Bayon Temple is well know for the many (216 actually) smiling faces adorning the temple.
I was living in Siem Reap for a few months and took these photos during a bike trip from the city to visit the temples. It is a nice bike ride (very flat the entire time). You can also rent tuk-tuks or taxis to tour the sites (I have done that also). I most enjoyed biking myself around. If I remember right it is between 12 and 20 km journey depending on what you decide to see and where start from in Siem Reap.
Bayon temple was built in the late 12th or early 13th century as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII.
Bayon stands at the centre of Jayavarman’s capital, Angkor Thom. Following Jayavarman’s death, it was modified and augmented by later Hindu and Theravada Buddhist kings in accordance with their own religious preferences.
This photo I took on a separate visit.
Bayon was the last state temple to be built at Angkor, and the only Angkorian state temple to be built primarily as a Mahayana Buddhist shrine dedicated to the Buddha, though a great number of minor and local deities were also encompassed as representatives of the various districts and cities of the realm.
Related: Bayon on Wikipedia – Ta Prohm temple, Angkor – Angkor Wat – Neak Poan Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia – Borobudur in Java, Indonesia (Buddhist temple built in the 9th century)
Borobudur is an amazing Buddhist temple built in the 9th century. This is a site that can’t be missed, spectacular. All photos in this post are by John Hunter.
Six square platforms form the base of Borobudur and these are topped by three circular platforms. The temple is decorated with over 2,500 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues.
The temple is surrounded by lush green forests and that greatly enhances the feeling of tranquility at Borobudur.
I really enjoyed the Mosaic Tile Mural in Hanoi, Vietnam.
The Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural covers nearly 4 km and was started as part of the commemoration of the millennial anniversary of Hanoi (2010).
Yunnan Nationalities Villages is located on the east bank of Dianchi Lake in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China. All photos in this post are by John Hunter.
The village covers 25 ethnic groups found in Yunnan with examples of traditional houses and guides dressed in traditional clothing. China has a total of 56 recognized ethnic groups. I don’t remember which houses and traditional clothing are which ethnic group (please comment if you have information to share).
Tat Kuang Si park is a wonderful spot for a hike.
The water has an amazing blue color that seems almost fake in photos but is really the color of these photos. The blue is due to dissolved copper.
The Kuang Si waterfalls are about 30 km outside of Luang Prabang. You can rent a open back pickup for about $30 (really I forget I think it was about that amount though) for the trip or you can join a tour group (easy to arrange at many guest houses and travel agents all over Luang Prabang).
The Singapore Zoo has a great reputation, and for good reason. It isn’t cheap to get in, but for that money you do get a very nicely designed zoo. The zoo also supports various conservation efforts and research projects.
I took these photos on my visit to the zoo a few years ago.
The viewing options were often excellent, like this great view of the lions.
There were several shows in addition to feeding times and talks by wildlife experts. If I remember right these were free (or some were free?).
The National Museum of Korea is a wonderful tourist destination in Seoul. I recommend it very highly.
The modern museum (built in 2005) is very spacious and filled with wonderful works of art. It provides a sense of the long history of Korea. It is very well laid out and includes enough information on the works to give you a sense of the context.
Painted clay pots, Astana, Turfan 6th-7th century. These vessels decorated with pearl rounded patterns were made to be buried with the dead in tombs. The design originated in Sasanian, Persia and spread across Asia.
The museum displays relics and artifacts in six permanent exhibition galleries: Prehistory and Ancient History, Medieval and Early Modern History, Calligraphy and Painting, Asian Art, Sculpture and Crafts as well as one gallery highlighting donations.
I found several great places to eat in Chiang Mai. I enjoy good food. And thankfully I can find very good food all over the world (anywhere I have been). That makes me happy. I have fewer instances of finding really great food that I miss if I move on.
It isn’t that I don’t miss the great food I had but when I find lots of great new choices I am fine. I generally eat fairly cheaply, in stalls some, but also in simple restaurants. But rarely in expensive places (though in cheap locales I will splurge much more than if I am in an expensive city).
Banana Flower Salad at the Achan Vegetarian Restaurant. Absolutely wonderful. All photos by John Hunter.
I found lots of very good food in Chiang Mai. I found 3 places I really enjoyed a great deal (I went to each weekly, or more often). Anchan Vegetarian Restaurant is one of the places I would suggest everyone try. I see it as a highlight of being in Chiang Mai. I rarely find restaurants I feel this way about. To reach this level they not only have to provide great food, atmosphere and service but also capture some of the essence of locale.
The also had Anchan juice which when I asked what it was the waitress pointed to the blue berries on the mural. I didn’t enjoy the juice so much actually, so only tried it once, but it was worth trying.
Chicken Banana Curry at Cooking Love, again wonderful. They also give you very large servings.
Two other places I highly recommend in Chiang Mai are: Cooking Love and Food4Thought.
Neak Pean (or Neak Poan) (in Khmer: ប្រាសាទនាគព័ន្ធ) was built by Jayavarman VII in the 12th century as a Buddhist temple.
The site is within a large reservoir (which measured 3500 meters by 900 meters). The walkway takes you to the man made island that contains the Neak Pean temple.
The temple is within the Angkor archaeological park area. I rode my bike between the many large and small temples while living in Siem Reap, Cambodia for a couple months. You can easily see 10 of these small temples and few large ones by bike in one day.
You do get some exercise (which for me was a plus) and it isn’t very hard as the entire area is very flat. Of course the area is also usually hot. You can rent bikes in town for a few US$ a day. You can also rent a tuk tuk or electric bikes.
Related: Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia – Ta Prohm Temple (Banyan trees) – Borobudur, an amazing Budhist temple built in the 9th century in Indonesia – Wat Lok Moli, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Temple of Literature (Văn Miếu – Quốc Tử Giám, 文廟) was established in Hanoi, Vietnam in 1070. The temple is located in old town Hanoi along with many other items of interest within easy walking distance (see Curious Cat Hanoi Tourist map). The temple grounds are enjoyable and provide a respite from chaotic Hanoi, and the history is interesting.
In 1076, Vietnam’s first university, the “Quốc Tử Giám” or Imperial Academy, was established within the temple to educate Vietnam’s bureaucrats, nobles, royalty and other members of the elite. The university remained open from 1076 to 1779. In 1802, the Nguyễn dynasty’s monarchs founded the Huế capital where they established a new imperial academy.
Bee on flower in the temple grounds.
The temple layout is similar to that of the temple at Qufu, Shandong, Confucius’ birthplace. It covers an area of over 54000 square meters.