Dambulla: an Illustrated Guide to Sri Lanka’s Cave Temples

Dambulla temple is Sri Lanka’s best preserved cave temple complex, one of the country’s fantastic UNESCO world heritage sights. At the top of a tall hill, the caves are filled with incredible wall fresco paintings, images of past kings and queens, and many golden statues of the Buddha.

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Koyasan: an illustrated guide to visiting Japan’s most sacred mountain

There was a quiet excitement and sense of mystery as we travelled towards the secluded temple town of Koyasan, taking smaller and smaller trains through rural areas and up into the mountains. It began wending up a high mountain line, past tiny train platforms bulging with tree roots and overgrown with rich green creepers, some seemingly forgotten stations covered in leaves, being swallowed by the forest.

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Waking up early to see the monks of Laos

davThe slow boat collided softly with the tyres bound to the ferry port at Luang Prabang, and the tourist horde disembarked, stretching and yawning. Caramel waves chased each other down the Mekong like energetic children playing tip. Luang Prabang old town was pretty, neat and straight. Quaint guesthouses and corner stores were splashed in creamy yellow paint, proudly exhibiting small green gardens, urns of tiny fish and lacquered wooden signposts. The clean, empty streets were deafening with silence, palm trees vaulted from sidewalks, narrow cobbled alleys oozed invitations to explore.

I was immobilized by a bout of gastro for a day, but soon felt well enough to wander the city. Cindy and I walked around the many colourful monasteries, with their tall pointed roofs and monks on laundry duty hanging up fluoro orange robes to dry in the heat. Streets packed with restaurants baked under the sun by day, and blossomed with Hmong tribal night markets after dark. The riverfront boasted tree-shaded cafes, with timber balconies lined up along the Mekong.

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