Monthly Archives: August 2016

The Charms of Orange River, South Africa

Orange River is the longest river in South Africa. The charming river transcends boundaries and flows through Lesotho and Namibia to reach the Atlantic Ocean at Alexander Bay; its final destination.

The river flows through a vast region, which allows travellers to experience a wide variety of landscapes such as grand mountain ranges and spectacular waterfalls before gushing along to its final destination; the Atlantic Ocean at Alexander Bay.

Incredible Water Sports

The Orange River is a popular attraction for water sports aficionados as its offers wonderful opportunities for canoeing, river rafting, fly-fishing and more. As far as canoeing or rafting is concerned, the rapids of the river are so diverse that they can be a challenge even for seasoned rafters, and at the same time be so flat and calm that one feels comfortable and relaxed.

Exhilarating Camping Experiences

Apart from the water sports adventures, one may also go camping to the nearby Richtersveldt Desert. For more thrilling outdoor activities, join a guided tour. These guided tours include camping and sleeping under the stars, amidst unknown, rocky terrain, for several nights near the river and soaking in the natural surrounds at daytime. The river’s banks make for exciting camping destinations as it passes through spectacular terrain encompassing craggy hills and lush forests.

Unforgettable River Guides

Take the services of one of the many skilled tour operators, who can provide qualified and safe river guides after deciding upon a good point to start your journey. The adventures packages offered by the guides can be as short as a day to as long as around a week. The guided trips can be made via a canoe or a raft, with a raft being a better alternative for new travellers.

Where to Begin Your Journey

Travellers can start their journey from the Augrabies Falls National Park, which is a national park around the Augrabies Falls; one of the two waterfalls on the Orange River. The national park is a two hour drive from Upington Airport. There are plenty of other good locations as well for canoeing, rafting, and camping. These include Richtersveld Transfrontier Park and several other places in Namibia.

Best Places to Enjoy Jaw-Dropping Views in Dubai

Dubai seems to have a penchant for the phrase ‘Larger than Life’. It is home to the tallest building – Burj Khalifa, largest mall – Dubai Mall, longest indoor slope – Ski Dubai, and biggest natural flower garden – Dubai Miracle Garden.

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The list doesn’t end here! Travellers from around the world flock to this lovely destination to not only admire these man-made creations, but also to check out the natural beauty too. We have bunched together some of the places that offer terrific views.

The Observatory

Located on the 52nd floor of the Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites, The Observatory is a must-visit restaurant that offers scenic views of Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina. It is stylish and has a lively atmosphere- just the kind of spot vacationers want! The skyline is simply mind-blowing. Tourists must visit ‘The Observatory’ on a Friday, when mouth-watering seafood is served here. Signature dishes include Fried Camembert and Sirloin ‘Strindberg’. The restaurant’s dress code is smart casual with closed shoes. Beach wear, swim wear, sport wear and flip flops are not permitted!

One&Only The Palm

If you wish to stay at a place, which offers stunning sights, One&Only The Palm is the apt place for you! Its beachfront rooms treat guests to mesmerising views of palm trees. Every morning, you can enjoy a cup of coffee on the private balcony or patio and, at the same time, admire the views. This means, one need not go anywhere else to watch the spectacular sunrise and sunset. At night, the futuristic buildings are brightly illuminated and their reflection on the Gulf waters looks incredible.

Bateaux Dubai

Bateaux Dubai is a glass-enclosed and air-conditioned restaurant that not only offers delectable cuisines, fine beverages, live entertainment and personalised service, but also panoramic views of Dubai. While enjoying the food, customers can appreciate the starry sky and wonderful cityscape simultaneously. Couples can enjoy their dream date here! Their signature dishes include Fennell risotto with grilled scallop and coconut-milk poached Barramundi with sweet potato gratin.

Armani Hotel Dubai

Situated inside the Burj Khalifa, the Armani Hotel Dubai is a 5-star hotel famous for its high level of sophistication standards. The ‘Armani Fountain Suite’ offers excellent views of The Dubai Fountain – the world’s biggest choreographed fountain system by WET Design. Hotel guests can enjoy these sights from the comfort of their suites.

Pierchic

Pierchic is a top-notch Mediterranean seafood restaurant, which appears to float on the sea. Thus, people who come to this spot have an over-the-water dining experience. The restaurant treats you to fabulous sights of the Madinat Jumeirah on one side and the Burj-Al-Arab on the other. In the background, you can hear the natural sound of the waves lapping. Its signature dishes are Tuna Carpaccio with king crab panna cotta, white asparagus, caviar and soft quail egg. Pierchic only serves lunch and dinner.

Seven Soul Stirring Historical Sites in India

India’s Independence Day is fast approaching. The date is 15th August and travellers visiting the country during this time may want to visit places of historical importance. Most of these places served as important milestones during India’s long freedom struggle. So, come check out 7 places, which you could perhaps visit on the occasion of India’s 67th Independence Day.

India Gate, Delhi

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India Gate is one of the top attractions in Delhi for travellers visiting India. It is a war memorial with the names of around 70, 000 soldiers martyred during the First World War and the names of around 12, 516 Indian soldiers who were martyred on the then North-west Frontier. The monument is famous for the Amar Jawan Jyoti or the flame of the immortal soldier, which burns under the archway.

Jallianwala Bagh, Punjab

Jallianwala Bagh in Punjab is the site of an unforgettable tragedy that took place during the freedom struggle. It is the site of the infamous Amritsar Massacre or Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, where General Dyer ordered his troops to open fire on thousands of people, who had gathered for a non-violent protest.

Wagah Border, Punjab

Visit the Wagah Border in Punjab during Independence Day to celebrate the spirit of India’s patriotism. Watch the fantastic Wagah Border ceremony, held every day before sunset. It’s a spectacular sight to see the BSF troopers and Pakistani Rangers try to outdo each other.

Chandrasekhar Azad Park, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh

The Chandrasekhar Azad Park in Allahabad has a strong association with India’s freedom movement. It is a public park and the site where the Indian freedom fighter Chandra Shekhar Azad sacrificed his life for the country. Also known as Alfred Park or Company Garden, it is the largest park in Allahabad.

Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh

The historical city of Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh is another famous attraction. The Jhansi Fort or Jhansi ka Kila atop Bangara Hill is more than four centuries old. It is an iconic building signifying the War of Independence in 1857 by Queen of Jhansi Lakshmi Bai.

Sabarmati Ashram, Gujarat

The Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat is the place where Mahatma Gandhi, India’s Father of the Nation, started the Satyagraha and the Dandi march. This place is considered as one of the epicentres of India’s freedom movement. Initially called the Satyagraha Ashram, it is the place where Mahatma Gandhi lived for 12 years.

Cellular Jail, Andaman Islands

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Located at Port Blair in the Andaman Islands is the infamous Cellular Jail, or the Kala Pani. Originally, this place was a hellish jail for freedom fighters, including Batukeshwar Dutt and Veer Savarkar. India declared it a national memorial in 1969 and today it houses a museum which displays the atrocities meted out by the British authorities on Indian prisoners.

Top 5 Things to Do in Las Vegas – Nevada

A city lying in a desert and surrounded by majestic hills, the Las Vegas is a major hotspot for travellers from around the world. It has everything tourists wish to experience – from historical attractions to ultra-modern creations.

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‘The Entertainment Capital of the World’ also offers countless activities and experiences that are simply breath-taking and memorable. If you have plans to visit this amazing land, you should definitely read further!

Enjoy an Eiffel Tower Experience without being in France!

Yes, you read it right! Las Vegas has its very own Eiffel Tower. It is is a half scale facsimile of the real monument and features an observation desk, which lets you enjoy a 360-degree view of the city. Couples must try out this activity in late evenings when the colourful lights of the area make the scene phenomenally spectacular. Also relish mouth-watering food at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant, situated on the 11th floor of the structure.

Game at the Pinball Hall of Fame

With an attempt to display the world’s largest pinball, the Pinball Hall of Fame houses pin ball machines that range from the 1950s to 1990s. All machines are available for play at a nominal rate. They deliver unlimited fun, something every person seeks in Vegas. The PHoF is run by Tim Arnold, an experienced arcade operator who was significantly successful in the 1970s and 1980s during the Pacman era. The Pinball Hall of Fame is open daily and there’s no entrance charge.

Tour the Strip for Not More than $10

Touring the Strip can’t be easier! It’s possible by boarding one of the city’s fleet of double-decker buses that run on the Strip, all the way to the central business district and historic centre and back. These amazing buses are called ‘Deuce ‘. They are attractively low-priced, offering a two-hour ride for $6 and hop on & off all day at $8. With $20, a traveller can obtain a three-day pass as well! This exciting and cost-effective tour should be tried by all.

Rejuvenate Your Senses at the Sahra Spa & Hammam

Sahra Spa & Hammam is a simple yet pleasingly complex luxury spa and wellness retreat! It offers massage, facial, bath, skincare, and various other treatments and therapies. Some of them are Moroccan Journey, Red Flower Hammam Experience and Hammam Soap Ritual. Bookings can be made in advance. The appointments are available daily from 8 AM to 7 PM. After an exhaustive travel, visiting this spa proves to be a rewarding experience.

Eat and Drink at the Mermaid Restaurant & Lounge

A magical (…and mythical) eating venue, the Mermaid Restaurant & Lounge serves lip-smacking fish, chips, sandwiches, salads, wraps, and lots more right next to the attractive 117,000-gallon saltwater aquarium – home to 4,000 tropical fish and gorgeous mermaids. Yes, it’s mermaids! The restaurant is open on all days of the week, except on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. However, the bar is open every day.

Visit Maldives on a Limited Budget

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Maldives is one of the top beach destinations in the world. The island country is known for its pristine waters, picturesque beaches, bright sunshine, lush greenery, vibrant underwater wildlife and adventure water sports. Here are some tips to help you enjoy a good vacation without straining your finances.

Flights & Arrivals

You can find a good deal on air tickets to Malé, the capital of Maldives, if you book from Asia. Travellers can buy tickets at cheap rates particularly from Sri Lanka, Malaysia and India. Visitors travelling directly from the US, UK and European countries can also find reasonable deals on flights if they are flexible with dates, times and departure points.

For budget travellers, it is important to ensure arrival in the mornings or afternoons. No ferries leave from Malé to other islands after a particular time in the afternoon. So, arriving early will allow you to continue your trip without interruption, as late afternoon or evening landings would mean being stuck in Malé for 24 hours.

Accommodation

Maldives is made up of hundreds of small islands. Some of these are expensive private resort islands, while there are local islands too. These are inhabited by the local Maldivian people and are quite cheap. So, budget travellers should definitely consider hotels in the locally-inhabited islands. However, there is limited choice for budget hotels and locally-owned guest houses.

Also, many locals in the Maldives offer to share their apartments with tourists and this option can get you some really cheap deals. Use Couchsurfing and Airbnb to get good accommodation options at reasonable prices.

Transport

Getting around the islands on a budget is a bit tricky. The best and cheapest option will be to exclusively use ferries for island hopping. However, this will need time and careful planning from your part. Missed or cancelled ferries are common. Do check online for various ferry timetables.
Shared speedboats or exclusive private speedboats are also reasonable for island hopping, with the latter being more expensive. However, travellers will have more convenience and flexibility with these.

For budget travellers, the last option for changing islands should be the seaplanes as they are quite costly.

Food

Travellers can also save a lot by choosing to eat at local food joints rather than at restaurants or hotels. Local eateries and food stalls also sell delicious local cuisine and seafood at lower prices.

Activities

A Maldivian holiday would definitely include adventure sports such as scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing, hiking, trekking, canoeing and much more. Try these excursions at the more reasonable centres of the regular inhabited islands. Also, a vacation in the Maldives during the off-season will do its bit to help you grab good deals on activities and excursions.

Drink, Eat and Sing at Munich’s Oktoberfest 2016!

Get ready for the world’s biggest beer festival, Oktoberfest 2016. The festival will be held from September 17 to October 3, 2016, at Theresienwiese grounds in Munich, Germany.

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To fans, Oktoberfest is more than 3 weeks of drinking, eating and making merry at the biggest fair in the world. The popularity of the festival can be judged by the fact that more than 6.5 million people attended the festival in 2013!

Oktoberfest Basics!

Oktoberfest is usually organised in September and is wrapped-up by the first Sunday in October. The festival is held for a period of at least 16 days. The official ceremonial inauguration of this year’s festival will be held on Saturday, 17th September, at noon when Munich’s prime mayor Dieter Reiter will tap the first barrel and cry ‘O’zapft is’ meaning ‘It’s Open’ at the Schottenhamel Tent.

Although not mandatory, getting dressed in the traditional Bavarian attire is part of the cultural experience at the festival. Many locals choose to wear the traditional dress Trachten, with men wearing the suspendered leather trouser lederhosen and woman wearing Bavarian Dirndl.

This year, the festival grounds will see around 524 businesses, of which 127 will food joints, 115 will be carnies and 249 will be market stands and vendors.

Drinks

Beer will take the centre stage at the festival, with 14 large tents and 22 small tents with different themes offering a variety of beer to visitors. However, some tents also have few wine and champagne options.

Food

The festival offers plenty of good food to visitors. The classic ‘Wiesn-Hendl’ (grilled chicken) with French Fries is definitely a must-try, so is the slow-roasted, butterbasted chicken. Many tents offer popular delicacies, including pretzels, sausages and desserts, to visitors. Traditional Bavarian specialties including roast chicken, horseradish, pork sausages and fish are very popular throughout the festival.

Other Activities

Oktoberfest is dedicated to drinking, eating and merry-making. However, there are plenty of other activities besides drinking that complete the ‘carnival’ experience. Every once in a while, visitors can go out of the tents and stroll through the vast fairgrounds. There is a plethora of rides and games for visitors and children of all ages. The festival also includes many special events that are of traditional importance to the locals.

Special Events

This year, a parade of the tent patrons will be held on the opening day prior to the ceremonial inauguration. A huge traditional costume parade across Munich will be held the following day. On September 22, a customary religious Oktoberfest mass will be held, while a traditional concert of the Oktoberfest brass-bands will be held on September 25. A time-honoured gun-salute will be witnessed on the steps of the Bavaria monument on October 2. The tickets’ price of all rides and performances will be lower on the two ‘family days’ in this year’s fest, which are September 20 and 27.

Experience the Magic of George Town Festival 2016, Malaysia

The heritage city of George Town, Penang will once again celebrate its admiration towards traditions, cultures and art. Penang, the peaceful island state is all set to welcome travellers from across the world for an extravaganza.

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The George Town Festival will yet again transform the city into a lively celebration spot and stake its claim as one of Asia’s most popular festivals.
Get Ready for It

The best time to visit Penang is here. The Penang Island State is about to host its month-long celebration, George Town Festival. Incorporated in the year 2010 in honour of UNESCO World Heritage Site – George Town, it offers a world of entertainment.

Now in its seventh year of celebration, the festival will be held from 29th July to 28th August, 2016. The festival focuses on culture, art, community and heritage of Penang. One will enjoy discovering unique trends and practices during the festival.

Explore Penang

Don’t miss out on performances by renowned performers and artists. From theatre, dance, music, and puppetry to art, crafts, and performances, the festival offers a variety of entertainment. Visitors will definitely get an intimate insight into George Town’s heritage, history and present developments.

The renowned performing artists and performers include Smashed, Lim Yu-Beng, and Tan Kheng Hua along with A+SEAN showcase, Svara Bhumi (Songs of the Earth) and Choreographer Aida Redza. This year, the festival will feature new international performances whilst 58 percent of the acts will be from the state of Penang itself.

Also,  the A+SEAN showcase will include concerts by Indonesian band Nidji, Bittersweet, Dasha Logan, OAG, Sheila Majid, and more. It will also include Snuff Puppets – the puppetry show. Besides, there will be a fashion show and a market of as many as 30 stalls that would be put up by the members of ASEAN countries.

The Lively Acts

Travellers can enjoy a marvellous theatre performance by Lim Yu-Beng and Tan Kheng Hua in the ‘Pearl of the Eastern & Oriental’ play which will be premiered on the opening weekend. The A+SEAN Showcase will focus on talent from Australia and Southeast Asian nations.

The vibrant festival will leave every traveller awe-inspired with a dash of passionate performances like ‘Moved by Padi’ by Penang-born choreographer and dancer Aida Redza, musical theatre ‘Missing’, and musical comedy ‘Chekara’. Interestingly, ‘Moved by Padi’ will be performed in real paddy fields.

All in all, travellers will surely cherish the trip to the majestic city of George Town as the festival paints the streets in stimulating sensations.

Tickets

Tickets for the festival are pretty affordable and one may easily buy the same from GTF headquarters or from the online portal; RedTix.

Celebrate The Elvis Week 2016 with Endless Music and Fun

The birthplace of Rock-N-Roll, Memphis will pay tribute to the king of Rock- N-Roll, Elvis Presley from 10th to 16th August with a host of activities, events, concerts, dances and a candle light vigil. Elvis Week, as it is popularly called, is a chance for music lovers to experience the continuing legacy of this immensely popular legendary artist with traditional events and music. Head to the city to enjoy days of fun, music and celebrations.

About this Week

The week-long celebrations marked by music, movies, themed events, movies, concerts, panel discussions and dances are attended by Elvis fans from across the globe. Various traditional events like Elvis Fan Club Presidents Event, Graceland Insiders Event, Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest and an Elvis candlelight vigil also form part of the general festivities.

The main highlight of the week is the candle light vigil during the evening of 15th August, which lasts till morning and is attended by thousands.

To make your visit more comfortable and free of any hassles, the local business establishments in Memphis have struck a partnership with the Elvis Week to offer discounted lodging, dining and other facilities.

Some of the Main Events

Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest Showcase – This contest will feature performances of the semifinalists of 2016 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest at the Elvis Week Main Stage in Graceland. The tickets are priced at $25 each.

Elvis 101¬¬ – Also to be held on the main stage, this event features notable scholars and authors who have gone to considerable lengths to study the various aspects of this icon. Many guest speakers like Peter Guralnick, Dr. Charles Hughes and Roger Semon will present keen insights into their works based on Elvis. The tickets cost $20 dollars each.

The Gospel Music of Elvis Presley – Graceland’s main stage will feature this special event. Grace the event and be overwhelmed by the music that influenced the great artist earning him three Grammy awards. The stage will also be shared by some artists who performed along with Elvis Presley. The tickets for the non VIP seats are available for $50.

Entertainment

The Elvis Week 2016 will feature many acclaimed artists such as DJ Argo, Terry Blackwood and The Imperials, Andy Childs, Gladys and Maybelle, Terry Mike Jeffrey, Brandon Cunning, Ted Torres Martin, David Lee and many more. A special attraction will be the performance of the EAS band which presents a rendition of more than 600 songs of the artist with perfect duplication.

A Look at 8 of the Top Beaches in Thailand

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Thailand is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches.The country has a fantastic climate that remains almost constant throughout the year, which makes the seaside here even more tempting for tourists.Here is a list of some of the top beaches to visit in Thailand.

Koh Nang Yuan, Surat Thani Province

Koh Nang Yuan is actually a small island with a coastline all through its length. Koh Nang Yuan is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand. Apart from its scenic beauty, the place is mainly popular for water sports such as diving, snorkelling, zip-lining and even trekking.

Kluai Beach, Koh Kood

Kluai Beach on the Koh Kood Island makes for a perfect getaway for those seeking some quite time away from the maddening crowds. The island is quite big but it is still undeveloped for tourism, which is why it is not crowded like the other popular islands of Thailand. The beach is tranquil and rocky and is lush with mangroves.

Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi

The gorgeous Maya Bay on the Koh Phi Phi Island is a must-visit for travellers. The Maya Bay is famous for being the site of Leonardo DiCaprio’s film ‘The Beach’. The bay is beautifully surrounded by tall cliffs on three sides and has a vibrant marine life. The bay is popular for diving, snorkelling and is a great party destination. The beach can be visited as a day trip since there are no hotels here.

Main Beach, Ko Kradan

The Main Beach at the island of Ko Kradan is a 2km long stretch. Around 50 meters offshore, travellers can see a coral reef swarming with fish all along the beach. Kayaking is a popular activity here and it is possible to kayak around the entire island within around three hours.

Railay Beach, Krabi

The Railay Beach in the Krabi province is one of the best known beaches of Thailand. The beach has huge limestone cliffs that are popular spots for rock climbing. In addition to the spectacular scenery offered by the beach, it is also popular for active sports including snorkelling and kayaking.

Long Beach, Koh Lanta

The Long Beach in Thailand’s Koh Lanta province is known for its unending golden sands, wavy and clear waters and cool winds. The beach is a favourite with tourists as it is considered a safe destination for children.

Patong Beach, Phuket

The Patong Beach on the island of Phuket is one of the largest and the most popular beaches of Thailand. Being a popular beach destination, the Patong beach is surrounded by a number of attractions such as numerous hotels, restaurants, shopping spots and a vibrant nightlife. The beach is always teeming with tourists and is a great spot for sunbathing, jet skiing and parasailing.

Phra Nang, Krabi

The beach at Phra Nang in Krabi is said to be one of the most photogenic beaches of Thailand. The beach is just a short walk away from the Railay beach and can even be reached by kayaking from Railay. It is a good spot for enjoying activities including snorkelling, caving and rock climbing.

5 Highlights on the Great Ocean Road, Australia

The Great Ocean Road of Australia is one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives, explored extensively by foreigners and locals alike.

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Adventure buffs can participate in a number of fun-filled activities that take place here almost all year round. Moreover, foodies will have a delightful time as there are a number of outstanding restaurants in the area.

If you plan to drive on the Great Ocean Road, do not forget to explore some of the region’s most significant tourist highlights. We have mentioned few below:

The Twelve Apostles

The Twelve Apostles is a set of limestone stacks resting near the shore of the Port Campbell National Park. At the moment there are eight apostles left. These structures have naturally been formed by constant erosion. Behind them are the majestic cliffs reaching a height of 70 metres! Until 1922 the site was known as the ‘Sow and Piglets’ which was later changed to ‘The Apostles’ and finally to ‘Twelve Apostles’.

The Grotto

The Grotto is a sinkhole geological formation that allows people to feel the peculiarity of the still, clear waters in contrast to the ocean beyond it. It is a naturally carved-out cave which stands up the cliff. The barrier that has been created in the viewing area is believed to be safe. So are the rock pools. However, hikers need to be cautious as certain parts of them can be slippery. Few rocks might be sharp-edged.

Triplet Falls in the Great Otway National Park

Triplet Falls is one of the iconic sites in the Great Otway National Park. One can learn about the history and the story of the rainforest, assisted by the signs that lead one around the place. Lying amongst the forests of Mountain Ash and Myrtle Beech, there are three striking waterfalls flowing through shady rainforests.

Bells Beach

Located in the coastal locality of Victoria, the Bells Beach is a renowned attraction that hosts one of the world’s longest running surfing competitions called the ‘Rip Curl Pro Surf & Music Festival’. Top surfers come here to show their skills by tackling waves of up to five metres. Others can fish in the deep waters near the coast.

Lorne

Lorne is a rejuvenating destination that has grabbed the attention of holidaymakers for decades. There’s a wide variety of eating venues, accommodation options and attractions for all. More than 10 waterfalls are situated within 10 kilometres of this resort town. Artists will have a lovely time taking part in the Lorne Festival of The Performing Arts.