Note that a pair of hand-drawn maps of the City of Kuching are offered after this article.
The Top 7 Asian Holiday Spots—part 1
As the largest continent on earth, Asia offers travellers a huge variety of spots to visit, things to do, and cultures to view. Asia is a charming mix of historical locales and modern cities. Asia has something to suit the taste of everyone in the family: there are historical monuments as well as great malls; beautiful virgin forests to pristine beaches; exotic festivals to exotic food. Asia has it all.
The Top 10 Asian Holiday Spots
The name Indonesia has its roots in two Greek words: “Indos” meaning Indian, and “Nesos” which means islands. It is an appropriate description of the archipelago, as there are estimated to be a total of 17,508 islands, of which only about 6,000 are inhabited, and stretching for 5,150 km between the Australian and Asian continental. The main islands are Sumatra Kalimantan), Sulawesi Irian Jaya), and — last but not least — Java. The nation’s capital, Jakarta, has a fascinating and significant history.
Climate– Indonesia’s climate is definitely tropical. The main seasons are summer, winter, and monsoon; it is devoid of autumn and spring.
Culture– Indonesia is rich in art and culture, which are intertwined with religion and age-old traditions. The basic principles which guide life include the concepts of mutual assistance, or “gotong royong”. Religious influences on the community are varied from island to island. Indonesia is rich with culture, with 250 – 300 ethnic groups living here.
From graceful court and temple dances, to charming folk dances and boisterous play, the performing arts of Indonesia offer an astounding range of types and styles. Its shadow puppetry is famous — shadow puppet theatre is called Wayang kulit.
Cuisine– Fish features prominently in the diet as fresh, salted, dried, smoked, or a paste. Coconut is found everywhere. The staple food traditionally ranges from rice, corn, sago, cassava, to sweet potatoes.
Hot spots— Indonesia is a mix of beaches, forests, and cities: Amlapura, Bali Barat National Park, Irian Jaya, Java, Jakarta, Baluran National Park, Karimunjawa Islands, Kalimantan (Borneo), Gili Islands, Gunung Rinjani (Mount Rinjani), Kuta, Pulau Bunaken, Rantepao, Tanatoraja, Sumatra, Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (Great Bukit Barisan Forest Park), Harau Valley, Jangga Village, Kerinci-Seblat National Park, Lingga Village, Medan, Mentawai Islands, Ngalau Indah Caves, Ngarai Sianok (Sianok Canyon), Padang, Pandaan Beach, Pandi Sikat, Parapat, Samosir Island, Siberut Island, Sipiso-piso Waterfall, Taman Hutan Raya Bung Hatta, and more.
The Malay Peninsula has thrived from its central position in the maritime trade routes between China, India, and the Middle East. It is shown on early maps with a label that translates as “Golden Chersonese”; the Straits of Malacca were referred to as “Sinus Sabaricus”. The two distinct parts of Malaysia, separated from each other by the South China Sea, share a largely similar landscape, in that both West and East Malaysia feature coastal plains rising to often densely forested hills and mountains. Putrajaya is the newly created administrative capital, whereas the capital city is Kuala Lumpur. Georgetown, Ipoh, Johor Bahru, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Alor Star, Malacca Town, and Klang are the major cities.
Climate– It’s hot and humid year-round in Malaysia.
Culture– Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multilingual society, consisting of 52% Malays and other indigenous tribes. With Malays, Chinese, and Indians living side by side, the music, art, food, dance, architecture, and general day to day living are influenced by all three to some degree, creating some of Asia’s most fascinating sounds, sights, and tastes. Malaysian traditional music is heavily influenced by Chinese and Islamic forms; it is based largely around the gendang (drum), but includes other percussion instruments. The country has a strong tradition of dance and dance dramas — some of Thai, Indian, and Portuguese origin. Other artistic forms include wayang kulit (shadow puppet theatre) and silat (a stylised martial art).
Cuisine– There is a great variety: spicy Malay Food, a seemingly endless variety of Chinese food, exotic cuisine from North and South India, as well as Nyonya and Portuguese Food.
Hot spots– Malaysia’s love of Western-style is abundantly clear in its big cities of Kuala Lumpur, Penang, etc. Malaysia boasts some of the most superb beaches, mountains, and national parks in Asia: Cameron Highlands, Batu Caves, Lake Gardens, Sepilok Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Centre, Taman Negara National Park.
About the Author
Venugopal Naidu is the business development head at Ista hotel, Bangalore, with an experience of marketing in the destination spa industry. Associated with Ista for the past five years, he has been active in projecting the hotel as a luxury business city hotel. Naidu foresees a major fillip in its spa industry, too.
As for maps of the City of Kuching, try this one from Kuching Guide (if you scroll to the bottom of that webpage, you will see that this map may have been originally published in 2003). Clicking on the map below will open it up into a new window:
As well, there is one in this .pdf file: The Official Kuching Guide 2006. The map is on page 19 of the 37 page .pdf guide — ignore the page numbers on the guide itself.
I apologize for having nothing more recent to offer at this time.
“Phuket town and Phuket FantaSea” Marzyong’s photos around Phuket, Thailand
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The following suggestions have been added in a post edit of April 19, 2012.