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Archive for July, 2010

Station Hopping On Board Manila’s MRT Part II

July 30th, 2010 by

To pick up where we left off in Part I, the Metro Rail Transit System is a popular mode of transportation in Manila. Tourists who want to explore the expansive metropolis can rely on the MRT to ferry them around quickly and efficiently.

Photo by: ramon_w

Read on to learn more about the different attractions and landmarks near these eight MRT stations:

Boni MRT Station (Mandaluyong City)

Travelers who need to go to a hospital can disembark at the Boni MRT Station as the Victor Potenciano Medical Center is just a few minutes walk away.  This station is also near fast-food chains as well as a public market.  As for malls, tourists can head to the nearby Robinson’s Pioneer.  There are also other modes of transport in this area like buses, taxi cabs, and jeepneys.

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Explore Ancient Bagan

July 28th, 2010 by

Volatile political situation and oppressive military junta aside, Myanmar has a remarkable cultural legacy to discover. For tourists who do venture to Burma, the ancient city of Bagan in lush Mandalay Division is usually a de facto first stop.

The Ayeyarwaddy River point of interest sits on a massive plateau, full of ancient monuments and temples. From the 11th to the 13th century, this phenomenal place was a prominent kingdom and nexus of religion, social interaction and culture.

Bagan’s History

Photo credit

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Four Spectacular Castles in Japan

July 26th, 2010 by

Throughout Japan’s Warring States Period (1467–1603), many of the country’s magnificent feudal fortresses were destroyed. Numerous others that survived into the 20th century were strategically bombed by World War II air raids.

Thankfully however, four castles remain remarkably intact and have been declared National Treasures of Japan.

Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle
– The “Crow Castle”, replete with a brilliant ebony exterior, is one of the most venerable landmarks in Japan. The second floor of this Nagano Prefecture point of interest contains a truly exception weapons museum.

The narrow windows of Matsumoto Castle allow visitors to admire fabulous views of the Japanese Alps and Matsumoto City. The immediate scenery is idyllic as well, as koi fish and swans swim in the moat below.

Local city government bought the castle after the Meiji Restoration in the late 19th century and still own, maintain and cherish the landmark. Summer time in Matsumoto Castle brings a Taiko (drum) Festival as well as a Takigi Noh, a classical musical drama performed by torch light. Winter visitors enjoy the snow as it falls on the castle roofs.

Matsumoto Castle is a short walk from JR Matsumoto train station. Superb Nagano hotels are less than two hours away.

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Station Hopping On Board Manila’s MRT Part I

July 23rd, 2010 by

There are various modes of transport to consider while abroad, from planes to trains, taxis to buses. While certain parts of the world debate the merits of light rail and rapid transit, many urban areas throughout Asia already boast highly efficient networks of both. Tourists in Metro Manila for example, can take the city’s Light Rail Transit System.

Photo by: herbie

The LRT is divided into several lines that serve segregated sections of Metro Manila.  The main line of the LRT is further divided into two lines: the LRT Line 1, or Yellow Line, which travels from North to South and the LRT Line 2, or Purple Line, which travels from East to West.  Manila’s Metro Rail Transit System however, is the main focus of this article.

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Quick Guide to Kathmandu

July 21st, 2010 by

Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal and a city rich in spiritual history and culture.

Kathmandu valley from Sacred hill-Swayambhunath-Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu and the Kathmandu Valley represents a vital pilgrimage for travelers from all walks of life and on all types of budgets. Here’s what you need to know before you visit. Read the rest of this entry »

Japan’s Quintessential Karaoke Culture

July 16th, 2010 by

Like pachinko and vending, karaoke parlors are found on every corner of Japan. Unlike these other forms of entertainment, karaoke is omnipresent around world, enthralling and irritating millions of people with good singing and bad. And with home karaoke sets, everyone can feel like a diva for a song, as it were.


Photo courtesy by dominiekth.

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Fantastic Views From An Elephant Ride

July 16th, 2010 by

Asia is a wonderful part of the world to discover and indeed, people come by the tens of millions every year to experience what the continent’s countless destinations and cultures have to offer. Some tourists do it up in style and book luxurious hotels like the Empire Hotel and Country Club in Brunei and splurge on lavish tours. Others strap on backpacks in tow and go with the flow.

Photo by: herbie

I consider myself somewhere in between – there are times when I welcome the comforts of a five-star hotel and times when I want to get my hands dirty and check out the local scene. At the end of the day, it pays to be aware of all available choices.

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9 Sights to See in Bangalore

July 14th, 2010 by

Heading to Bangalore, also known as Bengalaru, for the first time? The incredible Indian city is packed with a distinct blend of old-world culture and modern tradition. Located in a pleasant climate, the historic city began to attract major industry during the late 1980s and has continued to grow ever since.

talkad temple - thanks to jishnu

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Have A Unique Malaysian Experience At The Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex

July 9th, 2010 by

There is always something interesting to learn in each and every country I visit.  Exploring different tourist attractions allows me to understand more about a country’s culture and rich history.  When I check out the various shops, I meet numerous locals, chat and fill my suitcase to the brim. It’s a classic best of both worlds scenario – educating myself and giving in to guilty pleasures.

The Petronas Towers Photo by:  kitci

It’s no secret that Malaysia is a favorite destination among tourists from all over the globe.  I feel quite fortunate to have visited a couple of Malaysian cities and even made some friends along the way. Some have introduced me to the wonderful world of Malaysian crafts by inviting me to the Kompleks Budaya Kraf – or literally, the Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex.

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Seven Must-Sample Chinese Wines

July 8th, 2010 by

Wine is “the water of history” in Chinese culture and a paramount symbol and curative elixir. As with other world cultures, wine has been a muse for some of China’s most venerable scholars and poets. Wine is important in Chinese celebrations and in some, such as birthday and longevity banquets,  is the central theme.

Here are seven must-sample Chinese wines:


Photo courtesy by Ivan Walsh.


The national wine of China, Maotai is solely distilled in the town of Maotai, Guizhou Province. Attempts to replicate it anywhere else has met with failure. Some suggest that the town’s unique soil, water and climate all contribute to the one-of-a-kind spirit. This fiery beverage is essential in any Chinese banquet and is the wine of choice during Beijing state dinners. The town itself established the Wine Cultural Museum, which exhibits artifacts and production methods from the country’s millennium-old wine history.

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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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