What to see, where to stay and what to eat in Bangkok, Thailand

My first night in Bangkok, I felt a bit like Leonardo DiCaprio’s backpacker character, Richard, in the hit thriller The Beach.

As non-stop neon lights glared and English karaoke hits blared; tuk-tuks and taxis zipped and zoomed and tourists crowded the sidewalks down below, clamouring for deep-fried pork skins, chicken and even banana, I sat cross-legged on the bed in my hotel room, memorizing the details of my trip’s itinerary.

Most first-time travellers to Thailand head south after landing in Bangkok and start in the Phi Phi Islands, hitting up DiCaprio’s fictional hideaway inspired by the real-life Maya Bay, before ferrying over to Phuket, the country’s largest island covered in rainforest canopies and surrounded by warm waters so blue they look fake.

But I was heading west for Kachanaburi, the first town of several I’d be seeing in a span of eight days with G Adventures, as part of the tour operator’s National Geographic Journeys collection.

From trains to planes, rivers to waterfalls and serene Buddhist temples to bustling street markets, after starting out in the capital city of Bangkok, the itinerary encompassed visits to some of Thailand’s most popular cities, like Chiang Mai in the north, as well as lesser-known parts, like the ancient city of Ayutthaya, the former capital of the Kingdom of Siam and home to the UNESCO-designated Ayutthaya Historical Park.

As a National Geographic Journey tour, accommodations included four and five-star luxury properties and transportation (with luggage handling) via a private, air-conditioned vehicle.

From Bangkok to Chiang Mai and back, here are some of the best things to see, do and eat—as well as the best places to stay—on your next trip to Thailand.



A five-star hotel located in Chiang Mai, rates range between $67 a night for a deluxe room to $160 for the royal villa. The outdoor pool, designed to mimic the ancient Mae Ping river in the centre of the lost city of Wiang Kum Kam, is the star of the resort, framed by fragrant frangipani trees. The newly-opened Divana Spa is another highlight, with a series of signature Thai massages and treatments, including discounted morning specials for early risers.


Tucked away in Bangkok’s Chinatown neighbourhood, Shanghai Mansion is a four-star, luxury boutique property that’s located close to the famous Khao San Road, and steps from the new MRT station, Wat Mangkon.

The colourful rooms are decked out in nostalgic Chinese decor—think paper lanterns and silk throw pillows—while the lively lobby expands to the hotel’s Red Rose Restaurant, which spotlights some of the city’s best Chinese plates—including a cannabis-focused menu—and stunning cocktails in an open-air setting.


Set along the banks of the River Kwai, Royal River Kwai Resort is framed by a series of beautiful gardens and stone statues depicting Thai relics. Go for a quiet morning swim at the resort’s spacious pool, or head to the Rantee spa for a hot stone massage.

The hotel’s restaurant, also located on the river’s edge, is the perfect spot to catch a stunning sunset during dinner, or wind down with a glass of wine.


The signature dish of Chiang Mai, Khao Soi is a must for anyone visiting this part of Thailand—in fact, it can be quite tricky to find it once you leave the city. Khao soi is a coconut curry soup made with fresh egg noodles and garnished with freshly-chopped shallots, green onion, pickled Chinese cabbage, crispy fried noodles and sometimes, an egg. 

Rice accompanies many dishes in Thailand as a side, but it’s also enjoyed as a dessert, too. Mango sticky rice is made with cooked rice that’s then drizzled with a cooked coconut cream and served with sweet, ripe mango. It can also be enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack.

Thailand is home to red, yellow and green curries, each with a completely different flavour profile. While yellow is typically the mildest and red is considered medium-heat, those looking for something spicy should order the Thai green curry—but you’ve been warned! Served with warm roti bread or rice, the green curry is made with a coconut milk base, bitter-tasting baby eggplants, lime leaves and cilantro and topped with either chicken or shrimp. 



Located in Erawan National Park in Kanchanaburi, just north of Bangkok, Erawan Falls is a cascading, seven-tiered waterfall that gets its name from the three-headed mythical Hindu elephant bearing the same name.

The hike to the seventh tier takes a couple of hours, but level two of the falls is a gorgeous spot to take a dip—and enjoy a free fish spa treatment.

The falls are home to hundreds of red garra fish, sometimes called “doctor fish”, as they’re known to nibble the surface layer of your skin—it doesn’t hurt, but if you’re ticklish, just keep treading!


Thailand is home to more than 40,000 temples, ranging from ancient ruins to modern works of art. In Ayutthaya, you’ll find one of the region’s oldest and most significant temples, Wat Maha That, a former royal temple opened in 1374.

In Bangkok, travellers can visit Wat Traimit, also known as the Temple of the Golden Buddha.

Wat Pho is a temple complex where you’ll find the Reclining Buddha, a massive statue measuring 46 metres in length and 15 metres tall, covered in dazzling gold foil and mother-of-pearl. In Thailand, it’s customary to remove your shoes before entering a temple.


For those looking for a deal on souvenirs, Thailand’s night markets—aptly named because they typically open at 6 p.m. or later and run into the wee hours of the morning—are the perfect place to spend your remaining Thai baht.

Like any good street market, you can bargain with the vendors (to a degree). From incense sticks to Muay Thai boxing shorts, to handmade pottery and jade jewellery, you’ll find it here. The Anusarn Market in Chiang Mai is one such market that also doubles as a food hall where you can delve into Thai favourites, or try something new, like fried scorpion.

This story first appeared in the Summer 2024 issue of OFFSHORE. To subscribe to the print magazine, click here.

St. Regis Hotels & Resorts unveils beachfront property in Oman, Jordan

 St. Regis Hotels & Resorts have announced the highly anticipated opening of  The St. Regis Al Mouj Muscat Resort, marking the debut of the brand in Oman.

Blending local heritage, avant-garde design and the timeless glamour of the St. Regis brand, the resort, developed by Alfardan Group, introduces the signature hallmarks born at New York’s finest address of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street, to the region’s luminaries.

Located in the heart of Al Mouj, one of Oman’s most exclusive neighbourhoods known for its luxurious beachfront living, the exquisite resort is a gateway to the captivating cultural wonders of Oman including the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the Al Hajar Mountains, the natural pools of Wadi Shab, and the crystal water of Daymaniyat Islands.

About St. Regis Al Mouj Muscat Resort

The resort is positioned on the tranquil shores of the Al Mouj waterfront with direct access to a secluded white sand beach and views across the adjacentgolf course.

The resort’s curved superyacht-style architecture draws inspiration from the surrounding environment and features a unique wave design. A soothing palette of oceanic tones imbued with rich tan and local natural stone set the tone for the design, a nod to Oman’s landscape. Elegant décor accented with patterned screens and textured fabrics flow through the public spaces.

The resort showcases an artwork collection with pieces from renowned Omani artists including Anwar SonyaAlia Al FarsiSami Al SyabiHassan Meer, Budoor Al Riyami and calligraphy expert Fahad Al Balushi, alongside prominent international artists including Arne Quinze, Barnaby BarfordLorenzo Quinn, Zhuang Hong Yi and Rana Begum.  

The St. Regis Al Mouj Muscat Resort features 250 lavishly appointed guestrooms and suites including one-to-three-bedroom duplexes, offering expansive ocean, golf course or city views. Guestrooms feature private balconies, walk-in wardrobes, large bathrooms and luxurious amenities and are filled with natural light by floor-to-ceiling windows. The legendary St. Regis Butler Service, a personalised hallmark of the brand for more than a century, ensures that each guest’s individual preferences are anticipated at every turn. 

Captivating culinary spaces

A new vibrant destination in the capital, the resort presents exceptional culinary journeys through the nine distinct dining venues including internationally acclaimed and Michelin-starred concepts. 

Hakkasan serves modern Cantonese cuisine and world-class mixology. Fine-dining restaurant, Em Sherif, presents a meticulously crafted tribute to the art of Lebanese dining. Roberto’s serves contemporary seafood-inspired Italian cuisine. COYA embodies Latin American culture with authentic Peruvian cuisine and innovative Pisco drinks, while Novikov Café blends Mediterranean-inspired dishes with French, Italian, and Asian flavours using indigenous ingredients in a modern brasserie setting. Karibu serves a fusion of Zanzibari and Omani cuisine and Zorba offers a menu of Greek specialties.

TheLounge offers a quiet corner to enjoy a locally inspired take on the acclaimed signature St. Regis Afternoon Tea, while Sukkar offers a world of sweet desserts and delicacies. The Stage, inspired by the King Cole Bar at The St. Regis New York, features a curated menu of classic expertly crafted cocktails. The intimate space also features an expansive mural by Omani artist Hassan Meer, depicting the cultural hub, port city and historic site of Muttrah, the old town of Muscat. At sunset, the nightly St. Regis sabering ritual begins in The Stage to celebrate the transition from day to night, while live entertainment sets the tone for the night.  

Rethink the drink: 15 of the best canned mocktails for summer

Back in 2023, Health Canada proposed new guidelines for alcohol intake, based on a series of recommendations by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA).

The report concluded that to reduce some of the harms associated with alcohol intake, Canadians should consume no more than two alcoholic drinks per week.

And while cutting back on booze is nothing new, the numbers don’t lie—more Canadians, especially Gen Z (those born 1997 to 2011) and Millennials (1981-1996), are embracing a sober lifestyle.

Data taken from Statistics Canada in 2021 shows that there was a 10.1 per cent decline in heavy alcohol consumption in Canadians aged 18 to 34 years, which is almost one-third (31.5 per cent) lower compared with those who reported high consumption levels in 2015, and those numbers have only continued to decline since. 

Data from the Expedia Group’s Unpack ‘24 survey also reveals that more than 40 per cent of travellers say they are likely to book a detox trip in the next year, with another one in four saying that the top reason for drinking less on vacation is to stay in control and feel better emotionally and physically.

Luckily, we’ve come a long way from justifying overpriced juice and settling for sad seltzer at the bar, or on holiday. Distillers are getting creative with their mocktails, whether that means infusing housemade syrups or using foraged herbs and botanicals for an even better buzz. In support of a hangover-free summer, here are 15 of our favourite canned mocktails for slow sipping.

Espresso Martini: Monsieur Cocktail

Largely known for their syrups and bitters, Monsieur Cocktail’s non-alcoholic line, NOA, carries a canned espresso martini beverage. Sweetened with a hint of amaretto, you can expect bold notes of roasted coffee, complete with a frothy top—just remember to shake well, first.

Gin and Tonic: Sir James 101

Pretty and pink, Sir James’ alcohol-free gin and tonic has a subtle hint of raspberry and pomegranate tucked amongst familiar herbal notes of juniper. It looks almost as good as it tastes!

Piña Colada: HP Juniper

If you like piña coladas, you’ll love this one from Quebec distiller HP Juniper—creamy coconut, fruity pineapple and warm vanilla swirl together to create the perfect fake take on this classic cocktail that pairs well with lazy days by the lake or pool.

Margarita: Little Saints

Lime, a hint of jalapeño and turmeric blend together to form this spicy take on a marg. While this drink is zero-proof, it’s infused with organic reishi mushroom—a centuries-old ingredient that calms the mind and body. And we’ll drink to that!

Martini: Mixoloshe

A little lychee and a hint of sparkle make for a mean martini. For an extra fancy take, shake and serve in a martini glass, garnished with fresh strawberries or raspberries. Mixoloshe recently rebranded to SMASHD, and their line of non-alcoholic drinks are under 50 calories and sweetened with cane sugar.

Mimosa: Fauxmosa

Whether it’s for brunch or just because, Fauxmosa’s orange mimosa with turmeric tastes like the real deal. The addition of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grapes and a hint of apple cider vinegar lend a familiar sour slant.

Mojito: Noroi

A hint of tangy, summer raspberries pairs perfectly with the zestiness of lime in this mojito, produced by Quebec’s own Noroi Distillerie.

Moscow Mule: Edna's

Vancouver-based Edna’s blends natural ginger, fresh lime juice and whisky extracts—lending to an almost replica taste, with none of the alcohol content.

Negroni: Wild Folk

With a sparkling twist, WildFolk’s take on a negroni has a mix of smoky and bitter botanicals like grapefruit rind, juniper, star anise and grapefruit.

Paloma: Olé

A good paloma (tequila infused with grapefruit juice) should still provide a bit of a bitter bite—Olé’s version of a Mexican classic is sweetened naturally with organic agave nectar and real grapefruit juice, so there’s none of that sickeningly sweet aftertaste.

Peach Bellini: aelo

Just like a juicy Ontario peach in the middle of August, this bellini is bursting with flavour, and soda water for a fizzy finish. This one’s sugar-free, too—aelo uses Stevia extract to sweeten its drinks.

Sangria: Clever

Crafted in Canada and distilled in small batches, juicy notes of peach blend with the taste of bitter orange and lemon peels for a truly refreshing taste.

Spritz: Optimist Botanicals

An adaptation of one of summer’s favourite drinks, the Cali Spritz blends citrus notes of pink grapefruit and Mandarin orange with bitter herbs of bay laurel, sage, wormwood, gentian and dandelion root. Ashwagandha and schisandra are added to relieve stress and promote balance.

Whisky & Cola: Lyre's

The crisp taste of cola and sweet layers of caramel, toasted nut, cedary spice and rye come together in a can of Lyre’s American Malt & Cola. Perfect as is for cottage barbecue sessions or, for an elevated take, pour into a highball glass and enjoy with a generous serving of ice.

Whisky Sour: Spiritless

An old time favourite, this pour-over version of a classic whisky sour uses Spiritless’ Kentucky 74 non-alcoholic whisky, fresh lemon juice and a touch of cane sugar. Feel free to shake with an egg white and add ice, or drink it straight from the can.

Most Canadian families are spending $2,700 on their summer vacations

Allianz Global Assistance (Allianz), a leading Canadian travel insurance provider, released the results of its Summer Vacation Confidence Study, which gauges travellers’ sentiments, confidence and intentions regarding their summer vacation plans.

This year’s survey, conducted in partnership with Ipsos, reveals insightful trends and preferences as impacts like inflation and pandemic recovery continue to influence consumer mindsets and travel patterns.

Allianz’s Summer Vacation Confidence Study found that summer vacation confidence is on the rise with 61 per cent of Canadians planning to take a trip this summer. Summer travel intentions are highest among those aged 18-34 (72 per cent confident) and families with kids (73 per cent confident).

The study also revealed that the average vacationing family intends to spend $2,728 on a summer vacation this year – which equates to roughly $24.9 billion collectively.

Key study highlights

More of Allianz’s Summer Vacation Confidence Study results:

  • Almost all Canadians who intend to travel (89 per cent) plan to obtain travel insurance (Allianz Vacation Confidence Study, November 2023)
  • Families with kids plan on spending an average of $3,519 on summer vacations this year
  • Most Canadians are travelling this summer for a leisure vacation to rest and relax (65 per cent) or to visit family and friends (46 per cent)
  • One quarter of those who say summer vacations are important are not confident they will be taking a summer vacation
  • 47 per cent of Canadians planned to travel this past winter (Allianz Vacation Confidence Study, November 2023)

For more information, visit allianz-assistance.ca.

A Bohemian hotel with 24 rooms opened on Türkiye’s Aegean coast

Bobo by The Stay, the newest of the Stay Hotels, has now opened in Bodrum.

Perched high above the sparkling Aegean, Bobo offers guests ​​exclusive access to the turquoise waters of Cennet Bay, on the Turkish Riviera.

Bobo was designed by visionary architect Mahmut Anlar and his team at Geo ID. The hotel, tailored for adults, opens with 24 exclusive rooms and suites. Each has been designed with nature-inspired curved walls and floor-to-ceiling windows allowing breath-taking views of the surrounding coastline and centuries-old olive groves.

A nod to Bohemian living

True to its name, Bobo has been created to celebrate refined bohemian living, and offers a unique fusion of entertainment, gastronomy, and the arts.

Guests can look forward to a vibrant array of cultural and artistic events, including pop-up comedy festivals, guest chefs, and sunset parties throughout the summer. For those who enjoy nightlife, the hotel offers a private nightclub for guests to let their hair down to the beat of international DJs.

Taste the flavours of Türkiye

Bobo brings the flavours of Istanbul’s Bebek Hotel by the Stay to Bodrum, featuring locally sourced dishes, live music, and signature cocktails by the sea.

Dragon, famed for its stellar Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine in Istanbul, opens its second restaurant at Bobo, while the Greek-inspired Paraliaki restaurant creates menus focused on fresh seafood. As evening descends, guests are treated to an unforgettable dining experience.

With dishes created to celebrate the region’s rich maritime heritage and seating on grass or sand, guests can unwind in a laid-back atmosphere that captures the essence of Bobo living.

The hotel’s private beach club, Bobo Beach, features sun loungers on a secluded stretch of Cennet Bay, creating a perfect spot for relaxing and sampling gourmet dishes by the sea. The hotel also offers an exclusive yacht catering service for those who are exploring the beautiful waters of Cennet Bay.

In keeping with the relaxed coastal vibe, there’s an outside gym and holistic Stay Spa with saunas and rejuvenating ice baths overlooking the forested bay. The Bobo Store, a boutique housed in a domed tent, will offer beachwear, artisanal wares from local craftspeople, and Turkish brands that reflect the local Aegean culture.

For more information, visit www.thestay.com.tr.

Marriott’s Luxury Collection makes its grand debut in Munich

The Luxury Collection, part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of over 30 extraordinary hotel brands, recently opened the Koenigshof, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Munich.

Situated in the heart of Munich’s historical “Stachus” Square, this property marks The Luxury Collection brand’s debut in Germany.

Designed by internationally acclaimed architects Nieto Sobejano, the hotel captures the timeless sophistication and attitude of Munich with a new, contemporary design, which beautifully embodies the city’s rich stories and culture, offering unique, transformative experiences in the Bavarian capital.

Embracing the city’s rich heritage and vibrant culture, Koenigshof, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Munich offers an unparalleled blend of luxury hospitality and local authenticity

A luxurious transformation

At the helm of the transformation, Nieto Sobejano Architects and Landau + Kindelbacher ensured that this next chapter of the historic building’s heritage is honoured, while reinterpreting the sense of luxury in a modern way. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed into a breathtaking, spacious atrium introducing the hotel’s design concept of “Stachus Serenity”, reflecting individuality and local connectivity.  

Through the implementation of louvered structures and large, gold-colored walls, the architectural approach was to open the facade towards the “Stachus” square and establish a connection between the interior and exterior of the hotel, creating a luxury urban retreat.

Inside the hotel, art plays a key role as part of the guest experience – reflecting the history of the House of Wittelsbach, the former Bavarian ruling family, who were enthusiastic art collectors in the 16th century. The aim of the Koenigshof, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Munich is to seamlessly blend Bavaria’s rich tradition of art collecting with the city’s current passion for fine art.

The art on display in the hotel represents national and internationally renowned artists such as Joseph Beuys, Christo und Jeanne-Claude, and David John Flynn among many others, complementing the hotel’s architecture and interior design.

About the Koenigshof

The hotel features 106 artfully appointed guest rooms and suites, showcasing modern luxury with a sophisticated blend of spectacular interiors, curated artworks from local Bavarian artists, and state-of-the-art technology. 

Koenigshof’s crowning jewel is the 250-square-metre split-level Presidential Suite on the eighth and ninth floor offering an ultimate luxury experience. As the largest hotel suite in the city, it boasts a private sauna and a pool with breathtaking city views. The pool features a counter-current system and seating surfaces with massage jets.

A private spa offers high-quality spa products, a relaxation area and lounge with a Smart TV, and a curated room service menu for complete relaxation.

Guaranteeing an epicurean delight, Koenigshof is home of three distinctive destinations including signature restaurant GRETA OTO Munich, located on the ninth floor offering panoramic views of the city. This vibrant Latin American restaurant, under the helm of renowned Peruvian chef Michael Cánepa, is set to be the city’s newest social hotspot, with an innovative menu that will engage the senses.


An exquisite experience

On the weekend, the restaurant and bar transition into a club-like atmosphere where guests can enjoy exceptional Amazonian cocktails in the adjacent bar or on the rooftop terrace. In contrast, The Green is a serene lounge serving local delicacies including the specially crafted Koenigshof tea and the extravagant “Koenigshof-Torte”, a tribute to the world-famous Bavarian “Prinzregententorte” with a unique design mirroring the hotel’s architectural exterior.

The Gold lounge will provide a tranquil, residential-style space on the third floor to unwind with a curated selection of books and artwork that showcase Munich’s unique personality as one of the most historic cultural locations in Europe.

Complete with an outdoor terrace and breathtaking views of the city and the Bavarian Alps, from here guests can savor the special edition Koenigshof Bellini made with mountain peach puree, lemon oil produced from Amalfi Coast lemons, and topped up with Ruinart Brut Champagne.

For private events, The View on the ninth floor accommodates up to 50 guests, featuring a private bar, lounge, and terrace access with stunning city and mountain views. Equipped with the latest AV technology, the space is complemented by culinary offerings from GRETA OTO. Intimate gatherings with up to 12 guests can take advantage of The Studio on the third floor and enjoy the moment with a private bar.

Koenigshof, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Munich offers global explorers a unique and authentic experience of the city through locally inspired design, epicurean moments, and opportunities to discover the destination. Signature guest experiences will include guided tours of the city to discover Munich’s Gemuetlichkeit, a state of warmth, friendliness, and good cheer. Accompanied by the concierge, guests can visit the famous Viktualienmarkt. Originally a farmers’ market, today it is a place where gourmands can sample traditional Bavarian products and exclusive local foods, as well as take home stories and insider tips from the concierge. 

For more information or to book a stay, visit www.marriott.com.

Why does this hotel look like it’s made of giant Jenga blocks?

While doing a lazy backstroke in the lagoon pool, my eyes gravitate to the constellation of lights reflected in the mirrored ceiling five storeys above.

All that’s on my mind is relaxation and the illuminated eye candy – not thoughts of hallmark sustainability, biophilic design, or carbon sequestering.


But, I will eventually wrap my head around all the eco coolness of this design hotel of all design hotels – the Pan Pacific Orchard in Singapore.

To be honest, my wife, Kerry, and I chose to stay at the Pan Pacific Orchard because it’s uniquely beautiful and luxurious, not because it has a bio-digester that transforms food waste into water that can be used for cleaning.

After all, the 23-storey, 347-room hotel, which opened in June 2023, is an architectural wonder resembling a tower constructed of giant Jenga blocks. Its most marvelous features are four, 22-metre-tall terraces scooped out of its vertical facade.

The second-floor Forest Terrace is for the open-air lobby and bar; the fifth-floor Beach Terrace for the lagoon pool; the 11th-floor Garden Terrace for the cabana lawn and patios of the Pacific Club Lounge and Florette Champagne & Oyster Bar; and the 18th-floor Cloud Terrace for the outdoor convention space.

Each guest room overlooks one of the terraces and the balcony of each room juts into the terrace’s air space.

“It creates four vertical, curated, themed and symmetrical ecosystems,” said Pan Pacific Orchard director of communications Teresa Koh as she showed my wife and I around.

“We’re very proud to be a luxury hotel that at its core is all about responsible sustainability.”

It doesn’t hurt that all this environmental consciousness is uber-chic and eye-catching.

The two exposed support columns either side of the hotel are covered in vines that are now creeping across the building and dripping from the terraces.

More than 100 other species of plants, shrubs and trees, including all those palms on the pool terrace, end up covering 300% of the hotel’s base land area in lush foliage. The greenery and the terrace’s designs result in self-shading, that aforementioned natural cross ventilation, carbon sequestering and air purification. Singapore-based WOHA Architects, a biophilic specialist, designed the hotel to be an iconic slice of nature in an otherwise largely concrete-and-glass megatropolis.

The Green Mark Platinum Certification was awarded for solar panels on the roof that power all common areas, collected rainwater keeping the terrace ecosystems lush, the previously mentioned bio digester and Swisspro water filtration systems in every room eliminating the need for single-use plastic bottles.

All in all, it makes Pan Pacific Orchard the new prototype for high rise tropical hospitality.

Guest rooms are compact and well-designed with comfy beds and high-end linens and that balcony that juts out into the terrace air space. We lounge at the lagoon pool; sip signature cocktails called Cloud and Forest (in a nod to the terrace themes) at Florette; eat crispy pork at Mosella restaurant; and take breakfast, afternoon tea and happy hour in Pacific Club Lounge on the garden terrace.

Pan Pacific has 50 hotels and resorts in 30 cities in Asia, Europe and North America under the Pan Pacific, Parkroyal and Parkroyal Collection banners, including Pan Pacifics in Vancouver, Whistler and Toronto

In April, Air Canada started flying four times a week between Vancouver and Singapore, the only non-stops connecting Canada with the multicultural, Asian city state of six million people. In fact, it’s the longest flight Air Canada operates at 16 hours and 10 minutes Vancouver-Singapore. One-way fares on the quick, quiet and comfortable Boeing Dreamliner 787 start at $734.

Hotel rates for Pan Orchard start at around SG$440.

For more information, visit www.aircanada.com and www.panpacific.com.


The Canadian government just issued terror warnings for 9 European countries

As the summer travel season in Europe heats up, the Government of Canada has issued a series of travel advisories for select countries in Europe, due to potential acts of terrorism.

The threat of terrorism in Europe remains ongoing, and attacks can happen anywhere at any time, though government buildings, including schools, places of worship, airports, and other major tourist attractions like shopping malls, restaurants or public squares can be more likely targets.

Canadian travellers to Europe this summer are urged to exercise a high degree of caution in the following countries:


As of June 4, travellers to Belgium are urged to exercise a high degree of caution due to ongoing threats of terrorism. While petty crime (purse snatchings, pick-pocketing, etc.) remains quite common in tourist areas, there has been an increase in violence, including stabbings and shootings, linked to the drug trade in Brussels and other major cities.

In February 2024, reported shootings have occurred in the commune of Brussels, in the Marolles neighbourhood, and around the following locations in the commune Saint-Gilles: Port-de-Hal, Gare du Midi, and Place Jacques Franck.

The Government of Canada reports that in Belgium, separate attacks causing multiple deaths and injuries have taken place, and that further attacks in Belgium cannot be ruled out. The Government of Belgium maintains a public alert system on terrorism and communicates threat level changes online and through local media and social media.

If you plan to travel to Belgium during this time, plan your travel accordingly. For more information, including safety tips on travelling to Belgium, click here.


Denmark has been experiencing a heightened threat of terrorism since the beginning of August 2023, after multiple incidents of public desecration of the Qur’an in Denmark. Since then, extremists have called for retaliation against the country.

The Danish Security and Intelligence Service currently assesses the threat of a terrorist attack at level 4 (significant) on a 5-step scale.

Organized crime, including drug trade and gang violence has also been recently reported in the area of Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen. Christiana is a commune in the Christianshavn neighbourhood of Copenhagen that is known to openly sell cannabis, which remains illegal in Denmark. Photography is strictly prohibited, and tourists have been victim to assaults and robbery for failing to respect the rule.

If you plan to travel to Denmark during this time, plan your travel accordingly. For more information, including safety tips on travelling to Denmark, click here.


As of June 11, travellers to France are urged to exercise a high degree of caution, especially with the Olympic Games taking place in Paris from July 26 to Aug. 11, followed by the Paralympic Games from Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, 2024.

Public events will take place across France starting on May 8 and will continue until the opening ceremony. During the Olympic Games, France will have an increased presence of security forces and large crowds and public gatherings should be expected. Major disruptions to traffic and the flow of movement should also be expected.

If you plan to travel to France during this time, plan your travel accordingly. For more information, including safety tips on travelling to France, click here.


The Canadian government increased Germany’s security risk as of June 4, citing concerns around the UEFA EURO 2024 soccer tournament, which takes place from June 14 to July 14, 2024. Games will take place in 10 cities across the country.

Crime, such as theft, typically increases around major sporting events. Thieves often target tourists. Post-game celebrations and confrontations between opposing fans may lead to rowdy behaviour.

The Government of Germany maintains a public alert system on terrorism. Alert level changes are communicated through local media. Violent crime is quite uncommon in Germany, but crimes committed by far-right extremists against individuals belonging to ethnic, religious or political minorities due occur, and tourists are advised to take caution.

If you plan to travel to Germany during this time, plan your travel accordingly. For more information, including safety tips on travelling to Germany, click here.


As of June 4, the Government of Canada is advising Canadians to take extra security measures when visiting Italy, due to terror-related threats. As one of the most popular summer travel destinations for Canadians, large numbers are expected this season.

The Government of Italy maintains a public alert system on terrorism. Alert level changes are communicated mainly through local media. Enhanced security measures are also deployed in various strategic locations and transport hubs.

Travellers to Italy should expect an increased presence of police and military forces during holidays and in public places, including tourist locations and major landmarks. Upcoming public holidays in Italy include Ferragosto, which takes place on Aug. 15 and is observed across Italy.

If you plan to travel to Italy during this time, plan your travel accordingly. For more information, including safety tips on travelling to Italy, click here.

The Netherlands

The Government of Canada increased its risk level for travel to the Netherlands over ongoing threats of terrorism in the country.

The Dutch government maintains a public alert system on terrorism and communicates threat level changes online and through local media. The current threat level for the Netherlands is level 4 (“substantial”) on a scale of 5. A level 4 rating means that “there is a real chance of a terrorist attack in the Netherlands” according to The Terrorist Threat Assessment Netherlands.

If you plan to travel to the Netherlands during this time, plan your travel accordingly. For more information, including safety tips on travelling to the Netherlands, click here.


In Spain, terrorist attacks causing deaths and injuries have taken place. The government of Canada insists that further attacks in Spain cannot be ruled out.

The Spanish government maintains a public alert system on terrorism and communicates threat level changes online and through local media. The current threat level for Spain is level 4 (“high”) on a scale of 5.

If you plan to travel to Spain during this time, plan your travel accordingly. For more information, including safety tips on travelling to the Spain, click here.


Since the beginning of 2023, there has been an increase in incidents of public desecration of the Qur’an in Stockholm.

On Aug. 17, 2023, the Swedish Security Service (SAPO) raised the national terrorist threat level from 3 (elevated) to 4 (high) on a 5-step scale. The decision is based on an assessment that the threat posed by violent extremists has increased and will remain heightened.

The Government of Sweden maintains a public alert system on terrorism. The Government communicates threat level changes online and through local media.

If you plan to travel to Sweden during this time, plan your travel accordingly. For more information, including safety tips on travelling to the Sweden, click here.

The United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, previous attacks have resulted in casualties. They have included random violent incidents in public areas, such as knife and vehicle attacks as well as explosions.

These incidents have occurred mainly in the London area but have also happened elsewhere. One of the most notable terror attacks was the London Bridge van attack on June 3, 2017. Eight people were killed and 48 were injured in a terrorist vehicle-ramming incident on the London Bridge.

According to the Canadian government, further attacks in the United Kingdom are likely.

The Government of the United Kingdom maintains a public alert system on terrorism and communicates terrorism and national emergency threat level changes online and through local media. The national terrorism and national emergency threat level is currently 3 (“substantial”) on a scale of 5. A separate threat level for Northern Ireland is currently 4 (“severe”) on a scale of 5.

If you plan to travel to the U.K. during this time, plan your travel accordingly. For more information, including safety tips on travelling to the U.K., click here.

Intrepid Travel just added 40 new rail journeys

Intrepid Travel is launching a new trip range dedicated to rail travel which includes 40 trips and three brand new itineraries; Trans-Mongolian Railway Adventure, Express to the Orient: Paris to Istanbul, and Paris to Rome by Rail.

The range will cater to the rising trend of train travel, with new data showing 75 per cent of travellers are hoping to take a train on their next trip. The launch reflects Intrepid’s long-term product development plans, replacing internal flights with less carbon-intensive options, where viable, as part of its global decarbonization strategy.  

Each rail trip will be accompanied by one of Intrepid’s local leaders, who will not only help travellers navigate complex routes and stations, but also maximize the experiences during rest stops and overnight stays. With an average group size of 10-12 travellers, Intrepid rail trips offer customers community, conversation, and a sense of connection.  

As part of this newly dedicated trip category, Intrepid will offer iconic routes like Bangkok to Southern Thailand, and lesser-known routes like Varanasi to Agra, India, as well as rail family adventures from Tokyo to Kyoto and Rome to Pompeii. The launch is also highlighted by three brand-new itineraries:  

New rail itineraries

1.     Trans-Mongolian Railway Adventure (11 Days from $4035, CAD) 

  • While the popular Trans-Siberian route is currently closed to travellers, this new tour makes use of the Trans-Mongolian Railway, constructed in the late 1940s following the route of ancient tea caravans from Beijing, China through Mongolia.   
  • The trip begins in Beijing, traveling through hilly landscapes in China, exploring Inner Mongolia and visiting Khustai National Park, the dunes of the Gobi Desert and Sainshand, before disembarking in Ulaanbaatar, the capitol city of Mongolia.  

2.     Express to the Orient: Paris to Istanbul (15 Days from $5435, CAD) 

  • This new trip travels from Paris to Budapest by train, following the same route as the historic Orient Express, a long-distance passenger train that ran between 1883 and 1977, and lent itself to many popular films and books. Travellers will stop to explore iconic spots and lesser-known sites in Strasbourg, Munich and Salzburg. 
  • Travellers will then journey on local trains along the Simplon-Orient Express route from Belgrade to Istanbul, stopping for local delicacies, like a traditional Serbian lunch in a Salaš home. 

3.     Paris to Rome by Rail (10 Days from $5030 cad) 

  • On Intrepid’s new Paris to Rome itinerary, travellers will hop on the Gotthard Panorama Express through Switzerland.  
  • This train takes the original historic route on the Gotthard railway, constructed in 1872. The journey spirals through the alps, with panoramic views of the countryside, and Wassen Church, as well as stops for scenic hikes, medieval castles and a fresh farm-to-table Italian cooking demonstration.  

To learn more about Intrepid’s train trips and discover the 40+ rail itineraries, visit www.intrepidtravel.com/rail.

New river ship cruising the Nile has just 41 rooms

As North American travellers continue looking to Egypt as a bucket-list destination, the award-winning river cruise line AmaWaterways has launched its latest addition to the fleet, AmaLilia, on the enchanting waters of the Nile River.

Specially curated with upscale regionally inspired décor and 41 staterooms, including 13 suites, the luxurious new ship embarked on its inaugural journey in April 2024. The 11-night Secrets of Egypt & the Nile cruise and land experience includes a seven-night round trip river cruise from Luxor and is paired with three nights pre- and one-night post-cruise stays in historic Cairo at the prestigious St. Regis Cairo, overlooking the Nile River.


About the AmaLilia

Newly designed to accommodate only 82 guests, AmaLilia features 41 luxurious staterooms offering panoramic views, including 13 suites measuring up to 522 sq. ft.

Onboard amenities include a sun deck bar and swimming pool, fitness room, hair and nail salon, a massage room and two restaurants serving locally inspired cuisine – The Main Restaurant and The Chef’s Table. Guests will be treated to authentic nightly entertainment and be accompanied by knowledgeable Egyptologists who will stay on the ship and join them on enriching excursions.


The immersive Secrets of Egypt & the Nile provides travellers with a unique opportunity to experience the ancient wonders of Egypt, guided by experts through UNESCO World Heritage Sites and legendary locations such as the Great Hypostyle Hall of Karnak, the mesmerizing Temple of Luxor, and the mystifying Valley of the Kings and Queens.

While in Cairo, guests will visit the Egyptian Museum and come face-to-face with Egyptian treasures at the UNESCO-designated ancient capital of Memphis.

They will have the opportunity to marvel at the colossal statue of Ramses II, the Alabaster Sphinx, and the necropolis of Sakkara, home to the famous step pyramid of King Zoser, the oldest pyramid on earth; and enjoy a private tour and gourmet lunch at the Abdeen Presidential Palace, the principal workplace of the President of Egypt and one of the most luxurious palaces in the world.

AmaLilia will cruise this itinerary, sailing round trip from Luxor and offering a Cairo program with intra-Egypt flights between Cairo and Luxor, seasonally from September through June each year.

For more information, visit AmaWaterways.com