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Waipio Valley Lookout Big Island

Hawaii, Pacific

Hawaii’s Big Island is the youngest, the most diverse and the grandest of all the Hawaiian islands. Larger than all the other...

string(3447) "Hawaii’s Big Island is the youngest, the most diverse and the grandest of all the Hawaiian islands. Larger than all the other islands put together, it’s a land of amazing contrasts with lush rainforests, monolithic cliffs, spectacular ocean vistas, white, black and even green sand beaches, plunging waterfalls, deserts, plains and active volcanoes. First discovered more than a millennium ago, the Big Island is where Polynesian mythology says Madame Pele, goddess of fire, dwells. She is said to live in the firepot of Halemaumau in Kilauea crater on the slopes of Mauna Loa, from where she actively pours new lava almost daily. Hilo is the seat of government and near it are rainforests and black lava rocks hugging a serrated shoreline that is expanding thanks to Kilauea Volcano, the world’s most active volcano. Volcanoes National Park is best accessed from Hilo. You can safely explore lava tubes and hiking trails around this amazing site. Nearby is Punaluu Beach Park with picturesque black sand beaches. North of Hilo the highway snakes between mountains and sea to Waipi`o Valley and Waimea through kilometres of fields where sugarcane once grew. Hidden amongst the mountains are a multitude of waterfalls including the impressive Akaka Falls. A must is a visit to the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden where you can see more than 2000 species of tropical plants. Across the island, near Kawaihae, is Heiau, built by King Kamehameha, which is now an historical site. In Waimea, the Parker Ranch’s historic homes house a magnificent collection of Italian and French period pieces and more than a hundred original paintings by masters such as Renoir and Degas. In this region you can learn about a different side of Hawaii that is also home to paniolos, or Hawaiian cowboys. Lapakahi State Historical Park, north of Kawaihae, was once an ancient Hawaiian fishing village. A short drive from the park is King Kamehameha’s birthplace and Mookini Luakini Heiau believed to have been constructed about 480 AD. The Kohala Coast is home to magnificent resorts with breathtaking views of lava flows. Anaehoomalu Bay, with its picture postcard beach, curves between the shallow bay and an ancient Hawaiian fishpond once used by royalty. Once home to Hawaiian royalty, Kailua-Kona is now a vibrant resort and shopping precinct with a rich cultural heritage. It is also a great base from which to explore Kona coffee country and the unique Painted Church where columns form the trunks of painted palm trees. The Big Island produces 39 percent of the world’s macadamia nuts and Kona is the only place in the US where gourmet coffee is grown commercially. It also has the world’s largest anthurium and orchid flower industries. There are 20 golf courses on the Big Island, many with green fairways carved from ancient lava fields. Activities include fishing for marlin, a helicopter or small plane ride over red flowing lava and diving at night with giant manta rays. Getting around the Big Island is convenient and easy. The most popular mode of transport for international visitors is to hire a car and explore the island at leisure. There are also bus tours, shuttles and taxis. There are plenty of options when it comes to accommodation on the Big Island. From charming bed and breakfasts to hotels, condominiums, lodges and five-star resorts, there’s something to suit every traveller and budget. "
AP_BALI_2_(uluwatu) Jimbaran & Uluwatu

Bali, Indonesia, Asia

The Bukit Peninsula offers stunning ocean views and white sand beaches. The quiet fishing village of Jimbaran lies on a narrow ...

string(3794) "The Bukit Peninsula offers stunning ocean views and white sand beaches. The quiet fishing village of Jimbaran lies on a narrow isthmus connecting the Bukit Peninsula to the rest of Bali. Jimbaran is unique in that it borders two different coasts lying less than two kilometres apart. The geography around Jimbaran is distinctly different to the volcanic fertile soils found elsewhere in Bali. The Bukit Peninsula is comprised of a large limestone plateau offering stunning ocean views from its clifftops and white sand beaches. On the west coast is Jimbaran Bay and the Indian Ocean while the east has the shallow and sheltered Benoa Harbour. The region has remained sparsely inhabited due to the landscape and was at one stage a place of banishment where undesirables were sent. The Jimbaran area is a far less crowded alternative to Kuta or Legian thanks to careful planning by local authorities. The beauty of the beach has led to a number of luxury hotels being built along the shore. Budget accommodation is limited in Jimbaran, but the region is easily accessible from Nusa Dua or Kuta by taxi, bemo or bike. The sea temple of Pura Luhur Ulu Watu is the region’s most significant sight. The temple is one of several dedicated to the spirits of the sea along the south coast of Bali. Precipitously perched atop sheer limestone cliffs, the temple is certainly a dramatic sight, especially at sunset. Sunset at Jimbaran Bay is another popular sight. Seafood restaurants and warungs line the beach and tourists arrive in the late afternoon to witness the brightly coloured fishing fleets prepare for departure. An outlying reef protects the beach at Jimbaran quite well, however some of the world’s best and most dangerous surf beaches are located nearby at Uluwatu and Padang Padang. The Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park (GWK) is situated overlooking the South Bali tourist region and is one of Bali’s premier venues for performances, exhibitions, conferences, sightseeing and relaxation. Jimbaran has three major temples that draw tourists from around the world, Pura Dalem, Pura Puseh and Pura Desa. The anniversaries of the temples occur within four days of each other. At this time of year Jimbaran is vibrant and full of ritual activities. Although the number of tourists visiting Jimbaran is increasing, it’s still a relatively tranquil haven, offering many unique sights. Uluwatu Located on the western shore of the Bukit Peninsula on Bali’s southern coast, Uluwatu is famed for its spectacular rock formations, world-famous surf break, and dramatic cliffside temple. Heralded ‘the most famous wave in Bali’ Uluwatu is a surfer’s paradise, however there is plenty of other things to see and do in Uluwatu for the non-surfer. Uluwatu boasts one of the oldest and most impressive temples in Bali, Pura Uluwatu, built by Javanese priest Empu Kuturan in the 11th century. Dedicated to the spirits of the sea, the temple is an architectural wonder, carved in black coral rock and perched high on the cliff side, 70 metres above the Indian Ocean. The best time to visit the temple is in the afternoon, so you can watch the evening traditional Balinese Kecak Dance and Fire Dance performance (held at 6pm every evening) on the cliffside stage as the sun goes down in the background. When visiting the temple, it’s advised to be mindful of your belongings, as the cheeky monkeys that reside here may take off with your sunglasses and hold them ransom in exchange for a banana! This large limestone peninsula is just a short drive away from Kuta Bay, Jimbaran and Nusa Dua. Renowned for its spectacular sunset views its dramatic location, perched high on the cliff’s edge, provides the perfect locale to sit back, relax and enjoy the show. "
AP_BALI_9_(north_other) North Bali & Other Regions

Bali, Indonesia, Asia

Renowned for its variety of picturesque landscapes, lovely beaches and villages where traditional ways are preserved. There are...

string(2859) "Renowned for its variety of picturesque landscapes, lovely beaches and villages where traditional ways are preserved. There are a number of other regions on the island of Bali which are popular with travellers. On the northeastern coast lies the small village of Tulamben which has a friendly atmosphere and wonderful food. Tulamben is best known for spectacular dive spots including a drop-off and the sunken American ship, Liberty, torpedoed by the Japanese in 1942. Now encrusted with marine flora, it is home to thousands of tropical fish. The area boasts picturesque rice fields with massive black rivers of volcanic rubble from the 1963 eruption of Gunung Agung. As Bali’s highest and most revered volcano, it dominates the easternmost district of Karangasem which is not only renowned for its variety of scenic landscapes and lovely beaches but also for villages such as Manggis where traditional ways are preserved. The mountainous region of Kintamani is located in the northeast of Bali and centres around the spectacular caldera of Gunung Batur with its deep crater lake and hot springs. Kintamani has a range of accommodation but is easily accessible for day trips from Kuta. It is great for trekking, sightseeing and shopping. Gunung Batur is still active but much of the crater is farmed by villagers with water from Lake Danau Batur. Every three days, a colourful market is held where fresh produce and handmade clothing is sold. In the northwestern corner of Bali is Pemuteran, a small village untouched by tourism. Bordered by the Java Sea and jagged mountain ranges, the area is too dry for rice cultivation so the local people traditionally live off the sea. Following years of destructive fishing around the offshore coral reef, a conservation project has been instituted. This has resulted in greatly increased numbers of marine life, perfect for snorkelling and diving. Visitors to Pemuteran may also be interested in Menjangan Island just off the coast, the dramatic Pulaki Temple which is perched on the side of a cliff, the botanical gardens at Bedugul and Sing Sing waterfall. Natural wonders continue to be a drawcard in the west of the island. The Bali Barat National Park is renown for its dive sites, flora, fauna, great trekking and pristine, beautiful beaches. Off the east coast is Nusa Lembongan, a small island covered with coconut trees, mangrove forests and small farms. Most people visit Nusa Lembongan to enjoy its quiet beaches, surfing or diving on day cruises from Bali. The village of Jungutbatu is charming with quiet lanes and a few temples. A popular temple is Pura Segara, which has an enormous banyan tree within its complex. About four kilometres away is Lembongan Village where visitors can take a tour of the eerie underground house where a man excavated his cave with a spoon."
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. "
fiji kadavu Kadavu

Fiji, Pacific

About 100 kilometres south of Viti Levu, Kadavu is one of the few remaining undeveloped islands in Fiji today. Completely unspo...

string(1395) "About 100 kilometres south of Viti Levu, Kadavu is one of the few remaining undeveloped islands in Fiji today. Completely unspoiled, Kadavu is one of the best places to experience Fiji’s incredible culture and natural beauty. Surrounded by the world famous Great Astrolabe Reef, the islands are renowned for diving and snorkelling. This magnificent reef is one of the largest in the world and home to an abundance of marine life unequalled in Fiji. You can swim with manta rays, dive wrecks and swim through amazing vibrant coral gardens. Fishing, surfing and kayaking are also popular, while inland you’ll find lush, green rainforests bursting with stunning birdlife, glorious waterfalls and good hiking routes. Bird watching is also a popular pastime, and the colourful Kadavu Parrot, which is now a protected species, can be easily observed. For travellers interested in getting away from the typical tourist spots, Kadavu is a great option where limited accommodation consists of a few small resorts and a guesthouse. Kadavu is easily accessible with flights from Nadi and Nausori (Suva) Airport. For those who want to experience inter island travel as the locals do, there is an overnight ferry that departs from Walu Bay, Suva, on Tuesday and Friday evenings. A shuttle bus is available to pick you up at Kadavu Airport to take you to wherever your boat is leaving from."
AP_PHILIPPINES_5_(manila) Luzon & Manila

Philippines, Asia

The city is a mix of old and new, of traditions and modern customs, of quaint street stalls and modern shopping malls. Luzon, w...

string(3651) "The city is a mix of old and new, of traditions and modern customs, of quaint street stalls and modern shopping malls. Luzon, where Manila is located, is the largest island in the Philippines and many of the provinces are just a few hours drive from the city. Northern Luzon is rich in panoramic views, green landscapes and old Spanish houses. Nicknamed the Summer Capital, Baguio City is a cool climate escape for Manila’s wealthy. The neighbouring city of La Trinidad, the provincial capital just north of the city, has some interesting sights. You can visit the vegetable market, climb Mt Pulag or see the well-preserved Kabayan mummies from burial caves in the north. Visit Asin, a woodcarving village with a hot spring swimming hole, natural streams and relaxing steam bath. A side trip to the tranquil mountaintop town of Sagada offers beautiful scenery and a cool climate. Its claim to fame is the hanging coffins, seen on cliff sides surrounding the town and in limestone caves. Hugging the northwestern slopes of Luzon are the provincial towns of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. There is a strong Spanish influence in Vigan Ilocos Sur, with 16th century Spanish houses lining the streets of the old section and a museum full of Spanish treasures. Antipolo is the centre of the May-time pilgrimage, while Angono is home to the Higantes Festival, held in November, when gigantic papier-mâché figures of men and women are paraded down the streets. Northern Palawan is home to some of the most diverse ecosystems in the country. The El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area showcases extraordinary flora and fauna, including mammals, reptiles, and birds that are abundant in the area. The dramatic landscape boasts of soaring limestone cliffs standing guard over crystal-clear waters, forests over limestone, and beaches with powdery white sand. Dramatic lagoons, mysterious caves, and colorful reefs are among the facets for Bacuit Bay in El Nido and Taytay Bay. A couple of hours by boat from El Nido are the snorkelling havens of Simisu Island and Cathedral Cave, Snake Island and Cudugman Cave. South Palawan is quite different to the north. Quezon is situated around 100 kilometres from Puerto Princesa, and is the nearest town to the archeologically interesting Tabon Caves, a half-hour boat ride away. Quezon is famous for its Pahiyas Festival celebrated in the towns of Lucban and Sariaya in mid-May Manila Manila has a population of around 10 million. The city is a mix of old and new, of traditions and modern customs, of quaint street stalls and modern shopping malls, of excellent museums and happening restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Although the city spreads a great distance along Manila Bay, the main places of interest are fairly central, concentrated just south of the Pasig River. Immediately south is the fortress of Intramuros (literally ‘within the walls’), once the preserve of the ruling classes. The Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church are two of the oldest churches in the country. Nearby, Casa Manila is a beautifully restored Spanish colonial home. The Cultural Centre of the Philippines is the central venue for all the diverse arts of the provinces, including ballet, concerts and stage plays. Within the complex is the stately Coconut Palace, made of materials from the coconut tree and other indigenous materials. This is also a great place to view the spectacular sunset across Manila Bay. At the huge Chinese Cemetery in Santa Cruz, tombs are fitted with crystal chandeliers, air-conditioning, kitchens and flushing toilets, to ensure comfort on the trip to paradise."

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