Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

I was very excited to see this week’s photo challenge theme. I consider myself to be an urbanite. I love the traffic, the tall buildings, the noise and the modernity of the cities I’ve visited and lived in. Here are some photos of some of the cities I have been to and adored.

Helix Bridge in Singapore

A narrow street in Kuching, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Seoul as seen from 63 Building

 

 

The Ways We Get Around

As you travel the world you get to see many different modes of transportation. Here are some photos taken from different places I’ve visited of the different ways people get around.

A motorcycle/car. (Negombo Beach, Sri Lanka)

Elephant ride. (Sri Lanka)

Kia’s new electric car; Ray. (Bukchon, Seoul)

Boat (Marina Bay Sands Mall, Singapore)

Boat taxi (Kuching, Malaysia)

Triways (Seoul)

Zipline (Boracay, Philippines)

Buggy Car (Boracay, Philippines)

Sailboat (Busan, South Korea)

Junk ship (Ha Long Bay, Vietnam)

The Places I’ve Been

I was recently checking out a blog and saw the person had listed the countries they had been to by showing each country’s flag. I thought it would be a good idea to do the same and add a photograph from each country. I do not have photographs from some places because I went there before the days of digital cameras (remember film?). I hope that in the years to come that this list becomes even longer.

Canada

 

Niagara Falls

My home and native land. This is the country I have lived most of my life in. I will be returning to my home country within in the next few months.

China

 

Dancers at a Dinner Show in Xian

I first went to China in the spring of 2000 on a missions trip. After moving to South Korea, my wife and I decided to go back and see Beijing, the Great Wall and the Terra Cotta Warriors. It’s definitely a country I could revisit and explore again and again.

USA

My first experience traveling in the USA was with a college buddy. We drove from Edmonton to the Toronto area in his loaded down car. Instead of staying in Canada, we cut down through some of the northern states. A year later I would go back to Minneapolis for training for a summer job I had. I’m sure I will be back in the States next year to visit friends and be a tourist.

Netherlands

My time in this country was very short. I had about a 24-hour layover here on my way to Ukraine for a missions trip. Amsterdam is a beautiful city with some great photo opportunities. Unfortunately, my photos of Amsterdam are in a photo album buried in a cardboard box back in Canada.

Ukraine 

My time in Ukraine was spent in a small town near the border with Belarus. I was there with a team helping out at a local church. It’s a great country with friendly people. I definitely want to visit eastern Europe again.

South Korea

Deoksu Palace

South Korea has become like a second home to me. I have been living here since 2006 and only intended to be here for two years. I have enjoyed my time here and I will be sad to leave this country in 2012. I know that because of the connections I’ve made here, I will be back and I’m already looking forward to it.

Guam

This small island in the Pacific is a territory of the USA. We headed here during our first year in Korea to enjoy the beach, shop and be in a place that was a little like home.

Sri Lanka

Negombo Beach

I went to Sri Lanka over Christmas one year on a missions trip. This picture was actually taken on Christmas Day. Not a bad want to spend the holiday. It’s a beautiful country with amazing people. I highly recommend visiting this country if you get a chance.

Vietnam 

Water Puppets

Vietnam was a country that I’ve wanted to visit for years. I was lucky to visit this beautiful country a few summers back. It ranks as one of my favorite trips. The puppets are used in the water puppet theater in Hanoi, which is a show featuring large puppets in a pool of water. A great show for children and adults alike.

Golden Pavilion

I hesitated to visit Japan for the first few years I lived here in North-east Asia, mostly because of how expensive it is compared the rest of Asia. We decided to suck it up and visit our neighbor and have not regretted it at all. We spent our entire time in Kyoto. It’s a beautiful city with a ton of sights to behold.

Philippines 

Boracay

Our trip to Boracay, Philippines was a vacation to just relax, sit on the beach, read a book, swim in the ocean, and eat delicious food. We reached all of these goals while there.

Malaysia

Kek Lok Si Temple

Our trip to Malaysia was spent jet-setting from one beautiful place to another. The island of Penang was one of the highlights of the trip with its colonial buildings, temples and delicious food.

Singapore 

This city-state is a beautiful and modern place. It is one of my favorite cities in Asia. What’s not to love? An amazing zoo, beautiful skyline, and fun activities.

I hope that in the years to come this list will grow. Where have you been?

 

A Day in Singapore

Singapore…It’s a city. It’s a country. It’s highly urbanized. It’s highly developed. Singapore is an interesting place to visit in Southeast Asia. We were looking forward to going there after our tour around Malaysia and we weren’t disappointed.

One of the best ways to see most, if not all, of Singapore is to go way up into the sky on the Singapore flyer. The Flyer is a 42 story tall ferris wheel and is currently the tallest ferris wheel in the world. The Flyer has large enclosed capsules that keeps you from the heat of Singapore and the other elements. For 30 minutes we looked out the capsule windows down at the city below. We saw the Singapore F1 track, golf courses, Marina Bay Sands Resort, a soccer pitch, condos, city hall, ships, etc… It was a great view and I’m sure we could have seen even further, but the grey lingering ghost of smog blocked our distant views.

The views from the Singapore Flyer may be the highest in the city but, the views on the ground are equally impressive. After visiting he Flyer and enjoying a quick lunch, we headed across the Helix Bridge. This impressive steel bridge connects Marina Bay Centre with Marina South.

On the other side, we entered the luxurious Marina Bay Sands resort. This resort includes three 55 story buildings with a large park on top. We didn’t get to see much of it but, we did walk around the mall. To be honest, we didn’t go there to shop, but for the free air conditioning. Yes, we were that hot! We did see an interesting canal inside the mall. You could hire a gondola and sail through the canal as if you were in Venice. Well, minus the shopping and restaurants surrounding you.

We had enjoyed enough luxury for one day and decided to step back into the past at the historic Fort Canning Park. The Fort had been originally built for a governor, but was used by the British during WW2 as a command post. Eventually the British would be defeated in Singapore and the Fort was then used by the Japanese military. They would use it for three short years, and with Japan’s defeat at the end of the second world war, the British regained the Fort again. Today, the Fort is a reconstructed museum depicting how it was used by the British military forces.

Even though Singapore is somewhat small in population and land size, it’s big on attractions. There’s a lot to see in this highly developed city-state. It was a nice ending to our trip to Malaysia and Singapore.

You can find even more photos here.

It’s One of the Best! The Singapore Zoo

When visiting a city on vacation and you’re picking out things to do and places to see, you don’t normally include a zoo on that list. Unless you’re visiting Singapore, then a trip to the local zoo goes to the top of the list. The Singapore Zoo is like none other and once you have seen it, you know why people flock to it.

The Singapore zoo looks like a standard zoo in a lot of ways, except when you get closer to the animal exhibits. In most zoos the animals are kept inside cages and you end up looking through painted bars to see them or over a rail to look down on them. For the most part, the Singapore zoo has done away with the caged animal feel. Instead you are on level with most animals and natural barriers are separating you from the wild beasts.  Theses natural barriers include moats with plants to make it seem like there is no barrier at all.

The zoo has a wide range of animals from many different parts of the world. In most cases, these animals were never alone and had other animals of the same species with them. This was definitely true for the massive hamadryas baboon troop. Not to worry though, the zoo has built them a large area which is similar to their natural habitat in Ethiopia. We did get to witness an unpleasant scene while watching the rowdy, brown, red-bumed monkeys though. A baby baboon had obviously died for one reason or another, but was being carried around in its mothers arms. She refused to let go of the baby even when other monkeys tried to take it from her.

After our time walking around the zoo and staring at the different animals, we grabbed some overpriced dinner and went on a night safari. The Night Safari is like visiting a separate zoo which only opens at night. This zoo has animals of the nocturnal variety. These animals spend their days in sleeping positions and come out to enjoy the darkness. The Night Safari shows you these animals under very soft lightning as you sit comfortably in a tram and listen to the tram guide excitedly introduce each animal to you. Just like in the main zoo, the animals are separated from you by natural barriers, which makes them seem even closer when you cannot see the moat. Other animals are free to roam as you drive through their habitats. We didn’t even see the very large tapir until he was right beside the vehicle.

You could get off the tram at different stations and walk on trails through the woods and see animals. One enclosure that I walked through was the bat enclosure. I did this alone, as my wife opted not to be scared. The bats were out and about and were flying around me and above my head. Needless to say, I didn’t spend much time getting to know them and was out in less than 5 minutes.

Being that it was so dark, it was difficult to take pictures of the animals. Flash photography was out of the picture (pun intended) because it would startle the animals. I did manage to take a picture of these porcupines though.

The Singapore and Night Safari are must sees in Singapore. After you spend a day and an evening enjoying them both, you will see why this zoo is one of the best in the world.

Enjoy some more pictures below.

Want to see even more pictures? Then click here.