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Peace Park

Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Peace Park
The Peace Park was built as a memorial and renunciation of the horrors of war. It is dominated by the memorial mound which is surrounded by landscaped gardens and pavilions.

On September 9, 1945, the Japanese officially surrendered Labuan to the Australian. The commander of the Japanese 37th Army, Lieutenant General Masao Baba was flown to the shores of Layang-Layangan Beach in the Tachikawa K154C (HICKORY). And in a small wooden shack under the shelter of the coconut trees some 50 meters South-west of the Surrender Point, the handover signing ceremony took place.

He surrendered his sword formally to Major General George Wootten, commanding officer of the Australian 9th Division, under the witness of Group Captain C.W Pearce and Squadron Leader J.S St Heaps of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in Sydney, Australia.

Nearby, camps were set up for trials on the officers and servicemen of the Japanese unit for atrocities at the POW camps in Sabah and Sarawak. The war trials in Layang-Layangan were the first in Southeast Asia, led by Lieutenant L.J Morshead of the Commanding First Australian Corps. Subsequently, Labuan reclaimed her initial name from Maida Island, and was placed under the British Military Administration.

To show that they are genuinely sorry for the trouble their forefathers have caused, the Japanese decided to build the Peace Park next to the Surrender Point. The Peace Park pays tribute to the ones who have sacrificed their lives in Borneo during WWII. It is also a memento of friendship between Malaysia and Japan, and a promise of peace and harmony for all mankind that such war-like cruelty will not happen again in the future.

The Peace Park was heavily funded by the Japan Shipbuilding Industry Foundation, chaired by Ryoishi Sasagawa, as well as by families of the dead and comrades in arm from some industrial firms. On April 14, 1984, Mitsunori Ueki of the South Pacific Memorial Association Incorporation in Japan handed over the Peace Park ceremonially to the Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Harris Salleh. Till this day, funding still comes in abundantly from Japan to keep the Peace Park in good shape.

With serene waters under arched bridges and around shaded gazebos that embrace the large raised mound with two outstanding curved walls that is the centre of attention in the Peace Park. At the entrance of the Park stood a distinguishable stone slab, and on it carved clearly to echo till the end of time – “Peace is the best”.

Yes, peace is at last at Labuan Island.

Mystery Chimney

Tuesday, September 29, 2009
An artefact from Labuan's coal mining era (1847-1912). During that period, Labuan was used as a coaling station for ships sailing in the Far East area. Coal was transported by single rail track to Victoria Port.

Situated on a rise at Tanjung Kubong, this 106 feet high red brick stack, known to locals as The Chimney, is an artefact from Labuan's coal mining era (1847-1912). It is believed to have been built during the time when Labuan was used as a coaling station for ships sailing in the Far East area, and the mined coal was transported by single rail track to Victoria Port. The Chimney was made from more than 23,000 pieces of red bricks that was imported all the way from England. The bricks layering and works are typical of British style.

For a long time, the Chimney was thought to be nothing more than the ventilation shaft typical of a chimney structure. However, recent findings revealed that there were no traces of smokes or burning on the inside of the structure which might suggest its use as a chimney. Careful excavation has revealed at least 12 layers of bricks beneath the surface. The structure sits firmly on a large tract of limestone rock containing rich kaolin or porcelain clay, which provided the strong foundation.

The function of the Chimney remains very much a mystery today. Many have put forward theories with regards to its purpose. Some say it was part of an unfinished mansion, while others say it was a light house beaconing passing ships. In its heyday, a thriving settlement was built at the sea front area below the Chimney. It was then used as a bell tower to announce the arrival of ships to the residents below. but to date, the Chimney stands as an intriguing riddle that continues to fascinate locals and visitors alike.

The Chimney Information Centre beside the Chimney provides detailed information on the history of coal mining in Tanjung Kubong in the 1800s, as well as the construction of the railways and tunnels, and of course, the history of The Chimney.

The Great Blue Hole of Belize

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

People in Belize think it should be one of the seven wonders of the world. Dive boats visit it every day. It is protected by the Belize Audubon Society and is a Belize National Monument. It became a World Heritage site in 1997. Jacques Cousteau took the Calypso and his one-man submarines into the hole in 1972 to examine stalactites suspended from overhanging walls. The Great Blue Hole is surrounded by shallow water of Lighthouse Reef Atoll, a nearly perfect circle in the middle of a shallow reef. The atoll is located ~96 km east of the Belize mainland. It is not an easy place to reach.

Why this blue hole? The Belize Great Blue Hole is located far from industrial sources of aerosols but is well within the area affected by silica- and clay-bearing African soil dust. African dust is deposited in the Caribbean mainly between June and October. The hole thus serves as a giant sediment trap where the overall sedimentation rate is slow and layering is preserved due to anoxic conditions. A high rate of atmospheric deposition relative to normal shallow-marine sedimentation should make it easier to identify and separate African soil dust from local carbonate mud. If all goes as planned, these cores will provide the centerpiece of a study aimed at determining the geologic history of dust deposition over the past few thousand years.


Macau Tower

Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Soaring 338 metres above the city, the Macau Tower is the 10th highest freestanding tower in the world and the 8th tallest in Asia. It stands taller than Auckland's Sky Tower, Paris' Eiffel and Sydney's AMP Tower. The Macau Tower Convention & Entertainment Centre (MTCEC) fronts onto the Pearl River and the Nam Van Lake development. MTCEC is just 5 minutes from the Macau Ferry Terminal and 15 minutes away from the border crossing to Zhuhai, China and the Macau International Airport.

Macau Tower

The Tower dominates the skyline and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Macau cityscape, China, the Pearl River and even some islands of Hong Kong on a clear day.

The Tower Pod anchoring at 223m above ground houses four public accessed levels, starting from the double-height Main Observation Level with a cafe, a Tower Restaurant seating 250 persons which takes 60 minutes to make one revolution, and an Outdoor Observation Deck where visitors can enjoy the fresh air at a height of 233 m above ground level.

Entry to the Tower is underground and is accessed via escalators within the Convention & Entertainment Centre. Visitors are guided through a shopping area — featuring a unique marble floor that depicts an abstract interpretation of the Pearl River Delta— and are further led to the Tower ticket and reception area. The development will become the latest tourist spot, and will play an important part of STDM's vision of bringing additional visitors to Macau.

Kaghan Valley

Monday, September 21, 2009
Out of the numerous beautiful valleys of Hazara, Kaghan is the most attractive of all. A holiday retreat with alluring scenic beauty, the Kaghan valley is about 160 km long and between two to four thousand meters above sea level at various places. Towering peaks of Himalayan Range, glaciers, water falls and crystal clear water of the lakes are still in a pristine state and make the valley an unspoiled paradise. Kunhar river with plenty of trout fish flows through the valley and has the villages of Balakot, Kaghan, Naran on its banks. The nomads take their flocks of cattle to the high pastures of the Kaghan valley in spring and bring them down again in autumn. Their women are colourfully dressed.

Taiwan's tourism sector wins award in Japan

Saturday, September 19, 2009
The Japan Association of Travel Agents on Friday (JATA) granted a "JATA Award" to Taiwan's Tourism Bureau and the Taiwan Visitors Association in recognition of their efforts in promoting tourism exchanges between Taiwan and Japan.

Akira Kanai, leader of the JATA Award Evaluation Committee, presented the award to Taiwan Visitors Association Chairman Chou Ching-hsiung at the 2009 Tokyo International Tourism Expo.

Chou said the award confirms the efforts by the Tourism Bureau and Taiwan Visitors Association in upgrading tourism quality.

He said that Taiwan's tourism industry has escaped the shadow cast by Typhoon Morakot in the southern part of Taiwan in early to mid-August, and he welcomed Japanese tourists to visit the island for a taste of its beautiful scenery and fine foods, in addition to the hospitality shown by its people.

Tourism Bureau Director-General Janice Lai said that Japan is one of Taiwan's most important tourism markets, and her bureau will make greater efforts to attract more Japanese to Taiwan.

The JATA Award, established in 2006, is one of Japan's highest honors given to the tourism sector.

In addition to Taiwan, Hong Kong's tourism authorities and Japan's NHK were also awarded for their contributions to promote the tourism industry.

Kakadu National Park

Friday, September 18, 2009
Kakadu National Park is one of four Australian sites included on the World Heritage List for both outstanding cultural and natural universal values. The flood plains of Kakadu illustrate the ecological effects of sea-level change in northern Australia. The park features great natural beauty and sweeping landscapes, as well as internationally important wetlands. The park is extremely important to Aboriginal people, and many communities still occupy the region. The Aboriginal art sites of Kakadu National Park are a unique artistic achievement that provides an outstanding record of human interaction with the environment over tens of thousands of years.

Kakadu National Park was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981 (Stage 2, 1987; Stage 3, 1992). Kakadu National Park was one of 15 World Heritage places included in the National Heritage List on 21 May 2007.

Calabar Beach

Thursday, September 17, 2009
Calabar Beach
This beach, at the mouth of the new Calabar River, is uninhabited save for a solitary fisherman's hut. The beach is virtually isolated and lends visitors the luxury of privacy in a beautiful setting off the beaten path. Since the beach is flanked by a swamp and can only be reached by boat or canoe, getting there is half the fun and enhances one's fascination with this enchanted locale

One of the National Beauty Spot in China

Wednesday, September 16, 2009
West Lake
Located in Hangzhou, provincial seat of Zhejiang Province, the West Lake is one of the most famed tourist attractions in China. For centuries, the West Lake has been well known both for its picturesque landscape and for cultural heritage surviving yet illustrating the past dynasties.

The landscape area of the West Lake includes the surrounding hills and nearby historical sites as well as the lake itself. The lake area covers around 60 square kilometers consisting of 5.68 square kilometers of water area.

The West Lake is the centerpiece of the natural fascination with bluish hills on three sides, serene and charming. Along the Lake, there stand lines of willows with ancient bridges leaping over them. Mist now veils the whole landscape, now just perches lightly on the green and luxuriant hills in thevicinity with tiny streams winding in deep valleys.

More than ninety theme parks and scenic spots are dottedaround the lake area such as the Ten Views of West Lake and ten-odd newly named tourist attractions. Rain or shine, the West Lake holds great attraction to tourists in all seasons.

Besides its impressive scenery, the West Lake boasts of abundant cultural heritage and legends passed from generation to generation, commingling natural features, past personages, history, and art in the local area.

In the whole landscape area, there are more than one hundred scenic spots open to the tourists at present. Each year thereare 0.5 million of foreign guests and 12 million domestic visitors coming to Hangzhou.

Kowloon Peninsula Tour

Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple
Kowloon Peninsula, which links Hong Kong to the mainland, offers yet another view of this exciting part of China. Allow at least one full day to experience its sparkling delights, which include Tsim Sha Tsui , Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok.

Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple , patterned after an ancient Chinese palace and rich in Chinese culture, is the most famous temple in Hong Kong. Fortunetellers are active there. The Star Ferry can be both inexpensive and romantic. For shutterbugs, a ride on the ferry provides the optimum angle from which to snap fantastic views of Victoria Harbor.

Open-air markets lure every tourist, and no one leaves empty-handed. There is something for every taste, from the fashionable bargains at Ladies' Market in Mong Kok to the electronic gadgets and souvenirs in Yau Ma Tei's Temple Street Night Market.

Kowloon Park and the Hong Kong Space Museum are also popular with tourists.

Heard and McDonald Islands

Monday, September 14, 2009
McDonald Island
The Australian Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI) is one of the wildest places on earth - a smoking volcano under snow and glacial ice that rises above the world's stormiest waters.

HIMI is the only sub-Antarctic island group that has an intact ecosystem, to which no known species has been introduced directly by humans, and where the ongoing evolution of plants and animals occurs in a natural state. The vast numbers of penguins and seals that occupy the beaches are considered one of the great wildlife sights of the world.

Australian Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997. Australian Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands was one of 15 World Heritage places included in the National Heritage List on 21 May 2007.

Mt.Laoshan Scenic Spot

Friday, September 11, 2009
The lofty Mt. Laoshan stands on the Yellow Sea in East China. It is very grand, beautiful and steepy. Since ancient times, legend goes that many celestial beings live here. Now, many Taoists and Buddhists cultivate themselves here. Many VIP and scholars had visited the beautiful rivulets, steep peaks and beautiful coastal and left many romaunts.

Its advantageous natural scenes and luscious human scenes offer unique situations for its tourism. There are four routes to Mt. Laoshan: the south route, the east route, the north route and sea route. Laoshan scenic area consists of Jufeng Peak Resort, Dengying Resort, Liuqing Resort, Taiqing Scenic Area, Shangqing Scenic Area, Qipanshi Resort, Yangkou Resort, North Jiushui River Resort and Hualou Resort. There are twelve scenic spots such as Mingxia Brightening, Gurgling of Waterfall and Hualou Stone-piling in the scenic area, which are scattered in Mt. Laoshan just like twelve gems.

With the booming tourism, the tourism resources in Mt. Lao grow well. Many scenic spots and historic sites are protected and repaired effectively; ancient trees, forest and biological environment are well managed. Now, Mt. Laoshan Scenic Area has been appraised as State-level Forest Park, National Civilized Scenic Area, Advanced Setup of National Scenic Areas and National Grade AAAA Tour Area.

Kafir Kot Forts

Thursday, September 10, 2009
On the way to Chashma Barrage (from D.I. Khan), The Southern Kafir Kot Fort stands on low (Marwat) hills and is clearly visible from the road. Kike the Northern Kafir Kot Fort, 38 km further up the Indus, it was built at the time of the Hindu Rajput Kingdom (8th to the 10th century) and was destroyed by Mahmud of Ghaznavi in the 11th century. Neither fort was rebuilt.

Kafir Kot
As the Southern Kafir Kot Fort there are three main temple and shrines on the same plinth. THe carving deep chiselled and reminiscent of Mayan sculpture, is fine and well preserved.

The Northern Kafir Kot Fort is about 6 km north of the western end of Chashma Barrage. The fort commands a splendid defensive position. It covers a rubble-strewn area of about 25 hectares (62 acres). Inside there are four temples, two badly eroded, the others intricately carved. The best preserved walls including a fate, are on the north side of the fort; the walls are about 8 Meters (20 feet) high.

The Drakensberg Mountains

Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Hiking and Mountaineering

Known in English as the Drakensberg, and in the Zulu language as 'iziNtaba zoKhahlamba' (Barrier of Spears), this 200km range of mountains is a proclaimed World Heritage site, and is high enough to become snow-capped during the winter months. It is here, among the majesty of the mountains, that one can still view some 35,000 ancient examples of San Rock art, dating back to the Stone Age.

Adventure sports of all types are enjoyed in this mountain kingdom, from climbing, mountain biking and whitewater rafting, to the more sedate pursuits of trout fishing in the crystal-clear rivers, and invigorating hikes. In the mountains, the air is pristine - ‘champagne air’, we like to call it, and you will savour every breath. On your walks, it is likely you will encounter many animal species, including the Eland, the world’s largest antelope. Baboons frequent the rocky outcrops and smaller mammals such as otter, porcupine and rock hyraxes are often seen. Leopards and caracals hunt in this territory, and although sightings are extremely rare, you may be thrilled to see tracks on your walks.

Qutub Minar

Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Qutub Minar

The Qutub Minar is located in a Mehrauli in South Delhi. It was built by Qutb-ud-din Aibak of the Slave Dynasty, who took possession of Delhi in 1206. It is a fluted red sandstone tower, which tapers up to a height of 72.5 metres and is covered with intricate carvings and verses from the Qur'an. Qutub-ud-din Aybak began constructing this victory tower as a sign of Muslim domination of Delhi and as a minaret for the Muslim priest, the muezzin, to call the faithful to prayer. However, only the first story was completed by Qutub-ud-din. The other stories were built by his successor Iltutmish. The two circular stories in white marble were built by Ferozshah Tughlaq in 1368, replacing the original fourth story.

The balconies in the tower are supported by exquisite stalactite designs. The tapering tower has pointed and circular flutings on the first storey and star-shaped ones on the second and third stories.

The Qutub Minar is also significant for what it represents in the history of Indian culture. In many ways, the Qutub Minar, the first monument built by a Muslim ruler in India, heralded the beginning of a new style of art and architecture that came to be known as the Indo-Islamic architecture style. Other monuments around the Qutb complex, are Jamaali Kamaali mosque and tombs, Balban's tomb and Adham Khan's Tomb.

Maldives - The Sunny side of Life

MaldivesThe Maldives has always been a unique nation. Apart from a period of Portuguese domination in the Sixteenth century and carrying the status of a British Protectorate from 1887 to 1965, the archipelago has been an independent archipelago for at least twenty-five centuries.

The population of the Maldives currently stands slightly in excess of a quarter of a million. A common language (Dhivehi) and a religion (Islam) have been two blessings that unite the people into a cohesive and peaceful society. Pride is taken in tradition though not at the expense of development and modernization.

The Maldives actually straddles the equator. The climate is tropical with no major seasonal differences. Though the southwest monsoon does bring most of the rain, mostly around June and July, tropical rain showers can occur any time! The skies are usually clear and the sun shines brightly. That is when the cooling sea breezes, about which poems have been written, bring about the romantic in you.

Monday, September 7, 2009
QICC is located at Century Square of the Qingdao Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone and enjoys a beautiful view along the seashore. With an area of 250,000 m2, it currently remains the largest venue for exhibition and convention purposes in Shandong province. It was put into use in Aril, 2001 and ever since has marked a rapid development phase of Qingdao exhibition and convention economy.

After the 2nd phase, the total floor area will reach 150,000 m2, which includes an exhibition area of 50,000 m2 and a convention area of 10,000 m2.

QICC has established a broad network with both domestic and overseas exhibition agencies and has joined IAEM. The successful holdings of international exhibitions such as the largest specialized fisheries exposition in Asia "China Fisheries & Seafood Expo", the first international electronic exposition approved by the State Council "China International Consumer Electronics Show", "Qingdao International Fashion Week", and "China International Marine Fair" have become the highlights of QICC. In addition, these successes have greatly promoted the development of exhibition and convention industry in Qingdao as well as the overall economic growth of the city.

Quality Assurance for Papplewick Pumping Station

Thursday, September 3, 2009
Papplewick Pumping Station, one of Nottinghamshire’s most popular tourist attractions has received the Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Award from the prestigious Visit Britain tourist group.

The station won the award for providing a quality assured visitor attraction and the award helps to provide the public with reassurance when looking for a great day out. All attractions displaying the sign have undergone a lengthy independent assessment for the quality of their visitor experience.

Director, Ashley Smart said “Receiving the award is a spectacular achievement and helps reinforce the station’s position as a top tourist attraction in the county. The award also shows potential funders and grant givers that we are a worthy investment that merits support from the highest levels.”

The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), located on the Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York, USA, is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world. Located in park-like grounds, the Museum comprises 25 interconnected buildings that house 46 permanent exhibition halls, research laboratories, and its renowned library.

The collections contain over 150 million specimens, of which only a small fraction can be displayed at any given time. The Museum has a scientific staff of more than 200, and sponsors over 100 special field expeditions each year.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

This Buddhist stupa, just three km from Barikot, unfolds its attractive glimpses on the right side of the road. It was approximately built between the third and the fourth centuries AD, perhaps being the only relic with its original dome still intact. On the right side of the road, nearly one and half kilometer from the stupa, large figures of Buddha carved on a rock revive memories of that once glorious period of Buddhism in this region.

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