How To Visit Jaffna, The Forbidden City In North Sri Lanka

Here in Jaffna, Sri Lanka the cows own the streets. They are not scared of anything and when you honk at them they just look at your like "WTF do you want?"

The quickest way to make people want to visit somewhere is to tell them that they cannot. So when I heard that Jaffna was off-limits to foreigners and rare even for ordinary Sri Lankan citizens from the south to visit, well I knew right then and there that I would find a way to explore this beautiful yet war-torn city. Entry into the far northern reaches of Sri Lanka is forbidden without expression permission from the Ministry of Defence. The reasons for this vary depending upon who you ask, however the most common answers I got were because of political […]

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Girihadu Seya: The Oldest Buddhist Temple In Sri Lanka

Girihadu Seya in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Up in the northeastern corner of Sri Lanka lies an amazing place named Trincomalee but often referred to as heaven. The beaches are pristine, the scenery is like something out of a movie, the temples are breathtaking, the food is delicious and the people are friendly. But beyond all that there was one place which really impressed me. The oldest Buddhist temple in all of Sri Lanka — and one of the oldest in the world — is Girihadu Seya, which translates as “the stupa on top of the rocks.” This stupa was built 2,500 years ago, back in the […]

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The Ultimate Indonesia Food Guide: Regional Dishes

Soto Ayam in Indonesia

Part of the beauty of Indonesia is that the country and islands are composed of hundreds of different cultures that have all come together to form one diverse nation. As such the food in Indonesia varies not just island to island but city to city. Even simple dishes like soto (a traditional soup) and sambal (chili paste) are so different from one city to the next that they often have completely different names. Trying each and every one of them is no simple task. In fact attempting this is exactly what I have been doing for the last year….and I’m […]

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A Photo Journey Through Thiên Đường “Paradise” Cave, Vietnam

Thiên Đường Cave (Paradise Cave)

When Thiên Đường “Paradise” Cave was discovered in 2005 in Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park it took the title of longest cave in Vietnam away from the name star of the park, Phong Nha Cave. At 31km in length Paradise Cave is more than four times longer than it’s nearby sister and has much more impressive stalactite and stalagmite formation. (In other words if you only have time to explore one of the caves, explore this one!) My Favorite Photo   The photo above left is really neat. Do you see the man sitting up top? I could hear one […]

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Nusa Penida: Bali’s Hidden Paradise (Shhhh!)

Nusa Penida island

This island has long been overlooked by tourists, much to the pleasure of the locals. In fact originally I was not even going to write about it. However my blog is not near as popular as some of the others out there and I highly doubt that this post will result in a flood of new tourists to Nusa Penida, so I have decided ehh what the heck, I’m going to write about it. Despite being located only a 40-minute fast boat ride from Bali, for some reason this island has been completely overlooked by foreigners. It is full of […]

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Batanes: A Photographer’s Dream Destination

Morong Beach, Sabtang Island, Batanes

Ask any Filipino what is on their bucket list and almost every one will mention visiting Batanes. Although tourism is a big part of what sustains these islands — life here is not cheap given the fact that everything has to be flown in from Manila — nearly all tourists are Pinoy. Perfect for me because as most of you already know I love going places where other white people don’t…or won’t Batanes is a cluster of ten islands (three of them inhabited) in the farthest northern reaches of this sprawling archipelago. Located less than 200km south of Taiwan, the […]

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The Amazing, Weird And Exotic Fruits Of Southeast Asia

Fruits Of Asia: Dragonfruit

New foods and traveling go hand in hand with each other. If you aren’t going to sample the local cuisine and instead prefer your McDonald’s, well then you might want to think twice about traveling somewhere exotic. Those type of people are scaredycat travelers — brave enough to travel but still fearful of trying anything new — and although they may feel safe and secure with their comfort foods, all they are doing in fact is making the rest of us look ignorant. Besides, life starts just outside of your comfort zone…so go on, live life! Try something new.   […]

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Chavayan: A Trip Back In Time To This Remote Village In Batanes

Chavayan, Sabtang Island, Batanes

The tiny village is located on Sabtang Island, part of the Batanes region of the Philippines and permanently locked in ages gone by. There is only one road in and out of the village, which is nestled on a thin strip of land between the mountains and the sea. This small barangay (Filipino term for a village) has become one of the must-visit sights when visiting Sabtang, however it hasn’t been tainted by tourism yet. For starters there is the fact that most of the visitors to Sabtang are native Filipinos exploring the farthest reaches of their country. A very […]

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FriFotos: Finding Solitude In The Bogor Botanical Gardens, Indonesia

Frifotos: Derek Freal In Solitude At Bogor Botanical Gardens, Indonesia

Sometimes the hustle and bustle of city life gets to be too much and you just need to escape. That’s how it was for me after living in Jakarta for six weeks. So I called up my friend Riyanni — you may remember we did a tourism film on Siak, Indonesia together last September — and we decided to take a trip out to Kebun Raya Bogor, the Bogor Botanical Gardens. Despite being right smack in the middle of Bogor (60km south of Jakarta) the Botanical Gardens are a tranquil oasis and a perfect day-trip to break free from the […]

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Sabtang Island, Jewel Of Batanes, Philippines

Morong Beach, Sabtang Island, Batanes

When visiting the Batanes island chain in the far northern reaches of the Philippines, one island in particular stands out: Sabtang. This island is only home to 1,500 people but is well-known throughout the country for its white sand beaches, old stone houses, and Mission-style churches.   Thankfully the weather was better today and these photos turned out better than those from Batan Island After disembarking from the ferry all visitors are required to sign in at the Municipal Tourism Information Center and each pay a P100 tourist fee. Turns out that this list is handed off to the Philippines […]

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