Monthly Archives: July 2014

Secret Getaways: Trang Islands, Thailand

Secret Getaways: Trang Islands, Thailand

Tucked away near the coastal waters of Andaman sea is a picturesque hideout, a huddle of islands belonging to the southern block of Thailand called the Trang Islands. These islands form an archepelago in the sea with a cluster of 46 Islands. The name ‘Trang’ comes from the Malaysian word ‘Terang‘ which means light. The Island used to see a steady stream of trade ships everyday at the first crack of dawn.

Trang Islands is blessed with diverse geographic patterns splayed across diversely in each corner of the landmass. Initially what started as a port area for shipping its largest export rubber, expanded leaving trails for tourists to trudge exploring the various natural creeks Trang has scattered across. The landscape is predominantly limestone cliffs and coasts with a smattering of mountains and reefs. Two major river bisects the country from west to east, the Trang river and Palian river which are blessed with clumps of mangrove trees. Rubber, Coconuts and other costal products are important sources of revenue for Trang.

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The 46 said islands of which 12 are in Amphoe Kantang, 13 in Amphoe Palian and 21 in Amphoe Sikao are all part of mainland Thailand. Trang can be accessed by flights from Bangkok as well as trains. Other popular forms of transport like buses and passenger vans also pick up tourists from nearby cities and towns and brings them to Trang.

Speaking of popular and transport, the Tuk Tuk is found aplenty around this area flying about carrying passengers to and from places. Its a 3 wheeled vehicle and works just like a regular cab with a metered fare. It is comfortable, quiet stay in Trang as it sees a moderate influx of visitors unlike Krabi or Phuket which swarms with crowd everyday of the holiday season. Trang is lesser known and sits further down south, which is ideal for an escape.


The emerald waters of Ko Muk and Tham Morakot facing cliffs that clutch the borders gives way to many sea facing caves. These caves illumine with daylight giving glimpses of the translucent aqua sea, a breathtaking sight indeed. For taking home a myriad of perfect beach photos, visit the Ko Kradan which is claimed to be the most beautiful island in all of Trang. The sand is rich and powdery, gleaming white under the sun and the sea has a crystal face drawing transparent towards the shore revealing schools of colorful fish and coral reefs.


The first thing we associate with Thailand after its beaches is Thai food. It takes no expert to tell that Thai food scores high in a banquet of world cuisines. Trang being in South of Thailand has its influences from Malay, Indonesian and Indian cooking. Some phenonemal recipes that find homage in kitchens of Trang Islands are Massaman curry, rice and vegetables with Voodo sauce, Fried pork and Fish curry sauce. Trang also boasts of a scintillating array of breakfast cuisines including Timsun and Trang cake which is exclusively found only here. Ja Kuai (Deep fried bread) and Pa Tong Ko (Sweet Donut) invariably makes it to the must-try list.


Every year a food festival is conducted in full swing with many eat offs and teeming food stalls in early spring around March-April. August sees the visit of the Trang Cake Festival when cakes are sold and made with a competitive spirit. They are special cakes indigenous to Trang with no frosting and tasty punches of coffee and orange flavors melded into the layers. September is the Fried Pork season in all of Trang and tourists especially love this local delicacy which sets the flavor for the season. 


Forest areas and wildlife cover a sizable portion of the Trang landscape with more than 20 scenic waterfalls and dozens of trekking trails surrounding them. Some of the best spots are Tontok Waterfall (Sakai village), Sairung Waterfall (Nanmuang Khao) and Tontok Waterfall (Bantra Ranger Center. Diving is another obvious option for adrenaline junkies, given the splendid plethora of clear waters and coral reefs. It is an idyllic setting stoved away from the madness of the cities and is perfect for people who wish to take an off beat track across Thailand. The Chaomai National park which is as wide as 20 kilo meters has one the best diving spots in the world. Ko Ma and Ko Ngai also have diving areas with the most picturesque locations.


If adrenaline isn’t your thing, then choose from the many premium golf clubs and spas littered around the expanse of Trang Islands. The town of Kantang with a tiny population of about 13,000 has acres of shrimp farms that can be visited through the year.

Trang Highlights:

i) Under Water-Weddings:

Trang is world famous for playing host to the most outrageous whim of human fantsies. The “Under Water Wedding Ceremony” is a special function held during select days February each year is a source of great excitement to people. Many couples, local and from abroad especially love the idea of marrying under water. Similarly a 12 meter deep scooba wedding is organized for those who want to marry in the open ocean.

ii) Music & Night life 

Music is the chord that strikes heartstrings of tourists. Trang has a vibrant music scene with sprawling night clubs and discos. There are also eateries and other joints where live music is played. The pubs there unlike the ones in the west, are much larger and are open till mornings. There are many dotting even the beaches offering good booze and an even better view!

Li-ke Bok is a type of performance with dancers donning costumes of different shades brandishing instruments like tambourines, cymbals, gongs and pipes to perform an authentic Thai dance performance.  They are usually a three member set who depict various stories and fables that never seem too old fashioned to the curious onlookers and tourists.

The Historic Country of Yemen

The Historic Country of Yemen

Full of breath taking sights, extraordinary wildlife, rich historical character and the distinctly unique cuisine is what makes Yemen one of the most unique travel destination. Its many cities and towns provide tourists with a highly exciting and adventurous trip. Nowhere else on the planet will you find the natural beauty that Yemen is blessed to possess. You can drive through the mountains and cities and see the wonderful historical sights left behind by the Sumerians and ancient Egyptians and at the same time enjoy the deliciously unique cuisine that Yemen has to offer. The highlight of its cuisine is a lovely local dish called ‘Salta’ which is a mouth-watering meat-based stew spiced with fenugreek and is generally served at the end of the main course. Tourists can also find some interesting souvenirs to bring back home in the form of the curved dagger that Yemeni men wear around their necks, and you can also buy some exotic necklaces and jewellery for a cheap price. Located on the southern tip of Saudi Arabia, Yemen can be accessed by air or by sea with ease. An important fact to remember is that knowing a little bit of Arabic can come in handy as not all the locals may be able to converse in English.


The City of Sana’a

Though it is the capital city of Yemen, its laid back atmosphere and ancient landmarks give it a richness that no other capital city can boast of having. This mystical city comes alive with its many winding streets and its pretty houses lined up together. Sana’a is also one of the oldest continuously occupied cities of the world and boasts of having many World Heritage sites in its possession. A wonderful place  to visit would be the Bab al-Yemen which is the Old City protected by its ancient walls. The National Museum located in a former palace educates the tourists about the rich and splendid history and culture of Yemen with its many popular exhibits. For nature lovers, the Wadi Dhahr which is a valley near Sana’a boasts of magnificent green fields, tiny villages, and the face Rock Palace of an Imam of Yemen. One of the oldest mosques in the world called the Great Mosque of Sana’a should most definitely be visited by tourists.


The Socotra Island

Off the south coast of Yemen lies this majestic piece of land, the largest of the Sheba Lands but forgotten by time itself. This lovely island is inhabited by native people who have their own distinct culture, language and occupations. The Socotra Island offers such flabbergasting scenery that it is often called as the most alien looking island on Earth. This makes it insanely precious for its mountains contain three hundred unique species of trees that are endemic only to the Socotra Island. Hence this place is something one should most definitely see at least once in their lifetime.


The City of Kawkaban

This ancient fortress city with its imposingly high and elegant buildings is one of the best places to visit in Yemen. It possesses artifacts of the Himyar Civilization from over two thousand years ago and also gives an excellent view from its location on top of a high mountain. The old gate, the old market, the old mosques, they all add to this wonderful feel of the town. Along with its breath-taking view, it also attracts tourists with its exotic and delicious good quality traditional food and its traditional drink the “Qahwa Qisher” which is a sort of local coffee. One can also enjoy the sites of the city by simply walking around and enjoying the sun, the music and the scenery


The City of Ta’izz

With its dramatic setting at the foothills of the tall Sabir Mountains, Ta’izz is also one of the safest and most metropolitan city of Yemen. Despite this metropolitan atmosphere, the people are said to be extremely relaxed and laid back. Ta’izz offers many good places to visit such as the National Museum where one can learn more about the culture and history of this region. The Al-Qahira Castle sitting elegantly atop the mountain is also an excellent place to visit! A quaint 6th century Turkish mosque was recently restored and is now visited by a large number of tourists every year. Another impressive and historic feature of this town is Bab al-Kabir, an incredible gateway to the souqs of Taiz’s old town.


The City of Shibam

This unique city features the world’s first and oldest mud-built high rise apartment buildings. This is one of the main reasons why Shibam is constituted as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The mud built high rises were built in the middle ages maingly to protect its people from the Bedouin raids. It’s fascinating and unique “skyline” has led to it being recognized as the “Manhattan of the Desert.” Dating back to 2nd Century AD this ancient wonder is something tourists must see with their own eyes. The stores in the city sell some very interesting souvenirs not found anywhere else in Yemen such as antique window frames and furniture. Also, the infamous wooden Shibam locks and keys can be bought right here in this exquisite mud town.

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park


The word “lake” comes from the middle English.There is no particular definition to define the lake but once hydrology book proposes to define it as a body of water with the following five characteristics.It partially or totally fills one or several basins connected by straits.It has essentially the same water level in all parts.It does not have regular intrusion of sea water.A considerable portion of the sediment suspended in the water is captured by the basins.The area measured at the mean water level exceeds an arbitrary chosen threshold.A lake is a body of relatively sill liquid of considerable size,localized in a basin,i.e.,.surround by a land part from a river or outlet that serves to feed or drain the lakes.Lakes lie on land and are not part of the ocean,and therefore are distinct from lagoons and are also larger and deeper than ponds.

The only reason why we are talking about lakes is to just describe about the most beautiful lake crater lake.The lake has inspired people for thousands of years.It is one of the country’s crown jewels.No place on Earth combines a deep blue in color;with two picturesque islands and the lake is surrounded by cliffs.But this beautiful place had a violent volcanic past.This lake is a United States National park located in Southern Oregon.Establish in 1902.It is the fifth oldest national park in the United States and the only one in the state of Oregon.

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Crater lake is in Western United States,located in South-central Oregon.It is the Caldera lake.It serves as the main and important feature of the Crater Lake National park.This is famous for its deep blue color and water clarity.This lake is also known for the “old man of the lake”.In June 1853,John Wesley Hill-man became the first non-native American explorer to report sighting the lake he named the “Deep Blue Lake”.The lake was renamed at least three times as Blue Lake,Lake Majesty,and finally Crater Lake.

The lake is 5 by 6 miles i.e.,.8 by 9.7 kilometers across,with a Caldera rim ranging in elevation from 7,000 to 8,000 feet i.e.,.2,100 to 2,400 meters and an average lake depth of 1,949 feet i.e.,. 594 meters.It fluctuates slightly as the weather changes.On the basis of the maximum depth,Crater lake is the deepest lake in the U.S.,the 2nd largest in North America,9th deepest in the World.

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This beautiful lake has a violent history.The Crater lake was formed from the collapse of Mount Mazoma,a volcano in Southern Oregon that once stood about 11,000 feet tall.Many destructive eruptions has occurred around 5000 B.C.This caused mountains peak to collapse in to its lava chamber which resulted in a Caldera nearly six miles wide.Over time,snow melt and rain collected in the crater to form the lake,which at 1,949 feet deep,is presently the deepest in the U.S.A.

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As this site is located in Oregon,snow is relatively low here.But the place is surrounded by hills so it is common to have on top of the hills.Winter ,which typically begins at the park in September and runs through June,includes an average of 98 days with a measurable snowfall.Up to 37 inches i.e.,.94 centimeters of snow have fallen on the park in a single day in the year 1937,1951 and 1971,313 inches i.e.,.800 centimeters  in a month and 903 inches i.e.,.2,290 centimeters in a year 1950.

Crater lake has a Subalpine climate which means situated on the higher slopes of mountains just below the treeline.The strong summer influence of the North Pacific high.In the summer, the weather is mild and dry,but in the winter is cold and powerful influence of the Alentian low allows for enormous snowfalls averaging 488 inches i.e.,.12.4 meters per year.The snow does not usually melt until mid July,and allows for substantial glaciers on adjacent mountains.

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To get in to the park from the west(med ford,about 85 miles away)or the South (klamath falls,about 65 miles away) on Oreg.62,or from the North on Oreg.138.Airports;Med ford and klamath falls.

Fees to enter in to the park is US $10.00.National Park passes and Golden Passports are accepted.We need to keep in mind about the water quality there.Due to many factors,mainly that the lake has no inlets or tributaries the waters of Crater lake are some of the purest because of absence of pollutants.The lake has relatively high levels of dissolved salts,total alkalinity and conductivity.The average pH has generally ranged between 7 and it is advised to bring your own water with you while hiking the trails.There are many ways to accommodate near this National Park and with  in this National Park.But advance bookings should be done.The park is open in all days.

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Burano: The Technicolor Town of Italy

Burano: The Technicolor Town of Italy

Burano is the gem of Italy. It is a small island located in the Venetian Lagoon, north of Italy and is very much similar to Venice. Accurately, it is an archipelago of 4 islands which are connected with each other by bridges. Inhabitants of Burano are less than three thousand and speak Italian. Actually, there were five islands in the beginning and a canal which was later filled and came to be known as ‘via e piazza Baldassare Galuppi. It joined the two former island named San Martino Sinistra and San Martino Destra. At the northern end if Venetian Lagoon, near the Torcello, the islands of Burano are much popular in the world for the uniquely bright and colored houses. In history, the island is said to be settled by the ancient Romans, later occupied by Altino in the 6th century. The island got its recognition in the 16th century which the time period when the local women of the island started making laces using needles.

Reach Burano:


If you prefer travelling by air, you can reach here at the Marco Polo international airport. This airport is connected to Venice as well as Murano by public transport like water taxis. If you like trains, the nearest railway station is in Cannaregio, Piazzale Rome named as the Venezia S. Lucia Railway Station. From the station, you can take buses or another public transport services. From the railway station, you will reach to Fondamente Nove or to Murano in less than half an hour. From there, reaching to Burano will take 45 minutes at least. If you are travelling by a car, simply reach Torcello, Murano, Burano or Fondamente Nove. Basically, once you reach Venice, you will get a LN line vaporetti to Fondamente Nouve which is the northern section of the town. From Jesolo and all other beaches on the Adriatic northern coast you can jump in the LN line vaporetti coming from Tre Porti or Putna Sabbioni. Taking a left from the park will take you directly in the village, once you get off.

Colorful Houses:


The most famous and attractive part about Burano are the small, colorfully painted houses. The specific system of the colors of the houses is the one originated during the golden age of the development period of Burano. There was a policy that said if a person would want to paint his house, he/she would request the government. The government would then respond with a list of the colors that can be used to paint that particular house. The original houses of Burano were made of wood, later plastered by mud and then replaced with homes built with bricks. The government only allowed bright colors for the houses which make the city look lively. A story says that the reason why they painted the houses was to distinguish them in the early morning fog.

Museums and Laces of Burano:


Museum del Merletto is the most famous attraction of Burano which is located near the Palace of Podesta or Torcello, which is another attraction and was formerly used as the seat of Burano Lace School. Here, you can see a lot of historic and artistic laces of Venetian origin. The setting and display of the laces is done in a picturesque manner in the bright colors of the island. The exhibition is also supported by certain videos and some vintage precious items. This museum is also known as Merletti d’ Arte dalla Lidia. The Martina Lace, now changed to Martina Vidal, is a very unique and world renowned lace atelier and showcases the amazing hand-work and production of laces. Many artists and painters gather here and the lace making tradition is inherited from mothers to their daughters.



Since the foundation of the islands of Burano, fishing has been the most common activity there. The marsh land of Burano was never good for farming and thus, fishing was the main activity of the early population. Initially, people used nets and harpoons for fishing. They also used ‘Chebe’ which is similar to a cage inside water kept to trap fishes and crabs naturally. Back in history, they also used fishes as currency and trade for wheat, wine, wood, etc. for many centuries. Thus, fishes have been the major source of income of the fishermen of Burano. These practices of fishing are still continuing on the island. Today, you can find about 450 to 5 fishermen who are now a cooperative. The seafood of Burano is very fresh and delicious, regularly sold at Rialto Market. Every restaurant on this island would offer fresh seafood because of this tradition. The variety of fishes includes bisatto, Auguea, orado, sardon, bransin, shellfishes like canocia, gransio, and many more.

Other attractions:


For the shopaholics, Burano has a number of lace shops, Murano Glass shops, Venetian Mask shops, art and antique shops, typical Venetian food shops, etc. There is an Oblique Bell Tower which is a part of the cultural buildings of Burano. You should also visit the Church of Sam Martino which is known by the name – ‘San Martino Vescovo’s Church’. Paintings by artists like Giambattista Tiepolo are also very famous all over the world. Other places to visit are the Museum and School of Lacemaking and Oratorio di Santa Barbara.

Tasiilaq: The Arctic Riviera

Tasiilaq: The Arctic Riviera

Greenland is known for its beautiful and lovely town of Tasiilaq which actually lies on the centre of its east coast. This beautiful town is actually a village accompanied with tall mountains and surrounded by a harbour. A very deep and clean river cuts through the village providing a perfect look to this colourful town. There are many things to explore on hike in this town but the best thing is the majestic Flower Valley. The entire town of Tasiilaq is actually under modern European influence and is a place with strong tradition.

About the Town:


The town was discovered in the year 1894 by the Danish explorers. And by then it was known by the name Ammassalik. The name itselt meant that the place is full of small fishes. Now the locals call it Tasiilaq meaning the one which looks like a like. Tsiilaq became the official name of the city but still the municipality is known by the name Ammassalip Kummunia. This village is very much compact but still people can find post office, hotel, bakery, restaurant, museum, book shop, and even a helicopter station also. Apart from these a hospital and Greenland filatelia is also available. Many people that live in this place work in the service or in administration office and the others are either hunters or fisherman by trade.

Get In to Tasiilaq:


The simplest way to travel to Tasiilaq is to get a flight from Reykjavik, Iceland. Apart from this single flight, there are many other flights available from many major cities that fly to Kulusuk. Kulusuk is not a far place from Tasiilaq. Many people prefer to take a local helicopter from Kulusuk to Tasiilaq. If people don’t want to spend some extra money for their helicopter ride then they can even travel through a boat. They just have to ask a local fisherman to take them on their boat and they can easily travel to Tasiilaq. People are advised to book a package for their trip if they don’t want to take much load. If visitors are on some package deal then the trip advisors will themselves receive them from their hotel or from the airport with a boat of their own. During summers it is preferable to travel in a helicopter but during winters people prefer to reach Tasiilaq by a dogsled or a snowmobile or on skis. After reaching the city, visitors don’t have to spend much on their travelling as the town is small enough to cover all by foot. People should even walk outside the town also to start a new adventure.

Things to See:


Many people like to visit the city during July because the Arctic Team Challenge happens in Tasiilaq every July. It is a five day challenge with teams of four persons; the teams are challenged to do some adventurous things like mountain trekking, icefjord paddling, mountain biking and glacier trekking. As it can be seen from the names of these activities, these are really tough ones so only healthy and strong people are fit to apply for this competition. For those who love to shop some unique and decorative material should visit the Skæven Handicraft Shop which offers very wide range of jewellery, mitts, carvings and even slippers also.

Another popular place in Tasiilaq for art lovers is the Tasiilaq Museum which was built in the year 1908 in the old church. The Tasiilaq Museum has some great collections from the famous culture and history of the East Greenland. The most important collection is the mask collection which is the largest in the entire country. Some wonderful photos, traditional costumes, beadwork, and even some beautiful carvings are also among the collection. People who want to know more about the history and culture and even want to do some research on it can visit the Neriusaaq Bookshop which is a good one in Tasiilaq.


For all the fun and party lovers, a high-fi pub cum disco is also there in Tsiilaq named Klubben. People who visited Tsiilaq in past will surely recommend this place. People call it as the best active spot in Tasiilaq. It is the best for a night out and hangout. People who can manage to get an invitation from a member of this pub cum disco can enter the place for free but make sure that the pub will be closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Time for Some Adventure:


Tsiilaq is very much known as an adventurous place by the people as there are many adventurous activities that people can do on a daily basis. The names of the popular ones are Hiking, Kayaking, Dog Sledding, Snowmobiling, Icebergs, and Skiing.  Tsiilaq provides a perfect landscape for hiking along with boat trips. Many Kayaks in Tsiilaq still use some sorts of hunting tools and because of their livelihood Kayaking is still popular in Tasiilaq. Another sport which is famous among the locals as well as the outsiders is Diving. People can witness the unique fishes and even the icebergs. The area of Tasiilaq is also known for cold fishing and angling.

The city of Tasiilaq has come a long way from being the not so popular place to being a happening and famous place. Now the city among the most beautiful places in the entire world and because of that it has become one of the most visited places in Greenland.

The Colourful, Clarke Quay, Singapore

The Colourful, Clarke Quay, Singapore

Situated upstream from the north, of the Singapore river and Boat quay (another historical quay), Clark Quay is a historical quay in Singapore, resting within the Singapore River Planning Area. A Quay is a structure on the shore of a harbour or on the banks of  a river or canal, where ships may dock to load and unload cargo and passengers.


Clarke Quay was christened thus after the second Governor and the Governor of the straits Settlement, who played a vital role in positioning Singapore as the main port of the Malay states of Perak, Selangor and Sungei Ujong. The road running along the quay is also called Clarke street. Both Clarke street and Clarke quay have been converted into pedestrian malls.

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Exploring the yesteryears…Clarke Quay in the past was a hub of warehouses, where goods from Boat quay, which was a commercial centre during the colonial era, when the Singapore river was the centre of trade, were transported. With the increase in trade, the river started to get polluted and Clarke quay over populated with thousands of ships and boats ready to load and unload. Seeing this the Government decided to relocate the cargo services to a modern facility in Pasir Panjang. The Government then got the river and its surrounding areas forming Clarke quay cleaned. It also planned to renovate the area and build new buildings, while restoring the old ones, as they wanted the historical essence of clarke quay to stay intact.


According to the plans, the arean had to be revamped ttotally and transformed into a mushrooming commercial, residential and entertainment district. Developed and officially opened in 1993, the Clarke Quay Festival village, is the biggest conservation project for the Singapore river, which was later owned and efficiently managed by CapitaLand.

The redesigned and re-developed shophouse facades, street scapes and river front dinning areas of Clarke quay, attract around 2 million visitors every year, which has made it a major tourist and social component of brand Singapore. The quay is installed with sophisticated shading and cooling systems, owing to the hot climate of the region, which reduce the ambience temperature by 4 degrees celcius. The manner in which the place is designed, tremendously enhances the beauty of the river front and streets. The project has been awarded with The Cityscape Architectural (Tourism, Travel and Transport- built) Review, in 2007 and The Cityscape award for the Best Waterfront Development, in 2008. The upgraded Clarke quay houses nightclubs like the Zirca, the Clinic and the Forbidden City by the Indochine Group, the whole development was completed in October 2006. The Clarke quay of today is totally different from the Clarke quay during its conservation and restoration period in 1993.

Today, the five blocks of restored warehouses of Clarke quay , house a number of restraurants and nightclubs. There are even Moored Chinese Junks (junks are ancient Chinese sailing vessels or ship design, still in use today) which have been refurbished into floating restaurants and pubs. The Cannery is one of the anchor tenants of the quay and has taken the Singaporean nightlife to a totally different level at Clarke Quay. Other notable restaurants and nightclubs include Hooters, a trade name for two privately held American restaurant chains: Hooters of America incorporated, based in Atlanta, Georgia, and Hooters Inc. based in Clearwater, Florida, the menu involves burgers, fresh seafood and chicken breasts, and IndoChine, a group of bars, resorts, clubs, villas and restaurants. It is characterized by a mélange of Contemporary Asian lifestyle, authentic cuisines, award winning designs and famed parties.

The Eye catching factors of Clarke Quay..

Another anchor tenant of the quay, the Arena, which is home to Singapore’s First Permanent Illusion show, starring J C Sums and ‘Magic Babe’ Ning. Other attractions of the place include the G-Max reverse Bungee, first in Singapore, is located at the entrance to the quay. Designed in New Zealand, it has been recognized as one of Singapore’s “must do and must see” for all the daring souls in Singapore. Three people can easily sit in an open air capsule, which is then catapulted 60 meters into the air with a speed of 200 km/hr.

River taxis and Boat cruises are accessible from Clarke quay. One of its most popular attractions is its exciting hosts of CQ’s Signature events, happening once in every quarter. Housing happening nightclubs like the Zirca and up untill 2008, the Ministery of Sound, Clarke quay has come to be known as the hub of Singaporean nightclubs.

Clarke quay MRT station, an underground mass rapid transit station on the north east line in Singapore, also lies in the vicinity. A SOHO (small office/home office, a category of business or cottage industry, involving 1 to 10 workers) cum shopping centre, called the Central, opened above the MRT in 2007. Last but not least, G.O.D. Goods Of Desire, a lifestyle design and retail brand company based in Hong Kong, opened a 6000 square foot flagship store in the quay.

Come experience the irridecent colours, finger licking cuisines & rich culture. Get lost in the glitterati of glamour, join the nightlife of Singapore. Come to Clarke Quay !!

Singapore’s Chiming Chinatown

Singapore’s Chiming Chinatown

An ethnic neighbourhood, projecting various Chinese cultural elements and historically concentrated ethnic Chinese population, Singapore’s Chinatown is nestled within the larger district of Outram. Although, the ethnic Chinese group is largest in Singapore and most of them reside in Singapore, it is less of a regency than it  once was.


Chinatown is a name coined by the British and presently its used by the non Chinese Singaporeans, while Chinese Singaporeans refer to their domain as Niu Che Shui. There’s is a lot of historical and cultural significance attached to the district of Chinatown and so a major section of it has been declared, National heritage site, officially designated for Conservation by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Singapore’s chinatown houses several districts such as…

  • Kreta Ayer- literally meaning “water cart” is usually considered as the heart of Singapore’s chinatown, as it houses attractions like the Chinatown Heritage Centre, Chinatown Food Street & chinatown Market and Kreta Ayer Wet Market. Kreta has won the hearts of many and become a popular tourist destination as well as a favoured spot for local food.
  • Telok Ayer- an abode of several Chinese temples and Muslim Mosques, which exist since the first days of Chinatown. Presently housing a number of restaurants and bars on its streets, Telok ayer is known as the original focal point of settlement in Chinatown.
  • Tanjong Pagar- The Pinnacle@Duxton, Singapore’s tallest Housing and Development Board Flat, resides in Tanjong Pagar, which is one of the major attractions of the area. The place is popular for its numerous bridal saloons, set up along the rows of preserved pre World war two shophouses. Also, Tanjong pagar was once a Centre of operations for rickshaw pullers.
  • Bukit Pasoh- Also famous as the ‘ Street of Clans’, Bukit Pasoh is the historic and in many cases, current home of several Chinese culture and clan associates. The place houses several boutique hotels and international restaurants. The Bukit Pasoh road is situated on a hill, which in 1830s marked the western boundary of the colonial town.
  • Ann Siang Hill- the hill crowded with en number of cafes, quirky shops and drinking holes, making it to the top of the hangout lists of the younger generations. The hill is named after a wealthy Hokkien Chinese sawmiller, who acquired the area, as his house and estate in the 1800s.

The birth of the street names…

  • The Mosque Street- was christened thus, after the Jamae Mosque, situated on the south bridge road, end of the street. The mosque is used by the Malay Muslims along with the other Muslim communities. It was built by the Chulia Muslims, from the Corromandel coast of south India, on a site which was earlier a group of ten stables.
  • Pagoda Street- the street takes its name from the Sri Mariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. Built in the Dravidian style, the temple mainly serves the Hindu Singaporeans in the city- state. The street houses a number of coolie quarters and opium smoking joints. The street also, has a history of being the Centre of slave traffic.
  • Sago Street and Sago lane- the two were named after the numerous Sago factories, situated in the area. Sago is a type of starch, which is extracted from the spongy Centre of various tropical palm stems. It is a major staple food for the lowland people of New Guinea. This sago in the factories was used to make flour, that is used to make cakes. Also , dead bodies were transported to the sago lane.
  • Temple Street- refers and takes the visitors to the Sri Mariamman Temple, located at the south bridge road end of the street.
  • Trengganu Street- the name has been borrowed from Trengganu, a present day, Malaysian state. Popularly called ‘the Piccadilly of Chinese Singapore’ in the past, now forms the tourist belt in Singapore’s Chinatown.

A little into history… According to the Raffles Plan of Singapore, the area now called the Chinatown was where the Chinese immigrants tended to take refuge. Now, of course, it is a major tourist attraction, with its numerous restaurants, drinking holes and shops, also the beautiful architecture.

china town 2

The architectural styles employed to build the houses in Singapore’s Chinatown, combine various elements of the Baroque architecture, characterized by dramatic lighting, color & ornamentation and pear shaped domes, and the Victorian architecture, with features such as patterned bricks, decorated roof lines, terraces, bay & sash windows, floor tiles, stained glass, porches etc. The architectural character of many terraces is Italianate in style. There are windows with decorated fanlights. The pilasters and balconies, the plasterwork and colors, are all Mediterranean in flavor. Pastel shades, particularly dominate the color patterns of the houses and buildings. This style of architecture was probably brought in by the early Chinese immigrants, who may have been inspired by the Portuguese architecture in places like Macau.


The Chinatown MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) station is located in the middle of the Pagoda Street. There are several bus routes from the area. The place is surrounded by Clarke Quay station on the north east line, Outram park interchange, serving as an interchange between east west line and north east line and Tanjong Pagar station on the east west line.

Chinatown invites you to join the splendor of ethnic Chinese culture, in the heart of your very own Singapore !!

Christ Of The Abys ,Key Largo, The United States

Christ Of The Abys ,Key Largo, The United States

“The sea hath no king but God alone.” – Dante Gabriel Rossetti, echoes through the waves, the truth submerged deep into the depths of the ocean, in the form of a corporal example, the Christ of Abyss. It was placed in the Mediterranean Sea off San Fruttuoso just amidst the Portofino and Camogli on the Italian Riviera, on 22 August 1954 at approximately 17 meters depth and with a height of 2.5 meters. And, all around the globe, replicas of this masterpiece attracts thousands of worshippers, believers, travelers, artists and intellectuals, both underwater, and in churches and museums.


However, in this article, we are to explore one of the replicas of the Christ of Abyss, instead of the original one, which has more of a religious aura. The Christ of Abyss of Key Largo, Florida, U.S.A is one such destination that not only has it’s didactic essence preserved into the marine depths, but also thrives as a very popular tourist spot, diver’s paradise and even tops the list of crazy-wedding destinations! So if you’ve been a diver or a sea lover all your life and by Fate’s rejoice come to be engaged with one such individual whose sea-tolerance is considerably high, and together you both had been breaking your heads thinking of an apt place to commemorate your auspicious union, what better place than The Christ of Abyss! In the presence of the 8 1/2 foot, 4,000 pound bronze sculpture of Jesus Christ, the bride and bridegroom buoyed in the realms of utmost peace and purity commencing their emotional bond within the ties of marriage-all this seems to have just popped out of a fairytale, isn’t it? But it’s very much possible. All you need to do is to pack your stuffs, tell the wedding manager, invite the guests, order for your wedding diving suits and follow the itinerary of arriving the marine paradise!

Christ Of The Abys (Key Largo, The United States)   tumblr_ml8sh0gI1B1qbx9k3o1_500

As it’s located near the Dry Rocks which is about six miles east–north of the Key Largo Cut, only a 90-minute drive from Miami, would bring you to the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, which is engulfed in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, embracing over 2,900 square nautical miles of coral reefs, mangrove swamps and sea grass beds, on either sides of the Key Island belt, across the waters of Florida Bay, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

And, all the credit for the inception of this exceptional destination goes to the late “Miami Herald” editor John Pennekamp who helped to create the first undersea park in the United States of America, and installed a replication of masterpiece, The Christ of Abyss deep down in the sea. By the State legislature  Key Largo’s John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was established in 1916 with the goal of protecting the miracle, America’s only living coral reefs which now offers its visitors a galore of opportunities to observe the bounteous underwater wildlife composed of the indigenous population of numerous species of fish and varieties of coral. The corals there is an abode for snails, moray eels, crabs, lobsters, sea urchins, chitons(mollusks),worms, sand dollars, sponges, starfishes, barnacles and sea cucumbers.

In this haven of copious marine-life, divers, snorkelers and sea-lovers get the opportunity to rediscover the experience of being in a marine park, in the most literally extravagant way, with its assortment of underwater attractions, such as beaches, nature trails, picnic pavilions, 30,000-gallon aquarium, water activities such as viewing the reef on glass-bottom boats, canoeing, boat rentals, snorkelling and scuba diving, of course, as well as kayaking on the mangrove-hemmed waterways.

But, a park encompassing an area of some 63,845 acres covering uplands and submerged regions, with its 47 campsites, is much of a hectic place to have explored all at once, so the best way is to chalk out a few must do activities, in which plunging into the waters and swimming to the Christ of the Deep or the Christ of Abyss statue donated to the Underwater Society of America in 1961 by industrialist Egidi Cressi, tops!


As too much of facts and history boils the brain, this already mind-boggling journey has to have a plan, and so here it is!

  • If you’re a licensed coral collector, (though it is prohibited here) you are surly to be enthralled by its abundant population down there. While diving in to meet the Christ of the Abyss, you can surely expect to find staghorn, elkhorn of large brain coral formations and four-foot barracuda formations all posing ready to be photographed! So, do dive deep!
  • Well, the park provides various ways to introduce you to the Pennekamp’s residents, and Glass-bottomed Boat is for those who have aqua-phobia, hydrophobia, thalassophobia or simply any kind of phobia associated with water, or for those who are too lazy to dive otherwise. It peregrinates you through the park’s reefs where you can glimpse a huge variety of corals, fishes and other marine residents indigenous to the area. Generally, on a daily basis, three basic tours are offered, scheduled for 9:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Go snorkelling! Of course that’s one thing you simply have to do here, to get the real feel. The park facilitates rentals for all the stuffs you require for your snorkelling venture-fins, snorkel, masks, etc., and you can travel on The Encounter and Dolphin dive boats ,to get to your spot, which does so, again three times daily for 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. It is a 2.5-hour reef trip, where you are basically allowed to spend almost 1.5 hours, in the water, is just a must do!
  • And, then the ultimate, Scuba diving. Here, you are to board a 35-passenger boat, The Reef Adventures which departs daily at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. for two-tank dive trips to two area sites. Again, the rentals and equipments are all arranged by the park along with a complete scuba diving instructor, however, to experience all of this, you are required to be certified divers. The best diving sites in and around the park constitute, the pillar corals of tongue-and-spur Molasses Reef, the massive brain coral heads and, the resident southern sting rays, moray eels and silvery permit at shallow French Reef and the Elbow and Horseshoe among the other Key Largo reefs. Moreover, as there are several other independently owned dive shops that provide similar trips as the park, you of course are not bound to participate in the trips arranged by the park only.
  • But, for all these who aren’t very interested in these underwater adventures, John Pennekamp also offers two amazing manmade beaches, canoe, kayak and boat rentals and nature trails. All facilitated with electrical hook-ups and water, the camp also has 47 campsites. But due to its extreme popularity, if you wish to experience all of it, then you ought to make reservations, at least 11 months prior to your trip date!


The one in which The Christ resides, is a dome shaped reef gulfing the surface at low tide on the landward side and tilting to 25-feet on the seaward side. Originally made by Egidi Cressi, the statue is one of the three, sculpted from the mold by an Italian sculptor Guido Galleti. The original “Il Christo Degli Abissi” or the Christ of Abyss of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy, was the first whose replicated Christ of the Deep, later sculpted in 1961, was donated to the Underwater Society of America, which again donated it to the Florida State Park Service, for their marvelous work in the conservation of the marine biosphere and creation of America’s first underwater park housing such a great population of coral reefs,and marine beings, though miraculously.

The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, sheltering the Christ of Abyss amidst the constellation of indigenous marine species, is but a safe haven for the nature marine wildlife, and is one of the oldest underwater parks, not only in Florida, or even U.S.A, but stands out as a paradigm for the world.


Shifen Waterfall, Taiwan

Shifen Waterfall, Taiwan

Shifen Waterfall,Taiwan


Shifen Waterfall,Taiwan

Shifen Waterfall,Taiwan

Shifen Waterfall is one of the most famous waterfall in Taiwan. Shifenliao is the name of the area around Shifen being called.It is just one of the amazing waterfalls over there.It is also known as the little Niagara of Taiwan which is worth its name  as the flowing of water resembles Niagara Waterfalls.


Shifen Waterfall is a beautiful scenic waterfall located in Pingxi district of Taiwan on upper parts of Keelung river.It is balanced between Dahua and Shifen Stations on the Pingxi Line.It is a waterfall of 15 to 20 m height and with a width of 40 m.The water ferociously slide from the top and reach the pool of water.

Rainbow Pond

Rainbow Pond

The Shifen Waterfall is located near Shifen train station which goes along the Pingxi line from where we can reach the waterfall in 20 minutes.As it is resided in the forest area covered with mountains,it is just an awesome beauty.On sunny days,it picturesques a rainbow which is a great attraction which names the waterfall as ‘Rainbow Pond’.The water flows on one side and the sloping of the rocks is on the other side of the Waterfall.

Amazing beauty of Shifen Waterfalls

Amazing beauty of Shifen Waterfalls


Shifen Waterfall with its curved rocks

Shifen Waterfall with its curved rocks

This is just a peaceful experience to watch to enlighten our moods which are bored by our routines.The Shifen Waterfall is really a worth to watch its natural beauty and its curved rocks but the constant rupture due to rocks through water causes potholes in the water.The trip to the waterfall is free of cost but the entrance to the Theme Park fares a ticket.

The narrow path of walking to the waterfalls

The narrow path of walking to the waterfalls

The walk to the Shifen Waterfall is difficult as it is a narrow path with different vehicles trolling fastly. So, we need to be cautious if we opt for a walk to Shifen Waterfalls as there is no pavement properly constructed  which leads to dangers.

Hiking is another  interesting attraction which is a 15 minute walk to the east of the waterfall with plenty of sign boards across the road which shows the way.

Enjoying the view of waterfalls

Enjoying the view of waterfalls

Also,we can do the trial walking which is also quite famous -Sandiaoling Waterfall Trail  along the path of  train off  in Sandiaoling which nearly takes an approximate time period of 3 to 4 hours including the visit to Shifen Waterfalls.

Shifen is really a place of peace with a slow comfort with its simple living.Also,it is a perfect romantic place for couples.

Shifen Visitor Center

Shifen Visitor Center

Shifen Visitor Center is situated in the Ruifang Special Scenic Area which covers about an area of 56.89 hectares from the upper banks of the Keelung river and surrounding  Shifen.This stunning heaven is perfectly embarked with beautiful mountains,waterfalls and many more which are widely attracted by the visitors.It can be reached by a 15 minute walk from the station which presents free video viewings daily which are reserved by phone and also sky lantern classes which are a percte gorgeous view in nights.It gives both english and chinese brochures which are useful for every other tourist from other countries.

Eyeglass waterfall

Eyeglass waterfall

Also,there is another waterfall nearby Pingxi Line which is named as Eyeglass Waterfall situated near Keelung River.Here due to a lengthy period of erosion,two unusual caves have been formed in the rocks surrounding the waterfall.Due to the perfectly shining water with its two caves,the waterfall got its name as Eyeglass Waterfall.The beauty can be viewed through the Suspension Bridge.The waterfall here is smaller but magnificient.

Shifen Old Street

Shifen Old Street

Another attraction near the Shifen Waterfalls is the Shifen Old Street which is a busiest visitors spot.It provides a unique walking path for the pedestrians.Also,the Old Railroad environment is a perfect one for family stroll or for couples.

Different types of sky lanterns

Different types of sky lanterns

Lighting sky lanterns

Lighting sky lanterns


The sky lanterns are an extra activity present which are released into the railroad area which are used as a symbol for their living and their safety.They lit lanterns in a hope that their unanswered prayers are fulfilled.

Alpina ginger

Alpina ginger

In November,it is a season of Alpina ginger which blossoms white flowers wit dots .The flowers are very fragrant which adds its sweetness and citrusness.

Mining train

Mining train

coal mine museum

coal mine museum

The coal mine and Mining train are worth to visit in  Taiwan which is a unique one which satisfies our eyes with its amazingness.

The calm and amazing beauty of Jiufen village

The calm and amazing beauty of Jiufen village

Jiufen is one of the interesting place to visit. Even though there is no such spectacular places to visit,it is just a comfort to our long trip which soothes us to relax with its peace living place.We can stroll along by having food vendors and craft markets on side of the roads and we can watch the view from the old tea houses and enjoy the best view of the Pacific Ocean.This village is an isolated one until one day gold was discovered and due to it,demand for housing increased and some slave camps has been setup with most inhuman treatment and gradually the gold ran out and the mining activities of gold was closed eventually.

Thus,Shifen Waterfalls is one of the sight seeing place to watch over with many of its attractions to visit and enlighten our lives.

Himeji Castle: Of Wonders and Horror stories

Himeji Castle: Of Wonders and Horror stories

I know a lot of you readers would have at some point wanted to visit a haunted house. But the danger of repurcussions kept you at bay. Well, the good news is there is an entire castle filled with secrets of ghost sightings and a painful backstory to that. It is completely safe to visit all around the year with at least a hundred tourists seen exploring every corner of it. Also it turns out, the world famous horror movie The Ring’s story line originated from this castle. To put cherry on top, lets also bring to light that a castle this mysterious is a World Heritage Center recognized by the United Nations. Strange right? Read on!

A trip to this castle takes about 3 hours from Tokyo through the JR Tokaido rail line and 1 hour from Osaka on the JR Sankyo rail line. Being the face of all ancient castles in Japan, Himeji also tops the list for being the most visited all through the year owing to its infamous history and the artistry it projects. This stately piece of art that we are exploring is located in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. It is considered one of the most resplendent castles within the country for obvious reasons – It is beautiful to behold and is the oldest surviving castle in the land. Being a cultural ambassador of Hyogo, the structure carved entirely out of wood has managed to hold its poised stance since the 17th century. It is reminiscent of the famous Shogun era in its architectural style as it encloses within its folds a staling 83 interlinking buildings.


These are in fact, an ingenious network of defense systems and chambers built to serve the purpose of strengthening the army. The many arched roofs of the castle are layered one above the other which is probably what gives the castle the appearance of a bird soaring in the sky. Both the interior and exterior walls have been covered from the walls to the rafters with white earthen plaster giving it a irremovable sheen. Rightly so, it is called the “White Heron” of Japan standing proud in its soil while its tail extends skyward.

Initially built in the mid 14th century, the castle was torn down by the power of a new kingdom and rebuilt back to its present form in the 1600s. Now the castle, opens gates to many commercial activities like Cherry blossom viewing fair, drum performance, Moon viewing fair, and the most popular one of all – the All Japan Ceramics market which falls right around the peak of the Autumn season. The castle also boasts a prime location with other cultural sites crowding around it making it sit literally the heart of all tourist activities in Hyogo. Don’t miss a visit to the nearby Japanese garden Koko-en which tapers one corner of the castle and the  Ootokoyam Sen-hime Shrine which tapers the other. The Hyogo Prefectural Museum of History is also found a stone’s throw away to quench all the doubts about the historic city.


The most prominent thing about Himeji castle that will catch your eye is the towering structure called Tenshukaku at the center of the complex, which climbs up to a steep 302 feet in the sky. Three smaller subsidiary towers called Kotenshu crowd around it forming a cluster of towers. From a distance, Himeji Castle looks like five layers of stacked white colored lego blocks all neatly stacked like simple geomtry. However it spreads out into six floors and a basement area into a complex system of interior rooms and connecting passages. These passages of the edifice homes facilities like defense hide-outs and kitchen corridors which were  built away at a discreet corner to prevent the enemy forces from pilfering goods and launching into a sudden attack. Although alight with movement of many footsteps, the castle has a quiet, dim aura that radiates mystery to the many standing awestruck by its brilliant plan and maze-like passages.

The castle originally had three moats within its area to store water in case of a fire, but in the years following its completion, one was buried leaving only two for public viewing now. There are 13 wells around the same area measuring as much as 98 feet in depth. Walking through the inner buildings, one can locate the many warehouses which used to store rice, salt and supplies during the feudal era. A whole build called the ‘Salt Turrel’ or the Shiyogura which now lies as a corridor of silent echoes used to store more than 3000 bags of salt when the castle was inhabited by kings.


There are plenty of old rumors and lore wafting past the corridors of this castle. A predominant one is that of the Bancho Sarayashiki. According to this legend, Okiku – one of the servants who worked in the castle was wrongly accused of pilfering family treasures and losing dishes. She was said to have been executed and thrown in the well and her ghost remains to haunt the well at night climbing out to count dishes in a chilling, impassive tone. The well still remains as a historic site, a proof of the crime and history that has seeped into the nation’s past.

This story is what gave rise to the millions-grossing film, The Ring. The story however, did not dwindle the popularity of the castle as a sight seeing spot even a smidgen. It in fact, made it all the more popular as thousands of people wanted to take a look around this imposing castle, which had a twist of a horror legend ingrained within its walls. In the evening, with its mild lighting that casts a hue of blue all over its white walls, the legends seem to crawl out in the open air. But its too late to turn away and run. Because the sheer beauty of Himeji has already has you in its grasp.