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Guide to Champagne, France: Where to go and what to drink

The magnificent sparkling wines of northern France are synonymous with good times, celebration and indulgence. They’re also serious, wonderfully complex and rewarding. Simon Tam takes you on a brief tour of the region, the wines and their delights. Champagne is one of the loveliest and easiest wine regions to visit in France. It’s only an hour north of Paris by TGV – in fact, I know many local champenois who commute daily to the capital for work, just as Parisians journey in the opposite direction to enjoy lunch at one of the many great restaurants of the Champagne region. Pick up a hire car...

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Why is everyone talking about ‘bleisure”?

Facilitated by the development of remote working, “bleisure” is fast becoming the major travel trend of the future. Hotel groups, traditionally associated with business tourism, are now focusing on leisure and all-inclusive packages to meet the new expectations of travelers. “Is your trip for business or pleasure?” This phrase, straight out of American movies from the 1980s and ’90s, is now a thing of the past. This new trend coming from the United States mixes “business” with “leisure.” The concept in itself is not new, but the development of working from one’s home office combined with forced...

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Phuket is set to reopen to vaccinated tourists this July

Phuket is set to reopen to vaccinated tourists this July Thailand has announced that it is set to reopen Phuket to vaccinated tourists from 1 July 2021. The country will be waiving quarantine requirements for tourists arriving on the resort-island after they have been proven to be vaccinated. This is the first stage of the Thai government’s initiative to restore the pandemic-ridden tourism industry, with other key tourist hot spots like Koh Samui being considered for similar future plans. Tourism contributed to one-fifth of Thailand’s economy before the pandemic. Phuket is all set...

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World’s most scenic hikes for true nature lovers

Hiking for many is not just a physical activity but a peaceful one too. So, it’s only natural to search for trails that offer enchanting views and lead to destinations less explored. While there are many trails around the world for a true hiker to walk through, we list some of the most scenic hikes that should definitely be a part of your bucket list. The Basho Wayfarer, Japan The trail traces the path renowned haiku poet Matsuo Basho took more than 300 years ago. (Image: livebasecamp/Instagram) Almost every corner of Japan is beautiful. But one that stands out is the trail that traces the...

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Yemen’s Socotra archipelago awaits ecotourists

With its lush landscape, distinctive trees, unique animals and turquoise waters home to dolphins, Yemen is hoping its Socotra archipelago will become a dream destination despite the country’s nightmarish conflict. Lying in the Indian Ocean some 200 kilometres (120 miles) off the Yemeni coast, the four islands and two rocky islets are home to some 50,000 people and have remained relatively untouched by the war that has devastated the mainland. While most of Yemen is embroiled in a conflict that erupted in 2014 between Huthi rebels and the government — plus the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic...

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Siem Reap: See more than just Angkor Wat the next time you visit this sustainable Cambodian city

While the magnificent ruins of Angkor Wat remain the star attraction, Siem Reap has also become a magnet for creative titans intent on establishing a sustainable community, writes long-time resident Jonathan Evans. In 1994, nine young Cambodian men left a Khmer Rouge refugee camp and set up an association known as Phare Ponleu Selpak, in the northwestern city of Battambang. This association went on to establish schools providing education in art, music and theatre, and today the lessons continue, offering courses in visual, applied and performing arts. But by far its most famous offshoot is...

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Iceland to open borders to all who have had Covid jab

Iceland is to allow entry to all visitors bearing proof of vaccination against Covid starting Thursday, the health ministry said. The policy, already in place since January 20 for visitors from anywhere in the passport-free Schengen area, will be extended to all arrivals regardless of their country of origin, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. Customs authorities will accept vaccination certificates from Schengen countries or the World Health Organization’s “yellow card”. “All those who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be allowed to travel to Iceland without being...

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These museums around the world are offering virtual tours

Famous museums and art galleries are usually on the bucket lists of many travellers. But the ongoing pandemic and travel restrictions have put such visits on hold. As an alternative, many museums and cultural institutions are now offering free virtual tours. Housing the richest and most extensive collections of artefacts and masterpieces, these establishments will help you get your much-needed fix of history and art. These tours also benefit those who are not fond of travelling or standing in long queues. From New York’s iconic Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum, we have...

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Marie-Antoinette’s personal theatre gets a lockdown makeover

Pandemic or not, it’s a theatre space that very rarely sees an audience: Marie-Antoinette’s personal playhouse in the grounds of Versailles is a fragile historical gem in need of delicate care. The late 18th century was a time of “theatre-mania” in which many wealthy princes and financiers built their own stages on their estates, said Raphael Masson, lead conservator at Versailles. The last queen of France before the revolution was a passionate fan of music and theatre, and had hers built deep in the grounds of the chateau where she could escape with her retinue. It was here, in 1785, that...

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