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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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Zeno Indonesia

A Day to The Far East of Bali

Everyone wants to travel at one point or another to cool off from life’s routine worries and hard work. But travelling is not only about visiting from one place to another, it is more about satisfying one’s inner yearnings for taste and class. Many people assume that travelling to the far east of Bali is time consuming, which is not entirely a wrong assumption. However, it is actually doable for a day trip.

Some destinations in the east coast are just magical! They are a combination of unspoiled surroundings, remote locations, intense vistas and snuggly warm people. For adventure lovers, this is probably it; an opportunity to engage with the natural wonders. In addition to that, the presence of Balinese historical sites along the area is such a delight for those who want to go deeper into an understanding of Balinese culture. Definitely worth the time and effort!

Starting early in the morning is a must. Driving 2.5 hours from Denpasar, you will reach at Candidasa. You can make a quick stop here. Feel the tropical climate and smell the fresh morning air from the ocean, it creates an intoxicating perfume to mark the start of the day.

Driving another 30 minutes further up, you will pass by Bugbug village. Since you are here, you may want to consider visiting Bukit Asah Bugbug. If you are looking for a silent and a peaceful scene, this semi-hidden spot offers green hills with the exotic expanse of blue sea. While hearing the roar of the ocean waves, embrace the blowing cool breeze to maximize the relaxation of your solitude. Morning visit doesn’t attract many visitors, which is a perfect time to retreat from the frenetic city.

Moving on from your solitary moment, the next stop is the neatly crafted garden of Tirtagangga Water Palace. Quite well known for its holy water and religious ceremonies, this location consists of three separate complexes each having its own set of ponds and attractive sculptures which simply add to the beauty of the overall water garden. As you enter the place, the first thing that comes into view is a long row of sculptures of guardian figures. You will also notice the neatly placed polygonal stepping stones to tour the area over the ponds and pools. Pools in the complex have designs from the olden days and created with natural materials like sandstone. There are a lot of stories behind the creation of this garden.

 

Another historical site nearby is Ujung Water Palace. Located at Tumbu village, a short distance from Tirtagangga, Ujung Water Palace was basically the resting and entertainment place for the Kings of Karangasem and their guests. On similar lines like Tirtagangga, this place has a beautiful park with huge fish ponds surrounding the heritage buildings. From the highest level of this palace, you can have an enchanting view of the sea line and hills with absolute greenery. It also displays the beauty of Mount Agung and nearby green terraced rice fields.

 

Driving another 30 minutes to the north, slightly after lunchtime, you will arrive at Amed Beach. Almost 90 percent of the population in Amed relies on fishing, which explain the traditional fishing boats line the beach area. Apart from fishing, hospitable people can also be spotted selling salt, trinkets, and other items to support their families and the community. Unlike in the southern coast, the local people of Amed are genuinely warm and friendly to visitors. With the large number of tourists flocking to this part of the island each year, this village has transformed from quiet fishing village and is currently on verge of change. Amed village has now become backpacker’s area near the coast with ease of access to Jemeluk Bay, which is the next stop.

Jemeluk Bay is only a short drive up from Amed Beach. Be prepared for a bumpy road! However, the view is breath-taking. One of the first beautiful glimpses of the Jemeluk Bay is from the sunset point. Along with the scenic view of Amed Beach coastline, it is easy not to capture Mount Agung of your sight. Several options for lodging have come up in this area along with new restaurants and shops popping up, making it a much sought-after tourism destination.

With easy access, Tulamben Beach is located 30 minutes’ drive from Amed village. Overlooking the Lombok strait, the sea water in this beach is calm and clear with gradations of bluish green colour. Rich in marine bio life with a thousand-year-old shipwreck and coral gardens, Tulamben is an all-year diving destination for the diving enthusiasts. A perfect place for underwater photography. With the overall surge in tourism, the small village of Tulamben is developing.

Not far from the beach, Paibon Tulamben Temple is just around the corner. This temple signifies and highlights the Balinese Hindu culture and religion. Like many other temples on the island, Paibon Tulamben Temple signifies the honour shown to the Sea Gods. The temple complex has multiple temples in it and each one is visible from the next one forming a chain. This was built as early as the 16th century during the Majapahit era to offer spiritual protection to the people living in the area.

There you have it! A one-day trip to the eastern part of Bali doesn’t seem impossible to do. Of course, there are still tons of places and hidden spots need to be discovered. However, the list mentioned above suits for either tourists who have limited visiting time and scheduled plans or local people who need to get away from the chaotic southern part over the weekend.

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine

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.

Phnom Penh – Pear of the Asia

Phnom Penh didn’t start life as a main defrayal until behind the Angkor time in which Angkor Wat plus the nearby cities grown to fame. King Ponhea Yat in the mid of 15th century escaped a Siamese attack in Angkor and established in a piece of what is nowadays Phnom Penh, ascertaining a palace.

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Take a Break at Coffee Shops

Coffee shop provides a space for friends to unite again after a long time, or for a new business deal to crack, or for the two hearts to meet and get to know each other better. So, travellers… business people… lovers… all come aboard for a cup of coffee!

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