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Photo of the week #19 Malacca

melaka

 

Malacca is the historical state of Malaysia, rich with heritage buildings, ancient landmarks and colonial structures. It was here that colonial forces first made contact with Malaysia, which eventually shaped the country into its current economic and political system.

It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shown in the picture above is the Dutch Square with the Christ church and Stadhuys. Also seen is a beautiful Tang Beng Swee Clock tower.

Photo of the week #18 MacRitchie Reservoir Park, Singapore

MacRitchie Reservoir Park

 

Did you know that Singapore is ranked the greenest city in Asia?

This small city-country is truly a Garden City and is slowing inching towards being a City in a Garden. With careful planning, Singapore has been able to increase its green cover to 46.5%. The lush green cover and warm tropical climate make Singapore a haven for rich biodiversity despite the small land mass.

MacRitchie Reservoir Park is one of the several parks in Singapore and a popular spot for nature lovers and exercise enthusiasts. The TreeTop Walk (TTW) shown in the above photo is the highlight of several long hiking routes in this park which brings us through different stages of mature secondary forest. It also plays an important role in forest canopy research.

Photo of the week #16 Prambanan, Indonesia

Prambanan

Prambanan is a collection of massive Hindu temples (candi) built by the Mataram Kingdom, rulers of central Java and defeaters of the Sailendra Dynasty. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a masterpiece of the Hindu culture in the 10th century. 

Prambanan temple has three main temples in the primary yard, namely Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva temples. Those three temples are symbols of Trimurti in Hindu belief. 

In the wake of the May 2006 Yogyakarta earthquake, some parts of Prambanan sustained significant damage.

Photo of the week #15 Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An

 

Hội An, also Faifoo, is a city of Central Vietnam. It is recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Its  Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port. 

The name Hội An literally translates to a “peaceful meeting place”. At sunset most of the people head to Bach Dang dock to take a peaceful and scenic cruise in one of the local boats along the Thu Bon river.

Photo of the week #14 Preah Khan, Angkor

angkor

 

Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia and the world’s largest religious monument.

The structures one sees at Angkor today, more than 100 stone temples in all, are the surviving remains of a grand religious, social and administrative metropolis whose other buildings – palaces, public buildings, and houses – were built of wood and have long since decayed and disappeared.

Most of the photographs depict the popular temples – Angkor Wat, Bayon and Ta Phrom. The above photograph, taken in Preah Khan, one of the less popular temples which is left unrestored shows numerous rumbling stones surrounded by dense forest which is the actual picture in most of the temples in Angkor. Just a depiction of nature over powering and covering the grand history of the past.

 

 

Photo of the week #13 Luang Prabang

luang

Luang Prabang is the former capital of Laos and a UNESCO World Heritage city. Set at the confluence of two rivers(Mekong and Nam Khan) that almost surround the town, and beneath a temple-topped hill, Luang Prabang is a wonderful patchwork of traditional Lao wooden houses and hints of European architecture; reminders of when Laos was part of the French colony of Indochine.

It is one of those small cities with atmospheric personalities and is perhaps the most charming city in the whole of South East Asia.

This picture taken from across the street near a temple depicts the most famous ‘Alms giving ceremony’ where the monks at dawn (6.00 AM) collect alms of rice from kneeling villagers and tourists. It is advised to strongly consider only watching this old tradition from a distance instead of using it as a tourist attraction, as this may detract from the beauty of the ritual – both for locals and tourists alike.

Photo of the week #12 Ayuthaya

ayuthaya

 

Ayuthaya (full name Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya) is the ancient capital of Siam dynasty after Sukhothai.

Throughout the centuries, the ideal location between China, India and the Malay Archipelago made Ayutthaya the trading capital of Asia and even the world. By 1700 Ayutthaya had become the largest city in the world with a total of 1 million inhabitants!! Unfortunately we do not read about this great city in our history books!

Many international merchants from around the world have proclaimed Ayutthaya as the finest city they had ever seen. All this came to a quick end when the Burmese invaded Ayutthaya in 1767 and almost completely burnt the city down to the ground.

Today, only a few remains, mostly temples and palaces, might give a glimpse of the impressive city they must have seen. The above photograph is taken in Wat Mahathat showing one of the few Buddha statues that is intact surrounded by prangs(towers).

 

 

Photo of the week #11 Oia, Santorini

santorini

Oia – a small and spectacular town perched on the crescent-shaped clifftop of the caldera on Santorini island in Greece. It is probably the most famous of all villages of Santorini. It is known throughout the world for its quiet life and fantastic sunset. It is Oia where there are many of the blue domed buildings you see in most of the postcards or photographs of Santorini.

By the way, do you know why the main color of the buildings in Santorini is blue and white?

With little to no wood available, the majority of the buildings on the islands were originally constructed out of dark, volcanic stone. The stone was a great insulator, but the color of the stone absorbed the heat making being inside on a hot day unbearable. Painting the buildings white to reflect the harsh sunlight was a necessary and practical way to stay cool. The color ‘blue’ was added to tone down the extremely white limestone plaster. Most of the households had a blue colored cleaning agent called ‘loulaki’ which was added to the limestone to give it a blue color.

Currently the Greek government  has mandated that all buildings must be painted in blue and white.