Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are Romantic

That’s the number one qualification after all, isn’t it? A honeymoon is a romantic vacation, and the Galapagos Islands fit the bill. Moonlit cruises? Check. Exotic location? Check. Excellent facilities and service? Check and check. The dramatic sunsets, fearless wildlife and memorable landscapes combine with first-rate services to create the perfect atmosphere for romance.

The Archipelago has something for everyone.

He wants hiking, she wants a beach. He wants water sports, she wants shopping. Galapagos is about not having to sacrifice or compromise. There are great beaches and hikes on the islands, as well as snorkeling and other water sports. The towns on the islands have a surprising amount of quality souvenirs from all over Ecuador and South America. You can even decide between land-based and cruise ship tours. Why fight over a destination when Galapagos has it all?

The “Enchanted Islands” are a destination for the young and vibrant.

The Islands are on many people’s “bucketlist” of places to visit. Many retirees go because they finally have the time and money to do so. Unfortunately, by the time they get there, many seniors find that some of the hikes and islands are too challenging for them and they miss out. The Galapagos Islands are best enjoyed by those who are old enough to appreciate them and still young enough to hop from one lava rock to the next, perfect for young newlyweds!

The Islands are more affordable than you think.

Many young couples are not yet established and may avoid seemingly pricey destinations like the Galapagos Islands. Although the costs are undeniable – airfare to and from Ecuador and then to the islands, plus park fees and the cost of cruises or lodging – they are relatively low right now. The worldwide economic downturn has had one positive effect: fewer people are visiting Galapagos and the tour companies and hotels are willing to make deals they would not have considered before.

Ecuador has much more to offer than just the Islands.

A honeymoon to the Galapagos Islands carries the side benefit of a trip to Ecuador. Why not spend a few days relaxing in the natural spas of Papallacta surrounded by the Andes, or taking a romantic carriage ride in Quito’s charming colonial center? For such a small nation, Ecuador is home to a wonderfully diverse ecosystem with everything from snow-capped volcanoes to sandy beaches.

Travelling Tips for the Disabled

  • Plan well in advance
    Planning is key to any form of success. This is very important because it reduces chances of getting stranded and being inconvenienced. Booking flights and hotel rooms are the top priorities, however if you are going to stay at a friend’s or a relative’s house; notifying them in advance is very important. Then they can be prepared and even pick you up from the airport.
  • Book hotels that are disabled friendly
    Hotels with disabled friendly structures are very convenient as they allow disabled individuals to move freely with minimal effort. Most of these hotels also have special emergency protocols that ensure disabled individuals are not left behind in case of an emergency, unlike some hotels where these issues are over looked.
  • Use a travel agent that offers travel packages for disabled travelers
    Booking flights and hotel rooms with travel agents that offer travel solutions to disabled people is advantageous in a number of ways. They ensure they book for their disabled clients airlines and hotels that are disabled friendly. They strive to offer services and suggestions that will ensure their clients travel comfortably.
  • Understand and know your rights when at the airport
    Travelling, for people with disabilities, is very hectic, especially when they arrive at the airport. They face the challenge of getting proper information and directions. This is further aggravated by the huge number of people traveling and long queues. In airports, there are attendants that are supposed to attend to the needs of those travelling with disabilities. Disabled travelers should not, and are not, treated differently when they go through security measures. They are also protected from any form of discrimination from any airline. Disabled travelers are advised to be very conversant with their rights to avoid and report any form of discrimination when travelling.
  • Bring extra medication
    There is no harm in carrying an extra dose of medication when travelling. People do lose their luggage as they travel so, having an extra dose will act as a backup when one dose gets lost. This also ensures that when travelling, a disabled person does not run out of their medicine forcing them to start looking for a drug store when travelling. These medications should be stored properly to ensure their safety.

Best Place to Live in Australia

Hobart

The reason Hobart is on top of our lists is that unlike many other cities in Australia, Hobart is actually quiet and peaceful. Ideal for people wanting to get away from a hectic and fast-paced life, this city offers a lot more than just a peaceful residence.

Surrounded by gorgeous warm sandy beaches and picturesque landscapes, Hobart is nothing less than a haven for workaholics. Although you might not find high paying jobs here. What you lose in income, you’ll gain in quality. And if you’re a food sucker, this food paradise might exactly be the place you’ve been looking for.

Melbourne

Australia’s second largest city has more to it than meets the eye. Known as the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne is ridiculously famous for its diversified climate, a rich native culture that can be witnessed in the nearby Museums, and passion for sports. Not to mention, the city itself is built as an art that can be seen more obviously.

There are multiple fine dining places that serve different cuisines both local and continental, best shopping destinations and not to forget the nightlife. The city is full of surprises and if you’re lucky, you might get to witness the four season in a day phenomenon.

Sydney

Talk about the best place to live in Australia, the name Sydney will pop-up immediately and automatically. The name Sydney alone is enough to send chills down the spine of every person who wishes to work in Australia.

This city is most commonly known for its scenic beauty; be it natural beaches and ocean or man-made marvels like Sydney Opera house and Sydney Harbor.

Sydney features a fast-paced exhilarating lifestyle and is well suited to those who are accustomed to living in such atmosphere. Landing a job in one of the firms in Sydney is something everyone wants. The weather here is somewhat of normal with the maximum temperature reaching up to 40 degree Celsius in the summers and minimum temperature falling down to 6 degrees in the coldest night of winter.

Adelaide

Adelaide seems to have gotten blur due to all the focus going towards cities like Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney. It so doesn’t mean Adelaide in any way is no worth living place, it’s just the most underrated. Earlier, newcomers used to move to one of the above-mentioned places, however, the situation has changed more recently.

With a low population, Mediterranean climate, pleasant weather and a communal diversity, it has turned into one of the favorite places to live in for the immigrants. The city is wrapped in nature, the real estate prices are lower than other city and lifestyle is pretty relaxed. Overall, the city has everything there is to offer.

Kamakhya Temple

Temple History:

Kamakhya Temple is an ancient temple built around 7th Century CE. The king of Gupta Emperor Samudragupta is one of the earliest references which mentions about the temple located in Assam. During that period, the temple was considered as a marvel of architecture. The temple was built during the rule of Pal dynasty.

The temple was damaged in the 11th- 12th Centuries by Nasiruddin in 1227 and Malik Uzbek Tughril Khan in 1225 and 1257. These rulers plundered almost all the temples starting from Bihar, Bengal, and Assam. During these expeditions, Devi Kamakhya temple was severely damaged.

Then the King Chilarai erected the temple structures of the Koch family in 1565. In 1658, when King Jayadhvaj Singha (of the Ahom dynasty), seized the lower half of the city, the temple received the attention of these rulers who restored the place to its present form.

In the following years, successors of this dynasty became ardent devotees of Shaktism and Shaivism. In 1714, when Siba Singha came into power, he handed over the responsibility of temple supervision to Krishnaram Bhattacharyya who was the head priest then.

Architecture of the Temple:

The architecture of the temple is very unique. The main temple has seven bee hived shaped Shikaras (gopuras), with each shikara having a golden Trishula. The Kamakhya Temple also consists of three chambers known as Calanta, Pancaratna, and Natamandira. The large and rectangular chamber facing west has an idol of Naga Mata, which the devotees seldom worship. In the South, a chamber is the idol of Devi Chamundeshwari.

The Pancaratna or the middle chamber leads to the Garba Griha or the Sanctum Santorum. The Garba Griha is in the form of a cave with narrow steps dimly lit by oil lamps leading to the Yoni, where the fissure of rock is found and worshipped.

The temple complex has three other temples dedicated to Lord Kedara (Kamaleswara), situated near the northern side of the main temple. On the north- western direction is located the Gadadhara temple and on the eastern foothills is located the temple of Lord Pandunath, also known as Pandu.

The Bleeding Goddess:

The temple is also popular as the bleeding goddess or the menstruating goddess. In the month of Ashaad (June), the goddess bleeds or menstruates, the Brahmaputra river turns into red. The temple then remains closed for 3 days and holy water is distributed among the devotees of Kamakhya Devi.

About Dining Amidst the Mangroves

I went to Sunderbans for the first time when I was only 14. I had no idea where we were going. But I assumed that we would be going to some old rest house hidden away in a little forest. I was rather disappointed when I could not find a rest house once we reached the place. To make it worse, my father pointed towards a boat and asked us to board it. It was a hot and humid day and we were definitely not in a mood to go on a boat ride in the dirty looking river. I could see my mom flaring up so it was up to me and my sister to douse the situation.

Thankfully, it didn’t come to that at all. The guard led us to a nice looking house boat called a ‘launch’. The deck had seats on three sides with enough space for us to walk around, have tea and watch exotic birds flying by or sitting on a tree. There was a navigator in a small phone booth sized room. There were stairs on the side which led to a tiny dining room cum living room. It had a TV that didn’t work and a couple of books on GIS and forest statistics. On one side of the dining room, there was a door that led to the bedroom with two beds that also served as storage boxes and it had its own bathroom with modern amenities. The other side led to the kitchen. I never saw it properly since every time I tried to walk in, it had always been too hot and full of steam for some reason.

After my sister and I excitedly explored the launch, we were given coconut water. I felt like a princess who gets everything without having to work for it. After laughing about our ‘boating’ experience, we were served lunch. It’s been more than a decade now so I don’t exactly remember what had been served for lunch. But I’m quite sure that there was fish, chicken, rice, dal, some vegetable, mango chutney followed by misti doi and rossogulla. And I’m quite positive that I must’ve overeaten.

After a short afternoon siesta, we woke up to steaming hot cups of tea, always served with biscuits or some snacks. Food always played an important part in all our visits to the rest houses. Since these rest houses were as old as the British period, tea was never served without snacks. There was always more food than we could eat. The British are long gone but the tradition has passed on.

I could use a lot of adjectives to glorify the beauty of Sunderbans but I don’t think it would be necessary. The marshy island covered with huge mangroves trees with exotic birds sitting on them was a treat to the eyes. I unsuccessfully tried to look for crocodiles casually swimming in the muddy water. I could have sworn that I saw something moving. My dad told me that this place had more creatures than could be identified. But I was just interested in seeing a dangerous looking man-eating tiger. Of course, I had no idea what I would do when I faced one. The idea itself seemed quite fascinating though. But thanks to my search for a tiger, I got to see a lot of natural goodness that Sunderbans had to offer. Living in the city made me forget what sunset looked like but I was lucky enough to witness it here.

After sunset, it got a little eerie since there were no streetlights or sounds of people or TV to fill the silence. I see a lot of horror movies and this moment seemed like I was in on of those scary scenes. It took a little time but I got used it. In fact, since my days in Darjeeling, I had forgotten to appreciate the sound of silence. The sound of water hitting the shores, the little bugs trying to communicate in the dark, reflections of shiny stars on the water, men trying to anchor the launch, all that seemed unnatural a moment ago seemed delightful now. We ended the day with a scrumptious dinner.

I had ambitious plans of waking up early to watch the sunrise. But my laziness got the better of me and I slept until I was woken up by my mom to have breakfast and tea. Our breakfast was nicely laid out in the deck. I felt like I had gone back to the Victorian era where one command would get you everything you wanted. I wished I would be able to see one wild animal before I went home just so I could brag about it. To my surprise, I saw a big fish like creature jump up from the water. My father, studying the waves created in water asked us to look ahead in a particular direction. When we did, we saw a swift Gangetic dolphin take a big leap. We kept following it with our eyes until it disappeared. So now I had at least one story to tell.

After breakfast, when I went for a shower, I realized that the bathroom window was stuck and I couldn’t close it. I was a little uncomfortable at first. But I realized that since there was no civilization in the vicinity, I had nothing to worry about. To be honest, it seemed like a spa right in the womb of nature, something that you see on pintrest only.

Once I was out of the shower, our guard informed us that the speed boat was ready to take us to the narrow inlands of the delta where the launch wouldn’t go. In the subsequent visits, I got to try my hand at the speed boat. But the first time, I was just sitting comfortably behind the driver’s seat with my life vest on. The shallow end of the island wasn’t more or less beautiful as the rest of it. But somehow, it seemed like we were in a danger territory since it was so close to the land. It seemed like at any point, a tiger could jump into the speed boat. And this made it very thrilling and adventurous. But our driver assured us that there was considerable distance and we had nothing to worry about. I was relieved to hear this. The sound of the speed boat was loud enough to wake a sleeping giant and so we gave up the hope of spotting a tiger since they have super sensory ears. But to my delight we saw a small crocodile sunbathing near the shore. It seemed quite comfortable for a minute or two. But it probably spotted us since it made a dash to the water and disappeared.

We then headed back to our launch to wind up our visit. I tried hard and strained my eyes to see a glimpse of the tiger till I got back at the launch. We started to pack up till lunch was laid out in the dining room. There wasn’t much to pack but it took us a long time since we were not ready to leave yet. But I had school the next day so there wasn’t any other option. The cook made a special preparation of crabs among other things. They made such delicious dishes every time we went to Sunderbans without any formal training. I wondered what they might have been capable of if they trained under Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay.

Chandler, Arizona

As you search new homes in Chandler, you probably keep seeing certain names pop up. Sun Lakes. Ocotillo. Morrison Ranch. Fulton Ranch. Chandler is home to many new home communities, owing in large part to its rapid growth and booming economy. As the San Tan Freeway was completed in 2006, a lot of large employers made the move to Chandler, and many that were already here expanded operations. Intel, Microchip Technology, PayPal, Wells Fargo, Verizon Wireless, to name a few, are some of Chandler’s corporate citizens. As the business climate continued to thrive, the cotton fields and grazing land of south Chandler yielded to destination shopping centers, hotels, restaurants and lots of housing. Builders such as Fulton Homes, Toll Brothers and Pulte made their mark on the landscape with spacious modern homes in beautiful communities. Many older historic neighborhoods are experiencing rebirth as homes are remodeled and modernized.

Chandler Schools consistently meet or exceed state and national averages; multiple charter schools and academies also provide top-notch education. Chandler-Gilbert Community College offers a wide variety of classes and programs, and private institutions such as Western International University and Ottawa University have branches in town as well.

There is no shortage of things to do in Chandler. Downtown on the square you will find unique shopping, dining and entertainment; there is almost always a festival, farmers market, art show or other affair to enjoy at AJ Chandler Park. Take a break and enjoy a craft beer, or a glass of Arizona wine. Visit Chandler Center for the Arts and catch a national act. Drop in at Vision Gallery or Uptown Art for more eclectic tastes. Downtown is also home to the beautiful, historic Crowne Plaza San Marcos Resort, Arizona’s first golf course.

Speaking of golf, Chandler is a linksman’s paradise. Courses run the gamut from executive to championship; you can visit driving ranges and golf academies, and stock up on the latest gear at the PGA Superstore!

Looking for other outdoor fun? Tumbleweed Regional Park boasts a rec center, sports and picnic areas, as well as Playtopia-a playground paradise based on Chandler’s heritage. A perennial favorite is the constantly expanding Arizona Railway Museum where you can explore a great collection of classic railroad cars and equipment. Skate park, BMX park, dog parks, equestrian and aquatic centers; Chandler has it all!

For indoor, air conditioned fun, Chandler Fashion Center is an upscale regional shopping powerhouse! Enjoy its great variety of dining choices from fast to casual to elegant. There are shows, movies, nightlife, shops and services galore, and special events almost every weekend. Another popular destination is The Ice Den, a favorite for skaters of all ages and a great way to keep cool year round.

This just a small sampling of the great features this amazing city has to offer. Chandler is consistently recognized for its responsible and sustainable growth and a quality of life unmatched in the Valley. This is just one more reason why so many families choose to make their home in Chandler.

Taipei Taiwan Travel Guide

Ximending Shopping

If you are into shopping, you can’t go wrong with Ximending. This is the shopping area in the Wanhua district of Taipei and is considered to be the fashion capital of Taiwan. On weekends, Ximending streets are closed to traffic and becomes a pedestrian shopping mall. The area is popular with street performers of all types and, because it is a hotspot, you can catch celebrities hosting small outdoor concerts, album launches, and other events.

Ximending is also famous for its “Theater Street” where there is a concentration of several movie along Wuchang Street. For history buffs, though, the most famous theater in the district is the Red House Theater which was built in 1908 during Japanese occupation and is still an operational theater with regular performances.

Yangmingshan National Park

If beautiful sights are what you look forward to when travelling, then I can’t recommend Yangmingshan enough. It is the largest natural park in Taipei. Yangmingshan is great for hiking and has numerous trails that can last an entire day or just a couple of hours. Popular trails include Seven Stars Peak which will take you to the highest peak in Taipei at 1120 meters (3600 feet) or see the stunning waterfall of the Juansi Waterfall Trail.

Each February through March, Yangmingshan is the site of the Yangmingshan Flower Festival when several varieties of flowers such as azaleas, camellias, and especially cherry blossoms reach their peak bloom. Every evening of the festival, cherry blossom trees are illuminated for a particularly romantic sight. Visitors can also have lunch and dinner at one of many restaurants such as The Top or Grass Mountain Chateau for spectacular vistas of Taipei below.

Between the beauty of the cherry blossoms and the views of the city, Yangmingshan is a well-known romantic spot for lovers all over Taipei. From April to May, when calla lilies reach full bloom, you can pick your own lily flowers for only a few dollars at one of several flower farms.

Lastly, don’t miss out on Yangming Shuwu, also known as Yangming Villa, the beautiful summer retreat of the late president Chiang Kai-shek. Yangming Villa house and gardens are maintained as they were when occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Chiang. The house is a two-story traditional Chinese home, with reception rooms and offices on the first floor and the Chiang’s personal residence on the second floor where their paintings and personal photographs are still displayed. The gardens are especially beautiful in the Spring when the flowers are in bloom. As a bit of trivia, it’s been noted that several bushes are planted in bunches of five – to symbolize the “5-star” rank of General Chiang.

National Palace Museum

Next, we find ourselves at the National Palace Museum which opened in 1965. If you love history, this is the place to be! National Palace Museum has a humongous collection of 700,000 permanent exhibits of Chinese Imperial history and artwork that spans over 2000 years plus prehistoric Chinese artifacts and artwork that dates to the Neolithic era, or better known as the “Stone Age”.

The most popular item in its collection is the Jadeite Cabbage. Carved during the 19th century, it is a piece of jadeite that has been shaped to resemble a head of Chinese cabbage and has a locust and a grasshopper camouflaged in its leaves. Legend says the sculpture is a metaphor for female fertility, with the white cabbage stalk representing purity, the green leaves of the cabbage representing fertility, and the insects representing children.

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Another historically significant landmark on our trek to learn about the history of Taiwan is the Chiang Kia-shek Memorial Hall. This is a national monument that was built in honor of former Republic of China President Chiang Kia-shek. The memorial marks the geographic and cultural center of Taipei. It is the most visited attraction by foreign tourists. The pagoda style memorial hall has a presidential library and museum on the ground level.

The main hall features a large, seated statue of Chiang Kai-shek, much like the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial hall and its surrounding Liberty Square plaza encompasses 60 acres and includes many ponds and garden spaces. The plaza also houses two of Taipei’s performance art buildings, the National Theater and the National Concert Hall.

Be A Good Tourist On Your Next Trip

Learn about the Rules of the Place

It’s not necessary that what is legal in your country will be legal in another one too. For instance, chewing gum in Singapore is a punishable offence. And not just foreign countries, rules can be different from one place to another in your own country too. So, the best way to make sure that you are not fined, or worst arrested, is to learn about the basic laws of the land you will be travelling to. This information can be accessed from the web easily.

Be At Your Best Behaviour

Remember that when you are travelling to a new place, you are representing the place you are coming from. You don’t want to give a bad impression about your homeland. So, try and be polite and smile at people you meet at cafes or public places. Talk to your hotel staff and try to learn about their culture a little more. Once you strike a friendly conversation, you will notice that people will open up to you. They will be willing to help you get around the place. Who knows someone might treat you to a nice homemade meal too!

Don’t Make Racist Comments

Often, while travelling, tourists can get microaggressive in certain situations. This will leave a bad taste in not just your mouth but to the other person too. Stay away from judging their culture or making comments on the way they look. People shouldn’t get the impression that you don’t appreciate their country or culture. So, be cautious about how you behave in public places.

Adventurous Motorcycle Tour

In fact, motorbikes these days are gaining a soaring popularity, especially among the youngsters. In the present scenario, motorcycles are seen all over the place and there are different kinds of motorcycles that can offer you a thrilling and memorable expedition. It is a single tracked two-wheeler, which is supported by an engine. The type of bike you want to go for depends on the task for which they are being used such as for long distance travel, sport, and racing or for off-road traveling conditions.

Riding is a fun activity and there are many motorcycle tours that are being organized. It has become a big thing in today’s world since a majority of people like to travel on a motorbike and especially among them is bike lovers. The thrill and fantastic view that comes up with a riding tour are one of the most elating experiences that you can get in your life.

But, before this go through some of the salient features that prompt you to opt for a tour on a motorcycle:

  • Easy To move: Traveling on a bike is much easy and convenient in comparison to a car. It is very useful especially in areas that are hugely congested. Moreover, with a bike you can have the ultimate riding experience with a scenic view.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Bikes have the potential to let you reach your destination as quickly as possible guaranteeing you with tangible fuel efficiency.
  • High speed & power: – If you are a rider and have a passion for remarkable speed, then a bike designed with a powerful engine and large capacities is considered ideal for you.

So, keep these points in mind and get ready for your next road trip.

Tools to keep while going for a Motorbike Tour

Riding a motorcycle is a lot of fun, but along with this, it is quite risky if proper precautions and accessories are not carried along. So be careful and carry along some of the best motorcycle adventure tools. Some of the necessary ones are:

  • Helmet: If you have the passion for riding on the open road, you certainly need adequate head protection that will protect your head in the event of an accident. There is a variety of helmets available. Buy the one that suits you the most.
  • Motorcycle Saddlebags: These saddlebags look great and fit on most motorcycles. Moreover, it is one of the most convenient ways to carry necessary equipment whilst riding.
  • Gloves: You are recommended to wear gloves while riding as this will protect your hands from any kind of dust or debris that can come on your way.

Pack for a Summer Vacation

Pack Cotton and Lightweight Clothes

During the summer season, it’s advisable that you wear cotton clothes so that your skin can breathe. Wearing synthetic clothes may cause irritation and you might end up feeling hot and suffocated. So, when you are packing for your vacation, make sure you put in light clothes that will help your body stay calm. When it comes to shoes, carry open-toed ones or flip flops so that your feet can get as much air as possible.

Choose the Correct Accessories

Since you will be travelling during peak summer, carry a straw hat, a pair of sunglasses, and a scarf, just in case the heat becomes unbearable. These accessories will keep you protected from the heat when you are out, visiting different places. If you are going to be spending a lot of time on the beach, carry a beach bag and towels with you too. It’s also preferable that you carry a change of clothes so that you don’t have to stay in your sweat-soaked clothes for a long period of time.

Take Necessary Medication with You

Some places can have heat waves during the summer. In such a case, you should be prepared for it. Additionally, if you have diseases that can be triggered due to the heat, take the prescribed medicines with you. You might also want to take vaccinations that will protect you from falling sick from insect bites or mosquitoes.