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San Francisco Bay Area RAMEN SHOWDOWN!

As a new resident of the SF Bay Area, one of my first culinary goals was to try out the “best” ramen in the region.  Since sampling some of the best ramen in Japan, and my hometown NY, I thought I would see how the ramen here stacks up.  SF historically has always had a sizeable Japanese population, and still maintains a fairly authentic Japantown.  I had heard that the bay area was going through a ramen renaissance, and that it was getting competitive.  Based on the internet and word of mouth, I narrowed it down to Tanpopo Ramen in Japantown, and Santa Ramen in San Mateo.  And being the ramen fanatic that I am I had them on consecutive days as to make sure I could compare them closely.

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BKK-Singapore Airlines (SQ) Silver Kris Lounge

The Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge is comfortable quiet lounge with good food offerings and a stylish comfortable interior.  I rate it as one of the top lounge choices in Bangkok Airport.

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Cathay Pacific First Class : A Very Deluxe Upgrade

In an era of cost cutting and economic downturn, many airlines are removing First Class from their international long haul airplanes.  Not so with Cathay Pacific, who in order to compete as one of the world’s most deluxe airlines, recently introduced a new First Class product.  Does it live up to Cathay’s reputation?

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Hoi An, Vietnam Special Photo Gallery by JONG PHOTO

Today Deluxe Upgrades presents you with a visual offering of photos by JONG PHOTOS.

Hoi An is what I consider to be one of the most important parts of a Vietnam trip.  The way it still represents old, quaint Vietnam, cannot be found in any of the large cities like Saigon or Hanoi.  The town was an important trading port in the 16th and 17th centuries, and home to a large merchant population from the Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, French and British.  The town retains most of the diverse colonial architecture and small town feel.   Because of its distinct old Vietnam character it was used as a shooting location in many films, most recently “The Quiet American”

Today,  Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage site, including the famous Japanese covered bridge.  The old shop houses and homes that line the streets are now art galleries, boutique restaurants and cafes and custom tailors.  I cannot recommend it enough to any traveler headed to Vietnam.

These photos are brought to you by JONG PHOTO.

http://www.jongphoto.com/

JONG PHOTO is available for private booking or events.  Please view the website for a sampling of his portfolio and for booking information.

Photos may not be copied, distributed, or reproduced without express permission from JONG PHOTO.

If you wish to purchase a print of any of the photos in the gallery, or to book photography services, email info@jongphoto.com

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Park Hyatt Saigon : New Colonial Luxury

In my years of trip planning and travel to Vietnam, hotels have always been the weakest link.  Unlike Thailand where the issue is too many luxury hotels to choose from, Vietnam is very inconsistent.  Hanoi always had the grand colonial Sofitel Metropole, but Saigon never had anything comparable.  This changed in 2006 with the opening of the Park Hyatt Saigon.

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HKG – The Travelers’ Lounge (East Hall)

Hong Kong Airport is always ranked among the world’s top airports since it opening.  Its known for large open areas and endless shopping, but also for airport lounges.  The flagship Cathay Pacific lounges The Pier & The Wing always top the world’s best rankings.  But what about the private lounges for those of us who are relegated to the back of the plane?  Plaza Premium, started the trend of luxury pay per visit lounges that are not run by airlines.  How does it compare to the airline business class lounges?

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Cathay Pacific (CX) new Economy Class seat review

In late 2009 Cathay Pacific introduced new seats on their 777-300ER long haul planes.  I experienced the new economy class as I departed JFK bound for Vietnam.  How does it compare to their old seats?

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NRT-ANA (NH) The Lounge (Terminal 1, Satellite 5)

I have always dreamed about what the flagship ANA lounge was like in Tokyo.  And today I got to experience it.  Does it live up to my fantasies?

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Mandarin Oriental Bangkok: Classic Luxury & Charm On The Chao Phraya River

Bangkok is a city swept up in modernization.  Shopping malls and entertainment bombard you everywhere you look.  New hotels with the latest trends are popping up almost monthly.  How does the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok stay at the top, despite being the oldest luxury hotel in the city?

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HKT-Thai Airways (TG) Royal Orchid Lounge

The Thai Airways Royal Orchid Lounge is the primary business class lounge in Phuket International.  It is comfortable and decent, but is somewhat disappointing as the only airline sponsored lounge in Phuket’s international terminal.

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