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Visiting Greece

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Greece is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations – ranking in the world’s top 20 countries. The country’s beaches and reliable sunny summer weather coupled with its nightlife, historical sites and natural beauty are what attract tourists. Let’s have a look at some of the more prominent places to see or do when visiting Greece:

Athens City Sightseeing : This enchanting capital of Greece has loads to offer with its many modern and classical sites. Its wonderful culture makes the city a centre for philosophy, learning and the arts. From Acropolis and Parthenon, Tower of Winds, Panathinaikos Stadium to the New Royal Palace, to the Temple of the Olympian Zeus and Zappeion Gardens, you’ll see why Greece is such a tourist top spot.

Zakynthos: For beaches, sun and relaxation, Zakynthos is your place. The island, named after Zacynthos, son of legendary Arcadian chief Dardanos has a thriving tourism industry. Its northern and eastern shores contain numerous wide sandy beaches that are always packed with tourists in summer months. One amazing small beach here in the north is the Xigia beach that has underwater springs rich in sulphur, giving it a characteristic odour.

Santorini: Santorini is famous for its dramatic view – with the island essentially the remains after an enormous volcanic explosion. It is also famous for its stunning sunsets from Oia town, its strange white aubergine, the town of Thira and naturally its very own active volcano.

There are also naturally fantastic beaches such as the beach of Perissa, the black pebble beach of Kamari, white beach and red beach. The Greek island of Santorini also beckons visitors to explore the beautiful Aegean waters framed by steeped cliffs rising hundreds of feet skyward.

Mykonos Island Tour: It is probably the most popular Greek island due to its cosmopolitan atmosphere, its nightlife and gay community, as well as its magnificent golden sandy beaches with transparent waters. Besides these, Mykonos Island also has small white painted houses lined in paved alleys and hundreds of little family churches.

All in all, Greece is such a beautiful place that one should visit at least once during one’s lifetime. It has so much to offer to say the least.

 

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10 Quick Facts about New Zealand

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Here are ten quick facts about New Zealand:

1. Voted the ‘ best travel destination‘ by Lonely Planet two years in a row!

2. Invented bungee jumping.

3. Car-crazy – Only about 2% of New Zealanders make their journeys by bus and less than 1% by rail.

4. Around a sixth of cars are more than 16 years old.

5. New Zealand is the first country in the world to see each new day.

6. Had no predatory animals prior to European arrival, making it a paradise for birds – many of them flightless.

7. The first country to give women the right to vote.

8. Home to the largest flightless parrot (kakapo), oldest reptile (tuatara), biggest earthworms, smallest bats, heaviest insect (a weta), some of the oldest trees and many rarest species birds, insects, and plants, in the world.

9. There are nine sheep to every human in New Zealand.

10. Shark and Tatties (pronounced “shark and tay-tees”) is the New Zealand slang term for fish and chips.

That’s our list. Now your turn to share us facts you know about New Zealand in the comment section below!

 

 

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EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine – You as a Tourist and a Football Fan

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EURO 2012, Poland-UkraineIf you were to ask me today what the most gratifying way of spending my little hard-earned money will be – it’s definitely to watch the EURO 2012 in the flesh! Yes, all you football fans out there, you know what I mean. Don’t like football? No worries, read on…we’ll have you convinced…  

The ongoing (8 June – 1 July, 2012) UEFA European Football Championship or simply Euro 2012 in short, is being jointly hosted by Poland and Ukraine – with the tournament being played across eight venues, four in each host country. Aside from venues, the host nations have also invested heavily in improving infrastructure, such as railways and roads.

So what does that mean? Killing two birds with one stone; win-win situation and all that… I know we hate clichés too! As a football fan, the tournament is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of this experience – new stadiums, the atmosphere and the whole bit really!  Especially if you are from any of these countries – Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Germany – that have reached the Semi-Finals stage – what are you waiting for? Stop being an armchair pundit, be there already – show your patriotism by supporting your country and basically go have fun. Go paint that face of yours with the colour of your national flag, stand tall and be there rooting for your country. And the best souvenir you can ever have out of this is your used/old ticket that will give you the bragging right down the years – ‘I was there when we won the Euro Cup!’ Believe me; you won’t regret being part of this!

As a traveller, it’s the right time too to be travelling to the two cities; you can’t possibly have a better time of seeing these two countries at their best – with new infrastructure and facilities, the tournament has been a catalyst of many changes. Developments range from new airport terminals to spanking new hotels and renovated and re-equipped accommodations that are set to enhance the tourism appeal of both destinations for decades to come. With a whole lot of people from different countries coming together for the tournament, this is the perfect way of meeting new people from all across Europe as well. And of course why not go sight-seeing when not watching the match? There are many places to see in Poland and Ukraine.

Royal Castle, WarsawPoland: Whether you take a sightseeing tour, visit the concentration camp or the Auschwitz – Birkenau Tour, Krakow City Sightseeing Tour or to Tatra Mountains and Zakopane – there are interesting places aplenty!

Ukraine: Each Ukrainian town boasts a lot of cultural attractions; from the Crimea to the Carpathian Mountains, castles and churches, palaces and museums, and stretches in several cities where virtually each building is an architectural monument – we are sure there are interesting places for you to enjoy!

Let us know how you enjoy your visit – the places you see, and of course share us your experiences if your country brings home the trophy, in the comments section below.

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A Chance to Win the New iPad!

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Ladies and gentlemen,

We really love our readers and the awesome support that you have shown us over the years. So this is the best thing we could do for you to show our appreciation.

Yes, we’re giving away a 3rd generation iPad to one fortunate reader! Why buy a new iPad when you can get one absolutely FREE?

All you have to do is LIKE us on our Facebook page*. That’s it! The winner will be announced on 1st August, 2012.

Hurry! Check out our Facebook page for more details…

*Terms & Conditions apply.

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Exploring Vietnam

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Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Nobody had really thought of Vietnam as a tourist destination, until the early 1990s when people have awoken up to discover what a hidden gem of an attraction it really is. Vietnam is truly blessed with soaring mountains, dramatic coastlines, bold landscapes, green rice fields, exotic temples and pagodas, sandy beaches and thatched bamboo huts. It also has a vibrant culture and tradition. In short, Vietnam has it all!

Places to See in Vietnam:

Hoi An, Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City are all interesting cities to visit.

Hue: Hue (pronounced ‘hway’) is the ancient capital of Vietnam and has many historical sites that are very much worth-visiting. If you are a history or culture buff, Hue is your place – you can rent a bike and ride all around inside the Citadel, the Imperial City.

Ho Chi Minh City: Saigon, as it is more commonly called locally, is the largest city in Vietnam and has many sites to see – the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, War Remnants Museum, Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Notre Dame Cathedral and Culture Park.

Hanoi: Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam is another very interesting city that provides  rich traditional culture and charming landscapes – with many lakes and trees. Check out the Old Town (36 streets).

Hoi An: Da Nang, in Hoi An town has a nice, calm view. You can also sun bath at Cua Dai beach. There is an estimated 300 to 500 tailors working in this awesome city, making it a fashionista heaven.

For other specific attractions, lying west of Ho Chi Minh City is Mekon Delta – well-known for its rice fields, sleepy villages, orchards and canals. A cruise on Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site will also surely amaze you with its thousands of islands and rocks of different shapes and sizes. For beach lovers, Phu Quoc Island has a natural white-sand beach with fresh seafood; and Nha Trang, located about 10 hour by train from Ho Chi Minh City is another beach city.

Affordability :

A trip to Vietnam will definitely not cost you a bomb; things are pretty cheap here. In fact, it is considered one of, if not the best value destination by many tourists. You can pack light and buy hats, flip-flops and T-shirts in the city itself for next to nothing, which you can toss when you are finished with the trip.

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Learning While Holidaying – Having the Best of Both Worlds

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Vineyard in the Hunter Valley

Vineyard in the Hunter Valley

Most of us think that Holidays are just that – Holidays – something that is essentially an escape from all things learning, or a break from work. True as it is, have you ever thought of having a fun, learning time while being on a Holiday? Yep, it is possible to actually have your cake and eat it too! All you need to do is just know how to mix and match!

Hunter Valley Tour and Wine Appreciation Course: We all love our wines. But how many of us really know anything behind our much-loved companion? This tour gives you the chance to learn everything you have always wanted to know about wines. Located just 2 hours drive North of Sydney, Hunter Valley Tour is one of Australia’s greatest and oldest wine areas. The ‘Introduction to Wine Appreciation’ course will increase your knowledge of wine – the styles, techniques and how to blend your own wine. You can also enjoy private wine tastings here.

Cadbury Chocolate Factory Tour with River Cruise: Now how about a Cadbury factory tour for the sweetest tour in town! Located in Hobart, Australia, this Chocolate factory tour lets you learn about the history of the company and its tireless quest for chocolate perfection. You can also get Cadbury products at discount prices. What’s more? The tour also includes a peaceful 90-minute cruise back to Hobart on the tranquil waters of the Derwent River.

Balinese Cooking Lesson with Market Visit Tour: A heaven for food lovers, Balinese Cooking Class will teach you all you need to know about Balinese cuisine. At this one-day cooking class, you will learn the authentic cooking techniques and become familiar with the fresh herbs, spices, and other ingredients that make Balinese food so delightfully tasty and nutritious.

New Orleans Cooking and History Tour: Another foodie’s dream trip, this tour lets you learn famous Louisiana-style Cajun and Creole dishes from top chefs and provides you free cookbook from the New Orleans Cooking School. The best part of this tour is that it is a flexible package, which means you could spread the activities over a period of time, rather than doing all in one day.

So, choose any (or all!) tour from the above options and enjoy your holidays. Bring back something valuable and lasting that increases your knowledge and experience from your holiday this time!

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Top 5 Asian Beach Tours of 2012

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How about a quick get-away this Easter holidays by hitting the beaches? And enough of the Spain sun this or Spain that; or other European destinations for that matter. Why not hit the wild Asian beaches for a change? Below are the top 5 Asian Beach Tours we have selected for you this summer 2012:

Gili Trawangan; Credit: Jeda Villa Bali

  1. Gili Trawangan, Indonesia: One of the three Gili Islands, Gili Trawangan is situated in northern Lombok. The place has become easier to reach thanks to speedboats that cover the journey from Bali in 90 minutes. Here, you can go snorkelling in its sparkling clear waters or soak up the sun.  It also provides excellent opportunities for underwater photography.
  2. Koh Larn and Pattaya, Thailand :  Located in the gulf of Thailand, Koh Larn has a warm, inviting sea with silver-sand beaches. And at the beautiful seaside resort of Pattaya, you can explore the colourful coral reefs, go snorkelling, scuba diving, windsurfing, skiing and para-sailing.
  3. Goa Beach, India: Another awesome beach escapade, Goa Beach in India is famous for its sun-kissed beaches and exotic sea food. Lay back and enjoy the calm and beauty of the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, whilst sipping coconut water.
  4. Phang Nga Bay and Lawa Island Cruise, Thailand: Also known as James Bond Island for being featured in the James Bond Film, ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’, Phang Nga Bay is bounded by Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi provinces of Thailand, and covers more than 100 islands. You can enjoy swimming and snorkelling, or/and sunbathing at the beautiful Lawa Island.
  5. Pa-La-U Waterfalls, Thailand: A 15-level waterfall along a creek stretching out to the Burmese border, the Pa-La-U waterfalls is the ideal destination for a perfect family get-away. The waterfall is surrounded by a forest of over a thousand years old and is filled with rare wild animals as well.

So, what are you waiting for? Book your tickets now and explore the wild Asian Beaches this Easter!

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REFER FRIENDS AND EARN CASH!

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As ever, we are committed to rewarding you for being a loyal customer with us – simply refer your friends to isango! and get up to £50* cash back from us! What’s more? Your referred friends will also get 7% discounts on their booking; making it a win-win situation for you and your friends! Get saving whilst spending!

How Does It Work?

Once you have confirmed a booking with us, you will be given an option on your confirmation page to refer a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 10 friends to isango! Your referred friends will then be emailed the discount code which will give them a 7% discount on their first booking with us.

How Do You Get Your Reward?

As soon as three of your referred friends have made a booking using their discount voucher, and have taken their tour, you will be promptly sent an email where you can choose any of the three options with which we would deliver our promise to you.

There’s no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn, so earn every time you book with us! Terms & Conditions apply*.

TERMS & CONDITIONS:

  1. This offer is not applicable to bookings which have already been made.
  2. Referred friends should not be existing isango! customers. You will be alerted at the time of entering your friends’ email addresses if they are existing customers.
  3. Discount codes are not applicable on any products that are already discounted.
  4. Only one discount code can be used per booking.

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To be in Edinburgh during its Edinburgh Festival

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It is worth gearing up for, for the annual August festival of Edinburgh; which is also the largest annual cultural festival in the world. There are just so many things you can do at this time; with foreigners descending to the streets, the city is buzzing. In short, there is a lot of cheer and excitement everywhere.

The Edinburgh Festival is a collective term for many arts and cultural festivals put on by various unrelated organisations and are therefore officially separate events, but regarded as the same event as a whole, as it’s all taking place at the same time. There are so many festivals you’ll enjoy; out of which the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe are the largest and original components of the festival. I personally love the Military Tattoo and the buzz and excitement I had in the Princes Street garden waiting for the fireworks display to start and setting up my camera to capture the night.

Fireworks on display

Fireworks on display

Edinburgh International Festival: This festival of performing arts takes place over three weeks from around the middle of August; and includes top class performers of music, theatre, opera and dance from all around the world. It also hosts a series of visual art exhibitions, talks and workshops.

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo: Don’t be misled by the term ‘tattoo’ here. There is no ‘ink’ involved : -) but rather it is used to describe the ceremonial form of evening entertainment performed at the esplanade of Edinburgh castle each year by Military musicians that composed of British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International Military bands. It is Scotland’s best-selling spectacle and so is not a surprise that tickets for this big event is always sold out in advance; hence the need to be alert about it couple of months prior to the event. The Tattoo activity will entertain you with its high-tech illumination, imaginative graphics, thundering sounds of drums and bagpipes, impressive marching and specially commissioned fireworks.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe (or simply The Fringe): The Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival. It is an unjuried festival, meaning there is no selection committee and therefore any type of performance can participate; and includes a street fair which is located on the Royal Mile. Other shows include Music, Dance & Physical Theatre, Musicals and Opera, and Children’s shows, in addition to assorted Events and Exhibitions.

Other popular festivals include iFest, Edinburgh Comedy Festival, Edinburgh Interactive Festival, Edinburgh People’s Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh Mela, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh Art Festival and a whole lot more. Enough of reading and hearing about it; only when you have been a part of this big event can you say you have really seen the best of Edinburgh!

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Soaking up winter sun in the Canary Islands

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Chilly foggy weather, shorter days, looming dark evenings – just plain cold and depressing! Could we all do with a bit of sunshine this winter to get us through until spring; and what better place for a family holiday than the Canary Islands to do just that! It is close to the UK, meaning low-cost travel; and for guaranteed heat where rain is rare during winter and where temperatures range between 20 and 30 degrees, it is a no-brainer. The Canaries can also provide you with that sought-after summer tan in January.

Costa Teguise, Canary Islands

Costa Teguise

With a whole lot of beaches to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect location from the choice of beaches the Canary Islands have to offer. Miles of golden sands are the greatest attraction of Fuerteventura, while the beaches at Costa Teguise in Lanzarote are man-made and are a firm favourite for the windsurfing community. If naturist/nudist type of beaches is your thing, Tenerife’s Santa Cruz, San Miguel, Granadilla beaches are for you. However, if you are like me looking for less-visited and quiet islands, the islands of La Palma or La Gomera are ones to check out for!

Of course, some of the islands have more than just beaches. You can’t miss the Teide National Park in Tenerife, the highest peak in Spain. Or, you can take the family to the Camel Safari and Oasis Animal Park near Costa Calma in Fuerteventura. There are just simply loads of other things you can do on the Canary Islands; beaches, nature, wildlife, nightlife, restaurants, culture, activities and many more – you have it all here. My only regret is I didn’t have enough time!

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