Enriching escapes

Enriching escapes

DA NANG

This laid-back Vietnamese city located between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City is home to Linh Ung Pagoda, where you'll find Vietnam's tallest Goddess of Mercy statue - at 69.7m high.

Built on the cliffs of Thuy Son Mountain, the pagoda commands stunning views of Da Nang beach, with the Cham Islands in the distance.

Hire a motorbike to get to the Marble Mountains, where you'll find temples and statues built in various caves. Or spend an afternoon - like the locals do - drinking coffee at the neighbourhood cafes and watching life go by.

For shopping and food, try these recommendations from SilkAir's manager (Vietnam) Caleb Sim: "Pick up tailor-made items in Hoi An - the tailors here can customise anything from a suit to shoes and bags at a fraction of regular cost (starting from US$10). Remember to negotiate and agree on the price first, and specify the design and fabric. Foodies should try bun bo (beef vermicelli soup) at 17 Tran Tong Street. Throw in preserved onions and carrot, chilli and a dash of lime, then relish this tasty dish."

SIEM REAP

Located in north-western Cambodia, this city is a must visit because of the 12th century Angkor Wat temple, the world's largest religious complex.

The ruins of Angkor are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are over 1,000 temples - from piles of rubble scattered through rice fields to Angkor Wat - the best preserved temple. First Hindu, then Buddhist, it epitomises classical Khmer architecture. There is lots more to discover in Siem Reap such as beautiful colonial buildings, silk farms, padi field countryside and buzzing Pub Street.

Check out the spectacular floating village on the Tonle Sap Lake and nearby bird sanctuary. Or visit the Cambodian Cultural Village to see Khmer boxing and the famous Apsara dance. You'll also find miniatures of historical buildings here. If you want to shop for souvenirs, your best bet is Central Market. For antiques, head to Psar Chaa. For night shopping and good bargains, do explore the Angkor Night Market.

YANGON

Possibly the most recognised landmark in this city of Myanmar is the 2,500-year-old Shwedagon Pagoda, where strands of Buddha's hair and other holy relics are enshrined. The top of the stupa is encrusted with 4,531 diamonds and the largest weighs 72 carats.

Take a day trip to the Kyaikto Pagoda or Golden Rock, which rests on a boulder that looks like it's precariously perched on the edge of a cliff. According to legend, a single strand of Buddha's hair is what holds the gilded rock in position.

You can have dinner and watch a traditional dance performance at the Karaweik Palace, which lies on Kandawgyi Lake. Take plenty of pictures of the building, which is gilded in gold and a replica of a traditional Burmese boat.

Visit Bogyoke Aung San Market, also known as Scott Market, if you want to get local souvenirs like Myanmar jade and gemstone mosaic artworks depicting rural scenes of Myanmar.

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