Top Ten Cities of the World

Have you ever wondered which are the top ranked cities that should be visited? Forbes Traveler surveyed city specialists from a range of fields, including urban planning, architecture and sustainable development to compile a list of top ten beautiful cities of the world. Read on to know more.

1 Paris, France

Topping the list is Paris chosen for its wide, tree-lined boulevards, street life and its iconic structures such as the Grand Palais, Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysses. So was Paris first in your list too?

2. Vancouver, Canada

It is known for its natural beauty. In this coastal city, open air is abundant–from the green west-end campus of the University of British Columbia to the enormous Stanley Park just outside downtown. In addition, both the snowcapped Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean provide a beautiful backdrop.

3. Sydney, Australia

Sydney is also praised for its natural beauty. The Sydney Harbor, the Bondi Beach and the Sydney Opera House are few of the main attractions in the city.

4. Florence, Italy

No list would be complete without this beautiful city, which is rich in history and architecture. So whether it is its gothic style Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore and the Uffizi Gallery or its spacious piazzas that are filled with cafés, Florence has lots to offer.

5. Venice, Italy

Another beautiful and mesmeric city from Italy that makes it in this list is Venice. It is a city on water and is rich with history.

6. Cape Town, South Africa

This is yet another city full of natural beauty and spectacular sights. Popular destinations here include Table mountain, Kirstenbosch botanical garden and V&A Waterfront.

7. San Francisco, USA

So were you wondering why no American cities were mentioned yet? Here they are! San Francisco is praised for its bridges (Golden Gate Bridge), Fisherman’s Wharf, hills, cable cars and the natural beauty.

8. Chicago, USA.

Again makes it to the list for its natural beauty. Millennium Park, Magnificent Mile and Shore of Lake Michigan are some of the places, which are the major attractions of this city.

9. New York City, USA

Need we say more? This universally loved city is also rich in architectural beauty. Manhattan’s majestic skyline and historic buildings, contrasted by the modern structures gives the city an individuality that just cannot be ignored.

10. London, UK

History, royalty, interesting sights and sounds makes this city beautiful. The must visit places in London would be The Trafalgar Square, Big Ben and Tower Bridge.

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Cambodia calling…

Looking to travel to a place within Asia that is beautiful and yet not a crowded tourist destination?

Cambodia might just be the destination for you. It conjures up images of its world-renowned ancient temple city, Angkor Wat. However, the country has lot more to offer besides that.

Cambodia has a lot of options for a tourist to see and explore, so if you are looking for a beach holiday, a trip in the wild, temples, history or simply for the cuisine, the country has it all.  It is not as famous as its neighbours are but just as stunning. This little country manages to pack a punch with its beauty.

Cambodia is a country rich in history. It has its roots in the 1st to 6th centuries in a state referred to as Funan, known as the oldest Indianized state in Southeast Asia. It was during this period that Cambodian language evolved, which is a part of the Mon-Khmer family, containing elements of Sanskrit.

Angkor Wat is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. It contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th centuries. The influence of Khmer art, as developed at Angkor, was a profound one over much of South-East Asia and played a fundamental role in its distinctive evolution. When French explorers discovered Angkor in the 19th century, Siem Reap was little more than a village. With the return of Angkor to French control in 1907, Siem Reap began to grow. Siem Reap entered a long slumber with the advent of war from which it only began to awake in the mid-1990s. Today tourism is the livelihood of Siem Reap.

Phnom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia and also it’s largest. Phnom Penh has literally risen from the ashes to reassert its position as one of the must visit destinations in Southeast Asia. In 1975, it was choked with up to 2 million refugees from the war between the then U.S.-backed government and the Khmer Rouge. Following the fall to the Khmer Rouge in 1975, it was completely emptied of civilians and allowed to crumble for several years. As Cambodia’s economy have risen, so have a crop of new hotels and restaurants to aid in the tourist trade.

Koh Kong is the most southwestern province of Cambodia. It has a long undeveloped coastline with a mountainous, forested and largely inaccessible interior, which embraces part of the Cardamom Mountains and a section of Kirirom National Park. The place has beautiful waterfalls for tourists who are adventurous enough to explore it. Other interesting places to explore are Kampot (a riverside town), Bokor National Park (evergreen forest reserve), Kratie and Sihanoukville.

Travelling to Cambodia is not too difficult with most of the major airlines flying there.  It is a vastly unexplored country, so if you are looking for an out of the ordinary experience, go to Cambodia.

 

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Go Sri Lanka!

Since Cricket World Cup is the flavor of the season, we thought that why not write about one of the host nations.  Sri Lanka is an ideal holiday destination, close to home (India) and spectacular in its beauty.  It is a stunning island nation, which should be in your must visit options, if you are planning a holiday. 

Sri Lanka has a lot to offer. So whether you are looking for a beach holiday, ayurveda holiday, wildlife holiday or a historic tour, Sri Lanka has it all. Some interesting places to visit are:

Bentota – If it is a beach holiday you are looking for, this is the place you should head to. Situated 90kms from Sri Lanka’s International Airport and 60 kms from its capital city, Bentota beach resort is a good destination for a family holiday. With scenic beaches facing the Indian Ocean that please the romantics, it also offers plenty of water sport activities for the adventurous kind.

Kandy – It is one of the most scenic cities of Sri Lanka. Famous for its temples, Kandy is the home of The Temple of The Tooth Relic – a highly venerable place for the Buddhist community of Sri Lanka and all around the world. It was declared by the UNESCO as a world heritage in 1988.

ColomboIt is the capital of Sri Lanka and the biggest and busiest city in the country. Colombo is a vibrant city with a mixture of modern life and colonial buildings and ruins. The largest and one of the busiest ports in Sri Lanka, the Colombo Harbor is located in this city.

Anuradhapura It is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Lankan civilization. It was recently declared as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Galle – It is home to a magnificent Dutch fort, one of the most popular attractions where the Old Dutch atmosphere in still alive in this town. The town is surrounded by beaches and draws tourists throughout the year.

Sinharaja Forest Reserve – The hilly virgin rainforest, part of the Sri Lanka lowland rain forests eco region, was saved from the worst of commercial logging by its inaccessibility, and was designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1988. The reserve’s name translates as Kingdom of the Lion.

Some other top destinations worth exploring are Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Negombo, Hikkaduwa, Dambulla and Sigirya.

With an all round pleasant weather, Sri Lanka is a year round destination, though the best time to visit would be from April to December. The country has a wide range of stay options too for travelers on various budgets. Whether you are a backpacker or a luxury traveler, Sri Lanka’s stay options will not disappoint. From five-star hotels, resort hotels, boutique properties and guest houses, to government-run rest houses (originally used by British colonists on their travels), you have plenty of options .

Of course, any holiday is incomplete without shopping in the itinerary. There are a number of things, which tourists can buy here. Sri Lanka is famous for its precious and semi-precious gemstones including Blue Sapphires, Red Rubies, Cat’s Eyes, Zircons, Garnets, Amethysts and Topaz. The thriving gems and jewelry industry dates back to ancient times. Sri Lanka is also famous for its tea estates and tea factories. So their world famous Ceylon tea should be on your must pick list! Other shopping options include various branded readymade garments at discounted rates.

What ’s more, most of the major airlines fly to Sri Lanka from India, so travel should not be a problem. Many of the travel websites offer exciting packages too. It may be just worth your while to check the deals out. Every city has its own identity; every place has its own history and story to tell, and that is what makes Sri Lanka a place worth exploring.

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get, set go!!

 

 

 

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Meditate to balance your mind better

No matter how much we try to control situations in our lives, the only thing we have no control over is our own mind. It is a constant burning cauldron of thoughts and to imagine a focused thought would indeed be difficult.

Meditation seeks to elevate you to a state of focus where you can rein in the thoughts running around in your mind, vying for your attention at the same time. In today’s time instead of thoughts, stressors compete to run amuck through our brain. We keep shuffling between things to worry about.

There are ways to make sure stressors do not catch up with you. You could keep an organizer, buy insurance or try meditating. The former two can be bought and made complete use of and are sure shot ways of keeping your life sorted. However, meditation is something that you have to work upon intrinsically to bring peace.

Our stresses affect not only the mind but also our health to a large extent. It has been proved that psychological stressors manifest as physiological outcomes. For example ulcers are very common among people who are burdened with stress.

Meditation frees the mind of all the clutter that causes us distress. It allows us to feel happiness, a feeling that gets stifled under all the worrisome things. There are different techniques of meditation, some follow a chant, some follow a single thought and concentrate on it. Spiritual meditation is not aligned to a certain religion; it is merely for your own benefit.

A calm and quite environ is the most suitable space for meditating. It’s difficult to find peace in a chaotic office environment or public transport or even in your house with the television blaring behind you. While meditating, it is important to follow certain postures to make sure that your body is in sync with the environment. These postures are easy to follow but if you want to try specific technical positions or ‘aasans’ then it is better to learn them from someone who is trained.

Meditation is a way where you give time to yourself to balance out your life. All it requires is some time from your side and a calm place. You can see the change that a calm mind brings and your confident and sorted self will manifest externally as well. Share if you know certain sure shot strategies of !

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Traditional Customs across the World

Traditional Customs across the World. Get Acquainted and Do As the Romans Do:

Every country in the world has its own established customs and traditions. Resultantly, when you travel to some foreign country from India, the people of that country would expect you to be, at the very least, aware of their customs to a certain extent. The primary reason why you should learn about the traditions and customs is that of etiquettes. Therefore, you should try to find out about the traditions and customs prevalent in the country that you are making travel plans for. The following are some examples of traditions and customs of the major countries of the world.

  1. Japan:
    In Japan, the way to greet each other is to bow. This is one of the core traditions of the country and even if you are not prepared for it, it is likely that you will learn within a few hours of experiencing the country. Furthermore, if you have tea in Japan, then you should look to follow your host’s lead because the Japanese tea ceremony can be quite complicated for an outsider.
  2. China
    China’s is one of the oldest civilisations in the world and hence is very much mired in a lot of traditions and customs. One very interesting custom of Chinese culture has to do with giving gifts. In China, people believe that good things happen in pairs. Hence, it is highly recommended that you give gifts that are even in number and not odd. 
  3. Islamic countries:
    The cultures of Islamic countries also have a long and extensive history. Resultantly, the social etiquettes in these countries can also be quite exhaustive. One of the things worth remembering about Islamic cultures is their month of fasting. This period is known as Ramadan and is one of the five central pillars of this religion. In this period, you would find that the majority of locals fast from dawn till sunset. The purpose of this period is very intrinsic to Islamic beliefs i.e. spiritual purification and hence should not be taken lightly by an outsider.

Travel is an experience that is full of discoveries. Sometimes, unexpected events may play spoilsport. So it is recommended that you be prepared with important telephone numbers, travel insurance and even the medicines that you regularly take. Once these are taken care of, you can truly enjoy the culture of the land.

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Travel Tips Application

Love travelling? All of us do, and there can be nothing better than a travel application that will act as a handy guide to inform us about different places. ICICI Lombard’s Travel Tips application on facebook is the best place to visit as the application will help you gain an insight on how to reach different places, the people, their lifestyle and their cuisine, places to stay

Travel Tips:

This application will open a new world for you where you can access smart tips on travelling, medical care during emergencies and a host of other tips that will be beneficial for you during your vacation. The travel tip application will also allow you to post comments on any topic related to travel and create a chain of communication, in turn enlightening yourself on places and lifestyle of people across the globe, especially stories or tips maybe you never knew about.

Search a tip:

In this section, you will find tips on what to find where and interesting tips on where to shop, what to explore, what rules to follow which will be shared or posted by people all across the globe including you.

Travel: This application will be extremely helpful to you as it offers tips on the various routes one can take to reach their choice of destination.

Stay: You will definitely be interested in knowing where to stay especially in unknown locations. This application will provide you with the appropriate information on the various hotels, reasonably priced one’s, which will ensure your comfortable stay.

Shop and Explore: Any place will have a shopper’s paradise located within the heart of the city. All the people wanting to get some authentic souvenir from the place they visit are in for a treat as this section will give them an insight on the places to shop and explore.

Do’s and Don’t s:Because of the fact that foreigners or tourists visiting a place may not know its lifestyle, rules and regulations, general habits of the locals, local food that is consumed etc., this section gives you a fair idea on the Do’s and Don’t s to be followed in a foreign land. .

Share Tips:

This section allows you to dip your finger into the pie and share your poll (likes) on the places to eat, shop, explore for the places you have visited.

Add Trips

Are you excited to share fun events of your trip on the global platform? Travel application on facebook provides you a chance to share how your trip was, what kind of adventure or shopping explorations you carried out, and also any fun story related to your trip.

Photo board

This section allows you the liberty to share your trip photos, the scenic beauty of a place, or any other pictures you would want to share with the whole world.

Invite Friends

Select people from the vast database of your friend list and share the travel tip application link with your friends and people you know. This will help more and more people to get access to the useful application and get a good idea of the trips they are planning.

 Summary:

With so many tips to read, this application will definitely guide you in the best possible way. It will also be a vast platform for everyone to reach out to the millions of people and share varied information on travel and travelling tips. Click here to visit our ‘Travel Tips’ Page on Facebook.

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Applying for Schengen Visa? Buy travel insurance too

In an effort to promote Europe as a unified country, seven of Europe’s beautiful countries joined hands in 1985 and formed the Schengen Treaty. According to this treaty all internal border check points and controls were terminated and travelling across these countries was made easier and less bureaucratic. Over the years more counties joined hands in this treaty taking the number of Schengen countries to fifteen and making travelling to these countries with the Schengen Visa hassle free.

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden were the fifteen countries included in the Schengen area till 2007. Currently, the Schengen Area consists of twenty-five states. Visitors to Schengen countries can now receive a Schengen Visa which entitles them to travel freely throughout the Schengen Area.

Nine EU countries – the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Sloven joined the Schengen area after 2007. Ireland and The United Kingdom are the only EU member states that are not full members of the Schengen Area. Switzerland was the last country to join the Schengen Area and the agreement took place in 2008. Moreover, Iceland and Norway, being EU members have negotiated agreements with the EU in order to participate. Since non-Schengen countries seeking to join the Schengen Area must have upgraded border controls to ensure the integrity of the Schengen Area, countries like Cyprus had a delayed agreement. EU countries like Romania and Bulgaria are attempting to meet the necessary standards to be a part of the Schengen Area agreement.

Before the Schengen Agreement was implemented, most borders in Western Europe were guarded by having constant patrolling. And, a vast network of border posts existed around the continent, to check the identity and entitlement of people wishing to travel from one country to another. Visa requirements were different from a country to country and the possessors of visas to visit one European country would not necessarily be entitled to visit others without separate visas. The Schengen rules have made it mandatory for the participating countries to close their respective border posts. To implement this rule, the agreement has come up with Schengen Borders Code that emphasizes the free flow of traffic at the internal borders. Therefore, passengers travelling by road, rail and air no longer have to go through the identification process while crossing borders. A large number of international passengers have appreciated this act as it saves time and misrepresentation while travelling within Europe.

The Schengen Visa can be obtained for a period of a maximum of ninety days that can be spread over a period of six months. However, while planning your trip to these countries, you must keep in mind that you complete your travel during this allotted time frame as a lapse will force you to discontinue your stay in accordance with the Schengen rules as extensions are not easy to acquire. The Schengen Visa enables you to travel through the Schengen region via air, road or through train as each station is treated as a domestic trip. The Schengen Visa can be looked at as a visitor’s visa that is issued to people who want to travel to a number of these countries in one trip. Instead of obtaining multiple visas, one for each of these countries, the Schengen Visa cuts the extra visa expenses and allows tourists to travel across these countries using only this single visa. If you’re a visitor from a third country and have been granted the entry in the Schengen area then hassle-free travel experience is guaranteed. With the Schengen Visa, you can travel and stay in the Schengen area with the extension of 3 months.

You can get a Schengen Visa by filling out your own application form. The Schengen Visa guide is available online and can be downloaded easily. This guide gives you the step by step directions of all the things that you need to keep in mind while applying for Schengen Visa such as listing out your travel plans and providing the required documentation to support your travel. With the help of this guide you will be able to eliminate costs involved in hiring an immigration lawyer or a visa agent. You will just need to get the form, fill it and submit it at the designated embassy with the required paperwork. You can get your Schengen Visa with ease as long as you are travelling with the purpose of business, leisure or tourism. Once you fill up the form for Schengen Visa and meet other requirements, you are set to go. A requirement of additional document may create a need for you to furnish your valid passport papers, financial disclosure and employment information.

While you make your travel plans and get your Schengen Visa before knowing Schengen Visa procedure don’t forget to shop for travel insurance as well. When you apply for your Schengen visa, travel insurance including medical cover and repatriation is required to complete the process. Your travel insurance plan should cover the duration of the requested visa – annual insurance may be required if you are requesting a multi-entry visa. An affordable travel insurance plan is a clever step to manage your finances. You just have to keep in mind that your baggage is insured, you and your family will arrive conveniently. If you are a senior citizen going abroad, make sure that another person, below 70’s accompanies you. The travel insurance policy mostly includes a coverage for 120 days.

The advantages that come with a travel insurance policy also include a coverage of accidental death. In such cases, the insured sum is reimbursed. Treatment of any serious emergency illness, dental expenses, costs on any sudden accident and other medical expenses after going abroad is covered by a travel insurance. Always bear in mind that even the best planned trips can have their share of pitfalls with baggage getting lost, flights getting cancelled, trips getting delayed and worse of all falling sick and requiring medical attention or hospitalizations. All these incidents involve a lot of expenses which can be covered if you are suitably covered by your travel insurance.

Enjoy your journey across Europe with ease with the Schengen Visa and be doubly safe with the right travel insurance.

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