Daily Archives: 26.02.2014

Live like it’s your last day: The Venetian, Macau



Live like it’s your last day: The Venetian, Macau

The Venetian is world’s biggest hotel and popularly famous for casino. It is the biggest casino in Asia where gambling takes place and its divided into four divisions. The Venetian offers wide range of facilities under one roof including accommodation, shopping, entertainment, dining, meetings, health & fitness. It is owned by Las Vegas Sands and the construction of the hotel was finished in July 2007 and it was officially inaugurated on August 2007.It is a 40 storey building which has 3000 suites and covers the area of 10,500,000 square-foot and is the sixth largest building in the world by floor. It has 3400 slot machines,800 gambling tables and seats of 15,000 CotaiArena for entertainment and sports events.

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Now let’s look inside  The Venetian, Macau what all it offers for us to live like it’s your last day. As there are 3000 suites it is divided into 8 suites. They are  Royal suite, Bella suite, Rialto suite, Verona suite, Famiglia suite, Paiza suite, Florence suite, Cielo suite. Firstly Royal Suite is the largest suite and its spacious i.e. nearly 70 sq.ft. which offers a comfortable suite for you and it includes special features like King size bed, sofa sleeper, High speed connection, Non smoking room, Additional Tea and coffee making facility, Deluxe marble bathroom, cable channels and on demand you can watch your favorite movie, Iron and ironing board, Hair dryers, Slippers and bath robes, Adaptors for international plugs and even suites for handicapped guests also available and even there is a facility of shuttle bus.

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Next is the turn of Bella suite. It has all features like royal suite but there is a slight twist in the story i.e. Bella means it has two Queen sized bed and its ideally suitable for families. The Rialto suite is named after historic Venice city and it is the suite best suitable for business associates even entertaining friends . It has a living room and bed room. Living room consists of Powder room, work area and dining area. Even there is a option of King size or Queen size bed and rest all options are same. The Verona suite is 145 sq.ft. and it is the most glamorous or stylish suite you will ever come across. It has an outdoor terrace also and has 2 queen size bed mattresses. Famiglia suite is specially designed for family like Mum, Dad and their two children. It has colourfull room specially for the kids where they can play even can play video games. It’s ideally best suited for kid’s taste. Other than those facilities it also includes facilities needed for kids including bed everything their basic needs it compromises.

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Paiza suite is also one of the luxury suite where you can enjoy. It’s worth the penny you spend here. Next is the Florence suite which is ultra spacious covering 290sqm.It is designed combining two different culture. It is a blend of Chinese and European décor. It has living room, Jacuzzi, plasma TV  throughout, media room and dining room. It’s epitome of beauty and elegance. At last we have Cielo suite which is 355sqm and the most interesting and different thing is that it has the facility of Spa room where you can enjoy and soothe your body for Spa massage.

Everyone wants to try out the local cuisine or international cuisines and they make it a point to try out the signature dishes also. So the  Venetian offers you wide variety of cuisines and it has 21 types of category dining room where each dining room offers wide variety of food. Those include Canton which serves food of china also including cantonese. Imperial house dim sum which offers food prepared by chefs of different regions. Lei garden is almost favourite for many of the dignitaries as it offers wide range of double tonic soups, sea foods etc. North it offers traditional dishes of north east sichuan regions of china. Old Hong Kong tea house which is for them who want to try out local Hong Kong snacks. Old Neptune Restaurant which offers fresh sea food and make sure you try out their Signature dishes. Red Dragon Noodles the name itself suggests what does it mean. You can grab a bite of noodles to relieve your taste bud and hunger.  Shanghainese 456 where it offers shangai flavour food.

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Tang’s cuisine which is the much celebrated and it sells more than thousand in a day. Elegant seafood which offers cantonese sea food. Next is Bambu which offers sushi, sashimi and local snacks. Café siam which offers food of Thai food stalls. Golden Peacock which serves authentic food of India. Fogo samba here 15 different varieties of chicken, lamb, pork, beef are roasted on open grill and served to customers. Madeira Portuguese which serves Portuguese dishes and wine and it’s best suited for couples. McSorley’s ale house where you can savour food and drinks. Morton’s the steakhouse which offers wide range of sea food, beef, deserts and bar bites. Portofino which has specifically Italian dishes which serves aromatic pastas and hot pizzas. Vergnano italian restaurant offers Italian dishes only but with different twist of flavour. And at last we have Edo Japanese which has Japanese dishes and specially sushi and sashimi imported from Japan.

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Next we have in the list is Entertainment. After savoring the food it’s time to pamper ourselves and involve in some sort of entertainment and also sports activities. The Cotai Arena which has the capacity of 15,000 seating. It hosts some sporting events and also international awards show also. Zaia, a show produced by the Canadian company which is a 90 minute show and it continuously ran successfully for three and a half years. And last but not least you can indulge in Shopping also where you can shop everything from some of the world’s best brand.

The Las Vegas of Asia: Genting Highlands



The Las Vegas of Asia: Genting Highlands

Genting Highland, which is officially known by the name- “Resorts World Genting” and is a resort over hill located in Pahang, in Peninsular Malaysia. The resorts at the height of 1,740 meters in the Titiwangsa Mountains and is situated on the boundary between the state of Pahang and the state of Selangor in Malaysia. The operator and owner of this great and wonderful resort is the company called Genting Malaysia Berhad, which was known as Resorts World Sentosa earlier and which is also the operator of Awana chain of hotels and resorts.

Like Texas and Las Vegas:

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Genting Highland is a city of entertainment and is a version of Las Vegas in itself. It is, therefore, generally known as the “Las Vegas of Asia”. In the entire Malaysia, gambling is illegal except for here. In Genting Highland, gambling is legal and to add to the fun, you have a theme park associated to this place which is an amusing place for the kids. The resort has six hotels in all and that sums up to around ten thousand rooms collectively. There are more than fifty rides for having fun, 170 other services like dinning outlets, shopping spots, entertainment options, shows, etc. The most amazing thing about the place, apart from the rides, is the weather. The climate of the place is always a colder than the climate on land because of the location of this resort at certain height. Sometimes, the temperature of the place falls till 10 degree Celsius. The Genting Highland attracts a large number of tourists which was more than 19 billion last year.

The King of Theme Parks:

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The Genting Highland is all about theme parks. The most popular theme park here is the Genting Outdoor Theme Park which is an amusement park with countless rides. This theme park is mostly loved by the families and rates for entering the Outdoor theme Park vary as per the age. Another popular park here is the First World Indoor Theme Park which is situated in First World Plaza which also features a number of rides and has Snow World, Ripley’s Museum and Genting Sky Venture as Signature Attractions of the theme Park. Out of these attractions, the Sky Venture is one of the most thrilling and most amazing experiences. It is the art Sky diving from a wind tunnel. The sensation and excitement of jumping from an airplane is no different than the Sky Venture sensation and feeling. The shy diving experience is ultimate with the flight at a speed of 193 kilometers per hour. This is the only wind tunnel in not just the country but in the entire continent of Asia.

When in Genting Highland- Gamble:

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Whenever you are Genting Highland, you must go to the Casinos. Casinos all those who love theme park fun rides, will want to see the theme park first. But otherwise, the first stop at Genting Highland is at the Casino. All the casinos in the area are always open, whether day or night, and you can go there at any time but only if you are at least 21 years old. They also prohibit people who do not follow the dress code which says no to t-shirts, sandals, shorts, etc. The one major difference in Genting Highland and Las Vegas is that the drinks are not served by cocktail waitresses as there are none. You can play all kinds of games here, like baccarat, roulette, some Chinese games like Tai Sai, pai gow, etc. Apart from table games, they have many slot machines. The best casino out of all is Monte Carlo Casino, by majority opinion as it is the biggest out of all. They have a lot of choices in there along with video poker machines and special VIP zone for foreign visitors. Other casinos are Hollywood Casino and StarWorld Casino.

Entertainment in Genting Highland:

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If the theme parks and the casinos are not enough, then try to visit the other entertaining places of Genting Highland. The First World Plaza is the top attraction here. It is the highest shopping mall in Malaysia which also houses the indoor theme park and the shopping mall has low rent shops and is decorated by replicas from various landmarks of the world. The entire place is covered by metal roof which makes it dark but attractive at the same time. Other places are First World Cineplex (which has two cinema halls), Arena of Stars (which hosts shows and concerts) and Genting International Convention centre (which is a center with numerous halls that hosts events, performances, concerts, shows having a capacity for 2 thousand people).

And there is more:

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The Genting Highland is located in a very beautiful surrounding. There is Chin Swee Caves Temple which is as popular as the Theme Parks of Genting Highland because of the peaceful and powerful atmosphere full of beliefs and also because of no entry charges. You can also view other attractions of the place like the Cradle Rock, Genting Strawberry Leisure Farm, Genting Sempah Welcome arch, Highlands Vegetable Farm and Mushroom farm, the Visitors’ Galleria, etc. All the places are mostly connected by walkways and escalators. Even all the Hotels in this place are connected via walkways. This means that you do not actually go outside the place and no need to worry about the taxis and cabs. The holiday spent in Genting Highland is a holiday spent well.

The labyrinthine spa experience: The Darling, Sydney



The labyrinthine spa experience: The Darling, Sydney

The Darling

There are a lot of 5-Star Luxury Hotels around the world but there is a hotel which is committed to give you the comfort and service better than many other 5 star hotels. That hotel is The Darling Hotel and Spa, which was opened in October 2011 as part of an extensive redevelopment of The Star, which introduced an array of award-winning restaurants and bars, a luxury retail collection, an extensive suite of penthouse and world-class gaming venues. Located on the edge of the Sydney Harbour, The Darling is two parts in its design, having distinctive inverted glass tower resting on a sandstone podium and features 171 stylish and spacious rooms, suites, an infinity pool and 16 room luxury spa and Sydney’s only Casino. All 171 rooms feature calming views of Sydney Harbour Bridge or the Blue Mountains. Each unit offers floor to ceiling glass, 46 inch LED TV, mini bar, safe and Control Four integrated remote system. The Darling also has Sokyo, a Japanese restaurant and bar. The hotel is just a short stroll away from Sydney CBD, Darling Harbour, China town and much more. With the metro light rail, monorail, Harbour ferry shuttle services all at your doorstep, you’ll have all the transport you need to get around the town.

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This hotel has numerous Awards and achievements in its showcase.

  • One of the Top 60 best new hotels in the world, named by Conde Nast Traveller
  • Winner of best new hotel construction and design 2012 at the Asia Pacific International Hotel Awards
  • Winner of Best Tech Hotel at 2012 HM Awards.

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You will notice this hotel is different right from the moment you arrive at the front door as one of the helpful staff escorts you right to the check in desk.

 

The Labyrinthine Spa

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The Darling also has a luxurious spa set to pamper with all new levels of unique treatments from around the world. This spa at The Darling is one of Sydney’s most luxurious spas. This spa is also Sydney’s Exclusive home of luxury Swiss beauty bran La Prairie. On the level 2 of the Darling, the spa has 16 private rooms including an intimate couple’s treatment room and an indulgent Hamam. The Treatments include:

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La Prairie Caviar Firming Facial, used for instantly firming skin and eye massage which helps in transforming the dull complexion into radiant and luminous skin.

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Hot Stone Massage, Australian produced Granite is used for heat which is retained for longer and provides glowing and soft skin.

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Deep Tissue, it is a sports massage which releases tension, blockages and helps in relieving muscular tension and spasms due to stress, work and athletic activities.

The spa is equipped with a spa tub and Turkish bath. Visitors of this spa can round out their time of relaxation with a trip to the boutique. There are many other treatments offered and can be reserved by calling the hotel’s reservations number or registering on the Darling’s official website.

 

Intimate couple’s Treatment Room

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On Valentine’s Day every year, special offers and gift vouchers are given away to the couples and specials treatments are given in the Intimate couple’s Treatment Room. Starting with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries while you enjoy a romantic bath ritual in the Spa suite. The bodies are gently polished with organic raw sugar, continuing with relaxing couples Swedish massage side by side. Sounds like quite a divine and awesome experience

 

Jewel Spa suite and Darling Rooms

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Quite spacious Jewel Spa Suites offer a king-size bedroom, marble bathroom and separate living area which makes them perfect for entertaining. These gorgeous rooms offer views over the city skyline.

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The Darling rooms include all the features that are so “distinctively darling”. These rooms are absolutely stunning with beautiful interior, great lighting and an amazing view. Power blinds and great temperature control make it easy to make yourself at home. There are sensors in all rooms, which turn off everything in the room if you leave the room for thirty minutes leaving something turned on. Bathrooms offer showers with handheld showerheads and rainfall showerheads. Additional amenities include hair dryers and irons/ironing boards. In additions, housekeeping is offered daily and amenities are made available on request include wake up calls.

 

Other Services

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The hotel has a wide range of restaurants including the award winning Momofuku seiobo and celebrity Chef Luke Nguyen’s Fat Noodle. Rock lily Bar offers live music and an extensive selection of tequilas. The Darling also offers 24 hour reception and valet parking. Guests of the Darling are able to enjoy entertainment and dining experience it has to offer, all within the same complex. As night falls, guests can dine in the funky style of Sokyo, where Japanese cuisine is created at the hands of former Nobu chef Chase Kojima and his expert team. The nightlife at the Darling is a dream night that everybody would want to experience once. Sophisticated wine bars, different cocktails, live music and a 24 hours sports bar. Cherry, a cocktail bar with a boutique lounge feel is very popular in Australia. Then there is Rock Lily where musician from around the world come to play. A rocking live music venue and home to one of Australia’s biggest tequila collections. At 24 hours sports Bar, there are three mega screens and more than 50 LCD TVs where sports watching feels like heaven and it is open 24×7. If you are in Sydney then The Darling is a place where you will feel like a star.

 

Desert Camping: Sahara Desert



Desert Camping: Sahara Desert

Desert Camping in Sahara desert would count among few of the most incredible traveling experiences. Camping activities for more adventurous travelers is a way to experience nature much more closely than say available via a sightseeing trip. And camping in world’s largest desert, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature’s marvels is sure to leave you exhilarated.

Sahara

Sahara desert besides being the biggest desert in the world also happens to be the hottest place. This together with the extremely fluctuating temperature, hot days and sometimes below freezing temperatures at night, make it a destination for travelers looking for a different and more demanding traveling experience. But all the extra effort is totally worth it, as the desert specifically in nights, but even during days, leaves you with much to marvel and meditate on.

Camps, Marrakech

With Atlas Mountains on the North, lined by Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean from different sides, and touching Nile on the east, Sahara is a magnificent destination. Sahara which derives from the Arabic root word ‘Sahar’ (meaning desert) spreads across many countries. Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Niger, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia all these countries provide entry points into the desert. Though the most common starting point for tourists is Morocco, as the Marrakech airport lies nearby. Desert safaris from Timbuktu and Quarzazata are popular and easily available.

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Many different kinds of desert safaris and camping options are made available to tourists. Depending on the time one wants to spend in the desert, group sizes one wants to travel in and the kind of accommodations one wants, these tours can be easily availed. Most of the hotels in Morocco organize these trips for their guests, or can easily recommend you a good agency which organizes desert camping trips.

Around Fire, Desert Camp

Undertaking one of these trips usually takes you to tents located nearby glorious dunes and places that provide splendid panoramas of desert. Some of the popular camping sites include Kasbah Mohayut, Kasbah du Toubka’s Neltner Hut, Dar Azawad’s Ch’gaga Dunes, Dar Azawad’s Hommes Bleus Dunes, Kasbah Derkaoua’s Merzouga Dunes to name a few.

Sahara Sunset

A usual expedition undertaken for the purpose of desert camping and beginning from Morocco, would require one to pass the Atlas Mountains and hence a drive over these mountains. If you want you can also stop at Quarzazata, this has served as a set for various sections of the ‘Mummy’ movie franchise. The way to the endless deserts is equally scenic and enjoyable. After crossing Draa valley, one reaches Merzougo. This town is important as the sand dunes are close from here and so easily accessible. The real Sahara experience begins from here.

Berber Nomads

Based on your selected trip, you can be conveyed to the tents through a 4×4 vehicle. Or if you want a more authentic desert experience, opt for a camel ride. The camel rides are scheduled such that you reach near your camps during the sunset. The experience of standing in the middle of a desert, and seeing only sand in all directions as far as eyes can see is a typical and humbling experience. If one is camping at the time of sunset, one can see dimming sunlight over the sand dunes, mirage created due to this and seeing the sea of sand reflecting back different colors.

Desert Camp at Night

There are different kinds of camps offered according to your choice and budget. Camps with up to 15 people, or more exclusive ones, the most visited camps, or the lesser exploited ones, camps with sleeping bags etc, or ones with luxurious sleeping and other arrangements, various kinds of desert camps are made available. If you want more luxurious experience stay in Bivouacs, with proper toilets, king size beds, Moroccan Carpets, dining halls among other facilities.

Luxury Desert Camps

 

Berber nomads are present in these camps, and their hospitality is renowned. To enjoy the native Moroccan Cuisine near the open fire while seeing the nomadic artists performing is a charming way to spend time amid the vast desert.

Tents, Sahara Desert

Climbing the sand dunes is another popular activity you can engage while camping. Sand dunes in some parts of Sahara can be as high as 500 feet or more. Depending on your camp’s location and your guide’s knowledge of the desert and the terrain, you can find sand dunes as high as 300 feet even on Moroccan expeditions. Climbing atop the dunes can be a difficult task, but the view from the top is totally priceless. To see different formations of sands, the vastness and majesty of deserts, to observe the sunset from this vantage point, are all memorable activities.

At Night

 

Even after the sunset, the views from sand dunes are spectacular. To see the moonlight bathing the desert in its light and creating an almost surreal sight are also worth the climb. Sleeping under this sky, full of stars, to observe the twinkling and clearly visible constellations, to feel the peace and silence that pervades the desert, to be away from active signs of civilization, to get in touch with nature are some things that only visiting deserts and staying or camping here can provide.

Oasis, Sahara Desert

Camping amid the sand dunes, unending tracts of sand, resting under shades of palms around an oases, seeing the sun going down and hiding behind the dunes amid a tangerine sunset, night sky full of dazzling stars, eating around a fire, the hospitality of nomadic people, learning local customs and listening to folk songs, all these together create a thrilling experience that will be treasured.

Machu Pichchu: The Marvel of the Incas



Machu Pichchu: The Marvel of the Incas

The modern man might well be proud of his technical prowess, but that does not change the fact that thousands of years before him indigenous civilizations achieved great things in harmony with nature using the crudest tools there is.  Machu Pichchu is one such architectural marvel conjured by the Incan Empire; a marvel that depicts the perfectly harmonious relationship between man and nature. That it survived the Spanish infiltration and retained its cultural integrity intact is one of the most alluring attractions about this wonder.

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Situated in the middle of a tropical mountain forest at a height of 2430 m above sea level, Machu Pichchu was one of the most notable urban settlements of the Incan empire. The stone walls, imposing terraces and impressive architecture blend in perfectly with the surrounding Amazon ambiance and it appears as if Machu Pichchu had been carved out of the mountain itself. Located in the valley of the river Urubamba (Rio Urubamba), the historic sanctuary of Machu Pichchu is one of the most important of the tangible pieces of Inca legacy left behind the civilization. It comprises of mountain peaks, valleys and settlements in a picturesque location and architectural marvels like the Citadel “La Ciudadela” constructed more than 2000 m above sea level by indigenous ingenuity. The place was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in the 1980s.

The  Incan Legacy

Where the Peruvian Andes meets the Amazon basin, rises the imposing structure of Machu Pichchu. One of the most picturesque stretches of mountainous lands in the region, it was home to some of the most compelling architectural and art creations of the Incas. Most historians believe that the settlement was built as an estate for Emperor Parachuti of the Incas. The site was well known to be a seat for astrological and astronomical studies as well. The land was abandoned by the Incas during Spanish invasion and remained lost to the world for a greater part of time ever since. Machu Pichchu has been rediscovered by the outer world only in 1911.

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There are more than 200 structures built on steep ridges inter spaced with stone terraces and squares. The Incas were deeply knowledgeable about taming of wild plant species and the astronomical wizardry. It is not clear how Machu Pichchu was used as an educational center but it is unanimous that the different structures discovered here have great religious, sentimental and religious values. The city was well planned and had been divided into agricultural and residential areas separated by a square. The Incas successfully cultivated the steep ridges of the Peruvian Andes.

 Virgins of the Suns

The famous archaeologist Hiram Bingham theorized that the land of Machu Pichchu was meant for teh Incan Virgins of the Suns. Researchers have also opined that the Incas chose the location of Machu Pichchu because the position of the mountain was in alignment with different astronomical events held in reverence by them. The mountains surrounding Machu Pichchu were of religious importance to the Inca culture and at the top of the mountain several ritual platforms have been foun. Thus it is quite possible that Machu Pichchu was a sacred religious site.

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Researchers also have several other conflicting opinions regarding the probable functions of the place. Some say that it w as built as an llaqta, a settlement from where to look after the economy of conquered regions. Some say that it was a prison built for those who committed unspeakable crimes against the Inca society. Yet many others think that Machu Pichchu had been an agricultural testing centre.

The Intihuatana

In the Quecha language ‘Intihuatana’ literally means ‘to tie up the sun’. The Intihuatana stone is one of the most astounding of the many ritual stones that have been discovered in South America. These stones were so placed such that they pointed directly at the sun during solstices. The Incas believed that the stone held the Sun in its position across the sky throughout the year. On equinoxes, the Sun stands directly above the pillar, casting no shadow at all. Such beautifully constructed astronomical clocks are awe inducing, to say the least.

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Intimachay and the Royal Feast of the Sun

The Royal Feast of the Sun was observed in Machu Pichchu in a specially designed cave called the Intimachay. The festival was celebrated by the Incan nobility in the month of Capac Raymi following the Winter Solstice. It was also a coming of age ritual, when the Incan boys were initiated into manhood by a ear piercing ritual as they watched the Sun rise over the horizon from the Intimachay cave.

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The architecture of Intimachay is quite striking. Intricately designed stones had always held special significance for the Incas and here in the Intimachay, it is no different. The walls, steps, windows and entrances are covered in beautiful works of stone masonry. The cave includes a unique tunnel like window from where perhaps the Sun was observed and worshiped. The window was strategically constructed to let in sunlight only during the December solstice. 

The Intimachay was located just north of the ‘Condor Stone’ and the caves surrounding might have been extensively used as tombs. However no evidence has been unearthed to suggest that  the Intimachay too had been used as a burial ground.

Land Of The Contrasts- ‘The Garden City’ of Christchurch: Papanui, New Zealand



Land Of The Contrasts- ‘The Garden City’ of Christchurch: Papanui, New Zealand

If you’re an adventurer, nature-lover, history buff, beach-surfer, mountain hiker, foodie, et al., to put in a nutshell- a traveller, Papanui, Christchurch, New Zealand is the right place for you!

Here, you can ski, bungee jump, mountain bike, hike, surf, raft, swim, play golf, watch whales in Kaikoura, visit wineries and gardens, go shopping at the Re:START ,an outdoor retail and café precinct, be entertained, awed and so much more, all that just  within two hours of an international airport. Exciting, isn’t it? So now lets roughly map out its location.

It is literally at the edge of the world. Amidst the clouds mounted atop the peaks of the  Southern Alps, stretching to the Canterbury plains, at the very brink resides Christchurch, New Zealand’s oldest and second largest city with Papanui being one of its several beautiful suburbs.

Encaved within the realms of lofty mountain peaks and glaciers, alpine hot pools, lakes and rivers, the ocean with awe-inspiring beaches possessing some of the worlds rarest marine life, and rivers encircling the lush green hills and entwining the broad plains, and the unbolted ocean with hedged bays, sandy beaches fencing bush-clad valleys, craggy coastlines and  impenetrable wild woods, lies the legendary Land of the Maori Tribe, now Christchurch, the Garden City which is surely worth a visit.

Now what is the legend after all. To render that one needs to  etymological analyse the name which is adorned with three different meanings. Literally, it translates to ‘big plain’(papa meaning flat and nui meaning big), which felicitously can be implemented in two cases, both indicating its geographical position. It might be referring to the Canterbury Plains which is truly New Zealand’s flattest city. And as, being a wooded area in the early days, the Papanui bush, known for its huge diversity of different species of Aves was a common hunting place, and it is this hunting platform that was built in between trees where birds were entrapped which is now known as papanui.

But, it is the third interpretation that has a proper Maori legend, which elucidates the meaning ‘funeral pyre’ to the name. It is the story of Tuhaitara, a Ngāi Tahu princess who sent her two sons Tamareroa and Huirapa – to kill their father and her former husband, Marukore who was living in Papanui Bush. The father aware of their intentions, killed the boys as they arrived and made a huge pyre out of Papanui Bush to cremate them. Scary, isn’t it?

But, contrary to the name ‘funeral pyre’, the place is ablazed  with  life and is often referred to as the ‘alive city’ .And, now some bites on the Garden City!

                       hagley park

Christchurch, the celebrated ‘Garden City’ is known for its natural beauty which breathes throughout the year and houses some 740 parks covering some 3,000 hectares. It rose to its fame after winning the Major Cities in the Nations in Bloom International Competition in 1997 and  became the ‘Garden City of the World’!

It is said that one third of all public land in Christchurch  is devoted to parks and reserves. And the jewel among all gold is the Hagley Park, the green heart of the city. An epitome of serenity with 161 hectares of majestic trees, greenery, lakes, playing fields and flowers, it is  neatly hemmed by the Avon River.And,displaying its spectacular species of native and exotic trees, flowers and plants breathes the incredible Christchurch Botanic Gardens, within the realms of the Hayley Park.

If you wish to visit the garden city and witness the spasm of colours shrouding the city then the very beginning of the year would be the best time, as two large floral festivals occur every year during this time, The Festival of Flowers in February and he Ellerslie International Flower Show in March.

Now, lets discover the awesome sights awaiting every kind of traveller, in the city of Gardens.

PLACES TO GO

Before you start scribbling the names of all the places you want to visit there, do remember, the best way to explore the city is by joining a guided bike tour, or simply  on a vintage bike in style! But ,if you  wish to unwind your muscles and save them all that exercise, hop on a Hassle Free double-decker bus that provides spectacular glimpses of the city along with  informative  commentary. And, if you are the kind ,up for something outlandish and off-centre ,a Segway tour, is  the perfect way for you to explore Christchurch. And, for all  brave-hearts who wish to get a literal ‘bird’s eye view’ of the city ,Garden City Helicopters will cater to your lofty wishes! Done with all that extra buff, now its work-time, lets scribble!

  • The Time-traveller(for all history buffs)!

Christchurch castle ruins

Its always good to discover a place chronologically, and so to have a taste of the past glory the  ruins of Christchurch Castle  is the best! Built in the late 11thC to protect the town’s and river access to the interior of Wessex. The opulent Contable’s Hall was built around 1150 and The stone keep, (slighted after 1650), replaced a wooden structure about 1300. The castle is said to have witnessed the action in the Anarchy about 1147 and in the Civil War in 1645,so be prepared for a spooky watch ‘round there!

Then comes the, Canterbury Museum where you can discover the history of Christchurch and the surrounding regions at the. But that’s not it, to learn more about the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and their aftermath, Quake City is well worth a visit.

And, if you’re unaware, Christchurch is literally the Gateway to Antarctica, and no better place to learn more about this connection than at the International Antarctic Centre ,a place for all cold-lovers!

For all fine art enthusiasts!

the court theatre            kotane

Be inspired by the zest and talent of the  local thespians at The Court Theatre and unearth the thousand year old Māori culture at Ko Tāne. And then, wait till you get lost in the passion of the haka and be found again in the moreishness of the hangi .

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For the zoo-wayfarer!

Orana Wildlife Park

If you love wild animals and love them even more in their natural habitat, this is the experience waiting for you. In the unpruned stretch of Orana Wildlife Park, you can feed giraffes and lemur, ride into a lion enclosure or even come affront with a  live rhino ,all within the realms of New Zealand’s only open range zoo. And, if you wish to come face to face with the elusive national bird- The Kiwi,Willowbank is a must!

  • Adventurer!

Bottle-Lake-Forest-Chch                      Clearwater Golf Club

McLeans Island Track or Bottle Lake Forest is the place where you can experience the joy of ridding the world on two wheels.You can head to the Natural High to  hire bikes for days at a time. When done with that ,unwind at the Clearwater Golf Club or Pegasus Golf and Sports Club and gear up for the Waimak River Horse Trekking which offers horse and pony treks and jet boating on the Waimakariri River all great for an action packed family outing!

                                Waimak River Horse Trekking

  • For the Shopaholic!

RE-Start           christchurch-re-start-mall-1

The best way to conclude a trip is by shopping, and  Re:START  is that one place that has it all! An outdoor retail and café precinct built in fashionably presented shipping containers it was opened in October 2011, and has grown to approximately 40 retailers, a number of food caravans and a market on the weekend. So now, you know where to look for your last minute souvenir shopping!

Christchurch, the land of contrasts breeds nature alongside its rapid  growth of urbanization and establishes an exemplifying approach to the law of living in harmony with nature. Cited the 2nd ranker to The New York Times’ 52 Places to Go in 2014, Christchurch  is facilitated with luxurious accommodation and a plethora of places to drink and eat to the hearts fullest, a wealth of things to see and do plus a wide variety of festivals and events to witness, its is truly a place of merriment and celebration  at anytime of the  year!

Wardrobe’s weren’t luxurious enough: Armani Hotel, Dubai



Wardrobe’s weren’t luxurious enough: Armani Hotel, Dubai

Google Giorgio Armani  only if you are not familiar with his panache and his high end designer labels. The  name long synonymous with high street brands  such as Armani Exchange, Emporio Armani and  Armani Collezioni  among others has now tried his hand at a completely different genre albeit the same theme is retained. Mr Armani, an icon in his field of work has always associated his designs with luxury, finesse and un paralleled  elegance.  In a deal forged in early 2004 with EMAAR properties in Dubai for building this iconic hotel , it was finalized that EMAAR would be solely responsible for construction, real estate and operations while the designing, interiors and furnishing vested with Armani.

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Like all his previous works, the Armani Hotel in Dubai is reminiscent of his agenda on ‘design and revolutionize’. Situated on the bottom of the Worlds tallest building Burj-Al-Khalifa, it occupies till floor 9th and again from 38th to 39th showcasing some of the finest designs and concepts involving floor designs, tastefully done interiors, ample amenities , fancy aisles with  sparkling lighting and motion sensors illuminating ones approach to the rooms and common area. Armani doesn’t believe in using sub par qualities,  accentuating his designs with superior execution of the final product. The approach goes beyond visual aesthetics with offerings of unparalleled levels of service , comfort and pleasure as their signature. Primary facilities include luxurious suites, themed restaurants serving popular cuisines , a well stocked bar with some of worlds most finest liquors and wine, Spas and massage rooms for a relaxing affair, sport decks featuring tennis courts and gymnasiums, conference and meeting rooms and ample other facilities required for a comfortable stay.

Rooms 

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Guests have an option of choosing their rooms from with a  budget in mind without having to worry about the interior work or the level of comfort as each suite with its tasteful interiors promises unmatched quality for a cozy stay.  With warm soothing pastel colors for king sized beds and luxurious bath furnishings, mood based control settings for  optimum temperature and lighting. Each of the rooms have been personally overseen by Mr Armani himself giving one a glimpse of  haute couture . Be it movies on demand on 40inch screens with surround sound to having an option of a compact bar at each suite . A walk in wardrobe with fresh soft towels and premium bath toiletries are also provided. Finest cuisines just a phone call away as their room service serves with a motto of style and comfort. A stay at these suites can set one back from anything between  3000 to 12000 AED’s.

 

Culinary delights

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Get ready to tingle your tongue with finest savories served in each of their boutique restaurants. Undoubtedly authentic  five star cuisine from India , Mediterranean , Italy ,Japan   and others. Armani/Lounge offers breathtaking views of the city while one enjoys a light meal  made with international innovations and a taste catering to each region. Mediterraneo is all about contemporary food from the region from healthy options to a large buffet spread , each dish highlights the work behind it by their army of trained chefs. The cutlery like everything else top class  here ,is  ace bone china and fine silverware.  Armani Hotel wouldn’t be complete without an Italian touch in the culinary department since the head patron is an avid fan of Italian foods, Armanirestorante brings out Italian cuisines from the region concentrating on core flavor of the dish, exciting the palate with gourmet leaves and authentic ingredients all this paired with exceptional personalized service. For the Indian cuisine lovers there is Amal , offering top of the line indian curries following a legacy of time tested dishes intriguing the passionate food lover. Also in service is a Deli  and a Japanese restaurant (Hashi)  mimicking regional flavors with their foods and bringing the best of cuisines to your plate. For the party nightlife enthusiasts there is a club with a stocked bar attached for the wine connoisseur, one can choose to unwind and catch up on conversations over a  tipple.

 

Spas and Fitness Facilties.

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Armani Hotel boasts of its striking spas, a range of treatments are available  for the weary traveller. Choose between a half or a full day package and sit back and relax while your body is pampered with deep tissue massages, exfoliating mud baths and body cleansing meals. A prior visit to a consultant who chalks out a plan suited to your needs and tailor made to suit the schedule. Like the staff puts it ‘  journey to enliven and rejunuvate senses’ ,holistic treatments with trained masseurs involving hot stone therapy ,ice baths and massages to remove every bit of fatigue from the body . A ‘ state of the art’ gym houses fancy equipment to break a sweat along with like minded folk , you can also enroll at a yoga or Pilates class to peep into your spirituality. Kids can try  their hand at tennis deck atop the deck apart from various in house amenities provided  to them.

The final Word on luxury.

Events are an everyday affair at the Armani hotel, be it the office conference or a business deal to private parties and shows each one warmly hosted by the staff , For the shopaholics , a designer collection by Armani is located inside the building the collection remains privy only to guests. One can also arrange a private cab to the famous  Dubai Mall which is a hardly few minutes from the hotel. The retail facility at Armani houses designs and concepts from clothes to interiors and collected artifacts.

The taste of luxury starts as soon as one boards the hotel taxis to be ferried to the location , premium taxis transport guests to and fro from the facility. A stay here surely remains remarkable thanks to the array of services lined up for optimum comfort.

 

The Big English Freeze Vs. The Chowder!



The Big English Freeze Vs. The Chowder!

Okay, nothing ‘big’ about the English freeze. It happens every year. Can leave you with a really numb feeling though. Makes you crave for something warm and smooth. Something you might have on your bed or your couch. And there is no stopping you after you have it once. Meet the English Chowder! Well, it’s not exactly English. So, it’s just Chowder. But let’s make it sound a little interesting, shall we?

We’ll give it another name:Chowdah (because you know, it’s not English anymore). It’s actually American. So what is this ‘Chowdah’? The name is derived from the Latin word caldaria, which originally meant a place for warming things, and later came to mean cooking pot. The word caldaria also gave us cauldron, and in French became Chaudière. It is also thought to come from the old English word ‘jowter’ (a fish peddler). And according to Food Network and chowhound.com (yes, there is a website dedicated to chow), chowders are thick, usually cream or milk-based soups with chunks of vegetables in it. You can also add fish or meat in it. Chowder’s roots are in the northeast Americas, western France and other English speaking nations, with the New England clam chowder being the most popular. Usually, chowder includes onion, potatoes, and cream.

Nowadays, not all chowders adhere to these guidelines. New England clam chowder is sometimes made with milk, and Manhattan clam chowder doesn’t have any milk or cream, but has a tomato base instead. As new chowders pop up all over the world, they take on many different ingredients but most people still expect a chunky, creamy soup. So whether it’s corn chowder or seafood chowder, it will not be a smooth puree and it will not be thin and wimpy.

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Chowders typically have five parts: the vegetables or seafood which is the focal ingredient of the soup, ancillary ingredients which may include cream, diced onions, bacon, or herbs, the cooking liquid—usually broth or stock, a thickening agent—usually cornstarch, flour, or potatoes, and seasonings including salt and pepper. Best to let your mother decide on the quantity of each ingredient though. Chowders, like all other cooked food, can go from a mouth-watering thick and yummy soup to a chemical lab disaster before you can say, “Mummy! I am hungry!” Make it right though and you will have a hot and delicious smelling soup that would literally make you drool. Have a bowl full of that with your family around the fireplace and you will be never want to see daylight again. Take that, winter!
creamy clam chowder

Winter is the time chowder sellers look to make big money. After all, who wouldn’t want a hot cup of this delicacy? Of course, winter isn’t the only time people have tried making money out of chowder. Hundreds of chefs write about this ridiculously famous and easy delicacy. Be it a tomato based tango or a classic creamy concoction, everyone stays in the pursuit of the ultimate chowder. After all, what is a kitchen worth if it cannot create the world’s best chowder? And when you have your recipe for chowder ready, you will find yourself above all mortals. Winter becomes something you regularly laugh at (while having your bowl of chowder, of course!) and ‘staying at home because it is cold outside’ is no longer a valid option (because there are chowder sellers outside!!!). Clam chowder is among the most easily available chowders.

It is any of several chowders containing clams and broth. Potatoes and onions sautéed in the drippings from salt pork or bacon is usually added to make you want to beg for it! Carrots maybe added to make it look attractive (not that it is required to make it anymore attractive) and the final garnishing is done with parsley (Okay, I want some. Now!). The primary reason for this particular chowder’s popularity is the fact that that it is served on Fridays to provide a seafood option to those who abstain from meat, which was a necessity for most part of history. Crazy laws in the Midwest Americas, like the ban of tomato in Chowder, led to other traditions like making the chowders with milk and cream. In the mid-18th century the Portuguese added the tomato to the broth and invented the ‘New York clam chowder’. Scornful New Englanders called this modified version “Manhattan-style” clam chowder because, in their view, calling someone a New Yorker was (and still is) an insult. There are probably a thousand variety of the clam soup alone. Couple that with their stories of origin and we will have a book written on clam chowders alone. Chowders of course, played (and is still playing) an important role in man’s life. It is a food that is for the elite and the poor people alike. Just the ingredients would slightly vary. It is a hearty meal for the tired fisher folk and is also a food of luxury to the fat royalty. And whenever you are cold and feeling down, or when you feel the English winter is getting to you, just remember, there’s chowdah for you!!

Land of Midnight Sun-Alaska



Land of Midnight Sun-Alaska

alaska Land of the midnight sunAlaska, which is the largest state situated in the northwestern part of United States. This state is famous for its vivid climatic changes and condition as it leads to its extremes in north winters as well as summers. In some regions of Alaska where in the average daytime, high temperature is above freezing during winters which is not so normal in other states.

GarySchultzMidnightSunTeshLk

Alaska is also termed as one of the lands of  midnight sun which is one of the rare phenomenon of this state. For all the Alaskans citizens’, sun rays and sunlight is considered as gold rush which is equal to the value of gold and even sometimes hard to find. All the residents of Alaska praise and pray the sun rays and dance in the joy of happiness under it. They go gaga over the sunlight and even bath themselves in the glory of golden sun rays. Even the grumpiest sourdough dances with the joy of uncertainty as this would be the last day of his life. Sun plays a very joyful phenomenon in their lives and they rejoice every bit of it. On the contrary, for acquiring basic knowledge on ‘what is midnight sun?’ Basically it is a natural occurrence of nature in summer or mid-summer at north or places close or even within the Arctic Circle and Antarctic Circle where the sun remains visible at the local midnight. The sun remains visible for most of the night especially during summers. Alaska receives more sunlight in spring and summer than any other states and many other parts of the world. It is an experience of one of a kind to be witnessed and felt all around the world at once and Alaska being a part of such beautiful serene event. Due to such occurrences of the sun, the daylight duration lengthens and the tourists have an edge over to explore the places with more time in their hands.

The state of Alaska may seem inscrutable due to its vivid climatic behavioral changes, though it is famous for its various festivals. Summer is a busy time in Alaska. According with due respect of specific sources, every year there is a festival held in Alaska known as ‘Midnight Sun Festival’ for the love of sun kissed atmosphere as it is not sensed in the other half of the year. The festival in Fairbanks is not complete without the midnight sun festival which is the biggest sun festival in Alaska. This event would be held on Sunday, 22nd June, 2014 Noon-midnight at Downtown Fairbanks this current year on 1st 2nd and 3rd avenue are close down and upon that they are converted in a street full of food, art and cloth vendors. It is a full time celebration ceremony in the land of Alaska. It is the largest single day event held ever. As the music starts to bang in the ears of the Alaskans, each one of it runs downtown and surrounds themselves with familiar faces and enjoy their splendid time with each other. There are million things to attend in summer in Alaska like fishing, camping, bike riding, etc. from the month of May till end of September. Hiking is a very popular festival and activity during solstice. Even though the citizens of Alaska are busy in their lives but they always manage up to take out time for these several months and get enriched and enchanted by involving themselves in these activities, events and festivals.

The various famous places to visit in Alaska includes Fairbanks, Anchorage, Juneau which is the capital city of Alaska, Dawson City-Yukon etc. are one of the famous tourist destinations to be visited in Alaska specially in the time of summers because of the summer solstice event appearance which is held in series of dates capital city of Alaska-Juneau which is held as a tribute to Juneau’s golden past and promising future. This event initiates a huge variety of activities including log rolling and axe throwing. Even special family blemishing activities like pony riding and gold panning. This involves the entire family to come together and spread love. Indeed it a candid sight to witness on its own.

Alaska is not only famous for its suntanned festivals but also for various sports events. Despite of the late event inauguration at 10.p.m approximately there is no requirement of flash lights or spot lights because of the natural light available of the ever glowing sun shining brightly overhead due to solstice. Not only normal. Summer solstice occurs on every 21st day in the month of June and hence following other events like gold rush era adventure on 22nd and 23rd of June in the

running race games but also Midnight Sun Run is a unique Alaskan event held during solstice and numerous participants are engaged into it since past 20 years. Various other gaming events such as Alaskan goldpanners, the fastest northern baseball club are the contest held on solstice midnight at Growden Park at 10.30.p.m.

Mountain climbing is also one of the famous adventure sports for several tourists and travelers in Alaska as this can be termed as the best way to explore the natural beauty of the state and embrace the scenic beauty of effluent nature. There are several other activities and numerous ones which are held in the midnight sun festival and fun-time era of Alaska and the list would go on. In order to conclude this magnificent journey of festive celebration, summer is the best time to visit Alaska and have a pleasant stay there as a tourist.

Off-Roading: Turkey



Off-Roading: Turkey

Not all travel experiences are similar; neither do all travelers look for the same kind of experience from the expeditions they undertake. Some might be nature lovers, or wildlife enthusiasts, others can be interested in history or culture of the varied places worldwide. For the more adventurous sorts of travelers, or those looking for a slightly different and more thrilling experience, off-roading provides the perfect opportunity.

Adventure Traveling

Off-Roading includes leaving the main roads and taking the lesser explored and more treacherous paths, going through tracks that are made of mud, snow, rocks, or river beds depending on your chosen terrain.  This is an activity guaranteed to give you an adrenaline rush. There are many places worldwide that are suitable for off-roading expeditions. Turkey, the country extending from western Asia to southeastern Europe, is also a popular destination among those who are interested in adventure traveling.

Muddy Tracks

Off-Roading in Turkey is a memorable and exciting activity. Turkey is a country known for the harmonious blend of the eastern and western cultures that is evident in all its aspects. The various ruins, archaeological sites rich in historical significance, the natural terrain, the mountains, hidden waterfalls, gurgling streams and canyons all make Turkey a country rich in tracks apt for off-roading. One can explore at a much closer range Turkey’s abundant natural beauty, which is interspersed with ruins of castles, or mosques, and while on their off-roading trip one can also visit the traditional Turkish villages that are not easily accessible otherwise.

Ancient villages of Turkey

Exploring Turkey and its countryside and unbeaten paths through 4×4 safaris, or Jeeps, or Quad bikes is a very popular adventure activity that is organized for tourists by various different tour and travel agencies. There are many popular routes on which these off-roading trips are undertaken. The trails winding through Taurus Mountains, passing through remote villages, naturally beautiful sites, are some of the most popular and best places for off-roading enthusiasts. Antalya and Cappadocia are places within Turkey which are more suitable as starting points for these trips, or contains the best muddy trails or sand dunes which provide splendid experiences of driving the off-roading vehicle (usually called ATV, or all terrain vehicles).

Driving through the natural terrain of Turkey, weaving the way through tough conditions provides all travelers with a chance to experience nature’s marvels from near and also to observe a very different aspect of nature, of struggling against natural obstacles.

taurus Mountains

Off-Road drives organized around Taurus Mountains is extremely rewarding, as the paths that you drive through are replete with untouched natural beauty. The waterfalls and pools hidden among the dense greenery on Taurus, the lush carpet of greens, the pines paralleling your track, towering trees making canopies, narrow roads, tough driving conditions, flocks of sheep, traditional villages tucked among these wild as well as charming environs, all make this thrilling ride even more interesting. For anyone looking to explore the Turkey still unmarred by the extensive tourism activities, to feel the ambience and experience authentic lifestyles of Turkish villages that are a result of centuries of amalgamation of diverse cultural influences, all of these are possible if you embark on an off-road journey around Turkey’s Taurus Mountains.

ATV, Cappadocia

The off road trips organized includes specialists who have proper knowledge of the terrain, and who walk the riders through the safety procedures. Depending on the weather people should be suitably attired, should have appropriate shoes, swimwear, as these paths wind through various water resources within the forests. You can take a break and dip in these pristine waters in nature’s lap. Discovering these hidden pools amidst the dense wilderness after the muddy and dusty paths makes for a welcome change.

Ruins around Cappadocia

Off-road trips are a brilliant way of discovering the cultures of the native people and places. The villages located off the main roads of Turkey can be accessed through the jeeps and quad bikes made available for tourists.

Quad Biking

After an exhilarating drive you can take a break to indulge in some photography sessions along the scenic pathways. There are many indigenous species of flora and fauna along these tracks that are usually used for off-road traveling by the tourists. Other than the natural aspects- the valleys, and summits, the wilderness, and waters- there are also many archaeological attractions along the way which can be explored. Turkey has an extremely rich history, with Hellenistic, Byzantine, Ottoman, Seljuk influences to name a few. The remains of the glorious Turkish past, like various ancient mosques and ruins of castles are scattered over the Turkish landscape. These can be explored in the middle of one’s thrilling journey.

Jeep Safari, over waterbeds

Many popular places that provide facilities for off-roading include Cappadocia, Antalya, Marmaris, Icmeler to name a few. Cappadocia and western Turkey is particularly interesting for those who want to explore the rich Turkish history. An off road journey beginning from Antalya usually involves traversing across the old caravan trail, which is a medieval caravan route. This historical passage is also lined by many ancient monuments as the likes of Kargihan. In Cappadocia there are many sites that your journey will take you too. In addition to the adrenaline inducing drive, you can also see majestic volcanic peaks and picturesque canyons on your way. One can also visit local houses and indulge in some native activities like honey making, or pottery making.

Dune Bashing

Dune bashing is a specific type of off-roading, where the vehicles (specially designed for that purpose) are guided over high sand dunes. The thrill and excitement it produces is a treat for all adventure travelers. Soganli valley an hour or so from Cappadocia is also home to Soganli sand dunes. This area is very popular among adventurous tourists, as it offers electrifying game areas.

All in all, off-roading in Turkey is bound to provide one with an adventurous and stimulating journey. The off-road drives in Turkey don’t just provide thrill, but also combine cultural, natural and historical elements in an otherwise exhilarating and adrenaline inducing activity.