Readers' Choice: Best value destination
We're giving you the floor. To gear up for our second annual Readers' Choice issue in November 2011 we're turning to the true experts—you! Over the past few months we asked for your thoughts on a variety of travel topics ranging from your favorite cruise line to your ultimate dream destination. Once your nominations are in, we'll give you the chance to vote on the best of the best.
Let us know your pick for the best value destination—and why—by posting a comment below.
What makes a great value destination? Where can you find the cheapest, but still most stylish, resorts? Which cities are served by low-cost carriers? Where can you indulge in gourmet food and wine without breaking the bank? Where does your dollar go the furthest?
The more details to make your case, the better!
8 delicious beers from around the world
From September 17 through October 3—Oktoberfest is on! But why should the fun be limited to one little corner of one country? The original München boozefest is great and all—everyone should experience it once. But we have a hunch our readers traveling in other locales are itching for an autumnal brewsky, too. So we've rounded up our favorite varieties of beer from around the globe. Without further ado, here's the brew.... See also: Confessions of an Oktoberfest Waiter U.K. Oatmeal stout This medieval beer caught on in the late 1800s because people believed the oats made it somehow healthful. ASK FOR: Samuel Smith TASTES LIKE: Molasses mixed with cream GERMANY Doppelbock First brewed in the 17th century by Bavarian monks, it was used as “liquid bread” during Lenten fasts. ASK FOR: Paulaner TASTES LIKE: A Marmite sandwich on pumpernickel FRANCE Bière de garde This farmhouse ale almost vanished during World War II, when brewery equipment was melted to make bombs. ASK FOR: Jenlain TASTES LIKE: Earthy, dry U.S. brews (quelle horreur!) NORWAY Juleøl Dark and sweet, this ale is brewed at Christmastime and designed to stand up to hearty Scandinavian fare. ASK FOR: Aass TASTES LIKE: Whiskey spiced with cloves FINLAND Sahti Brewed with juniper twigs since the 1500s, this hazy beer is one of the oldest varieties still made today. ASK FOR: Lammin TASTES LIKE: Fruitcake that’s heavy on the bananas BELGIUM Flanders red This reddish ale gets its sour flavor from lactobacillus, the same bacteria used to cultivate yogurt. ASK FOR: Rodenbach TASTES LIKE: Apple cider mixed with grape soda ITALY Birra di castagne Italy’s bounty of chestnuts has led to the birth of nut- infused ales, local alternatives to German-style lager Peroni. ASK FOR: Birra del Borgo TASTES LIKE: Bittersweet syrup, almost like grappa RUSSIA Kvass A low-alcohol drink made with fermented rye bread, water, and mint or fruit. Coca-Cola now brews a version. ASK FOR: Ochakovo TASTES LIKE: Moderately sweet, grainy soda MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL: New York's hopping beer scene Drink beer better San Francisco: A guide for beer aficionados
Great News for Budget Travelers!
Where are you going next? That's a question I ask myself all the time—both as executive editor at Budget Travel and as, well, someone who loves the word next almost as much as the world going. So I'm really psyched to announce that Budget Travel is making it easier than ever to book an amazing travel deal. We've vastly expanded the number and variety of our Real Deals to help get you where you want to go for the right price. That means in addition to the sweet package deals our editors serve up every day, we are now offering affordable getaways courtesy of Travelzoo (recent deals include vacations in the Caribbean, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and other must-see locales around the globe). You'll find new deals here every day, you can search by destination or by the area you'll be leaving from, and you can arrange deals by price or trip length. With more deals, more variety, and unbeatable prices—not to mention our award-winning feature stories, photography, and up-to-the-minute blog posts—Budget Travel is more committed than ever to giving you everything you need to choose your next dream trip. Me? I've got my eye on Ireland. How about you? Where are you going next?
6 Reasons to Visit Myanmar
This article is a guest post by Ja Racharaks. When you start investigating Myanmar as a travel destination, you'll discover how many monuments have been constructed throughout the country's history that exhibit truly grand scales of devotion and determination. Myanmar is the home to at least six of the world's greatest attractions—and although three of these items have technically lost their titles in recent years, all have retained their genuine sense of significance and beauty. The World's Biggest Book: Kuthodaw Pagoda, MandalayThe Kuthodaw Pagoda is located at the base of Mandalay Hill and within the complex lies 730 Kyauksa Gu, stone-inscription caves, which contain the "pages" of the book. Not a traditional paper item, the book's text, a complete copy of the Tipitaka, the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism, is written on both sides of marble slabs 3.51 feet wide, 5.02 feet tall, and 5.1 inches thick. In this instance, the marble slabs are the "pages" and the Kyauksa Gu are the "leaves" of the book. The World's Longest Teak Structure: U Bein Bridge, AmarapuraClose by Mingun, about 12 km down the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay on the eastern side of the river is Amarapura. Founded by King Bodawpaya as his capital city in 1783, the township is now a part of Mandalay. The bridge spans 3,937 feet across Taungthaman Lake, created from teak wood reclaimed from an old royal palace. Named after the mayor who had the bridge built, it's still used as an important passageway for locals. With fears that some of the 1,086 pillars are becoming dangerously decayed, efforts have been made to repair the bridge, with some of the pillars being replaced with concrete. The World's Largest Iron Buddha: Sandamuni Pagoda, MandalayAt the base of Mandalay Hill is the Sandamuni Pagoda, home to the world's largest Iron Buddha statue. Commissioned by King Bodawpay in 1802, it has made many trips around the country according to the placement of capital cities and wars, makingn its final move to Mandalay in 1874. Cast out of 18563.94 kg of iron, it's said that the image is endowed with the attributes of the Full Moon, which gives the image its name, Sandamuni. The World's Largest Reclining Buddha (Surpassed): Maha Bodhi Ta Htwaung, Monywa TownshipOtherwise known as the region of "a thousand great Bo trees," the area is famous for its standing and reclining Buddha as well as for thousands of images of the Buddha and Bo trees. On the hill, seen from miles around, are the Giant Reclining Buddha and the Giant Standing Buddha. The Reclining Buddha has a length of 333 feet and a width of 60 feet. What's more, you're able to explore inside the Reclining Buddha where there are more than 9,000 images of the Buddha and his disciples. The Giant Standing Buddha, otherwise known as Laykyun Setkyar, is actually the second largest Buddha statue in the world at a height of 424 feet with 31 floors inside. The Reclining Buddha has been surpassed by a stone reclining Buddha carved in China's Jiangxi Province to be completed at a length of 1,365 feet. The World's Largest Pearl (Surpassed): Nay Pyi Taw Gem Museum, Nay Pyi TawAmong the jade boulders and Myanmar's largest ruby, the Nay Pyi Taw Gem Museum also has what was previously considered to be world's largest natural pearl. The pearl is 6.2cm x 5cm x 3.1cm and weighs 845 carats. It was found in 2001 in a mother of pearl oyster during an oyster fishing expedition at Macleod Island in the Mergui (Myeik) Archipelago, in southern Myanmar. The current largest pearl is called the Pearl of Lao Tzu or Pearl of Allah, found in the Philippines inside a giant clam, is 24 cm in diameter, and weighs 32,000 carats. The World's Heaviest Functioning Bell (Surpassed): Mingun Pahtodawgyi, MingunAbout 11km up the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay lies the Mingun Pahtodawgyi, which is a spectacle in itself. Intentionally unfinished, the stupa was started by King Bodawpaya in 1790. He had stopped its construction at 50 meters after hearing a prophecy that foretold his death if he were to ever complete it, a 150 meter immense structure. In fact, some could call this (unofficially) the world's largest pile of bricks. To go along with the grandeur of the stupa, the king also commissioned a gigantic bell to be housed within it. At a five meter diameter and weighing 90 tons (199,999 lbs) the bell's bronze construction made it the world's heaviest functioning bell. The bell held its title on and off for almost 100 years but is now surpassed by the Bell of Good Luck in China.
7 Things to Do in Vernazza (Besides Hiking)
This article was written by Jessica Spiegel on behalf of Viator.com. Most of the people who have been flocking to the pretty town of Vernazza in the Cinque Terre for decades do so because of the famous hike that connects Vernazza with other towns along the coast. Hiking remains the top thing to do in the Cinque Terre, but it’s by no means the only thing to do. Here are 7 other things worth checking out. The BeachBy many accounts, Vernazza has the prettiest harbor of all the Cinque Terre towns—and although none of the beaches in the Cinque Terre are particularly noteworthy, Vernazza’s harborfront beach can be a lovely place to spend a sunny day. The beach in Vernazza has the benefit of being entirely public, so there aren’t any umbrellas or beach chairs set up that you’d have to rent. You just need to find an available spot on the beach, put down a towel, and enjoy the sun and sea. Doria Castle TowerOne of the features that makes Vernazza so picturesque from the trails on either side of it is the Doria Castle Tower that sits on the promontory overlooking the harbor. Built in the 11th century to help protect Vernazza from pirates, it now serves as a gorgeous lookout point. Boat ToursIn addition to hiking or taking the train between the villages of the Cinque Terre, there is also boat service connecting the towns during good weather. You don’t have to think of it as transportation, however. Hop on a boat in Vernazza and ride back and forth along the coast for lovely views of the villages and cliffs from the water, a vantage point many visitors never get. Wine TastingUp and down the cliffs in the Cinque Terre you’ll see vineyards, so why not sample some locally-grown wine while you’re in Vernazza? Much of the Cinque Terre wine is white, and one of the best-known wines is a sweet wine called sciacchetra that’s often paired with biscotti for an afternoon snack. Visit any of the wine shops (called “enoteca”) in Vernazza to see what’s local and get some Cinque Terre wines to bring home. Church of Santa Margherita d’AntiochiaThe bell tower and pretty tiled dome of the Church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia are part of what makes Vernazza’s harbor so picturesque, so don’t miss visiting the actual church. No one knows when the original church on this site was built, but it could be as old as the 11th century. Major architectural changes were made in the 17th and 18th centuries, with more restoration work in the 20th century. ShoppingEvery Cinque Terre village has ample shopping options open during the high season, and Vernazza is no exception. In addition to the wine shops listed above, there are shops selling local foods (such as pesto and olive oil) and plenty of postcards and souvenirs. Many of the souvenirs are similar from town to town in the Cinque Terre, so if you’re in the area for a few days you can browse shops in each town to find unique gifts or mementos. VoluntourismIn October of 2011, Vernazza and Monterosso were both heavily damaged by the mudslides that resulted after torrential storms. The towns have recovered incredibly well, thanks in large part to the help of volunteers who spend part of their vacations restoring the villages and the hiking trails. There are still projects that are ongoing in Vernazza and throughout the Cinque Terre, so if you’re interested in doing some good work during your stay check out the Save Vernazza website.