Tag Archive | "general travel"

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20 Gorgeous Landscapes That Will Make You Love Winter

Posted on 15 January 2016 by admin

January 14, 2016 at 7:00:00 PM EST | Post a Comment


Like it or not, winter seems to have finally arrived. And while that might be a cause for grumbling and daydreaming about warmer locales, you have to admit that winter isn’t all bad. In fact, snow-covered mountains and icy lakes make for some of the most captivating scenery on the planet. Don’t believe us? Keep reading to find 20 places that are so pretty that it’s worth braving the cold to visit them. —Michael Alan Connelly

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10 Best Beach Getaways for 2016

Posted on 14 January 2016 by admin

January 13, 2016 at 4:45:00 PM EST | Post a Comment


No two beach vacations are exactly the same. Some travelers want sun during the day, and a trendy, urban scene to explore by night; others want deserted islands offering peace and quiet. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of stunning beaches around the world to choose from, but which ones are the best to visit right now? With new luxury resorts and nonstop flights, these destinations are the best places to enjoy sun and sand this year. �Fodor’s Editors

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10 New Beach Hotels to Visit in 2016

Posted on 13 January 2016 by admin

January 12, 2016 at 3:15:00 PM EST | Post a Comment


A sunny break from winter weather, a fun-filled vacation for the whole family, a romantic couple’s retreat—there’s always a reason for a beach vacation. And here we give you a few more: these 10 new beach hotels—some already opened, some eagerly expected later in the year—have the views, locations, and noteworthy perks to make them ideal for a sun-soaked getaway. Read on to discover where you can find a taste of paradise in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Hawaii. —Sandra Ramani

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20 Pet-Friendly Hotels Across the U.S.

Posted on 12 January 2016 by admin

January 11, 2016 at 6:45:00 PM EST | Post a Comment


One of the potential downsides of travel is leaving your favorite furry friends at home. Fortunately, it’s getting easier to incorporate your pets into your travel plans. We���ve rounded up 20 properties across the country where your four-legged companions will be treated to high-end hospitality—think homemade organic snacks, plush pet beds, and exciting activities such as doggie yoga, surfing, and skijoring. Ever heard of canine massage therapy? Read on to discover hotels that will make any dog wag its tail. â��Anja Mutić

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5 Tour Operators That Will Get You to Tibet

Posted on 10 January 2016 by admin

Mystical and remote Tibet, tucked high in the cloud-swathed Himalayas, has long inspired inquisitive travelers’ imaginations. While rushing toward modernization today, Tibet remains a transporting locale, steeped as it is in ancient Buddhist tradition and breathtaking terrain (quite literally, with average elevations over 14,000 feet). Happily for would-be visitors, infrastructure improvements and diverse tour operator options have made traveling to Tibet more attainable than ever before.

While independent types might scoff, the sensitive politics in Chinese-occupied Tibet (called the “Tibet Autonomous Region,” or TAR) have prohibited foreign travelers from entering the region on their own; instead, all visitors must enter while escorted on sanctioned guided tours, with special travel permits in hand. Leave the visa hassles and travel logistics to the pros, so you can focus fully on the joys and education of an immersive trip-of-a-lifetime, courtesy of one of these top tour operators to Tibet.

National Geographic Expeditions

Prayer Flags

Entrust your Tibetan adventure to one of the most trusted names in travel and exploration, National Geographic. Their “Expeditions” travel portfolio is noted for its top-notch Nat Geo–affiliated experts/expedition teams at the helm, top-of-the-line accommodations, and special access to sites. In 2016, choose from a trio of distinctive Tibetan journeys, including a photo expedition, hiking adventure, and our favorite: the Tibet-centric, 15-night “Tibet and Nepal: Journey to the Highest Himalaya” itinerary, focused on the mountain lore and culture of Tibet and Nepal. Led by noted mountaineer Peter Hillary, guests will be immersed in Himalayan landscapes of towering peaks, hanging glaciers, and crystalline lakes en route, and have the chance to gaze upon Mount Everest from Tibet’s North Face Base Camp. (Note that while the trip doesn’t involve any mountaineering, participants should be physically fit for this high-elevation trip). Plenty of notable cultural stops are included, too, including a visit to Lhasa’s legendary Potala Palace and Shigatse’s immense Tashilhunpo Monastery. Departs April 22 or October 12; from $8,715/person. 

G Adventures

Monks

Toronto-based G Adventures has been crafting affordable small-group adventures for 25 years, with an emphasis on supporting local communities. This extensive experience and sense of social responsibility landed the brand a newly launched National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures partnership this year. For 2016, G Adventures is hosting four different trips into Tibet, ranging from 13 to 20 nights. Embark on their 13-night “High Road to Tibet” itinerary, which runs round-trip from Kathmandu, Nepal, incorporating a series of high-altitude hikes and stops to fascinating sites—including temples, monasteries (including Rombuk, the highest monastery in the world), and more—in spots like Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, and the Everest Base Camp. Or try out their new National Geographic Journeys–branded 14-night “Explore China Tibet” trip, with a focus on the spirituality of Tibet, pairing a 3-night Lhasa stay (visit the sacred Jokhang Temple, Tibetan Medicine Institute, Sera Monastery, and more) with a tour of China (with Beijing, Shanghai, X’ian, and more). Tibet-inclusive trips run on select dates between April and October; from $2,549/person. 

Viking River Cruises

Potala Palace

A cruise company might not be the obvious first choice when searching for a Tibet tour provider, but a handful of river cruise operators in China propose well-executed China- and Tibet-inclusive “cruisetour” itineraries (mixing both land- and water-based travel). Viking River Cruises, touting seamless logistics and top-notch local guides, is the best of the bunch, and is in fact one of the largest inbound American tour operators to Tibet today (where they’ve been operating since 2004). Their 15-night “Roof of the World” itinerary combines their signature 5-night Yangtze River sailing through the scenic Three Gorges region with the must-sees of China by land in Shanghai (with its futuristic skyline), Beijing (gateway to the Forbidden City and Great Wall of China), X’ian (home of the Terra Cotta Warriors), and most exceptionally, Lhasa, on the Tibetan Plateau. For three days, be immersed in the essential Lhasa highlights—the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Sera Monastery, and more—while participating in thoughtful cultural encounters, like a home visit with a Tibetan family to sample traditional treats and yak butter tea. Tours depart from April through October; rates from $5,ᐞ/person.

World Expeditions

Tibetan women

Since 1975, World Expeditions (headquartered in Australia) has specialized in small-group and socially responsible adventure trips (trekking, walking, cycling, etc.) around the globe. With its roots as a Himalayan trekking company (they claim to be the first company to offer trekking trips through Tibet, back in 1981), the company’s regional offerings are notably prolific, with some 10 Tibet-inclusive itineraries (ranging from 10 to 29 nights in length) on the roster for 2016. Look  for unique journeys like the 15-night “Tibet Gandan Samye Trek,” which combines hiking on ancient trails and visits with monasteries, Tibetan herdsmen, and more; or the 19-night “Journey to Mount Kailas,” which incorporates a trek on the most sacred mountain in the Himalayas during the annual Saga Dawa festival. Bonus: Their tours support local Tibetan partners and suppliers whenever possible. Departures in 2016 in April, May, and from August–October; rates from $2,890/person. 

Times Journeys

Tibet

Backed by The New York Times, look to a high-caliber portfolio of guided trips within the Times Journeys program, which pairs unique, small-group travel experiences (each inspired by the paper’s headlines), with the expert guidance of an accompanying Times journalist or Times-selected specialist. With a focus on the sensitive politics and threatened culture of Tibet, this new-for-2016, 11-night “Tibet: In China and In Depth” trip ventures to Tibetan regions of China. The off-the-tourist-circuit route covers Tibetan temples, monasteries, villages, and cities that fall within mainland China (in the Chinese provinces of Gansu, Qinghai, and Yunnan)—outside of the designated Tibet Autonomous Region—where Tibetans strive to keep their culture and religious practices distinct and relevant. Along the way, encounter intricate Tibetan artwork and artifacts, learn about Tibetan Buddhist rituals and practices (with the great Labrang Monastery as a highlight), visit with local Tibetan families, and more. Four journeys are scheduled in 2016, led by assorted experts the April 18 departure stands out, with an escort by two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist John Burns. Tours departs April 18, May 8, May 29, or June 12; from $6,995/person.

Note that quoted fares are all based on double occupancy and exclude airfare from the U.S.

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5 Outstanding Food Experiences in London

Posted on 08 January 2016 by admin

People who say British food is terrible clearly haven’t been to London in the last 20 years. The English capital, at turns debonair and down-to-earth, is one of the greatest cities in the world for eating, and there have never been more delicious options than there are right now. So here are some priorities: Pedigreed doughnuts, the East End, a sirloin the whole town is talking about, and more. Drooling yet? Read on to discover five of London’s food experiences you won��t soon forget.

Kitty Fisher’s Sirloin

London

When the willowy servers warn the Galician sirloin will take ȍ minutes, they’re not fooling around. “We cook [the steak] over English wood on the grill, [then] allow it to rest above the grill, ensuring that while it rests it still takes on the flavor of the smoke and wood,” explains Kitty Fisher’s (average main $28) hotshot chef/Londoner obsession, Tomos Parry. Fortunately, time is a malleable element here; the Mayfair restaurant feels like a comfy countryside cabin with a dose of bordello swag, a space in which you don’t so much dine as unwind, lingering over bold red wines and after-dinner cocktails at the five-stool boxcar-red bar. With just 40 seats spread across the first floor and cozy downstairs den—when you descend, you get a great look into Parry’s wood-fired kitchen—reservations are very, very difficult to procure. But it’s worth the effort for the signature sirloin, which is sourced from an 8-to-12-year-old Basque cow: “In the UK, we tend to slaughter our cows at 2 years old, but in Spain they celebrate the retired dairy cow. The deep, rich flavor of the meat is like no other.” Once the meat has rested, Parry slices the steak down into medium-rare dominoes that glow from within and serves them with a separate platter of intensely delicious vegetables: Pink Fir potatoes, buttery spinach, and petals of charred onions that cradle killer pickled green walnuts. The steak costs 80GBP ($121) but serves two comfortably. You might want to plan your hotel around this meal. Rooms with mini fridges need only apply.

Shoreditch’s Hotspots

London

The coolest kids may have migrated farther across the East End, but Shoreditch remains one of London’s hottest neighborhoods—especially for dining. Alums of Fergus Hendersonâ€�s seminal restaurant St. John (see #4) have launched their own projects in the once-gritty district, like Lyle’s (set menu $66), where cool, industrial looks belie a warm, convivial spirit. There, in the open kitchen, chef James Lowe recently prepared a mosaic-like terrine of wild game with vivid crabapple jelly and other Instagram catnip. (“Game may contain shot,” warns the menu.) Meanwhile, at polished-up Victorian pub The Marksman (average main $25), even the most obsessive American food nerd should be prepared to Google “Welsh Black” (a breed of cattle), “cos” (romaine), “hipsi” (type of cabbage), and other items from chefs Tom Harris and Jon Rotheram’s thoroughly English menu. Hit both, one for brunch, the other for dinner, killing time between at Old Spitalfields Market.

Newman Arms’ Sunday Roast

London

Five years ago, Matt Chatfield started the Cornwall Project, a network linking London restaurants with farmers in Cornwall, which has “the best climate in the UK for growing crops and feeding cattle and has a large supply of quality fish and shellfish,” according to Chatfield. “Over time I realized my main motivation was the creation of lasting [and] worthwhile jobs in Cornwall, a very poor county by UK standards.â�� The entrepreneur has doubled down on this endeavor by signing on as a partner of the Newman Arms, a cozy pub just off bustling Oxford Street in Fitzrovia. Every Sunday in the second-floor dining room, chef Eryk Bautista turns the Cornish bounty into a set menu inspired by the British tradition of Sunday Roast.

“Pretty well every British person would have had a roast dinner every Sunday for the fist 16 years of the life,” Chatfield says. “We’re trying to recreate that feeling,” although he admits, “everyone says their nan’s is the best.” It’s hard to imagine anyone’s grandmother besting Bautista’s roast rump of beef, sliced into ruby-red petals around a landscape of tender sprouting purple broccoli, caramelized carrots, and (the chef’s favorite) impossibly crispy puffed potatoes fried in rendered animal fat. You get a generous plate of hearty, homey, expertly seasoned and executed food for 18GBP ($27), a tremendous deal in an expensive capital. Don’t miss the sticky toffee pudding for dessert.

St. John’s Weekend Doughnuts

St. John

Fergus Henderson’s St. John is one of the most acclaimed restaurants in London, famous for its marrow bones and for its status as a pillar of contemporary British cooking (which is to say old-school, yet modern). The original location now has several offshoots, including a dedicated bakery in the South Bank neighborhood of Bermondsey. It’s only open on Saturdays and Sundays, and you have to beat the crowds along Druid Street to snatch a half-dozen of their glorious filled doughnuts. The bakers only do the stuffed variety—stuffed-stuffed. The sugared pastries are so loaded with house-made jams (raspberry, rhubarb) and silky custards (salted caramel, gingerbread) they feel like they’re about to pop like water balloons. Revel in the messiness of it.

The Rosewood London

Rosewood London

Conveniently located between Covent Garden, Bloomsbury and the City, the Rosewood London (rooms from $575) cuts a stately silhouette along High Holborn. All carved limestone, pruned topiaries, and grand, flickering lanterns, the building housed the former Pearl Assurance Company before Rosewood invested 85 million pounds and opened its first European hotel here in 2013. There are many things to love about the property (the doting butlers, the neroli-scented soap, the resident golden retriever, Pearl), but food lovers will be especially seduced by its culinary amenities. The inner courtyard, for example, hosted a Christmas market scented with mulled wine, hot cocoa, and roasting chestnuts earlier this winter.

There are three restaurants (Holborn Dining Room, the Mirror Room, Scarfes Bar) you’ll actually want to eat at; all are accessible from the street and draw a local crowd. HDR is a copper-plated brasserie with a charcuterie bar, wild game program, and a chef, Calum Franklin, who, incidentally, is roommates with Matt Chatfield of the Cornwall Project. French chef Aamandine Chaignot oversees the Mirror Room, which hosts a Sunday brunch informed by the Slow Food movement. Indian curries and snacks populate the menu at the clubby Scarfes, named for artist Gerald Scarfes, whose political caricatures decorate the gentlemanly room. (If you’re familiar with the album cover for Pink Floyd’s The Wall, he needs no introduction.) The Rosewood pays just as much attention to dining in the room. Room service brings a parade of pressed linen and painted china, tomato soup poured from Staub teakettles, and condiments in dainty Weck jars. Except for alcohol, everything in the well-designed mini-bar is complimentary. With fresh citrus, boutique tonic, and proper glassware, having a GT en suite is just like having a cocktail downstairs at the bar—except you can do so in a supremely comfy robe.

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15 Incredible Rooftop Bars in Hong Kong

Posted on 08 January 2016 by admin

January 7, 2016 at 5:00:00 PM EST | Post a Comment


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New Year, New You: 10 New Skills You Can Learn While Traveling

Posted on 07 January 2016 by admin

January 6, 2016 at 11:45:00 AM EST | Post a Comment


If your 2016 resolutions include learning something new, these hotels and destinations can help. From teaching you how to take better photos to butcher a whole hog, these classes will engage you, help make the most of your vacation, and send you home with a brand-new skill—so that’s one resolution you can cross off the list. —Sandra Ramani

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Bhutan’s 10 Most Spectacular Sights

Posted on 06 January 2016 by admin

January 4, 2016 at 2:00:00 PM EST | Post a Comment


It may not be a flashy destination, but Bhutan has a reputation that holds a lot of hype for travelers. Identifying as both “The Last Shangri-La” and the happiest country on earth, this tiny Himalayan country tucked between India and Tibet talks a big game but manages to maintain a relatively low profile on the tourism circuit. Thereâ€�s a lot to love about Bhutan—a strong Buddhist tradition, local foods, wonderful people—but the country’s natural and architectural beauty will leave the strongest impression for most visitors. To inspire you to make the trek, here’s a look at 10 of Bhutan’s most spectacular sights. —Abbey Chase

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20 Ultimate Experiences in Rajasthan

Posted on 06 January 2016 by admin

January 5, 2016 at 1:30:00 PM EST | Post a Comment


When most people think of India, they imagine Rajasthan, whether they know it or not. Literally translated, the state’s name means “Land of Kings,” and it was the birthplace of the Indus Valley Civilization, one of the three early civilizations of the Old World dating back to 7500 B.C. Eventually it became the seat of the powerful Rajput kings and, later, an important holding during the British colonial era. Today, evidence of Rajasthan’s history abounds at every turn, from its towering forts and palaces to its ancient cities and religious temples, but modern India can be found here too, in bustling morning markets, brilliantly colored textiles, striking arid landscapes, and traditional cuisine. To get the most out of your trip to Rajasthan, here are 20 experiences not to miss. —Abbey Chase

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