Hue Images

Once upon a time Hue was the seat of power in Vietnam and is connected to the Nguyen Dynasty who ruled from 1802 to 1945. Emperor Bao Dai abdicated when Ho Chi Minh's revolutionary government took power. Hue's main landmark is the Perfume River with the old city and the Citadel on one side of the waterway. Much of the riverside has been turned into a pleasant promenade. Outside of town, imperial tombs are an add-on to the largely restored Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Hue's main claim to fame.
Hue Images - Images by John Lander

Halong Bay Images

Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site located near Haiphong, Vietnam. The bay features hundreds of limestone karst islets of various shapes and size that stick out into the horizon. It is worth doing an overnight on a junk, so as to catch the sunset and sunrise over the bay - Boat trips range from backpacker cheapos to luxury sumptuousness.
Halong Bay Images - Images by John Lander

Bacolod Images

Bacolod is the capital city of Negros Occidental known as the City of Smiles. Bacolod is also the home of the renowned Maskara Festival, a spectacular mix of dance, color and music. Bacolod is also known for its culinary heritage, including its inasal roast chicken on skewers. Hot spots in and around town include Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol Building and its Romanesque architecture and lagoon. The Ruins - the remains of a Spanish era sugar baron's palace that was burned down before Japanese forces could seize it during WWII. All that is left of the mansion is its stone skeleton. San Sebastian Cathedral was first planned by Father Gonzaga who started building it and then was continued by the government and other priests. Silay City, locals like to think of it as as "the Paris of Negros" because of its European architecture though it would take a rather vivid imagination to compare it with Paris. Still, the efforts of locals to preserve historical buildings is noteworthy in itself.

Bacolod Images - Images by John Lander

Siquijor Images Gallery

Siquijor's reputation as a place of magic attracts visitors (and keeps some away.) Siquijor is an island province in the Philippines in the Central Visayas and the third smallest province in the country. During the Spanish colonial period it was called the Island of Fire or Isla del Fuego). Siquijor is commonly associated with mystic traditions that the island's growing tourism industry capitalizes on. Yet its real attractions are white sandy beaches, coral reefs and a friendly and relaxed population.
Siquijor Images Gallery - Images by John Lander

Hua Hin Images

Hua Hin is oldest Thai resort owing its popularity to the royal family's upcountry mini palace. The town combines the attractions of a modern holiday destination with the charm of a very active fishing port. While most other Thai holiday destinations cater mainly to foreign tourists, Hua Hin is a holiday resort with enough attractions for both foreigners and Thais. Located on the Gulf of Thailand it has become a fashionable weekend getaway resort town thanks to its proximity to Bangkok though somehow the place has maintained a quiet, relaxing seaside resort for family vacations. As a fishing port, there is an abundance of seafood, a major attraction to Thai visitors. Though developing rapidly, there is a commitment by the local authorities to avoid the way overheated blight that has ruined other beach resorts in Thailand.
Hua Hin Images - Images by John Lander

Kappabashi Images

Tsukiji fish market might be the primo destination for foodies in Tokyo, but second on the list is usually the restaurant supply district of Kappabashi. Famous for its plastic food models, Kappabashi is the place where restauranteurs go when they set up shop. It is also a mecca for chefs, gourmets and anyone who likes to cook. If something is found in the kitchen, there's likely to be a shop in Kappabashi that specializes in it. Restaurants in Japan display plastic food models in front of their venue, and these are sold in Kappabashi shops, including renowned Maizuru where the samples look amazingly real. In addition to plastic models for the restaurant trade Maizuru also sells plastic food souvenirs such as food shaped kitchen magnets, fruit shaped keychains and even sushi shaped USB flash memory holders. One of the best things about Kappabashi is that the place is easy to navigate. The majority of stores are lined up along the main drag, only a few minutes walk from Asakusa and Sensoji Temple. Some shops cater to restaurant professionals only, though the most interesting shops for the rest of us are those selling kitchen gadgets. Think intricate vegetable cutters And of course there's a huge selection of realistic food models such as sushi, yakitori and suspended noodles into bowls of ramen. Kappabashi got on the tourist map because of its uniquely Japanese plastic food models, much to the surprise of the local shopkeepers. Nowadays it is popular with Japanese as well.
Kappabashi - Images by John Lander

Jaipur Images

Jaipur is familiarly known as the “Pink City” and is the largest city in Rajasthan. Jaipur was India's first planned city and is now is a major tourist attraction belonging to the Golden Triangle of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. Jaipur is often called Pink City in reference to its colored buildings, originally painted pink to imitate the red sandstone architecture of Mughal settlements. Today’s reddish color originates from the repainting of the buildings done for a special visit by the Prince of Wales. Not only the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur has many attractions, including UNESCO world heritage sites, and is a major hub for tourism: Amber Fort, Jaipur City Palace, Jantar Mantar Observatory, Jal Mahal Floating Palace, among many others.
Jaipur Images - Images by John Lander

Jodhpur Images

Jodhpur “the blue city” is the second largest city in Rajasthan after Jaipur. The town was formerly the capital of the kingdom known as Marwar. Today Jodhpur is a popular tourist destination, featuring many palaces, forts and temples, set in the stark landscape of the Thar desert. Jodhpur is often referred to as the "Blue City" due to the vivid blue painted houses around the Mehrangarh Fort.
Jodhpur Images - Images by John Lander

Yogyakarta Images

Yogyakarta is a major destination in Java, Indonesia. The town is the most popular spot on Java thanks to its proximity to the UNESCO heritage sites of Borobudur and Prambanan. Yogyakarta itself is a center of arts and education, and has long been on the map, once having been an important city during the Dutch colonial period as can be witnessed by many grand colonial edifices in the center. Yogyakarta has many heritage buildings and monuments; most noteworthy is the Kraton Sultan's Palace as well as nearby Taman Sari Water Palace.
Yogyakarta Images - Images by John Lander

Phuket Images

Phuket is a large island in the off Southern Thailand's west coast in the Andaman Sea. The island is about the size of Singapore with some 40kms of some of Thailand's most renowned beaches. Though Phuket is an island, it is connected to the mainland by a hundred meter span bridge.
Phuket Images Gallery - Images by John Lander

Champasak Images

Pakse is the most important town in Southern Laos and nerve center for Champasak Province. Situated at the confluence of the Xe Dong and Mekong rivers. Apart from the Mekong and some beautiful, if crumbling, French colonial buildings - Pakse itself has little of interest to the visit. However, it is the gateway to to magnificent Boloven plateau, a very fertile plain where Coffee and Durian are grown. UNESCO World Heritage Site Wat Phou was built in the same style as Angkor Wat and exudes the same atmosphere of an ancient city lost in the jungles for centuries. While the structures themselves are overpowering, it's the jungle overgrowth that creates a particular charm. Wat Phou stood unused for centuries because it was been built as a Hindu, not a Buddhist temple.
Champasak Images - Images by John Lander

Saigon Images

Though named Ho Chi Minh City officially since 1975, nobody calls the city anything but Saigon, especially not the Saigonese. Even state-run Vietnam Railways refers to it as Saigon rather than Ho Chi Minh City on the train platforms. Saigon is noted for its variety of cuisine, and vast array of dishes, thanks to its location near the abundance of fresh ingredients in the Mekong Delta. Though busier and more hectic than the capital Hanoi, Saigon hums with life and pizazz.
Saigon Images - Images by John Lander

Hunky Jesus Contest with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Every Easter the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, San Francisco's beloved sect of cross-dressing nuns, host The Hunky Jesus Competition in Dolores Park. The sisters believe all people have a right to express their unique joy and beauty and use humor and irreverent wit to expose bigotry and ignorance. The Hunky Jesus Competition is the highlight of the Sisters' Easter party that's been going on in the Mission's Dolores Park for over three decades. These events bring all all the drag queens in town and even a few designers because of special features such as the bonnet contest and drag performances.. One of those only-in-San-Francisco events.... The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a protest and street performance organization that uses drag and religious imagery to call attention to sexual intolerance and satirize issues of gender and morality. At their inception in 1979, a small group of gay men in San Francisco began wearing nun attire using high camp to draw attention to social conflicts and problems in the Castro District. The Sisters have grown throughout the US and are currently organized as an international network, made up of non-profit charity organizations that raise money for AIDS, LGBT-related causes and mainstream community service organizations, while promoting safer sex and educating others about the harmful effects of drug use and other risky behaviors. In San Francisco alone, where they continue to be the most active, between 1979 and 2007 the Sisters are credited with raising over $1 million for various causes.
Hunky Jesus Contest - Images by John Lander

Tokyo Architecture Gallery

Nobody would accuse Tokyo of being a great beauty. Part of the reason is that the whole city was practically flattened during the fire-bombing by Allied forces during WWII. However, Tokyo's modern architecture, even after the economic bubble, shows an extraordinary for great design, albiet sometimes bizarre, extravagant or just plain nuts. Odd? How would you like to live in the Reverse Destiny Apartments, or adjacent to Tire Park?
Tokyo Architecture - Images by John Lander

Dumaguete Images

Dumaguete is the capital of Negros Oriental with the nickname "city of gentle people". Ideally located in the center of the Visayas Island Group, it's the perfect hub to explore Bohol, Cebu, Negros, and Siquijor with frequent ferry connections. Dumaguete's friendly people, the local market at Malatapay, the nearby diving sites and plentiful nature in the wild that make the town and area worthwhile.
Dumaguete Images - Images by John Lander

Baguio Images

Due to Baguio's cool mountainous weather the city is a treat compared to hot, sweltering lowland Luzon. Baguio was established by the Americans in 1900 at the site of an Ibaloi village. At an altitude of 1600 meters or 5200 feet the climate is cool and temperate. Baguio's nickname is the "City of Pines" and has become the center of commerce and education in Northern Luzon and so the seat of government of the Cordillera Administrative Region.
Baguio Images - Images by John Lander

Sukhothai Images

Sukhothai Historical Park is all about the ruins of Sukhothai, ancient capital of the Sukhothai kingdom in the 13th and 14th centuries.  The ruins and temples in a park-like setting, making them ideally viewed on a cycle tour.  Sukhothai Historical Park is located near the modern city of New Sukhothai, capital of the province of the same name.  Within the UNESCO listed park there are 193 ruins on 70 square kilometers of land.  Inside are the remains of the royal palace and twenty six temples, the largest being Wat Mahathat. The park is maintained by the Fine Arts Department of Thailand and UNESCO. The park sees thousands of visitors each year who marvel at the ancient Buddha figures and ruined temples.
Sukhothai Images - Images by John Lander

Big Island Images

The Island of Hawaii is the youngest island in the Hawaiian chain and is also by far the biggest, with a variety of environments to discover. This is the home of one of the world’s most active volcanoes. All but two of the world’s climate zones generate everything from lush rain forests to volcanic deserts...
Big Island Images - Images by John Lander

Khao Yai National Park Images

Khao Yai was Thailand's first national park established in 1962. In 2005, Khao Yai National Park was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rich diversity of plants with about 2,000 species give biodiversity a new meaning. Towering trees draped in moss, epiphytes, strangling figs, rattan palms, delicate ferns, lichens..
Khao Yai Images - Images by John Lander

Malacca Images

Malacca straddles the Melaka River which feeds into the Straits of Malacca. Originally the town was the capital of the Malacca Sultanate and was the centre of the Malay world in the 15th and the 16th century after the Malays moved over from Sumatra and was the most prosperous port city of the Malay Archipelago before it fell to the hand of Portuguese. Centuries of colonization by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British as well as development of Straits Chinese Peranakan culture have influenced the architecture of the town, notably the Portuguese A Famosa, Dutch Stadthuys and the Chinese - British influenced traditional town houses. Modern-day Malacca is a vibrant old city that belies its wealth of history. Visiting Malacca is a unique experience. Malacca was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site together with George Town Penang in July 2008.
Malacca Images - Images by John Lander

Shanghai Images

Shanghai has always been the most developed city in mainland China and in much of modern history East Asia itself. In recent history Shanghai has become an attractive city and seems to ignore its communist central government. Shanghai hosted the 2010 World Expo recording the greatest number of visitors in the event's history. Shanghai s a fascinating mix of East and West with houses that blend the styles of Chinese houses with European design flair. The city is proud of having the richest collection of Art Deco buildings in the world. As there were so many concessions to Western powers during the turn of the 20th century, ithe city has a cosmopolitan feel. There is everything from classic Parisian style, to Tudor buildings that give an English flair and 1930s buildings reminiscent of Hollywood.
Shanghai Images - Images by John Lander

Suzhou Images

Suzhou is famed for its beautiful gardens and traditional waterside architecture. The Classical Gardens of Suzhou were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997. Suzhou has become a core city of the Yangtze River Delta economic zone, Suzhou has long been a heaven for scholars, artists, and skilled craftsmen and this is still the case today. In its many beautiful gardens Suzhou's ancient heritage has been preserved. Suzhou has grown into a major center of joint venture high-tech manufacturing and boasts one of the hottest economies in China.
Suzhou Images - Images by John Lander

Inle Lake Images

Inle Lake - is a freshwater body of water located near the Nyaungshwe in Shan State, and the second largest lake in Myanmar with an estimated surface are of 45 square miles. During the dry season, the average water depth is only 7 feet or 2 meters but during the rainy season this can increase by 5 feet (1.5 m). The watershed area for the lake is to a large extent to the north and west of the lake. There is a hot spring on its northwestern shore. Although not a large lake, there are a number of species of birds. Over nine species of fish are found nowhere else in the world. The people of Inle Lake are called the Intha who live in four villages bordering the lake and on the lake itself. The population consists predominantly of Intha, with a mix of other Shan, Taungyo, Pa-O, Danu, Kayah, Danaw and Bamar ethnicities. Most live in simple houses of wood and woven bamboo on stilts and are largely self-sufficient farmers.


Inle Lake - Images by John Lander

Mandalay Images

Mandalay - the very name evokes the splendors of Old Burma though most people are surprised to learn that Mandalay is not at all an old city but rather a new city created in 1857. Most of its former magnificence is gone, destroyed by fire that consumes wooden structures and by intensive bombing by the allies during the re-conquest of Burma in the Second World War. Mandalay is ethnically diverse with Burmans forming a slight majority as well as a sizeable population of Chinese forming up to 40% of the population. Other prevalent ethnic groups include the Shan, who are ethnically and linguistically related to the Thais and Laotians, and the Karen. There is also a sizable ethnic Indian population, including Nepalis and Sikhs.


Mandalay - Images by John Lander

Pyin U Lwin Images

Pyin U Lwin or Maymyo is a scenic hill station located in the Shan Highlands some 67 kilometers east ofMandalay at an altitude of 1070 meters or 3500 feet. Because of its cool climate it became a hill station and the summer capital of British Burma. The establishment in Burma: civil, commercial and military would move to the town during the hot season to escape from the heat and humidity of Rangoon. Pyin Oo Lwin is the centre of the country's principal flower and vegetable production. The most important flowers grown intensively are chrysanthemum, aster and gladiolus which are exported to every corner of Myanmar throughout the year. In recent years the town has become the centre of Myanmar's rapidly growing coffee industry. During the British colonial period the town was named Maymyo after Captain May who established the township.
Pyin U Lwin - Images by John Lander

Yangon Images Gallery

Yangon, formerly Rangoon, was the capital of Myanmar until it was superseded by Naypyidaw in November 2005. Today with a population of over 5 million people, Yangon remains the largest city, nerve center and main economic hub of Myanmar. The city is a combo of British, Burmese, Chinese and Indian influences, and is known for its colonial architecture which although decaying, remains an evocative hotspot in Southeast Asia. The greatest highlight is of course Shwedagon Pagoda - the single most important religious site in all of Myanmar. The pagoda stands on the top of Singuttara Hill, and, according to legend, that spot has been sacred since the beginning of time, just before our present world was created.
Yangon - Images by John Lander

Bagan Images

Bagan is home to the largest area of Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins in the world with many dating from the 11th century. The shape and construction of each building is significant in Buddhism with each component taking on a spiritual meaning of some kind. Bagan became a central powerbase in the mid 9th century under King Anawratha, who unified Burma under Theravada Buddhism. As many as 13000 temples and stupas once stood on this plain in central Myanmar. Marco Polo once described Bagan as a "gilded city alive with tinkling bells and the swishing sounds of monks robes". Approximately 2200 remain today in various states of repair or disrepair. Some are large and well maintained, such as the Ananda Pahto. Others are tumbledown relics in the middle of overgrown grass. All, however, are considered active sacred sites, Bagan's golden age ended when the Kingdom and its capital city was invaded by the Mongols.
Bagan - Images by John Lander

Qinghai Tibet Railway Images Gallery

The Qinghai Tibet Railway is the world's highest railway. Nearly 1000 kilometers of its tracks are located 4,000 meters above sea level The Golmud-Lhasa section zigzags more than 1000 kilometers across the Kunlun and Tanggula mountain ranges. Astonishingly, about 500 kilometers of the tracks run on frozen earth, considered a marvel of train technology and engineering. The maximum train speed can reach 100 kilometers per hour in the frozen earth areas and 120 kilometers per hour on regular terrain but you’ll want it to slow down to take in the majestic landscape when passing from Beijing to Lhasa on one of the world’s great train adventures.
Qinghai Tibet Railway - Images by John Lander

Singapore Images

Stepping outside Changi, Singapore's award-winning airport, you are not greeted with the usual concrete sprawl, but tidy landscaping and swaying travellers palms. On the way into town, your taxi whizzes along a road, which in any other city in the world, would be called a parkway. Many visitors come to Singapore as a convenient layover between continents or cities or for its world-class shopping. Even regular visitors tend to think of the city-state as a huge, modern shopping mall. But just beyond the sparkling malls lie nature preserves, innovative zoos and parks and one of the world's most renowned botanical gardens. These, together with the artfully landscaped streets, sidewalks and esplanades have earned Singapore the nickname 'Garden City' making it the envy of many cities around the world.
Singapore Images Gallery - Images by John Lander

Trans-Siberian Images Gallery Slideshow

The Trans Siberian Railway - The endless Siberian landscape is punctuated, now and then, by a gingerbread village. But no matter how alluring the scene, you will soon forget its charm as the gentle rocking of the train is about to lull you back to sleep once again. Life on the world's greatest railway results in a blur of images - sepia birch forests, rural station platforms, massive rivers and bridges. Notions of time and space melt away as you cover one quarter of the way around the earth, especially as all clocks on board are set on Moscow time, never mind the eight different time zones you will be passing through....
Trans-Siberian Railway Images Gallery - Images by John Lander