Monthly Archives: February 2014

South Africa – The Pearl of Africa



South Africa – The Pearl of Africa

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The rainbow nation and one of the greatest examples of unity in diversity in the world, South Africa is a country with great pride, natural beauty, cultural diversification and a resilient past. Located in the southern tip of Africa, the country was among the first regions to be colonized by the Europeans in the late 16th century a time when European Kingdoms were becoming commercial, seafaring super powers bent on conquering the world through Imperialism. South Africa today stands with its head tall as a symbol of tenacity and unity among different races becoming a major attraction of tourists in its years as a democratic country post the Apartheid. A country so rich in its representation of the original African culture, South Africa is a developing country which is battling to bring its people out of extreme poverty and help them lead a life full of prosperity and opportunity.

Though much of South Africa’s history may appear as a conflict between two races of mankind, it has today move beyond all that in its interpretation and representation. South Africa’s history can be seen as a long struggle which has finally bore fruits resulting in this wonderful nation of racial unity. The land which is today known as South Africa was occupied by indigenous African tribes known as ‘San ‘and ‘Khoekhoe’ or collectively as ‘Khosan’ who were basically hunter gatherers some 2,500 years ago. Modern Humanity was already strolling these parts of Africa some 100,000 thousand years before the first modern human was spotted in Europe. Out of the two tribes located towards the southern part of the country, the Khoekhoe people were primarily settled near the coastal regions. In the interior of the country many Bantu-speaking tribes had settled around the northern and north-eastern region.

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Fast forward into the mid-17th century and South Africa began to see its first European settlers coming into the land and forming settlement colonies. In 1652, a group of Dutch citizens had sailed into the Cape of Good Hope with the intention of settling in and starting farming in the region they were sponsored to do so by the Dutch East India Company. The Cape of Good Hope the southernmost tip of Africa was discovered a few decades earlier by the Portuguese Vasco De Gama who was looking for sea route into India. Colonization resulted in successive clashes between the new settlers and the indigenous tribes leading to the famous battle of Blood River. In the 20th century, the region was unified under the nation state of South Africa by this time South Africa had already experienced the Gold Rush which saw many European travel to the country in search of the elusive treasure which has today made the country one of the leading exporters of Gold and Diamond to the world.

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Modern Republic of South Africa was born out of a three decade long fight against Apartheid by various Black as well as White leaders most notably among them being Nelson Mandela who eventually won and led to establishment of the democratic rainbow nation in 1994. Since then the country hasn’t looked back, it has prospered through the past decades and established itself as one of the greatest destination to visit in the African continent. South Africa has a lot to offer to the millions of visitors that come to its shores every year, the rich cultural, geographical and natural diversity of the country is one of the major attraction points. South Africa is a treasure trove for lovers of nature, adventure, sports, beaches and a laid back life.

Traveling in South Africa can be made far easier if you go region by region in your explorations. The Western Cape with Cape Town as its crown is a great coastal region. The Mother City of Cape Town with its major attractions of the Table Mountain, the Cape of Good Hope, the white sand beaches and the luxurious vineyards that stretch into acres are amazing. The Eastern Cape is known to be the Mecca of beach lovers and surfers alike with the beautiful coastal cities of East London, Port Elizabeth as well as home to two great National Parks of Addo Elephant and Tsitsikamma. The Northern Cape famous for being the biggest of provinces, for its diamond mines and being home to the Kalahari and Karoo deserts.

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Today South Africa has also established itself as the adventure capital of the world with many world class adventure events happening in the country, adventure sports such as flying fox, sky diving, climbing, surfing, diving, hiking and many other extreme sports are just fabulous to experience here. The country has also announced itself on the global stage by hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup which lead to millions of people flooding the country and discovering its beauty besides the football. The great landscapes of the country along with dedicated tour operators make it one of the preferred destinations for adventure junkies. South Africa is slowly establishing itself as a great nation which can offer its visitors great adventure, culture, heritage, history and hospitality. It is a mesmerizing example of what Africa holds in its womb, the beauty that lies within it and the ability to enchant for many centuries to come.

The Shopper’s Sinful Indulgence: Harrods, London



The Shopper’s Sinful Indulgence: Harrods, London

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London is the heart of England and the shopaholics of London have the Harrods in their hearts. Harrods is nothing else but an upmarket departmental store located on the Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea in London. The Harrods group of Companies has many enterprises, such as the Harrods Bank, Harrods Estates, Harrods Buenos Aries, Harrods Aviation, etc. But out of all these, the most popular enterprise of the Harrods brand is the departmental store.

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The Harrods in London occupies a land of 5 acres which an area of twenty thousand square meters. There are more than 330 departments within a selling space of more than a million sq. feet. This makes Harrods the biggest and the largest departmental store in, not just London, but the entire England. The motto of Harrods is “Omnia Omnibus Ubique” which means “All Things for All People and Everywhere”.

The place was built by Charles Henry Harrod. He first established his business as a draper at the age of 25 in 1824 at the south of Thames River in Southwark. Later he grew his business from that to a grocery wholesaler and later moved his business to nice posh places of London. Then the business was taken over by his son Charles Digby Harrod in 1861. The business faced many ups and downs like fire in 1883. The current building of Harrods was completely constructed in 1905 after the initiation of designing in the year 1894. The architecture was designed by the famous architect Chalres William Stephens. Later, the business was expanded and they moved to many foreign branches and bought many stores. They worked hard and progressed from a single store to a chain of stores and came to level they are at today. Today, Harrods is biggest store in the whole Europe and is approximately half the size of the biggest departmental store of UK, Oxford Street. This is an inspiring and motivational story for London and the whole world.

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The products and services offered in these departmental stores are countless. Since there are more than three hundred stores, the range of services varies to a great extent. They offer products like clothes for men, women, children and infants, electronic appliances, jewelry for all, sporting gears, toys, pets and their accessories, bridal trousseau, beauty products and health items, gift items, housewares and home furniture and appliances, stationery items and many other products. You name it and they have it. The services offered are more than you can think of. There are about 32 restaurants which serve a wide range of dishes and beverages such as high tea, tapas, pub food, haute cuisines apart from the regular fast food items and meals. There is a personal shopping assistance programme offered in the Harrods which is called the “By Appointment”. Other regular services usually offered are tailoring; watch repair; beauty spa and salon; pharmacy and dispensary; barbers shop; Ella Jade Bathroom Planning and design  service; event planning and catering services, food delivery counters; wine steward; bespoke fragrance formulations, cakes, gift boxes and picnic hampers; Harrods Financial Services and Harrods Bank and many others. On the peak days, the place is visited by more than 3 million customers which is the maximum proportion of customers in London from non-English speaking countries. Staff at Harrods is also very diverse and comes from more than fifty different countries and the entire population of staff is much more than 5 thousand.

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Harrods, being such a great place, is the holder of some Royal warrants from Queen Elizabeth II for Provisions and Household Goods, from the Duke of Edinburg for the outfitters, from The Prince of Wales f or Outfitters and Saddlers and from the Late Queen Elizabeth (The Queen Mother) for the China and Glass products. The Royal Warrants were held since the year 1910 but were removed from Harrods by the Al-Fayed by burning them as reported by the ‘Daily Telegraph’ of London.

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The Harrods also has a dress code which was implemented in 1989 because several people believed that it were not properly dressed. The dress policy includes a soldier in the soldier’s uniform and a scout troop dress accordingly. Along with these, there is a woman in Mohican hair style and FC Shakhtar Donetsk’s team with tracksuits on. But this policy is no longer compulsory and most of the outfits and dresses are allowed. But they are still very strict about certain styles of clothes like Bermuda, beach shorts, cycling shorts, beach wear or swim wear, flip flops, thong sandals, high cut, bare feet, etc. They will not allow anyone wearing such clothes to enter the complex and the staff has complete right to deny you to enter the store without giving explanations. They also do not allow sweaty or dirty clothing.

Being famous is not as easy as eating. This is also the case with Harrods. Harrods have been criticized and blamed for various reasons many times. It was criticized using regular protests outside the Harrods for selling products with real animal fur. It was also criticized for selling a line of female underwear with the images of Indian Goddesses and this came from the Hindu community. But in spite of all these issues, Harrods stands high as a symbol of England.

The Emirati Pride: Abu Dhabi



The Emirati Pride: Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, being the center of the government and centralized capital of UAE- United Arab Emirates, is the most important cities in the world. It is also considered as the biggest and modern city of Emirate of Abu Dhabi. A large number of embassies and oil companies have their respective headquarters in Abu Dhabi. It is also known to be a place of rich people as only 420,000 people live there but each have a net worth of 17 million dollars. The city is well maintained and is very beautiful. All the roads and streets of the city are lined with green boulevards, buildings and hotels are very sophisticated, shopping malls are lavish and the gardens or parks are very large and gorgeous. The street addresses are very logical and will seem confusing to some people. The city was mostly developed after the death of Sheikh Zayed in the year 2004. His son, Sheikh Khalifa, took his place and made the city what it is today. This amazing city has many things in store for its people.

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The Architectural Treasure: Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the sixth largest mosque and one of the most beautiful treasures in the entire world. People of all nationality can visit the mosque. Non-Muslims can enter the Mosque in Sa-Th mornings only. The tour of the whole mosque can be done in 60 minutes. The materials used for the magnificent features of this mosque are best quality and are supplied by best suppliers from each corner of the globe. The artistic splendor of Sheikh Zayed Mosque is remarkable and people are definitely going to appreciate that.

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The Glorious ‘Manarat Al Saadiyat’

This enlightened place covers 15,400 square meters of area of the Saadiyat Island. The Manarat Al Saadiyat was built to represent the vision of the Saadiyat Island at one place. The place also includes an Abu Dhabi Arts Gallery in the main area for an educational experience for visitors. The Abu Dhabi Arts Gallery is the place for art lovers as it offers a number of educational and exhibitions programs. Some other arts galleries in Manarat Al Saadiyat are the Universal Gallery, the Contemporary Art Gallery and the Central Events Gallery. The entire trip of Manarat Al Saadiyat will be eye-pleasing to the people.

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The Al-Hosn Palace or Qasr Al Hosn Fort

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan used to live at the Al-Hosn Palace but now this beautiful palace is regarded as a archeological historical place and is open for visitors. The palace is also known as the White Fort and the Old Fort. It is indeed the oldest building in Abu Dhabi. It also holds some important documentation of the Gulf region and some historical documents on the heritage of UAE. The interior of the courtyard is heavenly and is developed in traditional Arab style. Its walls are decorated with modern arts by using concrete glass. The most outstanding feature of the palace is the tile work on the main north gate. Many historical paintings, artifacts and photographs are held inside the main palace. A special natural history section is there to feature animal life. Pottery and other artifacts are also there.

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The Traditional Golf Course: Yas Links

Yas Island, the unique island which has the richest ecosystem in Abu Dhabi, is the only island with three coastal habitats. Thus, provides the perfect background for a large golf course. This extraordinary golf course, named Yas Links, is among the Top 100 Golf Courses in the world and is at the 95th position among the Best Golf Courses on the Planet. It is the 1st Links golf course to be established in the Middle East region. This golf course offers an eighteen-hole course, a golf academy, a floodlit practice facilities and a nine-hole academy course. All are set with the background of the Arabian Gulf. This traditional golf course offers the right challenges with the correct thrills, the golfers have ever dream about. The unparallel glory of the game is still intact in Abu Dhabi because of Yas Links.

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The World Famous ‘Ferrari World’

The biggest indoor theme park in the world is the Ferrari World. This place is specially designed friendly for families. Ferrari World is a host of many amazing rides and attractions that will imprint a never-forgetting experience in the minds of the visitors. The high speed rides will be a thrilling experience for the youngsters. Apart from the rides, there are many unique shops, a Ferrari boutique and some other entertainments. Some restaurants which offer delicious Italian food are also there. People can also interact with the shopping consultants. They will provide free advice to the people as per their budget and style. In addition to this stuff, the Largest Ferrari Store in the world is also located in the Ferrari World.

Abu Dhabi also has several other places with beautiful gardens and lovely fountains decorated with neon lights and sculptures also. Khalifa Park is also popular for its play parks, aquarium and museum. Corniche (famous for its sandy beaches), Flagpole (on Marina Island), Yas and Lulu Islands, Emirates National Auto Museum, Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation, Abu Dhabi Ice Rink and the Caracal Shooting Club are the other famous places in Abu Dhabi. This is the only place on this entire earth which is traditional, historic, mysterious, adventurous and magnificent at the same time.

Experiences That Count: Europe by Eurail



Experiences That Count: Europe by Eurail

A trip via tracks, through the most breathtaking scenic beauties along the way, Eurail allows its travelers to travel across Europe at their own pace and comfort. Eurail is a group, consisting of a group of 30 European railways providing a network of trains that covers up to 27 European countries which include France, Italy, Switzerland and Greece. Started way back in 1959, the Eurail provides budget travel to people who come to explore the vast Europe but don’t know where to begin. It offers a complete list of passes as per the selected destinations to various countries across Europe. Usually they tend to be point to point between two countries but the passes are also available for 3 to 4 countries or a global pass covering 24 countries over the journey.

 

ITALY

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Over 40 million visit this beautiful country every year. A country offering the greatest number of world heritage sites, Italy is a place that cannot be missed on a trip to Europe. Here the ‘City of Water’ as Venice is called waits to amaze you with its unbelievable architecture. The jewel of water cities, it forms a hotspot for tourist in Italy. The Colosseum in capital city Rome is another attraction in Italy, reviving the history through its majestic architecture. Built in 72 AD it retains its charm and magnificence till date. With the Eurail you can get 10 days of unlimited travel on the national rail network of Italy over two months time.

 

GREECE

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To begin with Greece, one of the top tourist sites that lies here is the cosmopolitan town of Mykonos. The narrow streets with white-washed houses, the sandy beaches and a lively place at night all in one are here at Mykonos. Santorini is another destination in Greece that draws crowd in large number to this volcano island that dazzles in different yet dramatic shades of sunset. Journey through Greece is incomplete without visiting Athens. The Parthenon that stands at the top of Acropolis, was built in 432 BC, is a remarkable example of the Greek architecture, and continues to attract tourist from all over the world. There is a choice of 10 days of unlimited train within a month period to Greece.

 

FRANCE

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A combination of breathtaking beauty, rich cultural and historical heritage, beaches and cliffs all in one, France is one of the favorites among tourist. With 83 million tourist alone in 2012, it has become a popular tourist destination. Paris being the most visited city in the world displays with pride one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Eiffel Tower. Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is one of the most beautiful villages in France built on the platforms of hundreds of meters up the side of a limestone cliff. The Loire Valley, famous for  its vineyards displays a breathtaking beauty of, spanned across a large 280 kilometers.

 

SPAIN

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Spain has a variety to offer to its tourist with exotic beaches, islands, monuments, churches and even running of the Bulls to the adventure seekers. The most visited places include Alhambra. On a plateau in the city of Granada lies this beautiful palace that was built long ago in 14th century. The Mezquita of Cordoba is another fascinating building with its arches and pillars. A Roman Catholic church , Sangrada Fimilia is another tourist attraction, with its construction being started in 1882 and still going on. Spain also offers one of the best beaches in Europe that is La Concha in San Sebastian.

 

ROMANIA

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The collection of fortresses and castles in Romania illustrates its rich heritage. The huge castles basically built for protection from invaders, from 14th to 18th century still stand tall and majestic. The Bran Castle in Transylvania – Central Romania, is a gigantic castle built on a hilltop of 200 foot long rock, carries the mystical stories of the famous Dracula. The Corvinesti Castle Central Romania is another such wondrous castle with beautiful courtyards and marvelous architecture. Also famous for its churches Romania resides Biertan Fortified Church, one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites featuring marvelous architecture.

 

POLAND

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Poland has a chaotic past but despite that it is a place that is rich historically and culturally. Visiting Poland seems as if you are drawn back as you see its historic treasures intact in time. The Baltic Sea in Gdynia, offers a breathtaking view as the cliffs and the beaches lay in parallel, complementing each other. The Malbork Castle of Malbork is a feast to the eyes and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Ostróda-Elbląg Canal offers a beautiful scenic view and one of the best waterways in Europe.

 

GERMANY

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The Frauenkirche church in Dresdan is one of the tourist hotspots in Germany. Berlin, the capital city of Germany is one of the most fascinating capital cities in Europe. Brandenburg Gate, Berlin is something that cannot be missed.  Another famous tourist spot is the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bravaria, which became an inspiration to the sleeping beauty castles in Disneyland.

Eurail offers a convenient way to visit your favorite holiday destinations all in a span of time and at their own pace. Plying from country to country across Europe, it has not only made travel easier but also brought these countries in a close connected bundle of hotspots.

Taming the Wilderness: Lion Safari, South Africa



Taming the Wilderness: Lion Safari, South Africa

South Africa, or officially the Republic of South Africa is a country known for its diversity both in terms of the landscapes as well as the mixture of prevailing cultures. South Africa is a must visit place for all adventure lovers, and people who want to spend time in nature’s lap. Spectacular opportunities to observe the stately lion within the wild environs and the indigenous flora is one experience that is unique to Africa. Any trip to South Africa would be incomplete without adding a wildlife Safari to one’s itinerary.

Lions, Kruger National Park

 

There are many game reserves within SA which includes Kruger National Park, Singita Game Reserve among others. Okavango Delta, Masai Mara Reserve, Serengeti areas in neighboring countries of  South Africa are also popular among those out for lion viewing, and experiencing the wilderness.

Of the many unforgettable traveling experiences, the South African Safari definitely figures among the best. The diverse landscapes of South Africa and the exceptionally rich wildlife, flora and fauna make it a perfect destination for observing wildlife. To see the animals in their natural habitat, to see lions hunting or stalking their prey leaves one with impressions that remain etched in their minds.

Lions in natural habitat

Kruger National Park in South Africa is located in eastern parts of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. One of the largest National Parks, it is designated by UNESCO as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve. Dating back to 1926, this game reserve is very popular with tourists as the people on safaris here are bound to encounter the Big Five. Rhinoceros, Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard and Lion were named as the Big Five by hunters due to the difficulty in hunting them. Today they are a major feature of South African Safaris. Observing these animals and more specifically Lions (found in Africa and India) among the vast and varied terrain of Kruger National Park is a worthwhile experience.

Lions on Move

For nature lovers and enthusiasts of wildlife photography, the game reserves of South Africa, especially the Kruger National Park offers a delightful journey. To see the lions resting and sleeping during the day time, to observe them on a hunt at night, to experience watching these magnificent beasts tending their cubs, and the fights among male lions- these are some visual experiences that are difficult to come by and even more difficult to forget.

Safari, South Africa

Kruger National Park boasts of an extremely rich list of species that include the Big Five as well as Hippopotamus, Spotted Hyenas, Zebra, Cheetah among other animals. It is most popular for its Lion Safaris. Depending on one’s inclination, adventurers and tourists can opt from different kinds of safaris that are easily made available by various lodges and agencies. From the typical 4×4 safari, to walking safaris and night safaris, there are many opportunities one can avail of, depending on the kind of experience one wants.

Lions climbing Trees

Walking safaris offer the chance to see the animals up close. Approaching the untamed lions up to as close as 20 yards and to monitor their actions while on foot among the African wilderness is a remarkable part of touring the African Wilderness. Appropriate measures must be taken for these walking safaris, and all the safety procedures should be heeded for one’s own protection. Trained wildlife guides conduct these tours without any unnecessary risks and they are quite safe. An exhilarating but safe experience awaits anyone who goes on a walking Lion safari.

Night Safari

Night safaris are equally terrific. To hear the sounds of the jungle, and animals prowling in night, and on some lucky occasions to actually see a lion on a hunt are added benefits of undertaking a safari at night. To view the African Savannah, the long coastlines, indigenous forests, mountains and various rivers, and the wild lions roaming in their natural habitat from air is also an experience worth having. A good wildlife safari also depends on the experience and expertise of the guide and ranger. Guides and trackers adept with the terrain and animal movement within the area can make spotting the lions very easy.

Lion Cubs

According to one’s safari type, the chosen landscape and the season, different behavioral patterns of the lions can be observed. For instance the normally ground dwelling lions are known to climb trees and rest on them to escape from flies in many game reserves in and around South Africa. If one selects the season properly there is an increased chance of watching lions mating, or hunting the buffalo herds or other animals. During July to October it is more probable to observe lions hunting the wildebeest. To observe lions stalking and ambushing their prey is a sight that brings to mind nature’s marvel and the harmonious way in which the ecosystem is balanced, not just by the flora or the herbivorous population but also by the carnivores.

Lions hunting Buffalo

The stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, experiencing lions and their behavior at close range are some of the things that South Africa has to offer to all tourists. Appropriate accommodations, food and other facilities, excellent personal guides, desired group sizes and different types of safaris offered to all visitors make Kruger National Park in particular and South Africa in general the best location for anyone looking for a memorable sojourn into the wilderness.

Go Sky Diving In Pattaya



Go Sky Diving In Pattaya

Love adventures and don’t fear heights? Then Pattaya is the place for you and Sky is the playground. Pattaya is a sea site resort on the Eastern Gulf Coast in Thailand just less than two hours from Bangkok. Fashionably, Pattaya has much to offer to its visitors. Everything is reasonably priced and varied whether it’s accommodation or entertainment. Pattaya is obviously well known for its surrounding beauty and nature’s artistic hand. The main reason of Pattaya’s fame is sex industry but that is not all. There are sacred places, Ripley’s museums and gallery, Elephant trekking, the Floating market, Walking street and off course Sky Diving.

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The best thing about Pattaya is that it offers almost 360 jumpable days in a year for sky diving so it’s an ideal place to go for it. The weather here is quite predictable and it is easy to schedule a clear jump day. As we know, skydive can be one of the most memorable experience of one’s life so lets find out how to go on board with skydiving in Pattaya.

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The Drop Zone

 Drop Zones are the designated areas for safe landing of sky divers.

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There are three main drop zones in Thailand. Pattaya has the drop zone located at Nong Khor just on the main highway. The taxis can be booked online to take you to the drop zone straight from Bangkok International Airport.

Tandem Jumping

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Tandem Jumping is very famous among people skydiving for the first time as it just needs a short training course to make the jumper familiarize with the exit, body position, parachute deployment and all. The instructor is strapped with you and you too fall together. You don’t have to be an experienced jumper to attempt a sky dive, anyone aging more than sixteen would do well. All you have to do is to select a jump date and deposit the fees. There are always experienced and highly qualified instructors to guide you from step to step. Having a bunch of friends and family members will be economically beneficial too, as there are always discount schemes running in Pattaya for a group of skydivers.

Obtaining “USPA A License”

This is an experience that you may want to have more than once or many times. So, a license called “USPA A-License” can be obtained by a technique called Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) by starting with a Tandem jump and completing almost 25 jumps alone. In AFF jumping first few jumps are made with two or three instructors and few with only one instructor holding hands only. Last few jumps are made solo with minimal supervision.

A License

 Once you complete this course, you will be signed off for all the technical skills required to gain your A license. After becoming a licensed Skydiver, you will be able to jump at drop zones all over the world. There are a lot of Skydiving schools from where the course can be completed and the license can be obtained. This whole process costs around 4,000 US Dollars for one person. Costly enough but worth it. Isn’t it?

Skydiving Variations

We all have seen on television and internet the tricks and variations the skydivers do in the air. You or I can also do them but only after obtaining “A license”. The Sky diving schools in Pattaya offer you the post certification courses in which all the different kinds of stunts are covered. You can invent some own stunts too. Now that’s quite interesting.

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There are few examples like jumping in formation of four or more people, jumping with skateboard doing stunts, base jumping and even try the night jumping. This kind of madness gives life a different meaning and an extreme edge. Don’t you think!

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Other attractions 

Jumping from the plane and seeing the world from a high point, but there are some must see attractions in Pattaya which can only be seen by staying grounded.

Sanctuary of truth

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This giant wooden structure is situated at Laem Ratchwet in north Pattaya. It was initiated in 1981 by Mr. Lek Wiriyaphan, the founder of the Ancient City in Samut Prakan Province. The sanctuary is constructed in four wings dedicated to Thai, Khmer, Chinese and Indian religious iconography. It is worth a watch as settings are beautiful and architecture is quite impressive.

Wat Yansangwararam

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It  was constructed in 1976 for Somdet Phra Yanasangwon, the Supreme Patriarch. Within the compound are the Mondop where a replica of the Buddha’s footprint is enshrined, a large Chedi containing the relics of the Lord Buddha.

The Elephant Village

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The Elephant Village visit is not only a unique experience but it is also a lifesaver because fees paid by the visitors are contributed to the survival of the elephants. The tour takes you to the elephant round up which is literally a large gathering of herds of elephants. A well known place for lovers of elephants and nature! The first of its kind and one of the very few places where elephants are kept in their natural environment.

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So these were some places where you would like to go in Pattaya but as we know the love is in the air and it can be felt by flying in the air. So, Sky diving lovers! Pattaya is really a heaven on earth for you.

The Melody Of Water : Angel falls, Venezuela



The Melody Of Water : Angel falls, Venezuela

The Angel Falls is the highest waterfall in the world with an amazing height of over 300o feet. The waterfall is on the Kerep River called Kerepacupai or the Gauja River which ultimately meets a tributary of Carrao River called the River Churun. Angel Falls is one of the topmost tourist attractions in Venezuela. The trip to the Angel Falls is a very tough and daunting task.
The Angel Falls are located in an isolated forest. Canaima camp is the starting point for river trips to the base of the Angel Falls which requires a flight from Puerto Ordaz or Ciudad Bolívar. From December to March is the dry season during which there is less water. Therefore, river trips are under taken from June to December, when the rivers are deep enough for the wooden “curiaras” of the Pemon guides.

 

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The official height of the falls was calculated in a survey conducted by American journalist Ruth Robertson on May 13, 1949. The first known attempt to climb the cliff was made in 1968 but the expedition failed because of slippery rock. In 1969 a second attempt was made but it again failed due to scarcity of water. So, finally the first climb to the top of the cliff was successfully done on January 13, 1971. The climbers took nine and a half days to climb and another one and a half days to descend.

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History has it that an aviator from United States of America named Jimmie Angel became the first person to fly over these falls and hence the waterfall got its name ever since the mid twentieth century commenced. Jimmie Angel flew over the waterfall on November 16, 1933 on a flight. He is said to have been searching for a valuable bed of ore. He returned on October 9, 1937 while he was flying his Flamingo monoplane. He is said to have been trying to land his plane but its wheels sunk deep in the marshes, prevented him from doing so and the plane got damaged on the top of Auyan-tepui. At that time, he was accompanied by two people apart from his wife, Marie who all together began to make their way beck to the ground on foot. The journey was a daunting task that took them eleven days. The news of this adventure and safe return were hugely publicized and the name of the waterfall Salto Angel was published for the first time on a map of Vanazuela in December, 1939. He died on July 2, 1960 and his ashes were let to flow into these falls. The name of the falls in Spain, Salto Angel has also got its name from Jimmie Angel’s name.

 

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President Hugo Chavez proposed to revert back to the original name of the waterfalls as Kerepakupai Vena which means waterfall of the deepest place. He felt that Angel Falls were a national heritage and had been always there long before Jimmie Angel arrived there. Thus, in 2009 he expressed his wish to let the nation’s falls bear an indigenous name rather than be named after a foreigner but the change of name was never carried out officially.

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Historians claim that the first ever European to visit the Angel falls was a Spanish governor and explorer, Fernando de Berrio who first went to these falls in the sixteenth or seventeenth century. The surprising thing is that the broken and damaged plane of Jimmie Angel remained on the top of Auyan-tepui for the next three decades after which it was recovered by a helicopter and placed in the Aviation Museum of Maracay. It currently stands on the front of the airport at Ciudad Bolivar.

 

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The first ever European person recorded to have officially reached the base of the Angel Falls alone was a Latvian explorer Aleksandrs Laime, called Alejandro Laime by the natives of the Pemon tribe who reached the falls in 1946. He was the first person to reach the upper side of Angel Falls in 1950. He climbed on the back side where the slope was not vertical. Not only this, he also reached Jimmie Angel’s crashed plane 18 years after the unfortunate landing had occurred.
On the independence day of Latvia on November 18, 1955 he announced the name of the stream after a Latvian river Gaujao. In 1955 this name was officially registered in National Cartographic Institution of Venezuela called Direccion de Cartografia Nacional.

 

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In recent times, the name believed to have been given by the Pemon tribe, Kerep has begun to be used as well though there are no convincing evidence that the indigenous Pemon people had named the local streams. In fact, the Auyan-tepui was thought to be a dangerous place and was therefore not frequented by the people of the tribe.

Angel Falls is located just on the edge of the mountain Auyantepui in Spain’s Canaima National Park. It has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

There’s Something For Everyone – Singapore



There’s Something For Everyone – Singapore

Singapore is  one of the world’s most prosperous countries and had shown tremendous growth after independence. A small country in south-east Asia that is one of the World’s most important trading hubs. It is said to be only shopping complex to have a seat in United Nations. The city is very well planned. Its economy depends on its tourism sector. Singapore is a secular nation and has people settled from all around the world, but mainly includes Chinese, Indians, Tamil and Burmese. About 75% of the population of Singapore is Chinese. Many different religions are practised here like Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and even Taoism. English is the main official language of the city but Tamil, Hindi and Chinese are also widely used. The Singaporian Constitution gives complete religious freedom to its people. It is a very densely populated state despite its small size. Due to its multicultural heritage, it celebrates different festivals of different religions and enjoys different flavours of different cuisines from all around the globe. Singapore is quite an environment friendly city and has about half of its land covered with forests and number of wildlife sanctuaries and reserves.

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Singapore is a very famous and crowded tourist destination. The most famous destination of Singapore is its Sentosa Island. It is an island in Singapore which was earlier used for military reasons but has been transformed into a popular tourist spot. It especially attracts children between the age of eight and twelve. It has Asia’s tallest observation tower which allows a full 360 degree view of the whole Island and Singapore. Sentosa is most famous among its native people for its artificial beaches named Siloso, Palawan and Tanjong. The last of the three, Tanjong beach is a quiet beach and is famous for playing beach volleyball along its coast. The Fish Reflexology offered here is also quite attractive, where the fishes nibble away the dead skin of your feet.

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Sentosa offers the first Casino of Singapore. It is located underground, beneath the Crockfords Tower Hotel. The Casino is famous for its Asian games and provides free entry to the foreign tourists. It has 500 gaming tables with 19 varieties of games. The first Universal Studio theme park of Southeast Asia is also located in Sentosa. It has the world’s tallest duelling rollercoaster ride named Battlestar Galactica. The other attractions of the park are rides named “Cyclone” and “Human”. The first circus theatre of Singapore was also opened in Sentosa, named as Voyage De La Vie. It has international artists from about 16 countries of the world working for it. They depict stories and dramas in the form of song, dance and other circus arts which keeps the audience glued to their seats.

The Marina Bay is one of the newest district of Singapore and also a famous tourist attraction. It has the largest casino in Singapore which is much more glamourous compared to its counterpart in Sentosa.  Esplanade Theatres on the Bay is often compared to the famous Opera House of Sydney. It offers song, dance, opera and all other types of classical arts. The Gardens by the bay offers large artificial trees which are showered by light at night and two conservative domes.

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If you want to see the cultural heritage of Singapore, you should definitely visit the China Town of the city. Though more than half of the population of the island is Chinese, this place still had something new to offer. It reconstructs the 19th and 20th century era of China and shows its old culture and charm. The China Town is filled with variety of street stalls selling all kinds of Chinese food, handicrafts, antiques and accessories. It also sells all types of Chinese tea, herbs, medicines and its traditional clothes. At New Year’s Eve the whole China Town is decorated in traditional Chinese style and the famous lion dance of China is performed on the streets. China Town is also famous for its Chinese Spas and massage parlour of various types. Spa like Rustic Nirvana offer Balinese type spa and massage parlours like Qimantra are popular in the area. Other destination to encounter the culture of Singapore is the Little India. As the name says, it is the district for the large Indian community of the island. It is the most colourful and lively place of the city. The best time to visit this place is during Indian festivals like Kavadi and Deepavali. Of course the main cuisine of the place would be the Indian food which is very cheap here. It offers a treat especially for the vegetarian people. The main attraction of Little India is the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple which is the oldest and busiest temple of the city. Singapore is also famous for its ZackOut festival which is Asia’s largest music and dance festival. It is celebrated on the palm tree lined Siloso beach.

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A trip to Singapore is incomplete without a good shopping experience as it is very famous for its malls and complexes. Due to strict consumer laws of Singapore, the shopkeepers are quite honest and the costs of the goods are quite low. The Orchard Road is the most visited tourist spot of the city and offers great deals of shopping experience. It is the venue of the Great Singapore Sale held in June – July and Singapore Fashion Festival. Singapore has low taxes and tariffs on imports thus the cost of goods is low especially electronic items. Singapore has large number of shopping malls and stores. Shopping is considered as the favourite past time of its people.

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Singapore is one of the safest cities of the world even for single women travelling alone at night. But it is still advised to be cautious. The city authorities are very concerned about the cleanliness of the city and strict rules and heavy fines are imposed on the people. The laws of Singapore are very strict regarding drugs. Illegal trafficking and use of drug is a capital offence and results in death penalty.

Wonderlands of Indonesia



Wonderlands of Indonesia

Indonesia, the fourth most populous country , is A home of 238 million people. With approximately 17,508 islands, Indonesia offers few of the world’s most exotic beaches , beautiful temples and a breathtaking view of the vast Indian Ocean and wide Pacific waters.

JAKARTA

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Jakarta is the capital city of Indonesia and has got a big number of 140 Chinese temples spread across this cosmopolitan, the oldest being Petak Sembilan in Jakarta’s Chinatown. Locally known as Glodok, this temple was built in 1650. Covering an area of 3000 meters, this temple comes to life every first and 15th day of the new moon, when devotees come to the temple in large number and pray for protection and prosperity. The temple is crowded during the Chinese New Year celebration. At the door of the temple, people burn incense sticks which fills the aroma with an essence of spirituality and of devotion towards the Almighty. The prayer hall stands on four red pillars which are beautifully craved with fine calligraphy. You will find bronze statues of different deities displayed on another side of the wall. With the sunlight pouring in through the ceiling, the hall bears a unique aura amongst the smokes from the incense sticks.

 

JHAMBI

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The Jambi province of Indonesia gets you close to nature with its Telum Smokey waterfall and tea plantations. The water begins at Lake Gunung Tujuh also called Lake of Seven Mountains and falls down from a height of 50 meters into a pool below. The water falling from the fall creates a mist around which gives it the name as Smokey Falls. There is a wonderous display of rainbow colors across the fall and the pool below giving it a stunning view. The fall lies deep within the Telun Seblat Natioinal Park, where one can reach after a laborious climb up to Mount Kerinci. The trek is though a bit tricky, promises a splendid beauty with majestic and towering trees which are hundreds and even thousands of years old. You can see a wide variety of flora and fauna around the waterfall. A leisure stroll awaits the travelers in the Kayu Aro tea plantations across the Telum Smoky Falls. The Kerinci Coffee and for the tea lovers, Kayu Aro Tea is a must try.
RAMBAK BEACH

RAMBAK BEACH

The city of Sungailiat, bears in it some of the largest collection of unique beaches. One of these beautiful beaches is Pantai Rambak or simply Rambak beach. With one end of the soft wide sand extending itself into the blue waters of Kalimata Strait, it faces its other end with grass and leafy trees.Towards the northern end of the beach one can find terrain of large rocks spread across the shore, wetted and thrashed by the waves coming from the sea. The beach is a secluded and it offers a surreal view of the magnificent sunrise across the waters.

 

LAMPUNG

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Lampung is altogether a magical place, lying to the south of Sumatra. The Kiluan Bay gulf located in Kiluan Village in Tanggamus district of Lampung is a migration path for the dolphin species and other marine creatures. With the diving in and out of the sea, speeding across beneath the waters provide and all together different experience. Beaches around this bay are home to two species of sea turtles. It is much easy to spot a dolphin, just 20 meters from the shore, where they can be seen welcoming the boats, by approaching the boat and crossing their paths. The experience of seeing wild and free dolphins surf across the waves, rather than in aquariums or zoos, is worth it

 

BONO TIDAL BORE

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The place is a huge attraction among the surfers who come here in large number. These tidal bores are created when the Kampar river, starting from the Bukit Barison mountain range, merges with the Malacca Straits, on the east of Sumatra. At the wide mouth of the river, the high tides from the sea meet the downstream into the strait and emerge as large tidal bores. These tidal  bores are locally called as ‘bono’ as they rush into the downstream with loud roaring sound at the speed of 40 kilometers per hour. The surfers see the chance and elevate to as high as 4 to 6 meters on the tides. The best sites to surf are offered by Teluk Meranti followed by Tanjung Sebayang, Tanjung Pungai and Pulau Muda, all lying in the district of Pelalawan

 

 

RATU BOKO PALACE RUINS

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These magnificent ruins and remains from the Javanese kingdoms of 8th century. It stands at 196 meters from the sea level and spreads across 250,000 square meters. The central section of the temples has the way the main gate, a crematorium temple, a pool and an audience hall whereas the south eastern part has a n attached veranda as the audience hall, three temples, a pool and a harem complex. Here lies a well called Amerta Mantana or the holy water and it is believed to bring goodluck to those who drink it. The mystical palace has a legendary story behind it and has been an attractive site for the historians and excavators over time. At an exact location called Plaza Andrawina, Ratu Boko displays its splendid beauty in the light of rising and the setting sun over the horizon.

 

JAVA

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With the nature at its best, Mandakaripura offers a feast to the eyes. Located in Surabaya, the capital city of Java, the waterfall fall rests deep within the valley of Tengger mountain range. One needs to trek for about 20 minutes across the rocky terrain, rivers and a splendid scenic beauty along the way. The valley displays its spellbinding beauty as one approaches the waterfall. The essence of the place refreshes the mind and soul with nature showering the waters like some bliss from heaven.  The majestic 200 meters waterfall makes the tallest waterfall in Java and second tallest in Indonesia.

Indonesia offers many such enchanting locations where one can get close to nature and provides a glimpse into its glorious past and legends.

The Waves in Symphony: Costa Rica



The Waves in Symphony: Costa Rica

The Republic of Costa Rica is quite a small country situated in the central America and is surrounded by Panama (from south), Nicaragua (from north), the Caribbean Sea (from east) and the Pacific Ocean (from west). Costa Rica is divided into six regions. The main cities of Costa Rica are Cartago, San Jose, Heredia, Dominical, Puerto Limon, Alajuela, Liberia, Quesada and Puntarenas. The place is a popular tourist destination because of its richness in natural beauty. Costa Rica has preserved its flora and fauna and thus has many national parks of natural beauty. Some of the famous ones are Cahuita NATIONAL Park, Cocos Island National Park, Chirripo National Park, Arenal Volcano, Corcovado National Park, Pacuare River and Protected Zone, Rincon De La Vieja Volcano National Park, Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves and Manuel Antonio National Park.

corcovado

Costa Rica offers many extraordinary places to visit and even amazing things to do. But still people would love to take a break from traveling and enjoy at some of country’s best beaches. Costa Rica is known for its beaches and its huge waves. The biggest beach in Costa Rica is Corcovado which is located on the Osa Peninsula. Instead of shinny white sand, the beach has black sand. The ecosystem of this place is fragile and that’s why back-country camping is not allowed there. If people want to camp then they have to camp at the entrances of the ranger stations only. The ocean tides in the Corcovado beach are very high and powerful. Swimming is prohibited during high tides or storms. Even some dangerous bull-sharks and poisonous snakes are also present in the both the Rio Sirena and Rio Claro sea. Thus, tourists should get satisfied by watching the flora and fauna and feeling the fresh air and waves of this beach and do not risk their life.

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The second most famous beach destination of Costa Rica is Dominical. It is by far the largest surfing destination of tourists in the country. In this beach also the waves that hit the shore are quite strong so preventive measures are must. But children are not allowed to swim on the sea. Apart from the beach and the ocean area Dominical also has beautiful waterfalls and fishing zones. Other favorite activities of tourists are massage, horseback riding, ziplines, socializing, caves, yoga and hiking. People often visit Dominical for the whale watching tours. The whales can be seen at the meeting point of the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere at the Pacific Ocean. This sight is indeed a remarkable one.

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Another popular tourist destination is Jaco which is a sweet and small city. Thus, it is possible to explore the whole city in one day only. The city offers many places to explore and even to shop also. The beach of the city is a famous surfing spot. The tour in the Jaco area is all about going to bars and dining out. You will find many lovely and private spots to click pictures or spent some time. The Nicoya Peninsula is also a gorgeous region in Costa Rica. Mal Pais, Samara and Santa Teresa are the beach spots in the Nicoya Peninsula. Mal Pais is a long surfing beach which offers a lot of low budged restaurants and hotel with good quality food and services. The expensive one is Samara and may be expense is the region why this beach is less crowdie. The last one, Santa Teresa, is affordable and is known for the best sunsets in Costa Rica.

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Some other nice beach spots in Costa Rica are Montezuma, Tamarindo, Playa Santa Teresa, Tortuguero and Playa Grande. Costa Rica is also among the few countries which offer great rafting opportunities. The rafting centre of Costa Rica was Turrialba. But later the Arenal Volcano area became the whitewater rafting destination of people. Rafting trips are the main highlights of the vacations of the tourists in Costa Rica. Costa Rica was the first country to start catch and release fishing and therefore is considered as the best sport fishing country in the world. A variety of fishes including the Snapper, Marlin, Wahoo, Dorado, Roosterfish, Salfish, Tuna and many more are available in the rivers of Costa Rica. The Northern and Caribbean sides of Costa Rica are popular for Big Snook and Big Tarpon.

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Almost all the beaches of Costa Rica are known for Surfing making Costa Rica a city for Surfers. The days of August and November are the best days for surfers if they want to surf on the amazing beaches of Costa Rica. The region of Guanacaste provides the best beaches for surfing. Playa Grande and Playa Negra are the best ones. Playa Grande is the place for both the experienced and beginner surfers as it offers consistent waves whereas the hollow waves of Playa Negra can be tackled by advanced surfers only. Other two sports which are also followed in Costa Rica are Biking and Golf. Because of the presence of great and huge mountains biking in Costa Rica can be very adventurous. There are many golf courses for golf players but the three main golf courses are in Mid Pacific, San Jose and Guanacaste. So this sport and adventurous place is definitely a must visit place for fun and beach loving people.