By TPN/PA, in Travel · 18-01-2019 15:47:00 · 1 Comments A short ferry ride from Singapore, Bintan is the tropical playground we should all get to know, says Katie Wright. Everyone's reaction is the same when I tell them the name of the Indonesian island I'm about to visit. 'Like the beer?' they ask. No, that's Bintang, I point out. I'm off to Bintan. Evidently this Indonesian outcrop isn't as famous as its soundalike lager, but by rights it should be, because the high-end holiday destination has got a lot going for it, with some residents touting it as a rival to the country's best-known tourist destination, Bali. Part of the Riau archipelago, the 450square kilometre island is only accessible by sea (unless you happen to have a helicopter), with most visitors sailing via Malaysia or Singapore. The latter is where I fly into, jumping on the speedy 45-minute ferry from the Tanah Merah terminal after spending a couple of days sightseeing in the … [Read more...] about Why Bintan is the new tropical paradise
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From playing pétanque and defeating Dracula to tasting beer and braving ghostly tales, fun in Nottingham is going underground for six days as the city's cave festival returns for 2019. Taking place at various subterranean hidden gems from Friday, April 5 to Wednesday, April 10, the festival showcases a snippet of Nottingham's 800 or so caves, some in the most unusual of ways. The standout new addition for this year's Cave City: Underground Festival is of course, the tours of Rock Cemetery's caves. Sold out in just 48 hours and with a waiting list of around 500 people, you may have to wait well past next week to have a nosey. But never fear, there are still plenty more to explore including a rare opportunity to visit Mortimer’s Hole under Nottingham Castle. Take a look at the full list below. Cave Escape Friday, April 5-Wednesday, April 10 Teams have one hour to save the world from Dracula's grasp at Cave Escape, in Mansfield Road. Priced between £19 and £25 per … [Read more...] about Cave City festival 2019: A full list of everything that’s on offer
"I think people are more anxious than ever before, but I think we are over-diagnosing it as well probably. For a long time, even up to 10 years ago, people would come in with depression, addiction, lots of other issues. Now, anxiety is ubiquitous. Every single person who comes in has anxiety, and also whatever else," she says. Certainly the stats would seem to bear this out: Anxiety disorder is the most common mental illness in Ireland, the UK and America. Roughly 18.1pc of Americans have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. There has been a 1,200pc increase in diagnoses of anxiety since 1980. That is not happy reading. The problem - one of them, anyway - is that anxiety is infectious. "The thing about anxiety is, if I'm anxious about something, it's my primal urge to make you anxious," says Stella. "Because either I'm a fool for being anxious, or you're a fool for not being anxious. Either way, I need to get you on board." This, she says, is responsible for the kind of pre-Leaving … [Read more...] about The ‘anxious well’: What can we do to confront our anxiety and begin to reduce it?
Driving to meet former TD Mary White at the eco-tourism business she now runs with husband Robert beneath the Blackstairs Mountains, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. Was this a worthy-but-woolly initiative I would applaud but have little interest in returning to? Or could it have the spark of something special? "People are exhausted when they come here," Mary said, welcoming me to Blackstairs Eco Trails at the couple's home near Borris, Co Carlow. "They are so stressed out. But they get a great night's sleep. We live in busy cities. We need to get away." I could relate to that. So, it turns out, could Mary and Robert. In a former life, she was a Green Party TD; he ran a busy book-selling business in Dublin. When Mary lost her seat in 2011, they began building an eco-tourism business around their home, an old rectory set beneath the Blackstairs. They offer guided walks with afternoon tea (from €35). A barn dating from 1831 has been converted with eco-friendly insulation, … [Read more...] about Pól Ó Conghaile: The small Irish hideaway that could teach big hotels a lesson
In some distant bar, in a steamy corner of Indochina, I once met a man who had spent a lifetime trawling through Asia. He was a Graham Greene character, dishevelled, weary, wrestling with his soul after several G&Ts. We talked of places, of here and there. In his crumpled suit, he seemed unable to raise much enthusiasm for anywhere in particular. Until I mentioned Cambodia. Suddenly, his eyes lit up. ‘The last paradise of Indochina,’ he said. ‘Once you get beyond those spooky temples.’ My friend’s spooky temples are the magnificent ruins of Angkor, one of the must-see experiences in south-east Asia. Encased in vines and strangler figs, the crumbling façades, with their tributes to mysterious gods, are a place for explorers to commune with the ancient world while channelling their inner Indiana Jones. More than two million visitors a year do just that, and little wonder: this is one of the world’s most astonishing archaeological treasures. … [Read more...] about In deep in Indochina: Cambodia’s remarkable new hideaway resorts revealed