Jordan is a land of World Heritage Sites, delightful desert landscapes and friendly towns, several of them fast emerging as red-hot tourist destinations. Here are five specific reasons to book holiday packages to Jordan. Petra – one of the 7 new wonders of the world Located in the south-western desert of Jordan, Petra is a popular historical and archaeological city delighting visitors with its breathtaking splendour and terrific ruins. Also known as “Rose City” due to its structures carved out of sandstones, Petra is one of the most beautiful wonders of the world to discover. Listed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, this ancient city is famous for the timeless beauty of its 30 metre wide and 43 metre high Al-Khazneh temple and nearby historical spots such as Dead Sea and Madaba. Amman – a haven of Middle Eastern arts and culture The capital of Jordan, Amman, with a long history dating back to 13th century BC, is an exciting place for the history buffs. Home to interesting Greek and Roman ruins, museums and galleries, and old souks and markets, Amman offers a glimpse into the region’s history. This capital city is also an ideal hub for the art lovers, presenting exhibitions from Syrian, Palestinian and Iraqi artists through some prominent attractions such as I’Weibdeh and Jabal Amman. Besides rich history, the city amazes visitors with exclusive modern wonders such as luxurious malls, cafes, bars and residential districts. The wonderful ancient sites at Jerash Like Petra, Jerash is another popular reason to visit Jordan and revel in the magnificence of history dating back over 6,500 years. A few hours’ drive from the capital Amman, Jerash is the most interesting Roman site in Jordan surrounded by hilly wooden areas and fertile basins. A majestic unification of ceremonial gates, temples, theatres, colonnaded avenues and soaring hilltop temples in the city promises to take you back in time. The major highlights of Jerash include the Temple of Zeus, the South Theatre and the Hippodrome. The quintessential desert of Wadi Rum A well-renowned tourist attraction in the Middle East, Wadi Rum is one of the world’s most stunning desert landscapes and a protected desert wilderness in southern Jordan. The splendour of this desert valley is a result of many years of accumulation of dust and sand and is where you can experience the real life version of the Arabian nights! With dramatic sandstone mountains such as Jebel Um Ishrin and natural arches like Burdah Rock Bridge, this place astonishes you with a perfect blend of nature and history. Roman ruins at Umm Qais A town in Northern Jordan, Umm Qais is perched on a wonderful hilltop overlooking the Golan Heights, the Sea of Tiberias and the Yarmouk River Gorge. It is a place that delights you with everything you can expect from an immaculate desert. Known for its proximity to the ruins of the ancient Gadara, it is where history buffs can indulge in the magnificence of a large number of Roman remains. The major highlights of the town include Umm Qais Resthouse, West Theatre and Lookout Point. Besides, you can visit Ottomon Village and explore the impressive houses built around central courtyards.
Mexico, with its diverse range of pristine beaches, ancient archaeological sites and beautiful colonial cities, has become one of the world’s most fascinating travel destinations. If you are planning a trip to the country anytime soon, you need to know about some of Mexico’s most famous tourist attractions.
Palacio Nacional, the National Palace, is a government building dating back to the age of the Aztecs and reflects the rich history of Mexico. Featuring red tezontle facade and designed from a blend of different old materials, it is unsurprisingly a big delight for the history buffs. Inside the building are Diego Rivera’s murals known to be the most-visited attraction here.
An ancient Mesoamerican city, Teotihuacan is an archaeological site located around 25 miles outside the Mexico City. Often referred to as the City of the Gods, this is the most-visited cultural destination in Mexico with several residential compounds and scores of pyramid temples. The important monuments of the city you should not miss visiting here are the Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl.
With a fine mix of architectural styles such as baroque, neoclassical, and Mexican Churrigueresque, Catedral Metropolitana stands tall as one of the most iconic structures of the country. The major highlights of this historical structure are 14 chapels, five naves, a painting by popular Spanish artist, Bartolome Esteban Murillo, and underground catacombs. It is open daily and you can spend from an hour to a full day here depending on your interest in Mexican history and architecture.
Located to the south of Mexico City, Chinampas, Xochimilco in Spanish, are raised agricultural fields between canals. These are known as the floating gardens of the Aztecs where you can ride vibrant boats along the canals and hire a mariachi band for a more enjoyable experience. Xochimilco is also where you can explore a smaller village outside the city.
Museo Frida Kahlo
Also known as the Blue House for its cobalt-blue walls, Museo Frida Kahlo is a historical and art museum which used to be the family home of the popular artist, Frida Kahlo. Dating back to 1904, the building is decorated with Mexican arts and crafts and thus, reflects the rich culture of the country. If history is something that excites you the most, it is an ideal place to explore and treat your eyes with the timeless art of the country.
Comprising of over 1,000 coral islands, 26 ring shaped atolls and many tiny islets, the Maldives is the beautiful holiday paradise of the Indian Ocean. Most loved for its beaches, corals, blue lagoons, warm hospitality and a rich cultural charm, this island destination promises spectacular experiences for all. Here is a list of the islands that tourists must visit while on their holidays to Maldives.
Famed for its stunning architectural wonders which include old monuments, mosques and contemporary buildings, Malé is the beautiful capital city of the Maldives. Home to some prominent structures and complexes dating back to the early colonial era, the city is one of the best places to learn about the history of the island. Malé Friday Mosque, Tsunami Monument, Islamic Centre, Munnaaru and National Museum are among the top attractions here.
Best known for its magical ‘Sea of Stars’, Vaadhoo is a gorgeous coastal retreat in the Maldives. With its blue waves and beautiful sandy shores, Vaadhoo promises a truly fascinating experience to the guests. Besides enjoying water sports, a romantic stroll on the beach with your loved one, or a candle lit dinner under moonlight is perhaps the most cherished experience here. The place is only a 15-minute speed boat ride from Velana International Airport in Malé.
Popularly known as scuba-diving Island, Biyadhoo is one of the most popular resort islands in the Maldives. Best known for its surreal surroundings and serene beaches, this coastal retreat is the perfect spot for the beach lovers and adventure sport enthusiasts. Kandooma Thila, Kandooma Caves and Guraidhoo Kandu are few of the well-known diving sites on the island. Besides, there’s abundance of vegetation growth especially bananas, mangoes, coconuts, cabbage, tomatoes and cucumbers in Biyadhoo. Snorkelling, windsurfing, catamaran sailing, and canoe paddling are other water sports enjoyed here.
Home to some of the most beautiful overwater bungalows and water villas, Fihalhohi is a true paradise for the couples. Surrounded by turquoise blue ocean waters and promising views of a breathtaking landscape, a stay here means memories of a lifetime! Besides sunbathing and relaxing on the beaches, you can try diving here in the waters around the island. Then there are different spas here, making sure you have a relaxing and rejuvenating time.
Sitting on the Vaavu atoll, Alimatha is another beautiful resort island in the country. Known for its sun-kissed beaches, gorgeous lagoons and clear waters, this island makes sure you have a great time with your loved ones, taking in the picturesque views and enjoying the different water sports. Snorkelling and scuba-diving are two of the most popular water sports here. Offering a range of massages and spa therapies, several wellness centres and spas can be found all across the island.
Dotted with some of the most pristine beaches, beautiful lagoons and attractive corals, Veligandu is one of the finest honeymoon destinations in Maldives. Boasting a range of thrilling water sports and other interesting activities, a visit to this beautiful island is truly a wonderful experience. Scuba-diving and snorkelling are quite popular here. While you are here, make sure you savour the delicious food including fish and pork dishes at the popular restaurants and streetside shacks.
An ideal place to enjoy those long walks on the beach with your loved one, Nalaguraidhoo is the perfect escape for the newlyweds and couples in general. Lying on the South Ari atoll, with lush greenery and shiny waters, this island is an ideal spot to enjoy the best of sun, sand and surf. Swimming with the dolphins, snorkelling along the reefs and feeding the rays as well as enjoying a range of water activities like windsurfing, canoeing, diving and jet skiing are top pursuits at Nalaguraidhoo.
Locally translated as ‘Island of the Areca nut palms’, Fuvahmulah is another beautiful island in the Maldives. Known for its gorgeous beaches, attractive lagoons and hidden corals, this beautiful retreat offers the travellers a chance to enjoy a range of exciting water sports. Thoondu, Dhadimagi Kilhi, Gemmiskiy and The Havitta are among the popular points of tourist interest on the island.
Regarded as a natural wonderland as its features some of the most diverse landscapes on the planet, Chile has become a popular tourist spot in South America, primarily among nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. From the world’s driest place, the Atacam Desert to the mystifying ancient statues of Easter Island, the country has many exquisite offerings to delight visitors. Here’s a list of a few of them.
Famed for its 887 extant monumental statues called moai, this Chilean island is one of the most isolated islands on earth lying thousands of miles off the coast, roughly halfway to Tahiti. It is officially a territory of Chile which presents an opportunity for the history buffs to explore the captivating history and the traditions of Rapa Nui. Here peace and adventure seekers can bathe in the crystal-clear sea, walk on the pristine white beaches and enjoy adventure activities such as snorkelling and diving.
The third largest city of Chile, Valparaiso is a historic seaport destination situated on the Pacific coast of the central region of Chile and sprawling up the sides of 42 hilltops. Loved for its immaculate beauty, the city presents a bohemian culture, and offers stunning seaside views. With a maze of streets and cobblestone alleyways, the city makes for a mesmerising holiday destination in the country offering travellers a glimpse of the rich architectural and cultural legacy of Chile.
The capital and the largest city of Chile, Santiago is situated between the Andes and the Pacific and makes for an ideal luxury holiday destination in the country. Home to the country’s cultural and entertainment hubs, Santiago has some of the region’s best museums and galleries and offers terrific shopping opportunities for the guests. Besides, the city is home to top quality restaurants and bars.
A true paradise for ocean lovers, Arica is the northernmost beach town of Chile and is known as the City of Eternal Spring. With its warm and sunny weather all year round, this heavenly oasis draws the attention of peace seekers from all around. While it is an ideal getaway for adventure enthusiasts to indulge in swimming, wind surfing, scuba diving, paragliding, sport fishing, biking, trekking and much more, a number of wildlife sanctuaries here, majorly Lauca National Park, are sure to enthral the wildlife lovers as well.
Osorno and the Lake District
The Lake District and its one of the oldest cities among four major ones, Osorno, are a peaceful paradise to explore in the country of Chile. With its marvellous vistas of deep blue mountain lakes, snow-capped mountains and alerce forests, the Lake District proves to be a perfect place to relax and rejuvenate with the nature’s bliss. While a collection of luxurious resorts ensures a memorable stay here, year-round sports thrill tourists with breathtaking adventures.
A celebration is the best window to the culture of a place. But some celebrations and festivals go beyond and actually become an iconic symbol that come to represent that culture and the people. Below is a list of worldwide festivals that are not restricted to a single country or culture but have transcended into global phenomena, tempting all travellers to experience them at least once in their lifetime!
Referred to as ‘Fat Tuesday’, ‘Pancake Tuesday’ and ‘Shrove Tuesday’, Mardi Gras is one of the most celebrated festivals across the world. Characterised by parades and parties, the event marks the period before the fasting season of Lent. Belgium, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Sweden and United States are some of the places where massive Mardi Gras celebrations are held.
Halloween is a traditional festival celebrated all over the world. Observed on 31st October every year, this extremely popular festival is best characterised by costume parties, lighting bonfires and apple bobbing. Playing trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns and watching horror movies are some of the most popular traditions associated with the festival.
St. Patricks Day
Held annually on 17th March, St Patricks Day is a religious and cultural festival originated in Ireland. Also known as Feast of Saint Patrick, the festival is characterised by grand parades, and music and dance sessions. Wearing green clothes and accessories are customary practices associated with the festival since the early 16th century. Along with Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, the Caribbean, Canada, South America, Scotland and Britain celebrate the day with much enthusiasm.
Marking the Thai New Year, Songkran is one of the best loved festivals of Thailand and remains particularly popular among the tourists in the country. Held annually on 13th April, this festival will treat you to the region’s incredible festivities that include fun-filled water-fights and general revelries. Along with Thailand, Singapore is the best place to enjoy Songkran celebrations.
First held in 1810, Oktoberfest is the largest Volksfest in the world. Best known for the grand parades, fairs and other events, this festival is celebrated for 16-18 days across the world with perhaps the most special festivities in Bavaria and Munich, Germany. Beer barrel tapping and riflemen parade are the most famous highlights at the fest. Most breweries only offer specially crafted beer during the festival period.
Held annually before Lent, Rio Carnival is one of the biggest annual celebrations in the world. Famed for its grand samba school parades, choreographed dances, live shows, and fests and fairs, the Carnival has people from all corners of the globe land in Brazil. Beautifully dressed dancers, decorated flags and folk songs are major highlights of the festival.
Popularly known as ‘Shangyuan Festival’, Lantern Festival is another top global event. Held on the 15th day of the 1st month of the lunar calendar, this cultural festival is celebrated by flying beautifully decorated lanterns, singing and dancing and feasting. As a part of popular tradition, children carry paper lanterns to temples, solve riddles and enjoy games and sports. Also on the day, people visit the local temples in order to offer prayers to the local deity. Tangyuan, a giant ball made of rice filled with sesame paste, peanut butter and sweet red bean paste is a must try dish during the festival.
Held annually across different cities of Spain, La Tomatina is a fun festival celebrated with tomato! First held in August 1945, this popular event is billed as the world’s biggest food fight and is celebrated with much enthusiasm in Spain. Throwing smashed tomatoes on each other, singing and dancing, and partying and feasting is what this festival is all about.
One of the largest producers of wine in the world, South Africa remains a dream holiday destination for wine lovers. Once you are here, it could be a rewarding experience to tour some of the country’s most famous wineries. Read on to know more.
Jordan Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
Producing great wines for over 300 years, Jordan Wine Estate is one of the oldest wineries in South Africa. Chameleon Sauvignon Blanc – Chardonnay, Chameleon Rosé, Chameleon Cabernet – Merlot and Chameleon No Added Sulphur Merlot are few of the most popular wines produced here. Also, there’s a restaurant and bakery within the complex. Besides, the winery organises wine tasting events regularly.
Boekenhoutskloof Winery, Franschhoek
Established in 1776, Boekenhoutskloof Winery is another old winery in South Africa. Known for its extensive collection of wines including a few vintage ones, this place produces gems like Chocolate Block (The wine with secrets to keep), The Wolftrap (ancient jaws await), Porcupine Ridge (named after a celebrated local) and Boekenhoutskloof (The Story of Seven Chairs). Also, there’s an in-house tasting room. Wine tasting tours and events are popular activities here.
Rustenberg Wines, Stellenbosch
Rustenberg Wines is one of the most popular wineries in South Africa. It is an ideal place to treat yourself to some amazing wines. Five Soldiers, Peter Barlow, John X Merriman, Buzzed Kloof Syrah, Stellenbosch Sauvignon Blanc, Stellenbosch Roussanne, RM Nicholson and Red Muscadel are best loved wines produced here. For the ones who wish to learn about the process of wine making, there’s an on-site cellar house.
Chamonix Wine Farm, Franschhoek
Producing a diverse range of exclusive wines and world famous spirits, Chamonix Wine Farm is among the most popular wine growing regions in the country. Lying in the heart of Cape Winelands, it produces big sellers like Chardonnay Unoaked 2017, Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Chardonnay 2016, Chardonnay Reserve 2016 and Reserve White 2015. Along with wine tasting, you can enjoy a range of local and international delicacies at the farm’s on-site restaurant.
Cape Point Vineyards, Cape Town
Known for its terrific location and of course, incredible wines, Cape Point Vineyards is another popular vineyard in South Africa. Lying in the heart of Noordhoek, it is home to some of the best vintage wines in the country. Cape Point Vineyards Cape Town Sauvignon Blanc, Cape Point Sauvignon Blanc Reservsbr copye and Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh are among the best wines you can enjoy here. There’s a wine shop from where you can buy wine for your friends and family. The wine tasting room here operates from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm and allows you to enjoy freshly prepared wine.
GlenWood Vineyards, Franschhoek
With its wine exported to 12 different countries, GlenWood Vineyards is a South African winery that certainly deserves a mention. Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2016, Chardonnay Unoaked 2017, Merlot 2017, Semillon / Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Grand Duc, Shiraz Vigneron’s Selection 2016 and Chardonnay Vigneron’s Selection 2016 are some of the top sellers produced here. Besides, there’s an in-house restaurant where you can enjoy some amazing delicacies.
Dornier Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
A popular boutique style winery famed for its preserved wine, Dornier Wine Estate is yet another well-known wine estate in South Africa. With its exclusive selection of wines prepared using fresh grapes and other ingredients, this place remains a major attraction among wine lovers. Among others, Dornier CMD, Donatus White, Donatus Red, Dornier Chenin Blanc, Dornier Merlot, Dornier Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot, Dornier Equanimity Cabernet Sauvignon, Cocoa Hill Chenin Blanc and Cocoa Hill Red are the must try wines here.
Dieu Donne Vineyard, Franschhoek Valley
Dieu Donne Vineyard produces some delicious wines, such as Dieu Donné Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Dieu Donné Chardonnay Unwooded 2017, Dieu Donné Chardonnay 2017 and Dieu Donné Rosé 2017. Then there’s an on-site restaurant serving authentic food from all over the world. Also, the place has a wine tram that takes you across the site and the nearby locations.
A melting pot of diverse cultures and traditions, Singapore is an ideal city break destination in the Fareast. A perfect place for adventure enthusiasts, foodies and cultural explorers, this beautiful city-state boasts an exciting range of things for people to experience and enjoy. Those of you heading to Singapore, here is a list of top things you can explore here.
Iconic colonial buildings, magnificent Chinese shophouses, splendid theme parks, and interesting museums – there is so much to see in the terrific city that sightseers will be spoilt for choice. Gardens by Bay, the Universal Studios, Merlion Park, ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands, Helix Bridge and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay are some of the city’s most famous attractions. Also, do pay a visit to the Old Parliament House, the oldest surviving building in Singapore.
Beaches may not be the first thing that comes to mind when people think of Singapore, but the city has some terrific beaches which are not much talked about. Mostly located on the Sentosa Island, these beaches promise a great time to the travellers interested in sand and surf. Palawan, Tanjong, Siloso, Changi, Punggol, Lazarus and St John’s are among the most popular beaches in Singapore. Palm trees, suspension bridges and shacks, no doubt, add to the beauty of these beaches.
Nature and Wildlife
Home to around 23,000-28,000 species of terrestrial species, 40,000 non-microbial organisms and 12,000-17,000 marine animals, Singapore is a city blessed with the best of nature and wildlife. Be it amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, freshwater fish or butterflies, you’ll find all of them in the region. Among other places, Jurong Bird Park and Singapore Zoo are the best spots to witness these amazing creatures in their natural habitat. Night Safari and River Safari are popular among wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Incorporating elements from different cultural and ethnic groups, Singaporean cuisine is a major highlight for tourists from all over the world. Bak Kut Teh, Wanton Mee, Fried Carrot Cake, Dim Sum, Kaya Toast, Crabs, Laksa, Curry Fish Head, Satay, Bak Chor Mee and Oyster Omelette are some of the most loved delicacies in the city. Along with the trips to the restaurants scattered around the city, make sure you visit the popular streetside eateries in the region for Singaporean delicacies.
Teeming with open markets, posh malls, quaint boutiques and streetside stores, Singapore is a paradise for shopaholics and easily one of the best shopping destinations in the world. Places like Orchard Road, Little India, Chinatown Street Market, VivoCity, Haji Lane, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and Clarke Quay are the spots to hit if you wish a good shopping expedition. From independent fashion labels to eclectic collection of goods to antiques and artefacts, you can find everything in Singapore. Also, if you are looking for some unique souvenirs and gifts, make sure you visit the weekly flea markets held in different parts of the city.
Festivals and events in Singapore are celebrated with much pomp and show. Offering an insight into the cultural practices and traditions of the city are festivities like Chinese New Year, Thaipusam, Vesak Day, Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji. Sports events and food festivals are held regularly here as well. Singapore Heritage Fest, Singapore International Film Festival and Singapore Fashion Festival are few of the popular socio-cultural events here.
Leisure & Recreation
Besides sightseeing, the city offers a whole range of exciting recreational activities for people of all age groups. Be it enjoying a night safari, or snorkelling with tropical fishes or taking part in other water sports, there’s a lot to be enjoyed in the city. Universal Studios and Escape Theme Park remain two of the city’s most popular theme parks.
Known as the city where ‘East meets West’, Singapore’s culture is a combination of varied customs and traditions. Mostly influenced by the South Asian, Malay, Eurasian and South Asian traditions, culture in Singapore is best highlighted in its temple complexes and other religious structures found across the region. Chinatown, National Museum of Singapore, Asian Civilization Museum and Sun Yat Sun Nanyang Memorial Hall are few of the popular cultural attractions in Singapore. Sri Mariamman Temple and Sri Thendayuthapani Temple are two of the most well-known Hindu temples here.
Travel Essentials for Singapore
Here are a few things you must take note of before heading to this beautiful city.
- Singapore Dollar is the official used currency here. It comes in denominations of S$2, S$5, S$10, S$50, S$100, S$1,000 and S$10,000.
- 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and S$1coins can also used.
- 7% GST refund can be claimed by tourists on essential goods and other products.
- English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil are the official languages in the city.
- Weather in Singapore is hot and humid all year round.