Monthly Archives: June 2017

Interesting things you should know about the Maldives

maldives

It is likely that the picturesque beach resort wallpaper sitting on your laptop screen was photographed at the Maldives. Yes, the Maldives is just as beautiful as a group of 2,000 islands put together can get. Wait did we say 2,000 different islands? We sure did!

Here are some more impressive facts about the Maldives which would compel you to pack bags, book flights and enjoy holidays in the island country.

Glow in the Dark Beaches

The Baa Atoll in the Maldives has some ‘glow in the dark beaches’. It is as if the sea waters have decided to turn into mirrors for the skies and thousands of twinkling stars in order to complement their beauty. The feeling of Incredulity is guaranteed! Vaadhoo Island is a famous one.

Many resorts have their own Private Islands

Someday your wish of buying a private island may come true. Till that time you can choose to stay at one from the profusion of private island resorts available in the Maldives. Not like you will have the whole island to yourself but the feeling is close, closest in fact. Niyama, Naladhu and Velaa private islands are some of the best rated ones.

Best place to Snorkel, underneath an Island!

You may have snorkelled a 100 times before but have you ever gone snorkelling underneath an island? Many islands in the Maldives are concave shaped in their formation from beneath and hence are once in a lifetime opportunity to snorkel beneath them. Scuba diving is another major under water activity in the Maldives.

The Maldives consists of 2,000 Islands

Yes, the Maldives is not just ten, hundred or two hundred islands but a group of 1,190 islands. The sizes vary between tiny and large. If you have been thinking of holidaying in the Maldives, now is the best time as over 100 islands have already started disappearing due to rising sea levels and natural erosion.

About 200 of 2,000 islands are inhabited

While many inhabited islands are used as farm lands, some are reserved as picnic spots for resorts. This simply means that the places where you can have leisurely strolls and private meals are in abundance at the Maldives.

There are Man-Made Islands too

Thilafushi Island and Hulhulmale are two of the most popular artificial islands in the Maldives. While the former is regarded as the Maldives’ dumping ground and may not be of interest to you, the latter is one of the most visited holiday destinations in the Maldives. Nothing at Hulhulmale hints towards its artificial formation.

Holidays in Muscat: What to do

Shadowed by the rocky Al Hazar Mountains on the west and overlooking the Arabian Sea on the East, the ancient city and the capital of Oman, Muscat, is ranked amongst the most stunning destinations in the Middle East. Apart from the smorgasbord of places to explore and activities to indulge in, the city’s proximity to desert, forts and historical ruins leads to an ultimate holiday experience.

Muscat

Here is a list of places to explore and activities to indulge in Muscat.

Panoramic view from Muscat Gate Museum

Built above the official gate used to guard the old city of Muscat, the Muscat Gate Museum is a historical piece of architecture not to miss. The museum makes use of vintage photographs to narrate Muscat’s story and the way the ancient gate was used to check movement in and out of the city. The panoramic view from the top of the museum will leave you spellbound.

A show at Royal Opera House, Muscat

Royal Opera House is Oman’s premier venue for cultural and musical evenings. The list of legendary artist groups to have performed here includes the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the American Ballet Theatre, Soprano Renee Fleming, Placido Domingo and Yo Yo Ma. The pipe organ concert with the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra is a majestic experience.

A Persian Carpet weaved over four years!

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is home to one of the largest Persian Carpets in the world. This marvel, weaved in over four years by more than 600 women, hangs in the impressively built main prayer hall. The Sulatn Qaboos Grand Mosque, located near the international airport is perhaps the best introduction to Oman and the city of Muscat.

A Walk by the Muttrah Cornice

Muttrah, the main port in Muscat resembles a beautiful small village situated by the stunning waters. The walk from Muttrah stretches all the way down to Old Muscat. There are multiple shops in between offering artefacts crafted by local artisans. You can also stop for a quick bite at the local eateries.  If you feel like cycling down the cornice, there are cycles available for free in the morning.

The Big Bus Tour

With first bus starting at around nine in the morning, the hop on hop off big bus tour is perhaps the best way to discover Muscat in a single day. The bus covers all the major buildings and other tourist attractions in fewer than 120 minutes. However, the passengers are free to hop off at locations of their choice, explore and hop on the next bus from the nearby stop. The view of the city from the Muttrah fort, a must visit attraction during the Muscat tour, is a lauding one.

Top Travel Tips for Solo Women Travellers to Stay Safe on the Road

The good news is that an increasing number of women are going solo on their travels, and coming back with heartening stories of their own to tell. The bad news is that world is still not as safe for our women as we would like it to be. But the slightly better news is that there are ways and precautions following which women can feel safe on their journeys, and make the most of their time on the road.

Solo Women Travellers
Here are our top travel trips for an independent woman who wants to travel to her heart’s content without risking her safety.

Research, Research and Research

Being lost in a foreign land is romantic but only till the time your safety is not at stake. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to research all you can on the place of your visit. Read latest guidebooks, blogs and gather information from travel forums. Any contradictory information about the timings of buses and local transport as well as sightseeing locations must be verified before plan your itinerary. Try to speak to at least one person who has travelled to the destination in the span of past 2-3 months, and always keep local travel apps handy as also the emergency contact details of nearby police stations, hospitals, local embassy of your country and at least one local friend or acquaintance.

Always Reach Your Destination before the Nightfall

Cheaper tickets at odd timings, clumsy planning and overconfidence in the knowledge of your destination are all reasons that can cause you to book flights/trains/buses that leave you at your destination late at night. Solo female travellers should, however, make sure to avoid these pitfalls and reach their destination while the locals are still up and about so that they can process their surroundings better; get any local supplies, if needed’ and steer clear of being isolated  in dark places with their luggage clearly identifying them as tourists.

Have A Backup Plan

A lot of us have found ourselves perplexed, irritated, endangered and at a loss of a solution when our travels have not exactly gone as we planned them to. Just because a guidebook said that it’s okay to catch that last train between the two cities on your itinerary doesn’t mean you cannot find a creepy man making you uncomfortable on that train. You can find unexpected crowds, miss your flights/trains because of the traffic, attract unwanted attention at the places you least expected but you must always have a backup plan for these sticky situations so that you don’t feel out of place and lack confidence to carry on.

Always Keep At least One Person Update on Your Whereabouts

It’s a thrilling and liberating to be on your own, cut away from the mundane lives, soaking in beauty, cultures, architecture at a foreign location. So much so that you might not always be motivated to update your family and friends of your whereabouts. But it’s sensible to keep at least one person you totally trust updated every day. You might also leave a trail on social media with your check-ins if calling/messaging is distracting. Also, always give the number and address of your local hotel, resorts and tour guides to your friends or family so that they can be contacted for your whereabouts in case you can’t be.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings at All Times

You safety is truly in your own hands, and you can feel a lot safer with just a little keen observation of your surroundings at all times. Always be aware of the people you are travelling with, and trust your gut instinct while forming judgement on them. Don’t ever leave your luggage unattended no matter how tempting and immediate the calling of a certain view is. In public places, always keep your purse close to your body and the zip’s done up at all times. Never underestimate the warning of your gut, and leave a place as soon as you feel even slightly threatened. Always remember that no experience is worth risking your safety.

8 Top-rated Attractions besides Beaches in Clearwater, Florida

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Clearwater, Florida is one of the few holiday destinations to be blessed with comfortable climates throughout the year. Apart from the marvellous beaches, clear blue skies and water sport adventures, the city of Clearwater offers a plethora of other tourist attractions.

Here is a list of some of the top tourist attractions in Clearwater, Florida.

Sky Surfing

Sky Surfing Aviation presents tourists with an enticing opportunity to view Clearwater city from the skies. You fly a glider in company of a trained instructor and take on the skies. The stunning aerial view of Clearwater Aquarium, Gulf of Mexico, Clearwater Marina and Pier 60 will leave your awestruck. A sky surfing session usually lasts an hour.

StarLite Cruises

The second best way to enjoy Clearwater’s beauty is from the waters. StarLite Majesty cruises through the waters while you indulge in lip-smacking food and regard the wonderful city view. We recommend you board the cruise in the evening as Florida’s night sky, dotted with twinkling stars, is a sight to cherish for a lifetime!

Pier 60

This massive 1,080 feet long fishing pier can make anybody want to go fishing. Popular catches here include breeds of snooks, Spanish mackerel, jacks, snapper and spotted trout. Visit Pier 60 in the evening as the view during sunset is best enjoyed with live performances by musicians and jugglers.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater Marine Aquarium is home to pelicans, sharks, dolphins, otters, turtles and stingrays.  You can feed the stingrays at the aquarium and see how marine animals are medically treated at the marine hospital. The main attraction at the Aquarium is a dolphin named Winter, also the inspiration behind Hollywood’s popular movie Dolphin Tale starring Morgan Freeman.

Ruth Eckerd Hall

A premium arts performance venue in Clearwater, Ruth Eckerd Hall hosts some of the best shows in USA. You can watch theatrical pieces, dance recitals, Broadway plays or children’s performances here. The centre’s capacity of accommodating over 2000 spectators makes its one of the biggest in town.

Bright House Field

Bright House Field is a baseball stadium in Clearwater. It is regarded as one of the best baseball parks in Florida and is a must visit attraction. Don’t forget to try popular baseball snacks served at the food court located right behind the home screen. Lucky tourists might even get a chance to catch the local teams in action.

Capitol Theatre

Built in 1921, Capitol Theatre is counted amongst the oldest ones still in operation. The building despite its relatively smaller size is a marvel of old age architecture. The theatre still plays movies and hosts stand-up comedy shows, dance nights and recitals.

Cliff Stephens Park

Cliff Stephens Park is picturesque park spread over an impressive 44 acres of land. You can embark on various hiking or biking trails located within the park or try your hand at the Frisbee Golf. Boating and fishing are also popular in the park. A family picnic inside the park could be a great idea for relaxing and bonding.

Top 5 US Cities to Celebrate the 4th of July

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One of the most exciting events celebrated across the USA is the Fourth of July. An occasion commemorating the adoption of Declaration of Independence in 1776, the National Day of the United States is associated with fireworks, parades, public speeches, family reunions, ceremonies, games, fairs, picnics and concerts!

San Diego

With parades, musical shows, firecrackers, fairs and other activities all around, San Diego is among the best places to enjoy the annual Fourth of July celebrations. From watching the extraordinary light and sound show to enjoying the spectacular firework displays to lazing around on the white sand beaches, the city has everything to make your day special.

San-Diego

Annual Bay Boom Fireworks Show, Ocean Beach July 4th Celebrations, SeaWorld San Diego 4th of July Fireworks, San Diego Country Fair 4th of July Celebrations, Red, White and Boom, and Oceanside’s Independence Day Parade are some of the top events celebrating the American Independence Day. The Big Bay Boom is the biggest fireworks show in San Diego.

Las Vegas

Street parades, music and dance shows and firework displays – Independence Day celebrations and parties in Las Vegas begin almost a week prior to the day!

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The parades usually feature caricature artists, face painters and stilt walkers. The High Roller, Caesars Palace and T- Mobile Arena are among the many spots where you can enjoy incredible fireworks.

New Orleans

New Orleans’ Fourth of July celebrations are best highlighted by the duelling barges firework show across the Mississippi River. Some of the best places to spot the shooting fireworks are the Woldenberg Park, Moon Walk and the other side of the river in Algiers.

New York

From stnning ufireworks over the scenic skyline to the national parade and music and dance shows to food festivals, NYC has a lot going on for the celebrations. Watch the fireworks shot from barges positioned on the East River all the way to the top of the sky! The Brooklyn Bridge Park, Berry Park, Brooklyn Heights and Brooklyn Promenade, Surf City and the Grand Ferry Park are among the best spots to enjoy the spectacular firework show along with other amazing events. Don’t miss the traditional cuisine served during the festival at the city restaurants!

Chicago

From illuminating the city with vibrant lights to spectacular firework shows and light and sound events to baseball games, everyone celebrates Fourth of July in Chicago in their own way. Visit the Navy Pier, Itasca, Skokie, Evanston and Glen Ellyn and have some Independence Day fun. The Northwest Fourth Fest is another exciting place to be during the celebrations.

5 Popular Attractions on Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands

Phuket

Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands, an island group, is a perfect holiday destination for those looking for an idyllic beach side setting and terrific weather conditions. Nestled amidst Phuket Island and the Strait of Malacca, this beautiful island group is home to some of the most stunning beaches, attractive corals, traditional markets and other interesting attractions.

Phi Phi Market

Phi Phi Market is one of the most visited shopping spots on the island. Located in the tiny Tonsai Village, this market features a wide range of local and exotic products as well as fruits, veggies, seafood and items of daily use. Besides, you can buy readymade snacks like fried skewers and sautéed meat. It is a must visit for any tourist who wish to enjoy the charming atmosphere of the area and intermingle with the locals.

Maya Bay

Known for its stunning white beaches and hidden corals, Maya Bay is among the top attractions on the island. Owing to the exceptionally clear ocean water and low lying water current, this bay offers visitors a chance to indulge in several interesting water sports such as snorkelling, diving, surfing and swimming. A number of hotels, restaurants and shacks can also be found here. Guided boat tours and private cruises are available on demand as well.

Bamboo Island

Popularly known as ‘Koh Pai’ in Thai, Bamboo Island is a stunning tropical paradise much loved by the travellers. Shaped like a heart surrounded by pristine blue waters from all sides, this beautiful island has a stunning beach and shops, restaurants and attractive reefs. Snorkelling is particularly famous here. Boat tours and overnight trips to the surrounding islands are also available.

Viking Cave

Viking Cave is among the most notable attractions on Phi Phi Islands. Taking its name from sculptures and paintings of ancient sailors and warriors who took shelter in the cave at the time of storms, this interesting cave is a photographer’s delight and a traveller’s paradise. Boat rides, guided tours and private cruise tours are available for the ones willing to know more about the cave.

Moo Dee Bay

One of the most secluded beaches here on the Phi Phi Islands is the Moo Dee Bay. Due to its location, on the east coast of Koh Phi Phi Don, and low lying ocean current, the beach offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy different water adventures including snorkelling and scuba diving. A guided boat tour is one of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of the beach and its surrounding landscape.

Four Reasons You Must Visit Singapore

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Popularly known as ‘The Lion City’, Singapore is a beautiful fusion of culture and modernity. From beautiful temples to sky-high skyscrapers and old school shophouses to wooden markets, Singapore is a terrific travel destination that is loved all over the world. For those of you planning a holiday, here are four interesting reasons why you must visit this amazing city-state.

Melting pot of cultures

From weekly markets to annual festivals and traditional gatherings, Singapore is truly a melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities. With several different tribes and religious groups living here harmoniously, this beautiful city has some of the most fascinating cultural and religious emblems, such as temples, churches and monasteries. Music, food and language here are classic examples of constant interactions and exchanges that have been taking place here for long.

Nightlife

In the evenings, the city transforms into a lively and vivacious hub. Featuring an exciting range of nightclubs, bars, clubs and cafes, Singapore promises an incredible nightlife to all. For the ones willing to enjoy the beautiful skyline along with the stunning vistas of the surrounding landscape, rooftop bars are the best places to be. While restaurants can be found scattered across the length and breadth of the city, beach bars primarily located on Sentosa Island are a must visit.

Cuisines and delicacies

Laksa, Satay, Char Kway Teow, Hookien Mee, Rojak, Bak kut Teh, Chilli Crab, Cury Puff and Ais Kacang are among the must try dishes in Singapore. Expectedly, the seafood here on this island is splendid. A true taste of Singaporean cuisine can be enjoyed at the popular Hawker Centre. From open air seating to river side restaurants to food stalls and street vendors, Singapore offers a wide variety of dining choices.

Art and design

Singapore is home to some wonderful art galleries and museums and regularly hosts large traditional fairs. Art Plural Gallery, Future Perfect, ARNDT Singapore, The Drawing Room and Barnadas Huang are among the most visited art galleries in the city. For the ones interested in knowing the history of the city, the National Museum of Singapore is the place to be.

Interesting things to do during your layover in Dubai Airport

Dubai-airport

While those tall skyscrapers, interesting architecture and giant shopping malls are best enjoyed on a long holiday in Dubai, a few hours’ stopover in this ultra-modern city isn’t a bad deal either. Here is a list of things to do and enjoy while you’re in transit in Dubai.

Enjoy the surroundings

Dubai International Airport offers free Wi-Fi access to the travellers. You can stream movies of your choice and enjoy music before boarding your flight. For the ones who have a long layover, there is the option of visiting the world’s second largest choreographed fountain, The Dubai Fountain, the tallest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa and other key tourist attractions of Dubai. Transit passengers can get a 96-hour visa at the Dubai airport. For more information on transit visa for British national, visit the FCO website.

Shop till you drop

A haven for shopaholics, Dubai International Airport is home to a wide selection of electronics, beverages, chocolates, perfumes, cosmetics, liquor and other stuff. A few hours’ stopover at this international airport surely promises a delightful experience but if there’s sufficient time before your next flight, things can get even more interesting for you as you can visit the nearby malls and old souks.

Wine and Dine

While in Dubai, enjoy a range of traditional as well as global cuisines at the famous restaurants and cafes. With some of the most terrific eateries located around the airport, it’s easy to treat your taste buds to the best of Arabic cuisine and popular dishes. Some of the airlines with stopovers in Dubai offer special discounted access to the airport lounges and bars. Make the most of your layover in Dubai and enjoy a fine dining experience in the emirate!

Lounge Around

For the ones on a quick stopover at Dubai airport, the best thing to do would be to laze around at the airport. Grab a quick bite along with your favourite beverage and wait for your next flight. The health club and snoozecubes on Terminal 1 of the airport add to your overall experience of the journey.

Top things to do in Myanmar

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From pristine beaches and ancient architecture to delicious cuisines and colourful festivals, a holiday in Myanmar is truly an unforgettable experience. For those of you heading to this tropical paradise, here is a list of few interesting and fascinating things to do in Myanmar.

Beaches and Beyond

Myanmar is home to some of the most exotic and magnificent beaches in Asia. Offering visitors a perfect escape from the busy city life, the stunning white sand beaches here are great for sunbathing and enjoying numerous water sports such as scuba diving, snorkelling, and deep-sea diving. Ngapali Beach, Chaung Tha Beach, Ngwe Saung Beach and Sittwe are among the most popular beaches in the country. You can also spot some of the most luxurious resorts and hotels, and famous restaurants on these beaches.

Adventures and excursions

Owing to its long coastline and scenic mountain ranges, Myanmar promises a great time to the nature lovers, inundating them with experiences full of adventure and excitement. From hot air balloon rides to river rafting and trekking, Myanmar has a lot in store for adventure enthusiasts. For those willing to experience the rich wildlife of the country, exciting excursions and safari tours to the interiors of the jungles are available as well.

Festivals and Celebrations

Myanmar is a country which loves to live it up and has a long list of fascinating events and festivals, which offer a glimpse into the popular traditions and customs of the locals here. Thingyan Festival, Ananda Pagoda Festival, Salone Festival, Kakku Pagoda Festival, Full Moon Day of Waso and Tazaungdaing festival are some of the most popular festivals celebrated in this country.

Sightseeing

From Buddhist temples to ancient pagodas and cultural sites to monasteries, Myanmar is teeming with some of the most beautiful and interesting attractions. Most of these ancient structures are symbolic of the rich legacy and time-honoured traditions of the country. Shwemawdaw Paya, Shwenandaw Monastery, Inle Lake, Ananda Temple, Taung Kalat, Shwedagon Pagoda, Mahamuni Buddha Temple, Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple and Dhammayangyi Temple are among the must visit spots in the country.

5 Unusual But Interesting Attractions in Bangkok

Bangkok is home to some of the kookiest, craziest and out rightly bizarre attractions. Take a look!

Attractions in Bangkok

Human Body Museum

It could get a little weird but the Human Body Museum is one of the most interesting sites in the city. Located in the tiny town of Siam Square, this museum is famous for its permanent exhibitions and numerous informative workshops. The exhibition of 14 dissected human bodies, 16 standing human skeletons and over 130 parts are major attractions here. Not for the faint hearted though.

Erawan Museum

A classic example of traditional architecture, Erawan Museum is less unusual and more unknown. Constructed over a period of 10 years, the museum is famous for its giant three headed elephant art display. There are three storeys within the complex and each one contains a wide range of collectables, antiques and religious objects belonging to Khun Lek Viriyapant (ancient ruler of Bangkok).

Wat Pariwat

A temple dedicated to footballer David Beckham, Wat Pariwat is one of the most interesting places to visit in Bangkok! Constructed in 1998 by an avid football fan, it is known for featuring several statues, paintings, photographs and sculptures of the English footballer. While the temple is popular among tourists, most locals especially football enthusiasts visit here to seek blessings from the Beckham before their matches and trials!

Forensic Museum

Popularly known as the ‘Museum of Death’, Forensic Museum is one of the creepiest yet fascinating attractions in Bangkok. Located on the west bank of Chao Phraya River, the sinister exhibition is for travellers looking for something really unusual. From preserved babies affected by genetic disorders to long tape worms and a massive human testicle affected by elephantiasis, the exhibits here are surely something else.

Sathorn Unique Tower

Sathorn Unique Tower is an unfinished skyscraper in Bangkok. It was planned a high-rise complex but the construction was halted in 1997 due to financial reasons. It never got built and now enjoys the reputation of a haunted incomplete building. The views from the top, however, are incredibly wonderful.