Thank God, This Blog is Moving

As a result of my frustration of this wordpress-based blog, I finally decide to move the content somewhere new. Those annoying huge font will be gone, and so with the other limitations.

You can visit the new one through this link Don’t worry about the previous content, it’s all there imported. And the best thing is how the blog is integrated into my new website

Feel free to browse the content 🙂

Publication, Travel, Travel Photography

DestinAsian Indonesia May – June 2013

Few days back, I just realized that it has been more than a year since my last post. Time passed so quick and that’s terrible for this blog, extraordinarily terrible. For now at least, no second glance, I’m up for blogging again. Will I post regularly? Honestly, I have no idea yet. But will see if this new blog outlook will bring something good.

So, back in March, I was shooting around Magelang, Central Java, for a main travel feature in the May-June edition of DestinAsian Indonesia, the second edition of the magazine. I’ve been in Magelang before, but that was long time ago. And to my surprise, just like Tony Wheeler who’ve been always ignored this city in his Indonesia edition of Lonely Planet, I’ve actually missed many charms about this place, literally.

The trip itself took me to Oei Hong Djien Museum, Selogriyo (the Ubud of Central Java), some less visited temples (you’ll meet no other curious tourists other than yourself, and there are more than 70 other temples around), and some great resorts (I didn’t usually find any resort stay worth to be the highlight of my trip but who can resist the joy at Villa Borobudur).

The shooting conditions were great, and a lot of photo opportunities around. I just can’t complain.

Well, here’s the complete tearsheet and you can read the whole story here in Bahasa.

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Travel, Travel Photography

A Glimpse of Iran

Well, it’s been a while since the last time I posted something. The plans to fill this blog regularly remains just as that—plans. But today I’m trying to keep up, updating it with something new. It will be brief, but with pictures 😀

An Iranian Women in Yazd’s Bazaar

So now I’m in Iran, traveling to some parts of the country for 13 days (that’s kind of short). Arrived in the middle of last week, my first impression of this country was a little more than I ever expected. Probably that’s because of the everlasting impression created by the Western media—they made us think that Iran is not a safe place to go, and above all it’s on the United States list of the Axis of Evil.

The crumbling part of Yazd’s old city

An afternoon at the Yazd’s old city

The reality is just far away from that. Many times I found out that much of what media said about a country is wrong. And in Iran almost all of it are wrong. I can see how this country which full of kind-hearted Iranians is treated unfair by the world. For me it will be always likely to be on my list of the Axis of Good.

The Amir Chakmakh of Yazd

My travel was begun in Tehran. Unlike most of my travel before, I’m enjoying Iran with a good friend of mine, Mohammad Safir Makki from the Jakarta Globe. But we don’t have a lot of time. Instead of spending more days in the capital, we rushed to Yazd, a city flanked by never-ending desert in Central Iran. Here, where the weather is always burning during summer, we found a warm hospitality of the Iranians even more.

Iranians drive Paykans, the world drives the rest

There are a lot of stories. But I’m prefer to save it for later. This will be just the first.

And today, I’m in Esfahan.

Publication, Travel Photography

Lipka Tatar’s Trail : Garuda Magazine

The pictures and words report from my trip to Kruszyniany, a Lipka Tatar village in eastern part of Poland finally published in recent edition of Garuda Magazine (Middle East Edition). It is nicely put on the cover and run six pages inside. What I’m so happy about, my favourite image displayed really well for the double spread title page 🙂

“These days, along with their muslim tradition, some thousands Lipka Tatars still live in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus.”

Lipka Tatar is a group of Tatar who initially resided in Grand Duchy of Lithuania during the 14th century.  Their ancestors can be tracked back to the Golden Horde, the later Mongolian Khanate famous for its nomadic style of living. But instead of bringing their shamanistic religion from the east, the Lipka Tatars are Sunni Muslims.

The Wodden Mosque of Kruszyniany on the Cover

Tatars, along with their ancestors are famous thourghout history for one thing: horse-riding. In the war-infested medieval times, the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth saw this as a great chance. This was a right decision. By waging them as soldiers, the commonwealth won some crucial battle, including the Battle of Grunwald against the Teutonic Knight. As the result, the Lipka Tatars gained a noble status which granted them spacious lands to live on.


These days, along with their muslim tradition, some thousands Lipka Tatars still live in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. My visit to Poland on summer 2011 has brought me to Kruszyniany, a small deserted village near Belarus border (there are also another village called Bohoniki). The inital plan was to do an in-depth photo reportage there. But everything wasn’t going too well. I messed up the planning with a bad last-minute research.

Special thanks to (Jedrek Wojnar)

News, Travel, Travel Photography

A Note & Postcards from Pacu Jawi

A picture is worth a thousand words. Yes, you’ve heard it, and I’ve heard it too. But now a picture is also worth a thousand dollars.

If you’re smart enough, in today’s not-so-nice situation for emerging photographers, you still can sell a photograph for that amount. But here I’m not talking about that. Instead, by saying “a picture is worth a thousand dollars” I’m talking briefly of how a photograph can actually help a community to maintain their tradition. And they are the people of Tanah Datar, who held Pacu Jawi (you can read my description here). The famous Indonesian bull’s racing in West Sumatra.

The Pacu Jawi © Muhammad Fadli

Yesterday, I visited Tabek to shoot Pacu Jawi for the countless times. This village is somehow really special for me since this was the place where I did the Community Development Participation (Kuliah Kerja Nyata or KKN) during my college years in back in 2005. Here, I experienced one of the most happiest moment in my life: shared a real life with villagers for two months. So when a good friend from Tabek called me few days ago telling Pacu Jawi will be held there, I felt like I was facing an offer I can’t refuse (citing The Godfather). Departing from Padang, I accelerated my car passing the winding road that decorate the land of Minangkabau.

“If you’re visiting, you’re guaranteed a tasty local food and the sweet ‘kawa’ without having to be ripped off.”

What I found surprised me. Pacu Jawi today, is being celebrated more than ever before. Three years ago, when I first shot Pacu Jawi, there were only very few outsider watching the raging bulls running through the wet unplanted ricefield. Most people were locals. But then, there were more and more outsiders came, especially after the photographs of Pacu Jawi were published widely (almost all were done by local photographers and you can see my first photo of the festival here). Yesterday there were two Indonesian national TV (with their beautiful hosts), a horde of photographers, and tourists. This is good!!

© Muhammad Fadli

The Pacu Jawi © Muhammad Fadli

The more ousiders come, the more of the local economy will develop (it’s pretty obvious, so I actually don’t need to tell you this). In Pacu Jawi, locals sell anything from foods to toys. If you’re visiting, you’re guaranteed a tasty local food and the sweet kawa (like coffee but different) without having to be ripped off. And I can see that they are started making good business. By looking at this I couldn’t be happier.

So be sure to spend some of your money here.

P.S: If you’re a photographer, the local usually will also ask you to register as a guest. They will ask you for some donation too. Please kindly fill the box as you wish. Don’t mind. This will go directly to the community and making sure the bulls keep running.

(Pacu Jawi is held almost every Saturday somewhere in Tanah Datar. The series in Tabek will be celebrated until early February 2012)