A Travellerspoint blog

Whale sharks are reason to visit Maamigili, Maldives

The highlight of my week on Maamigili was coming face to face with this whale shark!; even after seeing me, the shark stayed just below the surface passing so close that I was able to just reach out and touch him

The highlight of my week on Maamigili was coming face to face with this whale shark!; even after seeing me, the shark stayed just below the surface passing so close that I was able to just reach out and touch him

The powderblue surgeonfish was one of my favorites here due to its distinctive and atypical coloration; the other tourists on the island I met were all from Germany and Italy

The powderblue surgeonfish was one of my favorites here due to its distinctive and atypical coloration; the other tourists on the island I met were all from Germany and Italy

I tackled the long swim out to where it looked like the reef was from Maamigili; in reality, there really isn't a reef on the lagoon side but the boring swim was brightened by this turtle

I tackled the long swim out to where it looked like the reef was from Maamigili; in reality, there really isn't a reef on the lagoon side but the boring swim was brightened by this turtle

There are probably no more than 20 tourists on the island at any one time; the locals are almost all Muslim and I found them generally unfriendly except for some of the small kids

There are probably no more than 20 tourists on the island at any one time; the locals are almost all Muslim and I found them generally unfriendly except for some of the small kids

The first currency used in the Maldives was cowrie shells; in the 13th century, cowrie shells were brought to Africa from the Maldives by Arab merchants with millions of them found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs

The first currency used in the Maldives was cowrie shells; in the 13th century, cowrie shells were brought to Africa from the Maldives by Arab merchants with millions of them found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs

In this area of the Maldives, there is very little coral that is alive; there is plenty of coral debris but even along the reef there is not much color except from the tropical fish

In this area of the Maldives, there is very little coral that is alive; there is plenty of coral debris but even along the reef there is not much color except from the tropical fish

One of my excursions was searching for manta rays; we saw a couple but they were juvenile and much smaller than other mantas I've seen

One of my excursions was searching for manta rays; we saw a couple but they were juvenile and much smaller than other mantas I've seen

Male Oriental garden lizard; the only reason to visit Maamigili is to see whale sharks since there's not even a decent beach on the island

Male Oriental garden lizard; the only reason to visit Maamigili is to see whale sharks since there's not even a decent beach on the island

In addition to finding whale sharks, we saw dolphins and turtles; Maamigili has only a few small guesthouses, 3 restaurants, 1 ATM but does have the only airport in the Ari Atoll

In addition to finding whale sharks, we saw dolphins and turtles; Maamigili has only a few small guesthouses, 3 restaurants, 1 ATM but does have the only airport in the Ari Atoll

Pincushion sea star; Maamigili is a 30 minute flight from Male and within an easy speedboat ride of some of the most upscale resorts in the Maldives

Pincushion sea star; Maamigili is a 30 minute flight from Male and within an easy speedboat ride of some of the most upscale resorts in the Maldives

Noisy fruit bats were common on this island of 2300 people; the streets are all sand-packed with most people getting around on foot, by bicycle or scooter

Noisy fruit bats were common on this island of 2300 people; the streets are all sand-packed with most people getting around on foot, by bicycle or scooter

While walking around the island I saw this small stingray; unfortunately, Maamigili is not an attractive island with a runway on one long side, harbors on both short sides and a litter-filled sandy shore on the other long side

While walking around the island I saw this small stingray; unfortunately, Maamigili is not an attractive island with a runway on one long side, harbors on both short sides and a litter-filled sandy shore on the other long side

The first day out looking for whale sharks we saw this one; underwater I had a much better view than my photo suggests

The first day out looking for whale sharks we saw this one; underwater I had a much better view than my photo suggests

Posted by RNRiggins 05:35 Comments (0)

Delhi-dirty, loud, frustrating, poor & congested

The India Gate is the most famous landmark in Delhi, built in 1931, to honor more than 70000 soldiers killed in World War I; drivers will honk constantly even when in bumper to bumper traffic (as if that will help!)

The India Gate is the most famous landmark in Delhi, built in 1931, to honor more than 70000 soldiers killed in World War I; drivers will honk constantly even when in bumper to bumper traffic (as if that will help!)

Built starting in 1562, the tomb of Humayun (the second Mughal emperor) is considered a prototype for the Taj Mahal; it is estimated that 49% o locals live in slums while almost 22% o the people do open defecation

Built starting in 1562, the tomb of Humayun (the second Mughal emperor) is considered a prototype for the Taj Mahal; it is estimated that 49% of locals live in slums while almost 22% of the people do open defecation

Swaminarayan Akshardham is the world's largest comprehensive Hindu temple (it measures 356 ft long, 316 ft wide and 141 ft high); we had to check our backpacks and no phones or cameras were allowed on the grounds

Swaminarayan Akshardham is the world's largest comprehensive Hindu temple (it measures 356 ft long, 316 ft wide and 141 ft high); we had to check our backpacks and no phones or cameras were allowed on the grounds

We searched for 2 days to find a place to catch the Delhi Hop On, Hop Off bus with no success; we never saw a single bus but had hoped to use the service to more easily navigate the crazy traffic here

We searched for 2 days to find a place to catch the Delhi Hop On, Hop Off bus with no success; we never saw a single bus but had hoped to use the service to more easily navigate the crazy traffic here

My sense of personal space did not mesh with the habits of Indians as they insisted on squeezing up against me; this was the norm no matter where we were so wearing backpacks on the front was safer

My sense of personal space did not mesh with the habits of Indians as they insisted on squeezing up against me; this was the norm no matter where we were so wearing backpacks on the front was safer

With an estimated 2016 population of more than 35 million people, Delhi is the world's second-largest urban area; the air pollution is horrendous and there is trash everywhere

With an estimated 2016 population of more than 35 million people, Delhi is the world's second-largest urban area; the air pollution is horrendous and there is trash everywhere

Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a 73 m tapering tower of five stories that was begun in 1192; the mosque complex is one of the earliest that survives in the Indian subcontinent

Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a 73 m tapering tower of five stories that was begun in 1192; the mosque complex is one of the earliest that survives in the Indian subcontinent

The Iron Pillar of Delhi is 24 ft high, weighs 13000 lbs and was constructed in 402 AD; it has attracted the attention of materials scientists because of its high resistance to corrosion

The Iron Pillar of Delhi is 24 ft high, weighs 13000 lbs and was constructed in 402 AD; it has attracted the attention of materials scientists because of its high resistance to corrosion

The Lotus Temple is open for prayers and meditation by people who follow any religion; the lotus symbolizes 4 religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Jainism

The Lotus Temple is open for prayers and meditation by people who follow any religion; the lotus symbolizes 4 religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Jainism

The Parliament House, conceived in the Imperial style, has an open verandah and 144 columns; being driven around Delhi seems like a near death experience and it's best to just not watch

The Parliament House, conceived in the Imperial style, has an open verandah and 144 columns; being driven around Delhi seems like a near death experience and it's best to just not watch

This was as close to the official residence of the President of India as we could get; with 340 rooms covering 5 acres on an estate of 330 acres, it is one of the largest residences of any head of state in the world

This was as close to the official residence of the President of India as we could get; with 340 rooms covering 5 acres on an estate of 330 acres, it is one of the largest residences of any head of state in the world

When Humayun died in 1556, his wife was so distraught over her husband's death that she dedicated her life thenceforth to a sole purpose: the construction of the most magnificent mausoleum in the Empire

When Humayun died in 1556, his wife was so distraught over her husband's death that she dedicated her life thenceforth to a sole purpose: the construction of the most magnificent mausoleum in the Empire

I mistakenly thought most Indians would speak English but that was definitely not the case; even when locals could speak some English it was extremely difficult to understand them

I mistakenly thought most Indians would speak English but that was definitely not the case; even when locals could speak some English it was extremely difficult to understand them

The Red Fort was plundered of its artwork and jewels during Nadir Shah's invasion of the Mughal Empire in 1747; most of the fort's precious marble structures were subsequently destroyed by the British following the Revolt of 1857

The Red Fort was plundered of its artwork and jewels during Nadir Shah's invasion of the Mughal Empire in 1747; most of the fort's precious marble structures were subsequently destroyed by the British following the Revolt of 1857

The Pearl Mosque (1659) at the Red Fort is a small, three-domed structure carved in white marble, with a three-arched screen leading down to the courtyard; it is no longer open to the public

The Pearl Mosque (1659) at the Red Fort is a small, three-domed structure carved in white marble, with a three-arched screen leading down to the courtyard; it is no longer open to the public

The Hall of Public Audience at the Red Fort, built completely of marble, had a platform for the emperor's throne; we paid a little extra to get the helpful audioguide here

The Hall of Public Audience at the Red Fort, built completely of marble, had a platform for the emperor's throne; we paid a little extra to get the helpful audioguide here

The residence of the sultan's main wife at the Red Fort; the Fort has an area of 255 acres enclosed by 1.5 miles of defensive walls,punctuated by turrets and bastions and varying in height from 59 ft on the river side to 108 ft on the city side

The residence of the sultan's main wife at the Red Fort; the Fort has an area of 255 acres enclosed by 1.5 miles of defensive walls,punctuated by turrets and bastions and varying in height from 59 ft on the river side to 108 ft on the city side

The Hall of Private Audience at the Red Fort is built completely of marble; this is where the emperor received special visitors; stray dogs were everywhere in Delhi

The Hall of Private Audience at the Red Fort is built completely of marble; this is where the emperor received special visitors; stray dogs were everywhere in Delhi

We stayed at a modern hotel near Indira Gandhi Intl Airport (48 million passengers per year); the subway was clean and inexpensive but stops were not always near tourist sights

We stayed at a modern hotel near Indira Gandhi Intl Airport (48 million passengers per year); the subway was clean and inexpensive but stops were not always near tourist sights

This structure (1842) at the Red Fort stands in the middle of a pre-existing water tank; made out of red sandstone, which was cheaper than white marble, it originally had a red sandstone bridge, which was probably lost after the Indian Rebellion of 1857

This structure (1842) at the Red Fort stands in the middle of a pre-existing water tank; made out of red sandstone, which was cheaper than white marble, it originally had a red sandstone bridge, which was probably lost after the Indian Rebellion of 1857

The Red Fort was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (who also built the Taj Mahal) as his ruling palace in 1648; it is in the center of Delhi and a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Red Fort was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (who also built the Taj Mahal) as his ruling palace in 1648; it is in the center of Delhi and a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Security is tight everywhere in Delhi with metal detectors and pat downs required at sights, metro stations and hotels; the Red Fort was the scene of a terrorist attack in 2000 that killed 3 people

Security is tight everywhere in Delhi with metal detectors and pat downs required at sights, metro stations and hotels; the Red Fort was the scene of a terrorist attack in 2000 that killed 3 people

Qutub Minar served as the pit stop of the second leg of the second series of The Amazing Race Australia; on December 4, 1981, the staircase lighting failed with between 300 and 430 visitors stampeding towards the exit, and 47 were killed

Qutub Minar served as the pit stop of the second leg of the second series of The Amazing Race Australia; on December 4, 1981, the staircase lighting failed with between 300 and 430 visitors stampeding towards the exit, and 47 were killed

Qutub Minar; Jonathan and I stood out as two of only a handful of Caucasians in Delhi and were constantly harassed by tuk-tuk drivers, beggars and scam artists

Qutub Minar; Jonathan and I stood out as two of only a handful of Caucasians in Delhi and were constantly harassed by tuk-tuk drivers, beggars and scam artists

Alāʾ ud-Dīn Khaljī was the second and most powerful ruler of the Khalji dynasty that ruled the Delhi Sultanate from 1296-1316; he set out to build a tower twice as high as Qutub Minar but he died after only 24.5 m was built

Alāʾ ud-Dīn Khaljī was the second and most powerful ruler of the Khalji dynasty that ruled the Delhi Sultanate from 1296-1316; he set out to build a tower twice as high as Qutub Minar but he died after only 24.5 m was built

The Alai Darwaza, built in 1311, is the main gateway from the southern side of Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque (Delhi's first and grandest); this is the first building in India to employ Islamic architecture principles in its construction and ornamentation

The Alai Darwaza, built in 1311, is the main gateway from the southern side of Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque (Delhi's first and grandest); this is the first building in India to employ Islamic architecture principles in its construction and ornamentation

The Lahore Gate of the Red Fort, the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty for nearly 200 years, until 1856

The Lahore Gate of the Red Fort, the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty for nearly 200 years, until 1856

The tomb of Iza Khan was built 20 years before that of Humayun; the complex is one of the three UNESCO World Heritage SItes in Delhi

The tomb of Iza Khan was built 20 years before that of Humayun; the complex is one of the three UNESCO World Heritage SItes in Delhi

India's version of the National Mall with the India Gate where the Washington Monument is and the President's residence where the US Capitol is; we thought the pollution was bad but it gets much worse in the winter

India's version of the National Mall with the India Gate where the Washington Monument is and the President's residence where the US Capitol is; we thought the pollution was bad but it gets much worse in the winter

Jonathan is laughing at the thought that he would like visiting India; this pool is on their national mall but behind me are men doing their laundry in it

Jonathan is laughing at the thought that he would like visiting India; this pool is on their national mall but behind me are men doing their laundry in it

Raisina Hill houses India's most important government buildings which were constructed by the British in the 1910s after the capital was moved to Delhi from Calcutta; I suspect the British are glad to have left

Raisina Hill houses India's most important government buildings which were constructed by the British in the 1910s after the capital was moved to Delhi from Calcutta; I suspect the British are glad to have left

One of two gateways to the tomb of Humayun; significant restoration work of the complex occurred from 1997-2003 and, when illuminated at night, the monument looks truly magnificent

One of two gateways to the tomb of Humayun; significant restoration work of the complex occurred from 1997-2003 and, when illuminated at night, the monument looks truly magnificent

Every year on Indian Independence Day (15 August), the Prime Minister hoists the Indian tricolor flag at the main gate of the Red Fort and delivers a nationally broadcast speech from its ramparts

Every year on Indian Independence Day (15 August), the Prime Minister hoists the Indian tricolor flag at the main gate of the Red Fort and delivers a nationally broadcast speech from its ramparts

Entrance to Qutub Minar is 15 rupees for Indians but 500 rupees for foreigners; the one good thing is that the ticket lines were separate and the foreigner line had no wait

Entrance to Qutub Minar is 15 rupees for Indians but 500 rupees for foreigners; the one good thing is that the ticket lines were separate and the foreigner line had no wait

Posted by RNRiggins 09:07 Comments (0)

Mt Everest and Kathmandu - grand finale of tour

It was incredible to actually see Mt. Everest which is the highest peak on the left side; at 29,029 feet above sea level, the summit of Everest lies on the border of Nepal and China

It was incredible to actually see Mt. Everest which is the highest peak on the left side; at 29,029 feet above sea level, the summit of Everest lies on the border of Nepal and China

Built in 1757, Kumari Ghar (House of the Living Goddess) is known for its magnificent carvings; there was a lengthy process involved in selecting the actual living goddess

Built in 1757, Kumari Ghar (House of the Living Goddess) is known for its magnificent carvings; there was a lengthy process involved in selecting the actual living goddess

Jagganath Temple, built in 1563, is widely known for the erotic embellishments carved on the roof struts; it's the oldest structure on Durbar Square

Jagganath Temple, built in 1563, is widely known for the erotic embellishments carved on the roof struts; it's the oldest structure on Durbar Square

With the smog and haze in Kathmandu, you'd never realize that the Himalayas are so close; 8 of the 10 highest mountains in the world are in Nepal

With the smog and haze in Kathmandu, you'd never realize that the Himalayas are so close; 8 of the 10 highest mountains in the world are in Nepal

There were thunderstorms every day we were in Kathmandu including when we visited the Swayambhunath Temple; fortunately, we didn't climb the 365 steps to reach the temple

There were thunderstorms every day we were in Kathmandu including when we visited the Swayambhunath Temple; fortunately, we didn't climb the 365 steps to reach the temple

he Himalayas include over fifty mountains exceeding 7,200 m (23,600 ft) in elevation, including ten of the fourteen 8,000-meter peaks

he Himalayas include over fifty mountains exceeding 7,200 m (23,600 ft) in elevation, including ten of the fourteen 8,000-meter peaks

After seeing Mount Everest, champagne was served to celebrate; everyone on the plane had a window seat and we flew out to Everest and back so both sides of the plane got the same views

After seeing Mount Everest, champagne was served to celebrate; everyone on the plane had a window seat and we flew out to Everest and back so both sides of the plane got the same views

We visited the Swayambhunath Temple (aka Monkey Temple) which has been an important center of Buddhist learning for centuries; in Kathmandu we were told not to use water from the tap, trust only bottled water (even the monkeys don't trust the water!)

We visited the Swayambhunath Temple (aka Monkey Temple) which has been an important center of Buddhist learning for centuries; in Kathmandu we were told not to use water from the tap, trust only bottled water (even the monkeys don't trust the water!)

The Hanumandhoka Palace, dating from the mid 16th century, is spread over 5 acres; the palace complex is a series of 14 courtyards but most of it has been closed due to earthquake damage

The Hanumandhoka Palace, dating from the mid 16th century, is spread over 5 acres; the palace complex is a series of 14 courtyards but most of it has been closed due to earthquake damage

The flight to see Mount Everest and the Himalayas cost $200; the flight was about an hour and the cost included pick-up and drop-off at our hotel

The flight to see Mount Everest and the Himalayas cost $200; the flight was about an hour and the cost included pick-up and drop-off at our hotel

This large, tree-like structure was built for a special celebration and was to be wheeled through the city; the Kathmandu valley is home to 5  million people and stands at 1400 m above sea level

This large, tree-like structure was built for a special celebration and was to be wheeled through the city; the Kathmandu valley is home to 5+ million people and stands at 1400 m above sea level

Tbe Mahadev Parvati temple is dedicated to the Hindu gods Shiva and Parvati; located on Durbar Square, tourists have to pay $9 to enter the UNESCO area

Tbe Mahadev Parvati temple is dedicated to the Hindu gods Shiva and Parvati; located on Durbar Square, tourists have to pay $9 to enter the UNESCO area

The power lines resembled a frizzy Dallas wig having a really bad hair day; the lines went every which way and rather than repair one they just run a new line

The power lines resembled a frizzy Dallas wig having a really bad hair day; the lines went every which way and rather than repair one they just run a new line

Lifted by the subduction of the Indian tectonic plate under the Eurasian Plate, the Himalayan mountain range runs west-northwest to east-southeast in an arc 2,400 km (1,500 mi) long

Lifted by the subduction of the Indian tectonic plate under the Eurasian Plate, the Himalayan mountain range runs west-northwest to east-southeast in an arc 2,400 km (1,500 mi) long

So many temples in Durbar Square, like the Maju Dega Temple, were destroyed in the 2015 earthquake and still haven't been rebuilt; the city has allocated $500,000 to restore the temple by October 2020

So many temples in Durbar Square, like the Maju Dega Temple, were destroyed in the 2015 earthquake and still haven't been rebuilt; the city has allocated $500,000 to restore the temple by October 2020

You were supposed to have your wish granted here at the World Peace Pond if your coin landed in the open urn; confusingly, both India and Nepal use the rupee as currency but their values are different

You were supposed to have your wish granted here at the World Peace Pond if your coin landed in the open urn; confusingly, both India and Nepal use the rupee as currency but their values are different

We were given a handy guide so we could follow the Himalayas on our flight and know what we were looking at; if you don't see Mt. Everest you don't have to pay for the flight!

We were given a handy guide so we could follow the Himalayas on our flight and know what we were looking at; if you don't see Mt. Everest you don't have to pay for the flight!

Posted by RNRiggins 04:44 Comments (1)

Vientiane, the capital, is the most modern city in Laos

I'm smiling because it's our last day in Laos; the country is just too poor, dirty, smoky and lacking of interesting sights for my tastes

I'm smiling because it's our last day in Laos; the country is just too poor, dirty, smoky and lacking of interesting sights for my tastes

This is a great piece of art!; the stupa is made from common ceramic kitchenware like plates, cups, saucers, etc.

This is a great piece of art!; the stupa is made from common ceramic kitchenware like plates, cups, saucers, etc.

Wat That Luang is 4 kms from the center of town and the most popular tourist sight but there really isn't anything to see; it just seemed a popular photo op

Wat That Luang is 4 kms from the center of town and the most popular tourist sight but there really isn't anything to see; it just seemed a popular photo op

The Presidential Palace was originally built for the French colonial governor and also served as the residence of the royal family during the brief Laos monarchy reign; today it is used for ceremonies and official government meetings

The Presidential Palace was originally built for the French colonial governor and also served as the residence of the royal family during the brief Laos monarchy reign; today it is used for ceremonies and official government meetings

That Dam, known as the Black Stupa, is Laos' oldest temple; legend says it was once coated in gold that was carted off after the Siam invasion

That Dam, known as the Black Stupa, is Laos' oldest temple; legend says it was once coated in gold that was carted off after the Siam invasion

Haw Phra Kiew was first built in 1565 and has been rebuilt several times; a number of Buddhas are placed on the terrace, including stone Buddhas dating from the 6th to 9th century

Haw Phra Kiew was first built in 1565 and has been rebuilt several times; a number of Buddhas are placed on the terrace, including stone Buddhas dating from the 6th to 9th century

On December 2, 1975, the communist party of the Pathet Lao took over Vientiane, defeated the Kingdom of Laos, and renamed the country the Lao People's Democratic Republic, which ended the Laotian Civil War

On December 2, 1975, the communist party of the Pathet Lao took over Vientiane, defeated the Kingdom of Laos, and renamed the country the Lao People's Democratic Republic, which ended the Laotian Civil War

This is the staircase at the Patuxai monument where someone could very easily be killed falling into this stairwell; there is no OSHA, ADA, FDA, EPA, etc. here

This is the staircase at the Patuxai monument where someone could very easily be killed falling into this stairwell; there is no OSHA, ADA, FDA, EPA, etc. here

I ventured inside this modern mall to enjoy the air-conditioning and see what upscale Laotians could buy; there were lots of clothing stores, a Korean supermarket and even a Dairy Queen

I ventured inside this modern mall to enjoy the air-conditioning and see what upscale Laotians could buy; there were lots of clothing stores, a Korean supermarket and even a Dairy Queen

Wat Si Saket, built in 1818, formerly held the famous emerald Buddha and is the city's oldest surviving wat; most of the wats in town cost slightly more than $1 for admission

Wat Si Saket, built in 1818, formerly held the famous emerald Buddha and is the city's oldest surviving wat; most of the wats in town cost slightly more than $1 for admission

Wat Si Muang is famous for bringing good luck and wealth, particularly to those trying to have children; the elaborate wood carvings and bright colors made it seem quite whimsical

Wat Si Muang is famous for bringing good luck and wealth, particularly to those trying to have children; the elaborate wood carvings and bright colors made it seem quite whimsical

Wat Si Muang; Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos, on the banks of the Mekong River which separates Laos from Thailand here

Wat Si Muang; Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos, on the banks of the Mekong River which separates Laos from Thailand here

View from top of Patuxai monument; Vientiane was the administrative capital during French rule and, due to economic growth in recent times, is now the economic center of Laos; the city had a population of 820,000 as of the 2015 census

View from top of Patuxai monument; Vientiane was the administrative capital during French rule and, due to economic growth in recent times, is now the economic center of Laos; the city had a population of 820,000 as of the 2015 census

Wat Si Muang; during World War II, Vientiane fell with little resistance and was occupied by Japanese forces; on March 9, 1945 French paratroopers arrived, and reoccupied the city on April 24, 1945

Wat Si Muang; during World War II, Vientiane fell with little resistance and was occupied by Japanese forces; on March 9, 1945 French paratroopers arrived, and reoccupied the city on April 24, 1945

Shrine of the Vientiane City Pillar was built in 2007 to house the ancient city pillar and 473 stone artifacts that date from 1540

Shrine of the Vientiane City Pillar was built in 2007 to house the ancient city pillar and 473 stone artifacts that date from 1540

The Ministry of Justice; the economic boom in Southeast Asia seems to have bypassed Laos; there are small signs of progress but the country greatly lags its neighbors

The Ministry of Justice; the economic boom in Southeast Asia seems to have bypassed Laos; there are small signs of progress but the country greatly lags its neighbors

View from the top of the Victory Gate; I'm surprised there were lots of tourists in Vientiane because there really wasn't much to see

View from the top of the Victory Gate; I'm surprised there were lots of tourists in Vientiane because there really wasn't much to see

Every temple requires you to take your shoes off which got really old; socks get dirty really quickly too

Every temple requires you to take your shoes off which got really old; socks get dirty really quickly too

Wat That Luang is the most important national monument of Laos and an icon of Buddhism; legend has it that  missionaries from India erected a stupa here to enclose a piece of Buddha's breastbone in the 3rd c BC

Wat That Luang is the most important national monument of Laos and an icon of Buddhism; legend has it that missionaries from India erected a stupa here to enclose a piece of Buddha's breastbone in the 3rd c BC

Jonathan and the group went to a restaurant and found no soap in the bathroom; he asked for some soap and the restaurant said they didn't have any!

Jonathan and the group went to a restaurant and found no soap in the bathroom; he asked for some soap and the restaurant said they didn't have any!

Motorcycles and scooters were the easiest way to get around but there were actually lots of cars in Vientiane unlike the rest of the country; the paved roads were appreciated since it kept the level of dust and grime down

Motorcycles and scooters were the easiest way to get around but there were actually lots of cars in Vientiane unlike the rest of the country; the paved roads were appreciated since it kept the level of dust and grime down

Wat That Luang Neua; the Pha That Luang complex was the most impressive temple complex in Vientiane

Wat That Luang Neua; the Pha That Luang complex was the most impressive temple complex in Vientiane

This is me taking a break from lots of walking around in 100 degree weather while the locals have jeans and jackets on; rainy season here is June to September

This is me taking a break from lots of walking around in 100 degree weather while the locals have jeans and jackets on; rainy season here is June to September

Vientiane was more modern than the rest of Laos but I would have preferred if we had just seen Luang Prabang and then flown from there to Hanoi

Vientiane was more modern than the rest of Laos but I would have preferred if we had just seen Luang Prabang and then flown from there to Hanoi

The Patuxai monument is a replica of the Arc de Triomphe and officially called the Victory Gate; it was built in the 1960s with cement donated by the US intended for the construction of a new airport

The Patuxai monument is a replica of the Arc de Triomphe and officially called the Victory Gate; it was built in the 1960s with cement donated by the US intended for the construction of a new airport

Posted by RNRiggins 04:31 Comments (0)

Taj Mahal- one of the 7 New Wonders of the World

The Taj Mahal was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for being the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage; it was the only place we saw in Agra

The Taj Mahal was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for being the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage; it was the only place we saw in Agra

At the entrance to the 42-acre Taj Mahal complex is a red sandstone building commonly known as the Great Gate; the cost to build the Taj Mahal is estimated at $1  billion in today's dollars

At the entrance to the 42-acre Taj Mahal complex is a red sandstone building commonly known as the Great Gate; the cost to build the Taj Mahal is estimated at $1+ billion in today's dollars

The Taj Mahal was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658), to house the tomb of his favorite wife; it attracts more than 8 million visitors a year

The Taj Mahal was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658), to house the tomb of his favorite wife; it attracts more than 8 million visitors a year

Much of the calligraphy on the Taj Mahal is composed of florid thuluth script made of jasper or black marble inlaid in white marble panels; the archways have been decorated with inlays of highly stylized, almost geometric vines, flowers and fruits

Much of the calligraphy on the Taj Mahal is composed of florid thuluth script made of jasper or black marble inlaid in white marble panels; the archways have been decorated with inlays of highly stylized, almost geometric vines, flowers and fruits

The Taj Mahal was my favorite sight in India because of its beauty, symmetry, cleanliness and relative calm; it's truly an oasis so I think the Mughal emperor definitely had the right idea

The Taj Mahal was my favorite sight in India because of its beauty, symmetry, cleanliness and relative calm; it's truly an oasis so I think the Mughal emperor definitely had the right idea

We happened to visit on the one day each year when you can go down in the Taj Mahal to see the actual tombs; after waiting in the heat for over an hour the actual sight was underwhelming

We happened to visit on the one day each year when you can go down in the Taj Mahal to see the actual tombs; after waiting in the heat for over an hour the actual sight was underwhelming

The four minarets were constructed farther away from the main structure than usual and also lean slightly outward rather than stand straight; this was done as a safety measure so that if any of them fell, they would fall away from the tomb

The four minarets were constructed farther away from the main structure than usual and also lean slightly outward rather than stand straight; this was done as a safety measure so that if any of them fell, they would fall away from the tomb

The Taj complex has a beautiful symmetry; this is the Water Palace and it's twin building across the gardens is the Taj Mahal Museum

The Taj complex has a beautiful symmetry; this is the Water Palace and it's twin building across the gardens is the Taj Mahal Museum

It is estimated than 20,000 artisans helped construct the Taj Mahal along with the power of 1000  elephants; Taj Mahal means Crown of the Palaces

It is estimated than 20,000 artisans helped construct the Taj Mahal along with the power of 1000+ elephants; Taj Mahal means Crown of the Palaces

Hmm, who has the right of way?; Agra has a population of roughly 2 million with 88% o them being Hindu while 9% ae Muslim

Hmm, who has the right of way?; Agra has a population of roughly 2 million with 88% of them being Hindu while 9% are Muslim

The most spectacular feature of the Taj Mahal is the marble dome that surmounts the tomb; the dome is nearly 35 m high which is close in measurement to the length of the base

The most spectacular feature of the Taj Mahal is the marble dome that surmounts the tomb; the dome is nearly 35 m high which is close in measurement to the length of the base

The floor of the Taj Mahal mosque is laid with outlines of 569 prayer rugs in black marble; unlike the rest of India, the Taj Mahal complex was extremely clean

The floor of the Taj Mahal mosque is laid with outlines of 569 prayer rugs in black marble; unlike the rest of India, the Taj Mahal complex was extremely clean

Posted by RNRiggins 07:56 Comments (0)

(Entries 11 - 15 of 142) « Page 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. »