Wednesday, April 29, 2015

THAI is Primary Carrier to Transport Relief Aid to Nepal

THAI is Primary Carrier to Transport Relief Aid to Nepal: Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI) is a primary carrier assisting in the transport of rescue aid to Nepal following the earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal on 25 April 2015, by supporting the government sector to send medical teams, rescue teams, and relief supplies to those affected by the earthquake...

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Dragon Eggs for Sale in St George's Market? Tourism Ireland Brings Game of Thrones® to Life in New Campaign

Dragon Eggs for Sale in St George's Market? Tourism Ireland Brings Game of Thrones® to Life in New Campaign: Fantastical Games of Thrones props – including dragon eggs and three-eyed ravens – have been appearing in surprising locations around Belfast and Northern Ireland over the past few weeks, as part of a new Tourism Ireland campaign created in partnership with HBO®...

Get Up & Go: Come dine with me . . . Victorian style!

Get Up & Go: Come dine with me . . . Victorian style!

Come dine with me . . . Victorian style!

In his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of  travel, Get Up & Go guest blogger David Ellis says that after Prince Albert (husband of Queen Victoria) had hosted a slap-up dinner in London for all of England’s Lord Mayors in 1850 to promote his pet project, The Great Exhibition to be held the following year, his guests reciprocated his hospitality with a bash of their own from their public purses.
Quickly becoming known as the 100 Guinea Dinner (in today’s terms around AU$11,800) it cost just under half a guinea a head – almost the equivalent of the-then average weekly wage – with close to half the 240 guests being the Lord Mayors and their spouses.
Held in the City of York, famous expatriate French chef Alexis Soyer was brought in from London to whip up their grand repast – at a time when the Great Famine in Ireland was claiming thousands weekly through starvation.



Chef Soyer’s menu required no less than 400 woodcocks, 100 snipes, 45 partridges, 36 quails and 36 pigeons, 24 capons and 18 poulardes (roosters and chickens de-sexed to improve quality and flavour,)  20 pheasants, 16 regular fowls and 18 turkeys, 10 grouse, 6 plovers, 6 larks and the heads and fins of five turtles.
It took a whole day to cook and was offered from silver platters garnished with crayfish, truffles, American asparagus, croustades, sweetbreads, mushrooms, French minced fish dumplings, olives, green mangoes, cocks combs and Chef Soyer’s secret-recipe “New Sauce.”
And it ended with dessert of compote of pear served with bananas, raisins, melons and muscats…
Wonder why we don’t get that at the club?

Above: Prince Albert at the Royal Table for his 100 Guinea Dinner in York in 1850 –
   almost hidden by the bizarre over-the-top table decorations.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Marysville Gets Its Vibe On

Marysville Gets Its Vibe On: Vibe Hotel Marysville was unveiled on 12 February 2015 in a landmark opening for the resilient township of Marysville in Victoria's Yarra Valley region. Set at the foothills to Victoria's alpine resort via the picturesque Black Spur, Vibe Hotel Marysville boasts 101 guest rooms, including five suites, a conference centre with associated conferencing /exhibition spaces catering for up to 350 guests, restaurant, café, gymnasium, outdoor pool and a spa/wellbeing centre (opening soon)...

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

EAT UP in Malaysia

Our top 5 favourite dishes that will tempt every taste bud!

With its diverse population, Malaysian cuisine offers a rich melting pot of flavours and ranks amongst the most delicious and tastiest in Asia. 
With a palate underpinned by a wide range of influences including Chinese, Indian and Portuguese, not to mention the many spices characteristic of South East Asian food, the country is rightly emerging as a food-lovers’ paradise – and makes for some very exciting eating!
Here are our top five fave dishes. 

                                                      Mei Goring.


No visit to Malaysia is complete without trying Peranakan/Nonya cuisine. Peranakans are descendants of early the Chinese migrants who settled in Penang, Malacca, Indonesia and Singapore inter-marrying with local Malays. The old Malay word Nyonya is a term of respect and affection for women of prominent social standing (part Madame and part Auntie), and has come to refer to the cuisine of the Peranakans.

One of the best-known and most popular Nyonya dishes is the famous Laksa noodle soup, with its rich coconut curry base. The veritable minestrone of South Asia, Laksas can feature anything tofu puffs, fish shrimps through to chicken pieces and of course, noodles and lots of delicious Asian vegetables. It’s typically served with a generous spoonful of chili paste or sambal, and garnished with coriander, or kaffir lime leaf. Laksa is the perfect winter warmer or the go-to dish when your taste buds are dying for some fresh, spicy flavours.


Ubiquitous throughout Malaysia, Mie Goreng is almost the de facto national dish. This Indonesian one-dish meal favorite is made with spicy fried noodles garlic, shallots, prawn, chicken, pork, beef or sliced bakso (meatballs), chili, cabbage, tomatoes, egg, and other vegetables, and sold by everyone from street-hawkers to high-end restaurants. Order a bowl and feel like a native.


It is hard to ignore Malaysian cuisine’s Indian influences. Roti is one of the most popular snacks throughout the country. Often sold in Mamak restaurants or stalls, it’s a kind of flatbread made out of dough, ghee (similar to butter), egg, flour and water and watching it being made is almost as much fun as eating it! Expert Roti makers knead ingredients together, before effortlessly twirling and throwing dough up in the air, to produce huge flat discs, which are then folded and cooked. While traditionally Roti can be consumed with just about any type of curry, the most popular way for Indian Malaysians to eat it is with dhal and chili, accompanied by a variety of toppings and fillings, including eggs, banana, sardines and onion.

Char Kway Teow

Originally a staple of Malaysia’s poor, Char Kway Teow has evolved into one of the country’s most loved dishes. The name is derived from the Hokkien term for ‘fried’ which is ‘char, while ‘kway teow’ refers to the ‘flat rice noodles’, which are the main ingredient. The latter are stir-fried over very high heat with soy sauce, chili, while prawns, de-shelled cockles, bean sprouts, Chinese chives and eggs. While there are many versions of this tasty dish, Penang’s Char Kway Teow tops the list when it comes to taste and originality. Not convinced? Visit Georgetown, try a plate and see for yourself.
                                         Char Kway Teow.

Nasi Lemak

Our last dish on the list, Nasi Lemak, is considered by many Malaysians to be part of their national heritage. Steam rice with Pandan leaves and coconut cream. Partner it with sizzling spicy sauce or sambal. Add generous sprinklings of roasted peanuts, salty dried anchovies and a hard-boiled egg, and eat it the traditional way – wrapped in banana leaves, to feel like a real local. Malaysians claim that Pandan leaves make all the difference between a good Nasi Lemak and an exceptional Nasi Lemak. Pandan leaves are incorporated liberally in many Malaysian dishes, infusing rice and desserts with their signature aroma. Try some Nasi Lemak yourself and taste the difference.
                                         Nasi Lemak.
Aside from delicious food, Malaysia is a great place to visit at any time, with adventure, culture, beaches, jungle, nature and accommodation to suit every budget, friendly locals and year-round sunshine to boot.

So, Food Lovers, if you can feel your tummy rumbling already, visit, be inspired and book your holiday now.

For information about tours of Malaysia, please contact:

Tourism Malaysia
Telephone: +612 9286 3055,
Fax: +612 9283 8311,
or visit



Thursday, April 16, 2015

Get Up & Go: Miss itty bitty Kitty rules the rooms!

Get Up & Go: Miss itty bitty Kitty rules the rooms!: I don't get Hello Kitty. I do get Hello Kitty. I get the merchandising, the appeal to pre-adolescent females and the cutesy factor th...

Get Up & Go: Miss itty bitty Kitty rules the rooms!

Get Up & Go: Miss itty bitty Kitty rules the rooms!: I don't get Hello Kitty. I do get Hello Kitty. I get the merchandising, the appeal to pre-adolescent females and the cutesy factor th...

Get Up & Go: Going Potty in England

Get Up & Go: Going Potty in England: A few years ago I was on a writers' familiarisation in England - the theme of the trip was Britain Home of Sport - and, it was a good ...

Get Up & Go: Brunei packs a punch

Get Up & Go: Brunei packs a punch: Tucked into the top of Borneo, this tiny Sultanate of Brunei sure packs a punch. This is the last Malay Sultanate which expresses its ...

Get Up & Go: Safe Gay and Lesbian Travel

Get Up & Go: Safe Gay and Lesbian Travel

Safe Gay and Lesbian Travel

Although it is 2015 and most gay and lesbian tourists encounter no problems whilst travelling it still helps to research as much as possible on your destination before your trip.  There are still places around the world where homosexuality is not tolerated and even outlawed.  

Homosexuality is still illegal in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Bahrain and Palestine. In some countries same-sex relationships might be legal in some regions but not others. Other countries may not declare homosexuality illegal outright but consider it taboo and not socially acceptable. While you don’t have to necessarily avoid these countries it’s best to research the laws, customs and attitudes of your destination with regard to gay and lesbian issues before you arrive. 
Even places like the United States or some parts in Western Europe where gay marriage is legal gay hate crimes still occur. In an ideal world members of the gay and lesbian community wouldn’t have to worry about being discriminated against, however there are still members of society who are intolerant to people because of their sexual preference. In some countries this attitude is more prevalent than others.
To help protect yourself as a gay or lesbian traveller we’ve put together some tips to help keep you safe on your next overseas adventure-

·         Always be a responsible tourist no matter where you’re travelling to. Try to avoid looking “touristy” and do not leave your luggage and personal effects unattended.

·         Avoid walking alone at night especially in streets without adequate street lighting.  This goes for any person in any country. 

·         Whether you like it or not you should always remember that you are subject to the laws in the country that you are visiting and adhere to them. No exceptions.

·         If you are travelling with your partner it’s best to keep the public displays of affection to a minimum in countries less tolerant than others. In countries where homosexuality is illegal avoid them all together.

·         If you don’t have a specific destination in mind consider destinations like Las Vegas USA, Puerto Vallarta Mexico, Copenhagen Denmark or Oahu in Hawaii that are known to welcome and celebrate the gay community.

·         Dress appropriately for the country you are heading too. If you are heading to a conservative country ensure you cover up and be aware that things such as outlandish jewellery can bring unwanted attention to yourself.

·         If you are on the unfortunate end of unwelcome attention then the best thing to do is ignore it. Reacting to it can make a situation escalate into something more serious.

·         As a general rule of thumb you are more likely to experience difficulties in rural areas. Some places in these areas will not accept bookings from same-sex couples. Phone ahead and check before arriving.
        Police in some conservative countries or regions have been known to monitor chat rooms and other internet meeting places to entrap people in the gay community.  Avoid these forums in conservative countries.
offers a range of travel insurance policies to suit gay, lesbian and other travellers.  From unlimited medical and hospital expenses, 24 hour emergency assistance, cover for your personal effects and luggage there is a policy to protect you on your next overseas adventure.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Get Up & Go: Far from the Madding crowd

Get Up & Go: Far from the Madding crowd

Far from the Madding crowd

Walk in the footsteps of Thomas Hardy
To coincide with the release this June of the new film Far from the Madding Crowd, based on the book by Thomas Hardy, On Foot Holidays - one of Europe’s leading self-guided walking tour operators, is offering five per cent off its Dorset walk, offering Australians the chance to explore the countryside that inspired Hardy’s novels.
                                           Thomas Hardy.
Produced by BBC Films and starring Carey Mulligan, Far from the Madding Crowd follows the story of an independent, beautiful and headstrong farm owner who attracts three very different suitors – a sheep farmer, a reckless sergeant and a prosperous bachelor. The adaption of Hardy’s timeless story is set to be released in Australia on 25 June 2015.
To mark the new adaption, On Foot Holidays is offering a five percent discount on its walking tour of Dorset in which travellers can follow Hardy’s footsteps as they visit Salisbury, Shaftesbury, the Jurassic coast and a number of Dorset’s villages, landmarks and beauty spots. The deal is valid for bookings made before 30 June 2015.
                                                       Dorset - Jurassic Park.
The seven-night walking tour begins in Salisbury with a visit to the cathedral, famous for having a church spire, which at 123m, is the tallest in the UK. Travellers then walk to the hilltop town of Shaftsbury on a gentle ramble through river valleys and past the ruins of Old Wardour Castle. The third day will see travellers head down the famous Gold Hill, past water mills, and then up again to the picturesque Ashmore, Dorset’s highest village. The following day will feature many locations Hardy frequented and was inspired by including Milton Abbas with its ancient abbey and Bingham’s Melcombe, a now abandoned medieval village, before travellers finish at an iconic thatched pub.
After another day walking through the scenic countryside, guests will stay at the Acorn Inn, Evershot, featured in Hardy’s novel ‘Tess of the d'Urbervilles’ as the 'The Sow & Acorn' of 'Evershead'. The following day will include a visit to Mapperton, one of the areas used as a location in the new Hardy film, while the final day will offer a choice between a walk along the Jurassic coast or continuing across the Dorset countryside.
                                                   Gold Hill, Shaftsbury.
The self-guided tour is of medium difficulty, with five to seven hours of walking each day. On Foot Holidays suggests May, June, July, September and October as the best months to take the trip.
Including seven nights’ accommodation, seven breakfasts and luggage transfers, allowing travellers to just carry a day pack, the package costs from £722 (approximately A$1383 depending on exchange rates) per person, twin-share, including the five per cent discount if booked by June 30, 2015, using the code ‘PPR15’ when booking. A £250 single room supplement is also available. Prices vary from low to high seasons.
Based in the UK and specialising in the ‘art of slow travel’, On Foot Holidays offers walkers around the world 24 self-guided tours across unspoilt areas of Europe for independent travellers who prefer intimate encounters with destinations. Walkers can select their own departure dates and all routes are designed by locals and tested by staff from On Foot Holidays.