Things to do and places to visit in Singapore

Botanic Gardens

The gardens are open from 5 ‘0’ clock in the morning till night. Downtown Singapore at this time is pleasant, with dogs, tai-chi practitioners and joggers. Wandering through the virgin rain-forest and then taking in National Orchid Garden’s, muti-colored collections of about a thousand species of orchids and about two thousand species of hybrids refreshes, both the body and soul. After the exhausting walk getting a traditional breakfast of coffee, soft-boiled eggs and a toast generally slathered with the famous coconut jam feels like heaven.

China Town

‘Shop houses’ that are traditional nestle below the skyscrapers at either sides of Singapore affectionately known as ‘ little red dot’ is a must be place. Watching the locals playing Chinese chess and trying some delicious local food is a very good pastime.

Soaking Up in Little India

Streets of Little India are totally filled with flowers, smell of the spices and food that is across from India. Paired with multicolored buildings and loud music, giving an intoxicating feeling. Exploring the many shrines and temples before visiting twenty four hour shopping mecca, called Mustafa, a department store of a gigantic size where everything can be bought under one roof  is a great experience.

Night Safari and Singapore Zoo

Singapore ZooNight Safari and Singapore zoo are the two most renowned, Worlds zoological attraction’s. The zoo’s specialty is its frame which has been cleverly designed with open enclosures, meaning that animals appear within a touching distance. Giant pandas Jia jia and Kai Kai are its popular residents who can be visited only on a long queue on weekends and holidays.

Marina Bay Sands

Singapore’s Las Vegas is the very gigantic integrated resort in Marina Bay Sand, featuring one of city’s biggest casino and a big shopping mall, with its own canals offering the gondola rides. The boat-like structure that is perched on top of the 3 enormous and big skyscrapers, housing a pool at a rooftop.

Gardens By Bay

Gardens by the Singapore’s Bay is 101 hectares and is home to exotic arrays of fauna and flora from all around the globe which are housed in bio-domes of cloud forest and flower domes. However the main ‘must see’ is those stunning super-trees which are shimmering fifty meter structures that dazzle to music and light every evening.

Nature Reserve

The high-rise homes and skyscrapers make one forget that the Singapore city was once a home to tropical rain-forest’s. The ones that are still left are Bukit Timah Nature Reserve- Singapore’s highest point and the Macritchie Reservoir Park, which is no longer home to the tigers but definitely offers an escape from city where one can work-up a sweat and get soaked in local wildlife with monkeys and birds.

Arab Quarter

If the Singapore’s shopping malls does not float the boat it is good to try those hip boutiques on the Haji Lane located at Arab Quarters center. From designer dresses to city bikes, the lane offers endless delights.

Must See Places in Malaysia

Malaysia offers 2 distinct experiences: the Borneo and Peninsula. A unique mix of , Indian flavors, Malay and Chinese with Kuala Lumpur as capital is Peninsula. Borneo features most places of interest with wild jungles, granite peaks, emote tribes and orangutans.

Cameron Highlands

Cameron Highlands is a extensive hill station of Malaysia. These highlands were first developed in 1920’s by British. It has about 34,000 people, mainly being Malays, Indians and Chinese. The  Highlands are famous for their trails. These trails lead the visitors through forest to tranquil spots. Apart from their jungle walks this sanctuary is known for tea plantation which offering tours inside the tea factories.

Taman Negara

Taman Negara means ‘National Park’ in Malay has been one pf oldest tropical rain forest in the whole world. The park features waterfalls, massive trees, canopy walk-ways that are longest and jungle treks. Several trails help in enabling the visitor to explore the tropical forest.

Pulau Tioman

TiomanBeing selected in 1970’s as one of most beautiful island in the globe, and located in Malaysian peninsula. This island is surrounded by white coral reefs, which makes it a haven for the scuba diver.

Mount Kinabalu

With a height of 4,095 meters, this mountain is the highest in Borneo. Mount Kinabalu is known for its various biological and botanical species. Three twenty six bird species, 600 fern species and 100 species of mammals have been identified so far at and around the mountain. The main peak is easy to reach with proper equipments and a proper guide.

Pertonas Twin

The twin towers located in Kuala Lumpur was the tallest building in the World till the year 2004. Although they are till now twin towers that are tallest in the whole of the World. The towers have 88 floors, was constructed with reinforced concrete, glass and steel facade and resemble motifs from Islamic art.

Langkawi

Being the best known destination for holidaying, it is an archipelago of ninety nine islands in Andaman sea. Fringes with white, long beaches and with interiors covered with craggy peaks of mountains and hills, the island is home for about sixty five thousand people people.

Perhentian Island

Located off the coast, it is a must go place with palm fringed sandy beaches and a turquoise blue colored sea. The island offers beautiful beaches and diving with lots of cheap accommodation. The 2 main islands are the Perhentian Kecil and Perhentian Besar.

Sepilok Rehabilitation

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation was mainly opened to rescue orphaned orangutan babies where they are trained for surviving again in wild. About sixty to eighty orangutans live free in this reserve.

Mulu Caves

It is located in Gunung Mulu National Park in the Malaysian Borneo. The caves Sarawak chambers is said to be the largest chamber which can accommodate around forty Boeing 747’s without their wings getting overlapped. Colony of the wrinkle lipped bats in the deer cave exit every evening for food, which is spectacular to watch.

Tips for First Timers in Vietnam

Vietnam is both enraging and enthralling and has been a icon of travel for a long time. Blend of South East Asia’s present, past and future is so stark in Vietnam than in any other country. This clash, at times may seem so confusing and confronting and sends even an experienced traveler to flee to the near-by luxury hotel. But a little preparation will set up the trip a trip of the lifetime.

Keep Smiling

Though many visitors grumble, people of Vietnam are more like their counterparts from south East Asia, in friendliness. Unlike in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, where more often the localities are curious about the Visitors, people of Vietnam ignore foreigners who are lost-looking unless asked for some help. But if a question is asked with a sweet smile, it will certainly be answered with the same smile.

vietnamTaxi Scams

For many visitors, to truly look at the thronging street of the city of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, best way is to take the motorcycle taxis. However scams are possible, though unlikely, it is better to have decent knowledge about the points of visit to have best protection. If there is doubt about going in a wrong way, it is better to ask the driver to pull over. It is better to organize for a airport pick-up to hotel as scam taxis are at rife.

Night Buses

Overnight buses tend to be a good way to cover very long distances which apparently saves on accommodation costs. But it should made sure that the top bunk is booked as far away from the restroom ( normally located at the back). Not to be very specific and probing, many buses have non-working bathrooms and the smell becomes worse. Also, drinking too much water is not recommended as the rest stops are purely at the whims of the driver and even skipped when the bus runs late.

Nightlife Trouble

Vietnam sells most cheapest beer in the whole World but do not over do it. In Hanoi, there are official curfews on nightclubs and bars, which are enforced by police when the owner has not paid the so-called suitable ‘fee’. Hiding in dark and making the police to believe that the club is closed can be sometimes amusing, but most of the time it sucks when half of the group is thrown out from the club by cops. Nha Trang has a trail for attendant gangs and pick pocketing prostitutes, so it is better to be prepared.

Motorcycle Safety

Vietnam is definitely not a place for learning to ride motorbikes where scooters dodge each other by only mere inches. Roads of Vietnam are truly testifying and there are unfortunate incidents of tourists getting killed, attempting an adventure in two-wheeler. If at all there is need for a thrill in a bike, it is better to have a Vietnamese rider who takes care of all the driving.

Be Bold

Vietnam can be overwhelming and intimidating, so the very important thing is not to get scared and carry a humor sense so that everything works out well.

Must See Strange Places in India

Thalon Cave, Manipur

Thalon caves are located int the Tamenglong district of North eastern Manipur. Among many of the historic sites this cave is an important one. The caves indicates first evidence of the Hoabinhian culture in India. It is about 910 meters above the sea level and is a very unusual experience when visited. The frightening experience of entering into darkness gives everybody chills and makes them feel like entering into a world of unknown.

Hide-And-Seek Beach, Orissa

It is a true magical experience and surprise when something disappears just right in front of people. The beach disappears and appears during every low and high tide. With a low tide, the water recedes about five kilometers and hits back to shore at high tides. The sight is captivating in the Chandipur beach in Orissa.

Living Root Bridges, Cherrapunji

Living Root BridgesNorth Eastern India is a place where the travelers can have a majestic experience. Being the wettest land in the whole of India, bridges made out of the living roots is a specialty. The bridges in Cherapunji are made out of roots of rubber tree- “ Ficus Elastica”. The bridges made out of roots are truly magical and may even sound exaggerated as they are all really alive. Unlike other bridges, these are grown and not built.

Haunted City, Bhangrah

Ruins of the city of Bhangarh in Rajasthan is the most haunted place. Warnings to people are seen at all entry points advising the tourists not to enter the city at night time. Archaelogical Survey of India have posted signs strictly prohibiting all the visitors from entering the fort after sunset and before sunrise. A must visit place for all ghost lovers and hunters.

Levitating Stone, Shivapur

Shivapur being a small town in Maharashtra is very famous for the levitating stone that levitates mysteriously in-accordance with the mystic Muslim Sufi who had lived in India about 6 centuries ago. This town is located 180kms to East of the city of Mumbai. According to legends, Qamar Ali a saint on his death-bed said “ when eleven men place their right index finger under the stone and then jointly call my name, i will cause it to rise higher than their heads”, which actually happens. The levitating stone is still present and still levitates.

Baraimambara

It is the gravity defying architectural structure. The unusual thing about it is that the building does not have supporting beams in the ceiling and is the unique large arched construction in the whole of the World. The building has 8 surrounding chambers with roof heights that are different permitting the above spaces for reconstruction as a 3-D labyrinth with interconnecting passages having 489 doorways that are identical.

Magnetic Hill, Ladakh

The magical and an uncommon phenomenon in the hill is that a car can move itself even in neutral gear. The hill have properties of magnetism attracting metallic objects and thus making the vehicles to move up. This hill is about 14,000 feet above the sea level

Best Places to Celebrate Diwali in India

Diwali being festival of sound and light and celebrated throughout India, though the reasons and stories may differ from one place to another. All said and done Diwali is celebrated for five days in honoring the ‘triumph of good over evil’. It even marks arrival of New Year to Hindus. During the festival people wear new dresses, burst crackers and share sweets and happiness with friends, relatives and neighbors.

Delhi, The Capital City

Festival of Diwali starts from the festival of Dusshera itself. All market places are filled with placards and banners. Major commercial centers in Delhi gets packed with shopping offers and shoppers. People splurge on gifts, new dresses, sweets and fire crackers for Dhantera and Diwali preparations. Diwali day several stages are hoisted where ‘Ramlila’ is depicted culminating Lord Rama’s life and the ten day battle between Rama and Ravanaa.

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

VaranasiA remarkable and a memorable destination to celebrate Diwali is Varanasi, a city in Uttar Pradesh. The whole place wears a festive and colorful look throughout this light and sound festival. Being a holy city, on the evening of Diwali the fifty odd ghats in Varanasi are colorfully illuminated with 1000’s of diya’s, that is earthern lamps, transforming the proverbial city of lights onto a mesmerizing reality.

Jaipur, Rajasthan

One of life’s cherishing moments is to have a good slice of the Pink City’s version of the Diwali. The city already being a very popular destination for western tourists is decorated in every available color that is found in every dreamers palette. The embellished markets are filled with about two thousand varieties of diyas in various forms like birds, animals and deities. Handicrafts, gift items, firecrackers and traditional clothes flood all the markets, each year an award is given for the market that is best decorated.

Amritsar, Punjab

AmritsarThe Golden Temple is fully draped in brightly lit lamps or diyas on Diwali evening making it a wonderful spectacle for all the onlookers. The reflection of light of the colorful diyas on water is magical and truly scintillating. The planning for the festival is started well in advance. Each house is cleaned and decorated with flowers, rangoli’s and dishes and sweets are prepared to be shared with relatives, neighbors and friends. On Diwali night, the sky is all lighted up with fireworks.

Kolkata, West Bengal

‘Kalipuja’ or ‘Shyama puja’ is the answer to Kolkata’s Diwali. This puja of kali coincides with date of Diwali. In Hindu mythology ‘kali’ is known as a form of ‘Shakti’. During this puja which is generally done during mid-night, for appeasing the goddess, live offerings of buffalo or lamb is done. A day before the puja, diyas, little candles and small decorative and colorful electric bulbs light up this city of joy. On the Diwali day, fire crackers light up whole of the sky displaying the very essence of the festival ‘ the light and sound’.