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Micronesia Pohnpei Holiday Pohnpei

Micronesia, Pacific

This is the largest island in the Eastern Caroline Group and the capital of the FSM. It fits the typical South Sea island image...

string(3558) " This is the largest island in the Eastern Caroline Group and the capital of the FSM. It fits the typical South Sea island image with lush vegetation, abundant rainfall and tumbling waterfalls. Unlike other Micronesian islands it has tropical jungles, mist-covered mountains, one of the healthiest mangrove swamps and exotic f lora in the Pacific. Situated in the northwestern Pacific, it is 880 metres high, 21 kilometres wide and shaped somewhat like a circular tent. Also known as the garden island of Micronesia, its boldest landmarks are Sokehs Rock and Nan Madol. Nan Madol is an ancient stone city built on the tidal f lats of the eastern part of Pohnpei. There are approximately 100 artificial islets constructed of basalt logs of various sizes up to 70 tons each, making Nan Madol the largest and one of the most mysterious archaeological sites in the Pacific. The first European to visit the island group was Spaniard Diego de Rocha in 1526. The islands were originally called the New Philippines until 1696 when they were renamed the Caroline Islands. Occupied by Spain, Germany, Japan and the USA, Pohnpei experienced 100 years of foreign rule because it proved to be an ideal supply stop for the Pacific expeditions. Pohnpeian is the native language, however, both English and Pohnpeian are used in business. Archaeologists and engineers are attempting to discover more about the race which constructed the island city of Nan Madol. The stone fortress was built on a reef south-east of Temwen Island by the rulers of Pohnpei around 500 AD until it was taken over by Isokelekel, the warrior who installed the present traditional system in the 1520s. Nan Madol is reached by boat from the main town of Kolonia about 45 minutes away. It’s a full day boat tour which includes a visit to the spectacular Keprohi Waterfall and snorkelling in the lagoon. A 20-minute ride out of Kolonia takes you to the Nanpil River where further along are the spectacular Liduduhniap Twin Waterfalls, complete with thatched huts where you can picnic in a jungle setting. A day trip to privately owned Black Coral Island in the lagoon is the perfect way to safely snorkel the reef and, for a family day, visit Langer island with its simple cottages where visitors can stay overnight. In Kolonia you can see the Spanish Wall, built in 1889 as a boundary for Fort Alphonso XII. Nearby is the Catholic Mission Bell Tower, all that remains of the old German church torn down by the Japanese during WWII. Also take a stroll into the Polynesian village and watch the craftsmen whittle ornaments from locally grown ivory seed. Most tours operate from Kolonia, and many of the waterfalls and areas of historical and ecological importance can only be reached by guided tour. Accommodation is in both traditional Pohnpeian thatched roofed bungalows with garden showers, and Westernstyle hotels. There is no public transport, only taxis and rental cars, but most hotels offer shuttle services. Tourist facilities are clean and the service is friendly. A visit to the Pohnpeian cultural centres is a must for anyone wishing to experience traditional Pohnpeian life. Each centre has a distinctive program and performances include traditional dancing, singing, music, ceremonial sakau making, handicraft arts, and food preparation. The village shops specialise in handicrafts and popular items include carvings of sharks, fish, dolphins and canoes. When it comes to relaxing, try sakau, the numbing local drink which is used in ceremonies and also sold in bars. "
Langkawi

Malaysia, Asia

The archipelago of 99 islands that make up Langkawi almost matches Singapore in land size and boasts modern amenities and infrastr...

string(2573) "The archipelago of 99 islands that make up Langkawi almost matches Singapore in land size and boasts modern amenities and infrastructure, while still retaining its traditional culture. Shrouded in myths about ogres, gigantic birds, warriors, fairy princesses, battles and romance, it’s a natural paradise unmatched anywhere else in Southeast Asia. Its geological history dates back 500 million years and the islands contain many unique rock formations including numerous caves with stunning stalactites and stalagmites. The outstanding geological landscape and features of Langkawi led to its classification as the first Geopark, not only in Malaysia, but Southeast Asia by UNESCO, with the aim of preserving and maintaining its unique attributes through conservation and ecotourism. The Chuping Limestone at Pulau Dayang Bunting dates back some 280 million years and it is this kind of history that makes Langkawi so spectacular. Nestled among Langkawi’s mist covered hills, limestone outcrops and lush forests are awe-inspiring waterfalls, like those of Telaga Tujuh, as well as mysterious caves and a rich diversity of f lora and fauna. Those looking for a holiday with a difference might try jungle trekking or taking a boat trip up the rivers and around the many islands. Kuah, located on the southeastern side of Pulau Langkawi, is the capital and entry point to the islands by ferry. Kuah is a thriving centre of modern hotels and, because of its duty free status, a shoppers’ haven. A visit to the Teluk Burau Oriental Village is recommended. Designed as a new concept in resort shopping, more than 30 specialty outlets offer a diverse variety and range of brands and products which can often be purchased very cheaply, from alcohol and perfume to electrical goods and tobacco. Langkawi International Fashion Zone (LIFZ) is a prominent international factory outlet showcasing many international fashion brands, like Gucci, Versace and Hugo Boss. Beaches such as those of Pantai Cenang on the west coast and Pantai Kok on the opposite side of the island from the capital offer relaxation while the clear, emerald waters around the islands are ideal for watersports and recreation. Nightlife is a special experience in Langkawi, as some of the bars are located right on the beach. Most popular nightclubs are located at the bigger resorts, however most of the local bars offer live music and performances as entertainment. There is a wide choice of dining options, from local fare to Western and Eastern gourmet cuisines with Asian spices. "
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."
Malaysia

Asia

Geographically divided into two, Malaysia has a peninsula stretching from Thailand to Singapore, and is blessed with enchanting is...

string(8689) "Geographically divided into two, Malaysia has a peninsula stretching from Thailand to Singapore, and is blessed with enchanting islands, beautiful mountains, tropical flora and fauna, as well as modern, thriving metropolises. Capital and major centres Malaysia consists of six major regions with Kuala Lumpur the capital city. Peninsular Malaysia’s central region is made up of the states of Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Malacca, while the north is occupied by Penang, Perlis, Perak and Kedah. Terengganu, Kelantan and Pahang make up the east coast, and in the south is the state of Johor. The states of Sabah and Sarawak are on the northern third of the island of Borneo. Each region has unique qualities in terms of features, local culture, food and historical sites. The people Malaysia is a fascinating mix of ethnicities, ranging from the Malays, Chinese, Indians and indigenous Orang Asli (Original People) of Peninsular Malaysia to the diverse tribal communities of Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia. Although the national language is Bahasa Melayu (Malay), English is widely spoken amongst the population of around 31 million. Nature Malaysia has a precious collection of national parks and wildlife reserves, which have been established to protect flora and fauna unique to the region. More than 60 percent of the country is under rainforest cover, home to over 8000 species of flora in Peninsular Malaysia alone, as well as 2000 tree species. The fascinating wildlife in the country includes elephants, rhinoceros, tigers, leopards, tapirs, sun bears, orangutans and gibbons. The designated Permanent Forest Estate covers 3.8 million hectares of virgin jungle, and more than 1.49 million hectares of conservation area. Peninsular Malaysia’s great Taman Negara National Park is one of the world’s oldest tropical rainforests. Taman Negara National Park straddles the borders of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang, the latter part being the most visited. Endau-Rompin, which covers the boundary between Johor and Pahang, boasts many unique and endemic varieties of plants that were discovered within the centuries-old forest. These include the magnificent fan palm, climbing bamboo and the slender stemmed walking stick palm. Moths and butterflies of every kind, and deer and wild boar can be found in this lowland forest, one of the few remaining in Peninsular Malaysia. On the Borneo side of Malaysia, Gunung Mulu National Park in North Sarawak is one of the state’s most popular sites. It boasts an extensive limestone cave system— including the largest cave chamber in the world, the Sarawak Chamber—and is home to the second highest mountain peak in Sarawak as well as many plants and animal species. Kinabalu Park has the Poring Hot Springs, and Mt Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Southeast Asia. Another cave site, Niah National Park is one of the largest limestone caves in the world. On the wild side, Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary is set in a virgin equatorial rainforest and has rare plants, animals and birds. The sights Kuala Lumpur (KL) delights visitors with its colonial architecture, which still manages to stand out against the shining office towers and multi-lane highways. Further south, waterfront developments are changing the face of Malacca (Melaka), Malaysia’s oldest town. The island of Penang, the oldest British settlement in Malaysia, is one of the country’s top tourist attractions. It is renown for its beach resorts and the historical George Town, noted for its cuisine. Penang Hill offers a spectacular view of the island, and is particularly popular at dusk. Langkawi’s archipelago offers stunning beaches and resorts, as well as myths and legends. There are also many spectacular mainland beaches such as Cherating in Pahang, where you can watch for turtles. Over on the east in Sabah, Mt Kinabalu, the Turtle Islands, Sipadan and the national parks are the main attractions. Sarawak’s capital city is ideal for travellers, with landscaped parks and historic buildings. Where to stay There are plenty of hotels, condos and apartments in Malaysia. There is plenty of budget accommodation such as traditional Chinese hotels and dormitory-style guesthouses that can be found in most cities. The homestay concept is still relatively new, but is a great way to learn first hand the Malaysian way of life. Getting around Taxis are very common in Malaysia, and although meters are often used, it is always helpful to agree on a price beforehand. For trips to airports and railway stations, purchase coupons at the taxi counter stationed at both places. Several car rental agencies offer self-drive and chauffeur-driven cars. The national KTM train runs from Kuala Lumpur to Padang Besar in the north, Singapore in the south, and up to Tumpat on the east coast. Buses are fast and economical, and seats can be reserved fairly easily. Food and entertainment The food in Malaysia is nothing short of fantastic. There is a choice of Chinese, Malay, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Thai, Korean and Western. Nyonya cuisine is probably the most famous of these fusions and is a blend of Chinese ingredients and Malay spices. Malay food uses seafood, meat, coconut and other indigenous fruits with rice. Street stalls or hawkers are where the best local cuisines can be enjoyed cheaply. The theatrical ambience of these hawkers is like no other, with continuous demonstrations of wok tossing, teh tarik (tea pulling), the artful skill of flipping rotis (Indian bread), and barbecuing of satay sticks. As a Muslim nation, there are restaurants offering halal food prepared in religiously approved conditions. Malaysia is famous for its wide variety of tropical fruits, including rambutans, mangosteens, jackfruit and durians. Sights of roadside vendors selling fruits and other snacks are common and the prices are usually cheaper than in supermarkets, especially when the special skill of bargaining is employed. Although Malaysia is a Muslim country alcohol is widely available in bars and nightclubs, especially in capital cities and tourist areas. Nightlife in Malaysia is anything but boring. Kuala Lumpur offers a wide choice of nightspots with entertainment ranging from cultural shows to Western-style bars and discos. Hot spots include Petaling Street, Jalan Alor, the Asian Heritage Row, Bangsar and many neighbouring suburbs. Activities For those without much time in Kuala Lumpur, a city tour on the Hop-On Hop-Off bus is a great way to see the highlights. The huge Batu Caves will give tourists an unforgettable cultural experience. Golfing is on offer at 200 courses in diverse settings such as hill resorts, islands, beaches, cities, towns and off the beaten track. The diving and snorkelling off Tioman Island and Redang Island is superb, both islands boast underwater caves and incredible coral reefs. Sipadan Island, off the coast of Sabah, is said to have some of the best diving in the world. Trekking through the jungle trails of Taman Negara Park, visitors may see elephants, tigers, panthers and rhinos, although sightings are rare. A hike up Mount Kinabalu in Sabah is amazing as tourists can watch the sunrise from beneath the clouds that surround the peak. Shopping Kuala Lumpur is very good value, with a variety of fashionable products and handicrafts available from shopping complexes, department stores, boutiques and markets. The Central Market in Chinatown is a centre for handicrafts, antiques and art. Here visitors can employ their bargaining skills to get the best prices on ‘branded’ merchandise. There is also the Chow Kit Market, a Malay market with many roadside vendors lining Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (also known as Jalan TAR). On Saturday nights, some streets are closed to traffic and host lively night markets. Visitors should be prepared to negotiate a good price and go home with a bargain! Currency The Malaysian Ringgit is usually written as RM. Tipping is not expected although much appreciated. Climate Temperatures range from 21°C to 32°C with cooler temperatures in the hills, particularly during the evenings. The east coast, Sabah and Sarawak have heavy rainfalls during November to February. The west coast of the peninsula is wet from April to October. Cool, lightweight summer clothing is best with medium-weight woollens at night in the cooler highland areas. Entry requirements All visitors need a valid passport/travel document with minimum validity of six months beyond the period of intended stay. Visa requirements vary for different countries so be sure to check. "
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. "
Cambodia

Asia

Angkor Wat is the world’s largest temple complex, consisting of sandstone temples, chapels, causeways, terraces and reservoirs. ...

string(3911) "Angkor Wat is the world’s largest temple complex, consisting of sandstone temples, chapels, causeways, terraces and reservoirs. Vast and awe-inspiring, it is a magnificent Hindu temple set in dense jungle, located 152 kilometres from the Thai border, at Siem Reap. The walls are covered in thousands of carvings of gods and events from classical Hindu mythology. It was abandoned in the 15th century when the people turned to Buddhism and rediscovered in 1861. Elephant, Dangkrek and Cardamom mountains are in the southwest of Cambodia along the northern border with Thailand and the Eastern Highlands and in the northeastern corner are the three main mountainous regions. The majority of the population speaks Khmer, a non-tonal language closely related to Thai. French is the second language and English is taught in schools. Cambodia nationalities comprise of Chinese, Vietnamese and Cham Muslims. A form of Buddhism called Theravada is practiced by the majority of Cambodians, Animism and Caodaism are also practised. Capital and major centres Phnom Penh, the capital, has a population of around 1.5 million people and, despite its tumultuous past, its crumbling colonial architecture makes an attractive backdrop to streetside cafés and the redeveloped waterfront precinct. Peaceful Udong, 40 kilometres north of Phnom Penh, was the capital of Cambodia between 1618 and 1866. The town of Siem Reap is only a few kilometres from the temples of Angkor. Where to stay International standard hotels are available in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville is growing in popularity as the only beach resort destination in Cambodia. Facilities are being developed and the general increase in tourism in Cambodia has led to a boom in guesthouse accommodation. Getting around You can hire a car with a driver with taxis easily found in the cities. The tuk tuk (three-wheeled motor cycles) cyclos and motos (small motorcycles) can also be flagged down for short trips. Buses also have an effective network and they make travel to sights around Phnom Penh easier than driving. For longer trips, trains are a longer but more comfortable option. There are also boats and the most popular services operate between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Fast boats head up the Mekong to Kompong Cham, Kratie and Stung Treng. Food and entertainment Khmer cuisine is similar to Thai and there are sidewalk noodle shops, food stalls and markets. It is wise to avoid eating or drinking from street vendors. The influence of the French is manifest in the breads and frogs’ legs sold in the markets, and tea and coffee are widely available. Tap water and ‘muscle wines’ are best avoided. There is a growing number of good restaurants, including Thai, Chinese, Indian, Malay and Western, both in the capital and in towns that attract tourists. Activities There are activities such as snorkelling in Sihanoukville and elephant rides in Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri, but you need a guide, as landmines, bandits, and other dangers make hiking, outdoor activities, or venturing off the beaten track, dangerous. There are many leisure activities in Phnom Penh such as go-karting, jet-skiing, mini golf and ten pin bowling. A network of national parks is being established, complete with visitor facilities; Kirirom, Ream and Bokor on the south coast are the most accessible and extremely interesting. Nature The number of national parks is increasing, but illegal logging has long been a problem. Parks include Bokor, on the south coast; Ream, near Sihanoukville; Kirirom, outside Phnom Penh; and Virachay, bordering Laos and Vietnam. Endangered species which are elsewhere extinct are thought to be hidden in the more remote habitats, including elephants, tigers, leopards, gibbons, bats, rhinos and crocodiles. Butterflies, snakes and birds such as cormorants, cranes and ducks are most common."

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