A Merry Marbella Christmas

A Merry Marbella Christmas

Marbella may not have snow and frost during the Christmas period but it is still a very festive place to be, with lots of activities for both kids and adults that will get you in to a merry mood. Whether you choose to spend an evening walking through the town centre taking in the Christmas lights or to take your children to Santa’s grotto, Christmas can be as magical in Marbella as anywhere else in the world.

Traditionally, Christmas time begins with the switching on of the Christmas lights in Marbella and San Pedro town centres. This year it takes place on November 27 and the special celebrations continue during the evening with Santa’s Grotto opening in both locations and hot chocolate and doughnuts being served for that sweet treat on a chilly winter’s night.

The festive events continue all along the coast throughout December, with concerts, carol services and Christmas bazaars or fayres where you can buy gifts, holiday baskets and a host of other items.

If you are in Marbella with the children, take a trip to La Cañada where they can meet the jolly, red-suited man himself from

Want beauty enhancement or surgery? Visit Alicante

Want beauty enhancement or surgery? Visit Alicante

Alicante is well-known for being a healthy place to live or go on holiday. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the region is one of the healthiest places to live, the climate is beneficial for many people and the Mediterranean diet rich in fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables, fish and olive oil is also highly-acclaimed.

Now, the Alicante region is gearing up to become a top destination for health care. The WHO also ranked Spain’s health service as seventh in the world in 2013 so health tourists can be assured they will be getting first-class treatment at top-quality clinics and hospitals.

Lengthy NHS waiting lists and the cost of private operations and treatments in the UK has led to even more people flying out to Alicante for treatments and therapies.

Mediterranean diet is great for your health

The quality of the hospitals and clinics coupled with the low cost compared to those in northern Europe are encouraging tourists and visitors to have medical treatments in the Alicante region.

Many specialists speak English, Dutch and German as well as Spanish so there won’t be any problems with the language.

Mediterranean Health Care president

Mental time travel An exclusively human capacity?

Are humans the only ones who are able to remember events that they had experienced and mentally time travel not only into the past but also the future? Or do animals have the same capacity? To a certain extent they do, according to three researchers who are contributing a new theoretical model to this long-standing discussion. They published their results in the journal Neuroscience and Behavioral Reviews.

Episodic memory is a component of mental time travel

The model developed by the three researchers Prof Markus Werning, Prof Sen Cheng (both Mercator Research Group “Structure of Memory” at RUB) and Prof Thomas Suddendorf (University of Queensland) differs from other approaches with regard to one major aspect: it suggests a new relationship between mental time travel and episodic memory. The research team assumes that mental time travel is composed of different components. “Component one are memory traces from episodic memory. That means: fairly accurate representations of personally experienced episodes, where each trace represents a particular experience, i.e. is very specific,” explains Prof Sen Cheng. Component two is the ability to construct mental scenarios; by this, the researchers mean dynamic representations of past or expected situations that are not isolated but

Ultimate Guide to Raja Ampat

Resting under the dappled shade of a solitary tree looking out over one of the most breathtaking vistas I had ever laid eyes on, I felt completely relaxed. So this is Raja Ampat, I told myself. I greedily drank in the panoramic view before me; the large sheltered bay of Wayag Island surrounded by a ring of jagged inky black cliffs that rose hundreds of feet out of the crystal clear turquoise waters.

Dozens of islands dotted the bay rising 10, 20, 30 feet into the air. The combined effects of erosion and weathering had eaten into the base of these rocky outcrops giving them an odd mushroom shape; bulbous at the top and thin and spindly at the base. It was a site that I hoped would stay with me for a lifetime, but just in case my memory failed me I decided to take a photo.

This was my fourth year in Indonesia and before I had organised this holiday, I had always believed that a trip to Raja Ampat would simply be out of my budget. Poor infrastructure and exclusive luxury resorts have created a popular image of Raja Ampat being expensive. After a week spent exploring this archipelago of

Traveling by train in Vietnam

Traveling by train in Vietnam is an experience that you will remember for a lifetime as it will show you the scenery the country has to offer as well as it will give you insight in the local way of living.

 

When visiting Vietnam it is a good way to explore and experience the country and all its wonders by taking the train. All your senses will be activated when the Vietnam locals welcome you with open arms and help you achieve the ultimate travel experience that will last a lifetime.

It will be an eye opener to see the beautiful nature scenes, local lifestyle, pristine beaches and many more. While seeing all this, not only you will be pleasantly surprised by the scent of traditional Vietnamese food, but you will also have a chance to listen to the traditional music on every street, hear the locals communicating and showing their interest in getting to know more about you. Of course when you are ready satisfy your hunger by enjoying Vietnamese cuisine and dishes on one of the stops or in the restaurant section of the train. All the above things will make your stay on the train an unforgettable. One thing

7 Choices of Full Day Bali Tours

Done a half day tour of some part of Bali?  Now you are ready for a full day out and around the Island. An early start will surprise you: you will be amazed at how early the Balinese are on the roads or at their work, always with a smile and “Where do you come from?” or “Where are you going?” After all, sunrise is about 6 a.m.

Sit back and relax in an air-conditioned vehicle from the Smailing DMC fleet. You don’t have to drive. Better still, you don’t have to find the way. Smailing Tour drivers know their way around, even the short cuts to avoid the occasional traffic jam caused by a temple ceremony and its procession of colourful devotees with their offerings. If you have to stop for one of these, just enjoy the privilege and colour and get some photos.

Ubud Art Tour

[Full Day / 7 hours / 8:30 – 15:30]

On the way up to Ubud, see Celuk’s famous silversmiths and visit Batuan (Batuan paintings), Mas and Kemenuh Villages with their signature arts and crafts (wood carving).  Visit Ubud’s Elephant Cave / Goa Gaja, see sacred monkeys in the Monkey Forest (Monkey Forest Road is one of

10 Most Popular Sights and Activities in Iceland

Iceland is internationally perhaps best known for three things; Björk, Sigur Rós and its natural beauty. The nature is full of extremes. You’ll see lush farmland next to a black sand desert or a moss-covered lava field, boiling hot springs next to an icy glacier.

There are a few natural phenomena in Iceland that just about everyone wants to see, and rightfully so! If you’re planning your first trip to Iceland, the list below is a good place to start.

1. The Golden Circle (South Iceland)

There are three main sights on this grand tour of Icelandic nature:

  • There’s the massive “Golden” waterfall Gullfoss, which flows with a sublime force into the canyon below.
  • Five minutes from there you’ll find the geothermal hot springs of the Geysir area, where Strokkur triggers shouts and amazement of tourists every 5-8 minutes with eruptions of hot water.
  • Last but not least there’s the national park of Þingvellir, where the Icelandic parliament was founded by vikings in 930. There you can get to know the history of Iceland as well as the geology of the tectonic plate boundaries.

If you don’t feel like renting a car and driving yourself, you have many different kinds of tours of the Golden Circle to choose from.

Lombok the New Attraction

Lombok the New Attraction

Development in South Lombok

Lombok is a gem in the Indonesian archipelago situated just 32km East of Bali. It has a rich and colourful background of Sasak, Balinese and Bugis cultures and offers the tourist a mix of verdant tropical backdrops, kilometre upon kilometre of rice paddies, high volcanic mountains, fine white sandy beaches lapped by crystal clear water and some of the world’s finest surf breaks and diving spots. The lure of Lombok is in its description “like Bali 30 years ago.”  Little islands known as Gilis are dotted around the coast. Most have no motorised transport, providing a tranquil setting for quiet holidays “far from the madding crowd”.

However the best of Lombok is found on the south coast, miles of unspoiled beaches with secluded coves and dramatic rocky headlands. Mandalika Resorts Area in Kuta uses these spectacularly beautiful spots as the backdrop to an enchanting resort complex of global appeal. An adjacent conservation area of 3000 hectares is home to many of the indigenous species of Nusa Tenggara. A system of trails and guideposts will open the area for hiking, bicycling, and other low-impact activities.

Preparing for a night

NAGAINDO

We started four years ago with three co-founders. Today NagaIndo has grown to a 12-man team and a full scale land developer.

NagaIndo is opening up a range of opportunities in Lombok for clients and investors – encouraging and supporting them in the challenge of turning their development visions into reality. Jean-Marc Reynier is the CEO and founder of NagaIndo and he is full of enthusiasm and positive energy as he talks about the company, about Lombok itself and how their futures are linked.

Hello Jean-Marc, tell us more about NagaIndo.
The word Naga means dragon. It’s a symbol of strength, so it’s a good choice for our company. The dragon is also on our logo, which goes from blue to green – the same colours you can see all around here in the vegetation and the sea. Indo is what the surfing world calls Indonesia and its thousands of surf breaks – so there’s another connection. NagaIndo encourages investment and development in Lombok.  There are plenty of opportunities for investors here but it’s important to know how to choose the best ones. We are a private equity company – performance oriented, and very efficient. We also have a strong commitment to

Boogie with Skydive Algarve this Autumn

Love to Boogie? You do! Well how about a Skydive Boogie from 14,000 feet?

If you’re a seasoned skydiver, or have always wanted to know how it feels to fly like a bird, what better place to jump than into the blue skies of the Algarve, where you can take in some of the most spectacular views in Europe.

From the 19th September to 18th October you can be among the 300 or so skydivers taking part in Skydive Algarve’s Autumn Boogie. Renowned skydivers such as Pete Allum, Ian ‘Milko’ Hodgkinson, Silan Stokes, Ally Milne, Amy Chmeleki, Kim Tornwall and Chris France, will be joining hundreds of keen skydivers from England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Spain and other areas of Portugal, to take part in this fantastic skydiving festival.

Jumping at 14,000 feet

You don’t have to go it alone

Whether you’re a skilled skydiver or a novice, Skydive Algarve’s expert team will make sure you have the best possible experience. If you don’t fancy going it alone, you can opt for a tandem skydive, where you’ll be harnessed to a qualified instructor and enjoy 60 seconds of fabulous freefall, before your instructor flies you back down to earth. What’s more, if

A stay in Dalat

During the 1890’s French physician Alexandre Yersin famously declared a resort be built at the location of modern day Dalat. At a height of 1500m above sea level, Dalat the easily wins the title of “the honeymoon capital of southern Vietnam” and most young girls yearn for the lush flower gardens, peaceful lakes, dense pine forests and the cool weather that promotes sharing body warmth with your loved one. The romantic city, 300km from Ho Chi Minh City, even has its own Eiffel Tower (it’s actually a similar looking radio tower) admired by throngs of local and foreign tourists each year.

French Villa

Funnily enough, the resort town of Dalat was originally intended to be for French colonials only, as an escape from the sweltering coastal cities – they hastily built health spas, a golf course, parks, schools, hotels and lavish homes but no industry. The modern day population of 200,000 humble inhabitants look back at it’s past with pride and embraces its European flavour and remnants of the early 20th century town can easily be found. A little distance outside the town centre you’ll see dozens of French Villas and homesteads still scattered throughout the surrounding hills. Some are a little

10 Days in North Bali

Well, just back from 10 days in North Bali and I read there is an exhibition “featuring the stunning pearls of Bali-based Atlas Pearls. The show focuses on the exquisite pearls farmed in North Bali.” And the exhibition is in……South Bali, at a famous hotel on Tanjung Benoa.

After associating with the lovely people of North Bali for 10 days, I am quite taken aback. Should these products of North Bali not be displayed in North Bali and potential buyers taken up there to see them? The Autore Group in Lombok have a magnificent display in their shop situated on a pier jutting out into the sea, and right on the tourist route up the north-west coast.

I suppose the fact that there are only a few 5 Star hotels up in the North puts some people off. Most are locally owned by very hospitable people, and quite unpretentious. There are few night clubs thumping out “music” until the wee hours but not once did we see any tourists in anything more formal than shorts or local garb. North Bali is pretty laid-back, and as a notice we spotted says, It’s “lekker” meaning it’s enjoyable, in the nicest possible ways.

That’s the essence of

Lovina Water Sports

One can be forgiven for thinking that water sports in North Bali-Lovina means going out at 6 am to see the dolphins. After all, most tourists associate Lovina with dolphin viewing. However, there is much more going on beneath the surface.

Lovina does not have the best reefs in Bali but fish life is diverse and abundant. Lovina’s sea is often said to resemble a lake because it is so calm. This means safe snorkelling just off the beach and it is a great place to learn the basics of scuba diving. Lovina is equidistant from Bali’s two finest diving areas –Menjangan Island in the west and Amed in the east. Some professional dive operators in Lovina and environs offer regular dive trips to these areas as well as Lovina’s own reefs. Adirama Resort offers diving off its local reef at the site of an old pier. There is reputed to be an old stone anchor with the letters VOC; not Very Old Coral, but Vereenigde Oostindische Companie (Dutch East Indies Company) whose ships used to moor here at one stage.

Here are some of almost a dozen dive companies in the area.

Bali Spice Dive was the first PADI Dive Center in

The Blue Voyage Cruise of the Aegean Coast

The Blue Voyage Cruise of the Aegean Coast

Sailing the Turkish Riviera

If you want to truly experience the holiday of a lifetime, there could be no better choice than to hire a Turkish gullet boat and depart on the Blue Voyage cruise of the Turkish Riviera. The Turkish Riviera is also referred to as the Turquoise Coast of Turkey due to the calm, blue sea waters of the Mediterranean and Aegean coastline. Make no mistake, this is one of the best things to do on the Aegean Coast.

Cruising along the coastline and docking into secluded bays or famous historical sites is just one of the ways in which a Blue Voyage cruise provides you with unique holiday memories that you will treasure for the rest of your life. In this article, we take a look at the Blue Voyage Cruise of the Turkish Riviera to find out why it is becoming a popular holiday choice for many.

Blue Cruise

Your accommodation

Your accommodation on the Blue Voyage cruise is a traditional Turkish gullet boat which is a hand-made boat using expert craftsmanship and techniques to produce an amazing sailing vessel that will also be your transportation on your

7 Selected North Bali Hotels

Adirama Beach Hotel Lovina – Absolute Beachfront  ****.*
Adirama Beach Hotel can be classed as a “Family Hotel” in the true sense of the word. It was rescued from an abandoned state after the Bali bombings of 2002 by Hollander Ruud van Ginkel and brought back to life with an enthusiastic team, most of whom have been with Adirama since it was re-opened. Then there is a great family atmosphere at the restaurant and around the pool. The hotel is almost full most months due to returning guests who have had a good time on their last visit(s).
The hotel rooms are on 2 levels in 2 blocks. The delightful restaurant directly overlooks the ocean and the old pier where VOC ships used to moor. Dolphin viewing trips leave from the beach daily, and there is a range of diving options available via the concierge, as well as tours of local attractions.
The inviting pool is a central meeting place for families when not at the restaurant, on the beach or on an organized tour or fishing trip.
Raja Suite at Adirama Beach Hotel consists of the seaside view and the mountain-view. When rented out to 2 people they will have access to the

12 Surprising Facts About Icelandic Volcanoes

12 Surprising Facts About Icelandic Volcanoes

We Bet You Didn’t Know These Facts About the Most Volcanic Place on Earth

1.     Iceland is one of the most volcanic places on earth. Iceland has about 150-200 volcanoes, dormant or active. This is because it’s situated on the creatively named “Iceland Plume” between the tectonic plates of America and Eurasia. Tectonic boundaries exist all over the earth, feeding fresh magma to the surface, and they create for instance Hawaii and Reunion island, but by far the biggest island caused by this process is Iceland!

2.     Iceland is divided in two by volcanoes. The east of the island is on the Eurasian tectonic plate, and the West is on the American one. In fact, Iceland also has a “micro-plate” in between the other two, all to itself.

NOTE: Not an actual photo. Iceland is not constantly on fire. (It’s only on fire SOME of the time.) (Image Credit: The Volcano House)

3.     Iceland’s volcanoes are running east! There are 22 active volcanoes in Iceland, of which 13 have erupted since the Vikings settled here in 874. The exact number of volcanoes is a little tricky to pin down,

The Real Bush Experience

The Real Bush Experience ( Part 1)

 Safaris are great! The best ones are in the middle of “nowhere” amidst nature, far off paved roads.

Safaris are great! The best ones are in the middle of ‘nowhere’ amidst nature, far off paved roads. Zimbabwe and Botswana are excellent choices for the real feel & authentic bush experience. We have to admit it might not always be cheap to get into the deep wilderness, but definitely worth it!

The Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve and Savuti in Botswana as well as Hwange National Park, Matusadona and Mana Pools in Zimbabwe are just some of many great destinations in Southern Africa. There are numerous camps for (almost) all budgets. It can be a pretty difficult decision which one to choose as each and every single one is unique.

How to get into the wilderness?
Guests can either drive to the camps or – much more exciting and comfortable – fly in. We would even say a flight in one of the small charter bush planes is a must! Most of them have space for at least 6 passengers but will not carry more than 12 and surely no more

Costa del Golf

Often nicknamed the Costa del Golf, the coast in Southern Spain is no doubt one of the best places to play golf in Europe. You may think we’re biased in some way, and you might be right, but don’t just take our word for it, with more than 100 courses to choose from, we’re sure you’ll find one to love – if not more!

On your journey from the airport, you’ll notice the coast is littered with courses, each one different to the next, but all equally as beautiful. The climate here is perfect for spending a day on the course, we are blessed with more than 300 days a year of glorious sunshine – perfect conditions for a round or two. And don’t for one minute think that these are exclusively or predominantly male orientated courses, there’s plenty on offer for the ladies and kids too.

Many of the courses on the coast are proud to be championship courses, having held prestigious golf tournaments like the hotly contested Ryder Cup at Valderrama in 1997, and even some being designed by the pros themselves. So you can be pretty chuffed with yourself if you make it round 18 holes only being a few

Discovering Paradise in Bali & the Gili Islands

There are over 17,000 islands in Indonesia, but Bali stands out from the rest.  We came in search of peace and relaxation, the perfect wave, and a slice of unspoilt paradise. Bali has all these in spades, though we quickly discovered the key is knowing where to look.

Bali has changed a lot in the last few decades since it was ‘discovered’ by traveling hippies in the 1970s, paving the way for its reputation as a laid-back island paradise.  Surfers followed soon thereafter, helping develop the south into a surfer’s paradise.  What was once jungle is now is developed into large, all-inclusive resorts, each of them marketing their own particular brand of paradise.  It was hard to know where to start.

Luckily, our local My Destination reps had some recommendations: they helped us find a slice of tranquility at the Alila Ubud Bali, an understated eco-resort tucked between rows of rice paddies and a lush jungle valley.  After five months on the road it was the perfect place to unwind and regain our energy.

Rice paddies in Ubud next to Alila Ubud

We began with one of their signature massages: an ayurvedic oil massage followed by traditional Balinese massage, after which we would

Floating Leaf in Best Bali Hotels

A very gracious and kind article was recently published about Floating Leaf and we’re blushing. We wanted to share it with you as so many of you are directly responsible for this esteemed honor. We congratulate all of you and our dedicated staff for helping make Floating Leaf Eco-Luxury Retreat one of the best hotels in Bali. According to Trip Advisor, the travel industry’s premier customer rating and review platform, Floating Leaf is considered among the Top 5 of over 1,000  Bali hotels, surpassing some luxury brands like the St. Regis, Hyatt, Oberoi and Four Seasons.

We’d like to take this opportunity to personally deliver an enormous “Thank you” to all our guests for your wonderful 5-star reviews. Without these, we would not have achieved such prominence. Taking the time to write a public review of your stay with us is appreciated more than you could imagine. Some of you have even taken the time to describe, in great detail, your specific experiences. We are humbled by your kindness.

Our goal at Floating Leaf is to exceed each guest’s expectations by paying attention to specific individual needs. We work hard at ensuring that nothing is overlooked, and no one works harder than

Restaurant review

Restaurant review for October ...

Restaurant review …

Review by My Destination Melbourne’s roving food and venue critic Iain Jenkins. The restaurants featured were unaware the review was taking place.

Like all good menu’s, there should be variety and something for everyone.

With this in mind then, we’re pleased to bring you the restaurant reviews for last month and not only variety but no matter where you are in the South East of Melbourne, you’re not far from one of the selected venues hightlighted for October.

Enjoy the read and if you indulge, then let us know. Leave a comment on or Facebook page, we’d love to hear from you.

Kirks on the Esplanade

Kirks on the Esplanade Mornington is a great place to spend some time. It is bright and airy with great views of the bay. The staff are fantastic, the manager Roxy is so enthusiastic, it’s contagious.

The food is excellent and I opted for the special of slow cooked beef ribs. They were perfectly cooked to the point that the meat fell off the bone. My daughter had what can only be described as the biggest Parma I have ever seen