Tag Archives: buddhism

The Marble Mountains: I kept calling them “Magic Mountains” by mistake. But they are a bit magical! Near Non Nuoc Beach, nine kilometres south of Danang in Central Vietnam, five marble and limestone outcrops rise up dramatically from the flat plains around them. According to legend, a dragon climbed out of the East Vietnam Sea onto the beach and laid […]

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Mongolia seems vast.  That’s probably because it is. Once you are outside the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, the plains and the skies go on forever. The “World Factbook”, published by the CIA, puts it in terms Americans can understand: Mongolia is “more than twice the size of Texas”. Landlocked between its bigger neighbours China and Russia, Mongolia […]

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Some days feel dark. Very dark. It is a truism that the best way to combat darkness is to shine a lamp or light a candle. Loi Krathong  (ลอยกระทง) is Thailand’s own festival of lights. On the evening of the twelfth full-moon of the traditional Thai lunar calendar, Thais – and lucky visitors – congregate around a body […]

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The best way to immerse yourself in a new culture is to spend time where local people congregate and worship. In the early morning of my first day in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, I took a taxi across the busy city centre from my hotel in the east, to the country’s largest monastery, Gandantegchinlen (“the great place of complete joy”) Khiid, west of city […]

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“The palace of great happiness or bliss.” That is how Pungtang Dechen Photrang Dzong translates from Bhutanese.  Also known as Punakha Dzong, it has been an auspicious fortress for many years. Punakha Dzong was the seat of the Government of Bhutan until they moved the capitol to Thimphu in 1955. It is still the administrative centre for the Punakha District, and houses a number of precious […]

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