Friday, October 12, 2012

Magical Oman: A Gateway to Arabia

With the most awe-inspiring natural landscapes under an incessant Middle
Eastern Sun, Oman offers you an enchanting experience. From vibrant old-world
culture to modern diversity, from steep mountains to beautiful wadis (valleys and
river beds), from sand deserts to spectacular beaches, from adventure pursuits
for adrenaline junkies to gentle thrills for families, Oman has it all to ensure a
fabulous Arabian holiday experience.

Muscat, the capital city, is the pulsating heart of the country. Popularly known
as "Arabia's jewel”, Muscat lies sparkling white, topped with golden minarets in the
middle of a maze of brown pleated mountains that reach down to the Arabian Sea.

The older part of the city has many forts, castles, mosques and towers dotting the
landscape. Of particular note are Jalali and Mirani Forts flanking Al Alam Palace. Among
the city highlights are the majestic architecture of the Royal Opera House beaming with
plays and performances of international stature and the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque,
the Corniche with its promenade, and the old souq of Muttrah - an ideal spot to buy
souvenirs and treasures.

Greater Muscat showcases eminent business properties, world-class highways, upscale
suburbs rooted in traditional Islamic architecture, elegant mosques, large green parks,
archaeological sites, museums and world-class hotels. The intermingling of ancient
cultural heritage and modern style allows Oman to preserve its historic character while
enjoying its contemporary spirit.

For culture buffs, Muscat is conveniently located for trips to explore the Nizwa Fort, the
400-year-old town of Al Hamra, the rocky terrain of Jebel Shams or the coastal Sur. For
families, what better way to bond together than over fun experiences like bumpy rides
on rolling sand dunes, whale and dolphin-spotting experiences or simply relaxing at a
Bedouin camp. For adrenalin junkies, Muscat is the gateway to go wadi bashing through
the Wadi Shab, sand dune bashing at the Wahiba Sands, embark on a mountain safari
through the Hajjar mountains, quad biking, trekking or caves exploring.

One of the must-visit destinations in Oman is Sur, a placid coastal town, famous for its
dhow shipyards (and presumed home of the legendary Sinbad the Sailor) with an en
route stop at the Wadi Shab.

Nizwa, with its historical buildings and imposing fort, is also famous for its souq
that sells everything from local artefacts, spices, dates, gold and silverware. See the

silversmiths hammer patterns into the hilts of khanjars. Amble through the souk for a
glimpse of the traditional Omani lifestyle.

The awe-inspiring Wahiba Sands are a vast mass of red and white sand with dunes rising
up to 150 meters. Experience life at the Bedouin camps in the desert where Bedouin
herders still wander from waterhole to waterhole.

Another must-visit is the Ras Al Jinz for turtle-watching. It the only place in the
world where you can watch the nesting process of the endangered green turtles, the
loggerhead turtle, the hawksbill turtle and the Olive Ridley turtle.

Nicknamed as the "Norway of the Middle East" because of the inlets likened to
Norway's fjords, Musandam offers amazing views of fjords in placid waters, marine life
and secluded beaches.

Oman has some of the best beaches along its 1700 km long coastline. From the placid
waves and stillness of the sea to the crashing surf and palm fringed shores of golden
sand, Oman’s pristine beaches and quiet coves with its rugged and rocky coastline are
thoroughly enthralling.

Enjoy swimming, diving, snorkeling, boating, surfing and beach combing at the popular
Qurum beach, Bandar Al-Jissah, Sawadi beach or Al Bustan beach. See the beautiful
coral reef formations and marine life whilst diving off Daymaniyat Islands or around
Muscat. The Oman Dive Centre, located at a private cove between Qantab and Barr
Al Jissah, is an ideal place for those who’d like to learn diving or take advanced diving
courses while on a holiday in the sun.

Discover Oman, a magical country in the Arabian Gulf with Mercury Travels

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Atlantis, Dubai an experience like never before


According to legend, the lost city of Atlantis was once a glorious empire founded by the sea-god Poseidon.

As you tiptoe around the maze of underground passageways and snaking tunnels, and explore the submerged boulevards and winding streets of the Lost Chambers suite, you know that you've found it.

The magnificent Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai, an extraordinary hotel situated on a palm-shaped island, is the perfect base for a desert holiday


Watch sharks, eels, seahorses, piranhas and 65,000 other species of marine life float by while you admire the lost city from your underwater bedroom.

Be spellbound by the scintillating views of the Palm Jumeirah islands and the azure Arabian Gulf outside your window.


Surrender to surging whitewater rapids, only to find yourself in a shark-infested lagoon at the Aquaventure Waterpark. Cool off in Dolphin Bay, with the friendliest dolphins ever.

Try your hand at windsurfing, sea kayaking and sailing, or just take in the action from your chaise longue on a private beach, cocktail in hand.


Enjoy an intimate dining experience at the stylish Mediterranean restaurant Ossiano, just one of 19 gourmet restaurants conjuring up delectable French, Italian, Catalan, Middle-Eastern and Japanese cuisine, including the Michelin star Ronda Locatelli and the award-winning Nobu.

Experience Dubai like never before on an incredible holiday with Mercury Travels. In this mesmerizing oasis, no surprise will be beyond your reach.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

South Australia – Your family will just go WOW!

Which adorable animal comes to your mind when you think of Australia? That’s right! Kangaroo. In South Australia, we’ve got a large, really large island called Kangaroo Island. Teeming with an incredibly diverse range of wildlife including over a million kangaroos. Wow!
To arrive at Kangaroo Island, you have to first fly into Adelaide. The capital of South Australia is also the country’s capital of food, wine and festivals! Voted Australia’s most liveable city, Adelaide is well connected with direct international and domestic flights in addition tointerstate coaches and train services. It’s a well planned city, easy to explore by foot, embracedby the sea on one side and charming hills on the other. Base yourself here to explore Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley wine region and of course, Kangaroo Island.
Cricket fans love the charming Adelaide Oval ground, home to many historic matches. And to Sir Donald Bradman’s Museum, with the legendary batsman’s personal collection of memorabilia. Come, try your luck at the casino tables of Sky City Adelaide.
Shop till you drop. In Adelaide’s centre is Rundle Mall, with more than 600 shops in its many arcades. The Harbourtown Outlet Shopping is a one-stop destination for designer brands and homeware at 60 % daily discounts. Foodies Heaven. Over 700 restaurants offer value for money Chinese, Italian, Thai, Australian and Indian cuisines. Great choice for vegetarians too. Say cheers with delicious South Australian wines. A twenty minute drive takes you up to Adelaide Hills. Visit quaint towns, full of hertitage
homes, where time has stood still. Explore historic Hahndorf German village. From top of Mount Lofty Summit, Adelaide city and the ocean lie below your feet. At Cleland Wildlife Park, cuddle a koala and feed kangaroos. What a feeling! An hour away from Adelaide, lies the picturesque, Tuscany-like landscape of the Barossa Valley. It’s the world’s most famous Shiraz wine producing region. Over 60 wineries invite you in for wine tasting. At the wine visitor centres of Jacobs Creek, Wolf Blass, learn all about how wine is made. In fact, blend your own wine at Penfolds winery. Put your name on the bottle and say cheers with friends back home. What a treat!
At Whispering Wall, whisper to your loved one 140 metres away! Visit Lyndoch Hill Rose Garden with 2000 varieties in bloom! Spend time at the Lyndoch Farm with its 60 varieties of lavender. From Menglers Hill, check out the Sculpture park and the spectacular view. One third of Kangaroo Island is protected as conservation and national parks. Imagine this. Seals basking on quiet beaches. Koalas munching on gum trees. Echidnas wandering around without a care. Kangaroos and wallabies hopping and skipping at every turn. The award winning Parndana Wildlife Park is famous for its birds. At the Kangaroo Island Penguin Centre, find out where Fairy Penguins go wandering at night.
You won’t believe your eyes when you sight Remarkable Rocks. Over the centuries, the wind and weather have carved out the most awesome sculptures from these ancient granite boulders. Nearby is Admirals Arch, from where you descend to the blue waters. Half an hour away is Seal Bay. From specially constructed platforms, listen to a large colony of Australian Sea Lions sing as they nurture their young.
Fancy a five star stay? Overlooking a dramatic coastline, Southern Ocean Lodge will welcome you. 21 luxurious guest suites, each with stylish sunken lounges, glass walled bathrooms and outdoor terraces. Plus a restaurant, bar, boutique and spa. Three and four star hotels are also available on the island. So come to South Australia. Whether you are a nature lover, gastronomic foodie, wineconnoisseur or adventure seeker. Just remember any holiday to Australia is incomplete without Kangaroo Island. It’s a place that is sure to make your family go “WOW!” Call Mercury Travels now