely Luang Prabang

So frequently it happens that visiting a place which you had enjoyed many years before, you are disappointed when returning to find the masses have discovered your once much less trodden haven, sapping its former wonderful atmosphere and cultural authenticity.   Before returning to Luang Prabang recently I feared the worst after having read many comments…

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Putuo Zongcheng Temple, China

Chengde, China

Although Chengde was always at the end of a long tour its gorgeous temples and wonderful Imperial Resort were a great reward for making the 3-4 hour journey north from Beijing. Back in the Qing dynasty Chengde was developed as a summer getaway for the emperors, with a key part of the landscape the temples…

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Guangzhou’s Architecture Favorites

I have literally passed through Guangzhou dozens of times but have been yet to discover any real charm amongst its mammoth sized urban sprawl. This all changed when I stumbled upon a few classic streets in the city’s old quarter which have thoroughly revived my interest.   The stunning qilou that line the peaceful En Ning…

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Guangzhou’s New TV Tower

Stretching some 450 metres into the sky on the banks of the Pearl River is Guangzhou’s newest icon.   Nicknamed the “Supermodel”, the tower is said to mimic the body of a sexy woman. The elevator to the top is a special ride that brings dizzying but intermittent views across the city as you whizz your…

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Shamian Island, Guangzhou

Shamian Island is known in Guangzhou for its beautiful old architecture.   This former UK & French concession area is a great place to enjoy an atmospheric stroll amongst colonial styled structures from a bygone era. It also means this picturesque little spot is a draw-card for photographers adding a layer of vibrancy and interest that…

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Chen Family Ancestral Temple

A Qing dynasty relic of Lingnan culture which seems to have survived the cultural revolution relatively unscathed now houses the Guangdong Museum of Folk Art in a few of its many halls. Elaborately carved Chaozhou styled wooden doors depict classic Chinese scenes while mythological characters feature in the colourful, intricate lime sculptures that grace the…

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Magnificent Macau

The sheer contrasts of Macau make it an intriguing and picturesque destination with a unique mish-mash of cultures.    Not only does the city continue to grow economically due to its burgeoning gambling industry, but it has physically increased its size by around 170% from land reclamation. A gambler’s mecca with glitzy, shiny, mega dollar structures…

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Shanghai World Expo 2010

The focus of Shanghai in 2010 is clearly on the World Expo and if you are anywhere in its vicinity during the next few months then a visit is mandatory, if only to see what all the fuss is about. My initial idea that I would pop in for a few hours, take a quick…

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Happy Birthday Hanoi

It has been 10 years since I last visited Hanoi and I must say it was great to be back. The city seems to retain a traditional vitality and wonderful atmosphere in the old quarter with so many street vendors carting colourful baskets of fruit and flowers amongst the rustic French colonial architecture lining the…

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Qianmen Street, Beijing

Another new project that caught my attention in Beijing was the redevelopment and refurbishment of the ancient Qianmen street.  Located at the southern end of Tiananmen Square the street even boasts a tram car which occasionally whizzes past.   Now this refurbishment actually caused me to sit back and ponder a question which disturbs me…

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The Village South, Sanlitun

Beijing has developed into such a cosmopolitan city over the past 12 years, so much so it is barely recognizable.   One of the latest developments I am really enjoying is The Village in Sanlitun.   So often these types of developments remain half filled or are full of useless shops that I would never go…

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Jingshan Park, Beijing

Jingshan Park located across from the North Gate of the Forbidden City is somewhere which should be included on your “things to do in Beijing” list.   The Wan Chunting pagoda offers 360 degree panoramic views of Beijing including amazing vistas back across the Forbidden City which help to put in perspective the size, scope and former…

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Jiuxian Garden Village Exhibition Centre

A few weeks ago I posted a slideshow on the raising of a building out at the Jiuxian Garden Village project under construction just outside Yangshuo.   Things have definitely been progressing with this unique and attractive structure now taking shape.    The bamboo side walls are in place as is the beautiful red wood roof and…

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Kuala Lumpur’s Magnificent Twin Towers

      A source of aspiration, ambition, inspiration and symbolizing national pride, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur is a captivating piece of architecture.   I didn’t expect to be drawn into such a magical aura and in fact almost considered not making the journey downtown to see it.   After all it really…

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Hong Kong Favourites – IFC Two Roof Garden

    One of my favourite places at the moment in Hong Kong is the roof garden in IFC Two.   An oasis located in one of the city’s iconic buildings it is the perfect spot to sit back and relax with some takeaway.     The environment is fantastic – comfortable seats and lounges, trees, a…

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Lovely Little Longli Village

Arriving in Longli at the end of a long day I hadn’t expected to come across such a treasure.   This ancient garrison sits in the middle of a plain in Eastern Guizhou.  A feeling of remoteness seems to hang over the village which is odd given it is less than 30klms from Liping airport.  …

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No Nails!

The Diping Wind and Rain bridge is the largest of its kind in Guizhou.   Some 56 metres in length, the bridge was first built in 1894 during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911).   This classic example of Dong Minority architecture was destroyed by fire in 1956, a copy was rebuilt in 1964.  In 2004 the bridge…

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How many buckets of water?

Located near Hezhou the ancient city of Linhe dates back to the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD).    So, considering this ancient well may be a couple of thousand years old it is easy to see why there are so many deeply worn grooves in the stone.  Perhaps several million buckets of water…

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Fuchuan Wind & Rain Bridge, Guangxi, China

Having just passed a beautiful village nestled in a valley amongst the lush rice fields of northern Fuchuan county in Guangxi province, Southern China I certainly wasn’t expecting a “wind and rain bridge” to magically appear in the fields. This style of bridge differs to the many famous Dong minority bridges, with a tower or…

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Xiushui Village, China

By the time I had finished tour leading I found I was a pretty hard audience to impress.   Having seen so many amazing sights on a regular basis the extraordinary became the ordinary.   I wondered if the excitement and amazement of seeing something new would ever return.   But I now know its back.     Visiting…

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Ancient Village of Huangyao

  This small piece of classic China featured in the 2005 movie The Painted Veil, starring Edward Norton and Naomi Watts.   Stepping through the archway into the old town it is just like stepping back in time.     The village oozes charm and tranquility with well preserved Ming and Qing dynasty houses, faded just…

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