A Travellerspoint blog

May 2019

Obligatory day trip to touristy Korea DMZ

It seems so odd and impractical to have an active military zone made into a tourist attraction; though 5 million visitors a year come see this border

It seems so odd and impractical to have an active military zone made into a tourist attraction; though 5 million visitors a year come see this border

This is as close as I care to get to North Korea; I looked through a telescope and could see no people or cars in North Korea

This is as close as I care to get to North Korea; I looked through a telescope and could see no people or cars in North Korea

The Stones of Peace Wall; poignant sculpture with 86 stones collected from battlefields in 64 countries designed to be a stepping stone for the reconciliation of the Korean people

The Stones of Peace Wall; poignant sculpture with 86 stones collected from battlefields in 64 countries designed to be a stepping stone for the reconciliation of the Korean people

The Freedom Bridge was built in 1953 for exchanging 12,773 prisoners of the Korean War; it felt inappropriate to hear visitors laughing and not considering what actually happened here

The Freedom Bridge was built in 1953 for exchanging 12,773 prisoners of the Korean War; it felt inappropriate to hear visitors laughing and not considering what actually happened here

This steam locomotive was abandoned in the DMZ during the Korean War after receiving 1000  bullets and derailing; the DMZ is 160 miles long and 2 1/2 miles wide

This steam locomotive was abandoned in the DMZ during the Korean War after receiving 1000+ bullets and derailing; the DMZ is 160 miles long and 2 1/2 miles wide

The Korean War claimed over three million lives and divided the Korean Peninsula along ideological lines; sporadic outbreaks of violence killed 500  South Koreans, 50 US soldiers and 250 soldiers from North Korea along the DMZ between 1953 and 1999

The Korean War claimed over three million lives and divided the Korean Peninsula along ideological lines; sporadic outbreaks of violence killed 500+ South Koreans, 50 US soldiers and 250 soldiers from North Korea along the DMZ between 1953 and 1999

After 36 years of Japanese colonial rule, Korea was liberated on August 15, 1945; then it was arbitrarily divided into North and South by the winning side post WW2 thus separating a country that had existed for thousands of years as one

After 36 years of Japanese colonial rule, Korea was liberated on August 15, 1945; then it was arbitrarily divided into North and South by the winning side post WW2 thus separating a country that had existed for thousands of years as one

The world's fourth-tallest flagpole (160m) flying a North Korean flag over Kijŏng-dong near Panmunjom; South Korea has a similar display on their side but on a slightly shorter flagpole

The world's fourth-tallest flagpole (160m) flying a North Korean flag over Kijŏng-dong near Panmunjom; South Korea has a similar display on their side but on a slightly shorter flagpole

Visitors leave ribbons and messages hoping for peace and family reunification; I'm not sure why, from an economic viewpoint, South Korea would want North Korea since it would be a huge financial drain

Visitors leave ribbons and messages hoping for peace and family reunification; I'm not sure why, from an economic viewpoint, South Korea would want North Korea since it would be a huge financial drain

This bell was made with the wish for peace and national unification; to commemorate the 21st century, the bell weighs 21 tons and is made of 21 stair steps

This bell was made with the wish for peace and national unification; to commemorate the 21st century, the bell weighs 21 tons and is made of 21 stair steps

As sections of fence are repaired the old wire is sold to gullible tourists; maybe Trump could do this to raise money for his beautiful new wall

As sections of fence are repaired the old wire is sold to gullible tourists; maybe Trump could do this to raise money for his beautiful new wall

Sculpture entitled Unifying Earth; in 2005, CNN founder Ted Turner, on a visit to North Korea, said that he would financially support any plans to turn the DMZ into a peace park and a UN-protected World Heritage Site

Sculpture entitled Unifying Earth; in 2005, CNN founder Ted Turner, on a visit to North Korea, said that he would financially support any plans to turn the DMZ into a peace park and a UN-protected World Heritage Site

On July 27, 1953, the Korean War ended with a cease-fire; the Northern and Southern Limit Lines were created as each side moved their troops back 2km from the Military Demarcation Line

On July 27, 1953, the Korean War ended with a cease-fire; the Northern and Southern Limit Lines were created as each side moved their troops back 2km from the Military Demarcation Line

We toured the 3rd Tunnel of Aggression, built by North Korea, which was discovered in 1978 just 52 kms from Seoul; 30,000 North Korean troops could pass through the tunnel within an hour

We toured the 3rd Tunnel of Aggression, built by North Korea, which was discovered in 1978 just 52 kms from Seoul; 30,000 North Korean troops could pass through the tunnel within an hour

Local delicacies include silkworms and periwinkle snails; I asked how you eat the small snails and was told you suck the snail out of the shell

Local delicacies include silkworms and periwinkle snails; I asked how you eat the small snails and was told you suck the snail out of the shell

The Chinese and Russians have already built a rail network to connect South Korea with their countries anticipating rail being permitted through North Korea

The Chinese and Russians have already built a rail network to connect South Korea with their countries anticipating rail being permitted through North Korea

Dorasan Station was designed to be the northernmost South Korean station on the train line connecting the country to the rest of Asia; the rail line is often a bargaining chip in talks between the North and South

Dorasan Station was designed to be the northernmost South Korean station on the train line connecting the country to the rest of Asia; the rail line is often a bargaining chip in talks between the North and South

The soybeans (both black and white) are produced in the DMZ with the roasted soybeans then covered with chocolate; my friends lucked out since I did not bring any back to the US

The soybeans (both black and white) are produced in the DMZ with the roasted soybeans then covered with chocolate; my friends lucked out since I did not bring any back to the US

Posted by VagabondCowboy 03:14 Comments (0)

Takayama - the surprisingly nice Little Kyoto of Japan

This was the most fun tour group I've traveled with; everyone had such a good sense of humor and we all got along so well

This was the most fun tour group I've traveled with; everyone had such a good sense of humor and we all got along so well

The Takayama Festival began 350 years ago as a simple village ceremony and continues today as one of Japan's three most beautiful festivals; the Takayama Festival Hall houses four huge floats

The Takayama Festival began 350 years ago as a simple village ceremony and continues today as one of Japan's three most beautiful festivals; the Takayama Festival Hall houses four huge floats

One of my favorite photos since they both posed for me; the dogs in Japan are unbelievably pampered with cute outfits, strollers, gourmet cuisine and no exercise

One of my favorite photos since they both posed for me; the dogs in Japan are unbelievably pampered with cute outfits, strollers, gourmet cuisine and no exercise

For our two night stay in Takayama, we stayed in a traditional Japanese inn where you sleep on a futon mat placed on the floor; the communal bathroom and showers are down the hall

For our two night stay in Takayama, we stayed in a traditional Japanese inn where you sleep on a futon mat placed on the floor; the communal bathroom and showers are down the hall

The 3 story pagoda is unique to the Hida region; a pagoda was first built here in 1615 with the current structure dating from 1821

The 3 story pagoda is unique to the Hida region; a pagoda was first built here in 1615 with the current structure dating from 1821

The Great Ginkgo of Hida is estimated to be 1200  years old; the tree is 28 meters high with a circumference of 10 meters and when it's leaves fall it heralds the changing of the seasons

The Great Ginkgo of Hida is estimated to be 1200+ years old; the tree is 28 meters high with a circumference of 10 meters and when it's leaves fall it heralds the changing of the seasons

The Saturday morning market along the Miyagawa River is supposed to be a popular attraction but not so much in the rain

The Saturday morning market along the Miyagawa River is supposed to be a popular attraction but not so much in the rain

Torii gates at Shoren-ji Temple; the gates are typically found at Shinto shrines where they symbolically mark the transition from the mundane to the sacred

Torii gates at Shoren-ji Temple; the gates are typically found at Shinto shrines where they symbolically mark the transition from the mundane to the sacred

Dairyuji Temple Benton Do; Takayama was selected as one of the top ten travel destinations in Asia by Lonely Planet magazine in 2017

Dairyuji Temple Benton Do; Takayama was selected as one of the top ten travel destinations in Asia by Lonely Planet magazine in 2017

What a great idea for a worthwhile project for school kids that beautifies the city and puts a smile on the face of tourists

What a great idea for a worthwhile project for school kids that beautifies the city and puts a smile on the face of tourists

Old Town Takayama featured historic, wooden houses with long hanging eaves and lattice windows on narrow streets, as in Edo times

Old Town Takayama featured historic, wooden houses with long hanging eaves and lattice windows on narrow streets, as in Edo times

There were 12 Buddhist temples and shrines, including the 1632 Soyuji Temple, on my well-marked walk; Takayama is located in a valley in the heart of the Japanese Alps

There were 12 Buddhist temples and shrines, including the 1632 Soyuji Temple, on my well-marked walk; Takayama is located in a valley in the heart of the Japanese Alps

Nakabashi Bridge is the most famous in town; Takayama retains a traditional touch like few other Japanese cities, especially in its beautifully preserved old town

Nakabashi Bridge is the most famous in town; Takayama retains a traditional touch like few other Japanese cities, especially in its beautifully preserved old town

Although the original wooden structure was built in 1558, it was twice damaged by fire and the current incarnation of Zennoji's temple was constructed in 1925; it was at the start of the pleasant Higashiyama walking trail

Although the original wooden structure was built in 1558, it was twice damaged by fire and the current incarnation of Zennoji's temple was constructed in 1925; it was at the start of the pleasant Higashiyama walking trail

These are popular sake products; some members of the tour attended a sake demonstration with free samples; for dinner the group visited a restaurant that specializes in Hida beef which is considered one of the best varieties of Wagu beef

These are popular sake products; some members of the tour attended a sake demonstration with free samples; for dinner the group visited a restaurant that specializes in Hida beef which is considered one of the best varieties of Wagu beef

Shoren-ji Temple, said to have been built around 1500 from one large cedar tree, is considered one of the oldest buildings among Jodo Shinshu temples in Japan

Shoren-ji Temple, said to have been built around 1500 from one large cedar tree, is considered one of the oldest buildings among Jodo Shinshu temples in Japan

The high altitude and separation from other areas of Japan kept the city isolated, allowing Takayama to develop its own culture over about a 300-year period

The high altitude and separation from other areas of Japan kept the city isolated, allowing Takayama to develop its own culture over about a 300-year period

Nishikiyamajinja Shrine; Takayama is part of the heavy snow area of Japan since it is exposed to the Sea of Japan and experiences lake effect snow, generating some of the highest, most consistent snowfalls in the world

Nishikiyamajinja Shrine; Takayama is part of the heavy snow area of Japan since it is exposed to the Sea of Japan and experiences lake effect snow, generating some of the highest, most consistent snowfalls in the world

Due to its colder climate we managed to visit right at the peak of cherry blossom viewing; the area is rich in timber so carpentry skills have been well developed since ancient times

Due to its colder climate we managed to visit right at the peak of cherry blossom viewing; the area is rich in timber so carpentry skills have been well developed since ancient times

Enajinja Shrine was built in 1815 by Taishu Tanaka who was a Japanese classical literature ideologist in the Edo era and born in Takayama; he is said to have taught Japanese classical literature to 300  apprentices

Enajinja Shrine was built in 1815 by Taishu Tanaka who was a Japanese classical literature ideologist in the Edo era and born in Takayama; he is said to have taught Japanese classical literature to 300+ apprentices

This impressive building is the home of Sukyo Mahikari which sounds like a new age cult; their focus is on True Light where a person radiates light to another person through their palms, allowing them to purify and revitalize their spirit, mind and body

This impressive building is the home of Sukyo Mahikari which sounds like a new age cult; their focus is on True Light where a person radiates light to another person through their palms, allowing them to purify and revitalize their spirit, mind and body

Dairyuji Temple; Mount Norikura, a dormant volcano that is 3,026 meters (9,928 ft.) tall, is just east of Takayama

Dairyuji Temple; Mount Norikura, a dormant volcano that is 3,026 meters (9,928 ft.) tall, is just east of Takayama

Takayama is the home of one of the three largest Shinto festivals in Japan; huge temple-like floats are pulled through the streets of old town for 2-3 hours in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators

Takayama is the home of one of the three largest Shinto festivals in Japan; huge temple-like floats are pulled through the streets of old town for 2-3 hours in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators

This purification font was made from one large stone in 1877 (it is used for purifying hands and mouth); Takayama has about 90,000 residents

This purification font was made from one large stone in 1877 (it is used for purifying hands and mouth); Takayama has about 90,000 residents

The origins of Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine date from the time of Emperor Nintoku (413 - 439); surprisingly, ice cream parlors are extremely popular despite the cold weather

The origins of Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine date from the time of Emperor Nintoku (413 - 439); surprisingly, ice cream parlors are extremely popular despite the cold weather

Takayama’s remote location has helped it retain its traditional atmosphere and charm, offering the chance to feel and touch the atmosphere and spirit of old Japan

Takayama’s remote location has helped it retain its traditional atmosphere and charm, offering the chance to feel and touch the atmosphere and spirit of old Japan

The Japanese have thought of so many useful additions to everyday life; many places have umbrella stands at the door which seem to be take one or leave one but free to use

The Japanese have thought of so many useful additions to everyday life; many places have umbrella stands at the door which seem to be take one or leave one but free to use

The Takayama Festival Hall houses floats, many of which date from the 17th century, which rotate every few months; there is a spring festival and a fall festival

The Takayama Festival Hall houses floats, many of which date from the 17th century, which rotate every few months; there is a spring festival and a fall festival

This city of 90,000 lies in the heart of the Japanese Alps on the west side of Honshu; the highest point in the city is 10,470 ft. although we could seldom see the snow-covered peaks

This city of 90,000 lies in the heart of the Japanese Alps on the west side of Honshu; the highest point in the city is 10,470 ft. although we could seldom see the snow-covered peaks

Posted by VagabondCowboy 03:12 Comments (0)

The Sagrada Familia of Thailand - White Temple

The White Temple is a contemporary, unconventional, privately-owned art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai Province; it is owned by Chalermchai Kositpipat, who designed, constructed, and opened it to visitors in 1997

The White Temple is a contemporary, unconventional, privately-owned art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai Province; it is owned by Chalermchai Kositpipat, who designed, constructed, and opened it to visitors in 1997

All the exteriors were covered in white plaster with glass inserts; the glass was used as a symbol of the wisdom of Buddha, and the white color represents the purity of the deity

All the exteriors were covered in white plaster with glass inserts; the glass was used as a symbol of the wisdom of Buddha, and the white color represents the purity of the deity

This wishing well is like a carnival game since visitors are told that their wish will only come true if their coin lands in the top tray; when a coin misses (which most do), they just toss in more coins

This wishing well is like a carnival game since visitors are told that their wish will only come true if their coin lands in the top tray; when a coin misses (which most do), they just toss in more coins

The temple, like all of the others I've visited, does a fantastic job of raising money; the ceiling of this walkway is made up of metal hearts each of which cost $1 and donors could write their name or a message on it

The temple, like all of the others I've visited, does a fantastic job of raising money; the ceiling of this walkway is made up of metal hearts each of which cost $1 and donors could write their name or a message on it

In front of the bridge to the main temple are hundreds of outreaching hands that symbolize unrestrained desire; the bridge proclaims that the way to happiness is by foregoing temptation, greed, and desire

In front of the bridge to the main temple are hundreds of outreaching hands that symbolize unrestrained desire; the bridge proclaims that the way to happiness is by foregoing temptation, greed, and desire

I didn't know who many of the modern characters were but there were plenty of superheroes; the temple is only 13 kms south of Chiang Rai

I didn't know who many of the modern characters were but there were plenty of superheroes; the temple is only 13 kms south of Chiang Rai

This particular temple houses a gift shop and a small museum showing works by the artist; most of our tour group thought the temple was sacrilegious but our tour guide said people just view it as art

This particular temple houses a gift shop and a small museum showing works by the artist; most of our tour group thought the temple was sacrilegious but our tour guide said people just view it as art

The golden building contains the restrooms and represents the body; the gold symbolizes how people focus on worldly desires and money

The golden building contains the restrooms and represents the body; the gold symbolizes how people focus on worldly desires and money

Admission to the temple is $1.50 for foreigners but is free to Thai residents; the area adjacent to the temple will be a center of learning and meditation for people to gain benefit from the Buddhist teachings

Admission to the temple is $1.50 for foreigners but is free to Thai residents; the area adjacent to the temple will be a center of learning and meditation for people to gain benefit from the Buddhist teachings

Inside the main temple, the decor shifts from pristine white to fiery and bewildering; murals depict swirling orange flames and demon faces, interspersed with Western idols such as Michael Jackson, Freddy Krueger, and a T-800 series Terminator

Inside the main temple, the decor shifts from pristine white to fiery and bewildering; murals depict swirling orange flames and demon faces, interspersed with Western idols such as Michael Jackson, Freddy Krueger, and a T-800 series Terminator

I just loved this traffic/construction cone!; our visit to the temple was brief but a much needed break on the long drive from Chiang Mai to the Laos border

I just loved this traffic/construction cone!; our visit to the temple was brief but a much needed break on the long drive from Chiang Mai to the Laos border

Another cool way to get people to make donations; this tree is made up of metal hearts which people have bought for $1 each

Another cool way to get people to make donations; this tree is made up of metal hearts which people have bought for $1 each

The temple was damaged by an earthquake on May 5, 2014; the buildings were found to be structurally unharmed but they required significant cosmetic work

The temple was damaged by an earthquake on May 5, 2014; the buildings were found to be structurally unharmed but they required significant cosmetic work

Every detail carries meaning; the bridge is the cycle of rebirth and the Gate of Heaven encourages visitors to reflect on Buddhist teachings that show the way to escape from the worldly temptations and focus on the mind instead

Every detail carries meaning; the bridge is the cycle of rebirth and the Gate of Heaven encourages visitors to reflect on Buddhist teachings that show the way to escape from the worldly temptations and focus on the mind instead

All of the trees had these creepy skulls hanging from them; they supposedly represent real people (living or dead) but the significance was never explained to us

All of the trees had these creepy skulls hanging from them; they supposedly represent real people (living or dead) but the significance was never explained to us

The artist considers the temple to be an offering to Lord Buddha and believes the project will give him immortal life; today the works are ongoing, but are not expected to be completed until 2070

The artist considers the temple to be an offering to Lord Buddha and believes the project will give him immortal life; today the works are ongoing, but are not expected to be completed until 2070

Posted by VagabondCowboy 14:01 Comments (0)

Kanazawa's Kenrokuen Garden showcases beauty of Japan

Most of our group at Kenrokuen Garden; our group has no smokers and those 65 years old and over got in free

Most of our group at Kenrokuen Garden; our group has no smokers and those 65 years old and over got in free

This fountain, built in 1861, is the oldest in Japan and uses water from Kasumigaike Pond; as the pond is located at a higher point compared to the fountain, it creates natural water pressure which causes the water to be sprayed upwards 3.5m

This fountain, built in 1861, is the oldest in Japan and uses water from Kasumigaike Pond; as the pond is located at a higher point compared to the fountain, it creates natural water pressure which causes the water to be sprayed upwards 3.5m

I just loved the Kenrokuen chrysanthemum cherry trees which bloom slightly later than traditional cherry trees; each blossom on these trees has 300  petals, just like a chrysanthemum

I just loved the Kenrokuen chrysanthemum cherry trees which bloom slightly later than traditional cherry trees; each blossom on these trees has 300+ petals, just like a chrysanthemum

The Kenrokuen Garden is considered one of the most beautiful, strolling  landscape gardens in Japan; Kanazawa was the second largest city in Japan (after Kyoto) to escape bombing in World War 2

The Kenrokuen Garden is considered one of the most beautiful, strolling landscape gardens in Japan; Kanazawa was the second largest city in Japan (after Kyoto) to escape bombing in World War 2

On November 1st, gardeners begin setting up the famous ropes that protect the pine branches from heavy snowfall; the beautiful circus tent-like structures are a famous sight in Kanazawa

On November 1st, gardeners begin setting up the famous ropes that protect the pine branches from heavy snowfall; the beautiful circus tent-like structures are a famous sight in Kanazawa

This 5 1/2 meter tall bronze statue of a legendary prince was built in the Meiji Era, 1880, and is said to be the first portrait bronze statue in Japan

This 5 1/2 meter tall bronze statue of a legendary prince was built in the Meiji Era, 1880, and is said to be the first portrait bronze statue in Japan

Kenrokuen has the 6 attributes required for a perfect Japanese garden - grandness, seclusion, artificiality, antiquity, waterways and lookout views; admission is a bargain at just $3

Kenrokuen has the 6 attributes required for a perfect Japanese garden - grandness, seclusion, artificiality, antiquity, waterways and lookout views; admission is a bargain at just $3

Throughout Japan, I saw gorgeous rhododendrons and azaleas blooming, with the color of this azalea being my favorite; there are 100  rhododendron species in Japan

Throughout Japan, I saw gorgeous rhododendrons and azaleas blooming, with the color of this azalea being my favorite; there are 100+ rhododendron species in Japan

The Neagarinomatsu Pine, planted in 1856, is famous for its raised roots; it's fascinating to see the level of care given to the old trees and every minute detail of the garden

The Neagarinomatsu Pine, planted in 1856, is famous for its raised roots; it's fascinating to see the level of care given to the old trees and every minute detail of the garden

Flying Wild Geese Bridge is made of 11 paving stones laid out to look like wild geese flying in formation; the garden covers only 25 acres and was founded in the 1620s

Flying Wild Geese Bridge is made of 11 paving stones laid out to look like wild geese flying in formation; the garden covers only 25 acres and was founded in the 1620s

Kanazawa is most famous for being home to Kenrokuen Garden, one of the three great gardens of Japan; Kenrokuen contains roughly 8,750 trees, and 183 species of plants in total

Kanazawa is most famous for being home to Kenrokuen Garden, one of the three great gardens of Japan; Kenrokuen contains roughly 8,750 trees, and 183 species of plants in total

The Kotoji Toro, a two-legged stone lantern that is one of the most well-known symbols of the Kenrokuen Gardens; the relatively small garden can be seen easily in an hour

The Kotoji Toro, a two-legged stone lantern that is one of the most well-known symbols of the Kenrokuen Gardens; the relatively small garden can be seen easily in an hour

Kenrokuen is located just outside the gates of Kanazawa Castle where it originally formed the outer garden; despite the crowds, this was my favorite garden in Japan

Kenrokuen is located just outside the gates of Kanazawa Castle where it originally formed the outer garden; despite the crowds, this was my favorite garden in Japan

Kenrokuen was planned masterfully and looks amazing no matter the season; the winter scenes I saw with heavy snow on the pine branches were spectacular

Kenrokuen was planned masterfully and looks amazing no matter the season; the winter scenes I saw with heavy snow on the pine branches were spectacular

Posted by VagabondCowboy 09:25 Comments (0)

Sun Island is the largest resort in the gorgeous Maldives

With lots of bureaucracy, I was able to take a couple of day trips to the Sun Island Resort for $45; it is the largest resort in the Maldives and captures everything you imagine the Maldives to be

With lots of bureaucracy, I was able to take a couple of day trips to the Sun Island Resort for $45; it is the largest resort in the Maldives and captures everything you imagine the Maldives to be

This hawksbill sea turtle was the only turtle I saw at Sun Island and lingered so long that eventually I left it alone; I saw several turtles, some significantly larger, off of Maamigili Island

This hawksbill sea turtle was the only turtle I saw at Sun Island and lingered so long that eventually I left it alone; I saw several turtles, some significantly larger, off of Maamigili Island

The overwater bungalows at Sun Island were not as attractive as some I've seen; these had 3 windowless walls with just a sliding glass door in back leading to a porch and steps down to the sea

The overwater bungalows at Sun Island were not as attractive as some I've seen; these had 3 windowless walls with just a sliding glass door in back leading to a porch and steps down to the sea

I saw quite a few reef sharks during my visit; I swam out beyond the reef into deep water and stayed a long time searching for a whale shark but with no success

I saw quite a few reef sharks during my visit; I swam out beyond the reef into deep water and stayed a long time searching for a whale shark but with no success

This small moray eel seemed confused and vulnerable out in the open; it was the only eel I saw during lots of swimming

This small moray eel seemed confused and vulnerable out in the open; it was the only eel I saw during lots of swimming

If I was travelling with someone with whom I could split room costs, then Sun Island would be a good option; room vary from garden bungalows with no view to the Presidential Suites overwater

If I was travelling with someone with whom I could split room costs, then Sun Island would be a good option; room vary from garden bungalows with no view to the Presidential Suites overwater

One of two lionfish I saw during my week in the Maldives; lionfish are very rare to spot in the Maldives, but they are deadly if you get bitten by its poisonous sting and medical care is not obtained fast

One of two lionfish I saw during my week in the Maldives; lionfish are very rare to spot in the Maldives, but they are deadly if you get bitten by its poisonous sting and medical care is not obtained fast

Orange-lined triggerfish; the Maldives is one of the world's most geographically dispersed sovereign states as well as the smallest Asian country by land area and population, with around 427,756 inhabitants

Orange-lined triggerfish; the Maldives is one of the world's most geographically dispersed sovereign states as well as the smallest Asian country by land area and population, with around 427,756 inhabitants

On days when the weather was stormy there was absolutely nothing to do on Maamigili; much of the land on the small island is dedicated to farming with eggplants, peppers and squash the most common crops

On days when the weather was stormy there was absolutely nothing to do on Maamigili; much of the land on the small island is dedicated to farming with eggplants, peppers and squash the most common crops

Snake sea cucumber; sometimes growing as long as 3 m (10 ft), it is one of the longest sea cucumber species in the world

Snake sea cucumber; sometimes growing as long as 3 m (10 ft), it is one of the longest sea cucumber species in the world

I saw a couple of large spotted eagle rays while swimming but didn't capture a decent photo of them; despite being a large resort there were plenty of places to have a beach all to yourself

I saw a couple of large spotted eagle rays while swimming but didn't capture a decent photo of them; despite being a large resort there were plenty of places to have a beach all to yourself

Picasso triggerfish; Sun Island Resort is on South Ari Atoll which is 1.6 km long by 400 m wide; I was surprised that there were very few Asians at the resort but guests were almost all European

Picasso triggerfish; Sun Island Resort is on South Ari Atoll which is 1.6 km long by 400 m wide; I was surprised that there were very few Asians at the resort but guests were almost all European

Threadfin butterflyfish; in 1998, sea-temperature warming of as much as <dfn title='41°F'>5 °C</dfn> (<dfn title='-13°C'>9.0 °F</dfn>) due to a single El Niño phenomenon event caused coral bleaching, killing two-thirds of the nation's coral reefs

Threadfin butterflyfish; in 1998, sea-temperature warming of as much as 5 °C (9.0 °F) due to a single El Niño phenomenon event caused coral bleaching, killing two-thirds of the nation's coral reefs

In 2016, the coral reefs of the Maldives experienced a severe bleaching incident; up to 95% o coral around some islands has died,. the surface water temperatures reached an all;ttme high in 2016, at 88 degrees

In 2016, the coral reefs of the Maldives experienced a severe bleaching incident; up to 95% of coral around some islands has died,. the surface water temperatures reached an all;ttme high in 2016, at 88 degrees

Shoal of convict surgeonfish; there is a dive shop on Sun Island but there was no info on dive options on their website and I saw only a few divers in the whale shark areas

Shoal of convict surgeonfish; there is a dive shop on Sun Island but there was no info on dive options on their website and I saw only a few divers in the whale shark areas

Blue-lined surgeonfish; with an average ground-level elevation of 4 ft 11 in above sea level, the Maldives is the world's lowest country, with even its highest natural point being the lowest in the world, at 17 ft

Blue-lined surgeonfish; with an average ground-level elevation of 4 ft 11 in above sea level, the Maldives is the world's lowest country, with even its highest natural point being the lowest in the world, at 17 ft

If you're interested in visiting the Maldives, Sun Island is a good option; it's relatively easy to reach, has lots of lodging options  and has picturesque beaches and a nice variety of activities

If you're interested in visiting the Maldives, Sun Island is a good option; it's relatively easy to reach, has lots of lodging options and has picturesque beaches and a nice variety of activities

There are more than 1000 employees at Sun Island with most in jobs keeping the island and facilities clean; most guests use bicycles to get around since the island is pretty big

There are more than 1000 employees at Sun Island with most in jobs keeping the island and facilities clean; most guests use bicycles to get around since the island is pretty big

Juvenile batfish; interesting transformation as this tall fish becomes more of a round fish as an adult; this was the only juvenile I saw despite seeing plenty of adults

Juvenile batfish; interesting transformation as this tall fish becomes more of a round fish as an adult; this was the only juvenile I saw despite seeing plenty of adults

Parrotfish; most of the staff are from India or Sri Lanka and I found the resort unusually inefficient and bureaucratic unlike the first resort I visited in the Maldives

Parrotfish; most of the staff are from India or Sri Lanka and I found the resort unusually inefficient and bureaucratic unlike the first resort I visited in the Maldives

With 2 people sharing a room, there are times when Sun Island could be a reasonable option for visiting the Maldives; however, food prices are quite steep and you are captive to eating at resort restaurants since they are the only options

With 2 people sharing a room, there are times when Sun Island could be a reasonable option for visiting the Maldives; however, food prices are quite steep and you are captive to eating at resort restaurants since they are the only options

Blackwedged butterflyfish; there were lots of tropical fish I saw but that were too deep and/or too fast to photograph well

Blackwedged butterflyfish; there were lots of tropical fish I saw but that were too deep and/or too fast to photograph well

School of batfish; the island was extremely clean and grounds well-tended with a large, outdoor pool area

School of batfish; the island was extremely clean and grounds well-tended with a large, outdoor pool area

Arrival at Sun Island is by speed boat at the end of this long pier; my last day had perfect weather although it was quite windy which caused underwater visibility to be diminished

Arrival at Sun Island is by speed boat at the end of this long pier; my last day had perfect weather although it was quite windy which caused underwater visibility to be diminished

Posted by VagabondCowboy 01:17 Comments (0)

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