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Pacific Fiji Islands Nadi Sanaisali Nadi

Fiji, Pacific

Nadi takes pride of place as one of the first stops on most visitors’ Fijian adventures. Home to more than 30,000 people, its cu...

string(2103) "Nadi takes pride of place as one of the first stops on most visitors’ Fijian adventures. Home to more than 30,000 people, its cultural diversity is what makes it a must-visit, but since it’s the gateway to Fiji, be prepared for the hectic hustle and bustle. Nadi is where you can take the beautiful day trips you’ve heard others talk about, to the other picturesque island such as the Mamanucas and Yasawas and embrace white sand beaches and clear blue waters. Ideal for a stopover stay before moving onto the outer islands, Nadi caters for solo backpackers and families, providing accomodation from five-star resorts to beachside hideaways. This is really a hub for visitors to plan the next stage of their Fiji travels, with convenient travel agents, shops and restaurants dotted along the marina and coastline. With most of Nadi formed of sugarcane fields, it’s seen as more as an arrival point than anything else, but there are still some fantastic things to do, from the Namaka shopping parade where you’ll be able to purchase souvenirs, clothing, books and jewellery, the ethnic and international restaurants of Martintar and the iconic attraction of Sri Siva Subrahmanya Swami Temple. Located a few miles off Queens Road, you’ll find the highly exclusive and luxurious, Denarau Island as well as the hotspot, Wailoaloa Beach.Acting as your base, Nadi provides ultra convenience for exploring the rest of the archipelago. Smugglers Cove Beach Resort & Hotel is located on the famous Wailoaloa Beach, just 15 minutes from the Nadi International Airport. As well as its vastly magnificent ocean views and stunning sunsets, Smugglers Cove caters to all budgets, but is typically frequented by backpackers due to its dorm-like facilities. For an extra dose of luxury, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay treats guests with a wellness spa, three outdoor swimming pools, a tennis court and a spa tub. Located on Momi Bay, wake up to mesmerising ocean or lagoon views from every room as well as options to stay in the enchanting over-water bures. Get a taste of authentic Fiji in Nadi."
Thailand Thailand

Asia

Situated midway between India and China in a fertile monsoon belt, Thailand shares its borders with Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Cambodi...

string(9211) "Situated midway between India and China in a fertile monsoon belt, Thailand shares its borders with Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia. Its east coast is on the Gulf of Thailand and the west coast on the Andaman Sea.The country is divided into four main regions: the Central Plains of the Chao Phraya River; the region of the northeast plateau; the fertile valley and mountains of Northern Thailand; and the rainforested southern peninsula. Each region has its own topographical identity and subtle differences between both the people and dialects.Capital and major centres It is worth enduring the inevitable traffic jams, pollution and humid weather to experience Bangkok, easily one of Asia’s most exciting cities. Known in Thai as Krung Thep, the ‘City of Angels’, Bangkok is the spiritual, symbolic and geographical heart of Thailand, and home to nine million people.Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city and an ideal base from which to explore the mountains and villages. The region is famed for its many fine temples and handicrafts. Ban Chiang, found in the northeastern province of Udon Thani, is most fascinating for its archaeological site which was discovered by accident in 1966. Artefacts on display are thought to date back to around 3600BC. Khorat, or Nakhon Ratchasima, was part of the ancient Khmer empire, and is today a rapidly expanding business centre.Along the east coast, on the Gulf of Thailand, lies Pattaya, which offers many beaches and is popular with families. On the sunrise coast of the Gulf of Thailand are Cha-am and Hua Hin. The former has experienced a dramatic surge in popularity since the mid-80s and catering mainly for Thais, its quiet village atmosphere has become a lot livelier. Nearby Hua Hin was Thailand’s first beach resort and in the 1920s was a popular retreat for minor Thai royalty. Nowadays the King and Queen reside here when they’re not in Bangkok.Further south along the east coast, beautiful Koh Samui is covered with coconut plantations and circled by palm-fringed beaches. The twin Phi Phi islands in Krabi are famed for their unusual and spectacular landscapes, while the country’s largest island, Phuket, lies in the Andaman Sea off the country’s southwestern coast. All of these places are popular tourist destinations.The people The majority of Thailand’s 68 million people are concentrated in the fertile Central Plains and in the capital, Bangkok. An easygoing people, Thais are known for their tolerance of other cultures and friend liness to visitors. Thai people will be offended only if there is any perceived disrespect to the king or Buddhism. Constitutional since 1932, the monarchy is revered almost as much as when kings were chakravartin, or ‘lords of life’. Buddhism is the dominant religion and orange-robed monks and gold, marble and stone Buddhas are common.Nature One-quarter of Thailand is covered by monsoon forest or rainforest, and the country has an incredible variety of fruit trees, bamboo and tropical hardwoods. National parks and wildlife sanctuaries cover 11 percent of the country and contain more than 850 resident and migratory species of birds and dwindling numbers of tigers, leopards, elephants and Asiatic black bears.The sights The Chao Phraya River, ‘river of kings’, is Thailand’s most important waterway, draining some of the country’s fertile rice growing land, and providing another means of travel in Bangkok. A few kilometres inland from Bang Saen, a beach resort popular with Bangkok residents, is the Khao Kheow Open Zoo, which has more than 50 wildlife species roaming its spacious, semi-free enclosures. Stretching north from Bangkok are the picturesque Central Plains with their checkered patterns of green rice paddies. In the heart of this region is Ayutthaya, the nation’s second capital. Buddhamanthon, a Buddhist park, lies on the western edge of Bangkok.Featuring a 16.25-metre statue of Buddha, the park commemorates the 2500th anniversary of the religion. Further west is the world’s tallest Buddhist monument at Nakhon Pathom. Not far from there is the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai as is the newly popular “Tiger Temple” or Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua. South from Chiang Mai are the numerous ruined temples of Thailand’s first capital, Sukothai, founded in the early 13th century. Further north from Chiang Mai is teak country where elephants used to work in the forests. Elephants can still be seen displaying their forestry skills at several training camps.Chiang Rai is a good centre for exploring the far north where visitors will find stunning jungle covered mountains, hilltribe villages, and Doi Tung, a mountain where Her Royal Highness the Princess Mother has a hilltop palace.Where to stay While Bangkok offers some of the most superb hotels in the world, Thailand and its capital have a wealth of accommodation options, from luxury and reasonable resort accommodation to simple comforts on islands or beaches. There are also bungalows, guesthouses and more basic native style hotels in regions such as Chiang Mai.Getting around Bangkok is possibly the world’s most congested city, and its traffic jams and pollution are notorious. It is, however, very easy to find transport of all kinds, including riverboats, public buses, limousines and tour buses run by hotels, as well as taxis, colourful tuk-tuks and samlors (bicycle rickshaws) that are found throughout the country. Songthaews, vans with two rows of seats in the back, are more common than city buses outside Bangkok and run popular routes for set fares. The Bangkok Metro (BMCL-Subway) operates every day from 6am until midnight every five minutes during peak hour and seven minutes in off-peak times. It is clean and extremely efficient. The BTS Skytrain covers much of the central city and its many commercial, residential and tourist areas. It gives the added bonus of seeing the city from a bird’s eye perspective.Food and entertainment Renown for its quality and diversity, Thai cuisine is as much a feast for the eyes as the stomach. And while eating for most Thai people is an informal, social activity, even the simplest of dishes are served with a carved carrot flower or spring onion tassel, and sometimes fruit and vegetable sculptures. Meals are rich and spicy, and seafood, including crab, fish, lobster and shrimp, feature heavily. Bangkok has restaurants of all nationalities and styles, from street stalls to elegant restaurants at deluxe hotels. The Dome at State Tower, for example, has a number of trendy bars and restaurants. Outside Bangkok, there are restaurants specialising in various national cuisines as well as the typical spicy northern delicacies.In Chiang Mai, the best way to sample the local fare is to order a Khantoke dinner which features a variety of dishes served with sticky rice. Rayong and Chanthaburi on the east coast are known for their succulent seafood as well as tropical fruits including durian, rambutans, custard apples and mangosteens.Those looking for nighttime entertainment will find all sorts of action in Bangkok. Neon-lit bar districts, pubs, discos, live music, theatre, classical dance, cultural shows, night markets and many other distractions abound. Check out the night markets behind Ratchaprarop Road in Pratunam. A night market in Hua Hin displays locally produced silk and cotton items and the region’s famed ‘kanom’ Thai sweets.Activities Thai boxing, or Muay Thai, Thailand’s national sport, is fast gaining popularity worldwide. The sport is highly ritualistic, but fights are fierce and furious. The ultra fit combatants use their elbows, knees and bare feet as well as gloved fists. Professional bouts are held almost every night at either of the two boxing stadiums in Bangkok. Golf, tennis, squash, darts and table tennis are also popular, and every imaginable watersport is available at the seaside resorts.Shopping The good quality, wide variety and reasonable prices of many Thai goods have long been a major attraction for tourists. Arts and crafts range from wicker rice steamers and triangular, patterned cushions to antiques. Internationally renowned Thai silks are available in a fascinating array of colours and designs. Tailors, particularly in Bangkok, can make clothes in any fabric to high standards at low prices. There are huge, modern shopping malls and other retail shops, but it is at the colourful markets at the heart of every Thai town that visitors can have fun bargaining with vendors.Climate The climate varies from north to south. There are three seasons, with March to May reaching 40°C. June to October is the wet season and November to February is the cool season at 27°C. Casual clothing is worn by most visitors to Thailand. Respectable attire is recommended for top hotels and restaurants. Skimpy clothing is forbidden in religious places.Currency The currency is the Thai Baht. A service charge is included in most bills. Only tip for special service. Porters expect a tip per piece of luggage. Remember that a tip consisting of coins is considered offensive."
AP_VIETNAM_6_(south) South Vietnam

Vietnam, Asia

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is Vietnam’s most dynamic city. With a population of 8.6 million, its streets are br...

string(2163) "Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is Vietnam’s most dynamic city. With a population of 8.6 million, its streets are brimming with shops, stalls and busy vendors with their wares spread out on sidewalks.Popular sights include the Doc Lap Palace, the War Remnants Museum and Notre Dame Cathedral, built in neo-Romanesque style. The central Ben Thanh Market is the best for souvenir bargains and delicious street foods.You can also visit Giac Lam Pagoda, one of the oldest pagodas in the city, and the spectacular Chinese-style Emperor of Jade Pagoda.The flat but lusciously green Mekong River Delta is the southernmost region of Vietnam and is an attractive patchwork of rice paddies, swamps and canals. The Cai Rang floating markets are the hub of the Mekong River Delta’s fishing and farming trades. These markets appear frantic but tourists should not be discouraged. Everything on sale usually hangs off the front of each boat, and bargaining is encouraged.A sampan boat is the perfect way to watch the Mekong River come alive, and tourists can expect to find everything from fish to jack fruit. The riverbank is dotted with stilted, wooden houses that are built right on the water’s edge.My Tho is a quiet city, a day trip from Saigon, with an interesting central market. Take a boat trip to explore local canals and nearby islands including Tan Long, where longan orchards are found.Further into the Delta lies the colourful town of Can Tho, the biggest city in the Mekong River Delta, with rice the most important industry. Can Tho has an array of delicious, local cuisine and photogenic floating markets nearby, and is close to the Cambodian border. Here you can also find the lively river city of Chau Doc, with beautiful sunset views from the top of Sam Mountain.Off the far southwest coast of Vietnam Phu Quoc Island has beautiful white sandy beaches and a choice of resortstyle hotels. It is famous for its black pepper and nuoc mam, or fish sauce, as well as its pearl factories. While it is not considered a prime nightlife destination, for peace, tranquility and relaxation, it is the perfect holiday spot."
east cost thailand East Coast Thailand

Thailand, Asia

The Gulf of Thailand offers a host of resorts where Thais and foreigners can unwind, relax on the superb beaches and enjoy the suc...

string(2641) "The Gulf of Thailand offers a host of resorts where Thais and foreigners can unwind, relax on the superb beaches and enjoy the succulent bounties of the sea.It is also home to magnificent mountains, waterfalls and lush tropical vegetation.Pattaya, in the province of Chonburi, lies 150 kilometres east of Bangkok and is one of Thailand’s best known beach resorts.It is a developed, vibrant city that draws families (mostly to Jomtien, two kilometres south of Pattaya) and singles (mostly to South Pattaya Road).It attracts visitors who love watersports and golf, as well as those looking for entertainment, dancing and action in its neon-lit go-go bars, nightclubs, cabarets and discos.For visitors looking for other activities, the Khao Kheow Zoo has more than 50 species of birds and animals, including deer, zebras and tigers, many of them indigenous to Southeast Asia. Each October, buffalo racing is held in conjunction with a fair, and there’s also a buffalo beauty contest.Since the 15th century, Chanthaburi has been known to Western travellers for its abundance of gemstones, and is as renown for gems worldwide as Bangkok. More than 70 percent of the world’s rubies come from Thailand, and Thai workers have a reputation for their skill and dexterity in faceting stones. Of all the Thai gemstones, deep blue sapphires and blood red rubies are the most highly prized, as are unusually coloured (such as yellow) sapphires.Covering an area of just 59 kilometres, Khao Kitchakut National Park is one of the country’s smallest and boasts a 1000-metre granite mountain after which the park is named. Many people make the four-hour climb to the summit of the impressive Phrabat mountains to see an image of the Buddha’s footprint and collections of natural rock formations shaped like an elephant, a large turtle, a pagoda and a monk’s bowl.Nearby, the far larger but less visited Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary provides a home to many endangered species, including sun bears, spotbellied eagle owls, silver pheasants and elephants.Mountainous Ko Chang is the largest of the 50 or so islands that form the Ko Chang National Marine Park, two-thirds of which is sea. Inland exploration is difficult due to the rugged terrain, but it has excellent beaches, including the popular Sai Khao Beach, prettier and quieter Khlong Phrao Beach and the particularly beautiful beach of Ao Bang Bao in the southwest corner. The tourism industry in Ko Chang is in its infancy, a contributing factor is probably the fact that several of the islands consist solely of exclusive, privately owned resorts."
fiji denarau captain cook cruises cruise ship view Denarau Island

Fiji, Pacific

Charmingly attached to the mainland by a causeway, Denarau is the pampering hub of Fiji, with eight resorts and an 18-hole champio...

string(1917) "Charmingly attached to the mainland by a causeway, Denarau is the pampering hub of Fiji, with eight resorts and an 18-hole championship golf course, as well as plenty of world-class dining spaces, shopping and adventure options. Boasting ultra luxurious villas and five-star resorts all manicured to perfection, whether you’re a family, a couple or a solo traveller, you’re sure to find a resort fantastic for your needs. Easily accessible from Nadi International Airport, Denarau Island is ideal for those seeking a more exclusive and luxurious break; think divine cocktails, soothing massages, infinity pools and butler service, so you can truly disconnect and be rest assured that everything is taken care of.The marina here is home to some of the best fine dining restaurants and luxurious shopping malls so if you’re looking experience the very best of what Fiji has to offer then Denarau Island certainly won’t disappoint. The island is a hassle-free way to experience a Fijan paradise.You’re likely to find more mesmerising beaches on the mainland and other islands since Denarau is built on former mangrove swamps, but the in-resort facilities and activities available here definitely make up for that and are not to be missed. Radisson Blu resort is a haven for families, foodies and solo travellers with four on-site restaurants to indulge your senses. For a more romantic getaway, the adults-only Sofitel Resort & Spa gives you that added touch of privacy with private balconies and even a waterfront wedding chapel if it takes your fancy. For more space to enjoy a plethora of beachfront activities, retreat to the Hilton Beach Resort & Spa, home to 2.5km of private beach and nine swimming pools — you’re spoilt for choice. Whatever type of traveller you are, one thing is for sure when you visit Denarau Island, you’re guaranteed an exceedingly high level of luxury."
upolu Upolu

Samoa, Pacific

The gateway to Samoa, Upolu is home to the international airport, the capital city, Apia, and the bulk of the country’s populati...

string(3096) "The gateway to Samoa, Upolu is home to the international airport, the capital city, Apia, and the bulk of the country’s population.Upolu’s coast is surrounded by white sand beaches and blue lagoons. One of Samoa’s most pristine beaches, Lalomanu Beach on the southeastern tip of the island with its translucent lagoon, is a protected marine reserve, teeming with a magnitude of tropical fish species and marine life.Just a little further north, head off to Namua Island and swim with the endangered green turtle in its natural ocean environment. South of Lalomanu there’s even more fauna to explore, including the seabird nesting grounds on Nuutele Island. From behind the hospital at Lalomanu you can take a short guided walk to an extinct volcanic crater, which happens to be home to a whole army of flying foxes.Upolu’s interior exudes a very special and mystic charm. There are numerous tracks that lead deep through lush rainforests to a number or rivers and dramatically beautiful waterfalls.O Le Pupu-Pui National Park contains Samoa’s highest mountain, Mt. Fito at 1100 metres as well as Togitogiga Falls and some good hiking trails. Papapapai-Tai Falls, with a 100 metre drop makes these very spectacular falls. The Papase’ea Sliding Rocks are just six kilometres southwest of Apia. Soft vegetation under the water makes it possible to easily slide down the falls into the natural pool below. The idyllic To Sua Ocean Trench attracts those keen to enjoy a surreal swim in a giant swimming hole.Samoa’s capital, Apia is home to 38,000 inhabitants. Situated on a natural harbour, just 40 kilometres from Faleolo International Airport, Apia is the perfect place to acclimatise to island life, pick up some souvenirs, and immerse yourself in the cultural heritage and proud history of Samoa.The colourful Maketi Fou (food market) on Apia’s Fugalei Street, is a good place to stock up on fresh fruit like pawpaws or a bunch of sweet little ladyfinger bananas. About a 10-minute walk from the food market is the flea market, the perfect souvenir haunt where you’ll find everything from clubs and kava bowls to lava lavas (the Samoan sarong), baskets, jewellery and authentic Samoan music.The famous Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, famed for classic books such as Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, spent his final years in Samoa. He was known by the local people as Tusitala, Samoan for ‘teller of tales’. His beautiful mansion Vailima has been converted into a museum set within lush gardens and is open to the public.Visitors can also visit his grave located at the top of Mt. Vaea, along a trail named by the locals as “The Road of the Loving Heart”.The locals are famously hospitable and the city is easily explored by foot. Apia has a great nightlife, everything from busy pubs, nightclubs to cultural shows and excellent restaurants, where you can sing, dance and enjoy fresh Samoan cuisine.In addition to hotels in Apia there are some good resorts, guest houses and fales on the island."

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