Gateway to Maritime Silk Road


Recommended getaways along the Belt & Road

BY :Kinny & Sophia

UPDATED :September 11, 2018


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The 2018 China (Guangdong) International Tourism Industry Expo (CITIE) concluded yesterday, with over 60 countries and regions promoting their tourist attractions to some 500,000 visitors. Besides regular tourist destinations like Malaysia and Turkey, representatives from a number of up-and-comers — like Panama, Chili and Sri Lanka — also attended the exhibition, offering travel enthusiasts many more choices for exploring the world. Among these dazzling places, Silk Road Post would recommend some nice getaways.

Sri Lanka

Home to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Sri Lanka is an exciting island with rich culture, picture-postcard views, diverse wildlife and pristine beaches.

You may have just missed the Kandy Esala Perahera, Asian's grandest and oldest Buddhist cultural parades in August in Sri Lanka. But the best season for watching wildlife in the island's Yela National Park follows. While you are at a country which produces 45 of world's 80 gems, pick some of the best sapphire from the Gem Festival in September.

Approaching the year end, the island's 1,330-kilometer coastline offers exciting water fun. Watching whales leaping out the sea water, surfing in Arugambay, diving in Trincomalee — it never gets boring along the island's east coast, which National Geography called the "Best Spring Trip 2018."

History buffs will not want to miss Sigiriya, Asia's best preserved city of the first millennium and the eighth wonder of the world.

Food is normally sweet and spicy, featuring multiple concoctions of curry. And if tired after a long day of sightseeing, one can visit the island's rejuvenating spa treatment, Ayurveda. For a souvenir, the world's best Ceylon tea is something you might want to take home.

Istanbul, Turkey

"If the world were a single country, Istanbul would be the capital of it," the late French ruler, Napoleon Bonaparte, once said. With its unique and strategic geographic location, Istanbul sits at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. The city is conveniently accessible by air from many countries.

So what makes this "world center" worth your time to visit? Officials from the Travel Bureau of Istanbul, gave expo visitors a glimpse of this popular tourist destination during CITIE.

—Iconic buildings: Istanbul has more than 3,000 mosques, the highest number in Turkey, including the historic, world famous Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque and the Suleymaniye Mosque.

—Art and culture: Istanbul is an important city for international culture and arts events, and the stage for many rich artistic activities. The city invites art lovers to its expansive world of culture, featuring contemporary art exhibitions, museums, biennials, outdoor cinemas, jazz, tea, coffee, film and tulip festivals, opera and theatrical performances, and concerts.

—Gastronomy: When talking about Istanbul, the first things that often come to mind are its unique architecture and its traditional culinary tastes. The tastes are unique, as each district has its own distinct flavors. Many delicious delicacies can be found, such as baked potatoes in Ortakoy, grilled fish sandwiches in Eminonu, steamed burgers in Beyoglu, baked filled pastries in Sariyer, boza (a fermented drink) in Vefa, sheep's trotters in Beykoz and hard candy of Haci Bekir, etc.

—Medical tourism: Istanbul is regarded as one of the world's rising medical tourism centers. Visitors can have access to a wide range of healthcare services offered at many high-standard hospitals and medical centers, such as aesthetic surgery, dental care and general surgery.


As a country in Southeast Asia, Malaysia boasts a distinctive landscape and historical heritage, attracting increasing numbers of Chinese for travel or holiday visits. Over the past 10 years, the number of Chinese tourists traveling in Malaysia has increased by 140%, from 949,864 in 2008 to 2.28 million in 2017. From January to April this year, 1,008,998 Chinese visitors travelled in Malaysia, an increase of 37.2% over the same period in 2017.

At the CITIE this year, a variety of travel routes were introduced to show diversified tour themes of Malaysia. With abundant rainforests, beaches, historical heritage and cultural attractions, Malaysia has many places to visit:

— At the Semenggoh (orangutan) Wildlife Centre, orangutans are being nurtured to readapt themselves to jungle life. You will have the chance to observe semi-wild orangutans coming out of the forest for feeding. Before arriving at the feeding platform, you can experience walking through the amazing untouched rainforest.

— Known as the "Living Museum," Cultural Village was set up to preserve and showcase Sarawak's cultural heritage. It is the perfect place to be introduced to local culture and lifestyle. Sprawled across 17 acres, the village demonstrates traditional daily activities from Sarawak's diverse tribes, such as the processing of sago and the making of handicrafts. The locals wear traditional costumes and also put on dances for visitors.

— Hop over to Mari Mari Sepanggar island. An idyllic beach resort sits by the hills of a primary rainforest fronted by white sandy beaches and a spectacular view of Gaya Bay and Kota Kinabalu City. The blue sea beckons a few steps away. Walk along the white sandy beach, take the boardwalk up the hill and be mesmerized by the vista and the scents and sounds of the rainforest. Or simply bask in the sun on the beach, dozing to the sound of the lapping waves and the tranquility of an island where still relatively few tourists visit.