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Top 10 Green Hotels in Asia 2009 – Recommend by Agoda.com

In Asia Travel on December 1, 2009 at 9:58 am

Top Recommended Green HotelsAs we’re now heading to a big Christmas break at the end of the year, I would rather give you all the information that I’ve found which will give some useful suggestions for your trip to Asia. So far on the AsiaAcer blog, there have been recommendations on many travel destinations and top accommodations throughout Asia region which will be suited for every type of tourists such as top recommended Asian destination, the top beach resorts, the top adventure resorts, the top family resorts, the top spa resorts, top ecotourism hotels and so on.

There are also the updates on the top ecotourism hotels I found recently. The list was released by one of the Asian hotel reservation companies – Agoda.com. This list will ensure that the green policies at these top-rated eco-friendly hotels go beyond simply encouraging guests to reuse their linen or take shorter showers. Hotels are given extra credit for reducing their carbon footprint, empowering local communities and implementing green policies specific to their locations. And I’m sure you will be proud of yourself when using their services as your little contribution to save this world.

The top 10 Green Hotels in Asia 2009 recommended by Agoda.com are;

1) The Tongsai Bay, Koh Samui, Thailand

This resort near Chaweng Beach was pioneering sustainable policies long before the global trend caught on. When the resort’s late founder, Akorn Hoontrakul, designed the property in 1985 he ensured it accentuated the bay’s natural beauty without needing to fell a single tree. Akorn’s son now runs the property and continues his father’s legacy with the resort’s Green Project, a policy that outlines several initiatives including waste management, recycling and energy conservation. The Tongsai Bay works with the local community where it has built a low-carbon school and it is collaborating with other hotels on the island to ensure Koh Samui preserves its natural beauty for future generations.

2) Alila Ubud and Alila Manggis, Bali, Indonesia

These two Alila Group eco resorts featured in Agoda’s Top 10 Eco-Friendly Asian Resorts for 2007. Alila Ubud was built in the style of an Indonesian hillside village while the Alila Manggis combines traditional Balinese architecture with contemporary design. Both resorts have policies to reduce their impact on the environment and each promotes Earth-friendly activities such as trekking, cycling and Balinese cooking lessons.

3) Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort, Cambodia

The Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort is the only hotel in Cambodia to win an Asean Energy Award, which it received in 2005, 2007 and 2009. For more than five years, Accor – Sofitel’s parent company – has partnered with Agrisud International, an NGO which runs a number of poverty reduction programs in Seam Reap. Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort also buys produce from local farmers, sources locally made products  and employs staff from nearby communities — many of whom are trained at the Paul Dubrule Hotel School in Seam Reap (Paul Dubrule is Accor’s co-founder).

4) El Nido Resorts, Miniloc Island, Philippines

This resort, which has won several awards for its nature conservation activities, is passionate about protecting the local wilderness. Surrounded by forests and mangroves, El Nido Miniloc Island Resort minimizes its waste through recycling, operates an energy conservation policy and requires all staff to attend a five-day training seminar called ‘Be G.R.E.E.N.’ (Guard, Respect, Educate El Nido). The property also works with local organizations to conduct coastal clean-ups and monitor the Miniloc Island’s ecosystem. A database of local plants and animals is featured on its website.

5) The Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa, Langkawi, Malaysia

This secluded resort is located on a 400-meter stretch of sand on Pantai Tengah Beach, southwest of Langkawi. Its various green programs are integrated to streamline and minimize the environmental impact of its daily operations. The resort helps conserve the local environment by reducing its consumption of resources, minimizing energy use, only using environmentally-friendly detergents and cleaning waste water through wetlands – a natural biological filter.

6) Banyan Tree, Bintan Island, Indonesia

The architects who designed this property took special care to avoid cutting down trees. A conservation lab was built to preserve the surrounding rainforest, where trees are aged from 50 to 100 years and include some rare species. To reduce its impact upon the fragile environment, Banyan Tree Bintan supports a local village and helps preserve indigenous traditions by employing a network of more than 40 village craftspeople and connecting them with project partners throughout the region.

7) Hotel de la Paix, Cambodia

Everything about this hotel says ‘luxury’, but in practice the Hotel de la Paix is an environmental workhorse. Its responsible tourism policy is realistic and sensitive to the local infrastructure and it sponsors many initiatives that benefit local communities, including a Sewing Training Center that provides skills training to disadvantaged Khmer women. The Hotel de la Paix’s sister hotel, Shinta Mani, runs the Shinta Mani Institute of Hospitality, an award-winning capacity building program that supports young Cambodians from high-risk areas. The hotel also offers guests the opportunity to sponsor students or donate bikes, wells and pigs to local families.

8) The Orchid Hotel, Mumbai, India

The Orchid Hotel was Asia’s first property to receive ECOTEL® certification and it has won more than 61 awards since opening 11 years ago. It boasts an environment officer who leads its ‘green teams’,  organic rubbish is disposed of in nine ‘vermiculture’ bins (worm farms) and an onsite water treatment facility recycles waste water. Guests have the option of pressing the ‘Green Button’ which increases the room’s temperature by 2C incrementally over a two-hour timeframe, reducing the air conditioning system’s power consumption. Coat hangers made from sawdust and herbal pesticides are other examples of the hotel’s sustainable policies.

9) Soneva Fushi by Six Senses, Maldives

Sustainability isn’t a buzzword for the award-winning Soneva Fushi, which is on the Agoda green list for a second time – it’s wired into the resort’s DNA. Its list of green initiatives is both long and impressive and includes tree-planting projects, campaigns to ban shark fishing and a carbon offset program to buy a wind turbine in India. Soneva Fushi also has an in-house marine biologist to educate guests and ensure dive trips do not damage the local environment. One of its guiding principles is ‘Slow Life’, an approach which emphasizes ‘slow’ pursuits such as nature walks, star-gazing and non-motorized water sports.

10) Kingfisher Bay Resort and Village, Fraser Island, Australia

Situated on the Unseco World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, Kingfisher Bay Resort and Village is an eco-tourism veteran. Since opening in 1992, it has won several awards for its environmental practices, including the inaugural Steve Irwin Ecotourism Award. In partnership with the University of the Sunshine Coast, the resort runs a research and education center that closely monitors the island’s ecology, while guided eco tours cover everything from mangrove colonies to Aboriginal culture. Waste is sent to the worm farm where it is transformed into fertilizer and then used on the resort’s herb garden.

Top 10 Beaches in Asia Pacific : Recommended by Agoda

In Asia Travel on October 6, 2009 at 10:45 am
Top beaches in Asia Pacific - Maldives

Top beaches in Asia Pacific - Maldives

There was a released article I found few months ago from Agoda.com – the Asian leading online hotel reservation company, which could be a good hint for anyone who are planning for year-ended holidays. This interesting article provides all information about the top 10 recommended beaches in Asia Pacific. As beach vacations are everyone’s favorite, the ideal trip to shake away the stresses of everyday life, let’s check out the list of 10 of the most stunning beaches in the region.

Agoda’s Top Beaches in the Asia Pacific Region Include;

1 ) White Beach, Boracay Island, Philippines

White Beach is an amazing stretch of shoreline spanning nearly four kilometers and at points it is almost 100-meters wide. This famous stretch of powdery white sand is the premier attraction of Boracay Island. Agoda has nearly 50 Boracay hotels listed on its site but for those who want to be close to the world famous White Beach travelers choose Pearl Of The Pacific Hotel, Friday Resort or the Discovery Shores Hotel. Agoda’s customers have recommended these magnificent retreats as the most peaceful places to stay on Boracay Island.

2 ) The Maldives

With so many atolls to choose from, picking one perfect beach from so many stunning ones is tough. The Maldives is the ultimate getaway with private islands, stunning beaches and crystal clear waters.  A great choice for beach accommodation is on Velassaru Island. The Velassaru Island Beach Hotel is a popular spot to relax, with 129 rooms; this 5-star resort offers water and beach bungalows and beautiful villas. The resort is a true beach escape in every sense of the word. Cocoa Island Hotel is another 5-star hotel that has garnered excellent review by Agoda’s customers. 33-secluded villas, all with sea access, allow guests to jump into clean and clear water, right from their own private patio.

3 ) Sanya Beach, China

Sanya Beach is seven and a half kilometers of pearly white sands located to the southeast of Sanya City. Known as China’s Hawaii, because it shares the same latitude and similar weather, Sanya Beach is the country’s only tropical beach. With a long coconut fringed coastline and warm temperatures throughout the year, Sanya Beach is an ideal place to enjoy the sun, sea, and sand. The Yalong Bay Mangrove Tree Resort, Ritz Carlton and brand-new Mandarin Oriental are recommended for those who love to be pampered. Potential visitors can view nearly 30 other discounted Sanya Beach resorts along with informative descriptions and customer reviews at Agoda.com.

4 ) Sunrise Beach, Koh Lipe, Thailand

Koh Lipe floats out on the southern Andaman Sea with wide sandy beaches and turquoise waters circling this small Thai island. Sunrise Beach is the pride and joy of this idyllic getaway and The Idyllic Concept Resort is a highly recommended accomodation to enjoy this unspoiled beach. Featuring chic modern beach bungalows, the Idyllic Concept Resort is the perfect choice to chill-out and enjoy island life.

5 ) Phu Quoc Beach, Vietnam

Situated on Vietnam’s largest island in the Gulf of Thailand, Phu Quoc Beach is a hidden treasure. First time visitors to Phu Quoc are often taken aback by its sugary-white coastline and crystal-clear waters. Agoda recommends the Grand Mercure La Veranda Resort, a modern luxury property located on a 12-mile stretch of Phu Quoc Beach and the Chen La Resort, a newly opened eco-friendly beach bungalow complex.

6 ) Teluk Pauh Beach, Malaysia

Located on Malaysia’s northwest island of Perhentian Bezar, Teluk Pauh Beach is one of its most beautiful private beaches. The sea here is crystal clear and teeming with marine life. Agoda recommends the Perhentian Island Resort as an ideal place for a family vacation. The stunning beach and warm clear water and nearby dive sites entice travelers to the nearby National Marine Park of Malaysia.

7 ) Tubkaak Beach, Krabi, Thailand

As Thailand’s beaches become more and more crowded, Tubkaak Beach is still a refreshing escape from the crowds. Situated on a small corner of Krabi province, the white sand beach here goes on forever. Home to local seabirds, rock pools full of marine life and some of the most stunning sunsets on earth, Tubkaak Beach is the beach travelers dream about. The award-winning Tubkaak Boutique Resort, is a 4.5 star hotel loaded with luxurious amenities, perfect for a beach holiday and The Amari Vogue Resort, a highly rated resort, is tucked away in a very secluded portion of beach, giving guests the utmost feeling of privacy.

8 ) West Rarotonga Beach, Cook Islands

Located directly South of Hawaii the Cook Islands are often over shadowed by their popular northern neighbors and this long stretch of toe-tingling, white-sand beach is located on Rarotonga, the most popular island in the Cook Islands. The Manuia Beach Boutique Hotel , is set right on the beach overlooking a lagoon, barrier reef and the Pacific Ocean with lush mountains as the back drop and the Edgewater Resort, set amidst six acres of tropical gardens, swaying palms and bordered by a white sand beach. Additionally, a sparkling blue lagoon with panoramic vistas of a lush mountain rainforest, have made these getaways highly rated by Agoda’s customers.

9 ) Tanjung Rhu Beach, Langkawi, Malaysia

This secluded bay of white sand is massaged by the gentle breezes blowing in from the gleaming blue Indian Ocean. Tanjung Rhu Beach is located on the northernmost tip of Langkawi. Safely sheltered by the curve of the bay, Tanjung Rhu features shallow waters and calm seas perfect for taking a break from the Malaysian sun. The Tanjung Rhu Resort and its scenic location offers guests unobstructed views of the brilliant white sands and stunning rock formations rising up from the sea. Fringed by lush rainforests, emerald waters and a mountain landscape, the Four Season Resort is also highly recommended by Agoda’s customers.

10 ) Whitehaven Beach, Australia

Untouched beauty best describes Australia’s crown jewel. The whitest (98% silica), most pristine beach on our list is also the most remote. Only accessible by boat with no actual accommodations on the island, guests usually stay on nearby Hamilton Island. The 5+ star Qualia receives high praise from Agoda’s customers with a choice of luxuriously designed villas showcasing private balconies, and unrivalled views of the surrounding islands. The other recommended resort is the Hamilton Island Beach Club, a five-star boutique style accommodation that sits on the beachfront, allowing for views of the Whitsunday Islands, home to the treasured beach.

For more information regarding Agoda, please go to the website at http://www.agoda.com

How Asian Angels Perform on Miss Universe 2009

In Asia Community, asia culture on August 28, 2009 at 2:56 am
Miss Photogenic Award 2009 - Chutima Durongdej, Thailand

Miss Photogenic Award 2009 - Chutima Durongdej, Thailand

Once again that a little angel from South America has took the crown under remark of the most beautiful woman in the world. It was Miss Venezuela – Stefania Fernandez – who was named Miss Universe 2009. Although, we’re not going to describe about how gorgeous she is to lift up this 6th time title for her country, but let’s have a look on how other angels from Asia Pacific region performed on the Miss Universe 2009 competition, shall we?

The 58th Annual Miss Universe competition was held at Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas on Sunday, August 23rd. It was also the first time that the Miss Universe telecast was introduced by the American billionaire – Donale Trump. There were 12 out of 84 delegates from Asia Pacific region on this year’s contest who namely are;

Australia – Rachael Finch

China – Wang Jingyao

India – Ekta Choudhry

Indonesia – Zivanna Letisha Siregar

Japan – Emiri Miyasaka

Korea – Ree Na

Malaysia – JoannaBelle Ng

New Zealand – Katie Taylor

Philippines – Pamela Bianca Manalo

Singapore – Rachel Kum

Thailand – Chutima Durongdej

Vietnam – Võ Hoàng Yến

Even though many Asians would have something to be proud of from the competition a few years ago when Miss Riyo Mori of Japan won Miss Universe 2007, but all seems to be an unfortunate year for Asian this time around. None of a delegate from Asia took place in the final night and this was the first time since 1991 that Asians didn’t place into the Top 15 final.

However, there were some controversial achievements from Asian contenders. While Miss Wang Jingyao won the Miss Congeniality award and with Miss Chutima Durongdej who was able to claim the Miss Photogenic award from this year occasion.

The achievement would be the second time for a girl from China to win the Miss Congeniality award, since Miss Ningning Zhang won in 2007 and also coincidently the second time for Thailand as well to win the Miss Photogenic award, since Passaraporn Chaimongkol won in 1990.

Well, no matter how many times, they won or not won on these proudly awards, all Asian women is still considered best charming with soft and cheery attitude, which I’m sure that everyone can easily fall in love with.

Introduction to the 4 new Asian sites in World Heritage List

In Asia Community, asia culture, Asia Travel on July 22, 2009 at 10:28 am
UNESCO World Heritage Site - Shushtar, Iran

UNESCO World Heritage Site - Shushtar, Iran

If you still haven’t heard from the news, there was a recent release from the 33rd Session of the World Heritage Committee meeting in Seville, Spain last month on the new sites addition to UNESCO’s world heritage list. Four sites from Asia region were among the thirteen newbies which were categorized into two on natural sites and eleven on cultural sites making a new total of 890 properties around the world on the current list.

Below are some descriptions on these latest Asian culture heritage sites from UNESCO. In case you’re about to find place to go during this mid-year vacation;

Mount Wutai (China). With its five flat peaks, Mount Wutai is a sacred Buddhist mountain. The cultural landscape numbers 53 monasteries and includes the East Main Hall of Foguang Temple, the highest surviving timber Building of the Tang Dynasty with life size clay sculptures. It also features the Ming Dynasty Shuxiang Temple with a huge complex of 500 statues representing Buddhist stories woven into three dimensional pictures of mountains and water. Overall, the buildings on the site present a catalogue of the way Buddhist architecture developed and influenced palace building in China over more than one millennium. Mount Wutai, literally, the five terrace mountain, is the highest mountain in northern China and is remarkable for its morphology characterized by precipitous sides with five open treeless peaks. Temples have been built on the site since the 1st century AD to the early 20th century.

Shushtar, Historical Hydraulic System (Iran) A masterpiece of creative genius, can be traced back to Darius the Great in the 5th century B.C. It involved the creation of two main diversion canals on the river Kârun one of which, Gargar canal, is still in use providing water to the city of Shushtar via a series of tunnels that supply water to mills. It forms a spectacular cliff from which water cascades into a downstream basin. It then enters the plain situated south of the city where it has enabled the planting of orchards and farming over an area of 40,000 ha. known as Mianâb (Paradise). The property has an ensemble of remarkable sites including the Salâsel Castel, the operation centre of the entire hydraulic system, the tower where the water level is measured, damns, bridges, basins and mills. It bears witness to the know-how of the Elamites and Mesopotamians as well as more recent Nabatean expertise and Roman building influence.

Sulamain-Too Sacred Mountain (Kyrgyzstan) dominates the Fergana Valley and forms the backdrop to the city of Osh, at the crossroads of important routes on the Central Asian Silk Roads. For more than one and a half millennia, Sulamain was a beacon for travellers revered as a sacred mountain. Its five peaks and slopes contain numerous ancient places of worship and caves with petroglyphs as well as two largely reconstructed 16th-century mosques. One hundred and one sites with petroglyphs representing humans and animals as well as geometrical forms have been indexed in the property so far. The site numbers 17 places of worship, which are still in use, and many that are not. Dispersed around the mountain peaks they are connected by footpaths. The cult sites are believed to provide cures for barrenness, headaches, and back pain and give the blessing of longevity. Veneration for the mountain blends pre-Islamic and Islamic beliefs. The site is believed to represent the most complete example of a sacred mountain anywhere in Central Asia, worshipped over several millennia.

The Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty (Republic of Korea) form a collection of 40 tombs scattered over 18 locations. Built over five centuries, from 1408 to 1966, the tombs honoured the memory of ancestors, showed respect for their achievements, asserted royal authority, protected ancestral spirits from evil and provided protection from vandalism. Spots of outstanding natural beauty were chosen for the tombs which typically have their back protected by a hill as they face south toward water and, ideally, layers of mountain ridges in the distance. Alongside the burial area, the royal tombs feature a ceremonial area and an entrance. In addition to the burial mounds, associated buildings that are an integral part of the tombs include a T-shaped wooden shrine, a shed for stele, a royal kitchen and a guards’ house, a red-spiked gate and the tomb keeper’s house. The grounds are adorned on the outside with a range of stone objects including figures of people and animals. The inscription of the Joseon Tombs completes the two earlier series of Korean Peninsula royal tombs inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List: the Gyeongju Historic Areas, Republic of Korea, and Complex of Koguryo Tombs, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

For more information about UNESCO’s World Heritage list in Asia regoin, visit UNESCO World Heritage centre’s official website – http://whc.unesco.org/

Updates on H1N1 Flu Virus in Asia Pacific Region

In Uncategorized on June 15, 2009 at 7:00 am
H1N1 Flu is in control in Asia region

H1N1 Flu is well controlled in Asia region

As the World Health Organisation (WHO) has decided to raise the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 5 to phase 6 recently, it would be best to know what the situation we have here in Asia. This H1N1 virus is contagious, spreading easily from one person to another, and from one country to another. And according to WHO, there are nearly 30,000 confirmed cases have been reported in 74 countries already.

Although many report confirmed that the Influenza A (H1N1) cases has continued to rise in Asia Pacific region, from the 29,669 cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection, including 145 deaths in 74 countries, below are the number of confirmed cases from Asia Pacific region that have officially reported.

Country            Cases               Deaths

Australia           1307                 0

China                188                   0

India                 9                      0

Japan               549                   0

South Korea      53                     0

Malaysia           5                      0

New Zealand     27                     0

Philippines        77                     0

Singapore         18                     0

Thailand            8                      0

Taiwan              36                     0

Vietnam            23                     0

*Data on 12 Jun 2009

With all above numbers still in concerns for everyone, the good news is that there were still no numbers of deaths from this disease within the region. All governances are now trying to take control over and be prepared to protect their citizens with policies to close down any risky areas with scanning any possibility ways of spreading. So, no worries if you’re planning to travel to Asia during this time, this region will still be a safe and welcomed place for everyone afterall.

For more information and updates on Influenza A (H1N1) in Asia, please visit the World Health Organisation (WHO ‘s website at http://www.who.int

Top 10 Adventure Resorts in Asia : The Recommendations

In Asia Travel on May 12, 2009 at 10:44 am
Adventure Tourism is Very Popular in Asia

Adventure Tourism is Very Popular in Asia

With vast variety of its geographical landscape and diversified communities, Asia is not only a heaven for shopping, dining, surfing, fishing, yachting or sunbathing. But this travel paradise region is also regarded as a great place for trekking, climbing or any kind of adventurous activities. Many surveys have reflected to the fact that Asia Adventure Tourism is now becoming increasingly popular. Adventure travel includes physical activity, interacting with local culture, and engaging with nature. The Asia Pacific region is an amazing place for adventure tourism because it is a vibrant and culturally rich expanse with a wealth of natural beauty.

It’s quite easy to search information from some travel guide books or websites to get some ideas where to kick off your journey. While countries in South or Central Asia such as India, Nepal, Uzbekistan or Tibet provide excellent sites for mountain biking, climbing and trekking, some other destinations in South East Asia region such as Thailand, Indonesia or Laos can also be decent choices for river rafting, bird watching and jungle safari.

Apart from the destination options to choose from, check out the bellowed list for some of the top recommended adventure resorts in Asia which might be interesting for any adventurous travelers:

1. Taj Safari Resort, Mahua Khoti, India

Experience the thrill of twice-daily jungle safaris, nature walks with trained naturalists and elephant treks in India’s Bandhavargh Provincial Park, home to the highest concentration of tigers in Southeast Asia. The 12 luxurious village huts provide an ideal home base from which to explore some of India’s greatest wonders.

2. Amankora, Bhutan

Aman Resorts offers five opulent lodges strategically placed for a trek through pristine and mystical Bhutan. With each lodge offering something unique, guests may choose to stay at one or all of the lodges, while trekking through some of the world’s most remote areas. Itineraries can be designed according to guest’s specifications, thus providing an endless selection of breathtaking adventures.

3. Four Seasons, Golden Triangle, Thailand

Accessible only by riverboat, the Four Seasons has created 15 luxury tents in the heart of Southeast Asia. Thailand’s Golden Triangle, a remote region that borders Myanmar and Laos, is the ultimate adventure hideaway. This amazingly beautiful area offers a wealth of pulse pumping activities and experiences, including elephant treks, mountain hikes, and river tours.

4. Elephant Safari Park Lodge, Bali, Indonesia

Enjoy a gourmet breakfast, complemented by the sights and sounds of elephants migrating to a lake for their morning bath. Guests are encouraged to interact with the elephants by taking treks through the Taro forests, assisting in bathing, and spending time at the feeding and petting areas, while learning more about the life of these regal pachyderms.

5. Freedom Inn Niseko, Japan

This tranquil retreat, situated in the scenic countryside of Hanazono, Hokkaido, boasts views of mountains, streams, and volcanic peaks. The recently opened Hanazono 308 Base Lodge and the Niseko United Ski lifts are just a short distance away, in addition to winter activities that include skiing, snowboarding, snow trekking, snowmobiling, and horseback riding. Guests are invited to relax at the hot springs bath located on the opposite side of the mountain for a truly refreshing experience.

6. El Nido Resorts Lagen Island Palawan, Philippines

Explore the 45 islands and islets that surround this beautiful tropical resort and offering endless opportunity for adventure, nature appreciation, mountain trekking, and climbing. Miniloc Island is a great place for snorkeling and getting up close and personal with schools of fish right off shore. Kayak around the big and small lagoons or venture to Cadlao Island for trekking, and a walk to the inland lagoon at Nagkalit-kalit.

7. River Kwai Jungle Raft, Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Let the world’s entire worries float away on the River Kwai at this tranquil jungle raft resort. Explore nearby caves and waterfalls via canoes or elephants and enjoy the thrilling yet peaceful surroundings. Guests are encouraged to get involved with the local Mon tribes, watch ritual dances, and partake in local customs.

8. Bamurru Plains Hotel, Kakadu, Australia

Hidden in the Australian savannah, nine luxury safari-tent suites provide an ideal oasis from the fast pace of modern life. With no phones or televisions, only highly attentive staff, the resort caters to those seeking to be reacquainted with nature while leaving the chaos of city life behind, if only for a short while.

9. Laos Spirit, Luang Prabang, Laos

Located in the mountains of Laos along the Nam Khan River, this eco-friendly resort offers refurbished French Colonial buildings as a home base for some of the best trekking and hiking in Southeast Asia. Experience the splendor of unspoiled nature and the welcoming qualities of the local people at this majestic mountain hideaway.

10. Hin Tok River Camp @ Hell Fire Pass, Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Twenty rustic, eco-style luxury tents overlooking the River Kwai offer a fulfilling change to the luxury hotels of Bangkok. Just two hours outside of Bangkok, this resort is an ideal base from which to explore the nearby Lawa Cave and a myriad of inspiring attractions.

Introduction to The 14th ASEAN Summit in Pattaya

In Asia Business, Asia Economy on April 8, 2009 at 10:32 am
ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS - ASEAN Summit

ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS - ASEAN Summit

Right after the 2009 G-20 London summit from early April, all leaders from South East Asian nations are now heading to Pattaya, Thailand. It comes just over a week after this Group of 20 developed and emerging economies agreed at a key meeting in London to commit one trillion dollars to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other global bodies. The summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) and dialogue partners namely China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand will take place at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort, Pattaya from 10-12 April 2009.

As one of the regional and international organisations attended at G20 Summit, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which represented by Abhisit Vejjajiva, Thailand’s Prime Minister and Chair of ASEAN, the Southeast Asian nations and key regional partners will use a summit next week to discuss their follow-up to a G20 plan to lift the world out of recession.

The theme of this Summit is “Acting Together to Cope with Global Challenges”, and global economic and financial crisis, food and bio-energy security, and disaster management are among the central issues that the leaders will discuss.

The total of 26 outcome documents are expected to be considered during the Summits, including the ‘Pattaya Statement on ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation on Food Security and Bio-Energy Development’, the ‘Pattaya Statement on East Asia Summit (EAS) Disaster Management’, the ‘Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Good Manufacturing Practice of Medicinal Products’, and the ‘ASEAN- China Investment Agreement.’

In addition to the meetings with dialogue partners, ASEAN leaders will meet with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon. There will also be a meeting with the heads of leading international organizations, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), to discuss the current global financial crisis and other issues.

Since there have been tremendous achievement from early meetings in Hua Hin in the reflection of the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community declarations and other major trade arrangements such as The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area, the expectation from the 14th ASEAN Summit in Pattaya wouldn’t be anything less than practical solutions and best collaborations to bring further strengths, wealth and happiness to the Southeast Asia region.

For more information about the 14th ASEAN Summit, visit the official website – 14thaseansummit.org

Top 10 Spa and Wellness Resorts in Asia : The Recommendations

In Asia Travel on March 11, 2009 at 2:56 am

 

Asian Spa Treatment
Asian Spa Treatment

Getting away from tension filled days and spending the holidays rejuvenating both the mind and body might be something that many people look for during this difficult period. As traditional Asian treatments become the preferred choice for tourists, one of the fastest growing segments of Asian travel business is “wellness travel,” a segment dedicated to fitness, spas, yoga and mediation retreats, medical tourism and other personal pampering. Whatever your selection will be, all these choices only give best result for relaxations.

When people start the journey back to healthy living it begins by being proactive and determined, discovering new ways to create a healthier and less stressful lifestyle. Wellness Travel is all about finding balance in one’s life; achieving, and maintaining maximum health and a sense of well-being. Over the past decade, Asia has become an increasingly popular destination to fulfill these purposes, with plenty of health resorts that showcase traditional Asian healing arts, spa treatments, healthy eating as well as both physical and educational programs for healthy living habits.

Many resorts in Asia have started to integrate traditional Asian medicinal practices with western philosophies, to produce a wide array of slimming, detoxification, and revitalizing therapies to enhance health, vitality, and physical beauty. With more hotels and resorts focusing on luxurious and life-enhancing spa treatments, the numbers of guests making spa and wellness treatments central to their travels is increasing. It would be best for tourists to choose some of the top ones.

Let’s start by checking out on bellowed top 10 spa and wellness resorts in Asia;

Absolute Sanctuary, Samui, Thailand
Thailand’s premier Detox & Yoga Resort, located on the beautiful island of Koh Samui, blends luxurious accommodations with a wide range of vibrant detoxification programs, yoga classes, spa treatment menus, healthy and organic food, and other dynamic therapies. Absolute Sanctuary caters to those seeking a journey back to balance, rejuvenation, and wellness. This oasis of relaxation helps guests re-fuel with good energy, nutritious cuisine, and healing therapies.

Ananda In The Himalayas Hotel Rishikesh, India
Ananda in the Himalayas offers special workshops and private sessions with various visiting Masters of Well-being. These teachers, therapists, healers, Ayurvedic doctors, and guides visit from around the world to share their talents and gifts with those who choose to explore and understand the deeper realms of holistic well-being for the body, mind, and spirit. With a unique focus on the traditional Indian sciences of Yoga and Ayurveda, Ananda Spa creates a skillful synthesis between age-old therapies and modern spa technology.

Bagus Jati, Bali, Indonesia
The Health and well-being program is totally focused on the individual guest as they learn to be fit, eat healthier, and reduce stress. For those interested in food planning or weight management, healthy cooking classes are also available. At certain scheduled times throughout the year guests can also choose from private consultations and workshops addressing lifestyle changes, with visiting international specialists who reside at the resort. Bagus Jati is more than pleased to welcome non-hotel guests to join the health and well-being programs.

Baan Thai Wellness Retreat, Bangkok, Thailand
The Baan Thai Wellness Retreat offers an extensive range of anti-aging, therapeutic, and detoxifying treatments, in addition to pampering beauty therapies delivered in the comfort and privacy of spa therapy rooms and suites. These include a range of authentic Thai treatments, Ayurvedic, Asian and Tibetan therapies. A team of holistic health practitioners provides professional consultation in Diagnostic Reflexology, Homeopathic Consultations, Acupuncture, Chi Nei Tsang, Rebirthing Sessions, and Deep Tissue Massage, while total detoxification programs are supervised by the retreat’s resident medical professionals.

Chiva Som International Resort, Hua Hin, Thailand
Chiva Som Health and Wellness center provides complimentary treatments ranging from Medical Holistic therapies to Spa, Medi-Spa, Physiotherapy and Fitness programs. Treatments are customized for individuals to improve lifestyles through the integration of naturopathic and conventional medicines. ‘Ultimate Detox Retreats’ are recommended for those who wish to experience deeper detoxification in five-star Thai surroundings.

Como Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri Hotel Bali, Indonesia
Como Shambhala Estate in Bali is a residential health retreat that offers different treatments to improve body, mind, and spirit. The Estate offers various Wellness Programs incorporating different lengths of stay with therapies aimed towards a specific purpose. They include the Bespoke Health Program that targets a particular concern, the Ayurvedic Program which uses ancient healing techniques for body and mind, and a Cleansing Program to cleanse the body of toxins accumulated through a bad diet and polluted environments. The Get Fit Program and Rejuvenation Program combine the beneficial effects of beauty and spa treatments with healthy eating and positive thinking to help recapture youth, while the Stress Management Program is designed to make positive lifestyle changes to combat the pressures of the busy modern world.

Hanafubuki, Shizuoka, Japan
Experience the Japanese art of healing with six Hot Springs, known as Onsen, located in the forest. By appreciating the nature of Japan and the hot spring’s water, guests are relaxed and healed mentally and physically by the natural healing powers. Long-term use of Onsen has natural effects that cure neuralgia, poor blood circulation, and many gynecological diseases.

Jirung Health Village, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Guests are provided with health care based on Oriental wisdom that balances mental attitudes in order to achieve happiness, fulfillment, and protection from illness. Treatments include nutrition and wellness programs as well as activities designed to rejuvenate and restore healthful bodily functions. These treatments are simple practices that can be applied to clients’ daily activities back home in order to continue the benefits, and maintain balance in everyday work and social environments. Additionally, “Personal Coaching” is provided to create effective programs and methods suited to each person’s individual needs.

Kamalaya, Samui, Thailand
Recently voted the “Best Wellness Retreat” by the Spa Asia Crystal Awards, this resort is surrounded by lush green forests, streams, and boulders while overlooking an exquisite private cove. It is renowned as one of the world’s most beautiful detox destinations. Stay in earthy yet well-appointed villas with Naturopaths, Traditional Chinese Medical and Allopathic doctors at your disposal. Their seven-day Essential Detox Retreat includes seven nights accommodation, transfers, all organic meals and juices, nutritional supplements, herbs and homeopathic remedies, one BIA analysis, six Infrared Saunas, seven spa treatments, cooking classes, educational discussions, cleansing and holistic activities.

Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai, Thailand
The Dheva Spa offers a range of renewing spa programs and packages designed to indulge those looking for physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Guests will be pampered and emerge totally relaxed and rejuvenated. The Dheva Spa offers treatments adapted from traditional oriental practices, which can be experienced in half a day. More comprehensive wellness programs start from three days and onward. Professional therapists are trained in anatomy and healing by in-house doctors and health specialists.

Top Places for Valentine’s Day in Asia – The recommendations

In Asia Travel on February 11, 2009 at 11:15 am
Valentine's day in Asia

Valentine's day in Asia

It won’t be anything beyond your imagination to have the most memorable wedding and honeymoon arrangement as it’s supposed to be once in a life-time ceremony. After years of searching, you’ve finally found “the one”. Love is in bloom, romance is in the air, life is beautiful and all that jazz. That is, until every waking moment is spent planning the perfect wedding: working against a deadline, trying to please everyone, respecting traditions and customs. Before getting to those crucial points, let’s begin with top romantic activities arrangement in the upcoming Valentine Day this weekend.

Paris and Venice may be the romantic capitals of Europe and of course we know about New York and its Empire State building from Sleepless in Seattle, but seriously, besides being both clichéd and passé, how can a person feel amorous in the freezing cold? It may increase the appeal of a hearth rug and fire, but why not just avoid the corny destinations altogether and travel somewhere exotic and tropical this Valentine’s Day? Asia is the answer. Venture somewhere balmy, somewhere colorful, somewhere piquant, somewhere spiritual. Romance on the shores of a white powder sand beach, with the waves lapping at your toes. There are just so many options. Affordable ones too.

Here are some top romantic places in Asia:

The sky’s the limit in Bangkok

Why not woo your loved one on one of Bangkok’s famous restaurant rooftops, where you can experience a stunning vista of the city of angels, in addition to some of the city’s finest cuisine and service? The Banyan Tree’s Vertigo, the State Tower’s Sirocco and the Millennium Hilton’s Three–Sixty are three venues which combine all the ingredients necessary for that perfect date. The effect is both dizzying and dazzling.

Get exclusively reclusive in Bali

Cocoon yourself in a private villa on one of Bali’s beautiful beaches or in the lush, sloping hills of Ubud. Bali has plenty to offer couples and its people are warm and welcoming. Rich in spiritual culture and blessed with dramatic natural features, it is the perfect romantic destination. For pure unadulterated luxury by the beach try The Bali Khama, Amanusa, Sofitel Seminyak Bali Hotel or the Conrad Bali Resort & Spa. To snuggle in the midst of the lolling green hills and beautiful terrain of Ubud try Amandari or Alila Ubud.

Languid in Luang Prabang

The town of Luang Prabang in Northern Laos is steeped in colonial history and is stunningly beautiful. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, the charming old buildings, slow, languid pace and Buddhist lifestyle of the Laotians make for a very romantic destination. Try the Villa Santi or 3 Nagas hotel for modern facilities with traditional design.

Meander in Macao

Whilst known to many as Asias Las Vegas, Macao also has a worldly charm and interesting history. The Portuguese influence here is still strong and there a myriad of top class hotels to choose from in the vibrant metropolis. Why not sample a bit of Venice in Asia by experiencing a Venetian Macao classic gondola canal ride?

Sail away in Phuket

Book a charter yacht from Phuket and experience the magical colors and landscapes of Phang Nga bay. Idyllic. Hopelessly romantic. Perfect. The calm Southeast Asian waters allow for a smooth, blissful journey with unrivalled views. If you have more time, sail all the way to the gorgeous archipelago of Langkawi and back. Try Sunsail in Phuket – Sunsailthailand.com – for information on yacht chartering.

Let’s get your choice everyone, time is running close..

Kick starts for New Year celebrations in Asian Style

In asia culture on January 16, 2009 at 8:36 am
New year celebrations in Asia

New year celebrations in Asia

5..4..3..2..1..Happy new year!! Yes, this would be something we normally heard everywhere on the midnight of 31th December. Some might thought that why the happy times were getting past too quickly. But wait, if you’re around Asia, you could have same kind of happy feelings on those New Year celebration nights repeatedly over a period of six months. Forget countdowns to midnight and “the ball dropping” in Times Square. In Asia it’s all about water fights and silk dragons dancing in the streets.

Start from China, the Chinese New Year is usually celebrated in January/February with visits to friends and family, the wearing of new clothes, and the offering of food. The exact date will be determined on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. Lots of food. Firecrackers can be heard in Chinese communities and lion dances are performed in the streets. Korea celebrates the Lunar New Year at the same time, but in a much quieter manner, with offerings to ancestors. Koreans will usually wear new traditional clothing on this day.

In Thailand the New Year is celebrated in April with “Songkran” most famous for the nation-wide water fight that ensues. Traditionally, throwing water was a way to pay respect to elders, but the custom quickly evolved into a way to get through the hottest days of the year.

Diwali (or Deepawali) is known as the “Festival of Lights” and is celebrated in October/November by Hindus who mostly live across many parts of India and Nepal. Diwali is celebrated over a period of five days and include religious ceremonies, family gatherings, and fireworks. Clay lamps are lit and placed in all rooms of the home on the night of Diwali.

Surprisingly enough, Japan celebrates the New Year on January 1. Buddhist temples ring their bells shortly before midnight, representing the hardships and sorrows of the past year, and soba (buckwheat noodles) is eaten on New Year’s Eve to symbolize longevity. The viewing of the first sunrise of the year is considered to be auspicious.

Despite the differences, New Year celebrations in the region all have one common theme: Family. No matter what the country, New Year is a time for family reunions and gatherings, for reflecting on the year that has passed and looking ahead to a brand new beginning.