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Category: Travel Asia (page 1 of 2)

Bannerghatta National Park

I had an opportunity to visit my company’s technical center in Bangalore, India early this month which meant I finally got India off of my travel to-do list. Like many of my business trips, I spent most of the week there in offices and hotels but I and several of my colleagues took time to visit Bannerghatta National Park on the weekend in between meetings.

Bannerghetta National Park is a 100 km² park south of Bangalore. Travelling to the park from central Bangalore takes about 1.5 to 2 hours on the weekend.

While the national park has good opportunities for hiking and has several ancient temples, Bannerghetta is best known for its popular biological park which shelters mammals such as Indian tigers, bears, elephants and lions. We did the safari through the park in a couple of jeeps, which put us close to the animals. Most impressive were the tigers, including the one above. There were also some white tigers present, but the photographs I took of them did not turn out particularly well.

Given how dense the human development was just outside, the park provides a reasonable space for these large animals while allowing people the opportunity to see them up close.

Camera: Sony DSC RX-100
Focal Length: 37.1 mm
Exposure: 1/125 sec at f/5.6
ISO Speed Rating: ISO 125

Back to Kuala Lumpur

It has been over six years since I last visited Kuala Lumpur in Malyasia, so I was looking forward to returning. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time for taking photographs as I was in meetings all four days there. But I did manage to get a few shots in from my 35th floor hotel room in the Hilton tower, including the one above.

Kuala Lumpur is still a great place for food; we had several really good meals there. You’ve got to love a city where the breakfast buffet at the hotel has dim sum every morning.

Camera: Sony DSC RX-100
Focal Length: 37.1 mm
Exposure: 1/320 sec at f/5.6
ISO Speed Rating: ISO 125

Abu Dhabi

Just a few months after my first trip to the United Arab Emirates, I was back at the end of May for a short two-day conference where I was the keynote speaker. This time, the conference was held at the Beach Rotana Hotel, and many people were enjoying the 43 degree C weather beside the man-made beach.

Once again, I did not have much time to sightsee as I needed to be back in Europe for some meetings right after. I did enjoy the gym and outdoor pools after the conference was over and before my flight left late in the evening for Amsterdam.

Travelogue: Dubai

In my current job, I travel much less regularly than in my previous roles. But over the past few weeks, I’ve been done more than normal and I’ve finally had the opportunity to travel to part of the world I have yet to visit: the Middle East. Specifically, I went to Dubai for a couple of days of meetings. One downside was the timing of flights from the Netherlands to UAE on KLM. You typically leave at 1 or 2 in the afternoon and arrive in Dubai around midnight Dubai time. By the time you clear customs, grab a taxi and get to the hotel, it is about 1:30 am which makes the morning meetings a little challenging.

I stayed at the Jumeirah Emirates Tower Hotel. It is a very nice hotel that reminded me of the Mandarin Orient hotel I stayed in Kuala Lumpur about eight years ago.

Dubai is clearly a city designed around the car; it’s not the easiest city to walk around in. I could in fact see the office building I needed to visit from my hotel room just three city blocks away. And yet there were frequently no crosswalks or sidewalks between here and there. Don’t get me wrong; in the height of summer, I would have happily taken a taxi to avoid the heat, but the weather was more than pleasant over the two days I was there.

I chose to have dinner at the noodle house in the hotel; it was a good choice. I had a good starter of chili short beef ribs and an excellent main course of Singapore noodles with prawns and chicken.

At the end of the second day of meetings, I had about six hours to kill as my return flight to Amsterdam did leave until 1:50 am (!). I walked though downtown and just enjoyed the pleasant evening weather. The architecture in this part of the city is pretty dramatic. But equally the effect of the economic bubble experienced here a couple of years ago was also still evident: lots of unfinished buildings (including one that looked like Big Ben) and empty lots. I spent another couple of hours having another very good dinner at another Jumeirah Emirate Tower’s restaurant, (ET Sushi), where I had a variety of sushi dishes from the conveyor belt system.

All in all, Dubai was an interesting place to visit for its ‘Las Vegas in the sand’ feeling.

Travelogue: Phuket

One of the nice aspects of my job is that I get to do some interesting travel.  For example, right now I’m writing this post from the island of Phuket in Thailand.  My company is in an alliance with other company based out of the Far East and therefore we often meet in interesting places like Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and now Thailand.  My meeting was attached to the back of a user group conference so the meeting locale was a very nice resort on the west coast of Phuket island. 

Around the meetings I got the opportunity to golf at one of the premier courses here on Phuket (Blue Canyon Golf Club) as well as spending an evening at walking along Nai Yang Beach, just outside the hotel.  I took some sunset photos but don’t have the equipment with me to upload them now; they’ll have to wait until I get home.  The trip home will cover some 32 hours of travel including a 16 hour flight between Bangkok and Los Angeles. Whew! 

Travelogue: Singapore

Work took me on a four-day business trip to Singapore this week.  House to hotel, it took me almost 26 hours of straight travel to get there.  Like many of my business trips these days, food was a highlight; we had great meals at the Newton Food Center near our hotel and at Jumbo Seafood at the East Coast Seafood Center. You eat al fresco in both places; however, the view of the ocean at Jumbo is much prettier. The black pepper crab at Jumbo was spectacular.