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Written By: Dartangnan Johnson

Looking to jazz up your next vacation with something a little more exotic, then take a trip through the Orient–“Crazy Rich Asian” style! Whether you want to take in some culture, relax on the beach, hike the trails, or shop ‘til you drop many countries that make up the mysterious Orient can offer you all that and more. We’ve decided to offer four hot spots and the reason they should be tops on your list of places to get away from it all!

Brunei

travel asia

If you’re a Millennial you probably grew up watching “The Fabulous Life” in which case you’ve probably heard talk of the Sultan of Brunei and his many golden toilets, and with good reason, the country is super in black gold, Texas tea or as the lay folks like to say oil. The capital Bandar Seri Begawan is known as one of the most opulent cities in the world, with the crown jewel being the golden tipped Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque. The mosque has marble minarets and golden domes, courtyard and is surrounded by several trees and floral gardens. The mosque’s most recognizable feature, the main dome, is covered in pure gold. The main minaret is its tallest feature, it mixes Renaissance and Italian architectural styles. The minaret has an elevator to the top, where a visitor can enjoy a panoramic view of the city. The interior of the mosque is for prayer only. You can also check out Istana Nural Iman the largest governmental building on Earth, home of the Legislature of Brunei.

travel asia

If prayer temples and parliamentary procedure isn’t your idea of a good time, then you can take a hike along the rope bridges and canopies of the Ulu Temburong National Park which is a state sponsored conservation effort that a natural rainforest ecosystem. After you’ve hiked the trails, you can rest your weary legs on the beaches of Kuala Belait which is on the western edge of the Sultanate.

Indonesia

travel asia

The archipelago known as Indonesia is made up of over 13,000 islands so you’ll never be short on catching some shore time. The most popular amongst these being Bali. The blue water and white sands of Bali are must for those who just need to get away from it all. Grass huts built out over open waters that offer ocean views for miles on end have become a standard in advertisements for the island nation.  Interested in someplace a little less crowded try Kuta which offers the same amenities as Bali, but with less people.

indonesia gilli islands

If you’re more of the adventurous type, then you can find your way to the Gill Islands for diving and snorkeling near the turtle sanctuary. Once you’ve taken in the ocean breezes and swam amongst the aquatic life you can meditate the Borobudur Buddhists temple. Built during the 8th century Borobudur is a UNESCO world heritage site. You can light torches at sunrise and walk to the center of the temple for prayers and meditation. Lastly, but certainly not least you can hop over to Java, which sits in the Ring of Fire, a circlet of islands that boast the worlds most active volcanoes. The most popular of these is Most Bromo which can be found in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park.

Japan

travel asia

As you’re walking through the Narita International Airport to the baggage claim you’ll most likely hear Nihon e Yokoso. Welcome to Japan. Japan has long been one of Asia’s most visited countries, with everything from the latest in technology and historical culture that and art to rival that of Europe there is no shortage of things to do, places to see and people to watch. Start your trip by taking in the Imperial Palace. Originally built during the 17th century it is surrounded by walls and moats. Much of the palace is closed off to the public, due to the royal family still being in residence.

travel asia

Next you can hop a train to Mount Fuji and hike the trail to watch the “Sunrise in the East”. More experience hikers start at the base of the mountain, where as those who are less inclined can start from Station 5 which is bout halfway up the peak. After you’ve elevated yourself you can Zen out by walking through the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove of Kyoto, which boast some of the worlds tallest bamboo. Kyoto was Japan’s most important cultural center, a legacy that continues with its many museums and art galleries, each bursting with important sculptures, paintings, and other art forms. Another noteworthy spot is the Kyoto Imperial Palace which is where the royal family resided before moving to Tokyo. A little-known fact is that there are over one hundred castles in Japan built during the Shogun Era, it is believed that at one point in history there may have been more than five thousand.

Thailand

travel asia

Thailand is in Southeast Asian. Mainly known for tropical beaches, decadent royal palaces, ancient ruins and grand temples displaying figures of Buddha. In Bangkok, the capital, a metropolitan cityscape coexists next to quiet canal communities and the iconic temples of Wat Arun, Wat Pho and the Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaew). Nearby beach resorts include bustling Pattaya and fashionable Hua Hin. If you really want to drown out the world you can do so on the Phi Phi Islands, Koh Phi Phi, is the only one that is inhabited and host to dozens of resorts that offer all the amenities you’ll need while “ruffing it” along the beach. There are many tour companies available that offer day trips to other well-known tourist spots such as Phuket, Koh Chang, and Maya Bay.  

travel asia

Back in Bangkok you can tour The Grand Palace which was once the residence of the King of Siam. The palace isn’t just a royal residence there is also the Emerald Temple which is said to hold a relic from Buddha himself. There are also dozens of guesthouses and government buildings enclosed by courtyards and gardens. Tour guides recommend giving a full day over to exploring all the grounds. A visit to one of the floating markets is a fun way to do some shopping and eating while supporting local vendors. The long wooden boats offer fruits, vegetables, spices, and local cuisine meant to tantalize the palette. There are several floating markets near Bangkok, Amphawa and Damnoen Saduak being among the most popular. Round out your trip by visit any of the hundreds of wats (monasteries or temples) dedicated to Buddha. The most historically significant spots include Ankur Wat, Sukhothai Old City (the ancient capital), and Ayutthaya (the former capital). Ayutthaya is just a short train or bus ride away from Bangkok and can be done as a day trip.

 

Food

Serving Up Beautifully Presented Summer Cocktails at Your Next Summer BBQ

If you are one of the many people that love to entertain at home, one of the things you will be used to doing is working out what to serve in terms of food and drink. While dinner parties are all about decadent dishes and fine wines, if you plan more of an afternoon or early evening event outside in your garden, you need to look at alternatives.

In terms of food, hosting a party in your garden could involve simple finger buffet food or even a BBQ if the weather is great. Summer BBQs are a great way to come together with family and friends without having to actually go out. However, what about the drinks for your BBQ event? While drinks such as soda, wine, and beer are always firm favorites, there is nothing to say you cannot push the boat out and serve up something a little more exotic such as summer cocktails.

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cocktails

If you are one of the many people that love to entertain at home, one of the things you will be used to doing is working out what to serve in terms of food and drink. While dinner parties are all about decadent dishes and fine wines, if you plan more of an afternoon or early evening event outside in your garden, you need to look at alternatives.

barbecue

In terms of food, hosting a party in your garden could involve simple finger buffet food or even a BBQ if the weather is great. Summer BBQs are a great way to come together with family and friends without having to actually go out. However, what about the drinks for your BBQ event? While drinks such as soda, wine, and beer are always firm favorites, there is nothing to say you cannot push the boat out and serve up something a little more exotic such as summer cocktails.

Delight your guests with your cocktail selection

grapefruit infused vodka

Whether you decide to serve cocktails simply to greet guests as they arrive at your summer BBQ or whether you want to serve them throughout the afternoon or evening, you will undoubtedly impress many people with your ambition. You should never be nervous about trying new things when it comes to cocktails, as the guests will no doubt love sampling them. For instance, you can create incredible summer cocktails by adding grapefruit infused vodka, which is ideal for those balmy summer evenings when you want something cool and refreshing. Of course, you need to ensure you don’t make life difficult for yourself, so when you are choosing cocktail recipes make sure you opt for ones that have plenty of color and flavor but do not involve huge amounts of work.

In addition to this, make sure you don’t forget your guests with special requirements. When it comes to your BBQ food, you need to make sure you take into consideration guests such as vegetarians or vegans otherwise they will be left with empty plates. When it comes to drinks, you need to remember those that cannot drink or prefer not to. Just because some people don’t drink, it doesn’t mean you can’t whip up a delicious cocktail for them. There are some excellent virgin cocktail that contain no alcohol but are still packed with flavor and color. So, when you are doing your research, make sure you add some of these alcohol free cocktails to your list.

To add the perfect finishing touch and really impress your guests, you need to ensure that your summer cocktails are well presented. Think about this when you are purchasing glasses to serve up your cocktails and make sure you purchase decorations that can go into the cocktail glasses to add a special sparkle. In addition, have some frozen fruits on hand, as these are great for garnishing, adding color, and adding flavor to a wide range of delicious cocktails.

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lifestyle

4 Flashy Tech Gadgets That Make the Perfect Impression

On the hunt for the latest tech gadgets, gear and accessories on the market?

Wanting to make the best impression on that special someone, your new boss or anyone in your general radius? You’re in luck. As usual, the tech industry has been in overdrive developing new products to capture the attention of interested consumers. In the market for something new and flashy? Here are four newly-released tech gadgets sure to make the perfect impression on just about anyone.

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t-mobile gadgets

On the hunt for the latest tech gadgets, gear and accessories on the market?

Wanting to make the best impression on that special someone, your new boss or anyone in your general radius? You’re in luck. As usual, the tech industry has been in overdrive developing new products to capture the attention of interested consumers. In the market for something new and flashy? Here are four newly-released tech gadgets sure to make the perfect impression on just about anyone.

1. Nintendo Switch

Truthfully, you’re never too old — or too young — for some gaming action with friends. Plus, the experience tends to be more enjoyable and immersive when you’re able to take portable devices like the Nintendo Switch on the go. Not only does this portable system offer a great, new spin on a gaming legend, but its retro console is also playable on your TV. Use the joy-con grip to give the console the feel of an old-school controller so you can game like you’ve gone back in time to the ’80s.

2. Bose SoundLink Revolve 360 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Whether the party is coming to you — or you’re taking the party to the people — make sure you have your Bose SoundLink Revolve 360 Portable Bluetooth Speaker ready to connect. Ever been to a gathering where the host is bumping music from their laptop? It certainly lacks the deep, rich bass needed to get down and enjoy the music. No need to trip, though, as this portable Bose Bluetooth speaker delivers some bangin’ bass and all the beats needed to enjoy an evening among friends.

3. Samsung Gear S3 Classic

Smartwatches are the type of gear everyone has been waiting for since they were kids. Indeed, this is the stuff of the Black Panther and Morpheus, so you know everyone will be checking you out as you don your new Samsung Gear S3 Classic. With a classic-looking face and other one-of-a-kind features, watch enthusiasts are bound to inquire about more details.

But wait, there’s more. Designers of the Samsung Gear S3 Classic have taken wearable tech to the next level. In fact, you can receive texts and other notifications via Bluetooth, or tie your credit card to the S3 Classic and use it when making in-store purchases. Additionally, the S3 Classic’s built-in GPS capabilities allow you to use it as an activity tracker, and with military-grade performance and durability, you don’t have to worry about it getting damaged or compromised while at the gym.

4. Microsoft Surface Laptop

t-mobile gadgets laptop

If you’re a business heavyweight, invest in the new Microsoft Surface laptop to impress your scores of clients and prospects. Small, lightweight, fully functional, powerful, fast and sleek are just a few adjectives we have for this essential tool that will keep you looking and staying sharp, no matter where your next business meeting is taking place. Ultimately, along with plenty of personal enjoyment, these fresh tech products are sure to turn a few heads and elicit some double takes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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lifestyle

Seasoned Publisher Launches Innovative App for Authors!

April Sheris is the CEO of Upland Avenue Productions and Founder of the United App, a first of its kind app that closes the gap between aspiring authors and the publishing industry.  She identified a growing need with emerging authors that were seeking publishing opportunities and has pulled resources to make sure that authors can publish brilliantly and on their own terms.

United app is the ultimate resource for writers and it is growing daily with vetted industry professionals ready to work with an Author and their book.

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april sheris united app

April Sheris is the CEO of Upland Avenue Productions and Founder of the United App, a first of its kind app that closes the gap between aspiring authors and the publishing industry.  She identified a growing need with emerging authors that were seeking publishing opportunities and has pulled resources to make sure that authors can publish brilliantly and on their own terms.

United app is the ultimate resource for writers and it is growing daily with vetted industry professionals ready to work with an Author and their book.

april sheris united app

“After working in the publishing sector and heading a leading publishing company for several years, I ran across many aspiring authors looking for insight on ways to self-publish successfully, since getting picked up by a traditional publisher was a long-shot. The key areas that most of them yearned for, were editing, marketing and getting connected with the most beneficial trade shows and conferences. I used the connections that I have gained, personally and professionally, and channeled them into a single resource that would best aid in the production of more ‘retail ready’ books from self-published authors.” adds April Sheris.

april sheris united app

Thanks to the United App, Authors can now better manage a successful book release project form the palm of their hands. So what’s next for April Sheris and Upland Avenue Productions? “In the upcoming year, we are looking to incorporate a social platform for authors to interact on a local level and provide events that will bring more transparency between our users and tech team. Writing can be an isolated experience and self-publishing without a network is even more distancing. Having the social platform for authors at varying levels to meet a ‘writing BFF’ is extremely important to growth. Sometimes you may be the advisor and sometimes you may be the teacher. But either way, it will remain a supportive environment.”

To learn more visit: UplandAvenueProductions.com or follow @AprilSheris on Instagram.

 

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