“HORROR, worst case scenario” is how Wiebe Wakker described his predicament.
“I’ve run into a lot of problems which I’m solving at the moment. Mechanics from Holland need to fly in.” Stuck in Surabaya, Indonesia for more than two months, his electric vehicle dubbed the Blue Bandit had broken down after making it all the way from Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
The epic journey prior – across Europe, the Middle East and Asia – saw him relying upon the generosity of strangers for food, shelter and electricity to recharge his vehicle. The Plug Me In project, as Wakker has called it, aims to promote sustainability and demonstrate that renewable technologies can replace old ones.
Wakker and the Blue Bandit enjoy some snow in Turkey, 2017. Source: Supplied/Plug Me In.
“Sustainability is not just solar panels or green agriculture. You can do really cool things with sustainability,” Wakker told Asian Correspondent in a phone interview, noting that the idea was inspired by his love of travel and the need to complete a final assignment for his events management degree at the Amsterdam University of the Arts.
“I told my teacher for my final project I want to travel around the world. He said ‘you’re crazy’,” Wakker recalled. Yet a few months later, he was on the road.
Asked if the prolonged breakdown in Indonesia undermined the credibility of electric vehicles he said: “I drove 60,000 km so far and 31 countries without having major issues. This is a very old car and from 2009, custom made. It requires some specific knowledge to fix the car, whereas if you’d bought a production line electric you could fix it anywhere.”
Wiebe Wakker and his car in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Source: Supplied/Plug Me In.
“There’s actually less that can go wrong with an electric car because there’s less moving parts,” he added.
Experts from the Netherlands are now in Surabaya helping to fix the Blue Bandit, the costs of their travel and expenses being covered by a Plug Me In crowdfunding page.
“I really like the countries where things are a bit different to Western countries, India, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia as well. If you bring an electric car into country like these, it feels like pioneering,” Wakker said.
Yesterday when I hit the water and inspected the car Ayuarah approached me. He recognised me from TV in Solo. He and his wife did everything they could to make it easier for me. They brought me to a police station, brought food and later took me into his house were I could rest during the night. Indonesian people are really helpful and making me trip a lof easier. Also because of the request by @ridwanhr I got a lot of people who contacted me and wanted to help me! Thanks a lof for that! I Indonesia! #PlugMeIn #Car #Carsofinstagram #Indonesia #Surabaya #Carproblems #EV
A post shared by Wiebe Wakker / Plug Me In (@plugmeintravel) on Feb 18, 2018 at 2:32am PST
Iran, though, was his favorite. “I didn’t know so much about this country. I was really surprised by the hospitality, it was a beautiful country also,” he said, adding that: “people there are so kind, so generous. They take me into their home so then they bring their cousins, then their cousins’ brothers, so then I have to tell my story 20 times a day. It can be a bit challenging to travel alone.”
The challenges haven’t been limited to the Indonesian breakdown and curious Iranians. Wakker said that the process of organizing visas and bringing a car into 31 separate countries had been a headache.
Unfiltered travel: The stories Instagram won’t tell you Moreover, in more remote parts of the globe, people’s home generators only have around 900 watts, whereas the car requires 2000 watts to charge. “In Kalimantan (Indonesia), I was in villages looking around to factories to see if they could help me. In parts of India, the power cuts for hours at a time.”
With the Blue Bandit almost ready to return to the road, Wakker will head across Bali and eastern Indonesia towards Timor Leste, prior to shipping it across to Darwin in northern Australia. After this, he will begin the final leg across the continent to Sydney.
It's done! The car is fixed and drives better as she's even done. Tim and his father have done an amazing job. They worked for 6 days straight to repair the battery and upgrade other parts. We also got a lot of help from VW Surabaya. Thanks everyone who helped the past weeks! pic.twitter.com/WGOhNn77Dw
— Plug Me In (@WiebeWkkr) March 6, 2018
Wakker reflected that many countries he’d visited in Asia still had a lot of work to do to reach basic levels of sustainability. “Indonesia is on the equator and there is so much sun, but you don’t see any solar panels. It’s a pity, I hope that people will realise that there are better alternatives,” he said.
Nevertheless, he added, “I find it interesting that in every country there is something going on in terms of sustainability. There are always people working on it.”
This article originally appeared on our sister website Asian Correspondent.
The post This guy is driving his electric car from Amsterdam to Sydney appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.
“HORROR, worst case scenario” is how Wiebe Wakker described his predicament.
THROUGH time, immemorial explorers have gushed about the lands they’ve traveled to, the cultures now ingrained within them, the people they met and the glorified tribulations encountered along the way, but they very rarely tell of the utter miseries that almost forced them to come home.
In one sense, this is wonderful, as being sheltered from the hardship, scares and sadness allow aspiring travelers to grow an untainted wanderlust. However, not informing others of the challenges suffered along the way can lead to naivety and put them in danger.
Hear from a professional hiker, two British travelers and a travel journalist about the trials they faced on the road and how they dealt with them.
Fact: Death by lightning or shark more likely than a plane crash Going up a mountain? Here’s what you should know “From one side I’m trying to instill a love for the mountains and hiking in general,” Chris Kamberis, mountaineer, and author of Trip and Trail told Travel Wire Asia. “And then from the other, to raise awareness about the dangers and point out that nature is not a playground and has to be respected.”
A post shared by Chrisostomos Kamberis (@chrisostomos_kamberis) on May 16, 2017 at 7:48am PDT
An estimated 300 people have died trying to climb Mount Everest, with many more deaths on other ascents. The only year with no recorded deaths on Mount Everest was 1977, since then, avalanches, earthquakes, rapidly changing weather conditions and altitude sickness have been the peril of many who want to claim the accolade of summiting Everest.
However, it’s not just Everest which has taken lives. “One of my favorite places – High Tatras, in Slovakia (Europe) – has a record death toll this year (2017) around 30 people died,” Kamberis pointed out.
Pät´ Spišských plies part of the High Tatras peaks. Source: Trip and Trail
High Tatras is 2,655 meters high and has been described as, “majestic peaks, touching the sky”.
“Some of these people didn’t even have an accident. They died of exhaustion and hypothermia which means that many of these deaths could be avoided,” Kamerbis explained. “People with no prior experience trying to hike or climb in dangerous conditions is madness.”
While climbing is never wholly predictable, fatalities and causalities are preventable, and as Kamberis noted, it is often “our fault (social media influencers) because many times, by trying to glorify our stories, we leave out all the hardships and sufferings. Making it look easy and giving people the wrong impression”.
Mountaineering is no easy sport. If it was, climbing Everest would be as easy as getting in the groceries. Climbers must remember that instinct and judgment can only be built from experience.
Teryho Chata. Source: Trip and Trail
Experience comes from practice and taking note of what more experienced climbers tell you. This way, climbers can develop a balanced relationship with fear, become aware of the true dangers of climbing and turn positive attitudes into physical energy to get out of tight situations.
“Even seasoned hikers like me have been in tight spots, and the right decisions and precautions had to be made and taken to avoid the worst,” Kamberis added.
Going on a trip? Don’t get taken for a ride It’s easy to get super excited about an upcoming trip. And why shouldn’t you be? You’ve probably worked hard and saved even harder for this glorious moment, to pack your bags and fly away to the destination of your dreams.
A post shared by Archana Singh (@travelseewrite) on Sep 27, 2017 at 4:29am PDT
You’re probably going to want to tell the whole world about your plans, and that’s exactly what Archana Singh, author of Travel See Write, did before her big trip to Ladakh, India.
“It was the month of August in 2014 when I was all set to go on the most anticipated trip of my life – Ladakh, the rooftop of the world,” she told Travel Wire Asia.
“All arrangements were done from my side. Full payment made to the travel organizer and thousands of dollars spent on buying the adventure gear,” she added.
“I announced to the whole world my upcoming adventure and traveled 540 kilometers from Delhi to Manali to reach the center point from where I was to embark on an unforgettable journey”.
Tso Moriri lake in Changthang region of Ladakh is one of the most beautiful, calm and sacred; high altitude lakes in India. Source: Travel See Write
And unforgettable it turned out to be, but not in the sense she’d imagined. Singh explained that the group organizer called at 10pm the night before the trip was due to venture off and offered his sincere apologies for canceling the trip as the rest of the group had not turned up.
“I was given two choices, which were actually no choices – join another group going to Chandratal, a 5-day trip or be my own guest! In either case, I wasn’t getting my money back”.
Naturally, Singh was furious about this decision and doubted whether the trip she’d paid for was ever intended to run. But instead of dwelling on the unfortunate situation, she decided to venture out on her own.
The biggest birthday party in Ladakh – The Hemis Festival. Source: Travel See Write
“I had never traveled solo in India before. Naturally I had apprehensions! To add to it, I hadn’t done any research for my trip because I relied on my travel organizer!”
“I thought to myself, ‘the worst has already happened, what else can go wrong; I shouldn’t back out of my plans because of someone else!’ So, I went to Ladakh alone, and I had the most amazing experience in those 15-days”.
Sometimes, traveling alone can be the best experience as you don’t have to worry about anyone else, meal times or where to stay. It is just you and whatever your heart desires.
Brokpa people. Source: Travel See Write
Singh suggested that when these unforeseen circumstances strike, you need to stay as calm as possible, “…Don’t fret too much over the past and please don’t pay the whole amount in advance. That’s the lesson I learned the hard way.”
“If you don’t have the bookings at least a week in advance, don’t think twice before pulling the plug out. A little bit of extra research is better than being stranded at the last moment”.
Netizens’ panties in a twist over Ural Airlines passenger ‘airing dirty laundry’ Backpacking in Southeast Asia? Have a healthy skepticism No matter where you are in the world, if there are other people around, there is a marginal chance that an opportunist thief might try to take what does not belong to them.
Theft and robbery can happen whether you’ve got your money stored in a nifty little belt or you’re splashing it around in full view. Despite all your attempts to fit in with the locals and look as least touristy as possible, seasoned thieves can still spot you in a crowd and make their move with stealth and haste.
Sometimes, it’s those whom you’ve built a little bit of trust with who will screw you over and temporarily destroy your faith in humankind, as Lucy Moore and Charlotte Burton-Barker, two British travelers currently touring Southeast Asia discovered recently while in Bangkok.
A post shared by Lu Mo (@lucymoore9) on Feb 6, 2018 at 4:14am PST
“We decided to go to a floating market which was one and half hours from Bangkok,” Moore explained to Travel Wire Asia.
“Before leaving Bangkok we went to the hostel to get our bags else we would have missed the check-out time. As part of the trip, we had an allocated taxi driver. He seemed really keen and friendly on the way there,” she added.
“We spent three hours in the floating market while the taxi driver waited (with their bags) in a nearby café.”
Logic tells you that if the taxi driver planned to steal their belongings, he would have done so while they were in the market. However, logic forfeited on this occasion and on upon returning to the taxi, their belongings were still there, alongside the enthusiastic taxi driver who insisted they went to another market.
The aftermath…when everything we own got stolen, literally everything… and then returned in a weird series of events #bittersweet #happysunday #lucharabroad
A post shared by Lu Mo (@lucymoore9) on Jan 21, 2018 at 6:42am PST
Tired and shopped-out, Lucy and Charlotte insisted on heading back to their hostel, this was when disaster struck. “About 20 minutes into the journey he pulled over and stopped for petrol,” Lucy explained.
“He said we all needed to get out, and we obliged. About five minutes later he said he was going to pay for the petrol, but instead got in the driver’s seat and sped off, with all our belongings still inside.”
Fortunately, the pair were helped by the gas station owners. They canceled their debit cards and called the British embassy.
“As the police arrived I remembered the taxi driver had insisted on taking a photo of us all on both mine and his phone.” The girls showed the police this picture, and they were able to identify him via the name badge on his shirt.
Lucy (left) and Charlotte (right) with the taxi driver, before the theft occurred. Source: @lucymoore9 / Instagram
Three hours later the same taxi driver pulled up with the bags still in the back seat and simply insisted that he had “forgotten” about the girls.
The case went to court, and the verdict is still pending. However, in this rare case, the two travelers received all their belongings back. Others are not so lucky.
If this unforeseeable and very unfortunate event happens to you, contact the police straight away and give a clear statement, also let your embassy know when you’re in the country and try to never carry your passport and all your money with you.
Thankfully, these four intrepid travelers have shared their stories to let you know that disaster can strike without warning. But a problem shared is a problem halved, so don’t be embarrassed if it happens to you, because it would have happened to others thousands of times before.
The post Unfiltered travel: The stories Instagram won’t tel..
THE way India is portrayed varies between different nations and media outlets. Depending on which films, TV shows or magazines people get their information from, many are often left with contradictory impressions of India.
Depictions tell a tale of a nation gripped by poverty, famine and political unrest. Other sources describe a nation with a thriving information technology industry, while some understand India to be a place of spirituality, holiness, and pilgrimage.
But if you take a closer look at India you will see a nation of vibrant colors, bursting flavors, cultural elegance and sublime natural beauty.
Let’s get rid of the stereotypes the media creates and disprove 17th-century German Philosopher Friedrich Hegel, who said India exists in a dream-like state. India is undoubtedly dreamy but like any other country, it is rich in history and has influenced much of the world.
These images of India will give you a glimpse of the real India, a beautiful country with its own complex history, culture, traditions, and economy, and sure to leave you astounded.
India’s first bullet train: Fast but expensive Golden Temple, Amritsar The Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, is one of the most revered places of worship in Sikhism.
A post shared by Golden Temple Amritsar (@golden.temple) on Feb 2, 2018 at 6:00am PST
The Chitrakoot Falls The Chitrakoot Falls is a natural waterfall located in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. They are often referred to as “the Niagara Falls of India”.
A post shared by Anzaar Nabi (@anzaar_nabi) on Dec 9, 2015 at 9:49pm PST
Sabarmati Riverfront, Ahmedabad The development of the riverfront was proposed in the 1960s and renovations began in 2005. It is the perfect place to take a sunset stroll.
A post shared by Alap Bhatt (@alap.bhatt) on Jan 31, 2018 at 10:00am PST
Mumbai Skyline Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, is a heavily populated city on the west coast of India. It is also India’s financial hub and where the famous stone arch Gateway of India can be found.
A post shared by Yusuf Kathawala (@yusufk1207) on Feb 13, 2018 at 7:44am PST
Kerala – ‘God’s Own Country’ Know for its vast waterways and tropical climate, Kerala has 600km of Arabian Sea shoreline and masses of palm trees. Tea, coffee, and spices are also grown inland.
A post shared by Kerala Gods own Country (@kerala_godsowncountry) on Feb 21, 2018 at 6:00pm PST
Bangalore Palace The Palace was originally owned by Reverand J Garrett who was the first principle of Bangalore High School, which is now known as Central College. The palace also has a theme park on its grounds with water slides an even a snow room.
A post shared by Richa Sharma (@_richa.sharma_) on Feb 15, 2018 at 10:28pm PST
Charminar, Hyderabad Built in the late 15th century, Charminar has become a symbol of Hyderabad. On the top floor of the monument is a mosque which has been in use for over 400 years.
A post shared by Namrata (@fotogeek49) on Feb 12, 2018 at 11:53pm PST
Kashmir – ‘Paradise on Earth’ Pangong Tso Lake is located in the area of Leh Ladakh Valley in Kashmir. The region is full of incredible landscapes, flower-filled fields, and unique wildlife.
A post shared by Kashmir -The Paradise on Earth (@visit_to_kashmir) on Feb 18, 2018 at 9:40pm PST
Udaipur – ‘City of Lakes’ Udaipur is popular with tourists as it offers incredible selfie spots, sure to make you the envy among your friends. It is also known for its history, culture, scenic locations, and the Rajput-era palaces.
A post shared by AYAN CHAKRABORTY (@theayanchakraborty) on Feb 17, 2018 at 10:39pm PST
Lotus Temple House Of Worship, New Delhi The Lotus Temple is open to everyone, regardless of religion or ethnicity. The temple has 27 free-standing marble-clad “petals” arranged in clusters and nine doors opening into a central hall and can hold up to 2,500 people.
A post shared by The Wolf Studios (@thewolfstudios) on Feb 21, 2018 at 2:07pm PST
Jaipur – ‘Pink City’ Jaipur is the capital of India’s Rajasthan state and it is where the royal family used to rule from back in 1727. The city palace complex is one of the most notable structures in the city.
A post shared by Jaipur – The Pink City (@jaipurpinkcity) on Feb 18, 2018 at 10:33pm PST
Bandra-Worli Sea Link This cable-stayed bridge links Bandra in the Western Suburbs of Mumbai with Worli in South Mumbai. The bridge is a brilliant fleet of engineering and is best enjoyed at sunrise or sunset.
A post shared by SURAJ NADAR (@throttle_sexual) on Feb 20, 2018 at 10:50pm PST
Marina Beach in Chennai Marina Beach can be found along the Bay of Bengal. The natural urban beach stretches for 6km and offers plenty of activities from swimming and surfing to horse riding.
A post shared by Hindustan Pictures (@hindustan.pictures) on Feb 20, 2018 at 7:43pm PST
Kolkata Kolkata is known for its grand colonial architecture, art galleries, and cultural festivals. Mother Theresa is also buried there in the grounds of the Mothers House Missionary which she founded.
A post shared by Ritik Sinha (@chora_ganga_kinare_walaa) on Feb 21, 2018 at 12:10pm PST
Shimla, Himachal Pradesh Shimla is the capital of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, at the Himalayan foothills. The area is known for its handicraft shops which sell wooden toys and other cute trinkets.
A post shared by Sakib Sobhan (@sakibsobhan) on Feb 21, 2018 at 10:31am PST
Gangtok Gangtok is the capital of the mountainous northern Indian state of Sikkim. The area is a base camp for hikers trying to gain permits to climb the Himalayan mountain ranges.
A post shared by Sikkim (@sikkim.state) on Feb 21, 2018 at 11:06am PST
Aizawl – Capital of Mizoram Aizawl is a Northern Indian State, close to Myanmar. Here tourists can explore the bazaars and also meet the world’s largest family.
A post shared by Hmingtei chhangte (@hmingtei_cli) on Feb 16, 2018 at 1:19am PST
The post India: Beyond the gaze of the media appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.
VISA-FREE travel is a hot topic across Asia at the moment.
Indonesians have just gained visa-free access to Uzbekistan and China is offering those with Chinese descent a five-year visa to stay in China.
Asean is also bargaining with the EU to introduce visa-free travel for its residents, and Indonesia has relaxed its visa restrictions to entice more tourists.
An Indian passport ranks in at 76 out of all Asian passports and 73 globally for the power it obtains. Those in possession of one can travel to 55 countries either entirely visa-free or by buying one on arrival.
So where can those traveling on an Indian passport go without the need to first apply for a visa?
Forget Valentine’s Day, enjoy ‘Pal-entine’s Day’ in India instead Those with an Indian passport can travel to eight Asian countries entirely visa-free. These include Bhutan, Fiji, Indonesia, Macau, Micronesia, Mauritius, Nepal, and Vanuatu, plus 14 others outside of Asia including Ecuador, Jamaica, Senegal, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Those obtaining an Indian passport can also travel to 26 countries without having to apply for a visa before they leave India. Countries such as Laos, Maldives, Palau, and Samoa all require a visa upon arrival.
#IndianGovernment scraps decision to issue #orangepassport #SushmaSwaraj #MEA, #IndianPassport #IndianGovernment https://t.co/JIsPmlzuHb
— India Blooms (@indiablooms) January 31, 2018
This process usually involves filling out a few forms which can be collected on arrival at the terminal. Most countries will also require you to have proof of a return flight and evidence you have enough money to support yourself for the duration of the trip.
While Singaporeans hold the most powerful passport in Asia and second most powerful in the world, India is certainly growing in strength among the Asian subcontinents.
The post Where can an Indian passport take you without a visa? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.
AS CHANGI AIRPORT in Singapore sets its sights on expansion, it looks to passengers to foot the cost of building a new terminal and runway.
It is looking likely that passengers will end up paying around US$10 to US$15 for the privilege of flying to and from Changi Airport. Passengers already in transit and making connecting flights will be expected to pay around half the cost at US$6, reports The Strait Times.
Substantial taxes are already imposed on passengers, such as a US$34 departure tax which includes levying costs for passenger services, a security tax and another tax collected by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).
The expansion is taking place to help establish Singapore as an international air hub.
What does your passport color say about your nation? However, the expansion goes far beyond the aesthetics’ of a travelers gaze. Major work will be taking place across a 1,000-hectare site, including the structuring of drains and tunnels which will be used to transport luggage between Terminal 5 (T5) and the already established airport.
Airlines are also expected to contribute to the new build. An increased fee of around 30 percent is set to be imposed on airline parking and landing fees.
The enlargement of the airport is set to exceed the billions of dollars already spent on Terminal 4 which opened in 2017.
However, it does seem as though the construction of T5, the new runway, and additional supporting structures will be a shared cost as the Transport Ministry has declared it will bear a large proportion of the total cost.
7 brilliant and bizarre airline safety videos Changi Airport Group will also support the expansion by contributing a significant proportion of its annual profits to the build. A sizable statement considering the last financial year saw the group profit around US$600 million after tax.
If all goes to plan and enough passengers pay the new taxes, Singapore could be saying hello to its new terminal and runway by 2030.
The post Passengers using Changi Airport in Singapore could face new charges appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.
ANYONE who has traveled to China will know the process of obtaining a visa is long, expensive, stressful and utterly heart-wrenching if your visa request is denied.
However, China is now reassessing visa restrictions and has begun to make changes by implementing a new visa policy that allows foreigner visitors of Chinese descent to obtain a five-year visa.
There are of course conditions to gaining a five-year entry visa and strict criteria must be met, reported Kompas.com.
The criteria states that only those who are Chinese, but have gained additional citizenship overseas, or are the offspring to present or former Chinese Citizens can apply for this new visa.
Travel and tourism sector to create 2.4m jobs in Indonesia As part of the process, applicants must first prove their relationship to either a parent, grandparent or ancestor, but no generational-link limit has been set.
Back in January, Public Security Minister Zhao Kezhi announced plans to make it easier for foreign visitors to gain access into China. One of the ways of ensuring this was through not imposing restrictions on the “reasons for visiting” section of the application form.
This liberal move was specifically aimed at ethnic Chinese people who reside outside of China. Source: Shutterstock
This liberal move was specifically aimed at ethnic Chinese people who reside outside of China.
This new implementation is a vast improvement on the current policy which only grants Chinese foreign visitors residency for one year on a multiple entry-visa.
Which prepaid currency card is best for you? The new five-year visa will allow those with Chinese descent the opportunity to work, study and stay with family who need their support, without facing deportation.
The policy hopes to engage more overseas Chinese people “to participate in China’s economic development,” Qu Yunhai, the head of the ministry’s bureau of exit and entry administration, was quoted as saying by kompas.com.
The post China offers five-year visa to foreigners of Chinese descent appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.
BEING stranded in a foreign land without so much as two dimes to rub together, is far from ideal. So traveling with a means of getting cash is essential.
Whether you’re trekking through the jungle, escaping to the country, exploring urban cities or chilling on white beaches, it’s good to know you’re only a piece of plastic and an ATM away from retrieving your money. However, there are different travel credit cards to suit each destination and situation.
Here are some diverse travel cards to suit different circumstances when you’re abroad and away from the safety of your local bank branch.
Revolut: A post shared by @beefbridge on Feb 28, 2017 at 2:01pm PST
Revolut is an app-based banking alternative and brilliant for a variety of travelers. As long as you’re a resident in one of the countries listed in the “Where is Revolut available” section on their website, which are predominately European countries, then you can purchase this card for the small fee of up to €30 (US$37).
You can use your card at any cash point or on any card reader that accepts Mastercard or Visa, so that means millions of places worldwide. Revolut will automatically convert to the local currency at real exchange rates so you don’t have to worry about it.
Will Thailand’s cashless ambition cost Chatuchak Market its appeal? Travelex Multi-Currency Cash Passport: A post shared by Eloise Hope (@eloisejhope) on May 16, 2013 at 1:49am PDT
Best for visiting multiple countries
This travel card allows you to carry up to ten currencies at one time, and being a smart card, it can automatically detect which currency you need. The card can be used again and you won’t incur any fees for leaving it dormant when home beckons. Simply just top it up next time you go traveling.
The multiple currencies cardholders can enjoy include British Pounds, US Dollars, New Zealand Dollars, Emirati Dirham, South African Rand and Turkish Lira. The card also has locked-in exchange rates, so you don’t have to worry about currency rising or falling while you are away.
In a situation where a cardholder has depleted all the money from one’s purse, the system will simply pull the funds from a different currency and convert it for you.
Qantas Cash: A post shared by Matt Davis (@_mattd_) on Mar 24, 2014 at 4:15am PDT
Best for earning air miles
The Qantas Cash card allows you to earn Qantas Points on all purchases including local and foreign transactions.
This card is recommended for business travelers who can utilize the points on future trips. Choose from 11 currencies to load up on the card, with the added ability of 24-hour topping-up via the secure customer portal.
It is accepted internationally at over 35 million locations in over 210 countries worldwide and is securely protected by MasterCard. Unlike other travel cards, there is no initial or reload fees either, so you can save while you spend.
How to navigate devilish dual pricing in Thailand ANZ: A post shared by Erwin Ng (@erwinng86) on Jan 5, 2017 at 7:22pm PST
Best for travel in Asia
The ANZ card is backed by VISA and can hold up to 10 currencies so you can travel without the fear of dreaded exchange rates fees.
The currencies include Hong Kong dollars, New Zealand Dollars, Thai Baht and Japanese yen. While there are no monthly inactivity fees, there is a 1.1 percent reload fee and small charges will be incurred for withdrawing cash from an ATM.
However, even if you lose both the cards you are sent, the card issuer will send you another free of charge, so you’ll never be stranded.
STA Travel: A post shared by Ben Chisling (@benchiz1) on Apr 1, 2014 at 9:00am PDT
Best for young travelers
The award-winning STA Travel ISIC CashCard for students is just one in the range of STAs prepaid cards. This card allows young travelers to budget and easily manage their spending with no devious hidden charges, which could be the difference between getting to their next destination or being penniless on a train platform.
The card also doubles up as a globally recognized identification card for those times when people are not convinced that the 12-year-old picture in your passport, is you.
The card is £12 ($17) to purchase up front but you’ll earn this back as the card is also internationally recognized as a student discount provider. This means you’ll save on flights, gig tickets, restaurants and so much more.
The post Which pre-paid currency card is best for you? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.
TRAVEL expectations are shifting this year. The trend of luxury and indulgent travel is being left on the shelves as people look for more fulfilling experiences than simply having poolside bars, the choice of seven onsite restaurants, and a personal butler in their executive suite.
This year is all about transformative travel, which focuses on emotions through powerful traveling storylines, creating a unique experience that can positively alter your perspective and ensure you head back to your everyday life feeling enlightened.
Part of this new style of transformative travel are wellness retreats – but not like you’ve seen before.
There are already packaged up wellness vacation itineraries out there that promise to leave you feeling “pampered” and “relaxed”, but in a world where we are over-connected on a false level and under-connected to the parts of our life that need attention, being pampered and feeling relaxed might not make the cut.
Are remote stays redefining luxury travel? Transformative travel aims to reconnect you with what is important: ourselves, family, friends, and physical and mental wellbeing. Answering existential questions is the new goal for many people. Through travel that builds bridges, enlightens, and makes us understand our fears, we can learn to surpass our insecurities and lead a better life, while also helping others.
But where do you begin in a saturated market? The wellness industry is estimated at a whopping US$3.7 trillion, with world travelers contributing USD$691 million through visiting specialist retreats. It can be hard to navigate the endless wellbeing solutions and it goes without saying that not every retreat will be right for you.
So, here are five wellness retreats in Asia that are focused on providing a personal transformative travel experience to enhance your overall quality of life, but each has different styles of doing so.
Mend a broken heart in the Philippines A post shared by The Farm at San Benito (@thefarmatsanbenito) on Dec 24, 2017 at 9:53pm PST
There is no rule book on mending a broken heart, and if there was, you’d probably want to throw it at the perpetrator anyway.
But the Philippines provides stunning locations to glue the fragmented pieces of your wellbeing back together.
Let The Farm at San Benito remind you how important your wellbeing is and how irrelevant all those who don’t care for you are to your life. The Farm is perhaps one of the most well-known escape dens in the Philippines, and for a good reason. The Farm is set in 49-hectares of lush green forest, surrounded by infinity pools, natural ponds, and like-minded people who are invested in your journey back to your best self.
Forget the heart-breakers and focus on yourself, because only true happiness can come from within.
Gain a spiritual perspective in South India A post shared by Vinodh Venkatram (@vinodh_venkatram) on Jan 26, 2018 at 6:17am PST
The Art of Living Ashram retreat can be found near Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Bangalore, Southern India.
Established in 1982, the organization is run by volunteers who aim to bring their teachings to the public in order to relieve stress and vastly improve self-development. The Ashram (a spiritual hermitage) is in the Panchagiri hills, just 36 kilometers southwest of Banglore – far enough for seclusion and self-reflection but close enough to experience the region’s vibrant culture.
The key foundations of the organization will help you to embark on personal initiatives to uplift and enhance your quality of life. “It is full of enthusiasm. As soon as I enter the center, my thoughts become very less and mind becomes very calm,” explained a frequent visitor to the retreat.
“A place where you can feel peace”.
Experience remote reflection in the Himalayas A post shared by Design Sootra (@design_sootra) on Jan 23, 2018 at 5:04am PST
Moksha Spa Retreat, in the Himachal Pradesh Himalayan region of India, is versatile, peaceful, and utterly stunning. Located just a five-hour drive from Delhi airport, the retreat is perfect for weekend breaks.
Retreaters can choose from three distinct experiences: Pampering, Wellbeing, or Discovering. If you’re staying for longer than a weekend, then indulge in all three and leave with a positively altered world perspective. The setting of the retreat, reached by a 10-minute cable car, not only promises to let your mind fade out negativity but also to allow you to feel great about your body.
As well as daily Discovery Experiences, the retreat also offers outstanding facilities, including six yoga and meditation pavilions, Turkish Haman, outdoor heated pool, jacuzzi, and spa.
You can leave, safe in the knowledge that the Himalayas will relieve you of your stress and douse you with positivity for your onward journey.
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Song Saa Private Island‘s retreat integrates a wellness journey and luxury spa to get you feeling top tip.
The no-wall spa concept is made up of little sanctuaries, so you won’t feel like you’re attending an appointment, but rather stepping into a moment of Nirvana and experiencing metta bhavana, the Buddhist tradition of cultivating loving-kindness.
This retreat will bring you innate tranquillity, restore your body’s physical and mental harmony through specialist treatments, and bless your onward journey through the natural positive atmosphere on the island.
Hassle vs necessity: is travel insurance really worth the extra cost? Let your physical exploration open your mind in Vietnam A post shared by Alyssa Ramos Solo Travel (@mylifesatravelmovie) on Jan 30, 2018 at 1:40pm PST
Although Vietnam has embraced the principles of a free-market for more than two decades, allowing the urbanization of luxury brands and chain hotels to enter the country, the true essence of Vietnamese culture and its traditions can be found all around the forest-blanketed nation.
Asia Transpacific Journeys provide travelers with an immersive experience of this history-saturated nation.
With more than 20 years of understanding and knowledge of Vietnam, the tour operator can waltz you through the country’s ancient traditions, let you see the buzzing chaos of the cities from a tranquil perspective, introduce you to residents who will share with you first-hand accounts of recent history, and vividly recall the stories of their ancestors.
The immersive trip doesn’t boast serenity or luxury, but the getaway will take you out of your comfort zone and alter your everyday emotions from stress and annoyance to calm and understanding.
The post Transformative travel, wellness retreats: Which one is right for you? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.
THE KLATEN REGENCY in Central Java is the unsuspecting home of a Vipassana meditation resort, stunning natural springs, historic temples and this year, also the host of 40 vibrant festivals.
The festivals have been organized to entice more tourists to the region. “This year we’ve increased it to 40 events,” Youth and Sports Agency head Pantoro told The Jakarta Post.
The festivals will commence on Feb 14 at Randulangang village in Jatinom, with the Lurik cloth festival following in April.
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Take a tour of Indonesia via Jokowi’s vlogs Currently, Klaten is best known for its freshwater pond, made for both experienced and amateur divers who want to swim alongside stunning fish and take incredible photos.
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The region is also sought after for its stunningly clear waters at Umbul Manten which brings a slice of calm to a busy city. Pantoro wants Klanten to be known for more than the paradise-style waters though, and that’s why these festivals have been organized.
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The festivals aim to show visitors that there are ever-evolving crafts, festivities, and events to take part in around the region.
“All the festivals are being held in an effort to boost Klaten’s tourism, art and culture promotion. Tourism has been having a positive influence on the local economy,” Pantoro explained.
The festivals will also focus on traditional arts this year, going back to ancestral roots and showcasing culturally significant customs and traditions.
The five most Instagrammable hotels in Asia One of the ways this will be displayed is through the Gambyong festival in July. “Thousands of dancers will dance the Gambyong dance simultaneously. This can be similar to the famous Gandrung Banyuwangi,” Pantoro added.
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Other events include the Etno Music Sound Festival with involvement from respected choreographer Guruh Soekarnoputra. The music festival aims to promote awareness of the regency’s many temples by featuring replicas of the temples onstage.
A post shared by Dolan Klaten (@dolanklaten) on Jan 17, 2018 at 11:18pm PS
Shadow puppet performances, also known as wayang kulit, will feature 36 times on the events calendar this year. However, only five of them are hosted by the Youth and Sports agency while the rest are being organized by the cultural board.
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The festivals have been granted a substantial budget of Rp one billion (US$75,000) by the Klaten Regency in hopes of pushing the regions traditional culture as it has “big potential”, according to Klaten cultural board head Sunarna.
The post Get your 2018 festival fix in Klaten, Indonesia appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.
ANYBODY who has had the pleasure of applying for a visa will know the stresses and patience-testing that comes with it.
For members of Asean states wanting to travel to the European Union (EU), the process of obtaining a visa is laborious, lengthy and not always a guaranteed success.
However, the situation may well change with the Federation of Asean Travel Association (Fata) and the Asean Tourism Association (Aseanta) now pushing for visa-free travel for Asean citizens heading to EU countries.
During the Asean Tourism Forum 2018 in Chiang Mai over the weekend, the associations discussed plans to urge the EU to relax visa restrictions for Asean tourists, and reciprocate the same courtesy given to Europeans heading into Asean.
Thailand’s tourism is on the rise, but who’s visiting the most? The two tourism boards will be working together but from different angles. The dual-pronged approach consists of Fata writing to the EU with negotiation terms, while Aseanta will be reaching out to Asian and European airlines and national tourism organizations on promoting niche areas in tourism that will appeal to Asian visitors and provide vital economic support to the local businesses in these lesser-known regions.
A post shared by _H2W_ HsinWei Ho 何芯瑋 (@_h2w_) on Mar 16, 2016 at 1:01am PDT
The thought behind the negotiations is to mirror the hassle-free regulations Asean imposes on members of the EU wanting to visit the tropical region.
Many nations outside Asean have also lessened visa regulations to boost international arrivals. Japan, for example, saw winning results from this in 2017 as they welcomed 28.6 million visitors, a 19.3 percent increase from 2016.
How travel can improve your mental health Taiwan has completely lifted any visa requirements for Filipino tourists, a move that has seen their tourism economy grow.
More than just getting the restriction loosened, however, Aseanta is working with European hotels and restaurants to encourage the availability of halal (Muslim-friendly) food to boost Muslim tourism, which is a fast-growing sector.
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The urgency for sanctions to be relieved is down to a more frequent amount of disposable income being gained by those in Asean states. Millennials are also discovering a passion for travel and want unique experiences, further driving the tourism economy.
These negotiations have come at a crucial time whereby Asean travelers could heavily contribute to the EU tourism economy if visa regulations are loosened, or EU could risk losing valuable tourism.
The post Is Asean a step closer to relaxing EU visa restrictions? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.