Tag Archives: World

Phuket Photo Essays You Should See

For those planning to explore Phuket, here’s a compilation of photo essays that capture various sides of the Thai province that is well-loved by travelers.

From Fly See Stay:flyseestay

This photo essay mainly captures the beauty of nature in Phuket with shots of the clear waters and limestone cliffs, along with images of floating villages and the locals there. Oh, and the author sneaked in a picture of the notorious Patong area as well.

Full photo essay here: Fly See Stay

Best Beaches in Phuket >>>

From Bowdy Wanders:bowdywanders

With many pictures of the places of worship and the beautiful details in their architecture, this photo essay shows a side of Phuket that is different from the ‘sun, sand and sea’ stereotype, although some pictures of the latter is included as well.

Full photo essay here: Bowdy Wanders

Viewpoints in Phuket >>>

From Notes From A Big World:

notesfrabigworld

Perhaps not the prettiest or most professional of pictures, but this photo essay that focuses on Phuket’s transportation system is worth viewing nonetheless, as it captures the vehicles that locals use, providing insight to their daily lives.

Full photo essay here: Notes From A Big World

5 Things To Do In Phuket >>>

From Monkey Abroad:

monkeyabroad

This photo essay is very ‘real’- compiled over a period of 6 months by a foreign teacher who lived and worked in Phuket. It shows everything from the beaches to the temples to the nightlife, and is probably the closest to how the locals would see the province.

Full photo essay here: Monkey Abroad

Explore Phuket Nightlife at Patong>>>

Ever been to Phuket? Which was your favorite photo essay? Share your travel stories in the comments below!

Images courtesy of (from top to bottom): Fly See StayBowdy WandersNotes From A Big World & Monkey Abroad.

Visit travelog.me for more places to go when in Phuket!

Have insider information or travel stories to share? Contribute to the Travelog blog & engage with travel-lovers like yourself (credits will be given). Email us at hello@travelog.me to find out more!

4 Historical Structures to visit in Beijing

1. The Forbidden City
4 Jing Shan Qian Jie, Dongcheng, Beijing, China

The Forbidden City

Recognised as a World Culture Heritage by UNESCO, The Forbidden City is one of Beijing’s most well-known historical attractions. It was home to 24 emperors throughout Chinese history, along with countless other royal subjects. Join a tour or explore on your own to see this majestic structure, and get a sense of how the Chinese royals lived back in the day.

Read more about The Forbidden City here >>

2. The Great Wall of China
Yanging, Beijing, China

2A well-known historical treasure, The Great Wall is a must-see for history buffs. Built over 2000 years ago, this is perhaps the most extensive construction project the world has ever seen. Explore Badaling section of this historical site while in Beijing; it’s the most popular section of the Great Wall amongst travellers. Climb on for amazing views at the top!

Read more about The Great Wall of China here >>

3. Ming Tombs
Changchi Rd, Changping, Beijing, China

Ming TombsNot far from where the Badaling Great Wall is located, the Ming Tombs are another historical attraction you should visit in Beijing, where the emperors of the Ming dynasty were buried. There are 3 tombs that are open to public- Dingling, Changling and Zhaoling. While visiting the Ming Tombs complex, walk along the Sacred Way, historically believed to lead to heaven, this path is lined with statues over a hundred years old.

Read more about the Ming Tombs here >>

4. Summer Palace
19 Xin Jian Gong Men Lu, Haidian, Beijing, China

Summer PalaceSaid to be the most well-preserved royal park in the world, the vast compound is a collection of lakes, gardens and palaces located at the northwest of Beijing. Take a boat ride to see an island temple, enjoy a traditional performance at one of the restored theatres, and relax at one of the airy pavilions in the Garden of Restful Peace. Other popular spots to visit include the path known as the “Long Corridor” and the Longevity Hill.

Read more about the Summer Palace here >>


Visit travelog.me for more interesting & unusual things to do when living in or visiting Beijing.

Images courtesy of (from top to bottom) Strategieavc, Digitalhint, China Tour Guide, U Texas

Themed Cafes in Seoul – Part 2

If you’re done exploring the Seoul cafes introduced in the previous Travelog article, here are some more unique themed cafes to visit while you’re in Seoul!

Cafe’ra
Address: Incheon-si, Yeonsu-gu, Songdo-dong 18-1
Closest Subway Station: Central Park Station (Line 1)

cafe'ra

With the rise of Instagram, it seems everyone can be a photographer nowadays. For photography buffs and photographer wannabes, this is one cafe you’ll have to visit. The cafe is decorated with photographs on the wall and other knick-knacks on the shelves. P.S. if you bring along your own DSLR, they’ll let you have a go with their lenses too! After having fun taking pictures around the cafe, relax with a cup of coffee while picking out your favourite snaps of the day.

Thanks Nature Cafe

thanks nature cafe sheep

Cat cafes are cute and all, but for more novelty, why not visit this sheep cafe instead?This is probably the only cafe where sheep can be seen roaming around the cafe freely. Do note that the fluffy animals can only be seen during the cooler months of the year as the owner sends them back to the sheep ranch when it gets too warm, so be sure to plan your visit according to the season! Sheep aside, the cafe also offers well-loved sweet treats like waffles and ice-cream.

Read more about Thanks Nature Cafe here >>

Cafe Oz

cafe oz games.jpegReminisce about your childhood or just spend a lazy afternoon playing at this board games cafe. If you have no plans for the day or would like a break from exploring Seoul, this is a great place to be. Chill with your friends at Cafe Oz with a cup of coffee and tea, and play away. Be warned: time flies at Cafe Oz when you’re engrossed in your games!

See more about Cafe Oz here >>

Hanbok Cafe
Address: 249-24, Jangchungdan-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul,South Korea
Closest Subway Station: Dongdaemun History Culture Park subway station

hanbok

Envision yourself as an actress in a Korean historical drama in this cafe. With beautifully coloured hanboks, the traditional Korean dress for women, have fun choosing your hanbok and getting dolled up. The cafe has many backdrops that depict the Korea of the past, providing many photo locations for you to snap a picture!

Princess Diary Cafe

Here’s another one for the girls- those who dream of being a princess would love this cafe. Live your dream and be a princess for a day at Princess Diary, where racks of dresses and shoes await you. From the interior to the dresses to the drinks, everything is pretty in this cafe! This is where playing dress up is completely acceptable for grown women, so rent a gown, spend time taking pictures and feel pampered like the princess you are.

Read more on Princess Diary Cafe here >>


And if you missed it, here’s the first Travelog article on themed cafes in Seoulclick here to view.

Visit travelog.me for more information on places to visit when next in Seoul.

Images courtesy of (from top to bottom) jhtn38.blog.me, Thanks Nature Cafe Facebook,  Aclipse, 5 Flower, blog.naver.com.

10 Festivals to Check Out in Asia This March

If you are spending time in Asia this March, and you’re not quite sure what to do or where to go, you’re in luck. We’ve rounded up the best things to do in Asia in March, so you can arrange your itinerary around festivals, concerts, events and celebrations in the area.

Bali

1. The Bali Spirit Festival

The Bali Spirit Festival is in Ubud, and it’s an annual celebration of dance, yoga, and music. The festival runs over 4 days and 5 nights in the cultural centre of Bali, and will have an interesting mix of both local, indigenous Indonesian culture, and international performances.

balispirit

The festival also includes more than 95 workshops, so you can meet teachers and gurus from a bunch of different fields. This is the place to go if you’re hoping to “find yourself” in Asia, and you’ll be rubbing shoulders with 4,500 other people who are hoping to do the same.

Find more things to do in Bali >>

Vietnam

2. The Perfume Pagoda

theperfumepagodaThe Perfume Pagoda is located about an hour from Hanoi, and the site itself dates back over 2,000 years, to when a Buddhist Monk decided to meditate in the area. The site is now where this religious festival is held, and the festival officially begins on the 15th of February, continuing through the whole month of March.

Expect to see hundreds of thousands of pilgrims making their way to the festival, which is the most famous Buddhist site in Vietnam.

China

3. The Shanghai Peach Blossom Festival

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China has an overwhelming amount of festivals, especially early in the year. The Shanghai Peach Blossom Festival is celebrated from the 26th of March to the 20th of April, and has been running since 1991. Chinese music is played by local ethnic folk musicians, and there are plenty of other entertainment options such as pig races, acrobatics, picnics, and of course the chance to take photos of the gorgeous peach trees-the main draw to the area.

Find more things to do in Shanghai >>

4. The Zigong Lantern FestivalFestive-Chinese-New-Year-Lantern-Design-2015-With-Zigong-Lantern-Festival

The Zigong Lantern Festival is also on, and runs for around a month, from early February to mid-March. The festival has been going strong since the Tang dynasty, and tourists are drawn to the thousands of traditional lanterns made of silk, glass, paper, porcelain, and bamboo.

5. Baiyun Temple Fair

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Visitors to Beijing will want to check out the Baiyun Temple Fair, which runs from mid-February to early March. You’ll get to try plenty of local snacks, browse the folk handicrafts, and enjoy the painting exhibitions. This is an important fair for Taoists, and has become increasingly popular with locals, who play games and watch the Peking opera, dragon dancing, kung fu shows, and stilt walking.

Find more things to do in Beijing >>

Hong Kong

6. Hong Kong International Film Festival

00221917dec40ed68f1c07If you’re stopping over in Hong Kong in late March, be sure to check out the Hong Kong International Film Festival. The festival is also a big deal to the Chinese, who have the opportunity to show films that they wouldn’t be able to show in China.

7. The Hong Kong Arts Festival

HKAF 2012 2 The Hong Kong Arts Festival also runs throughout March, and includes numerous performances from China and overseas, including ballets, operas, and symphonies.

See more things to do in Hong Kong >>

Thailand

8. Pattaya Music Festival

PATTAYA-INTERNATIONAL-MUSIC-FESTIVAL01If you’ll be down south, be sure to head to Pattaya for the Pattaya Music Festival, which will feature every type of music that is at the front of the Thai Industry. Music fans will love this festival, and Pattaya gets crazy at the best of times.

9. The Bangkok International Jazz Festival

7eee4ecb6595160eaaad14e90adf3The Bangkok International Jazz Festival also draws jazz lovers from around the world, and you’ll usually find it in CentralWorld Square, over six days. Enjoy world-class artists, and take some time to do some shopping in the city while you’re there.

Find more things to do in Bangkok >>

India

10. Holi Festival

Holi-Images-Holi-Celebration-Holi-Festival-Of-Colors-Holi-Colors-Holi-Colours-Free-Images-3During the full moon in March, Holi is the festival of colours, and is when both children and adults welcome Spring by throwing coloured powder at each other. Dyed water is also thrown from buckets, shot from syringes, and poured into balloons and tossed at people.


Article contributed by Stacey Kuyf, onetravelsfar.com.

Visit travelog.me for more information on things to do when living or traveling in Asia.

Need more information to help you find the best things do this  month in Asia?

Images courtesy of (from top to bottom) Festivals of Colour USAUltimate Bali, Event-Carnival, Travel Chinesecio, Jenniferrana.comBeijing Tourism, China Daily, PR Web, All About Jazz, Wikipedia.

4 Bars You Should Visit if You Want to Drink Like a Local in Chiang Mai

There are a lot of bars in Chiang Mai. In fact one would need to spend all of his life to visit them all. In the city centre all of them are targeted at tourists, where backpackers mix with the expat crowd. There you will also encounter sex-pats with their ladyboys and young Thai wives. But, Chiang Mai has also places, which are frequented mostly by Thais. Some of them are hidden in small streets, away from the tourists areas, and are hard to find if you are here only for a few days. However, there are a couple of places that are easily accessible, have wonderful atmosphere, and yet are omitted by those visiting the city. Here are 4 of them.

1.  Sudsanan

Location: Sukhaphiban 9, off Hauy Kaw Road

You would never think that the dirt road, full of holes, can lead to one of the nicest bars in Chiang Mai. It is hidden away, but once you get there you will come back again and again.

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This wooden hut has a chilled out atmosphere and is popular among locals of all ages. They have a live band playing almost every night, but the music is very acoustic and not loud, so you can easily have a conversation without shouting over each other.

They also serve Thai food, which is tasty and not pricey at all – around 60-90 Baht per dish. During the weekend they have an outside barbecue.

2.  Seven Pounds

Location: Te Wan Road

This is one of my favourite bars. It is a tiny place, with a garden at the back, all decorated with random objects. There is a bath tub in the corner, where they used to grow flowers, and now it is left with growing weeds and empty bottles of wine sticking out of it. There is a dentist chair, old telephones and TVs, and really cool ancient chandeliers. This is a place, which a hipster would love.

2

The bar is very quiet during the week. They have a live band during the weekend, which starts playing at around 9pm. The music here is mostly rock and it is much louder than in Sudsanan. Come here if you enjoy a glass of beer and some noisy music .

3

3.  Kamrai Shop

Location: Nimmenhamida Road, it is on your right if you come from Maya Shopping Centre

It is not really a bar, but an alcohol shop, where people come to meet with friends over a drink. The great thing about this place is that it is not only in a great location, but also offers alcohol at retail prices.

I would say that the owners try to attract the ‘middle class’ customers, so they do not sell cheap Thai whiskey. All you can get here is beer, wine, vodka and a good selection of rum and imported whiskeys.

4

You can buy the alcohol to take away with you, or you can ask for a glass and drink it at one of the tables outside.

The shop doesn’t have a kitchen, but you can order food here and they will deliver it to you from the nearby restaurant.

The bar is noisy and lively, but there is no music playing. It is ideal for a drink before a night out.

 4.  The Bus Bar

Location: 11 Kampagdin Road, Across from Imperial Mae Ping Hotel

Looking for a place for a romantic date? Or maybe you would like to have a nice, quiet drink in a place, overlooking the Ping River? Look no further! Bus Bar is a place you are looking for!

It is a cool spot for many reasons. First of all, it really IS a bus bar. They sell drinks out of a double dekker bus, which you can also climb and spend the evening there, if you like. Second reason is the location – it is just by the river and next to an iron bridge (during the night you will see some young Thai couples making out, away from their relatives’ prying eyes) and the views and the atmosphere are quite romantic.

They sometimes have a singer, who usually sings some rock ballads, and if he is not there then they play all the classic rock and pop songs.

5

On Wednesdays you can come here for the Couchsurfing meet up. It starts around 7pm.

Learn more about Chiang Mai >>


Article & images contributed by Joanna Szreder, theblondtravels.com

Still looking for things to do in Chiang Mai? Check out this article onThe Ultimate Guide to 24 Hours in Chiang Mai : Backpacker’s Edition.

More useful resources :

Countdown to Valentine’s Day With These Six Romantic Getaways in 2015

We are popping the question on Valentine’s Day Getaways in 2015!

Whether you are a fan of beach, countryside or city destinations, hotels and resorts across the globe offer exceptional escapes that will make your romantic retreat memorable. The most cherished Valentine’s Day gifts come not only in heart-shaped boxes but also in unforgettable experiences.

Choose from any of these exotic destinations and make this Valentine’s one to remember.

6.  Bali, Indonesia

bali

Bali, meaning “heaven”, evokes your dream of the most splendid sights: towering volcanoes curled in a deep canopy, long white sandy beaches, and green turquoise water along curving coastlines. Ranked as one of the ‘World’s Best Islands’ according to Travel & Leisure Magazine and Lonely Planet.  Bali is exactly what you are looking for on your voyages of love. Spend time together lying on the pristine sand seashores or participating in watersports and beach activities to makes your trip more active and interesting. Rafting, surfing, cycling while savoring this beautiful island, the friendly, open locals and the stunning sunsets are among the best things you can do to warm-up your love on the Valentine’s Day.

See all Bali >>

5.  Inle Lake, Myanmar

inlelake

Inle Lake is the iconic destinations for couples looking for a quiet but charming getaway on Valentine’s Day 2015. Float on the small boats on the tranquil water, watch the splendid sunrises and sunsets reflecting the red-yellow waterway or slowly contemplate the exceptional floating gardens and floating homes of the Intha people. The feeling of take-back-time indulges your love into the slow rhythms of life, simple yet unique. The one-leg rowing technique of Intha fishermen is beyond your expectations and will complement this amazing Valentine’s Day Getaway in 2015.

4.  Bangkok, Thailand

bangkok

Defining the essence of a superb Valentine’s Day, Bangkok, the busy but charming capital of Thailand offers you a retreat of peace and comfort with a romantic twist. You will definitely want to take a canal tour to see the enchanting Chao Phraya River and beautiful canals of the city. Most of these extraordinary boat trips start at the eastern bank of the river, through the backwaters of Thonburi, the glorious Royal Barges National Museum and a unique floating market. Don’t forget to reward you and your loved one with a traditional Thai massage at least once during your visit to Bangkok. Reach the sky and walk in the clouds at the 61st rooftop of Banyan Tree Hotel, kindly recommended by our friends at Exotic Voyages.

See more on Bangkok >>

3.  Maldives

maldives

If you’re looking to celebrate Valentine’s Day in an intimate and significantly beautiful setting, the Maldives is the world’s best destination for all these things. Spoil yourselves with a dinner under the millions of stars with candlelight and natural wind, relaxing in a bungalow to watch the endless green turquoise water, doing beach activities such as surfing, fishing or even diving to see the vivid underwater world. A boat trip as if nature plays with the colors of the setting sun just to ensure that you remember each moment and this love for the rest of your life. Velassaru, Maldives, one of the most romantic Valentine’s Day Getaways in 2015 offers one-of-a-kind exclusive dining experiences.

2.  Hanoi, Vietnam 

Hanoi, Vietnam

Visit enchanting Hanoi and welcome Valentine’s Day with a true Vietnam experience and the best that Hanoi has to offer. Take a morning or evening cyclo along Hoan Kiem Lake, through 36 old Quarter streets to watch the daily life of Hanoians. Seeing Hanoi come to life in both its ancient and modern ways. At Exotic Voyages, we highly recommend you try a café in Hanoi. The unique décor and exceptional quality of coffee in each shop will give you a true taste of Vietnam. Walking along the Long Bien Bridge and watching the sun slowly sets behind the Red River presents the perfect end to any day. You are definitely in for a retreat as you visit Hanoi with your loved one in some of the luxury hotels at the centre of Hanoi.

1.  Shanghai, China

shanghai

Tianai Lu or Sweet Love Road in Hongkou District is the ideal place to take a romantic stroll. Here young couples often look at walls adorned with well-chosen love poems and aphorisms from famous poets of love. Ride the ferry wheel at Jinjiang Amusement Park and observe Shanghai from a birds-eye view. Shanghai is not only a place steeped in history but also a charming destination, good enough for even the most hard-to-please dates for Valentine’s Day 2015.

See all Shanghai >>


Still not sure how to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year? Check out these useful links for more ideas:

Images courtesy of (from top to bottom) Bali Island Experience, BookingYourTravel.com, Girls See the World Travel Club, Top Viral Media, China.org.cn.

More interesting posts on celebrating Valentine’s Day with your loved one:

Best Places in Asia For Celebrating Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is just round the corner so here at Travelog we’ve come up with a list of the eight cities across Asia where you can best see the festivities and experience a century old tradition come alive in modern settings!

Beijing-CNY

1.  Beijing, China

Beijing is where the biggest of all Chinese New Year celebrations take place across the world. With thousands of years of tradition waiting to come alive during this period, Beijing holds one of the world’s most colourful and interesting celebrations. Many temple fairs are set up during this festive period which showcases martial arts demonstrations, lion dances, folk performances. There will also be special sales and loads of festival food. Most people spend this period spending time with their families and visiting temples to pray to the gods. However, as it is after all China’s biggest public holiday, you can be sure that Beijing’s Chinese New Year celebrations will not be disappointing. Oh, and be prepared for an endless array of fireworks!

Find out more >>

Penang Malaysia

2.  Penang, Malaysia

Penang, particularly George Town, is where the festivities begin. Listed as one of the UNESCO heritage sites in Southeast Asia, George Town literally lights up during CNY. With lanterns hanging all over, a warm reddish-orange glow floods the streets as people celebrate with performances, delicious food and happy smiles! The renowned Kek Lok Si Temple would probably be the biggest light source in the area as it often lights thousands of lanterns and bulbs, illuminating the century old temple in preparation of the festivities.

Shanghai

3.  Shanghai, China

Shanghai, just like Beijing, will see tons of people flocking the streets of this Chinese city. However, unlike Beijing, Shanghai has its own charm and unique character. The Longhua Temple, the oldest in Shanghai, will see 108 Buddhist monks invited to climb the pagoda to strike the bell as a symbolic welcome of the new year while chasing away evil spirits. The Yu Yuan Gardens holds the city’s most famous lantern show – locals dress up in traditional garb and walk around the gardens holding ornately decorated lanterns as they revel in the festivities with delicious food and interesting merchandises that are for sale. To catch spectacular fireworks, head to The Bund which also has many party spots for you and your friends to get a drink and unwind.

Find out more >>

Hong Kong

4.  Hong Kong, China

With a full 15 days to celebrate age old traditions and cultural festivities, Hong Kong is no stranger to the Chinese New Year get up. Locals will flock to temples around the city to pray for good fortune in the new year, as do most places. However, in Hong Kong, the holiday kicks off with a fabulous parade along Tsim Sha Tsui with dozens of floats and performing groups. Fireworks are a definite must as well and you can catch the spectacular display of pyrotechnics along Victoria Harbour. And to make the holiday even more exciting, promotions, discounts and sales pop up all over giving locals to tourists alike, a wonderful shopping spree to stock up on new clothes for the new year.

See more >>

Bangkok

5.  Bangkok, Thailand

Home to the largest population of Chinese in Thailand, Bangkok naturally holds one of the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations in the country. Being predominantly Buddhist, most of the Chinese would take a day off to visit temples and give offerings in hope of a blessed year ahead. From red lanterns strung across streets, to loud music and lion dances as well as street performers, Bangkok is bustling more than ever during this period. Not to forget rows of stalls selling a variety of street food that will provide much needed relief as you’re out immersing yourself in the festivities. Do check out Nakhon Sawan, 220 km north of Bangkok as they have one of the grandest celebrations. One of the highlights would be the acrobatic performers who climb a 10m pole to retrieve the money affixed at the top!

Learn more >>

Singapore

6.  Singapore

Singapore’s official colours may be red and white but during CNY, red and gold is strewn across the streets especially in Chinatown where huge statues and pretty lanterns line the roads. Although fireworks are not so common during CNY as compared to other countries in Asia, the Singaporeans still have a good time during this season. From lion dances to street bazaars and acrobatic carnivals and shows, there’s plenty to keep everyone entertained. Not to mention all the delectable Chinese New Year goodies which are only available during this period. As Singapore is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year, Chinese New Year will lead up to one of the grandest parades ever to be held – Chingay 2015, themed “We Love SG”, so if you’re in town for CNY be sure to extend your stay to catch it!

Find out more here >>

Taiwan

7.  Taiwan

When we think of Chinese New Year in Taiwan, we think of lanterns, lanterns, lanterns. They vary vastly in shape and size and patterns but all bring joy and light to the people of Taiwan and its visitors. The culmination of celebrations ends with the biggest lantern festival where paper lanterns are lit and released en masse into the skies. People often write their wishes on the paper lanterns and send them up towards the heavens in hope of them coming true. The best place to catch the lantern festival would be in Pingxi. The sight of all the lanterns being released at once is truly one to behold.

Ho Chi Minh

8.  Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Considered one of the most important celebrations of the year, Chinese New Year or Tet as it’s called in Vietnamese is one of the most celebrated festivities. Tet is well known for its gorgeous flower displays where they would be arranged in the likeness of the animal that represents the coming year. A good place to catch the flower displays would be Nguyen Hue Flower Street. If you’re not so into flora, try the entertainment parts such as Dam Sen Park or Sui Tien Park. With music shows, games and activities, these parks transform into a mini carnival of sorts for everyone to revel in the festive spirit. Ho Chi Minh definitely comes alive during Tet with multiple performances along the streets, flowers blooming and lots of activities for one and all to take part in.

Still not sure where to celebrate this year’s Chinese New Year?  


Images courtesy of (from top to bottom) CPCSSchoolsWonderful MalaysiaShanghai HighlightsHK MagazineWikalendaContinental People10kBlessingsFengshui and VoyagestoAntiquity.

Still not sure where to celebrate Chinese New Year in Asia this year? Check out these useful links for more ideas: