Sunday, December 12, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
For that ultimate tropical idyll, nothing beats a ravishing stretch of sand—particularly when the beach in question is located on an equally serene isle. After a considerable amount of island-hopping around the region, our writers have identified 10 such strands that are among the best in Asia. Some of these picturesque shores are remote and undeveloped, while others pamper visitors with luxurious lodgings. But all share that most elusive quality: paradise
From Malaysia to the Maldives, Asia has its fair share of exotic islands, fabled archipelagos, and legendary beaches. The fact that many come with abundant offshore attractions and luxury lodgings makes a visit even more appealing. Here, we travel to 10 countries to profile the region’s hottest island shores—endless stretches of sand fringed by rain forest and coral reefs—looking at when to go, what to do, where to be pampered, and the best places to eat and sleep when you arrive.
BAI SAOGetting to Bai Sao, known locally as Star Beach, requires patience, but you’ll be well rewarded for your effort. Set on the southeast coast of Phu Quoc—Vietnam’s largest island, 50 kilometers from the mainland in the Gulf of Thailand—Bai Sao’s gentle arc of powdery sand sweeps down to shallow, turquoise waters that are warm year-round.
PHU QUOC, VIETNAM
Where to Stay Save for the occasional beach shack, Bai Sao is as yet undeveloped. But comfortable lodgings are close at hand. On Phu Quoc’s west-coast Duong Dong Beach, La Veranda, is only four kilometers from Bai Sao, easily accessed by bicycle or taxi. Rooms come with private balconies, paddle fans, and handmade decorative tiles, while the resort’s main wing is home to a breezy restaurant with ocean views.
What to Do Feast on barbecued seafood at the small restaurants along Bai Sao in between dips in the bathwater-warm water. For something more active, hire a bike and pedal to the village of Ham Ninh, where you can pick up pearls and the island’s famed fish sauce. You don’t need scuba tanks to explore the shallow reefs, but there are several dive outfits on the island, and bamboo shark sightings are common offshore.
When to Go The monsoons strike the island between June and November. Avoid the rain and visit in the dry season, when temperatures hover around 30°C.
Picture-perfect Godellawela Bay, as seen from Amanwella resort. Courtesy of AmanwellaSet on the south coast of the country, Godellawela Bay earned its local nickname, Dream Beach, for a reason. The long stretch of soft white sand is lapped by gently curling waves, and crystal-clear waters extend as far as the eye can see. The bay is hemmed by soaring coconut palms and rocky bluffs, making it one of the most secluded shores on the island.
Where to Stay Postcard-perfect views are afforded by the 30 rooms at Amanwella. Linger on daybeds on your private terrace before retreating to your suite—think classic Aman sleekness accented with floor-to-ceiling windows and fantail coconut-wood furniture. The resort’s restaurant dishes up the catch of the day above a 47-meter-long infinity pool.
What to Do Time seems to lose meaning at Amanwella, where daybeds and hammocks pepper the path to the beach. Once you do finally make it to the shore, you might be rewarded with sightings of baby leatherback turtles—hatchings occur here every spring. Farther afield, spot elephants, exotic birds, and free-roaming tigers at Uda Walawe National Park.
When to Go Sri Lanka’s sun shines brightest from November to April.
KENTING BEACHNestled at the southern tip of Taiwan and surrounded by national parkland—fields of sugar cane, banana and coconut groves, and rain forest —Kenting Beach is a popular holiday spot. But if you time your visit right, you might have this strip of sand to yourself.
Where to Stay The Kenting Chateau Beach Resort features three themed guest wings; rooms in the Marbella Hall and Italian-style Positano Hall come with ocean views and private balconies. Seafood stars at the resort’s four restaurants; the Barbados Beach Bar is just meters from the sand and is great place to catch a dazzling sunset.
What to Do From bird- watching to banana boating, there’s never a dull moment on Kenting Beach. Ornithologists will want to head inland to the Kenting National Park on the banks of Lungruan Lake. On any given day in October, thousands of migrating gray-faced buzzard eagles and Chinese sparrow hawks pass through here. If you’re feeling restless, try your hand at paragliding, mountain biking, or snorkeling.
When to Go Surfers will not want to miss the awesome curls that roll in between November and March. With the monsoon season past, these months are also good for diving and snorkeling—the waters are crystal clear, and the crowds have subsided. Avoid summer, when temperatures can soar and the beach becomes overrun with vacationers from Taipei and Kaohsiung.
LANDAA GIRAAVARU BEACHIn the Maldives, the Four Seasons resort overlooks private beach, Landaa Giraavaru. Courtesy of the Four Seasons
BAA ATOLL, MALDIVES
Clownfish and Oriental sweetlips add color to the azure waters that surround this 18-hectare isle in the Baa Atoll, a 45-minute seaplane flight north of the international airport. Of the Maldives’ 1,190 coral islands, Landaa Giraavaru boasts one of the most romantic sandbanks—it changes hue and shape from sunrise to sunset.
Where to Stay Guests at the Four Seasons Resort Maldives Landaa Giraavaru, the island’s only accommodations, can watch fish swim into view from the massage beds inside Landaa Spa’s glass-bottomed suites. Waves lap against Sri Lankan architect Ismail Murad’s striking overwater villas, while at Al Barakat, the open-air restaurant, underwater lights keep guests entertained while they dine on aromatic mezzes and succulent chicken couscous with cinnamon, chickpeas, and raisins.
What to Do Take an offshore tour with one of the resort’s six resident marine biologists, who oversee endeavors like the 200-plus coral propagation trays that enhance the island’s lagoon. Snorkel deeper into the Indian Ocean in search of butterfly fish and white-tail unicorn fish, or strap on a tank and dive with mantas and sharks.
When to Go The best time to view underwater life is between December and April, when the sea is calm and clear. Manta rays and whale sharks are seen in their highest numbers from July to November.
LUHUITOU BAYHainan Island, China’s southernmost province, may be best known for its Yalong Bay resorts, but nearby Luhuitou Bay has won us over for its crowd-free strip of white sand. Backed by foothills, the beach borders calm, clear waters that offer some of the best diving on the island.
HAINAN ISLAND, CHINA
Where to Stay Opened in 2008, the Banyan Tree Sanya Resort & Spa offers 49 villas, each with private plunge pools, landscaped gardens, and outdoor bathtubs. The decor is smart and minimal, with an earthy palette offsetting the tropical surrounds. Four open-air restaurants and bars look out to the South China Sea, where fishing boats ply the waters in search of your next meal.
What to Do It may not have its own dive center, but the Banyan Tree can arrange scuba expeditions in a jiffy. On dry land, make the most of the resort’s village tours, or tee off at the nearby Sanya Luhuitou Golf Course. Recuperate at the Banyan Tree’s sprawling spa, where traditional Chinese medicine is paired with state-of-the-art hydrothermal facilities.
When to Go The rainy season hits the island between May and October and can turn the sand into sludge. The best time to visit is between November and March, when temperatures are in the mid-20s.
Overlooking Nihiwatu Beach and its eponymous resort on Sumba. Courtesu of Nihiwatu ResortAround 400 kilometers east of Bali on the southwest coast of Sumba Island, this pristine strand is a popular pilgrimage site for surfers, who come to ride an infamous reef break known as “God’s Left.” But when they pack up their boards come evening, you’ll have the entire 2.5-kilometer-long stretch of sand to yourself.
Where to Stay The Nihiwatu resort’s sea-facing villas include a sprawling three-bedroom hilltop chalet with private pool overlooking the Indian Ocean. The thatched-roof rooms are outfitted with Sumbanese textiles and a host of modern amenities.
What to Do In the interest of surfer safety, a strict policy limits wave riders to nine at a time, but there is plenty to keep you entertained otherwise. The resort organizes activities like fishing trips (the area is famed for its Spanish mackerel, wahoo, and trevally), snorkeling and scuba diving, and boat excursions to the three seashell-strewn coves of Konda Maloba Bay, an hour’s journey to the south. At low tide, staff leads tours to nearby villages, where you chat with locals and pick up beautiful handicrafts.
When to Go The best tubes occur between April and December, after which the monsoon season descends. The Nihiwatu resort is closed from January 10 to February 28.
RADHANAGAR BEACHOne of only a handful of India’s far-flung Andaman Islands where tourism has a toehold, Havelock fulfills the pristine-beach dreams of no more than 10,000 visitors a year. Those who make the journey will be rewarded with a stunning two-kilometer ribbon of footprint-free sand along Havelock’s west coast. Radhanagar, unofficially known as Beach No. 7, backs onto dense rain forest, where coconut palms reach out from a thick mesh of ferns and cast shadows over the translucent, sandy-bottomed cove.
HAVELOCK ISLAND, INDIA
Where to Stay The island’s best digs, Barefoot at Havelock is a rustic, low-impact resort with 18 thatched-roof cottages built from bamboo and palm fronds. Some come with air-conditioning, but a better way to cool down is with an Iyengar yoga class by the water. Even the most jaded globetrotters will fork over the considerable fee to have their photo taken underwater with Rajan, the resort’s 58-year-old swimming elephant—his trunk is his snorkel.
What to Do Lionfish and Napoleon wrasse abound in the 15 dive sites off Radhanagar. Snorkelers will be enthralled by the vibrant hues of the lagoon’s coral gardens, just meters from the sand. Visitors can also kayak through surrounding mangroves in search of monitor lizards and crocodiles, trek into the canopied forest (home to 150 animal and plant species unique to these islands), or go deer-spotting along the beach at sunrise.
When to Go Rajan remains on land during the monsoon season, from May to October. To avoid the downpours, and to glimpse turtle hatchlings, visit between December and March.
SIARGAO BEACHSiargao Island, a tiny islet 800 kilometers southeast of Manila, is another site that surfers flock to on a regular basis. The waves at Cloud 9, a notorious break off the island’s eponymous beach, are said to be the best in the Philippines, and the white sands they peel toward are powder soft.
Where to Stay The Kalinaw Resort is the only luxe accommodations on the island. Kalinaw (which translates as “peaceful” in Visayan) features a series of design-oriented cottages with wooden floors, free Wi-Fi access, and beach views.
What to Do If you’re not tackling Cloud 9’s barrels, take to the water and explore the nearby Sohoton Caves, a beachfront nature reserve hemmed by wild forest cliffs with semi-submerged caves. Alternately, ask the resort to pack you a picnic hamper and spend the day paddling between the shallow reefs.
When to Go The best waves are to be had between July and November, although these months do coincide with the monsoon season. To avoid the rain, visit between November and May.
SUNRISE BEACHA bedroom just steps from the sand at the Idyllic Concept Resort on Koh Lipe. Courtesy of Idyllic Concept Resort
KOH LIPE, THAILAND
One of the 51 islands that constitute the Tarutao National Marine Park in the Andaman Sea, off the southwest coast of Thailand, the isle of Koh Lipe is as popular for its sand as it is for its sea. Of the island’s four main beaches, Sunrise catches the early morning rays, which cast silhouettes of coconut palms over a stretch of soft sand.
Where to Stay One of the newest hotels on the island, the Idyllic Concept Resort is set amid tropical gardens that end in ocean-facing bungalows overlooking Sunrise Beach. Sixteen airy villas are minimal in design, but come with mod-cons including flatscreen TVs and broadband Internet access.
What to Do The petite island is easily explored on foot, but Idyllic can also organize bikes and motorcycles. While the reefs immediately offshore abound with aquatic life (the 2004 tsunami had little impact here), divers should not miss the opportunity to explore Tarutao, Thailand’s first marine park, covering some 1,490 square kilometers. These waters are home to dolphins and sperm whales, as well as an incredible 25 percent of the world’s tropical fish species.
When to Go The best, albeit busiest, time to visit Koh Lipe is in December, when the weather is relatively cool and the rainy season has passed. Diving is optimal in March and April, when the water is still and clear and tourist numbers have subsided. Daily ferries connect Koh Lipe with surrounding islands from November to May, with weekly crossings between May and November.
TELUK DALAM KECIL BEACHA bathroom with a view at Malaysia's Berjaya Redang Beach Resort. Courtesy of Berjaya Redang ResortSet at the northern tip of Redang Island, off the east coast of the Malay Peninsula, this beach is lined with powder-soft sand surrounded by rain forest. Splash about in the turquoise waters of the sheltered lagoon, or swim out to Aziz’s Reef, 100 meters offshore, where you’ll find an underwater menagerie bursting with marine life.
REDANG ISLAND, MALAYSIA
Where to Stay The best lodgings on this sparsely populated strip of sand are the new hillside villas at the Berjaya Redang Beach Resort, replete with private patios and unbeatable lagoon views.
What to Do It’s hard not to spend day after lazy day on the beach. But if you must take shelter, pull up one of the resort’s padded sunloungers, set under thatched umbrellas. There’s always a game of volleyball on the go, and the Berjaya’s marine center is fully equipped to take out divers of all experience levels. On-land adventure seekers can trek into the rain forest towards Teluk Dalam Besar Beach, equally pretty and often deserted.
When to Go Redang is blessed with blue skies for most of the year, except between November and January when the monsoon strikes.
Starhill Gallery. Photo Credits - ronnieliew
Bukit BintangLocated in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, the Bukit Bintang area is the Malaysian equivalent to New York’s Fifth Avenue and Tokyo’s Ginza district. Pavilion is a popular mall in the area, offering a boulevard-style shopping experience with street-front duplex stores facing Jalan Bukit Bintang. It boasts 7 floors of up-market boutiques selling everything from fashion to beauty to luxury goods. Located just opposite that is Starhill Gallery, a luxury powerhouse that is home to the world’s top luxury brands – from Van Cleef and Arpels to Lanvin and Louis Vuitton.
KLCC. Photo Credits - miusam-ck
KLCCAnother key shopping area in Kuala Lumpur is the KLCC area, which is just five minutes’ drive away from Bukit Bintang. Suria KLCC Mall, located at the foot of the world-famous Petronas Twin Towers, is one of the capital’s swankiest shopping hotspots, housing major international designer fashion labels as well as mid market brands. There is something here for everybody!
Sungei Wang. Photo Credits - kibitanFor a more down-to-earth retail therapy, head over to Sungei Wang Plaza, located just a five-minute walk away. It is one of the older malls in the area, but it remains tremendously popular, with a labyrinth of shops and alleyways where you can hunt for surprising gems at an affordable price. Plenty of boutiques here strut products created by famous Malaysian designers, such as Jonathan Cheng, Melinda Looi and Williem Liew.
Other than shopping, the capital of Malaysia also provides plenty of attractions be it art, culture, history or even adventure. Check out Kuala Lumpur’s new buzz for our latest tips on what to do in this lively metropolis!
Central MarketJust a few minutes away from Chinatown is the Central Market, built in 1888 as a wet market. The art-deco inspired architecture is now classified as a Heritage Site, a one-stop shopping destination for uniquely Malaysian products such as handicrafts, traditional and contemporary artworks, kebayas, songkets, batik and wood-carvings, among others.
Bangsar Village. Photo Credits - MyLifeStory
Bangsar TelawiFormerly known for its happening nightlife, Bangsar Telawi is better known these days for its trendy shops catering to budget-conscious fashionistas. Many independent boutiques lining in the rows of shop-houses carry various local designs, from dresses, shoes, accessories and more. The very unique Thirtyfour, open to the public only by appointment, is an interdisciplinary design studio that also doubles up as a boutique with its range of hand-made leather bags and accessories. Near by, Baci store is filled with unique styles sourced from all around Asia, all at an affordable price. Alternatively, you can also head over to Bangsar Village Shopping Centre, which hosts upmarket labels in air-conditioned comfort.
While you enjoy the various shopping destinations in Kuala Lumpur, don’t forget to also try out the various must-try Malaysian food – the various cultural influences make for an array of treats for your enjoyment! And on top of that, Malaysia is also home to some of the world’s greatest natural wonders. Be sure to check them out through this list of 8 Great Malaysian Adventures.
Batik & Songket. Photo Credits - wizan
Buy Malaysian – Songket & PewterThe Malay Songket and Pewter Ware are both unique local handicraft items that serves as great gifts. The Songket is an exquisite fabric created with an intricate supplementary weft technique where gold threads are woven in between silk threads of the background cloth. The resulting fabric is an ethereal textile that can take months to hand-make. Pewter Ware is another product unique to the country, and you can take up various tours into the factory to witness first-hand the making of these exquisite items.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Bangun pagi seawal jam 10.30, bagun2 jak..aku terfikir pasal hari ahad yang akn menjelma. Hati di selubungi rasa kesayuaan yang teramat tinggi.
selesai saja aku bersarapan, aku membantu ibu ku untuk membersihkan habuk2 yang melekat manja pada koleksi pasu2 mak aku tu...haha..da la banyak mak punya koleksi..adoi...sambil2 aku membersihkan pasu2 tu suma..kakak aku memasak plak untuk makan tengah hari..skunk kakak aku da pandai masak da..tania ya kakak...hahahahaa....mak aku plak..dia duk relek jak..tegur suma kelalaian ku time kerja2 pembersihan di jalan kan...huhu...
aq menurut patuh..hehehe...ni lah saat yang aku paling suka sebenarnya... tiap kali..selepas sahaja selesai..aku akan rasa sangat bahagia..hehehe.. napa?...mungkin bab aku da bantu mak aku agaknya...hehehe....
selesai sahaja..aku membelai-belai pasu2 tu suma... aku bantu kakak aku buat kek mocha nya tu...huhu..punya lah penat..da la guna cara tradisional buat kek tu..ayak tepung..wat adunan kek tu pun guna tgan..napa?... coz lebih sedap lah..yaka?....ntah la....hehee..lagi pun kami kan rajin2 ni..hehehee....time ni lah juak aku belajar wat kek sebenarnya..so aku tau la juak sikit2 sal wat kek ni..hehehe...tapi lum pandai tahap dewa lagi lah..huhu...selesai jak wat kek..aku pergi mandi..huhu...pastu solat la..
aktiviti sepanjang pagi hingga waktu asar banyak di habiskan di rumah...
menjelang magrib..bapa aku datang..hehe..dia rasa lah kek buatan anak2 nya ni..pasu2 pun da berkilat da...huhu...sebelum waktu ishak..bapa aku bawa kami jalan2 p banda..jalan jak..tiada tujuan...huhu...pastu pegi pasar malam BSI (bandar sri indah)...pastu bapa aku bawa kami pegi suatu tempat untuk makan sate...huhu..puas aku makan sate..bilangan cucuk yang aku makan..erm..banyak gak lah..hehe..badan aku pun da naik da ni..huhu...
time2 makan bersama keluarga ni lah yang paling aku suka..dengan gurau senda..hehehe..pasni..erm..dalam tempoh yang agak lama baru lah aku boleh menikmati saat camni..
gonna miss dat time...pas kami makan sate..makan aiskrim lak..hehehe....
thanks mom..thanks dad..ari2 ku..sangt bahagia...
Hari Sabtu :
Bangun jak dari tidur..hati ku terasa lagi pedih dan teramat sayu berbanding hari jumaat...yala..semakin hampir aku dengan waktu yang akan memisahkan aku dengan keluarga tercinta...erm...
waktu awal pagi ku..sehingga selepas asar..banyak di habis kan bersama keluarga..
duduk di ruang tamu bersama mereka...bercerita2..bergurau senda...hehe..
amat bahagia aku pada ketika itu...
waktu minum petang lah yang aku akan paling rindukan...yala di k.l t..aku manada banyak masa untuk minum petang ni...adoi...
erm..sbar jak la...lau di rumah..semuanya pun telah tersedia..lau da mula sem baru ni..papa pun..kena sedia sendiri..cam kata orang kita..berpijak di tapak kaki sendiri..erm....
menjelang waktu hampir mangrib..kami semua berkumpul dalam bilik aku..erm...ni lah saat2 yang menyedihkan..mak aku lipat kan baju untuk aku..erm..banyak gak lah dia bagi kata2 nasihat dengan aku yang keras kepala ni....hehehe....sayu jak aku rasa time tu..sangat menyedihkan..
ikutkan hati..aku lum mau kemas barang lagi tu..tapi da mak aku mendesak sangat...terpaksa lah buat...pastu lagi satu alasan yang kukuh..malam ni ada match GERMANY...mana boleh tak tengok..huhu..lau aku tak kemas tak kan lah malam plak..huhu..t aku terlepas perlawanan tu jadinya....
Harini..ada gak p banda tapi kejap jak..aktivi harian ku tidak lah terlalu di ambil waktunya oleh masa di bandar tu..p banda pun..beli barang2 yang belum ada jak untuk di bawa...tu jak lah....erm...
menjelang malam...pas solat ishak..aku merenung pada katil ku..almari ku...suma lah milik ku..erm..sedih hati jadinya...sebelum perlawanan germany bermula..aku sempat juak mengemas barang ku dalam bilik ni..kali ni..hanya aku dan harta benda ku..kami bersendirian..menikmati saat2 terakhir bersama..erm...
pastu game germany mula da...jeng2...
kakak aku sokong argentina..hahahaha...cian dia..bapa aku..diam jak..dunno lah..tapi time germany jaring kan gol..apy gila plak tu..hahaha...
menonton bersam famili..satu lagi saat2 yang amat bermakna buat diri ku ini...hehehe...kakak aku dengan rasa penuh kemarahan..mengutuk2 corak permainan yang di pertontonkan oleh argentina..hehehe...bapa kau ketawa jak dengar..aku..hanya mampu tersenyum..hehehehe...cian argentina..
hari aku sangat gembira...syukur alhamdulillah..amin..
di tambah plak dengan jaringan gol oleh germany..huhu..mang syoookkkk rrr...
bagaikan hadia untuk aku sebelum melangkah pergi..hehehe...
pilu hati ni..tidak dapat di gambarkan bnayak nya...
jika dapat aku ukur..ukurannya pasti..tidak dapat terhitung....adeh..ndak pa la....
da mula sem baru da...
harapkan ku...agar aku berjaya mengatasi sem ni dengan baik..amin..
hari ni..ahad ni..aku bertolek pada jam 10.30..
di jangkakan sampai di k.l tu..dalam jam 1.30...
erm...moga semuanya selamat...
wat masa ni..ni jak lah yang daoat di kongsikan...