Jellyfish stings Australian dream job winner

Do you remember the Best Job competition, where you could win great paid job in the paradise island - Hamilton Island? Apparently this job could also be dangerous.

Ben Southall, British who won the place, has been stung by extremely venomous jellyfish called Irukandji. You can read the full story on his blog - Island Caretaker Blog

New Flights from Bournemouth

There is a good news for Dorset and Hampshire residents, as Ryanair has announced 4 new routes from Bournemouth:
  • 30th March to Malta and Ibiza (2 per week)
  • 1st April to Fuertevetura (2 per week)
  • 2nd April to Valencia (2 per week)
Ryanair has also increased the frequency of flights to Alicante and Malaga (5 per week) and to Palma (4 per week)

Christmas and New Year in Morocco

For people who are not tied to staying at home for Christmas and the New Year, Morocco offers a fascinating break at a range of riads and hotels only a short plane trip away.

Many of the riads and hotels in Morocco are open over the Christmas break and offer guests relaxation, great service and a certain exotic inspiration, just the tonic at the end of a long, hard year.

In Marrakesh, Morocco’s best known city, Marrakech Hotels such as, Riad Aya, Riad Dar Karma, Riad Isis, Riad El Cadi, Riad L’Orangeraie, Riad Dar Attajmil, Riad Dar Ilham, Riad Dar Sbihi, Riad Dar Housnia, Hotel Tigmi, Hotel Caravanserai, and Hotel La Maison Arabe all welcome guests over Christmas as well as offering spa and hammam facilities on site.

In the less visited but equally cultured city of Fez, Riad Numero 9, Riad Les Oudayas, Riad Mabrouka, Riad Alkantara, Riad Fes and Riad Ibn Battouta offer rooms in the €70-110 per night price range and welcome guests over Christmas. A stay in Fez can be combined with an overnight visit to neighbouring Meknes to stay at Riad Bahia, a small and friendly four roomed riad.

Many city riads in Morocco are small enough to be easily rented exclusively. This is popular as the service staff are still on hand to make a stay run smoothly. Riads and hotels in Marrakesh, such as Dar Warda, Riad Ksiba and Riad Zina are some of the best examples.

For people wishing to leave the city behind, then Morocco’s Atlantic coast is a fantastic destination for Christmas and the New Year. Riads Dar Liouba, Villa Allun and Lalla Mira and hotels Madada Mogador and Ocean Vagabond in Essaouira all host guests warmly over Christmas with the added benefit of offering long walks along the local beaches on Boxing day.

If physical activity is the order of the day, then a stay in the famous Atlas Mountains may be preferred. Hotel Kasbah du Toubkal and Ksar Shama offer comfortable rooms and facilities in easy access of the mountains for easy walks or multi-day treks.

For desert activities and excursions, hotels Kasbah Ennasra, Dar Azawad, Riad Dar Zitoune, Ksar Jenna and Auberge Derkaoua welcome guests and provide 4x4 and quad bike excursion, treks, camel rides and overnight Bedouin camping in the desert sand dunes.

Christmas shopping in Morocco

With Christmas on the horizon, many people are now thinking about the annual task of buying presents for all their families and friends.

One interesting option that is available is to hop on a cheap flight to Morocco and visit the famous souks of Marrakech or Fes. There, you can buy low price and unusual presents including jewellery, clothing, wood and leather goods as well as many other home decorations.

You can also combine the visit with a relaxing stay at some delightfully individual and innovative riads and hotels in Marrakech and Fes. And helpfully, many riads and hotels are also offering shopping special offers which combine discounted riads and hotel accommodation with an English speaking shopping guide as well as assistance in sending purchases home by post.

For travellers on a budget, Riad Zina, Riad El Mezouar and Riyad El Cadi all offer good quality rooms in the €100-110 per night price range, including a half day with an English speaking guide, various refreshments throughout a guest’s stay, and assistance in posting shopping goods back to the UK or Europe.

In a mid-price range, Dar Seven, is a stylish but understated and chic launch pad from which to explore Marrakech and its Souks and other shopping opportunities. This riad hotel offers a 2 nights stay or more in superior suites (its Loggia Suite and White Room) for €320 per night including half a day with an expert shopping guide, a complimentary massage, airports transfers as well as advice and assistance in shipping larger goods.

For those willing to spend a little more, there are many attractive riad and hotel options. AnaYela, also of Marrakech, is a elegant and romantic hotel which offers 3 nights in a double room for €550 per person (based on 2 sharing) including half a day with a shopping guide, airport transfers, welcome drinks and gifts, complimentary massage and, of course, advice and assistance in shipping larger goods home.

In the leafy, verdant Palmeraie district of Marrakech, only 20 minutes from the centre, Jnane Tamsna is a hotel made up of 5 luxury villa, created with flair and style by Meryanne Loum-Martin. Here, date palms planted centuries ago are colourfully surrounded with olive trees and fruit trees as well as rose-bushes and bougainvilleas. The hotel offers a shopping special of 3 nights stay in October, November and early December in a double room for €580 per person including two half days with an expert guide, a complimentary hammam per person, a complimentary shopping map and advice and assistance in shipping larger goods.

Whilst Marrakech is often a more obvious choice for guests to Morocco, the second ancient city of Fes is another good option. Here riads and hotels such as Riad Mabrouka, Riad Fes, Riad Numero 9, Riad Les Oudayas, Riad Ibn Battouta and Riad Alkantara all offer guests a high quality hotel experience in the €90-€150 price range. All these riads and hotels can assist and advise guests in getting the most out of a shopping visit to Fes.

House Parties in Marrakech and Morocco

In 2010 Marrakech and Morocco hotels and riads are experiencing an increase in the number of ‘special occasion’ celebrations where entire hotel or riad are taken over by a group party.

The house parties are proving popular for 40th and 50th birthday celebrations but also for Christmas, Easter breaks and exclusive hen parties.

The popularity of house parties in Morocco is down to the tightening of personal budgets, which means that group parties further abroad can be too expensive for at least some of the guests invited. Morocco however offers a more economic option for group celebration while still being exotic, stylish and, true to its decadent roots, well geared for partying.

Marrakech in particular offers a wide range of hotels and riads of 3-15 rooms that are ideal for house party celebrations. These Morocco hotels and riads elegantly presented, have trained staff teams on hand, and offer highly attractive rates in a competitive year for bookings.

Marrakech hotels and riads which welcome group parties include Riad el Mezouar, Riad Zina, Riad El Cadi, Riad Ksiba, Riad Dar Sbihi and hotels Tigmi and Zitoune.

The cost to hire an entire riad or small hotel in Morocco depends on the quality and size of the property in question as well as the time of the year. However, the cost of highly competitive when compared to Mediterranean or other locations abroad.

Alternative venues in Morocco that are even more unusual than Marrakech include riads in the ancient city of Fez, kasbahs at the edge of the Sahara desert or houses on the windswept but sunny Atlantic coast in towns such as Essaouira and Rabat

Atlantic coast hotels and riads in Morocco

Many people, tired of the idea of another Mediterranean holiday of packed and sticky beaches, are looking to Morocco and its relatively quiet beaches and fresh Atlantic breeze and invigorating waves. The backdrop of the exotic and colourful Moroccan culture and wide range of riads and hotels in Morocco is another draw for these visitors.

Morocco Gateway is offering an exciting range of privately owned and unique Morocco riads and hotels in resorts along Morocco’s fabled Atlantic seaboard; Essaouira hotels as well as other Morocco riads in coastal towns of Oualida, Agadir, Tangiers, and Rabat

These hotels include Madada Mogador, a modern and stylish Essaouira hotel. Whilst guests enter the hotel via a small stone staircase and an old wooden door, they will find themselves in an interior which is airy and modern, decorated simply yet stylishly with a zen-like ambiance.

Alternatively, only five-minutes walk from Essaouira’s historical port and ten minutes from its sandy beach, Villa Allun allows guests to explore Essaouira with ease, and return to a hotel furnished with lavish Moroccan style and comfort. The roof-terrace of this Essaouira hotel offers guests a place to enjoy the view over the Atlantic Ocean and to sunbathe. Complete with grill, the terrace provides an ideal place to enjoy a barbeque.

Along the coast in Rabat is another Morocco riad, Villa Mandarine, originally a farmhouse within an orange grove and since 2001 a hotel, run by the owning family, offering thirty-six rooms ranging from standard and deluxe to suite. The bedrooms have been furnished simply in a French style, are spacious, and benefit from lots of natural light. Each room has en-suite facilities and air-conditioning.

Located just forty minutes inland from Agadir and amongst lush gardens of olive and citrus trees is Riad Dar Zitoune, meaning “House of Olives. Located within a five-minute drive from the small village of Taroudant, Riad Dar Zitoune is a Morocco riad that allows guests to enjoy a peaceful break in a rural setting but to be in short distance from the sand and waves of the coast.

A week’s stay on Morocco’s coast can easily be combined with a few days in one of the country’s famous cities such as Marrakech or Fez. Anyone who has visited these cities will know that the choice of Marrakech hotels and Fes hotels is plentiful.

Or for those wanting yet more outdoor activities, a trek in the Atlas Mountains is a good option, even in summer when this mountain region and its hotels and riads all retain a certain freshness of temperature. For the more serious traveller, the destination of Morocco’s sand dunes at the edge of the Sahara can be reached within a day’s car drive

Budget Morocco

Hotels and riads in Marrakech, Essaouira and Fez and other locations throughout Morocco are listed by Morocco Gateway, which focuses on helping users to search easily for their Morocco hotels and riads of choice by providing them with information of the highest accuracy and independence.

Budget hotels and riad options in Morocco fall in the €60-90 per room per night bracket, which is competitive in spite of expensive exchange rates. For these prices, travellers can expect a room in a small but clean and well-run riad or hotel, close to the centre of Marrakech, Essaouira and Fez.

Often in this price band, Morocco hotels and riads will have small swimming pools, room service and roof top lounge areas with magnificent views. These services and facilities, when combined with the reliable North African sun, offer a certain value luxury that many travellers are looking for nowadays.

Marrakech hotels and budget riad options include Riad Villa El Arsa, a quiet and peaceful riad offering rooms at €70-80 per night with a roof-top terrace allowing guests to sunbathe and take in a view over the medina and Atlas Mountains. To cool down, there is a plunge pool in the courtyard or two indoor lounges.

In Essaouira, Lalla Mira is Morocco’s first eco hotel, sourcing its under-floor heating from solar-power and growing its own organic fruit and vegetables wherever possible. Meals encompass traditional Moroccan dishes as well as Mediterranean cuisine, and are readily available for guests who are vegetarian. Rooms here fall in the price range of only €38 for a single to €80 for the largest suite.

Also in Essaouira is Chez Rebecca, a self-catering apartment on the third floor of a house in Essaouira’s historically listed medina. The house itself is about 150 years old and was turned into apartments in 2003, renovated in 2008. It is owned by four English friends and managed by Moroccan staff. Its location is central, with food souks on the doorstep, and the beach only a ten minute walk away. Daily rental of Chez Rebecca works out at £55-£80 depending on the season.

For the budget traveller, Morocco also benefits from being served by a number of budget airlines which fly from the UK and Europe to airports in Marrakesh and Fez. Travel onto Essaouira can be easily arranged by taxi and at a reasonable cost.

Magical Marrakech

The city of Marrakech offers a fantastic activities which include spending time in the main square, the Djemaa El Fna, at the heart of the city, with its entertainers, food stalls, shops, cafes and restaurants, or browsing the souks, an amazing labyrinth of stalls selling jewellery, spices, textiles, leather goods, wood and metal works, clothing, rugs and babouches. Other activities include visiting the many famous gardens, palaces and museums of the city.

In the evening Marrakech boast an array of high quality and stylish bars, restaurants and clubs to rival any European city. In the daytime there are also a number of beach clubs, which offer large swimming pools, eating and drinking, and lounging facilities to a backdrop of music from live DJs, al under the North African sun.

For accommodation style seekers, Morocco Gateway offers Maison MK, a chic guesthouse created by fashion photographer Paul Hopkins, AnaYela that seeks to offer a “cultural, sensual and mental” experience and Le Palais Rhoul with its fine Romanesque styling in its lush out-of-town palm-grove location.

For the style-conscious on more of a budget, La Maison Arabe, Riyad el Mezouar, Riyad El Cadi and Riad L’Orangeraie all offer high standards of service, cleanliness, facilities, a central location, and double rooms for under €150 a night. Riyad el Mezouar and La Maison Arabe also offer classes on Moroccan cookery, which are always popular with visitors.

For travellers on a tighter budget, Morocco Gateway offer Riad Villa El Arsa, a quiet and peaceful riad with a roof-top terrace offering rooms at €70-80 per night, Dar Attajmil a peaceful, hidden riad with a beautiful patio courtyard, and its own library which offers room for €90 a night.

A stay in a riad in Marrakech can also be easily combined with a short stay in another of Morocco’s ancient cities of Fez and Meknes, or to the famous Atlas Mountains, to the desert region with its mystical sand dunes or Essaouira hotels on the beaches of the Atlantic coast.

Fez experiences

Many people, late-bookers amongst us in particular, are now looking at their options for summer holidays. With long distance travel and expensive hotels being somewhat out of fashion in 2009, many people are looking at Morocco, which benefits from being a short flight away from the UK and Europe. Morocco also offers a fantastic range of competitively priced high quality riad and hotel accommodation against a wonderful backdrop of the fascinating and exotic Moroccan culture, outdoor activities, and reliable north African sunshine.

Proving popular in 2009 is the city of Fez, Morocco’s second city after Marrakech. Fez is the cultural and intellectual heartland of Morocco with its palaces, gardens, souks, mosques and other buildings of note. It was the capital of the medieval Merinid empire and remains the spiritual heart of Morocco.

Morocco Gateway is offering an exciting range of raid and hotel options in Fez to suit all tastes and budgets. These include Ryad Mabrouka, a guesthouse of 6 suites and 2 rooms, complete with a small swimming pool and restaurant. Renovated and restored in 2000, Riad Mabrouka is ideal for guests looking for a comfortable stay to re-charge their batteries and also for those wanting to explore Fez and its surrounding attractions.

Alternatively Riad Fes is a larger hotel offering twenty-one rooms where guests has the option of room in a modern style or the standard rooms which provide more of a traditional Moroccan authenticity. Riad Fes also serves a complimentary breakfast on the patio outside daily, surrounding the its pool and garden.

Finally, Riad Numero 9, a charmingly traditional three-storey home, built in the eighteenth century by a wealthy merchant. The present owners originally bought the riad as a holiday home but their choice to renovate and open it as a guesthouse in 2007 allows guests to take advantage of a home from home. The riad’s three guestrooms all look over the same courtyard. The standard room is situated on the first floor and is joined by the junior suite on the other side. Ascend another staircase and guests will find the master suite, extending over the whole third floor, spacious and beautifully decorated in French, English and Asian antiques.

The city of Fez is also a good base from which to explore the surrounding region that offers the Atlas Mountains, the spa towns of Moulay Yacoub and Sidi Harazem and the calmer imperial city of Meknes.

Ryanair is cutting off some flights England - Poland

Ryanair is soon cutting 14 routes to and from Poland.

The list of the routes:
* Lodz - East Midlands, Liverpool, Shannon and Stockholm;
* Gdansk - Bristol, Brussels and Liverpool;
* Katowice - Bristol;
* Poznan - East Midlands;
* Szczecin - Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool and London (Luton);
* Wroclaw - Bournemouth

The flights stop Winter/Spring

Ryanair is also creating 8 new routes:

*Bournemouth - Faro, Limoges, Reus (Barcelona)
*Faro - Bremen, Bournemouth
*Reus - Eindhoven, Bournemouth, Nador, Poznan
*London (Luton) - Limoges

The flights start Spring/Summer

Cruising in Ecuador and Galapagos Islands

Ecuador holidays are perfect for people who love the outdoors and really like to experience Mother Nature at her best. Cruising along the coast and through the famous Galapagos Islands is the best way to see it all. These cruising and sailing holidays offer the chance to see more of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands from the water, discovering hidden bays and lost channels and then maybe combining it with an on land trip!

From luxury cruises to short island hops in the Galapagos it can all be done, and will allow you to get up close and personal to the all the unique wildlife, the tame sea lions basking in the sun on the beaches and rocks are a favourite!

If you want to see as much as you can there are also sleep aboard trips which are usually a few days long, enabling you to travel to many points around Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands which will enable you to see a lot more, and of course there will be opportunities to go swimming, kayaking and wildlife spotting .

Ecuador and Galapagos holidays never disappoint from wildlife to spectacular scenery, you will never forget the amazing things you will see!

Morocco - Wilderness Adventures

When we think about a Morocco Holiday we usually think bustling cities, bright colours, souks and markets, well you would be right, but Morocco also has a few hidden gems away from the cities all across the country just waiting to be explored.

From the north to south there is so much to see and plenty of tours, follow sparking coastlines or cross deserts by car or by camel. One of Morocco’s biggest features is the Sahara Desert and is a remarkable natural attraction to explore; being the second largest desert in the world after Antarctica it covers most of northern Africa and stretches into Morocco bordering the Atlas Mountains. Naturally this attracts lots of tourists every year and there are many Sahara Desert tours and trips to help you explore this vast area including four wheel driving tours, camel trekking safaris, quad biking and desert walks and trekking.

Another fantastic feature of Morocco are the Atlas Mountains, being the biggest mountain range in North Africa they are hardly hidden away but are vastly unexplored and often just considered a stunning back drop to the bustling city of Marrakesh.

There are actually small but thriving villages in the High Atlas with extremely friendly and hospitable residents offering stylish and traditional Moroccan accommodation, so your Morocco holiday will be filled with genuine Moroccan culture. If you are not staying in the High Atlas there are plenty of tours and trips in which you can explore the mountains, in the West and East hiking tours are extremely popular, where as the central High Atlas are popular for rock climbing and trekking.

Whatever you are into a holiday to Morocco exploring its beautiful wilderness will be sure not to disappoint!

The most popular safari destinations in Africa

South Africa is one of the best places on the planet, and the most popular for Safari holidays. Due to its diverse landscape and wildlife, safaris in South Africa are truly memorable.

Some of the most popular safari destinations from South Africa include Botswana and Tanzania. Each has their own unique landscape and wildlife. A Safari in South Africa will almost guarantee a sighting of at least one of the big five. A safari in Botswana is a once in a life time chance and truly unique as Botswana is one of the few countries in Africa that has set aside 17% of untouched wilderness for national parks and game reserves which will allow you to have an incredible foresight into what Botswana has to offer! National Parks and reserves in Botswana include Chobe National Park, Khama Rhino Sanctuary, Central Kalahari Game Reserve and many, many more!

Tanzania safaris are different but are still something special, as Tanzania is one of Africa’s largest and most diverse countries. A safari in Tanzania will allow you to explore the open plains of the Serengeti or the famous Mount Kilimanjaro.

Tanzania is also the only country in the world to have allocated 25% of its total area to national parks and protected areas. Tanzania is also home to the biggest single wildlife area in Africa, the Selous Game Reserve which is an absolute must see on a safari in Tanzania for the best safari experience in Africa!

Dive in Egypt and see some unspoilt hidden treasures in the Red Sea

Egypt diving holidays are truly memorable as Egypt offers some of the best dive sites in the world. You can do reef dives, walls and wreck diving, so depending on your experience and preference the choice is yours!

Diving is a serious business in Egypt as it brings the country a lot of tourists and money every year. As this is such a precious tool for the regions’ tourism its future has to be protected along with the reefs that line the seabed, which is why many parts of the Red Sea have been turned into protected marine parks. All the money charged to see these marine parks goes back into preserving them.

If you want to dive in Egypt you will have to decide which part you want to see as there are several places along the Red Sea Coast to explore and all are different. The most popular places to dive in Egypt are Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada but there are other, quieter, alternatives including Al Quseir, Marsa Alam and Sinai, where you will be able to see some completely unspoilt hidden treasures in the sea!

Diving in Egypt is a truly amazing experience and a must do! All divers experienced or novice will completely fall in love with Egypt and its magical Red Sea!

Galapagos Islands - one of the best places in the world to experience Mother Nature at her best

Ecuador and its Galapagos Islands are only small but are actually regarded as one of the 17 most diverse countries in the world! And the Galapagos Islands are a haven for wildlife inspired by Charles Darwin himself and his theory of evolution.

Ecuador is equally as fascinating with its diverse landscapes, from sandy beaches to the high peaks of the Andes. Being the second smallest country in South America, the first thought is there is not a lot on offer, but quite the opposite: one day you can be walking through the market in Otavalo with its traditional Ecuadorian feel and the next day trekking through Mindo Cloud Forest admiring its beautiful and diverse range of wildlife and plants, in particular the humming birds.

Ecuador holidays are fantastic for a lover of the outdoors trekking through jungles and through the Andes along with other outdoor activities such as horse riding and surfing.

The Galapagos are made up of 14 main islands and over 40 little rocky islands and lay peacefully in the Pacific Ocean one thousand kilometres of the coastline of Ecuador. A nature lovers paradise, the Galapagos Islands are the perfect place to see phenomenal amounts of diverse wildlife up close as they are very tame and used to having people around them.

The Galapagos Islands are also home to the Charles Darwin Research station, which gives a insight as to what wildlife thrive on these islands, including flamingos, penguins, the blue footed booby, giant tortoise, albatrosses and many more. P

erhaps what the Galapagos Islands are most famous for it the diving! Diving in the Galapagos Islands is a truly unique experience where you will be met with friendly seals, turtles, non aggressive sharks, rays and many species of exotic fish.

Both Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands are one of the best places in the world to experience Mother Nature at her best. A holiday to Ecuador can be active and cultural where as a trip to the Galapagos Islands are relaxing and an amazing way to see some of the most diverse ranges of wildlife in the world! So why not do both!

Mount Kilimanjaro - the highest mountain in Africa.

Tanzania is well known for its diverse landscapes, as it stretches from the plains of the Serengeti to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro which couldn’t be more different from each other! A holiday to Tanzania can be whatever you want it to be, or whatever you are into.

Perhaps the most popular and famous feature in Tanzania is Mount Kilimanjaro being one of Africa’s must see wonders there is no wonder it is such a famous attraction. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest freestanding mountain in the world standing at an impressive 5896 metres high! It is also one of the world’s highest mountains that is accessible to walkers.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa but easily accessible to all levels of climbers, as there are three main routes:
  1. If you are not a confident walker or climber, or you haven’t got a lot of time, the best place to start would be Rongai route, which is a low traffic, relatively easy route.
  2. If you’re fitness level is a bit higher and you have a bit more climbing and walking experience, then the Shira routes are the best for you and for climbers who are confident in their fitness.
  3. For the ultimate trek, for climbers who have the most experience and are extremely fit is the North route. This route is different and really cutting edge and is the best chance you will have to reach the summit.
There are many different types of route, it really does depend on you and what you want to do or what you can manage.

Many travellers say that a trip to Tanzania would not be complete without a tour of Mount Kilimanjaro; this snow caped mountain is a beautiful highlight of this fascinating country.

Kruger National Park - Unforgettable Safari Experience

Kruger National Park is situated in the North East of South Africa, Established in 1898 to protect the South African wildlife it is now one the largest game reserve in South Africa, stretching from the Crocodile River in the south the Limpopo River making it approximately 218 miles long and 41 miles wide with an approximate area of 20000 sq km.

The south of Kruger National Park is the main area to view lions and rhino; it is located between Crocodile River and the Sabie River. It is very dense vegetation here and there are plenty of species of plants and trees dominating the area and also an area of open, grassy plains.

Central Kruger is perhaps the best place for scenery and with its wide open, grassy plains also offers a haven for wildlife. You will find giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, lion, elephant, antelope and cheetah in all different areas of central Kruger.

Northern Kruger is mainly dominated tough and drought resistant forest; there are plenty of species of tree that are well equipped to deal with dry, harsh conditions. These forests are an excellent place to see elephants along with antelope, zebra, buffalo and the biggest bird in the world – the ostrich!

A safari in Kruger National Park will allow you to explore the diverse areas and see a huge range of plants and wildlife with 147 types of mammals, 507 types of birds, 148 types of reptiles and amphibians and over 330 types of trees you are spoilt for choice! Also a world leader in advanced environmental management Kruger National Park is a safe place for wildlife to be appreciated and respected.

Many people choose South Africa and in particular Kruger National Park for their safari holiday as the diversity and range of wildlife and plants you can see is unbelievable. For an amazing South Africa Safari experience you will never forget Kruger National Park is the place to visit!

Marrakesh - the "Red City" in the Africa

Also known as the ‘Red City’ because of the original red clay on the buildings and houses in the city, Marrakesh is Morocco’s most popular tourist destination with visitors returning there for their Morocco holiday every year!

Founded over 1000 years ago in the Almoravid dynasty but was destroyed sometime later, the city was rebuilt by the Almohads in the 12th century which is also when the Koutoubia Mosque and other famous landmarks were built.

There are many reasons why this ancient city is a favourite among so many people as there is so much going on! From the bustling souks the lush gardens there is something for everyone in Marrakesh.

One of the first things you will see and love about Marrakesh is the Dejemaa el Fna, this market is bustling full of Acrobats, fire eaters, snake charmers and many more enchanting features. As you walk through the market place you can soak up the atmosphere of traditional Morocco, smells and sounds you will never forget. North of the Dejemaa el Fna square market you will also find the souks; these are tiny Moroccan shops selling everything from clothes to paintings, everything soaked in traditional Moroccan culture.

Another popular tourist attraction and one of the oldest buildings in Marrakesh is the Koutoubia Mosque, it was built by Sultan Yacoub el Manour and is one of three, and the other two are in Seville and Rabat.

In Marrakesh there are also museums, ancient tombs and lush tropical gardens including the Menora Garden, Agdal Gardens and Oasis Aiea. Not forgetting the famous Atlas Mountains which create a stunning back drop to the city, Marrakesh is also the main gateway for tours and trips to the Atlas Mountains.

A holiday to Marrakesh is a promise that you will be amazed and is one of the few cities in the world where you will find a true sense of culture and natural beauty.

Bangkok - the Asian "City of Angels"

Bangkok was constructed in 1782 and is not only the capital of Thailand but also its largest city and main port. Sometimes known as the ‘City of Angels’ Bangkok is full of surprises, with its many attractions showing of its unique heritage, the fantastic markets and shopping centres along with the vibrant nightlife and so much more, making it a principle destination for most travellers.

Bangkok’s population is close to nine million so when you visit if you want to avoid the crowds and the traffic perhaps the quickest and easiest way to get around is the fantastic, modern public transport including the underground and the amazing sky train, from which you can see how amazing the city really looks.

Bangkok has an interesting blend of old and new, with its giant, modern sky scrapers to the old part of the city with temples and traditional Thai architecture. Bangkok’s temples are an integral part to the city and its heritage and are one of its main attractions. There are many temples in the city which are still in use today; if you visit the temples early in the morning you will see the Monks that live in the temples go about their morning duties dressed in the saffron coloured robes. Some of the main temples to visit in Bangkok include Wat Phra Kaew (The Emerald Buddha), Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Wat Traimit (Temple of the Golden Buddha) and many more.

Providing a beautiful insight to Thailand’s rich culture are the palaces, which are an extremely popular tourist attraction. The Grand Palace is the most famous landmark in Bangkok and therefore the most popular tourist attraction too. Tourists often include a trip to see this beautiful palace on their holiday to Thailand, with its stunning, traditional architecture and breathtaking interior decorations no wonder this former home of the Thai King is so popular and a must see attraction.

Along with the palaces and temples there are many more attractions to see on a trip to Bangkok including museums, mansions, waterways and many more, all so impressive and make a holiday to Bangkok a truly unique experience.

Taj Mahal - one the Seven Wonders of the World

Built by The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1653, the Taj Mahal is one of the most famous buildings in the world and is one the Seven Wonders of the World.

Located in Agra in India the Taj Mahal was built as a monument to the Emperor’s beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal who died giving birth to their fourteenth child. Taking twenty two years and with the hands of 22000 labours what we know as the Taj Mahal was built, enabling Emperor Shah Jahan to for fill a promise to his wife as she lay on her death bed, that he will build the world’s most beautiful monument in honour of her!

The building itself has been built entirely out of white marble, bought in especially from all over Asia costing approximately 32 million rupees which would have been the equivalent of £442000. This fascinating piece of architecture is built with a high boundary wall and at each corner has big octagonal pavilions, but perhaps the most impressive feature is the elegant dome which is 80 ft high and 60 ft wide! The beautiful Taj Mahal with semi precious stone inlaid in to the marble is also the resting place of Mumtaz Mahal and the Emperor Sha Jahan himself.

The Taj Mahal today is open to the public and is one of India’s most popular tourist attractions; many tourists include a trip to the Taj Mahal as part of their holiday to India and many include in a tour of India, including cycling holidays, walking tours and more. This beautiful monument is the ultimate symbol of true love and is a must see tourist attraction!

Egypt – Valley of the Kings

On the West bank of the River Nile lays the Valley of the Kings, not far from Egypt’s ancient capital Luxor.

The Valley of the Kings consist of two sides, the East Valley and the West Valley which is where most of the royal tombs are situated, many of the tombs in the East Valley was mainly for favourite nobles. The East side is the most popular for tourists as it is where you will find the tombs of the Pharaohs.

Evidence suggests that The Valley of the Kings was decided as the resting place over 3500 years ago by the Pharaoh Thuthmosis I with many more to follow, including Ramses IX, Ramses VI, Ramses III, Ramses I, Seti I, Tuthomosis III, Amenhotep (Amenophis) II, Horemheb and many more. The fascinating thing is that archaeologists believe there are still many more undiscovered tombs hidden under the sand!

Perhaps the most famous tomb in the Valley of the Kings is that of Tutankhamen. Although Tutankhamen was a young and not a particularly respected pharaoh in his time, but his tomb is regarded as one of the most important archaeological finds in the world, as when this tomb was discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter it was almost completely intact, unlike all others that had been robbed and left bare. Tutankhamen is also the only pharaoh (that has been discovered) that still resides in the Valley of the Kings, the rest have been moved to museums.

The tombs in the Valley of the Kings really are a key to insight what ancient Egyptian life was like, as they all display paintings and drawings on the tomb walls showing stories and portraits of everyday life.

Today The Valley of the Kings remains one of the biggest tourist attractions in Egypt. Many tourists include a trip to the Valley of the Kings on their holiday to Egypt; whether it’s cruising the Nile or a city break to Luxor, tourists from all over the world make time to see this fascinating insight of ancient Egyptian history!

Australia - Ayers Rock - Second largest monolith in the world!

Ayres Rock (now officially known as Uluru) is located in Australia’s Northern Territory and is its most famous natural landmark. Located in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park it stands at 986 ft high and 5 miles around, also extending underground 1.5 miles, making it the second largest monolith in the world!

There is archaeological evidence found around the area that suggests that people settled here more than 10000 years ago. There are also Aboriginal paintings and prehistoric art painted on to some of the caves showing vital information such as the location of water. These pictures tell us stories and were painted for many reasons including religious purposes.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about Uluru is that it changes colour often, due to the light, the atmosphere and water, and in fact in June 2004 it changed from red to violet due to the water falls on the rocks! Uluru is actually the remains or an eroded mountain range made up of a coarse sandstone called Arkose in some places at least 2.5 km thick.

Today around 500,000 tourists visit Uluru every year. Many who visit often take home a piece of the stone as a souvenir, only to return it, as some claim it brings bad luck on them for steeling!
There are many tours around Australia that include a visit to Uluru as it is so popular, this must see natural attraction should be included in any Australia holiday.

Machu Picchu - The most visited attraction in Peru

The most visited attraction in Peru and Perhaps one of the most the most famous attractions in the world, Machu Picchu is a truly mesmerising and unforgettable place!

Machu Picchu is translated into “Old Mountain” and is situated above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, 2400 metres above sea level. Known as “the lost city of the Incas” Machu Picchu was believed to have been built around 1450 at the height of the Inca empire but abandoned only 100 years later before it could be destroyed by the Spanish in their conquest of the Inca empire. It is not known for what reason the city was constructed, and there are many theories, including the traditional birthplace of the Inca people or a spiritual centre, and one suggestion it was even a prison for people who had committed very serious crimes against the Inca people and their empire!

Machu Picchu was claimed to have been rediscovered by the American historian Hiram Bingham in 1911, but there is evidence to suggest that it was discovered long before that by three people who carved their names in some stone with a date of 1901. There are also other claims to suggest it was discovered in 1904 by an engineer seeing it from another mountain and again by climbers in 1906 who actually claim to have climbed right up to the ruins. Perhaps the most fascinating thing about the discovery of Machu Picchu is that perhaps the city was never lost at all, as when Bingham publicised the discovery of the ruins in 1911 there were mummies and even some surviving families still living on the site.

Today Machu Picchu is the most popular tourist attraction in Peru and in 1983 was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in 2007 named as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World! Many people today embark on Machu Picchu tours and trips exploring the ancient city first hand. A Machu Picchu tour for most tourists is the absolute highlight on their holiday to Peru and an experience they will never forget!