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Pacific Tahiti Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort 2 Moorea

Islands of Tahiti, Pacific

Like all Polynesian islands, Moorea is enveloped in folklore. Legend has it that a golden-skinned lizard abandoned by its human...

string(2826) " Like all Polynesian islands, Moorea is enveloped in folklore. Legend has it that a golden-skinned lizard abandoned by its human parents became stranded on the reef of Emeho as it swam after them. The merciful gods turned it into the island of Moorea (which means ‘golden lizard’), one of the true jewels of French Polynesia. Only 17 kilometres from Tahiti or an eight minute flight and regarded as her sister island, Moorea is renowned for its natural beauty and tranquillity and often thought to be the inspiration for James Michener’s mythical island of Bali Hai. The island’s steep volcanic peaks rise sharply from the island’s basalt base and are best viewed from Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay. Moorea’s laid-back atmosphere provides the perfect backdrop for relaxation but the island also has a wide variety of recreational activities to suit the most active traveller. The island is home to a third of French Polynesia’s total hotel capacity, with accommodation ranging from luxury resort over-water or beach bungalows to hotel rooms and small local-style thatched roof ‘ fares’. One of the best ways to get to know this magnificent island is hire a car or scooter and tour the single road around the island, visiting secluded beaches, pineapple and vanilla plantations and small picturesque villages. The trip should take about four hours depending on how many stops are made along the way. Inland, lush forests cover Moorea’s mountains, which offer spectacular views of the island’s valleys as well as its lagoons and bays. The beautiful large garden and old colonial home in Opunohu Bay at the Kellum is worth a visit, built last century and well preserved. Opunohu valley is also home to stone marae temples and archery platforms used by Polynesian royalty in pre-Christian days. Le Belvedere Lookout Point offers an unequalled panorama of Cooks and Opunohu bays, divided by the sacred Rotui mountain. Moorea has many talented artisans whose creations are sold in boutiques around the island. Ideal for the tropical climate, handpainted pareus, sundresses, bikinis, shirts and beachwear add instant beach chic to any wardrobe or make perfect gifts. Tahiti’s prized black pearls are available loose or set in designer jewellery from jewellers and boutiques on Moorea, while the public market in Pao Pao beside Cook’s Bay has locally made shell jewellery as well as hats, tote bags, baskets and mats woven from palm fronds, pandanus and banana plants. Moorea plays host to a number of special events each year that are well worth attending, including the Tahitian Tamara’a Show. Visitors arrive by outrigger canoe at sunset, try foods cooked in a traditional underground oven, enjoy a spectacular Polynesian dance performance and stay for the bringue, or party, that follows. "
Indonesia

Asia

The size of Indonesia is over whelming and offers visitors a very individual experience.Whether you are shopping, visiting temples...

string(9606) "The size of Indonesia is over whelming and offers visitors a very individual experience.Whether you are shopping, visiting temples, enjoying the beaches and resorts in Bali, or venturing further to discover remote villages or the jungles of Borneo an Papua, visitors are sure to be amazed by Indonesia’s diversity. Capital and major centres As the nation’s centre of government, business and industry, the capital Jakarta is a modern society that reflects recent decades of remarkable economic growth. The mega city has a population of 10 million and is surrounded by the metropolitan area, Jabotabek, with a population of around 28 million. The island of Bali, a tropical paradise and tourism hot spot, lies off the eastern tip of Java. A rich culture, beautiful landscapes, coastline and rural villages keep visitors returning in droves. The islands of Lombok, Sumba, Flores and others form a chain all the way to the easternmost province, Papua. Sumatra, the world’s sixth largest island, is located to the west of Jakarta. The equator divides it in two just north of Bukit Tinggi. The scenery in Sumatra is amazing, offering incredible mountains, rivers and almost 100 volcanoes, 15 of which are active. Kalimantan, the southern two-thirds of the island of Borneo, was once, and still is for the most part, a vast, jungle-covered wilderness. Boats and ferries are the main modes of transport, and the native Dayak tribe is a main attraction. The highland region of Sulawesi offers national parks, and a festive culture that includes the famed funeral festivals of Tana Toraja on the south western peninsula. Further east still, in the islands of Maluku previously known as the Moluccas, lie the fabled Spice Islands. Many of these areas are just a two-hour flight from Jakarta, and an extensive and convenient network of air services connects the major cities and towns. The people The fourth most populous nation in the world, Indonesia’s estimated 257 million people speak more than 500 different languages and dialects, and range from city dwellers to sea gypsies. Sixty percent of the people inhabit a mere seven percent of Indonesia’s land area on the island of Java, while most of the archipelago remains unexplored. Nature Indonesia has one of the world’s richest natural environments, offering an incredible diversity of animal and plant life. While a number of species of fauna are familiar to both Asia and Australia, there are many indigenous species in Indonesia such as the orangutan apes of Sumatra and Kalimantan, the giant Komodo dragons, the only ones of their kind in the world still roaming free, the one-horned rhinoceros of Java, the wild banteng oxen, tigers, and many other species now protected in wildlife reserves. East of Komodo is the island of flowers, Flores, where Komodo dragons can be found along the west coast, the only other place apart from Komodo. Also on Flores is Kelimutu with three coloured lakes in the caldera of the volcano. These lakes change colour depending on the oxidation state of the water and go from bright red through to green and blue. Papua, once part of the Australian landmass, has kangaroos, marsupial mice, bandicoots, ring-tailed possums, crocodiles and frilled neck lizards. Indonesia has 400 volcanoes and a spectrum of landscapes from lush green mountain slopes to warm sandy beaches; from rice fields to rain forests and mountains topped year round with snow. The sights The most visited islands tend to be Sumatra, Java and Bali, and there is a great diversity of landscapes and cultures in these regions alone. There are also many temples from the Buddhist and Hindu dynasties such as those in Borobudur, Prambanan and the Dieng Plateau, the palaces of the sultans in Surakarta and Yogyakarta, the Maimoon Palace of the Sultanate of Deli in Medan, and the Hall of Justice in Bali. There are remote villages, the ruins of ancient fortresses and museums, mosques and churches. Where to stay Accommodation in Indonesia ranges from deluxe hotels and resorts through to simple economy hotels, ‘wisma’ (guesthouses) and ‘losmen’ (rooms to let). Deluxe hotels complete with convention facilities can be found in places such as Medan, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, Jakarta, Bali and Makassar, while Jakarta offers a good mix of elegant five-star hotels and quality three- and four-star establishments. In Bali, accommodation is available in all price categories, in the mountains or along the beach. In Bandung in West Java two old hotels have been restored to their original art deco style. Most hotels in major towns have air-conditioned rooms, but budget hotels are very basic. Getting around Indonesia has a huge variety of local transport, with public minibuses found in cities and villages. Many towns have bemos, three wheeled pick-ups with two rows of seats down the side, while the bajaj is found only in Jakarta. Becaks, or bicycle rickshaws, operate mainly in the suburbs of Jakarta and Surabaya, and are increasingly being banned from the central areas of major cities. In Bali, Yogyakarta and many other centres you can hire self drive cars, bicycles or motorbikes. Taxis are available in Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, Solo, Semarang, Medan and Bali. Fares are generally low, and most taxis use their meters. If you choose not to use the meter make sure to agree on a price with the driver before you set out for the destination. Food and entertainment As with the cuisine throughout Asia, Indonesian food is largely based on rice. Nasi goreng, fried rice with an egg on top, is one of the most popular dishes. Seafood, including fish, lobster, oysters, prawns, shrimp, squid and crab feature prominently in the Indonesian diet and the cuisine is bold, rich in flavour and heavily spiced. Coconut is also very common and is produced for its cooking oil as well as its milk and white flesh that are used as ingredients in many dishes. A rumah makan, ‘house to eat’, is generally the cheaper equivalent of a restaurant. Markets are a good food source, especially night markets. Jakarta and Bali have a wide range of excellent restaurants offering all types of cuisine from ethnic Indonesian to Chinese, Japanese, and also Western and European fare. There’s entertainment in Bali almost every day with exhibitions of Balinese dancing either in villages or at hotels. Entry requirements All visitors need a valid passport/travel document with minimum validity of six months beyond the period of intended stay. Free visa entry on arrival for 30 days is now available for Australians. Activities Beach resorts offer sailing, surfing, scuba diving and windsurfing. Many areas are legendary for good diving, snorkelling and surfing. Of the 60-plus golf courses in Indonesia, Bali offers three of international standard, including the Greg Norman-designed Bali Nirwana Golf Course. The more adventurous climber can tackle Mt Bromo in Java or Mt Agung in Bali for a day climb, or try more strenuous climbs such as Gunung Rinjani, the volcano that dominates Lombok. Traditional spectator sports include bull races, bull fights, rowing and unique ram fights, all held during festivals. Silat, a martial art, is regularly performed as a dance or an exercise and is similar to karate. Camp Leaky, in the jungles of Tanjung Puting National Park in Kalimantan, is the site of Dr Birute Galdikas’ study of wild orangutans and is the longest continual study by one principal investigator of any wild animal, enabling visitors to witness the rehabilitation of these amazing primates. On the island of Sulawesi is the impressive Lore Lindu National Park, home to over 200 species of bird, the cuscus, tarsiers, anoa (a rare dwarf buffalo) and babirusa (an animal resembling both a pig and a hippopotamus). The park has been largely untouched by tourism and offers many different treks. Within the park are ancient stone megaliths, waterfalls, hot springs and the large lake of Danau Lindu. Sea walking is a new and popular activity that allows anyone to walk at a depth of three metres along the ocean floor without carrying heavy oxygen tanks. The Sea Walker helmets permit close observation of the myriad fish and sea life Indonesia offers. Shopping While Indonesian cities have air-conditioned shopping centres, supermarkets and department stores with fixed prices, bargaining is customary in smaller shops and particularly in the markets. The wax-and-dye art of batik is one of the country’s best-known crafts, and silverwork, wayang puppets and leatherwork are all found in Java. Wood carvings, leather goods, paintings, clothing, bone work,bronze castings and stone statues are all available in Bali. Beautiful furniture and homewares are for sale or made to order in Kuta, and from a number of warehouses between Seminyak and Ubud. Sumba blankets, the song-kets of Sumatra, the silks of South Sulawesi and the jumpuntan (tiedyed) items of Palembang can all be found in Jakarta. Climate It is hot throughout the year with daily temperatures from 26°C to 33°C with the wet season from October to April. Wear informal, light cotton clothing. In the highlands a sweater may be required. Discreet clothing should be worn at festivals, ceremonies and villages. A sarong or sash may be required for temple visits. Currency The rupiah is the currency unit of Indonesia. Most major foreign currencies can be easily changed in city banks, bureaux de change and large hotels. Credit cards are accepted in major hotels and restaurants. "
Palau

Micronesia, Pacific

This pristine paradise is a dream destination. Like giant green mushrooms scattered across a tranquil turquoise lagoon, the lim...

string(2610) "This pristine paradise is a dream destination. Like giant green mushrooms scattered across a tranquil turquoise lagoon, the limestone Rock Islands of Palau seen from the air are one of the most exquisite creations of nature found in the world. The spectacular Rock Islands Southern Lagoon was inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2012. But that’s just the beginning. From sunburnt volcanic savannahs to forests concealing endemic plant and bird life, to coral atolls and reefs teeming with marine life, the Republic of Palau is truly Nature at her most majestic. Within this archipelago is a marine diversity higher than most of Micronesia. Sharks thrive in waters that in 2009 became the world’s first shark sanctuary, setting an example that has been followed by many other island destinations. Palau’s rare dugong, known locally as the mesekiu, as well as endangered species such as the hawksbill turtle, or the chambered nautilus, a deep water shell species that inhabits only a few Pacific islands, can be found here. Not only does Palau protect its marine life, it puts new species on the lists. Trapped in an enclosed body of water, the mastigias of Jellyfish Lake have completely lost their sting because they have not had to repel predators. Instead, they spend their days in privileged leisure, pulsating gently from one side of the marine lake to the other while catching the sun’s rays and farming their own food supply of algae. Snorkelling surrounded by them is fascinating and surreal. Discovered in one of Palau’s deep underwater caves, a prehistoric eel was named Protoanguilla Palau as recently as 2011. Rainbow-filled walls and channels on the fringe reef provide homes for at least 1450 species of reef fish and 400 species of reef-building hard corals, as well as 150 species of soft corals, gorgonians, and sea pens. Some of the famous residents and visitors include manta rays, black or red snappers, napoleon wrasse, bumphead parrot fish and pelagic species including the colossal whaleshark, marlins, and tornados of schooling barracudas. Outside of the reef are sports fishing opportunities beyond your wildest dreams and fully equipped charters to bring back the proverbial “big one”. A democratic country that still abides by its culture and traditional leadership, Palauan villages were, and still are, traditionally organised around matrilineal clans. Men and women had defined roles. A council of chiefs governs the villages, while a parallel council of women holds an advisory role in the control of land, money and the selection of chiefs."
Mamanuca And Yasawa Island

Fiji, Pacific

The Mamanuca Islands lie in a majestic arc only a short distance from the mainland of Viti Levu, curving to the northwest, and alm...

string(2807) "The Mamanuca Islands lie in a majestic arc only a short distance from the mainland of Viti Levu, curving to the northwest, and almost touching the Yasawa chain of islands. There are 20 islands and they all share in common pristine white sandy beaches, waving palms, crystal blue waters and, at night, the cooling influence of the trade winds. The Mamanuca Islands (pronounced Mah-mahnoo-tha) are essentially volcanic outcrops pushed up from the ocean floor in a gigantic earthquake thousands of years ago. Some are especially significant in Fijian folklore. From the air you can see that the Mamanucas islands are two clusters known as Mamanuca-i-ra and Mamanucai-cake. Within the Mamanucas is the Malolo group, five kilometres inside the barrier reef, extending in a curve for 120 kilometres. A number of resort islands are scattered throughout the Malolo group, each offering bure accommodation, a relaxing holiday atmosphere and a range of water activities. There are boat excursions, fishing trips, and watersports including surfing, SUP, jet ski safaris, parsailing, kiteboarding, kayaking and coral viewing for the kids. The islands of Malolo are the centre for most tourism to and from the Mamanucas. It has safe anchorage, a cosmopolitan community and an airstrip. The movie Castaway was also shot on Monuriki Island in the Mamanucas. At the southern end of the chain, Cloud 9 is a world-class wave that hosts the Fiji Pro International Surf Competition and recently hosted the World Stand-Up Paddle and Paddleboard Championships. Here there is also a two-tier floating bar off Malolo Island on stunning RoRo Reef. The Yasawa Islands have a different ambience and are dotted with small resorts and backpackers accommodation. They are a chain of 16 volcanic islands and dozens of tiny islets stretching 80 kilometres in a northeast direction off the west coast of Viti Levu. They are special because their beautiful, isolated beaches, cliffs, bays and reefs and are less commercialised than the neighbouring Mamanuca Islands. Islands in the group include Waya, the highest with amazing scenery and Tavewa, a strikingly beautiful, small island that is about two kilometres long. In 1972 Richard Evanson bought Turtle Island while others in the group include Sawa-i- Lau Island with ancient limestone caves and Yasawa Island that has small villages and a five-star resort. Naviti is the largest island while Viwa is the most remote, sitting alone 25 kilometres northwest of Waya. The Blue Lagoon movie was filmed in the Yasawas. The limestone caves of Sawa-i-lau is a very popular day trip as are diving with manta rays and snorkelling with sharks. There are also multi-day island-hopping small ship cruises to the Mamanucas and Yasawas with three and seven day itineraries. "
Coral Coast & Pacific Harbour

Fiji, Pacific

The Coral Coast is 80 kilometres of barrier reef beaches, on the sheltered southern side of Viti Levu about halfway between Nadi a...

string(3652) "The Coral Coast is 80 kilometres of barrier reef beaches, on the sheltered southern side of Viti Levu about halfway between Nadi and Suva. 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. "
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. "

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