Season 8 of everyone’s favourite medieval fantasy, Game of Thrones arrived this week and as fans dissect Episode 1 and look for plot spoilers, guests across the globe say they feel part of the show by staying in Homes on Airbnb. Looking at guest reviews of Homes in off-the-beaten-path destinations iconic to the show from 2014 to 2018, a growing number of travellers note they feel they’re part of the action with Airbnb guest reviews mentioning the show up 550% in Morocco, 467% in Ireland, 406% in Croatia, 386% in Iceland and 218% in Spain. No matter the king (or queen) you’re rooting for, here are 5 Homes on Airbnb perfect for living like your favourite contender for the throne long after the season finale.
A train journey can be a special part of any Thai holiday for the scenery, history and the unique peaks of the kingdom. There are many route options and they roll into most parts of the country. Travelling by train in Thailand is also a great way to see the diverse countryside on your way to tourist areas. From Bangkok, you can ride for an hour or a little more to the ancient city of Ayutthaya, the seaside resort city of Hua Hin, to the “Death Railway” in Kanchanaburi, or visit Lop Buri and its unique history. Overnight trips from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in the North, Nong Khai or Ubon Ratchathani in the Northeast, or all the way south to Malaysia are memorable, too. Trains have a long history in Thailand with the first entering service in 1893. It ran the 21 kilometres from Bangkok to Samut Prakan, south of the capital near the coast. By 1960, most routes had been paved over to make room for Rama IV Road, but by that time many other routes had been established and now the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) operates more than 4,500 kilometres of track going to all four corners of the kingdom. Trains range from the luxurious Eastern and Oriental Express to the first-, second- and third-class trains. Third-class “hard seat” trains are actually a great way to travel in the daytime to watch the country roll past. The cars have open windows offering a breeze with a view and lets passengers hear the sounds of the countryside. Better still are the food hawkers who walk up and down the moving carriages selling local delicacies and cold drinks. It is a memorable way to experience Thailand. Second class offers more comfortable seats in air-conditioned carriages and sleepers (also air-con) with upper and lower berths along each side for a comfortable sleep as the train gently rolls along. First class have private rooms with sleepers for couples or individuals. Passengers can control the air-con and the room includes a hand basin for washing. If you are travelling to or from Malaysia or Lao PDR., you can leave or enter the country by train. Some of Thailand’s rail highlights include: The “Death Railway” The “Death Railway” is what remains of the engineering marvel of the Burma-Siam Railway the Japanese Imperial Army built during World War II using prisoner-of-war and Asian forced labour. Conde Nast Traveller recently listed it as one of the 10 Best Train Journeys in the World. The 415-kilometre route claimed nearly 16,000 POW lives and perhaps as many as 100,000 Asian labourers from disease and overwork. Most of the old route is now closed, but the remaining two-and-a-half-hour trip from Kanchanaburi town to Namtok Sai Yok passes through beautiful tropical forests and along the wild Kwai Noi River. It is a serene and sometimes spectacular trip through a sombre past. The route includes passing over the River Kwai made famous in the 1957 Oscar-winning movie The Bridge on the River Kwai. There are two trains a day from the Thon
Usually when I travel, I spare a maximum of one meal to dine at the hotel’s outlet and go out to hunt for authentic scrumptious local food elsewhere. It, however, was not the norm here at Le Bristol Paris, as I made an effort to return to the hotel, just to savour its delectable dishes repeatedly. Le Bristol Paris stands bold in the heart of Paris, just off the prominent Champs-Elysees which is home to notable eateries such as Epicure Restaurant, The 114 Faubourg Brasserie, Café Antonia and Le Bar. All of these are under the close supervision of Eric Frechon, the acclaimed Michelin-starred chef, who quoted: “I make the food I like to prepare, that I like to eat and love to share.” His dedication is vivid and he’s not ready to compromise things that are not executed to perfection, resulting in the journey of the “Living Bread”, in which he travelled to seek the authentic substances, processes and mediums to bake the perfect bread to serve to his food aficionados. After extensive tests, hands-on sessions and researches, Le Bristol Paris’s basement is now the hub of a mill to grind flour that Frechon specifically chose, for immediate use. The outcome is the list of lipsmacking breads and pastries that make a visit to Le Bristol Paris totally worth it. Epicure Restaurant Dining at Epicure Restaurant is a truly exquisite experience with the crystal chandeliers, finest tableware, shiny cutlery and attentive staff, as well as the delectable menu. The grandiose windows overlook the French garden and allow daylight to shed the stiffness from the atmosphere. Frechon aims to create Epicure to be ‘a restaurant in a palace’ rather than ‘a palace restaurant’, and his attempt was paid off when Epicure Restaurant received three Michelin Stars for ten consecutive years. Breakfast 7-10.30am Lunch 12-2pm Dinner 7-10pm A jacket is required for gentlemen. The 114 Faubourg Brasserie Decorated in a warm palate of orange and red with paintings on the wall, The 114 Faubourg Brasserie sits in the new wing of the hotel and features French dishes with a twist via the creativity of Frechon and his team. The restaurant received one Michelin Star and is operating up to its prestigious standard. Duck pâté en croûte with pickled vegetables, Artichoke soup with pan-seared foie gras and black truffle emulsion and Beef tar tare with Oléron Marennes oyster cream and yuzu are amongst the not-to-be-missed menu. Lunch (Mon-Fri) 12-2.30pm Dinner (daily) 7-10.30pm Café Antonia With the interior focused on the French 18th-century style, and the flamboyant paintings displayed around – including the prominent one of Queen Marie Antoinette – Café Antonia provides cosy spaces to lure with a variety of seating to choose from, including an elegant sofa, armchairs and the list goes on. Here is where you would witness Parisian chic personas flooding in with their peers for a drink and something to nibble on a casual day. Café Antonia serves light and creative dishes which, of course, are crafted by Frechon. Breakfast 8-10am Lunch 12-3pm Tea time 3-6pm Dinner 6-10pm Le Bar du Bristol End your culinary exploration at Le Bar du Bristol
Congrats to พรทิพย์ สุขวิชัย who won the overnight stay for two with breakfast at Shinnabhura Historic Boutique Hotel. Thanks everyone for entering. Stay tuned for the next contest! In our latest competition, we've teamed up with Shinnabhura Historic Boutique Hotel to offer readers the chance to win a one-night stay and a meal for two! Shinnabhura Historic Boutique Hotel boasts a brand-new accommodation landmark in the downtown of Phitsanulok province that addresses every single need of travelers. Located on a spacious area of around 8,000 sq.m., the hotel stands out with a historic accent and unique characteristics in its architecture inspired by stunning designs from ancient kingdoms like Ayutthaya and Lanna. One reader will win a one-night stay in a Grand Deluxe Room at the hotel including breakfast for two. At Shinnabhura, the attention to architectural detail is superb as demonstrated by the stylish designs that derive from artistic cultures of such ancient kingdoms as Ayutthaya and Lanna. Shinnabhura offers five different types of rooms: Barn-style Rooms, Deluxe Rooms, Grand Deluxe Rooms, Junior Suites, and Royal Suites, accounting for a total of 44 rooms, coupled with a full range of services and facilities - including free shuttle service to airport, free Wi-Fi, swimming pool, fitness center, and Saran spa that offers holistic treatment methods such as traditional Thai massage, Lanna Thai massage, local sauna, and herbs. Experience palatable Thai and international dishes prepared by highly skilled chefs at Chaliang Dining Room or enjoy the chill-out ambience with cool beverages at Secret Bar & Garden Cafe - available in both barn-style indoor space with air-conditioning and outdoor space in the shadow of huge golden apple trees. In the meantime, you can grab some knowledge about local history from ancient warrior clothing, carvings, and paintings that depict wars and battles during the times of Ayutthaya and Lanna, all of which are displayed at the small museum in the hotel area. In addition, Shinnabhura is conveniently located in Phitsanulok’s downtown, offering a great spot to kick off your journey to visit historical sites and natural attractions such as Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat (Wat Yai), Chan Royal Palace, Phuhinrongkla National Park, Thung Salaeng Luang National Park, and Phu Lom Lo. A special offer for customers who are staying with us in March. Go to www.shinnabhura.com and book online with code "March" to receive a 15% discount off an original price of Deluxe and Grand Deluxe Room, or a 30% discount off Junior Suite and Royal Suite room. Moreover, Saran Spa is also offerring a 30-50% discount for online bookers who use our spa services during their stay at Shinnabhura Historic Boutique Hotel. Competition closes 3 April 2019. One winner will be selected at random, and the winner will be announced on our facebook page on 4 April 2019.
Thai travellers increasingly experiencing cherry blossom season in a unique way by exploring off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods in Tokyo and by immersing themselves in sakura-themed Experiences in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. The upcoming Cherry Blossom season (March – May) is one of the year's highlights and has helped to make Japan a firm favourite and one of the most popular global outbound destinations for Thai travelers today. Hot on the lips of travelers-in-the-know is Tokyo's Yanaka neighborhood which offers travelers the opportunity to immerse themselves in authentic Japanese culture, where traditional ways of life are still part of the neighborhood’s daily routine. Through this, Thai travellers are also supporting local, healthy tourism, helping diversify their spendings to smaller, local businesses. The area is known for Japanese sweets, tea and artisanal shops where craftsmen and shop owners take pride in making accoutrements for Kabuki actors and geishas who used to wander the neighborhood’s narrow alleyways. Springtime sees Yanaka Cemetery bursting with expansive cherry blossom trees, an alternative yet beautiful way to see these blooms in full force. Explore Yanaka and Kuramae town, a.k.a. the “Brooklyn of Tokyo,” while riding on "tokyobike". Explore the old and new sides of Tokyo on a bike as you cycle past small artisan workshops still in operation and factories that now house coffee shops and a chocolate factory. See Yanaka from the eyes of a local while you stroll through a shopping street, looking at kitchen knives and sampling sweets like karinto and manju from traditional Japanese shops. Get lost in narrow labyrinthian streets, arrive at an old wall made of tiles and make a final stop at Yanaka Cemetery for a prime cherry blossom viewing opportunity. Learn about the history of wagashi (Japanese sweets) from the owner of a renowned wagashi shop. Complete the Experience with organic Japanese tea. Increase your Instagram followers and get more likes and comments by making instagramable cherry blossom maki sushi rolls. Impress your friends back home with culinary skills of making cherry blossom Japanese sweets. Enjoy a scenic view of cherry blossoms in your private kayak and watch the world go by with Cherry blossom kayaking.
With spring around the corner, it means cherry blossom season is coming. Take this chance to spend some quality time with your loved ones beneath the beautifulsakura trees. While Japan and Washington, D.C. are the most famous places to enjoy cherry blossoms, it is possible to see these trademark pink flowers in other locales around the globe. Lifestyle+Travel and Agoda.com share some of the best across Asia, America and Europe to enjoy the age-old tradition of hanami, or “flower viewing” in Japanese. Jinhae, Changwon, South Korea The Jinhae Gunhangie Festival attracts roughly two million visitors a year. Historically a memorial service to commemorate Admiral Yi Sun-sin, it is now South Korea’s biggest spring festival. Enjoy the festival by taking a stroll down the picturesque Romance Bridge, where cherry blossoms canopy the Yeojwacheon Stream, and along Gyeonghwa Station where the trees line the railway track. The best time to visit is late March to April. Conveniently located within reach of the city’s must-see destinations, M-Stay Hotel Changwon is the ideal accommodation for travelers looking to stay busy throughout their trip. Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam It’s a little-known fact that Vietnam’s Hoa Island, located east of Dien Bien Phu in the middle of Pa Khoang Lake, is a goldmine for those seeking cherry blossoms. Did you know that Vietnamese scientist Dr Tran Le wandered up and down the country for the perfect place to plant the seeds, a gift from a Japanese friend? Stay with the family at the Hoang Anh Villa which features an outdoor pool and sun terrace for some quality hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, time. Washington D.C., America The three-week-long National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the dawn of spring while honoring both American and Japanese cultures. The 3,000 trees that can be seen here are a symbol of friendship between the two countries and were gifted by Tokyo’s then Mayor, Yukio Ozaki in 1912. Take in the sights of a sea of stunning cherry blossom trees at the Tidal Basin, and stay at The Wink Hotel Washington D.C. Located at the heart of the city, this hotel is perfect for travelers who want to make the most of all that the lively city has to offer. Edinburgh, Scotland Pack a picnic and head to The Meadows in Edinburgh. Once you’ve laid claim to one of the benches along the tree-lined paths, you can take a breather and soak in the pink-hued scenery outdoors. Plan to spend the day outdoors by taking along a blanket and your favorite novel. Stay at the Radisson Blu Edinburgh on the historic Royal Mile in the heart of Edinburgh. Recently renovated in 2015, the hotel is within walking distance to top tourist attractions, shopping areas and The Meadows. Paris, France Few places on earth are as romantic and picturesque as the beloved City of Lights. Every spring, neighborhoods and parks in the French capital are dotted with mesmerizing cherry blossoms. For prime viewing, take a stroll through Parc du Champ de Mars, set in the shadows of the world-renowned Eiffel Tower. Stay in ultimate luxury at the Park Hyatt Vendome Hotel located in the heart of Paris on the prestigious Rue de
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
Much tourism these days often seems to eventually destroy much of what it set out to preserve, but here in this paradisiacal valley, they seem to be doing a great job of keeping old traditions alive, along with bringing visitors in for Kyrgyzstan’s most alluring adventure travel. So here are 6 things you cannot miss while visiting Jyrgalan Valley, Kyrgyzstan and some helpful information. 1. The spectacular wildflower meadows found throughout the summer everywhere in the Jyrgalan Valley. 2. Doing some sort of horse trekking, whether it be riding your own, using it as a pack animal, or getting real adventuresome and riding up and skiing down during the snow months. 3. Sleeping at least one night in a traditional Kyrgyz yurt. 4. Buying a souvenir kalpak, the Kyrgyz traditional hat and Asia’s coolest and most unique head-wear. 5. Try the fermented mare’s milk kumuz if you dare. Then again, you will be offered it so many times, it may be impossible to continually refuse. 6. Spend a day (or several) in a jailoo, the high summer pastures where herders graze their ani-mals, enjoying the astounding natural beauty that the region has to offer. WHEN TO GO Kyrgyzstan has a continental climate with warm summers, freezing winters, and full spring and fall seasons. June-August bring the warmest temperatures although snow stays above 4,000 metres into July or August, sometimes making passes inaccessible to trekkers. Afternoon rain showers and mountain thunderstorms are also frequent. September and October are excellent months to come, with autumn colours being the big draw. For those who want to experience free-ride skiing, come in the early spring, when there is still plenty of mountain snow but the temperatures have warmed up to something bearable. WHERE TO STAY Bishkek and the resort town of Karakol have hotels, B&Bs, hostels, and plenty of accommodation options to fit all budgets. In Jyrgalan, simple homestays are the norm, but for a bit more comfort and a hearty welcome, the Alakol-Jyrgalan Guesthouse, run by Emil and Gulmira is the best choice. The guesthouse features double or triple rooms with en-suite or shared bathrooms, and there is also the option to spend the night in a comfortable yurt. Guests can also enjoy a terrace, bar, and a shared lounge along with free WiFi. Other perks include a Finnish sauna, trekking and ski equipment for rent, and car hire, plus the hosts can set up any type of horse trek. GETTING AROUND From Bishkek, the capital, you can reach Karakol by private or shared taxis in around five to six hours. From here, buses run three times a day to Jyrgalan, taking up to two hours to cover the 60 kilometres, or else you can hire a taxi and arrive in an hour. ENTRY REQUIREMENTS To enter Kyrgyzstan, your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry. For North Americans, most Europeans, Japanese, South Koreans, Australians, and New Zealanders, no visas are required and you can stay for 60 days. Thai and other visitors need a visa, but this can be obtained from a Kyrgyz Embassy, on
Roses and bubbly champagne are ready for this year’s romantic Valentine’s Day in charming cities of London, Zurich, Dubai, Jerusalem or Paris, the choices are all yours. Baur Au Lac Zurich, Switzerland ‘Honeymoon Weekend Special’ Available: Friday through Sunday throughout 2019 Baur au Lac offers the special package only for newly-wed couples, for their ultimate romantic weekend which includes: welcome gift from the hotel’s own chocolatier, champagne and a selection of fresh fruit upon arrival, welcome cocktail on the Rive Gauche Terrasse or in the Rive Gauche Bar, free access and be active together at the fitness club with spectacular views of the Alps. Prices start from CHF 819 for Deluxe double room price per room per night (non-refundable). Website: http://www.bauraulac.ch Hotel Café Royal London, UK ‘Spa Dreams Package’ Available: now - 31 December 2019 Indulge yourself and your loved one with this romantic spa dreams that let you relax ultimately in the heart of London. Experience the vibrancy of the capital and the serenity of the Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre with a spa treatment of your choice and an overnight stay at Hotel Café Royal. Spa Dream Package includes an overnight stay in a luxurious guestroom or suite, access to all facilities within Akasha Holistic Wellbeing including our range of holistic classes, the £120 spa credit per person to be used on treatment of choice, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne in room, full English breakfast, the Regent Street VIP shopping card offering 10% discount on luxury brands and the late check out 4pm (upon availability). Rates start from £560 per night, including all taxes (package subject to availability). Website: http://www.hotelcaferoyal.com Mamilla Hotel Jerusalem, Israel ‘Winter Escape Suite Special’ Available: now – 28 February 2019 Make this winter an unforgettable romantic one in a charming city of Jerusalem. Mamilla hotel, located in the heart of Jerusalem, in the city’s trendy Mamilla Avenue shopping district, and minutes away from the Old City, is the perfect place spend valuable time together with the loved ones. Offering the comfortable stay in one of spacious and impeccably styled suites that come with perfectly harmonized living and private spaces. For Winter Escape Suite Special, receive the complimentary access to the Executive Lounge. Prices start from $540 per night in Mamilla Suite, $700 per night in Residence Suite, and $2,250 per night for Presidential Suite. Website: http://www.mamillahotel.com Le Bristol Paris Paris, France ‘Romance in Paris’ Available: now – 30 December 2019 A reservation at Le Bristol Paris is more eloquent than any words. Celebrate a marriage proposal, a special birthday or a honeymoon in the City of Lights. Be spontaneous and completely adored with ‘Romance in Paris’ package that includes an elegant stay in Deluxe Room or higher room categories, a bottle of Champagne in the room on arrival, the exquisite sweet delicacies, the romantic set up at night in your room and in the bathroom with rose petals, an American breakfast for two overlooking the French gardens and a guaranteed upgrade at time of booking. Prices start from EUR 1,400 per night for Deluxe Room. Website: http://www.lebristolparis.com Armani Hotel Dubai Dubai, United Arab Emirates ‘Romantic Stay Package’ Available: now – 25 December 2019 Whether you are newlywed or