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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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.

Bacchanals in Barbados

Bacchanals in Barbados

Barbados, the land of islands, is synonymous with terms such as ‘party’, ‘fun’, ‘beaches’ and anything else you can think of that brings joy to the heart. It doesn’t need to be said that the Caribbean Islands would be the perfect love nest for newlyweds, and Barbados, among these, is probably king. Let’s explore this wonderland of the ‘bearded ones’ some and talk about interesting things that make up the ideal honeymoon.

The Beaches

It would be inappropriate to begin this ode to Barbados without a discussion on its bedazzling beaches first. This eastern haven’s different coasts offer beaches that range from fine-grained sand and sapphire waters to the perfect waves of the Atlantic coast. Silver Sands beach on the south coast is great for water sports, and the trade winds in the winter months make it the most ideal spot in the world for windsurfing. Crane Beach, known for its beauty, was originally a harbor and is popular with surfers for its magnificent waves. Be sure to check this one out!

Silver Sands Beach

Crane Beach

Bottom Bay has been rated one of the best beaches in the world, and for good reason. It’s picture-perfect, its wide, bright white beach and rolling waves framed by tall coral cliffs. Walk up to the top of the coral cliffs to enjoy an amazing panoramic view of the coastline or enjoy a lazy picnic by the beach, but resist that urge to take a dip in its suspicious waters as the strong currents aren’t really ideal for swimming.

Bottom Bay

There is such a wealth of beaches to choose from, such as Dover Beach, Mullins Bay, Rockley, Folkestone Beach and many more. There’s really something for everyone on these sandy treasures, so don’t forget to do your holiday research!

Stavronikita

This underwater art project is a must visit for all budding and professional explorers. The SS Stavronikita lies at the bottom of the ocean just off Barbados. One of the best diving spots in the world, “stavro” will transport you to the land of corals, shells, sponges and other wondrous surprises in the Caribbean Sea. Deliberately sunk after it got burnt in a fire, this humongous Greek freighter was then transformed into the lovely artificial reef it is now. So get on your diving gear and head on to explore this beautiful piece of history!

Stavronikita Project

Harrison’s Cave

The naturally phenomenal Harrison’s Cave is a striking underground cave stream system with splendid caverns and crystallized formations. The caves are naturally formed by water erosion through limestone rocks, and the wealth of calcium deposits that runs through the caves has caused unusual stalactites and stalagmites to form here. You can travel through the caves by tram and even alight from the tram at certain spots to view the formations up close. Worth a visit!

Harrison's Cave

Black Pearl Party Cruises

If you wish to experience the true essence of Barbados, pay a visit to the Jolly Roger 1 Pirate Ship and be transported back to 300 years ago to the time when pirates roamed the Caribbean Sea. Black Pearl Party Cruises provide the ultimate partying experience! These amazing floating carnivals combine the scenic beauty of the sea’s crystal-clear waters, tropical sunshine and cooling Caribbean breezes with pulsating calypso music, great food and barrels and barrels of the captain’s ‘Pirate Rum Punch’. If that’s not a party, then I don’t know what is! You can also indulge in snorkeling and swimming with the sea turtles (and pirates) or simply bronze on the top deck. Adventurous ones can rope-swing from the boat or walk the plank blindfolded. All in all, you’re bound to create lifelong memories in this most ultimate party cruise ever!

Black Pearl Party Cruise

The Oistins Fish Festival

Held in the historic town of Oistins, this festival is a celebration of the contribution made by the local fishermen to this wondrous island. Much like the kohli festivals held in India, this festival is a fun-filled combination of music, art and gorgeous food. Every Friday, enjoy the sweet sounds of calypso and reggae as you stroll past the sidewalk stalls. Work up an appetite as you groove to the music and then enjoy traditional Bajan fare such as fish cakes, fried fish and pudding and souse with a chilled local Banks Beer. You will also see a horde of crafts on display by local craftsmen that you can choose from. What’s more, the fish-boning competition is a huge attraction for both locals and visitors, as is the grease-pole competition. The Oistins Fish Festival is the ultimate entertainment destination!

Oistin Fish Festival

Barbados cannot be described in so many words. There is so much more to experience and explore that it’ll leave your head spinning long after. The Barbados Wildlife Reserve in all its natural glory, the Barbados Crop Festival—the experience of a lifetime, the nightlife (you’re in the Caribbean; need I say more?), ah! We could write a book and it still wouldn’t do justice. Barbados is all and much more than you can imagine. And, a special mention must be made about the Bajans, the warm and friendly local people of Barbados. They’re so charming that you’ll instantly want to adopt Barbados as a home away from home. For all the flushing newbies in the marriage world, what better than to start your wonderful journey with a visit to paradise. Cheers!

Barbados Wildlife Reserve

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