All posts by murni

Walking the Streets of Yangon

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The people, stories and hidden treasures of downtown cosmopolitan Yangon (Rangoon)

by Bob Percival and Jonathan Copeland

Ebook: US$4.99

My Balinese partner Murni and I first met Bob shortly after he left China and moved to Yangon. He had set up his successful walking tours of local streets around the neighbourhood where he lived on 29th Street. The streets were amazingly contrasted, colourful and pulsating with life. At the same time everything was crumbling and paint peeled off the mildewed walls. It was a photographer’s paradise. Bob seemed to know everyone. He was excited to be living there in a time of transition, in a place that was changing before his eyes.

We met in his office, the Shangri-La Hotel reception. It had the best wifi and best breakfasts in the city and was the perfect starting point for his tours. We hit it off immediately and got together for meals and drinks and breakfasts after that. He came to Bali with his daughter Gina a few months later.

I suggested that he write a book about his walks and he said that he was already thinking of that. I told him that I’d be delighted to come back and take the photographs.

We kept in touch and the next time I visited he’d finished the book and had printed it himself. It was doing well. The photographs were his own, in black and white.

We talked about an ebook, so that the streets and their stories could reach a wider audience, with photographs in colour to bring the streets to life. I came back a month later and met him in his Shangri-La office, the day before his return to Australia. He had to go back and live there for two years to establish residence to claim his pension and also to see his doctors. Some years earlier he had had a heart attack in Amsterdam.

I spent a week walking up and down Bob’s streets, book in hand, going into as many of the buildings and chatting to as many of the people he describes as I could. I accomplished the whole thing with a day to spare, which I used to photograph the colonial side of Rangoon, which is totally different and gave rise to the accompanying ebook Strolling down the Streets of Old Rangoon, The History and the Buildings.

Bob was back in Sydney, catching up with friends and doctors. I’m pleased to say that he approved the photographs and added another five streets to the book. The book is a real contribution to the history of Yangon, a unique and valuable record of real life in the city. We’ve kept his black and white photographs for Local Products, Local People, Odds and Ends.

Unfortunately Bob did not live to see the book although he knew what it would look like. He died of a heart attack on a flight to New York to attend his son’s 40th birthday party.

Jonathan Copeland

Bob Percival Bob Percival

Jonathan CopelandJonathan Copeland


Colour photographs


What they said about


The people, stories and hidden treasures of downtown cosmopolitan Yangon (Rangoon)


“An authoritative and poetic insight into the streets of Yangon. If there was ever one book that purportedly held the magical secret of downtown Yangon, we may have discovered it, at last.”

Sondang Grace Sirait, MYANMORE, 12 September 2016

“Bob Percival’s Walking the Streets of Yangon, a collection of vignettes on downtown blocks, local restaurants and random shops.”

Coconuts Yangon, 21 September 2016

“Whether new to the city or a Yangon veteran, the book makes one feel as if Yangon is full of nooks and crannies begging to be explored.”

R.J. Vogt, Myanmar Times, 9 December 2016



Strolling down the Streets of Old Rangoon

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Cover-Strolling-Down-the-Streets-of-Old-RangoonStrolling down the Streets of Old Rangoon: The History and the Buildings
by Jonathan Copeland

Ebook: US$4.99

I first went to Rangoon in 1981. It was called Rangoon then before the military government changed the name to Yangon in 1989. They also changed the name of the country to Myanmar, but most people preferred to use the old, poetic, evocative names, partly to make a political statement.

I was immediately struck by the time warp that the city was languishing in. Old-fashioned limousines cruised around the city. Old British fire engines languidly poked out from the old British Fire Station. It was as if time had stopped still at the very moment that the British had sailed away in 1948.

Since then I have become even more enchanted, but even more concerned by the endangered condition of the colonial buildings. Hence I determined to photograph thirty-five of my favourites and place them in their historical context, because each one of them has a fascinating story to tell and is best understood and appreciated as a milestone in the history of Rangoon.

Jonathan CopelandJonathan Copeland

190 pages
Colour photographs

What they said about
 Strolling down the Streets of Old Rangoon, The History and the Buildings

“Take a leisurely stroll through Old Rangoon and be mesmerized by the fin-de-siècle architecture—a unique time capsule of a bygone age.”

San Tin Lun, Yangon writer and author of ten books, including The Legendary Heroes of Myanmar, Ancient Myanmar Heroes, and Reading A George Orwell Novel in A Myanmar Teashop and Other Essays

“Follow in the footsteps of Somerset Maugham and Noël Coward: high tea at the Strand Hotel—five-star history at its best.”

Ni Wayan Murni, owner of Murni’s Warung, Murni’s Warung Shop, Murni’s Houses and Tamarind Spa, Ubud, Bali

“The highest number of colonial buildings in one square mile—a fascinating glimpse of a distant corner of the British Empire.”

Audrey Pipe, Anglo-Burmese, resident of the United Kingdom

Strolling down the Streets of Old Rangoon: The History and the Buildings

Walking Tour of Rye

Walking Tour of Rye, the Most Beautiful Town in England

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Walking-Tour-of-RyeWalking Tour of Rye, the Most Beautiful Town in England
Jonathan Copeland




Rye, 70 miles south of London, is a small town, rich in history, and numerous well-preserved historical buildings. The town is just the right size to go on a walking tour. This guide takes you to every important building and explains it and directs you to the next one.

There are stories of French raids, piracy, murder, plague and Royal visits.

The historical background is set out in brief history lessons to read on the tour or at home.

77 landmarks described.

There are over 100 photographs.

Published: August 2012


161 pages


If you don’t have a Kindle, you can read it as a pdf file, and either way you can read the first 10% as a free sample on the Kindle Store on Amazon.

Start reading Walking Tour of Rye, the most beautiful town in England in under a minute.

Jonathan CopelandJonathan Copeland






A guidebook that makes you wish to visit the place!!!

June 25, 2015

A delightful book about a delightful town! We literally used the book step by step!

What I especially liked were the short “history lessons”, spiked with saucy, little scandal tales! I wish my history professor in school was like that, it would have made me like history much more!

I usually do not like guidebooks that are written endlessly long. this one was so interesting, that I was sorry when I finished it!

Cornelia Bock


Just like being there

11 September 2012

In reading Jonathan Copeland’s “Walking Tour of Rye, the most beautiful town in England,” I felt as though I was right there rather than sitting at my desk in Australia. It came as a surprise to me that this town should have accumulated such a big slice of the history of England over the years. Well done!

Quince D


A Walk Around Rye

Walking Tour of Rye, the Most Beautiful Town in England

The Bangkok Story

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The_Bangkok_StoryThe Bangkok Story, an Historical Guide to the Most Exciting City in the World
by Jonathan Copeland




The Bangkok Story traces the history of Bangkok up to the present day, and describes and places the main buildings in the city in context, to explain to the visitor their meaning and relevance, something that the usual guide books do not cover. There are a lot of places not mentioned in other books. There are directions on how to find them and their opening hours.

Jonathan CopelandJonathan Copeland

483 pages
Over 400 colour photographs

“Jonathan Copeland lifts the lid on the planet’s most captivating metropolis – every page offers the reader a highly delicious serving that will keep you coming back for more and more!”

Vinder Balbir, owner of Mrs Balbir’s Indian Restaurant, Bangkok

“The Bangkok Story tells the story of the most interesting city in the World – brought to life by more than four hundred glorious photographs.”

Marc Pettibone, art collector and dealer and long-time resident of Thailand

“My favourite book about my favourite city”

Stephanie Brookes, Travel Writer

“When I step out the door, The Bangkok Story is my constant companion.”

Gavin Gough, freelance travel photographer based in Bangkok

“The Bangkok Story – like the great city itself – is irresistible.”

Dr Rob Goodfellow, author, journalist, researcher and academic

The Bangkok Story


Secrets of Bali

Secrets of Bali, Fresh Light on the Morning of the World

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Secrets Of BaliSecrets of Bali, Fresh Light on the Morning of the World

by Jonathan Copeland
Ni Wayan Murni

Published by Orchid Books


The magical isle of Bali has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions, ever since visitors from the West began to arrive in the early 20th century.

Incredibly, ancient Balinese cultural traditions remain richly intact today, in the face of, and alongside, 21st century modernity and a highly developed tourist industry. Yet few visitors ever really begin to understand the colourful pageantry that surrounds them virtually everywhere they travel on the island.

Unpretentious and easily readable in its approach and encyclopaedic in its coverage, Secrets of Bali is the key to this understanding. From Balinese life, religion, festivals and offerings, architecture, music, dance, textiles, dress, carvings and paintings, masks, manuscripts, meals and much, much more, this is the book to which the visitor can turn for the answers.

Each chapter is written both as a part of the overall narrative, and as a ‘stand alone’ reference on the topic addressed.

If you buy only one book in addition to a standard travel guide, this is the volume for you. Simply a ‘must read’ for foreign visitors, residents, and those everywhere who have fallen under the spell of ‘The Morning of the World’.

Jonathan CopelandJonathan Copeland

Ni Wayan MurniNi Wayan Murni

  • 424 pages
  • 110 line drawings
  • 1 map
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography

“In Secrets of Bali Jonathan Copeland and Ibu Murni present a wonderfully fast moving account of Bali – from the outside in and from the inside out. Secrets of Bali places Bali into the warp and weft of the rich tapestry of historical context and ever changing contemporary life. It generously offers us a feast of rare and passionate insights from a man who has so obviously fallen in love with Bali and from a woman who, in so many ways, is Bali.”

Dr Rob Goodfellow
Author, journalist and academic, Australia

“From Balinese Gods to Balinese gamelan, difficult subjects are simply explained in this beautifully written and illustrated work.”

Bill Dalton
Author of Bali Handbook, USA

“Eloquent, enthusiastic, and jargon-free.”

Dr Angela Hobart
Visiting Reader at Goldsmiths College, University of London and Honorary Research Fellow at University College London

“Fortunately for the reader, the author of Secrets of Bali is not in the slightest bit secretive. The outcome is an accessible and wide ranging guide to the island’s culture and history. The casual reader can dip into it to answer specific questions, whereas the enthusiast can read with equal pleasure from cover to cover.”

Professor Michael Hitchcock
Deputy Dean (Research and External Relations)
Faculty of Business, Arts and Humanities,
University of Chichester, England

“In Bali they say…when the durians come down, the sarongs go up.”

Julia Suryakusuma
Author of Sex, Power and Nation

Secrets of Bali is the best book about the island written and published since 1990 …”

Roy Thompson
The Bali Times, 18-24 June 2010

“This book will definitely go with me on my next trip to Bali.”

Michael Clugston
South China Morning Post, 22 August 2010

“This 412-page book tries to summarize every aspect of Bali. Starting from the creation of the universe from a Hindu approach (the major religion in Bali), Balinese architecture, rituals, and the arts and up to the paradigm shift among the modern Balinese. All are explained in the 60 chapters.”

Ni Luh Dian Purniawati
Bali & Beyond, January 2011

“I feel that Secrets of Bali will join the ranks of the definitive and authoritative volumes of reference books for lovers of Bali everywhere.”

Andrew Charles
Tropical Life, September – December 2011

“One of the most readable books about Bali, its people and its traditions.”

Lonely Planet Guide to Bali & Lombok, 2015




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Secrets of Bali, Fresh Light on the Morning of the World