March 2015

Dim Sum

At the 5 star resorts in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa we keep travelling around Asia to discover the hidden details of its traditions and culture. Today we are taking you to China to talk to you about of its most popular food: Dim Sum.

Dim Sum is a type of Asian food, which comes from the south of China, from the cities of Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou. It means “touching the heart”.

It is linked to the Chinese tradition of yum cha or drinking tea. It was originated during the 19th century as a tea accompaniment for Asian rural farmers and travellers journeying along the Silk Road, who visited teahouses after long hours working in the fields. In this way, they had something solid to eat while enjoying their drink.

Dim Sum is a snack food, which people eat at mid-morning and in the afternoon.However, nowadays people also have Dim Sum for lunch and dinner. It is considered to be the Chinese equivalent to Spanish tapas.

A traditional Dim Sum lunch includes steamed or fried buns, which are made with wheat flour dough and filled with meat, fruit, vegetables, shellfish or fish. The traditional way of cooking the Dim Sum is inside bamboo steamer baskets.

At a Dim Sum restaurant food must always go with tea: green tea, jasmine tea, chrysanthemum tea, black tea or the famous Chinese oolong tea.

If you are an Asian food lover, we suggest you to come to the luxury hotel in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa and enjoy oriental cuisine at Koh Samui restaurant. At Asia Gardens we welcome all our guests with a cup of tea. We look forward to seeing you!

The Bridge over the River Kwai

As you already know, our luxury hotel Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa holds a very special relationship with the Asian continent: every corner in our hotel takes you to a different place in Asia.

Today we want to take you to Thailand, in particular to Kanchanaburi, to discover the treasures this region hides: the Bridge over the River Kwai and the Erawan Falls.

The Bridge over the River Kwai is the main tourist attraction in Kanchanaburi. Kanchanaburi is located in the region of the same name, in the centre of Thailand, 130 km away from Bangkok.

The story behind the bridge is sad. It was built with military purposes during the World War II. This construction became famous all over the world thanks to Pierre Bouelle´s book “The Bridge over the River Kwai”, which was published in 1952, and due to the David Lean´s film based on this book “The Bridge on the River Kwai”, which won 7 Oscar.

Unlike what the book says, the bridge actually crossed the Mae Klong River. However, due to the fame of the movie, which made the bridge become an important touristic place, local authorities decided to rename the Mae Klong River as Khwae Yai in 1960.

There were two bridges originally: a wood bridge and a stone one. Both of them were destroyed during the war and although they were rebuilt, the wood one didn´t outlast. The bridge, which has remained is the one we know as the Bridge over the River Kwai nowadays.

The Bridge over the River Kwai hides something magic. Tourists who had visited it affirm that after stepping on it they are able to go back in time to the World War II.

One of the other main tourist attractions in Kanchanaburi, are the Erawan Waterfalls. They are the most famous falls in the country and for many people they are also the most beautiful one. We can find them at the Erawan National Park, but we will talk about them in one of our next post…

At Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa you will be able to walk and cross several bridges, which connect the gardens and the lakes of the hotel. Maybe one day they´ll remember you wonderful experiences from your stay… We are looking forward to seeing you!

Tai Chi

At our luxury hotel in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel Thai & Spa we keep travelling around Asia to discover its culture and traditions. Today we are taking you to China to find out about one of the most practised disciplines in the world: Tai Chi.

Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art. It combines breathing and mental exercises. It is associated with the Chinese concept of yin-yang and Qi. Its exercises, which are based o traditional Chinese medicine, act like a massage for the circulatory system, the bone structure and the internal organs health.

There is a legend about its origin. According to it, the Taoist monk Zhang San Feng invented Tai Chi during the 13th century. A fight between a crane and a snake inspired Zhang San Feng to develop this ancestral discipline.

The five main schools or Tai Chi´s styles are Chen, Wu, Hao, Sun and Yang. Yang Luchan, who is recognized internationally as the father of this style, developed this last one during the 19th century. It is the most famous Tai Chi style worldwide. It comes from the Mien Chuan, and it is based on soft moves, which increase the flow of the vital energy and allows mental concentration and coordination. Currently, Yang Chen-Fu is considered as the great diffuser of this discipline.

In Tai Chi the body movements are perfectly coordinated. Hands, eyes, and rest of the body move together using the waist as an axis and the legs as the basis.

At the 5 star resorts Asia Gardens Hotel Thai & Spa we offer our guests classes in Tai Chi with specialised coaches. Come see us and enjoy a relaxed getaway in the heart of Asian luxury.

The Japanese festival Omizutori

Today we are travelling from the luxury hotel in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa to Japan to talk about one of the most important celebrations in the country: the Omizutori festival.

Omizutori is an annual Buddhist festival held for the two first weeks of March at the Todaiji Temple in Nara. Todaiji has the world’s largest bronze Buddha and is also the largest temple in the country. Omizutori is one of Japan’s oldest festivals. It has been held since 752.

March 12th holds the main celebration of the festival, the water-drawing ceremony. It is performed at the Nigatsudo, sub-complex of Todaiji Temple. The Renhyoshu go up and down the stairs of the Nigatsudo holding a torch for drawing water from one of the wells of the temple.

According to the legend, the well is dry for the rest of the year. This water is said to have special properties for curing all diseases. This sacred water is offered to the big Buddha statue and to the believers at the rite. For this reason the festival is called Omizutori.

During the two weeks of celebration, every night, giant torches are lit at Nigatsudo hall. This ritual is called Otaimatsu and it is considered to be the most spectacular event of the Omizutori. These giant torches are held over the crowd so that embers rain down. These burning embers give luck to onlookers for the rest of the year.

The ritual ends with the Dattan ceremony, which is also held at the Nigatsudo. It finishes with the sound of horns and bells and the lighting of torches.

If you like festivals and celebrations, we suggest you to visit the 5 star resorts in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa. You will feel Asian tradition and culture from the first moment you walk in.

Vietnamese conical hat: Non La

Today we are travelling from the 5 star resorts in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa to Vietnam to talk about one of the country´s most characteristic symbols: the Non la.

The Non la, known as conical hat in Spanish, or Vietnamese hat is as the Ao Dai, the Vietnamese national costume, one of the most representative elements of Vietnam. It has been protecting Vietnamese people´s heads for over 3,000 years.

It was created to protect from the weather of a tropical country like Vietnam, which is characterized for just having two seasons during the year. Therefore this hat was the solution to shelter from torrential rain and the sun. This protection guarantees pale skin, a beauty canon for Asian and Vietnamese people.

The Non La almost covers the entire face. It is made with bamboo, straw or thin bark tied by thread and is macerated in sulphur which gives the Non la its pearly colour.

Even though it comes from Vietnam, the Non la is also used in other Asian countries such as China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Many people don´t know that there are two types of Non la: one for men and another for women. The Non la for women is the traditional one, the Vietnamese conical hat. The masculine Vietnamese hat is puffed and smaller than the women´s one.

The price changes based on the materials the Non la has be made with. The main

If you would like to feel the Asian tradition, come see us to our luxury resort in the Mediterranean Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa.


The ruins of Persepolis

At our luxury resort in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel Thai & Spa we keep travelling around Asia to discover the secrets of its culture. Today we are taking you to Iran to find out about one of its main tourist attractions: the ruins of Persepolis.

Persepolis, which means “city of Persians”, was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire. Founded by Darius the Great in 518 BCE, it was one of the most prominent cities of the ancient world. The city was sacked and looted by Alexander the Great in 330 BCE.

According to historians, Alexander the Great destroyed Persepolis to take revenge for the looting of Athens and its Acropolis and to announce the end of the Persian control.

UNESCO declared the ruins of Persepolis as a World Heritage Site in 1979. Persepolis was the richest city of its period.

Persepolis was a city riddled with temples and political buildings. The famous winged bulls guarded most of them. The Persian Achaemenid architecture is marked by the Greek influence, on the arcades of its palaces, the Ionic style, on its columns, and Mesopotamian influence, on its winged bulls.

The most remarkable aspect of the architecture of the ruins of Persepolis are the low relief panels, which symbolize the imperial parades and the fights between the king and a fantastic animal with a bull body, horns, wings, raven neck, lion legs and scorpion tail.

The Gate of All Nations, at the entrance of Persepolis, is one of the most remarkable places of the country.

If you are an Asian culture lover, come see us at the 5 star hotels in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel Thai & Spa. Enjoy Asia without leaving Spain!

Japanese tatami mats

Today we are travelling from the 5 star resorts in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa to Japan to find out about one of its most famous traditional elements: the Japanese Tatami mats

A tatami is a type of mat used as a flooring material in traditional Japanese houses. It was traditionally made of rice straw with a woven covering of soft rush straw. Currently it contains other modern material such as polystyrene.

Tatami mats have been around since the Heian Period. Tatamis were a status symbol; they were luxury items only used by nobility. The rest of Japanese people slept on wooden floors. At the end of the 1600s, tatami mats became more common. Nowadays you can find them in every Japanese business or house.

Tatami mats are linked to Japanese traditions such as the tea ceremony. All Japanese houses have at least one room with tatami mats for performing this tradition, welcoming guests or relaxing.

There are different rules for the placing of tatamis. Japanese people believe that if tatamis are not well placed they will bring bad luck.

Traditional tatami mats are decorated with green and violet silk ribbons and with gold brocades. The price of a tatami depends on its ribbons and the amount of materials that were used for its manufacturing.

Chairs are not used over tatami mats. Japanese people use Zabuton cushions to sit down.

Currently we can mainly find tatami mats in the West at schools were martial arts, Feng Shui, yoga and other disciplines of mental and physical relaxation are practised.

At the luxury hotel in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa we have tatamis in our Relaxation Area. Come to relax at our Asian paradise in the Mediterranean!

Lantern Festival

Today we are travelling from the luxury hotel in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa to China, specifically to Hong Kong, to find out more about one of the most famous traditional holiday celebration of the country: the Lantern Festival.

The Lantern Festival, also known as Yuen Siu, is the last day of China´s most important festival, Spring Festival. It supposes going back to everyday life after two weeks of celebrations and family meals. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month. Thousands of red lanterns are hung up from houses, business and streets.

One of the legends explaining the origin of the Lantern Festival is that the Jade Emperor in Heaven was so angered at a villager for killing one of his sacred gooses that he decided to destroy the villager´s town with a storm of fire on January 15. Jade Emperor´s daughter, who got along with humans, warned the people of the town telling them to light lanterns throughout the town on the appointed day to hold back her father. The Jade Emperor decided not to destroy the town, because he thought it had already been burnt. From that day on, people celebrate the festival.

The lanterns are an indispensable part of the celebration. People write riddles on a piece of paper and paste them on the lanterns to let other people guess. Gifts are given to those ones who get the right answers. They are made with silk, paper and even glass. The most common lantern is the red one but nowadays there are many types of different sizes and colours such as square-shaped lanterns, lotus flower-shape lanterns or dragon-shape ones.

The Lantern Festival includes parades, music, drums, clowns, acrobats and specially, the famous Dragon Dance and fireworks.

Food is very important for Chinese culture. During the Lantern Festival attendees eat the famous tangyuan, ball-shaped dumplings made of rice flour filled with sweet goodies or meat. Its round shape symbolizes family ties.

If you would like to celebrate the Lantern Festival, you can either make your own paper lanterns or visit our 5 star hotels in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa and enjoy Asia in the Mediterranean.

Potala Palace

At our 5 star resorts in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel Thai & Spa we keep travelling around Asia to discover the hidden details of its culture. Today we are taking you to China, in particular to Tibet, to talk to you about one of its most important monuments: the Potala Palace.

The Potala Palace, which is also known as the second Putuo Mountain, is the ultimate expression of the Tibetan architecture. It is the chief residence of the Dalai Lama. It was built on Red Mountain in the centre of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, at an altitude of 3,700 metres. It is the highest ancient palace in the world.

It was built in the 7th century by order of the Tibetan king Sontsan Gampo. He requested its construction for the Princess Wen Cheng from the dynasty Tang. Centuries later, after being destroyed by several wars, it was rebuilt by the fifth Dalai Lama Lozang Gyatso in 1648. Potala Palace was the residence of Dalai Lama until 1950, when the 14th and current Dalai fled to India after the Chinese invasion.

All the stones used for its construction had to be carried by donkeys or on the backs of the 7,000 workers.

Potala Palace measures more than 410,000 square meters and goes up to the height of 115 meters. It encloses the White Palace or Portang Karpo, in the eastern part, which makes up the living quarters of Dalai Lama. The Red Palace or Potrang Marpo is the highest part in the centre. It is used to keep the stupas or funeral monuments of Dalai Lamas of different periods. In front of the Red Palace there is a white wall where a large portrait of Buddha is shown on holidays.

Tibetan Buddhists conceived it as a sacred place. Thousands of travellers and tourists visit it every year. In 1994 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you want to live a 100% Asian experience, come see us at the luxury hotel in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel Thai & Spa. Let yourself pour into Asian luxury!

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