Every city, every town you visit is bound to have a selection of must-sees, must dos. But often, travellers are forced to pick and choose due to time constraints. Here is our list of places you simply cannot miss when visiting these cities.
Words: Efi Hafizah Hamzah
Ayurveda in Kochi
Kochi, previously known as Cochin, is a culturally and spiritually diverse city where Hindus, Christians, Muslims and people of the Jewish faith live harmoniously. Kochi is also the go-to place for one of India’s greatest gifts to alternative medicine: Ayurveda, which has been commercially practised in India for over 500 years with a history that dates back as far as 3,000 BC. There are many Ayurvedic centres to choose from with qualified herbal specialists and therapists readily available. If you are unsure which to go to, do a quick research on the Internet or enquire with your hotel concierge about popular centres and price range. Treatment usually begins with a consultation where your general issues are taken into consideration. From there, you’ll be prescribed specific treatments that can be a one-off or lasting over several days. These treatments are generally 100 percent natural and you’ll come out feeling lighter, fresher and invigorated. AVN Arogya Ayurvedic centre in Ravipuram offers a list of extensive tried and tested treatments (www.avnarogya.in/kochi) or visit www.ayurveda.in/ayurveda-cochin for a list of clinics in Kochi.
The Magical Market in Osaka, Japan
What was formerly known as Emmeiji Market up until the end of the Meiji era and is now called the Kuromon Ichiba Market located in the Nipponbashi district, remains one of the greatest attractions in Osaka for over 170 years. This market is well organised and covers an area of about 600 square metres, with shops selling fresh produce, cooked food, herbs, spices, clothes and arts and crafts. With over 200 shops, this market is also where professional chefs and restaurant owners get their daily fresh produce. But expect to also see discerning housewives coming here to stock up on their groceries. You may not be looking to buy a kilogramme of horseradish here but make it a point to buy the freshest, pre-packed sushi and sashimi. Also, exploring the market will always reveal hidden gems and opportunities to meet friendly locals. www.kuromon.com
Temple of Literature in Hanoi, Vietnam
When visiting Hanoi, include Van Mieu, or better known as the Temple of Literature, in your must-see checklist. Founded in 1070 as a Confucian temple, this building is located in the south of the Thang Long Citadel, overlooking the central part of Hanoi. Quoc Tu Giam, or the Imperial Academy (Vietnam’s fi rst university), was established within the walls of this temple in 1070, teaching Mandarin and medical sciences. The university was operational for over 700 years and between 1076 and 1779, some 2,313 doctors graduated. However, in 1802, the Nguyen monarchs founded the Hue capital and established a new imperial academy; Quoc Tu Giam lost its prominence and eventually became a school of the Hoai Duc district. The Temple of Literature remains a sacred sanctuary and a monument to the culture and history of Vietnam. It is known as the Confucian Temple mainly because of its design, mimicking the temple in Qufu of Shandong, China, where Confucius was born. The temple covers an area of 54,000 square metres with five beautiful courtyards and the serene Literature Lake. www.vietnam-beauty.com
GETTING THERE AirAsia flies to Hanoi from Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. Go to www.airasia.com for details.