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The Backpacker's travel highlights 2010

From beaches to monasteries ... my best travel experiences of 2010, including the Cook Islands (pictured).

From nude beaches to Buddhist monasteries The Backpacker looks back at his travel highlights for 2010.

Big sister: world's biggest cruise ship

Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas, twin sister of Oasis the Seas, is now the world's biggest cruise ship.

Traveller's year of magic moments

Magic moments. Mongolia, Gobi desert. Walking in the Gobi.

A photo gallery highlighting Traveller's year of magic moments.

Struggling flight attendants strip for calendar

Mexicana Airlines Flight attendant calendar

Flight attendants from bankrupt Mexican airline Mexicana pose in sexy outfits in a new calendar aiming to raise money to compensate their losses since the company suspended activities in August.

Monkey business at buffet festival

Monkey buffet festival

At the Pra Prang Sam Yot temple in Lopburi, 150km north of Bangkok, the annual Monkey Buffet Festival serves food and drinks to the local monkey population, which numbers more than 2000, to thank...

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China's first home-grown airliner

Visitors inspect the C919 prototype at an aviation exhibition during the Zhuhai Airshow, China

China aims to reshape the global aviation industry with a home-grown airliner, a direct challenge to the supremacy of Boeing and Airbus.

Flight attendants' bikini calendar

Girls of Ryanair Calendar 2011

European budget airline Ryanair launches its annual charity calendar, featuring flight attendants in bikinis.

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The best of first class flying

First Class, Emirates A380.

As airlines around the world scrap their first class offerings, take a look at some of the best seats still available at the pointy end.

On board the new Queen of the ocean

Cunard Queen Elizabeth cruise ship

Cunard's new Queen Elizabeth cruise ship aims to bring back old-fashioned luxury and class to the open sea.

The historic Mount Buffalo Chalet

Mount Buffalo Chalet.

The 100-year-old ski lodge may yet reopen after a three-and-a-half year closure.

Ireland: off the beaten track

A week sampling the delights of Ireland.

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World's longest tunnel

World's longest tunnel Switzerland

A giant drilling machine broke through on the world's longest tunnel beneath the Swiss Alps in October 2010, paving the way for continuous high-speed rail travel between northern and south-eastern...

Your own hotel, just $679,500 a night

The Mandarin Oriental Tokyo hotel is offering the ultimate luxury package: use of the entire hotel, including nine restaurants and all spas and rooms - for a cool $679,500 a night.

The Mandarin Oriental Tokyo hotel is offering the ultimate luxury package: use of the entire hotel, including nine restaurants and all spas and rooms - for a cool $679,500 a night.

The 10 best things in the world

Taj Mahal

Backpacker blogger Ben Groundwater names the 10 best things he has seen around the world.

London's legendary Savoy reopens

Savoy Hotel London

London's first luxury hotel has been renovated from top to bottom in a mammoth project costing 220 million pounds ($A354 million).

Virgin Galactic spaceship's flight

The Virgin Galactic SpaceShip2

Virgin Galactic's space tourism rocket SpaceShipTwo made its first solo glide flight in California in October 2010.

Inside one of the world's best hotels

The opulent Oberoi Amarvilas in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is rated as one of the top 10 in the world.

The opulent Oberoi Amarvilas in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is rated as one of the top 10 in the world.

Sydney's top 10 city hotels

If location is important to you, then maybe only Town Hall Station has the Swissotel licked for access to the city's attractions. Add a pool and a great piano bar and you have plenty to yodel about.

Ten of the best in Sydney's thriving heart.

The world's fastest train

Shanghai MagLev train

With a top speed of 431 kilometres per hour, Shanghai's MagLev is the world's fastest train.

Oktoberfest celebrates 200 years

Young women toast with beer after the opening of the Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich

People from around the world are expected at world's biggest beer festival, which runs from September 18 until October 4 and marks its 200th anniversary this year.