1. The Awakened One (by jamescharlick)

    Bagan is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Burma (Myanmar). From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom’s height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day.

    This is Ywa-haung-gyi temple, a smaller example which I stumbled into more or less by accident. It turned out to be a rather nice interior with most of the render and faded original painting still in place - in many temples the terracotta render has come away leaving only bare brick, or has been painted over with more modern designs.

    Temples in Bagan vary from those in Angkor Wat by being of brick construction with terracotta carvings on the exterior and smooth walls internally which are decorated with hundreds of depictions of buddha, where-as the Cambodian temples are constructed of sandstone block and are ornately carved throughout.

     
  2. Twilight Temple (by jamescharlick)

    Angkor Wat was first a Hindu, then subsequently a Buddhist temple complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world. The temple was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and eventual mausoleum.

    Breaking from the Shaivism tradition of previous kings, Angkor Wat was instead dedicated to Vishnu. Contrary to most temples which are oriented to the East, Angkor Wat faces the West and as such many have concluded that it is a funerary temple.

    Because of the pristine nature of the way the temple has been maintained or restored I found it largely characterless and somewhat disappointing in comparison to the other temples. There is no denying the strength and scale of the building but it just didn’t have the atmosphere of the overgrown or ruined temples, nor the unique architectural features of Bayon.

    As such this is the only image I took. This is pre-dawn, unfortunately it turned out to be an extremely hazy morning and no glorious sunrise was to be had, but the reflection of the silhouette is rather beautiful nevertheless.

     
  3. City Living (by jamescharlick)

    Yangon (also known as Rangoon, and meaning “End of Strife”) is a former capital of Myanmar (Burma). Although the military government has officially relocated the capital to Naypyidaw since March 2006, Yangon, with a population of over five million, continues to be the country’s largest city and the most important commercial centre.

    Yangon’s infrastructure is undeveloped compared to those of other major cities in Southeast Asia, and while many high-rise residential and commercial buildings have been constructed or renovated throughout downtown and Greater Yangon in the past two decades, many remain in poor states of repair and most satellite towns that ring the city continue to be deeply impoverished.

    I really like this type of photo and I’d have liked to get more similar shots, but taking photos from the hotel balcony means you need to stay in more than one place to get more than one photo. Which we didn’t.

     
  4. A Citadel Of Chambers (by jamescharlick)

    Banteay Kdei is a Buddhist temple in Angkor, Cambodia. Built in the mid-12th to early 13th centuries AD, it is in the Bayon architectural style, similar in plan to Ta Prohm and Preah Khan, but less complex and smaller. Its structures are contained within two successive enclosure walls, and consist of two concentric galleries from which emerge towers, preceded to the east by a cloister. Banteay Kdei had been occupied by monks at various intervals over the centuries until the 1960s.

     
  5. Island Nook (by jamescharlick)

    The name Hạ Long is derived from the Sino-Vietnamese, meaning “descending dragon”. According to local legend, when Vietnam had just started to develop into a country, they had to fight against invaders. To assist the Vietnamese in defending their country, the gods sent a family of dragons as protectors who began spitting out jewels and jade. These jewels turned into the islands and islets dotting the bay, linking together to form a great wall against the invaders. Numerous rock mountains abruptly appeared on the sea ahead of invaders’ ships and the forward ships struck the rocks and each other.

    Ha Long Bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes, including 1,960–2,000 islets, most of which are limestone and many of which are hollow. The core of the bay has an area of 334 km2 with a high density of 775 islets. A community of around 1,600 people live on Hạ Long Bay in four fishing villages: Cửa Vạn, Ba Hang, Cống Tàu and Vông Viêng in Hùng Thắng commune, Hạ Long city. They live on floating houses and are sustained through fishing and marine aquaculture (cultivating marine biota), plying the shallow waters for 200 species of fish and 450 different kinds of mollusks.

     
  6. Downtown (by jamescharlick)

    Marina Bay in Singapore was the first stop on our trip. It’s a wonderful city and definitely worth a few days to wander around, but boy did the humidity and heat catch us out! Coming from the snowy UK into 32 degree heat and 70% humidity was pretty intense!

     
  7. Temple of Butterflies (by jamescharlick)

    One of the smaller Angkor Temples, Prasat Ta Nei was built under King Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century, and some scholars believe that the temple was constructed as a hospital.

    Archeologists have left Ta Nei as it originally was, for the most part. Tree roots split open the temple stone, and jungle flora sprawls out across the temple grounds. Ta Nei has been the object of minimal reconstruction and clearing efforts. As a result, Ta Nei is a truly “ruined” ruin.

    It is a small, quiet and relatively un-visited temple with some interesting carvings. These include several apsaras and lintels with scenes from Buddhist mythology and despite the temple’s forest location it appears to have suffered surprisingly little pillaging.

     
  8. Smoke On The Water (by jamescharlick)

    The name Hạ Long is derived from the Sino-Vietnamese, meaning “descending dragon”. According to local legend, when Vietnam had just started to develop into a country, they had to fight against invaders. To assist the Vietnamese in defending their country, the gods sent a family of dragons as protectors who began spitting out jewels and jade. These jewels turned into the islands and islets dotting the bay, linking together to form a great wall against the invaders. Numerous rock mountains abruptly appeared on the sea ahead of invaders’ ships and the forward ships struck the rocks and each other.

    Ha Long Bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes, including 1,960–2,000 islets, most of which are limestone and many of which are hollow. The core of the bay has an area of 334 km2 with a high density of 775 islets. A community of around 1,600 people live on Hạ Long Bay in four fishing villages: Cửa Vạn, Ba Hang, Cống Tàu and Vông Viêng in Hùng Thắng commune, Hạ Long city. They live on floating houses and are sustained through fishing and marine aquaculture (cultivating marine biota), plying the shallow waters for 200 species of fish and 450 different kinds of mollusks.

     
  9. Cruciform (by jamescharlick)

    Singapore’s Blessed Sacrament Church was granted conservation status in 2005 because of the wonderful and unique architecture. The most iconic feature is the slate roof which is constructed in folds in the shape of a tent, symbolising the “tent of meeting” in the Old Testament. The roof appears to fall to the ground to wrap the interior, with portions touching the ground and resemble anchoring pegs.

    Inside the roof has integrated slits of glass panels at the junctions where the four portions of the cruciform shape meet, creating a dramatic play of light and shadows, which visually draws the eye upwards and cleverly brings light into the building.

    The timber ceiling panels create a warm atmosphere of solidity and strength within the worship hall.

     
  10. Monastery Of The King (by jamescharlick)

    Jayavarman VII constructed Ta Prohm in honor of his family. The temple’s main image, representing Prajnaparamita, the personification of wisdom, was modelled on the king’s mother. The northern and southern satellite temples in the third enclosure were dedicated to the king’s guru and his elder brother respectively. As such, Ta Prohm formed a complementary pair with the temple monastery of Preah Khan, dedicated in 1191 A.D., the main image of which represented the Bodhisattva of compassion Lokesvara and was modeled on the king’s father.

    Records state that the site was home to more than 12,500 people (including 18 high priests and 615 dancers), with an additional 800,000 souls in the surrounding villages working to provide services and supplies.

    Much work has been done to stabilize the ruins, to permit access, and to maintain “this condition of apparent neglect.” As of 2013, Archaeological Survey of India has restored most parts of the temple complex some of which have been constructed from scratch.

    Wooden walkways, platforms and roped railings have been put in place around the site to protect the monument from further damages due to the large tourist inflow, unfortunate for photographers!

     
  11. Parched Land (by jamescharlick)

    Bagan is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Burma (Myanmar). From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom’s height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day.

    You can see Dhammayangyi in the center, Sulamani on the left and Dhammayazaka Zedi in the distant far right.

     
  12. Tenement City (by jamescharlick)

    Yangon (also known as Rangoon, and meaning “End of Strife”) is a former capital of Myanmar (Burma). Although the military government has officially relocated the capital to Naypyidaw since March 2006, Yangon, with a population of over five million, continues to be the country’s largest city and the most important commercial centre.

    Yangon’s infrastructure is undeveloped compared to those of other major cities in Southeast Asia, and while many high-rise residential and commercial buildings have been constructed or renovated throughout downtown and Greater Yangon in the past two decades, many remain in poor states of repair and most satellite towns that ring the city continue to be deeply impoverished.

     
  13. Crowning Jewel Fresco (by jamescharlick)

    Bagan is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Burma (Myanmar). From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom’s height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day.

    Sulamani Pahto is one of Bagan’s premier temple attractions, the name itself meaniung ‘Crowning Jewel’ or ‘Small Ruby.’ The numerous original unique glazed roundels and panels along the plinth and terrace moldings add joy and exuberance to the exterior, while the rich frescoes on the stuccoed interior ambulatory(from the 12th to 19th centuries)—though damaged—with their lively depiction of both the sublime and the grotesque reflect a constant interplay of the physical and mythical light and darkness.

     
  14. Rock Wonder In The Sky (by jamescharlick)

    The name Hạ Long is derived from the Sino-Vietnamese, meaning “descending dragon”. According to local legend, when Vietnam had just started to develop into a country, they had to fight against invaders. To assist the Vietnamese in defending their country, the gods sent a family of dragons as protectors who began spitting out jewels and jade. These jewels turned into the islands and islets dotting the bay, linking together to form a great wall against the invaders. Numerous rock mountains abruptly appeared on the sea ahead of invaders’ ships and the forward ships struck the rocks and each other.

    Ha Long Bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes, including 1,960–2,000 islets, most of which are limestone and many of which are hollow. The core of the bay has an area of 334 km2 with a high density of 775 islets. A community of around 1,600 people live on Hạ Long Bay in four fishing villages: Cửa Vạn, Ba Hang, Cống Tàu and Vông Viêng in Hùng Thắng commune, Hạ Long city. They live on floating houses and are sustained through fishing and marine aquaculture (cultivating marine biota), plying the shallow waters for 200 species of fish and 450 different kinds of mollusks.

     
  15. Fishing Inle (by jamescharlick)

    Inle Lake is the second largest lake in Myanmar at 45 square miles, and one of the highest at 2900ft above sea level. Over twenty species of snails and nine species of fish are found nowhere else in the world.

    The people of Inle Lake, some 70,000 of them, live in four towns bordering the lake, in numerous small villages along the lake’s shores, and on the lake itself. Most are devout Buddhists, and live in simple houses of wood and woven bamboo on stilts; they are largely self-sufficient farmers.

    Local fishermen are known for practicing a distinctive rowing style which involves standing at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar. This unique style evolved for the reason that the lake is covered by reeds and floating plants making it difficult to see above them while sitting. Standing provides the rower with a view beyond the reeds.