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Glamping in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite

Camping around the Yosemite National Park is a favourite for many. You get to be closer to nature and spend a day or two slightly away from the hustle and bustle of the city. But sometimes, “glamping” (glamorous camping) is how some would like to get closer to nature.

You can now go on a ultra-hip and Instagramable outing with AutoCamp Yosemite. AutoCamp is known for spearheading alternative outdoor accommodation and has recently announced that Yosemite National Park would be its newest location for the company’s camping-meets-boutique-hotel campsite.

The site is tucked into 35 acres of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and will feature 15 luxury tents, three cabin suites and 80 deluxe Airstream trailers. Each trailer is perfectly tailored to mirror the classic and sleek design of the Airstream but with a modern twist that suits the aesthetic social media obsession.

Glamping
Image credit: AutoCamp

The Airstreams are fitted with large windows, letting in plenty of sunlight into the airstream. The fully furnished trailers are also equipped with a plush white bed, which might be the closest thing you’ll get to sleeping on a cloud, and a tiled shower with bath products for you to wash away the dirt and grime from a day of exploring nature.

It wouldn’t be a ‘camping-meets-boutique-hotel campsite’ without the respective hotel amenities. AutoCamp Yosemite will feature a 4,000-square-foot clubhouse, with meeting spaces, a curated shop that offers artisanal food and beverages and a rooftop deck perfect for stargazing.

Apart from the hiking trails that surround the campsite, there is also a pool, hot tub and a freshwater pond for you to take a dip in and relax. Guests can hop onto an on-site shuttle to get a quick and easy access to the national park. If you want to take a break from the wilderness, the nearby town of Mariposa houses an array of restaurants, cafes and even a few breweries.

AutoCamp Yosemite is now taking in reservations for 2019 with nightly rates of $225 for the luxury tents and Airstreams.

Of KitKats and Cocktails

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Image credit: Nestle Japan

For those who have plans to visit Tokyo soon, you’ll be delighted to know that you can now sample the new plum sake KitKat chocolate bar at a pop-up bar in the city. We’re all familiar with how innovative and creative KitKat can get in terms of coming up with new flavours and you shouldn’t be missing this one out if you’re a fan.

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The KitKat Umeshu Tsuru-Ume can be sampled at Citan, a cafe-bar-hostel situated in the Nihombashi neighbourhood of Tokyo. For added pleasure and joy, the KitKat would be paired with cocktails and this pop-up bar experience has been named Craft Sake Week @ KitKat Bar.

Umeshu is actually a Japanese liqueur made by steeping ume fruits in alcohol and sugar. According to Nestle Japan, the Kitkat Umeshu Tsuru-Ume has been launched with the purpose of meeting the demand for plum wine and umeshu overseas in recent years. The KitKat was developed under the supervision of Hidetoshi Nakata, who is a former member of the Japanese national soccer team and has travelled to over 350 sake breweries around the country so as to develop a thorough knowledge of Japanese rice wine.

Visitors will be able to sip on two original cocktails that have been specially designed to be paired with KitKat Umeshu Tsuru-Ume. In addition, there is also a total of 16 umeshu and Japanese sakes handpicked my Nakata for guests to choose from.

Citan is also serving a cured mackerel and tofu sour cream tartine that is exclusively created by Shinobu Namae, the executive chef at Tokyo’s L’Effervescence, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant.

Top Instagram Landmarks Around the World

Times Square

It’s no surprise that more and more millennials are taking up gap years and longer breaks to travel and explore the world. According to a study by Schofield Insurance that was conducted in 2017, the “instagrammability” of a destination tops the list of factors that influence millennials in choosing their next destination. Going along with that train of thought, the most shared landmarks on Instagram would probably be the ones where millennials flock to as well.

This study has led a UK-based camping and hiking retailer Winsfields Outdoors to analyse the number of times a landmark’s hashtag was used on Instagram. They subsequently compiled a list of the 18 most Instagrammed landmarks in the world.

Central Park

New York City’s Central Park tops the list with its hashtag shared over 5.8 million times. Paris follows closely at second place with the Eiffel Tower’s hashtag used approximately 4.7 million times. The third place goes to New York’s Times Square, where it was hashtagged 3.2 million times. London’s Big Ben takes the fourth place with its hashtag shared around 2.8 million times and the Grand Canyon in Arizona was hashtagged 2.7 million times.

Other notable mentions include the London Eye with 2.5 million hashtags, The Musee du Louvre with 2.3 million hashtags and the Brooklyn Bridge with 2.3 million shares and the Golden Gate Bridge with 2.2 million shares.

There are several popular landmarks that didn’t make its way to the top ten of the list — Niagara Falls, the Statue of Liberty, the Colosseum, Machu Picchu as well as Angkor Wat.

You can look through the full list here.

Visit the World’s Oldest Working Lighthouse

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Situated on Hook Head at the southern tip of Hook Peninsula in County Wexford, Ireland, lies the the Hook Lighthouse. The lighthouse dates back at least to the 5th century, 800 years before the tower was built, when St. Dubhan and his fellow monks braved the unforgiving elements of the islands headland and lit a fire to warn sailors of the coastline.

It was only in the 13th century when a tower was constructed to house the fire. The tower was built by knight William Marshall, who was concerned over whether his new ship makes it safely to port at New Ross. The coal fired signal sat at the very top of the fire and was maintained by monks at the time.

Today, Hook Lighthouse is the oldest running lighthouse in the world. It is open for the public to tour and explore the history behind the tower and climb the 115 flight of stairs that spiral inside the tower walls. Upon reaching the top of the tower, there is a balcony that is just across the rocky coast.

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Image credit: Sergio

Be warned, bring your waterproof outerwear. It may not be raining all the time but the sea can surprise you with a spray.

The guided tours in the site isn’t just about the ancient history of the lighthouse, you also get to learn about the lives led by the light-keepers and their families who have resided in this remote island up until the 70’s.

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Hook Head is declared as a Special Protected Area and is not only home to a variety of bird species, but whales, dolphins and seals can be spotted around the area as well. November is the start of whale-watching season with humpbacks, fins and minkes arriving in the surrounding waters of Hook Peninsula. The area is also rich in fossils, sea-life and vegetated sea cliffs in which ravens and peregrine falcons nest.

With the surrounding waters claiming many ships throughout the centuries, there are plenty of dive sites around and is commended to be one of the best spots in the country for divers.

A Place For Everyone: Oaxaca

Six hours southeast of Mexico City lies a city that is deemed ‘magical’ by many, even the Mexican Government. This is the city of Oaxaca, a mix of natural beauty, cuisine, architecture, culture, historical relevance and hospitality.

The city was once a market town, but you can still see various locals selling vibrant handicrafts in the many markets scattered around the city. Oaxaca is also known for its mountains, beaches and other activities that doesn’t fail to serve magnificent views.

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Image credit: Nsaum75

The capital and some of its surrounding villages makes the city not only a hub for sightseeing, but it is also an art and food destination. With traditions that go way back from the country’s 16 indigenous groups as well as its Spanish colonial past, a trip to Oaxaca will surely be a feast for all your senses.

A UNESCO World Heritage site and a cultural hub, start your Oaxaca visit in Oaxaca City. The city central is lined with colonial architecture, vividly coloured buildings and cobblestone streets, capturing a picturesque view like no other.

The city will surely satisfy any art lover. The Oaxaca Textile Museum may be small but it is packed with an impressive collection of rugs, clothing and many more that showcases the craft of the artistry behind these textiles. There is also a contemporary photography gallery, Centro Fotografico Alvarez Bravo, that exhibits photographs that are slightly bizarre yet amazing.

Drop by the beautiful Templo de Santo Domingo, a 16th century Baroque-style church and former monastery decorated with intricate gilt designs that surround plenty of the painted figures. If you have a chance to come by during the evening mass, the entire church takes on a warm glow due to the candlelit.

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Image credit: Adam Jones

Just next door, Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca is spread out in 2.3 hectares. Previously part of the monastic ground part of Templo de Santo Domingo, the botanic garden features a variety of cacti and plants that are natives to the region. It is the perfect place to witness the fascinating Oaxaca biodiversity.

Oaxaca City is packed with markets that sell various food, but Mercado de la Merced is one of the places to go to for empanadas and you can visit Mercado 20 de Noviembre for some carne asada. Of course you can head to La Teca if you wish to try a variety of traditional Oaxacan cuisine. Don’t miss out on the mole, a specialty in Oaxaca, try out all seven of them while you’re out and about the city.

If you are more keen on nature, head to Hierve el Agua. A spectacular series of natural springs and rock formations just about 40 miles southeast of Oaxaca. Hierve el Agua is a popular outing destination for locals during their day offs and is a good place to catch a sunset.

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An hour and a half drive away from Oaxaca city lies the forested mountains of Sierra Norte tucked quietly away from the city.

The mountainous region is home to many successful ecotourism sites that gives several opportunities to get out on foot, mountain bike or even horseback into the immaculate landscapes. The forests are also the domain of over 400 bird species, 350 butterflies, 4000 plants and all six Mexican wild cats. As villages in the southern region can sometimes experience winter, you do have to prepare for the cooler temperatures.

If you wish to catch some waves or just chill by the sea, Puerto Escondido is a beautiful and relatively low-key paradise. The second largest city on the Oaxaca coast, Puerto Escondido features many beaches and has a bustling nightlife. Playa Zicatela, 3.5km of fine golden sand and crashing waves, could easily make the top 10 list for surfing for many wave-riders. Mexico’s ‘hidden port’ is favoured by many Mexicans, expats and world travellers as it is a small mellow town where everyone can intermingle.

If you visit between March to November, you can head over to the National Turtle Center to witness the release of sea turtles in to the ocean. Prefer to take in nature and biodiversity up close? You can explore protected coral reefs at the Huatulco National Park.

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Image credit: StellarD

Kickstart Your Oktoberfest Celebrations on Board Lufthansa

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The annual Oktoberfest is kicking off this week and Lufthansa will be celebrating it with you! If you’re flying with Lufthansa airlines, you can begin you Oktoberfest celebrations on air provided that you’re flying from Germany to several specific airports.

Lufthansa announced exciting plans of bringing actual kegs on board their flights from Munich to New York/Newark (19th September), Singapore (25th September) and Shanghai (6th October). Passengers flying with Lufthansa would be able to get a few pints of draft beer during their journey.

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There’s more exciting things in store for business class travellers. These passengers will be able to enjoy a selection ok Oktoberfest-specific foods ranging from ox tartare with truffle, Arctic char with Riesling sauce and pistachio pesto.

If you’re flying into Germany, you’re part of the celebration too. Passengers who arrive in Munich during the first weekend of Oktoberfest will get themselves an “Oktoberfest treat box” containing snacks and a vitamin drink — just to get you prepared for the festivities coming up.

Plus, choose to dig into an Oktoberfest menu in the airline’s lounges and grab a yummy snack before or after your flight.

Southeast Asia’s Hidden Safari

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Image credit: Visit KhaoLak

About 124-miles north of Phuket, Koh Phra Thong is an island in Khura Buri district. The island’s ecosystem is a rare sight not only in Thailand, but all of South-East Asia. It is a tropical savannah that impose a resemblance to those in Africa.

Though instead of having lions and gazelles, Koh Phra Thong is mainly inhabited by deer, wild boars, monkeys, pythons, otters, leopard cats and a plentiful of carnivorous plants. The savannah is also a prime bird-watching destination where if you’re lucky, you can chance upon the endangered lesser adjutant stork.

With this said, Koh Phra Thong is listed as an Important Bird Area by the Bird Life International. The airspace of the island is frequented by at least 137 species such as eagles, kingfishers and even the Malaysian pied Hornbill.

With a scarcity of its natural predators—tiger and crocodiles—the Sambar deer has also thrived in Koh Phra Thong. The animals retain their skittish nature, making it hard to spot these jumpy creatures. One of the few ways to spot a sambar deer is by going into the savannah at night on foot as cars frighten them.

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Image credit: Rudraksha Chodankar

Biologists believe that the reason why these animals survived in this habitat is because of the lack of human interference. Apart from from the two concrete roads on Koh Phra Thong, there are no buildings that resemble any form of a concrete jungle.

Koh Phra Thong is only visited by 3,000 tourists each year, but with its rising popularity, electricity pylons are being set up and may soon be connected to the grid by November. This issue raises some concerns from locals, fearing that Koh Phra Thong will be transformed into a unregulated tourism development that has changed many of Thailand’s most stunning islands.

Despite being a paradise for many animals, the island is pretty inhospitable to humans. The days are almost unbearable due to the heat and the white sands are difficult to trudge. The ideal time to visit the savannah is during the dawn, when most of the nocturnal wildlife is still semi-active.

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Image credit: Visit KhaoLak

Many of the islands in Thailand has been connected to the mainland by ferries and speedboats, but to get to the island of Koh Phra Thong is by chartering a fishing boat from the Mangrove pier near the town of Khura Buri. The hour-long journey takes course through a mangrove canal that makes its way to the tidal mouth of the river, revealing the blue-grey backdrop of Thailand’s Andaman coast.

Discovered nearly 80 years ago, this 4,000 year old Tomb is Now Opened to the Public

Mural

Egypt — home of the magnificent River Nile, mighty Pyramids and towering Pharaoh Temples, it is where every explorer should be.

You might be familiar with the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, where Tutankhamun’s tomb lays, but Egypt is now inviting the public to visit a 4,000 year old tomb that is finally opened for display.

The Tomb of Mehu is located in the Saqqara necropolis near Giza. Although it was discovered in 1940, it has been closed to the public for renovations ever since. It is said that Mehu was a high-ranking official who served in the court of King Teti during the Sixth Dynasty of Egypt.

In the tomb, brightly coloured wall decorations were on display. The decorations depicted what life was like in Egypt during that era, and also included elaborate drawings that represented fishing, hunting, cooking and dancing. Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, described the six-chamber tomb as one of the most beautiful in the Saqqara necropolis.

It took 80 years to prepare for the opening of the Tomb of Mehu, where the colours of paintings and drawings were strengthened and lighting was set up in the tomb to enhance the experience for visitors.

Earlier this year, an ancient Egyptian village which dates back to the Neolithic era (predating the countries pharaohs) has been discovered. The findings in the village date as far back as 5,000 B.C., which was approximately 2,500 years before the pyramids of Giza were built.

Tourism in Egypt is regaining its footing gradually after the Arab Spring incident in 2011. Named the fastest growing tourism destination in 2017, the amount of international visitors to Egypt has more than doubled in 2017 with over 55% increase in international arrivals.

Five Must-See Castles in Europe

Fulfil your fairytale fantasy by visiting these castle that are scattered around Europe. These European fortresses have survived countless wars, fires, lived through dozens of generations and has stood the test of time. From the forested hills of Austria to the cliffs of Scotland, each castle holds hundreds of years of history and a ghost story or two.

Though they may look alike, each one of these fortresses are unique and intriguing in their own ways, attracting visitors from all over the world. Step into the world filled with history and witness the fortresses some kings and queens considered homes in the past.

Hohenwerfen Castle, Austria

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Image credit: Greymouser

Sitting high up on a heavily forested clifftop, hidden beneath the peaks of Tennengebirge range, the Hohenwerfen Castle looks over the Salzach Valley and has a far reaching view of Werfen that can be seen from the 16th century belfry.

The stunning structure dates back all the way to 900 years ago. The castle leaves many visitors breathless, figuratively and literally, as it is located 2000 feet above sea level. The castle has now been turned into a museum and has daily guided tours of its extensive weaponry collection

Peles Castle, Romania

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Once home to Romania’s first king, Carol I, the Peles Castle was created as a summer retreat for the royal in 1883 in the small town of Sinaia. The town itself is fit for any picturesque storybook fantasy, with a collective of crayon-coloured wooden houses.

The castle’s vibrant and colourful exterior makes it a popular fairy-tale travel destination. All 160 rooms are decorated with European art, German stained windows and leather walls. Peles Castle is filled with hidden passageways, enchanting turrets and whimsical galleries and statues.

Schloss Neuschwanstein, Germany

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Used as a model for many princess fairy tale castle, such as Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, Schloss Neuschwanstein hides in the mountain-tops surrounded by rugged terrain as a safe retreat. The Bavarian white castle was built to be the personal home of King Ludwig II with the vision of recreating the world of Germanic mythology.

The castle was opened to the public after the death of King Ludwig II in the late 1800s. The castle is not faring as well as the others because the harsh climate has a damaging effect on the exterior of the castle and it will being renovated section by section over the next few years. The interior however remains as charming as ever, adorned by white swans.

Trakošćan Castle, Croatia

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Located 80km northwest of Zagreb, Trakošćan Castle is considered to be a small observation fortress. The exact origins of the castle is still unknown, but is said to date back to the 13th century when it was taken over by Croatian Ban Juraj Draskovic’s personal use.

After its restoration in the mid-19th century, not all of the castle’s original Romanesque features were retained when it was restored in neo-Gothic style. Inside the castle, examples of baroque furniture and different weapons that was used from the 15th to 19th century are out on display. The 215-acre castle grounds is also landscaped into an English-style park with exotic trees and lakes.

Bran Castle, Romania

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Probably one of the most famous castles in Europe, the Bran Castle is fabled to be the home of Dracula. Though whether the famous vampire has walked the halls of the castle remain unproven, the castle is still enchanting as it is.

The turreted fortress is guarded by the Bucegi Mountains from the east and by the Piatra Craiului massif from the west. Despite its close relation to the gothic-novel character, the castle’s museum pays greater homage to Romania’s royals.

Make and Taste Pizzas At Home

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Image credit: Ooni

Who doesn’t love a yummy pizza? Here’s your chance to get paid up to US$1,000 a day to make and taste your very own pizza.

Ooni, an outdoor cookware company is looking for 10 pizza taste testers to create and taste pizzas. The pizzas will be made from the company’s two different portable wood-fired pizza ovens, namely the Unni 3 and the Unni Pro.

The 10 successful applicants will work on a part-time, freelance basis with the company. They will also have the opportunity to use the ovens, which are cable of cooking 13-inch and 16-inch pizzas in just 60 seconds. In addition, the hired applicants will be coming up with their own pizza recipes and to taste and provide feedback on the company’s new products.

With varying experiences, each hired applicant will be receiving varying compensation that ranges from US$300 minimally to US$1,000 for the more experienced candidates. Usually, if the candidate has added skill sets such as filming high quality video content, or has been a cook who worked at cooking demonstrations for large crowds, will have a better chance at receiving the higher compensation rates.

Pizza (1)
Image credit: Ooni

Ooni will be shipping its ovens to the 10 candidates and covering relevant expenses for any ingredients used for recipe testing. It is then up to the candidates to develop new recipes, test the products and also work as a brand ambassador for Ooni via social media platforms and at live events.

Although there are no fixed number of days that the candidates have to work, Ooni hopes to find people who are willing to work on at least two days of the month from 9am to 5pm and taking a one hour lunch break in between. You can be from any part of the world since it will be a work from home position.

To apply for the position, you’ll have to submit a video of up to one minute to elaborate on why you’re suitable for the position in addition to showcasing their pizza skills. The video file should not be larger than 20MB and can be sent to jobs@ooni.com.

Remember to send in your application by October 14 and Ooni will be in touch with successful applicants shortly after.