Experiencing Turkey

by Kelly on September 22, 2014

A mix of ethnicities make Turkey a culturally interesting destination that entices its visitors from across the globe to visit. They don’t sell themselves short either. With a plethora of unique, baffling, stunning, and even bizarre places and towns, Turkey will be sure to satisfy any travel itch that may need scratching. Here are just a few of the top places that better be on your itinerary.

Konya

Feel humble as you enter one of the oldest cities on earth. Ruled under the Seljuk Dynasty in the 12th and 13th centuries this large city located in the Anatolia Region will delight you with its beautiful architecture. The Seljuk Palace and Alaeddin Mosque are two of its must see buildings. The structures are admirable and remarkable.

Antalya

The Mediterranean Coastline has no shortage of breathtaking spots along its coasts, and Antalya is no exception. Beautiful beaches along a shoreline that’s dotted with authentic restaurants, fun bars, and plenty of resorts. The mountains that flank the side provide a fantastic scene, and as you walk around, take in the greenery around you and keep an eye out for the ancient ruins.

Mount Nemrut

This is where Turkey shows its funky side off, without giving up its beauty. Hike to the top of this mountain and be reward with one of the most magical sunrises that possibly exists. After getting your energy from the golden rays, walk around and explore the odd ancient heads that are scattered about. Statues and rock heads from 62 BC were put here by King Antiochus and have since toppled and decorate the top of this mountain haphazardly.

Pamukkale

A winter wonderland that is actually not what it looks like. Despite the icy look, these terraces are made of travertine and are created by the sedimentary rocks that flow here in the highly mineralized hot spring. The white terraces have been bathed in for years and the tradition keeps on. There are nearby ruins, temples, baths, and Greek monuments to wander around as well.

Istanbul

Your Thomas Cook flights will land you in many destinations, but some may not be as impressive as Istanbul. With its rich culture, diverse East meets West characteristics, and being one of the largest cities in the world, this is the top destination to visit in Turkey. The Hagia Sofia, a basilica turned mosque, traces back to the 6th century. It’s one of the highlights to experience while here as well as the Blue Mosque. Adorned in thousands of blue tiles, this building is nothing short of magnificent.

Ephesus

This is the most incredible history lesson of your life. This is one of the largest old Roman Empire cities as well as the beholder of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The archaeologically impressive site of Ephesus is on of the most popular attractions in the country. No surprises here. The remarkable Temple of Hadrian, the stunning Celsus Library, and a huge theater are a few more of the incredible sites to be seen here.

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4 Things to do Besides Beach Bumming in Maui

by Kelly on September 5, 2014

While visiting the Hawaiian islands, most will head straight for the beaches, and for good reason too. Of course the stunning sands and water would entice any holiday goer, but what else do these islands offer? Take the travel quiz by My Holiday Centre to see which island is right for you, and if you get Maui, then add these places to your list for more than just a fantastic beach getaway!

Road Trippin’

Take a scenic drive on one of Hawaii’s most majestic highways, Road to Hana. It twists and turns through the state’s lush green rainforest’s while the seashore  pops up on the other side. On your way, be sure to stop at the cascading waterfalls on the way for some picturesque photo opportunities. During the 55 miles ride from Kahului to Hana you will pass plenty of beautiful places that you will want to pull over and enjoy, so the ride will probably take longer than expected. Take your time as the ride can be a bit stomach turning with all the windy turns. The Waianapanapa State Park and the beautiful Hookipa beach are two popular stop overs.

See the Summit

Haleakala National Park is a magical place to visit while on Maui. You won’t be able to escape the view of Haleakala’s summit as it towers over the island at 10,000 feet above sea level. It’s actually the world’s largest dormant volcano. No matter where you are on the island, you will be able to see the top of this mountain. Why not make it an early morning and catch the sunrise? It’s one morning you won’t regret setting the alarm for. Despite the sunny weather, make sure to bring a jacket to the top of this chilly mountain. Once at the top, don’t stop yet. You can walk right into the mouth of the volcano! There is also a four-mile long trail you can hike at sea level with waterfalls and pools.

Luau Nights

A trip to Hawaii wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the culture and seeing the traditional dances of the islands. At Old Lahaina Luau you can experience just that. It’s an award-winning dance and musical performance that will be a memory to carry forever. Hula dancing, fire shows, and absolutely stunning traditional food such as pua’a, an underground roasted pork dish, and poi, a mashed taro dish, will satisfy your eyes and mouth for the evening.

More Mountain Trails

The undeniable beauty of the Hawaiian islands can take anyone’s breath away. At Iao Valley State Park, the story is no different. The dazzling sites, particularity the rock formations, are what’s offered at this national park. The Iao Needle is the most famous and rises over 1,000 feet into the air. There is an interesting history amongst these rocks and forested areas that can be discovered during your visit here. There are also numerous trails that take you through these striking rock formations. There are plenty of look out points during your hike, especially of Iao Needle.

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Some Australian students are finishing University and finding themselves saddled with thousands of dollars in student debt. With the high cost of housing and the depressed economy a lot of young people are finding it difficult to cover their bills when they are first starting out. Some of these students are traveling to Hokkaido, Japan to teach English. There are great perks offered by these companies like paying for your flights there and home, a free place to live on top of your salary, sometimes a free car is offered as well.

Inexpensive Storage Options:

With inexpensive secure storage companies offering big enough units to store things like cars, boats, appliances and furniture this is making this even easier for the students to leave Australia. Fort Knox is one of these companies. They offer great rates, an alarmed storage facility, and their website also offers great tips on packing for moves.

Ease in Getting There:

Hokkaido is the smallest and most northern island in Japan.  It has the smallest population in all of Japan and has many things to offer to people traveling here.  Sapporo   is the capital city of Hokkaido and it has the fourth largest population of the cities in Japan.  It has an international airport that is right in the city so it is easy to enter with few connecting flights.

So Many Things to See and Do!

  • Sapporo Brewing Company:  daily tours are offered and there are free samples available at the end of the tour.
  • Odori Park:   it stretches through the centre of the town and it hosts many festivals throughout the year.  The Yosakoi is a dance festival that hosts hundreds of teams of this traditional Japanese dance.  There is a beer garden that takes up the whole city park in July and August and lasts one whole month.  The Winter Festival offers many different things including snowball competitions and ice sculptures.  These are just a few of the many festivals available.
  • Natural Attractions: The Beaches are fantastic and some of them have black volcanic sand! The ski hills are great and attract skiers and snowboarders from all over the world.  The Onsens (hot springs) are amazing.  There are many mountains to climb!

It’s Easy to Drive In:

To drive from Sapporo to Abashiri on the opposite side of the island takes about six hours by car.  Even if you can’t read the signs you can buy maps in English.  There is also a fantastic train system that will get you to many of the small cities if you don’t have a car.

The Weather:

Hokkaido has four distinct seasons.  Winter can get pretty cold and has a lot of snow fall which is great if you are a fan of winter.  Summer temperatures peak at about 30 degrees and it is not muggy like the rest of Japan.  Spring and Fall both offer moderate temperatures. 

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The Great School Holiday Bargain Hunt

September 5, 2014

If you’re forced to go on your annual summer break during the children’s summer holidays then you could be forgiven for rolling your eyes and expecting a huge bill at the end of it. The cost of holidays during this time can be huge, and it’s not really fair, not when you consider that a [...]

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Why you need to drop everything and visit Greece

August 18, 2014

So you’ve just watched Mama Mia for the 42nd time and no it’s not because you’re a closet Abba fan, or a closet Pierce Brosnan fan for that matter. It’s simply because you love fantasizing about whiling away the hours on that enchanting Greek island paradise….with Pierce Brosnan. Well what’s stopping you from turning that [...]

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