Monday 30 January 2012 | By Maria Boskovski |
Whether it’s for the marine life, wild parties, skinny dipping or soothing time in the sun, beaches make for a satisfying escape from reality. The diversity of experience from beach to beach is astonishing. Here’s a handful of the world’s most incredible beaches - must see destinations for beach-lovers!
A Nudist’s Paradise:
Paradise Beach, Rab, Croatia
The Croatian island of Rab has claimed its title as the birthplace of modern skinny dipping. Permission was granted in 1936 from city authorities to bathe naked in the inlet of Kandalora, and people from all over the world have been doing just that ever since.
Sandy Hot Tubs:
Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand
At Hot Water Beach in New Zealand, you can dig up your very own man-made hot tub. Nearby volcanos on the edge of New Zealand’s North Island develop large underground reservoirs of extremely hot water. The water cools slightly as it escapes to the surface, emerging at temperatures as hot as 64 C.
Short and Sweet:
Lover’s Beach, Baja California Sur, Mexico
This semi-hidden cove sits on the tip of the Baja California Peninsula where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean. The beach is small and the sea can get rough, so these dramatic landscapes are best enjoyed via a quick boat cruise. Short, and very sweet.
The Beach of the Bohemian:
Byron Bay, Australia
Byron Bay has a unique appeal for travelers, with pubs, cafes, bookshops and buskers lining the streets. With a lingering scent of the flower power generation, many artists, musicians and and beach-bums call this slice of paradise ‘home’.
Party, Party, Party:
Las Salinas, Ibiza, Spain
This 1,600 meter-long crescent of sand in the island’s southernmost tip, is the most happening beach of them all. With music blasting from Las Salinas’ beach bars from morning till night, this is the place to be for beach-goers that love to party.
Action and Activity:
Cape Maclear, Malawi
Cape Maclear sits on the edge of Lake Malawi; a lake so large it feels like an ocean. The huge abundance of fish species and marine life - and the absence of brine, sharks and jellyfish - have labelled this destination heaven for divers and snorkelers.
Luxury on the Water:
Sun Island Beach, Maldives
Considered by many to be the world’s best beach, this treasure in the middle of the Indian Ocean is a luxury-lovers’ favourite. Many are drawn by thought of sleeping on the water, literally. Nearby coral reefs attract thousands of tropical fish, snorkelers and divers too.
A Penguin’s Paradise:
Boulders Beach, Cape Town
Here you’ll discover one of the the scenes that South Africa is most famous for - penguins on a beach. Boulders Beach is home to a colony of 3,000 jackass penguins that can be easily spotted waddling in and out of the water.
Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
Well-known for it’s role in the movie “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, this picture perfect beach attracts thousands of visitors each day. The white-sandy shores are hugged by steep limestone cliffs. Coral reefs make it an excellent spot for snorkeling too.
A Dreamy Escape:
Matira Beach, Bora Bora, Tahiti
With the softest sands and calm waters, Bora Bora is the ideal destination for true beach lovers. Embrace the tourist spirit and feed the sharks, hunt for pearls or look through World War II memorabilia while your there.
Wednesday 25 January 2012 | By Maria Boskovski |
Far North Queensland is a beautiful destination for a tropical getaway. Here is some insight from my five-day escape, including my experience with accommodation, transport, leisure and adventure.
Accommodation: Marlin Cove Resort, Trinity Beach
For a relaxing and tropical escape, Marlin Cove Resort brings you near the Great Barrier Reef. Neighbouring the extensive tropical rainforest, the resort is only a few minutes walk from the beautiful Trinity Beach and 20 minutes drive from Cairns Central.
The luxurious apartments are available in one, two or three bedrooms. They are fully air-conditioned with private balconies and/or patios (depending on your room). With access to BBQ areas, a lagoon swimming pool, lap pool, sauna, games room, tennis court and garden areas, lazy days at the resort will be nothing less than a treat!
Transportation: EuropCar Rentals
If you’re staying at Trinity Beach, a rental car is highly recommended. Public transport can accumulate similar expenses, and will leave you waiting for buses and taxis in the heat and humidity. There’s a EuropCar station located at the airport, so you can literally pick up and drop off your car at the beginning and ending of your holiday.
Exploring the Great Barrier Reef
Whether you’re after a relaxing day on the beach, snorkeling, scuba diving or a combination of the three, there is a few cruise options that you can choose from. The best way to decide on which cruise is best for you, is to first decide what you’d like to do and then find a company that specialises in offering it to you.
For a bit of everything, try Big Cat Reef Cruises
The Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruise will take you on a day-trip to Green Island, a beautiful coral cay with markets, cafes and island rain-forests, surrounded by white sandy beaches. The cruise offers snorkelling equipment and the opportunity to scuba dive too, so with plenty to do, it will likely keep the whole family happy.
For snorkelers and divers, try the Silver Series
For those who want to spend the entire day discovering the magnificent coral reefs and abundant marine life, Silver Swift offers you a full-day of underwater adventure. With three sites at the outer Barrier Reef, certified divers, intro divers and snorkelers can spend a leisurely five hours playing with the vibrantly coloured marine creatures.
Exploring the Rainforest
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is located only a few minutes drive from Trinity Beach and provides a rare environmental tourism experience. Taking you over Australia’s World Heritage listed Tropical Rainforest canopy and deep into the rainforest.
If you're interested in sitting back and enjoying a view, and you'd like to learn a thing or two about the history of Cairns, than this experiece is perfect for you. If you're after something a little more thrilling, you might want to save yourself the disappointment and book a tandem skydive instead.
Action and Adventure
Raging Thunder provide a white water rafting experience along the Barron River. The river is quite steady and for those who are looking for some real action and adventure, you’ll likely find that this activity isn’t really thrilling enough. The company offers a range of other activities however, including extreme white water rafting, ballooning, bungee jumping, tandem skydiving, quad bike riding and horse riding.
Tips for Tomorrow's Tourists...
You should have a good understanding of what you hope to do before you arrive, as experimenting with ideas can be quite costly.
The nightlife kicks off quite early; aim to leave your resort or hotel by 7pm - not 10pm.
Pack less high heels and dresses, more swimmers and sarongs!
The Great Barrier Reef is astonishing - immerse yourself in its magic!!! (I highly recommend scuba diving!)
Don't forget to SLIP, SLOP, SLAP.
To plan a tropical escape of your own contact us today >>
Tuesday 24 January 2012 | By Maria Boskovski |
Image: Garonga Safari, Phalaborwa
Comparison Website TripAdvisor has issued its 10th annual Traveler's Choice Awards list of the world's 25 best hotels, based on millions of rankings. That's right; decided by guests, decided by - you! Here are the top rankings:
Best Hotel in the World:
The Phoenix Resort in San Pedro, Belize
Best Luxury Hotel in the World:
Shangri-La Hotel in Tokyo
Image: Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo
Best Bargain in the World:
HueNino Hotel in Hue, Vietnam
Best for Service in the World:
Arcadia Residence in Prague, Czech Republic
Image: Arcadia Residence, Prague
Best B&B and Inn in the World:
The Twenty One in Brighton, England
Best All-Inclusive in the World:
Garonga Safari Camp in Phalaborwa, South Africa
Image: Garonga Safari Camp, Phalaborwa
Best Relaxation and Spa in the World:
BollAnt’s im Park in Bad Sobernheim, Germany
Trendiest Hotel in the World:
Villa Zest Boutique Hotel in Cape Town, S.A.
Monday 23 January 2012 | By Maria Boskovski |
Image: Villa Zest Hotel, Cape Town
Here are a few tips to keep yourself occupied and survive long, international flights.
1. Learn a couple of phrases in a foreign language
Whether you read a phrasebook and aim to memorise a few sentences or take an mp3 player with audio lessons and aim a little higher, improving your understanding of the local language (of your destination) is always a great idea and a great way to pass the time!
2. Movie marathon
Everybody has a “must-see” movie list, that they never really get around to making time for, right? A few months prior to your travels, start jotting your list down, and organise these movies to watch on your flight.
If you don’t have a must-see movie list, here’s a few travel films that will get you excited for your journey:
7 Years in Tibet -- based on one of several books by Austrian Heinrich Harrer about mountain climbing in extreme conditions, this movie tells the tale of his 7 years in Tibet during its takeover by China.
Amelie -- a French film about a 23 year old waitress living in Paris who tries to spread joy to the people who surround her.
Baraka -- a beautiful movie with no dialogue revealing images shot around the global of animals and humans interacting with the natural environment and the surroundings we’ve created.
L’Auberge Espagnole -- set in Barcelona, the movie reveals the tale of a young Frenchman sharing an apartment with Italian, English, Danish, Belgian, German and Spanish roommates. He comes to learn Spanish, but learns much more about himself.
Before Sunrise -- a romantic about two strangers who meet on a train and spend the evening together in Vienna. The movie explores the accelerated feelings that come with traveling.
3. Catch up on sleep
If you can force yourself to drift into a snooze, you’ll be feeling fresher on arrival, and the time will surely fly by a lot quicker. Ask for a pillow, eye mask and ear plugs if they’ll make you more comfortable.
4. Stretch your legs
This exercise should be done regardless of whether your 16 hour flight is thrilling or boring. Stretching your legs and walking multiple laps of the cabin every two hours or so will help you to avoid blood clots.
5. Make a friend
This obviously relies heavily on who you’re sitting next to. If you’re lucky, you’ll be seated next to someone who is approachable, speaks the same language and has interesting stories to tell. Many lasting friendships can be forged by random conversations on long flights.
It’s easy to strike up a conversation, after all you’re both crossing continents and most likely for different reasons, for different lengths of time, and so on. Be friendly, listen as much (if not more) than you speak, and enjoy the company.
6. Read a book
A book is a great companion on your flight; you can pause at any time and continue reading throughout your trip too. Travel tales make great, inspiring reads when you’ve embarked on a journey of your own. Educational reads about your destination or the world in general are also a great idea. If you’re traveling with a friend, make sure you both carry a book that neither of you have read. That way, once you’ve both finished reading, you can swap books. You’ll have two books each, without the extra weight.
7. Write in your journal
You can reflect on your travels, feelings or experiences. Write an article, poem or story. Make a to-do list, or a don’t-do list. Set goals, plan your future or even draw it. With pen and paper, the possibilities are endless.
8. Listen to music
Particularly if you’re picky with your taste in music, bringing your own audio device is generally a safe way to go. Try french musical group Deep Forest for a moving and relaxing beat; the ‘ethnic electronica’ vibe is soothing, yet inspiring - perfect for embarking on a new and exciting journey.
Monday 16 January 2012 | By Maria Boskovski |
Travel safe and enjoy the ride!
Where’s the best place to escape the grind and remember that a whole world is still out there? A mountain. A beach. A Greek idyll. Only you know who you are and what suits you.
But we’ve got a decent idea. Actually, we have seven. What follows are seven trips for seven traveler types, all of whom deserve an adventure this year - and a friendly 2012 reminder to not forget the sunscreen!
1. The outdoorist: Mount Whitney, California, United States
Challenging, and accomplishable. Consider 4,421-meter Mount Whitney; the tallest peak in America’s lower 48 states, and reputedly the highest walk-up summit on the globe.
Not all make it to the top, but the vast majority come during the mountain’s short climbing window between June and August when the 18-kilometer Whitney Trail - the most accessible route up - isn’t caked in snow and ice.
What’s the payoff along the way? Glistening streams, wildflowers and waterfalls. Waiting at the top is an eternal view of California’s Owens Valley and of course, those equally eternal bragging rights.
2. The beach baron: Boracay, Philippines
The world is filled with ranked beaches, but one worth putting on the radar is Boracay, a resort-studded speck of an isle about 320 kilometers south of Manila, which placed second in 2011’s TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Beach Awards.
Less than 10 kilometers long, Boracay’s powdery shores are complemented by enough top resorts, full-service spas, kite-surfing rental shops and full-body beach massage touts to keep everyone happy.
Summer 2011 reports of a giant development involving four new hotels and additional tourism projects on Boracay, which will no doubt draw an even larger wave of beach aficionados. That makes 2012 the year to get there before they do!
3. The wildlife lover: Pantanal, Brazil
Pandas, whale sharks, gorillas, white rhinos. The odds of glimpsing any endangered species in the wild are shrinking fast. So are their natural habitats, with a few hopeful exceptions.
Take the Pantanal, southwestern Brazil’s vast tropical outback, which recently garnered a spot on CBS’s "60 Minutes" as one of the last remaining reliable places to spot giant anteaters, giant otters, hyacinth macaws and - one of the world’s most elusive and threatened charismatic mega-fauna - jaguars.
Your best chance of spotting one, or many, is likely in the Pantanal. “So far, we’ve had multiple jaguar sightings on every trip, including several indescribable ‘wow’ moments,” says Ged Caddick, a veteran naturalist and founder of Terra Incognita Ecotours, which runs a variety of wildlife journeys around the world.
Nearly half of the tour is based on a river bank at a Jaguar Research Camp in a remote state park where guests cruise up and down with their zoom lenses waiting for those "wow" moments!
4. The eternal honeymooner: Santorini, Greece
Is it a good time to be planning that dream honeymoon to Greece - a beautiful country in its third year of economic crisis and which is now on the brink of punishing debt restructure? “Greek tourism is actually not doing as badly as you might think,” The Guardian recently noted. This in spite of the fact that “according to credit ratings agencies, Greece is a worse economic bet than either Pakistan or Ecuador.”
Bottom line: if there’s a safe, romantic haven hiding out in any country this financially bungled, it has to be Greece’s eternal newlywed-magnet isle, Santorini. With stark volcanic cliffs and strings of whitewashed villages, the pride of the Cyclades may have actually been buoyed by the falling euro, with reports of “banner years” in 2010 and 2011 -- and promising signs in 2012.
Couples who are rightfully drawn to Santorini are a world apart from all that. They’re too busy escaping on cruises to the neighboring islet of Thirasia where a quiet cliff-top taverna has a glass of ouzo and plate of fava beans with their name on it. Or basking in hot mud springs on the nearby “Burnt Islands” of Palaia Kameni and Nea Kemeni. Or parking in the seaside town of Oia for one of the world’s most life-affirming sunsets, joined by other starry-eyed couples who haven’t encountered a business section in days.
5. The coffee whisperer: Blue Mountains, Jamaica
Savoring a sunrise and local joe in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains is the world’s most honest caffeine buzz. Blue Mountain Coffee - Jamaica’s magic bean - is commonly hailed the finest, scarcest premium coffee in the world! It can be tough to find a genuine cup of this full-bodied wunderbrew even in Jamaica, unless you go straight to its source in the island’s rugged east end - about as removed from Jamaica’s beach traffic as you can get.
The Blue Mountain Coffee crawl begins at Craighton Estate, a historic, 18-hectare plantation only 30 minutes' winding drive from Kingston. The tour begins with a cup of just-brewed 100 percent Blue Mountain Coffee on the estate’s grand Victorian balcony and continues with a trip through the property’s aromatic grounds.
The place to savor the bold Blue Mountains is Strawberry Hill, a mountain retreat with private luxury villas and gardens covered with coffee bushes, mango trees, bamboo and tropical flowers.
6. The cultural anthropologist: Pyongyang, North Korea (and beyond)
Yearning for a real getaway where you can form your own firsthand, sociopolitical opinion about how economic globalization affects industry and local communities? Taking a trip with Global Exchange is like hanging out in a National Geographic special.
The U.S.-based human rights organization leads hundreds of short-term “Reality Tours” around the world, all geared toward getting travelers in touch with the planet at the grassroots level. Enlightening trips to more than 30 countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America explore a range of local topics from health and the environment to education and civil rights.
7. The big eater: Sardinia, Italy
“Agritourism” may sound like a new travel buzzword, but the concept has been big in Italy for decades - particularly in rolling country steeped in local, agrarian tradition, like Umbria, Tuscany and (our favorite, further out) Sardinia -- one of the country’s most rustic corners.
Hundreds of rural properties throughout Sardinia’s four provinces open their farmhouse doors to travelers craving an authentic taste of outer-Italian-isle-style farm life. Accommodations vary from simple farms in the Barbagia to Costa Smeralda agri-villas with vegetarian cuisine and relaxation classes. Agrarian activities run the gamut. Some farms offer horseback tours and guided hikes. Others operate more like moderately priced bed-and-breakfasts. Few hosts expect that their guests will actually be interested in putting in a day’s work behind the plow.
A handful of agritourism web sites list farms with links to homepages and online booking options all over Italy. Try Agritour and Agritalia. Regional agriturismo offices can provide further information.
Friday 13 January 2012 | By Maria Boskovski |
CNN Go, Turner 2011. <CNNGO>
When traveling internationally, always check the luggage and arrival conditions relevant to your destination before your trip. You’d be surprised how many travel conditions exist that you wouldn’t expect. Here’s a few of the most bizarre conditions of arrival that we’ve discovered.
1. Kinder Surprise Eggs, United States
U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized about 25,000 Kinder eggs in 1,700 separate incidents in 2010, and the agency reissued a longstanding warning against the import of the chocolate treat this year right before Easter.
Kinder Surprise eggs are banned because they have “a non-nutritive object imbedded” in them, and thus pose a potential safety hazard to children below the age of three. American children have to travel to Canada to know the delights of the world’s greatest chocolate-plus-toy combination.
2. Marmite and Vegemite, Denmark
The yeast-extract spreads which Aussies prefer were banned in Denmark a few months ago on the basis that Marmite and Vegemite are products that contain “enhanced vitamins.” It seems that if you really need vegemite on toast to start your day, you will need to make a road-trip of it.
3. Cordless telephones, Indonesia
Alongside the usual restrictions on bringing live animals and produce into the country, Indonesian authorities have also prohibited travelers from bringing in cordless phones without an approved license. Fairly odd.
4. Electric pans, toasters and irons, Cuba
Count household appliances among the ‘dont’s’ for your packing list when you head into Cuba. Fresh animal products? Also banned. Printed material against public morality? No. That electric frying pan you were sitting on the fence about? Sorry. No chores for you, you’re traveling!
5. New articles of clothing, Malaysia
Malaysia limits visitors to three articles of new clothing in their baggage upon entry to the country, and anything beyond the allowance is subject to duties. It’s unclear how this restriction can be enforced or monitored, but just in case, be sure to wear all your articles of clothing at least once before touching down on Malaysian soil.
6. Chewing gum, Singapore
The ban on chewing gum in Singapore is well known. Nevertheless, it’s always good to remind people again that this actually isn’t an urban myth.
This information is correct at time of writing, but laws are subject to change. Always check the conditions for arrival into a country before your trip.
Thursday 12 January 2012 | By Maria Boskovski |
CNN GO, 2011 <cnngo>
Venice, Italy is renowned for the beauty of its setting. Commonly considered one of the most romantic cities in the world, it’s little wonder that it attracts around 50,000 tourists every day!
One thing that everyone should know before heading to Venice however is that this is a city that does sleep. Despite the number of tourists pouring into Venice each day, the city has essentially no nightlife. Most visitors are day-tripping, and you’ll likely find that most restaurants are clearing their last tables by 10:30pm.
So how would you soak up the romance on your trip to Venice? If you’re sharing the moment with your sweetheart then enjoy quiet pizzas, local markets, simply wander arm-in-arm and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. The incredible architecture and artwork of this city give it character that you wont find anywhere else.
If you’re visiting alone, don’t be displeased by the ‘love-scene’. Traveling to Venice solo gives you the opportunity to flirt with life; discover relaxation, history, culture, beauty and even yourself. Romance is a state of mind, don’t be afraid to enjoy it on your own.
For those accustomed to late nights, don’t adjust your sleeping time. Rather, use these peaceful evenings to wander the streets. The city is safe and you’re on an island, so you probably wont get lost - but you should try! The sound of the water in the narrow canals clapping on the edges of crumbling buildings should help you lose yourself in your dreamy thoughts, at the very least!
To book your holiday or enquire about getting lost in Venice click here >>
Thursday 12 January 2012 | By Maria Boskovski |
It’s not as if you need an excuse for travel… but if you do, here are the anniversaries, gatherings and essential destinations to put in your diary for the year. Your 2012 travel planning starts here.
1. Honour Scott’s Polar Centenary
British explorer Robert Falcon Scott’s expedition to the South Pole arrived on 17 January 1912, by which point they already knew they were beaten by Amundsen’s triumph on 14 December 1911. A century later, the Antarctic summer of 2011-12 will be a bumper one for visits to the frozen continent. Scott buffs should aim for Cambridge, England (home to the Polar Museum, part of the Scott Polar Research Institute) or his statue in London’s Waterloo Place. But the ultimate is to visit his frozen-in-time hut at Cape Evans on Ross Island, Antarctica.
The Scott Centenary concert tour featuring the City of London Sinfonia will tour England in February. See the Scott Polar Research Institute for details.
2. Follow Napoleon across Russia
Da da da da da da da da, daa daaa…BOOM! (That’s Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, complete with cannon fire.) Yes, this year marks the 200th anniversary of 1812 – and Napoleon’s disastrous invasion of Russia and the battles provoked by it. Head to Moscow, where the Battle of Borodino Panorama gives a vivid impression of the events of a key skirmish. Or go further north to St Petersburg’s Hermitage and Museum of Artillery, Engineers and Signal Corps, which contain paintings and memorabilia from the campaign. This could also be the year to finally tackle Tolstoy’s epic War and Peace, set around the conflict – though you may need to set aside the entire year to get through it.
The 360-degree panorama of the Borodino battle – complete with sound effects – is at Kutuzovsky pr 38, Moscow.
3. Visit Namibia’s protected coast
Namibia is a special country, blessed with an abundance of easy-to-spot wildlife, beautiful desert scenery and vast, wide open spaces. This year you can visit the epic Namibian coastline in the knowledge that the entire Atlantic shore is now part of one of the world’s largest protected areas, encompassing four parks: the Sperregebiet National Park, Namib Naukluft Park, newly created Dorob National Park and the infamous Skeleton Coast protected area. Many areas, especially in the south, can be explored independently – though ideally with your own wheels – but getting into serious Skeleton Coast wilderness requires a charter flight and deep pockets.
Chameleon Safaris offers good-value safaris across Namibia, including the Skeleton Coast.
4. Go football crazy in Poland and Ukraine
This summer’s European Football Championship shines a light on two of Europe’s least appreciated destinations. Poland and Ukraine are providing four venues each, and the rewards for travelling fans are set to be huge. Warsaw, Gdansk, Poznan and Wroclaw, Poland’s host cities, frame a journey around that country, and you can tick off Krakow on the way to Europe’s best-kept secret, Lviv in Ukraine. Kiev, which is especially lovely in the summer, Kharkiv and football-mad Donetsk complete the set of Ukrainian host venues. Both countries offer some of the best-value travel in Europe, with easy transport links to ferry the continent’s supporters to and frommatches.
Get details about the venues and travel at UEFA.com.
5. Chase Australia’s Top End eclipse
Eclipse chasers have had a bountiful few years, pairing one of nature’s greatest shows with visits to Easter Island, Bhutan and Mongolia. This year’s total eclipse on 13 November crosses parts of the South Pacific, with the most significant landfall across Arnhem Land and Cape York in Australia’s Northern Territory and Queensland, respectively. This is wild territory, and access to many areas is restricted by both permit requirements and wet season transport difficulties. However, the remote Palmer River area, inland from Port Douglas, Queensland, sees less rainfall than coastal areas and looks set to be a key eclipse-chasers destination.
Camping, facilities and a gold rush museum are available at the Palmer River Roadhouse on the Mulligan Hwy.
6. Meet the Maid of Orleans on her 600th birthday
France’s greatest heroine was born 600 years ago this year, offering a great excuse to explore her former stamping ground. Joan of Arc was a teenage visionary and military hero who took the fight to the English in the Hundred Years War. Following her trail will lead travellers to some wonderful parts of France, from Orleans, where her boldness led to the lifting of a long siege, to the beautiful Reims Cathedral, where Charles VII was crowned King of France, having been inspired by her visions of his succession. Joan was tried in Rouen Castle and executed in the city’s Vieux Marche, where a modern church marks the location of her immolation.
In preparation, read Mark Twain’s fictional but illuminating Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.
7. Discover a new Middle East
The Arab Spring swept through the region in 2011, offering revolutions that were variously realised or repressed. Few countries in the Middle East and North Africa were unaffected, but the most significant change may be in Western perceptions of the region. Despite their troubled political systems, these countries are steeped in history and offer hospitality unrivalled anywhere else; they’re also are home to a young, energetic and ambitious population. Why not pay a visit to Tunis or Cairo – or any of the other cities that hit the headlines in 2011? You might be among the first to return, and you’ll definitely be warmly welcomed.
Keep an eye on the headlines for the opening date of the amazing new Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo, projected for some time in 2012.
8. Explore Maribor’s Old Town
Sharing the European Capital of Culture crown with Guimarães, Portugal is the unheralded Slovenian gem of Maribor. The plan is to use the year in the spotlight to increase the profile of Slovenia’s second-largest city, which is off the usual Ljubljana-Lake Bled-Triglav route through the country. Events are still being confirmed, but expect art, music and other festivals to accompany the well-established theatre, classical music and folklore performances. The real stars of the show will be Maribor’s delightful Old Town and imposing castle, combined with a laid-back air best sampled from a cafe in one of the city’s many delightful, diminutive squares.
Štajerc, a pub-restaurant at Vetrinjskaulica 30, is the place to head for if you’re in the mood for reasonably priced local dishes.
9. Play arcade classics at the Smithsonian
Parents, kids, geeks and gamers should rejoice and head for the US capital. The collection at DC’s Smithsonian American Art Museum has over 7000 works of art, but an exhibition this year proves this is no mere load of frames gathering dust. The Art of Video Games explores the evolution of arcade and computer games over 40 years, and promises to make almost everyone who visits feel nostalgic (and possibly ancient). Some 80 games will be featured through still images and video footage. Better yet, you warm up your fingers and then play Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst and World of Warcraft.
The exhibition will run from 16 March to 30 September. See the Smithsonian for more details about exhibitions.
10. Check out Korea’s Expo
Today’s descendants of World’s Fairs, expos are large public exhibitions organised around a particular theme and featuring stands representing individual countries (think World Showcase at Disney World’s Epcot). The modern versions fascinate as much for the ways that countries strive to portray themselves as for the exhibits themselves. Yeosu in Korea is staging EXPO 2012, with a theme of ‘Living Ocean and Coast’, and the port city is a fitting venue with its spectacular coastline. Inside the Expo, expect thought-provoking, futuristic displays and dramatically designed pavilions.
Expo 2012 will be held from 12 May to 12 August.
Top 10 things to do in 2012, Lonely Planet, 2011 <Lonely Planet/Antarctica>
Friday 6 January 2012 | By Maria Boskovski |
Following our recent blog article “Travel Risks Worth Taking”, we bring you five travel risks that need to be avoided at all costs!
1. Going barefoot.
Even in the most isolated locations, broken or sharp objects can still be hidden in the sand or cracks in the path. Cuts on the feet are prone to serious infection, so going barefoot isn’t an option. Invest in some all purpose sandals and avoid the risk completely.
2. Gambling in Casinos.
When traveling to poorer countries, although the risk may seem minor, it’s rewards certainly aren’t worthy of it. Not only is casino gambling a great way to lose money, but unrecognised and underground casinos are almost always nasty places. Profits are often funneled to questionable citizens that cultivate criminal activity. In respect of the struggling locals at the very least, don’t patronise casinos.
3. Booking tight connections.
Booking tight flight connections may seem like a good idea when you’re feeling positive and excited for your trip. However, flight delays are completely out of your control. Missing a flight can cost you loads of time and money. The best way to avoid the situation is by leaving plenty of time between flights. Consider staying over night; you can explore the location and get plenty of rest, too.
4. Getting “wasted”.
There’s nothing wrong with having a few evening drinks while you’re traveling. Just be mindful so that things don’t get out of hand. Having too much to drink and finding your way back to your hotel late at night in a foreign town can make you an easy target.
5. Not buying travel insurance.
Travel insurance is a necessity. A lot of things can happen whilst your traveling abroad, including injuries, having your possessions stolen or needing to cancel your trip. Having an insurance company to back you up will be a great advantage to you in these situations. It’s cheap and quick and easy to buy, so really there’s no excuse not to have coverage!