Welcome to the Bayon, built end of the 12th Century. The Bayon temples feature 216 faces, a nearly surreal masterpiece unlike any I’d ever seen. Bayon stands at the centre of Jayavarman’s capital, Angkor Thom, in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Bayon temples, along with Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm, are easily the best 1-2 day trip you can take in southeast Asia. Here’s a 29 photo tour:
Who are the faces of? They Bayon faces are said represent Lokeshvara, a Buddhist deity that projected benevolence outward to the four directions, or even the king himself. Here’s the explanation:
Initially the faces were believed to represent Brahma, the Hindu God of creation depicted with four heads. When it was later established that the Bayon was not a Hindu temple but a Buddhist one, archeologists believed the faces to be of Lokeshvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion. The similarity of statues of Jayavarman VII and the face towers had led some to believe that it is the King himself whose face is depicted on the towers. Read more...(633 words, 29 images, estimated 2:32 mins reading time)
Angkor Wat is one of the most impressive sites in the world, and was immediately a highlight of my southeast Asia trip. The temples are breathtaking! While you need to visit them in Cambodia to appreciate it, below is a photo tour of the experience.
Angkor Wat is located in Siem Reap, in Cambodia. Along with Angkor Thom, Bayon, and Ta Prohm, Angkor might be best two-day trip you can take in all of Asia.
Angkor Wat was built by the vanished Khmer empire. It was constructed during the reign of King Suryavarman II, who ruled from 1113 to at least 1145.
Scholars say the temples of Angkor Wat were built for funerary purposes, since its bas-reliefs are meant to be viewed anti-clockwise, a direction that was associated with death in the Khmer empire. This is Angkor’s only temple with tombs, despite the “Tomb Raider” movie being shot at nearby Ta Prohm, where there’s no tombs. Read more...(564 words, 34 images, estimated 2:15 mins reading time)
England vs UK vs Great Britain – are these the same?
Do England, the United Kingdom, and Great Britain, all refer to the same place? What’s the difference between England vs UK vs Great Britain, and what’s included in each? Is Scotland a country? Here’s the answer in a 5-minute video that breaks these down. I’ve also highlighted some quick answers below that. You’ll understand your initial question in the first 30-seconds, but this clip does a great job with the natural follow-up questions.
For example, why is the Queen is on Canadian currency? Where do Belize and the Cayman Islands fit in? Enjoy!
England vs UK vs Great Britain
Here’s a quick breakdown:
England contains about 80% of the population of the UK.
Great Britain includes England, Wales and Scotland. Great Britain is a geographical term referring to the island on which the greater parts of England, Wales and Scotland are situated. GB is also a legal one referring to those three territories considered together. Great Britain is the largest island of the British Isles, which is most of the UK but not all. Read more...(488 words, 2 images, estimated 1:57 mins reading time)
I went swimming in shark-infested waters – and lived to tell about it!
This is from Sipadan, in Semporna Archipelago, in Malaysian Borneo. It was an incredible diving experience, and easily my favorite SCUBA dive site yet!
Aren’t sharks dangerous?? This is the most common question I get when people hear my excitement about swimming with sharks. The short answer: No. We’ve all seen the movie Jaws, but not all sharks are the same. The overwhelming majority of sharks are not dangerous (unless provoked). These were reef sharks – people commonly refer to them as “vegetarian” sharks! Whitetip Reef sharks are curious and will swim right up to you, but aren’t often aggressive unless provoked.
Are there dangerous sharks in Borneo? The places where I went were safe when diving safely. Sipadan and the Semporna Archipelago also has a reputation for having Hammer Head Sharks, but the divers I met said they hadn’t seen them in a long time. Read more...(881 words, 8 images, estimated 3:31 mins reading time)
SCUBA Diving in Sipadan in the Semporna Archipelago in Malaysian Borneo — It was my first time swimming with sharks – they were everywhere, and didn’t seem to care much about us swimming a few feet away. Sipadan dive photos below, including sharks, sea turtles, harlequin sweetlips, school of jackfish, surgeonfish, purple antihas, big eye emperors, yellow mask angelfish, triggerfish, butterfly fish, parrotfish, unicorn fish, and more!
A graceful Sea Turtle swims next to us during our SCUBA dive
(Press SL for Slideshow, FS for Full Screen): Read more...(871 words, 6 images, estimated 3:29 mins reading time)
Incredible Hong Kong photography that makes the Hong Kong architecture look surreal
Photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze captured Hong Kong’s architecture in his Vertical Horizon photography project. He’s made it into an 80-page book of photos from his 2012. The 26-year-old French photographer captures the city’s skyscrapers from vertical angles – all looking up. So cool!
Hong Kong photography by Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze
These vertical angles were captured through a wide-angle Sigma lens with a 10 mm focal length. Unlike a fisheye lenses, he says a sigma lens avoids distorting the urban landscape’s straight lines.