Pulau Umang – A Nature Themed Resort Island for All
The international global trend of going “back to nature” is a lifestyle that is fast becoming a passion to city-dwellers. Pulau Umang is proud to showcase a nature-themed resort which is uniquely designed to have each and every aspect of its architecture blend in with the beautiful nature surrounding it. This is the perfect place to rest and relax for individuals who are stressed out and bored by their daily routine.
Umang Island is located at Sumur, Pandeglang, Banten, roughly 183 km from Jakarta (approximately five hours away by car). With its mesmerizing mountains of Honje and Ujungkulon, this resort boasts an enviable location. Currently, the resort offers 60 nature-themed rooms, all located on prime beachfront property with a host of of amenities and facilities that offer traditional massage, a swimming pool, kids pool, and a jacuzzi, an event hall, table tennis, and a kids club. On top of that, there are other nature-based activities on offer, such as snorkeling, banana boat, flying fish, fishing, outbound games, barbeque and more.
Pulau Umang also boasta two unique nature-based activities – Outbound Adventure and Amazing Camp Adventure. In Outbound Adventure, guests experience various “back to nature” activities, such as trekking, river rafting, as well as traditional al-fresco meals served in the heart of the jungle. Supported by a creative and professional group of nature-lovers, Outbound Adventure is sure to be a hit with urban dwellers. The Amazing Camp Adventure is another offering designed for kids to allow them to learn more about nature as well as their own capabilities and skills.
All in all, Pulau Umang is slated to become one of the main tourist attractions for those looking to have a family gathering, company events, outbound team building and more – there is a little bit of everything here!
Fishing can be a relaxing addition to an otherwise hectic, but it’s one of those kind of activities – either you’ll love it or you’ll hate it. Regardless, if you keep an open mind, you can really have some mind-blowing experiences. Asia is not well-known for fishing (except perhaps the overtly commercial kind), but there are plenty of authentic experiences for those that look hard enough.
Shurakuen Fishing Hole – Tokyo, Japan
This is truly one of those “only in Asia” moments – amidst the soot, steel, and glass of modern day Tokyo lies the last thing you would expect: a quaint and unassuming fishing hole. The name ‘hole’ suits, without a doubt; old men sit around the small but busy pond as still as the breeze while waiting for a tug on their fishing line. They say this pond has been here since the 1600s and the current owners have had it for nearly a century; it’s best to visit with a guide, as the owners don’t speak English.
Lei Yue Mun – Hong Kong
It’s hard to believe that you could find any fish not scared away by Hong Kong’s towering skyline, but there are lots of things to do in Hong Kong other than shopping and fishing is one of them. Exploring the fishing villages around Hong Kong Island can be a lot of fun, but a local favorite to fish is Lei Yue Mun, which is a narrow channel on the eastern edge of Victoria Harbour. The two best spots are said to be the rocky shore just in front of the lighthouse, or the area behind the Tin Hau temple. The closest MTR station is Yau Tong.
Andaman Sea – Phuket, Thailand
If you want to get away from the Phuket crowds and can tear yourself away from the picture perfect beaches, then head out for the fishing areas on the Andaman Sea. There are plenty of tour providers offering tour options of all shapes and sizes, and the list of fish you can find here is just as long: Wahoo, Dorado, Rainbow Runner, Tuna, Trevally, Cobia, Narrow Barred Mackerel, Black Marlin, Sailfish, and Barracuda – not to mention sharks!
Mekong River – Cambodia (and elsewhere)
The Mekong is an incredible river – one that provides a major economic force for several countries in Southeast Asia, as well as being a popular tourist attraction, particularly the floating markets and villages. There are some incredible fish in these stocks, including the Giant Mekong Catfish that can weigh up to 100kg! The nooks and crannies are endless – Nam Ngum reservoir in Laos is a good one. Ask your local accommodation in any of the neighboring Indochina countries for a recommendation.
Borneo is the third largest island in the world, and the South China Sea waters surrounding it are teeming with fish waiting for some action. The nice thing about the diversity of the island and area means you can have a number of different types of fishing experiences. There are the deep sea fishing expeditions around the reef areas (known for tasty fish such as group or cod), or you can charter a boat to head further off shore to go exploring.
Now, I don’t proclaim to be an expert in all-things-fishing, but I would like to share a few common sense tips with you if you book an Asian fishing tour:
• Now is not the time for bravado and getting lost on the high seas; do your homework and find a reputable provider to assist with your fishing expedition.
• Consider a catch-and-release option given that many fishing areas are overfished and the locals are very dependent on this for economic stability.
• Be sure to consider the time of year; while some sun-kissed hot spots are year-round favorites, the rough seas might be a different story. Do your homework!
About the Author. Andy Hayes. Andy Hayes is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. When not crossing the world to have his next Asian travel adventures, he is hitting the walking trails near home. To get in touch or see Andy’s other travelogues, visit his website, Sharing Travel Experiences.
Make sure that your holiday is more fun and your life much easier by choosing the best car hire company. They offer great deals.
Somewhere high up in the Himalayas, the mighty Yangtze River embarks on a long and arduous descent. Beginning its journey as a tiny creek at its apex, the Long River (as it is known in Chinese) transforms over its course, forming a series of bounding rapids and hurtling waterfalls before settling into its slow, flat demise into the East China Sea.
About 65 km north of Lijiang in Yunnan Province, the river descends into one of the deepest and most intensely beautiful canyons on earth – the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Legend has it that many years ago, a local hunter was chasing a fierce tiger that leapt onto a rock in the middle of the gorge’s narrowest junction to his escape, leaving his legacy in the name of the place – Hu Tiao Xia or Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Tiger Leaping Gorge is the steepest and narrowest canyon on earth situated in a remote suburb of Shangri-la. The mere mention of a place so alluring whetted my appetite for true paradise on earth that is becoming a rarity in our modernized world. I had to experience for myself this gem of a place– the last of China’s lost heavens.
My journey to Tiger Leaping Gorge begins in the city of Lijiang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its ancient architecture and ethnic minority, the Naxi People. Once a trade center along the old tea roads to Central Asia, Lijiang is one of the last stops before Tibet and its series of waterways and canals meander through carved wooden edifices that are interconnected by cobblestone streets.
Hiking along one of the two trails that span above Tiger Leaping Gorge requires just a short day. But why rush through the experience without savoring its beauty and splendor? So I opted instead to spend two nights and three days hiking the gorge.
Camping here is virtually impossible because the trails are extremely narrow; however, there are many guesthouses operated by the locals who once made their living farming grains. They are now spending their days providing food and accommodation to adventurous foreigners who come seeking the thrills of Tiger Leaping Gorge.
The gorge measures about 15 km long, but hiking through the sandy paths created by the locals for access in and out of their homes on the steep cliffs proves to be a much longer journey, almost double the gorge’s length. Two trails provide a way in: the low road and the high road. The low road offers quick access to tour buses and the high road is a steep hiking trail sought out mostly by the adventure seekers.
The trek begins in the tiny town of Qiaotou, where, equipped with a hand-drawn map, I side-stepped a truckload of touts and made my way to the start of the trail. The Yangtze flows right through Qiaotou, which is not more than a one-lane village with loose chickens crossing the road under the beginnings of mountain green mountaintops.
Most inbound hikers to Tiger Leaping Gorge are required to pay a ¥50 entrance fee, but that day the dusty guard station was empty, so I continued along the path, which was lined in wildflowers and weeds and narrowed into a small track carved into the hillside. Below, the mighty Yangtze narrowed with it in a rush of grey water, and before me the hill swept up into a swath of green.
The first few kilometers trek steadily upward in a gentle incline until you reach the 28 Bends, an aptly named series of steep switchbacks that bring you over a tangle of rocks and weeds straight up the cliff side. The view becomes intense, at times almost vertical as the gorge opens like a chasm below and little more than a few dusty boulders separate you and imminent death.
As the bends wore on, my feet began to burn and slip under the loose rocks, and about halfway to the top, I met a toothless lady selling green tea and Snickers bars. “Hashish?” she asked with a wry smile. I gently declined, ordering instead some cold tea to sip on.
A high wind caught the flags flying over the Tea-Horse Trade Guesthouse, where I stopped for the day and readily ordered a large bottle of cold Tsingtao and a plate of fried noodles. The huge porch here offers stunning views of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, which stands in awesome grandeur on the opposite side of the gorge. Despite early May’s spring temperatures, the mountain was still capped in a white blanket of snow, indicating its altitude and, below, the green river steamed in quiet serenity.
The following day, I made my way down to the Tiger Leaping Stone, where the mythic tiger supposedly landed mid-river as he fled from the hunter. To get there required a tricky encounter with a waterfall before arriving at a serene bamboo grove. Below, the gorge dived into what seemed like eternity, while the bamboo trees above wafted back and forth like feathers. Terraces of tea fields laced along the slope of the gorge and the icy azure waters of the Yangtze flowed in harmony below, winding their way out to freedom.
To get down to the Stone, you must follow a long, narrow staircase before finally arriving to the roar of the river’s rapids. An unstable-looking rope bridge offers the possibility of retracing the tiger’s jump across to the massive boulder, which sits like a sentinel in the middle of the gushing waters. I took the chance and, once across, laid down there on my back, watching the walls of the canyon rise like rocky pillars above me and enjoying the sprinkles of the mighty river over my face.
My second night on the gorge was spent at Sean’s Guesthouse, a budget friendly accommodation, one of the last inns along the high road. The inn’s leafy Eden-like gardens brought spring to life and a scenic place to relax. Here, I met several backpackers from all over the world, and we strayed into a dreamy evening, drinking cheap Tsingtao around a glowing campfire. As the river flowed steadily below us, we exchanged stories about our travel experiences, about lives back home and most interestingly, the various encounters on the road to Tiger Leaping Gorge. Too soon, the fire quelled to dying embers and my friends retreated into their rooms to sleep, leaving me alone under the inky sky, trying to find the North Star.
My final day on the gorge was one of goodbyes and of photo taking. The last stretch of trail before returning to the road and the bus back to Lijiang offers amazing panoramas of the canyon’s sweeping vistas and the vast horizons beyond. Looking back toward the trail’s beginning, Haba Snow Mountain and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain extend into the skies with one on each side of the gorge, sliced sharply in two by the Yangtze.
Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the few remaining places in the world so undisturbed that even the “flawed” dirt paths and muddy slopes are made perfect in its splendor. As more infrastructure is forced into the natural beauty of Tiger Leaping Gorge, I fear it may lose some of its grandeur to the masses of tourism. But for now, Tiger Leaping Gorge still exists as a place off the beaten track where peaks rise to the heavens and myths meet the helm of reality.
Unearthing Asia is a travel zine focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all over Asia. Don’t miss out on the best travel ideas and inspirations in the region of Asia, such as this list of top attractions in Ho Chi Minh City.
About the Author. Megan Eaves. Megan Eaves is a freelance travel writer and China junkie. She’s an English teacher in a small town in Zhejiang Province where her days are filled correcting grammatical mistakes, killing nuclear wasps and getting stared at by the locals. Megan has traveled everywhere from the Great Wall to the Gobi Desert and isn’t afraid to write about it. She’s also the author of a groovy book called “This is China: A Guidebook for Teachers, Backpackers and Other Lunatics”. She, of course, has a website: http://www.meganeaveswriting.com
Kenya holidays are popular for the incredible wildlife. The grasslands of the Serengeti in the west of Kenya have prides of lions along with magnificent elephants, zebras and more.
One of the most awe-inspiring moments of my life occurred on a cool moonlit night in New Zealand. I gazed up from my ground-level lodge’s balcony and saw the most amazing thing: hundreds of thousands of stars radiantly shining like diamonds in the skies. In the background, the vast, snow-capped Remarkables framed an image that I would remember for all time. It was mesmerizing. I didn’t want the moment to end. As it turned out, I was able to repeatedly watch the same star-studded display in almost every place I visited in this vast country of four million people.
New Zealand was once thought of as just a lush, exotic destination somewhere down there, where there are more sheep than human beings, until Peter Jackson brought the country’s stunningly varied terrain to life on the silver screen in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Filmed in more than 150 locations all over New Zealand, the trilogy won 17 Oscar awards and catapulted New Zealand into a coveted spot as one of the “must-see destinations” in the world. Its stunning landscapes left audiences so awed that Britain’s Express on Sunday wrote, “If locations were awarded Oscars, New Zealand would scoop the lot.”
But there’s more to New Zealand than movie locations and bungy jumping. The youngest country on earth is swathed in natural and man-made assets making it the perfect place for a holiday, especially during the hot and humid summer months in Asia. Autumn (March to May) and winter (June to August) are great seasons to cool off in one of New Zealand’s sensational spots.
It is tempting to follow the throng of holiday-makers in Asia who head to the beach for temporary relief from heat. I, however, say ditch the beach! Instead, pack some warm gear and escape to Queenstown (South Island) to chill out. Celebrated for its magnificent scenery, adventure opportunities and luxury lifestyle, Queenstown sits prettily on Lake Wakatipu. The birthplace of bungy jumping, Queenstown’s wildly exciting environment is irresistible to adventure seekers. It is for this reason that it has been dubbed the adventure capital of the world. This bustling year-round destination simply rocks with adrenalin-stirring, sanity-reducing exploits of the most extreme kind—and a few leisurely pursuits.
Autumn is a relaxing time to witness nature’s landscape transform from luscious green to brilliant red and gold. From March to May, Queenstown has stable, clear weather that allows most outdoor excursions. Every visitor to Queenstown should hike or ride to somewhere high. From the top of almost any hill, magnificent views await. Climb Queenstown Hill or Ben Lomond for fantastic views of Queenstown and beyond. Ride the Skyline Gondola for the classic postcard-perfect shot across Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown. Ride a horse into the high country on a guided trek.
Queenstown is part of the Central Otago region, the fastest growing wine district in the country. Book a wine tour or hire a car and visit the vineyards in Gibbston Valley, known for its seriously good lunches and wine tasting. You can also tour Gibbston’s wine cave and cheese factory. From June to August, Queenstown turns into a winter playground, positively vibrating with snow activities and enthusiasm. With two ski areas in close proximity, this resort town is the place to escape to if you want to beat the sweltering heat in Asia.
Fancy being a part of the apres scene? Queenstown is filled with chic restaurants, nightclubs and cafes. If you’re lucky, you might even get a window seat overlooking snow-capped mountains. A cozy seat by a roaring fireplace where you can snuggle up and drink the night away is also a delightful way to spent an evening.
Head over to minus5º where you can have a drink in a bar that is made of hand-sculpted ice. The walls, the bar, the sculptures, the seats and even the glasses your drinks are poured in, are all crafted out of ice! It is a unique experience that will chill your bones and delight your senses. Let one of the ice guides take you on a tour you will never forget.
The two ski fields closest to Queenstown are Coronet Peak and The Remarkables. A mere 20-minute drive uphill, Coronet Peak probably has the most European feel of the lot. Choose a bar or restaurant to relax at and enjoy some of the love music acts on the outdoor stage. You might even see the occasional celebrity accompanied by an entourage.
If your legs are skied-out, try your hands on a gold pan or a fishing rod. There are plenty of exciting activities to choose from. Bungy jumping, horse trekking, 4×4 bike adventures, fishing, golfing, jet boating, tandem skydiving, and white water rafting are just a few of the activities on offer here. Better yet, enjoy lunch on a steam boat or soar in the air in a hot air balloon. There is also a pedestrian mall that links souvenir shops with ski stores and high fashion boutiques to satisfy your shopping itch.
Explore Skippers Canyon with Nomad Safaris. This area offers both amazing man-made and natural features. Following the Shotover River valley, the Skippers Road was carved by hand through solid rock. The road clings to sheer cliff sides with breathtaking drops into the river gorge below. This route has breathtaking views at every hairpin turn, across the spectacular Skippers suspension bridge.
The Ledge and Nevis Highwire Bungy sites reinforce the reputation of Queenstown as the “home of bungy”. It offers Queenstown’s only winter night-bungy—suspended 400m above the night lights of Queenstown (open from 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 pm). The Ledge Bungy is a harness jump as opposed to the traditional foot tie jump of other sites. It is accessible via the Skyline gondola making this a one-hour return trip experience.
Queenstown and its neighboring towns are only the tip of the iceberg. There is an abundance of places to experience and attractions to explore. Nature has bequeathed New Zealand with unrivaled beauty. This is the one place on earth that will absolutely take your breath away.
Greek island holidays are very attractive. The various islands all have their own flavour, so you can choose according to your preference. Do you just want the beach or night-life? The right holiday is there for you.
Indonesia is the widest archipelago in the world, with more than 80,000 km of coastline and 3.1 million square km of marine area. With such a large marine area, it’s no wonder Indonesia is often described as a diver’s paradise. There are plenty of attractions for all kinds of marine lovers, but this time around, we will focus our attention on three small gleaming pearls – North Sulawesi’s Gangga Island, Bali’s Candidasa, and Lombok’s Gili Trawangan.
The Gangga Island, North Sulawesi
The Gangga Island arises from the depth of the ocean north of Sulawesi, in the Bangka Archipelago, just off the National Marine Park of Bunaken. A volcanic island, Gangga is adorned with lush tropical trees and colorful flowers. There are several diving areas within reach from Gangga Island, suitable for beginners and experienced divers. The diving spots available in Gangga offers an astonishing kaleidoscope of life forms in more than 25 first-class dive spots in its central position between Bunaken and Lembeh Straits, which also happens to be one of the major playgrounds of paradise for macro-photographers.
Another island paradise bound to attract scuba divers is the renowned Raja Ampat, long heralded as scuba diving’s Holy Grail. Be mesmerized by the crystal clear water, white sandy beaches and pristine marine beauty in this jewel in the ocean!
Towards the south of the Indonesian Archipelago is Bali, the Island of Gods. At the Eastern coast of this island, far from the crowd, lies the small village of Candidasa, a key location where your choice of tours in the water, and out, begins. Bali has a superb reputation as a diving destination, and overal there is as much diversity of dive sites and marine life here than anywhere else in the region. In the eastern coast of Bali, the feature is on the Mantas, mola mola (sunfish) and tiny pigmy seahorses.
Candidasa is also home to the Bat Cave Temple (Pura Goa Lawah), an important temple to the religious locals which is home to thousands of bats hanging on the rock of cave walls. Legend has it that the cave extends all the way to Pura Besakih up at Mount Agung, more than 30 kilometres away. During various holy days, thousands of pilgrims would visit Pura Goa Lawah to join in sacred ceremonies, before heading up towards Mount Agung.
From water-sports at white sandy beaches to first-class shopping, to luxurious gourmet treats and a relaxing escapade at a hillside cafe, Bali has it all. Here are some of the must-do things in Bali, the Island of Gods.
Gili Trawangan, Lombok
Last but not least on our quick island hopping is Gili Trawangan, one of the three small islands off the coast of Lombok. Here, visitors can experience the serenity of a small island, the excitement of the underwater world, and the energy of island nightlife all at once. The island was renowned as a backpacker mecca in the 90s, and while it is still true to some extent, there is now a range of luxury and glamour on the island, and especially so on Gili. On one hand, you have a multitude of relaxing laid-back beach-side cafes serving home-made drinks and local delicacies, but on the other end you also seafood buffets, gourmet treats and luxurious stays.
The diving on offer is excellent, and the island is well-known as a teaching center for diving newbies. There are however, spots with strong currents and drifts better suited for the experienced, with the focus on barracudas, manta rays, sharks and hundreds of turtles.
Other than the above three gleaming pearls, the archipelago of Indonesia boasts plenty other diving attractions. Be sure to check out our list of amazing dive spots in Indonesia before you book your trip down South!
Unearthing Asia is a travel zine focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all over Asia. Don’t miss out on the best travel ideas and inspirations in the region of Asia, such as this list of top attractions in Ho Chi Minh City.
We are very pleased to unveil our most recent project,
a travel publication focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all around Asia. If you’re in the region of South East Asia, do pick up a copy and don’t hesitate to send in your comments and thoughts.
In this issue
+ The Islands of South East Asia
+ Raja Ampat, Phuket, Puerto Princesa
+ Koh Pha Ngan, Bali
+ New Zealand’s Splashing Lake Taupo
+ A Guide to Middle Eastern Cuisine
+ Heeding the Call of Asia
+ Spotlight on Jakarta
+ Flashpacking Essentials
+ A Tropical Affair
About the Author. Andy Hayes. Andy Hayes is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. When not crossing the world to have his next Asian travel adventures, he is hitting the walking trails near home. To get in touch or see Andy’s other travelogues, visit his website, Sharing Experiences.