Category: Destination Tips

Facts About The Singapore Ducktour

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There is no better way to explore the city of Singapore than going on a ride on the Singapore Duck tour. An hour-long journey, the original Ducktours takes you an inch closer to some of Singapore’s historical landmarks, popular skyline and beautiful bay view. This award-winning tourist destination houses Asia’s very first amphibious themed attraction and has covered 1 million passengers to date with 14 years of complete safety and best in tour experience record. While you are in Singapore, you shouldn’t miss out on the one-of-its-kind Ducktour making harbour and city sightseeing a joyful experience.

The 60minute Singapore Ducktour, above all, is the link between the past and present and, perhaps, the future. You can easily capture some of Singapore major monuments around the Bay area and Central Business area while you are onboard the car. These ‘ducks’, in fact, are from the Vietnam war.

Popular Landmarks you will see:
The Singapore Ducktours lends you an amazing view of the famous Civic District where you’ll find important landmarks like the Padang, City Hall and the Civil War Memorial.

Upon getting down into the river, you’ll get a closer view of Marina Bay Sands, the ArtScience Museum, the Esplanade and the Merlion whilst cruising on the beautiful Marina Bay the point where the popular Singapore River converges with the open sea.

You can easily capture Singapore’s popular touring destinations including Singapore Flyer, Fountain of Wealth, Esplanade, the Singapore Cricket Club and Civic District. The Ducktours, which runs hourly, is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily while there are also Mandaringuided tours available on selected timings every day. The booking of the tours can be made online on their website. Alternatively, phone reservations and counter-purchase facilities are also available to purchase tickets.

To Enjoy a Singapore duck tour contact Emperor Traveline For Tour Packages

Nightlife In Coorg

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Nightlife in Coorg is not something we hear it often, but it does exist. We have presented in this rather short blog what nightlife is all about in Coorg and where you can find a few good bars in the hill station to spend the night out with your family and buddies that is when the sun is down and the lights flicker on. Though the bars and pubs don’t hoot in the wilderness of the night nor do they dance up to earsplitting music; they aren’t too unexciting either.

Hive Bar:
The Taj Madikeri Resort & Spa, Coorg brings you exotic drinks available at the Hive Bar which lends a beautiful and comfy seating with a variety of food to gently smack on. A sparsely crowded bar, it has decent live music and presents a stunning view of the gorgeous hills. Things to try: chilli infused vodka at the bar.

Planter’s Club – The Bar:
An amazing place to stare at the skies at night, The Planter’s Club Bar boasts of a classy decor and a great vibe embracing a myriad of cultures. You will be mighty pleased by the exceptional service at Planter’s Club Bar making it a toprated bar in the hill station.

The Lost Horizon:
Situated near St. Joseph’s Convent, The Lost Horizon is another great bar to chill out, when in Coorg, with a range of drinks and beverages including warm and sparkling wine. The warm interiors give a ‘Victorian’ pub feel to it. This bar is gaining popularity with foreign tourists who come here for a chilled beer and to experience the nightlife.

The Deck:
Nestled snugly on the lap of The Tamara Coorg resort, this is a peach of a place, one that can almost guarantee extraordinary comfort and luxury. The Deck can be best described as ‘tranquillity in the centre of wildernesses’. The lovely highend decor is slightly inconsistent but, maybe, that is its selling point. It has an assortment of drinks to offer, and you are assured of a decent nightlife experience here. Well, it’s time to hang out for the night in Coorg!

All About the Famous San Agustin Church at Intramurous in Manila

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The San Agustin Church, located on General Luna Drive at Intramuros in the capital city of Philippines, Manila, is one of the most beautiful places to ring your wedding bell. It is the country’s last surviving church, and UNESCO, rightly so, formally announced it as a World Heritage site in the year 1994. The design of the church is based on Spanish architecture and Baroque style of art. The San Agustin Church is usually open between 8:00am12:00 and 1:00pm6:00 pm daily for a congregation and public view. Next to the church is the San Agustin Museum. Though the entry to both the church as well as the museum is free, you are required to donate once you’re at the museum.

The oldest surviving church:
Originally called the Church of St Paul, the San Agustin was constructed in 1571 and is the oldest surviving church of the Augustinian Order. A series of disasters struck the church first, an invasion by Chinese pirates in 1574 and then when fire, unfortunately, broke out in 1583 and 1586. The safest bet back then was to reconstruct the church in stone, which happened between 1587 and 1604. Disasters followed one after another, this time in the form of earthquakes that rocked the church in 1645, 1754, 1863 and 1880, and a brutal ransacking of it in 1762 by the British. In 1945, the church was again battered in the battle of Manila following World War II. However, it stood the test of times in Intramuros, even when natural calamities brought about the destruction of the Manila Cathedral, another admired church in the Philippines.

You will be awed by the interior of the church with its ceiling and walls covered by splendid trompe l’oeil murals. If you climb upstairs through the museum, you can have a 360degree view of the interiors from the choir loft. Chandeliers dating to the early 14th century adorn the interiors of the church. The architectural style gives you the best of both worlds medieval charm and European modernity.

The 60odd benches or seats in the choir loft will remind you of the 17th-century furniture style, the hand carvings, in particular, crafted out of Molave, a tropical hardwood, which was in vogue. It is refreshing to see ethnic style from the bygone era managing to survive and pull through. The San Agustin Church also houses the remains of Spanish Conquistadors including Lavezares, Juan de Salcedo, Goiti and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. The San Agustin Church and Museum, should, undoubtedly, be on your bucket list when you fly to Manila. You will be glad you did!

Why is Konya One Of The Culturally Rich Centres of Turkey? – Part 1

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This week we will see Turkey’s oldest and culturally rich cities Konya, known in the Roman times as Iconium. The city of Konya served as the capital city of the Seljuk Turks between the 12th and 13th centuries and emerged as the cultural destination of the country.

The period between the 12th and 13th centuries saw tremendous political, religious and political growth thanks to the Islamic mystic Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi, the founder of a Sufi order known popularly as the ‘Whirling Dervishes’ in the West or ‘Mevlevi’ Order in the East. One of the most outstanding architectural buildings is the remarkably greenmausoleum that of Rumi. Also part of the mausoleum is an area that was once the dervish seminary which now is a museum containing manuscripts of Mawlana’s work and several artefacts of the teachings of the Mevlevi order.

There is an annual ceremony or ‘Urs’ held here, during the month of December, to commemorate Maulana Rumi and the Mevlevi order where mystics of the order, clad in a white robe, whirl around the hall in a trancelike state or ‘Sema’ to the traditional tune of the Sufi musicians, symbolizing their infinite love for the creator. The Sema is now a huge spectacle in Konya, attracting thousands of tourists every year.

The Alaeddin Mosque (also spelt as ‘Alaettin’) is the biggest and oldest mosque in Konya, built by the great Seljuk ruler Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat in 1221, atop the Alaettin hills. You will find the remnants of the Seljuk Imperial Palace on one side of the Alaeddin Mosque. There is also a museum, the Karatay Madrasah, which exhibits the strikingly bold Seljuk ceramics. The İnce Minareli Madrasah, constructed in 1264, found on the other end of the mosque, is visited for its eyedazzling ornate Seljuk portal. Take a few steps on around the mosque to find the Sahip Ata Complex and the Sırçalı Madrasah. If archaeology fascinates you, then Konya’s Archaeological Museum is a must see. At the Koyunoğlu Museum, you can find an assortment of collection from old kilim rugs to natural history. Inside the museum complex, the İzzettin Koyunoğlu house that has been restored represents the stylish and opulent way of life of the Konya family of the bygone era.

There is more to come on the medieval city of Konya in the concluding part of the blog.

Are You a Shopaholic? Here is What The Dubai Shopping Festival Offers To Shoppers?

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You will be taken aback to find that only 7 per cent of Dubai’s fortune comes from oil resources.  Dubai, as shoppers would tell you, is a true paradise for those who love to fill their shopping bag to the brim. However, the best time for shopping is when the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), put up for a month from mid of January to mid of February, is in full swing.  One of the world’s most popular shopping destinations, the annual DSF ropes in 3 million visitors and offers nonstop store giveaways and exciting shopping bargains. It is also the time that the hotel rack rates fall by nearly 40 per cent to encourage visitor influx and spends.

What are the things to see and do?
Dubai’s desert roots make a great spectacle at the Heritage Village, a major shopping festival attraction that helps you explore and purchases the traditional arts and crafts of Dubai. If shopping is in your blood, then don’t miss out on the fantastic deals on consumer goods ranging from jewellery to rails of haute couture to carpets and home electronics.

Some of the globally acclaimed entertainers and artists come here to display their talents throughout the festival. The Dubai Shopping Festival, with over 30 countries as participants, is nothing short of excitement and galore with stunning light and laser shows, spectacular firework displays, grand exhibitions, gala concerts, nonstop street entertainment and plenty of sporting action. You can purchase any merchandise from A to Z from around the world.  Dare for more at the Global Village by entering the mega raffle to win unbelievable prizes and money over the month, which is broadcasted live on TV watched by millions.

The plethora of deals out there:
The various sponsor companies of the Festival have incentivised getting to the ‘City of Gold’ during the Dubai Shopping Festival, for the most part; sponsoring airlines to provide exclusive deals and discounts including meals, stay, sightseeing and all transfers at cut rates.  Emirates Airline gives you the bigger bang for your buck with travel fare deals and an additional baggage allowance; therefore, you will not be taxed in case you carry a hefty booty, but all probable that your credit card may take a beating after the trip to the shopping festival. We are offering an exciting package tour to the Dubai Shopping Festival this year at the best prices. Ensure you make the most of it and don’t miss out on the Middle East’s most happening shopping festival.

What Can You See On The Golden Triangle or The Delhi-Agra-Jaipur Route ?

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The Delhi-Agra-Jaipur route (or the Golden Triangle) is one of the most popular routes in India that gives one several spectacular sights all along the way. New Delhi, the capital of India, is one of the major metropolitan cities of India, with a bustling population of 2.18 crores (Source: Wikipedia.com).  It’s a unique city which is embedded within Old Delhi, once the capital of India’s rich and composite culture and heritage. However, New Delhi, today, has changed radically through the years.

Next, venture into the ChandiniChowk Market, the busiest market of Old Delhi and Paharganj, a neighbourhood of Central Delhi, which sells almost everything you want; a paradise for budget shoppers as well.

The 17th century Red Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built by the great Mughal emperor Shahjahan, is a must­see historical monument, in addition to its two famous entrances: the Delhi Gate and Lahori Gate. The India Gate, a war memorial dedicated to 82,000 soldiers of the undivided Indian Army who laid down their lives during the First World War in the period between 1914 and 1921, is also a major tourist attraction.

If you are in Agra, travel to the Tomb of Mirza Ghiyas-Ud-din or Ghiyas Beg or ItimadUdDaulah, another mausoleum similar to the famous Taj Mahal. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Itimad-Ud-Daulah is also called as ‘jewel box’ and ‘Baby Taj’.

The Taj Mahal in Agra is no dearth of wonders. A classical example of Mughal architecture, the Taj is a colossal mausoleum complex built by Emperor Shahjahan to house the remains of his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal. The construction work that started in 1632 took 25 years to complete with the help of 20,000 artisans.

Jaipur, popularly known as the ‘pink city’ of India, is the capital of the state of Rajasthan. You can find that almost every building in the walled historic city sports the colour of terracotta pink. Major attractions that you couldn’t afford to miss out include the Hawa Mahal, the Observatory and the City Palace. Next in the list of mustsee places is the Amber Fort, nestled in the Aravalli Hills. The fortress that is honeycoloured lends a panoramic view of the adjoining areas. Also, Sheesh Mahal in Jaipur, the fabulous glass palace in Amber Fort, is a reflection of the elegant and regal lifestyle of the Rajput Kuchwada.

Are The Havelis Of Old Delhi Disappearing In The Tides Of Time?

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Splendid Havelis that once dotted the lanes of Old Delhi were known for their impressive doorways, stunning marble arches, and eminent occupants. But time has its own terms! Time unleashed destruction and with no hopes of the restoration of palatial homes, the grand structures, today, are left to oblivion barely identifiable. It goes without saying that official supineness and financial constraints are destroying the capital’s heritage bit by bit.

The shambles of several grand and spacious homes in Chandni Chowk echoes the sentiments of the stately palace of the bygone era. Zeenat Mahal, constructed in 1846, bears the name of the favorite wife of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal emperor of India. The biggest mansion in the area, adorned with jharokhas with jaali work, intricate murals, and lively colors, has seen the distinctive times of history.

Old Delhi, built by the Mughal emperor Shahjahan, is a walled city known as Shahjahanabad that has eight gates Kashmiri, Nigambodh, Kabuli, Mori, Ajmeri, Lahori, Delhi and Turkman gate which stands formidable and tall to this day. However, the walls that connected the various gates are no longer found here.

Chandini Chowk, one of the main streets of Shahjahanabad was designed and constructed by Jahanara Begum, one of the most talented Mughal princesses and daughter of Shahjahan. A canal ran through the entire city and as it reflected moonlight brilliantly, it earned the name  of “Chandni Chowk” (or Moonlit Square)

There is the Bazaar Sita Ram in irremediable ruin. The Haksar haveli, where Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, tied the knot with Kamala Kaul is in a dilapidated state.

An interesting structure in the Katra Neel section is the Chunnamal haveli, a three-story building, which, at one point of time had 128 rooms. This looks like the only structure that is kind of well preserved compared to the other havelis in the area.

Other places of attraction include Namak Haram haveli, Fatehpuri Masjid and Queens Garden (also known as Jahanara ka Bagh or Begum ka Bagh). This place used to be quite famous for maalishwalas. Another historic landmark is Hardayal Municipal Library, strangely named after the Hardayal, the man who hurled a bomb at Lord Harding, a British officer during the freedom struggle.

Walking through these battered lanes one can sense the embers of a once free-flowing Indo-Islamic heritage and culture. The haveli quarters that vanished in the sands of time offer you a peep into a glorious past that will be forever remembered as the golden period of Indian medieval history.

 

Things You Must Not Fail To Do When In Coorg, Karnataka

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Coorg, officially called ‘Kodagu’, is the most picturesque hill station in Karnataka. This beauty of a hill station is clad with verdant greenery and awe-inspiring scenery. Coorg comes as a perfect weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. Here is why Coorg needs to be on your bucket list:

1.Camping:
Nothing can beat camping down at Coorg, especially if listening to the melancholic chirping of birds is your calling. A spectacular sight beckons when the sun touches the sky with its rays. The inviting weather is perfect to take a stroll and view nature’s bounties. The best experience is when you travel Coorg during the winter or just when monsoon bids adieu.

2.River Rafting:
River rafting at Coorg is the real icing on the cake in terms of outdoor sporting experience. An early morning start from Barapole is the perfect stream on which to do rafting. Exercise precaution as the waters can turn out turbulent, worse if the weather is bad. All said it shouldn’t stop you from going crazy!

3.Trek:
Coorg presents a lot of trekking options, whether you’re a seasoned trekker or an amateur. Kumar Parvatha, which is 1712m above the sea level, is the sixth highest peak in Karnataka and second highest in Coorg. The thrill and frills of trekking in Coorg is a different piece of cake altogether, and just the thing for someone driven by an adrenaline rush.

4.Plantation walk:

Unlike the high action-packed sporting activities discussed above, a walk along the plantation looking at the coffee plants is an irresistible experience, with the constant chirruping of birds and a strong and invigorating scent of the vast coffee plantations around. You can find coffee-tasting sessions that will help you explore the amazing and varied world of coffee.

5. Visit a wildlife sanctuary:
The Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage site,  is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. The sanctuary is known to house exotic and rare species of flora and fauna. You may even set camp here and enjoy a peaceful night. The recommended time for sightings is between November and March.

 

All About The Nelliampathi Hills – Kerala’s Trekker’s Paradise

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The Nelliampathi hills, located in God’s own country, Kerala is a feast to the eyes of the onlooker. Caressing the clouds, the Nelliampathi hills is marked by grandeur and splendour and lend one an awe-inspiring sight, to say the least. Located in Nenmara in Palakkad district, it is separated by 102 km from the Coimbatore Airport and 150 km from Cochin International Airport. The hill ranges stand tall at a height of 465m to 1570m and ensure you will definitely come again to explore more.
To reach Nelliampathi, the road from Nenmara takes you all the way to the Pothundy Dam. You need to drive through 10 sharp hairpin bends en route to Nelliampathi.

The Pothundy Dam has some excellent recreational facilities in boating and makes a nice outing area. As you drive your way through the dense forests and up the testing hairpin bends to Nelliampathi, there are a few viewpoints where you can stop by and witness the vast expanse of Pallakad district unfolding with its green bounty of paddy fields adding to the sylvan charm.

You can take also take a look at the Ginger farm from Nelliampathi, which lends a panoramic view of the splendid Western Ghats formation in this expanse, bringing into view, enjoining parts of the neighbouring state of Tamilnadu. If you are planning for a day out or a weekend getaway, from the big city, you don’t need to go far than travel to Nelliampathi.

There are quite a few privately owned resorts and hotels in the region, especially as you move atop the hills of Nelliampathi. You can spot bio-farms as you travel further uphill towards the Palagapandy Estate, housing a colonial bungalow, constructed during the British Raj in India, and now which has been made into a privately-owned resort. Nelliampathi, assuming that the weather is fine, is great for trekking. Travel a little further to Seetharkundu for a mesmerizing view of the valley and a stunning waterfall dropping about 110m. If you have some more time left to explore Palagapandy, then either take a car or stretch yourself a bit to trek to reach Mampara, another quiet hill station in the region.

The area enclosing the Palagapandy Estate is lush and flush with cardamom, tea and coffee plantations with the adjoining hills home to rich wildlife including elephants, leopards, Giant Squirrel, Indian Gaur, etc and a delightful haven for birdwatchers.

Five Reasons To Visit Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu this Monsoon!

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Monsoon has its own charm and magic, and there is everyone reason why should take a trip to the picturesque hill station of Kodaikanal in Tamilnadu. Kodaikanal, with its over-flowing beauty, is nature’s gift to man. Therefore, if nature is your thing, then Kodaikanal lies right in the lap of nature and clouds. Many of these places go green during monsoon and look outoftheworld. The scorching summer heat gives way to balmy and chilling breezes and cool showers that will make you enjoy the charming tourist haven: obviously, the best time to travel! Here are 5 good reasons why Kodaikanal will be a great place to hit this summer

1.The perfect weather:
Only very few hill stations in India come close to Kodaikanal in terms of the salubrious climate all around the year. The monsoon is characterised by temperature level between 10 and 18 degree C – just what you require for going around, putting your feet up or just going blah!

2.Break-taking views:
Kodaikanal dubbed the “Princess of Hill Stations”, is snugly nestled on a plateau and is enveloped by views of hair-raising hills and valleys. If you like to hug the landscapes of cloudy skies and deep valleys, then Kodaikanal is just the place for you.

3.The forgotten history:

Kodaikanal has been long one of the most popular summer resorts in the country. In the 19th century, although the plains went through tropical diseases, Kodaikanal was still a welcome gateway.

4.The Pine Forests:

The sprawling pine forests of Kodaikanal have been the backdrop for many a Kollywood dream sequence songs and TV serials. The pine forests not only add to the mojo of the place but moderate the effects of sun, wind and rain.

5.The enchanting scenes:

From the still Kodaikanal Lake to the ‘far from the noise’ Poombarai village, Kodaikanal is a traveller’s delight. The Kodaikanal Solar Observatory, Pillar Rocks, Coaker’s Walk and Dolphin’s Nose make Kodaikanal a must-visit hill station in Tamilnadu.