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Posts Tagged ‘Asia Travel’

Updates on H1N1 Flu Virus in Asia Pacific Region

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

H1N1 Flu is well controlled in Asia region

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

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

Country            Cases               Deaths

Australia           1307                 0

China                188                   0

India                 9                      0

Japan               549                   0

South Korea      53                     0

Malaysia           5                      0

New Zealand     27                     0

Philippines        77                     0

Singapore         18                     0

Thailand            8                      0

Taiwan              36                     0

Vietnam            23                     0

*Data on 12 Jun 2009

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

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

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

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

Valentine's day in Asia

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

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

Here are some top romantic places in Asia:

The sky’s the limit in Bangkok

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

Get exclusively reclusive in Bali

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

Languid in Luang Prabang

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

Meander in Macao

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

Sail away in Phuket

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

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

Top 10 Bangkok Hotels with Amazing Views: The Recommendations

In Asia Travel, Travel on October 2, 2008 at 7:02 am
Stays Top of Bangkok

Stays Top of Bangkok

Everyone knows that Thailand has been one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world for years, and if you don’t know…its capital city “Bangkok” recently earned the award “Best City in Asia,” for the seventh year in a row in the recent Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards. The city is well-known as the best place which has everything to offer to different types of visitors, from its modern infrastructure and world-renowned hospitality and service, to our rich culture and to-die-for cuisine. Moreover, three of the ten “Best Hotels in Asia” from the same institution awards are amazingly also located in Bangkok: The Oriental, The Peninsula and The Shangri-La.

Being a city so rich in sights and sounds, seemingly everywhere, Bangkok can feel overwhelming at times. Luckily Bangkok hotels have made enjoying the city’s wonderful madness a little easier, by creating outstanding viewpoints to enjoy this vast city. Today, Bangkok sprawls in every direction, extending beyond the horizon. Still a massive network of streets and sois, the city now bristles with skyscrapers, mega malls, elevated expressways and sky trains. The ubiquitous food stalls, markets, world class shopping and nightlife still attract tourists in droves, but it’s the elegance and modernity of the city that consistently surprises.

So, if Bangkok is one of your top favorites or there will be your first-time visit to this great city in the near future, here’re recommendations for the top 10 hotels showcasing Bangkok’s amazing views:

1. Lebua at State Tower, Sirocco-Located on the 63rd floor of The Dome at the Lebua at State Tower, Sirocco is the world’s highest al fresco restaurant. Also one of Bangkok’s most coveted dining choices, the experience never fails to leave one mesmerized. This award-winning restaurant offers breathtaking views of Bangkok and the Chao Phraya River.

2. The Banyan Tree, Vertigo Grill & Moon Bar – Located on the 61stfloor, Vertigo is one of the landmarks of fine dining in Bangkok. The top floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel offers spectacular panoramic views of Bangkok. Even without trying the decadent menu, just witnessing the sunset at Vertigo is an unforgettable experience. The slow melt of the sun into darkness, ultimately revealing the sparkling lights of the Bangkok night, leaves guests awestruck.

3. Centara Grand at CentralWorld, A gourmet dining & grill restaurant, Fifty Five is dramatically perched on the 54th and 55th floors, with amazing views of Bangkok, set to serve the very best Thailand has to offer. Red Sky a chic, urban bistro and lounge with breathtaking, al fresco vistas of Bangkok, located on the 55th floor. Both scheduled to open in September 2008.

4. The Dusit Thani, D’Sens – A graceful French restaurant, D’Sens is located on the top floor of the hotel. The large windows allow guests to gaze out onto all the early evening activity of historical Lumpini Park and the hustle and bustle of Silom, Bangkok’s city center.

5. The Landmark Hotel, RR & B Bar- A roof-top steakhouse and bar, RR & B is located on the 31 stfloor, offering breathtaking views of the city’s skyline and one of Bangkok’s best grills.

6. The Westin Grande Sukhumvit Hotel, Horizon Sky Lounge and Karaoke- Follow dinner with drinks, music and questionable karaoke at the Horizons Sky Lounge and Karaoke with its panoramic views of Bangkok’s sparkling lights.

7. The Baiyoke Sky, Thailand’s tallest hotel with 3 fantastic restaurants located at its peak. The Bangkok Sky Restaurant on the 76th and 78th floors, the Crystal Grill on the 82nd floor and the rocking Roof Top Bar & Music on the 83rd floor, Thailand’s highest entertainment venue.

8. The Oriental Hotel, The Verandah – With a massive patio extending out onto the Chao Phraya River, the elegant Verandah is the perfect spot to enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner. Renovated in 2005 the Verandah serves delectable Asian and Western cuisines in subtle Thai surroundings. The majestic Oriental Hotel was just ranked number 14 in Travel and Leisure’s Top 500 Hotels.

9. The Millennium Hilton Bangkok – Three Sixty Lounge- Sitting 32 floors up and chilling out to a little jazz, the Three Sixty Lounge provides the perfect setting to take Bangkok all in. A relaxed, romantic setting with an extensive cocktail list, this jazz bar is quickly becoming a city favorite.

10. The Peninsula Hotel, Thiptara Restaurant – Thiptara literally translates to ‘heaven on water’ and the Thiptara Restaurant is just that, set on the picturesque banks of the Chao Phraya River nestled under a huge Banyan tree. The Peninsula’s new Thiptara Thai restaurant offers authentic, Thai home-style food served outdoors, in teakwood, Thai-style pavilions. Bangkok’s outstanding Peninsula Hotel was just ranked number 17 in Travel and Leisure’s Top 500 Hotels.

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.

 

 

 

Top 10 Ecotourism Hotels in Asia: The Recommendations

In Asia Travel, Travel on August 5, 2008 at 6:36 am

The beauty of natural resources in Asia

The beauty of natural resources in Asia

Many people will always delight if they had a chance to look at the trendy statistic number which shows the impressive growth of tourist businesses in Asia in every recent year. Without realizing, tourism has brought a lot of good and bad things, the rich of natural resources and traditional cultures might already be sacrificed with the construction of 5 star hotels, luxury resorts, world class golf courses and tourist entertainment communities. The concept of “Ecotourism” is now spreading out widely in Asia, especially South East Asia, to provoke the prevention of these losses and urging to preserve the beauty of their natural and cultural heritage.

Despite its attractive and good-meaning philosophy, Ecotourism seems to be appropriated much in the same way as the word “Environmentally-friendly” travel during which tourists try their best to minimize environmental impact and ensure their spending and presence benefits the local community. This also implies that, ‘going green’ is not only related to the environment, but involves all areas of sustainability and social responsibility.

According to the International Tourism Partnership, achieving a green standard must include six key areas: environmental management, policy and framework, staff training and awareness, purchasing, people and communities and destination protection. 

As travelers the world over realize that the responsibility to protect the environment is a shared one, they are adopting greener lifestyles and scrutinizing the hotels and destinations they choose to stay in.  Here are the top recommendations for the “go green” hotels in Asia;

1. Banyan Tree Resort Phuket, Thailand

Transforming the site of an abandoned tin mine which was once described by the UN as a ‘toxic wasteland’ into the environmental showcase it is today proves just how powerful responsible tourism can be. Such is the legacy of the Banyan Tree group. Now as much of a wildlife sanctuary as it is a resort complex, the Banyan Tree Phuket is an inspiration to everyone. True champions of the principles of corporate social responsibility, guests are assured when they stay at Banyan Tree that part of their fees will be directed into conserving the environment and local community.

2. La Residence d’Angkor, Siem Reap,Cambodia

Designed to blend harmoniously with the environment, La Residence also possesses a strong commitment to sustainable tourism. Beyond their environmentally sound practices (which include treating water so that it can be released back into the river and keeping used oil for biofuel production) the hotel also donates regularly to local charities and invites guests to do the same. In particular, they support the Angkor Hospital for Children through the weekly screening of a video where guests have the opportunity to ask the hospital staff questions and can contribute either second-hand items or donate money to the cause.

3. Evason Hua Hin Resort & Six Senses Spa, Thailand

The iconic thatched huts of the Evason Hua Hin Resort are not misleading in terms of their eco-friendly nature. Drawing on biodegradable products and adopting practices that conserve energy and minimize waste, the resort also supports several local initiatives such as the Mangrove Forest Conservation, the Kervorkian Foundation (dedicated to assisting HIV+ babies and children) as well as providing employment opportunities to disabled individuals and hosting its own organic vegetable farm.

4. Nihiwatu, Sumba Island, Indonesia

There is no place on earth like Sumba Island. Here, the indigenous traditions and animist culture of the Sumbanese people remain completely in tact. And the resort has no intention of changing that. Located on 438 acres of tropical forest and rice terraces and surrounded by some of the world’s most pristine beaches, Nihiwatu is a place to go and immerse yourself in nature. The resort is strongly committed to conserving its native surrounds and improving the quality of life of the Sumbanese people.

5. Anantara Resort & Spa Golden Triangle, Thailand

Nestled in the tropical jungle of Thailand’s most Northern province, Anantara’s Golden Triangle resort also plays a significant role in elephant conservation. As part of The Royal Thai Government’s Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC), this project is aimed at protecting elephants and keeping them in an environment similar to the traditional mahout camps which supported the once-thriving logging industry. With unique programs for guests that involve mahout training as well as elephant trekking and forest living skills, the conservation experience is a truly interactive one.

6. Amar Vilas Agra, India

As part of the esteemed Oberoi Resorts and Hotels, this beautifully designed luxury resort is within 600 metres of the majestic Taj Mahal. But besides its unique architectural and landscape design, the Amar Vilas also upholds a commitment to philanthropic activities (including education and support for the mentally and physically challenged) in addition to conserving the local environment and cultural heritage.

7. Popa Mountain Resort, Bagan, Myanmar

Located in the forest woodlands on the side of Popa mountain, this resort has been sensitively designed to suit its surroundings. Guests are enclosed in the vibrant, yet peaceful terrain and there is ample opportunity to hike and visit the breathtaking Mt. Popa shrine. Using biodegradable products and adopting their own recycling practices to avoid environmental damage, this small resort can bring you back to nature in its purest form.

8. Suneva Fushi Resort & Six Senses Spa, Maldives

Just as all the Six Senses properties do, this resort has a comprehensive policy on its environmental and social responsibilities. Suneva Fushi in particular supports a myriad of Maldivian community initiatives including tree planting on Eydafushi Island, hosting eye camps where locals get free treatment from ophthalmologists, sponsoring the Maldivian Cultural Centre and many more.

9. Tanjung Sanctuary Hotel, Langkawi, Malaysia

True to its name and slogan, this resort literally is a sanctuary for those who “don’t like big hotels” but have a passion for nature. The Tanjung Sanctuary Hotel does not list its specific policies on the environment, the resort’s design and practices uphold the ideals of sustainable tourism. Importantly, they provide a unique insight into the local flora and fauna with specially designed educational tours for guests.

10. Alila Ubud and Manggis Resorts, Bali, Indonesia

These two resorts are in close proximity to each other and both recently achieved Green Globe certified status. Alila Ubud was awarded best practice results in waste recycling, managing to recycle 80% of its water consumption. Alila Manggis excelled in the reduction of water and electricity consumption as well as community contribution by employing 85% of its staff from within 20km of the resort site.

Remember that it is all our responsibilities to preserve the world’s natural resources as much as we want to preserve fresh air for our pure breathing. Travel responsibly under the concept of “Ecotourism” or alike must always come together with or even before the casual joys and entertainments we leave behind on the course of our vacation trips.

 

 

 

 

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 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.

 

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.