We don’t mean to scare you… No wait, actually we do, but only for a little while, and we promise the payoff will be worth the effort. These spots offer spectacular sights and experiences to travelers who are willing to face down five common, and very real, fears. These five places offer both risks and rewards. But don’t overdo it. If you have a paralyzing phobia, you’ll probably want to start a little smaller and closer to home. [Read more...]
Can a tourist’s experience ever be truly authentic? If you talk with the locals, share their cuisine, and, heaven forbid, even do a little work while you’re traveling, you can get pretty close. Many tour companies out there make an effort to submerge their guests in a local culture, sharing stories, sampling the food and practicing traditional customs. [Read more...]
Coffee, the wonderfully aromatic conduit for the world’s most popular drug — caffeine — began its spread from Ethiopia in the 15th Century and never stopped. Today, coffee is enjoyed all over the world, with Finland (surprisingly) consuming more than any other country – imbibing 608.2 litres of coffee per capita.
Turkish coffee, which is served in small cups where the grounds settle at the bottom, is very thick, dark, strong and sweet. Plenty of sugar and sometimes spices like cardamom and chicory are added to produce a rich, dessert-like treat. After a guest finishes his or her coffee, a host may turn the cup upside down, allow the grounds to cool and then tell a fortune by reading the grounds.
In Italy, un caffé is a “shot” of espresso — an ounce of concentrated coffee. Although Italians drink caffé (espresso) all day long, two of the country’s national beverages, cappuccino and caffé latte, are traditionally only consumed in the morning.
Brazil’s version, cafezinho, is made by mixing hot water, finely ground coffee and sugar, and then straining the mixture through a filter. Like Turkish coffee, cafezinho is dark, strong and sweet – but not nearly as thick – and served in small cups.
During the 19th Century, when Vietnam was under French rule, fresh milk was difficult to store, so condensed milk took its place. A delightful indulgence, Vietnamese iced coffee, called cà phê sữa đá, is made by brewing concentrated coffee over condensed milk, stirring it up and pouring it over ice.
Although drip coffee is ubiquitous throughout the US, the country is often associated with the Americano, which is espresso mixed with hot water. The drink is said to have evolved during World War II, when American soldiers stationed in Italy discovered that “coffee” was just a shot of espresso. As the story goes, in order to make the drink more like regular coffee, they added hot water.
Major coffee producer Kenya has long had a specialised way of drinking coffee. Kahawa chungu, or “bitter coffee”, is a traditional drink made in brass kettles over a charcoal stove and is typically enjoyed by men, according to Reuters.
What blend of coffee do you enjoy the most? Share your favorites with us!
Source: BBC Travel
Image: The Friedman Sprout
For all the extraordinary feats humans have achieved, nothing can rival nature’s greatest creations. The worldwide public has voted on a new group of lesser-known natural wonders as part of the New7Wonders project. Here are four picks that have already been confirmed winners from voters:
Halong Bay, Vietnam
A visit to the bay can be a truly moving experience, whether it’s viewed during the daylight, when the clear waters shimmer among the vast network of tiny islets, or in the twilight hours, as the fading sunlight paints rich colors on the towering karst rock formations. A boat cruise through the bay reveals scores of caves, many of which are specially illuminated to display their mysterious beauty.
Jeju Island, South Korea
Located southwest of the Korean Peninsula, Jejudo Island is a volcanic island in the shape of an oval that measures 73 kilometers from west to east. The island’s distinctive volcanic landscapes play host to vast craters and sheer black-lava cliffs, as well as Korea’s tallest peak, Hallasan. To the east lies the dark winding cavern of Manjanggul – the world’s longest system of lava tube caves, while the sacred mountain of Sanbangsan and its grotto temple sit just to the south.
Iguaçu Falls, Argentina
Little can prepare you for a trip to the monstrous Iguaçu waterfalls. The waters of the Iguaçu river tumble endlessly over some 23 kilometers of cliffs, crashing into a giant gorge and leaving a thick mist in their wake. A geological fault on the Paraná river turned the outlet of the Iguassu river into a cascade approximately 80 meters high.
Puerto Princesa Underground River, Philippines
A trip through the otherworldly underground river near the Philippine city of Puerto Princesa is a surreal experience. A meandering series of limestone caverns snake for five miles under miles of darkness before emerging to the open sea. Boating through the cavern’s interior to catch an up-close glimpse of the stunning color and rock formations along the walls feels like a dream-like experience, one that’s not to be missed.
Which of the new natural wonders of the world is your favorite? Tell us about your recent adventures!
Source: Fox News Travel
Image: Halong Bay Vietnam
Southeast Asia is home to some of the world’s finest adventure sailing spots. With this spirit of maritime adventure in mind, CNN asked Herman Ho, Boat Asia 2012 managing director, and Stuart McDonald, founder and editor of Asian travel website, travelfish.org, to give the lowdown on Southeast Asia’s most spectacular coastal spots.
Anambas islands, Indonesia. Pulau Bawah, the main island in the Anambas chain is uninhabited and offers “a naturally protected lagoon with beautiful clear blue waters and corals,” enthuses Ho. Shipwrecked vessels “Seven Skies” and “Igara” have become a magnet for a wide variety of indigenous marine life and offer the perfect opportunity for a dip.
Koh Chang, Thailand. Hundreds of deserted beaches enable land lovers to get their feet sandy while the shallow waters near shore provide fantastic snorkeling opportunities. McDonald warns however that Koh Chang can get extremely wet during the rainy season — which usually occurs between June and October — and advises all mariners to check the weather outlook before setting sail.
Langkawi, Malaysia. Langkawi has numerous marinas that cater for guests cruising the surrounding Malacca Strait. Casting anchor and setting foot on the islands themselves offers a great opportunity to scale one of the region’s most spectacular vantage points, says Ho. Visitors can just hop on a cable car to the peak of Gunung Mat Chinchang mountain, some 2,300 feet above sea level, where they can take in the wonderful views.
Halong Bay, Vietnam. Comprising a vast coastal waterway of roughly 2,000 islands spread over an area of 1,500 square kilometers, carving out your own sailing space shouldn’t be too much of a problem. While tranquil waters year round make sure going for a swim is always a pleasure. The mysterious limestone caves on Halong Bay’s bigger islands and the “incredible sunsets” meanwhile are two sights not to be missed, advises McDonald.
Similan Islands, Thailand. Situated off the country’s west coast in the Andaman Sea, the spectacular islets are a nationally protected wildlife area, says Ho. Sailing around the Similans is still allowed, though, and those who venture there are treated with “turquoise blue waters full of marine life,” says Ho. There are also hundreds of varieties of fish and turtles surrounding the islands, he adds, while peace and quiet is virtually guaranteed.
Source: CNN Go