alps skiing

Top 7 Perfect Skiing Destinations

Top 7 Perfect Skiing Destinations you must visit

There is no other adventure sport more satisfying than gliding down the hill  on vast fields of snow! Besides an adventure sport, skiing is ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience everyone must have. Started as a recreational, Winter and Professionals only Sport, Today, anyone can enjoy skiing in almost every season, in Artificial Parks and  ‘Snow-Worlds’.  Despite of its popularity,  there is  rather a huge difference between Artificial, indoor Ski Parks, and Natural Skiing experience. While natural skiing experience can be Daring and Gallant  , it can easily become Dangerous. Hence,  it is important to have a fine blend between Leisure, Safety, and Adventure, so you have a pleasant time and don’t have to watch ‘Man vs Wild’ before leaving!

Here are our Top 7 picks for Perfect Skiing Destinations you must visit.

Alaska

ski alaska

Largest state of America, Biggest Snow terrain on northern Hemisphere and home to Eskimos, Alaska is Undoubtedly our First pick for ideal Skiing Trip. Weather, Stability, Lots of Skiing Hotspots make Alaska ideal for Family/Adventure skiing.
You can easily grab a flight to anchorage, from here on you can rent a car/Ferry or choose another flight to reach to your Destination. Direct ferries to Alaska are available from Washington. For true adventure seekers, rent a car and travel all the way to Alaska!
Must Visit Places: Juneau, Turnagain Pass, Valdez, Haines, Cordova and Famous Alaska Range.  Cordova is best suited for Professional, Dedicated skiing trips, focusing more on Leisure than Adventure.
Accommodation:  Alaska is perfect for both family and Adventure Trips, you can find a good resort . For high-end Skiers, there are more than 2000 Sq Miles of Private terrains to explore.
Food: Your journey is incomplete without eating freshly caught Wild Salmon or Halibut. Depending on your accommodation, you might get a wide variety of Food, Ranging from international cuisine to Traditional Alaskan dishes.

The Alps

alps skiing

Alps are long known among Climbers and Adventure Enthusiasts, they also serve a perfect destination for skiing trips. Especially in western Europe. Switzerland has some of the best skiing Resorts, which offer great combination of  Leisure and Adventure. Switzerland is recommended for Newcomers to Medium Experienced skiers.
Must Visit Places:
French Alps, Swiss Alps, Italy, and Austria. Chamonix is perfect  alternative for Alaska, ideal for Skiing.
Accommodation:  
Hotels and Resorts range from a few hundred Dollars a week to Thousand dollars a night.
Food:
Enjoy french Boulangerie, Swiss cheese, and Warm Bread!

Antarctica

antartica skiing

Southernmost Continent of Earth, Mostly covered in Miles of Thick Ice and Snow, Rich with Exotic wildlife and Scientists , Antarctica is one of the toughest destination to reach. Ideal for Pure adventure seekers and Experienced Skiers.  Untouched from Pollution and changes for millions of years, Antarctica offers Unmatched Skiing experience.
Must Visit Places: ‘Kodak Alley’,’Drake Passage’
almost every place in Antarctica is Skiable, some are relatively harder than others, suited only for professionals.
Accommodation:  
Do not expect a luxurious 7 star Resort, unless you join a tour company, you will have hard time finding good accommodation since most of the Housing is privately owned. Most tours do provide a Good 5-star experience.
Food:
Glass of Chilled Scotch with Fresh Antarctic ice, with hot Grilled Fish!

The Himalayas

himalayas skiing

Alps of Asia, Home to Tallest ‘Mount Everest’, extremely rich in Culture and Scenic Landscapes, Himalayas are best suited for Budget Ski trips. Accommodation and food is extremely cheap in the region. Scenery is pleasant and heavenly.
Himalayas is known as “Valley of Gods” because most of the Rivers in the region emerges from it, also it serves as Food reserve for locals and Wildlife. You can get to New Delhi via flight and then take local trains or buses to reach Himachal Pradesh, where Himalaya starts.
Must Visit Places: Tibet,
India, Bhutan, Nepal. If Himalayas are the alps of Asia than Bhutan is definitely its Switzerland. This small country is still ruled by Monarchy and has the most happy population in the world. People have preserved their Exotic wildlife from centuries and environmental rules are very strict.  Tibet has one of the purest Air and environment. While Kullu valley in India has one of the best environment for skiing.
Accommodation:  You can easily get luxurious Hotels in Nepal and India, but they are hard to come by in Bhutan and Tibet. You can rent a room in just under 50$ per night.
Food:  
Due to cultural variety in Himalayas, you can enjoy Classic spicy Indian food, Nepali, Chinese and even North-Eastern Traditional food. All of these food are mouth-wateringly delicious and Tasty. Alcohol consumption is tabooed in some regions, but you can easily find good quality Scotch or Wine in Good restaurants.
Himalayan apples are famous for their rich red color and exotic taste.

American West

american west skiing

Famous for its snow consistency, beautiful weather, ski culture and diverse mountain ranges,  the American west is one of the best regions too for Unique skiing experience. Jackson hole, Tahoe, and the Watch are very popular among Leisure tourists.
Must Visit Places:
Jacksonhole, Mt. Baker, Bridger Bowl, San Juan’s. The Sierra Nevada is a must visit place for first timers.
Accommodation:  
American west might prove to be bit expensive compared to other destinations in the list. You can easily find the best accommodation options or even Private jets for transportation.
Food:
Local sushi and glass of chilled beer in a hot tub! Major food items are easily available.

Chile/Argentina

argentina skiing

Chile is famous for having one of the best snow in southern hemisphere. Gigantic andes attracts millions of tourists each year.  Relatively flat steeps make Andes ideal destination for New Skiers and Family trips.  Chile/Argentina are also extremely cheap and offer great Skiing experience.  Chile and Argentina are ideal for NonHardcore Skiers, you can easily visit a bunch of places along with your skiing holiday.  You can enjoy delicious  gourmet meals, massages and leisure travelling alongside Skiing.
Must Visit Places:
Las Lenas, Bariloche, Portillo.
Accommodation:  
Transportation, Food, and accommodation are dirt cheap. You can have the best Luxury travel experience on a good budget!

Western Canada

western canada skiing

Western Canada is gear towards more of Adventure seekers, who prefer exploring natural terrain for skiing. Western Canada is best alternative of antarctic, due to its increasing connectivity and proximal to major Habitats. Western Canada is relatively safer than Himalayas, Alps, and Antarctica.
After reaching Vancouver, you can easily rent a car or join a  tour for skiing.
Must Visit Places:
Whistler-Backcomb, Pemberton, Red Mountain, Roger’s pass.
Accommodation:  
You can easily find shared hostels near skiing hotspots, or get luxurious hotels with ease. Locals are extremely friendly and helpful.
Food:
Beer! Western Canada is famous for some of best home-brewed beer.

Boston

There are plenty of ski areas near Boston — and several are as close as 30 minutes away.  Depending on your expertise and time, you can find all types of terrain, large and small mountains, within a few hours drive of Boston.  You have 4 states to choose from, including Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

 

Must Visit Places: (VT) Okemo Mountain, Killington, Stowe Mountain Resort, Jay Peak, Stratton, Mount Snow, (NH) Bretton Woods, Loon Mountain, Waterville Valley, (ME) Sunday River, Sugarloaf.

AccomodationsHotels, B&Bs, AIRBNB options and higher end Resorts are all readily available at a variety of price points.

Food: Most resorts feature lodges and on-mountain food areas.  Larger mountains feature a wide variety of restaurants.

Of course, there are many Skiing destinations which were not covered in this list. Which one did we miss? Which one is your favourite?  Do let us know in the comments.

 

Article submitted  by  “The Regular”


Experience the Dazzling Dzongu

Dzongu, one of those strikingly honeymoon spots for the couples who are looking for honeymoon packages in the northern piece of Sikkim. Not far from Mangan, the place is for lovely honeymoons and considered as a villa in the Himalayas of Sikkim. 70 kilometers from Gangtok in North Sikkim is Dzongu which is exclusively saved for the Lepchas, the first occupants of Sikkim. The guidelines for a honeymoon trip can be avail from the cheap honeymoon & romantic packages in India.

The Lepchas Communities in Dzongu are totally limited from the outside world with their very own ordinary practice and feelings. The Seven Sisters course close Dzongu, where one can eyewitness seven falls pouring down the feigns along the amazing vista is a spellbinding moment. Dzongu is enveloped with widely inclusive viewpoints of Mt. Khangchendzonga and is for the most part affluent in greenery. The peacefulness and quietness of this place are the vacationer’s heaven and also being the best honeymoon & romantic packages in India.

Honeymooners can book their trip under the honeymoon & romantic packages in India. Therefore, India honeymoon & romantic packages in India host such romantic landscape trips for the newly honeymooners across India.

Things to See and Experience in Dzongu

Tholung Monastery
This religious community, at an elevation of near 8000 ft, fills in as a resting point for the drained trekkers while in transit to Kusheong Valley. The course to the cloister is a strenuous 18-20 km trek from Lingthem and comes to the Tholung waterway through thick woodlands and cardamom forests. The cloister is viewed as a standout amongst the most sacrosanct of this locale. It is additionally a fortune trove of heavenly ancient rarities, religious sacred texts and numerous different possessions of past Lamas and Chhogyals that were brought here for security from the attacking Nepalese amid the late seventeenth and mid-nineteenth century. The greater parts of these are put in plain view like clockwork in Kamsil Ceremony under the supervision of the administration of Sikkim.

Kusheong Valley
Kusheong Valley is encompassed by tall evergreen trees and the perfectly clear water of the lake loans a dreamlike quality to the place. The valley is covered with blossoms and the sprouting season in June and July transforms it into a fantasy arrive. The climb to Kusheong Valley from Dzongu takes around 3 days and gives unrivaled perspectives of nature, combined with an astonishing assortment of butterflies and fowls. The valley lies at a height of near 5000 ft is about distant for a most time of the year because of overwhelming snow. It is to a greater extent a mystery fortune of the locale and gives the nature lover a heavenly place to explore. The Kanchenjunga stands tall before the rising sun and a crisp morning is a help to the diehard trekkers here.

Lingzya Falls
These falls lie at a separation of somewhere in the range of 8 km from the town of Passingdang in Lingthem. This is a layered cascade, and the climb to it takes you through the delightful Charmel town and a wide cantilever connects serving both vehicular and person on foot traffic. Waterway Tholung is the wellspring of Lingzya falls. The underlying piece of the climb to Charmel goes through an encompassing woods and the aroma of the early morning dew on the leaves is nothing not as much as inspiring. When you cross the cantilever connect, a pitch street at the edge of mountain bluffs prompts the lofty Ligzya falls. There is a pleasant laying point in favor of the cascade, where one can eat getting a charge out of the entrancing magnificence of this fall. There are numerous different cascades in Dzongu however Ligzya falls is considered as a standout amongst the most fabulous ones and is the prime fascination of this area.

Passindang Village
This town fills in as a base for remain in Dzongu Valley with many homestays obliging the inundation of vacationers and explorers here. The predominant network of the Lepchas dwelling in this town gives voyagers a chance to pick up an understanding of the traditions and customs of these individuals. Chang or millet lager is the customary alcohol arranged in homes alongside Khabze, which is a browned bite regularly eaten in the nighttimes and mornings some warm tea. The Lepchas are exceptionally persevering individuals and are greatly near the underlying foundations of their families and their home.

How to Reach Dzongu
It will take you 8 hours to reach tingvong from NGP. In the event that you contract a select vehicle it may cost you 5500 one way, and 3500 every day of touring. Better to take a common jeep to Singtam, another jeep to mangan and from that point dupden, lepcha can lift you up. Don’t request that your host lift you up from NJP, it very well may be over the top expensive. Your first day will be depleted in coming to Dzongu. No compelling reason to go to Gangtok to reach Dzongu, you may need to come to mangan again and take the street drawback to reach Dzongu. It is thus a long course of journey.

Best Time to Visit Dzongu
Pre-summer and midyear is the ideal duration to spend your honeymoons in Dzongu. The temperature stays moderate and charming and the sun, as a rule, sparkles splendidly. You can see the whole scope of the mountains and the Himalayan snow tops plainly, and hear too observe a lot of winged animals.


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asia moped rental

Moped Rental In SE Asia

12 Tips for Renting and Riding Mopeds in Asia

Almost everyone who travels to South East Asia will rent a moped or motorbike during their travels. Sadly, many of them will end up have some kind of minor accident, or end up the victim of some kind of con. This is why it is so important to have Travel insurance for Thailand

During our trip, we have seen plenty of other travellers with bandaged limbs, broken arms or sprained ankles. Some good friends of mine suffered a blow out of their back tire at about 70 km/ph and were lucky to walk away with only some nasty road rash. Even I lost my front wheel down a dusty track and ended up with a grazed leg and an angry girlfriend. She had been on the back at the time.

However, if you adhere to the tips below, you can vastly reduce your chances of being involved in an accident or having to end your trip early due to injury,

1) Consider doing a CBT, or equivalent, before you leave home.

The best piece of advice that I could give you is to get some experience of riding a moped or motorbike before you leave your home country. The roads and driving style in many foreign countries can be unpredictable and difficult for even experienced drivers. If you add to this the added pressure of learning how to ride then you are putting yourself at a much higher risk of having a crash, Getting a little experience beforehand can make all the difference.

If you have the time, consider getting your international drivers licence. This means that you will be able to drive legally in many of the countries that you go to and also that your insurance will cover you should the worst happen.

You can find out about how to book a CBT, and what is required, by clicking here.

However, if you are reading this part way through your trip then there are still a number of things you can do to try and keep yourself safe.

asia moped rental

2) Always rent through your hotel or Hostel.

Take the small island of Koh Tao in Thailand for example. There are guys on every street trying to rent you bikes and almost anywhere you turn you can find a rental shop not far away. In this environment there are always unscrupulous people who will try and take advantage of tourists, One of the most common scams involves false accusations of damage to the bike or the engine, leading to an inflated demand for repair costs.

I would highly recommend that you rent through your hotel, rather than using a random stall on the street. Yes, this might involve paying a little more for it, but it also means you are much less likely to have problems, Hotels want a good experience for their clients and they have often vetted the companies they use based on past experience. That extra £1 can save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

asia moped rental

3) Check bike before you ride it and take photos of it.

This step should be followed regardless of who you rent the bike from. When the driver arrives to deliver the bike, you need to inspect it thoroughly. Point out any faults that it has to the renter before you take it. Take photographs of the bike in front of the renter. This is often enough to deter any attempt to defraud you when you return it.

4) Don’t leave your passport as a deposit. Ask if you can leave cash instead.

Many moped rental places will ask you to leave your passport as a deposit. This is another reason to rent through your hotel if you can as the moped rental place will often take the fact that the hotel has seen your passport as being sufficient to act as a deposit. Instead, ask if you can leave a cash deposit instead and make sure you get a signed and dated receipt.

If you leave your passport with the rental agency and something goes wrong, it means you have no leverage and the rental company has you by the balls.

asia moped rental

5) Remember – no international licence, no insurance.

One of the realities of travelling in South East Asia is that most tourists, and locals, do not have the correct licences or insurance to drive moped or motorbikes on public roads and almost no rental place will ask to see a licence before renting you a bike. Neither will they take any responsibility if you are caught by the police or have an accident due to inexperience. It is on the rider to make sure that they have the necessary licences and insurance in place to cover them. Whilst this may be custom and practice in many countries there are some things you need to consider before you decide to rent a bike. I am not going to try and tell you what to do, but rather provide the information to allow you to make your own choices.

As mentioned above, if you are riding a moped without the proper licence and you have an accident, it is likely that your insurance company will refuse to pay out on any claim made. This means that you will be liable for your own hospital bills and the bills resulting from any accident that you cause.

asia moped rental

6) Petrol.

This is the first thing you should think about after the rental process is complete. What kind of fuel does it take? How much in currently in the tank? Where are you going? Where is the nearest petrol station? Do they have petrol stations or are you going to have to refill from one of the small stores selling petrol from glass coke bottles at the side of the road? Check these things with the rental agency before you drive off!

Almost every time that I have rented a moped it has come with an empty or near empty petrol tank. Petrol stations can be rare outside of big cities, so it pays to think ahead. Also, make sure you get a contact number for the rental place, just in case something goes wrong. Oh, and make sure you have money to buy petrol.
7) Remember the roads in south-east Asia can be deceptive.

Things are not always as they appear. Roads which appear to be new can have sudden deep potholes in them. For example, the roads near Phonsavan were perfect, save for the occasional huge deep potholes every half a mile or so. This means that just as you gain confidence in the quality of the road and speed up because you end up having to break hard, or hit a pothole at speed and hope for the best. This is really dangerous as you can either end up skidding or totally losing control of the bike. Stay alerted and focused on the road conditions at all times.

Another factor that can make driving perilous is the local wildlife. Animals just don’t react in the same way that they do in the UK. Cows, dogs and even chicken will just lay in the middle of the road and expect you to drive around them. Even sounding the horn will only buy you a look of mild discontent before they rest their heads back onto the tarmac and go back to not giving a crap. Keep your eyes open, especially in the small villages where livestock is likely to be left loose to roam.

asia moped rental

8) Don’t expect other road users to drive as they would in the UK.

The rules of the road are not universally observed. Even things like traffic lights seem to be merely advisory in some countries. In Vietnam, moped and motorbikes often drive the wrong way in traffic or even ride on the pavements. But do not try and drive like the locals. They are used to this style of driving and know their cities or towns well. We have seen a number of people crash their bikes trying to emulate the driving style in question.

I would advise you to drive defensively and pay attention to the roads. Maintain central road position if you can and avoid undertaking other vehicles. Particular care is needed around the local busses which drive like madmen, and the huge trucks used in the endless construction works currently underway all over southeast Asia.

We have been told in almost every country that you should drive how you would back home and the locals will try and avoid you. They can see a tourist from a mile off and they know that most of them are not skilled riders.
9) Use your horn.

In England and most of Europe, the use of the horn is reserved for letting someone know they have pissed you off. In South East Asia, it is used in a wholly different way, namely to alert other road users to your presence. This means that other vehicles will often honk their horn before they overtake you to let you know they are there. So don’t panic if someone beeps their horn at you, they aren’t being rude and you probably haven’t done anything wrong. And remember to use your horn before you overtake other bikes to let them know you are there.

asia moped rental

10) Bring your sunglasses.

Keep the dust out of your eyes by wearing decent sunglasses when you ride. Preferably wrap-around shaped or with large lenses, Personally, I like Oakley Turbines with the polarized lenses. Many, if not most, of the roads in Asia, are very dusty, especially when it’s hot and dry during the day. Protecting you from some of the huge insects that slam into your face when driving through rural areas is also a secondary bonus.
11) Helmets

I can’t believe that I have to say this but wear your helmet, Your head didn’t get magically impervious to tarmac simply because you are on the other side of the world. Also, not wearing your helmet is the quickest way to get pulled over by the police. Once they have an excuse to pull you over, this leaves you open to extortion for real or imaginary infractions. This happened to me in Sinoukville, Cambodia, where my “fine” for some non-existent indiscretion was to be stuffed into a leather bag on the table whilst the office bent over to tie his shoe. The best way to avoid these situations is to not give them a reason to single you.

It doesn’t matter if locals are wearing helmets either. Wear yours. Put your safety ahead of your pride, It really doesn’t matter if you don’t look cool, you really don’t want a brain injury as a holiday souvenir.

Many of the bikes or moped that you will rent will be man years old and some will have the old fashioned metal exhaust pipes. These tend to get very hot when the bike is in use, especially if you have been on the bike for more than 30 mins. One moment’s lack of attention can lead to a nasty contact burn and a horrible scar known to some as a “travelers tattoo.” These are a common sight in the hostels of SEA, Take a few moments when you rent the bike to get to know where the exhaust pipe is and which side you need to get off the bike to avoid it.

Tariq is a former lawyer, turned traveller. In July 2016, he left London with a one-way ticket to Sri Lanka and since then has spent the last 7 months working his way across south-east Asia.
You can follow his travels on Instagram
During his travels, Tariq had also founded the only backpacker’s gym guide to south-east Asia, Gyms of the World. The site contains full gym reviews, including geotagged locations, prices and opening hours, as well as general travel fitness articles and tips. Gyms are also assessed for their suitability for solo female travellers.
You can check out his site here or his gym Instagram.
If you have a gym you would like featured on his site, you can contact him through the website.


WIN and Enjoy Most Thrilling Rides at Universal Studios Florida

WIN and Enjoy Most Thrilling Rides at Universal Studios Florida

When it comes to top rides that can make your adrenalin rush to new heights, it is one other than the thrilling rides at Universal Studios Florida. Even the most hardened thrill seekers will find themselves a tad challenged when they go for those rides.

Just let the Ocean-Florida team help you plan out your holiday and educate you on the best rides as well as land you with some fantastic deals. Thus, you not only make some neat savings but can pick on the most thrilling rides based on your preferences.  Top favorites include The Incredible Hulk, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Revenge of the Mummy, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Transformers: The Ride 3D and much more. You can count on Universal In Orlando  team for 24-hour services for any of your holidaying needs.

Stand a chance to win TWO tickets to Universal theme park Florida by entering this worldwide giveaway here –

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History of Santorini and why should have it on your bucket list

Santorini greece

History of Santorini and why should have it on your bucket list

Santorini is a Greek island located in the southern Aegean Sea. It is around 200 km away from mainland Greece. Santorini is a part of the 220 islands which form the Cyclades, a name given to the group of islands in the Aegean Sea. In the past, Santorini has gone through phases of development and destruction. The island has transformed from the Minoan Akrotiri (Santorini as the homeland of culture), the Bronze Age (Thera volcanic eruption in Santorini), the Ancient Period (the time of Greek takeover), Medieval and Ottoman period, World War II to the Santorini as it is today. Even though the island was one whole called Thera during the 17th century BC, today the Santorini is made up of a group of smaller islands including Kameni Islands, Aspronisi, Therasia and Thera.

Santorini greece

The island has a long history of excavation and discovery, so it is of great importance to archaeologists and geologists who are interested in historical artefacts and land formation. Santorini’s rich history has allowed it to open a number of museums and excavation sites to tourists. These sites include Akrotiri Archaeological Site, Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Archaeological Museum Fira and the Akrotiri Archaeological Excavation Site. If you are a history lover hungry to learn about the land and people around the world, Santorini must make it to your bucket list!

Santorini greece

While Santorini attracts history lovers from all over the world, its scenic beauty also helps it boost its tourism. Whether it is Venice in Italy, Honolulu in Hawai, the Maldives or Santorini in Greece, there is one thing common in all of these places, their association with romance. Santorini is not just famous as a romantic destination but has also increased the interest of tourists towards it by being voted one of the world’s most beautiful islands by 2015 Travelers’ Choice Awards. The site has spectacular views of nature which offer peace and calm hence making it perfect for romantic getaways. While some of the spots on the island are busy and can be crowded such as the Red beach and the Kamari beach, there are beaches such as the Kolumbo beach which are more secluded and will allow you the comfort of some privacy with your loved one. Adding a cherry on top, it might be a good idea to enrich your experience of the island even further by renting a villa at a private beach to enjoy more exclusivity and tranquillity.

The gorgeous views of the sea and the sunset from a villa located on the seaside will help you make your honeymoon extra special. The chef, butler, private transfers and beauty and health services at your villa will not only make you feel extra special but will also give you the opportunity to sit back and relax. You may book for Santorini villas for rent including all these services on websites such as Loyal Villas Luxury.

Santorini greece

The multitude of options you have as ‘places to visit’ in Santorini makes it suitable for all types of visitors. The natural beauty, gorgeous beaches and the breathtaking sunsets can be enjoyed by not just couples but also families and individuals alike. Having activities such as hiking, boat trips and water sports such as scuba diving, the place must be a must visit on every traveller’s bucket list!


4 Medieval Cities to Visit in Romania

4 Medieval Cities to Visit in Romania

Romania, this lesser known Eastern European destination, had a tumultuous and fascinating history in the Middle Ages. Being at the intersection between Eastern empires and Western powers, there were many twists and turns, invasions and military campaigns taking place in our country. The Carpathian Mountains form an arc that offers natural protection for the famous region of Transylvania, considered the last bastion of defence against the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire’s expansion from South-Eastern Europe.

Many citadels were built in this area to protect the population against foreign invaders and settlements were fortified with defence walls and towers. Important trade routes were established between them and Saxon (German) settlers colonised the area during the 15th century bringing a new level of craftsmanship and engineering skills. This explains why many of these settlements have withstood the test of time and are now famous historical attractions.

There are 4 cities in Transylvania with a very well preserved medieval feeling that you should visit on a tour in Romania. With street planning designed for defence and fortified walls, bastions and towers for extra protection, there is much to learn here about our country’s history. You will be walking on cobbled streets filled with colourful houses before emerging into large open squares. Get ready for a trip back in time!

4 medieval cities - Bistrita

Sighisoara Citadel – #1 on the list

Romania’s best preserved historic gem, Sighisoara undoubtedly deserves the first spot. It is one of the few citadel-cities still inhabited in Europe and its streets are a genuine monument that preserve the history of our country from medieval times. This is why it has been included in the UNESCO heritage list.

Getting lost on its cobbled streets will surely make you feel like you’re in different times. You will admire buildings with a unique architecture and wonder how they lasted for so long. A particular attraction is the 64 metre-high Clock-Tower built in the 14th century to defend the main gate of the citadel but the colourful merchant houses will capture your eyes too!

sighisoara

Sibiu – the cultural jewel of Romania

Sibiu is one of the most picturesque cities in Romania which enjoyed a prosperous and relatively unscathed history. With heavy German influences, the city has always been a cultural cradle in Transylvania and nowadays it is booming with events and lively crowds. Sibiu is 800 years old and used to be a military fortress with an important role in the history of our country, located strategically at a crossing point across the Carpathians into Wallachia.

The city has plenty of legends and stories. Each townhouse belonged to various merchant guilds and businessmen that continuously upgraded and transformed them into the imposing constructions that you can admire today. On your visit you shouldn’t miss attractions such as The Council Tower, Evangelical Church, Bridge of Lies, Brukenthal Palace, Stairs Passage and, of course, the walls of Sibiu citadel. But don’t be afraid to start wondering on your own and discover less crowded streets – you’ll be surprised of the many hidden gems and spots Sibiu offers!

Besides the usual sightseeing, there are many festivals and events taking place all year long. Gastronomy, jazz, medieval or theatre – there’s something for everyone! And in 2019 the entire region of Sibiu has been declared European Gastronomic Capital to celebrate traditional Transylvanian cuisine, a combination between Romanian and German dishes.

Sibiu

Brasov – charmingly medieval

Nestled between mountains, Brasov is probably the most famous city in Romania after the capital Bucharest. Starting from the 13th century the city quickly became an important trading centre for routes leading into the Balkans and further East into Asia. Many merchants and craftsmen lived here and the rich, imposing townhouses in the Old Town area are evidence of that. The best way to discover them is, of course, by getting lost on any narrow street – including Rope Street, said to be Europe’s narrowest!

The city has a very strong medieval air to it. An important attraction in Brasov is the massive Black Church, probably the most famous gothic monument in Romania dating back from late 14th century. There are plenty of medieval sights to visit here: towers, bastions and defensive gates, all part of Brasov’s elaborate defences.

There are many other things to do in Brasov: the famous Bran Castle aka Dracula’s home is Romania’s #1 tourist attraction, so it needs no further introduction. Rasnov Citadel perched up on a hill and overlooking the plains of Transylvania should not be missed either. Nature lovers can explore Piatra Craiului Natural Park or go on a bear watching tour!

Brasov

Bistrita – Romania’s medieval hidden gem!

Bistrita is one of the oldest cities in the region of Transylvania and – unfairly – less known for its medieval history and sights. First documented in the 12th century, the city of Bistrita used to be a well-developed commercial hub due to its close proximity to many natural resources. In its prime time in history, Bistrita had a complex set of fortifications formed of 2 circular walls protecting the city, 18 defence towers and a military bastion –more than any of the other medieval cities in this list!

While not much of these fortifications have survived, medieval sights such as Turnul Dogarilor and the Evanghelical Church should not be missed.  And walking the city’s streets will reveal beautiful houses with unique architectural elements and decorations such as Peterman House, Ion Zidaru House or Silvermen’s House, all built during the 15 or 16th century.

Marius Iliescu is the founder of Romanian Friend – a local initiative promoting handpicked tours with the best local guides so travellers can discover the authentic beauty of Romania while supporting responsible tourism. Plan your trip with help from a Romanian Friend and follow us on Facebook or Instagram to see what you can visit!


driving in canada

Holiday Tips in Canada – How to Stay Safe on the Highways

Holiday Tips in Canada – How to Stay Safe on the Highways

There is a lot of activity on Canadian roads during the holiday seasons. People are moving from different cities and towns to visit friends and families in other cities and towns. The holiday is a time to stay safe so that you can have great moments with your family. This is why it is imperative to be very careful when on the road since the last thing you want is to get involved in an accident that may derail your holiday plan.

Whether you are a Canadian or a resident on a Canada ETA visa, it is your responsibility to stay safe on the road and also to ensure the safety of other road users. With that said, here is a look at some holiday driving tips you will find to be extremely valuable during this time of the years:

Ensure your car is ready

It is imperative to have a car in good condition for your holiday drives. This is a time of the year when the temperatures are very low and the car’s performance may be affected in a number of ways. This why you should do a thorough check of the car’s systems and ensure that everything is working just fine. Some of the things you will be looking at include the fluid levels.

In particular, ensure that the levels of coolants, brake fluids, windshield washer fluid, auto transmission fluid and the power steering fluids are all in good levels before you embark on any trip. You might find some of the levels are okay, but it won’t hurt to fill up everything. Sometimes it is good to be paranoid and avoid being sorry in the future.

road trip canada

Plan for the unknown

There is a cliché that you should hope for the worst and plan for the best. This saying has never been more relevant when you are planning for a trip on the Canadian roads during the holidays. One of the things you must have in your car is a winter survival kit. The Canadian winter can sometimes get out of hand and if you didn’t prepare for it adequately, you can get stranded by the roadside or hours waiting for help to come. Inside the winter survival kit, you should have essentials such as warm clothes, a shovel, ice scraper, energy bars and sand or salt, a car jack, jumper cable, and a cell phone charger.

You should also not forget to check that you have a spare tire in good condition. The last thing you would wish for is to have a flat tire only to check and see that you don’t have a spare tire. This is how to welcome a busload of frustrations on the roads while you drive during the holidays.

canada drive

Have an idea of how to get help

Should you run into any troubles on the road when you are driving during the holidays, you will be in great luck if you know how to get help. In most cases, this calls for you to have the number of a roadside assistance service whom you can call for urgent rescue should things go wrong with your car. It is, however, very sad that most drivers in Canada don’t have such contacts, and they only realize their importance when they are stuck in the snow in winter. Take note that many of that roadside assistance are usually offered through auto insurance companies. Before you hit the road, just be sure that you have a number you can always call for help if you encounter any problems in the road.

Be a smart driver

It is a fact that all accidents caused on the roads are always a result of a negligent driver. You must strive at all times not to be this negligent driver and you must be smart enough to know how not to become a victim of such drivers. All you have to do is be very careful on the road, observing all the road signs and keeping your distance with the cars ahead. You should also learn to drive smoothly at speeds you can easily control the car in case of a skid.

Winter changes a lot the conditions of the road and if you are a careless driver, you may have higher chances of crushing the car if you drive at high speeds and you lose control. And finally, don’t forget to use your common sense when driving. Avoid all the petty mistakes that might make you put yourself or other road users in trouble.

safe driving canada

Be careful when visiting malls

The holiday season turn mall parking lot into some of the most dangerous places as far as holiday driving is concerned. Since there is a lot going on, there is a lot of distracted drivers, struggles to get into free spaces and sometimes it is very chaotic to drive in and out of such places. What you ought to do is be extra careful and avoid the distraction or anything that might make you lose your concentration and risk your life as well as those of other road users.

Learn how to break on snowy conditions

You should know exactly how you must drive in a snowy condition. For example, how you lower the speed of the car or bring the car into a total stop is very important when you are driving on a snowy surface. In such conditions, it is recommended that you should first reduce the car’s speed to half, then pedal off the metal and brake gently and carefully. Don’t try sudden breaks, but instead, light pump the breaks as you would normally do under rainy conditions.

Never let your car run low on gas

This is the worst nightmare you can ever face when driving during the holiday season. Even if you were certain about your car’s consumption, you should never let the gas level indicator light up when driving under such conditions. It is recommended that for winter driving, your gas tank should be at least half tank full at all times.

driving to canada mall

Rajasthan – The Memorable Experience Of Culture And Heritage!

Rajasthan – The Memorable Experience Of Culture And Heritage!

Rajasthan is a desert state located in the northern part of India bordering Pakistan. The state was ruled majorly by Rajputana, and their culture and tradition are still reflected in every nook and
corner. There are lots of palaces, forts, and museums offering the perfect flavours of Rajputs and Mughals. There are many popular cities in the state, each offering many attractions for the tourists. For instance, Jaipur or the pink city has Amer Fort, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, and City Palace. Jodhpur has Umaid Bhawan Palace, Mehrangarh Fort, and Ghanta Ghar. Similarly, there are bountiful of places to see in every city of Rajasthan where tourists can explore the
architecture and experience the culture.

amer-fort

Why visit Rajasthan?

There are plenty of reasons explaining why one should visit ajasthan. Some people like to understand the traditions of the old state while others like to try out the lip-smacking Rajasthani cuisine! Some of the reasons are explained below.

1. Rajasthan’s art and culture

The state is well-known for its prestigious history, from where comes the customs and culture. Atithi Devo Bhava or respective the guests like God is one of the most important aspects of Rajasthan’s culture. Visit any part of the place, and you will be honoured in the most special way! The unique, rich, and colourful culture can be seen in their traditional art form as well. Rajasthan is a land of artists as well. Their handcrafted items such as colour art, stones work, and textiles are popular all around the world. For instance, the dye prints of the state named as Bagaru prints and Sanganer prints are quite famous. In addition to this, Jaipur’s blue pottery is another interesting handicraft from this place. Rajasthani carpentry also incorporates attention to detail work, art carvings, and bright colours too.

2.Rajasthan food

he food describes many aspects of the state. Rajasthan has a unique cuisine to offer which is a right blend of flavors, rich spices, and aditional cooking techniques. Besides spicy dishes, there are many sweet recipes originated in the state. For instance, gheriya and ghewar are delicious desserts that were born here only. When it comes to vegetarian items, dal baati churma, kachori, ker sangria, gatte ki sabzi, rajasthani pulao, and methi bajra puri are some of the most loved dishes.

ghewar

Some of the non-vegetarian recipes of Rajasthan are laal maas, mohan maas, mutton banjara, aloo ghosht, and bhuna kukda. Every tourist, irrespective of the taste, can have a great time munching on the authentic sweet and spicy recipes in the state.

  1. Rajasthan festival

Every Indian festival is celebrated in Rajasthan with much pomp and show. Some of the popular religious festivals rejoiced here are Janmashtmi, Navratri, Teej, Gangaur, Holi, Diwali, and Makar Sankranti. Besides the religious festivals, there are many fairs and exhibitions held here too. For instance, Pushkar festival is organized every year and participants from all around the world enjoy unique traditions of Rajasthan. Camel dance and camel race is another interesting festival organized and celebrated with high spirits in Rajasthan.

The locals perform folk songs and folk dances in every colourful festival and spread the Rajasthani culture. Some well-celebrated festivals of the state are Brij Holi, Mewar festival, kite festival, Nagaur fair, summer festive and winter festive, Pushkar festival, and Teej festival.

  1. Rajasthan historical places

As already mentioned, Rajasthan has a prominent past. There are dozens of palaces and forts in every city in the state. Some of the popular ones are mentioned below.

  • Jodhpur or the blue city – Khejarla fort, Mehrangarh Fort, and Umaid Bhawan Palace are housed in the city. There are many ancient temples as well to visit in this Gateway to Thar.
  • Nawalgarh – Also called as the golden city of Rajasthan, some of the best places to check out are the Poddar Haveli, Morarka Haveli, and Sheesh Mahal.
  • Chittorgarh – Known as the pride of the state, some places that should not be missed out here are Vijay Stambh, Chittorgarh Fort, and Gau Mukh Kund.
  • Bundi: This is the princely city of the state is famous for Badal Mahal, Moti Mahal, and Taragarh Fort.
  • Jhunjhunu: It is one of the ancient areas of the state and the popular and historical places to visit are Rani Sati temple, Khetri palace and other havelis.
  • Ajmer: Some exclusive historical sites to check out in Ajmer include Nareli Jain temple, Adhai Din ka Jhopra, and Ajmeri Sharif.

umaid-bhawan-palace

How to travel to Rajasthan?

The land of Rajputs is well-connected to all the major villages, towns, and cities of the country. There are cheap flights, luxurious flights, all classes of train travel, and even buses that can transport you to Rajasthan in a convenient and hassle-free way. Make sure to make your reservations in advance as the cost of flights increases in a quick span of time.

Majority of the travelers and tourists choose flights as their travel mode because it saves a lot of time in the journey. There are many online portals which make the job of booking easy. Also, you can get excellent discounts during festivals and special occasions.

Where to stay in Rajasthan?

There is no dearth of accommodation places in Rajasthan. From luxury palaces and hotels to economic or budget accommodations, you can find all. Based on your requirements and financial considerations, you can plan accordingly and make the bookings.

If you are looking for a lavish stay, then palaces can be the best accommodations. Nevertheless, there are three star and four-star hotels and resorts all over Rajasthan offering the best experience and stay to the guests. Irrespective of what you choose, good hospitality is guaranteed.

You can pick up online portals to book your stay in advance as well. It is easy, quick, and offers no interruptions. Check for coupon codes while you are booking your accommodations as you can be rewarded with exclusive discounts as well. Have a wonderful experience of traditions and culture!

 


Top 5 Experiences for a Myanmar Luxury Holiday

Top 5 Experiences  for a Myanmar Luxury Holiday

Myanmar is beguiling destination which offers great inspiration to celebrate your holiday in Asia. From sundrenched tropical paradises in the south to the mysterious Himalayan mountain in the north, this beautiful country has so much to seduce its visitors. To start planning your luxury holiday to Myanmar, these characterful

Soak Up the Chaos of Yangon

Yangon is a perfect introduction of Myanmar`s culture: lively and vibrant. The city is dominated by shimmering Shwedagon pagoda, notable British Colonial Architects, exotic India town, appetizing China street foods.
To define your luxury days in Yangon, make a visit to the mentioned attractions, immerse in an exciting cooking class and immerse in the comfortable Strand Hotel which reflects the rich history of Yangon.

Northern River Journey

There are ways to appreciate the uniqueness of Myanmar. Taking a river cruise is probably the most intrigue option.
A long journey from Yangon to Mandalay which takes about 10 days highlights your experience by highly personalized on-board services, interesting shore excursions. It is not mentioned that you will have chance to view the only Unesco Heritage site in Myanmar – The Pyu ancient city which is not accessible by road.

bagan

Enjoy Bagan`s bird eye view

Bagan is simply sublime. This holy plain is famous for its varied landscapes formed by 2,500 pagodas remain from 11th century. It is the most photographed site in Asia.
The best way to appreciate Bagan is to embark on a Balloon, searching for photogenic chances. You will capture the gorgeous sunrises with bird eye panorama, floating on the air over the temple`s spire before sipping extravagant champagne.

Explore the Remote Mergui Archipelago

If you fancy to get closer to treasure of Andaman Sea then Mergui Archipelago is a place to start. You can expect much more than just beautifully sequestered beaches:  incredible diving sites, picture-perfect fishing villages, hidden inland waterfalls, lush mangrove forests and fabulous coral reefs.

Sailing Inle Lake

Inle Lake boasts undeniable romance. It is home to rustic stilt villages, green floating gardens and fascinating local markets.
One of the hand-picked experience you should soak up in Inle is to enjoy a private boat, winding through its less-visited waterways. It allows you to photograph not only the dramatic nature of Shan State but also seeing the local life your own ways.

inle lake

Dat Taw Gyaint Mountain Treat

Imagine you wake up in a private cottage over looking one of the most cascading waterfalls in north Myanmar. Dat Taw Gyaint is such a secret resort for your luxury treat.
Activities guests particularly relish includes trekking to hill tribe villages, visit coffee farm or adventure to the hill station of Pyin Oo Lwin, one the best summer escapes in Myanmar.
For a thrilling adventure designed to meet up your travel taste, Authentic Asia is a reliable local based agency to work with. You can contact them for a tairlor made tour or simply browse their Myanmar Tour Packages for further reference.

Find your own beach in Ngwe Saung

Known as the Silver Beach, Ngwe Saung is the premier choice for those who seek for intimate moments for couples or family.
Most of Myanmar Travel Experts recommend this beach for its gentle waves, world class resorts and importantly, it is not touristic. It is easy to pick a luxury resort where you can privatize your own piece of sandy beach.
It does not mean Ngwe Saung is lack of activities to make your days occupied. Whether you are keen on water sports or cultural exploration, Ngwe Saung has them all.