Friday, April 4, 2014

Ecuador – The Hidden Paradise

Ecuador in the centre of the world is a microcosm of ambiance and flavors. It’s a unique country where all cultures, peoples and landscapes of Latin America blend together to form the most perfect perfume world. Ecuador, officially known as the Republic of Ecuador is a democratic republic in northwestern South America, which has Colombia on it north border, Peru on the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. 

The Basilica of the National Vow,  "Roman Catholic church" in Quito, Ecuador
In Ecuador, life has majestically expressed itself through a variety of colors, sounds, smells and taste. Here in this hidden paradise, the people of this small country have decided that the way to keep a living paradise is in their own hands. For this, they are making every effort and are very committed to reduce waste and conserve the environment.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Ecuador is separated into four regions: Galapagos, Coast, Andes and Amazon. It is one of the 17 world's most diverse countries. You can go and enjoy a cruise, relax at a spa or can try your hand at various adventurous sports. Here one can visit a museum festival can be enjoyed or relish a typical dish which is the specialty of its heritage cities and towns. Ecuador is bordered by mountains and glaciers, jungles and forests. It has thousands of species of flora and fauna, beaches and sea. A variety of unique islands it holds that is why this place is really heaven. Here in Ecuador one can truly learn how to love Life.

Canyon Steps, BaƱos city, Ecuador
Ecuador's culture is very diverse. It is because of the multiethnic and multicultural people living in it. Total population of Ecuador is over 14 million. Out of which more than 5 ½ million live in the Sierra, 6 million and a half on the Pacific Coast, in the Amazon, there are almost 600,000 inhabitants, and about 17,000 Galapagos. Ecuador is home to so many indigenous nationalities.

Ecuador climate is blessed here you can find places where the days are sunny more often in the Coastal region, Amazon and Galapagos regions respectively. However, one can surely enjoy the cool breezes and temperate climates of the Sierra. In Quito, one can easily enjoy both the weather often on the same day, which is quite common here. That makes the people living in Quito very adaptable. In Quito, day can start sunny but heavy rainfall can occur in the afternoon, or morning and often late-afternoons are cold.

The Amazon, Ecuador
Here in Ecuador the stress accumulated during the day can be released in various types of natural destinations. The hot springs of Papallacta or Cayambe, Mindo, Amazon and the Galapagos Islands are just a few places where you can rest, replenish the body and spirit and can relax and rejuvenate yourself. Foreigners often come here to meet their aesthetic needs as dental care, minor surgery or for naturopathic care.

Things To See at Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Ecuador has vast environmental wealth, and nature is in its abundance. Ecuador has thousands of diverse species of flora and fauna. Ecuador has about 1,640 kinds of birds, the 4,500 species of butterflies, 345 reptiles, 358 amphibians and 258 mammals, among others. Ecuador is among one of the 17 countries where there is the most concentrated bio diversity on the planet and largest country of the world in diversity of bio-organisms.

Visit to Get Ecuador Travel Packages with Peru, Visit for tour Enquiry: 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Neil Island- Another Pearl in Andaman and Nicobar

Andaman and Nicobar are probably the most fascinated and enchanted islands in India. Situated in the eastern region of Bay of Bengal, they comprise of more than 500 small islands, which include Neil, Long and Little, Rangat and Ross and Smith, etc. These all are so beautiful that it makes you forget all the tension and stress giving you the happiness and lifetime memories to enchant. Every year, thousands of travellers get fascinated by the beauty of these untouched islands. When you visit the place, you will feel that you are in real paradise on earth. A world full of flourishing green foliage, pure air, clear vast sky, quaint surroundings, and turquoise sea dotted with copious islands, hygienic climate, clean and calm beaches and unpolluted environment, is incomparable. What else a tourist would want to spend a relaxing and soothing holiday?

Neil Island

Neil Island is another pearl in Andaman and Nicobar Island chain. It is positioned about 36 km from Port Blair in Andaman Island. It will take approximately two hours to travel from Port Blair to Neil. There are two boats shuffling around the trip daily, and one of them goes via Havelock Island. The ticket for a person is Rs.285. The island is rich in different and abundant flora and crescent-shaped sandy beaches. Glowing with palm-fringed beach, this island is covered with forest. This island is mainly famous for its natural beauty and vivid marine life. Neil is a place to relax and chill after your hustle and bustle life. It is a very small island that you can walk through the complete island in about one or two hours, with the widest part of about 5 km in length. Total population of the island is counted to be around 2,675, but still it is a very serene place. The color of sea water changes at different positions and is basically green, azure and blue with the three good golden sandy beaches.

Neil Island
Havelock Island

You can roam around through the island on rented bicycles for a price range between Rs. 50-75 per day or you can hire a two wheeler. The best way to explore the island is to roam around yourself as you get the liberty to stop or to go to any place you want.

Natural Bridge, Neil Island (Image by Jason Cuddy on Flickr)
There are many places to see like the Natural Bridge, Sitapur Beach, Lakshamanpur Beach and Ramnagar Beach, etc. The Natural Bridge is a minute band of land, which connects the Neil Island to a small earthly place. Few rock pools around this are breath-taking during low tide. Sitapur Beach is mainly famed for exquisite sunrise and a very good place to swim, whereas Laxamanpur Beach is famous for serene and stunning sunset. Ramnagar Beach is known for the light-blue crystal-clear water. You can go to see the sea corals through glass bottom boats. Other activities like snorkeling and water scooter, etc. can be done here. The visibility through water is very clear at this beach.

Sunset view (Neil Island)
There is a place on the island known as Sunset Point, which is in the west most sides of the island. You can do the snorkeling near the caves, and if you are lucky enough, you can see Mantas there. Best time to visit there is early in the morning. There are two restaurants in the main market and the food available there is normal Indian food. If you are travelling to India, a visit to the Neil Island is a must, which will crown your memories to cherish forever.

Visit here for Andaman Trip

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Perfect Souvenirs of Romania

Romania, a country of natural beauty, rich diversity and cultural heritage is very popular among globe trotters. Scenic landscapes, mountains, archaic rural areas, historical cities, vibrant culture, serene atmosphere, etc. make it beautiful to such an extent that number of visitors are increasing day by day. Several small cities mix together to make a unique country known as Romania. Each city of the country has its own significance. To remember the trip to Romania, shopping can be done from various markets or grocery stores of the different cities. It can be challenging but surely full of fun and amazement. Some of the finest souvenirs that one can shop and take home are discussed below that surely help you while shopping. 

Floreasca Sky Tower, Bucharest in  Romania
Bistrita, A Town of Romania (Image by Ramona R on Flickr)

Romanian Folk Costumes & Handicrafts

Romanian folk costumes are popular all around. All the handicraft shops sell different kind of folk costumes. Textile and handicraft items are very common in this place as most of the people have animals like sheep, goat, etc. from which they easily make out the raw material for their product. So, it is the main occupation of the place.  Silk beads and trumpery are used mainly for decorative purposes.

Romanian Handicraft (Image by Gratziella Vlaicu on Flickr)

Romanian Wine

Romanian wine is an excellent souvenir. There are a wide variety of fine and reliable labels that can be chosen.  Almost two per cent of Romania’s agricultural land is given over to vineyards that make Romania one of the world’s top 10 wine producers. Best known wines making regions are Dobrogea (reds), Murfatlar, Dealul Mare, Tarnava, Cotnari, Recas, etc. Different kinds of wines are produced there.

Religious Icons

In Romania, the Christian religion is very popular as most of the people belongs to this community. Many churches are there that have beautiful architecture, elegantly decorated and boast superb interior. Some deeply religious people of Romania placed a couple of icons on their walls. Bucharest is the place where you can find the religious icons easily and of varying quality. Colorfully framed icons are the best ones. Many shops also sell bibles, religious books, etc.

Putna Church and Monastery, Romania (UNESCO World Heritage) Image by Frans Sellies on Flickr

Entrance to the church at Putna monastery (Image by Frans Sellies on Flickr)
Interior of Putna Monastery (image by Wayne W G on Flickr)

Interior of Putna Monastery (Image by Liviu lonescu on Flickr)
Traditional Clothing

Each region has its own culture and clothing, similarly Romania has its own way of clothing. Most of the people purchase that as a most rememberable souvenir. Shirts, blouses, trousers and skirts with accessories like waistcoats, aprons, scarves, hats and fabric belts are usually worn there. Again, Bucharest is the best place to find traditional clothing and most probably at the Peasant Museum. In Peasant Museum, prices are high but quality is good and genuine. 

Romania Souvenirs (Image by camelia TWU on Flickr)

Add caption

Steaua Bucharest Shirts

The name of this shirt is named after the best European football team Steaua Bucharest as it is the most successful team. These shirts can be found in any Nike store in Bucharest, Romania. Nike stores are available in different places like Bucharest Mall, AFI Palace, Unirea Shopping Center, etc.

Local Designers Material

One can also purchase a pair of handmade shoes from Romania’s designer either of the famous one or the local one. Both provide the perfectly finished item. It may not be the cheapest souvenirs but surely be unique one. They are customized basically, so you can make it according to your choice of design and color. For clothes, many local designers are available that make the dress according to your wish as they have a wide range of designs. So, you just have to choose the design and they will make it within some hours. 

All the above said souvenirs are just the suggestions as there are number of souvenirs that can be bought from Romania’s popular cities Bucharest, Sighriasoara, etc.  So, you can also add other souvenirs in the list of the above.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Beautiful Ooty – The Queen of Hill Stations in India

Ooty is a beautiful and very famous hill station of south India and is known for its unmatched natural beauty. The green valleys of Ooty are so eye-catching that the British, during their rule in India, gave it the name the queen of the hill stations. It is located in the Nilgiri Hills in Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu. Nilgiri literally means blue hill and that is why Nilgiri hills are also called the Blue Mountains. Before the British took the region under their control, Ooty and its surrounding area was occupied by Toda people.

View of Ooty
The British developed this area into a beautiful hill station to escape from the Indian summer heat. It served as the summer capital for many big and small south Indian kingdoms during the British Raj. Ooty is well-connected via roads. On the way to Ooty, one can enjoy the picturesque beauty of hills, forests, lakes and tea gardens. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway also connects Ooty with nearby stations.

Tourism is one of the main sources of income for the people of Ooty. It remains a major tourist hotspot for almost the entire year. The breathtaking beauty of Ooty and its surrounding areas also makes it is one of the prime destinations in India for honeymoon. The cool and pleasant environment draws in a lot of honeymooners to Ooty for spending honeymoon vacation. There are many other tourist attraction nearby Ooty like Doddabetta Peak, Kamaraj Sagar Dam, Mudumalai National Park, Mukurthi National Park and Emerald Lake.

Emerald Lake near Ooty
Our Entry for ABC Wednesday - Q is for Queen of Hill Stations in India, Ooty

Monday, November 4, 2013

Top 7 Thrilling Destinations for White Water Rafting

Sculling over whirls of turbulent water and watching the side lanes that go by can easily scramble adrenaline. Besides the high energy fizz, white water rafting also makes an exciting way to explore the immense beauty of backcountry. Men and women of different nationalities raft with a common mission, i.e. to cross the rapids bravely. What better way is there to see the Grand Canyon and the flow of the Colorado River? How do you get closer to the Victoria Falls? So, rafting is the thing through which you can see the beautiful creatures of the nature. Here is a list of some best destinations for white water rafting. So, get ready with the swim jacket and join us on this wet & fierce ride.

Zambezi River

Rafting in Zambezi River
Zambezi River is located in Zimbabwe. White water rafting is something adventurous and should be experienced by adventure lovers. Warm sunny weather, scenic beauty of Africa captivates anybody there while jouncing around at the base of Victoria Falls. You can also round off your rafting experience with camping on white sandy beaches and wildlife for which it is famous.

Colorado River, Grand Canyon

Rafting in Colorado River
Rafting in this Grand Canyon trip is supposed to be the best one according to many visitors. This area has many things to offer to its visitors like 226 miles of rafting which is really a surprising thing for anyone, hiking paths up the canyon and the famous Indian ancient ruins, view of the Grand Canyon, pristine beaches, campfire, amazing beauty of the Colorado River, etc. Exploring the great national parks of America like the Grand Canyon National Park becomes easy through river rafting. One by one surprises of this place exhilarate the visitors that rush their adrenaline at a great instant.

Costa Rica

Rafting in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is another gem of the white water rafting spots in the world. It has something for everyone. From families to adventure junkies, all find this place adventurous enough to dwell in it. Its natural exotic beauty and stunning wildlife captivate anyone to this place for a long time. All these qualities make this place an ideal holiday spot.

Futaleufu River

Rafting in Futaleufu River
This river is located in Chile and is not known only for white water rafting but also for its unique permanent river camps alongside the river. They are built with river side Hot tubs, Hot showers, Tree-houses, beds, etc. and provide many facilities. If you feel tired of rafting, then you can take rest in these camps or can try horseback riding, hiking along the river. These are also adventurous and preferred by most of the visitors.

Idaho River

Rafting in Idaho River
Idaho is known for its thrilling adventure of white water rafting. It is an adventurous holiday place popular for its wilderness. Scenic views of Idaho river, Salmon river, crystal clear water and soothing hot springs, all make it a natural and placid place. Enjoying rafting there is a lifetime experience due to many high bends in the river. Most liked by the adventure lover youngsters.

Yangtze River

Rafting in Yangtze River
Yangtze river, a most famous river of the world is located in China. Rafting is a tough task on this river. Till now, less than 150 people have ever rafted on this river. The huge bends that run through canyons are very thrilling. This canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, only a third as wide and the water flow is twice as forcefully as in the Grand Canyon.

Ganges River

Rafting in Ganges River
Ganges River is a very holy river of India and is supposed to be one of the best places for white water rafting in Asia. It connects many wild water rivers. Devprayag is the place where you can test your rafting skills as two big rivers namely Bhagirathi and Alaknanda meet there and form the Ganges. This trip is worth as besides rafting you will get the opportunity to explore the India.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

10 Picturesque Destinations in Sri Lanka

Traveling to any new place of the country is really exciting and traveling to a dazzling country adds a spoonful of happiness in the vacation. Sri Lanka is one of the magnificent destinations that entice people a lot. Its monuments, hill stations, beaches, national parks and many more places are the reasons due to which many people captivate to this place for a long time. Many of the picturesque holiday destinations are there in Sri Lanka that draw most of the people from across the globe.

10. Devon falls

Devon Falls
Devon Falls
Devon Falls is a famous waterfall in Nuwara Eliya district of Talawakele. The name of the fall named after a leading English coffee planter called Devon. His plantations were situated nearby the falls and so the name is. It is 97 meters high and ranked 19th highest on the island. It is stationed at 1,140m above the sea level.

9. Hanthana Mountain Range

Hanthana Mountain Range
This mountain range lies in the south-west of the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka and consists of seven peaks. Uura kanda is the highest among the seven peaks. In 2010, it was declared as an environmental protection area under the national protection act. The total height of this mountain range is 3800 ft. It is the favorite destination among the trekkers or hikers. There, the nature is outstanding. Floral and faunal species are in a large number.

8. Beira Lake

Beira Lake
This Lake is situated in the center of the city of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Many important businesses have surrounded it. Approximately 165 hectares of land had been occupied by this lake about 100 years ago, but now it has been reduced to 65 hectares due to multiple reasons. In ancient times, this lake was used to transport goods within the city. It splits into two lakes namely the Lesser Beira and the Greater Beira. Both the lakes have numerous species of colorful fishes.

7. Udawatta Kele Sanctuary

Large-billed Leaf-Warbler in Udawatta Kele Sanctuary
Udawatta Kele Sanctuary, a forest reserve located on a hill-ridge in the Kandy, Sri Lanka. It extends about 257 acres in area. The whole sanctuary is famous for its avifauna. Around 80 avifaunal species have been listed to be there in the sanctuary. Many plant species, mammals, reptiles inhabit in this sanctuary. Plant species include both the flowering plants and the non-flowering plants. This sanctuary also encompasses three Buddhist monasteries. Monks enchant there in a large number.

6. Hakgala Botanical Garden

Hakgala Botanical Garden
Seetha Amman Temple
This garden is one of the best three gardens of Sri Lanka and also the second largest garden in the country. It is located on the Nuwara Eliya road. It has a cool climate and natural location enthralls everyone. It was established in 1861 to take the experimental cultivation of Cinchona tree but, after some time, due to excess of tea in that region, Cinchona was replaced by Tea and it becomes an experimental Tea Cultivation garden. In the folklore, it was said that the Sri Lankan King Ravana after abducting the Sita, kept her in this garden. Even this place is mentioned in the Ramayana as Ashok Vatika. Also a temple named after Seetha (Seetha Amman Temple) is located one kilometer away from the garden. Thus it is an important destination to cover in the Ramayana trail in Sri Lanka. Over 10,000 species of flora are planted there and mostly famous for the species of Orchids and Roses as they are planted in a large number.

5. Wilpattu National Park

Elephant in Wilpattu National Park
White-rumped Shama
Wilpattu National Park is the other attraction on this island. The exclusive aspect of this park is the existence of Natural Lakes, sand rimmed water basins that naturally fill with rainwater. About 60 lakes and tanks spread in all over the park. This park is the largest and oldest in the whole Sri Lanka. Many species of flora and fauna exists there. Different species of Mammals, Reptiles, Aves, etc. can be seen there.

4. Galle Face Green

Galle Face Green
Galle Face Green, a long stretch of lawn facing the sea located in the heart of the Colombo, one of the top five cities of Sri Lanka. It was laid out in 1859 by the Governor of British Ceylon and basically used for the horse racing and as a golf course. Currently, it is a 5 hectare stretch and is the largest open space in the Colombo. It is a popular destination among children, lovers, teenagers, merchants, peddlers, kite flyers, etc. It is really a rendezvous spot.

3. Nuwara Eliya Golf Club

Nuwara Eliya Golf Club
It is one of the oldest and the only 18 holes Golf Club in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka. Nuwara Eliya, a famous hill station founded by Samuel Baker. It is famously known as the Little England. This Nuwara Eliya Golf Club spans across the 100 acres of land. It was built by a Scottish soldier of the Golan Highlanders for the British servicemen. Playing the game on this course’s grass is really a fascinating experience.

2. Sri Pada

Sri Pada or Adam’s Peak
Sri Pada means sacred footprint, well known as Adam’s Peak. Sacred footprint refers to the footprint shaped mark at the peak, which is believed by Buddhists to be that of the Buddha, Christ & Islamic traditions believe that it is of the Adam and the Hindu believed that it is of Shiva. It is a tall mountain of 2,243 m height and is centrally located in Sri Lanka. The footsteps are covered by a beautiful roof and are guarded by the priests as it is the important pilgrimage site. Climbing up the mountain at night is a different experience. So, one can feel that experience over there. The surroundings of this region are heavily forested. The area along the mountain range is a wildlife reserve as it houses many species of leopards, elephants and many endemic species also.

1. Sigiriya

Sigiriya Rock
Sigiriya (Lion Rock) is one of the famous historical monument and one of the heritage sites of Sri Lanka. It is located on the top of the rock and shaped like a lion so named it as the Lion Rock. It is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites, so it is one of the most visited sites in Sri Lanka. The environment around the rock shows that the nearby area was inhabited by Buddhist monks and ascetics of ancient times. The site is both a fortress and a palace. The grandeur of the palace still provides a stunning look and describes itself the creativity of its builders. It is considered as a site showing the best urban planning in the first millennium.

Our Entry for ABC Wednesday - P is for Picturesque Destinations in Sri Lanka

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Burj Khalifa - The Height of Architectural Marvel

Many skyscrapers are there in the world, but Burj Khalifa in Dubai is in the list of tallest man-made skyscrapers that even crosses the troposphere of the atmosphere. It is the Burj Khalifa (829.8 m) that breaks the record of the tallest skyscraper namely Warsaw Radio Mast tower. It is a world-class destination and a splendid centerpiece of Dubai. It can be seen from a distance of even 20 miles away. Hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, etc. make it a world class entertainment destination.

Burj Khalifa - Dubai
Burj Khalifa is a combination of science and architecture that garnered an awe-inspiring number of facts and figures. Its construction began on 21st September 2004 and completed on the 1st of October 2009. The 4th of January 2010 was the official opening day of the building. Its architectural design was crafted by Skidmore in Chicago and engineering was performed by Owings and Merrill of Chicago. The name of the tower was replaced from the Burj Dubai to Burj Khalifa only to honor the UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan as he supported it in every manner.

Burj Khalifa at Night
This tower was designed in a mix-use manner as it includes 30,000 homes, nine hotels, three hectares of parkland, 19 residential towers, the Dubai mall and the 12-hectare artificial Burj Khalifa Lake. This building is the earth’s tallest freestanding structure located in the Middle East. It was built to get the more international recognition and so investments will also be increased.

Burj Khalifa broke many records when it was completed. It became the tallest existing structure, tallest structure ever built, tallest freestanding structure, tallest skyscraper and the tallest skyscraper to top of antenna. It also became the building with the most floors, i.e. 163, building with world’s highest occupied floor, world’s highest elevator installation, world’s longest travel distance elevators, highest vertical concrete pumping, world’s tallest structure that includes residential space, world’s second highest outdoor observation deck, world’s highest installation of an aluminium and glass facade, world’s highest nightclub, and many more.

Burj Khalifa
As we know that the tower is too high so, to support this unprecedented height of the building, the engineers create a new structural system called the buttressed core. This buttressed core consists of a hexagonal core augmented by three buttresses that form the Y shape. This structural system permits the building to support itself laterally and keeps it from twisting.

Indoor Observation Deck
The 43rd and 76th floor houses swimming pools and 122nd, 123rd and 124th floor contain restaurants, hotels, indoor and outdoor observation deck. So, with the large number of apartments, rooms, hotel, etc. this tower can easily accommodate more than 35,000 people at a time. Thus, it is one of the major Dubai attractions. Total 57 elevators and eight escalators are installed to transfer a large number of people at a time.

View from Burj Khalifa
Outside the building, there is a large Burj Lake which has the most famous Dubai Fountain in it. This fountain (272 Mt high) is illuminated by 6,600 lights and 50 colored projectors, shoots water into the air and dances to the Arabic music on special occasions. The Burj Khalifa Park is another thing that located outside the Burj Khalifa. It spreads in the 11 hectare area designed by the architects SWA group.

Burj Khalifa Fountain
In 2011, Alain Robert was the first person who scaled the outside of Burj Khalifa and climb to the top in six hours. This building lifts the UAE’s head proudly to skywards as it surpasses all the expectations. Also in 2011, the Hollywood movie 'Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol' used Burj Khalifa for a sequence where Tom Cruise scales the outside of the Burj Khalifa tower.

Tom Cruise climbing  Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa honors Dubai and its people very well. Any Dubai special offer for hotel booking or holidays is not a complete one if it does not include a visit to Burj Khalifa. Now, it becomes a favorite center of the world’s finest shopping, dining, and entertainment. Also, it is a home for the world’s elite people.