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.

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.
#TRAVEL TRENDS
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.
#BEACHES
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.
#EXPERIENCES
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.
#ADVENTURES
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.
#TRAVEL TRENDS
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.
#TRAVEL TECH
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.

So Uber got Grabbed but what does it mean for travelers?

Posted by - March 27, 2018

GOODBYE, UBER. It has been swell, and all good things have to come to an end.
But has it, really?
On March 26, 2018, Grab released a statement confirming rumors that the company will be taking over Uber’s operations and assets in Southeast Asia as both ride-sharing giants will merge into one, effectively turning Grab into a ride-hailing juggernaut.
This includes Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
#RIDE SHARING
Uber is not giving up on Singapore Uber, which is preparing for a potential initial public offering in 2019, lost US$4.5 billion last year and is facing fierce competition at home and in Asia, as well as a regulatory crackdown in Europe, Tech Wire Asia wrote.
“Grab today announced that it has acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia operations. This deal is the largest-ever of its kind in Southeast Asia,” Grab wrote.
“Grab will integrate Uber’s ridesharing and food delivery business in the region into Grab’s existing multi-modal transportation and fintech platform.”
As part of the acquisition, Uber will take a 27.5 percent stake in Grab and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will join Grab’s board.
Singapore-based Grab has confirmed purchase of Uber’s Southeast Asian business. Source: Shutterstock.
While Uber employees in Singapore and Malaysia were scrambling to evacuate the offices, Uber’s loyal riders took to social media to wail: “What about my five-star rating on Uber?”, “With no competition, does this mean no more competitive pricing?”, “Will I still be able to order food from UberEats?”
Here’s what you need to know:
What’s going to happen to your Uber account? As a rider, getting a five-star rating on Uber is such an immensely gratifying achievement. What’s going to happen now that the ride-sharing giants are merging?
Your account will still be active, so your five-star rating is not going to just disappear into the virtual abyss. But you can only use it in countries where Uber operates.
With Grab and Uber coming together, your account’s data will be transferred over to the Grab app. Source: Shutterstock.
You will still be able to view your past trips and ratings in the Uber app, but data that you’ve previously shared with Uber (excluding payment information) will be transferred to Grab and it will not be visible in the Grab app.
If you don’t have the Grab app, you will need to download it and register your account.
Will fares change? No competition equals no competitive pricing?
Grab says fret not.
According to Grab, the calculation of fares will still be fair. Source: Shutterstock.
Just like before, fares will continue to be calculated based on a base distance, with an applicable surcharge based on demand and supply, traffic conditions and estimated time taken for the journey.
For the GrabTaxi (Metered) and GrabTaxi (Executive) options, passengers will continue to pay by metered fares set by taxi companies.
Does this mean faster booking? The assumption is that the Uber and Grab merger will result in more drivers on the road and therefore, shorter waiting times and faster bookings.
And that is the dream.
Eventually, riders will be able to experience shorter wait times. Source: Shutterstock.
However, as the companies are going through a transitional period, so will the drivers. Grab will need to get Uber drivers on board the Grab platform and also iron out the kinks.
As a rider, expect some service disruptions during the transition timeframe. But all will be well once the trial and error period is over, and you should be able to enjoy a faster booking experience.
What about UberEats? Did you just start loving Uber’s food delivery app and how you can literally have food delivered right to your doorstep at work?
Unfortunately, UberEats will cease to exist in Southeast Asia in May.
Grab’s food delivery business just bit an entire chunk out of Uber’s. Source: Shutterstock.
In its place will be a new food delivery platform, GrabFood. GrabFood already exists in Indonesia and Thailand but an expansion to Singapore and Malaysia, and other major countries in Southeast Asia, is currently underway.
All your favourite restaurants on UberEats will be available in the new GrabFood app and the prices are expected to remain the same as before. To use the service, you will have to sign up with a fresh account and profile on GrabFood.
I’m an Uber for Business user. What gives? Just like Uber’s service in Southeast Asia, the Uber for Business service will no longer be supported for trips taken in Southeast Asia.
The merger affects Uber for Business users too. Source: Shutterstock.
Uber for Business lets companies set up corporate accounts through which employees can charge their rides directly to their employers.
If you’ve been using Uber for Business, it’s best to start looking for alternatives if you need to be shuttled about in Southeast Asia for work.
#RIDE HAILING
Is Asia all Uber-ed out? The Uber app will continue to operate for two weeks to ensure stability for Uber drivers.
Come April 8, 2018, Uber’s services in Southeast Asia will be unavailable.
The post So Uber got Grabbed but what does it mean for travelers? 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.
#AIRLINES
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.
#PLACES TO EAT
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.

Don’t make these cultural Pho-pas when eating in Asia

Posted by - March 22, 2018

YOU may think you’re being polite by eating everything on your plate.
Perhaps you think everyone else around you is being rude as they slurp their soup and suck up the slithery noodles while making an almighty racket.
But you’re wrong.
Asia has a rich history of culinary etiquette, but it’s not continent-wide. So there are lots of variations of eating rules.
Breaking these established rules may get you disapproving looks, while others will get you chucked out of the restaurant entirely.
#PLACES TO EAT
Totoro fans listen up, we’ve got a tasty surprise for you Here are a few tips and tricks to make you look like an Asian-dining-etiquette pro.
Japan A post shared by Meliina (@meliinaida) on Oct 1, 2012 at 4:05am PDT
Sticking chopsticks in your mouth to resemble a vampire-walrus isn’t cool and neither is standing them upright in a bowl of food.
Doing this is thought to bring bad luck, so make sure you use the chopstick holder beside your bowl when you’re not gobbling down your dinner.
Also, avoid passing food from chopstick-to-chopstick as this is a process done at Japanese funerals. However, it’s not food that’s passed around, it’s bone fragments from the deceased.
A post shared by Johnny (@johnnytonton) on Mar 20, 2018 at 9:38pm PDT
Some other points to remember, if you don’t want to feel like an ignorant tourist, is to not wave your chopsticks around or point them at people.
Equally, don’t scratch yourself with them, because that’s gross. And while you may be new to the chopstick game, try to avoid stabbing your food. Take the time to learn how to use chopsticks and impress the locals.
A post shared by Victor Chien [簡VIC] (@natureboy.vic) on Mar 19, 2018 at 9:41pm PDT
In Japan is it entirely fine to make as much noise as possible while eating as it tells the host and the chefs that you’re enjoying your meal.
Malaysia A post shared by Febiyani Sitepu (@febiyanisitepu) on Oct 7, 2017 at 2:43am PDT
If you’ve ever traveled to Malaysia, you will know it is a nation of multiculturalism, stunning natural beauty and home to some of the most delicious Pan-Asian cuisine.
There are three different types of dining etiquette here: Malay-Malaysian, Indian-Malaysian and Chinese-Malaysian, each with their own set of rules.
Malaysians strictly eat with their right hand as the left is for washroom purposes only.
A post shared by Melissa Calvi (@mel_calvi) on Jan 21, 2018 at 2:54am PST
It is polite to let the elders take the helping first if you are eating at someone else’s house. Always remember, only take what you know you can eat as every grain of rice is sacred and should not be wasted.
If you’re devouring a dinner of delicious Chinese-Malaysian food, then be prepared to share. Often, the Chinese will order dishes for everyone and then you pick what you want, place it in your bowl and nosh away using chopsticks.
Perhaps one of the most famous Indian-Malaysian dishes is banana leaf rice. Rice, curry and a selection of scrumptious pickles, chutneys, and accompaniments are served on a giant green banana leaf.
A post shared by Leong Li-Ern (@liernleong) on Mar 20, 2018 at 3:09am PDT
Always show utmost appreciation when dining with Indian-Malaysians and never eat in a hurry. Once you’re done, make sure you fold your banana leaf towards yourself, as folding it away tells your host you hated the meal…which is virtually impossible.
China A post shared by Tabemachita (@tabemachita) on Mar 20, 2018 at 10:13pm PDT
The same chopstick rules as in Japan apply to eating a Chinese meal. However, there are a few added rules.
Never leave your chopsticks pointing directly at someone across the table and don’t suck the grains of rice off your eating utensils even at the end of a meal.
Unlike in Malaysia and Japan where it is good practice to eat everything on your plate, in Chinese etiquette, it is polite to leave some food at the end of a meal as a sign that the host went above and beyond to provide you with a good and ample feast.
If you’re dining out, it is courtesy to argue with your host about paying the bill. Insist at least two or three times that you will pay for it or split it. However, don’t ever fully insist on paying the whole bill as it insinuates your host can’t afford it.
Equally, don’t just let your host pay without putting up a fight as it implies your host owes you.
There needs to be a fine balance and one that will take practice.
Thailand and the Philippines A post shared by Bangkok foodies (@bangkokfoodies) on Mar 18, 2018 at 7:20am PDT

Anyone who has a fear of using chopsticks can heave a sigh of relief as Thailand and the Philippines use forks, knives and spoons to eat.
A post shared by Jemi (@jemstagram21) on Mar 20, 2018 at 9:21am PDT
Both nations pride themselves on having a friendly hospitality industry. Filipino and Thai hosts will go above and beyond to create a great dining experience so it’s important to remember not to lose your temper or get angry in a restaurant if something doesn’t go your way.
This is called “losing face” and you will end up embarrassing yourself more than those you intended your yelling at.
Cambodia A post shared by Marlon Julius (@marlon.julius) on Mar 20, 2018 at 12:39pm PDT
This is a nation where you can expect more to be plonked on your table than you ordered, but nobody is complaining.
Often, restaurants will bring out food you didn’t order. It’s worth trying a bit of everything but don’t worry, as you’ll only be charged for what you eat.
A post shared by Cem Akkaya (@cemakkaya) on Mar 20, 2018 at 7:50am PDT
On the table, you will find forks, chopsticks, and spoons. Avoid eating with forks. Instead, use it to place food on your spoon or between your chopsticks.
Vietnam A post shared by Siobhan Moss (@shivmossy) on Dec 22, 2017 at 9:31pm PST
Expect eating here too big a family affair. The Vietnamese tend to eat together with family or friends and order plenty of dishes for everyone to share.
You should do the same, as it’s the best way to try everything. Also, if you’re dining out, expect the men to be first served first (quite literally feeding the patriarchy).
A post shared by 플리페 현경부원장 (@pllipe_kyong) on Mar 20, 2018 at 9:26pm PDT
Also, make sure you always get up and ask for the cheque as it is considered rude for the server to bring it to your table.
Never feel obliged to tip in Vietnam either, it is entirely at your discretion, but everything is so cheap in Vietnam and the food is some of the best in the world – so you’ll probably want to show your gratification.
#ANTHONY BOURDAIN
Get your Obama fangirl on at this Vietnamese restaurant South Korea A post shared by Tomáš Pek (@tominopek) on Feb 14, 2018 at 1:18pm PST
The chopstick rules that apply to all other Asian countries apply in South Korea too.
In South Korea, make sure you let your host know how much you’re looking forward to the meal and always thank them after you’ve finished. Gratitude and politeness are the biggest etiquette winners in South Korea.
A post shared by Sangho Lee (@sang_ho_u) on Mar 19, 2018 at 9:40am PDT
Don’t be surprised if your host or servers at a restaurant encourage you to drink, as this is a big part of the South Korean culture.
In fact, it is considered rude to turn down alcohol, but remember to always top up other’s glasses before your own.
The post Don’t make these cultural Pho-pas when eating in Asia appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Adventure island: Why Camiguin is the perfect place to go wild

Posted by - March 7, 2018

LOCATED OFF THE NORTHERN COST OF MINDANAO facing the Bohol sea, the volcanic island of Camiguin is the second smallest island-province in the Philippines.
But don’t let its size fool you! With zip lines, giant clams and more volcanoes per square km than any other place on earth – Camiguin is a force to be reckoned with and welcomes adrenaline seekers.
Welcome to the Philippine big blue. Source: Lynzy Billing.
At just 64 km in circumference, the island’s coastal road boasts picturesque views of the surrounding Philippine sea and allows one to whizz around the island by car, scooter or Tuk-Tuk in less than two hours.
Inland, the islands spectacular landscape is made up of seven volcanoes, three breath-taking waterfalls, crystal clear cold and hot springs, black and white sand beaches, jungle trails and natural swimming pools amongst many other outdoor exploits.
People say Camiguin island has a healing energy and its laidback yet energized vibe and lifestyle represents an alternative way of living in a contemporary world. With an eye on conservation and biodiversity, its locals are working hard to hold on to its local traditions and preserve Camiguin’s natural beauty through eco-friendly resorts and conservation efforts.
Source: Lynzy Billing.
Getting there and getting around The easiest way to get to the island is by air and the airport is located in Mambajao, the capital of Camiguin. Located in the north of the island, Mambajao is also the island’s biggest municipality.
There are plenty of tuk-tuks available to get around the island, heading either eastbound or westbound for just PHP10 a ride. However, if you want to miss the stops and have a destination in mind it is worth renting one for special hire, it will cost PHPO100 to PHP300 for your own personal ride.
#ISLAND
Philippines’ famous Boracay Island faces shutdown due to sewage woes Though there are many tuk-tuks and tricycles and private hire motorbikes called Habal-Habal around, they cannot reach all parts of the island, especially hidden gems off the beaten path. Better instead to rent a motorbike for more scenic island exploring. It will get you places fast and most resorts on Camiguin can organize motorbike or scooter hire for you. For the more adventurous soul, I would recommend renting a mountain bike.
Cultural heritage and the origin of Camiguin weaving Kinamigin-Manobo were the first settlers of Camiguin. The tribe is known for its weaving tradition, using “nito”, a local vine that grows wild in the forests of Camiguin. They manipulate the thin and delicate nito vines to make colorful baskets to store rice, clothes and other possessions and nowadays more contemporary pinikas handicrafts like hats, backpacks, and wallets.
Pinikas is a traditional Camiguin Island weaving art and there are only a few remaining pinikas artisans on the Island and the organization Kilaha is working alongside them to preserve their tradition. Kilaha has partner establishments which include resorts, restaurants and souvenir centers and through these is helping to expand the market for pinikas and its appeal to younger people. You can help fund and support Kilaha here and help them give back to the island.
#MANILA AIRPORT
‘World’s worst airport’ about to get an exciting, much-needed upgrade Camiguin’s weaving tradition itself has been around for several generations passed on by the Manobos, and to the locals, it is not only one of their main livelihoods but an important tradition to continue to pass on and demonstrate how organic material like nito can be used.
Conservation efforts and must-try activities Catholic faith and devotion of the people of Camiguin are apparent in many of its most popular attractions such as the Sunken Cemetery and the Old Volcano.
The Sunken Cemetery
A large white cross dominating the horizon marks the cemetery which sunk in 1871 because of the eruption of the island’s biggest volcano. The Sunken cemetery is a unique snorkeling experience, so make sure to get a guide to help you navigate this hidden world and the high coral boulders. Go in the morning when the sun is low and the fish are plenty and make sure to strap on a pair of fins too as the current can be quite persuasive!
Source: Lynzy Billing.
The Old Volcano
On the way up to The Old Volcano, you find 14 different stations with life-sized statues of Jesus Christ showing the stations of the cross. At the foot of the volcano people probably will try to guide you up for a certain fee which is not necessary as the route has a marked path and is a gradual 30-40minute walk.
Hibok Hibok Volcano
Looking for a more physically challenging hike? Near the Sunken Cemetery sits Hibok Hibok Volcano, a monstrous beast of a mountain that takes between 5-7 hours to hike up and down from the active crater (1250m height). It’s a trek through the lush jungle, slippery when wet and with a steep, rocky, windy ascend, therefore, it’s really recommended to take a guide to keep you on track.
You can either get one in one of the resorts like Action Geckos or you can hire a local. Ask around in Mambajao and you will find many locals who know the route well offering to guide you, costing around PHP500. I would recommend starting out early at around 5am so you can make the climb in the cool of the morning.
Source: Lynzy Billing.
There is also the option to leave at 2am to make the morning sunrise!
Top tip: The route can be very slippery so make sure to wear proper shoes. Also make sure you pack enough water (3 liters per person recommended), as there won’t be anywhere on route to buy it. Though Hibok Hibok is a must on Camiguin, it is a tough hike and both the ascent and descent are exhausting in the heat, so be sure you are fully up for the challenge. The plus side, when you see the view looking over the island you know that it was all worth it.
Island-hopping
Camiguin is known for its black sand beaches left by former eruptions of its volcanoes but it also has a few must-see white beaches.
Mantigue Island
This small fisherman island is a 30-minute boat ride from San Roque, Mahinog, 30 minutes from the main town of Mambajao. Boat rental costs PHP550 and entrance fee to the island is only PHP10, just make sure to let the driver know how long you want to stay and remember you are on island time so even a few hours whizz by, I would recommend a day trip.
For snorkeling and diving, Mantigue island’s marine sanctuary is the perfect site with a diverse marine life from giant blue starfish to clownfish and spotted eels. If you have your own gear/equipment, there is a PHO50 snorkeling fee but you can also rent from a stall at the boat port for PHP250. And when you fancy a break from snorkeling there are plenty of water sports to enjoy.
Source: Lynzy Billing.
There are no restaurants on the island but there is a small canteen, where the locals serve up fresh fish, pork, chicken, and seafood. There are also several bamboo huts for a beer or games break from the sea – be sure to grab one early in the day as you welcome the shade as the afternoon heat rolls in.
Kabila White Beach
There are many initiatives Intent on preserving Camiguin’s natural environment and the cultural heritage of the island for future generations such as the Kabila White Beach.
This pure white sand beach is not only an ideal spot for relaxing and sunbathing but also known as the giant Clam Sanctuary of Camiguin. The sanctuary is an NGO devoted to the propagation of giant clams. Dive into the clear blue waters and snorkel amongst some of the best-preserved coral on Camiguin and of course these Giant Clams. There is also a Giant Clam Educational Tour where you can see these wonderful creatures inside The Giant Clam Nursery.
The family that owns the Sanctuary charges for PHP250 for a guide, and a PHP25 entrance and environmental fee, and rents masks and snorkels and fins for PHP100 each.
Source: Lynzy Billing.
White Island
White Island is an uninhabited white sandbar 1.4 kilometers off the northern shore of Mambajao. A shapeshifter, with changing tides the island is constantly changing shape and size. Barren of any trees or structures and surrounded by pristine waters, White Island is a true gem of Camiguin.
Feeling daring? Kayak to this dreamy spot or get a boat from the boat port opposite for PHP450 including a PHP20 conservation entry fee. This island is completely exposed to the sun, with no natural shade, so bring your own umbrella or rent a beach umbrella on the island for PHP150. Top tip: It’s a small km island so I would recommend going there during the week to avoid weekend crowds.
Source: Lynzy Billing.
Ardent Hot Springs
Ardent hot springs are situated about 6km south of Mambajao. There are three natural pools where the water comes in directly from the volcano, Hibok Hibok. You also find some picnic tables and a shop for lunch and the entrance fee is just PHP30. This is the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon.
St. Nino Cold Spring
On the other hand, if you need a laze after a long hot day the St. Nino Cold Spring is just right for you. The water is really refreshing and a welcome change to the 29° warm ocean water. Head there during the week almost no people are there and have the whole pool to yourself.
Katibawasan Falls
Looking for a refresh, then visit Katibawasan Falls, 70 meters of fresh cool water shooting down into a crystal-clear pool. Head here in the morning to get some sun as well. The entrance fee is PHP15.
Tuwasan Falls
In contrast to Katibawasan Falls, the Tuwasan Falls are not that easy to reach. The waterfall is situated deep inland and you can go there by tricycle or even better by motorbike.
I recommend that you take a guide as there are no signs marking the way to the falls and there are only certain parts of the river where you can cross. But don’t let this put you off, make the trip and you will find a stunning waterfall surrounded by nature almost without any tourists. Note tha..

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.
#BOHOL
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.
#BOHOL
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.
なんだかコミカル #GIN #MARUMI #RedPanda #MaruyamaZoo #Sapporo #Hokkaido #ギン #円実 #レッサーパンダ #円山動物園 #札幌 #小熊猫 #redpandas #redpandanation #redpandalove #cute #fuluffy #animal #animals #animalphoto #animalphotos #animalphotography
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 (@sapporobeer.jp) 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 (@spoonfuls.to) 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.