Travelfish sets a new benchmark in iPhone travel guides with their guide to Angkor

Travelfish has long been one of the most respected resources for travel in Asia. Their site covers Backpacker information for Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Of course, information provided on a web site is great for preparing a trip, but once you are actually on the road, you’ll need to find Internet access to get to it.

This is where the new Travelfish iPhone app can help. Their first app covers Angkor in Cambodia, and my oh my what an impressive app it is. In fact, as the title describes, I’m so impressed, that I’m calling it “a new benchmark in iPhone travel content”.

The application only runs in landscape mode, but it takes perfect advantage of this by presenting plenty of wide screen content. The app covers everything (and I really do mean everything) you need to know about the region For beginners, there is a huge background section, with history of the country and the region itself. It also offers 8 entire sections on how to plan your trip, with everything from visa information to the local weather and what to pack.

The sleep section shows all local hotels on a map, describing the different areas in the city. The application lists the 40 best hotels, hostels and guesthouses, along with a full review, online booking link, phone number and of course, its location on the map. Similar comprehensive guides are offered for restaurants, sightseeing attractions, local transportation.

The walking tours portion takes you on an iPhone guided tour, complete with when to start and exactly how to reach each highlight of the self-guided tour.

The maps support your location, and can be customized to show more (or less) locations.

Final thoughts

Of all the iPhone tour guides I’ve seen, this one really is the most comprehensive. I love the design and ease of use. Best of all, the application stores all its data on your phone, so there is no need for an (expensive) data plan when roaming abroad.

The program is perfect for pre-planning, as well as acting as a live guide when you are actually in Angkor. Each portion of the application offers handy features like bookmarks and “show on map”, and the designers make fantastic use of the touch friendliness of the iPhone and iPod Touch letting you swipe to browse articles.

You’ll find the Travelfish Angkor app in the iTunes store, where it sells for just $7.99.


Photo of the Day (11.29.2009)

Over the past five weeks of my trip through Southeast Asia, I’ve visited a huge number ancient temples. Ancient structures dot the hilltops and city streets pretty much anywhere you go. Perhaps that’s why today’s photo from Flickr user calendartravel caught my eye. Taken at Cambodia’s world famous Angkor Wat, I found myself drawn in by the great use of perspective. As you peer down the photo’s temple hallway, catching a glimpse of orange-shrouded monks in the distance, you feel as though you were right there in Cambodia, crawling around this amazing ancient wonder.

Want your pics considered for Gadling’s Photo of the Day? Submit your best ones here.

The Five Most Overrated Tourist Attractions

Want to know what the world’s most overrated tourist attractions are? You’re in luck, as the Times Online has compiled their selection of the Five Most Overrated Tourist Sites, naming some very famous places, while suggesting alternatives that they feel are more worth our time.

The U.K. newspaper isn’t afraid to criticize one of the motherland’s top tourist attractions either, putting Stonehenge at the top of the list. They note that you can’t touch the monument, or even walk around it, and it isn’t exactly located in one of the most scenic locations either. As an alternative, the Times suggests that you skip “the Henge” and visit nearby Avebury, which has a larger stone monolith that allows for more access to the public.

The other four sites on the list that they recommend that you avoid include Petra, Jordan, the Colosseum in Rome, Machu Picchu in Peru, and Angkor, Cambodia. Generally, the Times is put off by the large crowds they attract, as well as the inconvenience of coming and going from these famous spots, several of which are fairly remote.

Personally, I think this list is best used as a way of keeping your expectations within reason when traveling to these sites that have become overrun with tourists. For instance, who in their right mind wouldn’t want to visit Machu Picchu when traveling to Peru? Just be aware that it is a crowded monument and getting there isn’t always easy. Patience will go a long way towards providing an enjoyable experience.

Those looking for new places to visit, off the beaten path a bit, will enjoy the alternatives suggested in the article however, as they are generally less crowded and are not on the radar for most travelers. Their alternative suggest for Machu Picchu for instance is the Isla del Sol in Bolivia, which is a much quieter location when compared to the Peruvian landmark.

So, what do you think of the list? What would you add to it? Any experiences with the ones they’ve selected?



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Gadling + BootsnAll – Picks of the Week

Starting today, we’re unveiling a new weekly feature here at Gadling. Each Friday we’ll be highlighting the most interesting content from our friends over at BootsnAll, one of the best resources on the web for independent travelers. For those that have never taken a look, BootsnAll features a huge range of great travel content – everything from travel stories and blogs, to a built-in travel booking engine to one of the more robust communities of travelers anywhere on the web. Here’s what got us clicking this week:

  • Asian Temples Galore – Sure, you probably know about Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, but what about the Paro Taktsang in Bhutan or Badshahi Mosque in Pakistan? BootsnAll writer Deanna Hylund takes a closer look at some of Asia’s best temples. Let me tell you, looking at these makes me want to get back to Asia as soon as possible!
  • Unknown National Parks – Unlike Asian temples, we’re probably all familiar with the most famous U.S. National Parks. Who could forget the first time they saw the Grand Canyon? Or gazed up in awe at a 300 foot-tall Redwood in Northern California? Cherrye Moore thinks these sights are great but there’s a couple others you might have missed. Check out her article to see her list of “Six National Parks You’ve Probably Never Visited.”
  • Guilty Pleasures – Travel is supposed to be all about new experiences. Eating new foods, meeting new people and getting “out of your comfort zone.” But you know what? Bootsnall writer Lucy Corne knows that every once in awhile you need to indulge yourself with a taste of home, especially if you’ve been on the road awhile. I’m the first to admit: I love blasting my iPod pretty much wherever I go…
  • Eiffel Tower, Redux – Gadling writer Aaron posted some interesting thoughts on taking photos of the Eiffel Tower earlier this year. Sure, there’s a million pics out there, but as writer Jessica pointed out on Bootsnall’s WhyGo blog this week, there’s also a million ways to take some more interesting photos of this iconic landmark. Let’s get creative people!

When you’re done with the highlights, make sure to take a lap around the rest of BootsnAll’s site. There’s some great content on there, whether you’re looking to research a round-the-world trip or just looking for some good tips for that next trip to Vegas. Catch you next week!

Nine wonders in 26 days

Planning ahead has never paid off quite so much. If you’re thinking about a big trip for the fall, kick around Abercrombie & Kent‘s “Nine Wonders of the World” excursion. A private jet will cart you to the most impressive destinations our planet has to offer over 26 days, and you just won’t want to come back to reality.

The experience kicks off on October 19 at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami, where you enjoy a welcome dinner with your fellow travelers. The next day, you dash off to Lima, Peru, which is your gateway to the former world of the Incas. Explore Machu Picchu, and roam around this part of the world for a few days.

Your next stop is Easter Island, which includes a walk through the caves of Ana Kai and a horseback archeological excursion. The lava tunnels will be particularly interesting. After Samoa, it’s off to Sydney and the Blue Mountains. Other stops on this trip include the Angkor complex of temples in Cambodia and the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities (home to relics from Tutankhamun). The full list, it feels, is endless.

Of course, this sort of life-changing experience isn’t cheap. You’ll spend close to $90,000 to enjoy the luxury that A&K puts together, but you’ll never doubt your decision.

To get a sense of the trip’s full scope, take a closer look at the itinerary.