PICK YOUR KICK IN SANTA MONICA

Santa Monica isn’t just another coastal paradise. It’s a place where art, nature, adventure and urban excitement converge

The entrance to the Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California, March 7, 2017.

While soft, sandy beaches, wavy palm trees, sun-lit eateries and orange-pink sunsets heavily contribute to its good looks, it is the vibrant cultural scene and neighborhoods loaded with character that really make it enviable. Santa Monica aptly combines the laid-back appeal of a beach town with big-city sophistication, sprinkled with Riviera-style romance and Hollywood glamour. Yes, you have excellent odds of spotting a celebrity or at least someone who seems like they could be one. With beautiful bodies working out everywhere around you, Santa Monica is as inspirational as it is charming. Spend time here and you’ll quickly discover how much SaMo packs in its compact area that can be easily explored on foot.

HOW ABOUT A CLASSIC CALIFORNIA WORKOUT?

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Whether you’re a fitness pro or a light-hearted, Instagramming babe, there’s never a shortage of ways to get active here. Head to the original Muscle Beach where the bodybuilding movement of the 20th century began and it seems like everyone on the beach can stand on their hands! They make it seem like cakewalk but it really isn’t, and you only realise this when you dare to try a few body-balancing acts yourself. Looking for an aquatic challenge?

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BASICS OF TOURING EUROPE BY TRAIN

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Touring Europe by rail is romantic, inspiring, and if you’re travelling for the first time, a bit complicated. You get to the station and hop on the right train? No, it isn’t that easy. When it comes to European trains, you need to plan in advance and take a series of decisions before you step on the train, and this is likely to make you feel dizzy! So, before you dream of taking in the unmatched scenery from your cosy compartment, here’s what you must know Read more

TO DOS IN THE 20-MINUTE CITY – ADELAIDE

Cool, cultured and casual are the words that aptly describe South Australia’s capital city – Adelaide.  When here, keep these at the top of your list

LET A BAMBOO TREECYCLE TAKE YOU AROUND

P9390183These eco-friendly bicycle tours (starting $5) are cheaper than catching a bus, train, or taxi

When in Adelaide, travel slow, literally. How about going around the city in an eco-friendly passenger bike built from bamboo? The treecycle is run by young, fit and charismatic home-grown caddies who know the city well and promise to show you around with all their passion, providing interesting insights now and then. All you got to do is download the Eco Caddy app and choose your favourite caddy to pick you up. With Adelaide being the 20-minute city – it’s called so as everything is pretty close and easy to get to – with a flat terrain, it’s perfect for bike rides. Plus, there’s so much buzz that if you move through it too quickly, you’re likely to miss out on the fun. When travelling in this treecycle, you can easily hop on and hop off wherever you like!

GET ON THAT ROOF

0719182Z-AOCLD6A161008H5~AO62820719182ZVY (2)If you’re a cricket-loving Indian, you’re definitely in for one of the most exhilarating adventures at the picturesque test cricket ground – Adelaide Oval. Register for a 2-hour guided climb across the stadium’s unique roofline, put on your suit and safety harness and enjoy stunning views of Adelaide, stretching out to the Adelaide Hills on one side and the coast on the other. Or book an evening climb to see the city bathed in magical twilight glow. At the end of the tour, you not only return with an achievement certificate and a printed snap for memory, but also knowing a lot more about the city. Read more

WHEN THE SWISS MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING…

… heed the call. Every summit in the bucolic country offers a unique slice of Swiss bliss

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity

― John Muir, Our National Parks

They say you have to climb up a large mountain to appreciate how small you are and Switzerland offers ample towering mountains for you to explore the world outside and the one within you. You cannot help but marvel at their breathtaking beauty. Whatever the season, you have the opportunity to appreciate unspoiled nature at its best – dainty wild flowers, dramatic rock faces, cascading waterfalls, snowy peaks, fresh and pure mountain air and a unique feeling of calm and tranquility…

Mt Säntis

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Seeking a pleasurable high-altitude excursion? Head to the hamlet of Schwägalp that’s a favourite with the locals.

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What you see are mammoth mountains enclosing you and free-roaming goats and cows dotting the lush green landscape while nibbling on fresh grass. Ride a cable car that departs every 30 mins up to the peak of Mt. Säntis. At 8,209 ft, it is the highest mountain in eastern Switzerland. The very shape of the summit— an arc of jutting rock that swings up to the jagged peak housing the station — is spectacular. In perfect weather conditions, you can get a 360 degree view of five other countries – Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, France and Italy – all at the same time!

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FLOCK HERE FOR FALL FOLIAGE

Enhance your autumnal excursion by appreciating the romance of nature at these destinations that provide wonderful settings for leaf-peeping

QUEBEC, CANADA

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View the spectacular Canyon Sainte-Anne from the highest suspension bridge in Québec, at 60 meters above the gorge. A memorable sight in fall!

Head to Montréal and Québec cities – bustling metropolises with a perfect blend of poise, playfulness and history. The towns and villages here have English names, but everything else is French: language, lodging and food. In autumn, millions of maples turn red and gold. Treat your eyes to scenic landscapes by hiking the Parc national de la Jacques Cartier, go bird watching at Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area or Marais du Nord, kayak or canoe at Vallée Bras-du-Nord valley or get your fill of fresh air at one of the urban parks. Another highlight the “Magic of Lanterns” event at The Montreal Botanical Garden. Hundreds of hand-painted Chinese lanterns, floating on ponds and hanging from trees beneath starry skies offer a stunning eye candy on a bracing autumn evening.

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5 ULTIMATE THINGS TO DO IN HONG KONG

Here’s what your tour planner is most likely to bypass when devising your itinerary for the futuristic city. I pick something for every kind of soul

1. HOP ON, HOP OFF BUS TOUR (For the history and culture enthusiast)

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This open-top bus tour takes you past Hong Kong’s most magnificent sights, accompanied by informative commentary that points out all the landmarks of significance, whilst offering insight into Cantonese culture and tradition. The tour is hassle-free too meaning you can hop on and off at various break points along the route whenever you like. Among the three separate routes, choose to take the green route of The Stanley Tour. Leaving the bustling city, it winds its way to the south of Hong Kong Island, providing stunning views of lush countryside and coastline. There are several stops on route including Lower Peak Tram Terminus, Ocean Park, the picturesque Repulse Bay, Stanley’s world famous market and Aberdeen.

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LADAKH FOR THE CULTURE VULTURE

Over the years, Ladakhis have proven the fact that satisfying life can be lived even with minimal natural resources, extreme heat and cold, little or no rain, a crumbling mud-brick homestead and a cooperative spirit. You already know that journeying along Ladakh’s spectacular supernatural surroundings is an exceptional experience. Now imagine taking it all in along with heartwarming conversations with the locals about their culture and conventional ways of life! Here’s how to bond with this magnificent region beyond just sightseeing

VOLUNTEER AT A NUNNERY WITH A VIEW

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Travel does go beyond photographing iconic sites and sampling local food. Volunteer at Nyerma nunnery (in Leh) overlooking the snow-clad Himalayas and give your trip a deeper purpose. Shake off the stress of city life and live like a nun for a few days. Relax, meditate and occasionally help the elderly nuns in their day-to-day chores like cooking food, farming, cleaning up and more. If you’re good at something, share your skills and knowledge with the humble nuns who enjoy bonding over activities and conversations. By giving something back to the society as a traveller, you not only understand and respect other cultures better but also work towards finding a clearer direction in life.

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