Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Hey, Did You Just Mention Delhi?

Off-beat Things to do in the Indian Capital City

Undeniably, Delhi is dominated and dotted by age-old landmarks comprising of forts, monuments and mosques, each of them offering a mesmerising feel. That's just the surface. Once you scratch the surface and hunt down the neighbourhoods, alleys and lanes, Delhi offers aunique experience unlike any other city, inviting plenty of flights to Delhi.So, where do we take you first?

Exploring Delhi on a Bicycle
Exploring Delhi begins right from the streets. Being a vast Indian capital city, Delhi has it's own network of transportation, but nothing is as gratifying as riding a bicycle through the city. As you cut through the Delhi air, you'll immerse yourself in the various smells, sounds, tastes and colours of the city. There are even bicycle tours from different parts of the city. These tours begin around 6 am to avoid the rising traffic.

Explore the biggest Spice Market
If you're anywhere near to Chandni Chowk, you can very well smell the assorted spices at the Khari Baoli Road. It is home to the largest wholesale spice market in Asia. Since ages, through spices India has had a strong bonding with the west and a business generating factor. Just stand and watch the variety of spices and how they are packed. It's a sight to watch. Just as the name sounds, this fascinating and congested place is extremely overwhelming. If you think it's too chaotic, it's a good idea to explore the lanes and bylanes of this area and the surrounding places too.

Enjoy Qawwalis at Nizamuddin
Qawwalis have been the backbone of Indian music since the time of kings and kingdoms. To listen to some Sufi music, head towards Hazrat Nizamuddin and find your place at Nizamuddin Auliya. On Thursday evenings, the courtyard is filled with the soulful Sufi music accompanied with unique musical instruments. The family that sings there, has been performing since many years.
Try and reach the place before sunset and dress modestly to mix in with the crowd. Ignore the shopkeepers and vendors who will lure you to buy a few things.

Drown into the Street Life of Delhi
A self-enjoyed walk through Delhi is one of the best activities that one can truly enjoy with Delhi flights. You can start from Paharganj and get lost in the shopping lanes and bylanes of this famed district of Old Delhi. The unique tour is famous as one of the best walking tours in Delhi.

Dine with a Local family
What's more rewarding and interesting than sampling the ethnicity and getting soaked in the Indian culture with an India family? Well, nothing can beat that! Not only you'll get to see an Indian home, but also savour amazing Indian 'home-cooked' delicacies.

Chill at the Kunzum Travel

Enjoy a chat with like-minded visitors, exchange newer ideas, listen to intriguing travel stories, read a book and enjoy surfing with a free, hi-speed Wi-Fi internet. You also engage in some interesting interactive talks that are held by photographers, travellers and writers. For those of you, who are new in the city of Delhi, Kunzum Travel Cafe is located in Hauz Khas Village.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Putting the Best Food Forward in Manila

Meddling with the Culinary World

If something stands out among the Filipino culture, it definitely has to be food. The Philippine food culture, as most of us think, is not the usual Asian cuisine. We have explained everything that you need to know about the food culture in Manila, beginning from main meals, street food, dessert and beverages. We'll try give you a glimpse of the wet markets and of course, the Jollibee. No wonder Manila invites several flights to Manila from UK.

With five centuries of American and Spanish influence, the country of Philippines was shaped in a unique way. Frankly speaking, the Philippine cuisine is not spicy, but quite filling, with a few vegetables. It's all about sea life - fresh seafood delicacies.

The Meals & Dishes
Less veggies and more meat is the main focus of the Filipino food. The locals believe that, rice never scores fully as a meal. White rice and regular rice is what you'll see at the shops and restaurants.
The traditional breakfast is Longsilog or Tapsolog, which is a combination of rice, eggs with hotdog sausages. The meat can either be pork or beef. Soups are in variety but finding a salad can be difficult. Among the desserts, pastries, cheese bread, puddings and ice creams occupy the front row. Alternate to these, fruits and jellys are used widely. A dessert may not be served after a meal, but in-between breakfast and lunch, and they are known as Merienda.

Filipinos love to grab and go. Spotting a street food vendor in Manila is a delight. They can be crazy and yet very friendly. No doubt, there dishes itself are crazy and mouth-watering. One can buy street food with a couple of pesos. Each snack you savour, is a culinary experience in its own way. A few famous snacks are: adidas, balut (something to try), chicharon, dirty ice cream, halo-halo, roasted peanut, fish and squid balls and many more.

What is a Wet Market?
Wet Markets are the 'raw food products'. In and easy simple language, you'll see arrays of sausages, endless chains of fruits, table full of seafood, piles of rice. These are the elements of a Wet Market, that enables to explore and know the Philippine food culture.
As you enter the market, nothing is organised. You are surrounded by stalls and vendors trying to arrange their products. It's easy to spot them. Just ask a local to the nearest Wet Market. Try visiting it in the early morning hours when the cartons and boxes have just been opened.

This is way beyond what you see in the supermarkets. You can also buy spices and various ingredients at a much lower price than any other place. Surely, the greens and the seafood are the main highlights here. Try talking to a vendor, the smile on their face will brighten your day up.

An Insight into Jolibee
A multinational chain of fast food restaurants headquartered in the Philippines, the Jolibee, is dubbed at Asia's answer to the famed McDonald's. Started in 1980 as an ice cream parlour, it entered the fast food business with burgers, soft drinks, spaghetti and fries. At present, it stands as the 'king of fast food', relished by kids as well as adults. 

Famous Finger Foods
Finger foods in Philippines is usually called Pica-Pica and Pulutan. No doubt, these are delicious, salty and full of calories. It's just the idyllic snack to amuse your stomach with, while you enjoy a night out in the city. Typical dishes are: Sizzling Sisig, Chicharon, BBQ Sticks, Fried Seafood and many more.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Shop a Lil', Jump a Lil', It's Hong Kong After All!

Discover the Thrill of Shopping like never before

What Super Bowl is to the Americans and bullfighting to the Spanish, shopping is to the Hong Kongese. It's nothing less than a serious sport! And, if you were to fuse all the malls and shops of the world, it's all there crammed up beautifully in Hong Kong. There's no need to rub the lamp to call the genie, Hong Kong has it all outpoured onto the streets.
Lauded as one of the world's craziest shopping venues, Hong Kong offers everything from designer boutiques,to street markets to galactic malls, inviting frequent flights to Hong Kong. The city also hosts colossal trading fairs, but one should really wonder what makes shopping in Hong Kong an ethereal occurrence? Well, here's a lowdown:

So, What's On Offer?
Hong Kong breathes and lives a shopper's life. Being Southeast Asia's shimmering gem, the audacious new shopping malls, seductive shops and classy avenues has everything that you can even imagine in your wildest dreams - a vault of clothes, a mountain of cosmetics, a sea of electronic goods, a forest of furnitures, a treasure chest of jewellery, need we say more! Whatever buyer you might be, there's something for youz. Depending what your pocket allows, you'll not mind shopping at the flagship stores and other designer shops.

The highlights: The Yau Ma Tei area is the most bewitching hot spot for bulk purchasing kitchenware at commercial prices.
Shopping Tip #1: Compared to most destinations, shopping in Hong Kong is cheaper. Most goods from all over the globe are tax free, except for wines and cigarettes.

Being a Mallworm
For those addicted to brands and love to flaunt, the Harbour City Mall houses the second largest Louis Vuitton store apart from the posh outlets of Dior and H&M. To get a good deal at the retail shops such as Pacific Place, Sogo, So Ho and Time Square are the best choice with a large option for food, entertainment and relaxation. Alternative to the tiredness of shopping, you can slip into the bookstore or sip coffee with some appetizers.

The highlight: Look out for The Little Finger's modern-day jewellery shop. Flow+Living sells attractive ceramics with specific lotus imprints and Pomch has an array of accessories including bags, belts and wallets.
Shopping Tip #2: Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan city and very modern in its style. You can shop at the malls or hunt down the bustling street markets. There is something on offer for every pocket.

At Awe of the Street Markets
Once you're drained out at the malls or even at a shopping centre, take a stroll down to the world-class street markets of Hong Kong. There are exclusive markets for every need. Other scintillating places to shop include Cat Street, Tonic Food Street, Dried Seafood Street, the Chueng Sha Wan Street or the Apliu Flea Market.

The highlight: Explore heaps of outlets for anything from USB sticks, cables and CDs to digital cameras, smartphones, laptops and even high-end audio equipment and headphones.
Shopping Tip #3: Being a small city, it is easy to shop in Hong Kong. Public transport is inexpensive, efficient and convenient, and moving around should be the least of your worries.

The Shopping Season
No doubt, there's plenty of fun at the markets. Be it the Ladies Market, the Temple Street Night Market or any local store, such places are overflowing with a blend of gaudy souvenirs, inexpensive clothes and unique stores.
Last, but not the least, in case you are planning to book Hong Kong flights mainly for shopping, you can enjoy saving during the late December sale season. July and August sees some price drops. If you're bold enough to bargain, you'll surely have a gala time at the many markets of Hong Kong.

Shopping Tip #3: Close to the Jade Market, is an indoor mart selling a bounty of bangles and flashy beads. Irene at stall 278 is it-and-a-bit for pearls. Haggling is essential.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Malcapuya & Banana Islands:

Drops of Beauty in the Philippine Archipelago

If you have a collection of world-class cars, it's difficult to decide the most beautiful one. Well, the same goes for the 7,000 islands in the Manila outskirts. But the world claims to have seen heaven on earth in the Malcapuya Island, located on the northern part of the Palawan in the Philippines.

Malcapuya Island: A Drop in the Ocean

Malcapuya Island is a major part of the Palawan Island located towards Western Philippines. From the Coron City, it takes one hour to get there on a boat. It was claimed that Palawan is the best island in the entire world. Hence, it is safe to state that Malcapuya is THE BEST of the BEST.

Believe it or not, the entire Malcapuya Island is less than a mile wide. It's home to just 20 locals. Kindly be noted that travellers will not find any washrooms, restaurants or any exciting activity happening there. Right from your toes, till your eyes can see down the horizon, it's pure white sand, crystal clear water, swaying palms, beach chairs and spectacular views. In a few words, it's pure blue and white.

How To Get There

Tourists craving to visit Malcapuya Island from Manila can board a flight going to Busuanga in Palawan. Upon reaching Busuanga, tourists should take a 40-minute road trip towards Coron town. There are also several passenger ships that ply on the Manila-Coron route. Once in Coron, one can rent a boat to Malcapuya Island.

The Hut of Malcapuya

I rented a tiny beach hut and slept there overnight. The experience was just breathtaking! If not for its diving reputation Malcapuya & Banana Islands have a few idyllic outlying islands that are worth exploring. With Manila flights while you are enjoying an excursion in and around the Coron Islands, you can also spend an entire day at Malcapuya and Banana Islands, terrific beach paradise.

I first went to Malcapuya. This is a small island where boats were docked at one side of the island. The entrance fee is Php200, which is relatively a tiny amount compared to the priceless vista out there.
The shallow waters were in pure baby blue colour and the colour changed as the depth increased. The dark patches were due to seaweeds and moss growing underwater. It was purely an artist's canvas.

The best part of Malcapuya are the restful huts that can give you the best stay. Though the island is not fully developed, the water and the nature is sure to give you goosebumps. There is an air-conditioned bungalow that gets its electricity from a generator. It is open for booking, but one needs to book much in advance.

By the time I arrived in Malcapuya, the heat was unbearable, but the clear water provided an antidote to the brilliant sun. The swimming took me to another world that was irresistible. It was beyond perfect!

The Banana Island

After having our fill of Malcapuya, I continued my island hopping and enjoyed a 30-minute boat ride to Banana Island. No idea how it got its name. Maybe the shape gave that name. Again, there was an entrance fee of Php 200, exactly as Malcapuya.

In comparison, Banana island was much smaller and the waters were deep. Marine life, obviously, was much better in these parts and the infrastructure was a bit more developed. A resort was on the verge of construction. You can also stop by Bulog Island and enjoy swimming again. I had my fill of swimming, hence, I just let the boatman pass the Bulog Island. Overall, island hopping was thrilling and I'm surely going back for more. What about you, when are going to make that first visit to these islands with flights from London to Manila?

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Amusive Auckland:

Eat, Sleep, Drink, Repeat!

Ignoring the two drawbacks of Auckland as an expensive city and as a stopover destination, the 'city of sails' is not only popular but, it is ranked as the 'most liveable city'. There are also a few well kept secrets that will only unfold once you see and experience the city with flights to Auckland that will allow you tolinger on for a few days more.

The 'Fun Stuff' in Auckland

Even in dreams one cannot comprehend that Auckland usually allures people for adrenalined activities such as skydiving, kayaking, jetboating, bungee jumping and volcano trekking. Yes, that's what this city lives up for! Several of these activities will cost you peanuts and they are worth the price. If you're on a budget, Auckland will not disappoint you. There are numerous free and cheap things to be engaged in. Which one will you choose?

The Best View from the Top

Climbing up a volcanic mountain is dreadful but Mount Eden is basically an easy volcano to climb up. Either you can reach the top by a bus or just enjoy a walking trail and soak up the surrounding views of the entire city. With Auckland flights from London ensure that you climb on a clear day to marvel at the creation in all its beauty.

Explore the Mission Bay

Everyone loves a seafront walk and enjoying a walk right from the CBD of Auckland to the Mission Bay seafront is highly rewarding. You not only get to admire the magical views, but get revived with an amazing beach right before your eyes. Enjoy walking down the shores or take a dip in the cool waters, the shore is your floor, treat yourself well.

The Skytower

For a few dollars you can have the whole horizon to yourself. That's what the Auckland Skytower is famous for. Either soak up the engrossing skyline fro the deck or spend in a few dollars more to jump off.

Smell the Roses

If you're in Auckland with your loved one, spice up your romance in the Parnell Rose Garden if you're short on cash. The garden is much much larger than you can think. Adding up to the beauty of the garden, there's a huge park and a tiny beach. Yes, a beach known as Judges Bay! Walk beyond the beach to come across a tempting outdoor swimming pool. Pay to get wet!

Auckland Domain

Parks are the ultimate place to relax and inhale fresh air. If you're up for a big city park, just board a bus from Britomart to Auckland Domain. That's your park! Once in, it wont be difficult to find out that this 175 year old park offers a variety of tracks that you can choose from - Lovers Walk, Forest Walk and the Parnell Walk. Choose the walk you prefer and explore much more than just trees and flowers. Most people come here for a picnic near to the Duck Pond and feel splashes of water from a fountain located right in the middle of the park.

The Waiheke Island

With Auckland flights, now it's time for some island hopping and Auckland has it's share of some sensational islands. Let your adventure begin at Waiheke Island. Just hop on a ferry and within no time your day will start to be more promising. In case you're not sure where to go, you'll be handed out flyers that will direct your next step. The Waiheke Island is amusing in every way.

Monday, 20 February 2017

After all Toronto is Pretty Alluring. Isn't it?

Top 5 activities one can do in Toronto

Undeniably, Toronto appears to rise right from the calm glassed waters of Lake Ontario, that complements the city largely. Bearing an impressive skyline, this is Canada's much loved city that loves to show it off to its visitors. Right from the thriving zoo to the emblematic CN Tower, you'll drool over umpteen things to do in the 'Hogtown', a common nickname for Toronto. If we were to tell you the reasons for loving this city and narrowing down the top things to do, these are the ones that'should be' on the top of your list as you book flights to Toronto.

Wet on the edge

Get your cameras ready as you traverse for 100 minutes from the Toronto main city centre to face the thundering sound of 800,000 gallons of water hurling down the twisted cliffs. The Niagara is a spectacle not to be missed. The Table Rock allows you to push your fears apart and stand at the edge of the famous Horseshoe Falls.
Would you dare to go one step forward and descend 40 metres into the falls and stand beside a curtain of water? If you can conquer you horrors here, then soaring over the falls on a helicopter will be a walk in the park.
·         Aerial Tours - Adults $140 to $190 / Children $87 to $90 / Couples $272
·         Boat Tours - $30 to $115
·         Parks - $1 to $9
·         Golf Course - $75 to $85

The impressive blue yonder

From a distance it's engrossing to admire the blurred image of the city reflecting on the waters against the painter's blue sky, but it's fascinating to gaze at the tall, pin-like dominator challenging its neighbouring edifices. The 554 metres tall CN Tower is impossible to resist while visiting Toronto.
Once you're on the top, you're on your own my friend! The bird's eye view from that level is spellbinding. You might have figured that out while travelling with flight from London to Toronto. The outdoor SkyTerrace, the SkyPod and walking on air on the Glass Floor is nothing less than intriguing. Do it, if you're on such a height.
·         Adult (13-64)   $35.00
·         Senior (65+)    $30.00
·         Child (4-12)     $25.00

Absorb some history

Toronto has it's share of impressive museums that take you back to an appealing historic era. The Royal Ontario Museum tops the list in showcasing a huge collection of historic and cultural items as well as displays on rotation. Combining a universal amalgam of cultures, the ROM is an ocean of experience for the visitors.
Adding to the list of Toronto's museums, the Bata Shoe Museum exhibits over 14,000 footwear components from their collection spread over four enchanting galleries. The items range from ancient Egyptian sandals to Chinese styles. There's always something unique to admire.
·         Museum entrance fees - $5 to $20

Avoid dropping while shopping

Be it tiny crammed shops or avant-garde malls, Toronto has an impressive collection of shops from world-class brands to exclusive designers and captivating open-air markets selling fresh produce and local merchandise. If antiques is your interest, you will not mind spying St. Lawrence Market. It's a place to eat, shop and unwind. Bookworms can jaunt down to a nearby bookstore to grab a good read.
The city also hosts a gigantic consumer craft show twice a year. Now the best part - everything sold at the show is handmade and awesome. You may like the names of top 5 markets in Toronto:
·         St. Lawrence Market
·         Kensington Market and Spadina Avenue
·         Downsview Park Merchants Market
·         Carrot Common
·         Merchants Flea Market

Eat well !!!

In Toronto, you can take your tummy on a world tour and savour a fusion of cuisine. The reason is, more than half the population of Toronto came from several different countries and hence, food is not only a national past time but a celebration. Before you drool any further, just head towards Chinatown, Little Italy and Little India. With Toronto flights ensure that you leave some room for French fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy. That's Poutine for you!