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Catch Up On Your Sleep in a Mobile Hotel Room at Unique Locations

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Image credit: Sleeperoo

Are you someone who’s always on the chase for novel experiences? You might be glad to hear that there is a mobile hotel room that offers overnight accommodation at unusual locations in Germany such as football stadiums, museums, churches and the great outdoors. Since its inauguration, some of the locations include a historic pier in the middle of the Baltic Sea, sleeping in the middle of a fruit tree forest and also an overnight stay in medieval castles.

This novel experience is brought to you by Sleeperoo, which is a sleep cube that stands separately for several months in an exclusive location in nature or perhaps at an exciting cultural spot. Guests can take this opportunity to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the place. The whole idea of this is for guests to spend one night alone at a pop-up location of their choice listed on the website where they’ll be able to access an interactive map which provides descriptions of all the dates and locations that are available.

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Image credit: Sleeperoo

The Sleeperoo is equipped with a comfortable mattress that fits two adults, sheepskin rugs and pillows, and integrated LED lights. It is complete with three large panoramic windows that provide you with a view of your surroundings as well as the sky above you. Eco-friendly advocates should also be glad to know that the Sleeperoo cube is entirely made out of sustainable materials. In addition, there are snacks and drinks provided in a chillbox. Not to worry, the cube will be cleaned and the mattress will be covered with fresh linen in preparation for each stay. A toilet with washing facilities can also be found in the the immediate vicinity of the cube.

Visit Sleeperoo’s website for more information.

Bring Your Own Board to California

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A top destination for surfing enthusiasts, California’s beaches are bound to blow you away. That being said, surfers will be delighted to know that it will now be easier for travellers to bring their own boards with the waiver of additional fees.

California has recently named surfing as the official state sport and United Airlines will be chipping in to celebrate the occasion. The airline will be removing the additional $150 to $200 service fee that is required to check in a surfboard, wakeboard or paddleboard on direct United Airlines flights. This will be valid for flights starting or ending at any of the California airports.

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This is part of the airline’s efforts to make it easier for their passengers to surf the beautiful beaches of California. United Airlines connects approximately 18 million annual passengers through its hubs in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Although there are several airlines around the world that allow surfboards to be included as a regular piece of luggage, there are still a few that charge at least $100 for you to bring your equipment along. United Airlines has also donated $50,000 to Sustainable Surf — a non-profit that has the aim of using surfing to help alleviate the ocean health crises.

Have You Been to the Secret Town of Binn?

Switzerland is the place to be avid hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, may it be for its winter wonderland or its shining summer. The country has numerous hiking trails fitted for everyone, but located in the Upper Valais in southwest Switzerland, lies the beautiful yet little known Binntal or Binn Valley.

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Binn Valley is adorned by stunning natural beauty, amazing panoramas and ancient wooden villages filled with history and curious traditions. Before having a tunnel built in 1965, the valley and its villages were cut off from the rest of the world when winters arrives, having a unique feel of history and tradition that still sticks to today.

Many would consider Binn Valley to be too far and/or remote, but it is actually extremely easy and is a reasonable distance from the city. Binntal is only two hours away from the capital of Bern and can be accessed by most vehicles. If you still feel as though it might not be worth the travel, remember, you will be rewarded with some of the most jaw-dropping sceneries.

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Hidden behind towering walls of rock and a beautiful church, Binn seems like a secret. Guarded by the Binna river, the village is admired by its architecture, the picturesque stone bridge that dates back to 1564 and carved wooden masks that sport fierce expressions. The masks are hung up as a tradition of the Valais to ward off spirits. Binn Valley is also widely known for its mineral deposits, it is proclaimed to be one of the ten largest in the world.

Before the two-kilometer tunnel through the mountain was opened in 1965, Binn and Fäld was only accessible via a narrow road that faces along the Twingi gorge, which was extremely unsafe during the winter. This effectively closed off the villages from the outside world during winter, only having supplies be brought in by helicopter. But now with the tunnel providing a safer route for visitors, the old road is now used as a viewing platform for epic views that can be accessed by foot or bicycle.

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Ancient trade routes are are visible throughout the valley, such as the old Roman road. From the Binn village centre, there is a trail that is one the right side of the church that will lead you down through farmland and then to a small lake. The trail skirts the the lake which then turns into a 30-minutes flat walk along the gorge.

The hike gets a bit more challenging as there is a descent on a rugged trail. There is a part of a trail that is an old pilgrimage route to a church in Heiligkreuz, it is a 6.2km loop that takes about two to three hours. Binntal has a variety of hiking trails, like the trail to Imfeld (Fäld) that is deeply tucked into the valley and various alternative trails you can take to go back and forth the Binn valley.

The Wonderful Packed Lunches For Your Train Rides

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Japan is known for many phenomenon, may it be technology or culinary. One culinary phenomenon will be the bento or lunch box sets, seen very frequently in train stations for long distance travels.

The beloved ekiben—eki (station) and ben (bento)—were created specifically for long train journeys, some may say it is even an essential element for long-distance train travels. Eating in local commuter trains is looked down upon but travellers on longer rides, such as bullet trains, are encouraged to have an ekiben.

Every region has their own unique ekiben that is tied with local cuisine and culture. Stations have their own mecca of ekiben, stacks after stacks of neatly organised boxes that is constantly examined and moved by travellers.

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Ekiben is usually filled with various vegetables, meats and rice. All these are stuffed in colourful boxes that are decorated with scripts that mirrors nostalgia. Some of the meals are placed in limited edition boxes that are either a popular icon or painted with the arrival of a season.

These beloved boxed meals are also giving travellers furusato no aji or a taste of home. Travellers across the country rely on train station ekiben shops to purchase their meals for a particular trip and the shops usually has choices that are tied to the area they are in.

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Ekiben is also more than something you eat on a train ride, its is another way to experience a whole new locale. A particular region can have their specialty up for sale in the train stations ekiben shops. Choices such as grilled beef tongue from Sendai or crab rice from Hokkaido can be available as a boxed meal in their respective train stations.

The idea of ekiben wasn’t developed till 1885 at Utsunomiya Station, which consisted only of plum pickled rice balls. There weren’t any dining cars in train travel back in the days, so the boxed meals were sold either on the platforms or through the windows of the trains. Today, more than 2,000 kinds of ekiben are available which are usually sold by local family-run businesses.

You Can Now Enjoy the Alps’ Autumn Foliage Onboard a Train

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It’s Autumn again and you’ll be thrilled to know that spectacular foliage views can be expected everywhere in the Northern hemisphere. Enjoy some amazing views in Europe onboard a train ride and witness the colourful change of leaves come October.

The Vigezzina-Centovalli railway is a historical track in the Piedmontese Alps of Italy and brings you across to Switzerland. A Foliage Train has been organised, looking to provide guests with an opportunity to admire the beauty of the fall foliage via a slow-paced train ride from Italy’s Domodossola in the Alps to the Swiss city of Locarno on Lake Maggiore.

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This Foliage Train will bring you across 52 kilometres of journeys crossing 82 bridges along the way from Italy to Switzerland and back again. Passenger can choose to hop on at either side and also choose take a stop during the ride either in the Italian Vigezzo Valley or Centovalli in Switzerland.

Stops are made in historical villages such as Santa Maria Maggiore and Malesco, Villette, Re and Intragna just to name a few. Each of the historical villages house their own museums, sanctuaries and not forgetting a gourmet selection of fine food to accompany you while you enjoy the fall foliage of the Alps.

The trains will be running from 13th October all the way till 4th November. It is recommended that you book your tickets in advance as well as your intended stops. This is because buying a ticket might grant you some discounts and free gifts in each of the towns mapped on the Foliage Train’s route.

You can visit the railway’s official website for more information.

Glamping in Luang Prabang, Laos

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Tucked in the heart of the city of Laos, the Rosewood Luang Prabang is a breathes a fresher glamping style, combining Laotian and French design that fulfils anyone’s Instagram dreams!

Luang Prabang is one of the very few cities in Southeast Asia that still holds on to its physical connection to it being a royal city in the past. The city is not guarded by any form of skyscrapers, there are barely a vast roadway in sight and the Buddhist temples are interconnected through pathways. The city makes one feel closer to the nature around it—the mountains and the life of the river. This feeling translates to Rosewood, which is situated outside the city.

Rosewood sits on a park of paths and wooden suspension bridges that runs along several flower patches of ginger flowers, frangipanis and other structures until they reach the series of safari-style tents. The tents, which are raised on stilts, are accompanied by amazing emerald mountains that goes all the way back to the horizon.

The Rosewood was designed by famed architect, Bill Bensley. Bensley, is responsible for many properties in Southeast Asia, such as the Shinta Mani brand hotels in Cambodia and the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle in Thailand.

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The site can accommodate 46 guests in its rooms, suites, villas and tents. The accommodations are made to appear like a Lao villa from the 1890s, resurrecting a French-colonial chic. The villas is also a reincarnation of Auguste Pavie’s home, France’s first vice-consul in Laos.

Rosewood is meant to be a getaway away from the busy cities of the world. Instead, the atmosphere is more of like a private house rather than a resort, making you feel like a guest of Pavie. Portraits of the Frenchman is framed around the site, and with very little information given out, it leaves visitors curious on who Pavie was. Answers to many of the questions asked by the visitors are scattered along with the portraits.

During night time, visitors are serenaded by frogs singing. You can spend the night sitting on a handmade-lacquered chair by the study table topped with antiques. Rosewood’s style is taken from a selective-romance from the French and Laotian influences.

Take a Trip Down Memory Lane Right Here At Lake Tahoe

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Starting from 1st October, visitors travelling to California’s Emerald Bay State Park will have the opportunity to explore and discover Lake Tahoe’s marine past. This new underwater trail brings you to an underwater world filled with historic features that dates back to the early 20th Century.

In the past, divers could already explore two large barges in the Historic Barge Dive Site located on the bay. However, with the addition of the new Emerald Bay Maritime Heritage Trail, divers can now explore three new additional sites as well as the various ships that rest underneath.

Divers can explore the earliest and largest vessel that was part of the fleet in recreational ships used at the Emerald Bay Resort. This family resort used to be a popular vacation destination before it was removed in the 1950s to free up the space for campgrounds. Measuring 27 feet in length, this vessel is known as Florence M and was built in the early 1900s for the purpose of conducting excursions around the lake.

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Other small historic vessels include a metal kayak, a day sailor, wooden fishing boats, row boats as well as motorboats.

This Maritime Heritage Trail marks the first time California State Parks is opening an underwater maritime heritage cultural trail to the general public. If you’re a history enthusiast who dives, this would be perfect for you to explore the recreational watercraft and barges used in the park’s past. Park representatives have also mentioned that the collection of vessels also happens to be the nation’s largest and most diverse group of sunken small craft that is known to exist in their original location.

Due to the water’s cold temperature, averaging from 43 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit in the deepest parts of the bay and from the mid-60s to below freezing during the winter and early spring months in the top 12 feet, the vessels have actually been very well preserved.

Keep your eyes peeled for underwater interpretive panels placed at the dive sites which provide information about each location. You can also find waterproof interpretive cards at the park’s visitor centres, local dive shops, on the park’s website as well as on the Sierra State Parks Foundation’s website.

It is recommended that divers visit the trail during fall as it is the best time for diving. You’ll be able to enjoy warmer temperatures and calmer waters as compared to the summer months while recreational boats are out and about in the area.

You Can Now Spend a Night at Oscar Wilde’s Former Pied-a-terre

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Image credit: Belmond Cadogan Hotel

Famous poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde once quoted “One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.” And now, you will soon be able to stay in one.

After four years and $48 million, the writer’s former pied-a-terre will reopen in December as the Belmond Cadogan Hotel after much of renovations.

The hotel holds is an integral location in Oscar Wilde’s life and in history. After losing a libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry, Wilde was arrested at the hotel on 1895. He even wrote a poem entitled, ‘The Arrest of Oscar Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel’, which states the entire ordeal.

Other than being a major historical importance to the literary and LGBTQ community—Wilde was arrested over homosexuality, a crime in England during his time—the hotel is looking to become a destination for several other reasons.

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Image credit: Belmond Cadogan Hotel

Despite going through several renovations, the hotel has preserved many of the original designs from the 1800s. Such as wood panelling, stained glass windows and even working fireplaces. The hotel has 57 rooms available for guests, all decorated with hints of modern and historic aesthetic that anyone would enjoy.

Other than the superb architecture, the hotel also has several other new dining options available inside the hotel. From tea lounges, terrace café to a classic British bar. The main restaurant, directed by Adam Handling, will be offering a menu filled with sustainable and contemporary British fare.

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Image credit: Belmond Cadogan Hotel

Every morning, pastries, croissants, bread and crumpets is delivered to guest rooms for breakfast. Guests can also spend their time in the private gardens or the hotel tennis courts.

If you wish to stay in the hotel, take a travel trip from ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ writer. In his playwright of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, one of the characters made a remark, saying he never travels without his diary.

5 Things to Do in Switzerland

As one of the most developed countries in the world, Switzerland takes the top few ranks in terms of quality of life, economic competitiveness and human development. That aside, this amazing country is also home to ravishing landscapes — perfect for once-in-a-lifetime trips be it Alpine skiing, hiking or mountain biking around glacier-encrusted mountain areas.

Find yourselves scaling down world famous peaks and getting lost in contemporary culture as you embark on your Switzerland adventure. Check out 5 of our favourites to get started:

1. Admire the Majestic Matterhorn

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What’s Switzerland without skiing? Visit the skit resort in Zermatt, and you will find yourselves gliding down top-class slopes that are complemented with majestic views of the iconic, tooth-shaped Matterhorn.

If you’re not so much of an adrenaline junkie, there are other ways for you to admire the Matterhorn. You can make your way to the summit of the Rothorn via a short half hour cable car journey away from Zermatt. Be sure to enjoy the spectacular panoramic vista of the surrounding mountains along the way.

2. Cruise Along the GoldenPass Line

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Image credit: Kabelleger

The GoldenPass Line is known to be a scenic route through Switzerland offering the opportunity to catch a glimpse of some of the country’s best scenery. You’ll be travelling from Lucerne to Montreux (or vice versa) over a five and a half hours long journey. During the ride, you’ll be passing through six Swiss cantons via three mountain passes. Enjoy the view of mesmerising landscapes along the way and feast your eyes on lakes, waterfalls and valleys that are complete with Swiss chalets.

As the GoldenPass is not a direct line, do take note that you have to switch trains in Interlaken and Zweisimmen. Here’s a tip — pack extra batteries for the road as you wouldn’t want to miss any photograph opportunities along the way.

3. Explore Swiss National Park

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Image credit: Hansueli Krapf

The Swiss National Park happens to be the Alps’ oldest park. Founded in 1914, it is located in the canton of Graubünden in eastern Switzerland. The park covers over 170 square kilometres, with 80 kilometres of it dedicated to hiking trails that bring you closer to nature.

While you’re on the trails, keep a lookout for the park’s residents  — the ibexes, chamois, marmots, golden eagles and bearded cultures.

As part of conservation efforts, visitors are forbidden to leave the trails so as to preserve the natural state of the national park as much as possible.

4. Hike in the Alps

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Hiking in Switzerland is without a doubt an unforgettable experience. Decked out with impressive trails, dramatic mountain peaks and quiet, off the beaten path valleys to explore, Switzerland is packed with surprises.You’ll be able to hike relatively easily thanks to clearly signposted pathways. Plus, there are numerous lifts and buses in the ski resort areas which helps you to navigate the area.

To better acquaint yourselves with the hiking trails, you can equip your smartphones with an app that consists of routes for the 32 hikes around Switzerland.

5. Learn About Cheese-Making in Gruyères

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Image credit: PerSona77

Who doesn’t love cheese? Be it melted cheese in a fondue, raclette cheese or raw cheese, Switzerland promises to never disappoint. Le Gruyère can be said to be the most popular and most famous of all Swiss cheeses. When you visit the medieval town of Gruyères, you can discover the art of cheese-making in La Maison du Gruyère. Plus, you can even try some of the cheese for yourselves.

Apart from the sensational cheeses, the town’s cobbled streets are beautiful to explore. Take some time to check out the traditional meringue and rich Gruyère cream, which is also a speciality of the region.

Maya Bay Closure Extended

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For those wishing to soak up the sun and bury their feet in the white sand shores of Maya Bay, tourists have to wait a little bit longer to get take in the islands creamy white beach and limestone cliffs.

Maya Bay has been off-limits since the start of June as part of a four-month rejuvenation program, aiming at reviving the area’s dying corals, installation of additional boat jetties, and other activities. The popular beach destination was set to reopen this month, but Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) announced on October 2nd, that Maya Bay will be closed indefinitely.

According to the DNP’s announcement, the marine ecosystem requires more time to recover. Hence, the closure would be extended from October onwards until all of the bays natural resources return to normal.

Maya Bay, part of Thailand’s Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, was made famous after the release of the 2000 film, “The Beach”, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio. After its feature in the movie, Maya Bay has been a popular day-trip destination for many.

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Thailand closes its national parks and islands regularly for a variety of reasons, may it be due to inclement weather or ecological recovery, but this is the first time such measures are to be implemented in Maya Beach.

Since overnighting on the island is prohibited, many of the tourists take the day for granted by taking as many pictures, sunbathe, snorkel as much as they can.

Despite Maya Bay’s indefinite closure, you can consider going to Boracay for a surreal beach experience. After Boracay’s closure back in April, it is now reopened in phases beginning this month.