Have you relished a vacation to Egypt?Since time memorial Egypt is deemed to be the land of mysteries and myths. Surprisingly Egypt is not blessed with the charismatic aspect of Mother Nature but it is paradigm of manual work at its excellence. The Egyptian pyramids and other monuments, their ambience, art and architecture have notched a distinguished place on earth. Egypt is also known for its archaic civilization, the unique Egyptian culture and heritage and for the simplicity of Egyptians.This hot land of deserts has always been wooing countless visitors every year. It has nestled something for people of all age group and from any profession. While almost every historian is intrigued by the Egyptian history and civilization that is one of the greatest ancient civilizations in the world today, for the engineers to it is no less thrilling to explore the wonders of the world here. A trip to Egypt is quite informative for the kids too. This is because Egypt best instantiates or is a perfect mirror to its past. A stroll in the streets of Egyptian cities will acquaint you with the work and other remains of different dynasties that reigned here. It is a lifetime experience to visit the land that was the pride of eminent rulers such as Alexander, Napoleon and Mohammed Ali Pasha.If we navigate through the Egyptian cities we find that Egypts capital Cairo is the largest metropolitan in Africa. It is an ideal amalgam of ethnicity and modernity. From the age-old cupolas and minarets, vibrant markets to skyscraping buildings and pulsating nightlife, Cairo has it all. A wonderful feature of Cairo is that the luxury as well as the budget travelers can have a great vacation here. For while on the one hand there are simple and inexpensive accommodations on the other Cairo has quite a few excellent luxury resorts and hotels.The temple city of Amen-Ra is also a place worth visiting in Egypt. It lies near the village of Karnak and is home to the great Luxor Museum. People also come to see the magnificent Temple Complex of Amen-Ra and the Temple of the Goddess Mut, the wife of Amen-Ra. If you desire to see the coveted 13.5 meters tall well-dressed limestone statue of Pharaoh wearing a weatherworn crown, make a visit to the ancient city of Memphis. Besides this statue of Colossus of Ramses II the other lures of Memphis include a small Open-air Museum, the beautiful Alabaster Sphinx and the Embalming Site of Apis. The Site of Apis is famous for the sacred animal of god Ptah, the Apis bull that was mummified here prior to its being buried.Not to forget are the globally acclaimed spectacular pyramids of Giza. The pyramids lie to the west of Cairo and their construction can be traced back to middle of third millennium B.C. You can observe these pyramids on foot or via camel ride. Visitors can also delight in the swimming, coral reefs and other underwater wonders at the popular Sinai Peninsula. Aqua adventures can also be enjoyed at Hurghada that lies on the south of Suez Canal. Hurghada is famous for swimming and scuba diving.Sid writes more on Egypt.
The islands of Samoa are emerging as an exciting new South Pacific travel destination between Hawaii and New Zealand. This "Heart of Polynesia" is politically split into two distinct entities 80 miles apart. The country Samoa is a former German colony, captured by New Zealand in 1914 and granted independence in 1962. In 1997 the name was changed from Western Samoa to Samoa. American Samoa is the only U.S. territory south of the equator. Annexed by the United States for use as a naval base in 1900, the territory no longer has any military significance. Instead, Pago Pago currently hosts the StarKist and "Chicken of the Sea" tuna canneries, making it the most important commercial fishing port under the American flag. The Samoan environment is tropically lush, with green volcanic peaks plunging to brilliant coral reefs, an ecotourism paradise still unspoiled by mass tourism. Visitors often stay in open Samoan beach houses called fale (pronounced FAH-lay) and adopt the laidback local lifestyle. Swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, surfing, deep sea fishing, and hiking opportunities are all close at hand. Samoan culture is alive and strong, and local traditions can add another fascinating layer to your travel experience. Most Samoans are subsistence farmers who reside in small villages governed by chiefs (matai). The egalitarian ideals of this communal society place loyalty to family and religion above all. Visitors can sample this culture at the weekly "fiafia" island night dance shows staged at most of the larger hotels and beach resorts. Buffets of authentic Samoan dishes are an essential part of these events. Samoa's climate is sultry, alternately sunny and rainy, but always hot and humid. Cooling sea breezes make the shoreline the best place to be year-round. The nicest months weather-wise are May to September, "winter" south of the equator. The rainy season runs from November to April, with increasingly intense hurricanes sweeping in due to global warming. Yet you can get long spells of bright sunny weather even during the "rainy" season, and Samoa's excellent Vailima beer (created by German brewmasters) tastes best at this time of year. Most visitors spend their time in independent Samoa, which is considerably bigger and less expensive than American Samoa. However the rugged scenic beauty of Tutuila, the main island of American Samoa, should not be missed. In recent years some of the most strikingly beautiful parts of the territory have been incorporated into American Samoa National Park. There's great hiking on Tutuila and wonderful snorkeling on Ofu in the seldom visited Manua Group. Traditional Samoan culture is largely based on oratory, and it's no accident that several literary legends originated here. Robert Louis Stevenson spent the last five years of his life in Samoa and is buried on a hilltop above Apia, the capital. His mansion is now a museum dedicated to the author. Somerset Maugham's short story "Rain" about Sadie Thompson and the repressed missionary thrown together in a guesthouse at Pago Pago, American Samoa, has been adapted by Hollywood several times. The original guesthouse still exists, now an upscale restaurant and inn. In "Tales of the South Pacific," James A. Michener based the prototype of his character Bloody Mary on an Apia hotelkeeper named Aggie Grey, whose family still operates Samoa's largest resorts. Michener's book was later made into the musical "South Pacific." Getting to Samoa is easy with direct flights from Hawaii and Los Angeles on Hawaiian Airlines, Polynesian Airlines, and Air New Zealand. Local ferries and small commuter planes ply frequently between the islands, and getting around by public bus or rental car is no challenge. Visas are not required by most visitors for entry to either Samoa, although a passport and onward plane ticket are mandatory.
The Palm Jumeirah Island is one of the emerging landmarks in Dubai these days. The sheer cost, elegance and the size of this new development is unprecedented and mind-boggling. However, there were fears in the minds of the city planners earlier that the proposed township would prove out to be a fragmented assembly of living sites unlike what it should ideally have been as a model development. There were hardly any means for the people to move around from one living block to another and the whole plan stood divided into several localized developments.The revised Palm Jumeirah master plan takes care of this concern however, and looks forward at developing the trunk into a uniting feature. The proposal speaks of a 7.8-hectare park along the trunk for accomplishing this requirement, which will have a large water element with pools and other recreational facilities around. This will provide an improvised architectural and scenic balance to the waterfront leisure facilities, and let the masses have a valuable community space for their daily use. The fragmented living blocks will get to have an easy access to each other through this latest green area.The Palm Jumeirah Island is one of the world's three largest man-made islands currently being developed along Dubai's coast; the other two being Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Deira across the same sea front. Each of these are being built in the shape of a date palm tree, consisting of a trunk, a crown with several fronds and the surrounding crescent for the role of a breakwater. The Palm Jumeirah development will house at least 25 world-renowned hotel brands, and a significant number of residential facilities. It will have themed boutique hotels, consumer friendly retail outlets, three types of villas, beach apartments, marinas, cafes and restaurants.Nakheel, a leading construction giant from the UAE, is developing palm islands, including the one in Jumeirah. They will increase Dubai's shoreline by an impressive margin of 520 km and cost billions in amount. The land reclamation for the Palm Jumeirah island itself cost around $12.3 billion, and required making use of 94 million cubic meters of sand and 7 million tons of natural rock, enough to create a two and half meters high wall circling the earth three times around. The island was gradually constructed upon a 10.5-meter deep seabed and stretched 3 meters above the sea level. Up to 40,000 workers, mostly hailing from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, have been pressed into constructing this landmark. A monorail is also being planned at the island, which will ferry up to 3,000 people each hour once fully commissioned.Keeping in mind Dubai's rising tourism stakes, the Palm Islands are bound to generate tremendous interest and economic growth. Unlike the other commercial ventures across this tiny emirate, the Palms are solely aimed at providing their clientele with world-class leisure amenities. With the trunk of Palm Jumeirah now being developed into a themed park, the outside world is bound to look at this tourist attraction with more vigor. Like any other successful urban development across the globe, the Palm Jumeirah Beach is also set now to win many laurels.
Thailand is a land of enchanting and exotic tastes for foreign visitors as I was to learn when I experienced the Water Festival of Loi Kathong on the island of Ko Chang.Ko ChangIn October 2003, the travel bug seriously bit me. The symptoms led me to sell my business, pack a small backpack with necessary items and roll into Los Angeles International Airport with a major credit card and an attitude. A few days later, I was in Thailand and headed for the island of Ko Chang, located close to the border with Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand.Ko Chang is a heavily forested island with little towns full of beach huts. This is what I was exactly what I was after. Spending days lounging in the sun and contemplating my navel. Unfortunately, I soon experienced the local bacteria, which was not what I was after.Since I had rented my beach hut for a week with payment in advance, the family running the place looked me upon favorably. They took pity on me and I was soon growing fat on Tom Yom Kung and other soups and curries. After four days, I had finally kicked the bug and felt halfway human. This was good news as it was the night of the full moon water festival.I had heard of full moon festivals in Thailand. For hard partying tourists, this was apparently the night the big beach parties happened. In Ko Chang, it was a little different as the night was tailored to the actual Thais, not tourist.The Loi Kathong Festival happens every full moon. Offerings are given to appease the water spirits. These offerings come in the form of banana leaf bowls with flowers, fruit, candles and incense. The candles and incense are lit and everyone heads down the beach and starts putting them in the water. It is one of the more amazing light shows you will ever see and beats Las Vegas hands down. Thousands, and I mean thousands, of little lights bobbing on the surface of the smooth ocean.After the bowls comes one of the most visually amazing things Ive ever seen. Everyone is familiar with the paper lanterns used in Asia. Typically, they come in the form of a rectangle form with a bamboo or light wire frame. Very popular with college students since they are cheap and look better than a bare light bulb.For the festival, Thais would take these paper lanterns and close off the top. They would then affix a small this paper plate to the bottom with a candle on it. Light the candle, wait for the heat to do its work and they had an instant hot air balloon. Once the lanterns could float, you simply let go and off the slowly went over the ocean. It was a sight to see as there were thousands of them floating over the water.As the festival wound down, the ocean had been transformed. The air was full of gracefully floating lanterns while the water itself was dotted with slowly bobbing points of light.If you intend to travel to Thailand, make sure you schedule your trip around a full moon. It is a scene youll never forget.
The Central American countries stand out from the rest of Americas. There rich history and breathtaking scenic beauty makes them the favorite place to visit all the year round. With a blend of south and North America the countries like Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama etc. give the continent the finishing touches and add to the diversity of the Americas. The area is always buzzing with activity since ages. The natural and tectonic activity used to shake the place in the ancient times. The rich history of the place reminds the people of the numerous settlements that took place in the region and today the political scene in these countries is ever dynamic. Thus the over all profile of the place is quite versatile and inviting. On of the main features of the place are remains of the historically important Mayan civilization. It made a substantial part of the Central American history and still the reminiscent of the past stand as majestic as they might have been. The tourists are filled with a gush of adrenaline when they walk through the corridors of the ancient Mayans. The central markets of the city stand in all their grandeur majesty. The ruins show that the city was an urban hub and the people were pursuing agriculture as their main occupation. They were socially advanced people and their urban centers were the venues for dancing singing and many recreational activities. One can hear the echoes of the past standing in the middle of the large citadels. The advancement in the Central American region is mainly due to the buzzing political scene and the awareness about the rights. The people are highly conscious about the protection of environment and great efforts are put in to preserve the rich environmental heritage. The Central American countries have entered in to a free trade pact as per which they are to let the others allow certain facilitations of trade in their trade. Popularly known as the CAFTA, it has proved to be a boon to the countries economies. The Central American region is known for its volcanic abundance. Each country homes many volcanoes and many of them have erupted in the recent past. The tectonic rumblings are commonplace and it creates a lot of alarm in the peoples minds. The volcanoes are one feature that distinguishes the region form the rest of Americas and it adds to the mystic and magical image of the Central America.But theres one threat that has caused a lot of trouble in the region. The trade of drugs has entangled the region in to the grip of heavy crime. The worlds greatest drug trade can be found in this region. The roots of this criminal activity are deep seated and it has caused a lot of disturbance at the local level. But the comforting fact is that the regions attraction is overpowering on the drug threats. And the travelers are not threatened by these and keep on coming to the place with all zeal. And in the years to come this region will catch up with the rest of the world.