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Barcelona has its Sagrada Familia. Sydney has its white-hooded Opera House. And other places? Well, they’ve got steps – lots and lots of them. As the examples illustrate below, epic staircases aren’t just a way to reach higher ground. They can be major attractions unto themselves. From the fabled Ha’iku Ladder in Hawaii, to Norway’s never-ending Flørli Steps, these jaw-dropping ascents aren’t for the faint of heart. But once you get to the top, we think you’ll agree the views more than make up for the effort. Read more
On vacation, we tend to keep different schedules. That’s why, at 1 a.m., with all the regular restaurants closed and the bar having stopped serving food, you may decide you’re ready for dinner number two. Offering unique insight into local culture, late-night eats can enhance your travel experience as much as they can satisfy your craving. For a few bucks, you can fill up on local dishes like tacos, oyster omelets, and crepes, and get a candid glimpse into a city’s after-hours culture. Every country has a specialty; here are the best bites served past midnight in cities all over the world. Read more
We travelers jump at any chance to explore nature, whether it’s a sweaty hike through the Amazon, or maybe an afternoon spent flower-gazing on a mountain in South Africa. This is what travel is all about: seeing all the beauty the world has to offer. But what about sites that weren’t created by nature? Sometimes, they can be just as impressive. Below, we’ve rounded up eight man-made attractions around the world that you can visit for free… Read more
Traveling in Asia, or to an Asian community, this week? You’re in luck. The Lunar New Year, typically falling at the end of January or the end of February, is arguably the most festive and also the most interesting time of the year. Big events like lion dances and firecrackers aside, this is when communities everywhere come alive with cheer and tradition, with good wishes and ancient folklore at top of mind.
While it’s unlikely that anyone would expect a traveler to follow all the customs, we can’t think of a better way to get to know a destination’s culture. Plus, helping to usher in auspiciousness is a great way to delight a kind host or helpful friend. Here’s our guide to the general dos and don’ts – there’s naturally an overlap between the traditions of different ethnic groups and countries – as well as a gift guide for visits and meet-ups. Read more
It might be getting cold outside, but you don’t need to bundle up to enjoy stunning photos of unbelievably intricate ice sculptures and larger-than-life winter wonderlands from around the world. The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in northeast China (pictured above) is one of the world’s biggest and most surreal. There, a mini-city of castles, towers, and sculptures galore rise from more than 12 million cubic feet of ice and snow. See photos of some more “cool” sculptures and playgrounds across Europe, North America, and Asia…right here.
Where’s the first place you look when you need a place to stay? A hotel app? A frequently-used travel reservation site? Without question, hotels have an enormous amount of mind share when it comes to lodging – but they’re also costly. In fact, many hotels charge you for extras you may not even use. But a new wave of lodging sites have cropped up, enabling travelers to stay in private homes, house boats, castles, and much more. Let’s take a look at some options for avoiding a typical hotel stay…
You may have heard about the political storm brewing over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the South China Sea. China has recently declared the airspace above these islands as part of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), meaning that they effectively control the airspace over this Japanese territory. If you’re planning a trip to China, you’re probably wondering what this means for your flight, which will likely pass through the disputed air space. The good news, if you are flying on a U.S. carrier at least, is not much. Read more
Planning a trip to China’s gambling capital? With private, walled-in gardens, public beaches, and historic sites that reference the city’s strong Portugese influence, you’ll have plenty to do, whether you’re hitting the slots or not. The best part: We’re featuring a great deal this week that includes this destination, and saves more than $1000. Not bad. Now, what should you pack for your trip?
With its various reds, yellows, and greens, the oft-photographed Zhangye Danxia landform is known as the eye candy of Zhangye, China. This national geopark is filled with colorful hills and rock formations that look like an artist swept a rosy paint brush across the land. The multi-colored landscape was formed out of reddish sandstone that has eroded over 24 million years into the various mountains surrounded by curved cliffs and unusual rock formations that we see today. Read more
As convenient as airlines can be, the act of flying often sucks the joy out of getting there, wherever ‘there’ might be. After enduring the endless security lines, the tedious boarding process, and the subpar airplane food, we arrive at our destination cranky, tired, and often a little disoriented. Not so with train travel. Assuming you have the luxury of time, trains can be one of the most enjoyable ways to explore a new country, with their slower pace and more civilized atmosphere.
More and more travelers are now rediscovering the magic of trains, and luckily, supply is meeting demand. Countries are investing in their rail networks as a viable source of tourism revenue, and promoting off-the-beaten-path destinations as stop-offs along the way. Want to wander through Vienna en route to Stockholm? Or spend two weeks visiting natural wonders in western USA? These new train routes could be worth looking into.
Since 1911, intrepid passengers have cruised inland along the Noyo River aboard the California Western Railroad, a 40-mile route between Fort Bragg, CA and Willits, CA. The rail service was originally created to ferry timber to and from the Pacific Coast, and indeed the route itself winds through stunning redwood forests in the Noyo River Canyon. These days, the ‘Skunk Train,’ as it’s commonly known (thanks to a pungent odor emitted by the old trains’ exhaust gases), is one of the state’s most popular train routes, despite its brevity. A tunnel collapse earlier this year forced a temporary closure, but as of this month, the one-of-a-kind historic rail service is open to passengers once more. Choose from a Saturday evening “Sunset BBQ Excursion,” ($70) which involves a stop-off in Northspur Station, or a simple 4-hour trek between Fort Bragg and Willits ($49). Read more
If you travel to Asia with Air China, you may find yourself with a few hours’ layover time in Beijing. It used to be that strict visa requirements would make it tricky for passengers in transit to leave the airport; but that changed when, earlier this year, a new policy allowing citizens of 45 countries, including the U.S., up to 72 hours of visa-free transit was enacted.
Even if you can’t stretch your layover to the full, allowable 72 hours, we have suggestions for what you can do in a much shorter time. Read more
Anthony Bourdain says that experiencing a country through its food is one of the best ways to get to its core. For us, it’s not only about how food tastes, but also where it comes from and how it’s made. We’ve picked a few of our favorite tours that will immerse you in the taste and culture of distinct regions around the world.
1. Villa Romana: Authentic Amalfi Coast, Italy, International Kitchen, (From $2100/person)
Italy’s Amalfi Coast is the stuff of dreams and travel bucket lists. Arrive in the scenic seaside town of Minori and jump into the laidback, food-obsessed culture with this tour. Stay six nights at the Hotel Villa Romana, named after the ancient ruins nearby, and participate in four cooking lessons. When you’re not in the kitchen, guides take you to visit a local fishmonger, watch mozzarella-making demonstrations, and see how limoncello is produced. Read more
Today, I learned about this incredible dining experience, and as a wanna-be-foodie, I couldn’t help but be intrigued. First thing I thought was: Leave it to Las Vegas to take something as simple as dinner and make it into a life-threatening, heart-dropping, stomach-churning experience. Enter: Dinner in the Sky. I poked around a little more into the phenomenon, and found that Sin City isn’t such an innovator, after all! The newest addition to Sin City’s roster of unique consumer experiences has actually debuted in a number of other cities and 40 countries around the world! This news sparked my curiosity: What are some of the other crazy dining experiences that I’ve never heard of? Here’s what I uncovered! Read more
Located about 15.5 miles north of Lijiang city, the Baishui’s riverbed is composed of white marble and limestone. The clear water is crisp and unpolluted, which is why Baishui River is also called “White Water River.” Slate gray mountains and green foliage in the spring and summer make the Baishui River not only one of China’s most scenic destinations, but also its most relaxing. Read more
If you’re the type to travel for golf (or just golf while you travel), check out our top ten list of the best golf resorts around the world. Get ready to tee off in some seriously amazing destinations.
1. PGA National Resort and Spa Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
It’s the stuff of legends. Home to the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic, the PGA National Resort and Spa is steeped in golf history. Boasting signature courses like “The Palmer” and “The Squire” (designed and named after Arnold Palmer and Gene Sarazen, respectively), an on-site Golf Academy offering lessons from certified PGA pros, and a newly renovated golf complex, it’s easy to see why this resort is a favorite among golf buffs. Treat dad to the Gold Golf Package, which includes resort accommodation, daily breakfast at the Palm Terrace restaurant, one round of golf daily on selected courses, and unlimited balls and bag storage. Room rates start from $129 per room per night. Read more
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