Category Archives: Photos

Wander Pi Wednesdays: Dreaming of Someplace Warmer

Every Wednesday, I’ll be sharing one of my favorite photos from my travels.

This week, Hong Kong was hit by the coldest temperatures in nearly 60 years. Morning temperatures often dropped down to a bone-chilling 37 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s about 3 degrees Celsius) in most urban areas. While this may not seem very cold to most readers (especially those living in the North), I guess I must have acclimatized after living in Hong Kong for four years because it felt like the coldest days of my life and this is coming from a New Jerseyan. All the while, I couldn’t stop thinking about warmer weather and tropical beaches. So in honor of Hong Kong’s coldest day in nearly six decades, I thought it’d be appropriate to share one of my photos from the Philippines. Taken in the Palawan region during a five day expedition from Coron to El Nido, we stumbled upon this desolate island found between the South China and Sulu Seas.

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My Favorite Captures of 2015

With February 2016 nearly upon us, I wanted to take some time a reflect on the previous year and share some of my favorite photos of 2015. When it comes to photography, I consider myself to be much more an enthusiast than a professional. I thoroughly enjoy taking pictures just for fun of it. It’s definitely an added bonus when I capture a decent shot of something that means a lot to me.

2015 was one busy year, especially when it came to work. Holding down a full-time job while living in Hong Kong and finding the time to do extensive travel was pretty difficult. Nonetheless, I tried my best to plan my vacation days around public holidays in order to get more time to travel. As such, my travels in 2015 led me to Myanmar, China, Indonesia, and back home to the United States for an early Christmas. According to Adobe Lightroom, I snapped over 2,000 photos during this time so choosing my favorites certainly wasn’t an easy task, but I tried my best to narrow it down to a few from each country. Take a look!

Myanmar

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Reaching an impressive 325 feet into the sky, The Shwedagon Pagoda is Myanmar’s most sacred Buddhist pagoda. Containing various important relics related to the spiritual teachings, it is believed to be the oldest pagoda in Myanmar, dating back to the lifetime of the Buddha. As a result, thousands of pilgrims visit this site every day, making it a unique, lively and magical place to witness.

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During a two hour wait in the extremely busy Yangon Central Railway Station, I was approached by a big family who asked me to sit on their mat while I waited for my train. The mother, in broken English, told me all about her children and introduced me to her son who was more than excited to have a photo taken. You can see them here sporting thanaka, a natural paste made from ground bark that is used as a natural sun screen. These, among many others, were just a taste of the curiosity and hospitality that can be found in all corners of Myanmar.

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Bagan is Myanmar’s most famous destination and it’s easy to see why. This ancient city is home to thousands of Buddhist pagodas and temples dating back to the 11th and and 13th centuries making them nearly 2,000 years old. My friend and I spent the entire day exploring this vast landscape, wandering amongst the temples, and discovering the hidden statues found in the various temples. Bagan is truly magical and it was easily one of the most memorable places I traveled to in 2015.

China

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The Li River which traverses from Guilin to Yanhshuo is considered to be one of China’s most famous scenic areas. Surrounded by towering karst mountains, rollings hills, and hidden caves, it’s the perfect place to catch a bamboo raft and leisurely float down the river. Listed as one of the world’s top ten watery wonders by National Geographic Magazine, it’s a beautiful place to witness as it offers a quintessentially Chinese experience in a mostly natural and untouched setting.

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Named after its moon-shaped hole, Moon Hill is one of Yangshuo’s most iconic and scenic sights. Standing at over 1,200 feet high, Moon Hill offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area and valley below. The 800 step climb to the top is well worth the view and, for those seeking something a bit more adventurous, why not try one of the fourteen rock climbing routes up the the large rock. Whether you’re an amateur or a professional climber, this scenic destination offers the perfect backdrop for a challenging, yet fun adventure.

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There’s something about water buffalo that completely puts me at ease and sends me to my peaceful place. I could easily spend hours watching these majestic creatures wandering through the rice fields and munching on grass. An odd, the water buffalo have become my my favorite animals. I have witnessed these gentle giants in nearly every Asian country I have visited thus far and I have grown to really appreciate their gentle manner.

Indoenisa

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Bali was probably one of the most surprising places I visited. Due its touristy nature, I was expecting it be highly developed, but it’s actually quite easy to find peace and quiet throughout many parts of the island. Case in point, the Jatiluwih Rice Terrace; 700 meters above sea level, this beautiful rice terrace is considered to be Bali’s oldest and most complex agricultural system. Designated a UNESCO Cultural Landscape, Jatiluwih offers a breathtaking panorama and a tranquil retreat from the island’s more developed areas.

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From vast rice fields to relaxing beaches, Bali has a lot to offer as a travel destination. This is the Yellow Bridge which connects Nusa Lembongan to Nusa Ceningan. These two islands are only a short boat ride from the main island of Bali, yet it feels as if they are hundreds of miles away from the busy shores of nearby Kuta and Sanur. The quiet shores of Nusa Lembongan are the perfect place to unwind and relax and live life the way it was meant to be.

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And what is a place without its people? During a four day stay in the palatial Alam Puisi Villa I was invited to attend a New Year celebration which included four traditional Indonesian dances. The dancers were only too happy to be captured, in fact, spectators were invited to join the dancers on stage to welcome in the new year. It was the perfect way to ring in 2016.

The United States

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New York City is a truly unique and unrivaled destination. From the city’s Great White Way to its five distinct boroughs, there a few cities like it in the world. Not to mention, Gotham has one of the most iconic skylines around. There is no better place to catch a glimpse of this glistening skyline than the Top of the Rock. Whether you call it the Big Apple, the Capital of the World, or the City that Never Sleeps, you’ll certainly never run out of things to do.

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Christmas in New York City is a magical experience. From ice skating in Central Park, viewing the windows along 5th Avenue, or taking in the sights of the world’s most famous Christmas tree, the city certainly goes all out for the holidays as it transforms itself into a twinkling winter wonderland, making it one of the best of times to visit the Big Apple.

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The September 11th memorial is an unusual one for this list, it’s not exciting, it’s not a major tourist attraction but it is a picture I hold in high esteem. This image depicts the beauty of the memorial and the importance of such a space in the city of New York to both its citizens and its visitors. The tone of the memorial is hardly morose, but pensive, a reminder of what so many have lost and what we must never forget.

Wander Pi Wednesdays: Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour

Every Wednesday, I’ll be sharing one of my favorite photos from my travels.

Located between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula, Victoria Harbour is one of the largest harbours in the world and is considered to be the lifeline of Hong Kong. Home to the historic Star Ferries, various cruise liners, cargo ships, and wooden junk boats, the port is always bustling with life and is never still. Literally known as the ‘fragrant harbour,’ the harbour is the pulsing heart of this vibrant city and has long played an intricate role in the development of Hong Kong. From here, the famous skyline can be witnessed in all its beauty and grandeur.

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Wander Pi Wednesdays: Creatures of the Night

Every Wednesday, I’ll be sharing one of my favorite photos from my travels.

Night hiking through the jungles of Borneo, I happened upon this fuzzy caterpillar going on his way through the jungle. While not a rarity, I found it somewhat humbling to see the sheer amount of wildlife that comes alive during the night, just going about its business. The antithesis of insect sounds of the night to the bird and monkey calls of the day time is truly a wonderful experience. After just moments of trekking, I truly saw how the jungle is an enormous living entity.

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Wander Pi Wednesdays: Portrait of a Life Long Rice Farmer

Every Wednesday, I’ll be sharing one of my favorite photos from my travels.

Amidst the busy markets and bustling streets of Hoi An, tourists can find themselves touring the rice farms and meeting the farmers who provide kilos upon kilos of rice for the local families. This is Mama, the proprietor of her family’s rice business. She was kind enough to give us a full demonstration of the rice farming process which she continues for up to twelve hours at a time. While I watched her sort and grind the husks, several families visited to drop off their own bags of unprocessed rice, 5 kilos of which could feed a family for a week.

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Wander Pi Wednesdays: Sunrise Over Borobudur

Every Wednesday, I’ll be sharing one of my favorite photos from my travels.

Located on Indonesia’s island of Java, Borobudur is home to the largest Buddhist temple in the world. Three-hundred years older than Angkor Wat, the temple was built between the 8th and 9th century and is positioned between twin active volcanoes which makes the view from the top even more impressive. With a total of 504 Buddha statues and various stupas built throughout the monument, the structure itself is the perfect frame.

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Wander Pi Wednesdays: Borneo’s Proboscis Monkeys

Every Wednesday, I’ll be sharing one of my favorite photos from my travels.

Borneo is home to some of the rarest wildlife in the world. Various unique and endangered animals call this mystical island home. One of the best places to witness these rare animals in their natural habitat is along the Kinabatangan River in Malaysia. The river is one of the few remaining wildlife sanctuaries left in Borneo. I encountered all kinds of intriguing animals and distinctive plant life while exploring the area. Some of the most eccentric animals I came across were the proboscis monkeys. These strange looking creatures are often known for their long noses and unique reddish brown color. Here is a photo of a female proboscis monkey perched high up in a tree. Female proboscis monkeys have much shorter snots compared to their male counterparts, but they still look just as bizarre in their own unique way.

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