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FOR SOME PEOPLE, MYANMAR IS A SECRET COUNTRY THAT CUTS THEM OFF FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD. IN FACT, THERE ARE LOTS OF BEAUTIFUL TREASURES FOR ALL TRAVELLERS TO EXPLORE. AFTER YOUR FIRST TIME TRAVELLING IN THIS GOLDEN LAND, YOU WOULD PLAN FOR MORE, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS NOW EASIER TO ACCESS AND MORE CONVENIENT FOR ANY STYLES OF JOURNEY. I took the morning boutique flight of Bangkok Airways from Bangkok to Yangon. After one hour and 20 minutes, I landed at Yangon International Airport where I could see the construction of the new terminal to welcome more visitors in the future. Later on, I was greeted by the limo chauffeur who passed me the Wi-Fi password on board and showed me around with his fluent English. From the airport to downtown, I think Yangon has changed a lot in terms of development, such as public bus service instead of the local mini-trucks, the young generations wearing more pants not just Sarong and Longyi. By the way, the buildings from the British colonial period and the faces of people are still beautiful to me as always. Only 45 minutes from the airport, I saw Sule Pagoda majestically standing in a distance. It meant that we were now arriving at the heart of Yangon. A few minutes later, our limo arrived at Pullman Yangon Centrepoint, the brand new hotel located nearby Sule Pagoda and more attractions in Yangon. In my opinion, this hotel is situated in a perfect location for all travellers who love to walk around the neighbourhood area like me. I could see the Maha Bandula Public Park and the City Hall on the opposite site, surrounded by the wonderful colonial style buildings, while my heart was beating faster when I entered my room and saw the perfect scenery of Yangon river through the window. But it is not enough, the hotel staff told me that the Bogyoke Market and the railway station is located a few blocks from here. That would be my itinerary for tomorrow because this afternoon we had to start our journey off with a visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar. This Buddhist sanctuary is where the local people and overseas visitors come here to pray and make an offering. From Pullman Yangon Centrepoint, we can see apparently it was built with tons of gold and it is true! Religion is important to the people in Myanmar. Although, the technology tries to conquer the world but people still come here to pay homage to the Buddha, mediate and donate; that’s why Shwedagon Pagoda is the tallest pagoda in this country. After spending a couple hours for worship, we returned to the hotel for dinner at E’cucina Italian Restaurant. It is highly recommended for anyone who wants to enjoy the original Italian taste in Yangon. As I mentioned before, I wanted to visit the neighbourhood area so I went to bed early and fall asleep so quickly in the softened bed of Pullman standard. The next day, I woke

Once a highly prosperous capital city of the country, today Sukhothai welcomes visitors to get up close to the glory of the bygone era – packed with traces of ancient history, as well as verdant scenery. In one fell swoop, Sukhothai features plentiful charming spots to experience and unwind. And here is the recommended checklist that is tested and tried. ● SUKHOTHAI HISTORICAL PARK The remaining structure depicts the glory of the Sukhothai era and how Buddhism flourished during the period. Inside the majestic 70 sq km area of Sukhothai Historical Park sit the significant vestiges, which are recognised as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Noen Prasat is the remains of the former royal palace, and small-sized Wat Sa Si appeals to visitors with its graceful and unique beauty. The washed-out remains of Wat Mahatat still look grandiose and serene. ● KING RAMKHAMHAENG MONUMENT At the heart of the Sukhothai Historical Park is the bronze statue of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great, who is regarded as a benevolent ruler in Sukhothai era and as the “Father of the Thai Language”, as his major achievement was the compilation of a system of writing and a new set of Thai alphabet which he adapted from the various forms of Khmer script that were previously used. His invention is still being used in the present. The Monument is grandly done and you are welcome to pay homage to the late king and to ring the solid bell as a gesture of respect. ● WAT SI CHUM Actually part of the Sukhothai Historical Park but situated about two kilometres away from the central compound, and requiring a new entrance ticket (THB 20 for Thais), Wat Si Chum is the notable ancient temple with gigantic sacred Buddha Statue which is housed in the fitted chapel. Local Thais and tourists alike come here to worship with flowers, incense and candles. This is one of the most photogenic temples in Sukhothai, thus don’t forget to get a snap with respect to the place. ● RAMKHAMHAENG NATIONAL MUSEUM Situated right opposite the ticket office to the historical park, the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum is unfortunately often neglected, which is a real pity as it houses numerous valuable ancient objects that were found within the compound and from nearby archaeological sites. In addition, to present a linear development of cultures in Thai territory and the link between the regions in the past featuring objects from archaeological sites of other regions are also displayed. The exhibition is divided into five zones; the Graphic Exhibition in Lai Sue Thai Memorial Building, The Ramkhamhaeng National Museum Building where antiquity gallery took place, Stucco Sculpture Gallery, Wooden Pavilion and the Museum’s Yard with replica of Sangkhalok kiln, elephant at the base of chedis. The entrance fee is THB 30 for Thais and THB 150 for foreigners. The Museum opens daily from 9am-4pm. ● MAI KLANG KRUNG RESTAURANT A very local eatery where you can savour the true taste of Sukhothai, while imbuing the artifacts decorated within the restaurant compound which make perfect Instagrammable shots. A choice of food

With Valentine’s Day falling on a Friday this year, replace the standard chocolates or long-stem roses with a short fairy-tale getaway at one of these luxury and upper upscale hotels and resorts. From romantic city escapades to dreamy beach retreats, We invite weary couples to hit pause, take a breather from the daily grind and embark on an amorous yet rejuvenating trip with their Valentine. Indulge in a mindful escape in urban Singapore Surrounded by lush green foliage and exuding timeless colonial charm, Hotel Fort Canning is the perfect base for spending some quality time together in Singapore. Lovebirds can experience the “Crazy Rich Asian” lifestyle this Valentine’s - indulging in retail therapy at the popular Orchard Road shopping belt, savouring the very best of culinary delicacies from fancy restaurants to authentic street eats, and feeding the mind with knowledge at the city’s various racial, religious and cultural enclaves. Take it up a notch with the hotel’s Love Blossoms special, where couples are treated to a complimentary bottle of Prosecco, a box of chocolate pralines, premium bubble bath with floral petals, and a pair of Hotel Fort Canning Love Squirrels. Enjoy a romantic tropical beach retreat on the coast of Da Nang, Vietnam For corporate warriors who need some Vitamin Sea, the sunny coast of Da Nang, Vietnam is perfect for a weekend rendezvous. Renowned as a beach lover’s paradise, the city is home to countless beaches with crystal-clear waters and soft powdery sand. Furama Resort Danang offers the ultimate Valentine’s Day retreat with their Honeymoon package. The two-night experience includes a private candlelit dinner with a bottle of house wine on the pristine Bac My An Beach, 60-min spa treatment and two glasses of “Honeymoon Cocktail”. Guests are also entitled to complimentary round-trip airport transfers allowing for a sweet celebration in style. Other than a revitalizing time at the resort, we recommend experiencing the magical underwater world at the Cham Islands, a beautiful spot off the Vietnamese coast teeming with marine life as well as diving and snorkeling activities as a couple. Embark on an extraordinary wellness journey in Seoul, South Korea Discover a different side of Seoul with a wellness itinerary that puts the spotlight on creating private and intimate moments for couples. Begin with a hike through Cheonggyesan Mountain on the scenic Wonteogol Trail, followed by a visit to Gangnam for Korean medicinal balance spa treatments at the flagship store of a well-known Korean beauty brand. For a memorable romantic experience, couples can immerse in beautiful sunset views while strolling along the Hangang River in the evening. Take the romantic wellness getaway a step further with the Promesse d'amour package at Lotte Hotel Seoul. Staying in the Executive Tower, guests will be greeted with a complimentary bottle of red wine, mini cookies and flowers when they step into the Junior Suite. The package also includes free access to the Le Salon executive lounge, as well as a private meal at Pierre Gagnaire à Seoul where the exquisite “Esprit” menu awaits guests. Experience the ultimate pampering in Lugano,

As a new year dawns, our desire to discover and explore more of the world is awakened. To help inspire travelers to achieve this ambition, Lifestyle+Travel and Booking.com has delved into global booking trends to reveal 10 of the top emerging travel destinations for 2020. From hidden gems in Eastern Europe to under-the-radar spots in Asia, these up-and-coming destinations promise novel experiences, untouched natural beauty and the chance to soak up the magic before everyone else catches on. Salta, Argentina Bright colonial architecture with colorful and unique landscapes nearby, Salta is located in the heart of the Argentine Andes and is a great ‘best of both worlds’ destination for the one-in-five of global travelers who want to visit Argentina in 2020. Whether taking in the colorful cityscape with a visit to 9 de Julio Plaza, a lush public square in the heart of the city, San Francisco Church, a historic church and monastery that dates back to the 1600s or exploring the nearby colorful landscape of The Hill of Seven Colors and Salinas Grandes (salt flats), a trip to this beautiful part of the world will leave a colorful impression. Where to stay: Sociable Hostal Prisamata is the perfect accommodation for travelers looking to mingle with other like minded adventurers. The communal spaces at this friendly hostel are perfect for planning excursions and enjoying the continental breakfast on offer. The accommodation is also well located to explore the sites nearby as it’s walking distance from the 9 de Julio Plaza and helps organize tours to the other sites in the area. Takamatsu, Japan Takamatsu, also known as Udon Kingdom and the Gateway of Shikoku, is a port town that’s the perfect vacation for travelers interested in vibrant food scenes and scenic backdrops. Once you have finished feasting on noodles, a must-visit is the picturesque Ritsurin Park. The park is a Japanese national treasure and is home to many tea houses where travelers can experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony; plus the Engetsu-kyo (moon crossing) bridge and iconic lotus ponds. Where to stay: Complete your trip to Japan by staying in an authentic Ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn), with a visit to Kiyomisanso Hanajyukai. This accommodation is located in Takamatsu, with nearby sites including the Kitahamaebisu Shrine and the Heike Monogatari Historical Museum. Travelers can enjoy a soak in the hot spring bath, a delicious Asian breakfast and sea views from their private balcony. Seogwipo, South Korea The second largest city on South Korea’s Jeju Island, Seogwipo, is a bustling coastal city surrounded by natural wonders of the volcanic coastline. Ideal for active travelers, Seogwipo’s clear blue waters will prove popular with scuba-diving enthusiasts, while nearby Mount Hallasan is a great option for those looking to lace up their boots and take a hike. Seogwipo is also the perfect base to visit the nearby waterfalls - Cheonjiyeon Falls and Jeongbang. To refuel after a day of adventuring, the Seogwipo Olle Market offers tastes of the region with various street food and fresh produce stalls, while downtown Seogwipo is home to many

If you haven’t booked your end-of-year getaway yet, there’s still time. With the holiday season just around the corner, it’s time to recharge and explore new cities and neighbourhoods. From a sala-style home in Chiang Mai’s old quarter to a luxury barn house in Khao Yai; from an island villa in southern Thailand to a designer’s house in Bangkok’s Chinatown, these seasonal stays are sure to put the ho ho ho in your holidays. Thai Sala House In The Old Town (Chiang Mai) Immerse yourself in history this holiday season with a stay at this one bedroom (2 guests) traditional sala Thai house located right in the heart of Chiang Mai’s old town. Within walking distance of temples, Sunday Walking Street, museums and more, the central location makes it an ideal home base for discovering everything Chiang Mai has to offer. If you're looking to immerse yourself in the local scene and explore what Chiang Mai and surrounds has to offer, check out these Airbnb Experiences: Organic Farm Thai Cooking Experience, Secrets of Sak Yant, Cafe Hopping With A Coffee Connoisseur. Designer’s House in Chinatown (Bangkok) Interested in a city break this holiday season? Make this renovated Airbnb Plus four-bedroom (9 guests) house your home for the holiday. Located in Chinatown, it’s the perfect base from which to explore the history and culture of this old quarter, its local neighbourhoods, alleyways while trying out the delicious bites from the street vendors. The best way to see the real Bangkok is through the eyes of a local – check out these Airbnb Experiences for an alternative view of Bangkok: Living Along The Kong, The Secret Of China Town And Local Life, Tuk Tuk Adventure And Thai Street Food. Khao Yai Barnhouse (Nakhon Ratchasima) Just two-hours by car for Bangkok, Nakhon Ratchasima is a popular weekend getaway for city-dwellers and is famed for its cooler, refreshing weather, especially during the December/ January holiday season. Home of Thailand's first national park, Khao Yai, this luxury five-bedroom (11 guests) property inspired by the English countryside is surrounded by a golf course and has sweeping views of the nearby mountains. The vast outdoor spaces and large kitchen makes this barnhouse ideal for family and group holidays. Villa Aria on Koh Yao Noi (Phang Nga) Head south to the island of Koh Yao Noi in Phang Nga province for a tranquil break. The island is home to an active local fishing community and incredible landscapes and flora, as well as some beautiful, and deserted, beaches. This custom wooden two-bedroom (4 guests) house was built by local artisans. Situated on the east side of the island, it offers a quiet retreat with spectacular views across Phang Nga Bay and the beach is just 300 metres away. For those travelling in a larger group, there are two neighbouring apartments that can also be booked making this an ideal island hangout for the holiday season.   For those looking to travel overseas this holiday season, below are some stunning stays in Asia-Pacific that will make for a delightful holiday-break. Alternatively,

The Maldives’ much-loved eco-resort will once again open its doors on 1 December 2019 following an inspired renovation of the resort. Honouring its laidback philosophy and rustic chic aesthetic, the island will remain an intimate and sustainable paradise for the barefoot luxury traveller, with a new design concept and wellness programmes to further enrich the guest experience. Originally opened in 2012, Gili Lankanfushi was previously voted ‘Best Hotel in the World’ by TripAdvisor for its relaxed air and impeccable service. Located in the languid waters of the North Malé Atoll, just a 20-minute speedboat ride from Malé, it is the ultimate place to get away from the world. The 45 refurbished villas will offer open-air living spaces, roof terraces and private decks with direct access to the lagoon below, and the revamped Residence and Villa suites will feature private pools, providing greater convenience for guests. The Family Villas with Pools are a new addition to the resort featuring two en suite bedrooms, a private swimming pool for children to splash in the sunshine, a rooftop terrace for additional space to dine and play, as well as a living room situated over the lagoon and accessible from a safe walkway. The vast 1,700m2 Private Reserve - the largest overwater villa in the world - is located 500m from the main island and offers four spacious bedrooms, a private open-air cinema, spoiling spa, air-conditioned gymnasium, infinity pool and a two-storey waterslide leading directly into the crystal clear lagoon. Interior Design The island’s natural surroundings, culture, and sustainability are very much at the heart of the property’s design to create synergy and cohesiveness between the external and internal environments. A warm, neutral palette is accented by colourful, locally sourced fabrics and every piece of furniture in the new villas and living areas are custom made by skilled local craftsmen using a variety of upcycled materials. These include charming recycled teakwood bed frames, lampshades handwoven from recycled wire mesh incorporating fish and sea turtles from the surrounding waters and cushion fabrics handprinted with coral patterns found on the reefs. The coffee tables have also been engraved with stars to reflect the clear night sky and hanging lamps are crafted from bamboo prawn catcher baskets. Guests will also have the option to set up luxurious rooftop daybeds for an atmospheric night’s sleep beneath the stars and each villa has a dedicated butler service catering to guests’ every wish. Guest Experiences Gili Lankanfushi will mark the re-opening of resort with a series of new educational and active wellness programmes that combine both the paradise that is the serene Meera Spa and the educational experience from the team of deeply knowledgeable experts at the Marine Biology Shack. Holistic Healing is a five-night programme for those seeking a soulful spa experience that nurtures the body and teaches natural beauty methods. The experience will include a one-on-one consultation on arrival, daily yoga classes, guided breath-work sessions, bespoke treatments and an essential oil making workshop to create remedies to take home. Dive & Discover is

Jordan is one of those countries that once existed for me solely in images in various shades of terracotta, ochre and apricot of the famous façade of Petra’s Treasury, carved into the rose-tinted sandstone, and mysterious rock formations towering above the desert sands of Wadi Rum. These images alone were enough for the country to enter my wish list, and when I finally ended up booking a trip to Jordan with my partner, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect beyond these beautiful scenes. Jordan’s capital of Amman was a great place to get my first taste of the country. We spent a few days in the hilly city, visiting museums and art galleries, eating our body weight in mezze dishes, sampling our first Jordanian wines and getting several layers of skin scrubbed off in a hamman (Turkish bath), as well as meeting our first friendly Jordanians. While walking in the streets of the city, people would come up to us to greet us and shake our hands and welcome us to Amman, making us feel like celebrity tourists. We took a taxi back to the airport to collect our car – a Mitsubishi Pajero – from a rental company, and then headed south out of the city towards the Dead Sea. From a dark brown beach in front of a hotel, we rubbed ourselves with thick strong-smelling clay and then blobbed about like star fish in the painfully salty water. The Dead Sea isn’t the most scenic place in Jordan, but the experience of being weightless in water is definitely a memorable one. Most travellers make a beeline from the Dead Sea straight to Petra, three hours south by car, but after our afternoon at the Dead Sea we decided to spend a few days in the Dana Biosphere Reserve. Jordan's second largest national park, Dana has remained under the international radar until now, when more visitors are starting to discover this glorious stretch of rugged mountain and desert wilderness. We spent two nights glamping in the upper part of the reserve at Rummana Campsite, which was a great starting point to explore the mountain section of the reserve. Our days passed on hikes along easy trails through the dramatic landscape: deep canyons, sandstone cliffs and carved caves, and green hills peppered with colourful spring wild flowers. As the crow flies, it’s only about 15km from Rummana to Feynan Ecolodge, which lies at the southern end of the reserve, but because of the mountains, the drive took us two hours. The reserve in the south is totally different: very dry and rocky with little foliage, with just a few bright pink oleander trees dotted about. We drove our Mitsubishi 4x4 on sandy tracks past a scattering of Bedouin tents and clumps of mountain goats to reach Feynan, an unusual-looking stone building almost the same colour as the desert sand. As soon as we checked in, we realised that Feynan is not your typical ecolodge: the attention to detail that has gone into creating a truly

Travellers rejoice! THAI Airways launched its newest Japan route to Sendai, beginning on 29th October 2019. This is a golden opportunity for travellers from Bangkok to widen their Japan horizons without having to worry about taking yet another domestic flight or another hour-long train journey to reach this new favourite destination. Located in the central area of Tohoku, 350 kilometers North of Tokyo on Honshu Island, Sendai is one of Japan’s many historical cities, with marvelous scenery and warm climate. With over one million population, Sendai is the centre of the Tohoku Region’s politics and economics, yet embroidered with many beautiful natural features. It is thus known as a modern city in harmony with nature. One of the most outstanding example is the Hirose River, which runs through the city’s central area together with many zelkova trees, beautifully placed along the streets. The lush green painted roads and parks of Sendai, also known as ‘The City of Trees’ can welcome you during any time of the year, the peak season being autumn when the foliage paints the city golden. You can enjoy Sendai’s pleasant climate all year round especially during the autumn and winter while going out to inspect the city’s many wonderful nature sites. For instance, in Matsushima, travellers come to admire its gorgeous Matsushima Bay on a cruise while feeding the seagulls. And to indulge your photography needs, you can visit the Sendai Castle Site and Aoba Castle, which offer panoramic views of this charming city. Date Masamune, who built the Aoba castle 400 years ago, is honoured with a statue right in front of the castle overlooking the city itself. Sendai may be known as the political and economic centre of Northeastern Japan. The city also embraces the nation’s history and culture. It is home to several Japanese traditional onsens and shrines. To explore the region’s intriguing cultural sites, Zuihoden and Osaki Hachimangu shrines are the great options to start with. To this date, many traditional events are held periodically so as to conserve the region’s unique culture, such as the Sendai Tanabata Festival, music-related events like the Sendai International Music Competition and the Johzenji Street Jazz Festival and many fascinating theatrical performances that attracts both locals and tourists from all over the world. THAI Airways is proud to present to you the ultimate comfort of direct roundtrip flights to this irresistible city as one of our several Japan routes to support the increasing demands for convenient access to more parts of Japan. As THAI’s seventh destination in Japan, roundtrip flights of Bangkok - Sendai will start on 29th October 2019, three flights per week, utilising Boeing 777-200 aircraft with 30 seats in Royal Silk Class and 279 seats in Economy Class. The flight schedules are as shown below. For further information, reservations, and ticketing, please visit thaiairways.com, or call the THAI Contact Center at Tel. 02-356-1111 (24 hours a day).

The 300 year old City Palace of Jaipur, home to Jaipur’s Royal Family, has played host to guests including Jackie Kennedy and Prince Charles. From November 23, for the first time ever, The Gudliya Suite at the City Palace will be accessible by being bookable on Airbnb with His Highness Maharaja Padmanabh Singh becoming the first King to host on Airbnb. Steeped in history, Jaipur’s City Palace is one of India’s most iconic buildings, located at the heart of the capital of Rajasthan State. Guests will be able to book and stay in the luxurious Gudliya Suite, located within the Chandra Mahal (royal chambers) — which until now had been reserved for royals and their esteemed guests. The Suite includes its own lounge, kitchen, luxurious bathroom and private, indoor swimming pool. Guests will truly get to experience what it’s like to live like royalty. A true, modern Royal, the host is the dapper, polo-playing 21-year old Maharajah, Padmanabh Singh, who succeeded his grandfather as King in 2011, becoming the 11th generation of the family to hold the revered position. Built in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, considered the founder of Jaipur, the City Palace is a testament to the forward-thinking global outlook of India’s Mughal emperors with its Rajput, Mughal and European architectural influences. A crimson-yellow facade and manicured lawns make way for ornate dining halls, decadent chandeliers, sandstone walls painted in gold dust, intricate carvings and a museum dedicated to the family’s private collection of hand-knitted carpets and treasured manuscripts. Notable visiting dignitaries include Bill Clinton, Prince Charles and Jackie Kennedy, among others. A stay at the City Palace will provide an inspiring journey into the rich history, cultural heritage and artistic traditions of Jaipur’s royal family. Guests will be feted by a private butler who will arrange curated city experiences including shopping tours, guided walks through local museums and other excursions. Authentic Rajasthani meals may be enjoyed at the terrace overlooking the Aravalis, and peaceful daily breakfasts can be had in the company of peacocks who are often a sight at the Palace’s lush gardens. “I am thrilled that my family and I are partnering with Airbnb to bring the splendour of Rajasthan to life for travelers from around the world. My own travels with Airbnb have made me feel very welcome in new cities and cultures, and I am happy that the experience of quintessential Indian hospitality will be shared with others,” stated His Highness Maharaja Sawai Padhmanabh Singh. The Palace has never been made available to be booked by outside guests before, and proceeds of each booking will go to the Princess Diya Kumari Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting rural women and artisans in Rajasthan. For the remainder of 2019, the Gudliya Suite, priced at US$8,000 per night,  will be available to book on select nights at a special inaugural offer of US$1,000 per night, with Airbnb paying the balance amount for each booking as a contribution to the Foundation. From January 1st onwards, the Suite will be available