Places to Discover | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 14, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 14, 2016


Places to Discover

The world has become smaller with new discoveries. Human beings no longer live in an insular world. It is a boon for modern civilisation. People have become more outgoing. They go places for the love of it. The distance, ethnic and cultural divide are no longer inhibiting barriers. From Cairo to Katmandu, from Marrakech to Maldives and from Venice to Vienna - one does not have to discover these places. From travellers' tales the names do not stop there. 

There are places, which are not illustrious yet so inviting. Let us start with Bagan in our neighboring Myanmar. Bagan or Pagan  isan an ancientcity in Mandalay region. It was built in second century and fortified in 849 A.D. by Pagan ruler Pyinva. From 1044 to 1287, Bagan was the capital as well as the political, economic and cultural nerve center of the Pagan. Over the course of 250 years, Bagan's rulers and their wealthy subjects constructed over 10,000 religious monuments (approximately 1000 stupas, 10,000 small temples and 3000 monasteries) in an area of 104 square kilometres (40 sq mi) in the Bagan plains. The prosperous city grew in size and grandeur, and became a cosmopolitan center for religious and secular studies. Air Mandalay operates direct flight to Nyaung U or Bagan from Yangon. Bagan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Another place to discover is also in South East Asia. Hoi An,meaning A Peaceful Meeting place is a town of 120,000 people in Quang Nam province of Vietnam. It has been designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.Old town Hoi An is a splendid example of well-preserved South-East Asian trading post. Prominent is the covered Japanese bridge built during 15th to 17th century in the Japanese quarter. The Cham people controlled the spice trade. Eventually Cham the harbor town at the estuary of Thu Bon River became an important Vietnamese trading post in the 16th and 17th century. The Chinese, the Portuguese, Japanese, Dutch and the Indians settled there.  During this period Cham became Hoi Pho (seaside town) in Vietnamese. Air connection to Hoi An is from either Bangkok or Singapore to Hanoi and from Hanoi to Danag by domestic flight. Take a bus to Hoi An.

One hop away is Siem Reap the gateway to Angkor Wat. It is the capital of the province Seam Reap of Northwestern Cambodia. Seam Reap inKampuchean language means the "defeat of the Siam". It relates to age old rivalry between the Siamese and the Khmers. Khmer king (1516-1566) named the town Siem Reap after he repulsed an army sent to invade Cambodia by the Thai king Maha Chakraphat in 1549. Siem Reap was visited by French explorer Henri Mouhot in the 19th century. Although it was known to outside before that. Siem Reap today is ranked as the forth in the Word's Best cities of Travel and Leisure. The main town is a gateway to Angkor Wat and consists of cluster of small village along the river Siem Reap   built around Buddhist pagodas. The river Siem Reap meets big Tonle Sap lake in the north. Siemp Reap is a bustling town of colonial buildings and shopping centres. Air flights from Bangkok connect it. Siem Reap is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Zanzibar is not around Bangladesh.-away in East Africa, an autonomous region, Zanzibar archipelago is 16 to 31 miles off the coast of mainland Tanzania. It consists of two larger islands, Unguia or Zanzibar and Pemba and smaller islands. Islam came early to Zanzibar. The people of Zanzibar are of African heritage with Swahili language. Later when the Arabs came and settled around coast a mixture of Swahili and Arab ethnicity developed with trading links steeped in history.   Zanzibar has a history of trading in spices, namely, nutmeg, cinnamon, black pepper. It also has a history of slave trade. It was under the suzerainty of the Omanis, Saif bin Sultan pressed hard in Zanzibar in 1690. Later the Portuguese came. They were however dislodged by the Omanis. Said bin Sultan made Zanzibar his man place of residence. He built palaces, castles, harems and gardens. Now the stone city of Zanzibar has been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is now an important destination of the western world with air connection from different parts, hotels and shopping centres have been built. There are lots of things to see in Zanzibar - stone city, spices tour and Swahili cultural show. 

The world is more, more becoming one country. Familiar places beckon, but the world understands that there are places lesser known yet so inviting, so much a part of world heritage. Those who can - they go out to discover these places.

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