Latest Airbnb booking data has revealed growing interest in lesser-known destinations and eco-conscious cities across the globe, as travellers look for new, local and authentic travel experiences beyond big cities. In Thailand, emerging destinations across the country are increasingly appealing to both domestic and international travellers. Case-in-point is Buriram in Thailand’s Northeast saw 383% growth in bookings* year-over-year, propelling it into third place on Airbnb’s top 20 global destinations to visit next year. Here are the Top 20 trending destinations for 2020: 1. Milwaukee, WI, US The host of next year’s Democratic National Convention, Milwaukee makes it to the top of our trending list. This historic gem on the shores of Lake Michigan often slips under the radar but has a terrific bar and restaurant scene and fascinating cultural attractions that include a Calatrava-designed art museum. And with over 105 miles of scenic bike lanes, it’s easy to see why Milwaukee is experiencing an upsurge in interest among guests on Airbnb. 2. Bilbao, Spain Bilbao’s transformation from rust belt city to flourishing culture hub is truly remarkable. The city’s Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum put Bilbao on the map when it opened back in 1997. Since then the Basque city has been on an ever upward ascent, winning the European City of the Year in 2018. Visitors to the area are rewarded with a lively dining scene, breathtaking architecture and an unforgettable cityscape. Next year, Bilbao will also become a top destination for sports fans: it’s one of the host cities of Europe’s most beloved soccer competition. 3. Buriram, Thailand The rural province of Buriram is home to some of Thailand’s most treasured Khmer relics. Its best known monument is the incredible Phanom Rung complex which is comparable in grandeur to its much more famous Cambodian neighbor, Angkor Wat. In addition to ancient ruins, the province has also become a sporting hotspot: 2018 saw the inaugural MotoGP motor racing event at the Chang International Circuit which also plays host to the Buriram Marathon each year. MotoGP is scheduled to return in March next year. 4. Sunbury, Victoria, Australia A short drive northwest of Melbourne, the suburb of Sunbury is a popular spot with savvy locals thanks to its wildlife, wineries and Victorian-era architecture. Its biggest claim to fame is as the birthplace of cricket’s most sought-after trophy — The Ashes. In 2020, Sunbury looks to attract cricket fans from near and far as Melbourne will be hosting the ICC T20 World Cup. 5. Romania Romania, with its pristine hills and ancient rural villages, is the perfect destination for anyone looking for something off-the-beaten-track. The country has some of the best preserved virgin forests in Europe and, according to the 2018 Environmental Performance Index, ranks 15th globally when it comes to ecosystem vitality. 6. Xi'an, China Often cited as one of the birthplaces of Chinese civilization, Xi'an is best known as the home of the terracotta warriors — a vast collection of prehistoric clay soldiers discovered by local farmers in 1974. Today, the capital of China’s western Shaanxi province is a major culinary melting pot while
Queensland, Australia, in partnership with Uber, today announces the launch of scUber, the world’s first rideshare submarine experience, coming to the Great Barrier Reef on Monday 27 May. This once-in-a-lifetime experience will offer riders an unfiltered lens to Australia’s underwater icon. For a limited time only, scUber riders will gain exclusive access to the world’s largest ecosystem, renowned as a biodiverse playground, rich in marine life and offering remarkable underwater experiences. From 27 May, scUber will be available for a limited number of riders to request through the Uber app and riders will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the exquisite beauty of the Great Barrier Reef – all without the need for a snorkeling mask or a diving license! The scUber experience will be available starting on Heron Island, off the coast of Gladstone in the Southern Great Barrier Reef region from May 27, before moving to Agincourt Reef off the coast of Port Douglas in Cairns & the Great Barrier Reef region from June 9. Availability is strictly limited. The scUber experience will cost $3,000 for two riders and includes: Pickup and drop off from your location with the Uber app; Scenic helicopter ride to either Heron Island (for riders requesting from Gladstone) or the Quicksilver Cruises pontoon off the coast of Port Douglas (for riders requesting from Cairns, Port Douglas and Palm Cove); One hour ride in a scUber submarine; Return trip back to your original pickup address with Uber. Today also marks the beginning of Uber’s partnership with Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef. The organisation is committed to engaging the world in the protection and conservation of the Great Barrier Reef and reefs all over the world, using tech, data and a collaborative approach to conservation. Uber’s partnership with Citizens will focus on supporting several initiatives including their Reef Tracks program and the Great Reef Census through a financial and resource investment program. Find out more about the partnership here.
This Summer, travel in style to the luxurious destination of your dream and experience luxury at its finest at one of these hotels. Here are our top 5 unforgettable holiday destinations for those who know about and enjoy the finer things in life. Perfecting the Art of Summer Combining understated luxury with traditional local architecture and contemporary elegance, the Myconian Collection's portfolio of hotels offer unparalleled accommodation and amenities. Start your mornings with private yoga and Pilates sessions on the lush green grass of your private garden. Enjoy exclusive aerial views of Mykonos and the Cyclades Archipelago with a helicopter charter directly from the resort’s helipad. A fleet of limousines and Range Rovers (and the resort’s chauffeurs) will see to it that you travel comfortably around the island while private yacht cruises mean you can enjoy the pristine turquoise waters of Mykonos’ remote coves and other top destinations on nearby islands, including Santorini and Paros. More information, click. Reimagine your Summer in Jerusalem Jerusalem is a capital forever being rebuilt, reimagined. For those lucky enough to live here, this means that one of the oldest cities in the world is also one of the youngest. The luxurious rooms and suites at the Mamilla Hotel capture this dialogue of time and texture. Walk in and encounter a vibrant mix of sensuous contrasts. Every detail is designed and carefully selected by renowned interior architect Pierro Lissoni. Luxury touches abound, from the imported Frette linens to pure Bvlgari amenities. More information, click. Discover the Black Forest Centrally located in the renowned German spa town of Baden-Baden, Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa is an urban oasis set in a private park facing the famous Lichtentaler Allee. Discover the beautiful Black Forest countryside with a drive out in one of the hotel’s three classic cars – a Porsche 928, a VW Samba bus named “Oskar”, or VW Beetle Convertible called “Herbie”. Set off with a picnic from Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa, stop wherever takes your fancy and enjoy a hamper of salmon sandwiches, chocolate cake, champagne and other delicacies, freshly prepared for you by the hotel’s chefs. More information, click. Family Fun In Dubai Stay with your family in Dubai and enjoy complimentary tickets to entertainment attractions. A family escape to remember. Armani Dubai Hotel curates personalised, luxurious experiences for you and your family. Create unforgettable memories with your family and choose from an exciting array of nearby must-see attractions. Stay 2 nights and enjoy benefits such as Daily buffet breakfast, and tickets to Reel Cinema or Dubai Ice Rink per person per stay. More information, click. Go from Forest to Fairway Spend two nights at Treetops Lodge plus two nights at Kinloch Club and enjoy an additional fifth night complimentary at the lodge of your choice. Explore the wilderness of Treetops Estate or enjoy a round of world-class golf overlooking Lake Taupo and combine two iconic lodge experiences. Escape to a secluded forest getaway, wander native trails through pristine forest, and forge enduring connections with the people and the land. Follow that with a day on the greens challenging yourself on their championship
Books can take you to new and exciting places—completely new worlds, even. This World Book Day (23 April 2019), let Lifestyle+Travel and Agoda take you on a literary journey like no other. On your next holiday, trace the roots of some of your favorite authors by stopping by their hometowns—some of which have inspired their most seminal works. Here are some must-visit spots for book-lovers roaming around Asia… Kobe, Japan Literary Hero: Haruki Murakami Notable works: “Kafka on the Shore” and “1Q84” available from Shinchosha Must-see attractions: Ikuta Shrine, Arima Onsen, Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge Murakami grew up in Kobe, where a few of his stories, such as his debut novel “Hear the Wind Sing”, are set. Murakami’s works have surrealist elements, often with melancholic themes which in some ways, is reflective of the quiet beauty to be found in the many serene shrines and breathtaking nature scenery in the small seaside city. Internalize the relaxing minimalist side of Kobe when you stay at Arimakoyado Hataya Ryokan. Camarines Norte, Philippines Literary Hero: Ricky Lee Notable works: “Para kay B” available from Philippine Writers' Studio Foundation Must-see attractions: Calaguas Islands, Apuao Grande Island, Bagasbas Beach More than his novel “Para kay B,” Ricky Lee’s body of work encompasses screenwriting and playwriting. He has worked with revered Filipino directors like Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal and has even published a screenplay manual called “Trip to Quiapo” which has since been a staple resource for communication colleges in the Philippines. Visit Lee’s hometown of Camarines Norte in the central Bicol region of the Philippines and enjoy its beautiful beaches like those on Apuao Grande Island and the Calaguas group of islands. Keep comfy by making One Platinum Hotel your home base while in the area. If you’re in the Americas, head to… New York, USA Literary Hero: Jenny Han Notable works: “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” available from Simon & Schuster Must-see attractions: Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Broadway Though Han originally came from Virginia, her time in New York shaped her career as a young adult fiction writer. Book the cozy Jun New York Midtown III apartment, and feel right at home when you take a break from all of that sight-seeing. Aracataca, Colombia Literary Hero: Gabriel García Márquez Notable works: “One Hundred Years of Solitude” available from HarperCollins, “Love in the Time of Cholera” available from Penguin Classics Must-see attractions: Casa Museo, Casa del Telegrafista The municipality of Aracataca is built along the river of the same name and boasts Nobel Prize winner for literature Gabriel García Márquez as one of its sons. The village of Macondo in García Márquez's celebrated novel, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” is fashioned after Aracataca. Take a day trip out to explore García Márquez's reconstructed childhood home-turned-museum and the Casa del Telegrafista, then settle down at the charming Agoda Home in Parque Los Novios in the nearby city of Santa Marta, where you can also visit Colombia’s famous Tayrona National Natural Park. If you’re venturing to Europe, then consider visiting… Edinburgh, Scotland Literary Hero: J.K. Rowling Notable works: The “Harry Potter” series available from Bloomsbury Must-see attractions: Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Dynamic Earth, Underground Edinburgh, The Scotch Whisky Experience Potterheads, unite! While Rowling was born in Yates, England, it was during her time in Edinburgh that she
From learning to make your own Thai herbal ball to meditating with a shaman, Airbnb guests are finding one-of-a-kind ways to increasingly prioritise wellness while traveling In 2018, international tourist arrivals reached 2020 projections two years ahead of schedule, with growth being driven by global trends such as wellness tourism. Wellness travel is worth US$639 billion globally and Airbnb have seen wellness related Experiences spike more than 500% from 2017 to 2018, globally, with notably strong growth among seniors (ages 60+) and Gen Z and millennials (ages 18-24) with more than 800% growth in both age groups. In Asia, cities experiencing the most significant growth in wellness Experiences are Bali, Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Bali tops the list for cities prospering with wellness Experience supply with more than 7,400% year-over-year growth*. Following closely after Bali, Thailand is one of the top 20 global destinations dedicated to providing a holistic and rejuvenating holiday and recently Thai authorities advocated that traditional Thai massage receive world cultural status. Thailand’s drive to become a ‘Wellness Hub’ were recognised in Travel Weekly UK’s Best Destinations in The World survey when Thailand was named number one for Best for Spa & Wellness in the world. As visitors to Thailand look for more authentic experiences and a healthier way of travel away from areas of over tourism, the popularity of wellness tourism is growing, evidenced by the growth of Thai massage and wellness Experiences on Airbnb, especially in urban centres such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai where travellers are looking for a more wellness-oriented travel experience. Airbnb Experiences also provide an opportunity for wellness entrepreneurs who are finding innovative ways to be part of the tourism economy, and sharing their knowledge of the cultural traditions behind Thai wellness with guests from around the world. “We are excited to support a new wave of entrepreneurs in the local community and as the travel industry continues to grow, Airbnb promotes local tourism that is authentic, diverse, inclusive, and sustainable. Our Airbnb hosts are creative entrepreneurs passionate about their local culture, and Airbnb Experiences are a great way to unleash economic opportunity for people to monetise their passions and talents. Our greatest assets are time and potential, and Experiences is a way to unlock that,” says Mike Orgill, General Manager of Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. For Kanokwan, she took over her mother’s massage centre after taking a business degree and wanted to find innovative ways to engage her customers and help them understand the Thai culture better. Her Airbnb Experience, Make your Own Thai Herbal Ball, lets her impart her knowledge around various infused oils and their properties as you learn to make your own Thai herbal ball. Guests will end the session with a herbal hot compress massage. “This type of hospitality is unique and can support the local people by providing another stream of income. I enjoy sharing about the ingredients and raw material we bring from local and made by local people,” she quips. In addition to Thailand’s popularity as a wellness destination, Airbnb
Whether you're a fan of butt-kicking blockbusters, love a good thriller or you're obsessed with romantic flicks, these 6 ‘reel’ travel locations will make you a superstar in a movie. Lifestyle+Travel, together with Agoda share the list of holiday ideas inspired by the past year’s blockbuster hits and award winners. Mission Impossible: Fallout Queenstown, New Zealand If you fancy playing action hero for a day or two, head to Queenstown, New Zealand, where Mission Impossible: Fallout filmed its helicopter action sequence. Take your own helicopter ride and indulge in New Zealand’s other extreme sports, from bungee jumping to heli-skiing. Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom Oahu, Hawaii If Sci Fi and the chance to run into dinosaurs in the modern world is more your thing, head to Oahu, Hawaii, the setting for Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom. Not only is it an excellent backdrop for extinct creatures, but also for travelers looking for a holiday full of sea, volcanoes, outdoor sports and lush nature. Crazy Rich Asians Singapore Crazy Rich Asians, the rom-com of the year, has travelers going crazy for Singapore. The film captured multiple locations across Singapore, from the famous Gardens by the Bay to the food hawker stalls at Newton Food Centre, which lends itself to a pretty full itinerary for travelers keen to explore the Lion City. Black Panther Busan, Korea Black Panther had its epic casino fight and car-chase scenes take place in Busan, Korea, a city that’s arguably more beautiful at night than during the day. Though the glamourous underground casino doesn’t exist in real life, you can pretend otherwise at one of Busan’s swanky cocktail lounges or nightclubs. During the day, check out Busan’s beaches, hot springs, temples, and shrines – local gems that didn’t make the cut for the film. A Star is Born Los Angeles, California The City of Angels was the backdrop for many of the scenes in this year’s remake of A Star is Born, the romantic drama about a seasoned country musician eclipsed by his rising star of a partner. Throughout the movie, many of its noteworthy concert scenes were shot across a number of Los Angeles venues, including the 5,870-seat music venue Greek Theatre, the cozy Regent Theatre, and the Shrine Auditorium, a landmark venue where multiple film and music award events have been held. Bohemian Rhapsody London, UK If your taste in music is more classic rock than country, this award-winning biographical film about one of the greatest rock bands of all time should be on your must-watch list. Bohemian Rhapsody is framed around the band’s Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium. Home to England’s football, Wembley is also still one of the most popular venues for major artists to perform. Source: Agoda
With divine beaches, the majestic Mt Rinjani and spectacular marine life to discover, the island of Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara has no shortage of attractions both in and out of the water. It’s no wonder that Lombok become one of the most popular destinations in West Nusa Tenggara. Challenge yourself with a trek up steep volcanic peaks. Cycle a bike through lush evergreen rice paddies. Whichever way you choose to spend your time you won’t be disappointed with the spectacular natural beauty on offer. And here is everything you need to know about this magical island of Lombok. Lombok Island is separated by the Lombok strait from Bali Island in the west and by Alas strait in the east from Sumbawa Island. The Sasak people are the dominant ethnic group living in this island, which also consist of 5 regions: North Lombok, Central Lombok, East Lombok, West Lombok and Mataram city, the capital of West Nusa Tenggara. THE UTTERLY ROMANTIC HONEYMOON DESTINATION North Lombok is where you can embark on the great hike to Mount Rinjani and linger until the sunset at Gili’s beautiful beaches. Mount Rinjani is one of the highest volcano in Indonesia, with its summit rising to 3,726 meters above sea level. The Segara Anak Crater Lake located on top of the volcano, is one of the scenic view you should stop by and marvel at! Among more than 20 gilis - local name that means ”small island” in Sasak language - three stood out to be the hot spot destination : Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. Gili Trawangan or Gili T, is where travelers flock to enjoy a laid back atmosphere during day light and still are up to enjoy moonlit parties all night by the beach. You can also enjoy a great scuba dive and circle the island on bicycle to catch the most incredible sunset! Gili Meno is defined by long stretch of pearly white beaches that will give you a secluded feel. Famous for honeymooners destination, the island provide accommodation ranging from unique bungalows to luxurious resorts overlooking amazing panorama. Gili Air is a cheerful mix of the two vibes, where you can still enjoy parties in hip hang outs or succumb at a peaceful nook and just enjoy the ocean breeze. Families love to travel to Gili Air to explore the island on the horse drawn cart or just swimming in the low tides before sun down. TAKE A DEEP DIVE INTO OCEANS AND IMMERSE YOURSELF INTO CULTURE Central Lombok is where the lovely beaches are situated. Kuta Beach, Tanjung A’an, and Mawun Beach are just a few on the list. Don’t miss out to brush up your wave riding skills in the splendid Selong Belanak Beach, or make way to Merese Hill and enjoy the view. Here you can also visit the traditional villages and join the locals of Sasak tribe to experience their daily life in the weaving village of Sade and Rambitan. You may learn a thing or two from the wonderful women with meticulous weaving skills