Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Sanakeo Boutique Hotel and Spa - Elegant Indulgence

Sanakeo Boutique Hotel and Spa
After attending the Mekong Tourism Forum I extended my stay in Luang Prabang so that I could have more time to explore this enchanting UNESCO world heritage listed town in Northern Laos. 

I chose to stay at the stylish Sanakeo Boutique Hotel and Spa, a new hotel opened at the start of last year. The 33 guest rooms are housed in several delightful contemporary styled buildings that combine modern decor with a touch of Laos styling. Teak timbers are used extensively throughout the hotel, including the guest rooms. The outdoor areas of gardens and ponds filled with lotus flowers are delightful to walk through and sit in and relax.

Upon my arrival at the Sanakeo Boutique Hotel and Spa I was warmly welcomed by the reception staff and given a welcome drink and refresher towel, then taken to my guest room.

My Classic Room (lower right) 
I was fortunate to have one of the luxurious ground floor Sanakeo Classic rooms that overlooked the swimming pool. Sliding glass doors provided access to the balcony, from which I could jump right into the pool. 

The room had everything that I could wish for to make a comfortable stay. The large plush bed, cosy pillows and fresh white linen were very comfortable and gave a wonderful nights sleep. I appreciated that the room was very quite at night. The towels were folded into a charming sculptural piece with fresh flowers and laid on the bed.

A flatscreen TV provided several TV stations, and complimentary wifi internet meant that I could keep in touch with my family and friends back in Australia. The room was air-conditioned, and had coffee making facilities.

The seperate functional bathroom had a shower with large shower head, toilet and handbasin. A nice ranger of amenities and fluffy towels were supplied.

My Classic Room at Sanakeo Boutique Hotel and Spa
Apart from the Classic Rooms, there are also Deluxe Rooms and a Presidential Suite for VIP guests.

Each morning I was served a tasty buffet breakfast in the first floor restaurant. Whilst not a huge range of items to choose from, the Laos and International delicacies filled me up for each days sightseeing. I have since learnt that all the menus of the hotel food and beverage outlets have been revamped, so the breakfast should be even better now.

The restaurant features authentic Luang Prabang cuisine and International dishes with fresh ingredients sourced from the local region. The Cocktail Bar beside the pool offers a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, including some very special cocktails. The Coffee Shop next to the Reception Lobby serves locally sourced Laos coffee and light refreshments throughout the day.

The leisure facilities of the Sanakeo Boutique Hotel and Spa include a Sauna, Day Spa with Massage, Fitness Centre, Yoga Relaxation Studio and Swimming Pool.

Using the Sauna can help cleanse your skin, increase circulation and ease muscle pain.

The Day Spa offers a range of treatments, including the Traditional Lao Massage which relieves tension throughout the entire body. 

The Fitness Centre has a small number of exercise machines to cater for those who like to work out.

The Yoga Studio is a restful place with Yoga mats for those who wish to relax in a quite way.

Swimming Pool at Sanakeo Boutique Hotel and Spa
The Swimming Pool is a delightful way to cool off in its clear blue water. The pool is large enough to swim laps, or just float around in. Day lounges are placed on one side of the pool to relax on.

The Sanakeo Boutique Hotel and Spa is ideally set up to host meetings, conferences, events and weddings. They can assist with the organisation of your next event by tailor making the most suitable package. They offer a variety of  Conference Room set-ups, such as theatre, class room or U-shape, and can provide audio-visual equipment, pens, note pads and drinking water. A variety of catering options are available for morning and afternoon coffee breaks, lunches, dinners, welcome receptions and cocktail parties. These can be served in or beside the meeting room, beside the swimming pool, or in the restaurant. 

I noticed that the Sanakeo Boutique Hotel and Spa has adopted many policies and practices to become a green hotel that takes care of the environment. They are proud to be the recipients of The MARK, which is a UNIDO accreditation for clean and green dining, and safe environmental practices in Luang Prabang.

Some of notable initiatives the hotel has made include -
  • placing of ceramic pump action dispensers for soap, shampoo, conditioner in guest rooms and public areas 
  • removing cleaning chemicals and using a home made solution of lemon grass and eucalyptus oil
  • encouraging the refilling of water bottles from the complimentary water dispenser located in Reception Lobby
  • limiting the use of plastic bags and re-using plastic bags whenever possible
  • recycling all plastic bottles, aluminium cans, paper and cardboard
  • collecting ‘Ring-pulls’ from drink cans for the manufacture of prosthetic limbs
  • sending food waste to a local pig farmer
  • mulching garden waste at the hotels orange tree plantation
  • using low energy lightbulbs
  • turning off outside lights wherever possible
  • turning off office computers and other electrical appliances when not in use
  • using cloth bags for guest laundry service, and returning laundered items in a cane basket
  • encouraging guests to explore local attractions by walking or by using the complimentary bicycles
  • buying local produce and produce ‘in season’ wherever possible
  • encouraging guest to turn off lights and air-conditioning when not in the room, and reusing towels
  • taking indoor pot plants outside for a drink when it rains, instead of using town water. 

Sanakeo Boutique Hotel and Spa
A most interesting initiative is that families of staff are given vegetable and herb seeds to grow and then sell the produce back to the hotel when harvested. 

The Sanakeo Boutique Hotel and Spa is located on a lovely wide street just outside the out part of the town. It takes about 20 minutes to walk to the old town to explore the French style architecture, shops and cafes. Here you will find the Palace Museum, many Buddhist Temples and the Night Markets. The hotel has complimentary bicycles for guests to explore the local surrounds, and also offers a shuttle service into town. I borrowed a bicycle and explored the local area during one of the afternoons I was there.

There are plenty of sightseeing opportunities nearby Luang Prabang to fill your days when staying at the Sanakeo Boutique Hotel and Spa. You can can go on trips to the Pak Ou Cave, the majestic Kwangsi Waterfalls, Elephant Sanctuaries or neighbouring villages. You can take a longboat ride or sunset cruise on the legendary Mekong River. Well worth visiting are the new Botanical Gardens on the other side of the Mekong River reached by a short longboat ride.

Tak Bat alms giving ceremony
A unique event that happens early every morning is the ancient Tak Bat alms giving ceremony, where over a 100 Buddhist Monks make their way past the hotel. They can be viewed from the comfort of the hotels restaurant balcony, or from their doorstep. It is well worth setting the alarm clock to wake up in time to view, as the tradition of Tak Bat dates back to the 14th century. Many locals line the street and give the Monks gifts of sticky rice, traditional snacks and fresh fruit in return for merit from the Monks wearing their orange robes.

My stay at the Sanakeo Boutique Hotel and Spa was over all too soon. I liked the modern decor and comfort of my Classic Room and the use of the swimming pool. I appreciated the friendly nature of the Lao hotel staff and their understanding of the English language. At the end of my stay I was kindly taken in the hotel shuttle van to the airport for my return home. I took with me fond memories of Luang Prabang and the elegant Sanakeo Boutique Hotel and Spa.


Sanakeo Boutique Hotel and Spa

Sanakeo Boutique Hotel and Spa

Phu Vao Road, Pong Kham,
Luang Prabang, Lao P.D.R
Email: 
www.sanakeoboutiquelpb.com
Tel: +856 71 252 055
Fax: +856 71 252 039

Fantastic Japanese umbrella and light collaboration.

It is so good you will want to see it even in a queue!

100 authentic Japanese umbrellas line up in the old approach to the Oogamiyama shrine Okumiya.

Each piece of work is created by hand by a craftsman imagining the scenery of the Sanin, and they will light up the approach to the shrine.

Originally, tourists and residents of Daisen wrote appreciation and wishes on Japanese paper, making small lanterns with that washi. 

Since several years ago, in addition to the lanterns, we also light up umbrellas.

2017 will be held for three days from 11th to 13th August.

From the "Daisen-ji Temple Sanmon (Temple gate) ~ Approach to the shrine ~ Daisen-ji Temple main hall" is charged. Admission fee: over 13 years (junior high school student) 300 yen(Includes 100 yen cash voucher that can be used at a stalls of festival)

MAITLAND AROMA - COFFEE AND CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL

SATURDAY 12 AUGUST TO SUNDAY 13 AUGUST 2017

The Aroma Festival is a coffee and chocolate affair that aims to ward off the winter chill with the best local coffee roasters, a delectable range of chocolates and much more.

Come along to Maitland and enjoy wines, desserts, local cuisine and fresh produce through exhibitors, demonstrations and displays. 

This year will see the return of a host of popular features and events, including coffee roasters, market stalls, children's activities, and live entertainment.

For more information: www.maitlandaroma.com.au

Welcome to Vienna

Austria's capital offers a unique blend of imperial traditions and stunning modernity. It is famous for its cultural events, imperial sights, coffee houses, cosy wine taverns, and the very special Viennese charm.

Vienna is also home to a host of world-class museums and we have put together a list of our favourite ones: music enthusiasts will love the Haus der Musik, Vienna's interactive sound museum and the Mozarthaus, the last residence of Austria's most famous composer. Art buffs can't miss the Kunsthistorisches Museum, one of the best fine art museums in Europe and the Liechtenstein Palaces, holding one of the world's biggest private art collections. We also invite you to take a look behind the scenes of one of Vienna's most outstanding cultural institutions: the Wiener Musikverein, venue of the world-famous New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Discover the city's highlights following our recommended itineraries. No matter if you only got 24 hours on your hands or a long weekend, Vienna will welcome you with open arms!

Noosa, the Relaxation Capital of Australia

Tourism Noosa has launched a new winter campaign, 'Noosa, The Relaxation Capital of Australia', positioning the popular Queensland destination as a compelling holiday choice to its key interstate markets during the southern chill.

Tourism Noosa CEO Damien Massingham said the winter campaign targets high-yielding interstate visitors and is based on consumer research conducted in these markets.

“Our interstate visitor markets of Sydney and Melbourne are key for Noosa, spending more and staying longer than other visitors. We know that they love Noosa for its warm weather, great beaches and quality food experiences but we wanted to remind them that there is so much to see and do here and that regardless of how you relax on holiday, Noosa is where you'll find that perfect escape.”

“Whether people find relaxation on holidays by exploring and seeking outdoor adventure, sleeping in, enjoying a beachfront meal with friends, shopping or taking in a sunset, Noosa offers all of this and more. This campaign is all about the fact that Noosa is the place that can deliver the complete relaxation package.”

The tourism organisation engaged Cummins&Partners to work with on the campaign, following a national pitch process.

The campaign launches in Melbourne and Sydney next week, with a series of commercials appearing across cinema, catch-up television, digital and social, along with a range of print activity.

The campaign roll-out will also include a major brand activation from 26-28 June at Federation Square in Melbourne, featuring Noosa local and MasterChef favourite, Matt Sinclair, on Monday 26 June, conducting cooking demonstrations and talking up his home town as part of his role as a Visit Noosa Ambassador.

FAST FACTS:

Winter Campaign Includes:
  • 4 television commercials (15 second and 30 second commercials)
  • Cinema
  • Television
  • Digital
  • Social
  • Print Media
  • Outdoor Media
  • Melbourne activation
  • Website – visitnoosa.com.au

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit - the wonderful hotel in Bangkok

Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit
On a recent trip to Bangkok I was fortunate to stay at the Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit. This is a new modern 29 floor hotel that is part of the respected IHG Hotel chain.

Upon my arrival the Concierge Team on the Ground Floor took care of my bags and I was taken to the Reception on the 9th floor. I was smoothly checked in by the welcoming staff, and given a welcome drink.

I enjoyed my corner Executive Room on the 26 floor. There are a total of 300 well appointed rooms and 6 suites to choose from, with non-smoking, accessible and connecting rooms available. Complimentary wireless internet is available in all rooms, suites, Business Center, public areas and meeting spaces.

I was given access to the the Executive Lounge on the 9th floor, which offered privileges of a gourmet breakfast, evening cocktails and refreshments during their happy hour from 6pm-8pm each day and free flow of coffee anytime. I must say that their Cappuccino coffee was the best I experienced in Bangkok.

The service given by the staff at the Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit was great. They were always there to help. The service given was friendly, attentive yet not intrusive. I was greeted with smiles wherever I went in the hotel. The staff all spoke excellent English. I noticed that languages spoken by the staff also included Thai, Hindi, Japanese and Korean.

Welcome bowl of fresh fruit
My Executive Room was a good size. It was bright, modern and clean. It was light filled from the large windows that had blackout curtains to keep the room dark at night. My room provided free wifi, ergonomic work space and lamp, universal power sockets, direct-dial phone with voicemail and in-room safe. There was a hanging wardrobe, iron and ironing board, and in-room heating and A/C controls. I was very comfortable in my room. I appreciated the welcome note from the manager and the bowl of fresh fruit in the room.

The seperate large bathroom had a refreshing rain shower, toilet, seperate vanity area and a good supply of ammenities to use. There was a hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers and weighing scales. There was even an extra phone in the bathroom.

My Guest Room at Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit
I had wonderful sleeps at night on the large bed, which had a choice of pillows and down comforter.

The kitchen area provided a mini refrigerator, coffee maker, tea maker, complimentary coffee & tea supplies and complimentary bottled water.

A full range of entertainment options were in the room. A flat-screen TV with cable/satellite
and premium channels, a stereo/radio, iPod docking station with clock radio provided plenty of choice.

The Suites in the Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit have all the features of the guest rooms, with the addition of a seperate living room and a bathtub in the bathroom.

Outdoor Pool at Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit
The Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit offers plenty of recreation facilities. On the 8th floor I enjoyed a dip in the outdoor lap pool that was open from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm. I enjoyed lounging on the poolside tanning beds and the drinks and snacks from the nearby Zeta Cafe.

There is a complimentary Fitness Center with 24 hour gym access. The hotel gym is equipped with modern work out facilities and weights such as a rower, stair stepper, treadmill, elliptical machines, free weights, and a stationary bicycle.

It was a difficult choice to decide where to have breakfast each day - in the Executive Lounge on the 9th floor, or the Zeta Cafe on the 8th floor. During my stay I experiences both options and enjoyed them both. The Zeta Cafe offers an extensive breakfast buffet of hot and cold freshly cooked local Thai and International food in the restaurant overlooking the pool. They even had a Take & Go Counter at the where you could take your pick of Danish, muffins and croissants, pack them in boxes provided and carry them with you for your next bout of hunger. It is a very considerate gesture. The Executive Lounge also offered a smaller, but still delicious, breakfast buffet.

The Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit Hotel offers a choice of 2 on-site Restaurants and a Champagne Bar.

The Zeta Cafe offers all day dining and features an expansive international buffet. It provides a la carte menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Indoor, alfresco and poolside dining are available.

The Maya Restaurant, on the 29th floor, presents exquisite Indian fusion dishes with a chic yet relaxed ambience with fantastic views of the Bangkok skyline. It serves brunch, dinner, and dessert.

The Champagne Bar serves an extensive wine and drinks selection. This rooftop bar is open to 1 am every morning and is an ideal place to relax at the end of a busy day.

Evening Canapés at the Executive Lounge
One thing I noticed about the Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit is the way it welcomes children. They have a special at the moment where Kids Stay and Eat Free. Children aged 12 and under stay for free when sharing their parents’ room, and up to four children aged 12 and under eat free any time of the day in any Holiday Inn on-site restaurant. They treat children like VIP's and even give them their own special children's menu of food that children like. 

In addition to children using the swimming pool and indoor play area, I noticed several nearby attractions that would appeal to children.

Dinosaur Planet is right next door to the Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit. Here children can experience various types of dinosaurs and enjoy exciting presentations, memorable activities, and world-class performances. There is even a ferris wheel to ride on.

Benjasiri Park, a few minutes walk from the hotel, provides an oasis of relaxation and calm, offering a tranquil space for all the family to enjoy from a running track to kids playground and outdoor gym. The 11.6 acre park has large grassed areas, an ornamental lake and sculptures dotted around the park.

Dinosaur Planet, Benjasiri Park, Emporium shopping mall
The newly opened nearby EmQuatier and Emporium Shopping Malls offer a complete range of activities for children. There is a free high-tech fun park for kids. Bounce is a huge trampoline center, There is a Virtural Reality zone and a new theme park "Warp Zone by FUNfesta" that has laser tag, arcade games and an amusement park. The Little Gym of Emporium is a children's gym offering activities for kids including parent/child classes, kids dance, gymnastics, sports skills and karate. There are several cinemas to choose from.

The Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit is ideally set up for groups and meetings with 8 meeting venues. For weddings, large functions and meetings, the hotel offers a high ceiling, pillar-less versatile ballroom with LED lighting and high technology meeting equipment with a capacity up to 700 standing guests and 400 seated.

The Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit has an enviable position right in the heart of Sukhumvit. For guests who drive, complimentary daily self-parking is available from the 1st - 6th floor. Valet Parking is also available.

The better option is to use the nearby BTS Asoke and Phrom Phong Skytrain stations, both within walking distance of the hotel.

For shopping pleasure the new EmQuatier and Emporium Shopping Malls are located either side of the Phrom Phong Skytrain station. Here you will find many shops, a department store, cafes, restaurants, cinemas and other leisure pursuits. For shopping further afield, a BTS Skytrain can be taken to shopping malls located next to other BTS stations. The hotel also offers free tuk-tuk transport to Nana BTS station every 30 minutes in the morning and evening.

For this my first trip to Bangkok, I was looked after very well at the Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit. I would not hesitate to stay there again the next time I come to Bangkok. It is a wonderful hotel for individuals, couples and families to stay at. Business people and leisure tourists will appreciate all that the Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit offers. 

Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit

Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit

1 Sukhumvit 22, Klongton, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110, Thailand

Phone: 66 2 6834888 
+61 1800 760 595

BOOK ONLINE OR CALL RESERVATIONS 1800 007 697

Government Stresses the Need for Investment in the Thai-Chinese Railway Project

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has cited the Thai-Chinese high-speed railway project as an investment for the future, saying that the project would be carried out under the government-to-government basis.

The Prime Minister gave an explanation of the Thai-Chinese railway project in his national address on 23 June 2017. The explanation came after the Government invoked Section 44 of the Interim Constitution to clear technical and legal hurdles in order to expedite the project.

He stressed the need for Thailand to enhance its competitiveness and distribute wealth to the regional areas of the country. The project would link Thailand’s transportation networks with those of other countries in the framework of the "One Belt, One Road” initiative.

Thailand needs to carry out the railway links, along with its cross-continental highway networks. The Prime Minister said that Laos is now in the process of building a high-speed railway to be connected with that of Thailand. Therefore, Thailand should start the project now. It also needs to take into consideration the value of good relations with 64 countries in the framework of the One Belt, One Road initiative.

Both Thailand and China have already held 18 meetings to discuss joint investment in the project, which was initially set at 1.7 billion baht. The Prime Minister said that the standards of Chinese technology have been recognized and that the technology has also been used in many countries, including those in ASEAN.

On the part of Thai investment, he said, bidding would be conducted by Thailand and Thai companies would be entrusted with the construction work. As many local construction materials as possible would be used in the project. Chinese engineers would be entrusted with designing and they would supervise the construction work to be handled by Thai companies. The design process must be carried out with great efficiency in accordance with international standards, as well.

As for technology transfer, the Prime Minister said that Thai engineers would join in planning the construction work and supervising the project. The issue must be further discussed and it is also included in the agreement of the project.

The Prime Minister stated that the Government and the National Council for Peace and Order needed to use Section 44 of the Interim Constitution in order that the project would proceed as planned. Delays in the project could result in lost opportunities for Thailand to become the regional center for connectivity with neighboring countries.

Priscilla Queen Of The Desert is coming home!

Get ready to shake your groove thing as PRISCILLA rocks in to Australia! Featuring a non-stop parade of dance-floor classics including IT’S RAINING MEN, I WILL SURVIVE, FINALLY, and many more.

Coming to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide in 2018.

TICKETS GO ON SALE THIS AUGUST!

From London to Brisbane - The Royal Ballet has landed

From London to Brisbane, The Royal Ballet has landed

The wait is over as members of The Royal Ballet arrive in Brisbane, in the Company's first Australian visit for 15 years.

Premier and Minister for the Arts Annastacia Palaszczuk welcomed The Royal Ballet to Queensland ahead of its residency at Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) as part of the acclaimed International Series.

“I know all Queenslanders join me in welcoming The Royal Ballet, which will present award winning productions of Woolf Works and The Winter's Tale, (29 June to 9 July 2017) at QPAC for the first time outside of the Company's home in London's Covent Garden,” she said.

“More than 160 company members, including The Royal Opera House Chief Executive, Alex Beard, The Royal Ballet Director, Kevin O' Hare, Choreographers Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon, and 85 dancers are arriving in Brisbane ahead of the company's exclusive Queensland visit.

“In addition, The Royal Ballet has travelled with the largest prop ever built by the Royal Opera House. The spectacular 9-metre high and 11-metre wide tree is a key set element in the production The Winter's Tale.

“I am proud that my Government through Tourism and Events Queensland has continued to support QPAC's International Series to enable the exclusive presentations of the world's best performance companies here in Queensland.

“In a wonderful addition to their QPAC performances, and in a first for the QPAC International Series, a contingent of the Company's dancers will also travel to Cairns for a one night only Gala performance in the Munro Martin Parklands on 12 July 2017.

“By extending the reach of QPAC's International Series and creating opportunities for cultural exchange across Queensland, it is building a tangible legacy for the state's cultural sector and for our communities and furthers Queensland's reputation as a vibrant cultural destination,” Premier Palaszczuk said.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones also welcomed Britain's flagship ballet company highlighting the benefits that nationally exclusive cultural events such as the season by The Royal Ballet bring to Queensland.

“Over the past seven years of the QPAC International Series, on average a third of season audiences travelled from outside of Brisbane to see performances stimulating visitation and the local economy in Queensland,” Minister Jones said.

“This year, Brisbane and Cairns will play host to ballet 'royalty' and we look forward to welcoming visitors to both cities for this extraordinary cultural program,” she said.

QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas highlighted the broad program of events and activity that surrounds the season and is designed to offer audiences and the public a way to connect with the Company, the themes and relevance of the two works and their own creative practice.

“Through The Royal Ballet season we celebrate exquisite artistry and phenomenal athleticism as well as the role dance and movement plays in our everyday lives. It's no accident we have projects called We All Dance and Let's Dance!

“Dance and movement can strengthen our social connections, promote physical and mental health and create a lot of joy.

“We are committed to creating live performance experiences for all Queenslanders. Following the ballet's season at QPAC, an ensemble of dancers will travel to Cairns to perform a one night only Gala Performance in Munro Martin Parklands. The specially curated program will include a series of short solo and pas de deux works from Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet and Don Quixote as well as others,” said Mr Kotzas.

For more information on The Royal Ballet season and associated program of free and ticketed events at QPAC please go to https://www.qpac.com.au/the-royal-balle

The Royal Ballet's Woolf Works and The Winter's Tale will run in the Lyric Theatre for an exclusive 2017 QPAC International Series season from 29 June to 9 July 2017. For tickets to these or any of the events mentioned visit qpac.com.au or 136 246

For tickets to the Cairns Gala Performance in the Munro Martin Parklands on 12 July 2017 go to via www.ticketlink.com.au or 1300 855 835.

The QPAC 2017 International Series with The Royal Ballet is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland as part of the It's Live! In Queensland major events calendar. The Gala Performance in Cairns is supported by Arts Queensland's Playing Queensland Fund.

The QPAC International Series is also supported by Principal Partner, MinterEllison; Major Partners, Treasury Casino & Hotel and Aveo; Airline Partner, Singapore Airlines; Accommodation Partner, Mantra Group; Champagne Partner, MOET Chandon; and Media Partner, JC Decaux. The Series also receives philanthropic support from QPAC's Circle of Influence members, and benefactor, Mr Philip Bacon.

Visit Hida Takayama

Although it is the rainy season in Japan, not quite rain here. Most of the days are sunny or cloudy. (Currently, here is sunny and bright, about 28℃! which is already hot for us! That might be one of the reasons that we crave to see some green!)

The color contrast between the houses and plants bring out the best in each other and make us refreshed.

In spite of the rainy season, recent alpine days have a been cloudy or a blue sky. At Present, it's about 28°C Hot :-! such a day is especially cool to the cool green and plants. 

In the townscape of takayama in early summer, the bowls of beautiful plants are lined up with the landscape of the city.

Get swept up in the 10th anniversary of Mary Poppins Festival

The sweetest festivities start TODAY, with plenty on offer for the young, and the young at heart in the heritage city of Maryborough.

Live performances, book readings, circus workshops and famous authors are just the beginning of a jam packed program in the birthplace of the Mary Poppins author.

Have a spoonful of sugar at Mary Poppins Day in the Park!
On Saturday July 1, the Mary Poppins Day in the Park will take over the Maryborough streets for Queensland's most whimsical event!

The historic Maryborough Portside precinct transforms into the scenes of Cherry Tree Lane to celebrate the unique connection to author P L Travers.

Travers was born in 1899 in the heritage-listed bank building that her father managed, where she lived for the first two years of her life.

Magic fills the air in the heritage city where the novel comes alive as Admiral Boom fires his time cannon throughout the day. Sidewalk art, street theatre, circus workshops and more are just the beginning of all of the charming fun…

The supercalafragalistic event continues with chimney sweep challenges, nanny races and is topped off with a grand parade all in famous Cherry Tree Lane.

Maryborough's riverside parks and heritage streetscapes are the perfect setting for this unique and quirky festival. With just a spoonful of imagination they will transform into pages from the novels, creating a fantasy experience for all!

More supercalafragalistic highlights

In the beginning… A special Maryborough Story Trail tour
Lead by a member of the ancient guild of story tellers, starts in the Maryborough Bond Store basement and walks through the heritage wharf precinct. Take a journey with live performances from Butchulla and South Sea Islanders where, if you listen closely, you may even hear the voices of those gone before.

A Spoonful of Circus
A Mary Poppins themed, week-long program taught by professional circus artists, kids will learn to juggle, hula hoop, plate spin and more!

Robbery in Cherry Tree Lane
Join the forensic team to solve the mystery that's got Cherry Tree Lane in a twitter! Process DNA and learn techniques that the pros use!

Adam Harvey & Beccy Cole
For the last two decades, Adam Harvey and Beccy Cole have stayed at the forefront of Australian country music… And they're coming to Maryborough!

For all these dates and many more wonderful and quirky events, head to marypoppinsfestival.com.au.

Further news… We've lit up the streets!

With just days until the Mary Poppins Festival begins, the city has installed traffic lights using a silhouette of the world's most famous nanny!

Maryborough is now the only city in Australia that has transitioned from the regular stick-figure silhouette to a quirky representation from the city's history. It is part of a unique story trail that winds through the streets of Maryborough to discover the history of the city and Mary Poppins.

While you're there, follow the story trail through the streets of Maryborough to discover links to the novel… You're sure to be delighted!

The details:

Mary Poppins Festival – June 23 – July 2
Mary Poppins Day in the Park – July 1

For further information visit  marypoppinsfestival.com.au, BYO spoon and sugar!

Monday, 26 June 2017

VILLA SANTI HOTEL & RESORT - The dream of a dream villa

Santi Resort & Spa 
On my first visit to Luang Prabang in Laos I was fortunate to stay at the Santi Hotel & Resort, where I enjoyed its rich history, luxury and tranquility with a touch of warm Lao hospitality and personalized service.

Luang Prabang is known as the crown jewel of South East Asia. It is situated where the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers meet in Northern Laos. The city of Luang Prabang is filled with an ancient palace, many temples and charming French colonial style architecture which provides a backdrop to the timeless atmosphere of this former seat of kings. Luang Prabang was claimed by UNESCO as a World Heritage City in 1995

My room, top left, Santi Resort & Spa 
The Santi Resort & Spa is located on the edge of Luang Prabang, about 15 minute drive from town center. The Resort provides a regular shuttle service to and from its sister hotel in the old town section of Luang Prabang. 

The 67 elegantly designed rooms, Bungalows and Suites are on 12 acres of landscaped gardens and water features. I viewed mountains on the horizon, rice fields at my doorstep and canals of lotus flowers, creeks and waterfalls stretching through the sprawling serene landscape of Santi Resort & Spa.

My room at Santi Resort & Spa 
My Deluxe Room of 30sqm was on the second floor of one of the many buildings scattered around the Resort. It had a wooden floor and was decorated with beautiful wooden furniture, featuring a king bed with mosquito netting (tho there were no mosquitoes inside or outside the room). It was surrounded by the lush greenery of the Resort. 

A welcome bowl of tropical fruit welcomed me in the comfy room. Complimentary wifi internet was provided. A minibar, tea and coffee making facilities, and flat screen TV were in the room, which was made comfortable with air-conditioning.

There was an inviting marble bathroom with a shower and bathtub. My room like all the others, had its own private balcony, with mine offering garden and swimming pool views.

Swimming pool at Santi Resort & Spa 
The Santi Resort & Spa offers a free form swimming pool, spa, steam sauna and gym. It was truly a place to unwind and rejuvenate at the end of each day I attended the Mekong Tourism Forum in town.

Each morning I ate breakfast in the Torseng Restaurant which overlooked the serene views of green tropical gardens, mountains and rice paddies. Unfortuantely I did not have the opportunity to dine in the evening with the sun setting over lotus ponds, so I missed out on enjoying their evening authentic Lao specialties and international cuisines. 

I enjoyed swimming in the large blue freeform pool each day that was surrounded by the tropical greenery of the Santi Resort & Spa.

The Santi Spa delivers all aspects of wellness in an environment of tranquility; offering a wide range of treatments to leave you feeling restored, revived and inspired.

Santi Resort & Spa 
Santi Resort & Spa offers the ideal venue for incentives, team building activities, meetings and conferences. The Resort offers an impressive range of indoor and outdoor event spaces. The Kinnaree Pavillion is beautifully nestled near a large pond overlooking the rice paddies and mountains, an ideal place for private dining or cocktail reception seating up to 30 guests. The Phikkaneth conference hall is equipped with latest audiovisual equipment and meeting technology including wireless connectivity seating up from 150 guests. For beautiful outdoor events, Poolside area and Garden area can provide the perfect settings seating up from 200 to 250 guests in banquet style.

Night Market at Luang Prabang
In my spare time when staying at the Santi Resort & Spa I was able to enjoy going to some of the nearby attractions in the old part of the town. The large Night Market is held each night in a closed off street. It offers an extensive collection of handicrafts, souvenirs and food. Mount Phousi is local religious site on a 100 metre hill in the centre of the old town. It has lots of steps to climb to the top! The Royal Palace Museum was once Lao’s Royal palace. It houses many interesting historical items. The Wat Xieng Thong or Golden City Temple is one of the most important of Lao monasteries and remains a significant monument to the spirit of religion, royalty and traditional art.

Santi Resort & Spa 

Santi Resort & Spa

Nadeung Road, Ban Nadeuy, Luang Prabang, Laos
Phone:+85671 253470-9
Fax:+85671 253471

Thailand offers family fun mobile application for tourists

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is working with True Corporation to support tourist families arriving in Bangkok by giving away sim-cards and offering a Family Fun Thailand application for smartphones that allow families to take advantage of a range of promotions and offers in Thailand during June – November, 2017.

True Corporation will provide 1,000 sim-cards per month to family during the six-month period. When travellers register these sim cards, they will receive a text message via a short message service (SMS) with instructions to download the Family Fun Thailand application. Once downloaded, visitors can view family-friendly tourism products and services on offer across Thailand, including discounts of up to 60 per cent on some attractions including the Flying Squirrels, Yoyo Land, Upside Down Pattaya, Vanich Farm, Phuket, Mercure Hotels, Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok, Botanica Khao Yai, Long Beach Garden Hotel and Spa, Pattaya, Life Spa @ Sea, Springfield, Oasis Spa Lanna, and River Star Princess.

The activity is part of the ‘Family Fun’ project launched by TAT in late April to promote Thailand as a family destination, targeting especially at families from ASEAN, South Asia and the South Pacific. The project is aimed at boosting tourism to the kingdom during the ‘Green Season.’

The Family Fun Mobile App can be downloaded here:

CHINESE REALITY STARS HIT THE ROAD IN SYDNEY

Images of Sydney’s popular tourist attractions and experiences will be seen by around 220 million Chinese television viewers when the latest season of the popular Chinese reality TV show Divas Hit the Road goes to air.

The top-rating program on Hunan TV features Chinese celebrities travelling overseas, taking part in incredible experiences, on limited budgets, without the help of assistants or agents.

The episode which features the celebrities in Sydney, will showcase the stars arriving at Sydney Airport, travelling to Circular Quay via public transport, catching a water taxi to Darling Point, and taking part in a sailing lesson at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia at Rushcutters Bay.

The filming, which took place in March, was supported by Destination NSW.

Divas Hit the Road is now in its third season and airs in a prime time slot on Sunday nights in China, with the Sydney episode to air on 25 June.

Click here for more information.

Shiraishi-odori Dance in Okayama prefecture

Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Japan Shiraishi-odori Dance (Kasaoka City)

Shiraishijima is one of the Kasaoka Islands in The Inland Sea. The Shiraishi-odori Dance festival takes place here from Sunday, August 13 to Wednesday, August 16. Everyone is welcome to join in this traditional event.

7 min. on foot from JR Kasaoka Sta. to Kasaoka Port, and then 22 min. by high-speed boat (35 min. by regular boat).

https://www.okayama-japan.jp/en/spot/925



BLANKETS TO BIKINIS .. ESCAPE TO PALM COVE!

Where else but The Reef House in Palm Cove could you experience all those great little touches that make a holiday more memorable.

Discover the tropical beauty of Palm Cove with its laid back village atmosphere, palm fringed golden beach, dining and resort shopping experiences.

You'll love our new look rooms with a cool South Pacific feel; light, spacious and our signature coconut and lime room fragrance will take you to that happy holiday space!

Lots to enjoy..
  • Nightly tradition of tropical punch and canapes with our General Manager
  • Honesty Bar 
  • Personal assistance with travel needs from of our Luxury Concierge
  • Bikes, fishing rods, art kits and book exchange
  • Ocean front dining 
  • 2 swimming pools & heated spa 
We look forward to to welcoming you whether its your 1st visit or your 10th!

CLICK HERE TO ESCAPE WINTER!

The Reef House - M Gallery
99 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove, QLD 4879

Sunday, 25 June 2017

The Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok - grand in every way!

Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok
The Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok is a luxury 5 star hotel with resort ammenities well located in the bustling centre of Bangkok. I was privileged to stay there when I recently visited Bangkok for the first time.

Travel from the Suvarnabhumi Airport, the main international airport in Bangkok, was made easy with a pick up in one of the hotels limousines, a Mercedes Benz New S Class Hybrid.

On arrival at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok I was warmly welcomed by hotel staff. I was presented with a Phuang Malai Thai garland made with fresh flowers. I understand it is the warmest welcome of Thai people for foreigners. Porters took care of my two bags and I was checked in smoothly by the friendly staff.

I was then shown to my Grand Club Room on the executive floor, one of the 380 contemporary guestrooms and suites that provide luxurious modern comfort. My room was beautifully decorated in contemporary style and was enhanced by flourishes of authentic Thai design. All the hotel guestrooms are spacious, ranging in size from 40 square metres to 200 square metres. 

banana, coconut, and mango
I was greeted with delicious snack jars of dried banana, coconut, and mango and a bowl iof fresh tropical fruit. A LCD flat screen TV offered a range of stations to watch when in the room and a Geneva Sound iPod docking station gave the option of listening to music from my phone.

I had a restful nights sleep on my plush king-sized bed. There was also a settee for lounging and work table with a desk lamp.

I was provided with complimentary wired and wireless standard Internet access so I could keep in contact with my family and friends back in Australia. A hands-free dual line International Direct Dial telephone with call-waiting and conference call made phoning easy. The room was made comfortable with quiet individually controlled air-conditioning.

Phuang Malai Thai garland
There was complimentary coffee and tea making facilities, a well stocked minibar and complimentary bottles of drinking water.

The spacious bathroom had separate marble bath and shower facilities, a nice range of amenities and hairdryer. It could be opened or closed off from the bedroom. The room had an iron and ironing board, in-room safe and plenty of other features that made it a home away from home.

I enjoyed the Grand Club benefits which included the comfort of the exclusive Grand Club Lounge. I enjoyed sitting in comfortable chairs looking out of the expansive windows that provided panoramic views of the city. As well as breakfast, all-day tea/coffee, evening cocktails & light canapés were served here. The Grand Club Lounge staff were particularly friendly and engaging. 

The Dining Room breakfast
As a Grand Club guest, I had the option of having breakfast at the Grand Club Lounge or enjoy a full buffet spread at The Dining Room. While staying at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok I enjoyed both options.

The Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok offers a choice of 9 gourmet dining restaurants and bars and nightly entertainment. Passionate and creative chefs use gourmet ingredients and seasonal produce to make delicious Thai and International dishes accompanied by fine wines.

The restaurants & bars include -
  • Tables, a Steak and Seafood Grill, serving traditional European cuisine 
  • The Dining Room, featuring an extensive international buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner 
  • You & Me, a casual restaurant serving a variety of Noodles from Thailand and around Asia 
  • Spasso, a place to savour delicious Italian cuisine
  • The Garden Lounge, serving light meals and refreshments
  • Bar@494, a cozy Wine & Champagne Bar in a garden setting 
  • Erawan Bakery, offering the finest home-made ice creams, chocolates, cakes and pastries 
  • Erawan Tea Room, serving authentic Thai cuisine and the World’s best afternoon tea
  • The Breezeway, a relaxing dining and lounge area located adjacent to i.sawan’s pool deck.
I enjoyed a wonderful meal at the Erawan Tea Room of several Thai dishes and was fortunate to meet the chef responsible for their creation.

Lobby - Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok

I must make mention of the large hotel lobby. It looked very impressive with its Business Centre at one end, Dining Room at the other, and Check-in and Concierge in the middle. Its comfortable seating, water and plant features, high ceiling, decorative columns and grand staircase made it a delight to sit in and walk through.

For recreation the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok offers an excellent spa, fitness facilities and pool located on the 5th floor.

The i.sawan Residential Spa & Club embraces its mythical concept of the ‘fifth level of heaven’. Nestled in the hotels garden, it offers a rejuvenating retreat from the rigours of urban living. It provides an extensive spa menu offering facial treatments, body wraps, body scrubs, body massages and revitalizing bath remedies in the garden bungalows.

In addition, there is a hair salon and nail bar. It also offers a jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, and cold and hot plunge pools.

After a sauna and jacuzzi I enjoyed my aromatherapy massage. It was just what I needed to relax. 

Greenhouse Fitness Centre
The health and fitness studio is called the Greenhouse Fitness Centre. It is a glass-fronted gym with state-of-the-art exercise machines and weights. It is open 24 hours a day with personal trainers available on request. There are built-in TVs, filtered water, and complimentary towels.

The outdoor swimming pool is a large 25 metre free-form swimming pool in a garden setting open from 6:00am to 10:00pm daily. The pool depth ranges from .90 metres at the shallow end and 1.50 metres at deep end. The swimming pool and whirlpool bath are surrounded by a teakwood sundeck and green gardens. I enjoyed swimming in the cool water each day.

Male and female changing and relaxation rooms are equipped with lockers, rain showers and grooming stations.

The Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok is the ideal venue for meetings, conferences and weddings. There is a total of 3,300 square metres of event and meeting space across 14 versatile function rooms. For example, The Residence can host small meetings of 10 to 100 persons, and The Grand Ballroom holds 1,500 for receptions and 750 for gala dinners.

The Business Centre provides a range of secretarial services. They were very helpful with the printing of my airline ticket and resolving a problem with my camera.

The location of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok is ideal. I appreciated that it was just a short walk to some of the premier shopping malls in Bangkok, such as the Siam Discovery, Siam Center, Siam Paragon, Central World, Amarin Plaza, Central Chitlom and Central Embassy. 

Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok
It was also close to top restaurants, offices and attractions such as the Erawan Shrine and Wat Pathumwanaram Ratchaworawihan Temple. I found train travel to other parts of Bangkok made easy by walking to the two nearby BTS Skytrain stations, Chit Lom Station and Siam Station.

Whether traveling for work or leisure, the luxury of Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok provides a home away from home experience. Make it your hotel of choice when visiting Bangkok. It is a grand experience in all ways. 

GRAND HYATT ERAWAN BANGKOK
494 Rajdamri Road Bangkok 10330, Thailand
email: bangkok.grand@hyatt.com
web: bangkok.grand.hyatt.com

MEET TAIWAN Creativity makes incentive travels different

Concorde Hotel Singapore
The MEET TAIWAN Networking Event kicked-off last Wedenesday at Concorde Hotel Singapore. Sponsored by Taiwan's Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) and organized by the Taiwan External Trade Development Association (TAITRA) and Taiwan Trade Center Singapore, the event successfully enticed a delegation of nine Taiwanese MICE companies that included representatives from travel agencies, MICE consulting firms, airlines, as well as over one hundred Singaporean counterparts in the industry to join the networking event.

Highly Recommended by Foreign Media: The Beauty of Taiwan

Renowned internationally for breathtaking scenery, a diverse culture and heritage formed by the integration of different ethnic groups, local food delicacies, a safe and convenient environment, highly professional convention centers, and outstanding MICE services, Taiwan is rated as one of the most ideal destinations for incentive tours of Southeast Asian corporations.

The Executive Director of the MEET TAIWAN program, Ms. Lily Su, excitedly announced that Taiwan was listed as one of ”Lonely Planet's Top Asia Spots for 2016” and as destination for ”2016 National Geographic’s 10 Best Winter Trips in the World”. International recognition has made Taiwan a more popular choice for foreign corporations for MICE business.

Creativity makes different

In the networking event, representatives from Taiwan's top 7 MICE suppliers and 2 airlines provided the Singaporean delegates with alternative themes and diversified choices for events and meetings, such as Work and Life Balance – groups in Taiwan have a quick getaway with convenient access to mountains and seashores within an hour; CSR activities – various possibilities to carry out social responsibility while having events; and Team Building – innovative methods to re-build and re-communicate with group members. All these presentations show the strength of creativity of Taiwan MICE suppliers. With top-notch MICE facilities and services, matched with diversified local experiences, Taiwan is definitely a fine destination for associations and companies in Singapore.

Asia Super Team Competition: Breakthrough in Taiwan MICE

The Asia Super Team Competition is an annual business contest that is part of the MEET TAIWAN project designed to promote Taiwan as a prime destination for incentive travel in Asia. More precisely, the contest serves to transform the premise of corporate meetings and travel incentives through "play"!

The fourth Asia Super Team in 2017 targets corporations especially from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, Japan and Korea. Online registration opens from 19 June to 30 July. A chance to win a Taiwan incentive travel package valued at USD 50,000 and roundtrip flight tickets to Taiwan sponsored by China Airlines awaits participants. For further details, visit the website at HYPERLINK "http://asiasuperteam.meettaiwan.com" asiasuperteam.meettaiwan.com.

The nine Taiwanese companies participating in the networking event are:

Travel agents and event management companies: Lion Travel Service Co., Ltd., Taiwan Tour Travel Services Ltd., Welcome Travel Service Co., Ltd., Formosa Hotel Booking System, The Liking Travel Service Co., Ltd., ABLY Conference and Exhibition Co., Ltd., MSL Group
Airlines: China Airlines, EVA Air

The IT&CM Events series is founded by TTG Events and goes beyond mere trade shows and appointments to add value by providing alternative platforms for clients to create business opportunities. To find out more about organizing a targeted roadshow like this, sales.itcma@ttgasia.com

OPERA ON SYDNEY HARBOUR RETURNING WITH LA BOHÈME

One of Sydney’s most celebrated cultural events, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, has been secured for a further three years from 2018 to 2020 by the NSW Government through Destination NSW.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said, “Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is one of the State’s great major event success stories, attracting new audiences to opera and visitors to NSW each year.”

“The event has become revered as one of the world’s greatest outdoor operas, with more than 57,000 domestic and international overnight visitors travelling to Sydney to enjoy this spectacular event since 2012.”

Presented by Opera Australia, the event will return in 2018 with a spectacular new production of Puccini’s La Bohème.

Click here for more information and to buy tickets.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Thailand’s Border Trade with Neighboring Countries

In the first four months of 2017, Thailand’s border trade with its neighbouring countries was valued at 354.6 billion baht, an increase of about 4 percent over the same period in 2016.

Out of the value, 222.3 billion baht involved exports, up by 10.5 percent, and 132.3 billion baht involved imports, a decline by 4.6 percent. Thailand gained a trade surplus of 90 billion baht with neighbouring countries during the period.

The country has common borders with Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia, with its provincial customs offices supervising cross-border trade. All the customs offices also have temporary and permanent border checkpoints to facilitate border trade, which is considered important for enhancing the country’s competitiveness.

Thailand’s border trade with Malaysia from January to April 2017 was worth 186 billion baht, an increase of 14.5 percent over the same period of 2016. Major Thai exports to Malaysia include rubber and rubber products, iron and steel, electric-circuit boards, and processed wood. Imports from Malaysia include computers, industrial machines, auto parts, and air-conditioners.

In the first four months of this year, border trade with Myanmar was valued at 58.5 billion baht, a decrease of 10.3 percent. As for border trade with Laos, it was valued at 65.5 billion baht, an increase of 0.4 percent. Thailand’s border trade with Cambodia was valued at 44.5 billion baht, a decline of 5 percent.

Its border trade with the four neighboring countries in 2016 was valued at one trillion baht, 605 billion baht of which involved exports and 407.9 billion baht imports. Thailand gained a trade surplus of 197 billion baht in border trade over the previous year.

Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn stated that the Government has a policy to promote Thailand’s border trade with neighboring countries and ease obstacles to exports. It is well aware of the value of good relations with neighboring countries through economic, social, and security cooperation.

Thailand attaches great importance to developing relations with neighboring countries in every dimension and at all levels, under the concept of "Stronger Together.” It is ready to move forward with the four neighboring countries, which are also members of ASEAN. The Ministry of Commerce has played an important role in facilitating trade contact between Thai entrepreneurs and their counterparts in those countries.

New Art Mural on Wheat Solo

The end of a great week for the boys and all involved so far! 

Watch this space as the mural evolves to another level next week....

Summer is the most festive season in Tohoku.

Summer is the most festive season in Tohoku. All around Tohoku there will be held six massive festival: Aomori Nebuta Festival, Akita Kanto festival, Iwate Sansa Odori Festival, Yamagata Hanagasa Festival, Sendai Tanabata Festival, and Fukushima Waraji Festival. Each event has their own trait and uniqueness depict the origin of the festivals.

If you want to take a peek of what those festivals will be look like, you should come to the Tohoku Kizuna Festival held in Sendai on 10-11 June 2017. The festival launch to help boosting the revitalization of Tohoku area after the great east earthquake on 2011.

The festival takes place all around Sendai downtown area. You could see the exhibition and main stage at Nishi Koen Park, Taste the local gourmet from Tohoku at Kotodai Koen Park, and enjoy the six festival parade at Jozenjidori street.

The six summer festivals last year attract more than 6 million people in total. It’s a rare chance to see all of them at one time.

Hydrangea Temple : Togari Onsen

In mid-June Kogenin temple in Togari Onsen, Iiyama City bursts to life with Hydrangea blossoms. Iiyama has beautiful mountainside scenery typical of rural Japan, and the area surrounding the 600 year old Hydrangea Temple is particularly stunning.

It’s just a 2 hour train ride direct from Tokyo Station - so if you’re looking for a relaxing day trip to a picturesque country town, Iiyama is the place to be. 

Friday, 23 June 2017

WINNERS OF #ILOVENSW COMPETITION ANNOUNCED

Tens of thousands of Australians have responded to the call to showcase NSW’s unique regions and experiences by snapping, shooting and sharing on social media to show what they love about the State.

Over 16,000 photos and 630 videos were posted across social media over an eight-week period, with content shared from every corner of the State.

The most captured experiences and activities included remote beaches and surfing hotspots, treasured historic buildings, regional inland locations and a plethora of events and festivals.

As part of the #ILoveNSW activity, the top four video and four photo submissions that showcased the unique regions and experiences of NSW, are to be heroed in a series of eight curated short films.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said, “I am delighted that so many people contributed to this popular campaign, shining a light on the scenery, experiences and attractions on offer in rural and regional NSW. No doubt these incredible images and videos will encourage travellers to look beyond the fringes of Sydney when they’re planning their next short break or holiday.”

“The inspiration behind #ILoveNSW is to showcase the best of NSW through the eyes of everyday Australians, both locals and visitors alike. We hope that travellers are left wide-eyed and inspired to visit these unique parts of the State, and to continue sharing their tips, videos and photos on social media with the world.

Go to Visitnsw.com to see the winning entries and view the short films curated by Destination NSW.