Thursday, September 12, 2019

The 2020 Travel Hot List

#hotlist

The experts have revealed their much-anticipated hot list for the year ahead. These are their predictions for destinations which are up-and-coming, exotic, undiscovered and guaranteed to stir the soul. Collectively, they have singled out these unusual and unique destinations which every discerning adventurer will want to know about."

Azerbaijan

With an economy based on oil, Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus may seem an unlikely place for luxe wanderings. But this energy-rich nation on the Caspian Sea is a surprise package. Located on the divide between Europe and Asia it has a 5,000-year-old history and a heritage variously influenced by the Russian, Turkish and Persian empires. A stroll through its cosmopolitan capital Baku is a striking contrast of old and new where locals play chess in cobblestone laneways against a backdrop of the city's famous futuristic flame towers.

Benin

The birthplace of voodoo, Benin is steeped in a rich and complex history of glorious kingdoms, slavery and colonialism. Voodoo is still widely practiced throughout the country and travellers can witness colourful voodoo ceremonies where feverish drumming and highly charged dancing by costumed fetish priests provide a bewitching encounter. Fishermen in remote villages still practice age-old techniques and the slave coast is a haunting reminder of a dark past.

Finland

Dramatic year-round, Finland in Europe's far north is a land of lakes, mountains and forests with a vigorous sauna culture. Expect endless daylight in the summer months and long winter nights when the Northern Lights are at their most dazzling. The vibrant capital Helsinki is a harbourside showcase of modern architecture and design with world beating museums and galleries, architectural masterpieces and an 18th century sea fortress.

Eastern Indonesia

Remote and unspoiled, the crystal-clear waters of Eastern Indonesia harbour some of the world's finest marine life and underwater treasures. Hordes of volcanic islands spread across the aqua blue waters of the Flores and Banda Seas play host to some of the most spectacular coastal terrain on Earth and soft sandy beaches to match. Explore the Komodo National Park, the Spice Islands and Raja Ampat where world class diving and snorkelling reveals brilliant coral gardens, vibrant tropical fish, sea turtles, reef sharks and manta rays while on land the prehistoric Komodo dragon hunts its prey amidst dry savannah.

Jordan

Middle Eastern hospitality doesn't come much better than in Jordan. Add to that some of the world's most famous archaeological sites and it's easy to see why it's considered one of the region's star attractions. In a country with a 4,000-year-old history and biblical references aplenty there's no shortage of attractions. At the top of the list, with undisputed celebrity status and worthy World Heritage recognition, is Petra but there's much more once you delve deeper – crusader castles, mineral-laden waters, ancient Roman ruins, dramatic desert landscapes and a vibrant cuisine.

Malta

Heavily influenced by the many civilisations which have contested and ruled its sun-filled archipelago, Malta and Gozo, its sister island, together claim over 6,500 years of history with one of the world's greatest concentrations of historical sights. Each conquering power has left its mark from Arabic town names to British food, Greek superstitions and Roman Catholicism. A few days here will reveal a lavish architectural legacy, splendid Baroque churches, a flourishing food scene and rich agricultural traditions.

Namibia

One of the least densely populated countries on Earth, Namibia is a vast landscape of shimmering salt pans, red dunes, glittering oceans and haunting coastlines where the sunsets are unforgettable and the desert-adapted wildlife abundant. Hugging the southwest coast of Africa where the red sands of the world's oldest desert meet the azure waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Namibia is an unexpected surprise and new lodges, like Shipwreck Lodge on the Skeleton Coast, have opened to broaden the already luxe offering

South Korea

Say hello to one of Asia's most surprising destinations. A relative newcomer to the luxury travel scene, South Korea is a surprise package known as much for its street food and high-speed internet as it is for its heavily militarised border. Hip and edgy, the capital Seoul is a dynamic city where new meets old and pop culture is alive and well. It has first-rate museums, absorbing local customs, flavoursome culinary delights and scenery throughout the country is utterly picturesque.

Wukalina Walk

Tasmania is known for its walking adventures and this is one of the newest. Aboriginal owned and operated, the four-day Wukalina Walk reveals the breathtaking Bay of Fires region in the state's northeast from the unique palawa (Tasmanian aboriginal) perspective. Hiking in the footsteps of their traditional people, palawa guides and elders relate first-hand the palawa creation story, allowing guests to participate in cultural practices that have been passed down for hundreds of generations. Nights are comfortably spent in bespoke palawa inspired domed huts and the meticulously renovated Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage at larapuna (Bay of Fires).

Zimbabwe

Off the radar for many years, Zimbabwe is back with a flourish and in recognition A&K has opened its 11th African office there. The country has some of the continent's most impressive national parks where its iconic species roam and a top-notch selection of small-scale luxury safari camps and lodges. It boasts one of the world's great rivers, breathtaking landscapes from acacia woodlands and riverine plains to primeval escarpments and granite-studded hills and it's home to the largest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls.

To book any of these destinations or enquire further please contact Abercrombie & Kent on 1300 590 317 or visit www.abercrombiekent.com.au

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Gorilla Trekking – the ultimate wildlife experience



If you haven’t yet included gorilla trekking in your bucket list, then it is high time you added it as it is definitely one of a few dramatic wildlife experiences you definitely shouldn’t miss. Here’s everything you need to know to make sure it is a good one!

Where to go?

There are only two populations of mountain gorillas left in the world, numbering about 1,000 in total. The first lives in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, with groups scattered between Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The second lives deep in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the country’s southwest, which is home to half the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population, making it one of the best places where you can see these awe-inspiring primates in their natural habitat.

Best time to go for gorilla trekking

To ensure a successful gorilla experience, like anywhere in Africa, the two most significant seasons you need to consider are the wet and dry seasons – and each comes with their own advantages and disadvantages. During the two dry seasons –June to September and December to February, rainfall is very low and the gorilla habitat remains relatively dry, making it easier to hike through Bwindi’s dense vegetation and steep slopes in search for these unique creatures. The wet seasons – running from March to May and again from October to November, are characterized by heavy rainfall, ensuring that trekking is much more challenging. On the upside, however, more plentiful food during this period makes it a little easier to locate gorillas in their usual habitat, unlike the dry season where the limited food supply makes them move much further afield in search of something to eat.

Gorilla permits in Uganda.

To take part in gorilla safari in Uganda, a permit is mandatory and currently costs USD600 (increasing to USD700 from 1 July 2020). Make sure you book your permit early enough, at least 3 months prior to your actual trek, as permits are limited to just a few people each day and demand is typically high. Permits can be obtained through a trustworthy tour operator or through the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

What to pack for gorilla trekking?

In preparation for your gorilla adventure, it’s important to pack appropriately, and the following items are essential!

· Sturdy, waterproof hiking shoes to help you navigate rocky, and often, slippery surfaces. Remember the trails can be muddy and slippery – especially during the rainy season.

· Insect repellent.

· Gardening gloves can come in handy when the gorillas are ranging within sparky, thorny and stinging vegetations.

· A good camera to capture the best shots.

· Long sleeved shirts and long pants to protect you from the cold and stinging nettles.

· A Waterproof backpack to protect your camera and other fragile items.

Where to stay

There are quite a few safari lodges near Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to suit every budget, but one of the best places to stay is the award-winning Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp. Tucked away on a on a flat ridge deep within the heart of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the award-winning camp is an idea base to explore the Bwindi region. Featuring just eight private luxury tents, the property was re-launched by boutique luxury travel operator Sanctuary Retreats in 2018, following the completion of an extensive refurbishment program.

The atmospheric Camp’s small size ensures it retains an intimate, exclusive feel, enabling guests to experience Africa’s magic with the lightest of footprints, while enjoying practically every mod con. Even better, its unique location means the Camp is frequently visited by gorilla families, making it the perfect base for a once in a lifetime encounter with Uganda’s endangered mountain primates. Buhoma Village is also close by, with plenty of opportunities for guests to visit the Bwindi Community Hospital and meet local Batwa villagers.

The last word.

All in all, Uganda is the ultimate destination for gorilla trekking, a rare experience that will bring you up close with endangered mountain gorillas in the wild. With no single mountain gorilla in captivity, Uganda is a must visit if you are looking to the golden opportunity of sitting amongst gorillas in the mists of Central Africa.

Friday, August 23, 2019

From TV to TZ, Five Lessons from The Lion King


Disney's The Lion King may be many people's first encounter with lions, but the movie is more than a touching tale of a cub finding his way to the throne. Jenman Safaris advises travellers to watch the movie closer to learn about some of the real locations, cultural wonders and handy tips for safari experiences in Tanzania.

1.     The Serengeti inspired the Pride Lands
The Pride Lands film set reflects the Serengeti (which means "endless plains'' in Swahili); and a drive through the Serengeti quickly reveals the uncanny resemblance. Travellers will enjoy the savannah teeming with herds of zebra, impala, and wildebeest, while among the long grasses cheetah and lions stalk their prey – the circle of life in real life action. Nearby, the Olduvai Gorge supposedly served as inspiration for the spot where Mufasa was trampled by wildebeest. The gorge is a significant archaeological site where Mary Leakey discovered a 1.8 million-year-old hominid skull.

2.     Accurate animal behaviour
While Disney got some of the animal behaviour right – e.g. the structure of the pride led by one dominant male who is the only one to sire offspring and lionesses straying away when food is scarce, fact and fiction part ways where Simba's diet is concerned. Lions can never survive off bugs, as an adult male eats around 10 kilograms of meat a day. Another fact is hyenas are successful hunters and kill most of their own meat, so they are not the lazy scavengers The Lion King portrays them to be.

3.     Characters named after Swahili words
Remember the names of these characters and you've just gained some Swahili vocabulary:
– Simba means lion;
– Rafiki means friend;
– Pumbaa means foolish or silly;
– Shenzi means savage; and
– Banzai means to skulk or lurk.

4.     Hakuna Matata is a real phrase!
Thanks to the catchy tune, everyone is familiar with 'Hakuna Matata'. A useful phrase picked up by Disney's research team during their time in Africa, it really does translate to 'no worries' and is frequently used by locals in Tanzania. However, it is typically only used for tourists' benefit with Tanzanian Swahili speakers preferring to say hamna shida instead.

5.       Pride Rock was inspired by kopjes
Kopje formations across the Serengeti plains look eerily similar to Pride Rock because they were the source of inspiration. Islands of granite thrusting up out of the grassy savannah, kopjes often feature lions draped across the top. These rocky outcrops are not only important vantage points for lions, but they also serve as good hiding places for their cubs, just like in the movie!

MORE: Established more than 18 years ago, Jenman Safaris is a specialist safari tour operator offering travellers a wide range of small group tours and tailor-made itineraries in Southern Africa, East Africa and Madagascar.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Discover Queens, NYC as host borough to the US Open Tennis Championship



City Hotels to Offer Special Packages, Experiences and Incentives for Those Staying Overnight During US Open

On August 26, the most attended annual sporting event in the world will return to New York City at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center as the US Open Tennis Championships take over the borough of Queens.

Stars like Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal will compete for the last grand slam championship of 2019 in front of more than 700,000 fans during two weeks of tennis that concludes on September 8.

NYC & Company, New York City’s official destination marketing organisation, is encouraging visitors to attend the US Open Fan Week and US Open Tennis Championships events, but also to stay longer and explore the diverse neighbourhood offerings in the vibrant and diverse borough of Queens. Additionally, several NYC & Company hotel members are offering special packages and incentives to encourage more overnight stays during this iconic event.

The week prior to the tournament, visitors and locals are encouraged to participate in US Open Fan Week, taking place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center from August 19-25. The weeklong tennis and entertainment festival includes the US Open Qualifying Tournament, free evening concerts; open practices featuring top players, a new Kids’ Zone and various other family-friendly activities. A complete schedule of events can be found at usopen.org/fanweek.

The entertainment options continue post-Fan Week, as the tournament is held in the vibrant Flushing Meadows Corona Park, home to multidisciplinary attractions such as the New York Hall of Science, Queens Botanical Garden, Queens Museum and Queens Night Market as well as nearly 900 acres of park space—home to the iconic Unisphere.

In the surrounding Corona neighbourhood, authentic NYC experiences are abundant. At the Louis Armstrong House Museum, jazz fans can learn about the musician’s life and legacy in a museum outfitted in the house he and his wife lived in for nearly 30 years. Meanwhile, the culinary options nearby embody the borough’s reputation as the most diverse in NYC. Leo's Latticini is an 80-year-old Italian deli that makes mozzarella cheese fresh on-site. AtArepa Lady, diners can feast on trademark Colombian food-cart treats, and at Tortilleria Nixtamal, savoury Mexican food is served on fresh, GMO-free tortillas pressed in the front window.

Flushing, located on the east side of the USTA National Tennis Center, is filled with Asian flavour and culture from China, Japan and Korea. Asian Jewels is a popular destination for classic Chinese dishes, with a large open dining space and dinner menu filled with Cantonese specialties. Hunan House brings uniquely spicy dishes straight from China’s Hunan province, while Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao serves Singaporean specialties like scallion pancakes and stir-fried rice cakes. At the Queens Historical Society and Flushing Town Hall, visitors can learn about the borough’s history while experiencing two protected NYC landmarks.



New York City’s iconic hotels are rolling out the red carpet for the US Open, with curated packages, offers, and celebratory experiences including:

The Lotte New York Palace is offering an ACE of a stay for the US Open. “The Palace Doubles Package” includes opulent accommodations for two nights in the Towers Corner Suite for up to four adults, and exclusive access to The Palace Invitational, a one-of-a-kind badminton tournament featuring the very best in professional tennis at The Palace’s iconic Madison Avenue courtyard.
The Pierre New York is celebrating the tournament with the third annual outdoor festival “Smash Bash: A Celebration of Tennis” on August 21, featuring special appearances by US Open players Dominic Thiem and Garbiñe Muguruza. Taking place on the Rosé Terrace of The Pierre’s Perrine restaurant overlooking Central Park, the event will also feature a delicious selection of elevated court-side fare from Executive Chef Ashfer Biju, endless Château Miraval rosé, the Honey Deuce cocktail by Grey Goose Vodka, live DJ and table tennis.

At the InterContinental New York Barclay, and other participating IHG properties, visitors can enhance their experience with the “Game-Set-Match” package, including complimentary one level upgrade, tennis macaroons welcome amenity, US Open Honey Deuce cocktail voucher, map to USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and US$15 metro card. The Gin Parlour at The Barclay will serve signature beverages such as “The Lime Judge” and “The Watermelon Smash” to celebrate the tournament’s return to NYC.

The Peninsula New York will host a watch party every day of the US Open with a live feed of each match screened at The Bar at Clement, where the Honey Deuce, in partnership with Grey Goose, will be the cocktail of choice.

The Times Square EDITION, a brand-new luxury hotel located in the heart of Manhattan, is featuring a special “LOVE/TENNIS” offer. Visitors can save up to 15% on US Open accommodations when booking by August 16 for stays through September 8, 2019 and using the promo code TNI. Located just a few steps from the 7 train, The Times Square EDITION provides easy access to the tournament for spectators.

Conveniently located next to Grand Central Terminal and the 7 train to/from Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the Grand Hyatt New York offers visitors the opportunity to cool down at The Lounge at New York Central pre- or post-match, with a Honey Deuce cocktail, the official drink of the US Open.

“We are so pleased to welcome the US Open Tennis Championships back to New York City this summer. Visitors traveling to the City later this month will have a unique opportunity to see and experience Queens, the City’s most diverse borough. With an outstanding roster of cultural, dining and entertainment options plus several attractive hotel packages and offers, travelers will have no shortage of activities to enjoy during one of the nation’s most iconic big events,” said NYC & Company president and CEO Fred Dixon.

For more on the US Open this year, visit NYCGo.com/us-open-tennis-championships and for more on what to do and see in New York City’s borough of Queens, visit NYCGo.com/queens.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Vancouver’s Top Five Landmarks to Visit



Vancouver is Canada’s most populous city on the west coast, and is arguably the most popular tourist destination in British Columbia, having hosted over 10 million visitors in 2016.

A popular filming location for Hollywood movies, Vancouver is close to the gorgeous mountainscape of the Canadian Rockies. With its exciting art, culture, and entertainment, the city offers a unique heritage as North America’s most ethnically diverse city.

Begin your foray into Vancouver by visiting these iconic attractions, recommended by our Pan Pacific Vancouver team.

1. The Refurbished Old Dame: Woodward Building

Look for a big “W” on Vancouver’s horizon: it’s the new sign of its historic Woodward Building.

Originally built in 1903 and once North America’s biggest supermarket, this historic site has now become a residential and office complex housing downtown campuses of several leading Canadian universities. If you are sightseeing from the nearby Vancouver Lookout, you can see the entirety of the Woodward Building from the top down, plus a 360-degree view of Vancouver city.

2. Appreciate Japanese Botany at the UBC Botanical Gardens

Located at the University of British Columbia, UBC Botanical Gardens is Canada’s oldest university botanical garden, established over 100 years ago in 1916. Entry rates vary depending on which sections you are heading to: check its website for details. The garden’s traditionally Japanese-style Nitobe Memorial Garden is considered to be one of the most authentic Japanese gardens with a teahouse in North America.

Spread over one hectare of forest, the garden has each plant and stone carefully placed to emphasise harmony among natural elements. Cherry blossoms bloom in spring, irises in summer, and fiery maples in autumn.

3. The Heart of the City: Vancouver City Hall

Vancouver City Hall houses Vancouver City Council on 453 West 12th Avenue, and features a 12-floor tower. Completed in 1936, it was declared a schedule A heritage building in 1976.

Snap a photo of the statue of Captain George Vancouver by renowned sculptor Charles Marega. Gracing the front of City Hall, it pays tribute to the 18th century English officer who charted the west coast of Canada and the Pacific Northwest of the US.

4. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Considered the first Chinese “scholar’s” garden built outside of China, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Classical Garden is located right in the middle of Vancouver’s Chinatown area.

Adorned with beautiful pavilions and a jade green pond filled with koi fishes, the garden features a rare collection of 150-year-old miniature trees and tai hu rock specially imported from China.

5. Capilano Suspension Bridge

Thrilling visitors since 1889, Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of Canada’s most popular outdoor attractions.

Suspended over the picturesque Capilano River, the 137-metre long and 70-metre high Capilano Bridge offers visitors a unique experience combining British Columbia’s nature, culture, and history through interpretive signs and knowledgeable staff. Visitors can also explore the adjoining Treetops Adventure which takes guests into the mid-story of a coastal rainforest, traversing across seven suspension bridges.

Stay at the Pan Pacific Vancouver where you will be just a few steps away from the convention centre with panoramic views of the Coastal Mountains, Coal Harbour, and city landmarks in Vancouver. Pick a Pacific Club room or suite for club access and a host of privileges!

Need more reasons to visit Vancouver? Here's what our Concierge Recommends.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Five Unusual Places To #VisitSingapore Near MRT


Hop on and off the MRT to explore the island!



Planning your Singapore holidays, and seeking something a little unusual, outside of the usual tourist hotspots? If you’re willing to venture beyond the city centre, you will be well rewarded.

Be sure to use the train network, known as the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), and you’ll be able to zip to some off-the-beaten track locations without breaking a sweat. From rustic rural neighbourhoods to mini-zoos and hipster cafes, you’ll be surprised by the hidden gems that you can uncover.

Curated by PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road, below is a list of 5 unusual places to visit in Singapore near train stations, and not all too far away from the city!

Heighten Your Senses at Little India (Little India and Farrer Park MRT)

In a city-state still defining its core identity, this well-loved neighbourhood is a paragon of cultural assuredness and authenticity. It’s impossible not to be caught up in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Little India. That said, food should definitely be your top priority here.

To begin, pop into any of these Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants: Muthu’s Curry (famous for its fish head curry, made with a secret spice blend); Lagnaa (dine barefoot here, and take the Chilli Challenge if you dare); or Bismillah Biryani (biryani is an Indian dish of seasoned rice and meat, fish, or vegetables).

Don’t be confined to award-winning lists or Indian food—leave room for gastronomic discovery. A place to experience the full spectrum of Singapore’s cuisines is the iconic Tekka Centre, where you can tuck into local favourites such as prawn noodles, duck rice, and mee siam (“Siamese noodles” in Malay).

Get directions to Muthu’s Curry (7-minute walk)
Get directions to Lagnaa (8-minute walk)
Get directions to Bismillah Biryani (10-minute walk)
Get directions to Tekka Centre (10-minute walk)

Enjoy the Quiet Life at Potong Pasir (Potong Pasir MRT)

Looking for things to do in Singapore on a budget? Take a quick train ride to Potong Pasir.

Locally, Potong Pasir has a reputation for being an idyllic town with a quiet resolve. In a city of rampant development, Potong Pasir has remained true to the tenets of simple living—the daily routines of many residents revolve around the coffeeshops, minimarts, and wet markets in the area.

To shop like a true local however, head to the ABC Bargain Centre, where you’ll find snacks, drinks, toiletries, and even underwear at discounted prices.

To have a delicious local meal, walk to Lao Zhong Zhong Eating House. According to regular patrons, “nothing is bad here,” although of course, everyone has their favourites. To try “ngoh hiang” (five-spice meat roll, somewhat akin to sausages), look for the Lao Zhong Zhong Fine Spice Stall, which has its own fan following. The other highly popular stall here is Soon Li Whitley Food Centre Pork Porridge and Macaroni.

Alternatively, cross over to River South (Hoe Nam) Prawn Noodle, which also attracts long queues—a sure sign of repute in Singapore. All three stalls have been given the stamp of approval by KF Seetoh, best known in Singapore for championing hawker food.

Get directions to ABC Bargain Centre
Get directions to Lao Zhong Zhong Eating House
Get directions to River South (Hoe Nam) Prawn Noodle

Experience Nostalgia at Kampong Lorong Buangkok (Serangoon MRT)



Need more places to visit in Singapore for free? Kampung Lorong Buangkok has been around since 1956, and it is a must-see, as it is Singapore’s only surviving kampung (Malay for “village”) on the mainland. Other kampungs in Singapore are on surrounding islands such as Pulau Ubin.

To reach Kampung Lorong Buangkok by public transport, take bus 70 or 103 from Serangoon MRT Station and alight at the Church of St. Vincent de Paul bus stop. The kampung is a short walk across the road (check the exact location below). It’s not exactly tucked away; instead, it’s nestled between a park connector and other modern-day developments, which makes it all the more surprising and rewarding to discover.

Once you arrive, try to remain unobtrusive to avoid disturbing the residents. Currently, 25 Malay and Chinese families live in cheery zinc-roofed homes connected by mud paths within the kampung. There are no barriers here—not between homes, nor people—and that’s the true beauty of this place.

Get directions to Kampung Lorong Buangkok

Hole Up in a Hidden Cafe (Serangoon, Kovan MRT)

Much to the delight of residents, indie cafes and dessert bars have been making their way into Singapore’s north-east. Some of these cafes are a short bus or cab ride away from Serangoon and Kovan MRT, and they are worth tracking down if you intend to explore the area.

One cafe that has garnered rave reviews is CIEL Pâtisserie, famed for producing quality cakes that are remarkably inexpensive thanks to its low-key location.

Trained at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, co-owner Chara Lum completed an apprenticeship at Fauchon—a culinary institution renowned for its luxury foods. “Ciel” means “sky” or “heaven” in French, and it’s a nod to Lum’s aspiration to serve a little slice of perfection to all her customers. From the rave reviews, it appears that she is well on target.

If you prefer something closer to the train station, make your way to Lola’s Cafe on a weekday morning; it’s usually packed during lunch and on weekends. A short walk from Kovan MRT station, patrons enjoy its laid-back atmosphere, good service, and casual brunch options.

Too tired to head out? Read our guide to getting your caffeine fix around PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road.

Get directions to Ciel Patisserie
Get directions to Lola’s Cafe
Get directions to Wimbly Lu

Hang Out with Farm Animals (Sengkang MRT)

The Animal Resort
Address: 81 Seletar West Farmway 5, Singapore 798058
Telephone number: +65 6482 1160
Opening hours: 10:00am to 5:00pm (Monday to Friday); 10:00am to 6:00pm (Saturday, Sunday)

If you love animals, or are travelling with children, consider visiting The Animal Resort, a quirky animal farm in Seletar Farmway – theres’ no entry fee to the farm, plus you’ll get to spend quality time with its motley crew of animals.

At The Animal Resort, most of the farm birds (ducks, geese, and other fowl) are allowed to roam freely. You’re also welcome to feed the animals, including a retired racehorse. Food packs are available for purchase at a dollar or two. With kids around, you’ll probably find yourself going back for more.

It’s not just domesticated farm animals at The Animal Resort too—you’ll get to see exotic birds such as the Cassowary (careful, it’s deadly!), the African crowned crane, and the Marabou stork.

The best way to get there is to hail a cab from Sengkang MRT station, and to use a ride-hailing app (Grab or Gojek) to return to the station when you’re done.

Get directions to The Animal Resort

Welcome to Singapore! Need travel or accommodation advice? Speak to our friendly team at PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road, or browse our room and dining offers here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Discover Center Hill Lake Tennessee


Center Hill Lake may be less well known than other outdoor escapes in Tennessee, but this gorgeous lake on the state’s Highland Rim is our recommendation for a mid-week break or weekend getaway. Center Hill, which is roughly an hour from Nashville and two hours from both Chattanooga and Knoxville, is a sublime summer spot delivering the best of both worlds with fun on the lake and miles of forested shoreline for hiking, outdoor recreation, and camping. Boating, waterskiing, canoeing, and fishing are all popular activities at Center Hill Lake. Anglers have the chance of landing bream, walleye, smallmouth bass, crappie, catfish, and white bass. The area also offers over nine miles of hiking trails, numerous camping options at Floating Mill Park, Long Branch Campground, and Ragland Bottom Campground, and easy access to other nearby attractions like Burgess Falls State Park with breathtaking waterfalls and a large Native Butterfly Garden.

Center Hill Lake

Floating Mill Park has over 100 campsites with options for everyone from a first-time camper to a seasoned outdoorsperson. Many of the sites have convenient amenities including electric and water hookups, while several tent-only lakefront sites are available for those looking to rough it. The campground also has flush toilets, showers, and drinking water, offering a comfortable camping experience for visitors. Floating Mill Park is surrounded by the lake on three sides, providing sweeping waterfront views and easy access to boating and other activities along with a fish cleaning station, playground, and hiking trails.

For visitors looking for waterfront camping right on the lake, Ragland Bottom Campground has 40 campsites with water and electric hookups as well as 16 primitive tent-only sites. Amenities like flush toilets, showers, and drinking water are also available at Ragland Bottom. The campground puts visitors right on the lake, limiting the time it takes to get to the water and delivers other fun shoreline activities including a volleyball court, basketball hoop, playground, and plenty of hiking trails. The Red Post Trail is a short but steep, two-mile loop above the campground. Hikers who tackle this moderately difficult climb are rewarded with beautiful overlooks of the lake in a perfect place to bring home a story of the trip!

Another top camping choice at the lake, Long Branch Campground is located below Center Hill Dam on the scenic Caney Fork River. Long Branch is an ideal spot for tranquility and trophy trout fishing on the river, which is stocked with rainbow and brown trout. The popular Buffalo Valley Nature Trail, which provides access to the Caney Fork and offers great wildlife viewing opportunities, is also located just across the river from the campground. It is important to know that due to high releases at Center Hill Dam this spring, erosion has occurred along the riverfront and campsites 2, 4, 8, 10, 12, and 18 at Long Branch Campground are currently closed. Visitors can check the Recreation.gov page for Long Branch and the Center Hill Lake Facebook page for updates on campsite changes throughout the season.

Your summer escape to the lake is calling! Learn more about Center Hill Lake, check availability at Long Branch Campground, Floating Mill Park, and Ragland Bottom Campground, and plan your trip today!

Source: recreation.gov
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