Water Adventures – Top 5 things to do in the Maldives
Located in the Indian Ocean, off the southeast coast of the Indian subcontinent, the Maldives are a collection of more than 1,000 small islands, mostly uninhabited, offering some of the most pristine beaches and waters anywhere in the world.
And as a country that is more than 99 percent water, it is no surprise that water-based activities form the backbone of any Maldives visit. In fact, the island chain is a mecca for water adventure sports enthusiasts from around the world who want to surf, dive and fish in the crystal clear waters.
While it’s certainly possible to spend your vacation at one of the best Maldives resorts with a drink in hand, soaking up the sun and watching your cares drift away with the tides. Spending all of your time on land means that you’ll miss out on the islands’ most stunning aspects. The Ocean.
Top 5 things to do in Maldives
Even the biggest landlubber can find a water activity here and return home with an amazing story to tell. The only problem is choosing which of the top 5 things to do in the Maldives!
Snorkeling and Diving in the Maldives
The Maldives attracts snorkelers and divers from all over the world to its coral reefs, which are packed with exotic and colorful species of plants, fish and animals. While in most cases you can don flippers and a mask right from the beach and explore the reefs just a few feet from the shore, for the best snorkeling, book a spot on one of the many snorkel safaris or island hopping tours.
On these excursions, you’ll take a high speed boat across the waters to some of the more remote locations, where you can swim among sea turtles, rays, tropical fish and more.
Wind Surfing and Kite Surfing in the Maldives
The lagoons of the Maldives are some of the best spots in the world for learning how to wind surf or kite surf – and even experienced gliders will be amazed at the pristine waters and the abundance of wildlife they encounter while out on the water. Many of the lagoons near resorts are protected from the waves, making them ideal for smooth and fast adventures.
If you’ve never tried either sport before, most resorts offer lessons, or will direct you to a surf shop where you can rent equipment and receive expert instructions.
Night Fishing in the Maldives
Thanks to its location in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is the ideal starting off point for a deep sea fishing adventure. Multiple tour operators will bring visitors into the deep ocean waters, where they can fish for all the big game fishing including marlin, tuna and wahoo.
However, for a truly unique Maldivian experience, book a night fishing adventure.
You’ll leave just before sunset to travel to a nearby reef, where using a simple rod and reel, you’ll fish for your dinner that you can cook and eat right on the boat. Night fishing in the Maldives allows you to experience the beauty of a Maldives sunset, while experiencing the lifeblood of the islands.
Surfing in the Maldives
During the monsoon season from June through September, the southwest winds bring major swells to the islands –as well as surfers from all over the world. Even if you don’t surf, head to the surf breaks on the North and South Male atolls, where some of the best surfers in the world ride the swells that regularly reach up to eight feet.
If you want to learn to surf, the Maldives is an ideal place to take a lesson and hop on a board. Most beginner surfers sign up for surfing lessons or excursions to some of the more distant atolls, where the waves aren’t quite as impressive as those in Male, but still exhilarating for new or less experienced surfers.
Island Hopping in the Maldives
Finally, if you’re averse to actually getting into the water, you can still experience the beauty of the Maldives on a cruise, or by taking an island hopping adventure. Book a spot on a tour boat that will bring you to several truly deserted islands, where you can live out your Robinson Crusoe or Swiss Family Robinson fantasies – even just for a few hours.
The unspoiled islands are especially magical at night; because the remote islands are far from city lights, millions of stars dot the sky, and tiny phosphorescent lights wash up on the shoreline, creating the sensation that you’re surrounded by stars.
A vacation in the Maldives is an unparalleled opportunity to get away from the stresses of everyday life and return to a simpler and more relaxed time. And the best way to enjoy that slower pace of life is on the water. Plan some aquatic time into your vacation with the top 5 things to do in the Maldives and enjoy one of the last truly pristine areas of the world.
This is a guest post by travel writer Rachel O’Reilly. She first discovered the Maldives during the semester she spent studying in India and has since visited more than half a dozen times. The mother of two, she looks forward to bringing her children to the islands when they are old enough to snorkel.
Pictures courtesy of Creative Commons: Things to do in the Maldives, Surfing in the Maldives, Night Fishing in the Maldives, Wind Surfing and Kite Surfing in the Maldives and Island Hopping in the Maldives.
Top 5 Historical Landmarks of Portugal
Top 5 Historical Landmarks of Portugal
Portugal is a hive of culture, history, and architecture and is home to fifteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you plan a holiday to Portugal to discover some of its glorious histories, look through our top five Portuguese historical landmarks.
This beautiful monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Monastery of Santa Maria de Alcobaça is a prime example of early Gothic architecture. The sanctuary is home to the ornate tombs of Ines de Castro and King Pedro I. There is a tragic love story associated with the burials. Ines de Castro was assassinated in 1355, and the king ordered his tomb to be placed next to hers so that he could face the woman he loved on the day of resurrection. They are considered to be the most beautiful medieval tombs in Portugal. There are also living quarters, including a refectory, dormitory, kitchen, and cloisters that have been inhabited by monks for 800 years.
Convent of Christ
The Convent of Christ is a beautiful roman catholic building located in Tomar. It was initially a stronghold for the Order of the Knights Templar. The building houses impressive art and examples of Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, and Renaissance architecture. The walls inside are exquisitely decorated with paintings, carved stone sculptures, and a window depicting symbols and motifs. This site has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983.
Évora is a Portuguese city home to several historical sights, some over two thousand years old. The Cathedral of Évora is considered one of Portugal’s most important gothic monuments. Moorish palaces and courtyards, a renaissance fountain built-in 1559, and a one-of-a-kind Roman temple have become the city’s most famous landmarks. It is not surprising that Évorahas is classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Belém Tower was built to be a fortress in 1515 to guard the entrance to Lisbon’s harbor. The tower is constructed from lioz limestone that is local to Lisbon. It is considered one of the prominent examples of the late gothic Manueline style. There is a drawbridge, spaces for cannons, turrets, and arches that have been decorated with images of animals, plants, and royal coats of arms. Inside there are statues, pillars, and gargoyle facets. UNESCO has listed the tower as a World Heritage monument.
Jerónimos Monastery is considered one of the most beautiful monasteries in Portugal and Europe. Located in Lisbon, the monastery has various entrances that have been decorated with carved figures, gables, and pinnacles. There is a 16th Century Portuguese sculpture of Our Lady of Belém in the central doorway, a figure of Prince Henry the Navigator in the center of the monastery, and a statue of King Manuel I. The monastery has been classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
We hope this has inspired you to start planning your trip to Portugal today.
Top 5 Outdoor Adventure Activities in Qatar
Find out why Sand boarding, Diving and Safaris through the desert are included in the Top 5 Outdoor Adventure Activities in Qatar.
Qatar is a country of reinvention. Shimmering towerblocks rise against a desert horizon, and maze-like souks thrive next to 21st-century shopping palaces. It’s also one of the more accessible countries of the Arab Gulf, with a welcoming reputation towards visitors and plenty of attractions to keep them coming. Some of the best holiday activities you’ll find in Qatar are the adventurous kind. And these are the top 5 outdoor adventure activities in Qatar.
Top 5 Outdoor Adventure Activities in Qatar
The Gulf Sea is famed for its crystal waters and the exuberant marine life which lurks just beneath the surface. Messaid is a good jumping-off point where you’ll find angelfish and barracuda, while those intrigued by underwater wrecks will love the Hall Island dive site at Al-Sharqi, where bright clownfish circle the abandoned boat.
Many of the sports here have been adapted from colder climates, so instead of skiing down a mountain piste, try Khor Al Adaid beach to glide down the impressive dunes on a sand-board. Alternatively, race your blo-kart along the sands of Al Wakrah, south of capital Doha, to experience the thrill of wind-sailing on dry land.
The ancient carvings of Al Jassasiya lie to the north near Al Shamal, amid a truly remote landscape of village ruins and limestone. Hire a 4×4 of your own and make the journey to see the 900 petroglyphs which riddle the rocks here. The carvings denote flowers, animals, fleets of shows, or traditional Arab boats, and to this day, their origins remain a mystery.
When the time comes for a more relaxed excursion, you can do no better than a sunset cruise onboard a wooden dhow as you drift past the super-modern Doha seafront of Al-Corniche and the old harbor at Al Khor. If you’re still hankering after some adventure, rent a smaller vessel and go for a fishing trip the following day.
Much of the inland desert in Qatar remains inaccessible on foot, but fortunately, that’s where a 4×4 comes in very handy for a safari trip you won’t easily forget. There are numerous options available from Doha, including day-long excursions, bumping, and rolling to the inland sea at Khor Al Adaid. Or make the trip at dusk for a spot of star-gazing before you settle in Bedouin-style tents for the night.
Most activities can be arranged via a tour company. Although cash has been the predominant payment method in Qatar, this is beginning to change, which is good news for tourists since HSBC offers protection against loss or theft. If you’re planning on taking part in several activities, it can be handy to have some plastic on you to avoid expensive traveler’s cheques, plus credit cards from HSBC and other familiar providers also enable easy access to money at the ATMs. However, it’s wise to exercise caution, using only official bank machines here and sticking with local currency at the market and in smaller shops.
There’s no doubt that Qatar offers some world-class cultural attractions beyond the more energetic highlights, and while you’re in the country, set aside some time for the historic Al Zubarah fort or browse the recreated 19th-century Souk-Waqif, in Doha.
This country has been undervalued in the past but is now coming to the world’s attention. With its desert adventures, ancient sites, and thriving culture, this attention is thoroughly deserved.
This is a travel feature by world traveler, Jose Capelo. He loves exploring the top 5 outdoor adventure activities in Qatar and has spent many trips exploring the wild deserts of Qatar.
8 Things to do in Bondi in Winter
8 Things to do in Bondi in Winter
Bondi is well known for sun, surf, and fun, but what can you do if you find yourself there in the colder months from June to August? Here are a few suggestions for things to do in Sydney’s most popular suburb when the temperature drops.
8 Things to do in Bondi in Winter
1. Go on an art tour
If the weather doesn’t allow for the typical outdoorsy activities Bondi is known for, a tour of some of its first-rate art galleries can be a great way to spend an afternoon. Don’t miss the Cooee Aboriginal Art Gallery, dedicated to promoting Indigenous art, and the Bondi Art Lounge, where you can view works from local artists or even take a beginner class and create a masterpiece of your own.
2. Take a hike
In crisp cool temperatures, a hike along the coastal cliffs with a view of the gorgeous Pacific Ocean below can’t be beaten. One of the most popular hikes is the Bondi to Coogee Walk, which is 6 km and takes you through Sydney’s eastern suburbs and past plenty of cafes, restaurants, and kiosks where you can stop to rest and take in the sights.
3. Head to Bondi Icebergs for some winter swimming
Even during winter, swimming is not entirely out of the question in Bondi. The Oceanside pool at Bondi Icebergs Club is open year-round, and the winter swims every Sunday from May to September have become a time-honored tradition. Although club members must complete at least three winter swims a year to retain their lofty membership title, non-members who are up for the challenge can pay a one-time fee to use the pool and sauna.
4. Strap on your skates and visit the only beachside skating rink in Australia
If winter swimming is a step too far for you, why not skate instead? Bondi has Australia’s only beachside ice rink, and the ocean view in the background makes for a striking contrast. The ice rink is open from June 27 to July 13, and aside from hosting skating sessions that are open to the public, it also features spectacular ice shows from Stars On Ice.
5. Settle in for brunch at one of Bondi’s decadent cafes
Winter wouldn’t be the same without a few indulgences, and after all your skating and hiking, you’ve probably earned a hearty brunch anyway. Fortunately, Bondi is full of great brunch options, from Trio Café with delicacies like poached eggs with truffle oil and char-grilled halloumi; to the rustic Brown Sugar, where you can indulge in classic comfort food like buttermilk pancakes and English muffins with bacon.
6. Join a cooking class, dodge ball game, or salsa lesson
During the winter, it may seem like most people have gone off to hibernate, but if you know where to look, you can still find plenty of social things to do. Start by checking out the Bondi community page on Gumtree. You can find like-minded individuals to explore the area with or even join a group for fun activities like hiking, biking, or cooking.
7. Score some vintage fashion at Bondi Markets
The Bondi Markets, held every Sunday on Bondi Beach, are known in Sydney for being the best place to shop for vintage clothing and accessories and hip new fashions from emerging designers. Aside from style, you can also shop for art, furniture, flowers, books, local produce, and delicious street eats. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s a great place to do some people-watching and see the Bondi locals in their element.
8. Stop by the Bondi Pavilion
The Bondi Pavilion is one of the suburb’s oldest landmarks dating back to 1928 when it first opened, featuring grand dining rooms, a lounge, a ballroom, and the Turkish and Hot Sea Water Baths. Today, it’s used as an art and cultural center and is home to a theatre group, recording studio, and art gallery. There’s always something going on here, from pottery classes to festivals to open-air cinemas, so check it out if you have a chance.
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We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
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