When Komodo National Park was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature in 2011, this lesser known region of eastern Indonesia became an overnight travel sensation among wildlife buffs keen to see Komodo dragons — the largest lizards on earth. 50 kilometers east of Komodo, the western shore of Flores has become a springboard for the dragon hunters. Most travellers fly into Bali, spend a night in town, then hop on a boat trip over to the famous isle. At best, they’ll do a quick detour to the technicolour coral reefs of the Flores Sea. But those who rush off are doing themselves a disservice. From waterfalls straight out of paradise, to an island full of flying foxes, to stylish new eco resorts and a surprisingly sophisticated dining scene — there’s much more to see in western Flores than Komodo dragons. 


It was in 1997 when the first kayak expedition reached the country. The expedition consisted of a team of international kayakers. The team were hosted by the Tourism Council of Bhutan, which was known as Tourism Authority of Bhutan at that time. The team were invited to look for other adventure activities for western tourists. One of the kayakers of the first expedition was Gerry Moffatt from the United States. During the month-long expedition, Gerry and the team mapped the major river systems and kayaked down the unexplored gorges and crystal-clear rivers of Bhutan.


Nam Cat Tien, one of the largest national parks in Vietnam and a UNESCO world biosphere reserve, is home to some 1,700 precious plant and more than 700 animal species. In this photo series, view the huge trees that have lived here for centuries alongside tiny insects and fungi. 


Angkor Borei – about 70km south of Phnom Penh – is thought to be the location of one of Southeast Asia’s earliest cities. But rather than being protected and studied, looting of the remaining artefacts has become a subsistence-level cottage industry for the current residents. The museum at Angkor Borei only sees a few dozen visitors a month. Showing off a vial containing specks of gold dust he had found on his own property, farmer Seak Savorn said he was proud to live in Takeo’s Angkor Borei district. “I live in a golden land where our ancestors used to live,” he said. The specks – trace remains of those ancestors’ long lost glory – weren’t worth much, he said, but he hoped to collect more to sell for a few thousand riel. Savorn’s land has also yielded another kind of treasure: Littered around his house at the site are remnants of ancient ceramics, and Savorn has occasionally unearthed intact clay jars and bracelets.   

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