Do you know where your food comes from?

Posted by - May 14, 2018

FOODIES love a fad and the modern day dining culture has plenty of them, from the reborn trendy brunch staple of avocados to the superfood grain of quinoa.
But where do they come from?
#EXPERIENCES
Dine with an altitude at Mount Everest’s pop-up restaurant The variety of flavors, colors, textures, smells and health benefits available to us through food is astonishing.
Different climates produce fantastic fruits and vegetables, and different palates mean every nation has its own signature dish.
Sometimes we take this diversity for granted and we certainly fail to appreciate the simplicity of grabbing all our groceries from one place, pre-packed and pretty.
Whether you’ve discovered a new favorite flavor on your travels, a friend gives you some “must try” recipes or something catches your eye in the supermarket, we don’t often stop to think how far our food has traveled to reach our plates.
The places your favorite elevenses-snack, dinnertime treat, or flavorsome spices come from may surprise you.
Central Asia: Pistachios A post shared by Key Dollar Cab (@keydollarcab) on Jun 3, 2017 at 9:47am PDT
What can’t the pistachio nut do for the human body? These little green husky nuts are the least fatty of all nuts and contain heaps of antioxidants, vitamins, fibers, and minerals.
Climate and low altitude are essential to growing these yummy nuts. Pistachio trees need plenty of water, but good irrigation and lots of sunlight but also wintry spells for their dormant period.
They’re a little picky about their growing conditions but Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan hold the key to pistachio success.
Indonesia: Nutmeg A post shared by cissy12 (@cissy12) on Aug 9, 2017 at 9:49am PDT
The taste of Christmas, the dusting atop of a fruitcake and a spice known to create mesmerizing hallucinogenic effects.
Nutmeg originated from “Spice Islands”, also known as the Moluccas in the Indonesian archipelago. The trees can grow some 65-feet tall and bear their sweet fruit for as long as 60 years.
The nutmeg seed has been traded as a precious commodity since the Roman times and it’s still as popular today.
How do you like your nutmeg? Shaved, sprinkled or mixed in?
Thailand: Avocados A post shared by Top Floor Press (@topfloorpress) on Mar 27, 2018 at 2:32pm PDT
If you’ve been to a trendy brunch spot recently, you’ve probably seen every combination of avocado offerings available.
This creamy green giant berry is back in trend since its first appearance in pop culture in the 1980s.
While the avocado originally comes from Mexico and other sunshine nations in South America, Asia lays claim to some of the world’s most devoured avocado varieties.
Thailand is one of the major growers of avocados in Asia.
Brought over by missionaries more than 90 years ago, Thailand grows and exports the classic Buccaneer and Hass varieties, and rarer ones such as Ruehle. If you’re traveling to Japan, South Korea, and China, chances are your avocados would have traveled up from Thailand.
China: Kiwi A post shared by Leonie Morgenstern (@leonie.morgenstern) on Jan 11, 2018 at 2:25pm PST
Contrary to popular belief, kiwis are not from New Zealand. Baffling, we know.
The kiwifruit originates from China and up until the 1970s, it was known as the Chinese Gooseberry.
However, New Zealanders are known for their love of this fibrous emerald jewel of a fruit, so renamed it after their national bird.
A kiwi is a native, flightless, long-beaked bird in New Zealand. When farmers successfully cultivated kiwis on their New Zealand soil, they realized the brown furry fruit resembled a kiwi bird.
So now, New Zealanders’ national animal and favorite fruit share the same name.
China: Tea A post shared by Devika Saigal (@devika_saigal) on May 11, 2018 at 11:21pm PDT
Although tea is synonymous with the UK, it isn’t grown there. It has never been and unless global warming creates humid conditions north of the hemisphere, it never will be.
This may sound obvious to you, but recently one English tea lover became enraged to discover Yorkshire Tea wasn’t grown in Yorkshire in northern England.
A story in four acts #brexit pic.twitter.com/HxjYhRocOv
— Rita (@rewindthefilth) February 7, 2018
Tea doesn’t originate from India either. It was planted there during the British colonialization in the early 19th century to compete with China’s monopoly in tea farming.
It first came from China and was popularized during the 17th-century Shang dynasty.
It was the Chinese who also first added milk to the cup before pouring tea to prevent the fine bone china cups from breaking.
This is a tradition still applied around the world, although more for taste than protecting the crockery.
India: Cucumber A post shared by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Kellogg Garden (@kellogggarden) on Apr 12, 2018 at 7:50pm PDT
From cucumber sandwiches, slices of cucumber in your gin and tonic, and pickles in juicy burgers, the watery green fruit is often associated with British summer time.
But it’s India we need to be thanking for this delicious stick of goodness.
The Cucumis sativus was even mentioned in the Bible as a food eaten by the Israelites in Egypt.
It is believed the Romans brought cucumbers to Europe from India and they’ve been adorning the supermarket chiller cabinets ever since.
Why it’s important to know where your food comes from A post shared by GC (@thatlittlevoiceinmyhead) on Mar 15, 2018 at 10:32am PDT
Thanks to greenhouses, fertilizing products and pesticides, many of these foods can grow away from their natural habitats.
This means your food may not have traveled 6,000 miles to reach your dinner table, but it’s always worth checking the label to see.
As farmer and writer Wendell Berry said, “Every time you make a decision about food, you are farming by proxy.”
#NIGHTLIFE
Asia’s 50 best bars: ‘Shaken or stirred?’ While we cannot separate food’s role in culture and economy, we can try to understand its journey, origins, and ethics.
Download the Buycott app to discover the story of your food. Simply by scanning the barcode, the app can tell you where the food came from and how it arrived in front of you.
You can also make the effort to go local, organic and seasonal. Meaning the food you consume only has to travel up the road.
If you’ve got some spare time, why not cultivate your own vegetable patch, rear a few hens and maybe even keep a goat for fresh milk, and amusement?
Happy eating fellow foodies.
The post Do you know where your food comes from? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Taking pictures here could get you arrested

Posted by - May 11, 2018

THE Instagrammability of a destination is a key factor when booking a vacation, especially among the younger generation.
From Asia’s most Instagrammable beaches to the brunch dishes “breaking Instagram”, many people want to know their vacation snaps will give them bragging rights and at least 100-plus likes.
#RETREATS
Not convinced about wellness travel? Here’s what you need to know Scrolls and scrolls of beaches, cocktails, snowy mountain peaks, sunsets, tropical animals and cultural monuments line the Instagram-sphere.
But there are some places in the world where your snap-happy picture-taking addiction can get you in trouble.
Here are a few places in Asia we advise you to put your camera away and use your own peepers.
Taj Mahal A post shared by FLORIAN REICHELT (@florianreichelt) on May 6, 2018 at 9:48am PDT
Ever wondered why the only view you see of India’s Taj Mahal is from the outside?
Photography is entirely banned inside the Unesco World Heritage site.
Some tourists to this New Seven Wonders of the World site have said guards check to make sure you’re not sneaking a snap.
Others, however, said the chaos and sheer tourist numbers mean guards can’t check everyone.
Jiangsu National Security Education Museum A post shared by sp_hwa Republic of Korea (@sp_hwa) on May 10, 2018 at 1:44am PDT

On the east coast of China, in the bustling city of Nanjing, is the Jiangsu National Security Education Museum.
But don’t think about adding it to your itinerary, as only Chinese citizens are allowed in.
The museum contains spy information, equipment, papers and materials deemed too secretive for foreign eyes.
So it goes without saying, photography is a no-no.
Kumsusan Palace of the Sun A post shared by wanida (@wanidakok) on Oct 30, 2017 at 8:14am PDT
It wouldn’t be a list of forbidden photography locations if North Korea wasn’t on here.
Inside the Kumsusan Palace are relics of North Korea’s past, from old train carriages to cars and clothes to dead people.
Oh yes, the waxy preserved corpses of Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, the current leader Kim Jong Un’s father and grandfather.
Palace guards will check you from head to toe and visitors must pass through a dust machine to ensure they don’t contaminate the area.
Golden Gai A post shared by Jack Galli (@jackgalli88) on May 9, 2018 at 8:32am PDT
In the Shinjuku area of Tokyo in Japan, a network of narrow alleyways is illuminated with bar signs at night.
As many as 290 are based in the area, some so small only half a dozen people can fit inside – at a push.
Technically, tourists aren’t supposed to take photos of the area. But many believe this was a leftover prohibition from when prostitutes lined the streets.
#TRAVEL TRENDS
Could a Unesco title be the demise of Thailand’s Death Railway? Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park A post shared by Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (@seeuluru) on Oct 31, 2017 at 9:05pm PDT
In the Northern Territory of Australia is one of the nation’s most iconic landmarks, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
Within the park is spectacular Uluru, also known as Ayers Rocks.
Many people know Uluru was recently closed to climbers, but not many people know photography is banned in the park it sits in.
The park is owned by Anangu people who believe some sites are sacred and photography downgrades their culture.
Tourists are technically allowed to photograph the park but can not use them for commercial purposes.
Presidential Palace, Abu Dhabi A post shared by Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (@seeuluru) on Oct 31, 2017 at 9:05pm PDT
Tourists can’t even get close to this place and it can only be viewed from afar.
The laws are so strict around photographing the Presidential Palace that an Iranian tourist was sentenced to four months in jail for snapping away.
They’re not joking around.
The post Taking pictures here could get you arrested appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Voyager of the Seas returns to Singapore in time for the Indian holidays

Posted by - May 9, 2018

Voyager of the Seas, docked in Sydney Royal Caribbean International (RCI) has announced the return of Voyager of the Seas to Singapore to serve its longest-running programme yet.
Riding the waves of cruise holidays’ growing popularity, the ship’s return couldn’t have come at a better moment. Tirun, the exclusive Indian representative of Royal Caribbean International has announced the comeback of one of the most innovative cruise ships in Southeast Asia, the Voyager of the Seas.
From April 2018 to June 2019, the ship will be offering as many as 90 trips (with itineraries of 3 to 7 nights) from Singapore to popular regional destinations. It will be the ship’s longest-running Southeast Asian programme to date.
Commenting on the announcement, Ratna Chadha, chief executive of Tirun Travel Marketing said: “It gives us great pleasure to announce the return of Voyager of the Seas to Singapore. It is one of the most innovative ships from Royal Caribbean International’s fleet that has captured the imagination of cruise-goers from all over the world as well as India.”
https://www.royalcaribbean.com/content/dam/royal/content/ship/voyager-of-the-seas/overview/hero-video/voyager-sizzler-video-overview-hero.mp4/jcr:content/renditions/cq5dam.video.iehq-hero.mp4 The Indian holiday season is just around the corner. And with Singapore being one of the most preferred destinations of Indian cruise aficionados, the 15-deck Voyager of the Seas with a capacity of 4,269 guests is expected to receive a high footfall of travellers from the country. “It’s a big hit with Indian cruise lovers as the holiday season approaches”
Chadha added: “Aboard this ship, Indian cruise enthusiasts can expect innovative technology, award-winning entertainment and lip-smacking multi-cuisine including Indian dining options, apart from a chance to explore exotic destinations on one of the modern titans at sea. It’s a big hit with Indian cruise lovers as the holiday season approaches.”
Onboard are a variety of dining options including Café Promenade which is open for 24-hours, the Main Dining Room and Windjammer Café buffet restaurant which serve an array of international cuisine with a selection of Asian dishes. There are also specialty restaurants such as Chops Grille Steakhouse, the Giovanni’s Table Italian restaurant, Izumi for Asian cuisine and Johnny Rockets.
Finally, a cruise ship wouldn’t be complete without world-class entertainment activities. That said, the Voyager of the Seas offers the Royal Promenade, duty-free boutiques, an ice-skating rink, a full-sized sports court with a FlowRider surf simulator, and a rock-climbing wall. Moreover, there is a three-tier theatre with shows by DreamWorks Entertainment, which features famous characters such as Shrek and Fiona from the Shrek franchise, and Po of Kung Fu Panda in parades, character breakfasts and photo opportunities.

The first JW Marriott on a paradise island in the Maldives

Posted by - May 8, 2018

JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa – South Island View As part of its growing luxury portfolio, Marriott International has announced the opening of JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa on the island of Vagaru in Shaviyani Atoll in Q4 of this year.
From West Africa to the Maldives, Marriott International has been making waves in the global hospitality scene. With a steady rise in its footprint around the world, the hotel chain now comes to an island paradise. Created with international travellers in mind, the luxury resort will offer some of the largest entry category villas, featuring 61 beach and overwater villas, ranging from 234 square metres to 638 square metres, each with its own private pool.
Commenting on the opening, general manager of the JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa, Marc Gussing said: “We’re very excited to be opening the JW Marriott’s first property here in the Maldives. We look forward to welcoming guests to the JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa, delivering on our brand values and exceeding their expectations, whilst being a part of crafting lifelong unforgettable memories.”
Overwater Villa Interior The perfect tropical vacation won’t be complete without some serious eats and drinks to satisfy one’s taste buds. So, for its restaurants and bars, the hotel promises a ‘gastronome’s dream’ with five distinct outlets, three full-service bars, an interactive wine room, in-villa and destination dining options and specialist cigar and shisha venues.
The mouth watering establishments include Furamas, providing Japanese Teppanyaki and delicacies; Lonu, offering prime meat cuts and fresh crustacean; Rum Bar & Kitchen, serving over 100 kinds of rum and refined Thai street food; Raha, providing hearty and wholesome Italian flavours with wood-fired pizzas, and finally Kaage, an all-day dining venue, serving international favourites from across the globe.
The Raha, which serves wood-fired pizzas and Italian cuisine Relaxation on the property will come easy as the resort puts comfort and privacy on top of their checklist. Amenities on the property include a signature Spa by JW with treatments specifically designed by experts and come complete with spa products. In addition, there will be a resident Yogi and fitness instructor that will ensure a healthy state of balance for guests. And, providing something for every interest, the resort has a library for bookworms, professional diving and water sports for the adventurer, boutiques for the shopaholic and Lounge 18, for those who simply want to chill out.
The JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa is a 55-minute seaplane flight from Velana International Airport and it will open just before the year ends.

Fleet expansion helps push Vietjet to USD60 million profit in first quarter of 2018

Posted by - May 8, 2018

The Airbus A321neo Following the arrival of its first new Airbus A321neo in January, VietJet has released its first financial statement of 2018, which displays a massive year-on-year increase of 146%, resulting in a net profit of USD 60 milion.
Fleet expansion was at the heart of this incredible growth with new aircraft — complemented by new international routes to destinations such as India Japan, Australia, and South Korea – raising transport revenue up to VND6,035 billion (USD265 million), a growth of 52% compared with the first quarter in 2017, 10% higher than VietJet’s target.
VietJet currently maintains a fleet of 55 planes comprised of 24 Airbus A320-200s; 30 Airbus A321-200s, with seven on order and one Airbus A321neo, with 72 on order.
The airline also has 100 Boeing 737 MAX 200 (worth USD 11.3 billion), the biggest order of its kind in the Vietnam’s history, slated to arrive between 2019 and 2023.
Discussing the importance of VietJet’s relationship with Airbus earlier this year, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao (above), VietJet president and CEO said: “The A320 family aircraft has greatly contributed to VietJet’s impressive operating performance with the airline’s technical reliability rate standing at 99.6 percent in 2017.
“The aircraft has also helped us maintain some of the lowest operating costs in the airline world.
“The upgraded A321neo deal emphasises VietJet’s ceaseless efforts to modernize our fleet. We believe that the technical reliability rate and other operation and safety indexes will continue to increase in order to bring maximum comfort, joy and safety to our passengers.”

VietJet’s core business profit increased to nearly VND737 billion (USD32 million), a 74% jump on 2017’s figure, while ancillary revenue leapt 64 %to VND1, 825 billion (USD80 million).
The eye-catching revenue growth added to the company’s gross profit of VND1, 810 billion (USD79 million), an uptick of 135% year-on-year. At the same time, sales and management costs grew at a slower rate against revenue growth. This all adds up to a net profit of VND1, 366 billion (USD60 million), a 263% increase on last year.
The current positive state of Vietnam’s economy, coupled with the government’s continued promotion of the country’s tourism sector, alongside VietJet’s well thought out expansion, means the airline is in a great position to achieve its vision of being a major multi-national player competing on a global scale.

Streamlining communication with customers in the fiercely competitive OTA sector

Posted by - May 7, 2018

TripAdvisor and TUI are set to reveal promising results for the second quarter against a backdrop of fierce competition. TripAdvisor will announce its results tomorrow (8 May), and is expected to see an increase in growth compared to the same quarter last year. TUI announces its figures a day later after a good start to the year, with turnover increased by 9% to €3.58 billion.
Following the ongoing success of their hotel segments, both online travel agents (OTAs) have been going head-to-head with industry goliaths to hold the top spot in the tough online travel booking sector.
To add to the competition, Amazon is set to disrupt the space, placing further pressure on key players to increase market share. The stakes in the battle for customers are sky-high. But TripAdvisor and TUI can maintain a competitive edge by streamlining communication with customers in real-time, said Bhupender Singh, CEO at Intelenet Global Services.
Intelenet is an outsourcing business backed by The Blackstone Group, which has 55,000 staff spread across 70 office. The company provides tech in various sectors including contact centres, finance and accounting, human resources and security and compliance.
“Customers will not be afraid to air their discontent on social media”
Singh said: “With the summer travel period approaching, there will be an influx of customers looking to book the perfect holiday. If their expectations are not met, customers will not be afraid to air their discontent on social media platforms or look elsewhere.
“When something goes wrong with a booking, a delayed response from the OTA adds fuel to the fire. One of the biggest challenges for OTAs is manually inputting fees, property and booking information, including promotional rates and daily changes to availability. This slows down responses and can result in human errors, leading to false rates for customers and retail losses for the business.
Singh noted the application of APIs and scraping software that can minimise these errors. He continued: “For instance, if a £400 hotel rate is mistakenly entered as £40, the travel service provider will likely honour the advertised rate, which risks hurting profits. Alternatively, if the rate is not honoured, the provider risks their reputation.
“To combat this, OTAs can utilise technology that automatically reads data off any source and processes business rules, reducing manual errors by 90%. Utilising innovative technologies is a win-win situation for both customers and OTAs – customer requests are processed in a more accurate and efficient manner, resulting in a great experience that makes them eager to return.”

Can you relate to these Asia-Pacific travelers’ hotel habits?

Posted by - May 4, 2018

ASIA-PACIFIC travelers are among the most well-traveled globally.
In fact, the travel industry will see an increased share of tourism from the Asia-Pacific as more of these travelers take to the skies, roads, and seas across regions. According to Sabre, four out of five Asian travelers say that travel is no longer a luxury for them – it’s a necessity.
#TRAVEL FAILS
Chinese tourists behaving badly: What is being done? According to Expedia‘s 2018 Global Flight & Hotel Etiquette study, Thailand topped the list with its travelers boarding an average of 10.1 flights in the past year, followed by Japan with an average of 9.1 flights and India with an average of 7.6 flights.
The frequency of air travel among Asia-Pacific travelers is also significantly higher than travelers from the US – who only flew an average of 4.8 times in the past year, as well as travelers from Europe.
Whether new or well-seasoned, people in Asia-Pacific generally travel more frequently by air than their counterparts from Europe, North America, and Latin America. But their hotel etiquette habits still differ significantly when contrasting travel behaviors across various Asia-Pacific markets, perhaps due to Asia-Pacific being an extremely diverse region.
Here’s a look at the 10 defining habits of Asia-Pacific travelers in terms of their hotel etiquette:
Australia This group of travelers is most likely to make full use of the toiletries provided by the hotel.
73 percent of Australian travelers shared that they currently do so, followed by 72 percent of travelers from Malaysia who do the same.
Source: Shutterstock.
Hong Kong They’re the most sensitive to dirty or foul-smelling hotel rooms.
90 percent of Hong Kong travelers will likely ask for a change of rooms should they find it dirty or unpleasing to them.
Source: Giphy.
India Surprisingly, Indian travelers are most likely to have flings and meet strangers from the internet in their hotel rooms.
21 percent of Indian travelers admitted that they have done either, and in greater numbers compared to travelers from the other Asia-Pacific markets.
Source: Shutterstock.
Japan These East Asians are most likely to book big chain hotels, with 83 percent of Japanese travelers choosing chain hotels as their top choices.
In contrast, Singaporean travelers tend to like boutique hotels better, with 69 percent of travelers preferring this option.
Source: Giphy.
Malaysia Malaysians are most cost-conscious when it comes to selecting a hotel.
74 percent of Malaysian travelers said cost was a “very important” factor when choosing a hotel, ahead of travelers from Singapore and South Korea with 70 percent and 68 percent of travelers agreeing with this.
Source: Shutterstock.
New Zealand This other group of travelers from Down Under finds noisy neighbors most problematic.
63 percent are likely to ask for a change of rooms when they encounter such neighbors, ahead of the 55 percent of travelers from Australia and Thailand who would do the same.
Source: Giphy.
Singapore Singaporean travelers are the most Wi-Fi obsessed travelers in Asia-Pacific and the third most Wi-Fi obsessed travelers in the world behind Brazil (83 percent) and USA (82 percent).
80 percent of Singapore travelers chose Wi-Fi as a “very important” hotel amenity, followed by Malaysian travelers with 76 percent and Hong Kong travelers with 74 percent doing the same.
Source: Shutterstock.
Taiwan Parents, hold on tight to your children as Taiwanese travelers tend to be annoyed by inattentive parents at hotels, and 62 percent of Taiwanese travelers agree on this point.
In contrast, only 50 percent of Hong Kong travelers find inattentive parents annoying, while 50 percent of South Korean travelers chose in-room revelers as the most annoying guests at a hotel.
Source: Giphy.
South Korea South Koreans topped the list as the group of travelers that are most likely to book hotel rooms for being intimate.
50 percent of South Korean travelers have booked a room specifically for intimacy, way ahead of American travelers who came in second with 30 percent of travelers who would do the same.
Source: Shutterstock.
Thailand The Thais are among the savviest when it comes to booking flight and hotel packages.
In fact, 36 percent of Thai travelers would simultaneously book a flight and hotel travel package, ahead of markets such as Hong Kong and South Korea, with 30 percent and 26 percent of travelers who would do the same respectively.
Source: Giphy.
The post Can you relate to these Asia-Pacific travelers’ hotel habits? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

India’s most enchanting Airbnbs

Posted by - May 4, 2018

INDIA is a country oozing with vibrant culture, rich history, irresistible cuisine, stunning natural beauty, and brilliant wildlife.
It’s a must-see for every adventurous traveler, and visitors needed worry about where to stay.
#BEACHES
Have you visited Asia Pacific’s most Instagrammed beaches? All the uniqueness of the nation is reflected in the architecture of India, from mountaintop chalets to palaces and colonial-style properties to beachfront huts.
In the wake of 350-year-old Nossa Bela Casa bungalow in Goa opening its doors to the world, we’ve compiled some of India’s most incredible Airbnbs.
Source: Nossa Bela Casa / Facebook
From kooky budget properties to grand residences, here’s where you should stay on your next Indian adventure.
Lake View Room – Hauz Khas Village: Source: Airbnb
The private penthouse cottage-style apartment offers guests a taste of wilderness but remains close to the hustle and bustle of New Delhi.
The views of the lake, white-washed and fairy-light-adorned walls, and flowing flora give this property a rustic-chic feel.
Price per night: US$60 Where: New Dehli Two guests, one bathroom, air-conditioned and Indian breakfast included. Junoon in the Hills: Source: Airbnb
Looking for the perfect family vacation property? Junoon in the Hills in Uttarakhand is the perfect mountaintop retreat for the whole gang.
In the remote village in the Kumaon hills, this European-styled villa boasts 11 bedrooms, spectacular views, a games room, impeccably kept gardens and fantastic hiking trails moments away.
Price per night: US$650 Where: Kumaon Hills Highlights: 11 Bedrooms, air-conditioning, gym, WiFi, games room, breakfast included. Tree House with Jungle view: Source: Airbnb
Up in the canopies of Kerela sit these magnificent treehouses. Built on stilts, each room looks out over lush flora and fauna.
Guests may spot the rare lion-tailed Macaque, while royal Bengal tigers and elephants have been known to wander the area.
Try your hand at fishing on the banks of the serene Kalindi river. Or simply relax in the treetops.
The hosts suggest visiting in rainy seasons to see the best of the surrounding beauty.
Price per night: US$53 Where: Wayanad, Kerela Highlights: one bedroom, two guests, bathroom, indoor fireplace, amazing views, tribal interactions, authentic food. Rosie’s Retreat Homestay: Source: Airbnb
On the banks of Lake Pichola in Udaipur, the 1920s-inspired guesthouse welcomes guests with its quaint features and traditional Indian fittings.
From the mandala pillows to the old-style paintings of Indian gods and the quirky antiques to the colored glass windows, this property is exceptionally Instagrammable.
Price per night: US$56 Where: Udaipur Highlights: two guests, one bedroom, bathroom, daily cleaning, tranquil lake setting, an abundance of quirky features. #TRAVEL HACKS
Get to grips with India’s new “relocation” visa process **Dear Zindagi** villa:
In the Aguada Fort area of Goa, the Portuguese colonial-style villa is close to the ocean and offers complete serenity.
Once used as a Portuguese clubhouse, the property has been rebuilt to suit families or group of friends vacationing.
The high ceilings, relaxing outdoor spaces, private pool and beautiful interior transport guests back to a simpler time.
Price per night: US$142 Where: Aguada Fort, Goa Highlights: 10 guests, five bedrooms, five bathrooms, set in a historic area with plenty to do, private pool, breakfast included. Steinthal Suite at Singtom Tea Estate & Resort: Source: Airbnb
Tea lovers can indulge their thirst-quenching habits at this stunning colonial-style property in the Singtom Hills, Darjeeling.
The Singtom Tea Estate and Resort is the area’s third oldest tea farm and the bungalow dates back to 1862.
Experience the freshest tea surrounded by natural beauty, Buddha-centric decor, age-old fireplaces and local people.
Price per night: US$89 Where: Darjeeling Highlights: three guests per room, breakfast, picnic tours, tea picking, ultimate tranquility. Karikkathi – Private Beach House: Source: Airbnb
The private beach house comes with a personal chef, wait staff, and maids.
The tranquility is perfect for couples or those wanting to finish off a novella. If the sea isn’t your cup of tea, you can scoot next door to the luxury Niraamaya Surya Samudra hotel to use its swimming pool and bar facilities.
Price per night: US$149 Where: Kovalam, Kerala Highlights: four guests, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, private beach, seclusion, pristine waters, away from the crowds. The post India’s most enchanting Airbnbs appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Lords Hotels & Resorts to launch its fifth hotel in Nepal

Posted by - May 3, 2018

Lords Resort Thrissur (a unit of Cheruthuruthy Eco gardens), Kerala Lords Hotels & Resorts, an independent Indian hotel chain announced its plans to build its fifth hotel in Nepal by the end of May 2018.
From budget inns to luxury resorts, Lords Hotels & Resorts owns and manages 26 hotels in various destinations in India and Nepal. The brand is part of India’s growing mid-market hotel chains and it caters to tourists coming in the region.
By the end of May, the hotel chain will start building its fifth property in Nepal which will be introduced as Kalptaru Lords Inn in the city of Nepalgunj. The 7-storey hotel will feature 77 rooms including 5 premium suites and one presidential suite.
“The destination holds great promise for tourism to flourish and we aim to capture the market”
“It is with pleasure that we inform about our new sign up of Kalptaru Lords Inn Nepalgunj. The Terai plains of Nepalgunj are famous for the exciting treks to the Dolpo plateau and Jumla region, and it also serves as a major transport hub of the country and various attractions in the place. The destination holds great promise for tourism to flourish and we aim to capture the market in its nascent stage,” said P R Bansal, COO, Lords Hotels & Resorts.
Kalptaru Lords Inn will host a multi-cuisine restaurant called L Café, and to help promote the area as a MICE hub, it will offer a conference and banquet facility with open-air lawn, designed for holding large events.
Lords Eco Inn, Porbandar “In the anvil is another signature restaurant called ‘Blue Coriander’ and ‘Distil Lounge Bar’ to spice up the local food offerings. Close on the heels we will be developing a 1,115-square-metre pillar-less banquet hall in the conjoined block which will host a fully equipped gym, a large swimming pool, an authentic spa and multiple hangout alfresco areas,” said Rishi Puri, vice president, Lords Hotels & Resorts.
Lords Hotels & Resorts is also expected to launch a resort in Budhanilkantha and two other hotel properties in Birjung and in Bhaktapur.

What they don’t tell you about the air in India

Posted by - May 3, 2018

IN 2014, Indian capital New Delhi was ranked the most polluted city in the world by World Health Organization (WHO). Two years later, the city recorded its highest pollution level in six years.
Although WHO’s latest report indicates that New Delhi is no longer the most polluted city in the world, India has other things to worry about.
#EXPERIENCES
India: Beyond the gaze of the media But the country now has 14 out of the 15 most polluted cities in the world in terms of PM 2.5 concentrations.
What is PM2.5 and why should you care? PM2.5 refers to atmospheric particulate matter (PM) that have a diameter of fewer than 2.5 micrometers, which is about 3 percent the diameter of a human hair.
Particles in this category are so small that they can only be detected with an electron microscope.
Because these particles are so small and light, they tend to stay longer in the air than heavier particles. This increases the chances of humans and animals inhaling them.
They are also able to bypass the nose and throat and penetrate deep into the lungs and also the circulatory system.
xposure to these particles can trigger or worsen chronic diseases such as asthma, heart attack, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems, as well as premature death from heart and lung diseases.
A pedestrian walking on the foggy road in India. Source: Shutterstock.
WHO’s global air pollution database studied over 4,000 cities in 100 countries.
The release found that the worst hit city in terms of bad air quality is Kanpur, a large industrial city on the banks of the Ganges River. Kanpur’s PM 2.5 annual average was 173 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3) – three times the national safe level at 60ug/m3.
Here are the Indian cities in the top 15 by ranking:
Kanpur Faridabad Varanasi Gaya Patna Delhi Lucknow Agra Muzaffarpur Srinagar Gurgaon Jaipur Patiala Jodhpur The 15th city is Kuwait.
In November 2017, New Delhi residents posted pictures and videos on social media of bad visibility due to pollution. In some places, it had decreased to just a few feet.
India’s poor air quality has not only affected traffic conditions and flights, but also the country’s pride and joy, the Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal has turned from white to yellow, to brown and green. Source: Shutterstock.
The iconic Unesco World Heritage Site’s white marble walls are reportedly turning brown and green due to harmful pollutants in the air.
Is it irreversible? There was a time when Beijing was accounted for similarly alarming levels of air pollution. The Chinese city is now ranked 46th.
The Indian Medical Association previously likened breathing the air in India to smoking 50 cigarettes a day, but it’s not too late to turn that around.
Currently, anti-pollution measures such as taxing trucks passing through New Delhi, limiting car use, and banning firecrackers are in place.
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India’s full charge into electric vehicles Also, Bangalore-based Ola, an online transportation network company, plans to roll out 10,000 electric three-wheeled rickshaws and a million battery-powered vehicles in three years.
A move that may help lower air pollution levels.
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