Monday, March 30, 2015

Westhill Travel Review: Unseen Asia

If you think you can think you have traveled to every farfetched tourist spots in Asia, think again. We may have beaten you in finding exotic and unseen tourist spots in the region yet. Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours in Jakarta have this outrageous list of must-go places in the most extremes of Asia.

These are the list of some of the many wonders that people living in a melting pot of races are:

Shodoshima, Japan

            Foreigners rarely travel the roads to these lush olive groves, hot springs and wild monkeys. The 817-meter Mount Hoshigajo-san, which translates as “Mount Kingdom of Stars,” is an excellent vantage point for Shodoshima’s scenic landscape, including the famous Kankakei and Choshi-kei valleys. The island’s many hot springs provides reprieve for tired feet after a long day of country rambling.

Ratu Boko, Indonesia

The Yogyakarta region is practically a museum of Indonesia’s dynastic history. The famed Buddhist temple Borobodur and its Hindu counterpart Prambanan typically lure crowds for its detailed relief.

Nearby, however, the oft-overlooked palace complex of Ratu Boko provides an even more imaginative glimpse of the region’s cultural and religious origins.

Set on a ridge called the Thousand Hills, Ratu Boko offers expansive views of Prambanan as well as Java’s most active volcano, Mt Merapi. Only the foundation of the palace remains, as do former bathing pools. A mysterious well near the complex’s cremation site is a place of pilgrimage for the region’s Hindus, who say the water has sacred properties. The archeological site is just a plane away from the country’s capital, Jakarta.

Haputale, Sri Lanka

The misty Haputale is a wonder at dawn like any other hidden mountain secrets in the world. Every morning, bundled up Tamils sell English vegetable but instead of fraud lively scenes, all you is around you is a bizarre mountain ridges. You will definitely find remnants of Sri Lanka’s British legacy in numerous plantations around town.

Son Doong Cave, Vietnam

            This is Vietnam’s largest cave is more than 200m high, 150m wide and 5km long. The cave has its own river, jungle and climate. It is located in the heart of Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province. The cave has only been open to public for 4 years since it has been discovered by a British traveler in 2010. Warnings to those who would want to camp there though: stray animals are also found inside the cave and there may also be unknown creatures lurking there.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Best Bite on the Best Beaches

Asia is the best place to go if you are into islands and beaches. With its strategic location surrounded by main waters, oceans and seas, Asia is home to thousands of beaches. Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours in Jakarta has gathered some of the best beaches in Asia which is worth a review and a visit sooner and later:

Ko Adang – Thailand
Thailand's remote Ko Adang is an ideal island for nature-loving travelers who seek a less-populated haven well away from peak-season beaches packed with sunbathing limbs. With plenty of hiking trails, deserted white sand beaches and jungle waterfalls there's enough here for day-trippers from nearby Ko Lipe along with those who plan to spend a longer stretch of time exploring all this island has to offer. We assure you that no complaints will you ever say about this beach.

Ko Chang Noi – Thailand
Not to be confused with the far bigger and better known Ko Chang of Trat province in the Gulf of Thailand, little Ko Chang -- or, as we have always known it, Ko Chang Noi -- is a formidable destination in its own right. One of Thailand's quietest most relaxed, and undeveloped islands, Ko Chang Noi makes up for its lack of sparkle with an artsy, laid back atmosphere you'll find nowhere else. Don't expect luxury resorts and bus loads of short-term holiday makers but rather rustic bungalows and a unique community of artists, writers, and musicians who return for long-term stays year after year. If you like nature and reggae music and are looking for an escape from the world -- then Ko Chang Noi is for you.

The more pristine beaches of Jakarta are located in Thousand Islands, the only regency of Jakarta Special Capital Region. Being located further away from Java Island, the islands' beach is less affected by pollution coming from the Jakarta Bay. Being a coral island, the beaches of Thousand Islands are white-sanded.

The province of West Java contains beaches on both its northern coast and southern coast. The beaches of the northern coast are known for its calm water due to the low wave-energy of the Java Sea. The more notable beaches on the southern coast are known for the big waves and famous for surfing.

Don Khon – Laos
This beach is skipped by many budget travelers because most of the accommodation is mid-range. However although there aren't 40-odd places to choose from, there are budget options here and staying on Don Khon is far more of a Lao experience than Don Dhet. There are options for cycling and walking and lots of general hanging out watching life flow by -- oh and there are dolphins too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours Highlight: Stopover to Kota

While Indonesia’s capital is powering ahead with global industrialization and modernization, Kota, its oldest town, remains to be the top traveler highlight especially in Jakarta. With a glimpse to Jakarta’s historical background before the busy streets and skyscrapers, Kota is a home of Indonesia’s colonial culture.

Kota is the Indonesian word for "city", a reminder that the walled settlement which was once called Batavia had been importance as it had been the capital city of the Dutch East Indies in the 17th – 19th century. This inner city contrasted with the surrounding kampung (villages), orchards, and rice fields. According to the statistics review, It spans 1.3 square kilometers of North Jakarta and West Jakarta (Kelurahan Pinangsia, Taman Sari and Kelurahan Roa Malaka, Tambora). The largely Chinese downtown area of Glodok is a part of Kota.

In 1600s, Kota was the headquarters of the Dutch East India Company and is dubbed as the “Jewel of Asia” and “Queen of the East”. Not all of the buildings, though, have been protected as well as they should have been, unfortunately, but wandering through the streets and the main square give an impression of the European settlement that started Jakarta on the path to becoming one of the largest cities on the planet which indeed happened as the city now houses 28 million diversified individuals, scammers, legit and fraud Indonesians.

Set off on a walking tour at Kota Intan bridge (also known as Chicken Market Bridge). Constructed by the Dutch in the 17th century, the wooden drawbridge extends over the Kali Besar canal, and would have been raised to accommodate merchant ships. The last remaining bridge of its kind, it is no longer raised, and can’t be crossed by pedestrians – its planks are in disrepair – but there is talk of a renovation project. For now, it’s worth a visit to witness a rare monument to the city's Dutch colonial era.

As the years have grown by, many of the historical buildings and architectures have been deteriorating but many of the old building have been restored to their former glory. With the help from various nonprofit organizations, private institutions, and governmental projects, the step towards rejuvenating Batavia is on its way to restore Jakarta’s legacy. In 2007, several streets surrounding Fatahillah square such as Pintu Besar street and Pos Kota street, were closed to vehicles as a first step towards the rejuvenation. Since 2014 the old town has a brighter future with the ambitious JOTR project to restore Old Batavia's architecture and putting the site on the UNESCO heritage list.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Jakarta, A Place of Interest

Jakarta is a melting pot of cultures and the heart of the 17,000 islands of Indonesia. With great geographical and archipelagic location, it has continuously attracted foreign investors, international tourist and local vacationers because of its majestic and symbolic places. Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours in Jakarta recommends the following spots to visit:

Central Museum

The Central Museum is established in 1778 by U.M.C Radmacher. The museum is a vast and extensive collection which shows historical, prehistorical archeological and ethnographic aspects of Indonesia through its artifacts and relics which dates as far back to the Stone Age. It has one of the most complete collections of bronzes and ceramics dating back to the Han, Tang and Ming Dynasties. Despite the issues of showcasing fraud items and repeatedly proving it wrong, the Museum has one of the finest numismatic collections in the world, including cloth and money which was used on several islands until recently. The religious art section is filled with statuary and sculpture salvaged from sites of Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic edifices. Its collection of cultural instruments, household utensils, arts and crafts provides an introduction to the life of the various ethnic groups which populate Indonesia. This museum is popularly known as Gedung Gajah or "Elephant Building" because of the stone elephant offered by King Chulalongkorn of Thailand in 187 1, placed on the front lawn of the building.

The National Monument

The National Monument, or "Monas" as it is popularly called, is one of the monuments built during the Sukarno era of fierce nationalism. Reviews say it stands for the people's determination to achieve freedom and the crowning of their efforts in the Proclamation of Independence in August 1945. The 137-meter tall marble obelisk is topped with a flame coated with 35 kg. of gold. The base houses a historical museum and a hall for meditations. The monument is open to the public and upon request the lift can carry visitors to the top which offers a bird's eye view on the city and the sea.

Indonesia in Miniature Park

This architectural structure shows the diversity of Indonesian Archipelago and it represents Indonesia’s 27 provinces and their outstanding characteristics, reflected most strikingly in the exact regional architecture of the province. It has its own orchid garden in which hundreds of Indonesian orchid varieties are grown. There is also a bird park with a walk-in aviary, a fauna museum and recreational grounds with a swimming pool and restaurants.

Jaya Ancol Dreamland

This is Jakarta's largest and most popular recreation park. It is built on reclaimed beach land at the Bay of Jakarta, having, sea and freshwater aquariums, swimming pools, an artificial lagoon for fishing, boating, bowling, and an assortment of nightclubs, restaurants, a steam-bath and massage parlors.

At a nearby open-air theater art performances are held using the local dialect.

Fantasy Land

A recent addition to Jakarta's growing recreation facilities is the Fantasy Land, a 9.5 hectares (23.75 acres) entertainment park located inside the Ancol Dreamland. Planned to eventually become a part of a 200-hectares (500-acres) park designed to usher the visitors into the fascinating world of modern science and technology, the present facility takes them on an imaginative tour of Old Jakarta, Africa, America, Indonesia, Europe, Asia and the Palace of Dolls. Each of the areas is designed to give the visitor a feel of the region he is visiting through features and architecture of the area at a certain period of its history and by the use of animated puppets in the Palace of Dolls.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rainforest Adventure

If exploring rainforests is your forte and you think you have visited all of the great rainforest possible, then after reading this article, you may think otherwise. Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours have listed some of the most unexplored rainforest wonders in the world. Now pack up your bag while list this down and you might be up for another adventure sooner or later. Don’t forget to review your list or you might get lost in the vast expanse of trees and greeneries.

Most tropical rainforest in Asia is found in Indonesia (on scattered islands), the Malay Peninsula (Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar), and Laos and Cambodia. Forest once covered a much greater area in Asia, but logging and clearing of forests for agriculture has destroyed much of the region's rainforests. However, there are some rainforest which have been preserved over time.

The Southeast Asian rainforests are the oldest, consistent rainforests on Earth, dating back to the Pleistocene Epoch 70 million years ago. It has a biological richness and diversity unequaled by that of the Amazon or African rainforests.

Danum Valley - Malaysia

Danum Valley is found in Malaysian Borneo and has some unusual plant and animal residents. The biggest flower in the world, rafflesia along with other Carnivorous pitcher plants flowers (some weighing more than 15 pounds) gives this valley a truly exotic, almost primeval, feel. Flying squirrels, gibbons, Asian elephants and rare jungle rhinos all call the conservation area home. One of Southeast Asia's first true eco-resorts, the Borneo Rainforest Lodge, still operates in the valley, offering guests an upscale place to stay in between jungle treks, canopy tours and river adventures. The government, though, also does not lack warnings to tourist to be careful of travel guides that bodes harm to seemingly well-packed tourists.

Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra

According to the reviews by various tourism website, the 2.5 million hectare Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra site comprises three national parks: Gunung Leuser National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. Just outside Jakarta, Indonesia, the site holds the greatest potential for long-term conservation of the distinctive and diverse biota of Sumatra, including many endangered species. The protected area is home to an estimated 10,000 plant species, including 17 endemic genera; more than 200 mammal species; and some 580 bird species of which 465 are resident and 21 are endemic. Of the mammal species, 22 are Asian, not found elsewhere in the archipelago and 15 are confined to the Indonesian region, including the endemic Sumatran orangutan. The site also provides biogeographic evidence of the evolution of the island. 

Khao Sok – Thailand

Khao Sok National Park in Southern Thailand is known to be the home of the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, huge limestone mountains shooting straight up in the air, deep valleys, breathtaking lakes, exciting caves, wild animals and much more.

Khao Sok is perfectly situated on the mainland between Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak and Koh Samui, the most popular destinations in Southern Thailand. It is a fantastic place to go on vacation. Close and personal elephant encounters, jungle trekking on foot, canoeing and Truck Safaris are all possible activities, which will give you the experience of a lifetime. We also recommend tours to visit various locations in Khao Sok. One of the most interesting areas is stunningly beautiful Cheow Larn Lake in the heart of the National Park with its floating raft houses and luxury tents – an absolute must-see!

Lawacherra Rain Forest - Bangladesh

Lawacherra Rain Forest is one of the well-reserved and significant forestry in Bangladesh. Here you will get to see rich flora and fauna of the valley of Sylhet. You can enjoy natural beauty and wildlife together here. Here you will find only one rare Chloroform tree of Asia and that is the key attraction of this place. If you are a bird lover and watcher don’t miss this place. You can find different kind of birds and animals here. Some of wild animals are leopard, Deer, squirrel, wild chicken and python. Khasia & Manipuri is two important ethnic-tribe live here. The territory is hilly and vegetation is honestly thick. You will also get here seven color tea with in seventy taka.

If you want to know more about rainforests and need more information on this, you can visit us here.