Daily Archives: 26.03.2014

Madeira – The Pearl of Atlantic



Madeira – The Pearl of Atlantic

Madeira is a Portuguese subtropical archipelago – a group of islands. It is situated in the north of the Atlantic Ocean (310 miles away from African coast, 620 miles from the European continent) and is the outermost region in the European Union. This archipelago of Madeira includes the island of Madeira, the Desertas, the Porto Santo, which together make a major part of the Autonomous region of Portugal. The archipelago of Madeira is known to be the first discovery of the Portuguese Age of Discovery which was the exploratory period. This place is visited by a million tourists every year and has become a popular resort. This place is very much popular globally as “Ilha Jardim” meaning ‘Garden Island and also by the name “Pearl of Atlantic” because of the location and shape. These islands are collectively termed as “Islands of eternal spring” because of the mild climate (temperature from 18 degrees to 24 degrees Celsius) in this archipelago each day of the year. This is a magical destination with the natural beauty of the colors on the land and the water. The capital of Madeira is Funchal and other cities are Santa Cruz, Machico, Santana, Camara do Lobos, and a few others.

The scenery of Madeira:

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The islands of Madeira are a combination of various pieces of nature including mountains, islands, oceans, gardens, etc. The main attraction of the place is, thus, the one where you can view all the nature and its pieces. There are many viewpoints or Miradouros in the Madeira which offers the view of the islands. These are ‘Pico dos Barcelos’ (from where you can see the entire capital city – Funchal), ‘Pico de Facho’, Pico do Arieiro’, Monte and Curral das Freiras.

The coastline of Madeira is amazingly beautiful and has volcanic black sand at the coastline which is very unusual and looks strikingly distinctive and stunning. Going to the coastal regions in Madeira can make you day a very adventurous one with all the beautiful scenery all around you. While you are there, visit ‘Sao Vicente Volcano and Caves Centre’ where you can learn about the volcanic origins of this island. They offer walks all the way down to the lava tubes and shows the formation of ‘Lava cakes’.

Beach, beach activities and water sports:

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The beaches of Calheta and Machino are popular for the golden sand all over the land. The city of Porto Santo is a similar trip where you must see the ‘Golden Island’ with a beach, 9 kilometers long, having while sand all over the place which is compared to paradise. You can reach to this place in just two hours after the introduction of new ferry system. All those who love water sports will love the place because of the enormous opportunity to surf, sail and enjoy jet skiing. Especially at Porto Moniz, the tides are in the favor of the water sports enthusiasts. As the tides reaches the beach, they leave natural pools on the rocks which make it the best place for swimming.

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Diving is also very much popular in Madeira. The best place for diving in Madeira is the Garajau Underwater Nature Reserve where the crystal clear water let you spot the dolphins, the barracudas and the manta ray easily. Such amazing creatures are found in large numbers near the islands itself due the depth of the water of Atlantic Ocean is very much, not just in the ocean but even in the space close to the island. There are whale and dolphin spotting trips organized every now and then which can be a very exciting trip for the complete family and will give you an unforgettable experience. People are also allowed to try fishing in the area. Due to the clear waters, you can easily spot a big fish, even a Blue Marlin weighing 1000lbs, and catch it.

Adventures apart from water sports:

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Madeira is a lot more than just water activities. The mountains of the place are equally supportive for the adventure-lovers. The eastern region of Madeira is a natural reserve offering panoramic views of the vast Atlantic Ocean and has spectacular rock formations sue to the volcanoes. You can see many unusual flora species such as the Ice Plant, Cardoon, the Ever Lasting, and many such others. There is a hiking trail which is upgraded recently by adding some stone steps and railings for safety. People can put on the hiking boots now easily enjoy the experience of hiking comfortably. The full walk of hiking at Ponta de Sao Lourenco includes a circuit of the natural reserve and can take several hours. There is also a beach named Prainha which is the only beach on the island with black sand. This beach is located at the trail head down the cliff. The beach is great for swimming and other beach activities.

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Apart from beaches and mountains, Madeira has some beautiful gardens with colorful flora. Jardim Botanico is botanical gardens in the capital city of Madeira and is a major tourist attraction. Another such magnificent garden is Jardim do Monte Palace. There is a garden with only orchid flowers by the name Jardim Orquidea. The archipelago of Madeira is a very impressive combination of nature and city. Madeira is more than you might expect it to be.

Gangtok: The Land of Mystic Splendor



Gangtok: The Land of Mystic Splendor

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Gangtok is the capital of the Indian state of Sikkim and is the hub of the state’s tourism industry.It is located in the eastern Himalayan range at a height of 5410 feet, occupying an area of 35km2 and housing 100000 people of different ethnic affiliations like Nepalese, lepchas, and bhutias. Located within the higher peaks of the Himalayas, the city enjoys a year-round moderate climate and is a hot-spot for trek trips and mountain lovers from around the world. Also, it is a Buddhist pilgrimage sight and houses many monasteries within its boundaries the first of which was the Enchey monastery constructed in 1840.

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The Lepchas are the original inhabitants of Sikkim in general and are staunch believers of the bone faith or mune faith which is based on spirits, good or bad. They have a practice of worship of spirits of nature i.e., mountains, rivers and forests. The bhutias and Nepalese are migrants of Tibetan and Nepali origin respectively.

 

The Nepalese constitute 67%of the total population of Sikkim. The major religions followed by the people are Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. The traditional Lepcha dress consists of a two piece dress with a head cap and beautiful jewellery for women while a one piece dress with a belt and a cap for men. However, it is not the beauty of the dress but the polite nature of the people which holds the major attraction for the tourists. The people love to walk and the major means of transport is the taxi system which covers the whole of Gangtok.

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The Mahatma Gandhi road or the MG road is the hub of the city. In the evening many people can be seen strolling the road or hanging out with friends and enjoying the peaceful walk on the road. It is located in the center of the city and is also the main market complex of the city. One can enjoy delicious rolls or gorge in mouth-watering momos and shop trendy clothes along with talking and laughing heartily. Gangtok is a place which makes one filled with happiness and peace of mind and is a must-visit place for tourists who want a relaxed yet fun-filled holiday.

 

Gangtok has a number of tourist destinations like the Nathula pass, Rumtek monastery, Ganesh tok and Hanuman tok, Tashi viewpoint, Himalayan zoological park and many others. The Nathula pass connects India and China and is covered with snow which makes it a hub for children and snow-lovers. It is an army controlled area.

 

 

The Rumtek monastery is presently the oldest standing monastery in Sikkim inaugurated on the Tibetan New Year’s day of 1966. Both of these are must-visit places for all. The whole of Gangtok is filled with an aura of Gautama Buddha and a harmony in life. The Ganesh and Hanuman tok are temples of the respective Gods. The word tok means something situated at a great height and true to its name both the temples are located at a great height from where the entire Gangtok is visible.

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The whole of Gangtok is laid bare in all its beauty from the Tashi viewpoint. From here, we also get to see the beautiful sunrise revealing a hidden snowy mountain peak of Kanchenjunga which is a breathtaking sight.

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The animal and nature lovers can find the time of their life in the Himalayan zoological park which is situated close to the Ganesh tok. From there, it is a beautiful 2.5km walk to the zoo which is filled with the beauty of nature.The zoo is home to some rare animals and birds of the Himalayan region like the red panda, various kinds of leopards like the common leopard and the snow leopard, blue sheep, barking dear many of which are endangered species. In the zoo, the animals are given a space of natural surroundings to live and are protected against the threat of extinction.

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The roads of the whole state are managed by the border road organization (BRO). Most of the areas of the state are army controlled. Apart from the local tourist destinations, Gangtok also connects to the northern parts of Sikkim via road, which includes Lachung, Yumthang valley, crow’s lake and zero point as the major tourist hot-spots and the western Sikkim which includes Peling.

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Gangtok is the center of all foodies who love Chinese food and non-vegetarian dishes. Also, the people of Gangtok drink a lot of locally produced wine and beer. The local people are quite well-to-do and also have local cottage industries but the hospitality industry is the biggest in the city which caters to the tourism industry. As an ecological state, Gangtok also has a flourishing ecotourism with people engaging in rafting, mountaineering and trekking activities.

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Thus, Gangtok is a center for nature-lovers and people who want a break from their daily, hectic schedule. The nearest airport is the Baghdogra airport in West bengal which connects with all the major cities like Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata etc. From here, it takes araound 5 hours by road to Gangtok city. One can also travel via rail to the nearest railway station i.e., New Jalpaiguri and then via road to Gangtok which is 114km from there. The best time to visit the city is around February-March when one can enjoy the beauty of nature laid bare for all to see. Be it nature lovers, spiritual people or simple food buffs, Gangtok invites you all.

Malaysian Sipadan Island: A Dive Into Watery Treasure



Malaysian Sipadan Island: A Dive Into Watery Treasure

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To know Malaysia is to love Malaysia.

Malaysia is on the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia.

Most of Malaysia is covered by forest, with a mountain range running the length of the peninsula.

Multiculturalism has made Malaysia a gastronomical paradise and home to hundreds of colorful festivals.

In 1933, tiny Sipadan Island was declared a bird sanctuary. Sipadan Island is located 35km south of Semporna in the South Eastern coast of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. The island is a real legend, situated in the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin. It is the only oceanic island in Malaysia, rising 600m (2,000 feet) from seabed. It is also known as Pulau Sipadan.It was formed over thousands years by living corals growing on top of an extinct volcano. The island is only 12 hectares (30 acres) and is covered by lush rainforest. The amazing diversity and abundance of marine life found at Sipadan makes it one of the top world’s top diving sites. Sipadan is the most famous scuba destination in Malaysia.

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The late Jacques Cousteau, oceanographer, described Sipadan Island as “an untouched piece of art”.

It (‘Border Island’ in Malay) is known for its outstanding natural beauty. This tropical island off the south east coast of Sabah is also known for its stunning underwater scenery and large numbers of marine species. Scuba dive with the thousands of silver jack fishes, the giant size parrot fishes, the numerous turtles and many others such as mantas, eagle rays, tunas, scalloped hammerhead sharks, whale sharks and 3000 more species of fish. The dense vegetation on Sipadan Island supports a large variety of tropical birds that includes sea eagles, kingfishers, sunbirds, starlings and many more…..

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You can enjoy amazing diving scenes……….

  • School of barracudas in a tornado-like formation.
  • Mating hawksbill and greenback turtles.
  • Big-eye trivially in vortex-like formation.
  • Pelagic such as manta rays, eagle rays, reef sharks, hammerhead sharks and whale sharks.

Scuba diving Sipadan is year round with the best time being between April and December.

Climate of Sipadan and nearby islands is hot and sunny all year round. The area is blessed with a cooling ocean breeze and rains. Average temperature: 30-32°C.
Water temperature: 27-30°C

  • South Point –

It is famous for its amazing wall of coral formations and pelagic such as manta rays and hammerhead sharks (early morning).

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It is a deep wall dive with the wall dropping at a vertical angle into the depths. The dive ends on the reef where you may spot the blue ringed octopus.

Depth: 20-40 meters

Visibility: 30 meters (100 feet)

Location: The Southernmost point of Sipadan

  • Turtle Cavern

Turtle Cavern is one of the highlights of Sipadan Island because of its incredible geological formations and turtle skeletons.

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About 18m deep is the entrance to Turtle Cave. The cave first goes down in a bell shaped descent tunnel and leads to the lower chamber. Following the left side of the cavern will bring you in front of a tunnel. This tunnel is connecting Turtle Cavern with Turtle Tomb a small cave system which contains many turtle skeletons. This is due to the entry of large number of turtles into the cave and is unable to find the exit. This dive needs an experienced guide and special equipment.

Depth: 14-23 meters

Location: East of The Jetty.

  • West Ridge –

It is famous for its black corals, turtles, groupers ….

Best for marine biology, snorkeling, free diving, underwater photography, wall dives, sharks.

Depth: 18-40 meters.

Visibility: 30 meters (100 feet)

Location: West of Sipadan.

Getting there-

Tawau airport is the nearest airport to Sipadan, Mabul and Kapalai. You can also come by bus, minivan or taxi from Sabah’s northern towns of Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Sukau and Lahad Datu.There are frequent flights (relatively inexpensive) from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau (2.45 hrs) and from Kota Kinabalu (50 minutes).

 

Resorts

  • Sipadan Water Village offers you the excitement of superb diving along with comfort and relaxation. It is the epitome of class and luxury. The village is surrounded by beautiful corals, pearl white sands and an amazing marine beauty. It is located on the island of Mabul. swvr2
  • The Sipadan-Kapalai Resort is only few minutes by boat from the island and Mabul.sipadanisland
  • Sipadan Mabul Resort is a luxury resort located on south-east side of Mabul Island and is overlooking nearby Sipadan Island. Sipadan Mabul Resort is nestled in a coconut grove and offers beautifully designed wooden chalets built next to the white sand beach. The resort has 45 chalets with 22 stand-alone chalets and 23 semi-detached. All the chalets are built with native borneo materials.SipadanKapalaiResort11_small

 

Don’t forget…

Dontforget

  • All divers need to carry a special permit to visit Sipadan
  • Permit can be purchased in any of the resorts
  • Should have a diving license, logbook and INT adaptor

Getting Here and Around

Most visitors fly to Tawau airport or come by bus, minivan or taxi from Subah’s northern towns of Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Sukau and Lahad Datu. There are frequent flights which are relatively inexpensive, from Kuala Lampur to Tawau (2.45 hours) and from Kota Kinabalu (50 mins). In order to be able to transfer on the same day to the island, please make sure that your flight lands latest by 1400 hours.

Kerala: The Mystical Land of Waterfalls



Kerala: The Mystical Land of Waterfalls

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  • With the Arabian Sea in the west, the Western Ghats towering 500-2700 m in the east and networked by 44 rivers, Kerala enjoys unique geographical features that have made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Asia. Kerala gives you an equable climate, serene beaches, backwaters, Lush hill stations, exotic wildlife, Waterfalls, plantations and paddy fields, Ayurvedic health holidays, festivals, Historic and cultural monuments and exotic cuisines .
  • A trip through the numerous forests and hill stations in Kerala will take you to some of the best waterfalls and dams you have ever seen in your life. The water gurgling down the rocky precipices, framed by lush green foliage is a sight you would never want to miss. Be it the falls at Athirappally, Soochipara, Thusharagiri or Thommankoothu. These places show you a sphere of nature that is calm, soothing and wild. In summer these waterfalls tone down to calm cascades where you can sit on the rocks and dip your feet in the cool waters. The calls of the wildlife around make the setting picture perfect.

Adyanpara Waterfalls, Malappuram

  • Located in the Kurumbalangode Village of Nilambur Taluk in Malappuram district. Adyanpara is famous for its waterfalls and lush jungles. It attracts a wide variety of exotic as well as migratory birds and is rich in wildlife. The waterfall is situated around 15 km from Nilambur.
  • Getting there- Nearest railway station is Nilambur which is around 16 km away and airport is Karipur International Airport in Nilambur which is around 58 km.

Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls, KottayAruvikkuzhi-Waterfalls

  • It is a beautiful picnic spot and an ideal shooting location for movies. It is located in Kottayam. Aruvikuzhy Waterfalls, falling in five steps, is a real feast for the eyes. Here streams make their way through the landscape and the water roars as it showers down the mountains from a height of 100 feet. It is an ideal place for trekking and is located in the midst of rubber plantations. The famous St. Mary’s Church is situated at the top of the waterfalls. The rubber plantation centre at Pallickathod, is just 1 km from this spot.
  • Getting there- Nearest railway station is Kottayam which is about 19 km and airport is Cochin International Airport which is about 88 km.

Athirappalli and Vazhachal Waterfalls, Thrissur–  Athirappilly-falls-kerala

  • The most famous waterfalls of Kerala, Athirappalli and Vazhachal are situated at the Chalakudy River, which originates from the Western Ghats. At the entrance to the Sholayar ranges is Athirapally. It is the largest waterfall in Kerala which stands 80 feet tall. Just a short drive from Athirapally, the Vazhachal waterfall is close to dense green forests that are home to many endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna. The waterfalls are located at the edge of the Sholayar forest. This is the only place in the Western Ghats where four endangered Hornbill species can be seen.

 

  •  Athirappalli is 63 km from Thrissur and Vazhachal is 68 km from Thrissur.
  • Getting there-Nearest railway station is Chalakudy, about 30 km away and nearest airport is nearest airport is Cochin International Airport which is about 53 km from Thrissur.

Chethalayam Falls, Wayanad

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  • Chethalayam Falls is one of Wayanad’s lesser known seasonal waterfalls. Though it tends to dry up during summer. It is a lovely place to visit. The best place for the one who loves trekking. You will have a full masti time climbing up the rocks to the waterfall.
  • Getting there- Nearest railway station is Kozhikode which is about 97 km by road from Sulthan Bathery and nearest airport is Karipur International Airport, Kozhikode, nearly 120 km from Sulthan Bathery

Kalakkayam waterfalls, Thiruvananthapuram

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  • If you are  least bothered about venturing out in the woods during the rainy season and is ready to take some risk and watch a waterfall in its full glory, then head for Kalakkayam waterfall. It is  located in the forests near Idinjaar in Thiruvananthapuram district.
  • To reach Kalakkayam from Thiruvananthapuram, one has to come via Palode, which is about 35 kms from the city. From Palode take a deviation to reach Peringamala. Take a right turn from Peringamala to reach Kurisadi via Idinjaar, 12 km away. Since there are no signboards leading to the falls, from Kurisadi, one may seek local assistance to reach the spot of the waterfalls.
  • The forest nearby the waterfall is also a great spot to watch birds and also other species of fauna and flora. A trail along the stream to explore the sights on either side is yet an option for those who would love to walk around.
  • Getting there- Nearest railway station is Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station which is about 50 km and  airport is  Thiruvananthapuram International Airport which is about 60 km

Meenmutty Waterfalls, Kalpetta

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  •  It is a 2 km jungle trek which will lead you to the largest and most spectacular waterfall in Wayanad – Meenmutty Waterfalls. A unique feature of Meenmutty waterfalls is that the water drops fall from nearly 1000 feet over three stages, presenting a triple-decker effect. The fall is located at the Ooty main road in Wayanad.
  • Getting there- Nearest railway station is Kozhikode, via Kozhikode-Vythiri-Gudallur Hwy, about 97 km and airport is Karipur International Airport.

Bruges: Beauty and beyond



Bruges: Beauty and beyond

When people decide to go on a vacation, and the place lies outside the boundaries of India, then there are many names which crop up in their minds. It ranges right from the Swiss Alps, to the French Riviera, the Gondolas of Venice, beaches of Maldives and to the hip and happening party beach of Ibiza. These are all the been-there-and-seen-that places. How about holidaying in an unconventional location which hasn’t yet been fully explored and still lies untouched by tourist activity? This exotic and beautiful place goes by the name of Bruges. Welcome to Belgium.

Bruges

Bruges is located to the north-western part of Belgium. It falls under the Flemish region and is the largest city of the province of West Flanders. The city probably derives its name from ‘brugge’ meaning bridge in the Dutch language. The city spreads itself on an area of more than 13,840 hectares. It is oval shaped and is home to a population of around 200,000 people. Like a few European cities like Amsterdam and Venice, which have a canal of their own, Bruges also is situated over a canal. Its close proximity to the sea means that it is also an important port. It is by far one of the few cities who have managed to maintain and preserve the old world charm and bring to you a picture-perfect holiday destination.

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At any given time during the year, the temperature is Bruges does not exceed beyond 21o C. There is summer and winter months, but the heat and warmth of the sun is not something that is constant during the summer months. There could be a few spells of shower here and there. So you need to equip yourself accordingly.

This historical city has a lot on offer. There are pre-Roman era churches, Gothic-style architectural Forts and palaces, and also a few museums. Public transport consists of buses, run a private Flemish transport company, and taxis which cost around 10 euros. Given a weak Indian Rupee compared to other Western currencies, taxis and private buses may prove to be a little expensive. However, Bruges also has the Rent-a-cycle option, which is easy on the pocket and given the city’s cobbled streets, is also an enjoyable experience.  Another way to save up on cash is making use of the Bruges-card, which gives the tourists a discounted entry to all the major attractions. It can be used for 2-3 consecutive days and is available at all the hostels around town. If you wish to visit more than two museums, then purchasing a combined ticket for the same gives you good value. To make your exploration easier, these hostels also hand over maps containing detailed information about the names of the streets, the crossroads and locations to visit.

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If you are foodie, how about starting from museums meant which are based on food? You heard that right! Food Museums! And they are not one, but two of them! So let’s dive in. First on offer is the Friet Museum. The word ‘friet’ means fries or chips, and it is the only museum of its kind in the world. It takes you on the journey of how a humble potato from South America was transformed into a dish, which is now available in all corners of the world. Remember to try the fries cooked by a person who formerly raked up dishes for the Belgian Royal Family. Next is the Choco-story Museum, and as the name suggests it is describes how chocolate evolved from cocoa. On platter is also a chocolate exhibition where you will definitely get to savour some excellent samples. Belcolade, the Belgian chocolate manufacturer is the company running this museum. Then, there is the Groeninge Museum which showcases artworks and displays painting done by the artisans who worked and lived in Bruges.

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This place also has many beautiful churches. Some of them are the Jerusalem Church and the Basilica of the Holy Blood. The former is built of fine black marble and is adorned with Gothic stained glass, whereas the latter has a relic, containing a vial of blood that is said to belong to Jesus Christ. The Brewery De Halve Maan is another tourist attraction. Here, one is taken on a tour of the beer making process, which lasts for about 45 minutes. And what’s more! At the end of the tour, you are handed one drink of Brugse Zot or Straffe Hendrik, either at the outdoor terrace or in the indoor bar.

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You can also enjoy the boat rides in the canals running through Bruges, where the boat guide briefs you about the city’s history. This Victorian-era city has yet the horse-drawn carriages which are a hit with couples. This romantic trip is for about 30 minutes. There are boats in water and horse-drawn carriages on land. But what about the sky! To have an aerial view of Bruges, you can hop onto the hot air balloons which are operated daily. The Belgian chocolate is quite famous, so don’t forget to bring back chocolate goodies for family and friends. You could also shop for the beautiful art and craft items which make for excellent gifting options.

This is one off-beat destination, which is calling you out to come and soak it in!

The Zakynthos Island, Greece



The Zakynthos Island, Greece

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Zante also popularly known as Zakynthos Island is one of the famous Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the third largest among all the Ionian Islands. This island being triangular in shape offers three distinct geographical areas. The North West is a mountainous region having traditional mountain villages that have preserved the traditional Greek way of living. The central region is a fertile plain which is rich with olive groves and many vineyards. And lastly the south east region is famous for its beautiful beaches. The tourists are welcomed with open arms and are offered hospitality which Greece is pretty famous for.

So to make your travel more easy here are some points which you might want to note down while planning your trip to this floating island of paradise, Zakynthos.

HOW TO GET THERE?

1. By Plane:

Zakynthos has its own airport. So it won’t be very difficult for you to get to this place as it is easily reachable. This airport caters to both domestic as well as international flights. The flights operate at regular intervals.

2. By ship:

You can also plan your travel to this place by water. Zakynthos has its ferry linked to Kyllini which is a small port town linking the Ionian Islands with the Greek mainland.

GET AROUND:

Now once you are there the next question that arises is about the transport in the Island. But you need not worry about that either because one can roam around easily in the island using the public transport, renting cars and scooters or you can also rent a cycle if you wish to. The local buses are available here but it is not much reliable as the services are not very frequent.  However, the best option of transport here is to rent cars because it is easy to go around and there are many rental agencies on the island offering rental services. It is less advisable to travel by scooters and cycles as the region is hilly and will require more effort.

THINGS TO SEE:

1. Blue Caves

Blue caves are located on the northern part of the island. They are famous for their stunning shades of blue that are created on the white rocks by the reflections of the sea. These reflections make the cave appear to be blue in colour. They indeed have to be seen to be believed. And it definitely is a place to carry your cameras and venture a day out.

blue caves

2. Shipwreck (Navagio)

Navagio which means shipwreck is the most famous site of Zakynthos. This beach is a must visit for every traveler. It is also one of the most photographed beaches in Greece. It is accessible only by water by taking a boat ride from Cape Skinari and Saint Nicolas harbor.

Navagio

3. Bochali

Bochali is a beautiful small town which is located at the southern part of the Island. This place is worth a visit at the time of sunset or at night time as it offers a beautiful view of the harbor bay. In spite of it being a small village, there are many restaurants where you can have a nice romantic dinner under the stars.

Bochali

4. Keri’s Lighthouse

The sight from this place will be an unforgettable memory of your holiday at this Island. While moving along this small lighthouse you can see from the top of the cliff the Mizitres. The mizitres are two huge cone shapes rocks flanked by a deserted island arising from the blue sea and it also signs the beginning of the Keri’s caves.

5. Beaches

This place has many beaches which can be visited. The beach named Agios Nikolaos is the most famous beach here. There is another lovely sandy beach named Dafni which is a quiet beach with not too much of crowd. There are many other beaches like Gerakas, Kalamaki, Alykanas, etc which are worth a visit too.

THINGS TO DO:

1. Snorkeling and Scuba diving

These two activities are very famous at the Island. You can go snorkeling and scuba diving between the rocks or in the underwater caves.

2. Turtle spotting

The loggerhead turtles are to be found here on the Island. Greece is the only European country where these turtles are found and Zakynthos Island is the most important breeding ground for these turtles. You can see these turtles at Laganas, Kalamaki and Vassilikos. And they are mostly to be found between May and July.

loggerhead turtle

3. Base Jumping

From the year 2011, an extreme sport called base jump has started in the Zakyntho’s Island. At the Navagio beach, professional base jumpers come and jump from the rocks and cliffs.

base jumping

4. Trekking

You can also go mountain trekking here as the North West region of this Island is full of mountains. You can have a trek tour arranged and see the beautiful view from the top of the mountain.

These are some of the main things that you could do. However, you can also visit the churches and go to the museum if you are interested in the Greek modern history.

There is something for everyone at this beautiful island ranging from the beautiful picturesque sceneries to the many beaches to the water sports activities. And you are sure to have a beautiful holiday if you do visit this place.

The Native of Quokka- Rottnest Island, Perth



The Native of Quokka- Rottnest Island, Perth

Rottnest island

 

A paradise away from this busy world, surrounded by aqua green waters, spellbinding appeal of the beaches and the amusing aquatic beauties; this is a precise description of the Rottnest island. This whimsical name was given to the island by William de Vlamingh in 1696 as the first creature he found in the place was a big mouse like animal and hence called it the Rottnest (rat nest). Located 19km away from mainland Perth to the extreme south west of the continent, this place is famous for its solitary yet happening atmosphere. Covered in white sand, the beaches here are pleasant throughout the year. A perfect place for family outings, Rottnest Island has loads in store for all age groups. Wind surfing, snorkeling, cycling, guided tours, walking tours, and so much more.  The place is a majestic location to sooth down your soul and get refreshed. A major holiday location now for the people in Australia, this place has become one of the favorite places of the Australians for a weekend off.

quokka        prison in Rottnest

 

Rottnest Island has a very rich history along with its scenic grace. A guiding light, defender of peace, hunting ground and prison, are a must visits during your first visit. This place is blessed with wildlife as well. Famous as the native of Quokka, a marsupial animal, the island is the only place where this animal is found. Quokka, which looks like a big (13 inches tall) mouse, is actually a very friendly animal and is not afraid of the humans. So be ready to interact with some of these cute creatures when you are on a tour. Apart from this, the aquatic flora and fauna of Rottnest is equally mind boggling.

Activities Galore

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The place is energetically packed with loads of things to be done. To begin with, you can explore the island either walking or on a cycle that you can easily afford from a nearby shop. If you are not comfortable cycling or walking, Rottnest has an option of a cruise for you on their discovery tour of Rottnest; or even more exciting on a Segway tour! There is really no end to the options offered here to tour the entire island. You can also go on a flight of joy which shows you the bird’s eye view of Rottnest. During the months of June to September, the island has adventure cruises as well, where they take you out in the waters to evidence the grandeur of the natural world underneath the aqua blue waters. Rottnest has a rich heritage as well to be explored using the guided tours. Occupied by the Aboriginal people until the place got separated due to the rise in sea level, the place is also known as Wadjemup (meaning place across the water). It now holds the artifacts of these aboriginal people which are about 70,000 years ago. The place also has a prison which was shut down in the year 1838 after the escape of six Aboriginal prisoners. It is now used for the accommodation of the guests visiting the place.

Oliver Hill train     lighthouse in Rottnest

 

The Oliver Hill military installation is also a staggering place to visit. And the best part about this visit is that you get to see the inland beauty of this island through a small train journey. The military base was established in the 1930s and was used during the world war. Another astounding place is the lighthouse on this island. Rebuilt as a taller replica of the original lighthouse (which you can see as a small square building next to the light house) the lighthouse is located on the Wadjemup hill. Notorious because of its history, a guided tour to this place will definitely be a fun filled experience with kids.

Breathtaking Beaches

beach in Rottnest     surfing

The prime attraction of the tourist is obviously the beaches. The sands on these beaches is silvery white and really alluring. With beach games and more the beach is always a yes when it comes to family picnics. Apart from the beach games, wind surfing can also be done in these waters.

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The crystal clear waters provide you with mesmerizing experiences of the flora and fauna under the waters. Snorkeling in these waters feels like floating in heaven especially when you visit the Parker Point. The wide variety of fish, corals, and aquatic life is really enthralling. If you are going in the months of September-November then make sure you do not miss out on the migration of the humpback whales. You also get to witness and get up close with the colonies of dolphins and fur seals when you enter the waters. Not only does the water reveal the serenity of the underwater world, but it also fascinates you with the shipwrecks that you can observe while snorkeling or when in boats with transparent bases. And with the family parks and game centers, this place is a complete package full of entertainment. For all those who love golf, well, they also happen to have a huge golf course on this island! Also make sure to have a tantalizing dinner when you are encompassed with the magnificence of the beaches.

Surrounded by the glowing waters sheltering 135 species of tropical fish and 20 species of corals, the Rottnest island beaches are a must for all the beach lovers out there. Rottnest is definitely a place for everyone to find peace and have fun the way you have always wanted.

 

The Mysterious and Haunting Beauty of Antelope Canyon, Arizona



The Mysterious and Haunting Beauty of Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Nature always keeps us amazed with its beauty and wonders. There are many places on earth that we may not know ever existed because they have some unbelievable features that are not common in our world. Antelope Canyon is one of those places. Located along a large wash that drains into Lake Powell, on Navajo land near east of Page, Arizona, Antelope Canyon is one of the most famous slot canyons in the western United States. If a storm is coming, all tourist traffic in the canyon is stopped because Antelope Canyon is a place where the power of nature is never questioned.

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Antelope Canyon got its name from the pronghorn antelopes that once grazed in the area. It is not known exactly when people first discovered Antelope Canyon, but according to local Navajos, who have lived here for generations, the canyon is a place where cattle grazed in winter.

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The canyon consists of two parts: Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. Upper Antelope is at about 4000 feet elevation and the canyon walls rise 120 feet above the streambed. It is a popular location for photographers and sightseers and has been accessible by permit only since 1997. The canyon’s entrance and entire length are at ground level. Beams of direct sunlight radiate down from openings in the top of the canyon. These beams occur all year long but are more common in the summer months when the sun is higher in the sky.

Upper Antelope Canyon

Sightseeing Tour

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To get into the canyon you have to select the type of tour for yourself. If it is just a casual or sightseeing tour then you will be charged $25 per person. This tour is guided and is a wonderful way to experience the awesome views of Upper Antelope Canyon. The tour starts by boarding a truck which transports you to the mouth of the Antelope Canyon. Your guide will take you on an easy journey through the canyon stopping in areas that are popular for photos and also sharing the cultural stories. The tour is quite informative as you will come to know about the history and geology of the canyon within 1 hour. Nothing can describe this work of Mother Nature and experiencing this beauty will leave you breathless.

Photography Tour

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If you love capturing the precious moments of your journey in camera then you can opt for photo tour which is longer than a casual tour. It lasts almost 2 hours and giving you a better chance to get some amazing photos. You always have the Navajo guide with you showing the most popular places in the canyon for unique photo opportunities. This tour can be done anytime of the day in the morning hours 11am to 1pm because it is the time when you will have nice light throughout the canyon with less people around. This is the time when the sun is at its perfect place displaying the famous light beams seen in many photos over internet.

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You can get some soft colors if you opt for tour in late afternoon 1pm to 5pm. By this time the crowds are much smaller and the canyon can provide a more spiritual and relaxing experience. The canyon becomes quite popular in summer for photo freaks.

Lower Antelope Canyon

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Lower Antelope Canyon is more difficult to access because there is no entrance from the ground level. You must climb down ladders to the canyon floor. This part is a little shallower than the upper one and the famous light beams don’t occur here as often. But still, it is pretty popular with tourists. After the tragedy of 1997, sirens were installed at the entrance to warn visitors in case of sudden and unexpected storm in the area that could cause a flash flood.

The Flash Floods

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Antelope canyon and other slot canyons in the area have been formed by the forces of nature. Flash floods make rainwater gather in a basin above the canyon. The water gains speed as it rushes through the narrow passages, smoothing the canyon’s edges and deepening the crevice. Each flood carries with it a lot of sediment and debris, which is deposited on the canyon bed. Sometimes a flood can cause closure of the canyon for months. At a horrible incident, a flash flood in 1997 killed 11 tourists with one survivor who was their guide.

Geology

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The rocks that make up Antelope Canyon are the petrified remains of prehistoric sand dunes formed by erosion of the sandstone by flash flooding, rainwater especially heavy during the monsoon season, runs into the extensive basin above the slot canyon, picking up speed and sand as it rushes into the narrow passageways. Over time the edges that form the characteristic ‘flowing’ shapes in the rocks. At times the water cut its way into the sandstone with such tremendous force that it created eddies and whirlpools, which formed spiraling walls referred to as the Corkscrew formation. Looming overhead at almost every turn are many large overhangs with spiraling grooves carved into the sandstone creating breathtaking sites and images.

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Antelope Canyon is surely one of the most exquisite gifts of nature that is generally overlooked by people traveling to Arizona. You will find yourself in completely different world so it is worth a visit.

Jakarta – the Big Durian



Jakarta – the Big Durian

Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia. It is the largest city in the state and is a very populous urban region in the world. It is not just the political capital of the country, but also the economic, cultural and social capital of the country as well. Geographically, it is located on the island of Java in the north-western direction. The city is not just important for Indonesia but for the entire Southeast Asia. The city has very amazingly vibrant places and awesome nightlife.

To reach Jakarta, you can take a plane to the Seokarno Hatta International Airport at Tangerang. This airport handles all the international flights and the domestic flights and you can easily find taxis outside the airport to enter the city of Jakarta. You can also take a train to this place which will stop at Stasium Gambir, the main station in Jakarta. Trains also stop at Stasiun Pasa Senen, Stasiun Jatinegara, Stasiun Kota, etc. which are some smaller stations of Jakarta. There are five major bus terminals for the passengers travelling in buses from different cities. Tourists can also enter from boats and ferries also at the ports to the north of the city.

National Monument:

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The most famous and important landmark of the city is the ‘National Monument’ also popularly known as the ‘Monas’. It is situated at the Lapangan Merdekal – the Freedom Square. It is a 137 meter tall monument right in the centre of the square. The observation desk at the top of this monument offers a view of the city which is as awesome as the monument itself. The basement of this building has dioramas which, in themselves, they are narrating the stories and the dramatic history of Indonesia. It is, thus, a symbol of the freedom fight of Indonesia. It was constructed under the orders of respected President Sukarno. To the north of this National Monument is located the Presidential Palace. This is the official residential place of the president of Indonesia and also holds the office of the president. People can visit this building on weekends.

Theme Parks:

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The best theme park in the city is the Ancol Dream Park, also known as the ‘Ancol Dreamland’ or ‘Taman Impian Jaya Ancol’ for the locals. The park is situated to the right of the coast. This place is most suitable for the people looking forward for a break from the rough and tough lifestyle. There are many attractions inside Ancol Dream Park like an amusement park by the name Fantasy World (popularly- Dunia Fantasi), Ocean Dream or Gelanggang Samundra hosting animal shows, Atlantis Water Adventure (also called Waterboom), Ocean Eco Park, SeaWorld (having the largest aquarium in South-eastern Asia), Fantastic Multimedia hosting the Laser show, Art market, art academy, beaches, bowling, golf range, Hailai club, paintball, gondola, wakeboarding, resorts, hotel, marina, restaurants and a lot more. The beach and sea of the park region are not as clean as you might expect them to be and are not of the quality you may want them to be. But overall, the place is very awesome and a completely adventurous place. Other major theme parks of the city are Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (also popular as Beautiful Indonesia in a Little Park) displaying the Indonesian culture, the Jungleland Sentul City, a science park, a dinosaur land, etc.

Museums in the city

national musium

The main museum of the city is the ‘Musium Nasional’ which is also known as the ‘National Museum of Indonesia. This place is the house of a lot of pieces of prehistoric period, some archaeological and ethnographical artifacts which as a whole is a vast collection making it one of the largest collections of Hindu Javanese art and South-east Asian art in the whole world. The museum was inaugurated in 1868 and is located in the centre of the city at Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat. There is an elephant statue at the site which is the reason why some people also call this museum as ‘Elephant Building’ or ‘Gedung Gajah’.

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Another very famous attraction of the city is the “Gedung Kesenian Jakarta” which the tourists call “Jakarta Arts Theatre”. This is a building which was constructed during the period of Dutch colonization in Indonesia and thus, has a non-renaissance structure. It is a concert hall which stands proudly on the land of this cultural city showing the conserved pieces of history of Indonesia. This place holds the best performances of the city for local artists and visitors. There is an Istiqlal Mosque near this concert hall and also a Jakarta Cathedral.

Another famous museum in Jakarta is the National Gallery of Indonesia which was initially a cultural institution for visual arts and today is a museum that houses more than 1750 art-pieces of Indonesian as well as foreign artists. This is a very old art gallery combined with a museum. This place lets you enjoy the history, culture and art at the same time.

Other museums are Museum Art Mon Décor, Textile Museum, Gedung Proklamasi (or Proclamation Building), Lubang Buaya, etc. Other historical sites in the city include Kota Tua – the Old Town Batavia, the Sunda Kelapa Port – the Old Harbor, the Fish Market and Museum Bahari, etc. The city also has a lot of religious places and a lot of cultural places. All in all, the city is a must visit.

On The Banks Of Thames: Tate Modern, London



On The Banks Of Thames: Tate Modern, London

View of Tate from Thame

Situated on the ever serene and enchanting banks of the royal river Thames is the hub of modern and contemporary art, Tate Modern. Set up in the year 2000, this modern art gallery has managed to attract so many visitors that it has acquired the title of the most visited modern art gallery in the world with an approximate turn out of 4.7 million visitors per year. Tate, to be very precise is a network of four museums which are Tate Liverpool, Tate Britain and Tate St. Ives and Tate Online. Tate is not funded by the government but it does not fail to be called of the national interest of the United Kingdom. It does not only feature some of the great art works of Britain but the most popular and celebrated works of art around the globe; all after the 1900s until today.

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Since the time it was set up, there have been many changes in the ways and methods of the arrangement of these works of art. This splendid building consists of seven levels. Earlier when it was set up, the levels ranged from 1 to 7 but after some changes took place, they were re- numbered as o to 6. Level six consists of the restaurants for the visitors whereas Level five has well- built rooms or rather the offices of the members of the art gallery. Levels two, three and four are where the exhibition art takes place. There are different ways in which the works have been divided on the different floors on the basis of various themes.

 a permanent collection

The speciality of the Tate Modern lies in the fact that there has never been any chronological order in which the art works have been arranged or displayed. Rather there are various themes and the works are displayed under these themes. After the third re- hang in the year 2012; the major themes were Poetry and Drama, Structure and Clarity, Energy and Process, Transformed Vision and Setting the Scene. Level one connects the museum to the direct entrance from Thames. It also has various shops. Last but not the least, level zero is the place where the shops are located. Most importantly it has the Turbine Hall Tanks. The tickets for the Turbine Hall are purchaesd from this level itself.

Damien Hirst Art

According to the latest themes and their placement in the museum, Level four place works on the themes of ‘Structure and Clarity’ and ‘Energy and Process’. One of the temporary sections of the Tate Modern is found on this floor which is presently show- casing the works of the Post- American photographer Harry Callahan. Level three is based on the theme of ‘Transformed Vision’ and the temporary work of an artist placed here was that of Mira Schendel. It was lately removed in the mid January of this year. Level two is based on the theme of ‘Poetry and Drama’ and the temporary work that was lately removed in the first week of March, this year was by Paul Kee.

turbine Hall

Level one, besides being the river entrance level, it has other things worth noticing. Firstly, it has the Project Space. Project Space was inaugurated quiet recently in November 2013. It is a collaborative effort of exhibition between the Tate and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade. Besideds this, it also has a seminar hall and the Starr Auditorium. The Starr Auditorium is used to host myriad screening and other events. The Turbine Hall on Level Zero has quiet an interesting story. It was originally set- up as a temporary means of attracting visitors to the museum, for a span of first five years. It became so popular that it continues to exist today as well.

 shops at tate

The Turbine Hall is used to show- case beautifully made, large, specially- commisioned contemporary works of some of the artists. These are a part pf temporary display as they are found only from March till October, every year. Some of the prominent ones amongst them are The Weather Project by Olafur Eliasson, Embankment by Raechel Whiteread and Shibboleth by Doris Salcedo.

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Being an abode of the modern contemporary art work does not mean there are no arrangements of food and drinks to enjoy the tour to the museum even more. At each and every level of the art gallery there is something to eat and shop for. Level six has a restaurant which offers delicacies one cannot say no to. Besides, it also has all flavours of drinks available. Level three has the Espresso Bar. The beauty of this place lies in it’s location. It has two beautiful balcony tables facing the riverside. Besides this there are shops on levels one, two and three. Every kind of souvenir, post cards , gift items, items of home décor are found here.

 families at tate modern

Besides these larger than life art- works, shops and restaurants; the Tate Modern provides options to the visitors to visit the art gallery the way they want to. The museum has provisions for Private as well as public tours. It has a tour package for two as well, which is for the couples. Unlike other art galleries, there are no restrictions in Tate Modern on visitors getting clicked and posing near the art works. The visitors are also allowed to talk and discuss about the piece of art they are seeing. If someone wants to go all alone, without a guide, then the Ttae allows that as well. There is no limit to the time span for which a family is visiting. The family can take a tour for as long as it wants.

tate at night

Wehat more can be expected from an art gallery like this? There is nothing that it does not avail. It has everything that people would want on their tours. Being on Tate will make you feel proud of being a part of this Earth and also of belonging to a race which has witnessed such great artists time and again. Tate Modern and it’s art works are an example of how beautiful works are created using beautiful ideas and thoughts.