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Monthly Archives: July 2018

30 
Jul

Indian Ocean Islands

7 Most Beautiful Islands in the Indian Ocean

Bounded by Asia (India), Africa, Australia, and Antarctica, the Indian Ocean prides itself with precious clear beaches, turquoise waters, stunning islands, and marvellous scenery, being frequently considered one of the most appealing marine destinations on Earth.

Extremely popular among honeymooners, the breath-taking islands scattered throughout the Indian Ocean greet visitors with white powdery sands, incredibly clear waters kissing your feet, stunning natural landscapes, and plenty of unique activities.

Maldives

Indian Ocean - Maldives

Often regarded as a paradise on Earth, this dreamlike island country lies in the Laccadive Sea, in the southwest of Sri Lanka. Glamorous, quixotic, and utterly spectacular, the islands of the Maldives enjoy an enviable climate, with verdant scenery soaked up in gentle sun rays all year round.

Whether you’re looking for romance, leisure, water sports, or utter bliss, the Maldives is one of the few places on Earth that can provide you with an impeccable experience.

Endowed with vibrant marine life and an underwater environment of rare beauty, there’s no wonder the Maldives Islands are a delight for water sports enthusiasts, especially for divers and snorkelers. Most popular underwater sites are the Banana Reef, the Fish Head, and the Wreck of the Maldives Victory.

Don’t forget to visit Male, the capital city, where lots of mosques, bazaars, and cultural sights are located.

Sri Lanka

Indian Ocean - Sri Lanka

With a rich history dating back to the beginning of time and an amazing cultural heritage complementing its stunning landscapes, Sri Lanka is a breathtaking beach getaway, a hotspot for adventurers, as well as a magical cultural destination with a distinctive Buddhist feel.

Featuring 1,300 km of sublime beaches, 9 wonderful national parks, 6 bird reservations, and an incredibly diverse marine life, Sri Lanka offers plenty of things to do, from wild safaris, nature circuits, and sightseeing to water sports, cultural experiences, hiking, and of course, dream beach vacations.

The island is also a popular shopping destination (one of the best in South Asia) and a renowned wellness sanctuary. Ayurveda, Sri Lanka’s traditional medical system, is known worldwide for its miraculous benefits.

Madagascar

Indian Ocean - Madagascar

Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world after Greenland, New Guinea, and Borneo, and an incredible biodiversity hotspot.

Both nature enthusiasts and adventure travellers in Madagascar are greeted with outstanding national reserves. One of the most renowned is Andohahela, a very unusual paradise spread over 80,000 hectares. Featuring 3 different ecosystems, Andohahela is also home to the spectacular trees called baobabs.

Madagascar is a magical, sundry, and colourful world with something for everyone, so whether you are a culture aficionado, an avid explorer, a water-sports fan, or a treasure hunter, you will certainly be rewarded with some genuine, unforgettable experiences here.

Mauritius

Indian Ocean - Mauritius

Located in the same glittering Indian Ocean, off the southeast coast of Africa, the island of Mauritius is part of the republic with the same name, alongside Cargados Carajos, Rodrigues, and the Agaléga Islands.

Surrounded by the world’s third largest coral reef, the island prides itself with a ravishing natural beauty capable to seduce even the most pretentious of travellers. In addition to miles of white sandy beaches, lush tropical forests, emerald waters with beautiful lagoons, and plenty of national reserves, Mauritius features lovely mountainous landscapes that give it a truly special charm.

Known as one of the finest spa destinations in the world and an epitome of what we call a romantic getaway, the island offers an endless range of experiences, from various eco pursuits, sport, and nautical activities to mountain climbing, hiking, quad biking, shopping, and much more.

Undoubtedly, the liveliest area in Mauritius is Grand Bay, a paradise for shoppers and partygoers. Other must see sights, include the spectacular Île aux Cerfs, Black River Gorges Park, The Dutch Ruins, and the enchanting Casela bird sanctuary.

Zanzibar

Indian Ocean - Zanzibar

Part of the archipelago with the same name, Zanzibar is a delightful melting pot of African, Arabian, and European influences just off the coast of Tanzania. Fringing colourful coral reefs and iridescent lagoon-like waters, its beaches are among the most spectacular in the world, yet the island is also famous for its lush rainforests, sprawling spice plantations, and vibrant wildlife.

For a taste of the island’s diverse culture, visit the UNESCO-listed Stone Town – Zanzibar’s historical heart, where mosques, temples, and palatial ruins line the atmospheric labyrinthine alleys. The town is built from coral stone and stands out for its striking 19th century architecture with elaborately carved doorways.

Réunion

Indian Ocean - Reunion

East of Madagascar, the French island of Réunion is a paradise for adventurers and nature enthusiasts, with glorious hiking trails and excellent canyoning opportunities. Home to Piton de la Fournaise, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Réunion is bursting with photogenic landscapes, from dramatic Martian panoramas to peculiar black-sand beaches to lush, majestic calderas scattered with shimmering waterfalls.

The island’s delicious cuisine is another highlight, so don’t hesitate to visit the lively local markets bursting with exotic flavours, indulge in divine home-cooked Creole meals, or feast on fresh seafood in the chic beach restaurants. On top of that, French bakeries and pastry shops are strewn all over the island.

Seychelles

Indian Ocean - Seychelles

Seychelles spans an archipelago of 115 granite and coral islands scattered in the warm, beautiful waters of the Indian Ocean. The main islands are Praslin, La Digue, and Mahe, all of them featuring stunning tropical beaches, superb coral reefs, beautiful weather, and exciting wildlife.

Although beach living and romance seem to be the favourite activities throughout the beautiful islands of Seychelles, holidays here are also famous for golf, island-hopping, nature tours, as well as water sports such as scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, snorkelling, or glass-bottom boating.

No vacation to Seychelles would be complete without a visit to the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve on the island of Praslin to see the rare Coco de Mer palms, or a boat ride to the Aldabra Atoll, renowned worldwide for its giant tortoises.

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Published Date: 30th July 2018
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27 
Jul

Kota Kinabalu Marriott

Marriott Opens Hotel in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Marriott has expanded its portfolio of hotels to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. 

Located along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens and the capital’s bustling waterfront, the Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel offers an enviable location from which to discover the best of the city’s unique cultural offerings and natural attractions.

Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel

The hotel’s location connects visitors to numerous natural sites including the Kinabalu National Park, home to 4,095m-high Mount Kinabalu, pristine beaches with emerald waters and coral islands for aquatic expeditions. 

“The Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel in Sabah, Malaysia strives to offer authentic experiences that tell the story of this destination,” said Adrian Chung, General Manager, Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel. “Tourism has provided the local community with opportunities to find fulfilling employment and to develop professional careers. At Marriott, we believe that if we take care of our people, they’ll take care of our guests and we hope travellers will feel this ethos in the thoughtful service they receive at this hotel.” 

The 332-room Kota Kinabalu Marriott features five F&B outlets, up to 14,000 square feet of versatile event space, an outdoor infinity pool with views of the South China Sea, a 24-hour gym and a spa.

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Published Date: 27th July 2018
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24 
Jul

Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani

All-Inclusive Luxury Tented Camp to Open in Cambodia’s South Cardamom National Park

Following the success of the Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Angkor, an enclave of 10 luxurious Khmer inspired pool villas which opened in Siem Reap in December 2017, Bensley Collection is set to expand its Cambodian portfolio with Shinta Mani Wild scheduled to open on 1 November 2018.

Nestled deep within Cambodia’s South Cardamom National Park in a pristine wildlife corridor three hours’ drive south of Phnom Penh, Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Wild will offer a luxury tented camp experience.

Bensley Collection - Shinta Mani - River at Dusk

Guests will arrive at the gate lounge by road or helicopter from where they can enjoy a unique adrenalin-filled entry to the resort via a 380 metre (1,247 ft) zip line over a swiftly flowing river and waterfalls, arriving ‘Indiana Jones style’ in the Landing Zone Bar. Jeep transfers are also available for those wanting a more traditional arrival.

Bensley who was inducted into Hospitality Design’s Platinum Circle hall of fame in New York in 2017, has set out to create his most ambitious and extravagant luxury tented camp project to date – fourteen one-bedroom (100 sqm) and one two-bedroom (140 sqm) luxury tents perched over 1.5 kilometres of river and waterfalls.

With no official menu, culinary offerings under the direction of the camp’s talented Chef Kien Wagner will include wild edible plants foraged each day from the forest to accompany the best quality meat and seafood available. Guests can also join Chef Wagner on his foraging expeditions and learn from his extensive expertise including five years in Cambodia. Fresh flavourful condiments will be made in house rather than pre-purchased and the camp will have a permaculture farm and will support local farmers and fishermen. The area has a rich source of large succulent mud crabs which are a local delicacy.

Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Wild will offer a range of creative luxury adventures. To the south east of this private sanctuary, guests will be able to spend a day exploring the waterways of South East Asia’s last wild estuarine ecosystem aboard a custom Bensley designed fully equipped expedition boat complete with kayaks. To the north, guests will have the chance to accompany anti-poaching rangers and researchers as they check camera points and study the wild forests and their inhabitants; a unique opportunity to explore these untamed lands with the people that know them best, taking only photographs and leaving only footprints.

An important part of the camp’s ethos is having a team of rangers conducting anti-poaching patrols in order to generate a safe haven for birds and animals. A team of full time naturalists have been living at the resort during construction for the past year studying the flora and fauna. They have also developed a range of hikes for guests to explore the area.

While not adventuring and exploring this incredibly diverse region, guests can relax and enjoy their luxurious tents and camp facilities including the Waterfall Restaurant, Landing Zone Bar and Boulders Spa featuring chemical-free products by Bensley’s Khmer Tonics.

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Published Date: 24th July 2018
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21 
Jul

A330neo – Air Asia

AirAsia X Orders Additional 34 Airbus A330neo Aircraft

AirAsia X has placed an order with Airbus for an additional 34 A330neo widebody aircraft.

The latest agreement reaffirms AirAsia X’s position as the largest airline customer for the A330neo, with the total number of aircraft ordered by the airline increasing to 100. All the A330neo aircraft ordered by AirAsia X are the larger A330-900 model.

AirAsia X will be the first airline in Asia to operate the A330neo, with deliveries of aircraft on order with Airbus scheduled to start in Q4 2019. The A330neo will be operated by AirAsia X out of its bases in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

 A330neo - Air Asia

The range capability of the A330neo enables non-stop services to Europe, including from Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok to London, for example.

AirAsia Co-Founder and AirAsia X Group Chief Executive Officer Kamarudin Meranun said, “Long haul low-cost is something we strongly believe in, and this order shows our confidence in the AirAsia X model. We lobbied hard for the A330neo after seeing the success of the A320neo, and working closely with Airbus, we have arrived at an aircraft that we are confident will allow us to expand our low fares offering beyond Asia Pacific to the rest of the world.

The A330-900, with a list price of US$296.4 million, is powered by new generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines.

The A330neo is currently nearing completion of its flight test programme with certification expected in the coming weeks followed by entry into commercial service in September.

AirAsia Co-Founder and AirAsia X Co-Group Chief Executive Officer, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, said, “Our decision not only to reconfirm our existing order for 66 A330neo, but to add 34 more, follows what is probably one of the most thorough aircraft evaluations the industry has ever seen. We have looked at every aspect of the A330neo from technical performance and reliability to passenger comfort and it is clearly the right aircraft for us to expand efficiently our fast-growing long haul network.

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Published Date: 21st July 2018
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18 
Jul

Pullman Luang Prabang

Pullman Hotel Opens in Luang Prabang, Laos

Accor has opened the first Pullman hotel in the former royal capital town of Luang Prabang in Laos.

The 16-hectare resort features 123 guest rooms, suites, and a two-bedroom villa scattered amongst infinity pools, watercourses and tumbling streams.

Entry level accommodation starts with a spacious Deluxe Room (42 sqm) and extends to the Two-bedroom Villa – complete with separate living and dining areas, garden and pool.

In keeping with Luang Prabang’s cultural heritage, the low-rise architecture draws heavily on traditional Laotian influences from China’s Yunnan province just nearby the border.

Pullman Luang Prabang - Room

 “We are delighted to introduce our first Pullman property in Laos. The resort styled hotel encapsulates the Pullman spirit of bringing global nomads together in the historical town of Luang Prabang,” said Patrick Basset, Chief Operating Officer of AccorHotels, Upper Southeast & Northeast Asia and the Maldives.

Sustainability plays a key role in its F&B offerings, with menus featuring dishes made exclusively with local produce with organic in-house dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and herbs from nearby farming communities and local buffalo homesteads.

The all-day dining L’Atelier restaurant offers a range of buffet and à la carte menu options while The Junctions offers the Pullman brand signature Tapastry and Vinoteca which features a curated selection of wines and signature cocktails. Set amidst landscaped gardens and paddy fields, H2O pool bar serves a healthy choice of salad selections, sandwiches and homemade gourmet ice creams.

In line with AccorHotels’ Planet 21 initiatives, Pullman Luang Prabang is committed to supporting the local children’s hospital, wildlife conservation efforts and local handicrafts, and preserving traditions including strict guidelines for alms-giving to monks.

The resort is also home to Luang Prabang’s largest conference centre that boasts floor to ceiling glass windows with natural light and features state-of-the-art events and meetings facilities for power meetings, corporate incentive getaways and intimate weddings that can cater up to 300 guests.

The hotel also features a gym, spa, kids’ club, paddling pool and a large pool with a waterslide.

The resort is 10 minutes away from the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town that features a range of hip cafes and hobby shops while golfers can enjoy a game of golf at the 380-hectare Luang Prabang Golf Course that boasts 18 crafted fairways extending all the way to the Mekong River.

As the largest resort in the town Pullman Luang Prabang features low density designs on expansive grounds, its comprehensive meetings and events facilities make the resort a destination in itself with its natural surroundings and we look forward to welcoming leisure and business travellers,” said Jean Marc Lafosse, General Manager of Pullman Luang Prabang.

AccorHotels currently has five hotels in Laos including three properties in Luang Prabang and two in Vientiane.

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Published Date: 18th July 2018
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12 
Jul

Singapore Direct to Los Angeles

Singapore Airlines to Launch Non-Stop Flights Between Changi and Los Angeles Using Airbus A350-900ULR

Singapore Airlines has confirmed that it will launch non-stop flights between Singapore and Los Angeles using Airbus A350-900ULR (ultra-long-range) aircraft in November.

In addition, SIA will step up existing daily non-stop Singapore-San Francisco services to 10 times per week.

Together with the earlier announced non-stop Singapore-New York services, SIA will link Singapore and the US with 27 weekly non-stop flights by the end of 2018.

Flight SQ38 from Singapore to Los Angeles will commence on 2 November 2018. The route will initially be served thrice weekly, departing Singapore on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Daily operations will commence from 9 November 2018 after an additional A350-900ULR aircraft enters service. From 7 December 2018, a further three services per week will be added as SQ36, lifting total non-stop flights between Singapore and Los Angeles to 10 times per week.

Singapore Direct to Los Angeles - Airbus A350-900ULR

With the introduction of non-stop services between Singapore and Los Angeles, SIA’s existing one-stop service to Los Angeles via Seoul will cease after 30 November 2018. Singapore-Seoul frequency will be maintained at four flights per day with the introduction of a new Singapore-Seoul return flight from 1 December 2018, operating as flight SQ612.

Together with SIA’s current daily one stop service to Los Angeles via Tokyo, Los Angeles will be served 17 times per week.

SIA will also be increasing frequency on the existing Singapore-San Francisco route with three more weekly flights, with effect from 28 November 2018. The three additional services will operate as SQ34, departing every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday to San Francisco and will complement existing daily SQ32 non-stop services. Together with SIA’s current daily one-stop service to San Francisco via Hong Kong, San Francisco will also be served 17 times per week.

Our US services have always been popular with our customers and we are pleased to be able to provide even more travel options with the launch of non-stop flights between Singapore and Los Angeles, and an increase in frequency on the existing non-stop Singapore-San Francisco route,” said Singapore Airlines CEO, Mr Goh Choon Phong. “Together with our non-stop flights between Singapore and New York that will launch in October, SIA will redefine the convenience of travelling between Singapore and the United States, delivering on our promise to constantly enhance the travel experience of our customers.

SIA will be the first airline in the world to operate the A350-900ULR, with seven on firm order with Airbus. This ultra-long-range aircraft will be configured in a two-class layout, with 67 Business Class seats and 94 Premium Economy Class seats. SIA’s existing A350-900s feature a three-class layout with 42 Business Class, 24 Premium Economy Class and 187 Economy Class seats.

Singapore Airlines currently has 21 A350-900s in its fleet, with 46 more on order including the seven ULR variants. The first A350-900ULR is due for delivery in September, enabling the launch in October of the world’s longest non-stop flights, between Singapore and New York (Newark).

Singapore Airlines currently operates 40 flights per week to the US cities of Houston, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. With the new flights, total US frequency will increase to 53 per week by December.

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Published Date: 12th July 2018
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12 
Jul

Pullman Bali Legian Beach

Pullman Bali Legian Beach Opens 12 Garden Suites

The Pullman Bali Legian Beach has opened 12 newly built one and two-bedroom Garden Suites.

Located on the ground floor of the hotel, the suites are an added extension to the 364-room property facing the garden and pool.

Garden Suite at Pullman Bali Legian Beach.

Pullman Bali Legian Beach - Garden Suite

Franck Loison, General Manager of Pullman Bali Legian Beach, said, “The Garden Suites are a great addition to our inventory. A big part of our guests come to Bali to spend their vacation every year and these suites offer the perfect accommodation for family and friends with its spaciousness and comfort.

Pullman Bali Legian Beach has welcomed over 1 million guests since 2011.

Offering views of the popular Legian Beach, the hotel is just a 20 minute drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport (Denpasar) and is easily accessible to popular tourist attractions such as Kuta, Legian and Seminyak.

The hotel is part of the MyResorts program featuring exclusive experiences for Le Club AccorHotels members. With a roof top infinity pool overlooking Legian beach, a garden swimming pool with kids pool, wellness centre and ideal for conferences up to 350 guests.

Set between Bali’s famous Kuta and Legian Beaches, the attractive resort is a natural and tranquil oasis just steps away from Legian beach where you can take a surfing lesson or simply soak up some sun with a good read while waiting for a dramatic sunset. The hotel is also close to the heart of Bali’s recreational areas where you can shop at quaint boutiques and shops, and enjoy bustling nightlife along restaurant- and bar-lined streets. Water parks, art markets, and malls are in close proximity as well.

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Published Date: 12th July 2018
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03 
Jul

Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur

Four Seasons Opens Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Four Seasons has expanded its enviable collection of luxury hotels to the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Housed within a glittering new skyscraper next to the iconic Petronas Towers, Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur is in the heart of the Golden Triangle neighbourhood next to Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

The new building houses the hotel with 209 guest rooms, suites and serviced apartments, as well as the Four Seasons Private Residences.

Acclaimed Four Seasons veteran and Executive Chef Junious Dickerson oversees the hotel’s culinary program, with a half-dozen restaurants and lounges including the Yun House for Cantonese specialities by Executive Chef Jimmy Wong, the chef showcase CurATE with its show kitchen, and Bar Trigona with award-winning Head Bartender Ashish Sharma.

Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur

Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur, leisure facilities include a large fitness centre, an outdoor pool oasis with private cabanas and adjacent bar and grill, and a spa with eight treatment rooms offering a carefully designed menu inspired by Malaysian healing traditions and the latest global therapies.

Directly connected to the hotel and residential tower is a retail podium, The Shoppes at Four Seasons Place, which includes a selection of luxury retail and dining outlets spread over six floors.

The property also features 1,821 square metres (19,016 square feet) of flexible, state-of-the-art event spaces comprising two ballrooms and four meeting rooms.

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Published Date: 3rd July 2018
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03 
Jul

Anantara Quy Nhon

Anantara to Open All-Villa Resort in Quy Nhon, Vietnam

Anantara Hotels and Resorts has added a third property to its portfolio of luxury resorts in Vietnam.

The Anantara Quy Nhon Villas, scheduled to open in late November 2018, is located in a secluded bay in south central Vietnam. The resort will comprise 26 one and two-bedroom ocean-facing villas ensconced amidst 7.2 hectares of landscaped tropical gardens.

The resort is a 50-minute drive from Quy Nhon Airport, or Phu Cat Airport as it is known locally, and only a 20-minute drive from downtown Quy Nhon. Daily flights into Phu Cat Airport are operated from Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) and Hanoi.

A creative collaboration between HB Design and Marques and Jordy (M&J) architectural firms, Anantara Quy Nhon is designed to seamlessly blend into the natural environment.

Anantara Quy Nhon Hillside Pool Villa.

Anantara Quy Nhon Hillside Pool Villa.

Spacious villas with their sleek timber and granite sundecks, minimalist plunge pools and extended low overhang roofs have a fresh, contemporary feel.

Each villa at the new resort will come with dedicated butler services and a range of customisable luxury amenities such as preferred room scent ranging from exotic lemongrass to refreshing green tea, Anantara signature soap collection and in-villa wine cellar stocked with fine vintages and delicatessen.

The dining outlets at Anantara Quy Nhon will celebrate the abundant local seafood and regional flavours. At Sea Fire Salt, the all-day dining restaurant, the Salt and Wine Gurus elevate the dining experience with expert advice and guided tastings. At the swim-up bar premium cocktails, Vietnamese craft beers and Cuban cigars are served in an ocean-facing setting. In-villa dining aims to recreate a restaurant experience in the privacy of one’s villa with gourmet breakfast in bed, fully catered poolside barbecues and a luxury Vietnamese street food concept. Anantara’s signature Dining by Design delights with “Castaway” island picnics and exhilarating fishing trawler expeditions followed by five-star dining.

Perched high on the hillside overlooking a serene bay, Anantara Spa is a jungle-shrouded wellbeing paradise. Nature-inspired treatment suites boast double massage beds and oversized bathtubs for nourishing coconut milk soaks, while breezy cliffside pavilions bring the art of relaxation to new heights.

Rich in cultural attractions, Binh Dinh province, of which Quy Nhon is the capital city, is an attractive option for families, couples and groups of friends in search of meaningful and shared experiences with easy access to local cultural attractions, such as the relics of Champa civilisation and centuries-old Buddhist pagodas.

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Published Date: 3rd July 2018
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