Archive for the ‘Asia Travel’ Category

Top 10 Green Hotels in Asia 2009 – Recommend by

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 – 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 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 – 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

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

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 –

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.

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 – – for information on yacht chartering.

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

Asian Destinations for your Christmas Celebrations

In Asia Travel on December 18, 2008 at 3:21 am
Christmas Celebrations in Asia

Christmas Celebrations in Asia

It’s time for a Merry Christmas song once again, festivities crank up all over the world and Asian destinations are becoming ever more popular with unique and interesting variations of Christmas and New Year celebrations. Various countries celebrate the holiday season with their own flavors and distinctive cultural influences. Singapore sweetens the occasion with “A Sweet Christmas”, where famed shopping malls and sights, from Orchard Road to Marina Bay, are transformed into a candy themed wonderland, perfect for kids and parents alike.

Tourists will certainly be lived up in Thailand, where Christmas was met with the winter. Most of the major cities will have lighting decorations everywhere from middle half of December until the start of next year. Beer gardens could probably be found in many entertainment areas during Christmas time and would be good choice for hanging out. Live concert, various entertainment activities/ Light and Sound show will take everyone through these special nights.

Japan has adapted the western style of Christmas festivities, creating their own unique version with Christmas lights and Western flavors that have a Japanese flair. Tokyo Disneyland hosts “Christmas Fantasy”, a spectacular that can only be experienced at Japan’s Magic Kingdom. The breathtaking beauty of winter and hidden cultural heritage sites, normally not opened to the public, will dazzle tourists during the Kyoto Winter Special starting from December until March 2009, making Japan an ideal holiday destination.

Hong Kong offers up “WinterFest”, an inspired set of sights and sounds on Victoria Harbor. The Christmas light spectacular, next to the Avenue of Stars Wishing Parade, rings in the holiday season with merriment, while the entire city is decorated with Christmas splendor. An antique Christmas Tram, themed trucks with carol singers, a multimedia Christmas tree display at Ocean Park’s ice skating extravaganza, and the huge Christmas Tree of Statue Square have established Hong Kong as a premier holiday destination.

Macau, China’s own “Las Vegas”, decorates the town with even more lights throughout the festive season. From December 24-27th, Macau lights up, with music and dance spectaculars on Fisherman’s Wharf. All the sights, sounds and smells of Macau include both Chinese and Italian flavors, making this a great holiday destination for international travelers.

The Philippines is the only predominantly Christian country in South East Asia, a place where Christmas is a mixture of Western and native Filipino traditions. Also known as the “Land of Fiestas”, the celebrations revolve around food and family, with festivities beginning on December 16th through January 4th. Manila shines as a magnificent example of the mixture of cultures, with jovial decorations and elaborate seasonal crafts that make Christmas in the Philippines truly special.

Enjoy you Christmas…

The Hottest tourist destinations in Asia Pacific for 2009 : The Recommendations

In Asia Travel, Travel on December 4, 2008 at 8:53 am


There are many travel tip articles have given suggestions that planning everything early is simply the smart way to make the best of their travel budget. How early it should be? Well…as we’re just now getting to the end of the year, some people were already talking about what would be favorite destinations for the next year. has recently released “LONELY PLANET’S BEST IN TRAVEL 2009” in which, of course, as one of the most favorite regions for worldwide travelers, there were 4 spots from Asia and Asia Pacific region included in this top 10 suggested list. More highly recommended tourist destinations are emerging from many countries in different continent, including BASQUE COUNTRY from France & Spain (Europe), CHILOE from Chile (South America), LANGUEDOC from France (Europe), THE BIG ISLAND Hawaii from U.S. (North America), SAN ANDRES & PROVIDENCIA from Colombia (South America), and SVALBARD from Norway (Europe). But the spotlights on the Asia Pacific are;

1. BAY OF FIRES, Australia (No. 1)The rookie tourist’s famous from the east coast of Tasmania has surprisingly occupied the top of the list. Bay of Fires is a place of tranquil beauty, full of clean white beaches and rocky bays. This unique place provide remarkable site for wide range of activities including camping, beach activities, boating, bird watching, fishing, swimming, surfing and walking. But a four-day guided hike would be something you shouldn’t miss as it was considered as the best way to experience scenic views of the bay which captured tourist’s most impressions.

2. KO TAO, Thailand (No. 4) – Even they are facing some political problems domestically which already gave some worries to international tourists, but this list would not be completed without Thailand. First there was Ko Samui, then Ko Pha-Ngan; now, the cult of Ko Tao has emerged along Thailand’s crystalline Gulf Coast. Ko Tao, another amazing place from Surathani Province, is simply a paradise for divers. Diving enthusiasts can enjoy cavorting all day long with sharks and rays in a playground of tangled neon coral. As, each year, millions of tourists were already got in touch with great local Thai foods, festinating accommodations, welcoming Thai people and amazing tourist spots, these comprehensive factors leave Ko Tao to a real good place to explore during your trip to Thailand – the tourist’s paradise country.

3. NAM HA, Laos (No. 6) – Nam Ha will be the best favorite especially for adventurous travelers. It’s a place where the mountains, waterfalls and lofty plateaux, are coupled with the culture of some 30 ethnic groups. The ideal landscape for eco-trekking is there to enjoy. Die-hard adventurers can tackle leeches and thigh-destroying slopes on a true jungle trek; budding anthropologists can people-watch by ambling through ethnic villages. However, please beware that the Nam Ha National Protected Area has an eco-enlightened tourism policy: organized treks can only be in small groups which must be led by local villagers who know all about the fauna and folklore of the province.

4. YUNNAN, China (No. 10) – This Beautiful Clouds in the South from China is also recalled as the “Endlessly fascinating”. Yunnan is a place of diversities and natural wonders. Its landscape ranges from a snowy mountain to tropical rainforest. The itineraries can start from the capital, Kumming, by visiting Stone Forest (Shi Lin) – one of the world’s natural wonders, the Bamboo Temple – 500 life-size luohans that were sculpted in the 1800’s and the ancient town in Xiaguan (New Dali) where tourist can unwind in one of the bars on “Foreigner’s Street”. These might be only a short list but there are a lot more to explore on the site.

For more information, please grab the LONELY PLANET’S BEST IN TRAVEL 2009” guide book, and you’ll be assured not to miss the spotlights of the next year.

The Basic Issues with Hotels in Asia

In Asia Travel, Travel Tips on November 14, 2008 at 8:15 am

Hotel rooms in Asia hotels

Hotel rooms in Asia hotels

The title might sound scary a bit, but of course, we aren’t going to discuss about any common or bad issues. Neither the “bare minimum” like a clean room, decent shower or comfortable bed because you could easily find these basic facilities in most of the hotels in Asia already, nor negative experiences from other travelers.


A lot of travel experiences can tell that no two hotels are alike. Even those two hotels came from the same worldwide luxury hotels chain. What may be regarded as a 5-star hotel in one country, may qualify as 3-star (or less) in another. Hotels, though catering to tourists, will likely adhere to local beliefs and customs. To avoid having the wrong expectations, here is some basic issues that travelers should expect from hotels of various countries in Asia.

Japan: The land of the Samurai has long been known for its costly real estate and limited land availability, so don’t expect hotel rooms to be generous in size. Head room will be tight, especially for Europeans and Americans. Be cautious of door ledges and protect your head as you enter and leave the room and/or bathroom. Showering in Tokyo may be a cramped experience since elbowing and banging into walls, shelf, shower head, etc. is a common occurrence. And watch out for the buttons on the toilet; bidets are used throughout Japan, and if you’re unfamiliar with them, you may be in for a surprise.

Beds are relatively hard and tend to be smaller than North American beds. And the pillows are sometimes filled with soba-seed, or buckwheat -both are supposedly good for your health and provide good support for your neck.

Other than those small differences, everything else is great. Japanese hotel staffs are exceedingly polite and very helpful.

India: Exotic, glamorous and elegant. These are some of the keywords fitted to describe hotel rooms in India. For the price of an average 3-star room in other countries, you can probably snatch a 4 or 5 star room in India. Rooms are often spacious and lavishly decorated to showcase local lifestyle and culture. You may also find many colonial-styled hotel rooms (especially in older hotels) due to the country’s long history under British rule. However, do not drink the tap water. Clean water supplies continue to be an issue in India.

Thailand: You’ll feel like you are getting the biggest bang for your buck staying at hotels in Thailand; famous for its vast choice of fantastic, relatively inexpensive luxury hotels, like Bangkok’s Mandarin Oriental or Peninsula hotels, Chiang Mai’s Shangri-La and Pattaya’s Sheraton Resort – just to name a fine few. Expect to be treated like royalty-usually with a glass of juice or tea at reception, flowers on the bed, a welcome fruit basket and top-rated amenities awaiting your arrival. Water coming out from the tap could be a little off-color (yellowish or brownish), especially when traveling further away from Bangkok (– but still perfectly safe to use). Another problem, in smaller hotels, is the lack of insulation material in the room construction resulting in noisy rooms. Unless staying really high up, there is a good chance of hearing the traffic and city noises, not to mention noises within the hotel itself. It’s a good idea to bring earplugs just in case. And we suggest you don’t dive into the bed. Thai beds tend to be firmer than those found in hotels elsewhere, and a swan dive onto the sheets could leave you breathless.

Australia: The land down under is not as wild and “outback” as you may think. Sure, the country is made up of deadly critters and strange looking animals, but hotel rooms here are as pleasant as any other country in the world. Rooms are similar to North American hotels and are generally comfortable and well-equipped with the necessary amenities. One slight problem you may encounter, however, is water shortage. In some parts of Australia (mostly in the south), water restrictions laws may be applied due to drought and extreme dry weather, thus restricting shower and bath usage. Otherwise, enjoy the unique geography and myriad of activities this country has to offer. Just try not to waste too much water while you’re there.

Please bear in mind that before travelling overseas, it’s better to prepare and welcome to accept different customs and points of etiquette. Either with local foods, cultures or even hotel facilities and services. Especially when you are travelling to Asia destinations where vast and variety of lifestyles are embedded in every segment of each local community.

Give Yourself a Great Christmas Break with the Top 10 Beach Resorts in Southeast Asia: The Recommendations

In Asia Travel, Travel on October 20, 2008 at 2:56 am

Asia beaches is always the best tourist option

Asia beaches is always the best tourist option

Well, it’s now October already. There are two more months to go until a big break at the end of the year. The year which rocked the world with worldwide economic crisis, unexpected natural disasters and unfinished war. The year which makes lots of people felt powerless, uncontrollable and stressful. As Christmas is now approaching, it’s time to leave all problems behind your back and give yourself some relax and quiet vacation…at least just for a moment.


However, with all economic concerns pressing from every perspective, an inexpensive and safe plus enjoyable destination would be a perfect option for this difficult period. Well, Southeast Asia would certainly remain as the best answer in this case. Besides harboring some of the world’s purist shores, the Southeast Asian region has also become more accessible to travelers in recent years with the development of international airports, health and sporting facilities.

So, how about staying in the some of the top beach resorts in Southeast Asia region? Here’re the recommendations for you;

1. Centara Grand Beach Resort and Villas, Krabi, Thailand

Sitting majestically affront the private beach of Ao Nang in Pai Plong Bay against a backdrop of dramatic limestone cliffs, the Centara Grand Beach Resort offers luxury accommodation and a stunningly beautiful view. Guests can journey to the resort with relative ease now that the township of Krabi has a domestic airport, where they are picked up and whisked away by boat to the serene shores of Ao Nang. Drawing on contemporary tropical Thai architecture, the resort’s design complements the natural elements outside, bringing the spectacular vista inside. This is a heavenly combination of opulence and naturally striking surrounds.

2. Pandanus Hotel, Phan Thiet, Vietnam

Acknowledged as the most luxurious hotel in the Phan Thiet province, the Pandanus Hotel is also located on one of Vietnam’s most attractive coastal stretches. Built inside a 10 hectare tropical garden, with its own private beach, the resort is within close proximity to the area’s famed ‘red’ sand dunes and the canyon of Mui Ne. Friendly, service-oriented staffs ensure guests are in want for nothing – and with an oceanic view like this on offer, exotic cocktail in hand, what could be better?

3. Sokha Beach Hotel, Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Poised on a peninsula that extends into the Gulf of Thailand, the Sihanoukville shore is a largely unknown treasure of Robinson Crusoe proportion. And Sokha Beach is its highlight. With such magnificent surrounds, a hotel need not go to too much effort, and yet the Sokha Beach Hotel embodies the warm hospitality of the Cambodian people and their rich culture. Its Khmer-styled, hand-crafted architecture comprises of mostly natural materials such as wood and stone, adding to the wonderful ambiance of the location.

4. Le Meridien Khao Lak Beach Resort & Spa, Khao Lak, Thailand

Overshadowed by nearby island neighbor and tourist giant, Phuket, the Khao Lak stretch of Thailand’s Southwest mainland has managed to maintain a tranquil atmosphere and an unspoiled, awe-inspiring landscape. The Le Meridien Khao Lak Beach Resort&Spa doesn’t disappoint in terms of location and service. Within an oar’s reach of the stunningly famous Phang Nga bay and accessible by car from Phuket International Airport, Khao Lak is an excellent choice for a tropical beach sojourn.

5. Shangri-La Mactan Island Resort, Cebu, Philippines

Located within the province of Cebu on Mactan Island, this Shangri-La resort certainly lives up to its name. Guests will have panoramic views of the azure Visayan Sea and its cluster of remote islands. With state-of-the-art facilities and luxurious interiors, the high standards of service further enhance this beach resort in the Philippines. The island airport also allows for easy access from many international destinations.

6. Sanur Beach Hotel, Bali, Indonesia

Sanur beach is Bali’s best-kept beach jewel. Quieter than the popular surfing beach of Kuta and other favorites such as Nusa Dua and Seminyak, this stretch of sand offers a glimpse into the Balinese fisher village lifestyle, as well as providing visitors with pristine bathing waters teeming with colorful fish. The hotel’s staff will go to extraordinary lengths to meet guest wishes and the hotels’ plush interiors and exotic Balinese design will ensure pure comfort and luxury.

7. The Empire Hotel and Country Club, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

Built on a colossal 162-hectare landscape of tropical garden, the Empire Hotel takes the concept of luxury accommodation to an entire new level. It is impressive in every detail when it comes to service and facilities, but more importantly (well, for the purposes of this article at least), is located on a magnificent stretch of coastline. Guests can fully escape into this private utopia which also boasts its own golf course.

8. Zeavola Hotel, Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Phi Phi is a long island favorite among Thailand’s frequent beach travelers. Its beaches are simply idyllic with their powdery sand shores and clear waters. The boutique Zeavola hotel offers Phi Phi paradise with luxury amenities disguised by a rural feel and charm. A unique accommodation option positioned in front of a prime, serene stretch of beach, couples can relish in the resort’s privacy and lush natural environment.

9. Berjaya Redang Beach Resort, Terangganu, Malaysia

Malaysia is often surpassed by the highly publicized tourist destinations of Indonesia and Thailand for its natural offerings, despite it being rich in beauty. Redang Island is one such example and the Berjaya Redang Beach Resort offers guests private access to one of the country’s finest beaches – one accentuated by vibrant corals and tropical fish. The comfortable villas and rooms have a tropical beach feel that encourages relaxation, while friendly staff and excellent water sports facilities make it a good choice for families and couples alike.

10. Furama Resort, Danang, Vietnam

The largely undeveloped coastal stretch which stretches 25km from Hoi An to Danang on Vietnam’s Central Coast, is one of the countries most magnificent. Known in English as China Beach, the Furama Resort was the first luxury hotel to be built along this unspoiled coast. The design blends Vietnamese style with tropical architecture and the staffs are friendly and helpful. Only 10 minutes drive from Danang International Airport, this hotel has become a preferred choice among Southeast Asian beach seekers.