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AP_LOMBOK_1 Lombok

Indonesia, Asia

With its pristine white-sandy beaches, the magnificent Mt Rinjani volcano, and spectacular marine life to discover, the island of ...

string(4120) "With its pristine white-sandy beaches, the magnificent Mt Rinjani volcano, and spectacular marine life to discover, the island of Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara has no shortage of attractions both in, and out of the water. Lombok is located to the east of Bali and is geographically the same size. A wide range of destinations is guaranteed to suit even the most discerning visitors. Whether you wish to surf the massive breaks on the south coast, challenge yourself with a trek up steep volcanic peaks, or hire a bike and cycle through lush, abundant rice paddies, you won’t be disappointed with the spectacular natural beauty of Lombok. The island enjoys a tropical climate with warm and humid weather all year round with a temperature range of 21°C to 32°C. The wet season starts from November through to May and the dry season starts from May through to October. The island has a population of about 3.1 million and the local inhabitants are called Sasaks who comprise 70 percent of the population. The remainder consists of other predominant ethnic groups such as Balinese, Chinese, Arabian, and Javanese. Bahasa Indonesia is the national language but English is widely spoken. Lombok has three distinct districts with three main cities. Mataram, the centre of commerce and the capital city, is in the west, Praya is in the centre and Selong is located to the east of the island. Popular tourist resort area, Senggigi, is a township that is positioned on a sweeping bay providing magnificent views of a rich, fiery red sunset over neighbouring Bali. Visitors to Lombok also flock to one of the three Gili islands- Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. These picturesque tropical islands are just a short 40-minute boat ride from Senggigi. The majority of the population is Muslim with most worshipping in the mosques on Fridays, their holy day. If you are planning on travelling around the island and visiting small villages, be respectful and considerate of the Islamic beliefs and wear or knee length shorts, a shirt with sleeves or a sarong. If you happen to visit during Ramadan, which is the Muslim month of fasting from sunrise to sunset avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public places during this month-long fast. Lombok has a reputation for amazing, woven textiles. Songkets (hand-woven textiles) and ikats (intricate dyed fabric) can be used, amongst other things, as sarongs, wall hangings, or tablecloths. The design woven is unique to each weaver and it is passed down through the generations. There is a traditional handweaving village in Puyung in central Lombok where visitors can try on a traditional Sasak costume, and the village of Sukarare is a must visit for kain ikat or handwoven textiles. Lombok is also known for its magnificent South Sea cultured pearls, and its pottery has gained in popularity and is now shipped all over the world. There are many other traditional handicrafts that make perfect gifts or souvenirs including wooden masks, baskets made out of ketak grass and wooden boxes decorated with shells. Visit the village of Banyumulek where arguably, some of the best pottery is produced. Public transport in Lombok comes in the form of buses and bemos (a small minibus). The main bus terminal is Mandalika at Bertais. Hiring a car or motorcycle is a convenient way to explore the island. Hotels and travel agencies offer the most competitive rates for car and motorcycle hire. To get to Lombok, you can travel by air, ferry or fast boat. There are daily flights between Denpasar, Bali and the capital of Lombok, Mataram. The public ferry travels between Padang Bai (Bali) and Lembar (Lombok) multiple times a day, and the trip takes roughly two and a half hours. Both motorbikes and cars can be taken on the ferry. Ferries also travel between Labuhan Lombok and Poto Tano on Sumbawa several times a day, and this trip takes one and a half hours. However, if you are prone to seasickness, the trip can be rough. Another option is by fast boat Blue Water Safaris run express boats from Bali to Lombok, the Gili islands and Lebongan Island. "
AP_BALI_4_(seminyak_canggu) Seminyak & Canggu

Bali, Indonesia, Asia

With its central location, burgeoning nightlife and accessibility to major tourist attractions, this area is a perfect alternative...

string(2344) "With its central location, burgeoning nightlife and accessibility to major tourist attractions, this area is a perfect alternative to Kuta. To the north of Kuta and Legian, are stylish Seminyak and Canggu. There are no shortage of villas between Seminyak and Canggu luxe villas paired with five-star services and facilities offering you your own private piece of paradise. Seminyak Seminyak, has a reputation among tourists for being more sophisticated and having a more stylish nightlife than Kuta. The shopping centres and busy streets of Kuta are just 15 minutes to the south, and the more rural area of Canggu is just a 25-minute drive to the north. Seminyak has also become extremely popular for its wide range of world-class restaurants featuring all cuisines and eateries lining the beach. The multitude of upmarket boutiques, galleries, shops and markets make for fascinating shopping trips. Seminyak has become the luxury spa destination in Bali. By local standards, treatments may seem expensive but are probably half the price, or less, than you would pay at home. Most hotels offer an in-house service and in-villa treatments are widely available. Canggu Further north of Seminyak is Canggu that is widely used to refer to the eight-kilometre coastal stretch running north from the village of Berawa, just north of Seminyak, to the village of Cemagi, just south of Tanah Lot. The once rural farmland full of green rice paddy fields is now packed with luxury villas, yoga studios, boutiques, cafes, restaurants and beach clubs. Its beaches draw in surfers from all around the world. Most of the action can be found near Batu Bolong, a beach best known for its longboard-friendly break and Old Man’s, a lively beer garden and surf club. Just north of Canngu, one of Bali’s most important temples can be found. Over thousands of years, the tiny island of Tanah Lot was gradually formed as a result of erosion by ocean tides. Surprisingly modest, it comprises of two shrines with tiered roofs, two pavilions and a few small buildings. Access down to the temple is through a sideshow alley of souvenir shops and market stalls. It is a highly spiritual place, and visitors will often see people making the trip to meditate nearby or walking to the water in order to receive the ministrations of priests. "
Coral Coast & Pacific Harbour, Fiji Coral Coast & Pacific Harbour

Fiji, Pacific

The temperate climate and great variety of accommodation—from selfcontained ‘bure’ cottages to international five-star resor...

string(3510) "The temperate climate and great variety of accommodation—from selfcontained ‘bure’ cottages to international five-star resorts—make it a popular tourist retreat. The resorts offer great recreational facilities, restaurants, cultural performances and nightlife, while the pristine waters and reefs create an underwater paradise for snorkelling and diving. You can throw in a line with the locals or take out a charter vessel for game fishing. There are some spectacular surf beaches too. Natadola beach is arguabley the best beach on the island and the a great place to learn to surf. Also at Natadola is the Natadola Bay Chamipionship Golf Course which annually hosts the PGA (Austral-Asia) & European Tour accredited ‘Fiji International’ Golf Chamipionships. For those wanting to take in some nature, history and culture, visit the Sigatoka Sand Dunes where shifting sands and archaeological digs continue to reveal skeletons and pottery arefacts. Fiji’s only wildlife park, the Kula Eco- Park in Korotogo displays rarely seen indigenous species. Head for the hills into the beautiful Sigatoka Valley, aptly named The Salad Bowl of Fiji, a colourful patchwork of agricultural fields, Fijian villages, Indian settlements, temples and volcanic hills. It offers spectacular scenery and a fascinating history of the Tongan tribes who were the last to resist Christianity. Sigatoka River Safari tours into the valley villages are very popular. At Tavuni Hill you can walk amongst the ruins of an ancient fort. The cave tour follows the Tongan trail to Naihehe Caves to see the spectacular rock formations and awesome reminders of the past. The same tour takes you for a river ride on traditional bamboo rafts. There is also a waterfall tour where you can learn about plant medicines on a rainforest trek, participate in authentic ceremonies with a village chief and swim in a beautiful tropical waterfall. Robinson Crusoe Island is fringed with white sandy beaches, and offers great snorkelling and Pacific isle entertainment. To get there, take a boat ride or a sea plane which is based on the river at Sigatoka Town. It is also possible to enjoy scenic flights over the coast and valley or charter a small plane for airport transfers. In the bustling town of Sigatoka, locals and tourists blend together when eating, shopping and socialising. Farmers barter their wares in the central marketplace and there are duty free shops, supermarkets, tailors, bars and cafes. There are quaint roadside markets right along the Coral Coast stretch, so even those just driving through will be able to enjoy this lovely area. On the eastern most fringe of the Coral Coast, Some 30 kilometres west of Suva, Pacific Harbour is known as Fiji’s ‘adventure capital’, famous for activities like the world-class shark dive at Shark Reef, great scuba diving in the Beqa lagoon, zip-lining, off-road buggy rides, white-water rafting in the Upper Navua gorge, and world-class surf at the Frigates offshore surf break. Pacific Harbour was originally established in the 1970s as a recreation oriented, residential community as well as a resort area. Here groups can arrange a visit to the Arts Village Cultural Centre and Marketplace for special performances, as well as demonstrations of handicraft making techniques. Not too far from Pacific Harbour is the legendary Beqa Island, home of the Fijian firewalkers who perform their ceremonies at several major Fijian hotels and resorts. "
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."
Makua Beach Kauai

Hawaii, Pacific

The fourth largest and the oldest of the Hawaiian islands, Kauai is about 888 kilometres square in area, formed from one massive v...

string(3019) "The fourth largest and the oldest of the Hawaiian islands, Kauai is about 888 kilometres square in area, formed from one massive volcano of which Mt Waialeale forms the eastern rim. The main road circles the coastline with the exception of a 24-kilometre stretch at the north shore cliffs which is inaccessible. When Captain Cook came ashore in January 1778 he was received as a god. Today, visitors to this beautiful island of gardens and rainbows are greeted in much the same friendly way. Lihue, the capital of Kauai, still has few buildings taller than a coconut tree. Yet the island offers visitors all the ingredients for a perfect holiday including luxury accommodation, gourmet cuisine, a host of watersports and activities including world-class golf. Po`ipu, a leisurely 30 minutes by car south of Lihue, has been called Kauai’s playground, with its pristine beaches protected by a necklace of offshore reefs. Just one kilometre from the resort area is sailing, diving, deep-sea fishing and daily boat tours from Kukuiula Harbour. At nearby Spouting Horn, a turbulent wave action causes surf to shoot through a lava tube and out a hole in the coastal rock. This geyser sometimes reaches heights of 18 metres and more. On the west side of Kauai you’ll find what Mark Twain called the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’, Waimea Canyon, 1097 metres deep in parts, with red and green vistas punctuated by waterfalls. North from Lihue you can stop off to take a ride on one of the flat-bottom river boats that takes you to the Fern Grotto. Further north past the Coconut Coast you pass by the turnoff to The Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge which shelters thousands of seabirds. Near Princeville and Hanalei, made famous by the song Puff the Magic Dragon, is Ke`e Beach. Close by are the wet and dry caves, prominent in ancient Hawaiian myth and the start of the 17 kilometres Kalalau hiking trail. Further south is Lumahai Beach the famous nurse’s beach in the movie South Pacific. On the island’s north shore the scenery runs riot, grey mists hang over the sheer Napali cliffs, waterfalls tumble into deep valleys. Much of this region and the island’s interior cannot be reached by road, so a helicopter or fixed wing plane tour can give you a perspective otherwise unobtainable. Kauai is called the Garden Island with good reason. The National Tropical Botanical Gardens in Lawai Valley and the Allerton Estate Gardens, as well as the Limahuli Gardens in the north, are among the major attractions that showcase nature at her best. Kauai’s diverse scenery has lured filmmakers to her shores for decades and such classics as Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark and of course, South Pacific mean visitors can occasionally experience déjà vu. Also Kauai is also popular with practitioners of the healing arts giving it the reputation of being a special place for those seeking rejuvenation and relaxation combined with a taste of traditional local culture. "
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."

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