The world’s best Chinatowns that aren’t in China

Posted by - August 1, 2018

MOST METROPOLITAN destinations in the world host little cultural enclaves such as Little India, Koreatown, Vietnamese suburb, Japantown, and perhaps the most popular town of the kind, Chinatown.
Whether you’re in Cuba or San Francisco, the concept of a Chinatown is the same across the board: an ethnic enclave of Chinese people located outside of mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan.
It’s often a unifying factor for the Chinese in the area, offering Chinese-themed shopping centers and markets, Cantonese restaurants and cafes, decorated in giddying lanterns and flashing lights, and is often the place to be to celebrate festivities such as Chinese New Year.
#THINGS TO DO
The heart of heritage: A glimpse of Bangkok’s Chinatown If you’re Chinese, no matter where you are, a Chinatown will make you feel right at home. And for travelers, a Chinatown is simply a taste of China.
Chinatowns are usually found in an urban setting, so don’t expect peace and quiet if you plan to take a stroll down the cramped streets. Do, however, enjoy being in between all the action in the old and the new, as tradition and modernity blend together to become one.
Here are some of the world’s best Chinatowns that aren’t in China:
Manila, The Philippines Located in the Binondo district of Manila, the Philippines’ Chinatown has influence that extends beyond Quiapo, Santa Cruz, San Nicolas.
Considered the world’s oldest Chinatown, it was established in 1594 by Spaniards as a settlement near Intramuros for the Catholic Chinese.
Source: Shutterstock.
Aside from its Filipino-Chinese businesses, Binondo is also famous for The Umbrella Alley where street food is aplenty and historical sites such as the Seng Guan Temple and the Kuang Kong Temple.
Niu Che Shui, Singapore Niu Che Shui, which means “ox”, “cart”, and “water”, Singapore’s Chinatown was once an enclave for the island city-state’s immigrant population.
Today, Niu Che Shui is a sharp but pleasing contrast to the high-rise buildings that surround the area and is heavily visited by both locals and tourists.
Source: Shutterstock.
From its historic ornate Chinese and Buddhist temples to the traditional medicinal halls to the bustling street market and food streets, as well as the hip new watering holes and lifestyle shops, there’s never a dull moment here.
Bangkok, Thailand The sights, sounds, and smells of Yaowarat area will be an assault on any visitor’s senses but in all the best ways.
Get ready for an adventure when you stroll down many of Thailand’s Chinatown in Bangkok and sample the treats from its street food vendors, while occasionally whipping out your camera to take shots for the ‘gram.
Source: Shutterstock.
Yaowarat’s fascinating mix of Chinese and Thai cultures sets it apart from other Chinatowns in the world and it’s not an experience that you should miss.
Kolkata, India Located in the eastern part of Kolkata, Tiretta Bazaar was established in the early 19th century and was once home to 20,000 ethnic Chinese Indian nationals.
Today, the area is still very much loved, dotted with Chinese restaurants that offer traditional Chinese cuisine and Indian-influenced Chinese food.
Source: Shutterstock.
During Chinese New Year, throngs of Chinese Indians flock to Tiretta Bazaar to celebrate and also to witness the lion dance performances that continue to be held every year.
Yokohama, Japan Located in Yokohama, just south of Tokyo, the Yokohama Chinatown has a history that spans about 150 years long and a population of about 3,000 to 4,000 Chinese people.
Established not long after Tokyo opened its port to foreign trade in 1859, it’s the largest Chinatown in Japan and also in Asia, and one of the largest in the world.
Source: Shutterstock.
Yokohama Chinatown is home to over 200 restaurants serving Japan-influence Chinese cuisine, an eight-story entertainment mall and theme park, Chinese grocery and medicine stores, and two elaborate Chinese temples.
Melbourne, Australia In Australia, the Chinese community is well-represented, especially in Sydney and Melbourne. In fact, Melbourne’s Chinatown is popularly known as the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the western world and the oldest Chinatown in the southern hemisphere.
It was established upon the arrival of Chinese immigrants during the Victorian gold rush of the early 1850s, a period of extreme prosperity for the Australian colony.
Source: Shutterstock.
Home to many Chinese restaurants, cultural venues, businesses, places of worship, architectural heritage and annual festivals, Melbourne’s Chinatown is a major tourist attraction.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia At the heart of Malaysia where the city never sleeps is a lively and colorful destination with sprawling flea markets, beautiful temples, and quirky art galleries. It has to be Chinatown.
The large covered market is known for its fashion shops selling both must-have items as well as designer rip-offs, handicraft and souvenir stalls, as well as stalls dishing up delectable Chinese food and refreshing beverages.
Source: Shutterstock.
Shopaholics will love haggling for and scoring dirt-cheap steals and deals whilst other travelers shouldn’t miss this mindboggling sightseeing activity.
The post The world’s best Chinatowns that aren’t in China appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

How this LGBTQ+ nightclub in India became a movement

Posted by - June 26, 2018

WHAT WOULD YOU GET if you threw class, fashion, music, champagne, and a rainbow in a large room and mixed it all up?
Kitty Su.
#TRAVEL HACKS
Here’s what you should know if you’re LGBTQ+ and traveling to Asia Founded by Indian hotelier and avid traveler Keshav Suri and his partner Cyril, a Frenchman who “loved to explore new worlds,” Kitty Su at The Lalit New Delhi was influenced by the LGBTQ+ scenes that they had seen everywhere from Argentina to New York to Shanghai.
Rooted in happy pride, Kitty Su is India’s most inclusive nightclub, often packed to the brim with likeminded LGBTQ+ revelers with not a moment of no love-for-all vibe in the air.
“The sophisticated elegance of Kitty Su became a beacon to which all kinds of people – drag queens hailing from Ambala or Chandigarh, transgender personalities and differently abled musicians and artists – could flock, secure in the knowledge that they were in a safe space, at last,” Suri shared with Conde Nast Traveller.
In India, where homosexuality is seen as “shameful,” one man is changing things up with a nightclub. Source: Kitty Su.
“In the last three years, Kitty Su has grown beyond being just a haven for the LGBTQ community.”
But it hasn’t always been rainbows and butterflies for Suri.
Post-traversing through Milan, Rome, Florence, Venice, New York, and China and soaking up the sensation of pure love and acceptance, then going home to India was “sometimes frustrating.”
All that euphoria and empowerment dissipates in a blink of an eye as the reality hits them.
The LGBTQ community dance and celebrate at a pride march. Source: Shutterstock.
Same-sex relationships, marriages, and sexual activities are illegal in India, and its people aren’t tolerant of LGBTQ people.
Homosexuality is seen as “shameful,” and those who are would usually face discrimination from families and friends.
India criminalized homosexuality until 2009 when the High Court of Delhi declared section 377 of the Indian Penal Code invalid. In 2013, India reinstated its ban on homosexuality, making it a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment up to life.
Due to the lack of understanding and prejudice against LGBTQ+ people, coupled with the spreading of misinformation, the community often falls victim to violence.
Reports of violence against LGBTQ people, including honor killings, attacks, torture, and beatings of the LGBTQ community is common in India. Source: Shutterstock.
In May, a transgender woman was killed and three others seriously injured when they were attacked by a mob of angry locals acting on rumors that the women were child traffickers in the Indian city of Hyderabad.
The women were begging in the southern suburb of Chandrayanagutta when they were set upon.
“They were begging for money from some shopkeepers in Chandrayanagutta at 11pm when some unruly youths started saying they had come to kidnap children,” Hyderabad (South Zone) deputy commissioner of police V.Satyanarayana told CNN.
Up to 20 people took part in the attack, while a crowd of up to 200 people stood by egging them on.
LGBT activists hold a long rainbow-colored flag demanding equality during Queer Swabhimana Yatra 2017 in Hyderabad, India. Source: Shutterstock.
“Homophobia is a global phenomenon, but in India, the fear of arrest for a same-sex inter-racial couple like us is very real. Wherever we go, this fear accompanies us, a paranoia that can feel like a noose is always hovering,” Suri wrote.
One fateful night, however, mid-conversation with Cyril, Suri was empowered to break free from the noose and change things up.
“Over the years, all our travels had demonstrated to us that members of the LGBTQ community had to come out and show their strength and demands to pave the way for mainstream acceptance. Despite the pervasive homophobia in China, for instance, there was a vibrant, high-end LGBTQ nightlife scene in Shanghai, where people could act freely and enjoy themselves with like-minded and open people,” Suri explained.
“It irked me, and I immediately thought, “If China can, why can’t we?”
A post shared by Prateek Sachdeva (@bettanaanstop) on Jun 10, 2018 at 4:22am PDT
And that was how Kitty Su, a product of love, labor, a pinch of paranoia, and more importantly, a whole lot of pride came to be.
Here are seven things you need to know about the nightclub-turned-movement:
It offers the finest high-octane beats ranging from techno to commercial, and house to dubstep. It’s the only nightclub from India to feature in DJ Mag’s Top 100 Clubs poll for three consecutive years. For two years in a row, Kitty Su was awarded the Best Night Club in the Capital. World’s Best Bars called Kitty Su “an absolute ground-breaker on the New Delhi nightlife scene,” being the first to introduce a VIP area. The club is also home to a trendy tattoo parlor and boutique. Kitty Su often promotes and champions its motto, #PureLove, across its social media platforms. It’s open three days a week including Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Kitty Su is located at Basement, The Lalit New Delhi, Barakhamba Avenue, New Delhi, India.
#TRAVEL TRENDS
LGBT escape: Asia pushes pink tourism Aside from Kitty Su, Suri also manages Lalit Group of Hotels’ properties as the company’s executive director. He has since made the properties more inclusive and hopes that in time he will be able to help the community that he’s a part of, the much needed basic human rights that they deserve.
In April, Suri led a petition with the Supreme Court, challenging Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalizes a consensual relationship between adults of the same sex.
The post How this LGBTQ+ nightclub in India became a movement appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

These hotels in India give luxury a new meaning

Posted by - June 11, 2018

DID YOU KNOW: India’s luxury hotel scene is one of the best in the world.
Of course, it’s not always been known to be luxe capital of Asia. Neighboring nations such as the Maldives and Sri Lanka are more often associated with an exclusive paradise atmosphere.
India, on the other hand, is usually better known for its rapid urbanization, vibrant festivals, and fiery cuisine.
But these properties aren’t just visual and experiential representations of those sentiments, they add on a sinfully generous helping of luxury too.
#HOTELS
Take a look inside the Trump-Kim Summit hotel They effortlessly offer guests cultural heritage and sublime luxury combined with faultless service and decadent dining options.
Let us waltz you through some of India’s unbeatable properties so you can plan your next vacation.
Rambagh Palace, Jaipur A post shared by Front Office basics knowledge (@front_office_with__hospitality) on May 21, 2018 at 2:37am PDT
Imagine staying in a residence once occupied by the Maharajas of Jaipur.
Now you can at Rambagh Palace in the northern city of Jaipur. The hotel was a former hunting lodge and royal residence occupying 47-acres.
The regal characteristics can be seen everywhere throughout the property.
From the mighty high ceilings in every bedroom to the perfectly placed antiques that weave historical charm through the hotel.
Each of the lavishly furnished suites is fit for a king, but the Suka Niwas Suite steals the show, at the impressive cost of US$563 (INR38,000) per night.
A post shared by WedWise.co.in (@wedwise) on Jun 3, 2018 at 12:54am PDT
There are only two of these presidential suites at Rambagh Palace, each fitted with arched stonework, crystal chandeliers, gold-leaf frescoes, panoramic views, Hermes bath amenities, a four-fixture bathroom with marble Jacuzzi and a bath butler.
Uh. Wow.
A post shared by Photography (@best.of.photographs) on May 18, 2018 at 1:51am PDT
There isn’t a moment to be bored here either. Guest can watch the peacocks strut their stuff around the grounds, swim in the indoor and outdoor pools, indulge in spa treatments, swing a round of golf and discover a new lust for henna tattoos.
Restaurants: Suvarna Mahal and Rajput Room
A post shared by Rambagh Palace (@rambaghpalace) on Apr 25, 2018 at 5:24am PDT
Suvarna Mahal seamlessly combines regal dishes from the princely states of Rajasthan, Awadh, Punjab, and Hyderabad and serves them in a rich heritage setting which curtseys to a time of erstwhile rulers.
A post shared by Expedition2india (@expedition2india) on Apr 30, 2018 at 12:45am PDT
For a multi-cuisine experience overlooking the groomed gardens, diners can head to all-day-dining restaurant Rajput Room.
You’ll leave Rambagh Palace feeling like the most pampered Maharaja.
The Leela Palace, Udaipur A post shared by @theleela on Nov 28, 2017 at 6:18am PST
The Leela Palace is hugged by Lake Pichola and the Aravalli mountains making it one of the most breathtaking hotel settings in India.
Each of the 80 rooms and suites offers lake views, so come morning your only alarm is the glistening sun beaming off the lake and illuminating your elegantly furnished room.
The Aravalli mountains provided Udaipur with natural barriers against invasion, even from the fierce Mughal armies. The peace and tranquility of the undisturbed region have been absorbed by The Leela Palace hotel.
A post shared by @theleela on Sep 19, 2017 at 10:31pm PDT
Relaxation comes effortlessly here. Guests can dip in the azure pool and unwind in the spa by ESPA.
From restorative oils to cleansing muds and revitalizing massages to softening facials, ESPA will renew balance to the mind and body.
The colorful city center is just a heartbeat from the hotel where guests can immerse themselves in cultural heritage, explore shops with unusual trinkets or fly kites with locals beside the lake.
Choose to do nothing or everything in Udaipur, either way, you won’t be disappointed.
Restaurants: Dining Room and Sheesh Mahal
A post shared by @theleela on Feb 14, 2018 at 10:59pm PST
At the Dining Room, you can pick your wine from the walk-in cellar before sitting at a candlelit table overlooking the lake, a spectacular sight.
Indulge in an eclectic choice of world cuisines with freshness guaranteed.
A post shared by Luisa Accorsi (@luisa) on Apr 1, 2018 at 11:04am PDT
Sheesh Mahal is focused on perfecting royal Indian dishes, which they do wonderfully. This is arguably the best restaurant in Udaipur for real Indian flavors with contemporary nuances, devoured under the open stars.
The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra A post shared by The Oberoi Amarvilas,Agra (@oberoiamarvilas) on Jun 1, 2018 at 4:21am PDT
There is love around every corner at The Oberoi Amarvilas, and also out of every window.
This luxury hotel boasts undisturbed views across to the original testament to love, the Taj Mahal, located just 600 meters away.
A post shared by The Oberoi Amarvilas,Agra (@oberoiamarvilas) on May 17, 2018 at 1:54am PDT
Everything about this property illustrates Mughal emperors’ eye for splendor.
From the enormous entrance quadrant with cascading fountains to the octagonal glass-paneled rain shower in the luxury suite.
A post shared by The Oberoi Amarvilas,Agra (@oberoiamarvilas) on Jan 23, 2018 at 9:50pm PST
By day, guests can summon a private golf buggy to whisk them off to the Taj Mahal, swim in the sunken turquoise pool and enjoy being looked after in the spa.
Come nightfall, the stars illuminate Agra creating a Taj Mahal silhouette, enjoyed best with a cold beverage on the private balcony.
A post shared by The Oberoi Amarvilas,Agra (@oberoiamarvilas) on Mar 3, 2018 at 8:51am PST
Restaurants: Bellevue and Esphahan
Whether it’s pleasing different tastes or dining for the view, the brightly lit, all day dining Bellevue restaurant is a great choice.
A post shared by The Oberoi Amarvilas,Agra (@oberoiamarvilas) on Feb 17, 2018 at 10:48pm PST
However Esphahan steal’s the limelight at The Oberoi Amarvilas with its carved wooden doors, marble pillars, candlelit tables and dishes created by passed-down recipes.
A post shared by The Oberoi Amarvilas,Agra (@oberoiamarvilas) on Nov 11, 2017 at 12:27am PST
From crispy fried yogurt kebabs, Mughal curries and soft Indian flatbreads to chef’s special vegetarian and non-vegetarian platters, thalis and traditional desserts.
Is your mouth watering yet?
The post These hotels in India give luxury a new meaning appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Why the monkey, tourist combo is a disaster waiting to happen

Posted by - May 25, 2018

TAKING selfies with monkeys seems like a great idea until they steal your possessions and attack you.
This was the unfortunate reality for two French tourists at India’s Taj Mahal. The sightseers were left with nasty scratches and bite marks after being attacked by a troop of monkeys.
#WILDLIFE
Report: Bali has no cruelty-free wildlife tourist attractions While tourists are encouraged not to feed the cheeky primates, sometimes their quietness is mistaken for cuteness, and people get too close.
Then they spring their attack.
Agra, the site of the Taj Mahal, is reportedly home to 10,000 of India’s 50 million monkeys.
A post shared by Made Doels (@madedoels) on May 18, 2018 at 9:25pm PDT
They are fed by Hindus who worship the Monkey God, Hanuman, and so have become accustomed to being treated well and expect food.
Other monkeys, however, have learned how to hold stolen items ransom in return for food.
According to a study by Fany Brotcorne, a University of Liege primatologist discovered monkeys have learned to steal an item and hold it for ransom.
#WILDLIFE
A tour of the Amazon River in Singapore? Huh? The study was conducted at the Uluwatu Temple in Bali Indonesia.
For years, macaque monkeys have been grabbing glasses, cameras, and wedges of cash from ticket booths then waiting for stunned tourists to offer up food.
Most of the time, a site warden will come to their aide, and the ransom is fulfilled with snacks.

For a long time, it was believed this learned behavior was isolated to this specific Indonesia-based temple.
But the monkeys of Taj Mahal have also been displaying mafia-style techniques to get food, Sharon Stephenson shared with Stuff.
“There’s a right way and a wrong way to convince a monkey to give you back your jandal. I, apparently, have chosen the wrong one,” she wrote.
A post shared by Sarah Whyman (@_whybird_) on May 13, 2018 at 3:48am PDT
Stephenson experienced “mischevious monkey business” first hand when one stole her sandals outside Tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah, also known as the “Baby Taj.”
The naughty primate only returned her shoes when the tour guide threw a packet of peanuts at it. Even then, it sniffed the packet while still clenching the shoes until it was sure it wasn’t being conned.
Don’t fall victim to this monkey business Staying smart around sneaky monkeys can be the difference between keeping hold of your valuables and going home empty-handed.
So, here are a few tips to outsmart the “terror monkeys’:
1. Be vigilant of the alpha males These are usually the larger gray-haired monkeys and can turn aggressive quickly. If one of these has stolen your goodies, go and get some help from park rangers.
2. Don’t eat food in front of them They are motivated by food. If you snack on a rustling packet of chips or chomp away at a Twinkie, you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll swarm you.
3. Don’t wrestle with them Never tug on your belongings or attack a monkey. They will fight back, and they don’t play fair.
Most of the time, if a determined monkey has stolen something of yours, it is already too late. Let it go.
If you’re in a location where monkeys have learned ransom techniques, grab some food and bribe them.
4. Monkeys don’t smile If you see a monkey’s teeth, walk away. Baring their teeth is a sign of aggression.
5. Make yourself bigger In a rare case, a monkey may try to attack you. After all, they are wild animals.
If you feel threatened, make yourself bigger by standing up tall, make loud noises and wave your arms around. If this doesn’t scare them, it will attract attention and someone may help.
6. Seek medical attention If you happen to be bitten or scratched, make sure you clean the area and apply antiseptic straight away. Then seek medical attention ASAP to safeguard against infection.
The post Why the monkey, tourist combo is a disaster waiting to happen appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

This Wes Anderson-inspired restaurant is beyond Instagrammable

Posted by - April 9, 2018

AS WES ANDERSON releases his new film, Isle of Dogs, the cinematic world is writing reviews, discussing the narrative and debating whether it’s one of his best works.
#TRAVEL TRENDS
Report: Malaysians are traveling solo more than ever If you mention film director Wes Anderson to any movie buff, the usual response is one of glee, admiration and star-eyed bemusement as the respondent casts their mind back to the colorful array of symmetrical scenes filled with the Wilson brothers, Bill Murray and Angelica Huston.
Not forgetting the impressive intricate details in each shot, brilliant soundtracks, complex characters and a charming color palette.
A post shared by Wes Anderson Films (@wes_anderson_films) on Feb 5, 2015 at 7:03am PST
His films will leave you contemplating every individual scene while trying to figure out which of his directorial creations is your favorite.
But it’s not just film aficionados who get giddy over Wes Anderson’s creativeness, as Feast India Co in New Delhi perfectly illustrates.
A post shared by Feast India Company (@feastindiacompany) on Apr 4, 2018 at 1:09am PDT
Created by Renesa Architecture Design Interiors, the Feast India Co restaurant has taken inspiration from two of Anderson’s major works: The Grand Budapest Hotel and Darjeeling Limited.
Feast India Co hopes to leave customers with that same distinct, intrigued and mesmerized feeling you get after watching a Wes Anderson film.
A post shared by Feast India Company (@feastindiacompany) on Mar 16, 2018 at 4:21am PDT
Pastel pink and zebra stripes create a striking exterior which carries on throughout the restaurant.
The combination of striped and pink lampshades, walls, and furniture combined with plenty of green flora creates a serene aesthetic.
A post shared by Feast India Company (@feastindiacompany) on Mar 30, 2018 at 6:18am PDT
Renesa Architecture Design Interiors have been able to take full advantage of the warm Indian climate and create an outdoorsy feel by using open roofs, slated only by wood panels and installing a semi-outdoors bar.
The reception is wholly inspired by the hotel check-in desk featured in The Grand Budapest Hotel.
There is also some detail nodding toward India’s British colonial past such as the grand style seating and an art deco-themed bar.
A post shared by Feast India Company (@feastindiacompany) on Mar 29, 2018 at 2:57pm PDT
The food, however, is described as “Progressive Indian Cuisine”.
You can check out this zany bar and restaurant for yourself from 2pm onwards daily.
A post shared by Feast India Company (@feastindiacompany) on Mar 13, 2018 at 4:12am PDT
Although, it’s best to make a reservation first to avoid being denied a table in this beautifully blushing restaurant.
The post This Wes Anderson-inspired restaurant is beyond Instagrammable appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Yes, cherry blossom is beautiful, but have you seen India’s tulips?

Posted by - March 27, 2018

AROUND this time every year, hordes of people flock to Japan to witness cherry blossoms flower in full bloom.
As the streets and parks turn shades of chic pink, calm orange, and magnolia white, people travel from all over to capture this stunning spring event.
A post shared by Miyuki Chaki (@miyukichaki) on Mar 26, 2018 at 9:11pm PDT
But Japan isn’t the only place in Asia that welcomes spring with an array of incredible flora.
In the Zabarwan Hills in Srinagar, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden is home to over 1.2 million vibrant tulips that blanket the banks of the Dal Lake.
A post shared by B H A A R A T V A R S H (@bhaaratvarsh) on Oct 23, 2017 at 9:49am PDT
It is home to 60 varieties of tulips that sway gently in the cool mountain breeze to create a fantastic rainbow effect.
The gardens have only been open since the weekend and already throngs of tourists have turned out to capture this colorful event.
#PLACES TO EAT
In the mood for Sakura: Blooming delicious seasonal eats in Japan An elderly Japanese couple visiting the gardens told Conde Nast Travellers, “We are from Nara Prefecture in Japan, legendary for its cherry blossoms.”
“The world comes to Japan in spring but this year we decided to visit you [India].”
A post shared by The Economic Times (@the_economic_times) on Mar 25, 2018 at 9:44pm PDT
The tulip garden is just a short 15-minute drive from the city center on the Boulevard Road along the banks of Dal Lake.
This route is incredibly picturesque. If you’ve got your camera out, get ready to snap pictures of the flowers then make a few pit stops to capture the glistening sun on the lake.
The park is open until April 25, every single day for your sightseeing enjoyment.
A post shared by B H A A R A T V A R S H (@bhaaratvarsh) on Jun 20, 2017 at 10:55am PDT
The best time to visit is either at sunrise or at sunset.
The orange glow from the sun makes the lake shine and animate the mountainous backdrop behind the stunning tulips field.
A post shared by Kashmir Photography Club (KPC) (@kashphotoclub) on Mar 22, 2018 at 7:50pm PDT
The post Yes, cherry blossom is beautiful, but have you seen India’s tulips? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

India: Beyond the gaze of the media

Posted by - February 23, 2018

THE way India is portrayed varies between different nations and media outlets. Depending on which films, TV shows or magazines people get their information from, many are often left with contradictory impressions of India.
Depictions tell a tale of a nation gripped by poverty, famine and political unrest. Other sources describe a nation with a thriving information technology industry, while some understand India to be a place of spirituality, holiness, and pilgrimage.
But if you take a closer look at India you will see a nation of vibrant colors, bursting flavors, cultural elegance and sublime natural beauty.
Let’s get rid of the stereotypes the media creates and disprove 17th-century German Philosopher Friedrich Hegel, who said India exists in a dream-like state. India is undoubtedly dreamy but like any other country, it is rich in history and has influenced much of the world.
These images of India will give you a glimpse of the real India, a beautiful country with its own complex history, culture, traditions, and economy, and sure to leave you astounded.
#RAIL TRAVEL
India’s first bullet train: Fast but expensive Golden Temple, Amritsar The Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, is one of the most revered places of worship in Sikhism.
A post shared by Golden Temple Amritsar (@golden.temple) on Feb 2, 2018 at 6:00am PST
The Chitrakoot Falls The Chitrakoot Falls is a natural waterfall located in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. They are often referred to as “the Niagara Falls of India”.
A post shared by Anzaar Nabi (@anzaar_nabi) on Dec 9, 2015 at 9:49pm PST
Sabarmati Riverfront, Ahmedabad The development of the riverfront was proposed in the 1960s and renovations began in 2005. It is the perfect place to take a sunset stroll.
A post shared by Alap Bhatt (@alap.bhatt) on Jan 31, 2018 at 10:00am PST
Mumbai Skyline Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, is a heavily populated city on the west coast of India. It is also India’s financial hub and where the famous stone arch Gateway of India can be found.
A post shared by Yusuf Kathawala (@yusufk1207) on Feb 13, 2018 at 7:44am PST
Kerala – ‘God’s Own Country’ Know for its vast waterways and tropical climate, Kerala has 600km of Arabian Sea shoreline and masses of palm trees. Tea, coffee, and spices are also grown inland.
A post shared by Kerala Gods own Country (@kerala_godsowncountry) on Feb 21, 2018 at 6:00pm PST
Bangalore Palace The Palace was originally owned by Reverand J Garrett who was the first principle of Bangalore High School, which is now known as Central College. The palace also has a theme park on its grounds with water slides an even a snow room.
A post shared by Richa Sharma (@_richa.sharma_) on Feb 15, 2018 at 10:28pm PST
Charminar, Hyderabad Built in the late 15th century, Charminar has become a symbol of Hyderabad. On the top floor of the monument is a mosque which has been in use for over 400 years.
A post shared by Namrata (@fotogeek49) on Feb 12, 2018 at 11:53pm PST
Kashmir – ‘Paradise on Earth’ Pangong Tso Lake is located in the area of Leh Ladakh Valley in Kashmir. The region is full of incredible landscapes, flower-filled fields, and unique wildlife.
A post shared by Kashmir -The Paradise on Earth (@visit_to_kashmir) on Feb 18, 2018 at 9:40pm PST
Udaipur – ‘City of Lakes’ Udaipur is popular with tourists as it offers incredible selfie spots, sure to make you the envy among your friends. It is also known for its history, culture, scenic locations, and the Rajput-era palaces.
A post shared by AYAN CHAKRABORTY (@theayanchakraborty) on Feb 17, 2018 at 10:39pm PST
Lotus Temple House Of Worship, New Delhi The Lotus Temple is open to everyone, regardless of religion or ethnicity. The temple has 27 free-standing marble-clad “petals” arranged in clusters and nine doors opening into a central hall and can hold up to 2,500 people.
A post shared by The Wolf Studios (@thewolfstudios) on Feb 21, 2018 at 2:07pm PST
Jaipur – ‘Pink City’ Jaipur is the capital of India’s Rajasthan state and it is where the royal family used to rule from back in 1727. The city palace complex is one of the most notable structures in the city.
A post shared by Jaipur – The Pink City (@jaipurpinkcity) on Feb 18, 2018 at 10:33pm PST
Bandra-Worli Sea Link This cable-stayed bridge links Bandra in the Western Suburbs of Mumbai with Worli in South Mumbai. The bridge is a brilliant fleet of engineering and is best enjoyed at sunrise or sunset.
A post shared by SURAJ NADAR (@throttle_sexual) on Feb 20, 2018 at 10:50pm PST
Marina Beach in Chennai Marina Beach can be found along the Bay of Bengal. The natural urban beach stretches for 6km and offers plenty of activities from swimming and surfing to horse riding.
A post shared by Hindustan Pictures (@hindustan.pictures) on Feb 20, 2018 at 7:43pm PST
Kolkata Kolkata is known for its grand colonial architecture, art galleries, and cultural festivals. Mother Theresa is also buried there in the grounds of the Mothers House Missionary which she founded.
A post shared by Ritik Sinha (@chora_ganga_kinare_walaa) on Feb 21, 2018 at 12:10pm PST
Shimla, Himachal Pradesh Shimla is the capital of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, at the Himalayan foothills. The area is known for its handicraft shops which sell wooden toys and other cute trinkets.
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Gangtok Gangtok is the capital of the mountainous northern Indian state of Sikkim. The area is a base camp for hikers trying to gain permits to climb the Himalayan mountain ranges.
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Aizawl – Capital of Mizoram Aizawl is a Northern Indian State, close to Myanmar. Here tourists can explore the bazaars and also meet the world’s largest family.
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The post India: Beyond the gaze of the media appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Forget Valentine’s Day, enjoy ‘Pal-entine’s Day’ in India instead

Posted by - February 12, 2018

VALENTINE’S Day can mark the day you conjure enough courage to declare your love for someone. But for others, it’s just another day spent without that someone special.
If you’re one of those single pringles and not really in the mood for a mingle, then grab some of your friends and take a trip to one of these stunning destinations across India.
Have a well-deserved “Pal-entine’s Day” with your best pals and soak up the sun, culture, and friendship-love on your mini getaway.
#TRAVEL
Transformative travel, wellness retreats: Which one is right for you? Goa Steeped in history, culture and soaked in the glorious Indian sunshine, this region is ideal for chilling on beaches, sipping a cold beer and forgetting about the dating scene.
However, if you feel the universe urging you to go out dancing, there are plenty of places to groove the night away. Who knows? You might even waltz into the path of your one true love.
A post shared by Keith Palmer (@kthpalmer) on Feb 11, 2018 at 4:49am PST
If you’re just heading to Goa for a short stay, we suggest spending a morning at Dudhsagar Falls, then Calangute beach for sandy relax in the sun, before heading to Goa’s classy Chronicle bar in the evening for a sophisticated soiree.
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Jaipur Jaipur is wonderful in February. The temperature is just right and the sun is low enough in the sky to get the most out of your day without having to spend most of it diving into air condition shops.
Dubbed the Pink City, Jaipur is home to some of India’s finest historical monuments. There is so much to explore in Jaipur, it will make being in love seem like a triviality.
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While you’re there you have to spend some time admiring the Mughal and Rajput architecture at Jal Mahal, also known as the Water Palace. Originally built as a summer home for the royal family, the place sits on the Mansagar Lake, surrounded by the enchanting Nahargarh Hills.
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Take a trip around the varied bazaars in Jaipur to pick up colorful souvenirs, spices and trinkets, then head out for a bite to eat and gorge on delicious Rajasthani cuisine. With varying prices and restaurants, you can choose how slap-up your “Pal-entine’s Day” meal is going to be.
Kasol Fancy indulging in some you time on Feb 14? Head to Kasol in Himachal Pradesh for some prime “doing nothing” time.
Described as a budget traveler’s gift from God, Himachal is a fast-growing destination for backpackers and those traveling with tight purse strings.
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Kasol is the picturesque village in Kullu that stretches along the river Parvati, perfect for early morning strolls to catch the sun peeping up over the forest which lines the hurrying waters.
Trek through the forest on one of the many trails to see beautiful wildlife. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the Pink Floyd Cafe or Mountain Goat Cafe to feast on local delights.
Pondicherry The French Capital of India is a destination full of vibrant colors, but also a place that offers serene sanctity.
The city is gleaming with untouched beaches as well as plenty of seaside promenades to stroll along as the sunsets. When morning beckons, get up that tad bit earlier to admire the stunning sunrise over Bengal Bay.
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Take a tour across to Paradise beach island where beauty and tranquillity seamlessly exist. If you’re a keen ornithologist, you can head out onto Osudu Lake to admire migratory birds and other wildlife specific to this area.
Perhaps you prefer being down where the fish live? If so, you can explore the lakes and oceans with a scuba school and get up close and personal with the thriving marine life.
With so much to do, you’ll have little time to think about love and romance.
#MUMBAI
Hilltop slum in Mumbai transformed by colorful makeover Rishikesh Full of yoga retreats, ashrams and spas, you can treat yourself to some real pampering. Rishikesh is a superb place to try some multicultural food. Head to Devraj Coffee Corner to taste traditional German bakes and some of the best coffee in the region.
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If you want a more authentic culinary experience, head to Chatsang cafe where you can witness the open pan sizzle coming from the kitchen to tantalize you with what’s about to be served.
For an immersive cultural experience, head over to Swary Niwas a Shri Trayanbakshwar Temple to see the 13-story wedding cake-style temple on the east bank of Lakshman Jhula.
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Rishikesh is a wonderful place, whether you’re alone, with pals, or loved ones.
The post Forget Valentine’s Day, enjoy ‘Pal-entine’s Day’ in India instead appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Escape India’s tourist hotspots and visit these magnificent places

Posted by - December 28, 2017

INDIA is a land full of diversity, color, chaos and sometimes tranquillity. With a population of more than one billion people, spanning three million square kilometers, there is plenty to do and see.
But often visitors to this nation – which bursts with culture, ancient traditions and artistic heritage – do not get to see the non-touristy landscapes and hidden treasures. In such an expanse of land, it can sometimes be hard to know where to start.
Here are a few of India’s lesser-known destinations, which are certain to engage your curiosity, broaden your world knowledge and leave you wondering if your dreams have merged with reality.
#UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE
Asia dominates popular UNESCO heritage site list Majuli, Assam A post shared by SharmIstha Saha (@iamsharmisthasaha) on Oct 23, 2016 at 10:39am PDT
Majuli is the largest freshwater island in the world. It sits in the river of the Brahmaputra, just a 20-kilometer journey from the city of Jorhat in Northeast India. The waters surrounding the long, slender island are pristine and pollution free, which is a rarity in India.
The island is mostly inhabited by tribes who have called it home for centuries. The tribal culture and traditional festivals which are celebrated on the island are one of the main reasons people come to visit.
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Although accommodation and food options are limited on the island, it truly is a slice of rural tranquillity that would be hard to find in other parts of India.
Kutch, Kachchh A post shared by Nupur Agrawal (@paletteoflife) on Dec 11, 2017 at 4:37am PST
Kutch is a flat island located in Northwest India with a history that can be traced back to prehistoric times. The island is nestled in the Gulf of Kachchh and the Great and Little salty Ranns – home to the last refuge of the Indian wild ass.
The island is entirely seasonal and can only be visited when the monsoon rains are not falling, which normally occurs between July and September. During this time, the dazzling white-salt planes are drowned by sea and river water, leaving it marshy and muddy.
During the winter months of December to February, the island comes alive with the Rann Festival. Huge camp settlements with cultural programs, activities and adventures such as hot-air ballooning and camel treks can be enjoyed here too. This island has a rich history of handcrafts and embroidery work, as well as being home to a large population of flamingos.
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Mandvi beach is a stunning place to visit on your island adventure – often people fly their kites here, making a beautiful view.
The food found here is mainly vegetarian, and often garlic, onions and potatoes are avoided because of the religious teachings of Jainism, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t totally delicious.
Sundarbans, West Bengal A post shared by Mehedi Hasan Emon (@enzaih) on Jul 26, 2017 at 7:56am PDT
Bengal is mostly known for being the home to one of the world’s most celebrated and majestic animals – the Royal Bengal Tiger. But Sundarbans in western Bengal has one of the most beautiful and surreal wildlife forests in India, teeming with much more than our striped feline friends.
The area is surrounded by roaring rivers and beautiful estuaries which are shared between India and Bangladesh.
The serenity and silent charm of the mangrove forest fill visitors with a sense of calm and amazement. The ecological balance is unique in this forest, with a bioclimatic zone that allows the animals who live there to prosper.
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Basic hotels and restaurants, which are open all year round, can be found dotted around the Sundarbans. It is best to visit in winter as it is cooler and less humid, and remember to never go out alone through the mangroves, and especially not at night, as crocodiles are lurking.
#AVIATION
In Bengaluru, you can now take a helicopter to the airport Leh Ladakh, Kashmir A post shared by Vickey Chauhan (@chauhan_vickey) on Dec 12, 2017 at 5:19am PST
Often described as India’s own mood-land, Leh Ladakh is a region in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The beautiful region starts at the Kunlun mountain range and extends to the Great Himalayas, with plenty to see in between.
Leh Ladakh is truly a heaven on Earth with an abundance of treasures including nature, geography, sceneries and a mix of cultures from Tibetans to Indo-Aryans who share the mountain range.
Pangong Lake is the main reason people make the journey up to this mountain range. At an altitude of 4,350 meters and a five-hour drive away from the city of Leh, it is advised that only those with strong lungs make the trip, due to thinning air.
Shanti Stupa is also a magnificent place to visit. It is proclaimed as one of the most incredible Tibetan structures ever built and can be found on the hilltop of Chamspa in Leh.
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The most soul-warming multinational-inspired cuisine can be found in the city of Leh. Serving Indian, Tibetan, Chinese and even Korean, some of the local favorites are Thupa (noodle soup) and Momos (steamed dumpling).
It is said that Leh Ladakh is the only place on earth that man can sit with his face in the sun with his feet dangling in the water and get sunstroke and frostbite at the same time, so we suggest visiting in Summer when the temperatures are a little warmer.
Orchha, Madhya Pradesh A post shared by Syed Zaid Ali (@asyedzaidali) on Dec 11, 2017 at 11:33pm PST
The Taj Mahal is arguably one of India’s most recognized landmarks, but it is often busy with tourists and worshippers. Why not head down to the central state of Madhya Pradesh and visit the medieval city of Orchha to explore the 17th-century palace buildings in their original state.
The town is now full of farming communities, living peacefully on the banks of the river Betwa. The river splits into seven channels and legend has it that this is to honor the seven erstwhile chiefs of Orchha.
This ancient town is culturally significant in that it seems frozen in time, with little damage done to century-old buildings and monuments.
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You will be spoiled for choice of food in Orchha as European, Indian and Chinese food can all be found in friendly restaurants around town and in hotels.
You can enjoy a simple stroll around this town to meet locals, and cycle into the countryside for pure tranquility. But if you are up for something a little more adventurous, you can take to the waters on a whitewater rafting adventure.
The post Escape India’s tourist hotspots and visit these magnificent places appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.