Singapore: A World of Communities and Culture

For many years, Singapore’s developers have been keen to evolve their urban space into a so-called ‘City in a Garden’ – a ‘Bustling metropolis nestled in a lush mantle of tropical greenery.’ To a large extent, they’ve done this.

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And yet, Singapore could also be described as a city in a ‘Garden of rich and fascinating ethnic communities and cultures’. And just like the city’s green spaces, these ethnic communities, and the rich culture that they bring to the city, offer the potential for unforgettable travel experiences. Singapore’s Muscat Street، Kampong Glam ‘Arab Street’, Chinatown and Little India are four of them not to be missed.

Muscat Street

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Singapore’s well-known Muscat Street, which is the location of the Masjid Sultan mosque, was named after the Sultanate of Oman’s capital, and recently reopened after an extensive renovation program. The street is an important link for Singapore-Oman relations, and a showcase of the diverse culture of these two societies.

Kampong Glam (Arab Street)

Kampong Glam is a gem of Singapore’s history and culture, and a good place to experience the hospitality of the Singaporean Malay people, and the city’s old and new Arabic and Muslim culture. When you’re here, don’t miss out on seeing one of the most important mosques in Singapore – the Masjid Sultan (Malay for Sultan Mosque), which was first built in 1826. Also, don’t miss out on the shopping adventures (for traditional goods, handicrafts etc) along Bussorah Street and Muscat Street.

Chinatown

While Singapore’s Chinatown consists of several precincts, each with its own character, much of area contains restored houses converted into dozens and dozens of tiny shops, market spaces, and eateries. It is the perfect place to wander around to see what you can find. During the ChineseNew Year, the Chinatown Food Market also comes alive with lion dances and other similar street performances. While you’re here, don’t miss out on the Chinatown Heritage Centre, with its excellent museum chronicling how the place came into existence.

Little India

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Little India is a buzzing ethnic district east of the Singapore River – across from Chinatown – which has its roots in the Tamil community of Singapore. These days, it represents the best of the Singapore Indian community’s vibrant culture and heritage. As you walk down Little India’s Serangoon Road and neighbouring streets, you’ll experience a wonderful mix of Hindu and Chinese temples, mosques and churches. Of course, one of the highlights of Little India is the delicious South Indian vegetarian food, and North Indian tandoori dishes on offer. Little India is especially worth a visit during the spectacular celebrations of Deepavali – the Hindu ‘Festival of Lights’.

 

Oman Air flies you to Singapore all week. Book here.

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The Beauty of Birding in Oman

In the language of enthusiastic bird-watchers, the Sultanate of Oman as a birding destination is ‘under-watched’. When they say under-watched, they mean that for the large number of bird species in the Sultanate, there are a relatively few number of birding enthusiasts going out to spot them. They also mean that not enough people have realised the magnificent potential for birding that Oman offers.

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According to the Environment Society of Oman, over 480 species of birds have been recorded in the Sultanate. Considering that a large part of the country is covered in desert, and that there is relatively little vegetation throughout most of the country, this is an impressive number, say bird watching experts.

Of these hundreds of species found in Oman, many are strikingly beautiful and colourful. Many of them also exhibit the type of fascinating behaviour and habits and migration movements – which are of keen interest to birders. And very conveniently, many of them can be easily tracked down via the excellent road infrastructure that exists throughout the Sultanate. Oman is a bird-watching paradise. And it would be a shame for its birds to continue being under-watched!

Birding country

Bird-watchers in the Sultanate are very privileged, in that their adventures to track down Oman’s birds in their natural habitats will lead them to some of the most interesting natural terrain and fauna and flora on the Arabian Peninsula. Here are some of the well-known birding spots…

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Al Batinah Coastline

This section of shoreline stretches in a northwest direction away from Muscat, and includes the Mangrove stands that are just north of the coastal town of Sohar. The region is excellent for viewing waders, gulls, terns, and in summer, the Sooty Falcon. The Sohar Sun Farms is a vast farming complex near Sohar, which is also home to a vast range of birds – and often, and enthusiastic bunch of birdwatchers.

Musandam Peninsula

The steep sea cliffs and fjords of the Musandam enclave at the northernmost tip of the Arabian Peninsula are the location of nesting sites of numerous species of seabirds – including huge, spectacular flocks of the Socotra Cormorant (they sometimes number in their thousands when flocking).

Ash Sharqiyyah Region

While much of the Ash Sharqiyyah region consists of sparse desert terrain, the coastlines are teaming with life – and birds. The famous Turtle watching beaches around Ras Al Hadd are the temporary home of many migratory birds, including the beautiful Redbilled Tropicbird, as well as various wader species.

Al Hajar Mountains

One of the most exciting events in the world of ornithology was the discovery of a reported news species of owl, now named the Omani Owl, which was discovered in the Al Hajar Mountains. But these mountains hold dozens of other bird species as well – in what is magnificent scenery.

Masirah Island

Masirah Island and the nearby Bar Al Hikman Peninsula are home to huge numbers of bird species and especially, seabirds. Along with Masirah, there are also the enchanting Hallaniyat Islands off the coastline of Dhofar, and the Daymaniyat Islands and Fahal Island, near Muscat – all of which are extremely important to Oman’s birds (including breeding Sooty Falcons).

Muscat and Surroundings

The parks and gardens dotted around Muscat itself offer fantastic opportunities for bird-watching, and the chance to see species like the Yellow Wagtail, Purple Sunbird, Grey Francolin, Common Kingfisher, White-spectacled Bulbul, and Rose-ringed Parakeets. Al Qurum Natural Park is home to a surprising number of interesting birds too – including the colourful Indian Roller and Green Bee-eater. The coastline around Muscat also offers the chance to see a range of seabirds – like various herons, waders, gulls and terns. And the Al Ansab wetland area has a reported 291 species of bird, which makes it another popular watching spot. Interestingly, the Sunub waste disposal site outside Muscat is a premier site for observing large numbers of eagles and vultures.

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Richly rewarding birding For birders, the Dhofar region in southern Oman deserves a special mention. Here there is Afro-tropical forest vegetation in the interior, stretches of beach and rocky shoreline, as well as estuary systems (known locally as khors) that open up into the sea during the rainy Khareef monsoon season. During the Khareef season, the constant drizzle causes the plants, grasses, trees, shrubbery and natural vegetation in the hills and valleys around Dhofar to come to life. On the coastline, Bridled Terns, Skuas, and Jouanin’s Petrel can all be viewed – as well as Red-necked Phalaropes in large numbers. The coastal khors are a haven for water birds, with Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, Lesser Flamingos, African Spoonbills, and many others commonly being seen.

In the interior of Dhofar, the mountain forests are home to many afro-tropical species, such as the African Paradise Flycatcher, Shining Sunbird, and the Yellow-bellied Green Pigeon. Hume’s Tawny Owl, Spotted Eagle Owl, African Scops Owl and Verraux’s Eagle are also found here, among many other special birds. Dhofar offers exceptional territory for bird-watching, and any trip done here in search of birds, will be richly rewarded.

 

Oman Air flies you to Oman from over 48 destinations in the world. Book here.

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Bangkok Markets: The Best of Bangkok Culture

For travellers, Bangkok’s street markets, food bazaars and floating markets combine shopping and sightseeing into one great adventure. And they offer an unforgettable look into the life and spirit of Thailand’s past, present, and future.

The street markets, food bazaars and floating markets dotted around Bangkok offer a fascinating insight into the life and tradition of this exotic and legendary South East Asian city. In fact, the markets of Bangkok could well be considered one of the world’s defining travel experiences. And they are reason enough to travel here.

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Or Tor Kor Market

Or Tor Kor Market is one of the most famous fresh goods markets in South East Asia. Without a doubt, it’s also one of the most famous in the world for passionate foodies, cooks, and travelling chefs. With such a huge range of exotic fruits, fresh vegetables, meats and seafood on offer, it is hard not to be inspired to want to purchase everything you need to make a memorable meal. Of course, there’s plenty ready-to-eat meals available here too – like steamed fish curry custard, som tam, chilli paste dishes, green and red curries, vegetable stir-fried dishes, deep-fried fish, grilled prawns, and much, much more. Or Tor Kor is a food experience of a lifetime. Or Tor Kor is next to Kamphaeng Phet Station, in the central art of the city (opposite the Chatuchak Weekend Market). Opening Times: Every day from 6 am until 8pm.

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Klong Suan ‘100 Years’ Market

It’s been said that the best way to ‘see’ Klong Suan is too sample small taste offerings from each of the food stalls as you make your way around market, before settling down to a sit-down lunch of whatever takes your fancy. Khlong Suan is a canal which once provided the easiest way to journey from Bangkok to the more easterly Bang Pakong River. The market sprung up along this canal more than 100 years ago, and it is packed with lines of tiny, old-fashioned wooden shops and storefronts that are filled with an endless array of food products and household supplies. This is classic old-style Thai market territory. So do not come here without your camera! Klong Suan is located around 20 kilometres east of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. Opening Times: Every day from early morning to around 4pm.

Chatuchak Market in Bangkok

Chatuchak ‘Weekend’ Market is the largest market in Thailand. Its sheer size – there are around 8000 market stalls here – and the availability of all different kinds of merchandise here is truly astounding. It’s been said that if you can dream it up in your mind, the market at Chatuchak probably has it in stock! The whole area is divided into several sections – the clothing and accessories section; handicrafts; ceramics; furniture and home décor items; foods and beverages; plants and gardening tools; art; pets and pet accessories; books; antiques and collectibles; and a miscellaneous and used clothing section. Chatuchak is located next to Kamphaeng Phet Station, in the central part of the city (opposite the Or Tor Kor Market). Opening Times: The weekend market is open on Saturdays and Sundays (9am to 6pm), and Fridays (6pm until 12pm). The plant sections are open on Wednesdays and Thursdays (7am until 6pm).

Bangkok Flower Market

Bangkok Flower Market (also known as Pak Klong Talad) is the biggest wholesale and retail fresh flower market in Bangkok. For travellers, the prices are incredibly cheap. And the range of flowers and flora-related items is spectacular. Some tourism guides suggest the best time to visit the market is in the early hours of the morning – from around 3am to 4am – when flower vendors prepare their merchandise for the day ahead. The Flower Market is located on Chak Phet Road, near the Memorial Bridge, in central Bangkok. Opening Times: Open 24 hours a day.

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Rod Fai Market (‘Train Market’)

Rod Fai Market is one of Bangkok’s more modern market offerings. It is an open-air bazaar home to a bunch of passionate vendors and hobbyists selling vintage collectables from days gone by – from antique furniture, to vintage car parts, iconic brand memorabilia, and much more. Rot Fai Market is located just behind Seacon Square Shopping Mall, between central Bangkok and Suvarnabhumi Airport. Opening Times: From sunset to midnight, Thursday to Sunday.

Bang Nam Pheung Floating Market

Bang Nam Pheung is one of Bangkok’s slower paced and more low-key and peaceful floating markets (although it stills gets very busy at times). It is surrounded by lush, green, tropical vegetation, and is more a combination of ‘floating market’ and ‘land-based market’, as there are vendors selling their wares from boats in the river, as well as a series of stalls and market stands located on solid ground. The array of freshly prepared traditional dishes on offer here – either prepared by cooks in the river on their long-tail boats, or by the hard-working stall owners on land – is truly astounding, and makes for an unforgettable Thai cuisine adventure. Bang Nam Pheung is located about 10 kilometres southeast of downtown Bangkok. Opening Times: On weekends from 7am until 3pm. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Damnoen Saduak is the most popular and well-known floating market in Thailand. Because of this, it tends to be somewhat touristy and overcrowded, but it remains a place for excellent photo opportunities, excellent food, and an excellent experience of the beautifully organized chaos and colour of a Thai floating market. Many travellers visit Damnoen Saduak as part of a day outing tour group, as it is 110 kilometres west of Bangkok. Opening Times: Daily from 7am until 11am.

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Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market

The chance to float around one of Bangkok’s canals on a traditional long-tail boat tour is one of the main reasons why visitors love making their way to Khlong Lat Mayom. That – and the food. At Khlong Lat Mayom, next to its main canal, are dozens and dozens of food stalls serving everything from fried squid to spicy salads, tropical fruits, barbecued pork and chicken kebabs, red and green Thai curries, and dried fish. This delicious food can be partnered with smoothies, potent coffee, iced tea or freshly prepared fruit juice. Like all of the floating markets of Bangkok, Khlong Lat Mayom gives a fascinating insight into the daily life of the Thai river people – and also what ‘Old Thailand’ must have been like hundreds of years ago. Khlong Lat Mayom is situated about 18 kilometres west of downtown Bangkok. Opening Times: Weekends and public holidays from 9:30am until 5pm.

Talin Chan Floating Market

One of the fascinating attractions at Talin Chan, are the hundreds of huge catfish swimming along the surface of the canal waters – and waiting to snap up any sort of food titbit thrown into the water. Floating markets seem to be irresistible destinations for tourists, and Talin Chan is definitely one of the better ones. A morning or afternoon here can be spent sampling some of South East Asia’s finest food delights, being guided in a long-tail boat around the canals here, shopping through a vast array of market homeware, clothing and gift stores, and even getting relaxing foot massage for a very good price. There’s also often traditional Thai music on the go here, which adds to Talin Chan’s allure. Talin Chan is situated about 12 kilometres northwest of downtown Bangkok. Opening Times: Weekends from 9:30am until 5pm.

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Oman Air flies you to Bangkok all week. Book your tickets here.

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Shanghai

There are not many cities in the world that showcase a skyline better than Shanghai

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Second tallest building in the world!

An insight in the life that resides on the street and unfolds each passing day in Shanghai.

shutterstock_182442122Maglev Train is something not to be missed in Shanghai. This train reaches high speeds in a short period. Its highest speed is 431 km/h

Oman Air will be flying you soon to Shanghai. Watch this space!

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Adventure Holidays In Oman

If you love adventure travelling, Oman is the place you should visit now. Its impressive scenery pleads for discovering a wide range of activities which will delight your inner adventurous traveler.

Rock climbing & Abseiling

If you wish to go a bit further and want to increase that level of excitement and if Rock Climbing and Abseiling is your game then there is no better place than the Hajjr peaks. These beautiful sea cliffs are visited by climbers from all over the world. First timers can also try ‘by wire’ routes at Bander Khayran, Snake Canyon, and Jebel Shams.

 

Four Wheel Drive Tours

Hajjr Mountains are stunning when it comes to a four wheel drive tour, it is one of the most breathtaking journey you can ever imagine.

 

Marine activities & water sports

Oman has an exceptional blend of natural coral reefs, vivid coastal scenery and inspiring wreck-diving (ship wrecks) experiences. After all Oman is currently considered one of the top ten dive spots in the world, with scuba divers coming from across the globe.

Check out this video on diving in Oman:

Oman’s coastline stretches around 3,165 kilometers. These beaches overlook Sea of Oman, Arabian Sea and the Straits of Hormuz. These beaches are tourist friendly and are perfect for summer holidays. Fishing and marine excursions are also ideal with such diverse geographical make up.

 

Visit Oman to experience these exciting adventures and much more. Oman Air flies you to Oman from over 48 destinations in the world.

Book Now: http://www.omanair.com/

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AMSTERDAM

Canal Cruise

Canal Cruise

Amsterdam has 165 waterways which creates a seemingly floating city of 90 islands connected by 1,281 bridges. A canal cruise is a must-do activity in Amsterdam on your next visit.

 

Amsterdam City

Amsterdam City

Amsterdam has the largest historical inner city in Europe and with a modest population it is by far a very friendly city.

 

Rent a Bike

Rent a Bike

Amsterdam is the biggest bicycle friendly city in the world and renting a bike is an ideal way to see the city.

 

The Beautiful Tulips

The Beautiful Tulips

A visit to Keukenhof Gardens, one of the world’s most famous flower gardens, is a must when you visit Amsterdam.

 

Windmills

Windmills

Windmills are an iconic part of the Dutch landscape and with eight windmills located in and around Amsterdam it is a great way to see the city.

 

Oman Air flies you to this beautiful tulip city 5 times a week through KLM.

Book now: www.omanair.com

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OMAN IN PICTURES

Fjords of Oman

Fjords of Oman

A Fjord ride on a traditional Omani Dhow is one of the must do activity in Musandam, Oman.

 

Dhow

Dhow

A Dhow is an important symbol in the Omani culture. These are used for tourism, fishing and trade purposes.

 

Barr Al Jissah

Barr Al Jissah

Barr Al Jissah is a stunning place overlooking the Gulf of Oman. It is a perfect place for weekends if you want to relax.

 

Bandar Al Khayran

Bandar Al Khayran

Bandar Khayran is an ideal place for diving in Oman. It is always buzzed with divers from all over the world. The pleasure of watching those dolphins swim alongside your boats is something else.

 

Al Dimaniyat

Al Dimaniyat

Composed of 9 nine islands, Al-Dimaniyat Island features wonderful beaches meeting crystal blue seas. They are a very rich natural heritage with several rare coral reefs, some of them being very rare.

 

 

Oman Air flies you to Oman from over 48 destinations in the world. Check www.omanair.com for more information.

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Zurich: A Vintage City

The city of Zurich lies in the heart of Switzerland. Zurich has become more than a large financial institution. It’s multicultural people and the variety of leisure and fun activities has made it a top destination for tourists over the years.

Zurich is a global city with a low population and is home to large number of banking giants. It also has the fourth largest stock exchange in the world. The quality of life in Zurich is fantastic and that’s the reason Zurich was ranked first on a list of top 25 cities in the world ‘to make a base within’ by Monocle.

Interesting things to do in Zurich:

  • A journey up to Mt. Titlis to see a magnificent view of the Alps.
  • Take a day off the city life and walk to the top of Uetliberg.
  • Take a walk along the lake side and see how boundless the beauty of the world is.

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It’s a myth that Zurich is a dull city, but these are those people who haven’t been to the street parade that happens in August every year. Initiated by some 1000 enthusiasts’ way back in 1992, this open air dance party entertains around a million people. It was conceived as a demonstration for love, peace, liberty, generosity and tolerance.

Zurich is home to more than 50 museums and more than 100 art galleries with collections that date back to 19th century. Kunsthaus art museum is a must visit in the city which showcases works by Van Gogh, Picasso, Mondrian, Monet and many more.

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A short visit to the old town is worth the time. With ancient art galleries, antique and book shops it’s a perfect place for art lovers. Evening is the best time to visit as the town transforms into an entertainment hotspot as well.

Explore this vintage city with a modern touch as Oman Air now flies you to Zurich 4 times a week now.

 

 

 

 

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London

“By Seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show”, said Samuel Johnson. The energy, the diversity and the soothing green spaces is all you need to spend your life peacefully. There is something about London that makes it the city we love, adore and dream of. This cultural melting pot London has grown to become one of the most important financial and cultural capitals of Europe, if not the world.

London Bridge

London is a world to explore with different districts that reflect different national characteristics, London’s strength and character lies in its cultural dynamism which has about 50 non-indigenous communities.

If you are a first-timer to London, here is a breakdown of the most famous tourism spots.

Day planner

Dedicate two or three days to seeing the sights and soaking up the sheer weight of history. Do not forget to fit in a visit to some of the famous art galleries and museums. Then allow for some serious shopping time at world-famous venues such as Harrods, Hamleys and Oxford Street. Finally, soak up some culture with a visit to Covent Garden, Carnaby Street and Camden Lock. For a hair-raising day out, take in the Tower of London and the London Dungeon, and then relax with some laughs at lifelike replicas of some of your favourite celebrities at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. If you are a person of leisure then just strolling around on the streets of London is the best way to past your time and soak in the city’s unbeatable essence.

Double Decker bus

In England, double deckers are either a chocolate bar, or a big red, double layered bus. We are talking about the buses here, which are an iconic feature of London, almost as much as Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. They are a fantastic and fun way to get around the city, whether you just want to go shopping or be taken on a guided tour.

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in London.

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in London.

Big Ben

The clock tower, built in 1288, on the Houses of Parliament houses a main bell known as Big Ben. Although the clock tower is a symbol of London and all things English, and a massive tourist draw card, the actual interior of the tower is not open to the public. It has featured in countless films and TV programs, and is the largest four faced, chiming clock in the world.

London Eye

If the top deck of a bus just isn’t high enough for you, aim for a bird’s eye view of London with a ride on Europe’s biggest Ferris wheel, the 135-metre high London Eye. Once described as London’s Eiffel Tower, its complete rotation takes about 30 minutes, so no stomach-churning rush here!

London Eye

 

For exploring this vibrant city and the wonderful serene locations just outside of the city fly with Oman Air every day of the week. Book here: www.omanair.com

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EXPO MILANO 2015

EXPO 1

Expo Milano 2015 started its journey from 1st May 2015 and will run along till 31st of October. Milan will be the epicenter of the world where more than 140 countries will be participating and will showcase their technological prowess in regards to being able to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone on the planet.

An Expo is an international platform for exchanging ideas and solutions where each country’s creativity and innovations are presented. Expo 2015 will be serving up opportunity to find out about world’s best dishes and agri-food traditions of each country.

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Milan Expo site comprises of an area of 1.1 million square meters which is very easily accessible from all the surrounding areas in Milan. The whole site is constructed with energy efficient and sustainable designs such that they can be reused or removed once the expo concludes.

There are 4 thematic areas in Expo Milano 2015.

  1. Pavilion Zero: This area will showcase the history of humankind and its relation with food. The future food district will explain how technology will be changing our food storage, distribution, and purchase ways.
  2. Children’s Park: Children will have the chance to know more about the theme of Milan Expo 2015 while having fun at Children’s Park.
  3. Biodiversity Park: A large garden in which a number of our planet’s ecosystems are reproduced.
  4. Triennale Museum: An exhibition which will explore the relationship between food and art.

Expo Milano 2015 will be showcasing Oman Pavilion which shows Oman’s attempts to take care of its water which is still based on an ancient underground canal system of ‘aflaj’. The ancient underground canal system of the ‘aflaj’ is declared World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO. You can discover it at Oman Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015.

Check out Oman Air website for deals and packages for Expo Milano 2015.

For more information click here Expo Milano 2015.

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