Amazing Asian Destinations For First Timers

Travelling to far flung, exotic and unique places in Asia is often times high on the bucket lists of many people. Who wouldn’t want to traverse unknown places, explore bustling cities, try new and strange food, see beautiful sights and more? It’s one of the most time honoured traditions that has luckily become more accessible to the masses these days thanks to cheaper flights, more competition with hotels and great travel deals to be had all over the globe. Sound like something you can get behind? Here’s a list of our favourite destinations for the traveller who wants something exciting, challenging and unique – whether it’s their first for fiftieth time abroad.

Vietnam

Vietnam is one of the most beautiful countries in South East Asia, with stunning coastline that runs the length of the country, unique rock formations in Ha Long Bay and bustling cities brimming with tasty opportunities to try local cuisine either through food tours or cooking classes. Don’t miss out on some of the historical side of the country with many different ways to learn about the Vietnam war, either through visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels, countless museums or some of the battlefields themselves, such as those near Da Nang.

Japan

Easily one of the most desired destinations for travellers to Asia, Japan has it all, a bit of something for everyone. Visit in the springtime to experience the deeply loved tradition of ‘hanami’, the enjoyment of picnicking under the sakura blossoms or its night time equivalent, ‘yozakura’. Whether you like modern and futuristic vibes or traditional culture, you’ll find something to tickle your fancy in Japan. Dine at a robot restaurant or sing karaoke in a neon lit karaoke room before touring the bright lights and strange sights and sounds of both Shinjuku and Harajuku. If you want a real physical challenge, you can try climbing Mount Fuji, or for those who want relaxation, kicking back in some hot springs is just what the doctor ordered. Whether you want tradition or modernity, Japan has it all.

China

China is a vast country with a whole host of interesting landscapes, regions and things to see and do. Whether you want a nature based experience in the likes of Yunnan province with its green, lush mountains and lakes or you want to stroll through the bright neon districts of Shanghai or Hong Kong, China is a great mixture of East meets West. For the real adventurer, check out Western China and even further into Tibet – a place that few people seem to go.

Indonesia

Beaches, bikinis and boarding is a great way to sum up Indonesia. Parts of it anyway. On the island of Bali you can laze the days away on the beach just chilling out or you can hit up beach parties, swim with turtles or explore ancient temples. For some of the best beaches, check out Gili Trawnagan island. The best temple experiences are arguably on Java island near Yogyakarta. Whatever you decide, you’ll be in awe at the beauty, nature and adventure you can have in this nation made up of a string of islands.

Wherever you decide to head for your Asian adventure, one thing is for sure – you’ll be tempted back to the region time and again. Enjoy!

Your Guide To ‘The Snow And Ice Festival’ in Harbin, China

China’s northeastern city of Harbin is the home to one of the most impressive snow and ice sculpture festivals in the World. This frigid and frosty city drew more than one million visitors last year who all came to witness the exhibitions of some incredible ice sculptors who create some of the most stunning exhibitions of snow and ice that you are ever likely to see. The size, intricate nature and creativity that goes into each of the sculpture simply needs to be seen to be believed and here we give you a run down of what you can expect on a trip to Harbin’s Snow and Ice Festival.

When?

Officially speaking, the festival begins on the 5th of January and lasts for a month, with that being said, it is worth noting that weather permitting, the festival begins early and finishes later than the advised dates.

Where?

Within the city of Harbin, you will find displays and sculptures throughout the city but there are two main exhibition areas where you will be able to find the main events. The first exhibition location is Sun Island, this exhibition is on the other side of the Songhua River from the city and is where you will find some enormous and gargantuan sculptures.

The other exhibition location is  Ice and Snow World which is a nighttime space where you can be struck in awe by illuminated and full sized buildings which have been built entirely from snow and ice.

What Can You Expect?

Other than stunning sculptures of buildings, famous landmarks and cartoon characters, you will see a whole city which is dominated by the festival, regular lantern processions, ice skating activities, ice shows, skiing and even winter swimming are all features of this festival.

As you might imagine, you can also expect very cold temperatures as this area of China receives its temperatures from Siberia, lows of -30 degrees are the norm around this time of year.

What’s it About?

The festival does not have any deep religious or culture connotations, it is more of a why not festival and it has been around since 1963. The sculptors used to be only Chinese but in recent years the festival has international status and as such it attracts master sculptors from all over the World.

How Do They Make The Sculptures?

The ice is dragged from the frozen Songhua River by huge teams with very big saws, the sculptors then use a huge range of tools to sculpt the blocks of ice into incredibly fine pieces of art in the days running up to the festival. The sculptors also utilize deionized water which is frozen and produces crystal clear glass-like ice which adds an incredible element to their creations. To add color to proceedings, artists will add a serious of multicolored lights behind their creations to give the incredible detail to their work.

This festival will leave you completely awe-struck and possible with a  little frostbite but you will never see anything else like it on the planet.