Tuesday, 25 July 2017


Did you know San Francisco International Airport is the country's only airport with a museum program accredited by the American Association of Museums?

Next time you’re at SFO, plan a little extra time to relax and enjoy the world class art exhibits; let your imagination take flight. You don’t have to be traveling to enjoy the art. There are plenty of exhibits pre-security to enjoy, making SFO a great rainy day outing. Although it’s fun to take the free AirTrain from terminal to terminal, you'll see the most if you just stroll.

SFO Artwork is Open to the Public and Free of Charge

Although not a museum in the traditional sense, SFO’s permanent Public Art Collection includes more than 100 paintings, sculptures, mosaics and site-specific works in a diversity of styles and media by artists of local, national and international acclaim. In addition to six light artworks featured in Illuminate SF by artists Ned Kahn, Eric Staller, Vito Acconci, James Carpenter, Keith Sonnier and Merge Conceptual Design, SFO exhibits works by top Bay Area artistic talents like Wayne Thiebaud, James Torlakson, Roy De Forest, Hassel Smith and Lee Mullican, all of whom can be found in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, as well as works by international art stars like Arnaldo Pomodoro and Seiji Kunishima. All works in the Civic Art Collection sited at SFO are provided by the San Francisco Arts Commission, through the City’s percent-for-art program.

Six Must-See Light Art Works Featured in Illuminate SF

Hours and availability depend on airport and airline operations. Artwork located beyond security checkpoints can be seen by ticketed passengers in these boarding areas. View the SFO art collection online and download the multi-page PDF with art map to learn more about the artworks, and the artist who made them.

1. Wind Portal by Ned Kahn – 200,000 mirrored stainless steel disks responds to air currents, creating an ever-changing mosaic of light, sculpted by the wind. You’ll find it between the BART Station and AirTrain near the International Terminal escalator.

2. Four Sculptural Light Reflectors by James Carpenter – Inspired by the construction of the Wright brothers’ first airplane, the suspended sculpture's design diffuses direct sunlight from the skylights, which reflects light up onto the opaque surface of the roof. Pre-Security in the International Terminal, Main Hall, Level 3.

3. Light Beams for the Sky of a Transfer Corridor by Vito Acconci – Sculptural beams of light from recessed lighting in the ceiling above transverse the length of the corridor. Pre-Security in International Terminal, A-G, Level 2.

4. Sky by Merge Conceptual Design – Each mirrored sphere's exterior reflects and distorts its surroundings, as subtle shifts in light and color create an optical effect inside each sphere. Post-Security in Terminal 3, Boarding Area E, Level 2. (Restricted Access).

5. Spirogyrate by Eric Staller – An immersive, interactive installation composed of graphic spiral patterns and light respond to people’s movement through space. Post-Security in Terminal 3, Boarding Area E, Level 2. (Restricted Access).

6. Ceiling Flood by Keith Sonnier – Evenly spaced blue and red neon integrate with a line of neutral light, above which a strategically placed line of neon provides a subtle “yellow glow" down the length of the ceiling. Post-Security in International Terminal, Boarding Area G, Level 2. (Restricted Access).

Expanding the Definition of What a Museum Can Be

In addition to its public art collection, SFO hosts more than 20 galleries with art, science, historical and cultural themes, including a dedicated Aviation Museum and Library as well as rotating Exhibits, so you can come today and again in six months to see different works.

Artists are drawn to the vast, diverse audience that the airport attracts; 50 million passengers pass through SFO annually, while San Francisco Museum of Modern Art welcomes an average of about 700,000 visitors a year.

Don’t Miss SFO’s Stunning “Glass Waterfall”

Completed in May 2015, the new SFO Traffic Control Tower ascends 221 feet skyward in a graceful flare. The control tower's west face features an LED-backlit glass waterfall that stretches 147’ in the air – reflecting sunlight during the day and glowing with interior lighting at night, the colors of which can be changed to celebrate important events.

Located between Terminals 1 and 2, the tower can be seen from the freeway and upon driving into the airport. To see it close up, stand in the Pre-Security Public Corridor at the base of the tower. Look straight up through the skylight glass roof to enjoy the LED light waterfall. Designed to achieve LEED Gold status by airport master architecture firm HNTB, with design partner Fentress Architects, and Hensel Phelps on the design-build team.

Learn more at illuminatesf.com.

Sonoma Canopy Tours adds ‘Tree Top Flight’

Zip through the treetops at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour on the new Tree Tops Flight zip line course at Sonoma Canopy Tours in Occidental, in western Sonoma County.

You’ll be fitted with a specially designed harness, and the zip line lets the magic of gravity do all the work. Created as a way to perform scientific research in remote jungles and other previously inaccessible places, zip lines are increasingly popular as a high-adventure way to experience nature from a truly different perspective.

A revamped version of the former Challenger course, the Tree Tops Flight soars high overhead, with faster and longer zip lines. On other elements of the course you can savor breathtaking views of the majestic redwood forest at a leisurely pace.

Sonoma Canopy Tours also offers its Forest Flight (formerly called the Classic Course) for daytime, sunset, or nighttime trips.

Sonoma Canopy Tours

6250 Bohemian Highway
Occidental, CA 95465


With electrifying live shows, music and comedy, hair-raising amusement rides, interactive activities, workshops and yummy food, Kidtopia Festival,presented by Qantas Assure returns to Parramatta Park this October school holidays, promising a smorgasbord of entertainment and activities to ignite the excitement in all on Friday 06 – Sunday 08 October, 2017.

The festival's first line up announcement features a wide range of entertainment from live bands, circus, comedy and tricks. The Kidtopia Sound Stage features Hillbilly rascal band The Pigs alongside junk percussion group Junkyard Beats and Samson from Justice Crew's Base 181 school dance team.

Brisbane's Hoopla Clique bring their acrobatic show CHORES!, exploring just how many tricks two brothers can do while not cleaning their room, teenage junior magic champions Cardistry dazzle with card tricks and magic, while comedian Dr Professor Neal Portenza brings his absurdist stand up show as seen on ABC 3's Stand and Deliver. Hit live reptile show Crocodile Encounters returns with more acts to be announced soon.

This year's event will feature the addition of an all-new performance area, with La Petite Grand presenting the world's best circus, daredevil and comedy acts with a rotating daily program inside a purpose-built big top stage. Interactive art space Craftworks will return along with Kidtopia's dedicated space for under 5's, Littletopia, and live animals, nightly films, games and amusements.

Masterclasses return with a program including workshops in Dance (with Base 181), Coding in partnership with Code Camp, Magic, Percussion skills and our ever-popular Slime, Sherbet & Giant Bubbles classes.

To encourage the benefits of keeping active, Qantas Assure – who offer insurance and a wellness rewards program – will be hosting games, a jumping castle and more in the Qantas Assure Arena. Meanwhile, parents who download the Qantas Assure App will be able to enjoy a sense of wellbeing and relax in the Qantas lounge experience that’s being recreated in the park. There will also be plenty of giveaways to reward activity tracked via the Qantas Assure App on the day.

Don't miss out on the cheapest tickets to the Festival, with Early Bird tickets on sale now. Early Bird tickets offer 50% off the final release price, with prices ranging from $10-$15 and entry for kids under 5 free. Book your tickets now!

Festival Director Cory Watson says this year’s event will be bigger and better than the last, with a program that's full of excitement for all the whole family. “We’re going all out with this year’s Festival. More amusement rides, an extra stage in La Petite Grande for incredible live performances and bigger and better world-class entertainment and interactive experiences.”

Last year’s Kidtopia Festival was a resounding success and saw families from all over NSW converge on Parramatta Park for three days of adventure and entertainment.

Kidtopia Festival, Sydney’s biggest and coolest family event specifically curated to appeal to adults and kids, is jam-packed with every type of creative and crazy fun you can think of – from amusement rides, live music, masterclasses, performances, market stalls and more, the Festival is a must for adventurous families looking for a quality school holiday experience.


When: Friday 06 – Sunday 08 October
Where: Parramatta Park, Parramatta
More info: www.kidtopiafestival.com.au


Buddha Statue Polonnaruwa Leoks/shutterstock.com
For centuries a magnet from around the world for its gems, pearls, spices and tea, Sri Lanka boasts as many secrets as treasures, many revealed on a Byroads TravelSecrets of Sri Lanka 13-day tour.

Designed for small groups, this tour – March 15-27, 2018 – begins in the capital Colombo and covers such sought-after sights as the cave temples at Dumbulla and the ancient ruins at Polonnaruwa, not forgetting the spectacular rock citadel at Sigiriya.

Led by Byroads Travel’s Steve Mortimer, who with 30 years’ experience has visited more than 100 countries, the Secrets of Sri Lanka tour passes through the scenic Knuckles Range to the old Sinhalese capital at Kandy.

The breathtaking highlands at Nuwara Eliya, in the heart of the tea growing industry, are also visited along with scenic hill town Ella, the tallest Buddha statue in the world and Ude Walawe National Park, Sri Lanka’s premier elephant reserve.

The tour also covers the much-celebrated south coast and its beaches and resorts, the highlight being Galle, a perennial favourite among many, before returning to Colombo.

The tour, limited to 16 passengers, is priced from USD3695 per person, twin share (about AUD$4860). Return air fares from Australia are extra.

Details: Phone Byroads Travel on (02) 9357 6800 or visit www.byroads.com.au

Various Activities to Be Prepared for National Tourism Year

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports will propose that 2018 be designated the "national tourism year,” with various activities to be prepared for this occasion. The proposal will be submitted to the National Tourism Policy Committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister General Tanasak Patimapragorn, for endorsement.

The tourism campaign in 2018 will focus on attracting more quality tourists rather than increasing the number of tourist arrivals. Emphasis will also be placed on tourist safety and sustainable tourism.

Permanent Secretary for Tourism and Sports Pongpanu Svetarundra said that the number of international tourists visiting Thailand from January to June 2017 was 17 million, or 2.8 million each month on average, generating 876 billion baht.

The number represented an increase of 4.4 percent, and the tourism income grew by 6 percent over the same period of 2016. The top market was China, followed by Russia and Malaysia. The Ministry of Tourism and Sports still attaches great importance to all groups of tourists and to community tourism for local people, so that they can benefit from the tourism industry, as well.

Meanwhile, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Yuthasak Supasorn said that TAT would use tourism to promote sustainable development, with the community as the ultimate beneficiary. This would pave the way for Thailand to become a preferred destination among international visitors.

As for the 2018 fiscal year, which begins in October 2017, TAT will change its marketing angle slightly, with a new concept of "Open to the New Shades of Thailand.” The concept will deepen the Unique Thai Local Experience to a Million Shades of Thailand. It will enhance the country’s image as a land of amazing diversity worth discovering further.

Regarding the international marketing strategy, TAT has segmented target customers worldwide, ranging from first-timers to repeaters, senior citizens to sports enthusiasts. It will also focus on niche markets and continue to create a brand image as a high-end and luxury travel destination.

Gastronomy tourism will also be emphasized. It is regarded as an important part of the travel through local experiences and one of the tools to add value to products and services that are based on the unique Thai culture and ways of life.

The Government expects that Thailand’s tourism revenue will reach 2.76 trillion baht in 2017. The amount is expected to increase by 10 percent to 3.1 trillion baht in 2018.

Aurora Expeditions Marks 25 Years of Antarctic Exploration

Australia’s first and only owned and operated small ship expedition company, Aurora Expeditions, is celebrating 25 years since its first expedition to Antarctica later this year.

2017 marks a quarter of a century since Aurora Expeditions first took a small group of intrepid adventurers on a breathtaking expedition to the icy continent back in 1992. Since that inaugural adventure, the company has operated over 200 expeditions to Antarctica, offering everyday travellers the chance to discover the continent’s remote wilderness and walk in the footsteps of some of the world’s greatest explorers.

To mark the momentous occasion, the company has launched a special ’25 Year Anniversary’ expedition to Antarctica and South Georgia to pay homage to Aurora Expeditions’ founders, Greg and Margaret Mortimer, as well as the long list of Antarctic explorers and adventurers that came before, and after, them.

Over 18 days, travellers will sail from South America onboard the intimate, 54-passenger Polar Pioneer and explore the Antarctic Peninsula, landing ashore daily to walk amidst the snow-capped peaks and shorelines teeming with wildlife. In the magnificent wildlife paradise of South Georgia, travellers can expect to witness colonies of 500,000 king penguins, feisty fur seals and the wandering albatross – one of the largest seabirds on the planet.

Travellers on the ’25 Year Anniversary’ expedition will also receive a series of exclusive added extras such as a special onboard anniversary dinner, a limited-edition anniversary explorer patch, and commemorative book highlighting photographs and stories of Aurora from the past 25 years.

The expedition will be led by one of Aurora Expeditions’ original expedition leaders, Dr Gary Miller, who has been travelling and leading expeditions to Antarctica for over 30 years. Gary will be joined by a top-notch team including naturalist, historian and polar specialists.

The ‘25 Year Anniversary’ expedition to Antarctica & South Georgia will depart Ushuaia, Argentina on 27 December 2017, and finish in Santiago, Chile on 13 January 2017.

Viet Nam Festival in Kanagawa 2017 to lure 400,000 vistors

The Viet Nam Festival in Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture (Viet Nam Festa) is scheduled to take place in Yokohama city from September 15 to 17, as heard at a local press conference on July 19.

Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Nguyen Quoc Cuong praised Kanagawa Governor Kuroiwa Yuji’s idea to organise the festival on an annual basis to boost cultural and economic exchange.

Themed “FEEL Viet Nam”, the 2017 Viet Nam Festa aims to attract more than 400,000 visitors, an ambitious number that surpasses its 2015 record.

The festival will feature a host of cultural activities, including water puppetry performance, musical concerts, talks about Viet Nam and the display of Vietnamese flower paintings and lanterns.

The organising board said it will also make September the Viet Nam month in Kanagawa for further promotion events apart from the Viet Nam Festa.

Established in 2015, the Viet Nam Festa is the biggest Vietnamese festival in Japan jointly held by the Viet Nam Embassy and Kanagawa prefecture.


Visitors to Outback NSW can join all the fun of the Broken Heel Festival with a new iconic train experience offering return trips from Sydney.

Launched this week by NSW TrainLink, the Silver City Stiletto is the festival’s new dedicated train service, departing Sydney's Central Station on 7 September.

Enroute to the Outback, guests will watch the miles slip by with onboard entertainment provided by Maude Boate – Australia’s Grand Dame Queen of drag.

Passengers can also expect a fanfare departure in Sydney, plus arrive to a special platform spectacle in Broken Hill.

Tickets are $499 including a three-day festival pass, amazing entertainment, loads of giveaways and much more. With only 150 seats on offer, get in quick to secure your place.

The Silver City Stiletto will return to Sydney on Tuesday, 12 September.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Dahra Beauty & Spa - the perfect retreat to indulge in relaxation and pampering

Dahra Beauty & Spa
When in Bangkok recently I went to the Dahra Beauty & Spa in Sukhumvit. I am glad I did, as it was a wonderful massage.

The reception are on the ground floor is very welcoming with a comfortable sofa and table. The reception staff are friendly, professional and efficient. They speak good english talk about the various treatments available. There are a lot of options to choose from and they were happy to customize the treatment according to my preferences. The staff were patient, attentive and polite in there dealings with me.

The spacious Spa is spotlessly clean and neat. It is a lovely blend of modern western and traditional Thai decor. It is a very beautifully decorated place with excellent use of timber, porcelain, candles and flesh flowers. These all create a spa environment that is relaxed and tranquil. There is a zen vibe everywhere which is essential for complete relaxation.

Dahra Beauty & Spa
I was warmly greeted by the smiling staff with a welcome drink of water, hot tea and cooling towel when I entered. I was asked to change into the slippers provided.

Shortly after, I was led upstairs to my treatment room. The room was really clean, neat, spacious yet cozy with a private shower and handbasin inside. The room was air-conditioned to a comfortable temperature and the towels were soft and clean. The dimmable lighting, serene music and delicate fragrances made the room serene for my massage.

I had the perfect massage at the Dahra Beauty & Spa. It was the indulgent 90 minute Aromatherapy Massage. The massage really suited me. This gentle massage of the full body was a mixture of remedial and relaxation.

Dahra Beauty & Spa
The Dahra Beauty & Spa use good quality products on your body. It uses the healing properties of pure essential oils. Essential oils are aromatic extracts distilled from plants, trees and herbs. From the various options available I chose the Lavender Oil. During my Aromatherapy Massage, the pure essential oil was absorbed through my skin, stimulating well-being and encouraging a healthy mental, physical and emotional body. I felt completely refreshed and relaxed after the massage.

My Massage Therapist was professional and consistent throughout. Her customer service was excellent. She was properly trained with good massage knowledge and knew what she was are doing. She targeted all the right spots with perfect pressure and hand strokes. I would recommend the Aromatherapy Massage for anyone looking to get a full body massage.

After my massage treatment I changed back into my clothes and went downstairs where I was given a hot Beal fruit tea, which was a bit sweet and full of health benefits.

Dahra Beauty & Spa
The services offered on the Dahra Beauty & Spa menu are numerous. They offer an extensive variety of massages and spa treatments designed to sooth the mind and body, create a caring experience and provide the ultimate in luxury. The prices are fair and very competitive. Look out for the great packages and promotions they offer.

The Dahra Beauty & Spa in Sukhumvit is easy to locate. It is just a few mins walk from the Holiday Inn and the impressive new EmQuatier shopping mall. It is on the main Sukhumvit road between soi 20 and soi 22, about 50 meters from the entrance of soi 20. Two BTS SkyTrain stations are nearby - Asok and Phrom Phong. They encourage bookings, but walk-in are welcome as well. There is another Dahra Beauty & Spa branch in Silom.

My massage and the service at the Dahra Beauty & Spa was wonderful. I felt totally pampered. I can highly recommend Dahra for an amazing massage and I will definitely return next time I am in Bangkok.

Dahra Beauty & Spa Sukhumvit branch

Reservations: Tel: (+66) 2663 6710
Email: reservation@dahra-spa.com
Opening times: Daily from 10.00 am till 11.00 pm
Number of treatment rooms - 10 treatment rooms
Number of therapists - 11 therapists
Facilities - 2 Jacuzzis, 1 Sauna, 6 Shower rooms, 8 Thai Massage Beds, 7 Aromatherapy Massage Tables, 3 Facial Massage Tables, 3 Foot Reflexology Chairs 

Dahra Beauty & Spa

Dahra Beauty & Spa Silom Branch

Silom Road 154 / 8-9, Bangkok, Thailand
Reservations: Silom Tel: (+66) 2235 4811
Fax: (+66) 2235 4811 4813

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dahraspa/
E-mail: info@dahra-spa.com

Sunday, 23 July 2017


In a global first, the world championship for 24 Hour Obstacle Course Racing will be held in the Hawkesbury next year, NSW Treasurer and Member for Hawkesbury Dominic Perrottet announced yesterday.

Secured by Destination NSW, the World Championship will be the second obstacle course race for the region, following the True Grit military inspired obstacle challenge which will take place in May 2018.

“True Grit and the World 24 Hour Obstacle Course Racing Championship are expected to attract more than 2000 visitors to the Hawkesbury next year, injecting more than $1.8 million into the local visitor economy,” Mr Perrottet said.

Registrations for the World 24 Hour Obstacle Course Racing Championship will open on 1 August 2017.

Click here for more information.