With so many different islands, religions and ethnic groups, there is always some type of celebration going on in Indonesia. We’ve put together four Indonesian festivals not to be missed, ranging from celebrations of music and dance to kites and ceremonies.
High up in the Ba Na Hills in Vietnam, a bridge is causing quite a stir!
The newly opened Golden Bridge seems to float above the clouds suspended by a pair of giant stone hands that reach out from the leafy hillside. Stretching for 150 metres, the golden pedestrian bridge is lined with purple chrysanthemums. This unique walkway in the sky has been designed to make visitors feel as if they are on a shimmering strip of gold held up by the hands of God.
But this is not all that is strange on the misty mountain top!
It’s often said that the best camera is the one that you have on you at the time. Lucky for us, smart phone camera abilities are improving with each new phone release, making it easier than ever to take professional photos. With a little bit of know-how, most smart phones can take stunning, high quality photos:
News had already reached us of the efforts of the Kdat community in Kampot province to provide better education for their children, so when it came time for our staff outing here in Cambodia, our team came up with a great idea… that we should combine a day of team-building with a community-related project to help the school.
In rural farming and fishing areas such as Kampot, there is not always access to quality education, so many children are at risk of a lifetime of poverty. The local villagers at Kdat have set up a community to help people work together and raise the level of education for the children in the area. They already have a ‘homestay’ project in place to help children from low-income families to stay in school.
These rural schools often lack the most basic materials and therefore the schoolchildren go emptyhanded. To determine the most needed items, we called the school to ask what resources were in short supply. The answer – books, paper, pens, rulers and erasers – basic school supplies that schools in other countries take for granted.
Using part of the money we would normally spend on the staff outing, we bought our supplies and set off to the school at Kdat Sanaka. On arrival, the children, ranging from eight to ten years, were waiting for us in the community centre. Their enthusiasm for our donations was touching. Together, we took part in community activities. We chatted and heard about their ambitions and dreams. It was inspiring to see the desire and drive of the children to get a good education and create a better future for themselves – a determination instilled in them by their families and their teachers.
On the children’s recommendation we also went to have a look at the waterfall not far from the village. The community is located in a very scenic and peaceful area, next to a river and surrounded by mountains and forest.
From there we drove to the top of Bokor Mountain to see the abandoned French retreat of Bokor Hill Station. These derelict crumbling ruins enjoy sweeping views across the country, sea and beyond.
Lunch was taken at Kampoul Pich Resort in Takeo, a new resort. Takeo is home to the 11th century Phnom Chisor, an ancient Khmer temple rarely visited by tourists. Although we didn’t have time to visit this temple, we did stop for a while at the new Puth Kiry Pagoda. This gave us the chance to reflect on the day and the difference that our donations will make towards helping provide a quality education for the children of Kdat.
India is the land of the unexpected, full of incredible and unique experiences. With rich cultures, ancient traditions, mind-blowing cuisine and magnificent landscapes, you can be guaranteed a whirlwind of a ride.
Here are our suggestions to embrace the diversity and colours of India:
What Hanoi lacks in size, it more than makes up for with its vibrant street culture, colonial architecture and ancient sites. The 1,000-year-old city has survived colonial occupation and the ravages of war, yet never lost its spirit and sense of identity.
With dense jungle, sheer-sided mountains, evocative rice fields, bustling riverways and colonial architecture, it’s little wonder that Vietnam is attracting adventurous film directors from all over the world. Some scenic backdrops like the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay are even becoming regular stars on the silver screen!
Here are our favourite films that take full advantage of the exotic surroundings that Vietnam has to offer:
There’s a fascination and intrigue about abandoned places. Is it the eerie silence, the desolate streets, the unexplained desertion or perhaps the myths and rumours that surround them? Underneath the dust and debris there is a story that captures our curiosity and imagination.
Southeast Asia has its share of such places. Here are our favourites:
With thousands of islands in Indonesia there is an exhaustive number of dishes, with some taking their cues from nearby cultures such as Middle Eastern, Chinese, Indian and Polynesian. One thing they all have in common is the use of fresh spices and herbs resulting in vibrant and intense flavours. If you have a sweet tough, you will love the wide variety of delicious sweets, cakes and puddings.
Here are our top picks to help you eat your way through Indonesia:
Southeast Asia is renowned for its spicy, flavoursome food, but the drinks are pretty good too. Trying out the local beverages, whether alcoholic or not, is part of discovering the culture of a country. Staying hydrated is also vitally important, so if you find yourself dying for a drink in the heat of Southeast Asia, there’s plenty of options to quench your thirst.
Let’s raise a glass to our top pick of exotic drinks: