Japan is a country of over 3,000 islands extending along the Pacific coast of Asia. With a population of 127 million people, Japan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The characters that make up the Japan’s name mean “sun-origin” which is why Japan is called “The Land of the Rising Sun”. Some of the things that Japan is noted for include Sushi, Temples, Geisha Girls and Politeness
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Hong Kong is one of the most vibrant and well functioning cities in the world if you ask me.
It's part of China but still has some autonomy and business there is thriving.
Some people might think there is too much hustle and bustle when they are there as visitors but i must say that i love the place.
It's exotic and interesting and everything works really well.
Usually better than in Europe aswell.
The place is very cosmopolitan and there is a very international scene there while the chinese heritge is still very obvious.
The city has a very good and exotic food scene and it's one of the great places to go in this world if you like to eat.
Suprisingly enough it's actually also quite good for hiking as the place has a lot of well marked hiking trails up in the small mountains that you have surrounding this bustling mega city.
The high prices is the only thing that annoys me a bit here but as long as i am not broke then this is a place i really enjoy to visit.
Laos is a country that is very exotic.
It's also a country that goes in slow motion and some people will love this and others might be a little annoyed at times cause things come slow there.
Unlike it's neighbours who are experiencing a lot of fifnacial growth and foreign investment, Laos is moving slowly down the Mekong river and the people there do not seem to be as focused on economic growth as their neighbours, especially Vietnam.
They seem to enjoy quiet life and also seem more spiritual than their neighbours.
One vietnamese friend once said to me that the lao people go to the temple while the vietnamese go to work and i can sort of agree on that.
Laos has long been a favorite country with backpackers as they have the time it takes to visit Laos and they like the cheap prices and the laid back attitude of the locals.
And it is really a wonderful country as long as you don't start planning tight chedules cause they will most likely not work in the long run.
But go to Laos, take your time and travel at the pace the Lao people do and then you will find this country to be a blessing for a stressed western mind.
Cambodia is a country that recently had one of the worst civil conflicts in human history when the Pol Pot regime and the Red Khmers killed roughly one part of the country, but these days Cambodia is back on track and it's a very facinating country with a very friendly population.
the biggest sight in the country is ankor Wat which is fantastic but the country has a lot more to offer.
This is a country where you should expect an infrastructure that is still a bit up and down but if you can accept that the country still needs a little bit of rebuilding then this is one of the most adventurous countries in Asia.
Singapore is a very small country and in reality a city state.
It's a financial hub that makes it's money mainly from financial business aswell as from high tech industries.
Because of the high concentration of foreign business the place is quite expensive compared to other asian nations but the standards are also very high and it's a good destination if you like luxury travel.
I think you can draw quite a bit of comparism to Dubai if you ask me.
The place is very multi cultural and i think this is a really nice thing and gives me the diversity i like in every day life.
Apart from the high prices i must say that i really like Singapore and this is for a sure a place i could live if i was offerd a job there with the right income.
Sri Lanka was a very positive suprise for me.
I went there with the expectation of a lot of nice beaches and not really much else as that is what i always see in tourist commercials from the place.
But the island really had a lot to offer un cultural terms aswell and was very diverse.
And there were many traces from both ancient asian cultures and european colonial times which made it a facinating place to visit.
Sri Lanka is certainly suitable for a beach holiday but if you are the kinda person who like to explore fantastic nature and go hiking then this is also a great place aswell as people with cultural interests will also like the place.
I myself spend 4 weeks cycling around Sri Lanka and found it to be a quite good cycling destination with decent roads and plentiful accomodation everywhere on the island.
Nepal bhas some of the best natural scenery this world has on offer.
It has a large chunk of the Himalayas and lowlands with amazing animal life aswell as a vry vibrant and exotic capital.
Nepal is first of all a country for nature lovers and outdoor people as you have some of the best treks and climbs in the world here.
I spend 3 weeks in Nepal myself and went trekking about half the time and the other half was spend in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Nepal is a very mellow country where you can really take your stess level down while enjoying some of the best views in the world.
Just be ware that this is a developing country where things like electricity and traffic does not always work that well.
All in all a fantastic country for those who like fantastic natural scenery and outdoor life while being ready to accept that this is a developing nation.
Vietnam is a country i have been to many times both for work and pleasure and it's a country that i really enjoy visiting.
The country can seem a bit chaotic at first but it's a country that grows on you and these days it's one of my favorite places in asia.
It's in particular the Vietnamese people i like.
they are more straight forward than most asians which also means they are more likely to disagree with you than many other asians, but i like that as it means i also build stronger relationships with them than i do with people who always agree politely with me even if they do not really agree with me.
The country is the only place i have been that rivals Ireland when it comes to being green.
That is mainly because of all the rice fields which you have all over the country.
Vietnam is the second biggest rice exporter in the world.
You have some mountains, mainly in the north, but in general it's mostly flat and green with many waterways.
Vietnam also has world famous places like Halong Bay, Saigon, Hanoi and the Mekong Delta.
All in all it's a very scenic country and a place that is bound to change a lot in the coming years as the economic development there moves very fast, so go and see it now and you will find a nice combination of new and old.
Malaysia is one of my favorite countries in Asia.
It's very diverse because of it's many ethnic groups and you see that very much in the food which is absolutely fantastic.
The country is quite rich because of large oil reserves and you see that in the way that infrastructure is very good and poverty is quite limited when you compare it to most most other asian countries.
Because of the past where the brits had great influence there and because the educational system is quite good, you will see that most malaysians speak very good english so you will not have many problems travelling there if you speak english.
You have really good beaches, very accesible jungle, highlands with tea plantations and old colonial towns just to mention a few things.
And the capital Kuala Lumpur is a very vibrant city with a global vibe.
The Philippines is a country i have visited many times and i have really come to like the country and it's people.
The country concists of thousands of islands and has proven very hard to rule over the years but that has just menat that a great entrepreneur culture has sprung out there and the pinoys as they like to call themselves are a very productive bunch who are not afraid to move abroad either if that is what it takes to proser and i have the greatest respect for people who have the drive to emmigrate for a better future.
The country is very diverse with fantastic beaches, high vulcanoes, vibrant cities and much more.
Be ware thought hat the infrastructure can be a challenge and you should try not to have a tight schedule there.
But take your time in the Philippines and you will be rewarded with a fantastic holiday.
If you find yourself in Bishkek, make sure you shop at the Koldo Shop. The word ‘Koldo’ means 'Support' in the Kyrgyz language. If you shop here for some great souvenirs – you can support local people with disabilities who wish to provide for themselves. This fabulous shop is run by a great lady named Altynay Ryskulova. Here name actually translates as ‘Golden Moon’ and she is the angel who runs this amazing enterprise. During Soviet times people with disabilities were not well supported and most Soviet buildings were not accessible at all. Job prospects were bleak. Today there are still many of the physical and social needs. Old prejudices still exist, and there are few support systems for people who have handicaps and they need work. Koldo supports many such people by selling goods produced by people who cannot find work for so many reasons. I stopped in on a day that Altynay was doing renovations of the shop in January. She was very eager to explain the work that the shop does and the people she supports. I did see some amazingly well made crafts that had been made by some of the clients. I hope to have better pictures for this tip soon to show you a better idea of what Koldo looks like.
To best tell the story, I have quoted at length from their leaflet to tell a story not many people know about. Please visit their Facebook page for some great photos.
Koldo is open from 09:00-20:00 every day. Here are some of the great things they sell:
• Honey and jams
• Pickled vegetables
• Knitted items
• Handbags & wallets
• Rugs, pillows & blankets
• Scarves, hats &accessories
• International newspapers, books and DVD’s
Koldo’s General Partners:
• Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia (EFCA) – supports vulnerable groups
• FINCA – (means ‘Estate’ in Spanish) – provides financing for poor micro-businesses
• HelpAge International
• The Embassy of the Netherlands in Kazakhstan
FROM THEIR LEAFLET
“Social shop to support people with disabilities. The purpose of this shop is to provide jobs and career training to people living with disabilities as ell as a smoke-free, family orientated and physically accessible establishment for locals and expatriates to frequent. Currently, there are 124,800 people with disabilities (PWD) living in the Kyrgyz Republic. Of these approximately 80,000 are of working age, yet only 10% are able to find work. Inaccessibility to buildings as well as negative stereotypes contributes to the lack of job opportunities. The gift shop sells products made by our income generation non-government organisations (NGO) along with donated items from the community.”
Official Name: Republic of Kazakhstan; Land Area: 1,049,155 square miles (2,717,300 square kilometers); Population: 17,304,513; Capital: Astana; Largest City: Almaty
In addition to deserts and mountains, a significant percentage of Kazakhstan is made up of the Kazakh steppe, which is a vast region of open grassland in the northern part of the country and adjacent areas in Russia. The steppe is a semi-arid grassy plain that gradually changes to true desert in the south. Stretching about 1,367 miles (2,200 kilometers) from the Caspian Depression in the west to the Altai Mountains in the east, and covering 310,619 square miles (804,500 square kilometers), the Kazakh steppe is the largest dry-steppe region on earth. It is here that many of the semi-nomadic Kazakhs tend their flocks of sheep or herds of horses in the summertime.
Most of the water that falls on the steppes comes from violent thunderstorms in the summer that can cause flash flooding, and snows that cover the ground during most of the winter. In early May, millions of wild poppies bloom and turn the steppes red from horizon to horizon.
Penang - Butterworth ferry....
Penang is an island, and the main town on Penang Island is called Georgetown, which was once capital of British Malaya. The railway station for Penang is Butterworth, which is on the mainland directly opposite Georgetown. When you arrive by train at Butterworth station, you go up a short walkway from the platforms to the ferry terminal, and ferries from Butterworth to Penang (Georgetown) operate around the clock at frequent intervals, taking just 15 minutes. Georgetown has some excellent British colonial buildings, interesting museums and temples, and a large Chinatown. Well worth a visit..!
Campbell Street is one of the city's busiest shopping precincts. The shops here sell handbags, shoes, clothes and electrical products. Some interesting shops along the street are Chinese medicine halls and teahouses. Campbell Street also has its share of restaurants and dim sum shops. Among the noted are Thor Yuen, a popular chicken rice shop, and Indian Muslim restaurants like Hameediyah.
Before it became a shopping haven, Campbell Street dealt in a less kosher "business". When it was built in the mid-19th century, this street between Pitt Street and Penang Road was dotted with brothels. Its Chinese moniker Sin Kay which meant "new street" could also be humorously construed as "new prostitutes" in reference to the "fresh" supply of prostitutes from China that were supplied regularly to the brothels. Fortunately, its heyday as a red light district came to an end after the war.I managed to experience the Red Light district -being a naive traveller in those days!i arrived at butterworth station about 4 hrs late from kuala Lumpur Station.By the time I took a feerry and reached the islnd of Penang it was past midnight and i caught the first Cycle rickshaw and asked him to take me to the white Horse Hotel-The rickshaw driver told me it was foull and suggested another hotel which I felt sounded Ok considering the time was now almost 1am.On reaching the grubby hotel and going up to the room I heard noises coming from the rooms.I came down asking for a can of beer and a bottle of water and was promptly told in Chinsese(Transalted by another gentleman)that the girls are busy and if I would have to wait till morning.Shocked I returned to my room and slept the night on the floor in my sleeping bag and checked out first thing in the morning!
I had to mention the Brothels because I stayed in one of its notorious Brothels for one night!
If you travelling durch Borneo, you should stay at Homestays offering by locals around borneo. Malaysian Governments are encouraging nowadays locals offering homestay to travellers coming to their village in order to expand their income. One should not be scared to stay someone house here in Borneo, because most homestays in Malaysia are working closely with Tourism Malaysia and they have been taught about hygiene, cleanliness and tour organization. If you should need help for your borneo holiday, you can check at this website: www.borneotribestours.com
Here you will find tour operators that mostly handled by locals and by doing your travel adventure with locals you are actually supporting them to preserve their culture and nature.
Thank you for your support
Official Name: Kingdom of Thailand; Land Area: 198,500 square miles (514,100 square kilometers); Population: 66,720,153; Capital: Bangkok; Largest City: Bangkok
Wat Phra Keo, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is surrounded by golden chedis.
The Emerald Buddha is not emerald, but is instead probably jasper quartz or nephrite jade. The 30-inch-tall (75-centimeter-tall) statue is the most sacred and precious of all the images in Thailand. Legend has it that the Emerald Buddha was discovered in the 1400s in northern Thailand when a bolt of lightning struck an old chedi. It was briefly housed in the northern cities of Chiang Rai, Lampang, and Chiang Mai before being taken to Luang Prabang and then Vientiane by the Laotians. King Rama I recovered the statue and installed it in Bangkok.
Nowadays, the Emerald Buddha is placed high up on a gilded altar beneath an umbrella of gold. The statue is dressed in robes made of gold and precious gems. The robes are changed by the king himself at the start of each of Thailand's seasons: the hot season, the cool season, and the rainy season.
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