Cambodia: One of the Best Countries with Rich Cultural Heritage

Cambodia is a South-East Asian nation that is famous for its Ancient Temples and the remains of the Khmer Empire, the lovely sandy beaches, authentic Buddhist architecture, scenic beauty, a variety of special Tea along with delicious Cambodian cuisines. Charmingly, people of Cambodia are polite and soft-spoken and maintain chivalry with their visitors. Major towns to attract tourists to Cambodia, which flock in large numbers are listed below-

A. Phnom Penh, Capital of Cambodia

Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia is a globally famous tourist attraction. Situated on the banks of rivers Mekong, Bassac and the Lake Tonle Sap, this city provides a mesmerizing view to its visitors along with a number of historical architecture. It is the economic, industrial and cultural center of Cambodia, what’s interesting is that this city still holds the marks of the French Colonialism in a number of buildings. Some interesting sites in Phnom Penh that you must check out are listed here.

 

 

Riverside of Phnom Penh

1. The Royal Palace, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The Royal Palace is situated in the capital city of Phnom Penh, which serves as the residence for the King Of Cambodia. With the gleaming gold roof,this is the most beautiful example of architectural wonder of Phnom Penh. However as compared to the Khmer Architectures of Cambodia, the event of building this palace is quite recent as it was built in the 1860’s. This Palace is situated at the old site of the town near the rivers Mekong and Tonle Sap Lake.

The Royal Palace
2. National Museum Of Cambodia, Phnom Penh

The National Museum of Cambodia, situated at Phnom Penh is the largest museum of Cambodia. This museum is associated with the Cultural History of Cambodia and gives interesting insight into the Khmer Empire in the 21st century. This museum has the world’s largest collection of Khmer Art and Sculptures including over fourteen thousand items preserved from the Prehistoric age, before and after the Khmer Empire. For people who love art and history this place is a treasure .

 

 

National Museum

 

3. Killing Fields of Cambodia, Phnom Penh

Cambodia is also famous or infamous, for its horrific sites of various Killing Fields which are reminders of a terrible time. The Killing Fields contain the remains of numerous skeleton of the people who were brutally executed under the dictatorship of of the Khmer Rogue. The idea that the country did this to its own people is truly sad and horrific. It is believed that Cambodians were massacred with “Palm Knife” made of Palm leaves that had edges sharp as a razor. Though these sites are horrific, these killing fields serve as tourist attraction.

A view of killing fields
4. Prison Museum, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The Prison Museum in Phnom Penh, usually visited alongside the Killing fields, is important in understanding the terrible recent history of the region, in understanding the functioning of the cruel Khmer Rouge. The museum, located in a school used as a prison during the regime, contains artefacts such as the torture devices and weapons used, along with the preservation of some rooms used as cells in that time. You might even run into some of the 4 remaining survivors of that particular prison.

Prison Museum

 

5. Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Wat Phnom is a Buddhist Temple (Pagoda) situated at the city of Phnom Penh. This Temple has its own story about a wealthy widow who found a statue of Buddha made of Bronze inside a large Koki Tree, which led to the construction of the shrine in an artificial hill. The interior of the Temple has a large statue of Buddha made of bronze in a seated posture, and is surrounded by many other statues depicting the Khmer version of Ramayana. Wat Phnom is the tallest religious structure in the city and is surrounded by a serene, peaceful environment.

 

A view of Wat Phnom

 

B. Siem Reap, The City of Angkor Wat Temple

Siem Reap is located at the North-West of Cambodia and is considered the gateway to the famous Angkor Wat Temple. This place is all about Silk farms, Rice paddy fields, Chinese-Style architectures, Old markets, Bird Sanctuary near the river Tonle Sap, nearby Fishing Villages and a number of beautifully decorated resorts that offer Cosmopolitan Drinking and Dining for its tourists. What’s more interesting, is that Siem Reap offers a number of dance shows, which include the traditional dance of Cambodia, the Apsara Dance that has been the part of Cambodia since the Khmer Empire. As Apsara means the dance of the divinities, the women dress themselves as graceful goddesses and depict the tales of Cambodian culture through their elegant moves.

The Angkor Wat Temple
1. Floating Village, Siem Reap , Cambodia

Floating Village known as Kampong Phluk in Cambodia is a must visit. The Floating Village is located on the river Tonle Sap and can be reached through a boat from Siem Reap. It is also popular as a Fishing Village . This village is a unique and unusual as the houses seem floating on water .The place includes a church,school, cottages,restaurants, wooden cages containing Crocodiles. This Floating Village is a perfect site for fishing and watching beautiful sunsets.

 

 

The Floating Village
2. Pub Street, Siem Reap, Cambodia

 

The Pub Street in Cambodia is a part of Siem Reap Province and is largely famous among tourists for lively nightlife scenes. This place reflects the traces of French Colonialism and has numerous bars, nightclubs, restaurants, a perfect place for “party people”. So when you visit Siem Reap, make sure you check out Pub Street and enjoy the fun experience.

A View of Pub Street

 

3. Cultural Village, Siem Reap, Cambodia

 

Apsara Dance in Siem Reap

Cultural Village in Siem Reap is also widely famous, it is a theme park and museum that depicts the traditional, cultural and ethnic style of living of the people of Cambodia. Each village here contains wood houses, carvings and artists who present traditional dance shows such as the Apsara Dance and Peacock dance . Together these villages display the varied culture of Nineteen ethnic groups of Cambodia.

A View of Cultural Village
A dance show in the Cultural Village
4. Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor Wat is a globally famous tourist attraction of Cambodia. The Angkor Wat Temple is considered to be the largest religious monument in the world which was originally constructed in the 12th century as a Hindu Temple devoted to the Lord Vishnu and later on transformed into a Buddhist Temple during the 16th century. Angkor Wat is considered as the Seventh Wonder of the World, and you surely don’t want to miss this wonder that mingles the culture of Hinduism and Buddhism. The scenic and artistic beauty of Angkor Wat is surely going to mesmerize you and would make you travel back to the Khmer Empire.

The Angkor Wat Temple
5. Phnom Kulen, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Phnom Kulen is a range of mountains, and is considered as Holy Mountains in Cambodia as it preserves the remains of Khmer Empire. It is located at the Siem Reap province and is symbolic to the Hindus and Buddhists for pilgrimage.

A Hidden Architecture in Phnom Kulen

Phnom Kulen has a National Park which is a protected area, a famous waterfall named Chup Preah , and the KuLen mountain with two Waterfalls. This place offers trekking to its famous Waterfalls that have carved Lingas in them. Phnom Kulen has a fresh, peaceful and holy ambience.

A Waterfall in Phnom Kulen

 

C. Preah Vihear, Cambodia

 

88 kilometres away from Siem Reap ,Preah Vihear in Cambodia is also one of the remains of the Khmer Empire. Preah Vihear is a mountain , which was built for the purpose of serving Lord Shiva.

The Temple of Preah Vihear

It is believed that it took about 300 years to complete this temple by Khmerian Kings. This Temple is situated at the cliff of Dangrek Mountains across the border of Saket (Thailand ), and offers an eye soothing view from the top. If you are fascinated with heights, this place is a must visit.

A View from Preah Vihear

 

D. Mondulkiri, Cambodia

 

 

Trekking in Mountains

Mondulkiri is an Eastern Province of Cambodia which is popular for its dense forests, mountains, powerful waterfalls, a whole set of serene scenic beauty. Mondulkiri also has a Wildlife Sanctuary that include Elephants, and also offers trekkings in its mountains.

A Waterfall at Mondulkiri

The Bou Sra, Senmonorom and Romnea are the three Waterfalls in Mondulkiri. There is an interesting sport offered by the Maurya Hill Resort called Ziplining over the Bou Sra waterfall which gives a lifetime experience to the people bitten by the adventure bug.

 

E. Sihanoukville, Cambodia

 

Sihanoukville is a sea-side town and has the best beaches of Cambodia. These beaches are calm and peaceful, not very crowded and hence these places are the best to connect with nature. The beaches include the Victory Beach, Independence Beach, Sokha Beach, Ochheuteal Beach, Serendipity Beach and the Otres Beach, these beaches are as interesting as their names.

A View of one of the Beaches in Sihanoukville

A 3$ drive from the Otres Beach leads to an evening market named the Otres Market, which is an interesting place for the tourists. The market offers a number of Live Music shows, with an arrangement of various Food Stalls which offer delicious Wraps and other snacks including alcohol. These beaches offer Scuba Diving, Island trips, Spas, Fishing with a number of beautifully decorated resorts near the beach.

F. Kep, Cambodia

 

 

Kep is one of the newest province of Cambodia and is famous for its beautiful white sandy beaches. Kep is often termed as an archipelago, as this place has a number of nearby islands, such as the Rabbit Island which is named after its shape, Egret Island, Chilli Island, Mango Island, Milestone Island, Dry Fish Island, Wild Mango Island, Sarang Island, Pura Island, Makprang Island, Angkrong Island, Horseback Riding Island and lastly the Dry Island.

Kep

All of these islands have their own speciality and interesting facts and offer beautiful sites. Apart from this, Kep has its individual beach, offers Jungle Trekking, and also has a Zoo. Kep is also famous for its Crab Market and delicious Sea food, you surely do not want to miss the Crab Curry here. Give it a try.

G. Battambang, Cambodia

 

Bamboo Trains in Battambang

Battambang is a popular tourist destination of Cambodia. This city has a number of Ancient Temples, Buddhist Shrines and the unique, Bamboo Railway, the traditional style of running a bamboo cart through the rail tracks, which is fun, and offers a beautiful tour of Battambang.

Battambang has a museum and a number of other interesting places, along with its Central Market and a variety of Cafes. Battambang is the second most popular city in Cambodia.

A Scenic Ride in Battambang

 

With this wide range of attractions, Cambodia deserves that you grab your luggage, camera, beach hats and flip flops, and reach this beautiful and diverse land and explore its rich history and culture.

 

 

 

–Sampurna Chakraborty

A Student of Literature who has a passion for writing,traveling and spreading happiness. During her trips, good books and cups of coffee are her constant companions. She also is very enthusiastic about photography and loves to click even the simplest things in day to day life. She aspires to travel the World someday and write Novels

Travel guide to help you enjoy a hassle free trip to Venice  

WiseYatra presents you a very handy Venice travel guide detailing the aura, the economy and the social life of this charming city.

 

This manual is coming out of our experiences from the personal visit of the city to give you a better insight into the things in prior. The city is beautiful and we suggest you roam around, just to put the visitors in a comfortable, haggle free and a memorable-experience way.

 

10 Checkpoints to help you get a memorable, economic and more of avoiding the negative experiences…

 

  1. Ease of access in Venice

 

With the exception of Piazzale Roma and Tronchetto, any means of transportation is restricted in the popular city of Venice, including bicycles. Walk around as long as the feet don’t pain, just to be careful not to get lost! The labyrinth of alleys, bridges, and intersections throughout Venice makes it practically impossible to rely only on your   sense of direction alone(A detailed map or live-GPS will come out handy)

 

Never be late for a booked tour: “Time and guides do not wait!!”

 

  1. Means of Transport in Venice

 

Water buses are daily means of commutation to many people, both tourists, and locals, so try to abide by the signs: “do not block the entrance/exit and stow suitcases and travel bags in the spaces provided”.

 

Note: Ask the crew for help if any queries.

 

Try to purchase “validity tickets” beforehand if you plan to commute often during your stay, as it’s cheaper and also convenient than timely purchases. It also allows unlimited rides for the entire period of validity. Some of them include even the transfers from/to Venice Marco Polo airport.

 

Water taxis are another important means of transport, although they are more expensive than public transport (make sure you ask the driver to turn on the meter and ask for a bill after the voyage).

 

  1. Floody waters in Venice

 

High tides very often run across the city of Venice. Travellers consider it the real show (Of-course, Venice is the only city to boast so), but it creates serious difficulties for wandering around. During high water, walkways are put in place: stay on the right-hand side and continue without halting, for as the walkways are tight, it creates problems for the people behind.

 

A plunge in the water or barefoot walking is not a good idea: the water is dirty and often ‘inhabited’ by pests.

 

Reason being the same, we advise not to check the basements of the buildings you visit as the very slippery steps might lead to accidental falls in the water!

 

  1. Friendly behaviour in Venice

 

Loud volume songs or noise should be checked after 11 PM. Also, an amiable gesture is to avoid wearing costumes or roaming shirtless.

For a shirtless sunbath, let someone sail you to the beach of the Venice Lido, just a little distant by public transport.

 

  1. Expect the masses on these days in Venice

 

Being one of the major tourist attraction, the city is crowded 365 days a year, however, you’ll face far more congestion during some major event days such as the Carnival, the Biennale, the Redeemer or the Historical

Regatta.

 

Patience is highly desired for the long queues to visit the most important attractions, such as St Mark’s Square. Worry not! Visit a good website for your economical travel planner, who  takes care of everything in advance which reduces the hectic waiting greatly.

 

  1. Picnic Spots in Venice

 

The city rules don’t allow you to just stop at any corner to eat your packed lunch for the Picnic. For instance, it is forbidden to have a picnic in the St Mark’s area (St Mark’s Square, Piazzetta San Marco, Piazzetta Dei Leoncini, and the Pier) however, you can stop further on at the Royal Gardens or one of the many benches outside the areas mentioned above.

 

We advise avoiding the steps of the bridges and the banks of the channels as these areas are not very clean and there is also the risk of blocking the passage to people in transit.

 

Note: Please do not share your snack with the pigeons (these birds are carriers of diseases and contribute to the decay of buildings).

 

Venice, being a beautiful city, it would be a shame to pollute it so, find a trash box to trash your leftover and waste.

 

  1. Illegal offenses/restrictions in Venice

 

Just like the other cities, Venice is also filled with con artists and tricksters ready to tempt inexperienced tourists, offering services or counterfeit goods.

 

We advise you to keep the common senses on alert as this involves a high fee being demanded at the end of the service and your luggage withheld until you pay.

These illegal activists are mainly present near the Constitution Bridge (Calatrava Bridge) between Piazzale Roma and Venice St Lucia train station.

 

Recognized by the uniform and the trolley they use, ask only the authorized porters for assistance. Buying and selling counterfeit goods is a crime and imposes fines of up to €500. You could also jeopardize one’s health, not to mention that it affects the honest sellers.

 

Note: It’s a good practice to ask for the receipt for any purchases made to ensure genuinity.

 

  1. Gondola Rides in Venice

 

Even though the gondola stations are restricted to display a price list with the rates and the durations allowed, a constant tricking and black marketing of tickets happen at various sites.

 

 

  1. Thefts and Pick Pockets in Venice

 

Keep your cash in check especially in crowded alleys or ferries. Avoid carrying too much cash or reserving them all in the same pocket. Keep them split in different pockets and carry just the meager amount as the change in outer pockets.

 

  1. Attractions and Events in Venice

 

Before starting your trip with the planned itinerary, please check the sections entitled ‘Events’ and ‘Anecdotes and Curiosities’. The first one  details the exhibitions, the shows, and the concerts to keep you updated on what is happening in the city, the second presents fascinating insights to find a veiled Venice, including mysteries, myths, and hidden riches.

–Kaushik Raj

 

[ Credit: Inside.com  ]

Five Most Visited Places in Europe

 

Europe is the dream destination for most of us, an indispensable item of everybody’s bucket list ,but when it actually comes to planning a trip to this enchanting continent ,we feel lost . So many countries,so many cities- going to one ,leaving another ….which are the absolute musts…..which should not be missed at any cost .WiseYatra comes to your aid here to help you in choosing the five must-visit places of Europe. Here goes the list:

 

1. Paris- France

 

Capital of France, Paris is one of the most popular cities  in Europe and is known as the romantic capital of the world. The extremely beautiful buildings,the boulevard ,the serene Siene and most importantly the celebrated  ,Eiffel Tower ,make it one of the most -visited cities of the world. Couples around the world visit Eiffel Tower for hitting the relationship goals and making everlasting memories. But , Paris is not  only Eiffel Tower, it has a number of other attractions :

 

Notredame Cathedral

 

Notredame Cathedral

 

Notredame Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Cathedral with amazing architectural  details  . It’s a unique example of religion ,beauty,history , architecture and known for its enticing spires ,columns,glass windows,statues and carvings . It is the most visited monument of Paris.

Interiors of Notredame Cathedral

 

Louvre Museum

 

The entrance of Louvre Museum

 

Synonymous with Paris ,the Louvre Museum is like no other on earth.This place is massive from the outside as well as from the inside and has an astounding collection of classical,neo classical and renaissance art .Visiting this place will leave you extremely impressed and also very tired because of its sheer vastness.It is home to the world famous Mona Lisa ,the Winged Victory,The Venus,The Raft of Medusa,the Dying Slave,to name a few.

 

The Arc De Triomphe

 

Arc De Triomphe

 

TheArc De Triomphe was a commissioned work of Napolean to memorialize his victory, but unfortunately he was expelled before the completion of the monument. Later completed by Louis Philipp in the year 1863. The Arc of Triumph is engraved with the names of Generals who commanded the French Army during the reign of Napolean. Now the architecture stands as a legacy of French history and Napoleanic Wars, and also has an observation deck at the top of the monument that offers a great view.

 

Cruise on the Siene

 

Cruise on Siene

Paris is termed as the “City Of Lights” and one of the best ways of exploring it is through the Cruise on the Siene. Paris is more beautiful after sunsets, the city sparkles in light, along with joy and romance. Join the evening cruise and enjoy  the uninhibited view of tree-lined boulevards and spot all the famous monuments on way .

 

Palace of Versailles

 

Palace of Versailles

 

The Palace of Versailles in Paris is the most famous castle of France , which is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This castle is an epitome of power and represents its history associated with 17th century France. Palace of Versailles has beautiful gardens, and the interior of the castle is lavishly designed. The Castle that was once a seat of power has now been converted into a museum displaying the history of France

 

Latin Quarter- Luxembourg Park

 

 

Latin Quarters- Luxembourg Park

 

Located on the left bank of Siene, Luxembourg Park is a beautiful Parisian Park where you can discover the famous Latin Quarter, and explore the beautiful French style Gardens . Luxembourg Park is not only a perfect place for grown ups, but also for children as Toy Ships are available near the river bank and children would love to sail them in the water of Siene.

 

Moulin Rouge

 

Moulin Rouge

MoulinRouge in Paris is located at the foot of MontmartreHill and  is famous for the  performances. Moulin Rogue is basically a fun place as it has many nightclubs, restaurants, perfect for having a fun night in Paris.

 

Disneyland Paris

 

 

Disneyland Paris

 

Whether you are with your kids or just your partner  , do visit the most splendid place of Paris- Disneyland ,Paris. This place is  ideal for kids but well-suited for  grown ups to spend quality time and have  an unforgettable experience. Explore this astonishing park  and don’t forget to try theworld-famousrides.

2.  Rome- Italy

 

Rome, the capital city of Italy, is an iconic city of Europeand a must visit . Rome is termed as the “Eternal City” because of its everlasting  myths, and the fact that it is the religious WorldCentre of CatholicChurch(Vatican)and lastly it holds the ruins of the great RomanEmpire, everything conspiring to make the city “eternal”. When you are in Rome, these are the places to check out:

 

Colosseum

 

 

A view of Colosseum

Colosseum ,also known as Flavian Amphitheatre in Rome ,is  one of theNewSevenWonders oftheWorld , built during the Roman Empire. It was  built by the Romans for the entertainment of public. The public entertainment included Gladiatorial games, armed men fighting each other to death, Venatio, where wild animals were slaughtered ruthlessly. The remains of the Colosseum has a lot to teach the modern world .

 

Vatican City

 

 

Ceiling of Sistine Chapel- Painting by Michelangelo

Vatican City in Rome is the smallest independent state of the world  recognised globally.It is known  for St. Peter’s Basilica Church, St. Peter’s Square and  Sistine Chapel. The interior of St. Peter’s Basilica includes the world famous sculpture of Michelangelo, The Pieta Sistine Chapel has a collection of unique art which  never fails to enthral the visitors

 

Vatican Palace

 

The Pantheon

 

 

Pantheon

 

Pantheon is a monument of Roman antiquity which was the burial place for Italian Kings and later also became the burial for famous Italians such as the famous painter Raphael.

 

Trastevere

 

Trastevere, located on the South of VaticanCity is a charming urban neighbourhood , much different from the main city, and home to famous SantaMaria church. One can explore Trastevere and take a look at the real Roman life and have mouth-watering Italian cuisines. The food here is cheap, there are also places for shopping.

 

A View of Trastevere

 

Trevi Fountain

 

Trevi Fountain

 

Another highlight of Rome is TreviFountain, the world’s largest Baroque fountain built in the 18th century. It is a popular belief herethat if you throw a coin into this  fountain you will return to Rome someday- try your luck!

 

Spanish Steps

 

Another famous site of Rome is  the SpanishSteps, 135 steps staircase leading to the TrinitiadeiMonte Church, which was built in 1735 to link with the Spanish Embassy, now in the Modern world this is a popular spot to spend some quality time with your loved ones.

 

The Spanish Steps

 

3. London- United Kingdom

 

London, the capital city of UnitedKingdom is World’s one of the most popular cities  and a must visit European destination. London is a name that resides on the mind of the people globally and has always played a special role in Hollywood movies such as ‘James Bond’. London is often called  the ‘city of dreams’.London is  home to 170 museums,  several parks, 230 theatres including  Shakespeare’sGlobeTheatre, iconic buildings, and TheLondonEye. While visiting London don’t miss  these places-

 

 

London Eye

 

London Eye

 

A giant Ferris Wheel on the South Bank of river Thames, London Eye is the most popular tourist attraction and a perfect observatory to have a view of the magical city of London. London Eye is the world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel and has nearly 3.5 million visitors every year.

 

Big Ben

 

Dingdong – Yes that’s the sound of the biggest Clock Tower of London, The Big Ben. Made in the year 1859, this Neo-gothic style tower is 96 metres tall and  was once the largest and most accurate clock in the world. Big Ben is the nick name of Great Bell of the clock and is situated at the North of Palace of Westminster. In 1970, the Clock Tower was declared a World  Heritage Site  by UNESCO.

 

 

The Big Ben

 

 

British Museum

 

The British Museum

 

BritishMuseum in London is among the top attractions of London. Established  in 1753, this museum has collections from all over the world such as Egyptian collections, Assyrian collections, Middle-Eastern, Asian, American and many more.  The British Museum consists of The SmirkeBuilding, PantheonGallaries, The GreatCourt with a huge collection of Global Antiquities.

 

Buckingham Palace

 

Buckingham Palace in London is the residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of United Kingdom. This palace is the legacy of British Monarch, and is the centre stage of occasions and royal hospitality. The palace may reveal its age- old tale from the outside, but the interior of the palace is exquisitely decorated and there are many things to see,  such as – the GrandStaircase,the StateRooms, ThroneRoom, finest collection of porcelain, the garden tour, flags and Clocks and so on. It is said , one can know if the Queen is inside the residence or not ,by the flag flying from the mast.

Buckingham Palace

 

Other than these historically important sites London is full of  fun places  like t MadameTussauds Museum, WarnerBros. Studios , NationalGallery, Greenwich Park, BoroughMarket and so on.

 

4.  Athens- Greece

 

We all have read GreekMythology and at some point or the other wished to visit its home ,Greece. Athens, the capital city of Greece is one such place ,stuff of childhood dreams .A home to landmarks that are existing since 5th century BC, it is  termed as  ‘Temple City’ because of the numerous Greek Ancient temples . There are plenty of surprises to unearth in Athens ,such as:

 

Parthenon

 

Parthenon

 

Parthenon in Greek meaning “Virgin Woman”, is the former temple on the hill of Acropolis, dedicated to the Greek Goddess Athena.  This ruins of the holy temple stands as a proud example of grand  Ancient Greek History and is a world famous tourist attraction. Parthenon can be seen from any direction of the city and serves as a crown to the Acropolis Hill.

 

Acropolis Museum

 

Collection at Acropolis Museum

 

The visit to the AcropolisHill is incomplete without a visit to the AcropolisMuseum which is  an Archaeological Museum exhibiting the significant discoveries from the sacred rock.

 

Poros Island

 

Poros Island

 

Less than a hour away from Athens, PorosIslandis a popular attraction with lively, beautiful streets, blooming flowers on the walls of almost every building, happy faces, hotels, restaurantsand of course ,a stunning view Saronic Gulf. Take a ferry ride and stay here to admire the beauty of this small GreekIsland.

 

Plaka

 

A View of Streets of Plaka Village

 

Plaka is  a village in the shadows of Acropolis. Plaka in Athens has beautiful streets with markets, restaurants, shops selling jewellery, clothes, ceramics, and also many sidewalk cafes. Take a walk and immerse yourself into the beautiful Greek lifestyle.

 

Some of the other places to visit in Athens include the Byzantine& Christian Museum, BenakiMuseum, Temple of Olympian Zeus,Temple of Poseidon and Kerameikos Museum. Don’t miss any of these for surely they are going to be the highlights of your Europe trip.If your schedule permits , you must visit Santorini once, to experience a slice of  paradise on earth.

 

5.  Amsterdam- Netherlands

 

Another beauteous city of Europe, Amsterdam- capital of Netherlands is all about rich architectural history, museums, water canals, food, drinking and impressive night life. Let’s get to know the must visits of this place:

 

 

Museum Quarter

 

Rijksmuseum

Visit the most popular museums in Amsterdam- Rijksmuseum , Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum serving as the cultural hub of the city, and  displaying art from the Middle Ages to the Present Day. These museums hold the collection of some world renowned works by famous painters and are  always crowded with tourists visiting from different parts of the world.

 

Vondle Park

 

Vondle Park

A few miles away from the Rijks Museum, VondlePark is an ideal place for picnics or relaxing  among the lush green gardens and beautiful flowers. Perfect place to escape the crowd and spend some time in a  serene, peaceful environment.

 

Canal Cruises

 

Canal Cruises in Amsterdam

 

What else can be better than exploring the wonderful city of Amsterdam through CanalCruises? Opt the cruise rides to admire this gorgeous city which is at its best during the evenings. Illuminated canals, dazzling city lights reflecting on the waters of the canals, happy faces, everything seems magical in this city.

 

Be it a stroll in the lively streets or visiting the architectural masterpieces  or enjoying a drink and saying cheers to life, Amsterdam provides an opportunity to the tourist which is one of a kind.

Europe has all this and much more to offer to the tourists. Come visit these stunning cities-Paris, Rome, London, Athens and Amsterdam and be transported to another realm. Europe’s beauty is captivating and would give you a lifetime experience along with memories to cherish for life.

–Sampurna Chakraborty

Mesmerizing Switzerland in Winters

 

Beautifully nestled between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura Mountains, Switzerland encompasses a great diversity of landscapes and climates. It is like a home to snow-clad mountains and speaks the language of picturesque villages and beautiful lakes.

 

The winters in Switzerland are no less than magic. Christmas lights and cheers in the cities and the snow-clad mountains are just few of the wonderful things that welcome the tourists visiting Switzerland in winters. It is more heaven than country.

 

To make the most out of a winter holiday, Switzerland is a must visit! Here are some of the reasons why visit Switzerland:

 

  • Skiing in Switzerland

 

Winter is the time when Switzerland becomes the abode of skiing offering numerous amazing activities and courses in the sport. The experience is one of a lifetime and cannot, or rather should not be missed.
There are also a dozen of ski resorts that make the country an attractive option for a holiday. These resorts are relatively snow-covered with plenty of glacier skiing.

 

  • The Matterhorn in Switzerland

The Matterhorn is one of the mountains of the Alps and is recognized as the symbol of Switzerland and visiting it in person is extremely breathtaking. Climbing this beauty is taken up as a challenge by mountaineers. It welcomes tourists and nature-lovers as well to admire its tranquility.
The Matterhorn Glacier paradise is the highest summer ski region in Europe and is open 365 days a year.

 

  • The Waterfalls in Switzerland

In addition to being a land of fascinating lakes, villages and mountains, Switzerland also offers spectacular waterfalls, Rhine waterfalls being the biggest in Europe!

The Trümmelbach Falls in the Lauterbrunnen Valley are a series of ten glacier-fed waterfalls inside the mountain made accessible to visitors.

These are just some of the 72 spectacular waterfalls in the Lauterbrunnen Valley!

 

  • The Swiss National Museum in Switzerland

 

The Swiss National Museum in Zurich is one the city’s top tourist attractions and is one of the most important art museums of cultural history in Europe.
Captivating the eyes of amateur historians, culture lovers and architecture enthusiasts alike, its impressive architecture with dozens of towers, courts and its astonishing park on a peninsula between the rivers Sihl and Limmat has become one of the main sights of the Old City District of Zurich.
The museum contains a very rich section with gothic art, chivalry and a comprehensive collection of liturgical wooden sculptures, panel paintings and carved altars which is not worth missing!

 

  • Canton of Ticino in Switzerland

 

 

Ticino is an Italian speaking part in the southernmost canton of Switzerland also referred to as the ‘land of culture’ with plenty of things to do from both Swiss and Italian food, to music and art performances around every corner.
It’s also a great region for cycling—from the stunning mountainous scenery and sparkling lakes to the red-roofed village houses clustered along the shores.

These are a whole lot of reasons to persuade anyone to visit Switzerland in winters because it’s no less than heaven.

 

–Nikita Kabra

An aspiring writer who aims at having a life changing impact on her readers through her writing and travel experience.

 

 

 

BALI: UN-BALI-EVABLY SERENE  

 

There are some places you just visit and then there places that make you fall in love with them, Bali is the latter. What makes Bali stand out amongst the other destinations is that despite its small size it has something to cater to the likes of everyone and that too at extremely affordable prices! So whether you’re bewitched partners wishing for a honeymoon trip, a family looking for some quality time through a cheap vacation or going on a soul-searching solo escapade Bali is just the place you are looking for.

 

BLISSFUL BEACHES IN BALI

 

Savor in nature’s lap and escape the monotony of our mechanical lives sunbathing at various beaches of Bali. Seminyak Beach, Nusa Dua Beach, Echo Beach, Balangan Beach, Padang Padang Beach are some of the famous beaches. With the idyllic movement of waves crashing down the shore and touching your feet, you’ll feel as if time has stopped and you are there in the moment, living.  You can even indulge in the most adrenaline-inducing water sports at very economical prices. In fact, what makes Bali’s beaches stand out is the sheer variety of them. Unlike the typical sleek white sand beaches, there are black sand beaches in Bali which are alluring, to say the least.

 

THE IMMENSE NATURAL BEAUTY IN BALI

 

The first thing that strikes the mind when one hears of Bali is its powdery beaches. However, Bali has so much more to offer. In fact, Bali has so much scenic beauty that it is a delight for photography enthusiasts. With its viridescent highlands, waterfalls that are an absolute feast for the eyes and mind, swathes of paddy dipped in emerald and sunrises and sunsets from the vast coastline make Bali an ideal destination for a wedding. If destination or an exotic wedding is on your dream then look no more because Bali is here for you.

 

FASCINATING CULTURAL CORNOCUPIA  IN BALI

 

There is more to Bali than what meets the eye.  The Balinese people take immense pride in their age-old customs and traditions which they embrace and practice wholeheartedly to this day. A plethora of celebrations and ceremonies take place throughout the year which can be enjoyed by tourists too. From the fun Omed-Omedan kissing festival to the day of silence (Nyepi), Bali has it all.

 

MYSTICAL TEMPLES IN BALI

 

Bali is dotted with many temples. They may be sea-facing or mounted at the top. Be that as it may, they will blow you away with their splendid architecture and soothing aesthetics.  Transcending the levels of materialistic pleasures the tranquil spiritual experiences would stay with you for a long time. Temple visits are highly recommended whilst in Bali. Some must see include Besakih Temple, Taman Ayun Temple, Pura Penataran Sasih, Tanah Lot, Uluwatu Temple, Tirta Empul and Pura Taman Sarswati Temple.

 

THE PEOPLE IN BALI

 

They say more than places and worldly pleasures it’s the people who are the most eventful and impactful part of a journey. It couldn’t be truer in the case of Balinese people. A major chunk of tourists who have been to Bali are strong advocates of the Balinese warmth. The people, especially the locals are extremely welcoming and often go out of their way to help tourists. They’ll make you feel home away from home!

 

SHOPPING HUB-BALI

 

Bali has scores of locally made handicrafts, wood carvings and native artwork that can be purchased from the various markets popping all over the island. More so, other items such as clothes, furniture, souvenirs are also available aplenty.

 

THE CUISINE IN BALI

 

The Balinese cuisine would not disappoint you with plenty a options at your disposal. Often labeled as a complex cuisine which is not a part of the mainstream discourse you would miss an experience if you don’t try out the very palatable dishes and enthrall your taste buds. The cuisine primarily uses a lot of spices, indigenous fruits and vegetables and of course tons of meat and fish making it a non- vegetarian’s happy place.  In case, you have reservations with respect to your dietary cravings then fret not Bali harbors some of the best restaurants around the globe that serve all sorts of cuisines.

 

ADVENTURE HAVEN-BALI

 

Bali has a wide array of water sports available. It has become synonymous with the surfer’s paradise tag. There many family-friendly adventure parks too. Some of the mandatory tries are white water rafting ,ATV quad biking at Ubud; canyoning at gitgit waterfall; kite surfing is available at most beaches in Bali; jet pack at Nusa Dua; cave diving at Gili Biaha;Bali Flying Fish at Tanjung Benoa.

 

SPAS AND YOGAS IN BALI

 

Bali is the ideal hotspot for yoga lovers, Zen promoters and you can get the traditional massage at numerous parlors. Famous spas of Bali are Thermes Marins & Spa On the Rocks, Riverside Spa at Maya, Royal Kirana Spa and Lemba Spa.

POCKET-FRIENDLY-BALI

 

With so much to see and experience you must be thinking that a trip to Bali would burn a hole in your pocket. Guess what? NO! It is super affordable and has services and accommodations available in every range.

 

There are innumerable reasons which make Bali truly a traveler’s delight, be it the weather, the cultured people, the majestic temples, the exotic food, the hypnotic nightlife, the stunning skies, beaches and everything that makes you feel that maybe nature is the artist with the most gorgeous colors. With one visit, I am sure you will find your own reason to fall for this place.  So pack on your bags let this island charm you into loving it for eternity. Bali calling!!

 

Anvita Goel

Currently pursuing law harbours interest in International law and aspiring to become a renowned lawyer. Fascinated by beautiful places in the world she does not miss any opportunity to travel.

 

 

 

What to do in Paris: The City of Love

 

If you are from India and reading this, chances are that you are planning to go to Paris for the first time. Paris is rightly called, the most romantic city of the world. But you might come back disappointed from here, if you don’t really know what to do in the city or what to see. Fret not, we are here to guide you to  a wonderful trip to this lovely  place.

 

  1. Climb Eiffel Tower in Paris

  

Paris would not have been what it is today, had it not been for lofty Eiffel Tower. Forget what the sceptics are saying about this monument, climb on top of it and enjoy a beautiful landscape of the whole city. To have the best of it, you have to be smart with the timings. Go up when there is still daylight ,you can see the city from top.  Then come down and sit in the nearby park and enjoy the bewitching sight of tower lights.

 

  1. Louvre and the other museums in Paris

 

Paris has a number of museums,130 ,to be precise ,Louvre being the most glorious one of them. Not only because of the world famous lady residing there, but for many such magnificent artefacts. For the rest, take your pick as per your taste. You can consider visiting Musée d’Orsay, Musée de l’Armée, Grand Palace and Small Palace .

 

3.Notre Dame and many more in Paris

 

After museums ,Paris comes on top of having a number of churches too. By all means visit the most iconic, Notre Dame ,which is beautiful but don’t forget to explore others like the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur at Montmartre. This towering white -domed church will win your heart. Just sit outside and gaze at the beautiful landscape of the city it offers.

 

4.Other must see monuments in Paris

 

 This historic city has some of the most alluring monuments of the world. Do visit the imposing structures of Arc de triomphe, Luxembourg Palace and garden, City hall and Opera house but also save time for the eerie Catacombs, the ethereal Pere Lachaise Cemetery. These are some of the spots which most tourists miss, but are a must for a complete experience of Paris.

 

5.Take a walking tour in Paris

 

Your first day in the city should begin with a free walking tour starting from Fountain in the old city. They have the most interesting tales to share with the tourists, including trivia like ,why should you wave at the passing boats and why are the horses of different statues have different postures. This four hour tour familiarizes you with the city so intimately that afterwards you can easily roam around exploring it in depth  at your pace .

 

 

6.Walk the glorious avenue of Champs Elysees in Paris

 

From Louvre to Arc de triumph, this road is in a straight line through the  Tuilerie Gardens and the Place Concord. Old timers shed tears for the commercialization of this place but for the tourists it’s the most happening road to walk on. It has numerous stores like Sephora, Gap ,Virgin, Louis Vuitton and also several cafes. Have a look at all but the decision to buy should be your own as the stuff is also available in India. But just walking on the wide pathways ,lined with tall trees is a pleasure .

 

7.Take a cruise on river Seine in Paris

 

 Paris offers many magical things to do and see, a boat trip along the Seine comes quite on top of it. You will pass under the numerous bridges, have an uninhabited view of the tree-lined boulevards and spot all the enchanting monuments on way. You can see Notre Dame, Louvre, Grand Palais, Petite Palais, Musee de Orsa, Lock Bridge and the cherry on top, Eiffel Tower. Take the evening cruise which allows you to have a magnificent view of the Eiffel Tower after it has been lit up.

 

8.Spend time in the Tuilerie Garden in Paris

 

 In a rush to see everything, we often miss to experience in this city. Don’t make that mistake. After visiting the Louvre or Arc de Triomphe or strolling Champs Elysees, just grab a chair in the Tuilerie Garden and enjoy the beauty. I can assure you, if after some years somebody asks you about your favourite memory of the city, these moments will be very high on your list.

 

9.Sit outside a bistro and have a crepe in Paris

 

 Relish Paris as the locals do. Take an outside table in any of the bistros and order a crepe. This wafer thin pancake ,famous in Paris ,is a must have before you plan to leave the city. Also have a Cafe au Lait with it. Soak in the atmosphere around you while waiting for the delicacy .

 

These are some of our favourites when in the city of love. Go ahead and create some of your own and love the city for those.

 

Bon voyage!

 

Mamta Kumar

 

An avid traveller who has a passion for reading and writing! She has been into writing blogs on different topics since a long time now. She enjoys watching TV with a cup of coffee when she is all by herself!

 

 

Venice: What not to Miss

Venice is a fascinating city to discover-a cluster of 118 islands, joined by canals and bridges, it never ceases to amaze visitors. But Italy has so much to offer that tourists don’t give this beautiful city its due time and often come back disappointed. We bring you here, a guide to relish this place to the fullest, wanting to be back again and again.

Stay overnight in Venice

Hordes of  tourists reach Venice by the morning train and leave by the evening. The whole day this place is jam packed with people ,leaving you feeling like sardines packed in a tin. To avoid this, stay overnight and get to know the real Venice. Stay in a hotel or an apartment overlooking the canals and enjoy its beauty to the fullest.

 

Get up really early in Venice

 

Get up at the crack of the dawn and see Venice as a local would. Watch the locals going about their business ,driving their modest to fancy boats. Before I saw this ,I could never wrap my mind around the fact that for going out ,you don’t take out your car but zoom around in your boat. It’s a fascinating experience. Have a leisurely breakfast in an open air restaurant and watch streams of excited tourists arriving and changing a quaint island to a bustling hub of humanity.

Roam the narrow lanes in Venice

Venice has numerous museums and churches. But unless you are enticed by those ,don’t spend too much time running from one to another. Roam the narrow lanes, head for quieter neighbourhoods , explore the labyrinth of alleyways and simply get lost in the ethereal beauty of the same. While you are at it, take a stroll on the Rialto Bridge and enjoy the scenic beauty.

 

Watch the sunset in Venice from St. Marks Square

St. Mark’s Square is located in the heart of Venice and a beautiful monument to visit .But it’s overcrowded in the day, robbing it of most of its charm. Go there in the evening and watch the golden glow of the sun in the sky from there.

 

Sit on the steps near Grand Canal in Venice

After sunset, take a leisurely walk and come to sit on the steps of grand canal .By this time ,tourists would have started leaving and you can watch the place changing hues and turning into this peaceful and magical island ,that Venice is.

 

Take the last water bus in Venice

If you have a fancy for the gondola ride, by all means ,go for it. But, if you want to have a sui generis, take round ticket of the water bus and go to the farthest point and come back. You will have a great view of the city lights ,reflecting in water and the peace and solitude of that hour is unmatched.

 

Try a Tiramisu in Venice

 

Much has been said about having a gelato in Venice but we suggest you to take a serving of the wonderful Italian delicacy, Tiramisu here. The literal meaning of Tiramisu is “ pick me up”.

 

This sinfully delightful coffee flavoured sweet dish is made of sponge biscuits dipped in coffee ,layered with a whipped mixture of sugar and cheese.

 

You must go window shopping in Venice

Roaming the streets ,you will come across many colourful shops selling masks ,scarves and other trinkets. Buying souvenir here will leave a big hole in your pocket but nothing stops you from just looking and having a great time doing so. You will also come across lovely designer stores. Don’t forget to take a peek. You will be surprised to know that Venice has no cars, but there is a showroom of  Ferrari here. Locate it and go click happy.

 

Bon voyage!

 

Mamta Kumar

 

An avid traveller who has a passion for reading and writing! She has been into writing blogs on different topics since a long time now. She enjoys watching TV with a cup of coffee when she is all by herself!

 

Austria: What to explore?

Austria is a tiny country about the size of Arunachal Pradesh with a population of less than ninety lakhs. But this small land holds within it a repository of some hidden gems- splendid locations that you must explore. You are going to fall in love with this charming country with its great outdoors, rich history, enticing architecture and beautiful villages.

Major attractions and places to visit in Austria

Vienna In Austria

The capital city of Austria is famous for its incredible architecture, culture and sense of style. Vienna has everything, be it museums, food ,shopping ,music or architecture.

There are numerous things to see in the city with beautiful churches, myriad museums ,inviting cafes and plenty of parks but remember that pretty much the whole of Vienna is wonderful and almost dreamy. So, choose your pick according to your taste and spend more time in appreciating the city .

Having said that ,there are a few attractions, which should not be missed at any cost.

Those are listed here-

1. Schonbrunn Palace
2. Albertina
3. Upper and Lower Belvedere
4. Haus der Musik Museum
5. Vienna State Opera
6. The Hofburg palace
7. St. Stephen’s Cathedral
8. Vienna’s Ringstrasse
9. Natural History Museum
10. Imperial Burial Vault

Melk in Austria

For a memorable day trip from Vienna, take an early morning train to Melk. It’s a quaint little town along the banks of Danube river, with which you will fall in love the moment you get down from the train. There is just one Abbey, recently restored, which falls in the category of tourist interest per se, but this town itself is worth visiting. People here are extremely friendly and polite. Once you reach the village, follow the blue stones on the streets to reach the Abbey. Explore the Abbey and Museum and spend some peaceful time in the gardens outside it. We had had a very enjoyable lunch in the village centre. I would definitely suggest you to do the same before embarking on the return journey.

If you are an adventure enthusiast ,consider making the return journey by bike upto Krem. It’s a three to four hour, gently downhill pedal from Melk to Krem. The stretch is cyclists friendly and takes you through the most scenic route the Wachau Valley. You can bike either on the north side of the river, which has more attractions but heavier traffic or the south side, which is quiet and more rural. Inexpensive ferries which also carry bikes, give you the chance to switch sides midstream.

If you would rather put your feet up and rest while enjoying the scenic view, take a boat along this route. This one hour and forty-five minute boat trip is amongst the best that you can imagine. Then you reach Krem, which is just one hour train ride away from Vienna.

Salzburg in Austria

Salzburg is famous for Mozart and The Sound of Music but the arresting natural beauty of the place gives you enough incentive to visit inspite of the two. It is situated on the Salzach river. This small city wins your heart with its old world charm, spectacular architecture, graceful domes and spires and the enchanting mountains.

Begin the tour of this city with a visit to the Mirabell gardens, drinking in the beauty of startlingly green grass with an array of colourful flowers. This is where many of the scenes of The Sound of music where shot.

Five minute walk from the gardens is Mozart Wohnhaus (Mozart’s Residence). Have a peek at it even if you decide not to go in.

A short walk of about fifteen minutes by one of the many pedestrian bridges will take you to the Old Town of Salzburg. It is a beautifully preserved UNESCO World Heritage site, a breathtaking experience, with its timeless baroque architecture. Make sure to visit Salzburg Castle, Salzburg Dom Cathedral, Mozartplatz, Residenceplatz, St.Peter’s Monastery. After having enjoyed the colourful shops of Getreidegasse, very famous shopping lane of the city, stroll around the river enjoying the excellent view and some lovely bridges like Mozartsteg bridge or Salzburg’s very own love-lock bridge.

Eiseriesenwelt(Ice Caves),Werfen in Austria

From Salzburg, keep a day to visit the world’s largest ice caves. Forty kilometres away from Salzburg, it’s a mind-blowing attraction to visit.
It is one of the true wonders on earth. A 42 kilometre long stretch of underground world of natural ice sculptures and formations, it’s like nothing you have seen or can imagine.

Hallstatt in Austria

If you are staying at Salzburg ,take a day trip from there to Hallstatt. You can take a train, bus or drive by hired car to this piece of heaven on earth. This fairy tale destination is considered to be the oldest still-inhabited village in Europe. It’s home to about thousand people and is just a small stretch of land between mountains and the lake .The place is so small that you can walk the whole village in under an hour covering about one kilometre .The beauty of this place is that there is nothing to do but just drink in the extraordinary charm of the place. Walk the whole distance, exploring the old city with its mesmerising churches and the city centre. A visit to the graveyard is recommended as all the graves here come with their own flower garden and a view of the lake. Also visit the bone house ,which has an unusual collection of 600 painted skulls and even more bones.

To enjoy the scenic beauty, go for a boat ride in the Lake Hallstatt. It offers you a beautiful new perspective of the village. It’s a bewitching ride where ducks swim alongside the boat.

Take a ride on the Hallstatt funicular for aerial view of the village below. A fifteen minute uphill walk from there takes you to the Salt Mine. You may not care much for the mine but the view is worth something.

After coming down enjoy your meals in one of the open water-front restaurants. Go click happy. There are few places on earth which have such untainted natural beauty.

Innsbruck in Austria

Located in Western Austria ,Innsbruck sits in the heart of the Alps. The surrounding Nordkette mountain ranges have made it grow into the most popular ski town. But it’s not only about winter sports. It has the perfect balance between the natural mountain scenery and vibrant city life. The city is flanked by majestic snow capped mountains and enticing buildings with both renaissance and baroque architecture. The river Inn cuts through the city and has the most stunning river views in the world.

Begin the tour of Innsbruck with a walk through the old city which seems like a trip back in time. The cobblestone streets, quirky shops and effervescent atmosphere is simply amazing. Instead of cars people move on foot or ride bicycles. The city’s most popular sights are the Hofburg Imperial Palace, the Hofkirche (Court Church), and the Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof).All these are all within walking distance of each other.

From the very heart of the city take the cable cars to go up the mountains and enjoy the stunning view of the sparkling snow covered mountains. Try to walk back ,which will give you ample opportunity to enjoy the scenery. You can see the zoo on way.

Spend some time near the river front. Take plenty of pictures. There is no angle of the city where you can go wrong with the clicks. Apart from its beauty, the city is extra-ordinarily clean and the residents are extremely polite and friendly. A trip to the place feels like stepping into a picture postcard.

Every bit of Austria is beautiful and worth exploring but in the limited time, above mentioned are some of the great locations to visit and create memories, you will cherish for life.

So go ahead and have a great time or as they would say in Austria ‘eine gute Zeit haben’.

 

Mamta Kumar

An avid traveller who has a passion for reading and writing!

Singapore: Melting Pot of Asia

Singapore – The word itself brings to our mind a place which is spotless, futuristic, efficient and charming. Singapore is an excellent example of town planning, ultra modern yet charming buildings, imposing malls, enviable gardens. All these combined with its ethnic flavour give the tourists an experience of a lifetime.

If you are looking for a vacation for your extended weekend, Singapore is ideal as you can see pretty much everything here in two days and then you spend a day or two soaking in the culture. The major tourist attractions of Singapore are listed below-

Sentosa Island, Singapore

Sentosa is a man-made island situated off the Southern coast of Singapore, and is connected to the mainland through Cable Cars, Pedestrian Broad Walk and Monorail. Sentosa is  a fun Island with themed amusement parks, some of its major attractions include the Tiger Sky Tower, Universal Studios Singapore, Resorts World, Singapore Butterfly and Insects Kingdom and SEA Aquarium which has one of the largest collection of aquatic animals in the world.

Sentosa also has a number of sandy beaches which never fail to enthral. Siloso, Tanjong and Palawan are the three famous beaches of Singapore, with Palawan being the most popular one with families. The restaurants on the beach offer amazing culinary choices.

 Universal Studios ,Singapore

Though situated on the Sentosa Island , Universal Studios of Singapore deserves a special mention as it is perhaps the most loved attraction here. With seven themed zones it has something for everyone. The rides are extreme fun and would make you scream your heart out .

Universal Studio Sentosa                     

Gardens By the Bay, Singapore

A 101 hectres long nature park in the Central Region of Singapore adjacent to Marina Reservoir, this nature park has huge Supertree Structures that offer skywalk over the gardens, giving a vivid view of the gardens that have a varied species of beautiful flowers and plants. Walking along this place won’t cost a penny unless you choose to visit the Climate Controlled Conservatories or walk through Supertrees.

Merlion Park-Singapore

Merlion Park is  the  most visited site of Singapore.The 70 tonne concrete figure of Merlion is perhaps the most sought after photo -ops of Singapore.Other than going click happy at this picturesque location,you  can also hop on a Bumboat with family and friends over the Singapore River and explore other attractions such as the Clarke Quay, Boat Quay .

A view from the Merlion Park

5. Singapore Botanical Garden

This 150 year old garden has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This park attracts tourists and locals alike by virtue of having free entry and wonderful flora. But we would suggest you to spend some mullah and visit its Orchids Garden to admire the astounding variety of orchids grown in Singapore.

Botanical Garden

Singapore Zoo

A unique zoo by virtue of allowing animals open spaces rather than cages, Singapore Zoo  has astounding variety of animals. A paradise for kids and animal lovers ,it does not fail to impress even the casual visitor.

A white Tiger in the Zoo

7.Night Safari Singapore

The Night Safari of Singapore is the world’s first nocturnal zoo that opens after sunset and allows visits till 12 A.M. With more than 1,000 animals, this zoo gives you an experience of night hunt, watching animals closely doing their nightly rituals The tram ride is very popular in this place and enables the visitors to spectate the whole place vividly.

A view from the Night Safari                     

River Safari– Singapore

One of the newest attractions of Singapore,River Safari is  the first and only River themed Wildlife Park in Asia. The Safari begins with taking a boat to explore the place and see one of the most endangered animals of the world, or explore through the aquariums that have a varied species of sea animals. The bonus of this place are the giant Pandas who are too adorable to miss.

River Safari                                       

Jurong Bird Park- Singapore

With about 8000 birds of 600 species,Jurong Bird Park is a huge crowd puller.Right from the moment you enter this park, the chirping of the birds ,fluttering of their colourful wings mesmerise you and make you fall in love with them. Jurong Bird Park is an ideal place for family trips and an apt place for children to have fun and enhance their knowledge.

Flamingos at the Jurong Bird Park

Experience the varied culture in Singapore

While in Singapore it makes sense to go around exploring places which have given Singapore its title of  ‘Melting Pot of Asia’. Do visit Little India ,China Town and the Arab Street ,which give you a unique feeling of being in another country while being in Singapore. The night markets of Arab Street are legendary , Little India makes you nostalgic and the burst of colour and display in China Town makes you go crazy with trinkets and souvenirs.

Amalgamation of Culture

 Must- have walks Roads

Apart from visiting various attractions of Singapore ,to get its best feel you must have a walk on its famous roads and areas. One such road is Orchard Road. The famous tree-lined one way road is home to innumerable malls, hotels and restaurants. It’s a perfect place for shopping , mall-hopping and enjoying delicious food.

Orchard Road

 

Esplanade –Theatres on the Bay

After Orchard Road Esplanade ,with its Concert Hall and Theatres ,is worth a visit.

Singapore Flyer

Ten minutes away from Orchard Road ,on Marina Bay is the Singapore Flyer ,the Giant Wheel ,which will give you a panoramic view of Singapore River, Marina Bay, Merlion Park, Sentosa Island,  the Airport and also the surrounding islands of its neighbours Indonesia and Malaysia.It has air conditioned Capsules that not only provide a breathtaking view, but also offer customized Sky Dining. Enjoy an evening here with your partner ,with a beautiful sunset and some champagne.

Singapore Flyer

 

You can experience all this and much more, knowing all the time that you are in one of the safest places on this earth. So, go ahead and have the time of your life in this Lion City of Asia.

—Sampurna Chakraborty

A Student of Literature who has a passion for Traveling and spreading happiness through her Words. During trips, good books and cups of coffee are her constant companion. She also is very enthusiastic about photography and loves to photograph the simplest things of life. She wishes to travel the World someday and write Novels. 

How to have a safe trip abroad

Going Abroad is a long cherished dream for most of us and believe me, the actual event is no less. But to have a trip which will always give you a smile, you need to follow some safety rules. After taking into accounts of many travellers,

 

WiseYatra brings you the safety tips, which are given here:

 

  1. Have the right bags

Most of the places in the world have pick pockets and petty thieves. For female travellers its always advisable to have a cross-shoulder bag, which can’t be snatched. Male travellers should keep a money belt to protect credit cards, cash and passports. These bags are tucked safely into the waistband, making it very hard for anyone to go for it.

 

Have the right bags

 

2. Keep your valuables in a day bag

When in a city, keep the valuables you don’t need, in the hotel locker. But things like DSLR, mobiles(which can be expensive), have to be carried. For such items, carry a day bag. Try to avoid displaying it all the time. The day bag must have compartments for everything. This will not only keep them safe from thieves ,but also from things accidentally dropping and falling.

3.Always be alert and aware

Keep an eye on your luggage at all times. Things get stolen in hostels and hotels too. Carry your own locks and use them whenever you need to. When you are out for sightseeing, be aware of your surroundings. Stay away from sudden crowding or commotion. These are often distractions caused by pickpockets.

4.Be wary of over-friendly people

Although people in most of the places are friendly but they tend to be aloof till approached. If somebody is extra nosy or friendly, be alert. It might not end on a happy note. Don’t trust people too easily. Never accept offers from people on road for stay or transit, always make these arrangements beforehand and from reliable sources. Similarly, don’t exchange money without proper authorization.

5.Careful use of ATMs

Avoid using ATM machines in tourist areas and off-hours. Try and use an ATM inside a bank. ATM scams are not as rare as we like to imagine.

6.Blend in

Instead of screaming to be a tourist, you should try to blend in as a local. Wear what the locals wear. Even your luggage should be neutral colours, like black, grey, navy. Don’t talk too loudly and attract attention. Other than annoying locals, it also ends in profiling you. Try to learn a few magic words like thank you ,excuse me ,sorry etc in the local language.

7.Take help of a knowledgeable guide

Although ,with the advent of internet, it’s possible to plan your trip yourself ,a little help from somebody who has the expertise and experience ,does not hurt. While planning your trip ,take help of a reliable travel expert .They can not only guide you to have a safe trip but also make the process easier.

8.Be ready to spend for safety

Although budgeting is good but always keep a margin for spending extra when the other options is feeling unsafe. If you are uncomfortable in an area ,instead of walking spend money on taxi. If your hostel or apartment feels unsafe ,be ready to spend more and move to a hotel.

The idea behind writing this blog is not to make you paranoid or deter you from going for a trip but just to make you aware and prevent anything untoward from happening.

So, go ahead and enjoy your trip!

–Mamta Kumar

An Educationist and an avid traveller who loves to watch TV during her free time.

VISA Guide to Iran

 

  1. Visa on Arrival:

“As per directive issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Indian travelers can now obtain visas on arrival in all 12 international airports in Iran.

Nationals of all countries, except for those from Colombia, Somalia, USA, UK, Canada, Bangladesh, Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, holding valid ordinary passports and wishing to visit Iran’s mainland, can obtain a 30-day visa upon arrival in international airports.

As per the directive, before leaving India, the visitor should take a tracking code from the Iran Embassy e-visa system on their website and submit the required details . On arrival in Iran,the applicant will need to pay visa fees and get the Visa on arrival.

Iran’s international airports include Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport and airports located in cities of Mashhad, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tabriz, Ahvaz, Kish, Qeshm, Kerman, Uremia, Bandar Abbas and Bushehr.

  1. Visa process from India

The website of BLS Iran Visa Application Center, New Delhi, India  provides information on procedures applicable for Tourist, Student & pilgrimage categories of visas for Iran to the residents of India.

BLS International Services Ltd. has been authorized by the Embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran, in New Delhi, India to accept visa applications from Indian Nationals residing in India on its behalf.

Now Indian Nationals residing in India can apply for an Iranian visa at the BLS Iran Visa Application Center, New Delhi.

This site provides the applicants with all the information about the visa types and the procedure to apply for an Iranian visa from BLS Iran visa application center.

Tourist visa is issued for foreign nationals who are interested to travel to Iran individually or with a group for the purpose of visiting Iran or their relatives.

Required Documents:-

  1. Original Passport Minimum Validity six months
  2. Approval for the visa from Ministry of Foreign Affair Tehran.( Visa Grant Notice)
  3. Typed Visa Application form completed and signed
  4. Two latest passport size colored photographs with background
  5. Air ticket itinerary

Processing time – 6 to 7 working days.

Visa fee And Service Charges – Rs. 6500/ Passport

BLS Courier charges is Rs.500/

PHOTOGRAPH SPECIFICATIONS

  1. Applicant’s latest (not more than six months old) color photograph
  2. White background
  3. Size 35 X 45 mm

Note: Scanned photographs are not allowed

WHERE TO APPLY

You can reach to them at

Visa Processing Services

BLS International Services ltd.
912, Indraprakash Bldg., Barakhamba Road
Connaught Place, New Delhi

Landmark: Barakhamba Metro Station

Email: infoiranvisa@blsgroup.in
Website: www.blsinternational.com
Phone Number: 011 23716531 / +91-8448790440

Timings for applications Submission: – 10.00 am to 5:00 pm Monday – Friday (Except holidays)

Timings for collections of passports: – 10:00 am to 5.00 pm Monday – Friday (Except holidays)

 

Happy Journey!

 

Please note: Visa requirements keep changing for every country. This findings were the latest at the time of publishing this post.

Maldives: A piece of Heaven on Earth

We always  want to  plan vacations with our loved ones to an amazing destination. If you ask me there is nothing better than Maldives? The best honeymoon trips can be planned to Maldives.  If you love water sports and adventure Maldives is the place. If you want to spend time in solitude and relax, again Maldives comes to your rescue.

In a nutshell, whether you are a couple, foodie, travel blogger or just want to chill with your family Maldives is the Place. Maldives is  loved by all tourists. Exploring places and random things to do at Maldives is making people crazy about Maldives. Some of the best places you must see when visiting Maldives are:

Places to visit in Maldives

There are so many places for families and couples to visit in Maldives. Couples in specific love Maldives as there are so many romantic beaches around.

  1. Como Cocoa Island in Maldives

We have always heard “Love Is In The Air”. But, in Maldives it should be “Love Is In The Beaches”. Romantic honeymoon trips at Como Cocoa Island are sure to be fun! Sprawling beautiful resorts are also there in Como Cocoa Island, Maldives. One can experience the best time of their lives by staying at one of these beautiful resorts and enjoying the  view. The  couples can have the best time of their lives at this beautiful place in Maldives.

  1. Rangali Island in Maldives

Family trips always need family environment. Rangali Island is perfect destination/island for those who are travelling with family to Maldives. The Hilton Hotel Group owns this island. The best part about this island is that it has so many activities which you can enjoy with family in Maldives.  Activities like island hopping, fishing, snorkeling and dolphin sighting are the best things you can do in Rangali Island in Maldives. Family trips become fantastic when you visit places like these are in Maldives.

 

Rangali Island
  1. Grand Friday Mosque in Maldives

If you are done visiting islands and want to explore places to get the best photographs then, Grand Friday Mosque is the one. The attractive mosque and its minimalism is something that will take your heart away. This mosque in Maldives which is made of white marble is the world’s biggest mosque. The white marble has a touch of gold to it. The dome of the mosque is gold and it looks stunning.

Grand Mosque
  1. Dive Club in Male Island in Maldives

People who want to explore new places and new adventure in their life then this place is a must visit in Maldives.  This one is specifically for adventure Lovers. The recreational activities that everyone can enjoy are provided in this Club. Scuba diving and riding an underwater scooter here in Maldives can be more exciting than travelling the entire world. The guidance is provided by professionals and they help people to enjoy without any fear.

Dive Club
  1. Thai Work Restaurant, Male, Maldives

Food lovers cannot resist themselves from trying the best food in Maldives. Food creates  excitement. Get the best Thai Cuisine in Maldives at this beautiful restaurant. The Thai Work Restaurant is located in Hithaffivinivaa Magu. The delicious food makes people literally lick their fingers. Food bloggers especially love to get the amazing photographs here because the food is so nice. The serving, plating and hospitality of this restaurant will definitely blow your minds.

  1. Maldivian Wildlife in Maldives

Some who love animals and birds is definitely not going to miss this place. Maldivian Wildlife is a place where one can see gorgeous and amazing species that live beneath water. The dolphins and unicorn fishes can make your day. Different species of birds are so attractive. You cannot afford to miss this place while visiting  Maldives.

  1. National Museum in Maldives

Does museum word sounds boring to you? Well, if it does just change your mind and leave for National Museum in Maldives which is located in Male. A museum where people can find the history of Maldives Islands by observing momentous and historic artefacts. This museum is a three-storied museum which has highlights of historic kings. Museums may sound a little less interesting but this one is definitely the opposite.

  1. Artificial Beach in Maldives

Beach may have artificial water. People usually have this myth when they listen the name of the place “Artificial beach”. But, this is one of the most popular beaches in Maldives. People and especially tourist from all across the globe plan their vacations at this beach specifically. Since, the beach is located in Male. Male does not have an innate beach. So, people created this one. Something which seems real but is artificial hence called “Artificial Beach”.

Artificial Beach
  1. Majeedhee Magu in Maldives

A shopaholic and someone who loves fashion like I do can never miss this place. Shopping in streets and finding the best clothes under budget is the best thing a girl can do to herself. To explore, visit Majeedhee mage where one can find so many shops selling amazing stuff at reasonable prices. Amazing fashion trends which are running currently are available at this place. The place is not limited to fashion. Gadgets and so many stuffs are available here.

  1. Whale Submarine in Maldives

Honeymoon trips can also be  adventurous if couples visit this place. Be it a family vacation or your anniversary trip or just a surprise, Whale Submarine is going to give you a real life experience. An underwater tour is planned which takes you to the place. You get to observe amazing water species.

Whale Submarine

Maldives is an amazing place to visit and explore things. The underwater life, amazing restaurants with delicious foods, islands for couples and families, they all make Maldives a unique destination!! It’s Maldives only Maldives…

 

Lata Lalwani
A passionate writer who loves to explore unique destinations. Travelling is her love and she believes that one must travel to live life fully!!

Europe on a Budget: A Guide to Eleven Cheap Destinations

Thinking of visiting Europe?The first thing that pops into mind is budget.Right? However, you are just one step away from your dream,because all your worries about budget are going to be assuaged with the information shared by WiseYatra,here. You can visit Eleven destinations in Europe that would fit  into your shoe string budget.

 

1.Seville,Spain

Capital of the region of Andalusia, Seville is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain and a popular tourist attraction. Seville is all about vibrant streets, joyous people with an exotic accent and of course the magnificent moorish architecture.

  • Among the ‘must visits’ ,the World Heritage Site Plaza de Espana ,Seville comes first. Built in 1929 for Ibero-American exposition, this square stands out as an extremely impressive place with a famous park, Maria Luisa. It is a wonderful place to admire the Spanish Architecture and a perfect place for photo shoots.
  • The other famous site of Seville is Real Alzacar de Sevilla.It is The location of The Water Gardens of Dorne of Game of Thrones fame.The opulence and beauty of this place attracts visitors from all over the globe. There is also Cathedral de Sevilla and Giralda Tower just near Alzacar which are the other famous destinations of Seville. Giralda Tower, a  forty storey tower, is the oldest architecture of Seville and an observatory to admire the view of the city.
  • Espacio Metropol ,Parasol ,Seville, is a modern addition to the city and a wonderful symbol of modern architecture. The structure stands as a canopy above the Encarnacion Market  giving a stunning and photogenic view.
  • Casa de Pilatos- A place to admire the excellence of Renaissance architecture blended with Spanish architecture in the palace of Casa de Pilatos.

 

2.Porto, Portugal

Visit the coastal city of Porto in Portugal and immerse yourself  into the beauty of its beaches, stately bridges and the authentic taste of wine. Porto is a blend of history, traditions maintained along withmodern culture and has old Portuguese towns and architecture that  leave an indelible impression on  tourists.

  • Ribeira– Porto’s oldest neighbourhood beside River Douro is a lovely place and famous for Ribeira Square which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Ribeira is popular for its narrow winding streets with picturesque  traditional houses, restaurants, cafes and the buzz of happiness. After strolling the streets, visit the Ponte Luis I (Dom Luis) Bridge above the River Douro and admire the stunning view.
  • Vila Nove de Gaia– Located on the Southern side of river Douro, connected with Ribeira through the Ponte Luis I bridge, Vila Nova de Gaia is a hub of the port wine industry that includes cellars offering wine tours and tasting which are inexpensive yet immensely enjoyable.This place is also known for sandy beaches,most famous being , Praia da Madalena.
  • Clerigos Tower– Visit the Clerigos Church and Tower located at the highest point of the city and get to see a panoramic view.
  • Porto Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace– Situated in the oldest district of Porto, the Cathedral was erected during the 12th century serving as the religious centre of Porto, blending  history with modernity.
  • Stock Exchange Palace– Pertaining to the Commercial Association of Porto , visit the Stock Exchange Palace or Palacio da Bolsa  that has a Neoclassical architecture and has historical importance.
  • Aliados- Visit this Avenue and enjoy the imposing architecture where the whole of Porto assembles to enjoy any event.

 

A Panoramic View of Porto

 

3.Sofia- Bulgaria

The largest and the capital city of Bulgaria, Sofia, is one of the famous cities of Europe and has a lot of surprising things to discover along with its mesmerising scenic beauty.

  • Cathedral Saint Alexander Nevski– A Bulgarian Orthodox  cathedral church built in the neo- Byzantine style, was actually erected in 20th century on the  memories of thousands of soldiers that died in the Russo- Turkish War(1877-78). This Eastern cathedral is one of the largest in the world and its speciality lies in the dome that is gold plated and dazzles in the sun.
  • Saint Sofia Church– The oldest cathedral church in Sofia built during the mid 4th century, is situated near the Cathedral Saint Alexander Nevski.
  • The National Theatre or Ivan Vazov– Named after the literary patriach Ivan Vazov, it is the largest and the most influential theatre in Bulgaria. The National Theatre also includes City Garden which is the most popular site for  tourists to relax, stroll and have photo shoots.
  • Central Bath (Sofia History Museum)– Built in early 19th century, this was once a public bath until 1986. At present this building serves as a history museum and is called the Sofia History Museum.
  • Vitosha Mountain- Go for hiking in the outskirts of Sofia, and visit the Vitosha Nature Park and fall in love with the mesmerising scenic view of mountains and colourful fields.

 

Scenic View of Sophia, Bulgaria

 

4.Prague- Czech Republic

Prague is one of the most beautiful cities of Europe and is all about castles, bridges, scenic nights and a lot of beauty. Explore the vibrant streets and the old  town and admire the colourful buildings that are indeed eye- catching.

  • Charles Bridge– Among the most visited sights comes the Charles Bridge acrossVltava river. Constructed during 14th- 15th century, this bridge is the second oldest in Czech Republic, which offers a scenic view of the city to the visitors.
  • Old Town Square– A 14th century old town hall in Prague is one of the famous attractions as you can see the crowds of visitors here,at any point of Old Town Square is incredibly charming and is considered one of the most beautiful squares of Europe. Have a look at the historical, Astronomical Clock and the age-old churches of Our Lady Before Tyn and St. Nicholas Church. Also visit the Kinsky Palace, House at the Stone Bell and Jan Hus Memorial.
  • Prague Castle– Visit the Prague castle which is one of the largest castles in the world and know about the tale of the Czech Kings and their history. Explore the palace, museums, gardens that would take you back to the 9th century.
  • Also visit the Golden Lane, Vysehrad or take a day trip to Kutna Hora to experience fear in the haunting town.

 

 

5.Budapest- Hungary

Budapest, capital of Hungary is another beautiful city of Europe bisected by the River Danube. Budapest is often referred as ‘little Paris of Middle Europe’ and is not only  popular for its monuments but also its history and culture that are probably 1000 years old.

  • Hungarian Parliament– Situated across the river Danube, Hungarian Parliament is the most important body of Budapest, and a famous attraction for its captivating beauty. The building looks stunning especially at night when it lights up with the city and its reflection can be seen on the calm water of Danube. One can walk along the edge of Danube river and spot the shoes on the Danube Monument associated with the painful history of the Jews.
  • Chain Bridge– It is one of the famous landmarks of Budapest.Walk along the Chain bridge built on Danube river that connects Buda and Pest .
  • Matthia’s Church– The 14th century old church situated at the top of Buda Castle Hill,  is one of the finest  in the city along with a unique interior and beautious view.
  • Buda Castle– Visit the Buda Castle and soak in the history of the country.It is the home to Hungarian National Gallery. The architecture is enticing and itself reveals its age old history. Buda Castle has been serving as the iconic landmark of the city since the 13th century.
  • Cruise on the Danube River- Another amazing way to admire this stunning city is through a cruise ride on the Danube River.
  • Central Market Hall– A five minutes walk from the city centre would lead you to the indoor market, Central Hall Market located on the Pest side of the city. Visit this to buy some Hungarian souvenirs, some art and crafts and of course,to try out the different food stalls.
  • Cave Church– Visit the unique church inside the cave of Gellert Hill which is an interesting place to pay a visit. When in Gellert don’t miss the opportunity of having a relaxing thermal bath in the Gellert Baths, and do watch the sun set from The Citadel.

 

6.Krakow- Poland

Poland’s  most traveller- friendly city, Krakow is beautiful in its own way. The city is clean, scenic and there is a lot  to do here.

  • Krakow Old Town (Rynek Glowny)- Begin your tourwith  the Main Square of Krakow, the oldest square that dates back to the 13th century. This square is considered  one of the largest  in the Medieval Europe and has pastel- coloured houses, shops, hotels, cafes and other important buildings such as Church of  Virgin Mary, Polish Art Gallery, the Cloth Hall and Town Hall Tower. One can opt for horse carriages and explore every nook and corner of the square.
  • Kazimierz– This was historically the place for Jews and  you can still feel theirimprints  in this district of Kazimierz. Head to the Galicia Jewish Museum that is most popular in Europe and get to know the Jewish history and culture. The famous Hollywood blockbuster, Schindler’s List(1993), was shot here.
  • Wawel Castle– Visit the most popular landmark of Krakow, Wawel Castle which is a symbol rich Polish culture and history. This Castle belonged to the Polish King Casimir III the Great and at present,is a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO(1978).
  • Auschwitz Birkenau– Auschwitz Birkenau is a former Nazi Camp and a painful reminder  of Nazi-Jew conflict and the great Holocaust.
  • Also visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Wieliczka Salt Mine and explore an unusual

 

7.Bratislava- Slovakia

The capital city of Slovakia, Bratislava is all about vineyards, hills, forests, castles, pastel coloured houses, well-planned age old town, fancy restaurants and cafes and of course ,its beautiful people. There is a plethora of captivating landscapes and landmarks  here:

  • Old Town– The old town includes the Main Square of Bratislava and has many things to see, such as -museums.Among many Bratislava City Museum is the most popular one. There are also beautiful churches, St. Ladlslav being the oldest and the most beautiful one.While exploring the square you’ll come across a famous monument, Man at Work and Primate’s Palace.
  • Blue Church– Located on the edged of the Old Town, the Blue Church- St. Elizabeth has a blue décor, unique enough to pay a visit.
  • Bratislava Castle– Situated on the hill above the Old Town and the Danube River, Bratislava Castle is a famous tourist attraction and the highlight of the city. Built during the 9th century, this castle has many stories to reveal.
  • Most SNP (Slovak National Uprising)- Most SNP or the UFO Bridge is a valuable asset of Bratislava. The bridge is named after its saucer-like architecture and stands above the river Danube, giving a panoramic view of the charming city.
View of Bratislava Castle

 

8.Sicily, Italy

Sicily is an Italian Island that has a lot to offer, be it historical or natural. Sicily is mainly known for the Greek and Roman architectural ruins, beaches, age-old towns and the world famous active volcano Mount Etna.

  • Palermo– Capital city of the Italian island of Sicily, Palermo is a home to Palmero Cathedral houses, Royal Tombs, Royal Palaces, busy markets and crowded streets. Noted for its rich history and culture dating back to the 12th century, this city is captivating.
  • Etna and Catania– Mount Etna is Europe’s tallest active volcano and one of the most active ones on Earth. Mount Etna is most beautiful during winters, as it cloaks under the snow. On its foot lies the famous city, Catania which is the second largest city of Sicily and has the busiest port. The city includes historical sites such as Piazza del Duomo, Catania Cathedral, Fontana dell’Elefante.
  • Taormina– A top hill town, Taormina is located at the foot of Mount Etna, at the east coast of Sicily. Taormina has vibrant streets, houses with colourful flowers on the balconies, ancient ruins such as the Ancient theatre of Taormina, pertaining to the history of Greek Colonialism, Corvaja Palace, the Isola Bella, a tiny island and nature reserve.
  • Syracruse– It is a delightful city that has Greek and Roman ruins to explore.
  • Cefalu– A heaven for the beach lovers especially during the summer. Relax on the beach and explore the historical sites of the city.

 

9.Zagreb- Croatia

Zagreb is the capital city of Croatia situated along the river Sava. There’s a plenty things to do in the city.There is architecture that reflects the Austro-Hungarian culture of the city, some gothic style buildings revealing its ancientry, lush gardens, restaurants, cafes, scenic river banks and friendly ,easy going people to interact with.

  • Upper Town–   Wandering  around the Upper Town of Zagreb one comes  across iconic buildings such as Gornji Grad,  Mark’s Church, Museum of Broken Relationships.
  • Lower Town– In the Lower town, explore the Croatian National Theatre, Mimara Museum, the restful park of Green Horseshoe, Ethnographic Museum, Botanical gardens and Maksimir Park.
  • Ban Jelacic Square– Ban Jelacic Square is located at the centre of the city of Zagreb.The square is built in an Austo-Hungarian style and has phenomenal numbers of cafes, restaurants, places for shopping and so on. The statue of Count Jelacic is also eye-catching.
  • Plitvice-Use public transport visit the lakes of Plitvice which actually seem like a paradise. Plitvice National Park is made up of sixteen lakes that are connected by a series of waterfalls and surrounded by picture-perfect woodlands.

 

 

10.Kiev- Ukraine

Capital of Ukraine, Kiev is all about religious architecture, historical monuments, and museums that reveal ‘the tale of the city’.

  • Khreshchatyk Street– A street full of life depicting the Ukranian culture, perfect for food and shopping.
  • Churches– Have a look at the city’s popular churches with gold-plated domes as their speciality, such as St. Sophia’s Cathedral, St. Andrew’s Church, St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral.
  • Monasteries– The city has a number of monasteries among which the most famous is Kyevo Pecherska Lavra, St. Michael’s Golden Domed Monastery.
  • Museums– There’s a plethora of museums in Kiev among which  the National Museum of Ukranian History revealing the history of the country, National Art Museum holding the unique collection of Ukranian Art ,are worth visiting.

 

 

11.Istanbul- Turkey

Among the most popular cities of Europe comes Istanbul which not only has architectural beauty but also scenic. Here’s a list of  must visits:

  • Hagia Sophia Museum– An iconic landmark of Istanbul, Hagia Sophia is a world famous tourist attraction. Its ancientry is related to the practise of various religions, but now in the modern day this serves as an excellent window to the Turkish History.
  • Grand Bazaar- The most famous and one of the largest bazaars in the world, the Grand Bazaar is ideal for shopping for antique porcelain pieces, carpets , Turkish artefacts and weapons (especially swords).
  • Topkapi Palace– With a mesmerising view, Topkapi Palace is among the ‘must see’ in Istanbul. This palace reflects its rich history of Ottoman Empire and serves as a wonderful museum.
  • Galata Tower- Situated on the highest point of the city, Galata Tower not only tells its age-old tale, but also is a wonderful observatory to admire the city of Istanbul and its beautiful sunsets.
  • Also visit the other famous sites such as The Blue Mosque, Dolmabahce Palace, Basilica Cistern, Chora Church and Istanbul Archaeological Museum.
Hagia Sophia

So let go of your budget -related worries and visit these eleven incredibly beautiful destinations of Europe without a strain on your pocket.

Cheap trip to Europe-a few tips

Travelling to Europe is a dream for most of us. The exotic locales, the wonderful history, the abundant natural beauty, all call out to us. But the supposed drain in our bank balance deters us sometimes. Don’t worry. We bring with us, a few hacks for you to have a great trip to the remarkable destination. Just follow these simple tips and enjoy the trip of your lifetime, within limited resources .

 

1.Plan much in advance-

One of the simplest way to have a  trip which does not cost you exorbitantly, is to plan much in advance.You will get air tickets at a much lower rate ,hotels will mostly have vacancy for you to choose a cheaper option.You will get more time to hunt for days when there are offers on eurail passes and other attractions like museums,amusement parks etc.

 

2.Go off -season-

The months of June,July,August seem like the ideal months to go to Europe ,escaping the excruciating heat of Indian cities.But these can be the worst month for the same.Apart from the problems of long queues at all attractions and maddening crowds there is also the consideration of spiralling rates of everything.Though ,it may not be always possible but try and plan your trips during less popular months.

 

3.Choose your place of stay wisely-

 The maximum drain on your pocket when going out is on accommodation, so choosing your place of stay wisely will help you in controlling that .Explore all options, even couch surfing and house minding. You can practically live for free. If ,it’s a family trip, try staying in home-stays and apartments ,where you save on other costs like food and laundry .Check out the deals in hotels too, you might just hit the jackpot.

 

  1. Eat smart-

After lodging ,the major spend -category happens to be ,food. But, it’s not very difficult to  eat a wholesome meal at a reasonable expense.

First of all, raid the supermarket. Buy whatever you think you can eat without cooking and carry it with you the whole day and have a picnic whenever you are hungry. This way you avoid restaurant food which can cost a bomb in Europe.

Secondly, use the facility if you have a kitchen in your apartment or hostel. Cook a basic but wholesome meal ,like sandwiches, bread-omlette, rolls and have in breakfast before leaving for the day. Similarly you can cook a good filling dinner  at night .You can also carry a few packets of ready-to-eat meals from India and have them when you come back late at night to your place of stay.

 

5.Explore maximum and spend minimum-

A little thought into your trip planning will help you in saving a lot of mullah.

First thing to be done after landing up in a new city ,is to go to the tourist information centre. You will get valuable information regarding various attractions and also save time and money by not wandering aimlessly.

Wherever you go, find out about the free walking-tours and make it a point to attend the same .They take you to most of the points of attraction and give you a fair idea of the city. You can decide after that which attractions you want to spend more time on.

Museum  entry fees can be quite high in Europe but most of them have a day in a month ,when entry is free. If possible, plan your itinerary accordingly.

local transport can be expensive .Try and  stay close to the city-centre and walk to the attractions. You will save a lot .If you must take some transport, avoid cabs, go for bus or metro.

 

 

6.Use free wi-fi-

Although staying connected seems like the most important thing to the millennium generation but when on a trip to Europe,curb that sentiment.It’s okay to invest in a basic plan for an international sim for emergencies but for the rest just  make use of the free wi-fi available almost everywhere in this post-modern continent.With the sim also,be very careful because even the incoming calls have different charge rules in different countries.

 

  1. Consider your cash options-

ATM withdrawals can be costly and you may get charged extra at every withdrawal.Go for a credit card which ,in most of the cases, more reasonable.

 

8.Travel light-

Apart from the fact that you will have to carry your luggage a lot of times, travelling light makes sense for monetary reasons also. Low cost carriers give you fares which are dirt cheap but they also charge a hefty premium for extra luggage. Whatever you save on fare ,you will have paid in double if your baggage exceeds their limit.

If you follow these simple tips ,you can have a great trip to this wonderland without spending a fortune. So, go ahead and enjoy.

 

Mamta Kumar

Budget Friendly Foreign Trips For Indians

When you  plan an international trip, budget arises as the biggest issue. You have a dream to travel the foreign locales with your loved ones, but  the tight budget  holds you back. But now you don’t need to worry.

When you  plan an international trip, budget arises as the biggest issue. You have a dream to travel the foreign locales with your loved ones, but  the tight budget  holds you back. But now you don’t need to worry. There are  many international destinations to visit, in pocket friendly budgets. Here is the list of the countries that are ideal for a shoe-string budget:

  • Sri Lanka:

Located on the South of continent India, Sri Lanka is an Island Nation famous for its beaches, Buddhist Temples, hills, mixed colonial architecture, sea food and lovely people. For people who love  relaxing on a beach and also  exploring scenic beauty of hills, Sri Lanka is an ideal place to visit.

Must Visits:-

  • Colombo-Visit the Capital city of Sri Lanka, Colombo and explore the National Museum, Gangaramaya Temple, Viharamahadevi Park, Cinnamon Gardens and Dehiwala Zoo and also the public beaches where you can enjoy ,delicious sea food.
  • Ella-Ella is an enticing small village on the highlands of Sri Lanka .It offersbreathtaking views of tea estates, waterfalls, mountains and lets you breathe in the wonderful fresh air it has. A Train ride from Kandy to Ella is the most enchanting scenic journey, you will ever experience.
  • Kandy Kandy in Sri Lanka is a city famous for sacred Buddhist s While on a trip to this city visit the Kandy Lake and the  most popular Temple of Tooth. Also pay a visit to the Royal Palace of Kandy, Royal Botanical Gardens and Udawattakele Forest Reserve.  .
  • Sigiriya– Sigiriya in Sri Lanka is an ancient fortress overlooking exuberant forests. It is famous for its ancient Rock Fortress which is situated at the top of Sigiriya Cliff.
  • Dambulla Cave Temple – This 2000 years old temple is situated 148km East of Colombo and it is the best preserved cave temple of Sri Lanka.
  • Galle– Famous for the age-old Galle Fort built by the Portuguese during 16th century, located on the shore of the most popular Galle Beach, this Fort also has a Lighthouse at its Southern tip.
  • Mirrisa- Relax and swim on the beach of Mirrisa.
  • Yala National Park– Experience the wildlife in Sri Lanka and get a chance to see elephants, deer, crocodiles, leopards, monkeys and colourful birds.
  • Polonnaruwa- Enjoy a trip to an ancient city in the middle of dense vegetation that has the ruins of old temples.

Number of Days in Sri Lanka: Ideal for 7-10 days trip.

 

Train Ride from Kandy to Ella

 Bhutan

A Buddhist Kingdom,  Bhutan is located on the Eastern Edge of the Himalayas having dramatic landscapes which seems almost surreal in its beauty. Bhutan has steep mountains, beautiful valleys, Buddhist Monasteries, pagodas, along with a lot of mesmerizing locations.

Must Visits:

  • Paro in Bhutan– On arriving at the International Airport of Paro, the journey of Bhutan begins. Visit the Taktsang Lhakhang or Tiger’s Nest which is the most iconic and world famous site of Bhutan. A 3-4 hours trek ,through the mountainous path ,takes you to this monastery . Also visit Rinpung Dzong (pronounced as Zong), Kyichu Lakhang,one of the oldest shrines of the kingdom,drive through Chele La Pass leading to the most beautiful Haa Valley.
  • Thimphu in Bhutan-It is the capital city of Bhutan and an unusual mix of modern and traditional.Sightseeing in Thimphu Valley includes the National Memorial Chorten, Tashichho Dzong, The National Library, Textile And Folk Heritage Museum, Handicrafts Emporium and lastly Institute of Zorig Chusum.
  • Punakha in Bhutan-Punakha Valley is mesmerisingly beautiful, and is mostly famous for Punakha Dzong situated at the junction of the two rivers ,Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu. Also visit the Punakha Suspension Bridge, along with the nearby sites,Chimi Lakhang , Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten.

Number Of Days:- Ideal for 5-7 days trip.

Tiger’s  Nest  Monastery              
  • Nepal

Nepal, a country lying along the Southern slopes Of Himalayas, is landlocked between India and the vast empty lands of Tibet. Nepal has beautiful landscapes, being  closest to Himalayas and is ideal for

‘take a break’ trip, as the mesmerizing sites of valleys, mountains, temples and monasteries are going to rejuvenate you. Places to see include the following-

  • Kathmandu in Nepal –Explore the capital of Nepal, and visit the Kathmandu Durbar Square, Swambhunath Stupa, Pashupatinath Temple, Boudhnath Stupa, one can go for sightseeing along the beautiful valley of Kathmandu and do some shopping in Thamel.
  • Pokhara in Nepal-Pokhara is a city among the Phewa Lake and mountains, a beautiful place for boating and enjoying the scenic beauty. Pokhara is the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit,popular trail of Himalayas. Visit the Tal Brahi Temple, International Mountain Museum,showcasing the history of mountaineering and the people of Himalayas.
  • Nagarkot in Nepal- Located at the rim of Kathmandu Valley, Nagarkot has the best spots to view the ‘top of the world’, Mt. Everest.This place is ideal for watching the best sunrise and sunset views of the world.

Number of Days: One can plan a trip for 5-7 days.

Phewa Lake
  • Thailand

A Southeast Asian country, Thailand is a popular international destination that fits in a pocket friendly budget. It is mostly popular for beaches, Royal Palaces, ruins of ancient temples of Buddha, crowded cities and authentic Thai Food. Pay a visit to:

  • Bangkok in Thailand-The capital city of Thailand- Bangkok, has captivating street lifeand ornate shrines. Visit the majestic Grand Palace and its sacred Buddhist Temple Wat Phra Kaew, along with nearby Wat Pho and Wat Arun Temple. Explore the Khaosan Road that has abundant shops, hotels, restaurants and lively night life.
  • Pattaya in Thailand-A city of Thailand located on the Eastern Gulf coast, Pattaya is popular for beautiful beaches among which Pattaya and Jomtien Beach are the most popular . Visit the Truth of Sanctuary ,a massive temple carved out of wood.Enjoy the wonderful nightlife and do some shopping on the Walking Street.
  • Nong Nooch Village in Thailand -Explore the Thai Culture and breathtakingly beautiful landscaped gardens. Also, this place organises Thai cultural One can visit Nong Nooch From Bangkok or Pattaya through road routes.

Number of Days: 5-7 days.

  1. Maldives

A South-Asian Sovereign state, Maldives lies Southwest of Sri Lanka and India in the Indian Ocean. Maldives is popular worldwide for its white sandy beaches that are indeed paradise. Coral Reefs, lagoons, scuba diving &snorkelling, luxury hotels,resorts and spas, all comprise together to make Maldives an ideal international destination. The must visits are:

  • Hulhumale in Maldives-An Island in Maldives that marks the beginning of the journey, can be reached by road through public or private transport. Hulhumale is an ideal place to relax at the beach where the water is turquoise in colour,hence more beautiful than usual.
  • Male in Maldives-Take a boat from Hulhumale Island and reach the capital city of Maldives,Male. Explore the city life of Maldives and pay a visit to the Male Friday Mosque, Islamic Centre, National Museum, Male Fish Market, stay in a private resort and enjoy the private beaches.
  • Maafushi in Maldives-From Villingili Ferry Terminal,Male, begin your journey to the biggest island of Maldives, Maafushi. Explore the most popular beaches, Bikini Beach, Public Beach, Water Sport Beach and Coral Beach. Do scuba diving, snorkelling and get a chance to see the school of dolphins.
  • Fihalhohi in Maldives-Located on the South of Male, this island has overwater bungalows giving you a once in a lifetime experience. Fihalhohi is luxurious, with exquisitely decorated bungalows, exotic spas and restaurants.

Number of Days: 5-7 days.

Maldives

So, what are you waiting for? Let go of your worries and come visit these beautiful international destinations that won’t cause a drain in your pockets.

 

 

 

Nine Best Destinations to visit in Asia

“To Travel Is To Live”

When Gayle Foreman proclaimed “Travelling is not something we are good at; it’s something we do, like breathing”, he captured the essence of a life well lived. There’s a whole world out there to explore and take in, sights both known and unknown. Read on to find a list of 9 wonderful places you can visit in Asia.

 

1) BRUNEI

This scenic country offers you travel at its best form. Its capital Bander Seri Begawan shines with its magnificent mosques that is the exact contrast to the stilt house water village and flourishing mangrove forests nearby. The main attractions are Brunei City center which is small, compact and can be easily explored on foot and has the city’s traditional and modern architectural styles embedded in it. Also to see is the Brunei Museums which showcases the nation’s history and culture and don’t miss the Ulu Temburong National Park. This small yet wealthy nation has got it all!

 

2) SRI LANKA

This small country boasts of a rather unique culture and tradition. It comprises of scenic spots such as Kandy which is home to Buddhist relic, Galle- a coastal city home to the Galle Fort, a lighthouse, and a marine-time museum. There are also national parks to visit such as Minneriya National Park, Udawalawe for safaris and Peradeniya for beautiful gardens. For the shopoholics in us, Pettah is a must visit -with it large variety of markets for clothes, souvenirs and so on. Sri Lanka is famous for the Ceylon tea production. Make sure to visit Royal botanical garden to witness the fascinating tea production process. Trust me after seeing that you will be a tea lover if you weren’t before!

 

3) FUJAIRAH

This small emirate in UAE houses the most scenic beauties of United Arab Emirates. Located near the mountains and flowing rivers it’s a must-see place to visit and enjoy. Starting with the imperial Fujairah Fort and Al Badiyah Mosque showcases this emirate’s culture and tradition. Next up is the Madhab Spring Park which is a perfect spot for kids to play and enjoy. There are shopping malls which provide modern choices for tourists but for a traditional outlet, you have to visit the Fujairah Heritage village for some of its relic collection. Finally, nobody misses the sandy beach and corniche which are the serene spots. If you want a relaxing environment without any loud arrangements, Fujairah is the place to go!

 

4) COCOS KEELING ISLANDS

A paradise for nature lovers located in the middle of Indian Ocean, some 2750 km northwest of Perth, these islands are usually enroute for boats from Mauritius. If you want a break from your tech, then this is the holiday for you. It also has activities such as the Lagoon swim, mid-year Cocos Ball, Music and wine festivals and also dishes out concert events. Snorkeling is the favorite activity around this region. It’s great for all ages and offers shallow and protected conditions. The islands offer numerous snorkeling spots that cater to all experience levels. Whether this is your first time snorkeling or you have already snorkeled the waters of the world, there are plenty of options around that will delight you; the most famous of snorkeling sites is ‘the Rip’ located at the southern tip of Direction Island.

 

6) KERALA, INDIA

Deemed to be ‘God’s own country’, Kerala offers backwaters and food delicacies aplenty. From the backwaters in Alleppey to the hilly Munnar, to the coastal town in Kovalam to the paragliding, hiking experiences in Vagamon, Kerala offers a lot more than you can see and have. The buzzing cities of Ernakulum and Trivandrum offer shopping spree for tourists and the tasty tapioca and fish curry is hard to resist.

 

 7) BHUTAN

This happy and serene country offers an extraordinary diversity and tourist attractions such as Thimpu, Paro, and Punakha which has amazing markets and parallely also showcases mountains, waterfalls, and temples. It also houses Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary which is a protected area. Also, how can we ever forget the mouthwatering Ema datshi which will make your senses go high!

 

8) MACAU

Nicknamed as the ‘Las Vegas of Asia’ this place houses giant casinos, malls and have amazing landscapes such as  Senado Square, Taipa, and Venetian Macau. Its beautiful architecture and scenic spots will bring the fun element of holidays to the forefront. The cuisines are in variety to cater to the growing need of the tourists. It also has the iconic St Paul church which is also a religious museum.

 

9) JORDAN

This country houses ancient ruins and rather an antique history of their culture and tradition. The main attraction is the Dead Sea which is the salt lake which has the lowest point on the dry sea and has the famously hypersaline water and mineral-rich mud which is used a lot in cosmetics. Also, Jordan offers deserts and oases around the region with which we can go on safaris and rides. Camping is also an option which can be utilized when you are here.

Traveling is all about enjoying the pleasures of life which can’t be provided by staying in one place. These places offer you complete enjoyment at its best. Traveling tends to magnify human emotions to such an extent that it overwhelms you and makes you widen your perspective of life. So happy traveling to these wonderful places!

Bon Voyage!

BY

KAVYA SANTHOSH

A student who is passionate about reading and travelling, has a passion to pen down her travel experience. She plans to see as many countries as she can!