Sunday, 20th June 2021

This Month's Magazine
The Exotic Far East

The Exotic Far East

Jane Plummer gives us some very attractive reasons to visit the exotic locales of the Far East. Like we need any!

by Jane Plummer

The Far East is fascinating for various reasons. Incidentally, the simple day-to-day pastimes are just as fascinating – tasting the delicious local cuisine for example. It may be familiar to you from your own high street, but you’ll find the wonder of being in the country itself; whether it’s China, Thailand or India, makes the flavours and colours seem all the more exotic.

You’ll no doubt discover some brand-new dishes too! Or how about bartering for some exquisite handmade crafts at the local market? While you might have seen similar things in décor stores back home, the thrill of finding that perfect bowl, dish or silk dress is multiplied by haggling for it yourself – and getting a bargain of course!

This month we’re looking at Thailand, Bali and Singapore.

The Kingdom of Thailand is the most popular holiday destination in the Far East. Its 2 coastlines, along the Andaman Sea and around the Gulf of Thailand, offer miles of white sand beaches and coral reefs. A good travel agent can offer you a variety of resorts, ranging from the non-stop nightlife of Pattaya to the low-key, more restrained pleasures of tropical islands like Ko Samui.

Don’t forget Bangkok with its great shopping and nightlife. Even there, you can explore exquisite Buddhist temples and chill out with a Thai massage.

The vast majority of Thais still live off the land, and there are many opportunities to visit cultural villages and get a taste of the rural life. Talking of tastes, Thailand's real religion is food, and you can sample that famous cuisine everywhere from street-side vendors to elegant restaurants.

From the bustling capital of Bangkok to the beach resorts of Phuket, Thailand offers spectacular temples and huge Buddhist statues, saffron robed monks and fascinating hill tribes. The coastline is glorious with white sandy beaches lapped by clear warm water. Thai beaches are ideal for swimming and snorkelling and many hotels offer a good selection of water sports. The food in Thailand is quite simply fantastic and in addition to the use of chillies there are many more subtle flavours that characterize Thai cuisine, including lemon grass, coconut milk, coriander, garlic, ginger and mint. The local seafood is also a major attraction.


In towns and villages all over the island, plaited baskets filled with flowers and herbs are placed on pavements, on the prows of fishing boats and in markets - Part of the island's indigenous spiritual culture that fills everywhere with beauty.

Around the island you can explore glorious beaches, pretty towns, volcanoes and Hindu temples (there are over 10,000!). Particularly spectacular is the island temple of Tanah Lot. In the tiny village of Ubud, traditional dances are staged nightly and the streets throng with arts and crafts galleries popularised by wood carvings, silverware, and paintings.


The ancient settlement of Kintamani is perched on the rim of a vast crater, overlooking Lake Batur, the largest in Bali, with bubbling hot springs.

Visit the famous Raffles Hotel, where a Singapore Sling in the Long Bar is essential. Visit the different ethnic neighbourhoods Raffles created (he founded modern Singapore) and soak up their unique atmosphere.

The handsome colonial buildings of the centre are a delight to stroll around before taking a river trip on the 'bum boats', once used to take goods to the warehouses. A short causeway links Singapore to the tiny pleasure island of Sentosa, home to white sand beaches, a fabulous water park and Asia's biggest aquarium.

On the mainland, take the brilliant cable car trip to Mount Faber. One great result of Singapore's multi-cultural population is the wondrous food: Cantonese, French, Thai, Italian, Japanese, Pacific Rim, Fusion cuisine. You'll love it!

Several UK operators offer flights and package holidays to Penang in Malaysia, Bangkok and Phuket in Thailand and the cities of Singapore and Hong Kong. Speak to Jane Plummer about prices for your Far East holiday on the details below.

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