Category Archives: Asia

Trivandrum, Kerala, India

Overview of Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram):
God’s own country with its psychedelic sunsets complete with palm trees swaying to whatever music the wind chooses to play, the wafting aromas of the land of coffee, spices and coconuts, the bastion of communism, a literate people whose friendliness is only surpassed by their curiosity for more. Kovalam Beach A place that fiercely retains and respects the ancient traditions while viewing the modern with tolerance and invitation – Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum is Kerala incarnate.

There is beauty and intelligence, the exotic and the mundane; there are Ayurvedic massages that elicit equal amounts of pain and pleasure, beaches and lagoons with the best part being the preservation of it all the way Nature meant it to be.

Trivandrum is also a bustling city, where the business of life is carried out like it is around the world, interspersed with everyday visits to the nearby temple or mosque. Myth has it that the place derives its name from it being the city of Anantha, the sacred serpent of Vishnu. History has it that Thiruvananthapuram had once been the port of call for Romans and Jews, Arabs and Christians. Believable, considering that it remains one of the biggest centers for sea-bound labors.

Trivandrum AttractionsPlaces To Visit:

Government Art Museum
This museum has much to impress the visitor with. Trivandrum MuseumBuilt in an exquisite blend of Kerala, Mughal, Chinese and Italian styles of architecture, the museum is also known as the Napier Museum after the erstwhile Governor General of Madras John Napier. This 19th century building boasts of a unique natural air-conditioning system and the displays include exquisite bronzes, ancient ornaments and costumes, ivory carvings and musical instruments, and a whole temple chariot.

Puttan Malika Palace Museum
Built by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balrama Verma of Travancore, an accomplished poet and musician, the traditional Travancore style museum is made better with its exquisite woodcarvings. There is a priceless art collection among other exhibits and the palace also hosts an annual classical music festival between 27th January and 3rd February.

Sree Chitra Art Gallery
Located in the museum compound is this Art Gallery featuring an eclectic collection of works by Roerich and Raja Ravi Verma. This of course is only among the many other paintings from the Mughal, Rajput, Bengal and Tanjore schools of art. There is also a fabulous collection of oriental art from the Far East and Bali.

The Zoological Gardens
With a setting that includes woodlands and beautiful lakes, this is arguably one of Asia’s best laid-out zoos. Whether it is love for the animals or just a need for a good day out, this is an excellent place to visit.

Indian School of Martial Arts (ISMA)
Kalaripayattu, KeralaA definite must see is the ISMA, which continues to preserve and impart training in the 5,000-year-old martial art of Kerala – Kalarippayattu. Established in 1983 it is in Vazhuthacaud in the heart of the city. A three-storied building, the main attraction is the traditional kalari – the arena for practising the art, built 10 ft below ground level. ISMA is also a renowned healing centre where the traditional kalarichikitsa – an exclusive branch of medicine – has been practised for years. The rare collection of olagranthas – palm leaf manuscripts also makes it a place with historical value.

Kovalam Beach
This building, designed in the English Gothic Style, was built in 1878. The main structure rises 54.2 m in height and is surmounted by statues representing Justice and Mercy. Beautiful Kovalam, endowed with a sheltered bay making it safe and pleasant to swim in during the off-monsoon months is no doubt, one of the best places to be. Food, rest, Ayurvedic massages and long walks with the inevitable shopping will make your visit here memorable and a true vacation.

Shanghumugham Beach
Trivandrum Mermaid Statue The Shanghumugham Beach is close to Trivandrum international airport. This is a favorite place for locals to spend their evenings. However do not expect to enjoy bathing in sea here since the water is not really clean and it is pretty crowded.

Veli: The Veli Tourist village, is around 11km away from Trivandrum city where the lake merges with the sea. Veli is a popular tourist destination for Keralites.

Trivandrum ClimateClimate: Pleasantly tropical throughout the year, Trivandrum’s proximity to the sea makes for weather that has its variations. Other than the monsoons between May and October, which are long and heavy, summer temperature goes up to 32°C while winters are a pleasant 29°C.
Best Time To Visit: If you love the rains, anytime and if you don’t, September to May.

Trivandrum FactsThiruvananthapuram Facts:

  • Population: About 3,234,707
  • Main Language(s): Malayalam, Tamil and English
  • Time Zone: GMT + 05:30
  • Phone Area Code: 0471
  • Airport Distance from City Center: 8 kms
  • Taxi Rates from Airport to City: Pre-paid taxi service available

Agartala, Tripura, India

Agartala Overview:
Agartala, the capital town of the eastern state of Tripura, India is a storehouse of rich cultural diversity. Surrounded by hills on three sides, Agartala is a picturesque city in northeastern India. The city has many remarkable buildings in the Indo-Saracenic style (a mix of Hindu and Muslim architecture), the most prominent of which is the Ujayanta Palace, built in 1901 by Maharaja Radha Krishna Kishore Manikya Bahadur.

Agartala gained prominence when Maharaja Krishna Kishore Manikya shifted his capital from old Agartala to the present site, in 19th century.
Ujjainti Palace Agartala
Agartala can serve as a comfortable base for seeing the rest of scenic Tripura, which has wildlife sanctuaries, rock-cut religious sculptures and fabulous ancient temples, including the Temple of Fourteen Deities in Old Agartala, the former capital 5 km to the east, which draws thousands of devotees for the Karchi Puja in the month of July.

A number of lakes in different parts of the city add to the charm of Agartala.

Agartala ClimateAgarthala Climate: The climate is characterized by moderate temperatures and a highly humid atmosphere.
Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit Agartala is between October and April. Towards the beginning and end of this period, one might experience a few showers, but they are quite refreshing.

Agartala AttractionsPlaces To Visit: Following are the popular tourist attractions in Agartala, India.

Ujjayanta Palace :
Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya built this royal house over a one Sq. km property in Agartala between 1899 and 1901. Agartala Tripura, India It is a two storied mansion, having a mixed type of architecture with three high domes, the central one being 86m high. The magnificent tile floor, curved wooden ceiling and beautifully crafted doors are particularly notable. The palace is set with huge Mughal style gardens, beautified by pools and gardens and tiled floors.

Ujjayanta Palace, now is the state Legislature Assembly office

Kunjaban Palace:
Built by Maharaja Birendra Kishore Manikya in 1917, it was called Pushbanta Palace then. Now it is the governor’s residence. It is located on the northern side of Agartala. This place was frequented and cherished by poet Rabindranath Tagore.

Malancha Niwas :
The Bungalow adjacent to Kunjaban palace situated on a hillock was originally a house where Tagore stayed during his visit in 1919. The construction was subsequently built and given the name of Malancha Niwas

State Museum:
It has on display some of the rarest stone images, old coins, Bengal Kanthans and archaeological findings from Tripura and adjoining areas.

Sepahijala Agartala. Sepahijala
The Sepahijala Wild life sanctuary is just 15 Km from Agartala.

Old Agartala :
8 kms from the main city and the former capital of the state, Old Agratala is famous for the ritual worship of the fourteen presiding deities of the Royal House in Chaturdasa devta temple.

Tripurasundari Temple :
Temple of goddess Kali (locally known as matabari). Located at Udaipur South Tripura approx. 80Km from Agartala

Agartala FactsAgartala Facts & Figures:

  • Population: 175,500
  • Main Language(s): Bengali, Kokbarak, English
  • Time Zone: +5.30hrs GMT
  • Phone Area Code: 0381

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Port Blair, The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are not everyone’s choice for a holiday. They are so far away from the mainland that they tend to be ignored by most visitors. However, those who find themselves on the Islands are rewarded with spectacular beaches, pristine coral reefs and the lovely blue sea.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands are part of a string of about 500 tropical islands, which lie scattered halfway between Calcutta and the equator. The existence of these islands was first reported in the 9th century by Arab merchants, who sailed past them on their way to the straits of Sumatra.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Andaman Tourism InfoAndaman Facts: The first western visitor was Marco Polo. The Marathas took over the islands in the late 17th century. In the early, 18th century, the islands were the base of Maratha admiral Kanhoji Angre, whose navy frequently captured British, Dutch and Portuguese merchant ships. Angre remained undefeated by the combined British / Portuguese naval task force, right up to his death in 1729.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands were finally annexed by the British in the 19th century and used as a penal colony for Indian freedom fighters. The colony was set up by Captain Archibald Blair of the Bombay Marine, who gave his name to the capital of the islands, Port Blair. During World War II the Japanese occupied the islands. After India gained independence in 1947, the islands were incorporated into the Indian Union.

  • Main Language(s): English
  • Time Zone: GMT + 05:30
  • Phone Area Code: 03192
  • Population: About 3,50,000
  • Airport Distance from City Center: 4 kms
  • Taxi Rates from Airport to City: Taxi service available at Rs. 50 per pax to city

Port Blair, is today, the pulse of the islands. Most tourists who visit begin their exploration from here. Port Blair extends around a harbour on the east coast of South Andaman, and is the most heavily populated of all the islands.

The one major landmark in Port Blair is the Cellular Jail. This seven-winged national monument tells tales of the torture of India’s freedom fighters who were imprisoned within its walls. The islands were called Kalapani (islands with black water), because of the blood that tainted its waters.

The Andamans are a paradise for ecologists and ornithologists, with 242 species of birds, 46 species of mammals and 78 species of reptiles some of them rare and almost extinct. These birds and animals live in dense rain forests surrounded by mangroves that seem to become part of the sea.

The islands are also home to some of the oldest tribal communities in the world. Six recognized tribes inhabit the several islands. While members of some of the tribes venture into the city, others keep to their forests, and can be quite hostile.

Andaman ClimateClimate: The daily temperature in the Andamans does not vary much throughout the year. It usually averages between 23°C to 30°C.
There are two seasons – the wet, or monsoon season, from mid-May to mid-November, and the dry season, from mid-November to mid-May. Rainfall is heavy and, depending on the location, averages 264 to 437 cm annually.
Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit is between November and mid-April.

Andaman AttractionsAndaman Attractions – Places To Visit: The stunning beaches are the major attractions of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. But there are many other tourist attractions waiting for you in this island paradise.

Andaman Cellular JailThe Cellular Jail
This museum is a reminder of the torture that India’s freedom fighters suffered at the hands of the British. It had more than 600 cells, so prisoners would have absolutely no contact with one another.
Today the Port Blair Cellular Jail is an important tourist spot at Andaman and Nicobar islands.

The Beaches
For a day of swimming, and fun in the sun, Corbyn’s Cove and Jolly Buoy are popular beaches. One can also snorkel and visit the underwater world as long as one wants.

Havelock Island
A visit to the Havelock Island is a memorable experience. Its unspoilt and beautiful charm can take you back a hundred years.

Ross IslandRoss Island
Ross Island was once an exclusive preserve of the British who ruled from there for over 50 years. The ruins of bungalows, churches, ballrooms, bakeries, clubs and dungeons, are an interesting and intriguing experience. They relive the glory of early 20th-century colonial life.
Early morning, Ross island is a bird-watcher’s paradise.

Viper Island
The Viper Island contains the dungeons and a natural amphitheater. Another picnic spot, it still has ruins of gallows as reminders of a grim past.

Museum and Zoo
At the Anthropological Museum, Marine Museum, and the Mini Zoo, one can see a panorama of the life of the Paleolithic islanders, a display of marine life with sea crocodiles, dolphins, barracuda, and pearl oysters.

Andaman CruiseHarbour Cruises
A harbour cruise takes visitors around the South Andaman Island and offers a beautiful view of mangroves, rain forests and other delights of this living museum. There are also cruise trips from mainland to Andaman and Nicobar islands.

The Andamans even have their very own dormant volcano and those who have the courage and stamina to climb to its mouth on Barren Island never forget the sight of the lava inside or the hard lava-like rocks that make the climb a near impossibility.

Kathmandu, Nepal

Nepal is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of bio-diversity due to its unique geographical position and altitudinal variation. The elevation of the country ranges from 60 m at sea level to the highest point on earth, Mt. Everest at 8,848 m, all within a distance of 150 km resulting into climatic conditions from Sub-tropical to Arctic. Situated between China in the north and India in the South and Area being 147,181 sq. km.

    Nepal occupying only 0.1% of the earth is home to:

  • 2% of all the flowering plants in the world;
  • 8% of the world’s population of birds (more than 848 species);
  • 4% of mammals on earth;
  • 11 of the world’s 15 families of butterflies (more than 500 species);
  • 600 indigenous plant families;
  • 319 species of exotic orchids.

Nepal AttractionsPlaces To Visit:
Few destinations in the world can match Nepal in the variety of adventure tourism: be it mountaineering, trekking, mountain biking, nature tours, culture tours, pilgrim tours, white-water-rafting, kayaking, canoeing, mountain flights, hot air ballooning, pony trekking, jungle safaris, bird watching, fishing, hang-gliding, ultra-light aircraft ride, etc. In addition, we have several special interest tours like orchid tours, culture trek, honey hunting, village tours, fossil hunting, meditation courses and seminars, Shamanism-Panimism tour, cave culture, snow leopard and blue sheep trek and many more that take place throughout the year.

Trekking: Nepal is the ultimate destination for the trekking enthusiast offering a myriad of possibilities from the short and easy to the demanding challenges of the snowy peaks. Easy, moderate or rigorous there is something for every palate. Nepal has aptly been called “A Trekkers’ Paradise” as her terrain mountains, hills and the Terai – offers some of the most spectacular trekking routes in the world. The immense contrasts in altitudes and climates found here support an equally spectacular mix of lifestyles, vegetation and wildlife. Trekking in Nepal is as much a cultural experience as a Himalayan adventure. In the shadows and foothills of the icy pinnacles of the Himalaya, one passes picturesque charming villages inhabited by diverse ethnic groups. Treks vary from expeditions, high altitude treks to simple easy paced walks.

Mountaineering: With eight of the highest peaks in the world, it is hardly surprising that Nepal has been the stage for some of the most outstanding achievements in the world of mountaineering. The dauntless icy peaks have since decades challenged the bodies and spirits of those daring enough to want to conquer the hulks. All inquiries and arrangements for expeditions have to be made well in advance at the Ministry of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Mountaineering Section, Bhrikutimandap (Tel. 256234, Fax. 227281) where the guidelines have been laid down.

River Rafting/Kayaking: Few rafting rivers in the world can match the thundering course of the rivers of Nepal originating from the snow meltdown of the Himalayan terrain. The rivers gush through the twisted canyons, winding through calm valleys where small settlements are perched on the banks, taming out only as they spill out into the Indian plains to merge with the Ganges. A river-trip is one of the best ways to explore the typical cross-section of the country’s natural as well as the ethno-cultural heritage with massive doses of adrenaline buzz on our world caliber white-water thrills.

Jungle Safari: Chitwan offers exciting safari destination in the world. Jungle activities here include venturing into deep jungle on elephant back or four wheel drive to view wild animals in their natural habitat, canoe rides on the jungle rivers, nature walks, bird watching and village tour excursions

Sight-seeing: For those who can not withstand the rigorousness of mountain climbing there are mountain flights which fly around Mt. Everest and other summits providing a close-up of the top of the world. On a clear day, the hill resorts of Nagarkot (32 km East of Kathmandu), Dhulikhel (32km) and Daman (80 km southwest of Kathmandu) afford magnificent views of Mt. Everest and the entire Himalayan range.

For the less adventurous, Pokhara, the lake city of Nepal provides ample opportunities for fishing, swimming, canoeing and boating along with majestic panoramic views in its background.

A rich cultural heritage: Nepal offers an incomparable scope to connoisseurs of art and culture to see and study the different aspects of the fine arts in its painting, sculpture, woodcarving and architecture. The three main historic cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur with numerous historical monuments, old palaces and palace squares, shrines and temples, ageless traditions and legends make it a veritable living museum. The Kathmandu Valley boasts seven World Cultural Heritage Sites all within a radius of 20 km


Population: 23 Million people live in Nepal.

Main Language: Nepali is the national language. However travel-trade people understand and speak English as well.

Gokyo NepalWorld Heritage Sites (Cultural):
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square
Lumbini (Birthplace of Lord Buddha in southern Nepal)

A rich natural heritage: Thanks to Nepal’s extensive and effective Parks and Reserves system, the country has managed to preserve more endangered species of flora and fauna than any other area in Asia. Nepal has nine National Parks and three Wildlife Reserves, which include areas in the highest mountains in the world as well as sub-tropical lowland of the plains.

World Heritage Sites (Natural):
Everest National Park
Royal Chitwan National Park

Other National Parks:
Royal Bardiya National Park
Langtang National Park
Shey – Phoksundo National Park
Rara National Park
Khaptad National Park

Wildlife Reserves:
Sukla Phanta Reserve
Parsa Reserve
Koshi -Tappu Reserve

Conservation Areas:

Hunting Reserve:

Nepal ClimateClimate: Nepal has four major seasons, namely, (1) Winter: December-February, (2) Spring: March-May, (3) Summer : June-August, (4) Autumn : September-November. Nepal can be visited the whole year round.

Singapore, Asia

Traveling to Singapore, Asia? Go through our Singapore tour tips before you leave.

Things to Do and See in Singapore
Museums and Galleries
Singapore may be small but it’s huge on attractions and entertainment. You’re only restrained by your interests and time. The businessman with the odd day off can browse in museums, bask in the sun (or rather shade) of many green sanctuaries, attend a performance or even hop over to another country.

For a young nation, Singapore has lots of sights devoted to history and art. Entry is free or very reasonable (S$5.00-10.00) and there are usually very decent cafes or shops attached. As a businessman, you might be interested to know that many of these premises can be rented for corporate events.

Asian Civilisation Museum – located in a 135-year-old colonial building that used to be a government office, the ACM focuses on the cultures of China, South and South East Asia, West Asia and the Islamic World. You can look around on your own but the guides are extremely knowledgeable and make the most obscure-looking artifacts exciting. 1 Empress Place (MRT: Raffles Place)

National Museum of Singapore – the National Museum now spans 16,000m2 and boasts cutting-edge technology, not to mention very decent catering facilities. (Eating well is a ‘national’ preoccupation!) The Singapore History Gallery documents 700 years of Singapore’s past while the Singapore Living Galleries concentrate on the country’s cultural mix. There are also regular visiting exhibitions such as the Greek masterpieces from the Louvre. 93 Stamford Road (MRT: Dhoby Ghaut)

Chinatown Heritage Centre – located in three restored shop houses in Chinatown, the Heritage Centre has artifacts donated by former residents and provides a fascinating account of bustling, early immigrant life. See a night-soil bucket, a communal kitchen, a cubicle shared by opium-addicted coolies among many other embodiments of memories. 48 Pagoda Street, (MRT: Chinatown)

Singapore Art Museum – abbreviated to SAM, this 19th-century building was formerly a mission school for boys. It has the biggest collection of 20th-century South Eastern Asian art in the world and hosts a number of outreach programmes. 71 Bras Basar Road, (MRT: Dhoby Ghaut or City Hall)

Other museums and memorials devoted to Singaporean history, the Second World War and defense include Fort Silosa and the Images of Singapore Museum on Sentosa, The Battle Box, the Cenotaph, the Kranji War Memorial and The Civil Defense Heritage.

More forward-looking places of interest include the Singapore Discovery Centre (510 Upper Jurong Road, MRT: Boon Lay, then Bus 182, 193) and the Singapore Science Centre (IS, Science Centre Road, MRT: Jurong East, then Bus 66 and 335). And the Singapore City Gallery run by the LIRA or Urban Renewal Authority is definitely well worth a visit. Not only do you get a sense of how Singapore came to be what she is, a giant architectural model will also give you a fascinating glimpse of future Singapore. 45 Maxwell Road (MRT: Tanjong Pagar)

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Maldives, Asia

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Maldives Hotels:
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