Last updated: 20/01/2017 [Design & Pictures by Simons Nature]
Asia
It was an adventure, China, the country in the east, vast and diverse. Most often in the headlines because of the country provoked tensions with its neighbors or the thick smog in the winter months in the big cities. But there is also another side, the wild nature in the south of Yunnan Province for example. But the trip itself was challenging. In addition to the toilets, which correspond to Western standards in no ways, the language and the crowed in the cities made it very tiring. Even more than usual due to our trip was during the so called "Golden Week", half a billion Chinese tourist have off work and travel local. It is quite annoying to queue with thousands of others to visit a site.
The pictures from Hong Kong are dated from a trip to China in 2012 and from a business trip in December 2013 to this fascinating city. The majority of the pictures are from the night, the crescent moon over the skyline, the daily laser show observed from Kowloon and few pictures from Victoria Peak.
India, the subcontinent with over one billion people, overcrowded cities, loud and 'always busy'. But there is another side of this vast country. National parks, with an enormous diversity of life. I have followed mainly this life on this journey, tigers, deer and birds are thus the main objects in these galleries. Of course a visit to the Taj Mahal, Red Fort and Fatehpur Sikri is a must too. Culture is therefore quite a part of the content of the galleries.
The Indonesian archipelago with the thousands of small islands. On the journey I visited besides Java, the main island, Rinca, Komodo and Flores. I especially liked the latter three, since nature is there more present than on Java. Java is already very densely populated, but, especially in the East, there are still impressive spots and the view of the volcanic landscape is impressive. I do not know how long it would take to discover all of Indonesia. According to Wikipedia, the country has over 17 000 islands, of which more than 6 000 are inhabited. For ornithologists a paradise, on many of the islands own species or subspecies have been developed. I have seen and photographed some of them, but not as many as I had hoped.
What a ease to arrive in Laos after the very hectic and crowded Vietnam. The country is in something as big as Germany, but has only just of scarce seven million inhabitants. Moreover, the country is not overrun by mass tourism, there are many small, unspoilt towns and even animals have survived. Normally one should stay much longer in this country to see it properly. The Mekong River is the lifeline of the country, Vang Vieng a backpacker’s paradise and Luang Prabang is more for people which are interested in culture. The capital Vientiane, the Laotian name Viang Chang, offers temples and good restaurants.
I've visited Malaysia on a short journey after a business trip to Singapore in 2011. I was on Borneo, around the southern part and there in the National Park Bako with the Proboscis monkeys and Crab-eating macaque and two more nights in the relatively unknown, hilly Kubah National Park. I spent the nights in a hut, prepared my own food, and boiled the drinking water. It had no infrastructure. The biggest fight in the morning were the ants, which felt very comfortable in the whole hut, and in the evenings, I wanted to be back from the hikes in the jungle before dusk, as I was warned by the park ranger of the snakes expressly. If I had been bitten, no one could have found me in a useful time.
Nepal, the land of high mountains, corrupts politicians and spirituality that only a few other countries can be compared with. Nature is impressive, but my stay was a bit too short to be able to enjoy it fully. And three days at the airport in Kathmandu was also no fun, but a more interesting experience, which in retrospect I do not want to miss. But had by this unplanned stay many beautiful and interesting conversations and contacts, whether with Nepalese, Indians, Dutch and people from several other nations.
On my longer trip to Asia in 2014, I was for the first time in the Philippines, more specifically on the islands of Luzon and Borocay. Starting from Manila, I undertook a trekking in Banaue in the Philippine Cordilleras to see the famous Rice Terraces. These are UNESCO World Heritage sites and should be in use already over 2000 years. Afterwards we went on to Sagada with the hanging coffins as interesting ritual of burial. To finish the Luzon adventure, we trekked to Pinatubo. This volcano was responsible for one of the biggest eruption of the 20th century.
Sri Lanka, formerly known under the colonial name Ceylon, at the very end of the Indian subcontinent, offers a diverse nature in relatively small space. The island is subdivided into a wet and a dry part, together with great differences in altitude and thus forms a diverse biotope. In 2014, I had the honor of enjoying the wilderness and nature for three weeks. With my guide Senarath Bulathsinhala, the best bird guide I've ever had, we wandered through jungles, plantations and swamps, always looking for bird species and, of course, other animals like elephants, leopards and numerous butterflies.
I've visited Thailand as part of an East Asia trip 2010. The pictures are taken in Chang Mai in the north and Bangkok, the capital. Primarily images of cultural objects and a few people. It was incredibly hot, especially in Bangkok. It felt like going to water all the time, but that was my own sweat in my shoes.
Vietnam is primarily known through the cruel war that has raged in the seventies of the last century. The country is run by a communist regime since the victory of the North over the South. However, you can see, apart from the red flags with the yellow star and a number of slogans, none of it. Each goes after his own business, it is incredibly loud and 24 there is activity. As a tourist you will mostly ignored, unless one is interested in one of the many goods that are offered on the roadside. Actually, everything can be bought, department stores are almost inexistent. Somewhat unusually for Western travelers might be the rooms in the hotels. Only by luck you get one with a window. And, in late May, it is oppressively hot in Southeast Asia. For travelers which have problems with 35 degree Celsius and 100% humidity, the summer should be avoided for a trip.
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