Tag Archives: Travel

The Stylish Way to See Myanmar: By River

River tours are becoming ever more popular with tourists in Southeast Asia, with both high-end luxury cruises and many more general options including day trips. The major river in Myanmar is the Ayeyarwady (also/formerly spelled Irrawaddy).

Myanmar rivers map, Copyright Pandaw River Expeditions
Myanmar rivers map, Copyright Pandaw River Expeditions

We recently posed some introductory questions to Sven Zika, Sales and Marketing Manager at Pandaw / The Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, the first company to offer international tourists river expeditions in Myanmar, from 1995, with a company history going back over 100 years before that (see the history of the company here).

1. Has there been a growth of interest from travellers recently?

Sven: Yes, there has been a huge surge of interest in river cruising, especially as Myanmar has become more widely appreciated as a holiday destination. From two ships in 2013, our fleet has grown to 7 ships in 2014 with one more on the way in 2015.

2. What ages and nationalities of passengers most often come on your cruises?

Sven: At the moment the majority of passengers are 50+ and come mostly from the UK, USA, and Australia, as well as all over Western Europe

Many of the most famous sites to visit in Myanmar are directly accessible from river landings or nearby
Many of the most famous sites to visit in Myanmar are directly accessible from river landings or nearby (Photo copyright Pandaw River Expeditions)

3. Why are river tours a good way of seeing Myanmar?

Continue reading The Stylish Way to See Myanmar: By River

Visiting Temples: Tips on Behaviour and Etiquette

You'll feel less daunted about visiting Buddhist temples and holy sites after reading these commonsense tips courtesy of thetempletrail.com
You’ll feel less daunted about visiting Buddhist temples and holy sites after reading these commonsense tips courtesy of thetempletrail.com

For the uninitiated, a visit to a temple in Southeast and East Asia could be a daunting undertaking. The unfamiliar breeds trepidation and you find yourself unsure of what to do. What are the rules for these mysterious places?

Well, you will find that there are surprisingly few.

Each region has their own set of customs, but they are easy to remember and even easier to adhere to. You should always bear in mind that the temple staff want you to be there. If they can, they will help you in any way, from explaining the etiquette, to assisting you make an offering of your own.

Feet

Probably the easiest thing to make a mistake with is your feet. The first thing to think about when entering a temple is your shoes. In Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, you will need to remove your shoes and leave them outside each hall of the temple, reclaiming them when you exit. This is a cultural norm for entering a house as well. Continue reading Visiting Temples: Tips on Behaviour and Etiquette

“A Journey Into the Heart of Java” – tour details from Remote Lands Tours

The Remote Lands tour company provides exclusive extra information on one of their most popular Indonesia tours: “A Journey into the Heart of Java”…

The Borobudur Temple is one of the most famous attractions in Indonesia. [Photo copyright remotelands.com]

What are the highlights of this tour, and who is it for?

The main theme of this tour is to help travellers learn about history of Buddhism and Hinduism with their rich history of ceremonies, monuments, temples and arts. This is a favourite tour for those who love historical travel and want to find out about the centuries of Indonesian history before Muslim and Christian religions arrived.

Aside from history and architecture, action highlights include white water rafting and hiking to Merapi Volcano sites.

Another highlight of Java is the Prambanan Temple. [Photo copyright remotelands.com]

The tour starts from Yogyakarta: is this the base for day visits?

Not for everything. In order to avoid spending long hours driving, we do 2 nights in Yogyakarta and 3 nights in Borobudur and we visit sites on the drive from Jogja to Borobudur or vice versa.

Borobudur Temple. [Photo copyright remotelands.com]

What should we see and do in Yogyakarta?

In the city we visit the Sultan’s Palace and a Batik processing factory. Close by, Prambanan Temple is a “Must See” with its rich store of Hindu history and beautiful reliefs. Our visits are carefully timed to avoid crowds. Continue reading “A Journey Into the Heart of Java” – tour details from Remote Lands Tours

Visiting Bangkok’s Wat That Thong

Wat That Thong is a Thai Buddhist temple located in the heart of Bangkok that is not on most travellers itinerary, instead opting to see the more famous temples in Bangkok such as Wat Arun or Wat Pho (temple of the reclining Buddha).

Wat That Thong was built in 1937, and sits where two previous Buddhist temples were once standing. The biggest attraction of Wat That Thong is the beautifully crafted statue of the golden Buddha, sitting in the lotus position.

Wat That Thong is a beautiful modern Buddhist temple in Bangkok well worth adding to your itinerary
Wat That Thong is a beautiful modern Buddhist temple in Bangkok well worth adding to your itinerary

Continue reading Visiting Bangkok’s Wat That Thong

Visiting the 100-year-old Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar

Close up view of Chauk Htat Gyi Buddha Image - photo by Grace
Close up view of Chauk Htat Gyi Buddha Image – photo by Grace

Of the thousands of pagodas and temples in Myanmar,  Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda (also spelled Chauk Htet Gyi) stands out because of its famous huge reclining Buddha. The pagoda is located on Shwe Gone Dine Road, Bahan Township, in the North of Yangon.

The site is probably the second most popular tourist site in Yangon after the Shwedagon Pagoda. Chauk Htat Gyi means “great six layers” in Burmese  – so the pagoda in name and size surpasses the nearby Ngar Htat Gyi Pagoda which is the five layers pagoda! Continue reading Visiting the 100-year-old Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar

Buddhist Heritage sites in Southeast Asia protected by UNESCO

There are many famous Buddhist Heritage sites in Southeast Asia that are recognized and protected by UNESCO. Here is a list of the most famous World Heritage Sites in the region.

Angkor Wat (Photo credits: Commons Wikipedia)
Angkor Wat (Photo credits: Commons Wikipedia)

Angkor, Cambodia

One of the most prominent and famous sites in Asia, Angkor stretches over 40,000 hectares. This was the last remaining stronghold of the Khmer Empire and today the ruins are visited by thousands each year. The most prominent sites are the Bayon Temple with its detailed sculptures, and Angkor Thon together with Angkor Wat.

 

 

Borobudur Temple (Photo credit: Commons Wikimedia)
Borobudur Temple (Photo credit: Commons Wikimedia)

Continue reading Buddhist Heritage sites in Southeast Asia protected by UNESCO

What to Read Before Visiting Borobudur?

Borobudur: Majestic Mysterious Magnificent

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Author: John N. Miksic, Noerhadi Magetsari, Jan Fontein, Timbul Haryono
Pages: 272
Published: BAB Publishing Indonesia (2011)
ISBN: 978-6029827903

Borobudur

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Author: Louis Frederic
Photographer: Jean-Louis Nou
Pages: 347
Published: Abbeville Press; First Edition edition (1996)
ISBN: 978-0789201348

Continue reading What to Read Before Visiting Borobudur?

Top Buddhist Gardens and Temples in Bangkok

Wat Pho by commons wikipedia
Wat Pho via Wikipedia Commons

One of the busiest cities in Asia, Bangkok has some beautiful places to see. Some of the most incredible sights in Bangkok are the temples and gardens. Here are some of those highlights…

Wat Pho via Wikipedia commons
Wat Pho via Wikipedia commons

Wat Pho

One of the major temples in Bangkok, Wat Pho or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha is a prominent Buddhist site. This gigantic Buddha measures 46 metres in length and is close to the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Buddha’s feet are 5 metres in length and covered in mother of pearl depictions from Buddhist taksanas or characteristics. This is a must see sight for visitors to the capital.

 

Continue reading Top Buddhist Gardens and Temples in Bangkok

Slideshow: Introduction to Visiting Borobudur

We’ve put together a short slideshow introducing Borobudur to help you start planning your trip (or pilgrimage!) there…

More from our info about visiting Borobudur:

Growth in Tourism to Ancient Buddhist Sites – Not Always a Positive?

Tourism to Buddhist sites aims to promote interest for Cultural Tourism and Pilgrimage or Faith Travel, as well Archaeological Tourism.

But where is the line between the promotion as important tourist site and religious heritage?

The desire to embark on a journey for religious purposes has inspired people for centuries and considered the oldest form of tourism in history. But visiting ancient Buddhist sites is no longer a domestic and only faith related event.

In times of globalization it has been developed into a major commercial oriented industry. Travel agencies now offer special handcrafted tours to sacred sites, often including multiple temples in various cities or countries.

 

800px-Angkor_Wat_Tourists
Tourists at Angkor Wat. Photo via Wikimedia by Kounosu

Continue reading Growth in Tourism to Ancient Buddhist Sites – Not Always a Positive?