Burmese Temple Art

Temple art: Phaya Thonzu Phaya sculpture

In most countries with temples or artwork dating back to the 11th to 12th centuries, UNESCO has stepped in to take measures to restore and preserve the art, architecture and historical heritage of these ancient places. Although UNESCO has stepped in to preserve a few temples, it has unfortunately determined that it is not feasible to restore others due to the shoddy work done in current restoration projects by the government of Myanmar.

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Dhammayangyi Pagoda: A Tale of Lust and Murder

Arched entry to Dhammayangyi Pagoda

Every building has a secret entrance, one even the architects somehow overlooked. I use the secret entrances in the great temples of Bagan, hiding in the shadows, listening for the secrets bricked up in the walls, and searching for safety in this kingdom far-away from my home in Kala. …. As we made our way through this temple, it was eerie. Away from the crowds near the entrance, the tall, narrow corridors with walled up doorways leading to the inner sanctum of the temple created an oppressive atmosphere. We stumbled into the bat cave, overwhelmed with the odor of bat guano, the bats squealing to one another on the ceiling. If haunted, that would have been the spot where we would have seen an apparition.

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Three Days Temple-Touring in Beautiful, Bold Bagan

Dome at Dhamma Ya Zika Pagoda

The sun warming our shoulders, hair blowing in the wind, we criss-crossed desert sands by scooter, dodging goats and cattle on dusty tracks with giant temples the size of castles rising in the background. All day we clambered up and down narrow temple stairways, tiptoed past praying faithful by Buddha statues, and marveled at ancient, monumental passageways adorned with faded paintings. We felt like tomb raiders.

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5 Ways to Enjoy the Magic of Myanmar

Sunset at Bulethi Pagoda

Myanmar recently went through a major, landmark election placing Aung Sun Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), in power. This is opening the country up to the West for tourism for the first time in decades. While I would still advise caution in traveling to Myanmar, here are 5 ways to enjoy the magic of Myanmar.

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Le Khao Kob Cave

Area of dragon's teeth - 1st cavern

Lod Cave was magical with its immense caverns, gentle raft trip, majestic landscape, and the hundreds of thousands of swift birds entering the caverns just before dusk. It convinced us that touring caves in Thailand is fun, exciting, non-threatening, yet adventurous. So when we came upon Le Khao Kab Cave in the Trang region of southern Thailand, we turned off the highway in anticipation. Join me for the boat ride of a lifetime into the belly of a dragon. Class this cave in the “lucky to be alive” category.

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Coastal Regions of Southern Thailand

Khao Lak Sunset

Many tourists who visit Southern Thailand never venture beyond the resort town they visit. Many Thai beaches are outstanding, and well worth the visit. But by sticking to a resort and never venturing beyond the beach town, people may miss the culture and beauty of this region of Thailand. Join me on a mini tour from Khanom to Krabi, Ao Nang to Khao Lak, and Chumphon to Dolphin Bay.

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