Travel news

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Nearly 20 years after construction began, the gigantic Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang is preparing to open.

The giant pyramid hotel is the largest structure in North Korea and is one of the tallest hotels in the world. With more than 3,000 rooms and 5 revolving restaurants, the hotel is the only one in the world with over 100 stories.

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The hotel's walls slope at 75 degrees and has a legacy for nearly 15 years as a 'phantom pyramid' as the lumbering structure hulked over the skyline unfinished, without windows or interior walls.

Now that the exterior is completed, a marvel of gleaming glass, the hotel has a totally different feel.

Scheduled for completion next year (2012), the hotel is preparing to open to coincide with the anniversary of the birth of North Korea's "eternal president" Kim Il-Sung.

For more, check out Architizer.

The World's Best Large-Ship Cruise Lines

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Travel + Leisure, in their annual World's Best Awards for 2011 have also included a listing of the top Large-Ship Cruise Lines.

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Perhaps surprising to no one who has traveled on these lines, Crystal Cruises came in first place. With luxury cruises to destinations from Antarctica to Africa and Alaska, this line offers world-class service and luxuries.

The entire top 10 breaks down like this:


  1. 1) Crystal Cruises

  2. 2) Regent Seven Seas

  3. 3) Oceania Cruises

  4. 4) Disney Cruise Lines

  5. 5) Cunard Line

  6. 6) Azamara Club Cruises

  7. 9) Celebrity Cruises

  8. 8) Holland America Line

  9. 9) Royal Caribbean International

  10. 10) Princess Cruises

To see the scores and more, click here.

The World's Best Island Getaways

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Travel + Leisure's annual list of the top 10 island destinations has been released. To anyone who has visited the sun-drenched Greek isle, Santorini, the first place winner will come as no surprise.

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Besides the Greek paradise, other exotic sites included multiple destinations in Hawaii as well as points in Australia, Italy and Nova Scotia.

It's a dreamy list and one you should check out.

View the entire piece here.

Five Best Hotel Pools for Perks

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While most pools are meant for swimming, some luxury pools are meant to bring you into an entirely unique aquatic world.

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At these pools, you can get your underwater meditation on and call the butler for a sunglass cleaning or reflexology massage.

To read more and
check out the awesome pool images, click here.

A set of Japan Airlines PR photos from 1954 taken aboard a Douglas DC-6 shows the nascent airline's First Class only (!) trans-Pacific route in decadent detail.

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One gets the sense that no shoes were removed, no bosoms were felt up, and no tubes of toothpaste were transferred to transparent plastic bags upon embarkment.
As for the excess radiation, it was delivered by altogether different means than via TSA-style backscatter X-ray.

This movie still world of bow ties, cigars, kimonos, cocktails, sushi platters, bunk beds, and silk pajamas was located by Okinawa-based photographer Rob Oechsle, who scanned and retouched the original 8×10 prints. Enjoy! Perhaps with a martini and a cigar.

Check out the images here.

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry found and posted to Business Insider, a fascinating 15 minute video from 1976 which shows a tribe in Papua New Guinea encountering white people for the first time.

The reactions going from fear to wonder to curiosity to joy are incredible to behold.

Check it out:

Kodiak, Alaska - A Bear of a Trip

Last Friday, Ted O'Callahan of The NY Times wrote a great piece on Kodiak, Alaska and the myriad opportunities for visitors to get up-close and personal with the bears that call the island home.

Kodiak Island in Alaska is the largest landmass of the nearly 5,000-square-mile Kodiak Archipelago south of the mainland, and the exclusive home of the Kodiak bear.

O'Callahan recounts that during his trip to Kodiak, he saw more bears in his first day than he'd seen in 9 years working in Alaska. His tale of the trip is riveting, as he provides ample detail not only on his activities and accommodations, but also the outstanding guides that kept him safe in that untamed region.

When you have a few extra minutes and want a great read, check out the piece here: It's a Bear's World in Kodiak, Alaska

Getting The Best Seat For The Best Price

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The Wall Street Journal profiles the website SeatGuru.com today. Great tips for getting the best seat for your money.

Where others saw tiny tush space, SeatGuru.com saw opportunity. With seat layouts and ratings for 720 different airplanes flown by 100 different airlines, the website has become the authoritative source for cabin information. Using internal research and feedback from fliers, SeatGuru highlights the gems, like seats with unlimited legroom, and flags the duds, like window seats with no windows. Information is so thorough that SeatGuru says airline reservation centers use its site for information on their own planes. (Airlines confirm that.)

Photo via.

Yosemite National Park in Four Seasons

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Mark Boster, a photographer for the Los Angeles Times, loves Yosemite National Park in California. He spent a year photographing the park for this Four seasons in Yosemite package that includes information of shutter speed, aperture, and focal length for all you photo nerds. Mostly they are just beautiful pictures of a "magical" park. Below, the LA Times has a brief documentary about his work:

Get Lonely Planet's Austin iPhone App For Free

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Heading to the SXSW Festival in Austin this weekend? Lonely Planet has graciously offered their app for iPhones and iPads as a free download.

News and going on's around the globe!