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Looks welcoming.

Looks quite welcoming.
An entrance in old Stavanger.

source: Stavanger Daily Photo

Where to go for short visit?

Hi all, Have a couple days off in August (7-10) and wanted to go somewhere close to home (Toronto) just to get away for a couple of days. Have 2 kids (16 and 8). Thought about doing Quebec City (hubby and

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It is important in managing your skin besides helps your skin to end up fragile and new. Headings to use it This is to an incredible degree nuavive derma serum unadulterated and typical cream that works

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Hotels in Montego Bay Jamaica

The Wexford Hotel
The Wexford Hotel JamaicaLocated just across from Fletcher Beach in Montego Bay, this scenic hotel features a beautiful outdoor pool overlooking the sea. On-site dining and free Wi-Fi are provided.

The bright, richly coloured rooms of The Wexford Hotel all feature a private patio area, a kitchen and a flat-screen TV. A DVD player and ironing facilities are also included.

A Piece of Paradise Montego Bay
A Piece of Paradise Montego Bay
A Piece of Paradise Montego Bay offers fully equipped villas with spectacular sea views. Accommodation is set in tropical gardens with an outdoor swimming pool, in the upmarket Ironshore district of Montego Bay.

All accommodation offers free WiFi, parking and access to a full kitchen, a games room and living area with flat-screen cable TV. All bedrooms have a wardrobe and dresser, and some offer direct access to the poolside.

You can find shopping centres, restaurants, a golf course and a public beach within a 20-minute walk of A Piece of Paradise Montego Bay. Sangster International Airport is 7 minutes’ drive away, and airport transfers or car hire can be arranged on request.

Altamont West Hotel

Altamont West Hotel Jamaica
Located across the street from the white sands of Walter Fletcher Beach, this Montego Bay hotel features Robin’s Prime Steakhouse and the Body Bliss spa. Free Wi-Fi is offered in all rooms.

Cable TV and a private bathroom are found in each bright, colourful room at the Altamont West Hotel. Air conditioning and ironing facilities are also included.

Guests of the Altamont West can swim in the outdoor pool or relax on the grass-covered terrace. The Body Bliss spa offers a choice of authentic Mayan treatments.

Doctors Cave Beach Hotel
Doctors Cave Beach HotelThis hotel is in the Hip Strip of Montego Bay, a 5 minute walk from the beach. It features an on-site gym, outdoor pool and a hot tub.

The bright and colorful rooms at Doctors Cave Beach Hotel come with air conditioning and ceiling fans. Guests can relax and watch cable TV or enjoy the view from the private balcony. Free Wi-Fi is available in the lobby.

A complimentary continental breakfast is served every morning at the Doctors Cave Beach Hotel. The Grotto Bar has a variety of drinks and reggae music.

Grandiosa Hotel
Grandiosa Hotel JamaicaThis pleasant hotel is within walking distance of Doctor’s Cave Beach and Cornwall Beach and just 2 minute drive from Montego Bay Airport. Rooms have views of the ocean, garden or pool views.

The Grandiosa Hotel has its own on-site restaurant, the Grandiosa, which serves local and international dishes. The hotel has an outdoor pool and a business center. Many helpful amenities are offered to guests, including an airport shuttle, tour desk, and currency exchange. Room service and newspapers are available upon request.

All rooms at the Grandiosa Hotel have seating areas, as well as cable TV and free Wi-Fi. Select rooms include balconies, refrigerators, and bath amenities.

source: Bali Hotel Discount

Hotels in Singapore

Swissotel The Stamford
Swissotel The Stamford singapore
 One of Southeast Asia's tallest hotels, Swissôtel The Stamford is located above City Hall MRT Station. It has a spa, 2 pools, and 15 dining options including a rooftop bar.

Each room includes a flat-screen TV with cable channels and a tea/coffee maker. Some rooms have DVD players, iPod docks, or BOSE entertainment systems.

Swissôtel The Stamford is a 10-minute train ride from the shopping district of Orchard Road. Singapore Flyer is a 15-minute train ride away. Nightlife options at Boat Quay and Clarke Quay are approximately a 20-minute walk away.

The hotel is part of Raffles City Complex, with a convention and shopping center. A well-equipped fitness center and 6 tennis courts are available. 24-hour room service is available for convenience.

Grand Copthorne Waterfront
Grand Copthorne Waterfront
Grand Copthorne Waterfront is located along the Singapore River, next to Zouk Club. A 5-minute drive from Orchard Road, the hotel offers an outdoor pool, 4 restaurants and free parking. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel.

Luxurious rooms come with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer city or river views. Amenities include a handy smart phone and a flat-screen TV with cable channels that include local and international channels in languages such as Chinese and English. Free toiletries include toothbrush and toothpaste.

Guests can exercise at the on-site gym facility. Multi-lingual staff can assist arrangements for sightseeing tours at the on-site tour desk, which supports languages such as English, Malay and Chinese. For convenience, laundry and dry cleaning services are also provided. Newspapers are available in English and Chinese. All rooms are equipped with a complimentary handy phone.

Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay Sands singapore
Towering over the bay, this iconic hotel provides luxury with a rooftop infinity pool, 20 dining options, and a world-class casino. It has direct access to Singapore’s premier shopping mall.

Featuring modern dark wood furnishings, rooms at Marina Bay Sands come equipped with flat-screen cable TVs and carpeted floors. Stunning views of the Singapore skyline can be enjoyed from the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Marina Bay Sands is located at Bayfront MRT Station and steps from the lively central business district.

Set on top of 3 towers, a Sky Park features landscaped grounds and an observation deck. Lounge by the infinity pool with a cocktail in hand, or enjoy soothing massages at world-renowned Banyan Tree Spa.

PARKROYAL on Pickering
PARKROYAL on PickeringLocated beside Chinatown MRT Station, PARKROYAL on Pickering boasts a dedicated wellness floor that features an outdoor pool, gym and 300 m garden walk high above the street level. Free Wi-Fi is available.

Featuring views of the city or the garden, air-conditioned rooms are furnished with a personal safe, a flat-screen cable TV and a minibar. Private bathrooms offer a hairdryer, bathrobe and free bath amenities.

PARKROYAL on Pickering has a 24-hour front desk that provides luggage storage, laundry and babysitting services. Conveniences include a tour desk, business center and meeting/banquet facilities. Guests can relax at the terrace or indulge in a pampering massage at the spa.

LIME restaurant serves a delectable mix of Southeast Asian and International cuisine in a modern yet warm atmosphere. Exclusively for club room guests, the rooftop Orchid Club lounge features a sweeping 360 degree view of the city skyline.

Grand Hyatt Singapore
Grand Hyatt Singapore
A 5 minute walk from Orchard MRT Station, Grand Hyatt Singapore offers luxurious accommodations, an elegant outdoor pool and 6 dining options including the award-winning restaurant mezza9. There is also a spa.

Conveniently located on Scotts Road, it is 10 minutes by car from Suntec Convention Centre and Clarke Quay, Singapore’s nightlife hub. Changi International Airport is a 30 minute drive from the hotel.

The spacious rooms include a 37-inch flat-screen cable TV, complete with a DVD player. They also have a laptop safe and goose down pillows, as well as high-speed internet access.

Fairmont Singapore
Fairmont SingaporeThe Fairmont provides accommodations in Singapore’s Bras Basah arts hub, atop City Hall MRT Station. Directly connected to Raffles City Shopping Center, it features 6 dining options and an outdoor pool.

Fairmont Singapore is located within Raffles City complex, which houses a convention center. Esplanade Theatres on the Bay is about a quarter mile away, and shopping haven Orchard Road is a 5-minute drive away.

The spacious air-conditioned rooms at Fairmont include a private balcony, with some offering views of the skyline and Marina Bay waterfront. Each room has a TV with cable channels and a tea/coffee maker.

Grand Park Orchard
Grand Park Orchard
Housed in an iconic building along Singapore’s Orchard Road, Grand Park Orchard features a fitness centre, an outdoor pool and rooms with free Wi-Fi and wired internet access. Also enjoy a complimentary smartphone service with unlimited 3G data, and local and international calls to selected countries. Union Pay is accepted here.

Soothing cream and neutral tones are complemented by dark wood and leather finishes. All rooms include a flat-screen TV, DVD player, an iPod dock and tea/coffee making facilities. En suite bathrooms comes with slippers and free toiletries.

Carlton Hotel Singapore
Carlton Hotel Singapore
Carlton Hotel is a luxurious property featuring a gym and a spa. Free Wi-Fi is available in its lobby and restaurants.

Luxurious and stylish, rooms are located over 3 wings and offer different views of the city. Each comes with cable TV, minibar and ironing facilities. Tea/coffee making facilities are also included. Private bathrooms have a bathtub .

Centrally located along Bras Basah Road, Carlton Hotel Singapore is a short 5-minute walk from City Hall MRT Station and Raffles City Shopping Center. It is a 20-minute drive from Changi International Airport.

Novotel Clarke Quay
Novotel Clarke Quay singapore
Sitting on top of Liang Court Mall, Novotel Clarke Quay is surrounded by the active nightlife spots at Clarke Quay. A 10-minute walk by the Singapore River will take guests to Clarke Quay MRT Station and Central Mall. The hotel boasts beautiful views of Marina Bay, Fort Canning Park and the Singapore City skyline.

Fitted with the latest technologies, the modern guest rooms all come with a flat-screen TV, DVD player and minibar. Most rooms include a private balcony. The private bathroom comes with a shower and free toiletries.

Novotel Clarke Quay is a 5-minute drive from Singapore's central business district and popular shopping centers at Orchard Road. It is 17.7 km from Changi International Airport.

source: Bali Hotel Discount

ØLBERG harbour.

Ølberg harbour.
Peaceful and tranquil.

source: Stavanger Daily Photo

9 Must-haves Before Embarking On T90 Xplode

The underhanded effects of mouth bothers. The reason is clear: L-arginine overhauls the peril of infection with the herpes simplex tainting. In itself causes mouth exasperates, and just structures the risk

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Carrying your passport

I will be traveling through Europe next month and doing a lot of I carry my passport with me or leave it in my hotel and only carry a copy?

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Treks and travels

Treks and travels

Few hours in Marin headlands, California

Posted: 30 Jul 2016 07:59 AM PDT

During my recent trip to San Francisco, I got an opportunity to meet few of my old friends. Vivek, close friend and room mate during my bachelor days was staying in Bay area. My stay was just for a week and could not find time to meet during weekdays due to busy schedules. Luckily, my flight was at late Saturday afternoon which gave us an opportunity for a quick meet.

Golden gate bridge
After discussing about the probable places that we can visit in that short period of time, we decided to head to Marin headlands, north of golden gate bridge. The area was known to be very scenic and I was excited.

Golden gate bridge and San Francisco skyline
After crossing golden gate bridge, we took the hilly road that overlooks Golden gate bridge. Unfortunately, we could not stop as the parking lots at the vista points was full!! We proceeded further to reach point bonita lighthouse. Thanks to great weather, the place looked like heaven.

At Bonita lighthouse
We roamed and drove around that area for some time. The scenery was awesome!! It was a pity that we did not had much time to enjoy this place as I had to head to airport to catch my flight. Vivek told that it would require a day or two to explore that area. He was already preparing the plan for our next trip!! We had not seen each other for last 11 years. Hope the next meet will not be so long.

While returning back, we went to a small town of Sausolito to have lunch and took highway 101 south to head to San Francisco airport.

Help for my wife's 40th with her best friends

So my wife wants to go somewhere for her 40th with a few of her best friends. I have always been able to surprise her and do something amazing when it comes to these things. I need some help because I'm

Source: Travel Tips & Trip Ideas

Whale watching in Juneau, Alaska

We have been in many regions where whales have been spotted but till now we never saw any. The whale watching tour operator in Juneau guaranteed us, we would see whales. To our surprise this rather large boat could accelerate extreme fast and turned into a real speed boat.

The captain seemed to have a navigation system capable of locating whales. Within 30 minutes he located several huge whales which even jumped out of the water. It was difficult to take pictures but we succeeded to take a few shots. On our way back to port we also saw some sea lions.

We waren reeds in vele gebieden waar walvissen gespot zijn maar nog nooit hadden we er zelf één gezien. Onze walvisspotter gids garandeerde ons dat het deze keer niet verkeerd kon lopen. Tot onze verrassing kon deze boot heel snel optrekken en transformeerde in een heuse speedboot. 

De kapitein leek een navigatiesysteem te gebruiken waarmee walvissen gelokaliseerd kunnen worden. Binnen het half uur zagen we walvissen en sommigen sprongen zelfs uit het water. Het was niet eenvoudig foto's te nemen maar enkele waren toch gelukt. Op de terugvaart naar de haven zagen we nog een paar zeeleeuwen. 
Juneau Whale watching

Juneau Whale watching

Juneau Whale watching

Juneau Whale watching

Juneau Whale watching

Juneau Whale watching

Juneau Whale watching

Juneau Whale watching

Juneau Whale watching

Juneau Whale watching

Juneau Whale watching

Juneau Whale watching

Juneau Whale watching

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Lakshmi Sharath

Lakshmi Sharath

Why I love the Western Ghats of India

Posted: 30 Jul 2016 03:25 AM PDT

Ten reasons why you must visit Western Ghats

I have always enjoyed my geography classes during school. And drawing, shading and marking maps has always been a personal favourite. Perhaps that is why I am addicted to adult colouring books right now. But that is an aside.

BR Hills Western Ghats

BR Hills- one of my favourites

Everytime I think of the Western Ghats, I remember my class when we used to mark and colour the western stretch of India on the map,  all the way from the tip of Tamil Nadu to Kerala and right up to Goa. And then there was the Eastern Ghats as well.

KMTR Western Ghats

Manimuthar Dam in KMTR

I used to have two different shades of brown – the darker and bolder one was used to mark the Western Ghats and the lighter shade was for the Eastern.

Valparai forests Western Ghats

The misty forests of Valparai

I have traversed the Western Ghats several times and it has almost become an annual pilgrimage. But then there are mountains and mountains and there is the Western Ghats, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And personally I think there is more to it as well, than just hills stitched together forming ranges, peaks and valleys.

Western Ghats - River Kali

The River Kali in Dandeli

Here is a post on why it is so special to me and the reasons you must visit Western Ghats. Some statistics from the Wikipedia – the 1600 kms long unbroken chain of mountains occupies an area of 160000 sq kms. There are about 39 individual sites that make up this World Heritage Site including reserve forests and national parks.

Goa Western Ghats

Devils Canyon in Goa in the wilds

I love the Western Ghats. Period. I was introduced to it as a three year old when we used to drive from Chennai to visit Sringeri and then we stayed in my grandfather’s coffee estates in Chikmagalur.

Sringeri Western Ghats

Sculptures in Vidyashankara temple in Sringeri

And even today it keeps beckoning me again and again. I often wonder why and I came up with ten reasons .  So this why there is a magnetic attraction between me and this bio diversity hot spot. And here is why you must visit Western Ghats in India

The woods beckon.

BR Hills

BR Hills in BRT Sanctuary

The green cover is all encompassing. From evergreen tropical rain forests to deciduous jungles to shola forests, the dense canopy here can take you to a different world. It is not just about tiger tourism.

Kabini, Western Ghats

From elephants to big cats, wild dogs to langurs, sloth bears to wild boars, the forests are home to wildlife. And there are several endemics which are found only here.

Wildlife Western Ghats

Looking away – the Nilgiri langur

Snakes and frogs, mongoose and civets, flying squirrels to giant squirrels , this is a wild lifer’s paradise.

Goa western ghats snakes

On a wild reptile trail in Goa

The flora is exotic and endemic. Be it the ferns or the fungi, lose yourself in a world of woods and trees.

orchids, valparai,monsoons

Orchids in Valparai

And then my personal favourite – birds. The birds of Western Ghats are special – resident, migratory and the endemic. Almost 500 species are found here.  I have seen varieties of bulbuls, hornbills .sunbirds, flycatchers, thrushes and melted away like Keats listening to their songs.

Ganeshgudi birds Western Ghats

Blue capped Rock thrush in Ganeshgudi

And there are some specific birding destinations alone – one of my favourites being Ganeshgudi.

thattekadu birds Western Ghats

Srilankan Frogmouth in Thattekadu

And as for wildlife destinations – my personal recommendations are KMTR – Kalakadu Mundanthurai Tiger Sanctuary and Bandipur and Nagarhole forests separated by the River Kabini. There is BR Hills and Valparai as well, which you must not miss

Iconic Mountain Ranges

We have grown up talking about the Himalayas and the Alps, the Atlas and the Andes, but in a very special way, the Western Ghats has its own special iconic ranges too.

KMRT Western Ghats

The Western Ghats at Kudrevatti above Mundanthurai range

The Sahyadris, the Annaimalais and of course, the Nilgiris, where the West and the East meet.

BR Hills Western Ghats

Grasslands of BRT

And then there is the Cardamom Hills and B R Hills and the highest peak is Anaimudi in Kerala. Trek, camp, relax – how can anyone not be beckoned by the mountains ? Another reason for you to visit Western Ghats.

Springs and streams

A mountain spring forms into a tiny rivulet murmuring through the woods and becomes a little river. The Western Ghats has given many a river its source. The Cauvery’s little birth place in Coorg is called Talacauvery.

Athirapally Falls, Western Ghats

Athirapally Falls

The Tungabhadra, the Krishna, the Godavari , the Zuari, the Mandovi and my very own Tambiraparani – all have their origins here and their tributaries run amok in the hills, charting their own courses.

Kudrevatti Western Ghats

Kudrevatti where the rivers are dammed :)

They are confined in dams or they gush as cascades.  Look anywhere around you and you will find a river nearby. So if you love the water, you will definitely want to visit Western Ghats.

Where oceans meet the mountains

The Western Ghats run parallel along the coastline of India and some of the most virgin beaches meet the mountains here. Karwar in Karnataka is so beautiful, almost oblivious of its own beauty as it stands perched between the oceans and mountains.

Devbagh, Karwar, sunsets, beaches, go explore

Sunset in Devbagh, Karwar

The coastal plains along Kanyakumari, located in the Southern most tip of India also comes to my mind. Some coastal towns in Goa, Karnataka and Kerala are my favourite haunts.

Kanyakumari Western Ghats

The Western Ghats end at Kanyakumari

Tea or coffee or spices

The British destroyed these forests and created plantations here . And you see the mountains carpeted by tea, coffee and spices. Even today plantation tourism is one of the biggest draws. The coffee plantations of Malnad or the tea estates in Nilgiris with the spice plantations are tourist destinations .

Coffee Coorg Western Ghats

Wake up and smell the coffee in Coorg

Coorg, Chikmagalur, Saklespur, Munnar, Wayanad, Valparai are some of my favourite towns.

Munnar tea western ghats

Tea and mist in Munnar

Take an early morning walk – watch the mist play with the mountains and relive the colonial era in some of these towns.

Heritage in the hills

A temple in the forest, a fort atop the hills, ancient ruins and monuments call me here. You wonder who built these shrines in the middle of a dense canopy of trees with crickets murmuring all around you. I am lured to heritage sites in general and all the more reason, when they are built in a pretty setting.

Western Ghats Coorg

Interiors of the old Nalknad Palace in Coorg

Coorg has some palaces and temples tucked away in the jungles, there are ancient temples in the Goan forests.

sringeri 086

Sringeri in Karnataka is one of my favourite spiritual destinations, where Adi Sankaracharya established his mutt in the South on the banks of the Tunga Bhadra . It was my very introduction to the Western Ghats.There are several temples around like Hornadu set deeper in the forest.


The Hoysalas built several temples along Malenadu and some of them are still in ruins, in dense forests and in coffee estates.

Hoysalas, Western Ghats

Sculptures in ruins in a coffee plantation

Padmanabhapuram palace in Kerala – Tamil Nadu border talks about the legacy of the Travancore kings.

Padmanabha puram palace Western Ghats

Set amidst the mountains, Padmanabhapuram palace is an ode to beauty

Ancient Jaina sites, cave temples, monoliths, churches – they are all scattered in the mountains and forests here. There is a spiritual mystique here that can only be experienced.

Cultural experiences

Western Ghats may be an unbroken chain but they span different states and each region has its own little culture. Festivals and traditions change from region to region. There are several lores and legends here. Some destinations have their own tribal culture too – Nilgiris, BR Hills, Coorg.

A house of the Todas in Nilgiris

A house of the Todas in Nilgiris

While most tourists are wrapped in the natural beauty of the Western Ghats, very little attention is paid to the myriad cultures in the region – something that has always personally fascinated me.

Flavours of the Western Ghats

When you think of travel, you think of food. And it forms a part of the culture of the region. There is a unique culinary spread across the Western Ghats as every region or state has its flavour. Coorg’s speciality is different from Malenadu.

Western Ghats flavours

Neeru Dosai – one of my favourites.
Pic Courtesy Prathap Nair

The towns spread across Maharashtra or Goa offer a different cuisine from that of Kerala or Tamil Nadu. You can taste everything from coastal delights to seasonal produce here.

Western Ghats

Fish is one of the delicacies along the coastal states. Pic courtesy — Prathap Nair

However,being a vegetarian, I am never disappointed as i can relish some of the local preparations here

Tourism for everyone

So it does not matter if you dont want to hike in the mountains. The Western Ghats beckon every kind of traveller, including lazy ones like me, who are content to meditate upon nature and do absolutely nothing.

Birding Western Ghats

Crested serpent eagle in Kabini

The bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts flock here, there is fishing and angling and there is even water sports and river rafting for the adventurous.

Rafting Kali Western Ghats

The Kali is a great river for water sports

You can just chill in hill stations, sip coffee or tea, visit temples in the forests or focus on living traditions and tribes living here.

Travel Kodaikanal Western Ghats

Watching the mist in Kodaikanal

However I will just go for long walks in the mist or read a book and sip ginger tea.

Destination for all seasons

In the summer you can run to the hills and sing The Sound of Music and look for tigers in the jungles or in winters, you can imagine like Ruskin Bond, there are ghosts melting away in the cold , brooding mist.

Mist Kodaikanal Western Ghats

Can you see ghosts here ?

But my favourite time of the year is monsoons, or perhaps to be right, precisely just after the monsoons.


The forests are scrubbed well after a refreshing bath and they wear a new coat of green. The birds start beginning to sing. The waterfalls are in full flow and the rivers are smiling, coursing down the valleys..

Western Ghats waterfalls

Gushing waterfalls invite you to Western Ghats

And so, you get the general drift. The best time to go is right now !! So, what are you waiting for ? Visit Western Ghats right now.


The post Why I love the Western Ghats of India appeared first on Lakshmi Sharath.