short story travel

Exploring the Sound of Harmony

A Visit to the Sound of Music Studio, Salzburg, Austria.

I entered Salzburg’s Sound of Music studio surrounded by cobblestone streets and snow capped mountains. The air was filled with echoing melodies from the legendary studio.

The walls echoed with tales of Maria von Trapp and her children; their voices still echoing through its hallowed halls. I followed in their footsteps as Maria led them back home – feeling their laughter imprinted onto its very fabric.

Sunlight streamed through the windows, casting its golden light upon vintage instruments that graced the room. The piano and violin, symbols of old music, remained as witnesses of what happened here.

I explored every room dedicated to the film’s legacy, while listening to the melodies of “Do-Re-Mi” and “Edelweiss.” The curtains gently moved in the breeze, reminding the studio’s inhabitants of memories that they will never forget.

Melodies surrounded me when I closed my eyes, taking me back to the romantic era of the von Trapp family. The sounds in the air made me feel a strong connection to music’s charm and Salzburg’s musical legacy.

Leaving Salzburg’s Sound of Music studio, I took more than just pictures and souvenirs. I have a lasting memory that will always stay with me. Salzburg’s studio gave me a tangible experience, full of history, melodies, and the timeless magic of music that I will remember forever.

I felt grateful as I thought about my visit. The story of the von Trapp family and the power of music had touched me deeply. I realized that Salzburg had deeply impacted me. I promised to keep its music with me, no matter where I go. Long after I left Salzburg, the music of Salzburg continued to haunt my thoughts.

Every day, I felt like there was a secret melody in the air that reminded me of the famous studio. The air whispered “My Favorite Things” and hummed calming tunes from “Climb Every Mountain”.

The von Trapp family’s story inspired my musical journey through Salzburg. I explored famous places like Mirabell Gardens and Hohensalzburg Fortress, learning about the city’s history.

I found comfort in music’s familiar notes as they became a soundtrack to my everyday life over the years. These pieces became the backdrop for both mundane and extraordinary moments that reminded me of its universal language: music.

Salzburg’s musical history goes beyond tourism. It is a personal journey that pays tribute to the von Trapp family, the city, and the lasting power of music to bring people together and inspire them across generations.

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Carved in time

ad deir carved in sandstone
Photo by Keith David Pearson on

Wonders of Petra

Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in Jordan, is an impressive architectural wonder that showcases the long-lasting legacy of an ancient civilization. Visiting Petra was an adventure through time, exploring history, and connecting with a forgotten past.

Entering Petra: A Portal to the Past

Upon reaching the narrow entrance of the ancient city, the impressive beauty of the rose-red rock walls that protected Petra’s hidden treasures immediately captured my attention. It was like entering a portal to a world lost in time. The Siq, was a winding canyon flanked by cliffs soaring to the heavens. Instead of walking the distance, I took a donkey ride from the Sig.

The Siq was a pathway that had borne witness to countless traders, travelers, and caravans over the centuries. For a moment, I felt like a character in a story, walking the same path as the ancients.

The Treasury: A Glimpse of Ancient Grandeur

And then, as the Siq made its final turn, Petra’s showpiece was unveiled before my eyes—the Treasury. The sun reflected this magnificent façade with an otherworldly glow. This huge, imposing building was carved out of rocks with bare hands! Truly a wonder of the ancient world! The intricate carvings and columned entrance left me in awe.

narrow passage in rock formation near petra in jordan
Photo by Tomáš Malík on

Wandering the Ancient City

From the Treasury, I wandered deeper into the city, discovering the sprawling tombs, temples, and monuments. The Royal Tombs, hewn from the rose-red cliffs, stood as silent reminders of Petra’s past glory. The Amphitheater, where gatherings and performances once echoed, lay nestled amidst the rocky amphitheater.

I ventured to the Monastery, the largest of Petra’s monuments. The view of Petra was stunning—a wide landscape of majestic rocks.

The Stories Petra Tells

Each corner of Petra held stories of its builders, the Nabateans, traders who visited, and the passage of time. The place seemed almost surreal, as if I had stepped into the very heart of an Indiana Jones movie.

A Testimony to Human Resilience and Artistry

Petra wasn’t just a place with stones and history, but also a symbol of human creativity, strength, and the skill of carving natural rock. Walking through its streets, I felt a deep connection with the past, as if I were an honored guest in the world’s most exquisite open-air museum.

Leaving Petra: A Humbling Journey Through Time

My visit to Petra was a humbling and spiritual journey through time. I was deeply impressed by the ancient city and the way it showed the lasting impact of human accomplishments. Petra will forever be etched in my memory as an enchanting tale of stone and sand, history, and wonder.

photographer taking photo of cave
Photo by brokenadmiral_ on

Petra is an incredible place to visit. It feels like traveling through time, with old stone walls and hidden secrets from a forgotten civilization. If you ever find yourself in Jordan, make sure Petra is on your must-visit list. It’s an experience that will linger in your memory long after you’ve left the rose-red city.

Have you visited Petra? Share your experience with us in the comments below.

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A Spiritual Odyssey

Harmony of Wind and Song

people riding boat near cliffs
Photo by Maël BALLAND on

In 2019, me and 30 other people traveled to Galilee, which is a significant and sacred place.

The Sea of Galilee was the place where Jesus dedicated a considerable amount of time, performing so many miracles such as feeding the 5000, walking on water, calming storms, and many others.

I was always interested in the stories of Jesus and His disciples. This trip promised to make those stories come alive in a meaningful way.

A Hotel by the Sea of Galilee

Upon our arrival, we checked into a cozy hotel nestled near the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The view from my room was amazing, with calm waters below a wide blue sky. It was a fitting start to what would prove to be an extraordinary adventure.

Setting Sail on Sacred Water

The next morning, we decided to take a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, like Jesus and His disciples did two thousand years ago. The moment I stepped onto that boat, I could feel a powerful sense of anointing in the air. It was as if the Holy Spirit was welcoming me on this journey.

While sailing in the Sea of Galilee, the wind got stronger, making the experience more exciting. We were captivated by the mesmerizing performance of a talented vocalist who delivered moving Christian songs to uplift our spirits. I got absorbed in the music and the soothing motion of the boat. It was a moment of true spiritual connection.

Gazing toward the horizon, we could make out two mountain ranges separated by a valley. Strong winds rushing down this valley frequently produce rapid thunderstorms due to wind tunnel effect.

Throw Back

Two thousand years ago, the disciples spent the whole night on a fishing boat here, but didn’t catch any fish. Then, Jesus instructed them to lower their nets once more, and as they did, the nets became filled with fish to the point of breaking. Overwhelmed by this miraculous catch, Peter fell to his knees before Jesus, acknowledging his own sinfulness.

Feasting on St. Peter’s fish

After our memorable boat ride, we were treated to a meal of St. Peter’s fish and chips. The fish was caught fresh from the Sea of Galilee. Savoring this local delicacy felt like a communion into the past. I thought about the disciples who had fished in these waters. It was a humbling experience.

Reflections on Galilee

Thinking about the meaningful moments of that day, I gazed out at the Sea of Galilee. Galilee left a lasting impression on me. I knew this trip would be unforgettable. It was a journey that touched my soul, reminding me of the timeless beauty and spirituality that permeates this sacred land.

In the end, my visit to Galilee in 2019 was not just a vacation; it was a spiritual odyssey. It was a journey that allowed me to step back in time and walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Sometimes, the most powerful travel experiences are the ones that touch your heart and soul unexpectedly. Galilee did just that, and I will forever be grateful for the memories and the moments of inspiration it gave me.

Have you visited Galilee? share you experience in the comment below.

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Whale Watching

Kaikoura, South Island, New Zealand

An unforgettable experience

Have you ever dreamed of coming face to face with one of the ocean’s magnificent giants? Kaikoura, New Zealand is your chance! Situated along the northeastern coast of New Zealand’s South Island, this coastal town is known for offering unforgettable whale-watching experiences. Kaikoura stands out from other places for whale-watching because of its stunning coastal scenery and advanced technology used to spot these amazing animals.

Years ago, I went on a whale-watching expedition in Kaikoura, and it was an amazing adventure! I took a train from Wellington to this coastal town. I checked-in to a motel with a view facing the stunning southern snow capped alps.

The Journey Begins:

I started my adventure early the next morning at the Kaikoura Harbor, and bought a ticket for a whole day whale watching tour. I boarded a fast boat to cross the South Pacific waters. There were other passengers like me, all eagerly anticipating an exciting day ahead.

Doppler Ultrasound

Whale watching in Kaikoura can be made all the more amazing thanks to technology used to locate whales. Our guides used an ultrasound device with Doppler technology to locate whales under the water in the deep blue sea. The device can accurately locate whales by measuring the velocity of sound waves bouncing off the whales. This technology is similar to Cardiac Doppler Echocardiography in medicine.

Up Close and Personal:

We got really excited when we found whales using the ultrasound device as we moved away from the coast. The boat captain skillfully brought us closer, and we saw these amazing creatures emerging gracefully from the sea. They were huge and powerful, and they took our breath away! We were truly speechless.

Kaikoura has a diverse marine ecosystem. We were fortunate enough to witness the delightful sight of dolphins frolicking and leaping in the water beside our boat. It was a joyful moment connecting with nature.

A Thrilling Show:

Kaikoura’s whale-watching experience is exceptional because you can watch these amazing sea creatures so close to you. Whales and dolphins were happy with their impressive jumps near our boat. I will never forget seeing whales and dolphins jumping out of the water and swimming so gracefully.

Bucket list:

If you love wildlife or just adventure, Kaikoura’s whale-watching experience should be on your bucket list. From cutting-edge technology and stunning coastal landscapes, to encounters with jaw-dropping marine life and an unforgettable journey.

Mark Kaikoura, New Zealand on your travel bucket list and prepare to be amazed by these titans of the deep. Whale-watching will leave memories that will last a lifetime – don’t miss the chance to experience its magic!

Have you ever experienced whale-watching? Share your experience in the comment below.

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Exploring Paradise


A Memorable 5-day Getaway in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Welcome to my travel diary as I recount my incredible 5-day journey to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. This tropical paradise, known for its cultural richness and natural wonders, left an indelible mark on my heart. Join me as I take you through each day of this unforgettable adventure.

Day 1: Arriving in Paradise

The warm breeze and the blue South China Sea immediately attracted me to Kota Kinabalu. The anticipation of exploring this tropical gem was palpable as I checked into my cozy accommodations at the Hilton Hotel. The adventure had begun!

Day 2: Cultural Immersion at Mari Mari Cultural Village

On the second day, I went on a trip to the Mari Mari cultural village that taught me about Sabah’s indigenous cultures and left a lasting impression on my heart. Mari Mari Cultural Village is just a short drive from the Hotel.

Getting There

Reaching Mari Mari Cultural Village was a breeze.. As we approached, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of anticipation. What awaited me inside these traditional houses, nestled in the heart of the rainforest?

The Experience

Stepping into Mari Mari Cultural Village felt like stepping into a time machine. The guided tour was my passport to the rich tapestry of Sabah’s indigenous cultures. Our first stop was the house of the Rungus tribe, where the intricate bead work and woven baskets caught my eye. Our guide shared stories of her people’s history and lifestyle.

We moved on to the houses of the Bajau, Lundayeh, Murut, and Dusun tribes, each distinct in its architecture, artifacts, and way of life. It was a privilege to witness firsthand the preservation of these ancient traditions. The guide offered us a window into their worlds, answering questions and engaging in enlightening conversations.

Cultural Performances

The highlight of the visit was undoubtedly the cultural performances. The stage came alive with vibrant colors and rhythmic beats. Dancers from the various tribes donned their traditional attire, and the atmosphere was filled with the melodies of gongs and drums. The highlight of the show featured the Murut dancers jumping in and out of moving bamboos sticks without getting their feet caught!

The dances were more than just performances. They were living traditions that told stories of love, unity, and the connection between the indigenous people and their cultures.


After immersing myself in the rich cultural experience, it was time to tantalize my taste buds. Lunch was a feast of Sabah’s culinary delights. From the fragrant aroma of bamboo chicken to the exotic flavors of local vegetables, every dish served as a tribute to the region’s diverse cuisine.


As I left Mari Mari Cultural Village, I carried with me more than just photographs and souvenirs. I had gained a profound appreciation for the diverse cultures that call Sabah home. This incredible experience was not only educational but also deeply moving. It reminded me of the importance of preserving and celebrating indigenous heritage.

Mari Mari Cultural Village is a must-visit. It’s a place where history, traditions, and hospitality converge, leaving you with a lasting appreciation for the cultural mosaic that defines Sabah.

Dancers in tribal customs

Day 3: Sabah Museum

Day three’s highlight was a visit to the Sabah Museum, a place where history, natural wonders, and indigenous heritage converged. In the main hall, a magnificent whale skeleton stood proudly, serving as a formidable guardian. The museum tour guide’s explanation of the exhibits deepened my understanding of Sabah’s unique identity.

It was a journey of self-discovery, and cultural immersion into the enduring spirit of the Sabahan’s rich heritage, and culture. The museum left me with a profound appreciation for the wonders of Sabah’s past and present.

Immersed in History

The Sabah Museum, established in 1965, serves as a guardian of Sabah’s heritage, preserving centuries-old artifacts, manuscripts, and traditions. It was a privilege to explore this treasure trove of knowledge.

A Kaleidoscope of Cultures

One of the most enchanting aspects of the Sabah Museum is its ability to showcase the rich and diverse cultural tapestry of the state. It was like embarking on a journey to discover Sabah’s soul, one gallery at a time.

Borneo Heritage Gallery

My journey commenced in the Borneo Heritage Gallery, where I was introduced to the indigenous communities that call Sabah home. The displays were intricate, providing a window into the lifestyles, rituals, and beliefs of these communities. From the fearsome headhunters of the past to the vibrant artistry of today’s indigenous people, this gallery paints a vivid picture of Sabah’s native cultures.

Islamic Civilization Gallery

Next, I ventured into the Islamic Civilization Gallery, which offered insights into the influence of Islam on Sabah’s culture, education, and daily life. It was a testament to the harmonious coexistence of different faiths in the region, a living testament to the spirit of unity.

Chinese and South China Sea Gallery

The Chinese and South China Sea Gallery explores Sabah’s Chinese heritage and their important role in shaping the state’s history through migration. It was a testament to the resilience and contributions of the Chinese community.

Colonial Era Gallery

The Colonial Era Gallery was a poignant reminder of Sabah’s history under British and Japanese occupations. The artifacts and documents on display shed light on this transformative period, highlighting the resilience of the Sabahans in the face of adversity.

Nature’s Wonders

Beyond the cultural treasures, the Sabah Museum houses a Natural History Gallery that introduced me to the state’s awe-inspiring flora and fauna. It celebrated Sabah’s lush rainforests and the mesmerizing marine life that graces its shores. It was a reminder of the delicate balance between humans and nature.

The Sabah Museum visit is an unforgettable experience. It’s a journey through time, a celebration of culture, and a reminder of the beauty that lies within Sabah’s diverse heritage.

Gala Night

I was absolutely delighted by the incredible buffet dinner showcasing the extraordinary flavors of the Sabahan cuisine that tantalized my taste buds. The Gala Night that followed was a true spectacle, with mesmerizing performances, music, and the chance to connect with fellow travelers. It was a night of camaraderie and unforgettable memories.

Sabah Museum

Day 4: Island Hopping Thrills

On day 4, I embarked on the Sabah Island Hopping Tour, starting my journey from Sutera Harbour, just a short bus ride away from the hotel. The adventure kicked off with an adrenaline-pumping speedboat ride to Manukan Island, where the waves gave us quite a thrill. Once we reached our destination, I was greeted by the sight of a pristine beach and crystal-clear waters. While some of my fellow travelers opted for snorkeling, I chose to relax on the beach, taking in the stunning surroundings.

Our next stop was Sapi Island, and after a delicious lunch, we hopped back on the boat for more island exploration. However, our adventure took an unexpected turn as our boat experienced a mechanical problem while out at sea. Despite the initial scare, our capable crew managed to ensure our safe return to Sutera Harbour, adding an unexpected twist to an otherwise memorable island-hopping experience.

South China Sea

Day 5: Home Sweet Home

Day 5, checked out of Hotel after breakfast to catch the return flight to KLIA.

In just 5 days, Kota Kinabalu, had stolen my heart. Whether you seek cultural immersion or thrilling island escapades, this tropical paradise promises an abundance of unforgettable memories.

Have you visited Sabah? Share you adventure on the comments below.

Bamboo dance
Murut warrior in traditional attire
Teh Tarik
Sabah Museum

Touched by an angel: short story

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a photo showing a rainbow over the alps
A rainbow over the Alps

Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it.He

Hebrews 13:2

Sound of Music

 Many years ago, I visited Vienna and joined an early morning coach tour to Salzburg. Our tour guide led us on a walking tour from the Salzburg city center toward the site where the film, the Sound of Music, was shot. Sixty minutes, several turns, and many gardens later, we arrived. The scenery was spectacularly amazing. After guiding us through the movie site’s intricacies and explaining the location’s mysteries, the guide told us we could start our free time to enjoy lunch and explore further on our own. Before he took leave, he told us to make our way back to the city center by 4 pm sharp for our return to Vienna, or risk being stranded in Salzburg.

    After everyone left, I found myself alone since I was a lone traveler. After a sumptuous lunch, I walked around the site until it was time to leave. By then, I lost my orientation and could not find my way back. I had no access to Google Maps, Waze, or GPS because I did not have data for a Wi-Fi connection. I became worried as I was in a deserted place and the clock was ticking mercilessly. I bowed my head and lifted a simple prayer, asking God to guide me back to the city center.

    As I opened my eyes, a beautiful young European lady stood before me and spoke to me in perfect English. This was rare in Salzburg for the locals spoke German and broken English with a strong accent. She asked me politely whether I needed help. I replied, “I’m trying to find my way back to the city center.” She told me to follow her. We walked through the many turns and wonderful gardens. She pointed out the way I should take near the city center and disappeared.

    I reached our tour coach just ten minutes before 4 pm. In my heart, I thanked God for answering my prayer. I believed that I was touched by an angel in Salzburg. God sent a stranger to rescue me from an impending disaster that day. I could not fathom what would have happened if I was stranded in Salzburg. Nowadays, I will not leave home without my data plans and Wi-Fi connection. I also realized that God is just a prayer away, and His loving kindness and faithfulness endure forever.  

Has anyone experienced an angel encounter? Please share your story in the comment section.