Bora Bora Boracay

Bora Bora Boracay!

Are you a beach lover? Your idea of a perfect romantic getaway is to be sipping champagne while surrounded by crystal clear waters and white glistening sands? For all the tropical honeymooners out there, be informed that nothing could be more perfect than waking up on a bright, sunny morning in the charming Philippines. Boracay is one of the last undiscovered Asian beach escapes. A small island at 4.5 miles long, Boracay is small enough to navigate by rented bicycle or bike!

The Beaches

Even with it’s small expanse, Boracay has several world famous beaches to boast. White Beach, among these, is Boracay Island’s longest, most iconic and commercial strip. This place is a very important one on the Boracay bucket list. Voted one of the best beaches in the world, White Beach truly is a self-sufficient paradise, with 4 kilometres of white, pristine sand speckled with resorts, shops, and restaurants.

Yapak Beach, also known as Puka Beach, is famous for its numerous puka shells. The beach is known for its seafood, swarmed with restaurants serving the catch of the day. One great feature about Yapak Beach is that it’s not as commercial as White Beach, so it’s less crowded and leaves more opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of the island. There are several other less commercial beaches around the place, ideal for the offbeat souls who like to steer away from the crowd.

Things to do

Boracay is an adventure-lover’s dream come true. Reef walking, scuba diving, parasailing, skimboarding, stand-up paddling and many more beach sports can be explored in abundance. Apart from that, you can do cliff diving, zorbing and ziplining, ATV rides, mermaid swimming, and loads more to satiate your appetite for adventure.

However, if you’re the kind who wants a vacation in the literal sense of the word and just wants to take it easy, then pick a less strenuous activity like swimming, golfing, or sailing or just recline by the beach and indulge in a glorious massage. There’s something for every type on this wondrous piece of land.

D’ Talipapa

The seafood paradise of Boracay, D’ Talipapa is a wet market that is surrounded by restaurants that offer cooking services for the fresh catches that you’ll find here. For those of you who don’t know the fast growing trend of “paluto” (meaning, “cooking service”) in the Philippines, you’re in for an experience you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Just seeing the range of seafood and fresh produce this market boasts will make your eyes pop out and mouth drool. And the best part? You get to have it tailored to your exact taste. So, get your tricycle ready and make your way to this food fantasy land.

Boracay will steal your heart in more ways than one. The breathtaking sunsets, the carefree sailing, the crazy nightlife, the sweetest locals, the happy-go-lucky tourists, the delectable food, the romantic setting, the natural beauty… the list goes on and on. However, the most striking quality about this wonderland is that you can create your own adventure and enjoy your stay in your own customized way no matter what your preferences are.

Are you convinced yet? Then come on over lovebirds, to the Philippines’ best kept secret.

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Which Honeymooner are you?

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Honeymoons are stereo typically expected to be romantic getaways, to be spent among’st flowers and wine and stargazing hand-in-hand all the nights following your dream wedding. But increasingly, couples prefer designing their honeymoons to match their preferred lifestyles and interests. Here’s a list of perfect honeymoon destinations catering to your personalities!

 The Party Lovers

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Peaceful days and nights not really your thing? There are a number of places you can bring in your life together by partying in style. From the beaches of Ibiza to the casinos of Vegas, to the party districts of Amsterdam, you can celebrate an insane honeymoon in the Sin Cities of the world with your spouse, if both of you truly believe that crazy is your middle name!

Recommendations: Las Vegas, USA | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Ibiza, Spain | Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand | Mykonos, Greece

The Peaceful beach lovers

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If there is one thing the world is full of, its beautiful beaches that are any honeymooner’s absolute delight! Spend a week out on virgin white sands, having your feet tickled by waves, a romantic dinner at the beach, a midnight cruise, and diving and snorkelling to see the gorgeousness that lies in the deep water. And the best part is, there are beaches to suit every budget possible!

Recommendations: Bora Bora, French Polynesia | Maldives | Mauritius | Bali, Indonesia | Harbour Island, Bahamas | Koh Tao, Thailand | Aruba, Kingdom of Netherlands | Floriday keys, USA |

Up in the Mountains

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There’s something so peaceful and yet so wild to be in the middle of the mountains, looking out over the world! And thankfully, some beautiful resorts let you do exactly that! Whether it’s waking up in the middle of snow-capped hills of Switzerland, or the beautiful views of Alaskan peaks, there’s something for everyone.

Recommendations: Gstaad, Switzerland | Val Thorens, France | Alaska

Backpackers Delights

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Don’t enjoy luxurious resorts pampering you? Prefer meeting people from all over the world and travelling with a single backpack and a lot of memories? Backpacking has a thrill of its own, with unmatched memories, experiences and beauty all at a budget cost. Europe is any day the mecca of backpackers with convenient hostels of all budgets and types (huge dorms to single rooms, food facilities to bare minimum lodging) across all countries and cities. While some of the most romantic and luxurious honeymoons can be planned in Europe, why not get your kicks by honeymooning in this unique way, and seeing Europe like no couple would’ve seen before?

Thrill Seekers

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Don’t want a plane-Jane honeymoon? Get your thrills by jumping off a plane or bungee jumping with your spouse instead? Head for some amazing adventure capitals of the world, and celebrate your honeymoon with a difference, your way! Be it Sky Diving, cycling across the country side, going on wild safaris or water skiing with a difference, these places have all this to offer and so much more to get your adrenaline pumping!

Recommendations: New Zealand | Australia | Europe | Kenya

Romance Seekers

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And then there are those picture-perfect destinations, where one can hold hands, lean on each other and just breathe in the beauty. The sought-after break after all the crazy wedding affair, finally with the one you love. What better way to start the rest of your lives together than relaxing in each other’s company in absolute culture and beauty?

Recommendations: Santorini, Greece | Florence, Venice, Paris, Europe | Kyoto, Japan | Maui, Hawaii | Ireland | Istanbul, Turkey | Seychelles

This list is nowhere near exhaustive of all the different ways a honeymoon can be spent! From flower petals on your bed to sharing a dormitory with strangers, there are innumerable choices for you to decide how you want to start the adventure that is your married life.

So which type are you?

Istanbul: A Love Affair between the East and the West

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Istanbul—where the East unites in complete harmony with the West, and the old world exists in symphony with the new—is considered among the most popular travel destinations in the world. A land of fantasies, Istanbul is the economic, cultural and historical capital of Turkey. This ancient city of juxtapositions and contradictions is so unique in its charm and romance, there’s no wonder it’s an ideal holiday destination for newly-weds and honeymooners, and generally, for those in love.

The Culture:

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Istanbul is a cultural enigma, a melting pot of the best traditions from Asia and Europe. Cradling the great Bosphorus, this magical city’s skyline is adorned with domes and minarets, which provides an eternally amorous charm. It’s bound to leave any fluttering heart wide-eyed. Istanbul’s history dates back to the Byzantine Empire and Constantinople, to its significant standing in the Ottoman Empire. This multi-continent metropolis boasts streets that echo the words of many a reformist, breath-taking Islamic structures that are an expression of spirituality, imperial harems that brag of past glory, and the Grand Bazaar in all its hustle and bustle. In short, Istanbul’s dazzling culture needs to be experienced first-hand to be believed.

The Food:

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With Istanbul’s culture being so diverse, its food is a breath-taking melting pot of cuisines that caters to Asian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and European palettes alike. It’s also a hub for some of the world’s best street food. The kebabs sold at every bend and corner are the stuff kings were made of. The Doner kebab—spit-roasted, deboned meat that melts in the mouth—is a blessing bestowed on meat lovers.
Apart from kebabs and other meaty delights, this enigmatic metro is famous for its sweet treats, an important component of Turkish cuisine. The simit, Turkey’s answer to the American bagel, is sold by street sellers with glass-fronted push-cars. Watch out for this heady aroma on a sunny Istanbul morning. Turkish delight remains the sweet of choice for many traditionalists. The subtle flavours of this ‘delight’ful, chewy, scented candy pair beautifully with the local coffee as well (don’t forget to try Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi, Turkey’s oldest and most famous brand of coffee)! What’s more? Turkish pastry is a force to be reckoned with, with Baklava, Borek, and Boyoz topping the list. The savoury delicacies are as mouth-watering as the sweet; it’s a guaranteed foodgasm with every bite!

The Nightlife :

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Turkey’s nightlife is heavily influenced by European trends and among the best in the world. Istanbul has a large variety of nightlife and entertainment, with Beyoğlu stealing the show. You’ll find chic restaurants, rooftop bars, quaint jazz cafes, and upbeat nightclubs in every nook and corner. Indulge in some Turkish rakı (an unsweetened anise-flavoured alcoholic beverage), eat some meze (Turkish tapas), or listen to traditional music at a meyhane (Turkish tavern). Whatever you do, do it like the locals do! However, if you wish to truly pamper yourself with the good life, the Asian side of the Bosphorus houses Kadikoy, a happening, twilight district. All about the glitz, glamour, pomp and flair, most spots in this secretive district have an exclusive door policy, so be prepared to unload your pockets!

The People :

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Turkish people are shining examples of good-naturedness, generosity, and a happy attitude. The locals in Istanbul are open-minded and in absolute love with their city, traditions and food, which shines through in their hospitality towards tourists. If you happen to accept an invitation to visit a local household for a meal, don’t be overwhelmed if you’re gorged with food and coffee. Shop sellers will offer you beverages in an attempt to market their goods, but also simply as an act of respect and kindness. This form of genuine warmth and openness towards strangers is truly heart-warming and is sure to define your experience in the glorious city.

The Architecture:

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Last but not least, Istanbul’s architecturally-endowed districts need no introduction. There are such marvels here that can’t be defined in words. Every cranny speaks of genius; there is so much history and romance in these architectural tributes that’ll steal your heart away. The mosques, the palaces, the basilicas, the museums, the churches all seem frozen in time and transport you to a world often reminisced about by the locals. However, what’ll leave a print in your mind is how seamlessly modern and ancient architecture blends into one and forms the essence of this awe-inspiring land.
This article doesn’t do justice to the beauty that is Istanbul. You may be a soul-searching wanderer, a love-struck newly-wed, or a historical/cultural explorer, this city should be one on your bucket list. The general wonder will reel you in and leave a lasting impression on you so quick your head will spin. So just be calm, and fall in love with Istanbul.

Be Awestruck By Auckland

Be Awestruck by Auckland

Auckland truly is the heartbeat of New Zealand. There’s so much to do, see and explore; there are natural and man-made wonders in this land of the kiwis that will make you feel like you’ve experienced paradise. Well, where better to spend your time honeymooning with the love of your life. So let’s dig into what New Zealand’s dreamland is all about.

Waiheke Island

Let’s start with the most obvious. No trip to Auckland is complete without a trip to Waiheke Island. This breathtaking isle is just a ferry ride, or 17.7 km, from Auckland and is home to some of the best beaches and wineries in the world. This piece of land is also inhabited by some of the oldest Maori tribes in New Zealand, so it’s brimming with local culture. Lounge on a beach, take a tour of the wineries (enjoy tasting some award-winning wines and fresh olives), take a charter to go sailing or fishing, go kayaking, visit one of the many spas to rejuvenate, and enjoy a meal at one of its many gourmet restaurants. Then, repeat as needed!

Waiheke Island

Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum

This museum is located on the Hobson Wharf in Auckland, which is adjacent to the Viaduct Harbour. It provides a fascinating crash course on New Zealand’s maritime history, right from the first Polynesian explorers to modern-day victories at the America’s Cup, and has some of the most distinguished sea vessels on display. It is an ode to the island’s long relationship with the sea, and you can better explore this with a sailing tour aboard one of New Zealand’s finest heritage vessels. A visit to this historical storehouse will be a day well spent for all culture buffs.

Voyager NZ Maritime Museum

Rangitoto Island

Rangitoto Island is the youngest and most breathtaking volcano cone in Auckland. Born from the sea just 600 years ago, this extinct volcano is the largest Auckland has to offer. But, that’s not all about Rangitoto Island. This wondrous piece of land has a wealth of lava flows, caves, giant boulders and the world’s largest pohutukawa forest. This beautiful reserve provides natural protection and safeguard to New Zealand’s historical and cultural heritage and biodiversity. The trek up to the summit of this volcanic peak is the stuff of dreams for nature lovers, but you can enjoy the beautiful trip up to the summit even if you’re a non-walker, by taking a train. Whatever you do to get there, know this that the view from the top is well worth the journey.

Rangitoto Island

Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium

This fascinating underwater park, set on the waterfront of Auckland City on Okahu Bay, is the brainchild of marine biologist and diver, Kelly Tarlton. This park is home to New Zealand’s finest marine life, over 30 live animal exhibits and 80 different species in eight themed zones. What’s mindboggling is that the aquarium was built in disused sewage storage tanks. Talk about resourcefulness! It’s a truly superior and fulfilling experience to observe the different species of seahorses, sharks, stingrays and other incredible sea creatures in their naturally recreated habitats. But, above all this, the Antarctic fantasyland gives you the chance to get up close and personal with New Zealand’s only colony of king and gentoo penguins. It’s intriguing to behold the underwater, frozen world where these wonders from the South Pole thrive. Watch them as they waddle about on the ice and play underwater; it’s an absolute overdose of cuteness!

Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium

Kelly Tarlton Sea Life Aquarium

Sky Tower

Never has a visit to a man-made building been more thrilling since the Eiffel Tower. Auckland’s Sky Tower is an observation and telecommunications tower situated in the heart of the city and is an absolute delight to tourists. It’s the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand and offers an amazing view of the city’s bounds for 80 km all around. But, what makes this a truly exhilarating experience is the SkyWalk and SkyJump, two insane activities that you can take full advantage of. In SkyWalk, you can take in the spectacular view of the city by walking around the tower’s 192 metre high platform (suspended on a harness, of course!). SkyJump, as the name suggests, is for those daredevils who wish to bungee jump off this towering giant (not for the faint of heart!). Then, once you feel you’ve had enough adventure, have a romantic meal as you unwind at Auckland’s only revolving restaurant, Orbit. What an experience!

Sky Tower

Auckland has so much more to offer, such as the Waitemata Harbour, the Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari, the Auckland Zoo, the Waitakere Ranges, the hot springs of Rotorua, the pristine beaches of North Island’s twin coasts and hundreds of miles of beautiful coastline, the award-winning restaurants, the thriving nightlife, the classic cocktail bars, the cruise dinners, the charming coffee shops, and the incredible shopping destinations. New Zealand may not be as big on the map, but it has a big, magnanimous heart and magnificent topography, the kind that’ll surely keep you coming back for more. Have a great holiday!

Waitakere Ranges

Rotorua Hot Springs

Why Honeymooning in Cape Town is the Stuff of Dreams

Why Honeymooning in Cape Town is the Stuff of Dreams

The first question you’d ask is, why Cape Town? There are so many breathtaking places around the world that would be ideal for a honeymoon, then what’s so special about Cape Town? Well, we’ll tell you just what. This South African wonderland has so much to offer. Here’s highlighting a few of them.

Table Mountain

Table Mountain is one of the most striking landmarks of Cape Town. Looming large and magnificent at 3558 ft, this marvel of nature is one of the highest plateaus in South Africa. Viewing the city down below from up Table Mountain is an ethereal experience. As you stand there with your better half, you will encounter the most breathtaking view you’ve ever beheld. There, through the clouds, you’ll see a panoramic view of Cape Town, Robben Island, the Peninsula and beyond. What could be a better first date with your lawfully wedded spouse. And, that’s not all. The trip to the top is an experience in itself. You can either take the cableway or explore the plateau by hiking up. Either way, the beauty of this iconic structure is guaranteed to stay with you forever.

The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

The V & A Waterfront has been a landmark construction to boost tourism and unite the port city with the ocean once again. The Waterfront evokes scenes of the early activities of the harbour. Much of its charm lies in the fact that this bustling harbour is set in the midst of a huge entertainment venue with pubs, restaurants, specialty shops, craft markets, theatres and movie halls. This is a great place to spend some romantic time and explore the buzz at this wonderful ocean bank. What’s more, it also double times as a shopper’s paradise!

The Wine Estates

The wine estates begin at just a half hour drive from Cape Town, where the cultivation of this art form dates back to the 1600s. South Africa’s wine estates are said to be some of the most beautiful regions in the world, so a wine tour with your gorgeous partner is an absolute must. In addition to the variety of superb wines and breathtaking scenery, there are day tours available of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl, where you can indulge in local delicacies, including a cheese and wine tasting, and a delicious a-la-carte lunch. You may also find other seasonal treats such as chocolate or olives if you’re lucky. Rest assured that these wine adventures just get better with age!

The Wildlife and Nature Reserves

It’d be blasphemy to talk about Africa without mentioning it’s natural beauty and glorious wildlife. Cape Town, like any other place in Africa, is famous for its abundant nature parks and wildlife safaris. There are plenty of ‘Big Five’ wildlife sanctuaries that boast breathtaking, malaria-free safaris conveniently positioned within close reach of the city. The Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, Fairy Glen and Aquila Private Game Reserve are names that stand out for their excellent tours and great hospitality. So pack your bags and pull up your socks to explore the true essence of Africa.

This doesn’t even scratch the surface of what this monumental city has to offer. There are so many more marvels, such as the Cape of Good Hope, the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Robben Island, and the museums, to name a few, both cultural and historical, that Cape Town can boast of. But, what shines through is the generous and warm heart of the city and it’s people. That’s what gets you. You just can’t get enough of this town. You’ll want to keep coming back for more. On that note, here’s to good hope!