Tag Archives: WorldHeritage

Preah Vihaer border temple

25 Jan

The traditional 'I was there' pic ;-)

One of the must-sees on my trip and the reason for hopping over the not so common Thai-Khmer border crossing, was the Preah Vihaer temple. It is not only declared UNESCO world heritage (since 2008) but it is also the subject of vigorous quibbles between two oh-so peaceful countries. So if even two zen countries fight a war over it, it must be amazing (pics below).

So I asked well around before setting off to this well hidden temple at the Thai border. The holy guidebook told me that the trip involved having dollars ready to ‘support’ the Cambodian soldiers (so that they let you through). My guesthouse girl (who looked very much like a boy though) told me that there were shared taxis from the one and only Anlong Veng roundabout going to the road crossing at the foot of the hill/mountain. From there I would need to take a motorbike up the steep slopes (because no common vehicles would manage). Continue reading

Back to the stone age in Piodao

16 Jul
Schist and slate everywhere

Schist and slate everywhere

Piódão is a quaint little village stuck to a mountain slope. The houses are all made of black schist stones (slate) which gives the village a dark but picturesque and coherent look except the white church in the middle of it (always the same that can get away with exceptions in urban planning…). I thought the village was simply wow and should be put on the Unesco World Heritage list, whereas my friends and my mum said: “but there’s nothing there”… Tastes differ.

  • Lots of pictures below

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World Heritage Ifugao Rice Terraces

28 May
This is as green as green gets

This is as green as green gets

It was not easy getting there, but 2 nightbuses, one daybus, a rough motorbike ride and 2 hours walk later I was walking in one of the miracles of this earth – a mountain full of rice terraces carved in its flank. No wonder Unesco declared this World Heritage. There’s so many colours of green, and the Tippaya waterfall nearby to go for a swim – even though in the freshness of the mountains, you don’t need any cooling down (I even used my cardigan for the 1st time since in 5 months).

The way back to (modern) civilization from this olden time idyll up in the mountains, was just as crazy as getting there: a 2 hours hike to the nearest junction and then a rodeo ride on a landslide ridden (excuse for a) road on top of an overcrowded jeepney, dodging sweeping branches and electricity cables.

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Vigan Spanish Heritage Town

25 May
Spanish architecture, Spanish names,Spanish religion?

Spanish architecture, Spanish names,Spanish religion?

There’s only so much of Manila one can handle. The city is busy and bustling, but difficult to get around in, unless you are very patient with traffic, and if you don’t mind walking around fumes in 40° sun. So I decided to move up North where the temperatures are cooler and the nature is greener. My first stop was the UNESCO World Heritage town of Vigan, which was miraculously saved or forgotten during the 2nd world war. It meant 9 hours on a bus, but the quaint & quiet historic town was well worth it. And the 136 year old Vila in which I stayed was also full of history – ancient and modern (I stayed in the same room as Tom Cruise!!).

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Manila – Same Same but Different

23 May
Traditional Guard - spanish style

Traditional Guard - spanish style

So I arrived in the Philippines (after some struggle with Thai Airways who made me pay my booking fee again, despite the fact I had already paid it). I can’t help but compare the Philippines (Manila) with the other countries I visited recently.

The phrase that comes to mind is ‘Same same, but different’. Indeed, there’s a similar Asian feel about the Philippines, but on the other hand you can clearly see the stamp that the Spanish & Americans left on the country.

Or as my guidebook put it: think of a Philippino as an Asian that spent 300 years in (Spanish, catholic) church and 50 years in Disneyland – very accurate!

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Gorgeous Georgetown Picture Post

6 May
George Town clock tower at gorgeous sunset

George Town clock tower at gorgeous sunset

At the same time as Melaka, the coastal town of Georgetown, on Penang Island in the North of Malaysia, also got recognized by Unesco as World Heritage. So many buildings in the historical centre are restored and cleaned up, and maps and guided walks are plentiful.

No Dutch or Portuguese here – only British – which you can clearly see in the names of the streets which are a funny mix of an English name and the word for street, lane or road in Malay (e.g. Lebuh Bishop, Lorong Stewart, Jalan Buckingham, etc). For the rest there are too many temples, mosques and churches to describe, so I’ll just make this a picture post. Continue reading

Melaka – a bit of history

5 May
The Dutch old town with Stadhuys

The Dutch old town with Stadhuys

From Singapore I took the ‘massage bus’ to Melaka, about 3-4 hours drive in vibrating chairs further north. Melaka is a little town that got recognized as Unesco World Heritage only last year (at the same time as George Town on Penang Island), so there’s still lots of renovation and tidying going on, but there’s plenty of nice buildings to see. It’s like a polonaise of different countries, cultures and architectural styles that visited (invaded) this coastal town and trading port: Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, British… with a pinch of Sultan influence.

I’m not sure if I was very receptive to take in another city, after a few days running around KL, then Singapore in a nutshell and then another town for just a day. Definitely going too fast, so I’ll slow down soon. So I’ll post pictures instead of writing much. And I ended my day in Melaka with some Chinese mmmmmassage. Continue reading

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