I am prepared to admit this right now …. I am not one of those people who drool over the idea of having a massage, so although a little reluctant, I decided I would be brave and give it a go.
The Laguna Beach Spa is housed in traditional buildings, in a tranquil garden setting, with water features, at the garden-side of the Sheraton Senggigi Beach Resort Hotel. Guests are welcomed at reception, with lemon tea to drink and a registration form to fill in, and introduced to the therapist who will provide the treatment they have chosen. They are shown to the treatment room, which has a berugaq (a traditional sitting area), and a wonderful view of the sands and the sea.
The first stage is a foot treatment – a soak in warm water, scented with essential oils, and then a salt scrub. Then, with happy feet encased in slippers, it’s off to the ensuite changing room, where clothing is exchanged for a robe (and disposable underwear, for modesty).
The Persian Gulf region is one of the most beautiful and interesting vacation spots in the entire world. While there are some concerns about the political unrest and violence in the region, most tourists find the area charming and completely safe. The Musandam peninsula, in particular, offers visitors many exciting opportunities for adventure. Musandam is a governorate of Oman, although it is physically separated from the rest of the country by the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). The capital city of Musandam is Khasab. The peninsula’s location on the Strait of Hormuz allows Oman to share control of the Strait (which is extremely strategically valuable) with Iran. This geographically unique area is often referred to as the “Norway of Arabia” because of its mountainous crags and severe inlets that strongly resemble Norway’s fjords.
What Makes a Vacation in Musandam so Special
Because Musandam is a peninsula, there are many activities to choose from on both sea and land. Thrill-seeking visitors can enjoy mountain safari adventures, or sports like kayaking and mountain biking. Other people may prefer relaxing on a cruise boat while discovering the wide variety of marine life. The markets in Khasab offer visitors the chance
Dazzling KERALA is an exceptional holiday destination in the entire earth where you can discover and witness varieties of unique gifts of nature. The most attractive tourist site in the state is its stunning 1000 kilometers long backwater places. Travelers from every corner of the earth love to visit the places and witness the incomparable beauty of land. These unique water bodies are made of networks of streams, lakes, rivers, lagoons, estuaries, rivulet and canals. A few names of the recommended destinations to discover the beauty of exceptional backwater sites are Kollam, Trivandrum, Akkulam, Allapuzha, Kochi, Thiruvallam, Kozhikode and Vembanad Lake. There are two most entertaining means to discover the priceless beauty of such destinations.
Cruising in OBEROI MOTOR VESSEL VRINDA:
The Oberoi Motor Vessel Vrinda is a luxury means to enjoy cruising in a most stylish and comfortable way. The vessel is perfectly constructed and designed to deliver luxury lifestyle experience to the voyagers. The itinerary offered is cruising for 02 and 03 Nights. According to your choice you can select one of them. Silent features of the vessel are listed below one by one:
• 8 Deluxe Cabins – Facilities and amenities available
York is vibrant, fun and family friendly. It marries 21st century culture with a mediaeval past as well as any city in Europe. York is situated in the North of England and after the Romans and Anglo-Saxons was a Viking settlement second only to London.
Things to do
Walk the City walls, which date back to Roman times and originally built for protection of the city or wander through the famous Shambles said to be Europe’s most visited street, and one of Britain’s best preserved. Observe the higgledy-piggledy wooden frame buildings, 600 years old and reminders of the city’s past (pictured right).
Visit the Jorvik Viking Centre built on the actual location of a 1000-year-old settlement with replicated sights, sounds and smells of the Viking era. Many of the city’s street names originate from Viking times, for example, Fishergate where fish were sold and Swinegate where pigs were kept, perfectly logical names for streets at the time.
Equally evocative, the (free) National Railway museum displaying 300 years of railway history, housing a working replica of Stephenson’s Rocket, the famous Flying Scotsman, a Japanese Bullet train and more. If you like trains, especially steam trains
Whatever your skill level, if you want laid-back, easygoing dives with plenty to see, look no further than these 10 top destinations. The following list includes some destinations that Scuba Diving readers rated highest for the quality of their diving. In nearly every case, these places offer relatively shallow sites with ideal conditions; sites that are flooded with natural light and whose vibrant reefs are obscured only by thick concentrations of fish.
Bonaire is one of the most popular destinations in the world. Without a set schedule, you’re free to move at your own pace. Without a boat full of divers with diverse opinions, you’re free to choose your own sites. Just load up the rental car with gear and head for any of the novice-friendly sites that line the island’s west coast. Look for sites that are easy to enter and exit. The hardest part of diving 1000 steps, a lush reef that lies in a well-protected cove, is making the climb back to the car after the dive. Other stress-free sites include Bonaire classics like Small wall, Karpata and Bari Reef.
Islamorada and Tavernier characterizes dense coral cover, abundant fish life and consistently spectacular
Looking for things to do while visiting the Grand Canyon? Try a package trip. These adventures range from helicopter rides to bus tours and come with all the necessities travelers need to enjoy one of the greatest natural wonders of the world.
From a cost perspective, helicopters are the most expensive followed by airplane, rafting and bus. In each category, you’ll find a value vendor and a 5-star operator, the later of which will cost more but the service, equipment and experience are far superior.
The majority of tours originate from Las Vegas, NV, and Tusayan, AZ, the small town just outside the gates of the South Rim. Trips from Vegas go to the West Rim and the South Rim. Trips from the South Rim cover only that rim. There are no tours that connect the two destinations.
Las Vegas helicopter tours only go to the West Rim as the South Rim is out of range. If you have your heart set on seeing the South Rim, I recommend you consider taking a direct 45-minute airplane flight as it’s much more convenient than taking the bus, which takes 5.5 hours.
The West Rim is
10. Lanin National Park, San Martin de los Andes, Argentina
Torres del Paine National Park is, for good reason, a renowned place to continually have your mind blown by sheer beauty. For a more low-key but no less beautiful trek through Patagonia, try Lanin National Park in Argentina. Lanin has 20 glacial lakes and the towering, now-extinct cone-shaped Lanin volcano, which is a two-day climb. With over 413,000 hectares, the park is unsurprisingly a boredom-crusher. Trek to the Saltillo Waterfall, climb Chivo peak, kitesurf in the summer and ski in the winter, all with fewer visitors but a no less awesome adrenaline rush.
9. Cerro Cora National Park, Paraguay
Landlocked and overlooked, Paraguay still remains at the tail-end of must-see South America. One of the country’s jewels is Cerro Cora National Park, which lies on the Brazilian border. Even where it’s not inaccessible, it’s still pretty much void of visitors. Slather on the mosquito repellent and bring plenty of water as it can get well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit complete with punishing humidity. After cooling down in the Rio Aquidaban, search the savannah for tortoises, monkeys and the elusive jaguar among the red sandstone mountains. The park’s also famous for its historical sites.
Take a Dip in Hot Springs
Driving time: about four hours
Seek some respite from the cold temperatures with a long soak in some presidentially approved hot springs. The Jefferson Pools at the Omni Homestead Resort—located in the aptly named Hot Springs, Virginia—flow naturally from the Allegheny Mountains and are so restorative that Thomas Jefferson was said to have soaked here back in 1818. From January 7 onward, one of the two pools will be open Thursdays through Sundays, from noon to 5 p.m.; an hour-long soak costs $17.
In addition to the Jefferson Pools, The Homestead also offers an expansive spa outfitted with an Aqua Thermal Suite: home to experiential showers, a detoxifying herbal cocoon room, a cold cabin, and thermal heated lounges. While you’re there, you might as well take advantage of all the other winter activities it has to offer. These include skiing and snowboarding on the resort’s own slopes, ice skating, and tubing down the Penguin Slides.
Hole Up in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Driving time: about three hours
Gather a group of good friends and head for the Blue Ridge Mountains for a classic seasonal experience: the
Winter in the San Francisco Bay Area means many things. To the north, it means a romantic crowd-free weekend in wine country, and to the south, it means watching the wilderness in misty forests. And if you head east, you’ll reach the best snow the state has seen in years. Can’t decide? Flip a coin or throw a dart—there’s no bad way to go.
Driving time: about two hours
A weekend in the Napa Valley doesn’t have to be all about sipping Schramsberg bubbly with all the other tourists on a sunny Saturday. Come winter, wine country draws smaller crowds for its mellow appeal and winter-themed spa treatments. Plus, cabernet season is just gearing up.
Base yourself in the farthest, most intimate nook of the Valley, Calistoga. At Calistoga Ranch, a discreet luxury resort tucked into a private canyon, hills are studded with old oak trees and strewn with trails perfect for a crisp winter hike. Sooth yourself with the spa’s winter-ready treatments that incorporate rejuvenating Ayurvedic techniques to battle winter’s dreary effects, then cozy up by the fireplace in one of the resort’s 50 cedar-shingled guest lodges.
In town, brunch with
1. Save up to $225 by booking 27 days in advance
Don’t miss out on a mega saving of up to $225 on return trip flights to Hong Kong by booking your flight too late or too early this year. In fact, making sure you purchase your tickets exactly 27 days before departure can reduce fare prices to the buzzing Asian cityscape considerably, with our statistics showing a dip to an average price of around just $1000 return. That should leave passengers with plenty more dollars to flash amidst Hong Kong’s swish cocktail bars and jet set harborside haunts!
2. Save up to $200 by traveling in January or February
Not only do the early months of January and February usher in a period of dry days and mild nights that’s perfect for travelers eager to tick off all the city’s major “must sees” in one fell swoop, but they also herald the beginnings of Hong Kong’s festival season, when kaleidoscopic shows of fireworks and laser lights adorn the tips of the harborside skyscrapers at New Year, and oriental night parades mark the turning of the Chinese calendar. The best part though? It’s also the
1. Curaçao isn’t just a frivolous blue drink
A tiny island just off the coast of Venezuela, Curaçao doesn’t look like much on a map, but discovering its rich culture and history makes it a worthwhile stop. Curaçao is not just a place to lie on a beach – although there are plenty of opportunities to do that, too. The island is bursting with art and energy, flora and fauna and truly unique food styles derived from a multitude of different international cuisine styles paired with super fresh seafood. Sunscape is the only all-inclusive resort, spa & casino in the area, and it is very nice. Regally large and with 341 rooms and suites, four swimming pools including one with a swim-up bar, five restaurants and a café and nightly live entertainment. Outside of the resort, visitors can get to know the local marine life by going to school at Dolphin Academy and get up close with the friendly beasts while learning about marine conservation, or visit the Curaçao Sea Aquarium, which houses an underwater conservatory in a semi-submarine and also offers a hands-on experience to introduce visitors to sea lions.
The bathroom, too, is something else. Firstly, the bathtub complete with countless jets is so big that you could fit a whole Hong Kong Rugby Sevens team in it. It’s also perched right by floor-to-ceiling glass windows offering sweeping views of the city while you bathe. The super–high-tech showers also offer the same stunning view. And then there’s the private steam room and sauna. Oh, and Chanel toiletries.
But it’s the suite’s private pool that has really become an iconic image across the world. And it’s not hard to see why. It’s large for worldwide private villa standards, let alone space-starved Hong Kong standards. Nestled alongside the pool is a private sunbathing area. And to the right, a trellised hangout spot where many-a-celebrity has hosted a luxurious private party.
But if the Presidential Suite is a little out of your budget, the rest of the hotel ain’t too shabby, either. Many of the rooms offer awesome city views, and all include InterContinental’s top-notch customer service.
The hotel’s pool deck is a huge draw. There’s the large main pool surrounded by ample deckchairs, as well as a three-temperature, infinity-edge Jacuzzi pool, which has more of those
1. The Dragon’s Back – Stage 8 Hong Kong Trail
Ask a Hong Konger to name their favorite hike, and there is a very good chance it will be The Dragon’s Back.
Although the well-deserved popularity of this ridgeline hike on Hong Kong Island can make it frustratingly crowded at times, the spectacular views of the south side of the island more than make up for the bother.
Stage 8 of the Hong Kong Trail begins at To Tei Wan on Shek O Road, and quickly brings you up to the Dragon’s Back proper and Shek O Peak.
The undulating trail then cuts North along the sun-baked ridgeline towards Mount Collinson, offering panoramic views of Big Wave Bay to the East, and Tai Tam Bay to the West.
After rounding Mount Collinson, the trail turns down past the impressively terraced Cape Collinson cemetery and into Big Wave Bay – Hong Kong’s best surfing spot, of course.
The trail ends here, but keep heading south along Big Wave Bay Road and past the Shek O Golf Course to the beachside village of Shek O, for good food and cold Chang’s at the Shek
Want to spoil yourself? Halong Bay has some sumptuous cruise options that are basically luxury hotels on water. You’re paying for the experience of five-star amenities here – not for any particular divergence from the typical cruise itinerary – but if you want to live it up from a swanky sun-lounger while watching the sun set over a vista of craggy jungle-topped islands, you can’t really go wrong.
For a luxury cruise, bank on spending around US$220 for an overnight trip.
Pros It’s a serious treat; and the romantically inclined are sure to score brownie points with their partner.
Cons Those looking for good value should probably look at midrange options. Overnight trips (marketed as two-day-one-night trips) usually involve 24 hours or less on the actual boat, which can rankle given what you pay for the experience.
Budget and midrange cruises
Most Halong Bay visitors go for midrange or budget cruises, but there is a huge range when it comes to
1. Amsterdam, Netherlands
[Check out Hopper’s informative article on the cheapest time to fly to Europe to get some money-saving tips]
Peaceful, tolerant Amsterdam is known for several of the same qualities as Paris. Its trio of world-class art galleries, while not as iconic as the Louvre, together contain a collection that is just as impressive. The Rijksmuseum hangs renowned Rembrandts alongside works by other Old Masters such as Jan Steen and Jan Vermeer; the Van Gogh Museum has more of the expressionist artist’s paintings than anywhere else in the world; and the Stedelijk Museum shelters a superb collection of modern and contemporary art. Once you’ve soaked up the city’s artistic offerings, you can stroll round the lamplit Canal Ring, then relax in one of the capital’s famous cafés – even if they are famous for rather different reasons than their elegant counterparts in Paris.
2. Prague, the Czech Republic
[If you live in Boston you don’t want to miss the 10 cheapest flights from Boston to Europe]
Nicknamed the crossroads of Europe, Prague has picked up influences from both east and west and blended them into a beautiful farrago of architecture that
When my fiancé and I first started talking about our honeymoon, we thought we wanted an action-packed European vacation, filled with Irish breweries and Scottish castles. That is, until the stress of planning a wedding finally got to me, and I started crying over the fonts and styling code of our wedding website (I’ll blame my years as a digital editor for that one). My future husband looked at me and said, “Let’s go to the beach.”
And so Scotland turned into St. Lucia, and our itinerary through the British Isles shifted to one involving crystal-clear water and fruity cocktails. And while the thought of doing nothing more than reading novels with my toes in the sand for a few days was enticing, I was still itching for a little adventure. Enter: Ladera.
The only hotel set within St. Lucia’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, which overlooks the country’s famed Piton mountains, Ladera is an “open-concept” resort, meaning that all the rooms have only three walls, with the fourth being replaced by a view of the mountains.
Practically made for Instagram, the vistas from our suite’s mountainside perch were unlike anything I’d ever seen before,
Will 2016 be the year you embrace—or revive?—your outdoorsy side? Thanks to the National Park Service, it could be, and on the cheap, too. In 2016, each of our 409 national parks will celebrate 16 days of waived entrance fees (and some parks will offer even more!). It’s a fine way to celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service.
According to NPS spokesman Jeffrey Olson, the tradition of fee-free days was formalized in 2009 by then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. Gratis admission was intended “to give people a break during the depths of the recession,” says Olson, in addition to introducing people to the glory of our national parks.
Here are the 16 fee-free days for 2016, which include a full nine-day stretch this spring:
- January 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- April 16 through 24: National Park Week
- August 25 through 28: National Park Service Birthday
- September 24: National Public Lands Day
- November 11: Veterans Day
According to the NPS site, “the fee waiver includes entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.”
So find your closest
The capital city of Greece, Athens has been called the cradle of Western civilisation, which provides an insight into the length of its history. People flock to Athens for a variety of reasons, which means that visitors there are made up of people from all walks of life. Whether you are a history buff, a culture vulture, a sun-worshipper, or someone just looking for a great time with vibrant nightlife, you will find everything you want in Athens.
How to make the most of your three-day Athens trip
Not everyone who travels to Athens is able to stay for a lengthy period. For those who are only planning to be in the city for a few days, you need to make the most of your short time in this stunning destination.
Day 1 – Explore the local area and enjoy taking in the nightlife
Once you arrive in Athens on your trip, you will be raring to go and explore all this great, dusty metropolis has to offer. You may be more limited for time on your first day, depending on what time you arrive so it is best to stick to
Afghanistan is in the newspapers, but never the travel pages. It’s surreal to step off a plane and feel safe.
The Foreign Office advise against all travel, and your mum pleads with you to stay home, but when that pull of powder tugs hard enough, suddenly you’re nestled between the Hindu Kush and Koh-e-Baba mountain ranges in central Afghanistan, looking for a route down.
Bamiyan is a paradisiacal Shangri-la. The towering mountains isolate it from the horrors that beset much of the country. The Hazara people are diligent in keeping their heartland peaceful and welcoming.
It’s a pink early morning when I head out into the mighty Hindu Kush Mountains, the sunrise giving the unblemished snow a red hue.
I follow my guide Sajjad through the snow to the beginnings of the Koh-e-Baba range, where 4,000m (13,120ft) of deserted, crisp powder awaits beneath our feet.
As we walk, two local children whizz past on homemade skis. They fall down the hills more than they carve but their laughs reverberate around the valley.
One wears a thin wool coat, the other just a well-worn football top. Both their boots are strapped to wooden
1) Follow the dwarf trail
In Wrocław, gnomes snooze in doorways and swing from lamp posts. They originate from anti-establishment capers by the Orange Alternative movement in the 1980s. Gleefully declaring that rules prohibiting demonstrations didn’t apply to gnomes, many of these dwarves show indomitable spirit, including the first gnome statue which is poised holding a rock behind his back (spot him on the corner of Świdnicka and Kazimierza Wielkiego). Nowadays there are more than 300 dwarf statues, embodying whimsical caricatures of Wrocław’s human inhabitants. Tread the trail with a map from the information office in Wrocław’s Rynek (Market Square).
2) Discover cutting-edge art in Nadodrze
North of the River Odra lies rapidly changing Nadodrze. Handicraft shops and pint-sized galleries are sprouting across this once-dreary neighbourhood, though 1970s tower blocks and crumbling art deco mansions still serve as gritty reminders of its past. Knitted accessories and anatomical heart jewellery fight for space in Macondo, Pomorska 19. Over at Nado, plac Świętego Macieja 10, traditional ceramic art finds new expression in minimalist ornaments and mugs with bat-wing handles. Meanwhile, browsing paintings and sculptures in Galeria G, Jedności Narodowej 47, feels like rummaging in the attic of a
Explore on Bike
Even visitors on a short visit can sign up for the city’s free, 24-hour, Ecobici bike scheme. A perfectly flat city to pedal around, photocopies of your passport details and visa entry stamp are all that’s required to sign up. With 87 miles of bike lanes, January is the perfect time to explore the city on two wheels—plus, many of the city’s (rather loco) drivers are out of town on vacation, freeing up the roads.
January’s average 76ºF temperature easily soars to 95ºF, so diving into an outdoor swimming pool and powering out some laps is the perfect way to cool off, tone up, and tan. Snap up a day pass for around $10 at Parque Norte, and access three vast pools measuring 48,500 square feet each. You can also reserve one of 10 soccer fields or 16 tennis courts, as well as volleyball and basketball courts, at this sports complex.
Kayak the Nearby Rivers
With some 5,400 square miles to its name, the most surprising part about the vast Paraná Delta is its location—just 17 miles from Buenos Aires. Naturally, the best way to get to know