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How Cool! The Best Ice Bars from Around the World

by amit.uniyal 26. February 2015 02:19

Ice bars don’t just sell ice, they are made of ice. From unique ice sculptures to walls made from ice, these cool establishments are definitely a place to chill out. Ice bars are hot tourist destinations, but they can make for some great Friday night fun too. You may be surprised to find an ice bar in your own city - or a place you are traveling too soon enough. Even more surprising, ice bars tend to pop up in some of the warmest destinations around the globe.

Even if you aren’t one for the cold, you have to visit an ice bar at least once in a lifetime - after all, how can you miss out on the opportunity to sit on a couch made from ice?

Icebars

Orlando, Florida: The First Ice Bar in the United States
The Ice-Bar, located in Orlando, Florida, is the first and largest ice bar in the U.S. It features unique ice sculptures by a Master Carver and boasts over 50 tons of ice inside. This icy crystal palace has a throne, sofa, fireplace and even chairs all carved out of ice. Cocktails are served up nice and chilled in glasses that are molded from ice - you will never have to worry about your drink losing its chill. The bar, walls and even shelves are made from ice too. You’ll want to bring along your coat, because while the temperatures outside are always tropical and inviting, the inside is certainly frosty.

Sweden, Stockholm: Absolut-ly Cold
The Absolut Ice Bar in Stockholm takes “on the rocks” to a new level. This bar, inspired by the Absolut Vodka brand, is a sight to be seen if you are in Europe. Drinks are served in hollowed out ice cubes over a bar made from solid ice. Walls and tables are made from ice that was harvested from the Torne River (between Finland and Sweden). Every six months this bar goes through a renovation - replacing and re-carving the iced up interior.

London: Frosty and Extreme
In London? You can experience an extreme ice bar where your glasses, walls, bar and even the tables are carved from some of the clearest ice you will ever see. Another Absolut Ice Bar establishment, this is the only permanent ice bar in the United Kingdom. The interior is kept at -5 degrees Fahrenheit at all times and everything inside is made from crystal clear ice that was harvested out of the frozen Torne River in Northern Sweden.

London: An Icy Space
London sure likes to keep things chill. Not only do they have a permanent ice bar, but they also have the Ice Space located next to the  Tower Bridge in London. This place features an entertainer dressed like an Ice Queen who performs daily. The icy interior is not all made of ice, but does feature ice sculptures, an ice bar, a skating ring and performance art. The attraction boasts over 2,000 blocks of solid ice that weigh more than 200 tons.

Tokyo: A Wintry Experience
Enjoy a frosty cocktail on a bar made from ice at the Absolut Ice Bar in Tokyo. This is Asia’s first ice bar that was made from ice blocks cut out from the infamous Torne River. The entrance fee is rather steep to this chilly locale - about $30 USD. You will get one drink and you will definitely want to wear winter clothes, because it is kept at a chilly below zero temperature at all times.

Take a Cruise and Stay Cool
Ice bars make their appearances all over, including on cruise ships. NCL Cruise Ships has their own ice bar - one of the first ice bars at sea. This bar is small, but still features ice seats, an icy bar table and unique ice sculptures created by world-class artisans.

St. Petersburg
Don’t be surprised - St. Petersburg, known for their below zero temperatures naturally, also has an ice bar (or two) popping up each year. These ice bars have hand carved ice tables, chairs, and drinks served out of carved ice cups. You can order everything from cocktails to mixers - all served in frosty mugs.

Ice bars are literally showing up around the world. The exciting fun experience you get into visiting an ice bar will make for lasting memories in your travel diary. You may even find one in your own state or a country you’re traveling to regardless of what time of the year it is.

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Why your next scuba dive trip should be to Abu Dhabi

by amit.uniyal 18. February 2015 23:22

UAE’s capital city Abu Dhabi has of late become one of the most frequented tourist destinations in the Middle East. The city offers all that a quintessential visitor might just be looking for – cosmopolitan outlook, great relaxation, hospitality, cleanliness and modernity. Above all, the city has also become a prime attraction for all those who love water sports and related activities. Before you head off to Abu Dhabi for enjoying great diving in the city, it would indeed be right to know some of the important facts to make your visit quite enjoyable and memorable.
 
Things to know before diving in Abu Dhabi

  • The waters of the Persian Gulf are known for warm temperatures and good visibility. It is quite appealing to both experienced and novice divers.
  • Water temperature averages 77 degree Fahrenheit round the year. However, during the summer months from June to August it can reach above 90 degree Fahrenheit.
  • The underwater visibility is good and you can hope to see 15 to 30 feet in the water, which though depends on exact location and depth.
  • Scuba diving is quite popular. The city also has only-of-its-kind free diving center in the UAE, where you can get beginner, intermediate and advanced free-diving courses.

Scuba dive trip in Abu Dhabi

Popular Dive Sites
A variety of dive sites can be found here. The deepest dive sites here include Jasim and Ledwen shipwrecks. Most of the dive sites are teeming with a variety of marine life. These include rabbit fish, emperor fish, goatfish, gobies, bream, anemone, angelfish, and large game fish and exotic fish of other kinds. Among other marine life found here include large barracudas, black-tip reef sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, sea snakes and hammour. The popular dive sites in Abu Dhabi include Sea Hawk Water Sports, Desert Islands Watersports Centre, Western Marine Sports Club and Ocean Dive Center. Let’s take a look at these dive sites and see what all they have to offer.

Sea Hawk Water Sports: An Emirati PADI Master Driver owns the famous Sea Hawk Water Sports. This dive center offers certified courses designed for every visitor’s needs. For foreign visitors the center arranges special intensive courses for complete certification in only four days. The Sea Hawk Water Sports also provides daily packages for visitors to five dive sites off Abu Dhabi’sexpansive coastline, where you will get opportunity to get up close with the teeming marine life and explore mysterious ship wrecks.

Desert Islands Watersports Centre: Situated on the picturesque Sir Bani Yas Island, the Desert Islands Watersports Centre offers certification as well as diving expeditions. The waters around the island have abundant marine life of various kinds, most of them being unique to this region. The centre also allows remarkable snorkeling to the visitors.

Western Marine Sports Club:  The Western Marine Sports Club is situated in Al Gharbia. It is the first, purpose-built dive centre to be established in Mirfa. The well-qualified Emirati guides and instructors will be there for you to provide dive tips and lessons with their local experience and knowledge. You can look forward to a wide range of marine activities and sports.

Ocean Dive Center: The Ocean Dive Centre is situated in the Beach Rotana Hotel and Towers and has been into operations ever since it came into being in 2006. The centre is renowned for its PADI diving courses and experiences ranging from beginner’s courses, children’s diving programs to snorkeling.
 
Come and explore these amazing dive centers and sites. Abu Dhabi is beckoning you for a diving expedition in the warm waters of Persian Gulf!

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Best time to visit and enjoy vacations in Argentina

by amit.uniyal 10. February 2015 23:07

Are you planning to visit Argentina on your next vacation? Then you will surely want to know what, after all, is the best time to visit the country and how to enjoy your vacation fully. Here are some of the important facts to know in order to make your visit quite memorable.

When to visit Argentina

  • The best time to visit Argentina is during fall (March to May) and spring (September to November). The temperatures are mild during these periods.
  • The summer months (December to March) are the busiest. The resort towns and beaches are packed with tourists on vacation.
  • Summers are best to enjoy your holidays in the southern Andes and Patagonia. The days during this season are longer and warmer.
  • Iguazi and the Northwest are the best to visit during winter (June to August), when the heat wave and rains have subsided.

Tango Couple in Argentina

Enjoying Festivals and Special Events in Argentina

  • Plan your visit to Argentina during June to enjoy the famous Carnaval (Mardi Gras). It is held a week before the Lent. The Gualeguaychú, in north of Buenos Aires, is the best place to participate in the event. Inti Raymi or Festival of the Sun is another important festival which is celebrated in towns across the Northwest in June on the night before the summer solstice. It is celebrated to pay special thanks for the year’s harvest.
  • Argentina is renowned world over for its Tango dance. The country celebrates the World Tango Festival in October. The festival is marked by many events, with most of them being held in the tango neighborhood of San Telmo.  
  • The month of November is also great for polo fans. The Argentine Open Polo Championships, the biggest polo event in the world, is held every year during late November in the polo grounds in Palemo.

Knowing some of these important facts prior to your visit will undoubtedly make your vacations in Argentina quite enjoyable.

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Australia Day in Melbourne: St Kilda

by rosemarry 28. January 2015 06:07

Australia Day, or “Straya Day” as it’s sometimes pronounced by thick-accented Aussies, is the official national day of Australia. Every year on the 26th of January the country celebrates with a public holiday. This year in Melbourne, Monday the 26th of Jan was a bright and sunny Monday.

Many people celebrate Australia Day with a good ol’ barbie (barbecue) in the back yard with their nearest and dearest, but for those who ventured beyond their garden fences, the popular beachside Melbourne suburb of St Kilda delivered on all accounts.

FESTIVAL FUN
Australia Day is about more than just the 26th of January – it’s about the long weekend. Sunday the 25th, Australia Day Eve, offered up a great build-up with a Beach Party festival adjacent to St Kilda Beach. Headlining the event was Melbourne DJ duo Nervo, who were joined by KazJames, Finnebassen, Grant Smilie, Generik, Andy Murphy, Winston Wolf, Jesus and Josh Brown. Some of Melbourne’s favourite food trucks joined the party, too, serving up international fare to the hungry masses between dances.

REVEL IN REPUBLICA
Republica is the epitome of cool. It’s a bar that fuses Aussie beach life with the lounge ambience of Café del Mar in Ibiza. A mix of hanging egg chairs, picnic-style benches and dining tables dot an outside lawn nestled right along St Kilda Beach. And being right along the promenade, it’s the perfect spot to people watch.

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Lounge music plays throughout the day, and at night a band often comes on to get the crowd dancing. Fill your belly with some great seafood dishes or tapas while sipping away at a crisp white wine or beer as you watch the sun dip behind the sea.

BEACH BUMS

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Hitting St Kilda Beach is a great day out regardless of the day, but over the Australia Day weekend the atmosphere gets a serious boost. You’ll see families, groups of young people and tourists all loving this sandy beach. It’s located just off the main St Kilda strip, too, where you’ll find a great selection of quirky coffee shops, froyo stores, hipster bars, restaurants and fashionable shops. You’ve got everything you need for a fun day at the beach.

LUNA PARK

Those with kids, or who are kids at heart, piled into Melbourne’s iconic beachside theme park, Luna Park. The park operated extended hours, too, in order to keep people entertained for longer (it was open from 11am till 11pm). Both Aussies and travellers enjoyed a bit of adrenaline-pumping fun followed by a snag (Australian slang for a sausage) and snow cone to refuel and refresh.

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Luna Park is famous for its entrance – you walk through a giant mouth – and this whimsical entrance sequence is befitting of the carnival vibe that ensues. There are historical carousel rides as well as those that are not exactly for the faint hearted. It might not be the largest theme park going, but it certainly has lots of character and unique flair.

With all of these sun loving Australia Day festivities, beach parties, and barbie events, your day is spent commemorating with the natural beauty of my beautiful country. Happy “Straya Day!”

Article by - Christina Wylie

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Reasons to visit Bora Bora – the “Pearl of the Pacific”

by amit.uniyal 15. January 2015 02:32

Bora Bora has been called “the most beautiful island in the world” by James Michener, famous author and writer of ‘Tales of the South Pacific’. Yet another renowned 18th-century British explorer James Cook has been effusive in describing the beauty of this placed and termed it as the “Pearl of the Pacific”.

This fascinating tropical getaway with its warm waters, sunny skies, dormant volcanoes, lush jungle, luxurious resorts and friendly locals is the perfect place to spend your holidays. Though this is a year-round destination, but the months of November through April are the best to visit this amazing island destination. Here are some of the reasons why you should visit Bora Bora.

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Things to do in Bora Bora

  • Spend a day at the extremely popular Matira Beach. It is among few public access beaches here. Its crystal clear water and soft sand are biggest attractions.
  • Make adventure tour to the extinct Mount Otemanu volcano situated in the centre of Bora Bora. The clear blue skies and rain clouds at the peak are just awesome.
  • Discover the gorgeous coral reef on a small islet just east of the main Bora Bora Island. The amazing Coral Gardens are not far below the water. Bring some snorkeling goggles to watch the colorful fish.
  • Visit the beautiful Bora Bora Lagoonarium. This natural aquarium, situated on a small island, just east of the main island, is a family-owned attraction. You can snorkel here and watch rays, turtles, sharks and several kinds of ocean fish with the help of wildlife guides.

If you haven’t visited Bora Bora at all, then make your holiday plans immediately. The varied attractions and adventure options will fascinate you endlessly and make your vacations quite memorable.

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Costa Rica – Visiting world’s most naturally splendid region

by amit.uniyal 14. January 2015 05:09

Costa Rica has been described as “the rich coast” by Spanish conquistadors who first arrived here in 1502. Today, it is renowned world over as the biologically diverse and most naturally splendid regions. The country is not only a gateway to world-class sportfishing, diving and surfing, but also attracts a large number of tourists from different parts of the world every year with its numerous attractions such as gorgeous beaches, rare bird and wildlife species, misty cloud forests, smoldering volcanoes, deep river valleys, and surfeit of natural wonders. Here are some of the important reasons why you should consider visiting this beautiful country.

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Why not to miss visiting Costa Rica

  • Great year-round weather and family-friendly culture make it a popular destination.
  • It’s a famous eco-tourism destination offering many attractions such as Tortuguero National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park and Selvatura Park.
  • Catch a glimpse of the Arenal Volcano in the Arenal National Park.
  • Get a thrilling experience by hiking through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.
  • Visit the fascinating Playa Grande on the Nicoya Peninsula. It is among the few nesting sites in the world where endangered leatherback sea turtles can be found.
  • There are some 200 stunning waterfalls here that are just great to be explored. Most of the waterfalls are found at Isla del Coco and drop right into the sea.  
  • Pay a visit to the remote beautiful Drake Bay to see crystalline waters bordering primary rainforest.

These are some of the prominent reasons why you shouldn’t miss visiting Costa Rica.

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Plethora of things to see and do while vacationing in Colorado

by amit.uniyal 14. January 2015 02:58

Colorado is a perfect destination for adventure and a great vacation. Just sample all that this fascinating place has to offer to its quintessential visitors. It offers 300 days of sunshine round the year. The four distinct seasons offer great vacation values. Its diverse landscape – deserts, gushing rivers, majestic mountains and expansive prairie grasslands – will keep you spellbound endlessly.

There is so much to see and do in this magnificent highest-altitude state in the United States. Get ready to be enthralled with a wide selection of unbelievable natural wonders and wildlife. Cultural treasures abound here. This is aptly reflected through its frontier forts, dinosaur fossils, mining museums and narrow-gauge railways. No matter whatever you might be looking for all these and much more are available in Colorado.

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Major Highlights in Colorado

  • The bubbling natural hot springs emanating from underground streams flowing across the Rockies are there to soothe you and provide utmost relaxation. The popular hot springs worth visiting include Ouray, Glenwood Springs or Steamboat Springs.
  • The tallest sand dunes in North America sitting right up against steep mountains are to be found here. Exploring the Great Sand Dunes National Park is truly a unique experience.
  • The Colorado History Museum and the Southern Ute Cultural Center are two important places to visit here. Get acquainted with the history of early settlers as well as modern-day achievements during your visit to the Colorado History Museum. A visit to the Southern Ute Cultural Center is equally fascinating as you will be offered an interactive experience paying remarkable tribute to the Ute Indians.

These are among some of the important highlights in Colorado that will prompt you to visit this fantastic place more often.

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Visiting breathtaking Goa – the “Rome of the East”

by amit.uniyal 13. January 2015 07:01

The small State of Goa, situated on India’s western coast, is also popularly called the “Rome of the East” as well as the “Pearl of the Orient”. The palm-fringed mesmerizing beaches, rocking nightlife, culinary delights, ornate temples, beautiful churches, elegant old Portuguese mansions and majestic forts – all these and much more has brought fame to this exotic land world over.

This magnificent state is a must visit for every domestic and foreign tourist. This fascinating place is ready to keep the visitors spellbound with its stunning natural beauty, and offer a glimpse into the cultures, traditions and lifestyle of the local people. But before you decide to spend your holidays in this amazing destination, here are some of the basic facts you need to know about Goa.

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Important facts to know about Goa

  • The months of October through March are the best time to visit the state. A salubrious climate will please the visitors during this time.
  • Goa can be easily reached by air from major cities of India and also some foreign countries as well. The main Dabolim Airport, situated 29 km from the capital city of Panjim, handles full service airlines and major low cost carriers.
  • The state offers many tourist attractions. The famous attractions here include Agauda Fort, Colva Beach, Saint Augustine Church, Calangute Beach, Spice Plantation Garden, Dona Paula, Anjuna Beach, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Manguesh Temple, Mayhem Lake, Dona Paula, Chapora Fort and Dudhsagar Fall.
  • The state is also an ideal destination for adventure tourism. Some of the popular water sports and adventure activities here include windsurfing, angling, scuba diving, swimming, parasailing, snorkeling, diving and water-skiing.

With so much to see, do and enjoy here, Goa is absolutely one of the best destinations in India to spend a leisurely and fabulous vacation.

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Things to know about Cancun before visiting resort destination

by amit.uniyal 12. January 2015 05:01

Cancun, a key resort destination in Mexico, is also acknowledged as one of the prominent destinations in the Caribbean with all the modern amenities and infrastructure rivaling popular leisure destinations worldwide. Cancun was essentially built for tourism and the city has ever since been catering to over 3.3 million tourists from different parts of the world every year. With its plentiful natural beauty, cultural treasures and endless activities, the city is one of the most sought after destinations for a relaxed and luxurious vacation.

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Here are some of the important facts about Cancun you need to know about before visiting this beautiful resort destination.

  • Cancun is divided into two parts – Zona Hotelera or Hotel Zone and El Centro or Cancun City Downtown. The Hotel Zone is spread in a 22-km sandy strip with numerous hotels here. El Centro is on the mainland and home to several Mexicans.
  • Cancun was developed in 1967 to boost tourism in Mexico. The city was considered to be an important part of the ancient Mayan civilization and is still acknowledged as a gateway to El Mundo Maya or fabled Mayan World.
  • The city is presently the most visited tourist destination in Mexico. With over 25,000 hotel rooms, the tourists find it convenient to stay in the city and enjoy their vacations.
  • Cancun is known for its remarkable biodiversity. With over 1200 plant species, 100 different kinds of mammals and 475 bird species, the city also offers itself as a popular destination for eco-tourists as well.  
  • The easy accessibility from many North American gateways, natural beauty and pleasant weather has made the city quite popular with tourists from the United States and Canada.

These are some of the basic facts that are pertinent to know before you make plans to spend your vacations in Cancun.

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Egypt – Exploring the oldest tourist destination on Earth

by amit.uniyal 9. January 2015 04:43

Egypt is considered to be the oldest destination on Planet Earth. The very name of this country conjures up images of the Pharaohs, Sphinx, the Great Pyramid and mighty River Nile. A visit to this magnificent country is indeed fascinating. The tourists are offered varied attractions. Let’s take a look at all that you can see and do in this beautiful place.

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Major Highlights in Egypt

  • A tour of Egypt will enthrall the visitors with its many attractions. These include the Valley of the Kings, the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, Sphinx, the Great Pyramid, the Giza Plateau, Temples along River Nile, and many more.
  • visit to Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, offers great sightseeing opportunities. Some of the important attractions in this seething megalopolis include medieval mosques, old-fashioned bazaars, fortified gates, skyscrapers, villas, museums, the pyramids at Dahshur, and the vast necropolis of Saqqara, among others.
  • Explore the Nile Valley. It’s a major tourist attraction. The Theban Necropolis housing the remains of Tutankhamun and other famous pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings is just great to visit.
  • The magnificent temples of Karnak in the town of Luxor are cynosure of all eyes. The southernmost city of Aswan also provides a lovely setting on the River Nile providing a languorous ambience.  
  • The country also has plenty of natural wonders. The Sinai Peninsula with its amazing coral reefs provides excellent snorkeling and diving options.
  • The resort destinations of the Gulf of Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh are simply great to visit. They shouldn’t be missed at all costs.

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