Monthly Archives: March 2016

Adventures in Phi Phi Island

Discover crystal clear waters, blue skies, white sandy beaches (including the one from Leonardo’s famous Hollywood movie, “The Beach”), exotic aquatic life, mind boggling landscapes and lots more, all at one place – the Phi Phi Islands.

Phi-Phi-Island

This secluded tourist paradise is an archipelago of six heavenly islands. This exuberant destination is laden with numerous fun-filled activities. Water sports, underwater diving, snorkeling, alcohol served in buckets, dedicated party boats, rock climbing, yoga and learning Thai culinary arts are some of the popular highlights.

Snorkelling and Shark Watching

Watching bright and colourful oceanic creatures dwelling in their natural habitat can be a really soothing experience. Abundant in coral rock beds, Phi Phi Island is well known for the number of tour operators who organize snorkelling tours and also provide all necessary equipment. The most sought after spots to experience true underwater magnificence are around Pi Leh, Maya Bay and Hin Klang near Liam Thong beach. Along with snorkelling, some tour operators also organize shark watching tours at the “Shark Point”, located 800 m away from Long Beach, where black tip and leopard sharks are found.

Sea Diving and Scuba Diving

Diving is a very popular activity in Phi Phi Islands as the waters around these islands are thriving with vibrant deep sea flora and fauna. Well equipped PADI centres have proved to be a boon to amateur sea divers and enthusiasts. Many tour operators and PADI centres offer training and organize day as well as night tours to some of the world famous diving sites around Phi Phi Islands. Most exciting diving spots include Shark Point, Anemone Reef and the King Cruiser Wreck.

Rock Climbing on Tonsai Tower

Phi Phi Islands is also well known for its tall limestone cliffs along the coast of Tonsai Bay. The Tonsai Tower is a world class rock climbing site renowned for the 200 m tall limestone tower which has 48 routes. These routes have varying levels of difficulty and some are meant for beginners, while others should only be attempted by professionals.

Magnificent Maldives – An Island Holiday Destination Loved by Tourists

The Maldives is one of the most famous Indian Ocean destinations. Millions of travellers fly to this fabulous island nation every year to laze around on its beautiful beaches, try the exciting water sports and or to enjoy the terrific cultural charms of the place.

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But before lapping up the entire gamut of splendid experiences waiting for you in the Maldives, it is important that tourists learn as much as possible about this island nation which lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India in the Indian Ocean.

Ibrahim Nasir International Airport is the main airport of the country and is served by many well-known and reputable carriers which connect the Maldives with different parts of the globe. Maldivian, the country’s flag carrier, has its main base at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport. The airline has a limited flight network which includes mostly domestic and regional destinations.

Once here, travellers can enjoy all the different offerings of the island country. Do try out the special Maldivian cuisine which is extremely popular with foreign tourists. Seafood is a prominent part of the diet here and you will find that most of the famous dishes include fish in some form or the other. Theluli Mas (spicy fried fish), Fihunu Mas (barbecued fish) and Garudhiya (a fish broth served with rice) are some of the must try delicacies in the Maldives.

Maldives

The Maldives has some charming tourist places like Malé, Kudahuvadhoo, Mirihi Islands and Addu City. Malé, the capital city, is home to several tourist attractions and certainly deserves more than just a cursory glance. Tourists will be impressed by [sg_popup id="51"]Malé Friday Mosque[/sg_popup], [sg_popup id="54"]Sultan Park[/sg_popup], [sg_popup id="50"]National Museum[/sg_popup] and the architectural landmark, [sg_popup id="52"]the Islamic Centre[/sg_popup]. A Maldivian holiday, however, is largely about the stunning beaches, rich marine life and exciting water sports. You can find it all at any of the several resort islands in North Malé Atoll. However, [sg_popup id="55"]Banana Reef[/sg_popup] and [sg_popup id="56"]Manta Point[/sg_popup] are two of the most popular places that divers and snorkellers would love to explore!

Travellers must be aware of the country’s weather pattern before planning their holidays in the region. The Maldives is warm and humid for most parts of the year and receives rainfall from July to August and from November to March. December to March is the busiest season for tourism in the country.

Also, pay heed to travel and health tips that can make all the difference between a great and a not-so great holiday! Travellers who have diving and snorkelling on their minds must buy the compulsory Maldivian diving insurance. Also, divers should be aware of the potential ear infections or coral cuts. Other than that, tourists are advised to dress conservatively when visiting local inhabited islands.

Top Events and Festivals that are Set to Rock New York

Well known as the city that never sleeps, New York is all set to welcome spring with an array of colourful events and festivals.

new-york

Join the upcoming spring festivities and enjoy the pleasant weather. So, if you’re planning to book tickets shortly, check out what we have got for you.

Easter Celebrations

Spring is in the air and it’s time to get excited as New York is all set to celebrate ‘Easter’ on 27th March. Enjoy Easter parade with a nice brunch and “egg hunt” events at various places. You can also join several proceedings for finding and painting Easter eggs organised by Brooklyn Children’s Museum and Children’s Museum of Manhattan every year.

Tribeca Film Festival

The Tribeca Film Festival is celebrated annually in New York during April. Be a part of this ultimate street fair from April, 13th to 24th this year, and get a chance to enjoy free film screenings. There will be special performances, arts and crafts shops full of souvenirs, exciting kite flying events and a lot more.

Persian Parade

Celebrate the rich history of Persian culture in New York City on 17th April. It is the celebration of Persian New Year “Nowruz,” which means “new day,” with the arrival of spring. The NYPD Band is also joining the parade, and will play the Iranian and U.S. national anthems. You can see various traditional music and dance performances throughout the day as well as a fun fashion show and various other activities.

Orchid Show

The New York Botanical Garden is celebrating its 125th anniversary from February 27th to April 17th and NYBG invites you to share your favourite garden memories. Make sure, you attend World Beat- Music & Dance around the World of Orchids and Poetry for Every Season Reading by Ada Limón.

Pen World Voices, APRIL 25th

Witness the richness and diversity of world literature featuring acclaimed writers and artists from all around the globe. Pen World Voices inspires cross-cultural dialogue through joint group discussions, workshops and live performances in different venues throughout New York City. You can listen to your favourite author and even chat about work, life, culture and the art of writing.

Most Popular Annual Festivals in Singapore

Singapore is a popular tourist destination with world famous natural as well as man-made attractions and places. Besides, the destination has a rich heritage and diverse culture. People with their own distinctive beliefs, ethics and customs celebrate traditional festivals throughout the year.

singapore

Check out the top most significant festivals of Singapore such as Chinese New Year, the Hindu festival of Thaipusam, the Malay festival of Hari Raya Puasa and many more. If you are booking tickets to the destination, try to be there when one of one of these festivals is celebrated.

Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year starts from mid -January every year. People all over Singapore beautifully decorate their houses. Shopping malls and city streets are jazzed up with lights and colourful decorations. You can enjoy special cuisine and cultural performances at this significant event. The Huayi festival showcases Chinese talent from diverse backgrounds such as theatre, music, and dance.

Chingay Parade

The Chingay Parade is a traditional celebration held every year in Singapore during the 15-day Chinese New Year festivities. The parade showcases performances by Taiwanese acrobats, salsa dancers and modern-day magicians. You can also get a chance to be a part of the performances during the parade. Don’t forget to witness the traditional Chinese lion dance. This is an eye opening cultural show, performed by people from different countries.

Thaipusam Festival

Thaipusam festival is said to be the most majestic festival in Singapore. It is a Hindu festival celebrated on 30th January, in honour of the Hindu god, Lord Murugan. The practices and rituals include piercing of the body with large steel hooks and other sacrificial acts such as walking on fire. You can attend this festival at Sri Perumal Temple from early morning till late evening. You can even enjoy traditional cuisine and Prasad distributed during the celebrations.

River Hong Bao Festival

The River Hong Bao Festival is one of the most important days in the Chinese calendar. It is celebrated to welcome the Chinese New Year. Celebrations continue for 17 days. There are large-scale displays of Chinese mythical characters including the Chinese God of Fortune and the 12 Chinese zodiacs. The beautiful arrangement of bright colourful lights in the evening simply looks blissful.

Balloons over Waikato Festival Prepares to Win Hearts

Colourful balloons will again conquer the sky over New Zealand. Get ready to cherish the morning sky full of attractive balloons, enhancing the panoramic view of the landscape.

balloons

The alluring sight of balloons with distinct designs and sizes will beautifully complement the sunrise. The Hamilton City will soon play host to this most admired and treasured festival.

What’s Hot at the Show?

The 17th edition of Balloons over Waikato Festival will spread its wings in March 2016. The festival will welcome balloonists and balloon lovers from New Zealand and across the world. Commenced with an endeavour to provide a platform for balloonists in the country, it is now delineated as the most iconic event of Waikato. The fact that the event is successfully running for the past sixteen years speaks volumes about its popularity. Attend this most admired festival by the people of Hamilton and Waikato in New Zealand.

The festival will entertain around 13,000 excited spectators for five days. It is worth mentioning that the fifth day will end with a celebratory fireworks show.

Where to Go and When?

The magnificent event will be held at Hamilton Lake, Innes Common, and The University of Waikato grounds. Don’t miss the morning balloon inflation and lift-off at Hamilton Lake and Innes Common.

The Zuru Nightglow

Apart from the breathtaking views and rides of creatively designed balloons, enjoy live performances by The Vibes and Brendon Thomas during the festival. Join the fun night to enjoy hot air balloon glow show and amusement rides. Also, treat yourself at the food stalls dishing out scrumptious preparations.

Balloon Rides

The festival is expected to be graced by a huge number of spectators and participants. Enjoy the 45 minute balloon flight by booking your flight through the visitors information centre.
An attractive collection of hot air balloons will be seen here such as Baby Dino, Race Car, Princess Carriage, Dragon Fly, and Strata. Balloons like Baby Dino and Princess Carriage are especially loved by kids.

This magnificent and unique festival gives you the chance to meet other balloon lovers and professionals from across the world. Mark your presence to witness a variety of activities that will commence at the festival.

Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show!

As spring season is around the corner, Melbourne is getting ready for the grand celebration of the year, ‘The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show’.

melbournEntering in its 21st year, Australia’s biggest flower and garden show is a great platform for flower aficionados as well as for exhibitors.

melbourneMelbourne welcomes thousands of visitors every year to be a part of this extravagant affair.

Show Highlights

The highlights of the event are Achievable Gardens and Disney Fairies Children’s Garden along with numerous other displays from exhibitors participating from all over the country. Floral designers and stylists will be showcasing the best blossoms and plants on the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens. Check out the booking pages on the official website for Floral Design Workshops, Great Hall of Flowers, Entertainment and Live Student and Art for Sale Competitions.

Attend Workshops

There will be free flower designing workshops, fresh retail shops, and a stunning display of horticulture at the Great Hall of Flowers. One can learn the basics of working with flower-patterned tools and kit, and gain valuable experience. This year ‘My Flower house’ will be offering three sittings every day of the show along with other workshops inside the Royal Exhibition Building. Make sure you make prior bookings online to attend any such workshop. Apart from this, there are many things for kids as well. For instance, there are colouring and craft activities, Interactive kid’s entertainment, Special ‘Chill Out’ areas and much more!

Witness the Boutique Gardens Competition

Landscaping Victoria Boutique Gardens Competition’ will be held once again. It is a one of its kind opportunity for Landscape Designers and Architects to participate and design a 5m x 5m Boutique Garden. The finalists will further show their talent in the next round that will help them to gain valuable experience and a chance to promote their business in front of thousands of people.

Getting to the Show

The show will be held in Melbourne’s CBD, close to public transport services. It will be open to the public between 9:00am and 5:00pm from Wednesday, 16th March to Sunday, 20th March. Tickets are available online and at the counter gate.

Experience the Electrifying Nightlife of Bali!

Bali is one of the world’s most popular island destinations and is largely known for beaches, water sports, and historical attractions.

bali

However, this is not all! Bali also offers a highly spirited nightlife. So, there’s one more reason to book tickets to the destination. Check out 5 terrific places to enjoy the nightlife in Bali.

Sky Garden Lounge and Bar

Sky Garden is a multi-level well-known lounge and bar in Legian. It hosts a number of parties throughout the year featuring local as well as overseas DJs. Tourists from all over world can be seen here dancing, clubbing and enjoying Happy- Hours until midnight. It has a large bar area, free beer on purchase of BBQ Buffet and a rooftop garden lounge. Free parking for bikes and luggage lockers are available. It opens daily from 5pm to 6pm.

District Bali Night Club

District Bali is a popular nightclub situated within a 15-minute drive from the Ngurah Rai International Airport. It is the only live cabaret show venue in the area and also features a karaoke room, a live band and DJ playing English, Japanese, Indonesian, Mandarin, and Korean songs. There are plenty of dining options.

Bounty Sunset Dinner Cruise Tour

The Bounty Sunset Dinner Cruise Tour departs from Benoa Harbor and moves towards the coastal area of Benoa. It is an enthralling experience to spend quality time with your partner while enjoying the romantic atmosphere. The cruise serves international buffet dinner with amazing dance performances and live music. Some of the features are welcome drink, buffet dinner, Balinese dance show, On- board DJ, comedy cabaret show, and return hotel transfers. Total cruise time is 18:00 hours to 20:30 hours.

Devdan Show- “Treasure of the Archipelago”

Devdan is an extravagant stage performance in Bali. This energetic visual tour features a fusion of traditional Indonesian and modern contemporary dance with aerial acrobatics and special effects. During the 90-minute performance, the audience is taken to a magical world of the Indonesian Archipelago. The show is held four times a week and starts from 7:30 pm.

Experience the Wonder of Holi in India

If you are planning to book tickets for a trip to India in March, be prepared for a holiday full of colours and celebrations. March marks the onset of spring and everyone is in a joyous mood. The season is celebrated throughout the country with great zeal and zest.

holifest

The atmosphere is all the more colourful as the fun-packed festival of Holi is also celebrated in March.

holi

Since India is a vast country, different places have different ways of celebrating the festival, but broadly it is about getting together with your friends and family and dousing each other with colours and water.

Roots of the Festival

If you are curious about cultural traditions, you will definitely love the legend of Holi. The festival of Holi celebrates the triumph of good over evil. It is associated with the folklore of Holika, a demoness. She had a boon, which protected her from fire. Holika tried to kill her nephew Prahlad by jumping into fire with him but god had other plans. She died, while Prahlad remained unharmed. The next day, people celebrated the end of Holika in a colourful way. Till date, a bonfire is lit on the night before Holi to symbolise the death of Holika and the morning after, Holi is celebrated.

When and Where

In 2016, Holi will be celebrated on the 24th of March, though at some places the festival will be celebrated on the 23rd.  The festivities take place in almost every part of India. Certain places are especially well known for Holi celebrations and also have religious significance, concerning the festival. Places like Shantiniketan in the state of West Bengal celebrate Vasantotsav (festival of spring) while places like Mathura and Vrindavan in the state of Uttar Pradesh are richly steeped in the legends of how Lord Krishna played holi.

Food and Drink during Holi

Apart from smearing each other with colours, there are special feasts. The best way to experience the authentic sense of camaraderie and festivity is to join a house party with a local family. However, many of the hotels also arrange special Holi parties and meals. In quite a few places, the natives consume Thandhai. It’s a cool and sweet intoxicating drink made with the mashed leaves and flower buds of the female cannabis plant.

Songkran Water Festival, Bangkok 2016 –Where Tradition meets Fun

Songkran Water Festival is one of the most important celebrations according to the Thai lunar calendar. The festival features a number of different events and activities that accolade the importance of water in Thai society and culture.

Songkran Water Festival by James Antrobus/ CC BY

Songkran Water Festival by James Antrobus/ CC BY

Anyone planning a trip to Thailand during April would do well to book flights keeping this festival in mind.

About the Festival

For hundreds of years, the Songkran Festival has been seen as a symbol of love and hospitality for fostering a strong relationship with communities, families and society in general. The occasion is meant for people to unwind from the hot mid-summer and also to pay respects to the elders of one’s family and receive their blessings. It is also the day to commemorate the close ones who have passed away.

Traditions of the Festival

On this day, people build pagodas from sand and the event is known as Chedi Sai. The young ones throw water on each other engaging in water fights in a sporting and fun way. On this day, people clean not just their homes but also the public areas in the towns and villages throughout the country. This instils, propagates and promotes a sense of community and social unity. Families visit and welcome their relatives to spend the day together, performing ceremonies at various temples or the Chedi Sai. The festival also allows people to take a break from their daily routines and both the natives as well as the visitors have a memorable and happy experience.

Songkran 2016

This year, Maha Songkran or the New Year falls on the 13th of April; when the day and the night are of the same duration. The next day, i.e. 14th April will be Nao Day or ‘Middle’ day, followed by the concluding day of the festival. On this day, tourists relax at the beach resort and there is a lot of hilarious water fighting in the streets. This tradition is considered to wash off bad luck. If you wish to participate in the water fight, you can visit several spots around Banglamphu such as Khao San Road, Wisut Krasat, Santhichaiprakan, Phra Athit Road, Rattanakosin Royal Square and Thanon Khao San.

Four Terrific Places for Wildlife Photographers in India

Many a shutterbug would agree that wildlife photography is one of the best things about photography. It needs a lot of patience and skill to capture a perfect moment on camera. Some of the main difficulties faced, while clicking photographs of a wild animal are that they may be too swift or ferocious in nature. Well, all this is part of the charm. There are many beautiful places in India that are just perfect for wildlife photography. Have a look at some of our top recommendations.

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Hemis National Park, Ladakh

Snow leopards are some of the most magnificent creatures and look absolutely ravishing in a photograph captured at the right moment. If you are interested in taking pictures of Snow Leopards, Hemis National Park in the Leh area of Ladakh, is a good bet. The park is situated at a high altitude, thus making it the perfect place to start your thrilling photographic adventure. You may find pug marks of the snow leopard on the snow. The convergence of Zanskar River with Indus can also be seen from the border of the park.

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Desert National Park, Rajasthan

Desert National Park in Rajasthan features some of the rarest animal and avian species such as the Great Indian bustard as well as around forty different species of reptiles. Situated near Jaisalmer in the Thar Desert, this park has one of the most rugged landscapes, making it a unique place for wildlife photography.

Hazaribagh National Park, Jharkhand

Located about 130 kilometres from Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, Hazaribagh National Park is a wildlife photographer’s delight. With animals like sambar, kakar, nilgai and cheetal, Hazaribagh National Park will give you a lot of opportunities to take pictures of some of the most scenic and dramatic moments in the wild.

Simlipal National Park, Odisha

Simlipal National Park is situated in the eastern part of India in the state of Odisha. The park has an abundance of peacocks, talking mynahs, flying squirrels, 4-horned antelopes, Indian Bisons, and Elephants to name a few. With such an abundance of wildlife, the park sure is a haven for wildlife photographers.