go to content go to search box go to global site navigation

World’s most powerful passports revealed, fisherman grabbed by a tiger in India, sinkhole has become car museum’s star attraction, Ramadan due to begin on Sunday

Get the best travel news here curated by Lonely Planet Destination Editors, who use their expertise to bring you the stories that matter from all over the world. In today’s edition: the world’s most powerful passports are revealed, a tiger has grabbed a fisherman in a West Bengal nature reserve, a sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum has become the star attraction and Ramadan begins on Sunday.

Europe
Asia & the Pacific
The Americas
Middle East & Africa
Weird, odd & just plain fun

YOUR WORLD TODAY

27 June is …

Independence Day, Djibouti

Mixed Race Day, Brazil

Helen Keller Day, USA

EUROPE

Stories curated by Lonely Planet’s Europe Destination Editors: Jo CookeJames SmartBrana VladisavljevicKate MorganAnna Tyler and Gemma Graham.

Crowds at the Danube Island Festival. Image by Claus Rebler / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Crowds at the Danube Island Festival. Image by Claus Rebler / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Vienna’s Danube Island festival starts today
Danube Island festival (Donauinselfest), one of the largest outdoor music festivals in the world, kicks off on Friday in Vienna. The free event involves eleven stages and around 2000 performers. This year’s line up includes Macy Gray and a special guest appearance by Eurovision’s Conchita Wurst. Over 3 million visitors are expected to attend the festival over the course of the three days. Read more: thelocal.at

Icelandic horse show canters into view
Landsmót, Iceland’s national horse show, begins next week in Hella. The festival is held every two years and showcases Icelandic horses, which are small, long-living and hardy. The eight-day event features races, markets and a temporary village – it will also be streamed live for the first time. Read more: icenews.is

World’s most powerful passports revealed
New research claims that British, Finnish and Swedish passports are the world’s most potent, because they allow access to 173 countries without a visa (or via a visa on arrival). The United States, Denmark, Germany and Luxembourg are joint second, with passport holders able to access 172 countries. The worst access comes for Afghani passport holders, who get visa-free access to only 28 countries. Read more: telegraph.co.uk

Copenhagen's famous Noma restaurant. Image by paz.ca / CC BY 2.0.

Copenhagen’s famous Noma restaurant. Image by paz.ca / CC BY 2.0.

‘Best restaurant’ forced to build buffer garden to avert onlookers
Danish restaurant Noma, listed as the S. Pellegrino ‘World’s Best Restaurant’, has built a garden around its exterior to discourage the throngs of tourists that have been peering at diners through the restaurant’s windows. Chef René Redzepi called upon local architects to create a Danish garden that would serve as a natural buffer zone to keep curious onlookers at a polite distance. Read more: theguardian.com

Tobacco bans hits Russia’s thriving hookah trade
Russia’s ban on tobacco smoking in restaurants and hotels has hit the country’s sizeable hookah trade. The tobacco pipes are a US$600 million industry for bars, with one researcher estimating that hookahs are offered at 40% of Moscow cafes. Many establishments have now stopped serving hookahs, while some are offering tobacco-free ‘steam cocktails’ and others are ignoring the ban. Read more: Bloomberg.com

ASIA & THE PACIFIC

Stories curated by Lonely Planet’s Asia & the Pacific Destination Editors: Megan EavesSarah ReidJoe BindlossLaura Crawford and Tasmin Waby.

Tiger grabs fisherman from boat in the Sunderbans
A fisherman has been taken from his boat by a tiger in Sunderbans National Park in the Indian state of West Bengal, a reserve visited by large numbers of tourists on boat safaris. Despite an official ban, many villagers illegally enter the reserve to fish in the mangrove creeks and to collect wild honey. Read more: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Shanghai’s railway stations offer free wi-fi
Starting in July, Shanghai train passengers will be able to avail of free wi-fi. The city’s three main railway stations, Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai South Station and Hongqiao Station will offer “i-station” wi-fi, which passengers can use by registering their mobile phone numbers. Read more: shanghaidaily.com

Astana gets new mosque in time for Ramadan
Just in time for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a new mosque opens on Friday in Astana. The mosque will be the eighth in the Kazakh capital and features prayer halls for both men and women. Read more: inform.kz

Pink Dot festival returns to Singapore. Image by Leong Him Woh / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Pink Dot festival returns to Singapore. Image by Leong Him Woh / CC BY-SA 2.0.

LGBT festival returns to Singapore
Singapore’s Pink Dot festival will be celebrated in Hong Lim Park on Saturday with a showcase of theatrical and musical acts. Despite Singapore’s conservative laws regarding homosexuality, the event – named for the shade produced by mixing the colours of the national flag – is legal. Read more: pinkdot.sg

Northern Territory tour company remove canyon photos
A tour company in King’s Canyon, in Australia’s Northern Territory, has removed photos from its Facebook marketing page that depicted the company’s tour guides clowning around on a clifftop. A British tourist recently fell to her death from the same path. Read more: smh.com.au

THE AMERICAS

Stories curated by Lonely Planet’s Americas Destination Editors: Clifton WilkinsonDora WhitakerAlex Howard and MaSovaida Morgan

National Corvette Museum. Image by daveynin / CC BY 2.0.

National Corvette Museum. Image by daveynin / CC BY 2.0.

Sinkhole becomes star attraction at National Corvette Museum
A giant sinkhole that appeared at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky in February has become the museum’s unlikely star attraction. Since the hole appeared, swallowing eight prize cars, attendance at the museum has risen by 59 percent, with tourists coming to look down into its spooky depths. Museum officials have decided to keep part of the hole open for visitors. Read more: nytimes.com

LAX gets connected
Residents of Los Angeles, who have long complained that their city’s main airport is almost impossible to get to on public transport, are celebrating the decision to build a new Metro station at LAX. The extension will allow passengers to connect with the rest of the growing Metro system, although the new station won’t be ready until at least 2019. Read more: dailynews.com

Riverfest begins on Saturday in Texas
The 17th Annual Bandera Riverfest begins on Saturday in Bandera, Texas. Festivities include a BBQ competition, a car show, and arts & crafts. In the water, there will be kayak races, a river rodeo and a river parade of homemade floats called the Anything Floats Regatta . Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and children are free. Read more: banderariverfest.com

Chimp escapes Hawaii zoo exhibit
The chimpanzee exhibit at Honolulu Zoo has closed after a 15-year-old chimp named Pu’iwa tried to escape. Zookeepers subdued the chimp with tranquilizer darts and returned him to his sleeping quarters. Although no one was hurt in the incident, the exhibit will remain closed until an investigation has been completed. Read more: hawaiinewsnow.com

New York Public Library. Image by Patrick Nouhailler / CC BY-SA 2.0.

New York Public Library. Image by Patrick Nouhailler / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Thomas Jefferson’s handwritten Declaration of Independence on view in NYC
New Yorkers are getting a chance to see Thomas Jefferson’s handwritten draft of the Declaration of Independence as the document goes on view at the New York Public Library on Friday. The draft, which includes paragraphs that were later deleted by other Founding Fathers, will be on display until July 3 only and officials say they may never show the fragile document again. Read more: wsj.com

Teddy bears used to smuggle body parts
A man was arrested after teddy bears were used to smuggle human body parts out of Mexico. Two human skulls and other remains were spotted when the bears were x-rayed at Mexico City airport and police think they had been exhumed recently. Although the destination of the package is unknown, authorities think they were intended to be used in religious ceremonies by practitioners of santeria, which mixes African and Catholic beliefs. Read more: globalpost.com

CINEfoot soccer film festival arrives in Rio
CINEfoot, the soccer-themed film festival, arrived in Rio on Thursday and continues until July 7. This is the fifth edition of the festival which is touring the twelve Brazilian host cities of the 2014 World Cup. Screenings of feature and short films will take place at the CCJF in Centro and at Cinemaison. Highlights include the six-minute film ‘Ronaldo’ about Portugal’s star player and the Brazilian documentary ‘Dossiê 50: Comício a Favor dos Náufragos’ which features footage from the 1980s of the Brazilian team who played against Uruguay in the 1950 tournament. Read more: riotimesonline.com

MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

Stories curated by Lonely Planet’s Middle East & Africa Destination Editors: Helen Elfer and Matt Phillips.

Kruger National Park. Image by Jeppestown / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Kruger National Park. Image by Jeppestown / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Kruger National Park warns of strict visitor quotas
Starting this Saturday and running until Sunday July 20, SANParks will strictly enforce gate quotas at Kruger National Park. The period coincides with school holidays in South Africa. Visitors are advised to book ahead or arrive early in the morning to avoid disappointment. Read more: sanparks.org

New visa regulations for South Africans visiting Kenya postponed
Following vehement protests from its own tourism sector, the Kenyan government has delayed new measures that required South African visitors to obtain visas. The visas, which needed to be applied for in person in Pretoria for biometric purposes, also had a five-day waiting period. The original implementation of these visa requirements was believed to be in response to South Africa’s decision to force Kenyans to obtain transit visas before arriving in the country. Read more: eturbonews.com

Ramadan begins this weekend
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is set to begin on Sunday, marking the start of the period when many practicing Muslims will fast between sunrise and sunset. In Muslim-majority regions, including the Middle East, North Africa and various other countries, business hours will be reduced and restaurants will often be closed during daylight hours. Read more: emirates247.com

WEIRD, ODD & JUST PLAIN FUN

Classic Australian haircut prompts unfair discrimination
Young men in Sydney have reported being discriminated against at bars and hotels for sporting the classic Australian haircut, the mullet. The haircut affectionately described as ‘business at the front, party at the back’ is popular among motorcycle gang members, thus the closed door policy. A bricklayer explained to local media that the cut is actually the best way to prevent sun damage on the back of your neck if you work outside and does not denote biker membership. Read more: smh.com.au

Tasmin Waby