Mining for magic dust

Tattooed entertainment tycoon Ashley Sutton worked his way up from the bottom: the pits of the Pilbara. Now, Sutton, who has won wide media coverage, borders on famous but by his own admission is no people-person. Speaking from his adopted city of Bangkok, the brawny, profanity-prone part-time fantasy author says he should be more outgoing, only he finds socialising “very stressful”. Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..




Offbeat Bangkok

So you’ve done the Grand Palace, the floating market, Wat Pho, Jim Thompson’s House and Siam Ocean World. Or you haven’t, but you would rather visit somewhere more unusual — somewhere not nailed by your guidebook and the blogging hordes, somewhere yet to be swamped by gap-year backpackers.

Finding fresh ground to explore is hard. The reason: Bangkok routinely gets voted one of the world’s top cities by a certain travel magazine (Travel + Leisure magazine). Read more at the Malaysia Star…

Asia: Five Giant Buddhas

According to Buddhist belief, Buddha – whose name was Gautama – was a bodhisattva: someone who has attained enlightenment worthy of nirvana (heaven), but hangs around in the human world to help others. Gautama had apparently used up thousands of lives before arriving on Earth to preach his doctrine of detachment and moderation.

Still, his legacy has spawned some of the world’s most extravagantly-proportioned statues. In honour of Hong Kong’s upcoming Buddha Day festival on May 10, let’s embark on a lightning tour of some of Asia’s grandest giant Buddhas. These monstrous monuments rise up from temples and hillsides, rivalling the sun and moon themselves for sheer ‘wow’ factor. Read more…

Top 5 Obscure Asian Attractions

Nobody talks about the ‘mystique of the Orient’ any more. It’s just not PC. What’s more, parts of Asia have been so heavily developed that there’s little room left for mystique. Bali’s governor recently opined that his lush birthplace might soon become a concrete jungle.

Still, Asia has its share of uncanny and sometimes quite odd attractions. Here come five. Prepare for ‘pinch me’ Alice-in-Wonderland surreal-ness. Read more…

Welcome to the alms race

There’s more to Buddha than the rotund smiling figure known to the West, writes David Wilson.

They decry the cool contours of classical sculpture. Many flirt on the fringes of kitsch and seem inappropriate to a faith based on moderation. Still, Asia’s glamorous, gigantic Buddha statues still draw gawkers and pilgrims by the score. The big Buddhas’ popularity shows the allure of flamboyance as well as the continuing hold of the creed founded by that low-maintenance pre-Christ sage, Gautama.

A tour of the continent’s most compelling Buddha iconography might open in Thailand since the recently shaky land of smiles boasts more statues than you could shake a joss stick at. One is at Tiger Cave Temple, a valley complex in the southern province called Krabi. Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald…

November 2, 2008