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Three indoor ideas to make your Dubai summer trip memorable

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Hotel Burj Dubai
Hotel Burj Arab Al Sunset Photo IANS

By Saket Suman

Dubai, Oct 7: When it comes to picking a destination, weather is often a deciding factor for most tourists, and for Dubai — a city that literally spells luxury — the harsh summer months last a little longer than in other parts of the world. But does that mean you should delay your dream trip till the onset of winter?

Perhaps no, if you look at the wide range of indoor activities and tourist hotspots that this city offers to its visitors. Everything about this city seems straight out of Hollywood, amazing you in more ways than you can think of. There are surreal experiences too, like a visit to the Dubai Museum, which is situated in Bur Dubai and is housed in the 18th century Al Fahidi fort. It has several galleries that depict life around Dubai over the past 5,000 years — as a trading settlement, through the oil boom and finally the current skyscraper world.

Dubai Museum

Dubai Museum
Photo Source www.dubaiculture.gov.ae

High-rise buildings are common in most metropolitan cities, but Dubai is at an altogether different level. If one were to take a count, the average number of storeys in high-rise buildings here would probably be close to 50, and the city is extremely well-planned. The celebrated highest tower in the world — Burj Khalifa — is one-of-a-kind. It was unlike anything I had ever seen or imagined.

Burj Khalifa Dubai

A spectacular LED illumination of the Indian National flag on BurjKhalifa on the eve of 68th Republic Day in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo Courtesy: Burj Khalifa/Twitter)

Here are three indoor ideas to make your Dubai trip memorable — even in summer:

1. Get an adrenaline rush at Dubai Ice Rink and Ski Dubai.

If you are an adventure seeker and a sports enthusiast then these are the two most important activities to indulge in. The ice rink is housed inside the Dubai Mall and is one of the key leisure attractions in the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination. Assuring unlimited fun for skating enthusiasts and visitors, it offers a full programme of coaching from basic learning to advanced figure skating.

Dubai Ice Rink

Dubai Ice Rink
Photo SOurce
www.expedia.co.uk

Ski Dubai is housed inside the Mall of the Emirates. With 22,500 square metres of indoor ski area, it features an 85-metre-high mountain with five slopes of varying steepness and difficulty — including a 400-metre-long run — and various features like boxes, rails and kickers that are changed on a regular basis. A quad lift and a tow lift carry skiers and snowboarders up the mountain. Adjoining the slopes is a 3,000-square-metre Snow Park play area comprising sled and toboggan runs, an icy body slide, climbing towers, giant snowballs and an ice cave.

2. Close encounters with marine life at Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.

Head to Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo to interact with around 33,000 marine animals. The 10-million litre Dubai Aquarium tank is one of the largest suspended aquariums in the world. It houses over 140 species of animals. Over 300 sharks and stingrays live in this tank, including the largest collection of sand tiger sharks in the world. There are numerous ways for visitors to experience the main aquarium tank, which measures 51 metres in length, 20 metres in width and 11 metres in height.

Photo SOurce: Youtube
Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

The 48-metre walk-through tunnel provides 270 degree views from 11 metres below the surface of the tank. Visitors can also take a ride in a glass-bottomed boat, providing unique views of the tank under their feet. Those who want to experience a dip in the tank can opt for a cage snorkeling experience. And for the adventurous ones, a shark dive is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, bringing you within inches of a large variety of sharks and stingrays.

3. Take a stroll down the City Walk and visit the Green Planet.

Spread across 13,000 square metres, City Walk is reminiscent of European-style streets. Take a stroll down the walk lined with designer stores and restaurants — and make sure you look up to appreciate the striking vista of city skyscrapers, including the Burj Khalifa. Water features, play areas for children, and plenty of al fresco seating add to the appeal. Once you are tired — relax and unwind at one of the many cafes dotting the streets.

City walk Dubai

City walk Dubai
Photo Source:Youtube

Thereafter, head to the Green Planet, barely five minutes away on foot. This is a tropical rainforest in the middle of the desert. Visitors have an opportunity to explore and interact with exotic flora and fauna in this fully immersive vertical tropical forest. It houses more than 3,000 species of plants, animals and free-flying birds. Porcupines, sloths, snakes, spiders and a huge array of exotic birds are just some of the species living within the confines of the Green Planet.

IANS

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Delhi Ring Railway to soon see steam-hauled service to attract tourists

Two options are being considered: A round trip or a hop-on-hop-off ticket.

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Steam locomotives will be chugging along on all hill railways across the country — besides charting out a new course on the Delhi Ring Railway — as the Railways pushes the idea of reviving the glory of its steam heritage.

With the successful operation of a steam-hauled train on the Palanpur-Jogindernagar section of Kangra Valley Railway, all five hill railways now have steam loco services to attract tourists.

Kangra Valley Railway, which is on the tentative list of Unesco’s World Heritage Sites, witnessed the revived steam loco operation recently after more than 20 years. The regular steam loco operation is expected to boost tourism in Himachal Pradesh.

While Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and Nilgiri Mountain Railway have regular steam locos services, the Kalka-Shimla Railway and Matheran Hill Railway are equipped to conduct chartered services on tourist demand.

But the big thrust will be seen in the capital’s long-neglected — and once-popular — Ring Railway, that has fallen by the wayside as the city expanded rapidly.

“It is a big revival of steam locomotives in Indian Railways, and our aim is to have regular steam loco operations in all hill railways — and also in the long-awaited Delhi Ring Railway route,” said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with rail heritage.

With the advent of diesel and electric locomotives, steam engines were phased out in 1995 by the Railways.

Ring Rail Delhi

Though there was a move to run a steam locomotive on the Delhi Ring Railway during the Commonwealth Games in 2010, this did not materialise for various reasons.

However, the state-run transporter is now actively working on reviving the service to showcase its heritage, bring back the romance of steam engines and promote tourism. The task has been assigned to Northern Railway.

The existing 34 km-long ring railway, which runs parallel to the Ring Road, passes through several prominent places of Delhi like Chanakyapuri, Safdarjung and Sarojini Nagar and is expected to attract large numbers of tourists and rail enthusiasts interested in steam locos.

As per the plan, the train, comprising four heritage coaches with a steam locomotive, would start from Safdarjung station and travel to Anand Vihar, Old Yamuna Bridge, Old Delhi, New Delhi and Nizamuddin station before returning to Safdarjung.

Delhi Ring Rail

Tourists will be able to visit the Red Fort, Chandni Chowk, National Rail Museum, the historic Old Yamuna Bridge, Humayun’s tomb and rail buildings such as Old Delhi station, Kashmere Gate and Baroda House by using the service.

“The landscape along the proposed route will be beautified, besides other necessary arrangements to make it operational. The fare structure and timings are yet to be decided,” the official said.

“Two options are being considered: A round trip or a hop-on-hop-off ticket,” the official added.

At present, there are very few steam locos across the world that are still in working condition.

By : Arun Kumar Das

(Arun Kumar Das is a senior Delhi-based freelance journalist. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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Medical tourism in India on rise

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doctor png-min

India Tourism has been seeing a year on year growth; there has been an increase in domestic travellers as well as foreigners travelling to India. India also attracts patients from several countries for Medical treatments.

Medical tourism or health and wellness tourism refers to the industry where people from across the world travel to other countries to get medical, dental or surgical care and at the same time visit local attractions of that country.

Out of the total Medical tourism across globe approximately 63% is shared between Singapore, Thailand and India with Singapore and Thailand being the leaders in the field.

India has seen a regular growth in Medical tourism traveller’s and from 2013 -2016, the medical visas issued annually has grown from 1.22 lacs to 1.78 lacs.

Following are some of the reasons why people choose India for their treatment:

– World Class facilities and services available in India
– Good qualified doctors
– Cost (Some of the major surgeries in India cost 10-20% of the cost incurred in Western Countries)
– No waiting period for treatments

Some challenges which need to be addressed for patients choosing India as preferred Medical tourism hub

– Improve perception on hygiene and service across the globe
– Ensure quality and service
– Step down facilities for Post Surgical care for recovery. India lacks in centers that can take care of recovery needs post treatments and the patient has to spend more days at a hospital.
– Medical Visa – Procedure to obtain medical visa needs simplification as it can get quite cumbersome as per current regulations

Based on statistics released by the government, Delhi, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are the top destinations for visitors travelling for Medical tourism. Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi have the large number of quality hospitals and take the maximum share of the pie as of today. These cities have a several hospitals to choose from and offer good connectivity across the globe.

Medical tourism or health and wellness tourism can be divided in to 2 different types:

Curative: This is where the traveller’s come in for specific treatments, a few of the preferred treatments are listed below:

Cardiac Surgeries including bypass surgeries

Knee / Hip Replacement surgeries

Orthopedic surgeries

Cosmetic surgeries

Ophthalmology

Rejuvenation: Traveller’s want to explore the ancient treatments and traditional medicines offered in India and hence they come to India, a few are listed below

Ayurveda
Yoga
Siddha
Yunani
Naturopathy

Considering that we can excel in various parameters catering to medical tourism, our country has tremendous potential to increase our share in the Medical Tourism segment.

Jay Kantawala, Founder of WIYO Travel says, “Medical tourism in India has been seeing a year on year growth in the past decade and is expected to grow 2 ½ times in the coming 8-10 years and become a US$ 1.6 Billion market in coming decade. This industry will get a boost if Visa process is simplified and simple cross border payments. In addition to this we are seeing Health care institutions opting for certifications for NABH (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers) and JCI (Joint Commission International) accreditations, which help in building trust amongst travelers”.

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Extreme Adventures you should try, in India!

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Ladakh srinagar kashmir

Thinking of adventures, what comes to your mind first? Bungee jumping off the side of a cliff, Heli-skiing in sub-zero temperatures or a breathtaking hot-air balloon safari or white water rafting down some wild rapids?

Today, routine getaways and run-of-the-mill vacations have been replaced by experiences that are more authentic, as travellers are seeking adventures, thrills and a closer relationship with different cultures. The millennial traveller aims to be a part of unique experiences and adventure tourism has therefore been catering to tourists who prefer venturing out into the unknown rather than joining the crowd. Having said that, many of today’s travellers are also not aware that what they aim to find in other countries can be found within India, at a level that they may not find elsewhere.

So check out the top 5 adrenaline-pumping activities you can enjoy in India, with maximum thrill and minimum planning.

Heli-Skiing at Manali and Gulmarg

If rushing down a mountain, navigating treacherous twists and turns is what you enjoy, then take it a step higher with heli-skiing down one of the numerous mountains of Manali or Gulmarg. With secluded mountaintops and landings at over 10,000 feet, you are guaranteed an adrenaline rush that will get you forever hooked. The option of being flown by helicopter to the top of the mountain will give you a chance to experience spectacular heights and amazing slopes that otherwise wouldn’t be accessible. Definitely one of the most unique experiences you’ll ever have!

Hot Air Ballooning over Udaipur

Get up close to a magnificent sunrise or sunset with the most romantic adventure possible, as you explore the spectacular forts, hidden palaces, breathtaking terrain and unique sights of Udaipur on a hot-air balloon.

White Water Rafting in Rishikesh

When just a normal vacation isn’t enough, it’s time to go off the beaten track with a whitewater rafting adventure in Rishikesh, one of the most sought-after destinations for the sport. While here, you can have your fill of heart-stopping rapids and an exciting boating experience. Rishikesh also has the highest bungee jumping spot in India, and is the only destination with a fixed platform to dive from.

Sky Diving Deesa, Gujarat

For a daredevil spirit, there’s nothing more exciting than diving from a height of 10,000 feet in the sky, and when it comes to skydiving, India has it all from tandem to parachuting! So with plenty of excellent ridge soaring and some fantastic scenic skydiving options, take your pick from Deesa in Gujarat, Dhana, Madhya Pradesh, Pondicherry or Mysore for the experience of a lifetime!

Trekking across the Spiti Valley

A five-day adventure and a 55 km trek, Spiti Valley is definitely not for the faint-hearted. With treacherous mountain paths, sub-zero temperatures and lack of basic necessities, like hot water (or sometimes even water) and adequate lodgings, this adventure will test your spirit like nothing else. On the flip side however, the breathtaking views, gorgeous landscapes and the ability to truly enjoy nature will make this entire journey truly worth it.

Caving in Meghalaya

For an enthusiastic caver, there can be nothing more satisfying than exploring the insides of the most exciting caves in Meghalaya. With the deepest and longest caves in South Asia, Meghalaya is amongst the world’s top 10 destinations and promises an experience par excellence.

“While many may not be aware, India is a fantastic place for adventure sports and activities, so much so that it also attracts travellers and adventure junkies from outside India,” says Viren Batra, co-founder of Nirvana Travel. “Wherever you may go, there’s something for everyone in every state, making India one of the best places to enjoy vacations with a focus on adventure!”

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