Tokyo: A Walk Around Asakusa

On a recent business trip to Tokyo, I had a couple of free hours and decided to drop in on Asakusa, an old part of the city with a historic temple. The thing about Tokyo is that for historical cultural landmarks, it just can't compare to Kyoto. Some of this is because a number of temples and shrines and their surrounding areas have been rebuilt. This is certainly true of Asakusa. The place was also incredibly crowded - full of tourists as well as locals going to make their Sunday...

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Singapore’s Chinatown – Chicken Rice, Egg Tarts, Temples and More

Chinese New Year

Chinatown is a good place to come to get a sense of old Singapore. The protected historical buildings provide a colourful backdrop to the shops and eating places. And because most of it is shaded, it's not too bad a place to come around midday and try some local favourites for lunch including very good Ipoh hor fun, Hainanese chicken rice and flaky egg tarts.

With the heat in Singapore, I'd recommend visitors to do most of any planned outdoor activities in the morning. High on my...

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Kyoto – One Day in the Eastern Districts

Silver Pavilion

The main sites to visit in Kyoto’s eastern districts include the Shugakuin Imperial Villa, Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion) and Eikando Zenrin-ji. The Philosopher’s Walk, is an easy path to stroll down, linking Ginkaku-ji to Eikando Zenren-ji and another temple Nanzen-ji. This makes spending one day in this area a nicely contained itinerary.

If I had to rank the top sites to visit in this area, they would be Shugakuin, Eikando temple, and Ginkaku-ji. So if you’re short on time, make...

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Kyoto: Soaking Up the Atmosphere of the Old City

Old Kyoto

If in your mind’s eye of Japan, you see old wooden structures lining narrow lanes and paper lanterns then Kyoto is probably the best place to find this. And specifically, the Kawaramachi and Gion areas in central Kyoto are great places to soak up the atmosphere of old Kyoto. I think the evenings are the best time to walk around and especially in the summer when the restaurants along Pontocho-dori expand out over the river.

My first trip to Kyoto, I stayed south of Gion so I started...

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Pic of the Day – Beijing’s Temple of Heaven

With the China stock markets falling over 6% today, I looked through my old pics to find this one of the Temple of Heaven (Tiantan). I think this is my favourite place to visit in Beijing, as it’s within easy reach and there is a nice enough park surrounding the various historical structures. I took this shot in 2002 when blue skies were not an anomaly.

Tiantan Beijing
Knocking on heaven’s door – Tiantan
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