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Suva

Fiji, Pacific

Welcome to Fiji’s capital and the largest and most populated city in the South Pacific. Unlike its more far-flung islands, Suva ...

string(3726) "Welcome to Fiji’s capital and the largest and most populated city in the South Pacific. Unlike its more far-flung islands, Suva offers a buzzing cosmopolitan atmosphere, brimming with colonial buildings, modern shopping plazas, a plethora of restaurants, farmers markets and entertainment, culminating in a truly exotic urban metropolis. Delve into the rich and diverse cultural influences that thrive here; a wonderful blend of Indian, Fijian, Chinese and Japanese culture. Full of history, Suva is well worth a visit when you land in Nadi before moving onto the other islands, to find out more about the island nation itself; from its remnants of colourful colonial architecture to the Fiji Museum showcasing the archaeological, linguistic, political and cultural history of the Fijian archipelago. For the foodies, Suva offers an eclectic range of dining spaces, from affordable cafes and hangouts, to fine dining restaurants. As the day turns to night, Suva boasts an admirable selection of bars and clubs, with the O’Reillys bar reigning as a popular spot amongst locals and visitors. For exploring the city, the Tropic Towers Apartments couldn’t be more convenient and affordable; great for families, business travellers, tour groups or holidaymakers, this is the perfect base from which to soak up all of the cultural, historical and cosmopolitan experiences you’re sure to have here. Convenience is the name of the game here, and Holiday Inn in Suva not only boasts harbour views, but is just steps away from the best of the city’s attractions. For those looking for an added grand touch, the captivating Grand Pacific Hotel gives guests a taste of colonial grandeur and impeccable service and is widely recognised as a gem of the South Pacific, delivering the wonder of old-world charm. There’s something for everyone in Suva.Suva is the capital of Fiji and is a beautiful harbour city built on a peninsula reaching out into the sea. The city is perched on a hilly peninsula between Laucala Bay and Suva Harbour in the southeast corner of Viti Levu. The mountains north and west catch the southeast trade winds, producing moist conditions year round. An exciting multi-racial city, Suva began as a late Victorian village with frame houses and stores along the beachfront. Much of its past still survives, for there are many small, quaint wooden bungalows in the old section that sit in juxtaposition to the modern offices and shopping plazas. On Sundays it’s well worth attending church to hear the choral singing that is magnificent. Most churches have services in English, but none compare with the 1000 strong Fijian service at Centenary Methodist Church on Stewart Street. A vital centre, Suva offers a great selection of restaurants including Chinese, Indian, traditional Fijian and European cuisine. There are tours to landmarks such as the Thurston Gardens next to Government House, the official residence of the president of the Republic of Fiji. The Fiji Museum is recognised as one of the best of its type in the South Pacific which holds a remarkable collection of archaeological material dating back 3,700 years and cultural objects representing both Fiji’s indigenous inhabitants and the other communities that have settled in the island group over the past 200 years. Not to be missed is the sprawling complex of municipal markets near the waterfront that comes to life on Fridays and Saturdays. Here you’ll find an assortment of artifacts and handicrafts for sale, made by Fijians throughout the Island group. For those who like history, there’s Albert Park where Charles Kingsford-Smith landed his plane Southern Cross on his trans- Pacific flight in 1928."
Luzon & Manila

Philippines, Asia

The city is a mix of old and new, of traditions and modern customs, of quaint street stalls and modern shopping malls. Luzon, w...

string(3651) "The city is a mix of old and new, of traditions and modern customs, of quaint street stalls and modern shopping malls. Luzon, where Manila is located, is the largest island in the Philippines and many of the provinces are just a few hours drive from the city. Northern Luzon is rich in panoramic views, green landscapes and old Spanish houses. Nicknamed the Summer Capital, Baguio City is a cool climate escape for Manila’s wealthy. The neighbouring city of La Trinidad, the provincial capital just north of the city, has some interesting sights. You can visit the vegetable market, climb Mt Pulag or see the well-preserved Kabayan mummies from burial caves in the north. Visit Asin, a woodcarving village with a hot spring swimming hole, natural streams and relaxing steam bath. A side trip to the tranquil mountaintop town of Sagada offers beautiful scenery and a cool climate. Its claim to fame is the hanging coffins, seen on cliff sides surrounding the town and in limestone caves. Hugging the northwestern slopes of Luzon are the provincial towns of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. There is a strong Spanish influence in Vigan Ilocos Sur, with 16th century Spanish houses lining the streets of the old section and a museum full of Spanish treasures. Antipolo is the centre of the May-time pilgrimage, while Angono is home to the Higantes Festival, held in November, when gigantic papier-mâché figures of men and women are paraded down the streets. Northern Palawan is home to some of the most diverse ecosystems in the country. The El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area showcases extraordinary flora and fauna, including mammals, reptiles, and birds that are abundant in the area. The dramatic landscape boasts of soaring limestone cliffs standing guard over crystal-clear waters, forests over limestone, and beaches with powdery white sand. Dramatic lagoons, mysterious caves, and colorful reefs are among the facets for Bacuit Bay in El Nido and Taytay Bay. A couple of hours by boat from El Nido are the snorkelling havens of Simisu Island and Cathedral Cave, Snake Island and Cudugman Cave. South Palawan is quite different to the north. Quezon is situated around 100 kilometres from Puerto Princesa, and is the nearest town to the archeologically interesting Tabon Caves, a half-hour boat ride away. Quezon is famous for its Pahiyas Festival celebrated in the towns of Lucban and Sariaya in mid-May Manila Manila has a population of around 10 million. The city is a mix of old and new, of traditions and modern customs, of quaint street stalls and modern shopping malls, of excellent museums and happening restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Although the city spreads a great distance along Manila Bay, the main places of interest are fairly central, concentrated just south of the Pasig River. Immediately south is the fortress of Intramuros (literally ‘within the walls’), once the preserve of the ruling classes. The Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church are two of the oldest churches in the country. Nearby, Casa Manila is a beautifully restored Spanish colonial home. The Cultural Centre of the Philippines is the central venue for all the diverse arts of the provinces, including ballet, concerts and stage plays. Within the complex is the stately Coconut Palace, made of materials from the coconut tree and other indigenous materials. This is also a great place to view the spectacular sunset across Manila Bay. At the huge Chinese Cemetery in Santa Cruz, tombs are fitted with crystal chandeliers, air-conditioning, kitchens and flushing toilets, to ensure comfort on the trip to paradise."
Nusa Dua & Tanjung Benoa

Bali, Indonesia, Asia

Whether you want complete luxury, peace and quiet, adventure or delightful local cuisine and culture, you’ll find it in Nusa Dua...

string(2715) "Whether you want complete luxury, peace and quiet, adventure or delightful local cuisine and culture, you’ll find it in Nusa Dua & Tanjung Benoa. Nusa Dua is located on the southern peninsula of Bali, just 20 minutes from the airport and the organised chaos of Kuta. The area is known for its generally fine weather (it is drier and cooler than the rest of Bali) and its protected white beaches. Coconut trees stud the coastal strip and it is a requisite that resorts built in Nusa Dua are to be no higher than the coconut trees, ensuring minimal impact on the region. The entrance to the resort area is flanked by traditional Balinese split gates leading to the expansive lawns and sweeping driveways of grand hotels. In the quiet enclave there are no hawkers, warungs, traffic nor pollution. Though it’s relatively isolated from Balinese community life, many hotels arrange visits by Balinese dancers and gamelan performances, and all of the major tourist attractions are a short drive away. The beaches at Nusa Dua have popular surf breaks way out on the reef and the best time to enjoy them is the wet season. At low tide the beach is shallow and difficult for swimming but at high tide it transforms into a picturesque lagoon. Camel Safaris run one hour camel rides along the beach. Many watersport activities such as diving, waterskiing, windsurfing and parasailing are based in Tanjung Benoa just to the north of Nusa Dua. A shopping complex in the centre of the resort specialises in textiles and handicrafts, has a range of kiosks and a games area for kids as well as a restaurant. It also stages regular Kecak and Legong dances and drum parades. Nightlife in Nusa Dua is limited to bars and lounges in the hotels, but it’s a short taxi trip to the lively areas of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. Tanjung Benoa is a peninsula that extends for four kilometres north of Nusa Dua. A Chinese population has resided here for centuries and has established a Chinese temple. There is also a Hindu temple and a mosque within 100 metres. Shops are generally cheaper than those in Nusa Dua and offer a shopping experience similar to Kuta. Tanjung Benoa has an extensive range of local restaurants, including the famous Bumbu Bali Cooking School. Diving, cruises and fishing trips at Tanjung Benoa can be arranged with most travel agents in South Bali while snorkelling, banana boat rides and glass bottom boat trips are offered along the main beach at reasonable prices. The area is also dotted with spectacular sea temples. Whether you want complete luxury, peace and quiet, adventure or delightful local cuisine and culture, you’ll find it in Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa. "
Micronesia Pohnpei Holiday Pohnpei

Micronesia, Pacific

This is the largest island in the Eastern Caroline Group and the capital of the FSM. It fits the typical South Sea island image...

string(3558) " This is the largest island in the Eastern Caroline Group and the capital of the FSM. It fits the typical South Sea island image with lush vegetation, abundant rainfall and tumbling waterfalls. Unlike other Micronesian islands it has tropical jungles, mist-covered mountains, one of the healthiest mangrove swamps and exotic f lora in the Pacific. Situated in the northwestern Pacific, it is 880 metres high, 21 kilometres wide and shaped somewhat like a circular tent. Also known as the garden island of Micronesia, its boldest landmarks are Sokehs Rock and Nan Madol. Nan Madol is an ancient stone city built on the tidal f lats of the eastern part of Pohnpei. There are approximately 100 artificial islets constructed of basalt logs of various sizes up to 70 tons each, making Nan Madol the largest and one of the most mysterious archaeological sites in the Pacific. The first European to visit the island group was Spaniard Diego de Rocha in 1526. The islands were originally called the New Philippines until 1696 when they were renamed the Caroline Islands. Occupied by Spain, Germany, Japan and the USA, Pohnpei experienced 100 years of foreign rule because it proved to be an ideal supply stop for the Pacific expeditions. Pohnpeian is the native language, however, both English and Pohnpeian are used in business. Archaeologists and engineers are attempting to discover more about the race which constructed the island city of Nan Madol. The stone fortress was built on a reef south-east of Temwen Island by the rulers of Pohnpei around 500 AD until it was taken over by Isokelekel, the warrior who installed the present traditional system in the 1520s. Nan Madol is reached by boat from the main town of Kolonia about 45 minutes away. It’s a full day boat tour which includes a visit to the spectacular Keprohi Waterfall and snorkelling in the lagoon. A 20-minute ride out of Kolonia takes you to the Nanpil River where further along are the spectacular Liduduhniap Twin Waterfalls, complete with thatched huts where you can picnic in a jungle setting. A day trip to privately owned Black Coral Island in the lagoon is the perfect way to safely snorkel the reef and, for a family day, visit Langer island with its simple cottages where visitors can stay overnight. In Kolonia you can see the Spanish Wall, built in 1889 as a boundary for Fort Alphonso XII. Nearby is the Catholic Mission Bell Tower, all that remains of the old German church torn down by the Japanese during WWII. Also take a stroll into the Polynesian village and watch the craftsmen whittle ornaments from locally grown ivory seed. Most tours operate from Kolonia, and many of the waterfalls and areas of historical and ecological importance can only be reached by guided tour. Accommodation is in both traditional Pohnpeian thatched roofed bungalows with garden showers, and Westernstyle hotels. There is no public transport, only taxis and rental cars, but most hotels offer shuttle services. Tourist facilities are clean and the service is friendly. A visit to the Pohnpeian cultural centres is a must for anyone wishing to experience traditional Pohnpeian life. Each centre has a distinctive program and performances include traditional dancing, singing, music, ceremonial sakau making, handicraft arts, and food preparation. The village shops specialise in handicrafts and popular items include carvings of sharks, fish, dolphins and canoes. When it comes to relaxing, try sakau, the numbing local drink which is used in ceremonies and also sold in bars. "
Ubud

Bali, Indonesia, Asia

A visit to Ubud isn’t complete without going to the Monkey Forest Sanctuary south of the village which is inhabited by cheeky mo...

string(3191) "A visit to Ubud isn’t complete without going to the Monkey Forest Sanctuary south of the village which is inhabited by cheeky monkeys waiting for visitors with peanuts. Located in the lush slopes leading up towards the central mountains, Ubud is the cultural centre of Bali. A sanctuary for artisans, this quiet Balinese village is 60 minutes by car from Ngurah Rai International Airport. Ubud has a peaceful atmosphere and is a haven from busy Denpasar and Kuta. Complementing the ancient temples and palaces is the unspoiled countryside that offers picturesque rice paddies, rivers and gorgeous scenery. There are many wonderful walks in every direction from Ubud, through the rice terraces, villages, jungle gorges and grassy hilltops. Organised walks cover a variety of themes including birdwatching and exploration of historic and cultural sites. Ubud’s beautiful surroundings and gracious way of life have drawn artists from all over the globe in recent decades, some of whom have even adopted Ubud as their home. The main gallery areas are Jalan Raya, running from the Peliatan crossroads in the east all the way up to Sayan in the west; the main street through Peliatan; Pengosekan Village; Batuan Village; Penestanan Village; and the town of Mas, where the big-name woodcarvers have palatial galleries with impressive facades and enormous signs. Ubud is also known for its selection of Batik fabrics, carvings, jewellery and paintings. Ubud also has several art museums. To gain a true appreciation of Balinese art, visit Museum Neka which features mostly modern works by Balinese, Indonesian and Western artists who have worked in Bali, and also take time to see Museum Puri Lukisan—Ubud’s “Palace of Art”. Founded around 40 years ago by a group of artists and patrons from the Ubud royal palaces, it is set in a peaceful garden with fountains, statues and pools. The main crossroads in front of the Puri Saren palace is the ‘navel’ of Ubud— its cultural and historical focal point. Away from the main streets, Ubud is a quiet place featuring small lanes lined with homestays, warungs and Balinese compounds extending north and south from the main road. A visit to Ubud isn’t complete without going to the Monkey Forest Sanctuary south of the village which is inhabited by cheeky monkeys waiting for visitors with peanuts. The interesting Pura Dalem Agung (Temple of the Dead) is also located in the forest and features amazing ancient trees and sculptures. Ubud features a range of accommodations including luxury properties with great spa settings and facilities, wonderful health retreats and spectacular views. There are cultural shows on nearly every night and organised tours can be easily arranged to visit other parts of Bali. Its central location makes it easy to get from Ubud to the mountains, beaches and major towns. The main street is also lined with restaurants and cafés with a wide range of delicious foods to cater for all tastes. Although visitors often outnumber residents during peak periods, Ubud retains its charming, unhurried atmosphere and distinctive way of life of a small rural community. "
Makua Beach Kauai

Hawaii, Pacific

The fourth largest and the oldest of the Hawaiian islands, Kauai is about 888 kilometres square in area, formed from one massive v...

string(3019) "The fourth largest and the oldest of the Hawaiian islands, Kauai is about 888 kilometres square in area, formed from one massive volcano of which Mt Waialeale forms the eastern rim. The main road circles the coastline with the exception of a 24-kilometre stretch at the north shore cliffs which is inaccessible. When Captain Cook came ashore in January 1778 he was received as a god. Today, visitors to this beautiful island of gardens and rainbows are greeted in much the same friendly way. Lihue, the capital of Kauai, still has few buildings taller than a coconut tree. Yet the island offers visitors all the ingredients for a perfect holiday including luxury accommodation, gourmet cuisine, a host of watersports and activities including world-class golf. Po`ipu, a leisurely 30 minutes by car south of Lihue, has been called Kauai’s playground, with its pristine beaches protected by a necklace of offshore reefs. Just one kilometre from the resort area is sailing, diving, deep-sea fishing and daily boat tours from Kukuiula Harbour. At nearby Spouting Horn, a turbulent wave action causes surf to shoot through a lava tube and out a hole in the coastal rock. This geyser sometimes reaches heights of 18 metres and more. On the west side of Kauai you’ll find what Mark Twain called the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’, Waimea Canyon, 1097 metres deep in parts, with red and green vistas punctuated by waterfalls. North from Lihue you can stop off to take a ride on one of the flat-bottom river boats that takes you to the Fern Grotto. Further north past the Coconut Coast you pass by the turnoff to The Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge which shelters thousands of seabirds. Near Princeville and Hanalei, made famous by the song Puff the Magic Dragon, is Ke`e Beach. Close by are the wet and dry caves, prominent in ancient Hawaiian myth and the start of the 17 kilometres Kalalau hiking trail. Further south is Lumahai Beach the famous nurse’s beach in the movie South Pacific. On the island’s north shore the scenery runs riot, grey mists hang over the sheer Napali cliffs, waterfalls tumble into deep valleys. Much of this region and the island’s interior cannot be reached by road, so a helicopter or fixed wing plane tour can give you a perspective otherwise unobtainable. Kauai is called the Garden Island with good reason. The National Tropical Botanical Gardens in Lawai Valley and the Allerton Estate Gardens, as well as the Limahuli Gardens in the north, are among the major attractions that showcase nature at her best. Kauai’s diverse scenery has lured filmmakers to her shores for decades and such classics as Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark and of course, South Pacific mean visitors can occasionally experience déjà vu. Also Kauai is also popular with practitioners of the healing arts giving it the reputation of being a special place for those seeking rejuvenation and relaxation combined with a taste of traditional local culture. "

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