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Archive for May, 2010

Visit The Adorable Orangutans At Sepilok

May 28th, 2010 by

I usually come across orangutans whenever I visit zoos. There is something about these gentle apes that truly make them so adorable in my eyes. They will lovingly hold your hand and will look deep in your eyes as if begging you to make some time to play with them even for just a short time. Who could say no to that?

Photo by: shoppingfan

Anyone who finds these orangutans cute and cuddly must not pass up the chance to visit them at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center.

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Seven Sacred Sites In Korea

May 27th, 2010 by

Bulguksa - meaning “Temple of the Buddha Land”, this temple in the North Gyeongsang province of the country is a fine example of Silla architecture and houses no less than seven sacred objects. Bulguksa has been restored several times in its history and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A double-sectioned staircase acts as entrance to the temple complex, built with 33 steps to correspond to the 33 steps to enlightenment.

Bulguksa Temple

Photo courtesy by Larry Johnson:

To get to Bulguksa, take a temple-bound bus from Gyeongju Intercity Bus Terminal and ride for 40 minutes.

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Exploring Japan on the Kyoto Rail Tour

May 26th, 2010 by

Are you short on time to spend in Japan? Do you want to find a way to see as much of the country as possible, without breaking the bank or spending more time than you really have? If so, you may want to consider the Kyoto Rail Tour by Bullet Train.

Where is Kyoto?

DSCF1109 Japan - Kyoto - The highest pagoda of Japan, the Toji temple

The Kyoto prefecture is a city located on the Japanese island of Honshu. With a population of 1.5 million people, and a major part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan district, Kyoto was at one point the capital of Japan. Today it serves as the capital of the Kyoto Prefecture. Read the rest of this entry »

Savor The Goodies Of Lucban In Quezon

May 21st, 2010 by

LUCBAN, QUEZON (PHILIPPINES) – It is that time of the year again when the people of Quezon celebrate the annual Pahiyas Festival.  This glorious festival takes place every May 15.  Visitors, both local and foreign, mark this festival on their calendars.

Welcome to the Pahiyas Festival Photo by: herbie

I have always wanted to go.  Year after year I plan to but end up not going because of some sudden change of plans.This year, I really promised myself that it’s about time to tick of the Pahiyas Festival in my list of “Things to Do In This Lifetime.” It surely helped that the festival fell conveniently on a weekend. Yay!

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Shanghai Expo 2010

May 20th, 2010 by

For 184 days, China and the rest of the world draws its attention to the Shanghai Expo 2010, the biggest world fair in history. An event eight years in the making, the Shanghai Expo continues the world fair tradition of showcasing human inspiration and thought, a tradition which began during the 19th-century expositions in Great Britain and France. The Shanghai Expo is a history-making event in its own way, as well, by being the first expo organized in a developing country.

Photo courtesy by pamhule:

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7 Unusual Sites in Bangkok

May 19th, 2010 by

The city of Bangkok is full of history, culture, and tradition. Occasionally, though, we need to step out of the box and have a little fun, taking a closer look at some of the area’s lesser known attractions – some of which happen to be incredibly strange. The next time you’re in Bangkok, keep your eyes peeled for these oddities as well as others. You might just be surprised at how interesting and entertaining these experiences can be, even if they are just a little bit off the wall.

7. The Shrine of Goddess Tubtim

The Shrine of Goddess Tubtim, otherwise known as the Phallic Shrine, is certainly a sight to behold. The shrine is, as the name implies, made out of hundreds of penises carved out of wood and stone. Some stand as tall as ten feet, while others are somewhat smaller. Some are decorated with ribbons and feathers, while others are painted.

Why such a strange monument? It was developed in order to honor Chao Mae Tubtim, the female fertility goddess. Women who want to conceive believe that by leaving an offering at the shrine, usually of jasmine or lotus, they will have success. If they are successful in their endeavors, most will return after the baby is born and add a new phallus to the shrine as an act of thanks.

6. Spirit Houses

Houses and spirit houses along canal

Spirit Houses aren’t places you can visit, per say. Scattered not only throughout Bangkok, but throughout all of Thailand, spit houses are very tiny – the size of doll houses. These tiny homes are usually placed on pedestals in places that are pretty easy to locate and see.

Bangkok Spirit House

The houses are left behind so that the spirits have a place to stop and rest as they go about their days. The houses, which are believed to date back to pre-Buddhist and pre-Hindu times, usually have doll-sized figures or Buddha statues inside as well. People tend to stop and leave offerings in the houses as they pass, hoping to appease the spirits.

5. Bangkok’s Great Swing

Group pic at Wat Sutat ( Great Swing Temple )

At the Bangkok Wat Sutat Temple you’ll find what is known as the Bangkok Great Swing. In ancient times, men would use the 80-foot swing to rise into the air, all the while attempting to grab a bag of silver coins with their teeth.

What remains of the swing today is the huge teak arch, located directly in front of the temple itself. Fortunately, the practice of swinging for ceremony ended back in 1932, after several deaths and injuries brought the safety of the tradition into question.

4. Corrections Museum

The Corrections Museum

Take a trip down Mahachai Road and you’ll run into a museum unlike most others. The Corrections Museum is dedicated to educating its visitors about the cruel, unusual, and gruesome punishments doled out to offenders throughout Thailand. Some of the punishments aren’t exactly ancient, either.

The museum exists in what was once the Bangkok Remand Prison. The prison was turned into a museum in 1990, after the government turned the site into a park and moved the prisoners elsewhere. Inside, you’ll see examples of corporal punishments, some complete with wax figures. Imagine being placed inside of a rattan ball with nails on the inside. Offenders would be placed in the ball and left inside while an elephant was allowed to kick it around. Ouch!

3. Wat Mahathat Market

Tower and chedi, Wat Mahathat

While there are dozens of incredible shops, vendors, and markets throughout Bangkok, one of the best for purchasing gorgeous amulets is the market inside the Wat Mahathat every Sunday. The Wat mahathat temple has quickly become one of the most popular centers for studies on Buddhism and meditation.

Inside the market, which appears each Sunday, are amulets, talismans, charms, and even traditional medicines. If you believe you need something to help with your meditation or religious studies, you’re likely to find it here. Make sure you know the meaning of anything you buy.

2. Mae Nak Shrine

[Youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIo4wgl7wsk]

According to legend, there once lived a young woman named Nak who married a man by the name of Maak. Maak was drafted to fight during the war, leaving Mae Nak at home. She went into labor while he was gone and died while giving birth. Her spirit constantly called for her husband to return, and stayed in the house until he came back from war. It is believed that the two lived together as if she were not dead for many years.

Years later, Maak realized he was living with a ghost and fled the house to live in the temple. Mae Nak was furious, and began terrorizing the people. She did so until a ghost doctor came and trapped her in a bottle. A shrine dedicated to Mae Nak was later constructed, with a television that runs all day long. Many visit Mae Nak when they feel they are in need of guidance. Her story has since been made into a movie as well.

1. Ko Kret

River boat to Ko Kret Island

Ko Kret is a man-made island that was created 20 km north of Bangkok, in Nonthaburi, during the 18th century. Its inhabitants, the Mon people, have lived there ever since, having sought refuge there, on the island in the middle of the Chao Phraya River. Most spend their days making pottery.

2005 11 22 Ko Kret potteries and bargains

Don’t spend all of your time in Bangkok in traditional museums, on tours, or in your hotel room. Make sure you spend a little bit of time getting to know the city on a deeper, somewhat unusual level. You’ll enjoy the experience.

Beat The Summer Heat With Shaved Ice Desserts

May 14th, 2010 by

A lot of people look forward to the summer season in Asia. For one, summer is synonymous to endless hours of beach bumming fun under the caressing heat of the sun.  Given that there are a lot of things to do at the beach like surfing, wakeboarding, snorkeling, or simply sunbathing, it is easy for everyone to fall in love with this season.  The only disadvantage of summer is that there are days when the heat is simply too much to take that you would just want to lie on a bathtub filled with ice cubes.  But for those who think diving in a tub of ice to be out-of-this-world, they can simply get a serving or two of shaved ice desserts to cool themselves and beat the scorching heat of the sun.

Halo Halo Photo by:  kitci

These shaved ice desserts come in various form and are called different names all over Asia.

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Watch The Whale Sharks Of Sorsogon

May 13th, 2010 by

The town of Donsol can pride itself as the “whale shark capital of the world”, a title earned for being home to the largest concentration of whale sharks in the world. Every year from November to May, this small Philippine community in the province of Sorsogon is visited by around 40 whale sharks, called butanding by among the locals (scientific name: Rhincodon typus). Though these gentle giants roam the vast oceans, sticking near the equator, they frequent Donsol waters for generations, leading the Philippine government to declare the area an official sanctuary for whale sharks.

Butanding

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Discovering Brunei-Muara

May 12th, 2010 by

The country of Brunei, situated along the South China Sea, is separated into four distinct and gorgeous districts. Belait, Tutong, and Temburong each have a story to tell visitors, but many are most enchanted by what they find at Brunei-Muara.

Brunei back country

Serving as the home of the capital of Brunei, Bandar Seri Begawan, the small district of Brunei-Muara is only 570 square kilometers. Despite having a reputation as the smallest district in the country, Brunei-Muara is home to the nation’s airport, to the bustling ports off of Brunei Bay, and to some of the country’s most active commercial districts and government offices. Read the rest of this entry »

Marvel At Nature At The Sandakan Turtle Island Park

May 7th, 2010 by

It is always delightful watch Mother Nature at work.  There is always something magical with the way the sky transforms into a myriad of colors during sunset, or with how a tiny caterpillar can turn into a gentle butterfly, or how the different animals reproduce in their own ways and take care of their young.

Photo by: shoppingfan

For anyone who loves nature and would like to witness the wonderful evolution of life, a trip to the Turtle Island Park is a must.

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AsiaHotels.com Travel Blog is your central source of news bits, amusing experiences, funny observations, and helpful tips and guides to travelling around Asia. For easier browsing, check the Categories section for topics you are interested in. Every month, we also highlight an Asian destination with quick links to the travel guide and best hotels in […]

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Manila City at NightFrom bustling markets, to monstrous mega malls and buzzing nightlife, Manila will have your heart racing for more! With its blend of American and Spanish influences, and well spoken English, the Filipino locals will surely not disappoint with their accommodating and friendly nature. It takes a while to get used to Manila but those who persevere will find that it’s a unique city with a lot of personality and character. Let this magical city inspire you with its own sense of charm and energy. Bellhop Picks: High-end: InterContinental Manila Mid-range: Somerset Olympia Makati Low-range: Garden Plaza Hotel & Suites Manila Read more about other attractions in our Philippines guide. See what fellow travellers have to say in the Philippines tales section.
  • 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)
    • Sentosa Island, Singapore (15%, 72 Votes)
    • Krabi, Thailand (13%, 60 Votes)
    • Macau, China (10%, 49 Votes)
    • Halong Bay, Vietnam (7%, 34 Votes)

    Total Voters: 467

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