In pictures: Kyoto by the Sea

Posted by - August 17, 2018

Discover a place in Japan where a community has lived in coexistence with the sea for centuries. Source: Shutterstock.
THE COASTAL AREA of Kyoto Prefecture is often overlooked, but there are actually plenty of popular travel spots.
In fact, Kyoto by the Sea has prospered since ancient times and is the home of many legends.
Its scenery is nothing short of magnificent, with sweeping views of rolling mountains and the rolling waves of the Japan Sea.
It is an entirely different side of Kyoto Prefecture, where civilization blossomed before any other region in ancient Japan with a special culture.
Thus, it holds many secrets and undiscovered gems, historic wonders and beautiful sightseeing spots unspoiled by overtourism.
Adventure-seekers and gastro-tourists will surely love its bountiful offerings, from outdoor attractions to delectable specialty dishes.
Prepare to gorge on Kyoto by the Sea’s impressive line-up of quality products such as local sake, fresh Taiza crab, fatty Ine yellowtail, Tango cockles served sashimi-style, and more.
On the other end of the spectrum, those hungry to fill up their Instagram with the best of Kyoto by the Sea will love Ine, a seaside town with 230 unique buildings called the funuya boathouses.
It is there that the community of Ine has lived in coexistence with the sea for centuries.
Ine also boasts Mukai Shuzo, a sake brewery that sits on the water and perhaps the only one of its kind.
Founded in 1754, the family-run brewery prides itself in serving a special reddish sake that uses an ancient variety of rice.
Sake lovers will appreciate sipping on Mukai Shunzo’s tasty sake while listening to the gentle sound of lapping of the waves under their feet.
One must also never forget to visit Amanohashidate, known as one of Japan’s three most scenic views.
It is a pine-covered natural land bridge in emerald green that spans the mouth of the sapphire blue Miyazu Bay.
When viewed from above, the magical 3.6 kilometers strip of land looks like a dragon floating through the sky.
Those who enjoy a little bit of adventure can stroll or cycle down the strip, or take a ferry to the “dragon’s head” to discover tea shops and the Chionji Temple.
Feast your eyes on what Kyoto by the Sea has to offer:
For information on how to get to Kyoto by the Sea, go here.

Want to disconnect for a while? Try a survival-themed vacation

Posted by - August 16, 2018

Traditionally dressed Papuan people in wooden canoes. Source: Shutterstock
THE word “vacation” is used very lightly here, as this survival experience probably won’t resemble the relaxing vacations you’ve enjoyed in previous years.
Oceania Expeditions is offering a castaway experience for those who find it hard to disconnect from the “always-on” lifestyle many 21st-century professionals lead.
We’re all guilty of constantly checking e-mails, updating Twitter, or flicking through strangers’ Instagram stories. But a survival-themed holiday will save you from this mindless connectivity as you’ll be too worried about where your next meal is coming from.
Plus, there won’t be any signal on the remote island of Kabakon in Papua New Guinea where Oceania Expeditions will be abandoning you.
The Kabakon Survivor experience is a chance to learn about yourself, how far you can push your body, and whether or not you can survive without constantly using your thumbs (to type and press like, that is).
But it isn’t as grueling as a real-life desert island experience might be.
You won’t need to worry about making your shelter as you’ll be staying in a traditionally thatched bungalow overlooking the St. George’s Channel of the Bismarck Archipelago; a stretch of water far more beautiful than its name lets on.
For five days and four nights, you’ll mostly be left to your own devices.
Villagers from a neighboring island will occasionally pop over to teach you how to build a fire and catch your fish supper with a spear from an outrigger canoe.
The villagers, known as the Karawara people, will also help you to forage for fresh fruit on the island including papaya, banana, and pineapple.
There are no impressive watermelon sculptures at the buffet table here. In fact, there’s no buffet at all.
Once you’ve hunted and foraged for your dinner, the Karawara children will help you to weave mats and hats while telling you stories and singing songs, much like the fictional tale of Swiss Family Robinson. Except, this is real life.
To ensure a vacationer’s safety, Oceania Expeditions provides a full safety and gear briefing before they get to the island.
The island where the Karawara people live is mere minutes from the borrowed paradise where disconnected vacationers will be staying. So, in the unlikely event of an emergency, they’ll be on hand to help.
On return to civilization, vacationers will experience a night of luxury in a stunning resort, complete with day spa, hot showers, restaurants, and of course, WiFi.
This adventure is perfect for couples and families who need to reconnect in real time, not just on the occasional Skype call.
If you want to challenge yourself and prove to your network provider that you can put down your phone for a week, inquire about prices on their website today.

What’s causing the insane ‘human traffic jam’ at Mt. Fuji?

Posted by - August 15, 2018

Discover when is the best time to climb/hike Mt. Fuji. Source: Shutterstock.
OVER THE WEEKEND, hordes of tourists flocked to the majestic Mt. Fuji, an active volcano about 100 kilometers southwest of Tokyo, Japan.
Known locally and respectably as “Fuji-san”, at 3,776 meters high, the mountain is the country’s tallest peak and one of its three sacred mountains. In 2012, Mt. Fuji was listed as a Unesco World Heritage site.
The nearly perfectly shaped volcano, often the subject of numerous Edo Period works of art, has been recognized as a pilgrimage site for centuries.
Loved by all, summit hikes to Mt. Fuji is a popular activity for both locals and international tourists alike.
However, on Aug 12, 2018, attempting to climb the spiritual peak proved to be challenging when an insane human traffic jam clogged up the hiking trail.
七合目!すごい渋滞で全然進まない… pic.twitter.com/X2tQbUbklQ
— Mikio Kiura (@kur) August 12, 2018
Twitter user Mikio Miura snapped shots of what appears to be long and crowded queues of people making the climb over his weekend visit.
“There’s a crazy traffic jam and we can’t move forward at all,” Kiura, who was at the seventh station of his trail, tweeted.
He later updated his status writing that he was moving only “a few steps every few minutes”.
Despite the “human sandwich” situation, Kiura persevered and appeared to make it through.
富士山の他の写真ないんかいって言われたので他の写真も貼っておきますね。 pic.twitter.com/NqINwjgFWy
— Mikio Kiura (@kur) August 14, 2018
What brought on the crazy crowds? Climbing season.
To climb Mt. Fuji, visitors have to wait for the period in which mountain huts are in operation.
It has been said that the official climbing season in early July to mid-September, but the best time to climb is from the end of July to late August.
This is because the mountain is usually free of snow, weather conditions are relatively stable in those weeks, and access to the site is easily available.
The terrain on the climbing route on Mt. Fuji. Source: Shutterstock.
To add on, the reason for the large turnout over the weekend could also be attributed to the start of Japan’s Obon holiday, which runs from Aug 12 to Aug 16, 2018.
The annual Buddhist festival, also known as Bon festival, is an annual Japanese holiday which commemorates and remembers deceased ancestors.
It is believed that each year during Obon, the ancestors’ spirits return to this world in order to visit their relatives.
It is the busiest days for domestic travel because, during this period, office workers and students get a week off.
Meanwhile, if you’re not a fan of climbing an active volcano, there is another easier way to catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji.
Simply hop on to the Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) between Tokyo and Osaka. If you are traveling from Tokyo in the direction of Nagoya, Kyoto, and Osaka, sit on the righthand side of the train.
A clear day should give you a nice view of the mountain from around Shin-Fuji Station, about 40 to 45 minutes into the journey.

Lainey Loh | @laineyx
A certified daydreamer, when she's not physically travelling, she's often going places in her head. Her first love is coffee & her second, wine – & she accepts bribes in either forms. She's also entirely capable of deep conversations about life & random musings just for laughs, but do excuse her if she appears AWOL mid-chat – she's just going places in her head.

Take a leap of faith with these adventure travel activities in Vietnam

Posted by - August 14, 2018

Source: Shutterstock.
ADVENTURE TRAVEL can be risky but it can also be a strange sense of calm as it makes you feel alive.
Considered a type of nice tourism, it involves traveling to out-of-the-ordinary or “roads less traveled” destinations and more often than not includes physical activity such as trekking.
This would, of course, require you – the traveler – to step out of your comfort zone.
For the past decade, the interest in independent adventure travel has increased as more specialist travel websites emerge offering niche locations and sports.
And if you have yet to try it, believe us when we say that adventure travel is good for you as it literally has health benefits.
It can prevent or treat a wide range of health problems, get your cardio and blood pumping, raise your tolerance for uncertainty, build your confidence, and feed you with bursts of adrenaline and endorphins to make you happy.
Source: Shutterstock.
Some of the world’s most picturesque landscapes are in Asia, with soaring mountains, meandering rivers, and rich historical sites.
In fact, the region has no shortage of amazing places that you should see at least once in your life.
One such place is Vietnam, which offers everything from breathtaking nature to one of the oldest cultures in Southeast Asia, to mouthwatering cuisine and a chockfull of adventures to choose from.
Ha Long Bay: Kayaking Did you know that Ha Long Bay was chosen as one of the best 25 tourist destinations to kayak in the world?
A day out at the bay will allow you to navigate narrow waterways, getting off only to check out its gorgeous caves with towering limestone pillars and charming fishing villages.
Source: Shutterstock.
Kayaking is generally assumed to be very safe in the calm waters of Ha Long Bay, which is also a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Hoi An: Walking underwater Want to get up close and personal with beautiful luscious corals and colorful, diverse marine life in Vietnam?
Experience the Cham Islands day tour from Hoi An that will allow you to walk on the ocean floor without needing to learn how to dive.
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Aside from the underwater walking activity, the full-day cruise also includes plenty of free time for swimming and snorkeling and a delicious lunch at a beachside restaurant.
Nha Trang: Bungee Jump Bungee jumping truly isn’t for the weak hearted as it involved jumping from a tall structure or off a bridge while connected to a large elastic cord.
The rush comes from the free-falling and the rebound when you fly upwards again as the cord recoils, all the while set against a tropical backdrop.
Source: Shutterstock.
If you’re the type who doesn’t mind feeling like you’ve left your heart somewhere in mid-air, then take the leap of faith in Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa province.
Nha Trang: Flyboard You’ve probably seen this in passing and thought, “That’s like being Iron Man but on water!” – you’re not entirely wrong.
Flyboarding propels its riders into the air (as high as 30ft) at high speed with water pressure, perfect for adrenaline junkies who don’t mind getting soaked.
Source: Shutterstock.
It’s not the safest sport in the world, so ride at your own risk. This activity is available in Nha Trang, ranging from US$34 to US$43 for 15-minutes rides.
Dalat: Canyoning At first glance, canyoning looks difficult and it probably is. But it’s a sport that mixes skill, adrenaline, and nature in equal measure.
Canyoning allows you to really connect with nature and experience it like you’ve never before when you trek through gorges, waterfalls, and giant rock pools.
Source: Shutterstock.
Located in southern Vietnam’s central highlands and surrounded by hills, pine forests, lakes, and waterfalls, Dalat is the perfect place to learn the art of canyoning.
Mui Ne: Sandboarding Mui Ne is known as the capital of resorts and its pristine, white sand dunes ranked second among the top 10 best sandboarding destinations in the world.
Rent a board and as you slide, surf and roll down the slopes be captivated and inspired by the spectacular view.
Source: Shutterstock.
There are hours of good adventures to be had but just remember to head out at sunrise because it’s best to experience the Mui Ne dunes before it gets too hot.

Lainey Loh | @laineyx
A certified daydreamer, when she's not physically travelling, she's often going places in her head. Her first love is coffee & her second, wine – & she accepts bribes in either forms. She's also entirely capable of deep conversations about life & random musings just for laughs, but do excuse her if she appears AWOL mid-chat – she's just going places in her head.

Would you dare try the world’s biggest human catapult?

Posted by - August 13, 2018

The combination of speed, height, and flight of this adventure activity may reduce you to tears. Source: @barekiwi.
AJ HACKETT BUNGY New Zealand has revealed a new world-first adventure tourism experience – the Nevis Catapult – in the remote Nevis Valley near Queenstown, New Zealand.
The Catapult sees thrill seekers experience up to 3G of force and speeds of almost 100 kilometers per hour in 1.5 seconds, as they are propelled 150 meters out across a ravine before dropping suddenly towards the valley floor and experiencing a series of jaw-dropping bounces.
The human catapult, also the world’s biggest, is the products of three decades of planning and development by AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand co-founder Henry van Asch and team.
Mr van Asch officially opened the Catapult experience by being launched – quite literally – across the Nevis Valley.
“It’s a pretty unique feeling, surprising even. There’s nothing else quite like it,” he said.
Coming soon. 👀#LiveMoreFearLess #NevisThriller pic.twitter.com/RcZWzy4uDT
— AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand (@AJHackettBungy) August 2, 2018
Housed in a pod and between a series of cables, alongside the infamous Nevis Swing, the Catapult is a unique combination of height, flight, and speed using a bespoke high-speed winch system developed over years of research.
Mr van Asch says he first came up with the idea when traveling around France during the 1980s with a friend and (later) Bungy co-founder, AJ Hackett.
“I played around with the idea by riding my mountain bike with a Bungy cord attached, off bridges. It may not have been legal,” he revealed.
Source: James Morgan Photography
The Catapult is developed to internationally recognized global safety standards and regulated under New Zealand adventure tourism and amusement device standards.
Specialist new technology for the multi-million-dollar Catapult was developed with the company’s research team before being built in an accredited testing facility in Christchurch and then brought to site for full-scale installation, testing, and commissioning.
Testing has been conducted out-of-sight over the past nine months – beginning with weighted barrels, before moving on to a test dummy phase and finally human testing.
Worlds First. #NevisCatapult 🇳🇿https://t.co/tl5nBVeHKY 👊#LiveMoreFearLess #NZMustDo pic.twitter.com/RfaMvaQAsO
— AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand (@AJHackettBungy) August 7, 2018
Mr van Asch says it’s significant to be unveiling the new experience in the company’s 30th year.
“In 1988 we took Bungy to the world and put New Zealand on the world adventure tourism map. Thirty years on it’s wonderful to still be pushing the boundaries globally.”
“AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand is the epitome of the Kiwi entrepreneurial spirit and their investment in cutting-edge technology and new thrills is an example of how New Zealand continues to be at the forefront of adventure tourism,” Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen England-Hall said.
Source: James Morgan Photography.
“Something like this could never have been accomplished without a combination of creativity, daring, sheer Kiwi craziness and of course investment in years of design engineering and testing.”
Mr. England-Hall believes “the Nevis Catapult will inspire thrill seekers from all over the world to come to Queenstown to push their limits further than they have ever been able to.”
“The combination of speed, height, and flight is something the world has never seen,” he commented.
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The world’s first commercial bungy jump operation was established near Queenstown at the Kawarau Bridge, the ‘original home of Bungy’ in 1988.
The company – which now offers zip rides, swings, a bridge climb, tower walk and bungy experiences at five sites in Queenstown and Auckland – is set to reach one million jumps from the Kawarau Bridge Bungy Centre next month.

Lainey Loh | @laineyx
A certified daydreamer, when she's not physically travelling, she's often going places in her head. Her first love is coffee & her second, wine – & she accepts bribes in either forms. She's also entirely capable of deep conversations about life & random musings just for laughs, but do excuse her if she appears AWOL mid-chat – she's just going places in her head.

Dear dark tourist, these are Asia’s most beautiful cemeteries

Posted by - August 10, 2018

Cemeteries can be beautiful as well haunting. Source: Shutterstock
DEATH is understandably scary and feared around the world.
But cemeteries and places of burial don’t have to resemble the gloom that looms over the end of someone’s life.
These cemeteries across Asia reflect the cultures of their nations.
They also lure people in with their natural beauty, colorful flowers, ornate tombstones with snippets of history on them, and spellbinding stories of lives well lived.
Not all cemeteries have all these attributes though. Some are vibrant in flora and birdsong while others are more haunting.
But all share one common theme: Everyone who takes permanent residence in them has passed away.
So with respect, decorum, and an admiration for the human psyche, here are Asia’s most beautiful and intriguing cemeteries.
Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Kanchanaburi, Thailand Source: Shutterstock
The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery is dedicated to the prisoners of World War II who were kept captive in Thailand under its Japanese occupation and forced into hard labor to build roads and railways.
It is the final resting place for many Australian, British, and Dutch soldiers while the remains of the American prisoners of war were repatriated back to the US.
Source: Shutterstock
The symmetry in the graveyard combined with the immaculate upkeep of the site makes it a beautiful place to learn about war history and contemplate the atrocities committed here.
Okunoin, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan Source: Shutterstock
Okunoin is often referred to as one of the most spiritual places in Japan.
It is Japan’s largest graveyard with over 200,000 tombstones that line nearly two kilometers of pathways.
Kukai, a grandmaster of Buddhism who lived between 774 and 835, is also believed to be resting here in a central mausoleum.
Source: Shutterstock
The cemetery is located in a 1,200-year-old forest filled with fir and pine trees. The sunlight beams between the tree trunks and on the graves of 200,000 monks who are all waiting to be resurrected by the Future Buddha.
Yanaka Cemetery, Tokyo, Japan Source: Shutterstock
Yanaka Cemetery used to be part of a Buddhist temple called Tenno-ji and sits in the Taito section of Tokyo.
It is famous for its cherry blossom trees which cover pathways and graves in April every year.
Source: Shutterstock
It’s also known for being the burial site of the last Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu who was unsuccessful in his military leadership in Japan in the late 19th century.
Mount of Olives, Jerusalem Source: Shutterstock
Once upon a time, acres of olives trees filled this cemetery, giving it its enchanting name.
Mount of Olives is located in one the holiest cities in the world, Jeruselum.
Source: Shutterstock
Located on the West Bank next to the Old City, this mountain is sacred to three regions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. However, only Jewish people are buried here.
It is the oldest and one of the most significant Jewish cemeteries in the world with over 70,000 graves.
The Hanging Coffins of Sagada, Luzon, Philippines Source: Shutterstock
Members of the Igorot tribe of the mountain province on the northern Philippines have practiced the tradition of hanging coffins, containing their dead relatives, on a cliff near the town of Sagada.
It is believed to deliver the dead quicker and elevate them closer to ancestral spirits.
Source: Shutterstock
The coffins are mostly handcrafted by locals and embellished with crosses, and the smaller ones aren’t children or babies.
The Igorot tribe believe you should leave the world the way you came out – in the fetal position.
Historically, families would break the bones of their dead to fit them in the coffins, but this tradition is slowly being phased out.

So you want to go caving?

Posted by - August 8, 2018

Before you get your Indiana Jones on, consider these caving tips. Source: Shutterstock.
FOR some adrenaline-junkies, scaling a couple of feet up a limestone cave wall isn’t enough to call it an adventure.
Because the idea of being inside a cave exploring its every nook and cranny and perhaps discovering some treasures sound a whole lot more exciting.
Still, there are a lot of things to consider before you lace up your hiking shoes and attempt to crawl around in a cave to gawk at rock formations and underground rivers.
Asia is home to a handful of spectacular caves, such as Hang Son Doong in Vietnam, Ryusendo Cave in Japan, Mulu Caves in Malaysia, Jomblang Cave in Indonesia, and Puerto Princesa Underground River in the Philippines.
However, one labyrinthine cave complex in Thailand recently gained international recognition when 12 boys and their football coach were trapped underground for 17 days.
Tham Luang Cave is located in the Doi Nang Non (Mountain of the Sleeping Lady) mountain range.
The cave complex has a very long cave system with numerous stalactites, stalagmites, and branches that go on for several kilometers.
Source: Shutterstock.
The boys, known as the Wild Boars, entered the Tham Luang Cave in Chiang Rai province on June 23, just after practice had ended. Although they had explored the cave before, they never went too deep or faced wet weather conditions.
As the Wild Boars made their way deeper into the cave, the weather outside Tham Luang Cave changed rapidly, causing a flash flood and leaving them trapped underground.
They were stranded in the cave for 10 days without food before they were found by British A-team divers John Volanthen and Rick Stanton.
It was a rescue mission that involved more than 1,000 people from all over the world – Thailand, the UK, the US, Belgium, Australia, China, Japan, Sweden, Myanmar, and Laos.
The Wild Boars and their coach at a press conference after the Tham Luang Cave rescue. Source: Shutterstock.
That miracle of a story sparkled a worldwide interest in Tham Luang Cave and it’ll potentially be getting two movies.
Chiang Rai authorities are set to turn Tham Luang Cave into a living museum as well to showcase how the operation unfolded.
More importantly, the event has spurred an interest in spelunking, also known as the exploration of caves. But not many people know how to do it safely.
Here are some tips and safety advice to make sure you minimize the risks of your cave adventure:
Do your homework As with any adventure, you need to do your research and read up about what you’re going to be doing.
Is the cave mostly dry and dusty? Will it require you to go cave diving (which cannot be done with just a scuba diving license alone)?
Source: Shutterstock.
If you’re claustrophobic or afraid of bats or snakes, you’ll need to know the characteristics of the cave you’re going to.
Check the weather report If there was one lesson that the Tham Luang Cave incident can teach us is to always check the weather report.
This is because there’s a chance that you might get trapped inside the cave when it pours down outside and the water levels rise.
Avoid caving during the rainy/monsoon season at all costs.
Ensure that it’s an established cave Don’t just saunter into any random cave. Sign up for an organized cave tour (at an easier cave) with a licensed guide.
Organized cave tours usually mean you’ll be guided by good lighting and staircases, and someone who is familiar with the cave you’re exploring.
Source: Shutterstock.
Also, ensure that your guide knows how to handle emergencies.
Be prepared for just about anything Going into a dry cave? You’ll need a mask to block out all the dust. Is your adventure going to be in a soggy cave? Then put on some waterproof clothing.
No matter what, you’ll need to be prepared to climb, crawl, wade, and squeeze your way through.
Must-have items include a helmet (preferably a hard hat), a headlamp and waterproof flashlights, hiking shoes, gloves, knee and elbow pads, and food and water.
More importantly, leave the cave the way you entered it.
This means no prodding and poking around the natural cave sculptures, no vandalism or graffiti, and strictly no littering.

Lainey Loh | @laineyx
A certified daydreamer, when she's not physically travelling, she's often going places in her head. Her first love is coffee & her second, wine – & she accepts bribes in either forms. She's also entirely capable of deep conversations about life & random musings just for laughs, but do excuse her if she appears AWOL mid-chat – she's just going places in her head.

India welcomes a new kind of risky adventure tourism

Posted by - August 8, 2018

40 of India’s Andaman and Nicobar islands are being opened for tourism. Source: Shutterstock
TRAVELERS will soon be able to vacation on islands that have never experienced civilization.
This is because India’s Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to open a number of Andaman and Nicobar islands which have previously been off-limits to tourists.
In total, 40 islands in the Bay of Bengal will be opened to the public as the ministry plans to retract the Restricted Area Permit regime until the end of 2022.
But there’s a risk factor involved because some of these islands are home to indigenous and potentially dangerous tribes, namely North Sentinel Island.
North Sentinel Island is part of the Andaman Islands which includes South Sentinel Islands, also being opened to the public.
North Sentinal Islanders, known as the Sentinelese tribe, have an infamous history of trying to prevent anyone from accessing their shores.
Neill Island is being open to the public as part of the ministry’s scheme. Source: Shutterstock
The Sentinelese are entirely isolated from civilization and they have long fought to keep it this way.
This earned the island a few titles including “the hardest place in the world to visit’, “the world’s most dangerous island”, and home to “the most isolated tribe in the world.”
Little is known about how the Sentinelese people live, but it is believed that for the last 60,000 years, the tribe has been entirely self-sufficient on the island, staving off intruders by furiously attacking them.
In 2006, the Sentinelese tribe killed two fishermen who accidentally floated into their waters. When a helicopter was sent to retrieve the bodies, the tribe greeted the crew with weapons.
The estimated 400-strong tribe also survived the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which killed 230,000 people across Southeast Asia.
Despite the potential threat from the Sentinelese tribe, the ministry is hoping the decision to open the islands will improve tourism to the area.
Coral formations of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Source: Shutterstock
Snorkeling and diving are popular tourist activities on the islands which are already open to the public.
These ocean-based activities will undoubtedly continue to be popular on the new islands. However, the ministry has assured concerned conservationists and eco-travelers that the abundance of coral reefs and marine life around the 300 islands which make up the region will be protected.
Other islands which are being opened to the public are Havelock Island, Little Andaman, and Katchal Island.
The latter, in particular, saw the historical exploitation of local tribespeople by outsiders. For this exploitation to stop, the Indian government declared Katchal Island an Aboriginal Tribal Reserve Area back in the 50s.
Until now, even Indian nationals needed a special tribal pass to visit. But with the recent lax on the Restricted Area Permit scheme, most people who are allowed to travel to mainland India will be able to visit these islands without prior permission.
Chinese, Afghanistani, and Pakistani citizens will still need to obtain a restricted area permit (RAP) pass beforehand.
If you’re interested in visiting these islands, start planning your trip pronto as they’re difficult to reach.
Flights to these islands only take off from the Chennai, Kolkata, New Delhi and Bhubaneshwar airports in India.
Air India, Jet Airways, Jet Lite, Go Air, and Spice Jet Airlines operate regular flights to Veer Savarkar Airport located in the capital town of Port Blair, also known as the gateway to the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
Flight route map from mainland India to the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Source: Pinterest
A full list of boat services which ferry travelers between paradise islands can be found on the Andaman and Nicobar islands’ official tourism website.

Why is this Vietnamese bridge going viral?

Posted by - August 2, 2018

VIETNAM’S coastal city Da Nang has been getting a lot of attention as of late, thanks to the rise in airline routes connecting the destination to the rest of the world.
Now, travelers have one more seemingly mystical reason to visit Da Nang.
#THINGS TO DO
Soak up culture while sipping on coffee in charming Hanoi Located on the west of Da Nang is Ba Na Hills, a hill station and resort that was founded in 1919 by French colonists.
The hills are particularly famous for the Linh Ung Pagoda and the Ba Na Cable Car which holds the world record for the longest nonstop single track cable car.
More recently, Da Nang unveiled its very own Cau Vang, Vietnamese for “Golden Bridge”, which has attracted hordes of guests since its opening in June.
A post shared by Yenni Mayasari (@yenni_mayasari) on Jul 30, 2018 at 10:51am PDT
Nestled in the forested Ba Na Hills, the bridge snakes through the forest high up in mountains first developed by French colonists.
The elegantly designed bridge, which stands 1,4000 meters above sea level above Ba Na Hills, appears to be held aloft by two giant stone hands.
The 150-meter gold-colored walkway was designed to make visitors feel like they’re taking a stroll on a shimmery thread stretching across “the hands of gods” and offers majestic views of the surrounding countryside.
A post shared by Jojo (@j300sul) on Jul 30, 2018 at 4:26am PDT
While the gigantic, sculpted hands look like they were carved from stone, they’re actually not.
According to TA Landscape Architecture, the company that was responsible for designing the bridge, they “designed the skeleton of the hands and covered them with steel meshes.”
“Then we finished with fiberglass and added the theming on it. The entire construction of the bridge took about a year,” Bored Panda quoted TA Landscape Architecture as saying.

Images of the bridge have since gone viral on social media, and the architects were surprised and humbled that it would attract so much attention.
“We’re proud that our product has been shared by people all over the world,” TA Landscape Architecture principal designer and founder Vu Viet Anh told AFP.
Ba Na Hills’ “Golden Bridge” is also lined with purple Lobelia chrysanthemums, so visitors will always feel like they’re walking among clouds of blooms.
#INDUSTRY NEWS
How Asia is overtaking the international tourism scene The country is working hard to position itself as a must-see destination in Southeast Asia and the “Golden Bridge” is part of a US$2 billion investment to bring more than the 1.5 million visitors the area receives annually.
Earlier this year, Vietnam unveiled a “crystal cloud” installation of 58,000 shimmering Swarovski beads in the rice-terraced hills of Yen Bai province in northern Vietnam.
The post Why is this Vietnamese bridge going viral? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Where are the most popular glamping sites in Asia?

Posted by - July 27, 2018

ONE of the biggest misconceptions about glamping is that the best or most popular glamping sites are in faraway places such as the US or Europe.
But that is not entirely true.
#ADVENTURES
Is glamping for you? Glamping (glamorous camping) is an increasingly popular travel trend, so much so that it has become more than just a trend – it is a new, fully immersive way of travel.
It allows glampers to get up close and personal with nature and feel alive without having to rough it. So you can rest assured that you will be able to connect with nature in comfort and sometimes, luxury.
Blessed with lush forests, rolling mountains, white sand beaches, warm breeze, sprawling fields, and four distinctive seasons in some places, Asia is on the rise as the choice destination for glamping.
From a forest canopy in a treehouse to an ecolodge in a sprawling field, to a tent by the beach or a yurt on a mountaintop, glampers can pick and choose the exact type of experience that they want to gain from their travels.
Whether you’re considering going glamping for the first time or the umpteenth time, here are some of the most popular glamping sites in Asia:
Sri Lanka: Tree House near Sigiriya Rock Located in four acres of forest, this luxury furnished tree house rental can be found near Sigiriya Rock and is perfect for a glamping vacation.
It can sleep up to four guests and is ideal for groups or two couples as it has two double beds. The well-built wooden steps lead to the hand-crafted, comfortable beds.
The lounge deck is a spacious, open area that easily accommodates up to four adults.
Source: Glamping Hub.
Downstairs, at the base of the tree, guests will find an open lounge to relax and sip an evening cup of tea or coffee.
The modern toilet is attached nearby and has a designer open format shower area, with hot and cold water for a long shower under the stars.
Just 30 minutes away, guests will find Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks where the world famous Wild Elephant Gathering takes place.
Price: From US$107 per night.
Sri Lanka: Family-friendly Cottages If you are looking for a vacation rental in Sri Lanka that is secluded in stunning, lush wildlife, then look no further.
This luxury camping site in Sigiriya consists of seven unspoiled acres of wilderness that is home to elephants, butterflies, birds, and more.
The site has two family cottages for rent, which have been elevated slightly and completely powered by solar electricity.
Source: Glamping Hub.
Each has a private bathroom with a toilet, a sink, and a shower with hot water. There is also a shared living area connecting the two cottages.
Mosquito nets are provided, and there are huts for lounging and dining at this glamping site near the lake.
These vacation rentals are suited for older people and small children, and they can accommodate two to four guests.
Price: From US$85.60 per night.
Sri Lanka: Elephant Villa This site is located in the Southeastern Uva Province of Sri Lanka, on a 16-acre property on the banks of a river bordering the country’s leading wildlife sanctuary, known as Yala.
The unique, elephant-shaped villa is a 40-feet, two-story mammoth. It consists of two large bedrooms and a lounge on the upper deck.
It is made entirely of wood and straw, serving as a reminder of the beauty of nature.
Source: Glamping Hub.
There is a bathroom with running hot water and two toilets, and electricity.
The restaurant on this property serves authentic Sri Lankan cuisine to ensure that you fully experience the local culture.
You will be offered traditional dishes from the area, as well as traditional meals with interesting and unusual twists to allow your taste buds to try something new.
Price: From US$171.20 per night.
Indonesia: Wellness Retreat Villa in Bali This five-star wellness retreat boasts seven different suites with a spacious private terrace overlooking the sacred Ayung River landscape, perfect for rest and recuperation with a partner.
Each suite has been furnished with traditional textiles and antique touches, giving it an authentic luxury ambiance.
There is a unique hot water “al fresco” bathroom where guests can bathe under the stars, and the area is fitted with chromotherapy lighting.
Source: Glamping Hub.
In the suite, there is air-conditioning, a sound system with an iPod dock, and Wi-Fi access throughout.
Glampers can relax and take advantage of the wellness spa at this retreat which offers a full range of authentic beauty rituals featuring super-food ingredients.
There is also an option for fresh organic bathing and skincare massages, guaranteed to leave you feeling revitalized.
Price: From US$211.86 per night.
Vietnam: Wooden Bungalows This eco-tourism glamping site is situated 100 kilometers south of Hanoi and 200 kilometers southwest of Ha Long Bay.
The rentals are in the middle of a valley surrounded by multiform limestone pitons and a private lake, with balconies that offer unforgettable views across the lake and steep mountain ridges of Ninh Binh province.
Each room has been meticulously designed with a delicate, functional romanticism to generate a harmonious ambiance, with modern facilities for your greatest comfort such as a quality mattress, a mini-bar, and a private hot water shower.
Source: Glamping Hub.
The balcony is furnished with a hammock, long chairs, and a table, and the bed is fitted with a mosquito net to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep.
At the onsite Mountain Lake Restaurant, the chef is committed to serving delicious local cuisine made with fresh ingredients.
The geography of the region affords fantastic cave exploration, mountainous hiking, and of course, photography.
Price: From US$58.85 per night.
Thailand: Luxury Huts This lovely property is located in its own private jungle setting, in front of the lovely and romantic lagoon in Klong Prao.
Guests will find themselves just 200 meters from the stunning white sands of Klong Prao beach, which is a spectacular spot to watch the sunset.
The luxury beach rental is perfect for couples to enjoy a getaway in Koh Chang, fully furnished and equipped with everything you will need to relax in style.
Source: Glamping Hub.
The stunning double bed is perfect for a relaxing sleep after a busy day exploring and there are full bathroom facilities, along with a luxury outdoor pool where guests can relax and cool off.
Not forgetting, glampers will have access to air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and a television as well.
There is also a lovely lounge area where guests can enjoy chilling out.
Price: From US$84.53 per night.
Thailand: Unique Dome This cozy rental is set on the island of Ko Pha Ngan, just a two-minute walk from the beach, giving guests easy access to a day of lazing in the sun or swimming in the clear, blue Thai waters.
It is surrounded by stunning woodland and its own garden area, ideally suited for two people
There is a queen-size bed in the dome and a private bathroom with a hot shower complete with supplied towels and toiletries for guests to use.
Source: Glamping Hub.
The dining area can also be used as a workstation for those who need to work remotely.
Outside, guests can sit out in the garden and in the evenings, they can start a campfire to relax in front of after a long day of activities and excursions.
The dome is close to numerous areas with outdoor activities such as Paeng Waterfall which leads to viewpoints and jungle walks.
Price: From US$51.36 per night.
Thailand: Tented Cabins This glamping property can be found nestled in the south of Thailand in a beautiful national park and large forest known as Khao Sok.
You will find yourself surrounded by a picturesque mountain scenery as the animals wander around in their natural habitat and the vegetation flourishes with a life of its own.
There are a total of 15 tents at this property.
Source: Glamping Hub.
Each includes individual air conditioning, comfortable beds with duvets, a modern Thai-style dressing table, a Thai-style desk with a lamp, a refrigerator with complimentary bottled water, and Wi-Fi access.
Nature lovers will love the private balcony which offers a panoramic view of the breathtaking surroundings.
The property also offers a restaurant, tour service, taxi service, and a local mini-mart.
Price: From US$61.19 per night.
Thailand: Beach Tents This remote beach rental is located at the southern tip of Phuket island near Rawai Beach.
The beachfront luxury tent can accommodate up to four guests, with two queen-size beds or one queen-size bed and three twin beds, depending on the request of the glampers.
It is beautifully decorated on the inside and outside to complement the lovely Thai beach and ocean views.
Source: Glamping Hub.
On-site, there are many spaces for relaxing, including picnic areas with umbrellas and seating looking out over the ocean
There is an outdoor swimming pool, a full bar, a gourmet restaurant, and a snack bar.
Glampers can swim, sunbathe, or request a rejuvenating massage at an extra cost. Everything provided here is for a truly relaxing experience.
Price: From US$63.13 per night.
Cambodia: Safari Tents Brimming with ethereal wonder and a mystical atmosphere, this property is the perfect gateway to the Angkor complex of ruins just 15 minutes away – truly an archaeological spectacle to behold.
Guests are sure to be in awe of its splendor, as the jungles surrounding Angkor are full of exotic wildlife, from the formidable elephant to the howler monkey.
These immaculate tents are built with the finest of organic materials and delicate fabrics, providing an exotic getaway in a lightweight yet durable setting.
Source: Glamping Hub.
They are outfitted with one king-size bed complete with fine linens, as well as a private bathroom with a shower, vanity basin, and mirror.
There is a kitchenette area with a kettle and minibar, and you will be provided with complimentary slippers and bathrobes.
Outside, there is a pri..