Bikaner & Mandawa: Relics of a Rich Past Rajasthan, India

Bikaner Bikaner is situated in northwestern Rajasthan, in the middle of the Thar desert. Summer temperatures are scorching hot but in winter it can get very cold. We visited in January and while the days were pleasantly warm, the nights were quite cold and I was glad I had brought a sleeping bag because the…

Jaisalmer: Sand Castle Rajasthan, India

A City of Golden Sand Jaisalmer, situated in the far northwestern corner of Rajasthan and close to the heavily fortified border with Pakistan, is called the Golden City. The name fits: golden buildings, the highest and most impressive one of them the fort towering over the old walled city, rise from the golden sands of…

Chittorgarh & Pushkar: A Mighty Fort & A Holy Lake Rajasthan, India

Pushkar Pushkar, a small town to the west of Jaipur, is built around holy Pushkar lake, and pilgrimage site for Hindus and Sikhs. It’s a very touristy place and the narrow streets are lined with countless shops selling textiles, leather items, jewelry, and all kinds of souvenirs, and in between the shops are myriad of…

Jaipur: Art, Culture & History Fatehpur Sikri, Jaipur & Amber Fort, Rajasthan, India

Fatehpur Sikri If you have your own wheels or, more likely, a car with a driver, you can plan a few stops on the very long journey from Agra to Jaipur. The first of these should be Fatehpur Sikri: An ancient fortified city, built in the sixteenth century by the Mughal emperor Akbar and short-lived…

Taj Mahal: The Wonders of This World Vrindavan, Agra, and the Taj Mahal, India

A visit to northern India is somehow incomplete without a visit to the world-famous Taj Mahal. This iconic building regularly appears on lists of “must-see places” but it’s also frequently listed as one of the “most overrated travel destinations”, and in my opinion deservedly so. It’s not bad, don’t get me wrong, but there are…

Zanzibar: Stone Town Tanzania

Traders used to travel the route by ship, we took the plane: From Muscat to Zanzibar. Coming from Oman, we really noticed Omani influence in Zanzibar. The archipelago of Zanzibar is made up of the big islands of Unguja, commonly known as Zanzibar, and Pemba, as well as many small islands. In 1698, the archipelago…

Nizwa, Bahla, Jabreen, Misfat al Abriyyin, Al Ayn: Reminders of Centuries Past Oman

A 1.5 hours drive from Muscat brings you to Nizwa, a town at the foot of the Western Hajar mountains. It was once a center for trade and education and is still an important town – the biggest in the region – due to its good location at the roads linking Muscat with the interior and the…

Muscat: A Unique Blend of Tradition and Modernity Oman

Muscat has for centuries been an important trading port due to its strategic location at the Arabian Sea. Today, it’s the capital and biggest city of Oman. Don’t expect a city like Dubai or Doha however, because Muscat is different. Tradition is still very important in Oman and Omanis are proud of their culture and tradition….

Karlu Karlu: Where the Devil Dropped His Marbles Northern Territory, Australia

Karlu Karlu, or the Devils Marbles (yes, without an apostrophe. Really.) are huge granite boulders that are of great cultural and spiritual significance to the Aboriginal people of the area. After hours of driving through flat, never-really-changing landscape, the boulders come as a real surprise. Huge pieces of rock strewn over a big area rise…

Kakadu National Park: Open Air Gallery Northern Territory, Australia

The area of UNESCO World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park has been continuously inhabited by Aboriginal people for over 50,000 years. Aboriginal history and culture is illustrated by some 5000 recorded rock art sites; however, only very few of them are accessible to tourists. The national park covers a huge area (about half the size…

Tana Toraja: Living Among Dead Getting to know the unique culture of the Torajan people in Sulawesi

Death is just another part of life for the Torajas. When someone dies, that person isn’t buried immediately because the deceased is not considered dead but sick and keeps on living in the family home. Dead but not really With our guide Yacob (a very kind and knowledgeable man who last year guided a National Geographic…

Born to Die: Funeral Ceremonies of the Toraja Sulawesi, Indonesia

In the land of the Toraja In Indonesia there are over 300 different ethnic groups. One of them are the Toraja, who live in the highlands of South Sulawesi. Tana Toraja, the “Land of the Toraja”, is known for its good coffee but also for the – for an outsider rather strange (or, more accurate,…