China – Poster power

Shanghai_Propaganda_Tour_ChinaOne of Shanghai’s most unheralded museums offers a fascinating insight into how propaganda posters were used by China’s former rulers ahead of the digital age.  The Propaganda Poster Art Centre features a fascinating collection of over 5,000 propaganda posters dating back to the early days of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, to the end of the Cultural Revolution in the late 1970s.  Although small in size, the attraction gives a captivating insight into how leaders such as Chairman Mao used striking imagery to carry his voice and agenda to the masses.  The facility’s gift shop is well worth a visit to buy original and reproduction prints of many of the posters on display, as well mementos of the Cultural Revolution such as used copies of the “Little Red Book”, and ration tokens.  You can book a new excursion to this attraction with guided tours to enrich the visitor experience.

Laos – Race for charity

20130604081727-luang-prabang-half-marathon-la-procession-2013A half-marathon in the UNESCO World Heritage destination of Luang Prabang will take runners on a route inspired by the daily procession of monks who walk through the town at dawn to collect offerings.  Limited to 500 international runners to reduce congestion, the race on October 5 is titled ‘La Procession’.  It will offer participants the opportunity to run around the town’s greatest historical sites.  The costs of the event are fully covered by corporate sponsors and instead of the usual entry fee; runners will make charitable donations directly through online fundraising pages.
Proceeds from the half-marathon will go towards funding Friends International, an NGO benefiting children and young people across South East Asia.  The race comprises three race routes: half-marathon, 14-km, and 7-km race for family members.  The organisers hope to make the race an annual event so it will become firmly established on the regional half-marathon calendar.

UNESCO declares six Rajasthan forts as World Heritage Sites

Amber Fort 3Six of Rajasthan’s historic forts received international recognition from UNESCO after the latter included them in the list of World Heritage Sites.  The six forts – Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Jaisalmer, Ranthambhore (Sawai Madhopur), Gagaron (Jhalawar) and Amber (Jaipur) – were recognised as World Heritage Sites in the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  According to a UNESCO release, the hill forts of Rajasthan are strategically built and located on the oldest mountain ranges of the Aravallis or the Vindhyans.  They stand as testimony to the formation of the princely states, the development of Rajput ideologies and the distinctive Rajput architectural style over successive periods throughout history.

World Discovery can design tailor-made itineraries for you which include visits to any or all of these famous fortresses.  Amber Fort (pictured) is featured already in a number of our sample itineraries, such as the popular Delhi, Agra & Jaipur tour – 8 days from £599.

Hong Kong – Priceless exhibition

Gold ExhibitionOne of the most exciting exhibitions to be staged in Hong Kong traces the development of gold in Chinese society over 3,000 years.  This is the first large-scale retrospective of Chinese gold from earliest times and over 300 Eurasian and Chinese gold artifacts are on display.  The items are on loan from the private .  More than just an exhibition of one private collection, this is also a showcase of art-historical, intercultural, and technical studies of Chinese gold from the earliest times.  With the help of archaeological discoveries in China, Central Asia and Russia, the exhibition and the accompanying catalogue detail the importance of gold in Chinese society.  The free exhibition is being staged at the Art Museum at the University of Hong Kong. It runs until 27 November 2013.

Laos – Spiritual happening

Luang Prabang almsgiving 2Visitors to Laos can witness one of the country’s most solemn religious ceremonies from July 22 when devotees observe the start of the Buddhist Lent.  Buddhists wake early to give alms to monks across towns and cities and this spectacle provides wonderful photo opportunities as the saffron-clad monks silently file in procession along deserted streets ahead of sunrise. One of the greatest places to witness this religious celebration is Luang Prabang as the UNESCO listed heritage city has an abundance of ancient temples.  The city breathes history and culture and owes its name to the Pha Bang, a revered Buddha image – now in the Royal Palace Museum – which was brought to the city by King Visoun during the golden age of Lan Xang in the early 1500s. Destination Asia’s excursions provide a unique insight into this city, including the chance to take part in an early morning alms-giving ceremony.

World Discovery’s Laos Discovery itinerary includes 3 nights in Luang Prabang.