Lions pressured by fodder shortage


 

Gujarat foresters are dealing with a new threat to the Gir wildlife Sanctuary. Scarcity of fodder on the periphery of the sanctuary is forcing politicians to pressure the forest department to permit Maldharis to bring their cattle inside the sanctuary for grazing.

Forest officials said that MLAs from the ruling party were trying to ensure that the Maldhari community around the sanctuary was allowed into Gir, Girnar, and Mitiyala sanctuaries. Sources said the pressure was constant.

This being an election year, officers are in a fix as members of the two main political parties want local inhabitants to illegally enter the area.

Bhagvan Bharwad, the MLA from Talala, said: “We will wait till Sunday and if there is no rain, we will make representations to the state government and even write to chief minister to permit grazing in the forest.” Bharwad said grass was not available and one could not let animal’s ir for want of food. “If the forest department or the state government refuses to give us permission, we will enter the forest without permission” he said. “Let them take action”.

A forest official said that in the recent past, a couple of attempts were made to enter the forest but guards prevented people from venturing deep into the sanctuary.

The sanctuary is closed for public for four months during monsoon, from June 15. Forest officials said that during this period the danger of lion attack was high. If Maldharis were permitted to enter the forest with cattle, risk to their lives would be immense.

Forest officials said that Maldharis were illegally allowing their cattle to graze in areas near the boundary of the sanctuary. “This is the park season for breeding for not just big cats, but even for the herbivores,” a forest official said. “The newborn of the herbivores learn to walk. At such a time, if cattle are permitted to graze in the sanctuary, they could be a nuisance to the newborn.

 

Have some dessert then detox !


Legend of India

What

Legend of India is a fine dining restaurant with a bar, flat-screen TV showing Bollywood movies and a desert takeout counter.

Why

There are not many Indian restaurant in the Philippines but this one along Jupiter Street in the Makati business area has become popular among food critics who gush at its authentic and tasty Indian food prepared by chefs who are, of course, Indian nationals.

Contact

Tel: (632) 836-4232

E-mail: kegendofindia@ymail.com

Remington Hotel

What

Remington Hotel is the newest addition to Resorts World   Manila’s lodging options. Catering to the budget conscious traveler, it offers 623 standard hotel rooms and 89 serviced apartments.

Why

Guests get access to the same gaming and entertainment complex for less. Published rates are 3,900 pesos (US$93) for a standard room and 4900 pesos for a serviced apartment. Both have a maximum occupancy of two adults and two children.

Indian travelers with dietary concerns can also bring their own food to cook in the serviced apartments, which have microwave ovens, refrigerators and electric kettles.

Contact

Tel: (632) 908-8000

Website: http://www.rwmanila.com

The Farm at San Benito

What

Shroff International Travel care is offering a Health and Wellness package with 20 percent discount for 2D/1N weekday or 3D/2N weekend accommodation at The Farm at San Benito in Batangas, a few hours’ drive from Manila.

Why

Those seeking a rejuvenating experience will find it at the upscale wellness centre, which includes an orientation on holistic health services, daily movement and fitness activities such as yoga, meditation, circuit training and aqua aerobics, daily gourmet breakfast, afternoon tea, healthy snacks and more.

Contact

Tel: (632) 524-2222/3636

Email: msrketing@shrofftravel.com

 

Philippine Airlines’ Swing around

What

The national carrier’s Swingaround package airfare and hotel accommodation until March 31, 2013.

Why

included are the Philippine destination o Manila, Cebu, Boracay and Legazpi City in Albay. An optional in Manila is the Jeepney Tours, which includes airport arrivals and hotel transfers. Sale of packages through ravel consultants is restricted to the country where the tour originates.

Contact

Website: http://www.philippineairlines.com

 

Some Tips For Taiwan Travellers’


Fullon Hotel Yamay
What:

Taiwan’s largest domestic hotel chain Fullon has chosen Yamay Recreation World, a popular theme park in Taichung, as the location for its newest hotel. Positioned as a themed resort for family getaways, the 272 room hotel offers both Western and Japanese-style rooms, with facilities such as an indoor pool, spas and VIP services.

Why

The resort offers easy access to Yamay Recreation World. the 25-hectare theme park has a large wave pool that is popular with children, water rides, restaurant, gift shops and performances by local celebrities.

Contact:

Tel: (866-4) 2559-2888

Website: http://fullon-yamay.hotel.com.tw

 

Taiwan Hot Air Balloon Festival

What

This year’s edition, held from June 29 to September 2 in Taitung’s Luye Township, eastern Taiwan, has drawn balloonists from 13 countries. Visitors are invited to take hot air balloon rides to view Taitung’s beauty from above. Other events include concerts, kite flying, paragliding and trips to local scenic attractions.

Why

Taitung is best known for its rugged, unspoiled scenery and its large aboriginal population, and now wants to promote outdoor recreation. Among local contestants this year is Taiwan’s first female pilot and Taitung native, Wu Chin yeh.

Contact

Tel: (866-89) 3346-119

E-mail: tang_christina@hotmail.com

 

Teng-Feng Fish Ball Museum

What

Teng-Feng Fish Ball Museum in Taipei’s neighboring seaport, Danshui, offers a nostalgic experience with a hands on twist a crash course in making its famed namesake products. A session costs NT$150 (US$5) per person. Exhibits at the museum introduce visitors to local dietary traditions and fishery customs.

Why

Danshui, home to Taiwan’s many seafood delicacies, is also one of the most relaxed places to sample them. within walking distance are Hongmao Cheng, an old Dutch fort, and many of northern Taiwan’s oldest historical sites.

Contact

Tel: (886-3) 2629-9912

E-mail: kflin@tff.com.tw

Singapore Flyer


At 165metres the Singapore Flyer is the world’s largest observation wheel and offers spectacular views of the Island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On your awesome 30-minute Singapore Flyer ride you will see stunning views of Marina Bay and the Singapore skyline, plus tantalising glimpses of neighboring Indonesia and Malaysia.

The Singapore Flyer is a must-do in Singapore. Book your tickets today to ensure you don’t miss out on this incredible experience.

Why book this activity:-

  •     The Singapore Flyer is a must-do in Singapore!
  •      Breathtaking views of Singapore from the world’s largest observation wheel
  •     The view stretches 45km and encompasses all of Singapore’s highlights as well as glimpses of neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia

With this ticket you can simply turn up any time before 6pm and skip-the-line!

The Singapore Flyer – Itinerary
The Singapore Flyer is located at 30 Raffles Avenue, Marina Bay Singapore. Please arrive at the Singapore Flyer 30 minutes before your flight time.

Take a breathtaking ride on the Singapore Flyer, the world’s largest observation wheel. Flights last for 30 minutes and you will share a capsule with other passengers.

 
The Flyer has a total height of 165m and exceeds The Star of Nanchang by 5m and the London Eye by 30m. You will see 360 degree views of Singapore’s spectacular skyline and Sentosa Island. On a clear day you should be able to see up to 45km away meaning you can catch sight of nearby Indonesia and Malaysia.

Please Note:- Must Take your Cameras. Otherwise you will surely frustrate.  :=)

Location: Singapore
Schedule: Start time: Your ticket is valid for entrance between 0830h (08:30am) and 2230h (10:30pm).

Some Brief Information about Mumbai Airport (A.K.A Gateway to India)


Mumbai Airport Name and Code:

Chhatrapati Shivaj International Airport (BOM)

Mumbai Airport Contact Information:

  • (91)22 26264-000 for Terminal 1 (1A, 1B, 1C Domestic)
  • (91)22 26813-000 for Terminal 2 (2B and 2C International)

Website: www.csia.in

Mumbai Airport Location:

The international terminal is located at Sahar in Andheri East while the domestic terminal is in Santa Cruz, 30 kilometers (19 miles) and 24 kilometers (15 miles) north of the city respectively.

Mumbai Airport Travel Time to City Center:

One and a half to two hours to Colaba. However, travel time is much less early in the morning or late at night when traffic is lighter.

Mumbai Airport Development Fee:

From April 1, 2009, departing international passengers must pay a 600 rupee ($12) Airport Development Fee, and domestic passengers 100 rupees ($2).

Mumbai Airport Overview:

Mumbai airport is the main entry point to India and handles 25 million passengers a year. It was leased to a private operator in 2006 and is undergoing major renovation and upgrade. A new domestic terminal has been opened and construction works are in progress in the international terminal. There’s faster immigration and improved amenities, however expect some inconvenience due to construction. T2, a new domestic and international terminal building, is expected to be completed by 2012. Eventually, the domestic and international terminals will be merged together, and the domestic terminal used for cargo.

Mumbai Airport Terminals:

Mumbai airport has the following terminals:

  • Terminal 1A – Domestic departures check-in and arrivals (Air India, Kingfisher Airlines and Alliance Air).
  • Terminal 1B – Domestic departures check-in and arrivals (all other domestic airlines including Jet, JetLite, Kingfisher Red, IndiGo, Go Air, and Spice Jet).
  • Terminal 1C – Links Terminal 1A and 1B. Is a holding area for passengers before departure. Also has a food court.
  • Terminal 2B & 2C – International departures and arrivals. (2A is under reconstruction).

Mumbai Airport Shuttle Bus:

The international and domestic terminals are located around five kilometers (three miles) apart. There’s a free shuttle bus, which departs every half hour or so. Time taken to travel between the terminals is around 20 minutes.

Mumbai Airport Facilities:

  • Luggage storage facilities are no longer operational due to security threats.
  • Free wireless Internet is available in both domestic and international terminals.
  • Passengers with special needs are catered for by reserved parking slots, ramps, lifts and bathrooms. Wheelchairs and attendants are available inside the terminals.
  • Money exchange counters and ATMs inside the terminals.
  • New duty free shops.
  • Beauty spa, and classy Bombay Blue bar, in the international departures terminal.
  • Railway reservation counter at the international arrivals terminal (open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and until 2 p.m. on Sunday).

Mumbai Airport Transport:

The easiest way to get to your hotel is by taking a prepaid taxi from out the front of the international arrivals area. The fare to south Mumbai (Colaba) is around 400 rupees ($8). Luggage charges are additional. Pre-paid taxis are now also available at the domestic terminal. The stand is a short walk away as you exit the arrivals area. Bus services are also available from the airport.

Mumbai Airport Hotels:

Unfortunately Mumbai airport doesn’t have any retiring rooms, however there are plenty of airport hotels in the vicinity.

Birding in Bhutan


Bhutan is enormously rich in bird diversity. Of the 675 species recorded, 78% are resident and breeding, 7% are passage migrant, 8% are winter visitor, 6% are uncertain and 1% fall in the data deficient category; 27% show elevational migrations.

BirdWatching

 Bhutan has two critically endangered (white-bellied heron Ardea insignis is white rumped vulture), one endangered, 12 vulnerable (black-necked crane Grus nigricollis, rufous-necked hornbill Aceros nipalensis, chestnut-breasted partridge Arborophila mandellii, Pallas’s fish eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus, beautiful nuthatch Sitta Formosa, wood snipe Gallinago nemoricola, Blyth’s tragopan Tragopan blythii, greater spotted eagle Aquila clanga, Imperial eagle Aquila heliaca, Baer’s pochard Aythya baeri, Hodgson’s bushcat Saxicola insignis, dark-rumped swift Apus acuticauda, and grey-crowned prinia Prinia cinereocapilla), 11 near-threatened, and 11 restricted range bird species (Blyth’s tragopan Tragopan blythii, chestnut-breasted partridge Arborophila mandellii, dark-rumped swift Apus acuticauda, ward’s trogon Harpactes wardi, rufous-throated wren babbler Spelaeornis caudatus, hoary-throated barwing Actinodura nipalensis, brown-throated fulvetta Alcippe ludlowi, white-naped yuhina Yuhina bakeri, yellow-vented warbler Phylloscopus cantator, and broad-billed warbler Tickellia hodgsoni) as per IUCN 2003.

On a global scale, the country is recognized as forming a part of several globally important bird regions. It is a part of the Sino-Himalayan mountain forests, Indo-Burmese forests, Indo-Gangetic grasslands, South Asian arid habitats, and Tibetan plateau wetlands – all categorized as globally important bird regions by BirdLife International.’

For Birding Trips Contact:- 00-91-281-246523

Import duty on gold burns NRI pockets


Scores of Hyderabadi’s returning home from the Middle East this festive season with gold jewellery were in for a rude shock when asked to cough up huge import duties on their shopping at the airport. Gold jewellery is now subject to a flat 10 per cent import duty, catching many travellers unaware.

Duty rates on gold were revised in the 2012-13 budget. While the government does not control gold prices, the duty was earlier fixed at Rs 750 per 10 grams plus a three per cent education cess. But from this year, the government has fixed the price of gold in dollar terms for the sake of duty collection alone and has been revising rates on a monthly or fortnightly basis.

What has also irked many NRIs is that the website of the custom’s department does not give any of these crucial details. Officials downplay the issue by saying that notifications are pasted at airports and the website would be updated soon.

The current rate (subject to daily market changes) of gold is USD 527 per 10 grams which will determine the value of the purchase imported. The import duty is four per cent (on the value and not weight) on gold with serial number while it is flat 10 per cent of the value on gold without serial numbers. Ornaments fall under the latter category. While men are allowed to bring in duty free gold worth Rs 10,000, for women the limit is Rs 20,000. The maximum permissible weight of gold that can be imported has been reduced to 1 kg from 10 kgs.

Amir Ali Khan, who has his family in Hussaini Alam, is in the city for his wedding. “I purchased two gold ornaments weighing 10 tolas and had to pay a total duty of Rs 32,000. I purchased these ornaments for my fiancee but was not aware of the changes in the duty,” he said.

Customs officials at Shamshabad Airport said that the move is aimed to discourage people from importing gold. “After adding customs duty and education cess, the total amount paid is meant to exceed the cost of gold purchase within the country. Also a weakening rupee in the current situation will only push up the total cost of gold imported,” said an officer.

 

Courtesy:- Times of India

Could this be the Scariest Hotel Swimming ever ?


Holiday Inn Shanghai Pudong Kangqiao’s swimming pool has an exceptional view, as the image above shows.

Part of the indoor pool, which perches atop the 24-story hotel, protrudes from the main building and is suspended mid-air. Its bottom is constructed with toughened glass.

This gives guests a delirious sense of swimming in the sky — they can see the street clearly down below while passers-by on Xiuyan Lu Street can see the swimmers way up above.

“I felt as if I was flying in the sky — I could also enjoy the beautiful scenery of Pudong from here … it’s so cool and wonderful,” a swimmer told CCTV.

“We wanted to provide our guests a unique swimming experience, and let them feel they’re vacationing even in a bustling city,” said a spokesperson from InterContinental Hotels Group, parent company of Holiday Inn.

While not splashing in the water, guests can enjoy Pudong urban views stretching as far as the Lujiazui skyline at the poolside lounge.

First of its kind in China

Exactly 30 meters long (about 98 feet), six meters wide (20 feet) and 1.5 meters deep (5 feet), the swimming pool is the first of its kind in China. It was designed by Singaporean firm Chan Sau Yan Associates, which helmed the interior design of the four-star hotel.

The Holiday Inn Shanghai branch said it gathered input from various architects and even aerospace experts while constructing this sky-high glass-bottomed water container to ensure its safety.

The hotel did not reveal the pool’s construction cost.

The 390-room, four-star hotel — which opened in May 2011, is located in the booming suburb of Kangqiao, which is some 22 kilometers southeast from Shanghai downtown and 30 kilometers west of Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

According to the staff working at the hotel’s gym, the swimming pool is open to hotel guests and a limited number of health club members.

Annual membership for the gym starts from about $2,400 per person.

Holiday Inn Shanghai Pudong Kangqiao, 1088 Xiuyan Lu, near Henghe Zhong Lu, Shanghai.  Nightly rate: from $125, www.holidayinn.com

Do you know any cooler hotel swimming pools? Tell us about them in the comments section below.

 

500 artificial ponds to be filled for thirsty lions


Junagadh district has received only 10 per cent of the rain it normally gets, forcing the forest department to put in place its contingency plan to ensure that lions’ thirst is quenched.

The forest department has to keep replenishing more than 500 artificial waterholes in the Gir National Park and its periphery. However, the department is worried because there are no such arrangements for lion zones in Amreli, Bhavnagar and coastal areas.

Foresters said that due to deficient rainfall this year, water levels in rivers, ponds, and wells are plunging. The Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Sasan Gir, is the only abode of the Asiatic lions- their current population is 411. Other animals in the sanctuary include Leopards, Spotted Deer, Nilgais, Wild Boars, and thousands of bird species and various reptiles.

In the normal course, forest authorities stop filling the artificial waterholes in and around Gir by June 15 every year- unless it is required in summer. But nearly after a decade, the authorities are being forced to fill these ponds in August. The water holes are filled twice a day.

Chief Conservator of forests R.L. Meena said that the main worry is that the waterholes filled using wind and solar power will be rendered useless because the water level is falling drastically. The department may have to provide supply to these waterholes too. “A water tanker of the forest department is making eight to ten trips a day,” he said.

Senior officials said that with natural water getting exhausted, the forest department will have to get water from distant places. The department may have to call in more tankers to meet the demand.

The water situation deteriorated when seven rivers – Hiran, Saraswati, Machhundri, Ghodavdi, and Raval- passing through the sanctuary started drying up.

Principal secretary S.K. Nanda had visited the sanctuary earlier this month to assess the situation.

10 of the World’s Top Airport Lounges


Virgin Atlantic JFK Clubhouse, John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York

The feeling that half of Manhattan has joined you at your gate at JFK is over. This March, Virgin Atlantic premiered its new Clubhouse with an Austin Powers-meets-uptown mod cocktail lounge at its heart, complete with a red leather sofa and purple lighting.

But it’s the Clubhouse Spa, featuring Dr. Hauschka products and treatments, that really makes the JFK Clubhouse a standout layover option.

In the end, just like the $17 million flagship at Heathrow airport, this lounge offers everything you need (massages, facials, foot treatments), everything you didn’t know you needed (a Bumble and Bumble salon) and several things that you don’t really need at all but are certainly nice to have (anyone for a game of pool?).

Beyond TSA checkpoint in A Concourse, above boarding gates A4 and A5; virgin-atlantic.com.


British Airways Concorde Room, Heathrow Airport

The decidedly unfashionable herringbone print, velvets and crystal chandeliers of the Concorde Room at Heathrow recall a well-to-do British gentleman’s study in all its relaxed, un-modern glory.

Quite simply, this is a retreat — albeit one with full waiter service, complimentary wines and Champagne and private, hotel-style cabanas with day beds and en-suite bathrooms. If retreating isn’t your habit, book a theater ticket with the concierge, then head to the terrace for a drink from the fabulous Concorde Bar and views of the runway.

Terminal 5; britishairways.com.


Etihad’s Diamond First Class Lounge, Abu Dhabi International Airport

To enter Etihad’s first-class lounge is a dangerous game of choose-your-own-indulgence. Leave the kids at the door. Staff nannies keep little ones busy in the kids’ retreat among colorful beanbags and toys; parents head to the Six Senses Spa for a complimentary treatment.

Then the real decision-making begins. Will it be the Champagne bar for the finest wines and bubbly or the cigar lounge? À la carte dining in a fine-dining atmosphere or dinner at the chef’s table? Just don’t forget the kids.

Terminal 3; etihadairways.com.


Finnair Lounge, Helsinki Airport

From felt walls that swallow outside noise to Marimekko tableware to the wireless, mobile phone-charging system PowerKiss (wireless!), the simplicity and thoughtfulness of the Finnair Lounge make it exceptional. A buffet is always on, and in addition to the views, the elegant Finnish and Nordic furniture designs provide their own easy pleasure. For those on the way to Asia, the midnight buffet is particularly elaborate.

Travelers in need of a spa will need to have patience — the Finnair Spa (complete with traditional Finnish saunas) will reopen this winter, but in the meantime there are showers at the lounge.

Terminal T2 between Gates 36 and 37; finnair.com.


Lufthansa First Class Terminal, Frankfurt Airport

Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal offers its own passport control and security checkpoints, so travelers get personal attention all the way until they walk down the gangplank to the airplane. (Behind security in Departure Area B, there is also a smaller but no less elegant first class lounge for non-Schengen flights.)

Creatively done lighting radiates from behind a black glass wall and from the tops of marble partitions in the restaurant. Everything, from the size of the tables to the marble and oak bar to the monsoon showerheads, is presented generously and thoughtfully.

Next to Terminal 1; lufthansa.com.


The Pier, Hong Kong International Airport

The seasoned traveler will be forgiven for any long-standing preconceptions about eating (or, sadly, not eating) in airports. Thankfully, not far from Gate 62 at Hong Kong International Airport, those expectations will be overturned.

At The Pier — Cathay Pacific’s glass-enclosed first- and business-class break area — you’ll find freshly made Japanese noodles at the Noodle Bar and proper fine dining and modern decor at the first-class Haven restaurant. (There are also two more fully stocked café/bars.)

In addition to the business centers, the WiFi, the leather armchairs and the pebbled showers, a glass of Champagne also goes a long way to ease travel stress.

Gates 62-66, Northwest Concourse; cathaypacific.com.


Qantas First Lounge, Sydney Airport

Modernity, with polished surfaces, clear glass and stainless steel, is the norm of airport luxury today, give or take a Dutch modern knock-off table or two and a leather armchair. Which is why we’re thrilled with the 98-foot, 8,400-plant vertical garden that greets passengers at the Qantas First Lounge at Sydney Airport.

It leaves the air in the atrium feeling cleaner and lighter. Better yet, part of the garden is incorporated into each of the Payot Paris day spa treatment rooms, so you can forget, for the moment, that you’re in transit.

The upper floor of the lounge, designed by Marc Newson and replete with recliners and sofas (in addition to those leather armchairs), also includes an open kitchen restaurant serving food by Australian chef Neil Perry.

International Terminal; qantas.com.au.


Qatar Airways Premium Terminal, Doha International Airport

Doha airport knows how to do things on a massive scale better than anyone, which is why Qatar Airways worked with it to create this first- and business-class terminal cum mall cum hotel.

It includes a handful of worthwhile airport elements (duty-free, fine boutiques) and complements them with the fundamentals of a fine lounge (a full-service Elemis spa, including Jacuzzi and sauna; several restaurants, cafés and bars; private meeting rooms and business centers).

Hotel-style bedroom suites and child entertainment round out the offerings, and the result is truly over the top.

Near main Departures building; qatarairways.com.


Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounges, Singapore Changi International Airport

At Singapore Changi International, as throngs of travelers roll handcarts piled high with suitcases to overflowing check-in lines, Passenger Relations Officers greet first-class passengers of Singapore Airlines curbside, taking their bags, guiding them to an armchair in the first-class check-in lounge and checking them in personally.

Next it’s off to the first-class SilverKris Lounges, where, depending on their mood, guests can choose from meeting rooms, café/bars or 13 Italian-leather slumberettes. Don’t worry — the staff will wake you before your flight.

Terminal 2 on Level 3 (North Wing); Terminal 3 on Level 3; singaporeair.com.


Swiss Lounge, EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg

Guests of the Swiss Lounge can sun themselves under an enormous glass dome, surrounded by bright, simple materials — like chrome and wood — rather than some of the richer, upholstered surfaces found in other first class lounges. The architecture is open, the greenery is plentiful and the staff at the welcome desk is attentive.

Expect warm and cold buffets, leather recliners facing the panoramic windows, a proper European bar and a Japanese bridge in an atrium surrounded by palm trees. Somehow, it all works together impeccably — Priority Pass just voted it the best airport lounge of 2012.

Y Terminal on the Departures Level; swiss.com.

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