Big glass bridge open in China

The world’s highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge has opened in China.

Suspended 300 metres above the earth and 430 metres long, the bridge spans a canyon in the Zhangjiajie mountains – part of China’s central Hunan province.

The hindustantimes reported that the six-metre wide bridge contained 99 panels of clear glass and could carry up to 800 people.

Following an incident in which another glass bridge cracked in China, the opening events for the Zhangjiajie mountain structure included one where people were encouraged to try and smash the new bridge’s glass panels with a sledge hammer, and another where they drove a car across it.

Photo courtesy Chinatopix via AP

Asia Uncategorized

New terminal at busy Jakarta airport

Jakarta’s main airport has opened a futuristic-looking terminal with the aim if handling tens of millions of additional passengers a year.

The StraitsTimes reports that the terminal cost almost five trillion Indonesian rupiah, but will allow Soekarno–Hatta International Airport to serve an additional 25 million passengers  a year.

Reports say it is expected to be fully operational by March next year – firstly seeving only domestic Garuda flights, before moving on to international services.

Garuda chief executive, Arif Wibowo, is reported as describing the new terminal as a “great milestone” that will help provide a better service for customers.

Covering 422,804 square metres, the new terminal is said to be slightly larger than Changi Airport’s Terminal 3 at Singapore.

The aim is to attract international passengers to choose Jakarta as a transit point.

 

Photo: courtesy Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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Avoid paying for phone calls while travelling

When travelling, we make a point of never paying for international phone calls.

This can be done easily – without worrying about getting local SIM cards; racking up expensive roaming charges; or puzzling over country codes and the like.

We are free-wifi junkies  and we also make use of apps that allow you to make calls at no cost.

Instead of using traditional phone networks, these apps  rely on the Internet to transmit your voice, so all you need is free wifi – widely available with accommodation and in cafes, restaurants, pubs, airports, train stations etc.

FaceTime for video or audio

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Our favourite app is Apple’s FaceTime.

Most people know FaceTime as a video-calling service, but it also has an audio only button. We’ve used it to make calls  – both video and audio – from our iPad and iPhone across Europe and the US.

As long as the person you are calling also has an Apple device with FaceTime turned on in its settings, the calls are simple, fast, free and crystal clear.

One of our most memorable calls was back home to Australia while we waited for a train in Chicago. We had free wifi – and made the most of it.

WhatsApp

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If a person you want to call doesn’t have an Apple device, you can use the popular WhatsApp.

Free to download, this is a favourite for both texting and calls across the globe.

We’ve never tried it, but some travellers have told us that they also use Facebook’s Messenger app for free telephone calls.

Another that we haven’t spent much time on is Viber, which seems particularly popular for sending free text messages.

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Naturally, you need to remember that, for these calls to work, the person you are ringing also need to have the app that you are using.

 

 

 

 

 

Personal travel planning Technology on the road Tips Uncategorized

Bree’s Famous Brownies

Our daughter, Bree, has kindly allowed us to share another of her favourite creations.

Believe us, these are extremely tasty.

Ingredients

  • 200g or 7oz of unsalted butter
  • Half a cup of cocoa
  • Two cups of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • Two eggs
  • One cup of plain flour
  • Half a cup of chopped walnuts

Method

  • Melt butter and cocoa in saucepan (do not boil)
  • Add sugar and vanilla, stir in well
  • Take off heat and mix in flour
  • Add eggs and beat in well
  • Pour evenly into brownie pan/slice tin
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180 degreesC/360 degrees F
Musings Uncategorized

Have a break in the Gulf of Thailand

There’s an eye-opening resort on one of Thailand’s most popular islands, Sumui.

Novotel Samui Resort is situated close to Samui shopping and nightlife areas – and only 10 minutes from the island’s international airport.

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Featuring 183 spacious beachfront and garden rooms, the Accor resort is the first Novotel on Samui Island, a premier destination in the Gulf of Thailand.

AccorHotels says the rooms have balconies, LCD Television and complimentary Wifi.

There are three restaurants; two pools; a spa; meeting room; and fitness centre.

Patrick Basset, Chief Operating Officer for AccorHotels Upper Southeast and Northeast Asia. said the  Novotel Samui Resort reinforced the company’s commitment to development in Southern Thailand.

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Mr Basset said the firm was proud to offers travellers an international four-star brand known for its spacious rooms, consistently high service standards, commitment to guest well-being and modern meeting rooms.

For additional information and reservations visit www.accorhotels.com email H9931@accor.com or call +(66) (0) 77 428 888.

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Vines Resort throws pool party for Australia Day

A popular Australian resort has announced plans for a special pool party to mark the country’s national day, on January 26.

Novotel Vines Resort, in Western Australia’s picturesque Swan Valley, will stage a typical Aussie barbecue and fun day around the swimming pool between noon and 6pm on Australia Day.

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The Vines says there’ll be “true blue Aussie lamb and pavlova” with a backdrop of good music – the Triple J Hottest 100 countdown.

People attending the pool party will be able to indulge in lamb-on-the-spit; Aussie sausages; freshly baked rolls; salads and pavlova

The pool gates at The Novotel Vines Resort will open from 11am on Australia Day.

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See additional details and get tickets.

And, if you want to make a four-day weekend of it, the resort has a room for you to have a sleepover after the pool party.

For enquiries call (08) 9297 3000  or visit www.vines.com.au

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Best destinations for 2016

Travellers in 2016 are expected to continue exploring emerging tourism markets, seeking  value for money.

The growth of new destinations is complementing trends toward budget airlines; layover bookings and mixed transport methods.

Of course, big travel favourites like Italy, Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, Barcelona,  and Australia are continuing to boom, despite rising costs in many areas.

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And the Austrian Alps, Switzerland, Germany and elegant Denmark are also retaining their status as fairytale holiday destinations.

However, currency movements, the cost of flying into the traditional  airports and economic pressures are  accelerating a push toward Central Europe, the Balkan Peninsula, Asia, the domestic US market and Oceania.

Value offered by developing tourism economies like Bulgaria, Romania, Kosovo and Serbia – where daily costs can be remarkably low –  are making the Balkans a rising star on the travel scene.

Sofia Cathedral

Low-price destinations that are yet to attract the crowds of Prague and Vienna, include:

  • Sofia, Bulgaria (above)
  • Plovdiv, Bulgaria
  • Prizren Kosovo
  • Belgrade, Serbia
  • Bucharest, Romania
  • Bratislava, Slovakia

In Central Europe, Krakow, Poland, with its stunning Old Town and Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic (below) also offer great value without the touristy feel.

Cesky Krumlov

Cost is also driving a strong push toward many of the less well-known  destinations in Asia, including;

  • Cambodia, which remains one of the world’s best value attractions for travellers
  • Vietnam, especially the Hanoi area and Hoi An
  • Luang Prabang, Laos
  • Sri Lanka
  • Goa, Kerala and Sikkim, India

Singapore and Beijing, China now number among the world’s most sophisticated and popular cities, but still offer plenty of scenery and jewels for travellers.

Cambodia

Oceania, increasingly, is appearing on travel plans. The beauty of the Pacific Ocean region has long been recognised, but many of the lesser known centres are attracting increased interest.

Good  value destinations include;

  • New Zealand
  • Fiji
  • Bora Bora
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Cook Islands
  • Noumea
  • Suva

Regardless of where you are planning to visit in 2016, we wish you enjoyable and safe travelling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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