Travel

Erin Correia's 16-day Peru and Ecuador Itinerary

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:41
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/erin-correia" target="_blank">Erin Correia</a> is a member of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure’s A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries she creates. To work with Erin, you can contact her directly at erin.c@adventure-life.com.</p><h2>Day 1: Arrive in Lima</h2><p>Arrive to Lima on the flight of your choice today. After picking up your luggage and clearing customs, walk across the street to the comfortable and conveniently located Costa del Sol Hotel.</p><h2>Day 2: Cusco</h2><p>Fly into Cusco, where Andean history comes alive. In the afternoon, you'll tour Cusco's largest open market and the adjacent witches' market. After tasting a few unique local foods, you will visit the Center for Traditional Textiles in Cusco, a local organization committed to preserving the region's weaving traditions. </p><h2>Day 3: Sacred Valley </h2><p>This morning, journey into one of the most beautiful areas of Peru. You'll test your bargaining skills with the locals while visiting one of the great textile markets in the area. You may also hike to the inspiring ruins of Pisac, or take a short walk through the countryside to the seldom-visited town of Maras, where pre-Columbian salt mines still operate today. Visit the Inca agricultural terraces of Moray, thought to have been a nursery to experiment with and modify different varieties of crops. Eventually, you will make your way to the living Inca city of Ollantaytambo where you can relax for the night.</p><h2>Day 4: Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu </h2><p>In the morning, visit the ruins and town of Ollantaytambo. During the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo served as a royal estate and later a refuge after the Spanish conquered Cusco in 1537. The ruins feature expansive terraces and well-preserved architecture, and the town is still laid out as it was during the Incan empire, allowing its visitors to glimpse the history which still exists within its boundaries. Next, board your train to Machu Picchu and follow the Urubamba River as it tumbles its way towards the Amazon. Tour ancient canals that still bring water from the high mountains to the baths used by Inca priests. As visitors, you are welcomed to respectfully dip your hands in the cool water. After your guided tour of Machu Picchu, you'll return to the village of Aguas Calientes (located at the base of Machu Picchu). Enjoy one of many excellent local restaurants or end your day soaking in the hot springs after exploring one of the most magical archaeological sites in the world.</p><h2>Day 5: Machu Picchu and Cusco</h2><p>Today is your chance to watch the sunrise at Machu Picchu, listening to the spirits of the city's past inhabitants before the hikers from the Inca Trail arrive. You can choose to book a permit to climb the sacred peak of Huayna Picchu, hike to the Sun Gate which overlooks the ruins, or take a walk through the lush cloudforest to the Temple of the Moon. In the afternoon, you'll return by train to Cusco with your guide. </p><h2>Day 6: Cusco</h2><p>Today is free to relax and explore with your guide or on your own. You can visit the churches and surrounding ruins, such as the enormous Sacsayhuaman ruins that overlook Cusco (these ruins showcase building blocks the size of pickup trucks). You can also wander through the bustling Plaza de Armas in the heart of Cusco, shop for love potions in the local markets, or people watch from the cafes and restaurants that line these lovely streets.</p><h2>Day 7: Quito</h2><p>This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flights to Quito. Upon arrival in Quito, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Day at leisure.</p><h2>Day 8: Galapagos</h2><p>An early morning flight from Quito brings you to the Galapagos Archipelago. Upon arrival, you will be picked up and transferred to your yacht. In the afternoon afternoon, you will land at Mosquera Islet, located between North Seymour and Baltra Island. This flat, sandy island has a large colony of sea lions. It is also an excellent site to observe shorebirds such as herons and lava gulls. There is no trail on the islet, so you can enjoy the open area. Most of the islet is covered with sand and barren lava rock. </p><h2>Day 9: Santiago and Rábida Islands</h2><p>In the morning travel, to Santiago Island, stopping of at Egas Port, a black volcanic sand beach visited by Darwin in 1835. The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago shore is home to a variety of animals, including the bizarre yellow-crowned night heron, and marine wildlife, including lobster, starfish, and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally light-foot crabs. In the afternoon, visit Rábida Island; dark-red sand covers the unique beaches of this island, home to sea lions’ colonies. Rabida is considered the epicenter of the Galapagos Islands due to the diversity of its volcanic geology.</p><h2>Day 10: Isabela Island</h2><p>In the morning explore the volcanic black sand beach of Urbina Bay, in search of giant tortoises, land iguanas, and the unusual flightless cormorant. After a short walk inland, it's snorkeling time, a chance to swim with sea turtles, sea lions, and countless tropical fish. In the afternoon, make your way over to Tagus Cove to learn about the volcanoes that formed Isabela Island. Follow a trail that leads to Darwin’s salt-water crater lake for excellent views of lava fields and volcanic formations.</p><h2>Day 11: Fernandina and Isabela Islands </h2><p>Visit Espinosa Point, on Fernandina Island, an area that boasts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos. In the afternoon, head over to Vicente Roca Point on Isabela Island, a great place to spot an abundance of marine life. Enjoy the opportunity to snorkel at one of the richest marine havens on Earth, the Bolivar Channel. Take a dinghy ride along the coast to observe a great diversity of sea and coastal birds: Nazca and blue-footed boobies, noddies, brown pelicans, penguins, flightless cormorants. The upwelling of cold water currents in this part of the Galapagos gives rise to an abundance of marine life, a perfect place for deep snorkeling.</p><h2>Day 12: Santa Cruz and Bartolome Islands</h2><p>Visit the famous Pit Craters, a great place to spot vermilion fly catchers as you walk inside an endemic Scalesia forest. Here is a great opportunity to observe giant tortoises. In the afternoon, visit Bartolome Island and discover a fascinating landscape that resembles the moon. Afterwards, enjoy some beach time, do some snorkeling, and see the famous Galapagos penguins, sea turtles, and white-tipped reef sharks among a great variety of colorful fish. </p><h2>Day 13: South Plaza Islet and North Seymour Island</h2><p>This morning, travel to South Plaza Islet, located east of Santa Cruz Island. Begin a journey along an impressive cactus forest where colorful yellow and red land iguanas live; the population numbers around 300 animals. Next, stop at North Seymour Island. This landmass was formed by a series of underwater volcanic eruption which deposited layers of lava on the ocean floor. Take a walk amidst large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls; on a lucky day, you might even come across the endemic Galapagos snake.</p><h2>Day 14: San Cristobal Island</h2><p>In the morning, we head to Pitt Point and take a high-intensity hike on rocky terrain. This is probably the only site where the three booby species of the Galapagos can be seen together, as well as two species of frigate birds and a sea lion colony. In the afternoon, stop at Cerro Brujo, an eroding tuff cone, and a beautiful white sandy beach great for snorkeling and sunbathing. There is a lagoon where migratory bird species can be seen: black-necked stilts, ruddy turnstones, whimbrels, other sandpiper species, and white-cheeked pintails. </p><h2>Day 15: San Cristobal Island </h2><p>This morning, land at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and visit the San Cristobal Giant Tortoise Breeding Center to learn about the National Park’s conservation programs. You also have the opportunity to visit the village’s port, where you can have a drink or shop for arts and crafts and other souvenirs. After the visit, transfer to the airport for your return flight to Quito. </p><h2>Day 16: Fly home from Quito</h2><p>Return to the airport in time for your departing flight. (It is also possible to catch a red-eye flight departing on the evening of Day 15 if this is more convenient for your plans.)</p>
Categories: Travel

Christos Stergiou's 16-day Greece Itinerary

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:36
<p>Christos Stergiou is a member of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure’s A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries he creates. To work with Christos, you can contact him directly at info@truetrips.com.</p><h2>Days 1-3: Athens</h2><p>Fly into <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/culture-design/athens-cultural-revival" target="_blank">Athens</a>, the capital city of Greece and one of the oldest cities of Europe. Although its history dates back to Neolithic times, it’s Athens’ classical history that has so distinctly influenced modern thought; democracy, philosophy, art, architecture, and literature are just a few things that have marked Western civilization. As you wander the streets of modern Athens, you will encounter visitors from all over the world who have come not only to pay their respects to Athens of the Golden Age, but also to experience the incredible energy of this extraordinary contemporary city. Athens was and continues to be one of the most multi-dimensional cities in the world.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Grand Bretagne</p><p><strong>Potential Activities</strong></p><p>A guided visit to Delphi: Surrounded by the beautiful forests of Mount Parnassus, Delphi is one of the most famous and significant remains of the ancient Greece. According to Greek mythology, the god Zeus sent two eagles flying from east and west in search of his ‘Grandmother Earth’ (or <em>Gaia</em> in Greek), and the birds met here. The exact location became a spiritual center that was also known as ‘the navel of the earth.’ Today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Delphi was most famous for being a sanctuary of the Delphic Oracle, which was consulted on important decisions throughout the ancient classical world. Your TrueTrips guide will walk you through this extraordinary archaeological site and bring the captivating myths and legends of ancient Greece to life.</p><p>A city highlights tour: Delve into both ancient and modern Greek life as your TrueTrips guide brings the city of Athens to life. Walk up the historic steps of the Acropolis that stands proudly above the city and then drive by the Parliament Building, the Monument of the Unknown Soldier, the Columns of Olympian Zeus, and the Presidential Mansion. Your TrueTrips guide will give you a glimpse into Athens’ history while illustrating how it evolved into the fascinating city it is today. You will also visit the stunning Acropolis Museum. With an exhibition space of over 14,000 sq. meters, the museum is home to some of the world’s most stunning and valuable artifacts of classical history.</p><h2>Days 4-7: Patmos </h2><p>Fly to Kos, and transfer to Patmos via ferry. Located in the Dodecanese group of islands of the Aegean, Patmos is considered by many to be the secret gem of the region. Sheltered from the modern developments of mass tourism, Patmos has maintained its traditional island architecture and atmosphere. Its main town is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, while the entire island offers truly beautiful village settlements, scenic beaches, elegant restaurants and traditional tavernas. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Petra Hotel &amp; Suites</p><p><strong>Potential Activities</strong></p><p>Boating in the Aegean Sea: Famed as the hidden gem of the Aegean, Patmos and its surrounding small islands have been a secret paradise to which the Greek and international elite go to escape. Board a traditional Greek boat for a day-cruise to a series of pristine isles, all with crystal-clear waters and virtually deserted shores. Together with your captain, discover beautiful landscapes and relish in the tranquility of this incredible natural setting. Be sure to bring along your swimming gear and enjoy a refreshing swim in the incredible blue sea! After a perfect day of swimming and exploration, anchor at the small island of Marathi and enjoy a late lunch at the local seafood taverna that is among the very best in Greece.</p><p>A tour of Hora, the Cave of the Apocalypse &amp; the Monastery of St. John: Built in 1088 AD by Saint Christodoulos, Patmos’ historic monastery houses an impressive exhibition of ecclesiastical embroideries, pendants, ceremonial artifacts, rare manuscripts, and beautiful icons. Get a glimpse of the capital town of Patmos, called Hora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best preserved medieval settlements in the Aegean, before you make your way to the Cave of the Apocalypse where Saint John the Theologian is said to have written his Gospel and the Book of Revelation.</p><p>Dining at Pandelis Marathi: Set on the beautiful and tiny island of Marathi, where time has stopped, this is a traditional family run restaurant offering authentic and simple Greek flavors. Fresh fish, cooked specialties, a variety of meze and homemade dessert make for an incomparable lunch right by the sea.</p><h2>Days 8-11: Santorini </h2><p>Fly to Santorini. World-renowned for its incredible views, romantic sunsets and unique, volcanic natural environment, Santorini is arguably the most striking of the Greek islands. One of the premier luxury destinations internationally, Santorini’s traditional Cycladic homes and colorful cliffs enchant each and every visitor of this island. Its dramatic red and black sand beaches, narrow white-washed alleys, exquisite traditional and international cuisine, as well as its agricultural and wine-making tradition, all combine to make Santorini a truly spectacular island.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Canaves Oia Suites</p><p><strong>Potential Activities</strong></p><p>A private wine tour: Discover the secrets of local wine-making and learn why Santorini produces some of the world’s most distinctive wines despite its dry and seemingly infertile terrain. Visit three family estate wineries and enjoy a unique wine- tasting where you will sample several local wines. Under the guidance of the sommelier, you will enjoy a wine presentation paired with Cycladic cheese and local delicacies. Learn about the unique viniculture and the indigenous grape varieties and end your experience with a scenic tour around the island of Santorini.</p><p>Cultural immersion and an off-the-beaten-path walking tour: This walking experience won’t take you to all of the island’s famed highlights - it will take you completely off-the-grid to its well-kept secrets and unknown (really raw and local) corners. Walk alongside beautiful mansions, explore quaint rural houses and discover the charm of Santorini’s abandoned neighborhoods. Meet locals still living in the countryside - learn about professions and crafts that no longer exist - visit a traditional winery to taste local volcanic wines, a unique microbrewery for a fresh beer tasting experience, or stop-in for a bite at one of the island’s best family-run tavernas. One thing is for sure, your cultural immersion in to Santorini’s local life will be something you savor for a lifetime. This walking experience was first developed by TrueTrips to be featured in a New York Times article.</p><h2>Days 12-15: Porto Heli</h2><p>Transfer to Porto Heli. Located in southern Greece along the coast of the Aegean Sea, Porto Heli is a small settlement that has gained the likes of many travelers in recent years. Filled with traditional homes, narrow streets, and a port filled with yachts and fishing boats, this seaside town seems much like any other in Greece, but its beautiful sandy beaches and world-class luxury resorts have put Porto Heli in a class of its own.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Amanzoe</p><p><strong>Potential Activities</strong></p><p>A tour of Epidaurus Theater, Mycenae &amp; Nafplio: Drive along the beautiful Saronic Gulf to the atmospheric hilltop ruins of ancient Mycenae. Today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mycenae was once a major center of Greek civilization and a military stronghold that dominated much of southern Greece. Continue with one of the greatest monuments of Greek Antiquity, the famous Theater of Epidaurus. With a capacity of almost 14,000 spectators, the magnificent theater combines perfect acoustics with elegance and symmetrical proportions. Your journey will then take you towards the eastern Peloponnese to discover Nafplio, one of the most romantic destinations in Greece. The first capital of the newly born Greek state between 1823 and 1834, Nafplio has a combination of medieval and neoclassic characteristics. It is a lively and charming seaside town that will surely enchant you.</p><h2>Day 16: Athens</h2><p>Depart from Athens International Airport.</p>
Categories: Travel

Suzy Mercien-Ferol's 21-day Australia Itinerary

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:30
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/suzy-mercien-ferol" target="_blank">Suzy Mercien-Ferol</a> is a member of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure’s A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries she creates. To work with Suzy, you can contact her directly at suzy.mercien@touringtreasures.com.</p><h2>Day 1: Arrive in Sydney</h2><p>Join for a welcome cocktail hour at Sydney Harbor, one of the most beautiful natural harbors in the world, aboard the stunning 122-foot Ghost II yacht. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Park Hyatt Sydney </p><h2>Day 2: Sydney</h2><p>Take a tour of the city: see the historic Rocks area, the colonial architecture of Macquarie Street, and the glamorous Eastern Suburbs. Visit Bondi Beach and walk part of the famous Bondi Cliffwalk, with spectacular ocean views. Following lunch overlooking the beach, board a private Jetboat at Rose Bay Wharf for a high-speed race to Circular Quay, where you'll transfer to the Bridgclimb base for a twilight climb of Sydney Harbour Bridge.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Park Hyatt Sydney </p><h2>Day 3: Blue Mountains</h2><p>Any trip to Sydney cannot be complete without a visit to the Blue Mountains — and the best way to get there is by helicopter. Leave the city behind to see some of the best parts of Australia as you venture off the beaten track and experience the heart of the World Heritage Blue Mountains. After arrival back in Sydney, have dinner at fine dining favorite Quay, set in the heart of Syndey Harbor. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Park Hyatt Sydney </p><h2>Day 4: Canberra and Hobart</h2><p>Board the stylish Falcon 900 private jet, which boasts 14 seats over three cabins; the rear zone contains two divans which can be converted into two beds. Touch down in Canberra for a tour that explores the political and cultural side of Australia, stopping at the National Museum of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, and the Australian War Memorial.</p><p>Afterward, fly to Hobart, Tasmania, for a stay at Saffire Freycinet Lodge. In the evening, don a pair of waders and visit a working oyster farm.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Saffire Freycinet Lodge </p><h2>Day 5: Hobart</h2><p>Explore iconic Wineglass Bay on a guided 5km walk, taking you to the crystal white sands and azure waters of South Hazards beach for a picnic. Transfer back to the resort before your Tasmanian Devil Experience, which offers you the rare<br />opportunity to encounter Tasmanian devils in a natural setting.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Saffire Freycinet Lodge </p><h2>Day 6: Port Arthur and Bruny Island</h2><p>Take a helicopter transfer to Port Arthur. Take the opportunity to experience the rich history of early English settlement and convict life on your private Port Arthur Private Tour. Enjoy morning tea surrounded by history in the Magistrate's House. Afterward, transfer to Bruny Island for a wilderness cruise. Enter deep sea caves and feel the power of nature at the point where the Tasman Sea meets the might of the Southern Ocean. Transfer back to Hobart.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Saffire Freycinet Lodge </p><h2>Day 7: Hobart and Kangaroo Island</h2><p>Take a helicopter to visit the Museum of Old and New Art, or MONA, Australia's largest private museum and one of the most controversial private collections of modern art and antiquities in the world. After lunch, board your private ferry for a harbor cruise and tour of Hobart. Transfer by private jet to Southern Ocean Lodge and Kangaroo Island.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Southern Ocean Lodge </p><h2>Day 8: Kangaroo Island</h2><p>Take a sunrise tour of Seal Bay Conservation Park before taking a half-day exploring the wonders of Kangaroo Island and Flinders Chase National Park — a wilderness covering nearly 200,000 acres. In the evening, soak up the history of the early island settlers at Grassdale, a historic island property reached by a short drive from the Lodge where local wildlife (including kangaroos and wallabies) congregate to graze. Observe these creatures in their natural environment, sip on premium South Australian beverages and nibble on a canapé whilst enjoying the sunset.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Southern Ocean Lodge </p><h2>Day 9: Kangaroo Island</h2><p>Tour the North Coast of Kangaroo Island and Lathami Conservation Park, which has been set aside to protect the feeding and breeding habit of the critically endangered glossy black cockatoo; it is also home to a wide variety of wildlife, such as the Tammar wallaby, Kangaroo Island kangaroo, echidnas, and goannas. Later, take the opportunity to swim with wild<br />bottlenose dolphins in shallow and protected waters in an experience that will take your breath away. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Southern Ocean Lodge </p><h2>Day 10: Adelaide and Barossa Valley</h2><p>Transfer to airport for a private jet flight to Adelaide. Tour the wine estates of the Penfolds before taking a scenic drive to Barossa Valley, where you'll stay at The Louise, one of the best inns in South Australia, and dine at the property's destination restaurant, Appellation. Take an exclusive tour of the Seppeltsfield estate.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>The Louise</p><h2>Day 11: Coober Pedy and Uluru</h2><p>Take a desert cave tour at Coober Pedy to see a working opal field and learn about opal mining methods. Fly to Uluru, where you will stay at the majestic Longitude 131°. Facing majestic Uluru, the property commands spectacular views of the Outback and the World Heritage listed wilderness of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Take a sunset walk to Kantju Gorge. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Longitude 131°</p><h2>Day 12: Uluru</h2><p>Depart for a sunrise tour of Walpa Gorge before spending the day at leisure. With dinner at Table 131°, you can try sumptuous outback fare and discover the wonders of the southern night sky. As you arrive to your dinner setting,<br />enjoy canapés and cocktail before an performance of traditional indigenous dance. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Longitude 131°</p><h2>Day 13: Uluru </h2><p>Enjoy a visit to Mulgara Gallery to see authentic Aboriginal art and meet the artist in residence. After lunch, we make our way south of Uluru to the homelands of the land's traditional owners, making various stops along the route to hear and experience how life once was and where it is today. Enjoy afternoon tea as you chat around the fireplace with an Aboriginal guide.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Longitude 131°</p><h2>Day 14: Kimberley</h2><p>On the way to Kimberley, take a river cruise of Chamberlain Gorge, where you can enjoy the diverse fora and fauna; resident Rock Wallabies, Johnston Crocodiles, and the always cheeky Archer Fish are familiar inhabitants of the gorge. Arrive at Kimberley and the El Questro Homestead. Exclusive use of Zebedee Springs is offered to Homestead guests every afternoon; a short walk through dense, tropical vegetation reveals a series of thermal pools and small waterfalls. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>El Questro Homestead </p><h2>Day 15: Purnululu National Park</h2><p>Departing El Questro in our Cessna 208 Gran Caravan you will take in views of the Carboyd Range and Lake Argyle before landing at Purnululu National Park, home to the Bungle Bungle Range. Meet your local tour guide who will take you on this amazing journey in the Purnululu National Park. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the gorge at the bush camp. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>El Questro Homestead </p><h2>Day 16: Paspaley Pearl Farm</h2><p>Depart Kununurra this morning on the Paspaley Grumman Mallard seaplane for a 1 hour flight over the King George Falls to<br />Vansittart Bay, where your exclusive access to the Paspaley Pearl Farm begins.Start off with some morning tea before entering into the world of Paspaley — a rare opportunity to witness one of Paspaley’s pearl farms. Discover the pearl farming process and the techniques used to produce the world’s rarest and most valuable pearls. Lunch will be on board the famous MV Paspaley 4, their most advanced pearling vessel, working in the remote pearl farms off Australia’s north west.<br />After lunch, visit Jar Island for an Aboriginal Art and history tour before flying back to El Questro by late afternoon.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>El Questro Homestead </p><h2>Day 17: Hamilton Island</h2><p>Head to the stunning Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, where you can visit the famous wildlife park and even cuddle a Koala. You will stay at the luxurious Qualia Island Resort, situated on the secluded northern-most tip of Hamilton Island surrounded by all the splendor of the Great Barrier Reef. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Qualia Island Resort</p><h2>Day 18: The Whitsundays</h2><p>Take to the skies over the Great Barrier Reef and the amazing Heart Reef, and experience a seaplane water landing on Whitehaven Beach, where you can enjoy the sand and sun. Then take to the ocean on Qualia's exclusive private charter motor yacht. Explore nearby beaches and waterways, including famous Whitehaven Beach, Chalkies Beach,<br />Langford Island and Hill Inlet.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Qualia Island Resort</p><h2>Day 19: Hamilton Island</h2><p>Spend the day at leisure exploring Qualia. Facilities include two serene pools, a library, private dining room, two bars and restaurants, a state-of-the-art spa, and a fitness center.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Qualia Island Resort</p><h2>Day 20: Sydney</h2><p>Fly to Sydney for a private tour of the Paspaley Pearl Room. Tour the iconic Opera House before a celebration dinner at its iconic onsite restaurant, Bennelong. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Four Seasons Hotel Sydney </p><h2>Day 21: Depart from Sydney</h2><p>Transfer to airport for your flight home. </p>
Categories: Travel

Alexandra Stewart's 20-day New Zealand Itinerary

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:27
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/alexandra-stewart" target="_blank">Alexandra Stewart</a> is a member of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure’s A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries she creates. To work with Alexandra, you can contact her directly at alexandra@antipodeanluxurytravel.com.</p><h2>Day 1: Arrive in Christchurch </h2><p>Arrive at Christchurch airport. You will be transferred to your helicopter by luxury car for a flight to your first accommodation, Otahuna Lodge. Upon arrival, go on a guided walk of the estate's own century-old garden. The tour provides insight into the history of Otahuna, explaining why and how Victorians grew certain kinds of plants, as well as the many ways in which the current garden team restores and maintains Heaton Rhodes’ greatest legacy. We can arrange a cooking class for you; in the afternoon, enjoy a relaxing swim at the lodge's spa pool or ride a bike on the Otahuna Valley loop. Otahuna Lodge offers a different flight of complementary wine pairings with each dinner, emphasising Canterbury and New Zealand wines. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Otahuna Lodge</p><h2>Day 2: Akaroa </h2><p>Take a nature cruise at Akaroa. Originally settled by French immigrants, Akaroa is a picturesque seaside town that has retained many of its 19th-century public buildings and cottages. You will be joined by pods of dolphins (if they are feeling playful) — there is also an opportunity for you to swim with them. Other possible excursions include forest and hillside walks or a kayak excursion to the sea caves. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Otahuna Lodge</p><h2>Day 3: Christchurch </h2><p>A scenic flight by helicopter is the ultimate way to see the natural beauty of New Zealand. Depart from Otahuna and fly over dramatic Lyttelton Harbour and up the coast of the Pacific Ocean, before landing in the Waipara wine region. Here, a wine tasting will be offered before a delightful lunch of the very best New Zealand fare. In the afternoon, you will fly into the breath-taking scenery of the snow-capped Southern Alps for a mountaintop landing with staggering views west toward the South Island’s Main Divide and east across the Canterbury Plains to the Banks Peninsula.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Otahuna Lodge</p><h2>Day 4: Lake Tekapo</h2><p>Transfer to Lake Tekapo — you may wish to have a stopover at Avon River for a relaxing punting tou past the Botanic Gardens, or to stop in Geraldine, a small, friendly town located at the start of the Starlight Highway to Tekapo, for lunch. Once in Tekapo, make your first stop the Church of the Good Shepherd; it's one of the most popular photo spots in this area. Then, spend the rest of the afternoon exploring and enjoying the scenary of Lake Tekapo at leisure. Lake Tekapo is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect spot for stargazing. Take a guided tour through the southern night skies before retiring. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Bluewater Peppers Resort</p><h2>Day 5: Mount Cook</h2><p>Drive to Mount Cook for an adventurous day exploring Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake. You will come close to huge icebergs and watch the ice melt before your eyes in the tranquil glacial lake, nestled in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. After lunch, hike the Hooker Valley Track, one of the most popular walks in Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park. In the evening, we recommend dinner at The Panorama Room, located in The Hermitage. Opened since 1969, the restaurant serves international cuisine made with fresh local ingredients. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Bluewater Peppers Resort</p><h2>Day 6: Queenstown</h2><p>The flight to Queenstown could just be one of the world's most beautiful. If you are an adventurous traveler, we recommend gliding at the Omarama Basin. It is a spectacular way to experience the challenge of soaring the mountains and alpine environments of New Zealand. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Matakauri Lodge</p><h2>Day 7: Fiordland National Park</h2><p>In the morning, take a helicopter flight across Lake Wakatipu into the heart of Fiordland National Park, ending at the breath-taking Lake Quill and the 1900-foot Sutherland Falls. Experience an exhilarating flight past spectacular mountains and blue-green ice falls, and land upon Mount Tutoko Glacier, an awe inspiring experience with ice formations and crevasses to astound. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Matakauri Lodge</p><h2>Day 8: Ben Lomond Station</h2><p>Make your way to the picturesque Moke Lake, marking the beginning of Ben Lomond Station and the private-access-only road. Ben Lomond is a 13,500 hectare merino sheep station beautifully kept with grazing lands, native beech forest, lakes, rivers, mining huts, and beautiful scenic vistas. As a working farm, demonstrations differ throughout the year with shearing, tailing, drenching, dogs working, and lambing all part of the experience. After a gourmet lunch, embark on nature walks, or try some lake fishing, gold mining, target shooting, or farming, or just relax and enjoy the surroundings and a glass of wine or beer.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Matakauri Lodge</p><h2>Day 9: Queenstown</h2><p>Experience Queenstown, taking a high-speed Shotover Jet boat tour, stopping in the old mining village of Arrowtown, hitting the links at the Hills Golf Course, or visiting the Art and Sculpture collection. Lunch will be at one of the lovely local wineries before an afternoon wine tour. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Matakauri Lodge</p><h2>Day 10: Franz Josef</h2><p>Embark on your long guided drive to Franz Josef, traveling through some of the most beautiful scenery in the South Island; we would recommend taking the full driving day to explore, as there are so many fantastic stopovers on the way. These include the Cardrona Distillery, an artisan distillery making fine spirits from scratch, the peaceful town of Wanaka, and the famous Blue Pools, crystal clear pools fed by the surrounding glaciers. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Te Waonui Forest Retreat</p><h2>Day 11: Franz Josef</h2><p>The Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should not be missed. After a thrilling flight, high above the rugged terrain, you will land on the glacier for a guided glacier hike. Your friendly guide will lead you through some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring glacier scenery in the world. You'll enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, with plenty of photo opportunities and the chance to learn more about this magnificent glacier.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Te Waonui Forest Retreat</p><h2>Day 12: Abel Tasman National Park</h2><p>Drive to Nelson, with a lots of great places to stop along the West Coast of the South Island: Hokitika, Greymouth, Punakaiki, St. Arnaud, amd Lake Rotoiti. Finally, arrive at Edenhouse, an enchanting country retreat set in fifty acres of private grounds and eight acres of internationally acclaimed gardens.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Edenhouse</p><h2>​​​Day 13: Abel Tasman National Park</h2><p>Abel Tasman National Park is New Zealand's smallest national park, but has been very popular for its golden beaches, turqooise waters, native bush, and pristine marine reserves. This morning, embark on a guided kayak adventure from Marahau to Observation Beach. Enjoy lunch before swapping your paddle for walking shoes, hiking for incredible views over Anchorage and the Astrolabe Islands. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Edenhouse</p><h2>​​​Day 14: Abel Tasman National Park</h2><p>Take a "Lord of the Rings"-themed tour, flying over famous filming sites like Mt. Owen, Mt. Olympus, and Canaan Downs, where the Hobbits are lead by Aragorn into the Chetwood Forest northeast of Bree.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Edenhouse</p><h2>​​Day 15: Blenheim</h2><p>Transfer to Marlborough, one of New Zealand's best wine regions. Along the way, you will pass through Nelson — stop off for some green lip mussels in the small town of Havelock.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>The Marlborough Lodge</p><h2>​​Day 16: Blenheim</h2><p>Spend the day on a luxury boat cruise of the Queen Charlotte Sound. Learn about the Marlborough Sounds, a bit of history and listen to a few local tales. Get wet with some kayaking in the small bays and coves of the Sounds, or have some time ashore on a secluded beach. Visit salmon and mussel farms to learn about aquaculture and enjoy a tasting of fresh local seafood. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>The Marlborough Lodge</p><h2>Day 17: Blenheim</h2><p>Private tour of Marlborough, tailored to your interests. Must-see stops include the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, an alfresco among the vines at a winery restaurant, a distillery or brewery tour to taste locally produced fruit brandies, beers, and liqueurs, and walking in Wither Hills Farm Park or along the Taylor River reserve.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>The Marlborough Lodge</p><h2>Day 18: Christchurch</h2><p>Drive south to Christchurch, stopping along the way in lovely Kaikoura for whale-watching. Once in Christchurch, take the time to find out what makes this ever-evolving city unique; the city boasts new and diverse restaurants, cafes, bars, and night clubs, but its old English charm is ever present.</p><h2>Day 19: Christchurch</h2><p>Join your local guide for a full day guided tour of Christchurch, learning about the English influences on the city and how it is rebuilding from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. </p><h2>Day 20: Depart from Christchurch</h2><p>Transfer to the airport for your flight home.</p>
Categories: Travel

Marion Miller's 14-day Trip Around India

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:21
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/marion-miller" target="_blank">Marion Miller</a> is a member of <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank"><em>Travel + Leisure</em>’s A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries she creates. To work with Marion, contact her at mmiller@micato.com.</p><h2>Day 1: Arrive in Delhi</h2><p>Arrive in Delhi and meet your Micato representative after deplaning. They will accompany you to your luxury vehicle, where cool refreshments await. You will drive through the city to your hotel, The Imperial Hotel, where the manicured lawns, sweeping staircases, and exquisitely carved stone-work will take you back to the glamorous days of the Raj. </p><h2>Day 2: Delhi</h2><p>Grab a leisurely breakfast before meeting Micato's tour director, Hem Singh. His charm and intense love for his country and its people make him the person to have by your side as you embark on your adventure. Continue to Humayun's Tomb, where Emperor Humayun, the father of Emperor Akbar, lies buried. </p><p>Next, visit a Gurudwara or Sikh Temple, where you will meet community leaders and help make the day’s meal. You'll learn how to roll chipatti dough. After lunch, continue your exploration of the city as you embark on a visit to the Old Delhi. Deep within the labyrinthine alleys, meet Michael Haidar Ali, who will take you on a fascinating food walk to discover the many treats available. </p><p>Later, dine at the home of our Indian hosts. </p><h2>Day 3: Delhi to Agra</h2><p>Proceed to Agra and check into the Oberoi Amarvilas, located right across from the Taj Mahal. In the evening, visit Mehtab Bagh, a site across the river that affords a spectacular view of the Taj Mahal. Back at the hotel, we have arranged for you to enjoy the expert ministrations of a traditional Ayurvedic therapist. For dinner, head to the Pool Pavilion, where a sitarist provides the live background music while you dine. </p><h2>Day 4: Agra</h2><p>Rise early to visit the Taj Mahal. As is customary with Micato, we are the first to enter the gates. Accompanying you is your dedicated photographer to capture these memorable moments. You will also visit the widely acclaimed House of Kohinoor for a private viewing of their priceless collection of hand woven tapestries as well as jewels, some of which date back to the Mughal era.</p><p>In the afternoon, get up close and personal with the sloth bears living at the world’s largest sloth bear rescue facility. If of interest, sponsor one of the adorable resident bear cubs and receive its biography and periodic updates on his welfare.</p><h2>Day 5: Agra to Ranthambore</h2><p>After breakfast, take a private charter to Sawai Madhopur, home to the Ranthambore National Park. Upon arrival in Ranthambore, proceed to your luxury resort bordering the park, the Oberoi Vanyavilas. Later in the evening, meet the Head Warden of the park for cocktails and dinner. Ranthambore is indisputably one of Indian wildlife conservation’s success stories where the tiger population has increased over the years. A meeting with him is a perfect way to understand the tireless conservation efforts which have gone into this.</p><h2>Day 6: Ranthambore</h2><p>Awake just before dawn to hot coffee or a pot of tea, accompanied by a few pieces of shortbread to fortify you for the morning’s a sunrise game drive. The rolling landscape is simply crawling with wildlife, but it is the tigers that everyone comes to see. Ranthambore is one of the best locations to get a close view. They are sighted almost daily somewhere in the park – especially early in the morning. </p><p>Between game drives, embark on an excursion to Dastkar – a craft conservation project aimed at sustaining local artisans and their trade. Visit the workshop where you will see and even try your hand at different crafts like block printing, patchwork, rug-weaving and shoe-making.</p><h2>Day 7: Ranthambore to Jaipur</h2><p>Depart Ranthambore for Jaipur. Arrive at Rambagh Palace, your accommodations for the next few nights. In the afternoon, visit the City Palace complex. Here you'll take the insider’s tour — your guide knows all the legends that make the Palace such a memorable place to visit. At night, you are invited for a special family dinner. </p><h2>Day 8: Holi</h2><p>Watch and join in as people of all ages gather and douse each other with brightly colored powder (gulal) and water. Your guide will provide the traditional garb for the day – a white kurta-pyjama and your arsenal of colors. Early this evening, maybe you’ll want to fly a kite? During your travels through India you will often see children on rooftops engrossed in the age-old sport of kite-flying. The children can also enjoy a rangoli session at the hotel, where they will be taught to recreate a beautiful Indian design using flower petals/dried rice.</p><h2>Day 9: Jaipur</h2><p>Wake up early to enjoy a balloon adventure over Jaipur. Later, we visit the Amber Fort before heading to a private elephant sanctuary. You'll get up close and personal with the Asian elephants by bathing and painting them with traditional Indian designs. As the sun sets, enjoy cocktails at the members-only Jaipur Polo Club where you will be joined by members of the legendary Jaipur Polo team. This elite game, once the sole preserve of kings and princes, is a way of life in Jaipur and a favourite with the city’s smart set.</p><h2>Day 10: Jaipur to Udaipur</h2><p>Once again, awake to a delightful breakfast before departing for Udaipur. Upon arrival, you'll visit the City Palace, the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. Afterwards, we continue to your hotel, Taj Lake Palace, in time for lunch. The perfect way to enhance your stay at the Lake Palace Hotel is to take a cruise on the Gangaur boat around the serene Lake Pichola. The <em>Gangaur</em> is an antique royal barge belonging to the House of Mewar, and was used in the James Bond film <em>Octopussy</em>. Cocktails and a delectable dinner will be served. </p><h2>Day 11: Udaipur</h2><p>Join your guide for a tour of the nearby temples of Eklingji. You also visit Nagda, the site of two fourth-century temples, both embellished with intricately carved royal edits, recalling the harsh rulers of centuries past. After lunch, you'll take a camel cart ride through the nearby village, where you’ll meet a village elder. He will take you on a walk through the village, introducing you to his family and perhaps inviting you for a cup of tea at his home. </p><h2>Day 12: Udaipur to Jodhpur</h2><p>This morning, after breakfast, you will depart Udaipur and drive to Ranakpur to visit the magnificent Ranakpur Jain temple complex. You'll stop for lunch at the charming Maharani Bagh Orchards, originally gifted by the Maharaja to his queen and used as a royal retreat. Afterwards, continue your journey and drive on to Jodhpur. Check into the Umaid Bhawan Palace, where you will receive the royal treatment as you settle into your gorgeous room. Once you’ve settled in, you’re off to explore the older part of Jodhpur city on auto-rickshaw, the best way to navigate the narrow lanes. Spend some time soaking in the sights and sounds of the bustling alleyways of the old-world bazaar. Roam the narrow lanes dotted with tiny shops selling exquisite Rajasthani textiles, handicrafts, pottery, curios and exquisite Rajasthani silver jewellery. Afterwards, you will return once more to your beautiful palace.</p><h2>Day 13: Jodhpur</h2><p>Your day begins with a visit to the Meherangarh Fort. Later, you will set off to visit the nearby Bishnoi Villages like Guda Bishnoiyan, Kakani, and Khejarli. Afterwards, explore the surrounding countryside on an open jeep safari, stopping en-route for a picnic lunch. You will return to your hotel in the late afternoon.</p><h2>Day 14: Depart (Jodhpur to Delhi) </h2><p>This morning your journey draws to a close as you fly to Delhi. Upon arrival, you will be escorted to a hotel where a room has been reserved for you. Later that night, proceed to the international airport for your flight home.</p>
Categories: Travel

Zachary Rabinor's 6-day Trip Around Mexico City

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:15
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/zachary-rabinor" target="_blank">Zachary Rabinor</a> is a member of Travel + Leisure’s <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries he creates. To work with Zachary, contact him at zach@journeymexico.com.</p><h2>Day 1</h2><p>Today you will be arriving to Mexico City and the Four Seasons Hotel. We will meet you at the Toluca FBO Airport and drive you to the Four Seasons Hotel.</p><h2>Day 2</h2><p>Enjoy a guided visit with an expert muralist guide to see some of the most impressive murals painted by Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Your day will start with an exclusive visit of the Diego Rivera Museum and its famous Mural, Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park.</p><p>You will then continue to the Palace of fine arts, Bellas Artes , as well as one of the largest main squares of the world, the Plaza de la Constitucion or Zocalo. Enter the National Palace to receive a guided visit of the most famous murals of Diego Rivera.</p><p>Your afternoon will be at your leisure. In the evening, you will head to the Castle of Chapultepec to witness the world famous Folkloric art ballet designed back in 1952 by Amalia Hernandez. You will have VIP tickets and will be able to enjoy the different traditional dances, costumes, and rhythms of the different states of Mexico.</p><h2>Day 3</h2><p>Today you will be able to explore the magnificent site of Teotihuacan with a local expert guide and archeologist. You will also have the unique opportunity to visit the satellite cities of Atetelco and Tetitla, where you can admire original murals that are closed to public.</p><p>Afterwards, you will return to Mexico City and stop at one of the most visited Roman Catholic Pilgrimage sites of the world, the Shrine of Guadalupe. Your guide will walk you through the shrine before ending at a nearby Restaurant called Monte Cristo. This is a true paradise for Mexican gastronomy lovers, as all the dishes are very fresh and you will be able to meet the owner or chef.</p><p>In the evening, you will enjoy a private off-hour visit of Templo Mayor and the remains of what used to be the most important temple of the Aztec empire city of Tenochtitlan.</p><h2>Day 4</h2><p>This morning, opt for a walking tour to some of the most attractive neighborhoods of Mexico City, Roma and Condesa. You'll walk through the parks, visit art galleries, and end at Contramar, a local favorite, for lunch. After lunch, you will have an afternoon at your leisure.</p><p>Later in the evening, enjoy the classical Lucha Libre. Visit one of the many stands with handmade T-shirts and masks of the local heroes. You will have the opportunity to meet up with one of the most famous fighters, Marco Corleone. Marco can explain the rules and challenges of Lucha Libre. After your visit, it will be time for you to see him in action from VIP seats.</p><h2>Day 5</h2><p>Today, visit one of Mexico's most iconic silver jewelers. In the early 40s, Mexico City was home to the first TANE store, engaged in making and selling leather goods. Eleven years later, the business transitioned to silver. </p><p>In the evening, you will be transferred to the National Museum of Anthropology for a private visit of the most impressive halls that represents the pre-Hispanic history of some of the most important cultures of Mesoamerica. The Aztec hall will enlighten you about the true structure of what used to be the mighty empire city of Tenochtitlan – now Mexico City. The most impressive piece is the Aztec calendar, which weighs at least 20 tons.</p><p>Afterwards, you will take a short drive to the Dulce Patria Restaurant for dinner.</p><h2>Day 6</h2><p>Visit Tlatelolco in the morning. You'll learn about the pre-Hispanic era, the colonial era, and modern times. Afterwards, you'll head to the airport for your departure. </p>
Categories: Travel

Greg Tepper's 8-day Moscow and St. Petersburg Itinerary

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:12
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/greg-tepper" target="_blank">Greg Tepper</a> is a member of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure’s A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries he creates. To work with Greg, you can contact him directly at greg@exeterinterational.com.</p><h2>Day 1: Arrive in Moscow</h2><p>You will be transferred to the perfectly located hotel, just steps from Red Square and the Kremlin and across the street from the Bolshoi Theater. The rest of the day and evening is at leisure. Time permitting, walk over to brand new Zaryadye park for sweeping views of the Red Square and St. Basil Cathedral. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Ararat Park Hyatt </p><h2>Day 2: Moscow</h2><p>Take a private guided tour of the city. You will have an appointment to visit the famed Armory Museum, including its vast collection of Imperial Russian artwork. Included in your Kremlin visit today is entry into the Diamond Vaults. Admission to these extraordinaryrooms is by special appointment with the Kremlin, and your guide is not allowed to enter with you. Before leaving the Kremlin, take some time to explore its expansive grounds with your guide. We suggest you don’t miss the Assumption Cathedral, where all Russian tsars were crowned. After time to have lunch on your own, explore some of the surrounding neighborhood with your guide — including Red Square, the Imperial Gates, and St. Basil's Cathedral. Later, you may want to experience the fascinating interiors of the Moscow Metro stations, ornately decorated with beautiful paintings, carvings and chandeliers. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Ararat Park Hyatt </p><h2>Day 3: Moscow</h2><p>Tour the grand Christ the Holy Redeemer Cathedral, which towers over historic Moscow. Later, stroll with the guide across the bridge to the other side of the river, where you will walk through the Graveyard of Fallen Monuments — a collection of some of the sculptures removed from Moscow after the fall of the Soviet era. Afterward, your guide will take you to the New Tretyakov Gallery, an annex of the Tretyakov Gallery. This huge museum is dedicated to Russian art from the early 1900s to the present.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Ararat Park Hyatt </p><h2>Day 4: Moscow and St. Petersburg</h2><p>Enjoy the morning at leisure before boarding the luxury, high-speed Sapsan train from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Spend the evening at leisure upon arrival.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Hotel Astoria</p><h2>Day 5: St. Petersburg</h2><p>Meet your guide for a private walking tour to Palace Square. The focal point of this ensemble is the Winter Palace — an architectural masterpiece of the Russian Baroque and the royal residence of all the Russian Emperors (except Paul) until the 1917 Revolution. In the afternoon, your guide will take you into the stately St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the famous Yusupov Palace to learn the story of Rasputin. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Hotel Astoria</p><h2>Day 6: St. Petersburg</h2><p>Today you will visit Shuvalov Palace’s Faberge Museum. This is the most formidable collection in the world of works by this great Russian master craftsman, best known for his celebrated million-dollar Imperial Easter Eggs. You may wish to have lunch today in the village of Pushkin at one of the local restaurants. Later, while visiting Catherine's Palace, you will be invited into the Amber Room workshops where craftsmen rebuilt the famous amber panels lost in World War II. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Hotel Astoria</p><h2>Day 7: St. Petersburg</h2><p>Today visit Peter Paul Fortress: the birthplace of St. Petersburg. After walking through the many gates and across the bridges and moats, you can begin to feel the late 18th century era that required such fortification. Afterward, you will visit Peterhof Palace ("Russia's Versailles") to see first-hand the palace’s countless fountains and gardens. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Hotel Astoria</p><h2>Day 8: Depart from St. Petersburg</h2><p>You will be met in your hotel lobby for a transport to the airport to catch your flight home (or onward). </p>
Categories: Travel

Scott Gilman's 14-day Japan Itinerary

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:06
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/scott-gilman" target="_blank">Scott Gilman</a> is a member of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure’s A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries he creates. To work with Scott, contact him at scott@asiaquestjourneys.com.</p><h2>Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo</h2><p>From little known neighborhood restaurants serving exquisite Japanese cuisine, to world-renowned French and Italian restaurants, Japan offers the finest selection of indigenous and international dining experiences in the world. Access to the smaller, quintessential local restaurants — which often serve the finest Japanese food and sake — is often difficult (if not impossible) unless one speaks Japanese. Our wealth of experience in Japan however has provided us with a network of restaurants, where chefs will treat our customers as if they are regular clientele — thereby allowing you to experience Japanese cuisine at its finest.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong><strong>: </strong>Aman Tokyo</p><h2>Day 2: Tokyo</h2><p>Waking up early, you will be driven to a Sumo stable, or <em>beya</em>, to watch up close the wrestlers practice. Afterward, visit Tsukiji, the largest fish market in the world.</p><p>Head to the marketplace in the Asakusa district and and Senso-ji Temple, in the very heart of Shitamachi, Tokyo’s old merchant district. Asakusa remains Tokyo’s most colorful and traditional neighborhood, with a fun atmosphere and many food stalls preparing <em>senbei</em>, traditional and delicious rice crackers, and many varieties of Japanese sweets.</p><p>Explore Kappabashi-Dori, a shopping street between Ueno and Asakusa, where you can find the wares that supply over 80,000 restaurants in Tokyo.Then, head to Ginza, Tokyo’s equivalent of New York’s Fifth Avenue (and, at one time, the most expensive parcel of real estate in the world). A favorite stop is the food floor, or <em>depachika,</em> in Mitsukoshi Department Store. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong><strong>:</strong> Aman Tokyo</p><h2>Day 3: Tokyo</h2><p>This morning, stroll through the beautiful wooded grounds of Meiji Shrine, Tokyo’s premier Shinto shrine. </p><p>Venture to Harajuku, a mecca of youth culture and avant-garde shopping, and then take the short walk to the Aoyama district and Omotesando, a broad, tree-lined avenue sometimes referred to as Tokyo's Champs-Elysees. Omotesando is a prime location for haute couture brands and architecturally ambitious buildings.</p><p>Near Omotesando lies one of the city’s unique treasures, Nezu Art Museum, with its vast rotating collection of Japanese and East Asian art. Explore its exquisite Japanese garden, replete with stepping stones, tea houses, and an extensive collection of stone lanterns.</p><p>Last, enjoy an exclusive private experience with our sake expert, who will take you to visit a liquor store in downtown Tokyo. There, you can take part in the tradition of <em>k</em><em>aku-uchi</em><em> </em>— sampling different types of sake while casually chatting and enjoying the lively local atmosphere. Our expert will provide you with essential knowledge and help you find your next favorite type of sake. </p><p><strong>Stay:</strong> Aman Tokyo</p><h2>Day 4: Kanazawa and Yamanaka Onsen</h2><p>Take the Shinkansen, Japan's bullet train, for a 2.5-hour ride to Kanazawa (literally, "marsh of gold") in Western Japan. Once governed by the Maeda clan, great patrons of the arts, Kanazawa developed a rich heritage that is reflected in its well-preserved geisha and samurai quarters, beautifu gardens, and its distinctive arts, including pottery and lacquerware.</p><p>Meander through one of Japan’s few remaining samurai neighborhoods, Nagamachi, and visit the Nagamachi Samurai Residence. Visit Kanazawa’s renowned Omicho Market and shops that specialize in fabulous Wajima lacquerware. Wander through Kenroku-en Garden, one of the most beautiful stroll gardens in Japan, before visiting the majestic Seisonkaku Villa.</p><p>End your day in Higashi Chaya, the largest of Kanazawa’s remaining geisha districts, to visit a historic <em>ochaya</em> (tea house). Afterward, you will be driven forty minutes to your ryokan in Yamanaka Onsen. </p><p>​​​​<strong>Stay:</strong> Kayotei </p><h2>Day 5: Yamanaka Onsen and Shirakawa-go</h2><p>Enjoy some time at your ryokan's hot spring baths, then visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go, a cluster of hamlets over 800 years old. Stop in Ogimachi with its nearly sixty <em>gassho tsukuri, </em>or thatched roof farmhouses, standing amid vegetable gardens and paddy fields. After, enjoy an exclusive private visit to one of the world’s most famous <em>taiko</em> drum makers where you can see how these magnificent instruments are crafted. You may also see a professional taiko drummer rehearsing, and will have an opportunity to try beating the mighty drums yourselves. </p><p>​​​​<strong>Stay:</strong> Kayotei </p><h2>Day 6: Kyoto</h2><p>Take a two-hour train to Kyoto, Japan’s former capital. Upon arrival, explore the fun and colorful area around Ninen-zaka and Sannen-zaka, a pair of pedestrian-only lanes that make for some of the most atmospheric strolling in the whole city. Then, take a short walk to a private temple where you will enjoy a private tea ceremony. </p><p>Stroll through the Shijo-Kawaramachi District and its traditional shops selling local foods and crafts. Your walk will end at Yasaka Shrine, located at epicenter of Gion, the city’s Geisha district. Continue onward to Kennin-ji Temple; the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto, Kennin-ji is an oasis of calm on the edge of Gion with a superb Zen garden.</p><p>​​​​<strong>Stay:</strong> The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto</p><h2>Day 7: Kyoto </h2><p>Visit Nijo Castle, a magnificent early Edo castle constructed in 1603. Outside of the castle extends the Ninomaru Garden, a traditional Japanese landscape garden with a large pond, ornamental stones and manicured pine trees. Participate in a private Zen session with a Buddhist monk while contemplating a beautiful and tranquil Zen garden, followed by a private walk-through of the temple. </p><p>Head to Kinkakuji, the famous Temple of the Golden Pavilion. Experience Ryoanji — a beautiful and tranquil fifteenth century rock garden, before exploring Nishiki-koji Market. Hundreds of vendors have their stalls in this market street to sell anything and everything. Taste special Japanese delicacies, vegetables, fresh fish, dry goods, pickles, and sweets.</p><p>​​​​<strong>Stay:</strong> The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto </p><h2>Day 8: Kyoto </h2><p>Head to northwest Kyoto to visit Arashiyama, including the Sagano Bamboo Forest. Visit Tenryu-ji (Heavenly Dragon Temple) and its splendid garden designed by Muso Kokushi in 1340. A park with dozens of cherry trees is located next to the bridge.</p><p>Experience Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple, with its wonderful display of 1,200 carved stone figures of Rakan, the disciples of Buddha. Visit a Kyoto-based micro-brewery to learn how sake is made—you will also have the opportunity to sample some of their delicious products in a private tasting.</p><p>This evening, enjoy a unique evening at a Japanese <em>ochaya</em> for a private dinner with geisha entertainment. An ochaya only accepts guests through an introduction from its trusted clients. This experience will take you back in time, and is so special that most Japanese will not even have the opportunity to try it.</p><p>​​​​<strong>Stay:</strong> The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto </p><h2>Day 9: Nara </h2><p>Journey approximately one hour to Nara, Japan’s first permanent capital established in 710. Your sojourn begins at Nara Park, where deer, considered to be messengers of the Shinto gods, roam free as they have done since ancient times. </p><p>Nara can be easily traversed on foot, and most of your day here will be spent walking. After visiting Todaiji Temple, which contains a nearly 50-foot tall great Buddha completed in 752, visit Kasuga Taisha, an 8th century Shinto shrine, and Kofuku-ji. In rural Nara, experience Murou-ji Temple, where you can climb 700 steps to reach its impressive five storied pagoda.</p><p>This evening, stay at Sasayuri-Ann, a unique thatched roof luxurious rice terraced villa in a gorgeous and rural area of Nara. Dinner will be prepared by a Michelin-starred chef.</p><p>​​​​<strong>Stay</strong>: Rice Terrace Villa Sasayuri-Ann</p><h2>Day 10: Nara </h2><p>Before breakfast, enjoy hiking in Akame (where <em>ninja</em> began), a beautiful and forested area with 48 waterfalls. Visit the house of a 25th generation craftsman whose family has made tea whisks for the Japanese tea ceremony for over 500 years. He will do a private bamboo carving demonstration.</p><p>Sasayuri-Ann offers some really fun and special experiences in an intimate setting, including private yoga lessons, farming and local fruit picking excursions, music workshops, guided hikes, and a nighttime fire ceremony.</p><p><strong>Stay:</strong> Rice Terrace Villa Sasayuri-Ann</p><h2>Day 11: Naoshima </h2><p>Transfer to Shin-Osaka Station and take a one-hour train to Okayama Station. Transfer to the Port of Uno to board a private water taxi for a 15-minute ride to the island of Naoshima, a center of contemporary art in Japan.</p><p>This afternoon, take a walk-through of the must see Chichu Art Museum — built specifically to house the works of Claude Monet, Walter De Maria, and James Turrell. Visit the newest museum on Naoshima, Lee Ufan Museum, designed by Tadao Ando. It features works by the contemporary artist Lee Ufan, who was born in Korea but has been working and teaching in Japan. </p><p>Transfer to your accommodation at Benesse House, a museum hotel also designed by Tadao Ando, and explore its beautiful grounds.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong>: Benesse House</p><h2>Day 12: Naoshima and Teshima </h2><p>Take a private water taxi to the Island of Teshima. Visit Teshima Yokoo House, Teshima Art Museum, and Les Archives du Coeur. Upon your return to Naoshima, explore the Art House Project, a set of seven locations in which artists take over empty houses in residential areas and turn the spaces themselves into works of art. A truly organic project that changes day-to-day, it has evolved to present a new model of community, characterized by positive interaction between urban and rural, young and old, resident and visitor.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong>: Benesse House</p><h2>Day 13: Mure, Takamatsu, and Tokyo </h2><p>Depart Naoshima via private water taxi across the Inland Sea to Shirobana Koen on the island of Shikoku. Visit the village of Mure and the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, which houses 150 sculptures — many of which are still unfinished, preserving the working atmosphere of Noguchi's studio.</p><p>Stop at Ritsurin Garden, one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens. Created in the seventeenth century, this beautiful stroll garden was once a park attached to the villa of the Matsudaira lords. It took more than a century to complete.</p><p>Continue onward to Kinashi Bonsai, the largest Bonsai village in Japan, with a history of growing Bonsai for over 250 years. Fly to Tokyo, and transfer by private vehicle to your hotel and enjoy your final evening in Japan.</p><p><strong>Stay:</strong> Aman Tokyo</p><h2>Day 14: Depart Tokyo</h2><p>Depending on your flight time, you will be picked up at your hotel and driven to Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport or Narita International Airport for your flight home. Our representative will assist you with checking in at the airport.</p>
Categories: Travel

Jack Tydeman's 21-day Vietnam, Cambodia, and Hong Kong Itinerary

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:00
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/jack-tydeman" target="_blank">Jack Tydeman</a> is a member of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure’s A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries he creates. To work with Jack, you can contact him directly at jack.tydeman@audleytravel.com.</p><h2>Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi</h2><p>Transfer to hotel by private vehicle with driver and guide. For breakfast, you can join the locals at one of the small food stalls for a bowl of Pho, traditional Vietnamese noodle soup. </p><p>In the afternoon, set off on a private street food tour of Hanoi's best culinary spots with a local food blogger. Having a special passion for Vietnamese food and culture, this blogger has documented his food and cultural adventures since 2005. He will give you an insight into Hanoi's hidden food scene, and provide an elaborate explanation of Vietnamese practices. The tour will take you to some of Hanoi's most impressive markets, food stalls, and hidden eateries, where you will have the opportunity to try the regions best loved cuisine.</p><p>Afterwards, you can wander the Old Quarter — discovering traditional medicine shops and age old temples hidden in the busy market streets. In the evening, relax in the cosmopolitan atmosphere of a jazz bar beside the central Hoan Kiem Lake. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Sofitel Legend Metropole</p><h2>Day 2: Hanoi</h2><p>Start with a fascinating half day guided tour around Vietnam's capital. Your first stop on the tour will be at the final resting place of former leader and celebrated father, the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. Then, see Ho Chi Minh's wooden stilted house and the One Pillar Pagoda before arriving at the country's first university, The Temple of Literature. Afterwards, you will drive past Hoan Kiem Lake and the charming Ngoc Son Temple before ending the tour in the city's old quarter.</p><p>In the afternoon, spend a couple of hours with Mr. Chuck Searcy, a veteran of the Vietnam War who has detailed knowledge of the history of the wars in Vietnam. After returning to Vietnam in 1992, he is now Chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, working on a project to eradicate hunger, alleviate poverty and clean up unexploded ordnance left over from the war along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).</p><p>Back at your hotel, visit to the resident bomb shelter at the Sofitel Legend Metropole. Re-discovered in 2011, the bomb shelter was used during the Vietnam War to protect guests from nightly air raids in Hanoi. Famous residents include Jane Fonda and Joan Baez.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Sofitel Legend Metropole</p><h2>Day 3: Haiphong</h2><p>Transfer from Hanoi to Haiphong with a private driver, a journey of approximately 2.5 hours. The port of Haiphong was established in 1888 on the Cua Cam River, a major tributary of the Red River. It is the north’s second largest city and has a prosperous feel; major industrial investment and a rejuvenated portside are testament to the vitality of the people. Western travellers rarely visit the city, which is an over-sight, as the centre is pleasantly green, with tree-lined boulevards and some attractive colonial style architecture. </p><p>Upon arrival at Dinh Vu Port in Haiphong, you will board an Orchid ship to tour Halong Bay. The cruise will proceed to Da Ching Islet, with a 100-year-old French lighthouse, before cruising towards Cat Ba island, a route free of many other<br />tourist boats. Spend the afternoon enjoying some stunning limestone karst scenery, exploring fishing villages, and enjoying a magnificent sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. Dinner is served on board before you retire for evening.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Orchid Cruise</p><h2>Day 4: Halong Bay</h2><p>Rise early for Tai Chi on deck and breakfast before transferring to the day exploration boat. Journey towards Bai Tu Long Bay, where you will explore Viet Hai Village by bike before enjoying a kayaking trip later in the afternoon. Return to the Orchid cruise for a cooking class followed by dinner and happy hour drinks on board.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Orchid Cruise</p><h2>Day 5: Hue</h2><p>Transfer to Hanoi airport and fly to Hue. Backed by the mountains of the Annamite Cordillera, and set on the beautiful Perfume River, this is the best place to experience the country’s imperial past. The last imperial family, the Nguyens, ruled under French protection from 1802 to 1945, and their mausoleums compete in scale and grandeur as they line the valley as it leads up to the hills. Lavishly squandering their country’s wealth and manpower, these mausoleums are amongst the country’s most poignant sights.</p><p>They are not the only attractions here, though. You can board a boat and travel to the Thien Mu Pagoda, dating back to 1602, and surrounded by graceful gardens, or explore Hue’s more recent past: the former Demilitarized Zone, the atmospheric tunnels at Vinh Moc and the battle sites of Khe Sanh and the Citadel.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>La Residence Hotel &amp; Spa</p><h2>Day 6: Hue</h2><p>Take a half day private excursion with a guide and driver. Crossing to the north bank of the Perfume River, you will enter the imposing moated Citadel, which the Forbidden Purple City; much of the original structure was destroyed during the Tet Offensive in 1968, although with the help of UNESCO funding it is gradually being restored to its former glory.</p><p>You will then continue to visit the Museum of Royal Antiquities and the Mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc, located in an area of rolling hills and pine trees seven kilometres outside Hue. The tranquil grounds are filled with trees, ponds and pavilions where Tu Duc would write poetry.</p><p>In the afternoon, visit Minh Mang's Mausoleum and Thien Mu Pagoda by private boat. At the riverside in Hue you board a boat for a journey up the Perfume River to the mausoleums of Nguyen Dynasty's emperors. During a two hour journey upriver you will first explore Thien Mu Pagoda, a serene and picturesque landmark which is also an important Buddhist site. Continuing upstream, you will disembark at Minh Mang’s Mausoleum, set in gardens of pine and frangipani.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>La Residence Hotel &amp; Spa</p><h2>Day 7: Hue</h2><p>Take a private guided day trip to the former DMZ and the Vinh Moc tunnels. Places of military significance in the area include Dong Ha city, Camp Carroll, the Rock pile, Dakrong Bridge and parts of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. You will also have the option to visit one of the former American bases Khe Sanh or Con Thien Firebase; although both are now abandoned and overgrown, a steady stream of veterans are beginning to return.</p><p>In the afternoon continue on to Vinh Moc, stopping en route at the war cemetery, Hien Luong Bridge and Ben Hai River at the 17th Parallel. The Vinh Moc tunnels were built by the villagers during the Vietnam War as a shelter from American bombing and naval bombardments.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>La Residence Hotel &amp; Spa</p><h2>Day 8: Hoi An</h2><p>Meet your guide early for hiking in Bach Ma National Park. The trails of Bach Ma are lined with medicinal plants. At the end of your trail stop and have a picnic near the falls; it's a gradual pitch at the top, and you can test your bravery by looking over the waterfall's edge. After a bit of time to relax, you will trek back up to your car and transfer to Hoi An, either through the mountains (the more scenic route) or through the tunnels, arriving in the early afternoon in time for a late lunch or early dinner.<br /><br />Prior to the arrival of the French, Hoi An was Vietnam's "window on the world."Tucked away amongst the back streets are the houses of merchants from Asia and Europe, lured from afar by the prospect of high-grade silk and porcelain. It is an ideal<br />spot to stop for a few days, strolling along the wharf, shopping in the market, or having a silk dress or suit fitted, and is best explored on foot and at your leisure. There are many restaurants, old houses, craft shops and art galleries, where local<br />artists exhibit their works. Take some time to enjoy a bowl of Cao Lau, a special noodle soup which is a specialty in the area. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Anantara Hoi An Resort </p><h2>Day 9: Hoi An</h2><p>The day begins with a short boat trip from Bach Dang boat landing in Hoi An town, along the Thu Bon River to the village of Kim Bong, where you will first visit a traditional boat building yard. Here, you pick up bikes and begin a leisurely ride through the beautiful countryside with your guide, stopping for photographs and refreshments as you please. This is a lovely way to see some of the more traditional areas around Hoi An and explore the local handicraft cottage industries, such as wood carving, mat weaving, and coracle boat making. Afternoon at leisure in Hoi An.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Anantara Hoi An Resort </p><h2>Day 10: Saigon</h2><p>Fly to Saigon for Da Nang. On arrival at Saigon Airport, meet with your private guide and driver and transfer to<br />the Cu Chi tunnels. The Cu Chi tunnel complex was dug in 1948 for the guerrillas to hide from French air and ground sweeps. It also served as communication routes and food and weapon caches as well as hospitals and living quarters for guerrilla fighters throughout the Vietnam War. Visit the underground villages with a VC veteran who used to live there. His experiences enable you to better understand the tunnels’ history and gain perspective of life in the tunnels and the resilience of the Vietnamese during combat.<br /><br />The vivacious city of Saigon was the original "Pearl of the Orient." The city continues to undergo rapid change, with new skyscrapers, lively bars, and a booming economy. There is still plenty of local charm: soup sellers ring their chimes to signify a freshly made lunch, fortune tellers read palms and incense drifts from busy temples. The choice of restaurants is outstanding, and this is a great shopping city: classy boutiques sell lacquerware, silk, and modern art. </p><p>Take a private guided evening food tour by vespa. Stop first at a small, popular Vietnamese bread stall before heading on to a vintage coffee shop to hear about the evening's activities. From there visit a local apartment complex that has many food stalls set up each night, a dessert shop that has been in operation for over 50 years, and a boutique seafood restaurant known only to locals. Finish your night in a cozy pub where you can try local beer and perhaps even enjoy some live music.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Hotel des Arts</p><h2>Day 11: Saigon</h2><p>Commence this morning's tour with a visit to the shrine outside the US Consulate, before continuing to the former CIA building (outside visit only), where helicopters evacuated the remaining US citizens in 1975. Head to the rooftop café of the Rex Hotel, a familiar landmark for Americans during the Vietnam War. Sit down for a drink and enjoy the view and this piece of history, which your guide will help to explain. Then visit the Reunification Palace for a guided tour of the former headquarters of the South Vietnamese government and presidential residence.</p><p>Drive to the former home of the US Ambassador of South Vietnam in the early 1960s, Mr Henry Cabbot Lodge, who conducted a mission to overthrow the South Vietnamese government. Here you can watch an exclusive ten-minute documentary about Saigon during that time while enjoying a cold drink. Continue to the War Remnants Museum<br />for a vivid insight into the Vietnam War through the locals' eyes.</p><p>You will then be driven to a historic venue for a simple lunch of pho (noodle soup). House number 7 on Ly Chinh Thang Street, now known as Pho Binh restaurant, used to be the headquarters of Viet Cong Commanders and is where they gathered to plan for the 1968 Tet Offensive. Take a walk upstairs to learn more about its history through the family’s photo collection.</p><p>After lunch you will be driven to Cho Lon to visit a herbal medicine market and to Binh Tay market to experience the hustle and bustle of local everyday life. End the day at Thien Hau Temple, built by the Cantonese congregation in the early 19th century to honour the goddess of the sea. The temple’s ornate interior courtyard is always full of life as worshippers from the local Chinese community come to offer prayers. Take time to make a wish, write it on a small card and attach it to one of the incense coils — as per local custom. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Hotel des Arts</p><h2>Day 12: Mekong River</h2><p>Morning transfer to the port of My Tho to embark on the RV Mekong Pandaw in time for welcome drinks, a briefing and lunch. Sail across the vast Mekong Delta on your way from Saigon to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Your guide will collect your passports at the meeting point in preparation for the immigration formalities.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>RV Mekong Pandaw</p><h2>Day 13: Mekong River</h2><p>Take a <em>sampan</em> boat excursion to Sa Dec via Vinh Long, sailing along canals and backwaters and see the local market and the ancient house of Mr. Huyn Thuy Le — the "lover" of Marguerite Duras, a famous French novelist whose book was immortalized in the film "L’Indochine."</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>RV Mekong Pandaw</p><h2>Day 14: Mekong River</h2><p>Visit a tribal village of the Mulsim Cham people and a cat fish farm in Chau Doc with our guide — or do your own thing and take off on one of our mountain bikes. The local market is great and the Catholic Church well worth a visit. Return to the ship by boat for lunch and cast off for the Cambodian border for the usual formalities.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>RV Mekong Pandaw</p><h2>Day 15: Phnom Penh</h2><p>Disembark in Cambodia’s capital after breakfast. Your guide and driver will be waiting for you at the water’s edge, when you arrive in Phnom Penh. They will transfer you directly to your hotel.</p><p>With its wide, tree lined boulevards and scenic setting at the confluence of three rivers, Phnom Penh was once the loveliest of the former French cities in Indochina. Many of its French colonial buildings remain, dotted around this rapidly growing capital in various state of ruin or renovation and beautiful frangipani trees still sprout from the pavements of the boulevards. It is a city which is finally emerging from the horrors of its recent past, rediscovering and reinventing itself as a tourist destination.</p><p>The focal point of Phnom Penh is the bustling riverside where you can enjoy a stroll along the banks of the Tonle Sap River or sit at a café and watch the world go by. Just back from the riverfront are the main attractions of the city — the National Museum, the Royal Palace, and Wat Phnom, from where, fable has it, the city was born. The markets are a hive of local activity and perfect for people watching, and no day in Phnom Penh is complete without a sundowner at the famous Foreign Correspondent's Club on the riverfront.</p><p>In the evening, go to Plae Pakka (Khmer for "fruitful") — a performance put on by Cambodian Living Arts exclusively at the National Museum of Phnom Penh. The artists showcase the historical and cultural richness of the country featuring dance, theatre, and live music,along with elaborate traditional costumes and staging.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Raffles Hotel Le Royal</p><h2>Day 16: Phnom Penh </h2><p>Take a full-day private city tour with your driver and guide. With your guide you begin the day exploring the stunning Royal Palace complex, home to the Cambodian royal family and a symbol of the nation. Continue on to the Silver Pagoda, named after the 5,000 silver tiles covering the floor; inside are some of the country's most cherished treasures, including a life-sized gold Buddha studded with 9,584 diamonds, the largest weighing 25 carats. You leave the Royal Palace and continue to the nearby National Museum, home to the world's finest collection of sculpture from the Angkor period.</p><p>After lunch you come face to face with the horrific crimes of the Khmer Rouge. Tuol Sleng, also known as S-21, was a former high school that the Khmer Rouge turned into a centre for interrogation, torture and death. Today it is a museum of torture<br />and serves to remind visitors of the terrible atrocities that came to pass in Cambodia. You then travel out of town to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. Prisoners from Tuol Sleng followed this same route to their fate. An old Chinese cemetery, Choeung Ek was turned into an extermination camp for political prisoners. Despite the horrors of the past, it is a peaceful place to go and a tranquil spot to reflect on the tragic events that engulfed Cambodia and its people.</p><p>Laterin the day you will head for Wat Phnom, a symbol of the city. Located on one of the few hills in this flat part of the<br />country, the first pagoda was originally built in 1373 to house Buddha statues discovered in the Mekong by a woman named Penh. This gives the modern name of the city, Phnom Penh, or Hill of Penh. Cambodians come to the shrine to pray for luck<br />in love, life, employment and exams, so it is always a bustling place.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Raffles Hotel Le Royal</p><h2>Day 17: Siem Reap</h2><p>Fly from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. Just north of Tonle Sap Lake, this town has grown rapidly in the last few years due to the draw of the temples of Angkor. The sheer scale and grandeur of the Angkor complex is rivalled by only a handful of sights elsewhere in the world. </p><p>Visit Angkor Wat in the late afternoon with your guide. Believed to have been undertaken as a temple and mausoleum for King Suryavarman II at the peak of the Khmer empire in the first half of the 12th century, Angkor Wat is the best-preserved<br />of the Angkorian temples. One of the treasures of Angkor Wat are the bas-reliefs that adorn the outer wall of the temple, stunning examples of traditional Khmer art — they mainly depict scenes from the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, but some of them also show day to day life within the Khmer empire</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Raffles Grand Hotel D'Angkor</p><h2>Day 18: Siem Reap</h2><p>Rising early this morning you will depart for a spectacular sunrise visit to Pre Pup temple. Pre Rup, meaning "Turning the Body," consists of a pyramid-shaped temple-mountain with the uppermost of the three tiers carrying five lotus towers and provides incredible sunrise views over the Angkor Park. After your dawn excursion, continue to the famous Ta Prohm temple. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely as it was found: overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground.</p><p>Take a private tour of Angkor Thom and the Bayom temple before lunch at Sala Kdei, a traditional wooden building located in a small village overlooking the ancient royal bathing pool of Sra Srang. Lunch includes a selection of popular national dishes.</p><p>In the afternoon, take a private cycling tour of rural Cambodia. Surrounded by rice paddies, Siem Reap makes an excellent base from which to explore the surrounding countryside and glimpse rural Cambodian life. This half day cycling tour takes you out amongst the local villages, a world away from the hustle and bustle of Siem Reap town. Cycle past rice paddies, palm trees, ox-drawn carts and wave at the smiling children who will be delighted to see you.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Raffles Grand Hotel D'Angkor</p><h2>Day 19: Siem Reap</h2><p>Travel to the countryside to see the gem of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srei, which remains the best-preserved temple in Cambodia. An early-morning visit offers the advantage of avoiding the crowds that visit mid morning and having excellent light to view the carvings. Continue to the Golden Silk Pheach Farm, a local NGO that is helping to revive ancient Khmer craftsmanship in silk production, and provides job opportunities to more than 100 local staff. The farm area, mulberry trees, and weaving ateliers can be seen as part of the guided tour. </p><p>Spend the afternoon at leisure in Siem Reap before visiting the Phare Circus, an hour long show which currently rotates between four different stories centred around Cambodian society and history. Phare Circus is run by Phare Ponleu Selpak, a non-profit Cambodian association working with vulnerable children and young adults to improve their lives through<br />development and training in the performing arts, as well as social support and educational training. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Raffles Grand Hotel D'Angkor</p><h2>​​​​​Day 20: Hong Kong</h2><p>Fly from Siem Reap to Hong Kong. Located at the south-eastern tip of China, Hong Kong adjoins the province of Guangdong, and has a population of over seven million people, 95% of whom are Chinese. Hong Kong Island and Kowloon were originally ceded to the British, following the Opium Wars of the 1800s, and from a minor fishing village, steadily<br />developed in to one of Asia's greatest trading hubs. </p><p>Built up around Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Island is famed for its spectacular views of glittering skyscrapers, crowded markets, shopping, fast living, and the wonderful juxtaposition of ancient and modern. Across the harbour is the Kowloon side, which offers fabulous views across to the skyline, as well as some great shopping and local markets. The outlying islands offer tranquility, away from the bustle of the city, and have beautiful countryside dotted with temples to explore at your leisure. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>The Langham </p><h2>Day 21: Depart from Hong Kong</h2><p>Spend the morning at leisure in Hong Kong before your transfer to the airport for your flight.</p>
Categories: Travel

These Are the 50 Best Southern Restaurants in the U.S., According to OpenTable

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 08:47
<p>Southerners know what to serve to comfort and satisfy your cravings. Fried chicken, crab cakes, and shrimp and grits are the kinds of food that do much more than just solve hunger.</p><p>And according to a new ranking, you don’t always have to go directly to the South to get the best Southern food. OpenTable on Tuesday released its list of the 50 Best Southern Restaurants in America for 2018. The reservation platform determined the list based on diner reviews for more than 27,000 restaurants in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.</p><p>All restaurants in the “Southern” cuisine category with a minimum “overall” score and number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then scored and sorted according to their overall food rating. The top 50 restaurants — listed alphabetically below — can be found in 14 states and Washington D.C.</p><img alt="Mr. B's Bistro in New Orleans, LA "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533063310/Mr-B-Bistro-New-Orleans-OTSOUTH0718.jpg?itok=hyit6ZBQ"><p>Louisiana tops the list with the most restaurants. Texas and North Carolina came in second, followed by Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia which all tied for third.</p><p>While Southern states claim the most restaurants on the list, you can also find some of the top-ranked establishments in states like New York, Philadelphia, and Illinois.</p><h2>50 Best Southern Restaurants in the U.S.</h2><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/abel-brown" target="_blank">Abel Brown</a> – Augusta, Georgia</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/r/acadiana-washington" target="_blank">Acadiana</a> – Washington, D.C.</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/acre" target="_blank">Acre</a> – Auburn, Alabama</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/alligator-soul" target="_blank">Alligator Soul</a> – Savannah, Georgia</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/anson" target="_blank">Anson</a> – Charleston, South Carolina</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/antebellum" target="_blank">Antebellum</a> – Flowery Branch, Georgia</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/r/atchafalaya-restaurant-new-orleans" target="_blank">Atchafalaya Restaurant</a> – New Orleans, Louisiana</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/r/the-boil-waverly-new-york" target="_blank">The Boil Waverly</a> – New York, New York</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/r/boucherie-new-orleans" target="_blank">Boucherie</a> – New Orleans, Louisiana</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/brennans-of-houston" target="_blank">Brennan’s of Houston</a> – Houston, Texas</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/cafe-dupont-birmingham" target="_blank">Cafe Dupont</a> – Birmingham, Alabama</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/carrollton-market" target="_blank">Carrollton Market</a> – New Orleans, Louisiana</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/r/circa-1886-charleston" target="_blank">Circa 1886</a> – Charleston, South Carolina</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/r/cured-san-antonio" target="_blank">Cured</a> – San Antonio, Texas</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/cypress-restaurant" target="_blank">Cypress Restaurant</a> – Tallahassee, Florida</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/r/distilled-at-gratz-park-inn-lexington" target="_blank">Distilled at The Sire Hotel</a> – Lexington, Kentucky</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/r/dogwood-southern-table-and-bar-charlotte" target="_blank">Dogwood Southern Table &amp; Bar</a> – Charlotte, North Carolina</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/fixe" target="_blank">Fixe</a> – Austin, Texas</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/high-street-caffe-and-vudu-lounge" target="_blank">High Street Caffe &amp; Vudu Lounge</a> – West Chester, Pennsylvania</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/highball-and-harvest" target="_blank">Highball &amp; Harvest</a> – Orlando, Florida</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/highlands-bar-and-grill" target="_blank">Highlands Bar &amp; Grill</a> – Birmingham, Alabama</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/hot-and-hot-fish-club" target="_blank">Hot and Hot Fish Club</a> – Birmingham, Alabama</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/ida-claire" target="_blank">Ida Claire</a> – Addison, Texas</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/kitchen-notes-omni-nashville" target="_blank">Kitchen Notes – Omni Nashville</a> – Nashville, Tennessee</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/r/the-kings-kitchen-charlotte" target="_blank">The King’s Kitchen</a> – Charlotte, North Carolina</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/r/langdons-restaurant-mount-pleasant" target="_blank">Langdon’s Restaurant</a> – Mount Pleasant, South Carolina</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/madisons-reservations-highlands" target="_blank">Madison’s</a> – Highlands, North Carolina</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/r/mandolin-raleigh" target="_blank">Mandolin</a> – Raleigh, North Carolina</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/r/maple-tree-inn-blue-island" target="_blank">Maple Tree Inn</a> – Blue Island, Illinois</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/merrick-inn" target="_blank">Merrick Inn</a> – Lexington, Kentucky</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/r/midtown-cafe-nashville" target="_blank">Midtown Cafe</a> – Nashville, Tennessee</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/mozelles-fresh-southern-bistro" target="_blank">Mozelle’s Fresh Southern Bistro</a> – Winston-Salem, North Carolina</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/mr-bs-bistro" target="_blank">Mr. B’s Bistro</a> – New Orleans, Louisiana</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/muriels-jackson-square" target="_blank">Muriel’s Jackson Square</a> – New Orleans, Louisiana</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/the-olde-pink-house-restaurant" target="_blank">The Olde Pink House Restaurant</a> – Savannah, Georgia</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/preserved-restaurant" target="_blank">Preserved Restaurant</a> – St. Augustine, Florida</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/r/rapscallion-dallas" target="_blank">Rapscallion</a> – Dallas, Texas</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/iron-at-marcus-pointe" target="_blank">Restaurant IRON</a> – Pensacola, Florida</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/restaurantrevolution" target="_blank">Restaurant R’evolution</a> – New Orleans, Louisiana</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/restaurant-rebirth" target="_blank">Restaurant Rebirth</a> – New Orleans, Louisiana</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/root-and-bone" target="_blank">Root &amp; Bone</a> – New York, New York</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/rts-restaurant" target="_blank">RT’s Restaurant</a> – Alexandria, Virginia</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/rx-restaurant" target="_blank">Rx Restaurant</a> – Wilmington, North Carolina</p><p><a href="http://www.opentable.com/lists/best-southern-restaurants-2018" target="_blank">South City Kitchen</a> – Multiple locations</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/r/state-of-grace-houston" target="_blank">State of Grace</a> – Houston, Texas</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/stellas-southern-bistro" target="_blank">Stella’s Bistro</a> – Simpsonville, South Carolina</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/toutant" target="_blank">Toutant</a> – Buffalo, New York</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/urban-grub" target="_blank">Urban Grub</a> – Nashville, Tennessee</p><p><a href="https://www.opentable.com/r/willa-jean-new-orleans" target="_blank">Willa Jean</a> – New Orleans, Louisiana</p><p><a href="http://www.opentable.com/lists/best-southern-restaurants-2018" target="_blank">Yardbird Southern Table &amp; Bar</a> – Multiple locations</p>
Categories: Travel

Easter Island Is Limiting Tourism in an Attempt to Save Its Thousand-year-old Culture (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 07:31
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/vacationing-in-easter-island" target="_blank">Easter Island</a>, the tiny island located 2,000 miles off the coast of Chile, is a popular tourist destination. In fact, it’s too popular, according to local authorities.</p><p>According to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/14/climate/easter-island-erosion.html" target="_blank"><em>The New York Times</em></a>, an estimated 100,000 people flock to the island each year to visit its <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/easter-island-heads" target="_blank">famed moai heads</a> and to feel a bit closer to history as the island was first settled in the 12th century. But all those visitors are causing some unintended consequences, including eroding a culture and a way of life that has survived for hundreds of years.</p><p>"Foreigners are already taking over the island," mayor Pedro Edmunds recent told <a href="http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/chile-to-restrict-tourists-and-non-locals-on-easter-island/article/528263" target="_blank">AFP</a>. To combat further loss of cultural identity and physical damage to the environment, the island has decided to restrict the number of days tourists can stay on the island. Until now, visitors were welcome to stay for up to 90 days. Now, they are allowed to stay just 30.</p><p>"They're damaging the local idiosyncrasy, the thousand-year culture is changing and not for the good," Edmunds added, noting that "customs from the continent" were beginning to permeate the island and "that's not positive."</p><p>In addition to traditions, <a href="http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/chile-to-restrict-tourists-and-non-locals-on-easter-island/article/528263" target="_blank"><em>Digital Journal</em></a> reported that the island is starting to see far more waste left by tourists than before. For example, a decade ago, the island produced 1.4 metric tons of waste per year. Now, it produces nearly twice that amount at 2.5 metric tons a year.</p><p>According to <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/easter-island-visit-chile-statues-tourists-tourism-social-environmental-impact-a8469791.html" target="_blank"><em>The Independent</em></a>, beyond how long people can stay, the number of people visiting the island will also be restricted. However, that exact number has not been announced.</p><p>Additionally, those wishing to move to the island permanently will now face an uphill battle. As<em> The Independent </em>noted, 7,750 people currently live on Easter Island, which is nearly double the population of 20 years ago. Edmunds called that “3,000 too many.”</p><p>Now, those who want to move to the island will have to show proof of relation to someone from the Rapa Nui people, the native population of Easter Island.</p><p>Still, Edmunds said this isn’t going far enough. "I don't agree with these rules, it's not enough because it doesn't reflect all the aspirations of the island," he said. Edmunds noted that he'd rather see a "total" ban on all new residents. But, as he said, it’s a start.</p><p>Easter Island isn’t the only popular destination experiencing the adverse effects of tourism. In 2016, the picturesque town of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/how-to-travel-to-cinque-terre" target="_blank">Cinque Terre</a> in Italy announced it would also <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/cinque-terre-tourist-overflow" target="_blank">limit the number of tourists visiting the community</a> in an effort to protect it. The island of Capri is also mulling over just how to deal with its <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/capri-italy-overcrowding-tourism" target="_blank">tourism population boom</a>.</p><p>“We don’t want to limit arrivals and we are very reluctant to talk about a fixed number of people being allowed to visit the island each day, but we do want people to come at a less frenetic pace,” mayor Giovanni De Martino told <em>The Telegraph</em>. "We welcome tourists, but 2 million a year is a bit too much."</p>
Categories: Travel

The TSA's New Scanners Could Mean the End of Removing Your Laptop and Liquids (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 06:44
<p>The TSA hates that you have to take out your laptop and liquids, too.</p><p>The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is unveiling a new x-ray technology that could one day allow passengers “to leave laptops and liquids in their carry-on bags,” <a href="https://www.tsa.gov/news/releases/2018/07/30/tsa-announces-new-x-ray-technology-roll-out-plan" target="_blank">according to a statement.</a></p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/style/travel-accessories/travel-blogger-packing-list" target="_blank">11 Must-pack Items, According to Full-time Travel Writers</a></p><p>Fifteen airports around the country will soon implement new 3D computed tomography (CT) scanners at security checkpoints. The new machines allow TSA officers to visually inspect and rotate 3D images of each bag. If a threat is found in the image, a TSA officer will remove the bag and search for the item. However the administration believes the new technology will result in fewer necessary physical bag inspections.</p><p>The TSA began testing the new machines at Phoenix Sky Harbor and Boston’s Logan International airports in 2017, and recently installed a third machine at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.</p><p>The next airports to receive the technology are: Baltimore-Washington, Chicago O’Hare, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Houston Hobby, Indianapolis, Los Angeles International, McCarran in Las Vegas, Oakland, Philadelphia, San Diego, St. Louis Lambert, and Washington–Dulles.</p><p>Other airports will receive the machines in the coming months.</p><p>By the end of the year, 40 new machines are expected at airports around the country. The TSA expects to have more than 145 operational machines in airports by the end of 2019.</p>
Categories: Travel

The TSA Has a List of People It Secretly Follows Around the Country (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 06:23
<p>The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been using undercover federal air marshals to monitor suspicious passengers, according to <a href="http://apps.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/graphics/2018/07/tsa-quiet-skies/?p1=HP_SpecialTSA" target="_blank">a report published by the <em>Boston Globe</em></a> this week.</p><p>The ominously named “Quiet Skies” program aims to gather information about potential threats who are not on any terrorist watch lists or under investigation by any other agency.</p><p>When someone on the Quiet Skies list is selected for surveillance, a team of air marshals will board their next flight and monitor them.</p><p>“These programs are not designed to observe the average American,” Michael Bilello, an assistant administrator of public affairs for TSA, <a href="http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/399555-tsa-defends-quiet-skies-surveillance-program" target="_blank">told <em>The Hill</em></a>. “They’re designed to protect the traveling public, but they’re not targeting the average American. We’re talking about a very unique passenger that warrants the attention of a federal air marshal.”</p><p>Once they are being monitored, a sudden loss of weight, a new tattoo, barely sleeping on the flight or sleeping for the entire flight are all behaviors that could be noted by air marshals.</p><p>According to Bilello, a person is dropped from the Quiet Skies program within 90 days or three monitored flights (whichever comes first) if they do not arouse any additional suspicion.</p><p>Documents from the agency show that there are between 40 and 50 “Quiet Sky” list passengers on domestic flights every day. About 35 of them are monitored by air marshals. Frequent foreign travel, especially to “countries that we know have a high incidence of adversarial actions,” is the first warning sign that could garner inclusion on the list, <a href="https://www.npr.org/2018/07/30/633980912/tsas-quiet-skies-program-tracks-observes-travelers-in-the-air" target="_blank">according to <em>NPR</em></a>.</p><p>Deploying air marshals to gather intelligence on passengers is a relatively new move, according to the <em>Boston Globe</em>. The practice started in 2010, with revamps in 2012 and March of this year.</p><p>The report also quoted air marshals who questioned the practice’s efficacy and legality.</p>
Categories: Travel

Barack Obama and Joe Biden Went on a Lunch Date and Adorably Ordered the Same Sandwich

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 06:03
<p>Barack Obama and <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/bidens-travels-are-better-than-gullivers" target="_blank">Joe Biden</a> set hearts aflutter on Monday when they stepped out in public together, just like old times.</p><p>The former president and vice president proved they are still the definition of friendship goals at <a href="https://www.dogtagbakery.com/page/mission" target="_blank">Dog Tag Bakery</a> in Washington, D.C. for a quick bite to eat. In a video posted to Instagram, the pair can be seen walking up to the counter to order. Biden, like a pro, knows precisely which sandwich he wants. However, Obama waffles a bit, unsure of what to order, so his BFF Biden suggests a few goodies.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/culture-design/books/barack-obamas-favorite-books" target="_blank">5 Books Barack Obama’s Been Reading (and Loving) Lately</a></p><p>“Hold on a sec, what did you get here?” Obama asks Biden. “I’ve got one of these, what are they called, ham and cheese,” Biden replies.</p><p>“I think I’m gonna have one of those too,” Obama says, because true besties get matching sandwiches. “Give the boss one of those too,” Biden says as he pays their tab, which also includes a side salad for Obama and a slice of mint basil blueberry cake for Biden.</p><p>While seeing these two dine together once more was certainly cool enough, it turns out their choice of restaurant was equally awesome. According to <a href="https://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/a22600719/barack-obama-joe-biden-date/" target="_blank"><i>Cosmopolitan</i></a>, Dog Tag Bakery employees are made up of service-disabled veterans, military spouses, and caregivers. The bakery also offers its employees the opportunity to take part in a five-month fellowship program to earn a business certificate through Georgetown University.</p><p>According to Dog Tag CEO Meghan Ogilvie, who spoke to <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/30/politics/obama-biden-dog-tag-bakery/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a>, neither Obama nor Biden’s people gave much of a heads up that they were coming in. But when she found out, Ogilvie said she gathered all the fellows and employees for a “surprise.”</p><p>Ogilvie added that the political pair stayed and chatted with the fellows about their work and their business ideas. Then, they just enjoyed a bit of time together.</p><p>"It would seem like two friends coming together to have lunch," Olgilvie said. But, according to the former leader of the free world, he was just happy to be in the staff’s presence.</p><p>"What you guys are doing...that's what makes us proud," Obama reportedly <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/obama-biden-reunite-washington-bakery-supports-veterans-n895931" target="_blank">told</a> the Dog Tag Bakery staff. "We so appreciate you guys."</p>
Categories: Travel

Watch This Flight Attendant Perform His Legendary Virgin America Pre-flight Safety Dance for the Last Time

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 07/31/2018 - 17:40
<p>It’s the end of an era for <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/virgin" target="_blank">Virgin America</a>, which is the best reason to celebrate the good times.</p><p>Good times like, say, listening to the Virgin America safety demonstration song, a pop tribute to in-flight protection and security. Unfortunately, the beloved song is officially being retired now that the airline has merged with <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/alaska-airlines" target="_blank">Alaska Airlines</a>.</p><p>One flight attendant, however, found the perfect way to give the song the best “retirement party”: performing one last dance routine.</p><p>Mikey Tongko-Burry, a flight attendant for Virgin America (now Alaska Airlines), performed one last “safety dance” for passengers on one of his regular flight shifts. Tongko-Burry has become somewhat of a legend thanks to this routine over the years. </p><p>Even Richard Branson has noticed Tongko-Burry’s excellent moves.</p><p>Luckily, on this last flight, a passenger named Hunter Walk was able to capture the magic.</p><p>Tongko-Burry tweeted that the dance made everyone on the plane “so happy.” Many Twitter users have applauded his moves. </p><p>Tongko-Burry will be flying with Alaska Airlines from now on, and the airline definitely appreciates his on-the-job enthusiasm.</p><p>Hopefully he’ll bring some fun pre-flight entertainment to Alaska as well. </p><p> </p>
Categories: Travel

Gary Portuesi’s 14-day Trip Around Italy

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 07/31/2018 - 17:30
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/gary-portuesi" target="_blank">Gary Portuesi</a> is a member of <em>Travel + Leisure</em>’s <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries he creates. To work with Gary, contact him at garyp@authenticitaly.com.</p><h2>Day 1: Palermo</h2><p>Arrive at Palermo Airport and meet with your private driver. Transfer to your hotel in Palermo. Arrive and check into Grand Hotel Villa Igiea.</p><p>In the afternoon, meet with your private driver and private guide in the lobby and start your tour of Palermo. Sightseeing includes the Cathedral, Palazzo dei Normanni, Quattro Canti, Piazza Pretoria, and La Martorana.</p><h2>Day 2: Monreale &amp; Ceflau</h2><p>Meet with your private driver and guide in the hotel lobby and depart for Monreale. Arrive and start your tour of “The City of Mosaics,” including the iconic Cathedral and Clositers.</p><p>In the afternoon, you will arrive in Cefalu and start your walking tour of the city center with your private guide including the imposing Norman Cathedral and charming waterfront with typical Sicilian fishing boats.</p><p>Return to Palermo in the late afternoon. Your evening is open.</p><h2>Day 3: Segesta, Erice, and Trapani’s Salt Pans</h2><p>Meet your driver after breakfast for your transfer to Verdura Resort in Sicacca. On the way, stop in Segesta for a private tour of one of antiquity’s most fascinating ancient cities. Learn who the Elimi were and how this city was connected to Erice, which you will visit later in the day.</p><p>After the visit, proceed to Erice, the mysterious medieval town linked to the ancient Elimi people, and built on the ruins of an ancient city, with breath-taking views of the Mediterranean Sea (you can see the tip of Africa on a crystal-clear day). Your guide will have you stop at world-renown Maria Grammatico’s pastry shop for a tasting.</p><p>After your visit of Erice, you will stop at the Sea Salt Museum and learn how Trapani’s famous sea salt is made today, with reminders of yesterday’s process all around you in the form of Medieval windmills.</p><p>You’ll arrive at the Verdura Resort in late afternoon and check into your rooms. Your evening is open. For dinner, we recommend one of Verdura’s casual restaurants (trattoria style Liola or Amare for seafood) or the Resort’s fine dining establishment, Zagara.</p><h2>Day 4: Selinunte and Planeta</h2><p>Meet your driver and depart for Planeta’s flagship winery, Ulmo in Sambuca di Sicilia, for a visit of the vineyards, winery, and wine tasting with light
lunch. The Planeta cousins are a young, dynamic trio of winemakers who have adopted the notion of avant-garde winemaking in Sicily, eschewing the traditional methods, but embracing the ancient varietals and making high quality wine that has won numerous awards in the past 20 years.</p><p>After your winery experience, your driver will take you to Selinunte, Europe’s largest archaeological park. Meet your private guide at 3:00 p.m. for an exhilarating visit of some of the most interesting Greek ruins in the Mediterranean basin. You will visit the temples, some partly reconstructed, as well as the acropolis. You will have the ability to wander the ancient streets and walk into public buildings and homes.</p><p>Return to Verdura Resort after your visit of Planeta. Your Evening is open.</p><h2>Day 5: Agrigento</h2><p>Meet your driver in the hotel lobby and depart for Agrigento. Arrive and check into Hotel Villa Athena.</p><p>In the afternoon, your driver will take you to Mandranova for an olive oil tasting and lunch. Mandranova is a world-class operation, which sells its liquid gold to
Eataly, among other gourmet stores in the US. Learn about the different olive varietals used in the making of their superior olive oil and enjoy a delicious lunch.</p><p>After lunch, you will meet up with your guide to start your visit of the Valley of the Temples, one of the most important archaeological parks in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site.</p><h2>Day 6: Pizza Armerina and Noto</h2><p>Check out of your hotel and meet your driver in the hotel lobby. On the way to Noto, stop in Piazza Armerina for your guided visit of Villa del Casale’s Roman mosaics, one of the most important sets of Roman mosaics in Antiquity.</p><p>Continue to Noto after your visit of Piazza Armerina. Arrive and check into CountryHouse Villadorata. Your evening is open.</p><h2>Day 7: Modica and Ragusa</h2><p>Meet with your private driver in the hotel lobby and head to the stunning Baroque cities of Ragusa &amp; Modica, two of the three major UNESCO World Heritage Cities in the area.</p><p>Your first stop will be Ragusa. Consider lunch at Il Duomo or Locanda Don Serafin. Continue to Modica after lunch. Enjoy a chocolate tasting at Bonajuto. You will be back to Noto in the late afternoon.</p><h2>Day 8: Siracusa</h2><p>Meet your private driver in the hotel lobby and depart for Siracusa.</p><p>Once in Siracusa, meet with your private guide at the Archeological Park’s ticket point. Siracusa was considered the largest and most important Greek city in the Sicilian colony, and history has left behind some amazing ruins including the Temple of Athena, which was incorporated into the main Cathedral, whose Baroque façade betrays what lies within. On the island of Ortigia, walk the narrow streets of the Giudecca (the ancient Jewish quarter), and discover the site of the synagogue and the mikva the Jewish ritual bath, which lies eleven meters below ground level - the oldest in Europe.</p><p>Stop for lunch in Ortigia. After lunch, return to Noto with your driver. Your evening is open.</p><h2>Day 9: Salina</h2><p>Your private driver will pick you up at the hotel lobby to transfer you to Milazzo. Arrive and board your hydrofoil for the island of Salina. 
Your hydrofoil will likely make stops in Vulcano and Lipari before arriving at Salina (Santa Marina, the main port on the island). When you get on the hydrofoil, your driver will call your hotel, Capofaro, to arrange transportation to pick you up at the marina in Salina at your arrival. The rest of the day is at your leisure.</p><h2>Day 10: Salina &amp; Lipari</h2><p>Your private excursion by boat around the island of Salina and Lipari begins in the morning. Your driver will pick you up and take you to the marina to meet your captain.</p><p>Enjoy the breathtaking coastline of Salina before proceeding to Lipari, the capital of the Aeolian Islands. Enjoy lunch in this bustling port town before cruising around the island. Your captain can drop anchor in remote coves and bays and you can jump in for a swim. Afterwards, return to Capofaro and enjoy dinner under the stars with the very talented Chef Ludovico’s spectacular cuisine.</p><h2>Day 11: Salina</h2><p>Today is your final day in the Aeolian Islands. You will spend it exploring Salina, the setting for the film, <i>Il Postino</i>.</p><p>In the morning, meet your private guide and driver in the hotel lobby and start your excursion around the island, stopping at various spots to enjoy the views, history, and flora and fauna. The late afternoon and evening is at your leisure.</p><h2>Day 12: Taormina</h2><p>Arrange for your hotel to transfer you to the marina for your hydrofoil ride to Milazzo. Arrive in Milazzo and meet with your driver for your transfer to Taormina. Arrive and check into you’re the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo.</p><p>The rest of your day is free in Taormina. Enjoy the incredible views of Mt. Etna or walk the main street, Corso Umberto, and enjoy the many stores, pastry shops, cafes, and restaurants on your own.</p><h2>Day 13: Mt. Etna</h2><p>Meet your private driver and escort in the hotel lobby and depart for your excursion to Mt. Etna by jeep.</p><p>Visit the volcano’s craters before heading down for your winery experience at Cottanera winery.</p><h2>Day 14: Departure</h2><p>Your driver will pick you up in front of the hotel lobby for your private airport transfer to Palermo Airport.</p>
Categories: Travel

Save 30% off Stays at Secret Bay in Dominica

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 07/31/2018 - 17:02
<p><em>T+L launched Operation Vacation to inspire workers to use their days off and get away, offering exclusive travel discounts as incentive. For the latest deals on hotels, airfare, cruises, and trip packages, visit <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/operation-vacation" target="_blank">travelandleisure.com/operation-vacation</a></em></p><p>Dominica: 30 percent off at <a href="http://secretbay.dm">Secret Bay</a>, a newly renovated collection of sustainably-built villas perched on a clifftop above the Caribbean Sea. </p><p>The deal includes:</p>Six nights in a villa with a private plunge pool<a href="https://secretbay.dm/experience/waitukubuli-by-sea/">Waitukubuli by Se</a>a boat excursionA couple’s hot stone massage An organic breakfast basket Airport transfers Unlimited use of adventure equipment, including kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, snorkel gear, and mountain bikesWelcome dinner compliments of the executive chef<p>Original Price: From $6,690 (or $1,115 per night)</p><p><strong>T+L Price:</strong> From $4,683 (or $780 per night); valid through January 31, 2019.</p><p>Booking Details: Use this <a href="https://secretbay.reztrip.com/ext/promoRate?property=1283&amp;mode=b&amp;pm=true&amp;sr=256284&amp;vr=3">dedicated link</a> to book.</p><p>Availability: Blackout dates apply</p><p> </p>
Categories: Travel

Chrissy Teigen Is Officially in a Feud With Meghan Markle’s Family

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 07/31/2018 - 16:16
<p>Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding was certainly <a href="http://landleisure.com/travel-news/meghan-markle-royal-wedding-dress" target="_blank">the event of the year</a>. But it’s over now, and the entire royal family has moved on to different things. Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, however, has not. And that’s something supermodel Chrissy Teigen simply cannot stand.</p><p>The man who <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/meghan-markle-walk-down-aisle-royal-wedding" target="_blank">did not attend his daughter’s wedding</a> has kept up a steady stream of press appearances since missing out on the big day. And over the weekend, Thomas gave a nine-hour interview to the <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6002773/Thomas-Markle-says-Meghan-cut-life.html" target="_blank"><i>Daily Mail</i></a>, in which he shared that the royal family has completely cut off all communication with him. </p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/chrissy-teigen-tweets-flying-with-kids-luna-miles" target="_blank">Chrissy Teigen Just Took a 15-hour Flight With Her Kids and the Tweets Are Oh so Relatable</a></p><p>"I'm really hurt that she's cut me off completely,” he said. “I used to have a phone number and text number for her personal aides at the Palace, but after I said a few critical words about the royal family changing Meghan, they cut me off. Those numbers were disconnected, they no longer work. I have no way of contacting my daughter."</p><p>And, you know what, that’s fine with Teigen, who tweeted out what we were all thinking this weekend: It’s time for Thomas to stop talking.</p><p>“This guy...this guy sucks. what is wrong with him? let your daughter be happy, please. this is embarrassing,” Teigen tweeted alongside screenshots of the interview.</p><p>Not convinced Teigen is right? Thomas claimed he “made” Meghan the woman she is today:</p><p>"I refuse to stay quiet,” he said. “What riles me is Meghan's sense of superiority. She'd be nothing without me. I made her the Duchess she is today. Everything that Meghan is, I made her. [...] She became the woman that she is today thanks to everything I did for her. And did I get any recognition for it? Any thanks? She doesn't even speak to me now. How cold is that?"</p><p>Still not enough? How about the fact that he added Princess Diana’s name to his diatribe?</p><p>“They [the Royal Family] have Meghan treating her father in a way that Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, would have loathed. That’s not what Diana stood for,” he said. “Princess Diana is credited with changing the Royal Family, but she wasn’t perfect. She was still very much one of them.”</p><p>Meanwhile, Meghan's half-sister, Samantha Markle, came back at Teigen in her dad's defense, <a href="https://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/a22588793/samantha-markle-chrissy-teigen-pudgy-airhead-comment/" target="_blank">tweeting</a>: "So this pudgy airhead @Christinetiegen Who knows nobody in the family is opening her pie hole? "This guy" is our father and deserves a lot of respect,.. you are the one who sucks."</p><p>We don't know if Teigen will bother to respond to Samantha's insults, but maybe it’s time we focus on Meghan and Harry’s happiness instead. Here’s a photo to get us all started:</p><p> </p>
Categories: Travel

Insider Tricks for Staying Cool at Disneyland This Summer

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 07/31/2018 - 12:31
<p>It’s easy to have fun in the sun while you’re at <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/how-disneyland-reinvents-rides" target="_blank">Disneyland</a>, but it’s also important to remember to take care of yourself while you’re exploring the park.</p><p>Southern California can really heat up in the middle of summer. The <a href="http://www.intellicast.com/Local/History.aspx?location=USCA0027" target="_blank">average August temperature in Anaheim</a> is 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and Disneyland just reached its <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/hottest-day-at-disneyland-ever" target="_blank">highest recorded temperature ever</a> on July 9 — 113 degrees Fahrenheit— so staying cool while you’re in the Happiest Place on Earth isn’t just about comfort, it’s also about your health.</p><p>Luckily, the <em><a href="https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2018/07/staying-cool-while-exploring-the-disneyland-resort/" target="_blank">Disney Parks Blog</a></em> has some amazing tips for guests to help them beat the heat. Beyond going on the rides, there are also tons of cooler, air conditioned activities for you to do during the hottest times of the day.</p><p>The <em>Disney Parks Blog</em> suggests visiting some indoor locations when you’re working up too much of a sweat. Taking in a show, visiting characters (at locations such as <a href="https://disneyland.disney.go.com/attractions/disneyland/star-wars-launch-bay/" target="_blank">Star Wars Launch Bay</a> or <a href="https://disneyland.disney.go.com/ca/disney-california-adventure/character-meet-anna-and-elsa-frozen/" target="_blank">Anna &amp; Elsa’s Royal Welcome</a>), going <a href="https://disneyland.disney.go.com/attractions/downtown-disney-district/splitsville-entertainment/" target="_blank">bowling</a>, or diving into an indoor attraction like <a href="https://disneyland.disney.go.com/attractions/disney-california-adventure/turtle-talk-with-crush/" target="_blank">Turtle Talk with Crush</a> or <a href="https://disneyland.disney.go.com/attractions/disney-california-adventure/little-mermaid-ariels-undersea-adventure/" target="_blank">Ariel’s Undersea Adventure</a> are great ways to stay entertained when you need a break from scorching temperatures.</p><p>If staying cooped up indoors doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, there are also some excellent outdoor spots that can provide some relief. Riding the <a href="https://disneyland.disney.go.com/attractions/disney-california-adventure/red-car-trolley/" target="_blank">Red Car Trolley</a>, <a href="https://disneyland.disney.go.com/attractions/disneyland/disneyland-monorail/" target="_blank">Disneyland Monorail</a>, <a href="https://disneyland.disney.go.com/attractions/disneyland/main-street-vehicles/" target="_blank">Main Street Vehicles</a>, or <a href="https://disneyland.disney.go.com/attractions/disneyland/disneyland-railroad/" target="_blank">Disneyland Railroad</a> are good ways to rest while also staying on the move throughout the park. Or, you can stroll in the shade of trees and other flora at the <a href="https://disneyland.disney.go.com/attractions/disneyland/pirates-lair-on-tom-sawyer-island/" target="_blank">Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island</a>.</p><p>But if you really don’t want to take a break from the rides, you can always get a nice splash by riding a water attraction like <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/disney-vacations/best-disney-rides#splash-mountain-disney-world-ride" target="_blank">Disneyland's Splash Mountain</a> or <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/disney-ride-inspiration-destinations#sierra-nevada" target="_blank">Disney California Adventure's Grizzly River Run</a>.</p><p>More information about summer in the park can be found on the <a href="https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2018/07/staying-cool-while-exploring-the-disneyland-resort/" target="_blank">Disney Parks website</a>. Stay cool, Disney fans.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Is What a Hotel With No Straight Lines Looks Like

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 07/31/2018 - 11:30
<p>On the tree-filled shores of the glistening Alster Lake in Hamburg, Germany, an undulating structure rises up, recalling the water’s ripples. Covered in thousands of bright white porcelain tiles, the curvaceous building shimmers with the light off the lake.</p><img alt="Aerial of The Fontenay in Hamburg "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1532466907/aerial-the-fontenay-hamburg-FONTENAY0718.jpg?itok=WJheU7gA"><p>This is the striking home of the recently opened <a href="https://www.lhw.com/hotel/Fontenay-Hamburg-Germany">Fontenay Hotel</a>, part of the Leading Hotels of the World, and Hamburg’s first five-star hotel to open in 18 years. Conceived as a “hotel in the park” by renowned Berlin architect Jan Störmer, the build’s amorphous shape and sculpted roofscape blend seamlessly with the riverside surroundings.</p><p>Completing Störmer’s one-with-nature vision is a sculptural fountain at the hotel’s entrance called Heaven Mirror. The circular mosaic comprises more than 200 granite blocks that reflect the sky and the surrounding trees when viewed from the rooftop above.</p><p>“The Fontenay’s uncommon design is nothing short of an artistic masterpiece,” says The Leading Hotels of the World’s President &amp; Chief Executive Officer, Ted Teng.</p><p>Inside, the organic and circular themes continue throughout, with custom-made furniture and decor, like a curving 82-foot sofa in the atrium, semi-circular rugs in the room corridors, and contouring marmorino walls— a meticulous Italian plastering craft.</p><img alt="Atrium at The Fontenay in Hamburg "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1532466907/atrium-the-fontenay-hamburg-FONTENAY0718.jpg?itok=wRD_ry5G"><p>“The shape of the facade is either concave or convex—hardly any wall is parallel to another,” explains Störmer. “So a lot of time and effort was put into sourcing materials and products—off-the-peg solutions were not feasible with the organic shape of the building.”</p><p>And while every corner of the 130-room hotel is impressive, the 88-foot glass atrium is the centerpiece. The airy space is fitted with 198 satinized, scaled panels that appear to move, as if being caressed by a gentle breeze. Adding to the ethereal feel is the glittering, 20-foot chandelier that was designed by Dutch firm Brand van Egmond and hangs at the lobby’s curvilinear center.</p><img alt="Bar at The Fontenay in Hamburg "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1532466907/bar-the-fontenay-hamburg-FONTENAY0718.jpg?itok=SQ1v0fQo"><p>After marveling at the architectural ingenuity, take in the hotel’s somewhat more conventional amenities: a modern library stocked with more than 1,000 books selected in cooperation with Hamburg-based book store Felix Jud; the Smoker’s Room, which offers a small but premium selection of cigars; and Parkview, a relaxed restaurant with a spacious terrace featuring views across the lake.</p><p>On the top floor is the Fontenay Bar, which has dark herringbone parquet floors, walls clad in Makassar ebony, and a 20-foot-long monolithic bar. The bar’s terrace has 320-degree panoramic views of Hamburg’s five main churches, Alster Lake, and the famous Elbphilarmonic building. Adjacent is Lakeside, a light-filled contemporary fine dining restaurant run by 32-year-old Cornelius Speinle, who earned one Michelin star in his home country of Switzerland.</p><img alt="Evening rendering of The Fontenay in Hamburg "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1532466907/evening-rendering-fontenay-hamburg-FONTENAY0718.jpg?itok=rWMOMeHq"><p>Also on the top floor is the 10,000 square-foot Fontenay Spa with a fitness center, Finnish sauna, steam room, multi-sensory showers, an ice well, and a private spa suite. The crown jewel is the 65-foot long indoor/outdoor infinity pool and rooftop terrace for lounging in the sun.</p><p>Teng, for one, feels that the Fontenay has become one of the defining structures of Germany’s second-largest city. “In a city filled with history, architect Jan Störmer’s work stands out as an architectural tour de force.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Pages