Although long haul airfares are higher than they used to be, a trip to Asia flower box remains great value. Top luxury hotels in Asia are generally much cheaper than in London or New York, and the service is always quite superb. Cheap dining and bargain shopping for everything from designer clothing to electronics can make a trip to the Far East not only pleasurable but it also makes good financial sense. Here are just three cities to whet your appetite for foreign travel, and three luxury hotels in Asia you will be talking about for years to come! Dubai Dubai is all about sun, sand and shopping. It has excellent luxury hotels and resorts right on the beach with world-class amenities, and guaranteed sunshine all year round. Take a 4WD wadi trip to see the “real” Dubai or visit some of the cultural attractions in the city. The vast Dubai Mall, the largest shopping and entertainment centre in the world, is a great place to cool off in the air-conditioned stores. Luxury Hotels in Dubai For those who enjoy the world’s best, a stay at one of the world’s tallest hotels should not be missed. The iconic Burj al Arab is now the third tallest hotel building in the world. This superb structure, designed in the shape of a huge sail, is consistently placed on the Condé Nast Gold List and although pricey, a chance to stay at this top luxury hotel in Dubai is one of life’s great moments. Hong Kong Hong Kong is one of the most popular destinations for travellers and mixes a taste of China with a strong British influence. Cross the harbour on the Star Ferry and ride the funicular railway to the Victoria Peak for great views of Kowloon. Browse the night markets which spring up along the streets with great designer knock-offs, take a harbour cruise or go to the races while you are here. Luxury Hotels in Hong Kong Enjoying superb waterfront views from its location on Kowloon waterfront, the Intercontinental is one of the best located luxury hotels in Hong Kong. It is a short stroll from the Star Ferry terminal, amidst high class shops. It features the latest technology and is way ahead of most European hotels with its Insider Concierge and Global Connector services. Singapore This compact city-state is like nowhere else in the world. It offers visitors a host of waterfront activities as well as great shopping on Orchard Road and in colourful Chinatown. A trip to the Night Safari Zoo is highly recommended to see the nocturnal animals feeding after dark. Climb the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve for great views and visit one of the beautiful orchid gardens to pick up a box of freshly cut flowers as a great souvenir. Luxury Hotels in Singapore In Singapore, the historic Raffles Hotel lives up to its reputation as one of the great luxury hotels of the world. Even if you do not stay here, take afternoon tea, but gentlemen will need to wear a jacket and tie. The opulent lobby, courtyard gardens and beautifully restored suites will make a lasting impression. Alex Brey co-founded Luxique, and has had a passion for travel for more than 20 years. So much so, he convinced others to join him in his pursuit to create a travel documentary highlighting some of the globe’s finest destinations. During an almost three year process, he got to stay in some outstanding luxury hotels, soak up some vibrant cultures and enjoy some of the world’s finest cuisines. He realized that the decision-making process for planning the perfect trip – from choosing the destination to getting the right hotel room – was something that could be improved. And so came the birth of Luxique, the website that caters for the discerning traveler. Sending gifts to the Philippines is one of the ways Filipinos abroad can show their family and friends in the Philippines that they think of them. Shopping online to send gifts to the Philippines has become an ever more popular option as e-commerce has matured in the last few years, and with the increasing numbers of Filipinos living abroad. At the end of 2010, there were over 11 million Filipinos living outside of the Philippines. Apart from the age-old tradition of shipping boxes packed with stuff by air and sea, the internet has created a faster, friendlier way to send those gifts. This article will look at how you can shop online to order gifts for delivery to the Philippines. It will also include a few possible choices for gift ideas. For ease and convenience, you may begin with a search engine such as Google and enter key words that are meaningful for you. For example, you may enter the word “pasalubong,” which is the Tagalog word for gift. You may also enter other terms such as “gifts to the Philippines,” or some variation thereof. The search will then bring up a list of websites that are offering the service that you would like to use. Be cautious when choosing a company. Some companies are brand new, while others have been around for years. You want to choose a company of quality, one that is trustworthy and has some connection to the suppliers in the Philippines that you would like to use. In the Philippines, there are approximately a dozen companies offering an online gift delivery service. Many are located in the Manila area, and cater to Metro Manila only. Some companies sell only flowers, while others offer only computers and laptops. There are a few, however, that are located in North America, function like department stores and have everything from party packages, cakes, flowers and electronics for sale. They also may delivery to more remote locations in the Philippines, like Bicol Region, Baguio, and Cebu. Consider also where you are located. For example, if you are in the US or Canada, or perhaps Hong Kong or Japan, it would be wise to look for a company that has a representative in your area. Customer service is then held accountable, instead of a thousand miles away in a different time zone. 4 things to look for when choosing a website Here are a few indications that you are selecting a good gift delivery service: 1. They have an up to date and user friendly website. Online shopping websites that look dated may not be doing very well, which would make you wonder if your gift would end up being delivered. Choose one that is professionally designed and is easy on the eyes. Also, having the choice of paying by credit card and/or PayPal is a good sign, since you want a company that has been verified as trustworthy. 2. The website has established relationships with Filipino suppliers. When you’re buying a cake, I’m assuming you want a product that your family will appreciate, with a brand name like Red Ribbon. Or should you want to get a gift card so that your recipient can go shopping in a respected mall, it would be good to know that the gift delivery website you choose has a relationship with SM shopping malls and department stores. 3. They have a wide selection of products available. A company that offers flowers, cakes, gift cards, electronics, computers, appliances,etc. makes it very convenient to shop with since you can keep coming back for different items on different gift giving holidays. A one stop shop is preferable than having to search repeatedly for different companies offering only one or two products. 4. They’ve been reviewed on social networks and forums. This is a good sign that the company holds themselves accountable and seeks to provide great customer service. Do they have a Twitter or a Facebook site? What are the opinions of the service from others? These are good questions to ask before you decide to order with an online gift delivery service. After you’ve had a chance to review the key categories, if the service you’re considering has passed at least 4 out of 5, then you’re probably working with a reputable company. Written by Sheryl Balilla co-founder of Pasalubong.ca, a worldwide service for Filipinos overseas. Sheryl was born in the Philippines, and moved to North America about ten years ago. Having used remittance companies to send money to her family in the Philippines, she found it a great benefit to have the option to shop online for her family back home on special occasions.