DELVE DEEPER

Written by root. Posted in Featured Article, FEATURES

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Published on January 07, 2019 with No Comments

UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites are amazing places worthy of your vacation offering intimate insights into unique cultures.

Words GRACE OOI

Australia

Australia
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Credit(s): Tourism Australia

 

AUSTRALIA
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Extraordinary landscape of desert plains, weathered mountain ranges and rocky gorges define the Aboriginal Australia’s most sacred sites: Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Floating in an outback waterhole, dining under a starry sky while being serenaded by a didgeridoo, and watching the world’s most famous rock change colours at dawn and dusk are some of outback Australia’s most unmissable experiences. Walk around the base of Uuru with an Aboriginal guide, take a helicopter flight or motorcycle tour, or see it from the back of a camel on an early morning or sunset safari. The 36 rounded domes of Kata Tjuta are only 50 kilometres from Uluru and are just as impressive. Follow one of the many bushwalking trails or join a tour from Ayers Rock Resort. And, whatever your budget you’ll love Ayers Rock Resort, which has accommodation from camp and campervan sites to five-star poolside rooms at Sails in the Desert, and glamping at Longitude 131, where you can see the sun rise and set over Uluru from your own luxury safari tent. Join one of the free cultural tours at the resort, star gaze with an astronomer and dine out in style under a canopy of stars at the famous Sounds of Silence outdoor buffet.

Royal Brunei Airlines flies Melbourne daily for easy connections to Alice Springs.

 

INDONESIA
Komodo National Park
Komodo National Park, nestled between the islands of Flores and Sumbawa in Indonesia, consists of three large islands namely Komodo, Rinca and Padar. It is home to the legendary Komodo Dragon – the largest lizard in the world. The park’s terrain is uniquely diverse, consisting of mountainous hillside, tropical rainforests, grass-woodland savannah, and pristine white sandy beaches which harbour a rich marine biodiversity. The marine environment in the Komodo National Park is one of the world’s richest in flora and fauna and is still relatively undiscovered. Many begin their excursion to visit the park’s three islands by hiring private boat tours through the local port town of Labuan Bajo on Flores island. Form here, a daily itinerary consists of snorkelling, diving and discovering more of the magical underwater landscape of Komodo National Park. Hiking up to the tops of Rinca and Padar islands to catch the sunset is also popular. For a five-star experience by the sea, Amandira, a gorgeous 52-metre, two-masted Phinisi yacht belonging to Aman Resorts, plies the waters from March to October where the journey includes picnics on secluded beaches and a curated diving experience.

Royal Brunei Airlines flies Bali 5x weekly for easy connections to Labuan Bajo.

 

VIETNAM
Hoi An Ancient Town
An ancient trading port, Hoi An had the largest harbour in Southeast Asia in the 1st century and even opened its own stoneware kilns in the 15th century to support the growing popularity of the Japanese tea ritual. Today its eclectic collection of communal houses and 82 ancient tube-shaped houses – many located on original streets – stand testament to its vibrant ancient personality. The architecture of Hoi An is characterised by a harmonious blend of Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese influences. By night, the old town turns magical with an array of beautifully coloured lanterns lighting up the sidewalks and night markets. Explore the ancient town on foot, visit the markets, explore the express tailors and take up a cooking class by the river. Outside of Hoi An are peaceful villages that have artisanal and traditional crafts such as carpentry, bronze making and ceramics. Rent a bike or a taxi to see how these crafts have resisted time.

Royal Brunei Airlines flies Ho Chin Minh City 6x weekly for easy connections to Hoi An.

 

MACAO
Historic Centre of Macao
Known as the “Las Vegas of the East”, Macao is a city full of history that offers so much more than their extravagant casinos. Known as the Special Administrative Region of China (SAR), the city is known for its heritage, preserving the unique culture and traditions of east and west of China. Macao has 22 sites recognised by UNESCO to be of cultural and historical significance. The best part is, many are within reach and situated right in the centre of town. There are the ruins of St Paul’s, arguably Macao’s most famous landmark. Located at the top of a hill, only the beautiful granite façade remains and a grand staircase of 68 stone steps leading up to it. At the heart of Macao’s colourful Senado Square is the neo-classical Leal Senado Building. This was Macao’s first municipal chamber and remains so till today. The striking green and white neo-classical Dom Pedro V Theatre, built in 1860, is the oldest theatre in Macao and was the first Western-style theatre to open in China. Further afield, walk around Guia Fortress and Lighthouse that was constructed in the early 1600s, and the first Western-style lighthouse on the China coast. Walk through the Flora Garden Gate at the foot of the hill and you will find a cable car that takes you to the top for picturesque views of Macao.

Royal Brunei Airlines flies Hong Kong daily for easy connections to Macao.

 

JAPAN
Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama
Famous for their traditional farmhouses called “gassho-zukuri”, both Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are among the few areas left in Japan where you can witness the serene and beauty of a late 17th century village. “Gassho” means the act of prayer, and the roofs get their name because their steep triangular frame resemble two hands in prayer. Traditionally, the roofs are built between 45 and 60 degrees so that snow does not pile up on them in winter. Each of the houses is built without any nails and range between 100 and 400 years old. Any time is a good time to visit as Shirakawa-go beautifully reflects the different faces of the four seasons. The scenery blushes in pink with cherry blossoms in spring, turn bright green with the rice fields in summer, becomes fiery red with autumn foliage leaves in fall and turns a surreal winterland dreamscape in winter. Some of the houses are still lived in as homes, whilst others have been turned into guesthouses or souvenir shops. There are also some gassho-zukuri houses that are open to the public as museums. The houses light up in a special event every January and February. Because of its popularity, reservations are now required and can be made via shirakawa-go.gr.jp/en/

Royal Brunei Airlines flies Incheon 2x weekly for easy connections to Japan.

 

UNITED KINGDOM
City of Bath
A whimsical mix of cobblestone streets, historical sites and romantic architectural styles, Bath is famed for its history and natural hot springs. It’s also the only destination in the UK where the entire city is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Any visit to Bath must start with a dip at the Thermae Bath Spa. The open-air rooftop pool, where you can bathe in mineral-rich waters heated to 33.5°C, also gives panoramic views of Bath. For something more private, The Gainsborough Bath Spa is a stunning five-star luxury hotel with a unique twist. Built in a Regency architectural style, it centres around its own naturally-heated pools with direct access from several rooms – meaning you can run your bath with the mineral-rich thermal waters. To discover the city’s history, tour the Roman Baths for a look into the city’s beginnings. Then learn about its famous resident, Jane Austen, at the Jane Austen Centre where you can enjoy talks, displays and activities centred on the author’s celebrated works. Still in the mood for all things Regency? You will be pleased to know that when you stop for a cup of tea at the Regency Tea Room, the staff will serve you in period costume. The hop-on, hop-off City Sightseeing bus offers a relaxing tour of the city’s must-see attractions, including Bath Abbey and the architectural splendour of Bath’s Royal Crescent. Then wander along Pulteney Bridge, considered one of the most beautiful bridges in the world and one of just a handful with shops built into the design.

Royal Brunei Airlines flies London daily for easy connections to Bath.

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