Safari alternative for traveling

Spotting some of the world’s most charismatic animals on a traditional African safari is surely one of travel’s greatest pleasures. But there’s so much more to wildlife and nature tourism than seeing a lion, elephant or leopard from your seat in a convoy of four-wheel drives.

From tracking down tigers to watching wrestling dinosaurs (okay, not quite – but close), here are a handful of alternative ways for travellers to admire the unparalleled spectacle of the natural world.

 

Looking for tigers in northern India

Tiger numbers have crept up in recent years according to official statistics from the Indian government: in 2016, India was estimated to be home to 2500 of them – 70 percent of the global population. But in a country this vast, it’s still hard to see one.

With accredited naturalists working as guides, Himalayan Footsteps (himalayanfootsteps.com) offers a 13-day trip taking in the Bandhavgarh and Kanha national parks. Sightings are by no means guaranteed, although it’s said the best time of year to see tigers is between February and April, so it’s smart to plan ahead. If you don’t spot one, you’ll stand a better chance of seeing sloth bears, jackals and grey mongoose. Bandhavgarh is also home to 250 species of birds, so make sure you pack your binoculars.

How to find best bars in Jakarta

In Indonesia’s teeming capital, a thirst for excellent cocktails can be easily quenched. Over the past few years, local mixologists and bar owners have been upping the ante, making the drinking scene a thrilling one.

From bars doling out Asian-inspired concoctions to twists on the time-tested classics, here are ten bars in Jakarta well worth checking out.

With a chilled Californian vibe, Attarine (attarine.com) stands out among the trendy hangouts of Jakarta’s Senopati area. This neighborhood spot is big on natural elements – wooden tables and benches fill the space, and potted plants dangle from ceiling. There’s even a fresh produce car standing in the middle of the room. The restaurant serves modern, unpretentious grub inspired by the legendary spice route, with a drinks list that fittingly reflects this. A Bloody Mary gets an Indonesian twist with local rawit chilli and a coffee martini is blended with espresso from local roasters.

Conveniently situated in the happening district of Mega Kuningan, E&O (eandojakarta.com) is a great place to kick off a big night. Start with an aperitif: the Cucumber Collins is a refreshing little number and works wonders to cool off a plate of spicy Southeast Asian fare. Catch a seat barside to watch award-winning liquor masters in action as they mix Asian-inspired tipples using the best local ingredients and fresh tropical fruits.

At FUJIN (fujin-id.com) bespoke whiskey-based cocktails are the drawcards, with visiting international mixologists on regular rotation. The drinks repertoire includes a selection of refined highballs and concoctions such as the flambéed Gomme Kyoto made with whisky, orange bitter, and gomme syrup. Line your stomach with a selection of Japanese tapas and teppanyaki cooked right before your eyes before moving on to the harder stuff – there’s everything from umeshu (plum wine), top-shelf Japanese whiskey, craft beer and of course, sake, to sample.

Free destination and things to do in Delhi

If there’s one thing you can guarantee when travelling somewhere new, it’s an unexpected cost you didn’t budget for – an irresistible detour, a magical momento you just have to have, a few extra days in somewhere amazing.

Take heart though; in Delhi, you can stretch your budget by exploring a string of free sights and attractions, leaving more left over for those little indulgences.

When visiting India’s historic capital, it’s worth paying out for big-hitting sights such as the Red Fort and Qutb Minar, but don’t overlook the abundant free sights and experiences in this fascinating city.  Take your pick from verdant parkland, centuries-old monuments, mysticism and faith, colonial pomp and circumstance and exploring contemporary Indian culture and the arts.

 

Keeping the faith at the Bahai House of Worship

This lotus-shaped temple was conceived and created by architect Furiburz Sabha in the suburbs of South Delhi, close to the burgeoning commercial district of Nehru Place.  In step with the tenets of the Bahai religion, the house of worship is open to all and everyone is invited to worship according to their own customs. Reflected in nine encircling pools, the gleaming marble structure is set in expansive gardens that teem with visitors, yet it retains a peaceful air of prayer and contemplation. Dusk finds the monument painted in surreal colours by floodlights as the sun sinks over the cityscape.

Guide for first timers visit in Grenoble

‘At the end of every street, there’s a mountain,’ the writer Stendhal famously said about his hometown of Grenoble, France. Set amidst three glorious massifs and spliced by two glacial rivers, nature’s divinity is still on the city’s doorstep, but first-timers should start with its wonderful museums and distinct local cuisine.

Fly up to Fort de la Bastille
For the best introduction to Grenoble, hop onto the bubble-like téléférique, the cable car that floats up over the Isère River to Fort de la Bastille. Perched high above the city, this 19-century military fortress was erected to defend France against the Duchy of Savoy. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, the stunning 360-degree panorama breezes out as far as Mont Blanc if the day is clear enough.

Delve into the region’s history
To gain a fuller sense of the area, clamber up Montée Chalemont, the ancient Roman road that winds past the red roofs of the city, and go into Musée Dauphinois. This former 17th-century convent is now an absorbing regional museum that explores the culture and traditions of the Dauphinois people. Its ‘People of the Alps’ section is particularly intriguing as it documents the lives of locals through old photos, timeworn clothes and outdated farming machinery.

Digest some contemporary art
Founded in 1798, the stirring Musée de Grenoble is still regarded as one of France’s finest art institutions. Its abundant collection includes Egyptian antiquities and artwork from the 13th century onward, but what the museum really excels at is contemporary art. The bright, light-filled gallery has honoured the likes of Georgia O’Keeffe and Wassily Kandinsky in the past, whilst still finding space for more than 4000 paintings, including works by Renoir and Monet.

Park life guide when you visit in Moscow

In recent years, Moscow’s major urban parks have undergone a great transformation – these days they draw people of all ages and social groups, and some have become tourist attractions in their own right. Gone are the quiet spots for parents with their strollers and elderly people feeding the pigeons. Here’s our guide to Moscow’s vibrant green spaces and what they have to offer, from cycling, dance and yoga to art exhibitions and music festivals, exotic plants and wildlife and everything in between.

 

Gorky Park

Moscow’s park revolution started with the famous Gorky Park. It was the first of the city parks to receive private investment, turning it into the number-one weekend spot for thousands of Muscovites. Full of lush green, artsy flowerbeds and thought-provoking sculptures, it was also the first to feature drinking fountains, never before seen in the city.

There are very few things you can’t do in Gorky Park. Rollerblading, skateboarding and cycling, beach volleyball, yoga and fitness classes, electric cars and boat rentals, parkour – you name it. All summer long, dancing sessions are held in the evenings on the specially equipped embankment. There’s an open-air movie theatre called Pioner, pop-up screens for special events, music festivals and futuristic playgrounds. The cutting-edge Garage Museum of Contemporary Art hosts temporary exhibitions.

Food for every taste is offered in cafes and restaurants throughout the park, while carts sell Soviet-style ice cream, hot corn and cotton candy. An observatory allows the visitors to take their date to explore the night sky, a small artificial beach welcomes sunbathers in the warm months, while during winter half of the park turns into an open-air skating rink. But the best time for visiting is from late spring to early autumn – keep in mind that it might get crowded on the weekends!

 

Vorobyovy Gory

Vorobyovy Gory (Sparrow Hills) is connected to Gorky Park by the Moscow river and its long embankment, meaning you can spend a relaxing day in the area walking both of the parks and enjoying what they have to offer. This nature reserve covers the hills below the grand Moscow State University; the observation deck on the top offers a beautiful view over half of the city. Not as well equipped as its neighbour, Vorobyovy Gory is a great retreat for those who want to enjoy some fresh air and listen to birdsong (there are bird-spotting routes throughout the park). You can do a little bit of hiking here, or try skating and cycling. When the snow covers the hills, the downhill skiing season starts, even though the main slope is neither high nor long.

Spen your time five days on Belarus

Belarus is off the radar of most travellers, but this rarely explored corner of eastern Europe has just given them the legislative equivalent of a come-hither glance: loosening entry requirements to allow citizens of 80 countries to visit visa-free for up to five days, as long as you arrive by air (or via one land border where visa-free entry is being trialled).

In recent years Belarus’ lively capital, Minsk, has caught on as an alternative weekend break. While Minsk’s worthwhile museums and impressive dining and nightlife scene make for a thoroughly enjoyable experience, the five-day visa-free scheme allows you to cut your teeth on provincial Belarus, a famously flat land of fairytale castles, rolling sunflower fields, forgotten schtetls (Jewish villages) and enchanted forests. You can’t do it all in five days, but with careful route-planning you can cherry-pick a few of the best spots before your visa expires.

First, the logistics. Assuming you’ll want a day or two in Minsk, you’ll be left with three or four days to explore the provinces. There are some great day-trip options to fill a couple of days using the capital as a base. To avoid backtracking to Minsk afterwards, we recommend flying into the country on a one-way ticket and departing overland into Poland via the pleasant western Belarusian city of Brest, where you can overnight. Departing through Ukraine or Lithuania is possible but less practical, as the main attractions are toward the Polish border.

 

Day trippin’

The major rental car agencies are well represented in the Belarusian capital, road rules are straightforward and provincial roads organised and traffic-free. Top on your hit list should be a pair of 16th-century castles that lie within a 90-minute drive southwest of the capital – Mir and Nyasvizh.

Both castles are Unesco World Heritage sites and both are legacies of the Radziwills, a family of Lithuanian nobles that rose to prominence under the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Nyasvizh Castle is an enormous complex whose 30-plus rooms comprise a museum detailing the history of Radziwills and the area under Lithuanian, Polish and Russian rule. The opulent interior evokes the great tsarist-era palaces of St Petersburg. Mir Castle wows with its impossibly picturesque exterior. Its five towers reflected perfectly in an adjacent pond, the castle has become the poster-child for Belarus tourism. The two castles are just 35km from each other, making them a perfect day-trip combo.

The reasons that you need to visit Kyiv

Due to the political turmoil in Ukraine, Kyiv has lost some of its tourist appeal in recent years. But the ancient Ukrainian capital – and the host of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest – is completely safe to visit and awaits curious travellers to unveil its rich and colourful history. Among the most important cultural centres of eastern Europe, offering superb architecture and a cool foodie scene, Kyiv remains one of the most underrated cities on the continent.

 

Legends of Andriyivsky Uzviz

Nicknamed ‘the Montmartre of Kyiv’, this street is one of the cultural gems of the Ukrainian capital. Every house here can tell a story, every corner hides a legend. With numerous galleries and workshops, Andriyivsky Uzviz has always been the melting pot of Kyiv’s artists, luring them with its bohemian atmosphere and attractive hilly setting. Here you can admire the gracious architecture of St Andrew’s Church and buy handmade souvenirs from one of the local artisans.

 

Delicious Ukrainian cuisine

Ukrainian food is not only very tasty, but also quite affordable. When in Kyiv, you simply can’t refrain from trying traditional Ukrainian varenyky (filled dumplings) and the legendary borshch (red beetroot soup). For a genuine Kyiv urban snack, try the perepichka (sausage in a fried bun) at Kyivska Perepichka near Teatralna metro station, and taste a magnificent cinnamon roll at Bulochnaya Yaroslavna bakery on busy Yaroslaviv Val street.

 

City of Golden Domes

This proud nickname reflects the architectural splendour of Kyiv’s churches, as well as the prominence of the Ukrainian capital for Orthodox Christians. Visitors are easily amazed by the beauty of the Kyevo-Pecherska Lavra monastery complex and the grandeur of St Sophia’s Cathedral, both Unesco World Heritage sites. You can spend days admiring the medieval frescoes and baroque facades, descending into holy dungeons and watching stunning panoramas from the bell towers.

 

Outdoors fun along the Dnipro

Kyiv spreads along the wide Dnipro river, which divides the city into the right and left banks. Numerous islands in between offer a great range of outdoor activities. Truhaniv island is the perfect spot for relaxing walks or cycling with beautiful river views. During the summer, Hydropark becomes leisure central with sandy beaches, water activities and fancy bars. You can also take a boat cruise from the River Port (rpea.com.ua) for spectacular views of Kyiv hills.

Pleasure time on Malta with kids

The islands of Malta and Gozo are brilliant for a family holiday, packed with fun places to visit whatever your children’s ages. The islands’ small size means everywhere is within easy reach. In the space of a day you could fire a cannon at a fort and later relax at the beach, or visit a film-set theme park and then take a dip in a lagoon.

 

Sandy beaches and swimming spots

One of Malta’s best beaches for families is soft-sanded, sheltered Golden Bay. Older children can try activities such as stand-up paddleboarding, sailing or windsurfing, while the gentle slope of the beach makes it easy for younger kids to safely paddle in the sea. The whole family can go boating around the craggy, cave-pocked local coast from here too. Neighbouring soft-sanded Għajn Tuffieħa Bay is also good for families, though slightly wilder and less accessible, as the approach is down more than 100 steps.

Malta’s many rocky bays, such as Għar Lapsi and St Peter’s Pool, are better for older children, provided they can swim, as they have deeper waters. St Peter’s Pool in particular is a great teenager hangout, perfect for showing off by leaping off the rocks into the refreshing sea, and evening barbecues. The resort of Sliema also has a long rocky beach, suitable for older kids, but with shallower pools that work for younger children.

The most family-friendly sandy beaches on Gozo are the copper-red sanded Ramla Bay and dramatically pretty San Blas Bay. Rockier bays such as Wied il-Għasri and Mġarr ix-Xini are photogenic, hidden-feeling coves that are also good for swimming and snorkelling. Dwejra, on Gozo, is another wonderful spot for kids of any age, with fantastic rock formations for clambering around, and access to the Inland Sea, a sheltered sea lake that’s great for swimming and boat trips.

March on Traveling

Travel is as much about the journey as it is about the destination itself. And we don’t believe you should have to compromise on one or the other.

With these four adventures we bring you epic journeys across dynamic destinations; from idyllic island-hopping in Myanmar to hiking among karst outcrops in Vietnam; exploring Easter Island’s iconic stone heads; and tracking tasty treats on some of Australia’s best cycling trails.

 

Cruise among hundreds of idyllic tropical specs in Myanmar (Burma)

Far off the beaten track there’s a dock, and from that dock a boat sails even further from the modern world – to the long isolated Myeik (or Mergui) Archipelago, off the southeast coast of Myanmar. This sprinkling of 800 or so rocky islands flecking the Andaman Sea only recently began welcoming foreign visitors, and is at its most beautiful in the early months of the year; in March the weather is dry and warm, with underwater visibility perfect for snorkellers and divers to absorb the varied marine life.

Some islands, such as Lampi – a designated nature reserve – are blanketed with dense jungle in which tigers and elephants are reputed to roam. Others are studded with golden beaches and the stilted fishing villages of the Moken, the nomadic ‘sea gypsies’, who may have been the country’s earliest inhabitants.

  • Trip plan: Several international tour operators organise sailing cruises, mostly departing from Kawthoung near the Thai border, or liveaboard dive trips from Phuket or other Thai islands.
  • Need to know: Burmese food is a blend of Indian and Thai; the traditional breakfast (and unofficial national dish) is mohinga, a spicy fish noodle soup.
  • Other months: Other months: Nov-Apr – driest months, best for sailing islands; May-Oct – monsoon.

A tasty world tour

Cheap. Tasty. A traveller staple. Noodles claim their place on menus the world over and chances are you’ve had some recently – whether hot or cold, sauced or plain, instant or handmade…

Here are eight incarnations of this classic comfort food and where to find them; each equally delicious, down to the last slurp.

 

Lo mein, China

Know your noodle: wheat flour (and occasionally egg) noodles

No Chinese noodle dish is as ubiquitous as the oft-revered, sometimes maligned lo mein. Served hot with a soy-based sauce and your choice of meats, seafood and vegetables, lo mein is often understood to be Cantonese, but has been around so long that its precise origins are hard to know.

In the West, lo mein is often confused with its harder, crunchier cousin, chow mein, as both are made from the same noodles. Lo mein is the soft version, where the noodles are added to the veggies and meats towards the end of cooking – long enough to warm them up but not so much that they become crunchy. Eat with round or bamboo chopsticks, or a fork.

Naengmyeon is thought to have originated in North Korea, but is found everywhere in South Korea’s Busan region. Served cold in a metal bowl with chopsticks, naengmyeon is – like everything in Korea – spicy, laced with hot chilli paste, shredded cucumbers, Asian pear and pickles. It’s a staple for late-night partiers country-wide and available in many Korean restaurants, but nothing beats having it in Busan.

Like many noodles, it’s simple, heart-warming fare. A variant – also served cold – is mul naengmyeon, a noodle soup with a refreshing, salty broth. The long noodles symbolise longevity so they are often served uncut and trimmed with scissors at the table.