Wednesday November 20, 2013
Image of Hue Royal Citadel in Vietnam © Mike Aquino, licensed to About.com.
Cruising to Southeast Asia would be a waste of money if you weren't allowed to go deeper into the countries you're visiting. Deluxe cruise provider Crystal Cruises takes care of that little problem with a new collection of Overland Adventures launching between February and April 2014. Read More...
Monday November 18, 2013
Image courtesy of Ian Stevenson Photography, used with permission.
If you've been to Lombok or the Gili Islands, you've probably been to the East Bali town of Padangbai, though you probably didn't pay it any mind. Most travelers treat Padangbai as a stopover, spending most of their time at the pier that services ferries traveling between Bali and the islands to the immediate east.
If Lombok or the Gilis are on your itinerary, then try (if you can) extending your stay in Padangbai for a night. Then you can see what surprises the port town has up its sleeve: nice unspoiled beaches and a laid-back nightlife that serves as a cool counterpoint to Kuta's drink-until-you-hurl scene.
Check out our Travel Guide to Padangbai, East Bali... and explore the possibilities that await when you Spend a Day in Padangbai, East Bali. Both guides are provided to us courtesy of our new guest contributor Andrea Ellickson. As the Balinese say: terimah kasi, Andrea!
Thursday November 14, 2013
Image © Mike Aquino, licensed to About.com.
If the Governor of Bali has his way, the island's magnificent temples may soon be deprived of foreign visitors. During a seminar held last week, Governor Made Mangku Pastika acknowledged the controversial inclusion of the "mother temple" Pura Besakih on Bali's sacred Gunung Agung in a list of Indonesia's national strategic tourist destinations, and suggested it was time for a change.
"It is high time for us to limit access to our temples," said the Governor. "Please use the temples to worship the creator."
The Governor is mainly worried about a rush of tourists making worship in temples difficult, but there's always worst-case-scenarios like that presented by Urmas and Katrin Silman, who were caught having sex in the Pura Mengening bathing temple in Tampaksiring earlier this year.
Other voices have suggested that the tourist tide might do some good: Indonesian Tour Guides Association (HPI) Bali representative Amos Lilo says he appreciates the Governor's sentiments, but...
"But we have to remember that many foreign tourists come to Bali to learn more about the religion and culture of the Balinese people. Worship places like Besakih Temple are among the most attractive tourist destinations in Bali," Lilo said [...] "Clear regulations and information are needed to avoid misunderstanding. Tourists mostly respect the religious code of ethics applied here in Bali."
Read the complete article at the Jakarta Post. For more context, read this overview of Balinese culture, or this list of Top Ten Must-See Temples in Bali.
Thursday November 14, 2013
Christmas in Singapore just wouldn't be the same without a lit-up Marina Bay, and this year, Community Chest and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) are stepping up with the Christmas ChariTrees @ Marina Bay 2013, which will enjoy its debut light-up on November 15 at the Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade.
A total of 30 LED-equipped ChariTrees will illuminate the Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade for six weeks after the launch from 7pm to 1am, finally switching off on December 27. 20 of these trees are "Story Trees" whose designs tell the stories of beneficiaries, as interpreted by design students from LASALLE College of the Arts. Read More...