June 2015

Korean Pungmul

At the luxury hotel in Alicante Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa we love learning about new Asian traditions and rites. Today we have travelled to South Korea to discover one of its most famous music traditions: pungmul.

Pungmul is a Korean folk music tradition that combines drumming, dancing and singing. It´s the Korean dance with the most ancient history.

Its origin dates back to the celebrations Korean farmers did to rest from their labours and to ask the gods for a good harvest during the year.

For Korean people agriculture was the most important activity. At first, it was a game but through the years it became an art.

Korean farmers played pungmul on rural holidays and at other village community-building events. Currently it´s performed outdoors.

It is performed by tens of actors. These ones are known by japsaek. They are the ones in charge of cheering up the show dressed up with caricatures and dancing with the audience.

Musicians are organized in groups, which are led by a kkwaenggwari player, accompanied by a janggu player, a buk one and a jing one. Pungmul performances sometimes include wind instruments too such as the taepyeongso.

On their behalf, pungmul dancers usually play sogo, a small drum, and perform tricky dances, which include different acrobatics.

If you are looking for some fun and relax this summer in a delightful environment, the 5 stars resort Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa is your place. Let yourself captivate by Southeast Asia in the Mediterranean.

Namtso Lake

At the luxury hotel in Alicante Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa we keep discovering new Asian spots. Today we are taking you to Tibet to find out more about Namtso Lake.

The sacred lake Namtso is a saltwater lake located between Damxung County and Baingoin County, 250 kilometres away from Lhasa. Its name means “heavenly lake” in Tibetan. It´s considered one of China´s most beautiful lakes.

It´s China´s second biggest saltwater lake, and the largest one in the Tibet Autonomous Region. It has a surface area of 1,900 km2 and lies at an elevation of 4,718 metres.

It is considered one of the three holy lakes in Tibet. The other two ones are Lake Yamdrok lake and Lake Manasarovar. Namtso Lake is surrounded by Nyantsentanglha Mountain. According to the local legend, Namtso Lake and Nyantsentanglha Mountain are a beloved couple, living together and deeply attached to each other. Another legend says Namtso is also the daughter of the god Indra.

According to history, Namtso Lake has been a holy site for centuries. The tradition of walking around the lake to pray in the Year of the Sheep began in the 12th century, when Buddhist leaders practiced Esoteric Buddhism in the lake.

During the Year of the Sheep, many Buddhist monks visit Namtso Lake to walk around it. Worshipers take it as the symbol of happiness and believe that if they do it, their families will be blessed with good health and other virtues.

At the 5 stars resort Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa we have our particular lakes. Visit our Asian spot in the Mediterranean this summer and relax at our Asian-style design pools.

Japanese washi paper

Every week we discover you a new Asian spot or tradition from our luxury hotel in Alicante Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa. Today we are travelling to Japan to learn about washi.

Washi is a style of paper that was first made in Japan.

There are different types of washi papers, depending on their origin or their manufacturing process. The three types of washi, which have become UNESCO´S intangible Cultural Heritage, are honminoshi (Gifu), hosokawashi (Saitama) and sekishubanshi (Shimane).

Washi is about 1,300 years old. Its manufacturing processes have passed down from one generation to another, without changing. This process is completely handmade.

According to Nihon Shoki, the second oldest book of classical Japanese history, Chinese manufacturing techniques were brought to Japan in 610 thanks to the Korean Buddhist monk Doncho. According to this book, Prince Shotoku thought Chinese paper was too thin and delicate, and requested his craftsmen to make Japanese paper with mulberry bark and hemp fiber.

Due to its manufacturing process, washi paper is tougher than ordinary paper made from wood pulp. It´s used in many traditional arts. Besides calligraphy, folding screens, lanterns, umbrellas and Japanese sunshades are all produced using washi.

Currently, there are only three Japanese communities producing washi: Misumi-cho district in Hamada, the city of Mino and Higashi-chichibu and Ogawa towns.

If you love Asia and its culture, 5 stars resort Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa is your destination. Don´t miss out the opportunity to visit Southeast Asia in the Mediterranean.

The Golden Temple

Every spot in our 5 stars hotel in Alicante Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa take us to a different place in Asia. Today we are travelling to India to discover the Golden Temple.

The Golden Temple, known in India as Harmandir Sahib, is a Sikh temple located in teh city of Amritsar, in the state of Punjab.

Amritsar is considered the spiritual capital of Sikhism. Sikhs must visit the Golden Temple at least once in their lives. They usually do it on special occasions such as birthdays, marriages or birth.

The fourth Sikh guru Guru Ram Das founded the city in 1574. The Golden Temple was built in 1588 at the request of the fifth guru Guru Arjan Dev. The construction was finished in 1604. By this time, Guru Arjan also completed the Adi Granth, Sikhism Holy Scripture, and installed it inside the temple.

The Golden Temple is located in the middle of an artificial lake called Amrit Sarovar, which means a pool of nectar. It has given the name Amritsar to the city. Sikhs and devotees wash their hands and feet in the lake, and some even take a bath, for purifying themselves before entering the Golden Temple.

The temple´s dome is gilded with 750 kg of pure gold. The temple is a symbolic representation of Sikhism. It has four entrances, one on each side, which symbolize the opening of their religion to the other ones.

At the luxury hotel Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa we also have our sacred spots. Plan a getaway to our Asian paradise in the Mediterranean and discover our wood canoe while enjoying a few days off.

The Grand Palace in Bangkok

At the luxury hotel in Alicante Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa we keep discovering new Asian monuments and spots. Today we are taking you to Thailand to find out more about the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

The Grand Palace or Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang is located in Bangkok, on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. It´s one of the most amazing places in the country. Currently it´s open to the public as a museum and it is also used for official events.

This complex of buildings has been the official royal residence since the 18th century. Its construction started in 1792, at the request of the king Rama I, after taking the capital of the kingdom from Thonburi to Bangkok.

The Grand Palace had its own laws, as a small town. The king, his court and his royal government were based on the Palace until 1925. The current king Bhumibol Adulyadej or Rama IX lives in Chitralada Palace.

The most important place in the Grand Palace is the Wat Phra Kaew temple, the most important Buddhist temple in Thailand. It was one of the first constructions, which was built during Rama I´s kingdom.

There are a lot of important structures in the Grand Palace, but the major one is the Temple of Emerald Buddha. It keeps Thailand´s most sacred Buddhist sculpture: the Emerald Buddha or Phra Kaeo Morakot, which was carved from flawless green jade in the 5th century.

If you are an Asian design and architecture lover, we suggest you to visit us this summer in the 5 stars resort Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa. You will be able to enjoy a few days off in our little paradise in Southeast Asia in the Mediterranean.

Jiuzhaigou Valley

Every week our luxury hotel in Alicante Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa takes us to a different spot in the Asian continent. Today we are travelling to China to discover you one of the country´s wonders: Jiuzhaigou Valley.

Jiuzhaigou Valley is a nature reserve and national park located in Northern Sichuan in South Western China. It is considered to be the most spectacular natural area in the country and one of the most popular destinations.

Jiuzhaigou Valley is formed by a group of valleys, but only three of them are open to the public. These ones are Zechawa, Rize y Shuzheng. The park is famous for its amazing blue lakes, its dense forests and its waterfalls.

There are 17 groups of waterfalls in Jiuzhaigou. The most famous and impressive one is Luorilang waterfall, which is 100 meters wide and 20 meters high.

At the valley we can find all type of flowers and animals. Jiuzhaigou is home to over 140 bird species and several endangered animal species, such as the giant panda or the Sichuan golden monkey.

Due to this beautiful scenery, Jiuzhaigou Valley has earned the reputation of “a world of fairy tales“.

At the 5 stars resort Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa we also have our private Jiuzhaigou. Visit us this summer and enjoy a few days off walking through our dense tropical gardens and relaxing in our spectacular pools.

The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Every day we discover a new Asian spot at the 5 stars hotel in Alicante Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa. Today we have travelled to Vietnam to tell you about the incredible Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.

The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a national park located in Quang Binh, about 500 km south of Hanoi. Covering 857.54 km2, it has become one of the main tourist attractions in the country.

It was built to protect one of the world´s largest karst regions and the most ancient one in Asia, and to protect the Annamite Range forest ecosystem.

The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park has over 300 caves and grottoes. And only 20 of them have been explored.

These caves were formed approximately 400 million years ago. They all are embellished by hundreds of spectacular stalactites and stalagmites, and large rivers and underground cascades.

In 2009 a group of British explorers discovered a new cave, which is called Hang Son Doong. It is considered to be the world´s largest cave.

The two most famous caves between tourists are the Phong Nha cave and the Tien Son one.

If you love Asian landscapes, we look forward to seeing you this summer in Southeast Asia in the Mediterranean at the luxury hotel Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa. Our Asian-style design pools will win over you.


Beijing Opera

The Asian continent keeps surprising us at the luxury hotel in Alicante Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa. Today we are discovering you more about the famous Beijing Opera.

Beijing Opera is considered to be the quintessence of China. In contrast with western opera, it mixes singing, dancing, music and acrobatics.

Its origins date back to the 19th century. It became popular during the Qing Dynasty. It was taken for the first time to Beijing in 1790, for Qianlong Emperor´s birthday.

Local operas were the best way of entertainment for Chinese people. They focused on popular legends and stories people liked. Beijing Opera was established in 1845, after putting together the best of each local opera.

Beijing Opera is a scenic art integrating singing, recitation, performing, dancing and martial arts. Legends, dynasties stories, myths and love and war tales, are the main themes used in this spectacular performance.

At all operas we will find four types of characters: Sheng, it’s a common name of male characters, Dan, the name for female characters, Jing, painted face often refers to male characters, and Chou, the comical one who can be played by both genders.

The facial panting or Lianpu brings back the masks used for the dances during the Tang and Song Dynasties. Each colour represents a different characteristic: a red face symbolizes loyalty, a black one, frankness, white stands for astuteness, while the faces painted with gold and silver colours symbolize gods and Buddha.

The suits are another important part of Beijing Opera. The clothes are never washed, they could discolour or wrinkle, and they are kept folded inside-out, in order to keep its colour and brightness.

At the 5 stars hotel Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa we are Asian culture lovers. Enjoy luxury holidays with us at our Asian spot in the Mediterranean.


Dano Festival

At the 5 star resort in Alicante Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa we keep discovering new Asian traditions and rites. Today we are taking you to South Korea to fin out about its famous Dano Festival.

The Dano Festival, which is also known as Surit-nal, is one of the main Korean traditional holidays. It takes place every year on the 5th day of the fifth month of the lunar Korean calendar. It celebrates spring and this year falls on June 21.

Originally, Korean farmers celebrated Dano to wish for a good harvest. The celebration included sharing the food and practicing several activities to strengthen the body. It was considered to be the most important festivity in Korea.

The most famous tradition for women was washing their hair in water boiled with Sweet Flag. They believed it avoided bad omens. Nowadays Korean women still do it to make their hair shiny.

Currently the Dano Festival takes place in the city of Gangneung by the river Namdae. Among the activities developed at the festival, we can find plays, folk dances and traditional and modern ones. The most famous dance is the one with Gwanno masks, which is only performed at Dano.

The festival also includes a ssireum competition, a wrestling match among men, customizing Dano fans, swing and a firework show.

As every Asian tradition, Dano has its own traditional dishes: surichwitteok, a rice cake, and junchiguk, herring soup.

Come live your own Asian experience at Southeast Asia in the Mediterranean. We are looking forward to seeing you at the luxury hotel Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa.

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