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From The Editors Top 5 Travel

Top Five “Off the Beaten Path” World Destinations

From the town of Ittoqqortoormiit, way up north in Greenland, all the way down to Deception Island on the Antarctic Peninsula in the southern hemisphere with the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan, Federated States of Micronesia, and the island nation of Madagascar in between, we bring to you five of the planet’s most remote locations for adventure seekers looking to avoid commonplace destinations.

Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland

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Ittoqqortoormiit is situated atop a peninsula on eastern Greenland that goes by the name of Liverpool Land. It is Greenland’s most remote area – a vast tract of land where polar bear, walrus, reindeer, musk ox, bird populations, and small game thrive.

First occupied by Inuit settlers in 1925, the depleting population of Ittoqqortoormiit, down to just 450 inhabitants, live in flamboyantly colored wooden houses dotting the stark landscape and sustain themselves hunting whales and polar bear for food and trade.

Despite its inaccessibility to ships for nine months of the year, Ittoqqortoormiit has fast become a key cruise destination for modestly-sized expeditionary vessels exploring wildlife and culture, and nature in general, of North-eastern Greenland.

Attractions in and around Ittoqqortoormiit

  • Kap Hope
  • Northeast Greenland National Park
  • Ittoqqortoormiit Museum
  • Midnight Sun
  • Northern Lights

Activities

  • Dog Sledding – You can enjoy multi-day sled trips led by hunters who know the area more than they know the backs of their hands with impressive knowledge of local weather conditions, wildlife, and hunting, ensuring a safe and memorable experience.
  • Kayaking – What better place for kayaking than Greenland? Marvel at the surrounding natural wonders while kayaking in modern sea kayaks available for rent.
  • Hiking – An excellent way to explore this uniquely beautiful and surreal land, especially if you employ the services of a trained guide familiar with the best hiking trails.
  • Hunting – Arranged trophy hunting mainly for caribou, musk ox and seal with the help of local hunting guides who are themselves accomplished hunters; polar bear hunting is the sole privilege of locals – trophy hunting of the animal is a strictly enforced No-No.

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Remoteness of Ittoqqortoormiit: 2,388 km from London; 4,408 km from New York; 4,304 km from Toronto; 15,940 km from Sydney

Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan

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Sandwiched between the Hindukush and the Pamir Mountains, the Wakahn Corridor is a panhandle shaped strip of land in the north eastern extreme of Afghanistan, bordering the entire length of the strip with Tajikistan in the north and Pakistan in the south, and sharing a much small border at its easternmost edge with China.

Home to the Kyrgyz and Wakhi ethnic groups, large parts of the rugged Corridor are without roads and other government services with people, basically, fending for themselves.

The Kyrgyz people are nomadically inclined, moving their portable yurt tents and livestock from valley to valley with the changing seasons.

The Wakhi, on the other hand, generally have separate winter and summer homes made of stones.

Livestock rearing is the predominant occupation of these simple mountain folks – so different from the stereotyped media version of the Afghani people. They trade sheep, goats, and yaks in exchange for food, clothing, and other essentials they can’t produce owing to their limited resources and the kind of terrain they inhabit. They trade with merchants from Pakistan and from other parts of Afghanistan.

Located way off the beaten path, the Wakahn Corridor attracts a handful of visitors every year; basically, die-hard adventurers and explorers who are drawn to the raw beauty this rugged mountain territory has to offer.

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Travelers are safe in this neck of the woods in Afghanistan, free from the Taliban or Al-Qaeda – far from the conflict zones of this troubled nation. Most of the local population are moderate Muslims and are by nature-friendly and welcoming. They are happy to host foreigners as it helps them economically as well.

Approximate Costs

  • Afghanistan Visa: $200 USD for U.S. citizens – cheaper form other nationals
  • Taxi to Eshkashim: $20
  • Guest House: $10-$25 USD per night (x 8)
  • Wakhan Permits: $50 USD
  • 4×4 Taxi: $350 USD one way (x 2)
  • Pack Animal: $20 USD per day (x 10)
  • Guide/Translator: $30 USD per day (x 14)

Remoteness of Wakahn Corridor: 5,834 km from London; 10,772 km from New York; 10,647 km from Toronto; 11,254 km from Sydney

The Federated States of Micronesia

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The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), also known simply as Micronesia, is a sovereign island state just north of the equator in the western Pacific Ocean, under a Compact of Free Association (COFA) with the United States. The four islands in the east of the Caroline Islands that make up Micronesia are Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae.

FSM enjoys a tropical climate with heavy rainfall throughout the year, especially in the eastern islands. Located on the southern edge of the typhoon belt, June through December can be a pretty rough as typhoons can be expected during this period sometimes causing extensive damage.

Micronesia Attractions

  • Kepirohi Waterfall (Pohnpei)
  • Sokehs Rock (Pohnpei)
  • The Blue Hole (Kosrae)
  • Tamilyog Trail (Colonia)
  • Lelu Island (Kosrae)
  • Ant Atoll (Kolonia)
  • Truk Lagoon (Chuuk)
  • Nan Madol (Pohnpei)
  • Stone Money (Yap)
  • Bechyal Cultural Center (Yap)
  • The Ethnic Art Institute of Micronesia (Yap)
  • Yap Art Studio Gallery (Colonia)
  • Hiroshi’s Point (Kosrae)
  • Sunset Park (Yap)
  • Kuop Atoll (Chuuk)

Outdoor Activities

  • Scuba & Snorkeling – Pohnpei Surf Club and Yap Rize Diving Center & Village View Resort
  • Boat Tours – Pohnpei Surf Club
  • Fishing Charters & Tours – Pohnpei Surf Club
  • Hiking Trails – Tamilyog Trail (Colonia)
  • Kayaking & Canoeing – Kayak Launch (Yap)
  • Stand-Up Paddleboarding – Pohnpei Surf Club (Pohnpei)
  • Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing – Pohnpei Surf Club (Pohnpei)
    Water Sports – Beyond the Reef (Yap)

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Remoteness of FSM: 13,215 km from London; 12,524 km from New York; 11,976 km from Toronto; 4,597 km from Sydney

Madagascar

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This unspoiled island country of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, off the eastern coast of Africa, covers 587,000 square km of amazingly beautiful and marvelously diverse country, roughly the same size as France.

Vast tracts of uninhabited and largely unexplored terrain with its overabundant flora and fauna attract adventure seekers and wildlife lovers from different parts of the globe. The diversity of the landscape is truly amazing where lush rainforest can turn into desert country in a matter of just 300 km.

Five percent of the island’s plant and animal species are unique to Madagascar – not to be found in the wild elsewhere in the world.

Animal and Bird Life

  • Fossa – a sinister-looking cat-like predator endemic to the island
  • Lemur – Over 100 lemur species exist on the island and almost all of them are rare, vulnerable or endangered. Lemurs have been classified as “Madagascar’s flagship mammal species” by Conservation International
  • Birds – Out of the 300 recorded species of birds, 60% are unique to Madagascar
  • Reptiles – Madagascar boasts 260 reptile species out of which 90% are native to the island. Two-thirds of the world’s chameleons species thrive on the island including the smallest known.
  • Fish – Over 100 indigenous species of freshwater fish inhabit the rivers and lakes of Madagascar.
  • Invertebrates – All 651 species of terrestrial snail are endemic, as are a majority of the island’s butterflies, scarab beetles, lacewings, spiders, and dragonflies.

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Madagascar Attractions

  • Isalo National Park – Famous for its canyon and lemur population – ideal for backpacking and hiking
  • Avenue of the Baobabs – An extraordinary stand of huge baobab trees located 45 minutes north of Morondava on Madagascar’s west coast
  • Ranomafana National Park – Features a forest, rainforest, lemurs, and a hot spring
  • Amber Mountain National Park – Known for its lemur population, rainforest, nature reserves, and waterfall
  • Rova of Antananarivo – Historical Palace
  • Tsimbazaza Botanical and Zoological Gardens – Zoo, Botanical garden and Park
  • Parc Ivoloina – Zoo and Park
  • Zahamena National Park – Rainforest, Park, and Nature Reserve
    Analamazaotra Special Reserve – Nature Reserves, Protected Area, and Eco Tourism
  • Andringitra Massif – Mountainous Park area good for hiking
  • Pirates Museum
  • Royal Palace
  • Central Park Zoo
  • Namorona River
  • Libanona Beach
  • Maromokotoro Mountain

Activities

  • Deep sea fishing
  • Kite and wind surfing
  • Guided Kayaking
  • Wildlife safaris

Remoteness of Madagascar: 9,058 km from London; 13,950 km from New York; 14,343 km from Toronto; 10,117 km from Sydney

Deception Island, Antarctica

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Located north of the Antarctic Peninsula in the South Shetland Islands, Deception Island owes its name to its past – full of blood and destruction – and to the unpredictable volcano and its partially submerged caldera.

The above-the-surface part of the caldera forms Deception Island. Sitting atop a restless dragon that last breathed fire in 1967 and 1969 causing extensive damage to scientific stations, the island appears ‘deceptively’ calm.

Once a Chilean-Norwegian whaling station, the shores of Deception Island have witnessed the slaughter of whales for commercial purposes on a scale that almost drove the species to extinction. It was not only an example of human cruelty to animals but cruelty to humans as well – ironic!

You can well picture men working in freezing Arctic conditions – cold and bitter – carving up whale carcasses to be thrown into giant boilers; a fleet of factory ships designed to process blubber anchored in the bay; the beaches strewn with carved-up whale carcasses, bones, and blood – lots of it.

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Well, it all had to end some day – and end it did!

In 1931, plunging whale oil prices could not sustain the massive operation forcing the whalers to shut shop and abandon the station. Gutted wooden buildings; rusting giant boilers and other whaling equipment; a cemetery with 45 graves of whalers who died along the way; all still stand in silent testimony to a dark past.

Not everything is sinister about Deception Island, though. Considered one of the safest harbors in Antarctica because of its horseshoe shape, the island is an excellent holiday destination for travelers with an adventurous streak seeking destinations off the beaten track.

Can’t think of another place in Antarctica where you can enjoy in your swimwear! The geothermally heated water on Deception Island allows you to do exactly that.

Exploring the largest cemetery on the continent and the ruins of the Hektor Whaling Station are not to be missed activities on this caldera island.

Deception Island Attractions

  • Whalers Bay
  • Pendulum Cove
  • Mount Kirkwood
  • Mount Pond
  • Mount Achala
  • Hector Whaling Station
  • Deception Island Cemetery

Remoteness of Deception Island: 13,789 km from London; 11,601 km from New York; 11,984 km from Toronto; 8,896 km from Sydney

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From The Editors Travel

The Maldives – Paradise on Earth

An archipelago of 1,192 coral islands, naturally grouped into a chain of 26 coral atolls, make up the stunningly picturesque Republic of Maldives located in the Indian Ocean, southwest of India and Sri Lanka. Covering an area of about 298 square kilometers, the Maldives is the smallest country in Asia by area as well as population.

The capital city of Malé, also known as the “King’s Island” due to its central location on the archipelago, has the highest concentration of the nation’s, roughly, 394,000 inhabitants occupying less than 200 islands. The other islands are predominantly used for economic purposes.

The highest point on this beautiful island nation is no more than three meters above sea level making it the lowest lying country on the planet. The white sandy beaches, the surrounding crystal clear aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean, and the submerged coral reefs teeming with marine life all along the archipelago attract beach bums, divers and snorkelers and from all parts of the world.

Tourism and agriculture are the main contributors to the Republic’s economy with tourism accounting for 28% of the country’s GDP and 90% of the state’s income coming from tourism-related taxes and import duties.

The Maldives is an Islamic nation of almost entirely Sunni Muslims with a motley mix of South Indian, Sinhalese, and Arab cultural influences. The law of the land does not allow non-Muslims to vote or hold public offices and the use of alcohol, drugs, and public observance of non-Muslim religions are strictly prohibited.

While the above is true for the locally inhabited islands, the ones dedicated to resorts and tourism do not have any such restrictions where almost anything and everything goes.

In accordance with Islamic traditions, the weekend is observed Friday-Saturday with Sunday being a full working day. While Banks, government offices, and most shops remain closed over the weekend, it is business as usual for the resorts. The only exception could be a shift in the lunch hours to accommodate the Friday prayers.

As is expected in the region, the Maldives is blessed with a tropical climate with its generous share of the sunshine and a maximum temperature that hovers around 30° Celsius all through the year.

Only ten of the 26 atolls or “atholhu” in Dhivehi, the Maldivian language, officially allow tourism.

Going north to south, they are:

  • Lhaviyani (Faadhihpolhu)
  • Raa (Maalhosmadulu Uthuruburi)
  • Baa (Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi)
  • Kaafu – site of capital Male and the airport and home to most Maldivian resorts
  • Alifu (Ari)
  • Vaavu (Felidhu)
  • Meemu (Mulak)
  • Faafu (Nilandhe Atholhu Uthuruburi)
  • Dhaalu (Nilandhe Atholhu Dhekunuburi)
  • Seenu (Addu) – site of Gan International Airport

Some worthy attractions in the Maldives

Malé Friday Mosque

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The oldest mosque in the Maldives dating back to 1656 AD, the ornate Malé Friday Mosque is located on the Kaafu Atoll. Made from coral boulders abundantly available throughout the archipelago, the grand old mosque is part of UNESCO World Heritage cultural list for its unique architecture utilizing sea elements.

Hulhumalé

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Reclaimed from the ocean to meet the housing and commercial demands of the region, Hulhumalé is an artificial island on the North Malé Atoll inaugurated in 2004 by the then President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

The development and management of the island fall under the auspices of the Housing Development Corporation, a government-owned entity.

It is considered a great honeymoon location and is home to some awesome beaches.

Theemuge

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Located in Malé, Theemuge served as the presidential palace up until 2008, but has, since, been home to the Supreme Court of the Maldives.

Varunulaa Raalhugandu

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Located in the capital Malé, Varunulaa Raalhugandu, is up there among the best surf points in the Maldives making it one of the most crowded as well. The breaks, located in the southwest corner of the island offer some of the most powerful and regular waves that surfers are always on the lookout for.

National Museum

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The National Museum in the Maldives is the first national museum of this island paradise inaugurated in 1952 by the then Prime Minister Mohamed Amin Didi.

Both the new and old buildings of the museum are located in the Sultan Park in Malé, which forms part of the 17th century Maldivian Royal Palace compound.

The museum is home to a wide-ranging collection of relics such as the 11th-century coral stone head of Buddha, pre-Islamic artifacts, thrones, period furniture, costumes and shoes, arms and armor, rare coins, and much more.

Things to do

  • Scuba diving and snorkeling
  • Surfing
  • Shopping
  • Maldivian cuisine

Some of the top luxury resorts

Cheval Blanc Randheli

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Experience true “Art de Recevoir” – the French art of welcoming and entertainment – at the Cheval Blanc Randheli, an amazing resort designed by French architect Jean-Michel Gathy. Cheval Blanc is a well-maintained island about 40 minutes from Malé on Noonu Atoll. A series of lush green islands, a large coral reef protecting the atoll from the ocean, white sand banks, long palm trees, and beautiful tropical flowers are some of the highlights of this picturesque atoll.

Cocoon Maldives

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A short 30-minute seaplane ride from the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, the 150-villa Cocoon Maldives is located on the pristine, unspoiled island of Ookolhufinolhu on the Lhaviyani Atoll. At the Cocoon, you will experience a magnificent blend of luxury, design aesthetics, and unbridled pampering to make your stay an unforgettable holiday experience.

Velaa Island

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Velaa Velaa Island is an exclusive boutique getaway developed to exemplify only the very best of the wonderful and unique location. Located on the breathtakingly beautiful Noonu Atoll, The 45-villa resort island is an out-of-this-world holiday retreat where you are treated no less than a royalty.

Soneva Jani

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Water Villas and Island Sanctuaries bordered by pristine white sandy beaches and the aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean beyond, with lush green tropical foliage all around, make this 24-villa resort worthy of its name which in Sanskrit means ‘wisdom.’

The resort can be reached by a scenic 40-minute seaplane flight direct from Malé International Airport, a 60-minute speedboat ride from Soneva Fushi, or by a leisurely half day cruise from Soneva Fushi on board the Soneva in Aqua.

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru

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A 25-minute speedboat ride from the Malé international airport, the 14-villa Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru resort is located on the North Malé Atoll on a round island surrounded by a round coral reef.

Again the unspoiled white beaches, the clear azure skies and the shimmering turquoise waters combined with the pampering hospitality of the Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru make it a surreal experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

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The Four Seasons Kuda Huraa is an exotic retreat located on the island of Kuda Huraa on the North Malé Atoll, a mere half-hour away from Malé by speedboat. This mesmerizing garden island is an excellent surfing destination with Tropicsurf coaches for learners and world-class breaks for the pros. The island is host to the annual Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy.

Relax at the Island spa, enjoy the thrilling shark snorkel safaris, embark on a dolphin cruise or explore the Maldives extensively aboard the luxury three-tiered catamaran – the Four Seasons Explorer – that sails between Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa and Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

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From The Editors Top 5 Travel

Top Five Travel Destinations in Asia

The largest and the most diverse continent in the world, Asia is home to many great cities each with its own unique culture and history. As difficult as it was to pick out five cities from a rather long list, we have, nevertheless, made an effort to give you our choice of the top five Asian destinations.

Bangkok, THAILAND

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A pulsating modern city of over 11 million inhabitants and one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Asia, the Thai capital, Bangkok, not only boasts high-rise buildings and a promiscuous nightlife but is also blessed with ancient temples, magnificent palaces, canals, pleasantly chaotic markets including the famous floating market, and a vibrant nightlife – yes, different from the “promiscuous” kind. The city has something for everyone.

Bangkok also serves as a springboard to other destinations in Thailand that are worthy of a visit. Connectivity to places such as Phuket, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, and other popular tourist destinations is pretty much convenient with flight, rail, and bus options available.

Some of the must-see Bangkok attractions

Grand Palace

  • Hours: 8:30am-3:30pm daily
  • Admission: 500 Baht; additional 100 Baht for audio guides (available in English, French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, and Japanese)
  • Location: Na Phra Lan Road, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon
  • Official site: http://www.palaces.thai.net/

Wat Traimit – Temple of the Golden Buddha

This historic temple features a gilded exterior, exhibitions & a massive golden statue of Buddha.

Address: 661 Tri Mit Rd, Khwaeng Talat Noi, Khet Samphanthawong, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100, Thailand

Wat Pho

  • Hours: 8:30am-6pm daily
  • Admission: 100 Baht
  • Address: 2 Sanamchai Road, Grand Palace Subdistrict, Pranakorn District

Hours:

  • Thursday
    9 AM–4 PM
  • Friday
    9 AM–4 PM
  • Saturday
    9 AM–4 PM
  • Sunday
    9 AM–4 PM
  • Monday
    Closed

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is a floating market located in the Damnoen Saduak District, located about 100 kilometers southwest of Bangkok, Thailand.Wikipedia

Address: Damnoen Saduak, Damnoen Saduak District, Ratchaburi 70130, Thailand

Hours:

  • Thursday
    9 AM–8 PM
  • Friday
    8 AM–5 PM
  • Saturday
    8 AM–5 PM
  • Sunday
    8 AM–5 PM
  • Monday
    9 AM–8 PM
  • Tuesday
    9 AM–8PM
    Wednesday
    9 AM–8 PM

Wat Arun

  • Hours: 8:30am-5:30pm daily
  • Admission: 20 Baht
  • Location: Arun Amarin Rd

Wat Suthat

  • Hours: 8:30am-9:00pm daily
  • Admission: 20 Baht
  • Location: Bamrung Muang Road, Sao Chingcha, Phra Nakhon

Chatuchak Market

The Chatuchak Weekend Market, on Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, Chatuchak, Bangkok, is the largest market in Thailand. Also known as JJ Market, it has more than 8,000 stalls, divided into 27 sections. Wikipedia

Address: 587/10 Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, Khwaeng Chatuchak, Khet Chatuchak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10900, Thailand

Hours:

  • Thursday
    7 AM–6 PM
  • Friday
    6 PM–12 AM
  • Saturday
    9 AM–6 PM
  • Sunday
    9 AM–6 PM
  • Monday
    Closed
  • Tuesday
    Closed
  • Wednesday
    7 AM–6 PM

Official site: http://www.chatuchak.org/

Kathmandu, NEPAL

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Located 4600 feet above sea level in the bowl-shaped Kathmandu Valley, this Himalayan city gets its name from the valley it occupies and is the capital and largest city of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.

Four major mountains, namely Shivapuri, Phulchoki, Nagarjun, and Chandragiri, surround this truly exotic city of temples, gardens, stupas, and more. Kathmandu is an excellent Himalayan destination for all budgets.

Some of the must-see Kathmandu attractions

  • Boudhanath Stupa
  • Kopan Monastery
  • Hanuman Dhoka
  • Kathmandu Durbar Square
  • Pashupatinath Temple
  • Thamel
  • Basantapur Tower

Seoul, KOREA

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A major financial and cultural hub of East Asia, Seoul is South Korea’s capital and, by far, its largest city with a metropolitan population exceeding 25 million. With a captivating mix of avant-garde technology and timeless traditions, Seoul has way too much on offer for all visitor types.

It is a fine example of a city full of stark contrasts – a dynamic nightlife with dedicated districts for nighttime revelers; a plethora of vendors selling mind blowing street food; amazing architecture; peaceful Buddhist temples and much more bear testimony to the city’s versatility.

Some of the must-see Seoul attractions

  • Seoul Central Mosque
  • Myeong-dong Cathedral
  • Jogyesa Temple
  • Gyeongbokgung Palace
  • Culture Station Seoul 284
  • Changdeokgung Palace
  • Bukchon Hanok Village

SINGAPORE

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This Southeast Asian city-state is a miraculous amalgamation, if you will, of cutting-edge modern developments and a rich cultural heritage. Singapore boasts an extraordinary balance between development and the eco system with enough green spaces to go with the numerous skyscrapers dotting the Singapore skyline.

A trading post of the East India Company founded in 1819 by Stamford Raffles, this erstwhile British colony has come a long way indeed from those humble beginnings, becoming one of the world’s most affluent countries with the busiest port in the world.

The city of Chinese, Malay and Indian influences is a top class Asian destination with its tropical climate, great shopping, fine cuisine, a thumping nightlife, exquisite gardens, and relaxed visa requirements.

Some of the must-see Singapore attractions

  • Marina Bay Sands
  • Gardens by the Bay
  • Botanic Gardens
  • Chinatown
  • Little India
  • Changi Chapel and Museum
  • Fort Canning Park
  • Sentosa Island
  • Orchard Road
  • Clarke Quay

Tokyo, JAPAN

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Tokyo is not a real city in the true sense of the word but rather a “metropolitan prefecture,” which includes the features of a city as well as a prefecture.

With a population in excess of 37 million people, greater Tokyo is the most populous area in the world and, in addition to the city, it includes the rugged mountains in the west and the subtropical islands down south. The metropolitan area alone is home to 13 million inhabitants.

This prosperous, sprawling metropolis is an excellent tourist destination in that it boasts everything that comes with any ultra high-tech city of the future – and some – in addition to providing glimpses of the country’s rich history.

Some of the must-see Tokyo attractions

  • The Imperial Palace
  • The Meiji Shrine
  • The Miraikan and Edo-Tokyo Museums
  • The Tokyo Skytree
  • The Kabuki-za Theatre
  • Akasaka Palace (State Guesthouse)
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • Ueno Park and Zoo
  • LaQua
  • Tsukiji Fish Market
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From The Editors Top 5 Travel

Five Top Destinations for Solo Travel for Females

It’s not that there are different sets of positives and negatives for men and women when we talk about solo travel. The only area of concern, as far as the fairer sex is concerned, is safety, which, again, is a mistaken belief as there are hundreds of destinations in the world that are friendly and welcoming toward women – and, above all, they are safe places.

Yet again, any place can be unsafe for a woman, including where she lives, if she is not careful about the location she chooses to visit and, of course, the hour. What we have attempted to do here is identify 5 destinations in the world that are as safe for a female solo traveler as it is for men in addition to being tremendous fun places with everything to titillate the senses.

But before we dive into that, let’s take a look at what can be so attractive about solo travel.

Freedom – Solo travel gives you the freedom to do as you want, for as long as you want and whenever you want – what can be better than that? You are not constrained by the preferences of your travel mate/s – you are free to make your own decisions about eating places, travel routes, or length of stay or a number of things where differences can arise when traveling with a mate/s.

Meeting new people – When you travel with a partner or friends there is a tendency to interact less with new people along the way, whereas, if you are travelling solo you are more receptive towards others – open to chats with locals and fellow travelers – and there is a strong likelihood you will end up making some friends along the way – keeping your freedom intact all along. And, of course, a romantic linkup can never be ruled out.

Confidence booster – Frequent solo travelers gain in self-confidence as they learn to negotiate and deal with new streets, new metros, different surroundings, various cultures and new friends. The solo traveler’s decision-making ability will be way above that of a first-timer. The enhanced self-belief is sure to benefit the person in the long run.

Here are the five great destinations we promised:

Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Not only is Amsterdam a safe city for the female solo traveler, it is a great European destination with magnificent museums, striking architecture, ancient churches, old world cobbled streets, myriad of canals, waterways, and bridges and a vibrant nightlife that holds a lot of promise for all visitors including female solo travelers.

Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands and gets its name from its origin as “Dam” of river “Amstel. Colloquially known as the “Venice of the North,” Amsterdam is especially
appealing for the female solo traveler in that it offers a great shopping experience in addition to its conspicuously rich heritage.

Some of the best places to experience the art and culture and soak up the sights and sounds of this awe-inspiring city:

  • The Port of Amsterdam (Haven van Amsterdam)
  • The Museum of the Tropics (The Tropenmuseum)
  • The Old Church (Oude Kerk)
  • The New Church (Nieuwe Kerk)
  • The Rijksmuseum (Dutch National Museum)
  • The Anne Frank Museum
  • The Van Gogh Museum
  • Rembrandt House Museum
  • The Royal Palace
  • The Jewish Historical Museum
  • The Begijnhof
  • The Stedelijk: Amsterdam’s Municipal Museum
  • The West Church (Westerkerk)
  • Kalverstraat (Amsterdam’s shopping district)
  • IJ-Hallen (The biggest and one-of-its-kind flea market in Europe)
  • The Cheese Museum

Montreal, Canada

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The Canadian city of Montreal is the largest metropolis in the province of Quebec and the second largest in Canada. It is known as the cultural and economic capital of the province and is the main point of entry into Quebec. One of the liveliest cities in the continent it is also the second largest French-speaking city in the world, sometimes referred to as the Paris of Canada.

Generally, Montrealers (Montréalais in French) are known for their welcoming nature and friendliness towards visitors and is one of the safest destinations in North America for the solo female visitor.

Places to see in Montreal

  • Square Saint-Louis
  • Lachine
  • Rue St-Denis
  • Chinatown
  • Old Montreal
  • Parc Jean Drapeau
  • Rue Sherbrooke
  • Places Jacques-Cartier
  • Notre-Dame Basilica
  • St. Mary Queen of the World
  • Olympic Park
  • St. Joseph’s Oratory
  • Botanical Garden

Special Points of Interest that may appeal to the solo female traveler

Rue Ste-Cathérine – Montréal’s main shopping thoroughfare lined with department stores and shops of all kinds, as well as a host of restaurants.

Montreal International Jazz Festival – Held in late June and early July the festival brings in some of the biggest names in jazz music for this huge event. So ladies, if you are planning on visiting Montreal during the International Jazz Festival, book your stay well in advance.

Jean Talon Market –  Located in a warehouse-style building, the Jean Talon Market is one of Montréal’s busiest public markets teeming with shoppers, vendors selling fruits and vegetables, flowers, meats, fish, cheese, baked goods, and specialty foods. The site also has some good restaurants and cafés.

Bali, Indonesia

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Pristine beaches, ancient temples as well as inexpensive accommodation and food are just some of the top reasons why Bali is considered one of the ultimate places to travel alone for females.

One of the most sought-after and popular islands of the Indonesian archipelago, Bali is an excellent destination for young backpackers and the ideal place for the budget-conscious solo female traveler.

With all its marvelous beaches, the place is bound to have several resorts for the luxury seekers as well.

You will be so busy chilling out in this amazing tropical haven, soaking up the amazing Balinese sights and sounds that you’ll forget you are traveling alone – and even when you do realize, you will be happy you made the decision of going solo.

Places to see in Bali

  • Pura Tanah Lot
  • Mount Batur
  • Uluwatu Temple
  • Tirta Empul Temple
  • Ubud Art & Culture
  • Ubud Monkey Forest
  • Tegallalang and Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
  • Waterbom Bali
  • Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
  • Sekumpul Waterfall
  • Seminyak Shopping
  • Kuta Beach
  • The Nusa Islands
  • The Sidemen Valley

Tulum, Mexico

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Built atop a 12-meter-high cliff overlooking the powdery white sandy beaches and the aquamarine waters of the Caribbean Sea beyond, Tulum is the only fortified seaside town of the ancient Mayan people. Tulum, as a matter of fact, is a Mayan term for fortification.

One of the safest Mexican destinations, Tulum is a great seaside getaway for the solo traveler.

Places to see in Tulum

  • The Beach at Tulum
  • Temple of the Frescoes
  • Temple of the God Descending
  • The Walls of Tulum
  • The Castillo

Stockholm, Sweden

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Stockholm is the capital and largest city of Sweden, with the inner city comprising 14 islands on Lake Mälaren connected to each other by some 50 bridges. The lake empties into the Baltic Sea and passes the Stockholm archipelago of around 24,000 islands and islets.

This awesome Scandinavian destination is truly cosmopolitan with a pleasing mix of classical and modern architecture and an enchanting Old Town, ‘Gamla Stan’.

With more than 30% of the city area made up of refreshingly green spaces and another 30% covered with canals and waterways it is a perfect destination, for all tourist types including the solo traveler.

The female solo traveler can feel safe in this friendly and welcoming city and expect to be treated and pampered in a way befitting a lady.

The Swedish capital boasts at least three UNESCO World Heritage sites including Birka, Drottningholm, and the Woodland Cemetery.

Stockholm’s highly efficient transportation network includes the Tunnelbana (T-bana) – the underground railway system and a regular bus network with great connectivity.

Stockholm also has and efficient network of bicycle lanes.

Locals proudly call the city a “levande stad”, or living city, as a large part of the cosmopolitan population, still live in the downtown areas.

A Cruise

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While it is not a specific destination per se, a cruise is an excellent means of seeing several destinations without worrying about accommodations or flight bookings or the hassle of packing and unpacking in each destination.

What can be safer and more awesome than this – right ladies?

Finally, some tips for you before you embark on that exciting solo journey.

Proper preparation: Be sure to take the right shots and medication for countries where you can be susceptible to diseases. Always be alert as far as your valuables are concerned. Do not trust anyone.

Travel light: Travelling light has its obvious advantages when you are alone – carrying cumbersome luggage will only come in the way.

Start your day early: If you are vacationing alone it’s advised you start early, have a leisurely breakfast and enjoy the day visiting and exploring, provided you are not the nocturnal type who prefers to venture out only after sunset.

Be smart with your cash: Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket! Split up your cash, credit cards and keep them separately – if you lose one you will have the other as backup.

Photographs: Taking pictures will allow you to relive the glorious moments again and again.

Local Helpline numbers: Be safe rather than sorry! It’s always good to carry the local helpline numbers for emergencies.

Local Cuisine: Don’t miss out on the local cuisine – it’s the best part of any kind of travel be it solo, twosome or group travel.

Have fun: Last but not the least, don’t forget that having fun is the main purpose of any kind of vacation. So make the most of all the opportunities you get to enjoy – make it a memorable vacation.

Also, Read;

https://www.alltherooms.com/w/2017/01/8-things-i-have-learned-as-a-female-solo-traveler/

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From The Editors Travel

New Couples or Old, Travel Has a Meaningful Impact on Relationships and Romance

Several surveys have been conducted by various entities to assess the impact of traveling and vacationing together on couples’ relationships. Almost all surveys, to some degree, have arrived at the conclusion that couples who go on trips together, bond much better as romantic partners as compared to those who do not.

We have attempted below to identify and discuss at length the takeaway and key points that have emerged from all the surveys conducted in this regard.

According to a U.S. Travel Association survey conducted by Edge Research in 2012 “couples in a romantic relationship report traveling together makes them significantly more likely to be satisfied in their relationships, communicate well with their partners, enjoy more romance, have a better sex life, spend quality time together and share common goals and desires.”

A 1986 research by Lounsbury and Hoopes speaks about the positive changes in both professional and domestic satisfaction following a vacation.

Other empirical studies by Newman and Newman, 2008; Presser, 2000; Holman and Jacquart, 1988; and Hill, 1988 have revealed similar findings that point towards a positive connection between leisure activities and marital satisfaction.

Couples who travel together enjoy a higher level of contentment in their relationships than those who do not, for the simple reason that travel induces positivity in most aspects of a relationship including understanding, communication, romance, intimacy and sexual bliss, to name a few.

Closeness and friendship are key drivers of satisfaction in relationships and surveys have indicated that traveling together brings about that closeness and camaraderie that are so essential for the contentment we all seek in a relationship.

Majority of the couples who have been surveyed are of the opinion that taking trips together has a far more telling effect on romance, in a positive way, of course, than exchanging gifts, big or small. It adds that spark in a relationship that may have been missing before the trip and, more often than not, it goes back home with the couple – to stay.

While many agree that travel does make a difference to relationships there is skepticism, though, about its long-term benefits. Often the question is asked:

“Does travel improve relationships in any meaningful way that lasts after the vacation ends?”

This is how the U.S. Travel Association survey addresses this frequently asked question:

“Yes. The survey asked couples to consider thirteen different aspects that drive satisfaction in a relationship… things like spending quality time together, laughing and having fun, sharing similar goals and desires. Couples who travel together were more likely to identify each of these 13 things as describing their relationship.

Moreover, survey respondents were asked to consider seven negative drivers of satisfaction as describing their relationship… things like failing to resolve differences, avoiding conflicts, and not having enough time to spend with their partners. Couples who travel together were less likely to identify each of these negatives aspects as describing their relationship compared to couples who do not travel together.”

There is a high degree of consensus among researchers about the long-term benefits and positivity of traveling together notwithstanding the duration of the relationship. Be it a fledgling romantic liaison or a long established one, traveling and spending leisure time together will have a positive and lasting effect on the health of the partnership.

New couples often embark on trips together for the sheer joy of sharing “new experiences and adventures” together. The findings revealed that sharing new experiences was the primary reason while adventure was a close second.

Couples who have been in longer relationships often look to travel as a means to break away from the mundane and really let their hair down.

“Longer-term couples see travel as a way to maintain a healthy relationship. According to married couples, the most important reason to spend time alone with a partner on vacation was to relax and take a break from the day-to-day. The second most important reason was to talk and reconnect,’ observes the U.S. Travel Association survey.

Another very important aspect of couples’ lives that is touched by traveling together is their sex-life which, surveys found, were more wholesome and fulfilling compared to the sex-life of couples who did not go on trips together.

Out of the couples surveyed, most were of the opinion that their improved sex-life lasted for months while 40% said the effect was of a permanent nature.

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“Vacation experiences are made up of seeking and escaping motives. Some are seeking adventure; others are escaping and want to relax. The dyad has to match up,” says Dr. James Petrick, Professor of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences and co-author of the Texas A&M review. “Outside of your usual environment, you have to process much more and evaluate situations in an in-depth manner. Vacations awaken all your senses. You’re more in tune with each other, with the environment around you.”

Now, that it is an established and accepted fact that traveling together does have positive influences on couples’ lives and relationships, the question that arises is, why? Why does
traveling together impact the lives of couples the way it does?

Here’s how traveling and spending leisure time together strengthens and lengthens your relationship. It will be noted that it is not only the good stuff couples do together on trips that create better bonding – sometimes couples bond equally well in or because of adverse situations.

Problem solving

Traveling together is not only about fun, adventure and quality time. The unforeseen is as much a part of traveling together as the expected. A missed connection, a medical emergency, a dropped wallet, and other unanticipated occurrences are most definitely annoying at the time but putting their heads together to solve the issues confronting them, serves as a team-building exercise that help couples bond better, develop understanding and come closer to each other in a way that promises permanence.

Agree to disagree

One may be a squanderer not believing in budgets while the other may have a more penny-wise approach; one may be all for an afternoon of adventure, the other wants to spend the time watching a movie; one may want to indulge in fine dining while the other may be happy with room service and a quiet, intimate evening, and so on.

These incompatibilities are to be expected as no two humans are alike but the key is not to allow such trivial matters to become irreconcilable. While there are differences and incompatibilities, there are also similarities. It’s all about meeting half way – willing to compromise when it really matters.

Admittedly, it is pretty much exasperating not to be able to do things the way you want to but the same can be said of your partner as well. It is in times like these when a middle-ground approach is the best policy to maintain harmony and take the relationship to another level.

Taking care of each other

Things are bound to go out of kilter when you are traveling especially on long distance trips. One of you may contract a stomach virus, the other may well be down from jet lag, another may lose an ATM card or a wallet or even lose oneself in an unsafe area. It is situations like these that create the opportunity for you to show that you care for your significant half; that the well-being of you partner matters to you.

Trust builds bonds

It is human nature to bond well in situations where one individual has to trust another to watch his/her back. Traveling together involves exactly that – trust. Couples need to have the conviction that their backs are being watched, that they are looking out for each other, taking care of one another, thereby, consciously or subconsciously, building trust and understanding, and a sense of closeness and love that find a way into their domestic lives as well – the improved bonding and trust stays long after the trip is over.

Fighting

Yes. Fighting does have a way of strengthening bonds and bringing couples emotionally closer. It is almost impossible not to get on each other’s nerves when you are squeezed in that close together 24/7 – it is the universal truth and we all have to contend with it one time or another.

There will be fighting and yelling over the silliest of matters but these will be followed by a period of calm when you will talk things through; when you consciously make an attempt to see eye to eye and come out stronger from the experience. More often than not, couples end up feeling rather overly romantic after such quarrels.

Having said that, there are many who travel alone out of choice and will defend solo travel with equal aplomb and flair – they do have their reasoning and justifications to back it, though.

For more on solo travel, check out our article below.

https://timelybuzz.com/the-exciting-experience-of-solo-travel/

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From The Editors Travel

“The Daughter of the Baltic” – Helsinki, Finland

Surrounded by the Baltic Sea and a vast archipelago, Helsinki, dubbed the “”Daughter of the Baltic,” is the largest and capital city of Finland located atop the tip of a peninsula, and on 315 islands connected by bridges.

Not surprisingly, the city bears a striking resemblance St. Petersburg of Russia as it was rebuilt by the Russian Tsars in 1812 and has been the Finnish capital ever since.

The best time to visit this great Nordic city of churches and museums, and much more, are the summer months when the sun hardly sets and the city is in perfect harmony with nature. It is as good a destination in winter if you love the snow and are a winter sports fanatic.

Helsinki boasts 11000 berths for boats and has vast expanses of fishing waters, home to more than sixty species of fish as well as other marine life. No wonder, recreational fishing is one of the favorite pastimes of young and old alike.

Some of the important islands that make up Helsinki are:

Korkeasaari – This Island is home to Finland’s biggest zoo

Suomenlinna (Sveaborg) – Site of 18th-century fortress and a UNESCO’s World Heritage site

Santahamina – The military island

Pihlajasaari – Summer spot for naturists and gays.

Landmarks and Tourist Attractions in Helsinki 

Ateneum – Finnish National Museum of Art

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The National Museum of Art, also known as Anteneum, is located in central Helsinki near the Helsinki Central Railway Station.

Formerly the Ateneum was also home to the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and the University of Art and Design Helsinki.

Designed by the Finnish architect, Carl Theodor Höijer, the awe-inspiring Ateneum was completed in 1887. It houses Finland’s finest and largest collections, by far, of historic and contemporary works of art by Finnish and foreign masters alike.

Hours: Open Tues- Fri 10 am to 6 pm, Sat & Sun 11 am to 5 pm, closed Mondays.

Admission: Adults 12 €, students & seniors 10 €, children under 18 years free

Address: Kaivotaku 2, Helsinki

Rock Church (Temppeliaukio Church)

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Designed by architect brothers Timo Suomalainen and Tuomo Suomalainen, the Rock Church, as the name suggests, was shaped by hewing directly into solid rock on the Helsinki peninsula.

The underground interior of the church is lit by natural light entering through the glazed dome. The 13-meter-high dome is made of glass and copper sheets supported by concrete rib-like beams.

Hours: Vary

Admission: Free, except during concerts

Address: Lutherinkatu 3, 00100 Helsinki

Official site: http://www.helsinginkirkot.fi/en/churches/rock-church-temppeliaukio

Market Square (Kauppatori)

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Market Square, located in the heart of Helsinki, is one of the most popular outdoor markets in northern Europe. It is a seasonal market bustling with frenzied activity from spring to fall.

During these months the square is choc-a-bloc with thronging shoppers, vendors selling their wares, and crowded outdoor cafés famous for local delicacies like “lihapiirakka,” Finnish for meat pastries, and a variety of other delectable treats.

There is a round-the-year ferry service linking the square to the fortress island, Suomenlinna, courtesy the Helsinki City Transport.
However, during the season even private players offer ferry cruises to Suomenlinna and other neighboring islands.

On the first Friday of every month, there is a display of American cars of yesteryears at the square. It is long standing tradition and anyone with an interest in old American cars can participate.

However, Market Square is most popular in early October as it marks the beginning of the annual Helsinki herring market or “silakkamarkkinat,” as the Finns call it.

Gallen-Kallela Museum

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The Gallen-Kallela Museum was formerly the Gallen-Kallela house built in 1911-13 and was the residence and studio of the famous Finnish painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela.

The house was converted into the Gallen-Kallela Museum in 1961 and opened to the public in honor of the celebrated painter whose works, including paintings, graphics, and tools, are on display at the site.

The museum is located in Laajalahti Bay area in the eastern part of Helsinki and is easily accessible by car or on foot.

Hours: Open May 15 through August 31, 11 am to 6 pm; Sept 1 through May 14, Tues-Sat, 11 am to 4 pm; Sundays 11 am to 5 pm.

Admission: Adults 8€, seniors 6€, students and unemployed people 4€, under 18 free

Address: Gallen-Kallelan tie 27, FIN-02600 Espoo

Finlandia Hall

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Designed by architect Alvar Aalto and by completed in 1971, the Finlandia Hall is a congress and event venue on the Töölö (Töölönlahti) Bay in central Helsinki.

Although the designs were completed in 1962, construction of the Finlandia Hall started in 1967 and lasted till 1971.

The formal inauguration took place on December 2, 1971, with performances by Aulis Sallinen’s Symphony (Opus 24), Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Meren tytär (‘Daughter of the Sea’), Sibelius’s violin concerto with Isaac Stern as the violin soloist of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Congress Wing was built in 1973-1975 with the design having been finalized in 1970 with further additions to the structure in 2011 to accommodate new exhibition and meeting facilities.

The building is owned by the City of Helsinki and in addition to being a venue for several world congresses and as a forum for the world’s top economic and political leaders, it is a popular attraction for tourists with thousands visiting the Hall every year.

The flexibility and versatility of the Finlandia Hall facilities make it an ideal venue for all types of events including small meetings, large international economic and political conferences, and concerts and other entertainment and public events.

Hietaniemi Area

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Notable attractions of the Hietaniemi Area are:

Hietaniemi beach – it is the most popular beach in central Helsinki.

Hietaniemi Cemetery – Houses a large military section (military cemetery) for soldiers killed in action in the wars with the then Soviet Union and Hitler’s Germany including the tomb of the “unknown soldier” and Marshal C.G.E. Mannerheim in the center of the military space.

The Artist’s Hill, the Finnish Guard cemetery and the Statesman’s Grove are the other sections of the Hietaniemi cemetery worthy of a mention – not to forget two Lutheran funerary chapels and a crematorium.

Rowing Stadium – built for the 1952 Olympics

Kayak and canoe rentals

Restaurants, soccer parks, and a public sauna

Seurasaari

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The island district of Seurasaari in Helsinki lies east of the city center and is connected to the mainland by a footbridge.

The island mostly known for its Open-Air Museum has a good variety of wildlife, as well, mainly birds, but red squirrels and hares also flourish in the area.

Other places and landmarks deserving a visit if you happen to be touring Helsinki:

Mannerheimintie (Mannerheim Street)

Finnish National Museum (Kansallismuseo)

Helsinki Olympic Stadium

Central Park (Keskuspuisto)  

Linnanmäki Amusement Park

Suomenlinna

Senate Square

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From The Editors Travel

Belfast, Northern Ireland – Don’t Miss It

Belfast is the second largest city on the island of Ireland and the largest and capital city of Northern Ireland. The fact that the ill-fated ocean liner, The RMS Titanic, was built in Belfast bears testimony to the fact that it was once a powerful shipbuilding hub.

To a lot of people the mere mention of Belfast may conjure up images of conflict and violence but all that was in the past. For some years, now, sustained calm has prevailed not only in Belfast but the whole of Northern Ireland resulting in considerable growth in commerce and the economy.

Since the cessation of hostilities visitor numbers has been on the rise every year adding to the economy and growth.

It is an excellent travel destination with warm and friendly people, an absorbing history, great landmarks and tourist attractions, awesome cuisine, and fantastic shopping outlets, especially at Victoria Square which has undergone massive expansion and development in recent years.

The city is served by two airports, the George Best Belfast City Airport which is located within the city limits and the Belfast International Airport, 24 kilometers west of the city.

Here are some great places that should be a must-see on any tourist itinerary.

Titanic Belfast

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This symbolic structure is standing proof of Belfast’s illustrious maritime history and a tribute to the doomed Titanic which was built at this very same location more than a century ago.

The star shape of the structure represents the logo of the White Star Line, the owners of the Titanic. It is home to some captivating artifacts including letters, brochures, and menus.

For an additional charge, visitors can board and explore the fully restored SS Nomadic

Hours:

April, and June- August – Open daily from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm

May and September – Open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm

October-March – Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Admission:

Adults – £15.50
Children (age 5-16) – £7.25
Children (under 5) – Free
Family (2 adults, 2 children) – £39.00,
Senior Citizens (over 60) – Monday-Friday – £11.00
Senior Citizens (over 60) Saturday & Sunday – £13.00,
Students – £10.00

Address – 1 Queens Road, Titanic Quarter, Belfast

Official sitehttp://titanicbelfast.com/

The Botanic Gardens

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Established in 1828 the Belfast Botanic Gardens is set on 28 acres of land and is under the ownership of the Belfast City Council since 1895 when it was declared a public park.

Designed by Sir Charles Lanyon in 1839, the Palm House, within the gardens, is a glasshouse made from curved iron and glass and is home to a vast range of tropical plants, hanging baskets, exotic birds, and seasonal displays.

The Tropical Ravine was built half a century later in 1889 by the park’s head gardener, Charles McKimm, and his staff. The Ravine boasts of some of the oldest seed plants including banana, cinnamon, bromeliad, orchids and other exotic flora.

Hours:  Open 7.30am (seasonal closings)

Admission: Free

Address: College Park, Botanic Avenue, Belfast

Belfast Castle

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At a distance of 4 kilometers from the city center, the Belfast Castle is located on Antrim Road. Although some castle or the other has stood on this site since the 12th century, the current edifice has been in existence since 1870 undergoing numerous additions and changes ever since.

The castle is the venue for many an event all through the year, including weddings because of its pictorial setting and the historic significance of the building. It is a very popular summer picnic spot as well.

The castle houses a fine restaurant, the Cellar Restaurant. “There’s something to suit all tastes at the Cellar Restaurant, whether you’re looking for morning coffee, a quick snack or a full evening meal. All our menus use fresh, local produce to create innovative and modern dishes,’ says the Belfast City Council website http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk

The place also boasts some great attractions like Cave Hill Country Park, Cave Hill Adventurous Playground, and Cave Hill Visitor Centre.

Check out the pictures of the facilities and attractions of Belfast Castle here:

http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/tourism-venues/belfastcastle/bcattractions.aspx#photos

Address: Antrim Rd, Belfast

Crumlin Road Gaol

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This infamous jail was never expected to reopen after having closed down in 1996 but it did, as recently as 2012. It has since become one of the top tourist attractions in Belfast.

There is a lot of history attached to this imposing and ominous looking structure. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a guided tour to know about the dark past of the place and its long gone inmates.

Hours: Open daily 10.00am-4.30pm

Admission: Adults £8.50, children £6.50, family £25.00 (2 adults & 2 children)

Address: Crumlin Road, Belfast|

Official site: www.crumlinroadgaol.com

St. Anne’s Cathedral

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A great and a not-to-miss Belfast landmark is the St. Anne’s Cathedral built in the neo-Romanesque style of the basilican type. Its main features are the magnificent mosaic ceiling, beautiful stained glass windows, carved stonework, intricate woodwork, marble tiles on the floors and walls.

The Cathedral is the final resting place of the leader of the Ulster Unionists, Sir Edward Carson who dies in 1935.

Hours: Open 8:00 am – 6:00 pm (Monday-Saturday), and 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Sunday)

Admission: Suggested donation £2-3 per adult

Address: Donegall Street, Belfast

Official site: www.belfastcathedral.org

Grand Opera House

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Dating back to 1895, the Grand Opera House is located in the vibrant and bustling city center area of Belfast. It is Northern Ireland’s most famous theater and the venue for a host of programs and events like musicals, comedy, drama, dance, pantomime, family and West End shows etc. all through the year.

The theater houses the imposing and stately main auditorium designed by the eminent architect Frank Matcham, a theater with a 100-seat capacity, the cozy and intimate Baby Grand Studio, and most importantly, for many, it has three bars boasting great ambiance.

Address: Great Victoria Street, Belfast

Official site: www.goh.co.uk

Stormont Parliament Buildings

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Designed by the celebrated architect Sir Arnold Thornely, this symbolic house of power is a perfect specimen of symmetry and grandiose in the center of the picturesque Stormont Estate.

The building is 365 feet wide, each foot representing a day of the year. The symbolism doesn’t end here; the six pillars at the entrance and the six floors of the building are dedicated to the six countries of Northern Ireland – Londonderry, Antrim, Down, Armagh, Tyrone, and Fermanagh.

Hours: Open Monday-Friday 9am-4pm

Admission: Free

Address: 587 Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast

Free guided tours available.

Waterfront Hall

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Having opened in 1997 the Waterfront Hall has, since, seen over 5 million visitors. It is the venue for many an exhibition and attracts top Musicians and performers from around the world.

Located about a mile from the Titanic Quarter, this state-of-the-art entertainment and conference center overlooks the Lagan River and is a sight to behold when lit up at night. The Arc Brasserie is the on-site restaurant offering a great view of the riverfront and beyond.

Address: 2 Lanyon Place, Belfast

Official site: www.waterfront.co.uk

Ulster Museum

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Originally known as the Belfast Municipal Museum and Art Gallery, it was renamed Ulster Museum in 1962 and officially given the status of National Museum in accordance with the Museum Act (Northern Ireland) 1961.

This museum, located in the lush Botanic Gardens, boasts 8000 square meters of display space housing some of the most exquisite works of art and historical artifacts one can ever hope to see. And, what’s more – it is free for all to behold.

Belfast Zoo

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Located not too far from Belfast Castle, overlooking Antrim Road is one of Belfast’s premier paid-attractions drawing over 300,000 visitors every year – the Belfast Zoo. Set over 55 acres of prime property it is home to more than 1200 exotic animals of 140 different species.

It is like a dream come true for wildlife lovers with

Categories
From The Editors Travel

Los Angeles – A Great Travel Destination

Los Angeles, “La La Land,” or “the city of angels” more commonly known as L.A. is located in Southern California surrounded by picturesque mountain ranges, valleys, and forests, expansive and pristine beaches along the Pacific coast, and a desert not too far away.

There is a lot of history attached to the city which has been an important hub for culture, business, finance, medicine, agriculture, aerospace, science, international trade, entertainment and, last but by no means the least, tourism.

Los Angeles has the second most populated metropolitan area in the United States stretching across Los Angeles County, Orange County, and parts of San Bernardino County, Ventura County, and Riverside County – home to more than 17 million people from all parts of the world.

For most tourists, a visit to L.A invariably means a trip to Hollywood to pay homage to their favorite stars with the ever-enticing chance of catching a glimpse of some famous Hollywood faces.

However, for the informed tourist L.A is not only about the entertainment industry and celebrities. Taking nothing away from Hollywood and its tourist-attracting potential, Los Angeles has way more to offer to tourists and visitors than just Hollywood and its larger-than-life celebrities.

With a reputation for being the creative center of the United States, Los Angeles is as culturally diverse as one can imagine offering a superlative culinary experience, great shopping, some of the world’s best museums and much, much more.

With its warm and sunny beaches, the city is ideal for sun seekers and beach bums looking to enjoy the warm climate and sprawling beaches with all kinds of fun activities to indulge in and interesting neighborhoods to explore.

An efficient public transport system and a bike-share program in downtown L.A. make getting around and sightseeing most convenient and easy for tourists.

Its proximity to Disneyland and Universal Studios makes L.A a preferred repeat destination for many families. Whatever one’s interests may be, L.A makes a perfect getaway destination with something of interest for every tourist – well almost.

Here are 10 of the top-drawer tourist attractions and activities which first-time visitors to L.A. may want to check out.

Disneyland Resort

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Located in Anaheim, California, just outside Los Angeles, the Disneyland Resort boasts of 2 theme parks – the Disneyland Park and the Disney California Adventure Park, three hotels and “Downtown Disney” – a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex.

The resort is one of the country’s premier family vacation destinations. While Disneyland Park has thrilling rides and elaborately created theme sets to offer, the Disneyland California Adventure Park, a later addition during one of the expansions, boasts of seven lands based on movie themes with much more action and adventure.

Official site: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/

Hollywood

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Now, this is a must visit destination for movie buffs. In fact, many tourists visit Los Angeles with Hollywood on top of their sightseeing agenda what with its unique history and iconic sites.

Hollywood and its attractions are synonymous with the film industry and the glamor of the silver screen. Hollywood Boulevard, the Walk of Fame, the hillside Hollywood sign and the Chinese Theatre are some of the must-see Hollywood sights. A tourist might even get to see a celebrity or two making it an even more memorable trip for the “oh so lucky” visitor.

Natural History Museum

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The Natural History Museum has many galleries dedicated to a vast collection of artifacts and historical relics covering a wide range of topics and themes. However, it is most famous for its breathtaking display of dinosaur skeletons in the commodious 14000 square foot Dinosaur Hall.

In addition to a Triceratops and a Stegosaurus, the display includes a “growth series” of T-Rex fossils featuring three skeletons in three different stages of growth – baby to adult.

Another must-see exhibit at the Natural History Museum is “Becoming Los Angeles” which gives an insight into the 500-year Southern California history.

“The Age of Mammals” section explores evolution, climatic changes, and shifting continents.

Exhibits of mammals specific to certain continents are also on display while The Discovery Center is particularly appealing to younger visitors as it provides hands-on experiences making it a very interesting activity indeed.

Address: 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles

Official site: https://www.nhm.org

Universal Studios Hollywood

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In addition to being a full-time working movie studio, Universal Studios Theme Park has a variety of overwhelmingly impressive rides ranging from simulators to roller coasters based on movie themes which for most people is the main attraction.

One can opt for a guided tour of the studios to explore behind the scenes sets of some of the studio’s most popular movies.

CityWalk, a three-block entertainment area with shopping, dining, and theaters, is a good change of scene when you are tired of all the rides.

Address: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City

Official site: http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com/

Exposition Park

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The Exposition Park is spread over 160 acres of land and is home to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the California African American Museum, the California Science Museum, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Sports Arena, the Expo Center, and the popular Rose Garden which boasts of thousands of rose bushes, a fountain, and gazebos.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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The Los Angeles County Museum of Art also known as LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, with nearly 130,000 pieces ranging from antiquity to modern times including Islamic, Asian, and Latin American art.

A number of separate buildings that have been acquired and renovated over the years make up the massive complex.

Address: 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles

Official site: http://www.lacma.org/

The Nethercutt Collection

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You would not want to miss out on the impressive range of antique, classic and vintage cars on display at the Nethercutt Collection if you are a fan. The variety and the prime condition of the automobiles on display from the 1890s to the 1970s are something to write home about. The history of the vehicles and description of previous owners are displayed with the cars for the benefit of the viewers.

Address: 15151 Bledsoe Street, Sylmar

Official site: http://www.nethercuttcollection.org/

Long Beach

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Long Beach extends along San Pedro Bay about 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles. The sights that are worthy of a visit in Long Beach are the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Museum of Latin America and the Queen Mary ocean liner resplendent in history, now converted into a hotel and museum. One can take the Catalina Express from Long Beach for a trip over to Catalina Island.

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

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The Museum of Contemporary Art housed in three separate facilities is dedicated to works of art from the 1940s onwards with a permanent collection on display along with changing exhibits displaying new works.

The three separate MOCA facilities are:

The MOCA Grand on Grand Avenue is the museum’s principal facility housing the main galleries, the largest museum store, and a cafe.

The MOCA Geffen is located in Little Tokyo, in what was previously a police car warehouse.

The MOCA Pacific Design Center is in West Hollywood and has rotating exhibits.

Official site: http://www.moca.org/

The Original Farmers Market

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The Los Angeles Farmers Market dates back to 1934 when it was established because of hardships resulting from the Great Depression. Back then it truly was a fruit and vegetable market but as the years progressed it has also accommodated other food stands, restaurants, and specialty shops. One can get all kinds of stuff now at the Los Angeles Farmers Market ranging from jewelry and candles to kitchenware and toys.

Address: 6333 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles

Official site: http://www.farmersmarketla.com/

Major cities near Los Angeles, CA

Glendale – 6 miles
Long Beach – 20 miles
Anaheim – 24 miles to
Santa Ana – 30 miles
Riverside – 49 miles
San Bernardino – 55 miles
Bakersfield – 102 miles to
San Diego – 111 miles

Categories
From The Editors Travel

Travel Trends Shift In Past and Upcoming Years

It is generally said that travel not only broadens one’s vision but also enlightens and expands a person’s worldly perspective of things. A man has always been fascinated by the adventure of travel, whether out of necessity, pleasure, trade or his restless spirit to discover and explore new territories to seek out riches or spices for trade in spices was a lucrative business.

Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer, with the support of Isabella and Ferdinand, the ruling monarchs of Spain set sail with three ships, the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria to discover the new worlds hoping to reach India.

Similarly, Captain James Cook of England on board the H.M.S Endeavour lay anchor in Botany Bay far way in the South which later on was colonised by the British and now called Australia. Perhaps It goes without saying that two of the greatest travellers of all time were Marco Polo and IbnBatuta .

Marco Polo., (1254-1324) a young Venetian, was 17 only when he travelled to discover new places with his father and uncle. They travelled through Central Asia, Persia, through the Silk Route to China to become the guests of the Emperor of China, Kublai Khan.

Marco Polo returned to Venice after 24 years when Venice was at war with Genoa and Marco was thrown into prison. He narrated the fantastic tales of his long odyssey to his cell mate who chronicled them into books.

Muhammad Ibn Batuta or simply Ibn-e-Batuta (1304-1369) is recognized and acclaimed as the greatest traveler of all time .

Born in Morroco, Ibn Batuta at the age of 21 set out to perform the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) which in those days took about 16 months. However, he did not return home till 24 years.

In those days travelling was very arduous and painstaking as the only mode of travel were ships, horseback, and camels

Despite the hardships and at many times at the risk of his life Ibn-Battuta travelled to almost all the countries that are now part of the Islamic world and also to many parts of non-Muslim lands.

His sojourn in different lands and his study of different cultures and customs were chronicled in a book the Rila translated journey which makes interesting and compulsory reading for aspiring world explorers.

With time, and great inventions, the mode of travel improved in a revolutionary manner and we now live in an age where supersonic travel by air, high-speed train travel, and even road travel has become easy.

With time trends and motives for travel changed also as previously say in the sixties travelling was done for professional purposes, or for permanently relocating to richer countries such as witnessed by the mass exodus to Europe and USA and Canada in the sixties and seventies when immigration laws were quite lax .

In the seventies, the oil and construction industry boomed and flourished and people from all over the subcontinent flocked to the Middle east for greener pastures.

Earlier, holiday travel was the domain of the rich and well to do especially in the developed countries of the world. and the famous destinations of the time were London, Paris, Rome New York and Tokyo to name a few.

Nowadays, everything has changed, have backpack will travel has been a mood of travel, trekking around the world or cycling for peace or motorcycling across the globe in increasing.

Now we live in the age of digital technology, where trends in almost everything have changed. The Internet mobile apps have given people a mother lode of information and people especially the young are very choosy and particular in their preferences in almost everything, eating habits, socializing, workplace or travel habits.

What will be Travel trends in present day 2016? Will it be the usually preferred destination, sightseeing, shopping and have fun and returning with a sun tan or will it go further than that?

Well according to Travel writers and experts, Travel trends will be huge in 2016.

Let us briefly review travel trends and the hottest spot preferred .

Health Resorts

Vacations are usually taken to leave back the mundane daily life and live and let live but these days a lot of people travel for health reasons also, to rejuvenate themselves, to feel younger and to feel invigorated to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Health Spas, herbal treatment, dietary needs, rest and relaxation all contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Here are some of the famous wellness resorts of the world.

Switzerland

Wellness at the Backstage Hotel Vernissage
Zermatt

health resort wellness spa therapy TimelyBuzz
Health resort wellness spa therapy – TimelyBuzz

Wellness at Backstage Hotel in Switzerland is known for its unique spa experience with seven with seven room treatments, called therapy cubes, themed after each of the days of Creation. The cubes marry viscerally and visual components, utilizing lights, images, temperatures and sensations meant to cleanse and relax the body and soul.

India

Jiva Grande Spa at Vivanta by Taj
Madikeri, Coorg

It sits atop the hills of a subtropical rainforest in the southern state of Karnataka, India, and a five-hour drive from the major city of Bangalore gets you there. At an altitude of 4,000 feet, with treatments inspired by the rich, local culture, Jiva Grande Spa at Vivanta by Taj in Madikeri, Coorg is the ultimate in all-natural rejuvenation.

Indonesia

Golden Rock Retreat
Bali

Bali has long been one of the most beautiful destinations in the world with its pristine beaches and beautiful landscapes. The Golden retreat is a detox and healing centre for health-conscious travelers. Yoga, meditation, massage, infrared and herbal steam saunas are some of the treatments available here,

Les Sources de Caudalie
Martillac, Bordeaux

Vinotherapy to decelerate the aging process. With an idyllic locale among vineyard of Bordeaux. This is the place for rejuvenation. Rich in minerals, the property’s warm underground spring water is great for soaking away what ails you. Wraps and massages use grape extracts called polyphenols, which strengthen blood vessels and enhance micro-circulation, while slimming programs combine techniques that break down cellulite with special dietary menus and varietal treatments such as a Cabernet scrub or Merlot wrap.

Pujjis Wellness Retreat
Nelson, South Island

To keep the mind and body The Pujjis Wellness Retreat located ten minutes from Nelson in New Zealand’s South Island is an ideal location for health travellers. Owned and operated by Arvind Pujji, an experienced and trained bodyworks practitioner who uses his skills to provide calm,cleansing and comfort.

For the health conscious other well-known destinations are Kamalaya Koh Samui
Na Muang, Koh Samui, Thailand, Natur-Med Thermal Springs and Health Resort,
Davutlar, Aydin, Turkey, California Health & Longevity Institute
Westlake Village, California, USA, and Canyon Ranch Miami Beach
Miami Beach, Florida, USA.

Dietary

Travel dietry food festival timelybuzz
Travel food festival timelybuzz

Many people are not only health conscious but very particular about their dietary and nutritional requirements and thus wish to places where they feel they will be comfortable with their eating habits. People want to get away from junk food and go to exotic locales to give their taste buds new flavor. The famous floating vegetable and fruit markets in Thailand offer fresh papaya and mangoes.

The choice of food outlets both expensive and cheap around the world are in thousands if not in millions but more and more are preferring to be guided by their sense of taste or taste buds while travelling.

Volunteering

The Peace Corps in the USA in 1961 can be described as the best example of Volunteer travel that is doing something worthwhile while travelling overseas. These days many people especially the young are engaged in volunteer travelling to places like India, Thailand land other places. Whether working at an elephant sanctuary or bird or protecting turtles in the Australia’s beach this type of travel is really worthwhile.

Bleisure Travel

Roman Bath Ancient London
Roman Bath Ancient London – TimelyBuzz

In the early eighties, the term Brunch was coined with the combination of Breakfast and Lunch as one meal in the intervening time period of the two. These days another word relating to travel has cropped up and is known as leisure travel that is the combination of business and leisure travel on one ticket.

Businessmen, and top level executives travel at a very fast pace and hardly take the time to go on full vacations. Nowadays the trend is to when going on a business trip just take 2 or 3 days extra to enjoy the sights. For example, while on a trip to London, check out the historic town of Bath, just a 90-minute train ride from London and boasts ancient Roman baths with naturally soothing hot spas.

Cultural Festivals

Festival travel Timelybuzz
Festival travel – Timelybuzz

The Rio Carnival in Brazil, Mardi gras in New Orleans, Louisiana USA, Kumbh Mela in India or the Running of the bull in San Fermin. Pamplona, Spain, and other cultural festivals have attracted travellers from all over the world and millions of tourists plan their trips to see such festivals.

Traditional sightseeing is losing its appeal and people want to see something different and unique rather than visiting Big Ben in London or the Coliseum in Rome.

So there you have with changing times come changing trends and travelling trends are also changing.