Black Dzao Woman Surveying the Corn Crop

Ha Giang – first glimpse

  I recently had the most fantastic week cruising around taking photos in Hagiang Province, Vietnam.     This mountainous region in the country’s north is just simply stunning and the people amazing.   It was intended that the Sunday market in Meo Vac was to be the highlight of the trip, however I can honestly say each…

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Laos Ethnic Minority Clothing detail

Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre in Luang Prabang, Laos

The once remote areas of Asia continue on a path of rapid modernisation, swept along to some extent by tourism and technology moving through the region.   Along with this change, traditions and customs once abundantly practiced and visible are becoming less prominent in the lives of the younger generation, as globalisation instills a level of…

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The Cuban Sandwich

  The Cuban Sandwich, stuffed full with layers of ham, roast pork and cheese, makes for an awesome quick bite.     I’ve never really been a salad sandwich type of girl so the meaty goodness, in what was once a common lunch for the masses in cigar factories and sugar mills, suited me right down to…

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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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Lao Food, Luang Prabang

Lao food has an incredibly fresh taste largely influenced by the wonderful use of herbs that transform simple ingredients into delicious meals. The beef Laap dish served in most restaurants these days is made a little more palatable for westerners with the meat now being cooked rather than its traditional raw version.   Herbs gave the…

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Tibetan Festival in Langmusi

Tibetan Nomad Festival, Langmusi

How awesome was this Tibetan nomad festival in Langmusi, China on International Children’s Day, 2002. I was incredibly fortunate to experience this event with one of my groups and it was definitely worth arriving after 2am in the morning for.  We had broken down on the grasslands in the middle of Sichuan the previous day…

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Colourful Cao Dai

Hailing from Southern Vietnam with saints that include Victor Hugo, the ‘father of modern China’, Sun Yat-sen and Vietnamese Poet, Nguyen Binh Khiem, the colourful Cao Dai have a set of beliefs and teachings that seem to be a bit of a mish-mash of all the major religions. Founded less than 100 years ago on…

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Dim Sum in Melbourne

If there is one thing you may have noticed about me and food is that I love Dim Sum!  Of course there are so many fantastic Chinese dishes that I miss now that I am back in Melbourne for a while but I can say without a doubt that the Shark Fin House has sensational…

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Holding on to the Past in Yangmei, China

Surrounded by river on 3 sides this seemingly lost ancient hamlet ensconced amongst lush fields of sugar cane and banana plantations just 30 kilometres from Nanning is packed with mementos of a colourful past. Founded in the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279 AD) Yangmei slowly developed over hundreds of years finally transitioning into a prosperous…

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Magical Afternoon of Cantonese Opera & Delicious Dim Sum

I have written about dim sum on this site a few times now and actually, if I haven’t mentioned it already – I love dim sum!!! So the opportunity to sit around eating dim sum and drinking tea in the city that spawned these tasty little morsels was just too much to resist.  Especially, since…

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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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The elongated ears of the Kelabit, one of Malaysia's smallest ethnic groups.

Kicking Back with the Kelabit

Being absolutely fascinated with the elongated earlobes of the Kelabit people meant I had a very difficult time drawing my gaze away from the real thing!   Sitting around the fireplace, enjoying a cup of tea while sucking on one of the famous super juicy and sweet Bario pineapples was an amazing opportunity to ask all…

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Bizarre Bario

This tiny town stranded deep in the Borneo interior near the Kalimantan border is surrounded by mountains and jungle.    It is also the home of the Kelabit people, one of Sarawak’s smallest ethnic minority groups. With no where near enough time to spare we booked our flights from Miri which usually has twice daily flights…

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sailing on jewel coloured waters at Boracay

Boracay – Getting there

Although this was my first visit to the Philippines I can confidently say it won’t be my last.    A huge surprise was just how close it is to Hong Kong.   (My flight from Shanghai to HK was longer than the HK to Manila section.) Flights to Boracay, despite being an easy 1 hour or so…

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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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Christmas Day on Halong Bay

After a tedious bus journey from Hanoi it was as if Mother Nature had snapped her fingers the moment we arrived in Bai Chay. Looming gray clouds parted giving way to dazzling rays of winter sunshine that started to slip through just as we stepped onto one of Bhaya’s traditional junk styled cruise boats. We…

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2010 Calendar – China in Black & White

2010 “China in B&W” Calendar – Images by Jillian Mitchell China offers an extremely diverse range of beautiful scenery and traditional culture that make for a truly exotic destination. These are the images I have selected for my 2010 Calendar – China in Black & White. A3 in size and printed on 200gsm high quality…

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The Raising of a Building

jiuxian – Images by Jillian Mitchell Beams of timber that have been shaped and shaven for the past few weeks seem to lay in a disorderly fashion about the site. I am assured that this is an uninformed view and that the carpenters know exactly which piece is which and where they should go, slotting…

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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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Dali Dong Village

  The first thing that captured my attention on the internet for Dali Dong village in South Eastern Guizhou was the phrase “untouched by tourism”.    Of course I was a bit of a skeptic as I found this phrase at least 3 times on various travel and tour websites.  But it was on our way,…

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Basha Village, Guizhou, China

Despite Basha’s close proximity to Congjiang (south eastern Guizhou) it remains an excellent place to experience a taste of the Miao ethnic minority culture. Said to be descendants of the 4,000 year old Chiyou army this village certainly seems to have retained many of its traditions including a gun salute that was performed at weddings….

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Great way to detour in Guangxi & Guizhou, China

The weather, heavy traffic and re-construction on highway 321 between Sanjiang (Guangxi) and Congjiang (Guizhou) has left the road in a bit of a mess.    A great diversion to escape part of this nightmare drive is a small mountain road which winds it way up from Sanjiang to come out about halfway to Congjiang.    …

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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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