All posts tagged: asia

Southeast Asia in Pictures: Week II

Every week during our eight-week trip across Southeast Asia, I plan to post a handful of snapshots and stories from the week just gone. This week we caught an evening flight from Singapore to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia – a short two-hour hop across the Gulf of Thailand. Minimising our environmental impact was something that was important for us to consider so we chose to take only two flights on this leg, in and out of Singapore, travelling otherwise by train (and occasionally, by bus). Given our limited time in Phnom Penh, we chose to visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum rather than the Killing Fields outside the city. A former high school requisitioned by the Khmer Rouge and turned into a prison and execution centre, it was a harrowing, necessary journey into the country’s tragic – and shockingly recent – past. The audio guide is well worth it and I left feeling even more inspired by the optimistic nature of Cambodia’s people. Most people over 35 or so have lived through unimaginable …

Singapore | The Southern Ridges

   It is with good, indeed excellent, reason that Singaporeans call their home the ‘city within a garden’. Despite its public image as a manicured, sterile skyscraperdom, the city-state is also the greenest city in Asia thanks to its first Prime Minister, the fabled Lee Kuan Yew, and his vision of transforming the then-developing country into a Garden City.    And it’s not just Singapore’s architecture that has embraced height. I took these 35mm film shots while we walked the Southern Ridges, a 5-mile treetop trail that criss-crosses through the parks at the southern tip of the island. The 2.5-mile section that connects Kent Ridge Park to Mt Faber offers elevated walkways through the tree canopy, skyline views and the chance to walk across Henderson Waves, a spectacular and vertigo-inducing pedestrian bridge (the highest in Singapore!) suspended 36m above the ground below. The route marked by knotted jacarandas, lush succulents and all manner of flora and fauna  seemed as wild, sprawling and exotic as the jungle. My parents rent an apartment in this unworldly fin-shaped building complex (above), …

Singapore | Part I

At the very start of the summer I flew across Europe, the familiar arable landscapes of western Europe shifting gradually to countries further east than I had ever seen. We veered southeast, cruising over the vast steppes of Asia before soaring across the width of India (oh, such bright and unending celestial skyscapes I have never seen before nor since!) The plane swooped down over the Indian Ocean, hugging the coast of Thailand, then Malaysia, finally landing on a clear, moist night at Changi Airport. My parents greeted me in the arrivals hall, glimpsing the pair of us through a glass screen before they could embrace us. By the time we had retrieved our cases and hailed a taxi, the sky was already tinged with the first mauve of dusk. The twisting limbs of jacaranda trees lined the roads towards the city, a snatch of pale blue sea visible through their braided spines. The air was thick and humid, heavy with the scent of jasmine and frangipane. Already my preconceptions were knocked clear from my head – the visions I’d …