Friday, November 27, 2015

Gardens by the Bay

 “Top 10 Indoor Gardens of the World”

Featuring more than 1 million plants from more than 5,000 species.

Flower Dome & Cloud Forest

Awarded by Guinness World Record, the World’s Largest Glass Greenhouse – Flower Dome houses unique plants from 5 continents – Asia, Europe, Africa, America and Australia. The wide array of plants are featured in replicated cool and dry Mediterranean climate and semi-arid subtropical regions of the world in 9 different gardens – Baobabs and Bottle Trees, Succulent Garden, Australian Garden, South African Garden, South American Garden, California Garden, Mediterranean Garden, Olive Grove and Changing Flower Field Display. The vivid floral displays on the Flower Field are refreshed periodically to bring ever-changing horticultural experiences to visitors.

The Flower Dome sits alongside the 0.8-hectare Cloud Forest. A mysterious world veiled in mist, surrounded by over 60,000 plants and floral gems from the Tropical Montane regions. Be amazed as you come face-to-face with the world’s tallest indoor waterfall at 35 metres! Go on a trek behind the waterfall and enjoy the refreshing cool air and majestic views of the waterfall below. Descend through the surreal mist-veiled Cloud Walk and explore the 7 discovery zones – Cloud Walk, Lost World, Waterfall View, Crystal Mountain, Earth Check, +5 Degrees and Secret Garden.

Unlike most temperate greenhouses which have a warm interior, the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest are climate-controlled in a sustainable, energy-efficient manner to provide a cool environment that brings forth the concept of perpetual spring in the tropics.

OCBC Skyway & Supertrees

At a height of 22 metres and surrounded by panoramic vistas of the Gardens and Marina Bay skyline, this 128-metre long aerial walkway is an experience not to be missed. During the day, a stroll along the OCBC Skyway presents glorious photo-taking opportunities to capture the scenic beauty of the surrounding flora.

As dusk falls, the captivating Marina Bay skyline emerges and the entire area comes alive nightly with the Garden Rhapsody – a free light and sound show at 7.45pm and 8.45pm.

Christmas Toyland floral display, Flower Dome

21 November 2015 to 5 January 2016, 9am to 9pm daily, conservatory charges apply.

A brand-new Christmas Toyland floral display blooms in the coolness of the Flower Dome. This year, toys reign supreme amidst yuletide floral favourites like the poinsettia, Christmas rose, winter heather and holly.

Towering over the enchanting floral display is the centerpiece of Christmas Toyland – an 11-metre-tall Christmas Pyramid decked with toys. This multi-tiered traditional German wooden carousel will transform into a ‘live’ stage, hosting a series of festive performances for the very first time in the Flower Field.

Christmas in a whole new light

28 November 2015 to 3 January 2016

Singapore’s biggest yuletide fair, Christmas Wonderland, returns to Gardens by the Bay with more dazzling Italian Luminarie light sculptures, a European-style Festive Market, and a brand-new Christmas Toyland floral display in the Flower Dome.

Lending a festive air to the Gardens, the picturesque Luminarie light sculptures, handmade using white-wood from the south of Italy, will nestle amidst the greenery within the Golden Garden, Supertree Grove, Dragonfly Bridge and Flower Dome.

In the heart of the Supertree Grove, a majestic 24-metre-wide Spalliera will frame the Cassa Armonica gazebo, providing a stunning and enchanting backdrop. The hugely popular Blizzard Time will also return this year to dazzle the young and old, as they revel in the joy of experiencing ‘snow’ in Singapore.

European-style Festive Market

28 November to 27 December 2015

The charming European-style Festive Market, similar to those in Cologne, London and Paris, returns to the Supertree Grove. Featuring wooden huts and specially-built restaurant units, visitors will be able to shop for one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts and enjoy the wide range of international cuisine and wines from renowned food and beverage operators.

An ornate Spiegeltent, a century-old travelling ‘mirror tent’ from the Netherlands, will continue to set stage in the Gardens. Made of 1,000 pieces of wood, canvas, exquisitely decorated mirrors and stained glass, the enchanting tent promises a visual treat for visitors.

Hong Kong & Macau - Marvels of Asia

Hong Kong and Macau are fascinating destinations with intense energy and a unique mix of ancient and modern. Explore the ancient treasures and modern marvels of the exciting cities of vibrant Hong Kong and historic Macau.

Hong Kong: Your One Stop Shop

Hong Kong is located conveniently in the heart of Asia, making it the region’s most connected destination for everything. Half the world’s population is located within five hours of flying time, and it offers visa-free travel for visitors from over 170 countries. Hong Kong welcomes all Indian passport holders to stay for up to 14 days with no visa charges.

The city overwhelms you with its fascinating contrasts: the super-modern skyscrapers that sit alongside ancient temples, the juxtaposition of east and west architecture, culture and gastronomy – the strikingly different worlds that coexist and create a spectrum of experiences unlike any other city.

Hong Kong is a city of non-stop intensity that never sleeps and is full of energy.  A city with a past as long and colourful as Hong Kong’s is a haven for people who are looking to rejuvenate, relax and enjoy.

All year round, visitors flock to Hong Kong with events and festivals happening throughout the year. The Hong Kong Winter Fest that is just round the corner, where the X’mas spirit is at its highest with Christmas trees aglow amidst glittering skyscrapers and festive food followed by a spectacular New Year Countdown. The tram parties that go on long after the sun goes down along with the thrilling shopping experience during the winter sale at throw away prices, makes it a delightful destination for anyone to travel this winter. Just when the year would draw to a close, the Chinese New Year in Hong Kong is the classic way to start the year off.

There will always be a tiny bit of Hong Kong that you will carry along with you after your trip is over. This is one of the few cities that allow you to mix business and pleasure with a myriad of sightseeing, shopping, dining, arts and cultural attractions. 

Macau: Much more than Las Vegas of the East!

Macau, the only city which has a vibrant mix of Portuguese and Chinese culture is one place where you can soak in the interesting intercultural mix. With colonial buildings, urban squares, churches, museums & culinary customs, Macau has all ingredients for a perfect holiday. Lying on the western side of the Pearl River Delta, it is one of the Special Administrative Regions of China popularly known as The Vegas of the East. Blending East and West cultures into an entertainment, gaming and dining hub, Macau has tailor made itineraries for all types of travelers. 65km west of Hong Kong and just an hour by the ferry, you get to experience the duality Macau has to offer. The Visa on Arrival feature also makes it easy to hop into the city.

There is so much for a family to experience in Macau  - The City of Dreams brings the award winning US$250 million production show, – ‘The House of Dancing Water’. The storyline infuses elements of Chinese and global culture, which works as a metaphor for Macau. For adventure seekers, experience the thrill by bungee-jumping off the Macau Tower from 233m, you can also enjoying the view from its observation deck or try the sky walk. The Macau Grand Prix Museum houses best of cars and bikes & the 3D Art Museum at Sofitel with picture-perfect backdrops is perfect to click outstanding pictures. For animal lovers, Panda Pavilion houses two giant pandas Kai Kai and Xin Xin and for an educational insight, there is the Science Centre.

Loaded with excitement are the festivals that Macau hosts all around the year. Celebrate New Year the way it’s supposed to be celebrated; in style and witness the Macau, Latin City Symphony Parade on 6th December with fireworks, orchestras, flowers, amber glowing lights, dragon dances and fortune tellers. The Macau International Marathon, Macau Shopping Festival, LEGO, Grand Prix, Food and Music Festival also highlight the best of Macau.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Welcome to the World’s Largest Restaurant

Australia’s unspoilt landscapes offer an incredibly wide smorgasbord of fresh and tantalizing produce. But what really sets Australia apart is the place – stunning weather, sunshine, outstanding natural beauty and outdoor dining lifestyle means you can enjoy some of the world’s best food and wine in some of the world’s most stunning surroundings.

1.    Dining against spectacular backdrops, Sydney

Sydney is at the forefront of the global food and wine trend. It boasts a gorgeous harbour, seductive outdoor lifestyle and great natural beauty, surrounded by some of the world’s most prestigious restaurants. Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House provide a stunning backdrop.

2.    Fish and Chips at Bondi beach, Sydney

Sydney beaches have many great caf├ęs where dining by the sparkling ocean and having fish and chips is sheer delight. This quintessential Sydney destination is the perfect venue for a seafood fix.

3.    Coffee culture, Melbourne

One of Australia’s most artistic, fashionable and elegant destinations, Melbourne is a melting pot of cultures, which is reflected in its eclectic mix of restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars.

Wander the quirky web of over 180 tiny laneways and side streets, bursting with one-off fashion boutiques, art galleries and much more.

4.    Hot air balloon and champagne breakfast, Yarra Valley

The Yarra Valley is the perfect setting to experience the romance of a hot air balloon flight.

Victoria’s most beautiful wine producing region has a landscape of undulating green fields, manicured vineyards and stunning mountain ranges. Choose a romantic hot air balloon ride with a champagne breakfast to admire the awe of this Valley.

5.    Private island picnic, Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef

The Whitsunday Islands of the Great Barrier Reef are famous for their luxurious offerings, including world-class food and wine experiences ranging from decadent beach dinners to chef prepared picnic baskets. Whitsunday Island; with its crystal clear aqua waters and pristine silica sand of uninhabited White haven Beach, stretches over seven kilometres and offers breath-taking view – best experienced on a private helicopter flight.

6.    Oyster shucking, Tasmania

Freycinet Peninsula is a breath-taking scenic combination of pink granite mountains, white sand beaches and eucalypt forests, over a long stretch of pristine coastline.

Don a pair of waders and visit the Freycinet Marine Farm, a working oyster farm and sample fresh oysters from the bay with a glass of champagne.

7.    Rainforest dining experience, Cairns

Hidden within the rainforest and surrounded by dramatic candelabras and flame torches, walking in through the gates feels like stepping into a magical world. Seated under a billowing canopy, an unprecedented experience unfolds for the visitor as the most exotic cuisines are served against the surreal shimmer of the moonlit sky. The inventive cuisine showcases Tropical North Queensland’s stunning produce served to perfection

8.    Barossa Valley, South Australia

With more than 80 cellar doors and 150 wineries, the Barossa Valley is one of Australia’s oldest - and the world’s finest wine producing regions. The Barossa Valley is renowned for its fresh seasonal produce, artisan food producers and award winning restaurants. You can learn to ‘Blend You Own Wine’ at Penfolds, the internationally renowned winery.

9.    Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Take a luxury four-wheel drive across the Island and enjoy barbecue and picnic meals in the open watching kangaroos hop.

Dining at Southern Ocean Lodge is both a dynamic delight for the senses and a true gastronomic journey of the ecological haven of Kangaroo Island.

10.    Sounds of Silence, Uluru, Northern Territory

Uluru speaks of timeless folklore, rich indigenous culture and great spirituality.

Sounds of Silence offers the best of the Red Centre distilled into four magical hours with an unforgettable dining experience and an introduction to Aboriginal culture with a traditional dance performance.

JORDAN – A Land of Rich Treasures

From the teeming centre of urban Amman to the haunting starkness of Wadi Rum; from the majestic ruins of a bygone civilization in Petra to the timeless splendour of the Dead Sea; the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a land of rich treasures and stark contrasts. Experience its breath-taking sights, exquisite cuisine, unique activities and high standards of accommodation that inspire, motivate, and rejuvenate every visitor.

Rich and beautiful, Jordan has been coveted by just about every empire - from the Romans to the Byzantines, from the Ottomans to the British. Its capital city Amman combines modern living with ancient history. Situated on an area spanning nineteen hills, the city's elevation changes from 740 mts to 1400 mts.

At the very top of Amman's highest hill is the Citadel, a complex that is home to the National Archaeological Museum, the ruins of the Temple of Hercules and the Umayyad Palace. The towering pillars, ruins and museum filled with antiquities, offer a fascinating peek into the history of the region.

A modern prosperous city, Amman has fabulous dining options, a lively nightlife with everything from cultural and theatrical events to traditional Arabic entertainment, and is a great place to shop for intricate gold and silver jewellery.

A New7World Wonder and a UNESCO World Heritage, the spectacular rose-red city of Petra is Jordan’s most valuable treasure. Hewn out of solid sandstone, its buildings are carefully excavated caves that were painstakingly carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab civilization who settled there more than 2000 years ago, turning it into an important trading junction.

The entrance to Petra is through the Siq, a narrow gorge, over 1 km in length, which is flanked on either side by soaring 80 mt high cliffs. On reaching the end of the Siq you catch your first glimpse of the famed Al-Khazneh or the Treasury. Used as the final sequence of the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, this towering facade is the first of the many wonders that make up Petra. Various walks and climbs reveal hundreds of elaborate rock carved tombs, temple facades, funerary halls, and rock reliefs. High above, overlooking the valley is the gigantic 1st century Ad-Deir Monastery – a flight of 800 rock-cut steps takes you there.

The Dead Sea, the saltiest body of water, is the lowest point on the face of the earth. One of the most spectacular natural and spiritual landscapes in the world, the Dead Sea continues to entice visitors today as it did kings, emperors, traders and prophets in ancient times. The dense, rich, cocktail of salts and minerals in the water makes it so buoyant that it is impossible for you to sink.

The haunting, primeval starkness of the red-sand desert of Wadi Rum, with its maze of monolithic rockscapes that rise up from the desert floor to heights of 1750 mts, makes it a place of timeless beauty. Explore the canyons and water holes to discover 4000 year old rock drawings and the many other spectacular treasures this vast wilderness holds in store.

The ancient city of Jerash which is located 48 km north of Amman has an unbroken human history of over 6,500 years. Conquered by General Pompey in 63 BC, it came under Roman rule and was one of the ten great Roman cities, the Decapolis League. Hidden for centuries in sand before being excavated and restored over the past 70 years, it is a fine example of the grand Greco-Roman architecture comprising Hadrian's Arch, the Hippodrome, a colonnaded street, the Cathedral, the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of Artemis, North Theatre, South Theatre and the Jerash Archaeological Museum.

Check out the many hidden jewels of Jordan including Aqaba - the beautiful Red Sea holiday resort with its blue coral-filled waters that are ideal for snorkelling; Mount Nebo - the final resting place of Moses; and Madaba - the City of Mosaics.

Discover the mesmerising wonders and awe-inspiring treasures on memorable holiday of Jordan.