SPRING TRAVEL DESTINATIONS TO ASIABy Lita Lin
Heading out of town this spring will definitely keep your spirits happy. The kids get a break from school, so why shouldn’t you? Give yourself a spring break you will never forget by heading to Asia. Here are our top travel destinations in Asia for 2017.
Bali, Indonesia – If you are looking for your exotic vacation, look no further than Bali. The pristine beaches offer an authentic and relaxing vibe. If you are more of a “get up and go” type of vacationer, there is so much to do in Bali. From night life to scuba diving to visiting the temples, Bali has so much to offer. We suggest checking out Goa Lawah or Bat Cave Temple, here you can explore the caves and give offerings and pray.
Siem Reap, Cambodia – The life-support system and gateway for the temples of Angkor, Siem Reap was always destined for great things. Visitors come here to see the temples, of course, but there is plenty to do in and around the city when you’re templed to venture out. Siem Reap has reinvented itself as the epicentre of chic Cambodia, with everything from backpacker party pads to hip hotels, world-class wining and dining across a range of cuisines, sumptuous spas, great shopping, local tours to suit both foodies and adventurers, and a creative cultural scene that includes Cambodia’s leading circus.
Kyoto, Japan – The former capital of Japan, Kyoto is famous worldwide for its temples and shrines. The Kyoto Prefecture stretches out from the southeast to the northwest in the central and northern parts of the Kansai region. Kyoto became the capital of Japan in the 8th century. It flourished as the center for Japanese politics, economy and culture for some 1,100 years, until the capital functions were transferred to Tokyo in the mid-19th century. There remain many temples and shrines in Kyoto that were built during this long period. Seventeen historic sites including, Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Nijo Castle, are inscribed as World Cultural Heritage Sites. The festivals in Kyoto are famous not only in Japan, but are also known worldwide. The three major festivals of Kyoto are the Aoi-matsuri Festival in early summer, the Gion-matsuri Festival in mid-summer and the Jidai-matsuri Festival in fall. There is also the Gozan-no-Okuribi, more commonly known as Daimonji-yaki, held on the night of Urabon (August 16th). During this festival numerous torches are ignited on the five mountains surrounding Kyoto, with the flames laid out to form a letter or figure. It is a summer event known both at home and abroad.
Boracay, Philippines – Recently named by TripAdvisor as one of the best islands in Asia, Boracay truly has not yet lost its allure. The island gem housed in the Aklan province, is famous for its fine white sand and vibrant night life. When visiting Boracay, be sure not to miss Yapak Beach (Puka Shell Beach) known for beautiful white shells, Ariel’s Point and White Beach, known for its picture-perfect sunsets. Definitely three of the most beautiful beaches you will ever see. At only 4.5 miles long, Boracay is small enough to navigate by rented bicycle or motorbike.
Hoi An, Vietnam – It’s a very beautiful city in Vietnam, just south of Da Nang. The Old Town of Hoi An is listed as a Unesco World Heritage site. With more than 2,000 years of history, Hoi An was the principal port of the Cham Kingdom, which controlled the strategic spice trade with Indonesia from the 7th to the 10th century and was a major international port in the 16th and 17th centuries – and the foreign influences are discernible to this day. The main thoroughfare in the Old Town is Tran Phu. Hoi An is known for clothing and shoes, with more than 600 shops catering to tourists. Walk some of the streets outside the old town and you will see open-fronted workshops operating all hours of the day where the clothes are made.
Manila, Philippines – If you like big cities you’ll love Manila: it’s a high-speed, frenetic place, where you can eat, drink and shop 24 hours a day and where the Filipino heritage of native, Spanish, Chinese and American cultures are at their most mixed up. Like many capital cities, Manila bears little resemblance to the rest of the country – something to remember if this is your first taste of the Philippines. With 12 million residents, much of it is chronically overcrowded. You’ll find enormous shopping malls where thousands of wealthy, middle-class Manileños are as fashionable and hooked up with iPhones as any of their contemporaries in London or New York. And while the older parts of the city may seem shabby and run-down, sparkling districts like Makati, Ortigas and Fort Bonifacio are smart and skyscraper-smothered, like any other booming Asian metropolis.
Phuket, Thailand – A rainforested, mountainous island in the Andaman Sea, Phuket has some of Thailand’s most popular beaches, mostly situated along the clear waters of the western shore. The island is home to many high-end seaside resorts, spas and restaurants. Phuket City, the capital, has old shophouses and busy markets. Patong, the main resort town, has many nightclubs, bars and discos. The rainy season in Phuket runs from April through to October. However, many Phuket regulars cite this as the best time to visit, as hotel and travel rates are low and the beaches are much less crowded. There is usually a downpour daily in the early evening at this time, but throughout much of the day, the weather is usually sunny and pleasant.
Jakarta, Indonesia – Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia, located on the northwest side of the island of Java. Jakarta is the country’s economic, cultural and political centre and the most populous city not only in Indonesia, but in Southeast Asia as a whole. Although the city is known for its heavy traffic, it is filled with an exciting nightlife and vibrant shopping areas. The city is also the centre and melting pot of Indonesian culture which makes Jakarta extremely enjoyable. You’ll be happy to find that the people of Jakarta are among the most friendly, hospitable, and helpful people you’ll find on earth.