Last Chance Beaches part 3

Phu Quoc, Vietnam

Phu Quoc, Vietnam
Phu Quoc, Vietnam
Photo: Alamy

Phu Quoc, a sleepy tropical island off Vietnam's southwest coast, in the Gulf of Thailand, is 220 square miles of near-empty white-sand beaches, unpaved roads, and simple bungalow-style guesthouses, with a population unperturbed by the forces of mass tourism. The handful of foreign visitors who've been there say it's the exact opposite of places like Phuket—and yet, "the next Phuket" is exactly what the Vietnamese government is hoping Phu Quoc will become.

A master plan unveiled by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in May 2010 envisions a world-class tourism center with an international airport (already under construction), cruise ports, casinos, a business and finance hub, and seven million tourists by 2030. That's quite a change from the 162,000 visitors the island received in the first eight months of 2009. The government insists that sustainability and preservation are part of the plan.

Vietnam's hopelessly convoluted and corrupt bureaucracy will make it hard to get much built on Phu Quoc, say insiders, as will the island's relative inaccessibility. So there's still a chance that at least part of Phu Quoc's peaceful, unspoiled vibe will remain untarnished. But the 12-mile stretch of paradise known as Bai Truong (Long Beach) has already seen some concrete cookie-cutter hotels crop up alongside the more charming thatched-roof bungalows.

If you go: Mango Bay, on Long Beach, maintains the low-key Phu Quoc vibe with 31 bungalows made from local materials and furnished with mosquito-netted four-poster beds and solar showers.

World's Most Spectacular Pedestrian Bridges part 3

BP Bridge, Millennium Park, Chicago

BP Bridge, Millennium Park, Chicago
BP Bridge, Millennium Park, Chicago
Photo by: Patrick Pyszka

Get an overview of Chicago's most impressive architecture, not to mention Lake Michigan, when you set out from the brushed-steel Jay Pritzker Pavilion and amble along Frank Gehry's 925-foot-long bridge above Columbus Drive. Clad in shiny lizard-skin-patterned steel and paid for by its oil-company namesake, the overpass's only shortcoming is that it doesn't make it all the way to the water's edge—you're left to fend for yourself on traffic-filled Lakeshore Drive.

Companion Bridge: An ultra-skinny minimalist footbridge, designed by Renzo Piano, leads from Millennium Park to the architect's new wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

The World's Most Beautiful Rivers part 3

Zambezi River, Zambia and Mozambique


Zambezi River, Zambia and Mozambique
Courtesy of Getty Images

The Zambezi flows 2,700 kilometers through six African countries before it spills into the Indian Ocean, allowing for a large array of ways to explore the riverside life and beauty of Africa. Although it is the fourth-largest river in Africa, it’s most popular spot by far is Victoria Falls, the world’s largest waterfalls, and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

Nearly a million people visit the falls every year to witness the awe-inspiring volume of water that cascades over 354 feet to the bottom at its deepest point, or to swim dizzyingly close to the edge at a naturally-safe swimming spot called “Devil’s Pool,” a popular location to take photoshopped-looking pictures of daredevil wading. 

New Earthly Wonders part 3

Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley (Kenya)

Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley (Kenya)
The area around three interconnected shallow lakes—Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru, and Lake Elementaita—is home to a stunning arena of bird and mammal life.
Courtesy of Nigel Pavitt/JWL/Aurora Photos

Set in Kenya's Great Rift Valley region, the area around three inter-connected shallow lakes—Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Elementaita—is home to a stunning arena of bird and mammal life. Great Rift Valley is considered the most important foraging site in the world for the lesser flamingo (the smallest species of flamingo at 3 feet tall)—countless of which can be spotted there—and it's also a top nesting and breeding ground for great white pelicans. Black rhino, lions, Rothschild's giraffe, greater kudu and cheetahs quench their thirst at the lakes. 

Places that are Cheap Now part 3

Riviera Maya, Mexico


Eastern Mexico is entering its annual tourism slump; most tourists are deterred by high temperatures and frequent rainfall. However, travelers who visit in August and early September can skirt the sprinkles while nabbing excellent deals to some of the country's most popular destinations, including Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. According to Hotwire, hotel prices have dropped eight percent since 2010, with five-star rooms going for $135 a night, on average. And you can find flights from the U.S. for as low as $250. And to top it all off, you won't have to pay a cent to enjoy this region's miles of soft sand and Caribbean Sea views.

For more savings… Pay with pesos. Although many restaurants and shops in this region accept United States dollars, vendors are more willing to negotiate a lower price with you if you use pesos.

World's Most Beautiful Ferry Rides part 3

New York: Between Manhattan and Staten Island


New York: Between Manhattan and Staten Island
New York: Ferry between Manhattan and Staten Island
Courtesy of Darcy Strobel

About 65,000 riders board this orange commuter ferry every day. When you get on, head upstairs to snag a seat on the starboard (right) side—the best vantage point for admiring Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The free 25-minute ride also delivers unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline, stretching up and out from Wall Street. Complement the view with a classic city snack, a bagel or pretzel, and some of the city’s cheapest beer, all sold at the onboard bar. 

Seven Sensational Scenic Drives for Autumn part 3

Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina And Virginia)

Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina And Virginia)
Blue Ridge Parkway
Courtesy of ExploreAsheville.com

Drive: The Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469-mile mystical mountain route dubbed "America's Favorite Drive," stretches from Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Shenandoah National Park. Head to the southwestern segment near Asheville, North Carolina, where leaf season runs long. Room rates are less expensive in late September and early November, but the colors are still beautiful.

Stop: In early fall thousands of migrating monarch butterflies bound for Mexico pass through the mountains 35 minutes south of Asheville. Best view: the parkway's Wagon Road Gap overlook. Nearby, crunch into a fresh-picked apple at Orchard at Altapass or hit the corn maze at Hickory Nut Gap Farm. The Biltmore House Architect's Tour takes you to a 360-degree rooftop view of autumn colors.

Stay: Inn on Main Street B&B, just north of Asheville, has a $195 per night Adventure Road Waterfall Tour Package that includes a picnic lunch, a guide to area waterfalls, and a personalized driving itinerary. For families, try Asheville's Brookstone Lodge for $89 to $159 per night, or go for one of the lodge's affordable zip-line or whitewater rafting packages.

Great American Beach Towns part 9

Jekyll Island, Georgia


Jekyll Island, Georgia
Jekyll Island, Georgia
Photo: Alamy

The sand: A barrier island with ten miles of dune-swept beaches, a Prince of Tides feel, and 63 holes of golf.

Marine life: Though you won't find Mr. Rourke and Tattoo, Jekyll could be Fantasy Island, thanks to its array of fun-time activities. You can go horseback riding on the beach. There's kayaking and canoeing through salt marshes and estuaries, plus biking along 20 miles of trails along the sands, notching birds in the Audubon book, and visiting a water park to work off the kids' waffle- cone sugar highs. This bounty of outdoors options is matched by the historic district, a 240-acre compound on Jekyll Creek. Named in 1734 for a financial backer of the Georgia colony, the island long belonged to co-owners J.P. Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, and William Rockefeller, and their moneyed manners still linger in elegant boutiques. But just about any budget can afford Blackbeard's Seafood Restaurant, where the fried oysters and flounder almondine are better than the restaurant name suggests.

The sanctuary: The Queen Anne–style Jekyll Island Club Hotel, with 157 rooms, has been hosting guests from Joseph Pulitzer to regular Joes since 1886. It's also where you'll find the four golf courses.

Jekyll Island Club Hotel
Tel: 912 635 2600 - Doubles from $189

Blackbeard's Seafood Restaurant
Tel: 912 635 3522 

Perfect Summer Lake Towns part 5

Grand Lake, Colorado, on Grand Lake


Grand Lake, Colorado, on Grand Lake
Surrounded by the high peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado's largest natural lake couldn't be more picturesque.
Courtesy of PhotoBobil/Flickr
Surrounded by the high peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado's largest natural lake couldn't be more picturesque. The town was founded in 1881 and affects a rustic, Wild West vibe, with saloons and a boardwalk along Grand Avenue. Embrace the theme by hitching a ride on horseback with Sombrero Ranches, whose ranch hands will lead you through alpine meadows, alongside clear mountain streams, and up steep hillsides (970/627-3514, four hour rides $75 per person).

Where to Refuel: The chefs at Sagebrush BBQ & Grill were taking advantage of local riches—Rocky Mountain trout, elk, buffalo—long before it became trendy. 1101 Grand Ave., 970/627-1404, entrĂ©es from $10.95.

World's Prettiest Places part 5

Grand Canyon  

USA

Grand Canyon, United States
Grand Canyon, United States
Photo: Fundenberg/Flickr

We have to root a little for the home team. And here in the United States, the astonishing depths and incredible sunsets of the Grand Canyon make it a shoe-in on this list. Plus you can enjoy the scenery while you work up a sweat, hiking the rigorous Bright Angel Trail or rafting the Colorado River. As President Theodore Roosevelt famously noted, this park is "one of the great sights which every American, if he can travel at all, must see." Many take Teddy up on his word -- so if you want to explore this northern Arizona park, we suggest you avoid the staggering crowds of the summer. Consider visiting between March and May or September and November, when the weather is pleasant and the lodging rates are reasonable.

continue 

Dragon Hostel Hong Kong

Dragon Hostel is located at Mong Kok, the well-known shopping and sight-seeing area in Kowloon Hong Kong. Shopping malls, street markets and entertainment places are located within 5mins walking distance. Plenty of local style, Chinese, Western, Asian and vegetarian restaurants surround the building. All 60 rooms of the hostel are equipped with amenities such as air conditioning, television, direct-dial telephone (unlimited free local calls), bathroom facilities, writing desk, drawer and storage place. Ecomony rooms with shared bathrooms are available for budget travelers. The hostel has complied with government regulations on fire safety and building safety. All rooms are kept extremely clean and comfortable by friendly staffs. free boardband internet access available. Staffs speaks English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Indonesian. 24hrs reception desk gives you full travel information. Dragon Hostel also provides travel services include China (BusinessTourist) Visas and Vietnam tourist visa, Hong Kong local tours and Ticketing arrangement. We sell discounted Disney and Ocean Park Tickets! Dragon Hostel has been rated as Top-Hostel in various traveller's forums.
Check in from 2:00 PM, Check out prior to 11:00 AM
  
Hotel Features
General
Room Service, Air Conditioned, Cable / Satellite TV, TV
Activities
Tour Desk, Excursions
Services
Concierge, Elevator / Lift, 24 Hour Reception, Currency Exchange, Wake-up Service, Desk, Direct dial phone
Internet
High-speed Internet is available at this hotel. Wireless internet on site.

Dragon Hostel Hong Kong 
Location Room 707, 7/F, 83 Argyle Street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
More information click here

Chi Residences 314 Hong Kong

Located along colourful Nathan Road in Kowloon, CHI Residences 314 offers luxurious serviced apartments with free internet access and easy access to transport and entertainment.

Apartments at CHI Residences 314 are fully furnished in a contemporary style and feature a well equipped kitchenette. They are also fitted with a flat-screen television with home theatre system.

The residences provide warm and personalised service with their 24-hour concierge service. It also has a business centre and a mini library where guests can borrow movies to watch for free.

CHI Residences 314 is just a 5-minute walk to Tsim Sha Tsui and is surrounded by a wide variety of shops, markets and restaurants. Jordan MTR is also just a short stroll away.
Check in from 2:00 PM, Check out prior to 12:00 PM
  
Hotel Features
General
Air Conditioned, Kitchenette, Microwave, TV
Services
Business Center, 24 Hour Reception, Self Laundry
Internet
Wireless internet on site.
 
Chi Residences 314 Hong Kong 
Location 314 Nathan Road, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
More information click here

L'Hotel Nina et Convention Center

Many area attractions can be reached from the L'Hotel Nina et Convention Center. These attractions include Disneyland, Tsuen Wan Park, Town Hall, Mongkok, Yuen Yuen Institute, Tsuen Wan Shopping Center, and the Tsimshatsui shopping area. The hotel is surrounded by the Tsuen Wan shopping district. The L'Hotel Nina et Convention Center is thirty minutes from the Hong Kong International Airport, and is just a short walk from a rail station and a mass transit station.

The 1589 rooms of the L'Hotel Nina et Convention Center include many modern amenities, such as coffee/tea makers, hairdryers, high-speed Internet access, televisions with on-demand movies, irons and ironing boards, in-room safes, private bathrooms with bathrobes, and laundry service.

The L'Hotel Nina et Convention Center is a 42-story accommodation with 1589 contemporary rooms. The hotel includes two towers, connected with a sky bridge at the 41st floor, where guests can enjoy views of the sea. The hotel provides such amenities as a swimming pool, a sauna, a restaurant, a business center, a lounge, and a banquet hall.
Check in from 2:00 PM, Check out prior to 12:00 PM
  
Hotel Features
General
Room Service, Restaurant, Disabled Access, Air Conditioned, Non-Smoking Rooms, Mini Bar, Refrigerator, Cable / Satellite TV, In Room Movies, Coffee / Tea Maker, Hair Dryer, Complimentary Toiletries, TV, Wheel Chair Access, Bathrobes, Shower, Bathtub/Shower Combination, Coffee Shop/Cafeteria
Activities
Fitness Room/Gym, Swimming pool, Tour Desk, Medical Assistance Available, Bath / Hot Tub, Excursions, Garden, Salon, Fitness Facilities, Beauty Salon, Pool Indoor, Pool Outdoor
Services
Business Center, Concierge, Elevator / Lift, 24 Hour Reception, Dry Cleaning, Babysitting / Child Services, Convention Center, Housekeeping, Banquet Facilities, Conference Room(s), Currency Exchange, Multilingual Staff, Security Guard, Porters, Wake-up Service, Meeting Rooms, Laundry service, Shops, Desk, Direct dial phone, Ballroom, Function Rooms, Audio/Visual Equipment, Full-service catering, Exhibit Space, Shops in Hotel, Express Check-In/Check-Out
Internet
High-speed Internet is available at this hotel. Wireless internet on site.
Parking
Valet parking is offered at the hotel. There is an airport shuttle that runs from the hotel.

L'Hotel Nina et Convention Center 
Location No. 8 Yeung Uk Road, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
More information click here

Ramada Hong Kong

The Ramada Hong Kong is situated next to Victoria Harbor and overlooks the Macau Ferry Pier. Guests of the hotel can enjoy easy access to many area attractions, including Asia World Expo, Disneyland, Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, Ocean Park, the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, Lan Kwai Fong, and the International Finance Center. With the entertainment district nearby, guests will be in close proximity to shopping and dining establishments. The hotel offers amenities to guests such as a restaurant, a bar, a banquet hall, a fitness center, and 24-hour reception. An on-site spa offers massages, facials, body treatments, manicures, and pedicures. The Hong Kong International Airport is less than 25 miles from the Ramada Hong Kong and both a mass transit station and the ferry terminal are within walking distance.

The Ramada Hong Kong provides guests with rooms featuring many amenities, such as in-room safes, minibars, and work desks, marble bathrooms with telephones, hairdryers, slippers, and bathrobes, wireless Internet access, satellite television, and coffeemakers.

Situated on the western side of Hong Kong, the Ramada Hong Kong provides views of Victoria Harbor and Macau Ferry. Shopping, dining, entertainment and area attractions are all just minutes away.
Check in from 2:00 PM, Check out prior to 12:00 PM
  
Hotel Features
General
Room Service, Restaurant, Disabled Access, Air Conditioned, Non-Smoking Rooms, Mini Bar, Refrigerator, Cable / Satellite TV, In Room Movies, Coffee / Tea Maker, Hair Dryer, Complimentary Toiletries, TV, Wheel Chair Access, Bathrobes, Shower, Bidet, Cots, Coffee Shop/Cafeteria, Family Room
Activities
Fitness Room/Gym, Tour Desk, Excursions, Garden, Fitness Facilities
Services
Business Center, Concierge, Elevator / Lift, 24 Hour Reception, Dry Cleaning, Babysitting / Child Services, Housekeeping, Banquet Facilities, Conference Room(s), Currency Exchange, Multilingual Staff, Safe-Deposit Box, Security Guard, Secretarial Service, Porters, Wake-up Service, Meeting Rooms, Laundry service, Shops, Desk, Direct dial phone, Facsimile, Audio/Visual Equipment, Full-service catering, Exhibit Space, Shops in Hotel, Cell phone/mobile rental
Internet
High-speed Internet is available at this hotel. Wireless internet on site.
Parking
There is an airport shuttle that runs from the hotel.
 
Ramada Hong Kong 
Location 308 Des Voeux Road West, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
More information click here

Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong

Situated within the shopping district of the city, the Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong provides guests easy access to entertainment venues and area attractions. Guests will find that this Hong Kong hotel, which is located in the Wan Chai district, is near to such attractions as the Times Square Shopping Center, Pacific Place, the IFC Shopping Mall, the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, the Happy Valley Racecourse, and Quarry Bay. A metro station is just a short walk away from the Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong, and the international airport is approximately forty-five minutes from the hotel. In addition, guests can make use of a shuttle to and from the Times Square area.

Guests will find that the four hundred fifty four rooms at the Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong include an array of modern amenities, such as high-speed Internet access, work desks, satellite television, and private bathrooms with showers, coffeemakers, microwaves, refrigerators, and in-room safes.

The Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong is a twenty-story establishment that provides guests with modern amenities in a contemporary accommodation. Guests will be able to enjoy a restaurant, meeting space, a fitness center, a bar, laundry service, and on-call medical care, childcare, and massage services.
Check in from 2:00 PM, Check out prior to 12:00 PM
  
Hotel Features
General
Room Service, Restaurant, Disabled Access, Bar / Lounge, Air Conditioned, Non-Smoking Rooms, Mini Bar, Refrigerator, Cable / Satellite TV, In Room Movies, Connecting Rooms, Kitchenette, Coffee / Tea Maker, Microwave, Hair Dryer, Complimentary Toiletries, TV, Disabled Accessible Rooms, Disabled Parking, Wheel Chair Access, Bathrobes, Towels, Shower, Bathtub/Shower Combination, Cots, Coffee Shop/Cafeteria, Smoking Room, Family Room, Bedding/Pillow Choices
Activities
Fitness Room/Gym, Tour Desk, Massage / Beauty Centre, Medical Assistance Available, Sauna, Bath / Hot Tub, Excursions, Salon, Fitness Facilities, Massage, Beauty Salon, Body Treatments
Services
Business Center, Concierge, Elevator / Lift, 24 Hour Reception, Dry Cleaning, Babysitting / Child Services, Housekeeping, Banquet Facilities, Conference Room(s), Currency Exchange, Multilingual Staff, Safe-Deposit Box, Security Guard, Secretarial Service, Porters, Wake-up Service, Meeting Rooms, Laundry service, Shops, Desk, Direct dial phone, Facsimile, Ballroom, Audio/Visual Equipment, Full-service catering, Exhibit Space, Luggage Storage, Shops in Hotel, Cell phone/mobile rental, Express Check-In/Check-Out
Internet
High-speed Internet is available at this hotel. Wireless internet on site. Internet via modem/data port is available.
Parking
Valet parking is offered at the hotel. Paid parking is available. There is an airport shuttle that runs from the hotel.

Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong 
Location 387-397 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
More information click here