Friday, December 15, 2017

Train travel in Canada

Rail travel across the planet’s second largest country includes surprising, inspiring destinations. Pass peaks and prairies, spot elk, savour gourmet cuisine in the dining car, and relax to the rhythm of the rails. Ride the train to ski, see polar bears, relive gold-rush history, or just to travel in the style of a more leisurely era. Let Canada unfold before you outside the picture windows. 

Daydream as you roll past turquoise glacial lakes or through forests blazing with fall foliage. See streams and canyons no automobiles can reach. Pause and wonder how humans ever built train tracks across the Rocky Mountains as you roll along them. In urban Ontario and Quebec, take advantage of rail travel to escape the crowded airports and busy highways. On a train journey, you know “getting there” is part of the experience. 

Here are some key rail experiences across Canada.



  • Let the train transport you to the ski slopes and hiking trails of Jasper in style - from either Edmonton or Vancouver.
  • Enjoy the roller-coaster train at West Edmonton Mall during a VIA Rail layover in Alberta's capital city.
  • Feel the luxury of yesteryear on a Royal Canadian Pacific Tour from Calgary, through the Rockies to the coast and back.

British Columbia


  • Go from sea to sky - Vancouver to Whistler - in luxury aboard the Rocky Mountaineer Whistler service.
  • Get a window seat for the ride through Fraser Canyon on VIA Rail or Rocky Mountaineer.
  • Explore western Canada's rich railroad history at the Revelstoke Railway Museum.



  • Spend a few days in Winnipeg, a vibrant prairie city that exists largely because of railroad history on a cross-Canada journey.
  • Feel the railway's connection to the Prairies.
  • Take the train to Churchill to see polar bears, near Hudson Bay.

New Brunswick


  • Travel into this fascinating and Canada's only officially bilingual (French & English) province onboard the train; there is frequent service from Quebec.
  • Learn about local culture with a VIA Rail onboard interpreter on select, seasonal trains in Sleeper Plus Class.



  • Take advantage of rail transportation between Toronto and many Ontario cities and towns, including Ottawa, historic Fort Henry near Kingston, or the Stratford Shakespeare Festival
  • The train is an excellent way to travel between Canada's two largest cities: Toronto in Ontario, and Montréal in Quebec.
  • Stay a few nights in a historic railway hotel: the Fairmont Château Laurier in Ottawa or Toronto's Fairmont Royal York.



  • Take a train ride through the Montréal–Gaspé region with stops in quaint villages along the way.
  • Discover some of Quebec’s most stunning terrain and exquisite cuisine on a luxury train experience through the Charlevoix region.
  • Train instead of plane...see more along the way between major cities like Montréal and Québec City, Toronto, and Ottawa or into New Brunswick.


Travel onboard the White Pass & Yukon Route's narrow guage trains along one of the world's truly historic train routes, from Carcross, Yukon, passing briefly through British Columbia, and on to Skagway, Alaska. This is the railway that opened the Yukon to mining during the 1898 gold rush.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Abu Dhabi. An Incredible Destination.

Abu Dhabi is a matchless combination of international influences with a strong commitment to local heritage, thus creating an intriguing mix of new and old. The emirate’s rich cultural and historic heritage, exhibitions, museums and international sporting events, make it a truly international cultural destination.

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi conserves and promotes the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi emirate and leverages them in the development of a world-class, sustainable destination of distinction that enriches the lives of visitors and residents alike.  The Department manages the emirate’s tourism sector and markets the destination internationally through a wide range of activities aimed at attracting visitors and investment.

Its policies, plans and programmes relate to the preservation of heritage and culture, including protecting archaeological and historical sites and to developing museums, including the newly-opened Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the planned Zayed National Museum and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The Department of Culture and Tourism supports intellectual and artistic activities and cultural events to nurture a rich cultural environment and honour the emirate’s heritage. A key role played by the Department is to create synergy in the destination’s development through close co-ordination with its wide-ranging stakeholder base. 

Abu Dhabi is marked by captivating culture, breath-taking luxury, exhilarating adventure and the warmth of Arabian hospitality. The region consists of a total of 200 natural islands with the emirate divided into three regions, Abu Dhabi City, Al Ain Region and Al Dhafra Region. The blend of island experience, beach, heritage site and year-round activities makes this an ideal destination for every member of the family.

Feel awed by one of the world’s top landmarks – the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - take on the planet’s fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, tune out to the sound of the wind while sand boarding in Al Dhafra, and enjoy the peace and tranquility of a stroll through Al Ain's cooling oasis. Visitors have an option to experience the grandeur of the iconic Emirates Palace, Yas Viceroy and Hyatt Capital Gate. Exciting island and beachfront resorts and desert retreats and family adventures on Yas Island is an experience in itself.

Abu Dhabi is an eventful capital with an action-packed calendar, including the annual Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the World Cup of Sailing, a PGA golf championship, international art, music, sport, gourmet, heritage and cultural festivals, high profile business conferences and vibrant trade fairs.

The latest gem added to the capital is the Louvre Museum. Part of the Saadiyat Island cultural district, the museum is designed as a seemingly floating dome structure, its web-patterned dome allows the sun to filter through. The overall effect is meant to represent rays of sunlight passing through date palm fronds in an oasis.

The Department is actively involved in promoting the destination in India. Recently it organised the first-ever Abu Dhabi Week in India. It was a consumer engagement activity, wherein a technologically equipped mini Abu Dhabi was created to give a virtual experience of the Emirate.

Tourism from India to Abu Dhabi is booming with hotel guests to all three regions of Abu Dhabi increasing in total by 5% this year in September with domestic and international visitors checking in to one of the emirate’s 163 hotels or hotel apartments. India remains one of the largest international source markets with more than 250,000 hotel guests until September 2017 since the start of the year.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Top things to do in the Philippines

The Philippines being an archipelago of 7107 islands, offers countless destinations to see, adventures to experience and activities to do. The country is blessed with a rich environment, lush forests, tropical islands, white sand beaches, lakes, rivers and mountains. 

Here is a list of top things to do on a holiday in the Philippines.

See some sights

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site: Banaue Rice Terraces; the well preserved 16th century Spanish architecture in the historic town of Vigan in llococ Sur. Be awed by the Baroque-style centuries–old Churches: the San Agustin Church in Paoay in llocos Norte; the Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion Church in Santa Maria in llocos Sur; San Agustin Church in Intramuros in Manila; and the Santo Tomas de Villanueva Church in Miagao, lloilo.

Experience the smallest active volcano in the world - Taal Volcano in Batangas; the volcano with the most perfect cone - Mt. Mayon in Legazpi; the unique land formation of the Chocolate Hills in Bohol. Marvel at the endemic fauna: Tamaraw, Tarsier and Philippine Eagle.

Go on a beach holiday

The Philippines has numerous beaches most with fine powdery white sand and clean, clear and cool blue waters. Top Philippine beach locations: Boracay Island, Aklan, El Nido, Palawan, Camiguin Island and Ternate in Cavite to name a few.

Dive in Asia’s best reefs

The Philippines is Asia’s dive Capital. Its seas have the highest density of coral species and are some of the most bio-diverse and marine-rich waters in the world. Amateur divers can train and get their licenses at any of the diving training centres located in diving spots Anilao, Puerto Galera and Boracay. Once done with training, they can dive side by side with professional divers in the country’s other must-see diving spots: the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tubbataha Reef; the best wreck diving site in the world, Coronh in Palawan; Verde Island in Mindoro Oriental; and Apo Reef National Park in Mindoro Occidental, the largest atoll-like reef in the Philippines.

Engage in your favourite outdoor sport or activity

The Philippines offers a wide variety of sports adventures. Snorkel with the ‘gentle giants’ - the whale sharks - in Donsol in Sorsogon; surf in Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte, Baler in Aurora, and Daet in Camarines Sur; climb the country’s highest peak at 9,689 fee – Mt. Apo in Davao City; trek Mt. Pinatubo; or explore Callao caves in Tuguegarao in Cagayan; go kayaking at the St. Paul Subterranean Cave in Palawan; windsurf in Lake Caliraya or in Taal Lake; and wakeboard in Pili in Camarines Sur.

Feast on unique culinary specialities

Indulge in a Filipino feast. Dishes to try: Lechon, spit roast whole pig served with liver sauce; Adobo, pork, chicken or a combination of both, marinated in vinegar, soy sauce and garlic and stewed until tender; Kare-kare, meat and vegetables cooked with peanut sauce served with shrimp paste; Sinigang, pork or seafood in tamarind soup;or the freshest sea foods – fish, squid, shrimp, lobsters – grilled to perfection.

Shopping in world class malls and bargain centres


Shopping in the Philippines is an experience both in bargain and variety. Most shopping places or malls in Manila, Markati, Cebu and Davao virtually have everything that you will need – from designer western brands to items specifically designed for the city centers. Do check out the Tiangges or the Filipino version of flea markets that offer quality items at bargain prices.

Macao Light Festival 2017 - AMOR MACAU

The month of December is a very festive and vibrant time in Macao. Apart from the Macao Shopping Festival, the International Film Festival and Christmas, Macao is lit up with the spectacular Macao Light Festival through the entire month of December, which is FREE to witness for all travellers visiting the city. Come and experience AMOUR MACAU.

Macao Light Festival 2017 – AMOR MACAU was splendidly unveiled at the Ruins of St. Paul’s on 3rd December 2017, with the theme ‘Wish-Making under the Stars’. The Light Festival is staged from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily till 31st December 2017, with the last projection mapping show starting at 9:50 p.m.

Through fascinating light artistry, the event portrays the harmony in cultural diversity and touching historical stories of the city while passing on the spirit of love. The program presents projection mapping shows, light installations, interactive games and a series of new activities such as Light Art Exhibition, Outdoor Local Concert, Outdoor Movie and Light Dinner. The event promises fantastic experiences for art lovers and spectators who enjoy sharing great moments with their friends by taking selfies or checking in on social media.

The Macao Light Festival encompasses eight designated locations. Radiating from “Boundless Love” at the Ruins of St. Paul’s as the heart of the event; a total of three routes extend towards seven other locations including “Love Stems from the Heart” at Senado Square; “Playground of Lights” at Anim’Arte Nam Van until “The Maze of Flowers” at Nam Van Lake Nautical Centre; “The Lighthouse of Life” at St. Anthony’s Church and “Embrace Integration” at Camões Garden; “Mercy and Love for All” at St. Lazarus Church and Calçada da Igreja de S. Lázaro; as well as “Happy Homestead” at the Taipa Houses.

The Macao Light Festival combines elements of gastronomy, culture and creativity, by joining hands with two local catering establishments, namely Café Bonbon and JaK’s Kitchen, to present Light Dinner – an array of feasts that blend light projections and culinary delights into unprecedented dining experiences, to enliven the Festival with the creative dynamic coming from the designation of Macao as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy.

A string of other spectacular events and festivities will enliven the city this month including the 2nd International Film Festival & Awards @ Macao (8th December – 14th December), the Macau Shopping Festival (3rd December – 31st December) and the Macao International Parade (17th December), combined with the Christmas holidays and New Year’s Eve.

For the Macao Light Festival, the Macao Government Tourist Office has launched a new mobile application named ‘Macao Light Festival 2017’ which you can download from the Apple Store or Google Play Store for free. The mobile application presents festival related information, a game to collect the puzzles of love and the interactive game at the Ruins of St. Paul’s. Souvenirs are ready for game players who successfully collect sufficient pieces of the puzzles of love.

For more information about the projection mapping shows, light installations and interactive games of the Macao Light Festival, please visit