Wednesday
Jul022014

Kimchi – Korea’s most revered condiment

It’s safe to say that almost every Korean meal you will ever eat will include kimchi. Kimchi is a fermented dish that can be prepared with a choice of vegetables such as radish, cucumber, or cabbage. The vegetable is cured with salt and loaded with dry chili flakes, then left to sit for a few days until mild fermentation begins to occur, the level of bitterness being determined by how long the fermentation process is. When you eat a Korean meal, kimchi is served as what’s known as a banchan, or a small side dish. Despite being considered only a condiment to complement a main course, kimchi is often considered to be the national food of South Korea.

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Wednesday
Jun182014

Agoda: Top 10 Things to See in London

Founded by the Romans more than two thousand years ago, few cities are as rich in history, culture, and character as London. Home to revolutionary innovation, famous writers and musicians, leveled by war, and rebuilt into one of the world's leading financial centers, London truly is a city fit for a king (or queen). Start your exploration of the UK's capital at ten of our favorite spots.

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Wednesday
Jun042014

Top 3 People Watching Spots in Kyoto

Kyoto is a Japanese city unlike any other. Modern office towers and a city center sit next to one of the highest concentrations of UNESCO World Heritage Sites on earth, somehow in perfect harmony. Business people do their thing while monks tend to their temples and visitors marvel at it all. Perhaps this shouldn't be a surprise as most of the stunning temples that dot the city's landscape are all about peace and tranquility at their heart.

The city is also home to real geishas who manage to live highly traditional lives, going to and from in their kimonos as they have for thousands of years, seemingly unaware of the modern world around them. This is a place where different worlds literally intersect, collide, and work well together, creating a fantastically rich social canvas to watch go by. Kyoto is a fascinating city, but also a wonderful spot to slow down, take a seat, and watch its people live their lives. Here are three of our favorite spots to get a sense of the social fabric of this most traditional of Japanese cities and watch its people live their lives.

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Wednesday
May212014

Big City Transit: Sydney, Australia


Sydney is a world-class city with a variety of public transport options you’ll need in motion. The offerings are a little bit underwhelming (though entirely adequate), with no dedicated underground service and LRT routes that keep opening, closing and opening again along new arteries. While you may hear locals complaining about the rising specter of traffic or a confounding shortage of taxis, the truth is that visitors don’t really feel the pinch when it comes to Sydney’s public transit woes. By all rights, the city has you covered via road, rail and sea.

If you're planning a go-wherever-you-feel-like tour of Sydney vs. a more regimented itinerary, you’ll almost certainly save money with the MyMulti Day Pass. Pay a flat rate and enjoy 24 hours’ access to all of the following:

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Wednesday
May072014

Florence – Five Top Highlights

It’s safe to say that Florence is one of the most amazing cities in all of Italy. Apart from the most popular reasons to visit Italy – to taste the food and gaze upon the architecture – there are plenty of spectacular sites and attractions around Florence that stimulate and charm the other senses.

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Wednesday
Apr232014

The Beaches of Bali

Bali is a big island with a long history of tourism and beaches that range from frenetic to lazy. Generally speaking, for the tropical idyll of powder-fine sands and calm seas you are probably on the wrong island (the Gilis might be more what you're looking for), but for surfing, diving, dining, dolphin spotting and enjoying coastal village culture, Bali is your place. The most popular and accessible beaches are those closer to Denpasar airport, at the bottom of the island.

Kuta

The birthplace of tourism in Bali, Kuta started out as primarily a surf spot. Still a popular destination for surfers – especially from Australia – the beach now draws an international crowd of all permutations. There's little observable "authentic" Balinese culture this close to the airport, but there's still a small-town charm in the area's narrow winding lanes, urban rice paddies, ramshackle shophouses and moped traffic jams. On this side of the island, the beaches are best from April to October when the monsoon is directed out to sea, rather than blowing debris up on shore.

The atmosphere on the beach changes depending on where you are along its five-plus kilometer span. It starts off crowded in the south, where Kuta's main shops, restaurants, bars and clubs are, and gets more peaceful the farther north you go. For affordable Bali accommodation Kuta is the best location – especially for younger independent travelers seeking to party with like-minded souls.

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Wednesday
Apr092014

Five Great National Parks: Australia

Australia’s diverse ecosystems are among its headlining attractions, and you could spend years just exploring the national parkland on this island continent. Of course, no one has time to see them all, so we’ve compiled a list of five great national parks in Australia. Just plan on doing a lot more than cooing over the adorable koalas (though, to be fair, there’ll be time for that, too).

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Wednesday
Mar262014

Hotels of Note: The Royal Horseguards

In a city like London, it's easy for the grandeur of history and tradition to get a bit diluted. After all, it is a city loaded with prestige and status, but there are certainly several standout properties that continue to impress even the most jaded of visitors. One such property is the Royal Horseguards, a hotel that has become an enduring icon along the banks of the Thames.

Originally built as a block of luxury apartments in 1884, it officially opened as a hotel in 1971. Many of its early investors had close ties to the British military - more specifically the Household Cavalry, the most prestigious unit of the British Army and the Queens official bodyguard. Indeed, during both world wars, the hotel was taken over by the Ministry of Defense and was used as a base of operations by MI5 and MI6, Britain's most secretive and powerful spy organizations.

In 1985, the hotel acquired the upper floors of the adjoining National Liberal Club at 1 Whitehall Place, an expansion that upped the total number of guestrooms and suites by 140. Because of its prime location, the hotel has long been a top choice for governmental meetings and operations, run by the Houses of Parliament and the Foreign Office.

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Wednesday
Mar122014

Regional Variations in Thai Cuisine

Thailand is a country with an incredibly diverse variation of regional dishes. At Thai restaurants outside Thailand, the food is often lumped into a single category: Thai cuisine. In Thailand however, you'll find that food at restaurants is often grouped by region, many restaurants only serving food from one particular region of Thai cuisine. While there are countless variations of Thai food by region, there are four main categories; Isaan northeastern, Lanna northern, Bangkok central, and southern Thai.

Isaan food, also known as the cuisine originating from the northeastern region of Thailand, is one of the most popular and widely consumed varieties of food in the entire country. Sticky rice, which is steamed and is much more glutinous than regular jasmine rice, is the main staple grain in Isaan. This variation of Thai cuisine includes lots of fresh vegetable & meat salads, as well as meat and fish often roasted over charcoal. Some popular examples include somtam, a combination of shredded green papaya, tomatoes, peanuts, chilies, garlic, fish sauce, fermented fish sauce (optional), lime juice, and palm sugar; kaw moo yang, grilled pork neck that’s sliced into bite sized pieces and served with a chili dipping sauce; larb moo, a salad of minced pork in a dressing of lime juice and chilies; and tom sap, a hot and sour soup.

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Wednesday
Feb262014

Big City Transit – Taipei

Thankfully, Taipei lacks the endless, jam-packed urban sprawls of other Asian cities like Beijing or Bangkok, but it still packs a punch when it comes to rush hour traffic and labyrinthine public transportation. For tourists going in with the mentality of “doing what the locals do,” and just copying a random commuter, they may find themselves on alternative lines of transit, which can range from cross-country trains to rentable tandem bikes, so…best to know exactly how things work before you dive in.

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