Tag Archives: tourism

Fraser Hill – Pahang

Fraser Hill – Pahang

Bukit Fraser is on the Selangor / Pahang border approximately 103km north, or two hours drive, from Kuala Lumpur, but almost all visitors come through Selangor, and the state border actually cuts through the station at Fraser’s Hill. This hill resort was named after an English adventurer, Louis James Fraser, an ore-trader and mule train operator. However, he disappeared during the first decade of the 20th century and was never seen again. In 1910, Bishop Ferguson-Davie from Singapore came looking for Fraser, and recognized the area’s potential as a hill station. Today, Fraser’s Hill is home to modern resorts, satellite television and the cellular phone.

Of all the hill stations, Fraser’s Hill retains the most colonial charm, and is a quiet and relatively undeveloped place. The station, set up at a cool 1524m altitude is not the easiest place to get to without your own transport. One of the main delights of a visit to Fraser’s Hill is to be able to explore the splendors of nature with a trek through the many well-marked nature trails or tracks, and indulge in bird-watching activity. There are a great variety of birds residing in the area and because Fraser’s has been gazette a protected area for a while now, the birds have become more approachable. A trip to Fraser’s Hill would not be complete without having a picnic at the Jeriau Waterfalls which is about 5km from the town centre.

Bukit Fraser can be done as a day trip from Kuala Lumpur, if you travelling by car to Bukit Fraser, but it’s best to take it easy and book into one of the charming-state-run stone bungalows for an overnight stay. An overnight stay is almost a definite must for those who wish to reach Bukit Fraser by bus, alternatively take a taxi from Kuala Lumpur Puduraya bus station.

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Jakarta in 12 hours! Lonely Planet Travel Video

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Jakarta in 12 hours! Lonely Planet Travel Video

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Jakarta

Jakarta (also DKI Jakarta) is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. It also has a greater population than any other city in Southeast Asia. It was formerly known as Sunda Kelapa (397–1527), Jayakarta (1527–1619), Batavia (1619–1942), and Djakarta (1942–1972).

Located on the northwest coast of Java, it has an area of 661.52 square kilometres (255.41 sq mi) and a population of 8,489,910.[1] Jakarta is the country’s economic, cultural and political center. Jakarta is the twelfth-largest city in the world; the metropolitan area, called Jabodetabek, is the sixth-largest in the world.

First established in the fourth century, the city became an important trading port for the Kingdom of Sunda. As Batavia, it grew greatly as the capital of the colonial Dutch East Indies. Renamed Jakarta in 1942 during Japan’s occupation of the Java, it was made the capital city of Indonesia when the country became independent after World War II.

Major landmarks in Jakarta include Indonesia Stock Exchange, the Bank of Indonesia, and the National Monument (Tugu Monas). The city is the seat of the ASEAN Secretariat. Jakarta is served by the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport, and Tanjung Priok harbour; it is connected by several intercity and commuter railways, and served by several bus lines running on reserved busways.

Geography

Jakarta is located on the northwestern coast of Java, at the mouth of the Ciliwung River on Jakarta Bay, which is an inlet of the Java Sea. The northern part of Jakarta is constituted on a plain land, approximately eight meters above the sea level. This contributes to the frequent flooding. The southern parts of the city are hilly.

There are about thirteen rivers flowing through Jakarta, mostly flowing from the hilly southern parts of the city northwards towards the Java Sea. The most important river is the Ciliwung River, which divides the city into the western and eastern principalities. The city border is the province of West Java on its east side and the province of Banten on its west side. The Thousand Islands, which are administratively a part of Jakarta, are located in Jakarta Bay north of the city.

Economy

The economy depends heavily on financial service, trading, and manufacturing. Financial service constituted 23% of Jakarta’s GDP in 1989. The manufacturing industry is well-diversified with significant electronics, automotive, chemicals, mechanical engineering and biomedical sciences manufacturing sectors Jakarta is the most luxurious and busiest city in Indonesia. In 2009, 13% of the population had an income per capita in excess of US$ 10,000 (Rp 108,000,000)

Transportation

One of the most populous cities in the world, Jakarta is strained by transportation problems.[33] In Indonesia most communal transport is provided by mikrolets, which are privately run minibuses.

Road transport

Despite the presence of many wide roads, Jakarta suffers from congestion due to heavy traffic, especially in the central business district. To reduce traffic jams, some major roads in Jakarta have a ‘three in one’ rule during rush hours, first introduced in 1992, prohibiting fewer than three passengers per car on certain roads.

Auto rickshaws, called bajaj (pronounced badge-eye), provide local transportation in the back streets of some parts of the city. From the early 1940s to 1991 they were a common form of local transportation in the city. In 1966, an estimated 160,000 rickshaws were operating in the city; as much as fifteen percent of Jakarta’s total workforce was engaged in rickshaw driving.

In 1971, rickshaws were banned from major roads, and shortly thereafter the government attempted a total ban, which substantially reduced their numbers but did not eliminate them. An especially aggressive campaign to eliminate them finally succeeded in 1990 and 1991, but during the economic crisis of 1998, some returned amid less effective government attempts to control them.[34]

The TransJakarta bus rapid transit service operates on seven reserved busway corridors in the city; the first, from Blok M to Jakarta Kota opened in January 2004.

An outer ring road is now being constructed and is partly operational from Cilincing-Cakung-Pasar Rebo-Pondok Pinang-Daan Mogot-Cengkareng. A toll road connects Jakarta to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in the north of Jakarta. Also connected via toll road is the port of Merak and Tangerang to the west and Bekasi, Cibitung and Karawang, Purwakarta and Bandung to the east.

Landmarks and Tourist Attractions

In addition to several museums, such as the National Museum of Indonesia, Jakarta has some other landmarks like its National Monument, the Presidential Palace, Gambir Station, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Bung Karno Stadium, and the DPR/MPR Building.

Some tourist sites include the Ragunan Zoo in South Jakarta, Blok M, Jakarta Old Town, and Glodok (Indonesia’s version of Chinatown. There are also many shopping malls in Jakarta, including Plaza Senayan, Plaza Indonesia, Grand Indonesia, Pondok Indah Mall, Mal Taman Anggrek, and Ratu Plaza.

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Havana with Tony Wheeler – Lonely Planet Travel Video

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Havana with Tony Wheeler – Lonely Planet Travel Video

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Havana is the capital city, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city is one of the 14 Cuban provinces. The city/province has 2.4 million inhabitants, and the urban area over 3.7 million, making Havana the largest city in both Cuba and the Caribbean region. The city extends mostly westward and southward from the bay, which is entered through a narrow inlet and which divides into three main harbours: Marimelena, Guanabacoa, and Atarés. The sluggish Almendares River traverses the city from south to north, entering the Straits of Florida a few miles west of the bay. In 1959 the city halted its growth, and since then has suffered a net loss of living units, despite its population increase.

King Philip II of Spain granted Havana the title of City in 1592 and a royal decree in 1634 recognized its importance by officially designated as the “Key to the New World and Rampart of the West Indies”. Havana’s coat of arms carries this inscription. The Spaniards began building fortifications, and in 1553 they transferred the governor’s residence to Havana from Santiago de Cuba on the eastern end of the island, thus making Havana the de facto capital.

The importance of harbour fortifications was early recognized as English, French, and Dutch sea marauders attacked the city in the 16th century. The sinking of the U.S. battleship Maine in Havana’s harbor in 1898 was the immediate cause of the Spanish-American War. Present day Havana is the center of the Cuban government, and various ministries and headquarters of businesses are based there.

Geography

The city extends mostly westward and southward from the bay, which is entered through a narrow inlet and which divides into three main harbours: Marimelena, Guanabacoa, and Atarés. The sluggish Almendares River traverses the city from south to north, entering the Straits of Florida a few miles west of the bay.

The low hills on which the city lies rise gently from the deep blue waters of the straits. A noteworthy elevation is the 200-foot- (60-metre-) high limestone ridge that slopes up from the east and culminates in the heights of La Cabaña and El Morro, the sites of colonial fortifications overlooking the bay. Another notable rise is the hill to the west that is occupied by the University of Havana and the Prince’s Castle.

Landmarks

  • Fortaleza San Carlos de la Cabaña, a fortress located on the east side of the Havana bay, La Cabaña is the most impressive fortress from colonial times, particularly its walls constructed (at the same time as El Morro) at the end of the 18th century.
  • El Capitolio Nacional, built in 1929 as the Senate and House of Representatives, this colossal building is recognizable by its dome which dominates the city’s skyline. Inside stands the third largest indoor statue in the world, La Estatua de la República. Nowadays, the Cuban Academy of Sciences headquarters and the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (the National Museum of Natural History) has its venue within the building and contains the largest natural history collection in the country.
  • Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro is a picturesque fortress guarding the entrance to Havana bay, constructed because of the threat to the harbor from pirates.
  • Castillo San Salvador de la Punta, a small fortress built in the 16th century, at the western entry point to the Havana harbour, it played a crucial role in the defence of Havana during the first centuries of colonisation. The fortress still houses some twenty old guns and other military antiques.
  • El Cristo de La Habana, Havana’s statue of Christ blesses the city from the other side of the bay, much like the famous Cristo Redentor in Rio de Janeiro. Carved from marble by Jilma Madera, it was erected in 1958 on a platform which makes a good spot from which to watch old Havana and the harbor.
  • The Great Theatre of Havana, famous particularly for the acclaimed National Ballet of Cuba, it sometimes hosts performances by the National Opera. The theater is also known as concert hall, Garcia Lorca, the biggest in Cuba.
  • Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Art Deco National Hotel.
  • El Malecón Habanero, the avenue that runs beside the seawall built along the northern shore of Havana, from Habana Vieja to the Almendares River, it forms the southern boundary of Old Havana, Centro Habana and Vedado.
  • Museo de la Revolución, located in the former Presidential Palace, with the yacht Granma on display behind the museum.
  • Necrópolis Cristóbal Colón, a cemetery and open air museum, it is one of the most famous cemeteries in Latin America, known for its beauty and magnificence. The cemetery was built in 1876 and has nearly one million tombs. Some of the gravestones are decorated with the works of sculptors of the calibre of Ramos Blancos, among others.

Culture

Havana, by far the leading cultural centre of the country, offers a wide variety of features that range from museums, palaces, public squares, avenues, churches, fortresses (including the largest fortified complex in the Americas dating from the 16th through 18th centuries), ballet and from art and musical festivals to exhibitions of technology. The restoration of Old Havana offered a number of new attractions, including a museum to house relics of the Cuban revolution. The government placed special emphasis on cultural activities, many of which are free or involve only a minimal charge.

Before the Communists, Havana cinema rivalled New York City and Paris. As Guillaume Carpentier put it in a Le Monde article, “with nationalisation, they closed one by one, for lack of maintenance, films or electricity… Havana, Cubans complain, is a cemetery of cinemas. It is also a cemetery of bookshops, markets, shops…”.

Tourism

Before the Cuban Revolution – and particularly from 1915 to 1930 – tourism was one of Cuba’s major sources of hard currency (behind only the sugar and tobacco industries). Havana, where a kind of laissez-faire attitude in all things leisurely was the norm, was the Caribbean’s most popular destination, particularly with US citizens, who sought to skirt the restrictions of prohibition America.

Following a severe drop in the influx of tourists to the island (resulting, primarily, from the Great Depression, the end of prohibition in the United States and the outbreak of World War II), Havana began to welcome visitors in significant numbers again in the 1950s, when US organized crime secured control of much of the leisure and tourism industries in the country.

This was a time when Cuba’s foreign minister boasted that Havana spent as much on parties as any major capital in the world, when the island was the mob’s most secure link in the drug-trafficking chain which culminated in the United States and when the country’s justified reputation for sensuality and dolce vita pursuits earned it the appellation of “the Latin Las Vegas”. Meyer Lansky built the Hotel Riviera, Santo Trafficante came to own shares in the Sevilla and a casino was opened at the Hotel Plaza during this time.

It was tourism’s association to the world of gambling and prostitution which made the revolutionary government established in 1959 approach the entire sector as a social evil to be eradicated. Many bars and gambling venues were closed down following the revolution and a government body, the National Institute of the Tourism Industry, took over many facilities (traditionally available to wealthy) to make them accessible to the general public.

With the deterioration of Cuba – US relations and the imposition of a trade embargo on the island in 1961, tourism dropped drastically and did not return to anything close to its pre-revolution levels until 1989. The revolutionary government in general, and Fidel Castro in particular, initially opposed any considerable development of the tourism industry, linking the sphere to the debauchery and criminal activities of times past. In the late 1970s, however, Castro changed his stance and, in 1982, the Cuban government passed a foreign investment code which opened a number of sectors, tourism included, to foreign capital.

Through the creation of firms open to such foreign investment (such as Cubanacan, established in 1987), Cuba began to attract capital for hotel development, managing to increase the number of tourists from 130,000 (in 1980) to 326,000 (by the end of that decade).

As a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies in 1989 and early 90s, Cuba was plunged into a severe economic crisis and saw itself in desperate need of foreign currency. The answer, again, was found in tourism, and the Cuban government spent considerable sums in the industry to attract visitors. Following heavy investment, by 1995, the industry had become Cuba’s main source of income.


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