Month: November 2015

Dubai Shopping Festival 2016: The Carnival of Shoppers

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Come New Year and it will be the apt time to land in the ‘tax free shopping paradise’, Dubai. On the 1st of January, ‘Layali Dubai’, better known as the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) makes its grand entry in the desert city. An event of festivity and lights, fun and adventure, food and culture, offers and promotions, the festival turns Dubai into an oasis for shopaholics and paradise for gourmands. The one month affair offers excitement to travellers by letting them purchase exclusive jewellery, most expensive bags, perfumes, shoes, clothes and more at great discounts. Sometimes, up to 75%. That’s how crazy the festival is. Though alluring discounts on luxurious brands are irresistible, yet you need to be clever to win the shopping battle.

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Best picks from Dubai Shopping Festival | Designed by Priyanka Sharma

Some quick facts on DSF:

Date: 1st January to 1st February 2016

Where: Dubai, UAE

Major Shopping Places: Global Village (Dubai’s first cultural, entertainment, family and shopping park), Spice Souk and Gold Souk at Diera

Must-Visit Malls: Al Ain, Marina, Khalidiya and Dubai Mall for luxury, lifestyle, jewellery and fashion item shopping

What to Shop For: Perfumes (especially the traditional Arabic ones called ‘Attar’), gold, spices, dry fruits (specially dates), Middle East fabric and gadgets

Special Attractions: Fireworks on its inaugural day, live music and street performances

Here are some interesting tips that will make your visit memorable:

  • Buy tax-free gold at Gold Souk: In business since the sea trade era, Gold Souk in Dubai offers gold at unbelievable prices. Located in the business district of Deira, Gold Souk is ‘the’ place to be at during the festival. Here, more than 300 retailers offer a plethora of gold jewellery and bullions at prices devoid of taxes. It is definitely the place where money can buy happiness! (Are you listening ladies?) However, international tourists should know their carrying capacity. And you must know that bargaining is the norm here.
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Tax free gold jewellery- Dubai’s biggest attraction
  • Spice Souk: Its narrow passages lined with old, small stores take your love for spices and herbs to the next level. Food lovers can hop in here to buy everything – local Arabic spices, nuts, seasonings, saffron, dry fruits, medicinal herbs and spices imported from India, Pakistan and Iran. Carrying them as souvenirs is not a bad idea either.
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Local and imported herbs and spices at Dubai Spice Souk
  • Bargain till the last minute: Though both the big malls and small local stores are loaded with discounted objects, we would suggest you to bargain till you win over the shopkeeper. Bargaining is an integral part of Dubai Shopping Festival and the best of it happens at the souks. After all, you should not return with the feeling that ‘I could have paid less’.
  • Do a detailed research: Good planning leads to a successful trip. If you are specially visiting Dubai for the shopping fest, you better know your want and where to grab it from. There are innumerable malls to stand alone shops that will drive you crazy with souvenirs, jewellery, clothes, bags, edible items etc., so a detailed study of specialized stores is going to fetch you the best of the lot.
  • Be an early shopper: Get to know about the opening time. Arrive at the store during early hours, because it is when the sellers are more attentive. Also, you will save a lot of time in bargaining, standing in queues for trial and waiting in the billing counter. After all, the perfect dress and handbag you were longing for can be grabbed if the expedition begins early.
  • Get exploited with luxurious brands: Armani jeans, Gucci bags, Versace dresses and what not! Be it your wedding or honeymoon, pack your luggage with the most expensive set of clothes or footwear while returning from the festival. Not to mention that their discounted prices will leave you in a state of awe.
  • Glance through theme lights: Can you imagine butterfly lights saying ‘DSF 2016’? Many such unimaginable theme lights in every corner of the city are an altogether different element of attention. It is when the city promises to showcase out of the world lighting to the whole world.
  • Wear flat shoes and carry an extra pair: Malls in Dubai are huge and so are the open markets. Be prepared to walk an uncountable stretch. Wearing heels might be a trouble, flat bellies or slippers are ideal. Also, in case it tears apart, your extra pair will come handy.
Heavy and light weight ornaments at a Dubai gold shop

Explore Dubai beyond Shopping

Embark on an unforgettable Dubai city tour with your loved ones. The advent of the event makes attractions like Jumeirah Mosque, Jumeirah Beach, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Creek more dazzling with innumerable lights over them. Dedicate few hours for a scintillating desert safari and interaction with the marine life at The Lost Chambers Aquarium. Rediscover the deliciousness of Lebanese cuisine, spicy Indian kebabs, French cookies or freshly made cocktail right there right then.

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View of scintillating Dubai city from Burj Khalifa

Dubai Shopping Festival 2015 marked the event’s 20th year and happened to be a great success. If you missed it last year, now is the time to make up for it. Book hotels and flights for Dubai before the prices pinch your pocket. DSF 2016 promises to be an event full of merriment, happiness, craziness and unforgettable memories. If shopping is your thing, be a part of this extravaganza.

Welcome to Dubai, the world of food, fun and fiesta! Let us know if the tips helped you.

Sunburn Goa 2015: The Do’s and Don’ts

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India’s grandest beach party is just a month away! Sunburn, Goa, Asia’s biggest dance and music festival that keeps Goan beaches rocking all night is going to celebrate its 9th glorious year this December at the Vagator ground. The musical extravaganza starting from December 27th is going to give you a new eclectic experience with Electric Dance Music (EDM), cruises, camping and ‘after party’ effects. While tourists, especially the younger lot from India and abroad have already booked their flights to Goa and others are about to do so, we have got the list of some do’s and don’ts that would simply double your fun.

Tourists on the verge of occupying their seat at Sunburn

The Do’s:

  • Stay in beach camps. Hotels will not give you that ‘Sunburnt’ feel.
  • Carry light, comfortable clothes because December is not that chilly in Goa. Dancing for hours at a stretch would make you feel like a drenched towel. Pack your favourite hot pants or backless tops without giving a second thought.
Crazy crowd shaking their legs at Sunburn | Photo Credit:
  • What shoes you wear is equally important! Say no to your stilettos or any kind of heels for that matter.. Carry flat slippers or flip flops. At least you should feel your feet after hours of leg shaking.
  • Carry loads of sunscreen lotion with high SPF because you will get tan while soaking under the sun.
  • Try carrying smaller cameras (I mean small digital cameras will do) instead of those heavy DSLRs. I am sure you wouldn’t want to miss out on those lovely clicks of Asia’s biggest music concert and brag of things your friends missed out on.
  • If you are a social media addict who will ensure posting everything cool on your Faebook, Twitter and Whatsapp, do not forget to carry power banks and chargers to charge your mobile phones.
  • Look stylish with sling bags strung around shoulders. Keep your backpacks in the hotel and carry all essential belongings in a stylish spacious sling bag while hitting the floor. You wouldn’t get your Michael Jackson moves with heart touching pops right with anything heavier.
  • Since you are going to a pretty expensive fest, trust me, stalls would be ever ready to shrink your wallets. So bargain right and land good deals.
Shop your beachwear from Anjuna flee market
  • If you love your glasses then you would surely love those Happy Hours during Sunburn when you get a free drink on every drink purchased. Keep a check!
  • You would surely thank me for suggesting this. Carry your favourite deodorant and wet wipes all times. Wet wipes will keep you going while the deod0rant will keep others going. 😀
  • Try carrying cash as ATMs are pretty far from the venue and you wouldn’t want to waste even a bit of your energy looking for them. However, be careful of pickpockets.
  • Once it is dark, your torch-lights would be your knights in shining armour. So, don’t leave them behind.
  • If you get tired of all the dancing, just sit, relax and watch others (it’s really amusing at times) or you could even try other fun activities, which are a part of Sunburn every year.
  • Once the main event gets over, you could stay-back for the after-dark parties to enjoy Goa’s madness. However, do not return without exploring the city’s Portuguese architecture and vibrant heritage.
Artists performing during the carnival | Photo Credit: Facebook Page of Sunburn Festival

The Don’ts

  • Avoid drinking more than you can handle. Measure your glasses so your friends don’t have to bear your burden (quite literally) once you are sloshed. Remember, you are there primarily for great music, dance, and definitely Goan food. So why spoil the fun?
  • Avoid tripling on bikes because chances are high that you would end-up walking a marathon.
  • Avoid wearing real jewellery. Avoid unwanted attention. Come on, you are here for some rock music, dance and not a wedding.
  • You must carry some identification proof. Specially those who look younger than they actually are! People under 18 are strictly not allowed.
  • Last but not the least. Have fun!

Since the flight rates and hotel tariffs are going up by the hour, do not wait any further and make your bookings here!

Have any tips you’d like to share with fellow readers?

(With inputs from Debatree Saha)


In and Out of Bacardi NH7 Weekender, 2015

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Since its humble beginning in the year 2010, Bacardi NH7 Weekender has spanned over five Indian cities including Delhi, Pune, Kolkata, Bangalore and now Shillong. It is a blend of talent that provides an awe-inspiring combination of local and global music. Music lovers can now strike-off names of must-see live music concerts from their bucket list by watching their favourite artists perform in their cities.

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Can you match the energy? Photo Credit: Facebook Page of Bacardi NH7 Weekender

NH7 Weekender, Delhi

When: 28th & 29th of November, 2015

Where: Greater Noida Formula One Circuit

NH7 Weekender, Pune

When: 4th, 5th, 6th of December, 2015

Where: Laxmi Lawns

NH7 Weekender, Bangalore

When: 5th , 6th of December, 2015

Where: Embassy International Riding School

If you’ve not booked the tickets yet, here’s some motivation coming your way!

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Artists performing at NH7 Weekender | Photo Credit: Facebook Page of NH7 Weekender

Artist Lineup

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A.R. Rahman to perform for the first time at NH7 Weekender
  • The Uptown Funk guy, Mark Ronson is going to bring forth his best music collections that have already stunned music lovers around the world.
  • India’s very own Grammy Award winner A.R. Rahman is going to perform for the very first time in such a music fest. Fans can look forward to something seriously interesting from him.
  • The crazy music, crazier visual skills and sonic details of track making from Flying Lotus (an experimental multi-genre music producer, electronic musician, DJ and rapper from Los Angeles) is going to give you an unforgettable experience
  • Mogwai & SBTRKT (Mogwai is a legendary post rock band from Scotland and SBTRKT is a a self-taught producer from London who has remixed songs of many eminent artists) will be playing at all the chapters of the event.
  • The Mexican acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero will play their first sets in India with the NH7 weekender this year.

The heartthrob of Bollywood music, Vishal Dadlani, a solo percussive acoustic guitarist, Dhruv Vishvanath and indie pop rock, The Clameens, are the set of exclusive performers who are going to hit the F1 racing ground in Delhi. While Vishal Dadlani is going to pay tribute to legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Ustad’’, Dhruv Vishvanath will single-handedly showcase his flamboyant style of singing, playing and drumming. The Clameens will make you shake your legs till the end with their collection of indie pop songs.

Pop music lovers to Sufi admirers, all stay tuned and schedule your time to attend If you haven’t been to one yet, let me tell you that this is one of India’s biggest and craziest live music festival. I am sure that this fantabulous event is going to make your weekend musical.

Tickets are available here!

P.S. If you are going, let us know if it was a hit or a miss!

Top 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

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Are you a big fan of Bollywood movies depicting historical times like Jodha Akbar and Mughal-E-Azam? Do you fantasise being a King who ruled all over the world or a Queen famous for her exceptional beauty? Did you say YES? Undoubtedly, you’re a die-hard history buff, just like me! That’s why, this time around, I have come up with a list of top 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. Take a look!

1. Red Fort, New Delhi

UNESCO World Heritage Sites_Red Fort
Pedestrian Walkway to Red Fort | Photo Credit: Simranjit Singh

Built in the 17th century by Shahjahan, the fifth Mughal emperor, Red fort or Lal Quila is one of the most popular heritage sites of Delhi. Its 33m high red sandstone walls were built in 1638 to prevent the entry of the invaders. The complex houses many remarkable buildings like the Drum House, the Hall of Public Audience, the Pearl Mosque, Royal Baths, Palace of Colour and the white marble Hall of Public Audiences. Don’t miss the evening sound and light show which recreates events in India’s history associated with the fort.

Open: Daily, except Monday.

Timings: Sunrise to Sunset

Entrance Fee: Rs. 10 (Indians), Rs. 250 (Foreigners)

Photography Charges: Nil (Rs. 25 for video filming)

Sound & Light Shows: 6:00 p.m. onwards in English and Hindi

Ticket: Rs. 80 (adults), Rs. 30 (children)

Movies Shot: PK and Fanna

2. Taj Mahal, Agra

UNESCO World Heritage Sites_Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal | Photo Credit: Kiranjeet Kaur

The symbol of love for romantic souls, Taj Mahal is thronged by a huge number of national and international travellers all year round. Situated on the southern bank of the Yamuna river, it got the status of a World Heritage Site in 1983. It is regarded by many as a great example of quintessential Mughal architecture and is recognised as ‘the jewel of Muslim art in India.’ While adoring the beauty of the Taj Mahal, visitors should remember that smoking and eating is strictly prohibited inside the Taj Mahal premises.

Open: All days, except Friday.

Timings: Sunrise to Sunset

Entrance Fee: Rs. 750 (Foreigners), Rs. 510 (Citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC Countries), Rs. 20 (Indians), free entry for children (of both Indians & Foreigners) below 15 years of age.

Photography Charges: Nil (Rs. 25 for video filming)

Movies Shot: Youngistan, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Tevar, Bunty Aur Babli

3. Rani ki Vav, Gujarat

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Rani ki Vav, Gujarat

Constructed in 11th century AD, Rani ki Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) is situated on the banks of the Saraswati River in the town of Patan. A magnificent seven storey stepwell, it is around 64m in length, 20m in width and 27m in depth. Built by King Bhimadeva’s wife, Queen Udayamati of Solanki dynasty, the stepwell will impress you with its eye-catching 1000 sculptures and intricate wall carvings.

Timings: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Entrance Fee: Rs. 5 (Indians) and USD 2 (Foreigners)

4. Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad

UNESCO World Heritage Sites_Ajanta Caves
Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad

The mesmerising Ajanta Caves were carved in two phases, the first phase was from the 2nd century BC and the second phase was during the 5th and 6th centuries AD of the Gupta period. There are 29 rock cut caves in horse-shoe shape, deriving their name from a nearby village named Ajanta located 12 km away. The ASI describes it as ‘the finest surviving example of Indian art, especially painting’ because of its figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales.

Open: All days, except Monday

Timings: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Entrance Fee: Rs. 10 (Citizens of India, SAARC and BIMSTEC Countries), Rs. 250 (Foreigners), free entry for children below 15 years of age.

5. Amer Fort, Jaipur

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Amer Fort, Jaipur

Located atop a hill and overlooking the Maota Lake, the magnificent Amber fort is distinguished by its serpentine staircases, cobbled pathways and Hindu-Muslim hybrid style of architecture. Dating back to the 17th century, this fort-palace complex will surely leave you spellbound with its in-house structures viz. Diwan e Aam, Sheesh Mahal and Sukh Niwas.

Open: Daily

Timings: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Entrance Fee: Rs. 25 (Indians), Rs. 200 (Foreigners)

Movies Shot: Jodha Akbar, Veer, Bol Bachan

Activities Not to Miss: Elephant Ride, Amber Evening Light Show, Shopping at Rajasthan Kala Mandir

6. Mahabalipuram, Chennai

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Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram

Located at a distance of about 58 km south of Chennai, Mahabalipuram is a historical town, also known as Mamallapuram. Inscribed as a cultural heritage under the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1984, it is renowned worldwide for its rock-cut and monolithic monuments, built by the Pallava kings in the 7th and 8th centuries. You’ll be left mesmerised by its chariot (rathas) temples, cave sanctuaries (mandapams), huge open-air reliefs like the 100 foot long ‘Descent of the Ganges’ and the Shore Temple with numerous glorious sculptures of Lord Shiva.

Timings: 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Entrance Fee: Rs. 10 (Indians and citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC Countries), USD 5 (Foreigners), free entry for children below 15 years of age.

Movies Shot: The wedding scene of Krish and Ananya from the movie 2 States was shot at the Shore Temple.

7. Sun Temple, Konark

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Sun Temple, Konark

Also inscribed in 1984 as a World Heritage Site, the 13th century Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda) is situated on the east coast of the Bay of Bengal. It is constructed in the form of the chariot of Surya, the sun god with 24 wheels which are opulently decorated with symbolic stone carvings and is headed by six horses.

Timings: Sunrise to Sunset

Entrance Fee: Rs. 10 (Indians and citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC Countries), USD 5 (Foreigners), no entry fee for children below 15 years of age.

Event not to miss: Konark Dance Festival is held annually from 1st to 5th December at the Open Air Auditorium, Natamandir, near the Sun Temple.

While I’d like to think that being a history lover, you would have visited most of these heritage monuments, if you’ve not, NOW is the time!

What to Expect at the Trade Fair 2015, Delhi

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If you are one of those who go crazy buying local-made stuff on every single trip (and mostly irritating others with your long list of to-get things when they are travelling), then you must absolutely visit the 35th India International Trade Fair (IITF) in Delhi. The event kick-started on the 14th of November at Pragati Madan. While the business days are still going on, we thought you’d like to know what’s in store at the fair this year!

Sand art at IITF to pay tribute to Paris attack victims

Take a quick glance through this fact sheet before you plan a day at the India International Trade fair, 2015!

  • Days: November 14th to 27th, 2015.
  • Exclusive Business Days: November 14th to November 18th.
  • Public Days: November 19th to November 27th.
  • Ticket Cost: Rs. 400 per person on business days Rs. 50 per adult and Rs. 30 per child on general days. You can get the tickets either from Paragati Maidan or from specific metro rail stations.
  • Timings: 9.30 am to 7.30 pm.
  • Parking Fee: This will literally burn your pocket with Rs. 175 being charged as the parking fee. And you thought parking in malls was expensive?
  • Food: Carry your own or get the best street food of Purani Dilli at the fair itself.
Home decor items at International Trade Fair, Pragati Maidan

What to look out for?

  • Carpets, saffron, dry fruits and marble products from Afghanistan and Pakistan. The juicy dates are to die for.
  • Jamdani, Katan,Tanglail sarees and dress materials from Bangladesh.
  • Ladies bags, silver and fashion jewellery from Thailand
  • Porcelain tableware from Sri Lanka.
  • Jewellery boxes in all shapes, sizes and patterns from Khurja.
  • Beautiful linen scarves from Kolkata.
  • Black stone jewellery and show pieces from South Africa.
  • Pretty lanterns, lamps and chandeliers from Turkey. (You will fall in love with these!)
People at ongoing India International Trade Fair

 Tips You Must Consider:

  • Do not even think about wearing heels. Slip ons or a comfortable pair of sneakers will help you get through the day long walking.
  • Carry backpacks, strolley bags, or extra carry bags to avoid getting tired of lifting stuff you have bought.
  • Start your day early to avoid the crowds. Maximum footfall is witnessed right before lunch till early evening.
  • Carry a light sweater or shrug as it gets chilly in the evening.
  • Though items are decently priced and to a certain extent discounted, yet I will recommend you to practice your best bargaining skills.
  • To strike the best deals, visit the trade fair during the last two days. This is the time when the sellers want to sell-off everything they got to minimise the loss on packaging and transportation of stuff not sold. So bargain as hard as you can and make the best use of your bucks.

Lastly, be ready to get pushed and stamped during the peak hours. And if you decide to see every single part of the fair, apply for a leave for the next day in advance . Trust me, you will be half-dead by the time you reach home, unless you are superman!

(With inputs from Bhawna Grover Bagai)

Top 5 Countries to Travel with Kids in 2016

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Long flights, new languages, lack of kid-friendly places, fear of getting lost in a new country, availability of vegetarian/non-spicy food – if all these have been your travel concerns as parents of toddlers, we are right here to give you every reason why and where you should travel with your kids this New Year. Make your pick!

Singapore: It opens doors for a rejuvenating holiday for parents with babies under three years. From Universal Studios to Sentosa Island, from Jurong Bird Sanctuary to Night Safari, the country has everything for parents and little ones to fall in love with. Accompany your kids to Madagascar, Treasure Hunters and Dino-Soarin in Universal Studios and see them go crazy. Apart from zoos, theme parks and water parks, Singapore is known for uncountable food variants that even make the fussiest toddler smile.

Universal Studios in Singapore | Photo Credit: Rahul Arora

Why will kids love Singapore? Parents can be 100% assured of hygiene and quality of baby stuff in Singapore. Baby products ranging from nappies to strollers are readily available anywhere in Singapore. I’d personally recommend you to buy a cute pair of minion shoes. Your kids are going to treasure it!

Hong Kong: Firstly, the colourful ambience keeps little minds entertained all through. Secondly, English is widely spoken and availability of Octopus cards at the airport and MTR train system make communication and commutation easy for couples with babies. Coming to Disneyland, it is definitely every baby’s paradise. With New Year approaching, Disneyland will turn more charming with fairy tale lights, castles and snow-speckled attractions. Not just that, Ocean Park is another theme park flooded with fun amenities like aquariums, rides and themes like giant panda, rainforest and polar displays. Take kids along on the Peak Tram ride to get panoramic views of Hong Kong. A visit to Hong Kong Park will be great as children can make new friends and watch the murmur of colourful birds. Yes, this way you can have some time for yourself too

Disneyland in Hong Kong | Photo Credit: Bhavya Bagai

Why will kids love Hong Kong? Here, feeding the most nagging kid is also the easiest affair because numerous food outlets sell tasty steamed, light spiced dim-sums day and night. Awesome, isn’t it?

Japan: It is fascinating for both toddlers and adults. While parents learn to fight like a samurai, kids move to a fairy tale world in Tokyo Disneyland. Space Mountain and Mickey and Minnie Mouse parade make Disneyland a great place for toddlers. Kidzania, the mini city for kids has everything from TV stations and banks to- hospitals and pizza shops. It is a fun world where babies turn rich by opening bank accounts, become the chef of delicious pizzas or turn into a pilot navigating an airplane. Stuffed toys and toy cars of Hakuhinkan Toy Park and Tokyo Metropolitan Children’s Hall make Japan more rewarding for tiny tots. For a quiet escape and a bit of relaxation, head to the Tokyo beach in the heart of the city.

Kidzania in Japan

Why will kids love Japan? Even budget airlines serve child-friendly food. Cultural dinners also have meals like Tempura exclusively cooked for kids.

Thailand: A safe dip in the clean blue ocean waters of Phuket and a boat ride across islands of Thailand make the country a one-stop destination to travel with kids. Attractions like Chao Phraya River Cruise, Safari World, Dream World Amusement Park and Siam Ocean World are designed with amenities exclusively meant to entertain parents especially when they bring their little ones along. Do you need more?

Siam Ocean World in Thailand
Siam Ocean World in Thailand

Why will kids love Thailand? Thailand offers the maximum comfort with availability of baby food, diapers, umbrella strollers and baby life jackets everywhere.

Australia: If you think your child can take a long flight without hassle, then Australia is a great option. If not, you might want to go for stopover flights. This way you can spend some time in a new country mid way! Australia’s family-friendly beaches are hotspots for couples who love to travel with kids and relax under the golden sun. Also, if budget is not a constraint, why not take your baby sitter along to nurture the child on timely basis. Taronga Zoo, Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary and last but not the least, Dreamworld, make Australia a wonder to plan an exotic vacation with children.

Dreamworld in Australia | Photo Credit: Bhawna Grover

Why will kids love Australia? Various amusement parks, availability of Indian restaurants at every nook and cranny and the clean air are enough to make every kid fall in love with Australia.

Here’s a tip: If your kid is flying for the first time, stuff your child’s luggage with toffees, ear buds and toys. Plan your vacation soon and give a kick start to 2016!

Top 5 Adventure Sports to Bring in the New Year 2016

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Disclaimer: This article is mainly intended for brave-hearts. Read it at your own risk!

                               “Adventure is worthwhile in itself.”

       -Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

Starting your day on a real high! Striking-off some things from your bucket list! Getting rid of your inhibitions! Facing your fears! And making your adrenaline rush like never before! Could there be a better way of welcoming the New Year 2016? Whether an adrenaline junkie or not, we dare you to bring in this New Year with one of these five spine-chilling adventure sports. Kya aap mein hai dum?

  1. Heli Skiing in Manali

Adventure Sports_Heli Skiing_Manali
Heli Skiing in Manali

If you are one of those daredevils who is not scared of heights, you are definitely going to love Heli Skiing. The picturesque hill station of Manali has impressively emerged as a global hub for adventure sports, heli-skiing being one of the main attractions. Boarding a helicopter to get airlifted to high slopes and mountain tops and then skiing down the slopes is an experience to remember. It challenges the risk-taking adventurer in you, as you have to ski down through unknown routes and ridges.

Operators: Himalayan Heli Adventures (HHA), Manali and Elemental Adventure Ltd, London.

  1. Flying Fox in Rishikesh

Adventure Sports_Flying Fox_Rishikesh
Flying Fox in Rishikesh

Imagine flying like a hawk at a speed of 160 km/h! Get on to Asia’s largest flying fox in Rishikesh that is 1 km long. The Jump platform here is designed by Ron Cranston of New Zealand. First, you will be harnessed to the wire, released downwards up to 7 metres above the river level and then will be pulled back. Finally, you’ll be released to the lowest point and pulled back again to the launch platform by a retrieval mechanism. Usually, it is done in groups of two and three, but one can go solo too at an extra cost. Once you’re done, you can collect your Dare to Jump Certificate!

Operator: Jumpin Heights, Village Mohan Chatti, Rishikesh

  1. Scuba Diving in Maldives

Adventure Sports_Scuba Diving_Maldives
Scuba Diving in Maldives | Photo Credit: Sakshi Aggarwal

Azure waters, stunning coral reefs, white sand beaches and a clear sky glittering with stars, Maldives attracts both scuba diving enthusiasts and experts. Out of its numerous atolls, Ari Atoll is home to some of the best diving sites including Warren Thila, Fish Head and Miyaru Kandu. Want to swim with the sharks? Just jump into the Warren Thila, descend 30 metres and spot a variety of sharks like grey reef sharks, nurse sharks, whale sharks, leopard sharks etc. For beginners, there is a training programme before the real dive happens.

Operators:Elite Diving Agency (EDA), Athuruga Island Resort, Maldives and Euro Divers, Maldives.

  1. Canyon Swing in New Zealand

Adventure Sports_Canyon Swing_New Zealand
Canyon Swing in New Zealand | Photo Credit: Bhavya Bagai

The biggest canyon swing in the world, this is definitely not for the faint-hearted. You are made to stand on the launch deck suspended at 160 metres above the canyon floor and suddenly released! You will find yourself rushing towards the other side of the valley at 120 km/h! While the fall is super scary and makes you skip a heartbeat, once you are down, swinging between mountains with your friend or beloved is the most beautiful experience ever. The swing allows you various options like forwards, backwards, 69, back2back, honeymoon, tandem, truck’n trailer etc. So you have a lot to choose from or if you have the time (and the courage), why not try them all?

Operator: AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand

  1. Skydiving in Wollongong, Sydney, Australia

Adventure Sports_Skydiving_Australia
Skydiving in Australia | Photo Credit: Rohan Aggarwal

Talk of skydiving and the first picture that comes to my mind is the scene from the Bollywood movie that made the activity popular amongst Indians – Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Falling from a plane in Wollongong, Sydney will let your eyes enjoy the scenic vistas of both the beautiful Australian coastline and the city of Sydney. Tandem skydive here with up to seven of your friends from Australia’s highest altitude (~ 14,000 feet) and experience free-fall for 60 heart-stopping seconds! Well, as they say, sky is the limit.

Operator: Skydive the Beach and Beyond, Wollongong, Australia

I am definitely going to try one of these. Do let us know of your New Year plans! Here’s wishing you a #HappyNewYear.

P.S.: We suggest that you check with your doctor once before  taking on any of these activities to avoid any mishaps owing to a medical condition.