Monthly Archives: May 2014

Top 10 Biggest Hotel Chains in the World

Top 10 Biggest Hotel Chains in the World

No trip is decided without the thought of comfortable staying facilities at the travelling spots coming in mind. And no such place is better than the one providing the ambiance similar to that of home. Many hotel groups come up all across the world with the same ideology in their minds. Working towards the provision of comfortable and convenient lodgings for the visitors, with every passing year such hotel groups try to spread their chains in every corner of the world.

There are several such hotel chains that have their large number of hotels across the globe, working hard to provide the comforting facilities to the visitors and aim to further expand its chain in future. Here in this article, you will find the top ten hotel chains in the world that have been able to grab the eyeball of the visitors towards them.

10. Carlson – Worldwide World Class Hospitality and Travel


Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, the tenth largest hotel chain in the world, was earlier known by the name of Rezidor SAS. This group was founded in 1960 in Copenhagen. Targeting more than 150 countries and territories, it has gradually broadened its development zone, taking into its count the development of over 1300 hotels and 900 restaurants. Currently it possesses six global brands namely Radisson Blu, Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson, Country Inns & Suites by Carlson and Hotel Missoni. The company aims towards the fulfillment of the individual needs of the visitors. With the dynamic growth in their development and operation, more than 80000 people working as a helping hand and revenue reaching about 7 billion US dollars, they are aiming to reach the count of more than 1500 operating hotels across the world by 2015.

9. Home Inns – Wherever you go, you’re always at home

Home Inn

The leading economy hotel chain of China, also known by the name of Home Inns & Hotels Management Inc., places itself at the ninth position among the largest hotel chains in the world. Its headquarters is located in the Xuhui District of Shanghai. With its slogan “Wherever you go, you’re always at home”, and trying to abide by the same, this hotel group has reached at such heights with its increasing number of hotels, hotel rooms and geographic coverage as well as the hospitality provided in comparisons to other hotels across China. With its commencement in the year 2002 by Ji Qui, it has kept on flourishing and sooner in the year 2011, it included a renowned hotel chain – Motel 168 – as its second hotel brand. It now aims to gradually expand its chain in various parts of Asia in the future.

8. Starwood Hotels and Resorts – Who’s taking care of you

Four Points by Sheraton

This hotel chain was founded in the year 1980. Its headquarters is at Stamford. Since its foundation, this group has come up a long way. Now it has several renowned brands such as St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W Hotel, Westin, Le Méridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft, and Element to name a few. It has one of its programs called Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) which let the members earn and redeem points for their stays and other such criteria. Starwood Hotels and Resorts have more than 171,000 associates working for them and about 1,146 hotels and resorts spreading at various locations. The total revenue of this group comes out to be around 5.62 billion US dollars.

7. Best Western – The World’s Largest Hotel Chain

Best Western Hotel

Best Western is a well-known hotel chain in Europe. This year this company has completed its 67 years since its start in US and 36 years in Europe. Since 1946, Best Western has come up a long way with its hotels in more than 4000 places all over the world. Its headquarters is located in Phoenix. Best Western opened the first 5 stars hotel in Prague, the capital of Czech in the year 2008. Best Western employs more than 1000 people. Best Western attempts to give the visitors a homely environment. They provide free high-speed Internet access, continental breakfast, iron and ironing boards, hair dryers, coffee/tea makers, complimentary toiletries on request and much more. This company offers 314,331 guest rooms and tends to make a revenue of about 206 million US dollars per year. This is an up-scaling brand especially because it has a large number of hotels that bear the name Best Western showcasing its individuality of brand name all over.

6. Choice Hotels – We’ll see you there

Choice Hotels

Earlier named as Quality Courts United, the hotel chain Choice Hotel International was founded in the year 1939 in Maryland, United States. Its headquarters is at Silver Spring in Maryland. It has the spread of about 4000 brands – Quality Inn, Choice Hotels, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn to name a few. It has more than 6,200 hotels and more than 500,000 rooms in more than 30 countries and territories. This company’s total revenue is nearly 642 million US dollars. They claim to have a rich history of innovation as they were the first in the industry to introduce guarantee reservations, telephones inn every room, 24-hours desk service and much more.

5. Accor – Open Frontiers in Hospitality

Accor Hotels

This group originated in France, setting its foundation in 1967. This company tends to have several hotels in France and worldwide, with its headquarters in Paris and annual growth of 3.7%. It has about 160,000 people associated with this company and more than 500,000 rooms and are planning to develop 105.000 new rooms. Accor’s some of the brands are Sofitel, Novotel, Pullman, Mercure, Suite Hotel, All Seasons, Ibis, Etap, Motel 6, Formula 1. Accor provides expensive and luxurious facilities nationwide.

4. Wyndham Hotel Group – The Right Way. The Wyndham Way.

Wyndham Hotel

This group at the fourth position of the list was founded by Trammell Crow in the year 1981 in Dallas, Texas. At that time it was known as Wyndham Hotel Corporation. Its headquarters is located at Parsippany Troy Hills in New Jersey, United States. Soon, this company owned two brands from the renowned Global Hyatt namely the Microtel Inns & Suites and for extended stay purpose, Hawthorn Suites. Currently this group has 7.7% growth in the rooms supply

3. Marriott International – Your home away from home

Marriott Hotel

This leading company has more than 3,700 hotels and resorts in about 74 countries and territories all over the world. The headquarters is at Bethesda in Maryland, US. With the evolving business, it has several brands – Marriott Hotels and Resorts, JW Marriott Hotels and Resorts, the Ritz-Carlton and Bvlgari Hotels and Resorts – to name a few. They pursue the vision of making Marriott the number one hospitality in the company and are working hard to achieve the same. In addition to this Marriott tends to focus on five global social issues: poverty alleviation, the environment, community workforce development, the well-being of children, and global diversity and inclusion.

2. Hilton Worldwide – Discover a world of opportunity

Hilton Hotel

This hotel chain previously known as Hilton Hotels Corporation was founded by Conrad N. Hilton with a 40-room hotel in the year 1919 in Texas. The first hotel with the name Hilton was opened by him in the year 1925. Since then, Hilton has been able to become one of the successful brands in the world for its comfort and innovation. Gradually this company held its grip and with its commitment of providing luxury and comfort to the visiting guests, it has been able to spread across 90 countries with more than 3900 hotels and 650,000 rooms. Its revenue is more than 7.44 billion US dollars. For providing apt delight to the guests, this hotel chain now has respectful ten popular brands namely Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Hilton Grand Vacations, Hilton, Double Tree, Embassy Suites, Garden Inn, Hampton, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suits.

1. InterContinental Hotels Group – Great Hotels, Guest’s Love

InterContinental Hotel

There is no doubt that this hotel chain has been able to place itself at the top position since 2004 with its acquisition of about 4600 hotels and resorts, with more than 674,000 rooms in over 100 countries across the world. Its first hotel was founded in Bass Brewery in 1777 by William Bass. With the strategy of making their brand number one and expanding itself in the hotel industry, it has just kept on developing with flying colors and till now has not looked back. Its brand names include InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, EVEN™ Hotels and HUALUXE™ Hotels and Resorts. Working with franchise, managers and more than 2000 hotel owners across the globe, this group aims to improve its brands and keep on increasing the number of hotel rooms roughly by 5.9% every year.

Beirut: An enchanted land

Beirut: An enchanted land

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◊ Mohammad Al-Amin mosque: A ‘must-see’ holy place

Apart from the jaw-dropping architectural edifice, the Mohammed Al-Amin mosque, also known as Hariri mosque has a tapestry of religious secrets to offer you. It is known as Hariri mosque after the Prime Minister Rafek Hariri, who financed the project and was buried beside it. The imperial interior engraved with the quaint sculptor work and designs will leave you speechless. A large central dome rests above the prayer hall, flanked by the two half domes on either side. The dome is decorated with the beautiful murals. All this gives you a peaceful experience which makes you forget your busiest thoughts crossing your mind and makes you admire its elegance.

An exterior and interior view of Mohammad Al-Amin mosque
An exterior and interior view of Mohammad
Al-Amin mosque


◊Beirut Art Center: For those who like to revel in the contemporary art

“Intriguing” is the descriptive word over here, as the Beirut Art Center has an interesting history behind it. From the moribund squat building whose bullet holes stands as a witness to the Lebanon’s wars, it has been renovated into a luminous white washed space which was opened in January 15th 2009. It is a non-profit organisation dedicated to provide a platform for the contemporary art. Its principal objective is to provide a much required inspiration to pave the way for sustainable art by holding up conferences and workshops with local as well as international artists and experts.

Besides all this it also showcases a book shop with splendid collection, an auditorium for concerts, galas, film screening and performances and an open wide space for out-door events.

beirut art center

◊ Mzaar Kfardebian: For those who are looking for a smidge of adventure

Whether you a full time skier or you just want to try skiing for fun, Mzaar Kfardebian is the best place where you can try it. So, just pop up onto your feet and start skiing across the snow covered mountains while the cool wind that caresses your skin gets you high spirited and gives you a titillating tingling sensation making the whole experience new and exotic for you.

Mzaar Kfardebian is the largest ski resort in the Middle East and is also known as ‘ouyoune el simane’.As promised, it offers you a splendid adventurous experience with its 42 hills spreading over 80 km. Therefore, it is visited by clusters of skiers, snowboarders and hikers during holidays.


To sum it up, Beirut is a stunning city which makes every penny spent for its visit worthful. Every passing wee moment spend over here is an experience in itself. Therefore it is a city which must be experienced by everyone at least once.

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Elephant Trekking, Thailand

Elephant Trekking, Thailand

A place where Elephant serves to be the national animal, a symbol of national pride and has it’s  population of nearly over 2000, cannot afford to have a tourist spot without them. I am talking about Thailand. Since the ancient times, elephants were the animals who played an important role in the history and culture of Thailand. This is the reason why these asian elephants stand to be the national pride of Thailand today. When it comes to elephant related spot and sport both in Thailand, one cannot think of a better place than Chiangmai.


Chiang Mai is both geographically and culturally, the biggest place in northern Thailand. It is very famous for the sport of elephant trekking which takes place over here. Tourists come here with overwhelming turn outs to enjoy this sport.


Elephant Owner for a day is the most popular sport which people come for over here. This is not an adventure sport where you will only get to sit on an elephant’s back and take a tour of the place or go for trekkings. Besides the availibility of these things, there is much more to it. The tourists are taken to the place where the elephants are kept. They will get to learn the temperament of this serene looking animal. The tourists also learn how to feed them. In the presence of the tourists the elephants are also at times taken for their health check- ups. Options for learning to take the care of the skin of an elephant are also available. The best part is that you also get to bath your elephant, which they are quiet popular for.

playful elephants

Elephant riding and bamboo rafting is another important sport over here. In this the tourists are taken on a 50 kilometre journey to reach a camp where the elephants are kept. On treaching the spot, one gets the delight to see the elephants bathing and performing shows, which they are very famous for. Then after the elephants are all ready the tourists sit on their back and take a tour of the lushy green forests all around. The journey back to the camp is an ox- cart ride. This does not come to an end like this. After this the tourists even go for a ‘Huckleberry Finn’ bamboo rafting trip.

elephants bathing

Trekking in Sanpatong is another adventure. Though, not much of a difference from the previous sport. Unlike the previous one, it starts with a trekking which longs for about half ‘n’ hour to Hmong village. Then just like the previous sport you get to ride an elephant for about an hour, going amidst the beautiful, green jungles. By the time these two elements are done with, the lunch is served and then the sport continues to a waterfall. After that one can also take a tour of the Karen Hilltribe village and also a conjuring bamboo rafting


Trekking in Mae Tiang is probably the longest trekking as when compared to all other trekkings which take place over here. It is a three day trek which leaves no stone unturned about Mae Tiang. It covers each and every waterfall, mountain range and even the myriad communities, the hilltribe ones mainly. Not just this, in this trekking one also gets the opportunity to stay with the hilltribe people and their families for quiet sometime. While going uphill, one can just walk and trek, otherwise one also has the option to ride an elephant and go. While coming downhill, which is maily through the river, the tourists have to raft and come.

elephant performing

After having listened to all these adventure sports you might just think Chiang Mai to be a remote area, inaccessible by any mode of transportation but this is a misconception. Chiang Mai is well connected to all forms of road transportation. One can and obviously will have to take a flight to reach Bangkok. After this you can board a train. Doing so during the night time will be a better option because journey to Chiang Mai is an overnight one. The other option is that one can also board a bus which will take hardly aboud 9- 10 hours. If one has an access to a car or something then that also can be taken. The journey is safe through out.

fun with elephants

Besides all the fun involved in the elephant trekking in Chiamg Mai, towards the north of Thailand there is still another spot which the animal lovers might want to visit. It is the Elephant Nature Park. Over here elephants are given shelter and protected against the cruel treatment of the human beings.The tourists can help to do the same in whichever way possible. The site of these animals is over- whelming. Trip to Chiang Mai is fun and educational at the same time. On one side where it does not fail to cater to the requirement of fun and adventure, on the other side it makes the tourists aware of the behaviour and innocence of these elephants because at many places they are traeted very badly. It also gives the tourists an opportunity to know what kinfd of a life do the hilly tribe people lead and how despite so many difficulties they remain happy.














Camden Lock Market, London

Camden Lock Market, London

Whenever this place is talked about, people fall short of words in describing the beauty of this place, the mastery achieved by the people in this place that they got such great pieces of art and architecture constructed. I am talking about London, one of the most picturesque places in the world. The number of landmark monuments which this place homes are actually unending. Be it the beautiful Tower of London, the Westminster Abbey, Windsor Castle, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and many more.

camden lock entrance

Today the place that I am going to talk about is located in the Camden Town, near the Hampstead Road Lock. It is a market, which has a chain of retail shops constituting it and collectively being called the Camden Market or the Camden Lock Market. The market operates all the seven days of the week, beginning from 10:00 a.m. In the morning to 6:00 p.m. in the evening. The Camden Lock Market had begun way back in around 1950s.

brick lane market graffitti

The reason for it being so popular is that it remains open on Sundays as well. Not talking about the modern days ony, but back in the later twentieth century when many shops used to remain closed on Sundays due to some trade policies, this market was the only one which was available to the customers. The markets were set up as the retailed ones for selling things related to crafts. With time the market expanded and so did it’s products. Now they even sell clothes, accessories, books and many other items.

entrance of the stables market

Stable Market is the largest section of the Camden Lock Market. As the name suggests, it is located in the former Pickford Stables, which have served to act as stewards to horses for a long time. Stable Market is so large that sometimes it is considered to be a miniature of the Camden Lock Market. Back in 2006, when some restoration work was going on, a hall sort of a thing was constructed where vendors and other sellers could set up open stalls. In 2007, not much later, again some where,  development work took place and this section was done away with.

camden-stables-market entrance

Chain Trading is not allowed in the stalls in the Stable Market. There are a few stalls which are permanently eligible to set their stalls and run them. Rest all the stalls are hired on a daily basis. The aura and the kind of design that has been used to develop this Stable Market is quiet historically done. The new re- development programe that has been undertaken seeks to create a walk- path for the visitors, de- constructing that hall which was created between the Stable Market and the Camden Lock Market.

products displayed

Shopping, as we know is quiet incomplete without good food and drink. That to in markets like these, one constantly needs to have something to protect oneself from being dehydrated. When it comes to food, like in all other aspects Camden excels, in this also it does not at all lag behind to make the customers unhappy. From best of the vegetarian delicacies to the non- vegetarian one; any kind of platter with any kind of combination can be brought.

different stalls

Not only this, they provide a whole variety of different cuisines. Some of the famous ones are the Chin Chin Labs, Chula Café, Kim’s Vietnamese Hut and many more. Edibles like bubble tea, burgers, noodles are very frequently sold and bought. The drinks have all kind of tea and coffee, besides the other bevarages. All these food and drink items are easy to be carried and to be had while shopping and most importantly a customer does not need to stop shopping altogether to have the food.

food vendors

The name Camden Lock Market suggests that it is only meant for shopping due to the suffix market added to it but this is not true. There are several activities which keep taking place in this shopping hub. It is not just about shopping. The most different and attractive activity that takes place over here is the yoga session, which is popularly known as the Pop- Up yoga session. It has a particular schedule for the classes and the fees are also nominal, keeping in mind the importance of yoga in our lives these days. Moreover, when it has been estimated that depression is the second largest disease with which people will be inflicted after myocardial infarction in the world. The classes begin almost around 1 in the afternoon and continue roughly for about forty minutes.

outer view

Camden Lock Market is a must for all those people who cannot live without shopping and whom the modern world calls a ‘shopoholic. Not only this, one can also visit this place if he or she is interested in attending some classes or creative workshops. This market, which is the fourth largest in London to attract the visitors, pulls almost a crowd of 1,00,000 people on weekends. The legacy says it all. Any kind of stuff that you are short of will be available here and one can buy them without much ado. The market is well connected with the other parts of the city by various means of transportation, railway being the most prominent one.





Riding the urban pulse, Shinjuku

Riding the urban pulse, Shinjuku

Resonating the digital pulse of the modern world, the district of Shinjuku is at the heart of Japan’s ultra-modern. This buzzing, aglow microcosm of colors and sub-cultures is one of the world’s most loved city squares. But we’re not new acquaintances with either of these places. Sure the name sounds unfamiliar, but we’ve seen it in every magazine cut out and in every film flaunting the futuristic style of Tokyo’s architecture.

Essentially a shopping hub, the sheer size and popularity of Shijuku has given it the status of a tourist site. But it is not earned it without a reason. Shijuku is nothing short of a holy grail for every gadget freak, Otaku, gamer and anyone out there who fancies shopping for interesting things. Even the average passer-by neutral to the lure of shopping would stop to cast a curious second-look. There is much to look at considering the rows of odd looking household supplies and the multitude of unheard of things that heap the stores, filling out from the streets.

tumblr_m3rkv2myY21qe9vdto1_500  5f4953_d50afc17057bc31cdf1f2bd31f3b06c2

First rule is simple, you must watch where you walk while here. Because everyday 3.5 million commuters pass through this crazy-busy entertainment district. Big flashy neon boards welcome you into streets bursting with gigantic departmental stores and high rise malls on either sides. The downtown district stretches ahead with stores and colorful kiosks within viewing distance. Everything imaginable, unimaginable, ranging from clearance sale offers to stiff price tags find home here quite nicely. It goes without saying Shinjuku has a reputation for attracting all kinds of shoppers.

Shinjuku-Gyoen-Wallpaper-3  place-479258-image-file-3
Almost as if by instinct, the long walk you take through the shopping area leads to the Big terrace in front of the South Exit. This area leads to the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden which provides for the much needed quiet. The regular tourist after hauling a dozen shopping bags can catch a breath here. Famous for its Edo era style this was formerly an Imperial garden till World War II. After the war, the garden which infused French, Victorian and Japanese styles in all its 535,000 square meterd glory, was made accssible to public. The seasonal displays of cherry blossom (Sakura) and the red autumn leaves leave a perfect image to remember the place by. Make sure to save it for a fine hour in the evening after much looking through the various layers of Shinjuku.
If you feel lost in the crowd not knowing where to begin exploring, look for a building that looks like a Gotham city skyscraper. The atypical deep grey steel face and lego like shape is hard to miss. It should be easy to find your other routes now. This is the Tokyo Metropolitan building. It serves not only as a government office space but also an information center with maps and guides to explore Shinjuku. There is also an Observatory on the 45th floor which throws in a spectacular view of the entire landscape with a nice view of Mt. Fuji which one can see on a good weather days.
The Takashimaya Times Square is the place with the oddball appliances and devices not found anywhere outside Japan. We all know Japan hits home run for producing the weird and the quirky, everything offbeat. This spirit of experimentation extends to things which can be bagged at malls here. Some examples are the foot shaped clock, doughnut like cakes and blue Christmas trees. A legit collector’s paradise.

Kabukicho is the famed gastronomy zone, if you were wondering where to pig out on good food. University students and day workers throng this are rich with cafes, eat outs, pubs and themes restaurants. The street food like Takoyaki also sell by the thousands here at peak hours.

tokyo_streetfood  Japanese Street Food

For someone who wants to experience the olden day Shinjuku dining in all its quintessence, there is a quaint bar street running along railroad tracks. Here you can find many restaurants called “Akaachochin”. The name comes from the common style these places follow with red lanterns hanging outside the tiny eatery. The evening chatter of students and office goers carry on late into the night as this is a spot loved by many. Especially by those who like to eat surrounded by stories and laughter in an old fashioned indiscreet corner. For the rest of us who keep our eyes peeled for the latest in the world of gizmos, Labi (Yamada Denki) is the place to go. The appliance chain originally intended for houshold goods have a basement area dedicated solely for PCs, cameras, audio devices, soft wares, games and more.


Also on the must-visit list is the Hanazono Shrine. Its regarded the guarding deity of Shinjuku and truly worth a visit. The 17th century shrine built around the Shogun era doesn’t fail to charm one with its stately architecture. Itojuinari Shrine which is at the far end of the Hanazono is also very popular. Many women throng the premises daily as the deity is famous for bring good fortune in marriage and fertility.

Wrap up the visit with a platter of steaming Dango (dumplings) dripping with the rich, sweet sauce. Order to take away as you walk around and explore the ins and outs of Shinjuku.

Penguin Island, Western Australia

Penguin Island, Western Australia

Australia’s largest state is nowhere short of stunning locations for a serene, spectacular aquatic holiday. Penguin Island is one of the most beautiful destinations that Western Australia offers. A marine paradise, this location is located just about 45 minutes from the state’s capital city Perth. Set in the charming Shoalwater Islands, experience nature at its pristine best with virgin white, sandy beaches, clear blue waters and wildlife galore.

Penguin Island

Penguin island is about 12.5 hectares in area and houses Western Australia’s largest colony of the smallest species of penguin on the planet-the little penguin. Popular among local and foreign tourists alike, catch a ferry to this island to watch wildlife thrive in its natural habitat, follow nature trails, swim and snorkel in the pristine blue waters or enjoy a quiet little family seaside holiday.


It is believed that Penguin Island was first inhabited by the Aborigines about 12,000 years ago. Singing Rock, just north of the island is steeped in romanticized legend. The story goes that an aboriginal girl broke tribal law and eloped with her lover. She was caught and her lover was killed with a spear. She was imprisoned inside the rock and it is said that you can still hear her singing out to her lover today.

Penguin Island History

Seaforth McKenzie, a New Zealander, was the first man to travel to the Island in 1914. He was commissioned by the Western Australian government to set up a travel resort in the destination. Thus began the hollowing out and furnishing of the region’s limestone caves to provide for shelter, a library and a store. McKenzie was crowned ‘King of Penguin Island’ at a grand ballroom that he constructed. The literature lover returned home to his family in New Zealand in 1926 after leaving for work 45 years ago and failing to return. Due to the shifting sands and exposure to weather, the topography of McKenzie’s island has been altered but catch a glimpse of its glory days in the nailed cave walls, the King’s old well and a few fig trees.

In the years to come, a number of budget accommodation options like shacks were introduced to the island by private companies. The island today is managed by the Department of Conservation and Land Management.  The shacks today have been replaced by the Penguin Experience Discovery Centre, the Western Mining Research and Management Centre and better recreation amenities.

Visitor Information

After about an hour’s drive from Perth, you should reach the Rockingham Wild Encounters site where you can park for free. Buy a ferry ticket from the gift shop and board a ferry from the Mersey Point Jetty.

Little Penguins

Penguin Island deliberately has a minimum of facilities to preserve the natural atmosphere of the place. There aren’t any restaurants, so it is advised to stock up on your own food. Pengos Café, adjacent to the Rockingham Wild Encounters Gift Shop offers a smorgasbord of culinary delights with coffee, cakes, burgers, fish and chips and salads, all freshly made in case you want to grab a quick bite before you set off. You can choose between picnic and alfresco settings. You can also stock up on fresh rolls, wraps, salads, drinks and snacks to take along with you to Penguin Island.

Picnic Area

Visitors are advised to dress comfortably and wear comfortable footwear. Stay sun smart with hats and sunscreen. Besides swimwear, towels, surf boards and fishing rods, you might also want to pack a light jacket as the afternoon sea breeze can get rather chilly even in the summer.

Penguin Island is open to visitors daily from mid September to early June.

Attractions and Activities

The island may well be home to the largest colony of little penguins in the country, you’ll have to look pretty hard for them because they spend the greater part of the day at sea, hunting prey. You will rarely see them on land, which is where they hide from predators. Whip out your binoculars an hour post sunset. They socialize at this time, so it’s your best bet to see them. The little penguins are a reticent species and you’ll often find them hidden under the boardwalks and behind caves. Be considerate and give the penguins 3-5 metres of space at all times, avoid loud noises and jerky movements and remember to turn off your flash. If you see a penguin come out of hiding and stand in shallow waters, it may be a sign of heat stress. In such a case, report it to the authorities and do not try to help the penguin yourself.

Little Penguin

You can also feed penguins at the Discovery Centre and learn a lot about the little penguins. These feeding sessions are at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm and usually last for 20 minutes.

Discovery Centre

Take a short ferry ride across Shoalwater Bay and take in the sites. Look out for little penguins along the way. You can also see wild dolphins, rare Australian sea lions, pelicans, ospreys, king sinks, bridal terns and over 50 species of sea birds. You can also swim in the safe, sheltered waters and try a bit of snorkeling.

Ferry Ride

Take a 45-minute cruise in a glass bottom boat around the sanctuary zone of the marine park.  You can see the rugged, beautiful coral reefs and islands and see hoards of wildlife along the way including a pelican rookery.


Take the special Dolphin, Penguin and Sea Lion adventure cruise. The dolphins are very playful and friendly and approach the visitor boat happily. An underwater microphone lets you listen to their clicks and whistles. You can also visit Aladin’s Cave to see the fossils of tuart forests. Shag Rock offers beautiful views of ospreys and Seal Island is perfect to see some rare Australian sea lions.


Beach activities are plenty. The place is a paradise for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing. Most equipment is available at the gift shop. The protected waters are ideal for kayaking, kite boarding and stand up paddle boarding.

Stand up Paddle boarding

Kilmainham Gaol – The Prison-Museum

Kilmainham Gaol – The Prison-Museum

Kilmainham gaol, Ireland

The free state of Ireland has many of its forefathers who participated in its struggle to thank for it. And what better way to thank them than turning the largest jail served by them into a museum. And totally dedicated to them, crystallizing the memory of their toil and sacrifice inside the four walls of this prison and embracing their sacrifice.

Kilmainham Gaol is that historic prison.

Also known as the ‘Irish Bastille’ it is one of the biggest unoccupied gaols in the whole of Europe. Situated in modern Dublin, Kilmainham played a key role in Irish history noting that its had many great men walk its corridors. Leaders and supporters at the forefront of struggles and rebellions were imprisoned and executed within these very walls by the British. Only in 1923 did Ireland become a free country and the inmates of Kilmainham were able to walk out of there, into freedom.


Originally built in 1796 under the name the “New Gaol” it was run by the Dublin County’s Jury. Today its run by the Irish government in memory of everyone who spilled sweat and blood for the nation in its fight for independence.
In 1960s, the Office of Public Works, came up with a proposal for its reconstruction and salvaging. This was a move aimed at turning the now desolate prison into a historical site. Thus the museum was restored all the way out of volunteered donations and labor efforts. The nearby overgrowth of vegetation was cleared out and the altar was modified. The whole prison was re-roofed, re-floored and mildly air-brushed to give it the look of a museum. By 1971 the second round of restoration was complete and the site was open to public. The efforts of people saw to it that they could restore the prison to a degree of improvement in order to pay due respect to the martyrs. The symbolically important prison yard was tidied up and made more presentable as an ode to those who died in the 1916 struggle.


The prison is now a site hoarded by tourists around the year. Its only a bus trip away from the center of Dublin city and is open to viewing from 9.30 am to 5 pm between April to September. During the next cycle, October to March, the museum is open between 9.30 am to 4 pm with an exception of Sundays when its open till 5. The entry fee is very nominal and the tour guides are very knowledgeable and give a detailed tour. After all that is out of the way, you can immerse yourself into the deep history rooted in the very spot you’d be standing in. The whole museum has an eerie charm to it, irrespective of the weather gives everyone a cold shudder knowing people were hung and executed here. The visit is well organized with tour guides talking you through the corridors with the history of the museum bringing to life the characters who played a major role in Ireland’s history. The stories of Political and Military leaders namely, Robert Emmet, Charles Stewart Parnell and the leaders of the 1916 uprising Eamon de Valera are a part of tour.


The echoing footsteps in the hallways and the spartan furnishings typical of a jail make it hard to remember that its now only a museum. The trip allows visitors to walk in and out of the prison cells and chambers giving them a first hand feel and dramatic insight into what it was like to be confined in one of these chamber of punishments for years. It is a panorama of an epic struggle the nation does not want washed away in time. The re-work has given it the look profound, disturbing and inspiring the prison carries.


The tour around Kilmainham Gaol also includes an exhibition as it is a very busy site teeming with tourists as there are more and more people lately who are interested in learning about the history behind the place. A brief video recounting the past is also played to tourists briefing them on some of the historic events centered around Kilmainham and Ireland. Additionally there is also an art gallery sits on the lofty top floor exhibiting paintings, sculptures and jewelry of prisoners who were incarcerated in prisons all over the country of Ireland.

The site also has excellent facilities for children and disabled persons to be toured around displaying the true mark of a top notch tourist spot. The Irish government has clearly taken it upon itself to give the best tour possible to educate people about the history of the country.

Dhuandhar Falls –Jabalpur

Dhuandhar Falls –Jabalpur

Dhuandhar falls

Falls are always fascinating and build an excitement when you are planning to visit one. Kids and elders, none can escape the feeling of a little part that keeps jumping inside your mind till you reach the falls and get wet in them.  Dhuandhar Falls of Jabalpur are the similar kinds but climb a step further ahead in raising your level of excitement. The gushing waters of the river Narmada from all sides, crashing onto the foots and roaring out loud enough to be audible from a distance, one cannot miss out on such a fine piece of work by the nature. Backed by the glistening white marble bed, the sight of the waters is glorious and compelling. You simply cannot resist staring at the mesmerizing scenario of the colourful tableau performed by the waters, trees and the cold light winds. A perfect evening can be spent at these falls with a backdrop of the sun setting and the waters pouring down from the height. Named aptly, these falls are called as Dhuandhar Falls which means ‘smoke owing’. These falls create a smoky effect due to the gigantic amounts of water falling from the heights and hitting the rock at the foot with tremendous force. The splashing water has so much force that it reaches far off from the point of contact and also creates a smoky effect.  The height of the falls mounts up to a good 10 m. although not that tall as compared to the other famous falls, it gets is popularity because of the panorama it serves you.


Even though the summers are not a bad time, the best time to visit these falls are the months of winter. From the month of September to January, approximately the post monsoon season. The rivers usually flow at their maximum extent and you can thoroughly enjoy the grandeur it has to offer you. The river being a bit fierce in the monsoons, precautions taken for the safety might interfere with your fun plans and hence the best time is the winters. In winters, you get the bonus of a pleasant and cold weather when you can soak in the serenity of the nature and take in the tranquillity to its fullest. Also, activities like boating are available during this season and can be grabbed on to take your trip to a better level. There are various types of boats available from the rowed boats to motor boats and they charge you accordingly. You also get to hire a private boat just for your own family. It can be enjoyed during the sunset hours as it creates a picturesque view. Especially for the romantic buds amongst the crowd, boating can be done under the moonlit skies, covered with the glistening sprinkle of stars and the air filled with a fragrance of romance in it.

Dhuandhar Falls 1

Another nerve tickling thing that can be done on the falls is the ride in the rope way. It carries you from above the falls and you can click some amazing pictures of the falls and the surroundings that it beautifies. The provision made for the cable cars is quite convenient and has a parking space as well. Although not that high over the falls, these cable cars are good enough for a first experience of the top view of the crazy waters rushing downwards. If you want to experience the marvellous sight of the falls, a good time is the sunset or the sunrise as it allows you to collect some wondrous shots of the foggy water and the dim lights perfectly reflecting from them. The rope way services are usually shut down during the monsoon period starting from the month of June up to September.

Ropeway at Dhuandhar falls

Obviously, the after you have enjoyed the dry rides in the fall, there is always time to take a small dip in the cold waters. The reason can be anything, the heat, the love of water, the aim of the entire trip or the washing off of your sins by bathing in the holy waters of Narmada; it is always fun when you get inside the waters. The splashing and roaring waters can be scary but for the people who like soaking in the crystal clear liquid it is just another kick that makes them further satisfied. The ones who do not like getting wet are usually seen putting their legs inside the waters and feeling the soothing coldness of it. Of course, with proper safety and precautions as a prime thing, you can enjoy these falls to the core.

If you are going to a place, then apart from snapshots you can always take some souvenirs as a remembrance of all the fun times. The marble artefacts that they sell in the local shops around these falls are perfect for this purpose. Made out of the marble available in the nearby areas, the local artists have kept up the elegant marble work till date. Well priced and worth the money, these show pieces get adjusted in your drawing rooms very well and keep reminding you of your time in the Dhuandhar Falls; which surely ends with a happy and satiated face.



Limestone Stacks: Twelve Apostles, Australia

Limestone Stacks: Twelve Apostles, Australia

A place formed due to natural factors and not due to any human intervention has always been a place of more interest to everyone rather than artificially built (only in comparison, there are much human made architecture to leave you spell bound).Whenever looking for a relaxing while travelling, away from hustle bustle of daily lives,we look for places comprising natural beauty to have a soothing effect on our mind, eyes and soul, twelve apostles is one such place.


Twelve Apostles, situated on Great Ocean Road, Australia is one of the most famous sites to visit while you are in Australia. Situated in Port Campbell National Park in Victoria Australia, it consists of limestone stacks as if coming out of water.Twelve Apostles became famous due to these stacks being arranged naturally in such a manner as they lie closer and provide a spectacular view.

Formation and History of the place:

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Twelve apostles are said to be formed by erosion in the southern ocean. Erosion is the main reason for the formation of this beautiful and grandeur scenic beauty. The process of formation of these stacks is dated years back, when harsh and extreme weather conditions prevailing in Southern Ocean lead to erosion from caves to cliffs to these stacks as high as 45 m.

The place getting the name as Twelve Apostles  has many stories as a matter of fact there were only 9 stacks at the time of naming this place as Twelve Apostles. The place was earlier called as The Sow and Piglets. These stacks keep on changing continually due to prevailing conditions and are still in danger of being eroded.

To do things – Twelve Apostles

Apart from watching the mesmerizing scenic beauty of this place, the place has lot to offer to all. It can be enjoyed as a full day picnic spot with various activities to indulge in as water sports.

Water Sports

Sea Kayaking, Scuba diving, snorkeling are one of the most famous sports here. The southern ocean has got a lot variety of flora and fauna making it a famous place among enthusiasts.


Stargazing is also possible here by buying the equipments on rent and enjoying the beautiful star night of Southern Ocean.

Fishing, visiting streetscapes and historical buildings that is heritage touring is also one of the options.

Golf clubs- Peterborough and Codben is a place for Golf lovers. Skate parks have been built. A visit to local markets and its culture is a must do to know of the local artists and history and culture of the place.

Other Attractions:

Bicycle ride, Crater Quest, Port Campbell Boat Charter, Gum Valley, Cape Oatway Lightstation, Pombo Mart- a famous gift centre, Codben Miniature Railway, Shipwreck Display, Wild Hunter, Great Ocean Road Wildlife Parks are few of the more attractions to be visited here.

Dusk and Dawn

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Twelve apostles look most beautiful during sunrise and sunset. As many tourists would say it is a quiet place during this time and one can enjoy the sea and its beauty at its best. The sound of sea waves made afer striking these stacks, their rising above all, the view is amazing to eyes, leaving the viewer spellbound.

Nearby Places to visit

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Along with a visit to Twelve Apostles, one can even visit nearby places such as Gibson Steps, Loch Ard Gorge, Bay Of Islands and London Bridge.

Gibson Steps

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Gibson Steps is a famous sightseeing spot, a few km away from Twelve Apostles. It has its name for the steps that is staircase leading down to the beach. It is believed that these were carved in cliff and taken care of by a man named Gibson.

Loch Ard Gorge

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It is another very famous site and favourite among tourists. A narrow opening to the sea makes it more beautiful. After standing on top, one can actually see the waves crashing against these giant rocks. It is also a part of Port Campbell National Park Area.

Bay Of Islands, Bay Of Martyrs, The arch, The grotto are interesting places to visit and enjoy the adventures of sea waves.

These all factors enlisted above make it an interesting place to visit.

The famous Twelve Apostles is one of the famous wonders of nature. Visitors love to flock this place for its beauty. The sound of sea waves, the mesmerizing beauty surrounding limestone stacks, the nature at its best unperturbed by human interference makes it a must visit place once in lifetime.

Moreover, by visiting nearby areas one can get a taste of Australia’s local culture, history and beauty. The southern ocean is famous since ancient times for shipwreck history, and one can feel to be its part. Many stories float around for it. A visit to heritage sites makes it more appealing.

Sports enthusiasts and environmental enthusiasts love to flock this place for its unique significance in this aspect. Environmentalists love to study the nature’s pattern and sports enthusiasts to give themselves the feeling of accomplishments. Diving and snorkeling being most famous for its diverse variety of sub marine making it a favourite destination. The stacks stand a tall as if coming out of water in prestige and glory as a witness of years of evolution.

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay 1

Located in the North-Eastern region of Vietnam, Ha long Bay is a bay in the Gulf of Tonkin. The bay is a mixture of about 1600 small islands and islets forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. ‘Where the dragon descends into the sea’ is what Ha Long means. The bay found its place in history claiming that it was the great dragon from the mountains that created Ha Long Bay by gouging out valleys and crevasses with its flailing tail. The place was filled with water leaving only the pinnacles visible when the dragon finally plunged into sea. Often compared to Guilin in China or Krabi in Southern Thailand, Ha Long Bay was recorded a World Heritage Site in 1994.


Though most of the islands are uninhabited by humans because of their precipitous nature the place can never be ignored because of its great scenic beauty complemented by its equally great geological value. Ha Long’s biodiversity is also an important factor in drawing the attention of even international visitors. It is also a closed off conservation zone rich in both flora and fauna, especially the rarest species in the world. Ha Long Bay is also famous for its ocean karst topography and is often included in lists of natural wonders of the world. The bay has been recorded in many of the old historical books, on the French marine map and was even featured once in an article of the then times. Visitors never tire exploring the Ha Long Bay as its attractions are uncountable and its beyond-one’s-imagination scenic beauty takes us to a magical world of mystique and bliss.

Ha Long Bay 2

Arriving at the Ha Long city is not that difficult. Once you reach Hanoi you can take a mini bus from there to Ha Long. Though a 4 to 5 hour drive, those responsible try to make your journey very comfortable and relaxing. Another option to reach our destination is by taking the cargo train from Hanoi to Gia Lam and then to Ha Long. However train delays and cancellations can happen at short notice. Renting a private car or taxi is another means of reaching Ha Long. Travelling by private car is considered the best choice by tourists as it is flexible, safe and available for reasonable rates. There are also several open buses, shuttle buses and many other bus services running between Hanoi and Ha Long and also connecting the bay to the important towns in the city.

Ha Long Bay 3

In this legendary world of stone islands are hidden some of the most incredible wonders of the world. There is the Man’s Head Island which resembles a man standing and looking towards the mainland. The Dragon Island resembles a dragon hovering over the turquoise water. The La Vong Island looks like an old man fishing. Other famous islands of the bay known for resembling their names are The Sail, The Pair of Roosters and The Incense Burner. The islands are also home to a number of wonderful caves and grottoes like the Thien Cung( Heavenly Residence Grotto), Sung Sot( Surprise Grotto), Tam Cung( Three Palace Grotto) etc. Ha Long Bay is also closely linked to the history of Vietnam. Van Don is an ancient commercial port, the Poem Mountain has engravings of many poems about emperors and other historical figures. The Bach Dang River, on the other hand is famous for the two fierce naval battles fought against foreign aggressors.

Ha Long Bay is open to visitors all year round, but the best time to visit the place is from March to June. Moreover there are also several travel agencies that help in making your cruise easy. Famous writer Nguyen Trai praised the beauty of Ha Long Bay by calling it “rock wonder in the sky”. The bay is also home to seven endemic species. However with the increasing number of visitors to the bay, its mangroves and sea-grass beds have been cleared for building jetties and wharves for tourist boats. Game fishing near the coral reefs is also posing a great threat to many endangered fish species. Despite all the environmental damage, in 1962, the Vietnam Ministry of Culture designated the Ha Long Bay a ‘Renowned National Landscape Monument’.

Ha Long Bay 4

For the kind information of travellers to Ha Long, there are two popular kinds of cruise itineraries: day cruise and overnight cruise. Day cruises are kept for the short period visitors. The package provides the tourist a short glimpse over the must-sees of Ha Long. Overnight cruises provide a detailed touring of the bay including kayaking and sunset watching with a cocktail party. One also gets to taste some of the unique delicacies of this wonderland. ‘Ngan’ which means one kind of duck is used by the locals in many dishes. Other delicacies include steamed Tu Hai( called snail spout in other places) a specialty of Van Don Island and the Gat Gu cake made from rice flour. It is similar to the steamed rolled rice pancake.

Ha Long Bay was one of the first cradles of human existence in Vietnam. With its thousands of limestone islands that are home to some of the magnificent beauties of nature, Ha Long Bay never fails to surprise its visitors. It needs no second thought to say that Ha Long Bay is indeed one of the most breathtaking natural landmark in Vietnam.