Malaysia is a fabulous holiday destination and among the most famous ones in Southeast Asia. The country is best known for its spectacular amalgamation of cultural splendour and modern marvels as well as its natural exquisiteness. Needless to say, a large number of travellers visit this beautiful country every year and hope to explore the myriad treasures owned by it. But before actually going ahead with your plans to discover the Malaysian charms, you are advised to learn as much as possible about this splendid nation which interestingly straddles both the Asian mainland and the Malay Archipelago. Malaysia is among the busiest holiday destinations in Asia. Kuala Lumpur International Airport is the country’s leading airport, in terms of passenger and flight traffic, with most of the flights originating from UK for Malaysia landing here. Kota Kinabalu International Airport, Penang International Airport and Langkawi International Airport are three other airports that witness steady stream of international tourists. Malaysia’s flag carrier, Malaysia Airlines remains the most preferred carrier for flying into the country from various parts of the globe. The full-service carrier has regular, non-stop services from London Heathrow. When it comes to top selling tourist destinations in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur sits proudly at the top welcoming holiday makers from all corners of the globe. Penang, Langkawi, Malacca and Malaysian Borneo are other popular places in Malaysia that tourists love to visit. When it comes to specific tourist sites that are the most visited, names such as [sg_popup id="35"]Petronas Twin Towers[/sg_popup], [sg_popup id="49"]Cameron Highlands[/sg_popup], [sg_popup id="46"]Batu Caves[/sg_popup] and [sg_popup id="39"]Georgetown[/sg_popup] come to the mind. [sg_popup id="45"]Mulu Caves[/sg_popup], [sg_popup id="36"]Perhentian Islands[/sg_popup], Pulau Tioman, [sg_popup id="47"]Mount Kinabalu[/sg_popup], [sg_popup id="43"]Taman Negara[/sg_popup], and [sg_popup id="48"]Sepilok Rehabilition Centre[/sg_popup] are some of the other attractions in the country that enjoy excellent tourist footfall. Of course, sightseeing is not much of a pleasure if weather conditions outside are not so favourable! Most experts agree that Malaysia is best visited in the period of May to September, when the temperatures are lower and the overall climatic conditions are pleasant. It usually rains a lot around October-November and not many tourists are inspired to travel during this period. For some travellers, especially the ones who are intrigued by foreign cultures, local festivals play an important role in determining the time of travel. The country celebrates many festivals throughout the year. Ramadan, Hari Merdeka, Malaysia Day, Chinese New Year and Deepavali are some of them. Surely, all this travelling and sightseeing is going to make you tired and hungry. Recharge you batteries by having some of Malaysia’s most loved culinary delights. Ikan Bakar, Nasi Lemak, Marmite Chicken and Sateh are few of the toothsome delicacies that certainly must be tried out by foreigners visiting Malaysia. Last but not the least, tourists visiting Malaysia must pay heed to certain tips and guidelines to have a safe and healthy holiday. Avoid tap water in the country and stick to mineral water bottles that are available easily and are pretty cheap. Apply a strong sunscreen while roaming around in the sun and consume lots of fluids to keep yourself hydrated. Malaysia treats drug related offences very severely. It can even lead to death penalties.
Mendoza Wine Country is a terrific place for wine connoisseurs. There are a number of unique and fine-quality wineries in the region that draw wine enthusiasts from across the globe.
While wine might be the highlight of a holiday experience here, a number of other aspects such as history, architecture, art, and an overall beautiful ambiance do their fine bit to ensure a wholesome experience.
Roberto de la Mota, one of the most experienced and respected winemaker of Argentina, is the star of this winery. The amazing vineyards smack of careful selection and the finest attention to details. The 100-year old winery is run by an Argentine family, whose sole aim is to produce the best, superior-quality wine. Anabelle Sielecki, the owner meticulously looked for the best wine-maker in the country and finally chose Roberto de la Mota.
Ruca Malen, established in 1999, is a fairly new and innovative winery on the stunning foothills of the Andes Mountains at Mendoza, in Argentina. It was formed as collaboration between Jacques Louis de Montalembert who was born in Burgundy and Jean-Pierre Thibaud, the previous Bodegas Chandon-Argentina CEO. Both of them shared the dream of producing the finest quality wines in Argentina. Sample some of the best wines from the cellar while sitting in the patio of the winery and enjoy stunning and encompassing views of the mountains and vineyards. We also recommend you to go for the 5-course lunch along with wine-tasting.
Domaine St. Diego
Domaine St. Diego is a small garage winery on the country road, situated next to an old church. The winery is perfect for people who like quaint rustic places. The proprietor and winemaker of this winery is associated with Mendocino terroir. Conserving and carrying forward his passion, the winery has changed and revived the ingenuity of viticulture, all around the area. Sample their handcrafted wine along with walnuts, almonds, and homemade breads.
Cozumel, situated in the Caribbean Sea, next to the Yucatan Peninsula, has consistently been rated as one of the world’s best dive sites. One of the main reasons is the diligent conservation effort carried out on the reefs.
This also includes the conservation of 85% of dive sites in the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park by the Mexican government. If you are a water sports enthusiast, we recommend, you book your flight tickets for this amazing diving paradise; home to beautiful coral reefs and a superb marine population, including various species of multi-coloured fish, nurse sharks, sea turtles and seahorses, to name a few. Have a look at our pick from the top diving sites in Cozumel.
The paradise reef in fact, consists of 3 different reefs. The maximum depth is forty-five feet. This makes it one of the most appealing diving sites for new divers who want to learn scuba diving. You will see a whole world inside the clear waters and might encounter fascinating marine creatures such as toadfish, moray eels, octopuses, balloon-shaped corals, yellowtails, angelfish, crabs and lobsters, among other creatures. Paradise Reef is popular as a night diving site which makes the whole experience dreamlike. If you have never tried it before, we recommend, this is the best place to experience your first night dive. A dive master would guide you to some of the best coves and nooks and also keep you safe.
Aerolito de Paraiso
Aerolito de Paraiso or Paradise Crater is one of Cueva Aerolito system’s three cenotes. It is situated about 5 minutes south of Cozumel and is home to a number of exotic and indigenous marine life including lobsters, sea stars and juvenile barracuda. The entrance is through the emerald green lagoon and passageways. So, both cave explorers and open-water divers will have a lot to explore.
If you are looking for something different, the Barge Wreck situated in front of the Vista Del Mar Hotel promises a new and unique adventure. The only challenge is that the level may shift from intermediate to advanced due to strong currents that are frequent from the month of November to April. The barge had sunk in 1976 and now looks like a large monolithic sea creature. You will find a large variety of sea creatures including various varieties of grouper. Taking a dive here is brilliant both during the daytime as well as the nights. Remember to carry an underwater camera to click some of the most superb photos.
Waterfalls are an integral part of the dazzling natural scenery of New Zealand. Some of these are named among the most stunning waterfalls in the world. There are numerous tours that take you through the lush surroundings of the Kiwi nation while featuring a pit stop some such splendid waterfall.
You can step under a waterfall or hike up the mountain to enjoy the views from the top. Moreover, you can be a part of various activities at the waterfalls. Read on to know about some of the most popular waterfalls in New Zealand.
Often named as the most spectacular waterfall in New Zealand, Sutherland Falls are located near Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park. Take a walk along the Milford Track to reach this gorgeous three-tiered waterfall which features a vertical 580 metre long fall. Hiking, trekking, and kayaking are a few popular activities you can enjoy here. Helicopter rides over Sutherland Falls are sure to add a unique experience to your trip to this part of South Island.
Rolling down a height of 11 metres, Huka Falls drop around 220,000 litres of water per second. You can admire the beauty of the falls from walking tracks that are located along the Waikato River. One of the most eminent highlight near the falls is Huka Falls Spa Park Walk, which takes you above the falls. While walking here, you would come across Taupo Bungy site and a natural hot stream. Consider adding Huka Falls River Cruise to your itinerary to admire the falls from a different perspective.
Devils Punchbowl Falls
Another popular waterfall in South Island, Devils Punchbowl Falls is a significant feature of Arthur’s Pass National Park. If you are on a family trip to Southern Alps, this waterfall must be there on your travel plan. You can enjoy a walk to the waterfall from Arthur’s Pass village on a family-friendly track and enjoy sweeping views of Bealey River and other parts of the national park from footbridges located over the river.
Snowbombing 2016 is going to be held in the beautiful alpine setting of Mayrhofen, Austria from 4th to 9th April. It is a week-long festival which features some of the best bands and DJs from across the globe.
If you are a music buff looking for a holiday which includes both serenity and music, we recommend, you book the tickets for Snowbombing 2016. The nights are set to enchant you with a number of magical performances across different venues, ranging from a forest clearing to a colossal igloo.
Mayrhofen, Austria is situated about 30 kilometres from Jenbach in the Ziller Valley. The mesmerising surroundings complete with picturesque snow covered peaks and a more than three century old wooden barn are soul stirring indeed. Yet, the calm and serene settings transforms completely, during the night time when a nightclub, made completely of snow comes alive. This place is also surrounded by other resorts and you get to check the amenities and select the hotel/resort that suits your requirements. Some of the hotels in the area are Hintertuxer Glacier, Tux, Finkenberg, Kunigsleiten, Gerlos, Zell, Kaltenbach, Hochfugen and Fugen.
Snowbombing, for the past 16 years has featured various international artists performing live. Some of the most popular artists who have performed in the past include Basement Jaxx, Gorgon City, Marc Kinchen, Carl Cox, Friendly Fires, Fatboy Slim, Katy B, Kasabian, Sub Focus, Skrillex, Pendulum and Prodigy to name a few. Snowbombing 2016 is all ready with Sven Väth, Skepta, Slaves, Craig David’s TS5, Jamie Jones, Andy C and Bastille among many other famous artists.
You can get the best of accommodation depending upon your preferences and budget. There are a number of budget as well as luxury hotels available near the venues at Mayrhofen. Some of the accommodation options include 4-star hotels such as the Strass Hotel, located in the heart of the festival, Berghof, which is just a stone’s throw from the Racket Club, Zillertallerhof and Sporthotel Manni.
New Zealand is well known for its penchant for delicious food and has also been defined as a haven for food buffs.
With their immense love for lamb and fish and chips to quirky preparations like Huhu Grub and the often debated yet loved Pavlova, the Kiwis sure know how to celebrate food and whatever comes along with it. If you happen to be in New Zealand, do buy tickets for these popular food festivals.
Auckland Seafood Festival (February)
The Auckland Seafood Festival commenced about eight years ago to celebrate New Zealand Seafood and Auckland Anniversary weekend. Apart from the delicious seafood, the festival also has a noble cause as the proceeds are given to charity. Over time, the festival has grown considerably due to the help of various stallholders and sponsors. This three-day festival of New Zealand seafood also includes live cooking demonstrations, musical acts and various contests. It is set on Wynyard Quarter, Halsey Wharf, and an operational port, which marks the centre of the fishing industry in Auckland.
If you are a cheese lover and happen to be holidaying in Auckland, Cheesefest is just your thing. The festival provides the ultimate experience for the cheese-lovers and gives you an opportunity to meet some of the most popular faces in the cheese industry from across the globe. You can visit the different stalls and sample cheese from some of the best local cheese-makers.
The Annual Wildfoods Festival is one of the most popular food festivals in the whole of New Zealand. It includes various traditional varieties, including Maori Hangi, which is the traditional Maori way of preparing food. The method has been in use since more than 2000 years. The food also includes some dishes which an outsider might find quirky. One example is Huhu Grub, which is prepared from the larvae of the Huhu beetle.
In a few days, many cities in the US will flaunt extravagant springtime colours. You can explore these colours at numerous annual festivals.
International Cherry Blossom Festival is one such event which takes place in Macon, a beautiful city in the state of Georgia. With “Love, Beauty, and International Friendship” theme, this annual festival features a great variety of cultural, social, and recreational activities. The 2016 edition of International Cherry Blossom Festival is scheduled from 17th March to 03rd April. Let’s check out what you can experience and enjoy at this annual festival.
The Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
This is probably the most significant highlight of International Cherry Blossom Festival. The theme of this year’s parade is “Rhapsody in Pink, a Southern Melody.” Reach historic downtown on 19th March at 3pm to witness this colourful parade of military units, marching bands, costumed performers, and dazzling floats. You don’t need to buy any tickets to admire the procession.
Sozo Choir Inspirational Concert
This choir group from Uganda adds a magnificent African tinge to International Cherry Blossom Festival. The Methodist Children’s Home will host this event on 23rd March at 6:30pm. Anyone can watch this free family-friendly act, which narrates an inspirational story.
Party on the Green
Presented by the CBF Chairman’s Club, this fun-filled event features a picnic-style environment, complete with fireworks, live music, games, and great food. The Green at Wesleyan College is the venue for the Party on the Green. Visit on 03rd April between 5pm and 8:30pm for an amazing time with your kids and other family members.
Food Truck Frenzy
On the last weekend of the International Cherry Blossom Festival, 2nd and 3rd April, Downtown Macon will feature numerous gourmet food trucks that offer special local delicacies and delicious fare from the US and Mexico. You can find participating food trucks between Mulberry Street and Walnut Street.
The Konark Dance Festival is going to be held from 19th to 23rd February 2016 in the state of Odisha, India. It brings the best of the classical and traditional dance forms, from different parts of the country.
It also offers insights into the affluent culture and heritage of India. Maestros and dance enthusiasts from almost every style of Indian classical dance forms, including Chhau, Kathakali, Manipuri, Mohiniattam, Bharatnatyam and Odissi, are going to participate in this 5-day carnival. If you are planning to visit India in February and want to know about the culture and different dance forms, attending this festival is a must.
Konark Dance & Music Festival was started by Padmashree Guru Gangadhar Pradhan in 1986. It can appropriately be billed as the forerunner of the contemporary cultural festivals in Odisha. The main objective of this annual festival is to bring various artists together on a platform and to create a spirit of international cultural brotherhood and amity. The dance forms are presented on the spectacular stage of the Natyashala in the iconic Sun Temple of Konark.
There are different categories of tickets available on their website, including VIP Gold Class + hotel stay for couples and for one person, VIP Gold Class for couples as well as for one person, and gold class tickets for couples and for one person. From every ticket, 90% of the proceeds will go to the “Children of Hope”, an initiative to empower the underprivileged children. The remaining 10 % will be received by the organisation.
The festival includes a fun filled Crafts Mela (fair) which will add to the charm. The mela will feature some of the best souvenirs, sculptures and handicrafts by highly skilled artists and craftsmen. The products will be for both display and sale. The festival will also feature world renowned personalities from the streams of Indian classical song, dance and theatre. In the past, some of the world renowned names that have been a part of the festival include Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and Dr. Vaijayantimala Bali among others.
The Islands around Pattaya offer a peaceful escape from the busy city. A number of these islands are quite big and the majority of them are isolated. Almost all of these are marked by stunning beaches and turquoise waters.
If you are fond of water sports, this is the best place for you to try an array of activities such as fishing, diving and snorkelling among others. However, if you aren’t much of a water person, the islands are perfect for spending some quality time with your family or that special someone. Have a look at the top 3 islands around Pattaya.
Koh Larn, which translates as Coral Island, is the largest of all the islands in the archipelago that are accessible from Bali Hai Pier. There are just a few hotels, in the village situated near the main pier, called Na Ban. Hotels are also situated in the larger beaches around the island. The island consists of 6 main beaches, namely Samai, Tawaen, Tien, Tayaiy, Tonglang and Naul. Different beaches have different facilities. For instance, Samai, Tien and Tawaen have hotels. Similarly, some of the beaches also have facilities for adventure sports such as banana boat rides and jet skiing.
Koh Phai or Bamboo Island is the largest among the chain of small islands. Situated around 20 kilometres from Pattaya, it can be reached in roughly 2 hours. As the island is under the administration of the Royal Thai Navy, tourists are not allowed to stay overnight. Surrounded by gorgeous coral reefs, it is one of the most beautiful islands in the archipelago. Sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling are permitted.
Koh Sak was once a private resort, exclusively visited by the rich and the famous. However, now the whole island has become a tourist hotspot complete with a number of cosy restaurants. The U-shaped island has a pristine beach at each if its ends. The beach on the northern part of the island is popular for swimming and sunbathing. You can also take diving tours to reach an artificial shipwreck. A major highlight of the island is the footprints of eminent personalities on concrete. One such personality was Neil Armstrong, who came here just a few months after the Apollo XI expedition.
Vietnam, located on the South China Sea, is popular for its pristine beaches, beautiful rivers, a number of Buddhist pagodas and cities bustling with cultural sites and restaurants. All these factors make it an exciting and fun-filled holiday destination.
Most of the people who book tickets for Vietnam have a fixed itinerary comprising of the most popular tourist attractions. But if you want to experience the cultural and historical aspects, taking a stroll through the offbeat paths is the best way to so. Have a look at some of the offbeat places to visit on your trip to Vietnam.
Bai Tu Long
If you are looking for a getaway from the usual tourist itinerary, you can do away with Halong Bay and head to Bait Tu Long. Situated on the North-Eastern part of Halong Bay, the area spreads across 100 kilometres, up to the border of China! The best part is you will see almost the same things you would have seen in Halong Bay such as incredible limestone karsts, minus the crowds of tourists.
While most of the tourists and trekkers go to Sapa, dodge the crowd for a breath of fresh air at Mai Chau. The locals swear by the place, as it hasn’t been adulterated by the tourists, yet. Situated about 3-4 hours’ drive from Hanoi, the fog-filled rice paddies here are like a dream. The place also allows you to get close to the native ethnic tribes. Instead of wearing elaborate, “touristy” costumes which will make you look out of place, wear simple track suits. Make sure that you join the celebrations during the nights when the White Thai tribe performs various types of cultural and local dances. A game akin to hopscotch is also played and there is a communal feast and drinks.
Hue is the central point of the Northern and Southern routes in the country. The city was once the royal capital during the 17th century and has also served as Vietnam’s capital for some time. It is one of the most important historical sites in the country. While the landmarks and historical buildings in the citadel were damaged during the war, with the help of UNESCO, extensive restoration has been carried out.