The paradise island of Boracay. What more else can I really say?
I spent some days on this extremely beautiful island and hardly took a single picture (the ones below make up of about half the total), a photographer needs his vacation too damnit!
Once, I will have to write a nice in-depth essay delving into all the characteristics between all the famous paradise islands in south east Asia, having been to several over the past few years (Bali, Samui, etc) it certainly would be an interesting conversation to have.
But yeah, our flight out of Shanghai left just after midnight, putting us down in Manila in the wee hours of the morning, only to board a small prop-plane an hour later to Kalibo. A small “ferry” (seen in the photos) then took us to the island and by 9am I was on the beach with a Red Horse in my hand. One could say I was indeed quite sufficiently ready for the end of the world (the Mayan prophecy of December 21, 2012). Had the skies come tumbling down, I really could not think of a better place to be.
I don’t have much more to say about Boracay, friendly people, cheap prices, live music in every direction, and the fresh seafood market with restaurants located all around it that instantly cook your purchases any way you desire was a tremendous delight. Certainly my kilo of king tiger prawns BBQ’d with garlic and butter was only just short of utterly mesmerizing. Just go to your favorite travel site and buy a ticket, simple as that. Boracay. Do it. Do it now. You won’t be sorry.
The Oriental Pearl Tower is undoubtedly Shanghai’s most iconic landmark. Completed in 1994, it was also one of the first structures to be built on the Pudong side of Shanghai (ie- all the famous skyline images you see).
It has a love/hate relationship with most Shanghainese, and I certainly don’t know why exactly that certain color was picked, but at night it is spectacular. At 468m tall, it is currently the 5th largest tower in the world, with which you get some insane views of Lujiazui (downtown Pudong) and across the river of the Bund and the Puxi side of Shanghai…
I can’t recommend visiting the Pearl Tower enough, if for one simple reason: the view straight down through the glass floors at almost 300m up!
There is also an unusual exhibition located on the ground floor, as seen in the last few images… make sure to look through them all, there are some real gems in there!
Since this was my second visit to Holland Village, I don’t think I captured as many [interesting] pictures. Nothing much has changed from this strange area since my first visit almost two years ago. It’s a long metro ride to the far reaches of northern Pudong to Gao Qiao then walking the final stretch to Holland Village (see my previous posts for more info: Gao Qiao | Holland Village).
And yes, I still think they should change the name to Shangsterdam and open a frituur.
Yes, monkeys are awesome.
I had a real connection to the baby seen in the last several photos, what a buddy.
The island of Bali has much more to offer than just beaches… some beautiful forest/jungle type deals, not to mention some incredible insects.
This was my fifth or sixth trip to the island of Bali. Not sure what else to say about it other than that it’s dope.
Oh yeah, and the sunsets are amazing.
^Just a few more taken over the following days.
I will keep the commentary short this time around, said most of what I needed to about Brunei in my last post. Pictured above the official seal as seen on the gates to the Sultan’s Palace, while below you see the magnificent Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin mosque.
We had rented a car and drove around… from the Sultan’s palace (couldn’t really get a good view), legislative buildings, beautiful mosques, beaches and parks. Brunei spares no expense!
Just a quick note about the image of the house on stilts… it is a very rare site, as Brunei is pristine!
Night photos comin’ in the next post…………
We had rented a motorcycle the night before with the intent of making a trip into the island of Borneo. Since I was a young kid I had always heard of the mystical creatures and plants that grew on this tropical island. Of course a day-trip into just a piece of the island is never enough, and I was a little disappointed to go away not seeing a rafflesia in full bloom (which is trickier than I thought). It is the largest flower on the planet and is supposed to smell like rotting flesh, which is also why it is known as the “corpse flower.” We talked to some local farmers and were shown some wild buds, but since they take many months to mature, then only bloom for a couple weeks, and are worth a small fortune (+4,000 USD), many are stolen or are sold-off before maturing.
Either way, we snaked ourselves around the impressive Mount Kinabalu, passing the Tamparuli Suspension Bridge and headed into the natural reserve to have a short hike up the mountain. Climbing back onto the beastly 4-gear bike, we directed ourselves inland once again visiting hot springs, waterfalls and of course plenty of jungle.
It was incredibly hot during the morning and day, but since the dramatic changes in altitude I had read to bring along a sweater, which I reluctantly did… but thankfully I did, because as soon as the sun started setting it got pretty cold up there, especially going downhill on a motorcycle!
Arriving back in the town of KK that night, after a day of riding almost 300km of mountain roads, we retired back to the restaurant we had eaten at the night before. A great market-type deal located next to the fishing port, I couldn’t recommend it more. A collection of severalteen restaurants clustered together under tents right next to where the fishermen come back and unload their fresh catches. I kid you not, I had one of the most amazing dishes of my life here… buttered and battered prawns. A light and crunchy batter that I can hardly describe in any terms other than simply amazing. The mango and avocado shakes are pretty refreshing too!