Goa – A Fantastic Travel Destination

Dec 18, 2014 by

Goa – A Fantastic Travel Destination

Goa is the backdrop to a thousand tourist brochures and for good reason – the state boasts history, scenery and culture amongst its draws. If you should ever get bored of sunbathing there’s plenty of other occupations to pass your time – here’s our list of the top 5 unmissable destinations in Goa.

Beaches

Goa is blessed with the climate, natural beauty and stunning beaches which attract tourists from around the world. While many are drawn by the area’s rich history and vibrant culture; the majority are more than happy to settle down on a beach – which Goa has aplenty.

Baga beach, easily reached by local flight or train to nearby Thivim, is one of Goa’s busiest; offering amazing seafood, nightlife and wind surfing during the summer. Those seeking a more relaxed vibe might try Agonda, home to meditation classes and famed for its beauty and solitude.

Of course Goa’s coast is littered with beaches, many of which will offer food, cruises, classes and bars. Discovering the perfect spot is one of Goa’s great joys and with 103 km of coastline you’ll never be short of exploration opportunities!

Vijayanagara (ruins at Hampi)

Although not in the state of Goa, the village of Hampi can be reached by daily trains, which are an experience in themselves. Once there you’ll see the ruins of Vijayanagara, once the centre of a great empire with over 500,000 inhabitants. Drawing visitors from all over the world; the city was described by Portuguese traveler Domingo Paes in 1522 “full of charm and wonder” and “the best-provided city in the world”.

Though now abandoned and much reduced, the haunting dereliction of this once great site, which in its heyday equalled any in Europe, rivals Pompeii as the world’s most fascinating archaeological attraction.

Offshore Casinos

Goa is home to some of India’s only legal casinos, situated on elegant boats to circumvent India’s strict gambling laws. In this regard, India’s nascent gambling industry is comparable to the USA during the 19th century – where the only games of chance where to be found on Mississippi Riverboats.

Prices can be steep at around 1500 Rs (£15) for a morning visit or Rs 4000 for an evening cruise, but these offshore casinos are an exciting and scenic way to experience the beauty of Goa’s coast and try your luck in a unique casino environment!

If you’re keen to try your hand before stepping on to one of these floating dens of vice, try Blackjack, Roulette and Rummy (the boats’ staple offerings) at Euro casino.

Vedic Astrology

Southern India is home to a rich tradition of religious mysticism and, for locals, using astrology to make important decisions can be a way of life. Vedic astrology was born from a fusing of Greek and Indian astrological study and thought, over 1000 years ago, it is still taken so seriously that universities offer degrees in the subject.

For a real immersion into local culture visit a local Vedic Astrologer who, for a small fee, will use your Rasi (zodiac sign) and the Naksatras, Gocharas and Yogas (lunar period, planets and planetary combinations) to divine your future and mark auspicious times for marriage, moving house or other significant events.

Whether you subscribe to the validity of these predictions is a personal matter, but the experience is not to be missed!

Basilica of Bom Jesus

The Basilica of Bom Jesus, in Old Goa, is one of India’s most famous Christian sites. A relic of Portuguese occupation, the church was started in 1594 and finished in 1605; and is a prime example of the baroque architectural style.

Supposedly the burial place of St. Francis Xavier; it is rumoured that the body held there may actually be that of an “incorruptible” Buddhist mystic, whose corpse was smuggled from Sri Lanka. Regardless, or perhaps in part due to, the controversy; public displays of “St. Francis’” body are held every 10 years, drawing thousands of devotees.

Showcasing India’s history, multiculturalism and deep tapestry of story and myth, the Basilica is well worth a visit and will give you an excuse to visit Old Goa; the state’s colonial era capital.

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Review: Balearic Islands, Magaluf

Dec 16, 2014 by

Review: Balearic Islands, Magaluf

I visited Magaluf for the first time when I was just 16 years old, the place fascinated me, it was like everyone lost control of themselves and became other people. The Island itself does some pretty strange things to a person, believe me, I have visited the place many times since then. The fantastic thing about Magaluf is the price, you are can go full board, half or self-catering all on the cheap!

My last holiday there was just $500 (£300), this included the flights, transfers and hotel all included, I went self-catering as I have never trusted nor liked the food on offer, the drink is not so bad if you like the local brewed alcohol and spirits.

Magaluf And The Beauty

Magaluf is a spectacular place with loads on offer including, jet-skiing, snorkeling, scuba diving with trained divers and much more! If you are a guy that likes to get out and do something different to beach activities there is katmandu park on offer, along with two water parks, Aqualand and also Western Water Park.

 Review: Balearic Islands, Magaluf

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It all seems pretty quiet and chilled out in the daytime, there are families walking around and generally having a good time in arcades. The annoying thing is, in the daytime the nightclubs open as bars and have the British comedies on, this seems to only include “Only fools and horses” and “Roy Chubby Brown” for some strange reason, this does get annoying when walking up the strip in the day as it is literally all that is played!

The Night Life

This is where Magaluf comes into its own, the nightlife is absolutely INSANE! It surprised me how much a place can change from chilled out to mega insanity. There are a massive string of bars to attend, people tend to start out at a bar called Mano’s I have found, I do know that Mano’s also owns the biggest nightclub in Magaluf, called BCM Planet Dance. BCM has to be the loudest club I have been to in a VERY long time, it is a reported 55,000 WATTS and just to get in you have to go through 3 soundproof curtains, BCM also has some of the worlds best known DJ’s perform there, such as DJ Sammy, Calvin Harris and Van Dyk.

The Girls

One word, MENTAL! The girls fall into a world of their own and there are plenty to go around. The majority of the girls in Magaluf are from the UK, England. Most of the girls are very easy going and easy to get on and chat to, though when drunk can get a little loud and annoying, but don’t letthis put you off.

Word of warning: Be careful when you buy things like hats and flashy lights, the girls tends to steal them and run off with them, you will not get them back!

Aside from this the girls are pretty, and quite easy to pull, due to the fact of being on that holiday hype.

DANGER: On the night time you do actually get the prostitutes, these are from african origin, it is not advised to pay for sex or anything from these as the locals call them penguins for a good reason, they take you to the beach in the dark, pull down your trousers, start to perform a sex act whilst robbing you, they will then run off leaving you to chase them with your pants around your ankles, hence the name “Penguins”.

 Review: Balearic Islands, Magaluf

Me and a friend on the rings Magaluf 2013

Conclusion

Magaluf is an excellent place for us Single guys, whether it be sight seeing and going on tours of the Island and other activities or just going to get mad drunk and pull the ladies. I can wholeheartedly recommend Magaluf to all of you, it has something for everyone!

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4 Top Beaches to Visit in Cape Town

Dec 3, 2014 by

4 Top Beaches to Visit in Cape Town

Cape Town in the summertime is all about grabbing some friends and hitting the beach. In fact, we have so many great beaches in Cape Town that it’s difficult trying to find the perfect one for you. To get you the best possible list, we scoured the Internet and found the best beach information (and beach gear, toys, and beach villas!) on Gumps Bay

Camps Bay is definitely the liveliest beach in Cape Town. With the strip of shops and restaurants as a backdrop, Camps Bay is a great family beach with lots of things happening and plenty to look at. Get in some summer sunbathing, grab an ice cream, play volleyball, and even take a splash in the water. Afterwards, hit the strip for some delicious meals or a few cocktails. Camps Bay beach is definitely the place to be in Cape Town in December, for both locals and tourists alike. Look out at the deep blues of the ocean, and experience a big part of Cape Town’s culture, no matter who you are or where you come from.

Boulders Beach

Boulders Beach is all about the penguins! One of the most popular tourist attractions in Cape Town is also one of the best beaches, especially if you like hanging out with penguins and catching some sweet summer rays. Although Boulders Beach does have an admission fee, you get to enjoy hours of fun with the local penguins in their nature habitat. You may even get to snap a photo with one of them. Besides the fun of chilling out with penguins, Boulders Beach also has an incredible setting with soft sand, warm waters, and amazing views. Situated in Simon’s Town, Boulders Beach is a must-do activity during the summer months in Cape Town.

Clifton Beaches

Clifton is for serious beachgoers only. Choose from four different and unique beaches, each with their own crowd and setting. The most popular is Clifton 4th beach, and although it requires a long walk down some steep stairs, it will definitely make for a perfect day at the beach. This is where Cape Town’s elite strut their stuff on the soft white sand and work on their tans. It’s also one of the best places in Cape Town to catch the late summer sunsets. For a real Cape Town beach experience, head to one of Clifton’s four beaches, but go early because, as you can imagine, these beaches get pretty busy in summer!

Llandudno

Llandudno is past Clifton and Camps Bay and is more for locals and happy-go-lucky beachgoers. Drive down the narrow, windy road, and search for a parking spot anywhere you see one. Once you make it to the cove below, you’ll be more than happy that you made the effort. Llandudno is relaxed and sunny, plus it features some of the coldest waters in Cape Town, but with the hot temperatures in December, you’ll want a cold dip after sun soaking.

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The Best from the East: Budget Destinations in Eastern Europe

Dec 2, 2014 by

The Best from the East: Budget Destinations in Eastern Europe

The Best from the East: Budget Destinations in Eastern Europe

In recent years, there’s been a significant increase in numbers of tourists flocking to Eastern Europe. With its sun-drenched coastlines, tasty beer and mesmerizing landscapes, visitors are discovering you can get more bang for your budget in these tough economic times by venturing beyond the Eurozone. Accommodation, food, drink and most tourist attractions are reasonably priced, but for cheap holidays, make sure to book flights well in advance, as this will be the principal expenditure on your trip.

Croatia

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The Dalmatian Coast is one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in Eastern Europe, with cities like Dubrovnik and Zagreb catching up in popularity with Western European destinations such as Barcelona and Amsterdam. Ever popular with day-trippers, the fortified cityscape of Dubrovnik attracts swarms of visitors in summer, and calms down in the evenings for those who stay to savor a glass of its glorious, locally produced wine by sunset.

Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, meanwhile, offers cobbled charm with its medieval old center, an impressive swathe of museums, and Mirogoj, one of the world’s most beautiful cemeteries. For a quirky alternative to the usual art and history exhibitions, visit the unique Museum of Broken Relationships, a collection of donated personal mementoes housed in the baroque Kulmer Palace in Zagreb’s Upper Town. Here, love letters and jars of abandoned gifts celebrate, (or commiserate) the phenomenon of broken love.

Bulgaria

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Coastal Varna is Bulgaria’s third largest city. As well as housing an astounding collection of archaeological artefacts, Varna’s Archaeological Museum is home to the oldest golden treasure in the world, which dates back to 4000 BC. A range of intriguing days out in the city awaits families, including an aquarium, a dolphinarium and a planetarium, and there’s a stretch of urban sand for little ones itching to build sandcastles. If you’re looking for cheap holidays and Varna has caught your eye, you may think of taking a trip to the region with First Choice.

Travel south down the Eastern coast, and you’ll reach Burgas. Visit the China Tea House; stroll through the sparkling fountains and lush, manicured lawns of Maritime Park.

Montenegro

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A devastatingly handsome combination of beach and mountainside, the coastal resort of Becici offers a cheap alternative to the more obvious tourist destinations of Spain and the South of France. Separated from Budva by a narrow peninsula, there’s little more than a mile between Becici and one of the oldest settlements in the Balkans. As well as the 2km long stretch of Ravailovici Beach, there are Venetian fortifications surrounding Budva, and a citadel with sweeping views across the Adriatic. There are also opportunities for those with an interest in diving to indulge in their passion, and a range of watersports, from wakeboarding and kayaking, to the altogether more mellow yacht excursions.

Eastern Europe is simply beautiful and gives you the chance to experience some truly marvelous destinations. Better still, the price is right. To not go is to miss out.

 

Images by Marcus Saul, alex yosifov and Rob used under creative commons license.

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Why you should take out travel insurance

Nov 18, 2014 by

Why you should take out travel insurance

There are many reasons why we should buy travel insurance, all of which have been well documented.  Unfortunately, many people either don’t want to buy travel insurance, or forget to buy it before they travel. In fact, as long as you haven’t left the UK, you can still buy travel insurance and be insured whilst away. Travel insurance can be arranged on the day of travel and maybe cheaper if you can leave out the cancellation part of the policy.  The cancelation cover is usually not needed if you are at the airport or ferry terminal and about to leave. The cancelation cover will only come into force if you have to cancel your trip due to unforeseen circumstances such as ill health which prevents you or anyone named on the policy from travelling or due to the death or near death of someone close to you, such as an immediate member of your family.

The cancellation cover on a travel insurance policy will not cover the full cost of the trip if you have only paid for the deposit or a couple of down payments towards the total cost. You will only receive the amount you have paid minus the excess payment due if there is one. The excess payment can vary greatly depending on the type of policy and the cost of the insurance cover. There can be an option to allow an excess payment to be doubled and this will make the overall cost of the policy cheaper.  If the typical excess is £50.00 you would pay £100.00 towards each claim, if your claim is successful and the underwriter agrees to pay an amount, the excess amount will be deducted from the award.  Some insurance policies will allow customers to waive an excess fee; this would make the policy more expensive. The curtailment cover on a travel insurance policy relates to the circumstance in which a person has to cut short a trip.  The reason for cutting short a trip is usually due to the unforeseen sudden illness or death of a close relative of anyone named on the travel insurance policy. The policy holder will need to remember that if a relative is very ill before the trip is booked, the cancelation or curtailment part of the policy will not be valid.

The part of the policy that relates to sporting activities will detail the exact level of cover should any accidents occur whilst taking part in a particular sporting activity. Some sports have limited cover and this will be made clear in the policy wording. The ‘Personal Liability’ part of the cover may not apply to the more risky sporting activities such as jet skiing or go karting, whereby an accident involves another person.

A travel insurance policy should include cover for repatriation. This is very important when considering what would happen to you if you became so unwell you needed to be bought back to the UK immediately. A good policy will also include the cover for another person to travel back with you if you are on holiday together.  A medical professional such as a specialist nurse should also be available if needed during the flight.

The average travel insurance policy will have various additions that you can add on if you need to.  This is particularly important if you are going on a business trip and need to insure samples or computer equipment adding Business Cover on to your travel insurance policy may only cost a few £’s but can make all the difference.

The type of holiday or trip you are making will give an indication as to the type of cover you will need to buy. The winter sports holiday will require a different level of cover to a beach holiday. Taking out a Travel Insurance policy specifically with cruise cover is usually a requirement with cruise companies. They will expect you to have the correct cover and will often want to know in advance who your medical assistance company is. Cruise travel insurance can however often be included in your policy as standard.

To find out more about travel insurance we suggest you read the Foreign and Commonwealth Guidance on Foreign Travel Insurance.

Then you just need to buy some insurance and we suggest you get some quotes from comparison websites and direct companies.

Moneysupermarket.com

CheapTravelInsurance.com

PostOffice.co.uk

CompareTheMarket.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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