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Entries in asia (6)


Valentine’s Day in Asia – is it a big deal?

Valentine’s Day in western countries is celebrated by everyone from young school children to senior couples who have been married for decades. It’s usually a pretty standard affair – a card, a romantic dinner, chocolates, a gift, and – for the truly dedicated – engagements or weddings.

But in Asia – where western traditions often have to be modified to fit around long-established cultural norms – Valentine’s Day takes on interesting new dimensions.

For instance, in China, there are several important rules one must observe if they want to impress someone. Do not, under any circumstances, give an umbrella or a fan. This is because the Chinese word for both sounds similar to the Chinese word for “to leave” or “to separate,” which is definitely not what Valentine’s Day is about. Similarly, avoid shoe shopping, since shoes represent someone who is ready to walk away.

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Fortune Telling in Asia

Throughout Asia, fortune telling – or more properly, divination – is still widely practiced. Tarot cards, palm readers, and numerologists can be seen everywhere from rickety street corner card tables to public parks in the shade of a tree to large stalls in upscale hotel lobbies. Indeed, some of the best known diviners work out of temples, and some have lineups, with customers waiting hours and traveling great distances to see them.

For westerners, divination is something that has been somewhat watered down by popular culture over the past 100 years or so, and it’s generally taken less seriously – a fun thing you do with friends or at a carnival, although there are certainly those who place great importance on a good reading.

But for people from Japan to China to Thailand to India, divination is very much a part of daily life, and is often taken into consideration when making important decisions. Let’s have a quick look into some of the more popular methods that you might come across when traveling.

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Asia: Insider Guide To Five Asian Safaris

The human race stands at the brink of an epic statistical milestone. The UN has set October 31 of this year as the date the human population is expected to surpass seven billion people. As our numbers swell, the wild animals that we treat like awkward guests have ever less legroom.

Take a look at some Asian survival outposts – conservation zones where animals take precedence over people.  The line-up runs the gamut from mouse hares to mighty Komodo dragons.

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Asia Street-Smart Travel Tips 

Let’s start this post with a sweeping statement. Broadly speaking, violent crime in Asia is rare. But low-level opportunism does pose a risk, as it does to gullible or unprepared travelers anywhere. The Asia region also has its share of environmental gremlins and tricky cultural hurdles. With this in mind, save yourself a ton of hassle and find out how to avoid and/or overcome these travel challenges.

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Wildwater Asia: Asia’s Top Rafting Hotspots

Whitewater rafting is a scream. The exhilarating semi-sport with a party tilt freshens you up and kills calories as you fight to stay afloat while rocketing over bounding rapids and hurtling waterfalls.

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Where's the best place to surf in Asia?

Serious surfers may not think of Southeast Asia as the surfing destination of choice because of the general lack of decent-sized waves along the coastlines. Indonesia, though, is one exception. Unlike other beach destinations in SE Asia that have somewhat unreliable wave formations, this country of many islands boasts over a hundred plus excellent breaks, and is ranked in the top ten of the best surf sites in the world.

Professional and elite surfers flock to this popular destination, especially to the holiday islands of Kuta, Bali and the Mentawai Islands, to experience some of the best waves around. These areas, especially Bali, often see consistent waves up to four meters high from April to November.

For the more advanced, G-land (Grajagan) in East Java is an internationally-famed surf spot and an excellent stomping ground for those wanting to ride the world’s longest and fastest reef-breaks. Wave-hunters seeking awesome left-waves (waves breaking from right to left) will not be disappointed here.  Padang is another recommended site, with waves coming in from almost every direction, making it an attractive venue to find breaks with offshore conditions. The best time to visit is from March to October, while those looking for the biggest swells should head out there from June to September.

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