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Phuket

Thailand, Asia

A holiday in Phuket gives travellers the chance to escape to pristine beaches, crystalline waters, sumptuous cuisine and a pulsa...

string(3041) " A holiday in Phuket gives travellers the chance to escape to pristine beaches, crystalline waters, sumptuous cuisine and a pulsating nightlife. Phuket has it all. Dubbed ‘Pearl of the South’ by the tourist industry, Phuket is Thailand’s largest, most populous and most visited island. A whirl of colour and cosmopolitanism, Thailand’s only island province revolves around and thrives on tourism but still retains a spark of the real Thailand. Phuket has a long history. In centuries past, it was an important trading post. Two centuries ago, extensive tin mining drew thousands of Chinese labourers to the island and their influence has remained, leaving the province of Phuket with the highest percentage of ethnic Chinese in the country. The southern and coastal areas of the island were predominantly inhabited by Muslim fisherman. Whether it’s world-class diving in the Andaman Sea, golf at the world standard championship courses or exciting eco-adventures in tropical forests, it is the place to extend your horizons. Take an exhilarating speedboat ride to the surrounding islands or enjoy a serene cruise around mystical Phang Noa Bay. Or why not enjoy the vibrant nightlife at legendary Patong Beach with its bewildering mix of restaurants, bars, discos, live music clubs and cabarets. Inexpensive deals abound for this stunning destination and there is a wide variety of holiday packages available that need not break the budget. Phuket is more than a provincial capital; it is also a fascinating location for enthusiastic shoppers with all kind of budgets. You will find items ranging from antique Asian art and crafts, clothing boutiques, household knickknacks to bolts of famous Thai silk with bargaining the order of the day. With its idyllic tropical weather, Phuket is a favourite with beach lovers. There are, broadly speaking, two seasons: the dry and the wet. The dry season begins in December and lasts until April, when the rainfall increases. Wet or dry, temperatures remain remarkably consistent, nestling around 30°C and always with a dash of humidity. Just a 45-minute speedboat jaunt and a 90-minute ferryboat ride from Phuket are the towering limestone outcrop of the twin Phi Phi Islands. The larger and inhabited island, Phi Phi Don attracts hundreds of visitors to stay on its lovely shores. It is paradise perfected with beautiful beaches, stunning rock formations and vivid turquoise waters teeming with colourful marine life. Without roads, there is no hustle and bustle, no reason to hurry. Longtail boats make the many secluded beaches around Phi Phi Don accessible. The sheer limestone walls of the smaller Phi Phi Leh are dotted with caves and passages and the island’s shallow blue-green lagoons and coral gardens are a snorkeller’s paradise. So whether you want to snorkel the day away, relax in the sun, dance ‘til dawn at a club, or indulge in Thai specialty cuisines, it’s not difficult to see why Phuket is considered the ultimate holiday destination in Thailand. "
Seminyak & Canggu

Bali, Indonesia, Asia

With its central location, burgeoning nightlife and accessibility to major tourist attractions, this area is a perfect alternative...

string(2344) "With its central location, burgeoning nightlife and accessibility to major tourist attractions, this area is a perfect alternative to Kuta. To the north of Kuta and Legian, are stylish Seminyak and Canggu. There are no shortage of villas between Seminyak and Canggu luxe villas paired with five-star services and facilities offering you your own private piece of paradise. Seminyak Seminyak, has a reputation among tourists for being more sophisticated and having a more stylish nightlife than Kuta. The shopping centres and busy streets of Kuta are just 15 minutes to the south, and the more rural area of Canggu is just a 25-minute drive to the north. Seminyak has also become extremely popular for its wide range of world-class restaurants featuring all cuisines and eateries lining the beach. The multitude of upmarket boutiques, galleries, shops and markets make for fascinating shopping trips. Seminyak has become the luxury spa destination in Bali. By local standards, treatments may seem expensive but are probably half the price, or less, than you would pay at home. Most hotels offer an in-house service and in-villa treatments are widely available. Canggu Further north of Seminyak is Canggu that is widely used to refer to the eight-kilometre coastal stretch running north from the village of Berawa, just north of Seminyak, to the village of Cemagi, just south of Tanah Lot. The once rural farmland full of green rice paddy fields is now packed with luxury villas, yoga studios, boutiques, cafes, restaurants and beach clubs. Its beaches draw in surfers from all around the world. Most of the action can be found near Batu Bolong, a beach best known for its longboard-friendly break and Old Man’s, a lively beer garden and surf club. Just north of Canngu, one of Bali’s most important temples can be found. Over thousands of years, the tiny island of Tanah Lot was gradually formed as a result of erosion by ocean tides. Surprisingly modest, it comprises of two shrines with tiered roofs, two pavilions and a few small buildings. Access down to the temple is through a sideshow alley of souvenir shops and market stalls. It is a highly spiritual place, and visitors will often see people making the trip to meditate nearby or walking to the water in order to receive the ministrations of priests. "
North Vietnam

Vietnam, Asia

Some of the most spectacular scenery in Vietnam is in the Tonkin region stretching from the Hoang Lien Son Mountains (Tonkinese Al...

string(3083) "Some of the most spectacular scenery in Vietnam is in the Tonkin region stretching from the Hoang Lien Son Mountains (Tonkinese Alps) eastward across the Red River Delta to the islands of Halong Bay. This area is home to many hilltribes, some of which have not been influenced by Vietnamese or Western life. A favourite vacation spot for Hanoi locals is Sam Son beach, 16 kilometres south-east of Thanh Hoa. The Tam Dao Hill Station, founded by the French in 1907, consists of weathered grand colonial villas. Here there is superb scenery, refreshing weather and good hiking trails. Hoa Lu was the capital of Vietnam under the Dinh Dynasty (968-980) and Pre-Le (980-1009). The ancient citadel covers an area of three square kilometres and the outer ramparts enclose temples, shrines and the place where the king conducted his court. Two sanctuaries worth visiting are the temples of King Dinh Tien Hoang and King Le Dai Hanh. A short boat trip away is Bich Dong Grotto in the village of Van Lam, and the Tam Coc Caves and the Xuyen Thuy Grotto. Close to the town city of Ninh Binh is the Cuc Phuong National Park, great for nature lovers. The Perfume Pagoda is one of several pagodas and Buddhist shrines built into limestone cliffs in the Huong Tich Mountain. A few hours drive from Hanoi is Halong Bay. With its 1969 islands rising from the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, it is an awe-inspiring sight and an absolute must on any itinerary. Day or overnight boat trips are easily arranged and are the ideal way to take in the spectacular islands. Hanoi Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital as well as the political, economic and cultural centre of the country. This beautiful, charming city was chosen as the capital by King Ly Thai To in 1010 and was renamed Thang Long (the Soaring Dragon) and Hanoi has been the capital ever since. Rich in ancient history, Hanoi preserves almost 600 pagodas, temples and many streets with centuries-old architecture busy with trade activities. The city also preserves its poetic features with rows of trees lining both sides of the streets, parks covering dozens of hectares and natural lakes. Tourists can visit President Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, Co Loa Citadel, the One Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature (Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam, the oldest university in Vietnam), Quan Su Pagoda - the official centre of Vietnamese Buddhism, Chua Thay, the Master’s Pagoda, Tay Phuong Pagoda, Lenin Thong Nhat and Thu Le Parks, the Hoan Kiem Lake and the West Lake. Other attractions include Vietnam National Museum of History, the Vietnam Military History Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts and a suburban village, where visitors can acquaint themselves with the life of Vietnamese peasants. The Old Quarter of 36 ancient trading streets is a fascinating area to explore, with its bustling trade and tunnel houses. In some of the quiet streets off beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake are an increasing number of boutiques and gift/ souvenir shops that combine local and modern styles, with delightful restaurants and cafés in historic shophouses. "
Micronesia Chuuk Beach Hotels Resorts Chuuk

Micronesia, Pacific

Chuuk Atoll, located in the Caroline Islands has one of the largest lagoons in the world. Beneath the blue waters of the lagoon...

string(1424) "Chuuk Atoll, located in the Caroline Islands has one of the largest lagoons in the world. Beneath the blue waters of the lagoon encrusted with coral, are more than 60 sunken ships from the Japanese WWII fleet. Lashed to the decks of freighters are the rusty remains of fighter planes and trucks. The lagoon has been declared a monument, with the salvage and taking of relics prohibited by law. Divers must obtain a permit before diving around the ships. One of the two top scuba diving locations in the world. Chuuk’s water temperatures are 29ºC and incredibly calm between December and May. Average temperature above water is 30ºC. The main island of Weno is the capital and commercial centre and Chuuk’s State Centre is where visitors can experience a taste of island life by visiting the local stores jammed with everything from kerosene stoves to ladies wear and handicrafts. For an outstanding view of Weno and the lagoon, climb into the old lighthouse built during Japanese occupation and visit the Blue Lagoon Resort for a stroll in the coconut palm grounds with splendid views across the water to Dublon Island, formerly the Japanese military headquarters. American dollars are used while travellers cheques and currency can be changed at banks and at some hotels. When visiting traditional areas, respect local customs and note that the locals frown upon mini skirts and short shorts. "
Sabah

Malaysia, Asia

Situated on the beautiful island of Borneo, Sabah is one of the thirteen states of Malaysia. It is the second largest state in ...

string(2644) " Situated on the beautiful island of Borneo, Sabah is one of the thirteen states of Malaysia. It is the second largest state in Malaysia and shares the island of Borneo with Sarawak, Brunei, and Indonesian Kalimantan. Sabah is richly blessed with nature’s diversity, unique cultures, fun adventures, beautiful beaches, and fantastic cuisines for the adventurous tastebuds. From the world’s largest flower, the rafflesia, to one of the highest mountains is Southeast Asia, Mount Kinabalu, and one of the world’s top dive sites, Sipadan Island, Sabah has it all. Not only will you be amazed by the places to see and things to do here, you will also be treated with unique Sabahan hospitality. Explore the unique culture and tradition of Sabah and get ready to experience memories that will last a lifetime. Traditionally, Sabah’s economy was lumber dependent. However, with the increasing depletion of natural forests as well as ecological efforts to conserve the rainforest, palm oil has proven to be a more sustainable resource. Sabah also exports other agricultural products including rubber, cocoa, vegetables and seafood. Tourism, particularly ecotourism, is presently the second largest contributor to the economy. In the downtown area, you can get around quite easily on foot between hotels, restaurants, tour operators, markets, and the tourism office. For longer trips, taxis are readily available. Just 24 kilometres from Tawau town is Tawau Hills Park with sprawling grounds, lush green foliage and a sparkling river. It is a popular destination for visitors who want to experience nature at its best. Enjoy the rich vegetation of the park that changes as the altitude increases. There are plenty of hiking trails with some leading to a hot spring area and waterfalls. For a rich, cultural experience visit the Linangkit Cultural Village in Tuaran and meet the Lotud people, one of the 32 diverse ethnic groups in Sabah. Situated in Kampung Selupoh, approximately an hour’s drive away from the heart of Kota Kinabalu, the Linangkit Cultural village offers an indepth look into the social and cultural heritage of the Lotud people. The choice of accommodations in Sabah is endless. Sabah offers five-star resorts with the latest amenities and facilities to comfortable lodgings for the budget conscious. They all feature Sabah’s common aspect of warm hospitality. Signature championship golf courses surrounded by serene vistas, a world-class marina for sailing enthusiasts, and endless island accommodations are just few reasons that will ensure that every moment of your holiday is lively and fun filled. "
Pacific Papua New Guinea Highlands Sepik highlands The Highlands & The Sepik

Papua New Guinea, Pacific

The Sepik is an immense, lush, grassland reserve, surrounded by one of the world’s greatest river systems, running 1126 kilometr...

string(3389) "The Sepik is an immense, lush, grassland reserve, surrounded by one of the world’s greatest river systems, running 1126 kilometres from its origins high in the mountains to the sea. The people along the river depend heavily on it for transportation, water and food. Their cultural links with the Sepik River are symbolised in many of their ancient and spiritual rituals, such as the manhood initiation. This requires painful carving of flesh on the backs of young men with razor blades. Patterns are that of a crocodile lying on the banks of the river. The history of the Sepik region reflects the influence over the years of the missionaries, traders, labour recruiters and administrators. Here river and crocodiles, man and nature have learned to live in mutual respect. Parts of the Highlands remain untouched just as they were when first ‘discovered’ in 1933. The people are hardy and village life depends on subsistence farming. Visitors will be fascinated by the bright ochre colours and two–metre high head-dresses swathed in plumes of the Bird of Paradise worn by the tribal elders. Dancing is proud and fierce at traditional sing-sings, with drums beating long into the night. The Eastern Highlands Province is a one hour flight north from Port Moresby or half an hour from Lae or Mt Hagen. Once there, you are surrounded by steep, rugged mountains covered in dense rainforest graduating to sub-alpine vegetation. The valleys are blanketed in grass and the panoramic views contain every imaginable shade of green. Altitude varies from 600 metres in the south to Mt Michael’s 2750 metre summit. Goroka, the largest town and capital, lies at 1600 metres above sea level. The Sepik River has no actual river delta and stains the sea brown for up to 50 kilometres. It is said that islanders off the coast can draw fresh water straight from the sea. The Sepik River is navigable for almost its entire length and winding its way through the land it resembles a huge, brown, coiling serpent. The force of the river tears great chunks of mud and vegetation out of the river banks and at times these drift downstream and appear as floating islands. You can cruise the middle Sepik aboard the quaint Sepik Spirit, a slow house-boat. In addition, Kilibobo Spirit is available primarily for charter, though it doesn’t have a schedule. On special occasions the ship operates expeditionary cruises to the Sepik and the PNG Islands. West Sepik or Sandaun Province is near the West Papua (Irian Jaya) border and is inhospitable terrain. It is home to the Upper Sepik people who move around in long, narrow dugout canoes. Travel is always difficult as there are no roads and the rivers are narrow. The centres are Vanimo and Amanab and villages around here have strong religious beliefs centred on deities that are believed to hold supernatural powers that are vital for survival in this remote and dense countryside. East Sepik is the middle and lower region from Angoram to Wewak town. There are a number of large rubber and cocoa plantations along the river flats. Wewak is an attractive palm-fringed town, which felt the might of Japanese troops who ‘discovered’ its isolation and its hidden ports around Kairiuru Island. Many war memories remain around the plantations and a Japanese gun still points from the eastern end of the island. "

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