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A Fluid Mix of The Ancient and The Modern of South Korea

South Korea is a dream destination – an engaging, welcoming place where the benefits of a high-tech nation are balanced alongside a reverence for tradition and the ways of the old Asia. It might be scary to visit a war-infuriated country, but a quick visit to South Korea is actually worth your time and money!

Korea might be known as the ‘Land of the Morning Calm’, but dive into its capital Seoul, the powerhouse of Asia’s third-largest economy, and serenity is the last thing you’ll feel. This round-the-clock city is constantly on the move, with its work-hard and play-hard population, the epitome of the nation’s indefatigable, can-do spirit. You can hardly turn a corner without stumbling across a tourist information booth, a subway station or a taxi in this multifaceted metropolis where meticulously reconstructed palaces rub shoulders with teeming night markets and the latest technological marvel. In short, it is an urban marvel.

South Korea’s compact size and superb transport infrastructure mean that tranquillity can be found within an easy reach of the urban sprawl. Hike to the summits of craggy mountains enclosed by densely forested national parks. Some of those same mountains transform into ski slopes come winter. Get further off-the-beaten-path than you thought possible by sailing to remote islands, where farming and fishing folk welcome you into their homes and simple seafood cafes. Chill out in serene villages surrounded by rice fields, sleeping in a rustic traditional wooden guesthouse called ‘Hanok’.

A packed calendar of festivals and events means there’s almost always a celebration of some sort to attend wherever you are – it might be Boryeong for its mud fest, or Gwangju for its Biennale or its annual salute to that most Korean of foods: kimchi. Friendly Koreans are always delighted to share their culture with visitors – often that means over a shared meal with a tantalising array of dishes and plenty of toasts with local alcoholic beverages.

There are loads of activities to indulge in when you are in South Korea. Learn how to make tasty kimchi at the Kimchi Academy House! At the Kimchi Academy House, you can learn about Korean history and culture through kimchi. Visitors can take kimchi-making classes taught by a professional kimchi instructor. Participants can taste the kimchi they make, have it vacuum-packed, and take it home with them.

 

 

An amazing site you could visit in the neighbourhood is the humongous Gwongeumseong Fortress, which is the site of castle ruins located on Seoraksan Mountain. At the left side of Sogongwon, past the Biryonggyo Bridge over the ravine, there is a path which leads to Gwongeumseong Castle, but it takes over an hour of travel through a steep, rocky path, so a cable car is used. You could also hike through the beautiful mountains up there. Another amazing place is the Gyeongbokgung Palace, which is arguably the most beautiful, and remains the largest of all five palaces in South Korea. It also houses the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum within the premises of the complex.

Amid the majestic mountains of Seoraksan National Park sits an ancient Zen Buddhist temple and a monument to a peaceful unification for Korea. The temple is not only for local monks; it is also available for multi-day paid Mountain Temple Stays by visitors looking to experience Zen meditation and asceticism.

On the path to Sinheungsa, there is a great bronze statue called Bronze Jwabul Statue, which is well over 10 meters high. The Great Unification Buddha sits on a lotus pedestal, flanked with 16 inscribed panels, is the largest seated bronze Buddha statue in the world, at 14.6m high, excluding the halo, lightning rod and pedestal.

If you thought office places are plain and boring, you ought to visit the Blue Palace. The Blue House; literally “pavilion of blue tiles”, is the executive office and official residence of the South Korean head of state. The signature markings of the Presidential Residence of Cheong Wa Dae are its blue tiles. It is the first thing that catches one’s attention upon entering the premises. The blue tiles and the smooth roof blend beautifully with Bugaksan Mountain in the backdrop.

To your surprise, Ginseng is one of the most protected items in Korea, but the Matinal Ginseng outlet gives you a peek into this secret. Here, you will be briefed on the different types of Ginseng and the quality and usefulness. The Korean government has blocked and prevented 6-year-old ginseng is sold to other countries. 4 years old Ginseng and below are allowed to be sold to other countries. You will also learn how to plant and the way to take a look at Ginseng which is so sensitive to land use.

Here are some rules of thumb you need to keep in mind when visiting South Korea:

                     Don’t call a person over with your palm facing up

                     Don’t take a seat on the first half of the bus

                     Don’t tip in restaurants

                     Try your best not to refuse food or drinks

                     Learn the social conventions for friendships

                     Do get out and experience South Korean festival culture

                     Korea is a country with a rich drinking culture. So, do drink!

No matter when you travel to South Korea, you will be surprised with breath-taking seasonal changes in nature, such as cherry blossoms in the spring, flower fields in the summer, colourful foliage in the fall and a white wonderland in the winter. So, pick a date from your calendar and head straight to this heavenly destination for your next trip with Travel Treasures!

 

 

 

The Architectural Marvels of Russia

A trip to Europe is the best thing that one can enjoy in their lifetime. With varied culture, architectural marvels, delicious food, natural wonders and much more on offer, there is nothing better than a well-planned trip to this continent. However, before you experience the architectural marvels, enjoyable food, or enjoy the culture and natural wonders, it is important to create your to-do list.

A European vacation can be overwhelming but with good planning (like setting up an itinerary, arranging proper transportation and having expectations in place), it would surely become one of the most memorable trips. Getting a tour package helps to set up a fixed plan in place, however, that is at the cost of flexibility. The usual recommendation is to plan your trip on your own to extract the maximum from your holidays. Make sure to get your documents in order so that you have the required permit to travel across Europe.

Don’t forget to establish a budget for your European trip as costs can go higher, or if not, set in order. Plan your itinerary and pick the destinations carefully. Make sure to arrange your trip to cut down on unnecessary travelling across Europe. Pick up the locations that are on your must-see list. Research cities and the sites that you want to explore, and book your transportation accordingly. Due to numerous types of accommodations and the associated costs, it is important to plan your stay as per your planned budget.

Accommodation and travel during peak seasons, like summer, will be costly. Therefore, make sure to plan and book early to get the best deals. Consider travel insurance from a proper insurance company. This helps avoid any unfortunate incidents related to flight cancellations, lost luggage, medical emergencies and similar situations during your holidays. Understand the local rules and laws of the places you plan to visit.

Okay. This time Russia is our destination. What’s there awaits? The imposing snow-capped mountains, golden coloured sandy beaches, deep lakes, numerous rivers, icy tundra and picturesque villages. Those are the perfect destination for holidays. The world’s largest country also boasts of culture, architecture, history, and some incredible works of art. With its large coastline and impressive cities with charisma and drama, there is a plenty on offer for travellers in this country.

Moscow, one of the main cities has an extensive history of fabulous art and culture. Many major historical places for tourism is located in this mega-metropolis. Red Square, for example, one of the largest and famous squares in the country is located here. This place has a hypnotic pull on visitors to the city. In the past, the Red square used to be a big marketplace with traders from all over the world descending here. Post the Revolution, Red square continued to remain as one of the most important locations in Moscow. All major roads in the city lead to this spacious place surrounded by attractions, such as Lenin’s Mausoleum, GUM Mall, St Basil’s Cathedral, The Armoury Chamber and Kremlin.

St. Basil’s Cathedral was constructed by Ivan “The Terrible” in the mid-16th century to honour his military conquest. This Cathedral looms majestically close to Kremlin and is one of the centrepieces of the Red Square. This building is witness to countless historical and political events in Russia’s history. The Cathedral has a 156-foot central nave surrounded by nine small separate chapels, four of which are raised such that their position displays the location between heaven and earth.

The Armoury Chamber in the Kremlin Museum showcases valuable gold, silverware, ceremonial arms and armours, as well as artefacts that peak into 12th to 17th century. Another major attraction is The Moscow Kremlin. This fortified complex near the Red Square serves as the official residence for the President of Russia. The complex is majestic and overlooks the Moskva River to the south. The Moscow Kremlin is one of the best-known Russian citadels with the Grand Kremlin Palace located inside it.

Lenin’s Mausoleum also famously known as Lenin’s Tomb is situated in the centre of Moscow near the Red Square. This granite structure monument is the resting place of the famous Soviet leader, Vladimir Lenin. His preserved body kept here is on public display since shortly after his death.

For shopping enthusiasts, the Red Square has the GUM and TSUM malls. These are the most over-the-top shopping destinations in Moscow with a wide variety of things on sale.

While you are in Russia, for sure you want to swing by at St. Petersburg’s. This city boasts of culture and heritage with palaces, museums, winding canals and broad avenues. St. Petersburg’s history is filled with numerous architectural and artistic treasures, making it one of the most visited cities in Russia. Often referred to as the Museum city and cultural capital of the country, this place has close to 100 museums showcasing the Russian history of literature, art, theatre and music.

One of the famous attractions, The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg, was constructed at the same location where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated. The summer and Winter Palaces located in this city were the official residences of the Russian Monarchs. These attractive buildings have a lot of history associated with them.

Another major tourist attraction is the Hermitage Museum that has an impressive collection of paintings. This museum of art and culture is the second largest in the world and is home to the largest collections of paintings in the world with six historic buildings containing these collections.

Well, that’s all folks! I’ll see you on the next trip!

Hong Kong’s Light Show

Two spectacular light shows over Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour — the new version of the internationally acclaimed nightly multi-media light show A Symphony of Light and the winter version of the Hong Kong Pulse Light Show — unveiled on 1st December 2017. The two world-class shows, best viewed from the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, will brighten up Hong Kong’s Christmas with dynamic lighting effects and the illusion of an icy atmosphere at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

The new version of A Symphony of Lights features dynamic rays of light sent out in rhythm from 40 buildings and locations on both sides of the Victoria Harbour. The new show incorporates a variety of exciting lighting effects such as coloured searchlights, lasers, and all-new beam lights sent out like a special fan-shaped lighting effect from the roof of the Central Government Offices and the Revenue Tower. Ten LED panels on a number of harbourside buildings are for the first time joining the multi-media show, displaying images and messages to encourage audience participation.

The show is complemented by music from Asia’s leading classical orchestra the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, providing visitors with a thrilling and unforgettable sound-and-light experience. The 10-minute show begins at 8pm every evening.

Immediately after A Symphony of Lights, the winter version of Hong Kong Pulse Light Show begins at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Spectators can view it from the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza. The 3D projection show begins with a snowstorm which covers the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in snow and ice and blows away the numbers on the Clock Tower, stopping time just before Christmas arrives.

An ingenious dragon then sets out to find the missing numbers which are scattered across Hong Kong landmarks. The dragon eventually finds them and restarts time to save Christmas. During the show, the piazza is decorated with snowing effect along with glowing LED balls and a giant crystal ball. The 8-minute performance runs from 1st to 28th December 2017.

Healing Retreat – Heal your mind, body and soul

Photo Courtesy of Motion Fitness

Every once in a while, it is essential for us to rejuvenate our mind and body in order to restore and level up the energy and vitality. Making time in your busy life to go on a healing retreat is one of the finest gifts you can treat to yourself, as it will give you a chance to pause and look at life from a new perspective, while at the same time balancing your authentic self with the nature. In some cases, it unlocks answers to the questions that you just may not take the time to ask. It is wise to give yourself some much-needed slack and put the calm back into your life. Healthy surroundings with a wide range of holistic therapies are recommended to renew yourself and restore your well-being.

Photo Courtesy of Yoga Barn

Healing holiday boosts your mind and body from the core. Healing is a very personal process often aided by a combination of therapies from natural and holistic to active and energetic. The benefits of a healing retreat are numerous. Apart from a healthy weight loss, you are bound to be filled up with high energy levels, supported with a boosted immune system, flaunt a radiant complexion and achieve a sense of deep accomplishment. Taking a retreat is a nurturing “time-out” just for you, a time to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit, to reconnect with your authentic self and with nature, to get solitude and spend time “being” rather than “doing.” Take some time out of your hectic schedule, cut yourself some much-needed slack and put the calm back into your life with the various healing retreat therapies.

Spa at Anvaya Resort
Photo Courtesy of Anvaya Resort

The first step is to identify what aspect of yourself you would like to heal and then choose the procedure to do so. Some of the popular healing retreats are yoga, spa, raw food, cooking and surfing. While Yoga, Spa and Raw food mostly suits everyone while the cooking and surfing retreats are more hobby based. Yoga provides immense relaxation and frees you from negative energy. Spa retreats lets you indulge in luxurious treatments to relax and soothe your body. It is a total immersion experience that allows you to take a break from the stresses and habits of your daily life in order to focus on your physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing.

Regaining the balance in ourselves is the best way to reach a deeper clarity and improve productivity when we return to our daily lives. Raw food is a cleansing and detoxifying diet to nourish your body from the roots. With a vegan, organic diet all your health issues are addressed from the core. A widely-practiced healin

Photo Courtesy of ALaya Jembawan

g retreat is the Spiritual Retreat like the Meditation which helps you to find inner-peace and balance your sense of well-being by connecting you to the one and only almighty. As a result, anxiety decreases, and immunity stability profoundly increases.

Another popular retreat during vacation is the Healing Massage retreat for those who are worn-out and stressed badly. These healing massages allow you to gain clarity, get in touch with your true self and balance your chakras. All these retreats are very personal and specific therapies, attending solely to your problem. But if you are on your honeymoon or family vacation you can also choose a retreat where you can stay close to your loved ones. It can be a couple spa or massage, or a yoga or cooking class with your children.

 

 

Hello Winter From Dubai

As the cooler weather makes its way back for the autumn-winter season, Dubai’s outdoor venues come alive, offering something for everyone. Whether you prefer to stay on land or head out to sea, it’s all possible – because in Dubai, even the sky isn’t the limit.

Dubai is as well known for its stunning vistas as it is for its amazing food, shopping and outdoor adventures, and now that the weather has cooled down, why not take it all in from a different perspective? A hot air balloon ride gives you a bird’s-eye-view of the city’s beautiful landscape at a leisurely pace that allows you to truly enjoy the spectacular scenery, from the city’s skyscrapers to the desert dunes beyond – a trip everyone should take at least once in a lifetime. Many companies offer a take-home video for a souvenir so you can relive the experience in the years to come. Some even serve breakfast beforehand, which is always handy when you’re up at dawn to watch the sunrise.

The “Old Dubai” area that includes the neighbourhoods on the shores of Dubai Creek is arguably one of the most atmospheric in the city, and there’s no better time to enjoy this than when the weather cools down and you can take your time strolling through its winding streets. Begin your day at Creekside cafe down by the water, where you can munch on classic Emirati dishes with a modern twist (red velvet luqaymat, anyone?) while you watch the boats go by. Craving a little shopping? The souks in the area are a riot of colour and enticing bargains. Afterwards, hop onto a dhow for a trip down the Creek. Alternatively, if contemporary boating is more your thing, then why not fulfil another modern Dubai tradition and hire a yacht for the day? You could spend it enjoying a barbecue and sunshine with your friends while floating around Dubai Marina instead.

Dubai’s gorgeous winter weather is perfect for enjoying a picnic in one of the city’s many green spaces, such as Safa Park or Zabeel Park. Pack your own food hamper or let someone else take care of things for you, then lay out a blanket and while away the day enjoying nibbles and conversation. Alternatively, head
to Ripe Market and sample goodies from one of its many food stands before browsing the stalls of locally-created, handmade brands and wares.

While the dazzling horse racing scene in Dubai is better known, camel racing is just as worthy a race experience that’s also closely tied to the local culture. Rise before dawn, head down to the camel race tracks, and join in the excitement as throngs of loyal fans cheer on their favourite racers – some of them even watching from cars that follow the action at speed. Then, when it’s all over, there’s the opportunity to take photos with and pet the camels in a designated area.

The creations in this garden are seemingly miraculous, using flora to construct awe-inspiring pieces of floral art formed into shapes ranging from a peacock to an Emirates airplane. Whether you’re walking under the canopy of rainbow umbrellas or admiring one of the jaw-dropping installations, this place is a riot of colour, and the best part is that it’s all made with living flowers, expertly cared for and beautifully bloomed. There are more than 100 million blooming flowers here, and the Airbus A380 piece has even broken a Guinness World Record.

Catching a film outdoors makes the experience that much more theatrical and memorable. With the winter weather come pleasantly cool evenings, when a variety of venues across the city host regular movie nights, giving you the chance to watch both new and classic films under the starry night sky. You can even enjoy delicious food from top restaurants as well as fresh popcorn and other movie-favourite snacks. The whole experience doesn’t just feel like more of an occasion, it also brings out a wonderfully unifying community feel.

In a city that loves adrenaline-fuelled activities as much as it does a relaxing spa day, the option to go skydiving has become one of Dubai’s most popular “must-do” activities among both residents and tourists. During the mild winter, Skydive Dubai’s campuses reopen to offer bold fun-seekers the chance to soar over the desert dunes or the skyscrapers of Dubai Marina, with entire experience recorded for them. Don’t
worry – you’ll be accompanied by an experienced instructor, and they even offer courses for more dedicated “jumpers”. This is definitely one for the bucket list!

There’s no dearth of water parks in Dubai – and that’s a good thing, considering how much fun they can be, at almost any time of the year. During the cooler months, it’s a great way to spend the day, and there are so many to choose from that you’ll never get bored. Favourites include Wild Wadi and Aquaventure, which both offer a great range of rides, pools and fun for the whole family, while a more recent addition is Legoland Water Park. But if you’re looking for a slightly different and more physically demanding water-based experience, why not try Aqua Fun? Dubai’s first-ever water obstacle course is where you can run, jump and slide over 74 different obstacles, guaranteeing excitement and laughs for all ages.

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Embracing Life at The Gillis

Life offers stupendous opportunities to everyone to explore and to dig out the real meaning of life as well as to comprehend the intricate and obscure working of nature. As for as I am concerned, the opportunity has been bestowed to me in the form of travelling as it allows me to accumulate the unknown and to complete what is missing.

So, there I was, visiting the Gili Islands. Starting with the most famous one, Gili Trawangan tenders to unveil the uniqueness and different colors of joy in the form of music, parties, excursions and other amazements. Being Human, variety is the necessity of the life, and sometimes we need to enthuse ourselves with the excitements of dance and parties. Pubs, beaches and clubs in the island furnish these desires to its pinnacle and then there is no needing felt to go elsewhere. Gili Trawangan is the place to exert all extra energies. The local pub, Tîr na Nôg, though doesn’t render enormous options but its fresh juices are one of the best in the island. Blue Marlin Café not only excels at rendering the indigenous drinks and food but also provides elegant foreign drinks and food as well. However, too much party and drinking sometimes make the environment unbearable as well and thus compels me to seek out placid and smooth spot.

Gili Meno is the place that alleviates that commotion and ruffle of daily life by providing calm and sedating surroundings. Here the environment is tranquil and nature can be felt more lucidly. As smaller in size and having lower tourists’ density, the place offers me a unique opportunity to completely revive my inner soul with sense of ultimate content. The beautiful beaches incite people to have a walk over it. While walking on these charming beaches, it seems that the nature is uttering its melody through the composition of winds with waves striking the shores. The sun setting scene at the white beach of Gili Meno hazes my brain confusing the scenery with that of the heavens. The aroma of the atmosphere in the evening seems to uttering some untold romantic story. Sasak Café and Ya Ya Warung are two of my favourite dining resorts. In the evening, I grazed upon that lonely bunch of trees. The scenery reminded me of the words of Robert Frost, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

When it comes to Gili Air, the island offers an exquisite blend of traditional values with the beautification carried out by craftsman of science and technology. It is composed of modern resorts with most up to date technologies and at the same time provides the opportunity of seeing natural bounties in its full exposure. Being an epicurean person, it gives me great delight to get taste of several types of food. Bel Air Resort gives the yummy food. Its pasta is one of my favorite dish. The island not only suffices the need of having delicious and luscious food but also comes in hand by providing one of the world’s most sorts after snorkeling spots. For me, it’s not simply the island; it is completely a novel world exhibiting the experiences that can’t be narrated by simple words.