Contents

Thailand is often referred to as the land of smiles. This statement, of course, does not take into account the several traffic snarls in Bangkok alone.

Thailand

ThailandThailand is often referred to as the land of smiles. This statement, of course, does not take into account the several traffic snarls in Bangkok alone.The climate in Thailand is, for the most part, tropical. It is rainy, warm, and cloudy during the southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry and cool during the northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); and the southern isthmus is generally hot and humid.Thai is the most common language spoken, but English is gaining popularity, especially with the influx of tourists, and it is frequently a language spoken by the Thai elite. Ethnic and regional dialects predominate in village areas, but an interpreter or guide can help you to understand the language and communicate.A strange combination of contrasts, Thailand can be very stressful when attempting to get around Bangkok, but it can also be extremely relaxing visiting any of the number of beaches that exist along the Thai coast. These beaches have served as the settings for several films. Traditional beach resort areas like Phuket and Phi Phi and rustic beaches like the one belonging to the Ko Chang island, with some beach bungalows, a few local bars and a couple of stores, are easy to find. To locate beaches catering to a mixed taste, you will need to ask the locals or your travel agent, but its pretty simple finding just the resort you desire.However, do not limit yourself to just the beach. Up country, towards the north, you can find the city of Chang Mai, the Summer Palace of the King of Thailand, and little villages where you can partake of interesting local customs and rituals. Rafting, hiking, mountain biking, diving, snorkeling, trekking, and other adventure sports are also popular among outdoor enthusiasts.Flights to Thailand are as cheap as approximately $650 for a round-trip flight on Korean Airlines. This makes Thailand a perfect destination for budget travelers. Basics like food and accommodations are reasonably priced, so your money will go a long way.

Malmo, Sweden

Malmo, Sweden

Malmo is the capital of the province of Skane in southwestern Sweden. In the 16th century it was a major fishing port, competing with Copenhagen as Scandinavia`s most influential city. Today the city is well-known for its busy harbor, as well as for its rich architectural heritage.The imposing 16th-century Malmohus was built by the Danish king Christian , when Skane formed part of Denmark. It contains the Malmomuseer (Malmo Museums), which include the Art Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the City Museum, the Science & Technology and Maritime Museum, and the Kommendants Hus (Commander`s House).The Dutch Renaissance style is evident in Malmo`s impressive Radhuset (Town Hall), which dates from 1546 and dominates the city`s main square, Stortorget. Northeast of here is the 14th-century St. Petri`s Kyrks, built in the Baltic Gothic style. The Church`s most beautiful features include the altarpiece (1611), Scandinavia`s largest, and a wonderfully ornate pulpit. Admit the city`s maze of pedestrianized streets, lined with shops and cafes, is Lilla Torg (Little Square), with its cobblestones and charmingly restored houses. The square has a lively atmosphere and draws crowds of tourists and locals alike, especially in fine weather. At the northwest corner of the square, the bustling Saluhallen is a covered market, with many restaurants, cafes, and specialist food stores. Heading east from Lilla Torg brings you to the Rooseum. This excellent museum of modern art was founded in 1988 by the Swedish art collector and Financier Fredric Roos. Retrospectives of a number of leading international contemporary artists are held here regularly.

Antarctica: Ultimate Wilderness

Antarctica: Ultimate Wilderness

In the distance something stirs. A drifting polar bear searches for food on the edge of camp. Despite the presence of the huge beast, the men are in little danger. The guns take care of that. It is rare for a bear to wander so close. She must be hungry.For the scientists and professionals who choose to live and work in this unforgiving land, Antarctica can seem a very lonely place. Perched upon a hill or mountain somewhere on this great continent, the dry air allows a clear view for many miles. On one of the rare moments the wind drops, the predominantly white landscape offers an eerie silence. You can feel like the only person on the planet.What attracts anyone to such an inhospitable place? Despite the valuable science and work that is undertaken here, I believe many would choose to live here anyway. For me, the biggest attraction is the alien landscape, unlike anywhere else on the planet. If man is to one-day land on another world, then this is how I would envisage it. Regardless of the barren wilderness and blanket white surroundings, there is no more fascinating place on earth, probably because it is so different.Despite the inhospitable environment, Antarctica is testament to the tenacity of life. Temperatures have been recorded as low as -89 C; katabatic winds have reached speeds of up to 200 mph. In the face of these daunting figures, it seems incredible that anything can exist here at all. Life always appears to find a way.My favourite Antarctica phenomenon has to be the static icebergs, fixed in position by the frozen sea. As winter approaches and temperatures plunge, the freezing sea slowly renders the icebergs immobile as they become trapped by the ice. Here they remain until the following spring, when the subsequent rise in sea temperatures melt the frozen ocean, allowing the icebergs to set off once more for foreign shores. During winter it becomes possible to walk out over the sea and stand next to one of the huge icebergs. It is a very humbling experience standing next to an iceberg the size of an office block. In this planets evolutionary mix, you realize just how insignificant a human being is.

Spending Greek Holidays In Chania

Spending Greek Holidays In Chania

Chania is the second largest city of Crete, the largest of Greek Islands in the Mediterranean, with an estimated population of roughly 70000 people across its length and breadth. It lies along the northern Cretan coast and gets applauded for its tourism potential. The city consists of a typical Mediterranean weather with sunny dry summers and slightly moist and rainy winters. Thousands visit Chania every year to have a glimpse of its ancient past, and also to get a taste of its Mediterranean beaches and sea resorts. There are other alternatives available, apart from the usual hotel rooms for having accommodation in Chania, which includes self catering apartments and villas at affordable rates.The city of Chania could be divided into two major townships, the old and the new ones; the latter being the larger and more developed of the two siblings. The old city, located next to the old harbor, acts as the foundation upon which the new urban infrastructure was developed during the modern era. The city was earlier protected with the old Venetian fortifications that were built around 1538 AD. The eastern and western remains of these fortifications could still be spotted even now. The old city and the areas surrounding it form the core of what we know as the city of Chania these days. The two cities merge into a single entity from the southern front; however they are divided by the sea barrier in the northern part. Many travelers prefer having accommodation in Chania at this scenic joint while they spend holidays in Greece.The central part of old township is called Kasteli, and is believed to be inhabited by the humans since the Neolithic era. The area is geographically secure and conducive for the human settlements. The seafront next to it provides the right physical barrier and the nearby harbor and fertile valley in the southern area hand it over the needed sustenance. Despite having been partially destroyed in the World War II, the old township of Chania still gets regarded as the most beautiful of all the Cretan regions. Another region Splantzia is located next to Kasteli, and is equally appreciated for its serene backdrop. Some fresh development plans are being envisaged for this region now, which will also try to beef up the amount of accommodation in Chania.The other sibling of the old Chania is the modern township, where most of Chanias population resides and works for a living. There has been a substantial migration of the locals during the last two decades towards the modern suburbs and the rural areas surrounding them. Despite having been given the tag of modernity, the new areas of Chania could still be found having a good historical legacy to showcase to the outside world. This is because many new areas were developed during the last two centuries thus making it possible for some of the historic buildings to be preserved even today.One can see therefore, why Chania was an ideal location for spending holidays in Greece. The place is full of historical sites and carries all the needed infrastructure for hosting the outside world. It's well connected with the mainland Greece and the rest of the world through various means. One can choose to stay in Chania therefore, while being on holidays in Greece.

Burj Dubai's Towering March

Dubai's upcoming landmark, Burj Dubai Tower, is creating ripples around the world. The building is expected to be completed by June 2009, and it will stand to be the world's tallest at that time. Emaar, a UAE construction giant developing it, has yet not disclosed its official height, but the building is expected to measure above 800m on its completion. There will be more than 160 floors and a 200m high spire carrying various communication equipments in the entire building. Most of its first 108 floors will be lent either to house one of Dubai hotels or to accommodate private apartment owners, however, the business community will also have its own share in the form of exclusive offices. Dubai's government has worked for over two decades now with intent to shifting away from the chiefly oil driven economy to a diversified free-trade, retail and tourism oriented one. They have succeeded as well in doing so to a very large extent, since the share of oil revenues in the GDP has fallen drastically in the last few years. However, they will require continuing on to make this transformation last permanently, and that's where the projects like "Burj Dubai" Tower, Dubai Marina, The World, The Palm Islands, The Dubai Mall, serviced apartments and various "Dubai hotels" come into this picture.Dubai is expecting to receive 15 million visitors by the year 2010, and needs to add more supplies in the hospitality and retail sectors by that time. The Downtown Burj Dubai, which is going to host the Burj Dubai Tower, apart from many other developments, is expected to fulfill this growing need. The township will have nine Dubai hotels, over a dozen and half residential towers, one low-rise township called The Old Town, the world's largest mall, The Dubai Mall, and loads of leisure outlets such as cafes, stylish boutiques, restaurants etc to add more to its charm.The Downtown Burj Dubai will provide roughly 30,000 serviced apartments, penthouses, villas and several Dubai hotels for staying in the city. The 63-story tall Dubai Lake Hotel & Serviced Apartments is one of these projects, which will offer exclusive apartments and studios for outright sale. The tower will also host a 210-room luxury hotel, which will be managed by a leading luxury hotel group. Another housing development is called Boulevard Crescents, which will comprise of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom luxury residential suits and penthouses. A very beautiful landscape encircling these apartments will add more value to one's stay in Dubai. The world's largest mall, The Dubai Mall, is also located in the same area, where you can find the goods of your preference to fulfill your desires. This retail giant will house over a dozen built-in smaller malls, each catering to the needs of an individual market. The mall will be spreading over an area of 12.1 million ft, and will begin its operations by August 2008. These developments, along with the spirited rise of the tower Burj Dubai, are bound to add a significant amount of growth in the city's tourism and retail sectors.

Florence in a Day

Overflowing with history, art and culture, Florence is a city thats very hard to do justice to in a single day. A visit to the Uffizi museum alone could easily eat a day or two into any itinerary. If youre fortunate enough to visit Florence for the first time, but unfortunate enough to have only a single day to savour the delights of this city, you will need to ensure that you have a plan.So allow me be your guide for the day and take you on a whistle stop tour of the sights and sounds of Florence. I cant promise you the Uffizi in a day, but hopefully at the end of the tour youll feel like youve seen the best of the city. Your only problem will be deciding when to come back for more!The first thing youll need before you start your tour is a map of the city. The centre of Florence is pretty compact, so the best way to see it, without missing a thing is by foot. If you dont have a map or a guidebook and youre not the type that enjoys aimless wandering, make your first stop of the day one of the tourist offices where you can pick up a free map of Florence. Starting off in the main Piazza, youll easily spot the famous Duomo, with its magnificent terracotta coloured cupola. If you are there early enough to avoid the crowds and feel you can face the 463 steps Id recommend starting your tour by climbing up into dome for a spectacular view of the city. The Duomo is probably the most distinctive feature of Florences skyline and is the result of years of work spanning six centuries.Once youve taken in the view, catch your breath with a leisurely stroll around the streets surrounding the Duomo, and then take a walk to the nearby Piazza della Signoria. Here youll find a unique outdoor gallery of sculptures, including Neptunes Fountain and a copy of the famous Statue of David. Youll also find the Palazzo Vecchio (the Old Palace) here. This was built in the early 14th century and is still used today for its original purpose, as a Town Hall. Just beside the Palazzo youll find the Uffizi museum, with its unrivalled collection of Renaissance art. If youre an art lover, you dont want to miss the Uffizi, but its not something that can be easily covered in a short 2-hour visit! Alongside the Uffizi youll find the River Arno, with its many bridges. If you take a right turn youll arrive at the Ponte Vecchio, the famed bridge that houses a multitude of goldsmiths and jewellery shops, with its medieval workshops overhanging the bridge. The bridge itself was built in 1345 and is the only bridge on the Arno that wasnt destroyed in World War II. Once youve crossed the bridge, youll arrive in the area called Oltrano, which literally means Over the Arno. Here youll find the Palazzo Pitti a large 16th century palace. The palace was originally home to the Medici family who ruled Florence almost continuously between 1434 and 1743 and it now houses several important museums and galleries.You may want to finish your day by taking a relaxing stroll in the Boboli gardens, which can be accessed through the Palazzo Pitti. These gardens were laid out in 1550 for the Medici a year after they bought the Palazzo Pitti and were opened to the public in 1766. Many parts of the gardens give stunning vistas over Florence and make a welcome retreat after a day of walking round the city. If you have the time, its worth returning to view the Ponte Vecchio at sunset, followed by a walk along the bridge after dusk, when the lights on the bridge reflect on the River Arno and everything seems almost magical.Finally, dont forget to take a break from your sightseeing stop for lunch or a drink in a pavement caf, take some time to soak up the atmosphere and do a spot of people watching.

Summary

Thailand is often referred to as the land of smiles. This statement, of course, does not take into account the several traffic snarls in Bangkok alone.