Category Archives: Travel abroad

Best Outdoor Activities in Jamaica

Jamaica, the third largest of the Caribbean islands, attracts more than one million visitors to its shores every year. It is the largest English speaking nation in the Caribbean – a fact that greatly adds to its ever increasing popularity. The island nation boasts a stunning coastline with gorgeous beaches, mystic Blue Mountains, scintillating waterfalls and several navigable rivers. With its diverse landscape, Jamaica is the ideal destination in the Caribbean for an adventurous, activity-filled holiday.

Activities

There are several tour operators who can help you plan your adventure trips. One such tour operator is Chukka Caribbean Adventures, a company that has several awards to its credit. You can partake in several exciting outdoor adventure activities including the very popular original canopy tour. As part of the tour, you can enjoy a two-hour zipline ride through the treetops of a lush jungle. After being strapped into a harness, you will hurtle along a wire and get a bird’s eye view of the spectacular countryside as it unfolds 600 feet below.

Ocho Rios is one of the most famous tourist resorts in Jamaica. Here you can see the Dunns River Falls with water cascading down some slippery rocks and then making a small pool at the bottom. What sets this waterfall apart is that apart from enjoying the sight of the water cascading down, you can actually climb the slippery rocks and make your way to the top of the falls. As said, the rocks are slippery and so you will see people holding hands, forming a human chain and balancing their way to the top. You can also take the help of a guide to climb the falls. Needless to say, the views from the top of the falls are simply spectacular.

Nearby is the Dolphins Cove where you can indulge in a number of activities including a swim with the dolphins. You can opt for a tour package that includes a swim with the dolphins and other activities such as captaining your own mini-boat and going out to explore the coast; taking a glass-bottom kayak ride to explore the fascinating underwater world; snorkelling and interacting with stingrays and watching a hilarious shark show.

Jamaica also offers holidaymakers several diving opportunities. Divers can get close to wrecks, underwater caves, coral reefs and sponge forests. The waters are warm and the visibility is high. In some areas the visibility can reach up to 100 feet. Some of the best dive sites include Throne Room near Negril and Ricky’s Reef. There are several professional dive operators on the island. Besides, you can also contact the Tourist Board for a list of licensed operators.

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Beaches and Beyond in Pattaya

Pattaya, located on the Gulf of Thailand, about 150 kms from southeast of Bangkok, is one of Southeast Asia’s most famous beach resorts. This no-holds-barred party hub has something for everyone – from those looking for a wild night out to those interested in some great family fun. The resort town has its own stretch of beach with a variety of water sports, scuba diving and several day trip opportunities. One of the most developed resorts in Thailand, Pattaya attracts hordes of visitors to its shores.

Beaches

The main beach is Hat Pattaya around the Bay of Pattaya. Apart from lounging under the umbrellas that dot the beach, visitors can indulge in a host of activities including windsurfing, water skiing, swimming, snorkelling, sailing, Bungee jumping and sky diving. There are numerous things to see and do nearby. The beach is full of vendors selling knick knacks, food and drinks and offering massage services. Besides, there are several food stalls, bars and shops where you can buy souvenirs. Jomtien beach, to the south, also has the same facilities but is a relatively quieter option. Naklua beach to the north is the most family-friendly beach in Pattaya.

Beyond the beach

For more adventurous water activities, you can try out scuba diving. There are several options available including PADI diving courses for beginners. The more experienced divers can explore wreck dives. On land, you can visit the Pattaya Elephant Village where you can enjoy an elephant show and even ride a ride on one of the pachyderms.

Family fun

Pattaya Elephant Village apart, Ripley’s Believe it or Not is another venue for both adults and kids. The museums house several intriguing collection of artefacts, puzzles, and objects that affirm that truth is indeed stranger than fiction. The museum has ten theme galleries housing over 300 artefacts and mysterious objects including ancient torture machines.

Other attractions

From Pattaya, you can also opt for day trips to the islands of Ko Larn, Ko Krok and Ko Sak. You can opt for organized trips provided by tour operators or go on your own on one of the boats that regularly service these islands from Pattaya. The islands provide the much needed rest for the bustling streets of Pattaya. Snorkelling is a favourite activity on these islands.

Dining

Pattaya is famous for its local sea food. There are several places where you can savour fresh catch of the day along the beaches in the street stalls. Besides, there are several good restaurants where you can enjoy a romantic dinner.

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5 Ways to Live It on the French Riviera

The French Riviera, comprising a stunning stretch of beach-hugging towns along the Mediterranean coastline is a playground for the rich and the famous. The beauty of the region has been immortalized in the works of several painters including Claude Monet and Henri Matisse. The best time to visit the Riviera is in August when the locals escape the cities, towns and villages making way for the tourists who descend here in hordes. Spring and Fall, the so called ‘off season’ months are the perfect months for those who wish to visit Côte d’Azur, as the Riviera is called in French, away for the crowds.

The French Riviera is all about wealth and riches – both natural and manmade. You can capture in your camera the pastel charms of Menton, the lure of Cannes and St-Tropez and the sun splashed beaches of South of France. Here are some ways to live it up on the Riviera.

Stroll through the seaside towns and cities

The French Riviera loves to show itself off and how. Stroll through the gorgeous seaside cities and towns. One such rewarding route is the famed promenade of Nice – des Anglais comprising a miles-long stretch along pebbly beaches. Some other charming walks include the walk between Côte d’Azur villages Villefranche-sur-Mer and Beaulieu-sur-Mer next-door.

Party it out like the celebrities

The Cote d’Azur is a playground for the rich and the famous. The streets of St-Tropez come alive in late July while Cannes is the major during the international festival that draws celebrities such as Salma Hayek, where Leonardo Di Caprio and Cameron Diaz. You can rub shoulders and party with the stars in the five star clubs and resorts.

Try your luck in the casinos

The French Riviera is known for its casinos – however they are different from the informal ones in Las Vegas where you can stroll in wearing shorts. The grand ones in Monaco and Monte Carlo you are expected to follow dress codes. You can tempt your luck at game such as roulette, blackjack and other games.

Soak up the scents

The South of France is home to several beautiful hillside towns such as the towns of Grasse and Eze where perfume is produced in masses. Grasse, located about 26 miles west of Nice, houses the 18th century factory where the legendary Fragonard is produced. The factory is open to the public. Galimard, another 18th century factory, also offers free guided tours and it also houses a museum which is open 365 days a year.

Travel in the footsteps of world famous artists

Several great painters settled during the Côte d’Azur, dazzled by the blue waters and skies. The works that they created here find pride of place in the museums world wide. You can visit the former château-turned-museum in Antibes which houses hundreds of paintings and ceramics of Pablo Picasso.

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Top Attractions in Florence

Florence and renaissance go hand in hand. The cradle of the renaissance movement, Florence was home to the legendary Medci family, and artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Sandro Botticelli, to name just a few. Visitors to the city of Florence cannot but be dazzled by its opulence and they spend their time dashing from one masterpiece to the next. The city is home to some of Italy’s best museums, beautiful cathedrals and churches, and squares dotted with elegant buildings and shops.

Here are just some attractions that you should not miss during your trip to Florence.

Archaeological Museum: The museum is set in a palace and houses interesting Egyptian and Etruscan collections.

Baptistry of John the Baptist: The baptistry dates from the 11th century. The main attractions the three sets of amazing bronze doors and the exterior made of green and white marble.

Duomo (Cattedrale de Santa Maria del Fiore): One of the finest examples of Gothic architecture, the construction of the Duomo began in 1296. The monument was consecrated in 1436. The main highlight is Brunelleschi’s Dome. There is an entry fee required and in summers you may have to wait in long queues to get in. You also have to pay a fee to see the excavations or go up into the cupola.

Uffizi Gallery: This is by far the most visited attraction in Florence. The art gallery is housed in a 1560 Medici palazzo. Though the museum has been renovated and the galleries have been expanded, it is a good idea to book entrance tickets in advance. The museum houses thousands of paintings from medieval to modern times and several antique sculptures, illuminations, and tapestries. You can see works of famous artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto, Botticelli, Perugino, and Raphael.

The Palazzo Vecchio: Also known as the “Old Palace” the palazzo is the city’s Romanesque town hall. There is a copy of Michelangelo’s David at the front. You can book guided tours that take you to the most important rooms of the building. As part of the tour, you can also participate in a Fresco workshop that teachesyou how to make a fresco using techniques from the Middle Ages and Renaissance period.

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Exploring Bali

For most visitors, Bali is the ultimate island that promises endless fun and activities for everyone- from those looking for a beach holiday to those who want to find their inner calm and harmony. This dramatic holiday paradise comprises rolling rice paddies, sweeping beaches, volcanoes, and tropical forests teeming with wildlife. Adding to the natural wealth of this island are a host of beautiful resorts ringing the coastline and offering a wealth of world-class facilities. One of the world’s largest communities of Hindus dominates the island and adds local colour with their ceremonies and temples.

Beaches in Bali

The best beaches of Bali can be found south of the island. Several good beaches are found in the resort towns of Nusa Dua, Kuta and Sanur. Apart from swimming, you can enjoy a host of water activities that are available here. Go north and the black sands of Lovina will capture your attention. The beach here is less crowded.

Bali beyond the beaches

Leave the beaches behind and you can explore an altogether different world. There are several towns and scenic villages which have yet to have their date with the 20th, leave alone 21st century. Visit the jungle resort town of Ubud which has a fair share of good accommodation, shops and restaurants. The interior of Bali is home to several volcanoes, including the active volcano, Mount Batur. Giving them company are scenic mountain lakes and the famous rice paddies, set around stepped terraces.

Destinations for family fun

All the popular resort towns provide plenty of opportunities for spending family time together. In Ubud, you can visit the Jalan Monkey Forest, where you can see monkeys in the natural surrounds and not caged. Then there is the elephant park at Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai, Pesanggaran where you can see and ride elephants.

Off the beaten track

You can also visit the offshore island of Nusa Penida. This island is relatively unspoilt and offers great opportunities for water activities such as swimming, scuba diving and snorkelling. Several tour operators offer day trips to the island and also provide pickup facilities from hotels and resorts.

Dining out

Some of the best dining options can be found along the beaches. A relatively new entrant Breeze on Seminyak beach has captured the imagination of the people. Holidaymakers can look forward to some sophisticated beachside dining by the sea.

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Most Visited Places in Pattaya

The seaside resort of Pattaya is located on the Eastern Gulf Coast of Thailand. The sleepy fishing town was first...
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Exploring Bangkok: Riverfront and Chinatown

The last decade has seen Bangkok, the capital of the Thai kingdom, evolve from a humid riverside city to a...
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Exploring the Underwater World in Koh Samui

Thailand boasts some of the best dive sites in South East Asia and Koh Samui contributes no less than 30...
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Planning Basics for a Caribbean Wedding

If you want to make your wedding day a memorable occasion, in the Caribbean all your dreams will come true....
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Inside Thailand: A Brief Overview

There is so much to see and do in Thailand that visitors cannot resist returning time and again. The expansive...
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