Showing posts with label Travel Bucket List. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel Bucket List. Show all posts

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Travel Wanderlust: A Visit To Stunning C-Drama Filming Locations

June 24, 2021 0

It's been a while since my last travel adventure. The pandemic effectively cut off everything about my travel plans, so I have not posted any articles from an actual leisure trip in almost two years. 


However lately, while watching the travel vlog of Chinese heartthrob, Wu Lei (Leo Wu), who portrayed the irresistible Ashile Sun in the recently concluded C-Drama, The Long Ballad, on his recent outdoor cycling adventure to Qiandao Lake in Zhejiang province, China, I became interested in writing a travel feature again.

Chinese heartthrob, Wu Lei, on his recent cycling adventure trip


Although borders are still close and international travel for leisure is still off the table, we can actually start planning our next trip as early as now, set the budget and do some research on gorgeous places to visit.

Eternal Love shot in Xiangshan Global Studio


Since I am kinda hooked recently to C-Drama (Chinese TV and web series), I am fascinated with the breathtaking scenery of the C-drama filming locations. And like most fanatics who became interested on a Korea travel after becoming addicted to K-drama series, I am also interested to explore the C-drama filming locations.


C-Drama filming locations


If you are frequently watching historical or costume series of C-Drama, you will notice the locations are mostly in tranquil villages, beautiful scenery, mountains, lakes and quaint towns that recreate the life of an old world.


Actually, most of it are just shot in China's two biggest film studios - Hengdian and Xiangshan Global studios. However, there are some instances when filming takes place in beautiful villages and mountainside. 

Li Bingbing as Nichang in Forbidden Kingdom shot in Hengdian


There are locations that are not just film studios, there are actually scenery. The production team sometimes will recreate actual atmosphere to suit the story. For example, The Long Ballad production team planted thousands of seeds to recreate a prairie or grassland and erected 2,000 tents to shoot the Ashile tribe scenes.


Most of the locations boast a breathtaking sight of nature, spectacular countryside scene, mountains, lakes and a bed of beautiful garden. 


1. Hengdian World Studios. Located in Hengdian, Dongyang, Zhejiang province. It is operated by Hengdian Group owned by Xu Wenrong and it is the world's largest film studio. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Asia with a recorded visitors of 20 million in 2019.

Aerial view of Hengdian world studios


It recreates Imperial Palace buildings, pavilions. Around 70% of Chinese TV series and films are shoot in Hengdian studio. Even the K-drama, Empress Ki, was shoot there.


It has 21 filming lots spread across 30 square kilometers. The tour here not only for drama memories but also making each one's wildest film fantasies coming true.

The scene takes you back in time, to the ancient world of imperial dynasties of Qing, Sui, Ming, Tang and Qin as the area is filled with glittery palaces designed to recreate the atmosphere of the country's vivid past.


It has also a theme park called Dream Valley where visitors can watch plays, live shows and movies. One of its grandest buildings is the replica of the Imperial Palace building.


Most scenes of The Long Ballad were shot in Hengdian 


Popular films and TV series shot there are:

  • Forbidden Kingdom (a blockbuster Jackie Chan and Jet Li film collaboration released in 2008)
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee film which won Best Foreign Film in the Oscar awards in 2001 starring Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun Fat)
  • Empress Ki (Korean historical drama)
  • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
  • Mulan (2020 Disney live action film starring Liu Yifei)
  • More than 70% historical and costume C-Drama series are shot here. The Long Ballad, The Untamed, Legend of Fuyao, and many more.


Famous replicas in this outdoor film studio:

  • Guangzhou Street and Hong Kong Street 
  • The Palace of Emperor Qin
  • Palace of Ming and Qing Dynasties
  • Qing Ming Shang He Tu
  • The Dream Bund
  • New Yuanmingyuan
  • Dream Valley


Entrance fee: 400 yuan per person. Operating hours: 8:00pm to 5:00pm


What to do at Hengdian World studio:

  • Watch live cultural performances, shows and movies at night time at Dream Valley
  • Experience an ancient costume dress-up just like the characters in historical films and series
  • Stay in film set hotels
  • Tour around the magnificent imperial palaces, princely pavilions and replicas of old oriental streets
  • Dream bund area allows you to experience the old Shanghai

How To Get There:


It takes 4-hour travel via land from Shanghai and Jiangsu. There's no airport in Hengdian town, the nearest area with international airport is Hangzhou which is two and a half hours travel to Hengdian. But there are hotels, restaurant and shopping centers around the town.



2. Xiangshan Global Studios. A film and television studio located in Xinqiao town in the Xiangshan county, Zhejiang province. Measured at 78,000 square meters or 194 acre, it is a popular location of C-Drama historical series and films, however a bit smaller than Hengdian world studios.

Xiangshan Global Studio

Most popular films and series shot here:

  • The Return of the Condor Heroes
  • The Legend of the Condor Heroes
  • Nirvana in Fire
  • Eternal Love: Ten Miles of Peach Blossom
  • The Flame's Daughter
  • The Longest Day in Chang'an
  • Legend of Qin
  • Chinese Paladin 3
  • Sound of the Desert
  • Journey to the West
  • The Warrior's Gate (film)
  • Sacrifice (film)
  • The Four (film)

3. Yunnan mountain and ethnic village - Located in Yunnan province, this place is also famous as film location of historical series. Yunnan is in the Southernmost part of China bordering Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Tibet.

Yunnan village


It is mountainous and mostly covered with beautiful lakes, great for nature excursion and meditation. Best travel time at Yunnan is during Autumn and Spring. Its mountains are covered with cherry blossoms at springtime.

UNESCO World Heritage Site, Honghe Hani Rice Terraces


It is also home to many UNESCO world heritage sites, its most famous is the cultural landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces.


Yunnan mountainside and its ethnic village are famous as film locations of most C-drama historical series.


4. Zhangjiajie National Park - famous as the filming location of James Cameron's Avatar, it is located in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province. The best time to visit this place is during Spring or Autumn when the weather is beautiful. Recommended visit is two days to make the most of your time.


5. Wulong County, Chongqing - This area is most famous as a film location of Transformer: Age of Extinction. It is located in Chongqing  province and can be reached through Chongqing North Railway Station. 

Wulong County, Chongqing


The best travel experience in this area is through Wulong Karst landscape which comprises of natural bridges, fairy mountain and Furong cave.


Its three natural bridges are the largest natural bridge group in Asia. These three natural bridges lie north to south, crossing over the Yangshuihe Gorge and connecting the mountains at the two sides. Wulong mountain is famous as a cinematography landscape of most wuxia and xianxia C-drama series.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

17 Destinations In Asia For The Best Cherry Blossoms Travel

March 31, 2021 0

Cherry blossoms in Japan

Year 2021. It's still the year of COVID-19 and not the year of travel and adventure. It's pretty awful to think but it seems our travel goals need another year of extension. It starts to piss me off but there's nothing the world could do but wait a little longer.


It's approaching April, the peak of springtime, and with it, the charming view of the Cherry blossoms rises to its glory. While we could not still travel out-of-the-country to see Cherry blossoms, now is the perfect time to start planning for a Cherry blossom travel someday.


In Asia, there are three countries known for its Cherry blossoms landscape at springtime: Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. 


The charm of Cherry blossoms


Why people are fascinated with Cherry blossoms? Perhaps due to its awesome hue that epitomizes happiness, romance and timeless beauty.


Visually-enticing, charming to the eyes and senses, and heartwarming, Cherry blossoms are the depiction of fantasy we all dreaming to visit. 


And while fantasy is only in a dream, we can at least make it coming true by viewing Cherry blossoms. Here are Asia's best destinations to witness this myriad beauty of pink, according to world travelers and travel bloggers.


Let's be tickled with pink!


JAPAN


Japan, no doubt, is the world's most popular destination when it comes to Cherry blossoms travel. It is part of the Japanese culture and its significant symbol of the spring season. 

Cherry blossoms season in Japan

Although Sakura trees are grown and cultivated around the world, none matches Japan's pandemonium of blush pink petals.


It's everywhere in the country, framing city canals, blanketing mountains and countryside with the sea of pink - and with it, the scenery of happiness and endless beauty of nature.

View of Mt. Fuji at springtime

Japan is home to the finest Sakura trees in the world where spring time saw the whole country cloak in the charm of pink.


It's difficult to predict the peak of the Cherry blossoms season in Japan, however, most travel guide to Japan suggested March to April as the best time to travel to the land of the rising sun.


Where to experience the best of Cherry blossoms travel in Japan?


1. Kyoto - This ancient capital of Japan tops the list of best places to witness the charm of the Cherry blossoms season. The full blooming season starts in the middle of March and lasts until the mid-April.


In springtime, the imperial city of Kyoto transforms into a pink of paradise. Everywhere is filled with charming sights of the flowering Sakura trees. The grand palaces, ancient temples, ornate shrines. and traditional "machiya" houses clad in Cherry blossoms comes springtime.


Although all over Japan is cloak in pink with the stunning Cherry blossoms, Kyoto offers the most stunning scenery of the blooms. Head to the Kyoto imperial palace, Kyoto botanical park, Maruyama-koen park and Philosopher's path for the most thrilling cherry blossoms adventure.


2. Yoshino - A town in Japan's Kii Mountain, east of Osaka. It is the gateway to Mount Yoshino, known as the mountain covered with thousands of Cherry blossoms trees. It is Japan's most popular Cherry blossoms viewing point.


Cherry blossoms typically start in late March down to early April where the blooms reach its full beauty. Range of elevation varies so the blooming season is scattered by a couple of days between the Shimo (lower), Naka (middle) and Kami (upper).


Yoshimizu shrine, Kinpusenji temple and Nakasenbon park are the best spots in Yoshino to experience the best of the Cherry blossoms season.


3. Osaka - A bustling city of Japan famous for its authentic Japanese cuisine, Osaka is one of the country's best destination for Cherry blossoms experience.


Its famous landmarks - Okawa riverside, Osaka Castle, Kema Sakuranomiya park, Osaka Mint Bureau and Tsurumi Ryokuchi park - are famous backdrops of sakura trees where the surroundings burst into the sea of blush pink.


4. Lake Kawaguchi - It is located in the border of Fujiwaguchiko and Minobu towns in southern Yamanashi Prefecture. This lake shines the best of its charm during Cherry blossoms season.


It is where the view of Mt. Fuji, Japan's highest peak, can be best enjoyed. And its glistening beauty rises in springtime, especially in mid-April.


One of the nicest spots of Cherry blossoms viewing is at the seaside promenade near the Kawaguchi Music Forest. 


However, travelers are being warned that Mt. Fuji is not visible whole day at Lake Kawaguchi as clouds obstruct the view of the mountain, especially during hazy months. The best time to see its charm is in the morning and near afternoon.


5. Yoyogi Park, Tokyo - This 134-acre of massive cherry blossom trees and greenery is one of the most charming spots in Tokyo for a Sakura tree blooms viewing. It is famous for picnic-at-the-park during springtime.


6. Nakameguro, Tokyo - It is considered as the best neighborhood for Cherry blossoms viewing. Each springtime, between the last week of March and early April, its canal-like waterways are teemed with brilliant pink blooms. 


Highlight of the season is Nakameguro Sakura Festival where shops and restaurants sell Cherry blossoms-inspired items along the canal.


7. Shinjuku Gyoen - A huge park and national garden located in Shinjuku and Shibuya in Tokyo. It is home to more than 20,000 trees with approximately 1,500 varieties of Cherry blossoms, thus, the best spot to experience the Cherry blossoms viewing comes spring.


Shinjuku Gyoen is scattered in three different garden style. The French garden, the English garden and the Japanese-style garden. It is the best spot to experience the best of nature in Tokyo.


However, unlike other spots in Japan for a cherry blossoms viewing, Shinjuku Gyoen is not free. It has an admission fee and opens from 9:00 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon.


8. Hiroshima Ueno Park - Located in Shobara city in the Hiroshima Precture, Ueno park is famous cherry blossoms viewing spot. In spring, the Sakura blooms around the pond create a spectacular scenery of beautiful pink blooms.


SOUTH KOREA


Ever since the K-pop world makes a sweeping wave across the Philippines, Filipinos cannot get enough of South Korea. However, this country is more than K-dramas and K-pop idols. 


Apart from Japan, South Korea is a popular Asian destination for Cherry blossoms. And there are many spots in the country where travelers can witness the full blooms of Sakura trees in spring.   

Cherry blossoms season in South Korea

1. Jinhae, South Korea


Jinhae-gu is a district in Changwon city, South Korea surrounded by mountains and pines and famous for its irresistible Cherry blossoms at Yeojwacheon stream and parks. 


It is at Jinhae port where the largest Korean spring festival takes place, the Gunhangje festival where Cherry blossoms are in full display. It is organized in the first week of April and visitors will have the best Cherry blossoms experience in the city of Changwon.


2. Gyeongju, South Korea


Cherry blossoms season in South Korea starts in late March and runs until the third week of April. This period offers the best of Cherry blossoms experience in this amazing country.


To enjoy the full blossoms viewing, travelers are advised to head to Gyeongju, the ancient Silla capital home to many historic sites.


During the Cherry blossoms season, Gyeongju has many festivals attributed to Cherry blossoms including marathon and performances. Gyeongju is accessible from Seoul through KTX train of express. 


3. Seoul, South Korea

The capital of South Korea is itself a myriad of beautiful things to see for travelers. It has century-old palaces, sublime gardens and skyscraping buildings. However, it's in its bustling streets that travelers see the eclectic beauty of Seoul.


In April, Seoul, celebrates the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival. Visitors can witness a myriad of Cherry blossoms beauty along the Hangang River. It's said to be filled with other eye-catching blooms such as forsythias, deutzia and azaleas.


Seoul Cherry blossoms viewing include fringe activities like street performances and fireworks. So if you want to visit Seoul in its finest beauty, consider visiting during springtime.


The beautiful spots in the city to see Cherry blossoms:

  • Gyeongbokgung Palace
  • National Palace Museum
  • National Folk Museum of Korea
  • Changyeongqung
  • Seokchon Lake
  • Insa-dong where cherry blossoms and traditional Korean houses give an aesthetic pleasure


4. Jeju island - known as the "Hawaii of Korea", the island lies in Korea strait. It's where the spring season comes first, thus, Cherry blossoms can be first experienced at Jeju island. During this season, Jeju island is teemed with Canola flowers and the magnificent Cherry blossoms.


Seongsan Ilchulbong Sunrise Peak, a UNESCO world heritage site, Hallim park, and Mount Sanbangsan, are the best spots to experience Cherry blossoms in Jeju island. Peak of Cherry blossoms season in Jeju island is between mid-March and early April. 


5. Busan - A cultural hub of South Korea and its second most populous city. Its beaming skyscraping buildings roll spaces between green mountains and beaches, while beautiful bridges span across the sea.


Busan is not only a beautiful place to explore the culture and modern life of South Korea, it is also a great spot to view Cherry blossoms.


Gamcheon cultural vilage, made up of colorful houses built on the foothills of a coastal mountain, made Busan a beautiful Cherry blossoms destination as this vibrant town transform into a village of timeless beauty with Sakura trees.


TAIWAN


While Japan and South Korea are the most popular destinations in Asia for Cherry blossoms at springtime, Taiwan is not far behind.

Cherry blossoms in Wuling Farm, Taiwan

However, unlike Japan and South Korea, Taiwan has no specific forecast of the peak of the Cherry blossoms season.


Blossoming of its Sakura trees vary each year but generally, the best time to see Cherry blossoms in Taiwan is around January to early part of April.


Spots to make the most of Cherry blossoms experience in Taiwan


1. Alishan Forest Recreation - a mountaintop recreational area surrounded with lush forest and rolling tea farms. Famous for its spectacular sunrise and hiking trails, it is also a popular destination for Cherry blossoms travelers. It has a festival called Alishan Cherry Blossoms festival that runs between midway March and early April.


2. Qingjing Farm - Located in Nantou county, in a quaint Taiwanese town of Qingjing, the farm is famous for its picture-perfect view of Cherry blossoms.


There are beautiful scenic spots in Qingjing farm to view Cherry blossoms, at the Sakura trail and Guanshan trail. Best time to go: Middle of January to the middle of March.


3. Wuling Farm - Located in the Heping district of Taichung, Taiwan, Wuling Farm yearly organized a Wuling Farm Cherry blossoms festival between February and March. What makes this location uniquely different from other spots in Taiwan is that, it is home also to a sweeping 30,000 Cherry trees. So there's a lot more to see at this farm than just Cherry blossoms.


4. Wuji Tianyuan Temple - A stunning Taoist temple located at the foothills of Datun mountain in Danshui, just 30 minutes from Taipei city, so it's a bit accessible to travelers. 


It's one of Taiwan's best spots for Cherry blossoms viewing. What made it a beautiful travel destination at springtime is its breathtaking scenery. Cherry blossoms adorned the ornate 5-tiered pagoda and dozens of romantic lanes lined up with Yoshino cherry trees.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Travel Bucket list: 16 Most Beautiful Places To See Before You Die

April 30, 2020 0

Bled, Slovenia
Year 2020, no doubt, is the “annus horribilis” of the world in recent memory. Who would have thought that this year would be a dreadful period to everyone?
We started the year very hopeful, but as days progressed, we were plunged into fear and panic until we soaked deeper into the crisis. The rapid spread of COVID-19 at an alarming rate crippled the socio-economic activities and we were compelled to stay at home.
For how long this setup will last, we do not know exactly. The wrath of pandemic still waging outside. It opened our eyes to many realizations that life is too short. We never know when death knocks us.
The pandemic made our life this year turned upside down. Everything has stopped including our mobility.
For travelers, the most common thing to ponder now is, will there be another chance to see the other side of the globe again? When can we travel again? We can only hope for the best.
However, this makes us also realize that life must be well-lived and should not be wasted on a sedentary existence.
We need to go out and explore the world, see the other side of the earth and marvel at its wonderful treasures. We may never get that chance again.
When countries relax its regulations in traveling, and when every nation flatten its curve on the spread of the disease, it’s good to do some travel planning again.
Here’s one for your travel bucket list.
St. Helena Island
The best-kept secret of the South Atlantic Ocean. Shrouded by thick fog and imposing mountains, protected by rough seas and dangerous harbors and hugged by crags and rugged volcanic terrain.
St. Helena is truly an adventurer's dream!
St. Helena Island
When you trace this island in the map, it looked like a floating green object in the vast ocean without anything in sight but deep blue waters and steep mountain.

Yet, this dot in the Atlantic is inhabited by more than 2,000 settlers, all British citizen.
It is most famous in history as the final destination of Napoleon Bonaparte. And for many centuries, had intrigued tourists due to its very isolated location in the Earth.
It remains mysterious to enthusiastic travelers because visiting there is extremely challenging.

Until recently, only dedicated hikers and old people ever came to visit the island, because the stay could take up to two to three weeks due to unpredictable weather that makes the sea voyage unsafe.
St. Helena, one of the remotest islands in the world
St. Helena has winding country roads rising past to misty green fields, very rural, the area has a very laid-back atmosphere.

A perfect place for hikers and people who love the comfort of walking down the winding path.
But what sets apart St. Helena from other islands in the world is the thrill of adventure it offers to visitors, a quiet life above the breathtaking ocean and a unique bragging right. At the end of the day, it's an island in the middle of nowhere that's so hard to explore.
Home to one of the most dangerous airports in the universe
So you have a bragging right to be the very first in your country to ever set a foot in a secretive island in the South Atlantic.

It has a unique diversity of heritage-based attractions and offers many things to see and do, from its rugged coastline, rolling hills down to its breathtaking view of the vast Atlantic Ocean, an off-the-beaten path adventure awaits every visitor of St. Helena.
Life there, according to the travel documentary I watched, is so immersed in total calmness. A place where life stands still and atmosphere is timeless.

What could be quieter and breathtaking than live in a place squeezed between two mountains and hoisted on the blue ocean?
Hallstatt, Austria
One of the most spectacular villages in Europe where calmness is guaranteed. It is a small charming lakeside village clips to rocky mountains overlooking the Austrian Alps.
Hallstatt, Austria
A charming village that clings to a narrow strip of land between the placid water of Hallstatter See Lake and the imposing Dachstein Mountains, it is cited as a UNESCO-World Heritage Site due to its cultural importance.
Nestled between Hallstatter See and the Dachstein mountains, Hallstatt is Austria’s oldest and perhaps its most photographed village.

This lovely Austrian old town features historical churches, a subterranean salt lake, a museum, and fairytale-like backdrop.
The view is perfect for all seasons. At winter, the atmosphere rings a subdued mood where mountains capped by thick snow, at summer it turns into a photographic scenery with glistening sun spreadinh delight from the summit.

Autumn turns the lakeside into a poetic wonder of nature with brilliant foliage hugging the whole village.
Tuscany, Italy – Despite Italy’s horrific case of Covid19, where the region of Lombardy in the northern part became the epicenter of the virus in Europe, Tuscany in the Central portion of the country remains the loveliest and the safest place to relax.
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Chianti, Tuscany
It’s the cradle of renaissance art and architecture in Europe and houses some of the finest art collections in the world.
Its capital, Florence, is known for stunning art collections, sculptures and classical buildings. And Tuscany's medieval villages are known for tasty and authentic Italian dishes.
Wine region in Tuscany
It has the most beautiful villages in the world. Siena, Pisa, Cortona, Chianti, are medieval towns known for sumptuous authentic Italian dishes, relaxing scenery of nature, beautiful landscape, wineries and tranquil countryside.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia – An irresistible small island in the Pacific northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia. It is one of the fewest nations in the world that has no cases of COVID-19 yet as of April 8.
Bora Bora Island
It is surrounded with beautiful islets and emerald lagoon and known for its irresistible beaches, powdery and sun-kissed sand, clear blue waters, verdant trees, and a tranquil view of the ocean.
Bora Bora is popular for its bungalow villas perched above the water and offers a luxury accommodation, making it one of the most popular honeymoon destinations of the rich and the glamorous.
Princess Victoria of Sweden and her husband, Daniel Westling, and Hollywood couple, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, are just some of the world-famous couples who honeymooned in Bora Bora.
Rising from the heart of the South Pacific, this island is an extinct volcano popped up from the Ocean million years ago.

Now, it sits beautifully in the lagoon that shines in varying shades of azure and emerald while the shadow of Mount Otemanu rising in the background
Bibury, Cotswold, England
Once described by craftsman, William Morris, as “the most beautiful village in England”, Bibury is beautiful, quiet district we all love to be at home in time like this. It depicts a scene in a 17th century fiction of a sleepy village where serenity is everlasting.
Bibury village
It frames a typical Cotswold village: modest stone cottages, narrow strip, beautiful gardens filled with blooms and green foliage, sleepy town and postcard scenery.
It is home to Arlington Row, a strip that features Cotswold Stone cottages, originally built in the 14th century as a monastic wool store. It is now a row of weaver's cottages and a photographer's favorite subject.
It is one of the most iconic and photographed sites in the world and often featured in the Royal Mail in its annual Christmas postage stamps.
Known for its honey-colored 17th century stone cottages with steep pitched roofs, Bibury is a depiction of calmness and tranquility.

Fox News called it one of the world’s most picturesque villages. Indeed! It's a quaint English town where charm has not waned even in the age of modernity.
With its classic home design, relaxing gardens, quiet streets, Bibury is a perfect place to be home quarantined without succumbing into boredom and annoyance. Its quiet atmosphere and poetic environment will make self-isolating a well-deserved escape.
Bibury is a village in Gloucestershire, England, where the country home of Prince Charles, Highgrove Estate, is also located.

It is on the River Coln where stone villages strung along its bank. It is just a short drive from Cirencester, the town center in Cotswolds.
Bled, Slovenia – Bled is Slovenia’s medieval town sets on the Julian Alps foothills. The scenic glacial lake of Bled flows through its town where the 11th century Bled Castle with its iconic church perched atop the tiny rock island in the middle of the lake.
Bled, Slovenia
An 11th century castle is located on a steep cliff rising 130 meters overlooking the lake and autumn according to most travelers is the most beautiful season to visit Bled.
In the middle of the lake is a quaint island with a beautiful pilgrimage church called Assumption Maria, it’s one of the most spectacular sites to see where Bled becomes popular.
North Island, Seychelles – The world’s most exclusive hideaway. This island in the Indian Ocean has only few hand-crafted villas gazing into the powdery sand, milky white beach and emerald waters.
Villas creep through a beautiful private garden. Privacy is assured in this island which can only be accessed through a chartered plane. No wonder this was the choice of Prince William and Kate Middleton when they honeymooned in 2011.
Seychelles is a small country floating in the Indian Ocean endowed with rich natural resources and beautiful beaches with exquisite view of soft white sand lapped by azure and emerald waters backed by forest-dense hills.
Santorini, Greece – One of the most beautiful Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. Its cobalt blue water washed off the powdery sand where view beckons a mystical landscape. Its villages are known for its blue domed and white structures creeping through the seaside and clinging to cliffs above the sea.
Santorini, Greece
According to legend, Santorini is the lost Atlantis, which according to legend, a continent during ancient time that sunk to the bottom of the Mediterranean. Well, it remains to be a legend, but its mystical environment continues to fascinate travelers.
Edinburgh, Scotland – Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, a constituent country in the United Kingdom, and part of Great Britain together with England and Wales. The city has a fascinating beauty due to its beautiful medieval buildings and ancient castles.
Edinburgh, Scotland
The medieval Old Town merges with the modern and classical architecture and its mystic draped with elegant Georgian New Town, gardens, old universities, churches and neoclassical buildings.
At the horizon looms Edinburgh Castle which houses the Crown Jewels of former Scottish rulers. Opposite is the Palace of Holyrood, former home of Scottish monarchs and currently the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II when she is in Scotland.
Windsor Castle, England – Located in Berkshire, England, Windsor Castle is a historical royal residence of British royal family since the Norman conquest in the 11th century.
It’s a massive royal complex above the Thames river and surrounded with lush greenery, gardens and tranquil atmosphere. Diarist Samuel Pepys called it the most romantic castle in the world.
Many English and British monarchs considered it a country home when duties overwhelmed them at Buckingham Palace.
King George III spent his remaining years isolating in Windsor Castle when his mental illness made him unable to fulfill his role as monarch.
Queen Victoria considered it her permanent home when her husband, Prince Albert, died from pneumonia. The current British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, is very vocal about her love for Windsor Castle, it is her favorite weekend residence.
The most beautiful area in the castle is the Long Walk, the stunning three-mile long avenue has long line of trees, scenic pathways, parklands and manicured lawn. It is a view that perfectly captures the mystic of Windsor Castle.
Lucerne, Switzerland – Touted as Switzerland’s most beautiful city, it sets on the dragon mountain and captures the bewildering beauty of Switzerland. It has fascinating landscape and beautiful scenery.
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Lucerne, Switzerland

Its most famous landmark, Lake Lucerne, flows through the Old Town and medieval buildings and epitomizes the city’s scenic charm. Lucerne has a swirl of natural wonder and visitors are treated to an endless view of nature.
Lucerne offers the best Alpine adventure, picturesque leisure trip and awesome dining experience. It’s in the central part of Switzerland and predominantly German.

Its strategic location at the foot of the Swiss Alps allows visitors to marvel at the breathtaking view of nature and steep mountains.
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The Chapel bridge
The Chapel Bridge, a 14th century wooden bridge that cuts through a flower-lined path, is the most recognizable landmark in the city.
Across the lake is a line of classical buildings, old churches, cafes, museums and monuments, one of which is Lion Monument, an iconic memorial for a Swiss guard who died fighting for King Louis XVI during the French revolution.
Tulip Fields, Netherlands – One of the most iconic vistas that the Kingdom of the Netherlands is very famous of. The sweeping fields of Tulips provide a breathtaking backdrop of colors to a country that’s already known with a unique charm.
At springtime, the brilliant colors of Tulips turned The Netherlands into an endless beauty of magic and thrill.
The municipality of Lisse is the most recommended place to go where the best of Tulip musing can be experienced.
Its most popular attraction, the Keukenhof Gardens, is where the valley of perfect blooms lies. Best time to visit this place is between March and May where Tulips, Daffodils and Hyacinths spread its magic.
Most Tulip fiends in The Netherlands offer a tour package and a Dutch lunch in the middle of the incredible field. Pretty magical isn’t it?
Kyoto, Japan – Once the capital city of Japan, this beautiful historic city in the island of Honshu is famous for its spectacular gardens, classical palaces and temples, relaxing scenery and authentic Japanese dishes.
Its Gion district is where one can immerse into the traditional Kyoto experience, it is also known for as a Geisha district.
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scenery in Kyoto
Kyoto is also a place where travelers can taste some of the best and exquisite Japanese cuisine and tea. And it is home to some of the country's oldest temples and beautiful countryside.
Kyoto’s Sagano Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama district is one of the world’s prettiest groves. And it is located just outside Tokyo.
Towering green stalks gazing down on endless pathways with swaying greens are just some of the world's most fascinating scenery nature.
Palace of Versailles, France – One of the most splendid royal residences in Europe in the 18th century, the Palace of Versailles is located 20 kilometers outside Paris.
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Palace of Versailles in France

It was once home to the Bourbon Kings which ended in the reign of King Louis XVI when the French Revolution was erupted.
It is now a historical monument and entered as UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the epitome of architectural grandeur, opulence and stately elegance where France is known for.
It signifies the country’s status symbol of power, wealth and magnificence as well as the dramatic rise and fall of the monarchy.
Its landscape is spruced up with magnificent flower beds, manicured lawn, beautiful gardens, water fountains. It was constructed during the reign of King Louis XIV but had a grand refurbishment during the reign of King Louis XVI.
His wife, Queen Marie Antoinette, instigated the construction of Petit Trianon with complex structures and a working farm, a peaceful and quiet section in the palace where she could be herself when stately activities overwhelmed her.  
Angkor Complex, Cambodia – Entered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 to preserve its cultural importance, Angkor Archaelogical Park is located Siem Reap, Cambodia and one of the world’s most iconic cultural landmarks.
Angkor thom in Cambodia
Its complex is massive, occupying the 400 hectares of land in the jungle of Siem Reap province and covered by thick vegetation.
It was once a royal court of the Khmer kings. And the construction of the complex was instigated by different kings of the Khmer dynasty.
The carvings, design and style of the buildings were a finest example of Khmer architecture, one of the greatest achievements of humans in early centuries.
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Angkor Wat at Sunrise
At the ground of Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat, the largest religious complex in the world, was constructed as a personal homage of King Suryavarman II to the Hindu god, Vishnu.
Bayon temple has many carvings, most were enigmatic faces, that depicted different Hindu deities. However, in the 15th century, the Khmer kings converted to Buddhism so the complex became Buddhist temples until now.
For years since the Khmer empire was dissolved in the 17th century, Angkor temples remained hidden from the world.
It was discovered after the civil war in Cambodia. Now, it is Southeast Asia’s most important cultural landmark swarmed by tourists whole year round.
The complex has many temples, each has its own personality that fascinates tourists. Angkor Wat, is famous for its spectacular view at sunrise, has a massive ground and a lake that runs through the compound. It is one of the highly visited sites in the complex.
Bayon temple in Angkor Thom, 10 minutes from Angkor Wat, is home to gigantic carvings of faces of Hindu deities.
It was once the seat of court of the Khmer kings. Ta Phrom in the deepest part of the jungle is known for its ancient trees.
Ha long bay, Vietnam – Dangling in the Gulf of Tonkin in Quang Ninh province Northern Vietnam, the legendary Ha long bay (which has a literal meaning of descending dragon) is the country’s greatest natural wonder.
Popularly known for its spectacular view of sparkling emerald waters, towering limestone and forest-soak crags, it captivates the minds of scientists, artists and marine biologists.
The picturesque emerald seascape hides a unique allure of adventure and view at the same time species of nature that mesmerize researchers. 
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                Ha long bay, Vietnam
 
The bay cradles over 1,600 green islands and islets, mostly uninhabited so pretty much undisturbed which add to his majestic appeal.
Like Angkor Wat, it was included in the 100 list of Best Places To Visit on Earth by a London-based travel magazine.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and known as the Land of the Descending Dragon due to the formation of islets and limestone rocks in the bay.
Among the places I have listed, only Angkor in Cambodia so far I have visited. Way to go!

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