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Visiting the Kremlin in Moscow

Though the name Kremlin ushers in images of KGB and Stalinism, it actually is a fortified set of building in a somewhat triangular shape. It is in the heart of Moscow, currently the centre of post-Communist capitalism, teeming with energy and activity.


To the east of Kremlin flows the Moscow River, beautiful gardens flank its western walls and to its south stand the Red Square. Originally built in the fourteenth century, Kremlin was the nerve center of the Russian Orthodox Church. Fifteenth and sixteenth centuries saw the addition of three enormous cathedrals.

To be explored as a cultural place, you need to see the royal regalia at the Armoury. The twin golden domes of Ivan, and the Great Bell Tower can be seen from a distance of 30 km. They belong to the Annunciation Cathedral which is also known for its iconostases. The Assumption Cathedral’s bell-tower has the biggest bell in Kremlin. During your visit, you can take a look at the place where Stalin lived, the Poteshny Palace and the headquarters of the President, the Senate.


In Russian it is called Krasnaya ploschad; we know it as Red Square, which encompasses 700m. Saint Basil’s Cathedral stands out for its wonderful coloured domes, the archetype of the Russian Church. Shaped like an onion, these domes have a golden needle on top, which is further topped by another small golden dome, precariously perched.

At the foot of the Kremlin wall is Lenin’s Tomb. You can see people queuing up every day to walk past the tomb in order to pay their respects. The entire scenario of beautiful churches and cathedrals, palaces and gardens, the robust Kremlin wall, the river and the Red Square manage to create an impression to be cherished for times to come.

Red Square  - Moscow

How to Find the Best Travel Accommodations

Whether you’re on a tight budget or splurging on an expensive vacation, there are myriad ways for you to find the perfect spot to lay your head…without having to settle for a roach motel.

The best part?  You can plan the whole thing online. Quick and easy. Isn’t the Internet a beautiful thing?

For those who don’t have a whole lot of cash to spend (or would prefer to spend their cash on other things), hostels definitely make the best option. Plus even if you’re not into sharing a 30-person co-ed dorm room, many hostels often have private rooms (or rooms that share bathrooms instead of a communal toilet).

Hostels are also the perfect way to meet other travelers, especially backpackers.

If you prefer the comforts of your own private hotel room, we totally understand. Clean slippers, a quiet night’s rest, and someone to make your bed each day? Yes, please!

Couchsurfing can be intimidating for first-time surfers. Here’s how it works: you register for a profile online, it gets verified by the folks at Couchsurfing.org, you offer up your couch/spare room to travelers or seek out your own accommodations…FREE!

Housesitting is the perfect solution for people who like to wander without a strict schedule and prefer the method of “slow travel” – staying in a place longer than just a few days. Basically, you live in someone else’s household for a certain amount of time, running the show and taking care of business.

This is particularly ideal for people who have pets/farm animals that require special attention while they’re away. With the right housesitter, they get peace of mind about their home.

WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is an organization that pairs travelers with folks who need help around the farm. You volunteer a few hours per day with the chores (e.g. picking olives in Greece, planting vegetables in the Czech Republic, etc.) in exchange for free accommodations and meals.

Why do travelers turn to WWOOF again and again? You will truly earn unique insight into your new country. You will be living and working with a family native to the place, and you will be contributing hands-on to their society. You can’t get much better than that!

Malaysia; a country of great variety

Metropolitan Malaysia, at the interlinking location of the Indian Ocean and South China Sea, has much to offer the explorer, holidaymaker, honeymooner, or anyone who seeks to get away.

From the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, to the exotic height and beauty of the Genting Highlands, the endless miles of enchanting beaches, the many islands of Langkawi, and the amazing Asian cuisine from the island of Panang, there is more than a little bit of enjoyment to be found by enthusiasts of almost everything.

Travel packages offer great customisable deals to Malaysia, including airfare through Malaysian and other airlines. Such packages are available for a wide variety of destination events, and include honeymoon packages, family holidays, incentive tours, and business events. Prearranged agendas are available, as well as personally customised itineraries.

Travel to Malaysia’s hub and capital city of Kuala Lumpur for its shopping, festivals, nightlife, museums, mosques, and impressive city architecture. Ride Malaysia’s most extensive gondola lift out of Kuala Lumpur to Genting Highland hill station resort for breathtaking views of the surrounding rain forest and vast ocean beachfront below.

Honeymooners may especially enjoy the excitement and bustle of the island of Penang. World-famous authentic Asian cuisine meets a varied history and culture that is matched only by its peaceful beaches and mountains.

The stunning islands of Langkawi are a perfect getaway from the populous Malaysian cities. More than 100 islands make up the area, many visible from the Langkawi Sky Bridge, which stretches across the region’s vast rain forest.

Reserve a date to go diving, rafting, cave exploring, paragliding, or bird watching the watch the sun set from the beach after a memorable and busy day. These adventures, and many more, await the Malaysian tourist, where visitors are welcomed to an unforgettable experience.

How a Personal Travel Advisor Can keep You Safe Abroad

Many people have never used the services of a personal travel advisor before, but they can be invaluable when it comes to safety abroad.

If you thought holiday advisors were just for the rich and famous, then you may be surprised to know that every year thousands of UK holidaymakers get expert advice on a wide range of travel issues.

Staying safe when you’re in a foreign country is an important consideration and one which a good personal travel advisor will be able to help with.

Hotel location

If you go onto the internet and just choose the cheapest hotel you can find, the decision could backfire on you.

For example, you may have booked yourself into a hotel in the roughest part of a town or city. It may also be a long way away from the main tourist attractions or the venue for the conference you’re attending.

A personal travel advisor will be able to find you the right hotel in the right location at the best possible price.

Areas to avoid

Experienced holiday advisors will usually have a good knowledge of destinations all over the world. In most major cities there are areas best avoided. The last thing you want to do is to drive or walk through these late at night by mistake.

Speaking to someone about your destination first will help out your mind at rest and give you any information you need regarding unsavoury neighbourhoods.

Getting around

Personal safety issues often arise around transport. What taxis should you use? Is it safe to use the underground after 10pm? Should you hire a moped to help get you around?

All of these questions and more may be relevant to your trip, and rather than relying on the internet for information, why not get it from a personal travel advisor who has all the facts?

How to dress

In certain places, tourists are expected to adhere to a dress code. For example you may get into trouble with the local authorities if you wear a short skirt or tight shorts.

The best way to avoid any misunderstandings is to ask your personal travel advisor before you go if there are any restrictions or local laws you need to be aware of.


Holiday advisors can make sure you stay safe when it comes to vaccinations. If you’re unsure what you need to do and when before booking your holiday to a certain destination, a travel advisor will be able to give you all the required details.

10 Things to Know Before Traveling to Southeast Asia

Many backpackers and globetrotters have flocked to the fertile and culturally rich Southeast Asia. Known for its pristine beaches, amazing historical sights and a touch of adventurousness, this comparatively inexpensive travel option baits thousands amongst thousands of people every year with landmarks like Angkor Wat, Cambodia; the city of Bangkok, Thailand; and the picturesque views of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam.

As much as we highly recommend you visit these places, the prudent traveler will do his/her homework as to abide the traditions and laws of these very different countries, as well as be prepared to face the risks, both financial and otherwise that could wind up ruining your vacation. Read more: Malaysia Travel Tips: What Not to Do.

These are our top .

1. Almost everything is negotiable, almost
Haggling can be more beneficial in Southeast Asia than in most places in the world. Vendors at most malls and shops do not have price tags and it is common that when you ask for one, the price will be quite high because it looks like you have cash to burn. Don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price since another vendor just a few feet way is sure to be selling the same thing.

2. The food is great, just be careful
Renowned for its amazing cuisine, both on the street and in the restaurants, eating in SE Asia is one of the most exciting parts of going, but be cautious before eating just anything. One tip is to check if you see other patrons dining at a location before you go in.

Also, many of these countries have free English-written dining guides. Check them out.

3. Watch your pockets.
Whether you are on the back of a motorbike or walking down the street, muggings happen everywhere. Keep your personal belongings near to you at all times, perhaps consider a fanny pack or only bringing along essentials where you’re out of the hotel.

4. There is more to life than ‘backpacker street’
SE Asian countries have become very good at creating mini-tourism hubs of inexpensive hotels or hostels and surrounding them with vendors and bars and everything you need so that you don’t leave.

Granted, in places like Saigon and Bangkok, they are a lot of fun, but make a point to get out and explore other places. You’ll never know what’s waiting just around the corner.

5. Check the local rags and mags
As I mentioned before, most SE Asian countries have English-written guides. That’s because in a number of countries there, there is already an established community of expatriates. If you are looking to just find your bearings and want a safe bet on places to go, pick one up.

6. Be prepared to be approached by strangers
Locals in Southeast Asia are often very nice toward westerners and truthfully enjoy telling you how nice you look. Whether it is coming from a man or woman, get ready for a swarm of compliments on your appearance. It may seem a little strange at first, but you will get used to it. I promise.

7. This scotch does not taste like scotch
Drinks are a quarter of the price than what you’d find in Europe or in the US, the reason being that many of the typical name brands are regionally produced and use local ingredients, so don’t be shocked when your beloved Grey Goose on ice tastes a little different from what you are used to. Use the opportunity to try some very interesting locally produced spirits.

8. Take the tour deals seriously
Pretty much anywhere you go (of the major tourist destinations) there are sure to be tour pamphlets sitting around with great deals. From boat rides to day trips, there are great tours around that will get you where you need to go.

9. Hire local transport for the day
One great way to get around is to hire a tuk tuk or a moto-driver for the whole day to take you everywhere you want to go for a very nominal price. Your driver can also work as a de facto tour guide, getting you around to the spots you may not have though of and that you would regret not seeing.

10. When you can, take a bus or train
When it comes to budget traveling, this is the way. Night buses get you from one country to the next for next to nothing, although they do take longer, no doubt about that. Roads between many destinations are well enough to travel, although there are going to be bumpy rides. None the less, when you need to do it on the cheap, this is the best option.

10 Great Honeymoon Ideas for Any Travel Style

You’ve tied the knot, taken the plunge, looked deep into the eyes of your loved one and said “I do”. You do! And now with the love of your life on your arm, all the rice on the ground behind you, where to? Granted, just about anywhere would likely be a blast, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something exotic, to get crazy, forget the budget (well not entirely), and go on that dream trip you said you would, someday, eventually take. So what’s out there?

1. New Zealand

High atop the list of most sojourners already, New Zealand boasts more natural wonders than just about any place on the planet. Rugged peaks adjoin translucent blue ocean water. Fjords and archipelagos, volcanoes and basalt deserts – you’re as likely to brush-up on your high-school geographical terminology while visiting this gorgeous country as you are likely to have a blast exploring it. Visitors here enjoy the area’s extensive wine tasting, the rich flora and fauna of the region, and, of course the beautiful outdoors which are as well-suited to those thrill-seekers as they are to those who just want to enjoy the mud baths and hot springs.

2. Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa? Yes. Combine a beautiful waterfront, an active nightlife, and the winds blowing in from the plains of the African brush, and you’ve got the getaway of a lifetime. Here, you can dive with great whites, walk on white-sand beaches, roam across the brush on safari, and experience the local and poignantly diverse culture. For the adventurer, there’s plenty, even what they call “blokarting”, in which the sails of little buggies are pushed to near warp-speed by the winds of the ocean. Try one out and hold on, or meander at a snail’s pace down through the vibrant bazaar and “slow” food markets, historic walking tours, or enjoy a leisurely coastal train ride if you’re more interested in this being a laid-back honeymoon.

3. Hawaii

Of course Hawaii would make the list. Any place commonly referred to as “paradise” is sure to be a good bet. But Hawaii makes the list for honeymooners for a variety of reasons. There’s the bright, sunny, unbelievable weather year-round; there’s the warm ocean downright resplendent with life; there’s all of life’s modern amenities to assure you that you’re not too far away from anything; and the inner jungle and unique landscape of this little archipelago make for a diverse array of activities to engage in.

An example? Head to Waikiki to rent beachfront bungalows and be pampered with massages and spa treatments, mai-tais and pina coladas. Then head for ATV riding on Kona, or pop-over to Kauai and explore the Na Pali coast were no man is said to have tread, yet where kings are buried.

4. The Dalmatian Coast, Croatia

Croatia is fast-becoming a destination hotspot. From Dubrovnik to Hvar to Split, no beach anywhere compares to the blue of the Croatian coastline. For rampant partying at can’t-believe-it prices, the Croatian islands have it all—mainly for the younger sect. For relishing in 1500 year-old white marble palaces, shopping, and exploring the ancient, Split and Dubrovnik take the cake. Here, it’s best to stay in the old towns and venture out for day trips to experience all that the Croats have to offer.

5. Salvador da Bahia, Brazil

Fancy the beauty and romance of tropical beach escapes without the crowds or tourism? Consider Brazil, specifically the city of Salvador da Bahia. Pastel-colored houses line cobble-stone streets in a confluence of what appears to be a mix of Nicaraguan and Caribbean influence, but is purely Brazilian. Here you can dance the night away to bossa nova music, sip on authentic caipirinhas, and shop the best of local craftsmen.

6. St Lucia, Caribbean

A beautiful Caribbean escape is second to none when it’s time to get away. Unrivaled and empty white sand beaches, aquamarine water so clean you can see the trigger fish swimming 75 feet down, and all the rum you can stomach make the Caribbean an ideal honeymoon escape. What makes St Lucia special, however, is its mountainous terrain, offering visitors the ability to have panoramic vistas from their resort deck down to the glassy waters below. This, and lush tropical gardens make St Lucia a lazy lovers’ paradise.

7. French Polynesia

If the idea of gazing through a glass-floored bungalow into the crystal-clear water beneath you doesn’t entice, perhaps this escape is best reserved for the more docile crowd. Here, the biggest plans of the day might include swimming with endangered turtles or lazing about on your own private beach. Other thrills might include scuba diving some of the best reefs in the world, getting spa treatments, feeding sharks, or walking the cute and quaint French Polynesian beach-side island towns.

8. Telluride, Colorado, US

If snow is more your bag than sand, consider the rocky escapes of Telluride, Colorado to be your calling. Ski across the mountainous forested escapes, breathe deep the pristine air, or snuggle up fireside with a cup of warm mocha. Cross-country skiing, snowmobile riding, or attending some of the rife mountain culture in this small town makes it high atop many coveted ski-retreat lists.

9. Galapagos Islands

If you and your newly acquired spouse are nature lovers, then there’s no better place to go see untouched, pristine wilderness than the Galapagos Islands. Tours of these islands are selective, as space is numbered and therefore at a premium, but specialty catamarans can come fully equipped with hot tubs and spa-like rooms and showers. Here in Galapagos, you can swim with sea lions and marine iguanas or hike the island with free-roaming peacocks, blue-footed boobies, and red bats. See nature as nature intended it.

10. Paris, France

The city of lights is made for lovers. There’s no mistaking Paris’ charms, whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned veteran of these wandering, narrow cobblestoned streets. Morning croissants, afternoon crepes, dinner aperitifs, and delicatessen pastries make eating in this iconic city an adventure in itself. Then there’s the oodles of cheap yet good French wine, the soft French cheese, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Sacre Coure, and about a hundred other good, notable, and postcard-worthy reasons to honeymoon in Paris. And don’t forget all of Europe that is now lying at your doorstep…

Planning your travel in time for the Olympics and Paralympics

A colossal cheer rang out from Trafalgar Square marking the start of ecstatic, flag-waving celebrations. It was 6 July 2005 and the International Olympics Committee had just announced that the 2012 Olympic Games would be held in London.

Back then it seemed little more than a fantastic prize; an amazing opportunity to change the face of British sport.

Nearly seven years on and the dream is about to become a reality.

Next summer, all eyes will turn to London and the UK as we host the world’s biggest sporting event: the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Thousands of visitors will travel to this country and still more will travel from their homes across the UK because watching the Olympics in your home country is a once in a lifetime experience.

Official advice to ticket holders is to start planning how you will get to your event venue as soon as you can. The transport system will be busy and organisers are encouraging people to use public transport such as trains, buses and coaches to travel to the 2012 games.

Most of the venues for the London 2012 Games are being held at the Olympic Park or in other parts of the capital. But there are other venues located the length and breadth of Britain from Glasgow in the north for the preliminary rounds of the women’s football to Weymouth and Portland on the south coast where the sailing events will be held.

In addition, there will be a massive programme of cultural events taking place during the Games and, if you want to be part of the action but aren’t lucky enough to have a ticket, you can head off to one of many urban “Live Sites” which will give live information, video, news and community events on big screens.

However you plan to get involved, it’s clear that your travel arrangements must be a key part of your advance planning.

There is no spectator parking at any of the event venues, except for a small number of disabled spaces.

National Express has already set up a special timetable of coaches that will drop you right outside the Olympic Park. There are also special services running across the country to meet the demand of the Games which run from 27 July to 12 August 2012.

Coaches can also drop passengers at Victoria Coach Station, a short walk from Victoria Underground Station where you can get a tube to Stratford Regional station. Use the one day travel card that comes with your event ticket to get free travel on London’s tubes and buses.

And if you hold a Family or Young Persons Coachcard, you’ll also benefit from cheaper travel when you travel by National Express.

National Express is the largest scheduled coach service provider in Europe. In the UK the distinctive white National Express coaches travel to 1000 destinations and carry over 18 million passengers a year. Eurolines coaches operate to more than 500 destinations in Europe and Ireland.

Are You Fit For Travel?

Travel Health

It’s all very well making sure you have your beach towel and sun tan lotion packed, but if you fail to get the right travel vaccinations for the country you are visiting your holiday could take a nasty turn. It’s a simple fact that some regions of the world require you to be vaccinated against a host of diseases common in that area. Follow these simple guidelines to keep well and healthy.

Firstly, it is wise to consult your GP prior to going on vacation so they can assess your specific health risks and recommend vaccinations and / or antimalarial tablets. Your GP can also offer invaluable advice on travel issues like mosquito bites and safe drinking water. Diseases like measles are common and widespread, so check with your GP that you have been immunised or immune from previously contracting the disease.

It‘s also imperative that you ensure you have complete insurance cover for any kind of medical emergency, which includes repatriation. If you are a UK citizen and are holidaying in an EU country carrying a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can entitle you to subsidised or free medical treatment.

Malaria is a very serious disease and can be fatal. Guarding against mosquito bites can protect you, but antimalarial tablets should be taken if you are visiting India, Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America, the Middle East and Central and East Asia.

If you are visiting any of the above countries or regions, you should also ensure you are vaccinated against Rabies, Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Cholera, Diphtheria, Yellow Fever and Tuberculosis. Always ask your GP for advice regarding the prerequisite vaccinations for the country or region you are visiting.

During your pre-travel consultation with your GP ask if there are any current outbreaks of diseases or epidemics within the country or region you are visiting. For example, in 2011 there has been an outbreak of Pertussis (whooping cough) in Australia and visitors have been advised to have a booster jab against the disease.

Your GP is there to give advice and help you stay well and healthy while you enjoy your holiday. Arrange a pre-travel consultation and ensure you are fit for travel.

3 Travel Money Treasures

Last year when planning my holidays, sorting my travel money was one of the less important tasks that came to mind whilst organising my trip. I’d spent hours trawling tripadvisor’s fictional reviews, I’d compared airline prices and I’d even shopped around for a pair of white linen trousers I knew I’d only ever wear once in my life. All that time and effort and not once had sorting my currency crossed my mind.

Looking back, I wish I had taken more time to plan my travel money. I was travelling to Sao Paulo and due to the limited currency; I naively changed up ALL my travel money at the airport upon arrival. Now I know I could have saved almost 10% on my holiday money and in Brazil that is a LOT of Caprinhas on the beach.

Here are 3 foreign exchange treasures to ensure you get the most out of your travel money.

Plan in Advance

Whilst not exciting, planning your travel money in advance is the main key to saving money on your travels. If you are organised and savvy, it is most likely that you will get the best deals. Make sure you research travel money providers in advance and look out for currency ‘flash sales’.

If you have left your travel money to the last minute then try not to get it changed up at an Airport as this is where the worst rates on the market can be commonly found. Whilst it is not ideal, some companies allow you to order your travel cash online to be picked up at the airport. These are not usually very competitive rates however, they will be slightly better than just turning up at the airport kiosk.

Use Online Comparisons

As a rule of thumb, online travel money providers provide the most competitive rates. The companies have no costly overheads of kiosks and so pass these savings on to their customers in the form or more competitive exchange rates.

Ever growing in popularity are prepaid currency cards which many of these online currency specialists provide. These prepaid cards offer some excellent exchange rates even in restricted currencies and also, provide a safe way to carry money abroad. At the time of writing, Moneysupermarket.com is ranking FairFX.com top with their fixed 1.4% Foreign exchange fee on their Anywhere card.

Also available online are currency specific cards, usually found in Euros or Dollars. These cards are loaded with the specific currency at the time of the transaction and so you “lock in” your currency at the rate at that time. The currency is then available on your card for your trip having already been bought at that rate. This eliminates any holiday worries about fluctuating rates but can also provide an excellent way to take advantage of a great exchange rate prior to travelling.

Pay in the local currency

Whilst travelling, some retailers will occasionally ask if you wish to pay in Sterling. As tempting and easy it may seem to have the price quoted in Sterling, this price they offer will usually be inclusive of their own exchange rate. This rate is often a lot higher than that of any travel money provider or your bank. Always ask to pay in the local currency as this will often result in a lower price overall.

WWOOFing travel

Today, with the economic crisis and concerns over our carbon footprints, more holiday makers are deciding to stay in the country this year and take a trip closer to home. That said, people still want to escape the day to day routine of their lives and have a bit of an adventure. This has encouraged people to go to the countryside for camping trips or to spend some time at a rural farm. Being able to escape the hassles of modern life can be a wonderful experience. In this article we are going to look at some of the great options available.

This kind of holiday can really be a cost saver, especially if you choose to go WWOOFing. This stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and is a charity that exists to encourage people to live a life that has as little impact on the environment as possible. They do this by encouraging people to volunteer on organic farms in the UK.

In exchange for your help on the farm, where you will learn some skills, you will be given food and accommodation. Sign up for WWOOFing and you will pay a small fee and the charity will give you a list of farms in the UK that welcome volunteers. It is then down to you to approach them and ask if you can come volunteer.

Another option, which is a bit more luxurious, is to retreat to one of over twenty rural retreats and farms run by Feather Down Farm Days. Here you will stay in a tent with modern amenities such as a flushing toilet. At one of these retreats you will be able to hire equipment such as a wood stove to cook your own food. These retreats cater perfectly for families and it is possible to order food in advance so your transition into holiday mode will be smooth.

Staying on a farm will be a great experience for children as they will get to interact with all the animals. There are also great activities to suit families as many farms will offer bicycles to hire so you can see some of the beautiful surrounding countryside.

Another great idea is to take a Vintage Vacation. This is a company that operates several airstream trailers on the Isle of Wight. The trailers look incredibly retro, with interiors straight out of the past but have all the modern conveniences.