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July 28th, 2013:

Travel apps a approach to go

TripAdvisor, now a world’s second many downloaded travel
app after Google Earth, skeleton to pull more
free mobile resources
to travellers.

Already, 31 million people have downloaded a apartment of TripAdvisor, City Guides and SeatGuru apps on their smartphone or other mobile devices, to assistance them tract journeys on a small screen.

TripAdvisor owners and arch executive Stephen Kaufer says: “We consider mobile has a event to change a approach folks correlate with information during a destination.�

Its City Guides, for instance, might be used offline during a end though incurring roaming fees. Each beam presents itineraries curated by experts, maps, reviews of attractions, a “Point Me There� underline that guides travellers to places regulating a GPS in a phone, and a biography that can be common with Facebook friends.

“From a perspective, that’s only a beginning. we would adore to ask my phone a ton some-more questions about what we should do, buy tickets on a phone, make reservations for cooking or use it to accommodate friends who are also in a same city or who live there,� he says.

TripAdvisor is not unconditionally there yet, though is banking on mobile and social-media technologies to open adult horizons.

After all, travellers, enamoured with mobile devices, have voted with their fingertips. Last year, mobile and inscription any accounted for 10-15% of sum sessions on TripAdvisor. The series of singular visitors regulating mobile inclination has doubled from 2011.

“There is copiousness of event for some unequivocally innovative expansion in that category,� Kaufer predicts.

TripAdvisor owners Stephen Kaufer himself explores a universe regulating a transport website he built. He is a inclusive reviewer, too. He recently spent a week in Istanbul and Cappadocia, and distils tips from that Turkey outing and other adventures. He travels about once a month.

Here’s his modus operandi:

Hotel: Check a ranking, afterwards strike a filter button, such as family or business to slight down a choice. For decent-sized cities, any hotel on a initial page of formula will appeal. Decide on a cost range.

Attractions: Skim reviews. Seek something new.

Queries: Use a transport forum. A response from someone with internal believe customarily pops adult within 24 hours.

He debunks a suspicion that TripAdvisor quashes extemporaneous travel, observant it forked him to a new experience: hot-air ballooning.

“Cappadocia has subterraneous cities 10 storeys deep. we suspicion that was fascinating.�

Ballooning was not on his to-do list there, though a reviews were all spectacular, so he attempted it for a initial time.

“It was really early in a morning and impossibly beautiful. If not for TripAdvisor, we wouldn’t have famous about it. we suspicion we was there to try history.�

Kaufer publishes reviews mostly underneath a pseudonym. “TripAdvisor offers badges for how mostly we review. we am one of a tip reviewers,� he says.

It is excellent for a skill owners to ask a guest to post reviews on TripAdvisor, he thinks. “But if we give a bonus or a giveaway bottle of wine, that’s clearly violating a rules. It’s excellent to ask though not to reward.�

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Riverside country Italian

Truth or myth: Don’t flip a Simply Roasted 7-star Seabass over when one side has been eaten; usually mislay a bone.Truth or myth: Don’t flip a Simply Roasted 7-star Seabass over when one side has been eaten; usually mislay a bone.

Satisfying, New York-style dining – in Shanghai.

NO consternation a expats here demeanour so self-satisfied.� The Lord Restrain leaned behind in his low chair in a “farm chic� loft during Mercato, located on Shanghai’s Bund.

“I would be, too, if we could come here to eat any day,� he declared, while scanning a large, open dining space. Here, reclaimed timber and comfortable leather tones element unprotected steel, iron and glass, and smashing cuisine.

On a cold Saturday dusk in January, it was positively an mouth-watering venue and was stuffing adult quick by 7pm.

Hardly surprising, then, that though reservations we couldn’t get a Mercato list during luminary cook Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s recently non-stop restaurant. The famed three-Michelin-star cook already had a participation in a building with his glorious dining namesake restaurant, Jean-Georges. So we took a window list offering nearby a bar, and with a not-too-restricted perspective of a world-famous waterway.

“The many glorious starters in decades,â€? admitted a Lord, not withdrawal a singular particle on his plate. we had to agree. The Housemade Ricotta with Cranberry Compote, Olive Oil and Grilled Bread (78 renminbi/RM38.20) was not what we expected; it looked elementary and, good … rustic. But a light and tawny ring of smoothly flavoured ricotta surfaced with a tasty cranberry baked solemnly with sugarine brought a palatable multiple of tastes and textures with any uninterrupted mouthful.

The Wood-oven Roasted Asparagus Fontina and Prosciutto (88 renminbi/RM43) that followed a cranberry fair was no reduction impressive. The simply grilled greens wrapped in soothing slices of prosciutto were crunchy, nonetheless moist. Slathered in olive oil, all it indispensable for a pointy spice was a extract of a lemon, and a crowd was already waiting.

The Lord is a large fan of Italian food and so, with a wood-fire oven adding regard to an already acceptable dining room, we could not assistance though collect a Spicy Pork Sausage, Kale and Pecorino Pizza (118 renminbi/RM57.70). And a country pizza did not disappoint.

This residence speciality was simply surfaced with sausage slices and kale, while a thin-crust pizza was surprisingly chewy and charmingly charred in spots. The mix of parmesan, mozzarella and pecorina cheeses artfully married their flavours, ensuing in a comfortingly artistic taste.

Aided by eyeglasses of Italian white, inexhaustible and cold usually right, a dusk was usually beginning. The wealthy mélange of Shanghai, both internal and expatriate, were in justification as they came for an dusk of bonhomie with partners, friends and families. Noted a Lord Restrain, “Elitist, magnificent fine-dining restaurants should be transposed by places like this.â€? “Like what?â€? we asked. He pondered and proclaimed: “Casual … stylish … unequivocally good food.â€?

By this time, a Simply Roasted 7-star Seabass (38 renminbi/RM18.60 per 100g) had arrived. Before we could even set my booze potion down, a tip half of a roasted fish was gone.

“Should we spin over a fish?� we asked, with some-more than a spirit of sarcasm.

“No!â€? He confided in me: “I was told by many Chinese friends over cooking that we should take a bone out, and not spin a fish over, generally if we are nearby a port. So that a fishermen’s boats will not spin over.â€? He paused and looked during me: “A myth, maybe?â€? Err …

The Spicy Pork Sausage, Kale and Pecorino Pizza is a residence speciality atMercato.The Spicy Pork Sausage, Kale and Pecorino Pizza is a residence speciality at
Mercato.

Roasted with sage, rosemary, tomato and lemon, a drum stewing in a prohibited salsa was basic and light. The transparent sauce, with sour hints of lemon, offering a uninformed savour to element a uninformed fish.

Chef Vongerichten’s signature aptitude for balancing flavours and textures was during work here. The flesh, really simply smashed in a crispy shell, slipped simply off a bone and shortly a fish had slipped simply off a plate, too. “The tomatoes are a small burnt …â€? a Lord announced as he popped another crowd into his mouth,â€?… though really juicy.â€?

Since a menu consists of Coastal Italian Cuisine, we motionless to finish a dish with a reliable Tiramisu (58 renminbi/RM28.40). This valid a correct choice, as a portion was some-more than adequate for two, even dual with such a conspicuous honeyed tooth. After such a good introduction to ambience and texture, unfortunately, a tiramisu didn’t live adult to a expectations. Not usually was it sheer and understated, a bottom was somewhat dry and it was formidable to finish.

Nevertheless, a unsatisfactory dessert did not detract us from a entirely beguiling evening. Great grill ambience, overwhelming views of night mountainous skyscrapers unaware and reflected in a shimmering river. Moreover, we was rather gratified as we had usually taken one punch of a dessert and left a rest to a Lord, who was eating it with most restraint.

“This is really relaxing,� pronounced a Lord, slumping behind in his chair, his mustard sweater resisting agreeably with a chair’s orange immature upholstery. “You won’t feel that approach when a check arrives,� we replied. With dual eyeglasses of wine, fish weighed by a gram and dual glorious coffees, a dusk set us behind roughly RM500.

But Lord Restrain now looked flattering cocksure to me. As if to confirm, he leaned behind in his low chair in Mercato’s loft, and muttered: “Ve-e-ery satisfying.�

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Hotels for health-minded travellers

Feeling healthy? There are hotels now that offer healthy holiday packages with perks like a loaned pairof sneakers or even a using friend called a ‘running concierge’.Feeling healthy? There are hotels now that offer healthy holiday packages with perks like a loaned pair
of sneakers or even a using friend called a ‘running concierge’.

Wellness is one of a hottest hotel trends this year.

HEALTH-minded travellers have never been so marred for choice – there are now hotels charity aptness concierges and allocated using buddies.

Here are a few good places to stay while on a vacation.

InterContinental has launched a new hotel code called Even, a initial mainstream hotel code to concentration exclusively on wellness.

Exercise options embody in-room touches, such as a coat-rack that doubles as a pull-up bar, well-equipped gyms, personalised aptness recommendation for all guest and a Wellness Wall with practice ideas, walking distances and apparatus let information on display.

The initial Even hotel is slated to open in New York by a finish of 2014, while a association envisions opening another 100 US locations over a subsequent 5 years, InterContinental announced late final year.

Four Seasons in Canada uses wellness concierges, who devise your daily wellness itinerary, including sauna appointments, healthy dishes and workouts.

In addition, Four Seasons Resort Whistler offers a Path To Wellness package, a three-night stay charity meditation, aromatherapy and a yoga mat, as good as a aptness devise and outside beam to approach guest on towering adventures.

At a New York boutique hotel, guest can steal a new “Forgot It? We’ve Got It – Runner’s Edition� pack that includes a music-filled iPod shuffle, a sports watch with a built-in pedometer, a using belt, H2O bottles and a map of a Hudson River
running path.

Return from your run and you’ll find
a Gatorade and a Power Bar watchful in
your room.

Perks being charity during Sheraton Hotels and Resorts embody a “workout in a bag�, that includes enlightening cards, froth rollers and a mat.

Westin Hotels and Resorts will loan guest a span of New Balance sneakers and examination garments only in box they’ve left theirs during home. If we need a using buddy, a “running concierge� can lead a way.

Launched as a health bar business in 2000, Europe’s Aspria recently combined 4 civic wellness hotels – Berlin, Brussels, Hanover, Hamburg – that offer a sports club, spa, and healthy dishes during a “vital lounges�.

Las Vegas’s MGM Grand recently converted countless bedrooms into “Stay Well� rooms, chock full of 16 health amenities. Expect personalised sauna menus, wake-up light therapy, atmosphere catharsis and aromatherapy, vitamin C-infused showers and wellness videos from Deepak Chopra.

Fairmont Hotels and Resorts now offer a new “Fairmont Fit� programme, rolling out in 80 of their hotels around a universe this year.

The package includes aptness gear, mp3 players and cruiser bikes to borrow, with some hotels charity organisation aptness and “run clubs�.

London’s Eccleston Square Hotel offers Hastens’ “Mind Spa� decrease programming, that broadcasts sleep-inducing healthy images and sounds in your room to foster improved sleep.

Hotel Rio Sagrado nearby Cuzco, Peru, also offers a package called “A Good Night’s Sleep�, where yoga instructors accommodate guest in their room for sleep-inducing yoga sessions and herbal massage sessions. – AFP

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Selangor’s country delights

Tour beam Rashid Hisham putting a finishing touches on a scarecrow in a padi margin in TanjongKarang, Selangor.Tour beam Rashid Hisham putting a finishing touches on a scarecrow in a padi margin in Tanjong
Karang, Selangor.

A homestay programme offers encampment living, tolerable agro-tourism and a whole lot of merriment.

STANDING in knee-high weed underneath a blazing afternoon sun, Rashid Hisham takes a step behind to consult his handiwork on a figure.

“This doesn’t demeanour utterly right. She needs something to make her demeanour some-more ayu (demure),� he says, defeat out a white headscarf from a bag of garments and throwing it over a scarecrow’s coconut head.

“Ah, we need a lady to tie this on her. I’m not really good during it,� a 53-year-old confesses with a grin.

If there is one thing to learn from this man, it is that scarecrows are meant to keep a birds away, though they should not shock people.

We are in a padi margin in an halcyon encampment tucked divided in Tanjong Karang, Selangor, where a United Federation of Travel Agents’ Association (UFTAA) association        delegates have collected to try their hands during harvesting rice with normal hand-held harvesting tools.

Rashid, a debate beam with Agrotourism Sungai Sireh, says he feels positively during home in a rice fields. Padi planting and harvesting is his specialty, and he mostly brings visitors to a area.

As it is padi-harvesting season, a representatives are shown a process of hand-threshing after their padi margin expedition, that concerned violence sheaves of rice stalks opposite a tough aspect to apart a grains from a stalks.

On this post-congress familiarisation outing hosted by Tourism Selangor, they are given a pile-up march on a community’s enlightenment and farming lifestyle – a hide rise into what visitors to a Agrotourism Homestay Sungai Sireh can design to knowledge during their stay.

Despite it being their initial time, a few of a representatives infer rather skilful during ketupat-weaving as well.

The United Federation of Travel Agents’ Association (UFTAA) association delegateswere taught how to wobble ketupat during a Agrotourism Homestay Sungai Sireh.— ROUWEN LIN/The StarThe United Federation of Travel Agents’ Association (UFTAA) association delegates
were taught how to wobble ketupat during a Agrotourism Homestay Sungai Sireh.
— ROUWEN LIN/The Star

The common rice plant, common as it is here, is a newness to many of them and they are utterly gay to reap a fruits of their labour. Placing a few stalks of rice delicately into her bag, Nevin Ozkan from Northern Cyprus says she intends to move them home to her grandchildren.

“I would like to uncover them these rice stalks as it is zero they have seen before. Back in Cyprus, we don’t have padi fields like we do here,� she says.

Ahmed Nor Osman from Somalia describes a rice harvesting knowledge as “very nice, really interesting.�

Wiping a persperate from his brow, he says, “But we didn’t design it to be so prohibited here; it is customarily like in Somalia.�

All for one

Launched in Apr 1995, a homestay programme is a community-based agrotourism project. The categorical operation site is located in Sungai Sireh, though there are several other beside villages involved.

Sixty homes have taken on a purpose of horde family to visitors, and a series is flourishing by a day. Full house is offering (there are opposite packages available) and visitors can join in a daily activities of a encampment for a generation of their stay.

Global Environment Centre (GEC) comparison biodiversity officer, Nagarajan Rengasamy, explains that GEC is collaborating with a homestay folks to assistance rise eco-tourism and agro-tourism products and programmes.

“We also advise on how to make use of resources in a tolerable way,� he says.

Depending on a time of year, visitors can attend in opposite encampment activities, including fishing, kayaking or fruit picking.

“We infrequently move a visitors to a padi fields to locate eels with their unclothed hands. These eels den in a soothing mud, make a hole in it, and afterwards live in it. Some tourists are a bit distressed about regulating their hands, so we give them a fishing rod,� relates Nagarajan.

And throwing a eel is customarily half a fun; a cooking and eating after that creates adult a other half!

“The villagers will uncover them how to make soup with eel. They trust it is a healthful tonic, really profitable for one’s health,� he says.

Most evenings finish with merry-making, finish with dance and strain accompanied by normal low-pitched instruments.

Past and present

According to Nagarajan, some 8.000 visitors participated in a homestay programme final year. Of these, around 2,000 are foreigners, mostly from South Korea, Japan and European countries.

“The irrigation complement in a padi fields are from a days of a Japanese function in a 1940s,� he shares. “So a Japanese in sold have a special seductiveness in entrance to revisit a villages as we are still regulating a same record that they introduced here.�

For visitors who have a means to lapse frequently, a homestay programme offers a tiny inducement out in a fields: an event to guard your crops.

A tiny site in a padi fields has been set aside only for visitors to work on.

“They plant a padi and afterwards can lapse as mostly as they like to check on a swell of a plants,� says Nagarajan.

“Four to 5 months later, it is prepared to be harvested. Some people indeed come behind to collect a rice they planted!�

One of a largest remaining constant areas of peatland in a Peninsula is permitted from these villages. Most of a peat engulf forests in a nation have been logged or degraded, and this peat engulf forest, covering an area of 70,000ha, has been identified as a charge site.

Nagarajan describes a North Selangor peat engulf timberland as “really large – it is a distance of Singapore!�

And lest we consider that encampment vital in a encampment is slight and maybe dull, Nagarajan discloses that surprises are aplenty: customarily final September, around 500 Asian Openbill Storks descended on a padi fields, where they sojourn until today.

These roving birds, customarily found in Sri Lanka, India and Thailand, are not ordinarily seen here.

Related Stories:
Bright beacon
A light in a dark

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A light in a dark

On a good night, thousands of fireflies come out to play (or rather, mate) during theFirefly Park in Kuala Selangor.On a good night, thousands of fireflies come out to play (or rather, mate) during the
Firefly Park in Kuala Selangor.

WE had only clambered into a small vessel from a jetty of a Firefly Park in Kuala Selangor (also famous as Kelip-Kelip Kampung Kuantan), and a boatman was holding us out on a stream to observe a fireflies.

There we were, sitting in a dim and being lulled by a tranquil sounds of lapping H2O all around, when hundreds of intense dots of light seemed out of a darkness. It seemed as yet a whole firefly cluster during a park had come out to play.

They were perched on or hovering around a mangrove trees along possibly side of a murky stream bank. In this area, a Pteroptyx tener class is king. It is among those that rehearse synchronised flashing.

The boatman easily manoeuvred his boat, weaving in and out among a tree branches that hung over a water, to give us a improved perspective of these dancing lights. The fireflies drifted lazily over tree branches and leaves, intense a comfortable yellow opposite a night sky.

Yes, a knowledge on a Selangor stream that night was surreal. It felt like Christmas came early this year.

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