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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.

Asia’s Top 10 Family Resorts: The recommendations

In Asia Travel, Travel, Travel Tips on August 22, 2008 at 4:03 am

Travel with Babies is enjoyable

Travel with Babies is enjoyable

In the past, the concept of having an adult break was seen as mutually exclusive to going on holiday with the kids. Whilst family holidays provide a great opportunity to bond and build on parent-child relationships, they can also be extra taxing on an adult’s energy. Finding time to relax can be difficult when the children’s daily routine is altered and activities such as swimming at the beach or pool are added into the equation.

 

But options have changed and broadened in recent years. For a start, Southeast Asian destinations have opened up to families, providing international standards of service, accommodation and leisure activities at incomparable prices to the West. Not only can Mom and Dad arrange babysitting services, but many hotels now have kid’s clubs or daily activities to keep the brood happy and entertained. Parents can take the time to have that massage, earn that tan or enjoy a romantic meal at sunset.

 

So, here’s list of recommendations for the best child-friendly, family-focused resorts in the Southeast Asian region, which you’re welcome to bring your babies; 

 

1. Ramada Karon Beach Resort Phuket, Thailand
This family resort opened last year and literally is, as the website claims, a “wonderland for kids”. First of all, there are themed rooms for budding princesses (designed like a castle turret and draped in pink and purple) astronauts (pod-like furniture and spacey images of the galaxy create the semblance of being in a spaceship) and marine biologists (underwater rooms have built-in aquariums in the shape of portholes). Then there are the general hotel facilities which are even more child-friendly: the colorful children’s swimming pool which includes the biggest hotel waterslide in Thailand and the “kids paradise” zone which has a free and bottomless day-long ice cream machine, X box video game room and daily program of activities which includes everything from arts and crafts to cooking, sports and science. Meanwhile, Karon beach is a 5 minute walk away. The Ramada Resort Karon Beach is not only a child’s wonderland but the perfect parent fantasyland!

2. Sheraton Grande Laguna Resort , Phuket, Thailand
Located within the Laguna complex, this Sheraton Grande was one of the first hotels in Thailand to truly cater for children. Kids receive goody backpacks on arrival which include perks like refillable ‘tippy cups’ and there are a myriad of activities planned by the Very Important Kids Club (VIKC). Resident baby elephants Yum Yum and Lilly make daily appearances to interact with kids and parents. Besides the many water sports and outdoor activities available, there is also a cyber room for the techno, video-game inclined. Most impressive, however, is that the hotel has special VIKC ambassadors, whose role it is to exclusively cater to child requests. Other highlights include a children’s menu and express meal service, free unlimited ice cream and very reasonable babysitting rates. For older children (age 9-14) there is also Camp Laguna which has year-long programs including rock climbing, abseiling, beach volleyball and more.

3. Plantation Bay Resort, Cebu, Philippines
Designed in colonial-plantation style, this mammoth resort is also build around one of the largest privately-owned waterways in the world. It is a perfect resort for aquanauts of any age, but children will especially delight in the water slides, aqua rides and beach activities. Parents can take advantage of the children’s center where staff will keep the little ones enthralled with making sandcastles, feeding fish and face painting, among many other things.

4. Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort,  Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Located in Borneo and overlooking the South China Sea, the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort offers a premiere setting and possibly the largest Kids Club facility in Malaysia. The club is sectioned according to age group, with padded areas and soft toys for toddlers, creative areas for arts and crafts as well as a coffee area for parents to mingle. There are many activities planned for the kids on the beach and in the playground as well as safe children pools. Trips to the sister Shangri-La Rasa Ria resort can be organized where there is an orangutan rehabilitation reserve, giving kids the chance to communicate with one of their closest ape relatives.

5. Conrad Bali Resort & Spa, Bali, Indonesia
Secluded on almost 6.8 hectares of lush, beachfront terrain in Southern Bali – near to the Nusa Dua area – the Conrad Bali Resort & Spa provides exceptional opportunities to families. Beyond the usual provisions of crib and children’s menus, the Conrad also has special babyrobes and baby bath and potty. There are a plethora of activities for kids at the Kura Kura Club including Balinese traditional dancing, island storytelling around the lagoon pool and arts and crafts. There are indoor and outdoor play areas, a video Games Zone, a babysitting service and child care centre. Tennis enthusiasts can arrange for child tennis lessons at reasonable rates and there are plenty of water sports to choose from for the family.

6. Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa, Langkawi, Malaysia
This beautifully-located resort  in Langkawi is a great option for families who love to be active. There are water sports galore including boating, water skiing, diving, snorkeling and para-sailing. Catering especially for the kids, the resort also has a mini golf course and animal farm. The Kiki Club is open from 9am-9pm with free daily activities involving cultural, arts and nature-loving activities so parents can go pamper themselves in the hours between.

7. The Ritz-Carlton Bali, Indonesia
Set on its own private cove at Kuba, the luxurious Ritz Carlton in Bali also has an impressive children’s program and facilities. There is a separate children’s pool that has two water slides and a daily activities club which covers everything from kite-making to Balinese traditional arts courses to sea shell collecting. There is a special children’s dining menu and baby sitting is available (English, Bahasa and Japanese speaking).

8. Holiday Inn Phuket, Thailand
Recently revamped, the Kids Club at the Holiday Inn Phuket has video games, DVDs, internet, toys and board games all within cozy lounge settings for juniors. But the main attractions are found outdoors with the toddler and play pools which include water spouts, slides and other features to keep the kids entertained. Babysitting is available and the resort is well-located on Patong Beach, Phuket’s foremost beach town.

9. The Nusa Dua Hotel Resort & Spa,  Bali, Indonesia
This luxury resort is primly located on Nusa Dua beach and has beautifully landscaped tropical gardens and swimming areas that are suitable for children. The affordable rates make it a good choice for family holidaymakers and they have special family rooms with King-sized bed and bunk bed as well as attractive children furnishings. The Gecko Kids Club is open daily, offering supervised games and activities in the playground, pools, beach or children’s center.

10. Coco Beach Resort, Phan Thiet, Vietnam
The quaint huts of Coco Beach Resort depict a charming tropical image of relaxation and comfort. First impressions don’t disappoint. Located on one of the more beautiful beach spots of Vietnam, this resort has plenty of activities to amuse the kids with paddle boats, boogie boards and other beach activities as well as a special children’s playground, pool with waterslide and toddler wading pool.

 

 

 

Introduction to Beijing Olympics 2008

In Asia Sport, Travel Tips on July 30, 2008 at 9:52 am

Beijing Olympics Logo

Beijing Olympics Logo

Every 4 years the world is treated to the ultimate test in athletic prowess and determination and 2008 is Beijing’s year to host the big show. This will mark the first time ever the Olympic Games will be held beyond the Great Wall.  The ‘2008 Beijing Olympics’ opening ceremonies kick off at the Beijing National Stadium on August 8th and are set to conclude on the 24th.

 

Beijing won the chance to host the 2008 games, back in 1998.  A surprise winner, Beijing wowed the Olympic Committee, with plans to create some of the most unique and awe inspiring buildings to help host the worldwide event, beating out strong bids from Toronto, Paris and Osaka.  The Chinese delivered on that promise, creating 12 brand new buildings to add to their 25 existing venues, set to house this year’s games.  The Beijing National Stadium and the Beijing National Aquatics Center are 2 that have received the most attention.  The Bird’s Nest (Beijing National Stadium) which will host all the track and field events, looks just like its moniker; a mishmash of steel and style, the stadium is an architectural marvel.  No less impressive (and right next door to the Bird’s Nest) is the Water Cube (Beijing National Aquatics Center) built for all the aquatic competitions.  Resembling a monstrous sponge, the architectural award-winning cube, lights up at night casting an eerie glow over Beijing.

 

In 1984, the Summer Olympic Games were held in Los Angeles and were remarkable for a number of reasons: Russia’s boycott of the games, incredibly tacky 80’s track suits, Carl Lewis’s winning 4 gold medals while sporting a terrible slanted hair cut, perky gymnast Mary Lou Retton becoming the belle of the games (and subsequent desire of advertising executives everywhere) and it also marked the first time the Chinese ever won an Olympic medal.   Xu Haifeng blasted her way to a gold medal in the 50m Pistol event.  Since then, China has been on a tear winning 112 gold, 94 silver, and 75 bronze medals, with the majority being awarded in diving, gymnastics and weightlifting.

 

As per usual, this year the United States and Russia are expected to haul a bunch of medals home.  With the 2008 version of the United States basketball “Dream Team” featuring Lebron James and Kobe Bryant, the race appears to be on for the silver and bronze.  Jamaica’s Asafa Powell is set to leave the Bird’s Nest track scorched.  The former world record holder in the 100m has been sending dust into the eyes of his competition lately, as he amps up for the games at various meets.  Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi lead their respective Brazil and Argentine football squads into the games, both with a legitimate shot at the gold.  However with all the well known stars competing, it’s the lesser-known athletes that seem to rise to the occasion during the Olympics, creating the drama and excitement of which is legend.

 

With the spotlight set squarely to shine and Beijing and all of China, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the world views the eastern power after the games. China, if you didn’t know, has had a somewhat stormy relationship with the rest of the world.  It’s technically still a communist country (but don’t tell Hong Kong that), it occasionally gets into trouble for human rights issues, and it really isn’t a world leader for environmental causes.  But recently, the intensely private Chinese government has started to show a different side.  In the wake of the terrible earthquake earlier this spring that killed thousands and left more injured and homeless, the world received a better look at the Chinese and how they treat their own.  How China and its 3 billion residents, will be perceived in the aftermath of the intense media focus the Olympic Games brings, is anyone’s guess. One thing for sure, it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch how everything unfolds.

Top 10 Golf Resorts in Southeast Asia: The Recommendations

In Asia Travel, Travel, Travel Tips on July 10, 2008 at 10:30 am

Asia is a Paradise for Golfers

Asia is a Paradise for Golfers

Greg Norman once said that “happiness is a long walk with a putter”, and for many a golf enthusiast that phrase drives true. Beyond the game itself, playing golf provides the opportunity for its participants to be in the great outdoors. Often set against striking natural scenery, golfers can breathe in the fresh air and embrace nature’s wonders whilst getting both exercise and sun.

 

Not surprisingly golf is the fastest growing and most popular sport in the world, a fact most evident in Asia, where the game has developed rapidly in the last decade. For golfing buffs, Asian courses are paradise, especially since many have been designed by stalwarts such as the “Shark” and Jack Nicklaus, are situated in the balmy and breathtaking tropics and are – by European and American standards – very easy on the pocket.

What is further complementary about choosing a golf holiday in Asia is the quality spa options available across the continent, especially in Southeast Asia where quality and cost are not mutually exclusive concepts. For golfers themselves, spa treatments such as massage can provide that perfect balance to sport with further relaxation. But more importantly, for wives and girlfriends who wish to holiday but don’t par–take in the fairways, spa pampering is a welcome alternative.

To cater for golf and spa holidaymakers, many courses and golfing resorts have been built across Asia. Let’s highlighted some of the best courses in the region, along with accommodation options, just to pique your interest!

Here are the suggested top 10 golfing resorts in the SEA region:

1. Laguna Phuket Golf Club, Phuket (Thailand)

Lauded already in numerous publications as one of Asia’s premier golf resort destinations, the Laguna Phuket Golf Club is set among the Laguna Resort Complex which features five luxury hotels (Sheraton, Dusit Thani, Banyan Tree, Laguna Beach Resort and Allamande). It boasts an 18–hole, par–71 course designed by Max Wexler and David Abell and caters to players of all levels of expertise. But the course certainly is challenging as 13 of the 18 holes are in close proximity to the actual lagoon. Golfers can enjoy taking the watery gamble with their shots. Afterwards, pampering is essential at the world famous Banyan Tree Spa.

2. Le Meridien Nirwana Golf & Spa Resort, Bali (Indonesia)

The five–star Le Meridien Golf & Spa Resort is a luxury resort overlooking the Indian Ocean with world–class golf and spa facilities. The Nirvana Bali Golf Club boasts an 18–hole course designed by the legendary Greg Norman, and has been featured in several publications. The course is made challenging by the elaborate network of streams, ponds and terraces plus its ocean lapping location. After playing, relax at the fusion Nirwana Spa which uses Western products while keeping the Balinese Hindu philosophy in mind.

3. Novotel Ocean Dunes and Golf Resort, Phan Thiet (Vietnam)

Located three hours from Ho Chi Minh City, the four–star Novotel Ocean Dunes and Golf Resort is located on a private beach and was the first international resort to be built in Vietnam. The Par–72 Ocean Dunes Golf Club located on–site has been designed by Nick Faldo and been identified it as one of the top 10 resort courses in Asia. The course will appeal to both experienced as well as casual golfers, and the coastal winds will bring challenge to each hole. The on–site Spa has private saunas and Jacuzzis for customers use after a round of golf. Or you can go in for a massage before you take to the course, helping to relax the muscles and improve that swing.

4. Kirimaya Golf Resort & Spa, Khao Yai (Thailand)

The three star Kirimaya Golf Resort & Spa provides 60 contemporary living options and is the perfect retreat for those looking for a golf holiday. The 18–hole golf course has been designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus and is set among the mountains and greenery of Khao Yai. Guests can indulge in a range of massages and wellness rituals at the Maya Spa or in the comfort of them own rooms after a day spent on the course or exploring the surroundings.

5. The Empire Hotel & Country Club, Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei Darussalam)

The five star Empire Hotel & Country Club and beach resort overlooking the South China Sea boasts of lavish accommodations, eight swimming pools and a championship golf course. Designed by the celebrated Jack Nicklaus, the golf course includes cliffs, ravines, tight fairways, large bunkers, and is floodlit for night–time games. Also not be missed is the Spa, with its therapies from around the world designed to calm the body and revitalize the skin.

6. Hornbill Golf & Jungle Club, Sarawak (Malaysia)

The five star Hornbill Golf & Jungle Club is nestled amongst the oldest and second largest rainforest in the world, 1,000 meters above sea level. As the name suggests, the main attraction of the hotel is its golf course designed by Neil Crater, while keeping in mind the features of its unique highland location. The course is the ultimate test of golfing skills, and is suited for those who love a fresh physical challenge as well as a mental one. With the number of guests kept to just 60 a day, it provides ample exclusivity and privacy to indulge at a calm pace. The Jungle Club continues to keep up the promise of relaxation and rejuvenation with its pampering sessions of spa, exotic traditional massages and a range of natural treatments.

7. Bintan Lagoon Resort, Bintan Island (Indonesia)

The four–star Bintan lagoon Resort is set among 300 hectares of beachfront gardens and offers a world of choice. This golfing resort can easily be reached by a short high–speed ferry ride from Singapore. Both the Jack Nicklaus 18–hole Sea View Golf course and Ian Baker–Finch 18–hole Woodlands Golf course at the resort are known for their spectacular design and signature holes. The stay is incomplete without a visit to the Bintan Spa, where traditional methods are used in conjunction with organic ingredients for the ultimate relaxation experience. Choose from a range of treatments, scrubs, and spa packages.

8. Springfield Village Golf & Spa, Hua Hin/Cha–am (Thailand)

The 3.5 star Springfield Village Golf & Spa provides luxurious rooms and suites, designed to blend with their surroundings and each providing an open view of the golf course. The golf course (another design by Jack Nicklaus) challenges golf enthusiasts with 27 meticulously manicured holes. The championship course has five sets of tees to play from, and offers varying levels of difficulty. For those looking to improve their game, step there is an excellent Learning Center which offers private lesson. Be sure to head over to the Springfield Spa to pamper and rejuvenate yourself with a wide variety of top notch massages and treatments on offer.

9. Sentosa Resort & Spa, Singapore (Singapore)

The five–star Sentosa Resort & Spa is perched atop a cliff gazing out across the South China Sea. The resort’s 21 rooms and suites are spread across 27 acres of tropical woodlands. For a round of golf, tee–off one of the 2 resort courses, including the exceptional Sentosa Golf Club, home to the Barclay’s Singapore Open and the course of choice for politicians, dignitaries and celebrities alike. The resort also boasts the Spa Botanica, housing mud pools, flotation pools, a meditation labyrinth and Turkish-styled steam baths and a wide choice of indoor treatment rooms or outdoor pavilions.

10. Sofitel Zhongshan Golf Resort, Nanjing (China)

The five–star colonial-styled, Sofitel Zhongshan Golf Resort Nanjing is located on the slopes of the famous Purple Mountain, and features 140 luxurious accommodations. This resort is the perfect choice for leisure as well as business travelers to Nanjing. It is also the first deluxe, five–star golf resort in Nanjing, and the exclusive 27–hole golf course was designed by Gary Player. Guests can also enjoy the Spa, with its various massages and treatments, guaranteed to relax and ease the muscles.

Top 10 Boutique Hotels in Southeast Asia: The Recommendations

In Asia Travel, Travel Tips on May 15, 2008 at 3:31 am

Top Boutique Hotels in Asia

Top Boutique Hotels in Asia

As Southeast Asia destination has become one of the most popular vacation spots from many people around the world. The international tourist statistics among countries in the region are substaintially increasing year by year. Today, with the reflection of this increasing numbers, there are various accommodation options for tourists to choose from ranging from local hostel to international 5 stars hotel. Here is the list of recommended boutique hotel options;

1. Kemang Icon Jakarta, Indonesia

If Conde Nast’s Traveler included this hotel it in their Hot List 2007, you expect it to be hot, and Kemang Icon lives up to its reputation. This boutique hotel artfully combines contemporary modern designs with art deco in cool tones and textures. Eight Courtyard and four Edge Suites are all individually designed with personalized bathroom scents, accessories and amenities. All guest preferences are noted prior to check-in so that the fruit basket, coffee and tea, i-Pod selections, toiletry brands and even lighting settings are adjusted to your taste before you even enter the room. “The Edge” tailors every meal to suit a guest’s taste and health requirements.  Fancy playing chef for the day? Shop online from their grocery list and the fresh goods and produce will be delivered right to your door. The Kemang Icon truly is a delightful marriage of chic and warmth, giving birth to an unrivaled multi-sensory journey, where almost every single facet of quality living is personalized.

2. The Scarlet Hotel, Singapore, Singapore

Dramatic, passionate and decadent are qualities at the heart of the Scarlet Hotel. Housed in a 1924 Art Deco building and a row of 1868 early shop houses on the historic Erskine Road are five themed suites with names like Splendour and Lavish, 26 Executive and 24 Premium rooms and 15 Deluxe and 24 Standard rooms. The hotel has gone to great lengths, decorating each room with specific personalities in mind. In-room features include one-for-one evening cocktails, personal bars with gourmet selections and a pillow menu.  With a restaurant named Desire that serves ‘provocative contemporary cuisine’ and a bar called Bold, a playful sinfulness seems to come naturally to this hotel.

3. Dream Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

From the bed to the bar, the Dream Hotel is pure glitz. The interior is covered with a generous selection of colors accompanied by ethereal lighting techniques, producing an outspoken extravagance. With 100 stylishly themed and pet-friendly guestrooms, the highlight is the ‘Dream Bed’, which was carefully devised and created to truly provide guests with a good night’s sleep. This über trendy hotel offers personal shopper services and pre-loaded iPods and their Avatar Spa features a creative range of facials, massages, full body and Thalmer Thalasso SPA treatments.

4. AKA Hotel Resort & Spa – Hua Hin, Prachuabkirikhan, Thailand

Fifty-one spacious villas amply secluded from one another, spread across 10 acres of tropical landscape, with natural lakes and a hillside backdrop. Drawing from the philosophy of the AKA, a hill tribe with origins in the Tibetan Highlands and Yunnan, China, the resort flawlessly blends spirituality, tranquility and simplicity together, transposing these qualities into the architecture, the Zen spa and their dining services. With private infinity-edged pools, garden terraces, private courtyards and sala roof gardens, this luxury retreat is the perfect escape from city life and a perfect way to pamper the soul.

5. Hotel de la Paix, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Designed by the renowned Bill Bensley, a combination of art deco and traditional Khmer styles distinguishes the Hotel de la Paix, which is built around a palatial inner courtyard with stone gardens and water features. This landmark in the heart of Siem Reap offers guestrooms and suites, categorized under five unique preferences and designs and accompanied by personalized assistance. French Chef and author Joannes Riviere brings exceptional dining experiences to the table with international and seasonal Khmer dishes, while Mediterranean, Italian, organic Khmer coffee and drinks and gourmet picnic baskets for temple visits are lovingly prepared at Café de la Paix.

6. S15 Sukhumvit Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

Smack dab in the heart of Bangkok’s business and shopping districts, the new S15 Sukhumvit Hotel is 72 stylish rooms decked with Italian light fixtures, marble bathrooms and sleek, contemporary furniture. The essence of this boutique hotel’s design is an understated elegance that distinctly contrasts with the city’s relentless bustle, allowing guests to gather and re-energize themselves after a day spent exploring the City of Angels. All public areas and guestrooms have Wi-Fi high-speed Internet access and the business center offer laptops and mobile phones. Another great way to unwind is to take advantage of the hotel’s in-room spa services.

7. 3 Nagas – Luang Prabang, Laos

To enter the Boutique Hotel 3 Nagas is to enter three historical buildings protected by the UNESCO World Heritage Organization. Restored to its original Laotian style, the hotel is of exotic, wooden floors, traditional torchis walls and clay tile roofing. A total of 12 rooms and 3 suites with their own unique designs make up this authentic hotel in the heart of Luang Prabang.

8. The Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam

High ceilings, luxurious en-suite bathtubs, spacious bathrooms, raised platforms, split-levels coupled with unobstructed views of the South China Sea make up the 60 One-Bedroom Villas and 40 Pool Villas at The Nam Hai. Immediately, one will be taken by the sheer magnitude of space and seclusion at this exclusive, beachfront resort spa stretched across 35 hectares along Ha My beach. All villas are equipped with rain showers, iPods, 24-hour concierge and 24-hour in-room dining. Set around a lagoon close to the beach is The Spa, featuring customized regimens to suit each guest’s needs and well-being.

9. JapaMala Resort – Tioman Island, Malaysia (East coast of Malaysia)

Eco-friendly, teak Sarang Villas, Sea Cliff and Tree Top chalets nestle in the lush jungles of Tioman Island with the sights and sounds of aqua blue waters and the white sand beach appealing to your senses. Guests can even make their own catch off the jetty and the hotel will cook the fresh seafood accordingly. Another option is to head over to the Tamarind Terrace Restaurant featuring all-day, casual, alfresco dining and specializing in Thai and Indochinese cuisine. A protected marine park, dive sites and furtive jungle surround this secluded, luxury resort.

10. Trisara, Phuket, Thailand

The emphases at Trisara are privacy, simplicity, peace and space. Forty-two villas and suites have been given a clean, contemporary look with subtle traditional Thai touches where private infinity edged pools meet sweeping views of the Andaman Sea. Apart from massages, body treatments and facials, the Trisara Spa specializes in yoga and meditation and offers the Trisara Punti Purification and Revitalisation program in partnership with expert herbalists. Other features at this exclusive resort & spa include complimentary iPods in the library with a wide range of music, customized private dining and a private bay surrounded by a ring of coral reef.

So, if you have a plan to visit some favorite travel spots in Southeast Asia region such as Bangkok, Bali, Jakarta, Singapore. Let’s get experiences on your personalize boutique accommodations start from this top list and enjoy your trip.

 

Best Layover Airport List

In Travel, Travel Tips on April 28, 2008 at 5:35 am

Suvarnabhumi International Airport

Suvarnabhumi International Airport

We’ve all been there. Lodged in some fluorescent-lit transit room where the only place to sleep is on a conjoined, plastic seating arrangement that the airport sign mockingly refers to as a “lounge”. Well, thankfully as the world has become more travel-savvy and service-minded, our airport layover options have evolved. Here are some top best Airport lists:

1. The ultra busy London Heathrow Airport may be hard to navigate but it does have shower facilities in all its four terminals with the most basic packages starting at £15. In terminals 1 and 3, the diamond air lounge offers plush spa and beauty facilities in addition to bathroom suites for those in transit. Check this out when you have a chance to visit London.

2. Charles de Gaulle in Paris prides itself in its boutique shopping and repertoire of restaurants (would you expect anything less from the French?) but also offers sore in-transit travelers with a “Be-Relax” spa service. As far as showers or independent lounges go, however, there doesn’t seem to be any.

3. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Even though it is one of the busiest flight hubs in the world, there isn’t much at this airport for budding transit tourists. Unless, that is, you’re happy to while the hours (and cash) away at the airport casino or one of the many bars and restaurants.

4. Hong Kong International Airport is globally recognized as one of the world’s best airports due to its user-friendly planning and design. It also has very decent transit amenities including a 24 hour lounge with napping, massage and showering services and is linked to Hong Kong’s uber-efficient city train network.

5. Changi Airport, in our eyes, has no peer. The designer airport is one of those anomalies where the phrase “I spent all my time in the airport” is likely to be a positive. From two different lounges with top-class 24 hour napping areas, showers and spa facilities, to hotel and pool amenities, this airport further excels itself with innovative activities such as its Singapore Tours (created for those in transit for up to 5 hours who are granted a special pass to leave the airport on one of four city tour options), Nature Trail (with six themed garden reserves) and comprehensive dining and entertainment options. It’s little wonder this airport has its own fan club!

6. The recently completed Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok may have opened to a shaky start (quite literally as some of the runways developed cracks) but the Thai reputation for unrivalled service and hospitality will surely redeem this facility as the many massage services, karaoke and games rooms, day rooms and spa and fitness centre make it an attractive transit point for travelers.

7. With its reputation for harboring some of the most glitzy and superlative hotels in the world, Dubai International Airport doesn’t disappoint when it comes to airport transit services. With a variety of lounges ranging from independent VIP and business class facilities to simple, quiet napping areas, those on layover can rest with ease here. There is also a health club with gym, Jacuzzi and massage services.

8. The Incheon International Airport in Seoul is another Asian gem of an airport. It has a selection of shower and massage options, in addition to a napping lounge and exclusive transit hotel. Special layover Seoul tours are also available to those in transit.

Want to explore, instead of snore? Choose layovers with easy day trips.

 

 

Coping with Long-hours Flight

In Travel Tips on April 1, 2008 at 3:27 am

Copinng with long hours filght

Copinng with long hours filght

There were many times that I had a long-hours flight which cause me stress, tired and sleepless. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to make such trips more comfortable and relax – here are some tips to handle with long and sleepless flight:

Dress Comfortably. Wear loose, and preferably, cotton clothes. You will be seated for an extended period of time in a confined space with temperatures fluctuating from hot to cold, so it’s best to be comfortable. Same goes for shoes. It’s common for our feet, hands and face to swell at high altitudes, so ladies, leave the heels behind.

Drink lots of water. Before the flight, and during your time in the air. The air is dry up there and dehydration is common. Try to abstain from alcoholic and diuretic beverages as these further dehydrate you.

Pack the right toiletries. Pack moisturizing lotion for your skin, bring balm for your lips and include eye drops in your carry-on bag. Moisturizing sleep masks are a popular choice for frequent flyers.

Stretch. Immobility combined with dehydration can cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – the forming of blood clots in the deep veins of your lower legs – which is associated with long distance flights. That’s why it’s important to adopt some simple exercises and keep your legs moving when airborne. Rotate the ankles, pointing the heel and toe alternatively and lift your knees whilst seated every half hour for a few minutes. Tense your leg muscles too and take a regular walk down the aisle to help circulation.

Take other preventative measures against DVT. Pack compression socks or hosiery that has been designed especially to prevent DVT. Take a low-dose aspirin (100-150 mg) before the flight, during the flight (check the dosage limits) and for 3 days after. Aspirin helps prevent the blood from clotting.

Delay your snooze. Rather than taking a kip immediately after the first meal and movie, try and keep your mind active for a few more hours. Prolonging the time until sleep will ensure that when you finally get some shut eye, the sleep will be heavier and longer.

 

 

Bottled baggage: Advice on how to lug liquids

In Travel, Travel Tips on March 12, 2008 at 4:43 am

With more best airports adopting stricter regulations on carrying liquids, it was time to look at the whys and what’s of hand luggage security.Ferrying liquid-based items abroad these days has become a complicated and confusing business. Especially as there have been discrepancies in airport regulations. But most countries prefer to err on the safer rather than sorrier side of precaution these days and are complying with global security standards. 

The banning of certain liquidized items onboard airplanes began in 2006 when a major transatlantic aircraft plot involving the detonation of liquid explosives was foiled in Britain. Immediately after the incident, strict regulations were imposed on bringing liquids and aerosol products on board. Most of these regulations are still effective today, with the majority of airports adopting American Transport Security Administration (TAS) protocols.

According to TAS regulations, the basic rules are these: All liquids in containers exceeding 100ml are prohibited on board planes with the only exception being liquid baby food (including milk) and prescription medications. Popular banned items are everyday things such as drinking water, butane lighters, hair gel, hand lotion, perfume, toothpaste, moisturizing lotions and any other liquid-based products. To bring liquids on board, all items must come in containers less than 100ml and fit into quart-size re-sealable, transparent plastic bags.   

Most major airports in Asia implemented the US security standards on liquids this year including Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi, the world’s newest airport. For many travelers in Southeast Asia – particularly Bangkok – the newly implemented regulations came as a surprise.

So, in order to avoid losing valuable goods, Here’s a series of tips to prepare you for take-off:

  • Create a checklist before you pack which highlights items that you are prohibited from packing in your hand luggage (check the travelinsider.info for useful tips on packing or go to the TSA website for an easy-to-read brochure);
  • Pack all toiletries into your check-in luggage rather than hand luggage;
  • When purchasing duty-free items, check with the sales staff about how the products have been sealed and what regulations will apply after you have opened them;

When bringing ‘essentials’ in your hand luggage make sure they are under 100ml and packed in a ziplock bag. It may be handy to purchase travel-friendly toiletries to avoid the hassle of packing individual items. To travel in style, try Khiels travel packs for guys or beauty packs by Ren or Crème De Lamer for women.

Lost In Transit?

In Asia Travel, Travel, Travel Tips on March 7, 2008 at 7:39 am

Looking for some navigations

Looking for some navigations

We’ve all been there. Lodged in some fluorescent-lit transit room where the only place to sleep is on a conjoined, plastic seat arrangement that the airport sign mockingly refers to as a “lounge”. Well, thankfully as the world has become more travel-savvy and service-minded, our transit options have evolved. Here are some tips on how to survive layovers, and maybe even savor them.

Know your airports – Before booking your ticket why not research a little on the airports you’re passing through? Prefer a bit of shut eye or a back rub while in transit? Not every airport provides these services, or if they do, they may come at an extortionist price. Increasingly, Asian airports are becoming favored stopovers due to their friendly hospitality, quality services and inexpensive hotel prices. The below list includes the most frequented international passenger airports in the world and a quick description of their services.

Day tripping – There can definitely be more to layovers than sleeping and showering. Why not pick an airport that has high speed train access into the city and leave your luggage (either checked-in or in a locker) and go explore? Other airports that make for easy day trips downtown and have been acclaimed for their modern, friendly services and unique design include: Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Munich Airport and Sydney Airport.

Explore and Snore – Another option that can alleviate painful transits or the jetlagged conclusion of a lengthy non-stop is to plan a layover mini-break. For many flying across the globe, a layover can provide further opportunity to enhance a travel experience – especially somewhere exotic. Asian destinations are ever-popular for this reason with their colorful culture, piquant foods and wonderfully eclectic shopping opportunities. Not to forget, their affordability. Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore are proving to be hotspot stopovers for those wanting to spice up their itineraries.