Friday, 8 April 2022

5 must-see revamped attractions from around the world

From natural landmarks to man-made structures, many of our favourite spots in the world have changed since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. While parks, nature reserves and ocean life have grown lusher and seen a resurgence organically, many tourist attractions required human intervention. Creative minds around the world have worked to upgrade facilities and offer post-pandemic travellers something new and more exciting to experience on their next visit. Whether you are planning a late spring visit to Paris or spending the summer in Hong Kong, here are some must-see places you should check out this year.

Christian Dior in Paris

It’s hard to amble along Avenue Montaigne and not notice the imposing façade of the Christian Dior flagship store, which reopened its doors in March 2021. The two-and-a-half year renovation has transformed it from fashion boutique to a total lifestyle experience. If shopping for clothes isn’t in the itinerary, you can still bask in the luxury label’s glamour by visiting its brand new facilities: two restaurants, three gardens, a gallery that displays the House of Dior’s archives on rotation. For the privileged few, a private apartment offers full access to the building 24/7.

Christian Dior restaurant
The Restaurant, led by chef Jean Imbert, also showcases the fashion label’s iconic houndstooth pattern as well as products from the Dior Maison collections

Luna Park in Sydney

Nine new rides await those visiting Sydney’s oldest amusement park after a A$30-million upgrade in 2021. These include the third iteration of the Big Dipper, the park’s iconic rollercoaster. It now lays claim to being the world’s first single rail coaster – and the country’s fastest with a top speed of over 70kph. Opened in 1935, the park overlooks the Sydney Harbour Bridge and is also of interest to design enthusiasts for the Art Deco-inspired towers at the main entrance. Cap your thrilling day of rides at the park’s new harbourside dining spot, Amphora Wine Bar.

Big Dipper Luna Park
The third iteration of Luna Park’s Big Dipper rollercoaster ride can go over 70kph

Elizabeth Tower in London

While tours to the Elizabeth Tower in Westminster Palace are still on pause due to conservation work that began in 2017, tourists in London can now view one of the restored clock dials of The Great Clock – more commonly referred to as the Big Ben. For many years, the clock face was black, but as workers stripped away layers of paint while fixing iron works that were rusting, they discovered – and restored – its original Prussian blue colour. You can also visit this iconic attraction virtually on the UK Parliament’s website.

Big Ben in Prussian Blue
The Clock Tower’s color is back to its original Prussian blue

Peak Tram in Hong Kong

A visit to Hong Kong is not complete without hopping on the Peak Tram to go all the way up to Victoria Peak and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the island’s gleaming skyscrapers. When summer officially starts in May, Asia’s first funicular railway welcomes its sixth generation of tramcars since it started operations in 1888. Painted in the same green that was used in the third- and fourth-generation tramcars, not only can it seat up to 210 passengers – almost double its burgundy-colored predecessor – it also has bigger windows: the better to take in the glorious scenery.

Victoria Peak Tram
The sixth generation Peak Tram has bigger windows and more seats

City Hall Clock Tower in Manila

Built in the 1930s, Manila City Hall’s clock tower enjoys a rare unimpeded view of the civic district and is as iconic as the capital city’s mesmerising sunsets. Renovated during the pandemic lockdown, there are plans to transform the entire nine-storey tower into a tourist spot with an interactive exhibition space and art galleries, a coffee shop, mini library and a lookout point. The clock’s four faces, for many years painted red, is now gold. It can be viewed best from the rooftop bar at The Bayleaf Intramuros hotel until it opens to the public later this year.

Manila City Hall Clock Tower 2022
Manila City Hall’s clock tower has been repainted gold and will soon have a lookout zone that will be open to the public

Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.

The information is accurate as of press time. For the latest travel advisory updates, please refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.

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