From the ancient Mughal city of Lahore to the snow-capped peaks of the Karakoram Mountains, Pakistan is a diverse nation defined not just by its natural beauty and architectural splendors, but by its friendly inhabitants, varied wildlife and rich culinary traditions. The North-West Frontier Province and Gilgit-Baltistan region are home to some of the world’s most famous mountain ranges and summits, including Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindu Kush. From jaw-dropping mountain scenery to bustling conurbations, Pakistan’s vibrant cities each have their own distinct flavor. The super-sleek capital ’’ Islamabad “, Pakistan’s cultural capital “Lahore“(this ancient city abounds with UNESCO listed attractions, stunning shrines and ornate Mughal architecture), and ‘Karachi” the former capital and the economic powerhouse of the country, is a mega-city in every sense of the word, cramming more than 120 million or so into its boundaries.
The risks to travel out Pakistan is over hyped by media but in recent years have seen a marked upsurge in political and sectarian violence, foreign visitors are required to travel with an armed escort. Nevertheless, foreigners do visit and discover a country full of contradictions, where simmering tensions coexist with remarkable friendliness and hospitality, set against an Arabian Nights backdrop of desert forts, sultans and djinns.
Colorful Phuket is a mélange of lifestyles, a place where tranquil monks navigate the same streets as pumped up night clubbers. The ornate temples and lively cafes of Old Town are prime spots for exploration. Check out the Shrine of the Serene Light and the aromatic Nguan Choon Tong herb shop. Browse and bargain for pretty trinkets at the nearby Thai Amulet Market. Don’t miss an opportunity to take in a performance at the epic Siam Niramit Phuket Theater, a true cultural extravaganza.
Golden palaces, floating markets, majestic porcelain-laid spires…you’ve never seen a capital city quite like Bangkok. Visit Pratunam or Siam Square for premium shopping, then unwind in the European-style gardens of Dusit. Thon Buri is home to the awesome Wat Arun temple, and over in Phra Nakhon, you’ll find the Wat Pho temple of the Reclining Buddha. Savor mango sticky rice at a food stall before taking in the gilded splendor of the Grand Palace.
This magical meeting place of East and West has more top-drawer attractions than it has minarets (and that’s a lot). 21st This culturally vibrant city on the Bosporus has been reinvented, thanks to a new breed of design-centric hotels and restaurants attracting a younger generation of visitors. But beneath the cosmopolitan gloss, an old-world food culture continues to thrive, with Ottoman-guild chefs specializing in kebabs, balik (fish), and böreks (flaky stuffed pastries). Then there are the Meyhanes (rollicking drinking dens) like Karaköy Lokantasi, in the gentrifying Galata Bridge docks area. From listening to the sound of the muezzins dueling from7 their minarets to seeing the sun set over the world’s most beautiful skyline there is an extraordinary cultural experience lies around every corner. Although some ancient cities are the sum of their monuments, but Istanbul factors a lot more into the equation.
The night holds limitless possibilities in Barcelona. Start with sunset drinks from a panoramic terrace or dig your heels in the sand at a rustic beachside Chiringuito. As darkness falls, live music transforms the city: the rapid-fire rhythms of flamenco, brassy jazz spilling out of basements, and hands-in-the-air indie-rock at vintage concert halls. Towards midnight the bars fill. Take your pick from old-school taverns adorned with 19th-century murals, plush lounges in lamp-lit medieval chambers or boisterous cava bars. If you’re still standing at 3am, hit the clubs and explore Barcelona’s unabashed wild side. Barcelona is an enchanting seaside city with boundless culture, fabled architecture, and a world-class drinking and dining scene.
Smack-bang in the middle of Western Europe, this compact multilingual country effortlessly blends the historic with the new; from countless castles and medieval belfries to innovative art museums and hip cafes. And with some of the best comfort food on offer, you’ll need to pack an empty stomach for gorging on waffles, chocolate, frites and piles of steaming mussels, all washed down with the country’s famous frothy beer.
Every country in the world displays some diversity, but South Africa, stretching from the hippos in the Limpopo River to the penguins waddling on the Cape, takes some beating. It befits its position at the southern end of the world’s most epic continent, with more types of terrain than photographers can shake their zoom lens at. There’s the deserted Kalahari, Namakwa’s springtime symphony of wildflowers, iconic Table Mountain and Cape Point, Kruger National Park’s wildlife-stalked savannah (scene of the famous lion-buffalo-crocodile battle watched more than 75 million times on YouTube) and, running through the east of the country and into Lesotho, the Drakensberg. KwaZulu-Natal’s iSimangaliso Wetland Park alone has five distinct ecosystems, attracting both zebras and dolphins.
If you’re interested in another kind of wildlife, hit the nightclubs on Cape Town’s jumping Long St or sample African homebrew in a township shebeen (unlicensed bar). When it’s time to reflect on it all, do it over seafood on the Garden Route, curry in Durban’s Indian Area, a sizzling Cape Malay dish, or a braai (barbecue) in the wilderness – accompanied by a bottle of pinotage produced by the oldest wine industry outside Europe.
Whether it’s your first visit or your twentieth, China is so big, so diverse and so fast-changing, it’s always an adventure. Let’s face it: the world’s oldest continuous civilization is bound to pull an Arte fact or two out of its hat. There isn’t history at every turn – three decades of perpetual development and socialist town-planning have taken their toll – but travel selectively in China and rich seams of antiquity await exploration. With tumble-down chunks of the Great Wall, mist-wreathed, temple-topped mountains, quaint villages, water towns and sublime Buddhist cave statues, China insists on a few requirements: a well-made pair of travelling shoes and a strong stomach for long-distance wayfaring.
Looking for peace, quiet and space? Holland knows exactly where you need to be. , this small nation boasts a wealth of cultural heritage and is famous for its painters, windmills, clogs and notoriously flat lands Enjoy 250 kilometers of gorgeous coasts with handsome dunes and dozens of sprawling nature reserves such as Veluwe and Oostvaardersplassen lakes. And of course, if you’re planning a Holland holiday in spring, you simply cannot afford to miss out on witnessing the blazing colors of the flower bulb fields.
Bali is one of the 17,500 islands in the Indonesian archipelago and, even among its colorful neighbors, it stands out for its lushness, vibrant culture, and spectacular resorts. The original pioneer is Amandari, set along the Ayung River gorge outside Ubud and laid out like a traditional Balinese village. The thatched-roof villas are each set inside a stone-walled compound. Pebbled pathways thread past lotus ponds and flower gardens; rice paddies cascade down the hillside to the river below. As secluded as it is, the resort welcomes locals to pass by on a public footpath, baskets perched on heads, as they make their way to the riverbank. The mere mention of Bali evokes thoughts of a paradise. It’s more than a place; it’s a mood, an aspiration, a tropical state of mind.
Russia’s vast geographical distances and cultural differences mean you don’t tick off its highlights in the way you might those of a smaller nation. Instead, view Russia as a collection of distinct territories, each one deserving separate attention. A storybook landscape of castles, palaces and cathedrals, this romantic place sets the scene for a famous narrative of valiant champions, incredible riches, celebrated royalty and great tyrants. Yet the real magic of this dramatic country is its wonderfully resilient people and distinctive culture, which are a constant source of warmth in Russia’s massive backyard. The world’s largest country offers it all, from historic cities and idyllic countryside to artistic riches, epic train rides and vodka-fuelled nightlife.
The Maldives is home to perhaps the best beaches in the world; they’re on almost every one of the country’s nearly 1200 islands with some of the best diving and snorkelling in the world and are so consistently perfect. Every resort in the Maldives is its own private island, and with over 100 to choose from the only problem is selecting where you want to stay. In the last few years, These incredible islands have finally started to open to independent travelers, meaning you no longer have to stay in resorts and remain separate from the local population, something that has kept backpackers away for decades. The clear waters of the Maldives are a magnet for anyone with an interest in marine life.
Sleeping on the decks of slow-moving ferries, Endless miles of aquamarine coastline, constantly salt-crusted from swimming in the deep blue sea, sun-bleached ancient ruins, Greek landscape thrills, and the passionate people about politics, coffee, art and gossiping sets the scene of Greece perfectly. Greeks pride themselves on their cuisine and will go out of their way to ensure you are well fed. The tang of homemade tzatziki and the aroma of souvlaki grilling are just the beginning. Greeks are truly social beings. Their families are extended and they are quick to welcome in newcomers Watching the ancient Greek drama unfold before me as I sat on stone seats worn smooth by thousands of years of use, Greece is “love” because magical moments like that one aren’t so hard to find here.
Lying 65km to the west of Hong Kong, Macau is a city of duality. Its fortresses, churches and the culinary traditions of its former Portuguese colonial masters speak to a uniquely Mediterranean style on the China coast. These are intermixed with the customs, alleys, temples and shrines of its Chinese heritage. On the other hand, the Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Macau is the ‘Vegas of the East’, the only place in China where gambling is legal.
Taipa was once two islands that were slowly joined together by silt from the Pearl River. A similar physical joining has happened to Taipa and Coloane because of land reclamation from the sea. The new strip of land joining the two islands is known as Cotai (from Co-loane and Tai-pa). Taipa has rapidly urbanised and it’s hard to imagine that just a few decades ago it was an island of duck farms and boat yards. The small island of Coloane was a haven for pirates until 1910. Today it retains Macau’s old way of life, though luxurious villas are finding their way onto the island.
A journey through Egypt’s ancient marvels begins 14 miles outside of Cairo, with a visit to the Pyramids of Giza, which date back 4,500 years. Stay the night at the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza, a luxurious hideaway with three swimming pools, before hopping a 90-minute flight to Aswan, where you’ll board the steamship Sudan (five-day itineraries from $800 per person). Like most boats that ply the Nile River to Luxor and back, it stops at the temples of Edfu and KomOmbo before heading to Karnak, a 2,000-year-old city built by the great pharaohs. Luxor, which usually marks the end of a northern-bound cruise, is the gateway to the Valley of the Kings, home to ancient tombs. Unwind at the Hotel Al Moudira, designed after an Arabian palace.
For most people, the United Arab Emirates means just one place: Dubai, the sci-fi-esque city of iconic skyscrapers, palm-shaped islands, city-sized malls, indoor ski slopes and palatial beach resorts. But beyond the glitter awaits a diverse mosaic of six more emirates, each with its own character and allure.
An hour’s drive south, oil-rich Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, is positioning itself as a hub of culture, sport and leisure. Beyond looms the vast Al Gharbia region, which is dominated by the northern reaches of the Rub’ Al Khali desert. Its magical silence is interrupted only by the whisper of shifting dunes rolling towards Saudi Arabia.
North of Dubai, Sharjah does art and heritage best, while tiny Ajman and Umm Al Quwain provide glimpses of life in the pre-oil days. Another spectacular state Ras Al Khaimah snuggles against the mighty Hajar Mountains. Head across the range to Fujairah to frolic in the clear waters of the Gulf of Oman is something which you can’t afford to be missed in your trip.
Cambodia is a small country with a big history. Now a modest player on the world stage, this was once the seat of one of Asia’s most magnificent early civilizations, the mighty Khmer empire of Angkor, whose legendary temples continue to provide a touchstone of national identity – as well as attracting millions of visitors every year. Away from the temples, much of the country remains refreshingly untouristed and, in many places, largely unexplored. It’s perhaps this warmth and hospitality which most impresses many visitors to Cambodia – and which is all the more astonishing given the country’s tragic recent past.
With this word and a very beautiful gesture, a magical country welcomes you .An entirely different culture, another world, a time to live & learn and an experience that you will never forget. The Indian subcontinent is a melting pot of races, people, languages, customs and traditions. The people, the color, the aroma of spices, the souvenirs of the past and the present have an immense charm. From the beaches of the South, to the slopes of the Himalayas, across the deserts of Thar and the valley of the Ganges, you will discover an enchanting country. The diversity of its people, their profound philosophy, and the warmth of their smiles will make your stay an unbelievable experience. If you wish to explore a mosaic of experiences, then come, India awaits you.
Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), a tiny island nation south of India in the Indian Ocean, is a rugged land of rainforest, diverse wildlife and endless beaches. It’s famed for its ancient Buddhist ruins, including the 5th-century citadel Sigiriya, with its palace and frescoes, and the sacred city of Anuradhapura. Its flavorful cuisine reflects its history as a maritime hub and cultural melting pot. Endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people, oodles of elephants, rolling surf, cheap prices, fun trains, famous tea and flavorful food describe Sri Lanka.