Monthly Archives: November 2016

Should Know About Top 10 Budget Honeymoons

When planning your perfect wedding day who wouldn’t be looking for the dream honeymoon to match? But between the flowers, favours and the flights costs can rack up pretty quickly.

With these top ten budget-friendly getaways you can count your pennies without compromising on all the once-in-a-lifetime experiences, dynamic culture and delicious cuisine you could want for your first adventure as newlyweds.
Young couple in a kasbah. Kasbah Baha Baha, Nkob. Morocco (MR)
Morocco

Arabian exoticism, fragrant spices – and lovely low prices. Morocco’s hard to beat for bargain romance. Marrakesh, Fez and Essaouira offer time-warp medinas chock-full of character and cheap cafes. Eschew your sense of direction to get lost in the maze-like souqs – the shopping possibilities are plentiful, with everything from carpets to babouches to be snapped up. Converted riads (traditional courtyard houses) offer accommodation with oodles of atmosphere; some are pricey but many are astonishingly reasonable, enabling palace-like stays on a pauper’s budget.
India

Long-favoured by the impecunious, India has become more expensive – but, mostly, it’s still amazingly cheap. For instance, opulent Palace On Wheels trains might be dear, but even budget ’mooners can afford first-class on India Rail – a Delhi-Udaipur overnighter costs around US$20 second-class, and only US$10 more in first-class sleeper.
Vietnam

You could get by for less than US$10 a day in Vietnam and still eat like a king – it’s street-food heaven. Make sure to sample the city’s signature dishes: beef pho, bun cha (barbecued pork with rice noodles) and chow a bánh mì (baguette) as you wander. A mid-range trip won’t break the bank either, but will buy more characterful guesthouses, a better Halong Bay cruise and memorable experiences (a cookery class, a cycle around Hoi An) with change left for a beach stay on beautiful Phu Quoc Island.
Portugal

Portugal is liberating. The little anxieties – is that cafe too posh for us? Can we afford another coffee? – don’t exist here. Even in fancier establishments, espressos usually cost less than US$1, beers no more than US$2. You find yourself ordering a second pastel de nata (divine Portuguese custard tart) – well, why not? There are cute casas and converted farmhouses oozing charm for under US$100 a night, too.
Romantic couple on the beach at colorful sunset on

Indonesia

Numbers are high, costs are low in Indonesia. Rooms might start from a startling-sounding 350,000 rupiah – but that’s only US$25. It’s easy to be a millionaire here, so even budget ’mooners can afford plenty of fun. Obvious-choice Bali has great beaches, boutique stays, culture in Ubud, cracking surf. But Indonesia has 17,000 isles! Consider Lombok and the Gili Islands, culture and volcanoes on Java and jungle adventures on Sumatra.
Taucher und Korallenriff, Roatan, Karibik, Honduras | Diver

Honduras

Honduras is the budget choice in Central America. Inexpensive food and lodgings are easily found. It’s also one of the cheapest places to learn to dive. Head for the white sands of Utila to scuba or simply relax by the Caribbean for less; the nearby islands of Cayos Cochinos offer the most romantic escape. Tack on the Mayan ruins of Copán and adventures in Pico Bonito National Park.
Ancient Khmer architecture ,Ta Prohm temple ruins hidden in jungle in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Ta Prohm is a jungle temple

Cambodia

Cambodia is a happy marriage of world-beating sights and budget-friendly prices. It’s home to Angkor Wat, for which a seven-day entry ticket costs US$72 – ridiculously expensive compared with everything else in the country; ridiculously cheap for a week’s worth of exploring the vastness of the site’s Unesco-listed temples and jungle. Cheap beers (US$1), meals (US$2) and ever-improving low-cost accommodation ice the cake.
Bulgaria

Not the most obvious honeymoon choice, but an inexpensive option whatever the season. Capital Sofia has enough to interest urbanites. Sun-lovers can loll by the Black Sea: soft sand, beers for US$2 – what’s not to love? Winter-mooners can hit Europe’s best-value skiing: Bansko and Borovets have slopes for all levels, plus family-run pensions, hearty taverns and (thanks to that cheap beer) lively après-ski.
South Africa

Safaris aren’t usually budget options, but in South Africa you can save by self-driving Kruger National Park’s 2WD-friendly roads, staying at rest camps en route. Right across the country, food prices are good and accommodation plentiful, ensuring there’s something for all budgets – the winery hotels on the Western Cape are particularly good value compared with those in rival wine regions around the world. The best bargain? The Shosholoza Meyl Sleeper train runs virtually the same scenic route, between Johannesburg and Cape Town, as the luxurious Blue Train but costs a twentieth of the price.
Puerto Rico

The Hispanic islands tend to offer the best value in the paradisiacal-but-pricey Caribbean. Puerto Rico has affordable inns and resorts, plus super sand and more history than most – capital San Juan is one of the Americas’ oldest cities. For extra honeymoon magic, kayak at night with glowing plankton in Bioluminescent Bay. For extra savings, go in May: prices are up to 40% cheaper May to early December because of hurricane season (June-November), but in May it hasn’t begun yet.

Special Places For Vegetarians In Belgrade

It used to be quite a challenge for vegetarians to survive in Belgrade. Serbian national cuisine is mostly based on heavy meat dishes, so one had to rely on bakeries or potato in all its forms when eating out. Luckily, the situation has improved drastically over the last few years, and these days you can find nutritious, protein-rich vegetarian and vegan options in restaurants, salad bars, and even at some fast-food outlets. Here’s our list of the best vegetarian-friendly places to check out.

Radost Fina Kuhinjica

Radost Fina Kuhinjica is usually the first choice for vegetarians, due to its attractive location beneath the Kalemegdan Fortress, cozy setting in a ground-floor apartment and the original menu that will make even your die-hard meat-eating friends think twice. At Radost they always try new recipes as a daily menu, but the evergreen dishes to definitely taste are the starter platter with baba ganoush, hummus and freshly baked pita bread, vegan burgers in either beetroot or shiitake variation, as well as Radost ramen soup. Don’t be in a hurry, because the cakes are more than worth waiting for.
Mayka

Located in one of the most beautiful and historical streets in Belgrade, Kosančićev venac, the restaurant’s name is a play on the Serbian word for ‘mother’. Mayka’s (facebook.com/maykabeograd) menu consists of vegetarian dishes from various national cuisines that are made at ordinary homes, evoking the smell and the warmth of mum’s kitchen. In a stylish interior you can order samosas, curry, meals made of seitan and dhal, pizzas, spicy lemonade or Indian sweets. However, the signature dish that sublimes the restaurant’s philosophy is Mayka goulash, an authentic version of stew made with seitan, tagliatelle, heavenly spiced tomato sauce and warm, melted cheese.
Oliva

If you opt for a shopping tour across the river, in Novi Beograd (New Belgrade), make your way to this beautifully designed little eatery. You’ll be surprised by its spinach burgers with sea salt or vegan sticks seasoned with roasted sesame. The absolute winner among desserts is the avocado, dates and hazelnut mousse, which goes great with fine wines from the restaurant’s selection. Despite its out-of-the-way location, Oliva (restoranoliva.com) has an unusual frequency of guests even on a Monday evening, which is probably its best recommendation.
Jazzayoga

If you pass Jazzayoga (jazzayoga.com) at lunch time, make sure you stop by and try food from its weekly menu. Depending on the day of the week, you may run into buckwheat moussaka with green beans, oyster mushroom stew, steamed rice with chickpeas and mint, chili sin carne or other yummy food combinations. You’ll also find sandwiches made of wholegrain yeast-free bread, other wholegrain products and cookies that will make the entire world seem right for you.
Zdravo Živo

The only raw-food bar in Belgrade, Zdravo Živo (zdravo-zivo.rs) serves and delivers complete meals made from raw, plant-based ingredients. The menu varies daily and there are usually two to three options to choose from, such as raw fish and chips, stuffed peppers, spaghetti bolognese, burritos, cabbage rolls or sausages. Stuffed peppers and sarma (cabbage rolls) are among the most common meat dishes in Serbian cuisine, but transformed and dressed up as raw meals with fresh vegetables and seeds stuffing, they’re a perfect refreshing choice for hot Belgrade summers.
Hanan and Tel Aviv Hummus House

Its majesty falafel is gaining huge popularity even among non-vegetarians in Belgrade. Once rare to find, falafel is now served at several locations around the city. If you want to eat in, you can go to the central Hanan (restoranhanan.rs) restaurant in Svetogorska Street, but if you’d rather grab a really voluminous falafel sandwich on the go, stop by Tel Aviv Hummus House (telavivhummushouse.com) near the busy Zeleni Venac Market or visit Shawarma Hanan (facebook.com/pages/Hanan-Shawarma) near Cvetni Trg.
Super Donkey and Lime & Carrot

These are the places to pop into when you want a healthy, nutritious meal on the go. Super Donkey (facebook.com/SuperDonkeyKrunska26) is a salad bar, health-food store and tiny eatery all in one. Here you can enjoy wraps and colorful salads named Peruvian, Lebanese or Caucasian, made with veggies, nuts, seeds and creamy dressings, as well as homemade soups, smoothies and sweets. Lime & Carrot (limeandcarrot.com) is owned by a very talkative chef who even cooked for the Serbian tennis star Novak Djoković and who’s always ready to give useful health tips on any ingredient you mention. The Three Beans salad and pumpkin-vanilla soup will make you go back to try everything else on offer, and the owner will gladly mix a cold-pressed juice for you while singing along to the radio.

Places to Go For Wildlife And Nature in February

In this round-up we take to the land, sea and sky to bring you the top spots to discover wildlife and nature in February.

For land-lovers, snow leopards and huge vistas of ice await in India; underwater explorers can swim with whale sharks in the balmy waters of the Philippines; and there’s a special treat for spotters who can bear witness, not only to spectacular birdlife in Japan, but to the spectacle of millions of monarch butterflies taking flight in Mexico.
ladakh
Head to Ladakh, India, for snow leopards and ice trekking

Brrrrrrr! It’s not warm in the Himalayan heights of northwest India right now (days around 21°F; -6°C). But it’s worth braving the cold for a couple of very special experiences. Wildlife fans should head for Hemis National Park, home to a 400-year-old monastery, and one of the few places on the planet where the elusive snow leopard isn’t quite so elusive. During winter mating season – which peaks in February – the high-dwelling big cats descend to the valleys here to find mates, making them easier to spot. Alternatively, trekkers can check out the Chadar. This challenging winter hike starts near Leh, and uses the frozen Zanskar River as its path – walking on this icy meander is the only way to access the highland villages at this time. February is when the ice is at its most stable; the temperature is biting, but the snow-cloaked mountains spectacular.
Trip plan: Fly to Leh. Hemis is 6 miles (10 km) south, where guided treks in the Tarbuns Valley may yield leopards. The Chadar hike starts in Chilling, 40 miles (65 km) from Leh, and takes six days.
Need to know: Leh is at 11,483ft (3500m) so stay well-hydrated to help altitude acclimatisation.
Other months: Nov-Mar – cold, snowy (Jan-Feb: Chadar possible); Apr-May & Oct – quiet, cool; Jun-Sep – best for regular trekking.
monarch

Watch millions of monarch butterflies take flight in Mexico

Visit Michoacán’s forests on a sunny February morning and you’ll witness an astonishing spectacle: hundreds of millions of orange-black wings flexing then fluttering as vast clouds of monarch butterflies take to the air. Each winter up to a billion of these incredible insects migrate thousands of miles from northeastern North America to the warmer climes of Mexico, specifically, Michoacán Province’s Oyamel fir forests, some of which are now protected as the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve; head to the El Rosario or Sierra Chincua sections. Here the monarchs breed before returning to their summer grounds far, far to the north.
Trip plan: The butterfly reserves can be visited on a day trip from Mexico City or Morelia, but better to stay nearby, perhaps in Angangueo or Zitácuaro. Another option is a clockwise circuit from Mexico City, taking in the butterflies, the colonial charm of Morelia, artsy San Miguel de Allende and the Toltec/ Aztec pyramid site of Tula.
Need to know: Wildlife fans travelling now could combine butterflies with whales – either humpbacks off Puerto Vallarta (Pacific Coast) or grey whales off Baja California.
Swim with big fish in beautiful weather in the Philippines

Whale sharks are the world’s biggest fish, growing up to 13m long. Snorkelling alongside one is more like finning with a slow-moving train than a living creature. Simply, it’s up there with the greatest travel experiences. Donsol, a coastal village at the bottom of Luzon island, is one of the world’s best places to do it. During whaleshark season, which runs November to June (peaking February to May), there might be more than 10 whale sharks in the water at a time. Plenty of eco-operators run boat trips that allow you to snorkel with the fish in a sensitive fashion. Being the middle of the dry season, this is also a good time to explore further – the Philippines has over 7000 islands to choose from!
Trip plan: Fly from Manila to Legazpi, near Donsol, for whale sharks. Then fly south for cultural Cebu, the ‘Chocolate Hills’ and wildlife of Bohol, and the dazzling beaches of Panglao.
Need to know: Before embarking on a whale-shark trip, you must attend a briefing on how to behave around them.
Other months: Nov-Apr – dry; May-Oct – wet.
Visit Hokkaido for perfect powder, bird love and a whiskey or two

Hokkaido is Japan, but different. The northernmost of the country’s main islands is a wild, mountainous region with spectacular wildlife and a reputation for some of the finest powder snow on the planet. Snowstorms from Siberia sweep across and dust the west of the island – head to Niseko in February for world-class powder, with three large ski areas and plenty of backcountry to explore, with ski, board or snowshoe. Naturally there are steaming onsens in which to soak those weary bones after a hard day on the slopes – and plenty of spots to sip the local Nikka whisky. Winter is also the time for two of Japan’s most spectacular wildlife encounters. Head east across Hokkaido to Tsurui-Ito Tancho Sanctuary to witness the extraordinary courtship dance of the 5ft-high (1.5m) red-crowned crane and to the small town of Rausu to see hordes of white-tailed and Steller’s sea eagle – with a wingspan of up to 8ft (2.5m), arguably the world’s largest.