Tag Archives: Accommodation

Phuket Photo Essays You Should See

For those planning to explore Phuket, here’s a compilation of photo essays that capture various sides of the Thai province that is well-loved by travelers.

From Fly See Stay:flyseestay

This photo essay mainly captures the beauty of nature in Phuket with shots of the clear waters and limestone cliffs, along with images of floating villages and the locals there. Oh, and the author sneaked in a picture of the notorious Patong area as well.

Full photo essay here: Fly See Stay

Best Beaches in Phuket >>>

From Bowdy Wanders:bowdywanders

With many pictures of the places of worship and the beautiful details in their architecture, this photo essay shows a side of Phuket that is different from the ‘sun, sand and sea’ stereotype, although some pictures of the latter is included as well.

Full photo essay here: Bowdy Wanders

Viewpoints in Phuket >>>

From Notes From A Big World:

notesfrabigworld

Perhaps not the prettiest or most professional of pictures, but this photo essay that focuses on Phuket’s transportation system is worth viewing nonetheless, as it captures the vehicles that locals use, providing insight to their daily lives.

Full photo essay here: Notes From A Big World

5 Things To Do In Phuket >>>

From Monkey Abroad:

monkeyabroad

This photo essay is very ‘real’- compiled over a period of 6 months by a foreign teacher who lived and worked in Phuket. It shows everything from the beaches to the temples to the nightlife, and is probably the closest to how the locals would see the province.

Full photo essay here: Monkey Abroad

Explore Phuket Nightlife at Patong>>>

Ever been to Phuket? Which was your favorite photo essay? Share your travel stories in the comments below!

Images courtesy of (from top to bottom): Fly See StayBowdy WandersNotes From A Big World & Monkey Abroad.

Visit travelog.me for more places to go when in Phuket!

Have insider information or travel stories to share? Contribute to the Travelog blog & engage with travel-lovers like yourself (credits will be given). Email us at hello@travelog.me to find out more!

Be Wowed by these Shanghai Hotels!

Park Hyatt

hyatt shanghai   

hyatt

The tallest hotel in Shanghai and one of the tallest in the world, you can be experience being literally on top of the world when you stay at Park Hyatt! The skyscraper hotel also boasts quality service and a luxurious interior design that looks like it could double as an art gallery.

Read more about Park Hyatt here >>

PEI Mansion Hotel

mansion shanghai

garden-deluxe-king

Located at the heart of the former French Concession area, Mansion Hotel is China’s first deluxe City Heritage Boutique Hotel. Upon entering, expect to find classical design along with a host of antiques decorating the lobby and corridors. This is one hotel that combines luxury rooms and service with historical flair.

Read more about PEI Mansion Hotel here >>

Astor House

astor shanghai

astor

Book a night at Astor House and you’ll have a chance to stay at rooms once occupied by the likes of Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell and Charlie Chaplin! This hotel was Shanghai’s first, being built more than 160 years ago during the Qing Dynasty in 1846. The interior is elegant and reminiscent of the building’s past, complete with impeccable wooden floors and chandeliers!

Read more about Astor House here >>

Which one of these amazing hotels would you like to stay at?

Visit travelog.me for more information on places to visit when next in Shanghai.

Images courtesy of (from top to bottom): allabouttravelling.com, worldalldetails.com, peimansionhotel.com, tripadvisor.com, flickr.com, china.bryant.edu.

The Essential Guide to Celebrating Chinese New Year in Hong Kong in 2015

Chinese New Year this year begins on February 19, and what better place to experience it than in Hong Kong? Chinese New Year is a huge celebration of food, festivities and Chinese culture across Chinese countries and cities. Hong Kong has it all, from the bursts of colour in the streets to delicious Chinese New Year goodies begging to be eaten. Join in on their annual Chinese New Year street parade, the dazzling display of fireworks and the raucous nightlife that is sure to keep the festive buzz going for the traditional 15 days of celebration. Street markets, banks, public utilities and government offices will be closed from February 19 to 21, but everything else is open for the revelers in Hong Kong. Who said that the city shuts down during the Lunar Festival? In Hong Kong, Chinese New Year is when the party begins.

1) 19th February : Tsim Sha Tsui, Chinese New Year Parade on 1 cny parade

Position yourselves early along Nathan Road, Canton Road or Haiphong Road for a prime view of the annual Chinese New Year Parade. It’s a glorious mess of floats, lion dancing and even pyrotechnics, traversing down the usually traffic-laden road of Tsim Sha Tsui. Plunge right into the crowd and join in on the revelry!

Click here for more information on Tsim Sha Tsui >>

2)  20th February : Victoria Harbour, Chinese New Year Fireworks Display
2 fireworks

Very much like their New Year’s Eve fireworks display but just as opulent and astounding, if not more. Join the merrymakers along the sides of Victoria Harbour and prepare to be amazed by the fireworks, guaranteed to add a bang to the already-exhilarating celebrations. The dazzling show starts at 8:00 p.m. but as always, go early to secure the best view!

Get more information about Victoria Harbour here >>

3) Disneyland
3 disneyland

If you fancy a move away from the hustle and bustle of the city for the day, pay a visit to the Chinese New Year themed Disneyland! You may very well meet the same excited faces that you met at the parade or the fireworks display, but only in Hong Kong Disneyland will you see the iconic Disney festooned in the traditional burst of red and gold. Grab a pair of Mouse Ears and spend a day celebrating a different sort of Chinese New Year. With one-of-a-kind Chinese New Year-themed food and souvenirs, remember to drop by if you want a unique Disneyland experience.

Click here for more information on Hong Kong Disneyland >>

4) 5th March : Lantern Festival
4 lantern festival

The Lantern Festival marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities, but rest assured the same amount of effort has been put into this festival to make sure the celebrations end off with a bang! Happening on the 15th day of Chinese New Year, Tsim Sha Tsui will be adorned with lanterns of all shapes and sizes, adding even more light and colour to the already-vibrant Hong Kong. Head to the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza for the Lantern Exhibition, where you can admire the myriad lanterns for free. Also at the Cultural Centre is a lantern carnival, where lively performances by folk dancers and acrobatic performances are the order of the day.

Learn more about Hong Kong Cultural Centre here >>

5)  Party at Lan Kwai Fong or Wan Chai 5 lankwaifong

For the night owls, the party hubs at Lan Kwai Fong and Wan Chai are sure to tickle your fancy. There are a variety of bars and clubs to suit your preferences, be it a wild night out partying or a relaxed sit-down with your friends. Just remember to keep that hangover in check for more celebrating the next day!

Still not sure what to do when visiting Hong Kong for this year’s Chinese New Year?  Check out Travelog for more useful, up-to-date information on things to do and places to visit in Hong Kong.

Click here >> 


Images courtesy of (from top to bottom) Discover Hong Kong (1 and 5), New Years Eve Blog (2 and 4), Hong Kong Disneyland.

Still not sure where to celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong in 2015? Check out these useful links for more ideas:

The Ultimate Guide to 24 Hours in Chiang Mai : Backpackers’ Edition

If you’re on the backpacker trail and have got 24 hours to kill in Chiang Mai, make sure you use our ultimate hour-by-hour guide to a day best spent in Thailand’s largest and most significant northern city.

by Amy, MyChiangMaiEverything

 8:30: get ready

Wake up, dress in comfortable clothes and pack a map, water and a top that covers your shoulders. Head down to the common room to enjoy coffee with your fellow travellers and smile – you’re about to have an awesome day!

9:00: eat breakfast

Wander outside till you smell something delectable. Eat a cheap Thai-style breakfast with students and tuk tuk drivers at the roadside. You’ll probably find rice porridge (jok), barbequed pork skewers with sticky rice (moo ping khao niao) or freshly fried Thai-style churros dipped in thick green pandan and coconut sweet custard (pa thong ko sangkaya). Afterwards, head to one of Chiang Mai’s many coffee shops for a strong brew. An excellent choice is Akha Ama, which serves coffee grown by hill tribe smallholders in the nearby mountains.

If you don’t have your own transport, hail one of the red trucks that act as taxis in Chiang Mai. They’re called songthaews and the price to anywhere inside the moat or just outside it is 20 baht per person for one journey. State your destination and simply get in the back if they agree to take you – don’t ask how much or you’ll be charged the tourist price. When you get out, pay your 20 baht and say thank you – girls say “kob khun khaa” and guys say “kob khun khrab!”

10:00: visit a temple

Hop on your motorbike or hail a songthaew and head up the mountain to Doi Suthep temple (this journey will cost more than 20 baht – don’t forget to haggle the price down!). The air up there is gorgeously fresh and on a clear day you can see all of Chiang Mai below you. Before you enter the temple make sure that your shoulders and knees are covered and remove your shoes. Wander around and take in the splendour of golden stupas, opulent Buddha statues and sonorous chanting. Light incense and candles, hear the tinkling bells and kneel in front of a saffron-robed monk to receive a traditional Buddhist blessing.

12:30: paddle in a waterfall and mini-hike

On the way back down the mountain, stop off at the lower falls of the gorgeous Huay Kaew waterfall (Huay Kaew nam tok) to paddle in the stream. The lower falls are behind a popular shrine and small food market that can be seen from the road. If you’re lucky a Thai family on a day out might offer you some fruit or tasty home cooked treats and ask you to join their picnic. There’s a lovely forty minute hike through the forest that starts at the bottom set of falls and climbs to the upper falls, following the stream. Drink lots of water! When you reach the upper falls, hail a songthaew down the rest of the mountain to go get lunch.

13:45: eat lunch

For a healthy meal in a relaxed atmosphere, head to Bird’s Nest on Singharat Soi 3, a popular café amongst the backpacker and digital-nomad crowds. Bird’s Nest chefs try to use only organic food, depending on availability. A delicious avocado and home-made pesto wrap will fill you up and a cold mint, lime and honey shake will refresh you – divine.

Eat street food if you’re on a strict budget. There are a lot of tasty choices on the way back to the Old City along Suthep Road. If the menu is in Thai, point at what you want and say “ow nee, kha / khrab”, which means ‘I’d like this, please!”

If you haven’t tried the big flat rice noodles, kale and egg cooked in soy sauce (pad see ew) yet, try it. It’s the ultimate Thai comfort food. When you’ve finished, order a cha yen – traditional Thai sweet iced tea with tamarind juice, lime and optional milk.

15:00: chat with a monk

Ever chatted with a monk? Go to Wat Chedi Luang in the centre of the Old City. After looking around the magnificent temple grounds and reading the spiritual advice tacked on to the trees, head over to the ‘Monk Chat’ sign and… chat with a monk! You can talk (in English!) about pretty much any aspect of life with him and get a personal insight into Buddhist beliefs.

16:00: re-engergise in two blissful hours

Thai massage is energetic, like doing assisted yoga. It’s definitely worth investing in a two hour massage – you’ll feel amazing afterwards. It can be hard or soft depending on your preference. A polite “raeng raeng” means ‘harder, harder!’ and “bow bow” means ‘gently, gently!’

You can be massaged by a convict! For a unique massage experience, head over to the Women’s Correctional Institution Training Centre. These women are being trained in a sustainable vocation so that they can be masseuses when they’re released, rather than returning to a life of crime. Their massages are really, really good. It’s popular, so it’s a good idea to go early on in the day and book an appointment. Unfortunately you can’t make a phone booking.

Other great budget options are Green Bamboo Massage, and Lila Thai Massage.

18:30: eat dinner

For delicious cheap Thai food, head to North Gate and order food from one of the many stalls. Street Pizza is a seriously cool pizza place, popular with Thais and travellers alike. Vegetarians will want to check out Anchan in Nimmanhaemin, Imm Aim in Santitham or Pun Pun. Alternatively, head to the market early and pick something up as you wander around – there’s plenty to eat.

19:30: shop

There are two main night markets to choose from: the Night Bazaar is open every night and the Sunday Walking Street market is on, you guessed it, Sundays. Both are big and colourful with plenty of beautiful, strange, impressive and unique things to buy: handicrafts, furniture, clothes, accessories, fairy lights in a hundred different designs and art work. Prices are almost always negotiable so barter! Personally I prefer the Sunday market because you don’t have to dodge traffic. Even if you’re not all that into shopping the markets are still worth a visit for the great social vibe and all the different Thai food available.

Look out for the ‘ancient ice cream’ stalls for a tasty and cheap way to cool down. A fresh coconut, chopped open with a machete in front of you and served with a straw is ultra-hydrating and deliciously tropical.

21:30: watch Muay Thai boxing

Spend an hour or two cheering on the boxers at a muay Thai boxing stadium for around 400 baht. There are four places to choose from: Kalare Stadium, Thapae Stadium, Kawila Stadium and Loi Kroh Stadium. Kalare is more authentic and best for real fights, followed by Kawila. Thapae and Loi Kroh have more ‘show fights’ – like guys beating each other up in blindfolds. Have a beer, make a few bets and get loud! Ask your guesthouse for exact fight dates and times.

If you don’t want to buy roses or bracelets from the ladies and kids that walk around between fights, say “mai ow” firmly. It means ‘I don’t want it’.

23:00: drink

Get a songthaew to Ratchawithi Road and pick a bar. This is a great place to make friends before the partying starts. Be warned: Chang beer is cheap but gives you one hell of a hangover – the notorious Changover! Try Singha, Leo or Beer Lao instead.

23:30 – 00:00: party

Head to the infamous Zoe area on Ratchawithi Road, fondly known as The Square of Despair. The bars play music to suit many tastes, like pop, dance, ska, reggae and metal. Some of the bars have live music, others have DJs. There are often special nights with guest bands playing a set. Fridays and Saturdays are the busiest nights.

God knows what time

When all the Zoe bars have kicked out, spill out into the row of food stalls. Tacos Bell is a firm favourite for drunken eats. Ask around to see where everyone’s headed next!

Still looking for ideas of things to do Chiang Mai?

Check out Travelog  for more useful, up-to-date information on things to do and places to visit when traveling in Thailand.

Click here >> 


Image courtesy of Four Seasons Chiang Mai.

 

Article contributed by Amy – MyChiangMaiEverything.

5 Brand New Beijing Hotels Not to be Missed in 2015

China’s capital, Beijing, is known for its fast pace of life and constant dynamism and it’s hotel scene is no different. With 5 brand new hotels, either architecturally intriguing, luxurious or quirky, each has its own charm and aims to make you feel just at home on your next trip to Beijing.

1.  Nuo Hotel Beijing

Opens March 2015NUO Hotel

Inspired by the Modern Ming Dynasty, NUO Hotel Beijing is set to open its doors in March 2015. An amalgamation of contemporary Chinese culture with modern artistic elements, NUO Hotel Beijing boasts a total of 439 spacious guestrooms with 3000 square meters of the state-of-the-art facilities. It is also the flagship hotel of the NUO group. One can expect the highest form of luxury and design from this hotel that’s also conveniently situated next to the 798 Art District and near many public transport systems.

2.  W Hotel – Chang’an

Opened November 2014

W Hotel Chang'an

Opened only a little more than a month ago, W Hotel – Chang’an is situated in a prime location near the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. With 349 rooms and suites, the hotel includes a spa, fitness centre, and heated indoor pool. Each suite consists of a digital tablet that allows for mood and light manipulation as well as an awesome music system that consists of Bose portable speakers and a home theatre system. For those looking to hold events, check out The Great Room, which is 518m2 with a ceiling of 7m.  W Beijing – Chang’an is currently offering special rates from 1 November 2014 to 30 April 2015 so be sure to look out for those here.

3.  Sunrise Kempinski Hotel

Opens 1 January 2015

Sunrise Kempsinki

Sitting on the banks of the Yanqi Lake, an hour’s drive away from central Beijing, an architecturally magnificent building completes the notion of a serenely beautiful landscape. While it is only set to open on 1st January 2015, as its name suggests, the hotel was designed to mimic the rising sun that symbolizes China’s economic growth. When viewed from the side, an image of a scallop is seen, representing ‘Fortune’ in Chinese culture.  The entire building consists of 10,000 glass panels to make up the exterior and 306 guest rooms and suites in the interior, some of which have views of the gorgeous Yanshan Mountains and the historically significant Great Wall of China. Take advantage of their three promotions which includes an ‘Early Booker’ package which gives you 20% off, ‘Special Opening Rate’ where a free breakfast and wifi is included in the price or the ‘Winter Breaks’ offer where you stay a minimum of two nights and receive a 20% discount. Click here for more information.

4. Rosewood Beijing

Opened October 2014

Rosewood Beijing

Located in Beijing’s Eastern Chaoyang District, this hotel sits opposite the iconic CCTV tower and is just a 15-minute drive from Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. With 283 ultra-luxurious rooms, 6 different restaurants and lounges, a spa that features an indoor swimming pool, gym and yoga studio, Rosewood Beijing is the first of the group’s luxury hotel in China. The hotel blends perfectly the notion of ‘East meets West’ with its modern furnishings set against carefully curated art pieces and books that feature Chinese culture. For those looking to hold an event or function, the hotel boasts a total of 3350 square metres of meeting space, which includes a pillar-less ballroom. Take advantage of the hotel’s ‘Time to Discover’ opening package here (valid till 28 February 2015), that allows for 24-hour check in/ out, airport limousine pick up, complimentary consumption of all mini-bar beverages and breakfast.

5.  The Orchid Dashilar

Opens early 2015

The Orchid GulouThis boutique hotel might still be in the works but its set to open in early 2015 so be sure to check them out here once the new year comes around. The Orchid Dashilar is situated nearby to the Tiananmen Square West’s exit, the National Museum of China, the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong and the National Centre for the Performing Arts. Clearly in a rather artsy area of Beijing, The Orchid Dashilar is expected to be cool and classy just like, if not similar to its sister hotel, The Orchid Gulou. If it’s any good as The Orchid Gulou which, has customers raving about the high quality service levels as well as lovely unique rooms, you can be sure that The Orchid Dashilar will definitely be a popular choice amongst travellers as well.


Check out our article on ‘9 Fantastic New Places to Crash‘ for more ideas for where to stay in 2015 in Beijing, click here >>

Still not sure where to stay in Beijing?

Check out Travelog for more useful, up-to-date information on where to stay and the best places to visit in Beijing.

Click here >> 


 

Images courtesy of (from top to bottom) Sun Herald, Starwood Hotels, Kempinski, Rosewood Hotels, The Orchid Hotel Beijing Facebook.

Still not sure where to stay when visiting Beijing? Check out these useful links for more ideas:

 

Your Essential Guide to Unusual, Alternative and Different Hotels in Tokyo

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1.  Shinjuku Kuyakushomae Capsule Hotel

Everyone knows the Japanese are an innovative bunch, and this is shown in the multitude of capsule hotels across Tokyo as they make efficient use of space. This capsule hotel, although morbidly resembling a morgue, is far from it. Upon arrival, you are assigned to your little pod, which has a bed and a small television for entertainment. There is also a bath and sauna but these are shared facilities, which are pleasantly clean and sanitary. Be warned though, these capsules are not sound proof and for those who are light sleepers, its recommended that you bring ear plugs. For the sole woman traveller, this hotel has a floor specifically dedicated to women for safety purposes.

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2.  Meguro Emperor Hotel

Opened in 1973, this hotel was pretty much the fairy tale dream come true. With its castle-like exterior, tourists flocked here to ‘ooh and ahh’ at the architectural wonderment. Gone is its’ heyday but yet it remains as one of Tokyo’s more unique hotels. The interior is lavish and the rooms are elaborately decorated with plush bedding, detailed wallpapers, glass chandeliers and marbled fixtures. This hotel may be targeted at couples looking for a romantic fairy tale getaway but it really is open to all who are looking to feel like a king and queen for a day (or as long as you stay for).

33.  Media Café Popeye

The Japanese love their Manga comics and it’s no surprise that they’ve come up with the ‘Manga Kissa’ or Manga cafes. These cafes run for 24 hours and have floor to ceiling bookshelves of manga comics and videos, clearly a manga lover’s haven. As more youths were staying out late watching and reading Manga in these cafes, lodging was provided. At Media Café Popeye, there is a smoking and non-smoking section and it has around 200 cubicles. You can choose your ‘room’ type which basically goes by the kind of seating it provides – a normal office chair, a comfy reclined chair, a flat seat where you can sprawl on the floor after a day of manga viewing or a ‘pair seat’ which are mainly for manga loving couples. There are shower facilities provided as well so you don’t have to worry about going home oily the next day. However this café is slightly different because it imposes a 12 to 5am power shut down to ensure that it’s users get a good night’s rest. A must-stay for any avid manga reader!

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4. Hilltop Yamanoue Hotel

For all the history buffs and old souls, this will be the hotel for you. Used during the war by US army officials, it was converted into a hotel in 1954. Furnished with wood panelled walls, leather seats and carpeted floors, the Hilltop is classically styled and was an occasional hangout for famous writers, scholars. Service here is impeccable and if you want a temporary escape from the ultra-modern Tokyo, the old school charm of this hotel will be a well-received option.

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5.  Sukeroku No Yado Sadachiyo

If you consider yourself a Japanophile, staying at a Ryokan should be at the top of your list. Providing a traditional Japanese experience, guests will be treated to sleeping on tatami mats and for the more daring, public baths (females and males are given allocated timings, of course). Wake up to a choice of either a Western or Japanese breakfast but go with the obvious to complete your experience of staying in Japan, Japanese style.

Traditional forms of entertainment are provided as well such as geisha dancing, traditional comedy and a course on proper Japanese dining and house etiquette. The staff at this Ryokan are both thoughtful and attentive providing tiptop service that’s worth the price you pay.

Note: Private baths are available as well for those who prefer to wash up in privacy.

66.  Komadori Sanso

High up in the mountains of Tokyo, lies a secluded two-storey wooden lodge and behind its doors, a tranquil escape that integrates traditional Japanese style of living with nature. Although the journey here might be a bit tedious, it is definitely worth the time and effort. The naturalist or anyone just looking for a place of serenity can come surround here to surround themselves with the natural beauty of the Japanese mountains. This place can serve as a spiritual retreat as well where you can head to the waterfalls to practice ‘Takigyo’ – a form of waterfall meditation. A must for an unforgettable and different experience!

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7.  Claska

This quirky boutique hotel cum residence, which contains 20 rooms are all individualised and designed with a modern albeit personal touch. There are 3 rooms however that were designed by artists who were given free reign over how they’d like the room to be. One of the rooms is decorated with plush toys stuffed under the mattress and scattered around the room and another with framed up dried flowers to look like someone’s atelier. The weekly residences have walls with carving that are in the shape of a room’s inventory such as a hairdryer, a lamp or even a pair of headphones. This hotel is definitely where design meets comfort and it is recommended that you book ahead to secure a spot.

Find your Tokyo hotel here, or discover more things to do and places to visit in Tokyo here.


Images (from top to bottom) courtesy of TripAdvisor (1, 5 and 6), Global Grasshopper (2 and 4) and VIP Liner.