Cycling tour takes you to hidden spots around Melbourne

Convenient and safe transportation is something most international tourists seek when travelling to a country, especially for recreation.

In the Australian city of Melbourne, travelers can explore the city freely and comfortably, as convenience and safety have become an integral part of the local government’s sustainable tourism management strategy.

Thanks to a well-managed transportation system, Melbourne affords visitors easy access to every tourist spot they could want to reach by taking advantage of trains, trams or shuttle buses.

But what if on the way to a particular destination, say by shuttle bus, you see such a wonderful sight as a bird sitting on a tree or a colorful butterfly perched on a yellow flower and you become eager to take a closer look?

You certainly cannot ask the bus driver to stop and make other passengers wait for you, right?

Therefore, the mode of travel that best allows you freedom to move as you wish is none other than cycling. As you whizz along with the wind in your hair and the warm sunshine on your skin, you will discover that cycling is an ideal way to see Melbourne.

Melbourne — a vibrant, elegant and multicultural city  — has become increasingly friendly for local and international cyclists, with well-marked bicycle lanes, paths and bike racks on hand. The city has a cycling network of approximately 135 kilometers of road and off-road routes.

Even though you can rent a bike and cycle alone, joining a bicycle tour is highly recommended. Accompanied by an experienced local guide, a bicycle tour takes around the city to visit many interesting sights, which will mean much to you, especially if it’s your first trip to the city.

A tour on two wheels, commonly lasting between three to five hours, covers about 12 kilometers (7 miles), with several regular stops for drinks and restroom breaks. This outdoor, relaxed and healthy activity will not only allow you to know the city better, as the tour guide will provide information about the tourist attractions and be ready to answer any questions you raise, but will also give you a chance to have fun and gain friendships with other bike tourists in a relaxed manner, making for an unforgettable and life-enriching experience.

Tourist spots on offer will entirely depend on the respective bike tour operators, but commonly the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the Rod Laver Arena, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens and Captain Cook’s Cottage are among the city’s landmarks that bike tourists visit.

If you have a passion for sports, then finding a bike tour operator that takes you to the MCG and Rod Laver Arena is a good decision.

The MCG, known by locals simply as “The ‘G,” is an Australian sports stadium located in Yarra Park, Melbourne. Three sets of bicycle racks are available at the MCG. You will be amazed by the stadium’s huge size, measuring 172.90 m long and 147.80 m wide, making it the largest cricket stadium on earth and the 11th largest stadium in the world. It has the capacity of over 100,000 people.

Built in 1853, the MCG played host to the 1956 Summer Olympics, the 2006 Commonwealth Games and several FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Almost all bike tour operators in Melbourne also offer a tour of the city’s parks — healthy and green spaces, which put Australia on the international map. Some of the parks are known for being home to rare, century-old trees and diverse varieties of plants.

The 38-hectare Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, an internationally renowned botanical garden, is one example. The landscaped gardens comprise a mix of native and exotic vegetation including over 10,000 individual species. The gardens are located near the center of Melbourne, along the southern bank of the Yarra River.

These beautiful gardens are home to amazing and diverse plant collections such as camellias, rainforest flora, succulents and cacti, roses, Californian species, herbs, perennials, cycads and plants from southern China. The gardens are also a natural sanctuary for native wildlife.

Another natural landmark is the 26-hectare Fitzroy Gardens, located on the southeastern edge of the Melbourne Central Business District in East Melbourne.

The Gardens have a long history of over 150 years, visited by over 2 million local, interstate and international visitors each year, it is one of Melbourne’s major attractions.

The Fitzroy Gardens boast historical significance as one of a ring of public reserves around Melbourne established in the 19th century to provide respite and relaxation for the city’s residents.

The Fitzroy Gardens have been viewed as the flagship of this group of city gardens, which also includes Flagstaff, Treasury, Carlton and Alexandra Gardens and Kings Domain parklands.

The Fitzroy Gardens are an important remnant of the city’s 19th-century garden heritage.

At the Fitzroy Gardens, you will have an opportunity to see Captain Cook’s Cottage. Cooks’ Cottage, built in 1755, is the oldest building in Australia and a popular Melbourne tourist attraction.

Originally located in Yorkshire, England, and built by the parents of Captain James Cook, the cottage was brought to Melbourne by Sir Russell Grimwade in 1934.

On a bike tour, you can also visit other notable landmarks in town such as the Parliament Theatre District and stately cathedrals and much more.

Aside from the city’s landmarks, Melbourne is also home to dozens of hidden spots, a popular name for restaurants, cafe and bars, which are commonly included on the bike tour program.


Each hidden spot has its own unique quality in terms of menu, flavor, interior, decor and ambiance to attract visitors. Having a drink or dining at a hidden spot after a half-day cycling is, indeed, an enjoyable and memorable experience.

So if you visit Melbourne for recreation or self-fulfillment, joining a bike tour is the right decision because Melbourne is currently Australia’s best cycling city.

ource – TheJakartaPost


900 tourists on the run for forest fires Sicily

Forest fires in the extreme northwest of Sicily forced nine hundred people into the sea today. They were evacuated from the tourist coastal town of Calampiso. Italian media reported that tourists drove by boat to the larger San Vito lo Capo and were taken to school buildings.

It is very hot with temperatures of 35 to 37 degrees and the last days are reported on many places on the island. Firefighters and other emergency services have not been called so many times for help in the past ten years, because of fire. Italian media reported that ‘Sicily is on fire’ with fireplaces in 125 different places.


Most fires are lit, said a local. “Often they arise on overgrown cornfields where the owners no longer look around. Then a small fire has been swept over to the neighbors. “According to the spokesman, Italians are supposed to provide so-called fire brigades, barriers that stop burning. “It’s an obligation, but not everyone loves it.”

Also on the Italian mainland in the vicinity of Naples, there are many forest fires. A veil of smog hangs over the city. The fires lie mainly around Mount Vesuvius.

In the last days, the fire in Sicily is no longer under control. © AFP

Source – AD

Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, the biggest star of all

Actors come and go, radio presenters live or die by their ratings and musicians top the charts only to be dropped, hostages to the vagaries of fickle public opinion.

But some stars are destined to be remembered forever, their successes immortalized in terrazzo and brass on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — a draw for visitors from across the world that has more staying power than any individual celebrity. 

Launched in 1958, the walk has built up more than 2,600 stars, each a tribute to the contribution of a public figure in the fields of motion picture, television, recording, radio or, latterly, live theater. 

“The criteria for getting a star are longevity in the field of entertainment — of five years or more — awards nominations, and very important to us is that they do philanthropic work,” said Ana Martinez, who arranges the ceremonies.

The ceremonies often coincide with the release of a movie as it is the celebrity who chooses the date, and a $40,000 fee is paid by the honoree’s entourage — $15,000 to cover the event and the rest for maintenance.

Read also: Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell get Hollywood stars

– Millions of tourists –

Nearly 50 years after its launch, the 2.5-mile (four-kilometer) stretch smack in the middle of Hollywood now attracts an estimated 10 million tourists a year, who come to soak up the glamour. 

“It’s very special to be here, to be here in person to see the stars of the singers I love and I listen to often, and of the actors that I grew up with,” Brazilian tourist Daniela Oliveira told AFP.

Not all the honorees are actors and musicians, of course — the late film critic Roger Ebert has one, as do hockey announcer Bob Miller, LA Lakers owner Jerry Buss and Winnie the Pooh. 

Other stars often go to groups — fictional or otherwise — such as the munchkins from “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Muppets” and “The Simpsons,” while Kermit the Frog, Mickey Mouse and Godzilla have their own. 


– Selection controversy –

E.M. Stuart, erstwhile president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, is credited with coming up with the idea in 1953 for an attraction that would “maintain the glory of a community whose name means glamour.”

The walk’s initial costs came to $1.25 million and the first stars honored the likes of Olive Borden, Ronald Colman, Burt Lancaster and Joanne Woodward. 

The selection process for honorees sparked controversy, however, when it emerged that Charlie Chaplin had been turned down for a star and his son sued unsuccessfully for damages amounting to $400,000. 

Chaplin finally got his star in 1972, five years before his death.

The walk was designed to accommodate 2,518 stars, and by the 1990s most of the space had gone, prompting the dedication of a second row.

Now there are hundreds of blank stars — leaving hope for newcomers to the entertainment industry pining after the Hollywood dream. 

Read also: Real places that inspired scenes in Oscar-nominated films

Source – TheJakartaPost

#AirAsia opens new routes from Indonesia to Mumbai, Macau

AirAsia has opened new international routes to Mumbai, India, and Macau, China, to tap into high demand among tourists from the two countries.

“The growing number of Chinese and Indian tourists coming to Indonesia boosts our spirit to launch the new routes,” said AirAsia Group CEO for Indonesia Dendy Kurniawan on Wednesday, as quoted by

Dendy added that the company was committed to supporting the government’s efforts to develop Indonesian tourism by extending its route network and offering services at affordable prices.


AirAsia Indonesia is set to operate the direct flight from Jakarta to Macau three times per week in a first phase starting on Aug. 7 and four times per week starting on Sept. 1 for the second phase. With promo fares starting from Rp 888,000 for the period of Aug. 7 to June 5, the new service will use an Airbus A320-200 that can accommodate 180 passengers.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai route will start on May 19 and connect to Bali – with a transit of 65 minutes in Kuala Lumpur. AirAsia X Indonesia plans to serve the flight seven times per week using aircraft that can accommodate 377 passengers.

Source – TheJakartaPost

Read also: AirAsia to launch Denpasar-Tokyo route

Divers clean up Bali reefs

Forty-four divers cleaned up the underwater area around Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa, two of the most popular destinations for snorkeling and watersports in Bali.

The divers from the Nusa Dua Reef Foundation (NDRF), divers associations and watersports operators collected 25 sacks of plastic and other non-organic trash from the area, which is rich in species of coral and fish.

“Non-organic trash is a serious problem that has threatened the health and beauty of the marine ecosystem in Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa. They are popular destinations for marine tourism, which heavily relies on the beauty of the coral reefs,” said Pariama Hutasoit of the NDRF on Friday.

Every year, she said, 8 tons of plastic trash ended up in the sea in the area, threatening marine life, harming seabirds, sea mammals and killing fish and coral reefs. The trash was often carried away by currents, polluting beaches and disrupting tourist activities along the coastline.

During the World Ocean Summit in Bali last month, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) declared war on plastic trash in the ocean through its worldwide campaign of #CleanSeas.  The Indonesian government has also made a commitment to reduce plastic trash by 70 percent by 2025.

Since 2014, the NDRF has teamed up with Conrad Bali to clean up underwater areas.

“This time, we are focusing the underwater clean-up on areas around Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa. We aim to clear non-organic trash and raise public awareness on the importance of coral reefs and to support the #CleanSeas campaign,” Pariama said.

Source – TheJakartaPost

Thailand – Doi Inthanon frost attracts 5,000 visitors to peak

About 5,000 tourists have been attracted to the peak of Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain in Thailand, for the past four days as temperatures have dropped to 5 degree Celsius, causing frost over the landscape.

“The lowest temperature at Doi Inthanon and Kiew Mae Pan view point this morning is 5 degree Celsius. With clear weather, there’s frost at Kiew Mae Pan right up to the peak between 42nd and 47th kilometres.

“The number of visitors at Doi Inthanon during this period is not less than 5,000 each day,” said the Doi Inthanon National Park chief Roong Hirunwong.

Source: TheNation

Bangkok – New mall ‘SHOW DC’ opens with durian room and shower for tourists

Another new shopping mall, SHOW DC, recently opened their doors near RCA. They hope to serve as the city’s tourist hub by offering basic facilities that all travelers need — such as a shower.

Located 30 minutes from Suvarnabhumi, SHOW DC will soon offer shuttle buses from the airport, Petchaburi MRT station and other attractions in the city. With its goal to become “Bangkok Tourist Terminal,” it offers a shower room, a courier service counter, a prayer room, a tourist police center, travel agents counters and a tourist information center with multi-language assistants.

Meanwhile, to please Thai travelers, its “K-District” on the first floor boasts the world’s biggest Koreatown with all things Korean such as street fashion, cosmetics, lifestyle products, groceries, cafes and restaurants owned by K-Pop artists. This is an attempt to give customers that they are shopping in one of Seoul’s shopping destinations like Myeong Dong.

For the first time in Thailand, Lotte Duty Free will also open at the mall, occupying two whole floors.

In the Thai Market, you will be able to find the best products from all regions of the country. There’s even a room for you to buy and eat durian so you don’t have to worry about the smell bothering other shoppers.

The mall is located on a 14-rai parcel (68,800 sq.m.) on Jaturatid Road, Huai Khwang. While some features have not opened yet, the mall will have its soft opening on Jan. 22.