The Philippines promises a ‘Better Boracay’ in October

Posted by - August 6, 2018

The rehabilitation period is almost coming to an end. Source: Shutterstock.
IN APRIL, the resort island of Boracay officially closed off to tourists to allow for a six-month-long restoration project.
The dramatic tourist ban came under scrutiny with claims that it violated a handful of things including the constitutional right to travel. The Philippines’ armed forces swooped in to shuttle remaining tourists off the once pristine shores of Boracay.
Boracay, with its pristine white sand beaches and crystal blue waters, sees an estimated US$772.5 million in revenue every year.
Considered as one of the Southeast Asian country’s major tourist destinations, it attracts approximately two million annual visitors, close to half of which are foreigners.
Boracay is especially popular with Chinese and South Korean tourists.
The closure led to airline companies such as AirAsia suspending all flights to the destination, offering instead other alternatives and service recovery options. Hotels and resorts on the island scrambled to attend to guests with affected bookings.
The hiatus also affected restaurants, cafes, vendors, and other businesses on the island.
Source: Shutterstock.
Two issues that are being addressed in Boracay’s rehabilitation are the setting up of sewage treatment plants for hotels and proper relocation sites for illegal wetland occupants, according to Rappler.
However, the rehabilitation period will soon come to an end and Boracay will once again be ready to receive tourists in October.
The Philippine Department of Environment and National Resources (DENR) confirmed visitors will be able to enjoy a “Better Boracay” on Oct 26, 2018.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu, who is in charge of the Save Boracay Task Force (SBTF), said he will make sure that each beach resort on Boracay maintains its own sewage treatment plant.
Task force officials will ensure strict enforcement of environmental laws once the establishments resume operation.
Source: Shutterstock.
Meanwhile. the Philippine Department of Tourism has vowed to do its part to sustain Boracay’s rehabilitated state.
“We need to strike a balance between nurturing our natural endowments like Boracay and sourcing our people’s livelihood off them,” PDOT Secretary Bernadette-Romulo-Puyat said, stressing the need for environmental protection and a sustainable and inclusive tourism program.
“The task force will see to it that only compliant establishments will be open for business to ensure that our guests will get the world class service they deserve,” said Puyat.

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

In pictures: The Hawaii of Asia

Posted by - August 6, 2018

Why you should make Hainan the first place you visit in #China. Source: Shutterstock.
HAINAN’S tourism department is pulling out all stops to boost tourism to the island, positioned to be China’s Hawaii.
Its Tourism Development Commission recently engaged Xiaozhu.com to leverage the rise of home sharing and develop rural tourism, including through establishing a Hainan Tourism B&B Association.
Located in the southernmost province of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Hainan consists of various islands in the South China Sea. Hainan Island is the largest and fifth most popular island under PRC rule and makes up the majority of the province.
There are 10 major cities and 10 counties in Hainan Province. Haikou on the northern coast of Hainan Island is the capital while Sanya is a well-known tourist destination on the southern coast.
The other major cities are Wenchang, Qionghai, Wanning, Wuzhishan, Dongfang, and Danzhou.
Source: Shutterstock.
Beijing-based Xiaozhu, often called China’s answer to Airbnb, offers listings in over 400 locations globally and raised US$65 million last November. Existing investors include Joy Capital, Morningside Ventures, Capital Today, and Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital.
The Hainan Tourism B&B Association aims to regular the development of the B&B industry in Hainan, establish a mechanism for police-citizen interaction, solve problems in B&B operations, improve the industry’s service level and drive competition.
On top of that, the agreement between Xiaozhu and the association will also see the partners jointly promote villages in Hainan, build village B&B accommodation for poverty alleviation, and establish a B&B industry association.
Source: Shutterstock.
Village home-sharing in Hainan Island has become a driver of village rejuvenation. Xiaozhu now has over 30,000 village B&Bs and each village B&B creates six local jobs on average.
Hainan Provincial Tourism Development Commission deputy director Ao Liyong shared there are about 516 rural tourist sites across the island, bringing about CNY1.75 billion (US$256.7 million) in revenue in the first half of this year, up 14.2 percent year-on-year.
It has created a historic opportunity for China’s economic development and the country is ramping up efforts to grow the island’s international tourism intake, first by allowing visa-free access for 59 countries for a 30-day stay.
Source: Shutterstock.
For years, the province has been developing its tourism industry. China also aims to make Hainan an international free trade zone by 2020 to help increase its tourist numbers by 25 percent annually to at least two million.
Will China succeed in making Hainan province – with its warm oceans, golden beaches, green palm trees, luxury resorts – an international tourism destination?
Take a look at what the island has to offer:

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

What’s driving tourists in Japan?

Posted by - August 3, 2018

It’s true: We (travelers) are very visual people and this theory proves it. Source: Shutterstock.
JAPAN is one of Asia’s top 10 countries in terms of international tourist arrivals in 2017 and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
At least not for the next five years or so, with Tokyo hosting the 2020 Olympics. Japan will continue enjoying a surge in inbound travelers for sure.
In 2016, there were about 40 million departures from Japan, including 17 million by Japanese nationals.
In 2017, the country attracted a record 28.68 million tourists, reflecting the sixth consecutive yearly increase. As for departures, Japan saw around 45.2 million leaving its shores in the same year.
On top of strong promotional pushes by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), the East Asian country already welcomes a steady stream of travelers ready to check out its dark tourism, sakura season, food tourism, heritage tourism, night tourism, fall foliage, and a whole lot more.
But what’s really driving the tourists in Japan these days? It’s not just tourism campaigns and guidebooks for sure.
Source: Shutterstock.
Destinations that are more off the beaten track like Nagano, the capital city of Nagano Prefecture in the Chūbu region of Japan for example, saw more than one million visitors last year.
Which is every bit impressive for the landlocked area as it marks a 36-fold increase in just three years.
How did this happen? First, CNN described Nagano as one of Japan’s most beautiful places, which spurred an influx of postings featuring Nagano’s sights flooding Instagram.
Since then, Instagram’s numbers have seen a steep increase, with Nagano becoming one of the most active markets on the platform.
Zenkoji Temple, one of the most important and popular temples in Nagano, stores the first Buddhist statue ever to be brought into Japan. Source: Shutterstock.
As of June 20, 2018, Instagram has reached one billion monthly active users.
And a majority of these users turn to the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app to match #ootd coordinations, decide where to eat, get suggestions on things to do, and add things to their travel bucket list.
“Instagram is different from other social media because users are the ones taking the initiative to post and spread pictures, not the local municipalities,” Travel And Tour World quoted marketing firm Full Speed Inc.’s Kazukiyo Yonemura of Full Speed Inc. as saying.
Source: Shutterstock.
For Nagano alone, there are more than a handful of Instagram hashtags chalking up thousands of posts such as:
City officials expressed their sheer surprise to see people of all ages visiting the mountains to get a shot of its shrine, with the mass crowds leading to four-hour-long traffic jams.
“We widened roads, built toilets and increased parking from 24 to more than 100 spaces this April,” Nagano city tourism division’s Erika Watanabe said.
The multiple foreign currencies, 27 to be exact, found in the shrine’s offertory box proved that many of the visitors were from overseas.
Last year, Instagram joined hands with the JNTO to introduce a new hashtag, #UnknownJapan, which led to more than five million foreign visitors sharing posts.

Have home-sharing platforms finally met their rival?

Posted by - August 3, 2018

HYATT Hotels Corporation, home to franchises of luxury hotels, resorts, and vacation properties, has rolled up its sleeves to counter home-sharing companies by rolling out a new product.
Enter, Hyatt House.
#BOOKINGS
Airbnb: 3 most wish-listed accommodations in Asia-Pacific What is Hyatt House? It’s extended-stay hotel kitted out with the same offerings that you would find in a home-shared unit. Think residential-style hotel.
“Feel at home in apartment-style spaces, with areas to work and relax. Our studios and suites include up to two bedrooms, plus bathrooms, separate living areas, and fully equipped kitchens – think refrigerators, microwaves, stovetops, and islands,” Hyatt House said.
Inspired by extensive research of guest experiences, Hyatt launched the Hyatt House range of hotels back in 2012, targeted to those “who believe that being away from home doesn’t mean giving up the life that one usually lives.”
Source: Hyatt House.
It currently has more than 60 locations throughout the US. But it wasn’t until 2017 that the Hyatt House in Asia opened its doors to travelers and locals in China with the 103-room Hyatt House Yinchuan Dayuecheng.
This was closely followed by Hyatt House Shenzhen Airport, Hyatt House Shanghai Hongqiao, Hyatt House Shanghai New Hongqiao, and Hyatt House Chengdu Pebble Walk.
Recently, Hyatt House opened its first house-like hotel in Southeast Asia – Hyatt House Kuala Lumpur Mont’Kiara.
Source: Hyatt House.
Located in an exclusive and cosmopolitan enclave in the Malaysian capital, Hyatt House Kuala Lumpur Mont’Kiara overlooks the city skyline of Kuala Lumpur. Ideal for both business and leisure travelers, the property is just a short drive away from world-class malls and the bustling city center.
Not only is Hyatt House Kuala Lumpur Mont’Kiara the first Hyatt House in Southeast Asia, it’s also the largest Hyatt House in the world, with a wide range of comfortable facilities – much like those that one would find in a home-sharing unit.
The comfortable 298 residential-style suites and studios come with fully equipped kitchens, free Wi-Fi, and free parking for long-stay residents.
Source: Hyatt House.
But also, Hyatt House has taken it up a notch by offering free shuttle service, free buffet breakfast, a 24-hour workout and games room, rooftop sky pool, a bar offering refreshing drinks and home-cooked comfort food all day, and a market providing grab-n-go items such as fresh sandwiches and salads 24 hours a day.
A friendly “House Host” will also available to check-in guests, provide directions, or help with other needs to help guests feel at home.
“Traveling has increasingly become a necessity rather than just a leisure activity. So, whether it’s because of temporary relocation for work in a new city, or traveling for an extended period of time for bleisure visits – people are looking for ways to travel while staying rooted to their routines,” Hyatt House said.
#LUXE
Give your furkid a taste of luxury at these pet-friendly hotels in Asia Best of all, Hyatt House Kuala Lumpur Mont’Kiara is pet-friendly, so rest assured you won’t be without your furkid by your side for the entirety of your long stay.
So, have home-sharing platforms like Airbnb, Homestay, Home Exchange, and the likes finally met their match?
For more information on Hyatt House, visit its website.
The post Have home-sharing platforms finally met their rival? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

In pictures: Why Kyrgyzstan should be your next destination

Posted by - August 2, 2018

WITH Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, and China to the east, Kyrgyzstan is hemmed in the middle of Central Asia, boasting copious amounts natural beauty and lots of adventure to be had.
The ancient nation is often overlooked by its tourism-dominating neighbors, but Kyrgyzstan, officially the Kyrgyz Republic, has so much to offer travelers and summer is the perfect time to explore.
#THINGS TO DO
In pictures: Old world charm Ipoh The unspoiled nation was a popular vacation destination in the 80s when the Soviet Union ruled. Tourism numbers reached more than a million people per year. However, when the Soviet Union collapsed in the 90s, so did Kyrgyzstan’s tourism industry.
In 2016, Kyrgyzstan emerged from a bleak period of political uncertainty and travelers began bouncing back to the pristine nation with visitor numbers exceeding 1.2 million.
A post shared by Eline Rousseau (@rousseaueline) on Aug 1, 2018 at 6:02am PDT
With a population of just six million people and nearly 200,000 square kilometers of land to explore, there’s a good chance you could go days without seeing a single soul up in the unspoiled mountainscapes, but watch out for snow leopards.
Whether you want to camp beside Lake Issyk-Kul, the world’s second largest alpine lake and ponder the ancient stars to sand ratio or have a truly authentic experience living with semi-nomadic, yurt-dwelling shepherds, Kyrgyzstan will exceed your wildest expectations.
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Timing is crucial when visiting Kyrgyzstan. Only visit in the winter if you plan to ski or snowboard as temperatures drop to minus 30 degrees.
The best time to visit is mid-summer when the semi-nomadic shepherds perch their yurts on the mountainside, blooms of wildflowers coat the valleys, and all the tourist attractions are open.
Kyrgyzstan also has super relaxed visa restrictions meaning a handful of nations don’t need a visa at all, and many others can stay for up to 90 days before acquiring a visa.
Also, established airlines such as Emirates and Malaysian Airlines fly part way to Kyrgyzstan from destinations across Asia.
With visa-free travel, easily available flights, and an abundance of historical, cultural, and gastronomical delights to entice travelers, Kyrgyzstan the perfect place to start your Central Asian adventure.
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Kyrgyzstan has been voted as Central Asia’s second best destination for adventure tourism. Glaciers cover four percent of the country, and only eight percent of the land is cultivated, making it an explorer’s paradise.
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Its encompassing mountains have created an atmosphere of seclusion for those living in Kyrgyzstan. But this isolation has maintained centuries of vibrant culture and traditions that can still be seen and enjoyed today.
A post shared by JKS Kyrgyz Travel Company (@jks_kyrgyztravel) on May 30, 2018 at 12:01am PDT
Trekking is a hot favorite with travelers. The renowned 16-day Bishkek to Bishkek tour guides hikers through the Fann Mountains, Chon Kemin Valley, through Kol-Kogur, past the never-freezing Lake Issyk-Kul, across the Boz Uchuk Pass, along Tosor and then back to the capital.
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On any hiking adventure, it’s worth camping out a few nights to experience the beauty of the unpolluted star-filled skies above Kyrgyzstan. If you enjoy your creature comforts but want to experience the yurt-life, Airbnb is the answer.
Good night…#Travel #Reise #Viaje #Viaggio #Voyage #Seyahat #Путешествия #여행 #旅 #Nature #Mountains #Kyrgyzstan #Sky #CentralAsia #Night #Stars #Tour pic.twitter.com/M0LPWIHZ2s
— Visit Kyrgyzstan (@visitKGZ) July 29, 2018
Enjoy a US$15 a night stay in a comfy, clean and ideally located yurt next to Lake Issyk-Kul. Wake up to the sounds of the wind on the lake, the purest sunshine beaming on your face and the freshest air you’ll ever inhale.
A post shared by Tours to Kyrgyzstan (@kyrgyzstan_travel) on Apr 30, 2018 at 2:51pm PDT
Believe it or not, Kyrgyzstan also has some of Central Asia’s best ski resorts, with a total of 93 kilometers of slopes and 32 ski lifts servicing 22 resorts.
Toguz-Bulak is the country’s top resort for all levels of skiing ability, guaranteeing fresh snow and minimal skiers, meaning no crowds or queues.
Also, apres-ski takes a different meaning in Kyrgyzstan. Instead of hot cheese fondue, try a plate of horse meat sausage, washed down with mare’s milk. But don’t worry, beer is still plentiful.
A post shared by Almerekov ILyas NG (@ialmerekov) on Jan 25, 2018 at 10:31am PST
If you want to see the outstanding natural beauty in Kyrgyzstan, but don’t consider yourself to be an active person, head out on horseback and traverse the unblemished alpine landscapes.
You won’t be hard pushed to find a skilled rider who doubles up as a local tour guide as horses have played an integral part of Kyrgyzstani life for thousands of years.
A post shared by WhAp+996558400601,Travel guide (@chyngyzametov) on Jun 8, 2018 at 6:19am PDT
Natural beauty Kyrgyzstan is affectionately nicknamed “the Switzerland of Central Asia” because of its numerous mountains, but there are also stunning lakes, beaches, and valleys which shouldn’t be missed.
The most obvious and arguably the most beautiful is the previously mentioned Lake Issyk-Kul.
A post shared by #issykkul_life (@issykkul_life) on Jul 21, 2018 at 10:39pm PDT
Lake Tulpar-Kol in the Osh province is also worth a visit and an ideal place to camp.
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From the Instagram-focused travelers, head to Lake Kel Tor near Kegety Gorge at sunrise and sunset to capture the beauty of this lake.
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Between mountain peaks and lakes, there are also gorges which resemble an angelic stairway to heaven.
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And rolling hills to rival New Zealand’s.
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Culture If you’re anything but a package holiday lover or a beach-bum vacationer, you’ll probably want to experience and understand the local culture.
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Book onto a Highlights of Kyrgyz Culture tour to experience life inside a yurt and dine on traditionally cooked plov, a true Kyrgyz dish.
After lunch, you can watch Kyrgyz eagle hunters practice their ancient art and enjoy a traditional soul folklore performance to round off the day.
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In the southwest of Kyrgyzstan is the millennia-old city of Osh.
The area is surrounded by lush steppes and plays host to a busy bazaar which was once a major stop-over point for those traveling the perilous Silk Road.
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The bazaar is perfect for souvenirs and vibrant enough in color and atmosphere to add a priceless picture to your Instagram.
Food If you’re still not convinced that Kyrgyzstan should be your next vacation destination, perhaps you’ll be swayed by some of Central Asia’s most interesting dishes.
#ENVIRONMENT
In pictures: Australia’s rare rainbow lake The nation revolves around cattle, so mutton, goat, beef and even horsemeat feature highly on the menu.
Beshbarmak is the most traditional Kyrgyz dish in the country. The hearty meal consists of shredded lamb, noodles, and potatoes served in hot broth.
A post shared by Uliana, Siberian Brit (@ulianch1k) on Sep 9, 2017 at 10:25am PDT
If you can stomach eating horse, try Kazy Karta. The dish is just medallions of cured horsemeat often served as an appetizer or added to dishes such as Beshbarmak.
Traditional meals you can easily recreate at home are samsa and plov.
Samsa consists of little bread pockets filled with meat and cooked inside a clay oven, but your conventional gas oven will suffice.
A post shared by ПЕЛЬМЕНИ МАНТЫ САМСА ЧЕБУРЕКИ (@dom.food_ast) on Apr 2, 2018 at 2:36am PDT
Plov is a staple dish throughout Central Asia.
Kyrgyzstan’s take on the hearty dish is a mix of stewed beef and vegetables packed into fragrant rice.
A post shared by Камила (@kamila_romin) on Jun 22, 2018 at 7:02am PDT
Kyrgyzstan is just the start of your Asian journey. From here, you can head in any direction and find more adventure, culture and culinary curiosities.
But get there before the mass crowds do because the “Stans” won’t remain a snippet of history with untouched beauty in this globalized, tourism-frenzied world for long.
The post In pictures: Why Kyrgyzstan should be your next destination appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

The hotel suites from famous movies you can actually stay in

Posted by - July 30, 2018

ASIA is home to some of the world’s most iconic movie scenes.
From Danny Boyle’s 2000 blockbuster The Beach to Sophia Coppola’s tender rom-com, Lost in Translation, Asia’s cityscapes and natural beauty provide directors with an array of ideal filming locations.
#POP CULTURE
If film directors made travel posters this is what they would look like It’s no secret that people travel the world to discover these locations and get the perfect picture to prove they’ve been there.
There’s something undeniably satisfying about treading in the footsteps of movies stars, but imagine if you could stay in the same beds as they did too.
While a lot of movie interior shots are filmed in the studio, these Asia-based blockbusters utilized charming hotel suites to create authentic scenes; and you can check in to them for your very own cinematic experience.
The Hangover Part II, Thailand
In the second installment of the outrageous “bachelor party gone wrong” film, The Hangover Part II, Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and the gang head to Bangkok, Thailand for Stu’s (Ed Helms) wedding.
The group ends up with facial tattoos, a monkey, a severed finger, and no memory.
Many of film’s scenes were shot in Lebua at State Tower hotel, a property known for its lavish suites, breathtaking views, and iconic rooftop bars.
A post shared by Vincènt Conversano (@vincent_conversano) on Jul 29, 2018 at 4:26am PDT
A one-night stay here starts at US$107, but if you’re going in for the true Hangover experience and want to stay in the original suite, it’ll set you back US$931.
However, the suite from the movie sleeps 11 people, so it could be a great choice for a raucous bachelor party of your own.
Address: State Tower, Yan Nawa 1055 Si Lom, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand. Telephone: +662624999. Lost in Translations, Japan
“The more you know who you are and what you want, the less you let things upset you,” Bob Harris (Bill Murray) tells Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) in Lost in Translation as they lay on a bed in Park Hyatt, Tokyo.
Park Hyatt’s elegant oasis is an antithesis of Tokyo’s chaotic atmosphere and a stay in the Lost in Translation suite starts from around US$750 per night.
A post shared by Mike Locke (@djmikelocke) on Jul 26, 2018 at 7:23am PDT
Head up to the New York Bar on the 52nd floor to sip whiskey and plenty of other delights just like Bob and Charlotte did in the film.
Address: 3-7-1-2 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo, Japan. Telephone: +810353221234. Octopussy, India
“Bond, James Bond,” is one of the most iconic movie lines ever and James Bond, a fictional spy, is an archetype of British culture.
He’s traveled the world, from Russia to Hong Kong and Italy to India, which is where the stunning Taj Lake Palace hotel from the 1983 Octopussy starring Roger Moore as James Bond can be found.
A post shared by Royal Highness Of Udaipur (@royal_highnessofudaipur) on May 20, 2018 at 3:51am PDT
Often referred to as one of the most romantic hotels in the world, the marble-clad Taj Lake Palace is set on Lake Pichola and only accessible via boat.
You can dine on the terrace where James Bond wooed one of his many ladies and experience the luxury suites for as little as US$281 per night.
Address: Postbox 5, Udaipur, Rajasthan – 313001 , India. Telephone: +910294248800. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, India
This endearing film stars some of Britain’s biggest names such as Dame Judy Dench, Bill Nighy, and Dev Patel.
The Best Marigold Hotel features in the film as a blissful retirement home for foreigners but in reality, it is the Ravla Khempur hotel.
A post shared by Mercè Comamala (@merce.comamala) on Oct 15, 2016 at 4:00am PDT
All the rooms are exactly as they appear in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, if not a little better after its recent refurbishment.
For those going to India to seek culture and an authentic experience, Ravla Khempur hotel is a wonderful place to stay especially if you want to take 40 winks in the same bed Bill Nighy slept in, and for only US$53 per night.
Address: Khempur Village, Mavli, District, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India, 313203. Telephone: +91295537154. #DESTINATIONS
Asia’s most enchanting tourism videos The Impossible, Thailand
The Impossible recounts the tragic story of one of the tens of thousands of families caught up in the catastrophic 2004 tsunami which hit Thailand, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Malaysia and many other nations bordering the Indian Ocean.
In the film, the family stays at the Orchid Beach Resort in the Khao Lak region, directly on the seafront. In a heart-wrenching tale, viewers see the family yanked apart by the devastating wave then embark on a harrowing journey of survival and defiance.
A post shared by Sylvi love traveling (@syvidiekuhlemom) on Jun 1, 2018 at 2:39pm PDT
The resort was in fact damaged by the tsunami but has since had a beautiful renovation. It offers four types of accommodation for singles, couples, families and friends, all with stunning ocean vistas.
A vacation in this beautiful setting starts from US$44 per night depending on which month you go.
Address: 61 Moo 3, Khuk Khak Beach, T.Khuk Khak A.Takuapa, Phang Nga, Thailand 82190. Telephone: +660764862212. The post The hotel suites from famous movies you can actually stay in appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

In pictures: The best of Bali

Posted by - July 30, 2018

LOCATED at the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands with Java to the west and Lombok to the east, Bali is one of Southeast Asia’s most enchanting islands.
The island has seen a significant rise in tourists since the 1980s and makes up for most of the tourist numbers to Indonesia. In fact, tourism-related businesses make up 80 percent of its economy.
#ISLANDS
Singaporeans seem to love this Indonesian island a lot Home to the biggest Hindu population in Indonesia, Bali boasts a multitude of exotic religious sites set against stunning natural backdrops such as the cliffside Uluwatu Temple and the Besakih Temple.
Travelers will enjoy the island’s warm hospitality and highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking, and music as well.
Aside from cultural and spiritual charm, the island is also known for the beachside city of Kuta with lively bars; popular resort towns Seminyak, Sanur, and Nusa Dua; cliff-guarded “hidden” shores of Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Dreamland, and Bingin; and yoga and meditation retreats.
Whether you fancy taking a walk along its chic cafe-lined streets or shopping at one of its many designer boutiques or hitting one of its many world-class diving and surfing spots, Bali promises there will never be a dull moment.
By sunset, as the night rolls in, the island pulsates with exciting clubbing venues with packed dance floors spread throughout the southern regions of Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak.
It’s almost impossible to discover all of Bali on one trip alone.
Take a look at all that Bali has to offer:
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The post In pictures: The best of Bali appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Where are the most popular glamping sites in Asia?

Posted by - July 27, 2018

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

In pictures: Sri Lanka’s captivating Colombo

Posted by - July 25, 2018

SRI LANKA’S tourism board is ramping up efforts to ensure that tourists visit the island even during offseason.
In order to do so, its Tourism Promotion Bureau is casting its net far and wide to capture the attention of potential tourists in China, India, and the Middle East.
#INDUSTRY NEWS
Sri Lanka plans to clear illegal structures to build tourism hub The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau will be rolling out its first campaign from September to November before the winter starts, according to Tourism Minister John Amaratunga.
The mega campaign will promote special tour packages on offer during Sept 1, 2018, to Nov 30, 2018, to attract Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern tourists.
September to November is ordinarily a slow period for Sri Lanka, as the monsoon more or less affects the whole country. However, it’s not always predictable and sometimes it never comes at all.
#TRAVEL HACKS
What you should know about traveling during the monsoon season Sri Lanka’s tourism industry was once heavily scarred by a 30-year civil conflict known as the Sri Lankan Civil War, which caused significant hardships for the population, environment, and the economy of the country.
Since signing a permanent cease-fire agreement in 2002, the country worked its way to becoming one of the leading industries.
However, in December 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunami struck Sri Lanka killing more than 35,000 people and left the country’s southern coastline looking like a wasteland.
It presented the Sri Lankan tourism industry with a substantial loss, estimated at US$250 million. This only meant that the nation had to be more resilient than ever in the recovery process.
Today, the country is dubbed as one of the world’s greatest tourist hot spots by several international publications.
Source: Shutterstock.
Thinking of planning a trip to Sri Lanka? Start with visiting its must-see historical capital and ocean city, Colombo.
Having been ruled successively by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British in the past, Colombo is blessed with architecture that represents the heritage of its previous rulers.
From mixed colonial buildings with high-rises to glossy new hotel complexes, to stylish galleries and shops and shopping malls, Colombo’s cosmopolitan side has a character like no other.
Food is in abundance as well, with restaurants serving up delicious local eats, carts selling a mouthwatering rainbow of street chow, and tiny convivial cafes offering great spaces to chat over coffee.
Source: Shutterstock.
Be sure to set out to explore on foot as well, as the island has been a center of Buddhist scholarship and learning, with around 6,000 Buddhist monasteries and approximately 15,000 monks.
One of the must-visit locations on Sri Lankan soil is the Gangaramaya Vihara, one of the most venerable temples in the country. Its beautiful facade has been decorated with wonderful brass work, stone carvings, and other Buddhist art.
The other is the sprawling Viharamahadevi Park, the oldest and largest park in Colombo. Named after named after Queen Viharamahadevi, the mother of King Dutugamunu who reigned from 161 BC to 137 BC, the park features a series of water fountains, a mini zoo, a children’s play area, and a giant Buddha statue.
But don’t just let us talk you through it. Take a look at what Sri Lanka’s captivating Colombo has to offer:
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Meanwhile, according to recent statistics from Sri Lanka’s Tourism Ministry, tourist arrivals recorded a growth of 15.3 percent during the first half of 2018 compared to the same period last year.
If the mega campaign is successful, it will be repeated annually, and a similar campaign will be also launched from March to July.
The post In pictures: Sri Lanka’s captivating Colombo appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Singaporeans seem to love this Indonesian island a lot

Posted by - July 25, 2018

FARE aggregator and travel metasearch engine Kayak has announced the winners of its inaugural Kayak Travel Awards and it looks like one Indonesian island just performed a clean sweep of the accolades.
Can you guess which one?
#ADVENTURES
Indonesia wants Unesco to list these 3 destinations Candidates for the Kayak Travel Awards were shortlisted based on search volume on KAYAK.sg from Jan 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018.
“The top five in each award category were shortlisted for Singaporeans and Singapore residents to choose their favorites on the website during the voting period. Winners and runners-up in each award category were decided based on the total number of public votes,” the company wrote on its website.
Ever wondered where Singaporeans’ favorite places and hotels are? They’re on the same island and it’s not Singapore.
Favorite Airport Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport was named the runner-up in the favorite airports category, second only to Singapore Changi Airport.
While various international airlines connect Singapore to Bali, Singaporean airlines such as Singapore Airlines and Scoot fly direct to the Indonesian island.
Source: Shutterstock.
The flight duration from Singapore to Bali takes about two hours and 40 minutes.
Favorite Resort Hotel in Southeast Asia (Outbound) Within strolling distance of Seminyak’s hippest boutiques, eclectic galleries, restaurants, and clubs is the beautiful uber-chic W Bali Seminyak.
Situated on its own stretch of extraordinary beach, the resort is largely influenced by the Balinese design, featuring wide airy spaces and spectacular rooms.
Source: W Bali Seminyak.
W Bali Seminyak also boasts a number of watering holes from where you can indulge in a cocktail or two as the sun goes down.
Favorite Affordable Hotel in Asia It’s easy to see why The Westin Resort Nusa Dua is a Singaporean traveler’s favorite affordable hotel in Asia.
At IDR2,137,500 (SGD200.73 or US$146.94) per night for a five-star beachfront resort that’s kitted out with amenities and facilities of sorts, it’s a steal.
Source: Westin Nusa Dua Bali.
The Westin Resort Nusa Dua comes complete with waterslide pool, renewing activities, streamlined meeting venues, and its signature Heavenly Spa.
Favorite Destination for Short Breaks Bali is the perfect destination for short breaks, according to Singaporean travelers, and it’s not surprising.
For starters, there’s the price point. One Indonesian rupiah currently equals SGD0.000094 (or US$0.000069).
Source: Westin Nusa Dua Bali.
Secondly, Bali’s beaches, terraced rice paddies, temples, ruins, jungle walks and its proximity to the island city-state makes it the perfect nearby weekend getaway.
Favorite Destination for Beach Holidays It’s almost to discover all of Bali’s beaches on one trip alone.
The island’s beaches range from its palm-fringed white sand coasts in Kuta, Nusa Dua, and Sanur, to the cliff-guarded ‘hidden’ shores of Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Dreamland, and Bingin.
Source: Shutterstock.
Whether it’s the black sands on the north or the sleepy undisturbed coves in-between, they’re loved by surfers, beach bums, curious tourists, and wedding photographers.
The post Singaporeans seem to love this Indonesian island a lot appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.