Monthly Archives: January 2015

Alluring Places In Islamabad Where Tourists Flock from Around the Globe

Islamabad is a beautiful city in Pakistan widely known for its natural beauty. While the rolling mountains and wildlife make for enchanting distractions, a rich history and cultural heritage does its bit to add that extra zing. Tourists reserving flights to Islamabad may definitely look forward to a lovely eclectic holiday experience. Each year, visitors book flights from around the globe to soak in the peaceful atmosphere and explore the various attractions of Islamabad.

Shah Faisal Masjid

Shah-Faisal-MasjidDiscover the beauty and majesty of the white marbled Shah Faisal Masjid. Located against the backdrop of the picturesque Margalla Hills, this beautiful mosque has been designed by Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay. It was built in the memory of King Faisal. The minarets and overall structure of the Shah Faisal Masjid, along with the mosaics and a spectacular chandelier further add to its grandeur.

Daman-e-Koh

 Daman-e-Koh by Farhan Chawla/ CC BY

Daman-e-Koh by Farhan Chawla/ CC BY

You will get a marvellous view of Islamabad at the scenic Daman-e-Koh, which is located on the Margalla Hills.  Ample of scope for hiking in the verdant forests treat visitors to a rich slice of nature. Peer Sohawa is a popular spot for visitors here, complete with good picnic spots, great eateries, snack bars, and fine restaurants.

Margalla Hills

 Margalla Hills by Kamran HashmiCC BY

Margalla Hills by Kamran HashmiCC BY

Come to Margalla if you are game for some nature walks and serious hiking. In fact, be it walking or driving, and cycling or camping – there is no dearth of activities one may indulge in. Especially, the breath-taking and lush green hillsoffer plenty of opportunities for hiking. The number of walks offered to tourists range from half day to full day itineraries. The bar-be-que and other fare at the popular “The Khokha” restaurant  is yet another irresistible charmer here.

Islamabad Zoo

Islamabad Zoo offers excellent options for wildlife enthusiasts as well as educative recreation for people of all age brackets, especially children. Also known as Marghazar Zoo, the Islamabad Zoo was started in 1978 as a sanctuary for Indian gazelles, spotted deers and leopards found in the region.The zoo houses around 600 different types of animals and is a thrilling place for young people as they witness wildlife from close quarters.

Three Weekend Escapes around Pune, India That Are Worth Your Time and Money!!

There’s no dearth of options when it comes to planning a long weekend escape from Pune, one of the most flourishing commercial hubs near Mumbai, India: all thanks to its ideal location and the excellent roads which lead to numerous stunning destinations. Whether it’s about sunbathing on the beautiful beaches of Gokarna and Tarkali or getting introduced with the spiritual side of Ganpatipule – there is a pool of experiences to take your pick from when and if you need a quick refreshing tour during your work trip to the city.

Gokarna

Gokarna by Jo Kent/ CC BY

Gokarna by Jo Kent/ CC BY

For beach lovers scramming around for flight tickets to Pune, this small, beautiful Karnataka town is a great incentive. The destination is home to India’s most beautiful beaches which make Gokarna a popular hit among global beach combers. Paradise Beach, the southern-most beach of the town is a small, protected bay, brimming with abundant natural beauty. Om Beach is a popular attraction in the town and is an all time favourite with party-lovers. On the either sides of Om Beach lies Kudle Beach and Half-Moon Beach which are quite popular with the vacationers for an array of water activities that include banana boat rides, hiking, and parasailing.

Tarkali

Nestling on the Konkan coast, Tarkali attracts hordes of vacationers from Pune as well as Mumbai during the long weekends. Star attraction of the town is Tarkali beach, which, with its white sands and azure waters, makes for a perfect place to relax and rejuvenate. This long, narrow beach is a prominent stop for adventure seekers who wish to partake in some exciting water activities and experience a fun-filled holiday. The town is also known for its locally-available, fresh seafood which can be best enjoyed through the region’s spicy Malvani cuisine. The 17th century, Sindhudurg Fort is another celebrated attraction of Tarkali which can be easily reached by ferry.

Ganpatipule

Ganpatipule by abhi9736/ CC BY

Ganpatipule by abhi9736/ CC BY

Studded with mangroves and coconut palms, Ganpatipule is a small town in Ratnagiri. The district prides itself with an assortment of spectacular beaches that lie along the Konkan coast. These beaches are no doubt an ideal getaway for beach lovers seeking their own piece of heaven. Ganpatipule is equally popular with spirituality seekers as the town features a very famous Ganesha temple. Further, nature lovers, with a desire to explore the Indian charm, may head towards the famous lighthouse that promises excellent panoramic views.

Canada’s Two Popular Bike Routes to Rejuvenate Senses

The trend of fitness holidays is becoming rather popular with new-age vacationers. Pursuits such as biking are becoming a rage with tourists who venture out to not only explore the world but also to maintain their physical well-being.

Canada, the much celebrated holiday destination of North America, is just the right place to start with, if it is biking tours you have in mind. The country is crammed full of wonderful bike routes, enamouring enthusiasts to no end. Apart from spellbinding vistas, these routes even feature amazing sites along the way. Read on to get introduced to two such popular routes in Canada.

Underground Railroad

Canada’s varied natural landscape makes it a particular hit among cyclists, but there are several man-made routes as well, which further tempt keen cyclists to be here in the country. Developed recently, this lesser known cycling route was developed by The Adventure Cycling Association and crosses over from Mobile and Alabama, to Owen Sound and Ontario. The course has been segregated into five unique segments, which together add up to a total distance of 2,057 miles or 3,310 kilometres. The distinct sites which make the route interesting include museums and old slave markets. This one is definitely for the tyros as the route is often considered a flat terrain.

La Route Verte

La Route Verte by Cycle & Rail/ CC BY

La Route Verte by Cycle & Rail/ CC BY

The newly created Route Verte, also known as the ‘Green Route’, passes through the beautiful province of Quebec in east to west direction. The route runs for more than 2,485 miles or 4,000 kilometres, along cautiously selected rural roads and rights-of-way. Moreover, the entire course features proper signboards, which assure utmost convenience to the bikers, offering them directions to nearby sites. The biggest charm of the route is that the terrain and vista keep on changing after every few kilometres. From mountain views in the Laurentides to calm stretches along the St. Lawrence River, the route has everything to grab the interest of bikers! Surely is it is a nice incentive for adventure tourists who are all set to board flights to the North American country.

Ocho Rios, a Beautiful Town in Jamaica worth Exploring

Jamaica by Tomash Devenishek/ CC       BY

Jamaica by Tomash Devenishek/ CC BY

Ocho Rios is one of those places that can keep you happily occupied throughout your sojourn. With turning calendar pages, Ocho Rios, or ‘Ochee’ as locals call it, has grown in popularity like anything. Gone is the sleepy fishing village that once was only fit for meditation, now it is dotted with luxury hotels, world class condos, sophisticated shopping centres and a lot more that brings this place a deserving title called ‘your next holiday destination’!!

Prime Attractions

A major port of call for cruise ships, Ocho Rios is blessed with abundance of natural beauty as well as modern world charm. Not only the attractions in the town, but the nearby attractions too are not to be missed. One of the must-visit spots here is the Blue Hole, an exquisite, secluded place situated in the hills of Ocho Rios. Unlike many hot spots, it is not commercialized which makes the trip all the more soothing.

Coyaba River Garden and Museum above Shaw Park Gardens is another name that should be in your visit list; the garden is beautiful and refreshing. Travellers also do not miss to visit Prospect Plantation, the estate of the late Sir Harold Mitchell, a famous British author. If you are looking for some fun-in-the-water activities and tours, White River is a place to be. A guided tour can be really worth it if you are first time traveller booking tickets aboard flights to visit Ocho Rios.

Besides these, Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica at Mystic Mountain and Bamboo Beach Club are some other noteworthy tourist spots. Once you have explored the town, do visit Dunns River Falls. It is one of the most photographed places in Jamaica, and there is a reason for it. The place oozes absolute beauty that is sure to leave you bewitched. Ocho Rios is also famous for white river rafting. Rafting lovers can head into the hills at the White River Bridge to enjoy the activity.

Food

For those who are devoted to the indulgence of their taste-buds, Ochee has some really ‘love-at-first-dish’ eating spots to offer them a great culinary experience. Eateries range from classy restaurants to fast food, and snacks places. You can dine by the waterfall at The Ruins, enjoy a lip smacking Jamaican (or Caribbean) dish at Bamboo Blu and relish Italian at Toscanini Restaurant – the options are many.

Surajkund Mela – An Opportunity for Cultural Aficionados to Capitalise On Their Trip to India

suraj-kund3

The much awaited Indian festival, Surajkund Mela 2015 is just around the corner. If you are planning to participate, then quickly look up for tickets with different flights serving the country.

suraj-kund1To be held from 1st – 15th February, 2015, this delightful handicraft and handloom fair is held annually at Surajkund, located on the outskirts of Delhi. Enjoying global popularity, Surajkund Mela is a great celebration of folk theatre and an undying spirit that reflects India’s rich culture. Enthusiastic shopkeepers haggling with bargain hunters, fun-filled activities, numerous cultural events and mouth-watering local cuisines are some of the images that best illustrate the true magnificence of this carnival.

Marvellous Spectacle

The Surajkund Mela showcases some of the nation’s most exceptional and exquisite talent spanning various genres. Just a handful of the treasures here include beautiful accessories, stylish furniture, fine handlooms and handicrafts, ayurvedic herbs and fragrances, local spices and condiments, and magnificent statues and paintings.

suraj-kund4No wonder, the festival offers a perfect glimpse into India’s rich heritage and culture. The fair is definitely much more than a celebration of crafts. For instance, at ‘Natyashala’, the fan shaped open-air-theatre, visitors can enjoy rich folk dances and spellbinding musical evenings held throughout the fortnight.

suraj-kund2The Pottery Stall is also a big hit among visitors as they can personally make their own earthen pots and take home the same as souvenirs. All you need to do here is relax, enjoy and experience the ‘Little Incredible India’.

Gastronomical Experience

Vacationers who happen to choose this time for booking tickets aboard flights arriving in India have another reason to visit the fare. Yes, the food is irresistible and nothing short of a culinary adventure. Celebrated food traditions arrive from all parts of India, which tantalise the taste buds and leave one spoilt for choice. Chinese and fast food also make it to the list. Make sure that you don’t miss the special stall where guests are introduced to the traditional cuisines and offerings of the theme state. Goa is the theme state for ‘29th Surajkund International Crafts Mela 2015’.

Relish India’s Unique Cultural Fervour with ‘Rann Utsav’ in Gujarat

There are already scores of reasons to buy tickets for winter holidays in India – from the snow-white scenery of the Himalayas to unrivalled festivity in Goa; but if you want to experience something truly strange, yet thoroughly delightful during this season, plan attending the famous Rann Utsav (festival) in Gujarat – for basking in amazing cultural extravaganza and for participating in various exhilarating activities.

Underway from the 1st week of December, Rann Festival will go on till 1st week of March and is scheduled to showcase the wonderful arts and crafts of the western Indian province, along with the state’s fascinating natural beauty.

Rann Utsav by Kaushik Patel/ CC     BY

Rann Utsav by Kaushik Patel/ CC BY

What to Expect?

People who spend on flights and holiday deals for partaking in this spectacular annual event will be able to enjoy a wide range of activities and experiences at the white sands of the Rann. They can witness traditional dance performances and displays of exquisite arts and crafts from Gujarat and various other parts of India. Besides, there are several adventure activities, ranging from helicopter joy rides to paragliding and rifle shooting to sumo wrestling, that visitors can enjoy in the Rann Utsav, 2015. A separate ‘Kids Entertainment Zone’ packs in an array of enchantments for little explorers. World-class spa facilities and opportunities to savour delicious Gujarati cuisines are other things that make the experience worth your money spent on travel tickets and other expenses to attend this one of India’s most unique cultural festivals.

Where to Stay?

From luxurious tents to economical bhungas (the rustic mud houses) and a range of hotels and resorts, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to lodging facilities at and around the fairground. However, the luxury tents set up in the semi-arid landscape are the preferred choices for international travellers who wish enjoy modern facilities, along with traditional Gujarati hospitality during their stay. Many resorts in this part of Gujarat have multi-cuisines restaurants, swimming pool and even conference rooms. Book your accommodation online along with flights tickets for the destination to avoid last-minute hassles.

How to Reach?

The nearest airport is in Bhuj (about 260kms) that is well-connected with all major airports in India. From Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, you can book tickets for Bhuj with any of the local carriers including Air India, Spice Jet and Go Air. From Bhuj, catch a bus or hire a taxi to get to the Rann!

Top Beaches in Antigua – Take your Pick

Antigua is great for beaches. But where to start? This is a question that beach lovers who have spent on tickets for flights to Antigua may ask. Here are a handful of the most popular ones.

Beaches of Hawksbill

Not one beach but four – Royal Palm Beach, Sea Grape Beach, Honeymoon Cove and Eden Beach – blessed with natural beauty and uninterrupted serenity charm the visitors of Hawksbill, a resort. Before you start to say, “Ahh, that means I have to stay in the resort to enjoy these beaches”, let us tell you that any visitor, staying in the resort or not, can visit the beaches. These beaches are perfect if you are looking for some quiet time with your partner. Honeymooners love this place. Definitely a lovely place for indulging in flights of fancy!

Dickenson Bay

Dickenson Bay by Michelle Owner of the Squishy/ CC BY

Dickenson Bay by Michelle Owner of the Squishy/ CC BY

A complete contrast to Hawksbill Beaches, Dickenson Bay is loud, packed with options for water sports and more. Situated in northwest Antigua in St. John’s parish, the beach is one of the most sought after attractions in Antigua and draws a large number of holidaymakers. Dickenson Bay offers everything from warm sands to glass bottom boat tour. The crystal clear waters, the balmy sands, and the great atmosphere make this place a premier spot for beach lovers.

Pigeon Point Beach

A mere five minutes drive from English Harbour on the south east coast of Antigua lies the Pigeon Point Beach, a great place for snorkelling aficionados. This family friendly beach is popular among the locals as well as tourists. Dotted by sea-grape and palm trees, Pigeon Point Beach is great for an outing with kids. The calm and shallow waters make it perfect for snorkelling with the little ones. There are many nearby restaurants and hotels that offer good food. In short, if you bought tickets to Antigua, keeping your children in mind, then this is a must visit beach!

Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay by Theodore Scott/ CC BY

Half Moon Bay by Theodore Scott/ CC BY

Half Moon is far away from the rest of everything. But it is worth it. Regardless of whether you are a windsurfer, snorkeler, or just someone who prefers a secluded place to relax and soak in the sun – Half Moon Bay will satiate you for sure. The beach also has a lovely viewpoint, which proves to be a treat to the eyes. One important thing: as the beach is secluded, far away from the rest of the attractions, it is recommended that you visit the place before sunset. Make sure to pack some food, water and all the necessary items if your plan is to spend the whole day.

Chinese New Year – an Integral Part of San Francisco’s Cultural Calendar

If you ever wished to explore the Chinese-influenced culture of the USA, start your excursion from the Californian city, San Francisco! And February is perhaps the best time to immerse into the Chinese splendour in the USA. This is the month when China celebrates its New Year and San Francisco’s Chinese society does the same with great gusto. This is the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside China. Hence, locals as well as tourists also get an opportunity to explore the magnificence of the Bay City clad in colourful Chinese spirit at Chinatown. In 2015, the 19th February will mark the commencement of Chinese New Year. Read on to know about the major highlights of this spectacular annual festivity.

Chinese New Year Parade

Arguably, this is the most prominent highlight of this gala event. Scores of holidaymakers have already booked flights to San Francisco to catch the action of this parade, one of the very few night-time, illuminated parades in the USA. The parade boasts numerous floats, traditional bands, school marching bands and lion dancers. All these performances are highlighted by colourful show of firecrackers. To get the best view of the parade, buy tickets for grandstand seating.

Flower Fair

The New Year celebrations in Chinatown are complemented by numerous fairs and events. One such example is Flower Fair which is held a weekend before the first day of the year as per the Chinese calendar. The fair is peppered with stalls and shops dealing in flowers, traditional plants, fruits and candies. Chinese people flock here in large numbers to buy necessary items for traditional celebrations. Culture vultures boarding flights to visit San Francisco in February must visit this Flower Fair to experience a captivating oriental feel of the USA.

Community Street Fair

This street fair takes place on the weekend that falls just after the Chinese New Parade. Main highlight of the fair is cultural arts of China such as folk dances, puppet shows, fine arts demonstrations and kite and lantern making. Numerous travellers enjoy the extended version of Chinese New Year celebrations during this street fair.

Two Notable Monasteries in India that Depict the Immaculate Grandeur of Buddhism

To explore the serene magnificence of India, the nation’s spiritual sites are perhaps the bets for numerous travellers disembarking flights here. Topping the charts are Buddhist monasteries which are best known for their tranquil aura. Most of these monasteries are located at popular hill stations of India; visit these monasteries to immerse into the spiritual richness amidst captivating, picturesque beauty. Below are the two most popular choices!

Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh

leh-ladakh

lehSituated approximately 20 kilometres south east of Leh, Thiksey Monastery is the largest monastery in central Ladakh and a popular attraction among global tourists. Spreading over an entire hill side, this popular monastery is renowned for its amazing architecture, which displays a spectacular scene of the region’s rich past. Thiksey Monastery is build over 12 floors in hierarchal order and features 10 small temples, an assembly hall, and a giant residence where over 120 monks and nunnery pass their day preaching the teachings of Buddha. The star attraction of this monastery remains a 15-metre statue of the Maitreya Buddha at the Maitreya Temple which enjoys immense popularity among the Buddhist visitors. The monastery even boasts a wide assortment of artefacts including valuable statues, wall paintings, thangkas, stupas and swords.

Pemayangtse Monastery, Sikkim

One of the oldest monasteries in India, Pemayangtse, meaning ‘perfectly sublime lotus’, is a significant religious site of Sikkim and a potent reason why flights’ tickets to the Indian province sell like hot cakes. The entrance of the monastery is fenced in brilliant yellow which contrasts with its dark red walls. Inside the building, visitors can find beautiful paintings in shades of green, blue and yellow which explain the history and culture of the region in a better way. Carvings from as early as the 17th century decorate the walls, portraying the true story of this serene monastery. The monastery features several sacred items and relics which have been collectively relocated from the Karmapa’s seat in Tibet.

Upcoming 2015 Festivals Set to Spread the Musical Vibe in Mexico!!

Music rules the hearts and souls of Mexicans. With dozens of musical performances lighting up the country, global music aficionados are often spoilt for choice and are found scrambling for air tickets aboard flights arriving in the destination. Check out two most exciting music festivals scheduled for Feb-March 2015, and reserve your tickets well in advance to witness the revelry!

Electric Daisy Carnival Mexico, February 28-March 1, 2015

Vive Latino  by Roberto Robles/ CC BY

Vive Latino by Roberto Robles/ CC BY

Visit Mexico in February and experience an unforgettable weekend at the nation’s biggest dance music festival, Electric Daisy Carnival. Explore four wonderful stages of music, anchored by more than 60 international artists who showcase their best to the world. Music lovers making their way to the festival may immerse in the bustling carnival atmosphere of EDC – crammed with exciting rides, glittering fireworks, costumed performers and giant art installations. Local and international performers completely transform this celebration into a festival unlike any other. Tickets for EDC Mexico are on sale and can be easily booked from the official website of the carnival.

Vive Latino, March 13-March 15, 2015

Vive-LatinoAn impressive amalgamation of several rock and alternation music expressions, Vive Latino is a celebrated Latin American music culture festival held annually in the city of Mexico. As the name goes, this two-day carnival basically emphasises on the participation of Latin American musicians, consolidated music groups of mass appeal and emerging bands. The immense popularity of this prestigious event can be easily judged from the fact that more than a hundred thousand merrymakers visit this festival, every year. The stage of Vive Latino is even open to new sounds, mergers, jazz, progressive rock and sonic experiments displayed by artisans from different parts of the world. The festival also holds art shows, graffiti, scenic proposals and artistic expressions to keep the visitors entertained and happy for their decision to book tickets on flights to the region!