Adventures in East Asia

Entries in Culture

Chinese New Year Cartoon Lanterns in Hong Kong
As Chinese New Year approaches (February 14th) decorative preparations have already begun anywhere and everywhere public in Hong Kong. At Shatin Central Park, the end next to the bridge over the Shing Mun River is paved over (incorporating water features) and like last year (or perhaps annually), has been populated with large Chinese lantern characters.


I took some photos late afternoon, just after the lanterns switched on and though there are alot of them, the displays still haven't been finished yet.

Impressive Bamboo Scaffolding Tower in Hong Kong
I mentioned my early "appreciation" of Hong Kong's bamboo scaffolders earlier in the year, and so was equally amazed at the scale of the use of this renewable material on a few tower blocks in my local town Tai Po.


Clad around the surface of what looks like a forty-storey tower block must be the mother of all bamboo scaffolding. I know nothing about construction but my guess is the structure facilitates workers to carry out light exterior work to the building.

Perhaps those platform outcrops extending every ten floors or so are there to catch any fallen workers.
Spirit Houses in Thailand and Cambodia
Spirit Houses, these miniature constructions placed outside buildings, fascinate me for some reason and we saw plenty of them in Thailand and Cambodia (and they also exist in Laos too apparently).


Spirit Houses are shrines to spirits, intended to provide shelter for them, to keep them appeased and not cause any problems for the people. Offerings are often left at the house for the spirits.

The Beautiful Wat Phra That Doi Suthep for Views Over Chiangmai
Doi Suthep is a mountain to the west of town and seemed to be one of the main attractions for tourists as well as locals to visit. A pilgrimage up to the top was recommended by both our hotel and our guide book, as if it wasn't obvious enough by the name plastered on most of Chiangmai's bus taxis, the songthaews.


Up on Doi Suthep, there are views across Chiangmai on one side, but the beautiful Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is the main draw for most visitors. It's the north's most holiest shrine.

Thai Candle Dance at the Ratchdamnoen Walking Night Market
At one end of a street off the Ratchdamnoen Walking Night Market, we saw a stage with various performances taking place. From what we understood, it was a student show.


We stayed long enough to see some singing and this trio of women dancing and twirling their hands whilst holding a pair of candlesticks upright. You can see in the photo above that the flames aren't exactly tiny, and standing close to the stage, I could see wax leaking off them freely. Ouch. Check them out below.

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