Here at the Flight Centre Travel Desk we're bringing you the latest in travel news around the globe. Today the focus has been firmly placed on Asia, from new passenger planes to recently opened hotels.
Don't worry, it's not all business. We're also looking at the exciting aspects of travel including wildlife encounters you might not know about and brand new options for the cruisers out there.
When it comes to travel, it's best not to stay in the dark, so check out the new experiences, tours and more that have put a spotlight on the East.
Jetstar’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the innovative aircraft designed to make flying easier on passengers and their pockets, is now travelling to six Asian destinations from airports along Australia’s east coast.
The first Dreamliner was delivered to Jetstar in October 2013 – going into service on the hop between Melbourne and Bali – and now there are enough aircraft in the ever-expanding fleet to serve Tokyo, Osaka, Singapore, Phuket and Bangkok.
The airline started flying the Dreamliner between Melbourne and Tokyo’s Narita on July 10 and Melbourne and Singapore on August 5.
The low-cost carrier continues to extend its Asian network after launching a direct service between Cairns and Bali on March 31 with three flights a week departing Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
Let Asia Wu You
Wendy Wu Tours, the Aussie company that’s been taking travellers to Asia since 1998, has expanded its offering of itineraries exploring south-east Asia in 2015 by adding a new 16-day expedition through Laos and Cambodia.
The all-inclusive itinerary, which is called Laos and Cambodia Unveiled, costs from $5160 per person, including economy airfares, and starts in the Laotian capital Vientiane before continuing to Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang.
Travellers then hop across the border to Cambodia with stops in Siem Reap to see the Angkor temples – Battambang, Kampong Chhnang and Udong – before the excursion wraps up in the capital Phnom Penh.
W Beijing Chang’an, China
W Beijing opened in April and sits on Chang’an Avenue, which is the major thoroughfare that’s home to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.
JW Marriott, Macau
When the JW Marriott, which is part of the Galaxy Macau complex, opened in May. More than 1000 guestrooms were added to Macau’s hotel inventory.
Hotel Indigo Bangkok, Thailand
Hotel Indigo Bangkok opened earlier this year with a rooftop infinity pool and guestrooms that reflect the colours of the Wireless Road neighbourhood.
On A Slow Boat
Cruising the mighty Mekong River between Cambodia’s Siem Reap and Saigon in southern Vietnam is proving to be one of the top travel experiences of 2015, with a swag of tour companies launching luxury vessels.
Here are three new boats, already on the water or launching soon, designed especially to carry travellers along the twists and turns of this magical waterway.
Avalon Siem Reap
Avalon Waterway’s newest riverboat, the Siem Reap, took to the water in January and blends modern features with a colonial charm befitting the destination.
The vessel carries 36 guests in 18 staterooms, with each cabin featuring a wall-to-wall panoramic window four metres wide, opening to ‘transform the living space into a large open-air balcony’.
APT guests can now experience the Mekong from the deck of a new ship, the AmaDara, which joined sister ship the AmaLotus in August.
The AmaDara can carry 124 passengers in a selection of staterooms and suites, featuring a combination of French and full-sized step-out balconies, and will boast a swimming pool and two restaurants.
Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours’ new vessel the Scenic Spirit is set to be launched next January
It will carry 68 guests in 34 suites – each featuring a separate bedroom, living room and balcony – and has four dining venues offering everything from formal to casual options at mealtime, as well as a sundeck with open‑air cinema.
Head to Tiong Bahru – Singapore’s first estate built in the 1930s – for Asia’s best coffee with the stalls upstairs at the neighbourhood’s market serving a brew that’s mixed with condensed milk to make it taste like a hot dessert.
It may take a bit of effort to find Bale Well – a family-run restaurant in Hoi An’s Tran Hung Dao Street – but perseverance will be rewarded when you sample a style of grilled pork satay, rice pancakes, and spring rolls only offered in this part of Vietnam.
Pork and Rice on Street 19 in Phnom Penh isn’t fancy and there’s only one dish on the menu but it’s a helping of pork and rice served with an egg, pickled vegetables and soup so famous it now has its own Facebook page.
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What you can do in Kota Kinabalu. 8 Popular Tours & Activities In Kota Kinabalu
While Africa might be the place to go on safari, there’s ample opportunity to see animals from cute to curious in Borneo.
Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Sabah Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa – a beachside property 45 minutes’ drive from Kota Kinabalu – is home to a sanctuary accommodating baby orang-utans orphaned when jungle is cleared to harvest palm oil.
Resort guests can watch the playful babies and their carers every afternoon as the animals play, eat and learn the skills needed to eventually return to the wild.
On Gaya Island Resort, Sabah Animal lovers can get an up close look at the rehabilitation of sick and injured turtles.
The hotel is a 15-minute ride by boat from Kota Kinabalu, and home to a dedicated marine centre that opened in 2013. Gaya Island guests can volunteer to help resident marine biologist Scott Maybeck as he works with the turtles in his care.
Bako National Park, Sarawak Bako National Park has a reputation for offering some of Borneo’s best wildlife encounters and this rainforest sanctuary is home to 300 rare proboscis monkeys , with dawn and dusk the best time to see the creatures.
Rather than travelling solo , visit Bako National Park on an organised tour, with Intrepid’s Wild Sarawak and Best of Borneo itineraries.