Travel and Wellness

Image Excellent: South East Asia

Story and pictures courtesy of Rob Squire, July 31, 2023

Simply because it did for a lot of of you, COVID wreaked havoc on my journey plans.  I misplaced observe of the variety of journeys that I deliberate and cancelled throughout that interval, so I eagerly anticipated my latest journey to Southeast Asia.  Being a Child Boomer, I by no means thought I’d ever truly pay cash to go to that area of the world which so many individuals tried so arduous to keep away from through the Vietnam struggle.  I served within the US Air Pressure throughout that battle however I wasn’t despatched to Vietnam. Whereas I noticed that I did harbor some destructive emotions concerning the space, I nonetheless wished to see it.

Of the 5 international locations that make up the Indochinese Peninsula, I visited Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, reserving Laos and Myanmar for a attainable future journey.  Every nation had its personal distinctive character and tradition.  Every was charming in its personal method and every left me with its personal recollections to cherish.  

Metropolis of Hoi An, Vietnam

The foremost cities of Vietnam are fairly various.  Hanoi within the north has a determined third-world really feel, with previous communist period buildings, and ladies carrying items on their shoulders as generations have carried out earlier than. Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh Metropolis, felt fairly completely different to me with extra trendy buildings, and had a extra vibrant night time life.  Hoi An, with its nearly resort-like ambiance, was essentially the most charming of all of the cities that I visited.  A really clear metropolis, I discovered plentiful flowers, music and laughter nearly anyplace I turned. 

Vietnam’s Ha Lengthy Bay 

A ship trip in Vietnam’s Ha Lengthy Bay is one thing most each customer is bound to recollect for a few years to come back.  Fishermen maneuver their boats within the shadows of steep rock formations that jut out of the water as if they’re rising earlier than your very eyes.  One of many islands even holds the colorfully-lit Shock Cave.  Editor’s be aware: For wellness vacationers heading to Vietnam, make sure you take a look at Alba Wellness Valley by Fusion.

In Thailand, I discovered a museum that’s simply essentially the most fascinating and strange one which I’ve ever seen.  The Erawan Museum was constructed by a Thai antiquities collector by the title of Lek Viriyapant who wished to protect his assortment, a few of which date again to historical occasions.  He selected to construct his museum within the form of an Erawan which is a three-headed elephant from Hindu mythology.  

In Thailand, I discovered a museum that’s simply essentially the most fascinating and strange one which I’ve ever seen.  The Erawan Museum was constructed by a Thai antiquities collector by the title of Lek Viriyapant who wished to protect his assortment, a few of which date again to historical occasions.  He selected to construct his museum within the form of an Erawan which is a three-headed elephant from Hindu mythology.  

The museum has three tales.  The underside ground is discovered within the cylindrical base and holds the oldest a part of his assortment.  The second ground is past description.  It’s an explosion of coloration and element, and you can simply spend hours analyzing all there’s to see.  The curved stairway on both facet results in a round stairway which ascends up the within of one of many elephant’s legs to the third ground. There, contained in the Erawan’s stomach, you discover a beautiful and colourful shrine to Buddha.

An historical artifact in Ayutthaya, Thailand

In Ayutthaya, which was the seat of the Thai authorities earlier than it moved to Bangkok, I discovered fascinating temples. In years previous, Burmese invaded Thailand and destroyed most of the artistic endeavors they discovered, decapitating statues of Buddha within the course of.  I even discovered one such head that had laid in place for therefore lengthy, a banyan tree had grown up round it, leaving an eerie half-smiling face within the trunk.

For me, the spotlight of your entire journey was the temples I discovered in Siem Reap, Cambodia, a few of which have been constructed as early because the twelfth century.  It was thrilling for me to face in entrance of the acquainted domes of Angkor Wat, and to stroll by means of the identical doorways and down the identical walkways that numerous different folks had crossed within the tons of of years earlier than me.  

The intricate carvings, pale and weather-worn over time, exhibited a degree of expertise unmatched in at the moment’s structure.

To the north, Angkor Thom is a close-by temple complicated that’s a lot bigger and to me, extra various than Angkor Wat.  Some have been partially restored, whereas others have been so overgrown that it was nearly troublesome to inform the place nature began and man’s creations ended.

Asia is a land that’s about as completely different from life in the US as anyplace could be.  With surprises round each nook, should you carry your sense of journey with you, you’ll be rewarded with a enjoyable and enriching expertise.

Gazing out onto Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Picture tip:  Generally while you shoot an iconic and simply recognizable topic, the ensuing photograph could be boring.  What you thought can be an unbelievable photograph can grow to be simply the identical one that everybody else has taken.  I used to be confronted with that dilemma after I was capturing Angkor Wat in Cambodia.  The pictures I used to be initially taking appeared the identical as everybody else’s pictures of that iconic temple. If you’re ever in that scenario, the answer is to discover a strategy to make the photograph your personal.  

The best way I did that at Angkor Wat was to go to a different constructing on the grounds and shoot via a novel doorway, inserting the acquainted domes within the background.  Use your creativeness and creativity, and your folks will like to see your trip pictures!

 

Journey to Wellness contributor Rob Squire is knowledgeable journey photographer who has visited over fifty international locations. When not touring the world, he’s primarily based in Denver, Colorado.  You possibly can see his work by visiting RobSquirePhotography.com or by following his Facebook web page.

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