Monthly Archives: August 2015

Top Four Reasons to Visit the Andaman Islands after Monsoons

Famous for its sun-kissed beaches, interesting tribal cultures, spell-binding vistas and friendly locals, the Andaman Islands are a pristine haven for holidaymakers. When monsoons hit this part of India, the destination turns all the more magical. However, due to heavy downpours, the sea gets rough and sightseeing becomes inconvenient. To discover the Andamans’ magical charms sans the rain and thick crowds head to the destination right after the monsoons. This is the off peak travel season in the Andamans and you may find attractive discounts on flights, hotels and other holiday deals. Besides, the weather is fabulous after the rains. Isn’t it tempting?

Here are some reasons why this Indian archipelago deserves to be your next holiday destination.

The Pristine Charm of Radhanagar Beach


Radhanagar Beach’s reputation as one of the best beaches in Asia is well known and well deserved. A gorgeous blend of the sun, sand, and the surf here leaves a spell-binding effect on visitors. With almost no tourists around, especially during this time of the month, the beach becomes the perfect spot for peace-loving people and romantic couples.

The Historical Cellular Jail


Cellular Jail, infamous as Kala Pani, was built in 1906. The jail has many small cells, where Indian freedom fighters were held. Now, it is a popular historical attraction. Apart from its unique architecture, the Light and Sound show here intrigues visitors. The show is held in the evenings.

Enjoy Local Culture and Food

There are many tribal communities in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and tourists may interact with some of tribes. The Jawaras, for instance, are known for their friendly behaviour and interesting traditions. Many local agencies organize tours to meet the tribals and learn about their intriguing, age-old customs. The Andamans is also popular for its delicious food, especially the fresh seafood.

Snorkelling at Nail Island

The picturesque Neil Island is just a short ferry ride from Port Blair. Apart from the breathtaking vistas of surrounding beaches and forests, the place is popular for its exotic marine life. Come and explore enchanting coral reefs and abundance of other aqua creatures at the diving sites near Bharatpur Beach. Both novices and experts can dive here.

Top 5 Attractions for Nature Lovers in Argentina

Argentina, the second largest country of South America, is home to many natural attractions. For instance, Aconcagua, the highest peak in the American continent, is located in the Western part of the country. The southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia, is also located near the southern tip of Argentina. The country’s abundant natural resources and amazing landforms attract many adventure seekers and nature lovers, to seek out flights to this beautiful destination every year.

Iguazu Falls


With a height of about 2,700 metres, Iguaçu (Iguazu) Falls is one of the world’s largest and the most extraordinary waterfalls. Situated on the border of Argentina and Brazil, it is magnificently surreal. You will also witness dazzling rainbows forming over the falls here. A train journey through Puerto Iguazú will take you to this beautiful destination.

Monte Fitz Roy

Located in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, Monte Fitz Roy is a mountain with a height of 3,375 metres and lies on the border of Chile and Argentina. The mountain draws many nature photographers and climbers from all over the world. Because of its unique shape, it is known to be one of the toughest and the most technically challenging mountains to climb in the world,. The mountain was first scaled by Lionel Terray and Guido Magnone in 1952.

Valdes Peninsula

Valdes Peninsula is counted amongst the most important nature reserves of the country in terms of geology and fauna. There are many different animals such as elephant seals, sea lions and even penguins (only at certain months of the year) inhabiting the coastline. If you love marine life, you’re in for a treat. From May to December, whales can be found in the waters, between the Patagonian mainland and the Valdes Peninsula.

Perito Moreno Glacier

Situated in the Los Glaciares National Park, the Perito Moreno Glacier is a gigantic glacier. It is counted amongst one of the most significant tourist destinations of the country because of its easy accessibility, size and magnificence. There are trails and viewing platforms which make the visit pleasant and enjoyable. You can alternatively choose to hop on boat tours to view the Moreno Glacier, for a more thrilling experience.

Ibera Wetlands

The Ibera Wetlands, the second-largest wetlands in the world, is a true delight for photographers and nature lovers.  It boasts some of the most varied animal life in Argentina such as capybaras, pampas deer, caimans, howler monkeys, maned wolves, armadillos and different species of birds. You can explore this place on horseback, by boat and on foot.

Bsa Two Spectacular Highlights of the Huascaran National Park, Peru

Huascaran National Park, an epitome of nature’s beauty, is situated on Cordillera Blanca (the world’s highest tropical mountain range).

The park is a nature lover’s paradise due to the magnificent beauty of its snow covered mountains, serene turquoise lagoons, and a wide array of flora and fauna. Furthermore, there are nearly 660 glaciers and about 300 lagoons at the park. If you love hiking and trekking, take your pick from nearly 25 trails and around 125 climbing slopes with different levels of difficulty. In short, besides natural beauty, the Huascaran National Park is also a haven for adventure buffs. Now, let’s take a look at a couple of tourist highlights at the park.

Trek to Laguna 69

This short trek (6.5km one way) leads to Laguna 69, one of the most striking sites in Huascaran National Park. It takes around three and a half hours to hike up to Laguna 69 and nearly two hours to return. Laguna 69 is a picturesque turquoise lake, surrounded by snow covered mountains, jagged rocks, and sparkling waterfalls about 4,600 metres above sea level. The blue, green, and turquoise waters of the lake beautifully mirror the majesty of the surrounding mountains. Here, you can spot a vast variety of flora and fauna. The park is home to wild animals, such as condors, vicunas, deer, puma, Andean fox and viscacha.

Pastoruri Glacier

Pastoruri is a lovely spot for travellers who want to view a glacier up close without too much of trekking or mountain climbing. The parking lot near the Pastoruri Glacier is located at a height of 4,800 metres, and you only need to walk the final bit leading to the glacier. Witnessing the surreal beauty of this majestic glacier at close quarters will leave you stunned for sure! During your trip, stop along the way to see the gigantic and rare Puya Raimondi. This plant is a member of the pineapple family and stretches to a height 12 metres. The Puya Raimondi blooms only once in its 100-year lifetime.

La Tomatina, the Tomato War of Spain

La Tomatina is a tomato fight festival celebrated on the last Wednesday of August every year. It is the highlight of a week-long local festival held in the honour of the the Virgin Mary and the town’s patron saint, San Luis Bertràn.

La Tomatina by Graham McLellan/ CC BY

La Tomatina by Graham McLellan/ CC BY

The festival is held in the town of Bunol near Valencia in Spain. The population of Bunol is nearly 9000 and at the time of Tomatina, almost 40000 to 50000 people have been known to come here from all across the world. But, since 2013 official tickets have been introduced to limit the number of participants to 20,000.

History of La Tomatina

The first Tomatina was held in 1945, but no one seems to know how it all started. Some say it began as a fight amongst some friends, while others claim it all started at an anti-Franco rally. A vegetable stall is the common element of every story! It is said that people pelted each other with tomatoes from this stall. This practice was suppressed by the authorities initially, but in 1959 they eventually got into the spirit of the festival and became a part of it.

Funny Fight at La Tomatina

On the day of the great tomato battle, local shopkeepers thoroughly cover the windows of their shops with plastic sheets and thousands of locals and tourists come out on the streets, and so do trucks loaded with around 125,000 kilos of ripe tomatoes. Between 11am and 1pm, the streets are flooded with squashed tomatoes and tomato juice; footways are splashed with pulp and puree; and the participants are covered in red. Water cannons are fired to signal the start of the great tomato war.  Once the fight begins, it’s with everybody and for everybody; because every person after a few minutes looks the same–covered in squashed tomatoes.

Tomatina Tickets

Until a few years ago people in large numbers were coming from all the parts of the world to participate in the festival. In fact, the numbers started swelling to around 50,000. This caused security concerns as Bunol is a very small place and finally the town council of Bunol limited the number of participants to 20,000 by issuing tickets to the ones wishing to take part in the festival. A ticket costs nearly €10 and can be easily reserved online. Alternatively, you can also book an all inclusive, organised tour package to enjoy the La Tomatina.

Arts Alive International Festival – The Annual Celebration of the Artistic Side of Johannesburg

A fabulous arts scene has always been a key draw among travellers visiting Johannesburg. Every year, this South African metropolis hosts the Arts Alive International Festival to celebrate its rich arts and culture.


The 2015 edition of this annual festival is scheduled from 31st August to 10th September. During these 10 days, you can enjoy music and dance shows, theatre plays and an array of performing arts at various venues across Johannesburg. Let’s check out a few highlights of Arts Alive International Festival 2015.

Jazz on the Lake

This is probably the most popular event of Arts Alive International Festival. Set to commence on 31st August, Jazz on the Lake will feature notable jazz artists such as The Soil, Johnny Clegg, Remna Schwarz and Vidya Shah. You can enjoy soulful jazz performances at the serene Zoo Lake between 11am and 5pm.

Maboneng Township Arts Experience

This event is a national public arts initiative where homes in Maboneng are used as galleries. Numerous artists use these galleries to create graffiti, murals and paintings. The 2-day event will start on 05th September and you can buy tickets online or at the designated tuck shop.

Shared History

Theatre enthusiasts looking for a light comedy can buy tickets for this show which represents an incredible piece of South African-Indian comedy. Jailoshini Naidoo is going to host this show at Joburg Theatre on 04th September at 8pm.

7 Pillars

Created by choreographer and dancer Luyanda Sidiya, 7 pillars is a moving dance piece that represents democracy. Sidiya choreographed this performance to explain the concept of freedom and democracy in a unique way. Wits Theatre is the venue to enjoy this thought-provoking dance on 04th and 05th September.

3 Perfect Couples

Enjoy the funny side of married life at this comedy-drama in which three couples deal with their insecurities, hopes and expectations. Thusong Youth Centre will host this rib-tickling art piece on 06th September. You can buy the tickets on the official website of Arts Alive International Festival.

A Heritage Tour of Panaji, Goa

Panaji, the capital city of Goa, reflects Portuguese colonial influence more than almost any other part of Goa.


Panjim is a beautiful blend of heritage, nature, religion, and night life. This place is full of well preserved heritage sites and is very popular amongst people who love to visit archaeological and historical sites.

To experience the Old Portuguese charm you can head to Fontainhas, a Portuguese district based in the West of the Ourem River. The place is famed for its prominent Portuguese architecture. Tiny overhanging balconies of red, blue, yellow, and green houses across both sides of the narrow cobbled lanes present a colourful spectacle. Sao Tome is another such quarter, located near Fontainhas.

For most tourists, especially history buffs, the Goa State Museum is a must-visit place in Panjim. The museum is divided into 12 galleries that house wonderful historic artefacts. Another highlight is the Secretariat Building, the oldest building in Panjim. Originally built by a Muslim ruler, this building was later modified by the Portuguese into a rest house. This is a classic specimen of Portuguese architectural style. To further satiate you archaeological curiosity, head to the ruins of the Church of St. Augustine.

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Basilica of Bom Jesus is another amazing pilgrimage cum heritage site in Panjim. The elegantly decorated interiors of the church boast the famous portrait of St. Francis Xavier as well as lots of other beautiful paintings. The church has a wonderful art gallery on the top that exhibits the most enchanting relics of Christian art. The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Statue of Abbe Faria, Houses of Goa Museum, Altinho Hill, and Chapel of St. Sebastian are other heritage sites worth visiting in Goa.

Gloucester Schooner Festival – A Lively Sailing Event in Massachusetts, USA

Gloucester Schooner Festival is perhaps the most popular annual maritime and sailing event in the USA. Like every year, this event is all set to rock Gloucester harbour, the oldest seaport in the country, from 04th to 06th September, 2015.

This three-day event offers you an opportunity to admire a variety of schooners or sailing vessels at events such as The Mayor’s Race and the Parade of Sail. Let’s know more about this annual festival that offers a sneak peek into the heritage of Gloucester.

Schooner Festival Concert Cruise

Join this party at Beauport Princess Cruise Ship on 06th September at 7:30 pm. The live concert of Roomful of Blues, a Grammy-nominated band, is the major highlight of the cruise. The cruise ship also features a full bar for guests over the age of 21. Light snacks are also available for purchase. You can buy tickets for the cruise online as well as at the dock.

Boat Parade of Lights

Visit Jones Creek on 05th September, 2015 at 7pm to take a look at the dazzling schooners sail through the waters of the River Annisquam. This fascinating parade culminates at Smith’s Cove area of the Gloucester Harbour. The parade ends with a spectacular show of fireworks over the harbour.

Schooner Festival Fireworks at Beauport

You can enjoy the display of fireworks from the lawn and terrace of Beauport or Sleeper-McCann House, a historic house in Gloucester. Buy tickets to enjoy the display of fireworks from this historic home.

Tickets are also available to view the Parade of Sail, another popular attraction of Gloucester Schooner Festival. In this parade, schooners sail to the Eastern Point Light breakwater, the starting point of the Mayor’s Race. Coffee and breakfast is available at the historic house. Arrive a little early as the breakfast is served on first come, first serve basis.

For both events, carry mosquito spray, chair and an extra layer of clothes.

Top 5 Cultural Attractions in Singapore

Singapore is a hot tourist destination for several reasons. Located in Southeast Asia, it is one of the four financial giants of Asia and has maintained its position as a premium tourist destination for many decades. The country is a cultural melting pot of three major ethnic races, namely Malays, Indians and Chinese. The destination is a unique blend of culture and traditions and yet has almost all the state-of-the-art amenities because of its developed infrastructure. Take a look at five of the top cultural attractions in Singapore.

Thian Hock Keng Temple

Thian Hock Keng Temple is considered to be the oldest and one of the most the respected places in Singapore.

Thian Hock Keng Temple by Pablo Sanchez/ CC BY

Thian Hock Keng Temple by Pablo Sanchez/ CC BY

Located in Telok Ayer Street, Thian Hock Keng was established in 1822 and is divided into two chambers. The main chamber is devoted to the Taoist goddess of the sea, Mazu while the other chamber is dedicated to Kuan Yin, the enlightened Bodhisattva of mercy. In 1973, it was recognized as a national monument and since then this place has become a highly popular tourist attraction.

Niu Che Shui (Chinatown)

Chinatown, also known as Niu Che Shui, is one of the most lively and vibrant neighbourhoods in Singapore. The whole area has a distinctive charm, which makes it one of the most popular destinations in Singapore. The enclave is located in the Outram district. It retains cultural and historical traditions and celebrates some of the most colourful festivals in town. Many culturally rich sections of Chinatown have been declared as national heritage sites by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Mosque Hajjah Fatima

Mosque Hajjah Fatima is one of the largest mosques in Singapore and one of the few mosques in the world to be named after a woman.  Built in 1846, Hajjah Fatima Mosque is surrounded by high rise buildings and is located on the way to the beach. It is a lovely example of medieval architecture in Singapore.

The Sri Mariamman Temple

Sri Mariamman Temple, apart from being very popular, is the oldest Hindu temple of Singapore.

The Sri Mariamman Temple by alantankenghoe/ CC BY

The Sri Mariamman Temple by alantankenghoe/ CC BY

Located in South Bridge Road, near Chinatown; Sri Mariamman Temple is a South Indian temple. Founded in 1827, it is one of the most important national monuments of Singapore and a great place to see the rich art and culture of India.

The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, apart from being a Buddhist temple also serves as museum. Located in the heart of Chinatown, it is an incredible example of the Tang Dynasty architecture (Chinese). Established in 2002, this impressive temple is unlike most of the other temples of Singapore. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is home to some great ancient relics related to Buddhism.

Top Traditional Markets in Dubai

Dubai is rich in art and traditions, and one of the best ways to explore this element is to check out its traditional markets or souks. These souks often seem to bring out the real essence of Dubai’s Arabic culture. The souks are bright, colourful, crowded, and fascinating. A tour of Dubai is incomplete if you come back without a souvenir from one of these markets:

The Gold Souk

Located near Dubai Creek in the Al Ras area of Deira, The Gold Souk of Dubai is among the most famous gold markets in the world.


Explicitly beautiful and eye striking jewellery is available here across numerous modern and traditional designs in 22 and 24 karat gold. Haggling about the price is a tradition here, so bargain as much as you can!

Spice Souk

One of the most popular souks in Dubai is the Spice Souk, located just next to the Gold Souk. This narrow-passage market presents an interesting spectacle of colourful heaps of spices. This market probably has every known spice. Apart from spices you can get a wide variety of tea leaves, dry fruits, rice, nuts, dates, tobacco, and sheesha here.

Naif Souk

Naif Souk situated in the old Deira district of Dubai is amongst the oldest souks of Dubai. It was a market for the full-fledged trade of camels in the past and later on evolved into a well-developed marketplace. Nowadays the souk possesses more than a hundred fully air conditioned shops. The souk is famous for souvenirs such as leather wallets and handbags, watches, ornaments, and fabrics.

Meena Bazaar

Meena Bazaar is like a mini Indian Bazaar. As India plays a vital part in the business cycle of Dubai, this market further adds on to it. It is a hub for buying traditional Indian jewellery, special wedding jewellery, Indian textiles, Indian furniture, and accessories. In this market you will also find two Hindu temples, dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna respectively.

A Look at Top Three Famous Tourist Attractions in Melbourne

Melbourne has a rich history and also holds the distinction of being the second most populous city of Australia and Oceania. Packed with a plethora of attractions, Melbourne attracts countless travellers. From cultural shows and festivals to monuments and museums – Melbourne offers ample delightful distractions for one and all.

Here are just three of the most visited and well known places in Melbourne:

Federation Square

The Federation Square is one of the most prominent landmarks in Melbourne and is extensively used as a meeting place by the locals. It also serves as the venue for around 2000 events every year. With different events, parties, and festivals being held here, it has become a hot favourite amongst locals and tourists alike. The Federation Square is especially popular amongst party animals due to the large number of bars, nightclubs, restaurants and pubs here.

Eureka Tower

Eureka Tower is situated in Southbank. With a height of around 297 metres, it is said to be one of the highest apartment buildings on the planet.


The building is especially famous for the Observation Deck (Eureka Skydeck 88) on its 88th floor. It goes without saying that the views from the Observation Deck are simply exhilarating. Binoculars and viewfinders are provided to visitors. A mind blowing attraction here is ‘The Edge’. It’s a glass cube, which is projected about 10 ft out of the building with visitors inside it. The experience of being virtually suspended midair can’t be put into words.

Yarra River

Yarra River is one of the most iconic elements of Melbourne’s identity. Go on a boat cruise to popular attractions such as Herring Island Park, and the Royal Botanical Gardens.


The river is also famous for colourful events such as Dragon Boat Festivals, rowing regattas, Moomba Festival, and the Melbourne Festival. The banks of the river are dotted with fishing platforms and facilities for picnics and barbecues.