Category Archives: Travel & Vacation

You Have Never Been to New Zealand Until You Visit the North Island

The North Island of New Zealand The beauty of New Zealand captivates tourists all over the world. If you plan to visit and explore this lush country, never miss the North Island as this magnificent place will certainly blow you away.

Near the heart of the Pacific Ocean, east of the Land Down Under is a beautiful blend of lush mountains and pristine beaches, called the North Island of New Zealand. This blissful place, considered paradise by locals and visitors, is home to some of the friendliest people in the world and a plethora of exceptional species of plants and animals. In fact, many visitors would tell you that you have never truly visited New Zealand until you have been to the North Island. So what can you expect from this visit?

A Historic Day

Explore Waitangi and learn how it became the place where a new nation was born. According to Lonely Planet, this modern place showcases a comprehensive narrative as to the role of the Treaty of Waitangi in the history of New Zealand. After learning the nation’s history, you can go visit the Tamaki Maori Village and immerse yourself in ancient traditions as you rub elbows with the proud warriors of the old. You can also tour the Pompallier Mission and Printery while enjoying its spectacular views or feel the unique experience of living in the Thermal Village of Whakarewarewa.

Eventful Moments

After you have had your historic fill, Xquizit Limousines & Tours says you can head west towards the Matamata-Piako District in Waikato to visit the enchanting scenery of the Middle Earth. After visiting the dainty homes of Mr Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, head down south to Lake Taupo where you can enjoy a series of water sports you will forever remember.

Activities Galore

Explore the huge Lake Taupo, which according to NewZealand.com, is almost the size of the island-nation of Singapore. Cruise around its many coves scattered all across this mini-sea and do not forget to examine up close the Māori Rock Carvings which is accessible only by boat or kayak. If you love fishing, Lake Taupo offers an abundant school of brown or rainbow trouts. After your lake exploration, you can ride a private airport shuttle and head to the airfield for an exhilarating skydiving adventure over the lush and picturesque Taupo Region.

There are many more things to see and enjoy in the North Island of New Zealand. For maximum enjoyment and comfort, you can get a private shuttle to take you to these lovely places. You will save a great amount of time when you do so. After visiting the North Island, it is not hard to fall in love with the entire nation of New Zealand.

5 Incredible Reasons Why Japan is Known as a Winter Wonderland

Spending Winter in JapanJapan is one place where you can enjoy a host of winter activities. You can ski, snowboard, visit springs, and be amazed at ice sculptures! So plan for your next Japan winter trip starting now.

If there’s one thing that people look forward to whenever the 'ber' months arrive it's winter. What is it about winter that makes it so appealing? Aside from the white silvery glitter of snow, winter offers you a list of activities that you wouldn’t be able to do the rest of the year. In addition, do you know one of the best places in the world where you can do these winter activities? 

Sapporo Snow Festival

Who said that you can only create the perfect sculpture when there are weddings (think ice sculpture here) or when you go to the beach (remember giant sand castles)? In Hokkaido, winter will never be a bore with the Sapporo Snow Festival. This festival showcases giant snow sculptures that never fail to amaze and mesmerise visitors. Every year about 2 million people from all over the world are drawn to this festival.

Hell Valley

Before you get any other ideas, especially as to the name, it would be good for you to know that this valley is a famous Japanese natural park, and has been home to snow monkeys. You might think they must be ordinary, but they’re actually not. These cute mammals would seek the open air hot spring to get warm during the cold season. Of course, after you have travelled far and wide, you would love to settle and enjoy the hot springs too.

Abashiri Visit

Well, if you haven’t experienced seeing drifting sea ice before, then this winter would be the perfect time to do it. It is in the Abashiri area where the phenomenon is said to be the thickest. Aside from this, Abashiri also has some great museums, one of which is the prison museum. While no ghost stories were made known about this prison museum, you might just be the one to find out if it truly has. Dare?

Skis and Lifts

For those who do not only want to be a mere spectator but would like to take part in vigorous activities like skiing, snowboarding or the like, then you have a range of options to choose from in Japan, says an expert from SnowScene. There are over 500 ski resorts in the said country and you just have to choose where you would like to go. You can also inquire about ski Japan packages. The ski resorts are often miniaturised but you will definitely have a blast!

Yokote Kamakura Snow Festival

If you feel that it is very remote for you to actually live in Greenland and experience a day and night in an igloo, then the Yokote Kamakura Snow Festival will be your best bet. The Japan National Tourism Organization described the festival as having about 100 “kamakura” carved out of snow mounds. You’d get the chance to be in a kamakura while at the same time, there are countless miniature kamakuras on the ground filled with candles. Now that’s one spectacle you shouldn’t miss this winter.

So from now on, try to consider how you would be able to enjoy these great winter activities in Japan with your family. You can be assured that if you opt for them, you will surely have a good time!

Stage Hype: The Three Stages of the Concert Experience

Concert ExperienceIn the music industry, bands are interacting less with fans when it comes to album signing or launching. But when it comes to hearing a band play live, fans are willing to pay the price. A lot of fans are crazy about concerts and there are different stages that every concert-goer goes through.

Anticipation

You finally buy tickets to your long-awaited gig. But what do you do after you mark the date off on your calendar? There is plenty of time to kill and it is an opportunity to get to full-on stalker mode and practice your own “fangirl scream” that might just get the band to notice you.

The show

The big day is finally here. Your heart is pounding as you wait for the show to start. When the band starts playing, you alternate between screaming, crying, crowd surfing, singing your heart out and going on picture frenzy. You let the music wash over you as you have the time of your life.

Aftermath

Once the concert is over, you are hit with a wave of emptiness and despair. Reality comes crashing down as we realise we need to go back to work again the next day like nothing ever happened. It is enough to suck the life and bones out of you. So what do you do to cure post-concert depression?

Don’t stop the music

Life goes on, whether we like it or not. But life is too short to spend it brooding over a past performance. The best thing to do is to relive the moment by listening to their music or getting to know more about the band. The foolproof way to cure our concert addiction is to stay on the lookout for another show. It is easy to find great deals online and going to sites like theticketmerchant.com.au will help you find the perfect seat to their favourite show.

Concerts play a huge role in fan enjoyment. It can be hard going through the same cycle of anticipation and post-concert depression. But the thrill of the concert experience makes everything worth it.

Travel to the UK on a Budget with this Penny-Pinching Guide

UK TripYou can do and see a host of things in the United Kingdom, but the reality is that travelling to the U.K. does not exactly come cheap. Lucky for you, everything’s cheaper outside of London. When staying in the capital, however, you have to be frugal. Below are some money-saving tips.

Where to Sleep

Run-of-the-mill hostels could set you back between 20 to 50 GBP per night for a typical dorm room. You could take advantage of free Internet, TV, common room, laundry facilities, and usually breakfast. Budget hotels provide pretty much the same amenities but prices start about 75 GBP for a twin room per night. Apartments are priced relatively the same as budget hotels.

How to Get Around

The National Rail Service is costly. However, you could book your tickets during off-peak hours and in advance to get cheaper rates. For more affordable transportation, consider the Megabus, where you could buy extremely cheaper tickets. But be warned that you should book tickets at least one month before your trip to get special fares, most especially if you’re travelling popular routes.

Where to Eat

Kebabs as well as fish and chips are between 3 to 5 GBP, while Asian and Indian lunch entrees start at 6 GBP. If you’re cooking, allot at least 60 to 80 GBP for groceries per week. If you plan on eating in nicer restaurants, expect the prices to start at about 25 GBP. Consider going to local pubs where they serve local comfort food that starts at around 10 to 12 GBP.

What to See and Do

The majority of activities are relatively affordable and plenty of major museums are completely free. However, castles and other must-see attractions are between 10 to 25 GBP so budget your money wisely. Whole day wine, cycling and ancient ruins tours are around 80 GBP per day.

It’s likewise vital to note that you could avoid hefty cell phone charges by purchasing a U.K. SIM card before the trip. This way, you won’t have to use your local data plan and don’t have to guess how much you’ll be paying for your phone bill back home. Likewise, consider booking everything that you can online and in advance to get low rates.

Experience the Best of Vail Without Breaking the Bank

Skiing in VailVail, Colorado is an amazing place to visit, being a world class tourist destination. The place offers luxury, romance, adventure, and fun. Nonetheless, people who have financial constraints think twice before considering this destination. This shouldn’t stop you from experiencing the best in this winter wonderland, though.

With a little research and planning, you can make a fun-filled trip to Vail:

  • Stay at condos and vacation rentals

Choose accommodation along the free shuttle route in Vail—the shuttle is the most reliable way to get to the lifts and the village. This will be less expensive than staying in premier hotels in the area. You will find these rental homes larger, helping you allot more of your budget to other luxuries. Find a good vacation condominium or apartment, as they are great for groups and families.

  • Know your transport options

Do not go for a rental car or SUV, as they are likely to cost more. You can take the Mountain express shuttle to Colorado from Eagle or Denver airport right up to your lodging. As American Ski Exchange notes, Vail’s shuttle can also take you anywhere you want in the village. Apart from saving on rental costs, this will save you from paying parking fees.

  • Take package deals

Go for package offers on gear, lift tickets, and ski lessons. Your entire family can take skiing lessons together, as rates are lower if you go in a group. Visit travel websites to get discounted lift tickets and the best package deals available. Buying the lift tickets online can save you money. You can also save money by renting the boards and skis in advance.

Going on a vacation in Vail does not mean having to splurge and empty your pockets. The right plan and itinerary can make a difference to your travel expenses.

Holiday Plans: Coordinating Your Family Ski Trip

Coordinating Your Family Ski Trip in BrisbaneFor this year’s family reunion, everyone has decided to spend it in one of the more famous ski resorts in Brisbane. It’s quite a wonderful idea, but this require thorough preparations. After all, the last thing you want is to have trouble when you’re supposed to be enjoying your gathering.

SnowScene shares a few things you need to do when preparing for your family ski reunion:

Coordinate with Travel Companions

For those who aren’t sure where the venue is, arrange a convoy with relatives. You can even arrange car pooling for those who will go to the reunion solo. However the travel arrangements may be, make sure everyone has the directions on their GPS or mobile devices  in case they have to travel to the resort on their own due to sudden schedule changes.

Coordinate Purchases

Have family members list their needed ski items and collate them all in one list. Make arrangements with a one-stop snow shop that focuses on needs for ski holidays. It would be better if they can buy online for last minute requests. Ask for possible discounts and freebies for group purchases. Check for possible delivery services for the items you bought.

Coordinate Deliveries

Have whatever purchases delivered to the resort when there are already people to receive them. For other items that need to be transported by family members, remind them of what they need to bring the day before they travel. For worst case scenarios (lost items, forgotten purchases, etc.) have a shop or purchasing service that can assist in buying what you need even at the last minute.

Make your family’s ski reunion a fun experience. Assign tasks to every family member, so you can better plan this special gathering.

Indulge Your Artistic Side: Highly Recommended Buenos Aires Spots for the Artsy Tourists

Caminito

CaminitoKnown as the Paris of South America, Buenos Aires offers many artistic and cultural attractions for its visitors. If you’re planning to fly to this Argentinian capital to explore its artistic offerings, 48 Hour Visit shares some of the spots you should visit.

Teatro Colon

Would you like to listen to classical pieces in the third best opera house in the world? Considered among the acoustically best concert venues worldwide, Teatro Colon offers a one-of-a-kind experience in performance arts. Witness the great pieces performed by veteran musicians in the main concert hall with 3000 other visitors and you’ll be in absolute awe of the sheer beauty of your experience.

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes

Visitors consider Buenos Aires’ National Museum of Fine Arts as the mini-Louvre because of its vast collection of both Argentine and European artists. You can explore art pieces ranging from the Middle Ages to the Baroque and Renaissance era and to the more recent Impressionists. The best thing about it all is you get to see most pieces for free.

Museo Evita

Do you know the song about Evita Peron? Argentina’s spiritual leader of the 70s led the country in charitable and feminist works, especially pushing for women’s suffrage. Buenos Aires’ Museo Evita exhibits her short but meaningful life of 33 years through the arts. You can see her photographs and old articles of clothing and even read some of her old letters.

Caminito

This “little street” is one of the most colorful areas in La Boca neighborhood. It serves as a traditional alley and a street museum. You can take photos of brightly painted houses and perhaps talk with local artists selling their work.

Historical Cafés

After an entire day of exploration, it’s time now for you to rest and indulge in the glorious architecture and exquisite ambience of Buenos Aires’ historical cafés. There’s Las Violetas, El Banderin, and La Nostalgia Café for you. If you only have 48 hours in Buenos Aires to enjoy the traditional cafés in the city, make sure to visit Café Tortoni, the oldest, most famous, and generally regarded as the most beautiful café in the city.

Explore these 5 cultural attractions in Buenos Aires and consider your artistic cravings satisfied.

The Night Life: Where You Should Go While in Brisbane

restaurantBrisbane is a tourist-favourite city in Australia because of its perfect weather all-year long. Located at the heart of Queensland, Brisbane, which is also the country’s third biggest metro, is a perfect getaway as it is close to a lot of other tourist destinations in the Land Down Under.

Due to the growing numbers of visiting travellers, a lot of bars and restaurant businesses have started surfacing within and around the city. Here’s a list of some of the best Bars in Brisbane:

Libertine

Located at 5-61 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane QLD 4000, Australia. This bar and restaurant is famous for its cosy ambiance and a full, wide-range menu. Dinner is served starting 7 pm.

Byblos

If you love Mediterranean cuisine and vibe, Byblos is the best place for you. Their intricately designed interior, sumptuous cuisine, and world-class drink list are just some of the things that you will miss if you don’t drop by in this place. Located at 5-61 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane QLD 4000, Australia.

Lychee Lounge

If you’re looking for a place that has an exotic feel, Lychee Lounge must be on your itinerary. From fish scale walls to Barbie chandeliers and a dome-shaped ceiling, this place has the ability to bring you to different places. Lychee Lounge is located at 2/94 Boundary Street, West End (Brisbane) QLD 4101, Australia.

Dandy’s Rooftop Bar

If you were given the chance to eat delectable food, sip your favorite cocktail, be in a place filled with vibrant colors and the whole city as your view, will you grab the opportunity? Dandy’s Rooftop, which is located, 71-73 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane QLD 4101, Australia, can spell F-U-N is so many ways.

Watt Modern Dining

Known for its nature-y vibe, Watt Modern Dining is one of the best Brisbane bars that a tourist should try. It has an overlooking view of the Brisbane River, has an alfresco dining and an extensive menu of different cuisine and drinks. Plus, this place is also a perfect place for a romantic dinner, what’s not to like, right? Watt is located at 119 Lamington Street, New Farm, Brisbane.

So, if you’re in Brisbane, or planning to visit, make sure to give time for these places in your go-to list to enjoy the experience.

How Sentosa Made It to the Tourism Spotlight

The Sentosa Tour

The Sentosa TourSentosa is no doubt one of the most famous vacation spots in the world today. It’s more likely that you have heard about the island or have read articles describing how beautiful this place is. Asia’s favourite playground has evolved and turned into a modern day paradise, but its road to fame and progress is not as smooth as you might think.

Before Sentosa became a huge name in the global tourism industry, it has undergone many changes. The island has a diverse history and its own success story; it even served as a British military base and a prisoner-of-war camp during the Japanese Occupation.

Once a Pirate Haven and Island of the Dead

Long before Sentosa becomes a tourist spot, it served as a haven for pirates and a base camp. Due to the tales of piracy and bloodshed surrounding the island, people called it Pulau Belakang Mati or Island Death from Behind. After the Japanese surrendered to the British in 1945, Sentosa became a local holiday destination.

How Sentosa Got Its Name

In 1972, the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board ran a contest to give Pulau Belakang Mati a new and better name. Sentosa, the word derived from the original Sanskrit “Sentosha”, was the winning entry. The island’s new name has a beautiful meaning in Malay – peace and tranquillity.

The Turning Point

The fall of the Japanese troops in 1945 marked the start of Sentosa’s quick and continuous development. The first cable car system on the island, along with different attractions, opened in 1974. The causeway linking Sentosa and Singapore was completed in 1992. This allowed people from the mainland to travel to and from the resort conveniently. Since then, more investors have shown interest in the island and more attractions have opened.

The Big Break

Some of the first attractions closed down in 2002, but larger entertainment facilities such as Resorts World Sentosa, Underwater World and Universal Studios came to prominence. Travel companies and websites like store.sentosa.com.sg offer convenient Singapore attractions packages to help tourists enjoy everything the island resort has to offer.

Sentosa has changed so much and it is far different from what it was before. You’ll discover more about its history, beauty and current economic status when you choose it as your next holiday destination.

5 Attractions You Need to See on Your Penang Holiday

penang hill

penang hillMalaysia is the melting pot of Asian cultures. Deeply rooted in its own heritage as well as that of the Chinese, Indian and British cultures, Malaysia manages to be a uniquely eclectic mix while retaining an identity that is truly Asian.

No holiday in Penang, Malaysia would be complete without seeing first-hand all the sights that the locality has to offer. U Hotel Penang recommends immersing yourself in Malaysia’s rich heritage by going to these must-see attractions in Penang:

1. Penang Hill

Enjoy the utterly breathtaking panoramic view as you climb 821 meters above sea level up on Penang Hill. Penang Hill is home to picturesque colonial mansions that you can marvel at when you take the cable ride. Alternatively, you can enjoy the scenery by taking a hike up a foliage-rich trail through its botanical gardens.

2. Hawker Fare

Penangites love good food. And when in Penang, you just have to do as the locals do. Take in the Malaysian culture by sampling the delicacies for a truly unique experience you will not soon forget. Whether it is Chinese, Malaysian, or Indian cuisine, you are sure to find it in the streets of Penang.

3. Places of Worship

You need not be religious to appreciate the awe-inspiring architecture of the grand churches, picturesque mosques, and elaborate Buddhist temples that so richly abound in Penang. Marvel at their lavish architecture.

4. Butterfly Sanctuary

Enjoy a nature trip with ecotourism. This butterfly sanctuary is one of Malaysia’s top draws. In fact, British Prime Minister Tony Blair made it a point to see it in person with his wife when they made a visit to Malaysia in 2008.

5. Batu Ferringhi Beach

What holiday would be complete without a trip to sandy shores and open seas? Soak up the sun in a fun-filled adventure at the Batu Ferringhi beach. Enjoy the warmth of Penang’s hospitality by immersing yourself in the tropical climate that Malaysia is famous for.

It is all about taking in the sights and sounds of Penang. Immerse yourself in the culture and take in the beauty of Malaysia—the country that is truly Asia.