Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ubud, Indonesia

Ubud is a cultural hub, famous for its arts and craft, and is situated in central Bali, Indonesia, also has workshops of various artists and several galleries.


Ubud in fact consists of 12 villages, and each village is run by local village committees. Ubud dates back to the eighth century, when at that time was centre for natural medicine and curing, and that is how the name Ubud was taken , Ubad is the Balinese word for medicine. For the next 400 years temples and monasteries were established, and the temple complex at Gunung Kawi and the cave temples at Goa Gajah are from this period. Even the dance and drama from that period is still performed in Ubud today.

In the year 1900, Ubud became a Dutch province , but the colonialists did not interfere with the conventional arts and culture, and they were encouraged by the Royal Families to show their presence in the town, and were involved in promoting and of understanding of Balinese art and culture and taking it to the world, and developed into a high profile international place to visit.

Ubud is situated 200m above sea level, it has a fairly cool temperature, but a noon it becomes very hot, and the humidity is quite high. It is always better to see places in Ubud by moving outdoor early in the morning to avoid the heat. In the months of January and February Ubud has very heavy rainfall.


Central Ubud is usually congested with people and heavy traffic, of tricycles and trucks, and mainly in the afternoons when the tourists arrive in buses. To see the major attractions in Ubud, you should come here for holidays at least for a week, to see the sights properly.

The main historical sites are located out of the town area, and some of them as far as 20km, but advisable to visit these places. When you do visit attractions such as Goa Gajah, Gunung Kawi, Pura Kehen, and Tirta Empul, always ask a knowledgeable guide to accompany you to enjoy these beautiful places, and learn about their cultural and spiritual importance.


Take a tour on a cycle through the Bamboo forests, and the coffee plantations, and take the traditional Penglipuran village breakfast overlooking Batur Mountain and lake and have your lunch in the centre of paddy fields in restaurant. You can also take a cycle ride through the serene surrounding, and tranquil pathways leading downhill to villages, and different landscapes of Bali, and also visit the local craftsmen doing their daily work.


The temple is the most famous sight, and this structure dates back to the 11th century and has enchanting stone carvings.


This Goa Gajah cave dates back to the ninth century, the entrance is ornately carved demon mouth, and inside the cave are lingam and yoni statues, as well as a statue of Lord Ganesha.


Dates back from the eleventh century, and is the burial ground complex of King Anak Wungsu and his numerous wives. This ancient structure can be reached by going down 371 steps.

The other important temples to visit are the Pura Kehen Temple, Puri Saren Agung Royal Palace, The Tirta Empul holy temple built around the hot springs and the Balinese come here to bathe and cleanse themselves spiritually and physically. The Monkey forest in Ubud is a must visit, so is the visit to Petulu to see the White Herons which descend there in thousands, and watching them is a spectacle

Ubud is centre of Arts, and has 65 various game plan dance shows, puppet shows, and special temple ceremonies. There are plenty of spas to choose from to relax yourself.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Branson, Missouri


Branson - A Family Vacation Destination

Branson in southwest Missouri is an Ozark town and is known as a family vacation destination. Its 76 Country Boulevard is popularly lined with theatres that had once hosted mostly country music performers though presently have diverse entertainment.

Moreover along the strip are Silver Dollar city, a 1800s themed amusement park together with live music, Dolly Parton’s Wild West style Dixie Stampede dinner theatre and the landmark Marvel Cave. Branson is a city in Stone and Taney County having a small portion in the west that extends into Stone County.

The community had been named after Ruben Branson, postmaster as well as an operator of general store in the 1880s, in that area. Branson had been a popular destination for travellers from Missouri and the neighbouring locations. It became a famous tourist destination due to its collection of entertainment theatres together with its76 Country Boulevard including Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede.

This destination has drawn tourist from all regions of the country typically by car or bus. One cannot miss out on the museum’s ship shaped portico while travelling along Highway 76 in Branson, which is Branson’s own Titanic Museum, a home to unique collection of historical artifacts connected to the ill-fated ship’s attempt to cross the Atlantic.

Museum – Interesting & Unique Experience

The museum provides lots of interesting and unique experiences to enjoy on your trip to this amazing destination. Branson Titanic Museum is situated at 3235 W. 76 Country Boulevard in Branson, at the intersection of 76 Highway 165 and is placed a few miles towards the west of downtown Branson.

It is in the vicinity of other local attractions like the Ripley’s Believe It or Not. If one tends to be staying near the museum, the easiest way to reach there is driving where ample of parking space is made available for visitors at the museum.

The Silver Dollar City which is one of Americas’ great them parks, offers a 1880s themed experience with twist and turn on Outlaw Run or Wildfire, two of the park’s big roller coaster or be astounded by the craftsmen as well as artisan demonstrating in your presence.

One could also enjoy good Ozark Mountain cooking from one of the several tasty restaurants or booths or also become a volunteer at the Fireman’s Landing; the park’s all new family adventure space for 2015.

Promised Land Zoo – Experience of Live Animal Shows

The Track Family Fun Parks in Branson are top destination for families as well as groups. With three different locations around Highway 76, there are three various high rise tracks, inclusive of the Wild Woody, The Lumberjack and Heavy Metal High Rise, with bumper boats, mini golf, laser tag, the Sky Coaster and much more.

At the Promised Land Zoo tourist can get the experience of live animal shows, a foot safari, Parakeet Paradise and also bottle feeding the baby animals. The focus of the Zoo is to provide safe conditions for the animals, an entertaining experience for the tourists while at the same time educate visitors on the importance of taking care of animals in the world around.

Go through the treetops of Wolfe Mountain at Branson Zipline and Canopy tours and learn about the local wildlife as well as the Ozark region on photo safari or could choose from the various zip line tour choices. Branson is an amazing destination with plenty of interesting sites one would enjoy exploring.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

5 Things That Make Norfolk, Virginia, a Hidden Treasure

Your cab driver’s behavior can tell you a lot about a particular city or town. If he’s a bit rugged and blows the horn too much you might be in Queens. However, if you are greeted with a bottle of water and a fist bump you might be in Norfolk, Virginia, a place that’s refined enough to still be considered country and busy enough not to be boring. The editors at Forbes Travel Guide recently visited the coastal Virginia metropolis and discovered it had more to it than sheer hospitable chauffeurs at the airport. The city’s growing gastronomic and art scenes have it on the verge of exploding. If you visit now, you can enjoy without much of the metropolis fuss.

The Mermaids

Anywhere you look in the city, you will find some or the other mention of a mermaid. From its logo to Virginia’s first urban winery i.e. the legendary siren of the sea is all over the place. As the fable has it, mermaids would sing to soldiers back to safe coastline after battles on the cruel waters. Being the home of the world’s biggest naval station, the Naval station and the city adopted the creatures as a kind of mascot in the year 1999. Today the people with pride pose for pictures in front of the 100 mermaid statues located around the city and test their skills by painting mini replicas at the mermaid factory. When you are lost downtown the statues can come quite useful as landmarks.

The Arts

Norfolk is a creative place with the naval themed public arts project. The city has a number of diverse neighborhoods like the Norfolk Arts District and Ghent that are starting to fill with paintbrushes. The latter section of the town houses some notable exhibition halls (Okay Spark Gallery) and the famous Chrysler Museum of Art, a 220,000 square foot museum filled with European paintings, American art and the Glass art collection. Impressed by the museums Tiffany holdings, you can then proceed to the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio for a free demonstration of glassblowing and Kiln working session.

The Food

It is a known fact that the people of Virginia love their food, and love to eat. Along the coast Norfolk serves high end snacks (The Grilled Cheese Bistro) and rice bowls, to mouth watering seafood. At the 456 Fish you are served the best potato chip encrusted jumbo lump crab cake, And for dinner you can go for some privacy and have Grass fed lamb with a bottle of Fiore Sangiovese.

The Beer

When we were visiting town, the famous Virginia Beer festival was taking place at the town point park. There are 65 local beers available, but we could not taste all, but especially loved the Norfolk’s Smartmouth Brewing Company. The three year old beer is a Belgian saison with a fruity taste and peppers. Another winning area is the O’Connor Brewing company, which houses a taproom for sampling the El Guapo the Norfolk Canyon Ale.

The Location

Norfolk has the proximity to all the other important places like, Virginia Beach on 18 miles away. If you cross Elizabeth River and head south, you will reach Portsmouth. 17 miles north, you will come into Hampton and Newport News. 30 miles further you will be in Williamsburg a village where Thomas Jefferson and Paul Revere roamed in the 1700s. Close and a walkable distance is the History Museum, and just down the street is the Forbes Travel Guide Four stars Williamsburg Inn and the Williamsburg Lodge which take care of tourists and guests like a family.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cancun, Mexico


Cancun –A Popular Holiday Destination

Cancun is located on the south-east coast of Mexico in Quintana Roo in the Yucatan Peninsula bordering the Caribbean Sea. It is self-possessed of two distinct areas; one is the more traditional downtown area, El Centro and Zona Hotelera, which is a long beachfront strip of high rise hotels, shops, restaurants and nightclubs.

Cancun is also a popular destination for students during college’s break period of spring. One will find white powdery sand beaches together with turquoise crystal clear waters accompanied with the popular Mexican hospitality which makes this destination an amazing location for vacation. It is an ideal holiday spot having sunshine throughout the year with tropical and humid weather.

The official language spoken in Cancun is Spanish and most of the Mexicans that work in the tourism industry tend to speak English together with French, Italian as well as German spoken by some of them. Most of the local natives still speak Mayan as their first language while Spanish seems to be the second. Among themselves most of them tend to speak Mayan. This destination tends to offer a variety of activities which ranges from water sport such as jet skiing, parasailing on the beach and bar hopping in the Hotel District.

Xcaret – Ecological Theme Park/Delphinus – Swimming with Dolphins

Other local attractions comprise of Xcaret which is an ecological theme park and Delphinus, a swimming experience with the dolphins. The transportation opportunities to Cancun is overwhelming wherein the streets have good amount of taxis, tourist buses together with transport vans to shuttle visitors to and from the hotels and the popular sites within the city.

However, Cancun being a large tourist destination,crimes are on the rise, especially late at night and in the early hours of morning and it advisable to travel in groups while in the city. Getting around Cancun is easy and cheap by bus and one can avail bus services to most places within Cancun.

There is bus service every hour from Cancun Airport to Downtown Cancun and from Cancun bus terminal in downtown Cancun one will find regular services to every area in Mexico. The Cancun Airport handles the second largest volume of traffic in Mexico and hence the security level seems to be very high here.

Airport With Great Modern Facilities/Equipment

After the construction of the new terminal, Cancun airport boast of great modern facilities and equipment. One will find remarkable duty free shops as well as gifts shops selling silver jewellery as well as souvenirs. The official currency in Cancun is the Mexican peso; however American dollars are also accepted.

 For exchange purpose, besides the banks, there are other exchange houses all over Cancun which tend to be open beyond the working hours. Cancun telecommunication seems to be modern and up-to-date with all the main tourist places having facilities like fax and internet service.

Tourist would also have the facility of wireless internet access in several hotels as well most of the restaurants and cafes. Making call from the hotel could tend to be a costly affair. The cheapest way of making calls is with prepaid cards. Some of the best places to explore is to visit and climb Coba which is the tallest Mayan pyramid in the Yucatan, explore Tulum, the only seaside Mayan archaeological site, the Cancun Maya Museum, Xoximilco Cancun, a replica of the Xochimilco neighbourhood in Mexico city featuring trajinera canal rides with local food, drink together with live music from each region of Mexico.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Osaka, Japan


Osaka – Economic Powerhouse of Kansai Region for Centuries

Osaka is located in the centre of Kinki region in the Midwest Japan covering the smallest prefecture land space in Japan. It boost of largest population with the highest population density immediately after the capital, Tokyo. It is the third largest and second most important city and has been the economic powerhouse of the Kansai region for several centuries.Osaka dates back to the Asuka and the Nara periods and was earlier known as Naniwas prior to the Nara period when the capital used to be moved with the reign of each new emperor. Naniwa once the capital city of Japan was the first one to be known.

Osaka continued to play an important role as a hub for land, sea and river-canal transportation, even after the capital had moved elsewhere.Surrounded on three sides of the prefecture are the mountains and towards the west, the arc-shaped Osaka Bay. Due to its proximity to the former capitals of Japan Kyoto and Nara, it has prospered as an important point for land and water transportation together as a commercial city. The Osaka Castle with a five layer donjon as its core on a lawn park which tends to extend to around 60,000 square meters is in the Osaka City.

Kaiyukan Aquarium – Largest Aquarium in the World

The park, during the cherry blossom season in spring is particularly crowded with hanami or cherry blossom viewing crowd. Umeda, Osaka’s north gate has a massive stretch of underground mall which accommodates several restaurants, fashion and sundry goods stores. When compared to Kita with Umeda at its core, Minami seems to be an area with core cities; Namba which is a famous business as well as shopping district together with Dotonbori has several restaurants on both sides of Dontonbori-gawa River.Minami is known as a town of public entertainments, having several theatres as well as cinemas.

The Tenpo-zan Harbour Village has a 112.5 meter high Ferris wheel, with shopping mall and Kaiyukan Aquarium which is one of the largest aquarium in the world and ATC – Asia Pacific Trade Centre, the largest outlet mall in Japan is also very popular. Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the 16th century had chosen Osaka as the location for his castle and the city could have been Japan’s capital had it not been for Tokugawa leyasu who terminated the Toyotomi lineage after the death of Hideyoshi and moved his government to distant Edo (Tokyo).

Osaka Served as Nation’s Kitchen

During the era of Tokugawa, when Edo served as the grim seat of military power and Kyoto was the home of the Imperial court together with its couriers, Osaka served as `the Nation’s Kitchen’. It was the collection and the distribution point of rice which was the most important measure of wealth. Therefore it was also the city where the merchants made and lost fortunes and happily ignored all warnings from the shogunate to lessen their noticeable consumption. Shiteennoji university in Osaka is famous for its courses.

Osaka’s courageous entrepreneurs took the lead in industrial development during the Meiji era, making it equal to Manchester in U.K. A thorough defeat in World War II had left little evidence of this magnificent past. The castle is also a Ferro concrete reconstruction till date and though not appealing and gruff on the surface, Osaka tends to remain Japan’s best place to eat, drink and be merry. In legend, Osakans continue to greet one another with mokarimmaka – are you making money?