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  • How to Prepare for your Gap Ye How to Prepare for your Gap Year

    • From: wava
    • Description:

       

      A gap year is when you want to take a break from your study at school and go on an adventurous journey while you volunteer to work. Since a gap year provides students with an opportunity to learn about a new culture, language, people, and climate while they can also explore the beautiful landscapes and exotic places, the trend of going on a gap year is spreading over to many countries. However, a proper preparation for your gap year is very important. It takes some thoughtful planning, time, and effort to make your stay on the gap year a very memorable and enjoyable experience.

      Before you plan to go on a gap year experience project , you should ask yourself where you would like to go and what you want to do. Also, ask yourself how long you would like to stay on the gap year. Some people like to travel to a new country just to experience a different culture and for sight-seeing while others want to gain some real work experience by volunteering work. There are many people that really want to help poor countries and underprivileged children living there. Depending on your purpose, you can prepare for your gap year. Without a proper planning and preparation, you are likely to face many difficulties and might not be able to enjoy your trip.

      Estimate your budget or how much you are ready to spend on your gap year. List the activities you would like to do and how much they would cost you. If you are tight on your budget, you can plan to stay in a hostel or a shared-accommodation. For those who want to volunteer, make sure you do a research on the programme pre-requisites. You should be mentally well-prepared for accommodations and food expenses. You should also get a health-kit, including things like medicines, water purifier, sunscreen lotions, re-hydration powder, insect repellents, etc.  It is always a good practice to get your passport ready well in advance so to avoid last-minute stress. Check for visa requirements and passport processing time.

      Another very important step in preparing for your gap year is learning a bit about the culture of the places you are going to travel to. It would be even better if you learned the local language. You should also be prepared to face a different weather conditions as you are going to a new place. Make sure you take warm clothes with you if you are visiting a place where it gets too cold. Be prepared to meet different people that may speak with a different accent. You should be able to adapt to their culture and the way of living life especially if you are going to volunteer to work and spend more than a few weeks.

      If you are not sure where you would like to go for a gap year even though you know what you want to do on your gap year, you should take assistance of a travel agency that specializes in gap year travels. They can also help you with special programmes that will meet your requirements and budget. They have a vast experience and expertise in helping students and others that want to go to a different country and experience a different culture. A good preparation for your gap year travel also equips with confidence and knowledge about the place you are visiting. This will help you stay positive during your gap year.

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    • 5 months ago
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  • How to plan a Tibet trekking t How to plan a Tibet trekking tour

    • From: tibettravel
    • Description:

      With the modernization of major cities of Tibet, travelers to Tibet cannot find original Tibetan taste. Many Tibetan people in cities live a modern life, wearing fashion clothes, using latest new mobiles. What you see is just out of your expectation. But making a Tibet trek to remote areas of Tibet, you will find the traditional Tibetan style. But you may ask how to plan a Tibet trekking tour? Just follow Tibettravel org, you will get a perfect answer.

       

      Where to Go

       

      The inaccessibility of many areas of Tibet offers lots of chance for travelers to do a trek in Tibet. Trekking from one holy site to another one or just around a sacred mount or lake in Tibet is the most popular trekking way in Tibet, for instance, trekking from Ganden Monastery to Samye Monastery or from Tsurphu Monastery to Yangpachen Monastery, or trekking around holy Mt. Kailash.

       

      Generally, Tibet trekking can be classified into Tibet pilgrimage trek, Tibet culture trekking and sightseeing trek, but most Tibet treks combine the three types together. During trekking in Tibet, you can visit sacred monasteries and other holy sites, view fabulous landscape of Tibet, drop a visit to a traditional Tibetan village, etc. 

       

      When to go 

       

      Tibet trekking is not feasible from December to March as the temperature goes very low and also the days become much shorter. During the snowfall not only the mountains are inaccessible but the highways that take you to the trail heads are blocked. Generally from April to October, the best time to travel to Tibet, is also great time to trekking in Tibet. Rain is not a problem for trekking in Tibet as it receives only little rain being in a rain shadow zone behind the Himalayas. Rather rainy season is the best time for trek, as the weather is mild and the ground in mountain valleys turn green and alpine flowers bloom in profusion.  

       

      Tibet Permits

       

      Depending on the area you hope to visit in Tibet, you may need as many as four different permits. Of course, Chinese visa is the first permit you should apply for. Then, Tibet Entry Permit issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau is a must for foreign travelers to travel to Tibet. Besides, Alien’s travel permit is required if you visit places outside Lhasa and military permit is needed for visiting militarily restricted areas of Tibet. These Tibet permits cannot cost you too much and are easy to get thanks for the new policy on Tibet travel permit 2013.   

       

      Equipment for Tibet trekking

       

      A trekking tour in Tibet is usually made at areas far away from main road and lack of tourist infrastructure, so you at least need a tent, a sleeping bag, and a stove to stay warm and well fed. All of these things can be purchased or rented in Lhasa, though quality may vary. White gas for western liquid fuel stoves is not available in Lhasa, though pressurized fuel canisters for canister stoves are found everywhere. Owners of multi-fuel stoves capable of burning regular unleaded will find gas stations in Lhasa. Ration 4-6 ounces of liquid fuel per person, per trekking day.

       

      Besides, warm clothing and a good pair of shoes are essential for a Tibet tour, and can be purchased in Lhasa, but the price is usually a little high at the tourist city. It is best to buy clothes and shoes in your hometown or big cities of mainland China. Waterproof, high-top hiking boots are better suited than ventilated low-top trekking shoes to the snow covered high mountain passes common on Tibetan trekking routes. Gaiters, knee high canvas leggings that attach to your boots, are extremely useful if snow gets above the ankle level.

       

      Food for trekking in Tibet

       

      Usually, there are no restaurants or shops on the trekking route. So you need to prepare food by yourself or hire a cook to prepare food for you. It is a good idea to bring enough food for your entire trekking tour. Though western style dehydrated "backpacker meals" are not available in Tibet, a wide variety of non-perishable foods at the local supermarkets makes it easy to eat well on your trek. Hot chocolate, dehydrated fruits, candy bars, and instant noodles make good staples. If your Tibet tour is long, it is best to hire a cook to cook food for you.  

       

      Drinking-water for Tibet trek

       

      Drinking large amounts of water is the most important key to beating the altitude. Tibet's backcountry is full of grazing yak, sheep, and goats so stream water must be treated before drinking. Lodine, chlorine, and mechanical filters are all good treatment options. Western filters cost a fortune in Lhasa, iodine isn't available anywhere in China or Tibet, and Chlorine tablets were in stock in limited quantities in Lhasa. Boiling water is effective, but Tibet's high altitude puts the boiling point lower. Bring water to a rolling boil for at least a minute before drinking.

       

      Water from locals is a good way to fill water bottles when passing through small villages. Though they may not have much if anything to offer in the way of food, every family keeps a large thermos of boiled water on hand. Just be sure you know what you're getting before pouring, or you may end up with a water bottle full of yak butter tea.

       

      Altitude Sickness

       

      Altitude and the related effects of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) should be taken seriously if you travel to Tibet. If ignored, AMS can progress into High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) or High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), both of which can be fatal. Before starting your trekking tour in Tibet, you should give yourself a few days to acclimatize. During trekking, move slowly and try not to sleep at the day's highest elevation. Most importantly descend to lower elevation immediately if any of your companions seem to act drunk, complain of a headache that is not relieved by ibuprofen, or become nauseous and vomit. 

       

      Hiring a Pack Animal

       

      It is very hard to walk at high altitude with a heavy backpack. It is wise to hire a pack animal, usually a yak. Yaks can be rented in villages of almost any size, and can make a trek more enjoyable by taking weight off of your back. Yaks come with yak men to herd, handle, and feed them and some yak men can speak a little English. 

       

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    • 1 year ago
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  • Top Biking Adventures in Vietn Top Biking Adventures in Vietnam

    • From: acitvetraveasia
    • Description:
      As a country with every terrain imaginable, Vietnam offers a memorable bicycling adventure for any and all peddlers, regardless of experience or condition. The flat expanse of the Mekong Delta grows to rugged mountains in the central expanse and then blends into the widest variety of difficulty north near Hanoi.
      Traffic and Bicycle Laws
      Along with standard laws like not causing traffic problems by racing or zigzagging, Vietnam has few laws targeted specifically toward the bicyclist. It is important to remember not to carry cumbersome loads, carry children over age seven with you or ride more than two abreast. No sort of helmet or lighting is required, but bicyclists are not allowed to ride with open umbrellas. One can only guess what happened to make this law.
      Common Trips
      For those interested in adventure and active trips, there are some routes that will take you through and explore the backcountry while providing some modicum of modern amenities. ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA_one of the travel companies offering cycling tours in Indochina_ is received good reviews of adventure travelers.
      Biking Mekong Delta
      The easiest of these is around the Mekong Delta. With a terrain nearly devoid of any rise, these trips are easier, but by no means less scenic, than the others. Traveling through the expanse of rice paddies dotted with the occasional copse of trees, the rider will be joined by children cycling to or from school or women returning from the market. People in the villages will be pleasantly surprised to see a foreigner riding into town and a circuit from Ho Chi Minh to any of the surrounding villages is an easy ride. With the flat terrain and abundance of villages it is easy to take a trip of any length, whether only a day or two weeks, a rider can tour without backtracking.
      Biking Mai chau, Hoa Binh province
      The northern area allows for more wooded scenery while still allowing for easier trips. For the more adventurous, the northern area provides a greater degree of difficulty through the hills surrounding Hanoi. This trip offers a great opportunity to see the two area of outstanding nature beauty; the North West highlands of Mai Chau and the limestone mountains of Ninh Binh. Biking is a great way to see this fascinating and visually stunning part of Vietnam, offering both physical activity and the unique opportunity to observe a way of life that has changed little over the centuries. As we ride in Mai Chau we encounter Muong and White Thai minorities and are guests in their traditional stilt houses allowing us to see firsthand how these minority peoples live. In Ninh Binh we explore the beauty of “Halong Bay on the rice fields” on bikes.
      Biking Ho Chi Minh trail
      A new trip for the adventurous would be along the historical Ho Chi Minh trail. The so-called Ho Chi Minh Trail is one of the most renowned legends of the American War. The complicated road system winds along the Truong Son Range, which that facilitated movement of soldiers and war supplies from North Vietnam to battlefields in South Vietnam. Now the historic trail is being turned into a highway and hotels and towns are springing up speedily beside it. The route is incredibly beautiful with new mountain views around every corner, very little traffic, and virtually no tourists.
      Weather
      Weather in Southeast Asia is a big consideration and it is recommended to go from Late September to December or March to late May. The weather in the southern area of Vietnam stays warm and humid averaging 26°C with its rainy season from June to September. BE WARNED: Vietnam sees monsoonal rains starting in June, peaking in August and tapering down in September. This season varies depending on location; Hanoi in the north generally has a rainy season that peaks earlier while Ho Chi Minh City may not see its rains slack until early October. Vietnam, especially central Vietnam, often floods and can hold up a trip for a week before the waters recede.
      The hot season will see temperatures averaging 30°C, with the south staying warm all year round and the north seeing winter trends averaging 15°C. Depending on the time of year, it would be advisable to take a jacket to keep off the chill, especially if riding in the highlands, and a hat to protect against the sun.
      Other Considerations
      Visas must be applied for at least six months prior to entry date. Tourist visas are granted for one month, but may be extended after arrival in Vietnam, and only allow one entry into the country. Tourists must fill out arrival/departure papers and declaration papers, keeping both with the passport at all times. It is also recommended having a few extra passport-size photos with you as local authorities may request these and it is always a good idea to stay on the good side of authorities.
      With over two-thirds of its roads unpaved and those paved roads sporting an abundance of potholes, the road conditions almost require a mountain bike. 
      The lush landscapes and warm hospitality provide anyone with a good biking tour of Vietnam. Take the time to look around and smell the proverbial “roses”.
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    • 1 year ago
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  • Prague – Vienna Cycle Tour Prague – Vienna Cycle Tour

    • From: Bicycle_tours
    • Description:

      Last September I joined a cycle tour in the Czech Republic. The tour took us from Prague in Central Bohemia to the rolling hills and charming medieval and Renaissance towns of South Bohemia and then through the gently-sloping vineyards of South Moravia. Some riders then cycled on to Vienna, whilst others chose to return to Prague. For many non-Czechs the countryside of the Czech Republic is unknown, secret, and undiscovered. This tour is a wonderful opportunity to discover what lies beyond Prague, a city that is deservedly visited by millions of people every year.

       

      We were a very diverse group. Our party consisted of seven Australians, a British couple, a couple from Brazil, a New Zealander, an American, and our Czech guide, Jiri (George) and driver, Jindrich (Henry). And me – I’ve been living and working in Prague for six years, but I’ originally from London, UK. Age-wise, collectively we covered every decade from early thirties to (almost) seventy. As those who have been on tours like this before, there is a camaraderie amongst cyclists that transcends continents and ages.

       

      Our First Day:        Prague to Ceske Budejovice by mini-bus

                                  Ceske Budejovice to Cesky Krumlov by bike

       

      After collecting everybody from their hotels on a quiet and overcast Prague Sunday morning, we group of strangers, soon to become brave companions of the trail, gathered together in the cellar meeting room of the tour company to introduce ourselves and to receive a full briefing. We were given a detailed itinerary for each day, a safety briefing and a small glass of slivovice (a local plum brandy that some people quite like).

       

      Then it was outside to hitch up the bike trailers to the mini-buses, check on helmets and water-bottles, and on to Ceske Budejovice. After a two and a half hour drive, we parked up in the city centre and everyone was allocated their bikes for the week. The bikes are already pre-selected for individual size, weight and experience by the company. Some people had brought their own pedals and these were quickly fitted by the ever-helpful staff.

       

      Ceske Budejovice is of course the home of the Czech Republic’s second most famous beer, Budvar or Budweiser. It is an old town with a lot of green spaces and a very large Renaissance square, where we took the first of many group photographs.

       

      We made our way through the town and down to the River Vltava (Moldau), the same river that runs through Prague. It was a great way to start, riding along the flat cycle path following the river to test out the comfort and settings of our bikes. After a while, we reached a rocky outcrop – our first hill! After climbing above the river, we coasted down a winding forest path to the small settlement and large monastery of Zlata Koruna (Golden Crown) founded in 1263. Here was a chance to stock up on a well-deserved bowl of soup and plate of sausage.

       

      After suitable refreshment, the last stage of the day’s short ride was down to the fairy-tale chocolate-box town of Cesky Krumlov, dominated by the second-largest castle in the country built on sheer rocks which rise up from the river. It is spectacularly beautiful and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  George gave us a tour of the town, but sadly it was raining quite hard at this stage, so we were very glad to arrive at our hotel. The luggage had already been delivered to our rooms and we had time to freshen-up before dinner.

       

      Dinner was in a lovely medieval restaurant where the food was prepared on an open fire. We sat at long wooden tables and had a chance to get to know each other better. However, what really bonded our group together was the next stop in a lovely crowded pub with a piano player who took requests. I’d like to think that our lusty singing of old standards was enjoyed by the locals as much as it was by us.

       

      Kilometres cycled:   27

       

      Second Day:Cesky Krumlov to Trebon

       

      After a fine and hearty breakfast, we gathered in the courtyard of the hotel to reacquaint ourselves with our bikes and make some final adjustments to them. And so we set off. It’s a long climb out of the valley of Cesky Krumlov, nestled on a bend of the river, where in high summer canoeing and rafting are very popular. We rode along paved cycle tracks and forest paths before stopping at a village restaurant for lunch. It was quite a strenuous day’s cycling and some of our valiant company took respite in the mini-bus for the more hill sections. The mini-bus is never far-away and is stocked up with water, fruit and energy bars.

       

      I should add that the day was quite testing; not only because of the distance and terrain, but it was also quite cold and raining, so it did test the morale of the group. However, the week’s forecast was good and the outlook was for sunny weather. Some of us rode the mini-bus into Trebon, while others pressed on through the mud and rain to arrive later.

       

      After a welcome shower, we met for a meal in the hotel restaurant, which was served with élan and charm by our hosts. Some opted to take a walk around the town afterwards to take in the Renaissance square, the Marian column, the charming castle and a local hostelry to taste the renowned local brew.

       

      Kilometres cycled:   61

       

      Third Day:    Trebon to Telc

       

      Trebon has been the centre of the Czech fish industry for five centuries. Over this time many fish-ponds and man-made lakes have been developed to produce carp and other fish. Carp is a traditional Christmas meal in the Czech Republic. It is a flatter area of South Bohemia, so a good chance to get in some faster cycling along paved forest paths. It was raining lightly and misty but this added to the mystique of riding through the dark, silent pine forests of Central Europe. All very atmospheric, all very Brothers Grimm.

       

      After about 25 kilometres we left the woods and the land began to undulate through fields. We met up with Henry and the mini-bus for snacks and refreshments, and to mend a couple of punctures.

       

      We pushed on through the rain. This was the most gruelling day, the furthest to cycle, nearly 80 kilometres and the second two-thirds were fairly hilly. We stopped for lunch at a country pub-restaurant, but otherwise it was head-down and concentrate on getting to Telc and South Moravia.

       

      The town of Telc is another UNESCO World Heritage site. It has a breath-takingly beautiful and extensive square, consisting entirely of Renaissance buildings from the 16th century, decorated in the typical brightly-coloured and sgraffitoed style of the time. It’s a great photo opportunity.

       

      We stayed in a very fine hotel not far from the main square, which had been a large farm and dairy complex. The tasteful reconstruction provided spacious rooms and a fine restaurant which served an excellent and well-deserved dinner.

       

      We were all pretty tired after this day, but we went to bed knowing that the following days would be sunny with temperatures rising to 25 degrees Celsius. Indian summer weather!

       

      Kilometres cycled:   78

       

      Fourth Day:  Telc – Vranov

       

      This was a shorter day than the day before but we had some hilly country to tackle as we followed the spectacular rocky and wooded valley of the Dyje river, which flows into the Danube.

       

      By mid-morning the sun had begun to shine and the temperature to rise. We rode through sun-dappled forests and fields and stopped at a large 17th century convent complex, where we stocked up on snacks and looked around the old buildings perched on top of a hill with lovely views of the Moravian landscape we were to cycle through.

       

      In the afternoon, after lunch in a country village restaurant where some of our party were brave enough to assay the delicacies of the bull, we cycled through deeply-forested paths with short steep climbs and satisfyingly long downhill runs.

       

      We passed the 11th century castle Bitov, high on an outcrop of the river, and climbed up to take a short tour of the castle. It was extended during the 15th to 17th centuries and had a fine library and impressive collection of hunting weapons: bows, crossbows and guns.

       

      A short distance away is another castle called Zornstein (Angry Rock). This is a quite different structure to Bitov, having been abandoned in the Middle Ages and largely derelict. It is however an impressive ruin of medieval fortifications. There were fine views to be enjoyed from this historic vantage point over the blue skies and green forests of the winding valley of the River Dyje.

       

      From Zornstein, it was a short ride down to the river and along the bank to Vranov.

       

      Kilometres cycled:   44

       

      Fifth Day:     Vranov to Znojmo

       

      This was also a shorter day in terms of distance, but again there were some tricky hills and off-road forest tracks to be negotiated.

       

      However, we did have the chance to tour the castle which sits upon a rocky crag that dominates the small town. The castle was modified extensively in the Baroque style in the 18th century and so offered a completely different style to the previous day’s visits. It really was a most impressive place giving an insight into the opulent way of life of the aristocracy during Hapsburg rule.

       

      After the informative tour, we saddled up again and rode out of Vranov towards the major wine-producing town of Znojmo. This was another enjoyable day during which we mostly followed the border between the Czech Republic and Austria. The trails pass through forest and paved tracks in an area which had been off-limits for forty years during the days of the Iron Curtain. The natural habitat is therefore unspoiled. 

       

      The last section of the ride was quite taxing as we had to climb up away from the border towards Znojmo, situated on a steep hill above the river Dyje. It is a impressive sight with several ancient spires and towers rising above the houses perched on the hillside.

       

      After the steep ascent, we were pleased to arrive at the hotel, beautifully modernised with glass staircases, large rooms and comfortable beds.

       

      Kilometres cycled: 40

       

      Sixth Day:    Znojmo to Mikulov

       

      For me this was the finest day for cycling. The weather was beautiful, warm and sunny, and the terrain was gentle passing through undulating wine-growing lowlands.

       

      We had a long lunch at a traditional pub-restaurant and passed by the only section of preserved pre-1989 defences with fences, originally electrified, tank defences and a cleared, and previously mined, dead zone. It was quite creepy to see the physical embodiment of the ‘Iron Curtain’ and difficult nowadays to understand how peoples could have been so brutally divided after the Second World War.

       

      About 15 kilometres before Mikulov we stopped at a small wine-cellar, little more than an underground shelter, where the proprietor talked us through his current production and we tasted Burcak, the deceptively first fermentation of the grape juice. It was interesting to see the small scale of the production, but it is clear the the best of the wine never reaches the export market.

       

      Feeling refreshed, we pushed on through the glorious afternoon sunshine to Mikulov which we could see jutting out of the surrounding plains from far away. We had our farewell dinner in a restaurant adjacent to the hotel and then repired to a wine bar for prize-giving and valedictions.

       

      Kilometres cycled:   70

       

      Seventh Day:                   Mikulov to Vienna

                                  Mikulov to Vratice – Lednice area

       

      Mikulov is a charming small town with a population of about 8,000 which was at one time a major centre of Jewish trade and scholarship. It is very interesting and thought-provoking to walk through its square with its pretty church and then through the adjacent Jewish quarter with its 15th century synagogue.

       

      After breakfast, our fellowship was broken. Eight of our party had planned to end their tour in Vienna and they set off with George guiding. After a day’s ride they were driven the remainder of the distance to Vienna and delivered to their hotels by the ever-reliable Henry.

       

      The rest of us spent an enjoyable day riding a circular route from Mikulov to Valtice and Lednice. This area is another UNESCO World Heritage site and is thought of as the most architecturally valuable region in the country. This was a great day’s cycling to end the tour. We cycled along deserted roads to Valtice through the heart of Moravia’s prime wine region. We paused in Valtice to have a look at the impressive chateau and then pressed on to Lednice. The route took us through the forested parklands of the Lichtenstein family which are studded with ostentatious monuments including the Temple of the Three Graces and a shrine to the patron saint of hunters, Saint Hubert. After lunch in Lednice, we went to walk around the glory of the neo-Gothic chateau.

       

      Then it was back to Mikulov along a series of ribbon lakes following the border to meet up with the driver, Tonda, who drove us back to Prague and delivered us to our hotels, safe, sound and tired after a most enjoyable cycle tour through some of the finest countryside and towns that the Czech Republic has to offer.

       

      Kilometres cycled:   47

       

      Total kilometres over the week:  367

      Guided Group Tour by: www.bicycle-tours.cz

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  • TET - the biggest festival in TET - the biggest festival in Vietnam

    • From: indochinasails
    • Description:

       

      TET, Vietnamese New Year, occurs somewhere in the last ten days of January or the first twenty days of February, nearly halfway between winter solstice and spring equinox. This year (2013), Vietnam celebrates Tet on Feb 10th as the first day of the Lunar New Year. Although the Lunar New Year is observed throughout East Asia, each country celebrates Vietnamese New Year in its own way in conformity with its own national psyche and cultural conditions. 
      For the Vietnamese people, Vietnamese New Year is like a combination of Western Saint Sylvester, New Year's Day, Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. It is the festival of Purity and Renewal.
      Vietnamese New Year Customs
      1. Clean and decorate the home
      Homes are often cleaned and decorated before New Year's Eve. Children are in charge of sweeping and scrubbing the floor. The kitchen needs to be cleaned before the 23rd night of the last month. Usually, the head of the household cleans the dust and ashes (from incense) from the ancestral altars. It is a common belief that cleaning the house will get rid of the bad fortunes associated with the old year. Some people would paint their house and decorate with festive items.
      2. Literally means "getting new clothes"
      This is often the most exciting part of the Vietnamese New Year among children. Parents usually purchase new clothes and shoes for their children a month prior to the New Year. However, children cannot wear their new clothes until the first day of the New Year and onward. The best outfit is always worn on the first day of the year.
      3. Farewell ceremony for the Kitchen Gods (Ong Tao)
      Seven days (the 23rd night of the last lunar month) prior to Tet, each Vietnamese family offers a farewell ceremony for Ong Tao to go up to Heaven Palace. His task is to make an annual report to the Jade Emperor of the family's affairs throughout the year. 
      4. New Year's Eve
      However, in a literal translation, it means "Passage from the Old to the New Year". It is a common belief among Vietnamese people that there are 12 Sacred Animals from the Zodiac taking turn monitoring and controlling the affairs of the earth. Thus, Giao Thua (New Year's Eve) is the moment of seeing the old chief (Water Buffalo for 2009) end his ruling term and pass his power to the new chief (Tiger for 2010). Giao Thua is also the time for Ong Tao (Kitchen God) to return to earth after making the report to the Jade Emperor. Every single family should offer an open-air ceremony to welcome him back to their kitchen. 
      5. The aura of the earth
      Giao Thua is the most sacred time of the year. Therefore, the first house-guest to offer the first greeting is very important. If that particular guest has a good aura (well respected, well educated, successful, famous, etc.), then the family believes that they will receive luck and good fortune throughout the year. The belief of "Xong Dat" still remains nowadays, especially among families with businesses. 
      6. Apricot flowers and peach flowers
      Flower buds and blossoms are the symbols for new beginning. These two distinctive flowers are widely sold and purchased during Tet. Hoa Mai are the yellow apricot flowers often seen in Southern Vietnam. Hoa Mai are more adaptable to the hot weather of southern regions, thus, it is known as the primary flower in every home. Hoa Dao are the warm pink of the peach blossoms that match well with the dry, cold weather from the North. Tet is not Tet if there is no sight of Hoa Mai (south) or Hoa Dao (north) in every home.
      7. Giving away red envelopes (filled with lucky money) 
      This is a cultural practice that has been maintained for generations. The red envelopes symbolize luck and wealth. It is very common to see older people giving away sealed red envelopes to younger people. Reciprocally, the older ones would return good advice and words of wisdom, encouraging the younger ones to keep up with the schoolwork, live harmoniously with others, and obey their parents. 
      8. Making offers for the ancestors
      This ceremony is held on the first day of the New Year before noontime. The head of the household should perform the proper ritual (offering food, wine, cakes, fruits, and burn incense) to invite the souls of the ancestors to join the celebration with the family. This is the time families honor the souls of their ancestors and present the welfare of the family.
      Vietnamese New Year Foods

      One of the most traditional special foods for New Year (Tet) of Vietnamese is Banh Chung or sticky rice cake. Banh Chung is made of sticky rice, pork meat and green bean, every ingredient is wrapper inside a special leaf which calls Dong. Making the Banh Chung requires care and precision in every step. The rice and green bean has to be soaked in water for a day to make it stickier. The pork meat is usually soaked with pepper for several hours. Squaring off and tying the cakes with bamboo strings require skillful hands to make it a perfect square.
      Banh Chung is a must among other foods to be placed on the ancestors’ altars during Tet holiday. In the old time, one or two days before Tet, every family prepares and cooks the Banh Chung around the warm fire. It is also the time for parents to tell their children folklore stories. 
      The importance of Banh Chung has already gone into poetry:
      ‘Rich meats, Salty onions, red couplets
      Nêu tree, firecracker, green banh chung’.

       

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  • DSCN3865.JPG DSCN3865.JPG

    • From: Brylynn
    • Description:

      Relaxing in the warmth of Anna Maria Island Florida

    • 1 year ago
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  • DSCN2915.JPG DSCN2915.JPG

    • From: Brylynn
    • Description:

      Relaxing in the warmth of Anna Maria Island Florida

    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 819
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  • -1.jpg -1.jpg

    • From: Brylynn
    • Description:

      Relaxing in the warmth of Anna Maria Island Florida

    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 625
    • Not yet rated
  • Planning Your Amazing Adventur Planning Your Amazing Adventure Holidays in Alaska

    • From: jamespattrick
    • Description:

      Alaska is a vast state full of wilderness and potential adventures. From hiking to fishing to skiing, you are sure to find an adventure holiday that suits your needs and desires. Here are a few things to consider when planning an Alaskan holiday.

      Decide when to visit Alaska

      Alaska's peak tourist season runs from about the middle of May through mid-September. The long days and warm temperatures make this a great time to go camping, hiking, bird watching and general sightseeing.

      The flowers show up at the beginning of summer, so vacationers can enjoy nature in her full glory. Alaska's protected waters, rivers and lakes also offer you the great opportunity to go rafting or kayaking in a beautiful wilderness setting.

      Summer is also the season of higher prices, however, with July being the absolute worst when it comes to cost. If you plan to go to Alaska during the peak tourist season, be sure to book well in advance to ensure you have the necessary lodgings.

      The "shoulder seasons" occur in early May and late September through October. An increasing number of vacationers are taking
      Alaska holidays during these shoulder months to take advantage of mild weather, reduced crowds and discounts on activities and travels. The shoulder months are the perfect time to go boating and fishing.

      The Alaskan weather patterns typically change at some point between late August and the middle of September. Frequent rainstorms and cooler weather cause the foliage to turn vivid, bright colors. It's also a great time to view the wild animals in their natural habitat.

      Winter runs from November through April and contrary to what many people believe, Alaska isn't dark and inaccessible and the people don't hibernate. While daylight isn't as abundant as in the summer months, many parts of the large state still enjoy 6 to 12 hours of sunlight every day.

      Alaska offers plenty of cold weather activities for snow lovers to enjoy. More sporty types might enjoy trying their hands at snowmobiling, snowboarding, downhill skiing, dog sledding, and ice skating or curling.

      Fishermen might like to try ice fishing for king salmon or rainbow trout, both of which are commonly caught in the winter months. You can spend the long evenings at a cultural festival, viewing the Northern Lights or cuddling with that special someone in front of a fireplace.

      Set your trip itinerary

      some of the more popular tourist destinations include Denali National Park, Kenai Fjords National Park and Mount McKinley, the highest mountain peak in North America. It's also worth taking a driving tour of the picturesque coastal towns and taking a short day cruise to view aquatic wildlife at its very best.

      Another option is to choose a travel package offered by a reputable adventure vacation company. For example, Grand American Adventures offers several popular Alaskan tour packages. Sign up for one of these and you'll get to enjoy 8 to 21 days of unique adventures, private transportation and the advice of a professional tour leader.

      Alaska is teeming with the opportunities to enjoy outdoor adventures. From water activities to winter sports, you'll find activities that suit your style in America's 49th state.

      Author’s Bio: James Pattrick is known for writing informative articles on Tavel Guide and Home Security Equipment related issues. He writes for HomeAlarmMonitoring.org also.You can catch him on Google+,Facebook And Twitter.

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  • PARTY ON THE BEACH AT THE LOEW PARTY ON THE BEACH AT THE LOEWS HOTEL IN SANTA MONICA

    • From: ajjordan2
    • Description:

      Loews Hotel Santa MonicaWith the weather still warm and Halloween around the corner, this is the perfect time to hit the beach…Not just visit the beach, but kick off Halloween weekend right, with a beach party at the luxurious Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. This will be the hotel’s first annual “Live From Loews: A Rockin’ Halloween Beach Bash”. The party will include various tricks and treats, including classic rock performances by the local band Everyday Housewives and a voluntary costume contest, whose winner receives a two-night stay at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and dinner for two in Ocean & Vine restaurant.

      There will be an added treat of a Halloween-inspired farm-to-table menu prepared by Executive Chef Keith Roberts. Some of the dishes include Wharf Troll’s Favorite Fish Tacos, Undertaker’s Brick Furnace Pizza, Spicy Shark Bite Shredded Tuna Rolls, Warm Smashed Jack-o’-Lantern Pie and a ghoulish signature cocktail. Managing director, Paul Leclerc says, “We’ll turn the lights down, the music up and revel in the freedom to live it up for one night only”…What a better way to spend a Friday night?

      The event is October 26th from 6:30 to 10:00pm.

      The tickets are usually $99, but Travel Zoo is offering them for $49 each or two for $89. This includes entry, parking, unlimited tastings from the Farm-to-table menu, and wine and beer.

      http://www.travelzoo.com/local-deals/Beach-Cities/Other/27899

      Also check out all of the amenities and goodies the Loews Hotel Santa Monica has to offer:
      www.santamonicaloewshotel.com

       

      Loews Santa Monica Hotel

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  • Kayaking in Halong Bay – Thing Kayaking in Halong Bay – Things to know

    • From: indochinasails
    • Description:
      Halong Bay attracts thousands of passengers every month. Nearly five hundred cruises run every day and hundreds of passengers stay on board every night. Halong Bay is famous for its natural beauty and thousands of limestone islands and islets.
      When you are on board, you admire the majestic beauty of the Bay but when you GET closer to the limestone islands, discover the beauty yourself, you admire its nature. But… how to get closer? The best way is joining kayaking activity.
      Kayak in Halong Bay?

      This is a small, relatively narrow, human-powered boat primarily designed to be manually propelled by means of a double blade paddle.
      How to use a kayak?
      Kayaking is generally assumed to be very safe in these calm waters of Halong Bay but there is still some areas and warning that you should avoid and listen to the tour guide. Kayaking is not difficult; however, to enjoy it completely, you need some tip:
      Preparation do not skip this stage
      • Suitable clothes: T-shirt and short, swimming suit in the summer; warm clothes in the winter; wet shoes, hat, sunglasses
      • Necessary things: Water, sun cream, dry bag, camera, insect repellent
      • Life vests






      Medical box and food (for the long duration)

       

      • Follow your tour guide: it is very important
      • Listen to the route, time and rules
      • Learn how to use the kayak even it is not your first time kayaking, wear the life vest and use the dry bag
      • Strictly follow the leader (tour guide) about the moving rules
      • Check with your tour guide the weather, tide and wind strength to have the best and safest route.
      • Keep a suitable distance with the others, not too far, keep in sight with the others
      • Keep away from the places which have strong flow, against the wind; take advantage of the wind strength and flow.

       

      What about the children?

      • Follow the tour guide and their parents
      • Sit still in the kayak, do not move in front of or behind
      • Wear the life vest
      • Wear the hat and sun cream

       

      Handle unexpected situations:
      • Adjust the speed of the whole group if any of the member is out of sight
      • In case the kayak capsizes, passengers need to swim a bit, and then take the water out of the kayak with the help of the tour guide. He will catch thekayak; take the water out by putting your kayak on his in the T- shape. After that, he will put the kayak back into the water; keep it still so that passengers can be on the kayak again.
      • If there is an expected storm, find the safest place in the sheltered areas, beaches… to avoid the storm. In case passengers are in the middle of the sea and cannot find a safe place, passengers need to be gathered to make a raft
      • If you are not sure about the route you are going, you should keep in touch with the others and paddle around the mountain, you will not be lost. Passengers should know for sure the route, search on the map.
      • It is better if passengers have mobile phone, radio or any means of communication (often for professional kayakers)
      Supported by Indochina Sails - The most luxury and safest cruises in Halong Bay
      INDOCHINA SAILS
      Hanoi Office
      Add: 27 – A6 – Dam Trau Quarter – Hai Ba Trung District – Hanoi – Vietnam
      Tel: +84 – 4- 39842362
      Fax: +84 – 4 – 39844150
      Email: info@indochinasails.com
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  • Living Like Locals in London Living Like Locals in London

    • From: Roger.Rhodes
    • Description:

      Living like Locals in London

      By Roger and Linda Rhodes

           My wife and I decided to visit London for a week and live like the locals. I had purchased the tickets last June for our flight in September. The flowers are still blooming in the window boxes as the first frost hasn’t set in yet.

           Our tickets, Cincinnati, via Charlotte N.C. to Gatwick Airport were purchased through www.cheapoair.com.  They were $800.00 for each person, rt. It is cheaper to buy air tickets on a Tuesday afternoon when prices go down, and plan a stay over a weekend, with a return on Tuesday.

           We prefer the area of Belgravia. It is within walking distance to Victoria Station where transport is available via the Tube, local coaches, or trains. The week before we left I found a bed and breakfast, The Melita House Hotel. It was 812 pounds for 6 nights, ($1232.00 USD) and that includes an English breakfast. 

           We drove to Cincinnati Airport and left our car 7 days, $59.00 at ValuePark. We had a 4:00 p.m. flight to Charlotte, N.C. and an hour layover, and then the ‘overnight’ to Gatwick, getting into London at 7:20 a.m.  We took the Gatwick Express from the airport to Victoria Station. Be sure and buy the ‘return’ as it is cheaper.  It is ½ hour on the Gatwick Express direct to Victoria Station. The cost is 32 pounds pp including (return). Our room was ready so we did have a little nap, before ‘supper out’. We found a nice little Italian restaurant on Belgrave Road, O Sole Mio. We would go back several times that week. Then back to the hotel for an evening in front of the telly.

           Getting up early I found an internet café down the street and made it my morning ritual to go and have a half hour on the internet for 1 pound.  After an English breakfast we were off on our first day adventure of taking the train ‘out’ to Jane Austen’s house. We found a Sainsbury’s grocery store on the way. I went to the ticket window in Victoria Station and asked for two train tickets to Alton. We had to change in Clapham Junction.  We met Mark Hudson and his taxi at the train station, and for a couple of pounds he took us directly to Jane’s house.  There is the Jane Austen Learning Center and gardens, and gift shop. Across the street is Cassandra’s Tea Shop. After spending time at the Centre, and the tea shop, we took a walk down the road and I photographed the architecture of some of the village houses. It was a bright sunny and warm day in the country. Mark had told us when we wanted to return ask for Don, the bartender across the street at Greyfrier’s Pub, and he would call Mark to come and pick us up. We met Don and after lunch, we caught the taxi back to the Alton train station changing at Clapham Junction we were in Victoria Station before we knew it, and then a short walk home.

           After breakfast the next morning and a short walk down Buckingham Palace Road we took the tour of Buckingham Palace. The palace is only open August and September.  We purchased the tickets for the 11:00 a.m. tour.  We had to go through ‘security’ before entering the palace. You wander through 19 State Rooms with an ‘audio guide’,  stopping and pressing the corresponding buttons on the audio guide wherever you want to listen. It is a very educational tour with lots of highlights, and this also included the ‘Queen’s Diamond Exhibit’.  Cost of the tour was 16 pounds per person.  We exited through the Garden Café then a nice walk through the gardens and you are out.  We caught the coach back to Victoria and after a bit of shopping at Sainsbury’s we walked home. After a rest, we walked back to Victoria Station and caught the Tube to Covent Garden for a Friday night out. There are lots of shops, and restaurants, and don’t miss the Christopher Wren church which was the opening scene in the movie My Fair Lady. Dinner was at The Steak and Company. I had seen a sign for St.-Martn’s in-the-Fields concert the next night of the Faure Requiem, the Vivaldi Gloria, and Mozart.  We purchased tickets for the Saturday night concert.

           After our ‘usual’ morning  we then took the coach from Victoria Station to shop at Harrods. Later we took the coach to Oxford Street and had a nice lunch at a very busy Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. It was very crowded. Londoners love the Colonel. Then a walk through all the stores.  Then a coach ride back to Victoria Station and the walk home.  After regrouping, and dinner out, we were at St. Martin’s for the concert.

             The weather had turned cloudy and rainy, so Sunday we opted for a day indoors at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The coach from Victoria to the museum let us off at the Aquila Hotel, where we had a warm up of tea and lunch before setting out across the street to the museum which is free to enter. Several hours later after seeing as much of it as possible we took a cab to the Hard Rock Café for supper.  This is the ‘original’ Hard Rock Café. Then a short cab ride home.  Resting was on the agenda for Sunday night, and some telly time. And there on the telly was the new season of Downton Abbey! It was several episodes into the new season, and it was very different watching Maggie Smith and Mary plotting to have Shirley McLaine save Downton from financial ruin.

           Monday we went to Hampton Court.  A short walk to Victoria, and a train ride to Clapham and change and you are in Hampton Court. They have an ‘audio tour’ and so you proceed at your own pace through the palace. We had watched The Tudors  so we were excited about being there. Hampton Court is also home to the Royal Needlework Society and its gift shop, plus the Hampton Court gift shop. Lunch was at the restaurant across the street and then back over the bridge to the train station, and the ride back to Victoria and the walk home.

           I listen to the internet radio station www.classicfm.co.uk and before leaving for London I heard they were having their 20th anniversary concert at Royal Albert Hall, and I had bought tickets online before going.  

           We got up the next morning  and took the Gatwick Express back to the airport for a 10:00 a.m. flight  to Charlotte and home.  We are eagerly looking forward to next years trip! 

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  • Luxury Cruise through Vietnam' Luxury Cruise through Vietnam's Historic Halong Bay with Indochina Sails

    • From: indochinasails
    • Description:
      Halong Bay, only 105 miles from Hanoi, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. Guests will be surrounded by hundreds of lush islands, each with names that reflect their unique shapes, like Voi Island (Elephant), Ga Choi Island (Fighting Cock), and Qua Chuong Island (Bell). The over 900 islands are said to have been created when God sent a group of dragons to help the Vietnamese fight invaders.

      When the dragons spit out jewels and jade, the islands were formed and blocked the invaders' path. Once the dragons decided to stay in peace, many of the islands were given names to honor them. Bai Tu Long Island is where the young dragons looked after their mothers and Back Long Vi Island is where young dragons played in the sea and wriggled their tails.

      Indochina Sails, an extension of luxury cruise company Huong Hai Junks, boasts over ten years of experience, bringing guests from all over the world to the beauty of Halong Bay, Vietnam. Featuring tropical weather, guests aboard a cruise through the bay should expect warm, humid weather in the summer and cold, dry weather in the winters. Regardless of the season though, guests will be able to witness limestone karsts (which have undergone millions of years of various environments), isles in assorted sizes, and many caves with ancient legends surrounding them. Set in Quang Ninh province, the Halong Bay has a rich history and we think it would make for a beautiful luxury vacation.

      As one of the first companies to offer overnight cruises, Indochina Sails has six vessels in their fleet, each designed to reflect a traditional Asian style, while still supplying guests all the modern amenities needed. All of their boats have spacious cabins with large en-suite marble bathrooms (complete with massage showers), sundecks, freshly cut flowers, dining rooms and bars. Rich wood and large windows accent the rooms, with luxurious linens covering the bed to ensure a good night's sleep. The rooms vary depending on which of the six ships you choose for your cruise, whether it be one of the four Indochina Sails or one of the two Valentine vessels.

      Two Premiums ships are available, the Indochina Sails Premium and the Valentine Premium, each offering guests more space and more exclusivity. The Valentine is a full-service vessel and offers everything the other larger boats do, except this one only has two deluxe cabins on board. The Indochina Sails Premium is the newest to the fleet and features 24 cabins, a massage cabin, and a gym. With bigger windows than any of the others, guests will be able to relax in the lounge without having to sacrifice views of the bay.

      Guests are sure to be charmed by the many legends as they cruise through crisp waters and admire Mother Nature at her best. Indochina Sails offers a cruise for two days and one night, and a cruise for three days and two nights, each with an exciting itinerary. For the two days one night itinerary, on the first day guests will be taken to Luon Cave and explore it by either bamboo boats or kayaks. Titop Island is next up, where you can swim at the beach or hike up the mountain for photos opportunities. Day two will bring a Surprise Cave visit, where one can find a small fishing village and visits to some of the area's most untouched locations.

      Rates vary depending on cabin type, cruise length, and season but can range anywhere from $330 to $788 per cruise. The rates include sightseeing fees, tour guides, and insurance.

      For more information about itinerary, please visit our website http://www.indochinasails.com/en/itinerary.html

      INDOCHINA SAILS
      Hanoi Office
      Add: 27 – A6 – Dam Trau Quarter – Hai Ba Trung District – Hanoi – Vietnam
      Tel: +84 – 4- 39842362
      Fax: +84 – 4 – 39844150
      Email: info@indochinasails.com
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  • RVing in Alaska – The Ultimate RVing in Alaska – The Ultimate Adventure

    • From: camping
    • Description:

      Alaska is known for its open roads and magnificent scenery. And of course, there are the wild animals that attract a number of RVers to have a trip of a lifetime. However, driving the Alaska Highway can be a challenge for many. Most of the highway of this part of the country is two-lane and well paved. Moreover, they have easy grades and gentle curves. The challenge comes when you are driving highways that have stretches of gravel along with dust and mud. Due to the winter's freezing temperatures, some of the roads have rough surface. But there is nothing to worry, if you take it easy and drive slow. Apart from numbers, Alaska highways also have names. Along the road, you will even find small signs with numbers, which are mileposts indicating mileage.

      RVers who are driving Alaska highways for the first time needs to be careful about the moose; they often cause traffic crashes and traffic fatalities. Moose usually ignore people and human activities, though they will comfortably pose for a picture or two. They generally move around in search of food. And during winter when finding food is difficult, they are likely to wander into highways and local roads. And if you come across one or two remember not to feed them and give them at least 50 feet.

      Alaska weather needs to taken into consideration when planning a trip with your recreational vehicle. It will be still cold and wet even in the early June; however, July and August are likely to be warm and mild. You can expect light snow around mid-September.

      Though food and fuel (especially unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel) are readily available in Alaska, be prepared for major repair facilities. You may find some of the major parts of your recreational vehicle in the big Alaskan cities like Fairbanks and Anchorage, but it is better to carry spare parts of your recreational vehicle. These may include fan belts, spare tires, electrical fuses, heater hose, a chain or a tow strap, a duct tape, and flares and a small water bucket. However, for small repairs you can refer to the auto parts stores, which are found in almost all the communities.

      For RV campgrounds – there are plentiful in Alaska. You will find both public and private RV camping grounds that offer hookups. In general, most of these RVG campgrounds offer toilet, water and firewood. Some of these campgrounds also have dump stations. But such facilities may charge an addition user fee. While driving your recreational vehicle you will also find dump stations, but they are usually located outside of the cities. These dump stations use a septic tank to dispose of waste. Some may even use drainage field system.

      Grocery stores and convenient shops are found in every community. In addition, there are supermarkets and malls in larger cities where you can refill the supplies for your recreational vehicles. Restaurants and eating establishments are readily available in all the communities.

      And for Alaskan wildlife, which might have motivated you to take a trip with the recreational vehicle, you need to be up early in the morning to see a lot of wildlife. You may even watch them late at night. 

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  • Everest Base Camp Trek - Wound Everest Base Camp Trek - Wounderful Treks in Nepal

    • From: nepaltrekking
    • Description:

      A trek to Everest Base Camp is one of the most amazing adventures in the world and has become a Mecca for adventure travel enthusiasts. Just imagine standing at the point where so many expeditions have left on their way to the summit of the highest mountain in the world. The trek ventures deep into the Himalayas with amazing views of many of the world's highest and most beautiful mountains. Not only can you enjoy the breathtaking views across the Khumbu icefall, but you can experience all the amazing landscapes and culture that Nepal has to offer too. A trip to Everest Base Camp Trek is a real adventure taking you from the bustling Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, via a small aircraft, to Lukla and the start of the trek up the Khumbu Valley. The trek passes through many Sherpa villages, including the famous trading centre of Namche Bazar, as well as visiting Buddhist monasteries along the way.

      Trekking to Everest Base Camp
      Everest Base Camp trekking vary in duration but to ensure you acclimatise properly to the high altitude and lack of oxygen, and enjoy your adventure to the full, real buzz recommends a trek duration of about 14-18 days. In order to trek to Everest Base Camp you must go as part of an organised trek with a licensed mountain tour operator Nepal Visitors Trekking and Walking (p) Ltd. Porters will carry the majority of your food and equipment and cook all of your meals for you. For the trek you only need to carry a daysack containing food, water and warm clothing.

      Everest Base Camp Trekking Itinerary:

       

      Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu airport (1345meters).
      There you will be met by our Airport Representative and transferred to hotel by private tourist vehicle. Overnight at hotel.

      Day 02: Sightseeing around Kathmandu valley.
      Your sightseeing trip will start at 9 AM in the morning after the breakfast. We provide a private vehicle and professional tour guide. Places we visit are Pasupatinath temple, Buddhanath, Monkey temple, Bhaktpur durbar square and Kathmandu durbar square. The afternoon includes a final briefing and preparations for the trek. Overnight at hotel.

      Day 03: Fly to Lukla (2804 meters) trek to Phakding (2610 meters) 3 hours.
      An early morning start takes us to Tribhuwan international Airport in Kathmandu for the 35 minute scenic flight to Lukla at 2804meters. On arrival at the airport guide will brief you and introduce our porters before we begin our trek towards Phakding at 2610meters. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 04: Trek to Namche Bazaar (3441 meters) 5.30 hours.
      We continue trekking along the banks of the Dudh Kosi, crossing this majestic river many times on exciting suspension bridges laden with prayer flags. After entering Sagamartha National Park, the trail climbs steeply with breathtaking views. Namche Bazaar known as the Gateway to Everest which is home to many quality restaurants, hotels, lodges, shops, Money exchange, internet cafe and a bakery. Namche is one of the biggest villages along the whole Everest trail. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 05: Namche Bazaar Acclimatization day.
      We will spend a day here in order to acclimatize and adjust to the thinning of the air. As well as a short trek where a museum is celebrating the traditional customs of the Sherpa people. Today we hike up the Syangboche Airport around Everest View Hotel. From this point, we can see rewarding views of the Himalayas with a stunning sunrise and sunset over the panorama of Khumbu peaks. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 06: Trek to Tengboche Monastery (3860 meters) 5 hours.
      The trek continues along the rushing glacial waters of the Dudh Kosi with magnificent views of the mountains. We trek to an altitude of 3860meters today. On reaching Tengboche you will see the local monastery. Inside the monastery are incredibly ornate wall hangings, a 20-foot sculpture of Buddha, and the musical instruments and robes of the Lamas. The group will be taken to observe a prayer ceremony either in the evening or morning depending on how the days trekking went. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 07: Trek to Dingboche (4350 meters) 5.30 hours.
      From Thyangboche the trail drops to Debuche, crosses another exciting suspension bridge on the Imja Khola, and climbs to Pangboche amongst thousands of mani stones. Our uphill trek continues, taking us to the quaint traditional Sherpa village of Dingboche with its exquisite views of Lhotse, Island Peak, and Ama Dablam. We take our time so we avoid getting affected by the altitude. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 08: Trek to Chhukung (4710 meters) and trek back to Dingboche. 4.30 hours.
      Today you can enjoy another day for acclimatization. We will have trip to Chhukung valley via the Imja Khola valley to get a marvellous view of the surrounding mountains, especially Lhotse's massive south wall, then return to Dingboche in the evening. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 09: Trek to Lobuche (4910 meters) 5 hours.
      Today, the trail continues along the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier and passes by stone memorials for climbers who have perished on nearby summits.We continue to climb as we are heading to the altitude of 4910 meters at Lobuche which is really just a few huts at the foot of giant Lobuche peak. Some breathing problems may arise today due to the altitude. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 10: Trek to Everest Base Camp (5365 meters) then trek back to Gorak Shep (5180 meters). 7 hours.
      After an early morning start leaving Loubuche, we head up to Everest Base camp (5365meters) you will have unobstructed views of many mountain giants like Nuptse, Pumori, Chagatse and Lhotse looming directly ahead and on all sides. Then we make our return to Ghorakshep at elevation of 5180 meters at noon for our overnight stay. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 11: Trek to Kalapattar (5555 meters) then trek down to Pheriche (4200 meters) 6 hours.
      After reaching Base camp of Everest our aim today is to trek Kalapattar (5555meters). Starting early the ascent is demanding but the climber gets the most magnificent mountain panorama possible with the best view point of Mount Everest along with other surrounding mountains. We then descend to Pheriche at elevation of 4200 meters. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 12: Trek to Namche Bazaar (3441 meters) 5.30 hours.
      Leaving the mountains behind us our descent takes us through Tengboche Monastery at elevation of 3860 meters before continuing back to the town of Namche Bazaar at 3441meters. We arrive back into Namche Bazaar in the afternoon. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 13: Trek to Lukla (3404 meters) 6 hours.
      Finally we return to Lukla where the trek began, which will seem like a lifetime ago. Enjoying time to reflect on the trek as a group and the personal achievement of all those who took part. Also giving you time to explore the town. Overnight at Guesthouse.

      Day 14: Morning flight back to Kathmandu.
      Enjoying your last glimpse of the mountains you have recently visited for one last time on the 35 minute Scenic flight back to Kathmandu. Overnight at hotel.

      Day 15: Leisure day in Kathmandu.
      It's also spare day in case of bad weather in Lukla, If you are interested in continuing on to Chitwan Jungle Safari, River Rafting Adventure, Kathmandu Shopping Tour or Scenic Everest Flight.

      Day 16: Transfer for your final flight departure.
      The trip ends, our Airport Representative will drop you to the Kathmandu International Airport for your flight departure from Nepal.

       

      For More information

      Nepal Visitors Travel Network
      P.O. Box :19760, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal.
      Tel :+977-1-4263133, Fax:+977-1-4216454, +9779841258665 (M)
      Skype: nepalvisitors
      info@nepalvisitors.com

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  • Active Xian Active Xian

    • From: UrbanAdventures
    • Description:

      www.xianurbanadventures.com

      Become a morning person, get active and hit the streets of Xi'an for this energetic city tour filled with history, culture, food and fun. Witness daily life in motion, find out about local legends and admire historic architecture as you cycle around the iconic city walls of Xi'an with Urban Adventures.

      Highlights:

      • Pick up some tasty snacks from street vendors
      • Join in with locals practicing their morning exercises
      • Cycle along the ancient city walls of Xi'an
      • Admire the well-preserved architecture on the streets of Xi'an
      • Learn about Xi'an's historic, local legends

       


      Tour style:Cycling, Local life & Culture, Heritage & History, Sightseeing
      Inclusion:

      English speaking guide, Transport & Entrance fees as indicated, Entrance to the City Walls and Bike rental (100 mins)


      Exclusion:

      Items of a personal nature, Tips or gratuities for drivers or guides and Entry to other museums at the Terracotta Warriors complex


      Group size:Maximum 12
      Schedule details:

      • Duration: 3 - 4 hours
      • Meeting point:

        By entrance to Starbucks and Haagen Dazs on Bell Tower Square

      • Start time: 8.00 AM
      • Finish point:

        South Gate of City Walls


      <!-- Drop-off time:12.00 PM
      -->Additional information :

      • Voucher exchange details:

        Please present your voucher to the local guide at the beginning of the tour.

      • Confirmation of booking:

        Please contact Xi'an Urban Adventures to confirm your tour 24 hours prior to departure.

      • Additional information:

        During national holidays and on weekend sights in Xi'an can be extremely crowded. If you wish to avoid the busiest times we recommend visiting Xi'an outside of these periods or taking your Urban Adventure on a week day.

      • Dress standard:

        We will be on our feet for a number of hours so please make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes

      • Child policy:

        Children must be 6 years of age to 11 years inclusively. Children below the age of 6 are not permitted on this tour.

      • Language: English


       

      Itinerary:

      Get into action on this cycling city tour that uncovers a slice of daily life while exploring the ancient and modern sides of Xi'an. Start the day by meeting an enthusiastic local guide in central Xian. Weave through the backstreets and modern thoroughfares of Xi'an and stop to buy some snacks from the street vendors selling everything from fruit to breakfast foods.

       

      Next, stop at a park in the shadow of the ancient city walls to join the locals in their morning exercises. You'll see people doing everything from relaxing tai chi to energetic dancing - there's even outdoor gym equipment to warm up on. If you're lucky, your exercises might be accompanied by the sounds of locals practicing opera or playing traditional instruments. Climb to the top of the wall and choose a bike to cycle on. Go it alone or pair up on a tandem bike for some extra fun! Ride around the city walls, appreciate the ancient architecture and revel in the unique view of the city. It may be a little bumpy at times but the incredible view and insight into local life is second to none.

       

      Stop to see city landmarks, take snapshots and learn about legends and tales of charming Xi'an. Depending on the weather (and the fitness of the group) the ride could last up to 14 km if the whole circumference of the wall is completed. Arrive back at the South Gate where the tour ends. Take the option to hire the bike for longer for an independent adventure (at an additional cost) or choose to explore on your own for the rest of the day.


      Your trip:

      For your Urban Adventure you will be in a small group of a maximum of 12 people.

      Tipping:

      If you are happy with the services provided by your local guides and drivers a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid Urban Adventures destinations. Please consider this when budgeting for your extra expenses on this tour.

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
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  • The first expedition to Son Do The first expedition to Son Doong - World's largest cave in Vietnam – Unrevealed stories!

    • From: stevebruce
    • Description:
      On 28th Sep, 2011, carrying the eager to explore the grandeur of nature, the first travelers together with ActiveTravel.Asia’s product manager – Mr. Tony Tran had launched the discovery to Son Doong Cave, the biggest cave in the world.
      Accompany with the group is Mr. Ho Khanh who found the Son Doong Cave as a tour guide. The first meet with Mr. Ho Khanh really impressed everyone. Just a warm smile, a strong handshake from him is enough to make everyone feel warm at heart. At Ho Khanh ‘s house, the group had the moments of relax with green tea, a simple lunch with steamed rice cake and salted peanut and an open conversation. All of that was promising for a memorable journey.
      Mr. Ho Khanh in old costume of troop
      The first obstacle for the group is leaches. They are everywhere and all in hungry for blood. It was really a nightmare at first but as time passes, the scare was fade when everyone got used to them and they weren’t the obstacle anymore. In the deep jungle under shade, the expedition team followed jungle trails that on limestone Mountains to the Swallow Cave.
      As planned, the expedition team would camp at the Swallow Cave. But “Man proposes, God disposes”, everything weren’t going as planned, it was dark so quickly so the expedition had to camp at a clear ground that is 30 minutes walking to the Swallow Cave. The tents were pitched up, dinner was also cooked and everyone had a good time to eat dinner together. Camping in the deep jungle, it was indeed an interesting experience!


       
      Everything was not easier on the next morning. Although the sky seemed so bright, no rain and the ground was dry, the obstacles was still waiting for them. This time was the torrential river bank. If the expedition team couldn’t cross the torrent, that meant they wouldn’t be able to get to Son Doong Cave. This case forced everyone had to discuss and find the way to cross the torrent and after that decided if they could go any further or not.


      In the torrential river bank....
      Ho Khanh proved himself as a local guide with many years of experiences. At the hard times, his skill is very essential. He swam to the other side with a rope, he tied it to a tree then he led them crossing the river one by one. After much effort, finally, the group crossed the river safety. With the hope “After a storm comes a calm”, everything would be smooth but the obstacle has passed, another comes. A lake blocks the way to Son Doong Cave. To cross the lake at that time was impossible and instead of risking themselves, it was better to take the photos of Swallow Cave then head back to the other side of the cave using rope to cross the river again.
      The trek back is so nice with not climbing and great view. Crossing over shallow stream, walking through banana forest and spending sometime for hot green tea in Doong Village. All of that little things made a memorable tour.
      Due to bad weather, the expedition might not succeed as planned but everyone was all happy with what they experienced. Son Doong - We will come back soon.

      Clip about the first expedition to Son Doong Cave 

      Recommended Related site:
    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 445
    • Not yet rated
  • The first expedition to Son Do The first expedition to Son Doong - World's largest cave in Vietnam – Unrevealed stories!

    • From: stevebruce
    • Description:
      On 28th Sep, 2011, carrying the eager to explore the grandeur of nature, the first travelers together with ActiveTravel.Asia’s product manager – Mr. Tony Tran had launched the discovery to Son Doong Cave, the biggest cave in the world.
      Accompany with the group is Mr. Ho Khanh who found the Son Doong Cave as a tour guide. The first meet with Mr. Ho Khanh really impressed everyone. Just a warm smile, a strong handshake from him is enough to make everyone feel warm at heart. At Ho Khanh ‘s house, the group had the moments of relax with green tea, a simple lunch with steamed rice cake and salted peanut and an open conversation. All of that was promising for a memorable journey.
      Mr. Ho Khanh in old costume of troop
      The first obstacle for the group is leaches. They are everywhere and all in hungry for blood. It was really a nightmare at first but as time passes, the scare was fade when everyone got used to them and they weren’t the obstacle anymore. In the deep jungle under shade, the expedition team followed jungle trails that on limestone Mountains to the Swallow Cave.
      As planned, the expedition team would camp at the Swallow Cave. But “Man proposes, God disposes”, everything weren’t going as planned, it was dark so quickly so the expedition had to camp at a clear ground that is 30 minutes walking to the Swallow Cave. The tents were pitched up, dinner was also cooked and everyone had a good time to eat dinner together. Camping in the deep jungle, it was indeed an interesting experience!


       
      Everything was not easier on the next morning. Although the sky seemed so bright, no rain and the ground was dry, the obstacles was still waiting for them. This time was the torrential river bank. If the expedition team couldn’t cross the torrent, that meant they wouldn’t be able to get to Son Doong Cave. This case forced everyone had to discuss and find the way to cross the torrent and after that decided if they could go any further or not.


      In the torrential river bank....
      Ho Khanh proved himself as a local guide with many years of experiences. At the hard times, his skill is very essential. He swam to the other side with a rope, he tied it to a tree then he led them crossing the river one by one. After much effort, finally, the group crossed the river safety. With the hope “After a storm comes a calm”, everything would be smooth but the obstacle has passed, another comes. A lake blocks the way to Son Doong Cave. To cross the lake at that time was impossible and instead of risking themselves, it was better to take the photos of Swallow Cave then head back to the other side of the cave using rope to cross the river again.
      The trek back is so nice with not climbing and great view. Crossing over shallow stream, walking through banana forest and spending sometime for hot green tea in Doong Village. All of that little things made a memorable tour.
      Due to bad weather, the expedition might not succeed as planned but everyone was all happy with what they experienced. Son Doong - We will come back soon.

      Clip about the first expedition to Son Doong Cave 

      Recommended Related site:
    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 309
    • Not yet rated
  • The first expedition to Son Do The first expedition to Son Doong - World's largest cave in Vietnam – Unrevealed stories!

    • From: stevebruce
    • Description:
      On 28th Sep, 2011, carrying the eager to explore the grandeur of nature, the first travelers together with ActiveTravel.Asia’s product manager – Mr. Tony Tran had launched the discovery to Son Doong Cave, the biggest cave in the world.
      Accompany with the group is Mr. Ho Khanh who found the Son Doong Cave as a tour guide. The first meet with Mr. Ho Khanh really impressed everyone. Just a warm smile, a strong handshake from him is enough to make everyone feel warm at heart. At Ho Khanh ‘s house, the group had the moments of relax with green tea, a simple lunch with steamed rice cake and salted peanut and an open conversation. All of that was promising for a memorable journey.
      Mr. Ho Khanh in old costume of troop
      The first obstacle for the group is leaches. They are everywhere and all in hungry for blood. It was really a nightmare at first but as time passes, the scare was fade when everyone got used to them and they weren’t the obstacle anymore. In the deep jungle under shade, the expedition team followed jungle trails that on limestone Mountains to the Swallow Cave.
      As planned, the expedition team would camp at the Swallow Cave. But “Man proposes, God disposes”, everything weren’t going as planned, it was dark so quickly so the expedition had to camp at a clear ground that is 30 minutes walking to the Swallow Cave. The tents were pitched up, dinner was also cooked and everyone had a good time to eat dinner together. Camping in the deep jungle, it was indeed an interesting experience!


       
      Everything was not easier on the next morning. Although the sky seemed so bright, no rain and the ground was dry, the obstacles was still waiting for them. This time was the torrential river bank. If the expedition team couldn’t cross the torrent, that meant they wouldn’t be able to get to Son Doong Cave. This case forced everyone had to discuss and find the way to cross the torrent and after that decided if they could go any further or not.


      In the torrential river bank....
      Ho Khanh proved himself as a local guide with many years of experiences. At the hard times, his skill is very essential. He swam to the other side with a rope, he tied it to a tree then he led them crossing the river one by one. After much effort, finally, the group crossed the river safety. With the hope “After a storm comes a calm”, everything would be smooth but the obstacle has passed, another comes. A lake blocks the way to Son Doong Cave. To cross the lake at that time was impossible and instead of risking themselves, it was better to take the photos of Swallow Cave then head back to the other side of the cave using rope to cross the river again.
      The trek back is so nice with not climbing and great view. Crossing over shallow stream, walking through banana forest and spending sometime for hot green tea in Doong Village. All of that little things made a memorable tour.
      Due to bad weather, the expedition might not succeed as planned but everyone was all happy with what they experienced. Son Doong - We will come back soon.

      Clip about the first expedition to Son Doong Cave 

      Recommended Related site:
    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 250
    • Not yet rated
  • Stroll through a magnificent g Stroll through a magnificent garden in Prague...Wallenstein Garden at the Wallenstein Palace

    • From: evbk
    • Description:

       

      I patiently wait for warm weather to arrive...very patiently. Ever so patiently. When it finally does, Prague just comes alive with the sounds of chatter and laughter, birds singing, and music fills the air. It's a vibrant, beautiful city all year round, but the warm weather brings about a buzz that you just can't explain...you feel.
       
      One of my favorite things to do on a warm and sunny day is to stroll around the garden at Wallenstein Palace.
      Wallenstein Garden (Valdštejnská Zahrada) belongs to Wallenstein Palace, the seat of the Senate of the Czech Republic.
      Wallenstein Palace
      The palace and garden were built in 1623-1630 in early Baroque style. Its construction was commissioned by one of the most powerful and wealthiest Czech noblemen, General Albrecht Vaclav Eusebius of Wallenstein (1583-1634). The palace was to be his Prague residence.
      Albert spent only 12 months in the palace before he was killed in 1634 on emperor's orders. Nevertheless, he spent a lot of money on decorating the palace with carpets, tapestries and furniture, most brought over from Italy and the Netherlands. Unfortunately, none of this is left in the palace today - nearly all valuables were taken by the Swedish in 1648 as war booty.
       
      The palace remained with the Wallenstein family until 1945. After that it belonged to the Czechoslovak state. Today, it is used as a seat for the Senate.
      And, of course, Czech history doesn't come without a ghost story!
      It's said that in front of the Palace, the headless ghost of a bellman appears. Apparently, said bellman used to wake Albert up at night, which made him so angry that he cut off the bellman's head. Ouch.
      Dutch sculptor Adriaen de Vries made a series of sculptures representing Greek mythology for the garden in 1626. Sadly, they were also taken away as war booty by the Swedes and can be seen in the garden of Drootningholm Castle in Sweden. The sculptures in Wallenstein Garden are replicas.
      Neptune
      Hercules
      The only sculpture given back to Prague is Venus with Amor and a dolphin by Benedikt Wurzelbauer from 1599. It's placed in the Prague Castle Gallery, but there's a replica in the Wallenstein Garden...you can view it at the bronze fountain in front of the sala terrena.
      Venus with Amor and a dolphin in front of the sala terrena
      The sala terenna was built in 1627 by Andrea Spezza. It's 30 meters high and has three arcades. The walls of sala terrena are adorned by frescoes and stuccoes representing the Trojan War by Baccio di Bianco. If you have the opportunity, attend a concert in the sala terrena. It's like being transported by music to a fairytale land!
      Wallenstein Garden is open April through October from 10 am - 6 pm. Concerts are held in spring and summer and are mostly free.
      Location:
      Letenská, Prague 1 (city centre)
      There are three entrances to the garden:
      - Gate from Metro at station Malostranska
      - From the first yard of Wallenstein Palace
      - From Letenská Street

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 510
    • Not yet rated
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