Waking early to the loud morning chorus of the Thai rainforest is an amazing experience. Whooping gibbons, honking hornbills and buzzing insects compete to fill the air waves with their loud songs to the new day. The floating bungalows on Lake Chiew Lan are located in Khao Sok National Park in Surat Thani province. A night or two can be arranged through your lodging in Khlong Sok near the park entrance. In our case, we stayed at Khao Sok Rainforest Resort and prearranged a night on the water as part of our package. In addition to the morning music, you'll be joined for breakfast by nosy macaques.
This is Coffee. In Bali we were lucky enough to meet a man who actually loves coffee more than me. He generously offered to take us to his business partners coffee plantation and show us around for the day. I learned more about the growth, processing, selling, roasting, and creating of this nectar of the gods than I ever knew was possible in those hours. This is our friend picking a ripe coffee fruit.
Severely dehydrated, severely under-dressed, severely cold (the sum of these parts means, of course, that I am severely stupid) my travel partner and I dragged our sorry carcasses through the woods and over rocks in the dead of night in search of Low's Peak. We found the peak, and under cover of dark we sat huddled together in an effort to get warm. And then the sun peaked over the horizon, and everything changed. I was still damn near freezing to death, but at least I had a smile on my face.
Kota Kinabalu, for all it's commercialization, is still a brilliant climb. This is the 20th tallest mountain in the world by virtue of topographic prominence, and you'll feel every inch on your way to the top.
The island of Penang is an interesting place. It has been a boiling pot of culture and religion for centuries due to its geographical location. This island has been a major port for a long time and it has seen an its cultural identity shift after the arrival of slave traders and merchants in the past. Malays, Chinese and Indians all inhabit this island today and have coexisted in peace for a number of years.
This is the type of place where you will see mosques sitting across the street from a Hindu temple, with a Chinese clan house next door. Getting lost on Penang is easy but you are never far from something of interest. While looking for sights one day I stumbled across the Hainan Temple (above). I sat and watched the patrons pay homage and was entranced by the temple's atmosphere - chanting, incense burning and prayers being read aloud.
If you are on Love Lane (a famous street in...
Be sure to buy some spices. Most of the vendors have their own special mixtures. And the best part: the vendors can vacuum-seal your purchase for the trip home.
Lovely ladies in kimonos brave the rain in Kyoto. This was taken in front of Chion-in Temple near Gion earlier this week. Even in the pouring rain the Sakura, which are in full bloom, were lovely to behold and holding up nicely.
South Korea. To the world it is bright neon lights, fuel-efficient cars, genetic research and kimchi. The Land of the Morning Calm is deservedly lauded as a spreading ground for future tech and well known as the K-pop powerhouse, though Seoul is furiously rebranding as a design-centric, green-focused hub to East Asia. But what of the Korea that existed before and beyond the glass and granite of modernity? How much of it remains?
The emerald carpets of the Boseong Tea Fields offer a glimpse of what Korea was before it became an Asian power, and is a relaxing respite from the chaos of the city centers.