Wednesday
Sep112013

Agoda.com prepares great hotel deals to celebrate Nepal’s trekking season

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), is offering amazing deals on hotels for hikers, trekkers and adventure seekers in Nepal, one of the most rugged, remote and beautiful countries in the world. The September-November trekking season is a perfect time to go, with cool weather, and generally clear skies.

Trekking in Nepal has become a major part of the country’s economy and its largest source of revenue, so it’s surprising to learn that only a few decades ago it wasn’t even something that existed as an organized activity. In 1965 Jimmy Roberts, a British Colonel and member of the famed and feared Gurkha military unit figured that people might enjoy breathing the crisp, cool air as they trekked across pristine mountain passes in the shadow of some of Earth’s tallest mountains. He devised a system wherein visitors would walk, assisted by Sherpas and support animals that would carry supplies. His idea immediately gained popularity, and visitor numbers have continued to climb ever since – Nepal had almost 600,000 tourist arrivals in 2012.

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Wednesday
Sep042013

Agoda.com presents fantastic hotel deals for an amazing summer trip to Paris

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), is providing great deals on hotels in Paris to help celebrate the coming end to Summer, as well as many of the fantastic trade shows, exhibitions and fairs that populate the city during this time.

Paris during peak summer travel time is often uncomfortably hot, but once nearer to the end of the season, it becomes an absolute pleasure to stroll around in. Musicians play on street corners, long hours are spent eating and drinking on patios, and there are festivals, fairs, and events large and small that bring in attendees from all over the world. Below Agoda.com presents a few that are worth checking out.

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Wednesday
Aug212013

Agoda.com highlights top hotels for Munich’s Oktoberfest

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), is getting ready to lift a glass in celebration of the world’s largest fair – the yearly celebration of Oktoberfest, held for 16 days every October in Munich, Germany. This year the festival will be held from September 21 to October 6.

The image of Oktoberfest around the world is one of smiling girls in traditional German Dirndl dresses, holding a 10 or 12 giant mugs of beer. While this is definitely a big part of celebrating with the locals, the festival has come to encompass so much more in its 203-year history.  In 1810, Munich citizens were invited to a giant field to celebrate the wedding of Prince Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The celebrations were held on Theresa’s Meadow – Theresienwiese in German. Both the name and the tradition stuck, and today the celebration is known to locals simply as die Wiesn.

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Wednesday
Aug212013

Agoda.com pinpoints 10 hotels with easy access to Mt. Fuji

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), is helping travelers to Japan realize one of the most coveted views in the whole country with 10 hotels perfectly located to reward guests with breathtaking vistas of Mount Fuji, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in June.

Long considered a sacred home to ancient spirits and a source of great power, Fuji-san, as it is known to locals, is a nearly perfectly symmetrical cone that rises gently out of the surrounding plain. For centuries artists have been reproducing its distinctive shape in every medium imaginable, a practice that boomed when Edo – now Tokyo, and only 100km away – was named the capital in 1600. Indeed, most people are probably familiar with the 19th-century woodblock print titled The Great Wave off Kanagawa, part of the Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji series by famed artist Katsushika Hokusai. The print shows a massive wave towering over several small boats, with Mount Fuji standing silently far in the background.

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Wednesday
Aug142013

Agoda.com winds up hotel deals in Hong Kong to celebrate world famous exhibitions on gems, jewellery and watches

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), is calling fans of jewellry, gems and timepieces to Hong Kong for two events that represent the very best of these specialized industries – the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, and the First Asia Haute Horlogerie Exhibition.

Held this year from 11-15 September, the Jewellery & Gem Fair is the world’s number one jewellery event, hosting over 50,000 buyers from around the world who come to inspect the wares of over 3,500 exhibitors displaying a huge variety of jewellery, gemstones, equipment and services.

In fact, the event is so big that it must be held in two venues – the AsiaWorld-Expo and the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre – offering a total of 135,000 sq.m of exhibition space. Attendees can browse an unprecedented range of products, talk with exhibitors from 22 countries, and visit the 16,000sq.m diamond pavilion, assembled under the banner of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre and the Israel Diamond Institute.

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Wednesday
Aug142013

Agoda.com customer survey reveals Asia’s best airports

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), has released a list of Asia’s best airports as ranked by customers who flew into its largest cities.

Airports are fascinating structures, and require a level of planning and design not unlike a small city. In this regard, a customer’s perception of whether an airport is “good” or not depends on many factors: signage, food selection, facilities for the disabled, ease of movement, rest options and even how many bathrooms there are.

Failure to plan correctly can result in expensive delays, such as when Heathrow Airport’s new Terminal 5 opened in 2008 and had to content with dozens of cancelled flights and thousands of stranded passengers on its first day. Similarly, Denver Airport’s cutting-edge baggage system turned out to be a failure, costing the airport USD $1 million per month in maintenance costs until it was ultimately abandoned. When it comes to airports, details matter.

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Wednesday
Aug072013

Agoda.com and Scoot join to offer easy hotel booking 

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), has announced a partnership with budget airline Scoot that will allow customers to book hotels at their destination without ever leaving the Scoot website.

Billed as an airline “for the young, the young-at-heart and the value seeking,” Scoot is the low-cost arm of famed Singapore Airlines that offers its guests great value airfares and empowerment to choose the frills and services they want without subsidizing the choices of others. Launched in November 2011, the company has carved out a niche for itself based on “Scootitude”, a term coined to describe the unique attitude of the young airline to be different, engaging and fun-loving.

Now, customers who visit www.flyscoot.com/hotels can browse thousands of hotels from Agoda.com’s inventory and book rooms worldwide, taking advantage of Agoda.com’s Lowest Price Guarantee.

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Wednesday
Jul312013

Agoda.com prepares festive deals in London for the Notting Hill Carnival

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), is celebrating the arrival of the annual Notting Hill Carnival with budget-saving deals on hotels in London’s celebrated Notting Hill neighborhood. This year the celebration takes place on August 25 and 26.

Widely known for its historical architecture, fashionable stores and trendy restaurants, it’s sometimes hard to believe that Notting Hill was once known as “the Piggies,” due to the high number of pig farms in the area. However, in the mid-1800s it began the slow transformation into a residential neighborhood for the expanding city, and soon became home to a large population of Caribbean immigrants, whose rich culture helped shape its development. The mid- 20th century was not so kind, however, as the area became known for widespread crime and slum conditions, but in the decades since then it has grown and evolved into a chic and upscale residential destination.

The carnival that takes its name from the area began in 1959, when a woman named Claudia Jones organized an indoor celebration as a positive counterweight to recent riots and to encourage community spirit. The party caught on, and was soon being held annually, reflecting the Caribbean culture, art and character that the area is rooted in.

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Wednesday
Jul242013

Agoda.com highlights hotel deals to celebrate the Sri Lankan Nallur Festival

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), is offering great deals on hotels in the northern town of Nallur, Sri Lanka, for the annual Nallur Festival, an exuberant and colorful celebration with great spiritual significance for local Hindus. This year the festival will kick off on August 12.

The festival is based around the Nallur Kandaswamy Temple, one of the most important temples in Sri Lanka. It was originally founded in 948 AD, but has been rebuilt and moved several times until the present construction was erected in 1749, with additions and improvements added in the following years. The last major renovations were in 1964 when the Grand Hall was upgraded, and in 2011 when a 30-meter gopuram, or ornately decorated tower, was unveiled.

The festival itself is held annually to honor Skanda (also known as Murugan, Dhandapani, and many other names), the Hindu god of war and victory. It’s one of the longest festivals you’re likely to attend, actually, and takes place over 25 days. This includes parades, food, music, performances and symbolic rounds of the temple made by crowds holding aloft effigies representing Skanda, his holy spear, or his consorts. Special ceremonies called pujas are also performed by priests, and the festival’s grand finale is a boisterous parade, where thousands of devotees pull an elaborate chariot and its rider – dressed to resemble Skanda – through town to the temple and place him on an ornate thrown. The act is said to bring the god closer to his people, witnessing their devotion, love and purity.

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Wednesday
Jul172013

Agoda.com gets ready for Spain’s wildest food fight with Valencia hotel deals

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), has prepared some great hotel deals for Spain’s squishiest, goopiest and messiest festival – the raucous free-for-all of La Tomatina, the tomato festival, often called the world’s largest food fight. This year it takes place on August 28.

There are several stories as to the origin of the festival, which takes place in the town of Buñol, about 35km west of Valencia. The most popular one says it began in the mid 1940’s when local youths got into a fight and started hurling the first thing they could get their hands on – tomatoes. For some reason, it caught on as an annual event and the following years saw the celebration grow until it was formalized as an annual festival in 1957.

Pictures of the festival showcase the craziness that goes on – thousands of smiling revelers covered in red paste sloshing around in shin-high piles of squashed tomatoes. But one can’t just show up and start throwing tomatoes willy-nilly – the throwing doesn’t actually begin until a ham is collected from the top of a greased pole. Yes, you read that right. As the crowd sings and dances in a spray of water from huge hoses, one participant squirms his way up the pole to a suspended ham. When the ham is dropped into the crowd, a gunshot rings out and several large dump trucks begin their slow roll through the street, dispensing a combined 40 tons of soft tomatoes. From that point on, it’s madness.

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