Djurgården Tram Extension Complete!

One of the most popular ways to get from the downtown area of Stockholm out to the island of Djurgården, where many of Stockholm's main attractions are located, has been the tram (street car) Djurgårdslinjen. This tram line, first with vintage trams and later with more modern cars, has run between Norrmalmstorg and Djurgården since 1991. There have been plans on extending this line on each end and, last week, the first stage was finally completed. The line has now been extended west to the Central Train Station.
I say "finally" as the extension has meant a lot of construction and ripped up roads for a few years, especially around the NK department store and Sergels torg square. But it has been worth the trouble. Trams were a popular mode of transportation in many Swedish cities until the middle of the last century; phased out mainly in favor of busses and subways. The final death blow was when Sweden changed from left-hand to right-hand traffic in 1967. But now trams are making a comeback due to them being an environmentally and comfortable way to travel. They are even building new tram systems in some other Swedish cities, like Lund.
This extension is only a few blocks long and you might be wondering why I am writing about this. Well, the extension is actually quite strategic as it connects the line with the Central Train Station, the hub of all subway, train, commuter train and bus traffic in the city. So, for example, a guest at the Hotel Rival can now get to Djurgården by taking the subway to T-Centralen and then transferring to the tram (if they didn't want to take the Djurgård ferry from nearby Gamla Stan, another convenient way to get to the island). When you arrive at T-Centralen (subway station under the train station), just exit in either direction and walk up the stairs to the street Klarabergsgatan where you will find the start/end station in front of the Åhlens department store.
Just a 15 minute trip out to the nature of Djurgården

Canyoning In Bali: An Experience Of A Lifetime

It’s the natural beauty of Bali that has been attracting tourists from around the globe for years now. You’ll often hear people rave about its sunsets and sunrises, beaches, rice fields and hills, but its amid these stunning creations that you can find some real thrill to satiate your adventurous spirit.

Canyoning is a popular adventure water activity in Bali, involving rappelling down waterfalls, jumping off rocky cliffs, skidding down natural water slides and zip lining across gorges to descend into a canyon. These are activities you can experience once-in-a-lifetime, and are a must-try in Bali’s luscious landscape.

Canyoning is quite popular in the Gitgit waterfall in Singaraja in Northern Bali, but there are numerous other locations where you can try it. The canyons offer varying levels of difficulty, and are operable almost throughout the year. There are four levels of difficulty, each with its own activities and segments, and requiring a basic level of physical strength.

We opted for the mid-level canyoning adventure, which took us on a three-hour escapade of jumping, sliding, rappelling and swimming across 13 waterfalls, and culminated with a satisfying local lunch. The price per person amounted to US$ 170, or IDR 25,00,000, including the hotel pick-up, a Balinese breakfast and lunch.

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Duration: The activities can be anywhere between 2-4.5 hours, depending on the level of difficulty. Pick-ups are usually early in the morning, with returns in the afternoon or early evening. Most operators offer pick-up services at hotels, so confirm with them beforehand.

For every adventure, participants are put through a 30-minute training and instruction session, with some practice on a mini-setup. The operators provide full body floatsuits and special anti-skid shoes to every person, and all belongings and valuables to safely stowed away in the office.

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Quick tip: The operators click pictures during the adventure from their own DSLRs, which are available for purchase. You can also carry your own camera, waterproof or GoPros.

With our pulses racing, we were loaded into an open jeep for a drive down to the starting point. From there, a 20-minute trek took us to the Gitgit stream in the middle of a thick forest, and our excitement started to build.

Step by step, we moved further into the forest as the thrill began to increase. We skid down a 6-foot slide, rappelled down a 10-foot waterfall and then jumped 10 feet down into a pool from the top of waterfall. The raw, untouched beauty of the forest mingled with the intensity of the activities was a rare adrenaline rush.

The activities became more challenging as the forest got denser, until we were battling waterfall jumps at 23 feet, slides at 16 feet and rappelling at almost 70 feet! Every few minutes the view would open up to reveal the sky and a thunderous waterfall calling for us to cross it.

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Quick Tip: When rappelling down a waterfall, take a moment to stop halfway while hanging on to the rope. Take in the view of the water falling down on your from up above, with the sky as the backdrop and a green forest on the sidelines.

At the end of this first leg, we were given a 20-minute relaxation period to soak in a small, naturally heated spring right in the middle of the forest. It’s an incredible feeling of warmth after serious physical activity, while munching on some energy bars to boost our morale for the second leg.

The next few activities were similar to those in the first leg, and equally thrilling. All it takes is a basic level of fitness, enthusiasm and a willingness to push yourself, well, basically off a cliff! It’s the feeling of accomplishment at the end that makes the whole experience worth it, as does the stunning beauty and adrenaline rush.

The adventure came to an end the same way it had started, with a trek back to the jeep and a drive back to the office. After a quick shower and a Balinese lunch, we were escorted back to our hotels with a whole load of memories for company.

How To Do Canyoning In Bali

Canyoning is usually a pre-booked experience, as you need to reserve a date a few days in advance in case slots get full. This also includes pre-payment for the activity. However, you can take your chances by visiting the operator offices once you get there.

Canyoning is always done with an experienced guide, so don’t try the activity by yourself. Start with the beginner’s level if you’ve never tried it before.

The two main operators for canyoning are Adventure & Spirit in Ubud, with the beginner’s level starting at IDR 25,00,000 (US$ 170) and Adrenaline Rush Canyoning in Gitgit, with the beginner’s level starting at IDR 14,50,000 (US$ 100). For more information, download the Ithaka app, and have a travel influencer answer all your canyoning questions.

Things To Keep In Mind While Canyoning

  • Since canyoning can be quite a vigorous activity, a moderate level of fitness and good health is required. It’s preferable if you know how to swim, but operators provide full body floatsuits regardless.
  • You will be given a wet suit, but carry a swimsuit to wear underneath it. Also carry an extra pair of clothes, towels, and a light snack or energy bar.
  • Carry only GoPros or waterproof cameras if you intend to shoot your own pictures.
  • Listen to the guide and follow the instructions carefully.
  • Check the weather report before you go to make sure you don’t have to deal with a rainstorm. Operators will also generally warn you beforehand or postpone the tour.

The post Canyoning In Bali: An Experience Of A Lifetime appeared first on Ithaka Travel.

8 Truly Offbeat Things To Do In Nusa Penida

Bali has a bunch of exciting experiences to offer you. But, if you want a truly offbeat adventure, travel to Nusa Penida, an island on the east coast of Bali. Nusa Penida is only about a 45-minute ferry ride from the mainland. Yet, most of this place still remains untouched and unique, giving you the essence of a raw island vibe.

Here, you’ll get to tap into some pretty unusual experiences like swimming with manta rays and exploring hidden beaches. So, bring along your adventurous side, and discover these 8 things you’ll have the pleasure of experiencing only in Nusa Penida.

1. Swim With Manta Rays

Nusa Penida has a thriving marine life, but what makes exploring the waters around this island so unique are the giant manta rays that swim here. These huge underwater creatures are majestic and harmless.

You can go snorkelling or diving around their feeding ground to swim with the mantas. The water here is clear on most days, so you’ll also get to see a bunch of other marine creatures and beautiful corals.

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Cost: Snorkeling packages start from IDR 2,00,000 (Rs 955, or US$ 14), and diving packages from IDR 3,00,000 (Rs 1,430, or US$21) for the whole tour

2. Chill With Underwater Buddhas

The Nusa Penida snorkelling and diving tour consists of several points. One unique spot is the underwater temple garden. The sea life around looks pretty normal when you get there, but once you jump into the water, you’ll be overwhelmed to see a number of submerged Buddha statues lined up beautifully.

Over the years, these structures have become home to a variety of fish and coral life that makes exploring this underwater temple garden a lot more exciting.

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Cost: Snorkelling packages start from IDR 2,00,000 (Rs 955, or US$ 14), and diving packages from IDR 3,00,000 (Rs 1,430, or US$21) for the whole tour

3. Explore A T-Rex Shaped Cliff

This Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex)-shaped cliff has become part of every Bali travel brochure, but not many people know that this beautiful point is not on the mainland of Bali but in Nusa Penida.

This place is called Kelingking secret point, and you can drive to this spot to arrive on the top side of the cliff, where you can see the T-Rex shaped ridge. There’s something about this limestone cliff, covered with greenery, standing by the crystal-blue waters that make it a very unique sight you’ll never want to forget.

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Cost: Entrance for IDR 5,000 (Rs 25, or US$0.5)

4. Visit A Secret Beach

The Kelingking secret point not only offers you an incredible view, but also an adventure if you dare. At the edge of the T-Rex viewing point, there is a locally made railing that takes you down to a secret beach, known as Kelingking Beach, hidden between the cliffs.

It is a steep descent and is only recommended for the fit. However, once you get to the bottom, it’ll be worth all the effort. Here, you’ll find untouched sands and crystal-clear waters. When you look around, nature seems almost surreal.

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Cost: Entrance for IDR 5,000 (Rs 25, or US$0.5)

5. Swim In A Natural Infinity Pool

It doesn’t get any more unique than this natural infinity pool. Angel’s Billabong is an infinity pool formed from a pattern of erosions in the volcanic rock of the island. This not-so-little indent refills with seawater, forming a beautiful pool on the edge of the ocean.

Depending on the tide, you can get into the pool to take a dip, or swim. However, do not step into it if the tide is rough, as the ocean current could sweep you away.

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Cost: Entrance for IDR 5,000 (Rs 25, or US$0.5)

6. Catch The Sunrise At A Secluded Beach

Most travellers explore the west coast of Nusa Penida, as it is closer to the ports. Here, you can catch the sunset at Crystal bay along with the rest of the tourists.

However, for a more unique experience, go and catch the sunrise on the east coast. Only a brave few travel to this side of the island, and the beaches here are almost secluded and untouched. The two most accessible beaches here are Atuh beach and Suwehan beach.

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Cost: Entrance for IDR 10,000 (Rs 50, or US$1)

7. Explore Teletubbies Hill

Do you remember the Teletubbies show, where the Teletubbies lived on a green hill? Well, if you travel to Nuda Penida, you might be lucky enough to spend a few hours exploring the same hilly greenery.

This hill on the island got its name from the visiting tourists who found its resemblance to the green dunes on the show. Located in Tanglad Village, getting here can be a bit of a trek – but the natural beauty and fresh air make it worth all the effort.

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Cost: Entrance for IDR 10,000 (Rs 50, or US$1)

8. Live On A Hill Overlooking The Sea

Living the island life is a bit incomplete if you’re not waking up on a hill overlooking the sea, and there are a few hotels here that give you that beautiful experience.

Semabu Hills is one such hotel that’s built on a hill overlooking the sea. It has an infinity pool too from where you can watch the beautiful sunset.

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Cost: Doubles from IDR 1,430,000 (Rs 6,800, or US$ 100)

Travelling Around Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida is not as developed as Bali. The roads here are not completely done up, and are quite rough at places. If you want to explore this island on your own, you could rent a car or a bike. However, do so only if you’re absolutely confident even on bad roads.

Otherwise, you can opt for a car with a driver to drive you around. If you’re travelling solo, you also have the option to hire a motorbike with a rider to ride you around. You’ll find several tourist guides offering your transport options at the port you arrive. Your hotel will also be able to offer you such services.

Travel Tips

  • The phone signals aren’t too strong around the island, so if you’re going to GPS your way through Nusa Penida make sure you download offline maps to route your journey.
  • Since this is an island with whirling roads, the travel time to get from one place to another might be much longer than the time estimated on the map.
  • Carry around loose change as many of these attractions have a small entrance fee.

The post 8 Truly Offbeat Things To Do In Nusa Penida appeared first on Ithaka Travel.

List of the busiest air routes in the world: Jeju-Seoul, Melbourne-Sydney, Sapporo-Tokyo and…..

With more than 13.4 million people traveling on the short-haul domestic service, the 450 km journey from Seoul’s Gimpo Airport to the island of Jeju off the coast of the Korean Peninsula has once again claimed the title as the most in-demand air route in the world.

The route has an average of 180 scheduled flights per day – that’s one every 8 minutes – transporting mainly leisure travelers from South Korea’s dense capital city to the island, famed for its white sandy beach resorts and volcanic landscape.

A total of 13,460,305 passengers flew between Seoul and Jeju in 2017, an increase of 9.4% on the previous 12 months when the route was also ranked as the busiest in the world. It carried a staggering 4,369,364 more people than the second busiest, Melbourne – Sydney Kingsford Smith.

Although the United States remains the world’s largest aviation market, the analysis found that air services in the Asia-Pacific region dominate the top 100 busiest routes by passenger numbers, accounting for more than 70% of the total.

Hong Kong – Taiwan Taoyuan is the busiest international route and features as the 8th most popular overall, with 6,719,029 passengers flying the 802 km in 2017. Hong Kong, the home hub for Cathay Pacific, features in six of the top ten international routes.

The study also found that the Thai domestic route of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi – Chiang Mai is the fastest-growing route in the top 100. Two-way passenger numbers grew by 36% year-on-year to almost 2.4 million.

The research has been released as 3,000 aviation professionals prepare to gather at World Routes 2018, taking place from 15-18 September in Guangzhou, China. The event is a global meeting place for airlines, airports and tourism organizations to discuss new market opportunities and the evolution of existing services.

The busiest routes in the world were calculated by using OAG Schedules Analyser to find the top 500 routes by overall seat capacity in 2017.

The top 10 busiest scheduled passenger routes in the world:

Passengers (2017)

1    Jeju – Seoul Gimpo (CJU-GMP)            13460306
2    Melbourne – Sydney Kingsford Smith (MEL-SYD)    9090941
3    Sapporo – Tokyo Haneda (CTS-HND)        8726502
4    Fukuoka – Tokyo Haneda (FUK-HND)        7864000
5    Mumbai – Delhi (BOM-DEL)            7129943
6    Beijing Capital – Shanghai Hongqiao (PEK-SHA)    6833684
7    Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City (HAN-SGN)        6769823
8    Hong Kong – Taiwan Taoyuan (HKG-TPE)        6719030
9    Jakarta – Juanda Surabaya (CGK-SUB)        5271304
10    Tokyo Haneda – Okinawa (HND-OKA)        5269481

The top 10 busiest scheduled international passenger routes in the world:

Passengers (2017)

1    Hong Kong – Taiwan Taoyuan (HKG-TPE)        6719030
2    Jakarta – Singapore Changi (CGK-SIN)        4810602
3    Hong Kong – Shanghai Pudong (HKG-PVG)    4162347
4    Kuala Lumpur – Singapore Changi (KUL-SIN)    4108824
5    Bangkok Suvarnabhumi – Hong Kong (BKK-HKG)    3438628
6    Dubai – London Heathrow (DXB-LHR)        3210121
7    Hong Kong – Seoul Incheon (HKG-ICN)        3198132
8    Hong Kong – Singapore Changi (HKG-SIN)        3147384
9    New York JFK – London Heathrow (JFK-LHR)    2972817
10   Hong Kong – Beijing Capital (HKG-PEK)        2962707

The top 10 fastest-growing scheduled passenger air routes in the top 100:

Year-on-year growth

1    Bangkok Suvarnabhumi – Chiang Mai (BKK-CNX)    36.0%
2    Seoul Incheon – Kansai International (ICN-KIX)    30.3%
3    Jakarta – Kuala Lumpur (CGK-KUL)        29.4%
4    Delhi – Pune (DEL-PNQ)                20.6%
5    Chengdu – Shenzhen Bao’an (CTU-SZX)        16.8%
6    Hong Kong – Shanghai Pudong (HKG-PVG)    15.5%
7    Bangkok Suvarnabhumi – Phuket (BKK-HKT)    14.9%
8    Jeddah – Riyadh King Kalid (JED-RUH)        13.9%
9    Jakarta – Kualanamu (CGK-KNO)            13.9%
10    Kolkata – Delhi (CCU-DEL)            13.4%



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World Travel Awards: Mövenpick Resort & Spa Jimbaran Bali is a winner

Mövenpick Resort & Spa Jimbaran Bali has been named as Bali’s Leading Family Resort at the 2018 World Travel Awards Asia & Australasia, which are recognized globally as a hallmark of industry excellence.

The family lifestyle resort, which is located just five minutes’ walk from the beach, received the honor in a glittering Gala Award Ceremony held in Hong Kong on 3 September 2018. Mövenpick Resort & Spa Jimbaran Bali was selected ahead of 11 other leading Balinese resorts for this prestigious award, including many top global brands.

The award was presented to Mr Horst Walther-Jones, General Manager of the Mövenpick Resort & Spa Jimbaran Bali, and Mr Soegi Nagaria, Director of Summarecon Agung Tbk, owner of the property.

“It is a great honour to be named as Bali’s Leading Family Resort at the 2018 World Travel Awards. This exquisite island is one of the world’s most competitive destinations for hotels and resorts, with many excellent properties catering for families. So to be judged as the best in Bali is a truly fantastic achievement. I would like to dedicate this award to my entire team, who work tirelessly each day to create the best possible experiences for our guests,” said Mr Walther-Jones.

“When we designed this beautiful resort we wanted to make it the ultimate destination for families, while also showcasing Balinese culture to the world. We are delighted therefore to win this award; it shows us that we have succeeded in creating a truly special resort where different generations can come together and experience the best that Bali has to offer, in terms of accommodation, activities, cuisine and cultural heritage,” said Mr Soegi Nagaria.

Mövenpick Resort & Spa Jimbaran Bali is an ideal destination for families, with several expansive swimming pools, a manmade beach, swim-up hammocks and a children’s pools with water slides, plus the pirate-themed Meera Kid’s Club which features an indoor playground with trampoline and ball pit. Meanwhile, parents can unwind at the Arkipela Spa & Wellness.

Families can also stay and play together; a collection of spacious Family Rooms feature separate bedrooms for parents and children, while the unique Family Programme offers a series of fun activities including Balinese cooking classes, local dance lessons, jewellery making and more. Finally, the Anarasa restaurant offers a dedicated children’s dining zone.

The World Travel Awards celebrates its 25th anniversary year in 2018 and its annual programme is renowned as the most prestigious and comprehensive in the global travel, tourism and hospitality sectors. The black-tie Gala Award Ceremony in Hong Kong was attended by the industry’s key leaders and decision-makers, as well as trade and consumer media.

The winners of the 2018 World Travel Awards Asia & Australasia were selected based on voting by verified travel professionals during the period 1 April to 31 July 2018.

About Mövenpick Resort & Spa Jimbaran Bali
Designed as a family lifestyle resort, Mövenpick Resort & Spa Jimbaran Bali features 297 elegantly furnished rooms and suites and invites guests to immerse themselves in Bali’s laidback island lifestyle, vibrant culinary scene and rejuvenating wellness offerings just 100 metres from Jimbaran Beach. Along with five different dining venues offering a varied selection of cuisines, the resort also boasts an exotic pool with swim-up hammocks, pirate-themed Meera Kids Club, invigorating Arkipela Spa and the connected Samasta Lifestyle Village for additional shopping, wining and dining. Mövenpick Resort& Spa Jimbaran Bali and Samasta Lifestyle Village are owned by respected Indonesian developer, PT SummareconAgungTbk. For more information, please visit

About Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts
Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is a modern, international upscale hotel management firm with a “we make moments” business philosophy, recognising that small gestures make a big difference to its guests, business partners and its workforce of more than 16,000 team members. The company manages more than 82 hotels, resorts and Nile cruisers across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East and is on track to meet its target of operating 125 properties by 2020. Headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts’ values reflect its Swiss roots and rich culinary heritage and it is passionate about delivering gastronomic excellence and intuitive service – all with a personal touch. Committed to sustainable practices and caring for local communities in the destinations where it operates, Mövenpick is the most Green Globe certified hotel company in the world. For more information, please

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