Recent Travels

10 Day Scotland Road Trip

Macau Casinos by Night

Macau is – as Hongkong – a special administrative region of the Republic of China. It has its own legal system, police force and even monetary system. You can get there by Ferry very fast (it takes about 70 minutes).

In 1962 the gambling industry started under a government-issued monopoly license. This monopoly ended in 2002 and several casino operators from Las Vegas entered the market. The first was the Sands Macao in 2004 and after that the Wynn Macau in 2006. Later giant buildings like The Venetian, the MGM Grand Macau and the Galaxy Cotai Megaresort followed.

Gambling revenue has made Macau the world’s top casino market, surpassing Las Vegas.

At night the city really comes to life with all the colors and lights.

Macau City Walk

If you go to Macau you mainly go for the Casinos and the gambling. However there are a few other things to do and see. For example the Ruins of St. Paul are very famous and are officially enlisted as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Macau. The church was destroyed by a fire in 1835, today the Ruins consist only of the southern stone facade (17th-century) and the crypts of the Jesuits.

The culture, food and architecture is a mixture of Chinese and Portuguese. There a lot of historic streets, places and buildings which you can visit easily by a unhurried walk.

Skyline Hong Kong by Night

The skyline of Hong Kong is one of the worlds most impressive one and some say it is even the best one with the surrounding mountains and the Victoria Harbour. There is no other city with more buildings higher than 150m and in no other city live and work more people above the 14th floor.

Some of the famous buildings are the International Commerce Center (484m), The Center with its night-time multi-colored neon light show , the HSBC Building or the Central Plaza with its triangular top.

The images were taken from the Kowloon side so we faced Hong Kong Island from the front. There is another famous point to shoot the skyline and this is on The Peak. From there you have the back of the skyline but because of the height this view is also very impressive. I will post these pictures in a later article.

The weather was not that good this evening and there was almost no clear sky. But after the long exposure I used I have to say the clouds on the images look very interesting. One can see the movement and change of direction as they bend round the high structures.

Lei Yue Mun, Hong Kong

Lei Yue Mun is a small village located at the east gate of Victoria Harbour. It is famous for its seafood market and restaurants. The combination of fresh seafood and restaurants able to cook the food immediately was a winning tactic.

In 1992, the First Lei Yue Mun Seafood Festival was jointly organized by several seafood restaurants, and its success has made it an annual event.

Fort Kochi, Kerala

The last two days we spent in Fort Kochi in the Brunton Boatyard Hotel. Fort Kochi is a region in the city of Kochi.

We visited the St. Francis Church which is the oldest European Church in India. The body of Vasco da Gama (he discovered the sea route from Europe to India) was originally buried in this church.

Kochi was a fishing village and you can see a lot of Chinese Fishing Nets near the shore. They are shore operated lift nets. They are mostly found in the state of Kerala.

Huge mechanical contrivances hold out horizontal nets of 20 m or more across. Each structure is at least 10 m high and comprises a cantilever with an outstretched net suspended over the sea and large stones suspended from ropes as counterweights at the other end. Each installation is operated by a team of up to six fishermen. (Wikipedia)

And of course there are always a lot of birds near the nets to catch the fish before the fisherman gets it’s hand on them.

Marari Beach, Alappuzha

After the house boat trip we stayed two nights in the Marari Beach Resort which is also part of the cgh earth group. It was an excellent resort and we were lucky to get a private pool villa.

From the hotel you can book a lot of different tours to Alappuzha and nearby attractions. We visited Alappuzha to see how carpets are made from coconut fibers and to watch traditional gold smiths while they were melting tiny gold pieces together. Good to see that these traditional crafts still exist.

Houseboat and Backwaters in Kerala

If you stay in Kerala near the Vembanadu Lake you have to rent a house boat. Best thing is to book a full day with a night on the boat.

We started our journey directly from the Coconut Lagoon and made our way through the backwaters until evening. We had dinner on the boat near the town Puthanagadi and also stayed during the night there. The food was excellent and our crew very friendly and supportive.

Check out the new campaign images and the new website of the Kerala Great Backwaters.

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Coconut Lagoon, Kumarakom

The Coconut Lagoon is a very nice place to stay. You can reach it only by boat and it is a vast region where the hotel is naturally integrated. It is also part of the “cgh earth group” like the other hotels we stayed in. There are several isolated bungalows (like in Spice Village) and you have a perfect view of the sunset over the Vembanad lake. You can book a bird watching tour in the morning or rent a kajak to explore the backwaters.

People of Gudalur (Cumbum Valley, Tamil Nadu)

Gudalur is a panchayat town in Theni district in the state of Tamil Nadu. We went there for half a day and started a trip from Thekkady (Spice Village)  to Gudalur.

Although it is very close to Kerala, Tamil Nadu is very different in climate, nature and the people. You can see a lot of agriculture there from Mangos, Red Chilly, Rice,..and even grapes.

Prices are half of that in Kerala and so a lot of people go for shopping to Tamil Nadu. The towns looked less developed and people seemed to be poorer than in Kerala but still they were very friendly and happy to see some foreigners.

Periyar Lake Boat Trip

The Periyar lake is an artificial lake. It is the reservoir of the famous century old Mullai Periyar dam. During the boat journey you can see not only wild animals but also the remains of old trees in the lake. Thekkady is the home to a large number of rare birds, which can be found in these trees.

The lake is kept very clean and it is a nice experience to take this boat trip. The forest people care about this region and Thekkady itself was declared “plastic free” in September 2011. “Tourists visiting Thekkady, please keep in mind that you cannot carry plastic bags to Thekkady.”

I definitely recommend the 1,5 hour boat journey to everyone who visits the Periyar Sanctuary. We chose the trip during lunch time because we had some other activities in the morning, but now I must say that the trips early in the morning or late in the afternoon are better for spotting animals. Never the less we were lucky and saw bisons, wild hogs and even a elephant.

Nature Walk in the Periyar Tiger Reserve

In the morning we went for a three hour nature walk in the Periyar Tiger Reserve which is very close to the place we stayed (Spice Village). Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) is situated in the Cardamom Hills and Pandalam Hills of the Southern Western Ghats of India.

The reserve is huge – about 925 square kilometers – and so spotting elephants or other bigger animals is not a sure thing. We had luck and saw some bisons, beautiful insects and birds. It was a great experience and our guide always explained the different kinds of plants and animals.

Champakulam Moolam Boat Race

The Champakulam Boat Race takes place every year at the Champakulam Lake in Alappuzha, Kerala. It is the most popular and oldest snake boat race of Kerala and the start of many races during June and October. It is held on the River Pampa in Champakulam village of Alappuzha district on the Moolam day (Mool Nakshatra). Before the boat race, a procession is held every year in memory of the installation of the idol of Lord Shri Krishna.

The snake boats are very long boats with a length of about 30 meters or more. They have a raised prow which give them their name- ‘Snake Boats.’ When more than 100 oarsmen make the long snake boat cut the waves of the river and speed through the water to leave the other racing boats behind, thousands and lakhs of people standing at the river bank can literally feel the adrenalin rush in their bodies!

We stayed at the Triveny River Palace and had from the hotel’s garden a nice view of the finishing line of the race. We had full service of the hotel and the garden was less crowded than the opposite side of the river as you can see in the pictures.

Medieval Old Town of the City of Rhodes

It is a fantastic place and no wonder that it has been declared a World Heritage Site.

There are so many details and all photographers will like the authenticity of the city. Of course there are many tourist but there are still a lot of unexplored back alleys with nice restaurants and little shops.

Palladium Hotel

The Palladium hotel is situated right on the blue flag awarded beach of Kallithea. It was a pleasure to stay there and I would recommend it to everyone who looks for more comfort and service during holidays.

The hotel has a very large pool area and in addition a private beach.

This time we wanted to stay closer to Rhodes City, that was one  point why we chose this hotel. By car it’s only 20 minutes away from “down town” Rhodes. The famous thermes of Kallithea are also nearby.

Angsana Bintan, Indonesia

Nestled on the white sandy shores of picturesque Tanjung Said Bay, Indonesia, Angsana Bintan enjoys panoramic views of the sparkling South China Sea and is surrounded by lush tropical greenery.

The perfect choice for a tropical getaway, this tranquil island escapade is located just 45 minutes away from Singapore via high- speed catamaran.

Life, Singapore

Random pictures about the life and people in Singapore.

Marina Bay Sands Skypark

The SkyPark is open to the public and from there you have a 360 degrees view of Singapore. Unfortunately the infinity pool is for hotel guests only.

However the rooms are not that expensive as you might think. A night in a double room is about 240 euros.

I’m sorry for some shaky pictures but I had to share the tripod with my sister 🙂

Marina Bay Sands

The Marina Bay Sands is a luxury hotel with 2500 rooms and suites. It includes a SkyPark at the top of the three towers with an 150 meter infinity swimming pool, the world’s largest outdoor pool at 200-meter height. Nearby is the ArtScience Museum.

It is one of the most complex structure ever built with distinctive sloping towers as steep as 26 degrees by internationally acclaimed architect Moshe Safdie. If you are interested watch the 10 minute video of Moshe Safdie which was part of the competition submission to the government of Singapore.

Sentosa Island

Sentosa island is a nice and entertaining island in the south of Singapore. There are many attractions, hotels, the Universal Studios, a Insect Kingdom, a Butterfly Park and many more…You should reserve one or two days if you have time.

We went there by Cable Car and started our trip from the top of  Mount Faber. It takes longer than by car but the view is worth the time.

If you like taking macros of insects and butterflies you should go to the Insect Kingdom and the Butterfly park.

Many beaches and bars make it easy to relax after a busy city day. You can go for a swim and enjoy a cocktail in the Cafe del Mar. It’s really a nice spot.