A Kefalonia Holiday

Kefalonia, Greece is a paradise-like destination for travellers who want to experience an island that not only offers exquisite beauty, but lots of fun and thrilling activities too! With crystal blue waters, beautiful forests, and beaches to relax upon, this island attracts many visitors looking for that ultimate Kefalonia holiday adventure. Kefalonia may be the largest of the Ionian Islands, but it is small enough for visitors to get around easily. Bicycles, cars and scooters for hire are the most popular methods of transportation around Kefalonia.

The Mediterranean climate provides plenty of sunshine during the warm springs and hot summers to accommodate Kefalonia activities. While the island’s subterranean lakes and caves lead travellers through an underground water world, there is an amazing coastline above that has both busy and tranquil beaches. Sea kayaking, sailing, yacht charters and boats for hire are just some of the options availabe for those who wish to explore the coastline. Watersports are also very popular, and include snorkeling, Scuba diving, wakeboarding, fishing, water skiing, banana boats and parasailing.

A Kefalonia holiday can also include exploring the island by land. There are horse stables that can provide tours through the mountains and trails. Horse riding schools are available for all – from beginners to those just want to improve their horse riding skills while taking in the gorgeous surroundings. Villages and hamlets are scattered across the island, so hiking and walking can also be an option to explore the trails and goat paths that lead to the villages. Visitors will discover an abundant countryside while hiking. For those wanting to go off the beaten path, exploring Kefalonia by quad bikes is one option to travel through more rugged and remote terrain!

Kefalonia is an island that is rich in culture and history. Kefalonia activities can include visiting some of the castles, fortresses, Orthodox churches, monasteries, museums and archaeological ruins on the island. Visitors can explore the Mycenaean Tomb at Tzanata and the Mycenaean Tombs at Mazarakata, which are archaeological sites in Kefalonia. Early finds in Poros date back to 5700 BC. There are also many museums on the island that house prehistoric and Hellenistic period pieces. The Archaeological Museum, The Natural History Museum, and The Corgialenion Historical and Folk Art Museum are just some of the museums that offer a detailed glimpse into Kefalonia’s past.

A visit to Kefalonia would not be complete without experiencing some of the authentic island cuisine. The Kefalonia meat pie is a local specialty, and can be found in many restaurants on the island. There is an abundance of wineries, bistros and tavernas to taste many of Kefalonia’s delicacies.

With so many fantastic Kefalonia activities, sights and cultural experiences, travellers leave the island with new discoveries and plenty of unforgettable memories.

Top 10 Things To Do In Thailand

Thailand has become the main travel destination of south-east Asia. The budget Thailand accommodation prices, lush green jungle scenery, miles of beaches and rich culture draw tourists from around the world.

Tourists often opt to use Bangkok as their metropolitan hub. Visitors can pick a guest house or hotel in the city as their Thailand accommodation. Trains, buses and boats make an ideal transportation choice to explore the country’s outlaying areas.

Thailand has numerous things to see and do, but 10 top attractions stand out.

1. Grand Palace and Wat Prakaew
Built in 1782, the sacred grounds of the Grand Palace and Wat Prakaew stand out as a must see place for any tourist. The entire complex boasts intricate architecture. The Wat Prakaew sits within the complex and houses the Emerald Buddha.

2.  Floating Markets
Bangkok’s floating markets consist of boats loaded with colorful fruits and vegetables floating leisurely on the river as the vendors sell their produce from the boats. Kitchen boats also float on the water beside the vendors and offer tasty fare. Tourists can opt to ride a tour boat to purchase staples from the boats or simply sightsee. The floating markets operate every day.

3.  Ancient Capitals
Thailand’s ancient capital cities — Sukhothai, Lopburi and Ayutthaya — sit between Chiang Mai and Bangkok. A World Heritage Site, visitors can stroll through the remaining structures. The ancient cities provide visitors with insight into Thailand’s past and its rural lifestyle. Visitors should remember to bring a camera to capture the striking ruins on film.

4.  Wat Prathat Doi Suthep
In northern Thailand sits the city of Chaing Mai which is home to Wat Prathat Doi Suthep. The temple sits on the side of Suthep Mountain. It draws thousands of  tourists and Buddhist monks on a pilgrimage. Visitors must climb 304 steps to reach the temple.

5.  Night Bazaar
Chaings Mai’s night bazaar boasts handmade crafts. Tourists enjoy bargaining over the diverse items. The vendors set no price on their crafts, but prefer to dicker over each item with the customer.

6.  Spa Day
Bangkok’s Khao San, Old City, Siam, Sukhumvit and Chatuchak districts have a large number of day spas and massage parlours that offer deluxe Thai treatments.

7.  Bangkok’s Siam Ocean World
Bangkok’s Siam Ocean World allows visitors to dive with live sharks. Visitors can swim with sand tiger sharks, black tipped reef sharks and eagle rays. Diving adventures exist for amateur or certified divers.

8.  Oriental Hotel
Tourists can often catch a glimpse of a celebrity or royalty while enjoying afternoon tea at Bangkok’s Oriental Hotel.

9.  River Kwai Bridge
A train trip across the River Kwai Bridge at Kanchanaburi lets tourists see the infamous bridge that was built by Allied prisoners during World War II. In November and December the River Kwai Bridge Festival takes place.

10.  Calypso Cabaret at the Asia Hotel
The Calypso Cabaret features Thailand’s lady boys, known as katoeys. Located at Bangkok’s Asia Hotel, the show features colorful singing and dancing.

AirAsia: Now every Sydneysider Can Fly!

AirAsia: Now every Sydneysider Can Fly!

AirAsia are finally flying to Sydney! Which means now every Sydneysider can fly. Jump on board and fly your way to Asia and beyond for an exotic getaway!

AirAsia special Sydney to Kuala Lumpur launch fares start from only $99. Or book a Fly Thru from Sydney to Phuket from only $139, Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City from just $149 or Sydney to Bali from $159. There are also amazing low launch fares on Premium Fly Flat beds! Fly Flat from Sydney to KL from only $499.

AirAsia

Top 5 Things to Do in New Zealand

With the ample offering of cheap international flights available these days, you may want to consider New Zealand as a destination for your next vacation. New Zealand offers unparalleled beauty, intriguing culture, and a wide variety of activities for the nature-lover and the adventure-seeker. Here are some of New Zealand’s must-see attractions.

1. A visit to a Maori Marae is an unforgettable experience. Unlike in other Polynesian cultures where the Marae meeting place and grounds were destroyed or abandoned in the 19th century with the arrival of Christianity, the Maori of New Zealand continue to celebrate their culture and language in these community spaces. Visitors will follow traditional protocols and attend a ceremony inside the Marae, followed by a snack or meal, and even an overnight. Participating in the sacred rituals of the Maori culture is often cited by visitors as a highlight of their time in New Zealand.

2. With native New Zealander AJ Hackett’s first jump from Auckland´s Greenhithe Bridge in 1986, the public attention began to turn to the adrenaline sport of bungee jumping. The first permanent commercial bungee site was opened in Queenstown in several years later. Now one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist activities, there are more than 10 different locations where adventure-seekers can find the pure adrenaline rush they are looking for.

3. The most well-known tourist destination in New Zealand, Milford Sound is nothing short of spectacular. The waterfalls cascading down the rock faces, lush rain forests, and penguins, dolphins and seals draw as many as one million visitors each year, despite its remote situation.  Located within Fiordland National Park in the South Island, Milford Sound stretches for 15 kilometers inland from the mouth of the Tasman Sea, surrounded by the rock faces of the fiords. English poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling deemed it to be the Eighth Wonder of the World.

4. The city of Rotorua is located squarely on top of one of the most active volcanic areas in the world. Famous for its impressive geysers, boiling pools of mud, and hot springs, the living and breathing landscape of Rotorua rarely fails to impress the visitor.  Whether relaxing in a natural hot spring or taking a helicopter ride over the area of geothermal activity, Rotorua is well worth a visit. Make sure to leave time to visit Te Wairoa, the village that was buried by ash and lava in the eruption of Mt. Tarawera in 1886.

5. Both New Zealand’s oldest national park as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tongariro National Park is located in central North Island. It is valued for not only its breathtaking scenery but also its ecological and cultural significance. The park contains three important volcanic peaks, Tongariro, Ruapeha and Ngauruhoe, several ski areas, and excellent areas for hiking, mountain biking, rafting, hunting, fishing, and horseback riding.  The most well-known hiking route, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, traverses areas of volcanic activity, where hikers can view an active crater, lava flows, emerald-colored lakes, and steam vents.

48 hours in Ankara

Finding ways to spend 48 hours in Ankara on your Turkey holidays should not be difficult, as there is plenty to keep even the most curious traveller happy in Turkey’s second biggest city. The capital is a busy place, which can be difficult for newcomers to navigate around, so some careful research and preparation is therefore necessary in order to make a trip really successful.

Of course, Ankara is the political capital of Turkey, so anyone who has any interest in the country’s history should visit the city. Located around 450 kilometres to the south-east of the nation’s largest urban centre, Istanbul, Ankara enjoys an imposing setting on a hill that rises some 150 metres out of the arid surrounding lands.

The city has enjoyed a rich history, with a massive range of cultures, from the Arab to the Celtic to the Roman, having exerted influence over the area at one time or another. The first port of call, then, after checking into a hotel, is to find the tourist information service.

In Ankara, this is situated at Gazi Mustafa Kemal Bulv, 121. At this address, a useful map of the city and its public transport routes can be obtained. This kind of local detail is necessary in a thriving and bustling urban environment such as Ankara.

Once bearings have been got and luggage unpacked, thoughts will turn to where to spend the first day of the visit. Ankara has some great sites to see for anyone interested in history. It is also the home of the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Ataturk holds a revered place in the history of the nation. It was he who led the Turkish War of Independence and founded the Republic of Turkey. His final resting place is a striking piece of architecture located at Rasattepe, or Observation Hill, in English.

Admission to this site is free and it opens from Tuesdays to Sundays all year round. As well as the great leader’s gold-decorated tomb, visitors can stroll through the Peace Park, with its extensive range of plants from around the world, as well as peruse the contents of an absorbing museum about the War of Independence.

If that trip has whetted appetites for history, then next on the itinerary should be the Museum of Ancient Anatolian Civilisations, located at Hisarlar Caddesi, Atpazari. A diverse range of cultures have played their part in shaping this part of the world and there is an enormous range of artefacts in this venue. They range from 8,000 year old wall paintings to Roman statues and many more.

Once these trips have been completed, a visitor may well feel like relaxing and taking advantage of Ankara’s vibrant nightlife scene. The city has a large student population as well as expatriates, meaning that there is a bar to suit most tastes.

One bar that is popular with foreign visitors to the city is Murphy’s Dance Bar, easily found at the entrance to the Hilton Hotel. Those in search of some music to soothe their souls can find jazz and blues at The Mahattan Bar, at 7, Cevre Sok. If a traveller finds themselves in the vicinity of one of the city’s best known universities, then they may prefer the Beyaz Ev jazz club, situated at Hacettepe Universitesi Kampusu Beytepe.

Once the effects of the night out have worn off the following day, then exploring some more of Ankara’s cultural attractions provides another good day out. Ankara Citadel is a fortress that is believed to date back to the time of the Galations, though many cultures and rulers have added to its imposing bulk ever since. Sometimes known as Hisar, there is a well-developed tourist complex of places to eat and shop also on the site.

For those in search of a more spiritual sense of the city, then a visit to the Kocatepe Mosque might well be in order. Built to contain almost 100,000 worshippers, this striking modern building, dating from 1967, can be seen from almost anywhere in the city, as it stands atop Kocatepe Hill.

What better way to bring two days in Ankara to an end than to celebrate with a good meal? The city contains resturants serving cuisine from all over the world and there are some excellent Italian resturants, including the Mezzaluna.

A more authentically Turkish meal can be obtained at the Kalbur Balik Restaurant, where dishes such as icli kofte, pastirma, sucuk, tandir and kokorec mean that booking in advance is usually essential.

A perfect city for short breaks, the biggest problem with Ankara is that any visitor will have to return, as a city such as this has too much to offer for one 48 hour break.

Escape the blues with a last minute European ski holiday

If you’re trying to beat the January blues, trying to get a bit more active after overindulging at Christmas, or just want to escape the relentless grey weather, you could do a lot worse than heading off to Europe to see some snow or do a bit of skiing.

With so many active ski resorts throughout Europe and the sheer range of cheap last minute ski holidays available online from sites such as Teletext Holidays or through a local travel agents, it is easy for first time skiers to be a bit overwhelmed. So to help here are details of five of Europe’s most popular resorts and a few tips on whether they might suit your needs.

Soldeu is in Andorra, and if you don’t know much about the country, don’t worry: all you need to know is that it’s in the heart of the Pyrenees. It’s particularly good for beginners as there are plenty of English-speaking instructors, and it’s both cheaper and less crowded than the better-known resorts. It’s more of a family resort though, so you may want to look elsewhere if nightlife is a big part of your trip.

For more info on Soldeu check out www.soldeu-andorra.com/.

Val d’Isere in France is a classic resort with something for everyone. There are a wide range of runs, and there’s even lift service to some off-piste service. You’ll find a good variety of ski schools, and there are good shopping and restaurant facilities. Many of the runs are quite tough however, so it’s not the best place for beginners. It’s also comparatively pricey in terms of food and drink.

Chamonix in France is the place to go if you like spectacle. It’s on the side of the majestic Mont Blanc and features a cable car that goes more than two miles high. While the skiing is great (it served as host city for the first Winter Olympics), the area really comes into its own for multi-sport breaks with rock and mountain climbing, biking and rafting all also available. It can be a little overwhelming though, with literally hundreds of pistes to choose from.

Courmayeur in Italy is a great choice if the “holiday” part of “ski holiday” is just as important to you as the skiing. It’s a much more relaxed location where you’ll be able to enjoy nightlife and some outstanding restaurants without spending quite as much on the skiing as in other European resorts. There’s not as much for the experienced and adventurous skier though, and holidaymakers with young children may struggle finding childcare.

Few people think of Eastern Europe as a ski destination, but Bulgaria’s Pamporovo is a choice location. It’s one of the most southerly resorts in Europe, meaning a good chance of sun throughout the year, yet is at a high altitude and blessed with reliable snow. If you fancy combining skiing and the sea, Greece is only half an hour away. While there’s a good mix of runs, the use of a snow cannon system means some runs may sometimes be too icy for nervous skiers.

For more information on Pamporova check out http://winter.pamporovoresort.com/en.

Well, you have reached the end of the top 5 list and hopefully this has inspired you to hit the slopes. If you do go to any of the resorts featured here please let us know how you get on. Have a great January whatever you choose to do!