5 EXOTIC PLACES FOR CHRISTMAS VACATION - Natural phenomenons, perfect weather, and local Christmas traditions make Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Svalbard, Christmas and Galápagos islands worth visiting.
According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, 38 percent of people say their stress level increases during the winter holidays. A lack of time or money, the pressures of gift-giving, and family gatherings are among the top stressors.
To avoid these stressors, more and more people choose to escape the holiday hustle by traveling to an unusual destination. Smart Lemur, an authentic travel website, lists some of the best destinations for this year’s winter getaway.
- SRI LANKA, SOUTH ASIADecember in Sri Lanka, an island country surrounded by the Indian Ocean, is the most pleasant time – sunny and not overcrowded with tourists. The average daily temperature for this month is 27°C.Visitors spending Christmas here enjoy the best tea and cinnamon in the world, exchange presents on the sandy beaches, drink from coconuts and watch wild elephants. Seeing these giants from close up in their natural habitat is one of the unique attractions in Sri Lanka.Those eager to have more traditional holiday activities, are welcome to visit the capital Colombo, offering festive markets, special dinners, live music events, and dance performances.
- MAURITIUS, INDIAN OCEAN
Mauritius also called the pearl of the Indian Ocean, is a tiny island full of lavish nature, ranging from crystal-clear waters and colored layers of sand to tropical forests and lively underwater world.During December, air temperature is likely to reach 29°C, and travelers get to enjoy up to nine daily hours of sunshine. Lovely fuss, preparations, and Christmas songs in such weather allow visitors to experience celebrating Christmas in shorts and flip-flops.Winter season is the time of abundant tropical fruits and splendid flame trees blooming in bright red fiery flowers. Fresh mangoes, pineapples, litchis (Lychee), Longan (Dragon Eye Fruit) and watermelons grow all around the island.The most prominent attraction in Mauritius is swimming alongside dolphins.
- SVALBARD, NORWAY
Svalbard is one of the northernmost settlements in the world, luring travelers who dream of Arctic Christmas.From mid-November to late January, this Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean enters into a mystical dark season known as Polar Night. During this period, the sun is hidden from the horizon and everything is pitch-dark around the clock.Furthermore, winter is the time to hunt the Northern Lights. Svalbard is the only permanently inhabited place on Earth where visitors can experience dayside Northern Lights.
- CHRISTMAS ISLAND, AUSTRALIA
Apart from its obvious affiliation to Christmas after being named so on December 25th in 1643, the island is rich in spectacular nature.It is the only place on Earth to witness one of the most incredible natural processes – an annual red crab migration. Bright-colored crabs from all over the island start marching towards the ocean, all at the same time. And it usually occurs in December.Furthermore, with 40 seabirds per capita, Christmas Island is a regional leader in this metric. Nature lovers can meet endemic species, such as the Christmas Island frigatebird and the elegant white-tailed tropicbird.Despite the natural wonders and sandy beaches, the destination is still under the radar, receiving just 2000 visitors a year.
- GALAPAGOS ISLAND, ECUADOR
The Galápagos Islands is a volcanic archipelago, famous for its diverse wildlife and jaw-dropping scenery.December is a warm and dry season with air temperature reaching 27°C. Visitors get a chance to see rare animals like marine iguanas, sea turtles, flamingos, Masked Boobies and White-cheeked Pintails, which tend to stay away during other months.Ecuador’s rich Christmas traditions make tourists feel part of a big family. The locals sing carols and celebrate with delicious meals like roasted turkey.
WHAT YOU SHOULD ORDER FOR BREAKFAST WHILE IN INDONESIA - I have heard someone said that he can actually live anywhere but the hardest part of away from Indonesia is not able to taste the genuine and original Indonesian food. Well I think it's in our DNA that we will be craving our food for once in a while, that's why in a hotel there are so many options available for you and I get overwhelmed to taste everything other than Indonesian food, but guess what? sometimes I choose to order Indonesian food for breakfast such as Nasi Goreng, Mie Goreng, Bubur Ayam because I have tired with Bread Toast with Avocado, Eggs Benedicts, & French Crepes and list stil goes on. I always back to basic needs to taste the amazing Indonesian food.
Maybe you have heard Sate (Satay), it's actually meat skewer usually chicken, beef, or lamb or Gado-Gado (Indonesian salad with peanut sauce) that suits more for lunch and dinner. Well actually there are no rules, we can eat these foods any time of the day from sunrise to midnight supper, but there's a certain selection that very recommended for breakfast while you are here vacationing in the beautiful countries of Indonesia, and they are full of carbs.
- FRIED RICE (NASI GORENG)Make sure you try this because Indonesian nasi goreng is none like the other fried rice, we use sweet soy sauce and sometimes shrimp paste, but every region has its own specialty. You know that rice is our national food just like any other Asian countries, below that half sunny side up egg is a tasty brownie Indonesian fried rice, you should order once you are in Indonesia.
- FRIED NOODLE (MIE GORENG)Mie actually came from China, but we know that China has so many histories in so many countries including Indonesia. The substitutes of rice, the carbs friend definitely not a gluten-free, sometimes the spices are the same as the Nasi Goreng one. Enjoy the dish with fried egg and cracker or Kerupuk
- SEASONAL TROPICAL FRUITS PLATTERWe have a lot of fruits that can probably enjoy all year, although they are seasonal. In this image are Melon, Watermelon, Papaya, & Pineapple, but the other fruits that probably very unique to you are Salak, Rambutan, Manggis (Mangosteen), Mango, Buah Naga (Dragon Fruits), Passion Fruit and Durian, although Durian is NOT for breakfast, I don't even sure you will like it ;)
- EVERYTHINGS MEATS :P (+ VEGETABLES)Okay, this is not actually an Indonesian, but meat in Indonesia taste way better, I mean with the spices and the sauce. Let's say that this version is a taste of Indonesia, we have Satay and Rendang though.
- CHICKEN PORRIDGE (BUBUR AYAM)I don't have a single image of chicken porridge, but on the right side is chicken porridge. Again, I believe it is from China, but we ate this all the time, especially breakfast or when we are not able to eat anything. I know the texture probably weird from some of you, that's why I always see the Porridge stall on the hotel sometimes least favorite for the guest to take or order.
It's overcooked watery rice, but still, taste amazing with some chicken or beef broth, sweet soy sauce, soybean or peanut, with some herbs, eggs, chicken meat, Sambal, and Kerupuk. Definitely not a plain chicken porridge.
7 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN BALI - Bali is a travel destination on the wanderlust list of many daydreaming travelers. With beaches that are unrivaled the whole world over. Out of more than 17,000 islands in Indonesia, Bali is one of the most stunning. With natural beauty in abundance, the island has lush green mountains, breathtaking waterfalls, rice fields, and winding rivers. It has so much to offer in terms of its visual appeal. The island is also known for relaxation and with such friendly locals, you will find that nature is not the only thing that will give you a warm welcome. The island is steeped in culture too, with a long history, and lots of fascinating religious artifacts and buildings to look at.
Here are a few things that you really should check out when you take your trip to Bali.
You cannot take a trip to Bali and not sample as much Balinese food as you can. Indonesian meals are similar in many ways to Chinese and Indian cuisines while keeping a unique charm of its own. Mozaic Bali is the best fine dining restaurant and is worth a visit.
Why go to Bali and not spend as much time as possible on its idyllic beaches? Kuta is very popular with holidaymakers, as is Nusa Dua. If you want something that little bit more secluded, you could go off the beaten track. There are plenty of smaller, harder to reach beaches that offer a private paradise to those that can venture out to them.
The Religious Temples
Bali is an island with predominantly a Hindu population and there are many beautiful temples. Some are built right on the edge of the sea. Speak with some of the locals and get to know and understand their beliefs and traditions. Often, Balinese people have small temples in their own homes that they prey on daily.
A Little bit off the beaten track, this amazing waterfall takes forty minutes to get to the bottom of. Once you are down there, you will get the most stunning view. A rainbow forms at the foot and it will take your breath away.
Watch the Sunrise in Munduk
You will never have seen a sunrise like the one that you will see in the Munduk region of Bali. Situated in the north, the area gets a lot more fog and rain than elsewhere, but in all, it adds to a magical view.
Visit the Monkeys in Ubud
Take a trip up to the forest in the middle of Ubud and you will find monkeys running free. They are generally friendly and don’t mind people walking on by them.
Take a Sporting Adventure
With lots of great experiences that you may only get the chance to enjoy once in your lifetime, why not try surfing, or even go abseiling down the sides of the waterfalls. There are plenty of opportunities for diving, and seeing the amazingly beautiful nature that lives on the bottom of Bali’s seabed.
SEVEN REASONS TO TAKE WELLNESS VACATION - There are many kinds of vacation, but most of us take vacations to relax and recharge a little. The best way to recharge your batteries is to invest some time into some self-care and relaxation. A wellness focussed trip could be just what the Doctor ordered.
Whether you choose a trip where you can relax or go for a full retreat like Ayahuasca Retreats by Pulse Tours, take some time out for yourself.
- You’ll have time to focus on yourself. Modern life is busy. Most of us work long hours, spend more time than we’d like on our commute and then get home and have the demands of family, running a home and trying to find time for friends. You can often find that you end up bottom of your own list of priorities. A wellness treat gives the space to put life on pause and take care of nobody but yourself for a few days. You’ll have time to set and pursue wellness goals.
- Focus on health. These retreats
will usually offer lots of options to work on your health. You can enjoy
healthy food to refuel your body and get exercise in a restful way, like
swimming or yoga.
- A retreat can help you to learn
some wellness and relaxation techniques to take back to your daily life.
Whether you go on a yoga retreat or a trip to learn about alternative
healing, you’ll be learning something that you can apply at home, whether it’s
to relax, reduce stress or prioritize some wellness in your daily life.
- Get out of a rut. If your daily
life has become too bogged down in routine, take a retreat to shake you out of the rut. Stepping out of your life for a bit can help to see things
more clearly, allowing you to make changes when you get back that will
make you happier.
- Break old habits. At home, do
you find yourself unwinding with a drink more than you’d like or sneaking a cigarette? A wellness retreat can help you to look hard at habits you’d rather shake off, and begin the work to shake them off. Learn better methods of
dealing with the stress of everyday life and start the work of forming
better habits like meditation or yoga instead.
- Meet like-minded people.
Finding people interested in wellness can be difficult in real life, but you can be sure people on a wellness treat will share your interest. Make friends with people who share your passion and who are on the same wellness journey. If you keep in touch afterward, you can keep supporting
each other’s journeys and share tips and support.
- Relax. Modern life is hectic. We’re all glued to screens making it hard to switch off from work, emails and the demands of social media. Take a break from the pace and take some time to sit back and breathe. Leave your phone turned off for a few days and relax.
Wouldn’t a stay like this be absolutely lovely? But how much would it cost you? (Pexels Image - CC0 Licence)
WHAT KIND OF LUXURY GETAWAY IS THE MOST AFFORDABLE? - Luxury getaways exist the world over. There are a lot of places you can visit during your travels that’ll have a glass of cool wine and a steaming bath waiting in your room, and they’re all well-reviewed and sort after in the tourism sector. Just think about it: taking a break from the back and forth of your own life by touching down in a sunny country, with sand between your toes, and an extensive shopping budget at your disposal!
That really is the life, but it’s often a once in a lifetime plan, considering the cost of such travel. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out! So, which luxury getaway is the most affordable? If you’re someone running on a strict travel budget, but you don’t want that to hold you back from seeing the world, what luxury trip would be the most accessible to you? Well, let’s examine that idea below!
There’s a lot of cruises out there, and they all have a pretty hefty price bill attached to them, don’t they? But when it comes to luxury travel, they’re one of the most affordable and accessible forms of holidaying for anyone who’s on a budget. After all, consider how often you’re going to be stopping off in a foreign country, to spend the day and pack your suitcase with souvenirs, you’re definitely getting value for your money!
A Beach Holiday
Beach holidays are popular with most tourists, and thus, they’re hot for competition in the package holiday sector. Travel companies can make a lot of money off of beach holiday deals, simply because the demand for them is so high, and that means they don’t have to charge you too much for the privilege!
A Stately Home
Or a castle, if that’s what you really fancy! Stately homes are opening up all over the world to people who want to take a break from their lives, and pretend to be Victorian manor owners, looking out over their picturesque 100 acre back gardens. And even if you want to bring more than 2 people along, you can easily sleep 4 to a room for a low price.
An Inner City Break
Finally, if you’re someone who likes to stay down to earth and connected to civilization, an inner city break can be very budget-friendly. In places like Paris and New York, you can book yourself into a central hotel without it costing you an arm and a leg. It’s a very competitive sector, after all, and budget travellers are well catered for because of it - for this option, you definitely need to stay on the beaten track to properly reap the savings rewards.
WORLD'S MOST INSTAGRAMABLE DESTINATIONS AND EXPERIENCE FOR 2019 -
Does Instagram become one factor for you to choose where to go next on your bucket list? If it does, was it went well? or do you prefer to go somewhere totally off-beaten-path travel destinations, like Zanzibar or Easter Island? This data compiled by Wego, show you some of the most places that very popular on Instagram (but maybe because it's a major city and very popular among travelers). Perhaps it can be your future reference if you want to experience cultural, natural or city escape for your next vacation. Whether is just leisure time at the best luxury hotels & resorts in Bali, culinary adventure in Turkey or taste the city lifestyle in London.
Wego, the largest online travel marketplace in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), reveals the world’s most popular ‘Instagrammable’ holiday destinations and experiences for the summer of 2019, showing where millennials are heading and how Instagram and social media are influencing their choices.
When it comes to overall destinations, London and Dubai both appear in the top five. London won hands-down by a huge margin, with over 118 million hashtags, beating Paris with a margin of 17 million, #Paris’ was posted on Instagram 101 million times followed by Nice with 87 million, NewYork 83 million and Dubai coming in fifth with over 79 million hashtags. ‘Instagrammability’ is a crucial factor for millennials choosing where to go on holiday, more than 41% of people under the age of 33 prioritize ‘Insta-picture-worthiness’ when choosing their holidays.
London and Dubai are among the top five destinations globally with 118 million and 79 million hashtags respectively
Other top hashtags include Istanbul, Jakarta, Los Angeles, Barcelona, Moscow, and Tokyo.
#TLABali | By far, pretty much favorite pool in Ubud 💙 @padmaubud #TheLuxuryAsia @theluxuryasia 🌴 📷 @padmaubud 🌿 #Eden #Paradise #ForestBathing #Healing #Retreat #Bathtime #Bathing #BathGoals #Bath #PrivateIsland #LuxuryBath #LuxuryHotel #Waterfall #Secret #Waterfalls #BeautifulPlace #BeautifulEarth #LuxuryBath #Bathing #Paradise #Bathwithaview #Mountain #ForestBath #Relaxed #PrivateVilla #LuxuryLiving #LivingLuxury #HealingWaterA post shared by Herdiana Surachman (@herdianahs) on
Mamoun Hmedan, Managing Director, MENA, and India, Wego said, “Instagram is now one of the most important influencers, not only for the destinations themselves but for specific kinds of activities from adventures to wellness retreats, nature, wildlife, cityscapes, culinary experiences, art and much more. Research shows those millennials spend more on travel, life is all about experiences.”
Trends for 2019 show that twenty-somethings are heading to places where they can capture unusual landscapes, cultural authenticity and culinary delights. When Wego drilled down into the specifics, Dubai is the most Instaworthy place on the planet for food where 26% of all Dubai hashtags include #food.
The most popular Instaworthy experiences that millennials are looking for this year include outdoor activities in a stunning setting like stand-up paddleboarding New Zealand’s lakes or snorkeling in the crystal-clear seas of Croatia especially now that smartphones can take great photos underwater.
Magical morning we need #ChiangRai 😍 by @thetravelpro #Anantara #GoldenTriangle 🌿 . . FOLLOW & TAG @theluxuryasia @theluxuryasia @theluxuryasia #TheLuxuryAsia and share your best moment of luxury travel in AsiaA post shared by THE LUXURY ASIA #TheLuxuryAsia (@theluxuryasia) on
Chiangmai in Thailand also scores highly for Instagrammability this year, thanks to its offbeat unspoiled jungles, elephants, wellness retreats and spectacular golden, silver and even blue Buddhist temples.
Wego’s research shows millennials are loving the ‘Instaworthiness’ of the stunning lunar-like landscapes of Cappadocia in Turkey, the extraordinary volcanic landscapes and wildernesses of Iceland and Hong Kong’s Peak Tram, which gives stunning views of the entire city and bay from the top of Victoria Peak. Further afield, the Hanging Gardens Infinity Pool in Bali in Indonesia has gained huge Insta-worthiness this year, as has Cape Town’s ‘Diving Board’ rock on Table Mountain.
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