There are a few reasons why Singapore is one of the most desirable destinations for travelers from around the world. The food, attractions, contemporary skyline and tropical location are all part of the intrigue of this diverse island nation. These aspects all make Singapore special, but by far the best part of it is the people. Chinese, Arab, Indian, Portuguese, English and other cultures all come together to create one unique culture. The ethnicities, religions, foods and art are all pieces that come together to create a country that is united in its difference.
While visiting Singapore, make sure to visit the area’s various ethnic areas. Little India, Chinatown, Kampong Glam, and other enclaves allow an opportunity to taste culture at its best – literally. Try the vegetarian cuisine in Little India or the authentic Chinese food sold by vendors and restaurants. Tamil food, which is infused with Malay ingredients, is delicious. It contains an abundance of seafood such as squid, oysters, crabs, and clams. You absolutely cannot miss the barbequed stingray served on a banana leaf with sambal. It’s to die for.
There is more to feast on in Singapore than just food: drink in the sights, sounds and smells. For instance, in Little India you can hear modern Indian music, smell incense and curry and see colorful saris, temples and displays.
You will want to plan your trip around a holiday or take advantage of the many festivals that Singapore hosts each year. These celebrations bring the island nation’s diversity to life. There are holidays like Buddhist Vesek Day, Chinese New Year, Muslim Eid ul-Fitr and Christmas to be celebrated. Singapore also has its own holiday celebrating its own identity. The National Day Parade commemorates the country’s independence.
The diversity of Singapore is prevalent in its mix of attractions. Tourists can shop in the modern malls of Orchard Road or check out the hotels and casinos of the new Marina Bay. If you are looking for a more historic side of the country, try Bugis and Kampong Glam, the oldest Malay district in the country.
Singapore hosts a wealth of experiences for an adventurous traveler. What was once a gateway to Asia is now a wonderful and sought after destination in its own right.
At some point in your life you might have heard of the Galapagos Islands. But what makes them so special?
1. The Wildlife – Beneath the waters of the Galapagos lies a world of great diversity and beauty. There are thousands of species to view, from Sea Turtles to Hammerhead sharks, Angelfish, Whales, Stingrays, and even Penguins. It’s this biodiversity that has attracted the likes of scientists and nature lovers alike to these waters.
2. The Challenge – The islands are just as known for their difficulty as they are their beauty. Strong currents and surges can present an exhilarating challenge for the adventure seeker and passionate SCUBA Diving enthusiast. Divers are required to be certified so make sure to bring your PADI or NAUI card with you on this adventure.
3. Postcard Perfect Weather Year Round – The Galapagos Islands enjoy a temperate climate year round. The warmest time of year is usually from February to April with 80 degree water temps. September through November present colder water temperatures in the mid-sixties.
4. Easy to Find a Tour – There are many options for getting out into the water. There are many diving tours offered by several companies, or you can go in style aboard a yacht or live-aboard cruise that takes you around to the best spots.
5. There’s something for everybody – All you diving novices and newbies out there don’t have to miss out on the adventure. You can find amazing sea life and dive spots without the challenging currents off Santa Cruz Island. Or try Beagle Island and its famous black coral, which plays a stunning backdrop to the sea life while presenting gentler diving waters.
In 2008, Laos was named by the New York Times as the top vacation destination. Just a few years later, this country is still an enticing treat for nature lovers and those who wish to escape the hustle and bustle of the world. The people of Laos make any trip to the country enjoyable with their warm and hospitable demeanor. There are many things to see and do in Laos, but where should you start? Let’s take a look at the top three places that you will want to include in your trip to Laos.
The monasteries of Luang Praband are some of the most stunning sights in Laos. Nestled between the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers you will find temples and monasteries with monks, crumbling French colonial architecture and diverse locals. The view of these monasteries is breathtaking so be sure to bring your camera. While in the area, make sure you visit the spas, shops and sample the local cuisine.
Vang Vieng is another very fulfilling destination and is becoming more and more popular every year. There are also many spectacular views in Vang Vieng; however most of them are underground. There are many tunnels and caverns that beg to be explored. This destination is not as isolated as Luang Prabang and there might be more tourists, but the adventurous exploring that the city has to offer will definitely have you wanting to return.
If you are in search of a land that time seems to have left behind, look no further than Champasak. Located in southwestern Laos, Champasak is a picturesque hideaway that showcases the rural way of life on the banks of the Mekong River. This unspoiled province offers gorgeous waterfalls, small villages without electricity and even a glimpse of the endangered Irrawaddy Dolphin. This quaint area is very humble yet will definitely teach you the pleasures of the simple life in Laos.
Traveling can be an exhilarating experience, but it is always important to make sure you have everything in order so you don’t find yourself in a tough spot later on. This is especially true for traveling globally. So consider some of the following tips before you step onto your next flight or cruise.
You will need your passport, visas, and any other required documentation for the specific country you are visiting. In most cases, just a passport will be enough, but don’t assume that to be true for every country. Make sure you have this documentation planned and obtained well in advance of your trip. Likewise, many countries require that you have a least six months remaining on your passport that extends beyond your expected stay.
There are several forms of payment you can use when traveling abroad: cash, credit cards, and traveler’s checks. It is a good idea to have all three available to you should you run out of one or have another go missing or be stolen. Never keep all your money in one place. You should also contact your credit card company and let them know that you will be going to a different country. That way they don’t shut down your card when they see it suddenly being used in Beijing.
Not all cell phones are created equal. If you don’t have any kind of international plan on your phone, you should contact your carrier to ask about one. Otherwise, calls can get very expensive very quickly. If you don’t want to use your cell phone, you can always purchase cards with minutes and a cheap cell phone as a temporary fix. In addition, if there are apps you think may be beneficial for your phone, download them before you leave for your vacation. You don’t want to wander around in a foreign country looking for a hotspot that may not even work for you.
Where are you going?
Of course, it is very important to do research on the place you intend to go. Will it be cold? Rainy? Are you going to need a lot of sunscreen and a bathing suit? Do you intend to go hiking at any point? Fishing? What language will the people speak there? Knowing more about where you intend to go will help you not only plan accordingly, but may even help you get along with the locals, who can tell you about all the best places to eat and find entertainment. Be prepared and your trip will go smoothly and you’ll have a great time!
As we celebrate our 40th year, we would like to share some stories about the people and history of Big Five.
In July 1982, Mahen, his wife Usha and their five-year-old son, Ashish, set out from Nairobi on a four-hour drive through the country over rough, bumpy roads to Lake Baringo in northern Kenya in the Rift Valley. They carried with them bottles of champagne carefully wrapped to protect them from breaking.
These were to be presented to Mrs. Sigrist and her son Ernest. Mrs. Sigrist came to Kenya every July from 1976 to 1984 to celebrate her birthday with the people and animals of Africa.
And, this year, 1982, was even more special — Mrs. Sigrist was there to celebrate her 80th birthday!
“We always called her Mama Sigrist,” Mahen recalls. “I did not want to miss such a special event for our friend and loyal guest. I never forgot the look on her face as she stepped onto the verandah of the lounge and spotted me and my family. She started to cry. It was very moving to me.”
“I have met such wonderful people like Mama Sigrist during my life that I feel so blessed that I have been able to follow my dream.
In northern Chile there is a 40,600-square mile strip of land that is known as one of the driest places on Earth. This area, known as the Atacama Desert, receives only 0.04 inches of rain per year! Even though this desert is very close to the Pacific Ocean, it gets very little rain due to the Andes Mountains blocking the rainclouds. Despite moisture, the Atacama Desert is filled with beauty and myths.
Why would travelers want to visit this arid place? Even though it is a desert, it is not completely devoid of life. Llamas, gray foxes and flamingos can be found close to oases and streams. People also are known to live in these areas. Visitors also come here to see the amazing Atacama Salt, which is surrounded by the Andes Mountains and overlooks large volcanos. There are also lagoons and geysers that would be of interest to the adventurous.
If you are curious how people could live in such a rough terrain, pay a visit to Tocanao. With a population of almost 550, residents depend on the oasis to deliver water for crops and to keep them hydrated. The architecture of Tocano is beautiful, as the area is known for its stone craftsmanship. The Church and Bell Tower of San Lucas is definitely a stop you will want to make. For a small fee, you can enter this historic Chilean church.
The Atacama Desert is a truly one of a kind destination. If you are looking for a unique experience, a trip to the driest place on Earth is in order.
When we think about luxury, we typically think of Paris with its culinary treats or London with its culture of lavishness. While these cities are premier destinations for travelers, there are also many other cities that offer world class accommodations, five-star restaurants, and a variety of other lavish services and opportunities. When you find yourself in need of fine dining and pampering, look no further than these cities.
Despite its size, Tokyo manages to maintain a sense of Oriental mystique while also being able to offer travelers modern opportunities and accommodations. While in Tokyo, you will have the opportunity to visit Kabuki theaters, bathe in Tokyo’s famous hot springs, tour world class art museums or even shop at some of Japans most high-end department stores at Ginza. There truly is no end to the intrigue and beauty to be discovered in Tokyo.
Seoul is another Asian gem that brings historic culture, luxury and modernity to its visitors. As the capital of North Korea, Seoul offers unmatched elegance and hospitality. While in Seoul, you will definitely want to stay at the luxurious Westin Chosun Hotel and stroll to Downtown Seoul where you will find some of the most upscale shopping in the world. The Gyeongbokgung Palace is also a great place to visit as well.
Dubai is a truly magical place and is the Middle East’s most luxurious city. There is no shortage of five-star accommodations, so you are sure to be pleased no matter where you stay. For instance, The Burj Al Arab Hotel is in a class of its own when it comes to luxury. Take in the gorgeous views of the Arabian Gulf from its roomy suites and experience the mix of contemporary flair and ancient culture. Not only is Dubai a luxury destination, it’s very friendly and has virtually no crime.
Antigua is where the world’s billionaires go to relax. Here you will find white sand beaches and water that is so blue, it’s impossible to look away. Many people choose to sail, dive or cruise these pristine waters. There really is no wrong choice of watersport. One thing you absolutely must experience in Antigua is the SubCat Antigua Underwater Adventure. This submarine takes you underwater to see exotic fish and the coral reef up close and personal.
5. New York City
Refined and gritty, sophisticated and raw, New York City is an experience that luxury travelers will never forget. With an unbelievable array of restaurants, cultural attractions and world class accommodations, New York City is sure to please everyone that visits. There are so many things to do in New York City that it’s much easier to list what you can’t do than what you can.
Luxury can be found in cold mountain resorts or steamy tropical cities; above all, it is found when you look and appreciate the charm of a culture and its offerings.