Tag Archive: Thailand


Toshogu Fall Festival

There are all kinds of reasons to visit Asia. The food is out of this world. The beaches are awesome. The value is off the charts.

But to truly gain an understanding of the cultures in this exotic part of the world, you’ve got to visit during a festival, say those who live there.

In Myanmar, the Elephant Dance Festival trunks – er, trumps – all, says Yangon resident, Ye Thi Ha Thwin.

In the town of Kyauk Se, about 30 miles from Mandalay, locals make elephant figures out of bamboo frames and the skin out of cloth. The statue is decorated with colorful, shiny paper.

A team includes two men who climb into the elephant to perform the dance in front of large crowds.

In Thailand, the best festival could very well be the Naga Fireball Festival, says Pornsurang ‘A’ Siriwandee, a Bangkok resident.

The two-day event takes place in historic Nong Khai, around the full moon of the 11th lunar month.

“It’s going to sound crazy,” A says, “but that’s when unexplained fireballs rise out of the Mekong River with great intensity, shoot into the sky and then disappear.”

The festival also features long-tail boat races and a sound and light show.

“Expect lots of people at festivals in Japan, too,” says Hisae Komatsu, who lives in Tokyo. “The Japanese love their festivals — especially Takayama Autumn Festival, Sapporo Snow Festival and Awa Odori Summer Festival — and plan their holidays according to them. So, hotel bookings must be made way in advance!”

Advertisements

Image

Have you seen The Hangover Part II? If so, you may remember the scene where the guys first meet with Paul Giamatti’s character, Kingsley. It’s at a restaurant on the rooftop of a building that overlooks all of Bangkok.

It wasn’t a contrived set; the restaurant actually exists. It’s called Sirocco, and you don’t have to be a movie star to go there. Nor do you have to own celebrity status to order a drink at its Sky Bar, where the signature cocktail is called the Hangovertini.

Sky Bar is among many skyscraping watering holes in Thailand’s capital city. Other favorites include Nest, A Level, Vertigo, Roof at Muse Thonglor and Red Sky, which is located in the center of the city but somewhat under the radar.

A great time to go to any of these bars is after you’ve explored a little bit of Bangkok by foot.

“Get a sense of the city from ground level, then go up to one of the rooftop bars for the aerial perspective,” says A Siriwandee, a Thailand-based tour specialist. “Around sunset is obviously ideal.”

The only thing to remember before setting off for a cold one is that dress codes apply at most of the rooftop bars, “so just be conscious of that,” says A.


There was a time when honeymoons meant a week spent touring romantic Rome, or a beach in the South Pacific. Nowadays, travelers are looking farther afield.

Amanda Statham, travel editor of popular UK wedding magazine You & Your Wedding, recently revealed her ‘2012 Honeymoon Hot List.’ Among the eight trends she identified? Newlyweds’ interest in venturing East.

Who can blame them? There’s a lot to relish about celebrating your nuptials in Asia, from quiet island retreats in Thailand to luxurious ryokans (traditional inns) in Japan.

One of the most popular trips out there is Angkor for Two, which starts at three days in length and features a hot-air balloon ride over the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, a romantic champagne cruise of Tonle Sap Lake, a Buddhist monk blessing ceremony and soothing massages.

For those who’ve always been intrigued by Bali, the Island of the Gods itinerary for twosomes is a must. The adventure includes hands-on cooking classes with an expert local village chef, swimming in the crystal clear waters of secluded Pasir Putih Beach and experiencing a traditional dance performance at Uluwatu Temple.

But accommodation options could be the best part about traveling to an Asian destination as a couple. People want privacy, and in Bali and beyond, it comes in the form of stylish villas with amenities such as plunge pools and butler service.