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Bali, the dreamiest of isles, offers instant nirvana thanks to a near-perfect blend of natural beauty, soul-soothing mysticism, and untamed elegance. And it’s no surprise that refined resorts take advantage of the gorgeous landscape with extravagant outdoor spaces, near-prescient service, and pampering spas. Here, a photo tour of some of our favorites.
Make no mistake, collecting points to use for travel is a hassle. With black out dates and restrictions, actually using them for travel can be an even bigger hassle. That’s why loyalty programs are often overlooked as too conflated or difficult to actually enjoy, but those who put in the effort can be rewarded handsomely. Case in point: I recently used a combination of points to fund a visit to a remote island paradise in the southern Maldives. It wasn’t easy, nor was it straightforward, but it enabled me to travel to a place I could never afford otherwise. Here are five astonishing properties around the globe that may not be so far out of reach after all… Read more
Borneo, the world’s third largest island, has seen significant portions of its rainforest cut down by logging companies over the years. Still, it remains one of the premier jungles in Southeast Asia, offering adventure travelers the sort of inspiring jaunts that are more typical in South America or Africa. Borneo is home to the endangered Bornean orangutan, the world’s largest flower, and is shared between three countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei.
We hunkered down on the Malaysia side for two weeks, using Kuching as a home base for exploration. While the upfront cost to get there hurts (approximately $1,400 round-trip from New York City), visitors will be pleased with how cheaply they can feed and entertain themselves once on the ground. Here’s a breakdown of where you’ll spend – and where you won’t – next time you plan a trip to this southeast Asian island. 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
In Mt. Kelimutu National Park on Flores Island, Indonesia, you’ll come across three of the coolest lakes you’ll ever see – and then again, and again. Each of the three lakes are different colors…and they are constantly changing hues. Kelimutu in English means ‘the boiling lakes.’ The three bodies of water have their own local names, and the island residents believe they are the resting places of departed souls. Read more
In Bali, hot hotel openings are booming, with the sexy Starwood Hotels brand in particular playing a heavy hand here – three Starwood-branded hotels alone have scheduled openings in just a one-year span.
Yes, Bali’s a long way to come for the American traveler, but I can tell you, having landed in this Indonesian slice of paradise just last week, that this “Island of the Gods” is a journey that us mere mortals really ought to take, with enough top-rated beaches and snorkeling/dive sites, lush vegetation and volcanoes, and hospitable locals and cultural curiosities to satiate the demands of even the most jaded traveler – all at budget prices, to boot.
While here, I’m bedding down at the brand-new Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort, which opened its doors on December 1 on the storied shores of Bali’s Kuta Beach, a surfers’ and sunset seekers’ mecca. The Starwood-branded resort’s trump card comes in the form of its sweeping ocean views, best enjoyed with frothy cocktail in hand from the panoramic picture-window lounge (or during the venue’s weekly wine-tasting event); while savoring tasty Italian fare at its Bene restaurant; while splashing about in the outdoor rooftop pool; or while just kicking back and relaxing in your guestroom. Read more
In another alarming incident of reptile (and other creepy crawler) smuggling aboard planes, a notorious Malaysian animal trafficker, Anson Wong, was arrested when authorities found 95 boa constrictors writhing in his luggage in the Kuala Lumpur airport late last month. Wong was taking the snakes to Jakarta, Indonesia, when his bag burst on an airport conveyor belt. Read more
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