All posts tagged: pictures

Halong Bay: Misty. Mysterious. Magical.

You’ve seen calm seas and you’ve seen sprawling mountains. Put the two together, throw in some evasive mist, dig up some extravagant caves, and shake a magic wand. You might get something close to Halong Bay in Northeast Vietnam. Over 3000 limestone structures arise out of the waters, as though the heavens are really beneath the surface and gracing the earth, forming a spectacle of beauty, mystery and magic, like you’ve never witnessed before. I cruised along these waters of the Gulf of Tonkin (Halong Bay) on the Imperial Junk, one of the many mid-range options to be part of the land on water phenomenon. Imagine sitting on the deck of the cruise, gazing at scores of limestone structures, each with it’s own touch of perfection, looking as stunning at sunrise as at sunset. Each cruise provides food (quality is proportional to the price of the cruise), water activities like kayaking and limestone cave exploration. The limestone cave open for exploration is decked up in lights, and although the ambiance is artificial, the intricate stalactites and …

ZoukOut 2010 – I came, I saw, I survived!

ZoukOut, Southeast Asia’s biggest beach party, is a right of passage for party-goers in the region. I lost my ZoukOut virginity last night, at the 10th ZoukOut, together with David Guetta who performed for the first time in Singapore. And what a performance it was! Thanks to AirAsia and their Singapore Facebook page, we won passes to this all-night party at Siloso Beach, Sentosa. As expected, people had poured in at the beach in thousands, and as the night went by, the percentage of sweat and puke probably exceeded the total amount of alcohol. Everyone was trying to hold out for Tiesto at 3 am, followed by David Guetta at 5 am. Finding a place in front of the main stage (arena A) meant being pushed around incessantly by a mob of sweaty people, dropping drinks everywhere. We decided to spend the night instead at the area right behind the stage, and managed somehow to get entry into a restricted zone! From there on, it was party time indeed. Both Tiesto & Guetta performed a few feet …

Climbing Mount Kinabalu

Climbing the 20th highest peak in the world is probably my greatest achievement thus far! It was exciting, daunting, exhilarating and surreal, in that order. We started our climb via the Timpohon Gate, located 90 km from Kinabalu National Park, Borneo (East Malaysia). The first day’s target was to climb 6 km horizontally and 1300 m vertically. The initial stretch was relatively easy, alternating between clearings and small steps, amid tall trees and dense vegetation. The second half was slightly more taxing, with steeply inclined rocks and steps, where trees were gradually replaced by shrubs and bushes. The trick was to save as much energy as possible by finding an alternative way to climb the steps through rubble and using small rocks as stepping stones. The view became more scenic with height and we were shrouded in mist for certain stretches. I would typically describe it as breath-taking, but I must reserve the term for the summit.     It is mandatory for all climbers to spend the night at Laban Rata or one of its …

Royal Rajasthan

The pages of Indian history textbooks spring to life in Rajasthan. My winter trip to Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur transported me to the pre-Brit India of royalty, grandeur and power.  Despite the cold north, days are exasperatingly hot in Rajasthan, with frigid nights. Our road trips were filled with mirages, which tend to appear magical, despite tenth grade Physics. The sky was always a majestic blue, unlike I’ve seen elsewhere  in India. Even sunset in the state was different, more spectacular, with definite colors in sharp phases and a lingering after-sunset. The night sky was a sight I’ll never forget, especially in Jaisalmer; I have never seen so many stars twinkling in the pitch-black sky. Flooded with blue-painted houses, Jodhpur is known as the Blue City. It is home to one of the biggest forts in India, Umaid Bhawan, which took 15 years to build and is a proud glimpse into the luxury that our country could once boast. As a tourism-fed economy however, one half of Umaid Bhawan was bought by Tata and converted into the …