Taiwan is a beautiful island in the Southeast Asia. Taiwan, as well as some other smaller islands, is part of the Republic of China. According to some historians, the name Taiwan is derived from the name of one of the oldest cities in the island – Tainan. The phonetic transcription of Tainan has gradually begun to be used as the name for the whole island. The other name given by Portuguese explorers is Ilha Formosa, which means beautiful island, the name Formosa has been partially retained to this day.
Taiwan is a country with short history, but rich tradition. In Taiwan there you can find countless temples and monasteries, most of them still active and well attended. On the other hand, Taiwan is a high-tech country with strong computers and electronics market. Taiwanese people are friendly, helpful and hospitable. They are not overly formal and require no observance of strict rules of behavior. Continue reading
South Korea is the best example of natural beauty, rich history and economic power. It is the place where culture and traditions meet modern style of life. Here you can encounter old royal palaces and monasteries as well as modern skyscrapers or walk through streets with quiet parks and ponds with a lot of lotus flowers. By means of services for tourists which are of high value South Korea is doing its best to make travelers from all over the world feel good. Tourists can use international credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and EuroCard everywhere in the country. Problems may arise from the language barrier – only few inhabitants can speak other language than Korean, English is used mostly in tourist resorts and major towns.
When to go
The climate of South Korea is mild, the warmest part of the year is during the rainy season in July and August, the coldest part is in December and January. The best time to visit Korea is during spring when cherry blossoms bloom in full force and autumn, when the country is not overcrowded by tourists.
Majority of the Korean population are atheists. The most common religion is the Christianity, which has got ahead of Buddhism. Numerous Buddhist temples and monasteries remained here as the representation of the rich Korean cultural heritage. Korean architecture is famous for its efforts to reach harmony between buildings and surrounding nature.
Koreans are famous for their correct behavior on the roads. In the capital city of Seoul, where the traffic is very heavy, it’s better to choose some form of the public transportation. The subway system, with five lines that perfectly cover the whole city, carries approximately four million people a day. Seoul has a perfectly elaborated urban bus service. it’s also possible to order a taxi. Safe and clean trains are running precisely according to the timetable. In Korea you can choose from three types of trains: super-express (connecting Seoul to Busan, Mokpo, Gyeongju and Gwangju), special-express and express. Many private companies provide domestic air transport. Continue reading
A Practical Guide to Thailand
Different people find different things in Thailand. Thailand is a land of variety and diverse vibrant culture, that has something to offer for everyone. The country has plenty to satisfy single travelers, couples, or families, from Bangkok’s shopping and nightlife to adventure sports in the northern hills or a pampering spa at a beach resort. Thailand remains Southeast Asia’s most popular destination with its sparkling temples, idyllic beaches and mountain trails.
Thai culture cannot be fully appreciated without some understanding of Buddhism, which is practiced by 95% of the population. Most Chinese and Vietnamese living in Thailand follow Mahayana Buddhism, and several temples and monasteries in the country support this tradition as well. The Sukhothai period (13th–14th c.) is regarded as a period of notable achievement in Thai culture, with big advancements made in art and architecture. One of the lasting legacies of the Sukhothai period is its sculpture, characterized by the graceful aquiline-nosed Buddha either sitting in meditation or, more strikingly, walking contemplatively. These Buddha figures are considered to be some of the most beautiful representations ever produced of this genre.
Thailand’s different geographical regions provide a large variety of ecosystems, which support a great diversity of animal and plant life. Most of the country’s forests are deciduous or montane, such as those in the northern hills, where the summit of Doi Inthanon forms the highest point in Thailand at 2,565m (8415 ft.). There are a few pockets of primary rainforest on the southern peninsula, in places such as Khao Sok National Park. Other ecosystems that predominate on the southern peninsula and eastern seaboard are coastal forests, mangrove swamps, and coral reefs. Around half of these reefs are under the nominal protection of marine national parks, such as Ko Similan and Ko Tarutao, both off the Andaman Coast. Several regions of the country, most notably Phang Nga Bay, are characterized by karst outcrops – islands or mountains of porous limestone that conceal caves and pristine lagoons. Continue reading