Bang Pa In – visit the Summer Palace

Visit the iconic suburb of Bang Pa In that is steeped in historical significance during a special Bangkok cruise tour that comes courtesy of Anantara Cruises Thailand. Bang Pa In is located within the Ayutthaya province, which is around 60km North of Bangkok and is accessible via the scenic array of Bangkok cruises that take you along the serene national water way that is the Chao Phraya.

The suburb of Bang Pa In is awash in historical and cultural meaning, with the exquisite Summer Palace poised as its pride of place element. Here, you will encounter the expansive gardens that evoke those of Versailles dotted with European-style buildings. The palace is also home to the “Divine Seat of Personal Freedom”, which is the only Thai-styled building within the complex, and the “Excellent and Shining Heavenly Abode”, which is an elegant mansion that bears the trappings of 1900s aristocratic European art speckled with minute yet unique Thai influences throughout. Right across from the palace, you will also encounter the Thamphrawat, which looks like a beautiful Gothic church on the outside (complete with sharply arched eaves and windows of stained glass, but is in fact a Buddhist temple. Getting there is a fun journey, with a cable car ferrying visitors from the Bang Pa In parking lot to the church-cum-temple. Visitors can also take a peek at the Buddhist paraphernalia displayed onsite and the stained glass windows afford a special allure as they display stories derived from Thai myths. Remember to bring your camera!

Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and hopes to visit them all someday. Google+

Bird watching in Sir Bani Yas Island

Nature lovers, bird watchers, and nature communioners in Abu Dhabi rejoice: Sir Bani Yas Island is a verdant island that provides a soothing break from the arid desert-scape that makes up much of the region. Savour the natural delights of the island when you stay at one of the fine Abu Dhabi villas onsite such as the Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Sahel Villas which is considered an ideal choice of the resorts Abu Dhabi has to offer nature enthusiasts. Bird watchers in particular will enjoy their stays on the island, as there are more than 169 species of feathered denizens flitting around the island, according to the last count of enthusiastic bird watchers coming onto the island. Bird lovers will have the chance to spot some very rare species of birds, both endemic and migratory, who call the isle home at various times of the year. Photo opportunities are best at the shallow ponds dotting the island, with the pink flamingos that gather in large numbers, protected as they are by the dense mangrove trees scattered throughout Sir Bani Yas. Your hotel will be more than happy to help you organize bird-watching tours around the island so inquire from your front desk for more details.

Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and hopes to visit them all someday. Google+

World Famous Polynesia Spa – Sink into scenic wellness bliss

When the stresses of the world get too much for you to handle, retreat to the renowned Polynesian Spa and relax, unwind, and let your cares drift away. Make a treatment at this famous locale part of your stay at an elegant Rotorua hotel such as the Millennium Hotel Rotorua. With a central location and the gracious hospitality that is all New Zealand, it is an excellent hotel in Rotorua at which to base your stay. Enhance your stay with a rejuvenating spa treatment within the geothermal springs that adorn the Polynesian Spa, which boasts exquisite views of Lake Rotorua. Sit back amidst the warm pools and reflect in the powerful nature of this volcanic landscape, where tendrils of steam curl towards the heavens. Feel the your aches and tiredness simply melt away on account of the high acidic content of the miraculous waters of Priest Spring, while the alkaline waters of Rachael Spring is blissfully cleansing of the skin. Immensely relaxing for all ages, the Polynesian Spa promises to help you discover a new you!

Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and intends to visit them all someday.



M.R. Kukrit’s Home – an Inspiring Journey into the World of a Great Man

Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, is one the world’s most vibrant and modern cities. When you hear ‘Bangkok’, shopping is what comes to one’s mind as it may very well be the shopping haven in the whole of Asia. With funky shopping malls to boutique shops, Bangkok is a must-see city when your travels bring you to the region. But Bangkok is not just a tourist’s destination. It is also a cultural phenomenon with so many temples and places with great heritage.

One such great attraction in town is M.R. Kukrit’s Home. This is a heritage museum set in downtown Bangkok. The significance of this museum is that it is dedicated to the multi-talented M. R. Kukrit Pramoj. He is the former Prime Minster of Thailand who did so many things for the betterment of Thailand. He was not only a politician but a poet, writer, and an artist, a veritable visionary in the minds of the people. A visit to this amazing museum will show the cherished talents of this great man.

The museum is built in five traditional Thai teak houses that are over 100 years old. All the houses are interconnected through wooden corridors and beautifully decorated with fine arts, ceramics and antique furniture. There is also a library filled with the books he used to peruse. Apart from that, this remarkable museum also exhibits artefacts such as ornate and exquisitely crafted Buddha statues. The museum also showcases some ornaments that were gifted to M.R. Kukrit by distinguished people like Mao Zedong, the eminent former premier of China who ushered in a cultural revolution in the country.

The garden and the pond that surround the museum is another highlight of M.R. Kukrit’s home. With sculptured miniature trees, fragrant trees and exotic plants the garden adds beauty to the museum. A visit to this wonderful museum will take you on a journey in the world of M.R. Kukrit. This is also a great opportunity to explore the Thai culture of Bangkok. It will be an enriching and inspiring experience for all ages, so make it a part of your cultural itinerary.

After all what is a journey to Bangkok if you don’t travel around and explore its beautiful culture and heritage? So when you are on the lookout for accommodation in Bangkok, try residing at one of the Bangkok serviced apartments that will allow you to discover the city at your own pace. One of the best serviced apartments Bangkok has to offer its visitors is the Ascot Sathorn Bangkok that promises to offer a comfortable and convenient stay to its guests.

Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and hopes to visit them all someday.


Hot Pools Onsen – Treat yourself to peace of mind and a pampered body

To the southwest of New Zealand’s South Island, surrounded by the pristine blue waters of Lake Wakatipu, lies the glorious town of Queenstown. With a breathtaking view of the snow-covered mountain tops of these exquisite Southern Alps and spectacular sceneries around town, Queenstown has become a favorite location of film producers where movies such as the Lord of the Rings Trilogy & X-men Origins Wolverine were filmed in some of the most amazing natural settings framing the city.

Queenstown has long been considered a favorite sporting arena for the adventure-loving traveler, and its stellar track record boasted an impressive roster of no less than 220 adventure activities in 2012 alone. Among the many other tourist attractions in Queenstown, the Onsen hot pools can be listed under the top five “must-visit places” in a travellers checklist, and they provide a welcome respite that is ideal for an session of welcome physical and mental relaxation.

Occupying a bird’s eye viewpoint on a high cliff side, these unique natural heated pools can accommodate up to 4 adults at one point and the water of the pools is controlled according to the temperature of the day, which means that it will be hot when it’s snowing, warm when it’s raining, and cool when it’s sunny. Although it sounds counterintuitive, this will allow you to time your visit just right, and it becomes a popular getaway during the winter months. The specialty of the pools is that with a touch of a button, you can open or close the retractable picture windows and get the feel of an indoor and outdoor depending on what you feel like.

In addition, you will get the chance to indulge in some magical romantic packages. The Candle Light package and surprise your loved one with a private pool room lit up with candles from the walls to the floors. Or, try the Indulgence Pack experience which features one water bottle, two towels, a bowl of seasonal fruits, an aromatherapy burner and two complimentary glasses of champagne to host the happy occasion.

Savor every moment of Queenstown by residing in a Queenstown hotel where you are guaranteed to be swept off your feet with the warm hospitality and amazing backdrops. The immaculate beauty of nature, state-of-the-art facilities and gastronomical delights that any luxury hotel Queenstown has to offer you will surely leave sweet memories for a lifetime. The Millennium Hotel Queenstown is a luxury hotel welcoming its guests to experience the best in hospitality and facilities bound by timeless elegance.


Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and hopes to visit them all someday.


Phayathai Palace – a resplendent royal residence

One of the most stunning pieces of architecture in Bangkok is the Phayathai Palace, which employs neo-gothic and Romanesque styles to manifest an authentic European palace smack in the middle of Bangkok. Tour this unique site as part of your cultural itinerary when you stay at a luxury Bangkok resort such as the Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa. Its welcoming hospitality and charming surrounds make it an ideal choice out of the 5 star hotels in Bangkok. The Phayathai Palace was built back in 1909 as temporary royal residence for the monarch of the time, King Rama V. Its sumptuous interiors display a distinctly rococo influence that with intricate frescoes rendered on the ceiling, Corinthian columns that are exquisitely gilded, and an elaborate network of carved fretworks. The Palace boasts a unique history as it was once the experimental site of a concept known as “Dusit Thani”, translating to “Heaven on Earth”, and experiments took place on the complex’s grounds, spanning 160,000 square metres, to test drive the nation’s transition from monarchy to municipal government, and finally to a parliamentary form of government. Rendered to resemble a utopia, the complex even comprised “citizens”, who were attendants of the court who were granted the opportunity to vote for a leader each year. After Rama V’s passing, the notion of Dusit Thani fell into disfavor. Now an administrative centre of the city, it is the only building where one can stroll around unimpeded. Sit back and enjoy a bite and beverage at the Café Norasingh, whilst you soak up the impressive history of these grand surrounds.

Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and intends to visit them all someday.


Belitung Islands – A Fusion of Culture and Tranquillity

Visiting Indonesia is an experience that is hard to forget and tourists can enjoy the nation’s unique and vibrant culture, wondrous tourist attractions and much, much more. Indonesia’s beaches are also a very popular attraction on these fun-filled islands, and when one thinks of pristine tropical beaches in Indonesia, the first destination that crosses their mind is Bali. While Bali is truly a beautiful place, for an enjoyable beach excursion out of the norm in Indonesia, the Belitung Islands offer pristine stretches of sand and surf where anyone can relax, a host of museums offering a glimpse of Indonesia’s rich history, and intriguing souvenir shops from which tourists can take a part of these beautiful islands home with them.

While on the Belitung Islands, an ideal way to relax is plunging into the turquoise waters framing these landmasses, as the water is warm and clear, and there are enough activities to keep you busy for days! One of the most popular things to do is snorkelling within the beautiful coral reefs that are dotted around the islands. Thousands of species of marine life inhabit the warm water here, and appreciating them in their own home is an experience that no aquarium can quite match. Other than for snorkelling, the beaches are a great place to simply relax and unwind with a refreshing fruit cocktail.

The islands also have a rich history, and a short trip downtown will take you to a part of the island that will take you back in time, as most of the buildings reflect the Dutch Colonial influence in their architecture. Visitors can see the process of tin mining on the island, or visit a Buddhist temple with a strong Chinese influence. There are hundreds of shops and boutiques on the Belitung Islands that offer fodder for souvenir junkies; the perfect way to bring part of the island to your home and the memories of time spent here to life.

One of the most popular souvenirs is jewellery made from a unique black stone, believed to have been brought to the island by an asteroid thousands of years ago. This stone, known as Satam stone, looks exquisite set within jewellery pieces, and is made even more beautiful by the randomly occurring patterns on the surface. In addition to Satam stone jewellery, you will discover shell handicrafts, various types of food and many more interesting souvenirs as well.

After your sightseeing excursions, check into one of the best ranged Indonesia 5 star hotels in the region, such as the Starwood Indonesia. Its gracious hospitality and elegant surrounds make it one of the ideal luxury hotels Indonesia has to offer corporate and leisure visitors.

Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and hopes to visit them all someday.


Summer Palace – a splendid edifice

The Summer Palace – occupying pride of place in China’s capital city of Beijing – is one of the most splendid examples of the Chinese landscaped garden, an outdoor art form that is the iconic symbol of one of the world’s major civilizations. Savour the variously historical and cultural delights that grace this fair city, when you check into any of the luxury serviced apartments Beijing has to offer you. Consider the elegantly appointed offerings of the Somerset Grand Fortune Garden Beijing. With a central location that puts guests within easy reach of world-class entertainment and dining options, a Somerset luxury apartment in Beijing paves the way for adventures undertaken in style. When you have an afternoon to yourself or you’re looking for the ideal place for relaxation with the family in tow, visit the exquisite expanses of the Summer Palace. It is the largest and most well-preserved set of gardens in the country, and its subsequent influence on Chinese horticulture has aptly titled it “the Museum of Royal Gardens. The Summer Palace saw its inception in the mid eighteenth century an arena of respite for the royal family, and was later expanded to house a residence for the same. Although it was decimated by the anglo-friendly allied forces, it was reconstructed in 1888, and after another bout of violence brought it to its knees in 1900, it was resurrected two years later. Finally opened as a public park in 1924, it has remained an exquisite public arena for ample enjoyment by the people. Spanning over an area of almost 750 acres, it is graced with around 3,000 pavilions, bridges, towers, corridors and the lake, which adds to its unique charm. It boasts a variety of sacred temples that must be explored to acquire a true taste of the spirituality and majesty of the garden complex. With absolutely stunning views of Kunming Lake, visitors are encouraged to bring along cameras and ample batteries to truly capture the grandeur of this impressive historical locale.

Impact Arena – Space with oomph!

The IMPACT Arena Exhibition and Convention Centre, one of Asia’s largest and most modern facilities offers a diversity of spacious venues equipped with state-of-the-art technology in various flexible configurations to host any type of event. Usable indoor space of 140,000 sq meters, onsite 5-star accommodation and catering facilities and comprehensive event services makes the complex one of the most preferred event destinations in the region.

Each of the complexes facilities have been designed to host grand and spectacular events. Impact Arena’s 12,000 seat concert hall has hosted many pop and rock concerts starring famous Asian and international stars, international pageants of all sorts, and sporting events that has drawn huge audiences from around the world. Special lighting panels, sound-proof walls, high-tech audio-visual systems, private suites, a royal box, private lounges, a food court and shops are among its impressive facilities. Activ Square is a 38,000 sq meter open air amphitheater able to accommodate 40,000 people. Impact Lakeside is another gargantuan outdoor space, this time facing a manmade lake.
The IMPACT Forum, in addition to an exhibition hall, has a grand ballroom that can host 2,000 people. Its other attributes are wellness, business and press centres. The 47,000 sq meters of the IMPACT exhibition centre is a series of interconnected exhibition halls with high ceilings and hanging points to support weights of 2.5 tons and utility pits located every nine meters enabling the hosting of a multitude of events. An elegant ballroom is part of the facility.

The piece de resistance of the complex is the IMPACT Challenger a 60,000 sq meter column free exhibition space, said to be the world’s largest. The lobby itself is a fantastic 9,111 sq meter and 10 meter high space equipped with a huge LED screen. The hall can be divided into smaller spaces with soundproof partitions. Registration centres, offices, press centres, prayer rooms, internet cafes, retail spaces and restaurants cater to all requirements of international clients. The facility also boasts undercover parking for 2,500 cars. The 400 room Novotel IMPACT hotel caters to the visitors who throng the venues. Other impressive facilities include the Royal Jubilee Ballroom, Thailand’s largest column-free dance venue. Located about 40 km from Bangkok’s CBD, the complex started life as a stadium for the 13th Asian Games and spearheaded the development of a self contained satellite city thereafter.

To experience a busy city from an oasis of calm collection, stay at the Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa and enjoy a beautiful riverside location and a relaxing ambience not found in many city hotels. Guests will reside at one of the prominent 5 Star hotels in Bangkok featuring spacious contemporary accommodation, wonderful views, and a host of onsite dining destinations and leisure facilities that makes the hotel a self-contained haven. Get away from it all to this special Bangkok resort to have a truly calm and invigorating Thai experience.

Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and hopes to visit them all someday.


Shenyang Imperial Palace – A glimpse into China’s second-famous royal residence

Visit the Shenyang Imperial Palace for a special insight into the royal residence created by the founders of the Qing Dynasty, which spanned 1644-1911.If you’re seeking quality serviced apartments in Shenyang to host your stay, consider the elegant trappings of the Somerset Heping Shenyang. Featuring luxury interiors and world-class service, this is an ideal option of an apartment Shenyang has to offer its visitors. Shenyang is home to China’s second royal palace besides the Forbidden Palace in Beijing, and it was built in 1625 during the time of Nurhachi and finished by his son Abahai in 1935. It comprises an impressive area exceeding 60,000 square metres and boasts more than 300 resplendent rooms and 20 expansive courtyards. It is divided into three main sections, each with their own theme. The eastern section features the Hall of Great Affairs, which was the administrative centre of the kingdom, where the king received visitors, passed various edicts and ascended the throne. The middle sections is generally considered the most important aspect of the entire structure, because it was where the kind held his court, and it also housed the main living quarters of Abahai and his coterie of concubines. The western section was added in the eighteenth century and it houses the Opera Stage, Jiayin Hall and the main structure, Wen Su Pavillion. The entire palace is home to a plethora of precious artefacts spanning more than 200 years, so it is a unique site worth exploring when you’re in the area.