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Have a Haunting Halloween in These Hotels

The haunting holiday, Halloween, is creeping right around the corner. While some may spend it by dressing up as their favourite ghoul or by going door to door for trick-or-treating, some brave souls work up the courage to fulfil the ultimate freaky experience—spending the night in a haunted room.

If ghost hunting and getting a good fright is what you crave for, here is a list of hotels you can stay in to get you a good scare!

The Stanley

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Probably the most famous hotel on the list, The Stanley was the hotel that inspired Stephen King’s novel, The Shining. But apart from that, the hotel has inspired and spooked many through its haunting history.

The Stanley, located in Estes Park, Colorado, is a hot bed for paranormal activity. It is said that the original owner of the hotel, F.O. Stanley and his wife, still wanders around the hotel. Majority of the rooms in the hotel has experienced a spook or two over the years, from items moving on their own to lights being turned on and off.

You can book a room in The Stanley and marvel at its iconic architecture or, if you’re up for the scare, roam around the hotel hoping to spot an apparition or two.

The Hollywood Roosevelt

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Hollywood Roosevelt, also known as Hotel Roosevelt, is famed for housing several celebrities under its roof. So it would be no surprise that the hauntings in the hotel would be equally star studded.

The 12-story hotel in Hollywood is said to haunted by multiple ghosts. Montgomery Cliff, who stayed in Room 928 while he filmed From Here to Eternity, is said to still be ‘occupying’ Room 928. Having guests complain about him moving around the room and shifting their luggage’s. Perhaps the most famous haunting is the ghost of Marilyn Monroe, the bombshell was known to appear in the full-length mirror that was once in her suite.

Omni Mount Washington Resort

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Built in 1902 by Caroline Foster and her husband, railroad tycoon Joseph Stickney, the Omni Mount Washington hosted many celebrities and high society with its modern and luxurious amenities of the time.

Despite the resort now being part of the 21stcentury, the ghosts that roam its halls are pretty much still stuck in time. In Room 314, formerly Caroline’s private suite, have had guests awoken to her sitting on the foot of the bed and have light taps on the door when no one was outside. She is also said to roam the hall wearing her elegant Victorian dress.

Hotel Monteleone

Just like any haunted hotel, Hotel Monteleone has a stash of ghost sightings within its halls. Operated by the same family for four generations of the Monteleone family, the hotel still keeps majority of the old decors. Such as the grandfather clock in the lobby, polished marble floors, glittering chandeliers and roaming spirits.

A few sightings in the hotel are a boy and another young spirit who loves playing hide-and-seek, an engineer and star-crossed lovers. The grandfather clock in the lobby is said to be a hot bed for paranormal activity. Guests and hotel staff have encountered a lost child that would hold their hand and then disappear after looking at their eyes and Jazz singers wailing in the lobby for nights.

If you aren’t up for the paranormal, fret not, the hotel is also home to one of the best and historical bars in New Orleans.

The Pfister Hotel

Located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, The Pfister Hotel is only a couple of blocks away from Lake Michigan and has a stunning collection of Victorian art that could easily rival collections from around the world. Apart from being home to priceless art, Pfister Hotel is also home to some ghostly residents.

This historical landmark in Milwaukee is one of America’s most haunted hotels and some may argue, in the world. The hotel hosts major league baseball and basketball players when they come to town. Over the years, the players have reported paranormal activities such as knocking on their doors when no one is out in the corridors and having their electronics go haywire. An elderly gentleman’s apparition—presumably the hotels founder, Charles Pfister—is also seen walking the halls.

 

 

The Islands of Matsu

Off the coast of Taiwan, lies the island chain of Matsu. Named after the Fujianese goddess, Matsu island archipelago contains 19 islands, including Kinmen. And just like Kinmen island, Matsu island retains its feel as a military outpost.

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Its geographical placement has earned its place as a dedicated place for military affairs, specifically for defending Taiwan from outside forces. Half of the people you run into in Matsu would be in their uniform, but other than the martial vibe, the island is fixed with tunnels you can scurry down to and emerge to superb views.

When you are out and discovering the island of Matsu, you would notice that not only are residents wearing military uniforms, but they are also speaking in two dialects. Locals of Matsu are bilingual in Mandarin and Mindong, a dialect spoken in the nearby province of Fujian.

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Though the Matsu islands are grouped into townships—Nangan, Beigan, Dongyin and Jiuguang—these townships are now connected by ferries. The main islands of Nangan, which has a main airport, and Beigan contains some of the main sights. The other islands, may they be very accessible, are rarely travelled to.

Since Matsu and some of the other islands are still in prevalence of military affairs, make sure to follow all warnings or instructions that the authorities in the island give you.

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Guests of Matsu can explore the tunnels and intricate temples that make up the island. Unlike Kinmen, Matsu does not have any official military museums but just by walking around, you can already see and feel some parts of the islands military history.

If you happen to be around Matsu during the summer, you would be in for a treat. During these times, the shores of Matsu would literally glow. This phenomenon is due to the display of glowing algae that is known as ‘blue tears’

The natural phenomenon welcomes visitors from far and wide with magical blue waters that makes it look like an imaginary land from a dream.

High-Fiving Each Other on a Roller Coaster Ride?

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Image credit: Six Flags

Adrenaline junkies, this one’s for you! Six Flags Magic Mountain in Los Angeles have big plans for you — a new slate of rides and roller coasters are coming  your way very soon.

Six Flags Magic Mountain has recently announced their new rides for 2019, including the West Coast Racers — the world’s first racing launch coaster. This new ride is different from traditional roller coasters that utilise chains and pulleys to lift the coaster up a hill and subsequently using gravity to pull it down. The West Coast Racers will be using a propulsion system to push it forward.

You’ll be going on two complete laps during your ride, covering several airtime hills, extreme banking turns and experiencing four total inversions which include three zero-G rolls and a zero-G stall. As there are two cars racing during the ride, the trains interact more than 30 times at it gets so close a point in time that you could “high-five” someone on the opposing trains. At the coaster’s fastest point, you will be experiencing it at a speed of 55 mph.

The West Coast Racers is not the only ride to look out for as there are still plenty of roller coasters for you to choose from and enjoy. Did you know that Magic Mountain is the world record holder for the most number of coasters in one park? West Coast Racers will become the park’s 20th roller coaster upon completion.

Although there is not precise date for the launch of the roller coaster, stay tuned and be prepared to book your tickets for Summer 2019 for an awesome vacation at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

You Can Now Book a Flight Based on a Screenshot

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Have you ever come across an Instagram post of a beautiful place from somewhere in the world but have no idea where? May it be sourcing inspiration for your next trip or just wanting to hop on a plane to experience the same beauty for yourself. Fret not, EasyJet is making it possible for you to travel to the places you see on Instagram.

You can now go to that stunning beach you saw on your favourite celebrity’s Instagram or the city you saw on a travel photographer’s feed via Look&Book. With the social app becoming a vital tool for the digital traveller, the airline’s new app will allow Instagram users to spot a destination online and be able to book a flight there.

Before, finding a destination post on Instagram and trying to make up where it is, how to get there and finding the best rates would make up a lengthy process.

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Image credit: Look&Book

For Look&Book, users can take a screenshot of the destination post that caught their eye on Instagram and upload it to the app. By using geolocation tagging, EasyJet will match the picture to a destination, with suggested travel dates and even a few price points that available.

Despite the process being seamless and enticing, you will not be able to book a flight simply anywhere in the world. EasyJet only services airports in Northern Africa, Iceland and Europe.

When you do make it to you Instagram worthy destination, make sure you have that perfect caption to inspire someone else’s trip.

Send Gin Along With Your Holiday Cards

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It’s our favourite time of the year once again with the festive season round the corner and what better way is there to celebrate than with alcohol? If you’re in search of the perfect holiday gift, Scottish small-batch gin distiller Daffy’s Gin is here to help. They have recently launched a Christmas card that comes with a special gift — gin.

Place an order for Daffy’s brand new gin cards to send it to your loved ones and they’ll opening up the Christmas cards to find a miniature bottle of Daffy’s gin sitted nicely within the card.

With the 50ml bottles placed into a letterbox, you have the option to insert a handwritten greeting or message onto the card along with the gin.

If you’re wondering how the card looks like, it includes the brand’s logo right in front, paired with a cheerful message inside that exclaims “Merry Christmas and a Daffy New Year!”

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Image credit: Daffy’s Gin

The cards cost approximately US$10 each when purchased individually. Alternatively, you can get a set of six cards at US$60.

Although UK orders can be placed online, international orders will have to be made by contacting the company via phone or email and delivery begins 22nd October 2018.

Made from pure wheat grain spirit from Northern France, Daffy’s gin is distilled in an ancient single batch copper pot still. It is then subsequently blended with eight different botanicals — lemon peel (imported from Italy), cassia bark (imported from Indonesia), orris root (imported from Morocco), orange peels (imported from Spain), mint (imported from Lebanon), juniper and coriander seeds (imported from the Balkan states), and lastly angelica root (imported from Belgium).

Combining these flavours, you will taste toffee, citrus, spice caramel and mint in your gin.

Explore the ‘Coolest’ Neighbourhood of Embajadores

What makes a neighbourhood coo, Is it the trendy people that live there or the vibrant food scene? The Spanish capital of Madrid, Embajadores, is likely a place you have to see and visit to know.

Embajadores was recently voted as the coolest neighbourhood in the world by Time Out. The vibe and feel of the area is indescribable—specifically Lavapiés, who was given the title for its diverse nightlife, street life, street art and high culture, food and people from far and wide.

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Many of the famous hangouts in Embajadores does a great job of connecting the past and present. Sala Equis, once an adult cinema, still hold movie screening for films that are less risqué than the showings in its former time. There is also an old tobacco factory, the Tabacalera, that has become a creative centre for the community.

If you want a taste of street treats, you can head over to the Sunday El Rastro Market, one of Lavapiés most popular attractions. From 9am, vendors that sell items from street foods to art take over the market and become Madrid’s most popular outdoor flea market. It’s a perfect place for you to practice your bargaining skills!

During the day, Plaza Tirso de Molina is packed with florists, but the plaza transforms into hub of young pleasure seekers during the night. These youthful revellers queue to get into Madia puri, a popular club in the city.

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The city is filled with huge cultural centres that serve dishes from all parts of the world. You would be able to find Indian specialties that is served on a flowery oilcloth or taste an exquisite Moroccan lamb tagine for low prices.

As with most ‘cool’ places, not everything in the area is as rosy as it is on online reviews. Known for its immigrant population due to the cheap rent of housing, Embajadores’ housing prices are unlikely to stay low due to the countless tourists that take over spaces for short-term holiday rentals.

Despite being named the ‘coolest’ neighbourhood, most locations that bear the title are more complicated than the internet allows us to see. However that doesn’t mean you should erase places like Embajadores off your ‘places to visit’ list. Visiting and exploring these places are still worth it, just travel responsibly by doing some research before the trip!

All Aboard India’s Underwater Bullet Train

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If you haven’t heard, you’ll soon be able to travel via bullet trains in India. The government has announced that they are in the midst of purchasing 18 E5 series Shinkansen train sets from Japan for 70 billion rupees (~USD$964 million), where Japanese train manufacturers will be participating in a tender.

The very first bullet train route will be running between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, with the trains making stops at the 12 stations along the way.

Each of these trains will be complete with 10 coaches and will cruise at a speed of 350km/h. With the trains travelling at such high speeds, it is projected that the 315 mile route will reduce the approximately eight hour journey to two or three hours.

That’s not all — if the proposed route comes into fruition, travellers can look forward to travelling underwater for 13 of those miles from Thane Creek to Virar by means of of a submerged corridor.

Economy fares have been estimated to cost approximately 3,000 rupees (~USD$41). First class travellers will be able to enjoy amenities that are comparable to those offered by airlines.

Unfortunately, the project is currently facing some difficulties. Landowners in Gujarat and Maharashtra are putting up resistance and are demanding government jobs and higher compensation. The National High Speed Rail Corporation aims to resolve this issue and finalise the details by December 2018.

If things go as planned, construction may begin as soon as January 2019 and the projected completion date will be late 2022.

Chill in This ‘Game of Thrones’ Ice Hotel

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Image credit: Lapland Hotels

Have watched Game of Thrones and wondered how cozy it would be to take a trip to the North in arctic temperatures? Wait no further, a new Game of Thrones themed hotel has opened in Kittilä, Finland.

You can now get the ultimate Westeros experience with the Lapland Hotels SnowVillage. Located in the resort of Kittilä, about 125 miles above the Arctic Circle and 90 minutes from Helsinki.

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Image credit: Lapland Hotels

With the help of professional ice sculptors from different parts of the world, the destination—made up of 24 rooms, 10 of which are for guests staying overnight—features an ice figure related to the popular TV show based on George R.R. Martin’s book series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’.

Some attractions that can be spotted in the resort is the recreation of Braavos’ Hall of Faces and a replica of the Iron Throne, which is guarded by Gregor ‘The Mountain’ Clegane’. Some ice sculptures featured is a White Walker, complete with glowing blue eyes, and as well as a menacing dragon-shaped ice slide.

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Image credit: Lapland Hotels

Guests are also treated to a guided tour inside the SnowVillage, a buffet breakfast in the log restaurant and a diploma to commemorate your stay.

In addition to all the intricate sculptures and artworks, with the SnowVillage covering an area of 20,000 sqm, the ice hotel comes with a fully functioning bar, chapel, and a cinema.

With temperatures reaching at least -5C inside, suites are equipped with high-quality thermal sleeping bags to keep the guests warm. Despite this, guest are still advised to stay no longer than a night in the hotel due to the icy conditions. Guests who wish to stay longer around the SnowVillage are very much welcome to stay in the nearby log cabins.

4 Scenic Spots in Yangmingshan National Park

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Yangminshan National Park — one of Taiwan’s most beautiful national parks and famed for its hot springs and incredible scenery. Yangmingshan (Yang Ming Mountain) is actually a dormant volcano (which explains the numerous hot springs around the area) and is also home to an array of flora, some of which planted by the Japanese during their rule over the island.

Plus, its proximity from Taipei City makes it an ideal destination for day trips, especially from those who would like an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city life. We’ll be sharing a few of our favourite scenic sports in the park:

1. Xiaoyoukeng

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Xiaoyoukeng is a post-volcanic geological park and the area is well known for its fumaroles (mountain-side sulphur gas exhaust), hot springs and sulphur crystals. You will also be able to find the trail which brings you to the top of Mt. Qixing, the park’s highest peak. While you’re there, you’ll be treated to amazing panoramic vistas of downtown Taipei.

2. Erziping

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Situated on the western side of Yangmingshan National Park, Erziping is in the volcanic dip between Mt Datun’s main peak and Mt. Erzi.

Erziping is a suitable trail for all ages, especially for family trips. The 1.9 kilometre long flat trail is paved with cement, complete with pavilions and benches along the way should you have to take a break. At the end of the trial, you will find a beautiful grassland and a pond, perfect for picnics or simply basking in the sun.

3. Lengshuikeng

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Lengshuikeng (which translates to cold water pit) is located on the east side of Qixingshan. The area used to be a barrier lake that was formed by volcanic lava flowing down the mountain. After the lake’s water has been drained out gradually, Lengshuikeng took the form of the landscape that we’re familiar with today.

Dip your feet into a public foot bath to relax after a tedious hike. Alternatively, you can opt for indoor hot springs to spend a relaxing afternoon. To top it all off, you’ll be glad to know that all of the facilities are free of charge.

Fun fact: The water temperature at Lengshuikeng is around 40℃, which is way lower than those of other hot springs, therefore earning the name “cold water pit”. Lengshuikeng also happens to be home to the one and only lake of precipitated sulfur in Taiwan.

  4. Qingtiangang

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Qingtiangang is the most popular area located within Yangmingshan National park. Enjoy the green and lush grasslands, get up close and personal to the cattle and take in breathtaking views of the city without having to hike to far.

There are several short trails that begin from the visible centre. You will be able to find well signposted routes and maps explaining and illustrating the trails.

Getting There

If you’re travelling by public transport, hop on bus 260 from Taipei Main Station. Alternatively, catch the Red 30 or 208 from Jiantan MRT Station. These buses will be dropping you off at the Yangmingshan bus station, and you’ll be able to arrive at the visitor centre just 700m away.

Saving the Brown Tongue Path to Scafell Pike

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Every year, streams of humans flow continuously on the path of Brown Tongue, even at night. The route is walked on by 100,000 people every year, as it is the most direct way to the top of Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain.

The impact of the tens of thousands of feet that have walked along the path for 30 years have made the work to control the erosion a never ending job. As a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the next phase of work enters its final stage, funding is still short of £17,000 from its target.

Path repairers are stressing the importance of the repairs of the paths so that it could preserve a large section in the middle of Brown Tongue for several more decades.

The crowdfunding effort is part of a larger year-long push to raise £100,000 for Scafell Pike as part of the Mend Our Mountains campaign, a UK-wide appeal led by the British Mountaineering Council. The council not only supports Fix the Fells alone, but it also has 13 similar campaigns and aims to raise £1M for path repairs in different locations.

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Brown Tongue is a route favoured by the Three Peaks Challenge participants, with most challengers tackling Scafell Pike in the dark, adding more pressure on the path. Brown Tongue is one of the most serious example of a problem often found in popular hill and mountains not just across Britain, but in the world.

If these worn out path ways were to be left alone, the erosion scars would grow bigger. It would wipe out vegetation, disturbing local habitats and hydrology, even destroying terrain features such as mountain tarns.

Maintenance for all the mountain paths in the Lake District and Fix the Fells, its costs an estimate of £500,000 a year. With similar organisations trying to do the same, maintaining the paths relies on fundraising to sustain its works.