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How to Rebook My Cruise Using a Future Cruise Credit

With so many cruises canceled due to COVID19, many people are wanting to know how to rebook their cruise using the Future Cruise Credit (FCC) offered by the cruise lines. Don’t worry. It is effortless to apply the credit to another cruise.

You want to contact your travel agent as soon as you know when and where you want to go. They can handle everything necessary to use your credit, as well as let you know about some of the fantastic deals currently available.

Unfortunately, some agencies have gone out of business. If that is the case, don’t worry. You can transfer your booking to another agency. Please contact one of our WorldVia travel experts, and we will help you plan your next cruise and use that credit.

Give us a call (888) 709-6753 or click here to reach out online.

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The Best Things to Do in Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington is a city that is full of amazing sights and things to do. You can almost feel the magic around you as soon as you arrive. As the country’s capital, it sits at the Southern end of the North Island, and has a mix of culture and cuisine that is not to be believed! The list of things to do is historical and unique, letting visitors get a feel for quite an interesting culture. Wellington features amazing restaurants, exquisite culture, and more. From the beginning of the trip until the last second, you are sure to have the adventure of a lifetime.

Explore Cuba Street

To begin, you’ll definitely enjoy the coolest street in all of Wellington. Cuba Street, with its bohemian vibe, is a registered historic area where everyone goes in order to sightsee, socialize, or just take in the culture. Named after a ship in 1840, the street offers plenty of musical events and art. For retail therapy, visit the north end of Cuba Street, and if you are in the mood for the entertainment side of things, wander down to the “top” or Southern end. Bring the camera, because photo opportunities are quite plentiful here. Don’t forget to snap a picture or two of the Bucket Fountain, a statue that has come to be known as one of the most recognized landmarks in New Zealand. You can experience Cuba Street all on your own, or be part of a guided walking tour to ensure that you don’t miss a thing.

Go to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

One of the most enriching things you can do is visit the Te Papa Museum. You’ll see collections that add to the whole tone of what New Zealand is all about. The museum prides itself on featuring the most abstract, significant cultural property, and the exhibits are nothing short of amazing. The interrelated thematic areas include the history and culture of Matauranga Maori, the culture of the people of New Zealand, the natural environment of the country, as well as art and design.

Take a Ride on the Wellington Cable Car

For one of the most fun experiences that you will have during your entire trip, plan to take a ride on the Wellington Cable Car. As New Zealand’s only functional cable car, you can get views of the city that you won’t find anywhere else in all of Wellington. Known as an “escape from the hustle and bustle of the city”, you can take in the tree-lined botanic gardens as you ride high up above everything. Spend some time at the cable car museum, where you can see the original machinery for the system that operated for over 75 years.

Do a Karori Cemetery Tour

There is no better way to dig into the deep history of Wellington than to take part in the Karori Cemetery Tour. The second largest burial ground in the entire country, the cemetery was established over 110 years ago and is now the burial ground for thousands of people. The tour will allow you to explore all of Karori Cemetery’s heritage values, and learn about the lives of prominent individuals through their graves and memorials. The expansive area features scenic and rolling landscaping, as you hear all about themes such as the “flu epidemic” and people who were “accidentally killed”.

Eat Fabulous Food

Dockside Restaurant & Bar

Located on Queen’s Wharf, Dockside Restaurant & Bar is situated in a historic waterfront shed with spectacular views. With a menu that changes on a daily basis, guests can be sure they are always getting the freshest and finest meals possible. The restaurant has a maritime theme, adding to it’s fun and casual feel. Guests will choose from menu items such as Mussels in Steamed Coconut Milk, Pan Roasted Salmon served with Grilled Calamari and Roasted Chicken Thighs with Lemon. Be sure that you do not forget dessert, because here at Dockside Restaurant & Bar, you’ll find Soft Coconut Cake with Mango Gel, Bananas Fosters with Rum Caramel, Apple, Blackberry, and Cinnamon Oat Crumble, and more. The only problem you will have is deciding which scrumptious menu items to choose.

The Larder Restaurant

When dinnertime comes, visitors to Wellington are typically looking for the best places to go. To truly get a taste of the city, we must discuss The Larder Restaurant. Providing a relaxed atmosphere, the owners of this quaint restaurant want every guest to feel as comfortable and welcome as possible as they enjoy mouthwatering food and professional service. The menu changes seasonally, and dishes utilize the best products available. The owners believe that all parts of the animal should be used in the recipes they create, providing a unique approach to cooking. Come see for yourself when you try the Pappardelle with Lamb Meatballs, Risotto prepared with Parmesan and Prawns, Gremolata Crumbed Lambs’ Brains, and much more. It is a meal that you won’t be forgetting anytime soon, as this establishment lets you capture the culture of Wellington right from the start.

Whitebait

This harborside restaurant is known for having some of the best local seafood in all of Wellington. The high-ceilings and sophisticated environment at Whitebait are only the beginning, as the head chef takes pride in every single ingredient, herb, and spice that he uses. You’ll only be offered the finest dishes possible, and they will be served with great pleasure from a staff that goes above and beyond to cater to your needs. Selections include a four-course land and sea dinner with dishes such as Raw Oyster, Rock Lobster, and Ruakaka Kingfish. Dessert is something special, with treats such as Ricotta Ice Cream and Raspberries with Champagne. When you want to have a meal of what is quite possibly the best seafood you will ever enjoy, Whitebait is the perfect place to do just that.
Wellington, New Zealand is a city that is to be enjoyed in so many ways. The locals take pride and delight in their wonderful landmarks, and visitors are encouraged to enjoy everything as much as possible. During your trip to Wellington, be sure to visit all of these incredible places, so that you can fully experience all that New Zealand offers!

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4 Great Ways to Experience Downtown Melbourne, Australia

Choosing to visit Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria, Australia, for a nice respite won’t leave you disappointed. This popular cultural hub boasts many accolades and offers a multitude of exciting destinations to visit. One of the best areas to explore is downtown Melbourne.
Downtown Melbourne almost completely surrounds the Port Phillip Bay and has the perennial Yarrow River running through it and into the bay. It’s also where Melbourne was first established by settlers in 1835. Suffice it to say, this coastal town with 4 million residents has many attractions to visit within its downtown area, yet to narrow it down some, let’s explore four great ways to experience downtown Melbourne Australia.

Shop, Eat, and Appreciate Art at the Centre Place Laneway

The Centre Place Laneway is one of the many exciting destinations to visit in the heart of downtown Melbourne. The lively blue cobblestone laneway is designated as a pedestrian district where visitors can enjoy the unique shops, cafes, and artwork on their way to other close-by downtown Melbourne destinations. The local feel is palpable when walking through Centre Place, as apartment balconies above the shops rise multiple stories high, locals take their favorite spots at the cafes and bars, and ever-changing artwork depicts the native cultural flavors.
When you’re done with your coffee and crepes at a quaint Centre Place cafe, you can move on to explore the many small and large destinations within the downtown Melbourne area. Some of the most noteworthy are Flinders Street Railway Station, Yarrow River, Degraves Street, Campbell Arcade, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Federation Square, and Princess Walk.
To get the full experience, you’ll want to spend at least a day or two in this area of Melbourne. You can start with a visit to the Centre Place laneway, then move a block south towards the Yarrow River and experience the underground Campbell Arcade and Flinders Street Railway Station, where your City Circle Tram awaits.

Take the City Circle Tram Tour

Another great way to experience downtown Melbourne is by riding on the City Circle Tram. You can get on the largest urban tram network in the world at Flinders Street Railway Station and fast-track your exploration of downtown Melbourne. The City Circle Tram tour is free and runs throughout the day, allowing passengers to get on and off quickly to explore different parts of the city. There are two types of trams that service the City Circle Tram route, including the retro heritage maroon colored trams with gold trimmings and the standard modern trams with green and white colors.
Instead of driving, taking a taxi, or walking around the large downtown area of Melbourne, you can use the trams to get around with a great view and in local style. Besides being an experience in itself, the City Circle Tram offers local information and maps for destinations, events, shops, restaurants, etc.
Perhaps, after enjoying the morning at Centre Place, you can hop on a City Circle Tram and travel a mile west to visit Docklands Park or watch a soccer event at Marvel Stadium; or, you could travel southeast about a half a mile over the Yarrow River to visit the historic Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.

Experience the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

Any vacation to Melbourne should include a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, which is one of the area’s biggest and most historic attractions. This is a special reserved area covering 38 hectares (118 acres) of land and drawing in over 1.8 million visitors a year. The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria was preserved by the early settlers of Melbourne back in 1846; this large green area in the midst of downtown Melbourne creates an intriguing contrast between the brick and concrete of the city and the neatly carved out natural beauty of the botanical gardens.
There are many interesting sections of the gardens to explore; if desired, you could make this relaxing destination a day-long affair. After exploring the busy downtown area, you’ll appreciate the calm, beautiful environment the gardens offer, including small lakes, 12,000 species of plant life, large scenic lawns, various trees, wooden walkways, and much more.
You can also sit down at one of the two cafes located within the garden: The Terrace and Jardin Tan, where you can get organic, French-Indochina flavored food while enjoying the lush tropical surroundings. Afterward, you can decide whether to take a guided tour, shop for souvenirs, take a nap on the Eastern Lawn, or get back on the tram to visit the next location, perhaps the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Check Out the Melbourne Cricket Ground

If you really want to get a taste of Melbourne, you’ll have to visit the Melbourne Cricket Ground, (a.k.a. “the G”). Even if you’re not interested in Australian Rules Football, cricket, tennis, or rugby, you’ll enjoy the historical significance associated with one of the largest and oldest sports stadiums in the world.
The G was built in 1853 and has a seating capacity of around 100k, making it the 10th largest sports stadium in the world. Notably, this is the home of Victorian sport, a major part of Australia sport, the birthplace of cricket in 1877, the home for Australian football since 1859, and the location of the National Sports Museum. The entire area around Melbourne Cricket Ground is sports oriented and full of notable destinations. This includes Melbourne Park, which is where the Australian Open tennis tournament is held; also, Richmond Football Club Museum, Olympic Park, Rod Laver Arena, Tennis World (National Tennis Center), and more.
The center of it all is the G, which offers visitors more than just sports, including cinema night, concerts, guided tours, museums, cafes, pubs, beer gardens, and souvenir shops. This special destination in downtown Melbourne offers you a great way to experience the best of Australian sports, and with the G located just west of Flinders Street Railway Station, you’ll find it easy to circle back around to where you started on your City Circle Tram ride.
These four great ways to experience downtown Melbourne should give you a rough outline for your adventures. Along the way, you can fill in the blanks with a multitude of additional unique and exciting destinations, cafes, shops, and activities. In the end, experiencing the heart of downtown Melbourne will give you a greater understanding of what this unique city in southeastern Australia is all about.

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7 Great Ways to Enjoy Hamilton Island in Northeastern Australia

Australia is home to many awe-inspiring destinations, including the natural wonder of Hamilton Island in Queensland. This beautiful resort island offers travelers a unique getaway full of exciting activities and amazing sights. As the most populous island within the Whitsunday Islands, Hamilton Island offers both luxury and natural wonder for visiting guests.
From renting a buggy (golf cart) to visiting the Great Barrier Reef, visitors to Hamilton Island have many ways to enjoy this special year-round travel destination. To highlight the best choices, let’s explore seven great ways to enjoy Hamilton Island.

1. Visit the Great Barrier Reef

Hamilton Island is situated alongside the Great Barrier Reef, which is the largest coral reef system in the world and the largest living thing on Earth! This natural wonder is a world-renown destination that stretches out 1,400 miles along Queensland’s coastline, including through the Whitsunday Islands.
As can be imagined, visitors have many options for enjoying the Great Barrier Reef from Hamilton Island, including with guided tours by boat, seaplane, helicopter, and underwater. Whatever vantage point visitors choose to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef; they’ll have the chance to experience and enjoy the magnificent views and awe-inspiring environments this unique destination has to offer.

2. Play Golf at Hamilton Island Golf Club

After relaxing in one of Hamilton’s luxurious accommodations such as the Qualia Resort, Palm Bungalows, or the Reef View Hotel, visitors can grab their golf clubs, jump in their buggy, and head to the Hamilton Island Golf Club for 18 holes and some amazing views.
Designed by hall of fame golfer and five-time British Open winner Peter Thomson, this 18-hole Par 71 links style golf course is sure to challenge even the most competitive golfer, especially, with the tough holes along the island’s cliffs. The Hamilton Island Golf Club is located only a ferry’s ride away on Dent Island, due west of Hamilton Island. The breathtaking views of the Coral Sea and surrounding islands, from this lush and verdant course perched atop the island’s rolling hills and cliffs, are sure to inspire both golfers and sightseers alike.

3. Visit Whitehaven Beach

Located along Whitsunday Island, Whitehaven Beach is well-known for its pristine white beach sand and turquoise colored waters. Only 30 minutes away from Hamilton Island, Whitehaven Beach is accessible by catamaran, helicopter, seaplane, or sailboat.
Visitors can enjoy snorkeling, swimming, walking the beaches, sightseeing, and more when exploring Whitehaven Beach in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Regarded as Queensland’s cleanest beach, this beautiful destination will give visitors plenty of picture perfect memories to capture and remember.

4. Take a Day Trip in the Air or by Sea

As alluded to before, visitors to Hamilton Island have many choices for how they want to take in the beautiful surroundings, including by seaplane, sailboat, catamaran, helicopter, or ferry boat.
The fun and excitement of taking a day trip by sea or air are sure to satisfy the innermost desires of travelers seeking adventure, and the stunning magnificence of the Great Barrier Reef and surrounding seas and islands will only accentuate the day’s activities. With these day-trip options by sea or air, Hamilton Island uniquely gives travelers the ability to see the surrounding beauty from every perspective and angle.

5. Explore Hamilton Island with a Buggy or ATV

One of the best ways to get around Hamilton Island is by renting a buggy; visitors can hop in their buggy and travel around the island to enjoy great food, live music, beaches, spas, wildlife centers, natural trails, shops, sightseeing vantage points, and more.
Traveling in their buggy, visitors can explore the 1.9 sq. mile Hamilton Island at their own pace and in style; and with only a little over 1,200 people residing on the island, the streets won’t be too crowded either. The open buggy will allow visitors to feel the warm air and be part of the local environment on a more intimate level.
As for those who want to go off-road to explore the less-visited wilderness areas of Hamilton Island, they can take an off-road adventure tour with an ATV, where they can either drive or be a passenger on their way to Resort Lookout – one the highest vantage points on the island.

6. Explore WILD LIFE Hamilton Island

When visiting Australia, visitors shouldn’t miss the opportunity to see the native wildlife this amazing continent has to offer, including koalas, eastern grey roos, saltwater crocodiles, dingoes, southern, cassowaries (pre-historic birds), and cockatoos.
This special wildlife center located in the heart of Hamilton Island offers visitors daily tours and hands-on experience with Australia’s indigenous wildlife. Visitors can take a trip in their buggy to have breakfast with the Koalas, or otherwise enjoy WILD LIFE Hamilton Island, as part of their daily adventures on the island.

7. Relax at Qualia Spa

One of the more luxurious settings on Hamilton Island is the world-class Qualia Resort, which includes a hotel, spa, and fine dining restaurants. Qualia’s spa treatments and wellbeing therapies are sure to pleasure the senses and help visitors relax while they enjoy the luxurious indoor and outdoor settings.
Large windows and open spaces surrounded by hardwood, marble, and tropical landscapes will help visitors relax at Qualia Spa while enjoying the awe-inspiring views of the surrounding islands, Coral Sea, and Great Barrier Reef.

Conclusion

When it comes to finding the perfect travel destination, Hamilton Island is as close as it gets. The optimal weather, breathtaking views, world-class destinations, and exciting activities it offers are sure to satisfy and exceed even the most experienced traveler’s expectations. Although these seven great ways to enjoy Hamilton Island merely scratch the surface with the choices visitors have, they do sufficiently highlight how special this Australian destination really is. The Hamilton Island Race Week and The Australian Ballet are two other examples of noteworthy happenings to enjoy on this Queensland island in Australia.
Suffice it to say; travelers won’t be disappointed in their choice to visit Hamilton Island, as it is second to none when it comes to world-class travel destinations.

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Exploring Nova Scotia’s Small Seaside Towns

Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s unique treasures. It is where rocky shores meet sandy beaches while low mountain ranges stand by. There is something satisfying about watching fishermen unload their catch from bobbing wooden boats. The province’s small seaside towns are as charming as they are quirky. Brightly painted houses line the waterfront while eccentric shops and cafes invite all who pass to enter. These picturesque hamlets will enchant those who linger, enticing them to return again and again.

Digby

Digby is one of those towns tourists tend to overlook as they hop the connecting ferry to Saint John, New Brunswick. They shouldn’t. The quaint fishing village is well known worldwide for the large, sweet scallops harvested from its local waters. Those visitors who take the time to wander the streets of Digby are rewarded with a delightful array of cheerful storefronts and restaurants offering breathtaking views of the sun setting over Fundy Bay. Digby was established in 1783 and still maintains much of its old world charm but there is no time like the present to visit here.
You can book a stay at the Come From Away B&B Inn, a historic Edwardian home on the waterfront, where you can watch Digby’s famous high tide in the Annapolis Basin ebb and recede. The inn is central to everything so you can take a stroll to Crooked Timber Books for something to read or learn about Digby’s maritime history at the Admiral Digby Museum. Later you can treat yourself to lunch at the Sydney Street Pub and Cafe. Of course, you will want to try some pan-fried local scallops while you’re there along with a cold local craft beer and live music.

Lunenburg

Lunenburg is the home port of the majestic Bluenose II tall ship, a fitting presence in a town with such a rich heritage and a vibrant streetscape. It is an art and culture mecca blending the glory of the old town’s UNESCO world heritage status with modern industry and creative amenities. Narrow roads meander through a maze of quaint shops, grand old homes, and colorful eateries. The fabulous Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic offers interactive tours which provide a close-up look of life at sea through theater and live exhibits.
You can stay at The Mariner King Inn in the heart of the old town for the best in hospitality and comfort. The inn celebrates its historic past while, at the same time, providing first-class contemporary lodging. You can spend a dreamy day browsing through the many small shops including Mosaic where treasures and gems can be found. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you might want to grab a wharfside table on the Old Fish Factory’s patio. You might fall in love with the locally-sourced seafood chowder or let yourself splurge with a steamed lobster entree.

Mahone Bay

Mahone Bay will have you imagining you walked into a picture postcard with its olden wooden churches and stunning architecture. The town was settled in 1754 and thrived as a shipbuilding hub and mariner’s destination. Today it is an idyllic respite scattered with artisan studios, boutique shops, and friendly pubs. The natural beauty of the area encourages outdoor adventures when the weather permits. The peaceful waters of Mahone Bay are made up of several islands. South Shore Boat Tours offers exciting trips around them where, if you are lucky, you might just see the dolphins frolicking in the bay.
Check in at the Fairmont House Bed and Breakfast Inn for scenic water views and pet-friendly accommodations. Once a shipbuilder’s residence, the inn is homey and welcoming with easy access to all Mahone Bay has to offer. The town’s seaside setting has attracted artists and creatives to the area for years. A once-vacant boathouse on the South Shore is now home to Amos Pewter Designs, a community icon of craftsmanship and well worth a visit. You can end your day of exploring at The Mug & Anchor Pub where you will find delicious pub food, maritime music, and unusual craft beers.

Yarmouth

Yarmouth still boasts the largest fishing fleet in Canada’s Atlantic Ocean waters. The port town is admired for its grand old homes many featuring widow’s walks where captain’s wives could watch for the return of the ships carrying their loved ones. The 175-year-old Cape Forchu Lightstation is ideal for hiking, picnics, and for enjoying glorious vistas of the surrounding sea. The traditions of Arcadian culture are an integral part of the flavor of Yarmouth and visitors should not leave without trying Rappie pie, unique and savory meat, onion, and potato dish topped with molasses.
The Lakelawn B&B and Motel is an affordable and pleasant place to hang your hat. It was once a wealthy shipbuilder’s mansion home where celebrities were entertained with elegant parties. Now it is a clean and comfortable refuge complete with its own cafe and hearty breakfast menus. Head into town for a busy day of antique shopping and maritime-inspired gift buying at one of the artisan shops. Rudder’s Seafood Restaurant and Brew Pub is a favorite gathering place for locals and tourists alike offering live entertainment seven nights a week. You will be glad you stopped by.
Nova Scotia is everything you could want in a coastal destination. Its proud history and pristine bays are only a small part of the province’s lure. You might want to take a slow drive through its countryside stopping often to admire the craggy shoreline and bays dotted with sailboats and seabirds. Nova Scotia hosts over 550 festivals and events throughout the year bringing music, comedy, food, and fun to town. You can share some laughter at the Halifax ComedyFest or nurture your artful side in Peggy’s Cove at the Festival of the Arts.
Outdoor adventures are never too far away anywhere in Nova Scotia. Well-maintained hiking and biking trails are plentiful and golf courses seem to pop up where you least expect them. Those who prefer more high adrenalin activities won’t be disappointed either. The Atlantic School of Skydiving offers a guided tandem skydive experience and Anchors Above Zipline in Pictou County will let you soar the skies. There is something for everyone in beautiful Nova Scotia. It is no wonder it is nicknamed Canada’s Ocean Playground.

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Visit These Tibetan Monasteries On Your Next Trip To China

China is home to a rich and multi-layered culture textured with breathtaking vistas and complex intricacies. One of the most intriguing areas of the country is the often romanticized and always mysterious region of Tibet. It conjures up images of a deeply spiritual mountain land where robed monks keep vigil, and a higher uncomprehensible consciousness exists. The beautiful monasteries of Tibet uplift the travelers who dare to seek them out. It is a journey well worth taking. You can visit these spectacular Tibetan monasteries on your next trip to China for a one-of-a-kind experience.

Ganden Monastery

Ganden Monastery lies on the southern banks of the Lhasa River and is one of the earliest monasteries built in Tibet. Its towering location on Wangbur Mountain offers visitors a panoramic view of Lhasa Valley and the Shannon countryside. Ganden is the primary monastery in the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism and remains an important example of Gelugpa tradition. The architectural integrity of the monastery’s buildings and cultural centers are intact and, in themselves, well worth exploring.
The many chapels, shrines, and pagodas are adorned with colorful murals with historical relics remaining inside. You will want to wear your walking shoes and take advantage of the one hour Kora monastery tour. It is a steep slow walk around the grounds rewarded by the sight of prayer flags blowing in the wind and the sound of chanting monks at prayer. Your camera will get a workout trying to capture the spectacular scenery around every corner and the unique cultural symbols encountered along the way.
You can stop for lunch at the Ganden Monastery Restaurant after the tour where they offer both vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices. The Ganden monks grow a special herb called Ganden Khempa which is blessed by the monks and made into incense available for purchase as a souvenir. It is believed this natural product possesses a variety of health benefits when burned. You can get a peaceful night’s sleep once the day is through at the posh St. Regis Resort in nearby Lhasa.

Jokhang Temple

Jokhang Temple is the oldest and holiest of all the monasteries in Tibet. It sits in the heart of old town Lhasa drawing pilgrims and scholars from all over the world to its architecture and the secrets within. Jokhang Temple’s history is colored with fantastical legends adding romance and intrigue to its majesty. The original temples were built over 1400 years ago by King Songtsen Gampo to house the statues of Buddha gifted to him as a dowry from his new wives.
There is much to see and appreciate at Jokhang Temple including the incredible life-sized statue of Shakyamuni, a brilliant-colored icon of Buddhist imagery. As you make your way among the labyrinth of small chapels in the monastery complex, you will be mesmerized by the hundreds of Buddha statues surrounded by votive candles. It is an atmospheric, moody experience and one you will likely not forget. Climb the steps to the golden rooftop, and you can overlook the square where pilgrims gather below in ceremonial worship.
The multicultural streets of Lhasa are bursting with vibrant eateries, the spicy aromas sure to entice you in after a day visiting the temples. You might want to try the Tibetan Family Kitchen for local cuisines including momo dumplings and sweet rice. The friendly staff speak English and are happy to treat you like family. You can relax later at the Zhaxi Quta Style Hotel with its classic, spacious rooms, free buffet breakfast, and WiFi. The hotel is centrally located and in walking distance to many of Lhasa’s attractions.

Potala Palace

Potala Palace has been the renowned winter residence of the Dalai Lama since the 7th-century and still stands as a symbol of traditional Buddhism. This castle-like structure reaches over 12,000 feet above the town! The palace is a Tibetan architectural wonder with golden roofs visible from miles away and a regal presence even among the other monasteries. It is an iconic tribute and mecca to practicing Buddhists from all over the globe, and many devotional events are held there each year.
The interior of Potala Palace is a rich combination of decorative stone and wood with exquisite carvings as well as artwork depicting Tibetan history. There are more than a thousand rooms showcasing a variety of murals, painted scrolls, and statues made of jewels and gold. Photographers can ascend the winding path up Chakpori Hill beside Potala Palace for a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape and a rare opportunity to capture an image of the palace as the sun rises or sets. The resulting photos will be worthy of hanging on your wall.
Once you have had your fill of all that wonder, you can wander down Lhasa’s Bakuo Street until you come upon another of its landmarks, the Makye Ame Restaurant. Its bright yellow facade will draw you in, and you will be greeted by a homey atmosphere and live Tibetan music. You can sip on freshly-brewed local barley wine while enjoying a feast of leafy greens and yak-inspired main courses. The Four Points by Sheraton Hotel is the perfect place to reflect on your day and rest in luxurious comfort and tranquility.

Considerations

Tourism in Tibet is strictly regulated, and foreign travelers are required to arrange their visit to the monasteries through a tour company. There are many reputable tour operators to choose from including WildJunket, a young-at-heart guide company for adventurous travel. Additionally, Tibet is known as the “roof of the world” because of its high altitude so some visitors might require a day or two to adapt to the change.
Visitors are not allowed to take photographs inside shrines and chapels or of people without asking for permission. Much of the food will be unfamiliar, and goat and yak meat are commonly on the menu though vegetarian dishes are delicious and plentiful. Tibet is an ancient, exotic land and one of China’s most remarkable destinations. You just might have the time of your life!

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5 Reasons Why Dubai is More than Just a Business Destination

“Dubai is a city of world records. It has the largest man-made island, the largest indoor amusement park, the largest building in the world, 163 stories to the top. Now it’s aiming for its most audacious ambition: The booming desert city that a decade ago had the world’s largest environmental footprint wants to become, by the year 2050, the most sustainable city on Earth.”
– Daniel Stone, National Geographic
It is no secret that Dubai has become one of the top meeting destinations for the world’s leading businesses. However, Dubai has become much more than a choice location for professional meetings, trade shows, and expos. In 2017, nearly 16 million people visited Dubai, a figure which includes business professionals and leisure travelers alike. This record-breaking tourism has positioned the city as one of the top travel destinations in the world for all types of travelers. Below are five reasons why Dubai has become so much more than a business destination for vacationers and travel aficionados.

1) Enjoy a view from the world’s tallest building

Dubai is home to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. People travel from all corners of the map to enjoy a breathtaking view from the Burj Khalifa. With over 160 floors, the building has two main observation decks, which are located on the 125th and 148th floors. You can purchase your tickets upon arrival or save money and time by booking them online in advance. During your visit, you can have refreshments at the SKY Lounge and participate in a variety of interactive activities available to guests. Following your visit to the top of the Burj, you can relax and watch a captivating water performance held at the Dubai Fountain. Shows are free of charge for onlookers, who often gather outdoors to have dinner and watch the show from a table at one of the many fountain-side restaurants at the Dubai Mall.

2) Snow ski in the desert

Located within the confines of Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai is one of the only desert-based ski resorts in the world. With an indoor ski area totaling 22,500 square meters, Ski Dubai boasts a 25-story high mountain with five slopes of varying difficulty. The resort opened in 2005 and featured the world’s first indoor black diamond run. Skis, jackets, and equipment are provided with your ticket, or you can bring your equipment if you wish. If you grow chilly or are ready to switch gears, you can simply exit the resort and spend the remainder of your day shopping in the Mall of the Emirates. With over 700 stores and services, the Mall of the Emirates is among the largest malls in the world.

3) Ride a Camel!

Dubai is famous for its camel racing and even has a television station devoted exclusively to camels and racing. The camel plays such a key role in Dubai’s rich heritage that Dubai is now home to the largest, most impressive camel hospital in the world – the $40 million AED Dubai Camel Hospital in Marmoun. While taking part in an official camel race might be tricky, you can enjoy a leisurely ride on a camel on one of Dubai’s beautiful beaches or even arrange a full day desert safari that features a camel ride and professionally guided tour of Dubai’s desert terrain. Safaris typically begin during the middle of the day and end with a dinner that features local cuisine and entertainment. If you do not have several hours available for a safari, you can enjoy a short camel ride on Jumeirah Beach.

4) Book a room at the famous Burj Al Arab

“Shaped like the sail of an Arabian dhow ship and built for $1 billion, the hotel is full of extravagances like a Rolls-Royce chauffeur, a 14-piece set of Hermès toiletries, personal butlers — Burj says the staff-to-guest ratio is 6:1—and 24-karat gold everything.”
– Harrison Jacobs, Business Insider
Shaped like a beautiful sailboat, the Burj Al Arab is one of the world’s most luxurious hotels. The hotel was built in 1998 to accommodate the world’s most discerning guests. From marble staircases to 24-karat gold furnishings to private butlers, Burj Al Arab offers an unforgettable experience to guests. If you cannot afford to part with $1,500 for a night’s accommodations, you can make reservations to dine at the hotel’s famous Al Mahara restaurant. With its underwater theme, the restaurant features spectacular sights and seafood dishes prepared by award-winning chefs. The wall to ceiling aquarium in the restaurant provides a fascinating environment to enjoy a five-star dining experience.

5) Check out Dubai’s Most Famous Souks

Dubai is internationally known for its awe-inspiring souks. Commonly known in America as marketplaces or bazaars, souks are often located in outdoor areas and are often the heartbeat of the neighborhoods where they are located. Among Dubai’s most impressive souks are the Gold Souk, the Spice Souk, and the Textile Souk. Each of these souks is located in a different region of Dubai, enabling visitors to become familiar with some of Dubai’s local neighborhoods. If you plan to visit one or more of Dubai’s souks, be sure to wear comfortable shoes, as it is easy for visitors to spend the better part of a day at one souk alone. Also, be prepared to negotiate with vendors, many of whom welcome the opportunity to engage with prospective overseas buyers. Finally, plan to bring a spacious bag, as you will likely run across many local treasures and souvenirs that are hand-crafted by the area’s most talented artists, craftsmen, and chefs.
Dubai is more than just a convenient meeting location for the world’s top leaders and executives. Dubai is an award-winning destination for business professionals and leisure travelers alike. From breathtaking views to innovative fairs to stellar shopping, it is no surprise that more people are traveling to Dubai than ever. And with a first-class international airport, Dubai is easily accessible for prospective visitors in virtually every region of the world.

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Insider’s Tips On Exploring The Caribbean City Of Cartagena

Often when people imagine of the beautiful Caribbean Sea, those sun-drenched coasts and stunning shorelines, they seldom picture the gorgeous and historic city of Cartagena. Nowadays, some people are more likely to associate this area with a string of successful Disney pirate movies or even the eighties cinematic classic “Romancing The Stone” supposedly set in Colombia but filmed mostly in Mexico. Moving past some of these family-favorite flicks, there are plenty of reasons to visit the amazing town inside one of Colombia’s signature and most populous cities. Located on the shores of a bay bearing the same name, Cartagena is a spectacular destination that needs to be put on every traveler’s bucket list.

The Heroic Walled City

Way back in ancient history, Cartagena was a popular port for the actual pirates of the Caribbean looting this wealthy, emerging city while trekking their way through this tropical and profitable sea. Tired of being a constant target of medieval marauders, the existing government enlisted their growing military and townspeople to construct a multitude of towers, huge stone walls and well-armed fortifications to protect their precious town from robbers and continuous invasion attempts. Many of these long-lasting landmarks are still standing today, and this is how Cartagena garnered the nickname of the “walled city.”
Today’s natives of this historic region are extremely proud of their national heritage, and the bloody battles once raged to ultimately gain their independence from an overbearing Spanish rule. Currently, Cartagena remains the busiest port in this South American country, and with over a million residents, its shiny, modern skyscrapers are towering over cobblestone streets, shadowing ancient castles and bestow beautiful colonial architecture making it a truly unique destination for voyeuristic travelers.

The Best Bay View And More

If you’re looking for one of the absolute best views of the Bay of Cartagena, look closely at stopping for dinner (or drinks) at the Cafe del Mar. Located atop one of those remaining relic forts, this remarkable restaurant is home to a priceless view of the city’s skyline either by day or night. Most prefer viewing the sunset from this rooftop restaurant after seeing all the sites during the daylight hours. But if you plan on watching the sun dip down just before dark, be sure to arrive early to this popular destination for the best seat.
Aside from the unbelievable ambiance at this extraordinary eatery as seen both inside and out, it’s also highly acclaimed for their fantastic food, appetizers, full bar, dancing to a DJ spinning tunes seven nights a week. They also have a great calendar of events lasting throughout the year. From an annual New Year’s Eve party to Independence Day celebrations, they also host a variety of native talent shows and festive Full Moon Nights. You’ll find a delightful blend of both locals and tourists mingling at this Cartagena hot spot.

Cruising The Caribbean In Style

Along with the majority of peso-based purchases in Cartagena, almost everything in Colombia is surprisingly affordable especially renting a boat or even a yacht. That’s right chartering a private yacht is within many traveler’s budgets. While they are plenty of traditional tourist-trap options puttering around the bay, instead of being crammed into a smaller tour boat like a sardine, water wanderlusts can captain a vessel by renting their cruiser. For those unfamiliar with the bay, a better option is booking a yacht complete with a Captain and small staff including a knowledgeable, friendly First Mate available with many of these packages.
With plenty to see in The Bay of Cartagena including dozens of islands and archipelagos, local pilots of these smaller ships know these waters like the back of their hands. They’ll take you to remote locations where passengers will enjoy being pampered while viewing magnificent marine life, all the fantastic flora, fauna, exploring sensational scuba and lesser-known snorkeling sites without dealing with crowds.

A Floating Party On Cholon

If partying like a rock star floats your boat, then be sure to set a course for the island of Cholon where there’s a literal floating party happening practically every day. Not just on the weekends or other red-letter days, a mostly college-aged crowd sets sail to this isle located about 45-minutes off the shores of Cartagena where boaters gather to party hearty on board their watercraft.
Even if you’re not into hanging with a younger crowd, prepare for locals catering to your needs when mooring your vessel near the shores of this trendy location. Many natives will swim or row out to your to your boat to deliver the freshest seafood, sensational cocktails, favorite local cuisine and more. Food and beverage vendors on the shore also set up tables in the shallow, warm tropical waters for visitors to enjoy their dishes and beverages closer to the beach.

All Aboard Romantic Shores

One of the best ways to see the sites of this city is via a horse and carriage ride through the old town section of Cartagena especially if you’re vacationing with your significant other. Even if you’re touring with friends or family, riding in the back of one of these open-air carriages on the cobblestone streets of the historic district offers stunning views and a unique way to explore this stunning part of the city.
With miles of shoreline near the city along with and dozens of islands scattered throughout in the bay, strolling on sandy, white beaches in and around Cartagena is pastime enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. So opaque are some of these shores, there’s even a place called Playa Blanca which translates to “white beach.” Located on Isla Baru, about an hour’s scenic boat ride from the city and also accessible by land, this is also a popular location for snorkeling, fishing, and even skydiving. Often crowded with tourists during the populous afternoon hours, once the vast majority of foot traffic has returned to the shores of Cartagena, those spending the night or with their transportation often enjoy moonlit walks on the beach after dark underneath the star-studded stars.

Cultural Coastal Cuisine

Similar to most coastal cities, Cartagena is world renowned for its wide selection of some of the freshest seafood and ceviche is a popular choice. To experience the real crème de la crème of this sensational seafood classic, be sure to visit the namesake La Cevicheria restaurant since they snagged the bragging rights for this sensational seafood stew. You’ll also find ceviche being served all over the streets of this town including those prepared by local food vendors, served in sidewalk cafes and offered by street peddlers. A couple of other excellent eateries worthy of visiting to taste regional treats and experience the unique cultural, Caribbean cuisine of Cartagena include the upscale Marea Restaurante by Rausch with delectable downtown views and Restaurante Paco’s closer to the historic district.
In conclusion, when placing a Caribbean locale in your plans for a future getaway, be sure to put the quaint and charming Colombian city of Cartagena on your travel calendar for a truly magical and memorable adventure. Don’t worry about booking during a certain season since the temperatures are tropical year-round. While light rains typically fall mostly during the months of October and November, this is not a monsoon region, so chances are the weather will be gorgeous during your stay.

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Exploring Alternative Moscow: Three Underrated Gems

Wandering Red Square is only the start to an unforgettable trip to Moscow. From underground military bunkers converted to medieval monasteries and stunning fortresses seemingly from fairytales, Moscow has plenty to see beyond the main tourist hubs.

Bunker 42

About 200 feet beneath the Taganskaya metro station, a secret site provides a unique window into Moscow’s Cold War past. Bunker 42, formerly a top-secret military bunker, takes visitors back in time. Bunker 42 is now a converted museum run by hosts wearing KGB uniforms and guests inspecting a world hidden from the public for decades.
Bunker 42 is not your typical museum, however. A flood of modern touches makes Bunker 42 a happening place for locals and visitors alike. In the space transformed into a restaurant and night club, guests come for traditional Russian cuisine and stay for a night of karaoke and live entertainment. There are also multipurpose conference rooms and banquet halls that are regularly rented out for weddings and special occasions.
Combining Moscow’s recent history and a spread of recreational activities, Bunker 42 stands as one of the most interesting and overlooked spots in the city.

Izmailovo Kremlin

The Moscow Kremlin is certainly worthy of its fame and status. About half an hour from central Moscow, however, the Izmailovo District is flush with spectacular scenery and Russian history. At the heart of the district, recently built kremlin surrounds the lush green landscape overlooking the Serebryano-Vinogradny Pond. This creates a tranquil escape from the bustle of the city.
Drawing visual inspiration from various Russian fairytales, the white-walled Izmailovo Kremlin was completed in 2007, though the village of Izmailovo goes back to medieval times. Inside the complex, an open-air market has been around in one form or another since the 1600s. Today, visitors at the market can find items from both Old Russia and the modern country. The mostly white kremlin also serves as a visual counterpoint to the vivid splashes of color of the Red Square.
You can also peruse a series of museums within the district, including the Museum of History of Vodka, where more than 1,000 different flavors of Russia’s famous liquor are typically on display. You may even find your way to museums featuring the history of Russian chocolate or folk toys.
Nearby, the Izmailovo Park offers plenty of activities as well, from riding in a horse-drawn sleigh to two Ferris wheels that provide excellent views of the neighboring countryside. In the winter, you can expect to find plenty of locals sharpening their ice skates to zip across the pond beneath the tall towers of the kremlin. Across from the kremlin lies a beautiful chateau formerly inhabited by Russian icon Peter the Great and generations of royalty. It’s not only a trip into the past at Izmailovo, however. The neighboring Izmailovo Hotel has been one of the biggest hotel complexes in the world since it was built for the 1980 Summer Olympics and is an attraction in its own right.

Gorky Park

Gorky Park is a stunning site that is a must-see while in Moscow. A favorite public gathering space for nearly a century, Gorky Park traces its roots to the 18th century, when it was an imperial estate that held the now-famous Neskuchniy Garden. By the 1920s, the rich lands along the Moskva (Moscow) River were transformed into a huge park that would become a prototype for other parks all over Russia.
The park underwent substantial renovation less than a decade ago and now has two distinct portions, including a section with family-friendly amusement rides and the area that includes the Neskuchniy and Golitsynskiy gardens. In the spring, colorful flower fields fill in the background for a park that now has too many activities to count. There is plenty of boating, sunbathing, yoga, and horse riding in the summertime. Open-air ice skating under the lights in the enormous rink make Gorky Park a hot spot year-round. In warmer months, the beach area of the park’s riverbank also converts into an outdoor night club.
Just across from the park, visitors can also find the Fallen Monument Park, a collaboration of different Soviet statues and monuments that were moved there in the 1990s. Meanwhile, the neighboring Garage Museum of Contemporary Art is an excellent stop for art aficionados, as is the outdoor movie theater built on the roof of the museum. With many spots of cultural interest and a top-notch entertainment scene, Gorky Park is worthy of multiple stops during any trip to Moscow.

Other Spots Worth Checking Out

Golosov Ravine

Steeped in mysterious tales and stunning natural surroundings, Golosov Ravine is the perfect place to recharge your batteries while still absorbing interesting tidbits of Russian history and culture. Complete with a soothing brook, rolling green hillsides, and recently created pedestrian pathways, Golosov Ravine is only a 25-minute drive south of central Moscow and is a great spot for a hike. The area has also been the subject of plenty of local superstitions, myths, and legends.

Novodevichy Convent

There is no shortage of cathedrals and churches throughout Moscow, but the simple elegance of Novodevichy Convent is hard to surpass. Loosely falling under the parameters of the Moscow Baroque style, the series of buildings appeared in stages during the 16th and 17th centuries. The complex stands today as a stunning testament to Moscow’s medieval roots. Initially both a fortress and a nunnery, the convent has a range of majestic buildings worth exploring and boasts a beautiful perch along the river.
Though the mainstays of Moscow’s historic district are undoubtedly worth seeing, there are plenty of other things to do to keep you busy on a trip to the Russian capital. Countless historical sites, quirky spots, and excellent scenery make Moscow the perfect getaway.