Taking pictures could be ruining your vacation, here’s why

Posted by - April 26, 2018

BEFORE the internet reared its all-knowing, all-seeing head, the quality of a holiday was mostly based on the colorful memories a traveler could recall.
At dinner parties, in the office, heck, even on busses, travelers would recount their many tales of white sands, turquoise oceans, hiking harsh mountain trails or “finding oneself” on a remote Sri Lankan beach.
Nowadays, vacation stories are relegated to the same old pictures.
A post shared by Elise (@elisedurr) on Apr 25, 2018 at 12:53pm PDT
Such as showing people image after image of your legs at the beach, your sunburned face in front of historical landmarks, the “authentic’ cuisine and the compulsory pre-departure tipple.
But now, experts are warning this mindless picture-taking and uploading could be leading to a state of “digital amnesia”.
Oxford University sensory expert Professor Charles Spence researched 2,000 vacationing adults and discovered most them relied on smartphones to remember their trip.
Professor Spence concluded that instead of snapping away every detail of your trip, you should instead draw it.
Genius, right?
What are the benefits? According to experts, taking pictures only stimulates one sense – sight. Perhaps sight and sound if you’re filming, but nothing more.
A post shared by Roshni Shinde Photography (@roshnishinde.photography) on Feb 9, 2018 at 7:10pm PST
However, simply sketching, painting or even sculpting can trigger three senses – sight, touch, and sound.
Engaging in a craft to capture your trip also activates your sense of position, meaning memories can be made more prominent.
Opposed to relying on the downgraded pixels in your phone, use the 120 million pixels in your eyes.
Rely on the mix of wonderful smells, the warmth of the sun on your skin, the taste of your new favorite cocktail.
A post shared by Soulartist *Maja* Healthy Life (@soulartistmaja) on Sep 30, 2016 at 9:50pm PDT
Doing so will lead to remembering moods, emotions, and feelings experienced at the time.
“When we watch something from behind a lens, we’re not truly living and sensing the experience,” Professor Spence told the Mirror.
“Smartphones can prevent us from creating fully-fledged memories.”
Where should you begin? Capturing memories through art doesn’t always have to be exactly what you see either.
Like Picasso, Pollock, and Matisse, you can interpret what you see.
Think about the colors of fragrances, the look of food opposed to just the taste, the feel of the sand on your skin.
A post shared by Artimacy By Silvia Boktor (@silviaboktor3) on Jun 19, 2017 at 2:03pm PDT
This is a way to ensure certain smells, taste and sound transport you back to your vacation.
So, put your phone back in your beach bag, grab a pencil and paper, and create your memories.
Trust us, your friends will be more interested in seeing these than 200 shots of your feet in the sand.
The post Taking pictures could be ruining your vacation, here’s why appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

How South Korea is saving Siberian tigers

Posted by - April 26, 2018

CENTURIES of hunting have caused the world’s population of tigers to fall on the brink of extinction.
Poaching is the main cause of a decline in tiger numbers.
They are poached for their fur, which is sold on the black market, and their bones are used in medicine and wine, purchased by businesspeople to show wealth and win promotions.
Cubs are also stolen from their mothers and used in tourist attractions across Asia.
#POP CULTURE
Here’s your first look at the magical ‘Ghibli Park’ Around 97 percent of tigers have been lost in the last century. However, last year, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced global numbers in the wild had risen from 3,200 in 2010 to around 3,900 in 2016.
But for Siberian tigers, also known as Amur tigers, the numbers aren’t growing as quickly
Currently, there are around 500 Siberian tigers in the wild, but South Korea is trying to improve this figure.
South Korea has announced the opening of “tiger forest” in a section of the 90,500-square-foot National Baekdudaegan Arboretum.
A post shared by Cafe photo (@stookim64) on Mar 5, 2018 at 5:48am PST
According to the Korean Herald, the “tiger forest” will be the biggest of its kind in Asia and will open to visitors on May 3.
The forest lies at the foot of the impressive Bonghwa mountain range, southeast of the North Gyeongsang province.
Visitors will be able to catch glimpses of two Siberian tigers at the forest: Hancheong, a 13-year-old female, and Uri, a seven-year-old male.
Hancheong and Uri. Source: National Baekdudaegan Arboretum
The forest authorities also plan on releasing 17-year-old Duman, a donated male tiger from China, back into the wild after his reintroduction training.
The tiger forest is the equivalent of seven full-sized football pitches and created to resemble the Siberian tiger’s natural habitat.
#TRAVEL TRENDS
Asia: beyond the tourist hot spots South Korea’s dedication to protecting these majestic creatures will help towards WWF’s aim of having 6,000 tigers in the wild by 2022 – the next year of the tiger on the Chinese calendar.
The post How South Korea is saving Siberian tigers appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Have you visited Asia Pacific’s most Instagrammed beaches?

Posted by - April 25, 2018

SOME people make it their life mission to discover the most stunning beaches around the world, and to be honest, we can think of worse jobs.
#TRAVEL TRENDS
Asia: beyond the tourist hot spots While white sands and blue seas may have cut it a decade ago, today, digitally connected travelers want to know about a destination’s Instagrammability factor before they book a trip.
So, fortunately enough, booking platform Globehunters has put together a list of Asia Pacific’s most Instagrammable beaches so you never have to worry about missing out on that golden shot.
Based on the number of hashtags each of these gorgeously-golden sandy shores receive, we present to you Asia Pacific’s beaches worth a thousand likes.
Get your ‘Gram ready:
1.Byron Bay, Australia A post shared by Nathan Prostamo (@nathanprostamo) on Apr 24, 2018 at 3:17am PDT
#byronbay, 1,871,230
2.Bondi Beach, Australia A post shared by Carlos Avalos (@cvrlitos_wvy) on Apr 24, 2018 at 6:23pm PDT
#bondibeach, 1,160,470
3. Bora Bora, French Polynesia A post shared by Devon Collier (@devcollier) on Jun 26, 2014 at 12:24pm PDT
#borabora, 1,087,704
4. El Nido, Philippines A post shared by #TRAVELCOMMUNITY (@travelcommunity) on Apr 24, 2018 at 12:13pm PDT
#elnido, 764,053
5. White Beach, Philippines A post shared by Pinoy Vagabonds (@pinoyvagabonds) on Apr 13, 2018 at 5:05am PDT
#whitebeach, 349,709
6. Maya Bay, Thailand A post shared by Drone Nature (@dronenature) on Apr 21, 2018 at 12:27pm PDT
#mayabay, 322,339
7. Manly Beach, Australia A post shared by Eternal Traveler Flying Solo (@sol_wanderlust) on Apr 24, 2018 at 2:00am PDT
#manlybeach, 307,294
8. Whitehaven Beach, Australia A post shared by John Hodgkin (@bestplacesqld) on Apr 22, 2018 at 11:42pm PDT
#whitehavenbeach, 126,021
9. Main Beach, Australia A post shared by Visit Brisbane (@visitbrisbane) on Apr 16, 2018 at 10:39pm PDT
#mainbeach, 88,009
10. Cable Beach, Australia A post shared by Australia (@australia) on Mar 19, 2018 at 11:00pm PDT
#cablebeach, 65,416
11. Ao Nang Beach, Thailand A post shared by NiCo. (@_leivo) on Apr 24, 2018 at 7:01am PDT
#aonangbeach, 59,003
12. Sunrise Beach, Thailand A post shared by @antsarzf on Apr 10, 2018 at 1:06am PDT
#sunrisebeach, 56,041
13. Dreamland Beach, Indonesia A post shared by Amy Douglas (@amedouggie) on Apr 21, 2018 at 3:18am PDT
#dreamlandbeach, 55,955
14. Hyams Beach, Australia A post shared by instagood (@instagood) on Apr 24, 2018 at 3:15pm PDT
#hyamsbeach, 52,012
15. Wineglass Bay, Australia A post shared by Jason Charles Hill (@jasoncharleshill) on Apr 17, 2018 at 5:11am PDT
#wineglassbay, 45,787
16. Sipadan, Malaysia
A post shared by Pipa à Roda (@pipaaroda) on Apr 20, 2018 at 6:54am PDT
#Sipadan, 45,063
17. Virgin Beach, Indonesia A post shared by Vadim Safonov (@vadimsafonoff) on Apr 17, 2018 at 2:10am PDT
#virginbeach, 39,909
18. Lake McKenzie, Australia A post shared by #thisisqueensland (@queensland) on Feb 22, 2018 at 10:10am PST
#lakemckenzie, 39,602
19. Noosa Beach, Australia A post shared by Villa Ohana Pono Retreat (@villaohanapono) on Apr 24, 2018 at 2:13am PDT
#noosabeach, 34,197
20. Sabang Beach, Philippines A post shared by Philippine Beaches (@philippinebeachlist) on Apr 22, 2018 at 6:14pm PDT
#sabangbeach, 33,540
21. Piha Beach, New Zealand A post shared by Merel Mémée Anna (@murlllll) on Apr 24, 2018 at 7:49am PDT
#pihabeach, 28,974
22. Ora Beach, Indonesia A post shared by Tempat Wisata Indonesia (@piknik.lagi) on Oct 19, 2017 at 6:53am PDT
#orabeach, 27,420
23. Mui Ne Beach, Vietnam A post shared by Angelita Yauretsi (@angelita_yauretsi) on Apr 18, 2018 at 11:11pm PDT
#muinebeach, 21,590
24. Lucky Bay, Australia A post shared by Australia (@australia) on Mar 28, 2018 at 11:00pm PDT
#luckybay, 20,432
25. Amanohashidate, Japan A post shared by Photographer Yuuki Murakami (@youpv) on Feb 16, 2018 at 12:28pm PST
#amanohashidate, 16,372
26. Agonda Beach, India A post shared by David (@dbeaufort85) on Apr 23, 2018 at 7:19am PDT
#agondabeach, 15,446
27. Koh Kradan, Thailand A post shared by Ashley Shewmaker (@citygirlcountryroots) on Apr 19, 2018 at 6:00am PDT
#kohkradan, 15,413
28. Om Beach, India A post shared by Kartik Mehta (@_kartikmehta) on Apr 11, 2018 at 5:41am PDT
#ombeach, 15,332
29. Phra Nang Beach, Thailand A post shared by Vivieenho (@vivieenho) on Apr 19, 2018 at 7:28am PDT
#phranangbeach, 15,055
30. Havelock Island, India A post shared by Priya Saxena (@saxena_priya_photography) on Apr 21, 2018 at 6:48am PDT
#havelockisland, 14,926
31. Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka A post shared by harsha lewis karunanayake (@seeclik) on Apr 24, 2018 at 8:00am PDT
#hikkaduwabeach, 14,527
32. Pulau Derawan, Indonesia A post shared by Kakaban Trip (@kakabantrip) on Apr 4, 2018 at 8:04pm PDT
#pulauderawan, 12,344
33. Gaya Island, Malaysia A post shared by Anahita Chouhan (@anahitac) on Apr 23, 2018 at 4:54am PDT
#gayaisland, 11,642
34. Lizard Island, Australia A post shared by Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (@gbrmarinepark) on Apr 1, 2018 at 6:30pm PDT
#lizardisland, 11,504
35. Ngapali Beach, Myanmar A post shared by Myanmar Burma Tourism (@instamyanmar) on Feb 18, 2018 at 8:09pm PST
#ngapalibeach, 10,677
36. Patnem Beach, India A post shared by Lee Offord (@lee.offord) on Apr 24, 2018 at 7:57am PDT
#patnem, 10,430
37. Tanjung Rhu, Malaysia A post shared by Richard Ivan (@richard_ivan09) on Apr 23, 2018 at 2:56am PDT
#tanjungrhu, 10,397
38. Haad Rin Beach, Thailand A post shared by @louissecharman on Jan 8, 2018 at 9:16am PST
#haadrinbeach, 10,054
39. Turquoise Bay, Australia A post shared by Australia (@australia) on Sep 25, 2017 at 2:02pm PDT
#turquoisebay, 8,032
40. Muri Beach, Cook Islands A post shared by Pacific Resort (@pacificresort) on Apr 10, 2017 at 12:30pm PDT
#muribay, 6,708
41. Radhanagar Beach, India A post shared by Vihang Patel (@vihang1712) on Apr 24, 2018 at 1:03am PDT
#radhanagarbeach, 6,668
42. Bai Dai Beach, Vietnam A post shared by Providence (@providenceresort) on Apr 5, 2018 at 4:07am PDT
#baidai, 6,621
43. Mandalay Beach, Australia A post shared by Melania Nottrump (@melsiepolaroid) on Mar 5, 2018 at 3:08pm PST
#mandalaybeach, 6,476
44. Beidaihe, China A post shared by 凝子 (@ningzi0000) on Apr 6, 2018 at 6:03pm PDT
#beidaihe, 4,859
45. 75 Mile Beach, Australia A post shared by Eurong Beach Resort (@eurongbeachresort) on Apr 24, 2018 at 3:01pm PDT
#75milebeach, 4,615
46. One Foot Island, Cook Islands A post shared by Chiara Magna (@chiaramagnadaibox) on Apr 23, 2018 at 12:15pm PDT
#onefootisland, 4,071
47. Tekek Beach, Malaysia A post shared by MrNico (@eckebusch) on Mar 23, 2018 at 1:55am PDT
#tekek, 3,591
48. Akajima, Japan A post shared by Yasushi Uesugi (@u_champuru) on Jan 26, 2018 at 11:55am PST
#akajima, 3,575
49. Burleigh Heads Beach, Australia A post shared by Simone |Melbourne-AUS (@travels_of_the_world) on Apr 19, 2018 at 6:58am PDT
#burleighheadsbeach, 3,212
50. Matira Beach, French Polynesia A post shared by hello_beautiful_places (@hello_beautiful_places) on Mar 15, 2018 at 8:37am PDT
#matirabeach, 2,268
Each of these destinations are growing their Instagram following on the daily.
Also, these numbers don’t include all the misspellings of tags and all the glorious images that have gone un-tagged entirely.
Get tagging to make sure your favorite beach is included in the next roundup.
The post Have you visited Asia Pacific’s most Instagrammed beaches? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Asia: Beyond the tourist hotspots

Posted by - April 25, 2018

YOU may have climbed the great wall of China, lounged on the golden sands across Indonesia, dived with the tropical fish in the Philippines and gazed at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
But these are just the beginning of your Asian adventure, and to be honest, the beginning of everyone else’s too.
Asia has so many more spectacular destinations waiting to be explored by intrepid adventurers and culture seekers.
#DESTINATIONS
Could Hainan be Asia’s next paradise island destination? Destinations which haven’t already been hash-tagged a thousand times and remain relatively known to many.
These are the places travel agents want to keep a secret but aren’t allowed to.
They are destinations that you can plaster over your Instagram before anyone else does, or simply keep their magnificence to yourself as tropical secret.
Feast your eyes on some of Asia’s hidden gems.
The Banaue Rice Terraces, Philippines A post shared by jurn33 (@jurn33) on Apr 24, 2018 at 3:36am PDT
These stunning rice fields effortlessly follow the contours of the emerald mountains in the Cordillera region in Luzon, around 300 miles from Manila.
The outstanding natural beauty has existed here for millions of years with the addition of the rice fields around 2000 years ago.
A post shared by Dina & Chris (@myunbucketlist) on Apr 17, 2018 at 8:01pm PDT
The upkeep of the fields is a family affair with knowledge being passed down through generations.
While the area is far from the luxury found in the Philippines’ El Nido Resort, the adventure and landscape are well worth the basic accommodation.
Hunan Province, China A post shared by BudgetTravel (@budgettravel) on Oct 20, 2015 at 9:36pm PDT
Located in the southern central part of China, the natural beauty of Hunan Province inspired James Cameron’s ground-breaking film, Avatar.
Equally accessible on a short flight from either Beijing or Shanghai, the area boasts Wulingyuan Scenic Area which contains several national parks.
A post shared by Elaine Li | Sydney (@lielaine) on Apr 13, 2018 at 6:06am PDT
One of the most stunning parks is Zhangjiajie. The towering sandstone columns jut out of the flora-covered forest floor creating stepping stones in the sky.
The choice of four-star accommodation around the parks offers adventurous travelers the option of luxury too.
Tashkent, Uzbekistan A post shared by Mᴀʀɪɴᴀ Bʀᴀᴜɴ ↝ Fᴀsʜɪᴏɴ Tʀᴀᴠᴇʟs (@marinabraunnn) on Apr 23, 2018 at 12:57pm PDT
Taskent may be the capital city of Uzbekistan but it’s very different from other major cities.
Unlike London, Beijing, New York or New Delhi, Tashkent is relativelly quiet but steeped in beauty.
History and architecture enthusiasts can enjoy incredible mosaic styled buildings and learn more about the old charms of the Silk Road.
A post shared by Bronwynn Bradley (@bwynnb) on Apr 23, 2018 at 9:47am PDT
Despite its Soviet past, it’s far easier to get around Tashkent than you may think.
Visitors can find taxis and buses all over the city and a beautifully decorated metro runs efficiently.
Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia A post shared by Elephant Family (@elephantfamily) on Jun 26, 2017 at 4:36am PDT
Nestled between the southwest of Cambodia and Eastern Thailand, these stunning mountains are yet to register on tourist’s radars.
Cultural quirks such as 17th-century ceramic pots can be seen high up on rock ledges surrounded by lush forest.
The mountains were once home to fleeing Khmer Rouge soldiers, but now the area is preserved as a gleaming example of community-based ecotourism.
A post shared by Anja (@anjamanuela) on Mar 30, 2018 at 11:36pm PDT
The Cardamom Mountains are perfect for animal lovers as the undisturbed rocky mountainsides and moist climate have allowed magnificent flora and fauna to thrive.
See if you can spot a clouded leopard, Indochinese tiger or dhole.
#WELLBEING
What’s in a: traditional Thai massage? Shodoshima, Japan A post shared by Japonismo.com (@japonismo) on Apr 23, 2018 at 12:07pm PDT
Think Mediterranean olive grows meets Balinese beaches and you get Shodoshima.
Also known as the Island of Little Beans, this hidden spot can be found between Kagawa and Okayama in the south main islands that make up the extensive Japanese archipelago.
While it is popular among domestic tourist looking for a slice of beach paradise, it’s certainly not on the checklists of international travelers just yet.
A post shared by Eri Qumbar (@e_nico19) on Apr 23, 2018 at 3:16am PDT
When you’re not tucking into fresh olives and relaxing in a natural hot spring, make your way up to Mount Hoshigajo-san, Mount Kingdom of Stars, to take full advantage of mesmerizing landscape views.
Have you visited any off-the-radar gems in Asia you want to share with us? We won’t tell anyone… promise.
The post Asia: Beyond the tourist hotspots appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Is your sunscreen killing the ocean?

Posted by - April 24, 2018

THE basic rules of the beach are: don’t swim directly after you’ve eaten, don’t go too far out to sea and top up on sunscreen as often as possible.
Swimming after eating is so parents can grab an hour’s rest without having to watch out for their kids – everyone knows that.
Staying close to shore is for safety – that’s fine.
And applying sunscreen is to protect our skin from ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) rays, also very sensible.
But hold up… have you ever wondered what the dozens of chemicals in sun lotion may be doing to the world’s oceans?
#DESTINATIONS
Could Hainan be Asia’s next paradise island destination? Recent studies indicate some of the chemical ingredients commonly used in sunscreen are having a harmful effect on the ocean’s coral reefs and marine life.
Despite coral reefs covering just 0.2 percent of the seabed, it is believed these crucial and irreplaceable ecosystems are home to over 25 percent of the ocean’s marine life.
Findings by Raw Elements, a Hawaii-based sunscreen company, say 40 percent of both Hawaii’s and the Great Barrier Reef’s coral has suffered bleaching, while the Caribbean only has 15 percent of non-bleached coral left and Florida Keys has as little as one percent left.
A post shared by Dan Mele Photography (@dan_mele_photography) on May 23, 2017 at 6:27pm PDT
Why? Sunscreen is one of the reasons.
According to Peggy Orenstein at The New York Times, up to 14,000 tons of sunscreen is deposited in the oceans and absorbed by coral reefs annually. This is the equivalent of around 32 million bottles of sunscreen being dumped into the sea each year.
The absorption adds to the irreversible bleaching and destruction of these delicate and vital aquatic ranges. And the result is the death of precious marine life, which in turn disrupts the ocean’s complex ecosystem and harms the tourism industry.
One of the most harmful polluting chemicals found in most big brand sunscreens is oxybenzone.
A post shared by Lovers of Vitamin Sea (@loversofvitaminsea) on Apr 16, 2018 at 9:18am PDT
While it protects human skin from burning, it bleaches coral and slows down any chance of recovery.
In 2008, a group of researchers set about investigating what different chemicals found in sunscreen are doing to the ocean and its marine life.
Published in Environmental Health Perspectives, the investigation found even a small amount of sunscreen applied to human hands and then dipped in water containing coral, resulted in fully-bleached coral in just 96-hours.
A post shared by Ryan Mcshane (@scottishaquanaut) on Mar 6, 2018 at 12:27am PST
So, you can imagine what 14,000 tons of sunscreen is doing to the remaining reefs every year.
Despite works to transplant thriving coral to dying sites, these efforts alone cannot prevent the decline of these once vibrant ecosystems, unless the world’s population chip in to help.
There are ways individuals can give back to the oceans they swim in, the beaches they lounge on and the ecosystems they rely on. Here’s how:
First of all, avoid sunscreen with these harmful ingredients: Oxybenzone – accelerates coral bleaching and can alter human hormone levels. Octinoxate – this may show as natural, but it’s not. It is made by mixing sulfuric acid with methanol, two ingredients which cause irreversible coral bleaching. Butylparaben – added to preserve sunscreen but toxic to marine life. The extensive list can be found on the Raw Essentials website.
#ADVENTURES
7 Filipino freediving spots that could break Instagram Do look for these ingredients: Non-nano titanium dioxide – a natural mineral found in the earth and non-harmful to humans. Non-nano zinc oxide – a powdered natural mineral ingredient used to deflect the sun which will not be absorbed by coral. It is also found in calamine lotion and nappy rash cream. These ingredients will likely appear in natural and organic products.
It’s worth remembering chemical-filled sunscreens need 15 to 20 minutes of activation time before they protect you. Whereas natural sunscreen formulas work straight away.
A post shared by Mia – Blogger, Model (@mia_and_the_mouse) on Apr 13, 2018 at 9:36pm PDT
However, the Environmental Health Perspectives study also found that on average, 25 percent of sunscreen applied to skin washes off in the water within 20 minutes of submersion anyway.
Essentially, the brightest way to offset your damaging footprint in the ocean and protect yourself immediately is to invest in protective swimwear and beach accessories such as a UV-resistant swim shirt and a broad sunhat.
“So you wear the UPF sun-shirt and then you apply sunscreen to your face, neck, the back of your hands, behind your ears. Think of how much less sunscreen you are using,” Dr Craig A. Downs, Ph.D. executive director of Haereticus Environmental Laboratory, recently told Travel and Leisure.
The best sunscreens on the market that give you good protection and don’t cause harm to the environment include:
Thinksport SPF 50 Sunscreen – it is water resistant for up to 80 minutes and doesn’t contain biologically toxic chemicals. Goddess Garden Organics – reef-safe and perfect for all sports. Mercola Sunscreen, SPF 50 – scoring top marks on the US-based Environmental Working Group’s sunscreen guide, the ingredients are kind to skin and nature and give excellent protection. All Good – each of the seven products by All Good are rated highly and specifically include non-nano ingredients. Badger SPF 30 Unscented Sunscreen Cream – water resistant for up to 40 minutes and contains moisturizing ingredients like sunflower oil, beeswax, seabuckthorn and Vitamin E. Sunscreen seems to be becoming a double-edged sword. On one hand, we need to protect ourselves from potentially damaging UV rays but on the other, many of the beloved brands commonly used are having a detrimental effect on the ocean.
There is no doubt the sunscreen debate will continue to be the focus among marine biologists and environmental scientists.
But on the level of mere beachgoers, sunbathers, and snorkelers, remember we can make a significant change.
Simply buy a recommended, non-harmful sunscreen and a decent protective rash vest and help the figure of 14,000 tons of toxic product entering our oceans fall to a minimum even non-existent amount.
With any hope, our reefs may spring back to life – but action must start now.
The post Is your sunscreen killing the ocean? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Could Hainan be Asia’s next paradise island destination?

Posted by - April 24, 2018

CHINA isn’t generally the first destination that comes to mind when planning a tropical island getaway.
But it should be, when you consider that dangling just off the southern tip of mainland China is the picturesque island of Hainan.
Surrounded by warm oceans, golden beaches, green palm trees and scattered with luxury resorts, Hainan island is well on its way to earning the accolade of being one of Asia’s most desirable vacation destinations.
Cut off from the mainland by the Qiongzhou Strait, the island boasts lush highlands, a thriving surf scene, rich and prevalent culture and a hippy aura of relaxation.
And there’s good news for travelers wanting to see this stunning location, but are put off by China’s notoriously lengthy visa application process.
In a bid to grow the island’s international tourism intake, China’s Public Security Ministry and the State Immigration Administration announced late last week that nationals from 59 countries will be allowed visa-free access for a 30-day stay.
Starting on May 1, tourists from the following 59 countries can visit China's tropical #Hainan island visa-free: pic.twitter.com/AOZki3fEY0
— People's Daily,China (@PDChina) April 18, 2018
This included holders of Malaysian, Indonesian, Thai, Singaporean, Japanese, Australian, New Zealand, US, UK and UAE passports.
Currently, there are 56 direct international air routes connecting to Hainan. But according to China Daily, Sun Ying, head of the Hainan Tourism Development Committee, wants to add on another 44 direct routes by 2020.
While the bean-shaped island may have been missed off the vacation-destination map for some time, it is now providing vacationers with the perfect remedy to some of the more overcrowded, overpriced and overdeveloped tourist destinations in Southeast Asia.
#DESTINATIONS
What is Vietnam’s strict visa policy costing it? Is there something in Hainan for you? The 35,000 square kilometer island is renowned for its pristine beaches, especially in the southern region of Sanya.
Likened to the Hawaii of China, Sanya is scattered with luxury beach resorts, golden bays and idyllic sunset spots begging for those double taps on Instagram.
A post shared by LuluZ (@lulu_mcc) on Apr 21, 2018 at 7:48pm PDT
If it’s laidback luxury and pampering you’re after, the glitzy beach resorts such as Sheraton, Banyan Tree Spa, and Marriot are all waiting to welcome you.
The only alarm clock at these beachfront properties is the sound of the serene waves lapping at the shore.
For those wanting to explore the natural beauty, the turquoise waters surrounding Hainan create a diver’s paradise.
With hundreds of tropical fish and a vibrant stretch of coral reef along Wuzhizhou Island, Hainan might just begin to rival other popular diving spots in Southeast Asia.
A post shared by Suman Wu (@suman_wu) on Mar 6, 2018 at 2:00am PST
For those wanting to explore Hainan’s rich culture, head to the central highlands.
Unlike mainland China where temples, shrines, and monuments of bygone times can be found all over, Hainan’s cultural legacy is predominantly found in its indigenous people, who still live on the island to this day.
A post shared by Chantelle Gwyneth W麗君 | ➳ (@chantell.ee) on Apr 22, 2018 at 10:28pm PDT
Up until the 1930s, the main populations on the island were Li and Miao minority, ethnic groups, living as hunter-gatherer tribes in the mountains.
While many of them have now moved into urban areas, a few remain in the mountains, and visitors can trek up to discover hot springs, walk out onto terraced rice-growing valleys and see the Li and Miao ancient way of life.
The islands also boast a volcanic cluster geopark, botanical gardens and a museum for the history buffs and nature enthusiasts.
A post shared by Ambar Purwito (@7ambar) on Mar 30, 2018 at 5:49pm PDT
Any foodies will be chuffed to hear that Hainan takes it cuisine seriously.
Staple foods include meaty Baoluo Noodles, hotpots and scrumptious fresh seafood including lobsters, crab, clams, and squid.
Southeast Asians, or those familiar with the region’s cuisines, may be curious about the origins of the “Hainanese chicken rice”, Singapore’s national dish. Interestingly, the dish in its current form isn’t actually available in Hainan.
Research says the “Hainanese chicken rice” was likely brought to Southeast Asia by early Chinese immigrants, and was inspired by the “Wengchang chicken dish”, which originates from the Wengchang city area in Hainan.
A post shared by Tiger Wu (@7world) on Jan 15, 2017 at 12:47pm PST
Beyond the beautiful beaches, immersive culture, blissful climate and divine food, Hainan is also home to the world’s largest duty-free shopping center.
Need we say more?
#ADVENTURE
What does Japan’s volcanic eruption mean for your trip? With plans to create casinos and build shopping malls, Hainan will surely continue to attract investment and visitors to establish itself as a “world-class tourism destination.”
The post Could Hainan be Asia’s next paradise island destination? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

What does Japan’s volcanic eruption mean for your trip?

Posted by - April 23, 2018

LAST Thursday, Japan witnessed the eruption of Mount Io in the southernmost main island of Kyushu.
The volcano had remained dormant for over 250 years until it spewed a potentially deadly plume of thick grey ash last week.
#AIRLINES
Asia’s most dangerous airports The ash cloud prompted officials to shut the usually walkable peak and monitor the situation to ensure the zero death and injury count remains the same.
“There is a possibility that (Mount Io) will become more active,” Makoto Saito, an official from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), cautioned in a report by AFP.
A post shared by Rachel W. (@rachelc.tw) on Mar 2, 2018 at 6:56am PST
The warning level was raised to three over the weekend, with the maximum on Japan’s scale being five.
While the volcano itself does not pose much of a threat to anyone unless they are close by, falling rocks emerging from the thick ash clouds could potentially cause serious harm to anyone unfortunate enough to be in the way.
#ENVIRONMENT
Savannas to rainforests – these are Asia’s newest Geoparks In a later televised interview, Saito urged residents not to go anywhere near the spewing mountain, also establishing a no-go zone around the area.
This is a temporary rule hikers will have to follow too.
While no airline has announced route closures to the island, holidaymakers looking to explore the mountain peaks will have to rethink their itineraries.
A post shared by Amanda Msf (@amanda_msf) on Jan 12, 2018 at 3:09am PST
The volcano is set within the Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park, famous for its hiking trails which snake through baron wasteland, thick forests and rocky paths.
However, there are hundreds of other peaks to climb on Kyushu Island.
Mount Sobo offers hikers a challenging and steep climb with rewarding views of the lush landscape and the sweet scent of beautiful blossoming flowers on the way up.
A post shared by Johan Carlsson (@j0hancarlsson) on Apr 24, 2017 at 5:55am PDT
Alternatively, another brilliant hike can be found on the southern tip of the island at Mount Kaimon.
This particular trail takes hikers around the circumference of the dormant volcano, through woodlands up to the rocky summit.
It’s a fantastic trail climb for adventurous families all year round.
So, any plans to visit the southern prefecture don’t need to be changed, just rejigged.
The post What does Japan’s volcanic eruption mean for your trip? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Realize your mermaid dreams in Asia’s underwater hotels

Posted by - April 23, 2018

“SLEEP WITH THE FISHES” is normally associated with New York gang slang, but Asia is steering clear of any mobster associations and channeling divine luxury with these stunning underwater properties.
These niche properties offer James Bond enthusiasts the chance to indulge in underwater lairs and let mermaid-wannabes admire the incredible ocean eco-system.
#BEACHES
Scuba right into Malaysia’s must-dive destinations Submerge yourself in our dazzling list of Asia’s underwater properties and get planning your next subaquatic vacation.
Maldives Adding to its already established underwater restaurant, the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island in the stunning Alif Dhaal Atoll is planning to open an entire private underwater bungalow.
A post shared by Conrad Maldives Rangali Island (@conrad_maldives) on Feb 19, 2018 at 4:05am PST
Named the Muraka, which means coral in the local Dhivehi language, a night here will set guests back a cool US$50,000.
But it will be so worth the bankruptcy.
Opposed to just having a bed below the water, Ahmed Salem, the bungalow’s architect wanted to create a luxury holistic experience for guests.
The adventure starts with a private seaplane ferrying guests to a jetty on the island, followed by a speedboat trip to the secluded part of the beach where Muraka glistens in the sun.
A post shared by Conrad Maldives Rangali Island (@conrad_maldives) on Feb 9, 2018 at 3:33am PST
The price of the stay includes four personal butlers who stay in a property along the beach, a chef, a set of jet skis and an on-call fitness trainer.
The property has two ocean view bedrooms, a bathroom, infinity pool and sunset-deck above the water.
The underwater master bedroom, meanwhile, is only separated from the ocean by a glass dome.
This property knocks novelty out of the water and hopes to encourage more paradise seekers to consider underwater properties as rising sea levels threaten the luxury archipelago.
Where: Alif Dhaal Atoll, Maldives Cost of stay: upwards of US$50,000 Best feature: Erm… all of it. Singapore Taking a step back from ultimate luxury and honing in on awesome family experiences is Resorts World Sentosa’s Ocean Suites.
A post shared by Xia Meng (@penpen_87) on Mar 1, 2018 at 6:31am PST
For those still itching for an adventure after spending an exciting day at neighboring Universal Studios Singapore, this is the perfect dig.
#TRAVEL TRENDS
World’s first Matcha themed cruise launches in Asia The hotel consists of 11, two-story townhouses with bedroom views facing out onto the dazzling aquarium.
The marine aquarium contains over 40,000 marine fish, including stingrays and sharks.
The upper level of the townhouses provides guests with communal living areas, featuring a private jacuzzi, decked patio, and lounge sofas.
A post shared by CS Management&Events (@cs_management) on Jan 23, 2018 at 9:16pm PST
There is also a round-the-clock personalized butler service and access to gym and spa facilities.
As an added feature, the bedroom lights will automatically be dimmed as the aquarium viewing curtain is raised, to give the best possible visibility of the stunning fish.
Where: Singapore Cost of stay: Around US$10,000 per week Best feature: taking a bath while sharks brazenly swim past Dubai Possibly one of the most iconic hotels in the world is Atlantis The Palm.
A post shared by Atlantis The Palm, Dubai (@atlantisthepalm) on Feb 20, 2018 at 4:00am PST
The pink arching hotel boasts 1,539 rooms, 20 restaurants, two spas and an adventure water park. Your whole vacation could be spent just at the hotel.
If you’re a marine enthusiast, you’ll want to check out the Poseidon and Neptune Underwater suites.
A post shared by Atlantis The Palm, Dubai (@atlantisthepalm) on Feb 19, 2018 at 4:00am PST
Wake up to breathtaking underwater views of patrolling tropical fish and the ancient ruins of the mythical lost city of Atlantis.
Much like Singapore’s Sentosa Ocean Suites, guests can admire the marine life from the comfort of their bed or bathtub.
Get even closer to the marine life at Dolphin Bay and gain unlimited entry to the lost chamber aquarium, depending on which package you chose.
Where: Atlantis The Palm, Dubai Cost of stay: around US$28,000 for a one week stay in the Ocean suites Best feature: the incredible activities on offer within the resort The post Realize your mermaid dreams in Asia’s underwater hotels appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Fancy a tipple? Take a cocktail tour of Kuala Lumpur

Posted by - April 20, 2018

COCKTAILS have transformed from brightly colored, umbrella-wearing mixtures, into signature must-haves for every chic bar.
Contemporary cocktails consist of fresh ingredients such as petals and herbs infused with classically aged whiskey bourbons, dry gins and any other spirit highly trained mixologists want to throw in there.
The result: a sip so delicious, you just must have another.
#SHOPPING
Feeling extra hungry at the airport? It’s not your fault Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s shining capital city, is home to some of Asia’s coolest cocktails bars.
If you only know where to look, this delightful metropolis is brimming with a variety of watering holes. Whether it’s the extravagantly fitted parlors serving only the most premium of spirits or the quaint little speakeasy joints tucked away in alleyways, each one entices you to adorn your best frock for a night out on the town.
Thirsty? Then we suggest you go get that thirst quenched at the joints below. It is Fri-yay after all.
Omakase + Appreciate A post shared by Thirsty Belly (@thirstybelly) on Feb 1, 2018 at 1:04am PST
Winner of the Most Creative Cocktail Bar award at The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur, and Number 10 on Asia’s Best Bars list, Omakase + Appreciate is a place that could easily be missed, but shouldn’t be.
The door to the bar looks like one only janitors would enter. However, if you stroll through the rows of diners at Ming Annex to the door at the back, you’ll find yourself in Omakase + Appreciate.
The Omakase practice means, “I’ll leave it to you”, so the bartenders here are happy to whip you up a treat based on your tastes.
However, if you fancy trying something a little different, we suggest the Lava Hawthorn: Bacardi, lavender honey water, red date hawthorn syrup and sweet vermouth.
Are you licking your lips?
Address: 9, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Price: Average US$10 (MYR40) Dress code: Casual cocktail soiree Botak Liquor A post shared by botakliquor (@botakliquorbar) on Oct 20, 2017 at 2:25am PDT
Embodying the modern fresh-ingredients ethos, Botak Liquor prides itself on the concept of farm-to-glass.
Each of the botanical ingredients is collected straight from the farm and brought to the bar for patrons to sample.
One of the most impressive cocktails which also perfectly illustrates the focus on botanical ingredients in the Limau purtu and carrot cocktail.
Offering sippers sublime tastes by infusing pineapple pisco, kaffir lime, carrot juice and house-made Botak hot sauce.
Likened to a fruity and delicious tom yum, without the seafood.
If you want something a little more traditional, but with the same herbivore approach, try the sweet pea and elderflower cocktail – unaged whiskey, sweet peas, organic elderflower cordial and lemon.
Even if you’re not a drinker, head along with the beautiful décor of draping flora and handmade benches.
Address: 156 Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, 50000 Price: Average US$10 (MYR40) Dress code: Casual and airy PS150 A post shared by jasonteezy (@jasonteezy) on May 23, 2017 at 7:53pm PDT
If you’re a cocktail buff and want to further expand your knowledge, head to PS150, a cocktail tavern hidden in the middle of a Toy Shop – not very PG right?
The bar is lit by red Chinese lanterns, lending it a sort of shabby-chic feel. While it’s not exactly a speakeasy bar as the luminous sign outside tells you where to go, it certainly does give off secretive and exclusive vibes, perfect for date night.
Moving out of out of the dimly- lit and aptly-named Opium Den, guests can experience the Tiki space in an open-air courtyard which is great for bigger groups.
If you’re looking for a fruity number, opt for the Lychee No.3 made up of London dry gin, lychee, ginger flower and lime.
Address: 156 Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, 50000 Price: Average US$10 (MYR40) Dress code: Casual and airy Three X Co A post shared by Three X Co (@three_x_co_bsc) on Apr 19, 2018 at 12:29am PDT
Now, this bar is as about as speakeasy as it gets.
But don’t worry, we are going to speak of it, to make it easy to find.
Three X Co can be found in another part of Bangsar Shopping Centre on the third floor next to pop-up barbershop, Othrs.
You’ll need to pull the wall panel next to it covered in Muhammad Ali posters to gain access – but that’s all part of the fun.
The dimly lit bar will transport you back to an era of great glamour with deep green walls, Chesterfield style sofas, and beautifully cut class.
We recommend trying the Three X Co’s take on a traditional Old Fashioned. Watch as your bartender mixes Kraken spiced rum, Malaysian gula Melaka – a sweetener made from coconut palm sugar – and chocolate bitters.
Address: Level 3, Bangsar Shopping Center, Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandaraya, Kuala Lumpur, 59000
Price: Average US$15 (MYR60) Dress code: Smart and chic #BOOKINGS
Asia’s most refreshing long-term alternatives to Airbnb W.I.P A post shared by Whipped Into Place (@wipbangsar) on Mar 30, 2016 at 7:00pm PDT
Moving far away from speakeasy bars, but still in the same building as Three X Co, W.I.P (Whipped into shape), offers quest an uber-chilled atmosphere to sip a wide range of cocktails.
The restaurant and bar venue have just undergone an elegant facelift making the surroundings as Instagrammable as the divine cocktails.
Our favorite is the sugarcane sweetened strawberry mojito. The delicate berry is perfectly complemented with Cuban rum, fresh mint leaves and a squeeze of ripe lime.
But if you’re sweet enough and prefer something packing a punch, opt for the sophisticated apple martini. The blend of honeyed apple liquor and dry Vermouth makes for an irresistible drink.
The modern tentacle-like bar provides plenty of seating space and the outdoor areas make for the ideal place to dust off your dancing legs and groove to some funky beats.
Address: Lot G111, Ground Floor, Bangsar Shopping Centre, 285, Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandar Raya, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Price: Average US$7 (MYR30) Dress code: Cool casual The post Fancy a tipple? Take a cocktail tour of Kuala Lumpur appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Asia’s most dangerous airports

Posted by - April 20, 2018

AVIOPHOBIA is a common fear of flying experienced by over 20 million people, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
However, flying is statistically proven to be the safest mode of transport as there is only a one in 9,821 chance of dying from an air and space transport accident.
But this doesn’t mean flying comes without its risks, especially if you’re heading into one of Asia’s most dangerous airports.
#TRAVEL HACKS
Here’s a ‘sticky’ hack to increase your passport’s lifespan Nepal: Lukla Airport A post shared by Heaven is in Nepal (@nepal_photo) on Dec 15, 2017 at 3:40am PST
If you’re visiting Mount Everest, then you’ll probably be flying into this tiddly airport nestled between two mountains.
Lukla serves as one of the world’s highest airports and most treacherous, due to unpredictable weather conditions.
The airport doesn’t have runway lights or air traffic controllers, so pilots must put all their training into landing on this extra small strip.
A post shared by Оксана Никитина (БредовыйЗаяц) (@bz_bredovyi_zayats) on Apr 4, 2018 at 3:34am PDT
Built in 1964 under the supervision of Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to stand atop of Mount Everest in 1953, the airport is patrolled by the Nepalese army and is in continuous use.
Although this well-used airport has daily flights between Lukla and Katmandu, don’t expect to pick up your duty-free souvenirs here.
Bhutan: Paro Airport A post shared by Bharat Reddy (@bharat_reddy2) on Mar 28, 2018 at 12:17am PDT
Sitting high in the Himalayan mountains, this runway has such a dangerous reputation – only eight pilots worldwide are qualified to land on it.
The tiny village of Paro lies 2.4 kilometers above sea level between jutting mountain peaks, some as high as 18,000 feet.
One wrong move could mean clipping the roof of one of the many houses scattered on the mountainside as the plane descends.
As this is Bhutan’s only international airport, it’s estimated 30,000 people fly in and out of it every year for holidays in the “greenest nation on Earth”.
A post shared by Viaggiatori Del Mondo (@viaggiatoridelmondo) on Mar 6, 2018 at 8:17pm PST
The runway is just 6,499-feet long, a lot shorter than the average needed to land a large commercial plane.
This challenge, coupled with the high winds ripping through the valley and often low visibility, make it possibly the most dangerous airport in the world.
Antarctica A post shared by Stu (@sr_avpics) on Aug 14, 2014 at 3:48pm PDT
Tourism to Antarctica has increased by 10,000 visits over the past decade with most visitors coming from the US, China, and Australia.
While many tourists travel via environmentally-unfriendly cruise ships, scientific expeditions often land on the continent via air travel.
But given the low demand for snazzy airports, there’s a serious lack of infrastructure for aircraft to land safely.
A post shared by Sean Williams (@adelaidesean) on Feb 28, 2017 at 3:47pm PST
Most “airports” are attached to research stations and spend most of their time covered in snow.
Even Antarctica’s best international airport, Wilkins Aerodrome, must be significantly checked and safety-tested immediately before any aircraft land.
However, you’ll be happy to know you can park your sled here for free, unlike other extorting airport carparks.
#ENVIRONMENT
Asia’s ancient buildings on the brink of collapse Japan: MCAS Futenma A post shared by Travel Columnist (@pictureworthyliving) on Mar 25, 2017 at 5:28pm PDT
On the spectacularly beautiful southern Japanese island of Okinawa, hides the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) in Futenma.
We say “hides” because it’s surrounded by a high density of houses which all feel the full effects of US aircraft coming onto land.
A post shared by @puppy_oki on Sep 27, 2016 at 3:51am PDT
Powerful aircraft such as F/A-18 Hornets and V-22 Osprey are continuously landing at this airport.
While the landing strip isn’t particularly short, the constant worry of clipping homes on landing or facing engine failure on take-off have earned MCAS the reputation of world’s most dangerous airport among the US armed forces.
Japan: Chubu Centrair International Airport A post shared by Aviationlover_fromjapan (@aviationlover_jp) on Mar 22, 2018 at 7:30am PDT
Surrounded by water on every side, there is no room for a botched landing or take-off attempt here.
This airport acts as the main airport for access to Japan’s central region and is one of five airstrips built on manmade islands in the archipelago nation.
A post shared by m_aereo_i (@m_aereo_i) on Apr 8, 2018 at 5:36am PDT
However, the airport has a clean safety record and is classified as first-class in terms of facilities and operations.
Commercial pilots face some of the toughest training in the world, so even if you’ve got a trip planned to Mount Everest, Antarctica or Bhutan, you’re in safe hands.
The post Asia’s most dangerous airports appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.