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Around the Pacific

Pack your bags and head west across the Pacific. First, sample some of Australia’s award-winning wines, then dive with reef, hammerhead and whale sharks at sites around the Philippines. Explore the lush jungles of Thailand on foot before making a final stop in Taiwan, where you can shop the country’s amazing night markets.

Australia

Population: est. 23,409,000
Size: 7,692,024 km2
Language: English
Hello: How ya goin’?
Goodbye: Catch ya
Thank you: Cheers, ta
Visa requirements: No official tourist visa is required, but Canadians must obtain an online Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) in advance.

Image of a vineyard in AustraliaFood and Wine

A sun-soaked land of natural wonders and exciting cities, Australia is also home to a celebrated wine industry. Regional food and wine festivals entice both locals and visitors with a sensory indulgence that offers something for everyone.

During Crush Festival, held in South Australia’s Adelaide Hills, thirty wineries open their cellar doors to the public and even throw a few fashion parades into the mix. For urban epicurean adventures, the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and the Taste of Sydney highlight each city’s unique wine and culinary venues. Or, you can head around the nation checking out any of the nearly 100 wine-related events hosted during Aussie Wine Month, which range from wine-themed high teas and master classes to cycling tours of wine regions and vineyard concerts.

With an abundance of food and wine festivals all year round, any Australia travel plan should include more than just sun and surf.

Philippines

Population: est. 99,900,000
Size: 300,000 km2
Languages: Tagalog and English
Hello: Kumusta
Goodbye: Paalam na
Thank you: Salamat
Visa requirements: No official tourist visa is required. Canadians may stay for up to 30 days; however, proof of a valid return airfare ticket must be presented.

Image of a diver swimming with a whale shark Shark Diving

The rich waters of the Philippines provide world-class diving. As interest in shark conservation grows, these waters, which are frequented by various shark species, draw more and more shark diving enthusiasts.

One of the biggest attractions is the whale shark, and Donsol is home to consistent sightings. Only snorkelling is possible in Donsol Bay, but dive opportunities are found outside the bay. Further south, Malapascua Island is home to thresher sharks. Surfacing around Monad Shoal in the early morning, thresher sharks can be viewed almost year round. If you are looking to swim with tuna, reef sharks and hammerheads, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park off the coast of Palawan in the Sulu Sea.There are plenty of amazing dive sites to see. Research seasonal migratory routes for the best times to visit.

Thailand

Population: est. 67,497,151
Size: 510,890 km2
Language: Thai
Hello: Sawatdee
Goodbye: Lagonna
Thank you: Kop Kun
Visa requirements: No official tourist visa is required. Canadians may stay for up to 30 days.

Image of an elephant in ThailandJungle Trekking

Scattered with lush jungles, rushing waterfalls, breathtaking mountains and centuries-old ruins, Thailand is a must-see destination for any traveller looking for adventure in Southeast Asia. With dozens of parks and trekking options, choices range from short day hikes to multi-day mountain excursions.

Using Chiang Mai as a base, take a trip to the Mae Takhrai National Park to trek among Thailand’s giant 60-metre dipterocarpus trees. Ramp up the adrenaline by taking a zip line tour through the jungle canopy before making your way to the nation’s highest peak. A multi-day hike through the Doi Inthanon National Park will get you there, and you can pay your respects to the indigenous hill tribe villagers who live in the area. Head northwest to Pai in the Mae Hong Son Province and spend the day exploring the jungle and visiting with elephants.

Be sure to research the best season for specific hikes and choose a reputable tour company that takes an eco-friendly approach.

Taiwan

Population: est. 23,300,000
Size: 35,980 km2
Language: Mandarin
Hello: Ni hao
Goodbye: Zaijian
Thank you: Xie xie ni
Visa requirements: No official tourist visa is required. Canadians may stay for up to 90 days; however, proof of a valid return airfare ticket must be presented.

Image of a street food vendor in TaiwanNight Markets

The island nation of Taiwan is a playground for after hours shopping and open-air nightlife. Buzzing with energy and the chatter of bargaining, the night markets of Taiwan bustle and thrive.

The Shihlin Night Market first opened next to the National Palace Museum in 1899. Known for its authentic Taiwanese snacks and countless bargains, it is one of the largest night markets in Taipei. If travelling to Taichung City, the Donghai Night Market near Donghai University features a dedicated space for artists and craftspeople. Here, visitors can relax in theatres, cafés and tea houses, or take in some folk art. For sand and sun, head south to Kenting, a beach destination and site of the Kenting Night Market. Here you will find beachware, local crafts, fresh seafood, and various pubs and cafés.

The food and sights of these markets are a great way to explore the many cultural offerings of Taiwan.

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