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7 Awesome Things to do in Malaysia that makes Malaysia a must visit destination

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A trip to Malaysia guarantees you lifetime of memories to cherish. There’s so much to see, do and enjoy that selecting the best is no mean task. Be it food, adventures, shopping, or entertainment, Malaysia has everything in abundance. Blessed with exceptional natural beauty, the island country beckons mountain hikers, nature lovers and laid- back holiday seekers alike.

Omitting the most famous touristy things to do, we have brought to you the list of 7 awesome things that you’ll best enjoy only in Malaysia.

1. Explore the best of Cameron Highlands

Yes, we all know Genting highlands. It’s very beautiful, but head up north from Genting to explore the mystic Cameron highlands which is in its full might and beauty between December and February. Greenery as far as you can see and luscious landscapes will captivate your senses. Enjoy jungle trekking, take a stroll in the sprawling tea plantations, or simply soak in the mesmerizing sights of the stunning viewpoints.

Traveler’s Tip: if you are not a crowd person, avoid the best time to visit Cameron highlands. Instead, go during the off season. The beauty is the same and you get all the required time and privacy for a personal rendezvous with nature.

2. Climb the Mount Murud

One of the last unspoiled places in Malaysia- Sarawak’s Kelabit highlands are full of rich flora and a beautiful climate that takes you away from all the worries of the world. The first ever climber on the mountain- Eric Mjoherg described the place as an unforgettable paradise. Going on a trek here is one of the nature’s most rewarding experiences ever.

Traveler’s Tip: to celebrate the grandeur of the place, every year an annual pilgrimage is taken to the mountain and therefore, there are various wooden houses built to accommodate over 1500 people. So in case you want to stay for the night, no problems!

3. Visit the amazing Batu Caves and have the best Chinese meal outside China

Just when you thought the iconic Batu Caves is the only good thing you should be looking forward to, you get the surprise of one of the best Chinese meals right at the foot of the Batu caves. Almost a legend, Pan Heong restaurant serves the most authentic and delicious Chinese meals. Take the trek of ardent 272 steep steps to Batu caves, admire the mesmerizing skyline from the top point and come back with a giant hunger to do complete justice to the sumptuous food at Pan Heong.

Traveler’s Tip: try the Chinese fried flat noodles. They call it Sang Har Kwey Teow. Its divine, and the quantity is good enough to satiate your giant appetite.

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4. Admire the shades of blue oceans at the Pulau Payar Marine Park

While on your visit to Langkawi, Pulau Payar Marine Park is one of the best things to do. It’s an amazing place to try the exciting water sports. The place has an exceptionally beautiful marine life and truly magnificent corals. Whether or not you are interested to dive into the water or test your guts with the adventure sports, you still have to visit the park to soak in the beauty of the place and the variety of different shades of blue waters that surrounds it.

Traveler’s Tip: the island is uninhabited and therefore, there are no hotels or resorts found. The nearest island is Langkawi which is an hour away, and you will have to take a speed boat ride to and fro from the island.

5. Take a river Safari at the Kinabatangan River in Sabah

Home to the world’s most diverse ecosystems and the longest river of Sabah, the Kinabatangan forest adjoining the river is one of the country’s most famous wildlife sanctuary and you can easily spot many exotic species like Asian elephants, Proboscis monkey, and Sumatran Rhinos. Take a river Safari to discover the astounding ecosystem of the place and the abundant wildlife.

Traveler’s Tip: go on a night safari. Its fun, its adventurous and you can spot many nocturnal animals in their natural habitat. Most of the good tour operators offer this as a part of itinerary in their Malaysia Holiday Packages. So, don’t forget to ask for it.

6. Take a walk in one of the world’s oldest and prehistoric Rainforest in Pehang

Estimated to be over 130 million years old, the Taman Negara national park is one of the world’s oldest rainforests. Discover the mind blowing landscapes, rich flora and fauna, and Mount Tahan- the highest mountain in Malaysian Peninsula. Enjoy a variety of eco- adventure activities such as rapid shooting, canoeing, mountain and jungle trekking. Explore ancient limestone caves and also visit the indigenous community settlement of Orang asli.

Traveler’s Tip: take a walk along the world’s longest canopy to have the mesmerizingly beautiful view of the forest. Also, spend a night in the observation hide to catch a glimpse of the nocturnal animals in their habitat.

7. Visit Sarawak Cultural Village- the living Cultural Museum

Its hard to come across such a lively way of cultural explanation. Located in the foothills of the mighty Mount Santubong, the Sarawak Cultural Village is an award winning live display of the cultural heritage of Sarawak. Beautiful costumes, amazing handicrafts, traditional lifestyles and dwellings of the main communities showcasing their ethnic diversity; visiting the Sarawak Cultural Village is definitely one of the most awesome things to do in Malaysia. The place shows exceptional live performances by local artists and it also hosts the renowned international events such as World Harvest Festival and Rainforests World Music Festival.

Traveler’s Tip: spend time at the village to soak in the ethnicity. Visit the beautiful long houses and take a peek into the lives of different ethnic tribes. Don’t forget to take part in the interactive music workshop in the Rainforest Music House. The experience is every bit worth your time.

To completely experience the diversity of Malaysia, you have to travel it like a local and not as a tourist. Skip the regular attractions and go for the experiences that brings you closer to the roots of the country. Explore the abundant natural resources of this magnificent island and experience the tranquility of the soul of Malaysia.

Featured image credit: Tony Jones, via Wikimedia Commons

First image credit: By User Ac101 on en.wikipedia [GPL (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Top Five Unexplored Honeymoon Destinations in India

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Marriage is a divine relation that brings together two souls with a perpetual bond for lifetime. As you start a new chapter of your life you do it with merriment and alacrity. With a new person in your life you require understanding and bonding as you gradually move ahead with your life.

Honeymoon is that part of the marriage which gives you space to spend some time with your spouse. It is a traditional holiday to celebrate the marriage with intimacy and seclusion that helps establish love in the relationship. Here is a list of some unexplored and unusual honeymoon destinations in India that will make your intimate vacation endearing.

1. Kovalam

Photo by Mehul Antani, CC BY 2.0

Kovalam is a beach town by the Arabian Sea in Thiruvananthapuram city of Kerala. The place got its name from the endless sight of coconut trees native to the place as Kovalam means “groove of coconut trees”. Kovalam is at a distance of thirteen kilometers from the capital city of Kerala and is easily accessible. The place is so serene that you can stroll under the dense canopies of coconut palms on a soft and sandy shore and savor some of the most delicious sea food dishes while listening to the rhythms of waves. With a lavish boat ride you can also explore the village life of this little town and get to know the culture and tradition of people living here. You can also pamper yourself with the native Ayurveda massages while exploring the town. With so many luxurious and romantic places to visit, honeymoon in Kovalam is truly charming.

2. Mahabaleshwar

Image credit – Balaji.B, CC BY-SA 2.0

Mahabaleshwar is a city and a municipal council in Satara district in Maharashtra. This Indian hill station is located in the Western Ghats range. With one of the few evergreen forests, it was known as the summer capital during the British Raj. Mahabaleshwar is a vast plateau bounded by valleys on all the sides and is also known as the “Sunrise Point”. The place is also famous for its delicious strawberries and romantic climate. With dense and lush hills along with valleys and viewpoints such as Table land, Kate Point, Lodwick Point, Arthur’s Seat and Venna Lake which is surrounded by trees on all the sides, Mahabaleshwar is a perfect destination for Honeymoon.

3. Lahaul and Spiti

Image credit – Shiraz Ritwik, CC BY-ND 2.0

The district of Lahaul-Spiti in Himachal Pradesh consists of the formerly separate districts of Lahaul and Spiti. Kunzum Pass with a height of 4,551 meters is the entrance of Spiti Valley from Lahaul. The district is also connected to Manali through Rohtang pass. Both regions are located at the highest point of Himachal Pradesh and Spiti is naturally the fourth lowest populated district of India which makes it nearly a perfect destination for Honeymoon. Lahaul and Spiti region is known for its traditional and historical structures and monasteries. The valley is also blessed with amazing Flora and Fauna which contributes to the natural beauty of this beautiful place.

4. Jodhpur

Image credit – Koen, CC BY-ND 2.0

It is the second largest city in Rajasthan and was formerly the seat of a princely state of the same name. Jodhpur made it to the first position of Lonely Planet’s list of most extraordinary places to stay in the year 2014. The city is also referred to as the “Blue City” due to the dramatic blue-painted houses around the mighty Mehrangarh Fort. Surrounded by a huge fortress wall, the city is known for its scenic beauty and rich cultural heritage. The city is a gateway to the wonderland of sand dunes, shrubs and rocky terrain. Jodhpur has tons of places for sightseeing like Umaid Bhawan, Girdikot, Balsmund Lake, Mahamandir and much more. With traditional folk dances and musical performances Jodhpur has everything to make your honeymoon memorable.

5. Dalhousie


Image credit – rajkumar1220, CC BY 2.0

Dalhousie is a popular hill station in Himachal Pradesh. Built on and around five hills and surrounded by snowcapped Dhauladhar Mountain range, it is a perfect summer retreat. Scottish and Victorian architecture is prevalent in the bungalows and churches of the town. Due to the town’s varying altitude it has a wide variety of flora which includes Deodars, Oaks and flowering Rhododen Drowns. Exalting rivers that twirls and spins between the lush dense woods makes for romantic views. With snowfalls during the months of December to February and star studded skies Dalhousie is one of the most romantic places for an intimate Honeymoon.

From exotic beaches, tranquil mountains, cozy deserts, and romantic weather to forts, lakes, temples and mesmerizing flora and fauna, India is flooded with endless destinations for honeymoon and therefore it is not easy to pick one. The list mentioned above will guide you through some of the most endearing honeymoon destinations.

Photo credit for featured image: By Humayunn Peerzaada AKA HumFur from Mumbai, India [CC BY-SA 2.0  (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Honeymoon Hot Spots: Five Places You’ll Want to Move to

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When choosing a vacation destination for your honeymoon, all couples want to find a place that is truly spectacular and allows you both an escape. After the stress of planning your wedding and going through the marriage process, spending some time alone together is the perfect way to start fresh in your new life as a couple. Finding the perfect place that both of you agree on can be daunting, but there are a few honeymoon hot spots that will make for beautiful and memorable locations. You might even find yourself wanting to move in.

Saint Tropez

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This coastal town is situated on the French Rivera in southeastern France for a city that is known to attract artists. You’ll be able to relax on the beach during the day, while enjoying the busy nightlife in the evenings. You can also take in the beauty of Vieux Port, which is lined with Mediterranean houses and features several cafes where you can dine outdoors near the water.

Figi

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Figi boasts turquoise waters and spectacular mountains views in one of the top locations in the world. It’s one of few places that really feel like paradise. With over 300 islands, Fiji is a great place for adventure and relaxation with serene beaches, snorkeling, and diving.

Florence, Italy

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Roam the streets of Italy hand in hand for a romantic location that is known for its spectacular architecture and friendly locals. As the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, the city welcomes visitors to explore iconic sites that include the Florence Cathedral and the expansive bell tower. You can even take an exciting bike tour together of Florence for a memorable way to explore the city.

Greece

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A magical destination for a honeymoon due to the beautiful views of the ocean and the whitewash stone homes that cascade down the cliffs, Greece is located in southeastern Europe and is home to several ancient landmarks, which include the Parthenon, Acropolis, and the Temple of Hephaestus. You can also enjoy relaxing on the white sands of Elafonissi Beach or taking a cave swim at Kleftiko Beach.

The Islands of Tahiti

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As the largest island in French Polynesia, The Islands of Tahiti feature quaint huts that are built above clear water. You’ll be able to visit black-sand beaches, two extinct volcanos, waterfalls, and romantic lagoons to take a dip in.

When planning a honeymoon, don’t be afraid to choose one of the top destinations in the world. These places are all romantic and relaxing, and you’ll be able to explore the city with your spouse and create new memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t forget to look into Fisa Pty Ltd partner visas if you and your new spouse will be staying in a new country for a long period of time. When you choose a place you both agree on, your honeymoon can be the perfect start to a perfect marriage.

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Hyderabad – The Birth Of A New Princely City

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The princely state which gave us the delicious biriyani and certain other delicacies is a stand-out city in the past and present alike, with a really bright and promising future. This rapidly developing city is competing to be among the best cities in India. This article briefly describes the transition of the city from its ancient era to its modern.

The city of Hyderabad directly resonates with a princely state feeling. This is mainly because this old city was the seat of the Nizam, the ruler of the entire princely state and the twin city of Secunderabad. This city is the cream of all the historical destinations in India. Although this old city is filthy rich with the historical building, monuments and palaces; it is also a rapidly developing city. So much so that it is believed to be giving the flamboyant and tech centres of India, Bangalore, a run for its money to take over the throne as the IT capital of India.

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Emerging as a top city in the country, this city has a lot of visitors. Although the city sees a lot of tourists, most of the visitors are normally here on a business trip. You need not worry about your stay here as there is certainly no shortage of accommodations and you could book the best one fitting your purpose and budget by making an online booking. You could just check the listings of the hotels in Hyderabad with tariff on your search engine and compare and book it via a travel website. Hyderabad plays home to two of the biggest heavyweight MNC’s in India – Microsoft and Google, have their India headquarters here, which gave it a huge surge in visitors and settlers working for such huge companies.

In the current pace that the city is growing, it is easy to overlook the historical brilliance and heritage of this city. With the spawning of numerous sky high malls and office buildings with glass facades, the whole city has a new face lift and there are constant ongoing constructions of flyovers to tackle the increasing traffic. One has to be on the look out for the historical sites specifically which can be a quick oversight with the sprawling metropolis buildings. Although if the entire purpose of visit were to witness such historical sights then it is a different story. In the quest of establishing the city on a new theme and making it an IT centre of India, there are also many facilities and establishments set up for class of people. Very often people are here for a few days to attend business meetings. This saw the establishment of various 5 star hotels in Hyderabad to cater to such businessmen and entrepreneurs. These class of people splurge on some of the finest luxurious hotel after their long tiring meetings. Hyderabad has a brilliant mix and representation of India’s rich historical past and the new emerging modern India.

 

Bageshwar – the hill town of Lord Shiva and a popular tourist destination in Uttarakhand

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Bageshwar is a small town located on the conflux of Gomti and Saryu rivers in the state of Uttarakhand. It is a religious place home to several temples with majority of them dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is considered to be the land of the lord himself. Visit the quaint town for a relaxing vacation and pick from the best hotels in Bageshwar.

Nestled in the everlasting hillocks of the great Himalayan Range Bageshwar is a small town where nature blossoms to its fullest, gusting white water rambles down through the lush green jungle, and the snow capped peaks overlook the beautiful valleys below. It is a renowned trekking destination in north India as it houses a bunch of good trekking trails that certainly are fun. It is a town and headquarter of the district that shares the same name that is Bageshwar in the state of Uttarakhand. It is an old town where religion is the foremost attribute. A large number of temples dot the region, most of which are devoted to Lord Shiva and his consort.

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Tourists have been visiting the town since long. Bageshwar is one of the hot favorite destinations that are often picked by the travelers living in Delhi, Chandigarh, and other cities in central and northern India. It is about 470 k.m. from Delhi. Plus, there exist a number of popular tourist destinations such as Nanital, Pantnagar, Almora, and Tanakpur in the neighborhood of the town. Large number of normal as well as deluxe buses operates between the destinations. The nearest railhead is the Kathgodam railway station, which is about 180 k.m. to south.

Bageshwar is a perfect destination to spend a laid-back relaxing vacation, and tourists arrive here from far and wide. There is sufficient a number of hotels in Bageshwar to cater all the lodging needs of the guests. Although the place is still lacking some of the basic parameters of modernization but there exists a large number of hotels.

Mother Nature has always been rewarding to the town. The natural beauty of the place is simply heavenly and hard to match. Photography is one of the most popular activities here. Every nook and corner of the town is beautiful with the vantage points offering most panoramic views of hills and valleys. Bageshwar means the abode of Tiger, referring to Lord Shiva. It is believed that Lord Shiva visited the place in the form of tiger and stayed here. The place where he stayed today houses a temple which is known as Bagnath Temple. It is dedicated to Lord and was built in 1450. The location is right at the confluence of Gomti and Saryu rivers, which further raises the religious importance of the temple.

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There is another temple of high reverence here, it is situated about 26 k.m. from the town and is called Baijnath Temple. The temple is also dedicated to Lord Shiva and houses the idols of him and his consort, Mata Parvati. The other important temples here are: Chandika temple, Gauri Udiyar temple, Shitla Devi temple, Hanuman temple, Ramji temple, Golu temple, and Siddhartha Dham.

Bageshwar is also known for its events and festivals. The “melas” in particular are very popular and they are perhaps the best time for a tourist to be present in the town. Most of the melas occur during some religious festival. The whole town as well as the region around gets immersed in the milieu of festivity, celebration, and tradition. The melas provide multiple opportunities to explore religious, social, and cultural ethos of the region. There are lots of things to do during melas such as shopping, enjoy local music and dance, relish good food, etc.

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Coorg – a beautiful place in Western Ghats with coffee estates spreading across miles

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Filled with undiluted natural allures and vast coffee estates and orange farms, Coorg is one ideal place to visit during holiday. It is perfect for spending a relaxing vacation in the lap of nature. Visit the place to explore it for real and pick from the best hotels in Coorg.

Coorg, or Kodagu as it is often called, is a district in the state of Karnataka. Before being a part of Karnataka, it was an independent state for a brief time period (1950-1956). The place was originally called Kodavu based on the reference of the earliest inhabitants who were called Kodavas. They were agriculturalists and warriors who headed their own chieftains. Even today agriculture remains one of the key sources of revenue with majority of the population dependent on farming and cultivation. The district has a small population; the least populous amongst the entire 30 districts in Karnataka state. Rice and Coffee are the most grown crops of the place. Since the place produces large quantities of coffee, it is for this fact the place is also just often called the “coffee bowl of India”. The coffee grown here is particularly famous for the clean beans, blue color, and the fine drinking quality. Most of the cultivation areas of the place are capped with miles long estates of coffee. Apart from coffee, the other major corps of the place are orange, pepper, paddy, and cardamom.

Coorg is about 118 k.m. from Mysore and 254 k.m. from Bangalore. Perched at an average altitude of 1525 meters from the sea level it is a part of the Western Ghats. The place is the home of misty hills, undulating streets, unspoiled forests, and acres and acres of coffee estates. The soothing climate and the untouched natural beauty earn the city the epithet of the “Scotland of India”. The rivers Kaveri and Laksmanatirtha flows through the place. They along with their tributaries provide all the required water and help the life in different forms to sustain and flourish. The dense evergreen and semi-evergreen forests are primarily made up of sandalwood trees and bamboo, and are the natural habitat of various kinds of animals, reptiles, and birds. Tigers, elephants, boars, panther, and deer are some of the most significant wildlife of the place.

The unharmed natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and the genuine hospitality of the locals generate lots of tourist interest. The endless mountain ranges are perfect for sightseeing and photography. Trekking along the wooded slopes and undulating landscapes is an interesting way to relax and refresh oneself. With the growth of tourism a number of new tourism based industries have emerged which pull huge tourists’ attention. Angling, kayaking, white water rafting, air gliding, Ayurvedic massage, etc. are the latest trends amongst the tourists. The good thing is that most of the luxury hotels in Coorg also offer tour and different leisure services to their guests making a guest’s stay an experience to remember.

Amongst the most popular places to visit in Coorg, some include: Iruppu Falls, Abbi Falls, Nisargadhama Forest, Namdroling Monastery, Nagarhole National Park, Dubare Elephant Camp, Talacauvery, Raja’s Seat, Omkareshwara Temple, Bylakuppe, Madikeri Fort, Bhagamandala, Mallalli Falls, Chelavara Falls, Nalknad Palace, Tadiandamol Peak, Bhagamandala, Unchalli Falls, Igguthappa Temple, etc. There are a number of good budget hotels in Coorg in close proximity to the prime tourist attractions. These hotels are ideal options to pick if one seeks conveniences.

Author Bio: Sandeep is an experienced travel writer and enthusiast blogger. He has explored many known and less-known places in India in the last 10 years. His experience adds to his expert knowledge on the best hotels in coorg, different travel routes through trains, flights, and road. He also specializes in off-beat places to eat and stay at. He also advises amateur tourists on travel tips.

 

Travel to Hanoi – Some Essential Information for Making a Great Trip

Travel to Hanoi – Some Essential Information for Making a Great Trip - 31 May 15

 

Planning a trip to Vietnam either starts from Hanoi or ends there. Hanoi, the capital of the colonial Indo-Chinese country Vietnam, has undergone massive changes since yesteryears and the country but the city have adapted well to the alterations. Vietnam had been crushed to bits and pieces in the Vietnam War, but the country rose up from its own ashes like the Phoenix and today it is one of the leading tourist destinations in the Asian continent. There is a unique charm about Hanoi, which is difficult to ignore. The best thing about the city is that inspite of the changes taking place; the city has been able to maintain its original personality.

Vibrant Ambience Of Hanoi – The Vietnamese Capital

The vibrancy of Hanoi is the main attraction of the city. Whether it is early in the morning or extremely late the night the city brims with activity. The streets in the city are lined by fig trees, which provide good amounts of shade on the pavements. Motorbikes are seen quite commonly in the city with almost 5-6 passengers on them. Along with bikes, cycles are also quite popular in the city. However, people who want to get the real feel of the Vietnamese capital city should prefer walking down the city. The pavements of the city are overcrowded and travelers have to elbow their way through the maddening crowd. There is a vibrant pulse in the city of Hanoi.

Exploring Hanoi – Catching Up On The Attractions And Other Things

Museums are the main attraction of Hanoi. There are innumerable museums in the city, where you can spend some quality time particularly during the summer afternoon. Some of the most popular and frequently visited museums in the city include Ho Chi Minh Museum, Vietnam Military History Museum, Vietnam Museum of Ethnography, National Museum of Vietnamese History, The Ho Chi Minh Trail Museum, Vietnamese Revolution Museum, Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum, The Vietnamese Women’s Museum and so on.

Hanoi abounds in immense natural beauty as there are lovely lakes and parks spread all across the city. Some prominent names among them include Thu Le Park and Zoo, Botanical Gardens, Hoan Kiem Lake, Bay Kau Lake, West Lake and many more.

Hanoi is also the city of pagodas including Perfume Pagoda, Tran Quoc Pagoda, Ngoc Son Pagoda, One Pillar Pagoda, Thay and Tay Phuong Pagoda, Pho Linh Tay Ho Pagoda etc.

Culinary Delights That You Can Delve Into In Hanoi

Hanoi offers excellent culinary delights to travelers visiting the Vietnamese city. From road side eateries to posh restaurants, the city has options open for all kinds of travelers and tourists. French cuisine is very popular in the city with immense varieties in the dishes. Bakery products like pastries are very popular in Hanoi. Freshly made, the pastries come in varieties of flavors catering to varying taste buds of customers. Among drinks, wine is most commonly consumed by common people and by travelers. Followed by wine, coffee is the second most popular beverage in Hanoi. The best coffee blends are available in the city for coffee lovers.

Overall, Hanoi has immense warmth and coziness and that is felt the moment you step in the city. Though people might not understand the language that you are speaking, but they are always ready to help you in the best possible manner. Make a trip to this lovely Vietnamese capital city and you will not regret this trip.

Alex loves traveling to various places of the world. He prefers making his bookings via SkyLux Travel to avail discounted business class and first class tickets. Special offers are also provided by the travel agency.

5 Things You Have to Try in Thailand

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Whenever you visit a new place, you find yourself overwhelmed with new locations to visit and new things to try. In a vast and culturally wealthy country like Thailand, prioritizing is the key to a successful visit. Among the stunning landscapes, from remote jungles to funky flat rice fields, archeological and architectural marvels such as old city ruins, Buddhist monasteries and royal palaces; it is hard to pick out what to see and in what order. In the delicious plethora known as the local cuisine, it is hard to determine what to try first, and what to try without exception. For this reason, we have compiled this short list, consisting of the 5 things everyone should do when visiting Thailand. Here’s to a great post-trip traveler’s diary, courtesy of you!

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image: https://flic.kr/p/6zHMS9

The first thing to visit when in the capital is The Great Palace. Situated in the heart of Bangkok, this remarkable structure, built towards the end of the 18th century, represents a true monument of Thai architecture and serves as a marvelous example of the skill of some of the best Thai craftsman. Within the high walls lie some of the most important ministries of the Thai government. Rare is the active bureaucratic center with entrance permissible to tourists, and The Great Palace is such a structure.

When in Bangkok, make sure to partake in its flashy nightlife. You will see Thailand in a whole new light, as a real 21st century metropolis. Beaming with great clubs, generous people and a streaming river of alcohol and tourists with one thing in mind – having a great time!

The next thing you should definitely do when in Thailand is to have a go at bartering in one of the floating markets. The boat merchants sell local goods, most often fresh fruit, coconut milk and a great variety of cooked meals. Elevate your stay in Thailand to a holiday of your dreams as you embrace the culture. Discuss prices with the merchants and learn a recipe or two, all the time sitting on a shallow wooden boat in the middle of a great river. What a sensory overload!

The Phi Phi Islands, located only an hour and a half away from Phuket by a ferryboat, are considered some of the most beautiful beach islands in Southeast Asia. They are reputed tourist attraction, visited annually by hundreds. With stunning rock formations decorating the classic tropical beaches and beautifully tranquil turquoise waters, and a spotlight in a James Bond movie, they truly are one of the most beautiful Thai jewels.

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image: https://flic.kr/p/6YHkTF

Last but not least, one of the more fun things to try out in Thailand: explore the jungle on an elephant! Sure you may have sat on an elephant when you went to the circus as a child, but the experience out in the wild, swaying under the lush jungle flora – something else entirely. These elephant treks are often parts of adventure packages, available with most tour operators, and they are often combined with rafting and a stay in wayside bungalows. And that is some Mowgli-style action right there!

Whatever you choose to do in Thailand with your own time is your choice. This list contains some of the better known, best rated experiences, in the words of Thai-trip veterans. Essentially, any exotic destination will leave you both relaxed and restless, and it is only up to you to decide how far away from the regular route you wish to step from.

Featured image credit: By Milei.vencel (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Top 7 Countries to Visit in Middle East

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Planning to have a trip to the Middle East or you are looking for the top countries in the Middle East? Don’t worry anymore because you are just about to go through the top seven countries located in this region. First of all, Middle East is taken as a region that roughly covers majority of Western Asia and Egypt. The region has generally been a major focus of world affairs and more importantly the origin of several major religions in the world like Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Below is a list of top countries in the Middle East that you can opt to visit.

United Arab Emirates

The country is located in the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula and its neighbours include Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south. The country is quite rich in oil reserves that are ranked seventh largest in the world and its economy worlds 19th highest in terms of GPD. The country also brags of its tourism sector as it continues to attract lots of travellers from across the globe. According to the World Economic Forums annual Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013, the Country’s tourism sector was ranked as one of the world’s most sustainable sector. Its Capital Dubai is the centre of attraction and its beauty is quite unmatched.

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Iran

Officially the Islamic republic of Iran is a country located in Western Asia and the second largest nation in the Middle East and the 18th largest in the world. Iran brags of being a home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations that incorporates historical sites and places spread in every corner. The most adorable city here is Tehran that continues to attract many visitors from all walks of lives due its modernity and attractions like the National Museum that introduces you to Iran’s long history. Iran’s unique architecture that combines both Persian and Islamic styles gives it a stunning outlook. The country ancient sites portray the countries diversity in terms of religion and culture.

Saudi Arabia

It’s officially known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is the largest Arab state in the western Asia and the Middle East. The nation is the only country with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast. The country brags of being the world’s dominant oil producer and exporter as well as controlling the world’s second largest hydrocarbon reserves making it as one of the world’s highest income economy.

Yemen

It’s also officially known as the Republic of Yemen, located in the Southwest Asia and the second largest country in Peninsula. The country’s territory includes more than 200 islands with Socotra being the largest one. It’s generally a developing country due to the civil wars that affected her over the years.

Syria

Officially the Syrian Arab Republic, it located in the Western Asia bordering Lebanon, turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Israel. Its capital Damascus is considered as one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world that still continues to attract lots of citizens. The country has both fertile plains and deserts without forgetting some of the high mountains in the region.

450px-Talet_harb_roundabout-cairo-egypt

Egypt

It’s a transcontinental country located both in Africa and Asia that makes it an Afro-Asiatic nation. The country is a home to a massive 86 million inhabitants making it the 15th most populous nation in the world. Majority of the inhabitants live along the Nile River where the only fertile land is found with rest of the land being covered by the Sahara desert. The country brags of having one of the oldest and longest histories of modern nation dating back to the tenth Millennium when it became one of the world’s first nation states. The country’s economy is one of the largest and diversified in the Middle East with heavy income from tourism, industry and services plus agriculture.

Bahrain

It’s an island country located close to the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It’s a kingdom in nature and syndicates both modern Arab culture and historical places. Her neighbors include Saudi Arabia that is connected to her to the west by King fahd causeway which was publicly opened on November 1986. The country is a common destination for tourist as it’s known to be housing one of the best tourist destinations in the world. Geographically, Bahrain maybe a small island country but its beauty is quite unmatched.

For those specifically visiting Bahrain need to be in possession of the Bahrain Visas which is available for application online, and visiting the other above countries located in the Middle East, all you will be required is to present yourself with their respective Visas.

Featured photo credit: Saudi http://www.flickr.com/photos/saudi/4101549/ {{cc-by-2.0}}.

Second photo credit: CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Third photo credit: CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Diving in French Polynesia: the Tuamotu Atolls

Diving with the fishes by SF Brit

French Polynesia has some very popular vacation destinations like Tahiti and Bora Bora, but any diver knows that the more remote atolls are where it’s at. Where what’s at? Awesome diving opportunities, on the Tuamotu Archipelago, that is what.
The Tuamotu islands are not very suitable for agriculture, and aside from some pearls, vanilla and copra, not a lot is grown here. Instead, the islanders make a living from all the Tuamotu islands tourism they receive as being an island paradise in French Polynesia that is off the beaten path. Fans of watersports and people looking to get away from tourist traps are the most common visitors.

Fakarava Island is one of the best diving spots in the South Pacific. Here you can find the Garuae Pass, a navigational dream, and the Tumakohua Pass, where excellent shark dives can be made at Shark’s Hole.

Rangiroa Atoll Kia Ora Pier by dany13

Rangiroa is, if anything, an even better location than the incredible Fakarava. The dominant feature of the island is the endless horizon and the vast lagoon, big enough to fit all of Tahiti, as it is not mountainous, unlike the rest of French Polynesia. It is the world’s greatest natural aquarium, where you can swim with a great number of marine creatures, but most notably, dolphins. Tiputa Pass and Avatoru Pass are the best diving sites, situated north of the atoll. Deep-sea fishing is a popular sport in Rangiroa. The most often visited lagoon on Rangiroa is the Blue Lagoon – or as some call it, “the lagoon within a lagoon”. After an hour’s boat ride from Avatoru, Rangiroa’s largest town, prepare to literally walk across a coral reef. Other than water sports, you can find Gauguin’s Pearl Farm on Rangiroa, a good alternative to the Museum of Pearls located in French Polynesian capital Papeete.
Tikehau is a rather small island, but as Charles Darwin noted, its lagoon is denser with fish than anywhere else in the region. Colorful tropical fish such as lionfish, clownfish, parrotfish, tuna, snappers, sharks and manta rays live here in great numbers, and the best place to see them is in Tuheiava Pass. As far as lagoon trips go, a trip to Ile Aux Oiseaux, the Bird Island, is at $77, and a mecca for bird-watching.

Tikhau, archipel des Tuamtus by Benoit Mahe

For a more relaxed day out on open waters, the lagoon is turquoise, clear, and straight out of a postcard. The area is home to black-tipped sharks, which are very docile, and feeding them is a fun way to spend time after a tropical lunch. Picnics on the lagoon are a popular lunch idea with most tourists, though there are a couple of options in terms of restaurants on the islands.
The islands remain relatively untouched but well equipped for tourists, so there are plenty of land activities to indulge in as well. Renting a bicycle and riding through forests of hibiscus to visit the charming local churches is a fun way to spend your time, and don’t forget to relax on the pink sands of Les Sables Roses, and try fine local wines at DomaineAmpélidacées.

Featured image credit – https://www.flickr.com/photos/cnbattson/3092362396

First photo credit: flickr.com/photos/dany13/8272514236

Second photo credit: flickr.com/photos/loulou/249803558