Continue reading The Old Quarter of Porto, northern Portugal Author: naim Date: 25 Nov 2014 Filed under: Portugal, UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Old Quarter of Porto, northern Portugal

In this short visit to Porto, I take a stroll from the modern port-wine Gaia area of Porto and cross the Douro river, via the Luis I Bridge. This brings me to Ribeira, the old quarter of Porto, with buildings from the 15th century, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here facades covered with azulejos tiles (introduced by the Moors in the 8th century) look spectacular in late afternoon light. Looking a bit decrepit, but notable nevertheless. (May 2014)

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Continue reading Labuanbajo in Flores, and Denpasar Airport Author: naim Date: 20 Nov 2014 Filed under: Indonesia

Labuanbajo in Flores, and Denpasar Airport

Labuanbajo is a small town located at the western tip of Flores island at the centre of the huge Indonesian archipelago. Its claim to fame is being the gateway to the islands of Komodo and Rinca, where the famous Komodo National Park is located, home of the Komodo Dragons. Anyway, the area around Labuanbajo also boasts of pristine islands and beaches, plus spectacular snorkeling and diving sites. (September 2014)

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Continue reading The Home of the Komodo Dragons Author: naim Date: 18 Nov 2014 Filed under: Indonesia, UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Home of the Komodo Dragons

We finally make it to the home of the awesome Komodo Dragons. We fly from Denpasar DPS to Labuanbajo LBJ, located at the western tip of Flores island in central Indonesia. The 90-min flight from Bali is memorable with the sights of menacing, but enchanting, active volcanoes along the way. (September 2014)

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Continue reading Bali, Island of the Gods Author: naim Date: 17 Nov 2014 Filed under: Indonesia, UNESCO World Heritage Site

Bali, Island of the Gods

We do a quick one-day tour of northern Bali, while en route to Komodo National Park (500km to the east, near Flores island). Renting a car, we make quick stops at the icons of Bali — Pura Besakih or Mother Temple of Besakih, Kintamani with its picturesque (but dangerous) volcano Batur and lake, and finally sunset at the ever-romantic Pura Tanah Lot. (September 2014)

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Continue reading The Cultural Landscape of Sintra, Portugal Author: naim Date: 07 Nov 2014 Filed under: Portugal, UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Cultural Landscape of Sintra, Portugal

Just 30km west of Lisbon, lies the amazing cultural landscape of Sintra, with structures dating back to the Moors of the 8th century. This area is located right inside the verdant forest of a large national park which stretches all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. It has a long history of Portuguese architecture and culture, first occupied by the Romans, then the Arab Moors, who built a precipituous castle atop a mountain overlooking the plains all the way to the Atlantic. It used to be the playground for the Portuguese royals of the 12th-20th century, and many aristocrats owned and built properties here. The outcome is, the place is littered with palaces, stately homes, beautiful buildings, gardens, monuments and houses of worship. As such it plays host to thousands of visitors who drop by every year to savour the essence of Portugal. Spectacular Sintra earned the coveted UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, so we decide not to miss it. (May 2014)

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Continue reading The Historical City of Evora, Portugal Author: naim Date: 06 Nov 2014 Filed under: Portugal, UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Historical City of Evora, Portugal

Just 130km east of Lisbon, along the main expressway to Madrid, lies the historical city of Evora, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Evora is famous for its well-preserved Roman, Gothic and Baroque buildings, thus compressing 2000 years of history in a compact place. It is late evening as we drive into town, on the way back from Elvas to Lisbon. Its quaint narrow cobblestone lanes and whitewashed buildings are relics of its Moorish past, and always a pleasure to saunter along, as we bump into one spectacular building after another. (May 2014)

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Continue reading Adelaide, Capital of South Australia Author: naim Date: 06 Nov 2014 Filed under: Australia

Adelaide, Capital of South Australia

Adelaide is possibly one of the best cities I have ever visited in all my travels, but then I could be handsomely biased. I spent 1978-85 here, in this beautiful place – did my matriculation, bachelor’s degree and doctorate, all in one swoop, and I also got married and had our first child. Needless to say, this Adelaide sojourn influenced my life thereupon and shaped my weltanschauung immensely, but short of migrating here, I have returned many times for quick visits. This is our latest outing, to touch base with the ever-sprightly Prof Les Berry, my supervisor, and the venerable Dr Andy Coyle, my fellow PhD-mate. All looking hale and hearty! (February 2014)

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Continue reading Victor Harbor in South Australia Author: naim Date: 05 Nov 2014 Filed under: Australia

Victor Harbor in South Australia

From Adelaide it’s a pleasant 80km drive south to Victor Harbor, a resort town (very popular with retirees) which faces the tempestuous Great Southern Ocean. There we spend time at the famous Coorong National Park, where the mighty River Murray empties itself into the ocean, but in a rather odd way via a huge lagoon. This area is also famous for its fish and chips, and that’s a must. Not to be missed are heritage buildings from the 19th century, and its flora and fauna. If you reach Adelaide, do consider spending a couple of days here. (February 2014)

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Continue reading Granite Island in South Australia Author: naim Date: 28 Oct 2014 Filed under: Australia

Granite Island in South Australia

We fly to Adelaide from Kuala Lumpur, rent a car and drive to the resort town of Victor Harbor, which faces the Great Southern Ocean. There we take a walk around Granite Island, a place we used to frequent during our student days in the early 80s. Things haven’t changed much, except that they have built nice access on the island proper. There is a colony of fairy penguins, a smallish species, on the island, but unfortunately we do not encounter any. They are only found in Australia and New Zealand. (February 2014)

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Continue reading The Old Garrison Town of Elvas, Portugal Author: naim Date: 28 Oct 2014 Filed under: Portugal, UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Old Garrison Town of Elvas, Portugal

Elvas is an ancient town located 220km east of Lisbon, just 10km away from the Spanish border. Its importance as a heavily fortified garrison town, guarding the vital Lisbon-Madrid road in the 17th-19th century, earned it the coveted UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012. (May 2014)

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Continue reading Our Sudan Stories Author: naim Date: 04 Sep 2014 Filed under: Sudan

Our Sudan Stories

In March 2014, a bunch of us made a trip to Sudan. It was a most memorable outing, with new travel experiences not available elsewhere in the world. Here’s the collection of the entries I have made on this website on this wonderful journey.

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Continue reading Khartoum, Capital of the Sudan Author: naim Date: 04 Sep 2014 Filed under: Sudan

Khartoum, Capital of the Sudan

We spend several days in Khartoum before embarking on a tour of the famed archaelogical sites in the deserts of northern Sudan. While in Khartoum, we are indeed honoured and grateful to be hosted by H.E. The Ambassador of Malaysia to the Sudan, Dato’ Ashri Muda and his lovely missus, Datin Rohayahti. (March 2014)

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Continue reading From Dongola to Kerma in Northern Sudan Author: naim Date: 04 Sep 2014 Filed under: Sudan

From Dongola to Kerma in Northern Sudan

Our final leg of the Sudan trip is a road trip from Dongola to Kerma and back to Khartoum, a 550-km drive through the hot Sahara. Kerma is a huge archaelogical site, with ruins some 9,500 years old. An urban centre started here about 5,000 years ago, and this is regarded as Sudan’s earliest culture. Here’s an HD slideshow of this leg of the journey, especially Kerma. (March 2014)

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Continue reading Lisbon, Capital of Portugal Author: naim Date: 23 Aug 2014 Filed under: Portugal, UNESCO World Heritage Site

Lisbon, Capital of Portugal

A couple of HD slideshows of our walkabouts in Lisbon, Portugal, during a May 2014 trip. An interesting city full of character, and immensely rich in history and culture. Portugal was a world power in the 15th-16th century, during the golden Age of Discovery, and Lisbon was the launch-pad. (May 2014)

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Continue reading My Andalusian Stories Author: naim Date: 01 Jun 2014 Filed under: Spain

My Andalusian Stories

The fabulous palace-fortress of Alhambra in Granada, Andalusian Spain, epitomises the peak of Islamic civilisation. Built in the mid-10th century at the site of a former hill fortress, it fluorished under the Nasrid Dynasty, till the late 15th century. (May 2009)

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Continue reading The Nuri Pyramids and the Wondrous Nile Author: naim Date: 06 May 2014 Filed under: Sudan, UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Nuri Pyramids and the Wondrous Nile

We have stayed in Marawi for two nights and today we have to leave our cosy, modern hotel on the bank of the Nile for three destinations — the Pyramids of Nuri, a Nile orchard and our lodging in Dongola, some 180km northwest of here, which means another desert-crossing before the day ends. (March 2014)

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Continue reading The Pyramids of the Royal Cemeteries of Meroe Author: naim Date: 30 Apr 2014 Filed under: Sudan, UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Pyramids of the Royal Cemeteries of Meroe

From the ruins of Musawarrat es-Sufra, it’s a 25km dirt track to get back onto the sealed Khartoum-Atbara road, and another 50km northwards before we get to this icon of Sudan — the Pyramids of Meroe, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is one of the largest archaeological sites in the world, comprising three large zones of pyramids (royal tombs) built between 8th century BC and 350 AD. (March 2014)

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Continue reading Crossing the Bayuda Desert to Musawwarat es-Sufra Ruins in Meroe Author: naim Date: 27 Apr 2014 Filed under: Sudan, UNESCO World Heritage Site

Crossing the Bayuda Desert to Musawwarat es-Sufra Ruins in Meroe

Today we travel 450km to the ruins of Musawwarat es-Sufra in Meroe, on the other side of the Bayuda desert. The Kingdom of Kush started on this side of the desert in 11th century BC, with its capital at Jebel Barkal. In 300 BC, the capital was shifted 280km southeast to Meroe, and it lasted till the kingdom ended in 350 AD — this is called the Meroitic period of the Kingdom of Kush. (March 2014)

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Continue reading The Ruins of Jebel Barkal in Northern Sudan Author: naim Date: 20 Apr 2014 Filed under: Sudan, UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Ruins of Jebel Barkal in Northern Sudan

We visit the crown jewel of ancient Nubian history, the ‘holy mountain’ of Jebel Barkal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once made capital of the ancient Kingdom of Kush (11th century BC to 350 AD), it is surrounded by amazing ruins of temples, palaces and pyramids. (March 2014)

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DIRECTORY OF PICTORIALS 2004-2009

Please click HERE for a full list of stories from 2004. Pleasant viewing, thanks!