Ultimate Guide to Australia’s East Coast

Australia’s east coast boasts of close to 18,000 km of coastline covered with talcum powder like sand and crystal clear turquoise water! From the world’s most favourite surfing spots, to the Great Barrier Reef, to lush green wilderness, to the Blue Mountain and of course the dazzling beaches, this region is purely magical. It may take a lifetime to experience but if you want to get a glimpse and know what the hush-bush is about, then this itinerary is the best possible one.

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Best of Spain in 7 Days

The vibrant and lively aura of Spain makes any trip to this country a fiesta. There are splendid beaches, historic monuments, interesting architecture, endless cobbled streets and mouth-watering gastronomic delights here. When you have a week in Spain, you should try to get the best possible exposure to this vivacious culture, so here is an itinerary for those of you who want to travel down the Spanish road but have some limitations –

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World’s Top Food Cities and What to Eat There

Food is the way to the heart of any traveler ! You become one with any city when you relate to the crux of its soul; and here is what you should be doing for that – tasting the food! Local spices, local cooking styles and local dishes will be like a ‘love at first sight’ moment between you and the city. Take a look at some of the top food cities of the world and what to eat there. (Note: These dishes are available on every street, so do not miss out of any of them) Continue reading

Top 10 Cities that serve the best Vegetarian/Vegan Food

Vegetarian and vegan dishes are oh! so popular in most countries around the world. Gone are the days when herbivores used to be sceptical while travelling to the west or middle-east or even Asian countries. If you don’t believe that, take a look at the top vegetarian and vegan destinations in the world-

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World’s Craziest Pools

“Does the property have a pool?” is a question that runs across all our minds while reserving a hotel. Actually many a times the swimming pool is what lures travellers into booking a property. So how about you have a look at some of the most sought after pools in the world; it will help in planning your next holiday.

  1. Hotel Caruso, Italy

Hotel Caruso in Ravello is a renovated 11th century property. The gorgeous hotel has an infinity pool built on a cliff overlooking the sea (also the highest point of the city) and opens up to the Amalfi Coast. Mountains, the ocean and green landscapes are all your companions from this balcony. Already feeling serene, are you?

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  1. Ubud Hanging Gardens, Bali

Ubud is all about rice fields, rainforests and tranquillity. So why not experience this serenity while floating in a pool of water overlooking dense foliage? In fact, the Ubud Hanging Gardens is actually perched amidst a rainforest. In that case, you can certainly imagine the coolness of this property!

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  1. Bondi Icebergs Club pool

Sticking to the cliff of the ocean and appearing like a natural landscape, the Bondi Beach has been around for more than a century. An iconic spot of Sydney, swimmers actually swim in the waves of the Tasman Sea as the waves not only hit the pool, but also come into the pool! It is an Olympic size pool and is open to the public too. Well, sounds like your next trip to Sydney will be quite fun!

  1. The Library, Koh Samui

If the same old blue pool is un-cool for you, how about a red pool? You heard right. The Library in Koh Samui has designed a pool with orange, red and yellow tiles which make the water body appear red. It may seem bloody at first, but swimming in a pool of red feels quite heroic!

  1. Pamukkale Thermal Pool, Turkey

Well, blue pools are just too common. It is the generation of variety, and that is what you will get at the Pamukkale Thermal pool made up of natural sparkling white sedimentary rocks, travertine. Obviously, the colour of the pool is pure white! If utopia is what you are looking for, you have found it here.

  1. San Alfonso del Mar Resort, Chile

This luxurious resort in Algarrobo claims to have the largest pool in the world. That’s right. It is a one kilometre salt water pool right by the ocean. It is not just swimming that you can indulge in here; if you feel like kayaking or sailing you can do that in this pool as well. Now that’s the coolest of them all, right?

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  1. Regis, Tibet

Another unique experience is swimming in a gold pool. St. Regis in Lhasa not only offers flabbergasting scenes of the Himalayas, but also a completely novel swimming experience. The pool is constructed with gold-coloured tiles. The effect of the pool rejuvenates and energizes you like no other.

  1. Intercontinental, Honk Kong

The rumours of luxury in the Intercontinental Hotel Hong Kong have been doing the rounds for quite some time and rightly so. It is the largest outdoor pool in the city with a stunning view of the Victorian harbour. Moreover, this infinity pool can be turned into hot tubs too! While you are relaxing in the pool, you will more often than not feel like you are swimming in the Harbour rather than the Intercontinental.

  1. Huvaen Fushi, Maldives

Resorts in Maldives are always introducing one star invention after another. One amongst a platter of opulent servings in Maldives is the sparkling swimming pool at Huaven Fushi Resort. The pool has incorporated over 1000 fibre optic lights inside which gives an effect of a glittering starry night. So if you feel like gliding by a cool night blue sky, just slip into the pool at Huaven Fushi Resort!

  • Nandana Villa, Bahamas

Pools by the ocean are to-die for. The feeling of stepping into a pool that opens up to the ocean shows you the mammoth of the water we are surrounded by. In the Bahamas you will get the perfect introduction to this because the pool at this Asian-styled villa resort is adjoining the Atlantic Ocean. Here, you are bound to wonder whether you are swimming in the ocean or in the pool.

  1. Chongwe River House, Zambezi

Car safaris are one thing, but have you ever thought of spotting animals in the wild while you are lying in a pool. Well, at the Chongwe River House in Zambezi national park that is what you will exactly do. Nothing grand about the construction, but the pool directly falls over a river where wild elephants and antelopes wander. So while you are sipping on a cocktail in the pool, don’t forget to say hi to elephants you are surrounded by. 

  1. The Cambrian, Switzerland

There is nothing more magnificent than the snow covered Alps in the Swiss air! And at the Cambrian you can admire the magnanimous white formation from a jaw-dropping infinity pool. You will be stumped by the design and architecture of this heated pool which gives you a 360 degree view of the Swiss Alps.

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  1. Hotel Villa Mahal, Turkey

Infinity pools with their dramatic backdrop are simply magical! The 55-foot long at swimming pool at Hotel Villa Mahal in Kalkan Bay allows its guests to view the beautiful Lycian coastline which has stunning beaches and historical sites. An added perk to this – a jacuzzi in the pool!

  1. Marina Sands Bay, Singapore

This is the largest and highest infinity pool in the world! Singapore’s skyline is extremely doted in the world and the best place to enjoy this glitter is by gazing at it from 57-floor high pool. You will be thrilled to be on the edge of the world here in Singapore.

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Tips for Exploring a New City

A new city, a new excitement, a new memory – exploring a new land is such an enriching experience that it may be as wonderful as overwhelming. Since you are travelling outside of your comfort zone (and spending your hard earned money) make the most of it without leaving a nuance of hesitation.  Here is a short pep talk that will guide you on how to explore a new city –

  1. Wear comfy shoes

Experiences and memories are not always made with dressy outfits and great hair dos. In fact most of your outstanding incidents come at unexpected times, irrespective of what clothes or shoes you have on. Remember, you have gone to discover the city, know about the famous monuments, eat local dishes and soak in a new culture and your best buddy in this time is a comfortable pair of shoes.

  1. Walk it, bike it, bus it

Walking and cycling on the streets of a new city will introduce you to gems that nobody told you about! Bus or trams are also recommended for a complete homely feel. It is best to research about the local transport before reaching your destination so that you don’t miss out on any special episodes. For example, travelling in the trams of San Francisco is a must-do travel experience.

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  1. Discover the local market

Any local market is the lifeline of a city. Be it a vegetable bazaar, seafood market or night market, when you stroll by a local market you will understand what the lifestyle is like. The kind of food, the kind of people, the music, the hustle and bustle all speak a lot about the culture of the city, so discover the most authentic experience on this outing.

  1. Use the internet smartly

The internet is a complete revolution! There are endless apps that will guide you through the city; whether it is local concerts or shows, the most popular eating joints, or information about sightseeing venues it is all available on a silver platter on the internet and via apps. Do look up helpful apps before you leave your home.

  1. Learn basics of the local language

Language can become the biggest barrier in a new place, so some background research is a great idea before you catch your flight. Even if you don’t do an entire course, at least learn the basics which will all get you through the day. For instance “How are you?” “Where is this?” “What is your name?” and “How much?”

  1. Read about the city

Don’t be ignorant about the place you are visiting; be aware of the history of the city. Read history books, research on Google and follow blogs – all the information you acquire from these platforms will add the extra cherry to your trip.

  1. Act smart, even when in doubt

Locals can easily spot a new person in the city and however friendly or safe the city is, you must not get carried away. Tourists are the easiest targets for any mischief so always be confident and act smart! Even when you are unsure or completely ignorant, never show it on your face or actions.

  1. Write about your stay

Maintain a diary and note down a daily account of episodes that touched your heart. You can also write a blog and create your very own travel story. This not only keeps records of your several travel accounts which you can read years later, but also helps creating a reputed profile in the blogging community.

  1. Be a tourist!

At the end of the day you are a tourist, so don’t be shy about behaving like one. Click all those touristy-pictures, ask questions to locals, and keep an open mind always. Above all, don’t be conscious and remember to have the time of your life!

Fun Things to do in Sydney

Sydney – heard about it, dreamt about it, but have you experienced it? The world is raving about the Opera house, the harbour and over a 100 gorgeous beaches, so is the capital city of New South Wales that great? With close to 5 million residents, this metropolitan houses eclectic pleasures. Sydney is a perfect blend of everything – a melting pot of cultures, a family destination, nature dedicated, and plenty of entertainment! So here is what you ought to do to on your visit to Sydney, mind you, you don’t want to miss of on some exciting stuff!

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  1. Watch an opera, a rock concert or a play at the Opera House
  2. Go kayaking on the bay to discover deep gorges, crooked creeks and unknown spaces
  3. Go for a picnic amongst fragrant and tropical greenhouses at the Royal Botanical Gardens
  4. Experience High Tea Gunners Barracks or Observatory
  5. Stroll by the Bondi coastline and click some breathtaking ocean views
  6. Take a ride on hired bikes in the Centennial Park
  7. Meet and greet animals at Taronga Zoo
  8. Climb up the soaring Sydney Harbour!
  9. Wander around The Rocks to explore the first European settlement in the country
  10. Relish some fish and chip at Sydney’s voted number 1 shop, Fishmongers
  11. Enter the White Rabbit Gallery for some quirky dedicated to Chinese art
  12. Shop for interesting souvenirs at the Paddington Market
  13. Eat a katsu sandwich – you will love the meat!
  14. If you are an antiques fanatic, walk down Rozelle Market
  15. Soak it up in the second-oldest park of the world – the Royal National Park
  16. Spot healthy marine life in its very own comfortable habitat at the Shelly Beach
  17. Capture amazing views of the Harbour from the entertaining Luna Park
  18. Dress up and dine at fine restaurants like the Quay and Sepia who have won global accolades
  19. Enjoy some outdoor activity at the Sydney Olympic Park which extensive green parklands
  20. Step into the past and discover convict past at the Goat’s Island

Sydney will steal your heart like no other. You will fall head over heels for this Australian city since it is a complete package to live, love and laugh!

The Best Hotels of Europe

Europe will undoubtedly earn the award of the Universe’s most beautiful land! This continent is an ideal blend of pretty topography, preserved history and extreme elegance. When you are travelling to this unprecedented destination, there are hotels you must check out because of its sheer brilliance. Mind you, the tariffs at some of these are sky high, but there is no harm in sipping a cup of tea at these hotels – ultimately it is about the experience!

  1. Le Maurice, Paris

Le Maurice holds a legacy dating way back to the 1800s – Classical and grand, yet not crammed this hotel is located ideally for art and history lovers. With chandeliers, marble and furnishings galore, this hotel has managed to bring in some chic and modernity in its ambience.

  1. The Connaught, UK

London is the perfect orator of elegance and poise, so is this hotel in the plush neighbourhood of Mayfair since the late 1800s. Every corner of The Connaught has some history; in fact the hotel was named in honour of Queen Victoria’s son, Arthur, the Duke of Connaught at that time. The suits are designed by globally acclaimed designers, while the swanky Bar, wellness Spa and Michelin-star restaurant are ever ready to serve their customers with complete British hospitality.

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  1. Four Seasons, Prague

A typical Prague red roof connecting three buildings built in the 17th and 18th century is what comprises of the Four Seasons walls in the city. Preserving the traditional Renaissance and neo-classical architecture, this luxury hotel chain has maintained the very essence of the Hungarian and European culture. The service is impeccable and the interiors simply make you feel regal.

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  1. Regis, Florence

Overlooking the Arno River, St. Regis is unimaginably enchanting! This hotel used to be a palace designed by the world famous Filippo Bruenelleschi with interiors that tastefully display royalty. From the marble bathrooms, to the frescos and balconies to the Tuscan cuisine restaurant, St. Regis offers an immaculate stay!

  1. Blue Palace Resort, Crete

Crete is all about the expansive blue oceanic scenes, white walls and absolute luxury! The Blue Palace offers an unrivalled island experience with an infinity pool that everyone dreams of set in the midst of crystal clear waters and wilderness.

  1. Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland

Standing proudly on 850 acres of greenery, the Gleneagles Hotel is a dream-come-true for outdoor addicts. It has three world class golf courses along with development of archery, horse-riding and off-road driving. Staying at this magnanimous stone structure is simply magnificent.

  1. Hotel d’Angleterre, Geneva

Switzerland is a fairytale land anyway, so this hotel invariably guarantees an extraordinary experience! Built over the scene Lake Leman, this is a family-run hotel which offers amazing views of Switzerland’s largest fountain, Jet d’Eau, along with the Lake. Brilliant fabrics, whiskeys, caviar and recreation overlooking the view make your stay nothing less than magical!

  1. Palazzo Avino, Ravello, Italy

A 12th century and baroque architectural delight, the Palazzo Avino takes you into a world of the past. The handcrafted tiles, ancient Italian artefacts and brass accessories remind you of an opulent scene from a movie from the 60s. In fact, living in this Italian property is no less glamorous than a movie!

  1. Le Sirenuse, Positano, Italy

Positano’s air has a certain appeal which entices people from world over and Le Sirenuse gives you a perfect exposure to Italian magic. An 18th century villa, you will be pleasingly surprised to find hand-painted ceramic tile floors and beautiful antiques around the hotel. Overlooking the bay, there is vintage speedboat that takes you to and fro the coast. Delightful, isn’t it?

  • Parador Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Sitting elegantly in the heart of the Old Town since the 1400s, this is the oldest hotel in the world. There are intricately carved cloisters, elegant rooms and extensive hallways here walking you through an ancient hallways.

  1. Four Seasons, Istanbul

Rated as one of the top five hotels in Europe, the Four Seasons in Istanbul stylishly sits over the Bosphorus Strait. It has a magnificent view of the hills of Asia with and interiors of beige, taupe and aqua. For a complete royal experience, a stay here is ultimate!

  1. The Yeatman Hotel, Portugal

In the heart of the historic centre of Porto and overlooking the Douro River, the Yeatman Hotel is simply breathtaking! The highlight is of course the decanter shaped pool along with a wine cellar which houses 25,000 bottles. This is definitely tempting enough!

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  1. Mandarin Oriental, Prague

A monastery once upon a time, this fourteenth century structure is a heavenly property! The rooms are custom-made in order to maintain the history, yet introduce some modernity – parquet floors, vaulted ceilings and glass floors that reveal ruins of a Chapel below is something that will amaze you!

 

 

12 Tips for a Visit to Japan

Japan is warm, Japan is beautiful, Japan is enigmatic! Settled comfortably in the east corner, this country is quite intriguing and inviting. It is definitely is great place to visit because you will look beyond the horizon (literally) and walk into a culture you knew so little of. Here are some daily etiquettes and habits that Japanese people adhere to, so on your trip to Japan you will know exactly how to be like the Japanese!

  1. Shoes outside

Like in many Asian countries, you must not walk into a house with shoes on. In Japan, many restaurants also request you to leave your shoes outside. So wear clean socks because you don’t want to walk around with your toe showing or soiled heels.

  1. Silence Please

Everyone in Japan keeps their phone on silent while commuting in public transport; even answering phone calls is considered rude. Respecting your fellow passenger’s peace, do not talk loudly or chat over the phone while sitting in a bus or train.

  1. A business exchange

The Japanese are very chivalrous and they show a lot of respect towards the other person. An example of this is while exchanging cards or gifts; they always use both their hands. When you are giving a business card/gift to a local, do hand it over with both your hands – it simply adds a sense of respect and gratitude.

  1. Bowing and greeting

You may have seen this often, and it is mandatory in the country. Just like in some Western countries people put out a firm handshake or pluck a kiss on the cheek, in Japan people bow slightly and incline your head. You may also shake your hand along with this bow. You do this and Japan is ready to welcome you!

  1. Serve a drink

When there is one bottle on the table or you are sharing the bottle, always pour the drink in your companion’s glass. Allow the other person to do the same for you, because in Japan you don’t serve your own drink. Surely, that works just fine!

  1. Slurp your noodles

Slurping your noodle soup is looked down upon in many countries, but in Japan it is a sign of food joy! By making this sound you are complimenting the chef and informing everyone that the food is delicious. So slurp on!

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  1. Chopstick – only for eating

Chopsticks are not kept for your entertainment, so avoid playing with them or using them are drumsticks or scratching an itch! Another ritual you must know is that passing food with chopsticks or leaving them standing upright in your bowl is used only during funerals and cremations so do not do this during your meal. 

  1. Cross your fingers for the bill

While waiting for your bill at a restaurant, you can simply cross your fingers in an ‘X’. This is an indication for bill; when the waiter sees this, he will bring you the cheque immediately.

  1. No Tips Please

On your holiday in Japan, do guilt yourself about tips! In this country, there is not custom of tipping your servers, they already receive a living wage. Surely, this will excite most travellers.

  • Mask is for a reason

You must have seen the residents of Japan walking around with masks over their nose and mouth; this is because they are very hygienic and health conscious. In fact, if you sneeze in public, you may give someone a heart attack! So avoid blowing your nose and coughing in public, you will just be allowing the locals to warm up against you. 

  1. Carry tissues and wet wipes

Once you finish using the washroom, you will not find any tissue around! Unless you want to use toilet paper, keep your own tissues and wet wipes handy. Japanese washrooms are robotic and do not have any space for hand towels.

  1. Don’t count the change

The Japanese pride themselves to be honest! When you receive change at a mall or a shopping centre and you count the change, you are bound to get a dirty look. They say you will receive the right amount, so don’t disregard the locals.

Why should you travel to a Foreign Country?

Life is short they say, but remember that the world is wide…Travelling to different places means living your dream and creating many more. Here is why you should travel to a foreign land at least once in your life. Be warned, you will crave for more and more adventures.

  • Introduce a new culture

You may read about various cultures of the world in books, magazines and blogs, but until and unless you experience a culture first-hand you will not know how special it is. There are seven billion people on our planet and each having their own thoughts, rituals, habits and lifestyle. You must go out and discover this variety, ‘cause variety is the spice of life!

  • Experience and exposure

Missing your flights, lugging your bags, breaking your shoe and so many more unforeseen errors occur on trips. So how will you face such a situation? Well, you will know only when you walk out of the comfort of your home! Such incidents is what will open your eyes about what can happen and how to best tackle the situation. So, it’s time to get smart and get confident!

  • New lingo

Language and lingo – both differ from country to country and city to city. Learning a new language and a lingo will diversify your personality on the whole and improve your communications skills as well. Learn and enlighten because life is an education itself.

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  • Food Food Food!

Most travellers have big appetites! Every region grows its own veggies and fruits and also has specific cooking techniques. Be it the French fries of Belgium, steaks of Britain, spaghetti of Italy or hotdogs of America, go on and try out the dishes of the world!

  • Adventures unknown

Skydiving, surfing, shark spotting, deep sea diving, bunjee jumping, hot air balloon rides… there are so many adventures that give you an adrenaline rush! Experiencing this in the Indian Ocean will be different from the Atlantic, flying over New York City will not be like a hot air balloon ride in Africa – in short every episode is unique! And travelling will gift you such exceptional experiences!

  • Friends turn family

Meeting people is the best part of travelling! There is nothing in the world that will compare to the joy of smiling with a friend from a foreign land. You will be able to understand his lifestyle, his wave length and sense of humour when you spend time with him. In fact, the closer you get to your foreign friend, the more you will realize that we are all birds of the same feather.

  • Identify yourself

The popular saying, “the shortest way to yourself is around the world,” stands completely true! When you sit back on pristine beaches, walk down busy streets and visit globally renowned sights, you will begin a journey to understand who you truly are, accept how God has made you and promise to achieve better!

You should physically visit places to soak into the true essence of the region. Remember, a new place gives you new perspective, new people teach you new kinds of relations and new landscapes gives you new memories!