Thursday, 26 February 2015

7 Travel Hotspots in South Africa

Sawubona!!

South Africa welcomes you to the multiethnic population rich and diverse in the heritage and culture. Roughly, twice the size of Texas, the country is varied in their culture, wildlife, stunning sceneries, and some remarkable beaches. It is a haven for the traveler across the globe.

This place just like their mixed population and vivid culture is colorful and has a complementary tourist spots to let you have a unforgettable experience. Let us take a ride across the top tourist destinations in South Africa –

Kruger National Park
The largest game reserve of the continent and it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in South Africa. Has the highest species of mammals compared to other African game reserve that includes Big Five (African Lion, African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, African Leopard, and White/Black Rhinos). A self-drive destination with excellent infrastructure and have places to stay inside the park.


Durban Beaches
Durban beaches strongly compared with the Miami beaches have a vibrant atmosphere that set pulse with a balmy weather. They sport a genuine beach culture is clean and safe. Popularly known as the Golden Mile, they are the extensive stretch of beaches, which are soft, with golden sands and huge spread sunshine along their South and North Coasts.



Sun City Resort
This is the ultimate place to chill out this summer amidst Kingdom of Pleasure. A luxurious casino and resort just two hours from Johannesburg, which contains four hotels, two golf courses, two casinos and a south African oriental village and a crocodile sanctuary with 7000 inhabitants.

Cape Winelands
The fertile valley lies in the middle of big mountains, orchards and monuments has a lushy green background to soothe the eyes of every nature lover. Visitors can take on the Wine Routes of the Cape to pay a visit to the vineyards where some of the rarest and finest wines are made.



Drakensberg Amphitheatre
Drakensberg as you all know is the highest mountain range in Southern Africa and is 3482m in height. Drakensberg derived from the Dutch meaning the mountain of the dragons. Amidst this huge valley Amphitheatre is one of the sharp geographical feature and one of the most impressive cliffs on earth lying in the northern part of the mountain.


Table Mountain
Table Mountain situated within a national park is surely going to make you enjoy a thrilling experience and offers phenomenal, birds-eye view that overlooks the city of Cape Town. It has Robin Island to the north and Atlantic seaboard to the west and south.  The peak is at 1086 meters at the top is simple via an ingenious cableway and each Rotair car features revolving floors allowing passengers to enjoy 360-degree views during the trek to the top.

Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
One of the largest tourist attractions of Cape Town and the most visited destination that invokes earliest days of the harbor. The place is situated within the entertainment Mecca filled with restaurants, specialty shops, pubs, and theatres. There is something here for everyone to enjoy. You will find attraction beyond amusements that includes Clock Tower, Chayonnes Battery, South African Museum, and coast Seal Landing to find the resident details.

Grab a cheap business class ticket today to explore the South African Destinations.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Getting Around Safely in Tunisia in the Wake of the Arab Spring

Tunisia is often disregarded as a fun holiday destination because of the shadow cast by the events of the Arab Spring. Vacationers were understandably discouraged from visiting the country between 2010-2012 due to the flood of civil wars, protests, riots and demonstrations that the country was submerged in during this time. Since the Tunisian Revolution, the President has stepped down and the victims and martyrs of the protest have been described as heroes of a new Middle Eastern revolution. Currently, the political storm has subsided to reveal the beautiful and tranquil nature of Tunisia once more, with its stunning landscape of the Sahara desert, extensive coastline and striking blue skies in addition to a rich cultural heritage. There is plenty to do and see in this vibrant country, so ignore the naysayers and find out for yourself all that Tunisia has to offer!

                                                     Port El Kantaoui Wiki Commons

 The safest parts of Tunisia to explore are hosted in the northern part of the country, from the Tunis region to Tozeur, and you can find a map clearly detailing which areas are best here. Basically, you will want to avoid most of the borders with Algeria and Libya, as these regions are still facing conflict. Unless a particular place really takes your fancy then it is convenient just to travel along the Tunisian coastline, which is not only safe but also boasts gorgeous beaches and sea views. For example, Port El-Kantaoui is one of the foremost hotspots in Tunisia, with prize-winning golf courses and plenty of commercial shopping centres in addition to the stunning port itself. There is a vast array of popular and family-friendly water activities to take part in, such as cruises, parasailing, skiing and fishing, provided by experienced instructors. There is a great list of safe and high quality 3-5* hotels here as well to add to your comfort and relaxation. You can discover more about what Port El-Kantaoui offers and read some reviews here.

As Tunisia’s capital, Tunis is also an unmissable and very safe place to visit. It is the country’s biggest city, with over 650,000 residents. It is also host to all of the global embassies, including the British Embassy which can be found along rue de la Windermere, open morning to afternoon every weekday. In the unlikely instance that you encounter any troubles on your travels, it is convenient to travel here. The cosmopolitan city is home to fantastic architecture, with a lovely mix of colonial-era structures in the modern part of the town in contrast to the older buildings set within the medina. The capital has been experiencing a prosperous economy recently, as it truly is the top place to splash the cash! The grand Avenue Habib Bourguiba is akin to Paris’ Champs-Élysées. The site also has a wonderful range of cultural pastimes to enjoy, and you can spend many hours at reputable theatres, musical institutions and museums. The suburb of Carthage lies close to Tunis, and is again a lovely and safe place to reside in. Every year it hosts an internationally-recognised arts festival, with inspiring performances set in a beautiful old amphitheatre that is pretty alike Rome’s magnificent colosseum. In fact, this entire region puts on lots of incredible festivals around the summer months - you can have a look at some of them here. Follow the rest of the crowd and attend one for yourself!


                                      Tunis at night, with a view of the Municipal Theatre

If rolling sands and beachy shores are still more your thing, then fear not because there is a wealth of safe places in Tunisia to dip your toes in amongst the golden grains. It is probably sensible to stay away from the Sahara area at the moment as this is too close to Algeria, however you can still enjoy camel-riding and similar experiences in other parts of the country. The island of Djerba, just off from the coast of Tunisia is such a place. It is an idyllic locale with quiet, clean beaches and the charming old town of ‘Houmt Souk’. The place has a zen-like feel, with whitewash houses and some cute recreational shops and cafés. It is a far cry from any of the political upheaval going on in Algeria or Libya, and you can lay back and daydream to your heart’s content! Tunisia has many of these peaceful paradises, such as the Sidi Bou Said village which sits on a clifftop, just a little distance away from the beach. The atmospheric village has magnificent picturesque views out into the dazzling blue sea, which is mimicked in the blue features of the architecture. It is a haven for artists and creative types, and you can see why here.

                                                Camels along Djerba Beach

The New York Times describes Tunisia as being ‘known for its golden beaches, sunny weather and affordable luxuries’, and it is important that in light of the all the political distress it has faced, it be remembered as such. Tunisia on the most part is a sublime setting for holidaymakers; it is both culturally welcoming and secure. The events of the Arab Spring were an unfortunate instance for Tunisia’s tourism, but it should not detract from the undeniable beauty of the country and all that it has to offer. It is not surprising that 6-7 million travellers still visit Tunisia each year, and with its fantastic list of activities to dive into and its picturesque visions across the landscape, Tunisia is truly a grand destination to visit.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

When, Where and Why Gay Pride ‘15

If you’ve been there, done that and lost the t-shirt at your local Pride celebrations then why not go global in 2015 and show your support for same sex equality across the pond? Here’s the lowdown on Pride events in 2015, from the teeny-tiny parades to the biggest and best.


Where: Tokyo – Harajuku (home of the cosplayers)

When: 26th – 28th April

Pride definitely isn’t plentiful in Japan; a country where the quote ‘gay doesn’t exist here’ gets thrown out casually in conversation. Those who do bat for the other team have to hide their love lives from friends, colleagues and neighbours, whilst sneaking out to the exciting Nichome district near Shinjuku. (That’s right – buying used schoolgirl underwear is OK but fancying another guy or girl is a no-no).

This is why it’s all the more important to get out there and support this teeny parade and the few who brave the social scene as an out-and-about homosexual. There’ll be floats, live bands cheering on the parade and a festival stage just outside of the beautiful, if slightly barmy, Yoyogi park. There you can watch some fantastic rehearsed-to-a-‘T’ Japanese dance and music performances.

(Side note: festival time in Japan means one thing: incredible food-stalls everywhere in sight. Get yourself some okonomiyaki or takoyaki – just don’t ask what’s inside!)

Where: Amsterdam - Westerdok harbour

When: 25th July – 2nd August 1:30pm

Why: The parade in Amsterdam is well suited to those who like to put their feet up. The Pride-loving festival attendees in this liberal country hop aboard canal boats and gently glide downwind during this relaxing afternoon event. Don’t think this means people don’t go wild afterwards though; all that pent up energy explodes into parties that go on ‘til the early morn.

If you happen to be a moneyed member of the aristocracy and have your own boat, you can register your vessel via this site, but do so quickly, as the parades are limited to a maximum of 80 boats per year.

Where: Brighton - Preston Park

When: 1st August 2015, 12:00pm

Why: There ain’t no party like a ‘let’s-celebrate-equality’ party in Blighty’s gay capital. If you haven’t visited before, Brighton is south of London, nestled against the glorious muddy brown coast of the English Channel. Sticks of rock, a traditional pier and sweet, bunting-adorned cafes make this town a great location by day; whilst the gay-friendly atmosphere, bars and clubs make it a wild night out.

When it comes to Pride, the festivities are now ticketed, meaning you’ll have to splash some cash to get entry to the fun (yes, we know, it’s heinous). Sign up here before the cheaper tickets are all but lost. What you will get for your cash, however, is limitless entry to pop up literature tents and readings, music stages (in the past they’ve had Paloma Faith, Blue and Boy George) and cabarets. Worth the money if you’re already UK-based.

Where: Chicago – Broadway

When: 20th, 21st and 28th June

If you like the stomping camaraderie of the big parade then this is the place to visit – over 200 groups, marching bands, and individuals get involved every year in Chicago to make some noise for same sex equality. The parade itself will take place on 28th, whilst the 20th and 21st are scheduled for the two day dance fest. Live band karaoke, ‘Gay Idol’ competitions and ‘Pride and Produce’ markets are typical features of this city-wide show of support. More travel information and photos can be found on the official site.

Where: Istanbul - Istiklal Avenue

When: 22nd – 24th August

Why: Whilst San Francisco and New York hardly need explanation as Pride locations, Istanbul is slightly different. A country where, though same sex relationships are not strictly forbidden, prejudice is rife, it can be difficult for lesbian and gay couples to be proud in public. This celebration, which is the largest in the Muslim world, does a tremendous amount of good for the cause; bringing the issues into the forefront of public consciousness and, with the sheer number of attendees turning up in drag, reminding everyone there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of gay-risque.

The city is known for being hectic, and gets even more manic when the Pride fans hit town, so if you don’t fancy being swallowed up by the crowds after the festivities are over – get out of town and over to one of the calmer coastal towns like Alanya – which has great beaches and is very gay-friendly.


Where: Berlin, Kurfürstendamm

When: 20th – 21st June

Just in case you’re confused: Pride in Berlin is also known as Christopher Street Day. The weekend before this Pride parade event, Europe’s loudest and largest celebration of LGBT rights ‘Berlin Gay and Lesbian City Festival’ takes place. As a city home to countless fetish festivals, and gay bars that do away with traditional opening hours, this is definitely event where you don’t have to reign anything in – not dress code nor inhibitions.

Where: Maspalomas, Gran Canaria (anywhere with a spare stretch of beach)

When:  8th – 17th May 2015

Why: For those who like to flash some flesh during a party but don’t want to freeze to death – head to Gran Canaria for one of the world’s biggest and longest gay and lesbian beach parties. The events on the island include pool parties, world renowned DJ sets, and sports on the beach. Bring your skimpiest outfit, fifteen bottles of factor 25 and enough coffee not to sleep until it’s all over.

Have you been anywhere that’s louder and prouder during Pride? Let us know!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Amazing places to visit in Thailand

In this article, we’ve talked about several reasons to move to Thailand. If the article in question tickled your imagination, you’d probably like to know more about this enchanting country. Is it really as enchanting as it seems to be? Read on and see for yourself.

First stop – Bangkok
Bangkok, “the city of nine gems” as stated in its full name is the capital city of Thailand and an amazing tourist destination you must see when you first visit this country. From modern architecture to traditional markets and temples, this 8-million city seems to have it all.
If you like clubbing and a dynamic nightlife is an important part of your life, you’ll be amazed by Bangkok. There are entire sub-districts famous for the amazing nightlife, and there’s a wide variety of clubs and cafes. From jazz cabarets to dance music, from luxurious restaurants to night clubs open till dawn, it seems that there’s something for everyone in this city.

But what if you’re not into nightlife? What if you don’t feel like traveling across the world to drink the same drinks and listen to the same songs you did back home? What if you feel that travel should serve a different purpose and you want to discover a new culture, a new way of life?

If that is the case, Bangkok has a lot to offer as well. First, let’s take a look at Wat Pho. This is a Buddhist temple located in Bangkok, famous for its “reclining Buddha.” Once the image of a Buddha statue comes to mind, many people tend to imagine Buddha sitting in lotus position. In Wat Pho however, we can see a different picture: a statue of Buddha lying down. This sculpture is 43 meters long and 15 meters high. At first glance, it may seem unusual, but it is an important image of the Buddhist religion and it can be seen in several predominantly Buddhist countries, like Cambodia and Sri Lanka – and, of course, Thailand. Why is Buddha lying down, you may wonder? This has a lot to do with Buddhist teachings – it is a reminder of Buddha’s last illness, prior to his “Nirvana-after-death”. If you are interested in exploring cultural and religious heritage of a country you visit, Wat Pho will be a place you’ll never forget.


If, on the other hand, you want to get out and mingle, if your goal is to feel the everyday life of the local population, what better place to visit than a market? And not just any market – we’re talking about Chatuchak market, a trademark of Bangkok. This giant market with over 5000 shops is a place where you can buy literally everything: from souvenirs for your loved ones to toys, shoes, clothes, jewelry and fabric. And if you get hungry while you’re here, no need to worry, because in the Chatuchak market you can even find food stands where you can buy the delicious Thai fast food. The lanterns you see in this picture are just an added bonus, to make sure you never forget the amazing visit to Chatuchak market. 

Where should we go next?
After you experience the vibrant life of the capital city, you should get some rest as well. What better place to get some rest than an island surrounded by the beautiful blue sea? One of the most amazing islands in Thailand is Koh Samui, located in the south. While Bangkok offers a vibrant face of Thailand’s culture, in Koh Samui you’ll enjoy all those traditional characteristics of Thailand you fell in love with, but you’ll get to do it in a peaceful manner. It is here where you’ll understand why so many people from all over the world decided to leave their lives behind and came to live in Thailand.

If you grew fond of those amazing Buddha statues, Koh Samui may be the perfect place for you. First, there’s the famous Big Buddha. If you visit the Big Buddha statue, you’ll probably feel like a part of you will stay here forever – and in that case, you may want to buy a roof tile here, write your message on it, and leave it in the temple. Isn’t that an amazing way to symbolize your connection to this place? And if you prefer a secluded area full of Buddha statues, make sure to visit the Secret Buddha Garden, hidden deep in the heart of the island.

Even if you decide that you had enough of sightseeing and you feel like relaxing on the beach, Koh Samui is the right place for you. Amazing beaches are everywhere, all you’ll have to do is just pick one – or pick a new one every day. Since it’s almost always sunny and the climate is mild, every day can be a perfect day for swimming or taking a walk on the beach.

As you can see, Thailand is indeed an enchanting country. There are plenty of reasons to visit Thailand, and no matter what kind of travel you may prefer, you will surely have the holiday of your dreams if you come here.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Tunisia’s Unknown Roman Ruins

For most travellers, Tunisia signifies one thing; a sun, sea and sand getaway, where the fish is fresh and the sea breeze even fresher. Few realise that behind the pretty packaging of the balmy blue med lies a country awash with ruins from a non-associated land, and that Tunisia’s landscape is littered with remnants of Roman rule.

The conquerors first landed on African soil around 149BC, demolishing and destroying areas of Tunisia before rebuilding it in their own style. Grand ancient amphitheatres, baths, Roman villas and temples are dotted all over Tunis and the surrounding countryside, reminding travellers that there’s more to this country than what the tourist touts suggest.


El Jem
As Roman amphitheatres go, El Jem – the third largest amphitheatre to have existed during the Roman Empire – is spectacular. Thankfully, the remaining architecture has suffered the test of time well; large sections of the elliptical stone walls and tiered seats are still fully standing. The theatre would have hosted gladiator shows and chariot races, seating a whopping 43,000 spectators (which, compared to London’s O2 arena which seats a mere 20,000, is pretty impressive). Visitors can reach El Jem, which is south of Sousse, easily by train.


Carthage
Carthage is the most well-known site of Roman ruins in Tunisia, and thus the place you are most likely to have to vie for photo space with other historically-inclined tourists. The city of Carthage, once only second to Rome in its grandeur, now hosts ancient ruins such as the Antonine Baths and roman villas dating back to the 4th century. It’s smaller than most expect, bearing tribute to the extent of destruction in 698AD, but with the sea view in the background it’s certainly worthy of a day trip.


Sousse – mosaics museum
In the coastal town of Sousse, in the heart of the medina (or ‘old town’ – which is certainly worth a visit in itself) you can find Tunisia’s best collection of roman mosaics – all of which have been taken from excavated sites around the country. Entry is cheap at just 9 dinar, and the cool, welcoming underground vaults and courtyard of the museum provide a nice respite from the heat.



Most of the mosaics are incredibly well preserved – but make a special effort to check out the Triumph of Neptune and the mosaic of Medusa.


Dougga
The UNESCO site at Dougga warrants many more visitors than it currently receives, meaning now is the time to go if you want to wander freely amongst the well-preserved temples of this once prosperous town. It’s set out into the countryside, in the North West of the country, and is thought to have been founding during the reign of the great Julius Caesar.


The most impressive site, however, is the Capitol, built in tribute to the gods Juno, Minerva and Jupiter. The roof and columns are still standing strong, and it’s quite a marvel to see these unexpected Roman ruin in amidst an area of Tunisian farmland.

More pictures of the archaeological sites in Dougga can be seen here.

Musti
The temples at Musti have suffered over the centuries, but it’s still easy to make out the remains of the Temple of Ceres, Pluto and Apollo. This area once played host to a large farming population, and continues to be farmed today, in and around the ruins. They worshipped Ceres as the god of agriculture, and Pluto as the god of seeds (rather than the underworld as is sometimes the case). The temple dedicated to the former is in much better condition, though the walls and roof have suffered slightly. More information of what remains can be seen here.

Bulla Regia
This part of the country was brought into Rome’s empire in 1st century AD, and quickly became an area of prosperity, as is evident from the wealthy residential areas whose remains are still observable today. The Worlds Monument Fund has done great work to preserve what is left of this archaeological site; the homes, bath of Julia Memmia and latrines. For those wanting an insight into Roman life in Africa, this is one of the better and more informative spots to visit.

Have you ever spotted any unexpected remnants of the Roman Empire while you were In Tunisia? Let us know!