Thursday, November 13, 2008

Top 10 "Watery" Destinations

In line with my planning on the upcoming Golden Triangle trip, I started getting some information about some places that I'm planning to visit. When I flew by Air Asia, I was reading their magazine. We were not suppose to take it from there. But I so badly wanted a copy of it. What did we do? We stole it. Literally. But with a permission. We actually asked one of the crews if we could have one copy of the magazine. She said no, we're not allowed to take one. We pleaded. We begged. Until we came up with the idea. "Let us buy this magazine. How much would it cost to buy one?" So the crew left to ask the chief of the crew. She came back saying we could take one copy... but please, oh please, don't let anybody onboard know about it. So we kept the magazine. What's inside there that I really wanted to have it's copy? Its top 10 "watery beauty" destination in the region written by L Leavitte. I'm gonna list down what's in the list:

1. Li Jiang, Guilin, China - Guilin is just extraordinary. The town is literally surrounded by a fortress of limestone mountains. In fact, these awe inspiring limestone karsts stretch 100 kilometers along the river Li Jiang. This river experience often includes a stopover at Yangshuo, a smaller but no less picturesque town downstream from Guilin.

2. Perfume River, Hue, Vietnam - Spend a day walking through this historical city's splendid imperial tombs and you'd feel as if you have stumbled back in time to feudal China. Since these world heritage-listed monuments are easily accessed via the Perfume River, a day cruise along this famed waterway still provides the most leisurely option to explore the extravagant mausoleums.

3. Nam Song river at Van Vieng, Laos - About 3 hours from Vientienne, Van Vieng is known for its Nam Song river. Throughout the years, it has become a rite passage for Southeast Asian backpackers to travel to this sleepy village, rent an inflated tractor tire and float down the calm river.

4. Seminyak Beach, Bali, Indonesia - Seminyak is the new Kuta. It feels more exclusive - the nightlife is hip, the accommodation even more stylish and the beach is definitely less crowded. Since the opening of Ku De Ta, a breezy chic beach club a few years back, Seminyak has slowly risen to become the "it" beach of Bali. I have seen the beach and stayed at Seminyak Villas.

5. Tonle Sap Lake, Siem Reap, Cambodia - the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, Tonle Sap makes a refreshing day trip from the city Siem Reapafter days of temple-hopping. Here you can observe water villages, mangrove forests and rare birds such as the milky stork and spot-billed pelican. But what's amazing is that during the wet season, from May to October, the lake swells to more than 5 times its size.

6. Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia - Just a short drive from Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road hugs the contour of Victoria's rugged Southwest coast. It is Australia's best road trip, which affords unobstructive views of dramatic cliffs and the ocean. However, many travellers only have one thing in mind - the collosal rock stacks known as the Twelve Apostles, that rise to the southern ocean at Port Campbell. Little do people know that this coast also harbours some very challenging surf beaches, such as Bells beaches and Apollo Bay.

7. Chao Phraya River, Bangkok, Thailand - If you can pry yourself from Bangkok's throbbing nightlife and and irresistible shopping, you'd discover a part of Bangkok that feels like the Asian equivalent of Venice. The Chao Phraya river is buzzing with life and many Bangkok landmarks, such as Wat po and Wat Arun, are located along this river. - I remember attending a friend's wedding (he's from Norway, she's Thai) that had a wedding reception in a cruise along this river. We saw these two Wats. But I always feel motion sickness. So when we reached the pier, I run outside to throw out the food I ate. ewww... that was unforgettable.

8. Upper Rejang River, Sarawak, Malaysia - To experience the real Saraway, travel to the upper reaches of Rejang River to discover the side of Borneo not commonly portrayed in travel brochures. All you need to do is fly to Sibu, take the express boat to Kapit, stock up and hop on a boat into the many tributaries along the river. - I have only been to Kuching, Sarawak. I am hoping to go to Sibu to enjoy the Upper Rejang river.

9. Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong - The waterway between Hong Kong island and the Kowloon Peninsula, Victoria Harbor, is one of the most photographed landmarks in the world. Yes, the skyscrapers on Hong Kong island is a stunning view during the day but when night falls the night turns euphoric. The Tsim Sha tsui waterfront is the best vantage point in Hong Kong. You can also hop on a nostalgic Star Ferry, which has been crossing the harbor since 1800s.

10. Perhentian Kecil Island, Terengganu, Malaysia - The Perhentian Islands is the perfect spot for an amazing tropical island getaway. The beach is white and sandy, the water is cool and crystal clear, and the green foliage complements the perpetually gorgeous blue sky. My sister-in-law is from Terengganu and we've been planning to visit the place since ages ago. I heard that they have the 2nd most beautiful beach in the world. Will have to go and see. It is when that I don't know yet. Sounds like I have so many places to go and yet too little budget to do. Will have to do more paid blogging to be able to do it.

So, this is the region's 10 must-see waterways. I have been to two out of ten. I have 8 more to go. I don't have photos to post. I would want to post my own photos for this one. Which means, I have to update this post once I have gone to the places mentioned.

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