Category Archives: Far East

Visit Chiang Mai and Explore the Best of Northern Thailand

chiang-mai

Known as “the Rose of the North”, Chiang Mai is the cultural capital of Thailand, calling tourists in to enjoy the pleasant Thai way of life amidst nature’s bliss. Steeped in history and surrounded by incredible architecture, this city strikes a fine balance between the traditional and the contemporary.

Check out the fabulous attractions of Chiang Mai that must be in your itinerary for your next trip to Thailand.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

A sacred site for the Thais, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a mountainous temple in the city. Tourists can reach this temple by hiking up the Doi Suthep Mountain, hopping into a songthaew or renting a motorbike. The major highlight of the temple is seven-headed serpent statues lining up the stairs to the temple and a much-revered seated Buddha at the central shrine.

Elephant Nature Park

While Thailand has several elephant camps, Chiang Mai is home to the largest number of domesticated elephants. Situated north of the city, Elephant Nature Park is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation centre where visitors can enjoy sighting the large animal from close by. It was founded in 1995 and is home to more than 35 elephants, most of which have been saved from the illegal logging industries. You can either visit the premises during the day and can either have an overnight stay at its newly renovated accommodation.

Night Bazaar

Chiang Mai is a shopper’s heaven and the city’s famous Night Bazaar is an ideal shopping spot for all the bargain lovers. This bazaar is home to numerous stalls spreading all across the street and selling everything you can think of, from clothes, jewellery and footwear to carvings, furniture and houseware. The handmade Thai silk clothes are perhaps the major highlight of this bustling and colourful market.

Doi Pui

A Hmong tribal village, situated in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, Doi Pui offers tourists an insight into the lifestyle of Thai tribes. Lying at the top of Doi Suthep, a 1676 metre high mountain, it is an ideal spot for trekking and revelling in the picturesque beauty of nature. Here, tourists can explore incredible wildlife, a beautiful garden, an ancient museum and many tribal houses. Besides, they can enjoy lunch at one of many small restaurants, and shop for hand-made jewellery, hand-woven textiles, tea and other goods at the shops.

Bua Thong Sticky Waterfalls

Made of limestone and mineral deposits, Bua Thong Waterfall is a small and beautiful, multi-tiered waterfall visited by a number of tourists from different parts of the world. It is called “the sticky waterfall” because of the limestone floating in the water and making the rock non-slippery. Tourists can easily climb up the waterfall to the top. Besides, there is a picnic spot and a few restaurants at the entrance of the falls, allowing you to spend a fun-filled day with family and friends.

Top Spots to Explore in Kyoto, Japan

A visit to Japan’s most beautiful city, Kyoto is full of splendid experiences! It astonishes with the best of Japan’s culture and traditions. From colourful shrines and serene temples to scenic gardens, there’s a lot to explore in Kyoto. Here are some of the beautiful wonders of Kyoto that demand the attention of visitors from all around.

Kinkaku-ji: The Golden Pavilion

Kinkaku-ji-The-Golden-Pavilion

A picturesque haven, Kinkaku-ji is a Zen temple in Northern Kyoto with its two top floors covered by gold leaf. One of the famous temples in Japan, Kinkaku-ji overlooks the glassy surface of Mirror Lake and seems to float over the mirror pond. Officially known as Rokuon-ji, this Zen Buddhist temple is visited by a large number of travellers to find solace and to marvel at an architectural masterpiece. A National Special Landscape and a National Special Historic Site, this temple remains a must-visit in the city.

Nijo Castle

Nijo-Castle

Another scenic delight of the city, Nijo Castle is a flatland castle which displays the power that the Shotguns wielded over the emperors during the Edo period. Comprising the Normaru Palace, two concentric rings of fortifications, the ruins of the Honmaru Palace and a number of support buildings and gardens, it is an ideal place for the history buffs to explore. Also, like many other historical monuments of the city, it has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Philosopher’s Walk

Attracting nature lovers from all over the world, the Philosopher’s Walk is a roughly mile-long pedestrian path along the lake Biwa Canal in Kyoto’s Higashiyama district. Lined by thousands of cherry trees, the canal here is a true delight. It is the path the Japanese philosopher, Nishida Kitaro used to take while commuting to Kyoto University in the early 20th century. Beginning around at Ginkakuji and ending in the neighbourhood of Nanzenji, this 2km long path can certainly be explored.

Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine

Situated in Fushimi Ward in Kyoto, Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine is a prominent Shinto Shrine in Southern Kyoto. Sitting at the base of Inari Mountain, this shrine overlooks the entire city, inviting scores of people who visit every year to take delight in its incredible beauty and find peace.

Kyoto Tower

The tallest building of the city, Kyoto Tower stands 131 metre tall, just across the Kyoto Station, impressing visitors with its iconic appearance. This steel observation tower stands atop a 9-storey building which is home to a 3-star hotel and many stores. The 360 degree panoramic view of the city from the top of this tower presents an exciting experience for the travellers. Besides, dining at its restaurants or a glass panelled lounge is an amazing experience.

Holidays to Hong Kong – Top Experiences to Unravel In the City

hongkong

Ancient architectural wonders, rich wildlife, great hospitality, modern temptations, and a vibrant culture – Hong Kong has every element that makes for a great holiday experience. Read on to learn about some of the city’s most appealing experiences that present a wonderful time to the travellers.

Sightseeing

Be it soaring skyscrapers, colonial forts, ancient temples, or terrific theme parks, Hong Kong has the best of it all, treating its guests with the finest of touristy wonders. Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Disneyland, Lantau Island, Peak Tram, Clock Tower and Hong Kong Museum of History are some of the most well known attractions in the city, ones which you certainly must visit. If you wish to visit a Buddhist temple, head to Tian Tan Buddha, also known as Big Buddha, one of the noted Buddhist temples in the region.

Beaches

A great place to enjoy the best of sun and sand as well as a range of thrilling water sports, Hong Kong beaches promise an unforgettable time to the visitors. Ham Tin Wan, Clearwater Bay, Kwun Yam Wan, Cheung Sha, Big Wave Bay, Turtle Cove and Pui O, Hap Mun and Repulse Bay are among the most frequented beaches here. Besides sunbathing and swimming, snorkelling, diving and kayaking are the popular activities among the travellers visiting these beaches. Live music shows, food festivals and beach parties are held regularly at most of these beaches. Moreover, whales, turtles and other marine animals can be spotted at some of these beaches.

Food

Hong Kong has a fabulous food scene with the city being home to several outstanding restaurants. If we talk about traditional delicacies that remain must try for tourists in Hong Kong, the likes of wontons (dumplings) roast goose, wind sand chicken, fake shark fin soup, shrimp and chicken balls, phoenix talons (chicken feet), steamed shrimp dumplings, fish balls and sweet sour pork come to mind. Apart from enjoying food at the upscale restaurants or causal cafes, you can enjoy the local fare at street side eateries.

Wildlife

With over two-thirds of the city’s territory comprising of wetland reserves, protected parks and natural habitats, Hong Kong is home to many species of birds and animals including a few native and endangered ones. You can spot monkeys, bats, wild bears, pink dolphins, black faced spoonbill, masked palm civet, red lacewing butterflies, ring tailed lemur, purple heron, rufous burrowing snake, green turtle and water buffalo here in Hong Kong. Aberdeen Country Park, Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve, Mai Po Nature Reserve, Sai Kung East Country Park and Kowloon Park are among the noted wildlife conservation parks here.

Shopping

Be it unique souvenirs, Chinese artworks, silk products, antique jewellery or artefacts, you can find a lot of stuff at Hong Kong markets. Kowloon Street, Temple Street Night Market, Jade Market and Jade Street, Stanley Market and Ladies Market are some of the areas where you can shop for all kinds of interesting and unique stuff. If you are looking for luxury labels and brands, visit popular malls such as Elements Shopping Mall, IFC Mall and Pacific Place.

Festivals

festival

Offering a glimpse into the rich and vibrant culture of Hong Kong, the festivals hosted by the city are massively popular among the tourists. Chinese New Year, Spring Lantern Festival, Ching Ming Festival, Tin Hau, Cheung Chau Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Buddha’s Birthday and Hungry Ghost Festival offer travellers a wonderful opportunity to revel in the region’s splendid cultural flair.

Nightlife

hongkong-nightlife

Home to beautiful night markets, illuminating harbours, pristine beaches, and exciting bars and clubs, Hong Kong assures revellers of a great time. Popular party spots in the city include Lan Kwai Fong and Soho, Wan Chai, Volar, Ce La Vi Hong Kong,   Play Club, Dragon-i, Drop, Fly Hong Kong, Magnum and Tasmania Ballroom. Also, the world’s largest light and sound show, Symphony of Lights in Hong Kong is a must experience.

Culture

Culture

A beautiful fusion of diverse religious groups and nationalities such as Cantonese, British, Indians and Shanghainese, Hong Kong culture, understandably, is quite diverse. Best reflected in the architecture, temples, festivals, events, sports, languages and food, this fascinating city is surely a cultural delight! In fact, Cantonese Opera is a classic example of the prevalent Cantonese customs and practices.

Singapore Holidays – Top Experiences in the City

singapore

A melting pot of diverse cultures and traditions, Singapore is an ideal city break destination in the Fareast. A perfect place for adventure enthusiasts, foodies and cultural explorers, this beautiful city-state boasts an exciting range of things for people to experience and enjoy. Those of you heading to Singapore, here is a list of top things you can explore here.

Attractions

Iconic colonial buildings, magnificent Chinese shophouses, splendid theme parks, and interesting museums – there is so much to see in the terrific city that sightseers will be spoilt for choice. Gardens by Bay, the Universal Studios, Merlion Park, ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands, Helix Bridge and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay are some of the city’s most famous attractions. Also, do pay a visit to the Old Parliament House, the oldest surviving building in Singapore.

Beaches

beach

Beaches may not be the first thing that comes to mind when people think of Singapore, but the city has some terrific beaches which are not much talked about. Mostly located on the Sentosa Island, these beaches promise a great time to the travellers interested in sand and surf. Palawan, Tanjong, Siloso, Changi, Punggol, Lazarus and St John’s are among the most popular beaches in Singapore. Palm trees, suspension bridges and shacks, no doubt, add to the beauty of these beaches.

Nature and Wildlife

Home to around 23,000-28,000 species of terrestrial species, 40,000 non-microbial organisms and 12,000-17,000 marine animals, Singapore is a city blessed with the best of nature and wildlife. Be it amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, freshwater fish or butterflies, you’ll find all of them in the region. Among other places, Jurong Bird Park and Singapore Zoo are the best spots to witness these amazing creatures in their natural habitat. Night Safari and River Safari are popular among wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Food

food

Incorporating elements from different cultural and ethnic groups, Singaporean cuisine is a major highlight for tourists from all over the world. Bak Kut Teh, Wanton Mee, Fried Carrot Cake, Dim Sum, Kaya Toast, Crabs, Laksa, Curry Fish Head, Satay, Bak Chor Mee and Oyster Omelette are some of the most loved delicacies in the city. Along with the trips to the restaurants scattered around the city, make sure you visit the popular streetside eateries in the region for Singaporean delicacies.

Shopping

Teeming with open markets, posh malls, quaint boutiques and streetside stores, Singapore is a paradise for shopaholics and easily one of the best shopping destinations in the world. Places like Orchard Road, Little India, Chinatown Street Market, VivoCity, Haji Lane, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and Clarke Quay are the spots to hit if you wish a good shopping expedition. From independent fashion labels to eclectic collection of goods to antiques and artefacts, you can find everything in Singapore.  Also, if you are looking for some unique souvenirs and gifts, make sure you visit the weekly flea markets held in different parts of the city.

Festivals

Festivals and events in Singapore are celebrated with much pomp and show. Offering an insight into the cultural practices and traditions of the city are festivities like Chinese New Year, Thaipusam, Vesak Day, Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji. Sports events and food festivals are held regularly here as well. Singapore Heritage Fest, Singapore International Film Festival and Singapore Fashion Festival are few of the popular socio-cultural events here.

Leisure & Recreation

Besides sightseeing, the city offers a whole range of exciting recreational activities for people of all age groups. Be it enjoying a night safari, or snorkelling with tropical fishes or taking part in other water sports, there’s a lot to be enjoyed in the city. Universal Studios and Escape Theme Park remain two of the city’s most popular theme parks.

Culture

Known as the city where ‘East meets West’, Singapore’s culture is a combination of varied customs and traditions. Mostly influenced by the South Asian, Malay, Eurasian and South Asian traditions, culture in Singapore is best highlighted in its temple complexes and other religious structures found across the region. Chinatown, National Museum of Singapore, Asian Civilization Museum and Sun Yat Sun Nanyang Memorial Hall are few of the popular cultural attractions in Singapore. Sri Mariamman Temple and Sri Thendayuthapani Temple are two of the most well-known Hindu temples here.

Travel Essentials for Singapore

Here are a few things you must take note of before heading to this beautiful city.

  • Singapore Dollar is the official used currency here. It comes in denominations of S$2, S$5, S$10, S$50, S$100, S$1,000 and S$10,000.
  • 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and S$1coins can also used.
  • 7% GST refund can be claimed by tourists on essential goods and other products.
  • English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil are the official languages in the city.
  • Weather in Singapore is hot and humid all year round.

5 Reasons to Visit the Philippines

phillipines

As per recent reports, the Philippines Airlines has reported a significant increase in flights between London and Manila when compared to last year. With the Philippines emerging as one of the favourite destinations of Britons in the past year, we thought it important to highlight for our dear readers all facets of Philippines’ exciting tourist offerings. Here are top five reasons for visiting this beautiful country in Southeast Asia.

phillipinesss

It Has Incredible Rice Terraces

Anyone who has ever been to the Philippines will tell you that one of the most astounding sites to witness there are Banaue’s rice terraces. Carved into the mountains of Ifugao, these terraces are of majestic beauty and appear consistently at the top in tourist itineraries to the Philippines. Featuring on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites, these rice terraces offer an ideal escape to hikers and nature lovers. One of the most intriguing stops you can make on your journey through the Banaue rice terraces is at a local Mumbaki (witch doctor), believed to be endowed with special healing powers.

El Nido Offers an Ideal Escape

Surrounded by dramatic limestone formations and cerulean blue waters, El Nido is stunning and ethereal in beauty. Best explored on a sailing trip, El Nido also makes for a central stop during visitors’ exploration of the Bacuit Archipelago. The pristine beaches, part of idyllic resorts that are perfect for days when you just want hang out in the sun, are major draws for tourists.

Some of the World’s Best Diving Sites Can be Found Here

An archipelago of 7,107 islands, teeming with coral reefs, it is no surprise that the Philippines have some of the world’s best diving sites. You can start your exploration of the country’s underwater world at Tubbataha Reefs National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, popular for its lagoons and two coral islands. You must also test your diving skills at the Black Forest dive site off Panglao Island.

Festivals in the Philippines Are the Most Colourful In the World

Mostly a celebration of the country’s rich culture and traditions, the festivals in the Philippines are many and are all celebrated with a great pomp and show. Lasting from a day to a month, these festivals are a colourful conglomeration of rituals, costumes, dancing and singing. Some of the most popular and greatly amusing festivals celebrated in the country include Ati-Atihan and Sinulog Festival (held in the 3rd week of January), Panagbenga Festival (held in February), the weeklong Moriones Festival, the Kadayawan Festival ( held in August) as well as MassKara Festival held in October.

You Can Travel in Style in Jeepneys

Jeepneys are ubiquitous in the Philippines and they make travelling around in the country so much more fun and memorable. After the World War 2 ended, the American troops began distributing hundreds of surplus jeeps they had amongst Filipinos as gifts. The locals repainted them in bright colours and made minor altercations to the design of these jeeps before putting them to use. The Jeepneys are being used as the most popular means of commuting in the country ever since. Tourists love them for their vibrant colours, spacious interiors and for being a part of the country’s culture and past. The cherry on the cake is that it is very cheap to commute by a jeepney.

A Look at the Top Holiday Destinations in Thailand

With glittering temples, idyllic beaches, ancient ruins, opulent palaces and blue lagoons, Thailand is truly a traveller’s delight. There are many cities and towns in this country that attract and impress travellers from all over the world. Take a look at some of them.

Bangkok

bangkok

Famed for its vibrant street life, gleaming temples, ornate shrines and traditional charm, Bangkok is the beautiful capital of Thailand. Housing some of the oldest temples and Chinese pagodas, the city is an ideal place for those out to discover the rich history of the country. Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Wat Phra Kaew, Lumphini Park, Jim Thompson House and Wat Saket are the top attractions in the city. If you like shopping, make sure you don’t miss a visit to Bangkok’s famous floating markets. Featuring exciting rides and adventure activities, Siam Park City, KidZania Bangkok and Fantasia Lagoon are the popular theme parks in Bangkok.

Phuket

phuket

With some of the finest beaches in the world, Phuket is a perfect beach holiday destination in Thailand. Also renowned for its old shop houses, bustling markets and natural wonders, this stunning coastal heaven is undoubtedly an ideal destination to enjoy the best of sun and sand. Patong, Karon, Kata and Bangtao are among the most popular beaches here. Water sports, especially snorkelling, are popular with the travellers. Big Buddha and Wat Chalong are among the prominent attractions in Phuket. Beach clubs, night clubs and sunset bars are great spots to enjoy the wonderful nightlife of the city. Cabaret shows in Phuket have their own fan following.

Chiang Mai

chiang-mai

Known for its amazing natural wonders, lively nightlife and elaborate Buddhist temples, Chiang Mai, located on the banks of Ping River, is one of the popular holiday destinations in Thailand. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Wat Chedi Luang, Wiang Kum Kam (the Underground Ancient City) and Wat Chiang Man are some of the most well known temples in the city. Those interested in exploring the tribal side of Chiang Mai, make your way to the famous Karen Long Neck Tribe and Chiang Dao Cave.

Pattaya

Blessed with the wonders of nature, Pattaya is a stunning tropical paradise and an ideal party destination. A former fishing village, the city today is famed for its stunning beaches, designer golf courses, boutique hotels, cabaret bars, exciting nightlife and other fascinating attractions. Tiffany Cabaret Show, Sanctuary of Truth, Walking Street, Pattaya Floating Market and Big Buddha Hill are few of the prominent highlights in the city. For those travelling with kids, the city has some amazing theme parks and water parks including Ramayana Water Park and Cartoon Network Amazone Waterpark.

Hua Hin

hua-hin

Pristine beaches, hidden corals, golf courses and water sports are few of the many elements that make Hua Hin a fun holiday destination in Thailand. Offering a plethora of interesting activities for tourists to do, this tiny historic town is a perfect escape from the bustling city life. Kaeng Krachan National Park, Pa La-U Waterfall and Wat Khao Takiap are few of the tourist interest sites here. For a perfect shopping experience, make sure you visit the famous Cicada Market and Sam Phan Nam Floating Market in the city.

Phitsanulok

Located in the northern end of Thailand, Phitsanulok is the oldest city in the country.  Boasting an array of fascinating attractions including some of the ancient temples, this 600-year old city is best to explore the many wonders of Thailand.  Be it visiting the old temples, exploring the museums or spotting animals in the national park, the city is packed with numerous interesting activities. Home to the most revered images of Buddha in the country, Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat is a major attraction in Phitsanulok.

Surat Thani

Locally known as the ‘City of Good People’, Surat Thani is another beautiful city that’s visited by a large number of tourists. Famous for its colourful Chinese temples, beautiful coral reefs and amazing beaches, the city has a lot to offer to tourists of all ages. Water sports like sunbathing, snorkelling and scuba diving are popular with the travellers. The Pirates Park is a major tourist attraction in Surat Thani.

Hat Yai

Famed for its 35-m long reclining statue of Buddha, Hat Yai is a gorgeous Thai city. Located close to the Malaysian border, the city is home to some terrific floating markets and street side shops. Hai Yai floating market, Magic Eye 3D museum, Khlong Hae Floating Market and Wat Hat Yai Nai are some of the top attractions in the city.

Chiang Rai

Home to ancient palaces, forts and temples, Chiang Rai is a pleasant town renowned for its traditional charm and cultural appeal. Wat Rong Khun, Phu Chi Fa, Wat Phra Kaew, Baandam Museum, Wat Phra Sing and Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong are among the top tourist draws of the city. Besides sightseeing, you can enjoy exciting activities like hiking, trekking, exploring hidden caves and golfing. Do visit the famous Pha Soet Hot Spring in the city.

Top things to explore in Indonesia

indonesiaa

Comprising of 17,000 magnificent islands and several tiny islets, Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. Famed for its tranquil beaches, quasi-active volcanoes, hidden reefs, cascading waterfalls and tropical mountains, this stunning coastal paradise is an ideal holiday destination in the Far East. Blessed with the best of nature’s wonders, this beautiful island is packed with numerous fascinating attractions and interesting things to do. Those of you heading to Indonesia on your next holiday, here is a list of things the island has in store for you:

Beaches

indonesia

Lying between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, Indonesia is blessed with some of the most pristine and stunning beaches in the world. Ideal to enjoy the best of sun, sand and surf, these beaches are a major highlight and a prominent attraction in the country. Nusa Dua beach, Kuta beach, Senggigi Beach, Plengkung Beach, Pangandaran Beach, Parangtritis Beach, Dreamland Beach and Parai Tenggiri are few of the best known beaches on the island. Surfing, scuba diving, snorkelling, rafting, sea walking, flyboarding, kitesurfing and wakeboarding are among the popular water sports on the island.

Attractions

Preserving the treasures of prosperous cultural past, attractions in Indonesia are outrightly amazing and fascinating at the same time. Whether it is the ancient architectural wonders or prominent temples or Chinese pagodas or the volcanic mountains, each site and structure on the island is beautiful in its own unique way. Lake Toba, Ubud Monkey Forest, Mount Rinjani, Mount Merapi, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Mount Batur, Garuda Wisnu Kencana, Kawah Putih, Semeru, Tangkuban Perahu and Ancol Dreamland are a few of the must visit attractions on the island. With the top of the volcano blown off and the crater emitting continuous white smoke, Mount Bromo is simply an astonishing attraction in Indonesia.

National Parks

Whether it is the king of lizard (Komodo Dragons) or the smallest buffalo (Anoa) , the Sumateran Tiger or Merak, the Javan Rhinoceros or Orangutan or Kijang or sea turtles, Indonesia is home to a vast population of birds and animals including a few endangered ones and a perfect heaven for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. Komodo National Park, Ujung Kulon National Park, Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park, Way Kambas National Park, Tanjung Puting National Park and Lorentz National Park are few of the most popular national parks and wildlife preservation sites in Indonesia.

Temples

templesFeaturing a long cultural and traditional history, Indonesia is home to some of the largest and oldest Hindu temples. Preserving the legacy of an era bygone, these temples in the island are a major attraction among tourists. Borobudur, Plaosan, Sewu, Candi Jawi, Penataran, Surawana, Mendut, Pawon, Sojiwan and Batu Jaya are few of the prominent temples and Buddhist sites in Indonesia. The architecture and design of most of these structures is quite fascinating. Pura Besakih is the most ancient temple in the country.

Food

A perfect blend of traditional and modern flavours, Indonesian cuisine is simply a delight. Prepared using exotic ingredients and natural spices, food in the island is definitely a must try. Sambal (hot sauce or paste typically made from a mixture of a variety of chilli peppers), Satay (dish of seasoned, skewered and grilled meat, served with a sauce), Bakso (Indonesian meatball), Soto (soup mainly composed of broth, meat and vegetables), Gado-gado (salad of slightly boiled, blanched or steamed vegetables and hard-boiled eggs, boiled potato, fried tofu and tempeh), Nasi Uduk (Indonesian Betawi style steamed rice cooked in coconut milk dish), Ayam goreng (dish of chicken deep fried in coconut oil), Bakmi goreng (spicy fried noodle dish), Rawon (beef black soup) Opor ayam (Mie ayam are) a few of the dishes that you must try on the island.

Shopping

Whether it’s antiques or art, jewellery or paintings, carved jewellery or woven and dyed fabrics or stone carvings or masks and ceramics, Indonesia is a shopper’s paradise. Featuring an array of exclusive handmade goods and items, shopping in the island is a major highlight. Although there are several big malls in the country, shopping at Pasar (traditional markets) is a unique experience. Also, you can try on your bargaining skills with the merchants and craftsmen in these markets. Sanur Night Market (Pasar Malam Sindu), Gianyar Night Market, Kuta Art Market, Garlic Lane and Taman Sari Market are few of the popular night markets on the island.

Festivals

Featuring diverse religions and customs, Indonesia is a country packed with ceremonies, festivals and cultural events. Celebrated round the year and offering a glimpse to the rich cultural legacy of the country, all festivals are celebrated with a great pomp and show. Independence Day of Indonesia, Bau Nyale Fishing Festival, Toraja Funeral Ceremony, Waisak, Bali Arts Festival, Bau Nyale Fishing Festival, Asmat Cultural Festival, Baliem Valley Festival, Nyepi and Galungan are among the popular festivals in the country. Besides the traditional festivals, the island also hosts a range of contemporary music events and shows throughout the year.

Culture

Home to diverse religions and traditions from across the world, Indonesia is a cultural melting pot. From Buddhism to Hinduism to Islam to Christianity to Confucianism, the country has equal tolerance for all religions. From religious practices to music and dance and from theatre to festivals, everything about Indonesia’s culture is fascinating. Minangkabau Tari Piring (plate dance), martial arts, paintings, sculptures and architecture in the country beautifully highlight the cultural aspect of the island.

Revisit History with These Museums in Vietnam

Vietnam

With an interesting and tumultuous history behind her, Vietnam has fast evolved as a sought after holiday destination in Asia. The country’s rich heritage and war history has enamoured people for long, with millions visiting Vietnam each year, hoping to unfold the ancient cultural glory and modern military history. Along with the forts, palaces, monuments and other historical structures, it is the museums here that have a lot to share with people coming in from all corners of the globe. Vietnam has plenty of museums where you can spend some time unearthing the country’s past. Take a look at few of them below.

National Museum of Vietnamese History

Built in 1958, National Museum of Vietnamese History is one of the oldest museums in the country and a classic masterpiece of Chinese and French architecture. Located in Hanoi, it is divided into five sections, housing around 200,000 artefacts. Axe heads, sculpture of Quan Am and Dong Son drums are few of the unique possession of the museum. Along with the exhibitions, interactive sessions enable guests to have a better understanding of the country’s colourful history.

Vietnam Military History Museum

Also known as the ‘Army Museum’, Vietnam Military History Museum is a well-known attraction in the country. This place is famed for its rich collection of artefacts and weaponry used during the Vietnam War.

Vietnam-Military-History-Museum

Accounts written by former soldiers, war relics, weapons, paintings and memorials offer a unique perspective to the war that ravaged the country. Douglas A-1E and A-1H Skyraiders, M114 155 mm howitzer , Bell UH-1H Iroquois, Cessna A-37B Dragonfly, SA-2 Guideline SAM, 37 mm automatic air defence gun M1939 (61-K) , Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 MF & PFM and 85 mm divisional gun D-44 are few of the attractions at the museum.

War Remnants Museum

Reminding people about the brutal Vietnam War, War Remnants Museum is a must visit site in Vietnam. Opened in 1975, this complex displays war relics like artillery and armour, war records, press clipping and memorials written by soldiers. An F-5A fighter, M48 Patton tank, A-37 Dragonfly attack bomber, a BLU-82 “Daisy Cutter” bomb are the prominent military memorabilia put on display at the museum. The tiger cages where the political prisoners were kept during the war are the major attractions of the museum.

Vietnamese Women’s Museum

Located in Hanoi, Vietnamese Women’s Museum is a museum dedicated to the women of Vietnam. Opened to public in 1995, the complex is divided across different sections and is home to 28,000 objects and artefacts highlighting the many phases and faces of women’s life. A bride’s costume, gift box of engagement, items made of textiles, metals, soil, glass, leather and silk, and pictures of wedding rituals are all key attractions here at the museum.

Museum of Cham Sculpture

Featuring the largest display of relics from the Cham era, Museum of Cham Sculpture is another popular museum in Vietnam. With its roots in the early 1920s, this place is home to the widest collection of archaeological sculptures, artefacts and valuable goods dating back to pre-historic era. Shiva lingam, Guerrier volant, Mỹ Sơn and Statue of Garuda are some of the interesting attractions at the museum.  With most of the statues and figures dating back to the early 7th and 8th century, this place is a delight for historians and archaeologists.

National Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam

Housing over 20,000 living and preserved marine species including a few extinct ones, National Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam is famous for its breeding programmes and ongoing research. Tanks filled with reef sharks, scorpion fish, puffers, turtles, coral reefs and seaweed tell a lot about Vietnam’s rich aquatic life. The skeleton of humpback whale excavated in 1994 is a major attraction of the museum.

Ho Chi Minh Museum

Ho Chi Minh Museum is one of the largest museums in the country. Inaugurated in 1990, this beautiful lotus shaped complex is famed for its valuable collection of ancient artefacts and documents highlighting the life and career of President Ho Chi Minh. Over 12000 documents, pictures, books, gifts and newspaper clippings are a few of exhibits here. The birth and death anniversary of the President is a major celebration at the museum.

Best of Malaysia! Popular Places to Visit in the Country

A perfect mix and match of ancient cultures, traditions and modern innovations, Malaysia is truly a travellers’ delight. Famed for its buzzing cities, idyllic beaches, beautiful islands, wildlife-packed rainforests, hidden reefs, skyscrapers, minarets, and urban adventures, a trip to Malaysia is certainly an experience you can never forget. Read on to find out about the top rated travel destinations in the country.

Kuala Lumpur

Boasting colonial architectural marvels, natural wonders and gleaming skyscrapers, Kuala Lumpur is a major holiday destination in the country. The capital of Malaysia, the colourful city is packed with numerous interesting engagements including interesting sightseeing, water sports and other recreational activities. Petronas Towers, Menara KL Tower, Batu Caves, Sultan Abdul

Kuala Lumpur

Samad Building, Sunway Lagoon Theme Park and Islamic Art Museum are among the top attractions in the city. Don’t miss a visit to the famous Chinatown and Central Market if you are looking for gifts or souvenirs. Street food like Bak Kut Teh, Chee Cheong Fun, and Clay pot Loh Shu Fun can be tried while roaming around in Kuala Lumpur.

Langkawi

Comprising of dozens of islands and several tiny islets, Langkawi is a stunning archipelago on Malaysia’s west coast. Famous for its turquoise blue ocean waters, picturesque paddy fields and powder fine sand, the island is perfect to enjoy the best of sun and sand. Langkawi Sky Bridge, LangkawiEagle Square, Underwater World Langkawi, Gunung Raya, Langkawi Wildlife Park and Bird Paradise, Palau Payar Marine Park, Langkawi Arts in Paradise 3D Museum and Taman Lagenda Langkawi are some of the popular attractions on the island.

Penang

A beautiful kaleidoscope of different cultures, customs and traditional practices, Penang is another well-known travel destination in Malaysia. Situated on the northern side of the country, the island is famous for its Chinese shophouses, exceptional art scene, ancient forts, minarets, free spirited carnivals, historic temples and other architectural wonders dating back to the early colonial years. PenangPopular attractions on the island include Kek Lok Si, Khoo Kongsi, Penang Botanical Gardens, Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Batik Painting Museum, Dhammikarama Burmese Temple and Wat Chaiyamangkalaram. While in Penang, you must enjoy dishes such as Nasi Kandar, Laksa, Char Koay Teow and Hokkien Mee.

Kota Kinabalu

A melting pot for different customs and traditions, Kota Kinabalu is a beautiful coastal city in Malaysia. Adorned with stunning beaches, tropical rainforests, broadways, bustling markets and a cosmopolitan culture, the city is home to some of the best architectural wonders and national parks.Mount Kinabalu Mount Kinabalu, Kinabalu Park, Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, Manukan Island, Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu City Mosque, Atkinson Clock Tower and Menara Tun Mustapha are some of the must visit sites in the city. Prepared using traditional flavours and authentic spices, delicacies like Ikan Bakaris, Bak Kut Teh, fish noodles, and streamed prawns are quite popular in Kota Kinabalu.

Kuching

Kuching is another must visit holiday destination in Malaysia. With pleasant colonial vibe as well as an old world charm, the city is home to some of the most stunning Chinese temples, South Indian mosques, modern structures, Buddhist sites and several other interesting sites to visit. Bako National Park, Kuching Cat Museum, Sarawak State Museum, Chinese History Museum, Kuching KuchingWetlands Chinatown, National Park and Textile Museum Sarawak are among the famous tourist attractions in the city. Narrating the story of the rich past and bygone era, villages like Sarawak Cultural Village are must visit places in Kuching. Kuching Festival, highlighting the spirit of the people, is a major event celebrated with much pomp and show in the city.

Malacca

Malacca is a beautiful quaint city located in the south of Malaysia. Known for its various cultural riches, the city is home to some stunning architectural wonders including A’Famosa Fort, Christ Church, The Stadthuys, St. Paul’s Church, Melaka Sultanate Palace and Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum. Make your way to the famous Malacca Butterfly and Reptile Sanctuary to spot koi fish, snakes, lizards and crocodiles. Those who enjoy shopping, the vibrant night market located on Jonker Street is just the place to be. All over the city you’ll find several football stadiums and golf courses.

George Town

With a colourful influence of different cultures, George Town remains one of tourists’ favourites in Malaysia. Known for its unique styled colonial buildings and forts, the city is a great place to discover and learn about the bygone era. Apart from the ancient forts, minarets and royal complexes, temples are other impressive attractions in the region. Dhammikarama Burmese Temple, Wat Chaiyamangkalaram, Khoo Kongsi and Kek Lok Si are some of the most prominent temples in the city. George Town Festival, an annual celebration of arts, culture and heritage, is a major event loved by the travellers.

Top Holiday Experiences for Travellers in Thailand

Best known for its beaches, temples, royal palaces, hidden corals, underground cave shrines, and rich cuisine, Thailand is among the most colourful and vibrant destinations in the Fareast Asia, visited by millions of tourists each year.

thailand-beach

While the country has lots of unique and interesting experiences on offer for the travellers, there are some that must be enjoyed by every traveller headed to Thailand. If you plan to fly to Thailand in the near future, here is a list of some of the country’s most prominent lures that must be enjoyed by you.

Enjoy the Beach Fun

Thailand, with all its tropical and secluded islands, is one of the best beach destinations in the world. With around 8,000 tropical islands and a 2,000-mile long coastline, the country offers a variety of beach experiences to all. Sairee, Haad Rin, Lamai, Hua Hin, Ko Nang Yuan, Patong, Hat Pramong, Railay, Lamai, Buffalo bay and White Sand are among the best beaches in Thailand.

Get entertained

The most popular forms of entertainment in the country include classical dance performances, Khon (Thai theatre), Lakhon (enactments based on Buddhist Jataka tales), Likay (dramatization), Nang (theatre performances), Muay Thai (Thai boxing) and Takraw (ball game). Bangkok’s go-go bars and nightclubs are popular among the young adults. Pattaya has a rich nightlife as well.

Enjoy traditional Thai cuisine

Influenced by Chinese and Indian cooking, Thai cuisine is flavourful and delicious. Tom Kha Kai (chicken in coconut soup), Pad Thai (fried noodles), Khao Pad (fired rice), Gaeng Keow Wan Gai (green chicken curry), Kai Med Ma Muang (chicken with cashew nuts), Yam Nua (spicy beef salad), Som Tom (spicy green papaya salad) and Tom Yum Goong (shrimp soup) are some of the most commonly available and loved dishes in the country. Chang and Singa are the traditional alcoholic beverages in the country that you must try on your holiday here.

Get on a shopping spree

Be it jewellery and gemstones, accessories, Thai silk, furniture, stone carvings, wooden sculptures, ancient lanterns or spa products, Thailand has it all when it comes to shopping. The country, especially major cities like Bangkok, is brimming to cusp with markets and bazaars; some of the most popular ones are Chatuchak Market, Pak Klong Talat Flower Market, Klong Toey Fresh Market and JJ Green Night Market.