Daily Archives: 03.03.2014

The Next Big Thing: Sea Orbiter



The Next Big Thing: Sea Orbiter

sea orbiter

Sea Orbiter is a huge research vessel which will be constructed under an ocean in France. Sea Orbiter is actually an ongoing construction project which will get completed soon. This is a special project as it will be the first under ocean station in the entire world. This Sea Orbiter will be a research centre for scientists and will also be used as a mobile research station also. The station which is set to be positioned under oceans will have lots of laboratories, living quarters and workshops for researchers. Even it will consist of a high pressurized deck which will be used to support large submarines and divers also. This project will be completed under the guidance of “Floating Oceanographic Laboratory”. The main heads of this project are Jacques Rougerie (an architect in France), Jean Loup Chretien (an astronaut) and Jacques Piccard (an oceanographer). The whole project will cost the organization an amount of $52.7 million approximately.

How the whole structure will look?

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We can describe the whole structure as a craft which is semi-submersible in the ocean. It will weigh about 1000 tons. It will be 51 meters tall and will be submerged 31 meters below the ocean surface. It will be designed in such a way that it will float vertically and will also drift along the ocean currents. Two quite small propellers will be attached to change the trajectory and even maneuver of the structure if required. Some underwater robots will be utilized to explore the entire seabed under the ocean. The hull of the structure is made using an alloy of magnesium and aluminum, and will look almost 5 times thicker than the hull of a conventional vessel.

As the craft is vertically aligned, the above portion of the craft will be above the ground surface i.e. will be visible to the people on surface. The above part will be open and will have more laboratories and accommodation as to the lower submerged part. The organization wants to make a system to allow the divers to be in the submerged part for extended periods at greater depths which will be good for their research. They will do so by making the cabin pressure equivalent to the external-water pressure.

The motors are solar powered to enable the craft to move undersea without making any noise. Wind turbines are also available to provide extra power. The bottom part is of about 100 feet i.e. 100 feet under the sea level. As per the plan, there are 10 accommodation levels. Out of these six are under sea level and four are above the sea level. These ten accommodation levels constitute about 22 permanent residents.

Benefits to the People:

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This marvelous structure is open also i.e. each person can own a small part of the Sea Orbiter if they want to. Sea Orbiter is definitely a thing for the new generations. It is opening a new era of Ocean journeying. It will be a grand chance for everyone to explore the underwater world, discover the undersea life and enhance your global knowledge especially about the ecosystem. Even explorers are allowed to live inside the Sea Orbiter for at least 24 hours to explore the heart of the ocean themselves. As the project is developed strongly for educational and scientific purposes, this huge vessel will be a communication platform for people as they can share their views about their journey inside the Sea Orbiter through pictures and videos.

A Trip to the Stunning Sea Orbiter:

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Oceans are the hearts of our solar system. A one night under the sea in the Sea Orbiter will be like living in an underworld. The whole trip will be for sure unforgettable to the visitors. Your names can be encored into the Eye of the Sea Orbiter. People are allowed to stay in Sea Orbiter for two regular days on board along with an organ concert. The architecture of the Sea orbital is visionary and thus is build to draw attention of the sea species as well as the people. The see-through hulls will enable you to explore the sub-aquatic museums and other stuff to a large extent.

Future Scope:

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Sea Orbiter will be indeed the 1st space station in the sea around the entire world. Sea Orbiter is definitely a centre which has vast potential for researches in every field, especially in the field of medicine, human sustenance, pharmacology, nutrition, marine molecules and renewable energies. The organization is providing a global social and economic model which is having a provision to provide solutions and innovations in the every field to the world. Sea Orbiter is focusing on the current projects going on and is also looking forward to research deeply about the life forms under water and even the lost civilizations. Sea Orbiter will definitely be the principal source of information regarding the marine life in Future.

This non-stop structure is going deep down to explore the life inside the sea. A chance to join them and see the underworld with our eyes is a big advantage. To unlock the hidden secrets of deep and dark blue sea, people should be a part of the journey of this floating huge aquatic vessel for once at least. One should run and grab this once in a life time opportunity as soon as they get a chance.

Mountain Biking at Cambodia



Mountain Biking at Cambodia

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Cambodia , a small populous nation  south east of China is famous for its rich culture , pre historic works of art and a bloody civil war under a barbarian regime.  Up until recently Cambodia was still considered one of the  darkest places  on earth , courtesy  the Vietnam War which spilled on to its soils too( Vietnam , Cambodia and Laos are close neighbours) , an equally devastating and brutal regime of Khmer Rouge.  It did not see much of the outer world till late , only a few bunch of odd tourists were found visiting there marveling the  old sculpted temples dating back a good few hundred years in history. Its  virtually untouched civilization and bizarre ways of life almost shunned from the growth witnessed in other regions brought the unconventional tourist looking an out of world charm in an equally ‘out of world place’ .  That was until someone figured out the terrain of its inner regions and chanced upon a dirt bike to explore its mountains and valleys.

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Suddenly in the 90’s, the charm of Cambodia broke upon the world , nature enthusiast’s  flocked in droves to experience the latest thrill of ‘ joys on a toy’. The rough rugged and wild terrain of mountains in Cambodia bought new tourists to its shores , few out of sheer curiosity and few to experience its blast from the dirt bikes. Till date  Textiles and Tourism remain the main contributing factors to its small economy. A great country for adventure bikers to explore ,pump adrenaline with cruising through rainforests dotted with waterfalls , crossing rapids with your bicycle in tow , whooshing past rice paddy fields with friendly locals cheering as you make your way through uncharted territories or if your lucky enough an occasional sighting of wild elephants grazing in the grass.  Cambodia offers many adventurous avenues to let your hair down on a cheerful holiday with like minded tourists  without worrying about being stranded during emergencies or breakdowns.

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Since the growth of adventure bicyclists  many reputed travel agencies have set foot  here designing a comprehensive pocket friendly tour package depending on the nature and size of travel. Bike here are available  for cheap , less than 6$ for a day which you can use  for off-roading or trail biking. Many roads still remain in bad conditions but the potholes are generous and best for biker, with flat unpaved pathways adorned with the tracks of previous  cyclists. Don’t want to follow a conventional path? Your tour guides can arrange one for you with a small fee, a troupe heads out into the wild everyday with a dedicated  van following with essential supplies (for a flat tire or a breakdown) and enough  edible ‘ammunition’ to last you for days  while you seek the calling of your heart. Night halts are provided hotels lined on the ways or if  you want a taste of the local hospitality (locals are very hospitable and friendly), a stay with a family in the villages can be arranged.  Ensure you have enough mosquito repellents and a strong stomach to digest the food.  Tours are also organized between cities( Phnom Penh to Angkor  or  even to Saigon in Vietnam) apart from local destinations .  The ride takes one along temples dotting the country side(architectural wow’s) especially  Ta Phrom temple on the Siem reap-Angkor complex which is embraced by the gigantic roots of the  fig trees and enormous creepers or from  Sihanouk Ville to Chai Phat  along endless curls of mountain ways lined with shady trees and sugarcane plantations, untouched by civilizations due to its hard unapproachable routes  and terrains and yet bicycle friendly .  A night halt in a jungle cabin complete with hammocks and bonfire replicate pictures once found only in fantasy destinations ,a long day of pedaling through a wide territory culminates with a warm shower and hot soup before you tuck in and ascend on another  trek tomorrow.

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The terrain in Cambodia is mostly flat , ideal for both novice and expert riders but  can choose harder terrains based on their comfort at cycling.  Just a fifteen  minute ride from capital Phnom Penh brings you to the outskirts with series of shimmering paddy fields  as company whilst you zoom past them in a cloud of dust towards the more majestic rainforests and temples. A typical tour might involve cycling at at a leisurely pace with steady ascends , waging through wet fields  and waterfalls, encountering rocky terrain and possibly a flat tire too(help is behind you ), tugging your bike when the terrain is rough and slushy  and sometimes crossing a river in a bamboo thatched boat alongside postcard scenery , clear blue waters and  lush green mountains. A stay here with the locals is a must if you’re willing to try their authentic dishes and old folklore from their rich history they take pride in

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For a few dollars more you can lay your hands on a dirtbike too. These badass monsters offer double the pace and ruggedness  than a conventional bicycle. Treaded tires means its easier to push through dry sands and slush , encounter stomach churning flips and playing dirty. Few  annual dirtbike races are also held here thanks to the perfect weather and conditions aplenty.

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Cambodia truly is a bikers paradise, no enthusiast  has ever gone back disappointed or without  an upbeat mood .  A biker can spend time snorkeling,  kayaking in rapids , cross country cycling through wild terrains, back flipping into waterfalls after a long day of pedaling  to enjoying conversations and food on a bonfire before retiring to a  well  earned sleep on a lazy hammock  only to wake up and do  the same albeit at a different pace and a different place.

 

Sea Kayaking – Pattaya



Sea Kayaking – Pattaya

If one were to answer what attracts a man other than forests and mountains, the answer has to be definitely the Sea. From Magellan to Vasco da Gama, man has always responded diligently to the call of the waters. If you are one of those who can feel the thrill of the seas, just by hearing the roar of the waters of the seas, sea kayaking is one such adventure sport you cannot risk missing. These small boats covered with a deck, commonly known as kayaks, and used for paddling on the open waters of lakes and bays can give you the experience of a lifetime. When it comes to kayaking, what other place can be better that of the beach city of Pattaya that boasts of one of the largest beach resorts in Asia.

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Located on the Eastern gulf coast of Thailand, this seaside resort lies one-hundred and fifty kilometres from Bangkok. Given the plethora of hotels and resorts and the easy accessibility from the airport, Pattaya is one of the most popular weekend getaway for tourists. Besides the large number of beer bars and eateries, the place also offers a large number entertainment activities ranging from golf and horseback riding, bungee jumping, karting and shooting to a wide variety of water-sports. Pattaya encompasses most of the coastline of Bang Lamung District, spanning from Naklua Beach and Pattaya Beach to Jomtien Beach and the areas east of it, including Dongtan Beach, which are thronged by tourist all the year round. There is a variety of transport options to move around the city. Songthaews are local pick-up vehicles, which are a good option, though local buses, taxi and motor bikes are also available.

Pattaya Beach runs for three kilometres along the city centre and has a number of hotels, restaurants, shopping malls. Nightlife in the region becomes exciting due to the presence of the beer-bars, go-go bars, discotheques, and above all, Muay Thai, the Thai Boxing arena. In addition to water-sports activities like scuba diving, jet skiing, snorkelling, wake-surfing and yachting that Pattaya tourism offers, Kayaking through the various island coves and bays which is an excellent way to get intimate with the sea life of the area. If you are an avid swimmer, then a dip in the waters along the Wong Phra Chan Beach on the northern part of Pattaya beach is sure to thrill you. It is an attractive spot to those longing for a complete rest and privacy. The clear waters and the shimmering sunlight offer an exquisite view to experience and cherish for a lifetime. If you feel that the world famous seafood of Pattaya has added on a few extra pounds to your body, this activity is a must for you!

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Kayaking is an important activity that will take care of your health and fitness even in the leisure of your tour to the beautiful city. Though exhilarating in nature, paddling through the calm waters on a kayak helps to relax your mind and increase the quotient of your enjoyment. As far as your body is concerned, it is an efficient way to increase your cardio-vascular fitness and muscle strength, especially in the arms and the legs. So, when you return from your holiday, you can actually woe your friends and colleagues with your increased aerobic fitness and flexibility!

The choice of your kayak and the season of your visit are important factors that play a huge role in determining the quotient of your enjoyment. Though kayaking in Pattaya goes on all the year round, it is best to hit the waters in the early spring season, given the ambient weather and climate conditions. Make sure to start early in the day so that you can have enough daylight hours to return safely from your destination. Never ever, miss out on the safety equipment or ignore the instructions and guidelines laid down by the kayak operators, because they are they ones who know the coastal waters the best.

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Besides the thrill and the fun, Kayaking is a very efficient means of sight-seeing in the neighbouring islands. As you paddle through the clear waters of the sea, the amazingly spectacular coastal scenery and the misty breeze is sure to take away your breaths. On the course of your kayaking expedition, you might also get lucky enough to spot local fauna including the rare Great Hornbill, magnificent Eagle or even the flying fish. In some places where there are stalactite caves, kayaking is the best way to explore them. The locally available kayaks are specially designed to provide the tourists with the best of kayaking experience in accordance with the operating conditions. They can be easily rented from local shops or even booked online. The calm flat waters of the Sai Kaew Beach is one of the best locations for kayaking in the region. The overall ambience of the beach adds on to the experience in every possible way.

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Fear not if you are a novice, with negligible experience of the seas before. Consider yourself lucky to carry with you the memories of the adventures of Pattaya beach. Various agencies like, Pattaya Yacht Charters Co. and Asia Backpackers run Kayaking and other services in the area, who will train you and get you ready for the experience of a lifetime in a matter of minutes. With their high quality kayaks and the trained professionals, there is little you need to worry about.

All you have to do is Paddle on and Enjoy!

Lahore – The Land of Legacy



Lahore – The Land of Legacy

Lahore, in Pakistan is the capital city of Punjab province. Lahore is a metropolitan and the second largest city in the country. Before partition and formation of Pakistan Lahore was a part of India and therefore has a long and rich cultural history dating back over a millennium. After partition the city has developed into a leading economic, political, education, entertainment and cultural hub. Often called as the cultural heart of Pakistan, Lahore is home to the musical, arts, culinary, literature and film-making culture of the country.

The city has a rich history. It served as the regional capital during the reigns of Shahi, Ghaznavi and Mughal kingdoms. It is referred to as the “Mughal city of Gardens” due to the presence of gardens all over the city which were built during the Mughal period.  In the 19th century Lahore was the capital-city of Sikh Empire and continued to be the capital of the Punjab Province during the British Raj. Having been subjected to various administrations and various cultural ideologies Lahore served as the canvas on which various cultural portraits were painted.

Regarding reaching Lahore, it is considered to be the most accessible city in the country. The Allama Iqbal International Airport serves thousands of passengers travelling to and fro the city. There is an older airport that caters to the pilgrims visiting Mecca. There are frequent trains and buses that serve the public and tourists visiting Lahore.

If you are travelling from India to Lahore you will need to have valid visas from both countries. There are buses that run from New Delhi to Lahore. Sometimes there is a train running between Amritsar and Lahore through Wagah Border but it is heavily escorted by police officers, the relations between the countries being vulnerable and sensitive.

Once you are in Lahore, you are in a cultural paradise. There are magnificent examples of Mughal Architecture, beautiful gardens and the delicious Mughlai cuisine.

You can’t call your trip to Lahore complete until you have exhausted this list:

Badshahi Mosque

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The Badshahi Mosque was completed in 1674 under the reign of Aurangzeb and is one of the last of the best of Mughal Architecture. It stands opposite to the main gateway of Lahore Fort. Among one of the largest mosques in the world, Badshahi mosque can house around 100,000 devotees. You will be expected to wear humble clothing; women must cover their heads with a scarf.

Lahore Fort

The Lahore fort has been built and demolished several time until it was given its present from by the great Mughal emperor Akbar in 1566 when he decided to make Lahore as the capital of his kingdom. It is one of the most prominent buildings in the old city of Lahore. Do see the palace’s mirrors and climb the huge steps constructed for the emperor’s elephants to move inside and outside the fort.

Jahangir’s Tomb

jahangir's tomb

The tomb is located in the north eastern part of the city. The sandstone is beautifully ornamented. The tomb was built by Shah Jahan, the son of Jahangir. It is rumoured that it was designed by Jahangir’s wife Nur Jahan in memory of whom the Taj Mahal was built. The building is built in marble and has inscriptions in Arabic calligraphy.

Shalimar Gardens

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The city is referred to as the “Mughal city of Gardens” because Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built three gardens in the northeast of the city out of which only one has stood the test of time. The gardens are very popular with the locals of Lahore.

Lahore Museum

Located on the Mall Road, also referred to as the Central Museum, Lahore Museum is a prominent attraction of the city of Lahore. The building is carved in the style of Mughal Architecture. Inside you will witness galleries which contain Buddhist art and Islamic artefacts ranging over a period of time. Though a part of the collection was moved to India after partition the Lahore Museum continues to be the largest and the most impressive museums in the country.

The Cuisine

Mughlai cuisine is synonymous to the style of food in Lahore. The brilliant and delicious cuisine which reached its perfection during the Mughal era contributes to most of the delicacies to savour in the city. Dishes such as Afghani Kebab, Biryani and various others are sure to bring pleasure to your taste buds. Lahore is also a prime centre for the Pakistani-Chinese cuisine with a large number of Chinese outlets operating in the city. One must eat at Coco’s Den. Apart from a mouthful of delicious food this place also offers a mouthful of history and culture. The place is located right in the middle of the city’s red light district. The restaurant is run by an artist whose mother used to be a dancer. Exquisite paintings featuring dancing girls of all ages adorn the walls of the restaurant. The place also gifts a beautiful view of the Badshahi Mosque.

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Shopping

The best place to shop in Lahore would be Anarkali Bazaar located in the heart of the Old City. The market is named after Mughal emperor Jahangir’s lover who was said to have been buried alive. The market offers varieties of saris, textiles, wood and metal crafts, books and even second-hand clothes. This place is not about buying at M.R.P but to showcase your bargaining skills. You will be surprised by what you could haggle for.

anarkali bazaar

The Golconda Fort, India: History comes to Life



The Golconda Fort, India: History comes to Life

11 km away from Secunderabad in Andhra Pradesh is located one of the most impressive fortress complexes in India. The name Golconda comes from two words – ‘golla’ and ‘konda’, literally meaning the ‘mud fort’. The fort is a combination of the legacy left by both the Kakatiya and Qutub Shahi dynasties of Andhra Pradesh. It is said that a little shepherd boy chanced upon an idol of Goddess Kali atop the hill where the fort now sits. This led to the construction of the Mahakali Mandir and subsequently the mud fort. It was built as early as the 12th century by the Kakatiya rulers of Warangal. The original mud fort was built atop a 400 feet high hill and later reconstructed in stone by the rulers of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. The Qutb Shahi rulers strengthened the defence of the fort to stem the threat of Mughal invasions from the North.

There also exists the proverbial network of secret tunnels that the residents used in case of enemy invasion to escape. Apparently the secret tunnels were long enough to lead to the monumental Charminar (Four Minarets) at the other end of the Old City of Hyderabad.

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Today, the imposing fort is being restored by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The site can be reached quite easily from the main city of Hyderabad. Buses and autos ply on the road. A light and Sound Show in the evening (narrated by the legendary Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan) is an added attraction of the fort (the show is available in three different languages- English, Hindi and Telugu). To complete one complete trip atop the hill and back, average time taken is about three hours. Hence it is advisable to avoid the sun of mid afternoon. Winter is the best time to visit. An Indian national needs to pay a nominal entry fee of 10 INR while a for a foreign national the fees go up to 100 INR.

The fort consists of a 10 km long outer perimeter wall with 87 semi circular bastons. There are four distinct forts inside the walls and a trip around the place makes history come alive. One can see the soldiers’ quarters, the slave quarters, the ‘jenana’ mahal (inner sanctum for women), the royal quarters and the Mahakali mandir and a mosque at the peak of the hill. The ammunition used by the Kakatiya and Qutub Shahi soldiers can be seen in the Salarjung Museum in the same city. Golconda has always been famous for its diamond mining and cutting expertise. Inside the fortress complex one can see the famous market place where the diamond merchants of Golconda used to sell their wares. The famous Hope Diamond and the Kohinoor were mined in the Golconda diamond mines, for instance.

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Another astounding piece of engineering to marvel at is the network of clay pipes that was used to supply fresh water to the residents of the fort. The network comprised of precisely constructed clay pipes and Persian wheels. The fort premises are also used by film crews every now and then (by the Telugu, Tamil and even Hindi film industries) and you might catch a colorful milieu of people dancing to exotic beats on one of your trips to the place.

The fortress complex is a brilliant example of communal coexistence. Multiple mosques and temples coexist inside the fort in grandeur keeping the flag of unity in diversity flying high.

The Astounding Acoustics

The acoustic design of the Golconda Fort is unbelievably brilliant. There exists a spot right at the entrance of the ‘Fateh Darwaza’ (or ‘Victory Gate’ which serves as the main entrance to the fort and is well equipped with defence features that include iron plates to decelerate enemy cavalry) from where the sound of a clap is audible at the ‘Bala Hissar’ terminal situated one km away at the top of the hill. The residents had devised their own telegraphic language to relay warning signals to and fro in case of enemy invasions or other emergency situations. You can ask your guide to point out the exact spot.

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The entire fort is adorned with such acoustic marvels. The guest room for foreign diplomats were so designed that any secret meeting could be overheard by the king, making the hatching of conspiracies a difficult task (the past’s version of bugging an enemy room) . Echoes could be heard from unsuspected places. Undoubtedly the old saying ‘ even walls have ears’ (“deewaron ke bhi kaan hote hain”) rings very true in the Golconda Fort.

Bhakt Ramdas

Legend has it that Ramdas, a royal employee had been imprisoned in isolation for nearly a decade in a dark cell for false charges of laundering funds. In course of his imprisonment he carved images of his Lord in the walls of the dark cell and today devotees flock to the temple of ‘Bhakt Ramdas’ to pay their homage to the deity and the steadfast devotee.

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Undoubtedly, the Golconda Fort is one of the most imposing forts in India steeped in history and rich legacy. A trip to this overwhelming place will leave you with memories that last a lifetime. The panoramic view of the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad  that can be seen from the top of the Golconda Fort is also overwhelming.

Barbados – An Idyllic Caribbean Island



Barbados – An Idyllic Caribbean Island

Barbados

Caribbean Islands are known for their Beaches. Barbados is known for beaches and a lot of other things. Apart from having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Barbados has a combination of hotels, luxury options and much more. What’s unique about Barbados is that it suites all sorts of budgets. You can find things to do in Barbados, no matter what sort of budget you have.

Visiting Barbados

When you are looking for a holiday destination, a proper holiday destination, an Island is probably the most wholesome choice that you can make. It has beaches, hotels and a combination of activities that you can always enjoy. Barbados is one of those few places which have the healthy mixture of modernity and history. At one side of the island you have all the glorious hotels and every amenity that you would expect on a holiday, and on the other you have the museums to look at, past plantations, and so much more. Barbados had had a very long and painful colonial history. You can see these in the Limestone structures, and many of the churches.

For adventurers, Barbados has every sort of Adrenalin kicker. You can indulge in Wind Surfing, can go and hike some mountain, or have a diving session. Barbados has a way of serving these to you. Barbados has over half a million people visiting annually. That number can’t just be a fluke.

Now that we have established Barbados as an awesome Holiday destination, let’s talk about some of the places which you can visit at Barbados.

Places to visit in Barbados

Central Barbados

Central Barbados

There are plenty of things of things to see in Central Barbados. To start with you can visit the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, which is a walk-in zoo. It is located, right opposite to the famous Farley Hill, which in itself is a nice visiting place. You get the wildlife experience, while walking in the short trails through a forest. Amongst the trails, you would find monkeys and turtles and a lovely Caiman pond. If you are lucky, you may come across an Iguana, agoutis, deer and much more. Afternoons are the best times to visit this zoo, since monkeys are very lively at that time. Then there’s an orchid display to watch, and an iguana sanctuary.

Then the Farley National Hill. Once you visit this place, it will become your definition of an ideal picnic place. The view is breathtaking and so is the history. Farley has the distinction of being the place where most people get married. It has a very long history, with the building being started on 1818. It is in ruins for now, but it is still considered as one of the most favored places to hold concerts. If you are lucky, when you are at the Barbados, you might as well run into a music concert.

Beaches at Barbados

Beaches at Barbados

Like any Caribbean Island, the focus at Barbados is on the Beaches. It is surrounded by beaches on all the four sides (which is pretty obvious, considering the fact that it is an Island!). On the West Coast, there are calm beaches, treaded with white sand. The water has that seductive azure look that just force you to take a dip in it. Then there’s jetskiing, Kayaking and so much more that you can do here. Towards south of Barbados, you will have beaches along with the breathtaking coral reefs. This beach is frequented by windsurfers and boogie boarders. The east is a bit violent for the usual crowd. The Atlantic Ocean hits the place very deeply, making it mostly visited by the surfers from around the world.

Eastern Barbados

Eastern Barbados

The eastern Barbados is visited mostly because of its rich history. The Sunbury Plantation, which is a grim reminder of the brutality of Slavery, stands here. Built in 1660, this plantation was restored in ’95, and now is frequented by those who want to know more about the old times. Then Barbados has the Andromeda Botanic Gardens. It is a wide collection of some of the best tropical plants, orchids and ferns. It has an area of 2.5 hectares, plenty for any plant lover to enjoy. You see a line of beautiful flowers and a splendid view.

Golf Courses

Golf Courses

If you are in mood for some swinging, you can have a go at the golf courses in the island. The wind and the sprawling greenery can be intimidating and at the same time can give you all the pleasures of nature. There is Rockley Club Westmoreland and many more golf courses.

Barbados has much more to offer. The island is the perfect place to have a vacation. At the same time it is advanced with all sorts of modernly comforts, and then it is also very close to nature with so many beaches. It is a place where you can have a wholesome relaxation experience. You can try learning new things, meet with new people, or just simply take breathes and brood in solitude. Barbados is truly an Idyllic Vacation spot. So, if you were looking forward to a vacation at Barbados, just go ahead and book your tickets!

Jaffa Gate’s Tower of David



Jaffa Gate’s Tower of David

jaffa gate Tower of David is a very famous citadel which was built in the ancient times. This monument is situated near the Jaffa Gate entrance which is an historic entrance that leads to the Old City of Jerusalem. This is a museum of the History of Jerusalem and presents the story of Jerusalem in the best way. The main idea of building this citadel was to strengthen the defenses of the Old City but it has now become a museum. It was built more than 2000 years back in the 2nd century BC and it was destroyed and rebuilt successively by the various conquerors of Jerusalem like the Christians, the Muslims, Ottoman and Mamluk. The name “Tower of David” was given the Christians who thought of this as a palace of their King David. The site is now playing a major role in attracting tourists from all over the world and is also used as a venue for important and large events, concerts, craft shows, sound-and-light performances, etc.

History:

The Citadel/Tower of David The Tower of David Museum was opened to the public in the year 1989 under the Jerusalem Foundation. This is situated in a series of multiple chambers leading in the original and main citadel. There is a courtyard in the complex of the museum which contains some ruins of archeological monument which were dated more than 27 hundred years back. The exhibits of the museum display the history of Jerusalem of about 4000 years which is at the beginning of the city as a Canaanite city and till the modern times. They depict the story of the history through maps, videotapes, drawings, holograms, models and other forms like sculptures. All of these means are used in the exhibit rooms to depict about the rulers of Jerusalem and the conditions of Jerusalem under those rulers. There are ramparts, which gives a complete 360 degree view of both the cities of Jerusalem, the Old City and the New City. As stated in 2002, there were more than 3.5 million people who visited this Tower of David Museum and had a tour around the city.

The Citadel:

citadel The main citadel of this museum is also known as the Tower of David and is the main attraction of the place. It is an archeological asset to the country and has a great significance in the international places and is, thus, the symbol of Jerusalem since ages. The citadel is like a fortress and had experienced a lot of additions in the architecture over time due to the various rulers. It is located at the point where the East and West meet. There are remains of a quarry inside the citadel that are from the period of First Temple. There is also a segment of the First Waal which was the wall that surrounded the Hasmonean Jerusalem. Also, there are remains from a fortress of the time when the Ummayid Dynasty ruled Jerusalem during the 7th and 8th centuries CE. There are also ruins of some steps from a monument which are supposed to be from the Herod’s Palace that was built at a nearby spot. The Citadel has many such archeologically important structures from various periods of time and is, therefore, the most important place in Jerusalem.

Best view:

view The visitors have access to the top of the tower. From that height, you can have a breathtakingly beautiful view of the city of Jerusalem and can watch the entire city in all the directions. The top of the tower offers a complete 360 degree view of the Old City as well as the New City along with the Four Quarters, the Mount of Olives, the new neighborhood, the Judean Desert, the Mount Scopus, the Dead Sea, and everything else that surrounds. This panoramic view of the city cannot be seen from any place else but just the top. It will feel like you hold the Jerusalem in your palm and the city will feel alive every moment you watch it. The tourists are always suggested to start their tour of the place with this panoramic view.

Exhibition:

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The Tower of David is known for the amazing exhibition of the history of the city. There are permanent exhibitions as well as temporary ones. The permanent exhibits are located in the guardrooms built during the medieval times. These guardrooms are located inside the Citadel. The exhibitions are arranged in the chronological order. This means that those events that occurred first during the 2nd century are displayed first and this continues till the time when Jerusalem was announced as the capital of Israel. Every period in history is properly demonstrated in different exhibition rooms and some selected items of that time are used to depict the history of that period. As mentioned, there are temporary exhibitions that are conducted at this place which brings out the unique integration of the large period of history and the modern times. There are contemporary presentations of various issues about the art and history. These are conducted inside the complex of the Tower of David Museum. Some of these temporary exhibits are about fashion designs, industrial designs, some art and masterpieces of the great artists and experts over time, etc. The place will be a journey in time where you will travel back thousands of years and reach the old Jerusalem and the place it used to be. It is an experience worth having.

Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam



Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam

Saigon skyline

Ever wondered to visit a city which offers modernistic amenities and lifestyle yet remains culturally grounded to its roots, the ones where skyscrapers and historical architecture resides beside each other. Ho Chi Minh City , Vietnam offers a kaleidoscopic view of its past and present. Offered  with tales of history and royalty intermingled  in a dynamic urban sense . Ho Chi Minh  city once known as the Diamond of the East for its luxury levels matching those of Europe’s, private villas and large boulevards adorned the streets before gaining independence from  its French occupation during the colonial era. Also known as Saigon primarily as its situated on the banks of river Saigon  and happens to be the economic capital of Vietnam courtesy its bustling trade and tourism.  A place where Bankers and bakers come down for conversations on many a street cafes, lured by  the aroma of fresh coffee and baked cookies. Street stalls sell colorful local drinks paired with pork rolls and noodles, a standard affair here. While you choose between street foods chances are you might run into an old war memorial or historical museum  which dot the main roads jostling for space between the modern buildings and skyscrapers. If that was not enough the sheer volume of traffic might, Ho Chi Minh believes in tricyles, push carts and rickshaws among regular cars and buses for travel. A bit of a heckling here and there and  you can lay your hands on one of these ‘mean cycles’  to explore the region or indulge in friendly races.

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Conglomeration of ethnicities over the last few decades has given HCMC a  charm in luring travellers and locals. Each ethnic group present here has brought its own varied past and culture, intermingling of these groups here has thrown open the gates to hospitality and recreation. Almost all  the folks here are overtly friendly and bubbling with enthusiasm, from being eager guides to showcase the prides of their cities to haggling with you for a better price for their commodity. They go out of their way to assist you and indulge in short friendly conversations.  Weather in HCMC is very much pleasant through out the year with occasional bursts of heavy rainfall followed by humid conditions. Once you land  and make your way through the streets , you see Chinese style pagodas lined beside museums and glass offices. Make sure you visit  Reunification Palace , a five storied  which time warps you to the 60’s, complete with war memorabilia including telephones, pictures , radios, office equipment’s left untouched since the siege. Heck you can even spot a junked tank in the memorial.  War remnants museum  houses the remains of the American Vietnam war , complete with pictures depicting the cruelties during that times. City hall and Museum of  Ho Chi Minh are other famous historically connected places. Tired of hopping through the past head towards one of the many bustling districts( Ben thanh market in particular, notoriously famous for housing everything ) using your hired tricycles for a bit of shopping therapy and a quick bite at the streets before  heading  towards Dam Sen Water Park , a celebrated adventure spot here famous for its heart clutching water slides.

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No trip to HCMC goes without a visit to its local spas and hair salons which offer services for a quarter of what given elsewhere. Choose between holistic spas treatments , naturopathy ,manicures and pedicures for no more than 10$. These salons some of which are open till late in the night pick patented services to rejunavate your senses with aromatherapy , swiss and thai deep tissue massages spoiling you with choices at the prices they are offered.

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As corny as is sounds , HCMH is a paradise for shopaholics. Local handicrafts and weirdly designed tacky junks and souvenirs are abundant here for the curious shopper. Where else can one find war items, clunky old school jewelry, antique wood pieces, cigarette lighters made from M16 ammunitions  clubbed with usual insignia like ‘ welcome to Nam’ and Chinese electronics and goods. Streets  are filled with endless tailor shops who stitch ‘tailor made’ stuff at half prices.  Even food and wine connoisseur’s can relish taking back bags of quality inexpensive coffees, local ingredients and wines(try Rou gao, if your feeling particularly adventurous) and take quite a bit of it back home too. Shopping here in HCMC includes for food and beverages too, dedicated stalls come during the night offering to take you on a food safari , gourmet style local cuisines are found aplenty here.

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Those willing to explore the city alone can hire one of the fancy ‘tricycles’ here( even cycles are available) and hit the streets taking a picturesque trip through the downtown and suburbs. Transport is never a problem in HCMC , often locals join in and offer you free rides to prime areas. Once  your treated yourselves to food and local places , head to nearby locales  to feel the raw flavor of Vietnam. Cu Chi tunnels, located on the outskirts are renowned for their underground labyrinth of tunnels extending to as far as Cambodia.  Trips through jungles where religious Pagodas and old tanks lie beside each other, hospitality which you cant refuse despite ‘hygiene’ screaming inside you. Vietnam and HCMC   besiege  you with spectacular options to spend a holiday.

Daman and Diu-The Twin Islands



Daman and Diu-The Twin Islands

Daman and Diu, the twin islands are home to virgin natural beauty and serenity. The islands of Daman and Diu make for the second smallest union territory in the country.  The islands are situated in the west coast of India in the midst of Arabian Sea. The islands were under the control of Portuguese for over 450 years. A long period of time over which impressions of European culture and the religion of Christianity were left on the islands defining it to be what it is today. The islands are studded with magnificent cathedrals and forts that tell the story if the European era. The sandy, secluded, white beaches are attractive coupled with delicious seafood in the cradle of natural ambience. The water presents the opportunities of water sports. Daman and Diu are a perfect weekend getaway destination.

The travel to Daman and Diu is quite convenient as the Mumbai Airport is a mere 193 kilometres away with to and from flights to Diu airport at regular intervals. Diu airport is located 5 kilometres away from the town and is north of Nagoa Beach. If you don’t want to have the flight risk you could travel by rail to Vapi. Mumbai and Ahmedabad are the closest railway stations to Daman. However if you are instilled with the adventurous spirit you could enjoy a road-trip from Mumbai or Ahmedabad via National Highway No.8.

A large number of resorts, hotels and guesthouses are present to accommodate the vast number of tourists flooding in all over the year. Accommodation is available in wide price-range and is not hard to figure an affordable place. The Daman and Diu tourism department is very cooperative and can be contacted in time of an emergency.

Daman and Diu is blessed with a pleasant climate over the year. The beautiful weather is because of the cool breeze because of being situated in the Arabian Sea. The best time to visit the twin islands is from the beginning of October to the culmination of March.

The best places to see in Daman and Diu are:

Devka Beach

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This place is fun as it has an amusement park. The park has a number of colourful mountains to fool around with. While exploring the beach you might discover so beautiful sea creatures washed off on the beach by the tide. You might also encounter various kinds of rocks and you might want to pick up a few to add to a rock collection or to just use as decorations around your home.

Moti Daman Fort

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The massive fort was built around the sixteenth century by the Portuguese. Portuguese officials used to reside in the fort with their families. The fort is constructed with ten bastions and two primary gateways. There is a garden located inside called the Parola Garden which stands in the memory of soldiers who gave their life to free the Dadar and Nagar Haveli. This place can tell a lot about the history of the islands during the European era.

The Sao Jeronimo Fort

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The huge fort is located holding its head high in front of the Damanganga River. This fort gets its name from the twentieth viceroy, Don Jeronimo. The fort is an amazing place of military architecture and has located within its complex a church of the Lady of Sea, a major gateway and a minor one. There are various inscriptions describing the history of the fort.

Gangeshwar Temple

The temple is dedicated to the Destroyer, Lord Shiva. It houses five ‘lingas’ located in the midst of massive rocks on the seashore.

Church of Bom Jesus

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The Portuguese have contributed significantly to the culture and architecture of Daman and Diu. The Church of Bom Jesus is one such example. The church is famous for the beautiful rosewood carvings.

Daman and Diu Cuisine

You can never leave a place without stuffing a part of their culture into your stomach. Daman foods mainly consist of vegetarian preparations, the prime reason being the influence of Gujarat. However non-vegetarian food is prepared in many restaurants mainly consisting of seafood. Daman and Diu have a heterogeneous culture as people from all over the country have settled in the region. Parsee food is prepared and served in various restaurants. Gujarati and Portuguese food is also commonly prepared.  Roti and tea make for a common breakfast, roti and saag for lunch and some kind of curry for dinner. Some of the famous dishes are puri, lapsee, potaya etc. Though Alcohol is prohibited in the neighbouring Gujarat, drinking is common in Daman and Diu owing to the vast influence of European culture.

Shopping

Shopping is an integral part of the culture of Daman and Diu. Though the place is not like a cliché shopping hub, you can explore the culture while walking along the old lanes and buying souvenirs. Some of the best markets for shopping are the Maharaja Supermarket and the Princess Park on the Devak Beach. The items that can be bought from these markets include regular like seashells and oysters. However you might also want to pick up the perfumes and hand-woven bamboo mats and baskets.

The Twin Islands make for a fun weekend getaway destination to enjoy amidst the serenity of nature.

 

Combination of Beauty and Thrills: Queenstown, New Zealand



Combination of Beauty and Thrills: Queenstown, New Zealand

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With mountain peaks as far as the eye can see, beautiful lakes, and pristine alpine air, Queenstown is simply a place of pure inspiration. Whether you have an appetite for adventure or are more at home tracking down a delicious meal, this cosmopolitan four Season Lake and alpine place provides the perfect mix of action and relaxation. Its population may be less than 20,000 but nearly 2 million visitors come to Queenstown each year to experience its spectacular scenery and diversity of experiences. With a huge range of activities easily accessible from skydiving, bungy jumping and jet boating to world class golf courses, walking and biking trails, spas, shopping, you can experience more here in a day than most do in a lifetime.

 

How to get here?

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Getting to Queenstown is very easy as Queenstown International airport is well served by major airlines. Air New Zealand and Qantas fly direct from Sydney year round and extend this service to encompass Brisbane and Melbourne in winter. Domestically there are several connections each day from New Zealand’s main centers like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Access by road is a wonderful option even if its self drive or catch a Bus tour.

 

 Weather

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From September to November, there is spring time in Queenstown. The temperatures hover between 8 to 22 Celsius in daytime. Spring time here is loaded with lots of artistic, cultural and sporting events here. From December to February, the summer has temperatures hovering between 20 to 30 degree. Summer offers the ideal opportunity for international visitors to mingle with the buzzing throngs of New Zealanders making the very most of every blue sky minute. March to August is the winter’s time. In winters, its not just about snow. Walking trails, superb shopping, day spas, over 150 restaurants are all on offer here.

 

Alpine Playgrounds

Coronet Peak

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Coronet peak has the largest and most modern snow making facilities in New Zealand. With varied ski terrain and superb facilities, Coronet Peak is one of New Zealand’s most popular ski resorts. Coronet Peak is located about a 25 minute drive from Queenstown. There are a lot of five star hotels, self contained motels, luxury lodges, stunning resorts and friendly bed and breakfast accommodation.

The Remarkables

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The Remarkables are one of the most photographed mountain ranges in the world due to the spectacular jagged shapes and the steep rise above the shores of Lake Wakatipu. The mountain range is also famous for the Remarkable ski field.

Treble Cone

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Treble Cone is the largest ski area in New Zealand’s  South Island and offers the longest vertical in Southern Lakes. Famous for its long groomed slopes, legendary and unrivalled  views. It is a place you have to see to believe.

Cardrona Alpine Resort

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Cardrona Resort is famous for a laid back atmosphere loved by snowboarders and families and also for on slope accommodation along with wide ranging terrain, serious half pipes and an excellent terrain park.

Invincible Snowfields

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Invincible Snowfields Ski Area is a private ski resort near Glenorchy on the South Island of New Zealand. It offers skiers and snowboarders, the downhill terrain just 1 hour from Queenstown, The Snowfields area has an excellent back country feel and caters to advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders.

 

Southern Lakes Region

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This stunning region really is like no other. The Southern Lakes scenery and culture has inspired Hollywood movie makers, poets, artists, authors, musicians and every sort of adventurer as well as more usual everyday people. There are some lake side resorts here like Lake Wanaka and Te Anau which share an adventurous spirit and natural splendor. Queenstown and Wanaka are separated by just one hour’s drive over the Crown Range. The resort town of Te Anau is an ideal base for exploring the Fiordland National Park which is a World Heritage area.

 

Accommodation

 Apartment_2_-Rees Queenstown-Accommodation

There is a huge range of accommodation options built up during Queenstown’s 100 years as a tourist resort that satisfies every type of traveler. There is a long range of 3, 4, 5 star hotels and exclusive luxury lodges, charming B&Bs, farm and home stay options which offer a taste of New Zealand hospitality. While motels or managed apartments are ideal for those who prefer independence or privacy. There are many Holiday parks and campgrounds having excellent facilities. You can get close to nature in Department of Conservation huts in mountain and bush areas.

 

Food

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The ultimate in taste sensations, there are more than 150 eateries to choose from in Queenstown excluding the winery restaurants between Lake Hayes and Gibbston valley. Here is a fusion of many nationalities, cultures and influences that cook up truly delicious menu options that suit every taste and budget.

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Don’t forget to try a mouth watering gourmet burger enjoyment by the lake side or the indulgence of a delectable menu in a discreetly hidden away intimate venue. In the warmer months, the streets buzz with al fresco diners basking in late sunsets, drinking locally crafted, award winning beers and wine and in winter, with hearty fare in front of roaring fireplaces.

 

Shopping

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Getting around the downtown area in Queenstown is best by foot as many shops are in pedestrian area or hidden away down narrow lanes. As you explore, breathtaking views are never more than a few paces away providing a constant aesthetic and emotional stimulus. Queenstown is arguably the best place in the world to buy traditional wool and sheep skin clothing and indigenous Pounamu (greenstone).  Glenorchy here is the spot for funky possum skin clothing and home textiles.

Queenstown is truly committed to provide inspirational and rewarding holidays for visitors from all over the world. So, come and experience this beautiful city yourself.