10 of Our Favorite Photos from DestinAsian’s Archives

We look back at some of the most captivating pictures found in our feature stories over the past five years.

Photo: David De Vleeschauwer

Our first pick comes from the Indian Himalayas, where photographer David De Vleeschauwer and travel writer Debbie Pappyn spotted these Ladakhi-Tibetan Changpa nomads seen near the lake of Tso Moriri. Together with fashion designer Veronique Vermussche, the Belgian husband-and-wife team embarked on a high-altitude adventure one summer in search of the prized cashmere wool supplied by the goat herders of the remote Changthang Plateau. For us, this arresting photo conveys the desolate beauty of Ladakh, the purity of the rarified Himalayan air, and a way of life that has remained unchanged for centuries.

Click here to read more about Ladakh and its cashmere wool.


Photo: Jen Judge

Several years ago, New Mexico–based photographer Jen Judge and her journalist husband Aaron Gulley ventured to Mozambique’s Bazaruto Archipelago to see how it was emerging as a premier destination in a country where tourism had yet to take off. Home to some of Africa’s best beaches and a clutch of intimately scaled luxury retreats, it sounds like the perfect place to soak up the languid rhythms of the Indian Ocean in splendid (and voluntary) isolation. Pictured here is a bird’s-eye view of the shallow waters between mainland Mozambique and the Bazarutos, whose tidal flats have a painterly quality that can be appreciated both from the air and while at sea level. Gulley wrote that it was “like watching an impressionist sand painting in progress.”

Click here to see why you should visit the Bazarutos.


Photo: Martin Westlake

Martin Westlake, a regular contributor to the magazine, took this shot when he accompanied editor-in-chief Christopher P. Hill on an assignment in Oman. We particularly love the sense of scale provided by a lone man in a dishdasha leaving a trail of shoeprints in the desert sand. And the billowing dunes of the Rub’al Khali—literally the “Empty Quarter”—stretching toward the horizon make for a glorious backdrop. The scene immediately brings to mind the stories of One Thousand and One Nights, and eagle-eyed readers may recall that it graced the cover of our August/September 2017 issue.

Click here to read the full story.


Photo: Lola Akinmade Åkerström

The work of Nigeria-born, Sweden-based photographer Lola Akinmade Åkerström, our fourth pick captures the nighttime magic of Lucerne, a storybook city in central Switzerland that has long been a major tourist draw. Pictured here is the interior of the medieval Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), which spans the River Reuss as it flows out from Lake Lucerne. Dating to around 1365, it’s believed to be Europe’s oldest covered bridge, but two-thirds of the wooden structure was destroyed when Chapel Bridge tragically caught fire in 1993. Since then, the razed portions have been painstakingly reconstructed using traditional construction techniques, to the point where it’s difficult to tell what is original and what is “new.”

Click here to read more about Lucerne’s charms.


Photo: Christopher Testani

A picture-based roundup from our archives would not be complete without a food shot. New York–based photographer Christopher Testani took this head-turning image at Lima’s celebrated Astrid y Gastón restaurant, where Andean potatoes baked in adobe brick featured on the tasting menu at the time of his visit. Writer Sanjay Surana made the long schlep from Singapore to Peru for various reasons, in part to delve into a wider movement that champions indigenous ingredients and cooking techniques in inventive ways while harnessing Lima’s rich history as a cultural melting pot.

Click here to read Surana’s account of his culinary explorations in the Peruvian capital.


Photo: David De Vleeschauwer

We couldn’t help including another image from Ladakh by David De Vleeschauwer, specifically a portrait of a local boy in a turquoise-hued traditional hat and a matching sweater. De Vleeschauwer encountered the child at the village of Nimmoo, located beside the Indus River and just 40 minutes down the road from Leh, the largest town in the region. One wonders about the feelings and thoughts lurking behind the boy’s shy smile. What is he thinking at this precise moment? Is he amused at catching the attention of a foreigner, or has he become used to being photographed by camera-wielding visitors?


Photo: Jen Judge

Spending the winter in Siberia may not sound like an ideal vacation for most of us, but Jen Judge and Aaron Gulley braved the elements to go on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure with the nomadic reindeer herders of Russia’s Yamal-Nenets region. For 10 days the two globetrotters immersed themselves in a travel experience like no other: living alongside local Nenets families in their reindeer-hide teepees, chopping wood, eating reindeer stew and raw fish, and crossing the frozen Gulf of Ob—a bay of the Arctic Ocean—with the migrating reindeer herds. This image of the latter makes us think of the deep connection to nature that we’ve lost in our sedentary, 21st-century routines.

Click here to read the full story.


Photo: Frédéric Lagrange

For the cover story of our August/September 2016 issue, acclaimed French photographer Frédéric Lagrange tagged along with retired journalist Aidan Hartley on an unforgettable journey through the highlands of Ethiopia. Before touring the Tigray region and then the famed rock-cut churches of Lalibela, they drove across the salt flats of the Danakil Depression, a harsh but hauntingly beautiful geological wonder of cracked earth and steaming geysers that lies 100 meters below sea level, making it one of the hottest and most inhospitable places on the planet. Hartley compared this surreal desert landscape to the “rippled surface of a chocolate pudding,” an ice floe, and the surface of Mars.


Photo: Irwin Wong

Ahead of the now-postponed 2020 Summer Olympics, longtime Tokyo resident Rob Goss introduced us to five neighborhoods around the Japanese capital that are well off the tourist trail. His feature story is still relevant, of course, as the Tokyo Games have since been rescheduled to the summer of 2021. We love this shot by Irwin Wong of the bar at Yanaka Beer Hall, a cozy craft brewery located in a namesake neighborhood that in-the-know Tokyoites frequent for its bohemian atmosphere. Just one look is enough to tell you this is nowhere else but Japan; the more modern additions (like the smooth timber countertop and stainless-steel beer taps) blend in perfectly with the rustic charm of a historic wooden building one wouldn’t expect to find in the more central districts of Tokyo.

Click here to read the full story.


Photo: Frédéric Lagrange

Frédéric Lagrange’s debut photo book Mongolia showcases his snapshots taken there over the course of 17 years, and focuses on the elemental beauty of the land, intimate portraits of its people, as well as glimpses of daily life. During his very first trip to the country in the summer of 2001, he learned of an eagle hunting tradition among Western Mongolia’s Kazakh ethnic minority that was usually practiced in the winter months. Three years later, a blizzard scuppered his plans to spend a few weeks with the eagle hunters. It wasn’t until December 2015 that Lagrange’s long-cherished wish was finally realized and he was able to add the final missing piece to his book project.

Click here to read more about Mongolia.

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