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Archive for September, 2010

10 Phenomenal Fall Festivals in Asia

September 30th, 2010 by

Fall festivals flourish in Asia and specifically, in the superb quintet of Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Macau and Bangkok. If you plan to visit Southeast Asia or either People’s Republic of China SAR on business or leisure (or both) between now and December, consider these incredible events to spice up your stay.

Singapore – ARTSingapore, Contemporary Asian Art Fair
When: October 8-11, 2010
Where: SUNTEC Singapore

Hotels in Downtown Core Singapore book fast for this exquisite Contemporary Asian Art Fair. A foremost sanctuary for progressive and avant-garde art, ARTSingapore is the best showcase for creative talent in the continent. The 2009 edition was a spectacular platform for notable artists like Richard Winkler, Marcia Keegan and Hughie Doherty.

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7 Hong Kong Victoria Harbour Highlights

September 28th, 2010 by

Victoria Harbor, … errr, excuse me, Harbour, is Hong Kong’s famous body of water, a 42-square kilometre division between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula. From majestic towers to historic transports, this natural wonder provides plenty of things to see for visitors and is a must-visit for any traveler in the region.

Here are seven things to see in and around Victoria Harbour:

HK skyline

The Hong Kong Skyline

Dominating the view of Victoria Harbor are the numerous skyscrapers all huddled together on Hong Kong Island, a symbol of the region’s vast financial wealth and economic might. The standout buildings here are the ICC Tower, the tallest building in the city; Two International Finance Centre, previous title-holder for the city’s tallest structure; and the Bank of China Tower, a triangular-framework skyscraper designed by the renowned architect I. M. Pei.
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Vietnam In Seven Days: Breathtaking Ha Long Bay

September 24th, 2010 by

Buying hand-sewn crafts definitely placed everyone in our tour group in a happy mood.  After filling our bags with unique souvenirs we decided to continue on our way.  The tour guide informed us that we were only about an hour away from our destination but it might take us a bit longer to get there because of the heavy rains.  Fortunately, it only took us about fifty minutes to reach the Ha Long Pier.

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We immediately found ourselves in the midst of what appeared like hundreds of tourists, tour guides, and workers all trying to get on the right boats all at the same time.  The unfolding scene was organized chaos.  Everything was definitely confusing but fascinating nonetheless.  From here, our tour guide ushered us to a small boat that was to bring us to our main boat for our Ha Long Bay Tour.

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6 Spectacular National Parks in Hokkaido, Japan

September 23rd, 2010 by

Japan is so fraught with extraordinary urban landscapes that often, the general picture outside visitors have of the country is a frenetic ward scene from Ginza, Tokyo or Kita, Osaka. Yes, from Yokohama to Nagoya, Hamamatsu to Sendai, Japan is a nation of intense urban clusters. But beyond the steel skylines is another side of Japan – a side we highlight here with a look at the awesome island of Hokkaido.

The home of Sapporo (beer and city) is a notable haven of natural beauty, with a tidy half-dozen national parks (and five quasi-national parks) to explore. This eminent ensemble is easily accessible from Sapporo hotels and with Tokyo 90 minutes away by plane (four hours by Shinkansen bullet train by 2020), well worth the trip.

Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park

The 212 km2 Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park is in northwest Hokkaido and as the name suggests, spans the islands of Rishiri and Rebun. A gorgeous swath of Hokkaido coastline also makes up part of the park but for visitors, the twin islands lure the lion’s share of summer visitors. Ferry service is sparse from the mainland in winter but quite frequent throughout the warm months, when wildflowers dot the landscape. Perfect for avid hikers, Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park provides both hostels and campsites for visitors.

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Bacolod, Philippines: City Of Smiles

September 21st, 2010 by

Bacolod City is the capital of Negros Occidental in the Western Visayas Region of the Philippines. The city’s famous annual MassKara Festival gave rise to the now-ubiquitous nickname “City of Smiles”.

The center of Ilonggo culture is full of superb food, monuments, heritage sites and people who exhibit the best of what the Western Visayas Region has to offer.

Masskara Festival

Here are some notable items to check off your Bacolod list:

Fountain of Justice

The historic Fountain of Justice in front of Bacolod City Hall commemorates the Spanish colonial surrender of 1898. The area is now a vital recreation and civic space.
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The Venerable Shadow Puppets of Indonesia

September 17th, 2010 by

Tourists who yearn for authentic cultural experiences in Indonesia must definitely try a shadow puppet show. Wayang Kulit (literally “shadow skin”), is the most popular version of the art form and is most prevalent in Java and Bali. Other incarnations of this highly distinctive UNESCO Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity endure throughout Indonesia. If you have a trip to Indonesia in mind, be sure to inquire at your Bali hotel (or Java hotel for that matter) about notable shadow puppet performances on the island.

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Without question, Wayang  Kulit is one of the most venerable forms of traditional storytelling in the world. The custom is particularly strong in central Java.

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Discover Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness

September 16th, 2010 by

The landlocked, rugged and mystical Kingdom of Bhutan is an elusive country to get a handle on and proves deliciously furtive for intrepid travelers. The tiny nation in South Asia is bordered by China/Tibet, India and the Himalayas and is tantalizingly close to both Nepal and Bangladesh. Geography then, plays a significant role in Bhutan’s historic isolation and predominant worldview. The towering, glacial peaks of the mighty Himalayas have shielded and indeed, insulated the Bhutanese people for thousands of years.

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A Guide To The Hong Kong Jockey Club

September 13th, 2010 by

The Hong Kong Jockey Club is an iconic landmark in Hong Kong and an organization which coordinates nearly seven hundred horse races at Happy Valley Racecourse and Sha Tin Racecourse. All visitors are encouraged to experience this classic side Hong Kong and get caught up in the thrill of horse racing. Over a thousand horses are trained to compete in these races, and with over fifteen million dollars wagered on every race, the HKJC transacts the most bets in the world.

Happy Valley RacecoursePhoto courtesy by matt.hutchinson

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Vietnam In Seven Days: Hand-Sewn Crafts

September 10th, 2010 by

After strolling along Hoan Kiem Lake, we decided to simply buy some fast food for our casual dinner back at the hotel.  We had to prepare for our Halong Bay Tour the following day and try to get enough sleep before our 6:00 a.m. wake up call.

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Our hotel in Hanoi was kind enough to store our luggage for free for the duration of our Halong Bay Tour.  The front desk highly recommended the Oriental Sails Overnight Tour.  The tour was offered at US$ 100 per person, which was not so bad for a one night cruise.  The tour guide met us at the hotel lobby at 7:00 a.m. sharp and ushered us to a private van.

After about an hour on the road, our tour guide announced that we were about to make our first stop.  We were brought to a souvenir factory which appeared like a cold chunk of gray concrete from the outside.  The moment we set foot inside the compound, we found ourselves in front of huge front gates which covered with photos of tourists from around the world.

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Backpackers Play – The Ozzie Way!

September 7th, 2010 by

Kayaking in Sydney Harbour

Kayak around one of the most beautiful harbours in Australia and see the world from a different perspective. Discover the hidden beaches of Middle Harbour, explore its wilderness foreshore and experience our majestic harbour like very few visitors ever will – on board a sea kayak! Sea kayaks, specialist kayaking gear and safety equipment are all provided. This experience runs from 8:30am – 12:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Participants should be able to comfortably swim fifty metres, life jackets are supplied and worn. Participants should also bring a water bottle, sun-cream, waterproof camera (optional) prices start from $99.

Hot Air Ballooning

Escape to a world of unexpected surprises as you drift with the morning mist over the vines and farms on a Hunter Valley balloon flight. Or go no further than the north west fringes of Sydney, the Hills /Hawkesbury region is spectacular to fly over in a hot air balloon, one of Sydney’s best kept secrets. From $290 for an hours flight a printed photo and a glass of champagne.

Jet Boating

Come jet boating through the magnificent Sydney Harbour and travel at speeds of up to 75km/h, fuelled by the full power of the jet boat engine. This jet boat ride is the ultimate sightseeing adventure. Brace yourself for amazing jet boating manoeuvres, such as 270-degree spins and power break stops! Bucket seats (the first of its kind in a jet boat) and safety handrails have been fitted to maximise the comfort and safety of all passengers. Get set for 35 heart-stopping minutes, available everyday throughout the day. Through cooler months/ non-school holidays (27 Apr – 13 Jul and 24 Jul to 5 Oct) the boat runs Thursday to Sunday. Prices start from $50.


Come and join in a surfing lesson with Sydney’s largest and most talked about surf school led by surfing legend Matt Grainger. Experience the fun and exhilaration of catching your first wave whilst soaking up the sun and atmosphere of beautiful Manly Beach. Two hour lesson, on the weekends from 9 to 11am, 11.30 to 1.30 pm, 2 to 4 pm. On weekdays times are 11am to 1pm or 1 to 3 pm. Participants must be able to swim 50m. Prices start from $60.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

The Bridge Climb is a 3 ½ hour guided journey to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It takes you along the outer arch of the Bridge on catwalks and ladders all the way to the summit, 134 metres above Sydney Harbour. Groups of up to 14 people, you’ll be led by one of BridgeClimb’s professional Climb Leaders on an adventure of the world’s most recognisable Bridge. The steady incline to the summit leaves you free to focus your attention on your Sydney experience, with opportunities to witness 360 degree views of Sydney, including east to the Sydney Opera House, west to the Blue Mountains and the Harbour city surrounds. When you reach the top you will have a sense of achievement that you will remember forever – you’ve conquered an Australian icon recognised the world over! Prices start from $198 with Bridge Climb Sydney.

Don’t forget to take out your adventure travel insurance as soon as you book your trip. So that you can really enjoy your Ozzie adventure, It is important that you remember to check that your activity travel insurance policy offers you the level of cover that you need for your trip before you buy it.

About Travel Blog 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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An Exotic Experience

exotic plantsSample rural bliss in one of the most beautiful lakes in Southeast Asia. Myanmar’s Inle Lake is lush, pristine with its charming paddy fields and floating villages. Bellhop Picks Read more about other attractions in our Myanmar guide. See what fellow travellers have to say in the Myanmar 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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