Hong Kong Extravaganza


Hong Kong Macau offers the best of east and west. No wonder it’s becoming the most popular destination of South East Asia. Disneyland, OCT, Madame Tussauds, Casinos, ‘Festival of the Lion King’ – a virtual explosion of Colours, music and amazing talent, shopping and many more attractions…the fun just doesn’t end. Hong Kong is a place with multiple personalities, as a result of being both Cantonese Chinese and under a contemporary ex-British influence. It is a unique destination that has absorbed people and cultural influences proclaims itself to be Asia’s World City.

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Main Language: Chinese, Portuguese, English

Currency: Macanese Pataca, Hong Kong Dollar

One thing you didn’t know

The name Macau is thought to be derived from the A-Ma Temple, a temple built in 1448 dedicated to Matsu – the goddess of seafarers and fishermen.


 Must Do:

Man Mo Temple

Man Mo Temple or Man Mo Miu is a temple for the worship of the civil or literature god Man Tai n Cheong and the martial god Mo Tai Kwan Tai. The two gods were popularly patronized by scholars and students seeking progress in their study or ranking in the civil examinations in the Ming and Qing dynasties. There are several Man Mo Temples in Hong Kong.


Disneyland

Disneyland for a fun-filled day at the theme park. The Hong Kong Disneyland is as happening as its American counterpart. Walking cartoon characters, fun filled rides and delicious food; this is the young Hong Kong’s hang out for unlimited entertainment and fun.


Ocean Park

Opened in 1977, Ocean Park Hong Kong is a world class marine life theme park featuring animal exhibits, thrill rides and shows that offer guests an experience that blends entertainment with education and conservation. It is located on the southern side of Hong Kong Island, covering more than 870,000 square metres.  The Waterfront and The Summit areas are connected by the Cable Car and Ocean Express funicular train.

How to get there:

Bus 629 from Central Pier 7 or from MTR Admiralty Station, Exit B and alight at the park.


Must Click:

Macau Bridge


A ma Temple


Victoria Peak



Must Eat:

Daa Bin Lou (Hot Pot)


Moon Cakes


Dim Sum

World’s Highest Bungie Jumping


The Bloukrans Bungy is the worlds highest commercial bungy bridge. It is also the highest commercial natural bungy jump in the world. We have had a number of world records associated with Bloukrans. In 2003, Bloukrans bungy was recognized as the worlds highest commercial bungy jump. In 2008 we were part of two more world records. Veronica Dean performed 19 bungy jumps in one hour and Bill Boshoff performed 101 jumps in a 24 hour period. Bill’s world record was subsequently surpassed, but in 2011 we facilitated Scott Huntley to regain the world record with 107 jumps in the 24 hour period. The Bloukrans bridge is 216 meters (709 feet) above the Bloukrans River.

Hangout with Australia!


Sydney is Australia‘s famous harbor city and thee capital of New South Wales. Explore the harbor, beaches and inner-city precincts of this exuberant city. See dawn break from the top of the harbor Bridge or the sun set on the Opera House. Fine dine along the Woolloomooloo finger wharf or experience theater and dance along the redeveloped wharves of Walsh Bay. Australia’s sixth largest city, and the second largest in the state of Queensland, the Gold Coast is where the ‘bikini’ was born. Along with endless stretches of golden beaches, there are international theme parks, designer boutiques, luxurious spa retreats, world-class golf courses, award-winning restaurants, upmarket bars and lively nightclubs.

Language:- English

Currency:- Australian Dollar

One thing you didn’t know:-

The practice of naming hurricanes began early this century when an Australian weather forecaster named tropical storms after politicians that he didn’t like.


Must Do:-

Rides- Dream World

Dream World is the Australia’s best and favourite theme park. It is filled with variety of rides, attractions, and shows. There is never a dull moment here. Explore the park, get onto challenging rides, enjoy fun shows and relive your childhood. A unique experience and the best way to bond with your family and loved ones.


Port Stephens Tour

Discover the unspoilt and diverse blue water paradise of Port Stephens. Just north of Sydney, this place offers a relaxed day set amongst the golden beaches, giant sand dunes and spectacular scenery. Cross the Sydney harbor Bridge and tour through the leafy and affluent northern suburbs. Travel over the Hawkesbury River, a holiday hub for boat lovers. Board a luxury cruiser and search for the pods of bottle nose dolphins – watch as they play on the bow waves or even ride the boom net! Be entertained with informative commentary and spectacular scenery of the bay and Tomaree and Yacaaba headlands. Experience the grandeur and tranquility of the local desert wilderness, and environmental and historical sights. Travel in modern comfortable 4WD vehicles and encounter the Stockton Bight. The Stockton Bight sand dunes covering an area of over 2,500 hectares along 32 kilometers need to be seen to be believed! While you are here try sand boarding, an experience you won’t forget!


Wildlife World – Sydney Wildlife World

Get up close to Aussie’s animals in the heart of the city. See Rex, the huge crocodile in Kakadu Gorge, walk amongst kangaroos and emus in The Outback, and meet cuddly koalas in Gum Tree Valley, and more! Sydney Wildlife World features interactive displays, inspiring and entertaining daily keeper talks and enhanced walk through habitats including Koala Encounters, The Outback and Butterfly Tropics.


Must Click:-

Sydney Opera House


Captain Cook’s Cottage


Mrs MacQuaries Chair


Must Eat:-

Spagetti Bolignese


Fish and Chips


Pavlova

Kerala, India- Home of Ayurveda


Of all the places in earth there is just one that is literally shaped by a thousand year old unbroken tradition of Ayurveda. Home to the world’s largest number of qualified and certified Ayurveda physicians, here this ancient system of medicine is practiced to perfection. Here, the humid air, fertile soil and tropical rain forests nurture over 500 species of rare medicinal herbs. Here, centuries old Ayurveda regimens come alive every day. Welcome to the home to Ayurveda. Welcome to Kerala, India

Vegetarian and Indian Food in Thailand


 

 

Luxury Train – Golden Chariot

Spoting Wild Tigers at Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India


In the quiet before dawn, a pale moon still lit the sky above Kanha’s (Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh) entrance gate. A group of us — 4 Canadians (including Terry and his wife Andy) and I — were en route to Kanha Meadows, a section of the park where we were most likely to see tigers. Upon my inquiry about our chances of spotting a tiger, our forest guard Sadan Yadav replied, “Every minute in the park counts—it only takes a second to see a tiger, so Positive Thinking!” Five hours later, it was almost closing time and still no sign of a tiger. All of a sudden, 3 jeeps roared past us, drivers motioning ahead, ahead! We raced after them and joined the 5 or 6 jeeps parked near a meadow of tall grass.

“There are two cubs in that grass” whispered Yadav. I squinted at the spot but could see nothing. Yadav began to make sharp “tiger” calls. After 5 minutes – a reply!

The grass parted magically and there it was — a 16- month old tiger cub!

“She thinks it’s her mother calling and is replying.”

And then…another Call!! TWO tigers – the second cub still camouflaged in the grass (see if you can spot it in the left corner)

In a breathtaking moment, the cub (if that’s what you call an enormous 16-
month-old female tiger), walked purposefully out of the tall dry grass.

Sinews rippling gold, her sister dramatically followed her sibling.

They both vanished once more into the yellow and green grass. How an enormous cat can disappear in an instant (when common sense tells you that it’s still there), is one of nature’s great miracles. “See,” said Sadan Yadav, practically hopping with glee. “Positive Thinking.”

Tiger Update

Tiny cub abandoned by mother in Panna

  •  The end of the summer and the beginning of the monsoon always heralds the birth of new tiger cubs. Amidst the flurry of new litters, a female tigress recently abandoned its 20-day old male cub. This tiny youngster was rescued by a highly concerned forest department and revived in an air-conditioned room. It was highly dehydrated at the time of rescue, but we are happy to report that it is now doing well! Since it is being hand reared, however, it will sadly not be able to return to the wild.

 Prominent male tiger passes away in Bandhavgarh

  •  At the end of April, the dominant Bokha male was killed by his son in a ritual fight over territory in the park’s Magdhi zone. The cycle of life and death, however, is unending in the wild, and three females have had litters in the Tala zone, promising lots of action when the park re-opens in October. In June, our naturalists and guests were enchanted by sightings of the Jhurjhura female’s 2-month old cubs. It is extremely rare to see cubs this young, as tigresses tend to hide their cubs in thick undergrowth until they are older and less vulnerable.

A handful of tigresses with cubs in Kanha

  • Kanha too promises plenty of action next season as a few females have just had litters. Once cubs are older, they start venturing out & there is a good chance of spotting them.

CLICK! Pugdundee Photo Album

Karan Rana shares a few photographs he took last season in Kanha National Park Madhya Pradesh

Below Two tigers cool off in a waterhole in Kanha – Photo courtesy of Karan Rana, March 2012


News Courtesy:- Pugdundee News

Birdwatchers Eye Candy at Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India


Jungle Owlet. This tiny Kanha (Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh) resident bravely stands sentinel at his daytime roost in a tree hollow near Kisli Gate. Keep your eyes peeled as you pass through the gates and you might spot him swaying sleepily in the breeze. Jungle Owlets have yellow irises, are 20 cm tall and roost in tree cavities. When disturbed, they freeze & pretend to be dead tree stumps!

Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) fishing in Kanha Meadows

Little Cormorant waits patiently for a catch

Photos courtesy of Karan Rana

Kshitij Gambhir caught a few magic moments on camera last season in Bandhavgarh

 Fast asleep – a Collared Scops Owl

Common Rose butterflies

Photos by Kshitij Gambhir

News Courtesy:- Pugdundee News

Four Indian Species on most threatened list


They may disappear even before we get to know them. Four Indian species feature in a list of the ‘100 most threatened’ species in the world. The list consists of critically endangered animals, plants and fungi that don’t serve any obvious purpose for humans and are, therefore, not priority for government conservation efforts. Titled, “Priceless or Worthless,” the list was compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Zoological Society of London and released on Tuesday.

The ‘Great Indian Bustard’, one of the heaviest flying birds, ‘Gooty tarantula’, a poisonous spider known for its vibrant blue color, ‘Batagur buska’, an endangered turtle and the ‘White Bellied Heron’ are all on the brink of extinction, according to the list, released at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in South Korea. ‘Priceless or Worthless,’ highlights the plight of species that have been endangered but haven’t received adequate attention from governments. Conservationists fear the neglect will continue as none of them provide humans with obvious ‘benefits’. For the first time, more than 8,000 scientists from the IUCN Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) came together to prepare such a list.

The four species lack the charisma of bigger endangered animals like tigers. But the disappearance of the four species is of concern as all four they once occurred in great abundance in India. The Gooty Tarantula (also metallic tarantula or peacock tarantula), was plentiful in Ooty, Tamil Nadu.

According to the list, there are just 50 to 249 adult birds left of the Great Indian Bustard that was very common in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Karnataka.

Oman – A Paradise in the Arabian Peninsula


With its long history and rich culture, Oman, officially known as the Sultanate of Oman is located at the tip of the Gulf Of Oman just across Iran and off the shores of India.  Spread over a vast area Oman is home to a number of historical forts and palaces along with a beautiful flora-fauna and natural beauty.

The capital Muscat is a shy city located on the Gulf of Oman with proximity to the Strait of Hormuz.  There are a lot more things to be done in Muscat.  Muscat international is the only international airport in the country which is well connected throughout the world.

Places to visit in and around Muscat

Dolphin Viewing

Dolphin’s !!

Muscat has some of the most pristine beaches located on its coasts.  Early morning drive out to the Marina Bandar located just off the most popular hotel in Muscat – Al Bustan Palace hotel, From here hire an boat for your family or just book a few seats as per your convenience and you are done, for an beautiful view of the Gulf of Oman and the most beautiful dolphins around.  We suggest you go out early in the morning since it’s the best time to spot this magnificent creature. Along the boat ride you shall see the Portuguese built fort, beautiful cliffs and mountains on the outskirts of Muscat.  For the ones who love snorkeling this is the best place, your boat driver shall take you behind the mountains where in shallow corals and fish are found.  Make sure to negotiate this with the driver at the time you book your sea trip.

The other option is a visit to the beautiful islands of MussandamMussandam is located on the other side of the border and requires to pass through the international border of UAE, do not forget to carry along your passport should you be interested to go to Musandam.  A jetty locally known as a Dhow would take you out towards the Strait of Hormuz.

Sink Hole

Way to Sink Hole.

Recently named as the – HAWAIT NAJIM PARK, Otherwise very famous among the residents as Sink Hole, is just a few Kms from Muscat on the Sur Road and right after a dibab village.  This interesting site was created after a piece of limestone carved in.  The beautiful waters which appear greenish in color are quite cold enough to beat the summer heat.  A picnic spot during the holidays, ensure to bring along your bathing suite, as you are sure to get tempted to swim.  There are change rooms available at the entrance of the park.

Do’s & Don’t for Sink Hole

Whatever, do not just jump into the water, the hole is deep by approx 20 to 40 feet though no official board is posted about the depth.

Make sure u carry enough food and water since there are no shops nearby except a few at the next town / village

Wear comfortable clothes, and shoes / slippers, there is a lot walking to be done to reach the hole up and down

Lastly do not forget to carry your camera in all the excitement!!

Qalhat

Again located on the Muscat Sur highway towards sur, is this beautiful ancient place of Qalhat where you can find an ancient tomb and a underground ancient place, worth a visit for the ancient history lover.

Al Hoota Caves –

One of the most marvelous, fascinating, extraordinary creation of nature, that I can’t put down my words to define the place.   A 4.5 km long lake below the magnificent mountains out of which only approx of 500 mts  which is made open to the public through various means, provides beautiful creations created by dissolution of limestone by acidic water over years and ages, estimated to be over 2 million years old.  Located at the foot hills of the Jebel Shams mountains, the cave has 2 lakes, the smaller one is the northern lake and the other, central lake forming the main part of the cave.

Other activities in and around Muscat –

Jebel Shams and Jebel Akdhar some of the most fascinating mountains in Oman, the temperatures can be a surprise to you during certain seasons which is opposite to the prevailing temperatures in the region.

Turtle Beach:-

Sur, a few hundred kms from Muscat is a beautiful place to watch turtles during the early morning walks and late night walks which are provided by the local resorts.
Nakhal fort / Ostrich  farm Barka are some of the other locations which are within reach from Muscat

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