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Be at peace in the lap of Oman’s luxury resorts (Travelogue)

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Oman

Muscat, Nov 20: Bored of the humdrum of life? The desire to visit a peaceful holiday destination? The pictorial landscapes, exotic beaches and superlative hospitality of the luxury resorts in Oman can be a perfect “check-in”.

With its tourist season currently on, the country — which sees visitors from across the world and is a little over three hours by air from India — has a lot to offer in terms of experiences through its delightful resorts. Lazy lads seeking a comfortable experience will also be enthused about trying out the adventures on offer.

One such resort is Dunes by Al Nahda, situated at Wadi Al Abiyad Sands in Barka. Surrounded by undulating dunes and mountains all around, this desert resort gives a nice soothing experience and has 50 tent-style rooms.Dunes by Al NahdaWith an open-air dining area and activities like bunker golf course, dune bashing, quad biking, sand surfing and camel riding, this place fits the idea of a perfect holiday destination with family or friends.

Interestingly, the resort’s head chef Mathivanan Lakshmanan, who hails from India, said a lot of foreigners residing at the property demand Indian cuisine, especially shahi paneer and pav bhaji.

Since the wedding season is on, if honeymooners are looking for a royal experience, try Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, located 2,000 metres above the sea level on the Green Mountain.

It has a once-in-a-lifetime experience to offer — Diana’s Point, which surprised me. The spot, named after the late Princess Diana, was full of European and American couples celebrating the romantic environs at the resort with light music and a 360-degree view of mountains.

With an average temperature of around 20 degrees — half of what I experienced at other places in Oman — this resort leaves you in awe not only with its outer scenic beauty but also with the hospitality, multinational cuisine and luxurious rooms. And don’t miss out on spending some leisure time on the balcony to soak in the straight-out-of-a-painting scene.

Another interesting destination is the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa. Situated in Muscat near the seashore, this grand property hosts a lot of Indian weddings. There are various activities like beach parties, dolphin watching and boat riding on offer. Sounds of Arabian music adds to the experience of dining here.

Whether it’s about residing on sand dunes, near the sea or on top of a mountain, the resorts in Oman make the stay special. But you do need to really loosen up your purse strings. To be honest, the only things offered for free are the dates and coffee.

Interestingly, all these resorts are located not too far away from one another. One can easily enjoy their hospitality to the fullest in a week’s time.

By Sandeep Sharma
(The writer’s trip was at the invitation of Oman Tourism. Sandeep Sharma can be contacted at [email protected])

IANS

Travel

Indulge yourself into Culinary Paradise of Vietnam

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Food is a very important part of Vietnamese culture and life. Vietnamese food is deeply influenced by historical and cultural conditions of the country and varies in different parts of the country. There are about 54 ethnical groups in the country that stretches 3,260 kms along the seashore with subtropical climate. Vietnamese cuisine is partially influenced by neighboring countries and the French who dominated Vietnam as a colony from late 19th to middle 20th century.

Vietnamese cuisine has a balance of salty, sweet, hot flavours and sour, these flavours are achieved through cane sugar, fish sauce, chili peppers or tamarind. The locals use plenty of local herbs and their food is not overly spicy. Chili or Chili sauce is usually served separately.

Rice Culture in Vietnam
Vietnam has two large deltas: the Red River Delta in the North and the Mekong in the South. Vietnam used to be the 2nd largest rice exporter in the world, however in the year 2011 they have dropped to 5th largest rice exporter in the world. They supply around 8% of world’s rice.

Vietnamese people consider a meal with rice as a ‘main meal’; if a meal is without rice they land up considering as a snack. During lunch or dinner rice is usually placed in the middle of the table before other foods are arranged surrounding the rice. This is the traditional Vietnamese style usually followed even today by locals at home.

Local Drinks in Vietnam
– Rice wine is one of the most popular drinks amongst locals, usually had with a meal. In recent times local and international beers are also getting popular.
– People of Northern Vietnam usually enjoy hot tea or coffee as against people of Southern part, who prefer iced tea.
– French colonists probably introduced Coffee to Vietnam and Coffee is a local habit, Vietnamese coffee is strong and flavourful. Locals also enjoy iced coffee that is usually served with condensed milk.
– Green tea with pistils of lotus or petals of jasmine is popular. Traditional lotus tea is time consuming and can be far more expensive then dry green tea.

Most popular Food preparations of Vietnam

Goi Cuon (Vietnamese Spring Rolls) – Translucent spring rolls packed with greens, coriander and may be combination of different meats. It is amongst the most popular dishes.

Pho (Pho is pronounced as ‘fur’) is Vietnam’s National dish and serves as staple food, a noodle soup that is eaten at any time of the day, primarily at breakfast. The basic bowl of pho consists of a light chicken or beef broth flavoured with ginger and coriander to which one adds broad, flat rice noodles, spring onions and slivers of chicken, pork or beef. One can also enjoy vegetarian Pho in few places.

Cha Ca – Is a very popular seafood preparation in Vietnam, it is devised in Hanoi and more popular in this region. The preparation is white fish sautéed in butter with dill and spring onions then served with rice noodles and a scattering of peanuts. Chili sauce and other sauces are served as accompaniments along with the main dish.

Vegetarian meals – Vegan or Vegetarian meals are getting popular in Vietnam. A Buddhist temple or pagodas can amaze you with chicken, fish or meat form, however they are actually prepared from taro, potato, tofu or lotus seeds and vegetables.

According to Jay Kantawala, founder of WIYO Travel, The taste of the Vietnamese cuisine is distinct and unforgettable. If one is visiting Vietnam, they should spare some time just to trying different local cuisines during the trip” Jay recommends.

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Tourism prime focus besides IT in Andaman & Nicobar Islands

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Port Blair and Around
Port Blair and Around, Photo Source www.andamans.gov.in

Port Blair, Nov 22: With tourist footfall going up by 23 per cent in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, the authorities have decided to heavily invest in the sector as well as in information technology (IT) to ensure holistic development of the islands, stakeholders say.

“Tourism and It would be our prime focus. At least four lakh tourists come to the islands every year and stay for four days on an average. The amount of money tourists would spend on amenities like drinking water, food and lodging, would be a major boost for the island’s economy if the number keeps on increasing,” local MP Bishnupada Ray told a select group of visiting mediapersons in this capital of the Union territory.

“Development is needed as it is a secluded place, far from the mainland. However, with proper connectivity and infrastructure, the amount of natural resources and potential the Andamans have, can feed all of India,” he added.

According to the Andaman and Nicobar administration, the number of tourists increased by 23 per cent from around 3.25 lakh in 2015 to over 400,000 in 2016.

“The administration does not levy any tax on the tourists. With the boom in tourism, the revenue that would come from the food and hospitality sectors would certainly benefit the region’s economy,” Chief Secretary Anindo Majumdar told IANS.

“According to our estimate, from the tourism sector alone, the government would earn revenues of nearly Rs 400-500 crore ($61-77 million) every year,” he said.

The archipelago, endowed with picturesque landscapes, sterling beaches and nature’s generous gifts, is eyeing a sustained flow of high-end tourists.

“Promotion of tourism, including high-end tourism, in a sustainable manner is one of the developmental priorities of the administration,” Majumdar said.

The islands — nearly 1,300 kilometres west of the Indian mainland in the Bay of Bengal — are a tourists’ paradise. The Union territory comprises 608 emerald islands with exotic names, out of which only 31 are inhabited. It overall enjoys a whopping 94 percent of forest cover.

One can laze around the enticing beaches at Havelock Island, or Ross and Smith — the twin islands joined by a bewitching sandbar. Sea-bathing and sun-basking at the Corbyn’s Cove beach helps one to unwind and de-stress while the Hilltop Gallows on Viper Island and Port Blair’s Cellular Jail are sure to overwhelm visitors with a sense of patriotism as the clock ticks back to the days of India’s freedom struggle.

The majority of tourists visit Port Blair, Ross and Havelock, which are home to various adventure sports like scuba diving, snorkeling and sea-walking.

Havelock, probably the most coveted tourist destination for its famous Radhanagar and Laxmanpur sea beaches, stands tall among all the islands, that are far less accessible for the majority of tourists.

Ray said massive infrastructural development has taken wings for the expansion of National Highway 4 that would connect north, middle and south Andamans.

Also the civilian and army airports are being upgraded and the number of flights from the mainland as well as within the islands would significantly increase in the near future under the Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) flight scheme.

Conceding that building heavy industries in the islands was difficult due to its distance from the mainland, Ray said a massive Rs 1,102 crore project for laying an undersea optical fibre cable (OFC) between Chennai and Port Blair will open up new horizons for the IT sector.

“We are also focusing on building the Andamans as an IT hub as the fibre optic is coming from the mainland. All the major islands like Port Blair, Havlock, Long Island, Diglipur, Rangat, Nicobar would get the benefit of internet in the coming days.”

IANS

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Luxurious Villas now at U Tropicana Alibaug Resort

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Summer travel trends

Alibaug’s most preferred International weekend getaway, U Tropicana Alibaug Resort proudly introduces the first of its kind luxurious Villa nestled in the neatly manicured landscape in the backdrop of a tropical setting.

With India’s grandest festival of Diwali and a long vacation around the corner, the special occasion calls for an exclusive vacation for that perfect family time.

The grand opening of the luxury villas will offer lavish four bedrooms with a living room opening into a deck with private pool and sky loungers offering you a feeling of your own home with an extravagant twist. Feel like a celebrity with our private ‘Gazebo bar’ that includes a mixologist to woo you with his magic while you order those glamorous cocktails with a private party garden.

 

The outdoor rain showers and an open to sky-bath in all bedrooms and a Spa Therapy session that will do the trick of rejuvenating your souls and making you ready for the stressful city life until your next visit.

To top it all off, the villas are offering a fully serviced modular kitchen with a chef in attendance to cook your favourite dishes on demand. Other facilities include evening Barbeque, private parking and much more. All these experiences are facilitated by your private butler and maid right from the time you check-in, until you bid adieu.

On the occasion of the Villas’ opening,  Sameer Dharkar, Managing Director, Absolute Hotel Services India said, “The U properties are all about our guests and our target audiences who are profiled as the experienced travellers with sophisticated and curious minds and with U Tropicana being one of the most iconic properties of Alibaug now, it was important to take the next step in providing our world class hospitality amidst the quiet beaches, gentle hills and weekend homes of Mumbai’s top corporate honchos with some quality furnishing, state-of-the-art facilities for that perfect experience of luxury and comfort to our guests.

The Villas will serve as the perfect extension to our already well-established resort setting with other world-class amenities in Alibaug which is well accessible for everyone travelling from both Mumbai and Pune cities”.

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