Search Results for Category: Asia/Pacific

SENIORS TRAVEL TO JAPAN


Seniors Head To Gunma To Soak In An Onsen

en-bnr-about_gunmaThis time we seniors skip over Tokyo and head northwest 100 kilometers to a region called Gunma. It is a mountainous, landlocked prefecture on Japan’s Honshu Island. Gunma is known for its hot springs and outdoor sports and is the home of the Subaru auto manufacturing plant.

The small town of Kusatsu Onsen has more than 100 hot springs (onsen), most famously Yubatake, a large pool fed by acidic water gushing down a wooden chute. Set 1,200 meters above sea level, Kusatsu Onsen is popular for skiing and hiking. Seniors, bring along a good pair of hiking boots.

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The prefecture is located at the center of the Japanese islands. The shape of the prefecture resembles a crane flapping its widely spread wings so much, that it is referred to as “Gunma Prefecture in the shape of a soaring crane.”

 Seniors Find Best Hot Springs In Japan

The hot springs are said to be the best in all of Japan. It boasts nine consecutive years as the number one spot in the Top 100 Onsen of Japan. The Kusatsu Onsen is particularly famous. Enjoy forests? Mountain forests occupy two thirds of the prefecture’s area and from the north to the west is a range of mountains and hills.

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Gunma holds the source of Tone River, which has the greatest basin area of any river in Japan. I located a Guide all in English just for our readers. For senior gourmet folks, Gunma is famous for its winter wheat products. Udon noodles from Mizusawa are considered among Japan’s best.

Search out the famous Wahei Soba-Dokoro that is tucked away on a narrow street in Kusatsu Onsen Town. It looks like a typical Soba shop, except for one thing – senior visitors can watch a chef kneading, rolling and cutting dough to make soba noodles in a windowed cubicle next to the entrance. They say the tempura is worth the stop in itself.

 Seniors Visit Japan’s Castles

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TripAdvisor suggests the Haruna Shrine along with the Fukiwarenotaki Falls. Take in a couple of Japanese castles.

Iwabitsu Castle was a hilltop style Japanese Castle on Mt Iwabitsu in Higashigatsuma Gunma Prefecture. Iwabitsu Castle was contructed by the Azuma Taro Sukefusa back in 15th century.

Then head over to Minowa Castle that is a flatland style Japanese Castle in Takasaki Gunma Prefecture. Minowa Castle was constructed in 1526 by Nagano Narimasa and covers an extensive 47 hectares. Yes, they use hectares, not acres; they drive on the other side of the road and you may find snow during the winter season.

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Abundant gardens and parks, museums and art galleries attract many visitors as well as the Arafune Cold Storage that is a historic facility associated with the silk industry, sericulture, and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014.

It’s all here just awaiting your arrival, so plan a visit to Gunma.  -jeb

SENIORS GO TO AUSTRALIA


Melbourne Is A Must For Senior Visitors

UnknownOne of this senior’s daughters recently returned from Melbourne after spending a week there. She found it to be one of the most beautiful cities she had ever visited. Considering having been to Paris, Rome, London, Prague, Vienna and Budapest, that is quite a statement.

She had spent time in Sidney as an undergraduate studying wildlife on a University Program, so she is well acquainted with Australian city life and culture.

Melbourne, Victoria’s coastal capital, is a city of stately 19th-century buildings and tree-lined boulevards. Yet at its center is the strikingly modern Federation Square development, with plazas, bars, restaurants and cultural events along the Yarra River. Melbourne is the second most populous city in Australia and is said to be The World’s Most Liveable City

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Founded by free settlers from the British Crown colony of Van Diemen’s Land on 30 August 1835, in what was then the colony of New South Wales, it was incorporated as a Crown settlement in 1837. It was named “Melbourne” by the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Richard Bourke. It was officially declared a city by Queen Victoria in 1847, after which it became the capital of the newly founded colony of Victoria in 1851.

Seniors Enjoy Australia’s Cultural Capital

Lonely Planet notes that stylish, arty Melbourne is a city that’s both dynamic and cosmopolitan, and proud of its place as Australia’s cultural capital.  Sport is also crucial to the fabric of the town, taking on something of a religious nature. Melburnians are passionate about AFL football (‘footy’), cricket and horse racing, and also love their grand-slam tennis and Formula One car racing.

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Melbourne is an international cultural center spanning major events and festivals, drama, musicals, comedy, music, art, architecture, literature, film and television. The climate, waterfront location and nightlife make it one of the most vibrant destinations in Australia.

The city’s annual cultural events and festivals include Australia’s largest free community festival—Moomba, the Melbourne International Arts Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

The culture of the city is an important drawcard for tourists, of which just under two million international overnight visitors and 57.7 million domestic overnight visited during the year ending March 2014.

 Seniors Discover the Excitement and Beauty Of Melbourne

Senior visitors are invited to discover Melbourne’s secret laneways and rooftops, the cultural hub of Federation Square, buzzing bars, boutiques and eateries, and the iconic MCG. Experience St Kilda, the Royal Botanic Gardens, bohemian Brunswick Street and the nation-stopping excitement of the Spring Racing Carnival.

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Seniors are also invited to join world class events such as the Australian Grand Prix.  Take a day trip to the Mornington Peninsula or to Phillip Island for fairy penguins. TripAdvisor with over 250 attractions to enjoy places the Botanical Gardens high on their list.

Seniors, check with Qantas Airlines and your travel agent and put Melbourne on your travel bucket list. It’s on mine. -jeb

SUNDAY COFFEE WITH JEB


Seniors Check Out The Cook Islands

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Senior friends, get your coffee, we’re headed for the South Pacific today. The Cook Islands is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand. It comprises 15 islands whose total land area is 240 square kilometers.

“The fifteen islands of the Cooks are located halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii in the South Pacific, scattered like fragrant flower petals floating across 2.2 million square kilometers of a seductive, sensual ocean.” Many visitors call it the “Secret of the Pacific.”

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Senior visitors will discover that the Cooks are a mix of coral atolls and volcanic islands – a good few of the nine Southern islands of the Cooks could be listed as “must see before I die”…

an idyllic climate, stunning scenery, beautiful azure waters and warm-hearted inhabitants who seek a laid-back way of life and where the word “hurry” makes little sense.

Seniors Learn More Polynesian History

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As per usual in the Pacific Islands, there is a Polynesian history and Cook Islanders are no exception. The locals regard themselves first and foremost as true Polynesians connecting directly back to the finest seafarers of the vast Pacific.

Their sophisticated navigation took them fearlessly through vast ocean tracts in search of new lands, and they found these islands.

Captain James Cook, the great explorer who, on the orders of his country was voyaging the South Pacific for possible land acquisition, in 1773, sighted the Cooks, and thus the name.

Cook named the islands the Hervey Islands. The name “Cook Islands”, in honor of Cook, appeared on a Russian naval chart published in the 1820s. The Cook Islands became a British protectorate in 1888.

 Seniors Find Themselves In The Center Of Polynesia

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Positioned at the very center of Polynesia, the Islands stretch out in a scattering of 2 million square kilometers. The Polynesians arrived in Rarotonga, the largest island, around 800 AD. These ancient voyagers had set sail from Tupua’i, now French Polynesia.

Lonely Planet notes that the islands are scattered over a vast expanse of empty ocean the size of Western Europe. The tiny Cook Islands are a castaway’s dream come true. If you’ve ever fantasized about escaping to a remote desert island, far from the hustle and hum of the modern world, then look no further than these 15 fascinating islands.

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Senior visitors will find a thousand years of Polynesian culture sitting side by side with some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the South Pacific.

The jewel in the crown is Rarotonga, the largest island – a bewitching blend of craggy mountains, dense jungle and glorious bone-white beaches – but you are advised to get out and explore some of the other islands as well.

Seniors will find adventure, water activities and a life-style that can not be matched stateside.    jeb

SUNDAY COFFEE WITH JEB


Les Personnes d’un Certain Âge Aiment Bien La Polynésie Française

fpmap-1In French this means…“Older Folks Like French Polynesia a Lot” and they do indeed. Senior travelers  will have a choice from the 118 islands in French Polynesia, Tahiti and the Society Islands.

Historically the French annexed various Polynesian island groups during the 19th century. 280,000 people now inhabit the many islands that make up Polynesia. The islands are found about halfway between California and Australia.

Wikitravel notes that Tahiti and her islands cover four million square kilometers of ocean, which is the same area as the European Union. However the land above sea level accounts for only some 7,000 square kilometers consisting of 118 islands, grouped into five archipelagos (4 volcanic, 1 coral).”

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The Polynesians inhabited these islands for several hundred years before their discovery by western explorers. Several marae (religious sites) still exist, scattered throughout the islands as evidence of this inhabitation.

The British discovered Tahiti in the mid 1760′s and Captain Cook visited there in 1769 to observe the Transit of Venus before sailing on to the south and west in search of the fabled Terra Australus Incognita with the assistance of a Polynesian navigator.

Seniors Enjoy Picture Perfect Beaches and Georgous Scenery

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Papette, the capital, is a long haul, about eight hours, from LA. French Polynesia is an overseas collectivity of the French Republic. Visitors will find a wide array of nationalities: Polynesian 78%, Chinese 12%, local French 6%, metropolitan French 4%, with French the official spoken language.

Moorea, loaded with outstanding scenery, is highlighted by green mountains that descend to Cook’s Bay. Balai Hai (remember those words?), is that mountain made famous in the movie “South Pacific”. Dotting the countryside are bunkers built by American servicemen during WW II.

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Read what TripAdvisor has to say about French Polynesia. They note that Tahiti and Bora Bora are the most well known French Polynesian islands, thanks to their picture-perfect beaches and romantic ambiance. Be sure to check out their Things to Do link.

Tropical flowers abound and in every color, shape and size. Hibiscus, plumeria, orchids and dozens of other species are found everywhere you look. Seniors, think and dream about a trip to the south Pacific and enjoy everything about French Polynesia.  It might be a trip of a lifetime.  -jeb

SUNDAY COFFEE WITH JEB


Seniors Visit Seoul, South Korea

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Do you have your coffee?  Make yourself comfortable and let’s make a trip to Seoul, South Korea to check out one of the World’s Most Visited Attractions. This senior searched “World’s Most Visited Attractions,” and discovered a list of the 50 most popular.  

What’s your guess for any of the top five? I did pretty well and have visited several myself. According to the Daily Mail #1 was Las Vegas with nearly 40 million visitors each year. #2 was Times Square in NYC follow by Central Park #3.

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I also discovered a few that I had never heard of, including Lotte World Theme Park, #42 with 6,383,000 visitors a year. I have not been to South Korea (yet) so I wanted to lure you in and invite my senior friends to visit this site with me while we drink our coffee this morning. 

Indoor and Outdoor Adventure at Lotte World

Opened in 1989, Lotte World (Songpa-gu) is a major recreation complex in Seoul, South Korea.  Lotte is actually in two parts: Magic Island an outdoor amusement park and Adventure that is indoors. Lotte World has South Korea’s largest ice skating rink.

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One of the major reasons tourists are attracted to Lotte World are the hyper-exciting rides. The Gyro Drop and Gyro Swing are the top draws – a steep drop with an altitude of 70 meters. Adventure seekers can taste the thrilling sensation of being inside a tornado.

Lotte World offers a variety of small and big performances and festivals in the park. The Park is located in the heart of the city…the perfect spot for entertainment and sightseeing. The theme park is filled with thrilling rides, the enormous ice rink, a variety of parades as well as a popular folk museum, and a beautiful lake.

Seniors Will Enjoy Folk Museum

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If you say “Lotte World” to your average Seoulite, most people will assume you mean the Magic Island. Situated outdoors, in the middle of Seokchon Lake, where the dazzling Magic Castle is located, Magic Island also offers thrilling high-altitude rides that you can’t experience elsewhere. Visitors will find a peaceful walking trail around the lake.

The Folk Museum is the most popular museum for foreign tourists. Folk cultural items trace back 5,000 years in Korean history along with miniature villages. One visitors commented “What I found interesting was the “Traditional Korean Parade.” I thought that this was going to be a really tacky show but it turned out to be fascinating. There were tons of traditional dresses, people beating on drums, dragons, etc. It was actually pretty worthwhile.”

A visit to Seoul, might include the Lotte Theme Park for a memorable and fun time. jeb

SENIORS, HERE’S SUMBA, INDONESIA


 Seniors Lost in a Different World

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Senior travelers, are you ready for an adventure? I’ve found a good one for you in a recent travel article. The lost-world island of Sumba, said to be a dynamic mystery, is an hour’s flight from Bali. Chris Burch, the US billionaire investor, has fallen in love with a remote atoll in the Indonesian archipelago.

When Burch visited two years ago, the place tugged at his heartstrings, and today, around US$30 million later, Burch is realizing his dream of turning Nihiwatu on Sumba into the world’s most exclusive sustainable luxury resort and multi-million dollar foundation.

The island is home to the last-remaining Animist tribes, an ancient indigenous people who believe in the spirits of animals and plants. Sumba is at once one of the culturally richest and financially poorest islands in the Indonesian archipelago.

Seniors Drawn To A No Longer Ignored Island

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Islands like Bali and have gotten the majority of tourist attention over the years, but today it’s Sumba. Sumba  has remained largely uninfluenced by the outside world.  Discovered in the 16th century by Portuguese explorers, Sumba was incorporated into the Dutch East Indies in 1866.

However, the island had very little contact with the outside world and remained, throughout history, largely “ignored” due to its lack of natural resources and its fierce warriors, the famous headhunters.

The island is also known for its small and versatile horses. I wrote a blog recently on a nearby island called Lombok.  I wonder who counted all of Indonesia’s 18,307 islands.

Seniors Meet Kind, Sweet People

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Sumba, an island in eastern Indonesia, with a population of 660,000, is of volcanic origin, and predominantly mountainous, with lovely beaches. The people of Sumba have a rich social culture. They are kind and sweet, with strong traditions of music, dance, literature, crafts and religion.

Historically, this island exported sandalwood and was known as Sandalwood Island. The largest town on the island is the main port of Waingapu, with a population of about 53,000. The landscape is low, limestone hills, rather than the steep volcanoes of many Indonesian islands.

beautiful_children_landscape For you birders, the island is particularly rich in birdlife with nearly 200 species. Facing the wide Indian Ocean, the island of Sumba in the province of East Nusatenggara is a surfer’s paradise. Although as yet little known on the tourist map, surprisingly the island of Sumba has a number of luxurious, well frequented resorts.

The women of Sumba produce some exemplary hand woven cloth with motifs of stylized horses, animals and people, in dark blue, red and black, white and yellow natural dyes.

So make plans for a super adventure today. Set your sights on Sumba.  jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL TO INDIA


“Paradise on Earth” Invites Seniors

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I don’t know about you, but India is on this senior’s travel bucket list.  Called a valley right out of heaven,  I discovered the entire region of Jammu and Kashmir is known as The Paradise on Earth. It is a major Hindu and Muslim pilgrim area.

Jammu and Kashmir’s major attractions lie in scenic beauty, snow clad peaks, lush green valleys, Alpine villages, cascading waterfalls and flower gardens. Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir is located at the heart of the Kashmir valley. The river Jhelum flows through the city adding to its beauty and Nagin and Dal lakes enhance the picturesque quality of the setting.

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Kashmir is a valley surrounded by the mountains and because of this topography, is called Switzerland of India.  Kashmir is noted as one of the most preferred tourist destinations in India.

Seniors Discover The Ultimate Destination

Many who have visited Kashmir find it to be the ultimate destination of extraordinary beauty and fascinating mysticism. The best time to visit Kashmir is during the months of March to October.  Kashmir is a senior shoppers paradise for the carpets, the Pashmina Shawl and  beautiful jewelry and pottery.

Dal lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in India, is the second largest lake of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Situated at the foothill of the mountain Zabarwan, the lake is surrounded by number of willow and poplar trees and the banks of this lake are adorned by several blooming gardens and orchards.

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Mahatma Gandhi once said “if there is heaven on earth it’s here in Kashmir.” The Valley is known as a “food paradise” as well. Other major sites in Kashmir include Jama Masjid, one of the most important mosques in Srinagar. This mosque was constructed in 1400 AD by Sultan Sikandar.

Shalimar Garden is a “must see” site that was constructed in 1616 by Emperor Jehangir for his wife Nur Jahan. Later during the reign of Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, between 1628 and 1658, a second garden, known as Faiz Baksh, was added to it.

Kashmir Valley Abounds In Beauty

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For senior nature lovers, Dachigam National Park is famous for the endangered Hangul, which is the only species of red deer to be found in the country. 

The beautiful Kashmir valley claims a glorious past of grandeur, power and riches beyond imagination. The antiquity of the monuments and various architectural structures tell tales of a rich legacy and a refined sense of culture and art.

Seniors, consider adding Charismatic Kashmir to your bucket list. You will find it to be a place of natural beauty in abundance and extremely rich geography. The Kashmir Valley has much to offer adventurous tourists. So go for it and see for yourself. jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL TO INDIA


Seniors Visit the Pench Tiger Reserve

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Pench Tiger Reserve has been in the news recently as in literally “Raining Tiger Cubs”!!  This past June three tigresses gave birth to as many as ten cubs. Senior travelers will find Pench Tiger Reserve, in Madhya Pradesh, India.

Comprising the Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park, the Mowgli Pench Sanctuary and a buffer, it was declared a National Park by the Government of Maharashtra in 1975 and received the official status of “Tiger Reserve of India” in February 1999.

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The Park nestles in the Southern slopes of the Satpura ranges of Central India. The reserve and its neighborhood is the original setting of Rudyard Kipling’s most famous work, The Jungle Book. The reserve area serves as one of the prime habitats of Indian Tiger (Panthera Tigris) which is the key species in this area.

Senior Birders Like The Reserve

The Pench Tiger Reserve is especially famous for large herds of Gaur (Indian Bison), Cheetah, Sambar, Nilgai, Wild Dog and Wild Pig. For senior birders, there are over 285 species of resident and migratory birds in the Reserve. In addition, the park is home to 33 species of mammals, 50 species of fish, 10 species of amphibians, 30 species of reptiles, and a wide variety of insect life, unfortunately many of those are mosquitos.

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Nagpur (95 kms away) is the nearest airport connected to Delhi &  Mumbai and other places by regular flights. It is also the nearest railway station connected to most major metro cities. Highly recommend for senior visitors is Mahua Vann Resort if you are going on a Tiger trail. The resort is the latest on the scene in Pench and they say that it is “beautifully merged with the surroundings making it a serene and relaxing stay in the wild.”

Teak Jungle, Meandering River And Breathtaking Beauty

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Pench is a spectacular reserve set among a teak jungle, and offers a secluded game viewing experience. Taking its name from the meandering Pench River which intersects the park, the reserve sprawls over a breathtaking landscape of hills, forests and valleys. The gentle, undulating scenery of the Satpura Hills creates an unforgettable backdrop to the wildlife viewing.

Tiger Reserve area constitutes a unique ecosystem, and according to the Forest Minister, “Conditions congenial for wildlife have developed at the Pench National Park at a much faster pace than any other national park. That is the reason why wild animals and birds are multiplying in the natural way.

The area has always been rich in wildlife. It is dominated by fairly open canopy, mixed forests with considerable shrub cover and open grassy patches. The Reserve has the highest density of herbivores in India with 90.3 animals per sq km. Pench is a naturalist’s dream come true.   jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL TO INDONESIA


Seniors Head For Lombok

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Senior travelers we are off to Indonesia,  Lombok Island to be precise. With Bali to the west and Sumbawa to the east, Lombok is beautiful, as these photos show. If you love photography, Lombok is for you.

Lombok, immediately east of Bali and approximately the same size, however, its climate and terrain differ. Lombok has a large immigrant Balinese population and their houses and temples are similar to those of Bali. Mataram is the capital city and also the island’s largest city and a good center for day trips to the surrounding areas.

 For senior snorkers or divers, Lombok is made for you. Lying a few kilometers off the west coast of Lombok just north of Senggigi beach are three isles no more than two or three kilometers in circumference. These isles are considered special because of the diversity and abundance of marine life that finds its home in the extensive coral waters that surround each of the them.lomboklinks-sade-village

Senior Visitors Learn of Island’s Cultures

The Museum Negeri Nusa Tenggara Barat exhibits a variety of beautiful and fascinating cultures of the island. The ancient artifacts and decorative arts, as well as local armor and arms are all displayed in the museum. The Museum collection includes manuscripts conveying the ancient history of the area, written on lontar (dried palm leaves), barks and bamboo, in ancient native language.

The Architecture of this region is typical “Sasak” House. A visit to a traditional Sasak village is a necessary part of your trip to Lombok. Sasak villages are distinctively marked by grass-roofed-houses. Like many ethnic groups in Indonesia, the indigenous Sasak belong to the Austronesians as they are called who migrated from mainland China some 5,000 years ago.

The Sasak (around 90% of the population) are Muslims but have a culture and language unique to Lombok. There’s also a significant Hindu Balinese minority, a legacy of the time when Bali controlled Lombok.

Visitors Discover Unspoiled Paradise Island

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Lombok Sumbawa, as it is called, awaits your visit and in many ways lives up to or exceeds the promotional term, “an unspoiled Bali”. With beautiful beaches, enchanting waterfalls, the large, looming volcano of Mount Rinjani combined with relatively few tourists, Lombok is indeed the paradise tropical island that many people still mistakenly imagine Bali to be.

Lombok is becoming increasingly popular with tourists and honeymooners who want to relax in an inexpensive, tropical, un-crowded atmosphere, with many natural treasures and majestic scenery. Nothing happens quickly in Lombok and visitors find Lombok a delightful place to unwind. Enjoy this one folks. jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL TO INDIA


Seniors Seek the Exotic in Srinagar

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Srinagar, situated in the Kashmir Valley, is a city of nearly 1 million, famous for its 400 year-old Mughal gardens, its lakes and throngs of colorful houseboats. Senior travelers find it to be a hot spot for tourism and CNN listed it on their Travel Photos of the Day. Srinagar is composed of two Sanskrit words, one for the goddess Lakshmi and nagar, which means “city”.

The city has a long history and is said to have been named by the King Pravarasena II over 2,000 years ago, who named it Parvasenpur. Srinagar is a collection of images, a paradise vale of deep green rice fields, river bridges of gardens in bloom and lakes rimmed by houseboats. Srinagar is also a summer capital of the state, business center and holiday resort.

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Lonely Planet notes that “Indulgent houseboats, historic gardens, distinctive Kashmiri wooden mosques and a mild summer climate combine to make Srinagar one of India’s top domestic tourist attractions.” I just could not pass up this series of great photos of a farmers market in Srinagar. I loved the one with the lady sacked out on pile of carrots.

 Seniors Enjoy the Venice of the East

Srinagar is known for traditional quality Kashmiri handicrafts and dry fruits. The city is located on both the sides of the Jhelum River which is called Vyath in Kashmir. The river passes through the city and meanders through the valley, moving onward and deepening in the Dal Lake. The Jhelum and the Dal and Nagin lakes dominate Srinagar and its life and activities.

The city is famous for its nine old bridges, connecting the two parts of the city, like so many old European cities. Srinagar is one of several places that has been called the “Venice of the East”.

Hotel/Houseboat, Resorts And Old City

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For a “classic Kashmir” vacation in Srinagar, consider a stay in a hotel/houseboat. They are everywhere. You will not want to miss the 16th century Moghul gardens and nearby mountain resorts of Pahalgam and Gulmarg, Sonamarg and old city Srinagar.

Every season offers senior travelers new touristic vistas to this city of great antiquity. Spring breathes new life into a frozen world and the air is fresh with the fragrance of a million flowers that blossom on trees and shrubs.

So watch your timing for a visit, senior travelers, winter brings with it snow and sometimes Dal Lake freezes over. I would suggest a tour using a qualified travel agent for your trip to India. I have personally known couples who make their own arrangements in India and got by just fine. It is simply that India is a huge, highly populated country.

Enjoy your time in Srinagar. jeb

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