Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu , Nepal

a monk in front of Swayabhunath Stupa,Kathmandu,Nepal

Boudhanath Stupa, is actually one of the holiest Buddhist stupa in the world. This would also be one of the largest stupa in the world. It’s actually located around 11km away from Kathmandu. I can still remember walking for 2 or 3 hours to reach this site and cheating entrance fees while passing riots as the Nepalese Maoist were having demonstration that day. It was a tough walk

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The stupa is large enough that you can climb there and enjoy the views around the temple. On top you can actually see pilgrims and Tibetan refuges walking circling the stupa in clock wise manner(tibetans do that to bring peace to the world) , while the music shop is blasting really peaceful chanting/reglious songs near by. As the sun slowly goes down and the climate becomes much cooler. More pilgrims flocked this place , walking around it.

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We sat down the Stupa and watched the sun sets. The sun was beautiful however I think I’m too lazy too take good photos that day. So I enjoy the moment I can.  It one hell of a sunset experience there. We took a tuk tuk back to our cheap bedroom at Thamel area at Kathmandu and had good some good Thungba!

 

 

I can never imagine how different Nepal is than India although they are more or less on the same subcontinent. Traveling Nepal is very relaxed and fun.

 

 

Greater Kashmir travel pictures

I arrived at Kashmir early in the morning around 12 hours shared jeep ride from Ladakh. The journey was mostly below 0 Celsius with tremendously beautiful Himalayan stars. I did not dare to eat and drink most of the journey. I can still remember being waken up by the police somewhere middle of the night and walked through the security post to register myself. The night is awefully cold and the walk is tough as the air was thin due to the altitude. I’m glad to be able to make it alive to Kashmir from Ladakh.

If you have read my previous post, I was expecting some kind of beautiful place yet I was frustrated.  Kashmir is not some kind of special place that I expected it to be from so much publicites that I have heard of. We are often greeted with hungry touts, tour guides, boatmens, ship hotel man or whatever.  This place has been abandoned by foreign tourists due to security reasons.  Sonoko was right, this place is not special at all.

 

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Kashmir Dal Lake, I was expecting a paradise at this chaotic valley. However Kashmir’s lake is not as beautiful as I expected it to be. I wish I could stay longer here however there will be riots 12 hours after this photo was taken. I also wish to see the muslim quarters area that our guesthouse owner forbids us to go ( security reasons)

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Kashmiri man, this guy was in total shock when i took his photo. Probably first time seeing a tourist. It’s good to be at somewhere non-touristic sometimes

Calcutta, Kolkata or West Bengal

I arrived at Calcutta at around 4am in the morning. The train that I took from Varanasi was suppose to take 12 hours, however it took more 30 hours for the train to reach Calcutta. It was a total nightmare sleeping on the train stations smell of poops and eating somewhat dirty foods from street paddlers inside the train. It’s kind of hard to check whether the foods are clean or dirty as there weren’t much choices. I’m lucky that my stomach had adjusted well to Indian foods. My gf is having diarrhea once a week for 2 months. The coach are filled with mosquito in the night and we have to watch our bags from thieves which are well know on that route.

Calcutta’s people are quite mean compared to other cities in India. They will not hesitate to ask tips from you for a small favor. Not to blame them, there are a lot of hardcore poors in Calcutta and they are brought up that way. If you give 10 rupees to a beggar, he will probably give a damn stare at you and ask for more.

We took one of those famous Calcutta yellow cabs and he dropped us somewhere near our destination where we have to walk another 30 minutes to walk to Sudder Street. A long the way I can see a lot of people bathing,cleaning up,brushing teeth along drains with rushing water. And people sweeping the drain.

Its been 2 lousy months and I’m drained to do any serious photography anymore. However, Calcutta isn’t such a bad place compared to other cities in India. Along the hustle bustle people banging into each other while walking, you can still find KFC and tasty foods here. And you can actually find Meat! Quite a rare food in India. There are still some city standards in Calcutta , a bit of peace if you can afford it. A bit of organization.

I’m lucky this is one of the last city that I’ll be in India. It’s been hell of sick journey in India, I promised myself not to go back to India again. Fingers crossed.

I’m really glad to be able to say “I hate India”

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Normal scene on morning


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Mother Teresa

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Communist at Bengal

Kemasik, Kemaman Terengganu

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Kemasik beach is one of my favorite photography spots in Malaysia. The reasons ? There are not much reasons when it’s located in the middle of nowhere between Kuantan and Kuala Terengganu.  I do not know why I always stop here for photography.

It must be been it’s proximity or the lekor. The fisherman’s village and those cats living there, begging us for fishes. The tiring long drive….  no matter how tiring , satisfying. There’s always this feeling of belonging nowhere when you are traveling long and far away from home. The feeling of uncertainty ,worrying where I’ll be sleeping that night, how far I can go tonight, will there be anymore rooms at our budget hotel.

The east coast beach drive is very enjoyable. A lot of people told me they love the road trip between Kuantan to Kuala Terengganu

This would be the piece of rock somewhere on the beach that I’ve been photographing for years. The sea is constantly changing in Kemasik beach so everytime I’m able to find some kind of new angle.

To get to Kemasik


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Travelling India

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At the heat of India Summer

My first visit to India around 4 years back was not a sweet one, I remember taking a long bus trip from Nepal to Varanasi with a Japanese friend and being conned by thugs and con artiste  along the way. My Japanese friend got manheld and nearly got beatan at the border for refusing to pay the so called extra charges that was not suppose to be.

It was a 2 nights trip on the bus I believe. We took off from Kathmandu on a crap bus blasting loud Hindi songs in the middle of the night. It wasn’t so bad, however my friend did not enjoy it very much. The border was painful , as you have to always watch out when travelling to any borders. Border is a good location for conman to prey for victims due to the confusion and rush.

It is not the best time to reach India around May. It’s one of the peak Indian summer. The travel in the old rusty non-aircondition bus was painful. At near 50 celcious ( I believe it’s much hotter in the bus) , it feels like oven. The sun burns my head when I’m outdoor. And conman rushing to to cheat your money and the smell of the poop and peep on the roads.  On the 2nd night we finally reached Varanasi at around 12am or later.

It was around 2 weeks before I gave up and went back to Malaysia. Sick and horrified.

There it goes, my first impression of India

 

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Banares, Varanasi

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People hate to be photographed in India. Unless you are paying a lot of course

Myanmar street foods

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I finally tried the street foods at Myanmar without having any ill effects (thanks to my Indian trained stomach) . Nevermind the dozens of flies, sands on the rice and somewhat weird taste once a while.

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Villages in Bagan, Myanmar

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It’s good to travel off tourist route once on a bicycle. Luckily there are plenty of local villages behind the to town Ngaung U, Bagan for me to expore around. I checked my maps and decided to spend at least one day exploring it.

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Pokhara lake, Nepal Travel

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Pokhara, Nepal is a great place to visit. This would be the base for anyone who wants to treck the great Annapurna range. However to weather is really bad when I was there so I guess it was just a relaxing trip. The visibility was very poor for photography and I didn’t even see the beautiful Annapurna from the lake. Maybe someday I’ll return here during good weather and take photos that I’ve missed

I rented a bicycle and cycled around the lake as there were nothing much to

To get there

We took a public bus from Kathmandu, it took around 6 to 7 hours to reach this place.

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The Pokhara lake.

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This buffalo was so afraid of me.

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Davisfalls, this fall was named after someone fell into this hole before.

At Nepal, we realized that we have travelled thousands of miles on land and reached somewhere strange. Home is further and further away.

Travelling to Mandalay

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Mandalay would be the second largest city in Myanmar. This city is normally quite far up the north and would be in the list of tourist route to travel. There are plenty of licensed guesthouses at the downtown of Mandalay but it get cramped in the peak season at the end of year so booking early may be wise.

You will possibly arrive from express bus which will stop at the bus station which is quite far away from the downtown. A taxi ride to downtown will cost around 5000 Kyats.

Things to do

There are a few attractions in Mandalay itself, perhaps the Mandalay Palace and fort which is in walking range from the Mandalay Downtown. Mandalay is also a good place to have cheap draft beers and good chinese foods.

 

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A drafted Tiger cost less than 1 USD , usually comes with tit bits such as peanuts and fried stuffs

Around Mandalay.

 

Amarapura

However it would be quite common for all tourist to hire a day taxi to the Amarapura, Sagaing, Mingu which is near Mandalay. The cost of Taxi would be around 23000 Kyat  ( near 30 usd).

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U bein bridge, Amarapura the most photographed place in Myanmar is a great palace for sunset. This bride is older than the city of Kuala lumpur and it’s fully built by teak woods. During the sunset the bridge will be filled with locals walking back to their villages.

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Typical taxi in Mandalay

 

Sagaing Hill

This hill houses a monastery on top of it.  Mandalay has the most monks on the whole of Myanmar. It takes around 20 minutes hike by foot to reach the monastery.

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Novices at Sagaing Hill

 

 

Ladakh muslims , Islam among Tibetan

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During the mughal period of India, There were migrations of muslims to buddhist kingdom of Ladakh as Ladakh was conquered. Most of the muslims at Leh, Ladakh comes from Kashmir. Of course sometimes situation are not so relaxed as there may be religious clashes from time to time.

I walked through cold streets of Ladakh to find people to be photographed during an evening. This man was kind enough to give me a go. This man lives behind the Masjid Jamek of Leh. I gave him a postcard from Malaysia.