Gellért Hill (Gellért-hegy) is the best place to see the sprawling city of Budapest beneath you. It was named after Saint Gerard (Gellert) (980 – 1046) who was given a mission to preach Christianity to the Hungarians. Continue reading
The Hungarian Parliament Building (Országház) is a magnificent neo-gothic structure completed in 1902. It is located on the eastern bank of the Danube River and you won’t miss it as it is the largest building in Hungary. The building is easily seen from many points whether you are hiking up Gellert Hill, strolling about Castle Hill or cruising on the Danube. Continue reading
The Gellert Hotel is well known for their thermal baths and swimming pool, with a total of 12 pools to indulge in. Built in 1912 – 1918, the Gellert Baths draw thermal water from natural springs in Gellert Hill that is right next door. The water is rich in minerals and thought to be therapeutic. If I had not tried the Gellert Baths (or Gellért fürdő in Hungarian), I would not know I could be so water-loving.
Visiting the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace wasn’t part of my plan. The tuk tuk driver pointed to his DIY well-illustrated map and asked if I wanted to go to go to the Elephant Palace. I thought the place seemed close enough so might as well. Continue reading
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol is an ancient royal monastery in Ayutthaya built in 1357. The monastery was destroyed by the Burmese in 1766 and only re-established again in 1957. Continue reading
The Erawan Shrine in Bangkok attracts lots of worshipers and believers to pay respects to Phra Phrom God, who is the Thai version of the Hindu God – Thao Maha Brahma, also known commonly as the “Four-Faced Buddha” . Continue reading
The Buddha’s head cradled in intertwining tree roots is a compelling and evocative image at Wat Mahathat in Ayutthaya Historical Park. My father even thought the two are one entity and when I showed him the picture, he asked me “how did the tree roots grow into the shape of a Buddha’s face?” Continue reading
The Peranakan or Baba Nyonya culture is a fascinating culture that is unique to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. During the 15th and 16th century, when men from China sailed across the ocean to South East Asia seeking for a better life, they married local women and also amalgamated Malayan and Chinese culture. Continue reading
The Temple of Heaven ( 天壇 Tiantan) was where the Emperors from the Ming and Qing Dynasties worshiped and prayed to the heavenly gods. The emperors visited the temple twice a year, once during winter to worship the heaven, and again during spring to pray for a year of copious rain and an abundance of crops. The Temple of Heaven takes up a monstrous area of 237 hectares with multiple buildings in the compound including Hall of Prayers for Good Harvest (祈年殿), the Imperial Vault of Heaven (皇穹宇), Circular Mound (圜丘坛) and Fasting Palace (齋宫). If you’ve been to the Forbidden City and thought it was a gigantic place to walk around, the Temple of Heaven is 4 times the size of Forbidden City, so be prepared to walk!