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5 Wonderful Natural Gems To Explore in Southeast Asia

5 Wonderful Natural Gems To Explore in Southeast Asia

So you want to go out in the world and travel? If you are a fan of simply going out and seeing some natural wonders instead of the sometimes over-hyped cities in the western world, then maybe you should consider traveling to Asia and seeing what this amazing continent has to offer. The reality is, we all got caught up so much in traveling to Europe or the States that we forget about Asia.

Even as just a small part of the whole continent, the Southeast has a lot of exciting natural wonders you can visit and spend weeks exploring. Not only is the Southeast quite rich in various attractions, but the whole continent, in general, is quite cheap. All of the expenses you would have for a typical holiday in the western part of the world are halved in Asia and your biggest expense is the plane ticket needed to get there.

On top of that, the regulations for visiting Southeast Asia are quite lax and most countries don’t require visas to visit them. This means no waiting period, just hop on a plane and go to whatever place seems attractive to you in Southeast Asia. While we are at it, let’s see what amazing choices there are for visiting nature’s works of art in this part of the world.

1. Chiang Mai, Thailand

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    Since the airport in Bangkok has the most flights from everywhere around the world, Thailand is a good place to start your trip. Although Chiang Mai is a city located in the north of Thailand, its cultural heritage and epic sights around it simply need to be mentioned.

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    The city of Chiang Mai has a lot of culture, amazing food markets, relaxed atmosphere, polite locals, old temples and pretty landscapes. It was able to become “the spot” for backpack travelers and digital nomads in the past couple of years.

    Chiang Mai offers some of the best street food in whole Thailand and it is very cheap with the cost-per-dish being around one dollar. You can find hotel accommodation for just 3 dollars per night and get a place to stay with the locals for an even cheaper price while learning more about their culture and enjoying their hospitality.

    Once you’ve settled in, go jungle trekking as Chiang Mai is the start for many routes. Go to the Elephant Nature Park, go zip lining through its surrounding mountains or tour the amazing temples you can find all around Chiang Mai. Set aside some extra time when visiting Chiang Mai as you will love it and want to spend more time here.

    2. Sapa, Vietnam

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      You can get to Sapa through two separate means of transport, by bus and a train ride. You can grab a train from Hanoi to the station called Lao Cai. When you arrive there, take a taxi or a shuttle bus to Sapa. The road from Lao Cai to Sapa costs around 3 dollars and it can get a bit shaky.

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      The Sapa valley is full of beautiful sights and this city is the main base for all trekking that goes around here. Apart from having amazing nature around the whole valley, there are also many traditional small villages and various hill tribes you can visit while trekking.

      Sapa is also well-known for its marketplaces where you can buy a lot of souvenirs including the handcrafted items people from the tribes around the city come to sell at Sapa marketplaces.

      3. Taman Negara

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        Taman Negara is a large rainforest and one of the oldest of its kind. Thousands of tourists visit this national park every year to see all of the beauties that it has to offer. The best way to get to Taman Negara is to go through the Tembeling river with a boat.

        Through the river, you can reach the small village called Kuala Tahan, which is the base for all of the adventures you can have in this national park. If you do this through tour companies, make sure that they explain all the details to you and make sure that they don’t simply drop you off in Kuala Tahan, and leave you there to manage the rest of the tour on your own.

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        One of the most famous canopy walkways is located in Taman Negara as it is the longest in the world. The whole track is well signposted and just after 45m, it offers tourists amazing views of the whole rainforest. Experiencing it costs less than a dollar. What’s even better is the fact that you can find all the information you want on the wildlife and birds you see from these treetops.

        4. Mount Kinabalu

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          One of the tallest mountains of Southeast Asia is called Mount Kinabalu and its 4095 meters tall. This mountain stretches across north Borneo and it’s the highest peak between the island of New Guinea and the Himalayas. A person with good physical conditioning can climb this mountain easily, as there are no difficult slopes and there are many routes and roads that lead to the top of the mountain.

          There is also no need for any climbing equipment, but just in case, there are a lot of guides who will go with you and help you avoid any problems. The climbing experience is amazing and even those people who’ve done this a lot say that it’s fun to climb Mount Kinabalu. The easiest way to get here is to catch a minibus from the capital of Borneo Kota Kinabalu.

          The whole area around the mountain is also a national park and there are many tourist guides who can show you around and help you experience the complete beauty of this place.

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          5. Komodo National Park

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            The Komodo National Park is located in Indonesia, a country further to the south. This island is located between two islands called Flores and Lombok. To get to the Komodo National Park, you will first have to go to Bali and from there, catch a plane or a boat.

            You can catch a flight from the airport in Bali to Labuan Bajo which is one the Flores Island. This is the leading base for exploring the national park. From this place, you can take some great diving tours and enjoy the marina located there.

            At Labuan Bajo, you can also get a charter boat and go on a cruise around all of the Komodo islands and go snorkeling or discover some interesting things about the archipelago. You can also go sightseeing from Bali. Here, you can get on board on a liveaboard and go on an amazing diving cruise around Komodo marine and Lombok Island.

            When in Labuan Bajo, go discovering the whole island with a bus or hire a driver guide that can take you around all the gems this island has to offer. Everyone who visits this national park is, of course, there to see the Komodo dragons. These are the largest lizards on the planet, and they can only be found here so, if you are nearby, take this amazing opportunity.

            The best locations for seeing them are on the Komodo and Rinca islands. They are dangerous and they have attacked people in the past, but they are usually quite slow and don’t move a lot. But still, always have a guide present and listen to their instructions.

            No matter which of these places you visit, make sure that you get to know the locals living there and talk to them. You can learn amazing things and they can show you what these places have to offer to the tiniest detail. If you can visit Southeast Asia, I guarantee you that you will have a memorable holiday with a lot of great experiences.

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            Vladimir Zivanovic

            CMO at MyCity-Web

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            Last Updated on September 10, 2019

            7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

            7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

            Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

            Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

            This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

            One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

            Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

            Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

            1. Gratitude

            Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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            The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

            Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

            So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

            Gratitude-Quotes

              2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

              This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

              For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

              What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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              Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

              3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

              This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

              Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

              An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

              Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

              write down goals

                4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

                According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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                There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

                5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

                Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

                Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

                6. Rise Earlier

                The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

                For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

                So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

                Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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                7. Listen to Uplifting Music

                Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

                Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

                It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

                Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

                More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

                Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

                Reference

                [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
                [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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