Jul 05, 2012|
A boutique hotel in Siem Reap just underwent an overhaul, and the result is a property whose design reflects the nearby temples of Angkor Wat. In addition to all the luxury amenities in the Shinta Mani Siem Reap’s 39 rooms, there are also subtle touches like artwork depicting the area’s temples. On-site restaurant Kroya serves up Khmer cuisine with a modern twist and the spa’s coffee scrub uses organic local beans. Talk about responsible tourism: the hotel’s owner also runs the Shinta Mani Foundation, which operates a facility on the hotel's grounds that offers free training in the hospitality industry in an effort to help Cambodians get jobs in hotels. The foundation also helps small businesses by granting interest-free loans (in materials, not cash) to local entrepreneurs, and it sends doctors to do check-ups in rural areas. A percentage of each night’s room rate goes to the foundation, and guests are encouraged to visit the training center or even volunteer. Rates start at $2,000 per night.
Contact Shinta Mani via (+855) 63-761-998 or www.shintamani.com.
The last time I was in Shanghai, I rented a bike from Bike Shanghai (www.bikeshanghai.com) and pedaled around the French Concession at a leisurely clip, hopping off to buy steamed buns from streetside stalls and to peruse boutiques and cafés in the alleys of Taikang Road’s Lane 210. Granted, I was on my own, which probably was neither the safest nor the most informed way to travel. So when I heard about UnTour Shanghai, which runs unconventional excursions that include bar crawls, group runs, street eat adventures and local market explorations, I was immediately intrigued. They just launched a dumpling tour, which involves stops for xiaolongbao, wontons and more. As someone who can devour over a dozen in one sitting and is a novice jogger, I know now which guides I’m turning to the next time I’m in Shanghai. UnTour’s tours start at $1,400 total for a group of up to six people.
Find at www.untourshanghai.com or by calling (+86) 1861-650-4269.
Japan’s first low-cost airline, Peach, already has a handful of domestic flights out of Osaka, and has chosen Hong Kong as its second international destination. Starting July 2, Peach will operate daily flights between HKIA and Osaka’s Kansai Airport. The outgoing flight leaves HKG at 12:50am, while the return leg departs Osaka at 9:10pm, making these flights convenient for a short, cheap and sleep-deprived weekend in Japan. One-way fares start at about $888 for travel till October 27, but taxes and fees’ll ratchet that total up—a recent test run for regular weekends in late July resulted in an all-inclusive roundtrip fare in the low $3Ks. That’s actually a really, REALLY good price, but be warned: according to Peach’s Facebook page, customers have been airing grievances against the newbie airline for touting a promotional HK-Osaka fare this spring and then later coming out with even better fares. They refuse to refund those early-bird buyers the difference between what they paid and the new, lower rates. My take: if you’re going to fly a low-cost carrier, you’ve got to count on poor customer service—so make sure you’re happy to pay the price on the screen, no matter what deals Peach may roll out after you book.
Book a Peach flight at www.flypeach.com and check out the row at www.facebook.com/peach.aviation.global.
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