Daily Archives: 26.07.2014

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 8.so 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.