Posts for Travel Destination Category

Let Japan conquer your senses: Things to do in the land of the Cherry Blossoms

Travel Destination - Shelia - February 27, 2018

The name of Japan evokes wondrous images and sensations. While in popular imagination Japan is associated with Anime and Sushi, there is so much more to this beautiful country. Whether it is the visually enthralling play of pink and crimson of Japan’s national flower, the cherry blossom or the succulent umami flavours of its popular street food, ramen, Japan has a plethora of experiences that could turn an ordinary holiday into an extraordinary life experience. Irrespective of your budget or time constraints, Japan offers something for everybody: history, architecture, spirituality and loads more. So waste no time in packing your bags and get ready to soak up the culture on a Japan tour.

While there are innumerable adventures to partake of in Japan, here is a list of some of the most quintessential Japanese experiences:

Trot in Tokyo

Tokyo is one of the busiest and most bustling cities in the world. There are a lot of fun activities to choose from in this vibrant city. Kids will specifically enjoy trips to the Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea. A particularly thrilling attraction is a ride in Japan’s famed bullet trains that run at a speed of 200 km per hour. Tokyo is also a land of dreams for electronic aficionados, bursting forth with the very best of Japanese electronics. If one tires of sightseeing, one can always sit down and marvel over the variety of mindboggling architectural specimens.

Closer to Nature

Japan boasts of exquisite natural beauty and with good reason. Be it playing with monkeys in Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama or taking a climb up to Mount Fuji, if forging a closer bond with nature is your goal, Japan will not disappoint. If you are looking to indulge in something a bit more serene, there’s nothing like watching cherry blossoms bloom, in a quiet park, away from the madness of a city life.

History, Spirituality and Culture

While on a tour of Japan, it is imperative to allow its history, culture and spiritual dimensions to take over your soul. Visit shrines like Tosho-gu in Nikko, Todai-ji in Nara, Oku-no-in in Koya San and, Izumo Taisha in Izumo to get a sense of Japan’s multi-faceted spiritual inklings. Places like the Hikone Castle, Himeji Castle and Miho Museum offer a treasured insight into Japan’s unique art and culture. But perhaps the most overwhelming experience can be visiting the Peace Park in Nagasaki and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, a solemn reminder of the most devastating of tragedies in the history of Japan.

Off the beaten track

If unconventional ventures are your forte, Japan can satiate those needs as well. How about a trip to explore the Japanese national sport, Sumo? A visit to a Sumo stable will reveal the exemplary details of what goes into the making of these fantastic wrestlers, ranging from their training and practices to their distinctive diet of a one-pot wonder called Chanko. Another eccentric adventure to embark upon would be a trip to the Abashiri Prison Museum that uses the very best of technology to exhibit the history of the prison complex as well as the lives of its prisoners, some of them notorious, others national heroes.

Food, glorious food

It was perhaps through Miyazaki’s films that Japan’s culinary repertoire became famous in the rest of the world. From the husky taste of miso to the wonderfully fierce wasabi to the subtle tastes of seaweed, Japanese food is like a festival inside the mouth. While in Japan, lose yourself in the delicate broth of ramen, the fluffy crunchiness of tempura fries and the rich spiciness of yakitori.

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How to enjoy your Summer in Melbourne

Travel Destination - Shelia - February 20, 2018

Melbourne is a city full of excitement and intrigue. Immerse yourself in nature or out on the ocean, or perhaps you prefer city sights and fine dining. During summer (when the days are longer, and you might not always be able to think of fun ways to fill them) there’s always an event or a new adventure to experience, so you can make the most of those extra daylight hours. No matter what your budget or interest, Melbourne’s got something for you.

First things first – make sure you find a hotel that suits your needs!

Here’s our list of great things to do, places to see and events to check out in Melbourne this summer.

Cool off and beat the heat

Melbourne’s top-rated Aquarium, SEA LIFE, offers you a once in a lifetime experience, Shark Dive Extreme. Get the chance to come face to face with a mouthful of teeth as one of their gorgeous (and harmless) Grey Nurse Sharks swim by. Spot the sea turtles and watch as graceful rays glide past. You’ll be surrounded by multi-coloured fish and other marine life– it’s definitely one way to beat the heat and get your heart pumping.

Alternatively, hit the water with Kayak Melbourne and enjoy a sunset paddle and moonlight tour of Melbourne with exquisite views of the city lit up at night. Get some happy snaps and enjoy this urban adventure as the sun goes down. A fish and chip dinner is included, along with all your gear and a bottle of water. It’s perfect for every experience level from a beginner who’s never paddled before right through to those salty old sea dogs with years of experience on the water.

There’s lots of other ways to cool off in the city – head to the Royal Botanic Gardens for a walk under the trees or take the hop-on and off train. You could go punting on the lake, gliding along in your own gondola punt for a tour of the bays and islands of the Ornamental Lake. Peaceful and relaxing, it’s easy for you to get up close and personal with abundant birdlife and all manner of aquatic plants and animals. Perhaps afterward enjoy high tea or stick around for some laughter with fairies as you watch A Midsummer Night Dream in the gardens.

Day trips from the city

There are lots of places to visit within a short distance of the city. Here are some options if you feel like venturing out of the Melbourne metro area.

Yarra Valley Wine and Winery Tour

From the big estates down to the small boutique wineries, jump on the Australian Wine Tour Company’s bus for a day of exceptional wine tasting in one of Australia’s top wine producing regions. Savour fine wines, fine food and expand your knowledge as well as your palate while you learn the ins and outs of wine from the best in the business – the growers and winemakers themselves!

Visit Penguins

Watch the sweetest little fairy penguins from a boardwalk or a secluded beach as they emerge from the ocean and waddle right past you on their way to retire for the night at Phillip Island. Go West Tours provide you underground or above ground viewing and experienced guides to answer all of your questions on this moonlit parade of the tiniest penguins you’ve ever seen.

Great Ocean Road

Located along the spectacular coastal cliffs to the south-west of Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road is one of most spectacular drives in Australia. The road winds its way along a stunning coastline full of tall cliffs, secluded coves, beaches and charming towns to visit, making it a long but exciting day trip from Melbourne. Hire a car or join a bus tour to explore the region.

Free Stuff to Check Out

In a city this size, there are enough free activities to keep you occupied no matter when you visit. And there’s nothing better than finding free stuff…am I right!?

Loop Project Space and Bar hosts a plethora of free artsy activities year-round. Watch free screenings of movies, celebrate house music or find out about the insanely cool style of photography that is light painting. All your artsy loves and interests in one place, and it’s free.

Rebalance your Zen by getting back to nature and enjoy free walks and talks as you explore Melbourne’s green spaces and gardens hosted by Green Break. An experienced guide takes you on a nice little stroll, and you’ll learn about different plants, how old trees are and even the names of the birds sitting in the trees watching you pass by. Normally less than an hour long, you could even do it in your lunchbreak and put some balance back into your day.

National Gallery of Art

Showcasing International art and design from over 100 countries and with free entry, this is a must see. Spend hours wandering around enjoying the classics like paintings, sculpture and drawing for the traditional art lover, but remember there is so much more to see. It also holds performance pieces, architecture, fashion design and even robotics. Plus, it’s fun to play with the water wall and take photos of each other walking past to create your own art. Like this…

Theatre and Shows

Brazen burlesque, blockbuster musicals, cabaret’s and magical acts – be transported to another world with Melbourne’s culture scene.

Melbourne Theatre Company keeps it interesting with new productions and ever-changing themes to suit every taste. Classics are there, like The Ideal Husband and Twelfth Night, right alongside newer shows. Some will make you laugh, some will make you cry, but they are all worth checking out.

The possibilities are endless during a Melbourne summer. Whether you jump in with the sharks at SEA LIFE, take a friend to the Loop Project and catch a free screening or see one of the many productions from the Melbourne Theatre Company, your summer will be brighter ticking some of these off your list.

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The Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Singapore

Travel Destination - Shelia - February 20, 2018

For many people, planning a vacation is something that takes time, consideration, and even a little research. Picking the right destination can make the difference between a memorable and fabulous trip, or one that doesn’t exactly leave you enthused. If you’ve been dreaming of a trip that takes you to an exotic destination where you can immerse yourself in culture, architecture, history, and dining experiences than there’s a good chance Singapore is exactly what you’re looking for.

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Located off southern Malaysia, Singapore is a small city-state that offers a tropical climate, modern conveniences, a bustling city centre, and all the historical architecture, recreation, dining, and culture you could possibly wish for. If you’re convinced that Singapore would make the perfect destination for your next trip, here’s a look at some of the top rated tourist attractions you simply must check out.

The Singapore Flyer

Are you looking to get a bird’s eye view of Singapore, because if so you’ll want to check out the Singapore Flyer. This is the world’s biggest observation wheel and provides riders with the unique opportunity to take in the island from above. You’ll be able to see all the way to Malaysia’s Straits of Johor and the Spice Islands of Indonesia. The ride lasts a full 30 minutes, giving you lots of opportunity for sight-seeing.

Gardens by the Bay

If you’re the type of person who appreciates green space and nature then a stroll through the Gardens by the Bay is a must. What makes this so unique is that it acts as an escape right in the middle of the city-centre. Be sure to check out the Cloud Forest Dome while exploring, as this is the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.

Marina Bay

This is easily one of the most well-known spots in all of Singapore. Marina Bay has just recently gone through an S$5.5 billion transformation and the result is nothing short of astonishing. You’ll find shopping, a casino, the Science Museum, a resort, dining and even a vibrant nightlife scene. It is just as spectacular to visit during the day as at night thanks to all the lights.

Universal Studios Singapore

Just because you’re in Singapore to check out its culture and natural beauty doesn’t mean you can’t also throw some theme-park action into the mix. Universal Studios Singapore features more than 20 attractions, including roller coasters and water-themed rides. It’s perfect for families looking for a day of fun and adventure.

Getting to Singapore

A couple of transportation tips for travellers to be aware of: reaching Singapore is quite simple since it is located near so many other top tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. You could even combine Singapore with a trip to other exotic destinations such as Mumbai. Yatra makes it possible to book a Mumbai to Singapore flight ticket at low cost.

Make It What You Want it to Be

Despite its small size, Singapore is able to pack a real punch when it comes to what to see and do, giving you the opportunity to make the trip whatever you want it to be.

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Season Guide To South Africa: When Is It Best To Check The Top Sights?

Travel Destination, Travel Tips - Shelia - January 30, 2018

The rugged land of South Africa with its incredible diversity brings you back to the most primal forms of nature. Wilderness that runs free, scenery that rises from dramatic backdrops, vineyards, snow-peaked mountains and much more await you.

Quite simply, South Africa is incredible. A country that so effortlessly caters to all types of travelers is on top of almost every traveler’s bucket li list. With its beautiful beaches, enticing safaris, primal jungles, and golden savannahs – South Africa is perfect for everyone. From the adventure seeker to the luxury traveler! Adrenaline-inducing activities? Check. Sipping wine in a vineyard? Check. Following the footsteps of a lion in a savannah? Check! Lazing by a beach? Yup, check too!

Whether you want to jump off a bridge or get lost in Cape Town’s wonderfully colorful streets – there’s always something to do. With the world of adventure at your disposal, it may be quite overwhelming trying to figure out the best time to visit South Africa and that’s completely understandable. South Africa is a piece of this great continent that you can enjoy almost any time of the year.

South Africa is also a year round destination, so no mater when you decide to travel, you’re always bound to find something to do. In this article I will talk about when you will enjoy which SA activity the most; from visiting national parks, to eating, to safaris and etc. Of course, the best time to visit completely depends on what you want to do.

Best Time to Visit

What is the climate like?

South Africa has two main regions – the northern and the southern region, and both have differing weathers. The winter months are different from what you’d be used to if you live in the U.S or Europe, for example, as the winter months are May-August and the summer months are from November to March.

This makes it the ultimate “winter vacation” where you can enjoy hot weather mid-January if you’re looking for an escape from the freezing cold.

In winter:

The winter months are mild and are superb times to fit in some wild-life watching in your schedule. South Africa is known for its incredible game-viewing experiences, from Kruger Park to Kgalagadi. For the best time possible, visit from August to October.

Spring and autumn:

Both seasons enjoy sunny weather, and warm atmospheres, and are great shoulder months to visit in. The crowds are a lot smaller, and the rates are not as expensive as the peak seasons.

Summer:

Of course, there is no doubt that the best time to visit is during the summer. You can watch whales, enjoy the beaches, and do all the activities without having to worry about the weather.

Main Activities and When to go for each.

Best time to go on a safari!

A lot of people go to South Africa for the sole purpose of enjoying some of the best game-viewing experiences in the world. There is something about being surrounded by miles of endless bush, and knowing you’re right there in the wild. The national parks are some of the best in the world, with animals roaming freely, striking backdrops of limitless savannahs and much more.

The best time to go on a safari is definitely during the dry season. This season runs from May to October. The weather is generally and most importantly does not experience any rain. You’ll be met with clear skies, and even clearer game-viewing. This is due to the fact that there’s generally less greenery and bush, so game-spotting is made a lot easier.

You’ll also find that this is not the wet season for South Africa, so you’ll be experiencing more dry weather and more comfortable and convenient safari rides, along with safer driving conditions. There will be less insects, less heat, less rain, and more wildlife to view – an overall win-win situation!

Best time to visit Cape Town

The best thing about Cape Town, South Africa’s most famous and definitely most vibrant city, is that it’s a year-round destination. There are endless things to do and seasons don’t really differ in terms of things you can do.

The best time to go is definitely during November to February. This is the peak tourist season with the best, warmest weather. You’ll have the chance to explore the outdoors, hike up Table Mountain, explore the city on foot, revel in the vibrant colors of the buildings or even go to a beach!

The best thing about Cape Town is that it’s near so many of the other attractions – so you can ether take road trips to wine lands or fly with flysafair to nearby cities.

Needless to say, however, this is also the most expensive season so if you’re trying to save money, try to avoid the peak tourist season.

Best time to visit the wine lands

Apart from South Africa’s ravishing scenery, its natural attractions, its safaris and its bustling towns, the country is blessed with the ultimate wine lands. Bright sunshine coupled with a glass of wine and being surrounded by striking mountain backdrops sounds like a dream – but South Africa is blessed with dozens of those wine lands!

The two best times to visit the pinelands are:

  • Between March and May due to the autumn harvest in the southern hemisphere.
  • The summer months from November until January.

Visiting in winter may not be as rewarding as you want it to be, as the weather is usually cool and wet.

Best time to for wildflower blooms

You don’t need to be a flower lover or a flora-enthusiast to enjoy the wildflower blooms in South Africa. An almost magical phenomena; you will be able to see an unreal explosion of colors as the blooms roll over vast swaths. The best time to see the sea of colors and the blooming of thousands of flowers is between July and September. The blooms are dependent on rain, however, so make sure you check the weather forecast before you book your trip.

Best time for whale watching

If you want to watch whales in their natural habitat and get enamored with their majestic presence in South Africa, then go in winter or spring.

To watch the southern right whale: go from June to November
For the humpback whale: Go from May to December.
For the Bryde whale: you can go anytime of the year.

If you want to swim with a shark, make sure you go when the water is warm, so time your trip from December to April.

To witness the unbelievable Sardine Run and witness one of the most magical underwater events – go from June to August!

The best thing about South Africa is the fact that it’s a year-round destination with plenty of things to do all year. No matter the time you decide to travel in, you’ll always find something to do. Whether it be diving with sharks or relaxing with a glass of wine – South Africa caters to all your travel needs.

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Ten Unique Things to Do In Cairns, Australia

Travel Destination - Shelia - January 23, 2018

With its stunning beaches, great scenery to bask in, happening nightlife, and milder winters, Cairns, Australia is a well-known haven for visitors both local and abroad. Want a few tips of exactly what you can check out when you’re there? Opt for a Cairns car rental to make this memory worth cherishing by taking a road trip. Here’s a look at what more you can enjoy while traversing through Cairns.

1. Fishing. In Cairns, you can take pleasure in the company of professionals who take fishing very seriously. There are plenty of guides and tours who can tell you all about the environment in these parts and the best places to place your rod. You can try catching a barramundi while here!

2. The Great Barrier Reef. This is the world’s largest coral reef comprising of 3,000 individual reefs and covering an area of 344,400 square kilometers. This is truly an experience of a lifetime that can’t be missed. You can cruise along the waters, snorkel, scuba dive, or simply lounge on the nearby beach.

3. Palm Cove. This is a seaside village that offers tons of aquatic activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, and kayaking. You can also spend some quality time in the 9-hole golf course, which is just a kilometer away from the beach.

4. Botanical Gardens. There is something special about the climate of Australia, and this botanical garden ensures that you get a view of the country’s most unique and exotic tropical plants. You can walk through the tracks and explore how native species of animals and birds make Australia a land of fantasy.

5. Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. Experience Australia’s rich cultural heritage that dates back 40,000 years. You can listen to stories, music, and witness beautiful tribal dances, all while roaming around this cultural center.

6. Kuranda Scenic Railway. With its 120 years old railway service, Cairns plays an important role in the modern history of Australia. You can complete a journey on this rail within two hours.

7. Daintree Rainforest. If you’re a nature lover, then you will find trekking up this rainforest irresistible! You’ll not only find abundance of flora and fauna in this region, but also a picturesque view of this country from above.

8. Dolphins and whales. Do you find intelligent, aquatic mammals particularly fascinating and majestic? Then Cairns is the place to be! The Great Barrier Reef happens to be a great escape for these cetaceans as they migrate to Australia from Antarctica and make a splendid sight for tourists and residents alike.

9. Cairns Night Markets. If you’re interested to take a souvenir, then you must pay a visit to these markets with your car rental Cairns service. They are open all throughout the year between 5 and 11pm and offer tons of food options, handmade souvenirs, and family activities.

10. Undara Volcanic National Park. You’ll be surprised to know that only 23 countries have lava tubes – Australia is one of them. This is a perfectly safe trip and you can even spend a night in a tent at this park to add a little extra adventure.

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