Monday, 31 August 2020

MyBhutan - explore deeper into Bhutan

MyBhutan was co-founded by His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck and Matthew R. DeSantis to allow a select group of guests to explore deeper into Bhutan.

Reflecting our deep-seated commitment to local development and sustainability, all of our experiences involve support for the kingdom's most important environmental, community and/or cultural initiatives.

Our experts explore the depths of Bhutan's people and place to curate trips that highlight Bhutan's most unique characteristics.

Address: MKTS Building, Norzin Lam, PB#915, Thimphu 11001 Bhutan

PATA - Pacific Asia Travel Association
Unit B1, 28th Floor, Siam Tower
989 Rama I Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 Thailand

Japanese Ceramics Beautiful Arita Ware

One of the most sought-after Japanese ceramics is the beautiful Arita ware, which is known for its enamelled decoration in bright colours.

Created with local clay and made with special overglazing techniques pioneered in Arita (Saga prefecture), the porcelain has been revered for over 400 years in Japan, and even inspired European ceramics production.

Today, you can get your hands on a piece of history by visiting Arita Será, a large shopping area that retails a huge range of Arita ware and houses restaurants where you can dine on this fine tableware.

The First Hot Air Balloons From Thredbo Take Flight

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Or is it… the first ever hot air balloon to fly across the Snowy Mountains from Thredbo? Those looking up today were gobsmacked to see not one, but two hot air balloons in the alpine sky, a visual first in the valley and a visual feast as people ran to grab cameras and phones to record the high-flying sight.

The two multi-coloured bobbing hot air balloons were the brainchild of Balloon Aloft, a hot air balloon operator from Canberra. With approval from National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Kosciuszko Thredbo (Thredbo), the hot air balloons departed Thredbo at sunrise and floated across the Kosciuszko National Park down the Crackenback Valley towards Jindabyne.

Craig Farrell of Balloon Aloft said the idea was a result of a long-held desire to fly a balloon over snow; a very unusual experience in Australia! After a few discussions with a fellow Canberra balloonist about the most scenic place to launch they chose Thredbo, then researched the best conditions for the flight.

"As we can't steer our balloons, we need to be able to find the right wind speed and direction to allow us to fly where we want to go; in this case - Jindabyne”, said Farrell. To do that, the balloons needed to reach an altitude of 10,000 feet (over 3 kilometres) before quickly descending towards Jindabyne through much calmer air patterns.

The hour-long flight was everything the pilots had hoped. “It was absolutely spectacular over stunning Thredbo and the beautiful Snowy Mountains, yet also technically challenging due to the Alpine environment”, said Farrell. This included minus 10 degrees at height and the swirling 'mountain waves' which produced rapidly changing speeds and direction in flight.

This one-off spectacle was an unexpected treat for early-bird visitors in the resort. Brianna McShane, a Snow Reporter in Thredbo's media department said, “Our days start before sunrise, so we were lucky enough to witness the excitement of the balloon being filled and taking off. We could also see the incredulous expression of other early risers fetching coffee - it was an amazing morning!”

Tags: #Skiing, #Snowboarding, #hotairballoon, #hotairballooning, #skiresort, #Thredbo, #snow, #Mountains

New Look Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour to Open in Spring

Auckland's most luxurious destination, Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, will reopen in spring after an extensive makeover that embraces its French luxury and art-de-vivre heritage with contemporary elegance.

Overlooking the shimmering Waitemata Harbour, the hotel is the preferred destination for high profile celebrities, politicians and guests since 2012. The hotel's makeover program is testament to its commitment to uncompromising service and elegance.

The refurbishment of all facets of Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, including lobby, reception, bar, café, restaurant and Sofitel Spa; is currently underway. A streetscape café gives a nod to a French café in the heart of Lighter Quay; the perfect place to sit and watch the water and people with coffee or cocktail in hand. The new restaurant and bar is set to capture the mood; be it a celebration, engagement or a rendezvous. Popular with guests and locals, the new look Sofitel Spa is the perfect escape from a busy day for pampering and tranquillity.

New to the hotel will be the addition of Sofitel's Club Millésime, comprising an elevated range of privileges, services and rituals for the discerning traveller, including a lounge retreat.

Accor NZ Senior Vice President Operations Gillian Millar welcomes the enhancements and commitment to the property.

“We're excited to be offering locals and travellers a luxurious boutique hotel that brings the essence of French flair back to life in Auckland Viaduct. Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour will epitomise sophisticated charm for well-travelled connoisseurs seeking stunningly designed boutique spaces, with privacy and sense of discovery. We're also looking forward to re-grouping and welcoming back members of our committed team,” says Millar.


Is the Camino Safe? 5 Reasons Why the Camino Is One of the Safest Holidays

“Is the Camino safe?”

This is a question we get asked frequently on social media and when we are speaking with clients on the phone.

The answer is yes, in fact, we believe the Camino is the safest type of holiday you can take.

We understand that there are lots of questions around travel at the moment and the risks involved with taking a holiday.

However, we want to reassure you that not only is the Camino open and safe but is also a great travel option for when travel returns.

In this blog post, we explore 5 reasons why the Camino is a safer holiday to take when travel returns.

So get ready to put the Camino right back into your bucket list!

1. The Camino is a Self-guided holiday
The Camino is the ultimate self-guided holiday which means you can navigate a Camino route of your choosing at your own pace.

Self-guided means you can avoid more crowded areas or choose to take a quieter Camino route.

You decide where you go, how long you stay in one area and if you would like to spend more or less time in one place.

We provide all the information you need so you can relax and enjoy your Camino, your way.

Choosing a Self-guided holiday versus a guided holiday means flexibility and freedom of choice.

Here are more reasons to choose a Self-Guided Camino Tour.

2. Social distancing is possible
In Spain, the recommended social distance is 1.5 metres and in Portugal, it is 2 metres. Social distancing is also mandatory in France.

Walking or cycling on the Camino trails is one of the safest options for social distancing as there is plenty of space to give to other pilgrims and them to you.

Choosing quieter routes for 2021 might mean you encounter a lot fewer walkers next year.

You also have the option to cycle the Camino which gives you even more control over social distancing.

Hiking and cycling are definitely two of the safest options when it comes to social distancing as you have complete control.

3. Being in the open-air in the countryside is safer
Being in a crowded indoor space can be a risk and indoor activities are best avoided if possible.

However, we know that being out in the open air is much safer in terms of transmission of the virus.

In fact, the Mayo Clinic has listed walking and hiking as the lowest risk outdoor activity you can do.

At the time of writing, most Camino countries have made it mandatory to wear masks indoors and in outdoor public spaces which are likely to be crowded.

This is because the virus can be easily transmitted via particles in the air.

You should bring masks with you of course, but if you choose to walk the Camino, it's unlikely you will encounter crowded public spaces or experience many crowded indoor activities.

For further peace of mind, you can also choose quieter routes such as the Camino Primitivo or the Via de la Plata where you are less likely to meet other pilgrims.

4. Your Mental Health can benefit from walking the Camino
The past few months have been crazy stressful for most, if not all of us.

We have been stuck indoors juggling work and family life while simultaneously worrying about the pandemic and the economy.

Often we have been unable to squeeze even an hour of me-time for a walk into our days.

But the truth is that we need a break and yes we need a holiday! It's OK to say that!

And, the best type of holiday we can take is an active holiday which is good for the body and the mind.

The benefits of being outdoors, getting exercise, and having a goal to work towards have untold advantages for our mental health.

To inspire you to begin your Camino adventure, we've got a downloadable Camino training plan just for you.

From exercises to stretches to healthy eating, training for the Camino may just be the mental health boost you need at this time.

5. Camino Accommodation complies with safety protocols
We often get asked questions about the hotels and accommodation on the Camino and the changes to expect.

First, we only work with Camino accommodation that adheres to the government guidelines in relation to COVID-19.

To this end, we have interviewed hotels in Spain, hotels in Portugal, hotels in France, and hotels in Italy to find out how they are complying with the new safety protocols.

Second, we have then compiled case studies on some of these hotels and how they are applying the new regulations.

For added peace of mind, we also include photos and the changes that you can expect as a guest:

These are just some of the reasons why the Camino is the safest type of holiday you can take when travel returns.

For additional peace of mind, we are offering a Free Postponement option to all bookings and until August 31st 2020 you can get a Free Upgrade to a Superior hotel on the last night of your stay.

Contact sarah@greenlifetours for more information, photos or packages.

Tags: #caminodesantiago

Canberra in Springtime: An Ode to Renewal

renewal (noun): an instance of resuming something after an interruption.

Canberra welcomes visitors, after this year of interrupted plans, to explore a city blooming with events and experiences designed to invigorate the mind and body.

Let this be your guide to gallery finds and escapes to unwind, fine-dining fare and flowers planted with care. Shrug off your winter layers and find renewal in the capital.

Australian National Botanic Gardens
A constant state of renewal, the Australian National Botanic Gardens marks a significant 50 years of growing, researching, protecting, sharing and educating this year. Embark on a walk through their varied landscapes, from Rainforest Gully to the Red Centre, and discover unique flora (and the occasional wandering fauna!) being preserved for all to enjoy. Further relaxation is encouraged over a spa treatment or a meal at either Jindii Eco Spa or Pollen café.

For a memento of your experience, collect a bottle of Underground Spirits' Ad Crescendum Native Gin; its namesake being a Latin reminder 'to grow' with the Garden's foraged botanicals distilled in the spirit, including banksia, finger lime, rainforest aniseed, white aspen and yam daisy.

A Wild Night Out at Tidbinbilla
25 September – 10 October 2020
A family overnight stay unlike any other, A Wild Night Out at Tidbinbilla brings together education and interactive experiences with luxury. Each overnight family sleepover package includes ranger activities including a Behind the Scenes at the Vet Centre and in-camp ranger chat to prepare guests for their time at Tidbinbilla and Aboriginal Hanging Rock. Breakfast, dinner and campfire fun including stargazing, roasting marshmallows are included, before you turn in for your night's sleep in a 6-metre Emperor Bell glamping tent accommodation – complete with quality bed linen. This year, celebrated award-winning photographer Ari Rex joins the A Wild Night Out at Tidbinbilla camp on Wednesday 7 October 2020 to host an astro-photography workshop – the perfect night of milky way photography for adults and kids alike.

Handmade market goes virtual
26 September, 9am to 9pm
While this popular Canberra based physical market is temporarily on hold, the Handmade team continues to connect with its community by offering regular online markets to support its producers of quality Australian made design and produce. Find objects created with heart during their spring virtual market.

Floriade: Reimagined
12 September – 11 October
In 2020, Floriade has been reimagined with the annual spring celebration moving from its traditional home in Commonwealth Park to bloom across Canberra. One million bulbs and annuals will create a tulip trail through the ACT's suburbs and city. With floral plantings by the Floriade horticulture team and over 90 Canberra community groups, this year's festival allows the community to connect safely while public health restrictions are in place. Floriade: Reimagined offers all the Floriade activities you know and love with a mix of virtual and in-person experiences. 

From 12 September to 11 October 2020, enjoy Floriade Life featuring workshops, talks, and fitness classes to help keep your gardens green and minds inspired. Stock up on Australian designed products, gardening delights and spring-inspired eats at the virtual marketplace that showcases all your favourite Floriade traders and foodies. Young Floriade fans can learn about sustainability and the environment, search for gnomes hidden throughout Canberra and uncover new worlds with Floriade Sprouts. Floriade's after-dark experience, NightFest, will return for one night only on Friday 2 October 2020. Stay tuned for more details.

National Portrait Gallery spring exhibition program
Been missing live gigs? Celebrate Australian pub culture in all its glory at Pub Rock (5 September 2020– 14 February2021), which brings together works from Australia's leading music photographers with gems from the Gallery's permanent collection. Pub Rock will feature 'staged portraits and publicity shots alongside images captured during unguarded moments and the grungy energy of live performance'. With photographic appearances from AC/DC, INXS, Nick Cave, The Bee Gees and Kylie Minogue as well as Midnight Oil, Paul Kelly, Yothu Yindi, Cold Chisel, The Angels, Christine Anu and Marcia Hines, plug into the curated Spotify playlist and get the full gig experience.

Those seeking a quieter traverse of a gallery experience have not been neglected - This is my place (21 September 2020– 28 February 2021) is holding space for you. This exhibition is all about those intimate spaces that we call ours, whether they're countries, towns or homes. Spanning 250 years and featuring painting, drawing, photography and sculpture, This is my place is a meditation on the spaces that define us—an important exhibition for our times.

Sage Dining Rooms
Sage Dining Rooms has long held a place in the Canberrans diaries as a celebratory venue of choice. Expect demand for tables at this establishment to surge after they were awarded best fine dining restaurant in Australia in TripAdvisor's 2020 Travellers' Choice Best of the Best awards. The Sage Farm, located less than 10km from the restaurant's door in the Majura Valley, produces the organic herbs and vegetables that adorns dishes such as Jerusalem artichoke with whipped garlic, buckwheat dukkah and dashi or button mushroom agnolotti and black pepper. A sophisticated wine list that heroes local wineries rounds out this paddock to plate experience.

Sage Dining Rooms is located at the Gorman Arts Centre in the foodie precinct of Braddon. A tranquil Garden Bar leads guests into the intimate dining room and sets the scene for the night. Sage is best known for their modern- Australian, colourful degustation menu. Seafood is always a standout; local producers feature heavily on the menu while staff are well versed and helpful. Recently, Sage has started its Friday and Saturday lunch service again for two or three course meals with the option to enjoy the full Sage experience, the five-course chef selection.

DESIGN Canberra Festival
9-29 November
From architecture and interiors to world-class contemporary craft, this Canberra festival covers all things design. DESIGN Canberra celebrates our capital as a global design hub. With some of the nation's best food, wine and brews, it has all the ingredients for a perfect weekend getaway.

The festival will see more than 150 (mostly free) events, exhibitions, talks, tours, collaborations, artist studios and workshops take place across 21 days. The program celebrates Canberra's epic design history, including the city's renowned 50s architecture and a thriving community of studio artists. Returning this year are the popular Open Studios, which invite you to step inside the studios of Canberra's best makers and designers to purchase contemporary handmade ceramics, furniture, jewellery, textiles, glass and more, directly from the artists. Running every Saturday of the festival, Open Studios are a great way to buy beautiful handmade homewares while meeting and supporting local makers.

Public health information for the ACT
The nature of COVID-19 is that it is highly contagious, and it can move very quickly. At this stage we strongly discourage anyone from COVID-19 affected areas from travelling to the ACT. The latest information on COVID affected areas can be found on the Travel Advice page of the COVID-19 website:

People should not travel if they are unwell. Remember that while travelling, it is your responsibility to maintain physical distancing and practice good hygiene, as well as to adhere to the rules of the jurisdiction to which you are travelling. 

Tags: #Canberra, #SpringTravel

Samoa Tourism Authority

The islands of Samoa - The Treasured Islands of the South Pacific - are the true heart of Polynesia. Ten islands of stunning wild beauty, Samoa is the last bastion of Polynesian culture. Visitors will find a unique, traditional way of living that is 3,000 years old called Fa'a Samoa that celebrates traditional values and guarantees a rich and valuable experience for all visitors to its shores.

The main island of Upolu is home to the international airport and capital Apia, a town full of island charm, flourishing with historical monuments, a local produce market and Vailima museum, the former home of Celtic writer Robert Louis Stevenson, author of “Treasure Island”. A sixty minute ferry crossing takes you to the wilder sister island of Savaii to witness ancient pyramid mounds, lava tubes, awesome blowholes, volcanic craters as well as thundering waterfalls and lagoons ideal for a cooling off dip.

Samoa Tourism AuthorityWebsite:
Address: Samoa Tourism Authority European Office, Unit 3 Port House, Square Rigger Row, London SW11 3TY United Kingdom

PATA - Pacific Asia Travel Association
Unit B1, 28th Floor, Siam Tower
989 Rama I Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 Thailand

Hoi An life seen through café windows

A small coffee shop in Hoi An in central Vietnam attracts
many visitors who love the view from its two windows
in the back and its drink. — VNA/VNS Photo
A small coffee shop in Hoi An in central Vietnam attracts many visitors with its appealing views and good drinks.

Two rectangular windows in the back are adorned with bougainvillea that, together with the yellow walls of typical Hoi An architecture, make a nice background for a selfie.

The café in Bach Dang Street offers a nice peek into local life along the riverbank. The best time to take a photo is in the morning or afternoon when the heat is less intense.

The sunset can also be seen from the windows and visitors can sip a beer or take a boat ride on Hoai River under lit street lanterns to savor the local night life.

The café’s main staples are different kinds of coffees and teas. Prices are higher than at other establishments, ranging between VND65,000 and VND95,000 (US$2.8-4) a drink. It also offers cakes and ice-cream.

This can be an ideal location for friend or family gathering, or even a date. Many visitors stop at the café after a walk in the town and take photos.

The ancient city of Hoi An was recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1999 and still preserves its cultural values as a busy trading port dating back 400 years among which are more than 1,000 houses built between 100 and 200 years ago.

The city has been challenged by the tests of time to preserve both its tangible and intangible culture and heritage.
Source: VNS
Tags: #HoiAn, #QuangNam, #caféwindows,

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

Pemberton welcomes new accommodation

The South West town of Pemberton, located among the towering tall timber trees in the Southern Forests region, has recently welcomed a new accommodation offering.

Jaspers Cabins offers three luxury, architect-designed studio spaces, alongside a new whisky bar and restaurant. 

The cosy and energy-efficient cabins accommodate up to two guests, with a king-sized bed, choice of pillows, kitchenette, oversized rainfall shower, 

Biology skincare amenities and a private deck with bike racks – as the Pemberton Mountain Bike Park is just 800-metres away.

New Tweed Foodies Guide an Appetising Invitation to Eat, Drink and Be Merry!

Good food and drink is a way of life in the Tweed region of northern NSW and a new Foodies Guide, launched by the Tweed Tourism Company, celebrates the region's many producers and provides a flavour-filled menu of future inspiration for travelling locavores.

The Tweed Foodies Guide shines a light on the region's farm-fresh produce, award-winning restaurants, evolving eateries and growing number of drink-makers, from gin and beer to tea and coffee.

The first of its kind for the region, the Tweed Foodies Guide features over 50 food and drink providores, profiles local restaurateurs, shares recipes for Tweed tastes to try at home and charts a range of drive itineraries, from seaside flavour trails to a three-day inland grazing journey.

Tweed Tourism Company GM, Bradley Nardi, said that the Tweed has long been regarded as a rich food bowl, with the new guide designed to showcase this gourmet offering and open people's eyes and appetites to all that the Tweed has to offer food and drink-lovers.

"When it comes to eating and drinking, we have it all here in the Tweed - we grow, harvest, distil, brew, prepare and share our local provenance all year-round and, when paired with the region's skilled and passionate chefs, the flavours of our region truly come to life."

"The Tweed is home to many iconic foodie highlights, including Tropical Fruit World and Husk Distillers, as well as highly awarded restaurants such as Pipit, Paper Daisy and Fins - our new guide builds on this profile while unearthing some hidden Tweed gems, from a coffee plantation, tea estate and bush tucker farm, to hinterland high teas and hand-crafted local pasture cheeses."

Blessed with an innate richness of soil, generous sunshine and healthy rainfall, the Tweed's coast to country landscapes produce seasonal foods to tempt all taste-buds.

From hinterland crops and pastures come plentiful fruits and vegetables, cane sugar, dairy milk and creamy cheeses, grass-fed meats and free-ranging chook eggs; while from the sea and myriad waterways are sourced both salt and freshwater fish, oysters, mud and spanner crabs.

The Tweed is also humming with a new wave of flavours, with baristas making their mark out of hip bolt-holes, welcoming spaces serving wholesome food bowls and healthy juices and fresh new takes on global flavours, from Mexican taquerias and cantinas to Greek and Italian menus crafted by country-folk who now call the Tweed home.

The Tweed Foodies Guide, the latest in a suite of recent releases by the Tweed Tourism Company that includes the Official Visitors Guide and Tweed Hinterland Drives, also highlights local food and farmers markets, annual events and a range of immersive experiences from seafood cruises and orchard visits to catered outdoor picnics, farm trails and behind-the-scenes craft beer and gin distillery tours.

You can view the guide online here.
Tags: #TheTweed, #foodie, #eatanddrinkWebsite:

Treat Your V.I.Pooch This International Dog Day

Who Let The Dogs Out?
Treat your V.I.Pooch this International Dog Day – The Ovolo Way

Pooch parents, Ovolo Hotels has an offer for you and your V.I.Pooch to celebrate International Dog Day (Wednesday 26th August 2020) in designer luxury. Book a V.I.Pooch package on International Dog Day and up to two of your pooches can stay without the additional costs (AUD$80/HK$500) across Ovolo Hotels in Hong Kong and Australia. Although, your boutique stay must be booked on the day, this offer is available for stays up until 31st December 2020.

All Ovolo Hotels are dog-friendly and the V.I.Pooch package is inclusive of everything your furry friend could ever need for a staycation. The package includes a comfortable doggy bed where your pooch can snuggle and relax like they deserve, an eating/drinking mat so they can feast in style without the hassle of cleaning that post-meal mess, a doggy goody bag packed full of specially designed dog toys and treats, and dog-friendly staff ready to provide guests with any assistance needed.

As usual, with any direct booking guests can also get access to The Perks, Ovolo's signature inclusions; unlimited high-speed Wi-Fi, daily breakfast, social hour, daily minibar and loot bag. Pooches and parents can also rest easy with the hotel groups' OC/DC – Obsessive Commitment to Deep Cleaning – initiative.

Experience a world full of wonder at Ovolo Hotels – and bring your pooch too.

Guests can book the V.I.Pooch package through the Ovolo offers page via

Tags: #Ovolo, #petfriendly, #dogfriendly, #HongKong, #hotelsWebsite:

Art Deco by the Sea at the Laing Gallery Newcastle, UK

17 October 2020 – 27 February 2021
Art Deco by the Sea at Newcastle’s Laing Art Gallery’s will celebrate a time when this distinctive style of art, architecture and design transformed the British seaside.

During the 1920s and 30s, Art Deco became synonymous with leisure and pleasure, especially as existing coastal destinations and transport networks were modernised and new resorts were established to meet the needs of mass tourism. 

Art Deco by the Sea will embrace more than 150 works drawn from public and private collections across the UK, including paintings, posters, brochures, drawings, photographs, fashion, furniture, ceramics and textiles. 

Posters and photographs will bear testimony to the burgeoning culture of body-confidence and the pursuit of healthy or sporting activities, including swimming and sun-bathing.


“Celebrate, Pray, Create” Tokyo's Meiji Shrine Marks 100 Years with a Forest Festival of Art & Culture

Whilst 2020 has been a tough year for event organisers, Tokyo's Meiji Shrine is celebrating its centennial with the themes Celebrate -Pray- Create and proving that a celebration can be “a walk in the park” or in their case a walk through their very own forest. To mark the first steps into the next one hundred years, and with the sacred forests of Meiji Shrine as the venue, the shrine is presenting a multi-faceted festival of arts and culture, “Meiji Jingu Forest Festival of Art”.

The festival theme is “Celebrate, Pray, Create”, with the sacred forests as the ideal backdrop the Shrine hopes the festival will help visitors to reconsider the relationship between Japanese arts, culture and nature and introduce a uniquely Japanese aesthetic to the world. With an overarching theme of “tradition and innovation” the festival has a program of events taking place throughout 2020 and into 2021, highlights include outdoor sculpture exhibitions in the serene natural surroundings of the forest, art shows, contemporary culture programs and much more events. Running parallel to these events there are also programs to support promotion and revitalization activities for regional disaster struck areas, sending a message of prayer to the world.

Festival Overview:
  • Art exhibitions until March 2021
  • Contemporary culture exhibitions October-December 2020
  • Nature/Environment/Coexistence Society Project until March 2021
  • Inbound tourism regional revitalisation of disaster struck regions until March 2021
  • Tea Ceremony/Contemporary Art Tea Ceremony September/October 2020

Main Exhibitions:
Tenkukaikatsu – Meiji Jingu Forest: Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition
until December 13 (Mon), 2020

“Tenkukaikatsu” (meaning “as open as the sky and sea”) is an outdoor Sculpture exhibition showcasing the work of six artists. All of the artists visited the installation site, understood the history and culture of Meiji Shrine, and created each piece with respect, honouring and responding to the environs.

Shikansuiyo – Art of the One Hundred Year Forest
until September 27 (Sun), 2020

An exhibition showcasing new works by thirty artists at the Meiji Shrine Museum. Works use traditional Japanese media; folding screens, hanging scrolls, partition screens and folding fans.

Kiinseido – A Genealogy of Sculpture, from Hirakushi Denchu to Kohei Nawa until September 30 (Wed) 2020

An exhibition taking a fresh look at the lineage of sculpture at the Homotsuden Treasure Museum.

About Meiji Shrine:
Meiji Shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken and is made up of the solemn inner gardens, the outer gardens which hold the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery and the Meiji Kinnenkan.

The dense forest that surrounds the shrine was planted by hand with around one hundred thousand trees brought from across Japan. It covers an area of 700,000 sq. metres and has grown into a rich and luxuriant forest, much loved by the people of Japan. Learn more: LINK

COVID-19 Important: Meiji Shrine and organisers are committed to the measures put in place in accordance with the "Guidelines for preventing the spread of new coronavirus infection in museums" of the Japan Museum Association. Measures include social distancing (2m) and wearing of appropriate mask. Please check before visiting.

Tags: #tokyo, #TokyoTokyo, #OldmeetsNew, #art, #ArtFestival, #exhibition, #Forest, #MeijiShrine, #MeijiJingu, #100years, #Celebrate, #Shrine, #VisitJapan, #VisitTokyo, #sculpture, #Japaneseart, #JapaneseArtists

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Montserrat - Unique in the World for its Distinctive Shape

Montserrat is located less than one hour from the city of Barcelona. Montserrat comprises the Sanctuary of the Virgin Mary of Montserrat and the Benedictine monastery which, for almost 1,000 years, has been at the service of pilgrims from all over the world, who come to worship the Black Madonna.

Thanks to its splendid mountain setting and its eminently religious character, Montserrat has become, as well as for its accessibility, an excellent starting point for excursions and for high-level rock climbing.

The Abat Oliba Hostel is located in the building with the same name, constructed in 1952 and fully refurbished in 2018, and seeks a modern and adaptable design concept at an affordable price, ideal for the most demanding customers.

The Abat Cisneros restaurant
The restaurant occupies a historic space that was already used to welcome pilgrims to Montserrat in the 16th century. Here the visitor can enjoy the excellent traditional cuisine in rooms that can hold up to 120 people.

Address: Montserrat, Pl. del Monestir S/N, Montserrat, Barcelona / Catalunya, 08199 Spain

PATA - Pacific Asia Travel Association
Unit B1, 28th Floor, Siam Tower
989 Rama I Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 Thailand

Nagaoka Fireworks in Japan

Held from 2-3 August annually, the Nagaoka Fireworks is known for its large-scale fireworks that bloom in the midsummer night sky in the shapes of flowers, waterfalls, and more.

The festival begins in the day with float parades and folk dance processions, and food tents offer visitors traditional Niigata dishes like hegi soba (soba with special seaweed) and sasa-dango (red bean-filled rice cake wrapped with bamboo leaves). 

While travel to Japan may be put on hold, this short film documents what goes on behind the scenes of this beloved festival that attracts a million spectators every year.

All Systems Go With Thredbo's Storm of the Season

The Storm of the Season that delivered over 78cm of fresh, dry snow has set Thredbo up for a super springtime of skiing and snowboarding ahead. With spring on the horizon, Thredbo has also launched its Snowshoe Tours this week, adding to the variety of Backcountry Tour options so regardless of ability, any snow lover can get out and explore all that Thredbo and the Main Range has to offer. Plus, (drumroll) Sponars T-bar is making its season debut today, setting up a springtime ahead with hollers, hoots and snow drifts galore.

While we have fresh mounds of news - firstly let's talk SNOW! Riders are in their element with the snowpack in excellent condition, scoring light, fluffy turns. The biggest overnight fall was on Friday with 30cm, bringing the storm total more than 78cm since last Tuesday, bringing the snow depth to well in excess of a metre.

Experienced riders immediately hunted fresh tracks in The Bowl in the Cruiser area with adventure lovers shredding the powder in the Bluff and down Bushranger. Meanwhile, first-timers have been enjoying soft turns at the dedicated beginner's area Friday Flat. No matter what your level, the week's been a winter-y winner, and springtime ahead is sure to be equally as winning.

Thredbo has a blizzard of activity around the resort as we head into Spring. Here's what you need to know as we look set for a fun September.

Step out of your comfort zone into something new! We are mad snowshoe lovers, and the best news is that Snowshoe Tours are for everyone! The big draw? You get to explore the nooks and crannies of the mountain that many miss, and maybe meet some of the local inhabitants along the way.

So, how hard is it? Well, if you can walk, you can snowshoe. Your guide will point out interesting features and landmarks of the Australian Main Range as you venture into the big white yonder. And if you're feeling fit, make the trek to the top of Mt. Kosciuszko to stand on the top of Australia. #winning

This is a great alternative to a day of downhilling or perfect is seeking soft adventure. Make sure you take your camera as the views are amazing. Tours will be running Wednesday, Friday and Saturday until the end of the season.

With Sponars T-Bar making its season debut today, the Central Spur area is the place to be. Runs like Exhibition and Ego Alley will be shining in all their snowiest finery, opening up the mountain with views right down the spectacular Crackenback Valley.

Just recently launched! Small groups, max improvement. This does exactly what it says on the box – MAX5 lessons are out of the race gates and on the menu for those keen to dial up their skills whether that's to go from snow plough to pow pow or fine tune technical turns.

The biggest bonus is serious one on one attention with the small group sizes meaning accelerated learning and shred-tastic value. All lessons are delivered with social distancing and follow the Government's latest advice. Lessons are $85 and run daily at 11.30am and 2.00pm.

If MAX5 is 4 too many, you can also take a Private Lesson Adult or Child, which can include up to 3 participants from the same household.

Get the skins sticky, Thredbo Backcountry Tours are uber on trend right now! Conditions are ripe, so sign up for a new adventure on your skis or board. Head off the beaten path and make your own tracks outside the resort boundaries with an experienced guide.

On a Backcountry Tour, supported by The North Face, not only will you ride unique and inspiring terrain, but learn important backcountry safety skills. Safety, new experiences and fun, our favourite trilogy.

Ride Karels T-Bar and ring the Thredbo Community Bell at the country's highest lifted point and score views to Victoria. Suck in the fresh mountain air and take the 5km blue run from 2037 metres all the way back to base – perfect for a family morning adventure.

While you're there, intermediate to advanced riders should take some turns on the recently renamed Frank's Face, which is riding beautifully after the Storm of the Season. Frank's Face, previously named The Tors was recently renamed after Thredbo local and Australia's oldest Olympian Frank Prihoda.

With a promising springtime ahead and all resort areas now open, be sure to jump online and secure your lift passes before they get snapped up. Jump online here – you can even see how many passes remain on any given day with passes currently available from 31 August.

Tags: #Skiing, #Snowboarding, #Thredbo, #Backcountry, #skiresort, #Snowshoeing, #Snowshoeingtours, #snow

World-Class Whitewater Rafting in Victoria

The wild rapids of Arizona's Colorado River and the Zambezi may be out of reach for Australians this year, but lucky for us Rafting Australia can scratch your adrenaline itch right here in Victoria's stunning alpine region – and Spring is the best time to do it!

East Gippsland is one of only a handful of places around the world where you can surf in the morning and ski in the afternoon, with mountain ranges within an easy two hour drive of the popular seaside holiday towns of the Gippsland Lakes.

Rafting Australia's Linton and Tracey Smith have been operating white-water rafting trips since the 1980s, when a very good friend pointed out to Linton while on a trip down the Nymboida River, that he should be “offering this type of journey and amazing experience for everyone to enjoy.” Linton turned his passion and experience into a full-time business and has never looked back.

During the Spring, Rafting Australia offer one- or two-days of adrenaline pumping world class white-water rafting at Mitta Mitta River Gorge, where you'll find 60 rapids classed from 2 to 4. During your 19km rapid descent you'll plummet between intricate rock formations and tackle the foaming fury of the Mitta Gorge. And in the moments of peace in between you'll experience towering granite river gorges and the exquisite wilderness of the majestic Alpine National Park.

During the Summer, the Lower Mitta Mitta River at Dartmouth provides the best summer rafting in Southern Australia with the longest grade 4 rapid commercially available in Victoria. An enormous volume of water is pumped out of Dartmouth dam to create a deep, fast-flowing river with big waves giving conditions similar to the rivers of New Zealand and Canada.

All tuition and preparation for this incredible journey are included on the morning of your trip by Rafting Australia's experienced guides to make sure you are thoroughly prepared for your rapid descent.

To plan your trip to Gippsland when safe to do so, please visit:

For more information on Rafting Australia see:

Tags: #Domesticholidays, #Australia, #Victoria, #Gippsland, #EastGippsland, #Adventure, #Outdoors

The Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival Goes Virtual for 2020

In view of the uncertainties concerning the Covid-19 pandemic, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) today announced that its annual signature event Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival will, for the first time, take on a virtual format for 2020.

Explaining this strategic move, HKTB Chairman Dr YK Pang said “The Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival has been one of the most popular events among locals and tourists alike since its inception over a decade ago. Despite the Covid-19 outbreak this year, we hope people can continue to enjoy Hong Kong's unique dining culture while providing business opportunities for the local F&B sector amidst this challenging economic climate. Organising the Festival virtually allows us to achieve both objectives without compromising public health and safety.”

“The virtual Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival will strive to recreate the festive, joie de vivre atmosphere the event is famous for, by offering access to exclusive wine and gourmet experiences curated by experts on the subject. Taking advantage of the virtual format, the event will be extended from the usual four days to several weeks so that more people can take part regardless of time and geographical constraints,” Dr Pang added.

To preserve as much original flavour of the physical event as possible, the HKTB is building an online hub where most of the Festival programmes will take place. A variety of wine merchants will be providing special discounts and products tailored for the Festival, which participants can browse and purchase in a virtual exhibition space. Meanwhile, renowned wine and food critics, chefs and wine experts will be invited to speak on wine-pairing and culinary topics in virtual workshops and classes.

The Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival was launched in 2009, after Hong Kong and Bordeaux signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Co-operation in Wine-related Business. The large-scale outdoor event quickly became a talk of the town, and was dubbed one of the world's top 10 international food and wine festivals by Forbes Traveler.

For more information on Hong Kong visit:

@DiscoverHongKong / #DiscoverHongKongWebsite:
Tags: #hongkong. #food, #wine, #festival, #foodandwinefestival, #event

get lost goes Australian, as issue 65 takes a different route

It hasn't exactly been a swell time for those who like to take to the skies and head for farflung lands. Thankfully, there's more than a little to explore in this great sunburned land. To get with the #holidayherethisyear vibe, we've pulled together an issue that's almost entirely dedicated to adventures that don't require getting out your passport. Plus, we've focused on small, locally owned companies offering tours, accommodation and other experiences most people may not yet have discovered. Why? Because we need travellers to support them now, so they're still around when this pandemic is under control.

We've come up with 25 seriously satisfying contenders if you're completely bummed about having to cancel an overseas adventure. As the old adage goes, “Anything they can do, we can do better.” So if you fancy taking on one of the world's great road trips, diving on absolutely pristine reefs or discovering a sculpture park on an outback salt plan, take a look at our 20-page special feature, Australia vs The World.

“We've been exploring the world in our own way for 16 years now,” says get lost publisher Justin Jamieson. “It did require a bit of quick thinking and fancy footwork, given the situation with a global pandemic, but we know Australians love to travel. Why would they want to just stop because we can't travel overseas at the moment?

“And you know what? It would take years to explore all the unique experiences and adventures Australia has to offer. This issue is jam-packed with places you'll want to check out and it's just the beginning of all this country has to offer the avid explorer.”

Elsewhere in the issue, we take a hike along a Jawoyn Songline in Nitmiluk National Park, learn about the history of pearling on the West Australian coast, get our finest sequins out for a fabulous outback festival, and pull on our waders and learn to fly fish in Tasmania.

There's plenty more, too, including a preview of the Grampians Peaks Trail, due to open in December, in a new collaboration with online magazine, We Are Explorers.

For the first time, we've also included a two-page classifieds section highlighting some of the remarkable Indigenous tours and experiences available around Australia. These placements were provided to the businesses free of charge as our way of giving back to Indigenous operators who perhaps might not normally be able to afford advertising in travel magazines. These pages replace a regular free ad we offer to a charity working in a country we've visited or whose values we support.

Issue 65 of get lost travel magazine is on sale now, including online from Apple Newsstand and Amazon.

For more information or to organise and interview, contact Justin Jamieson on (03) 9965 8710 or

Sivatel Bangkok Hotel Thailand

Sivatel Bangkok is more than an all-suite hotel conveniently situated in the heart of Bangkok’s greenest business district, mere steps from the BTS Skytrain.

Sivatel Bangkok offers an inspiring and impactful guest experience which has the sharing of happiness through healthy living and environmental sustainability at its core.

Our approach to hotel operations starts with ensuring the happiness of our staff, who set out every day to put a smile on as many of our guests’ faces as possible, simply because it makes them happy to make you happy. 

We actively source fresh, organic ingredients from local farmers, supporting their livelihoods as well as making sure that what we serve our guests not only tastes great, but is also safe, healthy, and stylish. 

We have been conducting a waste management program in the hotel and achieved 65% waste reduction, as well as reducing our environmental footprint.

And to make sure that our guests’ wellness is fully taken care of, we offer an infinity-edge swimming pool, ranked among Bangkok’s top 10 best hotel pools and featuring breathtaking views of the city skyline, a tranquil spa, and a top-notch health club.

Sivatel Bangkok Hotel
Address: Sivatel Bangkok Hotel, 53 Wittayu Road, Lumpini, Patumwan, Bangkok 10330 Thailand

PATA - Pacific Asia Travel Association
Unit B1, 28th Floor, Siam Tower
989 Rama I Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 Thailand

Ao Dai long dress to be promoted during 2020 Hue Festival

Hue ladies wear Ao Dai and conical hats
A day in honor of Ao Dai, Vietnam’s traditional long dress, will be a highlight of the Hue Festival, scheduled to open in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue in September.

The event aims to promote Hue dress and culture to a wider audience worldwide as part a collective effort to preserve the Ao Dai and promote Ao Dai-based tourism products.

In 1744, after being crowned King of Phu Xuan (the Nguyen dynasty's capital in Hue), Lord Nguyen Phuc Khoat decided to reform the royal court attire.

Since then, the Hue Ao Dai has become the main costume of people in part of the kingdom. Minh Mang, the Nguyen dynasty’s second king, was later credited with popularizing the Ao Dai throughout the kingdom.

Thua Thien-Hue province hopes to build a trademark for the Hue Ao Dai and will encourage locals to don the dress during the 2020 Hue Festival and demonstrate it designed for school wear, for everyday wear, for traditional festivals, and for special family rituals.

“When we think of Hue, the first things that cross our minds are violet Ao Dai, conical hats, and the long glossy hair of Hue ladies. Violet Ao Dai are associated with nowhere else but Hue,” said designer Dang Thi Minh Hanh.

Research into the Hue Ao Dai will shape a new Ao Dai Museum in Thua Thien-Hue province, where local authorities intend to preserve the traditional five-paneled Ao Dai and hold a modern Ao Dai design contest.

Painter Nguyen Duc Binh, chief of the Dinh Lang Viet (Vietnamese Communal Houses) Club, which is keen on preserving ancient heritages, said, “The province should sponsor research into both men’s and women’s Ao Dai. Hue needs an Ao Dai museum to promote the costume and provide a source of materials for further research. The five-paneled dress, which is starting to disappear, should be reinvigorated.”

Thua Thien-Hue province is compiling a dossier to request recognition of the Ao Dai as a national cultural heritage and then seek UNESCOt title in the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity category.

“The project ‘Hue - Vietnam’s Ao Dai Capital’ will create an Ao Dai exhibition and hold a celebration day on which all Hue people, both men and women, will wear the traditional dress," said Phan Ngoc Tho, Chairman of the Thua Thien-Hue provincial People’s Committee, adding that this year Ao Dai Day will fall on September 2 during the Hue Festival.
Source: VOV
Tags: #AoDailongdress, #HueFestival, #Hue,

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

Hidden Treasures in Fremantle

Fremantle's Hidden Treasures music festival will return to the port city's historic West End this September.

Celebrating its 10th year, the festival will bring together 50 musicians across four nights of live music performances every Thursday during September. 

The diverse line-up includes an exciting mix of up-and-coming artists and fan favourites. Venues include The National, The Buffalo Club, The Navy Club, PS Art Space and the Fremantle Tram – offering guests a rare peak into the West End's most evocative and tucked-away spaces. 

Tickets to each event are now on sale.


'Everything Old Is New Again' as Former Sunshine Coast Motel Reborn as Chic, Boutique Hotel With a Touch of Glam

It's the ultimate example of 'everything old is new again'.

Loea Boutique Hotel – located opposite the Maroochy River on Queensland's Sunshine Coast – has undergone a renovation of epic proportions, taking what was a conventional motel-style accommodation offering and transforming it into an on-trend chic boutique hotel.

Loea offers double, twin and family rooms, the décor inspired by 'warm breezy beach days'.

Think a soft white colour palette, locally sourced rattan furniture, brass fixtures and luxury bed linen.

But while Loea is fresh and modern, they have not forgotten their classic roots.

On site guests are greeted with a vintage food truck van-come-reception serving up locally sourced food supplied by Gather by Bonnie and a range of hot, cold and alcoholic drinks as well as a friendly welcome.

There's also classic white cruiser bikes available for guests to use at their leisure, perfect for exploring the Maroochy River as you take the pathway to nearby Cotton Tree.

Loea is owned by Andrew and Lucy Pink, who upon relocating to the Sunshine Coast from the UK realised a gap in the market for boutique hotel-style accommodation.

The end result is a culmination of Andrew' background in the hotel industry and their shared passion for travel and design.

Features of the property include a luxe outdoor magnesium pool surrounded by a communal alfresco lounge area and garden, local organic skincare products in the room, a private outdoor deck for each suite and the vintage food van on site offering coffee, alcoholic beverages and delicious brunch, grazing and dessert platters available for pre-order.

This is complemented by the little luxuries you come to expect at places like Loea, such as free WIFI throughout, king size beds with luxury linen bedding, quality toiletries, free onsite parking, tea and coffee making facilities and air conditioning.

Visit Sunshine Coast Interim CEO Craig Davidson said renovations such as the one at Loea gave travellers fresh new reason to visit the Sunshine Coast.

“New products and experiences are an important part of keeping up with consumer demand,” he said.

“They provide fresh incentive for visitors to stay longer and spend more, entice new visitors to the region and encourage return travellers to try something new.”

Prices start from $170 per night for a double room, book direct at


The Hotel Britomart Sets the Standard for Sustainability

Officially opening its doors on 1 October 2020, the highly anticipated The Hotel Britomart brings more than just great design to the reinvigorated Britomart precinct.

The Hotel Britomart, part of the TFE Hotels collection, will be the first 5 Green Star hotel in New Zealand, certified by the New Zealand Green Building Council. The 5 Green Star rating demonstrates the building's deep commitment to longevity and sustainability.

Designed by Cheshire Architects, the 10-floor hotel on Galway Street will contain 99 guest rooms and five luxurious suites.

The building's developers, Cooper and Company, looked to reduce the environmental impact of the building and ensure optimal performance after it opens.

In The Hotel Britomart, the Green Star rating allows for tracking of important data such as how much energy is being saved compared to structures that meet the minimum requirements of the New Zealand Building Code.. “There are a lot of technical components, but everything has a clear intent and outcome that relates to a positive impact on the environment and human health and wellbeing,” says Matthew Cockram, chief executive of Cooper and Company, the company behind the development.

“The Green Star rating allows us to convert this information to a form that the general public can easily understand.”

Green Star certification applies to almost every decision made during construction, but there are a few key aspects that make the development of a Green Star building truly unique. One of them is the recycling or reuse of construction waste; the industry benchmark for which is 70% of construction waste to be re-used or recycled, a target which The Hotel Britomart has already greatly surpassed with a result of almost 80%.

Another is that the hotel's operational greenhouse gas emissions are projected to be 50% lower than a building that meets the minimum requirements of the New Zealand Building Code.

“The beauty of The Green Star rating is that it allows us to stay true to what we originally set out to do. It holds us accountable, through third party assessment, to a promise we made to the environment and the community,” says Cockram.

Beyond the design and construction of The Hotel Britomart, there are important elements inside the hotel and its rooms which aren't included as part of the Green Star ratings but were carefully selected in line with the hotel's sustainable ethos. Inside The Hotel Britomart:
  • The pillows and duvets are made from luxury microfibre derived from plastic bottles
  • The sheets are organic cotton by Eco-Linen
  • All mattresses are part of a Sleepyhead programme that recycles them at the end of their use
  • All staff uniforms are locally manufactured from natural materials, with the ability to be redyed to extend their life, recycled or composted
  • Guest rooms are stocked with New Zealand brand Sans[ceuticals] organic, hair and skincare products with refillable bottles
  • The slippers in each guest room are 99% compostable and have compressed wood fibre soles, linen uppers, cotton padding and come encased in a craft paper bag
  • Laundry and tote bags, as well as hairdryer bags, are by Duffle and Co, made by local communities in Bali who offset their emissions by 120%
  • The hotel has also supported local artisans: ceramicist Rachel Carter who created large vases and soap dishes for each guest room, while other vases in every guest room are by Albany based artist, Elena Renker.

The Green Star rating system also requires careful attention to detail in the selection of materials. With flicker-free lighting, access to natural light, environmentally friendly paints and coatings, responsibly sourced timber, highly efficient taps and fittings to reduce water use, The Hotel Britomart let sustainable principles govern every decision.

The Hotel Britomart already has a 5 Green Star rating for its design, and is targeting a 5 Green Star Build rating after completion. The hotel will operate under the NZ Green Building Council's Green Star Performance Tool. Cooper and Company also own and manage the other buildings in the nine-block Britomart precinct, which already operate under the New Zealand Green Building Council's Green Star Performance Tool. Cooper and Company is the first property company in New Zealand to apply the Performance Tool to its buildings.

The Hotel Britomart's 5 Green Star certification also accords with The Tiaki Promise, a responsible tourism initiative created by Air New Zealand, Tourism New Zealand, NZ Māori Tourism and other organisations, which encourages hosts and visitors to take responsibility for safe and sustainable tourism, and act as guardians of land, sea and nature for current and future generations.

The Hotel Britomart is being built by Bracewell Construction, and will be managed by Australia's TFE Hotels on behalf of Cooper and Company. Cooper and Company is the asset and development manager for the Britomart Group, which holds a contract for the long-term ownership and development of the Britomart Precinct.

Tags: #TheHotelBritomart, #TFEHotels, #TFEHotelsCollection, #Boutique, #Luxury, #Auckland, #NewZealand, #HotelOpening

The Portugese Grand Prix, The Algarve

The Algarve in southern Portugal has been chosen to host a Formula 1 Grand Prix for the first time at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao.

Additional events and venues were announced after the Grand Prixs in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, and Canada were cancelled this year due to the coronavirus.

It is hoped the event will project the Algarve brand worldwide and add lifeblood to tourism in the region. 

In terms of direct revenue from the organization and the spectators of the event, it is expected that the Grand Prix will represent a value close to 40 million euros for the region.

Algarve Tourism is confident that the Formula 1 Grand Prix will help to mitigate the effects that the pandemic has had on this sector and will contribute to more positive results in the last quarter of the year. 

The Algarve The Algarve is the southernmost region in Portugal framed by a 200km coastline. 

Known for more than 300 days of sun per year, the region is home to award-winning beaches, authentic gastronomy and a range of outdoor activities from surfing to cycling, walking and bird watching.

The Portugese Grand Prix, The Algarve 23 to 25 October 2020

Website: and