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Can You Go To Bed Knowing That You’re Surrounded by Lions?

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Image credit: Airbnb

You may have travelled the world, climbed several peaks and dived into the deep blue sea, but have you spent the night in close proximity to lions?

Lion House is an Airbnb located in South Africa’s GG Conservation Wildlife reserve. The world famous conservation and wildlife reserve is a lion sanctuary that is home to over 70 magnificent lions. Guests will have the opportunity to sleep just a few feet away from the host lions that live in the sanctuary.

Lion House is a 3 bedroom, self contained cottage, and it is said that you will never be more than 5 metres away from a lion during your stay there. The accommodation costs approximately US$107 per night.

According to the accommodation host and conservation director, being surrounded by 360 degrees of lions can actually create a “surround sound” of roars.

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Image credit: Airbnb

Although it may sound intimidating to be sleeping alongside some big cats, you should be comforted to know that the house has an electric fence for some extra security. The strong fencing meets all standards of the South Africa Nature Conservation for captive predators.

At the accommodation, guests will find double beds in every room alongside a beautiful outdoor patio complete with an outdoor barbeque and an excellent view of the resident lions, which are known to come very close to the house. You can even cook your own meals in the full kitchen, or simply relax the night away by the fireplace. To put things into perspective, the lions can be observed as close as 10 feet away from the property.

Guests will also be escorted in and out of the property as they have to drive through a lion camp that has double security gates to enter and exit the property.

With the cottage located on the conservation land, guests can get out and about to explore the natural sights along the hiking paths. If you’re in luck, you might even spot other resident animals such as zebras, ostriches, wildebeests and antelopes, just to name a few.

The booking fees of the accommodation will go towards the conservation which helps to support and protect the lions living in the sanctuary. For more information on the Lion House, you can visit the booking page on Airbnb.

Japan now has a new Tourist Tax

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Off to Japan to see the beautiful cherry blossoms or cruise around Japan on a Mario Kart? Japan is bound to give you a warm welcome and an amazing time, but get ready to pay up on your way back home.

Japan will be implementing an ‘International Tourist Tax’ or ‘Sayonara tax’ on international travellers as they leave the country.

On the airlines and cruise tickets, the companies will be charging extra tax and will be giving it to the Japanese Government. The tax will be around 1,000 yen or US$9, per person.

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Though not everyone has to pay for the tax. Those exempted from the tax are airline crew members, travellers who are only in Japan for less than 24 hours, cruise passengers who are stranded due to weather or other valid causes, people being deported, children under the age 2, diplomats, U.S. and United Nations armed forces personnel.

Also, as the 2020 Summer Olympics approaches, which will be held in Tokyo, the new tax will be able to generate more revenue. The tax would be directed towards the tourism infrastructure to create a more comfortable and stress-free tourist destination for tourists.

These Popular Destinations Just Got More Affordable in 2019

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Kayak, the fare aggregator and travel metasearch engine has recently released its 2019 Travel Hacker Guide and a list of information ranging from the best times to book flights and hotels to trending destinations and budget-friendly trips. Don’t be under the impression that a “budget-friendly” trip would mean a sub-standard vacation, you’ll be delighted to find that these trips will still make you feel great and promise an experience like no other.

In order to compile these destinations, Kayak has analysed over 1.5 billion annual travel searches and took into consideration flight and hotel prices to narrow down on the top cities to visit on a budget this year. Denver, Colorado topped the list this year.

According to the research done by Kayak, travels and stays in Denver this 2019 may be approximately 55% less expensive than what the average trip might have cost in 2018. During your stay in the city, Kayak recommends that you can browse through exhibits at MCA Denver (tickets will only cost you US$8 each). Make the most out of your trip by chilling out at the rooftop cafe and take in the city views for free. In order to secure the best deal, it is recommended that travellers book their flights approximately a month in advance. When it comes to accomodations, consider spending a few nights at the Hilton Denver City Center which is available at an attractive price and has a superb 8.7 rating.

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Alternatively, consider visiting Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, where travellers will most likely save up to 54% on trips here. Budget-friendly activities include spending time at the beach (which is free) or perhaps taking a hike at Myrtle Beach State Park which will only cost you US$5 for admission.

Other destinations on the list include Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Boston, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Houston and Fort Myers.

You Can Now Zip Line Over the Las Vegas Strip

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Image credit: Caesars Palace

Adrenaline junkies, this one’s for you! There is now a brand new experience for you thrill-seekers out there.

FLY LINQ is a new attraction at the LINQ Promenade and it is also the first (and only) zip line on the Las Vegas strip. This ride has officially opened on 1st January, with a special superheroes-themed display.

This brand new US$20 million attraction was opened by ten fliers who were dressed in FLY LINQ-branded superhero costumes. They soared above The LINQ Promenade across the strip from Caesars Palace accompanied by colourful confetti cannons.

Featuring 10 side-by-side zip lines (which can be used simultaneously), FLY LINQ is the newest attraction from High Roller, which happens to be the world’s tallest observation wheel.

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Image credit: Caesars Palace

Fliers are launched from a 114-foot tower (approximately 14 floors) to another 54-foot landing tower (approximately 5 floors) across the promenade, traversing a distance of approximately 1,121 feet. You can choose to either fly seated or in a “superhero” position, just like Superman. Guests should take note that you’ll need to be if a minimum weight of 60 pounds.

Zooming across at an average speed of 35 miles/hour, each ride will take approximately 35 to 45 seconds.

The zip line runs daily from 11:30am in the morning, however ticket prices may vary depending on what time of the day you wish to fly. In the day, seated fliers pay US$25 while “superhero” passengers pay US$35. At night however, prices go up to around US$30 and US$40 depending on your flight position of choice.

You can visit the Caesars Palace website for more information and ticket reservations.

Catch a Glimpse of the Solar Eclipse in South America

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Are you travelling to South America this July? You’ll be excited to know that your trip will be extra memorable with the solar eclipse that is happening on 2nd July and will be visible in both Argentina and Chile.

Fun fact: a total solar eclipse is visible from a location on Earth approximately every year and a half. “The path of totality” is identified as the best for viewing any eclipse, and this refers to the centre of the path where the full effect of the eclipse can be seen. The more your deviate from the truth path of totality, you will find the total eclipse becoming a partial eclipse. As for the 2019 eclipse, the path of totality will be crossing a section of land across central Chile and Argentina.

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You will find that the total eclipse will be visible just outside of Buenos Aires, which happens to be the most populated area along the path of totality and will be equally crowded as well. Over at Chile, the eclipse will be passing over Elqui Valley. Known for its clear skies and high elevation, the area is a popular stargazing spot and was declared as the the world’s first International Dark Sky Sanctuary.

There are also tours bringing you out to Chile’s Atacama and Coquimbo regions, or various areas in Argentina to catch the eclipse. A number of tours boast experts and eclipse chasers while others bundle in other aspects of South American culture such as wine and hiking.

As a gentle reminder by NASA, travellers should check the weather conditions and forecast prior to the eclipse and select a spot that is most likely to have a cloud-free sky during the eclipse.

What Do You Think About Running An Island Inn Off the Coast of San Francisco?

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The East Brother Light Station is a lighthouse located on East Brother Island in San Rafael, near the tip of Point San Pablo in Richmond, California. This small island that is located off the coast of San Francisco has an opening that is offering a US$130,000 annual salary.

Apart from the lighthouse, the island is also home to a small inn that only operates for four days a week. Since current innkeepers Che Rodgers and Jillian Meeker are giving up their roles, they have been actively seeking successors to take their place.

The remuneration may sound attractive, but applicants should also note that it comes with a fair amount of work: housekeeping, bookkeeping, tending the front desk and ferrying guests to and from the island. In other words, applicants will find themselves running operations of the bed and breakfast. Since the island is rather isolated, applicants will not have access to television or Wi-Fi as well.

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In order to be considered for the position, the applicant must be a couple and one of them must possess a Coast Guard commercial boat operator’s license. You should also note that those with impressive culinary experience and capability will be a critical point for consideration. Successful candidates will find themselves beginning work in mid-April 2019.

The new keepers to the inn will get both room and board and enter into a revenue sharing model which amounts to approximately US$130,000 each year. Of course, the salary could possibly go higher if the new keepers excel in marketing to property.

Interested candidates can download the application here.

Take a Trip to Kazakhstan’s Lake Kaindy

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Somewhere in the forests of the Tian Shan Mountains in Kazakhstan lies the beautiful Lake Kaindy. Visitors can visit the lake and take a swim in this surreal underwater world.

The freshwater lake was created by an earthquake back in 1911 and is currently home to a variety of fir trees that stem out from its waters. That’s not all because divers will be excited to hear that they can take a dive into the waters of Lake Kaindy to explore an entire forest sunken beneath its clear waters.

As a result of the earthquake, a natural dam was created and was gradually filled up with rainwater over time. Trees that were damaged during the earthquake were then left submerged in the water.

The fir trees stand tall as they jut out of the depths of the after. However what is most impressive is that these trees still maintain needles on their branches more than a hundred years later. This is a result of the cool temperatures in the water since they are located at an elevation of more than 6,500 feet above sea level.

Diving enthusiasts will be able to explore an underwater oasis that is home to lush forest remnants. For those who are not so keen on diving, you’ll also be able to look into the depths of the lake all the same thanks to the clear mountain waters.

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There are also a variety of minerals (such as lime) that have built up underwater over time and these minerals are responsible for the lake’s vibrant colours. The colours shift from turquoise t emerald green depending on the available sunlight.

Lake Kaindy is 13,120 foot long and is situated approximately nine miles from the well-known Kolsai Lakes. It is recommended to visit the lake from late spring to early fall as you will also be able to admire the flora and fauna in the surround landscape.

Tourists flee resort islands of Thailand due to tropical storm Pabuk

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With rain already pouring around the Gulf of Thailand and is expecting torrential downpours, locals and tourists are being urged to prepare and evacuate the 16 provinces Tropical Storm Pabuk is expected to make landfall.

Thousands of tourists have fled many of the Thai resort islands such as Koh Tao and Koh Phangan as it foresees a dangerous combination of heavy rain, wind and 22-feet waves. Tourists were advised to evacuate the resort islands since Wednesday, with ferries back to the Thai mainland fully booked.

Despite the tens of thousands of tourists leaving the islands, a few still stayed on the islands to brave the storms.

Pabuk will be southern Thailand’s first tropical storm in 30 years, outside the monsoon season. The storm is expected to hit Si Thammarat and Surat Thani, which is home to popular resort islands such as Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, as well as Koh Samui. Phuket and Koh Phi Phi are also expected to get affected.

The tropical storm wind speed was of 104km per hour but is unlikely to turn into a full blown typhoon, according to forecasters. Pabuk is set to bring waves as high as seven meters, having officials warning and putting up red flags along the shore to indicate danger.

Pabuk is also expected to bring heavy rains across Thailand’s neighbouring countries, Malaysia and Myanmar.

Be Prepared to Pay Up to €10 to Enter Venice

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As part of efforts to improve monitoring of tourist arrivals and assist in the funding of clean-up of litter, day-trippers to Venice will be charged up to to €10 to enter the famous lagoon city.

Millions of tourists set foot on Venice every year and the Italian parliament has approved the entry tax which ranges from €2.50 to €10 depending on the time of year. You may find this familiar as a similar system has been implemented for Elba island, part of the Tuscan archipelago as well as the Aeolian Islands off Sicily.

The mayor of Venice mentioned that the money collected will mainly be used to help fund the cleaning up of rubbish left behind by day-trippers.

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Although it is unclear when the tax will be introduced or how it will be implemented, reports in the Italian press suggest that it could be added to the cost of arriving into the city either via train, bus or cruise ship. The transport companies will then hand over the proceeds to Venice authorities.

The tax will not be affecting tourists who are already paying a tourist tax when spending at least one night in the city.

During the peak periods in 2019, gates were installed at the two entry points to the lagoon in an attempt to ease the throng headed towards St Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge. When numbers soar too high, gates will be closed and access is only permitted to those with prior hotel bookings or holding a Venezia Unica pass.

At the same time, authorities are looking to encourage people to visit other lesser-known areas of the Venetian lagoon, or visit the other islands such as Murano and Burano.

Catch a Glimpse of the Wreck of Titanic

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You’ll be excited to hear that there are plans to bring people to visit the wreck of RMS Titanic at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean this year. Named the Titanic Survey Expedition, this is part of six 11-day missions that have been planned to explore the wreck. The trip is open to both scientists and ‘citizens explorers’ and will cost US$105,129 — equivalent to the cost of a first class ticket on Titanic’s maiden voyage.

There are a total of nine “mission specialist” roles on each mission. Teams will find themselves departing from St. John’s, Newfoundland via air and will meet the Dive Support Ship at sea. These mission specialists will be living and working with the operations crew and content experts through the course of the mission. On top of that, they will find themselves joining at least one 7-hour submersible dive to the Titanic, onboard a vessel called Titan. Mission specialists will have the chance to train and support the operations in various roles ranging from sonar operation, laser scanning, navigation, communications, camera operations and data logging.

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Titanic sunk in 1912 and it is decaying rapidly and it might no longer be recognisable as a shipwreck. The team will be collecting 4K images and video, scanning the wreck and debris field to collect laser and sonar data. The collected data will then be used to create a high-resolution 3D virtual model, aiding researchers in accurately assessing the rate of deterioration and at the same time document and preserve the memories of the Titanic.

If you’re keen in joining the missions, you must be aged 18 and above, and at the same time able to board small boats (Zodiacs) in rough sea conditions. Interested applicants will have to demonstrate basic balance, mobility and flexibility and complete a compulsory one-day Helicopter Underwater Egress Training course.

Visit the official site for more information.