Travel to Southeast Asia

As a four-decade Certified Travel Agent, international airline employee, researcher, writer, teacher, and photographer, travel, whether for pleasure or business purposes, happens to be a significant with an integral portion of my life. Some 400 trips to each and every portion from the globe, through road, rail, sea, and air, entailed destinations both mundane and exotic. This article concentrates on those in Southeast Asia.


Although the land in the King of Siam was overcrowded and, no less than in Bangkok, smeared with traffic-created smog, if offered enough vestiges to move me returning to its early history.

Its dazzling, awe-inspiring Grand Palace, inbuilt 1782 plus the home from the Thai King, the Royal Court, plus the administrative seat of government for 150 years, served because city’s very landmark.

Surrounded by walls, whose length measured 1,900 meters, it had been built for the aim of restoring order following your fall of Ayudhya, whose monarch lived in Dhenburi, for the other side in the Chao Phya River. But, after Rama I ascended to your throne, he transferred its center of administration to your current site, constructing fortifications, monasteries, along with a palace to offer as his offices and residence. That was known as being the “Grand Palace,”

Its upper terrace sported four significant monuments: the Reliquary from the shape of a golden cedi; the Repository from the Cannon of Buddhism; the label of Angkor Wat; as well as the Royal Penthouse, through which statues of past sovereigns with the ruling dynasty are already enshrined.

Scattered around these monuments about the terrace were fanciful animals of mythology, which themselves arose in artist imagination for their aesthetic value.

North with the Royal Residence with the Mahamopnitien would be a connecting gate that opened on the grounds in the Chapel Royal from the Emerald Buddha. Because monks didn’t reside there, it lacked residential quarters, but retained all in the architectural top features of a monastery.

The Assembly Hall served since the monarch’s private chapel, nevertheless its “Emerald Buddha” was a single-piece jade figure which sat over a gold altar meant to represent the original aerial chariot related to Hindu gods. It was here that crowds gathered to spend respect to his memory and teachings.

The Vimanmek, earth’s largest teak wood mansion, was the six-year residence of Chulalongkom, who has been also often known as Rama V and therefore the fifth monarch of Siam to obtain ruled within the House of Chakri. It marked the transitional period in the conservative “old” on the progressive “new” in Thailand’s history.

A leisurely glide over the Chao Phrya River brought comprehension of Bangkok’s canal life plus the boat docked at Wat Arun. Locally referred to as Wat Chaeng, but nicknamed “Temple of Dawn,” it absolutely was colorfully decorated with spires.

I often threaded my way through the obstacle-course comprised streets in a very three-wheel “Thai tuk-tuk” by day and consumed all kinds of Thai noodles by night-rice, egg, bean, and glass–in never-disappointing dishes.

Rising on the horizon in a subsequent day’s drive to Nakhon Pathom a major city in central Thailand, was the 120-meter-high Phra Pathom Chedi, itself translating because the “Holy Chedi with the beginning,” whose roots were planted within the 3rd century BC when Buddhism was brought to Thailand. Modeled following Great Stupa of Sanchi in Central India, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, it turned out the tallest such chedi around.

A visit for the Rose Garden to try out its Thai Village Cultural Show was another immersion to the country’s colorful pageantry. Amidst expansive gardens, elephants, reminiscent in the days when king and princes fought battles on their backs, roamed the vicinity. But the actual show included such aspects because the ordination in monkhood, the fingernail dance, Thai-style boxing, northeastern dance, sword fighting, the complete moon-associated bamboo dance, as well as a Thai big event.

The colorful Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, about 100 kilometers southwest of Bangkok, was another immersion into local life. Its canal-thronged, long-tail boats floated almost within reach in the dizzying variety of shore-based stalls that sold from local produce to toy elephants and tiger balm.

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Travel to Northeast Asia

As a four-decade Certified Travel Agent, international airline employee, researcher, writer, teacher, and photographer, travel, whether for pleasure or business purposes, has long been a significant along with an integral portion of my life. Some 400 trips to every one portion on the globe, with road, rail, sea, and air, entailed destinations both mundane and exotic. This article targets those in Northeast Asia.

Hong Kong:

A holiday to Hong Kong offered a chance to experience the destination although it was still under British rule.

Rising like modern monoliths of concrete, steel and sun-glinted glass skyscrapers occupied every inch in the city on both its Hong Kong Island and Kowloon sides, which are separated by Victoria Harbor. Bridged on the outside by frequent, Star Ferry crossings and below by traffic-and subway-boring tunnels, these bustling, commerce-concerned metropolises aimed to blend modern and ancient, and western and eastern culture, yet retain a hang on its past. A walk approximately an extensive breakfast buffet, as an illustration, meant the typically expected fare, but featured Chinese offerings, including dim sum.

My sightseeing strategy entailed an ever-expanded encompassment area.

Attractions included the Suzie Wong district of Wanchai; Deep Water Bay; and Repulse Bay using its beaches; the Stanley Market, once portion of a fishing and farming village and from now on a residential area whose sprawling complex of shops and stands displayed bargain-priced commodities, including designer clothes, porcelain wares, bamboo, and rattan. Aberdeen, fisherman-inhabited and water-littered with junks and sampans, certainly emphasized the city’s origins, and also a tram ascent up Victoria Peak, which rose from 80-foot Garden Road to 1,305-foot Peak Tower, offering new perspectives.

The Sung Dynasty Village, a recreated, period-dress representation of Bian Jing, China’s capital throughout the Sung Dynasty (960 to 1279 AD), offered going back to the country’s ancient, cultural past. Entered through its a pointer portal main gate, it afforded a multi-sense immersion through architecture, customs, food, and shops that sold many methods from incense and fans to silks, handicrafts, and wood carvings inside a layout of streets, a stream-spanning wooden bridge, and triumphal arches. Live performances solidified the event.

Considered “the land between,” New Territories, 15 miles north of Kowloon’s bustling waterfront, office skyscrapers, and gleaming hotels, was a space of rolling, green hills, neatly terraced fields, rural markets, and fishing villages. It shared Hong Kong’s then-border with Communist China.

Visits here were to Chuk Lan Sim Yuen, Tai Mo Shan, the tallest mountain, and Luen Wo Market.

Lunch, inside Yucca de Lac Restaurant overlooking the Tao Harbour, included corn soup with bean curds, green kale in oyster sauce, beef and pickles within a yam nest, fried chicken with lemon sauce, spare ribs with champagne and tangerine sauce, diced pork with cashew nuts, fried rice with ham, and frozen goodies.

Two day-trips brought beyond-Hong Kong perspectives.

The first, to Macau–the “Eastern Monte Carlo” –required a 40-mile, jetfoil-bridged journey for the Portuguese community, which had been founded over 400 a long time ago by Portuguese traders and missionaries to provide as an entrepôt with Imperial China and Japan. Now a blend of Chinese and Portuguese cultures, it turned out awash with pastel-colored palaces, baroque churches, temples, cannon-sporting fortresses, and winding narrow streets.

Its attractions, an interchange between Eastern and Western cultures, included St. Paul’s ruins, the Ken Iam Temple, the Border Gate with China, and Penha Hill.

After lunch inside the Hotel Lisboa, there is time for the pass through the casino.

The second excursion offered an idea of Communist Chinese life. A hovercraft visit to the Shenzhan Special Economic Zone-specifically to Shekou for the Pearl River statuary and west of Shenzhen City–provided personal inspection from the Terracotta Warrior and Horse exhibition, dating on the Tang Dynasty and today considered the 8th Wonder in the World, and also a visit for the local kindergarten, and then a performance of the incredibly disciplined students.

A subsequent drive through Nan Tau to Dongguan, one in the oldest counties in Dongguan Province, was rewarded using a superb, multi-course Chinese lunch, and was as well as the continued journey to Guangzhou, formerly generally known as “Canton,” but nevertheless the center of political, exonymic, and cultural life in Southern China. Its own attractions encompassed the Guangzhou Zoo, the Temple from the Six Banyan Trees, and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, an octagonal building developed in palatial style to honor the politician, physician, and political philosopher who served as being the provisional first present on the Republic of China.

The experience was capped by dinner inside the dining car on the Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) over the return journey. But a sign in the earlier times was expressed from the tour guide, who, opening crossing the absolutely no longer existent border, blurted, “Relax, everyone. We’re in Hong Kong. We can breathe again!”

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Travel to the Middle and Near East

As a four-decade Certified Travel Agent, international airline employee, researcher, writer, teacher, and photographer, travel, whether for pleasure or business purposes, is definitely a significant plus an integral a part of my life. Some 400 trips to each and every portion on the globe, by way of road, rail, sea, and air, entailed destinations both mundane and exotic. This article is targeted on those from the Middle and Near East.


Turkey, which lies in Europe and Asia, offered a glimpse into its rich antiquity using a tour through Ephesus, the original Greek city situated on the Ionian coast. Constructed inside the 10th century BC on the website of the previous Arzawan capital by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists, it became one with the twelve cities in the Ionian League in the Classical Greek Era and flourished under control from the Roman Republic in 129 BC.

Extensively canvased on foot, it progressively revealed the elements of its past, like the House from the Virgin Mary, the Temple of Hadrianm, the Library of Celsus, plus the Commercial Agora in the ancient section.

The Live Ephesus using the Ephesians show brought its past to life from the present.

A buffet lunch in Restaurant Le Wagon, a wooden, A-framed building with tree branch support beams, brick and wooden walls, along with a red tile roof, featured potato and bean salad, eggplant, stuffed grape leaves, black olives, pickles, phyllo dough cheese rolls, grilled meatballs with tomato sauce, grilled chicken, yellow rice, and baklava.

Post-meal attractions encompassed the Ephesus Museum along with the St. John Monument, along with the immersion into Turkey’s ancient past was capped that has a Turkish carpet making demonstration in Kusadasi.


Surrounded by Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, Jordan, home country of some other one of my airlines, offered a way to experience and be aware of the history, culture, cuisine, and individuals behind the carrier I partially represented, initially through its modern capital, Amman, built on seven hills or “Jebels.

Mohammed, a colleague I chance-met upon arrival at Queen Alia International Airport, immediately displayed the Jordanians’ signature hospitality by volunteering in order to meet me within hotel everyday and escort me for the significant sights.

Offered local confectionaries in bakeries, including delicate cookies or cream- and cheese-filled Kanafa, I walked within his shadow once we entered the Golden Souk, perusing local wares and handicrafts, after which visited Citadel Hill, located 850 meters above sea level on Jebel Al Qala’a and one on the original seven to possess served as Amman’s foundation.

The Roman Amphitheater, in the foot of Jabal Al-Jofah over a hill opposite the Citadel, would be a 6,000-seat, second-century Roman theater, dating back to your era when Amman was generally known as Philadelphia.

Other sights included the single-dome, four-minaret King Hussein Mosque, the largest inside country.

North in the city was Jerash, one in the ten cities in the Decapolis, where splendors of Rome’s frontier provinces were preserved through theaters, colonnaded streets, baths, and temples. A knife, gyrating around when inserted between column joints, established that no cement or some other binding substance ended up used at their juncture.

“Jerash could very well be the best preserved and many complete provincial Roman cities anywhere inside world,” in line with its description. “To walk through the standard city would be to step back in to the world from the second century across the southeastern frontier from the Roman Empire. It is the most spectacular of those towns, ten ones were loosely allied in a association of cities referred to as the ‘Decapolis.’

“Called ‘Gerasa’ in Roman times, it was vital not only because of its individual monuments, but also for the strict and well-preserved town plan, built across the colonnaded main street and lots of intersecting side ones. Its most noteworthy monuments included the Cardo, the South Theatre, the Temple of Zeus, the Oval Piazza, or Forum, Hadrian’s Arch, the Nymphaeum, the Artemis Temple Complex, and also the smaller North Theatre, or Odeon.

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Travel to Africa

As a four-decade Certified Travel Agent, international airline employee, researcher, writer, teacher, and photographer, travel, whether for pleasure or business purposes, happens to be a significant as well as an integral portion of my life. Some 400 trips to every one portion in the globe, with road, rail, sea, and air, entailed destinations both mundane and exotic. This article specializes in those in Africa.


The land in the Nile plus the pyramids came alive throughout a flawlessly blue trip one December.

Cairo-accessed sights, almost without saying, included those very pyramids, whose construction commenced in 2550 B. C. due to Pharaoh Khufu’s order and that had been negotiated by camel. Towering some 481 feet, the Great Pyramid of Giza, the most important, contains some 2.3 million stone blocks, each weighing 2.5 to 15 tons and is also considered the oldest from the Seven Wonders with the Ancient World as well as the only one to be largely intact.

Khufu’s son, Pharaoh Khafre, built the next pyramid in 2520 B.C. and it is a part of a complex that features the Sphinx, a mysterious limestone monument while using body of any lion as well as a pharaoh’s head, which itself may stand sentinel for your pharaoh’s entire expanse of tombs.

The third such pyramid-shaped structure, that’s considerably less space-consuming than the first two, was built by Pharaoh Menkaure in 2490 B.C. and comes with a much more complex mortuary temple.

Additional attractions included the temple from the Great God Ptah in Memphis, a 5,000-year-old symmetrical, alabaster sphinx, as well as the original statue of Ramses II. The Necropolis in Sakkara afforded to be able to inspect its tombs as well as own step pyramid.

The immersion into Egyptology was capped which has a visit on the Papyrus and Egyptian museums, aforementioned built through the Italian construction company Garozzo-Zaffarani and constituting one in the largest such repositories with 120,000 items, not all of which are on display for a single time. But some of the company’s most significant were Tutankhamun’s Mask, the Grave Mask of King Amenemope, the Narmer Palette, the Mummy Mask of Psusennes I, the Statue of Khufu, the Statue of Khafra, the Statue of Menkaure, along with the Merneptah Stele.


Two multi-mode trips to Arabic- and French-speaking Morocco facilitated considerable country coverage.

Significant Casablanca sights included its Medina, the Royal Palace, the Hassan II Mosque, our planet’s second largest next in Mecca, Mohammed V Square, plus a Moroccan handicrafts store.

A drive to Rabat encompassed a unique Royal Palace, the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the Hassan Tower, along with the Kasbah of Oudaya, evoking images on the Humphrey Boggart movie, Casablanca.

Morocco’s famous and wonderful couscous, sometimes enjoyed with live entertainment, was consumed in a number of restaurants. Lunch within the Golden Tulip Rabat, as an illustration, featured eggplant salad; olive chicken, couscous, and carrots; and thin chocolate pastries and custard-flan with fruit. A later sip of Moroccan mint tea in Rick’s Café from the Kasbah of Oudaya really generated movie memories. Its French influence was expressed rolling around in its crispy baguettes.

Marked by Moorish minarets in the 12th-century, Koutoubia Mosque, in Marrakech, was obviously a former imperial city inside western section of the country, but is today described as palaces, gardens, and also the densely packed, walled medina dating towards the Berber Empire. Threading my way through its maze-like alleys, I passed and perused its souks, or marketplaces, which displayed some items as textiles, pottery, and jewelry.

While a train had linked the town with Casablanca, an inside flight closed the gap between it and Tangier, a port city about the Strait of Gibraltar containing served to be a strategic gateway between Africa and Europe since Phoenician times. Its whitewashed hillside medina was home towards the Dar el Makhzen, a palace on the sultans which had since been become a museum which has a rich assortment of Moroccan artifacts.


Although Arabic and French similarly provided the communication lines in Tunisia, my German often substituted in English-deficient areas.

Tunis, located within the Mediterranean Sea plus the country’s capital, afforded sightseeing opportunities to use Bardo Museum, Hammamet, and Nabeul.

Carthage, a seaside suburb renowned for its ancient archaeological sites and founded from the Phoenicians in the very first millennium B. C., was originally the seat with the powerful Carthaginian Empire, which fell to Rome in the other century B. C. Today it retains a grip on its history with your remnants as the Amphitheatre, Byrsa Hill plus the National Museum of Carthage, the Roman Theatre, the Baths of Antonin, and Sidi Bou Said.

A short, domestic turboprop flight to your island of Djerba varied my view with the country, which has a stay inside the seaside Hotel Hasdrubal and sightseeing of Guellala and Houmut-Souq. Its small, but elegant restaurant dripped of French cuisine along with a butter-sautéed filet mignon entrée one evening was memorable.

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