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Short Trips from Udon Thani

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Situated in northeastern Thailand, the regional hub of Udon Thani – or Udon for short – was once a sleepy, far-flung provincial town until it became a major USAF airbase during the Vietnam War. It has since grown into a multiculturally-diverse base you see today, home to one of the largest expat populations in Thailand.

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Underwater Paradise of Taiwan’s Green Island

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Taiwan boasts over a dozen of its own unique offshore getaways, which thanks to their quiet landscapes and low-key lifestyle, often go unnoticed by most visitors to the country.

One of the best among these is Green Island. Situated in the tropical seas of Taiwan’s southeast coast – while it used to be better-known as a former penal colony (the sardonically named former prison, Paradise Villa), today it’s arguably one of Asia’s best dive destinations.

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Small Wonder: Taiwan’s Little Liuqiu Island

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Located about 14km off the southwest coast of Pingtung County, Xiao Liu Qiu (or Little Liuqiu) is a small coral island that’s known for its geological formations, coral beaches, and an abundance of green turtles. Visit during the quieter weekdays, and the island is a perfect getaway where you can swim with sea turtles, explore the coral reefs, visit various temples, stroll through coral caves, or simply relax on the beaches to enjoy a picturesque sunset. While you can visit this island on a day trip, you can also spend a night here at one of the few themed B&Bs or camp by the beach.

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Thermal Bath Island

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Officially marketed as ‘Onsen Island Kyushu’ by the local tourism board, the island is naturally abundant with hot springs, or onsen in Japanese. The thermal waters are heated by Kyushu’s very landscape, which consists of numerous active volcanic calderas. Here are three best places to have a soak on Kyushu.

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Kyushu: The Land of Fire

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Kyushu is appropriately called the “Land of Fire”, as gigantic caldera volcanoes are omnipresent on the island. The entire island comprises 5 major caldera areas where volcanoes are located, stretching from Aso in the north to Ata in the south. All of these volcanoes can be visited (either up close on foot or seen from the air); however since almost all of these are active, check on their updated status before visiting.

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Soaring Ambitions: Climbing Concordia

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Described as the “throne room of the mountain gods”, Concordia – named after Place de La Concorde by Frenchman Martin Conway who was exploring the area in 1892 – is located near the border of Pakistan and China. Situated where the Baltoro Glacier and the Godwin Austen Glacier meet in a natural amphitheatre, it provides a 360° panorama view of four of the world’s 14 peaks above 8,000m within a radius of 21km.

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Subway Station to Nowhere

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Urban explorers would have a field day in Chongqing – especially at this local metro station that seems to be located in the middle of nowhere (think: abandoned). However, it’s very much still in use.

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Lost Tribe: Vedda of Sri Lanka

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The Veddas are an ancient people of Sri Lanka, widely believed to have descended from the island’s ancient, indigenous aboriginal population – archaeological finds indicate the presence of their Neolithic ancestors on the island as far back as 10,000 BC. Many also believe that they are descended from Prince Vijaya (6th-5th century BC), the legendary founding father of the Sinhala nation.

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Kaohsiung and Taiwan’s south

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Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s southern metropolis – once relegated as an industrial city – is now a bustling city that is known for its hipster culture, particularly around the Love River and Pier 2. As the main city in the south, with its gleaming skyscrapers and wide open boulevards, the pace is much slower than in Taipei.

Kaohsiung is also a convenient base if you’re visiting some natural gems like the Maolin Valley and Tianliao Moon World.

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Taipei’s Taoyuan Int’l Airport MRT is offering 25,000 passengers free rides

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As some of you would know, there’s finally an MRT that connects Taoyuan Airport to Taipei City. Even though the 51km-long Taoyuan International Airport MRT line stops at 21 stations, it still cuts commute time to the airport to 35 minutes, a journey that usually takes more than one hour to drive due to traffic.

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