Category Archives: Travel

How Travel is going to look like Post-Lockdown

The second phase of lockdown has finally come to an end and with it came the new guidelines for how travel is going to look in the near future.

The Lockdown Tiers

Though the rules are a little more lenient, restrictions across the UK are by no means completely lifted. After the national lockdown was lifted, the government implemented a three-tier system which came into effect on 2 December 2020, placing different areas in the UK in either Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3 ranking from medium risk to high and maximum risk.

Tier 1 – Medium Risk

+ The rule of 6 will apply indoors and outdoors

+ Spectator sports can resume with a crowd of 50% of capacity or 4,000 spectactors (whichever is smaller)

Restaurants and cafes opening after lockdown

Tier 2 – High Risk

+ You cannot mix with anybody you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble indoors

+ The rule of 6 applies in outdoor spaces such as parks, beaches or countryside

+ Pubs and bars can only open if they serve substantial meals – alcohol can be served with that meal

+ Pubs and restaurants must shut at 23:00

+ Shops, gyms and personal care services can re-open

+ Hospitality venues must stay closed, except for delivery and takeaway services

+ Spectacor sports must not resume

+ Non-essential foreign travel allowed, subject to quarantine rules

+ People advised not to travel to and from Tier 3 areas

People resuming going to office

Tier 3 – Maximum Risk

+ You cannot mix with anybody you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble indoors or in private or pub gardens

+ The rule of 6 applies in outdoor spaces such as parks, beaches or countryside

+ Shops, gyms and personal care services can re-open

+ Hospitality venues must stay closed, except for delivery and takeaway services

+ Spectacor sports must not resume

+ People advised not to travel to and from Tier 3 areas

Maintaining social distance for better protection

Places You Can Travel To

After the national lockdown, the all-domestic and international flying ban was lifted allowing non-essential foreign travel to be permitted following quarantine rules.

Small group of people interacting

The government has released a list of destinations that will not require you to self-isolate upon arrival from or return to the UK. However, you do need to have spent a minimum of 14 days in your desired destination or in the UK alone before travel.

If you are planning a last-minute holiday in 2020, this list outlines the destinations that are safe for guests to visit without self-isolation:
  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • Australia
  • The Azores
  • Bahrain
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • Bhutan
  • Bonaire/St Eustatius/Saba
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • the Canary Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • the Channel Islands
  • Chile
  • Cuba
  • Dominica
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • Gibraltar
  • Greek islands: Corfu, Crete, Kos, Rhodes, Zakynthos
  • Greenland
  • Grenada
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • the Isle of Man
  • Israel and Jerusalem
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Macao (Macau)
  • Madeira
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Mauritius
  • Mongolia
  • Montserrat
  • Namibia
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Norway
  • Pacific Islands (Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu)
  • Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
  • Qatar
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • Sri Lanka
  • St Barthélemy
  • St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Pierre and Miquelon
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Timor-Leste
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Uruguay
  • US Virgin Islands
  • Vietnam
People getting back to travelling

If you’re looking to book a winter sun escape to one of these destinations, call our dedicated team of travel experts to receive the latest flight deals available.

10 Best Things to See in Brisbane

Known for its stunning year-round sunshine, Brisbane is nothing short of a paradise. It’s a great place to travel to for many of it’s own reasons, but also because it makes for a great base point if you wish to explore nearby attractions. The attractive beaches of Brisbane are a big enough draw if you’re a sand lover, with a selection of beautiful beaches to sink your toes into.

Can’t decide where to visit first? We’ve listed 10 of our top tourist attractions in and nearby Brisbane so you can start planning your travel itinerary, today. Getting in touch with us is easier than ever. Call at 0207 612 0500 and connect with our travel experts for a hassle-free booking.

1- Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

LONE PINE KOALA SANCTUARY

If you’re an animal lover, take a trip to see the Koalas at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. You can have a cuddle with a friendly koala alongside taking pictures with (less cuddle-y) snakes and other animals that are well kept in the sanctuary. Other popular attractions include platypus feeding and admiring other local animals such as kangaroos, wallabies, dingoes and more.

2. Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-tha

BOTANIC GARDENS MOUNT COOT-THA

Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-tha is considered as one of the most amazing places to visit in Brisbane due to the panoramic views you can get from here. It’s 7 kilometres away from the city and expands over 128 acres, where you can discover cactus and bamboo plants, plus the enchanting Japanese gardens. Walking tracks are available throughout the area with free guided walks and also a minibus tour to make exploration easy. There is also a restaurant on-site explorers can indulge in local and international cuisine.

 3. Museum of Brisbane

MUSEUM OF BRISBANE

Being modelled and reopened in 2013, this museum reveals the rich history of Brisbane and its people.  The collection comprises of more than 5000 pieces of art from local and contemporary artists, displayed proudly for public viewing. It’s located on the top floor of the City Hall, which adds to the experience thanks to its brilliant views over the city.

4. South Bank

SOUTH BANK

South Bank is a lively area that’s loved by locals and tourists alike, peppered with atmospheric plazas, special hosted events and diverse restaurants to indulge in. Swimming in the man-made lagoon is one of the top things to do in Brisbane on a hot sunny day to cool off, but you can also go biking or for a leisurely stroll here. The Wheel of Brisbane is a popular landmark in South Bank, which opened in 2008.

5. Story Bridge

STORY BRIDGE

There are three bridges in the world like the one in Brisbane, also known as Story Bridge, situated in Sydney and Auckland. If you like to explore on foot and soak up spectacular views, this is the experience for you – lasting approximately two hours you’ll be able to roam 80 meters above the level of Brisbane River. The climb is suitable for all fitness levels and ages 10 or above.

6. West End

WEST END

You can’t travel to Brisbane without visiting this vibrant neighbourhood and its Farmers Market. Quirkiness is in abundance in the West End, sprinkled with chic coffee houses and vintage shops, making it a great option for some budget-worthy browsing. Better still, its famous for its West End Fire Festival, where you can witness amazing night shows and circus acts for an evening of entertainment.

7. Kangaroo Point Cliffs

KANGAROO POINT CLIFFS

Walk to the left of the Brisbane River and you’ll discover Kangaroo Point, which consists of a set of cliffs. Live like the locals do, grab your walking boots and visit this landmark to climb the cliffs (with an instructor too, if you wish) – or if you prefer two feet on the ground, why not take a picnic to enjoy amid the beautiful surroundings?

8. River Cruise

RIVER CRUISE

Discover Brisbane in a whole new light when you go on a leisurely river cruise with City Cats or City Ferries. There are different hop-on and hop-off terminals, which can be used for visiting other areas at your own pace. Aside from the beautiful setting, you can also soak up sights of historical landmarks along the way.

9. Eat Street Market

If you can’t decide where to eat next, head to the world-famous Eat Street Market. Foodies will be in their element, as there are no less than 70 food stalls here, each serving up a variety of delicious international delicacies to sample. You can find every kind of food here, from vegan dishes to meat eateries, so the options are endless!

10. Byron Bay

BYRON BAY

There are many destinations not too far from Brisbane to visit on a day tour, however, Byron Bay is undoubtedly the most famous of all. Be ready for live music, an awesome atmosphere and some spectacular waves – making it nothing less than a paradise. Rent a car and enjoy the outskirts of the city while you’re en route, it’s a great way to discover the area’s natural beauty.

Soak up the fantastic year-round weather and take advantage of both the laid-back and lively vibes available in Brisbane. Crystal Travel provides cheap flights to Brisbane for your next sun-kissed escape, with flights to Brisbane available from all major airports. Call our travel experts today and don’t miss out on our latest deals.

Top 15 Places in the world for Solo Travel in 2020

Solo travel can be one of the most rewarding experiences. Travelling alone has got a lot of benefits. You don’t have to wait for friends to venture out and explore the world but can do it alone. Meet lots of incredible new people and discover a sense of freedom that you never knew existed. More and more people are choosing to travel solo each year which allows them to explore the best of everything on their terms. Whether you want to spend your time on a desert island or explore a frenetic new city, here is our list of the best solo travel destinations you must visit in 2020!

1. Thailand

Thailand is a great place to start for young and inexperienced solo travellers. Affordable, easy to travel and a hub of backpackers, it is the perfect spot to test the waters. There are multiple daily flights from London to Bangkok, the country’s capital taking you on an epic journey. Start from Bangkok as you explore the best of this city or you may also begin from Chiang Mai in the north. There are so many things to do here, taking up culinary lessons, visiting temples or playing with elephants. Next, you can head south to explore the many gorgeous beaches and try scuba diving. Thailand has a way of making you feel adventurous especially if you’ve never been to Asia before. But at the same time, it’s an extremely popular tourist destination and hence, you don’t have to worry about travel logistics much. There are backpacker’s hotels and cosy hotels within every budget across the country.

2. Malaysia

Malaysia is often overlooked as a tourist destination in favour of its neighbours which is quite baffling. It is one of the most developed countries in Southeast Asia and a great destination for solo travel for any age. The country has got incredible rainforests and canopy walks, buzzing cities with lively nightlife and culinary scene. Since Malaysia is a multi-cultural country and most people speak perfect English, it is a lot easier to connect with the locals than many other countries. Malaysia is not a very touristy destination unlike Thailand so it’s a great choice in Asia for travellers who are looking to get to know about the culture and heritage. Start from the capital city of Kuala Lumpur and easing yourself to the different environment before venturing out to more offbeat places in the region.

3. Iceland

There are plenty of reasons why Iceland is one of the hottest solo travel destinations. It is also one of the safest places in the world where you can do so many things by yourself. Iceland is home to over 30 active volcanoes, hot springs and geysers to name a few natural attractions. From soaking in the Lue Lagoon to driving through the Golden Circle, you’ll not run out of things to do here. Iceland is also famous for sites like the largest glacier in Europe and ice caves that can only be explored in the winter and there are the world-famous Northern lights, of course. You’ll love everything about Iceland irrespective of what time of the year you choose to travel, winter or summer.

4. Oman

It is hard to imagine Oman as a tourist destination. Many people have no information about Oman but it is one of the best places to travel alone. You’ll find the locals friendly and can walk down the streets without being stared at. Roads are in great condition and renting a car is quite easy. From sparkling blue wadis and dunes to sea cliffs and the Grand Canyon of the Middle East, the nature and impressive scenery are the highlights of this country. You can also hire a local guide to show you around.

5. Australia

Australia is known for its laid-back culture and some of the world’s friendliest locals. There is no language barrier for you but you’ll just have to brush up on your Aussie slang knowledge. It is an incredible country to explore whether you’re looking for a city escape or some sunbathing by the beach. Trace over than 20,000 years old outlines of rock art in Kakadu National Park, float in the azure waters of Rottnest Island or perhaps admire the iconic sites of Sydney Harbour, there is so much to do and see on this indigenous island. Walk into a pub alone and you’ll end up sharing beer with the locals or walk by the beach and you’ll be invited over to join a summer barbeque. Australia recently went through a devastating bushfire season and if you want to help, a great way to do so by visiting the island.

6. Grand Canyon, Arizona

Solo hiking is an amazing way to escape into nature and enjoy the solitude that you find there. The Grand Canyon is one of the most popular destinations for solo hiking. Vast and inarguably beautiful, it is easily Arizona’s most distinguishable landmark that everyone should see at least once in their life. It is a natural wonder that you’ll have to witness to believe. Stretching 277 miles, its rocky walls go downhill over more than a mile to the canyon’s floor, where the wild Colorado River flows across a swift course southwest. You get a stunning perspective travelling down into the canyon and match no other hiking experience. It is a popular trail and hence, you’re likely to meet plenty of other hikers if you want to chat and make friends. Last year in 2019, the Grand Canyon celebrated its 100th birthday as a national park.

7. South Island, New Zealand

South Island of New Zealand is a great solo travel destination you must visit in 2020. We understand it is on the edge of the world, which means a long flight, jet lag and an expensive ticket. But the joy it brings with road tripping around the beautiful South Island is immense. Find a place to watch the sunset and enjoy wine alone in the woods. It is an experience worth having and that’s what you want to achieve through a solo trip, anyway. You can surf on the East Coast, drive for one-half hour and be in the Southern Alps to go snowboarding or hiking. The fact that there are no snakes or notorious animals here will make the idea of hiking in the wilderness a pleasant one.

8. Cinque Terre, Italy

This beautiful cluster of Italian villages, a romantic getaway for couples, is a destination added to many travellers’ bucket list and this is the right time to go. You will find affordable accommodation, such as an apartment or homestay quite easily. Spend over a week and take time to explore the place on your solo trip. Cinque Terre comprises five villages connected by footpaths and trains and is easy to navigate. And if you get lost here, there are English speaking tourism ambassadors at each station to help you. The towns are small and it’s easy to plan the trip. When it comes to food, you can’t go wrong ordering pizza or pasta at restaurants. Summer is the busiest season and the best time to go alone when you won’t stand out in the crowd. Take as many pictures as you can.

9. Dublin, Ireland

Dublin is a great city to see as a solo traveller, especially if you’re a female traveller. Dublin has a captivating history with a cosmopolitan character. Stay at the city centre from where you’ll be able to walk to everything with ease. If you don’t love walking, go for Dublin’s public transport including buses, trams and trains which are in great condition. The city is quite safe for women. Historic attractions such as Dublin Castle or The Book of Kells offer a glimpse into Dublin’s ancient roots. The Temple District is vibrant and a reminder of great Dublin beer. There are great pubs that offer traditional Irish food. Visit to meet new people and make friends as the Irish are some of the warmest and friendliest people on the earth.

10. Kenya

If you’ve always wanted to go for African jungle safari, Kenya is the perfect place for you. With its diverse ecosystem and population of the “Big Five” (elephant, black rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard), you’re likely to witness a myriad of animals in the wilderness. Join a big group or arrange for a guide to explore the jungle. The country has a decent infrastructure and it’s quite easy to get around. Remember to take great care of your belongings, especially in Nairobi. It doesn’t mean that you’ll have to hide away in your hotel after dark. Go out and discover the city’s flourishing nightlife scene. Avoid public transport at night and hire taxis between venues.

11. Rajasthan, India

Rajasthan is a wonderful travel destination in India for solo travellers. It is packed with forts and palaces and is quite easy to travel between the major tourist sites of Udaipur, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. You’ll feel like a princess or a Maharaja when you visit these ancient cities and its palaces. Embark on a camel safari in Pushkar, enjoy the view of the blue houses in Jodhpur or take a boat ride on the massive Lake Pichola. You’ll be spoilt for choices for things to do in Rajasthan. Don’t miss the camel fair in Pushkar if you visit in November.

12. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik is an historical walled city located in the deep blue waters of the Adriatic and has plenty to offer to the solo travellers. Whether you’re visiting this incredible city first time or hundredth time, the sense of awe that you feel on seeing the old town is inexpressible. Try to avoid high summer months when cruise ships dock and you just see a sea of passengers spilling out into the narrow streets. The ideal times to visit are April and September when the weather is warm and pleasant. When here, walk through the city walls, visit the islands by ferry and go kayaking around the striking bay.

13. Hokkaidō, Japan

Japan is an extremely friendly country and a great place for those who are travelling alone. Hokkaidō is located in the northern part and is the least developed of the country’s four main islands. Although the capital city of Hokkaido hosted the 1972 Winter Olympic Games and most famous for Sapporo beers, the place is best known for the great outdoors. Hiking, skiing and birdwatching are top activities here if you want to make the most of this remote and unspoiled landscape. 

14. Cuba

When one thinks of Cuba, the images of crumbling colonial architecture, vintage cars, salsa and cigars come to mind. However, with the shift in the political scene inside Cuba, private enterprise is being encouraged with small businesses expanding across the country. If you’ve always wanted to visit Cuba, this is a great time to do that. Visit the tiny back street restaurants for authentic food and explore the artisan shops to take back home tiny souvenirs. Homestays have always been a speciality of Cuba travel. The country also has low crime rates which means, travelling alone is safe and rewarding.

15. The Netherlands

The Netherlands is truly one of the safest places to travel alone where you’ll find some of the friendliest locals in the world. It is home to gorgeous tulip fields, winding canals and legalised marijuana, of course. A favourite amongst travellers, The Netherlands will forever be one of the classic destinations in Europe that one can visit any time of the year. With a laidback atmosphere, you’ll find yourself blissful in simple things like cycling around Amsterdam or just admiring the rather unusual architecture of Rotterdam. It is the best places to travel alone, meet new people and open up to new experiences.

Aspire for a Brighter Fly – #TakingYouPlaces

The world might be going through a difficult time right now but it is important to hold on to hope in the face of chaos and uncertainty. We know all you want is to escape to some far off place. Life is too short to be living badly. Keep dreaming about that perfect beach holiday or jungle adventure you’ve always wanted to go. This too will pass and the world will be yours to explore. We hope that our blogs offer an escape from everything and keep you inspired. We’re here for you when you’re ready to travel the world again.

Fun & Adventure in New Zealand

From glaciers to beaches, world-class cities to calm landscape, whale-watching to wine-tasting, New Zealand has so much to keep you engaged. It proudly nurtures its native Māori culture and exhibits a rich history with the potential to outrun the world’s pace.

 Read More  Book Cheap Flights to New Zealand

There’s Nothing Quite Like Australia

An entire continent in itself, Australia is unexpected with iconic cityscapes, marine wildlife and the world’s oldest cultures. The magical beauty of the country isn’t limited to natural paradises but also include manmade wonders like Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, St. Pauls Cathedral, Victoria Harbour and Story Bridge.

 Read More  Book Cheap Flights to Australia   

Sri Lanka: A Beach Lover’s Paradise with a Vibrant Culture

With endless beaches, magnificent temples and welcoming people, Sri Lanka is irresistible and waiting to be discovered. The religion has been a vital part of the culture and history of the island nation and that is why several Buddhist temples are found throughout the country. Read all about it here.

Read More  Book Cheap Flights to Sri Lanka

Time to Fulfil Your African Safari Dream

There’s nowhere like Africa on the planet for wildlife. Millions of travellers escape to this beautiful continent to spot the surreal sight of a wide range of wild animals. Prepare to fall in love!

Read More…  Book Cheap Flights to Africa

Guide to Dubai Expo 2020: Everything You Need to Know About This Mega Global Event

Dubai is set to be the first country in the Middle East to host a World Expo event. Starting in October 2020, this will be a celebration of human brilliance, innovation and achievement. A total of 192 countries will be participating and millions of visitors from across the globe are expected to descend on the UAE for this event. It will be your chance to experience the best of art, culture, technology and invention from different corners of the world and set in motion new thoughts and ideas that will impact our lives in the coming years. Every major city across the globe can be easily reached from Dubai, making it a major hub and the perfect hosting nation for the Expo 2020. Dubai will be putting on quite the show, come at the end of 2020. There are three main sub-themes to the event: Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability. Dubai expo 2020 will commence on 20th October 2020 and will end on 10th April 2021. Here is everything you need to know about the Dubai Expo 2020.

Book Cheap Flights to Dubai

What is Expo 2020?

Expo 2020 Dubai is a world fair or mega international event to showcase and explore the ideas and achievements of nations all around the world. It is a platform where people from every corner of the world come together, connect and share ideas, learn and innovate. A festival is a mega event in terms of size, scale and visitors, promoting progress and innovation. It is also a place where you can come, learn and have fun. Dubai Expo 2020 is the first World Expo to be hosted by an Arab nation and first ever to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.

Read Also: Top 10 Things to do in Dubai for First-Timers

Where in Dubai is the Expo Being Held?

The Expo 2020 site is located in Dubai South, close to Al Maktoum International Airport. It is spread over 4.38 square kilometres of area and has four main entrances. Dubai South holds numerous high-profile exhibitions and events, but Dubai Expo 2020, undoubtedly will be its crowning glory. The Dubai Metro route 2020 will be transferring 46,000 passengers per hour to and from the Expo site in under 16 minutes from Dubai Marina.

Read Also: Redefining Luxury: Dubai’s Newest & Most Anticipated Hotels

How Can You Reach the Site?

You can reach the Expo site by car in 40 minutes from Downtown Dubai or you can take Dubai Metro to reach the Dubai Metro Station dedicated to Expo 2020 on the route 2020 line.

 Site Opening Hours

  • Weekdays: 9 am-1 am
  • Weekends and special days: 10 am-2 am

Read Also: 25 Most Popular Fairs and Festivals in Dubai

What to Do at the Expo 2020 Dubai?

There will be a variety of things to dazzle you, from music, technology and architecture to gastronomy and entertainment. Get to know Rashid and Latifa, the Expo 2020 Dubai mascots as they embark on an exciting new journey led by Salama the Ghaf tree. A day is not enough to discover the magic of the largest event ever held in the Arab world. This will be a journey where you’ll get to visit 192 different countries and learn all about their history and culture.

Start your day at the Al Wasl Plaza and admire the artwork and interactive installations from local and international artists. You’ll find cutting-edge architecture at every turn including the world’s biggest 360-degree projection surface on the steel dome and the all-natural Opportunity Pavilion made from 2,500 tonnes of stone and 111 km of rope. Enjoy live shows, from operas to pop-up theatres, flash mobs to sports events and enough to make you keep coming back here. For tech enthusiasts, there is a whole new world waiting with autonomous vehicles, robotics, augmented reality and space explorations.

If you’ve seen enough of the Expo 2020 from the ground, get a bird’s eye view of the place from the top of the rotating observation tower. You’ll find Arab-style vistas throughout the site with desert scenes, palm groves, jasmine trees and wadi figs. When tired of all the explorations, sit under the shaded canopies of the Ghaf tree, which is also the national tree of the UAE.

Read Also: 15 Most Amazing Places to Visit in Dubai

What to Eat at the Expo 2020?

There are over 200-plus ways to treat your taste buds at the Expo 2020 with food offerings from Dubai and the 190 participating nations, joining this global mega event. Taste dishes from every corner of the world with a variety of options – from street food, haute cuisine and family-friendly meals to sustainable dining and unique culinary dishes prepared from locally-sourced produce that promotes wellness.

You can expect to see the food of all shapes and sizes with cultural influences from around the planet, suiting different budgets. There will be over 200 different restaurants celebrating more than 50 different cuisines from every part of the world.

Read Also: How Can You Enjoy Dubai on a Budget?

Can Kids Visit the Expo Site?

Yes, you can take children to the Expo site. There are two parks – Al Forsan and Jubilee – where children can play.

How to Buy Tickets for Expo 2020?

Tickets will go on sale in April 2020 and you can buy tickets through the Expo 2020 website and at the Expo 2020 gates during the event. However, monthly and season passes are available right now. So if you’re planning to visit Dubai during the Expo 2020, you can easily buy your passes from the website.

How Much are the Tickets?

To access this once-in-a-lifetime experience, you’ll have to shell out Dh120 (USD 33) for a single-day entry ticket, whereas a three-day pass is priced at Dh260 (USD 71) and can be used on any three days during the 173 days of the Expo.

Children under the age of five and seniors over 65 years have free access to the Expo. Youngsters from 6 to 17 years of age and students of any age will receive a 50 per cent discount on the ticket. People of determination or those with special needs will be granted complimentary access, with their carers entering for half price.

Where to Stay for the World Exhibition in Dubai?

It’s a good idea to stay in a hotel that is close to a metro station if you are visiting Dubai during Expo 2020 so that you can directly access the Expo 2020 Pavilion using the metro. This 6-month mega event will be from October 20, 2020, till 10 April 2021, and over 25 million visitors are expected to visit. There are more than 200 international participants, including 190 nations, businesses, non-government organisations and educational institutions. It is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of opportunity where you’ll get to witness the most exciting technology projects and innovations that are happening around the world. The theme of Expo 2020 is “connecting minds, creating the future” and it will attract some of the smartest minds in the world to Dubai. It would be a good idea to have long term accommodation and rent an apartment in Dubai during this period to take full advantage of the Expo 2020.

Is There Any Dress Code for Visitors to Expo 2020 Dubai?

There is no dress code for visitors. Any light, casual and comfortable clothing keeping in mind the sunny weather of the UAE is good. However, you might need slightly warmer clothes such as a jumper during the winter in December and January, or in a place of powerful air conditioning (for example, a cinema or a hotel lobby). Avoid revealing clothes when out in public especially in family-friendly environments such as malls and restaurants and cover your head when you enter a place of worship. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes.

11 Must See Buddhist Temples in Sri Lanka

Buddhism is a major religion in Sri Lanka and approximately 70 per cent of its population practices Theravada Buddhism. The religion has been a vital part of the culture and history of the island nation and that is why several Buddhist temples are found throughout the country. Here, we focus on 10 must-see Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka that speaks about the country’s rich culture and heritage.

1. Dambulla Cave Temple, Dambulla

The Dambulla Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring more than 80 caves in one location is a good preserve and the biggest temple complex in Sri Lanka. It is also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla. Numerous murals, carvings, statues and paintings depicting the life of Buddha are spread across the five caves. It is estimated that the entire temple complex contains 153 Buddha statues and murals.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit this temple is from January to April.

How to Reach: Board a flight to Colombo and from there, take a train to Habarana and finally hop on a cab to Dambulla.

Read Also: Top 10 New UNESCO World Heritage Sites

2. Pidurangala Royal Cave Temple, Pidurangala Village, Matale District

The Pidurangala Royal Cave Temple gets its name from the massive rock named Pidurangala, on which the temple is built. It is an ancient temple in Sri Lanka constructed by King Kashyapa for Buddhist Bhikkus for meditation purposes. Besides, the surrounding scenic views of this ancient Buddhist temple make for a great escape. Due to this, the region is also famous amongst hikers and nature enthusiasts.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit this temple is from May to September.

How to Reach: Take a flight to Colombo and from there, board a train to Sigiriya. Stay in Sigiriya and from there you can hire a tuk-tuk to reach Pidurangala Vihara.

Read Also: Where to Go For Beach Holiday in September Across Europe

3. Mihintale Temple, Anuradhapura

Mihintale Temple is said to be the place where a Buddhist monk Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa met and announced the presence of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The temple has now become a major Buddhist pilgrimage site featuring numerous religious monuments and abandoned structures. Buddhist devotees and tourists from across the world visit this ancient structure. Like most of the Buddhist temples across Sri Lanka, this temple is also a great amalgamation of history and beautiful nature. It is one of the most famous temples in Sri Lanka.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit this temple is from April to September.

How to Reach: Take a flight to Colombo, then again a flight to Anuradhapura. The temple is easily accessed from Anuradhapura by hiring a tuk-tuk.

Read Also: Top 20 Smallest Countries in the World

4. Sri Dalada Maligawa (The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relics), Kandy

Sri Dalada Maligawa temple also known as the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is situated in the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka. The temple is said to contain a tooth of non-other than the Buddha himself. Kandy was also the last capital of the Sinhalese kingdom and is listed into the UNESCO world heritage site, partly because of the presence of the temple. It is one of the most ancient temples in Sri Lanka, attracting a large number of devotees. A visit to the temple is full of excitement as it is filled with numerous statues and relics. Besides the temple, the region is also hailed for its scenic beauty, which attracts nature enthusiasts.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit this temple is from December to April.

How to Reach: Board a flight to Colombo to take a train to Kandy, where the temple is located.

Read Also: 17 Most Popular Fairs and Festivals in Philippines

 5. The Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara Temple, Peliyagoda

The Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara Temple is situated 7 miles from Colombo in Viharaya. It is believed that Buddha visited this temple during his third and final visit to Sri Lanka. This is also considered to be the oldest temple in Sri Lanka dating back to 500 B.C. The 18-feet long statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is a major attraction. It is said that the original temple was destroyed by Indian invaders and it was later restored to again be destroyed by Portuguese in the 16th century. Later in the 18th century, it was the Dutch who restored the temple.

 Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit this temple is from January to March.

 How to Reach: The temple is located in Colombo and is easily accessible by local means of transport. 

Read Also: Top 10 Places to Visit Before they Disappear

6. Hendeniya Rajamaha Viharaya, Kandy

Sri Lanka is full of ancient Buddhist rock cave temples and the Hendeniya Rajamaha Viharaya is no exception. This ancient rock temple situated in Udu Nuwara also known as ‘Galgane Vihara’ is 12 km away from Kandy. According to a local mythological story, the temple was constructed by the King Wickremabanhu III for his consort Henekanda Biso Bandara. Again, this temple offers a glimpse of the ancient Buddhist heritage and culture in Sri Lanka.

 Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit this temple is from December to April.

 How to Reach: Board a flight to Colombo, from where you can board a train to Kandy.

Read Also: 15 Most Amazing Secret Beaches in the World

 7. Lankatilaka Vihara, Kandy

Lankatilaka Vihara located in Kandy is encircled by soul-stirring scenery. The temple showcases the brilliant architecture from the 14th century of the Gampola era. Constructed on a natural rock, the temple consists of three sections – the Temple building, the Stupa and the Bo tree. The Buddha Image part of the temple features a wall filled with paintings. The temple also houses a giant golden statue of a sitting Buddha located right at the centre. All the buildings are constructed on a giant rock called Panhalgala Rock.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit this temple is from December to April.

 How to Reach: Board a flight to Colombo, from where you can board a train to Kandy.

Read Also: Top 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

 8. Isipathanaramaya Temple, Colombo

The Isipathanaramaya Temple is the most recent one, built-in 1916, spread over 4.9 acres of land. Located on the Isipathana Road, Colombo, the temple is famous for several Buddha statues and carvings on the walls. This modern-day temple also features a fresco, which distinguishes it from other Buddhist temples. It is the calmness and tranquillity which attracts devotees and tourists to this temple.

 Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit this temple is from January to March.

 How to Reach: Take a flight to Colombo and the temple is located on Isipathana Road, Colombo.

Read Also: Top 15 Tallest Hotels in the World with Jaw-Dropping Views

 9. Buduruwagala, Wellawaya

Buduruwagala temple consists of seven Buddha statues carved on a giant rock wall. All these carved statues belong to the Mahayana school of thought and date back to the 10th century. These statues still carry the fine and intricate details offering a glimpse into the rich Buddhist culture and heritage. The largest Buddha statue measure from head to toe is 51 feet (16 m) and is one of the biggest standing Buddha on the island.

 Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit this temple is from June to September.

 How to Reach: Board a flight to Colombo and the closest airport to Wellawaya is Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport.

Read Also: The Seven Natural Wonders of the World

10. Embekka Devalaya, Embekka

Embekka Devale temple is yet another magnificent built by the King Vikramabahu III. This shrine is segmented into three sections the “Sanctum of Garagha”, the Digge and the “Hevisi Mandapaya. Every section of this temple is filled with statues, paintings and magnificent wooden carvings. Apart from spirituality and reverence, the temple is also a treat for art enthusiasts.

 Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit this temple is from December to April.

 How to Reach: Take a flight to Colombo and from there, you can board a taxi or a bus to reach Embekka.

Read Also: Top 15 Stunning Fairy-tale Villages around the World

11. Sithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya

 

This is an astonishing Buddhist monastery in Sri Lanka, situated in Hambantota district offers a glimpse of the ancient Anuradhapura-era architecture marvels. The temple derived its name from the word “Chiththala Pabbatha”, which translates into the hill of the quiet mind. It is said that King Kavantissa built this in the 2nd century B.C. WIth its history of over 2200 years, the temple was a vital place of worship amongst devotees and a centre of Buddhist education. Several paintings, images and carvings from the Anuradhapura era can be found in the monastery premises.

Best time – December to March is the ideal time to travel to the ancient Buddhist monastery.

How to reach: Board a flight to Colombo, from there travellers can hire a taxi, bus or car to reach the Buddhist temple. Train services are also available to reach the Sithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya.

Sri Lanka is a beautiful melting pot of spectacular natural scenery and old cultural heritage. The best way to experience it is by visiting Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Sri Lanka, as these are wonderful amalgamations of old Buddhist heritage and natural splendour.

10 Best Things to Do & Tourist Attractions in Perth, Australia

Think Australia and the images that come to our mind are of the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney and Melbourne, all of which are on the east coast. Most travellers tend to flock to the east coast but the west coast also has its charm. Perth, the largest city on the west coast is where nature and modern life coexist together. The fourth-most populous city in Australia has no shortage of tourist attractions and if you give it a chance, you’ll be surprised by the variety it offers. From gorgeous beaches to a lively nightlife, you’ll be amazed by the list of what to do in Perth. The city has restored over the years with a series of cafes, restaurants, a waterfront development that looks like the Darling Harbour in Sydney and a great bar scene. With an attractive setting by the Swan River, you’ll find several stunning beaches with tremendous appeal and a lot less crowd than its east coast counterparts. The best time to visit Perth is during the shoulder seasons, spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May).

Here are the top 10 things to do in Perth that should not be missed during your trip to this part of Australia.

1. Enjoy a Cruise on the Swan River

Often called the sunniest capital, Perth is situated along the Swan River linking the suburbs, hills and the ocean. With cultural and environmental significance, the city has been awarded Western Australia’s first heritage icon. On a sunny day, jump on a cruise down the Swan River to see a different side of Perth. You’ll be mesmerised by the magnificent views as you cruise between Perth and the Port of Freemantle. It is also a chance to see the significant attractions of the city such as the soaring glass spire of the Bell Tower, the restored Swan Brewery, Kings Park and many more. Most of the cruises include a wine tasting, a complimentary lunch and some even pay a visit to the winery. A river cruise definitely should be on your list of things to do in Perth when planning a visit.

Book Cheap Flights to Perth

2. Meet Baby Kangaroos at Heirisson Island

Located right in the centre of the city in the middle of the Swan River, Heirisson Island is an unexpected treasure and offers a much-needed escape from city life. It is a spot filled with solitude, an array of birds and its population of kangaroos. You’ll have to go through a gate on the western side of the island to get to the roos where you’ll find a fence to stop them wandering to the nearby road. These kangaroos can be difficult to find during the day when they’re usually sleeping, especially when it’s hot outside. When the weather is cool, you can often find them grazing and hopping around. It strange that most people have never heard of this hidden treasure just minutes away from the city. Situated on the Swan River, between East Perth and Victoria Park, this is the place where you can witness kangaroos in their natural habitat. While at this tourist attraction in Perth, don’t forget to take lots of photographs!

Read Also: 10 Best Places to Visit in Australia

3. Evening Out in Northbridge

Five minutes’ walk away from central Perth, Northbridge is a kaleidoscope of food, arts and vibrant nightlife. It has an eclectic mix of shops, cafes, restaurants and some of the best bars in Western Australia. Home to Perth’s Chinatown, it offers great coffee and brunch options, vintage stores, homewares and small bars, and is a great place to spend time out drinking, dining or simply wandering around. A popular tourist attraction in Perth, Northbridge is also home to Perth’s Cultural Centre which houses the new WA Museum, the State Theatre of Western Australia and the Art Gallery of Western Australia showcasing over 1,000 pieces of national and international art pieces. Spend your days exploring the museums and your evenings eating out and enjoying the lively nightlife.

Read Also: Top 15 Things to Do in Australia for Memorable Holiday

4. Shopping at Downtown

When it comes to shopping, Perth has a lot of things to offer. It is home to numerous shopping outlets, from extensive markets to stylish malls. Murray and Hay Street malls are the two main shopping malls in the city which are pedestrian malls and closed to traffic, with a wide range of speciality stores. Myer and David Jones are two main department stores you’ll see in downtown and the suburbs. With several shopping avenues, the question of what to do in Perth does not even exist. Whether you are looking to buy something particular or just want to wander around the clean city, there are plenty of options for everyone and paths to walk along.

Read Also: Top Things to Do In Melbourne, Australia

5. See the Bell Tower (Swan Bells)

One of Perth’s most stunning tourist attractions, the Bell Tower overlooks the Swan River and is an important landmark in the city. This is a set of 18 bells hanging in a specially built 271 ft. high copper and glass campanile. It is the second-largest set of ringing bells in the world, the largest being Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, with 19 bells. Dating back to 14th century, it’s worth noting that the bells are not rung by machine but instead by the volunteer members of the St. Martin’s Society of Change Ringers Inc. The bell tower is located at Barrack Square, just a short five-minute walk from the city centre.

6. Explore Kings Park

Kings Park is another place to visit in Perth, where the city meets the nature, offering unique opportunities to its residents and tourists to connect with nature in the heart of Perth, overlooking the Swan River. It is also popular for being home to the Western Australian Botanic Garden. From lovely gardens and walking trails to kid’s playgrounds and picnic spots, you’ll find here something for everyone. Climb the 202 steps of the spiralling DNA Tower to enjoy the spectacular views from the top. You’ll be able to enjoy the views of Kings Park, Botanic Garden and the Swan River and over to Rottnest Island. DNA tower that resembles the DNA molecule was inspired by a staircase in a Chateau at Blois in France. To see the park in full bloom, plan your visit in spring or summerKings Park played a great role in preserving not only European but also Aboriginal heritage. It is extremely significant in the fields of horticulture and quite renowned for its conservation efforts.

7. Explore The Historic Fremantle

The historic seaside port of Fremantle is a suburb of Perth located just 30 minutes from downtown and dotted with numerous cool cafes, bars and seafood restaurants. Renowned for its street buzz and an eclectic mix of art and culture, it is one of the world’s best-preserved examples of a 19th-century port streetscape complete with its heritage buildings and fascinating maritime history. Experience the wonderful nightlife by visiting its clubs and bars that play live music until the early hours. If you still have energy left dancing through the night, drop at one of the cafés for morning coffee.

8. Caversham Wildlife Park

Situated just 25 minutes East of Perth, Caversham Wildlife Park is easily accessible by car and offers a chance to get up close to some of the extraordinary Aussie Wildlife. One of the top places to visit in Perth, this park is home to over 2,000 distinctive animals and over 200 species of fauna. Here, you can feed kangaroos, stroke a koala and click photos with a wombat. You get to see the animals that you probably haven’t even heard of such as flying foxes, kookaburras, cassowaries, quokkas, echidnas and more. A visit to Caversham is incomplete without a visit to Molly’s Farm, which is an interactive farmyard where one can feed the animals. Also watch the farm show where you get to witness sheep shearing, sheepdogs mustering the sheep and also get to meet a stockman on a horse.

9. Hit the Gorgeous Beaches

Beaches are one of the best perks of living in Perth. One not only gets to enjoy the crystal-clear blue waters and white sands but do it without the huge crowds that you see elsewhere. Perth is one of the world’s most isolated cities and a great place to enjoy the laidback lifestyle. Cottesloe Beach, Mullaloo Beach, Scarborough and City Beach are some of the popular beaches in the city.

Cottesloe Beach or as the locals refer to it ‘Cott’, is only 20 minutes away from the city and extremely popular because of its laid-back surf culture and crystal-clear waters. The beach is ideal for swimming, dolphin-spotting and snorkelling. Mullaloo Beach and Scarborough are favourites amongst families. With barbeques and sheltered benches for a picnic, it is ideal for families and kids. There is even a kid’s playground. City Beach is fantastic for surfers with constant strong waves. There are plenty of open-air cafes and seafood restaurants overlooking the ocean.

10. Day trip to Rottnest Island

Located 18 kilometres off the coast of Perth City, Rottnest Island is an incredible beach getaway with over 60 picturesque beaches and bays. Also called Root by the locals, it is best explored on a bicycle as there are no cars on the island. The island earned its name in 1696 from the Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh, who visited the island and mistook its strange marsupial population for common rats and named it Rottnest meaning ‘rat’s nest’. Today, one of the main attractions for visitors to this island is having a photo taken alongside the ‘rats’, known as Quokkas. Other activities on the island include tennis and golf as well as fishing, snorkelling, kayaking and diving.

A Spotlight on the 42nd Vancouver International Wine Festival 2020

Celebrating its 42nd anniversary, the Vancouver International Wine Festival 2020 runs from February 22 to March 1. It features wine from 15 countries and over 160 different wineries. This year, the focus is on France and about 42 wineries from 10 different wine-growing regions are participating in the festival and the spotlight is on rose wine. The key attraction at the Vancouver International Wine Festival being held at Vancouver Convention Centre is the Tasting Room, which features over 750 wines and food.

 About the Wine Festival

One of the oldest and largest wine events in the world, the VanWineFest is a coveted annual wine affair that brings together wine enthusiasts and experienced sommeliers from all over the world. Voted the ‘#1 Food, Wine & Hospitality Event in Canada’ since the last five years in a row by New York’s BizBash, it offers wine experiences, promote the wine industry and raise funds for Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Theatre.

From humble beginnings in 1979, the festival has grown to become Canada’s best and most prestigious wine show. The festival features some 50 events each year, of which about 40 are open to the public and another dozen or so for people in wine-related and hospitality industries. Around 150+ wineries serve over 1,500 types of wines throughout the festival. To give an idea about the scale of the festival, about 45,000 wine bottles are opened and/or purchased annually at the event.

With a striking slogan – ‘The Wine World is Here’, each year the festival focuses on various wine-growing regions in the world. In 2017, it was Canada, in 2018, the featured region was the Iberian Peninsula and in 2019, it was California. In 2020, the year is for France.

2020 Festival Wines & Wineries

Countries participating in this Wine Festival include:

France (43), Canada (33), Italy (24), USA (17), Spain (9), Australia (7), Portugal (6), New Zealand (5), Argentina (4), Croatia (4), Germany (4), Chile (3), Romania (2) and Uruguay (1).

Moreover, a few Sake (rice wine) makers from Japan are also participating this year.

Admission Prices

Tickets to events are on sale and the Vancouver International Wine Festival ticket price ranges from about $40 to $450. Prices include wine and food during the event. Additionally, tips, taxes and service charges are also included in the price.

Other Events at the Festival

The 9-day wine festival features several events including the grand Bacchanalia Dinner, Trade Days Seminar, International Tastings, wine parties & dinners and much more.

Seven out of the nine days of the festival are open to the general public. All nine days, including the first two, are open to participants in the wine and hospitality industry.

Relish a fancy 5-course dinner with wine, live music and dancing.

Venue: Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver, Canada

How to reach:

Board Skytrain Train – 980 – Canada Line Skytrain at the platform sign ‘Canada Line To Waterfront’. Deboard at Waterfront Station Northbound. Head northwest on W Cordova Station toward Howe Station. Turn right at Howe Station. The Vancouver Convention Centre is straight ahead at 1055 Canada Place.

The dates for the other events are:

Bacchanalia Dinner + Auction – February 22, 2020

Trade Days Seminar – February 26 to 28, 2020

The Tasting Room – February 27 to February 29, 2020

Temperature:

The average temperature you’ll face in February would be between -11.0°C and -2.2°C. So, make sure you’re warm enough to tackle the cold.

Presently, the Vancouver Wine Festival draws some of the iconic industries from all over the globe and is strongly distinguished as the continent’s primary wine event and among the oldest and best wine festivals in the world.

This is a wonderful prospect to meet and greet sommeliers, winemakers, owners and senior representatives from wineries around the globe. For either the proficient wine lover or the beginner, the grand festival has something to please every taste and wallet.

10 Best Places to Visit in Southeast Asia in 2020

Southeast Asia has it all – be it the most gorgeous beaches, mountains or man-made marvels. They are fascinating, surreal & rich in satisfying your desire for an unforgettable holiday. And the best part is that most of these cities can easily be discovered in just a week. Here’s a list of 10 best places in Southeast Asia for your next trip. Take your pick, pack your bags and don’t forget to take your camera. You certainly wouldn’t want to miss taking amazing pictures.

 

1. Singapore

A well developed, technically prosperous city, Singapore is ranked as #1 when it comes to best places to visit in Southeast Asia. Be it a family holiday or a romantic escape with your better half, the city is much more than the total number of its attractions. Exploring Singapore can be a matter of just a few hours. Thanks to its extensive network of transport. Whether you wish to eat in Little India and head towards the temples in Chinatown or shop at Orchard Road, you’ll be there in no time using the speedy MRT system. Adding to the city’s beauty, there are stylish art galleries, lively markets, plenty of restaurants & cafes, wildlife sanctuaries and world-class attractions.

 

Best time to visit: February to May is considered as the perfect time to tour the city and enjoy the climate.

 

Top things to do: Visit the Gardens by the Bay, take a tour of Bintan Island, explore Sentosa, shop at Bugis Street and explore the Casino in Marina Bay Sands.

 

2. Bali – Indonesia

Bali is one of the best places to visit in Southeast Asia. Home to cities like Kuta and Ubud, Bali has always been an attractive destination to visit in Southeast Asia. Regardless of what time of the year it is, this place outshines most of the tropical destinations, offering the ultimate luxury and comfort to its visitors. Experience surfing, yoga, meditation, trekking, delicious food or the amazing nightlife. Certain spots in Bali have been influenced by scores of cafes, hip bars and restaurants. At the same time, there are also a few remote places that have maintained Balinese beauty and charm. So, if you ever plan on having a blissful beach holiday, Bali is on the list of must-visit places in Southeast Asia.

 

Best time to visit: From April to October, Bali is at its best. It’s less crowded and sightseeing can be done at one’s own pace.

 

Top things to do: Visit the famous Tanah Lot, surfing, diving & other water sports, explore Bali Safari and Marine Park and shop at Bali’s famous markets.

 Book Cheap Flights to Denpasar

3. Hanoi – Vietnam

The capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi, is one of the beautiful places to visit in Southeast Asia. It offers a good feel and understanding of Vietnamese culture, people and food. With influences of the Southeast Asian, Chinese and French, you’ll experience mixed culture and attractions. The city is huge and most of the tourist activities and interesting places are located in the Old Quarter. The city has many cafes, restaurants, markets, beautiful temples and other attractions that make it one of the unique places to visit in Southeast Asia. Do not forget to relish the street food while on your trip here. To enjoy nature at its best, you can explore Halong Bay, which is roughly 99 miles from Hanoi. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for countless limestone islands. All you need is a seaplane to reach here and admire close-up views.

 

Best time to visit: September to November and March to April are considered as the best times to tour Hanoi. The atmosphere is clean and pure right after the rains and prices are quite cheap.

 

Top things to do: Visit the century-old temples, spend time at the Hoan Kiem Lake, head to the Temple of the Jade Mountain, explore Weekend Night Market, enjoy dining at Tay Ho, witness Water Puppet Show and see the Snake Village.

Book Cheap Flights to Hanoi

 

4. Manila – Philippines

Amongst all the top tourist destinations in Southeast Asia, Manila is one of the most popular places in the Philippines. It’s called the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ for all the right reasons – huge malls, UNESCO Heritage Sites, scenic spots like Corregidor Island, Batangas and Laguna and trendy places such as Casa Manila and Fort Santiago. Wander around the Spanish ruins at Intramuros, dine on fresh seafood and visit one of the many markets. Wiley’s Rock is another amazing place that is set to give you a lifetime experience and a holiday you may not have imagined.


Best time to visit
: From November to May, Manila experiences an enjoyable climate along with a scanty crowd and relaxed island tours.

 

Top things to do: Visit the Wiley’s Rock and Manila Zoo, explore Manila Ocean Park, walk into the Makati shopping district, witness the beautiful sunset at Yapak, collect white shells on Boracay beaches.

 

5. Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur is a multicultural mix of huge skyscrapers, the gleaming lights of the Petronas and streets dedicated to food and culture. The Malaysian capital city is one of the top tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. Famed for incredible culinary scene and shopping, you could spend an entire day browsing malls such as KLCC, Pavilion KL and Mid Valley Megamall. Adventure lovers can trek to the famous Batu Caves or visit KL Bird Park. The city is best explored on foot. You’ll discover the laid-back ambience and pieces of Kampung Village that the city once was. There are sufficient day trips for couples in Kuala Lumpur for a peaceful retreat.

 

Best time to visit: You can either visit Kuala Lumpur between May to July or from December to February. The rains are finally over and the weather is crispy enough for sightseeing.

 

Top things to do: Visit Petronas Twin Towers, explore Batu Caves and shop at Bukit Bintang

 

6. Kota Kinabalu – Malaysia

Located near Borneo, Kota Kinabalu is a divine exotic spot that has the power to captivate anyone with its beauty and it’s easy to see why. Lively markets, modern boardwalks, music and art galleries and mosques are some of the top attractions that would make you fall in love with this Southeast Asian beauty. Most visitors from around the world use Kota Kinabalu, also known as KK, as the jump-off point for nearby attractions, islands and national parks. While the city centre offers a lot to its visitors, the city also boasts breathtaking sunsets, historical sights, the famous Mt. Kinabalu, beautiful beaches, rain forests and thriving markets and cafes.

 

Best time to visit: January to March is the ideal to time to visit Kota Kinabalu as the crowd is less and the climate is enjoyable in this period.

 

Top things to do: Conquer Mt. Kinabalu, explore the beaches, enjoy island hopping, stay in a luxury resort, visit the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park and indulge in fresh seafood.

 

7. Phuket – Thailand

Nicknamed as the ‘Pearl of the Andaman’, Phuket is Thailand’s largest and world’s finest destination. It has something for every taste and budget. It sits idyllically with a short distance from Ko Phi-Phi’s dive sites, popular national-parks and the beautiful Similan Islands. If you begin exploring from the Old Town, you’ll learn about the history of tin mining. Presently, blessed with white sands, lush palm trees, lively towns and plenty of beach activities, food and adventure, it reveals more than what the eye sees. It is so diverse that you might forget to leave. So, if you’re looking for a sultry place that tick all the boxes – family-friendly resorts, peaceful hideaways, cocktail clubs and food at its best, you couldn’t be at a better place than Phuket.

 

Best time to visit: Phuket is best explored from December to March. The beaches are calm and cool and island tours are quite affordable.

 

Top things to do: Beach hopping, indulge in diving, enjoy water sports and relish local food.

 

8. Phi Phi Islands – Thailand

Located in the Andaman Sea, Phi Phi Island is 30 miles southeast of Phuket in Krabi. This is one of the most beautiful Southeast Asian destinations that should be a must-visit be on your list. It rose to fame after the Leonardo Di Caprio starred The Beach was filmed here with the backdrop of limestone karsts. But there’s a lot to what you’ve seen in the pictures. Head here on your next holiday to spend time among lush green environs, explore scenic bays and be a part of the incredible parties held on the beaches. If serenity is all you’re looking for, relax at Ao Lo Moo Dee or Ao Toh Ko sandy beaches and soak up the sunrise and sunset. If you are an adventure seeker, you can also enjoy snorkelling and scuba diving here.

 

Best time to visit: November to April is the perfect time to enjoy the beaches and go on a city tour.

 

Top things to do: Snorkel in the warm waters, go beach hopping, relax at the beach and enjoy plenty of water activities.

 

9. Chiang Mai – Thailand

Situated at the base of the north Thailand mountainous range, Chiang Mai is notable as the best place to visit in Southeast Asia. It draws both adventure lovers and shopaholics. Right from a refreshing Thai massage to discovering its numerous attractions, there’s a lot to do at one of the top destinations in Southeast Asia. Drive down straight in any direction, you’ll soon pass the lush green countryside, villages and rainforests with peaceful waterfalls. Whether you’re planning a honeymoon or a family excursion, you’d surely have the time of your life. Considering the kind of visitors Thailand attracts, you’ll have a limitless nightlife, shopping and adventure options.

 

Best time to visit: December to May is when you can find less crowd on the beaches along with low flight and hotel prices.

 

Top things to do: Go snorkelling, scuba diving & kayaking, witness the Namuang Waterfall, enjoy Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan and cherish a spa treatment.

 

10. Siem Reap – Cambodia

Siem Reap – a jewel of Southeast Asia, a cheerful city and an entrance into the Angkor Wat region has been enticing travellers to explore its treasures for many years. It offers the best of both worlds – an interesting past and a bright present. Gradually, this place became a popular tourist spot due to its trendiest hotels, wining and dining, spas and more. But there’s more to this place when it comes to offering memorable experiences. You can explore temples from the time of the Khmer Empire, tiny monasteries in the Little Circuit area, ruins of Banteay Srei and the lively Pub Street. So, head out and uncover this unique Southeast Asian gem.

 

Best time to visit: Siem Reap can be best explored from November to February.

 

Top things to do: Temple hopping, visit Siem Reap’s floating villages and Tonle Sap freshwater lake, party on Pub Street, quad-biking, shop at Angkor Night Market and visit the Angkor Archaeological Park and the National Museum.

 

Southeast Asia has got it all – be it the most stunning beaches, gorgeous cities, the most mysterious hills or natural & man-made wonders. They are beautiful and mesmerising when it comes to satisfying your desire for a memorable holiday. The best part is, most of these places can be explored easily in just a week. So, if you’re craving for an adventurous 2020, take your pick and make sure you cover one or two destinations this year.

13 Most Popular Tourist Attractions in Rio de Janeiro

Sunshine, samba and sports – how better can you describe Rio de Janeiro, the carnival city of Brazil. Nicknamed ‘Cidade Maravilhosa’ or the ‘Marvellous City’, Brazil’s second-largest city is a world of wonders. From scenic mountain top vistas and endless beaches to carnival parties and sunsets, Rio de Janeiro’s splendour never fails to disappoint. A perfect getaway for those seeking tropical vibes, more than one million foreign tourists come every year to the city founded by Portuguese in 1565. Rio de Janeiro has a lot to offer travellers, ranging from natural parks, protected monuments, beaches, mountains, cultural centres and statues. While planning the holiday, also make sure that you are in Rio De Janeiro between December and March, when the average temperature ranges between 25- 27ºC. April and May are also good for visitors as days are little cooler at this time of the year. Here, we have picked up 13 most popular tourist attractions in Rio de Janeiro that you need to visit while in the city.

 

1. Admire the Christ the Redeemer

Aerial view of Rio de Janeiro with Christ Redeemer and Corcovado Mountain

Made by Polish-French stone carver Paul Landowski, the mammoth statue of Jesus Christ rising above the city was completed in 1931, financed mostly by Brazilian Catholics. Made of high-consecrated cement and soapstone at the peak of the 700-metre Corcovado Mountain, the figure itself is 30 meters tall with arms extending 28 meters; weighing 635 metric tons. The base is a house of prayer, where it’s normal to hold weddings and baptism services. You can see this landmark, one of the ‘new 7 Wonders of the World’, without a guided tour in the morning light while exploring Sugarloaf Mountain Tour. Your visit to the statue includes a cable car ride up Sugarloaf Mountain for more spectacular views.

 

How to Reach: Take a train, van or hike. However, the Cog Train is the best way to reach Christ the Redeemer. Travel through the Atlantic Forest atop Corcovado Mountain. The train leaves approximately every 30 minutes and the ride up takes 20 minutes.

 

Read Also: The Seven Natural Wonders of the World

 

2. Soak Up the View at Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain and other mountains in background – filtered view

Sugarloaf Mountain, one of the Rio de Janeiro’s famous milestones, is a 396-metre peak at the mouth of Guanabara Bay. It strategically projects out into the harbour and encircles the city. You can take a cable car from Praça General Tibúrcio to the highest point of the Morro da Urca, a lower peak from which a second cable car goes to the summit of the Sugarloaf. From here, you can admire a 360-degree view of the rugged coast that circles the shores and its islands. Below, the 100-meter Praia da Urca coastline can be seen sizzling with people and shops. At Cara de Cao, there are three 16th-century forts, out of which the star-shaped Fort Sao Joao is accessible to the public. The mountain is protected by the Sugarloaf Mountain and Urca Hill Natural Monument, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

 

How to Reach: From Central, take Train 107 that goes straight to the Sugarloaf. To take the subway, go to Metro Botafogo and take the connecting bus 583 that will take you straight to Sugarloaf.

 

Read Also: 15 Spectacular Places to Visit in Vancouver Island

 

3. Get in the Party Mood at Copacabana 

Copacabana beach is the most famous beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Skyline of Rio de Janeiro.

Not many cities are honoured with a wonderful golden sand seashore at its heart, stretching four kilometres along the downtown. A couple of steps from the main city is Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana, simply known as Copacabana Beach. One of the best places to visit in Rio De Janeiro, the beach’s surrounding is vibrant and the crowd is lively. To the left, you can view the lofty Sugar Loaf Mountain and the iconic Fort Duque Caxias. You’ll also spot old structures, dining establishments and well-known cafes. Not to forget the eminent Copacabana Palace, now preserved as a national landmark. Stroll along the beach to marvel at some of the most unbelievable sand sculptures and when you get thirsty, sip agua de coco or coconut water straight from the coconut. There are several sports facilities along the beach, such as volleyball and football.

 

How to Reach: Get on a La Paz-bound bus, minibus or micro. Tell the driver you need to go to Sorata and you will be dropped off at the small lakeside town of Huarina, which is 2 hours from La Paz. Cross the road and you’ll get a Copacabana bound bus or minibus.

 

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4. Leisure at Ipanema

Ipanema beach is the most famous beach of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Moving ahead from Copacabana’s four-kilometre strand, the seashores of Ipanema and Leblon are separated by the Jardim de Ala Canal. Along the seafront promenade are enormous inns, walkway bistros and eateries. Considered as ‘Little Paris of Rio’, this beach is considered as one of the main centres of activity for the city of Rio and one of the most expensive places to live. These two spots are best known for their shorelines and the famous song – The Girl from Ipanema and life here is extremely social, with exhibitions, film shows and street performance. Near to Ipanema Beach, the area thrives with a market place and the city fair. The beach is also the place to enjoy Brazilian feijoada and a lot of seafood. 

 

How to Reach: Ipanema Beach can be reached easily. It is located just about 8 miles from the centre of Rio de Janeiro via Av. Infante Dom Henrique. To reach here, hire a cab or travel by local transportations such as the city buses, Frescao buses, the subway (metro) and mini-buses. 

 

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5. Get Wet Feet at Prainha Beach

Prainha Beach Rio de Jenerio

If you’re looking for a peaceful stretch of sand, look no further than the half-moon shaped Prainha Beach. Bordered by hills and forests, Prainha Beach is usually uncrowded with clean sand and amazing views. It is known to be the city’s most scenic and alluring beach. The waves here are quite popular with surfers and swimmers. A few restaurants are overlooking the beach as well. Do not forget to relish Brazilian snacks and drinks. Come evening, you can witness several events and entertainment options. Watch the witty jugglers and magicians performing or join a group of young girls dancing to Brazilian tunes. Capture the sunset while sipping your favourite cocktail and enjoy beach games with young people.

 

How to Reach: Prainha Beach is 15 miles from the main Rio de Janeiro city centre. There is a direct bus departing from Largo do Machado and arriving at Prainha. Services depart four times a day and operate every day. The journey takes approximately 1hour 30minutes.

 

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6. Tour the Woodland City at Tijuca National Park 

Atlantic Rainforest waterfall in Tijuca Forest National Park, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

One of the top things to do in Rio de Janeiro is to tour the Woodland City at Tijuca National Park, which covers Tijuca Forest, a tropical rain forest and a few important points overlooking the city. The park surrounds the enormous statue of Christ on Corcovado. To explore this huge recreation centre, take the train till Corcovado and follow the forest trail up to the park gate. The 3,300-hectare Tijuca Forest is one of the world’s biggest woodlands inside a city that was created to protect the springs that provided water to Rio de Janeiro. A vast majority of the trees are local species that are home to Capuchin monkeys, quatis (Brazilian raccoon), bright toucans, birds of prey, splendid blue butterflies and different types of natural life, which you may spot while investigating its trails and streets. 

 

How to Reach: From the city centre, Tijuca National Park is a 20-minute drive. If you’re in a hotel near to the city centre, you can hire a cab or a taxi and easily reach the park.

 

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7. Explore the Nature’s Best at Jardim Botanical Garden

Statue near the lake of Frei Leandro in Amazon Region of Botanical Garden (Jardim Botanico), located in the “Zona Sul” (South Zone) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Covering 350 acres of land at the foot of Corcovado, Rio’s Jardim Botanico creates an ecological paradise with gardens and a research centre, all in a gorgeous park-like setting. It features the Orchidarium, an iron-and-glass nursery loaded up with 2,000 kinds of orchids, cherry trees, wooden extensions, koi lakes and Bonsai. You can also admire a sensory garden of sweet-smelling plants and herbs from all over the globe. The nursery, which is a UNESCO biosphere save, contains 8,000 types of vegetation birds and rare animals in their natural surroundings and is one of the best places to visit in Rio de Janeiro. You can stroll through the nurseries, eat and sip under the palms and pau-brasil trees or ride through the garden on an electric car. 

 

How to Reach: How to Reach: The best and fastest way to get to Jardim Botanical Garden is to take 409 bus from Christ the Redeemer, which takes 28 min or board Tram 18 from Botafogo.

 

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8. Cheer a Team at Maracana

Cheer a Team at Maracana

Opened in 1950 to host the FIFA World Cup, the Maraca is Brazil’s biggest arena that is located towards the east of Rio de Janeiro, about 3 miles from downtown Rio. Officially named the Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, it lies about 6 miles north of the Copacabana and Ipanema beach areas. At its first football game, the stadium witnessed 199,854 spectators on 16 July 1950. The stadium was remodelled for the FIFA World Cup 2014 with a capacity of 78,000 fans, making it one of the largest football stadiums in the world. The stadium is utilised for matches between Rio’s significant football clubs, the Flamengo, Botafogo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama and concerts. A short visit to this stadium would hold significance for soccer fans. Now a tourist attraction in Rio de Janeiro, the stadium was also the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. 

 

How to Reach: The stadium can be easily reached by metro or train. Maracana station is on metro line 2, which can be boarded from downtown Rio or the Flamengo and Botafogo areas. Alternatively, get a transfer from line 1, which runs from the Copacabana and Ipanema areas.

 

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9. Catch Brazilian Culture at Santa Tereza and Escadaria Selaron

Santa Teresa district, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Santa Tereza is the city’s most dynamic neighbourhood and one of the top tourist attractions in Rio de Janeiro. You get to see a region of steep, calm lanes and hundred-year-old homes here. Its cafes and restaurants are famous with artists and young people who add to the Bohemian environs. Even though its most captivating designs are simply discovered from the roadside, there are a few attractions and activities that draw an immense crowd. Among them, the cathedral of Santa Tereza stands out extraordinarily. The Museu Chacara do Ceu has a huge collection of modern art including the works of Picasso, Miro and Matisse. At the edge of Santa Tereza is one of Rio’s most up-to-date leisure spots, the Escadaria Selaron, the work of Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón. The structure has mosaics made of tiles, stoneware and mirrors, numerous in blue, green and yellow shades of the Brazilian flag. Selaron started by utilising broken tiles that he collected from several constructions sites and turned them into amazing creations.  

 

How to Reach: Escadaria Selaron is easily reachable. It is roughly 1 mile from the Rio de Janeiro city centre. Hire a cab or travel by local transportations such as the city buses, Frescao buses, the subway (metro) or mini-buses.

 

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10. See the Spiritual Side at Sao Bento

See the Spiritual Side at Sao Bento

On the hill just above the harbour, there is the church of Nossa Senhora de Montserrat and monastery of Sao Bento, which is one of the finest examples of architecture. The original 1617 church was without aisles until it was enlarged in the 17th century by the addition of eight side chapels. The finest artists of the Benedictine order were involved in decorating the interior. The excellent carving that covers the walls and ceiling was mainly the work of a monk named Domingos da Conceiçao, who was also responsible for the figures of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica on the high altar. The choir chapel has silver work by Mestre Valentim and 14 paintings by Ricardo do Pilar, a monk who was the foremost Benedictine painter of colonial Brazil. His masterpiece, Senhor dos Martirios is in the sacristy of the monastery.

 

How to Reach: Take the Cog Train. Travel through the countryside to the Village of Sao Bento to visit one of the best places in Rio de Janeiro. The train leaves approximately every 45 minutes. 

 

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11. Marvel at sculptors at Teatro Municipal

Teatro Municipal

The grand Municipal Theater, built in the early 20th century, was inspired by the Paris Opera of Charles Garnier and its interior is even more ornate and luxurious than the dramatic towered façade. Highlights of the theatre are the sculptures by Henrique Bernardelli and paintings by Rodolfo Amoedo and Eliseu Visconti as well as the drop curtain, the proscenium frieze and the ceilings. There are guided tours, some in English or you can attend classical concerts and ballet performances here.

 

How to Reach: The Theatro Municipal is an opera house in the Centro district of Rio de Janeiro. You can easily get buses or hire a metered taxi to avoid overpaying.

 

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12. Enjoy Brazilian Nightlife at Vidigal

Enjoy Brazilian Nightlife

Rio de Janeiro is the only city in Brazil, where tourists can safely visit a favela and the safest of them all is Vidigal. After a successful pacification programme in the region a few years ago, Vidigal has incredible nightlife during the weekends, with bars such as Bar da Laje offering great views, appetizing food and delicious cocktails and Alto Vidigal with its all-night parties and exciting national and international DJ line-ups. Apart from famous bars and party venues, visitors can admire stunning scenic views and rent budget accommodation. Gradually this place is becoming one of the top tourist attractions in Rio de Janeiro for people looking for an alternative experience in the city.

 

How to Reach: You would need a guide to explore this area. You can reach Vidigal by using public transport.

 

13. Ride the Waves at Arpoador

Surfer in Arpoador Beach during sunset, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Tucked into the corner of Ipanema, Arpoador has some of the clearest and warmest waters of the beaches in Rio. During the day, it is a hotspot among surfers who go there to catch the small, neat waves or beach-goers who enjoy the suntrap of the peninsula. The most rewarding time to go is in the evening when you can watch the sunset over the horizon, providing one of Rio’s most vibrant and stunning sunsets.

 

How to Reach: You can get to Arpoador by bus or metro. These are the lines and routes that have stops nearby. Bus – 432, Bus – 455, Bus – 457, Bus – 474 & METRO L1.

 

Rio lives up to the name as the ‘Marvellous City’. There’s hardly anyone who would not fall hard for the alluring beauty of Rio de Janeiro. With stunning views of mountains, beaches, landmarks and more, this incredible destination has endless entertainment options for everyone, making it a must-visit place.