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Lijiang’s Art And Music Scene

Lijiang’s Art And Music Scene

The Unique Cultural Traditions of the Naxi People

Far up in the northwest corner of China’s Yunnan Province, just off the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, lies the Lijiang Plain. It is home to the Naxi people, one of the best known of Yunnan’s two dozen national minorities, a folk whose art and music are drawing appreciative students and patrons from distant lands. And their attention, in turn, has encouraged the blossoming of a neo-traditional rennaissance in the work of local painters and musicians.

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Buddhist Temples Of Vietnam

Buddhist Temples Of Vietnam

Where Mahayana, Daoist and Confucian Traditions Meet and Mingle

In Vietnam, where Chinese cultural influences are strong, the face of Buddhism is fascinatingly different. In the dragon-ornamented temples of Hue, or behind almost any shop front in Cholon, an ancient Buddhist tradition, the Mahayana, flourishes. The institutions which preserve and pass on this faith are the country’s Chua Viet, or Vietnamese Buddhist temples. Here the Mahayana traditions of Central Asia merge and mingle with Chinese Confucianism, Taoism, and the archaic spirit-worship indigenous to the civilisations of mainland Southeast Asia.

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Discover Thailand’s Hill Tribes

Discover Thailand’s Hill Tribes

Trekking In Northern Thailand

A visit to a hill tribe village is one of the main reasons why people travel to Thailand’s far north. There can be few other places on earth where so many varied, exotic and fascinating cultures coexist side-by-side in apparent harmony. To be sure, similar hill tribe groups live nearby, in neighbouring Burma, South China, and Laos; yet the former remains troubled by ethnic insurgency, its upland areas closed to foreign travellers for decades, whilst facilities for visitors to minority areas of South China are still rudimentary, and in Laos virtually non-existent.

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Sapa

Sapa

Sapa, Vietnam: A Resort Reborn

Tay-Bác is the name given to Vietnam’s mountainous northwestern provinces. The area extends from Hanoi north along the Red River to the border of Yunnan Province, China and west of the river to the boundary of Phong Saly Province, Laos. The country’s highest peaks lie in Tay-Bác. The valleys and slopes are home to an ethnic mosaic of some of the most colourful and traditional peoples in Southeast Asia. Yet in all of Tay-Bác only one major urban centre is up in the hills.

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The Tarutao Archipelago

The Tarutao Archipelago

Thailand’s Sea-Girt Getaway

Imagine an isolated, sea-girt archipelago, its inaccessible karst cliffs rising above virgin rainforest, surrounded by deserted white sand beaches, turquoise waters and coral reefs teeming with every kind of exotic fish. Overhead a lone sea eagle is silhouetted against the setting sun. It’s everybody’s dream of a perfect getaway – but fortunately, at Thailand’s Tarutao Marine National Park, it’s more than just a dream. It’s reality.

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Ban Huai Kee Lek

Ban Huai Kee Lek

An Akha Village on Top of the World

The Akha are a relatively poor tribal people living on the very top of the most inaccessible peaks. Of Tibetan origin, they are the most recent hill people to have migrated to Thailand, and they are perhaps the least conversant with Thai as a language. They are immediately distinguishable by the elaborate and beautiful headgear of the women – perhaps the most remarkable single feature of Thai hill tribes.

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Phuket’s Peranakan Community

Phuket’s Peranakan Community

Thailand’s Historic "Straits Chinese"

“Peranakan” is a Malay term that, literally translated, means “of mixed race”. Over the centuries it has become used to identify the descendants of the first Chinese settlers in southern Thailand and peninsular Malaysia and their locally-born wives. The great majority of these Chinese migrants came from southern Fujian Province and spoke Hokkien dialect. Hard-working and ambitious, they were commercially successful, gradually developing and expanding both local and regional trade.

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Phanom Rung, Isaan’s Temple of the Gods

Phanom Rung, Isaan’s Temple of the Gods

A Drive to Phanom Rung via the Cambodian Frontier

Khorat’s Prasat Hin Phimai may be the best-known and most easily accessible Khmer temple site in Northeast Thailand, but Buriram’s Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung is perhaps better preserved, and certainly set amidst more spectacular scenery. Nor is it hard to reach if you have your own transport. Just 18 kilometres to the south of Route 24, the main highway between Khorat and Ubon Ratchathani, the carefully restored ruins are served by an excellent all-weather road from the small settlement of Ban Ta Ko, 18 kilometres to the west of Buriram’s Amphur Prakhon Chai.

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