Monday, November 30, 2009

Top 10 Places to spend Christmas

1. Las Vegas – Christmas is all about indulgence and treating yourself and your family, and what better place for this than the city of over the top luxury and entertainment that is Las Vegas. There are a number of impressive hotels that go all out for the Christmas and New Year period with some visually stunning decorations, and this time of year you can also get some great bargains as there is heavy competition among hotels to secure Christmas bookings. The Mirage is one of the biggest luxury hotels, and the massive aquarium in the lobby will take your breath away. It is also a casino and has its own shows such as the very popular Cirque du Soleil extravaganza, which you will need to book in advance as it can sell out at peak times.

2. Honolulu, Oahu – tropical beach resorts are always popular at Christmas time and the heart of Hawaii, the island of Oahu, is one of the best mid winter sun destinations, full of warm and welcoming traditional culture and beautiful natural scenery. The famous white tropical beaches of Waikiki are the perfect place to treat your family to a relaxing, memorable Christmas, and Honolulu city spares no expense on the holiday decorations and electric Christmas light parades.

3. Disneyland, Orlando, Florida – perhaps one of the most special places you can take your children for the Christmas break is Disneyland. It really is a magical place, and Christmas is extra special with some fantastic decorations all across the park and its hotels, with an amazing 50,000 lights decorating Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and a 60 foot Christmas tree at the end of Main Street. The rides themselves are also redecorated at Christmas, and kids will love the seasonal changes to the Haunted House, with a whole theme based on Tim Burton’s popular “The Nightmare Before Christmas” film featuring Jack Skelington. There is also an amazing Christmas Fantasy Parade which is unmissable as well as “West Pole” which is set up in Frontierland and features a get away for Santa so that he can unwind before his big day.

4. New York – Christmas in New York is spectacular, with some impressive decorations and fantastic shows and entertainments. A visit to the huge kids toy stores FAO Schwarz and Toys R Us in Times Square are truly magical, as well as the famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and the amazing Christmas window displays at Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. New York is very cold at this time of year and there is a good chance of snow falling, which can make getting around a bit awkward but adds to the magical atmosphere.

5. Meran, Southern Tirol Italy – This is one of the most popular skiing destinations in the world and also provides a number of other fantastic activities including hiking tours, mountain biking and the very popular lighted night skiing and sledding. The beautiful old Meran town centre was built in the 13th century and was formerly the capital of the Tirol area and offers some excellent and atmospheric shopping and dining experiences over the Christmas break.

6. Bay of Islands, New Zealand – New Zealand is an amazing country with such a lot to offer, and it is summer here in December so expect barbecues on the beach rather than open fires and eggnog. The Bay of Islands has some of the world’s most outstanding natural scenery with over 150 different tiny islands and secluded beaches, and you can stay in beautiful little secluded villas which look out over the miles of blue ocean. Seaside restaurants in the area provide fantastic Christmas feasts if you don’t feel in the mood to cook for yourself, and you can take memorable Christmas morning cruises out from Russell Harbour to watch wildlife such as dolphins and whales.

7. Edinburgh, Scotland – Christmas is always celebrated in style in Edinburgh, with fantastic firework displays and some great Christmas shopping and dining experiences. The luxurious Caledonian Hilton provides an atmospheric and intimate stay with roaring fireplaces and tasteful decorations, and a trip to the 600 year old St. Giles Cathedral on Christmas Eve to hear the sermon and carol singing is truly special and will get you in the perfect mood for Christmas day.

8. Malmö, Sweden – this beautiful city was built back in the 16th century and has some amazing buildings that look simply magical covered in decorations and a light blanket of snow. Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve by most families in Sweden, so make sure that if you want to eat Christmas dinner out you book up in advance on 24th, as most restaurants actually close on Christmas Day. Traditional Swedish Christmas feasts are based on mainly fish dishes, but you will find the odd turkey roast here and there.

9. Mexico City – there is a real party vibe in the capital of Mexico all year long, but things get especially hot at Christmas time, making this one of the best Christmas party towns in the world. Check into the Hotel Habita, which has a wonderful swinging rooftop lounge and lap pool, and is full of experienced party people looking to unwind and have a great time. You can eat a traditional Mexican Christmas meal in the fantastic courtyard at San Ángel Inn, which is a former Carmelite monastery built in 1692, and there is also some excellent gift shopping places in the nearby main square where artists and craftsman display their wares in various shops and stalls.

10. Boston USA – Boston has a real old world feel, with its grand old architecture and cobblestoned streets , and it is a real treat to spend Christmas here browsing through the shops and stalls and relaxing in one of the many coffee houses and cafes. The XV Beacon Hotel is a great place to stay combining vintage detail such as four poster beds with modern amenities (Internet connections and CD players) and it is close to the one of the oldest parks in the USA, Boston Common which looks simply stunning when it snows in mid winter.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Island of the Big Lion

No one knows why this Langkawi island is called "Island of the Big Lion" - the island does not has any physical resemblance of a lion at all. Limestone outcrops are prominent on the north eastern part of the island.

Pulau Singa Besar is located about 17km from Kuah, nestled between the smaller island of Pulau Beras Basah to the west and Pulau Dayang Bunting to the east. The sedimentary rocks on this island are reputed to be among the oldest in Malaysia going back 500 million years. The flora and fauna here differ greatly form that on the mainland, with lush abundance of the Diptherocarp, kelubi and cycas.

This island is a wildlife sanctuary where you can find lizards, mouse deer, macaques, eagles and hornbills roam freely. Wooden walkways and paths have been delineated on the islands shores for for you to trek around the island which normally takes about 8 hours.

Pulau Singa Besar Langkawi
At low tide, parts of the coral bed of Pulau Singa Besar is exposed. Although rich in coral beds, some of the reefs are dead due to muddy sediments brought by currents from the Straits of Malacca. However, there are also signs of coral regeneration in some places.

You can have a picnic on the pristine beaches and enjoy swimming in the surrounding waters. There are no hotels or chalets on this island but you are allowed to camp here. However, you'll have to bring along your own tents and camping equipment if you wish to spend the night on the Big Lion of Langkawi islands.

Pantai Tanjung Rhu - Tanjung Rhu Beach

Tanjung Rhu is one of Langkawi best beaches. This beautiful beach fringed with tall casuarina trees is located 22 km away from Kuah - on the northernmost tip of Langkawi island. During low tide, you can actually walk across a sandy stretch to the rocky outcrop of Pulau Chabang. There are also a number of caves as well as mangrove swamp that you can explore nearby.

Tanjung Rhu is safely sheltered by the curve of the bay. The water is shallow and calmly blue. This beautiful secluded bay of white sand is constantly caressed by the gentle breeze blowing in from the vast Indian Ocean.

Tanjung Rhu

You can hire a boat to cruise around the islands. There is also the Tanjung Rhu Riding Centre which offers equestrian sports. The exclusive Tanjung Rhu Resort, set on its edge is one of the resorts on this bay.

Shark Feeding

The underwater world in Tahiti is an extraordinary experience. It is unique not only for water clarity, fish species, and gorgeous living reefs but also one of the few places left in the world rich with big animals.
Species include; Humpback Whales, Dolphins, Manta Rays, Giant Wrasse, Moray Eels, and of course multiple types of sharks. Depending on the Island you are staying on you will be able to swim with; Black Tip, Grey Reef, White Tip, Nurse, Lemon, Hammerhead, and even Tiger Sharks.

Begun in the mid 80s, shark feeding tours are now commonplace in French Polynesia and a great way to experience these most perfected of fish species. Normally these are half-day tours whereby you are taken out to an outer reef, don snorkel and flippers, slip into the water and watch Tahitian divers hand feed Black Tip reef sharks right before your eyes!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Phuket - Amanpuri Resort

The World is lucky to have somebody like Adrian Zecha - a rich person who has the vision, means and determination to create extraordinary projects. I'm a bit biased of course - as an architect we are always dreaming about landing a client like him. Instead of just kicking back and enjoying life, he chose to take on the challenge of creating some of the most interesting resorts in some of the most unusual places in the World. Every Aman resort is a unique and visionary creation.

Amanpuri was the resort which started a whole new trend of travel and lifestyle. Not many people thought a small ultra-exclusive boutique resort - one charging more then USD 1,000 per night, would be able to survive. Aman resorts proved that it could be done, and now there are even "Aman Groupies" who would only visit a destination if there is an Aman resort there. We are talking about mostly millionaires here.

For mere mortals like me, a visit is as close as I would ever get to an Aman experience. In Bali we managed to visit Amandari and Amanusa, both very beautiful resorts in stunning locations. They were also much more accommodating and we managed to visit the villas to see what it's like to stay in ultra-luxury. Here in Phuket, I only managed to get to the reception and the main pool deck. Amanpuri is located at Pansea Beach, sharing an entrance driveway with The Chedi.

Immaculate landscaping.

The beautifully crafted stone walls - a signature at all the Aman resorts.

The villas nestled on the hill sides.

The architectural design for Amanpuri was based on traditional Thai architecture which has been stripped down to it's most basic. At the time when it was built, it was a revelation. 20 years down the road, trends have moved on and most of the exclusive resorts now are minimalist in design. Compared to that, Amanpuri looks a bit old fashion, but it's charm is still undeniable.

Best Christmas 2009 and 2010 Holiday Concerts and Tours in North America

Trans-Siberian Orchestra started in the beginning of November long holiday run across North America with Christmas 2009 concert program. Two groups of TSO are touring simultaneously to visit nearly 80 cities in US, and Canada. In October the orchestra released new album, titled "Night Castle". The project consists of rock band, symphony orchestra and a large ensemble of vocalists.
Mannheim Steamroller already kicked off annual Christmas tour which covers 58 US cities this year. The show includes famous Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas sounds, and some multimedia effects. Tour itinerary lists Salt Lake City (UT), Indianapolis (IN), Chicago (IL), Denver (CO), Washington (DC), Houston (TX), New York (NY), San Francisco (CA), and many other markets. In addition to the tour the group is releasing album "Mannheim Steamroller Christmas - 25th Anniversary Collection" featuring famous holiday classics of Mannheim Steamroller.

Another great news that Radio City Christmas Spectacular, originally New York holiday show, is touring across over 20 North American cities in 2009/2010 season! The project will give concerts in Atlanta (GA), Baltimore (MD), Cincinnati (OH), Columbus (OH), Orlando (FL), Philadelphia (PA), Washington (DC), Toronto (ON), and in many smaller markets. Radio City Christmas Spectacular is wonderful holiday show for all family.

Pop singer/songwriter David Archuleta announced fall/winter 2009 tour to support his new album "Christmas From the Heart" released in October. The trek kicks off November 24 in Salt Lake City (UT). Archuleta will visit 17 cities including San Francisco (CA), Anaheim (CA), Kansas City (MO), St. Paul (MN), Cleveland (OH), and Baltimore (MD). David will perform Christmas songs, and his previously recorded material.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lights Travelling With London Underground

Lights Travelling With London Underground by davidgutierrez_photography.
The London Underground is a metro system serving a large part of Greater London and neighbouring areas of Essex, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire in England, and is both the world's oldest underground railway and the oldest rapid transit system.
The earlier lines of the present London Underground network, which were built by various private companies, became part of an integrated transport system (which excluded the main line railways) in 1933 with the creation of the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB), more commonly known by its shortened name: "London Transport".
Since 2003 LUL has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL), the statutory corporation responsible for most aspects of the transport system in Greater London, which is run by a board and a commissioner appointed by the Mayor of London.

The Underground has been featured in many movies and television shows, including Sliding Doors, Tube Tales and Neverwhere. The London Underground Film Office handles over 100 requests per month. The Underground has also featured in music such as The Jam's "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight" and in literature such as the graphic novel V for Vendetta. Popular legends about the Underground being haunted persist to this day.
The Underground currently sponsors and contributes to the arts via its Platform for Art and Poems on the Underground projects. Poster and billboard space (and in the case of Gloucester Road tube station, an entire disused platform) is given over to artwork and poetry to "create an environment for positive impact and to enhance and enrich the journeys of ... passengers".[

The London Underground's 11 lines are the Bakerloo line, Central line, Circle line, District line, Hammersmith & City line, Jubilee line, Metropolitan line, Northern line, Piccadilly line, Victoria line, and Waterloo & City line. Until 2007 there was a twelfth line, the East London line, but this has closed for conversion work and will be transferred to the London Overground when it reopens in 2010.

Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi-Land of The Heavenly Kings

Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi-Land of The Heavenly Kings

The road from Makassar or Ujung Pandand to Toraja runs along the coast for about 130 km's and then hits the mountains. After the entrance to Tana Toraja you enter a majestic landscape with giant gray, granites and stones and blue mountains at a distance after passing the market village of Mebali. They form a sharp contrast with the lively green of the fertile, rain-fed terraces and the rusty read of the tropical laterite soil. This is Tana Toraja, one of the most splendid areas in Indonesia.

Tana Toraja has a specific and unique funeral ceremony which is called Rambu Solo. In Tana Toraja, dead body is not buried, but it is put in Tongkonan for several times, even can be more than ten years until the family have enough money to held the ceremony. After ceremony, the dead body is brought to the cave or to the wall of the mountain. The skulls show us that the dead body is not buried but just put on stone or ground, or put in the hole.The funeral festival season begins when the last rice has been harvested, usually in late June or July, and lasts through to September.

  • By Air
    Directly from Hasanuddin airport, Makassar or Ujung Pandang, proceed to TANA TORAJA (twice a week on tuesday and friday) through the airport of Rantetayo, near Makle, 24 km south of Rantepao and there is a bus service to town.
  • By Land

    Buses to Rantepao from Ujung Pandang leave daily from Ujung Pandang. The journey takes 8 hours and includes a meal stop. Tickets should be bought in town but coaches actually leave from DAYA bus terminal, 20 minutes out of town by bemo. Coaches typically leave in the morning ( 7 am ), noon ( 1 pm ) and at night ( 7 pm).
    Several companies in Rantepao run buses back to Ujung Pandang with the departure time and prices. The number of buses each day depends on the number of passengers.

Tourist who wants to stay in the heart of the city has many choices since there is lot of hotels available. Or if you had an adventurous soul, you can sleep in villages on the way.

Bemo is the best way to get to know the locals, besides chartered vehicles (minibuses and Jeeps) with or without driver. While you are in the village you can take a walk to move around.

  • Exploring the market; You should not to be missed going to the traditional market. Here you can get the top end of Toraja coffee beans [like Robusta and Arabica]. And several local veggies, fruits Tamarella or Terong Belanda and gold fish [ikan mas].
  • Visit Batu Tumonga Plateu; It means stone that facing to the sky. From here can be seen many volcanic stones comes up in between padi fields. And, several giant stones became cave graveyard. The views is pretty awesome. The huge of Tana Toraja [Toraja land] looks so lush and greenery. Like a patchwork in gradation hue of green color
  • Palawa is an excellent village to visit a Tongkonan, or a burial place still swarming with celebrations and festivals.
  • Take a side trip from Rantepao to Kete, a traditional village with excellent handicraft shops. Behind the village on a hillside is a grave site with lifesize statues guarding over old coffins

Most of the times, you can't eat at these locations; however more warung and restaurants appear along the road. You can also bring your own foods and drinks.

There is a souvenirs shop where you can buy everything specific from Tana Toraja. There are clothes, bags, wallets and other handicrafts.

  • Visitor are expected to adhere to local dress customs and to bring a token present, such as cigarettes or coffee whenever entered Tongkonan.
  • As roads are not always paved, it is necessary to use a jeep or walk, even when the weather is good (between May and October).
  • Beware with your head whenever going inside to Tongkonan, The Torajan traditional house.
  • Enrekang, Makale and Toraja Higland are surrounded by astonishing volcanic rocky cliffs. Do not miss it , just stop and take picture for awhile and you will not regret.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kerala - A tourist destination in India

Kerala is likewise renowned as Gods personal nation, the name itself is similar with paradisal feel and to go through this paradisal home all you have to do is pack your suitcases and direct straight away to Kerala. Kerala is a home of duplex opportunities of which you can choose the ones that matter to you the most and design your personal package for your Kerala tour. You can come to Kerala for various grounds and the better part is that you will find miscellaneous tour packages here providing to your distinct requires, some of the well-known tours are honeymoon tour, backwater tour, beach tour, ayurveda tour, wildlife tour etc. There and many more such tours that are planned to make your Kerala tour revolve around the activities that interests you most and to make all those actions accessible in your time permits. You can Besides custom make your personal kerala tour packages wherein you can mix two packages into one and so on.

However, numerous of the most energizing actions that can be done and seen when you are in Kerala for vacations - searching the nature, learning the ethnical fests, treating yourself with mouthwatering dishes, loving the earthy discourses and so on. You might get went through several of the most exotic health spas in the globe, but the ayurvedic interventions in Kerala are an unparallel match. Ayurveda is an older medical skill of India which has heal to most of the physical and moral problems by the earthy means. So go through this therapeutic exponent of nature at Kerala, which is quick becoming a hub for alternative medicinal drugs in India. Ayurveda and ayurvedic discourses are one of the causes for accelerative tourism in Kerala

Today if we speak about the picturesque places in Kerala that you can search during your Kerala tour, than we can tell Kerala as a whole with all the hooks and corner is pretty but if we choose those awful sites than the first one in the list would be Munnar, a hill station which is 120 km away from Cochin and renowned for its picture ideal locations and tea and coffee orchards. Then there are backwaters of Kerala, that you should not drop for anything in this universe because it is one of the most poised and calm points to find peace of mind in this globe. Then there are those renowned beaches of Kerala with waters and sand to make your vacation package a complete one. some of the most famous beaches of Kerala are Kovalam, Varkala, Mararikulam, Alleppey etc. Visit these beaches to have the picturesque sundowns with crystal water and sands around, a perfect style to unwind in the evening.

Also the advisable fashion to judge a home is by experiencing its civilization and the best style to hook in the vivid civilization of Kerala is by Witnessing the snake boat racing which takes site only once in a year in front Onam. If you are on time for your Kerala tour then dont overlook the irresistible get of this race. Generally to see so many happening matters you get to visit many places. But all this and much more fantastic things can be went through at one home and that is Kerala. So to get a smooth, fair and rocking vacation at the same time, opt for Kerala vacations. Why to wait? start planning for your kerala honeymoon packages and vacations

Deals galore as recession bites Singapore

singaporerom pizza delivery chains to fancy restaurants, “recession” is now a buzz word on menus of many restaurants and bars in Singapore, a nation in the middle of its worst-ever economic downturn.Walking through crowded bars and restaurants in the riverside entertainment hub Clarke Quay or the main shopping strip Orchard Road, Singapore’s economy does not seem to be suffering.But bar and restaurant owners say they are having to offer deals to pull in customers, after a slump in business last month.

“When you get depressed, you need more beer,” said Ian Fitzgerald, an English software developer for Standard Chartered.”I notice than more people are drinking at the beginning of the week than at the end of the week,” he said, standing outside a bar in the city’s financial district.

The Hard Rock Cafe, just off Singapore’s main shopping boulevard Orchard Road, is offering a S$10 (A$9.70) “Recession Set Lunch,” a promotion that came after the restaurant saw a 20 per cent drop in its business in February.It said sales had improved this month and it looked to build on this with new monthly promotions.

“We won’t call it Happy Hour because that’s what everybody is calling it. You need to be a bit more creative,” said the chain’s promotion manager Natalie Wee.Restaurant and bar House, in the jungly ex-colonial army area of Dempsey Road that is popular with young professionals, has slashed its wine prices by 35 per cent and offers a “recession plan” package with 10 per cent off bills more than S$50.

The discounts have brought crowds back to a level similar to pre-recession days, said spokeswoman Janet Lim, after a 30 per cent plunge in customers late last year. Singapore was the first country in Asia to fall into recession last year.


Singapore, which has said its economy could shrink as much as 10 per cent this year, announced on Friday that retail sales in January slid 12 per cent from a year ago, but sales at restaurants jumped 20 per cent.This spending could be boosted by Lunar New Year celebrations that occurred in January, so restaurants and economists are not optimistic.

“In view of the busy state of Singapore’s malls it may not seem as though spending is collapsing but, judging by January’s retail sales numbers, people were apparently just making use of the free air conditioning,” said economist Robert Prior-Wandesforde at HSBC in Singapore.Outlets catering to tourists have been worse hit.

Hard Rock Cafe sales at Changi Airport’s Terminal 3 have fallen 20 per cent with no sign of improvement, said manager Mark Chan.Harry’s Bar, Singapore’s biggest bar chain that caters mostly to expatriate and local professionals, told Reuters it has closed down four non-performing outlets, including at the airport, and did not think its sales would rise this year.

Singapore expects a 10 per cent fall in visitor arrivals in 2009. Singapore Tourism Board has launched a “2009 Reasons to visit Singapore” campaign, giving away free air tickets and discount packages on five-star hotels.Despite a slowdown, tourism and restaurant operators said they were doing better than in 2003 during the SARS respiratory illness epidemic.

“Our business was down 60-70 per cent during SARS,” said Harry’s CEO Mohan Mulani. “Issues like that are more sensitive than economic numbers.”

travel to chile

ChileChile is one of the few emerging market countries that is holding up well this year. The Bank of New York Mellon Chile ADR Index is up 9.05% year-to-date. Though the economy of Chile is heavily dependent on exports of commodities such as Copper, in recent years the economy has become more diversified. The domestic economy is strong due to various policies implemented by the government.

While there are a few Chilean stocks trading as ADRs in the US, the easiest way to invest in Chile is via the iShares MSCI Chile Investable Market Index ETF (ECH) and the closed-ended fund The Chile Fund (CH). These two funds give broad exposure to many Chilean stocks.

1. iShares MSCI Chile Investable Market Index ETF (ECH):

Launched in 2007, this ETF has about $150M in assets. The current yield is 1.96% and the expense ratio is 0.63%. Year-to-date the fund is up 12.34%. Since inception the fund is down 24.80%.

One of the pros of this fund is that it has only 9% of the assets invested in financials. Energy, Utilities and Industrials account for a major portion of the portfolio.

2. The Chile Fund (CH)

Currently CH is trading at a discount of 14%. The fund has an asset of base of $106M and the yield is 1.53%.

The fund made a return of 49.58% in 2007 when Chilean stocks were hot due to the commodities boom. In 2008, it gave back all the returns from 2007 and ended the year with a loss of almost 52%. Year-to-date the fund is up about 12%. Similar to the ETF, the assets of the fund are widely allocated among various stocks in different sectors.

Both the closed-end fund and the ETF are smart options get exposure to Chilean stocks. However CH will be much more volatile than the ETF in these turbulent times since it is a closed-ended fund.

Back in January Marketwatch has an article titled Looking for defensive exposure? Try Chilean stocks. In this piece, Geoffrey Dennis, Latin America strategist at Citigroup, said “Chile always outperforms in down markets. There’s always been a substantial pool of domestic liquidity and that’s been a stabilizing force in the market.”

movewithus international santiago de chile property for sale-santiago de chile houses for sale-property investment santiago de chile-santiago de chile real estate

Chile is being referred to as 'the Switzerland of Latin America' due to several factors such as the safety of the juridical system, the economy which is strong and on the increase, the multiple universities and high level of education. Many international investors have are now looking towards investing in the Chilean real estate sector. Investing advantages are the Chilean 'Unidad de Fomento' and the increasing middle class that will possess a high purchasing power in the following years.

Get Lost In Lust of Europe

Being 3 weeks, as a backpacker traveling around Europe, unforgettable memory. Nobody beside, met somebody new, unexpected problems, surprises, shocks, happiness, and sadness are some excellent experience that you will find. Oh G, I do not know how to start this story. I will try to make it more informative so you can get the idea (perhaps as a reference for you while traveling) not just as a diary.

Tips, you should do these while being a traveller in Europe, go to information center (usually in central station or airport), ask must-visited places, take train plan, and contact your new friends there.

Guys, I started my long journey from Munich, then to Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Netherlands (Delft, Rotterdam, Den Haag, and Amsterdam), finally to Stuttgart. With only 600 Euros, traveled around these cities was a really good deal. Oops, I forgot to tell you that money did not include the hotel reservations. I did not reserve the hotels, I used my networking and asked my friends. Like community webs (friendster, facebook, etc), I made some new friends from my old friends. Very interesting. And you know what? Indonesians here are very nice. They will welcome you nicely, eventhough you never met them before. Trust me!

Before we start, I should provide you some interesting pictures from my beloved camera. Unfortunately, I lost it. So, I would like to take some pictures from some websites. Regards for the sources.

1st point, MUNICH.
A daily ticket = 5 Euros
As an industrial city, Munich looked so busy and fast. Everyone seemed will lose his last train. But I liked this atmosphere. It pumped my spirit for being more efficient in time and work. First place that I visited was BMW Welt (BMW's World). This sophisticated architectural building combined the showroom, park, technology exhibition room, store, and also restaurant. I spent about 4 hours for exploring this place and I was so excited since it was a bit hard finding this kind of museum in France. Here, you can find the new series of BMW from class 3, 5, until your private-coated BMW. Also you can find some information how the sophisticated BMW combined the luxury, sport, and technology. But, I missed something here, the history how the BMW went into this recent way. But, don't worry, it was free of charge.
Vienna's Rathaus
BMW Welt

As the most expensive city in Germany, Munich also offered you a nice down town - full of the modern stores-, old buildings, nice germans speaking english well, bretzel (the bread). This original bread came from Stuttgart (Parik told me) and the taste is salty, for me too salty. It will be better with butter. Good for breakfast and for your coffee will be perfect.

Fortunately, at that time, they still had annual market for christmas here. Everyone was out of their homes and got along with friends in this market. They provided christmas merchandises, foods, hot drinks, and sometimes music concerts. They seemed very lovely. If we want to compare with Indonesian culture, we can call it Pasar Malam.

Thank you so much Allen. Seperti kata Parik, ati-ati yah dirumah itu. Hihihi.

Next destination, Vienna. I took fast train from Munich, and it costed 78 Euros, spending 5 hours 21 minutes. If you're lucky, you can find special prize (promo) with only 29 Euros. Find out in

2nd point, Vienna Austria

A weekly ticket= 14 Euros.

Not like Munich, Vienna is a small city. With only 1 millions people, this city looked more enjoyable. I do not say there's no rush, but it was just more relax. Everyone can speak english. The prizes of stuffs looked same as in France. After arriving, we went to the famous pizzaria here, Pizza Bizi in center of town. It provided about 4 kinds of pizzas. I took fish pizza for only 2,70 Euros each. It was big enough for dinner. At that time, they still had Christmas Market and I thought it was similar like what I had in Munich. This market was placed in front of the City Hall (Rathaus). This old and famous building had 25 covered paintings. These paintings were opened each day until 25th December, the christmas day. I liked this building. Looked beautiful, combining the east culture and west culture.

Vienna's Rathaus

The most interesting place here was the Hill. Oh God, I forgot the name. Ok, let's call My Hill. You can go there by train and take a bus after. I think it was only 30 minutes from town. Here, in My Hill, you can see the Vienna. It was so wonderful. Some of visitors came here just for walking, sightseeing, but also for sport running. With snow, I realized how wonderful it is. But, for sure, in the summer or autumn, it will be more wonderful. Colored by the blue sky, green leaves, and sun, you can not imagine that. Bring your lunch, coffee, coke and getting along friends will be a perfect moment while you're in My Hill.

Hey, Rangga (Material 98, gak tahu kan kalo nih lagi ngambil PhD di Wina?), thanks man for the place. Ga nyangka bisa ketemu LFM lagi LFM lagi.

After Vienna, next destination is Prague, the City of God. From Vienna, I took train, with 56 Euros spending around 4 hours. I bought it in the Central Station directly.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pushkar Mela – The Most Memorable Trip to Rajasthan

When it comes to celebrate fairs and festivals in India, there is no comparison to Pushkar Fair. This is one of the most famous fairs held at Pushkar town which is located just 11Km from Ajmer, Rajasthan. It is the small peaceful and the sacred town along the bank of the picturesque Pushkar Lake that comes alive during Pushkar fair . Today it is considered as one of the most popular and colorful fairs and festivals in India that attracts numerous tourists from every corner of the world. This cultural cum trade fair provides ample of opportunities for vacationers to enjoy the attractive and lively spectacle of Rajasthan.

During Pushkar fair this small town comes alive and brings the rich tradition of Rajasthan enhancing the glory of the golden sand. Stunning fair ground with decorated camels and cattle, meditating, adventures competitions and vibrant stalls are few essential characteristics of this fair that make it more unique and different. Spending holiday or visiting Pushkar fair in true sense can be your lifetime experience.
This famous fair usually begins on Kartik Shukla Ekadashi and continues for five days till Kartik Purnima. Generally, the time of the fair coincides with the bright half of the moon during the months of October-November. Adding to this, it is also believed that during this fair and time, the Gods visit Pushkar for 5 days every year. This sacred conviction towards the existence of God results in gathering of unbelievable number of devotees who flock to the Pushkar Lake to wash away their sins. In fact, the Pushkar Lake is yet important facet of the fair that adds a unique charisma and provides an ideal setting to the Pushkar Camel fair. Lake is believed to posses some medicinal properties and many devotees perform ceremony of ritual bath in the Pushkar Lake on the Full moon day of Kartik Purnima.
The next major feature of the Pushkar Mela is its camel and cattle fair which is also considered to be the largest cattle fair in the entire Asia. Visitors and tourists gather here in huge numbers to view the participation of numerous camels, mules, horses, cows, goats and sheep along with their masters. In addition, most of the days of the fair are dedicated to selling and purchasing of cattle and camel. However, this entire process normally takes lot of days as initially the sellers draw in customers by praising their animals and once the deal get finalized lots of negotiations take place.

Apart from all this, those who are looking for more fun and enjoyment cannot afford to miss the camel race that take place in Pushkar Fair. This camel race is very popular in the midst of visitors from across the world. Spectators, visitors and participants, each of them have a gala time during the race. In addition to this, the camel beauty contest is another vital and unique feature of Pushkar fair. It is the most interesting part of this event when camel are decorated and paraded. All the camels are cleaned, washed, adorned and interestingly decorated to form patterns.
Vacationers can also find special stalls that set up selling finery and jewelry items for the camels. In Pushkar fair, visitors can also find some of the most beautiful and splendid varieties of ornaments, accessories and other jewelry at different stalls. Craftsmen who make these ornaments or accessories are engaged in this craft for whole year and wait for the fair to make some profits. In addition to this, numerous stalls of trinkets, chains, nose rings, necklaces, anklets, toe rings and the ivory bangles worn from wrist to shoulder attract many women in the fair. Garments and tattoos are also very popular among womenfolk.

Bali : An Island of Oriental Horizon

Travel to Bali - Sunset on BaliAre you bored and you do not have a place to go to? Tired of the same spots that you see within your community? Do you want to try other locations with great spots and with exotic sceneries? Then you really have to try getting out somewhere that you can discover another side of the earth. A place where you can experience the color of the sky and the splash of cold waters with the touch of exotic food and culture that will definitely relax your eyes and will make you feel that you really made the right choice in your vacation. There are too many spots in the world, but one of the greatest islands that the earth has is an island in the Southeast Asia. In the country of Indonesia, you will find an island that is known for its extra ordinary scenery and its exotic island feature will definitely give you another dimension. This is a place that every Indonesian is proud of. This is the island of Bali.

Bali is a small island in Indonesia that is globally known for the spots it offers and in addition to that, is there wonderful customer service that is really admirable and should be a world standard. They have these different techniques in serving their tourist that will really feel that they are accommodated and the people there is really giving their full pledge service to the tourist. You will never feel out casted because the people there are willing to help and assist you in your needs and your queries. But these are just additional points that you will get when travel to Bali because the most important factor in that place is really the one of a kind scenery that you can not resist.

This is comparable to the most spots to the world but you can not say which is better because they have their own beauty. In case of the Bali Island, you can experience the beach with an awesome splash of waters to the sand level and the world's famous villas and hotels that serves oriental foods and dishes that will surely give your tongue a new taste. Aside from that, you will also learn their culture as it is apparent in the way of living of almost all of the natives there. You will get a sneak peek on what is the life in Bali Island as you witnessed in the way of living of the native people there.

So, what are you waiting for? Now that you know that travel to Bali can definitely take your thirst away in your travel experience, better pack your things and make your own expedition towards the island of Bali. It is definitely sure that all your effort and money will not go to nothing because your experience in that island is comparable and priceless that you can treasure forever in your memory. And no one can take that memory away from you. The precious experience will remain yours forever and no amount of money can pay that.

source :

Cambodia Happy Travel : Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia. Its a great city still undergoing lots of development with lots of places to visit and sights to see as the city is divided into two banks of the river. Getting into Phnom Penh is easy via direct flights from all the major neighbouring cities like Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and others.
In the last five years especially, the number of businesses and restaurants catering to tourists has exploded, and Phnom Penh offers just about anything a much larger and more developed capital could. Phnom Penh is also the stop-over point for many tourists venturing to the northern town of Siem Reap which is the gateway town to Angkor Wat.

The main sights in town include Wat Phnom from where you have great views over the city, the Silver Pagoda in the Royal Palace complex, where you can see the emerald Buddha and a Buddha made of solid gold. The National Museum is also worth a visit. Other sights include the Phnom Temple, the Orchid Garden, the central market and a 15th-century pagoda or you can take a boat ride on the Mekong River to see the floating villages and a crocodile farm.
On The Riverfront, take a romantic stroll or cycle along Phnom Penh's Sithowath Quay to enjoy the breeze and the view of the busy life of the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers. The water level varies greatly depending upon what time of the year you visit and is at it’s highest at the end of the rainy season in October. The sunrise can be spectacular over the river in front of the Royal Palace. There are also regular 2-hour cruises during the day which are particularly pleasant if combined with lunch or dinner and sunset on board a cruising restaurant.

You should try and visit at least one traditional market while you are in Phnom Penh. The two best known are The Russian Market and the Central Market. The Russian Market is not so centrally located but is the best for souvenirs, curious and silks and the vendors seem more realistic in their expectations. The 1935 art deco-style Central Market is architecturally interesting but is geared almost entirely to the tourist who doesn’t have time to venture further afield and the vendors are most aggressive. More exclusive shopping can be found along Streets 178 and 240 where there are a number of elegant boutiques and galleries displaying contemporary Cambodian art, fine silks and sculptures.

There is a host of fine dining opportunities in Phnom Penh. Most restaurants, ranging from small, family run affairs to 5-star luxury venues offer excellent traditional Khmer cuisine and this should not be forgotten when faced with the plethora of western food delights on offer in the city. Given Cambodia’s history and relationship with France, it is not surprising to find that some of the most elegant venues are French, with food and wine reflecting that relationship. There are a number of excellent Chinese restaurants in Phnom Penh, ranging from places near the Central Market offering noodles and dumplings for $1 a plate to the fine dining experience offered at the Inter Continental Hotel. There are a number of Dutch, Australian and American style restaurants around the city if your favourites include steak, burgers, chips and salads. For lovers of Mediterranean-style food should seek out the streets lining and just behind Sisawoth Quay offer a variety of styles to suit every budget.
Whether its a snack, a casual meal or a bedtime dessert, Phnom Penh's fine bakeries beckon. The traditional French baguette is available on virtually every street corner. A large expatriate community ensures that in more sophisticated (and expensive) venues, you can purchase wonderful baked delights such as muffins, croissants, pastries, doughnuts, cakes and tarts.

Phnom Penh is the heart of the Cambodia's nightlife. Providing a good balance of fun and safety it's a pleasant change from the hectic Bangkok scene. The recent explosion of bars in the city offers greater choice than ever before. In the late evening though, do take precaution as not to be wondering in the alleys and out of town areas unless escorted.

Last but not least, do ensure that you bring along enough US currency as it is widely used in the capital for almost everything including fees for visiting places of interests to dining.

Some of the major attractions are:
  • Independence Monument
  • National Museum
  • Royal Palace and ‘Silver Pagoda’
  • Wat Phnom
  • Choeung Ek Memorial (The Killing Fields)
  • Toul Sleng Genocide Museum
  • The River Front
  • Central Market
  • Russian Market
  • Old Market

Best European Cruises

Have you scuttled your hard-earned vacation because of the tanking economy? Think again. Cruises have historically been a good value—most meals and incidentals are typically covered once you get on board—and with the dollar gaining on the pound and euro, it's a great time to strike an even better deal on itineraries through Europe. As booking rates drop, cruise lines have been offering everything from waived fuel charges to free airfare to convince you to come aboard. And then there's the convenience factor. Imagine making your way across the continent without ever looking at a train timetable or figuring out whether the A4 motorway actually goes to Paris. Imagine never having to repack your suitcase. And imagine having someone plan out your entire itinerary for you.
But lest you think that cruising is the non–thinking man's vacation, we give you Europe in all its variety, whether you want a luxury liner with formal-dress nights, a small-ship adventure cruise, or an educational jaunt complete with lectures from botanists and former world leaders. Mega-lines hit the big ports like Venice and Athens, riverboats dock at vineyards in Burgundy, and private yachts ply party islands and secluded coves. So get ready to say good-bye land and hello open water with this year's most value-packed European vacations.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Most Popular Tourist Attractions of Abu Dhabi

Dubai is not the only United Arab Emirate which is a fast growing travel destination as more and more travelers are now visiting Abu Dhabi as well.

This wonderful tourist destination has a lot to offer its visitors and you certainly won't get bored during your stay. If you are planning a visit then there are a number of tourist attractions which you should definitely see whilst in Abu Dhabi.

Heritage Village
The Heritage Village should definitely be on your list of places to visit during your vacation. You can learn more about the local culture and the way of life of the Bedouin. There are also a number of interesting shops at the Heritage Village where you can purchase unique local products.

White Fort
One of the most popular tourist attractions of Abu Dhabi is the White Fort which is also known as the Al Hosn Fort. It is one of the oldest buildings in the entire region. A wide range of activities are organized at the White Fort and include for example conferences, movie festivals and workshops.

The Corniche
One of the most beautiful spots in town is most certainly the Corniche which is an amazing coastal boulevard that borders the town. If you would like to walk along the coast or perhaps enjoy some rollerblading then be sure to head down to the Corniche.

This outstanding United Arab Emirate is home to a number of world class golf clubs so if you enjoy this sport then you will have a wonderful time during your stay. Two excellent 18-hole golf courses can be found at the Sheraton Abu Dhabi golf club.

Al Ain Museum
This is the largest museum in the nation and is located in the Al Jahili fort. There is a rather interesting historical section as well as a splendid ethnological section at the Al Ain Museum.

Liwa Oasis
If you have always wanted to visit a real authentic desert Oasis then be sure to visit the Liwa Oasis which is very popular among travelers. You can view the date plantations and the fresh water pools.

This destination is definitely a real paradise for shoppers and many people visit Abu Dhabi because of the excellent shopping malls, stores and outdoor markets. One of the main products which many people purchase here is gold and the best location to shop for that is at the Madinat Zayed gold market.

Indian Wildlife Tours - Adventurous Exploits In Wilderness

India is as diverse in its flora and fauna as it is in its culture. The wide varieties of colorful birds and animals have become an integral part of the country's rich tradition. If you have an adventurous spirit, you can find every means to quench your thirst for adventure with the different wildlife tours in India customized for individual, family or group travelers.

There are a number of travel companies operating in different parts of India. Avail of the tour packages offered by these companies and you can come across exclusive varieties of fauna like the Royal Bengal Tiger, the Snow Leopard, the Asiatic Lion and the Indian Bison. The different categories of tour options available are the following:

Rajasthan Wildlife Tours
The Wild Adventure
The Lure of Jungle
North East India Wildlife Tour
Wildlife Safari Tour in India
Wildlife Tour in India
Elephant Safari
Corbett Adventure Tour
Bird Watching Tour
North India Fishing Tour
Camel Safari
Coast to Mountain
Horse Safari
South India Wildlife Tour
Jeep Safari Adventure in Uttaranchal

To gain the ultimate joy of adventure, the tourists can go in for horse safaris, jungle jeep safaris and elephant safaris. Horse safaris would take you on an awesome journey along rough roads to explore the nitty-gritty's of the country including some of the remote villages and the customs and rituals followed there. Jungle Safaris, otherwise known as forest trail, is another remarkable experience, which would take you to the almost inaccessible regions of a desert or forest. It includes moving through the forest and discovering its hidden treasure, be it by Jungle hiking, walking, trekking, or moving on a jeep or on the back of an elephant.

You have the complete liberty to unravel the secrets of the wilderness on your own. Indian Maharajas used to travel from one place to another on the back of elephants, and from this tradition comes the concept of Elephant Safari. Riding on the back of an elephant would definitely give you that majestic feeling which once was solely enjoyed by the kings. Elephant safari is undoubtedly the best way to venture into those parts of the jungle where even jeeps fail to go. Usually lasting for one or two hours, an elephant safari can take you exceptionally close to animals from where you can take clear photographs.

There are a number of wildlife parks and sanctuaries spread over the entire country, where you can experience a different world—a world where unfathomable wilderness rules. These are spread around the north, south, east, west and central parts of the country. Some of the most visited parks are Corbett National Park, Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Kanchenjunga National Park, Sariska National Park,
Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Periyar National Park, Manas Tiger Reserve, Sunderbans National Park, Gir National Park and Sanctuary, Ranthambore National Park, Bandhavgarh National Park and Kanha National Park. To add to the richness of your experience, there are many wildlife resorts, which offer exemplary service in terms of hospitality.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Phuket - The Chedi Resort

The Chedi is a luxury resort located at Pansea Beach, a secluded corner just North of Surin Beach. It is part of a chain of luxury resorts managed by the exclusive GHM Hotels, headed by Adrian Zecha - the visionary hotelier behind the Aman group of resorts. The Chedi brand is a few notches below Aman - which is an ultra high-end concept. The rates are quite cheap compared to other resorts of similar standard - averaging around USD 120 a night.

The design of the resort looks a bit dated now. Though the minimalist tropical approach is copied from the Aman style, the execution is not as refined. A low-key entrance porch is connected to the reception area by open walkways flanked on both sides by small lily ponds. Though the overall ambience has an air of understated luxury, there are some laxes here and there in terms of design and maintenance.

The design is a pared down modern Thai style - with lots of warm timber tones and natural stone.

Rooms are hidden among the trees and landscape.

The main pool.

Overall I wasn't as impressed with The Chedi as I had expected to be. It is no doubt still an attractive property due to the exclusive location and reasonable rates, but the competition is getting tough at this end of the market nowadays.