Shanghai, From Towering Skyscrapers to a Picturesque Old Town

Shanghai, in China, is one of the fastest growing cities on the planet. But as well as being an ultra modern city with one of the tallest buildings in the world, the city has pockets of history and culture that will transport you back in time. When you are ready to go, Brightsun Travel has discounted airfares to Shanghai all year round, so you can experience the old and new in Shanghai this holiday.

A Sci-fi Skyline

A Sci-fi Skyline

The incredible metropolis of Shanghai, a city that has developed at such warp speed that it boasts contemporary skyscrapers and urban architecture like no other Chinese city, has an almost sci-fi skyline, which includes one of the tallest buildings in the world, the Shanghai Tower, towering above old laneways and local markets.

Contemporary Architecture

Contemporary Architecture

Across Shanghai you will find incredible architecture, centred around the Pudong district, where you can go to the top of the Oriental Pearl Tower, or the Jinmao Tower, for a bird’s-eye view of the city. Or head to the Power Station of Art, Shanghai’s answer to the Tate Modern, and explore a contemporary gallery housed in a former power plant.

Traditional Shanghai

Traditional Shanghai

Almost as an antidote to the city’s mega-skyscrapers, a tour of the city’s Old Town would reveal Shanghai’s more traditional side. Head to the historic district of Bund, and you will discover many heritage buildings that have been preserved for their cultural importance, including Art Deco and neoclassical buildings, old hotels and classic buildings housing traditional British Gentlemen’s clubs.

Shikumen

Shikumen

In some parts of Shanghai, like in Tianzifang, you can walk through Shanghai’s last remaining shikumen complexes, alleyway complexes (or gated communities) that traditionally provide low-rise dwellings for families, and part of the city’s historic landscape. In Xintiandi you could tour the Shikumen Open House Museum and imagine what life in Shanghai was like just a few decades ago.

Wuzhen

Wuzhen

When you are ready to leave the city, just 90 miles from Shanghai, is the ancient water village of Wuzhen, built around waterways and canals, where you can experience the traditional side of China, showcasing a very different way of life to its more space age neighbour. Here you can take a boat trip along winding canals and imagine what life was like in ancient China.

Getting there

Contact Brightsun Travel about a wide range of direct and cheap flights to Shanghai, and take a memorable city break to China this holiday.

 

Manila: One of Asia’s Coolest Cities

The cosmopolitan city of Manila offers a diverse mix of attractions for visitors, from Spanish colonial architecture, to up and coming creative enclaves boasting edgy art galleries. The list of things to do in Manila is endless. Here we have put together 10 of our favourite things to do in Manila, to help you navigate the city’s highlights. When you are ready to go, contact Brightsun Travel about discounted airfares to Manila, and discover one of Asia’s coolest cities.

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1.Parks

Royal Park, covering a massive 60 acres in the heart of the city, is an iconic landmark in Manila, with ornate gardens and atmospheric walkways winding past monuments of great historical significance.

2.Churches

Manila’s architecture includes beautiful old churches, like the San Agustin Church, the oldest church in the Philippines, with an ornate interior and delicately decorated ceilings.

3.Palaces

In Manila you could visit the incredible Malacañang Palace set on the Pasig River. This palace complex, dating back to the 18th century, has been the official residence of the Filipino president since 1935.

4.Historic Buildings

A must-see in Manila is the beautiful Casa Manila, a reproduction of a Spanish colonial house, and a beautiful spot to while away a tropical Manila afternoon, surrounded by atmospheric architecture.

5.Museums

Manila is full of museums, including the National Museum of the Filipino People, with artefacts dating back to 24,000 BC, plus a range of indigenous textiles and ancient shipwrecks.

6.Galleries

The world class Metropolitan Museum of Manila is one of Manila’s top art spaces and galleries, where you could spend an afternoon exploring a range of local contemporary and experimental art.

7.Gardens

Head to the Manila Orchidarium and you could escape the city and surround yourself by hundreds of orchids. The gardens also have attractive water features and walking bridges that are a world away from downtown Manila.

8.Promenades

Take in impressive views of Manila Bay from its pedestrianised Baywalk, running along its central Roxas Boulevard, passing important landmarks, like the Quirino Grandstand.

9.Forts

The city’s premier tourist attraction is Fort Santiago, with restored 18th century military barracks, landscaped gardens and magnificent fountains to keep the whole family entertained.

10.Shopping

Escolta Street was once known as the Fifth Avenue of the Philippines, and after a long economic decline, has been recently rejuvenated, now boasting cafes, boutiques, galleries and restaurants.

Flights

Brightsun Travel runs regular Manila cheap flights offers, and has a range of hotel and holiday packages so that you can secure a fantastic city break to Manila this holiday, and discover one of Asia’s fastest growing cities.

 

Exploring Hong Kong’s peninsulas and islands

With an ever-expanding transport network, travelling across Hong Kong is a dream, and more and more people are venturing out of Hong Kong Island to discover its surrounding peninsulas and islands. Brightsun Travel has amazing cheap flights to Hong Kong as well as hotel packages and holiday deals to suit a range of tastes and budgets, so that you can explore all of Hong Kong this holiday.

Kowloon Peninsula

Kowloon Peninsula

Kowloon, thanks to Hong Kong’s ever expanding rail system, has been through a kind of urban face lift in recent years. The newly opened West Kowloon Cultural District has been at the centre of the action, with impressive museums and galleries in former industrial buildings and warehouses, attracting a young stylish crowd away from Hong Kong Island. After exploring Kowloon’s contemporary art scene, you can practice tai chi with the locals in Kowloon Park.

Lantau & Lamma Islands

Lantau Island

Lantau Island

When you are ready to explore the islands surrounding Hong Kong, Lantau and Lamma Island offer a glimpse into Hong Kong’s old way of life. A trip to Lantau Island would take you to traditional fishing villages, as well as Hong Kong’s most incredible beaches. Here you could hike the 934 metre high Lantau Peak or take the 70 kilometre Lantau Trail past remote bays, ancient temples and beautiful rivers.

Lamma Islands

Lamma Island

Lamma Island is full of forests, beaches and villages where you can visit organic farms, stroll main streets lined with cafes, bars and boutiques, and relax in a car-free environment. Here you can spend your days on small secluded bays, and trekking rugged landscapes. Take a hike from the beach and pass by thick forested hills, atmospheric caves and century old temples, ending up in small seafront settlements where you can dine in old seafood restaurants.

Tai O

Take a short day trip from Hong Kong Island and you could literally be transported back in time. Around Lantau and Lamma Island you can stumble across ancient fishing villages, like Tai O village, offering a taste of ancient life in Hong Kong. Tai O is one of the few traditional and authentic fishing villages left in Hong Kong, where you’ll discover lush green hills and mountains, plus traditional homes on stilts.

Hotels

Rambler Oasis Hotel – Stay on Tsing Yi Island in the heart of Kowloon
Hotel Novotel Nathan Road Kowloon – An enviable location in Kowloon
Eaton, Kowloon – With a rooftop pool and Michelin-starred restaurant

Flights

Brightsun Travel has a wide range of cheap tickets to Hong Kong from UK so that you can explore the city’s peninsulas and islands for yourself this holiday.

 

The Modern Face Of Beijing

In modern-day Beijing you can dine at concept restaurants in converted factories, roam trendy Arts Districts, and marvel at futuristic architecture. What’s more, with the announcement of the successful bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, the city is developing a transport network that’s a tourist’s dream. Contact Brightsun Travel about Beijing cheap flights offers and experience for yourself all that this fast-changing city has to offer this holiday.

Beijing futuristic architecture

Art

The 798 Art District is the beating heart of Beijing’s contemporary arts scene, with photography centres, art galleries and museums designed by famous local artists, including Ai Weiwei. In this industrial complex, you can stay at modern hotels in former factories, experience multimedia installations in old warehouses, pass huge open-air sculptures and shipping containers covered in street art.

Food

Modern-day Beijing is a treat for any restaurant lover. No longer is it about the search for the best roast duck or dim sum, Beijing now boasts an innovative new food landscape, with old factories housing new concept restaurants, cool speakeasies popping up all over traditional old Hutong neighbourhoods, and Michelin-starred and international restaurants in 400-year-old palaces and historic compounds.

Sport

2022 will be an exciting year to visit Beijing, when it will become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Already in the city you can find world-class venues from the 2008 Olympics, and with an enormous $3.9 billion being pumped into the city in the lead up to 2022, there is set to be some big changes. Before the games begin, visit the town of Chongli and practice your skiing during a near 6 month snow season.

Architecture

Beijing is littered with impressive buildings like the CCTV building, or ‘Big Pants’, a glass tower shaped like a pair of trousers, and the Galaxy Soho dome-shaped building, resembling something off the set of a Star Wars movie. The city’s National Olympic Stadium is an architectural masterpiece, and an iconic piece of architecture designed by Beijing-born artist Ai Weiwei, in consultancy with Herzog & de Meuron.

Transport

With the announcement of Beijing’s successful bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, the city is ploughing huge investments into its transport network, and is upgrading railways, and building new airports. By 2022, you will be able travel 350 kilometres in just one hour by train, and with plans to open a $13 billion airport in 2019, the city is set become one of the most travelled to destinations on the planet.

Book

When you are ready to explore this modern hub in the heart of China, Brightsun Travel has year-round cheap flights to Beijing as well as tours across the country.

A 3-Point Checklist To Cover The Far East’s Natural Attractions

The Far East boasts some of the world’s most picturesque beaches, used on the set of Hollywood blockbuster movies, ancient forests that have sustained life for centuries, and islands offering some of the world’s best diving spots. Brightsun Travel offers incredible cheap flights to Far East so you can explore its beaches, forests and islands this holiday.

1 Beaches

Butik Peninsula

Butik Peninsula, Bali

Head south from Denpasar Bali and you will discover beaches on the Butik Peninsula that are some of Bali’s most beautiful, so much so that they have featured in Hollywood blockbuster movies like ‘Eat, Pray, Love’.

Krabi, Thailand

Krabi, Thailand

An hour’s flight from Bangkok is Krabi, set among limestone karsts and emerald seas. Ao Nang Beach provides rock-climbing adventures, and the Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park is a marine heaven.

Borneo, Malaysia

Borneo, Malaysia

Set in the tropics, Malaysia’s two regions, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (or Malaysian Borneo), house magnificent beaches, ancient rainforests and some of the best diving sites in the world.

2 Forests

Gunung Mulu National Park

Gunung Mulu National Park & Kinabalu National Park, Malaysia

Gunung Mulu National Park and Kinabalu National Park on the island of Borneo in Malaysia are ancient rainforests with World Heritage status, full of waterfalls, caves and wildlife.

West Bali National Park

West Bali National Park, Bali

West Bali National Park, or Taman National Bali Barat, is a conservation area providing sanctuary to Bali’s native songbird, the Bali Starling, and contains lush jungles dotted with ancient temples.

Khao Phra Thaew Royal Wildlife

Khao Phra Thaew Royal Wildlife & Forest Reserve, Thailand

In Khao Phra Thaew Royal Wildlife and Forest Reserve you’ll find protected virgin rainforest where you can spot a range of small wildlife, including wild boar, monkey and flying foxes.

3 Islands

Semporna Archipelago

Semporna Archipelago, Malaysia

Some argue that the Semporna Archipelago is one of the most stunning dive sites in the whole of Asia, boasting the world famous Sipadan Island, an oceanic island surrounded by a dazzling array of coral reef and tropical fish.

Phuket, Thailand

Phuket, Thailand

The island of Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, well known for its beach holidays. Phuket also has a buzzing nightlife scene in Patong, contemporary art villages in Rawai and historical buildings to explore in Phuket City.

Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Lantau Island, Hong Kong

A trip to Lantau Island would take you to traditional fishing villages, as well as Hong Kong’s most incredible beaches. Here you could hike the Lantau Peak or take the Lantau Trail past remote bays, ancient temples and beautiful rivers.

Book

When you are ready, contact Brightsun Travel for exclusive cheap tickets to Far East from UK, and secure your ultimate beach holiday or eco-safari this holiday.

Get Back To Nature in Phuket

Phuket is the epitome of sun, sea, sand and a heavy dose of nightlife. But venture into the north of the island and you’ll discover a different side of the island, where you can immerse yourself in nature. Brightsun Travel has spectacular holiday packages to help you make the most of Phuket, plus discount airfares to Phuket to get you there on budget.

beautiful ocean landscape in Thailand

Sirinat National Park

Sirinat National Park covers over 20 square kilometres of land, plus almost 70 square kilometres of sea. In Phuket, this is the closest you can get to a deserted island, and the park has some spectacular beaches, like Mai Khao Beach, a white sandy beach set against glorious rainforest, and Hat Mai Khao, Phuket’s longest beach. On the shores of Hat Mai Khao and Hat Nai Yang you could spot sea turtles laying eggs. Go in land and discover small sections of mangrove forest and native bird species. In the marine section of the park you could take spectacular diving and snorkelling adventures past pristine coral reefs.

Khao Phra Thaew Royal Wildlife

Khao Phra Thaew Royal Wildlife & Forest Reserve

In Khao Phra Thaew Royal Wildlife and Forest Reserve you’ll find protected virgin rainforest where, even though tigers and elephants have been wiped out, you can still find a range of small wildlife, including wild boar, monkey and flying foxes. Climb the Khao Phara for spectacular views of the forest, and take atmospheric treks past breathtaking waterfalls, including the Nam Tok Ton Sai waterfall and Nam Tok Bang Pae waterfall, best seen between June and November. Or, visit the Phuket Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, an important project rehabilitating gibbons, and help out for the day.

Similan Islands National Park

Similan Islands National Park

About 100 kilometres northwest of Phuket is Similan Islands National Park, an archipelago of eleven small islands that is ranked among one of the top dive sites in the world. Here you can enjoy a wide diversity of marine life, including dramatic coral reefs, plus stunning beaches that are well worth the trip alone. The park is also well known for its huge granite boulders that line its shores, bordered by pristine crystal clear waters and lush forests. If you are lucky, you could spot Manta Rays and Whale Sharks in its waters and turtles nesting on its shores.

Getting there

Contact Brightsun Travel about a wide range of cheap tickets to Phuket from UK, including exclusive deals with Thai Airways. Fly Economy class with Thai Airways and experience award-winning service and a state-of-the-art entertainment system. Or upgrade to Royal Silk Class and enjoy multi course menus, fully flat beds and exclusive lounge access.

 

Make The Most Of Malaysia’s Urban Centres

From its food-obsessed capital, Kuala Lumpur, to cultural George Town in the coastal state of Penang, Malaysia has a vibrant urban scene to explore. The city of Kuala Lumpur has plenty of attractions to tempt visitors, including a rich food culture, exotic architecture and cosmopolitan neighbourhoods. But travel to Malaysia’s other urban landscapes and you will discover World Heritage cities, including George Town, and Malaysia’s oldest city, Malacca, with colourful colonial buildings and a laid back way of life. Brightsun Travel regularly runs exclusive Kuala Lumpur cheap flight deals so you can explore Malaysia’s diverse urban landscapes this holiday.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur

In Kuala Lumpur you can sip cocktails from rooftop bars, whilst enjoying breathtaking views of the city’s skyline, including the city’s amazing Petronas Twin Towers. On the ground, you could take a gastronomic tour of the city’s diverse culinary landscapes, visiting traditional coffee houses and famous hawker centres serving some of Malaysia’s tastiest dishes.

George Town

George Town

In the World Heritage city of George Town in the coastal state of Penang you can explore fascinating colonial architecture in its centre, and take day trips to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches. George Town also has a reputation as Malaysia’s gastronomic capital, and exploring its street food scene is a highlight to a trip to Malaysia.

Melaka

Melaka (Malacca)

Not far from Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s oldest city, Malacca, with World Heritage status, boasting colourful colonial buildings and a slower pace of life. Here you can visit 17th century temples, 18th century mosques and bustling night markets. You could also take easy side trips to the state’s amazing beaches, forests and rural landscapes.

Corus Hotel

Hotels

Kuala Lumpur

Q Hotel – Central accommodation to suit a range of budgets
Dorsett Kuala Lumpur – An elegant hotel in the Golden Triangle
Corus Hotel – 5 minutes from the Petronas Towers
Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa – A central resort with award-winning parks

Hotel Jen Penang

George Town

Hotel Jen Penang by Shangri La – A smart 4 star hotel in George Town

Flights

Fly into Kuala Lumpur and you can access all that Malaysia has to offer. Brightsun Travel has cheap tickets to Kuala Lumpur from UK, direct with Malaysian Airlines and British Airways. Fly Malaysian Airlines and enjoy state-of-the-art entertainment systems in Economy class, and exclusive lounge access, fully flat beds and a chef-on-call service in Business class.

Venture Into Bali’s Interior And Discover Another World

Venturing into Bali’s interior reveals a very different side to the island to its beaches and resort towns, where iconic rice fields sit alongside ancient forests. A tour of Bali’s interior would take you to World Heritage sites, sacred temples and cultural landscapes dating back centuries. Brightsun Travel runs regular Denpasar Bali cheap flights offers to take you to the heart of this fascinating island this holiday.

National Parks

Forests & National Parks

Even though almost all of Bali’s natural habitat, once home to the now extinct Balinese tiger, has been cleared, small pockets of ancient forests remain, where you can imagine a time when Bali was full of wildlife and birdsong. West Bali National Park, or Taman National Bali Barat, is now a conservation area providing sanctuary to Bali’s native songbird, the Bali Starling, and contains lush jungles dotted with ancient temples. There are several hiking trails around the forest and guided tours to help you appreciate the variety of flora and fauna contained in the park. With the help of a local guide you might be lucky enough to spot deer, leopard cat or wild boar. Here you will also find long stretches of protected beach, uninhabited islands and coral reefs that provide fantastic diving spots. Boat tours can be taken around nearby bays and islands, which provide memorable, and less crowded spots, to appreciate Bali’s incredible marine life.

Cultural Landscapes

Cultural Landscapes

Rice cultivation has shaped parts of Bali’s interior since the 11th century, and the cultural landscape surrounding the ‘subak system’ has attracted World Heritage status. Bali’s subak system, a cooperative water management system dating back centuries, manages Balinese rice cultivation in such a way that there is no need for fertilisers or pesticides, where water flows through water temples and canals, and landscapes are seen to have sacred connections. It is based on the philosophical concept of Tri Hita Karana, which brings together the realms of the spirit, the human world and nature. As a result, Bali’s interior is covered in productive rice terraces, as well as water temples that are well worth exploring. A must-see is the 18th century Royal Water Temples of Pura Taman Ayun, the largest of its kind in Bali, and an example of the unique Balinese architecture and belief system associated to the island’s famous cultural practices.

hotels

Flights & Hotels

Stay at the Viceroy Bali, a boutique 5 star hotel in the centre of Bali, and you will enjoy luxury villas nestled in lush green hills, surrounded by breathtaking natural landscapes. Contact Brightsun Travel about our wide range of hotel deals across Bali, as well as cheap airfares to Denpasar Bali all year round.

Bangkok – A Gateway To Some Of The World’s Best Beaches

Bangkok is an amazingly diverse city, and a gateway to the incredible country of Thailand in the Far East. What’s at the top of most traveller’s minds when they fly into Bangkok, is heading south to Thailand’s incredible beaches and islands. Here we explore our favourite beachfront destinations in under 2 hours from the city of Bangkok, so you can plan your next island getaway in Thailand. Brightsun Travel has numerous cheap tickets to Bangkok from UK, as well as holiday packages and hotel deals to many of Thailand’s famous beachfront destinations.

Pattaya beach

Pattaya
Pattaya is a resort city located just 100 kilometres from Bangkok. Pattaya boasts incredible beachfront property in North Pattaya, as well as massive shopping centres and a vibrant nightlife in Pattaya City in South Pattaya, which attracts millions of visitors every year. From Pattaya you can go island hopping around its ‘near’, ‘far’ and ‘coral’ island groups, and enjoy a range of diving and snorkelling activities.

Ko Phi Phi National Park

Krabi
An hour’s flight from Bangkok is Krabi, set among limestone karsts and emerald seas. The headliner destinations in Krabi are Ko Phi Phi Island, Ao Nang Beach and the Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park. Ao Nang Beach provides rock-climbing adventures, and the Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park is a marine heaven, with amazing coral reefs that provide incredible diving and snorkelling opportunities.

Phuket

Phuket
The beaches of Phuket are the number one draw card for tourists to Thailand. Among them is Mai Khao Beach in Sirinat National Park, boasting white sandy shores set against glorious rainforest, and the closest you can get to a deserted island in Phuket. Phuket is also well known for its luxurious hotels and resorts, vibrant nightlife and authentic night markets. What’s more, Phuket has a fast-emerging arts scene in places like the Rawai Art Village.

Koh Samui, Thail Desktop Background

Koh Samui
Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s most well known destinations, offering a tropical beach setting that draws crowds from around the world. Just a short boat ride from Koh Samui is Ang Thong National Marine Park, made famous after being chosen as the location for the Hollywood blockbuster movie ‘The Beach’. Here you can explore 40 small tropical islands, with picture perfect beaches, dense jungle and beautiful lagoons.

Book
Contact Brightsun Travel about an extensive range of holiday packages across Thailand, as well as discounted airfares to Bangkok, to position you at the heart of this amazing country.