Articles - May 2018

Best Hotels Where to stay in Bali: The best hotels in Bali May 27, 2018

No matter what you want, or what kind of tourist you are, you are bound to love Bali. The island promises everything and more! If you are the kind who appreciates luxury Bali is your fancy haven. If you want a backpacking adventure Bali is your perfect destination. If you want extreme water sports Bali is your aqua park. And just like the island, hotels in Bali are diverse and plentiful. If you want to know where to stay in Bali we have got you covered. From luxurious resorts to cozy hostels, hotels in Bali are generally unique and beautiful. And the generosity and hospitality of the Balinese are unmatched. So, if you are heading to the island with mesmerizing scenery and wondering where to stay in Bali we are here to help, these are the best hotels in Bali. Where to stay in Bali? Alassari Plantation Featuring the remarkably rich Balinese culture, this hotel sits high in the rain forests of the sacred Mount Batu Karu in central Bali. Alassari Plantation offers one of the most unique luxurious accommodations in Selemadeg. It also offers an outdoor pool and an authentic spa. A family hotel developed with love, the entire property was designed and constructed by the owners and their staff. It is marvelously designed and constructed with natural wood and open areas as the main design elements. The private villas are very spacious, and the hotel grounds resemble a private jungle, complete with a stunning waterfall. Puri Wulandari Boutique Resort & Spa With an infinity pool overlooking the jungle, this hotel offers one of the most luxurious accommodations in Bali. The design of the hotel resembles a Balinese village amidst beautiful emerald rice fields. The rooms are simply decorated in an elegant rustic style. And the amenities of the hotel are all state of the art. The hotel is renowned for offering the best hospitality in the area, and also the best breakfast and the most delicious bakery. This chic hotel enjoys one of the best locations in Ubud, situated amidst picturesque scenery and overlooking a small river. Moreover, some rooms in the hotel feature private swimming pools for you convenience. Chapung Sebali Resort & Spa This luxurious five star resort is situated amidst a traditional village on scenic hillside of Ubud. The hotel comprises elegant yet simply designed villas with private pools set among incredibly beautiful scenery. You can enjoy a multitude of activities in this hotel, such as yoga classes, rice field trekking, horse-riding and cycling activities. You can even take a bike to the nearby town. Some of the most renowned features in this hotel are the stunning infinity pool overlooking the valley and the world famous Jungle Fish pool bar. i-Villa by Karaniya Experience When luxury blends with tradition in a uniquely stunning mix! This hotel promises to tailor a luxurious experience just for you! The exquisitely designed villas feature private pools and beautiful sundecks with an added bonus of a personal round-the-clock butler service. The hotel also offers complimentary bikes; you can ride your bike to the nearby Seminyak Beach. In addition to that, toothsome breakfast and a refreshing high tea are served daily to hotel guests as well as mouthwatering organic chocolates. Mandala Desa Typical Balinese design and architecture distinguish this beautiful quiet hotel, as well as the marvelous location amongst lush green fields and local villages. This peaceful retreat with soothing views of the rice fields features an outdoor pool and an organic restaurant that serves both Balinese and international cuisines. If you really want to experience the true essence of Bali without compromising your comfort then this serene getaway amidst villages and rice paddies is the perfect choice. Putu's Paradise Guesthouse For the adventurous type looking for an authentic Balinese experience and looking for a traditional accommodation in Bali we have picked this quaint guesthouse. Small does not mean that it sacrifices either beauty or comfort, , Putu's Paradise Guesthouse features a lovely terrace overlooking the lush private garden. All rooms are spacious featuring sitting areas, and some rooms even feature private balconies. The best thing about this hotel is that it is situated in close proximity of the landmarks in the area. This lovely guesthouse is Located within 300 meters of Ubud Monkey Forest, a short distance from Ubud Market, 1 km from Ubud Palace and 2.7 km from Elephant Cave. You can either use a bike like traditional Balinese to tour these attractions or you can even walk among the beautiful fields. To learn more about where to stay in Bali see also: Tour packages in Bali

Eating & Dining Dine like an Egyptian: The best restaurants in Cairo January 23, 2019

Situated in the heart of Egypt, the capital Cairo stunningly hugs the river Nile. The city is famous for its rich ancient history, the pyramids, the Islamic city, the Coptic city and many more. But if you visit Cairo do not get stuck in the mesmerizing past, you also have to enjoy the hip and happening present, including the rich dining scene in the ever buzzing capital. Restaurants in the city are as varied as they are plentiful, so what are the best restaurants in Cairo? Where would you dine in a city that offers thousands of amazing restaurants? In a quest to feed the hungry and the traveling, we have tried to compile a list of the best restaurants in Cairo. With a main focus on brilliant Egyptian food, here is our list of the must try restaurants in Cairo. Abou El Sid, Zamalek The first place that comes to mind when Egyptian food is mentioned is Abou El Sid; the restaurant has become a synonym with Egyptian fine dining. And even though the restaurant has several branches, the Zamalek branch with its authentic atmosphere remains a favorite. There is a charming fictional story behind the restaurant’s name. The story says that Abou El Sid was a humble man in old Cairo who loved cooking. He was so generous and opened his door for all people. But the Sultan wanted him to be his private chef. Abou El Sid missed cooking for the people so much that he escaped from the palace and wrote all his recipes in a cooking book that he hid well. Years later people found his book, used his recipes to make people happy and named the restaurant in his honor. Pro tip: Order The Molokheya with rabbits and the Veal with Fereek, they are not to be missed. Battaw, Heliopolis From the traditional food to their unique twists on some famous Egyptian dishes, everything this restaurant serves is absolutely delicious. The name Battaw is Egyptian all the way through, Battaw is upper Egyptian bread. And as the name suggests, the restaurant exemplifies Egyptian simplicity, warmth and deliciousness. The décor is simple and elegant, from the rustic open air area to the chic indoor area. Like a rustic Egyptian home, the main focus is bright sunlight, natural wood and white and blue pallet with the added touch of Egyptian ornaments.. Pro tip: They make wonderful Feteer Meshltet (Amazing buttery fluffy Egyptian pastry) for breakfast during the weekends, order some Cheese and Chutney with it and have a blissful morning.   Farahat, Al Azhar If you go to Cairo you have to visit Al Azhar and Khan Al Khalili, and if you go to Al Azhar Street you have to eat at Farahat. It is as simple as that. This Egyptian landmark is simple, unique, and all over amazing. It is one of the best restaurants in Cairo, and one of the most famous as well. An authentic Egyptian street food experience, the food options might be limited but they are certainly flavorful. Stuffed pigeons, grilled Kebab and Kofta, and Neefa (Goat meat). That’s it! As a side dish, Farahat serves green salad, Egyptian whole wheat bread and pigeon soup. Not only is Farahat one of the best authentic restaurants in Cairo, it is also the best place to enjoy a hearty meal after you finish touring Al Hussein area. Pro tip: They claim to serve the best stuffed pigeons in town, they are not kidding! Andrea Mariouteya, New Giza Offering one of the most limited menus, Andrea is a longtime favorite among the best restaurants in Cairo for a good reason. It used to be in Mariouteya, hence the name, until the restaurant moved to the new location overlooking Cairo from atop hill in New Giza. The simple open décor is outstanding, the view is beautiful and the food is absolutely delicious. The place is renowned for serving a very simple menu of roasted chicken, fries and rice with liver, in addition to some salads and appetizers. The menu has not changed at all over the years, neither has the tasty food. Pro tip: You must try the fried kofta appetizer with their freshly baked whole wheat bread, and some Tahini. Sea Gull, Agouza Superbly prepared fresh seafood right in the heart of the river Nile, what else can a person ask for? Sea Gull is without a doubt one of the best restaurants in Cairo, especially for seafood lovers. Choose your own fresh fish from the icy display, then order a feast of salads and appetizers to keep you company while the fish is being prepared. Indoor and outdoor seating are available; both are nice and homey so choose according to the weather. The salads are all amazing and the fish is so fresh you can smell the sea scent once you enter the place. Pro tip: You must try the grilled Singari, an Egyptian specialty, and the fried calamari. Sequoia, Zamalek Egyptian and Lebanese cuisine accompanied by the best Nile view in Cairo. There is sufficient reason why this place with its sophisticated ambiance is an ultimate favorite. Due to the popularity of the venue, booking in advance is highly recommended especially on weekends. The whole place is open air, covered only by a white fabric for a ceiling that prevents the sun but allows the air to flow through. At night, the lighting is provided exclusively by wooden lanterns that create a cozy and classy atmosphere. Pro tip: Try the Bisara salad with their freshly baked bread, both are simply toothsome. Try to leave room for the main course though, everything is delicious there. P.S: Unfortunately the restaurant is closed now, but we are hoping that it will reopen soon. To learn more about vacations in Cairo see also: Tour packages in Cairo Sun, salt and seafood: the best restaurants in Alexandria

Traditions Tribal lifestyle: the life of the Tuareg July 09, 2018

Tribal lifestyle has always been fascinating for people living in urban locations. The life of Sahara nomads such as the Tuareg tribe for instance is much different than the life of city people in many regards. How does this tribal lifestyle look like then? How does the Tuareg, or the Sahara nomads live? Early travelers stories often referred to them as the Blue Men of the Sahara Desert, the Tuareg men are known for veiling their faces with an indigo cloth. And sadly, that is the extent of many people’s knowledge about the Tuareg. So let’s dive in the tribal lifestyle here and learn more about the life of the nomads of the Sahara. Who are the Tuareg The Tuareg are a substantial ethnic population that crosses the boundaries of several countries, but have no majority of inhabitants in any specific country. The Tuareg call themselves Imohag, which means free man. The language of the Tuareg is called Tamacheq, but Tuareg also use a written script known as Tifinagh. They lead a semi-nomadic life across the Sahara Desert, in the North African countries of Mali, Niger, Libya, Algeria and Chad. Semi-nomadic means that they traveled a lot but they also had homes and lands in which they grew some crops. In the old days, Tuareg society was divided between those who tended the land and those who did not, plowing the land being the work of lower classes, while the upper classes worked in trading. However, that changed over time as trading was off the table. Early History Part of the Berber group of people, the Tuareg have lived in extreme living conditions in the heart of the Sahara for over a thousand years. The Tuareg first crossed roads with modern civilization at the beginning of the fourteenth century, when trade routes to the profitable salt, gold, and ivory markets between North Africa, Europe, and the Middle East sprang up across Tuareg territory. The Tuareg began to work in trading and utterly controlled these routs because of their extensive knowledge of the Sahara. After the establishment of nation-states in the region in the early 1960s, Governments started to impose restrictions on trade with neighboring countries in order to protect national economic interests. As a result, the Tuareg started to lose economic strength and political power.   The legend of the veil The most famous aspect of the Tuareg men and the most mysterious one is the blue veil. Tuareg men begin wearing a veil at the age of 25. This blue veil conceals their entire face except their eyes. It is almost never removed, even in front of family members. It is commonly believed that men began wearing the veil to protect their faces from the Sahara sands. However why it has gained such significance is unknown.   Tuareg marriage The men often write beautiful poems and try to gain the women’s affection in many ways. That is largely because the end decision rests with the women themselves. When the woman finally says yes they start preparing for the wedding, which is an elaborate week-long event. When a woman gets married, her female family members usually give her a tent as a dowry. The bride often keeps that tent during her lifetime. The Tuareg believe that the house belongs to the woman. The woman also owns the family’s livestock. That might be because the men travel a lot. And because they travel a lot, men highly value their camels and swords, they consider them their most valuable positions.   Tribal Lifestyle Tuareg mostly live in tents. They make these tent-like homes by setting up wooden posts and then covering the posts with cloth or fabric. And to help cool down these houses and to keep the desert sand from getting inside, they put straw mats on the inside of the cloth walls. The Tuareg believe in educating all the members of their tribe. All the little kids are taught how to read and also taught the teachings of the Quran. Tuareg Tribe is one of the few matrilineal tribes around the world; this means that family lines are traced through women rather than men. One of the significant sources of income for the Tuareg is selling their art and handcrafts. This art is mostly in the form of jewelry, leather and metal saddle decorations, as well as beautifully crafted swords.   Tuareg Food The Tuareg do not eat meat often. They are not vegetarians, it is just that livestock is too precious. They only eat meat on special occasions like festivals and weddings. They substitute it with eating a lot of non-meat protein, such as milk and cheese. Their diet features a lot of dates and melon as well. Sometimes on special occasions they consume a nice beverage called eghajira, which is created by pounded millet, dates and cheese mixed water.

Adventure Hot summer? Cool down at the best water parks in the world May 05, 2019

Summer is associated with water fun as much as it is associated with hot weather. Whether that water fun is going to the beach and surfing the waves, or splashing around in infinity pools or going to fabulous water parks. Now that it is almost summer, why don't we check the best water parks in the world! Water parks around the world vary greatly in size and rides, ranging from a couple of slides around a swimming pool to the size of a football field. But which of these water parks are the coolest? The most unique? The most impressive? Which are the best water parks in the world? Let’s take a look together. If you are having a hot a summer why not head to one of these destinations and check one of the best water parks in the world to cool down! Disney's Blizzard Beach, Orlando, Florida "The most slushy, slippery, exhilarating water park anywhere!"        Disney's Blizzard Beach is a theme water park inside the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake near Orlando, Florida. The park was opened in 1995; it was the third Walt Disney World water park at the time. All water areas in the park are properly heated. And the major attractions at the park are built around Mount Gushmore, which is a 90 feet high artificial hill split into three colored slopes to help guests navigate the park: Green, Red, and Purple. As it is a Disney park first and foremost, the park has a very interesting fictional story: According to Disney, there was a snowstorm in the area which led to building the first ski resort in Florida. Of course, the snow did not last long in such heat. This left behind a collection of drenched yet snow-less ski slopes and chair lifts. The ski resort operators were preparing to cut their losses and close the whole thing when they heard an echoing "YAHHOOO!!!" coming from the direction of the melting snow mountain. They looked up to see a blue alligator, wearing a red scarf and gold inner tube, speeding down the mountain. Ice Gator, the water park’s mascot, then landed in a huge pool of melted snow at the base of the mountain. This made the operators realize the park's potential, and the melting mountain of snow became Blizzard Beach. Aquaventure Waterpark, Atlantis, The Bahamas "An "aqua" adventure unlike any other!" Aquaventure Waterpark is the largest and the most elaborate water park in the Caribbean. This one-of-a-kind 141-acre water park features over twenty million gallons of water, incredible high-speed water slides, a thrilling mile-long river ride with rolling waves, 20 swimming areas, a spectacular kids water-play fort, 11 swimming pools in addition to an aquarium full of exotic sea life. Moreover, as it is located in The Bahamas, Aquaventure is connected by a lush, tropical environment mixed with a unique theme of Mayan culture and the lost world of Atlantis. One of the most unparalleled experiences in the park is The Serpent Slide. This thrilling ride sends guests sliding through dark tunnels on a double tube. The spiraling ride drops you into a tunnel that runs directly through the shark tank inside of the aquarium, giving riders the illusion of swimming with the sharks. Although not necessarily steep or speedy, this ride is definitely not for the faint-hearted! Waterbom Bali, Indonesia “Beyond the world-class slides lies a carefully landscaped sanctuary of gardens and water systems proudly representing the beauty of Bali.” Waterbom Bali was designed to blend with the magnificent natural environment. More than 50% of the park constitutes green space which is home to some endangered native species. It is one of the best water parks in the world, and also the greenest. More than the thrilling state of the art slides; the park also comprises some lush green gardens and intricate water systems which showcases the natural beauty of the island. Waterbom Bali spreads over an area of 3.8 hectares and comprises many amazing water rides, including Asia's steepest slide: The Climax. In this ride, you enter a capsule with a trapdoor at your feet, which then releases you down a near-vertical dip for a thrilling ride. Siam Park, Tenerife, Spain “Blissful relaxation or adrenaline-pumping thrills? It’s your choice – just dive in!” Situated in the stunning Canary Islands, this amazing water park is a must-visit for anyone vacationing in Spain. Opened to the public in 2008, Siam Park has been voted as the best water park in the world on Tripadvisor for four consecutive years. Siam Park comprises the largest collection of Thai-themed buildings outside Thailand. It features a Thai theme across all of the rides, park buildings, and restaurants. Not only spectacular but also smart, Siam Park comprises a desalination plant, which desalinates seawater to be used in the rides. After the water is used in the rides, it is recycled by using it to water the park's green areas. This cycle was designed to conserve the island's water. For more about water activities see also: Amazing Tour Around the World: Best Cruise Trips in the World Diving into water: Discover The Underwater World’s Magical Colours A Tour around Seas and Oceans: Most Unique Beaches in the World