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Archive for October, 2009

Three Countries In Ten Days: Visiting The Grand Palace Of Thailand

October 30th, 2009 by

We were so excited to try the Chao Phraya Express boats that we left our hotel early immediately after having our fill at the breakfast buffet.  It was a blessing that our hotel was highly accessible to both the BTS Skytrain and the river express routes.  Since we have already tried traveling via the BTS, we decided that it was about time to explore Bangkok onboard one of the popular Chao Phraya Express Boats.

Welcome to the Grand Palace

After buying our “Ride All You Can” tickets, we boarded the regular sized public boats and checked out the map and brochures that were handed over to us at the customer service counters.  We had our hearts set on exploring the Grand Palace of Thailand so we automatically searched the map for landmarks.  After a few minutes of leaving the pier, an English speaking tour guide spoke over the intercom and explained each pier stop along the Chao Phraya River. Wow, that was very helpful! After the guide explained the entire map, we realized that we had to get off at the Maharaj Pier if we wanted to visit the Grand Palace.

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Feng Du: China’s Ghost City

October 29th, 2009 by

One place in China serves as the country’s sole ghost city, not just as a place of burial but as a gateway to hell. Feng Du is located on Ming Mountain, on the northern banks of the Yangtze River between Zhongxian and Fuling. Established more than 1,700 years ago, this necropolis is steeped in Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian lore, and is now frequented by tourists who visit the 75 temples and shrines dedicated to the gods of the afterlife.

It is believed that after death, the souls register at the Hell of Feng Du, and obtain their entrance permit, reviewed by 10 Yama officials and wait for the decision of the King of Hell before entering the Gate of Hell. Sinful people are punished and reborn as animals, while virtuous people are reborn as humans after a wonderful time in paradise.

Humans may also spend time in the necropolis, among its many temples and shrines. On the way to the main temple, visitors have to undergo a series of “tests” to see if they are good or bad. The first of these are the three bridges, of which only the middle one lets you in the land of the dead (the other two serve are exits). Couples who wish to remain together in the afterlife must hold hands while crossing the middle bridge and take nine steps, nine being a lucky number in China. When entering each of the temples, girls must step in with their right foot first if they wish to remain female in their next life; boys must use their left. The next test is a 200-pound iron stone which men must balance on top of a round point if they wish to prove they are good husbands. Another test is climbing a set of stairs; those below 33 years of age must do so in one breath while those above it may walk. The final test, to be done in front of the temple and besides a display of small figures being tortured by supernatural beings, is balancing on a rounded point for three seconds. Women need to use their right foot for this while men need to use their left.

Feng Du is one of the 72 graveyards of Taoism, places where Taoists believe the souls will gather after death. At the center of Feng Du is a large palace that covers 3,000 square meters, and is reachable through a huge arc of stone and wood. Amidst the traditional-style buildings and the well-kept gardens are creepy structures, among which is the tower house where spirits who are condemned to hell supposedly have one last chance to look at their loved ones. Its name, appropriately enough, is Last Glance At Home Tower, after which the souls drink a memory-erasing soup before moving on. Other disturbing place-names are called “Ghost Torturing Pass”, “Nothing to be Done Bridge”, and so on. Many statues litter the area, each one said to hold responsibility over areas in the spirit world and many describe the horrifying punishments waiting in the after-life for people who disobey ancient Chinese morals. One statue in particular, the Ghost King, is 138 meters high and 217 meters wide, and is the biggest rock-side sculpture in the world.

Feng Du is near Chongqing, the most economically significant city in West China and the biggest inland city in the country. The city is the launching point for boat trips down the Yangtze River past the Three Gorges Dam. Chongqing itself has many attractions, from Chiang Kai-Shek’s old military headquarters (the city served as the China’s capital during World War II) to the prosperous downtown center of Chongqing Jiefangbei Pedestrian Street.

With the completion of the Three Gorges Dam, Feng Du has turned into an island, accessible only by boat, with part of the graveyard now submerged underwater. The best time to visit Feng Du is between the 3rd and 15th of March, when fairs containing spirit shows and magic shows are held. Many local believers choose the names of their newborn babies with the help of these shows. Feng Du is usually the first shore excursion in the Yangtze River cruises and is a perfect getaway for this season of spooks and spirits.

A Guide to the Thai City of Phuket

October 28th, 2009 by

The astoundingly beautiful city of Phuket is one of the most sought after beach destinations in Thailand.

Phuket, Thailand - Beach resort

From historic sites to sandy beaches and towering mountain cliffs, we’re positive that anyone who travels to Phuket will have a wonderful time. That is, of course, if you learn a bit about the city before you arrive. Read the rest of this entry »

Three Countries In Ten Days: Chao Phraya Express Of Bangkok

October 23rd, 2009 by

Our Ayutthaya Day Tour really left us tired but giddy with all the new adventures that we experienced.  It was definitely fun exploring the grounds of the Bang Pa-in Summer Palace.  It was enriching seeing the temple at the Wat Yai Chai Mongkhol.  We could not believe that we saw the famous large Buddha head image on a tree at the Wat Mahathat.  From here, we even visited and took all the photos that we wanted at the Wat Pra Si Sanphet.  When we felt like it could not get any better, our driver Phan drove us to see the highly popular huge leaning Buddha at the Wat Lokayasutharam.  We did not notice the terrible traffic jam as we slept in the taxi the entire trip back to Bangkok!  Phan just woke us up after almost three hours to let us know that we were back to our hotel.

Onboard the Chao Phraya Express Boat

The best thing about booking a room in a nice and comfortable hotel is that you do not have to worry about anything after a long and tiring day.  You can decide to relax by the pool, soak away the strain in your muscles in your bathtub or order delectable room service and have dinner by candlelight.  All these you can have and more so make sure that you reserve a room in any of the reputable hotels in Bangkok like the Banyan Tree Hotel Bangkok.  My partner and I decided to try the pool at our hotel to freshen ourselves.  It was scorching hot in Ayutthaya that we immediately relished the cool pool water.

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6 Korean TV Show Locations You Can Tour

October 22nd, 2009 by

The Korean Wave has brought worldwide attention to South Korean culture, through its movies, tv shows and music. Many TV shows are known throughout Asia, but did you know that the locations where these Koreanovelas and filmed can actually be visited by the fans?
Here are 6 Korean TV show locations you can visit:

Coffee Prince Cafe

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Visiting Macau

October 21st, 2009 by

Macau, in colonial times, was ruled by Portugal. Set on the coast of China, this sleepy city has a history that speaks volumes. One of only two special administrative regions in China, Macau has its own government, currency, and industry.


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Ten Things To Do At Ocean Park Hong Kong

October 16th, 2009 by

Even before Hong Kong Disneyland opened its doors to the public, there was one theme park that both locals and foreigners can visit for a full day of fun and adventure. I am referring to none other than Ocean Park Hong Kong. This particular theme park is considered as one of the world’s best theme parks that provide entertainment and promote education.

Welcome to Ocean Park

Ocean Park is located in Aberdeen towards the Southern part of the Hong Kong island and quite near to a number of discount hotels in Hong Kong. The park opens at 9:00 am and closes at 6:30pm. Those who would like to spend half a day or a full day at Ocean Park can purchase General Admission tickets at the park’s main entrance and at the Tai Shue Wan entrance. Alternatively, tickets are also available at the Citybus Bus Route 629 Terminal which can be found near the Admiralty MTR station (exit B) and also via the Ocean Park Online Ticketing System.

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10 Delightfully Delicious Indian Dishes

October 14th, 2009 by

Indian cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in restaurants and homes around the globe. With dishes ranging from mild to spicy, it’s easy to find an Indian dish to suit your palate. To make things even better, most are incredibly easy to prepare. Try a few of these great Indian dishes on for size.

10. Butter Chicken

Me and MP's butter chicken.

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Halloween, Japan-style

October 12th, 2009 by

It is only recently that Japan is discovering the joys of All Hallow’s Eve. A traditionally American holiday with a background in respecting the wandering spirits of the earth, the Japanese decided to do away with the religious aspects altogether and adopt the pumpkins, candies, costumes, and merry-making associated with it. Though still only observed by a fraction of the population, Halloween is a growth industry, fueled by commercialism and a cultural need for another festival that has outfits going for it.


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Three Countries In Ten Days: Wat Lokayasutharam

October 9th, 2009 by

Ayutthaya is such an amazing place that in every interesting attraction that we visit, we realize what a wise decision we have made when we decided to book the Ayutthaya tour. We strongly felt as if we have been touring Ayutthaya for weeks when we were there only for a day trip.

Welcome to Wat Lokayasutharam

It was starting to get late. Time truly flies very fast when you are absorbed in what you are doing. We left Bangkok at 8:00 in the morning and did not notice that it was already past 5:00 pm. We almost did not make it to Wat Pra Si Sanphet as we reached the place at 4:30 (when it was scheduled to close in half an hour). Good thing we were able to squeeze in what we can in just thirty minutes. We enjoyed exploring the temple grounds and marveled at the proud looking chedis. We also did not miss the chance to go up the chedis and see how far our legs will allow us to go.

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  • Polls

    Top 5 Romantic Spots in Asia

    • Palawan, Philippines (39%, 182 Votes)
    • Boracay, Philippines (36%, 168 Votes)
    • Bali, Indonesia (31%, 143 Votes)
    • Agra, India (18%, 84 Votes)
    • Batangas, Philippines (17%, 79 Votes)
    • Male, Maldives (16%, 77 Votes)
    • Jeju Island, South Korea (16%, 75 Votes)
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