Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Mauritius Luxury Holiday At The Shanti Ananda

A Mauritius Luxury Holiday is a dream for most of us, and recently Mauritius has become a real place for a honeymoon. To honeymoon in Mauritius or to make a decision about which hotel to choose for your Mauritius Luxury Holiday can be tricky.

Shanti Ananda originated in the Himalayas as a world class destination spa which has transported itself to delightful Mauritius. Here in 36 acres at St Felix at the southern end of Mauritius, about 40 minutes from the airport, there is a heady combination of activity if you want, leisure if you don’t. There are fitness programmes, spa therapies, but the most important thing is that this is a real vacation getaway, a real escape from the pressures of life and probably one of the most perfect places to spend your honeymoon in Mauritius.

Shanti Ananda has a great choice of accommodations from forty four junior ocean view suites, then five villas with pools, and a presidential villa, with breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean, and surrounded by densely wooded hills.

All as you would imagine all are quite beautifully furnished and have all the modern equipment including plasma televisions and broadband internet connections.

Any honeymoon in fact any luxury holiday is made or ruined by the cuisine, and if you have chosen to honeymoon in Mauritius at the Shanti Ananda then you will be more than happy with the cuisine offered.

The spa cuisine identifies your body type and then serves you the best food for that body type. This principle strengthens the immune system and provides energy. In other words the emphasis is on good healthy food, which is made from the freshest ingredients. There is an all day dining restaurant and a specialty restaurant serving Mauritius food and International cuisine. There is also an exotic tea pavilion, with 24 hour room service, and in suite dining.

Service plays a big part in any holiday, and is to be expected on a Mauritius Luxury Holiday, and you will not be disappointed in the Shanti Ananda, because the service is exceptional, and unobtrusive. The staff are friendly and attentive, and are there when needed but disappear when not.

The huge 50,000 square foot Spa is centred round a tea pavilion and surrounded by the tropical forest, with 17 treatment rooms, and a huge variety of treatments plus a beauty and hair salon, a boutique, and a salt water pool. Even the most discerning client will be very impressed with the treatments offered.

If you choose, there is Yoga, traditional meditation, and Vedanta.

If after all the preparations for your wedding you want some leisure and nothing more from your holiday in Mauritius, then this is well catered for at the Shanti Ananda, then there are beautiful walks in the forests and the hills. You can get fit with a physical training regime, go beach combing, do aerobics, go deep sea fishing, take cookery classes, tennis classes, and golf is only ten minutes away.

The beach is lovely and very clean and protected by a long reef.

One of the great things about the part of Mauritius that the Shant Ananda is situated in is the fact that it is still undeveloped and unspoiled.

Shanti Ananda isn’t an average resort for a Mauritius Luxury Holiday or a top class Honeymoon in Mauritius, it is more than that. It is a destination on its own, and if you are searching for the perfect holiday, then look no further, it is here.

For more information on Indian Ocean Hideaways go to http://www.worldwidevacationspots.com/categories/Indian-Ocean-Hideways/

About the Author: Peter Stewart writes exclusively for http://www.in-kenyasafari.com as well as http://www.worldwidevacationspots.com and has visited personally many of the places he reports on, and has done extensive research on the others.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Scuba Diving In Boracay Islands

This is good information on diving in Boracay, in the Philippines. Boracay is a tropical island about an hour flight from Manila, Philippines. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations and its long white sand beaches rival the best beaches of more popular destinations such as the Caribbean, the South Pacific as well as neighbouring Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. I was told many times that the sand on the beaches of boracay is so fine that even when you are walking on the beaches at noon time, you will not feel the heat on your feet. One important thing to note, I do not claim that this article is 100% accurate. I just find that the information may be useful for anyone who may be thinking of a scuba diving trip in Boracay islands. Even if you do not dive, I believe there are many activities which you can immerse yourself in when you are in Boracay.

Boracay is a beautiful tropical island located at 200 miles (315km) south of Manila, the capital of the Philippines. This island resort is one of Philippines' most popular tourist destinations because it is consistently voted by popular scuba diving and travel magazines as one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world.

There are many dive centers and operators in Boracay offering diving trips to top rated but hard to reach dive sites such as those in the Sibuyan Sea, Tablas, Romblon and Semirara. Close to Boracay are also excellent dive sites catering to divers of varying diving skills. Non diver will find snorkeling in Boracay an enriching experience because of its rich and diverse marine life near the beaches.

Friday's Rock is a nearby rocky outcrop in Boracay's western shore. Expect to see a variety of brilliant colored soft and hard corals, flittering butterfly fish, curious wrasses, darting damsels, playful blue tangs, ominous stingrays and snappers when diving around Friday's rock. Hidden under the rocks, crevices and corals are big scorpion fishes and lion fishes.

There are two great dive sites near the main island of Boracay, known as Punta1 and Punta2. Punta 1 is a shallower dive of the two spots and is a drop off of about 24m (80ft) and Punta 2 starts at 30m (100ft) and goes way down to about 50m (170ft). These two dive spots are home to various species of garoupas, trigger fish, angel fish, sweet-lips, tuna, barracuda and the occasional reef shark.

At the southeast coast of Boracay is Crocodile Island (the island is named as such because of its shape). The island a very popular dive location and is a wall dive to about 25m (80ft) in depth. This dive site is also very rich in marine life so much so that many species of fish and corals make this location their permanent home.

Crocodile Island is also home to some poisonous banded sea snakes some of which are long as two meters (6.5ft) in length. Scuba divers need to be very careful of sea snakes because all sea snakes are poisonous and their bites lead to fatality.

Another great dive location near the main island is the Laurel Island. This dive site is for the more experienced and advanced divers because the undercurrent here can be very strong and because of this, drift diving is the main scuba diving activity here. Furthermore, the strong undercurrent encourages corals to open up their brightly colored yellow and orange polyps to feed on passing planktons. Divers can also find big colorful sponges and huge waving gorgonian sea fans here.

At northern tip of Boracay is a dive site known as Yapak. This is a deep wall diving location starting at about 30m(95ft) and descending into the depth of 60m (190 ft). Once again, the undercurrent here can get pretty strong. Scuba divers will encounter larger pelagic fishes here, such as barracudas and various species of sharks.

Hammerhead sharks and giant manta rays are the main attractions when diving in Yapak. Other excellent dive sites around Boracay are Carabao (buffalo), Cathedral Cave, Buruanga, Black Rock and Dog Drift. Is it any wonder why Boracay is consistently rated as one of the best scuba diving site in the world?

About the Author: Chris Chew have been scuba diving for three decades. See his travel websites at

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Romantic Getaways in the East Coast of Malaysia

A very detail and good information from the NSMAN magazine on a different kind of Romantic getaways. Hope that this will be good information for you to plan your different kind of Romantic getaways in the East Coast of Malaysia.

Romantic getaways need not be clichéd affairs in plush resorts and posh restaurants. Take the road less travelled to the East Coast of Malaysia and experience romance of a different kind.

Pulau Perhentian

Pulau Perhentian - located off the coast of Terengganu - is a marine park divided into two islands, Pulau Perhentian Kecil and Pulau Perhentian Besar around which menagerie of aquatic life thrives.

Diving or snorkelling hand-in-hand with your loved one is a wonderful way to explore the colorful marine life. If you start off at D'Lagoon to the north of Perhentian Kecil, the currents will take you along a haven of soft and hard corals, large angelfish, parrotfish and blackspotted snappers flitting in and out of corals. Green turtles and manta rays also make occasional appearances here.

Off the west end of Perhentian Besar is another dive site for coral connoisseurs. Known as Tanjung Besi, or Iron Cape, large tracts of staghorn corals play home to shoals of gaint groupers. Humphead parrotfish frequently stop at the reef to snack on shrimps while the crevices between the corals are inhabited by large moray eels.

Must See:

The famed Long Beach at the north end of Perhentian Kecil is great for a leisurely night shore dive. Look out for blue-spotted stingrays, cuttlefish and plenty of reef fish. Also renowned for its buzzing nightlife, Perhentian Kecil has many cafes and watering holes that are open till late.

Must Stay:

Tropical Reef Chalet: Located on Perhentian Besar, it is the perfect place for peace and calm. Prices from RM 40. http://www.pulauperhentian.com.my/

Petani Beach Chalet: This waterfront chalet offers gorgeous views. Prices from RM 90. http://www.pulauperhentian.com.my/

Getting There:

The only way to reach Perhentian is by sea from the Kuala Besut jetty in Terengganu. Get there by

- Road: Drive or take a bus from Singapore to Kuala Terengganu.
- Plane: Fly to the Kota Bharu airport in Kelantan.
- Rail: Take the railway train to the Tanah Merah train station in Kelantan.

Taman Negara

It's Malaysia's premier nature park which has been in existence since dinosaurs walked the earth some 130 million years ago. Lush and expansive at 434,300 hectares and stretching across three states - Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan, it will take weeks to explore the country's largest national park comprising a cornucopia of primary forests.

And what better way to embark on this grand adventure at Taman Negara than with a loved one? Take a walk through the lowlands, carpeted by verdant riverine vegetation, flanked by lush ferns and rare species of orchids. Move upland onto the intermediate slopes and find oaks and laurels. Walk further upslope for a closer view of wide palm flora.

For a masterful acrobatic performance only nature can offer, watch out for showboating primates: macaques scampering across riverbanks and nippy leaf monkeys darting and leaping from branch to branch. Families of gibbons can also be found dwelling in the midst of the forest canopy, their presence made conspicuous by sporadic echoing sreeches.

Competing with the lush forestry is Gunung Tahan, Peninsular Malaysia's highest mountain. Standing 2,187m above sea level, scaling this imposing mass is possible, especially for couples who love the outdoors. Take a canoe out on Tasik Kenyir, or pack a picnic lunch and your swimsuits for some quiet time alone. This is the perfect setting to relax and appreciate each other's company.

Must See:

With more than 250 species of birds in the park, this is the place to be for bird watching. Or head down to Lata Berkoh Cascades for a cooling swim in the deep pool below the falls before retreating to the rocky overhang for a picnic. Visit also the Orang Asli - indigenous people - settlement at Kampung Yong and the limestone cave at Gua Telinga. Carved by a stream, the cave is another fine examples of Mother Nature's art at Taman Negara.

Must Stay:

Rainforest Resort Taman Negara: Located in Jerantut, Pahang, the resort offers packaged tours of the nature park; ranging from night jungle safari to rapid shootings; from white river rafting to cave explorations; and many more. Prices from RM 207. http://www.rainforest-tamannegara.com/

Tahan Guest House: An inn situated opposite the Taman Negara nature park headquarters in Kuala Tahan, Pahang, provides visitors with an affordable, yet comfortable stay. http://www.tahan.com.my/

Getting There:

The town of Kuala Tembeling in Pahang is the transit point into Taman Negara. You can access Kuala Tembeling via road and rail.

- Road: Drive from Kuala Lumpur to Jerantut in Pahang, then, travel 16km north to Kuala Tembeling.
- Board one of the Jerantut-bound taxis at the Pudu Raya Bus Terminal in Kuala Lumpur or take a bus from the Jalan Tun Razak Bus Station in Kuala Lumpur to Jerantut before switching to a bus or taxi bound for Kuala Tembeling.
- Rail: There is a direct railway from Singapore to Kuala Tembeling. Approximately nine hours of travel.

Kota Bahru

Humming with activity and oozing rural charm, Kota Bahru is the perfect backdrop for a back-to-basics romantic adventure. For a start, explore the State Museum and the Cultural Centre and relive history by walking through the many sites located around town.

The State Museum showcases an extensive range of exhibits and documents on Kelantan's arts, crafts and musical traditions. Locally referred to as Gelanggang Seni, the Cultural Centre is akin to a history book on Kelantan's illustrious cultural legacy.

Another not-to-be missed monument is the State Mosque or Masjid Al-Muhammadi. Named after the late Sultan Muhammad IV in recognition of his contributions to the state, the mosque features elegant arches and golden-colored domes.

Round off the Kota Bahru proceedings with a visit to the Siti Khadijah Market. In the mornings, locals throng the bazaar for fruits, vegetables, freshly ground spices, dried seafood, pickles, fish-cakes, delicacies, sweetmeat and a colorful assemblage of other goods. Interestingly, the majority of the traders at the market are women.

Must See:

Check out the garishly colored fishing boats plying the rivers off the Pantai Sabak Fishing Village. The jetty is at its busiest around three in the afternoon when fishermen return with their day's catch. The beach is transformed into a marketplace, with spirited haggling of prices and fishermen sorting out their catch.

Must Stay:

Lee Guesthouse: This hostel provides sightseeing services. Prices from RM 50. http://www.hostelworld.com/

Renaissance Kota Bharu Hotel: Pamper yourself in this hotel, located in Kota Bharu's commercial and shopping district. Prices from RM 399. http://www.marriott.com/

Getting There:

Kota Bahru is accessible by road and air.

- Road: Drive from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bahru via Pahang or take a Transnasional bus from Lavender Street in Singapore. It travels direct to Kota Bahru.
- Take a flight from Kuala Lumpur to the Sultan Ismail Petra Airport in Kelantan, then take a taxi to Kota Bahru.

Travel Notes:

- Although handshakes between men and women are acceptable, Muslim women may acknowledge introductions to men by nodding and smiling. Handshakes with men should only be initiated by the womenfolk.
- Permission should always be sought before taking any photographs at places of worship. More often than not, this is usually permitted.
- Refrain from openly displaying affection like kissing or embracing in public as personal propriety is closely observed in Malaysia.

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