Best of the Best - Top Ten Travel Photos From Each Continent: Asia

Spanning more time zones of any other continent, Asia's landscape is as varied as its many cultures. From the dusty panoramas of the Middle East to the sultry jungles of Indochina and everything in between, Asia is one of those rare places where you can practically drop your camera and still wind up with a captivating shot. For this installment of the Best of the Best series, I will make my way from West to East, sharing my very best photos of this fascinating continent that begs for greater exploration.

 

1) Surreal Landscape, Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia, Turkey

 

Besides the otherworldly undulations created by eons of erosion, this shot is special to me because it is the result of one of my most favorite travel highlights - a hot air balloon ride taken in April 2007! This unique area in central Turkey is an unending palette of earth-tones and bizarre rock formations right out of a Dr. Suess book. And when you see the small homes carved out of the rock, you get a sense of the history that permeates this ancient and intriguing region.

2) Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

 

Though we've all seen the Taj in movies or in pictures, nothing compares to actually seeing it in person - even if it still looks as if it's in a movie or a picture. The symmetry is striking, and up close, the bas relief carvings and inlaid semi-precious stones easily make this monument to love the most beautiful structure I've ever seen, which in my case was in December of 2011.

3) West Coast Sunset, Pamunagama, Sri Lanka

West Coast near Colombo, Sri Lanka

 

After 30 years of civil war, the island nation of Sri Lanka, perched just off the coast of India is a natural jewel. On the west coast, sunsets like the one seen above in June 2017 are a regular occurrence.

4) Yangtze River, China

Yangtze River, China

 

Having visited in March of 2002, this image captures a water level of the Yangtze River that's far below the current level thanks to the completion of the Three Gorges Dam. Watching the sun set and the resulting change in light, I felt like I was in the middle of a Chinese watercolor, and I immediately understood the subtle lines and colors of Chinese art and calligraphy.

5)  Nan Liam Garden, Hong Kong

Small Park, Hong Kong

 

Though situated in one of the most densely populated places on earth, this small garden on the periphery of Hong Kong well illustrates the interplay of the natural and manmade that struggles to stand ground against a wave of construction and industrialization. Seen here in November 2017, if I were to move my lens just a few degrees in either direction, this peaceful oasis would quickly reveal its urban setting.

6) Lanterns, Hoi An, Vietnam

Lanterns, Hoi An, Vietnam

 

Unlike the soldiers who fought here during the tragic conflict of the 60's & 70's, my own tour in Vietnam (November 2017) was way too short. But during that whirlwind tour of the central portion of the country, the restored village of Hoi An was my favorite spot, in great part due to the colorful lanterns that adorned the streets and shops which kept my camera very, very busy.

7) Lotus Lake, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Twin Pagodas, Lotus Lake, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

 

Situated in a tranquil corner of Taiwan's lesser-known city Kaohsiung, Lotus Lake showcases a wide range of traditional Chinese architecture lining its banks that comes alive after dark - such as this pair of twin pagodas seen on a lovely evening in November 2017.

8) White Beach, Boracay, Philippines

White Beach, Boracay, Philippines

 

Smack dab in the middle of the Philippine archipelago, tiny Boracay is a tropical dream, with aptly-named White Beach serving as the main attraction. Azure water, powder soft sand and great values made my visit here in November 2017 both a pleasure and powerful incentive to return.

9) Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

 

On Singapore's expanded and modernized waterfront, Gardens by the Bay, featuring the sci-fi-looking Supertrees pictured here in November 2017, is an urban playground with much to offer. Capturing these lights without a tripod was a tricky undertaking, but the cosmic effect was well worth the effort.

10) Rice Paddies, Bali, Indonesia

Terraced Rice Paddies, Bali, Indonesia

 

The island of Bali could fill this entire list on its own (and perhaps someday it will) but one of the many highlights of my visit there in November 2017 was a trip out to the terraced rice paddies, whose vivid green hues wrapped around the contours of this mountainous paradise of Southeast Asia.

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