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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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Mail/Express trains to get saloons for exclusive journey

Railways has given written instruction to all zonal railways to allow saloons to be attached to all scheduled mail/express trains across the country. The Rajdhani, Duronto, Shatabdi and Gatimaan expresses have been exempted from this.

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IRCTC Sloon Coach

New Delhi, June 8 (IANS) Aiming to increase earnings, Indian Railways will add a saloon to mail/express trains if booked by passengers for exclusive travel for reaching destination in comfort by paying a little more.

Known as an Inspection Car, a saloon is a specially designed rail coach with two bedrooms, a drawing/dining room, two bathrooms, an attendant’s room and a kitchen.

Facing stiff competition from low cost carriers the national transporter is in the process of coming out with many innovative approaches to perk up revenue.

Saloons are used by senior railway officials on their inspection duty. Ministers are also entitled to use the saloon during their rail journey.

Though the saloon can comfortably accommodate six passengers, one has to pay the equivalent of 18 first class fare for the same destination in the scheduled train.

Image result for saloons in train

IRCTC opens luxury railway saloons to public; coaches to offer valet service, air-conditioned rooms

“We have allowed saloon to be booked by any passenger. It would be added as an additional coach to the existing mail/express train on demand after paying the prescribed rate,” a senior Railway Ministry official said.

One can book the saloon through IRCTC, the railways’ tourism and catering wing.

Railways has given written instruction to all zonal railways to allow saloons to be attached to all scheduled mail/express trains across the country. The Rajdhani, Duronto, Shatabdi and Gatimaan expresses have been exempted from this.

Currently, a Mail/Express train have between 18 to 24 coaches.

Since the saloon is equiped with cooking facility, customers will be free to make their own catering arrangements.

Railways expect the saloon will be in demand in tourist destinations and it would also be a much sought after service by newly married couples.

By : Arun Kumar Das

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

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Now, Shimla is just 20 minutes away from Chandigarh

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The heli-taxi service that will cut down the travel time by four hours. (Photo- AIR)

Shimla, June 4: The travel distance between this Himachal Pradesh tourist resort and Chandigarh was reduced to just 20 minutes with the launch of a heli-taxi service on Monday.

The state government in association with helicopter service operator Pawan Hans Ltd launched a to and fro heli-taxi service on the Chandigarh-Shimla route, cutting down the earlier four hours travel time.

Each sortie, with 19 passengers on board, will offer a minimum fare of Rs 2,999 per person. It will initially ply twice a week, Monday and Friday.

The helicopter will take off from Shimla’s airport at Jubbarhatti at 8 a.m. and reach the Chandigarh International Airport at 8.20 a.m.

helitaxi-shimla-chandigarh

And from Chandigarh to Shimla, the flight will take off at 9 a.m. and reach Shimla at 9.20 a.m., an official with Pawan Hans told IANS.

He said the frequency of heli-taxi service would be increased depending on response of the passengers.

Otherwise, it takes minimum four hours to travel between Shimla and Chandigarh by road.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur flagged off the first service from Shimla. He said this would greatly help to boost the tourism industry in the state.

The government is also planning to start heli-taxi service between Chandigarh and Manali and sortie service from Manali to the majestic Rohtang Pass, an official said.

Members of the tourism industry are elated as they are hopeful that high-end tourists, especially foreigners and business travellers, will prefer to visit the state capital and its nearby destinations by flights.

“We are hopeful that the heli-taxi service will give boost to the tourism industry,” D.P. Bhatia, liaison officer with Shimla-based Oberoi Group of hotels, told IANS.

IANS

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Berlin: The 21st Century Party Paradise!

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Railway Station Cologne, Germany

Ironic as it may be, Berlin, the city that bears symbols of its violent past and that has, for two decades, been at the center of a cold war, with a great divide in ideologies, faith and power running uninterrupted through its heart in the form of a concrete wall, has risen like a phoenix in celebration of freedom and gracious acceptance of all possible differences of human existence. A city that once stood as headquarters of a leadership that believed in acting upon fanatic beliefs, today is one of the most charming acceptance and a thriving example of the ‘Live and Let Live’ adage – the Berlin of the 21st Century!

It is this history that perhaps lends intensity to the frivolously vibrant, almost hedonistic streak to its clubbing and party scene. Almost worshipped with devout fervour, music seems to be the religion of the city and its churches have taken shape in the Inside of abandoned factories and commercial buildings that had to be taken down, post the breaking of the wall. Thriving today with the Rhapsody of rock, electronic, classical, rap as well as benevolent gypsy symphonies, the Berlin of today is a throbbing, pulsating cultural village, well concealed under the cloak of a bustling metropolis. Sometimes disorientating, mind-blowing and occasionally even brutal and freaky, music and party scene in Berlin is one of the most dynamic and vibrant ecosystems, attracting patrons across age, geography, time and taste of music.

And while the music and the chic venues that are generously infused with local culinary and brewery excellence, consistently allure patrons, night after night, it is in truth, the city’s evolved ideologies that has shaped the clubbing landscape such that it combines politics, sexual openness and acceptance and progressive social values to create safe, participatory and, ultimately, magical nightlife spaces for clubbers, to lose themselves in.

With 24×7 parties throbbing in the underbelly, sometimes well concealed and sometimes brutally in your face, Berlin offers a plethora of options for the modern traveller, one that befits the title as the party paradise of the world! On offer are choicest of establishments that cater to every taste, budget and age group. With venues as myriad as tiny basement clubs, industrial techno temples, chestnut-canopied beer gardens, fancy cocktail caverns, saucy cabarets and abandoned powerhouses, Berlin delivers hot-stepping odysseys, and not just after dark and on weekends but pretty much 24/7.

Notable places of the visit on the circuit include the many well-defined districts, both old school and new. ‘Kreuzberg’, almost a city in its own rights, boasts of several small and large pubs and clubs, making it a destination in itself – one that cannot be explored completely in just one night. District Mitte – the cool and wild party paradise of the 90’s may have today become crowded with more commercialized settlements but the “Oranienburgerstraße”(Oranienburger street), lined with a wide range of pubs and bars, is a good starting

Point for a night out. The ‘Prenzlauer Berg’ – the place where the party scene transitioned to from ‘Mittte’ houses the Kollwitzplatz, Helmholdtplatz and SchönhauserAllee – popular neighbourhoods with loads of hip ‘drinking holes’. ‘Friedrichshain’ with its industrial wastelands converted into huge clubs and smaller cozy pubs with outdoor seating on the sidewalks, offers a relaxed and bohemian feel, making it one of the least gentrified and most alternative districts of Berlin.

Some of the most notable party destinations include:

Berghain& Panorama Bar – the Church of Techno

One of the most well-known pubs in Berlin and around the world, Berghain offers the best sound system and the best of music, bringing the abandoned power plant to life, every night. With the impeccable line-up of best DJ’s playing their best tunes, alternated by house music, it is the perfect place to enjoy the best drink and best of music.

Sisyphos

More of a festival than a club, Sisyphos, located in an abandoned dog food factory, is a labyrinth of free experiences, much like an Alice in Wonderland getaway! Not a regular club, but the Sisyphos regularly hosts parties that take assume the air of leisurely festivals, every two weeks and offers a taste of unadulterated freedom and joy, one that is difficult to forget for life!

ClärchensBallhaus

This 1913 establishment – a former ballroom known for extravagance dance parties, holds an old world charm well masqueraded into a contemporary vibe with a soundtrack of predominantly jazz, swing and soul tunes. And while the venue hasn’t changed much since the 1920’s, its patrons range from a mix of hipsters, tourists and ageing (but agile) music lovers, making it a more contemporary venue, deeply rooted in strong character.

Chalet

Housed in a decadent, abandoned 150-year-old mansion, the Chalet, located in Kreuzberg – the most hip neighbourhood in Berlin, offers a great line up of talented DJs playing in two different floors and a very charming garden: the perfect place to chill, when it’s not freezing cold outside. Open 7 days a week, the Chalet, with its vintage lamps and armchairs, bonfires in the backyard, wallpapers with antique patterns and many small rooms, caters to a rather more mainstream/touristic crowd.

Jay Kantawala, Founder of WIYO travel said, “With a general sense of reckless abandon, the dressing in most parties is casual and highly underdressed. With most bars open up till the wee hours of the morning and breakfast being served across the city until sunset, Berlin truly wears the majestic crown of being the party paradise of the world!”

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