Unusual delicacies in East Asia

Most countries have their delicacies that are traditional to local culture such as Paella in Spain, Pasta in Italy and Crepes in France, however East Asia is home to some very unusual ones that you may need to be brave (and have a strong stomach) to attempt!

  • Birds nest soup – this is quite literally a soup made from bird saliva! It’s extremely high in calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron so is considered very good for you!
  •  Turtle Jelly – this is made from ground up turtle shells and herbs and is said to have medicinal properties when eaten, but it’s VERY bitter so is often eaten with honey.
  • Inago – these are crunchy crickets and crispy grasshoppers seasoned with sugar and soy sauce, particularly popular in Japan.

And possibly one of the strangest….

  •  Fugu – this is puffer fish that is full of deadly toxins and can only be safely eaten if it is cut and prepared in a very specific way… better hope the chef is not having an ‘off’ day!!

United Kingdom – World Heritage sites (WHS)

We have a total of 28 of these sites across the UK, 16 in England, 5 in Scotland, 3 in Wales, 1 in Northern Ireland and 3 in overseas Territories. UNESCO World Heritage sites are split into two types: Cultural and/or Natural. In the UK there are a total of twenty three Cultural sites, four Natural sites and one mixed. The UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC), the Government and UNESCO are committed to protecting these sites for future generations. A number of parties all work together to ensure this and the close work with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and other partners, such as English Heritage, Cadw and Historic Scotland. These parties provide expert analysis and give advice. The UKNC act as coordinator and facilitator on specific World Heritage matters.
We have a number of archaeological sites, historic buildings, natural formations, urban centres and industrial landscapes for example: The Ironbridge Gorge became a Cultural WHS in 1986; Dorset and East Devon Coast became a Natural WHS in 2001 and Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites became WHS’s in 1986.

UNESCO World Heritage sites

We strongly suggest you visit the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site! These sites are deemed to be of special cultural or physical significance by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. The Ngorongoro Crater is one of just 981 World Heritage Sites across the world. (There are 28 in the UK alone!)
This is the largest unbroken, un-flooded volcanic caldera in the world. It was formed over three million years ago when a giant volcano exploded and collapsed in on itself. It is about 19kms wide and about 600 meters deep with a total area of 260 square kilometres which now acts as a natural enclosure for wildlife. It has been labelled as a conservation area, which protects numerous animal species including the “Big five” with a large population of Lions.
If you want to see one of these UNESCO World Heritage sites you can visit one closer to home as we have 16 in England, 5 in Scotland, 3 in wales and 1 in Northern Ireland, we also have 3 located within overseas territories.

Must see sites in Nambia

Natural sites in Nambia are varied, but for the wow factor we strongly suggest that you visit the Sossusvlei which is located in the Namib Desert, the Sossusvlei is a huge clay pan, protected by a crescent of large sand dunes. The desert has the Naukluft Park which is one of the largest conservation areas in Africa and the fourth in the world and despite its arid conditions a diverse range of wildlife and flora have adapted to live here. The sand dunes around this are very high, the highest being over 300 meters high and on the rare occasion that it rains the Sossusvlei fills with water and transforms into a glorious turquoise lake.
With similarities to the Grand Canyon, you will not be disappointed by visiting Fish River Canyon! The Fish River that runs through alternates from a trickle to a ranging torrent after good rains! Just like the Grand Canyon Fish River canyon was formed by the water of the river carving out the rock of the Namimian Desert. In some places it can get as deep as 550 meters, as wide as 27 kms and is said to be over 160 kms long from North to South.

China’s most beautiful lakes:

There are many gorgeous locations throughout China, but we want to bring to your attention 3 of the most beautiful lakes.
1. West Lake – Location: on the west of the city center of Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province. Unlike many of the lakes it is very easily accessible as it sits within a modern city. West Lake is 3.3km long from north to south and 2.8km wide from east to west with a circumference of 15km.
2. Qiandao Lake – Location: 129km from Chunan County in the southeast of Hangzhou and 140km from the northeast of Huangshan Mountain. Qiandao Lake means “One thousand Lakes” which characterize the 1078 isles in the lake itself!
3. Kanas Lake – Location: 855km northeast of Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang. Kanasi Hu means “beautiful, rich and mysterious” in Mongolian. The lake is deep within the forests and mountains of Altay. The lake is 1,374m above sea level and covers an area of 45sqkm

Lapland for Christmas?

Where to stay:
Luosto is a very secluded location to stay and for this, it has become one of the most renowned locations to visit to look at the Northern Lights.
For those more active and looking to get involved in winter sports/activities such as skiing and snowmobiling then we suggest Levi, Pallas and Yllas.
Or if you are looking for a Christmas experience with a great selection of shops and restaurants then Laplands cosmopolitans Capital of Rovaniemi has a great selection of international-name shops and restaurants.
What to do:
Whilst on your trip you can take a reindeer safari, which consists of a sleigh ride pulled by reindeer, or you could choose a husky sleigh ride instead. There are snowmobile adventure trips and even opportunities to search for a fantastic spot to view the northern lights.
You can take a trip to Santa’s grotto and meet him in his grotto, you can even choose to stay in Hotel Santa Claus in centre of Rovaniemi.

Northern France

For a trip abroad for little expense the North of France is a logical place to consider, especially for those who have an interest in history and the world wars. With locations to visit such as Dunkerque which offers a bustling atmosphere and has several war memorials worth visiting, somewhere more tranquil we’d suggest a lovely village called Cassel which is a rare example of a Flemish hill settlement. St-Omer has an array of excellent war museums whilst La Coupole and Montreuil-sur-Mer are not too far and are loaded with charm and interest.
Le Mont Saint Michel is a must visit whilst in the north. Situated in Normandy this medieval town welcomes over three million people every year. Tourists and pilgrims visit this town throughout the year and the previous ancient Burgher’s Guardroom is now the Tourist office. After passing through both the Boulevard and Kings Gates you’ll come to the main street (Grande Rue) which houses the museums, shops and houses dating back to 15th and 16th centuries. You’ll eventually reach the Grande Degre or Grande Staircase leading to the Abbey church.

Luxury Hotel Accommodation in Mumbai

Many of the complaints people have about a holiday in the republic of India stems from the poor standard of accommodation.Many of the places which people will pay for accommodation won’t have quality services or even good rooms, which is okay for most people, as that’s not why they go to India in the first place. They go to see the history, to experience the vibrancy of the culture, and see how multi-cultural it is, and eat some authentic Indian meals.

This may be changing however, as more and more luxury hotels crop up every year throughout many of the population hubs in the country. Mumbai has a great selection of high quality 5-star hotels, done in the western style, with excellent services, great food, and all of the modern day amenities that western people’s come to expect when paying large sums of money for accommodation (with toilet paper!).

Trekking the River Ganges

There are lots of ways for tourists to tour throughout India and see all of the excellent attractions they have, but one of the better ways is by travelling from the mouth of the River Ganges all the way to its birth. This trip is something which has been done by Hindu pilgrims for thousands of years, as it goes past many of the temples dedicated to the numerous gods of the religion. It ends up at the birth of the Ganges on the Tibetan plateau, which is itself a holy place to the Hindu traditions.

Much of the Indian civilisation has grown around and thrived with the River Ganges, so not only will you be able to see many of the architectural accomplishments of culture, but you’ll also be able to visit many of the biggest population centres of the country as well. Touring the river is sure to be a great experience, and is an amazing way of experiencing much of what India has to offer.

See the Taj Mahal!

Throughout the world, there are some truly magnificent historical buildings which everybody should endeavour to see at least once in their lives; the Taj Mahal is one such building in the Republic of India.

The Taj Mahal is actually a Mausoleum constructed by an Emperor, Shah Jahah, who did the architectural feat of building one of the most impressive buildings ever all in the name of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, also taking her name and using it in the name of the building.

Shah Jahah was once the emperor of a now dead empire which existed in the Indian subcontinent. It was the biggest empire within the continent which boasted Muslim roots, hence why the architecture has some similarities to stuff built throughout the old Persian Empire. It is actually part of the Mughal architectural tradition, which takes its roots from throughout the eastern portion of the Islamic world.

In 1983, the Taj Mahal become a world heritage site, and is located in Agra, in Utar Pradesh. It is well worth the visit, and the surrounding area has lots of great things for tourists to spend their time doing.