Travelrific® Travel Journal

A blog for travel enthusiasts. Listen to our podcasts on the blogroll at Travelrific® Radio. Visit our Wanderful Places® Travel Shop for travel-inspired merchandise!

Archive for asia

A Super Grove in Singapore

By Linda Tancs

There are trees and then there are “supertrees.” In Singapore, the latter consists of a trunk core made of reinforced concrete wrapped with a steel frame. Planting panels are installed on the trunks for the planting of the living skin. Each canopy, shaped like an inverted umbrella, provides shade during the day and a light and sound show at night. Over 162,900 plants comprising more than 200 species and varieties of bromeliads, orchids, ferns and tropical flowering climbers have been planted on the panels. Towering at 16 stories, these unique trees can be found all around the Gardens by the Bay– 12 at the Supertree Grove and six at the Golden and Silver Gardens. Take in a different view of the Gardens and stroll along the OCBC Skyway, a 419-foot-long walkway at a height of 72 feet connecting two trees at the grove. Admission to the outdoor gardens is free. Tickets can be purchased for the Skyway and conservatories.

Advertisements

Stairway to Heaven

By Linda Tancs

You’ll be knocking at heaven’s door at China’s Tianmen Mountain, called one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Located near Zhangjiajie, it boasts a water-eroded hole (cave) between two peaks, the highest hole of its kind in the world. After an investment of 999 steps and 30 minutes (your stairway to heaven), you’ll find yourself at the cave, where unforgettable photos await. If the hike is too arduous, then visit the new glass skywalk stretching around the mountain’s vertical cliffs, overlooking Tongtian Avenue (Avenue to the Sky), a mountain road with 99 turns. For a different perspective, take the cable car ride from a nearby rail station to the top of the mountain. April to October offers the best weather for a stunning visit.

Ancient Sovereignty in Southeast Asia

By Linda Tancs

One of the most ancient sovereign states in Southeast Asia (dating as far back as the 5th century), Brunei Darussalam is a tiny nation on the island of Borneo bordered by the South China Sea. The capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, is home to the opulent Jame’Asr Hassanil Bolkiah mosque and its 29 golden domes, one for each of the nation’s 29 sultan rulers. The capital’s massive Istana Nurul Iman palace is the residence of Brunei’s ruling sultan, a dwelling recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest living residence of a head of state. Despite its grandiose accoutrements, Brunei is a quieter alternative to other oil-rich countries like Dubai. It features the unpretentious water village Kampong Ayer, pristine beaches and a biodiverse rainforest.

Earth’s Largest Lizard

By Linda Tancs

The closest living example of the legendary dragon in folklore and mythology is the Komodo dragon, the largest living species of lizard on earth. Reaching 10 feet in length and topping nearly 200 pounds, the monitor is protected from extinction in its native land of Indonesia at Komodo National Park. Sitting at the center of an archipelago, the park (which recently celebrated its 37th year of conservation) consists mainly of three volcanic islands and landscapes varying from dry savanna conditions to lush forests. Bounded by white sandy beaches and clear blue waters, the area attracts underwater enthusiasts as well. Divers claim that Komodo waters present one of the best diving sites in the world, with 385 species of beautiful corals alone.

Legend of the Dragon Princess

By Linda Tancs

According to legend, a beautiful dragon princess was so enchanted by the South China Sea that she abandoned a trip to Singapore to visit her prince and took the form of an island—Tioman, one of the most popular islands on the southeastern side of Peninsular Malaysia. Prized for its diving and snorkeling opportunities, inland it comprises thick jungle and the promise of numerous jungle treks. The duty-free island is also a marine park, requiring an entrance fee payment on arrival. The best time to visit is between mid-March and mid-October to avoid the northeast monsoon. Direct flights are available from Subang Airport; a cheaper alternative is a bus/ferry combination from Kuala Lumpur.

The Castle on a Plain

By Linda Tancs

Unlike the usual hilltop or mountaintop castle, Hiroshima Castle is built on a plain in the center of the city. Developed as a castle town, Hiroshima’s pride was built in 1589 by a powerful feudal lord. Surrounded by a moat, its keep is five stories high. The keep, along with the rest of the structure, was rebuilt following its destruction from the nuclear attack on the city in 1945 during World War II. The castle is just a 15-minute walk from Peace Memorial Park and its featured A-Bomb Dome, a World Heritage Site.

Horseback Archery in Tokyo

By Linda Tancs

It’s hard enough to hit a target standing still, which is why Tokyo’s horseback archery festival is a stunning display of athletic prowess and precision. Held on the third Saturday each April, the Asakusa Yabusame festival takes place in the Taito ward, preceded by a parade from Denpo-in Temple to Sumida Park featuring a demonstration of archery practice. Discover how, indeed, practice makes perfect.

%d bloggers like this: