Boasters with the mostest: ultimate travel experiences

The world's highest bar, Ozone, in the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong

 Biggest, highest, most blindingly expensive. Belinda Jackson rounds up the ultimate travel experiences, from super-luxe to just plain boastful. 

LAND
Longest walking track
The Pacific Crest Trail runs 4264 kilometres from the US-Mexico border to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. Budget five months to walk it entirely, or you can jump a pony, as the trail is also open to equestrians. Yep, there are bears in there (pcta.org).

Longest train journey
The legendary Trans-Siberian generally wins this category, with the 9289km journey from Moscow to Vladivostok via Lake Baikal taking seven days. But as train guru the Man in Seat 61 points out (seat61.com), the honour for the longest continual journey should go to the No. 53 Kharkiv (Ukraine)-Vladivostok route, about 9714km, another seven-day epic.

The world's highest train journey, on the Qinghai-Tibet railway
Highest train journey
More than 550km of the 1956km Qinghai-Tibet railway is laid on permafrost. Every train has a doctor and enough oxygen for every passenger, and the highest point is Tanggula Pass, at 5072m. It also passes through the world's highest and longest rail tunnels.

Highest bar
Drink in the views of Victoria Harbour at Ozone bar in the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, Kowloon side. Set on level 118, it's 468.8 metres above sea level (ritzcarlton.com).

Biggest building
Dubai's Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest building at 828 metres, with 124 levels. It also has the world's fastest elevators and highest restaurant (At.mosphere on level 122, 442m) (burjkhalifa.ae).
It holds the crown until 2018, when the 1000-metre Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, is complete. Another design by Burj architect Adrian Smith, expect fewer nightclubs (kingdomtowerskyscraper.com).

Noma restaurant, Copenhagen
Best restaurant
Copenhagen's Noma restaurant (noma.dk) is back on top, bumping Spain's El Celler de Can Roca off the perch as the 2014 winner of the authoritative San Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurants (theworlds50best.com). Judges name the winter potato cooked in fermented barley as chef-owner Rene Redzepi's standout dish.

Best ethical travel destination
The Bahamas has been named Ethical Traveler's greenest destination, taking into account its environmental protection, social welfare and human rights.
Others in the top 10 include Chile, Latvia and Mauritius (ethicaltraveler.org).

Most expensive tours
With a spare million dollars, you can spot 18 endangered species in 12 countries, with one-tenth going toward conservation projects (naturalworldsafaris.com). Otherwise, $1.5 million will let couples visit all 962 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Put aside two years. Its other tours include the 10 best photo spots, for $130,000 (includes cameras), and the 10 most luxurious suites in 21 days for $359,000 (veryfirstto.com).

AIR
Biggest airport
The busiest airport by passenger numbers is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, US, handling 92 million travellers a year, but yet again, Dubai gets in on the act: on completion in 2027, its $32-billion Al-Maktoum International airport will be able to accommodate 160 million passengers a year (dwc.ae).

Best airport
Singapore's Changi airport consistently rates one of the world's best, taking out first place in Skytrax 2014 World Airport Awards, followed by Incheon (Seoul) and Munich airports.
Sydney Airport was ranked Australia's best, at No. 21 (worldairportawards.com).

Best airline
Air New Zealand was named AirlineRatings.com's 2014 airline of the year, with Qantas the best economy airline, while Skytrax 2013 World Airline Awards rates Emirates as the world's best, followed by Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines, with Qantas coming in at No. 10. (worldairlineawards.com).

Safest airline
Qantas holds the record as the world's safest airline, with a fatality-free record since 1951, says airlineratings.com, rivalled by Air New Zealand, according to jacdec.de.

Most luxurious airline lounge
For those of us fortunate enough to get a look in, Lufthansa first class lounges were named the world's best first-class lounges while Qatar Airways took the business class gong at Skytrax' 2013 World Airline Awards (worldairlineawards.com).

Longest flight
Like to watch movies? Qantas' ultra long-haul flight from Sydney-Dallas is the longest flight by distance, at 13,804km (qantas.com.au). Should Turkish Airlines enact its plans for an Istanbul-Sydney route, it would take the crown for its 17-hour, 14,956km flight (turkishairlines.com).

Ultimate airline travel experience: A three-hour flight on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo will cost $260,000, taking you 100km above the earth, travelling at three times the speed of sound. Includes three days' space training (virgingalactic.com). For a more modest $128,300, you can fly around the world in 24 days on Four Seasons' new Boeing 757 private jets (fourseasons.com/jet).

SEA
Allure of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean International ship
Biggest cruise ship
The godmother of Allure of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean International ship, is super-sized Shrek ogress Princess Fiona. At 362 metres long and more than 225,000 tonnes, it can take 6295 passengers. The liner has 24 elevators, the first Starbucks at sea and Broadway hit Chicago on show.
Its position will be usurped by another RCI ship, as yet unnamed, in 2016 (royalcaribbean.com).

Largest superyacht
With two helipads and a missile defence system, you can hire Eclipse, owned by Russian oligarch and Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich, for $2 million a week, excluding running costs.
At 162.5 metres, it's the world's second-biggest private yacht after UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan's new 180-metre yacht, Azzam, complete with armour-plated master suite.
The Azzam is not for hire.

Best beach
Brazil's Sancho Bay on the remote island of Fernando de Noronha wins best beach, according to TripAdvisor.com.

Longest beach
Brazil wins again, with the 241km Praia do Cassino Beach. Gippsland's Ninety-Mile Beach comes in fourth place. Whitest sand beach in the world: One for the home team, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the whitest beach is Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay, 2½ hours from Sydney.

Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay, NSW Australia
Best island
If money is your measure, you can rent the Caribbean's Calivigny Island in Grenada, for a cool $1.55 million a week. Sleeping 50 guests, it comes with a 173-metre yacht for your use (calivigny-island.com).More accessibly, the TripAdvisor community has voted Ambergris Caye, in Belize, its top island for the second year running (tripadvisor.com).

World's highest pool
The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong's pool, is the world's highest at 490 metres (ritzcarlton.com), towering over Marina Bay Sands' dizzying infinity pool, 55 storeys, or 198 metres, above Singapore (marinabaysands.com).

World's biggest pool
Running alongside the ocean, the lagoon pool at the San Alfonso del Mar resort, in Valparaiso, Chile, is 1013 metres long, earning its Guinness Book of Records entry. The 8 hectare, 250 million-litre saltwater pool is a pleasant 26 degrees and has a 100-metre waterslide (sanalfonso.cl). Its sister lagoon, in the Egyptian resort city Sharm el-Sheikh, reportedly covers 12 hectares and a Dubai project, under way, will cover 40 hectares.

The world's largest pool, San Alfonsa del Mar, Chile

BEDS
Largest hotel
By room count, the three-star Izmailovo Hotel in Moscow, Russia, with 7500 rooms, is largest. Most of the world's mega-hotels, with 4000-plus rooms, are in Las Vegas.

Most expensive hotel room
At $73,177 a night, the Royal Penthouse Suite at the Hotel President Wilson is on the banks of Lake Geneva, with views of Mont Blanc. There are 12 rooms, 12 bathrooms, a Steinway grand piano and yes, it's bulletproof. More modest rooms start at $483 (hotelpresidentwilson.com).

Tallest hotel
Six of the top 10 tallest hotels are in Dubai, including the tallest, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, which tops 355 metres (marriott.com). At 488 metres, the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong is taller but is ruled out as the building is not solely a hotel.

Smallest hotel
Central Hotel, Copenhagen, 2.4m by 3m, including a minibar and photos of Ronnie Barker (the owner's a fan), $360 a night. (centralhotelogcafe.dk).

This article by Belinda Jackson was published in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers.

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