Buddhist Temples of Thailand

wat po

A Sanctuary behind the Busier Side of Asia

With more than 90 percent of its residents practicing Buddhism, a holiday trip to Thailand would not be complete without visiting the country’s historically and culturally-rich temples. Like its neighbour Cambodia, Thailand is also home to its own version of the Angkor Wat. And since the country is located in the middle of the Indochina peninsula, it wouldn’t be a surprise that it hosts some of the most pristine beaches.
But, considering today’s busy work schedules and a pervading lifestyle of a businessman, it may be a good idea to take a break from the crowded beach scene and find your solace in the quieter temples instead. Luckily, with today’s DialAFlight services and one-click internet access, you’re much awaited trip is just a few steps away.

If you are fond of the waterscapes, then Wat Arun might just be the place for you. Located at the Thonburi side of the Chao Praya River, this mystical temple offers a refreshing sight, especially when you visit the place around the afternoon. Ironically, the temple dubbed as “Temple of Dawn” hosts a better view during sunset, when the sun is strategically placed behind it. Aside from a picturesque view of the setting sun, you might enjoy its architectural design since it is actually based on the center of the universe in Buddhist cosmology, Mount Meru.

Wat Phra That Lampang Luang

At first glance, you might mistake this temple as a fortress because of several walls surrounding it, but it is actually one prime example of Lanna architecture that existed in the late 1400’s. Situated at the top of a hill, this wooden temple serves as a refuge for those who seek a peaceful atmosphere.

Wat Ko Kaew Sutharam

For art lovers, one Buddhist temple to visit is the Wat Ko Kaew Sutharam, which is host to several interior paintings that dates back in the 18th century. These paintings vary in themes including those that depict European missions to Ayutthaya.

The Best Places to Stay in Manila


As the capital city of the Philippines, Manila is one of the most important economic and cultural centers in the country, and is naturally one of the busiest arrival points for visitors to the country. Its history as an important city dates back to the fifteenth century, when Manila was an independent kingdom that flourished due to trading links with the Chinese Empire. Today visitors to Manila are just as likely to be in the city on business as they are to be visiting the city for pleasure, and this is reflected in the wide variety of accommodation that is available in the city. While the Philippines are considered to be a budget destination, it is wise to check loans calculators to see if its affordable within your budget.

The Bayleaf

This hotel is one of the more interesting boutique hotels in the city that has discovered a cult following among those who have to travel to the city on a regular basis. The hotel is situated in Intramuros, the historic center of Manila where many of the oldest and most important buildings in the city are located, making The Bayleaf a great place to stay for visitors. The room prices here are very reasonable when compared with some international hotel chains, while still enjoying plenty of luxuries such as large comfortable beds, air conditioning and flat screen televisions.

Sofitel Philippine Plaza

This is one of the larger chains of luxury hotels with a presence in Manila, and enjoys a prominent position that means many of the rooms benefit from views out over the bay. This is a great place to relax for those who have been spending a few days exploring the busy city, and with a lagoon swimming pool and a spa it is the perfect place for those looking to while away a few hours and to completely unwind. The luxurious rooms are very pleasant and have all the usual modern facilities, while some excellent restaurants are available for those who don’t want to venture out in the nearby entertainment district of Makati City.

Manila Hotel

The Manila Hotel is one of the most established and historic hotels in the city, and has been welcoming visitors to its luxurious rooms for over eighty years, offering a far more distinctive Philippine experience than some of the chain hotels. The decoration here uses traditional wood furniture and many of the decorations make use of the locally sourced capiz shells. Modern features such as memory foam mattresses, large televisions and luxury bathroom toiletries are all a part of the package here. The rooms themselves are large and welcoming with excellent furniture in a traditional style in each room, and the Champagne Room is one of the best places to enjoy French cuisine in the country.

Victoria Court Malate

This hotel is one of the quirkier offerings in Manila, and has an interesting contrast between offering good accommodation on a budget in the city, whilst also having some remarkable themed suites. Those willing to splash out on the hotel’s top suites can choose rooms themed on movies such as Austin Powers and Casino Royale, while the Batcave suite comes with its own private garage and jacuzzi. The beds are comfortable enough and the rooms have air conditioning as standard, with every room having its own unique features and treats included for visitors.

Tune Hotel

Located just a short walk from the Roxas Boulevard which is one of the most important entertainment streets in Manila, this hotel is a bright and breezy hotel that offers comfortable and competitively priced accommodation. With its white and red exterior it is hard to miss the hotel while driving past, but the rooms come with comfortable beds and all the basics that you would expect including wi-fi internet and air conditioning in many of the rooms. It is certainly worth
booking ahead with this hotel, as you will get the best prices, and often a few more luxuries will be included for your comfort.

Thailand for Foodies – Dishes you HAVE to Try on Holiday in Thailand.

thai chilies

Thai dishes are often portrayed as spicy and meaty with no room for any other kind of cuisine. It isn’t as predictable as you may think, spices might be involved but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a predictable taste as their aromatic and wonderfully tasting herbs are something of a must try. So here are some dishes you have to try when on holiday in Thailand – enjoy!

Panang Curry.

This dish is apparently a must for anyone on holiday in Thailand.

It is made with either Beef of Chicken and has flavors and aromas that reference the distant lands of India and Malaysia. This dish includes fresh herbs and a wide range of spices which are sure to keep you enjoying the taste and smell of your meal. It is a common dish and is served in most tourist resorts but is a must for traditional Thai cuisine.

It is quick for chefs to prepare so there should be no trouble getting the meal served quickly for you to enjoy!

Tom Yum Baked Chicken

Thailand is famous for spicy cuisine and this is apparently one of its ‘musts’ for visitors to experience the tongue tingling spices available.

Basically its Thai baked chicken which consists of herb and spice paste which the chicken is bathed in and then baked. It is very popular amongst tourists so no doubt it should be easily found in any tourist establishment. Its popularity is probably due to its renowned spicy and zesty taste due to the use of red chilies and lime juice.

This dish clearly should be on anyone’s list of traditional Thai cuisine to try.

Shrimp Green Curry.

This meal is obviously a sea food based meal which offers a wonderful mixture of tastes for the most well travelled cuisine expert.

Made with coconut milk, green curry paste, aubergine and fish sauce this meal also has the slight but unmistakable taste of Thai herbs and spices to make this dish a must try. In popular tourist places the green curry will probably be cooked with chicken or pork but if you can try to locate it, the shrimp based green curry is well worth finding.

Reportedly this Thai curry is best when found in local villages rather than in a tourist resort.

Mixed Vegetable Stir Fry

This dish is locally known as “Pad Pak Ruam Mit” and is very easily found everywhere in Thailand with it being not only a local favourite but a popular tourist meal too.

It does exactly what it says on the tin, made with mixed vegetables such as Chinese broccoli leaves, garlic, oyster sauce and Chinese cabbage it is a very wonderful tasty dish. There is a choice of what to have this dish served with if you choose to have it as a side dish; you may find that it is commonly served with either steamed rice or some curries.

Either way, this dish should be tasted whether you have it as a solitary meal or with a spicy curry.

Events And Activities To Enjoy In The Turks And Caicos Islands

turks and caicos

While this site is about Asia I have recently been tempted by the Caribbean and have started doing some research as I may stop in before heading home for a visit. I hope you enjoyed what I learned.

The small country of the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean is a small British territory, and is spread over the two groups of islands that are starting to become a great tourist destination.  As with much of the Caribbean the temperature is warm throughout the year, but these islands do not have a particularly wet season even during the winter.  The islands have developed a new port for cruise ships and have several beautiful resorts to visit, and for those staying on the islands there are plenty of events and activities to enjoy here too.

The Turks And Caicos Music And Cultural Festival

One of the most popular and exciting annual events to enjoy in the islands is the week-long cultural festival that combines massive musical acts from around the world with the best of the local culture on the islands.  The festival is a great celebration that is usually held in the last week of July and the first week of August, and has hosted such internationally renowned artists as Lionel Richie, Billy Ocean and Kenny Rogers.

However, it isn’t the big names that really help to make this a wonderful place to visit, as the festival is a true celebration of local music, with all kinds of Caribbean styles on show, including the ripsaw music that is a big part of the music of the islands.  The festival can also boast a wide range of different stalls and there are plenty of things to buy. I have already started thinking I should open a bank account online so that I can keep track of spending. In South East Asia it is easy because things are so cheap and you pay with cash but I have a feeling it will be much more expensive in Turks and Caicos.

Water Sports

One of the best features about this group of islands like much of the Caribbean is that it enjoys wonderful beaches and stunning azure waters that are great for all manner of water sports.  The Turks and Caicos Islands can boast a network of beautiful coral reefs around the islands that are perfect for diving and exploring the natural marine life of these waters.  One of the highlights of a trip to the island of Grand Turk is the opportunity to snorkel with stingrays, with the clear shallow waters offering a really close look at these stunning fish.

For the few beaches around the island that aren’t protected by the natural coral reefs, it is also possible to enjoy surfing and kite surfing, although it isn’t as popular as many other islands of the Caribbean.

Night Life And Music

The music of the islands takes a number of British and Caribbean influences, and is shown off in the annual festival, but there is local and international music available depending on the venue and the island on which you are staying.  Because the majority of places that visitors stay tend to be in the smaller villages it will tend to only have one or two bars in the hotels themselves, however, Cockburn Town and Providenciales tend to have more of a selection.  For those looking for the best nightlife, Grace Bay has several different clubs and bars along the strip, including the three floors of ‘Somewhere on the Beach’.

Diving In The Turks And Caicos Islands

The marine life and the topography of the sea bed in this area makes diving the most popular tourist activity throughout the islands, and there is a new dive site almost around every corner here. For those looking to get an encounter with a shark the ‘Shark Hotel’ dive site near North West Point and ‘Grace Point’ near Grace Bay is also a good place to start.  The steep drop offs at these dive sites offer a great opportunity to explore some of the walls, especially around North West Point, while there are also several other challenging dives.  Visitors may also see humpback whales between January and March, when these huge creatures migrate past the coast of the islands.

Image (c) digitizedchaos 



The Best Beach Resorts in Jamaica


Writers Note: Hi Readers, don’t worry I know that Jamaica is not now part of Asia but this week I was traveling with Alex and we had a great conversation about how there are different regulations around the world, for example for Alex to get a Canadian boat license she can actually take the course online and then the test and print out a temporary pass, but in my home state in America I actually have to go to a classroom and take the classes and the test, it is annoying. But here in Asia there is no test at all!

Alex is not a blogger but wants to begin to she asked to write a post for me. Before landing in Bangkok she spent 6 months in Jamaica and wanted to share her thoughts on the best beach resorts in Jamaica.

The Caribbean island of Jamaica is one which has long been associated with beautiful tropical holiday destinations, and around the coast of this island are some of the most idyllic beach resorts in the world. Lying towards the southern end of the Caribbean, the English speaking island is ideal for those who are looking for a Caribbean holiday without a phrasebook, and the population is generally welcoming to visitors. The best beaches in Jamaica can boast all the features you’d expect of a Caribbean island, with windswept palm trees, golden sands and water that is clear and blue.


The resort of Negril lies on the western tip of Jamaica, and is particularly noted for its stunning beaches. The resort is spread over quite a large portion of coastline here, including the site known as ‘Seven Mile Beach’, which offers the stunning golden sands and clear water you’d expect from a Jamaican resort. Negril has been a popular beach destination since the 1950s when the first guest houses opened here, but there are parts of the area that are still quiet and relatively undeveloped.

There is a good combination of accommodation here, with the northern end of the beach being dominated by large all-inclusive resorts, while those looking for a more authentic taste of Jamaica can stay in one of the family run hotels further south along the beach. The area also boasts some great diving spots off the coast, along with some great cliffs for those looking for an adrenaline burst by jumping into the sea.

Port Antonio

Port Antonio lies on the north east coast of Jamaica, and has some great beaches to enjoy, along with plenty of other activities to enjoy in the area too. The destination has featured in several different movies, and has been visited by a wide range of celebrities and international dignitaries attracted by the stunning surroundings here.

There are some beaches that are operated privately with a fee to enter, with Frenchman’s Cove being a particularly popular beach, which was the location for much of the filming for the ‘Lord of the Flies‘ movie. One of the most interesting sites in Port Antonio is the Blue Lagoon, which has a distinctive color as the lagoon is much deeper than many of the surrounding waters, at around two hundred feet in depth.

Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios is one of the largest tourist destinations in Jamaica, and lies on the northern coast of the island. There are several beaches here for people to visit, with some being private beaches with an admission fee, and others open to everyone. The growth of the tourist industry here means that people who are looking for a change of pace after a few days on the beach can also try scuba diving or other water sports here too. Many of the visitors to Ocho Rios come here by boat, as it is a popular stopping point for many cruise liners.

Montego Bay

Montego Bay is another of the popular beach resorts on the north coast of Jamaica, and has several idyllic beaches including the Doctor’s Cave Beach and Cornwall Beach. As the beaches here can be quite busy, some visitors will want to explore the coast around the city to find somewhere a little quieter.

Another benefit of visiting Montego Bay is that it has a wonderful combination of activities to enjoy too, with some great water sports such as sailing and snorkeling on offer here. Montego Bay is also popular among golf enthusiasts, as there are several golf courses worth playing in the area.



The Top Things To Do In Pakistan

pakistan-monument-pakThe country has often been touted as the next popular tourist destination because of its great variety of landscapes and destinations, however this has frequently been disrupted by a turbulent political situation.  For some people this may be off putting, but with many areas of the country stable and safe to visit, Pakistan is a hidden gem for those looking for an alternative destination.  Whether you look towards the imposing mountains of the Himalayas or the lower, warmer climate of the Punjab and Sindh, Pakistan has an awful lot to offer the intrepid visitor.

Explore Ancient Civilizations

One of the most ancient settlements to have been discovered in Asia is that in Mohenjo-daro, which dates from around 4,500 years ago, and is one of the largest settlements of that time to have been discovered.  One of the remarkable features of this city is that it was actually very civilized for the most important in the society, who would live inside the citadel and would have had public baths and drainage.  It is believed that of the total population of around 35,000 in the city, 5,000 of these would have been living within the citadel.  Many exquisite artifacts have also been discovered in the city, which is now an UNESCO world heritage site.

Taxila is an important location which has seen a number of settlements in from the sixth century to the first century BC, and has been significantly excavated.  It is particularly noted as a centre of ancient learning, and because of its tradition is still an important site in Buddhist and Hindu cultures.  Another ancient site is to be found at Takht-i-Bahi, close to the northern city of Mardan.  This large Buddhist monastic complex is important as it dates from the first century BC and shows the development in Buddhism, with several extra sections being added to the construction in the following eight centuries.


Although it may seem a surprising thing to be doing in Pakistan at first thought, when you consider its proximity to the Himalayan mountains, it does have three ski resort at Malam Jabba, Naltar and Kalabagh.  Historically the Malam Jabba area had been inhabited by monks, but is now a modern ski resort boasting a number of runs and chair lifts.  Naltar lies in the Karakoram range near the town of Gilgit, and is the oldest of the resort and also has a ski lift, whilst Kalabagh is at a slightly lower altitude and has easier skiing routes to help visitors to learn the sport.

Explore Lahore

Lahore is the capital of the Punjabi region of Pakistan, and is well known for its wonderful culture as well as for being one of the largest cities in the country.  As the capital of British colonialism in the area, Lahore still has many signs of the British, including the GovernmentCollege, but also has indications of older civilizations, such as the Lahore Fort and the great cannon Zamzama.

Cultural events are particularly popular among visitors to the city, with the Festival of Lamps in March lighting up part of the city, and the Basant Festival being popular due to the tradition of ‘fighting’ kites.

Travel On The Karakoram Highway

Based on an ancient trade route over the Karakoram mountain range between Pakistan and China, today the Karakoram Highway is the highest paved road in the world, and offers some truly remarkable scenery.  As well as being an exceptional trade route that still carries goods back and forth to China today, there are also many historical rock art and petroglyph sites to be found along the route too.  The road is best traversed in the spring or the fall, with snow in the winter and monsoon rains in the summer making it difficult if not impossible to traverse at times.

Visit Lake Saiful Muluk

This lake is known as one of the most tranquil and beautiful spots in the whole of Pakistan, and as well as being over 3,000 meters in altitude, it also boasts some amazing mountain scenery as a backdrop to the lake.  Although the site itself is beautiful by itself, it status in Pakistan was raised by the fairy tale about a prince who fell in love with a fairy princess at the lake written by the famous poet Mian Muhammad Bakhsh.

The Top Activities To Enjoy In The Maldives

scuba-diving-maldivesFor those who dream of golden beaches and exciting water sports, then the Maldives must be one of the most idyllic destinations in the world.  This small nation is made up of hundreds of small coral islands rising from the Indian Ocean, and the capital Malé is located on one of the largest of these islands.  With none of the islands rising above ten meters above sea level, rock climbing isn’t on the menu, but there are still plenty of fun and exciting activities that people can enjoy in this wonderful corner of Asia.

Scuba Diving

This is certainly one of the most popular activities for visitors to the Maldives, and many of the staff to be found at each resort are likely to have some experience leading diving groups.  The clear waters to be found off the islands are perfect providing excellent visibility, and along with the islands themselves there is also plenty of coral to be enjoyed in the reefs lying off the inhabited islands here.  The marine life here is also particularly impressive, with over a thousand different fish species to be found in the waters around the Maldives, including Butterflyfish, Lionfish, Angelfish and the wonderfully named Oriental Sweetlips.

For those who are looking to gain experience or learn more about Scuba Diving, then the Maldives is a great place to learn.  There are many different guides who can teach you the basics about Scuba Diving in shallow, clear waters, and there are also plenty of intermediate sites for people to test their improving skills.

Explore Malé

Malé is a city that is squeezed on to one of the larger islands in the Maldives, and because of the scarcity of space most buildings will have several stories.  Although it is not a huge city it does have a few places worth exploring, with the Hukuru Miskyi mosque being one of the most historic buildings on the island, dating from the seventeenth century.  The Islamic Centre is another of the most attractive buildings in the capital, although for tourism purposes it is a shame that the RoyalPalace was destroyed when the monarchy was overthrown in 1968.

Water Sports

Along with Scuba Diving, the stunning waters around the islands of the Maldives also offer a wide range of other sports to enjoy too, with swimming in the shallow lagoons perfect for younger or inexperienced swimmers.  There are also a number of well noted surfing spots to be found, where the waves can be between three and eight meters in height.  There are also great opportunities such as wind-surfing and sailing to be enjoyed, and whilst you’re enjoying a boat trip why not try out some fishing too?

For those looking for a little more power in their water sports, the Maldives also have opportunities for people to water ski and ride a jet ski in the calm open water a little further from the shore.  It is also recognized as a popular destination for people to go kite-surfing.

 Relax And Be Pampered

The most attractive feature for the majority of visitors to the Maldives is the peace and tranquility that is on offer on these islands, and probably the most popular activity of all is relaxing in the sunshine.  The golden beaches are quiet and calm, and particularly on the more exclusive islands it is often possible to go hours without seeing anyone else.

The reputation of the Maldives as a luxury destination is also well deserved, with many of the resorts boasting five star spa facilities and top restaurants to enjoy, so it is also a great place to be pampered.