Category Archives: Asia Guides

Why You Must Stop What You Are Doing And Visit Bogor

visit bogor
Located in the shadow of the beautiful Mount Salak, Bogor is one Java’s must see cities. Located just 90 kilometers south of Jakarta, Bogor’s relaxed vibe couldn’t be more different than the capitol city, Jakarta. This beautiful city is one of the jewels of Indonesia and should be on everybody’s travel plan. Indonesia is among the most exciting locations in Southeast Asia. Here is why you must stop what you are doing and visit Bogor Indonesia.

Botanical Gardens
Bogor is home to some of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world. Formed 200 years ago for scientific experiments in botany, the Bogor Botanical Gardens are now one of the regions primary tourist draws. Botanical research is still on going at the gardens but today you will see many more tourists than scientists. The botanical gardens are massive and can take all day to explore. Many visitors will choose to enjoy lunch in the garden’s lovely cafe. The gardens are also home of the prime minister’s summer estate so you can imagine what it would like to wake up to views of this garden every morning. A whiff of the flowers and fresh air and you would never believe you are so close to Jakarta.

visit bogor
Gunung Salak
Gazing up at the massive peak of Gunung Salak is a once in a lifetime experience. This volcano erupted approximately 80 years ago but given that it has only erupted a few times ever (as far as scientists can tell) this makes it one of the safest (allegedly) on Java. If you want to get up close and personal with the volcano, it is also home to a lovely national park. You can arrange several guided hikes of varying difficult to view some of the wonders of this natural wonder.

Puppet Workshop
Bogor houses an incredible puppet museum that features traditional hand made Indonesian puppets known as Wayang golek.  This is not your average museum as it also doubles as a workshop for the puppet maker, which triples as his home! The gentlemen who runs the museum will gladly show you how the puppets are made, give you a history of them, and sell you one as well. These puppets are an important part of Indonesian and Javanese culture and are unique to this region of the world. Talk about a one of a kind souvenir! So if you are interested in arts and crafts and one of a kind experiences, the Wayang Golek puppet museum is a one of the best reasons to visit Bogor. The hospitality doesn’t stop at the museum, if you are looking for a great place to stay with incredible customer service, try the R Hotel Rancamaya.

So whether you are doing a tour of Java, Indonesia as whole, or just looking for a weekend getaway from Jakarta; Bogor is a one of a kind city with a relaxed and fun atmosphere. If the thought of being so close to a volcano doesn’t make you queasy, we recommend you visit Bogor soon and prepare for a truly once in a lifetime experience.

Southeast Asia’s Great Enigma: Top Reasons To Visit Burma

Burma's many pagoda's count toward the top reasons to visit Burma.

In spite the many top reasons to visit Burma, the country remains unexplored by many travelers. Burma (also known as Myanmar) has a lot of fascinating tourist spots that you should consider experiencing, as they are situated in a territory filled with magnificent beauty and unrivalled charisma. Burma is an autonomous country in Southeast Asia, bounded by India to its west, China to its north, Laos and Thailand to its east, in addition to having the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea to its south.

One of the best top reasons to visit Burma relates to its popular beaches, the most unforgettable of them being Ngapali Beach. Ngapali Beach is situated in Rakhine State, stretching elegantly along the coast of the Bay of Bengal. The beach is considered as one of Burma’s premier beaches considering its unspoilt natural ambience, clean blue waters and white sand that is surrounded by coconut trees.

Also, there are prearranged leisure activities offered to its visitors which might tickle their fancy, such as beach wandering, beach volleyball, snorkelling and a lot more. There also some fishing towns close to the beach which can be visited through tours. Fundamentally, the best time to explore the place is through the months of May and October.

Mrauk U is a prehistoric city also lying in Rakhine State, which is included in the top reasons to visit Burma. Mrauk U has caught the attention of many tourists owing to its rich archaeological heritage. It was established by King Narameikhla in the year 1404 A.D. If you tour the area, you can witness many of its antique artifacts and ancient stunning architecture of its shrines, pagodas and palaces. To access the city, travellers should ride a boat that takes about 4 to 5 hours from Sittwe, heading towards Rakhine Yoma.

Another tourist destination to explore is Mount Popa. It is positioned in Kyaukpadaung town about 50 kilometres from Bagan. Primarily this attraction is recognized as a dead volcano which is an abode to many spirits. Furthermore, Mount Popa is also considered to be one of the top reasons to visit Burma owing to its fine-looking forests, which are nestled on its slopes, which serves as a sanctuary to many wildlife species. Apart from that, there are many outdoor activities tourists can enjoy at the Pegu Range of Mount Popa such as trekking, biking and hiking. There are also eye-catching structures that can be viewed here, such as a Buddhist temple and the Taung Kalat.

Hanoi or Saigon?

Many people coming to Vietnam on holiday, ask me the same question, “I want to see a big city as well as some of the countryside, which is better Hanoi or Saigon?” It is an almost impossible question to answer, but I will at least attempt to give you some information on which to base your choice.

First, a bit of background information. Hanoi is the capital of the country and is based in the north. It was already the capital of North Vietnam and when the country was reunified in 1975, it got the nod ahead of its southern rival. Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City, as it is now officially called, is 720 miles south of Hanoi. The former capital of South Vietnam it is by far the largest city in the country, and one of the largest in Asia. It is home to about 12 million people and a staggering 3.4 million motorbikes.

streets in ho chi minh city

One of many broad tree-lined boulevards in Saigon

Choosing a holiday destination is about, of course, more than just what is available inside the city. The surrounding areas and local hot destinations have to be taken into consideration. In the north you have Sapa and Halong Bay. These are the two biggest attractions in the country, with Halong Bay considered one of the finest destinations anywhere in the world. However, in the south you will find the Mekong Delta and no Vietnam trip can really miss out on seeing one of the world’s truly great rivers.

Saigon, as it is still known by most people, is quite simply one of the greatest cities anywhere. It is a huge sprawling city with a mixture of architectural styles that is very easy on the eye. Ancient Asian structures, fabulous French Colonial buildings and ultra modern glass towers, all rub shoulders here, in a riot of design. That it all works is something of a miracle, but work it does. The broad sweeping, tree-lined boulevards and the many parks, bring space and give the city its lungs.

Hanoi on the other hand, is smaller, quieter and not so dramatic. Of course the same three types of architecture are present, but the buildings are not quite so imposing and iconic. St. Joseph’s Cathedral is all very fine and much loved, but compared to the Notre Dame Basilica in Saigon, there really is no contest. Whilst the two highest glass towers in the country, The Landmark 72 and the soon to be completed Lotte Centre are found in Hanoi, the boldest and most iconic one, the Bitexco Financial Tower, is in Saigon.

tallest building in Ho Chi Minh City

The iconic Bitexco Financial Tower in Saigon

For culture and entertainment, most people head, in Saigon, to District One. There are many bars, restaurants, stores and cinemas. Everything you would want for a great night out. But Hanoi does it with more style. The Old Quarter is a fabulous maze of small streets with incredible restaurants and bars lending an almost Mediterranean feel to an evening out. However, if it’s shopping you want, then head to Saigon, the fashion stores here rival Paris or Milan.


A view of the old district in Hanoi.

So what is it to be, Hanoi or Saigon? There really is only one solution. Take a longer break and do both!

Keith Hancock is a singer/songwriter and writer based in Saigon, Vietnam. He has lived in Asia for more than 5 years and travels throughout the continent researching and writing. He owns and writes for Saigon Districts, an informative website about life in Vietnam’s largest city, aimed at the expat community. Keith is one of only two DIAMOND STATUS rated writers on Ezine articles in the whole of Indochina He has had work published in magazines and websites in the UK, Europe, USA, Australia and Asia. His great loves are music and travel, but he writes on a whole range of subjects.

Top Tourist Attractions in The Maldives

Endowed with a great number of beautiful destinations to explore that will truly capture your heart, the top tourist attractions in the Maldives have continued to amaze a great deal of travellers. The Maldives is actually the smallest Asian nation in the world and located in the Indian Ocean and composed of 26 islands, all of which are gifted with pristine beauty and a unique culture.

Top Attractions in The Maldives To Visit

One of the must-visits among the top tourist attractions in The Maldives is the National Museum of The Maldives. The Museum was time-honoured in the Sultan’s palace and takes pride in containing the safeguarded works of The Maldives’ prehistoric era. Within the museum, tourists are privileged to view the wonderful exhibits of royal entities such as their day-to-day outfits, currencies, jewlery, sculptures and also artefacts and pictures of both the pre-Islamic epoch and that of the historical Maldivian locals. Aside from such remarkable items, the National Museum of The Maldives also features the unique tomblike monument of Buddhists.

If you’re a self-confessed aficionado of the arts, then Esjehi Art Gallery would really tickle your fancy. Esjehi Art Gallery will allow you to journey way back in the 1870s during the colonial period. Moreover, the gallery has some unique pieces and even facilitates trade fairs where you can purchase genuine works of art from famous Maldivian artists.

Being an island country, The Maldives boasts a huge quantity of islands to strengthen its tourism. With the good intention of boosting further the tourism growth of the country, the administration of The Maldives has created several ventures to build some artificial atolls that will capture the commercial market. Fundamentally, there are 3 non-natural islands in the country namely Thilafushi, Gamarugiri and Hulhumale. All of these destinations are considered to belong among the top tourist attractions in The Maldives.

Dotted in the Kurumba Island, about 20 minutes drive from the airport of Male, is the famous Kurumba Village which is the first island resort in the country. Kurumba Village is also known as a forest resort to many tourists and never fails to draw a great number of tourists to explore the islands. The village is rich with a plethora of coconut trees, sandy coasts, and stunning, serene lagoons which are certainly ideal for leisure. In addition to that, the village is propped up with excellent bungalows and cottages not to mention the fine bars, massage centres and spas which transform the place into a vacation paradise. Another fantastic place to stay is at Kuredu Island Resort which offers some of the best amenities in the country.