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Amsterdam is a lively city with a central downtown district that does not find time to rest. Here, remnants of the city’s maritime past are interwoven with elements of contemporary life that include bars, shops, cafés and vices with a broad spectrum of appeal. The liberal Dutch society tolerates cannabis usage and prostitution, much to the delight of those from neighbouring countries who travel here to celebrate buck’s parties or inquisitive tourists hailing from countries that are more conservative. While the legality of cannabis is hazy, this raunchy side of Amsterdam appeals to some while most are simply inquisitive and curious onlookers. When most travellers think of Holland and its largest city Amsterdam (The Hague is the capital), images of windmills, wooden shoes called clogs, wheels of Gouda cheese and fields of multicoloured tulips spring to mind. However, the reality is that the closest encounter most visitors will have with these Dutch icons is the endless rows of souvenirs displayed in tourist precincts like Bloemenmarkt, a floating flower market. However, visitors will definitely encounter bikes, dykes and lights while exploring the sights of this lively, multicultural and cosmopolitan city of just 800,000 residents. CENTRAL AMSTERDAM Holland has always intrigued me and even more so, when I realised that a quarter of the country is below sea level with its gateway Schiphol Airport situated on a former lake, several metres below sea level. As my KLM plane approached Schiphol, I checked beneath the seat for the lifejacket, just in case. Of course, planes do not land on water thanks to Holland’s ingenious network of ancient dykes and polders that keep the seawater at bay. I checked a map of Amsterdam to appreciate that the city and surrounding areas are indeed a network of canals, lakes, rivers and dykes holding back the waters of the North Sea. Amsterdam’s famous dykes are not so obvious but without retaining walls and floodgates to keep out the seawater, there would not be much to see of Amsterdam as basically it, and much of Holland, has been reclaimed from the sea. This reclamation has been ongoing for centuries and explains why the Dutch are such great hydrological engineers. I also discovered that one of the functions of windmills in days gone by was to pump water from the land out to sea to keep the seawater in check. Canals are one of the main attractions and a canal cruise is the best way to admire just how important these were for Amsterdam’s original settlers. While the River IJ divides Amsterdam, most visitors do not appreciate it as the main tourist attractions are in central Amsterdam just to the south of the river. From an elevated vantage point at the rear of the main railway station, I appreciated that the River IJ waterfront divides central Amsterdam and Amsterdam Noord. Both parts of the city are visible from the Centraal Station located in a lively port precinct where large ocean-going cruise ships moor at the nearby docks. Visitors emerge from the city side of Centraal Station on

Commanding a prime position on the magnificent shores of Krabi’s Klong Muang Beach, Dusit Thani Krabi Beach Resort offers 240 spacious and comfortable guest rooms and suites spread out in 8 units of low-rise buildings that intertwine beautifully with lush tropical gardens and ponds. Superb facilities include a plethora of dining options featuring cuisines from across the globe, two outstanding swimming pools, fitness center, spa and a host of fun water sport activities including sailing, snorkeling, kayaking and speedboat excursions to unspoiled tropical islands in the Andaman Sea. The resort has recently introduced a holistic “BeWell” program that is designed to improve lives through fitness and wellness and to provide experiences that have long-lasting, positive and health-enhancing benefits. Innovative and flexible, “BeWell” consists of 6 individual premium retreats - Muay Thai; Fitness; Spa & Wellness; Weight Loss; Yoga; Active Wellbeing. The retreats makes full use of Dusit Thani’s wonderful fitness and spa facilities. DFiT, Krabi’s biggest and best equipped fitness center, provides a comprehensive selection of free weights, state-of-the-art cardiovascular equipment, tennis and badminton courts and a professional-standard Muay Thai ring; The aptly named Linger Longer Spa, set in tranquil, calming surrounds, offers a carefully chosen menu of health, beauty and massage treatments that combine a global fusion of influences from Bali, Thailand, Hawaii, Japan and China. Each “BeWell” retreat runs for 3 - 14 days (up to 21 days for the Weight Loss retreat) and can be structured to meet the needs of every individual, to ensure the perfect balance between “BeWell” and holiday leisure time. Each includes a health and wellness consultation, personal training in the chosen activity, a selection of massages at Linger Longer Spa, access to over 30 weekly group classes and free use of all facilities at DFiT. Resort General Manager, Urs Lienhard explained the reasoning behind the introduction of “BeWell”…”We want to provide something for everyone who visits us here at this beautiful spot on the Andaman Sea. Our aim with the “BeWell” program is to help create the perfect holistic time away from home by bringing balance to a vacation so that when people move on they feel healthier, energized and revitalized.”

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,

In a world first, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is giving guests a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend the night with Thailand’s majestic elephants in their natural habitat while staying in unique transparent Jungle Bubbles.   Unfolding across 650,000 square metres of Northern Thailand’s ancient jungle, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is perched on a hill overlooking the Mekong and Ruak rivers.  The secluded location is uniquely positioned to take in majestic three country views over the confluence of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, and grazing elephants in the most stunning of natural settings below.   Located in the jungle, the two Jungle Bubbles are perched on raised wooden decks offering uninterrupted views of the elephants, as well as stargazing at night.   The Jungle Bubbles were custom designed by Eye In The Sky and are constructed with high tech polyester fabric using exclusive Precontraint Serge Ferrari technology to create an milieu in which guests can enjoy an immersive, close-to-nature experience. The well-appointed bubble accommodation is fully air-conditioned, offering 22 square metres of indoor floor space; a 4.5-diameter bedroom and living space with a king bed and seating area under a transparent roof; and an enclosed, nontransparent en-suite shower and vanity. Intimate touches of bathrobes and slippers; crisp white bed linen; regular and feather pillows; and exquisite bathroom amenities provide convenient functions with the comfort of home.  A hair dryer, vanity and make up mirror are also provided. Guests at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort can purchase the Jungle Bubble experience as an optional activity and spend the night from dusk till dawn, returning to the hotel in the morning.  Rates start from 17,700 Thai Baht per night for two people and include a delectable dinner basket; a fully stocked mini bar; 24-hour in-room dining service; and tea and coffee making facilities. Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is world famous for its elephant camp that, along with the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF), were set up primarily to help elephants that cannot help themselves: for those that find themselves, through abuse or through circumstance, unable to provide and maintain an income for themselves, for their mahouts and their families.   Here appropriate activities are designed that allow the elephant caretakers to raise the funds they need to look after the elephants without forcing them into activities they might not enjoy.   The introduction of the Jungle Bubbles at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is another world first that can be scaled and shared with other elephant camps to allow them to give a subset of elephants – those that prefer to only meet their mahouts and are bonded into friendship groups – a natural life in a manner that the elephants enjoy without becoming a financial strain on the operation.  

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

Savour the flavours of the holiday season with a line-up of epicurean celebrations at Silavadee Pool Spa Resort Koh Samui. Starting with the opening ceremony on December 20th to the New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner on December 31st there will be activities for each taste and age available to not miss the festive spirit . CHRISTMAS LIGHT-UP CELEBRATION AND COCKTIAL RECEPTION Resident Guests at Silavadee are invited to open the festive season on December 20th from 06:00 pm onwards with a complimentary Cocktail Reception, live music and a joined “lighting ceremony” to set the mood for this year’s festive season. MOET CHANDON CHRISTMAS AFTERNOON TEA Enjoy a slow Afternoon over our Christmas inspired three-tiered Afternoon Tea presented with a glass of Moet Chandon Champagne. Silavadee’ s Pastry Chef will have some wonderful sweet, festive treats prepared along with delicate, classic tea Sandwiches. A signature Tea with a blend of aromas and spices will add the extra touch to bring back memories of cinnamon, cardamom and Vanilla which are all reminiscent of the Christmas season. Afternoon Tea is available daily starting on December 21st between 2:00-05:00 pm at Moon or Sun Lounge and is priced at 1899 THB net per set for two guest including one glass of Moet Chandon per person and at 899 THB net per set without Champagne. ONCE IN A LIFETIME DOM PERIGNON EXCLUSIVE PRIVATE DINNER The festive season is a perfect opportunity to create special, lifetime moments. A team of professionals will create exactly this for only one couple per evening at the resorts most iconic spot “Sundeck”. Meet the Khun Pamon, Executive Chef at Silavadee and Khun Vee, Food and Beverage Manager to customize your Menu, music and set up for a 6 course, crafted menu. A bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne, one of the most prestigious Champagne of the world will await you during dinner time. A private Chef and personal host will cater to your every need during your dinner.  This sophisticated dinner is available only with 24 hrs advanced notification between 21st and 30th December and only for one couple per evening and is priced at 25.000THB net per couple including 1 bottle of Dom Perignon. CHRISTMAS EVE BUFFET DINNER Gather friends and family and enjoy a festive Buffet Dinner full of flavors from East and West with a special appearance of Santa Claus and live Christmas Carols by the “Silavadee Elves” Starting at 06:30 pm onwards on December 24th at Moon Restaurant priced at 1,890 THB net including soft drinks. Children aged 4-11 years pay half price. OPERA MEETS POP & CHRISTMAS CAROLS “A 6 COURSE OPERA DINNER UNDER THE STARS” The Highlight at Silavadee and the Highlight on Samui Island for this festive season will be an unforgettable Opera dinner at STAR Rooftop Restaurant. Enhance Christmas Day and be enchanted by “HOMMALI” a Quartet form Bangkok who will perform the finest of seasonal Opera, Pop and Christmas Carols along a six course dinner menu crafted by Chef Pamon and his culinary team. “Hommali”, are four talented and professional Opera Singers who will engage

For those not planning to cook on Christmas Day, here's a list of restaurants to celebrate the festive season. Let's approach the beginning of New Year with a selection of festive treats at one or two of these places with your family and friends. Eat, drink, and be merry!!! 57th Street at Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit Soak in all the jolly vibe with your loved ones. The Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day brunch buffet at 57th Street provide a wide selection of local and international fare. Indulge in luxurious freshest seafood highlights such as king crabs, oysters, and lobsters. Guests may sample exceptional menus from carving stations and many more premium selections from the kitchen. Roasted Turkey is a special highlight for Christmas Eve and Roasted beef is available for Christmas Day. End the perfect meal and spoil yourself with enticing Yule Log cake and mouth-watering Christmas dessert specialties. 24 December 2019 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm THB 2,800 net per person for Christmas Eve dinner buffet THB 3,900 net per person for Christmas Eve dinner buffet with free-flowing wine, local beers and soft drinks 25 December 2019 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm THB 1,950 net per person for Christmas Day lunch buffet Reservation: 02-797-0000 The Allium Bangkok at The Athenee Hotel Chef Roxanne Lange at The Allium Bangkok is preparing an eight-course Modern French degustation menu for an elegant occasion during the evening of both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. A choir will stop by and sing traditional Christmas carols, while Santa will also make an appearance with goodie giveaways. 24-25 December 2019 THB 4,988++ per person. Premium free-flow select beverages are available with additional charge. Reservation: 02-650-8800 Mia (Sukhumvit 26) Mia is presenting a special set menu with highlights from the festive season a la carte menu as well as traditional European Christmas foods. Stand-out dishes include Pan-seared scallop with winter roots purée, black pudding, crispy potato and black truffle as well as a Christmas favourite: Roasted turkey with parsnip purée, chestnuts, cranberry gel and pancetta. 24-25 December 2019 THB2,250 ++ per person for minimum two persons. The set is served on 24 December from 6pm until late, and on 25 December from 12-6pm as Mia opens for lunch for the first time. Reservation: reservation@miarestaurantbkk.com Yamazato at The Okura Prestige Bangkok Celebrates Christmas with exquisite Japanese Gozen lunch, Kaiseki dinner and Teppanyaki menus. the special dishes include simmered scallop, dried fig, shrimp with cream cheese sauce, seafood soup with eel, salmon, clam and shrimp with hint of pepper, Spanish mackerel and snow crab with white miso Hollandaise sauce, wagyu sukini with eggplant, shitake mushroom, and young Japanese pepper with starchy soy milk sauce and much more created by Master Chef Shigeru Hagiwara. 24 - 25 December 2019 THB 1,700++ per person for Gozen lunch THB 4,700++ per person for Kaiseki dinner Christmas Teppanyaki served at the Teppanyaki counter is THB 7,600++ for 2 persons. Reservation: 02-687-9000 Up & Above at The Okura Prestige Bangkok Enjoy the Sparkling Christmas Eve Dinner Buffet at Up & Above Restaurant with fine food, live music and a visit from Santa Claus with presents for the children. The decadent buffet includes

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,