IN THE PINK OF THINGS – JAIPUR


Jaipur’s forts, palaces, colors and hospitality will make you feel like the royals that lived here centuries ago

Across the rocky plains encircled by desert hills, with bastion and fortified walls spiraling over their contours, lies the capital of Rajasthan. I rolled the window down as we drove through early morning rush hour at Bapu Bazaar. Vendors prepared their fresh supply of fruits, vegetables and bright orange marigolds for sale, children crowded together in cycle-rickshaws headed for school, and there was an extraordinary chaos in the air, as every possible mode of transport, from luxury cars to scooters, rickshaws, horse-drawn carts and camels, all found their place on the same road. The morning sun reflected on the stunning 18th century architecture of pink sand-stone, turning into a soft shade of honeycomb with a pinkish hue.

In stark contrast, our car soon wheeled into a royal landscape which was home to a fairytale princess, the fabulous Rambagh Palace that is now a luxury hotel. The imposing exterior was reminiscent of the regal style of the buildings in the city. We were greeted to a rose petal welcome and led to our suite by an attentive turbaned butler.

The palace interiors were no less impressive, with long, white-marbled verandahs that wound around the courtyards. As the third wife of HH Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II, this was Rajmata Gayatri Devi’s first home after marriage. Sipping tea on the manicured lawns, you get a sense of the kind of grandeur that she wrote so fondly of, what with all the elephant polo matches, lavish meals and the Rolls-Royces. The palace’s resident peacocks complete the picture.

The sights and sounds of Jaipur, like its people, are vibrant and exuberant. It is a world of Bandhani And Leheriyan Saris, Mojari Chappals, Puppet dolls and Daal Baati Churma and Makkai Muthiya meal that we had been anticipating since we left. But first, a brief history lesson: just outside the city, accessible by car – or better yet, by elephant – is the spectacular Amber Fort. Built four centuries ago by Raja Maan Singh I, Amber Fort is renowned as an architectural marvel with stunning artistic elements and stonework, which used the practical approach of the ancient Indian study of vaastu.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Amber Fort gets approximately 5000 visitors a day, most of whom seemed to be waiting for an elephant ride up to the Fort.

“Padharo Mare Desh!” yelled out short, pot-bellied turbaned tour guide Gyaan Singh, in his uncanny American accent. We cheated the serpentine queues to enter the Fort, thanks to his wasta (influence) and soon we were taking in enough history to fill an encyclopaedic volume. He walked us through the Suraj Pol, Jalebi Chowk (an Arabic word referring to a place for soldiers to gather), Ganesh Pol, Sila Devi Temple, the stately courtyards, and numerous other places of unimaginable intrigue all amongst this immaculately planned palatial fort of red sandstone and marble masonry, lattice-screens and mirror work walls.

After taking in all that history, we made our way to some retail therapy in the bustling markets of the city. Jaipur is famous for its textiles, block prints being made by local artisans, silver and of course the spectacular Jaipur gems.

The next morning, we bid farewell to the city and our not-so-humble abode and headed for the undulating Aravalli hills to pink sandstone and limestone-walled resort, reflecting Rajasthan’s famed architectural history. The Tree Of Life Resort and Spa offers a quiet tranquillity – it is an ideal place to unwind and rest. It inspired my very urban children to go off on a ‘nature walk’, so that is something. They reported back with an interesting list – “a real carrot garden, four monarch butterflies, three big squirrels and a large German Shepherd…..that belongs to the lady in the next villa.”

Up here in the Aravalli hills, under the clear blue skies, with no cellphones, no computers or schedules to uphold, you get a chance to be pensive and contemplative. Perhaps, that is my version of being Royal in Rajasthan.

Courtesy by K.T.

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Graceful Monaco


Home to arguably the world’s most glamorous royal family, this tiny city-state welcomes celebrities and high rollers in their droves, no doubt drawn to its glitzy nightlife and designer boutiques.

graceful monacomonte carlo bay

Monaco is a discreet, welcoming place and that is why celebrities like it here: they can stay in private and not be disturbed by fans. This is a place where wealthy and successful people come to live because they know they can leave million-dollar artworks in their Ferraris, or not lock their doors, and come back to find everything is still there.

place du palaisnicole kidman in the biopic of grace

The countless security cameras that swivel and zoom every time you cross a street or walk into a shop no doubt help, but Charlotte’s back on brand, pointing towards the perfectly placed bunches of flowers that decorate the lobby. Here enthusiasm is contagious. Monaco is a glamorous city – state, penned in by France and the Mediterranean and just a short drive from Italy.

grace kellyhotel metrolole - pool with a view

hotel metropole

Now, with Nicole Kidman’s biopic of Grace Kelly opening the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and Louis Vuitton’s cruise collection dropping anchor here, it’s clear Monte Carlo’s star cachet is on the rise. Add warm weather, beautiful scenery and a history scattered with royal tales and intrigue….it is a must to visit place.

The world’s smallest city-state has a population of just 30000, yet every time there is a big event – a society wedding, or even a Robbie Williams concert – that number rises to 2000000.

For beautiful, spacious rooms, a Karl Lagerfield-designed restaurant and the occasional celebrity spotting, Hotel Metropole is very lovely indeed. The staff at the hotel are super-friendly – ask them to print you a Princess Grace tour map.

Courtesy by G.N.

Taj Goa – 4th Complimentary (July Onwards)

Joy In the Rains


Monsoons In Maharashtra

A Rain Rendezvous In Kolad, Khandala, Harnai and Lavasa

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Discover Konkans scenic coastal beaches unique culture and cuisine that is specially lovely in the rains. Monsoon is when the locals love to visit the Sahyadris, when rain brings new life to the region and the water laden clouds hungs so low that you can walk in the clouds. With hundreds of waterfalls mushrooming all over the state, you are transported to a surreal, dreamy world of misty mornings, pleasant afternoons and chilly evenings.

Wake up to the sunrise on a mountain or sea fort and sunsets on a remote beach. Explore the myriad Konkan, its forests, forts and beaches. Go hiking, walking, rafting, segway riding, nature trailing, camping, driving or just watch the rain from your patio.

Experience the best of multiple landscapes in the same trip – Enjoy River, Ocean, Mountains and the Wilderness in the same trip with many ‘unique experiences’ for everybody in the family that makes for a forever memorable experience in Maharashtra Unlimited.

  1. Konkan – In the Middle of the River Kundalika in Kolad at Rivertrail Eco
  2. Konkan – On the Harnai Beach at Lotus Beach Resort
  3. Western Ghats – Overlooking the Valley at The Duke’s Retreat in Khandala and Ekaant Resort in Lavasa

For bookings write to us on adler-tours@hotmail.com or adlertourssafaris6@gmail.com 

 

Golf Breaks

West Coast, Sri Lanka ( What to do and What not to Miss !! )


For Packages write us on adler-tours@hotmail.com or visit us at http://www.adler-tours.com

Snapshot

Sri Lanka’s west coast covers the coastal belt just south of Colombo all the way down to Hikkaduwa. From that point on, Red Dot prefers to refer to the Galle coast, which is increasingly influenced by the famous old fortress town. The west coast is more frequented by holidaymakers due to its closer proximity to the island’s capital and the main airport, and offers tropical beaches and mangrove-lined lagoons The sandy beaches are the main attraction in the string of small towns such as Kalutara, Beruwela, Bentota, Ambalangoda, Ahungalla and Hikkaduwa, but they also share a vibrant cultural heritage including folklore, music and dance as well as architectural influences from the Dutch period. Many temples, kovils, churches and mosques are situated along the coast. Cottage industries such as basket-weaving, mask-carving and antique restoration provide for interesting shopping.

Don’t Miss:-
• Great sunbathing at excellent-value tropical hotels
• Water skiing in Bentota
• Dancing the night away in Hikkaduwa
• Surfing and deep sea fishing
• Stroll through Bevis Bawa’s Brief gardens
• Kosgoda’s marine turtles
• Traditional mask dancing in Ambalangoda
• Elephant Foot Drummers of Hikkaduwa
• Boat ride down mangrove-filled rivers
• Ancient temples & churches.

Getting There:-

Little more than an hour south of central Colombo, as you cross the Kalu Ganga Bridge, Sri Lanka’s West Coast really begins. From this point on all the way to Galle, the tiny main coastal road, known as the Galle Road, hugs the picturesque coast line and runs parallel to the rickety old railway which limps all the way to Matara. The trains stop at all the main town including Kalutara, Aluthgama, Hikkdaduwa and Galle, but the hill-country line is far more recommended. From Panadura, just before the west coast begins, you can most easily also head to Ratnapura, Sinharajah and the Southern Highlands.

Useful drive times include:

Colombo to Bentota (2 hours); Airport to Bentota (3 hours); Bentota to Hikkaduwa (45 minutes); Bentota to Galle (1.5 hours); Kandy to Kalutara (4 hours); Nuwara Eliya to Galle (6 hours); Uda Walawe to Galle (3.5 hours).

Historical Background

The west coast’s traditional beach hotels first began to spring up in the 1960s, and have become a significant factor in the island’s economy. But about 1,000 years earlier another influence first arrived on Sri Lanka’s shores – the ubiquitous coconut tree which has countless uses as well as adorning thousands of holiday pictures. Kalutara, named after the Kalu Ganga (Black River) that winds through this town, was an important spice trading centre during Colonial times. First the Portuguese in the 17th century followed by the Dutch were enticed by the cinnamon estates in the area and built a network of canals that were used to transport these spices. During the 19th century, the British converted these spice estates into Rubber plantations which remain to date. A canoe ride along the old Dutch Canals will take you past rural villages and old houses that are reminiscent of the colonial period.

Sights

Wadduwa & Kalutara, the first beach settlements along the west coast coming from Colombo, have a reputation for fine mangosteens – a luscious small purple colour fruit found in abundance along wayside stalls in July/August. Explore Kalutara’s colonial past with a visit to the Richmond Castle, an old spice-plantation mansion which can be reached by canoe down the old Dutch canals. Take a cycling trip inland through spice, fruit and rubber plantations. These are available for serious mountain bikers as well as families just wanting a leisurely afternoon ride. The beaches widen at Beruwela, which has a golden strip of mile-long beach, largely favoured by mid-range beach hotels of traditional style. For an unusual outing here, consider the Brief Gardens – a 25-acre estate which was the lifelong work of the celebrated landscape artist Bevis Bawa. A day excursion to the central rainforests of Sinharaja is also possible.

Bentota is blessed by the lazy waters of the Bentota River, ideal for watersports and boat trips. Bentota’s broad sandy beach with gently-shelving sands offer safe swimming making it one of the most appealing Sri Lankan destinations for a traditional and relaxing family holiday. Continue your journey further south to Ambalangoda where the mask carvers and puppet makers predominate. The turtle hatchery at Kosgoda plays a vital protective role for the turtles that lay their eggs on the beach annually, and is well worth a visit. The characterful town of Hikkaduwa attracts the backpackers, independent travellers, and generally a younger crowd. Its range of budget accommodation, scattering of simple but decent restaurants, beach bars, and beachside nightclubs gives it something of the mood of a resort in Goa or Bali.

Accommodation

The choice is widespread and value for money largely excellent, but be wary of some special offers that you may see in the package-hotel sector, especially outside peak times. Special offers can either be a bargain or a hint that a hotel is faltering. Check our profiles, decide on your priorities and ask us for advice. We generally recommend the beaches of Bentota (especially the southern end), Induruwa, Kosgoda, Balapitiya and Ahungalle. Wadduwa and Kalutara have several appealing properties for those wanting to be closer to Colombo and the airport. Beruwala, in our view, have been scarred by the 1970’s development of large scale “package resort” hotels, although the Eden Hotel is a sound choice and can offer some splendid special offers.

There are several Geoffrey Bawa designed hotels along the west coast, including Heritance Ahungalla, Lighthouse Hotel in Galle, Blue Waters in Wadduwa, Bentota Beach Hotel and Lunuganga – Bawa’s country retreat and tranquil landscaped gardens – which is open to guests for just four months of the year from December to April. Families travelling with children might like Max Wadiya or Sri Villas in Induruwa; Amaya Reef – a mid-range hotel in Hikkaduwa; or several hotels close to Bentota’s watersports, such as the 5-star Taj Exotica, Bentota Beach Hotel or the simpler Serendib. Among the best budget options are Garden Beach Hotel and Cinnamon Gardens. For those seeking the benefits of Ayurvedic healing and wellness, we recommend the Siddhalepa Ayurveda Holiday Resort in Wadduwa. Lotus Villa in Ahungalla and Paradise Island Health Resort in Bentota takes in guests only for Ayurvedic treatments.

Food & Drink

Hikkaduwa offers most independent dining options, primarily simple beach restaurants, the best of which can offer excellent food – especially fish and curries — at great prices. For good rice and curries try Homegrown. Harbour, Refresh, and Spaghetti & Co also serve international cuisine. For something more casual right on the beach, try Top Secret. The jumbo prawns here are fabulous. The happening night clubs in Hikkaduwa include Vibrations generally on a Friday night and Mambo on Saturdays.

Shopping

Cottage industries such as basket weaving, mask carving, and small shops selling Dutch antiques – furniture, lamps and ornaments, makes for interesting wayside shopping along the west coast especially in Hikkdaduwa and Bentota. The Sri Lankan Handicraft Centre in Bentota also sells traditional crafts. Hikkaduwa is best for bargains in beach, surfing and diving gear.

Events

Elephant Foot Drummers from Hikkaduwa: This family group blends Sri Lanka’s traditional drum beats with a fusion of modern music. Elephant Foot performs at various night clubs in Hikkaduwa. The Elephant Foot Drum Shop located on Galle Road in Hikkaduwa sells traditional local drums as well as their music CDs. Odel and Barefoot bookshop in Colombo also carries their CDs.

Activities

Bawa architecture

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The west coast is home to many architectural marvels designed by the late Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka most influential architect who was responsible for linking the ancient architecture of this island with that of the modern world. Bawa also had a passion for the island’s varying natural landscapes, which he used as the focal points around which he created. The end result was a cherished architectural style that erased boundaries between the `outside’ and `inside’ of living and working spaces. Heritance Ahungalla, Lighthouse Hotel in Galle and Blue Waters in Wadduwa, designed by Bawa in the 1990s are good examples of his architectural style. Neptune and Bentota Beach Hotel are some of his earlier creations. To gain a better understanding of Bawa’s lifestyle and architecture, we recommend a visit to Lunuganga, Bawa’s country retreat and tranquil gardens, a lifelong project that he continued to develop for almost 50 years.

Richmond Castle, Kalutara

Built in the 19th century for a wealthy regional governor, Don Arthur de Silva, Richmond Castle was designed by a British architect in a blend of Indian and British architecture styles. The mansion is set in extensive landscaped gardens and has now been converted to a Montessori school for underprivileged children. Richmond Castle is located about two km inland near Palathota on the Tudugala road.

Lunuganga

RICHMOND 2

Set on the edge of Lake Dedduwa, Lunuganga is a Renaissance-inspired tropical garden and plantation house, which was the former country residence of Geoffrey Bawa. Lunuganga offers guests a rare opportunity to step inside the private life of the man dubbed “the father of Asian architecture.” The Lunuganga gardens have numerous plants, pavilions, and statues. Its exquisite bedrooms and suites are offered to guest for just four months of the year from December to April. For the rest of the year it is handed back to the Bawa Trust and is used as an artist’s retreat.

Brief Gardens

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Brief Gardens, 10 kms inland from Bentota beach, is the rural retreat of Bevis Bawa, the older brother of architect Geoffrey Bawa. These extensive gardens are both beautiful and steeped in history. Well worth a visit.
Traditional masks in Ambalangoda

The traditional masks are very much a part of Sri Lanka’s culture and folklore. Kolam masks are used for dramatic purposes to enact traditional folktales and history; Thovil masks are used for exorcism rituals especially to eradicate disease. Each mask has a specific purpose. Mask crafting is an intricate skill that is passed down in generations.

Traditional Ruhunu dance

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Traditional dance forms in Sri Lanka date back to the 4th century B.C. and are associated with rituals and ceremonies performed to expel sickness and misfortune and to evoke blessings. Several classical dance forms evolved in different regions. Presently, three main dance forms are performed: Kandyan (upcountry – Kandyan), Sabaragamuwa (central province), and Ruhunu (low country – southern). Each of these styles differs in dress, rhythm of the drums, dance movements, and songs, which are based on folklore relevant to the particular region. Masked dancers depicting numerous forms of birds, reptiles and demons dance to the rhythms of drums. Chanting, miming and dialogue may enact traditional folklore.

Traditional dance performances

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Bandu Wijesuria’s Dance School located in Ambalangoda next door to the Ariyapala Mask Meuseum arranges for traditional Kandyan and southern dance performances.

Ariyapala Mask Museum

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This museum in Ambalangoda exhibits traditional Kolam and Thovil masks some of which are rare and date back centuries.

 

 

Gangatilaka Vihara in Kalutara

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Located just past the bridge in Kalutara, this Buddhist temple built in the 1960s is easily accessed as it is situated just by the roadside. The gigantic white Dagoba is believed to contain sacred relics of the Buddha. Murals depict the life story of Buddha.

 

Galapatha Temple in Aluthgama

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This ancient temple houses temple paintings, sculptures, and an impressive reclining Buddha statue. The temple lies about five kms from Beruwela.

 

Galagoda Temple

Situated in Karandeniya, about five km inland in Ambalangoda. Houses a 50m-long reclining Buddha considered to be the longest in Sri Lanka.

Water sports in Bentota

 

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Take a short boat trip offshore to dive over the coral reefs, grab a snorkel and mask to paddle your way through tropical fish, or take advantage of the lively breezes on the west coast from December to March to windsurf. If speed is more your thing then there are jetski and waterski companies on the lagoon.

 

Canoe trip on the Kalu Ganga

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The Kalu Ganga begins its journey to the sea on the western slopes of Adams Peak, Sri Lanka’s holy mountain. The divine waters flow slowly west, its banks lined with jungle, rubber plantations and communities using the river in their daily lives. Exploring the backwaters by canoe – a haven for birdlife, with both Black and Cinnamon Bitterns often seen scrambling for cover as you paddle through the mangroves — is magical.

Deep sea fishing

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Sri Lanka’s seas hold a relative abundance of game fish. Species of Marlin, Sail Fish, Wahoo, Spanish mackerel, Giant Trevallie, Benito, Queen Fish (the world record is held in Sri Lanka), Barracuda, Grouper, Cobia and Tuna make this tropical paradise superb deep sea fishing territory. Deep sea angling is the most popular form of recreational and sport fishing in Sri Lanka. There are a wide variety of locations off the west coast resorts.

 

Surfing in Hikkaduwa

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The best surfing spots in Hikkaduwa are in Wewala. Narigama is good for body surfing. Surf boards, gear, and even clothing can be sourced from Hikkaduwa.

 

Siddhalepa Health Resort

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The Siddhalepa Health Resort has an Ayurveda tradition that dates back 200 years. Daily Yoga and weekly Meditation classes are held as a complement to the preventive and curative Ayurveda treatments on offer.

 

Paradise Island Health Resort

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Situated on a the spit between the river and the sea in the west coast town of Bentota, Paradise Island is a peaceful setting where the ancient healing wisdom of Ayurveda is practiced to create holistic wellness. Medicinal herbs are sourced from near by villages and the oils, medicines, tonics and pastes are all prepared in-house for each guest based on individual requirements. Complementary activities such as Yoga, meditation, and acupuncture are also conducted on a regular basis. The Paradise Island Health Resort is strictly for Ayurveda clients only.

Spa Pavillions at Blue Waters

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Blue Water is conveniently situated close to Colombo on the West coast. Its main theme is the ambitious use of water, which gives the hotel its name. The Spa Pavilions at Blue Waters takes a holistic approach to physical and spiritual well being.

 

Meetiyagoda’s Moonstones

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The semi-precious gemstone known as `moonstone’ which has a milky bluish glow similar to that of the moon, is found only in the village of Meetiyagoda. It is said that the moonstone enhances the good fortune of the wearer and is also the birth stone for the month of June. Moonstones are especially popular with younger people as it is mainly set into silver jewellery. Located inland from Ambalangoda, the tiny Meetiyagoda moonstone mine is spread over roughly an acre. The stones are still mined using traditional methods with the mine shaft going down as deep as 50 feet. Cutting and polishing of the gemstone can be observed here. Jewellery is also available for purchase.

The Coconut Palm

Considered to be a life nurturing tree, the coconut palm is often presented as a precious gift. Every part of this precious tree is used in daily life. The leaves (gokkala) are woven into decorations at weddings or other ceremonies; the golden king coconut fruit (thambili) is known to have medicinal value; the coconut milk and oil is a basic ingredient in the local rice and curries; the coconut shell is turned into ornate cooking utensils including serving spoons; the outer husk of the coconut is soaked and processed into coir out of which hand spun rope, doormats and brushes are produced; and finally the bark of the tree is used to build outrigger canoes and fishing boats, and is also used in construction of houses and furniture.

Personal Yoga instruction

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A growing number of guesthouses, hotels and retreats offer Yoga. However, some of our clients prefer private tuition and Red Dot is happy to organize this subject to availability of teachers. The easiest area to do this is around Galle but private yoga teachers can also be employed in Bentota and Tangalle. Red Dot does not charge for this service and you would need to pay your Yoga teacher direct.

Dodanduwa’s island bird life

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Situated off Hikkaduwa, this serene island hermitage, rich in birdlife, can be visited only with prior permission.

 

Marine Turtle Conservation in Kosgoda

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Globally, all seven species of marine turtles are endangered. Of these seven, five come ashore to nest in Sri Lanka. The process of marine turtles nesting, hatchlings being born, and swimming back to sea is fascinating to observe. The Kosgoda Conservation Project is an ideal way to learn and observe this endangered species. Garden Beach Hotel, on the edge of Turtle Beach, offers responsible night-time expeditions to its guests if turtles are laying.

Sinharaja

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Moist and muggy, murky and mysterious – an experience of Sinharaja is like nothing else in Sri Lanka. Trekking through the last surviving stretch of virgin rainforest on the island, be ready to pour with sweat as you walk though a bewildering land of exotic colours and wonderful sounds. The forest teems with life whether it be gushing waterfalls, gurgling streams, ants marching, leaves rustling, leeches waiting (you’ve been warned!), crickets creaking or butterflies fluttering.

 

We do have packages for Sri Lanka, write us on adler-tours@hotmail.com or visit our site http://www.adler-tours.com

10 MUST VISIT PLACES ON A TRIP TO KENYA


Kenya is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world. With its beautiful people from different cultures, animals and breathtaking vegetation, there is no way anyone would not want to visit the country. Tourists come to Kenya for both safaris and business purposes. There are many places which serve as both Kenya luxury safaris rand Kenya normal safaris (cheap). But what are the places that every tourist wants to visit whenever on a visit to Kenya? We have compiled a list of 10 must visit Places while on a Kenyan safari.

1.Nairobi National Park

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANairobi National Park is about 7 KM away from Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi which is equivalent to a 10 minute drive. The park’s environment is comprised of open grass plains and scattered Acacia bushes. There are several tree species found here like, Apodytes dimidiataCanthium schimperiana among others. Some of the animals found here are black rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, African Buffalo, Ostrich, Maasai giraffe among others. Nairobi’s towers are visible from the park.

2.Maasai Mara National Park

masai maraThis is the most visited tourist attraction site in Kenya. It’s famous for its remarkable population of wild animals and famous wildebeest migration. The Wildebeest Migration which takes place each year from July to October is one of the ‘Wonders of the World’. There are several hotels, Camps and conservancies that offer accommodation while on a visit to Maasai Mara.

3. Lake Nakuru

lake nakuruLake Nakuru is one of the soda Lakes in Rift Valley Kenya. The Lake is famous for its beautiful flamingos that give a breathtaking view to tourists. It’s often referred to as the greatest bird spectacle on earth. Other animals found here are Baboons, Warthogs and the black & White rhinoceros. Other birds also camp at the lake.

4.Samburu National Reserve

samburu nrThe Samburu National reserve is located in Northern Kenya on the banks of Ewaso Ng’iro River. This is a nice destination to see wild animals like blue-legged ostriches, Elephants, Leopard, Zebra as well as enjoy the culture and traditional practices of the Samburu People. There are daily flights from Nairobi to Samburu.

5.Mount Kenya

mt kenyaThis is the highest mountain in Kenya and the Second highest mountain in the whole of Africa. Its slopes are covered with forests while its highest peaks are covered with snow. The highest peaks are Batian (5200m) and Nelion (5188m which are difficult to climb. However, there is another peak Lenana (4985m) which is easily accessible and tourists have much fun climbing it. Tourists can use huts built on the mountain for accommodation or put up tents.

6.Tsavo National Park

tsavo npTsavo National park is comprised of Tsavo east and Tsavo West National Parks. It’s located in the Kenyan coast. Tsavo East National Park is famous for Bird watching, animals like the Cape buffalo, Caracal, African Wildcat etc., Rock Climbing, Falls and dams and several other attractions. Tsavo West is famous for Rock climbing and wide range of wildlife.

7.Malindi and Watamu

malindi and watamuIf you are looking for a beach safari, Malindi is the place to visit while on a Kenyan Safari. It is an island located in the Kenyan coast surrounded by magnificent beaches. Watamu, also found in the Kenyan coast about 15 KM south of Maslindi is surrounded by beautiful beaches and has a National Park. Fishing is also practiced here. This is also where one of the world’s largest spitting cobra called “Nasha Ajei” was discovered in 2007.

8.Lamu

lamuLamu Island, found in the Kenyan coast is one of the oldest cities in Kenya. It is the place to go to when you want to ‘run away’ from the world. There are no disturbing matatus and buses here. Donkeys are greatly used as a means of transport. One will also find comfort in the beautiful oceanic waves. It is a quiet Kenya Safari destination.

9.Amboseli National Park

amboseli npIt is located on the Kenya-Tanzania border on the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro; the highest mountain in Africa. Amboseli National Park is famous for elephants and a very beautiful view of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

10.Hells Gate

hells gateAs the name suggests, it’s one of the most adventurous Kenya safari destinations. It is the only place where tourists can take unguided walks and cycles. It is famous for its steep cliffs, gorges basalt columns and varied wildlife (few). Hells gate is one of the historical sites in Kenya.

For Packages, write to us on, adler-tours@hotmail.com
Or visit us at, http://www.adler-tours.com

Sheraton Udaipur Palace Resort & Spa – Winter Package

Insider’s Guide to Mumbai


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Taj Mahal Palace

CALLING MUMBAI A MASH-UP would be an understatement. India’s most populous city is marked by an unrelenting convergence of high and low: Prada-clad women wait for fresh sugar-cane juice at corner street stalls, and luxury high rises overlook psychedelic street murals. In Mumbai (or Bombay, as most locals still call it), you can rub elbows with bankers, diamond merchants and film producers at velvet-roped bars, then step outside to grab some of the world’s best street food and watch the sun set at Chowpatty beach, whose atmosphere turns carnival-like in the evening. Uncomfortably hot in the summer, Mumbai swings into peak travel season now, with foreigners and NRIs (an official-turned-cheeky term for nonresident Indians) showing up in droves for vacations and weddings.

Though extreme poverty blights the city, a rich cultural renaissance is under way. Contemporary art galleries are fast multiplying in Colaba, Mumbai’s southern district. Boutiques from D7 in the western suburb of Bandra down to Bombay Electric and Le Mill in South Mumbai showcase local designers who marry traditional fabrics with edgy silhouettes. The city’s namesake film industry, Bollywood, employs more than 2.5 million people and churns out 700 to 800 movies a year, nearly as many as its American counterpart.

 

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (C.S.T) or The Victoria Terminus Mumbai

  • Significance: It has been declared a ‘World Heritage Site’ by UNESCO.
  • Attraction: Victorian Gothic Style of Architecture
  • Built In: 1888

Located on India’s western coast, Mumbai served as a major port for the Portuguese and then the British from the 16th to 20th centuries. The colonial-style churches and Victorian Gothic buildings that dot the neighborhoods serve as a reminder of the city’s past, while a growing number of modern glass-encased high-rises (including Indian industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s much talked-about $1 billion, 27-story home) look to the future.

Once you’ve had your fill of galleries and fine dining, take a 1-hour ferry ride to visit Elephanta Island, where Hindu and Buddhist rock carvings—some dating back to the sixth century—will leave you awe-struck. Or head over to the stunning Chhatrapati Shivaji (formerly Victoria) train station and watch locals dash at rush hour. Mumbai suffers no shortage of shiny new toys, but it’s the city’s spirit that will have you hooked.

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 Madhur Jaffrey

The Foodie Madhur Jaffrey  Actress, food writer and cookbook author

Rare Eats // Britannia & Co. Parsi food is hard to find outside of private homes. Order the fish patra; and berry pulao, a rice dish made with barberries. And you must have a fresh lime soda. S S Ram Gulam Marg, opposite New Customs House, Fort, 91-22-2261-5264.

Bazaar Fruits // Crawford Market. It’s basically a market of seasonal produce. If you’re there in April or May, you should buy the Alphonso mangoes. Near Abdul Rehman Street, South Mumbai

Coco Central // Konkan Café. Beautiful fish with coconut and red chilis. Everything is shipped from the Konkan coast—they have more than a 100 coconuts shipped in every day. Taj President, 90 Cuffe Parade, vivantabytaj.com

Street Sweets // Bhendi Bazaar. This area is home to the Dawoodi Bohras, a Muslim community whose roots trace to Egypt and Yemen. You will find the most amazing sweets, such as halwa and jalebi (a sweet and crispy pretzel-like disc), in the lanes here. Near Mohammed Ali Road, Bhuleshwar

Restaurant claims to have made world's longest dosa

People carry a 32 feet (9.75m) long dosa, a south Indian crepe made for the promotion of the upcoming movie, “Quick Gun Murugun” in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.

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Suketu Mehta

The Novelist Suketu Mehta Author of “Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found”

Snack and Sleep // The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower. The grand hotel is back on its feet after being heavily damaged in the 2008 terrorist attacks. I like to go to the Sea Lounge and watch the Parsi families trying to arrange matches between their young over tea. Apollo Bunder Road, Colaba, tajhotels.com

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Daryl Visscher/Redux Pictures for The Wall Street Journal

Taj Mahal Palace

File:Buildings near Nariman Point, Mumbai.jpg

Buildings near Nariman Point, Mumbai

Great Greens // Shree Thaker Bhojanalay. An eating club that originally catered to migrant workers, it is now comfortably air-conditioned and still serving the greatest vegetarian meals I have ever eaten in a restaurant.31, Dadyseth Agiary Marg, Kalbadevi, 91-22-2201-1232

Strolling Grounds // Kamala Nehru Park. Everyone calls it the Hanging Gardens. When I’m jet-lagged and up at 5 a.m., I head to the top of the park, which has a fine view of the bay. Ridge Road at the top of Malabar Hill, Malabar Hill

Deep Fry // A. Ramanayak Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding. South Indian home cooking served on banana leaves. They will also let you watch as they fry terrifically crisp potato chips. LBS Market Building, 1st Floor, Matunga, 91-22-2414-2422

Words of Wonder // Strand Book Stall. You go to the Strand to look at books, talk about books, buy books. I sometimes shop for American and British novels there and have them shipped back to New York; it’s still cheaper. Sir P.M. Rd. Fort,strandbookstall.com

Maharashrian Mehdi decoration

the BEST bus in Mumbai

Local Bus Travel

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Anoushka Shankar

The Musician Sitar player, composer and daughter of Ravi Shankar

Sound Stage // Blue Frog. Surreally modern in its décor and design, it’s the only place in India that combines a music-centered auditorium with the casualness of a bar. There are international and Indian artists; usually it’s a live act followed by a DJ. Mathuradas Mill Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, bluefrog.co.in

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Daryl Visscher/Redux Pictures for The Wall Street Journal

Bombay Electric

Super Sands // Juhu Beach. I try to spend a minimum of an hour here. It’s a place where you really get the vastness of the people that call the city home. Everyone lands up on the beach to have an ice cream with their family. You see quite a variety of people. West Mumbai

Star Grazing // Indigo. This restaurant is in a restored bungalow and feels really warm and swanky at the same time. You can do that usual actor spotting, but the food is actually really good. 4 Mandlik Road, Colaba,foodindigo.com

Street Style // Fashion Street. Miles and miles of market stall shopping. I tend to buy several of those simplekurtas (cotton tunics) to wear over jeans, and stop and have street food.MG Road, South Mumbai

Cheeky Chic // Bombay Electric. This shop has really unique clothes and cool accessories, kitschy Indian things. Definitely for people who like clothing with a twist. 1 Reay House, Best Marg, Colaba, bombayelectric.in

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Raymond Bickson

The Hotelier Managing Director and CEO of Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces

Culture Cool // National Centre for the Performing Arts. There is a great mix of established work and experimental, Indian and Western classical. You cannot go wrong. NCPA Marg, Nariman Point, ncpamumbai.com

Abundance of Dishes // Trishna. We bring guests here, and they are stunned by the hundreds of items on the menu. The garlic-butter king crabs are the reason people return again and again. Birla Mansion, Sai Baba Marg (next to Commerce House), Fort, 91-22-2270-3213

Old Worlds // Phillips Antiques. I love to gaze at their beautiful treasures and maps, and check out any new collectibles. From carved cupboards to Gauri heads to oil lamps, it’s an authentic slice of the past. Madam Cama Road (opposite Regal Cinema), Colaba, phillipsantiques.com

Snack Attack // Camy Wafers. My daughters and I just love the fresh potato chips from this Colaba snack shop. 5-6 Oxford House (off Colaba Causeway), Colaba, 91-22-2282-8430

Restau-Disco // Shiro. This restaurant is a wonderful oasis in midtown. Friday night with music from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s is great fun. And the food is delicious.Bombay Dyeing Mill Compound, Pandurang Budhkar Marg, Worli, shiro.co.in

Plus Don’t Miss…

Elco Pani Puri Center A legendarypani puri (crispy fried canapés) street stall that went brick and mortar. elcocateringservices.com //

Forest Essentials The place to load up on handmade soaps and creams, many of them laced with sandalwood, rose andmogra (a type of jasmine).forestessentialsindia.com //

Ahilaya A favorite for silk and cotton tunics in pastel hues. 91-22-2202-4053

Natural Ice Cream A must for the seasonal fruit-loaded ice creams likesitaphal (custard apple) and chikoo (sapota). naturalicecreams.in 

Enjoy Singapore Our Way!


Must go

Robertson Quay

If you enjoy soaking up the downtown vibe but appreciate a more laid back night out, I highly recommend this entertainment precinct. The quietest of Singapore’s three quays, you’ll find riverside restaurants and watering holes offering a range of quality cuisine from Australia to Japanese. The former specializes in the iconic Belgian dish of mussels with fires alongside a comprehensive list of beers, while the latter serves up a wicked selection of pizzas in an open kitchen concept such as one layered with mascarpone, mushrooms and black truffle oil

In recent times, the area has also become the haunt of coffee aficionados, who flock to Toby’s Estate and Kith. On the weekends, Robertson Quay transforms into a vibrant brunch spot some of Singapore’s best ones can be found here.


Club Street

Once dotted with Chinese clubs probably why it’s called Club Street where wealthy Chinese men in Singapore met and talked business, this pedestrian’s street with its rows of restored shop houses is now a favorite haunt of trend business executives to relax after office hours. Each restaurant, bar, club, hotel or gallery that lines the street has its own character, theme and décor, while the overall atmosphere is abuzz with chatter and laughter. Unlike Mohd Sultan or Boat Quay, Club Street has a tinge of 19th century colonial Singapore. Located in the Chinatown area.


Bollywood Veggies

Set on a four-hectare plot of agricultural land in the rural north-western suburb of Kranji, Bollywood Veggies  provides a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of Singapore’s urban jungle, Run by former president of Netball Singapore, Ivy Singh-Lim, the organic farm specializes in local produce cultivated without the aid of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or growth hormones.

Open Wednesday to Sunday from 09.00 till 18.30, this delightful oasis is best explored during he first half of the day when the weather is cooler. Take a leisurely strollor20-minute guided tour around the farm to survey the vast assortment of flora and fauna.

If you are hungry, home cooked meals are available at Poison Ivy Bistro, which uses ingredient plunked straight from the farm. Ivy Singh Lim often makes an appearance at the eatery to reminisce with customers about Singapore’s ‘good ol’ days’.


Night Safari

As the sun sets and darkness blankets the sky, get up close and personal with nocturnal creatures in their natural habitat at the Night Safari. Stretching over 35 hectare of tropical foliage, the safari is now home to 137 animals, 38 percent of which are endangered.

Visitors can choose to explore the safari on foot or by tram, though I would highly recommend venturing on the tram as well as the Leopard Trail, where felines including the elusive clouded leopard and the Malayam civet rest and play

The creatures of the Night Show, where one can catch the cheeky antics of animals are another not to be missed highlight.


Marina Barrage

Located at the mouth of the Singapore River, this urban reservoir opened too much fanfare in 2008 but interest has waned with bigger names like Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay popping up in the vicinity. This destination showcases Singapore’s technological prowess in water storage, and tours to the visitor centre can be arranged for groups. It is open round the clock, but head to the rooftop garden after sunset for panoramic views of Singapore’s ever changing skyline. Pack a camera and a picnic basket too.


The Esplanade

The grand dame of Singapore, the Esplanade hosts plays, dance recitals, concerts every day of the week and is home to the Mosaic Music Festival, Huayi Festival and Bay bests.

Known affectionately as the “the Durian” for its spiky exterior, the Esplanade also provides free performances by local artists in the lobby and the outdoor heater on most evenings, and a spectacular view of the lights of the Marina Bay area from its rooftop garden.

The Singapore River, the Merlion and the Singapore Flyer are within walking distance, which is a pleasure to do in the evening, with the breeze blowing in from the sea.


Marina Bay Sands Theatres

This venue, which houses two theatres, is current favourite haunt for musicals, and it is no surprise considering how some of the world’s best performances have been held here. I laughed and cried during Wicked, the Broadway Musical in March, had my breath taken away by Drum Tao The Art of Drum in August, and at the point of writing this i am looking forward to Avenue Q the Musical on September 29.

The two plush theatres share a spacious, well designed foyer with a magnificent wall made of mirrors. In fact, the beauty of this foyer makes me wish for longer intervals, which i usually spend enjoying a beer while browsing musical collectibles.

Spectacular performances coming up include the Bootleg Beatles (November 8-11) and Jersey Boys (November 20 to February 17, 2012)


Must See

National Museum of Singapore

Having been to some museums in other Asian cities, I have come to appreciate the educational and entertainment value offered by the exhibitors in the National Museum of Singapore. The Living Galleries make for quick and fun excursions through Singapore’s past, and I find the Food showcase particularly interesting. Learn how Singapore’s favorite dishes come to be, while listening to the sounds of street hawkers whipping up their fare.

If you have several hours on your hand, do visit the Singapore History Gallery. It offers visitors two ways to ‘see’ Singapore’s progress from the 14th century to modern times; the events path highlights major events in the city state’s past, while the personal path tells stories through the eyes of the man on the street. I am a fan of this gallery and have gone down both paths twice.


Gardens by the Bay

Singapore’s latest mega attraction is definitely with a ramble in, especially for tourists who prefer the city-state’s more natural offerings. The sprawling development has ‘super trees’ rising from the ground, which are unmissable when traveling from the airport into town. These 16- story high vertical gardens are captured by over 160,000 plants and also serve Eco friendly functions such as harvesting solar energy through their embedded photovoltaic cells. Don’t miss a visit to the two undulating glass conservatories. The Cloud Forest features a 35m tall waterfall cascading down into lush vegetation in a cool moist environment, while the flower Dome is home to a collection of colorful blooms from Mediterranean regions.

For those who want to kick the adventure up a notch, ascend the OCBC Sky-way for a panoramic view of the gardens and the surrounding city skyline.

I find the gardens more captivating at night, when the ‘trees’ glow in different hues as part of a light and sound show. The park is accessible via a pedestrian bridge from Marina Bay sands or by MRT (Bay front Station).


National Orchid Garden

While we now have a new mega garden, Gardens by the Bay, don’t ever forget the evergreen favorite, National Orchid Garden, located within the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The orchid is Singapore’s national flower and this orchid garden will make you feel you’re seeing the world’s largest orchid show unfold. The variety of orchids on display is just incredible, while the detailed information on each orchid variety is highly educational and interesting. The grounds are lovely and there are also thousands of tropical plants don’t forget the camera!


Little India

This is the second year in the row that I’m recommending visiting Little India, but if you’ve got time to spare on Sunday afternoon or evening, then there’s really no other place better to sample a slice of Singapore’s multicultural mishmash of a society.

Situated to the east of the Singapore River across from Chinatown and north of the Malay district, Kampong Glam, this Tamil ethnic enclave is absolutely swarming with foreign workers from the Indian subcontinent on Sundays. The hordes of workers, eager to meet up with comrades in familiar surroundings in their day off, literally turn the area into you guessed it a veritable semblance of being right smack in India.

That’s not all Little India has to offer though, Mustafa Center, a humongous 24 hours department store, sells everything under the sun at rock bottom process, while Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, built in 1881 and dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali, attracts a steady stream of devotees.

Litter India also harbors the best Indian cuisine Singapore has to offer, including vegetarian favorites at Komalas Villas, and the very popular fish head curry at Banana Leaf Apollo.


Haji Lane

Tucked in a nondescript, narrow street in a Muslim enclave on the edge of the city centre, Haji Lance is a Mecca for fashionistas. Lined with hip, eclectic boutiques stocking indie, quirky and vintage collections, Haji Lane is reminiscent of Le Marais in Paris or Carnaby Street in London.

After a hectic day of sashaying though shops, pecking shoppers can stop by Café le Carre for an authentic Middle Eastern meal or Turkish coffee.


Kampong Glam

Singapore’s Malay Arab Quarter since the early 19th century, this historic enclave remains the heart of the country’s Muslim life despite taking on a hip, bohemian air in recent years. Myriad experiences can be had in this atmospheric neighborhood one can shop for scarves, custom a special perfume, smoke sheesha (water pipe), sip an artisan cup of coffee or savor a diverse array of Middle Eastern cuisines ranging from Lebanon to Turkish. Photographers are sure to have a field day in this vibrant district, with iconic architecture such as gold dome Sultan Mosque and rows and rows of giant heritage shop houses.


Haw Par Villa

More an eccentric genius garden than a theme park, and the subject of urban legends, Haw Par Villa was set up by two millionaire brothers in the 1930’s and features over 1,000 status depicting stories and scenes from Chinese folklore, including the famous Journey to the West.

A popular attraction in the 1980s when the park boasted live performances and a water ride, Haw Par Villa barely draws tourists now, despite the free admission. A real shame because the signature exhibit, a stroll through the 10 courts of hell, remains as gruesome and terrifying as ever. Visit for an offbeat, quirky break in pragmatic Singapore.


Must Eat

Ponggol Choon Seng Seafood Restaurant

Despite having dished out fresh seafood dishes to a loyal following of customers since 1956, this restaurant remains humble in its pricing and service is friendly and attentive. It sits in a lovely black and white colonial house on Turnhouse Road, a serene enclave in the Changi area. It is air-conditioned too, so you can dig into its signature seafood dishes such as chili crabs, crabs with salted eggs, black pepper crayfish and crispy baby squids in comfort. The restaurant also whips up an addictive dish of crispy shreds of duck meat wrapped in paper thin popiah skin.


Old Airport Road Food Centre

For a more authentic local dining experience, look slightly outside the city centre. The variety on offer is hard to beat; rows and rows of almost every Singaporean favorite imaginable can be found in this non air conditioned space, from noodles in prawn and pork rib broth to rojak, a traditional salad of turnip, pineapple, dough sticks and fried bean curd smothered in sweet sauce. It is debatable which stall offers the best wonton noodles (minced meat dumplings), but there are two famous ones that sit just a few spaces apart near the main road. To end off your meal, try one of the many soy-based deserts or crispy banana fritters.

With the recent opening of the circle line (Dakota is the nearest MRT station), the food centre has become a lot more convenient to get to. It is also a stone’s throw away from the indoor stadium, which plays host to many international concerts.


Jumbo seafood

There are two types of crab dishes that are indigenous to Singapore chili crab and black pepper crab. We are proud of them! If possible, order both (but choose a small crab to begin please), one at a time. But if you have appetite for only one, then I’d say (reluctantly), chili crabs.

Go to Jumbo Seafood branch in Dempsey Hill, as by doing this, you will combine a must eat with a must see. Dempsey Hill was formerly an army barrack; it has been rejuvenated with all sorts of F&B outlets and antique shops. Reservations for Jumbo Seafood are recommended.


2am: Dessert bar

If you’re looking for a unique dessert and wine venue to while away till the wee hours of the mornings, then look no further than 2am: Dessertbar, tucked away in a corner of Holland Village.

Open Mondays to Saturdays from 18.00 till 02.00 (hence the branding), the place is helmed by chef – owner Janice Wong, whose groundbreaking dessert creations have been earning rave reviews from some of the world’s most celebrated culinary aficionados.

The place is a haven for trying innovative desserts. Favorites include Basil White Chocolate with Textures of Passion fruit, Purple Potato Puree with Blackberry Parfait and Kayambe H20 (concocted from 72 per cent Michel Cluizel dark chocolate and Evian mineral water). If you’re game enough, go for the 4×4 desserts & Wine Degustation.


Salt Grill & Sky Bar

Australian celebrity chef Luke Mangan’s sixth homage to Pacific Rim Cuisine, Salt Grill & sky Bar, is perched on the 55th to 56th floor of the iconic Ion Orchard.

Salt exudes laid back sophistication, tinged with a hint of glamour. Housed in a vast atrium, the restaurant’s minimalistic interior is decked in white, complemented by a fusion of neutral and deep shades of red. Illuminated blocks of glass, concrete and steel, framed by cathedral like windows, provide the perfect backdrop for a romantic dinner for two. By day, the restaurant is a hub for power lunches.

Dishes are wholesome, unpretentious and suitably sublime, deftly made from the best seasonal Australian produce on offer and accented by bold Asian flavors. Menus are seasonal in nature, and diners have a tantalizing choice of prix fixe, degustation and a la carte selection.

The sky Bar is tiny compared to the immense expanse of restaurant, but it does not disappoint. As with the main dining area, it is invitingly warm, and its cocktails are prepared with flair and taste absolutely divine.


Thasevi Food

A culinary institution synonymous with the ultimate Singaporean comfort food, Thasevi draws Singaporeans of all stripes to its no frills shop in Jalan Kayu for their roti prata, fried discs of dough often eaten drenched in curry. Good for breakfast, lunch, dinner or supper (they open late), the versatile roti prata can be ordered kosong if you want it plain, with egg it you’re a little hungrier, or with banana, for a sweet twist to a savory dish. For the kid in you order a Milo Dinosaur – the chocolate malt drink come topped with a generous heap of Milo powder for a midnight sugar rush.

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