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.
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.

From Melbourne to Manila for less than a train fare

Posted by - July 26, 2018

NOTHING says summer like a cheap airfare to 7,641 sunshine-filled islands boasting stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, warm oceans and US$1 premium beer.
Where can you find this paradise we speak of? In the Philippines, of course.
These are Asia-Pacific’s priciest Airbnb cities The Southeast Asian archipelago is a firm favorite with international travelers looking to experience antiquated architecture, multicultural food, stunning landscapes, gushing waterfalls, vibrant marine life and some of the kindest people on the planet.
In 2017 the Philippines received a record 6,620,908 foreign tourists thanks to improved air and cruise routes. This year, the department of tourism is hoping to receive 7.4 million international tourists and Cebu Pacific Air is helping them meet this target.
Cebu Pacific, the Philippines’ largest carrier, is inviting travelers to fly on the new direct Melbourne to Manila service for very competitive rates.
Beginning on Aug 14, 2018, Cebu Pacific will fly passengers between the two major cities three times a week.
“Cebu Pacific fares between Manila and Melbourne start as low as PHP9,539 (US$180) —about 60 percent lower than prevailing fares of other airlines. We’re thrilled to extend the CEB effect to Melbourne,” Cebu Pacific Marketing Vice President Candice Iyog said.
A post shared by Sweet Flight O' Mine (@sweetflightomine) on Jul 25, 2018 at 7:23am PDT
But this isn’t the first time Cebu Pacific has helped increase tourism arrivals to its home nation.
In 2014, the airline opened a direct flight between Sydney and Manila which helped increase tourism to the Philippines by as much as 16 percent from 186,000 visitors in 2014 to over 431,000 in April 2018.
While destinations such as Bali, Indonesia remain Australia’s top vacation pick, many Aussies are now seeking an alternative holiday spot.
Travel trends such as wanting more of an authentic experience or discovering untouched beauty have coerced Australians into vacationing in the Philippines.
The bargain price tag for accommodation also helps as Cebu Pacific’s Corporate Affairs Vice President Atty JR Mantaring told Escape, “the Philippines is fast becoming an alternative, affordable luxury destination to rival Aussie favorite Bali.”
These are Asia-Pacific’s priciest Airbnb cities Last year, TripAdvisor revealed average prices for a hotel stay in the Philippines decreased by 15 percent from the previous year, with the average nightly stay in a luxury hotel costing around US$150.
For the budget-conscious, a few nights in Manila’s best hostels will only cost around US$50.
A post shared by Amandine B. – Travel Blogger (@travelystory) on Jun 27, 2018 at 8:16am PDT
So, with flights across the Timore, Banda and Celebes Seas from Melbourne and Sydney to Manila costing less than a first class train ticket between the two Australian cities, you’ll be making huge savings to spend on US$1 beers while you lay soaking up the sun on one of the Philippines’ tens of thousands of beaches.
We’ll cheers to that!
The post From Melbourne to Manila for less than a train fare appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

The Philippines is getting Muslim-friendly

Posted by - May 2, 2018

THE PHILIPPINES is the third most Catholic country in the world, so it may surprise you to know they’re promoting halal tourism.
Trailing closely behind Brazil and Mexico, the Philippines has a population of 103.3 million people, with 96 million of them identifying as Catholics.
The end is near for passport stamps The Southeast Asian archipelagic nation has magnificent churches on almost every island. Symbols of Catholic devotion can be seen on the streets, in supermarkets, and homes.
But don’t let this fool you into thinking religion rules the roost.
The Philippines is dedicated to attracting tourists from across the globe, including those from the Islamic faith.
As the third annual Philippine Halal Trade and Tourism Expo kicks off in Davao City, the Universal Islamic Center (UIC) has announced plans to promote six Filipino destinations as Muslim-friendly.
The focus will be on the halal industry in the central Philippines and Mindanao region.
Muslims will be able to enjoy trips to Davao City, Cebu City, Palawan, Metro Manila, Zamboanga City and Cotabato City without worrying about halal restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and prayer facilities.
The Boracay bluff: A conspiracy theory? The promotional program has been backed by the Department of Tourism and Trade and Industry and is expected to be fully revealed within the next few days at the Expo.
Halal tourism tips in the Philippines: The Philippines is no stranger to halal tourism. While the new promotion across six cities is magnificent, plenty of halal options in the Philippines already exist.
You just need to know where to look.
Food The Philippines may not quite have the reputation Vietnam or Thailand do when it comes to cuisines, but its native dishes are not to be sniffed at.
And best of all, plenty of them suit halal requirements.
First up is Halo-Halo, meaning “mixed-together” in Tagalog, Philippines national language.
A post shared by 𝓓𝓪𝓿𝓪𝓸 𝓒𝓲𝓽𝔂, 𝓟𝓗 (@jess_1108_) on Apr 30, 2018 at 9:50pm PDT
This sweet dessert consists of evaporated milk, sweet beans, palm sugar, fruits, coconut and shaved ice.
If you’re not a dessert person opt for Su-Tu-Kil – Su-grill, Tuwa-soup, and Kilaw-raw – which refers to the various way of cooking fresh seafood.
A post shared by Paul Albert Lee Olvez (@foodtripalo) on Mar 18, 2018 at 8:41am PDT
Su-Tu-Kil can be found all over the nation. Chose from lobsters, shrimps, crabs, scallops and a Filipino favorite – parrotfish.
If you think pineapple belongs on a pizza, this next delicacy is for you. A pizza topped with mango, cheese, cashew nuts and bell peppers can be found throughout the islands, and it’s worth a try.
A post shared by Ezra de Belen (@azlrze) on Apr 27, 2018 at 1:10pm PDT
These are by no means extensions of the halal offerings in the Philippines, but a good place to start.
Hotels There are a variety of other halal hotels around the Philippines, all catering to different budgets. Look at Tripfez to discover and book your Muslim-friendly trip to the Philippines.
A notable property in the country’s commercial hub is Marriott Manila Hotel.
A post shared by Manila Marriott Hotel (@manilamarriott) on Mar 6, 2018 at 3:21am PST
It’s close to the airport and offers an onsite halal restaurant, nearby prayer room, nearby mosque, and no adult TV channels in the room.
Check back next week to find out what UIC are planning for the country’s halal tourism industry.
The post The Philippines is getting Muslim-friendly appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Live your magical dreams on Unicorn Island

Posted by - March 30, 2018

IT SEEMS the Philippines can’t stop adding to their list of super fun water activities as they open Unicorn Island alongside Inflatable Island.
Inflatable Island is already Asia’s biggest floating water park which opened its gates to aqua-mad enthusiasm last year. But just to cover all bases, Philippines also hosts Asia’s biggest on-land waterpark, an hour’s drive outside of Manila.
One of Asia’s biggest water parks is now in Philippines Inflatable Island is 3,420 square meters of mega fun and if that wasn’t big enough in itself, they’ve just added Unicorn Island which has increased the amount of fun to be had to a giant 4,000 square meters.
The new Unicorn Island will sit closer to the beach front for easier access and equipped with Rainbow Walk, Baba’s Super Slide, Slippery Slopes and the Floating Cinema.
A post shared by Inflatable Island PH (@inflatableisland) on Mar 19, 2018 at 9:01pm PDT
Little floating cabanas can also be found bobbing around Unicorn Island. They can fit up to six people and work as perfect little relaxation floats for when you need a break from running around.
The Floating Cinema can be enjoyed by beachgoers in the Pink Oasis by the Shore.
A post shared by Inflatable Island PH (@inflatableisland) on Mar 17, 2018 at 9:39pm PDT
Pink Oasis by the Shore is lined with pink and purple parasols which match the super comfy and cute bean bags.
If you’ve worked up an appetite from all the Unicorn Island excitement and you’re ready to kick back and watch a film, then grab a cool drink and a bite to eat at one of the delicious food vendor stalls on the beach.
A post shared by Inflatable Island PH (@inflatableisland) on Mar 17, 2018 at 9:13pm PDT
Although the rest of the Unicorn Island experience is pretty in pink, the organizers of the event don’t want you to turn out the same color.
So, to avoid sunburn and heat rash, it is strongly recommended that you wear a one-piece swimsuit, swim leggings and a rash vest. Gentlemen – it’s not essential you wear a one-piece swimsuit, but each to their own.
A post shared by Inflatable Island PH (@inflatableisland) on Oct 29, 2017 at 9:05pm PDT
You’ll also have to take off all your jewelry before you go on the island and check you don’t have my sharp objects such as zippers on your swimwear as you could be refused entry.
After all, you don’t want to be losing that precious gift from Grandma or have any sharp objects on you hurting fellow Unicorn princesses.
7 Filipino freediving spots that could break Instagram There are one-hour, two-hour, half day and full day slots on offer, all at different prices. It is also worth noting that you have to be above three-feet tall to enter and anyone under four-foot must be accompanied by an adult.
The Inflatable Island is located on Subic Bay waters at Samba Bluewater Resort, Purok 6, National Highway, Lower Kalaklan, Olongapo City, Zambales, Philippines
See you there, fellow Unicorn princesses.
The post Live your magical dreams on Unicorn Island appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

5 Filipino freediving spots that could break Instagram

Posted by - March 29, 2018

THE PHILIPPINES is made up of over 7,000 islands. Each of them with its own quirks and attractions that entice millions of visitors each year.
Some are renowned for lush beaches, blankets of emerald forests, tantalizing food hawkers and others for their enticing party scenes, festivals and adventures.
But the true gems of the Philippines are hidden in the crystal blue oceans that surround the stunning islands.
Rated as one of the top places in the world to dive by Sport Diver, the country lives up to its reputation with warm ocean currents that provide the idyll home to thousands of species of fish, magnificent coral reefs, turtles, sharks, manta rays, seahorses, octopus and sunken shipwrecks.
With so much going on below the surface, you can only begin to imagine how many cool photo opportunities there are down there.
This could be the reason you’re desperate to travel While there is plenty of fun to be had in scuba diving, there is something special about freediving to explore the ocean.
To free dive, you have master the art of total body zen and be able to calmly control the oxygen in your blood and adapt to being oxygen deprived without allowing panic to set in.
You can practice this art at the local pool or while cycling. You can even practice it sitting at your desk by taking in large quantities of air, holding it and training yourself not to become anxious when your lungs feel close to bursting.
Regular meditation and yoga practice will also help increase your lung capacity and create an awareness of breathing techniques.
Of course, the best way to become good at freediving is to practice in the sea. So, grab a pair of long-fin flippers, a snorkel and mask, and head to these stunning freediving locations around the Philippines.
Don’t forget your camera.
Apo Reef, Occidental Mindoro A post shared by Traverse Philippines (@traversephilippines) on Jul 2, 2017 at 5:52am PDT
Apo Reef is the second largest contiguous coral reef in the world and certainly the largest in the Philippines.
The 34-square kilometer coral reef is abundant with sprawling branches of coral and home to thousands of fish.
A post shared by The PH Archipelago (@thepharchipelago) on Mar 2, 2018 at 7:30pm PST
The underwater visibility here is incredible. Divers can sink down to 30 meters to take photos of manta rays, mobula rays, sea turtles, and sharks.
But remember that getting too close to an animal can stress them out and be dangerous for you.
Balicasag Island, Panglao, Bohol A post shared by @_ericphotoshoot_ on Mar 18, 2018 at 8:59am PDT
Balicasag Island is a tiny spherical island located in the center of the Philippines. The island acts as a marine sanctuary off the coast of Panglao, Bohol.
The stunning waters that surround the island create the perfect setting for keen photographers looking to get that stunning marine shot.
Some of the most noteworthy diving sites include the Black Forest, which is known for its intriguing black corals that grow on a 40-meter slope.
A post shared by 深‧旅行 (@qqq28127227) on Mar 8, 2018 at 5:34am PST
Also, Turtle Point is a great place to see wild sea turtles roaming around, and The Royal Garden offers a shallower freediving spot where you can discover schools of fish, blankets of coral and sprawling ocean plants reaching for the sunlight.
Once you’re back on dry land, it’s worth exploring the 600-meter wide island as it’ll only take you around 45 minutes. Then you can hop to the next island.
Get ready for a new kind of in-flight entertainment Coron, Palawan A post shared by Philippines' Top Destinations (@topdestinationsph) on Mar 23, 2018 at 6:36am PDT
Even above the water at Coron, there are some brilliant Instagram opportunities of tranquil waters and rugged rockfaces topped with vibrant flora. But below the water is where the party is at.
Coron offers divers of all levels a great opportunity to explore shipwrecks and corals while practicing their freediving techniques.
A post shared by Come See The Philippines (@comeseephilippines) on Mar 23, 2018 at 5:33pm PDT
The shallow seabed is home to a Second World War naval ship which is visible from just five meters below the surface.
For more advanced freedivers, head over to Black Island Wreck where you can find a sunken Japanese tanker at around 21 meters below the surface.
Batangas, Luzon A post shared by i am avic (@queen_avic) on Jan 21, 2018 at 12:21am PST
If you’ve only got a few days in the capital city of Manila but you’re desperate to get on the diving hype, then head to Batangas.
You can get a bus straight here from Manila to Lemery Xentro Mall, which usually takes around three hours and then hail a local taxi to take you to Binukbok Point.
A post shared by i am avic (@queen_avic) on Nov 5, 2017 at 8:37pm PST
The shallow waters offer wonderful views of the white-sanded seabed where you can swim alongside schools of jackfish.
The waters can be unpredictable all year round in this area so if you’re inexperienced, make sure you go with an instructor.
Southern Leyte Southern Leyte is still relatively unknown to the wider diving community which is great for first-time free divers who don’t fancy an audience.
There are more than 20 different dive spots to explore in these waters and hundreds of species to be seen.
Some of the most anticipated creatures divers hope to see are eagle rays, sea turtles, frogfish, nudibranchs, ghost fish and even the scary blue-ringed octopus – don’t get too close.
A post shared by The Philippines (@the_philippines) on Dec 14, 2017 at 4:48am PST
Between October and May, divers are able to see the migration of whale sharks too.
Have fun exploring these underwater paradises, we’re sure you’re going to be the envy of all your followers.
But remember in all scenarios, no matter where you’re diving or how advanced you are, never go freediving alone.
The post 5 Filipino freediving spots that could break Instagram appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Get your fix of Filipino faith tourism during Lent

Posted by - March 26, 2018

THE RELIGIOUS festival of Lent is well underway. People around the world have spent the last month refusing temptation by giving up certain food and other luxury treats in honor of Jesus, who according to the bible, suffered in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights while starting his ministry.
Lent is often a time of reflection and appreciation for what you have. It also a time to admire the buildings, traditions, and activities that give religion a home and keep it thriving.
Why you should get a job in the travel, tourism sector As the Philippines is one of the world’s most religious countries, the Department of Tourism (DOT) in the Philippines is pushing the trend of faith tourism this Lent season to create awareness around the festivities across the archipelago.
Home to a host of beautiful churches and shrines around the country, Philippines’ DOT is hoping to engage tourists in activities that don’t revolve around beaches and partying.
A post shared by allen (@allen.d.stormborn) on Nov 20, 2016 at 11:48pm PST
“The DOT is poised to go full swing on piloting emerging faith tourism destinations this year, highlighting festivals and various Filipino traditions that will encompass a holistic pilgrimage experience,” Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo told Philstar.
Among the significant places to visit during this festive period are Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan.
Ilocos Norte can be found with striking coastlines and lush green flora in the northwestern point in the Ilocos region.
Paoay Church is one of the most significant churches in the Philippines known for its beautiful design and sturdy architecture which has withstood earthquakes since the 18th century.
A post shared by Mechelle May (@mechellemay) on Mar 19, 2018 at 10:35pm PDT
In addition to urging tourists to go and admire the historic buildings across the islands, DOT has also created packages highlighting religious excursions in the Cagayan Valley.
Every year the Visita Iglesia – Seven Churches Visitation – tradition takes place in the Cagayan Valley, where religious believers visit seven different churches on either Maundy Thursday or Good Friday.
A post shared by Mae Reina Caingcoy (@reinamaecaingcoy) on Mar 10, 2018 at 3:22am PST
It is quite the spectacle to witness as some festival goers carry crosses from church to church and often recite each of the 14 stations at each stop.
It is a truly an immersive and unique experience to get involved in.
Did your favorite airport make it onto the world’s best list? DOT has put huge efforts into trying to entice tourists, compared to last year when only two churches were open and the events surrounding Lent went unpublicized.
This year, the Manila Cathedral will also be open for worshippers as well as tourists and a suspected 500,000 tourists are expected to visit Manila’s walled city this coming Holy Week.
The post Get your fix of Filipino faith tourism during Lent appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

The Philippines welcomes the Sheikh of Shawarma

Posted by - March 23, 2018

DESPITE their Instagram page stating, “Shawa Wama… coming ‘soon’ to some mall near, or far away from, you”, if you’re lucky enough to be living in Makati City in the Philippines, then a Shawa Wama store will actually be coming to a mall near your very soon.
The Power Plant Mall at the Rockwell Centre in Makati is gearing up to welcome The Moment Group’s newest concept pop-up store at The Mess Hall in the mall.
Did your favorite airport make it onto the world’s best list? Shawa Wama is a fun take on saying shawarma, the popular Mediterranean comfort food consisting of rich marinated beef with plenty of fresh, crisp salad and a ripe jalapeño for good measure.
The new store will be conveniently located close to the mall’s cinema. So, we suspect you might scrap the popcorn and soda in favor of a box full of divinely-filled pitas.
“It’s our first take-out forward brand,” The Moment Group brand and project development officer Edgardo Bautista told Spot. “It’s a very small restaurant with only around 15 to 18 seats, and it is mostly grab-and-go.”
While the traditional shawarma consists of beef, lettuce, tomatoes and sometimes red cabbage and pickles, Shawa Wama wants to make its dishes bolder and burst with flavor.
A post shared by Shawa Wama (@shawawama) on Feb 27, 2018 at 8:50pm PST
Choose from beef, chicken or red beetroot falafel to be stuffed in warm pita pockets. On top of that, you can get crispy coleslaw, fries, tahini hummus and one of the incredible sauces too.
Go for mild green finger chili, hot red bird’s eye chili, white garlic or lemon garlic sauce. Hey, why not toss them all in and create your own hot, garlicky, tangy sauce while you’re at it?
If you’re doing a carb-free thing, don’t worry. Shawa Wama’s got your back.
A post shared by Shawa Wama (@shawawama) on Feb 27, 2018 at 8:55pm PST
Indulge in Middle Eastern delights without the pita and opt for scrummy toppings such as deep-fried falafel balls or char-grilled cauliflower over rice or hummus.
You needn’t worry about walking and eating or even transporting it home as Shawa Wama has put thought and ingenuity into the vibrant packaging.
Instead of having a nuisance flip open lid that flicks back over your meal as you try to eat, Shawa Wama has an easy-to-rip-off corrugated lid.
Are you ready for Singapore’s new burger and shake joint? The lining of the container has also been reinforced to ensure your dinner doesn’t seep out before you can enjoy it.
The restaurant is expected to open on March 26, but keep an eye on the Instagram page for updates.
The post The Philippines welcomes the Sheikh of Shawarma appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Looking for a dreamy honeymoon destination? We found it for you

Posted by - January 18, 2018

BY chance, are you planning a honeymoon in the Philippines, an archipelago of over 7,000 islands boasting endless white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters?
That’s just great. Unfortunately, the world knows all about them, so here is how to honeymoon without the tourists! This is your honeymoon after all, so why not start your lives together with the most romantic getaway yet in your own personal tropical paradise.
Beautiful Bohol. Source: Lynzy Billing
Choosing the right island for you Panglao Island is a destination unlike any other. Located in a colorful corner of Bohol island, it is a hidden gem that offers some of the best beaches in the Philippines – and arguably the best sunsets.
The Ananyana Beach Resort. Source: Lynzy Billing
With a sea of infinite blues and powdery white sand on your doorstep, Panglao should be top of your travel bucket list. Located just a hop across the water from Bohol’s main island and the city centre of Tagbilaran, day trips off the island are easily accessible by car, tricycle or motorbike depending on your sense of adventure.
Your own slice of paradise Choosing your accommodation is key to designing the right getaway, and The Ananyana Beach Resort and Spa on Panglao Island is the perfect choice for some much-needed privacy.
Ananyana is the perfect paradise hideaway that honours the natural beauty of Bohol. Located just north of Panglao Bay, it is just a 30-minute drive from the airport (with free pick up and return transfers of course). Ananyana features modern amenities, superb service and an exquisite menu boasting fusion cuisine with everything from mouth-watering thin crust pizza to prawn tempura in squid ink or fresh tuna steak in rum-butter-ginger sauce. The more adventurous palate might even want to try the sea urchin tagliatelle.
The top three best islands in the world are in the Philippines Ananyana takes pride in its quiet, tranquil surroundings. An eco-focused initiative, this retreat offers peaceful typical nipa huts with grass thatched roofs made from local materials. The rooms’ interiors and furniture are largely built with bamboo giving the resort’s eleven rooms their unique native feel and the contemporary furniture is created by renowned designer Kenneth Cobonpue.
For newlyweds, there is surely no better option than the spacious open plan honeymoon suite. The room is bright and airy and comes with a large balcony overlooking the pool and with views of the ocean beyond.
The honeymoon suite at The Ananyana Beach Resort. Source: Lynzy Billing
Landscaped with palm trees and with hammocks and lounge chairs interspersed between the greenery, here you will find peace and tranquillity far from the hustle and bustle of city living.
Once you’ve had a chance to unwind and soak in the sun, you may consider getting out and exploring the surroundings. If so, the resort also provides bike rental and car rental to reach several of the nearby beaches and inland activities on Bohol Island.
Tucking in Want a change from Ananyana’s delicious menu then tear yourself away and you will find dotted along the main stretch of Panglao Island, a choice of restaurants and bars in resorts overlooking the sea. Such as the Tarsier Paprika and The Bellevue resort which is just next door, feel like trying out the local cuisine, head into the centre of Tagbilaran for a night on the town.
Lunch at The Ananyana Beach Resort. Source: Emma Gomez/The Ananyana Beach Resort
Beach calling There is an endless choice of beaches on Panglao to visit. Alona beach is perhaps the most popular and arguably the best, a 1.5 km stretch of white sand, vibrant crystalline water and the perfect spot for scuba diving. What Dumaluan beach, just next door, lacks in coral gardens, it surely makes up for it with its expansive white sandy beach, with shallow water great for swimming.
Dumaluan Beach. Source: Lynzy Billing
Beyond these on Panglao’s southern coast, you will find many more upmarket hotels and restaurants like the South Palms Resort and Amorita Resort which, with a small entry fee, provide the perfect for a spot for lunch by the pool or an afternoon cocktail on the beach. Bohol Beach Club’s beachside hammocks set against aqua waters will make you the envy of your Instagram followers.
Dumaluan Beach. Source: Lynzy Billing
Keeping busy Panglao has limitless activities begging to be explored from incredibly preserved Spanish churches to mangrove forests and waterfall treks but it is most renowned for its waters.
If swimming, snorkelling and diving are what you want then rent a private boat for the day to swim with whale sharks and then go on to Balicasag island to snorkel with turtles at turtle point and dive amongst vibrant corals and caves.
The Cebu whale shark watching can get very busy so I would recommend taking the boat in the early hours of the morning so as to not hit the big rush. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, they are such magnificent creatures and when else would you get to swim up close with the largest fish in the sea.
Such an experience swimming with the Cebu whale sharks. Source: Lynzy Billing
Balicasag island is a marine sanctuary and a literal paradise with pristine waters and untouched beaches. It is also particularly famous for its diving, with its rich marine life, and abundance of corals. The Black Forest of the most popular dive point, with its steep slope extended 40m. Diver’s Haven, The Royal Garden and Cathedral Wall are known for their caves and variety of fish and plants from jackfish to barracudas to eels living on various coral on this underwater plateau.
Turtle Point is where you will get close encounters with sea turtles at a 60 to 75m depth. The Balicasag Marine Sanctuary is the deepest dive in the area, with a wall dive that runs 200 meters deep. Don’t miss out on a visit.
If you still have some energy in you, go on to the picturesque Virgin Island for some final sun and sea before heading back to Panglao Island.
Philippines: Vibrant Kinabayo Festival throws Dapitan into spotlight each year If you fancy a half day trip out, ask the boat to head to the sea between Balicasag Island and Pamilacan Island, where you can witness dolphins jumping and doing stunts in groups, usually in the early morning hours.
Up for some land-based adventure? Head to Bohol’s iconic Chocolate Hills on Bohol Island, an hour and a half drive from Panglao Island.
The chocolate hills are an unusual geological formation. A cluster of 1,268 uniquely stunning brown and green hills that come with a range of theories as to their origin, Whatever story you believe, they still baffle geologists to this day.
The Chocolate Hills viewpoint, Bohol. Source: Lynzy Billing
You can drive straight to the Chocolate Hills viewpoint or for the adventure sports lover, rent quad bikes and whizz through rice terraces and see the three sister hills and eight sister hills.
On your way home swing by the Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella, close to Tagbilaran city. Tiny animals with big eyes and soft fur, yes please!
Tarsiers sleep in the tarsier sanctuary, Bohol. Source: Lynzy Billing
Their 134-hectare sanctuary is dedicated to the protection of the Philippine tarsier, one of the smallest primates on earth which can fit in the palm of your hand. The majority of tarsier species are now endangered or threatened, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to get up close and observe these furry creatures while you still can.
Spa Day After all that excitement, and before you head back to reality, be sure to take time to unwind, relax and rejuvenate at Mithi Spa and Resort. Just a 15-minute drive from Ananyana Resort, on a mountain top, it has exquisite views of the ocean. Spend the day in a choice of infinity pools and indulge in a large selection of treatments including couple’s massages, facials and body scrubs.
Mithi Spa and Resort. Source: Lynzy Billing
Back at Ananyana, sun-kissed, we collapsed into a hammock with a large glass or red, feeling like castaways in our own remote hideaway retreat.
Round up We would really recommend The Ananyana Beach Resort and Spa on account of its price, location, restaurant, facilities and first-class service. If you want a quiet and private accommodation, Ananyana is perfect but if you want a bigger resort with more activities as your disposal, head to Alona Beach and you will find several to choose from.
Head to Boracay for partying, Palawan for adventure and exploring, But head to Panglao island for the ultimate romantic getaway and the right balance of activities and blissful beach time. Now get booking, the Philippine big blue awaits.
The post Looking for a dreamy honeymoon destination? We found it for you appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

This Japanese city is the perfect place for a winter getaway

Posted by - November 29, 2017

IF you’re looking to escape the heat for a spot winter fun this festive season, you might want to consider Sapporo, the capital of the northern Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido. A recent Agoda study identified the city – Japan’s fifth largest – as the top “up-and-coming” destination of choice for Singaporean and Malaysian travelers.
According to the global online accommodation reservations provider, Sapporo December bookings spiked by 161 and 145 percent in Singapore and Malaysia respectively when compared against data from December 2015.
And it’s not difficult to see why. Southeast Asia’s year-round heat and oftentimes erratic weather mean many from this side of the world will opt for holidays in cooler climates around this time of year.
But why Sapporo?
Well, for a start, we hear the red pandas over at Maruyama Zoo are quite a hit among travelers.
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A post shared by キャットテイル (@cattail.sapporo) on Nov 26, 2017 at 5:12am PST
These fluffy little creatures sometimes called the “lesser panda” or the “red bear cat” are really quite underrated.
Many seem to assume the only pandas in existence are the giant black-and-white ones that are scared of their own sneezes – but these lovable little fellas are more playful than these other pandas and they portray their personalities for almost everyone who goes to visit them.
Delicious dining A post shared by sapporobeer ( on Nov 9, 2017 at 11:30pm PST
According to the Agoda Travel and Tech study, millennial travelers see food and dining as among their top priorities whilst on holiday.
It’s no wonder therefore why Sapporo – said to be a foodie’s paradise – is popular among travelers. The world-famous Sapporo beer, snow crab, soup curry, and okonomiyaki are just some of the mouth-watering dishes on offer in this very snowy city.
A post shared by Spoonfuls Toronto ( on Nov 27, 2017 at 1:57pm PST
“Travelers from Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines want variety when they’re abroad, so there are a diverse group of destinations emerging as year-end holiday hot spots,” Andrew Edwards, Agoda Global Director for Brand and Communications, said in a statement.
The study took data from over 16,000 respondents across 15 countries to reveal the top up-and-coming destinations for overheating Southeast Asians wishing to cool off in more mild climates across Asia.
Fun in the snow A post shared by ラ・フランス (@nor_mic) on Feb 8, 2017 at 11:22pm PST
For those looking for something more adventurous than feeding red pandas and feasting on Japan’s finest cuisines, then head up to the ski slopes that are just a 20-minute drive from the city center.
Odori Park is hosting the Sapporo snow festival this year, but in between admiring this rare form of art, you can ski, sled, snowboard or scadoo down snow-covered mountains.
A post shared by Modest Eyewear Co. (@modest_eyes) on Oct 24, 2017 at 2:16pm PDT
Other cities Malaysians and Singaporeans like to explore in the later months of the year include London in the UK, South Korea, China and Taiwan.
The post This Japanese city is the perfect place for a winter getaway appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.