Showing posts with label Travel Feature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel Feature. Show all posts

Sunday, December 12, 2021

World's Top Five Tallest Buildings are Located in Asia!

December 12, 2021 0

The current top five tallest buildings in the world are all located in Asia. Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE; Merdeka 118 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Shanghai Tower in Shanghai, China.

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa has been the tallest building in the world since 2010. It has a total height of 829.8 meters and a roof height of 828 meters (2,717 ft).

It's not only world's tallest building, it also broke two world's records according to its official website: tallest structure, previously held by the KVLY-TV mast in Blanchard, North Dakota, and tallest free-standing structure, previously held by Toronto's CN Tower. 

Its is named after Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the president of the UAE and the ruler of Abu Dhabi. 

The building is a Neo-Futurism architectural style and designed by Adrian Smith of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), a Chicago-based global architectural firm.

It's located at 1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Merdeka 118

Formerly known as KL 118 and Warisan Merdeka Tower, Merdeka 118 is a 118-storey building in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with a height of 678.9 meters.

It's still on its way of completion and will be fully operational by 2022. It's a mix-use structures of shopping centers, offices, retail stores, residential and hotel observation.

Owned by PNB Merdeka Ventures, its architectural designer is Fender Katsalidis, an Australian architectural firm. Located at Jalan Hang Jebat, Petaling street, KL, Malaysia.

This is Southeast Asia's tallest building.

Shanghai Tower

Rising on Pudong avenue near the Huangpu river in Shanghai, Shanghai Tower is China's tallest building and second fully operational tallest building in the world after Burj Khalifa.

It is 632 meters tall and 128 storey of shopping centers, office spaces, residential, hotels and retail stores. It has the world's second high speed operation elevators.

Its tiered construction designed for high energy efficiency, provides nine separate zones dividend between office, retail and leisure use. It is operated by the Shanghai municipal government.

Its architectural designer is Gensler, the world's most renowned architectural firm and designer based in San Francisco, USA.

Abraj Al-Bait

It's a government-operated complex of seven skyscraping hotels located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The complex is part of the King Abdulaziz Endowment project aims to modernize the pilgrimage site in Mecca.

The Makkah Clock Hotel Tower is the biggest clock face in the world. It houses Clock tower museum.

Its architectural design is Neo-classical and designed by The SL Rasch GmbH Special and Lightweight Structures, based in Stuttgart, Germany, and Dar Al-Handasah Consultants based in Beirut, Lebanon.

It has a total height of 601 meters tall.

Ping An International Finance Center

The fifth tallest building in the world is Ping An International Financial Center located in Shenzhen, Guandong, China.

It has a height of 562 meters or 1,844 feet. It is the second tallest building in China after Shanghai Tower.

Commissioned by Ping An Insurance, it is designed by an American architectural firm based in New York City, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates.

Upcoming world's record holder

However, Burj Khalifa's record might be edged out soon as Saudi Arabia is currently constructing the world's most anticipated tallest building, Jeddah Tower, in Jeddah, KSA.

It has a planned height of 1,000 meters high. Architect designer is Adrian Smith, the designer of Burj Khalifa and Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai, China's tallest building until 2007.

Jeddah Tower completion is still unknown.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

How Safe Flying with Budget Airlines? Here’s World’s Safest and Accident-prone Airlines

August 21, 2021 0

Since the low-cost flying trend was introduced in early 2000, traveling abroad and anywhere in the country has never been this faster and convenient. What was once a six-day sea travel, can now take up to only two hours by air.

But with recent aviation disasters hounding the budget airline industry due to maintenance issues, technical malfunction, less-trained pilots, among others, travelers began to worry if boarding a low-cost airline poses more danger than with an expensive airline.

This concept however, was refuted by the Federal Aviation Administration, stating that all airline companies, whether budget airline or an expensive one, must meet the safety regulations set by the International Aviation Authority before given a go signal to operate. If an airline passes this review, there’s no reason why it should not be considered safe

Reason for Air Tragedy

There are several reasons why a plane crash occurs. It could be natural disaster, stormy weather, technical malfunction, controlled flight terrain or airline’s poor reputation on aircraft maintenance, and sadly, pilot error.

Other air disasters were attributed to a loose missile, intentional and targeted air crimes like hijacking and shooting down, and recently, pilot suicide.

Some, however, remained a mystery, like the fate of Malaysian Air Flight MH370 that disappeared from the face of the earth in March 2014.

Terrible accidents happen, and no airline company is free from any trouble while up on air, even the most stable names can be tested when the aircraft has a faulty system and with cockpit flight crew that easily panic. 

However, it still spells a big difference if an airline undergoes a safety audit, has a reputation of ensuring a high standard operation maintenance, and provide excellent programs for pilot training.

All airlines have incidents every day, but most of these troubles can be attributed to engine manufacture issues and not airline operational problems. 

However, it is on how pilots handle the emergency that determines the fate of the flight and the safety of the passengers on board.

In the past air tragedies: LionAir Flight 610 (October 2018) a Boeing 737 Max aircraft, AirAsia Flight 8501 (December 2014) an Airbus A320 aircraft, Ethiopian Air Flight 302 (March 2019) a Boeing 737 Max unit, resulting investigation pointed to technical malfunction as the main cause of the trouble, but it was how the pilots responded to the malfunction/emergency that caused the plane to crash.

Two deadliest air disasters in the Philippines: Cebu Pacific Flight 387, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 type (February 1998) and Air Philippines Flight 541 (April 2000) Boeing 737 aircraft, were attributed to pilot error due to “controlled flight terrain”. Official result of the investigation ruled on the mistake of the pilots in maneuvering the plane resulting to its fatal demise.

Why flight crew tells us to turn off electronic gadgets

Takeoffs and landings are the most dangerous aspects in flying. Boeing research shows that statistically planes are more prone to technical malfunctions during takeoff and landings than in mid-air due to sudden change in altitude.

Pilots have less time to react to problems because they are close to the ground and moving quickly. Passengers are often advised to turn off electronic gadgets to avoid interrupting the aircraft system that may affect the course of the flight.

The Concept of Flying Cheaper

Let’s admit it, some of us never really thought (perhaps unconsciously) of checking safety in flying when booking a plane ticket. 

What we have in mind is just the “low airfare” factor, the cheaper the better, we normally wait for sale seats or seasonal deals when we plan a trip. Or if we eye a possible travel destination, we immediately check the promo seat offers of budget airlines

But do we bothered checking the airline’s safety records, the caliber of the pilot, the type of aircraft used for the low fare deals before booking a flight?

For budget travelers, the only factor that has been put into consideration is: Which airline offers the cheapest airfare deal that fits our budget?

Maintenance issues, aviation audit and other safety reviews never crossed in our mind. That’s how we plan a trip. Always on the cheapest deals but never on our safety.

Cost-cutting in Budget Airlines

The budget airlines cut all corners to reduce their airfare to the cheapest, mostly they have to remove the “flying in comfort factors” like the leg room, luggage allowances, flight meals, freebies, lounge amenities and well-paid pilots.

Another perception about budget airlines is that their flights are not often on time, mostly delayed, prone to misplacing passengers’ luggage and poor customer service. We have to get what we paid for, but sometimes we never mind these inconveniences, we go for anything that cut cost.

The Danger of Budget Airlines

When low-cost concept of flying was introduced in early 2000, the once hard-to-achieve dream of exploring beautiful destinations out-of-the-country suddenly became attainable. Domestic flights, as well as short haul destinations in Southeast Asia

Airasia brought the low-cost concept of flying in Asia in 2002, and it was a huge success that other premier airlines in the region began offering affordable flight rates. 

In the Philippines, Cebu Pacific joined AirAsia in the budget airlines revolution and the flag carrier, Philippine Airlines, even created a separate segment for this trend through its domestic carrier, PAL Express (formerly Air Philippines).

However, experts in aviation warn that this concept is detrimental to travelers as most budget airlines usually have tighter schedules and with less back up, safety of passengers ultimately became an issue in this segment.

Where to check safety records

International Air Transport Association (IATA) is a type of operational safety audit that most luxury airlines needed to complete. It is an internationally recognized evaluation designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline.

However, most budget airlines are not part of International Air Transport Association (IATA) so they are not obliged to take operational safety audit like International Operation Safety Audit (IOSA). And this is where all troubles came in. The next time you book a ticket, ensure to check the airline’s audit review on IOSA and IATA.

Safety in Budget Airlines

In the last couple of decades, the world had seen modernization in aviation which fortifies air travel as the safest and the fastest form of transportation.<

Aviation experts would often vouch the fact that statistically, air travel is considered safest compared to a land travel. 

The odds of a passenger being involved in an accident are incredibly small compared to a car, and the odd of dying in a plane crash is even smaller

This is largely drawn on the concept of probability. The lesser the hour of exposure, the minor incidents of tragedies.

However, air crash carries the worst scenario on fatality rate, almost 100% compared to land and sea travel. This is due to extreme impact of the plane hitting the crowd due to rapid descent.

This is the reason why we need to take precautions when booking an air ticket. For destinations that have no other alternative but to go what's available, passengers left no choice. But for destinations that have multiple airlines serving the route we need to check the safety records.

So how safe flying with a budget airline?

If an airline meets certain safety regulations, they are basically just as safe as any premium airlines. While there are airlines that scale from average to absolutely terrible with regards to safety records in flying, there are budget airlines that have never suffered a fatal crash like WestJet, Flybe, Virgin America and Jetstar according to Business Insider.

Safety Rating of Airlines

Passengers have ways to check if a particular airline follows safety regulations of international aviation authorities maintained a data base of airlines that have higher standard of safety. This is the only online safety and product rating website that devotes on airline reviews. 

They developed a rating system that promotes safety throughout the airline industry and awards 7-star as its highest rating.

The factors used by the website to draw the top list are based on a comprehensive analysis utilizing information from the world’s aviation governing body, crash data, results of audits conducted by the governing body of aviation, the international civil aviation organization, fatality-free record for the past 10 years and whether the airlines are on a banned list of countries.

Airlines that have done the International Operation Safety Audit (IOSA) are 4.3 times better on its safety record than ones that do not have

IOSA uses internationally recognized audit principles and designed to conduct audit in a standardized manner. Airlines are re-evaluated every two years.

If an airline gained an endorsement from Federal Aviation Authority, it is awarded with a full seven star. 

FAA endorsement is per country and not per airline company. The ban from FAA arises on the country’s inability to follow international aviation standards for aircraft operations and maintenance

Regardless of whether an airline company meets with international safety standards if its country of origin failed to adhere to the standard, potential risk to safety is considered too high by the FAA.

Let’s find out which airlines received highest ratings for safety. But first, we need to know the different types of aircraft utilized in commercial flights.

Types of Aircraft in Commercial Flights

Aircraft units are not solely produced by aircraft manufacturers. Large parts of an aircraft component are sourced out from specialized suppliers that support the requirements of these aircraft manufacturers.

There are five types of aircraft used in commercial flights. Airbus and Boeing are the most popular. They supply majority of commercial airlines in the world especially the long-haul flights. While Bombardier, Tupoloev and Embraer concentrate on domestic and regional airlines.

McDonnell Douglas DC once supply aircraft to commercial airlines (Cebu Pacific once maintained several domestic routes with this type of aircraft), however, recently only few airlines have this type of aircraft in their fleet.

AIRBUS – Registered in The Netherlands in Europe, Airbus is one of the world's leading aircraft manufacturers which most commercial airlines in the world sourced out their fleet. It is headquartered in Toulouse, France.

Airbus also has three subsidiaries in the USA, Japan and China. Currently, this type of aircraft has a product line-up of 14 jet types ranging from 100 to 525 seats. Airbus aircraft is recognized for its comfort, economy and versatility.

BOEING - It is the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft in the world. They also design and manufacture its own units, rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, satellites, launch vehicles and advanced information and communication systems.

It is a U.S company headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. They employ more than 158,000 people across the United States and in 70 countries, making them one of the most diverse and innovative workforces anywhere in the world.

BOMBARDIER – A global transportation company based in Montreal, Canada. They operate two businesses: Aerospace and Rail Transportation. Bombardier Aerospace is the world's third largest civil aircraft manufacturer after Boeing and Airbus

It is considered a leader in the design of innovative aviation products and services for the business, regional and amphibious aircraft markets. It's aircraft and services are seen in a number of different markets including: Business aircraft - Learjet, Challenger and Global aircraft families; Commercial aircraft - new CSeries program, CRJ Series and Q-Series aircraft families; Amphibious aircraft - Bombardier 415 and Bombardier 415 MP aircraft; Jet travel solutions.

EMBRAER – This is a Brazilian company with its main headquarter located in São José dos Campos, Brazil. It is one of the main aircraft manufacturers in the world and focusing on specific market segments with high growth potential in commercial, defense, and executive aviation.Since 1996, Embraer has produced and delivered more than 1000 ERJs to more than 37 airlines in 24 countries. The three markets that Embraer manufactures: Commercial Aviation, Defense system and Executive Aviation.

TUPOLOEV – A Russian aerospace company, headquartered in Moscow, Russia. It develops and manufactures both civil and military aerospace products such as aircraft and weapons systems. 

The company is also actively developing missile and naval aviation technologies, with more than 18,000 Tupolev aircraft produced for the USSR and the Eastern Bloc.

On March 27, 1977, Pan American World Airways Flight 1736 KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Flight 4805 both Boeing 747 passenger jetliners collided in the runway of Los Rodeos Airport, now Tenerife North Airport, in Tenerife, Canary Islands.

All 248 people on board the KLM had died while Pan Am recorded 335 fatalities and 61 survivors. It had 583 fatalities combined, the deadliest in aviation history. Resulting investigation on the accident pointed on the miscommunication between the Air Traffic Controllers and pilots of both flights while maneuvering a takeoff.

The second deadliest air disaster in the world is the Japan Airlines Flight 123, a scheduled domestic flight from Tokyo to Osaka. The aircraft was a Boeing 747SR

On August 12, 1985, the plane suffered a sudden decompression just 12 minutes after takeoff. The incident was the result of in-flight structural failure due to improper maintenance leading to rapid decompression.

It plummeted to the Mount Takamagahara, killing 520 people on board, however, it had four survivors, all females. The survivors seated on the left side and toward the middle seat rows 54-60 in the rear of the aircraft, the only part of the plane that remained intact after the crash. It was considered the deadliest air disaster in the world by a single flight.

The world’s deadliest mid-air crash happened on November 12, 1996. It involved Saudia Flight 763, a Boeing 747 aircraft, and Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907, an Ilyushin II-76, in Northern India. The two collided mid-air killing a combined of 349 people on board.

Turkish Airlines Flight 981, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aircraft, crashed on March 3, 1974 shortly after takeoff from Orly Airport in Paris, killing 346 people on board. It was the second deadliest single flight disaster in aviation history.

The deadliest air disaster involving Airbus

One of the Airbus aircraft models considered to be accident-prone is the A320 type. A narrow body airliner with a sitting capacity of 100 to 299.

It has more than 30 recorded accidents. One of the deadliest being TAM Airlines Flight 3054 that had overshoot the runway in Brazil due to pilot error, killing 175 people on board and 12 ground crew.

AirAsia Flight 8501 that crashed into the Java sea on December 28, 2014 was also an Airbus A320 type that malfunctioned mid-air, killing 162 people on board when it plummeted to the sea.

Resulting investigation pointed to technical malfunction that made the system entered the stalling condition forcing the plane to nosedive.

However, it was how the pilots responded to the malfunction that caused the plane to crash. After thorough investigation, it was found out that Airasia pilots are not trained to do an upset recovery when the flight system entered a stall condition.

One of the safest budget airlines in the world, a subsidiary of Cathay Airways

Accident-prone Aircraft 

Boeing 737 Max topped the list as the accident-prone aircraft type followed by Boeing 747.

In 2019, the aviation authority grounded all Boeing 737 Max units around the world after two of its units crashed in the span of just five months, the Indonesian Lion Air that plummeted into the Java sea followed by the Ethiopian Air that slammed to the farm field of Addis Ababa just minutes after takeoff.

McDonnell Douglas DC-80, Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 followed next. In Airbus family, the reported accident-prone aircraft type is the A320 with close to 10 fatal accident recorded. 

The Safest Aircraft?

So far the aircraft type that has the cleanest flight records are Boeing 717, Boeing 777, Airbus 380 superjumbo, Airbus 220, Airbus A319, Embraer ERJ-145. All have zero fatal accident. 

Safest Budget Airlines

The following list is based on review. These budget airlines have passed the stringent IOSA and have excellent safety records.

Air Arabia – UAE based airline with headquarter in Al Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, it earned a perfect seven-star rating due to its high standard safety record. As of 2017, it has no fatal crashes involved.

Wizz Air  – This is a Hungarian budget airline headquartered in Budapest. It is regarded as one of the safest low-cost carriers in Europe.

Westjet Airlines – This is a Canadian budget airline founded in 1996. It provides flight around the North American region and the Caribbean. It is the second largest air carrier in Canada behind Air Canada

Vueling Airline – This is a Spanish low-cost carrier headquartered in the bustling city of Barcelona. It is considered as the largest airline in Spain by fleet size and number of destinations

Volaris – A Mexican low cost carrier and the country’s second largest airline that flies non-stop within Mexico and the United States. It is considered the cheapest way to travel around Mexico and the safest.

JetBlue Airways – A major American low cost airline based in Long Island City, New York and the sixth largest airline in the United States.

IndiGo Airlines – A major budget airline in India and considered its largest airline by fleet size and passengers carried. It is also known for its punctual departures and arrivals and great customer service.

Hongkong Express Airways – This is the first low-cost airline in Hongkong fully owned by Cathay Pacific Airways. It is considered as one of the world’s safest budget airlines. It serves domestic and international flights and earned excellent reviews from satisfied passengers.

Frontier Airlines – One of the major budget airlines operating in the United States based in Denver, Colorado. It serves flights domestically and internationally. 

Flybe – This is United Kingdom’s largest domestic airline founded in 1979. It has been regarded as one of the safest budget airlines in Europe, however, it suffered a major blow when coronavirus hits the world. Flybe collapsed its operation and announced in March that they will stop operating and grounded all its flights.

Accident-prone Airlines

From the safest airlines to the most dangerous according to AirlineRatings:

Tara Air – AirlineRatings just gave it one-star (out of 7) rating on safety due to its multiple fatal crash in 2010 and 2011. This is a Nepal-based airline.

Nepal Airlines – it has seen nine fatal accidents over the last eight years. But we must remember that flying on a largely mountainous region like Nepal entails a lot of danger. Nepal Airlines fleet are banned to fly to any European Union members.

Ariana Afghan Airlines – This is a flag carrier of Afghanistan and has just five aircraft in its current operation.

Bluewing Airlines – Based in Suriname, a very small nation in South America. It is also banned to fly in the European airspace.

Kam Air – This Afghanistan based airline only managed to get a score of one star in safety. It is banned to fly in the U.S and European airspace due to safety records.

Trigana Air Service – This is an Indonesian airline which suffered 10 hull losses and 14 accidents and found itself banned from the airspace of the US and Europe.

SCAT Airlines – This is a Kazakhstan-based airline and has a very poor safety record. SCAT does not operate with an internationally recognized safety audit certificate however, it has no record of a fatal crash since 2013 and the airline has been making huge improvements on safety.

World's Safest Airlines

The Top 20 Safest Airlines in the world for 2020. These premium airlines are standout in the industry and are at the forefront of safety, innovation, and launching of new aircraft according to AirlineRatings Editor-in-Chief: Geoffrey Thomas.Flag carrier of Taiwan, one of the safest airlines in Asia

Qantas – the flag carrier of Australia. Qantas is considered the world’s safest airline for eight years in a row. It has no recorded fatal accidents that resulted to death since the commercial jet era.Air New Zealand – the flag carrier of New Zealand.

EVA Air – EVA stands for Evergreen Airways, is a second largest airline in Taiwan. It has no recorded hull losses, accidents, or fatalities since its establishment in 1989.

Etihad Airways – the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)</li><li>Qatar Airways – the flag carrier of Qatar.

Singapore Airlines -The flag carrier in Singapore</li><li>Emirates – This is a state-owned flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates based in Dubai.

Alaska Airlines – the fifth largest airline in the United States, headquartered in Washington

Cathay Pacific Airways – The flag carrier of Hongkong

Virgin Australia – an Australian airline and one of its largest in terms of fleet size.

Hawaiian Airlines – flag carrier of Hawaii, the largest commercial airline in the US.

Virgin Atlantic Airways – A British airline founded by Sir Richard Branson.

TAP Portugal – flag carrier of Portugal.

Scandinavian Airlines – flag carrier of Denmark

Royal Jordanian Airlines – flag carrier of Jordan

Swiss International Airlines – flag carrier of Switzerland

Finnair – a flag carrier and largest airline in Finland

Lufthansa – officially known as Deutsche Lufthansa AG is the flag carrier of Germany

Aer Lingus – flag carrier of Ireland

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines – flag carrier of The Netherlands

The Safest Airline In the World

Qantas is the safest airline in the world for eight consecutive years now. Qantas, stands for Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services, is the flag carrier of Australia.

It is the world’s safest airline due to the highest standards of training for its pilots, who are mostly top guns. When you pay for a Qantas ticket, it’s like you are paying for its best paid pilots.

Qantas has been the lead airline in virtually every major operational safety advancement over the past 60 years and has not had a fatality in the jet era and so with Hawaiian and Finnair.

Qantas is the most experienced airline in the industry and has been the leader in the development of future Air Navigation System, the flight data recorder to monitor plane and later crew performance, automatic landings using Global Navigation Satellite System as well as precision approaches around mountains in the cloud using RNP.

Always at the forefront of safety innovation, operational excellence and the launching of new more advanced aircraft like the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787.

Commercial Airlines in the Philippines

So, with the top 20 list of the world’s safest airlines rated by AirlineRatings, many might have wondered where the Philippine flag carrier, Philippine Airlines ([PAL) , stands in safety issues. It has no mention anywhere in the article despite all those flag carriers of other countries topping the list.

As of this research, PAL listed as 30 safest airline in the world. After careful evaluation and feedback from the airline and aviation industry, upgraded PAL’s rating to a 7-star score, which is considered a perfect score rating for safety records. While PAL’s domestic and budget airline, PAL Express, also earned a 7-star rating on safety.

PAL has been awarded by Skytax, a London-based rating organization as World’s Most Improved Airline for 2019. The Airline Passenger Experience Association in the United States also awarded the flag carrier of the Philippines with a 4-star global rating for quality service.

Apart from PAL, Philippines has two other commercial airlines: Cebu Pacific and Philippines AirAsia, an affiliate of the Airasia Group based in Malaysia.

Cebu Pacific and Philippines AirAsia focused its operations on the budget airline market. They maintained Airbus and Boeing aircraft types in their fleet.

And here’s good news to travelers! Apart from PAL and PAL Express, upgraded the safety rating for Cebu Pacific and Philippines AirAsia to 7-star because they have completed the IOSA!

The Fleet

Below are the types of aircraft utilized in the commercial  flights of the airline companies in the Philippines. Philippine Airlines: Airbus A320, A321, A321CEO, Airbus A330, Airbus A350-900, Boeing 777

PAL Express</strong>: Airbus A320, Airbus A321, Bombardier Q400 NextGen

Cebu Pacific Air</strong>: Airbus A320-200, Airbus A320neo, Airbus A321neo, Airbus A330-300, Airbus A321XLR, Airbus A330-900neo

Philippines AirAsia</strong>: Airbus A320-200, Airbus 320Neo, Airbus A321Neo

All Commercial airlines operating in the Philippines have achieved full compliance with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) joining a rooster of 429 airlines worldwide that have strictly complied with the international standards governing aviation safety

In addition, PAL, Cebu Pacific and Philippines AirAsia are not part of the banned list of airlines prohibited to fly in the U.S and Europe’s airspace.

This is to conclude that it is safe to fly with Philippine-based budget airlines!

Sunday, July 11, 2021

5 Outdoor Travel Ideas from Reba and Wu Lei We Can Take To De-Stress

July 11, 2021 0

The pandemic virtually forced us to stay at home. With nothing much to do other than wait for the world to reopen its door for leisure again.

However, as traveling slowly reopens,  adventurers at heart start eyeing destinations and activities how to make the most of the outdoor life after a year of home quarantining.

Though, things are no longer the same as before where we are free to explore the places anytime we like, we can still enjoy adventure as long as we are mindful with the health protocols and coronavirus guidelines set by the government.

Me at one of my nature trips pre-pandemic

Outdoor adventure is such a relaxing escape. It brings tons of benefits to our mental state and helps us breathe life comfortably. 

The calmness of nature and the refreshing view of the greenery fill our system with the vitality needed to go through times of uncertainties. An excursion to the mountain, trip to the countryside or simply chilling among the verdant trees in a botanical garden allow us to reboot from stress.

In addition, the natural beauty of the environment gives our soul a time to rest. It heals emotional and mental troubles especially during this difficult moment of our time.

By staring at nature alone is a gift to our sanity and vitality. It gives us a sense of balance, stabilizes our inner self and energizes our physical strength. It's a great diversion in life.

Here are five outdoor travel ideas inspired from the recent Weibo posts of our favorite C-Drama couple, Dilraba Dilmurat/Dilireba (who played Changge in The Long Ballad), and Leo Wu/Wu Lei (who portrayed Ashile Sun in the same series). 

Nature trips we can consider comes weekend, to help us slow down a bit. And take a breathe from all the muddles brought by pandemic.

1. Cycling Road Trip -  This is one of the favorite outdoor pursuits of people who love to hop in a bike. According to a cycling aficionado in her blog, "there's a feel-good factor that can be reaped from riding a bike on an outdoor adventure. It makes you smile and feel better because it is outdoor and you can bathe on the fresh air and sunlight".

Leo Wu during his recent biking road trip

Taking a cycling road trip in the countryside energizes the physical strength as you pedal through the breezy atmosphere. It also offers the best opportunity to see the environment in its natural beauty. 

2. Visit the nearest lakeside - A weekend getaway to the lake offers an opportunity to connect with nature and chill. Being in a scenic atmosphere gives us a different level of relaxation. And that's all what we wanted during this difficult time. 

Leo Wu pedaling his way through the scenic road and lakeside

The peaceful and tranquil surrounding of the lakeside provides relief and sanctuary from the chaos of the world. More over, a trip to the lakeside does good to our lungs because the atmosphere around the lake has negative ions and at its purest compared to the city air.

Qiandao lake in Zhejiang province, China

3. Chill in a mountain resort - Ah, mountain resort, who would not want to be in this tranquil place at this difficult time? Indeed, nature resort gives our body and mind an ultimate relaxation. It's a great opportunity to unwind and go off the radar for a time.

Reba chilling in a scenic surrounding

4. Dine in a Garden Cafe - Imagine relaxing in a tranquil environment, surrounded with lush tropical plants, while enjoying meals or a cup of coffee with a French toast? It's one of life's greatest comforts. 

Reba chilling in a garden cafe 

Dining Alfresco, with a view of perfect blooms and all the elements of nature, is a breather, a relaxing escape, a comfortable food getaway. 

It makes the dining experience more special and relax. Nothing beats outdoor dining in a time we all need to take a reset in life to forget the terrible things in the environment. 

So, relax, chill, and sit comfortably in a garden cafe, and enjoy an afternoon tea.

5. Walk around the nature trail - It does not have to be a rigorous mountain hike or a laborious  nature trek. A simple slow walk along the nature path soaked in verdant plants is enough to invigorate a mundane weekend.

Reba taking a nature walk

Immersing in nature is one of the ancient remedies to reduce stress and restore vitality. It does not necessarily to be very far from home, a public park with a huge portion of land shrouded with lush trees is enough to experience this comfort.

Wu Lei during his recent biking expedition in the countryside

Nature walk offers a quieter more peaceful life. It relieves anxiety and distress, as noises we can hear are only chirping of the birds, water running from a stream, rustling of the leaves and gentle swishing of the breeze.

Dilireba taking a walk in a quiet trail

A nature walk is very therapeutic. More and more people in some parts of the world take part in the so-called "forest-bathing", which involves a leisure walk around the forest or wilderness. 

Smelling the fresh blooms

It found out according to a study in Japan, that "forest-bathing" or a nature walk increases immune function and lower pulse rates and blood pressure. It also provides us with a happy hormones.

Reba doing some "forest-bathing"

So, just like what Dilireba did in her recent Weibo post - taking a nature walk and taking a whift of fresh blooms - schedule a trip to nature, mini-forest, a public park or a botanical garden near you and do some leisure stroll to calm your tired spirit and invigorate weary thoughts.

Walking along the scenic path and looking around the trees and flowers can do a miracle restoring our depleting energy and helps us recover from life's tension. The alluring view of nature alleviates distractions from the mind.

Our fave C-Drama couple, 
Reba and Wu Lei, 
taking off from their busy schedule to be with nature

Indeed, outdoor adventure is a therapy, a great stress reliever. Start planning a weekend escape from these five ideas from Reba and Wu Lei's latest outdoor trip. 

Who knows, a nature trip might be just want you needed to de-stress.

Photo credit: Wu Lei (Weibo) and Dilireba (Weibo)

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Monday, April 20, 2020

ST. Helena and Tristan da Cunha. The Secrets of the South Atlantic Ocean

April 20, 2020 0

St. Helena Island
With the never-ending fear and anxiety over the deadly coronavirus, travelers continue to wonder if there will be any good time to plan a trip again. Inconveniences are everywhere. Normal routine starts to sound like a thing of the past. If travel restrictions be lifted one day, where on earth would you like to travel?
I am seriously considering to fly to St. Helena island in the middle of South Atlantic Ocean where serenity is endless and scenic atmosphere is timeless.
As of the moment, we’re trapped in the crossfire of the mad world. Social media is very noisy, news feed is flooding with nonsense post-sharing and mentally stressful news.
Dreaming to be somewhere else, to the farthest corner of the earth where tranquility is priceless and environment is very laid-back, soothes weary mind. To become an islander sounds relieving from the uproar of a crazy society.
Yesterday, with nothing much to do, I googled “What is the most isolated inhabited, castaway island in the world?
Thought of packing my bags and move there someday 😀 My search returns two results:  Tristan da Cunha and St. Helena.

Wow. Serenity!

Two islands. One gift of a lifetime: Extreme solitude.
Kept hidden from the modern civilization where electricity (in Tristan da Cunha) is still run by a diesel generator, and tucked in the middle of nowhere, with nothing in sight but blue ocean, mountains and rolling hills, life in these volcanic tropical islands sounds like a total comfort of tranquility.
This amazing discovery, however, drew tons of questions in my mind. How life goes on there? How to go there in the first place, how much the trip costs?

Remotest of all Islands

Two secluded islands in the world in the middle of nowhere. Largely isolated, and almost hidden from the modern civilization.
So remote and almost removed from the world, no enthusiastic adventurers would ever embark a visit unless the trip is a long, well-planned expedition.
And who would want to spend money in that expedition? These islands are the hardest to reach and its reputation is largely unknown to travelers. Is it safe? Is it viable to even plan a trip there?
St. Helena and Tristan da Cunha. The secrets of the South Atlantic Ocean. Shrouded by thick fog and imposing mountains, protected by rough seas and dangerous harbors and hugged by crags and rugged volcanic terrain.
When you traced these islands in the map, it looked like floating green objects in the vast ocean without anything in sight but deep blue waters and steep mountain. Yet, these dots in the Atlantic are inhabited by 4,600 combined settlers.

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St Helena Island

Where in the world these settlers came from? And why chose these far-flung volcanic islands as permanent homes when there's nothing else there but ocean?
The islands seem keeping a secret from the world. Where is it located?
Together with Ascension Island, St. Helena and Tristan da Cunha, form the British Overseas Territories outside Africa and North America. The islanders are British citizen and speak English. These are the farthest and hardest islands to visit due to the toughest logistics and remote location.
Tucked in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean, the islands lie approximately 1,200 miles from the coast of  South Africa and about 1,800 miles from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The nearest land mass is Cape Town, South Africa.
It is surrounded by active volcanoes and harsh ocean, no deep harbors, no safe beach for swimming. However, longing to live in a remote island away from the craziness of the world is so attractive in this time of pandemic, that planning an adventure to these locations sounds like an antidote to mental exhaustion.
Let’s plan a trip to the South Atlantic Ocean and discover how to get there!


St. Helena is the oldest overseas protectorate of the United Kingdom after Bermuda. Its discovery dates back from 1502 when Galician navigator, Joao da Nova, in service of Portugal, first sighted the island. He named it in honor of Helena of Constantinople, the mother of King Constantine.
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St. Helena squeezed by two mountains

It was uninhabited when it was discovered and due to its very remote location in the South Atlantic Ocean no one ever settled in the area. It was abandoned by most conquerors in favor of other richer territories.
For more than 100 years since its discoveries, it remained hidden from the world and was used only by sailors as a stop- over during their long sea voyage crossing the Atlantic to Europe and Asia.
It became a protectorate of the British Empire in the 17th century and in 1657, the East India Company was granted by the British government a charter to govern the island. The company fortified it and colonized with planters, growing crops and vegetables and building houses.
The island capital, Jamestown, was named in honor of the second son of King Charles I, Prince James, the Duke of York, who would eventually become King James II. 
It was in 1815, when the British government took a strong hold on the island, using it as the imprisonment camp of Europe’s perennial enemy, Napoleon Bonaparte.
The incarceration of Napoleon Bonaparte in the Island
In early 19th century, Corsican military commander, Napoleon Bonaparte, rose to power and declared himself Emperor of France. He dreamed of conquering Europe with military invasion, leading France against the series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars.
He won most of these wars, disbanded the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 and built a large empire that ruled over much of Europe, upsetting the balance of power in the continent.
The other Great Powers were so incensed with his excessive political ambition that they joined forces to defeat him in the famous Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
Napoleon was captured and the British government thrown him into isolation in St. Helena. He was put into house arrest surrounded by a heavy garrison in nearby islands of Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.
He was never to be freed again and forced to endure a lonely exile in the middle of South Atlantic Ocean. He lived in a damp house called Longwood, poorly maintained and bare. And had few staff attending to his needs.
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Longwood House in St. Helena island, former home of Napoleon Bonaparte now converted to museum and one of the island's main attractions
He died in captivity in 1821. St. Helena was the lone witness of his solitude. His tomb was erected in the center of the island but in 1840, French King, Louis Philippe, secured permission to take Napoleon’s remains to France.
St. Helena is a volcanic tropical island floating in the South Atlantic Ocean with an area of just 47 square miles. It is inhabited by 4,500 (more or less) population as of 2020, whose ancestors were castaway sailors, war soldiers and prisoners, slaves and farmers imported from the colonial days of East India Company.
Isolated Island for “Saints”
The island has no fancy structures nor commercial spots, it is largely an isolated place where life just goes on quietly in a day. Islanders called them “Saints”. And according to articles in the web, Saints are hospitable people, helpful to a handful of tourists.
In an effort to boost the tourism industry in the island, a luxury hotel, Mantis St. Helena, was built in Jamestown, it is a four-star hotel, and looks like a Georgian mansion, operated by the government.
Located at 1 Main Street, Jamestown, it is a 30-bedroom boutique hotel built in the original East India Company's officers' barracks built in 1774. The Hotel boasts a large restaurant, cocktail bar, guest lounge and two spacious outdoor terraces. For more information, visit Mantis St. Helena
St. Helena has intrigued tourists down the centuries, it remains mysterious to enthusiastic travelers because visiting there is extremely challenging.
Until recently, only dedicated hikers and old people ever came to visit the island, because the stay could take up to two to three weeks due to unpredictable weather that makes the sea voyage unsafe.
Napoleon’s house and his empty tomb are the most popular attractions in St. Helena but rarely documented due to sparse tourists coming to the island.
This remote island only attracts hikers, solitude-seekers, sea lovers, and history buff travelers who are thrilled to discover the actual place where Napoleon spent his final moment on earth.
Due to limited resources online about an adventure to St. Helena my research relied mostly on travel documentaries in YouTube. Thanks To Jeb Brooks video.
What to do in St. Helena
St. Helena has winding country roads rising past to misty green fields, very rural, the area has a very laid-back atmosphere. A perfect place for hikers and people who love the comfort of walking down the winding path.
But what sets apart St. Helena from other islands in the world is the thrill of adventure it offers to visitors, a quiet life above the breathtaking ocean and a unique bragging right.
At the end of the day, it's an island in the middle of nowhere that's so hard to explore. So you have a bragging right to be the very first in your country to ever set a foot in a secretive island in the South Atlantic.
It has a unique diversity of heritage-based attractions and offers many things to see and do, from its rugged coastline, rolling hills down to its breathtaking view of the vast Atlantic Ocean, an off-the-beaten path adventure awaits every visitor of St. Helena.
Life there, according to the travel documentary I watched, is so immersed in total calmness. A place where life stands still and atmosphere is timeless. What could be quieter and breathtaking than live in a place squeezed between two mountains and hoisted on the blue ocean?
St. Helena is a treasure!
Food atmosphere is largely retro like dining in someone else’s home. Crab, avocado cocktail, bread-stuffed chicken, hunks of gammon. Visitors may even cook their own fish cakes, the local cuisine of St. Helena.
Places to Visit
Coffee and Distillery. The island is home to the remotest coffee plantation and distillery in the world. The St Helena Distillery was established in 2006 and produced the island’s own ermuda Juniper flavored gin, White Lion rum, Midnight Mist coffee liqueur and Tungi spirit made from prickly pear.
Its coffee plantation is run by British couples, Bill and Jill Bolton, at Rosemary Gate. Green tipped Bourbon Arabica variety is grown in the plantation. They also have coffee shop in Jamestown. Tourists can visit the plantation through an appointment.
St. James Church – one of the oldest Anglican churches in the world.
Sane Valley – take a leisure walk along the winding path and greenery of this place where Napoleon’s grave once rested. It is, however, empty now, since Napoleon’s remains were taken back to France in 1840 by the French government.
St. Paul’s Cathedral and Cemetery – built in 1851, it became a Cathedral church of the Diocese of St. Helena in 1959, this church is surrounded by burial places of Anglicans, past Governors, Bishops, Clergy and military personnel.
Maskelyne’s Observatory – site of Dr. Neville Maskelyne’s observatory. He came to the island in 1760 to study the transit of Venus over the sun’s disk.
Diana’s Peak National Park, the Central Peaks – It rises 823 meters above the sea, it is the highest point in the island.
High Knoll Fort – built in 1874, this breathtaking fort which overlooks the entire island was built as a redoubt for island’s population in the event of an invasion.
Sandy Bay Beach – home to rusting cannons lining the beach. But unsafe for swimming due to smashing of big waves.
Plantation House – the official residence of St. Helena’s Governor as well as of Jonathan, the oldest land vertebrae in the world estimated to be 185 years old. Open for house tours.
The cenotaph Jamestown – a war memorial located at the seafront displaying names of islanders who lost their lives in World War II and names of crew members of RFA Darkdale who were killed when German submarine torpedoed the vessel during the war.
Castle Gardens – originally the gardens of the East India Company which was the first to govern the island in 1657. It has plants and flowers, fish ponds a nice area to relax and enjoy a picnic
Jacob’s Ladder – Built in 1829, the ladder has 669 steps, the top offers a perfect view of the ocean, the crags and the 47-mile island.
The Museum – exhibits local crafts, maritime and East India Company
Heart-Shaped Waterfall – located at the top of James Valley
Longwood House - now owned by the French government, this served as Napoleon’s permanent residence in the island from 1815 until his death in 1821, now converted into a museum.
Where to Stay
Currently, St. Helena has a four-star hotel called Mantis St. Helena, a luxury boutique hotel located in the capital with cocktail bar and restaurant. It's operated by the government.
However, there are beautiful guest houses, and bed and breakfast inns available for visitors. Some of the recommended places are the following:
Farm Lodge – the course meal is said to be the best in the island
Wellington House – Food meals are served in a retro set-up, grand old dining room
Harry’s Guest House – meals start at £15
Consulate Guest House - B&B Guest House simple but very comfortable located in a residential area of the town.
Bertrand Cottage - Fans of the great outdoors may want to stay in this Cottage, a three-room upmarket bed and breakfast located near Longwood House.
  • Dolphin-watching
  • Walking along 21 postbox walks in varying level of intensity
  • Hiking
  • Excursion to Briars Pavilion (owned by the French government) where Napoleon stayed upon arrival in the island.
  • Snorkeling and diving
  • Walking tour around the capital of Jamestown with its historical Georgian architecture
  • Guided road trip
  • Bird watching
  • Island Tour
  • Cooking lesson with Derek and Linda where they will show visitors how to mince fresh South African tuna
Full island tour that lasts 5 hours are being offered by tour guide and travel proprietors in the island. It is a great way to view the entire St. Helena.
Tours and Excursions can be arranged through the tourism office. All tours available are planned and enable visitors to view the island’s fantastic landscapes, its rich history and people.

Sample Tour Package

Aaron Adventure’s Tour: Package includes Napoleonic Tours, Sandy Bay Beach Tour (Aaron Legg Tel +(290)-23987 or +29061597
Green Wagon Tours – Package: Napoleonic Experiences, Scenic Island Excursion cost from £25.00 Blue Moon Cottage, Blue Hill 29024415
Larry’s Island Tours – offers custom island tours. Jamestown on to Sandy bay. Cost £35-60 max 4 persons prop: Larry Johnson Two Gun Saddle, Alarm Forest 29024187,29065320
Enchanted Isle Limited – Dolphins Trips, coastal trips, whale shark trips, +29061366 owner: Jonathan Herne
For complete list of tour packages, please visit St. Helena’s tourism office website: St. Helena Island's Tourism Office
How to get to St. Helena
Getting to St. Helena is an adventure itself. Until 2017, St. Helena can only be reached by sea with its lone shipping line, the RMS St. Helena, sailing on a weekly basis from Cape Town, South Africa.
lone flight to St. Helena from Johannesburg, South Africa
In October 2017, the island finally opened to the world with its newly built airport financed by the British government.
It is dubbed as the most useless airport because flight schedule is only once a week, every Saturday, and served only by one airline company, SA Airlink Airline, a subsidiary of SA Airways, a South African carrier.
The Most Useless Airport In the World
St. Helena is home to the most useless airport in the world, and one of the most dangerous. There’s only one scheduled flight to and from the island, every Saturday only via Johannesburg, South Africa, served by SA Airlink Airlines.
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Brace for landing at the world's most useless airport, and one of the most dangerous

SA Airlink is a regional airline based in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is privately-owned and its main activity is to act as a feeder airline between small towns and larger hub airports.
St. Helena Island's airport is one of the most dangerous in the world due to the position of the runway. It is built above a rugged terrain facing the open sea where gushing winds slammed on the cliff, making it hard to maneuver a landing and takeoff.
Even pilots described the landing during test flights as hair raising and passengers were screaming.
Utilizing an Embraer E190 aircraft, a 99-seater jet but can only be filled by 76 passengers to make it lighter for landing. It is manned by a high skilled pilot trained to fly an aircraft under an unpredictable weather condition above the Ocean.
Duration of travel is around six hours and 15 minutes because the plane will fly to Walvis Bay, Namibia to refuel in case of inclement weather in the island which forces the plane to return to Johannesburg or take an emergency landing at nearby Ascension island.
The airport is not conducive for landing, gushing winds rolling from the open seas and slamming to the cliff side which change direction and speed of the plane in a split second.
The aircraft has to grind down through thick clouds and gusty winds. The travel is so dangerous only seven pilots with special training are certified to fly on the route.
However, St. Helena wanted to get rid of this name of being the most useless airport in the world and planned to expand flight schedule in the future.
The easiest way to get to St. Helena is by air. Travelers need to be at Johannesburg, South Africa to catch the flight. SA Airlink is the only airline to serve the route to St. Helena.
Booking should be made through SA Airlink website and Solomon’s Shipping and Travel Agency at the Malabar in Jamestown in St. Helena. Visit SA Airlink website here. Estimated return flight is around 804.00 (GB Pound Sterling)
RMS ST. Helena, which was launched by HRH Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, in 1989, was the only cargo/passenger vessel serving St. Helena.
Travel by sea takes six days (one way alone). In 2018 February, the vessel was decommissioned, sailing his final voyage to Cape Town on February 10, 2018.
The island can also be reached through a cruise ship or yacht but this option is very rare. For DIY travelers the only way to reach the island is through SA Airlink.
Cruise ship season starts from October to April. For information visiting cruise ships please contact: Solomon’s Shipping Office St. Helena email:
The island has only one harbor, James Bay, the rest of the coast is swept by towering rocks and crags. Even swimming is unsafe.
Getting Around St. Helena
Hire a car – renting a car in the island is relatively inexpensive according to online articles. Usually around £20 a day. But the driving can be quite challenging due to winding paths. Renting a car can be arranged through the tourism office.
Guided Tour – this is the most hassle-free arrangement in getting around St. Helena
Public Transport – The island has taxi and public transport service, the cheapest way to go around the island.

Is Visa Needed?

It depends on the passport issuing countries of the travelers if it's included in the list where visa is needed. Travelers need to check if their countries are part of the required territories to provide visa.
For example Philippines is one of the passport issuing countries where citizens need to apply for a travel visa when visiting St. Helena. Application is through online. Visa application fee costs £50 non-refundable. Validity is 6 months.
See if your passport issuing country is exempted with this requirement or if you need a travel visa during your visit. Check this link on how to apply an e-visa for St. Helena.
Budget Going to St. Helena
The island has no ATM. The only way to get cash is through an over-the-counter withdrawal from the bank in Jamestown or near the airport. So take cash with you. St. Helena’s currency is Pound Sterling (£).
A return ticket of SA Airlink from Johannesburg costs £804.00 per person, roughly US$1,100 (roundtrip airfare alone)
Upon arrival, short-term visitors (less than six months visit) are required to pay an entry fee of £20 at St. Helena immigration in cash only. Children below 12 years old are exempted. Currencies accepted: British or St. Helena’s Pound, South African Rands, Euro, US Dollars.
If you're staying in the island's lone luxury hotel, per night costs you £150.00 with free airport transfer and complimentary breakfast. Other guest houses with complimentary meal, rates range between £60 to £120. Self-catering form of accommodation however is cheaper, for rates, owners should be directly contacted.
Please visit St. Helena's tourism website for lists of guest houses and Self-catering inns. Link is at the bottom of this article.
Upon Arrival
Immigration personnel will provide visitors with an information pack, for more information, visit the tourism office of St. Helena, the Canister, Jamestown +29022158
This eight-mile island was first sighted in 1509 by Portuguese navigator, Tristao da Cunha, but settlement was only established in the 19th century when the British government used it to put a heavy garrison that would keep an eye on Napoleon Bonaparte.
Edinburgh by the Seven Seas, the only settlement in Tristan da Cunha
The military personnel guarded the island in case French army would attempt to rescue Napoleon Bonaparte from nearby St. Helena. After the death of Napoleon in 1821, most of the soldiers stayed behind, perhaps fascinated and drawn with the charm and tranquility of Tristan.
The island, a cone-shaped mass of rock that rises to a height of more than 6,700 feet above sea level, appears like a floating iceberg in the South Atlantic Ocean.
Beneath the towering flanks of an active volcano, a cluster of low-slung structures with red and blue tin roofs rose on a narrow glass plateau overlooking the ocean.
Over 92 years, the island attracted more settlers, mostly whale watchers, shipwrecked sailors, women from St. Helena, and those who chose to live in isolation for the rest of their lives.
As of 2020, Tristan da Cunha has 70 families, 260 estimated population descended from early settlers. The island is so small, families only have seven surnames: Glass, Swain, Hagen, Green, Repetto, Lavarello and Rogers. The collective spirit that sustained the island during years in complete isolation still exists today.
They are making a living through crayfishing and a tiny tourism industry. In addition to farming, residents earn their living by selling souvenirs, handcrafts and rare postage stamps online.
The Most Isolated Island in the World
Tristan da Cunha is arguably the remotest inhabited island in the world, even more isolated than St. Helena. When you google the question “What is the most isolated, most remote island in the world”, it would come back only one result – Tristan da Cunha.
It sits in the remote sea in the South Atlantic roughly equidistant from South Africa and Brazil and about 1,500 miles from its nearest neighbor, the island of St. Helena.
It is so far-flung, the island can only be reached by boat from Cape Town, South Africa, no other way. Sea voyage takes up to six days.
It has only one settlement called Edinburgh by the Seven Seas locally known as The Settlement. It is home to 70 families, roughly 250 islanders, all hold a British citizenship just like the Saints.
In the middle of the island stood Queen Mary’s peak, an active volcano, with last recorded eruption in 1961. During the eruption, all the residents were evacuated to Southampton, England, but two years later, they requested to be taken back to Tristan because they preferred a life in a quiet island.
I feel them 😁
Tristanians withstood the test of times and still prefer to settle in lonely island than anywhere else. The gift of solitude and serenity truly the best thing of all.
Unlike St. Helena, Tristan da Cunha has no airport, no restaurants, no guest houses, no deep harbor. Electricity is only powered by diesel generator.
It is a great escape from the madness of the world, the calmness brought by the ocean and laid-back environment can never be replaced by the noise of urban living.
Reaching the island is a difficult journey, an extreme adventure. Boat takes travelers to the island in six days and the same boat will take them back to Cape Town in a week or more, depends on the weather.
It is not a typical island vacation where tourists enjoy the amenities of a posh accommodation or have some terrific moments laying in the sand, watching the splashing of the waves and wait for the sunset to come.
It is, however, a retro experience, strewn into deep isolation. Visitors cannot take swimming because beaches are covered with crags lapped by strong waves from the Atlantic.
Credit cards are not accepted, months bring so much rain and in the middle of the island stands an active volcano that stretched down to the ocean bed.
Getting Around Tristan
The island has no deep harbor, travelers sometimes left no choice but to climb down a rope ladder into a waiting dinghy bobbing wildly in the waves or hauled off in a metal cage dangling from a crane, a real adventure if you are looking for one.
The island has no posh spots but there’s a pub, The Albatross, opens only for just a few hours in a day or before the diesel generator is turn off.
There’s a shop selling everything from basic supplies to homemade crisps and hand-knitted Tristan beanies.
The island’s special cuisine is mostly potato-stuffed dishes. Stuffed mutton – a deboned leg of lamb filled with potatoes and seasoning – is the prized meal which served on feast days like Christmas.
What to do in Tristan
So what awaits tourists in a castaway island where life just revolves around the rugged plateau and no real tourist feel activities?
Tristan da Cunha entices adventurers however, especially those who seek for solitude and extreme isolation from the maddening world.
The island’s lone narrow road and winding path is flanked by bungalow-style cottages, potato patches and roaming cows. A perfect place to relish serenity and peace.
There’s a grocery store in the island but orders must be placed months in advance so the goods can be loaded to a scheduled fishing vessel traveling in and out of Tristan.
Bad weather can cause delay so travel time may run to two or three weeks or even a month! But there’s a hospital and dental clinic taking care of the islanders.
Truly, an island where a traveler’s goal is to step back in time. The challenge lies in getting there. Travelers hop on board via a cargo vessel from Cape Town and make an arduous six-day voyage on rolling waves crossing to the world’s most isolated inhabited island.
On board this vessel, amenities are scarce, there’s only one bathroom shared by passengers, but meals are served on board.
Outdoor pursuit is what awaits every courageous traveler to Tristan. Hiking routes follow a trail to the majestic Queen Mary’s peak, or a walk around the potato patches where the island’s crops and vegetables are grown.
How to visit Tristan
No visa is required going to Tristan. But the visit is not an easy adventure. The travel plan requires an approval from the island’s council by visiting the website to apply.
Access here the terms and conditions travelers need to comply and do when applying a visit permission from Tristan da Cunha's council.
Travelers must send an email to Tristan's council, detailing the purpose of visit, dates of travel and plan of departure. The council may require a police certificate or any clearance from the country of origin that the traveler has no criminal records.
How to get to Tristan
Tristan has no airport. The access is by the sea only. There are three ships making a nine return trips to Tristan every year. Travelers must catch the schedule of these trips from Cape Town, South Africa.
MFV Geo Searcher, MFV Edinburgh and MV Baltic Trader are operated by Ovenstone as part of a contract to run the Tristan fishery, and the fourth, SA Agulhas II is operated by the South African Government as part of a contract to lease Gough Island as a Meteorological Station.
The trip must be booked either with SA Agulhas (trip is every September only), a South African polar research vessel (US$1,300 with free meals) or with other three fishing vessels traveling to the island: Edinburgh and Baltic Trader, one way trip costs US$800 with free meals.
For more information how to catch the schedules of these vessels, including updated rates boarding the vessel, visit: Tristan da Cunha regular ships
Ocean-going vessels cannot dock on the shallow harbor of Tristan, islanders who need to retrieve package and supplies need to ferry out from the settlement to the anchored ship.
Getting Around Tristan
By Foot – the most common method of getting around Tristan is by walking and hiking. The island is perfect for walkers and hikers due to its rugged terrain and winding paths.
By Local transport. Bus is available from the settlement to potato patches but no rent a car in the island.
What to do at Tristan
The island organizes fishing excursions, climbing, walking and golf. A guided excursion to nearby Gough Island and Nightingale island is also organized for sightseeing, bird watching or trail hiking.
Hiking at Queen Mary’s peak and climbing at its summit require a guide, rate is around £200 for a trip to the peak and £120 for two guides.
Social events are held at Prince Philip Hall Community Center (named after Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who visited Tristan in 1957), where dances are organized on special occasions.
A visit to a fish factory is another activity for visitors in Tristan.
Places to Visit at Tristan
Cafe da Cunha - For eat and drink there’s a Café da Cunha that serves short meals and hot/cold drinks located near tourism center
The Albatross Bar – the only pub in the island and open only evening of Monday to Saturday.
Thatched House Museum - located between the east of the settlement and the 1961 volcano. It is a traditional Tristan cottage built from volcanic rock and thatched with New Zealand flax. It was opened in 2012 and available for overnight stays.
Potato Patches - The island's farm where potato, vegetables and other root crops are grown. It is one of the most beautiful and relaxing areas at Tristan during afternoon and sunrise.
Love Island - Queen Mary's Peak at Tristan is a mecca for lovers. It offers a stunning view of its heart-shaped crater lake. Why it is called Love Island? According to Tristan's website, it is because reaching the peak is a labor of love, it is a perilous hike that can only be undertaken during longer visits in good weather and with the help of local guides.
The islanders knit traditional love socks threaded with colored stripes that convey hidden romantic messages for loved ones. From Tristan's tourism website. Visit HERE for more.
Post Office and Prince Philip Hall - Handcrafts and souvenirs are available here.
No hotels or hostels in Tristan, accommodation is arranged through home stays (full board £50 per person per night) or self-catering houses (£25 per person per night) plus utility charges.
Full board includes room and meals while self-catering only covered room per night, visitors will have to cook their own meals. 75% of the charge is paid to the island family that owned the home and 25% of the charge is paid to the government.
There’s an internet café in the island and payphone but no wifi connection, no mobile phone network also. To access the internet, visitors need to go to the internet cafe.
Post office is available in the island but islanders warned visitors that your post mail will likely travel back with you on the same ship you are due to schedules.
Just like St. Helena, Tristan da Cunha has two churches: St. Mary’s Anglican Church and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
For more information on accommodation at Tristan, please visit THIS LINK
Planning a Visit
Exploring Tristan da Cunha and St. Helena Island is a very challenging adventure for every traveler. Travel plan must commence a year ahead. There are logistics need to do before the scheduled trip.
Check the following websites of the islands for detailed information how to visit the island, including the tour packages and estimated cost of the trip.
Sources of this article:
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