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Get Lost in London

Ah, London. The capital city of England. A city of grey skies and tea drinkers. Home to the famous clock tower we all

Ah, London. The capital city of England. A city of grey skies and tea drinkers. Home to the famous clock tower we all know as ‘Big Ben’. This city is a daydream in itself and a beautiful place to travel to. People come from all over the world to experience the wonders of this historical city, from wandering through some of the best museums to strolling through London’s beautiful parks and gardens. There’s so much classical beauty in this city that you’d never find yourself feeling bored, rather you’d find yourself getting lost in it. There are some streets in London where you could literally get lost, so heads up for that one.

The last thing you want is to arrive in a place and have absolutely no idea what to do or where to go. Luckily, we’ve got you covered.

Sightseeing in London
Schedule a day for yourself to wander through the British Museum. Located on Great Russel Street, it’s a popular tourist spot where millions of people come to see it and everything inside it every year. There’s a reason for its popularity. It’s so big that you might not even be able to see everything in a day. It was founded and opened in the 1700s and has stood tall through many historical events such as WW1 and WW2. Entry is free and the museum offers many guided tours for no cost at all, so your visit here won’t cost you a fortune – money which you’ll want to spend on much more important things such as food. If you want to avoid the crowds that come to visit this place daily, get here bright and early to take a relaxing wander through the halls.

Find yourself in Westminster Abbey to of course, drink in the view of the infamous Big Ben clock tower with a warm cup of coffee in your hands. The clock was and still is the largest clock tower in the whole of England. And don’t forget to enjoy the crowd! Take in the lives of the fellow Londoners around you and experience a new culture. Also in Westminster is the home of the Queen of England. It’s one of the only active royal palaces left in a world and you wouldn’t want to miss a vacation to London without exploring this place. There are availabilities to tour the state rooms, royal gifts and the gardens during July to October.

The London Eye is only a walk away from Westminster, over the Thames which is the river that runs through London. As you cross over the Thames onto South Bank, you can enjoy the view of London from the huge Ferris wheel which is also known as the Millennium Wheel. From here, you can walk to the popular art gallery of London known as Tate Modern. It holds many pieces of modern art from all over the world and it’s free. If you’re not into art, you can stop by at one of the surrounding restaurants or cafes for a light snack or a nice lunch.

There are many historical landmarks in London which is especially shown through the city’s architecture. If you love the old-style architecture of parts of London, you’ve got to see the St Paul’s Cathedral. It’s over a thousand years old and was around since the rule of Henry VIII. This place, with its high ceilings and ancient castle-type look will leave you completely in awe.

Notting Hill is a vibrant town in West London, not far from Westminster. It’s got a unique and charming vibe, and if you’re here around August, you get to catch a glimpse of the Notting Hill Carnival which happens every year. At this time of year, parades, marching bands, street performers and more fill the streets with bright colour and great music. Not to mention, the food. However, if you’re here on an average day when the carnival isn’t on, have no fear because there is still much to see. You can head over to the Portobello Market on Portobello Road. The best time to go is on a Friday or a Saturday when the main markets are open. They sell everything from antiques, to clothes and fresh fruit and vegetables. There is a high chance you’ll walk away from this market with an interesting souvenir in your hand. Did you also know that Notting Hill is one of the top places in London to film movies? It’s true! So if you’re a movie enthusiast, you can take the Notting Hill Film Tour to learn some history and see prime movie locations! Notting Hill is also the home to many art galleries, so don’t miss out on those if you are an art lover.

Last but not least, if you’re on holiday in London, Covent Gardens is a must-visit. Just knowing that you’re standing in what used to be the biggest slums in England is enough of an amazing experience but of course there’s so much more to see. In the Covent Garden Piazza, you can find street performers and an array of stalls selling food and other items. I know there are some Opera fans out there so here is where Covent Garden benefits you! The Royal Opera House is located here and you can see amazing performances and can even take tours through the front or backstage of the Opera House and see what goes on behind the scenes before a performance.

A trip to London is bound to leave you dizzy. Beautiful, classical architecture etched with centuries worth of history and a rich artistic culture. You definitely won’t get bored in this city!

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(Khmer) ទីក្រុង​វប្បធម៌​នៃ​អាហ្វ្រិក​ខាងត្បូង​

(Khmer) ​ទីក្រុង Cape គឺ​ជា​ទីក្រុង​ឆ្នេរ​របស់​ប្រទេស​អាហ្វ្រិក​ខាងត្បូង​សម្បូរ​ទៅដោយ​ទេសភាព​ស្អាតៗ និង​ល្បីល្បាញ​លើ​ផ្នែក​….

Sorry, this entry is only available in Khmer.

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The Switzerland of India

Mesmerizing Manipur….

It’s a shame that there should be outbreak of violence and security threats in Imphal. This little paradise in the North East of India beckons time and again after only one visit.

Manipur, the jewelled land sits pretty amidst a host of hills and borders Myanmar. With rich culture and diversity to boast about, Manipur is a state which beautifully epitomises modernity with traditions. Untouched natural lakes, blue-green hills, cascading rapids, winding rivers, forests and picturesque landscape the Manipur experience is exhilarating to say the least. No wonder, it has also been referred to as the Switzerland of India.

Manipur Musings

Manipur is famous for its graceful dance form, folklore and vibrant handloom attires. The hub of the state is Imphal, which is also the capital.

My trip to Imphal was on a whim, to attend a friend’s wedding and explore the mosaic of traditions and cultural arrangements. The mini-metropolis is home to extremely polite, helpful and humble people; needless to say you are guaranteed to return with great memories and friends. Traveling with a localite makes it easier for communication and knowing what’s good to eat besides feeling more assured for my personal safety and in the areas of security. Curfew was imposed in certain parts of Imphal East district of Manipur. No one is to remain in the streets after 6pm daily, but life goes on. The Manipuris begin their day as early as 5am, break into lunch by 10am and get their dinner early evening, then, post 6pm you won’t want to venture out. This state embraces the saying, ‘Early to bed and early to rise, makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise!’ Imphal makes for a small town complete with all the necessities; from streetwear shops, bakeries, momo joints, to banks and ATMs. For all liquor loving travellers, Manipur is a dry state, hence before you say cheers or bottoms up, a liquor permit is required.

Kangla: Casts A Spell

The Kangla Fort is reminiscent of Manipuri history; an enormous premise bounded by a protective wall, which was the palace for the Manipuri kings in olden days. Unfortunately, just a part of the fort remains standing today. If you have a religious bent of mind, you would want to pay a visit to the Govindajee and Kamakhya Temple. This beautiful temple is dedicated to Lord Ibudhou Pakhangba, the chief deity of the state. Alongside the temple is a remarkable Hiyang Hiren Glass Museum that houses four dugouts, two are prototypes of the ancient canoes believed to be have been used by the male (Ibudhou) and female (Ibendhou) deities sacred to a majority of the local community while the other two were used during boat races by the kings.

The fascinating Kangla Museum and castle are a part of the fort. Once there, you cannot miss the breath-taking polo grounds. It is no wonder Manipur is the birthplace of the royal games.

Shop Till You Drop

Notwithstanding the curfew hours, armed forces or protocols, you have to visit the markets to appreciate the refinement of traditional weaves and your best bet is the noisy yet unique Ima Market, the largest and only one ‘All Women’ market in the world. Here offers a range of handloom and handicrafts, from scarves, stoles, shawls, sweaters, black stone cutlery, jute and bamboo ornaments. You will have a field day tempted by an array of products; all promising to do you proud when you have them. Another popular market, the Paona Bazaar, sells items such as canes, pots, even chic clothes and even winter wear from Myanmar.

(Ima Market is one of the oldest markets in India, and it might just be the most spectacular one too. It literally translates to mother’s market as it is run solely by thousands of women, making it Asia’s largest all-women’s market.)

Only Floating Lake In The World

Your trip to Imphal would be incomplete if you have not visited the Loktak Lake which is the largest freshwater lake in northeast India, also known as the only Floating lake in the world due to the large amount of floating phumdis on its surface. Phumdis are heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matters at various stages of decomposition that has been thickened into a solid form.

Expect the journey to be mesmerising and be ready to feast your eyes with shimmering wonders as you go uphill and watch the lake gradually comes into sight. Perhaps this place is indeed God’s own paradise. A boat tour around the lake takes you to observe dense populations of communal breeding birds. On the lake itself, is the Keibul Lamjao National Park, the only floating National Park in the world and the last natural habitat of the Sangai (Rucervus eldii eldii) the dancing deer of Manipur. A glimpse of the deer in this unique wetland ecosystem is a must for any wildlife enthusiast.

Food Fiesta

The cuisines in Manipur are very interesting, mostly prepared with plenty of dried fish and large variety of fresh leafy vegetables, both aquatic and terrestrial. The taste is very different from mainland Indian cuisines because of the use of various aromatic herbs and roots that are peculiar to the region. Manipuris love their bread, Tan Ngang, and their sumptuous momos, which are very similar to the Japanese Gyoza but usually served with a soup. An all-time favourite amongst the Manipuri ladies is the Singju, a salad prepared with finely chopped banana stem, topped with ngari, a popular fermented fish product and dried fish.

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The World’s Best Fitness Retreat Destinations

Working (Out) Holiday

Working (Out) Holiday

The World’s Best Fitness Retreat Destinations

Whether you’re an avid sports fan, a fitness addict, or after a different way to get into exercise; the idea of packing your bags and heading to a country many miles away from home to burn those extra calories off is in. Usually lasting for at least a week, the many fitness havens on offer has you spoilt for choice. Here are some of the best destinations that’ll make you reach your perfect shape in your new favourite country: from Bali to St. Lucia, the Philippines to Spain, there’s a workout holiday for everyone.

Deep stretching over the rice paddies of Bali
The awe of Bali in Indonesia attracts thousands of visitors every year for a number of reasons: temple exploring, ancient ruins and endless beauty found in its beaches and volcanic regions. What also adds to Bali’s appeal is the abundance of fitness retreats that aim to please every fitness level. Known for its picturesque views and beautiful diving spots, Bali is the perfect place for both bootcamps and fitness retreats that brings in a lot of fitness-goers each year. If you like the underwater with a heavy dose of relaxation in between burning those calories, Bali is your best bet

One example of a fitness camp found in Bali is aimed at giving you the full detox. With a mixture of high intensity workouts and low cardio exercises, and several wellness activities thrown into the mix, these camps guarantee not only to improve your health physically but also mentally. These fitness retreats also provide you with some of the best cuisine made by Bali’s resident chefs to fully experience the benefits of the retreat.

Alternatively, you can try a much more hardcore solution with a bootcamp that touches elements of Crossfit, lengthy cardio exercises and weight lifting. With many of these fitness retreats boasting at least 3 workouts a day, with hugely nutritious meals in between, it’s claimed all the fat you want to shift will be replaced with muscle. For the most part, many go for the quick fix, but those that are after the extra physical challenge can test their mettle.

Sun, sea & mud baths in St. Lucia
Working out on the Caribbean coast surely sounds like the dream, with St. Lucia being one of the top destinations for the ideal fitness and holidaying experience. With Tai Chi, spa breaks, detox sessions and even the more vigorous forms of exercise on offer you’re spoilt for choice with breathtaking views to take in and coconut water on tap in St. Lucia.

Tai Chi is a hit in St. Lucia, with various retreats dedicated to the martial art that often resembles yoga. It’s also beneficial for almost anyone at any age or physical ability, with both mental and physical bonuses. You can even mix it up as much as you please, with a variation of fitness classes, yoga and pilates on offer to target those trouble areas.

Being a volcanic island, the mud baths are one of the highlights of St. Lucia that draws numbers of visitors each year. Mud baths are known for their youthful properties and also aids in muscle and joint repair, as well as drawing the toxins from your body, relieving stress and exfoliating your entire body. Great for a spa break, after a hard workout or just because you deserve one.

Or you can speed it up a little with the triathlon team, who run training bootcamps every year! These are geared for the annual triathlon and championship that many from across the globe flock to every year, with all the dietary advice and workouts you need to reach the finish line. Perfect for those aiming for their personal goals, or to even tick something off the bucket list.

Climb through the mystical highlands in the Philippines
Made up of over 7,500 islands, the Philippines is full of immense beauty that’s often overlooked by visitors. With the Philippines being a huge biodiversity hub filled with beaches, mountains and rainforests, it also bodes well for the fitness industry with many fitness camps and retreats for those after a workout in one of the most incredible countries in Southeast Asia. As soon as you leave its capital and urban heart, Manila, you begin your journey through an oasis of untouched greenery, sands and rolling rice paddies.

The Batangas, the home of the world’s most highly acclaimed beaches, is the perfect getaway for fitness enthusiasts. Surrounded by lush flora and fauna, the idyllic land of Batangas gives you the best of both worlds, being both rich in exercise and biodiversity. Many of the fitness retreats in this part of the world cater to the vegan lifestyle that include meal plans to suit any dietary need. What’s more is the number of treks throughout the wondrous highlands mixed with general fitness activities such as circuit training, meditation and power walks. After exploring the forest regions you can take yourself down to the white sandy beaches that have been named the most beautiful beaches in the world. Catch some rays and soak in the crystal clear blue sea to round off your trip.

Get your fitness fix in the Spanish mountains
Aside from having Sangria and tapas to your hearts content, Spain is also filled with some of the best European-based fitness resorts. With both fitness solutions in the mountainous areas and in the tourist hotspots that cater to your every whim, this cosmopolitan country with all the sunny rays you could possibly ask for is a dream.

Wellness clinics in Spain are the latest in resorts that focus on medical conditions, fostering healthy habits and maintaining a much better way of life. Their aim is to improve the lifestyles and diets of all residents by using a range of different exercise routines and sticking to a highly nutritious diet. These detox escapes can work wonders for those in need of a swifter push into a weight loss program without going to extreme lengths or using dangerous methods to reach those fitness goals. Hospitality, relaxation and boosting your physical health are the main goals of these clinics which will cater to your every requirement.

If you’re after the party scene without the hefty hangover, Andalucía is the place to go. With the traditional highlights showing everything the world knows about Spain – eating tapas and paella, dancing the flamenco and mingling with matadors – you truly experience something much more authentic, with exercise to boot! The Sierra de Las Nieves (The Mountains of Snow) is ideal for the explorer in you with plenty of footpaths and cycle routes to choose from. In between the more vigorous exercise sessions you can also try the many yoga and pilates sessions delivered in the heart of the mountains.

All fitness packages and retreats from these countries can vary in cost, with some starting at $400 and others costing over $2,000, depending on the results you desire and your budget. However, alternatives are available such as day trips or 3 – 5 day long workout classes that allow you to see the sights and get in shape.

So whether you’re after that toned body you’ve wanted for a few months (or years), or even just a break away from your office desk, exercise retreats, spa breaks or a week-long yoga escape and detox are well worth the journey. Getting to see your favourite countries whilst raising your heart rate is one of the best ways to see the world by burning calories. So get your active gear on, bring out your best trainers and swimsuit and hop on a plane to your perfect fitness getaway.

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