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Rediscovered – Seven City Wonders of Asia Pacific

MD Staff

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The city is underrated.

While there is much to love about an outdoor adventure, some people may not recognize how exciting a city getaway can truly be. Not only do you get to bask in the electrifying atmosphere of a new environment, but cities also house innumerable delights to rival Mother Nature – from architectural gems to traditional and cultural experiences, there is so much to discover! These are the seven city wonders of Asia Pacific; much has been said about these urban hotspots, but not many have truly experienced their charm. Here’s how to appreciate them in their fullest glory.

The Bund, Shanghai
Travelers seeking a balance between the traditional and contemporary will find all they’re looking for at The Bund. Known as the “Museum of Buildings,” the Bund is iconic for its preservation of colonial buildings from the 1800s, in one of the world’s most metropolitan cities. One of the best places to capture panoramic views of the scenic area is the promenade – with an eco-friendly mobile charging station at the photography point, you won’t even worry about your phone running out of battery. You’ll be snapping all day!

Where to stay: Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund
What better way to experience this urban wonder than by indulging in a luxury stay on the Bund itself? Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund is a prime location for guests to enjoy convenient access to top attractions, as well as to catch a spectacular view of the Pudong skyline.

Temple Street Night Market, Hong Kong
Head to one of Hong Kong’s most vibrant meeting points, Temple Street Night Market. An agglomeration of all things old and gold, you’ll find yourself surrounded by wares such as jade ornaments, tea paraphernalia and antique trinkets. Don’t miss the chance to seek authentic cultural experiences by enjoying a Cantonese opera performance or having your palm read by a fortune teller. Pro-tip: always haggle! Locals themselves tend to offer 30 to 40 percent of the original price, so that’s a good place to start.

Where to stay:  Hilton Garden Inn Hong Kong Mongkok
Located minutes away from Mong Kok MTR station, Hilton Garden Inn provides the perfect respite after a day’s adventure.

Sydney Opera House, Sydney
One cannot possibly visit Sydney without stopping by the Sydney Opera House, an architectural marvel. Did you know that there are 1.5 million tiles across the sails on the roof? Every five years, a team of six abseilers conduct a “tap test,” where they manually tap each tile to check if it is still secure. The whole process takes them six weeks! The next time you head to this UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll certainly have new-found appreciation for this modern beauty.

Where to stay: Hilton Sydney
Situated in the downtown area of Sydney, Hilton Sydney is on the doorstep to all of the city’s favourite attractions such as the Sydney Opera House, Darling Harbour and Bondi Beach.

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok
With more than 15,000 stalls, the Chatuchak Weekend Market is one of the world’s largest. If you are running short of time and cannot explore the entirety of this eclectic matrix, head directly to Zone #2. This area is a hipster paradise, which houses the trendiest fashion and handicrafts. Prices may be a bit more expensive, but the items are more unique and better quality. Don’t shop until you drop – keep hydrated. Coconut ice cream helps!

Where to stay: Hilton Sukhumvit
Surrounded by Bangkok’s business, shopping and entertainment facilities, Hilton Sukhumvit is located a mere 5-minute walk away from Phrom Phong BTS station.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Gardens by the Bay, Singapore’s pride and joy, is a futuristic park home to more than 160 species of trees and plants. Set in the middle of the city, it transports visitors into a garden paradise like no other. Walk among giants at the SuperTree Grove, which is not only an aesthetic icon but also functional – some SuperTrees serve as solar cells, while others are air exhaust receptacles! Also, be sure to check out the seasonal exhibits at the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome, two cooled conservatories that showcase flowers from all over the world.

Where to stay: Hilton Singapore
Hilton Singapore is only a stone’s throw away from Singapore’s iconic shopping district, where guests have easy access to a myriad of shopping and dining options.

National Museum of Natural History, Manila
Manila recently introduced a latest addition to its list of urban attractions – the National Museum of Natural History. Housed in a magnificent, neo-classical building, this six-story museum houses an array of fine art and works of cultural and national heritage, alongside life science exhibits that celebrate the country’s diverse flora and fauna. Take a ride in the DNA Tree of Life, a double-helix structure that rises into a canopy for the courtyard and doubles as an elevator! There aren’t any written handouts or location maps to refer to, so keep your smartphone handy to do some in-the-moment research.

Where to stay: Hilton Manila
Nestled in Manila’s biggest integrated resort, Hilton Manila offers guests with all-day entertainment; complete with a resort-style outdoor pool, fitness centre and various dining options.

Toyosu Fish Market
Move aside, Tsukiji, the Toyosu Fish Market is in town. Twice the size of its predecessor, the Toyusu Fish Market has expanded to include markets for seafood, fruits and vegetables. As part of this expansion, there are also dedicated observation decks to view the bustling live tuna auction! The lower observation deck is so coveted that you have to apply for a spot one month in advance, so be sure not to miss the deadline.

Where to stay: Hilton Tokyo
On top of being in the heart of Tokyo’s shopping and entertainment district, Hilton Tokyo is also ideal for guests to experience modern Japan – with attractions like Harajuku, Ginza, Akihabara and the Tokyo Skytree just around the bend.

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Travel & Leisure

The Most Intriguing Historic Figures of the Czech Republic

MD Staff

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Discover the unique personalities and inventions that originated in Prague and the Czech Republic. How many of the following do you know?

Artists and the Czech Republic

Franz Kafka, one of the major figures of 20th-century literature, is buried around the corner from the Four Seasons Hotel Prague in the New Jewish Cemetery. 

The famous 18th-century seducer Giacomo Casanova spent the last 13 years of his life at Duchcov Castle in Bohemia, where he wrote his memoirs.

Many of history’s most renowned artists, composers, scientists and thinkers frequented the renowned spas of Karlovy Vary, and Marianske Lazne, including Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Gogol, Goethe, Freud, Edison, Schopenhauer and Marx, to name but a few.

One of Mozart’s best-known operas, Don Giovanni, premiered at Prague’s Estates Theatre in 1787 and is to this day still performed there.

American astronaut Neil Armstrong listened to Antonin Dvorak’s New World Symphony as he walked on the Moon’s surface in 1969. The Largo movement of the symphony is in a box, still spinning through outer space.

Scientists and the Czech Republic

Albert Einstein spent over a year in Prague as a professor at the Institute of Theoretical Physics.

The first person to categorise blood into four types (A, B, AB, O) was the Czech neurologist Jan Jansky. In his honour, the Jansky Plaque is awarded to volunteer blood donors in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

It was a Czech scientist, Otto Wichterle, who invented modern contact lenses and founded macromolecular chemistry.

The founder of genetics, Johan Gregor Mendel, was born in Hynčice and spent most of his life in Brno.

The Czech pedagogue and philosopher Jan Ámos Komenský (Comenius) who wrote an encyclopaedia for children, Orbis Pictus (World in Pictures) is considered the father of modern education.

Czech Natives and Inventions with a Global Footprint

Figures such as Oskar Schindler (whose life is portrayed in the book and film “Schindler’s List”), the philosopher Edmund Husserl, psychiatrist Sigmung Freud, the composer Gustav Mahler and the writer Rainer Maria Rilke were all born in what is now the Czech Republic.

Madeleine Albright, the first female US Secretary of State, was born in Prague.

Today’s Czech Republic was also the home of businessman of Tomáš Baťa, the global footwear manufacturer and retailer from Zlín. He was also the first to introduce the clever pricing format “.99” (as in €99.99).

The bottom-fermentation method used in beer production was invented by the brewers of Plzeň (Pilsen) in 1842, and is now applied and enjoyed across the world.

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Travel & Leisure

Pakistan: Next Destination for Nature-Lovers

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Pakistan is country blessed with natural beauty. Diverse topography, climate, people, makes it unique country, worth visiting. Northern part of Pakistan is high altitude are, with K-2 the second highest peak after Mount Everest, may attracts mountaineers, expeditors and those who really believes in adventures. Pakistan possess: World’s largest collection of High Mountain peaks. Around 200 peaks are above 6000 meters high, World’s largest collection of Glaciers (outside Arctic and Antarctic Regions), World’s largest Canal irrigation network, World’s highest Paved Road “Karakorum Highway” (KKH) almost above 4000m from sea-level, part of ancient Silk Route, World’s highest Railroad bridge at Kan Mehtarzai, in Baluchistan province, World’s highest Mud Volcano at Hingol in Baluchistan, World’s most extreme temperatures+50 C in Sibi to -50C in GB.

“The roof of the world” -Deosai National Park is located between Kharmang, Astore and Skardu in Gilgit Baltistan. It has an average elevation of 4,114 meters(13,497 ft) above sea level, making the Deosai Plains second highest plateau in the world. The park protects an area of 3,000 square kilometers (1,200 sq mi). It is well known for its rich flora and fauna of the Karakoram-West Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe eco region. In spring, it is covered by sweeps of wildflowers and a wide variety of butterflies. Deosai is second highest plateau after Changtang Tibetan Plateau. World Famous Poet said:

“I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze”.

– William Wordsworth

Southern part of Pakistan is costal area along the Arabian-Sea, with white sandy beaches and deserts. Tourist from cold areas can enjoy summer during their winter season. Even, during December and January, one can swing in open sea. Warm winter is attraction for those who are fed-up of severe cold in their home towns.

Central part of Pakistan is moderate area, where mostly is plan land and agriculture is the strength of central part, which is also major economic strength of the country.

Pakistan is an old civilization, belongs to several thousand years of rich history, Ghandhara civilization is one of the biggest attraction for those who love archeology and oil civilization. Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa are signs of oldest civilization of this regions.

Pakistan is equally good attraction for religious tourism. The first-ever Budhist university was in Taxila, in Pakistan. Unfact, the porigin of Budhism was the border areas betewwen Afghanistan and Pakistan, later on spread to India, China, Japan and rest of world. Many Buddhist visit Pakistan religiously.

Sikhs are equally attracted to visit their holy places in Pakistan like: Nankana Sahib, PanjaHasanabdal, and Kartarpura etc.

Pakistan offers local food in variety of manners and rich in culture. Local traditions and hospitality of Pakistani society is much more attraction for nature loving people.

Government of Pakistan has launched e-visa and much more Fridley visa regime to promote tourism. Under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), road network throughout the country has been up-graded or being up-graded soon. Accessibility is much convenient and affordable. Boarding logging is affordable with reason able quality. Law and order situation has improved a lot. In fact, Pakistan was a very peaceful country and tourists consider as paradise in 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. But due Afghan situation, the image of Pakistan was damaged and foreign tourists avoided to travel to Pakistan.

Hope more and more foreigners will visit Pakistan, as it a blessed country with natural beauty, and very much cost effective. What do you plan for your next vacations? Pakistan welcomes you. Be our guest and enjoy our traditional hospitality. Love nature, love Pakistan.

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Travel & Leisure

Only on Langkawi: An Insider’s Guide to the Most Coveted Langkawi Pursuits

MD Staff

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Whether in search of wanderlust, culture, or relaxation, Four Seasons Resort Langkawi showcases a bespoke collection of experiences that captures the warmth of Malaysian culture, combined with a deep sense of place. The Resort, with its prime placement directly on Langkawi’s longest stretch of beach and adjacent to a UNESCO Geopark allows premier access to occasions that few have the opportunity to experience in Southeast Asia, let alone the world.  

Our Front Office Manager, Mr. Indran Santhirasekaran, has offered his five must-see experiences that are only found here on Langkawi:

Mangroves & Eagle Safari – Explore mysterious forests between land and sea on this naturalist-led boat safari into the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park – home to majestic eagles, mischievous macaques, fish that “walk,” colourful fiddler crabs, shy otters and sleeping bats.

Raja & Ratu Ritual – Designed for couples to experience together, this award-winning ritual focuses on three specific chakras – sacral, heart and crown – to maximize emotional and physical connections.

Cycle Adventure & Photography Tour – Pedal and capture your way through rural regions, taking in villages to scenic waterfalls, as you enjoy a photo adventure tour.

Rainforest Trekking – Trek through Langkawi’s pristine rainforest and witness rare wildlife, ancient rock formations, and a scenic waterfall along the adventurous journey.

Lessons in Spice – Immerse yourself in the flavour, fragrance and flair of Malay cuisine. Distinguish local ingredients, sample aromatic spices and discover traditional cooking techniques with our world-class chefs. 

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