Tag Archives: art

Around Asia – Indonesia (Day 2: Borobodur, Prambanan)

Today marks the official start of our trip. At 4am, we met our tour operator Salim for the first time. Finally, there is a face to the person I have been e-mailing with for the past few days.

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From Yogyakarta, we drove for an 1 hour to reach Manohara Resort. As a tip, you can opt to stay here as the Borobudur Temple complex is right inside the resort grounds. They also have discounted rates if you are staying there.

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We were one of the first guests that arrived at the resort. While waiting, we had a chitchat with Salim and our driver Yahia (Sorry, but I am not sure how to spell your name). It was nice to know that we were in good company after we got to know them more.

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It was almost 6am when we started lining up to head to the entrance of the temple complex. We were each given a flashlight that you will only use for a few minutes to climb up the temple stairs.

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As we reached our vantage point, I did not expect the huge amount of tourists that visit the temple during sunrise. We had a difficult time finding a decent spot as there will be a blockade from a fellow traveler wherever you position yourself. This was definitely a turn off for me and it somewhat degraded the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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After sunrise is where it becomes better. Most tourists will be moving around the complex giving you more space. As time passes, there will be less and less people around as well. This gave me an opportunity to take a few decent shots of the stupas. Maybe next time, I can just stay behind the complex before sunrise. This way, I can take a clear shot of the complex from the back.

Borobudur sunrise 🌞 #Indonesia #unesco #borobudur #photography #sunrise #agameoftones

A post shared by Paolo Lee (@paolee87) on

Don’t get me wrong but going here should be in everyone’s travel bucket list. Definitely one of the best, if not the best, Buddhist temple I have seen. It’s sheer size, symmetry and design is  mind boggling. Just google some aerial shots of this place and you will be amazed!

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From Borobodur, we headed back to Yogyakarta to have our breakfast and checkout from our hotel. We then went for a quick stop to visit another UNESCO site – Parambanan Temple.

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Also another must-see temple to visit. Although, I prefer Borobudur a lot more than this other temple. Prambanan looks very similar to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. And just like the latter (when we visited back in 2012), it was also under construction during the time we visited.

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From here, we went back on the road to what will be the longest land travel of our Asia trip. Our next stop was to head towards the city of Probolinngo.

 

 

Taiwan (Day 3: Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, Huashan Creative Park, Raohe Night Market)

We continued to travel outside Taipei on our 3rd day in Taiwan. Today, we headed up north to visit Yehliu Geopark. Ever since I saw photos of these geological formations on social media, I have been planning to visit this place when I get to return to Taiwan.

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The geopark is located along the northern tip of Taiwan and you can definitely see the coastline as you head here. Along the way, there was also a fish market and some restaurants nearby. I would have wanted to try these places out if we had the time.

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I initially thought that this place would be along a sandy beach where you could see the rock formations scattered everywhere. It was quite the opposite as access to the site is well organized. Once you enter, you just follow the footpath that will present you the different types of shapes these geological formations have created.

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Among them is the famous Queen’s Head which is probably the most popular rock formation here. There is a line if you wanted a photo op with the queen and the security was quite strict giving a time limit for each visitor.

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Likewise, they prohibit you to trespass the boundary lines around the geopark. We wanted to take some shots along the rocky areas near the shore but be warned or you would get whistled by the guards.

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Amidst the crowd, I can just imagine how beautiful this place would have been if it was left more raw and untouched.

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Our next stop is Jiufen Walking Street located in a mountain town in the Ruifang District of New Taipei City. It is said that this place was the inspiration to the anime movie called Spirited Away. I am not a big anime fan but this movie was a huge blockbuster worldwide. Might be interesting to watch this movie one time.

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The plan was to visit this walking street but I was surprised that this was only part of many other different attractions around the area. You can see waterfalls, hike mountains and visit a gold mine just to name a few.

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It was already late in the afternoon when we reached the foot of the walking street. We decided to grab some food first before we went around

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The highest point we reached was the viewing area to catch the sunset along the mountain coastline.

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Personally, I really like the old-feel of this place. Although most of it is already manufactured to cater to tourists. I would have wanted to explore more but we did not have much time. We needed to head back before sunset as we were travelling back to Taipei. Traffic was a bit of a problem during this trip since it was the high season in Taiwan during this time of the year.

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If you are the artsy type, you should visit Huashan 1914 Creative Park located near Guang Hua Digital Plaza which is a must-visit if you are a techy person. For the latter, I would recommend that you buy memory cards here as they are very cheap. I was able to buy a branded UHC-3 SD card for almost the price of a UHS-1 here in the Philippines. The challenge here is to find the cheapest priced store.

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Huashan 1914 Creative Park is a huge lot that feature multiple buildings that housed various shops selling indie brands, a warehouse theatre of some sort and several hip restaurants. From hand-made trinkets to vintage second hand items, they all have it here. They also have an outdoor auditorium which was showing a local film when we visited.

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If you do not intend to purchase anything during your visit, there is still something for you here. This place is also great for your own photo-op. Once can find your own corner or alley to take creative shots. My personal favorite are the hallways that looked like school corridors. It reminded me very much of the time when I was still an undergrad.

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Another great spot to take photos would be the separate building near the parking lot that is made of red bricks. It had this old school gritty feel that I really like.

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From Zhongzheng District, our last stop for the night was Raohe Night Market. We have been visiting night markets every single day to cap our evening. I would also recommend checking Shilin Night Market as this is the undoubtedly the most popular night market for tourists.

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I must say, this one is our favorite among the bunch! The night market is literally just one long street where all the food stalls are lined-up in the middle up to the end of the street. If all you want is food and no other distractions at sight, then this is the night market for you.

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Up until this point, I can say that bad food in a night market is probably an anomaly. We have not had any unappetizing food so far. Taipei is definitely the place to be if you would like to try some clean and tasty street food. Street food 101!

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Just like every other night, we find ourselves in the night market until its closing hours before heading back…Good night!

Taiwan (Day 4: Du Xiao Yue, Chia Te, Ximending)

– The Tourist Pao