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10 Largest Islands in the World

There are so many islands in the world, and while your mind might automatically go to Australia as the largest, I am not counting it within this list. The reason for that is Australia is a continent, so it is technically not considered an island.

Therefore, this list will exclude that part of the world, as well as Antarctica.

10 Largest Islands in the World

1. Greenland

This island is approximately two million square kilometers and it is considered part of North America. However, it is usually associated with Norway and Denmark over in Europe. Most of the locals are the descendants of the Inuit, who arrived on this island from Canada during the 13th century. This ice-covered island has one of the highest renewable energy sources in the world.

2. New Guinea

This island is 785, 000 square kilometers and is part of the archipelago of Indonesia. People have lived on this island for more than forty thousand years now and they live on either the west or the east side, which are ruled by different governments. More than seven hundred idioms are spoken on this island, so you will hear many different languages if you happen to visit.

3. Borneo

Borneo has 748,000 square kilometers and this island is part of an archipelago as well. The entire island is ruled by three different countries. The oldest rainforest in the world can be found on this island and there are many different animals and plants living within it.

4. Madagascar

Madagascar is 587,000 square kilometers and it is currently its own independent nation. This island is quite biodiverse and about 90 percent of the wildlife on the island cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

5. Baffin

Baffin is up near Canada and it is slightly over 500,000 square kilometers in size. This island was named after William Baffin, who was an explorer. The history of the people living in Baffin includes cultures and traditions of the Nordic and Inuit.

6. Sumatra

Sumatra is over in Asia and it is 473,000 square kilometers. More than fifty million people live on this island and during a visit you will discover the equator crosses directly through the center. Half of the forest on this island has disappeared within the last forty years, creating a smoky haze that covers nearby countries.

7. Honshu

There are almost 228,000 square kilometers within this island in the Japanese archipelago and it is the second most populated island in the entire world. One hundred and four million people live on this island, of which almost a quarter of them live within Tokyo. Mount Fuji can be found on this island and it is what gives the island its height.

8. Great Britain

Great Britain is the largest of all the British Islands at 209,000 square kilometers. Sixty-one million people live on this island and they are all ruled by the United Kingdom government. Great Britain used to be known as Albion before the name was changed to Britannia and eventually the name it is called today.

9. Victoria

There are 217,000 square kilometers on the Canadian Island of Victoria. Only approximately two thousand people live on this island which was discovered in 1829.

10. Ellesmere

This is another Canadian Island and its Inuit name is Umingmaknuna. Less than two hundred people call this island home, thanks to the extreme weather conditions.

These are the ten largest islands in the world. I’m sure some of them were not surprising, but others were ones you probably didn’t even know existed. Let me know if you knew the ten largest islands in the world or if you were completely surprised with this list.

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Aruba

5 Things You Should Know Before Traveling to Aruba

Year-round sunny weather, white-sand beaches, friendly locals, and tasty international cuisine—these are a few of the reasons we love Aruba. In addition to picture-perfect beaches, the clear water that rings the island is perfect for snorkeling and wreck diving. And while visiting Aruba is pretty easy, there are some things you should know before you get on the plane (No, visiting Flamingo Beach in Aruba isn’t as easy as you think). We’re covering everything from the when to go to Aruba to whether you need a visa, the best beach resorts, and what must-do experiences you need to book while traveling to Aruba. Read on for our 12 essential tips on how to have the best Aruba vacation.

1. Aruba is one of the safest islands in the Caribbean.

Aruba is one of the safest islands in the Caribbean.

We’ve spent countless months traveling across the Caribbean and Mexico and are constantly asked about safety in the region’s many beach-filled destinations. The truth is that there are risks to travelers whenever they go anywhere, whether it’s to New York City, Europe, or the Caribbean. Unfortunately, the legacy of colonialism, economies that depend strictly on tourism, and deeply rooted inequality have caused some Caribbean islands to have higher crime rates than other parts of the world. When you add often sub-par infrastructure to the mix, the situation is often only exacerbated.

Aruba, though, is one of the safest exceptions to many of the problems that plague other Caribbean islands. Year after year, Aruba consistently ranks as one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean, with low rates of both violent and petty crime. Of course, you should exercise common sense and guard yourself against problems that plague tourists anywhere (theft of valuables and the like).

Part of the reason may be that Aruba lives up to its moniker of “One Happy Island.” And that slogan’s not superficial — it has a basis in economics. We spoke to a local at the Brickell Bay Beach Club & Spa about all the smiles we saw here while visiting, and they explained that the majority of the island’s residents are middle class, which isn’t always the case in Caribbean resort destinations. In Aruba, this controls the cost of living and social classism, reducing inequality and offering a more level quality of life throughout the island.

2. You need a passport, but you don’t need a visa to enter Aruba.

Aruba Sea Soar with Ship doc

Traveling to Aruba doesn’t require a pre-arranged visa for U.S., Canadian, or E.U. member citizens. Same goes for China and many of Aruba’s nearby neighbors like Mexico and Colombia. All you have to do is hand your passport over to the immigration officer upon arrival and you’ll receive a free visa stamp that’s valid for 30 days. For those who end up falling in love with Aruba and want to extend their stay, it’s important to note that tourist visits are capped at a strictly-enforced 180 days per year.

3. Gambling is legal in Aruba.

Aruba clean blue beach

It’s not only the sun, sand, and relaxation that bring travelers to Aruba—some come to try their luck in the casinos. Gambling is legal in Aruba, and is such a popular pastime here that all major resorts have their own in-house casinos in addition to the standalone spots dotting the island. Several casinos are open from noon until the wee hours of the morning, while others keep the games going 24 hours a day. For a taste of something local, try your hand at a game of Caribbean stud poker.

The Crystal Casino at Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino is one of the classiest places to gamble in Aruba—it sparkles with Austrian crystal chandeliers, gold-leaf columns, Spanish mirrors, and Italian marble and brass. Open 24/7, this almost 15,000-square-foot (1,394-square-meter) parlor features over 370 slot machines, as well as tables for roulette, craps, blackjack, Caribbean stud poker, and Texas hold ’em. The Stellaris Casino at Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is the largest on the island, open 24/7, and includes 26 gaming tables and over 500 slot machines.

4. Does Aruba get hit by hurricanes? No (generally speaking).

Sunset from Aruba beach

One of the most frequent questions we get asked is “What Caribbean islands don’t get hit by hurricanes?” The true answer is that there is no one island that’s free of hurricane danger, but Aruba comes pretty close. In fact, Aruba is to the south of the Caribbean hurricane zone — where the majority of destructive storms develop. The most recent strike was from Hurricane Felix in 2007, which was a weak storm and only glancingly touched the island. That means booking a trip to Aruba is a safer bet than islands in more central Caribbean spots, like Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas.

5. The legal drinking and gambling age is 18 in Aruba.

Beautiful temple

While this probably won’t impact most travelers to Aruba, it’s a good thing to know for anyone planning a spring break getaway or family trip. Aruba is home to plenty of bars and casinos, and anyone who is at least 18 years old can enter them, get served alcohol, and throw down a bet.

Have you ever been to Aruba? Would you like to try one soon? Why? I would love to hear your responses, if for nothing else, so I can learn more and apply that new knowledge to my life!

Categories
Bhutan

Post Covid Bhutan Wellness Travel

Let me begin by stating that everyone, and when I say everyone, I mean every single one of us living on earth deserves a break from COVID-19. There is no denying that 2020 has been one of a kind year. Everything came to a halt, everything closed off; homes became the only place where one could freely move around, and honestly, that’s quite suffocating. After having to suspend all our travel plans, almost at year-end, there is a slight hope that this may all be coming to an end. Everyone is waiting to welcome 2021 in a different light while wondering how things will be and what will travel look like post COVID. And what better idea is there than looking to wellness to rejuvenate one’s mind, body, and soul after having to spend a year locked up in your homes.

And what better place than Bhutan, Bhutan has many activities available for those visitors seeking a place of solace, rest, and recuperation. Whether it’s a session of peaceful, contemplative meditation, a relaxing soak in a mineral hot spring bath or the all-natural remedies of our traditional medicine Bhutan has just what you need to revive and rejuvenate your body and spirit; it’s the perfect place to be after a Pandemic for a holistic break.

I say everyone must take this one chance in 2021 to take care of yourself and your loved ones because if anything, 2020 has taught us that life can be uncertain and we must take every chance to live our lives to the fullest. So I say you get a pen and a paper and start making a list of things you would like to do in Bhutan. Here is our list of Bhutan wellness treats to help you make your post COVID wellness travel list.

Post COVID – Bhutan Wellness Travel List

Nature-Based Wellness

Bhutan travel for post Covid wellness with Nature

Go Trekking/Hiking

Bhutan’s pristine nature and jagged mountainous landscape provide an ideal opportunity to trek across some of the most beautiful sceneries. Bhutan is a landlocked country, also recognized as one of the world’s hotspot biodiversity with a rich ecosystem and all these can be experienced by trekking in Bhutan. Trekking in Bhutan can offer a multitude of thrilling experiences such as fresh mountain air, outstanding views, and most importantly a great opportunity to immerse in the natural environment. Comparatively hiking offers a similar but less arduous option. Some of the most popular treks/hikes are the Jomolhari Trek, the Druk path Trek, and hiking to the Tiger’s nest.

Visit Phobjikha Valley

Amazing Phobjikha Valley of Bhutan

Phobjikha valley at an altitude of 2900 meters comes under the Wangdue district in Bhutan and falls on the edge of the Black Mountain National Park. The valley is home to the endangered bird species known as the black-necked cranes. These birds fly to Phobjikha from Tibet in winter and fly back in spring. The valley is also is one of the major tourist attractions in Bhutan. The visitors can engage in bird watching activities and observe the beautiful birds. The Black-necked crane information center is equipped with high power telescopes and binoculars for the best experience of bird watching. The center also educates visitors with information about the cultural history of the area. With its picturesque landscape and ever so beautiful pastures, the valley also offers the visitors to take part in nature trail hiking, village excursions, and many more activities to recharge one with energy.

Visit Chelela Pass

Chelela pass is located at an hour drive from the capital Thimphu and is also the highest motor-able road in Bhutan.  An early drive to the pass can reward you with a magnificent view of the sun rising timidly from behind the mountain peaks.  The whole pass is decorated with endless streams of fluttering prayer flags. You can hang up prayer flags and just enjoy the view and the amazing liveliness of the pass.

Soak Your Stress Away in a Hotspring

Bhutan wellness travel with hotspring

Bhutan is famous for hot springs and soaking in one can be very beneficial just to the body but to the mind as well. The wells of hot spring water are known for their miraculous healing properties.  The hot springs are known to be beneficial for joint pains, skin diseases, and a number of other ailments. The hot springs in Bhutan are situated beautifully among a lush green environment and a tranquil ambiance. The most popular one is the Gasa Hotspring located in Gasa.

Spirituality Based Wellness

Meditation

Meditation while taking wellness vacation in Bhutan

As one of the last strongholds of Vajrayana Buddhism, meditation and mediation retreats are a common practice amongst Monks and Buddhist practitioners in Bhutan. Small retreat centers and hermitages are located all over the country, usually next to temples, monasteries, and monastic schools. Many tourists come to Bhutan for meditation and retreat tours. You can engage in meditation programs for a few hours in the high hills and temples where the serenity and beauty of nature can be appreciated in undisturbed silence. This does a lot of help to the unsettling minds and the lifestyle or environment that we are usually surrounded with.

Temple Stays at Phajoding

The monastery is located above Thimphu town at some 4 hours of walk from the base at Sangaygang. Spending some time off the regular touristy destinations in a quiet place like the Phajoding monastery can be a life-changing experience.  You can spend a night or two and explore the surroundings and actually experience the secluded life as a monk does. You can do meditation, attend talks on Buddhism, and engage with the monks. You can also engage in a light walk around the monastery and explore the temples at the site. There are about some ten temples at Phajoding all of which were built in the 13th century.

Let me know if you knew the list of Bhutan wellness travel treats or if you were completely surprised with this list.

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Maldives

Top 5 Tourist Attractions Of Maldives

Maldives, popularly known as Maldives Islands is one of the islands of Indian Ocean that consists of 26 atolls. This island is loaded with vegetation diversity, great reefs of blue seas and sandy white beaches. This area is known as people’s paradise. Tourists tend to spend more number of days just to relax and unwind in this tranquil area. Maldives is one of the great spot that can be used for snorkeling, diving and exploring different kinds of fishes across the corals. Tranquility offered by these shores attracts innumerable visitors to this area.

Here, We Are Sharing With You The Top Five Tourist Attractions You Must Visit In Maldives

1. BluetrIbe Diving, Moofushi

BluetrIbe Diving, Moofushi

Marine life and great waters are the highlights of Maldives. Diving, windsurfing, kayaking, snorkeling, pedal boats riding and catamarans riding are few of the water sport activities that can be enjoyed during your visit to Maldives. All these can be experienced in Bluetribe diving center. Also, Moofushi is well known for excursion spot where whale sharks and manta rays can be spotted by you in the shore.

2. National Museum

National Museum Maldives

It is one of the popular tourist attractions of Maldives. This can be found in Sultan Park. This museum was said to be the former palace of Sultan. And this antique palace took the form of museum to allure tourists. This museum is house to several artifacts which determine the culture of Maldives. Several Arms, royal coins, furniture, manuscripts, costumes of kings and costumes of queens are stored in the museum. Maldives history can be understood by visiting this museum. History lovers are the main visitors of this museum.

3. Utheemu Ganduvaru

Utheemu Ganduvaru

Utheemu Ganduvaru, located on Uhteemu Island, is an historical spot in Maldives. This is a popular tourist destination. This is an antique wooden palace which once served as a home for Mohamed Thankurufaan, who was known as National Hero of Maldives. That is the reason, this site is very important among locals. In this palace, tourists can find various fascination wooden interiors which include swing beds and wooden carvings.

4. Banana Reef

Tourist Attractions Of Maldives - Banana Reef

It is one of the most popular attractions of Maldives. This is the most popular dives sites and gained international fame. Its name is derived because of its appearance from top view. This area is loaded with coral growths, beautiful caves and cliffs. And the banana reefs are store house of various exotic fish species like Maldivian grub fish, squirrelfish and soldier fish.

5. Fua Mulaku

Fua Mulaku

Fua Mulaku is one of the largest islands in Maldives and is considered as most fertile island. Various fruits and vegetables are widely produced in this area. Pineapples, mangoes and oranges are widely produced in this island.

Let me know if you knew the tourist attractions of Maldives or if you were completely surprised with this list.

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Dubai

Top 3 Tips for Traveling to Dubai

Along the Persian Gulf Coast is the city of Dubai, which can be found right within the Arabian Desert. On the outskirts of the city, the landscape is filled with sand, seashells, dunes, and eventually massive mountains. The large desert area means hot humid temperatures for the city throughout the year, although it has been raining there a little more in recent years than it used to.

Here are the top 3 tips for anyone who is planning on travelling to Dubai:

Tips for Traveling to Dubai

1. Save on Attractions

One of the best parts of travelling is visiting all the attractions in an area. However, the admission prices can add up quickly during a vacation and that cost can cause most people to forgo numerous places that they may have wanted to see. In Dubai, people can purchase the Go Dubai Card. This card will allow them to pay one low price and then visit as many attractions as they wish from a list of thirty-eight museums, tours, cruises, and more. Visitors can activate the cards for anywhere from two calendar days to seven calendar days in a two-week period, and they can even choose an additional premium attraction with an activation of a three day or more pass.

2. Visit the Largest Mall in the World

A visit to the Dubai Mall is going to be a lifechanging experience for any traveler, and not only because it is the largest mall in the world. In addition to all the stores that people can shop in, there is an aquarium, ski slopes, cinemas, a kid’s playground, and an ice skating rink. In fact, people can spend days in this mall before they have seen and experienced it all.

3. Transportation

The city is not very pedestrian friendly, so visitors will not want to plan on walking from one destination to another. Everything has been placed far away from everything else, plus as mentioned, it can get extremely hot in Dubai, which makes walking unbearable for any length of time. While taxis are an option, the city also has an easy to use Metro system. However, to see more of the city while going from one place to another, the Hop On/Hop Off Buses might be a better solution. These buses are included with the Go Dubai Cards and they have easy pickup and drop-off locations in multiple locations throughout the city.

It can be a little disconcerting when arriving in a new city at first, but by knowing a few things in advance, everyone can feel at home and relaxed right away. Travelers should always do a little research prior to their trip, so that they have information like this available to them. It will make their vacation much easier and allow them to enjoy their trip without any major incidents or mishaps.

Let me know if you knew the tips for traveling to Dubai or if you were completely surprised with this list.

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India

5 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in India

India is a vibrant land of startling contrasts where both the traditional and modern worlds meet. The world’s seventh largest nation by area and the second largest in terms of population, India boasts a rich heritage that’s the result of centuries of different cultures and religions leaving their mark. Things to do for travelers include the opportunity to experience an array of sacred sites and spiritual encounters, while nature lovers will enjoy its sun-washed beaches, lush national parks, and exciting wildlife sanctuaries. In this article we will tell you top five tourist attractions in India.

From the magnificent Taj Mahal in Agra to the holy sites of Harmandir Sahib (formerly the Golden Temple) in Amritsar and the Mecca Masjid mosque in Hyderabad, visitors to this exotic country will discover a trove of spiritual, cultural, and historical treasures.

To help you make the most of your time in this amazing country, refer often to our list of the top things to do in India.

Tourist Attractions in India

1. The Taj Mahal, Agra

Perhaps India’s most recognizable building, the Taj Mahal is also the world’s most famous testimony to the power of love. Named after Mumtaz Mahal, the favorite wife of Emperor Shah Jahan, this most beautiful of mausoleums was begun upon her death in 1631 and took 20,000 workmen until 1648 to complete.

Incorporating many elements of Islamic design including arches, minarets, an onion-shaped dome, and black calligraphy inlaid around the entrance, the Taj Mahal is largely constructed of white marble decorated with delicate inlaid floral patterns and precious and semi-precious stones such as jade, lapis lazuli, diamonds, and mother of pearl.

The best time to visit is either at dawn or dusk when the atmosphere is brilliantly altered by the change in lighting. If possible, try to catch a view of the Taj Mahal’s reflection from the far bank of the Yamuna River-it makes for a memorable (and safe) selfie.

Address: 64 Taj Road, Agra-282001

2. The Holy City of Varanasi

A major pilgrimage center for Hindus, the holy city of Varanasi has long been associated with the mighty Ganges River, one of the faith’s most important religious symbols. Dating back to the 8th century BC, Varanasi is one of the oldest still inhabited cities in the world.

It offers many reasons to visit, not least of them the chance to explore the Old Quarter adjacent to the Ganges where you’ll find the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, built in 1780 (the New Vishwanath Temple with its seven separate temples is also of interest).

Bathing in the Ganges is of great importance to Hindus, and numerous locations known as “ghats” feature stairways leading to the water where the faithful bathe before prayers.

All told, Varanasi boasts more than 100 ghats, the largest being Dasashvamedh Ghat and Assi Ghat (the latter, at the confluence of the Ganges and Asi rivers, is considered particularly holy). Also worth seeing is Banaras Hindu University, established in 1917 and noted for its massive library with more than a million books, and the superb Bharat Kala Bhavan museum featuring fine collections of miniature paintings, sculptures, palm-leaf manuscripts, and local history exhibits.

3. Harmandir Sahib: The Golden Temple of Amritsar

Founded in 1577 by Ram Das, Amritsar is an important hub of Sikh history and culture. The main attraction here is Harmandir Sahib, opened in 1604 and still often referred to as the Golden Temple for its beautiful gold decoration. The holiest of India’s many Sikh shrines (it also attracts many Hindus and people of other faiths), the temple was built in a blend of Hindu and Islamic styles, its lower marble section featuring such flourishes as ornate inlaid floral and animal motifs, while the large golden dome represents a lotus flower, a symbol of purity to Sikhs.

In addition to its splendid design, visitors are equally impressed with the temple’s spiritual atmosphere, an effect enhanced by the prayers continuously chanted from the Sikh holy book and broadcast throughout the complex. Part of the overall experience-and visitors are welcome to participate-is the chance to enjoy one of the 50,000 free meals the attraction serves up to visitors each and every day. This is one of the top tourist attractions in India.

Address: Golden Temple Road, Amritsar, Punjab 143006

4. The Golden City: Jaisalmer

So named for the yellow sandstone used in most of its buildings, the Golden City of Jaisalmer is an oasis of splendid old architecture that rises from the sand dunes of the Thar Desert. Once a strategic outpost, today the city is filled with splendid old mansions, magnificent gateways, and the massive Jaisalmer Fort-also known as the Golden Fort-a daunting 12th-century structure that rises high above the town.

In addition to its palaces, temples, and fine old homes, the fortress boasts 99 bastions along with massive gates leading to its main courtyard where you’ll find the seven-story-tall Maharaja’s Palace. Started in the early 1500s and added to by successive rulers right up until the 19th century, the palace offers sections open to the public including areas beautifully decorated with tiles from Italy and China, and intricately carved stone doors, as well as a number of Jain temples dating from the 12th to 16th centuries, each decorated with fine marble and sandstone images, palm-leaf manuscripts, and brightly painted ceilings.

Be sure to also check out the well-preserved 1,000-year-old library, Gyan Bhandar, with its many 16th-century manuscripts and antiquities.

5. The Red Fort, New Delhi

Built by Shah Jahan in 1648 as the seat of Mughal power-a role it maintained until 1857-the magnificent crescent-shaped Red Fort in New Delhi, named after the stunning red sandstone used in its construction, covers a vast area of more than two square kilometers, all of it surrounded by a large moat. Highlights include its two largest gates: the impressive Lahore Gate (the fort’s main entrance) and the elaborately decorated Delhi Gate, once used by the emperor for ceremonial processions.

A fun part of a visit is exploring Chatta Chowk, a 17th-century covered bazaar selling everything from jewelry to silk garments, as well as souvenirs and food items. While you can explore the fort yourself, guided tours are offered and provide a fascinating insight into the life and times of the Shah, including a peek into the stunning white marble Hall of Public Audiences (Diwan-i-Am) where he received his subjects.

Hot Tip: Try to stick around for the sound and light show held each evening featuring important events in the fort’s history.

Address: Netaji Subhash Marg, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi 110006

Let me know if you knew the top five tourist attractions in India or if you were completely surprised with this list.