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…

Plain of Jars & History Phonsavan and the Plain of Jars, Laos

It’s only 260 km from Luang Prabang to Phonsavan but even the “fast” minivan takes a good six hours for the journey. If you only get a little bit motion sick, be prepared to get badly motion sick here. The road has approximately 1000 bends. At least. It felt like more. The Plain of Jars…

Morotai: Back in Time North Maluku, Indonesia

Exploring Morotai Daruba, Morotai’s main town, has at least one very good restaurant: Rumah Makan Irfamas (Ikan Bakar, what else.). However, apart from eating good fish there’s not much to do in Daruba. You have to get out of town. Muhlis Eso, the guy from Morotai’s WWII museum (it’s a small private collection, but a big museum…

Kandy, Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Pidurangala: Culture, Caves & Rocks Sri Lanka

Kandy: Drums & Buriani “Hello, my friend! Where are you from?”, is how most conversations in Kandy started. That’s how we met a guy who, after asking what we were looking for – tea in bags – lead us through Kandy and into back alleys probably no tourists ever venture into. Instead of just sending…

Angkor: Too Big To Fail? Cambodia

Angkor is an archeological site in Cambodia that stretches over some 400 km2. It was the capital – actually, several capital cities, each with a huge temple at its center – during the Khmer Empire from the 9th to the 15th century. The remains, over 1000 temples and other structures, include the famous Angkor Wat…

Phnom Penh: History Lesson Learning about Cambodia's past

In the first half of the 20th century, Phnom Penh was known as the “Pearl of Asia”. Today, it’s Cambodia’s largest city and its booming economic center. The Khmer Rouge regime Not so long ago however, Phnom Penh was a ghost city and the center of the Khmer Rouge’s terror regime. The Khmer Rouge wanted…