Archive for April, 2011

North Cyprus Brief Travel Guide



North Cyprus is a place full of magic; fully deserving the title of “Pearl of the Mediterranean”. It is a rich and colourful tapestry of unspoilt natural beauty, ranging form sparkling crystal clear waters and golden beaches to fields carpeted by wild flowers in the Spring and the pine ciad heights of the Besparmak Mountains.For centuries Cyprus has been influenced by the cultures of many different Nations which has led to an island with a rich and diverse historical and architectural heritage. From Soli and Vouni in the West, Arab ahmet Pasha Mosque in Lefkosa to Salamis and the site of Apostolos Andreas in the East there is much to reflect 9.000 years of civilisation.




A wide range of accommodation is offered, ranging from 5 star Hotels, Hotel-Bungalows and Hotel-Apartments toCamping and Self Catering Apartments and Villas.




The beaches of Northern Cyprus are among the cleanest and safest in the Mediterranean. The average water temperature is 24°C between May and October. The Summer Season seas the Hotel Beaches offering an excellent service to their customers in terms of eating end drinking facilities, not failing to mention the provision of beach umbrellas and beach loungers. Some of these beaches will also offer activities such as water skiing, banana rides, jet-ski. wind surfing and scuba diving.




Please drive on the left. Traffic and road signs are Intematlonal. Maximum speed is 100 km./hr. Vehicles entering Northern Cyprus must be insured upon arrival.




This service is available in all main towns and large hotels. A British or International Driving License is required. Rental cars have red number plates.




The international phone code for North Cyprus is 00 90 392 followed by the local Cypriot number. Public Telephone booths are available and (telephone cards can be purchased from the Telecommunications office.




The outgoing postal system is reliable. Incoming mail must have “Mersin¬10, Turkey” and not ‘Northern Cyprus’ at the end of the address. The history 01 the postal service in Northern Cyprus will definitely be of interest to all philatelists.




A good, inexpensive network of busses and mini-busses operates between all the main towns in addition there are Dolmus (Shared Taxi’s) operating on the same routes. Taxis are widely available and do carry a meter, however, there are standard prices for standard journeys.




Tourist information offices are available in all the major towns. Tour guides. Hotel Receptionists, Taxi drivers and the locals are also a good source of information.




A large selection of restaurants exists, ranging from the humble Corbaci (Soup House), where truly ethnic cuisine is served, to fashionable French, Chinese and Indian Cuisine Restaurants. Prices vary accordingly. There are also a number of excellent Cypriot Cuisine restaurants which offer very good value for money.




A wide range is available to suit all tastes, serving local beers, raki, brandy and of course imported alcohol. A must is the National cocktail, a Brandy Sour.

Alireza Aleali

Malta & Gozo Cruise and Vacation Tips

Malta and Gozo iare sister islands located in the southern part of Europe and almost in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Gozo is one of the islands that make up the Maltese archipelago. Many people visit that archipelago to enjoy the sights of medieval and ancient structures still standing all over Malta, take a dip in one of many sandy beaches with clear waters or go scuba diving and snorkelling. Before heading out to the Maltese islands, there are a few things you need to remember to make sure your trip will be as hassle free as possible.


It is possible to get rent cars in Malta and Gozo, however you will be driving to British convention. This means that the cars steering wheel is located on the right and you will need to keep left on the road. There are public vehicles you can take like the bus, but you have to check its schedule. The people of Malta and Gozo are also very friendly; you can try hitchhiking to get around town.

You can also ride the ferry to get across the different islands of Malta. The ferry departs the harbour every 45 minutes and is usually free if you are going from Malta to another island, though you will be charged for riding the ferry back to Malta.


The Maltese cuisine is influenced by its neighbour Italy, particularly Sicily. The local dishes in Malta also tell something about the history of the archipelago having been influenced by British, Moorish and Spanish cuisine.

Gozo is called the breadbasket of Malta because of its fertile soils therefore, you can be guaranteed that the ingredients in the food you eat in Gozo are fresh. One food you should try when you are in Gozo is the Gbejniet, a local cheese. It is delicious when eaten fresh or cured with vinegar and pepper.


Maltese is the national language spoken in the island nation but there are different dialects spoken in each region. The younger generation also speak and understand Italian. Of course, being a visitor you are not expected to know Maltese but take comfort in the fact that English is the second language of Malta. You will do fine in English but try using a little Maltese, like common phrases and questions; it will be appreciated by the locals.


As of January 1, 2008, the Euro is now the national currency of Malta and since February 2008, hotels, stores and other major establishments will no longer accept Lira. You should exchange whatever currency you bring in to Euro once you get to Malta or Gozo.

Other Tips

If you visit the Maltese islands during the summer, be prepared to a hot and dry vacation. The temperature may rise to 36 to 38 degrees Celsius on summer times so if you are not used to the heat, you might feel a dehydrated and easily fatigued. Make sure you wear light clothing and always keep yourself hydrated.

Generally, Malta and Gozo are safe and peaceful. The crime rate is pretty low and there are few disturbances in the peace but you still have to be careful of thieves, especially if you are in the beach.

Gen Wright

Borneo – The Wild Heart of SE Asian Adventure

Borneo is the third largest island in the world, located east of Singapore. The Borneo jungles are not only magnificently spectacular, but they are also relatively untouched. When one finds oneself amongst the many segregated worlds of lush vegetation that Borneo has to offer, one can only wonder … “How could an exotic land that offers so many species of wild life have escaped mass tourism?”

In the modern age, when tourism has a tendency to develop and then envelop any place of beauty, Borneo has so far escaped this fate. This is an extra benefit that heightens Borneo’s natural and unspoiled charm and which will, we hope, continue to enhance Borneo’s majestic splendour through the years. So remote is Borneo that one of its many superlatives, the world’s largest and most overwhelming cave system, the Mulu, was only discovered by the West in the latter half of the twentieth century.

About the size of Texas, Borneo is the third largest island in the world. Most of it belongs to Indonesia, but the northern provinces of Sarawak and Sabah, former British colonies which are now part of Malaysia, draw most of Borneo’s visitors.

The primitive image of Borneo which we held in the last century is out of date. Malaysian Borneo is civilised; Kuching and Kota Kinabalu are modern, bustling little cities, plus the island has a reasonably effective tourist infrastructure. The blend of old and new in Borneo is nicely summed up by a sign in the Limbang airport that sternly prohibits the carrying of blowguns aboard aircraft.

Because of its great variety of attractions, Borneo trips tend to be smorgasbord-style affairs. You may be climbing 13,455-foot Mount Kinabalu one day (no technical skills required, but nevertheless a stiff hike) and sleeping in a longhouse with Iban tribesmen the next. Although headhunting is now outlawed, you may meet some folks who remember it—or may even have practised it in the ‘good’ old days. Jungle treks and cave explorations in Mulu National Park, visits to Sepilok orangutan sanctuary, white-water rafting trips and scuba diving along the 3,000-foot sea wall just off Sipadan Island are also popular Borneo diversions. Whatever you do, it’s virtually certain you’ll ride in a boat at some point—Borneo is so mountainous and densely forested that roads exist only along the coastline. In the interior, rivers are the only highways.

Practically speaking Borneo is not an easy place to see on your own. Attractions are widely scattered and require a variety of transportation. Many cool spots are reachable only by longboat or small aircraft, which require advance planning. On the major rivers such as the Baram and Rajang, however, there are fast, cheap express boat services (if you have the bottle to ride them). These incredibly sleek, speedy and claustrophobic craft look much like wingless jet airliners—the drivers even paint on fake cockpit windows to further the illusion—and have a terrible safety record. Local tour operators in the main towns of Kuching and Kota Kinabalu offer Kinabalu climbs and visits to Iban longhouses. The downside, of course, is that, almost by definition, any outing that’s easy to arrange on the spot is going to be more crowded with tourists.

Simple guesthouses in the larger towns go for $10-$20 a night, while Western-style hotels run in the $40-50 range. Jungle lodge prices are in the same range.

And don’t worry about the leeches. The pesky little critters usually manage to get through any protective clothing, but you won’t even notice that they’re sucking your blood because they first inject you with a local anaesthetic. It doesn’t hurt a bit, but it can be a bit of a jolt when you remove your shoes and find blood-soaked socks. But unless you’re seriously squeamish or a haemophobe, Borneo leeches are not that big a deal. Really.

Whilst in Thailand, why not visit one of the country’s currently best three beach destinations:

Koh Lao Liang:

Ao Nang:



simon ramsden

Enjoying Caribbean Vacation

If you are a beach lover who enjoys sunbathing, getting a tan, and listening to the waves, you will definitely have fun during your Caribbean vacation.  You not only get to do the things that you love, you can also appreciate the white sand of the Caribbean Island beaches. 

If you are the adventurous type who enjoys such water sports as surfing, you may want to check out the islands that are situated in close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.  The waters in these areas are noted for the waves, which never fail to give most surfers the high or challenge that they are looking for.

If you are the type who prefers to appreciate the different creatures underwater, then you will definitely enjoy the tranquil waters of the Caribbean Sea. 

If these activities are not what you have in mind, there are still many water activities that you can do during your Caribbean vacation.   These include dolphin watching (and you may even swim with the dolphins if you want!), windsurfing, and sailing.

Two of the most popular tourist destinations for Caribbean vacations are the islands of Jamaica and Barbados.  But a lesser known island located near the Leeward Islands, Antique, is slowly starting to become a favorite among tourists.  

What most tourists love about Antigua are the beaches.  It is said the island has 365 beaches, though this information is still subject to debate.  Whether the island truly has 365 beaches or not, it still has more than enough beaches to satisfy the picky tourist.   Some of the most notable beaches include Dickenson Bay, Half Moon Bay, Long Bay, and Rendezvous Beach.   Food and lodgings are not a problem as there are several hotels and restaurants located on and near the beaches.    You may even come across some offices that offer and organize cruises (boat and catamaran) and trips (scuba diving and snorkeling). 

Aside from the beaches, you can also enjoy other places in Antigua such as Nelson’s Dockyard and Long Street in St. John’s town.  Nelson’s Dockyard was once bustling with activity.  At present, it is considered a living museum.   You can find several old buildings at Long Street in St John’s town.  You can also sample West Indian cuisine at the restaurants located in the same street.


With more than 6 million people occupying an area of about 485 square miles, Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil. The many districts of Rio lie in three important areas: Centre, South, and North (including the suburbs). The more affluent South comprises the area between the hills and the sea from the Centre to the western limits of the city, while the North and the suburbs spread from the Centre to the northern and eastern limits. The great majority of tourist attractions and trendy shopping districts are concentrated in the Centre and the South of Rio de Janeiro, where all the major Rio penthouses are located.

The Center is crowded and packed with skyscrapers and is the home of the Monumento Nacional aos Mortos da II Guerra Mundial, the famous Teatro Municipal, the exquisite National Arts Museum, the Museu de Arte Moderna and the Sambódromo, where the Carnaval parades take place each and every year. The remarkable Republic Museum can be found in Catete while the Santos Dumont Airport is at the end of the Attero do Flamengo which is closer to Rio’s center.

Urca is an exclusive residential and secluded region and is located between Sugar Loaf and the 3 century old Fortaleza de Sao Jao. It is known for being a very quiet district, home of the fisherman and the Yacht Club. Rio de Janeiro has one of the most intensive and amazing nightlife in the world with dozens of clubs, fancy restaurants, bars and last but not least, hotels. For tourists this is a dream come true as they can find dozens of Rio penthouses to choose from. The Barra district is the home of the Chico Mendes Park which is a famous protected area for numerous wild animals like alligators and even birds. Also in Barra, tourists can find the biggest shopping center in all Rio, the Barrashopping and the Autodromo Nelson which is a motor racing track and the Riocentro Convention Center. Barra is known to have the cleanest beaches in all Rio and offer surfing and scuba diving areas for enthusiasts.

Some of the most expensive Rio penthouses and flats can be found in Sao Conrado which is located between a mountain and a breathtaking beach but very strange, also next to the Rochina which is the largest slum in Rio de Janeiro. As an alternative, a tourist can visit the Floresta da Tijuca which is a tropical forest right in the middle of Rio with winding roads that go throughout the trees and overhand 1000+ feet; this is the place where the most incredible views of the city and the sea can be found. The Rio penthouses do cover all budgets, as the price range starts from a moderately 180$ per night and goes up to 1000+ $ if money is no object. These Rio penthouses are very clean, with friendly staff and dozens of features and amenities.

All things considered, Rio de Janeiro should be on the list of every tourist because it has plenty to offer: exquisite scenery, lovely Rio penthouses, warm people, remarkable nightlife, dozens of sightseeing opportunities and many more.

Romijn A.

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