Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Perfect Trip – Turkey

In this ancient country where Europe meets Asia, the sun shines down on a unique fusion of history and scenery, combining classical ruins, curious rock formations, golden beaches and tumbledown towns with memorable views; words by James Bainbridge

Your Trip mapped out – Delvs into Turkey’s past, from Ottoman splendor in Istanbul to cave dwellings in Capadocia.

ISTANBUL:  Best for Ottoman splendor. The imperial architecture of a formidable history still wows the  crowds against a backdrop of skyscrapers and modern prosperity.

AYVALIK: Best for coastal life. Drop the pace down a notch with a visit to the relaxed coastline of Ayvalik, with this time to savour the fresh cuisine and local spirits.

EPHESUS: Best for classical ruins. The river may have stopped flowing here but you can still relive history among the old city’s remarkable Roman buildings and streets.

LYCIAN WAY: Best for walking. Considered one of the best walks in the world, this epic journey will take you along ancient trails and closer to the people of the region.

KEKOVA: Best for a boat trip. Take a traditional sailing boat out to the island of the Sunken City and step into the submerged Lycian streets, lost nearly 2,000 years ago.

CAPPADOCIA: Best for horse riding. Mount an Anatolian steed and ride through the distinctive valleys of Cappadocia, where generations of people have carved homes from the rocks.

iSTANBUL displays all the signs of bullish development you’d expect in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, with shiny skyscrapers growing ever upward, shops as far as the eye can see and tankers queueing in the Bosphorus rivers. And yet, among the organized chaos of this great modern city, ancient mosques and palaces rise sphinx-like from the jumble of roofs.

For nearly 500 years, Istanbul – or Constantinople as it was previously know – was the capital of the Ottoman Empire, a powerful regime that, at its height, stretched from Hungary to Iraq. In the city’s imperial days, traders sold spices from distant dominions in the bazaars, dignitaries hunted in parks lining the Bosphorus, and buildings rose to immortalise the sultans. People came here from across the empire. ‘It was global before there was ‘global’ ,’says Ottoman historian Caroline Finkel, who has lived in the city for 25 years.

Standing proud near the city’s spice bazaar is Rustem Pasa Mosque. Built during the Ottoman Empire, it showcases the best Ottoman architecture and exquisite Iznik tiles, which cover the walls, columns and the façade of its porch. Rustem Pasa has a stillness, beauty and calm that offers respite from the glamour of the markets outside its walls. 

On a much grander scale is the famous Blue Mosque, also decorated with Iznik tiles and stained-glass windows. It lies in the Sultanahmet area, the old town centre that was once the heart of Ottoman life.
This remarkable mosque was built after the Ottomans took the city from the Crhistian Byznatine Empire, to compete with the Aya Sofya cathedral, which was a conspicuous reminder of the old regime. Now a museum, Aya Sofya was made into a mosque under the Ottomans. ‘It was about imperial rivalry,’ says Caroline, ‘making your own what was there before. Demolishing it by giving new meaning.’

 Blue Mosque

Haya Sopya Cathedral

The 1,500-year-old building of Aya Sofya still has a sacred atmosphere. Turkish families crowd the entrance, craning their necks to view the soaring ceiling. They wander through the hushed space and queue up at the weeping column, said to cure ailments with its tears. Ottoman features such as medallions with gilt Arabic calligraphy draw the eye, but the shadowy corners are rich with original Christian fragments from the Byzantine era – enduring signs of Istanbul’s rich past.

Further information: Entry to the Blue Mosque is free, but it closes for about half an hour at prayer times (listed at The Aya Sofya museum (US$13; is open Tue-Sun.

Where to Eat: Istanbul’s premier rooftop bar-restaurant, 360, has views of the old city from its eight-floor perch. DJs and sporadic performances add to the buzz (dishes from US$8;

Where to stay: PERA PALACE HOTEL, opened in 1892, Pera Palace was the address in Istanbul for guests arriving oon the Orient Express. Agatha Christie’s novel Murder on the Orient Express was inspired by her stays in the Ottoman hotel, its neoclassical façade overlooking the Golden Horn estuary. Completed in September 2010, a two-and-a half-year, US$33m renovation has maintained the elegance of the eclectic architecture and the grandeur of the public salons. Rooms and suites reflect their famous past guests. With antique furniture and luxuries such as hamam like showers, modern comforts mix with vintage style (from US$365;

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Executive summary by darmansjah

HAKADOTE, the city on the southern tip of Hokkaido, is the first on the island to turn pink during spring in May. The star-shaped Fort Goryokaku is the top place for cherry blossom viewing in Hakadote. A former Edo period fort that has been converted to a public park, it has more than 1,500 cherry trees in its compound. The 107 metre tall Goryokaku Tower next to it offers a bird’s eye view of the fort.

At night, the city offers another kind of view. An aerial lift brings visitors from the Motomachi district to the top of Mount hakodate. On a clear night, the view is recognized as one of the best in the world. The city lights curve into an hourglass figure, disappearing into the horizon. Many theories rationalizing the beauty of the view exist, one of which explains how the angle that scene is viewed triggers a subconscious combination of stress and relief.

All Nippon Airways(, Japan Airlines ( and Singapore Airlines( fly to Hakadote Airport from Changi Airport via either Tokyo or Osaka. From Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Japan airlines and Malaysia Airlines ( fly to Hakadote via Tokyo and Osaka respectively.

Loisir Hotel’s location – just opposite the Hakadote JR Station and a bus terminal – is perfect for a stay in Hakadote. The morning market is literally next door and if you get hungry after dark, plenty of night time dining options with local delicacies on the menu are a short walk away (from US$62;

Vacationing while strengthening the faith

Vacationing while strengthening the faith

Everyone has their own motivations when traveling. Some of them have a goal to have fun, form of 'escape' from the routine, a pastime, or improve the quality of the relationship with the creator. Yes, now began varied choice destination for those who want pilgrimages, especially to Christians.

The usual pilgrimage usually in the middle east. You can start it from Egypt, the Holy Land, to set foot in Jordan. Been to Egypt you will find many works of prehistoric relics, such as the pyramids and the Sphinx. There is also Aby Syirga church, Ben Ezra syangogue, and Hanging Church.

Aby Syirga church

Hanging Church 

Spiritual excursions not stop. You can explore the Egyptian border, the Taba Border. Next, visit Old Cairo and the Ben Ezra Synagogue which is the oldest synagogue in Egypt. Visitors also had the opportunity to see the making of papyrus paper which is ancient Egypt. Meanwhile, in the evening, you can spend time with tracing the Nile while enjoying treats traditional Egyptian dance.

taba border

ben ezra synagogue
old cairo
nile river

Do not forget to allow yourself exposed to the charm of Mount Sinai, which could give sensation. Mountain has a height of 2285 meters is located in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. Sensing masterpiece so extraordinary universe would further add to the admiration and gratitude to the Creator.

Mount Sinai

Sinai Peninsula 

Having climbed the trail tread in the Sinai Peninsula, which is the final part of the journey in Egypt is our country going into the land of Canaan. In undertaking a spiritual journey, the pilgrims have to prepare everything carefully. Ensure the information received is quite complete, both the route and the political and climatic conditions of the place of destination. In addition, maintaining healthy before traveling into a must do.

land of Canaan

Planning for spiritual tourism at the end of the year can be the right choice for the Christian. If interested, you can contact the tour operator and travel nearest to where you are getting all the information is complete and interesting with a safe and comfortable journey. The peace of Christ be with you.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Rainforest in Bali

Executive summary by Darmansjah
2012 will be a challenging year for the cover-Bellhotel Swiss International with the operation of Swiss-Bellhotel Rainforest, their newest property in Bali. Is a 4-star resort and is strategically located in Kuta, the hotel is perfectly designed to create tranquility and privacy of guests. Swiss-Bell plan Rainforest hotel has 162 rooms and is scheduled for completion this year. The hotel will provide a memorable experience by providing friendly and attentive service for guests' convenience. Each room will be equipped with flat screen television with international channels, IDD / NDD, air conditioning, mini bar, safety deposit box, internet broadband access and facilities for making coffee and tea, want to know more, can log on at: