Monthly Archives: December 2015

Experience the Thrill of New Year in Dubai

If you are planning to visit Dubai for your New Year holidays, you’re in for a treat. According to Forbes magazine, Dubai has been ranked as one of the trendiest destinations for New Year’s Eve. The main reason for this is the variety of different things you can do in Dubai to make your New Year celebrations amazing. Have a look at 5 popular ways to celebrate New Year in Dubai.

dubai-new-year

Watch the Spectacular Fireworks

Each year, the New Year celebrations in Dubai outdo the celebrations of the previous years with mesmerising displays of fireworks at the three iconic landmarks, namely Burj Al Arab, The Burj Khalifa and Palm Jumeirah. On New Year’s Eve, these places are packed with revellers who start to arrive as early as 4 PM, so if you want to grab a good vantage point it’s better to arrive early. You can picnic with your family on the viewing points or book a table at any nearby rooftop restaurant to enjoy the fireworks. To enjoy the spectacle without stepping out of your hotel room, watch the fireworks display on television or the Burj Khalifa fireworks display live on YouTube.

Attend one of the dazzling New Year’s Eve parties

Every year, several places in Dubai organise extravagant and lavish New Year’s Eve parties. These parties stand out from the parties hosted elsewhere because of the sheer magnitude and attention to the details. The performances by superstars, dazzling firework displays and the plush treatment its guests make one feel like a VIP. Most of the 5-star hotels organise gala New Year celebrations. Prominent venues are Nasimi Beach, where the oldest New Year party celebrations are held in Dubai, Barasti Bar at the Le Meridien and Sandance beach at the Atlantis to name a few.

New Year’s Eve Dinner Cruise

If you want to experience something unique on New Year, go on a Dhow Dinner Cruise with your partner. The cruise experience includes fine dining and superb views of the skyline of Dubai Creek and a splendid display of fireworks in the skies above. This three-hour event comes with midnight cake, champagne, live entertainment and a multi-course international buffet where you can treat yourself to a lavish dinner with your partner.

Top 3 Winter Activities in Alaska, USA

Many people who have visited Alaska during winters will vouch that it is the best time to go to the destination. Whatever you’re looking for, be it a fun and adventure filled holiday or a leisure trip amidst pristine white snow; Alaska will surpass your expectations.

alaska

You will be delighted to know that it is neither as cold nor as dark as you might have heard before. In fact, Alaska offers some of the most unforgettable winter activities that create an everlasting impression in one’s mind. Have a look at three such activities.

View the Northern Lights

Perhaps the biggest advantage of visiting Alaska during winters is that you can see the Aurora Borealis, also known as Northern Lights. These lights are visible between the months of September and April. One of the most magical natural phenomena on earth, the best time to witness the amazing spectacle is during the cold and clear nights in winter. Brave the cold and go out to experience the surreal Northern Lights, Alaska is famous for. Remember to wear proper winter clothes and carry light snacks for the night expedition.

Check out Dog Mushing

Dog mushing, the official state sport of Alaska has for long been an integral part of life. Dog sleds were used as common vehicles for travelling great distances to visit various rural communities much before Alaska became a state and even before the Europeans arrived here. Teams of dogs are used to pull carts to travel and for hunting purposes by rural people. If you want to experience Dog mushing, head to one of the many dog races that are held throughout the state, during winters. For a more hands-on experience, you can also join sled tours.

Iditarod National Historic Trail

The Iditarod National Historic Trail comprises of an array of different trails across Seward, near Anchorage and Nome, on the Bering Strait. These trails add up to about 3700 kilometres. The trail is said to have been used by prehistoric hunters and later by gold prospectors. Presently the trail is used for the dog race known as Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Predominantly famous as a winter trail, it is also used in part for hiking during summers.

Exciting Things to do in Franschhoek apart from Wine-tasting

Franschhoek, fondly known as South Africa’s gourmet capital is one of the best places in the country when it comes to food and wine.

Franschhoek

Franschhoek by South African Tourism/ CC BY

Connoisseurs from all around the world specifically come here to sample some of the rare and exquisite vintages from the cellars. However, besides wine, Franschhoek has many other claims to fame. After all, one does not go on a long-haul holiday to the destination to merely drink wine. Come, take a sneak peek into some of the other fun-filled things you can do here.

Dropping into a ‘pop-up’ shop

‘Pop-ups’ are temporary makeshift restaurants, shops and bars that are usually set up when a nearby establishment is closed down for renovations. Not much is spent on the interiors or décor but many of these pop-ups have a quirky specialty. For instance, at Bacon pop-up Bar, everything food has bacon in it. Even the brownies have small crispy bits of bacon and the taste is surprisingly good! Most of the people choose these pop-up Bars for excellent food at affordable prices. Pop-up bars are perfect for a light lunch.

Merrymaking at Franschhoek Station Pub and Grill

The Franschhoek Station Pub and Grill, is one of the most popular haunts among the locals. Situated in a bucolic train station made of stone, the pub not just serves excellent beer and meat off the grill, it also looks aesthetically appealing. The Franschhoek Station Pub and Grill is also famous for its traditional country pub fair. If you have toddlers along, they will find the monkey bars and jumping castle outdoors, quite engaging. Weekends are especially gala!

Learning about Cars

If you love cars, especially vintage cars, the Franschhoek Motor Museum is the place for you. In fact, even if you don’t have an opinion about cars, coming here would make you fall in love with the history of the motorcar. You will find interesting information dating back to vintage cars from the early part of the 1900s to the ultra modern sports and racing cars. Situated at L’Ormarins, the Franschhoek Motor Museum showcases about 80 cars from a collection of more than 300 famous cars. You will need to pay a minimal fee for the entry tickets. However, the price is worth every penny!

Tips for Attending Rio Carnival 2015, Brazil

Rio Carnival is the largest street party on earth. Hundreds of thousands of people descend upon Rio de Janeiro to celebrate the festival with songs, dances, parades and overall boisterous merrymaking.

rio

The festival is held 40 days before Easter and one of its main highlights is the Sambadrome Parade. There are many free parties and black tie balls for you to take part in if you are looking for a budget holiday. We have come up with some simple but useful tips for revellers.

Organizing flights, carnival tickets and costumes

As Rio is the world’s largest and most famous street celebration, lots of people from all parts of the will be joining in the fun. We recommend you to book your flights well in advance for two reasons. First, you may not be able to get tickets at the last moment; and second, even if seats are available, the price of those tickets will keep increasing as the date of the carnival gets closer. The next important thing is to check for accommodation options for the duration of your stay in the city.  You can either club your hotel reservations along with your flight bookings or you can choose to do them separately. However, it is important to book in advance as the chances of getting a room might be pretty slim at the last moment.

Precautions

You don’t need to be anxious or afraid about losing valuables and money if you take some precautions. Try to keep your camera out of sight as much as possible. Also keep it in a cheap bag to make it seem like a cheap knockoff. In fact, if possible, buy a cheap knockoff for the occasion. Instead of carrying your backpack on your back, put it in front of you and secure it with your passive arm. It is not advisable to wear expensive jewellery in the carnival, so get some cheap plastic or metal beads. Keep your money in secret pockets or –underwear– if possible, to avoid the chance of losing the money while dancing. Also make sure to withdraw some cash well in advance as the banks are closed during the carnival and the ATMs run out of cash.

Choosing the seats and costumes

It is very important to choose your seats during the carnival as getting a seat with an obstructed view may ruin all the fun.  You can get the best views of the Sambadrome Parade from the ground-level seats, known as cadeiras, the terrace seats, known as arquibancadas and box seats known as camarotes. It’s not mandatory to wear a costume but if you want authentic costumes, you may buy the same from the official website of the carnival. Most of the costumes available can be worn by men as well as women. After you’re all set for the carnival, just hit the streets and samba with the revellers. Some people also tend to exchange head gears or breastplates as a sign of goodwill.

Kuala Lumpur for Adventure Lovers

Kuala Lumpur, apart from being the capital of Malaysia is one of the most exciting and fun-filled cities in South-Asia. The blend of ancient streets and the soaring buildings give the capital city a unique colour and tone. However, if you are looking for some thrill and adventure, you will have to come out of the city.  Here are three of the top adventure sports that you may want to try out during your trip to Kuala Lumpur.

Rock Climbing

If you are a person who likes rock climbing, you are in for a treat. Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur is one of the best places in Malaysia for trying out your climbing skills. The caves are situated about 10 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur.  Batu Caves are outcrops of huge limestone deposits which host eight crags and more than 165 routes.  Most of these routes are easily accessible and are quite easy for beginners. Batu Caves are also famous for being home to the Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Murugan.

Skydiving

If you like to soar across the skies, Malaysia is the perfect place for you. Skydiving courses and opportunities are available in the cities of Taiping, Perak, Johor and Segamat. If you are planning to try out skydiving sessions on your holiday to Kuala Lumpur, make prior arrangements with Kuala Lumpur Skydiving Association, the only Malaysian official skydiving club. The Kuala Lumpur Skydiving Association was started in 1980 and conducts thousands of skydiving sessions for locals and foreigners alike. Beginners are trained on various aspects of skydiving such as jumping, accessing and positioning.

White Water Rafting

Some of the most thrilling rivers of Malaysia are situated on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. These rivers are perfect for those who are seeking adventurous rafting sessions. About one and a half hours’ drive from the capital city, lies Sungai Selangor, categorised as a grade-four river. The rafting session on the river takes about half a day. You will enjoy the beautiful waterfalls, picturesque rainforest as well as the thrill and rush of the rapids. The best part of the journey comes at the end, when the waters turn calmer and anyone can float and relax after a rather exciting excursion.

Three Must-visit Historical and Cultural Attractions in Cebu, Philippines

Cebu is one of the most popular cities and the centre of trade and commerce in Visayas, Philippines. Unlike Manila, Cebu is not so crowded, yet it has all amenities and facilities.

cebu

The destination is full of ancient historical monuments and its culture has largely remained intact over the course of time. If you are planning to catch a flight to this delightful destination, take a look at 3 of the top cultural and historical attractions here.

Fort San Pedro

Fort San Pedro, also known as Fuerza de San Pedro gives you a glimpse into the rich past of Cebu. Built by the Spanish under the command of Miguel López de Legazpi in 1565, the fort stands as a reminder of the Spanish influence in the city. Situated in Plaza Indepedencia, it is the oldest and the smallest fort in the Philippines. By paying a small fee for the entry tickets, you can gain some insight into the way of life under Spanish influence. The fort is triangular and consists of 3 bastions known as San Miguel, San Ignacio de Loyola and La Concepcion.

Basilica del Santo Niño

A few minutes’ walk from the fort will take you to Basilica del Santo Niño also known as Santo Niño Church and Minor Basilica of the Holy Child. Known as the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines, it is said to have been built on the exact spot where the revered image of Santo Niño de Cebu was discovered in 1565 under the command of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.  The Catholic devotees often call the church, the “Mother and Head of all Churches in the Philippines”.

The Taoist Temple

The Taoist Temple, situated in the Beverly Hills Subdivision is built at an elevation of 300 metres above sea level. It is a soaring, vibrant and multi-storeyed monument.

The-Taoist-Temple

Built in 1972 by the Chinese community of Cebu, it is the centre of worship for the followers of Taoism. It’s religious significance, beautiful architecture with vibrant setting and a dragon in the front makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Cebu City. The front entrance of the temple has been modelled on the Great Wall of China. You can make a wish and flip a coin in the wishing well here, read more about Taoism in their library and buy souvenirs for yourself and your loved ones from the souvenir shop located inside.

Get Mesmerised at ZoukOut, 2015 Singapore

ZoukOut, one of the biggest annual music and dance festivals in Asia is attended by people from all over the globe. If you love upbeat music, dance, beaches, and partying, this is the place to be. Renowned DJs from all around the world play mesmerising tracks.

ZoukOut-Singapore

After all, the motto of the event is “One World, One Music, One Tribe, One Dance.” If all this sounds interesting, go ahead and book your tickets for the event and get ready to fly to Singapore. You can also buy tickets in bulk if you are planning to attend the event with your friends.

Location

ZoukOut Festival will commence from 8 PM at Sentosa Island’s Silso Beach on 11th December. The festival will have a wide range of both international and local performances which will run until 5 AM next morning. This makes it the only “sunrise beach festival” in Asia, set up by Zouk Singapore, the best club in Asia and the 7th best in the world. You will get a unique opportunity to watch the sun come up with other attendees, and you will come back again in the evening for another round!

Local and International Performers

ZoukOut presents a number of upcoming as well as established DJs from Singapore and various other parts of Asia. Several of the local DJs attending the event are hot favourites at the best of clubs in Singapore. Some of these performers include Andrew Tang, Above & Beyond, Jeremy Boon, R3HAB, DJ Snake and Skrillex. They have been performing in the festival and are geared up for the event with their best soundtracks. The unique style of Damian Lazarus and groovy electro music by Nicky Romero, Dannic and Nina Kravitz will make the crowd dance to their tunes.

Other attractions

When you are not attending the event, you can get familiar with the beautiful Sentosa Island in a unique way. The festival allows you ample time to experience thrilling rides, attractions and other cultural aspects of the island. Some of the places that you may wander to during the daytime are Fort Siloso, Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom, Underwater World and Dolphin Lagoon and Sentosa 4D AdventureLand to name a few. If you are a film-buff, you may also want to visit the Universal Studios Singapore.

Five Popular Restaurants in Hua Hin, Thailand

Hua Hin has been one of the most stylish and romantic holiday destinations for more than a hundred years. After all, even the members of the Royal Family spent their summer holidays here.

sea-food-thailandWhile Hua Hin has many claims to fame, food remains an intrinsic part of its identity. The chic restaurants provide some of the best dining experiences and most of them specialise in seafood. We recommend 5 popular restaurants to taste some of the most unique flavours in town.

You Yen Hua Hin Balcony

Nestled amidst landscaped gardens offering stunning views of the sea, You Yen Hua Hin Balcony will take you back in time.  Set in a renovated traditional wooden Thai house of the 1920s, this beachfront restaurant boasts an amazing al fresco dining space. The restaurant specialises in local Thai dishes and a combination of various snacks, including Thai salads and the spicy tom yam.

Saeng Thai Seafood

Saeng Thai Seafood, located at a short drive from the fishing pier, offers stunning views of the ocean and has an open-air style of architecture. This pocket friendly place is highly popular among visitors who don’t have much to splurge on after paying for their hotel bookings, flight tickets and other travel expenses. The interior of the restaurant is simple yet pleasant. The menu is extensive and features seafood and lots of other delectable dishes.

Let’s Sea Pub & Restaurant

Let’s Sea Pub and Restaurant, part of a fabulous al fresco resort by the same name, offers its customers a beautiful ambiance along with a vast choice of food, which combines international flavours with the contemporary Thai cuisine. A specialty dish here is sautéed big clams with white wine sauce, lobster gratin and soft shell crab som tam. The Breeze Bar offers a wide array of alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic beverages.

Orchids

Situated near the Hilton Hua Him on the beach stretch, Orchids specialises in the fusion of French and Thai cuisines. With an assorted selection of grilled meat, seafood, steak and more from the food menu and a wide collection of wines, beers, cocktails, and other alcoholic beverages, Orchids endears itself to one and all. Food is prepared with utmost attention to quality and fresh ingredients from organic produce are used. The interiors include traditional Thai art decorations on the walls and stained glass windows.

Jim Daeng

This fabulous place is situated on the Pranburi intersection. The eatery specialises in seafood and traditional Thai dishes made from local organic and natural ingredients. Jim Daeng is especially popular for the full-bodied flavour of the sauces that are prepared and seasoned with local spices and herbs. Some of their most celebrated dishes are grilled tiger prawns, deep-friend fish cake, and stir-fried clams with thick chilli sauce and fish som tam.

Top 3 Tourist Attractions in and around Sialkot, Pakistan

Sialkot is one of the popular cities, located in the Punjab province of Pakistan. It is known as the “football production capital of the world”, exporting around 30 million footballs annually.

Pakistan

Sialkot is connected to all the major cities in Pakistan, by road, trains and flights. It takes just two hours to reach the city from Lahore and four hours from Islamabad. Although it is known for its trade and commerce, it has a rich historical and cultural significance too. Have a look at three popular attractions in Sialkot.

Iqbal Manzil

Iqbal Manzil lies in the heart of the historic city and is one of the most popular attractions of Sialkot. It is the birthplace of the renowned poet Sir Muhammad Iqbal, also known as Allama Iqbal and is revered in many countries including Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He is also known as the national poet of Pakistan. Iqbal Manzil was the family residence of Iqbal and was purchased by Iqbal’s Grandfather, Mohammad Rafique. Many international as well as local tourists come to Sialkot just to visit the residence of the famous poet. The residence was renovated and converted into a museum-cum-library in 1977 and ever since, it has been a part of the national heritage.

Tomb of Imam Ali-ul-Haq

Imam Ali-ul-Haq, also known as Imam Sahib lived during the times of Feroz Shah Tughlaq, in the 13th Century CE. He was one of the most influential figures in spreading Islam in Sialkot. He is known as a martyr who sacrificed his life fighting against the Rajah of Sialkot and his shrine is located at the place where he attained martyrdom. The mausoleum comprises of narrow corridors which leads to the shrines. It has a beautiful courtyard where you can sit and reflect. There is a bustling market outside.

Marala Headworks

The Marala Headworks is located on the Chenab River, near Sialkot. This colossal hydro-engineering project is considered to be a great place for family picnics and outings. It is also popular as a fishing and angling spot. Countless people come here to relax, enjoy the surroundings, and indulge in outdoor activities. During winter, it becomes a home for various bird species such as Common Cranes, Mallards, Greylag Geese, Pallas Gull’s, Eurasian Bitterns, and many others, which make it a bird-watching haven.

Top January 2016 Events in Portland, Oregon USA

If you are catching a Portland-borne flight this January and want to experience something new and refreshing, have a look at the three fascinating events that might keep you entertained.

Portland

With a number of various different activities and events scheduled to be held in and around Portland, your visit is sure to be worthwhile.

ZooLights

Holidays are incomplete in Portland without visiting ZooLights, the annual winter festival of Oregon Zoo. The festival features more than a million lights displayed in dazzling patterns illuminating the whole zoo. Zoolights will be held from the 27th of November 2015 till 2nd January, 2016. If you are in Portland, you can visit the zoo early and see how the ambiance transforms. One needs to buy tickets to enter the zoo. It’s a good place to head to with kids as there are lots of exciting treats to look forward to such as hot cocoa, elephant ears, gourmet sandwiches and the special “light-up” cotton candy.

ChocolateFest

Whether it is the Valentine’s Day, Halloween or Christmas; chocolates are an inseparable part of festivities. The people of Portland love chocolates so much that they celebrate it with an annual festival called ChocolateFest. The Oregon Convention Center is the venue. Chocolate tastings, fun activities and overall fun and frolic continue for three days. More than 60 vendors bring unique and delicious concoctions. ChocolateFest is organized by the World Forestry Center as a fundraiser and includes adult-only premiere parties and presentations. If you’re a hardcore chocolate lover, make sure you visit the Oregon Convention Center from 22nd January, 2015 to 24th January, 2016.

Curious Gallery 2016

Before the public museums came into fashion, private collectors from Europe and other places came together to showcase their collections to inspire and educate people. Similarly Lupa, an avid collector as well as renowned author and artist also wanted to enlighten people about the functions of wunderkammern or wonder cabinets, also known as the cabinets of curiosity. Well, this finally became the Curious Gallery. It features exhibits, presentations, and special workshops for people who like taxidermy and have an overall love for art and nature. If you are an art enthusiast, head over to the Crown plaza on the 9th and the 10th of January.