George Town’s Street of Harmony

The Kapitak Keling Mosque along the Street of Harmony
Street of Harmony

For those who had been reading this blog for quiet a while now knows that I love to walk around when I’m new to a place. It’s my way of orienting myself with a destination. Getting a feel and really going up close to the locals. George Town is such a pleasantly walkable city. Charming old streets adorned with street art against the beautifully aged walls. I was able to rest that afternoon when I got back from my Historical George Town tour. Revitalized after a few hours rest for my walk at this city’s Street of Harmony. I’m glad to be accompanied this time by Cebuano travel blogger Brennan of Weekend Dispatch who is now based in George Town for work. After his office duties he was glad enough to show me around.

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Pulau Tikus Buddhist Temples : Dhammikarama and Wat Chayamangkalaram

Phra Chaiya Mongko at Wat Chayamangkalaram Buddhist Temple
Phra Chaiya Mongko at Wat Chayamangkalaram Buddhist Temple

Still in Pulau Tikus, where the Colonial Penang Museum is found, there are two significant Buddhist temples just across each other along Lorong Burma. There’s the Dhammikarama Burmese Temple and the Wat Chayamangkalaram Buddhist temple. Both vibrant and highly elaborate yet features unique characters due to their origins. The former being Burmese and the other is Thai. It shows the diversity of people who migrated in Penang during the colonial times. Still part of the KKDay Historical George Town tour, I went out of my service car to curiously explore both of these temples.

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Dadaocheng: Strolling the Lively Old Street of Dihua

Busy street of Dihua
Busy street of Dihua

After exploring adventure-filled destinations in the outskirts of the main capital, we’re excited to wander finally through Taipei, Taiwan’s metropolitan city. And what better place to start than Dadaocheng, where some of the country’s oldest streets are found. There are more than a 100 year old culture and businesses that still thrive until this day. We had a full afternoon to experience the dazzling array of sights, sounds and even taste as we walk through the lively and charming Dihua street.

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Bangkok | Across the River for Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn

The Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun
The Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun

No rain. I guess the afternoon squall has finally decided to halt. I just got out of Wat Pho and noticed I still have enough time to explore another temple that afternoon. The Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun is just across Chao Phraya river. Just a short walk from Wat Pho is the ferry terminal to cross the river. Only 3.50 baht and I’m across the river in less than 10 minutes.

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Bangkok | Rained-on and Roamed Wat Pho

The Giant Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho
The Giant Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho

I realized I was already encircling around the perimeter walls of Bangkok’s Grand Palace. I was walking under heavy rain and squeezing my way through the crowd of black-garbed Thai mourners of the recently passed King at the roadsides. Thai people adore King Bhumibol Adulyadej and it shows. As I got into the Grand Palace, I saw bus loads of tourist waiting to get in. I only have less than two hours left and paying 500 THB along with this crowd didn’t appeal to me. So I left. Then there’s Wat Pho I remember passing by earlier. I retraced my route to the back of the palace. Drenched and tired, I just wanted a nice place to sit. I was thrilled that there were less people here at Wat Pho. I paid my 50 THB entrance fee which comes with a free bottle of mineral water and went on to explore the temple grounds.

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Hanoi | In and Around the Old Quarter : The Familiar Old Town

A cyclo speeds through the Old Quarter of Hanoi
A cyclo speeds through the Old Quarter of Hanoi

I can’t help but feel nostalgic. Six years is quite a long time to return to a place. Hanoi was such a favorite destination of mine back then. Yes I’ve treaded the streets of the Old Quarter before, went to an overnight cruise at Ha Long Bay and even enjoyed the misty coolness of Sapa Valley during my first visit in Northern Vietnam. But I don’t mind going back to see what has changed that’s why I didn’t think twice when an invite for a familiarization tour of Hanoi, organized by Cebu Pacific Air and Stratworks came in the email. There’s the certain comfort of stepping back into the familiar and also a certain anxiety to see how things have transitioned from now to then.

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The Vihara Buddhayana Tomohon Complex: An Oddity in Place

A Stupa and a view of Mt Lokon
A Stupa and a view of Mt Lokon

Our eyes were drawn to this bright orange complex amidst a vast field of agricultural land. For a nonsecular destination like Tomohon in North Sulawesi, whose majority of population flocks to their Cristian Churches, seeing a pagoda, a stupa and a distinct Buddhist temple in this area was almost an oddity in itself. The Vihara Buddhayana Tomohon is one of the rare place of worship for the Buddhist minority in North Sulawesi that has become an attraction by the roadside in Desa Kakaskasen III in Tomohon.

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