New post on my trip to the famed opium-producing triple border of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. I visit all three in one wild day. Click here to read about it.
The Destination Luxury Awards are the brainchild of Destination Deluxe, a travel and wellness publication that picks and recognizes the top hotels, spas, treatment, skincare and wellness brands in the world. This is the inaugural edition for the awards.
There are 28 categories for the awards. The winners are chosen by a group of distinguished industry experts based on quality, transparency and originality. There are three ranked winners for each category.
Song Saa Private Island is the top awardee in the Eco-Hotel of the Year category. Soneva Fushi in Maldives and Morgan’s Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge in Nicaragua are also on the list.
The Khmer Tonic Spa in Shinta Mani Wild is number one in the Eco-Spa of the Year category. The others in the list are Fivelements Retreat Bali in Indonesia and FieldSpa GoldenEye in Jamaica.
Shinta Mani Wild itself is the runner-up in the New Hotel of the Year and Hotel Design of the Year awards.
“It is both an honour and very humbling that Bensley Collection-Shinta Mani Wild has been the recipient of ten awards in its first year of operation and a tribute to the GM and his team for their dedication, commitment and hard work on a daily basis,” Bill Bensley, the world-renowned designer behind Shinta Mani Wild, said.
“Shinta Mani Wild has an important eco and sustainability message, especially with our Wildlife Alliance partnership and their daily patrols to protect the forest and its inhabitants. These awards also bring much-needed awareness to the work we do in this regard,” he added.
The two Cambodian luxury destinations have reaped numerous international awards between them in recent years.
Shinta Mani Wild, which sits on 160 hectares of land between the Cardamon, Bokor and Kirirom national parks, said that it “provides the highest level of luxury while also working to protect the environment around it”. It opened two years ago.
Last year, it was included in the National Geographic Traveller (UK) Big Sleep Awards 2019, Time magazine’s “100 Greatest Destinations on Earth”, Condé Nast Traveller (UK) Hot List 2019, Harper’s Bazaar Ultimate Travel Guide 2019 (UK) : 100 Greatest Experiences in The World, among other recognitions. Located in Preah Sihanouk province, Song Saa Private Island is an ultra-exclusive and luxury getaway said to be frequented by some of the richest and most famous people in the world.
Last month, Luxury Travel Intelligence named it as among the “top 10 best luxury hotels built this decade”.
“Seeing all the images of fires on television and social media is not going to help, it puts a dent in Australia’s reputation as a safe tourist destination,” said Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital.
“It’s come at a time when the economy was already fragile,” he added, ranking tourism as Australia’s fourth biggest export whose strength officials had been counting on to help offset a domestic reluctance to spend.
Bushfires burning for weeks near the world heritage site of the Blue Mountains west of Sydney in the southeastern state of New South Wales have driven away tourists.
As visitors take to social media to warn others to steer clear, the number of busloads of tourists each day has fallen to about four from 15 or 20, said Stacey Reynolds, a receptionist at the Blue Mountains Backpacker Hostel in Katoomba.
“They told people not to come in and it’s affected everything, from restaurants to motels to backpackers to cafes,” she added. “The streets are empty.”
Although there is no published nationwide data on tourism since the fires took hold in late spring, Australia attracted 2.71 million holiday makers last summer, up 3.2% from the previous year, as many fled the northern hemisphere winter.
Hotels in the largest city of Sydney saw a fall of 10% in guest numbers in December, the Accommodation Association of Australia said.
Scenic World was open, but the hotels around the area are having more cancellations than bookings, she said.
Government agency Tourism Australia, which released a new advertisement last month to lure Britons to beautiful beaches and stunning scenery, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The scorching temperatures and bushfires, which have also burnt vineyards in South Australia and warmed the usually cool island state of Tasmania, will hit the sector hard, said Judith Mair, who studies tourism, environment and consumer behavior.
“It will be in stages – immediately with evacuations, dislocations and cancellations, but also in the longer term, because tourists buy holidays based on the image of a destination and Australia’s is being badly affected,” said Mair, a professor at the University of Queensland Business School.
Hundreds of national parks in the southeastern states of New South Wales and Victoria, thronged by 100 million visitors a year, have closed.
With fires burning nearby, Christopher Warren, co-proprietor of a bed and breakfast in Kangaroo Valley in New South Wales, said he had to evacuate his guests.
“The worst-case scenario is that we would be hit by a fire and our business would be destroyed,” said Warren, who saw the best case as a loss of income exceeding A$80,000 ($56,048), through the disruption of three of his busiest months.
Paul Mackie, who uses AirBnB to rent out an apartment on Sydney’s Bondi Beach to British and European tourists in the peak summer holiday period was hit by last-minute cancellations.
“I had bookings for the whole of this period going for the next couple of months, but a lot have cancelled because they said they saw the news of the fires,” Mackie added.
AirBnB declined to comment.
A Sydney airport spokesman said it did not have recent statistics on whether the fires were hitting arrival. A Qantas spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the wildfires had hurt bookings.
The fires have spotlighted Australia’s environment policies, criticized most recently at a U.N. summit in Madrid, said Susanne Becken, a professor of sustainable tourism at Griffith University in Queensland.
“The government’s response to the climate crisis does not bode well…and this is not good for tourism,”
I stayed at km 35 and always felt comfortable but as soon as I ventured beyond Pakxong, the temperate spiked and it was really hot.
At that time of the year, many people can’t sleep because of the hot weather. Residents of large towns such as Vientiane and Pakxe have to use air conditioning to help them sleep.
But in Pakxong there is no need to use an artificial cooling device and Mother Nature will ensure you remain comfortable. The fresh air that surrounds you throughout the night will keep you refreshed so you don’t wake up feeling exhausted.
Some Thai visitors have been known to say they don’t need to go to Europe to enjoy a cool climate but can come to Pakxong district instead.
I don’t know if things are still the same in Pakxong because I haven’t been there for 15 years. But some people who have spent time in this beautiful area recently tell me that it’s as pleasing as ever.
The Bolaven Plateau runs through Champassak province’s Pakxong district, Saravan province’s Lao-ngam, and Xekong province’s Thataeng district, and boasts a wealth of scenic beauty.
Some of the most dramatic waterfalls in Champassak are Nheuang, Fan, Phasuam, Nong Luang and Champee Nang Sida.
There are also three more waterfalls of note in Saravan province, namely Lo, Hang and Xeset, and then there is the Sinouk Resort in Xekong province, which are all very popular with both local and foreign visitors.
The Bolaven Plateau is set to be developed as the country’s top agri-business and agri-tourism destination thanks to its year round temperate climate and picturesque landscape.
When visiting Champassak province over the past few years, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has advised officials to seek more investment from domestic and overseas sources so that the coffee industry can be further developed and other crops can be cultivated on the Bolaven Plateau and nearby.
From Vientiane, tourists can reach Champassak by either road or air transport. And thanks to shared borders with Thailand and Cambodia, there are close tourist links with both those countries.
The local food is another attraction, with a wide variety of dishes on offer that will satisfy all palates. Set a date for a visit soon!
Source – Vientiane Times
The Chi Lang Temple is currently being built by the lake as a spiritual
and cultural complex to cherish the historical values of Chi Lang.
indefinitely to allow the tourist-magnet some much-needed time to
recover, it’s time to look for another natural wonder.
is the Ang Thong National Marine Park, located about 40 kilometers north
west of the coast of Koh Samui. Some would argue it’s even more
spectacular and worthy of at least a full day visit.
Marine Park is made up of 42 islands spread over 102 square kilometers. Travelers will find beautiful beaches, limestone cliffs, caves, rock
formations and countless photo opportunities. Enjoy some views from the
Thani mainland or from Koh Samui by speedboat. There are slower
ferry-style boat trips as well but you’ll lose a lot of time travelling
there (usually for day trips) and the speedboats can get into much
Phaluai, the park’s biggest island, where there’s a popular stilted
restaurant in the island’s fishing village, serving a delicious seafood
famed for wildlife spotting and what might just be the most beautiful
viewpoint in the entire park.
the 2000 movie “The Beach,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was filmed in
Koh Phi Phi’s Maya Bay in the Andaman Sea, the book by Alex Garland upon
which the film was based was actually set in Ang Thong in the Gulf of