What to see and do in Ras Al Khaimah

Tucked away away at the northern tip of the UAE lies the country’s most underrated emirate, Ras Al Khaimah.

You won’t find the gargantuan skyscrapers, shopping malls and bars that dominate Dubai and Abu Dhabi but you will be struck by a cultural authenticity that is hard to find in the other emirates.

Make no mistake: Ras Al Khaimah abounds in archaeological sites, historical structures and natural beauty – from mountains to deserts and pristine white-sand beaches.

Factor in year-round sunshine, first class resorts and friendly locals –  and you have an up and coming UAE holiday destination.

Discover the top 10 things to do and see in Ras Al-Khaimah with our handy guide…
 

The National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah
Located in the western part of Ras Al Khaimah city in a fort that was the residence of the ruling family until the early 1960s, The National Museum houses a collection of archaeological and ethnological artefacts. Visitors will learn about architecture, pearl diving, date agriculture, farming and fishing in the various galleries. 
www.rakheritage.rak.ae/en/pages/rakmuseum.aspx

 

Scaling the Hajar Heights
The spectacular Hajar Mountains in the eastern part of the emirate, were formed over 70 million years ago and stand nearly 2,000 metres above sea level. 
The mountain range offers breath-taking scenery and a welcome respite from the heat of the beach resorts, with temperatures around 10 degrees cooler than sea level. For those who wish to spend the night under the stars, there are a number of established camping spots or, to really get into the Arabian spirit, why not camp Bedouin-style in some remote wadis?

 

Just desert
No visit to Ras Al Khaimah is complete without taking a trip into the desert – the true heart of Arabia.
Virtually every tour operator offers a half or full day desert safari tour: after dune driving you can have your hands henna’ed, then make like Lawrence of Arabia and ride a camel, before enjoying a desert sunset, Arabic barbecue and a bit of belly dancing.


Get wet
Seven tenths of the world is covered in water and as satirist Dave Barry once quipped: “Staying on top of the water is like standing outside the circus tent.”
As enjoyable as activities above the water are, it’s what lies beneath that is of real interest – particularly in Ras Al Khaimah, arguably the finest emirate in the UAE for snorkelling, diving and exploring the marine life.
Adrenaline junkies will also be in seventh heaven:  jet-skiing, fly-boarding, wake-boarding, parasailing and banana boat rides are all on offer along the 64km coastline.


Explore Jazirat Al Hamra Fishing Village
This abandoned fishing village, just outside of Ras Al Khaimah, is one of the oldest and best preserved coastal villages in the UAE (with roots dating back to the 16th century) and serves as a reminder of life before the oil boom. One caveat: watch out for ghosts – some of the abandoned buildings are believed to be haunted.


Al Marjan Island
Al Marjan, a series of four connected man-made islands, is located in the west of Ras Al Khaimah. Extending a vast 4.5km into the sea, the island covers an area of 2.7 million square metres. With waterfront homes, quality hotels and resorts, marinas, private resident beaches, leisure, retail and recreational facilities, this ambitious development represents the direction in which RAK is headed.
http://almarjanisland.com/


Tee time
Most visitors flock to Ras Al Khaimah to fly and flop but the underrated emirate is also a great destination for golfers, thanks its enviable climate and world class golf courses including Al Hamra Golf Club. Designed by renowned golf course architect, Peter Harradine, the course incorporates both open water lagoons and desert landscapes resulting in a stunning par 72 championship course – measuring 7,325 yards at full length
www.alhamragolf.com


Discover Dhayah Fort
This 16th-century mud-brick fort was built in a strategic hilltop position facing the Gulf to defend the region from attack by the British and was the last holdout, before eventually falling in December 1819.
More recently it housed the royal family until 1964 when, following a very short period as a local prison, it opened to the general public as a place to celebrate Emirati history.


Zip lining
A world record-breaking zip line measuring 2.83km – equivalent to over 28 football pitches – and reaching speeds close to 150km per hour is the latest addition to Ras Al Khaimah’s claim to be the adventure capital of the Middle East.
Via Ferrata – which means iron street/path in Italian –  includes three courses along the rocky facades of Jebel Jais, aka the UAE’s highest mountain.
If you think you have what it take, secure your spot at www.jebeljais.ae/book-now/


Park life
Opened in the 1990s, Saqr Park  is the largest public park in Ras Al Khaimah, and is known for its vast areas of greenery. It is the perfect spot for big kids and little kids alike to relax and unwind featuring, as it does, green spaces, playgrounds and other facilities.

Little Black Book to London: part two

“Cool never stays in one place for long. By its very nature, it’s always looking for the next place to hang out, to drink, to try not to dance too zealously to the freshest tunes.”

So scribbled journalist Clive Martin.

Martin wasn’t wide of the mark.

Here’s our guide to the capital’s coolest new spots and events for spring/summer 2018…


Smoky cocktails at The Royal Exchange

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Smoked flavours are having a moment in cocktail culture and the trend has found it’s way to The Royal Exchange – one of London’s most iconic buildings – at Threadneedle Bar.
The new menu offers smokiness to cocktail aficionados in two ways: through intrinsically smoky ingredients such as whisky and mezcal which feature prominently throughout the menu, and by infusing key serves with wood smoke for a robust flavour and unique immersive experience.
Each cocktail boasts its own distinct personality and has been carefully crafted for depth of character and complexity.
Choose from the Smoky Mandarin (Black Label whisky, Mandarin Napoleon liqueur, Talisker 10yo, cinnamon sugar), Mexican Negroni (Mezcal, Campari, Martini Rosso), The White Lord (Tanqueray Gin, Suze, Martini Bianco), The Lumberjack (Woodford Reserve infused with bacon, maple syrup, orange and angostura bitters) or JAT favourite The Art of Rum (Ron Zacapa 23yo, cherry liqueur, banana syrup, orange bitters).
All cocktails on the smoky menu are priced at £12.00 and available until the end of 2018. Smokin!
https://www.royalexchange-grandcafe.co.uk/at/lounge-bank/


Mad Lab at Madison
Shake, rattle and stir your way to killer cocktails with Madison’ s MadLab sessions.
Don a lab coat and learn three cocktail techniques – carbonation, infusion and foam.

Foam
Learn how to make a foam with the help of a blender and vegan emulsifying/stabiliser agent using a nitrous oxide cartridge – and then how to integrate the foam into a cocktail.

Infusion
Make an instant infusion with a cream whipper and a nitrous oxide cartridge. You’ll then create a cocktail with the infused spirit and learn how to use a torch to caramelise the garnish.

Carbonation
Master a carbonated cocktail with a cream whipper and CO2 cartridge, before using the torch to scorch the garnish.

You’ll get the chance to create molecular twists on three Absolut Elyx vodka based cocktails, with the finished serves yours to enjoy while drinking in the views of the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral from the top of the Jean Nouvel designed One New Change complex. Chin chin.
https://www.madisonlondon.net/menus/restaurant/madlab/


Grease is the word

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Pink Ladies get ready! To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Grease, TV streaming service NOW TV is creating a slumber party pop-up experience.
On 10 and 11 May only, fans will be able to visit an exact replica of Frenchy’s bedroom: expect patterned pink wallpaper, plush carpets and satin-fringed curtains, Rydell High flags and even a giant panda toy poised to paw Rizzo’s silky drawers.
Slumber party guests will be able to take their pick from a Grease inspired prop box, bursting at the seams with rollers, hair nets, jackets and much more, to transform themselves into a Pink Lady and step back to the fifties – all they’ll need to do is battle it out for the role of Sandy and Rizzo
Food and drink straight out of the fifties will be available as guests get comfy on Frenchy’s patchwork bedspread and settle down to watch the iconic film.
Even better? Fans can enter the Eventbrite ballot for the chance to win free tickets to one of the seven sessions  (day and evening times) available, here


Bluebird flies into White City

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The celebrated Chelsea restaurant and café has spread its wings and opened its doors at one of London’s hottest venues: take a bow Television Centre White City.
Opening out onto a piazza overlooked by the Television Centre’s famous circular core, Bluebird Café White City is at the heart of the £8 billion regeneration that has opened this iconic location to residents, diners and revellers for the first time in its history.
Bluebird’s new sister encompasses a café, bar and spacious all-year-round terrace spread out over 5000-square-foot space serving a modern European menu: think Nduja crusted yellow fin tuna with grilled onion and green sauce, Butter chicken curry with basmati rice and burnt chilli and Spiced King prawns with yoghurt and pistachio.
The interior has been designed by David d’Almada’s Sagrada and incorporates a mix of British styling from the 1960s and modern Bluebird Chelsea glamour, while the artwork has been sourced by Fraser Scott and features works by young British artists as well as designs inspired by Bridget Riley and Celia Birtwell.
www.bluebirdcafe.co.uk.


The sky’s the limit at Jin Bo Law Skybar

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London has a new rooftop bar: here’s looking at Jin Bo Law.
Located on the 14th floor of the new Dorsett City hotel, Jin Bo Law offers panoramic views taking in key sights of the London skyline such as the Walkie-Talkie, the Gherkin, and the Shard, alongside quintessentially London landmarks including Tower Bridge and the Thames – as well  an innovative Asian-inspired menu.
Tipple to try include Pickled Think (Japanese spirit Shochu, pickled ginger and Japanese raspberries), Spice to Meet You(Chinese flavours, featuring gin and quince alongside fragrant five spice and Acacia honey) and Nikka-Bocker Glory – a unique play on traditional Vietnamese coffee, with its sweetened condensed milk and Japanese whisky, served like a milkshake.
www.jinbolaw.co.uk

View the post here: http://www.justabouttravel.net/2018/04/17/little-black-book-to-london-part-two/

Little Black Book to Buenos Aires

Want to know where to eat, stay and play in Argentina’s charismatic capital? JAT has the answers…

 

Until recently the Paris of the South was starved of direct, affordable flights from the UK but - happily - change is on the horizon.

From Valentine’s Day, budget airline Norwegian Airlines will be showing its love for the South American giant with the launch of the longest-ever nonstop route from Gatwick to Buenos Aires.

On arrival, spend the money you have saved on fantastic food (Argentina’s steakhouses are legendary), Malbec (Argentina’s signature grape which is responsible for the lush, dark red wines we all know and love) and futbol games, before tangoing up a storm.

TNT’s Argentine aficionado, Kaye Holland, opens her address book and shares some of her favourite spots in her beloved Buenos Aires.
 

Eating out: Peron Peron restaurant
For a politically charged dinner, pop into Peron Peron - a Palermo hotspot where food and fun are always on the menu.
The heart of Humboldt Street (a popular haunt of Buenos Aires’ middle classes) isn’t where you would expect to find a restaurant paying homage to Evita and her husband General Juan Peron but regardless of the fact that Mauricio Macri - Argentina’s first non Peronist president in over a decade - is in power, this place is always packed.
The menu is packed full of Peron’s favourite foods - think Pastel de papas (shepherd’s pie) and loco (pork and red chorizo stew), while Evita memorabilia and graffiti adorns the walls.
Expect your meal to be punctuated by Evita's passionate speeches to the Peronist masses, which play every so often from loud speakers - as does the Peronist march, with diners rising to sing along while slapping the table.

www.facebook.com/ElPeronPeron/


The Office: The Clubhouse

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Looking for somewhere to work? You’re in luck: co-working in Argentina is on the rise but, as remote offices go, The Clubhouse stands head and shoulders above the competition.
By day this Palermo Soho destination for all things cool serves as a much needed work sanctuary for the creative industries, in a metropolis plagued by poor WiFi.
By night it’s a lively scene straight out of a magazine: model-esque staff serve top notch cocktails around the prettiest of pools, while other ‘after work’ events include art exhibits, tastings, talks by opinion leaders, theme parties, fashion shows and private dinners.
The Clubhouse also features four distinctive rooms (like the guests, no two rooms are the same) for those who are keen to make their ‘commute’ to the ‘office’ as short and sweet as possible.

www.clubhouseba.com


Shop to it: Feria de Mataderos
An excellent market - and one of BA's best kept secrets - is the Feria de Mataderos, which is held every Sunday in the working class barrio of Materados.
Admittedly Materados is a bit of a schlep to reach (you’ll need to take bus 126, 155 or 180 from downtown for around 90 minutes) but it’s worth it to watch gauchos (Argentine cowboys) and folk singers entertain the crowds, while chewing down on hearty dishes such as humitas (corn cakes).
However the standout of La Feria de Matadero is without a doubt the La sortija show: gauchos gallop at their fastest along a corridor of sand, before rising up out of their saddle – leaving just their feet in the stirrups – in an attempt to spear a small ring, all the while cheered on by rowdy locals.
www.feriademataderos.ar
 

Sleepover: 133 Libertad

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Most people will tell you to stay in a hotel in Palermo but personalIy I’d advise avoiding the pre packaged path and checking into Airbnb abode, where you’ll get character and local charm rather than inflated prices. 
There are lasting memories to be gained from staying at 133 Libertad – a gorgeous courtyard apartment that will have you checking house prices before you leave. Many of the rooms boast patios and all are tastefully furnished – proof sophistication is possible on a shoestring budget.
The atmosphere is instantly relaxing and the hosts, Matias and Cande – a friendly and unfeasibly good looking young Porteno couple – will go out of their way to make sure you fall under the spell of their city. T
he central location can’t be bettered either, enabling you to hastily tick of the sights and then lose yourself in the street life. 
http://life.www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/2087059


After dark: La Bompa del Tiempo
Buenos Aires may be famous for its sultry tango – a passionate dance that has seduced the world – but La Bompa del Tiempo is out to change this.
Every Monday from 7-10pm in Abasto’s Konex Cultural Centre, this hugely talented percussion group takes to the stage to blend Argentine rhythms with Central American and African beats to enraptured gringoes and locals alike. It’s fast becoming one of Buenos Aires’ biggest and best parties and is an experience not to be missed.
Two tips: unless you like a queue arrive early (by 7pm the queue snakes half way around the block) and leave your iPhone et al at home. Argentina has banned the sale of iPhones meaning shiny Apple products are irresistible to the city’s pickpockets, something I can, sadly, attest to.

www.labombadetiempo.com


Coffee break: Las Violetas

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Buenos Aires has a great and enduring obsession with coffee. Caffeine runs in the blood of Portenos, bringing them out of their homes and onto the streets, in search of a coffee house like Las Violetas - a French style 1884 patisserie and cafe that’s located over in Buenos Aires’ Almagro neighbourhood and was declared a Heritage Site back in 1998.
Here the cortado (a shot of espresso, with an equal amount of steamed milk) is served on silver platters by waiters in white jackets, in stunning surroundings: think black and white floors, stained glass windows and marble columns. This special spot offers more than merely a cup of Joe: it guarantees a thick slice of middle class Porteno life. 

www.lasvioletas.com/

 


Tango time: La Viruta

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Only a philistine would leave Buenos Aires without taking in some tango (arguably Argentina’s greatest contribution to the world). One caveat: skip the overpriced tango shows (the preserve of tourists) and make for a milonga (tango club). Even if you’ve got two left feet, milongas like La Viruta are worth visiting for the atmosphere and phenomenal people watching alone. Just don’t forget to factor in a power nap before you head out: Buenos Aires is all about the night and, as such, if you leave a milling much before 4am (when it comes to partying, Portenos don’t do things by half), you’ll be labelled an amateur.
www.lavirutatango.com

 

Culture vulture: Buenos Aires Street Art

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The Argentine capital is one of the world’s best cities for street art. Graffiti artists have quite literally made BA their canvas, helped by the fact that there are almost no restrictions as to where they can paint in the city: all that spray-paint Picassos require is the permission of the home-owner. As such, expect to see inspiring murals brightening up every barrio from Villa Crespo to Colegiales.

One of the best ways to see Buenos Aires’ spectacular street art scene is by signing up-to a walking tour with Buenos Aires Street Art. Founded by Matt Fox- Tucker, a Brit who co-authored the book Textura Dos – Buenos Aires Street, the tour takes guests through the grime and glamour of the ‘Paris of the South’ via the streets of number of different neighbourhoods in the northwestern part of the city.

www,buenosairesstreetart.com/


Read all about it: El Ateneo Grand Splendid bookstore

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Book lovers rejoice! Book shops may be shutting down left, right and centre in every other city, but Buenos Aires is brimming with brilliant bookshops including  El Ateneo Grand Splendid – voted the world’s second best bookshop by The Guardian

El Ateneo Grand Splendid was once a theatre – as the balconies, white and gold-leaf boxes, crimson stage curtains and high painted ceilings bear testimony to. 

Subsequently El Ateneo attracts as many photographers - and gourmands (the stage has been turned into a majestic cafe) - as it does book-worms.It’s a must see see.

www.yenny-elateneo.com

 

Bar chick: Floreria Atlantico
Floreria Atlantico – a secret, basement speakeasy – is arguably the hottest bar in BA right now. And that’s saying something in a city with no end of trendy places to go….
Upon entering the rather charming flower shop, look for the industrial freezer door and then descend the stairs to this decadent drinking den – the brainchild of renowned Argentine mixologist Renato ‘Tato’ Giovannoni.

Thanks to its modernist lighting and decent drinks mixed (plump for the Principe de los Apóstoles, aka gin mixed with yerba mate, Argentina’s iconic herbal tea) by cool staff, this long and narrow bar is great place to meet both hip locals, expats and a perhaps a few celebs: Mexican actor and director, Gael Garcia Bernal, is a fan. 

www.floreriaatlantico.com.ar


Vegging out: Vita
Argentina’s meat obsession is intense, but veggies are far from neglected either.
If you’re looking to go meatless in the metropolis, venture to Vita which serves as refuge from the madness of nearby Plaza de Mayo – an always lively square. Choose from an array of homemade vegetarian and vegan salads, sandwiches, soups and hearty hot dishes like lasagne. Desserts don’t disappoint either: the coconut tart is definitely worth the calories.
The complimentary and reliable (a rare thing in Buenos Aires) WiFi is a further treat.

Hipolito Yrigoyen 583,Buenos Aires, Argentina (43420788)


Tea time: Queen of Tarts

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A British tea room serving the daintiest of sandwiches, fluffy freshly-baked scones and a selection of cakes, is the one thing you almost certainly wouldn’t expect to find in Argentina’s capital.

Think again. Queen of Tarts - a traditional British tea room - was opened 18months ago by Brits, Emily Farmer and Claire Griffiths, and business has been better than either expected.

Homesick expats, curious locals and inquisitive travellers, in need of a break from beef, who are looking to experience BA’s secret world of dining (the exact address of the tea room is revealed, once a reservation has been made) are flocking to Queen of Tarts in their droves.
They come for the classic afternoon tea but also for the antique-style furniture, that’s aimed at transporting guests to olde England.
www.queenoftarts.com.ar/

View the post here: http://www.justabouttravel.net/2018/04/09/little-black-book-to-buenos-aires-2/

Say ‘xin chào’ to Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc (pronounced “foo kwok”), an island off the southwest coast of Vietnam, is one of South East Asia’s best kept secrets.
Here are eight great reasons to book your flight to this island paradise - before everyone else does

T-shirt temperatures

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The signs are unmistakable. It’s wet, windy and dark at four o clock so it must be time to head abroad and bask in some winter sun. If the daily grind is getting you down and you need to recharge your batteries in a tropical paradise, look to Phu Quoc.
When in Britain the sky is the colour of porridge, the leaves are falling and everyone is succumbing to the cough-ice, in Phu Quoc it’s hot. Not sweltering sunstroke hot you understand, but blue skies, smattering of clouds, top up the tan (the island enjoys an average temperature of around 27C) hot.

 

Getting there is easier than ever
Despite its seclusion, the island is easier to reach than ever thanks to the recent launch of direct flights from Gatwick to Phu Quoc International Airport, with travel giant TUI.
Meanwhile other parts of the country such as Ho Chi Minh (known as Saigon until the end of the Vietnam War) is just a 40 minute hop from the island, while the capital Hanoi is only two hours away by air.
Furthermore tourists to Phu Quoc, can visit visa-free for up to 30 days. Result!

 

What lies beneath

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Seven tenths of the world is covered in water and as satirist Dave Barry once quipped: “Staying on top of the water is like standing outside the circus tent.” As enjoyable as activities above the water are, it’s what lies beneath that is of real interest - particularly in Phu Quoc whose waters are home to nearly 108 species of corals, 135 species of coral reef fish, 132 different types of mollusks and more.
Phu Quoc is also one of the few places in Vietnam where wildlife enthusiasts can spot unique species such as the green turtle, the hawksbill turtle and dugong, the hawksbill turtle and green turtle. Get those flights booked now.

 

Phu Quoc’s pearls
Phu Quoc is famed for its pearls (not for nothing is the island known as Pearl Island).
Make no mistake: Phu Quoc’s pearl farms cultivate some of the most beautiful pearls on the planet, many of which go onto be designed into stunning jewellery. Pearl Farms also demonstrate the process of extracting a pearl from an oyster which can take three to seven years to create a single teardrop.

 

The JW Marriott Phu Quoc

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Calling the JW Marriott Phu Quoc a luxury hotel is like calling champagne a fizzy drink: a major understatement.
The creation of architect Bill Bensley, the five star JW Marriott is styled as an early 20th Century French colonial university and its buildings are referred to as faculties.
Through whimsical antiques and original artefacts, the quirky tale - told with the winking participation of the staff - is so compelling you may just find yourself believing it. 
he sprawling beachfront resort, which recently hosted the 2017 World Travel Awards, boasts 244 rooms spread across 30-acres, in addition to a 50m-long infinity pool, Chanterelle spa and staff dressed as if from a page of The Great Gatsby. This is no ordinary luxury resort.

www.jwmarriottphuquoc.com

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Park life
The island, part of a Unesco-protected Biosphere Reserve, is richly forested - roughly 70 per cent is designated a national park. Expect tropical rainforests featuring waterfalls and mountains including Chua Mountain which, at 603m, is the highest on Phu Quoc.
However if you all want to is flop on a beach with a good book (we wouldn’t blame you), you’re in luck: Phu Quoc is home to around 20 unspoilt beaches.
Sao Beach has long been considered the “crown jewel” of Phu Quoc owing to sand the colour of icing sugar, but Long Beach, Starfish Beach (whose name derives from its red starfish) and Khem Beach are all good bets.

 

To market, to market
When night falls, head to Duong Dong’s Dinh Cau Night Market which runs from 7-11pm each evening.
Queue up with the locals at the numerous food stalls that line the street serving Vietnamese specialities like Banh mi (aka the world’s best sandwich), pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) and Vietnamese coffee (celebrated for its liberal use of sweetened condensed milk).
he night market is also the place to pick up designer knock-offs and souvenirs such as the Vietnamese conical hat (non la), pepper (Vietnam is the largest exporter of pepper in the world) and fish sauce (which is to Phu Quoc what olive oil is to Italy).
Case in point? Back in 2013, Phu Quoc’s fish sauce became the first Vietnamese product to be given the European Union’s Protected Designation of Origin Status, which recognises local goods “whose quality or properties are significantly or exclusively determined by the geographical environment”.

 

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History lesson
Phu Quoc has history, as demonstrated by Coconut Prison (so called because it was built in a coconut grove).
This camp originally housed PoWs during the French Colonial War, and then 40,000 North Vietnamese during the Civil War in the 1960s and 1970s. 
Confronting the horrors of the regime - which saw prisoners placed in a sack and shoved in an oven or pushed naked into tiger cages and left in the glare of the fierce sun until their skin burnt off, among other crimes - is harder than you could ever imagine.
But visit you must: not only out of respect for the victims, but out of necessity. 
Or as the great philosopher, George Santayanas, once said: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
 

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Words and pictures: Kaye Holland

Read the post here: http://www.justabouttravel.net/2018/03/28/say-xin-chao-to-phu-quoc/

Where the experts holiday: Eleanor Keymer, Bespoke honeymoon and travel planner

Bespoke honeymoon and travel planner, Eleanor Keymer, has visited over 100 countries and lived in both the Costa Rican jungle and the urban London jungle. As a result, friends and friends-of-friends have long been seeking Eleanor’s advice about favourite destinations, leading her to set up her own travel planning service.
Here Eleanor shares her travel highlights to date, with Just About Travel readers

 

What do you like to do on holiday?
I like to go wildlife watching – nothing beats seeing nature at it’s finest. I also like to get off the beaten track and discover lessen-known parts of the globe. It could be discovering a hidden spot, having an authentic experience or heading to a new region – basically it means finding places that won’t turn up in any guidebook.

Where did you last go?
I recently returned from Swaziland which is where my fiance grew up. The kingdom of Swaziland is a tiny, serene little green jewel in the middle of a problematic region. Instead of a making a brief stop off on your way to Kruger National Park, KwaZulu-Natal or Mozambique, I’d recommend staying at least a week to do the country justice.

Do you know where you’re going this year?
I do. First up, I am off a road trip around Spain with my Father and baby daughter, Tara. Then in June, my fiance and I are headed to Sorrento (Italy) to tie the knot. We’re also off to Aldenery – the northernmost of the inhabited Channel Islands – for a friend’s wedding before travelling to Nambia, Botswana and Zambia followed by Barbados and the Dominican Republic at the end of the year. It’s going to be a busy remainder of the year – and I can’t wait!

Of all the places you’ve been to, which was your favourite and why?
This a tough question but I’d have to say Brazil. The South American giant’s ecosystems are legendary: Brazil boasts the greatest collection of plant and animal species found anywhere on earth. Stir into the mix wild nightlife, beautiful beaches, thundering waterfalls and charming colonial towns and you couldn’t hope for anymore.

Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been?
Like many people, I dream of setting foot in remote, majestic Antarctica  – it’s one of those bucket list destinations. Antarctica is home to some of the world’s most extraordinary species and is a place of surreal beauty – I have to go.

In your own country, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?
I’d tell them to check out Chiddingstone Village – it’s one of the most beautiful and oldest villages in Kent. Visiting Chiddingstone is akin to stepping back in time – the tudor village is complete with half-timbered frames, gables and stone hung red-tiled roofs. If you think the village looks familiar, it may be because Chiddingstone has been used as a site for several films including ‘A Room with a View’. There’s a fantastic pub – The Castle Inn – that’s full of historic charm and serves a wide range of delicious locally-sourced, home cooked dishes.

How do you plan your holiday?
I turn to the internet as a source of travel information and also take into account recommendations by friends when it comes to planning my trips. However I still rely on travel guidebooks – Lonely Planet, Rough Guides et al – during my travels.

How often do you go away?
Whenever I can!

Who do you travel with?
My family, friends, my baby daughter… but I also travel a lot by myself.

Where do you see tourism in your country, in 10 years?
It will be an interesting time for tourism in the post Brexit market. I think we will see more international tourists owing to the favourable exchange rates and I also think we’ll see more people coming from countries you wouldn’t expect.

Thanks Eleanor!
 

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For more information on Eleanor’s destination and itinerary planning and advice, please visit www.eleanorkeymer.com/

Read the article here: http://www.justabouttravel.net/2018/03/27/where-the-experts-holiday-eleanor-keymer-bespoke-honeymoon-and-travel-planner/