All posts tagged: offbeat

Innsbruck: Capital of The Alps.

Innsbruck, one of Austria‘s oldest cities, is probably every woman’s dream of old age; the only thing that gives away its 900 years is its charm. Right out of the train station, I’m awed by the towering presence of the Alps. People are going about their daily affairs – eating, strolling, chatting, catching a bus, cycling – as though the Alps are invisible, as though they’ve discovered how to look away from the gripping beauty of their snow covered peaks, as though there’s nothing extraordinary about living in a city surrounded by one of the most endearing mountain ranges in the world.

Gargano, Lake Garda, Italy, offbeat

Gargnano; Life or Something Like it in Italy.

“Experiencing a country through its cities is like judging a book by its cover.” ~yours truly. Welcome to Gargnano. An unassuming little village on the northern shores of Lake Garda in Italy, away from the touristy towns of Desenzano and Sirmione. Here everyone knows everyone else. Two days is how long it takes for the locals to know me, despite my broken language.

nikoi island, bintan, indonesia, southeast asia, offbeat, ecotourism, jetty

Nikoi Island: Ecotourism, Beauty, Magic.

I’ve often wondered how explorers must have felt chancing upon seemingly magical islands in their travels. Nikoi Island, off Bintan in Indonesia, is perhaps the closest I’ve come to experiencing that kind of travel ecstasy in Southeast Asia. The journey to the island is a perfect prelude to the island experience. After the regular ferry ride to Bintan from Singapore, you are fast-forwarded through a special immigration to a one hour drive through the winding road and greens of Tanjung Pinang, to Nikoi’s personal jetty, to a one-hour speed boat ride on rough and breezy seas. If I understate it, arriving at Nikoi Island feels like you’ve entered a whole other world. Think beauty. Think isolation. Think perfection. Nature is the recurrent theme on the island. The chalets are purely made of wood, with not an inch of concrete, and some original tree-barks used as pillars & foundation. The openness of the rooms to nature is immediately striking, and in some way, leads to an openness of thoughts too.  You can let your doors remain open at night, …

Crater lake, taal lake, taal volcano

5 Offbeat Travel Destinations in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is so much more than an oasis of Chinese culture. Its unique  landscapes and hidden islands are waiting to be discovered by mainstream tourism, and until that happens, it will be sure to please any travel-lusting wanderer. The isolation of  its beauty is perhaps what sets it apart from every place else in the world. I originally wrote about these 5 undiscovered places in Southeast Asia as a guest post for GotSaga. 5. Perhentian Islands, Malaysia There is nothing like a rejuvenating getaway amid turquoise waters and white sands. Add to that snorkeling in an underwater world of sharks, smoking shisha on the beach under the stars, riding a speedboat on low tide under the moonlight, and an upbeat atmosphere created by half a dozen small cafes serving up the most delicious milkshakes. Flickr image by papaija2008 4. Taal Volcano, Philippines Welcome to a volcano within a lake within a volcano within another lake! Hidden somewhere among the clouds, Taal Volcano is the world’s smallest active volcano, located on the island of Luzon in …

Tempat Senang: Rejuvenation.

If you’ve had a long work week and need to be pampered, look no further than a ferry ride from Singapore into Indonesia. Tempat Senang, at Sekupang, off the island of Batam, is the answer to all your stress and anxieties. I discovered this hidden little gem over New Year, and couldn’t have asked for a more relaxing way to end 2010. the country-themed rooms. What first fascinated me while doing my research was that Tempat Senang is not just any other resort with any other rooms. Each room has a country theme, complete with the design, decoration and USP (if I may). With only about 9 suites, you can feel the personalization in each. The Sultan Room We stayed in this Middle Eastern room. With a jacuzzi in the living area and middle-eastern decor. The Tree Room I managed to get a sneak-peek at the other rooms, and this one’s my favorite. For next time. There’s a hanging bed in the room! And a tree house feel all around, right down to the furniture. …

Maxwell Hill: Malaysia’s Oldest Charm

One minute, the clouds are descending upon you, transporting you to the heavens. The next minute, you’re running for shelter and watching the rain, intimidated by its intensity and the gusty wind. Just then, the rain and the mist both go into hiding, revealing an untouched blue sky. Most people think Cameron Highlands or Genting Highlands when choosing a hill station getaway in Malaysia. Their lesser known cousin, Maxwell Hill aka Bukit Larut, therefore still retains its quaint English ambiance and a mystic poetic isolation. A mere 4-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur takes you to the base of the hill. To get to the peak or midway up, you need to rent a 4-wheel drive or trek for 4-5 hours. Neither option is for the faint-hearted; the road is as steep as it is winding, and the jeeps appear to be from the era of the British rule in the region! In our impromptu trip, the tickets for the 4-wheel drive were sold out early on a Sunday, resulting in a great deal of negotiation and …

pangkor laut, singapore, malaysia, weekend getaway, offbeat, spa

5 Weekend Getaways From Singapore to Pamper You.

Close to each weekend, I desperately resort to Google to find offbeat ideas for weekend getaways from Singapore. In the midst of my travel research, I came across these 5 weekend getaways in Malaysia and Indonesia that will pamper your senses and indulge you. So ditch your weekend travel to Kuala Lumpur, and rejuvenate in lesser know Southeast Asian hideouts! 1) Tempat Senang, Indonesia An hour’s ferry-ride away from Singapore, in the neighborhood of Batam Island (Indonesia), lies this exotic little gem. It’s a boutique resort, with under 10 suites, each designed, decorated and modeled after an Asian country. Besides the likes of Bali room, Indian room and Japanese room, there’s a Tree Room with a bed suspended in mid air. It’s also home to a traditional Balinese spa with a wide range of rejuvenating massages, and a pampering staff. Also read: Tempat Senang: Rejuvenation 2) Nikoi Island, Indonesia Close your eyes and imagine you are sprawling on a beach chair on white sands, in the company of crystal blue waters, sipping a drink. Just across the …