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Archive for asia

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.

Malaysia’s First Garden

By Linda Tancs

Taiping is a small and quiet town in Perak, Malaysia. The unassuming little place might go largely unnoticed but for the popularity of its lake gardens. Taiping Lake Gardens is the first public garden, established during British rule in Malaysia (then Malaya). Built atop an abandoned tin mine (a prime natural resource in the 1800s), the park’s huge ancient rain trees drape the crystal clear waters of the lake. Spread over 158 acres, the area has 10 scenic lakes and ponds framing the gardens as well as charming bridges and tracks for jogging. Taiping is well connected to the rest of Peninsular Malaysia by express buses from the long-distance bus station at Kamunting and Simpang.

Japan’s Big Wheel

By Linda Tancs

Ready for the high life in Japan? Then head to Osaka for the country’s tallest ferris wheel at Expocity. The Redhorse Osaka Wheel is nearly 404 feet high with 72 passenger cabins boasting glass floors for that walking-on-air kind of view. The fifth highest wheel in the world, the ride takes 18 minutes to complete.

Malaysia’s Largest Cave

By Linda Tancs

Talk about a rock of ages. Peninsular Malaysia’s largest cave system, Gua Tempurung, has rock formations aged between 250 and 400 million years. The overall length of the cave is nearly three miles; the part accessible to the public is just over one mile. Its underground river is nearly one mile long, and when rain comes, the subterranean streams turn into a churning river of froth. You can admire the underground waterfalls and pendant stalactites via walkways. Four tours of escalating difficulty are also offered. The cave system is easily reached via the North-South Highway.

The World in 118 Acres

By Linda Tancs

At Window of the World in Shenzhen, China, some of the most famous tourist attractions in the world share 118 acres. The theme park’s careful reproductions include miniatures of the Eiffel Tower, the Tower of London, the Sphinx and pyramids, Sydney’s Opera House and even Niagara Falls. You’ll need the better part of a day to see it all; slow walkers should take advantage of the free buggies at the entrance. A favorite of locals and tourists alike, it’s a great way to see the world without spending down the frequent flyer miles.

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