Category Archive: Asia

Getaway to Nara, Japan

Nara, located in the Kansai region of Japan, was formerly known as Heijo and in 710 was established as Japan’s first permanent capital. The capital was moved in 784, in large part due to the growing power and ambition of the many Buddhist monasteries located there. The historical treasures of the area remain, however, including some of the oldest and largest temples in Japan. Like most other cities in Japan, there is folklore around the name of Nara. A variety of theories exist, but the most widely accepted one says that the name came from words and phrases that meant “flat land” or “gentle slope” which described the area’s topography. Today Nara is the capital city of Nara Prefecture and is an active center of both government and commerce. Like Awaji, It makes an easy getaway destination from Kyoto and […]

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Getaway to Awaji Island

Whether Japan’s Kansai region is your primary destination, or an add-on while visiting the rest of the country, planning for a getaway to Awaji Island rates high on my recommendation list. Folklore says that Awaji Island is the birthplace of Japan, created when the gods Izanagi and Izanami mixed up the sea with a spear. When they lifted the spear, a small drop of brine fell off the blade, hardening on top of the waves. That hardened drop became Awaji Island. Things to Do Take a boat trip through the Naruta Whirlpools – The Inland Seto Sea meets the Kii Channel  in the Naruta Straits, creating dramatic whirlpools the likes of which are seen in only a couple of other places in the world (Sicily and Vancouver, British Columbia). The whirlpools can reach a diameter of 65 feet. You can […]

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Visiting China: A New Country

I spent a long weekend in China. That’s an unusually short amount of time to spend in a country, especially one that requires a 12-hour transpacific flight to get to. My overnight flight got me in the evening before I was a speaker at the International Tourism Communication forum in Beijing, sponsored by the Communications University of China. The University offers undergraduate, masters, and Ph.D. programs in a variety to television, journalisms, advertising, and realted programs. The forum was an attempt to create high level discussion on ways to improve communication within the tourism industry, and between the tourism industry and travelers. I did have one day for touring and will have a future post about that. Till then, though, I was able to update my countries visited map. Create your own travel map – TravBuddy

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Looking Good in Bangkok: Buying Custom Made Clothes

Cleaning out the ill fitting clothing in my closet, and replacing them with items that I love and that fit well, has been on my to-do list for far too long. To be very clear – haute couture is not in my budget, and it’s never going to be. I’m a casual kind of gal, and I prefer to spend money on travel and experiences rather than more “stuff.” BUT – buying some custom made clothes has long been on my bucket list.Who knew that a week in Bangkok would be the impetus to get it done. I was in Bangkok for a conference and received an email from my friend Scott Eddy (in photo, right) letting me know that he was heading off to Jackie’s Tailor to get some new items and inviting friends to join him. Scott divides his time between the […]

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Photo Essay: Compelling Kuala Lumpur, A Value Luxury Travel Destination

Malaysia is not a country on the to-visit list of most Americans. It can be hard to get to (it’s a full day-plus-some from the West Coast), but this exotic Southeast Asia country offers some of the best value luxury experiences in the region. Set aside your preconceived notions about this predominantly Muslim country, and be prepared for some great history, cultural, shopping, art, and food experiences in this fascinating corner of the world. Kuala Lumpur, the capital city, Click here to enjoy my photo essay on this compelling value luxury travel destination.   Note:  I visited Malaysia in November 2014 as part of a press trip organized by Tourism Malaysia.

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Hotel Review: Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, Malaysia

Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa Address:  Batu Ferringhi, 11100 Penang, Malaysia. About a 45 minute drive from the Penang airport, and about a 20 minute drive from Georgetown. Value Luxury Rating:   (out of 3) Features:  The 5-star Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa is set on 30-acres of beachfront and boasts gardens featuring over 133,000 varieties of plants, trees, and shrubs. Regional artwork can be found located around the grounds and interior spaces. Accommodations are situated in two wings, the family friendly Garden Wing (189 rooms) and the exclusive Rasa Wing (115 rooms). Decor in both is a traditional Malay style blended with contemporary chic, with every modern convenience worked in. Rooms feature the expected upsale amenities (bath products from L’Occitane), air conditioning, wifi, and more. The resort has three swimming pools (one adult only), a par 3 pitch-and-putt golf course […]

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Hotel Review: Yokohama Royal Park Hotel

Yokohama Royal Park Hotel Address:  2-2-1-3 Minatomirai, Nishi-Ku, Yokohama, Japan Value Luxury Rating:  Features:  The Yokohama Royal Park Hotel is situated in the Minato Mirai 21 area, a cosmopolitan development area of Yokohama which combines a variety if sights and attractions, including an amusement park and the Cosmo 21 Ferris Wheel, shopping, over 200 restaurants, museums, theaters and entertainment venues, and more. The lobby and other public areas of the hotel are lovely – inviting, filled with beautiful floral displays, and offering seating and gathering areas that are well placed and don’t clutter things up. I’d call it an elegant Zen vibe, with a nice dash of upscale luxury. Hotel features and amenities include:  fitness center, indoor pool, 9 restaurants, spa, business center, tea ceremony room, gift shop, and concierge service. Located on floors 52-67 of the building, every one of the Royal […]

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Postcard from Kuala Lumpur

The Petronas Twin Towers are the tallest in the world and dominate the skyline in Kuala Lumpur — by day they are a shiny focal point, and a night they seem to glow and light up the sky. They contain offices for Petronas and other tenants. If you seen a movie or photo of Kuala Lumpur, you’ve likely caught a glimpse of these towers.

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Postcard from Ipoh, Malaysia

I had never heard of Ipoh before this trip to Malaysia. The town once known for its thriving tin mining industry is now staking its claim in other ways, including spa and wellness tourism. This water lily was in the gardens at The Banjaran, Malaysia’s first natural hot springs wellness retreat, providing peaceful bliss after a week on the road.

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Postcard from The Blue Mansion, Penang

The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, also called the Blue Mansion, dates back to the 1880s and is a private residence as well as a 16-room guesthouse. It gets its distinctive blue color from mixing lime with a natural blue dye made from the indigo plant. Tours are offered, giving visitors the chance to peek behind the scenes and take a look at how the wealthy lived.

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