6/30/16

Top 10 Beaches in Spain

Source(s): penpaland.com
                  buzzle.com 
If your idea for a perfect holiday includes lying in sand, soaking warm sunrays, and enjoying amazing water activities, then Spain is the place to be. One of the most beautiful European countries, Spain's beaches rank among the best in the world. If you ever decide to head out for a beach getaway in Spain, these are the places definitely worth checking out.
Did You Know?
Since public nudity is not illegal in Spain, tourists can find many nudist or naturist beaches in the country. The most popular ones are the Barinatxe Nudist Beach, the Faro de Trafalgar, and the El Torn Beach.
Safe, hygienic, easily accessible, and environment-friendly. These four qualities say everything there is to say about Spain's beaches. With an impressive coastline of over 8,000 km and over 3,000 beautiful beaches, Spain is the perfect holiday for anyone who comes looking for sun and sand. The country is visited by millions of tourists every year, and most of them travel to the land of Spaniards just for the beaches.

In addition to their exotic beauty, the Spain Tourism Board has ensured that there are water and adventurous activities on these beaches catering to the needs of people from all walks of life. Whichever region you decide to explore in Spain, you'll find a beautiful beach waiting just for you. Now let's discover the 10 best beaches in Spain.
Cala de Algaiarens, Minorca
Cala de Algaiarens
One of the most secluded beaches in the world, Cala de Algaiarens is situated on the Spanish island of Minorca. This beautiful beach is surrounded by rugged slopes, and hence, isn't crowded even during the holidays. A picture-perfect location, with soft golden sand and crystal clear water, this beach is perfect for snorkeling and exploring underwater caves. The beach is private property, and hence, tourists have to pay a small admission fee. The waves here can sometimes be harsh; hence, the beach isn't safe for kids.
Cala Tarida, Ibiza
Cala Tarida
In addition to the big music festivals and the riotous nightlife, Ibiza is also home to some of the most beautiful unspoiled beaches; one of them being Cala Tarida. A perfect spot for couples who want to escape the maddening crowd. Just relax on the amazing white sand or opt for snorkeling, kayaking, and various other water sports in crystal clear water. The entire area of Cala Tarida is located in a sheltered bay on the West Coast. It is the most beautiful beach of the island, and an ideal location to spend a sunny day if you are in Ibiza.
Beaches of Sitges, Catalonia
Beaches of Sitges
Sitges, a city located along the Barcelona coast, boasts of 17 lovely beaches and coves, all offering a range of fun activities for men, women, and children. In addition to the beautiful beaches, the city also features some amazing restaurants, bars, and clubs. Sitges is also known around the world for its gay and nudist beaches. During the holidays, the beaches crowd up and water activities tend to get a little expensive. However, if you don't mind having fun with the crowd, Sitges is the place to be.
Beach of La Concha, San Sebastián
Beach of La Concha
It has been called the best city beach not just in Spain, but also in Europe. The La Concha beach is so popular during the holidays, that tourists literally have to struggle to get some space. Even though the beach is a 10-minute walk from the city, the white sand and the amazing clear waters do a great job of reinventing it as a new world. The La Concha beach is also surrounded by two other beaches, namely Playa de La Zurriola and Playa de Ondarreta. Both the adjoining beaches have amazing clear water, which are perfect for water sports.
Gulpiyuri Natural Beach, Asturias
Gulpiyuri Natural Beach
Located in the province of Asturias, the Gulpiyuri beach is one of the best gifts that nature has bestowed on Spain. It is also the most popular location on the Asturian coast. Declared a national monument by the government of Spain, the Gulpiyuri beach is separated from the sea by various limestone cliffs. However, the continuous digging of waves into these cliffs for hundreds of years have created natural water tunnels behind them. These tunnels often get filled because of the tides, each creating a natural pool with its own beach.
Cala Sant Vicent, Ibiza
Cala Sant Vicent
Another great beach in Ibiza that offers a curve of beautiful golden sand with crystal clear water, backed by a luxurious promenade. The best thing about Cala Sant Vicent is the huge amount of space it offers, and hence, it is extremely popular with the locals and international tourists alike. Visitors can also relax under the shade of palm trees that line the promenade. An excellent place for families to spend an ideal afternoon.
Islas Cíes, Galicia
Islas Cíes
A perfect destination for those who love secluded beaches, Islas Cíes is a remote, unexplored, and unspoiled island of incomparable beauty. Located along the gorgeous Atlantic coast, Islas Cíes also features an uninhabited national park. Due to strict government regulations to protect its ecosystem, there are no restaurants or hotels in this little slice of heaven. However, travelers can find many campsites that offer a panoramic view of the entire island.
Maspalomas Beach, Canary Islands
Maspalomas Beach
The beauty of Maspalomas beach can't be described in words; it needs to be seen to be believed. The view of the majestic blue sea from the fine white sand and wind-sculpted dunes is truly a breathtaking experience. This beautiful beach is divided into four sections: the first one is for families, the second and fourth are nudist sections, and the third section is frequented by the gay community. The feel-good factor and the warm climate makes this beach one of the busiest tourist destinations in the country.
Silencio Beach, Asturias
Silencio Beach
Another unexplored mesmerizing destination, Silencio beach is the ideal choice for tourists who have traveled to Spain to experience peace and quietness. Located on the Asturian coast, to the northwest of Oviedo, this serene beach does not get crowded even during the holidays. The golden-brown sand and stone beach serves as the perfect sitting to enjoy the marvelous view. Snorkeling is a popular activity as the water is usually calm.
Sotavento, Canary Islands
Sotavento
An ideal destination for either a lone traveler or couples, Sotavento offers 17 miles of deserted white sandy beach. It is one of the most beautiful locations on the coast of Fuerteventura, the second-largest Canary Island. It is blessed with strong water and wind currents, making it a paradise for surfers and kite flyers. The beach also hosts the popular World Kite Surf Championship every August.
I hope after reading this article you have already started making plans to visit your favorite Spanish beach. Those who have already been there can share their experiences through the comments section.

6/29/16

Top Ten Tourist Destinations in Singapore

Source(s): penpaland.com
                  buzzle.com
Singapore is one of the most advanced countries of Asia. This country has progressed tremendously in the last century or so, and today, it is known all over the world for its prosperity and wealth. Besides being a hub of international trade and commerce, there are numerous tourist attractions that the country has to offer. Here are the top ten tourist attractions in Singapore. Take your pick.
Singapore is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, at a staggering 6,400 people per square kilometer.
Singapore is a popular tourist destination in the Asia-Pacific region. Its multicultural heritage is reflected in its vibrancy and diversity. With an area of 274.1 square miles, Singapore is slightly bigger than Chicago, but the sheer number of tourist attractions it has to offer, means that one doesn't run out of options. Although there have been settlements in Singapore as early as the second century AD, the credit for founding modern Singapore goes to Sir Stamford Raffles, a British statesman.

Singapore is a Buddhist-majority state, with Muslims, Christians, and Hindus being the other major dominant religions. This versatility makes it a culturally diverse country, that appeals to most tourists around the world. Singapore also earns brownie points because of the fact that English, which is one of its four official languages, is widely spoken and understood around the country. Singapore has a thriving economy, and many international brands have their presence there, earning it the sobriquet 'Shopping Capital of Asia'. All in all, Singapore has numerous tourist attractions, which can appeal to everyone from a laid-back backpacker to somebody on a business trip with some time on his hands. Here's our take on Singapore's top ten tourist destinations.
Marina Bay
Fireworks over Singapore
Marina Bay is one of the most favorite destinations for tourists and local visitors alike. The scale and grandeur of the place makes it one of the best places to visit, for people not only in Singapore, but from all over the world. The thing that appeals to most tourists is the fact that Marina Bay offers several attractions within its vicinity.
Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay Sands
You can check in at the famous Marina Bay Sands resort, from whose rooftop, one can have a panoramic view of the city of Singapore. Marina Bay Sands is an avant grade resort, boasting of a 2,561-room hotel, and several malls and theaters. But what sets the resort apart from the competition is its rooftop swimming pool, designed as an infinity edge pool, and from where one can have a view of Singapore's amazing skyline. The hotel room prices start at S$360 per night.
Marina Bay is one of the most favorite destinations for tourists and local visitors alike. The scale and grandeur of the place makes it one of the best places to visit, for people not only in Singapore, but from all over the world. The thing that appeals to most tourists is the fact that Marina Bay offers several attractions within its vicinity.
Merlion Park at Marina Bay
Merlion in Singapore
Merlion Park is in the center of Marina Bay, and is one of the major tourist attractions in Singapore. The park has two Merlion statues. Merlion, known as the unofficial mascot of Singapore, has the head of a lion and the body of a fish. There are two such statues in Merlion Park. The original one is 8.6 meters tall and weighs over 70 tons. The other one is around 2 meters tall. The Merlion, with a jet of water constantly flowing from its mouth, has become one of the widely recognizable symbols of Singapore.
ArtScience Museum
Artscience museum
ArtScience Museum is an important landmark of Singapore because of its spectacular 'lotus-like' design. It has the distinction of being the first art and science museum in the world. The museum has a permanent exhibition, known as the ArtScience Gallery. A visit to the museum is both entertaining and educative, and it being in the vicinity of Marina Bay area, a lot of tourists make it a point to visit this museum.
Esplanade - Theaters on the Bay
Esplanade theater
The Esplanade Theatre has the capacity of hosting around 1,600 people in the concert hall, while the performing arts theater can accommodate 2,000 people. The Esplanade Theatre takes its name from the nearby waterfront location - Esplanade. It hosts some of the best performing arts exhibitions in the world. The other attractions at the theater are the art exhibitions at the Esplanade Jendela, a performing arts library, and a shopping mall.
Singapore Flyer
Flyer in purple light
Singapore flyer is the highest ferris wheel in the world. Standing tall at 165 meters, the flyer offers a 360° view of some of the major landmarks of Singapore. Each ride on the ferris wheel lasts for around 30 minutes, which provides ample opportunity to take in the beautiful landscape of Singapore. Singapore flyer particularly becomes a hub of tourist activity during the Singapore Grand Prix, as it offers a fabulous view of the circuit.
What is also amazing is the fact that, from the highest point of the Singapore flyer, one can see as far as neighboring countries of Indonesia and Malaysia. The flyer is built on a three-storied building, which houses several restaurants, pubs, and shopping malls, from where one can shop for some really impressive souvenirs. When you are at the flyer, don't forget to gorge on some authentic Singaporean food at Seafood Paradise @ Flyer. The restaurant is particularly famous for its chili crabs and drunken prawns! The ticket prices for the Singapore flyer are S$33 for adults, and for children up to 12 years of age, it is S$21. The flyer is open daily from 8:30 AM to 10:30 PM.
Chinatown
Red lanterns
Chinatown is a well-known neighborhood in Singapore. The town is known for its high concentration of ethnic Chinese, because of which, it gets its historical and cultural heritage. The region is popular among tourists for the numerous attractions it provides in close vicinity. Chinatown is one of the biggest shopping regions in Singapore, with prewar shops and modern malls competing with each other to attract the behemoth number of tourists that arrive there each year.
There are several tourist attractions in Chinatown, notable among them being the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum, and Sri Mariamman Temple.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum
Buddha tooth relic temple
Address: 288 South Bridge Road, Cingapura 058840
Admission: Free
Timings: 7 am to 7 pm (daily)
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum is one of the most well-known religious sites in Singapore, and enshrines the holy tooth of Lord Buddha. It is a four-storey building, and has a place of worship, a Buddhist library, and a museum. The rooftop of the temple has been built as a garden, where one can sit peacefully and meditate. Tourists can buy amulets and robes from the temple's museum.
Sri Mariamman Temple
Sri mariamman temple
Address: 244 S Bridge Rd, Singapore 058793
Admission: Free
Timings: 7:00 am - 12:00 Noon, 6:00-9:00 pm (daily)
Sri Mariamman Temple is the oldest temple in Singapore. Built in 1827, the temple is an important religious place for Tamil Hindus, who are one of the prominent ethnic groups in Singapore. One of the major highlights of the temple is its ornamental facade, or gopuram, which depicts various Hindu deities.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore botanical garden
Address: 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569
Admission: Free for Singapore Botanic Garden & S$5 for National Orchid Garden
Timings: 5 am to 12 midnight (daily)
If you are visiting Singapore, the Botanic Gardens should be on top of your itinerary. The garden opens pretty early in the morning (5 am), and is open until midnight. Entry is free, except for the National Orchid Garden, which is one of the major attractions there. It has a collection of more than 2,000 hybrids, and 1,000 species of orchids. The other tourist attractions at the botanic garden are a small rainforest, an evolutionary garden, a ginger garden, which also houses a restaurant, and a library of botany and horticulture. Tourists can also engage in Tai Chi to relax their mind and body.
Sentosa Island
Sentosa island
Sentosa Island is one of the most popular tourist attractions for foreigners and locals alike. The island plays host to around 5 million people every year. Some of the attractions of the island are Tiger Sky Tower, Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom, Resorts World Sentosa, and Fort Siloso. The island is known for its three artificial beaches - Palawan, Siloso, and Tanjong. Resorts World Sentosa has recently been constructed, and has a Universal Studios theme park.
The island is also a hit among visitors for the famous unofficial mascot of Singapore, the Merlion Statue. Among the other attractions are the museums - Underwater World and Dolphin Lagoon. Sentosa also has one of the best golf courses in Asia - Serapong - which plays host to the Barclays Singapore Open.
National Museum of Singapore
Lovely white building
Address: 93 Stamford Rd, Singapore 178897
Admission: Citizens and permanent visitors are allowed free entry to all the galleries, while foreign tourists are charged S$10.
Timings: Daily - 10 am to 6 pm (History Galleries) and 10 am to 8 pm (Living Galleries)
The National Museum of Singapore is a must-see travel destination for international tourists, as it stands for the spirit of modern Singapore. Since its establishment in 1887, the museum has been an important source of repository about Singapore's rich cultural heritage. The museum underwent massive renovation, and was opened to public in 2006. Blending Singapore's extraordinary history with modern technology, the museum offers a splendid experience for visitors to know Singapore's 11 National Treasures, including the Singapore Stone. Some of the best attractions at the museum are the Singapore History Gallery, Singapore Living Gallery, Goh Seng Choo Gallery, and the Stamford Gallery. The museum also hosts several restaurants and cafés, which offer various cuisines to tourists.
Little India
Chinese decoration
Away from the shining glass and metal buildings of modern Singapore, lies a unique market, where tourists can still see fortune-tellers, and flower and newspaper vendors on the streets. Tourists who want to sense Indian flavor must spare some time to make a trip to Little India. The town has a unique distinct identity of its own, and the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple gives a spiritual touch to the whole atmosphere.
Little India is also known as an affordable shopping center to most locals, and one can buy anything from electronic gadgets to exquisite Indian spices.
Masjid Sultan
Sultan Mosque
Address: 3 Muscat St., Kampong Glam, Singapore, 198833
Admission: Free
Timings: 9 am to 4 pm
Masjid Sultan is among the most prominent mosques in Singapore. The mosque stands out for its impressive architectural design. The mosque was constructed by Sultan Hussain Shah in 1824, but due to the burgeoning number of devotees, it was reconstructed in 1924 by eminent architect Denis Santry of Swan and Maclaren Architects. The interior of the mosque is simply scintillating, with verses from Quran inscribed on the walls. The mosque convenes numerous events throughout the year, but the festivities reach a feverish high in the holy month of Ramadan.
Pulau Ubin
Pulau Ubin island
After Senota Island, Pulau Ubin is the most picturesque island in Singapore. It is located to the northeast of the country, and is known for its flora and fauna. Tourists who prefer spending their time away from the hustle and bustle of the city will find Pulau Ubin an attractive destination. Many Singaporeans call Pulau Ubib the 'the last kampung', which translates to 'the last village'. To really take in the ambiance of Pulau Ubin, one needs to spend some time walking through the village amidst the huge coconut trees. Chek Jawa, an intertidal region in Pulau Ubin, is a treat for nature lovers, as it is home to some of the rarest plants and animals. The place is in complete contrast to the cosmopolitan nature of Singapore, and this is what makes it truly special.
Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery
lian Shan Shuang Lin
Address: 184 Jalan Toa Payoh, Singapore 319944
Admission: Free
Timings: 7 am to 5 pm
Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery, also known as Siong Lim Temple, is a National Monument of Singapore. It is the oldest Buddhist monastery in Singapore, and an architectural marvel, as its design is based on the ancient Chinese building style. The monastery is known for its peaceful and harmonious ambiance. It has been around 100 years now, and has witnessed Singapore's tremendous growth, from being a fishing country under the British, to becoming one of the world's wealthiest nations.
Jurong Bird Park
Flamingos bird
Address: 2 Jurong Hill, Singapore 628925
Admission: S$20 (Adults), $13 (3 - 12 yrs.), S$10 (Above 60)
Timings: 8:30 am to 6 pm
Jurong Bird Park has the reputation of having the world's largest collection of birds. There are more than 8,000 birds from over 600 species in the park. The park is notable for the fact that there are various endangered species of birds there. A visit to Jurong Bird Park can be specially entertaining for kids, because of attractions such as the Snakes and Ladders playground and the Ludo garden. Adults will find the opportunity to indulge in numerous recreational activities, such as cycling and inline skating.
(Note: Admission fee and timings are subject to change as per the discretion of the concerned authorities.)

6/28/16

Most Famous City Squares Around the World

Source(s): penpaland.com
                  buzzle.com
Gardens, fountains, recreational parks, shopping centers, town halls, council buildings - a city square has it all. It forms any city's dynamic core of activities

Times Square was originally called Longacre Square. It was renamed to Times Square after the New York Times moved its headquarters there in the year 1904.
City squares have generally been used to define the heart of a city. In previous centuries, these squares were also used as sports arenas or public gatherings.

A city square can be a market, shopping plaza, green landscape, or just an open space - spacious, well-designed, and suitable for social meetings. City squares are called piazzas or plazas in some parts of Europe and Latin America. While such squares are usually included by urban designers while designing modern, urban communities, some city squares were designed centuries ago with the purpose of enabling social gatherings.

City squares (especially the historic ones) have always been a large draw with tourists and locals alike. Buzzle draws up a list if the most famous city squares around the world.
TIMES SQUARE (New York, U.S.A.)
Times square
NOTABLE LANDMARKS
New York Times Tower, Bank of America Tower, Paramount Theater, New York Marriott Marquis, The Hard Rock Cafe, The Orion, Reuters Building, Disney Store, Planet Hollywood Restaurant, AXA Center.

POPULAR EVENTS
New Year's Eve Ball Drop (31st December), Dancing at the Crossroads (June).
Note: Good place to spot celebrities. Just don't act crazy on spotting one or you will be slapped with a restraining order.
TRAFALGAR SQUARE (London, United Kingdom)
Trafalgar square
NOTABLE LANDMARKS
National Gallery, Nelson's Column, Bronze Statue of George IV, Sir Charles Napier Statue, Sir Henry Havelock Statue, Lord Jellicoe and Lord Beatty Fountains, Nelson's Ship in a Bottle, Hahn/Cock, Powerless Structures.

POPULAR EVENTS
Christmas Tree Lighting and Carol Singing Ceremony (Christmas Eve), Diwali Celebrations (October/November).
Note: When in Britain, do as the Brits do. The Subway is called 'The Tube' in London. Ask around for a subway, and they'll handover a foot-long Ham 'n' Cheese to you.
RED SQUARE (Moscow, Russia)
Red square
NOTABLE LANDMARKS
Lenin's Mausoleum, Saint Basil's Cathedral, Kazan Cathedral, State Historical Museum, Iberian Chapel.

POPULAR EVENTS
Annual Victory Day Parade (9th May).
Note: Next to the Kazan Cathedral lies the GUM Departmental Store. It is spelled 'GUM' but pronounced 'GOOM' - sticky situation!
PIAZZA DEL CAMPO (Siena, Italy)
Piazza del campo
NOTABLE LANDMARKS
Palazzo Pubblico, Torre del Mangia, Fonte Gaia, Palazzi Signorili, Chapel of the Virgin.

POPULAR EVENTS
Palio di Provenzano - Horse Race (2nd July) and Palio dell'Assunta (16th August).
Note: Be forewarned, the horse races last no more than a minute or so. So don't go around asking for a ticket refund.
GRAND PLACE (Brussels, Belgium)
Grand square
NOTABLE LANDMARKS
Maison du Roi, Brussels Town Hall, Guildhalls.

POPULAR EVENTS
Flower Carpet Show (every two years; usually in August)
Note: No Brussels Sprouts jokes please. Too clichéd.
RYNEK GLOWNY (Kraków, Poland)
Rynek glowny
NOTABLE LANDMARKS
Cloth Hall, Town Hall Tower, Church of St. Wojciech, Adam Mickiewicz Monument, St. Mary's Basilica, National Museum Gallery.

POPULAR EVENTS
Kraków Szopka Festival (Christmas Eve), Juwenalia Student Festival (May), Christmas Orchestra (First Sunday of New Year), New Year's Party (New Year's Eve).
Note: The square is spread over nearly 10 acres. If you are a shopaholic, then be ready to give your legs some harsh treatment.
PLAZA MAYOR (Madrid, Spain)
Plaza mayor
NOTABLE LANDMARKS
Casa de la Panadería, King Philip III Bronze Statue.

POPULAR EVENTS
San Isidro Celebrations.
Note: Behave yourself. The square is surrounded by residential buildings on three sides, and you may end up seeing your antics on YouTube.
OLD TOWN SQUARE (Prague, Czech Republic)
Old town square prague
NOTABLE LANDMARKS
World's third oldest astronomical clock, Jan Hus Memorial, Battle of White Mountain Martyrs Memorial, Týn Church, St. Nicholas Church.

POPULAR EVENTS
Christmas Market (Christmas Eve), Easter Market (Easter Sunday).
Note: Just look at the astronomical clock and be in awe of it. Trying to figure out what's going on with the dial will be in vain - pretty complicated science that is!
PLAZA DE ARMAS (Mexico City, Mexico)
Plaza de armas
NOTABLE LANDMARKS
Templo Mayor, National Palace, Nacional Monte de Piedad.

POPULAR EVENTS
Almost all Latin American festivals find a celebration in this square.
Note: Plaza de Armas is a common term, and there are nearly a dozen Plaza de Armas squares across South and Central America. This one is fondly called the 'Zócalo'.
PIAZZA NAVONA (Rome, Italy)
Piazza navona
NOTABLE LANDMARKS
Palazzo Pamphili, Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Obelisk of Domitian, Church of Sant'Agnese, Pasquino Statue, Stabilimenti Spagnoli, Palazzo de Cupis, Palazzo Torres Massimo Lancellotti, Church of Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore.

POPULAR EVENTS
Christmas Market (Christmas Eve).
Note: Do not confuse between pizza and piazza. Rookie mistake in Rome.
In many cases, city squares can be of enormous emotional attachment. Important public announcements have happened there. In some cases, these city squares have even witnessed protests and revolutions. They serve many purposes, but more importantly, they add to the beauty of the city.

6/26/16

A Guide to Plan a Vacation to Indonesia

Source(s): penpaland.com
                  buzzle.com  

A vacation in Indonesia can be extremely fulfilling; however, you will have to make proper planning to ensure the success of your trip. Here's a guide to plan your vacation to Indonesia.
 
As a tourist, it is important that you respect the local beliefs of the Indonesians. The country has a high population of Muslims, owing to which it is not advisable to dress scantily in public places or wear shorts in the mosque.
If you are planning an exotic Asian holiday this vacation, the sultry archipelago of Indonesia may be one of the best choices for you. The fourth most populous country in the world features a unique kaleidoscope of people, cultures, traditions, flora and fauna, climates, topography, cuisines, and so on. It's like several different nations blending together to form a single, organic whole, and in turn, evolving to form a rich and fascinating cultural landscape. It is perhaps this radical difference(s), yet oneness of the country and its people, which has made it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
Planning a Trip to Indonesia
Despite its uniqueness, it needs to be noted that Indonesia is a country of odds. If you are planning to visit the country, there are numerous things that you will have to consider before you actually embark on your journey. This Buzzle article is a small guide that will help plan your vacation properly and with more ease. All you need to do is to consider the following pointers.
Best Time to Go
✦ Indonesia seems welcoming all round the year as there are no seasonal extremes; however, it needs to be decided whether you want to go during the wet or dry season; both have their own pros and cons.
✦ The peak season to visit Indonesia is the dry season that falls between the months of May and September. While one can escape heavy rains and muddy roads during this time, it is also slightly hotter, with certain regions experiencing droughts.
Gloomy tropical sunset
✦ The wet season that falls between the months of October and April is the off-season, but it is ideal if you wish to enjoy the tropical rains. However, it may also rain continuously for days together, thus, causing extreme conditions such as floods. Also, muddy roads, especially in the rural areas, may be a deterrent.
Tropical rain in indonesia
✦ If you want to experience and enjoy the festive spirit in the country, visit the place during the holidays―end of Ramadan and Christmas. This is the time when all the hotels and resorts are crowded with tourists, and prices are also high. Make it a point to book well in advance to secure a desired accommodation and a good deal in that.
✦ However, if you want to save money, visit during the off-season―the hotels and resorts decrease their prices, and the airfares are also cheaper.
Plan an Itinerary
✦ This is very important while you plan your Indonesian vacation, owing to the fact that the country is huge. It is practically impossible to see it entirely in a single trip, unless you have a lot of time at your disposal.

✦ Consider the total duration of your vacation, and accordingly, list out places you would like to visit. Also, keep in mind the amount of time you wish to allot to each place.
✦ Refer to travel magazines, read travel books, browse the net, purchase maps, and speak to your travel agent, and/or the people you know. All this will help learn more about the country and narrow down the places you may want to see.
Couple looking at map
✦ Indonesia has a plethora of experiences to offer to tourists. So, determine precisely where your interest lies―nature, wildlife, history, and so on. You can then plan your itinerary in accordance to your interest(s).
Note: If you are going to Indonesia for the first time, it is advisable that you hire a tour operator who will take care of all the things for you, right from booking tickets and accommodations, to organizing your trip there. You can then give your rough itinerary to the tour operator, and he/she will refine it to make it more workable for you. However, if you are going independently, see to it that you carry out an in-depth research.
The Overall Budget
✦ Indonesia is cheap and can be considered as one of the budget vacation destinations in Asia. However, the overall budget of your trip will depend on your itinerary.

✦ Accommodation usually grabs the lion's share of your overall expenses, but you can always go for the budget and mid-range ones, and save some money.

✦ Transport is still cheap in terms of US dollars, although a hike in the fuel prices has led to a considerable increase in the cost of public transport.
Us dollars
✦ If you visit places, which are tourist hubs, such as Bali, Sumatra, Borobudur, and Sulawesi, you will be able to find a lot of competitive offers, especially on accommodation and food. So, book only after you have compared a number of offers.
Bali water temple
Bali
Lake toba samosir in sumatra
Sumatra
Borobudur in indonesia
Borobudur
Togean island in sulawesi
Sulawesi
✦ If you are visiting off-beat locations such as Papua or Maluku, which are still developing into tourist destinations, you may have to pay higher prices of accommodation, food, and transport.
Coastal village in papua
Papua
Harbour in ternate island
Maluku
✦ Domestic flights are the most expensive modes of transport in Indonesia. So, if you are traveling on a budget, do not opt for them unless absolutely necessary.
Immunizations
✦ For every traveler who visits Southeast Asia, the WHO has recommended a set of certain vaccines. These include:

✔ Measles, mumps, and rubella
✔ Polio
✔ Typhoid
✔ Hepatitis A and B
✔ Adult diphtheria and tetanus
✔ Varicella (if you haven't taken a chickenpox vaccine in the past)
✦ If the duration of your stay is one month or more, you will also need to take vaccinations for tuberculosis, rabies, meningitis, and Japanese B encephalitis.

✦ Moreover, yellow fever vaccination is required if you have recently visited a country in the yellow fever zone. If you are traveling to Indonesia from South America or Africa, you may also have to present a documented proof of your yellow fever vaccination.
✦ Consult your local physician or one of the specialized travel medicine clinics, which will be able to advise you regarding the immunization shots you will need to take and the time to take them.

✦ It is a good idea to ask your physician to give you an International Certificate of Vaccination, which will list all the vaccinations you have taken.
Travel Insurance
✦ Make sure that you do not travel without buying an appropriate travel insurance. It should ideally cover all contingencies, which you might face during your trip.

✦ Apart from covering for thefts and/or lost baggage, it should also cover for emergencies relating to your health.
✦ Consider the worst possible scenario, and buy a travel insurance that best suits your needs. You can also buy a separate health insurance, if necessary. Also, make sure you carry your medicines along, if you have been prescribed any special ones.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your tickets, pack your bags, and head to one of the most enchanting and intriguing places on earth.

6/25/16

A Complete List of English-speaking Countries

Source(s): penpaland.com
                  buzzle.com 
English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. In this article, Buzzle compiles a list of all the nations where English is spoken.
 
 Did You Know?
English is not an official language in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia―the countries where it is the native language.

The history of English goes back in the 5th century A.D., when Germanic tribes had invaded Britain. One of the tribes, Angles, came from "Englaland", from which the words "English" and "England" were derived. Since then, English has gone through various changes as Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English, and Modern English.

Over the last 2,000 years, the language has undergone various grammatical as well as phonological changes. Today, it is the third most-spoken native language after Spanish and Mandarin. It is the primary language of several sovereign states, and is widely learned as a second language in several countries.

English-speaking Countries and Territories

English Speaking Countries

RANK COUNTRY/TERRITORY TOTAL POPULATION TOTAL ENGLISH SPEAKERS ENGLISH SPEAKERS (%)
#1 Isle of Man 84,500 84,500 100
#2 American Samoa 55,500 55,500 100
#3 Gibraltar 30,000 30,000 100
#4 British Indian Ocean Territory 3,000 3,000 100
#5 Barbados 285,000 280,700 98.5
#6 United Kingdom 64,105,700 62,823,500 98
#7 Ireland 4,593,100 4,501,200 98
#8 New Zealand 4,546,200 4,455,300 98
#9 Jamaica 2,718,000 2,650,100 97.5
#10 Australia 23,591,500 22,883,800 97
#11 Bermuda 64,200 62,300 97
#12 U.S. Virgin Islands 106,400 102,100 96
#13 Falkland Islands 3,000 2,900 95.5
#14 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 109,000 103,600 95
#15 United States 318,554,000 299,440,800 94
#16 Dominica 71,300 67,000 94
#17 Niue 1,600 1,500 94
#18 Marshall Islands 60,000 56,100 93.5
#19 Palau 21,000 19,400 92.5
#20 Anguilla 13,500 12,400 92
#21 Pitcairn Islands 56 50 92
#22 Guam 159,400 145,100 91
#23 Grenada 103,300 94,000 91
#24 Guyana 784,900 710,300 90.5
#25 Netherlands 16,863,400 15,177,100 90
#26 Malta 416,000 370,200 89
#27 Trinidad and Tobago 1,328,000 1,162,000 87.5
#28 Bahamas 351,500 305,800 87
#29 Suriname 534,200 464,800 87
#30 British Virgin Islands 29,500 25,700 87
#31 Sweden 9,684,800 8,328,900 86
#32 Denmark 5,634,400 4,845,600 86
#33 Canada 35,427,500 30,290,500 85.5
#34 Israel 8,206,400 6,975,400 85
#35 Vanuatu 264,600 220,900 83.5
#36 Sierra Leone 6,190,300 5,168,900 83.5
#37 Northern Mariana Islands 53,900 44,700 83
#38 Liberia 4,397,000 3,627,500 82.5
#39 St. Helena 4,000 3,300 82
#40 Belize 349,700 285,000 81.5
#41 Singapore 5,399,200 4,319,400 80
#42 Antigua and Barbuda 86,300 69,000 80
#43 Norfolk Island 2,300 1,800 79.5
#44 St. Kitts and Nevis 55,000 42,900 78
#45 Cayman Islands 55,500 42,500 76.5
#46 Austria 8,527,200 6,224,900 73
#47 Cyprus 865,800 632,000 73
#48 Finland 5,460,500 3,822,300 70
#49 Montserrat 5,000 500 9.5
#50 Germany 80,716,000 51,658,200 64
#51 Switzerland 8,160,900 4,978,100 61
#52 Nauru 10,000 6,000 60
#53 Belgium 11,202,100 6,609,200 59
#54 Slovenia 2,063,600 1,217,500 59
#55 Federated States of Micronesia 101,400 58,300 57.5
#56 Philippines 100,083,700 56,547,300 56.5
#57 Luxembourg 549,700 307,800 56
#58 Greece 11,123,000 5,672,700 51
#59 Estonia 1,315,800 657,900 50
#60 Netherlands Antilles 227,100 113,600 50
#61 Samoa 187,800 93,900 50
#62 Papua New Guinea 7,398,500 3,699,300 50
#63 Pakistan 188,020,000 92,129,800 49
#64 Croatia 4,290,600 2,102,400 49
#65 Puerto Rico 3,615,000 1,753,300 48.5
#66 Nepal 26,494,500 12,319,900 46.5
#67 Hong Kong 7,219,700 3,321,100 46
#68 Latvia 1,996,500 918,400 46
#69 Jordan 6,618,000 2,978,100 45
#70 Bosnia and Herzegovina 3,791,600 1,706,220 45
#71 St. Lucia 180,000 77,400 43
#72 Aruba 101,500 43,100 42.5
#73 Iran 77,652,000 32,613,800 42
#74 Zimbabwe 13,061,200 5,420,400 41.5
#75 Cameroon 20,386,800 8,460,500 41.5
#76 Lebanon 4,966,000 1,986,400 40
#77 Brunei 393,200 153,300 39
#78 France 65,959,000 25,724,000 39
#79 Botswana 2,024,900 775,500 38
#80 Lithuania 2,939,400 1,117,000 38
#81 Seychelles 91,000 34,600 38
#82 Egypt 86,967,000 30,438,400 35
#83 Iraq 36,004,500 12,601,600 35
#84 Italy 60,762,300 20,659,200 34
#85 Poland 38,496,000 12,703,700 33
#86 Solomon Islands 581,300 183,100 31.5
#87 South Africa 54,002,000 16,740,600 31
#88 Romania 19,942,600 6,182,200 31
#89 Tonga 103,000 30,900 30
#90 Lesotho 2,098,000 587,400 28
#91 Thailand 64,456,700 17,403,300 27
#92 Portugal 10,477,800 2,829,000 27
#93 Czech Republic 10,517,400 2,839,700 27
#94 Slovakia 5,415,900 1,408,100 26
#95 Bulgaria 7,245,700 1,811,400 25
#96 Kiribati 106,500 25,600 24
#97 Spain 46,507,800 10,231,700 22
#98 Andorra 76,100 16,700 22
#99 Ghana 27,043,100 5,679,000 21
#100 Fiji 858,000 175,900 20.5
#101 Malaysia 30,229,000 6,196,900 20.5
#102 Hungary 9,879,000 1,975,800 20
#103 Cook Islands 15,000 3,000 20
#104 Kenya 45,546,000 8,653,700 19
#105 India 1,247,890,000 230,859,600 18.5
#106 Bangladesh 156,788,000 28,221,800 18
#107 Madagascar 21,263,400 3,827,400 18
#108 Namibia 2,113,100 359,200 17
#109 Turkey 76,667,800 13,033,500 17
#110 Zambia 15,023,300 2,403,700 16
#111 Mauritius 1,259,800 201,600 16
#112 Kazakhstan 17,285,000 2,679,200 15.5
#113 Rwanda 10,537,200 1,580,600 15
#114 Morocco 33,347,400 4,668,600 14
#115 Bhutan 750,500 86,300 11.5
#116 Cambodia 15,184,100 1,518,400 10
#117 Sri Lanka 20,277,600 2,027,800 10
#118 Tanzania 44,928,900 4,492,900 10
#119 Chile 17,773,000 1,688,400 9.5
#120 Yemen 25,235,000 2,271,100 9
#121 Uganda 35,357,000 2,828,600 8
#122 Brazil 202,991,000 16,239,300 8
#123 Algeria 38,700,000 38,700,000 7
#124 Argentina 42,669,500 2,773,500 6.5
#125 Russia 146,068,400 8,033,800 5.5
#126 Mexico 119,713,200 5,387,100 4.5
#127 Swaziland 1,268,000 57,100 4.5
#128 Colombia 47,722,000 1,908,900 4
#129 Malawi 16,829,000 673,200 4
#130 Turks and Caicos Islands 31,500 1,100 3.5
#131 St. Pierre and Miquelon 6,000 180 3
#132 Tokelau 1,400 40 3
#133 Gambia 1,882,500 47,100 2.5
#134 China 1,366,130,000 13,661,300 1
#135 Honduras 8,555,000 42,800 0.5
#136 Ethiopia 87,953,000 439,800 0.5
#137 Dominican Republic 10,378,300 51,900 0.5
#138 Guadeloupe 405,700 200 0.1

So, exactly how many countries speak English? Well, to answer that question, it is an official language in 83 countries, and is spoken in 55 other countries.