From The Straits Times    |

8 travel destinations

Photograph: / Sergey Belov


It’s time to plan the next quick getaway, with the September school holidays around the corner. Consider these destinations in Asia and Australia recommended by travel membership company WorldVentures.

1. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Formerly named Saigon, Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City offers visitors a lot to explore, from its French colonial architecture and religious pagodas to bustling markets and modern museums. Go to the Mekong Delta which will include a trip down the Tien River, with stops at fishing villages and the islands of Dragon, Unicorn, Tortoise and Phoenix. Other highlights include a trek through coconut plantations and taking a rowboat to Thoi Son Island, where, while refreshing yourself with tropical fruit and honey tea, you’ll enjoy a live performance of Don Ca Tai Tu, the traditional folk music of southern Vietnam.

2. Siem Reap, Cambodia

Explore Cambodia’s sprawling Angkor complex and find out what makes its temples some of the most visited in the world. Peek into the history of the Khmer empire at Angkor Wat’s famous structure with its many intricate terraces and ornate carvings, and envision the 12th-century architecture in its heyday. Be awed by the Bayon Temple, Baphuon Temple and Ta Prohm where towering sIlk cotton trees blanket ruins with their massive roots.

3. Manila, Philippines

Experience the natural surroundings of the Philippines on your trip to Manila. Eat locally sourced delicacies at a table set in streams of nearby waterfalls, then hit Lake Labasin and row a traditional bamboo raft. Gain an understanding of the Filipino culture at AERA Memorial Museum and tour rural lands in a colourful carabao cart. Round out your Philippines experience with a musical presentation complete with traditional dances and costumes from the country’s indigenous tribes.

4. Sarawak, Malaysia

Soak in the splendour of Malaysia on your trip to Kuching, a city full of history, culture and tradition. Visit the Sarawak Cultural Village, a living museum depicting the lifestyle of the Sarawak minority group. Learn about the city’s heritage and lifestyle from replica buildings and enjoy a cultural dance performance. Afterwards, enjoy lunch among locals at the Buntal fishing village. Continue your trip with a discovery of 75,000-plus plants and famous waterfront views at the Sarawak Orchid Garden. Continue on to the Malay Village, the White Rajahs building, Chinatown, a Chinese temple and Sarawak State Museum — the oldest museum in Borneo.


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5. Colombo, Sri Lanka

Marvel at ancient temples, diverse wildlife and endless beaches on a trip to the cultural hub of Sri Lanka. Your trip must include a tour of the ancient Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara Temple, famous for its elaborate decorations and depictions of the Gautama Buddha. Watch dozens of wild Asian elephants play at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage (above) and visit the sacred Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. Take in the sights and scents of vibrantly coloured flowers on a walk through Sri Lanka’s botanical gardens. Complete your stay by witnessing a magnificent sunset over the Laccadive Sea.

6. Macau

Visit some of Macau’s top attractions and famous landmarks, including the ancient Ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral (above left), Macau Tower Observation Deck, the Cotai Strip and Lord Stow’s Bakery, the original shop where the first Portuguese egg tarts were prepared. 

7. Yilan, Taiwan

Get a taste of Taiwanese culture on your trip to Yilan. Learn about traditional clog making by touring the Baimi Wooden Clogs Village, where you might even try your hand at making your own clogs. Then, sample tea at a picturesque tea plantation and snack on delicious street food at Luodong Night Market. Discover the whisky making process at King Car Kavalan Whisky Distillery and marvel at Lanyang Museum’s unique architecture and exhibits.

8. Cairns, Australia

Go on a cruise to Michaelmas Cay through Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. A reef sand island surrounded by magical coral gardens, is teeming with incredibly diverse marine life. The Cay itself is a protected seabird sanctuary playing host to thousands of migratory seabirds and is one of the most important nesting sites in the Southern Hemisphere. Experience the sea creatures as you snorkel into the waters. Learn more at the ecological presentations by marine biologists and go on a bird tour to cap off your date with nature.


This story was originall published on Silverkris.