Thursday, December 27, 2012

Travelling Free and Easy

Relax Traveller

The concept of free and easy tour packages was developed by the tourism industry in order to provide travelers with the freedom of designing their own itineraries while grabbing the different money- and time-saving opportunities offered by many travel agencies.

 Putting it simply, the free and easy concept exempts travelers from a schedule designed by the agency. Without restraint, people can roam around places, on their own. They can go to places they wish to visit, see things they wish to see, and experiences feats they wish to experience. There is no need to worry about wasting money due to coming to attractions that they find boring.

Just a few tips though. When availing of free and easy tour packages, it is best to plan an itinerary prior to the trip. Touring a city impulsively could disregard the advantage of getting cheap flight tickets as it would definitely require tourists to spend way beyond the supposed budget.

 Learning the language used in the city to visit will be very helpful. Conversational phrases will surely come in handy when interacting with locals when, for example, trying to find the way to the subway station or asking where the payphone is. Remember, free and easy means independence. There is no tour guide to translate things, so better learn even just a bit of the language.

Going around the city in groups will be very beneficial for those who choose the free and easy tour package. While it is exciting and challenging to tour a foreign city alone, it sometimes gets boring and scary at times. Having companies will surely lighten up the mood and will make one feel safer and more at ease. Further, it is more fun to have someone to spaz things with.

Talking about security, it is best not to avail of free and easy tours when in doubt about the security implemented in the city to be visited. Remember, touring around in big groups is way much better and safer than getting around a place in smaller factions. Consider the travel warnings, and feel secure.

To avoid danger, it is also advised that the tourists tone their selves low. Flashy outfits could attract unwanted attention. Sporting so much jewelry could tempt robbers. Carrying big backpacks could encourage pickpockets. The hotel safes are there for reasons. If it is unavoidable to leave things behind, use smaller bags.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Yes to Safety Flights!

Long Flights

Safety is the most important issue to press when flying. It is one of the major concerns of people who do flight bookings from time to time. However, the safety of a passenger does not just rely on the services of the airline company. The passenger, himself, has the obligation to do certain things that would assure his well-being while on board.

Here are some of the most typical things to remember:

1) Never leave things unattended
A bag left unattended can cause mayhem. It may be deemed suspicious as its unknown content could pose a threat to the people on the plane. Thus, it is important that people do not leave their things unguarded, or just anywhere. 

2) Do not bring deadly weapons or dangerous materials to the plane
Sometimes, security lapses can occur. Dangerous materials can be brought to the plane and it could cause pandemonium when found out. It is best not to bring these sorts of things on board as it would definitely frighten other passengers. 

3) Pay attention to the pre-flight orientation
Prevention is always better than cure; so it is best to listen to the rules and regulations implemented by the airline company which is to be discussed by the flight attendants prior to the flight. Safety precautions will also be explained; as well as the things to do in case of emergencies.

4) Store heavy baggage under the plane seat
Putting heavy things in the plane compartment can be risky. If the plane meets turbulence and the compartment is not locked, things could fall and eventually hurt the passengers. The best place to store these pieces of baggage is under the seat in front. 

5) Do not get drunk
Some airline companies allow their passengers to drink while on board but it is advisable not to get drunk to not make the other passengers uncomfortable. Sometimes, conflicts during flights are caused by too much intoxication. 

6) Buckle on!
Planes meet turbulences unexpectedly. No one can predict it, after all. That is why passengers must always remember to keep their seatbelts buckled. This will secure them on their seats and keep them safe in case the plane experience instability.

7) Listen to the flight attendants
Flight attendants are there not just to assist the pilots, but also to constantly remind the passengers of the different rules and regulations implemented by the company. For safety purposes, it is best to follow their orders. 

8) Always keep calm
Most of the time, panic is inflicted by paranoia. That is why, it is important to keep calm all the time. In case of emergencies, always listen to the instructions of the flight attendants to avoid pandemonium. 

Upon buying flight tickets, people are also given the responsibility to keep themselves safe from harm. That issue of safety does not just come from the company. It is a two-way process and passengers are expected to keep up with it, for their own satisfaction.

Monday, October 22, 2012

New Stopover Packages from Changi Airport, SIA and SilkAir

Singapore Airlines  Silk Air
Aiming to provide better services to the people, Changi Airport Group (CAG) has renewed its ties with two top airline companies in Singapore, Singapore Airlines (SIA) and SilkAir. This rekindling of partnerships paves the way for the introduction of new stopover packages.

Until March 28, 2013, people can avail of exciting packages for cheap promotional rates which start from S$54 (US$44). Promos are applicable only to flights scheduled from October 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013.

Known as the Singapore Stopover Holiday packages, these offers cover good accommodations and complimentary transfers. Making it more exciting, there are also packages that offer unlimited SIA Hop-on Bus rides and free admission to 14 top Singapore attractions like the Singapore Flyer, MINT Museum of Toys, HiPPO Rivercruise, Singapore Zoo, and National Orchid Garden.

Basically, this move from CAG, SIA, and SilkAir will contribute immensely to the tourism industry of Singapore. According to Peh Ke-Wei, VP for Passenger Development of CAG, these packages will surely encourage travelers to experience Singapore and Changi Airport at their best.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

70 New Airports for China by 2015

Photo by Keith Chan 

Within the next three years, China will be establishing 70 new airports as part of a large-scale plan to expand the aviation industry despite the economic slowdown.

As pointed out by Li Jianxiang, the head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), this idea to build more airports in the country is based on its significant increase in the fleet – after settling a plan to buy more than 300 carriers in a span of five years.

Li added during the annual general meeting of IATA that aside from the plan to construct new airports, the old ones will be expanded and improved. This arrangement would give China more than 230 flight hubs by 2015, to cater to the 4,700 planes which are expected to be owned by the nation by then.

This ambitious move was set after IATA head Tony Tyler revealed that the global profits from airlines would most likely decrease due to the skyrocketing oil prices and various crises. Although the industry in the Asia Pacific is expected to receive a total of US$2 billion in gains, it is still less than half of the income received in 2011.

The group did not provide any prognosis to the Chinese market, especially since it has been a constant favorite of travelers and the Chinese people love travelling. However, the slowing economic growth of China (along with India) can be partly blamed.

In the first quarter of 2012, China’s economy raised only 8.1%. It is the slowest pace in three years.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

More Filipinos Travel to Hong Kong and Singapore on 2012

Hong Kong travel
Photo by Simon Zhu 

According to recent surveys, many Filipino tourists still prefer to travel to Hong Kong and Singapore for vacation and leisure. Thanks to the frequency of flights to the city offered by different airline companies, said Tim Tio, sales and outbound marketing manager of Travelite Travel and Tours Philippines.

Hong Kong received a 15.6-percent increase in arrival from the Philippines from January to July 2012. In 2011, it received 659,829 visitors. Singapore, on the other hand, has been visited by 677,681 Filipinos that year; and had served 154 flights, compared to the 148 which landed in Hong Kong.

It is the boosting tourism industries of Singapore and Hong Kong that are held responsible for the statistics. Hong Kong is very much known for its shopping culture which Filipino travelers truly take pleasure in. On the other hand, it is the Singapore attractions - Resorts World Sentosa and Universal Studios Singapore - which immensely contribute to the strong number of arrivals from the Philippines.

This kind of set-up is expected to continue especially with the opening of the Legoland in Johor Bahru (Malaysia), which is easily accessed from Singapore. Some travel agencies in the Philippines have begun to offer tours to the amusement park, which will cover transfers from a hotel in Singapore to Legoland, and back.

But if Singapore and Hong Kong are enjoying a great reception from Philippine tourists, Malaysia seemed to have experienced a drop in 2011. That is why Malaysia has prompted a more aggressive tourism program which includes product seminars in Manila, Clark, Cebu, and Davao. Positive results have been noted in June 2012 though.

Furthermore, new air links have been established by different airline companies originating from the Philippines to Malaysia. Airphil Express, Zest Air, and SEAir offered flights to the country earlier this year; while Cebu Pacific Air is set to launch flights from Cebu to Kuala Lumpur, come December.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Simple Tips to Get Cheap Air Fares

Budget Airlines, Cheap air fares
Photo by Suu Amran 

Nowadays, everybody would want to stay on budget. As the world’s economy continues to fluctuate, it is a must that people learn how to keep their expenses low. However, it does not always follow that cutting on a budget means denying oneself of the quirks of life, especially traveling. Taking a break is as necessary as being thrifty; and with that, cheap airfares are rendered as delightful treats.

But how to land these wonderfully economic deals?

1. Consider when to buy the tickets.

Usually, sales on airfares are held to introduce the promo and/or to clear the product. That is why many people are advised to buy early or buy late in order to enjoy the probable sales from travel agencies or airline companies. However, one just has to make sure that buying early or late will not cause conflicts in his travel plans.

2. Take advantage of the off-peak seasons and hours.

One needs not always find a sale to land on budget airfare deals. Sometimes, it depends on the travel date and the hour of the flight. Usually, flights scheduled during off-peak seasons (non-holiday periods) are cheaper compared to other dates. Also, flying during late hours like midnight to dawn could be way more inexpensive than when flying while the sun is up.

3. Weigh the options.

There are a lot of travel agencies offering nice and attractive airfare deals and package tours. However, is the price alright? Are the destinations interesting? Are the benefits worth it? All these questions should be answered satisfactorily for a choice to be good. It is then not bad to canvass options among different travel agencies. Who knows? There could be something better than what you plan to settle for.

4. Subscribe for discount notices.

It is not always that one has the time to check every travel agency for their most recent discount offers. That is why it is advised to sign up for newsletters and announcements from the company. This way, notices about great deals will be delivered personally. Online ticketing sites usually have this ‘Subscribe’ button which people can click so announcements can be mailed to their e-mail regularly.

5. Use points to cut airfares.

Most airline companies or travel agencies offer pointing systems to their loyal customers. These points, often called flier miles, may be used to pay for the air tickets. It is often as good as cash. This means one can pay cheaper prices, or not pay anything at all. 

6. Check the benefits of the deals.

Some flight promotions have this buy (quantity)-get (quantity)-discounted or free method. It is a great thing to take advantage of. People can pay less for their airfares when booking is done in groups. Also, discounts are given when tickets are for senior citizens or children.

Finding cheap flight promotions online is surely not as difficult as how it seems to be. There is always an online ticketing website of a respected travel agency to surely provide all the abovementioned deals.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Quick Facts about the 2012 London Olympics

London Olympics 2012 logo

After four years of enthusiastic anticipation (and thousands of air tickets to London sold), the 2012 London Olympics has finally set to light the torch at the Olympic Stadium.

Although some events had already started prior to the opening ceremony, the excitement didn’t die down a bit. So to heighten it up, why not learn some quick facts about the 2012 London Olympics, and the whole sports competition, itself?

  • The Olympics is believed to originate from Ancient Greece but the truth is no one knows where it had started. The most popularly accepted legend though was that it was started by Heracles, a Roman and Greek mythology character 

  • During ancient times, the Olympics served as the symbol of peace as joining cities would set aside their feuds and wars just so they could compete properly

  • The term ‘gymnasium’ was derived from the Greek word ‘gymnos’ which means nude. This was used because the participants in ancient Olympics were required to complete their events with their clothes off

  • During the Olympics in 1900, there were only a few spectators who attended the event. (Perhaps, the airfares were too high?)

  • At least one of the colors of the Olympic rings is used in every national flag in the world

  • During the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, the gold medals were really made out of pure gold

  • The tradition of holding opening ceremonies for the Olympics started with the London Olympics in 1908

  • London has been host to the Olympics three times already: 1908, 1948, and the present, 2012

  • The 2012 London Olympics is also referred to as the Games of XXX Olympiad, and London 2012

  • So far, London is the only city in the United Kingdom to have hosted the Olympics

  • The oldest torchbearer ran a 12,000-km distance without her cane for the 2012 London Olympics. She is Diana Gould, 100 years old

  • Olympic mascots were first used in the summer of 1972 after it was approved by the International Olympic Committee in Munich, Germany

  • Almost four billion people were expected to grab air tickets to London to watch the events

  • For the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics, the stadium will be transformed into a British countryside – complete with meadows, fields, rivers, and even herds of sheep. The production is entitled The ‘Isles of Wonder’ and is directed by award-winning directors Danny Boyle and Stephen Daldry

  • There will be a total of 205 nations participating in the 2012 London Olympics

The 2012 London Olympics is a remarkable event for everybody as it is another manifestation of the unity which binds the different nations in the world.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

How to Stay on Budget when in Beijing

Beijing, China travel
Photo by Ling Tang 

Contrary to the belief of others, it is definitely not a difficult thing to go around Beijing, China without shedding so much cash. Spending a fortune and making the most out of the experience when in this beautiful city could be rendered as an option as long as you know what to do. And mind you, the list of tips on keeping your trip to Beijing low-budget and worth it does not end after you purchase cheap air tickets.

Here are the top three suggestions to make your flights to Beijing really economical:


Photo by zhang kaiyv

If you can go on without too much luxury in terms of accommodation, why not grab the chance? Sure, there are a lot of opulent hotels in Beijing and each offers very tempting packages. But there are also a lot of simple dormitories and inns around the city which provide the same comfort and security. Although it would require more effort in finding nice and cheap places, at least it would save you from paying a lot for a place you would most likely see only during the night.


Street food
Photo by zhang kaiyv

First-class restaurants are abundant in Beijing; but if you want to stay on budget, skip those lavish places and resort to the clean canteens and street food stalls around the city. The presentation of the meals may not be as pretty, but the taste of food sold in those smaller establishments could totally rival those in classy ones.


Holiday trip planning
Photo by Clay Banks

Being impulsive will surely make you spend more money. Thus, you should design an itinerary prior to your tour around the city. Plan ahead and find the places where entrance fees are cheap, if not free; and if possible, categorize these destinations according to their place so you won’t have to pay so much for transportation.

It is easy to stay on a budget as long as you want it. So buy those air tickets and do not hesitate about your trip. Just relax and enjoy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

TRAVEL NEWS: Banyan Tree in Kerala, India Opens on December

Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts
source: Google Images

Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts will be opening ‘Banyan Tree Kerala’, its first resort in India by December of this year.

Banyan Tree Kerala is situated in Nedithuruthu, midway between Kochi and Alleppey in the southern state of Kerala. It will feature 59 villas and one houseboat for a maximum of four guests. All villas will have two private pools – one lap pool and one regular – in addition to a common outdoor swimming pool.

The resort will also offer four meeting rooms, two F&B outlets, a kid’s club, a gym, and a spa with six treatment rooms.

Assistant Director Key Accounts of Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts, Manas Sinha is quoted saying: “Our focus for Banyan Tree Kerala will be on the domestic luxury market. We are adopting a different business plan from what we practice elsewhere.”

Meanwhile, in order to boost brand recognition in the domestic market, Banyan Tree has organised a series of one-on-one meetings between high-end local tour operators and marketing representatives from its resorts in Asia, starting with one such meeting in Kolkata on March 20.

Banyan Tree opening in India is very welcome, as we now have an option to send our high-end clients to a resort within the country. This will be handy for last minute decision-making by clients, and we will not have to bother about visas as in the case of overseas destinations”, Managing Director of Gainwell Travel Leisure Kolkata, Manoj Saraf said.

Banyan Tree had just acquired a plot of land in Goa for its second property in India which will be a 50 to 60-key resort, scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Within this year, the group will be opening a total of four resorts worldwide, including two in China and one in Vietnam while 2013 will see the launch of one Angsana in Vietnam and one Banyan Tree each in China and the Philippines.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

TRAVEL NEWS: Making the Distance between Seoul and Chuncheon Closer through ITX Cheongchun High Speed Train

Seoul Korea Travel

With the operations having officially begun on February 28, 2012, at 6:00 PM, the ITX Cheongchun High-Speed Train marked the reality of faster travel from Yongsan Station in Seoul to Chuncheon in Gangwon-do Province.

As the train speeds off to 180 km/hour, passengers could expect to cover the distance between the two places in just 73 minutes. A train departs from Yongsan Station every hour, and ten minutes after, one from Chuncheon would leave.

The route intersects four stations: Cheongnyangni, Pyeongnaehopyeong, Gapyeong and Namchuncheon. During rush hours on weekdays though, every train stops at Sangbong Station in Seoul and Sareung and Maseok Stations in Namnyangju.

The double decker-train is provided with facilities assuring every passenger of utmost convenience. There are restrooms and nursing rooms for mothers.

Train tickets are sold through easily-operated ticket vending machines positioned at every station. A trip from Yongsan to Chuncheon, and back, will cost 6,900 won while a trip starting from or to Cheongnyangni will cost 6,000 won.

ITX Cheongchun High-Speed Train operates daily from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Revised Flight Surcharge Rates from Emirates, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines

Starting March 1, 2012, there will be a slight increase in the number of fuel surcharges of airline companies Emirates, Cathay Pacific, and Singapore Air. This applies to tickets issued on or after the given date, including those of infants and children.

A summary of the revised amounts of fuel surcharges is charted below:

EMIRATES (one-way surcharges only)

From UAE to GCC, Middle East, South Asian Region

Economy Class : Dh60
First Class/Business Class : Dh390

From UAE to Africa, Europe, Far East, Australasia

Economy Class : Dh120
First Class/Business Class: Dh500

From UAE to the Americas

Economy Class : Dh170
First Class/Business Class: Dh610


Between Hong Kong, Southwest Pacific, North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Indian Subcontinent

USD 133.20
HKD 1039.00
CAD 135.80
NZD 162.00

Between Japan and Korea
Between New York and Vancouver

USD 29.50
HKD 230.00
NZD 36.00


Between Singapore and Hong Kong

USD 29.50

Between Hong Kong and San Francisco

USD 133.20

The revision on the amount of fuel surcharges is implemented with the guarantee to improve the facilities of the said airline companies. 


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

TRAVEL NEWS: Hainan’s Duty-Free Stores Enjoy Huge Popularity

Image sources: China Daily

Duty-Free Stores in the Hainan province are enjoying huge popularity and profit as off-shore duty-free shops. Sanya and Haiku airport duty-free stores are drawing crowds of cash-rich Chinese who are eager to splurge on branded goods.

Unlike outlets in China international airports which can only offer duty-free goods to Chinese travellers leaving the country, the Hainan stores can sell to local tourists without requiring an outbound ticket.

The tropical island is treated as an off-shore location where Chinese returning to the mainland can buy tax-free branded goods with a wider selection, often available at lower prices.

Launched early last year, this pilot programme exempts Chinese tourists in Hainan from paying import duties which can be as high as 40% for cosmetics.

Branded goods in China are usually more expensive than the same products abroad. Coupled with hefty consumption and value-added taxes, the average total levy can add up to about 60%. This jacks up the prices of luxury goods in China and they end up costing about 70% more than similar goods in France and 50% more than those in the United States.

“Hopefully, more Chinese people will be able to enjoy better prices and convenience offered by off-shore duty-free stores without having to leave the country,” said the Sanya store’s spokesman Ms. Jessica Zhao.

The Sanya store racked up an impressive 800 million yuan (S$159 million) in sales in its first eight months of offering 100-plus brands of luxury items duty-free to Chinese tourists last year.

Experts expect to see more duty-free stores mushrooming across China in the next three to five years.

“The central government had set the trend and the conditions are in place,” said the Central University of Finance and Economics Professor Li Huan, who noted that are applying to become duty-free havens.

China’s southernmost island province hopes to take advantage of its “4S” reputation – sea, sand, sunshine, and now, shopping.

Because of the huge popularity of these duty-free stores, several travel agencies have included duty-free shopping in their Hainan tour schedules.

“We have added duty-free shopping to all our tour packages to Hainan and will arrange regular shopping-themed tours in the future,” said Zhang Lingjie, Deputy Director of the Domestic Tour department at China International Travel Service (CITS) in Beijing.

Hotels nearby the stores are also benefitting from the influx of guests, noting that the number of bookings has increased dramatically since the opening of the Sanya store.

Airline companies, too have added extra flights to meet the growing demand for Sanya flights.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

EVENTS: Mardi Gras New Orleans 2012

Mardi Gras celebration
Photo by Ugur Arpaci

Mardi Gras is one big holiday in New Orleans, it means music, parades, picnics, floats, and excitement! Everyone is wearing purple, green, and gold, some even adorned themselves with the long beads they caught from the beautiful floats. People sit on the ground throwing balls, playing music, and having a picnic while they watch the crowds walk by between parades.

During Mardi Gras, all of the businesses and roads are practically shut down -- people are walking everywhere and meeting new friends. People are dressed in crazy costumes, kids are everywhere, and the air is oozing with fun and excitement!

The highlights of the festivities are the Mardi Gras Parade Krewes where one can get treasure items being thrown from different floats like anodized aluminum that depict the parade theme on one side and the Krewe's emblem on the other called doubloons, cups, long pearl beads, and stuffed animals.

Each year there are dozens of parades in New Orleans and the surrounding area, and this year is no different. Parades begin Sunday, February 5, 2012, and continue until Mardi Gras Day, February 21, 2012. 

Each Mardi Gras Parade Krewe has a unique history and theme. Some have been around for decades, while others have been in existence for just a few years. Krewe of ZULU is well known for its interesting history and "golden nugget" (coconut) parade throws. Mardi Gras Indians are about beautiful beaded and feathered costumes they hand design throughout the entire year. Krewe of Bacchus features national celebrity monarchs each year and draws hundreds of thousands of visitors. Krewe of Rex is the origin of many traditions of Mardi Gras, including its colors of purple, green, and gold, as well as the collectible doubloon coins Krewe of Endymion quickly emerged as one of Carnival's 'Super-Krewes' in 1974 with the inclusion of more floats and celebrity guests.

Usually, days have several parades booked back to back, so whether you are on St. Charles Avenue with the family, catching beads from a Central Business District balcony, or enjoying the floats on Canal before a night in the French Quarter, plan for a day of Mardi Gras magic!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

TRAVEL NEWS: Myanmar to Introduce E-visas

Myanmar travel
Photo by Cheng Q 
Tourists who are planning to visit Myanmar will no longer need to go to the Myanmar embassy to apply for a visa starting in March.

The country’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism is pushing for a significant liberalisation of the country’s visa regulations and is planning to introduce an electronic visa application system beginning next month.

Myanmar flag

Union Minister, U Tint San said “We are trying to introduce an e-visa system from March, that would allow international visitors to apply for a visa from anywhere via the Internet, before visiting Myanmar”.

The ministry’s efforts to roll out an e-visa system were first unveiled in January. The pilot project will start this month before it is officially launched in March.

U Tint San mentioned that the ministry is also working to attract direct international flights to airports at Bagan and Ngapali “in the near future”.

“We are also in discussions with other ministries to allow tourists to enter or exit the country at a checkpoint by either air or land,” he added. 

Presently, tourists who would like to enter Myanmar by land need to face quite a number of travel restrictions. Only a handful of border crossings are open to foreigners and a regulation introduced in mid-2011 which requires tourists to enter and exit at the same checkpoint are just a few of them.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Travel News: 2011, Busiest-ever year for Changi Airport

Singapore Changi Airport
Image Source: SingaporePictures

Records showed that 2011 is the busiest-ever year for Singapore’s Changi Airport. It handled over 45 million passengers for the first time ever last year.

The airport registered 46.5 million passenger movements and 302,000 aircraft movements in 2011, an increase of 10.7 % and 14.5 % over the year before, respectively.

December 2011 was also recorded as the airport’s busiest ever month with 4.53 million passenger movements which is about 11.4 % more than its succeeding year and 27,700 aircraft movements, showing a 16.0 % increase from last year.

The substantial increase in the airport’s passenger and aircraft movements was attributed to the strong travel demand in Asia-Pacific. South-east Asia and North-east Asia were the two best-performing regions registering double-digit growth, while traffic to and from South Asia and South-west Pacific also enjoyed positive growth.

Jakarta, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Manila occupied the top five positions among Changi Airport’s top 10 routes. On the other hand Taipei, Manila, New Delhi, Melbourne and Hong Kong registered the strongest percentage growth with at least half a million passengers who travelled to Singapore last year.
It should also be noted that seven new carriers joined the airport’s portfolio of airlines in 2011. They are Air Macau, Hong Kong Airlines, Finnair, TransAsia Airways, IndiGo and Lao Airlines.

News Source:

Monday, February 6, 2012

India Plans to Extend VOA Policy to 13 more Countries

Photo by Sylwia Bartyzel 

The Indian government is planning to extend visas on arrival (VOA) to citizens of 13 more countries including Malaysia and Thailand according to a source from India’s Ministry of Tourism.

Based on a report published in India’s “The Economic Times”, other countries which are being touted as potential beneficiaries of the VOA policy extension are Brunei, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Brazil, and South Africa.

India flag

The report also stated that the VOA facility would be extended within a year to airports in Hyderabad, Kochi, Bangalore, and Goa, adding to the four active airports such as Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai.

Currently, there are 11 nations that are benefiting from the said policy, namely Luxembourg, Finland, New Zealand, Japan, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore. In 2011, records showed that only slightly more than 10,000 VOA applications from nationals of these countries were granted.

Anju Desai, vice president of Mumbai-based HMA Travel was quoted saying: "The countries earmarked for the VOA are major source markets and will open the floodgates of inbound tourism. We have received complaints about delays in the issuance of Indian visas from our missions abroad. Now, all that will end and seamless travel will begin."

In relevance to the issue, the Indian High Commission in Malaysia released a statement clarifying that the Indian Government had not yet taken any decision to extend VOAs to Malaysian nationals.

News Source:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Getting To Know Guangzhou China

Guangzhou China
Photo by Lycheeart 

Guangzhou, historically known as Canton or Kwangchow is the capital and largest city of Guangdong province situated in the southern part of China on the Pearl River. It is considered a key national transportation hub and trading port. Although Guangzhou is leading a hectic way of life, there are several tourist spots around the metropolis that offers a relaxing atmosphere and panoramic views that will surely take the stress away caused by the noisy and busy streets of the city.

The outskirt of Guangzhou is a perfect getaway to have a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere away from the busy metropolis. The hilly district in the northeastern part of Guangzhou offers a scenic view of the city. The famous Yuexiu Park can also be found within the district. Yuexiu Park is the largest park in downtown Guangzhou covering an area of 212.5 acres. The park is made of three artificial lakes and seven hills of Yuexiu Mountain, where its name came from. Tourists and locals alike are drawn by its perfect combination of cultural relics and ecological tourism.

Nearby sights can also be enjoyed by climbing the five-storied watch tower which was built during the Ming Dynasty. At present, the tower houses a historic museum which is also worth a visit.
After exiting the park, two large hotels and a market can be seen. Twice every year, traders and customers from all parts of China meet in this particular place for a trade fair. Just nearby is the Orchid Garden where one can see the astonishing sight of 100 orchid species growing on the garden’s 18-hectare territory.

Another place worth exploring which is within the vicinity is the South China Botanical Garden. It is considered one of the largest Botanical Garden in the world boasting a record number of 5000 tropical and sub-tropical plants, grown locally or imported from other countries.

China travel

Moving into the centre of the city, visitors can see the Guangxiao Temple – one of the region’s oldest and grandest temples. The temple possesses a solemn and imposing aura. The key structure of the temple is the Mahavira Hall which sits on a high pedestal with the Bell and Drum tower erected on both sides. Inside this hall are three statues of Buddha, Sakyamuni in the centre, Manjusri on the left, and Visvabhadra Bodhisattva on the right, known as the Three Saints of Huayan. There is also a pagoda built to house Huineng’s hair, Huineng is one of the six founders of Chinese Buddhism who saved his hair in the temple itself when he became a monk. The two oldest iron pagodas which happen to be the oldest of their kind in China can also be found in the Guangxiao Temple.

China travel
The tomb of King Nanyue which is located on the Jeifang Bei Road always attracts a large number of tourists. It is hidden 20 meters underground made up of 750 huge stones with colourful murals. The mausoleum also features more than 1,000 pieces of cultural relics, bronze ware, and terra cotta. The main highlight of the place is the silk-jade garment made up of 2,291 pieces of jade – one of its kind in the whole world. Seeing this fascinating work of art is quite an experience so set aside any hesitation and start looking for cheap air tickets to Guangzhou!

Other exciting places visitors must explore to get the most from their Guangzhou trip are Temple of the Six Banyan Trees which features the giant statue of Guan Yin, the Huaisheng Mosque presenting a good example of Chinese tolerance and shows proof of ancient connections between China and Arabia, Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family and the Culture Park which offers lots exciting activities and attractions.
All these and more waiting for you to explore in the city of Guangzhou, start planning your trip and remember to include all these exciting places in your itinerary for a memorable trip! Several online travel companies offer China tour packages so budget won’t be a hindrance as well.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Exploring New Delhi

Reasons Why You Must Grab The Best Deal in India

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New Delhi is the capital city of India known for its tree-lined boulevards and home to numerous national institutions, museums, and landmarks. It is considered one of the fastest-growing cities in the world with a population nearing three hundred thousand residents. That is why one negative impression of first-time tourists in this city is its tenacious touts and crush of mechanical and human traffic. However, we cannot deny the fact that amidst these negative things, New Delhi is a place rich in history and amazing ancient monuments which made this place worthy of an air ticket to visit India.

Delhi represents two very different worlds, the “old” and the “new”. New Delhi was built as the imperial capital of India by the British while Old Delhi served as the capital of Islamic India. Visitors can easily have a taste of both worlds by immersing themselves in medieval-flavored bazaars of New Delhi or chilling out in the modern cafes and bars in New Delhi.

New Delhi is also home to two UNESCO Heritage Sites namely Humayun’s Tomb and Qutub Minar. These two ancient historical places are must-see places when you book air tickets to New Delhi. Considered two of the most popular tourist destinations in India, these monuments represent the ancient history of India.

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Photo by Rohit Tandon

Humayun’s Tomb was designed by a Persian architect named Mirak Mirza Giyas for Humayun’s widow Hamina Banu Begum. This tomb later established a standard for all Mughal monuments, such as the Taj Mahal which followed its design.

Qutub Minar is a 72.5 meters fluted red sandstone tower covered with intricate carvings and verses of the Qur’an. The construction of this monument signifies the Muslim domination of Delhi and is a minaret for the muezzin to call the faithful to prayer. Qutub Minar is the first monument built by a Muslim ruler in India which began the new style of art and architecture that came to be known as Indo-Islamic style.

Another historical structure worth spending for an air ticket in India is the India Gate located on the ceremonial Rajpath Avenue in New Delhi. This monument is erected in honour of the Indian soldiers who died during the Afghan wars and World War II, names of all those soldiers were inscribed on the walls.
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Photo by Vinit Singh

Aside from these magnificent monuments, New Delhi is the best place to sample authentic Indian cuisine. Have a taste of the meaty Mughlai curries, plump South Indian idlis (rice cakes), wood-fired pizzas, and squishy sashimi to complete your New Delhi experience.

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Don’t let petulant first impressions stop you from visiting India. Create a journey now for wonderful moments to last a lifetime.