spunktitud3

Musings on Travel, Fashion & Fun

Myanmar – Balloons over Bagan

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Balloons over Bagan

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Photo of the Day – A Peek into Bhutan the Land of Happiness

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Bhutan Landscape


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Bhutan – Buddha Dordenma: Marvel at one of the largest Buddha statues in the world

Bhutan - Buddha DordenmaThe Buddha Dordenma is an iconic monument sitting atop a forest hill overlooking Bhutan’s capital city of Thimphu. Viewable from any part of the city, the massive statue of Shakyamuni is sited amidst Kuensel Phodrang where the palace of Sherab Wangchuck (the thirteenth Desi Druk who ruled the country from 1744 to 1763) once stood. It is one of the largest Buddha Rupas (or statues) in the world measuring at a height of 51.5 metres.  Made of bronze and gilded in gold, the statue alone cost USD$47 million. Manufactured in China, the statue was cut into pieces and then transported to site through Phuentsholing (imagine the awe of wide-eyed Bhutanese villagers seeing the gigantic head of Buddha at the back of a moving lorry, priceless).Bhutan - Buddha Dordenma
This is part of a greater whole, which includes the Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park, a 943-acre nature park inaugurated in 2011 to preserve the forests surrounding the statue. The entire project, which took about 10 years to complete on 25 September 2015, cost over USD$100 million. Locals and tourists alike embrace the park, which is popular for weekend family outings and its biking, hiking and nature trails. The park also hosted the Peling Tsechu, a three-day festival held in May 2016 to commemorate the birth of His Royal Highness Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck.Bhutan - Buddha DordenmaThe three-storey base houses a large chapel, while the body itself is filled with 125,000 gold statues of Buddha. The statue is expected to be a major pilgrimage centre and a focal point for Buddhists all over the world to converge, practice, meditate, and retreat.Bhutan - Buddha DordenmaApart from commemorating the 60th birth anniversary of Bhutan’s fourth king Jigme Singye Wangchuck, it fulfills two prophecies. In the twentieth century, the renowned yogi Sonam Zangpo prophesied that a large statue of either Padmasambhava, Buddha or of a phurba would be built in the region to bestow blessings, peace and happiness to the entire world. The statue itself is mentioned in an ancient terma of Guru Padmasambhava himself, said to date from approximately the 8th century, and recovered some 800 years ago by Terton Pema Lingpa (Religious Treasure Discoverer).Bhutan - Buddha DordenmaFor me, I am just happy to be blessed with such an amazing view.Bhutan - Buddha DordenmaThe Buddha Dordenma overlooks the Southern entrance to Thimphu Valley, and visitors can enjoy a vantage view of Thimphu nestled in the valley below.Bhutan - Buddha DordenmaThimphu being the capital city is the most developed and densely populated area in Bhutan, so this sight of closely-packed buildings is not the norm in other parts of the country which are mostly mountains, forests and farmlands. With urbanization, Bhutanese youths are increasingly migrating to Thimphu in search of white-collar jobs and a better life. I wonder how many dreams these buildings hold?Bhutan - Buddha DordenmaBhutan - Buddha DordenmaOne thing I know for sure, Bhutan is not ready to give up their unique cultural identity for modernization, and the little kingdom is gingerly treading the waters of urbanization, step by step, without compromising on the values which they have held closely for centuries. If there is a country left in the world who can find a delicate balance between culture and economic progress, it would be Bhutan.

Buddha Dordenma

Opening Hours: 9:00AM to 5:00PM daily
Website: www.buddhadordenma.org
More of my travel adventures in Bhutan


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Australia – Whale Watching in Sydney

Sydney Whale WatchingDuring June to November, the whale watching season in Australia, whales such as the humpback and orca migrate from the cold waters of the Antarctica up to the warm temperate waters of Australia to give birth. About 20,000 whales pass by the waters of Australia during this period, and I took the opportunity to catch a glimpse of this magnificent creature up close during my trip to Sydney.Sydney Whale WatchingWhile you can watch the whales on numerous land-based vantage points in NSW national parks, I opted to join a 2-hour Adventure Cruise to increase my chances of spotting them in the deep blue sea.

Sydney Whale WatchingAfter seeing the promotional images, who could ever resist such an opportunity? I opted for the smaller speed boat as it can go faster than cruise ships and the open deck would allow whale watching from all angles. But with agility, also meant smaller size boat and a speed ride that could rival Universal Studio’s. I was clinging to a pole like a koala bear most of the time, and your camera shutter speed has to be at least 1/1000s to be able to minimize blurred photos.
(Source: Whale Watching Sydney)Sydney Whale WatchingWe started off our adventure from Darling Harbour. We were lucky to have good weather, and a nice view Sydney’s skyline.

Sydney Whale Watching
And off we go! *big smile*

Sydney Whale WatchingSydney Harbour BridgeSydney Whale WatchingSpotted a lot of people at the park on a nice, sunny weekend afternoon

Sydney Whale WatchingHeart of the Sydney Business DistrictSydney Whale WatchingThe iconic Sydney Opera House

Sydney Whale WatchingBlow, wind blow. Look how blue the water is! :)Sydney Whale WatchingTime for some sailing stunts. I would love to have a house here…

Sydney Whale WatchingSpotting the candy-striped Hornby Lighthouse at Watsons Bay got me all excited – I remember walking the South Head Heritage trail just few months ago :) It’s also a whale watching vantage point. I will be back…Sydney Whale WatchingHere we are in the open sea! I was just griping about how small and rocky our little speedboat was until I saw this open boat/dinghy – I think I would have peed in my pants if the whale came up just in front of me.

Sydney Whale WatchingAnd the waiting game begins…according to our guide, the easiest way to spot a whale is to look for spouts/blows made by the whale, and a greenish shape in the water as the whale emerges (can you spot that in the photo?). Did you know the blow is distinctive to each whale species – humpback (tall, column-shaped blow); orca (bushy shaped); gray (heart-shaped!). The mammal can stay underwater for as long as 10 minutes, so you have to be verrry patient.

Sydney Whale WatchingErm guys, look behind you!! *the tail waves hello*

Sydney Whale WatchingThis was the best I could get on my virgin whale watching adventure. I didn’t even get to see your face, and I didn’t know what I actually saw until I went home to check – a rare albino humpback whale. This would be my second amazing milestone made in Sydney – the first being catching the New Years Eve fireworks : )


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Win me a trip to The Land of Happiness with just a Facebook Like

Inle FishermenOMGGG I couldn’t believe it when I received an email from Como Hotels and Resorts informing that my photo has been short-listed as the Top 20 finalists for a photography contest they organised in December to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Uma by COMO resorts in Bhutan and Bali. The top two winners win a trip to Bhutan and Bali respectively, plus a cool Canon camera.

I have been dreaming of visiting Bhutan for the past few years, and 2015 is the perfect year to visit as they have declared 2015 as Vist Bhutan Year to commemorate the 60th birth anniversary of their king with year-round celebrations. Just thinking of all the sights, nature and celebrations I can experience makes me ecstatic! I have not been to Ubud either and that is also on my bucket list after seeing so many drool-worthy photos about the destination. The icing on the cake – staying with the luxurious Uma by COMO resorts.

Help send me to The Land of Happiness with just one click!
You can now help realise my dream of visiting Bhutan or Ubud with just one simple Facebook Like – the top 20 entries are now open for voting until Monday, February 16. Facebook Likes constitute a sizable one-third of the scores, so I need every bit of support I can get. Get your friends and family to join in the liking too! :D Simply click on this link and LIKE the photo of Burmese fishermen beating the water: http://bit.ly/winmeatrip

Thank you SO MUCH for your help, and I hope I will have the opportunity to visit these wonderful countries and share my experiences of that country with all of you here…we shall share the happiness! :) xoxo