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Chinese history comes alive in Nanjing

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In southern China, the ancient capital city of Nanjing beckons travelers who long to immerse themselves in Chinese history and culture.

Nanjing served as the capital city of 10 dynasties and regimes over more than 1,800 years and is home to some of China’s most significant historical attractions, including the Xiaoling Tomb of the Ming Dynasty, Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum, the Presidential Palace and the City Wall, which dates back more than 600 years.

Here, past dynasties are alive and well, entwined with glittering modern skyscrapers. The misty Purple Mountain looms in the distance and the Ningzheng Ridge forms a crescent around this city in the heart of the Yangtze River delta.

If you visit Nanjing, don’t just see the sights like a tourist. Walk in footsteps of the past with these thought-provoking, immersive experiences designed to bring Nanjing’s history and culture to life.

Imperial Examination Experience

Do you have what it takes to be a top scholar? When you take part in the Imperial Examination Experience at Nanjing’s Jiangnan Imperial Examination Hall Museum, you will step into the shoes of an ancient Chinese civil servant and find out. Beginning in the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to 220 A.D.), citizens wishing to serve in the state bureaucracy were required to pass a rigorous government-issued examination. However, the test didn’t involve job skills. Instead, it assessed candidates’ knowledge of classic literature and literary style. Successful candidates were generalists who shared a common language and culture, which helped to unify the empire and shape the fabric of China’s intellectual, cultural and political life.

During the three-hour Imperial Examination Experience, you’ll dress in traditional attire and learn to create Chinese calligraphy with a brush pen and make thread-bound books to take home as a souvenir. You will walk away having experienced a glimpse of what ancient Chinese life was really like.

Chinese Tea Culture Experience

Few things are as closely associated with China as tea. Its long history as an indispensable part of daily life runs like a silk thread through everything from poetry to painting to calligraphy to medicine. Travelers seeking a deep exploration of tea should be sure to book the Chinese Tea Culture Experience in Nanjing.

During this four-hour activity, you’ll see the stunning and peaceful Xuanwu Lake Park, formerly an imperial garden, before you disappear into a secret interior passageway in the Nanjing City Wall to find the hidden, speakeasy-style Lao Cui Teahouse. There, you’ll learn about the importance of tea in the Chinese culture from a tea master, who will guide you in the ways of brewing a perfect cup of tea. Finally, you’ll learn the ancient art of Chinese woodblock printing and create your own as a keepsake of the experience.

Nanjing Cloud Brocade Museum

Yunjin, meaning “as beautiful as a cloud at sunset,” is silk brocade exquisitely woven in a style dating back 1,500 years. Incorporating silk, gold and silver threads, and even peacock feathers, the fabric was once reserved exclusively for the ornate dragon robes worn by emperors. At the Nanjing Cloud Brocade Museum, the only one of its kind in the world, visitors can watch as artisans weave the brocade in the traditional style on self-powered looms. The craft is so intricate that the weavers produce only five centimeters of yunjin per day.

Nanjing Impressions

Founded in 1994, Nanjing Impressions is considered one of the must-visit restaurants in all of China for locals and travelers alike. Named a Top 50 Chinese Heritage Restaurant, it aims to preserve traditional Huaiyang cuisine, a popular and prestigious style of cooking in Jiangsu Province that has been designated as one of the four great traditions of Chinese cuisine.

The atmosphere in Nanjing Impressions transports you to the past with its interior designed like an ancient tea house, hundreds of hanging lanterns, wooden benches and authentic dress for the servers and chefs. The experience is vibrant, with servers shouting blessings as they pass traditional Nanjing specialties. You’ll find many duck dishes on the menu here, but make sure to try the city’s signature dish of Nanjing Salted Duck, a 400-year-old recipe that involves a complicated procedure of brining and dry rubbing that produces a rich, tender bird.

The Chinese believe a perfect meal consists of 10 dishes, so come hungry to experience this love letter to Nanjing cuisine.

Qinhuai River Cruise

Float lazily down Nanjing’s Mother River on a romantic evening cruise, and you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time to the city’s roots. Distant strains of guqin, a traditional Chinese stringed instrument, waft through the air as you cruise along the lantern-lit Qinhuai Scenic Area, with its quaint riverboats, footbridges and Chinese architecture including one of the world’s best-preserved Barbican gates. As the ancient Chinese world floats by, you’ll understand why the Qinhuai River cruise is one of Nanjing’s top attractions.

Ready to start planning your Nanjing experience? Visit gotonanjing.com for more information, details on tour packages, and other travel planning resources.

Destinations

Destination Langkawi: Beyond the Beaches

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With 550-million years of geological history and generations of mythical folklore, there is always something new for guests of Four Seasons Resort Langkawi to uncover on the island.

A paradise of panoramas, the Langkawi archipelago is an amalgam of mangroves and mountains, rainforests and rivers, wildlife and waterfalls, legends and local charm, tidal flats and coral reefs, cliffs and caves. Whether appreciated from the vantage point of a bike, kayak, boat, cable car, sky-bridge or simply on foot, the islands’ thrilling topography ensures a truly breathtaking backdrop for myriad magical and memorable encounters.

Water Worlds

Beyond the beaches, water sports and diving, Langkawi offers visitors rainforests, mangrove “sea forests,” cascading waterfalls, hidden lakes and glistening paddy fields to explore.

Outdoor enthusiasts will be spoiled for choice.  The uninhabited islet of Pulau Langgun offers an exhilarating rainforest immersion and lush wilderness trek to the hidden sanctuary of Tasik Langgun, a large freshwater lake.  Build an appetite biking through paddy fields to Durian Perangin Waterfall – 14-tiers of clear cascading water – perfect for a refreshing dip and picnic.  Or visit the island’s tallest waterfall, Temurun (30 metres or 98 feet), for another scenic natural swimming pool.

A mangrove kayak get guests unobtrusively close to the magic and mystery of forests that straddle land and sea. Traverse small, dense tributaries and follow the natural ebb and flow of this fascinating ecosystem to uncover hidden delights behind each corner. Alternatively, take a coastal kayak along the emerald seascapes of Langkawi’s less explored eastern rim, and paddle through a 15 metre (49 foot) cave tunnel for an unforgettable swim in a salt-water lake.

Mineral and Mystical  

Steeped in geological heritage, Langkawi has some of the world’s oldest and most intriguing naturally formed gems.  Shaped by plate tectonics, volcanic activity, ocean submersion and erosion, Langkawi’s many rock formations have evolved over millennia into exciting natural habitats, many animated by fantastical folklores and legends.

Adrenalin seekers can heed the call of the ancient limestone cliffs for an afternoon of rock-climbing and abseiling within the Resort’s grounds. Just a short distance away, the Langkawi Sky Bridge – suspended 700 metres (2,300 feet) above sea level and accessed via the world’s steepest cable car – offers an up close experience of Malaysia’s oldest rocks (the Machinchang Formation), not to mention far-reaching views extending to southern Thailand.

Fuel for the imagination, Langkawi’s craggy coastline of hidden coves, sunken caves and majestic peaks is straight out of a fairytale and sets the scene for a magical adventure. The intriguing Gua Cerita (Cave of Legends) is the mythical home of a giant phoenix, a captive princess and a deadly giantess. Tasik Dayang Bunting (Lake of the Pregnant Lady) was formed when a huge limestone cave collapsed, resulting in a figure resembling a pregnant woman lying on her back. Locals believe that the lake, famed for the legend of celestial princess Mambang Sari, possesses mystical powers.

Back at the Resort, Spa devotees will be entranced by the element-based offerings at the Geo Spa, where the ancient healing energies of the Geopark meet bespoke natural treatments by ila.

Wildlife and Local Life

A bird watcher’s paradise – the open rainforest corridor, mist-covered Gunung Raya peak, and local village ponds provide the opportunity for ornithologists to tick a fair few flying friends off their must see list. Langkawi is home to approximately 200 species including: flower peckers, hills mynas, dollar birds, sun birds, eagles, woodpeckers, lesser whistling-ducks, little egrets, Chinese pond herons, striated swallows and the largest of them all, the great hornbill, measuring in at 1.3 metres (more than 4 feet).

Animal lovers will not want to miss the mangrove boat safari into the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park and its maze of meandering mangroves for exciting up-close encounters with majestic eagles and kites, mischievous macaques, fish that walk (mudskippers), colourful fiddler crabs, shy otters and sleeping bats.

Cultural connoisseurs will be enthralled by the Malaysian book village of Kampung Buku and the bucolic beauty of stilted wooden houses in local villages. A visit to the fishermen’s village of Kuala Teriang enables visitors to quietly observe fisherfolk return with their day’s catch, or sample delicious deep-fried banana fritters with local milk tea at wooden roadside stalls. Back at the Resort, relish local spices and ingredients during a Malay-cuisine cooking class – available as both adult and child-size experiences.

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Green Bay’s Titletown is a travel touchdown

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Some travel trends come and go, but others have staying power. Sports-themed travel is gaining momentum, and experts predict that it’s only going to get bigger. If you like the thrill of competition, the history of the game and the joy of being a fan, consider sports-themed destinations for your next vacation.

Location

A prime example of sports-themed travel is Green Bay, Wisconsin. Whether you are a Packers fan or a football fanatic, this distinctive area is ideal for couples or family getaways. The city’s new Titletown development offers travelers an array of sports-themed activities to explore, with something to tempt all of the senses.

A 45-acre development adjacent to Lambeau Field, Titletown boasts a variety of amenities, a brewery and an outdoor park experience with year-round programming. Check out a concert or start a pickup game of football on the artificial turf.

Accommodations

Located just yards from Lambeau Field, Lodge Kohler gives you a home field advantage in the heart of the action. The hotel design is rugged yet refined, and it commemorates the game with historic Biever family photos of the Green Bay Packers throughout the timeless brick building. You’ll find dining, a spa, pool and fitness center.

Attractions

The draw of Green Bay has been and always will be Lambeau Field — one of the most storied stadiums in the United States. At the Packers Hall of Fame in the Lambeau Field Atrium, visitors can discover interactive displays, guided tours and the seasonal Packers Training Camp.

Explore more of the sports team’s past on the Oneida Nation Walk of Legends or the Packers Heritage Trail, which pays homage to the buildings, businesses and people that have historical significance to the team. Team history abounds around every corner of Green Bay’s scenic urban trail and may be traveled by foot, Segway or trolley.

Celebrations

There’s even more worth celebrating over the next year in Green Bay: The Packers have spent a century on the gridiron. The 100 Seasons celebration will feature events in Titletown and throughout Green Bay, culminating with a 100th birthday party on Aug. 11, 2019.

Want more than football? Neighboring Lambeau Field, the Resch Center — home of the Green Bay Phoenix men’s college basketball team and USHL Green Bay Gamblers hockey team — offers year-round entertainment, as it hosts national touring artists and family entertainment on and off the ice.

Eats and sweets

Hunger will lead you to Lodge Kohler for memorable dining. Meet at Leaps & Bounds Cafe for a quaint breakfast, lunch or coffee perk-up. Revel in the sweeping views of the stadium from the outdoor terrace and panoramic windows at Taverne in the Sky, which features modern rotisserie cuisine for lunch and dinner. For dessert or a sweet treat, get a taste of Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates.

Learn more about crafting the perfect sports-themed travel experience at https://www.lodgekohler.com.

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Langkawi: Mile-Long Beach Blessings and Other Shoreline Secrets

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When it comes to defining a great beach resort, some people rate looks and location, others service and style. For those who want it all, there’s Four Seasons Resort Langkawi.

The Resort spans its own vast swathe of Tanjung Rhu (meaning cape or promontory, and casuarina tree) – undoubtedly one of the finest beaches in Malaysia: remote, expansive and tree-fringed, with beckoning waters and views that stretch towards mainland Thailand.

A mile (1.6 kilometres) in length, the beach lends the Resort an endless sense of space and privacy. Forty-eight acres (20 hectares) of botanical gardens lie parallel to the sands – punctuated with 91 beach villas and pavilions that echo the awe-inspiring drama of the surrounding UNESCO Geopark.

Testament to the beach itself, the island’s best water sports facilities can be found on-site – including Malaysia’s first and only high-tech X-Jetblades.

Complimentary use of kayaks, windsurfs and catamarans makes the water accessible to all, while complimentary hourly beach amenities keep sun-seekers happy and hydrated.

The Olympic-length Adult Quiet Pool also lies parallel to the water. Its 8 walled cabanas offer privacy from adjacent couples and frame a view that’s entirely one’s own.

Three restaurants flank the beach, while the Rhu Bar offers optimum beachside sunset viewing and swinging seats for two to make the most of the experience.

At every turn, stunning spaces and hideaway places beneath trees and towering cliffs make picture-postcard backdrops for beach weddings and events.

Private dining is no less impressive: under a cabana on the sands or a beach barbecue with your own private che.

Kids’ Club and the four-in-one family pool (complete with waterfalls, lounge areas, jets and shallow pools) are just a hop, step and a jump from the sand – where young ones (and young at heart) can also play beach football and volleyball, or fly handmade Malaysian kites.

And last but by no means least, the beach is the gateway to a host of adrenalin-fuelled adventures. Wander through the rainforest at the northern tip of the beach to the Resort’s rock-climbing wall and archery range. Or cruise directly into the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park for a naturalist-led, National Geographic-style encounter with eagles, monitor lizards, walking fish and even elusive otters.

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