Vineyards in Thailand?
If you are a wine enthusiast, you don't have to go all the way to France, Australia or California to experience being a wine connoisseur. For a similar experience much closer to home, try the vineyards of Pattaya, a mere two-hour flight away.
At the PB Valley Winery, you'll see how wine is made and pick up some tips on wine tasting that may come in handy to impress your friends at the next dinner party.
Pattaya, which is less than two hours southeast of Bangkok by road, also has sandy shores and other family friendly
activities to offer.
For example, you can take the kids to a honey factory. See how honey is harvested and taste it fresh and unprocessed.
Or, visit Nong Nooch Village, where you can enjoy an elephant show and stroll through a beautifully landscaped garden with exotic plants.
Pattaya can be a pit-stop on the way to (or back from) Bangkok. The Thai capital continues to draw Singaporeans throughout the year because of its affordability and proximity.
However, shopping and eating should not be the only things on your agenda when you visit Thailand's cosmopolitan
To get a glimpse of the country's culture and history, the Wat Arun or Temple of Dawn on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River is perfect, especially at sunset.
|The majestic Wat Arun Temple in Bangkok.
The towering pagoda and temple walls are encrusted with colourful ceramic tiles and fragments of porcelain which came on board boats from China.
Change of Scenery
For those who would like a change of scene from the ever-popular Thailand though, another destination growing in popularity is Shanghai.
Apart from its famed fashion and culinary scene, Shanghai is saturated with culture and history.
There are 120,000 works of art in 11 galleries and three other halls which are used for special exhibitions from time to time. The museum is situated at People's Square, Shanghai's political and commercial centre.
Other interesting places to visit at People's Square include Shanghai Grand Theatre and Shanghai City Hall.
For an interesting mix of tradition and pop-culture, check out Chenghuangmiao, also known as the City God Temple. The architecture there is characteristic of Qing and Ming dynasty influences from the 15th century. The temple is the central feature of what is now a shopping district, with more than 100 shops.
|Shanghai's famed Nanjing Road is the best place to shop till you drop.
The place is a not just a haunt for tourists, many locals go there too. You will find everything from medicinal items to Starbucks coffee and jewellery there.
Be it history or something new, Thailand and China have great offerings for the entire family.
This article was first published in The New Paper on June 27, 2008.