Explore a Whole New World at Medan

Mesjid Raya Medan
Mesjid Raya Medan

Do you want to celebrate a whole new world at a unique tourist destination? Do you want to explore the craft of leisure at an exciting vacation? Offering a variety of sights and sounds, Medan is located in Indonesia and showcases the Moroccan, Dutch and colonial influences with great Art Deco buildings like the Post office, the Great Mosque, the Old City Hall, the Maimoon Palace, Chinese Temple of Vihara Gunung Timur, the Buddhist Temple of Vihara Borobudur and the Mesjid Raya Mosque. Lovers of architecture can admire the Immanuel Protestant Church that was built in 1921 and is one of Medan’s biggest churches.

Visitors to Medan can refresh themselves with the delicious dishes or explore the Pasar Petisah that offers a wonderful array of fruits and vegetables. Tourists can wander through the Kesawan Square, stroll down Merdeka Walk and discover an artful range at the Tondi Gallery. Visitors can enjoy the luxury of their accommodation rooms in Medan and spend serene moments at the Annai Velangkanni shrine and the Shri Mariamman temple. As one of the main things to do on a holiday, visitors can go shopping to their heart’s content at the many shopping malls, complexes and buy souvenirs from craft shops. Continue reading “Explore a Whole New World at Medan”

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Special Valentine’s Day in Melbourne

Are you bored with flowers, chocolates and hallmark cards for Valentine’s Day? Looking for an experience with a little ‘wow’ factor? Melbourne, with its many restaurants, hotels, galleries and theatres is the perfect playground for Valentine’s Day.

Explore Melbourne’s Art Scene

Melbourne's 'street art'
Melbourne's 'street art'

One ingenious company has come up with a tour of Melbourne’s ‘street art’. The walking tour includes good Melbourne coffee, fabulous wine and cheese and takes you into the hidden laneways and unnamed buildings harbouring some of Melbourne’s best ‘graffiti’ and ‘street art’. The tour is unique to Melbourne and is the perfect precursor to a romantic 3 course dinner or hotel stay in one of the many luxury hotels in Melbourne.

Helicopter flight over Melbourne
Helicopter flight over Melbourne

A Scenic Helicopter flight over Melbourne

For those with more adventurous partners, a scenic helicopter flight over Melbourne will provide the thrills you’re looking for. View the Docklands, the MCG, Rod Laver Arena, Eureka Tower and the city skyline from the air. This will be an experience your partner will be talking about for years.

For the More Traditional

If you and your partner are more the traditional types, a night at one of Melbourne’s many 5 star hotels is hard to go past. Check in early and stock the fridge with romantic foods like, oysters, seafood, chocolate and strawberries and make sure there’s a bottle of French champagne chilling on ice. Organising a couple’s massage in your room is also a great way to set the mood.

Do Something Really Different

Take the one you love to the Chill on Ice Lounge and Ski Lodge and indulge in one of their special Valentine’s Day packages. Choose from a package that includes drinks and a photo or go for the premium dinner package. The Ice Lounge is carved out of 50 tonnes of ice and kept at a constant -10 degrees Celsius. A fan forced blizzard will ensure you have to snuggle up close and what better way to warm up afterwards than in one of the nearby luxury hotels in the Melbourne CBD.

Have a Wild Time on Valentine’s Day

For the animal lover, Werribee Open Range Zoo offers open vehicle adventure tours. Set alongside the picturesque Werribee River, the tours immerse you in the sounds, smells and sights of the Savannah. You’ll be surrounded by rhinos, deer, zebras, giraffes and antelopes and only 30 minutes from the Melbourne CBD. Book dinner and some Melbourne accommodation and your animal loving partner will have the ultimate Valentine’s Day experience.

Nightlife Near Edinburgh Hotels

 

Nightlife Edinburgh
Nightlife Edinburgh

Edinburgh is one of Europe’s most interesting old cities, full of history to the chagrin of some who might feel it is something of an open air museum. However the city has evolved socially and is very cosmopolitan with three universities and a thriving business and arts scene. Visitors to the city can hear the deafening sound of the guns going off at Edinburgh castle at one o clock or hear the deafening roar of the crowds at one of the city’s two top flight football clubs, close to some of the best Edinburgh hotels.

Nightlife in Edinburgh is excellent and there is a wide choice of venues and genres to choose from. Many of the clubs in the centre of town can be found in the cavernous basements of some of the city’s old buildings. The Caves and the Jazz bar are two such venues where clubbers can enjoy a nice relaxed atmosphere before heading off to one of the more mainstream oriented venues like the ever popular Po Na Na or the plush Opal Lounge on George Street. Continue reading “Nightlife Near Edinburgh Hotels”

Tricks for a Worthwhile Disney Travel

Disneyland
Disneyland

Disney travel entails careful planning. Whether it is your first time or you have been to Disney theme parks in the past, planning how you want to spend your vacation is very essential. If you want to make you and your family’s trip to Disney all worthwhile, then read on these suggestions on how to go about your Disney trip.

Plan Ahead of Time

There are a lot of things you need to plan before your magical Disney travel. If you are not a resident in the immediate vicinity of a theme park, then you need to have a place to stay for the duration of your vacation. There are various Disney and non-Disney hotels in the area and you just have to choose where your most preferred place to stay is.

Once you have decided where to stay, you can go buy your passes for the theme park. There are various ticket sellers and options that you can choose from. The best choice is to purchase tickets from Disney authorized sellers. You can also opt to buy through the concierge of your Disney resort or hotel. Tickets come in various types. Each ticket type correspond to which theme parks and rides you will have access and how many days will you be allowed entry to the theme parks. You just have to choose among the array and see which will work best for you and your budget.

Plan your itinerary once you are in the theme park. Make it simple. Make a list of a few must do’s so you will not be overwhelmed once you are in the theme park premises. Think of which rides and amusement centers you want to visit for the rest of the day.

Bare Essentials

It is highly advisable that you bring with you a bag that contains all your necessary belongings. Key items like wallet, cellular phone or passports has to be securely kept in your bag. As much as possible bring bottles of water and some snacks since the prices of these things are sky high once inside the theme park.

Also, do not forget to wear comfortable shoes and clothing. If you are with kids, then bring them a toy or two to make them feel at home and secured.

Recreation

Once you are in the theme park, do not get overwhelmed. Stick to your itinerary and let surprises come out on their own. As much as possible, you have to start enjoying rides which are in the farther part of the theme park. This saves you from the trouble of making your way out of throngs of people since most will definitely enjoy rides which are near the entrance.

Lines of people taking a Disney character’s signature will surely be long. If you are with a fellow adult then take turns in falling in line especially if you want to get an autograph of another character. This way, you will save much time and will get to see more of the theme parks attractions.

There are many things that you can do in Disney World thus making one day barely enough. Therefore, for you to ultimately enjoy your Disney travel, make plans in advance on how you want to spend your day.

Free Holiday Package to Wakatobi from HolidayIQ Indonesia

Hotel review competition
Hotel review competition

Wakatobi is one of the top holiday destination in Indonesia. This place is well known as the world’s best dive sites. The name is an an acronym of the four component islands: Wangiwangi, Kaledupa, Tomea, and Binongko.

HolidayIQ Indonesia, the best online travel community in Indonesia is having this awesome hotel review competition. You can actually win free holiday package to Wakatobi and cool weekly prizes.

What you need to do is write reviews on your hotel stay. Yea, that easy!

Join HolidayIQ now and get the chance to win that awesome prize!

5 Stunning Sites to See in Australia

Aboriginal Art

Arnhem Land
Arnhem Land

Kakadu and Arnhem Land are home to some of Australia‘s oldest occupied Aboriginal locations. Here, your eyes can soak up some earthy coloured, insect-like rock art, of patterned Emus and angular figures, painted with animal blood, clay and wood ash. Traditional art is associated with mythology relating to their dreamtime. Stories are told through images on rocks and represented through totems. Modern Aborigines often use synthetic paints on bark, taking inspiration from their ancestors’ subject matters and techniques.

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef

Immerse yourself in a kaleidoscopic display of colour whilst you snorkel amongst the underwater gardens of soft and hard corals. You may come across stunning starfish, sponges and marine turtles which will make you feel at one with nature.

The world’s largest system of coral reefs, dotted with around nine-hundred islands, is home to many species of fish, such as the beautiful turquoise Parrot fish, the Clown fish and Mandarin fish, whose squiggly, stripes and dots are effective camouflage in their equally vibrant environment.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House

Like a ship with billowing sails, the Sydney Opera House sits along Sydney Harbour on Bennelong Point. Jorn Utzon, a relatively unknown Danish architect, was the winner of an International competition to design a national opera house based at Bennelong in 1957. The modern expressionist building houses a number of performance venues, including; The Concert Hall, Opera Theatre, Drama Theatre, Playhouse, Studio, Utzon Room and Forecourt. Located in the concert hall is the Grand Organ, the world’s largest mechanical action pipe organ, consisting of 10,500 pipes.

The Flinders Ranges National Park

The Flinders Ranges National Park
The Flinders Ranges National Park

The largest mountain range in Australia, The Flinders Ranges, stretches its vast, dusty red terrain across an area of 912 square kilometres. Eucalyptus trees and unusual rock formations dot the landscape, making it a fascinating geological area to explore. Some of the outcrops in this vicinity date back 560-million years, so there are many fossils, hidden like gems, waiting to be discovered.

Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island

This idyllic island in the southwest Pacific Ocean is a crescent-shaped volcanic fragment of land. A limit of 400 people is allowed onto the island at any time, due to the small size of the island and the fact that there are only 400 licensed tourist beds. If you are amongst the privileged few, why not walk barefoot around this paradise and take a look at volcanic peaks, serene lagoons and refreshing forests? Ball’s Pyramid, a needle of rock 12 miles from Lord Howe Island, was discovered by Lieutenant Lidgbird Ball at the same time as the island, in 1788.

Scuba Dive with Seahorses

Scuba Dive with Seahorses
Scuba Dive with Seahorses

Scuba divers have long been fascinated by these often extremely tiny critters. Seahorses are illusive photo subjects as they camouflage themselves by changing colour quickly to blend in with their surroundings. They also allow encrusting organisms to settle on them and they can grow long skin appendages to match their surroundings even better. During mating their skin will lighten and darken. Generally the easiest part of the seahorse to spot is the tail.

The seahorse is 1 of 4 families in the syngnathiform family order which also includes pipefish, flag tail pipefish and seadragons. They swim in an upright position with their tails down and their heads up. Their dorsal fin moves them forward and the pectoral fin controls steering and turning.

The pygmy seahorse is a recently discovered relative of the common sea horse and one of the divers most sought after finds. A lot of deco time and a magnifying glass will help in the search for these cryptic critters. They are roughly 15mm in length although some are smaller, and as their tail is always curled around a seafan, they appear even smaller.

Very little is known about their life cycle. They are thought to eat the same zooplankton as the seafans that they inhabit and they seem to prefer seafans to other family members, as there are normally few other inhabitants on a pygmy’s seafan.

Sea horse Fact Sheet

Family name: Hippocampinae
Order name: Syngnathidae
Common name: Seahorse
Scientific name: Hippocampus

Distinguishing Features

They are characterised by an elongated body encased in bony rings. Instead of scales that are found on most fish, seahorses have a thin layer of skin stretched over a series of bony plates. These plates show themselves as the bony rings along their body’s trunk. They have no pelvic fins but most have small pectoral fins and a single dorsal fin. They have a prehensile tail (able to grasp) and a tube-like mouth with no teeth, and small gill openings. Unlike (most) humans but similar to chameleons, seahorses can move their eyes independently of each other. They range in size from 10mm to 35cm, the largest species being the Pacific seahorse. Seahorses also have a coronet on the top of their head which is distinctive in all seahorses, in the same way that a thumb print is in humans.

Feeding habits

Seahorses eat small crustaceans which they catch by staying still and lying in wait. When prey comes near they snap them up. Their tube like mouth creates a vacuum that sucks prey in and they swallow their food whole. They can eat up to 3,000 brine shrimp per day.

Reproduction

Sea horses are unusual in a couple of ways. One is that they are monogamous and have long courtship periods when mating. Monogamy is unusual in all animals but especially in fish. There is some evidence to suggest that the longer a couple of seahorses stick together, the better they are at producing babies. Indeed, a male seahorse that is involved in an intimate relationship can be pregnant for as many as 7 months of the year. Once the male has given birth, he often becomes pregnant again right away.

Another unusual aspect of the sea horse is that it’s the male of the species that becomes pregnant and carries the eggs in a pouch on his belly, after the eggs have been deposited there by the female. The eggs are fertilised in the pouch and incubated until they hatch. Incubation lasts between 10 days and 4 weeks, depending on the species and water temperature.

At hatching, the male gives birth to fully developed but tiny versions of its species. The natural lifespan of seahorses is not known, but believed to be from 1 year for small species to 5 years for a larger species.

It is common in the fish world for the males to take care of the eggs by guarding them or fanning them to keep them clean and provide enough oxygen. But seahorses take parental care to an extreme unknown elsewhere in the animal kingdom. A capillary system provides nutrients to the young.

Want to Know Where to Scuba Dive with Seahorses?

The Barbigants pygmy seahorse (hippocampus barbiganti) can be found all over Indonesia in various colours and at all depths. They can be found in the muricella sea fans in Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Malaysia. These sea fans have bulbous red polyps as do the pygmy seahorses. This, along with their small size, is what makes them so difficult to spot.

Denise Hackett recently discovered a new pygmy seahorse species in Indonesia. It’s named after her, hippocampus Denise, but it’s often called the ‘plucked chicken pygmy seahorse’ due to its unusual appearance with a lack of the typical bumps (tubercles). Hippocampus Denise is normally found in light yellow gorgonians which, like the pygmy, are less bulbous with smaller polyps.

The weedy pygmy seahorse is an even newer discovery. First recorded in the Banda Sea in 2000, they are now regularly seen at Wakatobi and the Lembeh Strait. The Raja Ampat area is another good place to find them. This species is the smallest and most cryptic. They seem to move around more than other species making them even harder to pin point.