Banyan Tree Spa Phuket

The Cool Hunter reports on Banyan Tree’s Spa in Phuket as being “bliss with a capital B and relaxation with a capital R.” I’m already a big fan of their spa in Bangkok so it’s good to read of good experience in their Phuket location – a place that I have been wanting to escape to recently. Here is an excerpt of what he had to say:

The Banyan Tree resort in Phuket Thailand houses one of the world’s most luxurious Spas. Instead of one big area with treatment rooms, Banyan Tree’s Spa is actually 14 beautiful villas – four Royal Pavilions and eight slightly smaller Garden Pavilions set along one side of the pool. Each one has a miniature walled garden containing two massage beds, for couples who like to take treatments at the same time. Aside from being beautiful the villas afford guests total privacy and absolute one-on-one attention.

Banyan Tree Spa Phuket
[via The Cool Hunter.]

China Package Deals

I’m anti-itinerary when it comes to travel and believe the less the merrier when it comes to groups but for some traveling to China would be far more comfortable if done with a tour. China Focus looks like a good choice. They offer a range of all-inclusive deals that assume a San Francisco departure – getting to San Francisco is up to you, after that they take care of the rest. Here are some examples, the $999.00US package includes round-trip SF to Beijing airfare, 10 nights of hotel, all transfers, guided tours, and all meals. The hotels seem ok but be prepared to be unimpressed. The Three Gorges and Tibet 18 day tour for $2,900.00US is more to my liking. Be sure to read the Visa and Terms section carefully before committing to the idea.
China Focus Site

Sonic Gear i-Steroid 2

Sonic Gear i-Steroid 2
I listen to music primarily through various sets of headphones but when you get back to the office from some time on the road it’s great to be able to kick back and enjoy the open air warmth that speakers provide. Sonic Gear’s i-steroid 2 distinguishes itself in a crowded market of iPod audio with clarity, quality, and power coupled with a thoughtful iPod matching design. Dual 5-watt satellites and 15-watt sub woofer are powered by a vacuum tube amp – unique for this class of device. They are exhibiting at the Taipei 2006 Computex and I may just have to take a set home for the office.
View more at their site.

Fabrix Laptop Cases

Fabrix recently launched their new collection of laptop cases built specially for Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Pro. The cases are hand sewn to precise dimensions for a snug fit, are available in horizontal or vertical orientations, and feature a Velcro strap to fasten the notebook firmly inside the case. These new cases can be ordered with a handle but I would recommend carrying them in another case for better protection. With so many laptop cases and sleeves to chose from Fabrix distinguishes their product with a wonderful array of patterns and colors. “Bold Statement” is my favourite but they are all great. Prices start at $33.00US.

Portable Compact Chopsticks

One of the many “stories” I have heard time and time again at mealtime tells of how many of the chop sticks included with your take out lunch box are soaked in chemicals to change their colour to white. Or beige as the case may be. I’m not sure if it’s true but here in Asia it’s a reasonable assumption. Perhaps that is why I see many colleagues here carrying around there own portable set of chop sticks. These from REI look like a great pair and will have you looking like a professional in no time. At least until you use them. $24.95 at REI.

Mosquito Repeller Necklace

I’m not usually one to recommend taking yet one more gadget in your bag when traveling but if you can find a way to inconspicuously carry this device around it may be worth the effort to try. That was a long sentence. I don’t know what it’s like where you are but mosquito season is upon us and they are absolutely relentless. Especially when you sleep. This device forgoes toxic chemicals for a sonic repelling frequency that is effective for up to 10 feet. $6.99 for one. [Via Popgadget.]

Onela Flight Duffle 

Many of us can only afford naugahyde rip-offs of the Onela Flight Duffle but that doesn’t mean we can’t look and dream. Those of you who can go out buy this bag – please don’t gloat. From the catalogue, “Rich natural vegetable tanned aniline cowhide. 3 external pockets and 4 internal pockets. Shoulder strap. Zipper closure. 55x23x36 cm. It’s available in chocolate and white for $375.00US from Alpha.

Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel Photos

I have considered the Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong for a weekend city getaway on a number of occaisions. Though it is possible to find some reasonably priced package deals, at an often quoted price of ~$500.00US a night this hotel is not for the budget traveller. Like many people whenever I am choosing a hotel, especially when I am paying for it myself, I want to see as many photos of the room as I can. It can help me make a choice between a few hotels. Most hotels it seems either share too little or share a view that exists only in the photographers mind so it’s great when people share there photos like user Beeze has on Flickr.
See her photos here (1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)

Keeping Your Clothes Wrinkle Free When Traveling


The last thing I want to do after traveling a long distance is to haul out my clothes and start ironing out wrinkles. This isn’t always a problem for those of us who get away with an unkept appearance but for those times when a clean crisp look is essential a little preparation is in order. I looked through some of the top ironing boards of 2019 at homenkitchenstuff – but I’m not willing to drag a portable ironing board around with me while I travel. I found these tips from Fodors invaluable in allowing me to spend more time relaxing and less time prepping.

A sample:

One word: Plastic. If you remember only one word in your packing efforts, this is the one. And here’s why: friction causes wrinkling, plastic reduces friction. It’s that easy. The best way to utilize this basic plastic physics is with dry-cleaner bags. All hanger items should be packed in individual bags (one outfit per dry-cleaner bag). Clothes arrive in a perfectly preserved state. Really! Another great plastic tip: zip-top baggies. Use these for dirty shoes, shampoo bottles, or anything else you want to isolate from your good clothes.

6 Tips for Wrinkle-Free Packing from Fodors.

Milan Station Hong Kong

Milan Station located on Sai Yueng Choi St. South in Mong Kok Hong Kong is a somewhat “upscale” shop that might be worth your effort in checking out while you peruse the Mecca of mobile gear shopping that this street is. This particular store has a wonderful selection of bags which will appeal to ladies who have a keen sense of fashion on a budget. I was eyeing some nice leather laptop bags. Get off at Mong Kok station and wander around – it’s a good start to an evening of shopping. Here’s a map to help you get there.

Metro Shave Case

I seem to go through shave cases faster than any other bag. In the rush to leave I have left them in my hotel and more than a couple have seemingly disintegrated to lack of use. It’s nice to keep organised when travelling but in light of my quest to forever travel light I have never really seen the point of buying another. But likely you are far more coifed than I so I imagine this Metro Shave Case from Flight 001 might just be perfect. It features several mesh pockets, a hook for hanging and a detachable bottom case for your countertop essentials. $40.00US from Flight 001. [Via Productdose]

Highway Laptop Bag

If you are tired of carrying around your laptop in a boring black bag, especially those thin ones with the red dot (ibm/lenovo), then this slim laptop case might just be the bold statement you are looking for. Its made with Nylon and PVC, colored in teal blue or deep orange, and measures 11″ x 13″ x 2.5″d. The trim is dark grey and the bag includes a matching grey shoulder strap. Padded with many pockets on the front and back. Designed by Highway in New York and sold for $135.00US direct from Rare Device.

Be.ez LE13 MacBook Laptop bag

Be.ez recently announced the LE13, a minimalist designed bag suitable for the MacBook. The LE13 is part of the new LEvertigo range from Be.ez.
The Be.ez LeVertigo styled much like a messenger but with a vertical orientation making for a close to the body fit. You might want to try this type of bag if you have problems carrying your gear in a more common horizontal orientation. It might be easier on your back if you are carrying a heavy load (or it may make it worse so try something similar first).
Lots of organization and pockets in this bag. Laptop and documents are separate, it’s designed with a padded computer sleeve inside and high quality waterproof nylon layer outside. The bag can accommodate notebooks with sizes up to 15.4″. This bag looks like a perfect compliment to either the white or black MacBook. The LE13 will be available from the beginning of July, a list of retailers can be found on their site. About $70US.

Singapore Nightlife Venues Gear up for World Cup

Clubs across Asia are gearing up for the excitement surrounding the world cup this June. Singapore is no exception.
“The excitement has not escaped Singapore, where nightlife venues are extending opening hours and ramping up promotions to ensure punters stay around to watch all the goals throughout the night. “We are showing all the games at Penny Black’s and Muddy Murphy’s and we definitely expect quite a crowd,” said Amy Williams, marketing manager for Gaelic Inns which runs several European-style watering holes here. “We upgraded our TVs to plasmas to get the best possible sound and best possible viewing,” she added. Popular dance club Devils Bar will up the ante by enticing fans with “3 for 1” drink promotions while employing cheerleaders to keep the party going, said marketing manager Daryl Teo. Across the region, similar preparations are under way, with matches in Asia broadcast live in the late evening or early hours of the morning. At the last World Cup, joint hosted by South Korea and Japan, street parties erurpted in both countries, with giant TV screens set up in strategic locations.”
2006 FIFA World Cup GermanyTM – Match Schedule [.pdf].
[ Source.]

Keep it light to help cut your travel delays

Whenever I travel I am amazed at the things that people feel is absolutely necessary to bring with them half-way around the world. I mention allot about the freedom one gets when traveling light. Bags weigh you down figuratively and literally, hampering your ability to actually get out and experience the culture you have traveled to experience. On my recent trip to Hong Kong I saw a young man walking into the YMCA with a large guitar and backpack – couldn’t people sing around a radio or am I missing the benefits of carrying around a large musical instrument.
I approach this mostly from the viewpoint of someone who loves to travel. But for the business traveller it can be a business necessity and a means to greater efficiency.
Kate Rafferty recommends the the business traveller pack smart, pack light, and try to budget business class as it allows for a larger carry-on allowance. Traveling with only a carry-on has advantages when you consider flight delays and the inevitable stress involved with the seemingly endless wait at the baggage carrousel.
“.., flight delays are fairly commonplace. While they’re not always the fault of the airline, it’s a fact of life.
This is frustrating if it shaves precious hours from a weekend break in a new city, but if there’s a meeting to get to, the situation gets more serious.
After being delayed by a late flight, waiting around a baggage carousel will do nothing to help maintain a calm, businesslike exterior.
It’s fair to say that most business trips are fairly brief. With careful planning and packing, anything required for a few days should fit into standard cabin baggage.”
Read the article [Scotsman]