New Delhi, the capital of the largest democracy in the world has a lot to offer to a traveler who is first time visiting India. Architectural relics dating back to Mauryan Period (300 BC) and its earliest reference as Indraprastha from the Mahabharat times, Delhi has been captured, sacked and rebuilt many times as the capital of the various kingdoms. With the kingdoms coming and going, Delhi has a significant history which can be seen from the historic monuments spread all over the city.
Traveling around Delhi you will also understand the way India has transformed itself from poor known country to the world’s third largest economy in terms of GDP (PPP). You will see some of the strangest things happening here, but still you will wonder how this diverse, huge and largely populated country has survived peacefully, efficiently since independence with the highest growth outputs. Traveling around New Delhi is easy due to availability of variety of modes of public transport. Delhi is not an expensive city compared to other Indian and international cities of the same level. However, in this guide we will still be stressing on making your stay and traveling even more economical and comfortable with the help of certain tips, information on travel and hotel coupons and other services provided officially by the government of Delhi or other private and commercial organizations.
How to Reach Delhi?
Delhi being one of the largest business, financial, tourist, educational and political hub of South Asia has one of the busiest airports and railway stations in the world.
Indira Gandhi International Airport is only 16 KM away from the city centre. The cheapest and fastest way to reach the city centre from the Airport is through Airport Express Metro Rail. It connects the New Delhi railway Station (adjacent to the city centre Connaught Place) with the Airport. A single trip costs mere ₹150 and around 30-40 minutes. If you are a frequent traveler on this line you can also buy a 45 trip or 60 trip monthly coupon pass which costs ₹2000 and ₹2300 respectively for traveling between these two stations.
Radio taxis are also a comfortable and easy way to commute from the Airport which have good and fixed fair and you will not have to bargain or fight with the drivers. You may find the coupons for Radio taxi in the stalls established as soon as you come out of the arrival section. Other cheaper taxi option is Government prepaid taxi, they will provide you prepaid coupon for much cheaper rate from the stalls inside the arrival section, before coming out.
Where to Stay in Delhi?
From low budget to high budget, Delhi has large number of options available for the travelers. There are large number of lodges to five star hotels on par with international standards. Almost all the big names in the category of luxurious and corporate five star hotels have their presence in the capital of India. But, if you are looking for the cheaper ones head to Pahargunj or Karol Bagh. Pahargunj has some of the cheapest lodges in Delhi and is strategically situated adjacent to New Delhi Railway Station and the centre Connaught Place. Pahargunj is often termed as the back side of New Delhi (not so good part of the city) the area is extremely crowded and the streets are narrow, however you will find cheapest food and lodges close to the central Delhi. (Note: Be careful when eating outside, always drink packaged mineral water).
There are also large number of normal and high budget hotels which often come up with schemes, try to grab those deal and keep checking travel and hotel coupons websites.
Top 5 Destinations and Places to Visit in New Delhi
1. Connaught Place
|TWR team at Central Park in Connaught Place, Delhi|
Located in the central Delhi, Connaught place is one of the major financial and business hub of Delhi which reflects a flavour of English rule. The place has some of the best night clubs, bars, pubs and multi-cuisine restaurants in Delhi. Rajiv Chowk metro station of the Delhi Metro opens right at the central park in the Connaught Place. Use metro coupon passes issued as smart card in all the metro station to get 10% discount on your every trip in Delhi Metro.
Connaught place is coupled with Janpath Marktet and Emporium street (Baba Khadak Singh Marg). Janpath market has everything that you would need to give your friends once you return your home. From high quality souvenirs, Indian Jewellery and Aromas and other traditional items to low cost daily wear clothes. Be ready to bargain here, one tip is to directly reduce the price you are willing to pay to the half of what the shopkeeper told you. It would be good if you have an Indian friend to help you. Baba Khadak Singh Marg has some of the quality emporiums from different states of India exhibiting their culture and traditions. You can buy home decorative things to traditional clothes and souvenirs. All prices are fixed and maintained by the Government, no need to bargain. On the way to emporiums you will find Khadi Gramodyog Bhawan or Khadi Emporium, buy India’s pure and original herbal products and cosmetics from here, again it is a government shop and closes by 6 PM.
Places near Connaught Place: India Gate, Jantar Mantar, Railway Museum, President House
2. India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhawan ( President House)
Take a taxi or Auto Rickshaw (tuk tuk) from Connaught Place to reach Rashtrapati Bhawan, or get down at Central Secretariat metro station (Yellow and Violet Line) from Rajiv Chowk metro station and walk a bit to North Block/South Block (cheaper and recommended). Rashtrapati Bhawan is the largest residence of any chief of the state in the world. It is accompanied by huge twin structures of North block and South block. The view of Rashtrapati Bhawan is magnificent as you climb up the Raisena hill from the Vijay Chowk, as you climb you will feel the magnificent structure rising in the sky. Getting down to the same road will lead you to India Gate.
India gate is walk able from Rashtrapati Bhawan, the road connecting these two is known as Rajpath where every year military parade occurs on Republic Day (26th January). India Gate is an arch monument, a first world war memorial dedicated to the Indian soldiers who were killed in action during first world war. Surrounded by the lush green grasses and wide roads of Delhi. India gate is one of the most popular destination for the tourists in Delhi. Best time to go there is in the evening and stay here till the dark. You will have one of the best experience here if you visit this place and Rashtrapati Bhawan between January 26th to January 29th at night, as these places are well lit because of Republic Day celebrations.
3. Akshardham Temple
Akshardham Temple in New Delhi is the world’s largest comprehensive Hindu Temple. Officially opened in November 2005, the temple is relatively new and has modern features. With its big size, big area, and beautiful carvings and paintings all over, you need at least one whole day to spend here to see, learn and admire most of the things presented here.
Apart from the regular temple functionality, this religious place offers more entertaining and informative ways to involve in the spiritual environment. There is a video presentation on a large IMAX theater featuring the early life of Swaminarayan. There is a boat ride in the cave exhibiting Indian culture and ancient Indian science and mathematical achievements. And there is musical fountain presentation after aarti based on the messages of Upanishads.
Please beware that camera, mobile phone or any baggage except female hand bag is not allowed inside the temple complex. Leave them in your car or in the cloak room. The earlier you go the better it is, as the crowd increases by time. There would be a huge queue for security check up. The complex is closed on Monday.
4. Qutub Minar
|TWR Team at Qutub Minar|
72.5 metres (237.8 ft) high, Qutub Minar is the tallest free standing brick minaret in the world. The complex is easily reachable from Qutub Minar metro station of Delhi Metro (Yellow Line). The main gate is however slightly far, but walk able from the metro station. The complex consists of variety of architecture from ancient Indian to relatively newer Islamic architecture including Qutub Minar built in 1193 A.D. The entry fees for Indians is Rs 10 and for Foreigners is Rs 250.
The complex has lush green lawns and other ancient and medieval period temple ruins. Qutub Minar was itself built with the materials of these ruins. Just nearby there exists an Iron Pillar which belongs to medieval Hindu period of Delhi. Standing tall for past 1600 years, this 7 m tall iron pillar has attracted the attention of metallurgists and archaeologists, as it has not rusted yet. The pillar has been called as “a testament to the skill of ancient Indian blacksmiths.”
If you are planning to go here, make it little earlier as this complex will start closing from 5:30 PM. After this if you have some time you can head to Delhi haat, which is a beautiful traditional style themed market where you will find handicraft and other traditional things and authentic Indian food, sweets and snacks from all over India. The best time to go to haat is March-April and September to December, as at this time weather is good, tourists are more and there are more stalls and colorful nights. We have been there in winters and I heard complaints from the people who were in stalls about the extreme weather, less number of tourists and pale environment.
|TWR team at Delhi Haat|
5. Lotus Temple
Completed in 1986, the temple has its faith associated with the Bahai community. With its popular lotus shape design, the temple has won several architectural awards. Come to this place if you want to sit in peace and meditate. There are periodically short prayers in the temple sung by the members. Temple is open to the people of all faiths or religions to meditate together under the same roof. In 2002, the temple became one of the most visited buildings in the world surpassing Taj Mahal and Eiffel Tower. The temple is easily reachable from Kalka Ji Mandir Metro station (Violet Line).
The temple requires extreme discipline from the visitors, you can enter inside the main temple building in batches making queue. Mobile phones should be on silent mode and conversation or talking is not allowed inside the temple.
In the proximity of the temple, another internationally famous temple of ISKCON is present which is dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is worth visiting their during the time of Aarti. The temple is closed on Mondays.
Some Tips and Warnings
For experiencing Delhi properly you need at least two weeks dedicated to this city. Delhi has the ability to make you travel in time from ancient period to the modern era.
All the places which we have mentioned are connected with Delhi’s state of the art HOHO bus service (Hop On Hop Off) except the Akshardham Temple. You can buy HOHO bus travel coupon on their website HoHo Delhi. There are two dedicated bus routed (Red and Green), and covers a vast number of attractions.
Be careful before planning a week long trip for Delhi. Keep your Mondays free as on Monday almost all the major attractions in Delhi are closed including the HOHO bus service. On Monday you can plan to visit places like world class malls in Saket, Gurgaon and Noida where you can try ice skating, freeze lounge amusement parks, an experience of being in the sea cruise and authentic Indian food or movie within these malls. Also visit Kingdom of dreams in Gurgaon which is a complete package of all entertainment.
Delhi at present is considered unsafe for women due to increasing number of crimes against women in recent days and it is recommended to be cautious on the street against eve teasers, it is better to be in group and avoid late nights outside.
There are a lot of places of interest in Delhi, please share your favourite destination or food joint in the comments section below.
Barcelona, the top-3 ‘MICE’ tourism destination of the world
Corporative tourism —also known as ‘MICE’ tourism mobilized around 18,000 million euros in 2016 in Spain. According to the Spanish Convention Bureau, the number of events, conventions and meetings in Spain has increased by 16%, while the MICE sector worldwide will grow by more than 5% in the next years. The country ranks 13th worldwide in a market led by China and the US, but Barcelona and Madrid are in the Top 10 of the favorite European cities to organize congresses and events.
What is MICE tourism?
The acronym MICE stands for meetings, incentives, conferencing & exhibitions. It is a niche area of tourism that is focused around the planning and booking of groups for large events, conferences or seminar. A top class MICE event organised to showcase your products, build new client relationships, host a company event or to reward your employees for their hard work is an investment and usually it’s one to remember.
The players in the MICE field include corporate meeting planners, meetings and convention departments of hotels, conference centers or cruise ships, food and beverage managers, logistics firms, private tour operators and transfer companies, incentive houses, professional trade organizations, tourism boards, tourism trade associations, and travel-selling professionals. Destinations often market themselves as MICE locations and bid for events through their convention and visitor bureaus. They might be able to offer subsidies to attract large events because of the increased revenue the visitors provide through their economic impact on the host location.
Barcelona, the best city in Spain to celebrate events and conferences
The good position of Barcelona as a destination of congresses and meetings is increasingly more evident and, recently, the Catalan capital has been placed in third position in the prestigious world ranking drawn up by the ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) to establish which are the most relevant cities and states in MICE tourism (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions), and it is placed ahead of other very important destinations in the sector such as Vienna or London. The Catalan city was hot on the heels of the first two in the ranking —Berlin and Paris — and acts as a pole of attraction to boost the organisation of events all over Catalonia.
The offering to organize events and congresses in the city is wide thanks to the presence of companies such as Eventos Barcelona, an event management agency in Barcelona specializing in artistic and technical production of events for companies, meetings, incentive travels, conventions or gala dinners.
During 2017, Barcelona hosted 2,134 congresses and conventions —10.5% more than in 2016. More than 675,000 delegates participated in these events, and their economic impact in the city is estimated at 1,850€. Throughout 2017, Barcelona obtained the best results since it entered in the MICE tourism industry, increasing its benefits 21% more than the previous year, as reported by the Turisme de Barcelona consortium. The last six months were a little weaker due to the effects of the attack of August 17th and the independence mobilizations of October 1st, but thanks to the entrance of the summer season the city has returned againt to the highest level.
‘Bleisure’and gastronomy, the key to success in MICE tourism
‘Bleisure’ is the buzzword in corporate tourism. Its name mixes the B of business with the word pleasure —that is, combining business trips with pleasure tourism. Therefore, many events are organized in local destinations and non-conventional spaces. The salons and conventional spaces lose importance against of unusual spaces, which are also more profitable because visitors can enjoy a wider leisure offer (such as spas, cursos de coctelería, showcookings) and team building activities, combining both work and fun in an entertaining and relevant way.
Nowadays, congresses and events want to offer a more friendly, funnier face than the pompous and rigid meetings of yesteryear. The idea is to personalize the experience of a congress with the emotional connection of each assistant thanks to the flexible and dynamic spaces. This emotional connection is achieved by taking care of the details, which is valued above all in the younger generations. Interactive and collaborative activities, non-traditional speakers and sessions with a spirit of commitment rather than instructive are the booming formats.
Gastronomy is another distinguishing factor for MICE events’ success. The youngest attendants to these events –mostly workers under 40 appreciate that the culinary proposals of the events include healthy alternatives, fresh food, fruits and foods that provide energy, instead of unnecessary huge meals full of empty calories. Also, mixing the gastronomic experiences and technology is very helpful. Incorporating innovative cuisine techniques and exotic foods with creative, very ‘instagramable’ preparations, are all a synonym of success. Once again, new technologies provide another guideline on how to succeed in these events.
Discover natural wonders found nowhere else in the world with a Galapagos Island cruise
If the Galapagos Islands are not on your bucket list yet, then they should be. This unique and beautiful place is home to amazing creatures and scenery you will not find anywhere else on the planet.
And there is really only one way to truly experience the wonder of it all – from the sea. Only that way can you discover all there is to fall in love with.
Experience a real island paradise
Situated around 620 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, this magnificent archipelago of 19 islands, and many more small islets, is also known as the Enchanted Islands. And for good reason.
Each island is unique and beautiful in it’s own way, whether it has stunning white sandy beaches or dark, forbidding and barren volcanic rocks. Add this to the sapphire blue waters surrounding them, and the abundance of wildlife, and this is something that every visitor will remember for the rest of their lives.
There is nothing else like it, and Galapagos island cruises are just the thing to see it all in it’s full glory, where travellers can enjoy the majesty, the sounds of nature and experience the intimacy of such a special location, with a specialist guide and every need catered for.
It is best to travel at night, making the most of the epic night sky as you have never seen it before, and using the day time to explore the different islands and what they have to offer.
Get up close and personal with nature
The Galapagos Islands themselves, and the surrounded marine reserve, are a perfect melting pot of marine species. Ideally located at the confluence of three ocean currents, with islands created through ongoing volcanic activity, it has allowed flora and fauna to develop in such a way that is simply unique to this area.
It has been called a ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’ due to the species thriving there. So much so, that when Charles Darwin arrived on his ship The Beagle, the things he saw later led to his development of the theory of evolution.
Add all of this to the extreme isolation of the islands, and a lack of natural predators, the wildlife has little fear of inquisitive visitors and are just as likely to observe you as you are them.
Playful sea lions and gigantic and majestic sea tortoises allow humans to get up close is a way you will not find anywhere else. If you have not booked your visit yet, what are you waiting for, a Galapagos cruises last minute trip is one you will never regret.
Check out each island and it’s amazing uniqueness
Each island has its own features and persona. Take for example Santa Cruz island, which hosts the largest city, Ayora. Here you can visit the Darwin centre and see where the turtles and iguanas come to breed.
Then there is Isabela island – the largest in the archipelago. Formed from five volcanoes, and still active, reaching as high as 1,700 feet, this island is a landscape of petrified lava, and home to flocks of flamingos and giant tortoises.
Fernandina island is also an active volcano, but you are able to set foot on the island at Punta Espinosa to see many thousands of marine black iguanas warming themselves on the rocks in the sunshine, and red crabs moving about the rock.
Then on the islands with beaches, such as Rabida Island, you get the rare chance to see sea lions in their own habitat, playing with their young, and relaxing.
And this is only a tiny fraction of the things you can see in this beautiful place. Description does not do it justice, it has to be seen and felt to truly appreciate this inspirational location.
When is the Best Time to Vacation in the French Riviera?
While many people are happy to go on vacation at a particular time of the year, there are some locations where the weather is so hot tourists are advised to stay away during the summer season. Other locations are too cold during the winter months, whereas some offer visitors the very best at that time of year. So if you’re determined to trawl through some french riviera vacation rentals lists so you can stay in this lovely part of the world, how do you know you’ll be visiting this location at the best time of the year? It’s easy, just read on for more information:
One of the very best times to visit the beautiful French Riviera is at any time. That’s right, there is no specific month that offers you so much more than any other month. Every season and every month within each of the seasons offers something wonderful. Of course, the range of activities that are on offer from month to month will vary with the seasons, but there is always a lot to do in this part of the world.
The French Riviera in:
In January, the temperatures tend to be as low as 8° Celsius, meaning you’re unlikely to be able to sun yourself on the beach. However, this time of year is great for anyone who loves to head to the ski slopes and brush up on their skills. This means if you’re an avid ski-fan, you should think about heading to the French Riviera in January.
At this time of year, you’re unlikely to see much nightlife, however, if you insist on partying you should think about heading to Monaco as the International Circus Festival takes place and is not to be missed!
During the month of February, temperatures tend to be around 9° Celsius, just slightly warmer than the previous month. This is also when the tourist season starts, meaning many hotels will open their doors once more after a bit of a break. February happens to be the month when the Carnival of Nice and the Fête du Citron (Lemon Festival) takes place.
In March, temperatures rise a few degrees, and you can expect to see them rise to 11° Celsius. While it might not be warm enough to head to the beach and swim in the sea, if you’re a lover of all-things skiing, this is the best time of year to visit. You may also want to head to this part of the world in March as the Paris-Nice bicycle race takes place, as does the Festin des Cougourdons, which is worth seeing. So book your villa and enjoy the start of spring.
Temperatures in April can be as high as 12° Celsius, making it feel a little more like spring. Although you may be tempted to visit the French Riviera at this time of year, you should be aware that the area does get pretty busy during the Easter holidays. If you insist on coming here in April, you may want to pay a visit to the Honey Festival that takes place on the last Sunday in the month in Mouans-Sartoux.
In May, the average temperature is around 16° Celsius, making it one of the better months to visit this part of the world. You may want to be aware that in May there are quite a few national holidays which means traffic tends to get quite busy. May is also the month when the Formula 1 Grand Prix is held in Monte Carlo, so you may want to avoid Monte Carlo during May if you’re not a fan of racing. However, if you love film festivals then you’re in for a real treat as the Cannes Film Festival takes place during this month. If you want to do a spot of movie star spotting, Cannes is the place to be.
With temperatures as high as 20° Celsius, the first signs of summer are seen. Beaches in the French Riviera start to get a little busier as the sea’s temperature rises, and the sun beats down quite strongly. This could be a really good month for you to book your villa as the French aren’t officially on their summer vacation just yet.
In July, the average temperature is around 23° Celsius, and the whole of the French Riviera seems to be partying. The Nice Jazz Festival takes places in July, as does the Cannes Nuits Musicales du Suquet. In fact, there are quite a few musical events taking place this month. One festival that you simply cannot miss is the International Festival of Fireworks which is located in Monaco.
During the month of August, you can expect temperatures of 23° Celsius, even though it can feel quite a bit warmer. There is a national holiday on the 15th of August, but once that’s over and done with you should expect the area to be less crowded. This means you’ll have plenty of room to sun yourself on the beaches, and you may even want to head to Les Nuits du Sud in Vence, a fantastic music festival.
September is the month when temperatures start to fall. During this month, you should expect to see an average temperature of 21° Celsius. The good news is it’s still beach weather, despite it not feeling quite as warm. Head to Cannes if you get the chance so you can visit the Boat and Yacht Show. You may also want to find out when the Journees du Patrimoine takes place as national and local monuments are open to members of the public during one weekend this month.
In October, temperatures can be as low as 16° Celsius, and this month can be quite wet, but this isn’t always the case. The good news is there are some excellent festivals taking place in October, such as the boat race in Saint Tropez, and a fair in Vence.
During the month of November, you should see temperatures reaching just 12° Celsius, which means the beaches are usually pretty quiet. However, the local bars and nightclubs tend to be very busy, and the International Dance Festival takes place in Cannes, making everyone want to go out and dance a little more. If you’re in Monaco on the 19th, you may want to stick around for the celebrations as this day is Monaco National Day.
With temperatures as low as 10° Celsius, many locals hotels start to close for the Christmas holidays. The good news is that visitors to the area have the chance to enjoy local Christmas markets, buying souvenirs and presents to take home.
As you can see, the French Riviera is the ideal place to visit any time of the year, so make sure you book a place to stay during your chosen month and get ready to have a great time in this stunning part of the world.
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