Asia. It evokes thoughts of silk and exotic spices. Great journeys by ancient explorers like Marco Polo. Mysterious traditions and secret places. But there’s more to Asia than the Far East. It also encompasses beautiful tropical archipelagos strung along the surface of the ocean like pearls on a fine necklace. With international airfares so low, it’s a great time to get over to Asia so why not take advantage of the cheap fares along with your timeshare to enjoy an inexpensive holiday? We have some fantastic availability in Thailand, Malaysia, India, Bali and the Philippines during 2009.
Its stunning beaches, incredible diving, verdant interior, cultural marvels, delectable cuisine and infamous nightlife draw more visitors than any other country in Southeast Asia.
The kingdom of Thailand lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it a natural gateway to Indochina, Myanmar and Southern China. Its shape and geography divide into four natural regions: the mountains and forests of the North; the vast rice fields of the Central Plains; the semi-arid farm lands of the Northeast plateau; and the tropical islands and long coastline of the peninsula South.
Thailand is a country of scenic diversity and ancient traditions, of tranquil temples and modern urban excitement. With an independent history going back more than seven centuries, it has managed to absorb a variety of cultural influences and blend them into something uniquely and memorably Thai.
Each of its four major regions offers a distinctive experience for the traveler in search of discovery. Misty mountains in the north shelter verdant valleys and exotic hill tribes, while in centers like Chiang Mai traditional customs and crafts have been preserved over generations.
Along the picturesque coastlines of the east and south lie some of the world's most beautiful beaches and offshore islands, each with its own beauty. Scattered over the northeastern plateau are superb Khamer monuments from the time of Angkor Wat and natural parks teeming with wildlife. In the Central Region can be found the evocative ruins of ancient Thai capitals, and bustling Bangkok with its dynamic and countless pleasures.
From the rice bowl of Malaysia (Kedah) to the Land Below the Wind (Sabah), Malaysia is set to enthral visitors to this tropical country under the sun. Indulge in the many activities and attractions the country has to offer, while revelling in the warmth of its myriad of peoples.
Malaysia truly is a land of plenty. The country is endowed with beautiful beaches, invigorating highlands, verdant jungles teeming with flora and fauna, vibrant cities, charming countrysides and a spectrum of colourful cultures.
Multiculturalism has not only made Malaysia a gastronomical paradise, it has also made the country home to hundreds of colourful festivals.
Geographically, Malaysia is as diverse as its culture. There are two parts to the country, 11 states in the peninsula of Malaysia and two states on the northern part of Borneo. Cool hideaways are found in the highlands that roll down to warm, sandy beaches and rich, humid mangroves.
One of Malaysia's key attractions is its extreme contrasts. Towering skyscrapers look down upon wooden houses built on stilts, and five-star hotels sit several metres away from ancient reefs.
From the mountainous north to the wet, monsoonal south, India is diverse. Its religions, its cultures, even its buildings are a conglomeration of many influences.
Take the Taj Mahal. Persian, Turkish, Indian and Islamic influences result in one of the most striking monuments on earth … especially when the sun touches the marble at sunrise and sunset.
Nearby Jaipur, with its striking salmon-colored buildings, is the place for semiprecious gems and also houses the Palace of Winds, where the sultans kept their women. The mysteriously deserted town of Bhangarh, near Alwar, is India’s answer to Machu Picchu. Check out camels at Pushkar, or go wild Bengal tiger spotting at the Tanthambhore National Park.
Go from these desert plains to the snowy Himalayas in Uttaranchal, source of the sacred Ganga River. Trek past glaciers, flower-filled valleys and dense forests to four of the most sacred Hindu temples.
A place that is a fascinating mix of cultural influences is Goa. A tiny tropical paradise on the warm Arabian Sea, the old Portuguese flavour still permeates everything from the festivals to the food.
Bali is only a small island, floating to the east of Java, but visitors come here in their millions and return again and again.
Quite apart from the fact that you can have a magnificent holiday for not that many dollars, it really is a paradise on earth. Mile upon mile of the sort of beaches you see in brochures; glorious weather; fantastic diving; picturesque rice terraces teetering down steep slopes; towering active volcanoes, with crater lakes and sacred caves; lush tropical forests dropping into deep ravines; and truly friendly people.
If you can tear yourself away from the beach and spas there is no shortage of culture and fantastic craft. Take a stroll through lush forest to breathtaking gorges and deserted swimming holes. If you’re into ancient monuments, there are scores.
With 7107 islands, the Philippines teems with inspiring destinations. Across the islands lie pristine white beaches, warm and clear dive sites, scenic seascapes, challenging surf sites, beautiful mountains, magnificent waterfalls, hot and cold springs, and all kinds of natural jewels in a tropical setting.
For a holiday that caters to every interest and age group, the Philippines offers a diverse range of activities in a variety of settings, from hard-to-resist shopping and dining in cosmopolitan Manila to golf on championship course, spa indulgences, beachside leisure and adrenaline-charged adventures.
The Philippines has a rich history combining prehistoric aboriginal migrations, ancient Asian influences, and nearly 400 years of Spanish colonisation, followed by 50 years of American rule.
This historical quilt has resulted in a true blend of cultures. This is reflected in well preserved medieval cities, Spanish fortresses and baroque churches, ancient rice terraces and more.
Many of the most ancient traditions in the world spring from Asia. But just what is it that continues to fascinate and draw us to its shores? Perhaps, it’s the ancient spirit that seems to permeate not just the places, but the people themselves. Wherever you end up going in this varied land, you’ll be in paradise.