Category Archives: Asia

BEST VALUE HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS FOR AUSTRALIANS RIGHT NOW

Australian Dollar hits 7 year lows!

The start of 2016 hasn’t been good for the Australian Dollar against the US Dollar. Ok, lets be honest, 2015 wasn’t so good either. The little Aussie Battler is in for a battle as our dollar is heavily linked to the economic fluctuations of our biggest trading partner, China…And their outlook isn’t so crash hot. (Ed: Don’t use the term “crash” when talking about currencies) 

Its perfectly fine to skip this section of the newspaper (Ed: Are you sure people still read newspapers?) or glaze over when watching the news when this topic come up, but the danger is only looking at the headline or listening to the lead in comment and thinking its all of a sudden too expensive to travel anywhere.

In the majority of the cases, the headline is about the Australian Dollar’s value to the US Dollar, and yes, over the the last 12 months the $AUD has fallen in value by 17% against the $USD. (Ed: I remember the good old days when the dollar dropped below $.50).

To the traveller this means that when you arrive in the United States everything is automatically 17% more expensive than it was 12 months ago. The $4.00 coffee at Starbucks will now cost your $4.68 and that $100 pair of jeans will now cost you $117. Obviously this means that you either need more money to do all the things that you want, or cut back in some areas. But it doesn’t mean that you have to cross the US off your list completely.

currency change jpeg

Source: http://www.XE.com comparison of AUD 15 Jan 2015 vs 15 Jan 2016

There a few shining destinations to think about if you want good value for your Australian Dollar. If you are a skier, or love nature, or you just love going to a really nice place, then head north to Canada or south to New Zealand. The Australian Dollar is slightly up against these two currencies so it wont hurt your hip pocket. (Ed: what if they fall skiing and land on their hip?, I guess the burgeoning wallet full of cash will cushion the fall).

The United State’s southern neighbour, Mexico, also offers better value for money this year.

If you really want to drive your dollar further (Ed: I think Budget own this tag line) then grab that plane ticket and head to South American countries like Argentina and Brazil (Ed: you need to warn the reader that Brazil wont be cheap during the Olympic Games). Another destination to put on the list is South Africa. South Africa was relatively cheap before, but with the $AUD’s value increasing by over 20% against the Rand, it is now “a must”. (Ed: If you need me, I will be in Cape Town).

Its not all doom and gloom.

There a a lot of little gems and this may give you an opportunity to visit a place that you may not have had at the top of your list. Don’t let the headline stop you from getting out there and discovering the world.

For those that dont like to read, here’s the info in an infographic form…..

BEST VALUE DESTINATIONS FOR AUSTRALIANS RIGHT NOW.

The Dont Forget Travel Group

 

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LOOK, BUT DONT TOUCH

Every now and then The Dont Forget Travel Group is  invited to do a plane inspection if there is enough time between landing and take off. This week we got to check out Singapore Airline’s Flight SQ278  which flies between Adelaide and Singapore.

Landing at Adelaide Airport

Landing at Adelaide Airport

I have been on this plane many times but never really taken a lot of notice (because the service is so good)  and I could bore you with lots of detail about it being an Airbus A330-300 with 255 seats in Economy and 60 seats in Business…but why tell you when we can show you……

Unfortunately the plane was a little bit late so we didn’t have much time to really check out all the features. Maybe next time (if they let me back on!!)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Room

“From the four walls that currently surround you to the infinite potential of space, this week we’d like you to show us your take on room, rooms, or a room.”

Not one for being obvious, I didn’t want to fill this challenge with lots of photos of great hotel rooms. Instead I chose a few of my favourite “rooms”.

Athens

Athens

Ok I just said I wasn’t going to fill up on hotel rooms, but this is the view from my favourite hotel room overlooking my favourite city in my favourite overseas country. Whenever I can see the Parthenon sitting proudly atop the Acropolis, I feel happy….and very much at home. I’m sure I must have been Greek in a former life!

 

 

 

 

Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class

Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class

One of the biggest gripes that travellers have is the lack of room offered by airlines. Maybe one of reason why this is so is because Singapore Airline’s stole everyone’s extra space and added it to Business Class on their A380. There is so much room it can fit 2 champagne drinking passengers.

Moet et Chandon Cellars

Moet et Chandon Cellars

Speaking of champagne…..(nice segue) this stairway leads into the room that I discovered that I actually do like champagne, when you drink it at the source. This stairway leads to the Moet et Chandon tasting room which is at the end of a labyrinthine network of underground tunnels and cellars. After a tour of the cellars the corks were popped, the bubbles fizzed and my tastebuds did a hallelujah dance. The French sure know how to make champagne. Up to this moment I had only given a polite smile through gritted teeth whenever I had to have a glass.

Belvedere Ice Room Whistler

Belvedere Ice Room Whistler

Speaking of drinking… (another nice segue) one of the strangest rooms I have ever been in is one made completely of ice. The walls, the bar, the shelves, the seats were made of ice. It was called the Belvedere Ice Room and served ice-cold vodka.  On a trip to Whistler I found myself in this room tasting vodka after being kitted out in a heavy fur-lined jacket. It was great fun. The downside was that due to the freezing temperature, you can’t stay all night in the room, even though the cold spirit is warming you on the inside.

Bayon Temple Campodia

Bayon Temple Campodia

There are many different type of spirits (yep, another segue), some alcoholic and some spiritual. On a recent trip to Cambodia, while exploring Bayon Temple’s many rooms I was surprised to come across this buddha . Despite believing that the temples of Siem Reap were abandoned, it was obvious that I was wrong. The Buddha had been cloaked in a bright saffron-coloured sash and surrounding the seated figure were many offering. Some of them were recent offerings proving that this was still an active place of worship.

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In their day, the temples of Siem Reap would have been considered opulent, (here comes another segue) but nothing like the opulence experienced at an exclusive dinner in the Hall of Battles, one of the majestic rooms in the Palace of Versailles.  Believed to be the first dinner staged at the Palace since Napoleonic times, it was a privilege to feel like a privilege member of French Royalty.

Speaking of privilege (ok enough with the gratuitous segues), I have had the privilege and pleasure to have this as my view from my Santorini room.  Really don’t think there is anything more to say…just open a bottle of ouzo, nibble on some grilled octopus and just enjoy.

Santorini Greece

Santorini Greece

The Don’t Forget Travel Group is taking part in the weekly photo challenge, but with the added twist that every photo has to have a travel element to it. Enjoy! #postaday

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: ON THE MOVE

It is quite mesmerizing watching all types of vessels passing by my waterfront accommodation: big tankers filled with shipping containers, long transporters full of so much sand that the boat sits precariously low in the water, small wooden fishing boats that look as though they have been plying these waters for generations, modern speed boats ferrying expats from the safety of their gated communities into the hustle and bustle of the city, sight-seeing cruisers with camera snapping tourists, even large paddle-steamer style (sans paddlewheel!!) karaoke dinner cruises. While staying in Ho Chi Minh City, what has really captured my imagination, and is fitting for this week’s photo challenge, is “life on the Saigon River”. While the vessel may vary, the one thing they all have in common is that they are all ON THE MOVE.

The last few days have all been about ON THE MOVE, so this week’s photo challenge was quite easy. Over the course of 3 days I have flown from Australia to Malaysia then onto Vietnam.

The Don’t Forget Travel Group is taking part in the weekly photo challenge, but with the added twist that every photo has to have a travel element to it. Enjoy! #postaday

Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters

Put letters together to make words. Put words together to form sentences. Put sentences together to produce chapters. Put chapters together to tell stories.

There is an order to letters and to keep the letters in order there is the alphabet. To bring each letter to life is a picture that represents that letter, either physically, metaphorically or graphically.

If a picture is worth 1,000 words here is my 26,000 word essay!

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The Don’t Forget Travel Group is taking part in the weekly photo challenge, but with the added twist that every photo has to have a travel element to it. Enjoy! #postaday

Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

I love getting high!

Never one to suffer from vertigo, I love being high….whether it be on top of a mountain after trekking for a few days, or from the Observation Deck of a skyscraper where the effort was no more strenuous than pushing the elevator button. I have always enjoyed sweeping views, particularly vistas from being “On Top” of things.

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The Don’t Forget Travel Group is taking part in the Weekly Photo Challenge with the added edge of each challenge is to have a “travel twist”.

#Postaday

Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life

Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life

Many societies live their life on the streets, they eat on the streets, they conduct business on the streets, they socialise on the streets, they educate and raise their children on the streets. They embrace street life.

If you click on the photos you will see a short explanation of each photo, if you are interested.

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The Don’t Forget Travel Group is taking part in the Weekly Photo Challenge with the added challenge of trying to make all photos travel related. #postaday