South East Asia

singapore eunos metro station 13
This was the first post of an entire year-long series, which I named ‘Project 365′. The idea was simple enough: travel for a full year and document every day of it, in the form of a daily picture and poem. I am still working on a book of this year-long travel, but till then, enjoy all the posts here. You can check out the daily posts in the details below or jump to the final day of the project by clicking here. 1st July 2014 – Singapore From dust we rose and to dust we shall go And dust is […]

Project 365: Day 0 – The beginning

pope statue dili timor leste
While Dili had a lot to see and experience, the outskirts of the capital city also had its unexplored secrets. Especially a Pope statue which I had heard so much about, but was in the outskirts of the city. Of course, there is the famous Christ statue in Dili, which a lot of people mistakenly (!) assume to be the Pope statue. Hence, I was told this was a very exclusive tourist destination, very rarely visited. So, I rented a taxi, and set out to see it. Click here to check out images from Dili’s beach front! As I would find […]

Visiting Pope John Paul II in Dili, Timor Leste

anti thaksin protest bangkok
The news has been abuzz recently about the Thailand political crisis. Back in June 2013, I was in Bangkok, and was witness to an anti-Thaksin rally. I am no news reporter, but there was something very raw and unexpected in a Thai protest. Almost like the first reaction when you eat a spicy pad thai. There was only one thing that could be done when an immature photographer like me meets an immovable protest like that. I HAD to join them! You see, the Thais are some of the most peace-loving people on earth. I have been to Thailand 4 […]

Images of a protest : Bangkok, Thailand

manila to paluig 4
With 7107 islands (or 7108 in low tide, as Charlene Gonzales would remind you), Philippines is second only to Indonesia in terms of Islands. So, it was no wonder that one of the easiest weekend activities during my stay in Manila, was finding a new island. There are so many options out there, that it is mind-boggling to see all of them. There is Corregidor, Anilao, Puerto Galera, and even the hundred islands. I wanted to blog about these islands, but don’t know where to start, so I’d rather start with a very obscure, yet amazing, island which is roughly […]

One of the 7107 islands : Magalawa, Philippines

kuda kepang dancer ratan horse
herIn Java (Indonesia), there is a folk dance so crazy, that you will squeak, scrimp, and look away in horror. While I have not seen it in Indonesia, I have seen it in Singapore – where it is supposed to be conservative – and I almost cried. It’s one of the positive culture-shocks that travellers to this part of the world, must experience. If you are looking for traditional festivals in Singapore, also check out my pictures from the mid autumn festival here! Kuda Lumping is a traditional Javanese Dance form and literally means ‘flat horse‘, denoting a prop that is used throughout the […]

Kuda Kepang in Singapore

Timor leste school children 2
The beach had finally taken its toll on us. So, we delved deeper into the main roads of Dili, in the enchanting Timor Leste, searching for the offbeat, away from the touristy parts of the young country. Click here for images from the beachfront in Dili. One must-see item which miraculously (or stupidly) fell off my list, was the Immaculate conception Cathedral, which is supposedly the largest catholic cathedral in South East Asia. And how did it fall off my list? Because I saw the Motael church – pictured below – and assumed this was it. Well, I have made […]

Sights from the city center : Dili, Timor Leste

Santa cruz memorial
After settling into our hostel, we decided to explore Dili city for the first couple of days. Dili is a relatively laid back and lazy sea-side city with a dark history. After Timor Leste gained a bloody independence in 2002, this small city was suddenly a capital. Wondering how to enter Timor Leste? Click here to know more! The Avenida Almirante Americo Tomas, where our hostel was located, was like a central vein  running through the city, beginning from the airport road and leading all the way to the famous Jesus statue of Dili. But sadly, this road is also […]

A walk by the beach – Dili, Timor Leste

East timor backpackers
One of the last south-east Asian countries, Timor Leste is nowhere on the banana pancake trail. In fact, many people dont even know of this country, which became completely independent only in 2002, and still receives less than 10000 tourists annually. I made my plans to visit it when 2 friends in the couchsurfing community had informed me that this was one of the best countries they visited. Click here to check out images from the Timorese capital of Dili. Travelling to Dili, the capital of Timor Leste, can be quite interesting in itself. If you are low on budget, […]

A short landing indeed : Dili, Timor Leste

Streets of Ermita
It was Spanish language that guided me to Ermita.   ========================================================================= When an Indian tries to learn Spanish in the Philippines. Click here. =========================================================================   When you are living in a country, listening to a language where almost every single word sounded like Spanish, you develop an inclination to learn Espanol. And so I signed up for a Spanish course at Instituto Cervantes, which was bang in the middle of Ermita, a district in downtown Manila. While the Instituto Cervantes campus itself had seduced me to bring my camera to class many times, it was the streets of Ermita which brought […]

Images from Ermita: Manila, Philippines

My legs are cramped. I am unceremoniously woken up to the sight of a blank arrival card, which I need to fill up. And the smell of a prebooked meal, consisting of chicken and some dry pieces of vegetables thrown in together, with some kind of a barbeque sauce to cover everything. With the heavy turbulence that I am experiencing currently, I have no idea how that chicken is going to end up in my mouth. I MUST be on an airasia flight to Bali. A tiring week had ensured that I slept off the moment I had taken  my […]

Sunset or Sunrise? : Campuhan Ridge walk in Ubud, Bali

Galungan celebrations in Bali 2
The first time I visited Bali was at the end of March 2013. The date is critical, because it coincided with one of the best Balinese local festivals, which is simply named, the Galungan. I have previously written about other colorful festivals in the South East Asia region, namely Masskara, Panagbenga and Thaipusam, so a post on Galungan is highly apt.   ============================================================== Check out images from the Campuhan ridge walk in Bali! ==============================================================   Indonesia is mostly a Muslim country, but the island of Bali is unique with its Hindu majority and hence remarkably different customs from the rest […]

Images from the Galungan Festival : Bali, Indonesia

Many of the people I meet while travelling, have never heard of dancewalking. And I am proud when I explain to them, especially when I tell them, how it is so common in Singapore. ================================================================= How to order your kopi like a boss, in Singapore! ================================================================= Well, to keep things in perspective, nobody knew of dance walking in Singapore too,  until a year ago. Around that time, one hippy local couch-surfer with long hair went on a trip to some European city, and his host there took him along for a dancewalk. When he came back to Singapore, he explained […]

Dancewalking in Singapore

Everytime I have to catch a flight from Terminal 3 of the Changi airport in Singapore, I look forward to arriving 3 hours before the flight. While this is partially caused by my fear of missing flights, the other main reason is that I like to renew a photographic affair in T3 every time.   ================================================================== Ever heard about dance walking in Singapore? Click here! ================================================================== There are a few different gardens in the Changi airport (sunflower garden, orchid garden etc.), but my favourite one would be the Butterfly garden in Terminal 3 transit area. Apart from the fact that it […]

Clicking around a butterfly garden: Changi Airport, Singapore

When in Singapore, the closest international getaway for most people is to Johor Bahru, in Malaysia, where Singaporeans tend to settle down to the cheap food and shopping. All you had to do was cross the border from Singapore, and there are even public buses that you could take, costing just 1 SGD. Johor will have to be another blog post, but for now, am going to talk about another international getaway. Just 40 minutes by ferry,  lies the Indonesian island of Batam, which for long was considered as a sex-tourism getaway for Singaporeans. Thankfully, not anymore. According to news […]

A weekend getaway at Harris Resort : Batam, Indonesia

It’s February already, and this is the month of the awesome Panagbenga! Now, I’ve mentioned this before that Philippines is the land of festivals, with some amazing events like Masskara, Sinulog and Ati Aklan. All of these require you to take a short flight or ferry out of Manila. But, in Baguio, the summer capital of Philippines, a month-long festival is celebrated every February. And if you happen to be there to witness it, you will know why I rate Panagbenga so high.   ======================================================================== Click here to check out my photos from the Masskara festival of Philippines. ======================================================================== Some […]

In Photos: The Panagbenga flower festival of Baguio, Philippines

How to Order Kopi in Singapore
It’s a Friday! So, here is some inside info on how to order Kopi in Singapore!   There is something so bad-ass about visiting a hawker center in Singapore, and watching a local true-blue Singaporean order Coffee. Or wait, Kopi! Because ordering one in the typical local tongue, could give Starbucks a run for their money in the coffee-naming business. The best place to try ordering this would be the local Kopitiams or hawker centers. I like the ‘Da Bao’ style of taking your Kopi with you, in a plastic bag that hands by a thread. But the topic of this post […]

Order your Kopi like a boss! : Singapore

Vishnu during the churning
If you are in the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport and wandering through the departure/transit area with a with all the time in the world to kill, you are likely to come across a hindu mythological statue of mysterious proportions. I don’t know how I missed this in my previous travels, but all of a sudden, I was face-to-face with a beautiful artwork depicting the Samudra Manthan, from the Mahabharata. Check out the images from a protest in Bangkok! My friend admired the statue for a few minutes, and then carried on to shop for alcohol at the nearby DFS, while I kept staring […]

Churning of the milk ocean : Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok

There is a small country in South East that the banana pancake trail has often ignored. For obvious reasons of having a strict no-alcohol policy. But the Sultanate of Brunei, has been so silent in the tourism affairs of South East Asia, that is has an almost enigmatic halo around it. I was curious about this oil-rich country which nobody went to visit. And in my case, curiosity kills the wallet. So, there I was, on a AirAsia flight, from Kuala Lumpur to Bandar Seri Begawan, in Brunei Darussalam. Read: Go off-the-beaten track in Kuala Lumpur. Visit the Batu Caves. […]

Of Alcohol and Water Villages: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

The mystery of the lemon in thaipusam. 3
If you are in Singapore during the month of January, you should not miss out on one of the best festivals ever. It’s weird. It’s scary. It can capture your deepest imaginations. But Thaipusam is something that you should see atleast once in your life. I have lived in Chennai for 3 years, but I did not, even once, get to see the Thaipusam festival there, despite the festival being centred around the Tamils. I had to get all the way to Singapore, before I saw it for the first time last year. A little background could help here. For the […]

In Photos: Thaipusam festival in Singapore

The Shwedagon stupa 2
Myanmar has always been a very enigmatic country for me. While growing up, I read the newspapers about Aung San Suu Kyi and the civil unrest in Myanmar, but could not get satisfactory information about either, with all the media controls imposed by the government. The country also maintained a stringent control over tourism, with restrictions on border crossings on all sides, and foreigners not allowed to go beyond defined perimeters. But since 2010, there has been a remarkable change in the affairs of  Myanmar, with Aung San Suu Kyi’s release, and many international carriers launching direct flights to the […]

In Photos: Shwedagon pagoda of Yangon, Myanmar

Year of the horse celebrations in Singapore 1
It was raining buckets in Singapore yesterday. The whole city-state cast a gloomy face, with puddles of water everywhere and dark clouds till the end of the horizon. In the midst of all this,  we set out to see the Chinese New year light-up and opening ceremony. It wasn’t a good start, right from Joo Chiat Place. The rain-gods were already putting up a clear sign as to how the rest of the evening would turn out. This is not the first time that I was visiting Chinatown, and it has become one of my favorite spots in Singapore. But today, […]

Ushering the year of the horse : Chinatown, Singapore

During our trip to Cambodia in April 2013, we were aimlessly wandering around the Ankor wat complex. The summer heat was taking its toll, and we had been cycling from 5 AM. (I am a sucker for early sunrises). Everybody was tired out of their heads. And suddenly someone had an idea! Why not make a movie? I mean, one of those shortest-of-short film kinds. Something that can be shot in just 30 minutes or so, and said a story in about a minute or so. And from that point on, everything escalated rather quickly. We came up with the […]

Love in Cambodia

Gardens by the bay at night
My first visit to Singapore was back in 2004, when me and a bunch of college students, set out to explore the parliamentary systems of Singapore and Malaysia. (That was not a joke. Ask me about it over a beer, and I will tell you a funny tale) One thing I remember doing then, was to come and see the famed merlion, and stare out into the Singapore river, and the open sea ahead. It seemed to fit the image of Singapore, as a small Asian lion with an important maritime position.   8 years later, I came back again […]

In Photos: The cloud forest of Gardens by the bay, Singapore.

Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon 2
Everybody is doing it. So, I might as well.   To recount a year is difficult, and especially when it is a year like 2013 which was nothing short of momentous. I checked my hard disk to find out that I have travelled to a total of 14 countries this year, and the total pictures in my hard disk totalled up to 32000! So, what better way to recount a year, than to show it in pictures.   January The Thaipusam festival is one of the most bizarre festivals that one can imagine. I have been wanting to check out […]

2013: My year in travel photos