10 Travel Tips for the Middle East

Tropical climates, intensive shopping, rich cultural history rich with ancient cities and monuments and extraordinarily lavish lifestyles are just some of the most exciting reasons to pay a visit to the Middle East, and especially United Arab Emirates (UAE). For those that have been, most are amazed by this astonishing beauty of this region, and for those that do enjoy the finer things in life, there isn’t much that you couldn’t enjoy in UAE.

Before setting foot in the country however there are some very specific rules and laws that must be adhered to when there, and if you make the mistake of ignoring these rules and laws, the consequences can be calamitous.

The culture and customs are unique to this amazing place, and you must ensure that you don’t offend or insult the locals. There’s loads of advice for travellers when it comes to visiting the Middle East and here are some of the most important ones.

  1. Be very respectful of holy places, like mosques and take off your shoes and completely cover your legs and shoulders when visiting.
  2. In Saudi Arabia alcohol is illegal, as are drugs.
  3. In the Middle East you must dress conservatively, particularly if you are female. Loose pants, scarves covering chest and neck areas, and long sleeved shirts are best and will help you blend in. Some areas may also require women to cover their hair.
  4. You should refrain from physical contact with Middle Eastern females, no matter who you are. This act is considered highly offensive.
  5. In some areas of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, you must ask for permission to take pictures of some buildings and people, especially anything military related.
  6. Don’t be offended if a local won’t shake your hand. Physical contacts like holding hands is not accepted so don’t make any physical contact, and always use the local’s full names.
  7. Don’t travel at night.
  8. If you are female, absolutely do not travel alone.
  9. For the ladies as well, it’s a good idea to mention your “husband” if you get into a sticky or uncomfortable situation even if you’re not married, and if you are travelling as a couple, refer to your partner as your husband, not your boyfriend or partner.

Now although these are some pretty scary sounding tips, it UAE really is a beautiful place to visit. What will make it even more amazing, is if you know the rules you need to follow that will keep the unwanted attention away from you. Take it all in, and enjoy this remarkable place.

5 reasons you must go to the Netherlands

If you’re looking for arguably the most beautiful destination in all of Europe, then the Netherlands aka Holland is the country that should be topping your list. It has so much to offer, and this flat as a pancake country is pretty, so very pretty. One of the best things about the Netherlands is almost everyone speaks English, so it’s very easy to navigate and find where you need to go.

So what are the best reasons to go to the Netherlands?

The first reason of course is the people. There is something very special about the Dutch that make them stand out above the rest of the world. They are friendly, they are intelligent and they are beautiful. There is more than just the people that draw you to the Netherlands however, and some of the best are here for you now:

  1. Keukenhof Water and Tulips

There is usually only a very small window of time to be able to see the tulips in full flower each year, and because they are so weather dependent, they can flower anywhere between mid – late April and the beginning of May

  1. Great beaches

The Netherlands has some of the best beaches in Europe. The beaches are broad and white and seem endless. The top 5 beaches to visit are Scheveningen, Egmond aan Zee, Egmondaan Zee, Strand Zuid, Bloemendaalaan Zee and Texel.

  1. Pleasant towns and villages

The Netherlands has a long history, and their historical towns like Middelburg, Zierikzee in Zeeland, Utrecht are amazing places to see. One of the best to visit is Giethoorn which is a village of canals, lined with boats and cottages.

  1. I AMsterdam

Amsterdam is something you really must experience while you are young. The city never sleeps and there is always something to do and to see. Anne Frank’s House, the canal belt, the nine streets shopping area, museums, galleries, and it’s extraordinarily unique night life are just some of the reasons to see Amsterdam.

  1. Windmills at Kinderdijk

The windmills at Kinderdijk are a group of 19 windmills in the province of South Holland. Most of the mills are part of the village of Kinderdijk and were built in the 1700’s to keep water out of the polder. The windmills are a phenomenal site, and really must be visited. It’s around a 40 minute drive from Rotterdam, which itself is equally as impressive.

We’ll help you get there. Just give us a call!

15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About UAE

UAE is a truly unique place to visit, and is atop many traveller bucket lists. Only in the last ten years has it become such a highly sought after destination, attracting the rich and the famous for its glorious lavish everything. You may have heard lots about The United Arab Emirates, and Dubai is what you have probably heard the most about, but there is so much more to this amazing place than meets the eye.

Here are 15 very interesting facts about Facts about The United Arab Emirates:

  1. In UAE you need a liquor license to drink at home.
  2. The number of cars per capita in UAE surpasses New York and London and a majority are high end four wheel drives and supercars.
  3. Dubai has no address system, no post codes and no post system at all in fact. Good luck sending birthday cards.
  4. Drugs are illegal in UAE, and they take it VERY seriously. An English traveller was given four years jail in Dubai after they found cannabis weighing less than a grain of sugar in the tread of his shoe.
  5. All over Dubai you can find abandoned supercars, and luxury vehicles that were left there after the financial recession.
  6. One of Dubai’s famous ‘World Islands’, are sinking back into the ocean.
  7. Dubai has ATMs that distribute gold bars.
  8. 25% of the world’s cranes are located in Dubai.
  9. Dubai has no sewer system. They cart their sewage in trucks away from the city.
  10. Dubai’s police armada includes Bentleys, Lamborghinis and Ferraris to give them a chance to catch high end supercar speeders.
  11. The World’s tallest building is located in Dubai and is 828 metres high.
  12. UAE is a major investor in solar power, even though its revenue is based on oil and gas exports.
  13. The United Arab Emirates has a minority Arab population (13%) with Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis creating the majority.
  14. Ferrari has an indoor theme park in Abu Dhabi, and it also hosts the world’s fastest roller coaster, reaching 241km/h in just 5 seconds.
  15. There is a city being built in Dubai that will be completely sustainable, relying solely on renewable energies.

Facts about Oktoberfest You Might Not Know

Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival which is held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. During the event, millions of litres of beer are consumed, as well as tonnes of traditional German food; and it features amusement rides, stalls and games.

Although it is widely popular and imitated in countries across the globe on many levels, there are probably a few things about Oktoberfest that you might not have known.

Fact number one to know is that it doesn’t usually happen in October. It runs for 16 to 18 days from mid or late September to the first weekend in October at the latest, and attracts more than 6 million people every year.

Traditionally, Oktoberfest isn’t a beer festival. “Wiesn” as it’s known to the locals is a celebration of the anniversary of the wedding between the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig, and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburg hausen. Originally it was celebrated as a public party with horse races but in 1819 horses were substituted with beers.

Beer-drinkers from across the globe come to drink Oktoberfest bier in the big drinking tents. Created by six Munich breweries, these distinct beers are unique to the event. Served in a 1 litre beer stein, the Oktoberfest bier is 6% alcohol, which is a fair bit stronger than your average beer, so eating is essential.

Coincidentally, food is largely available in all types of traditional German varieties. With everything from Pork Hocks to Pickled Onions, Wieners and Schnitzels there is no reason to go hungry at Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest has another very key element to it apart from the beer and that is music. Usually each beer tent will feature a brass band playing a mix of modern songs and traditional German classics.

One of the main rules of Oktoberfest is that nobody is actually allowed to drink until the Mayor of Munich taps the first barrel.

Because Oktoberfest attracts such a massive amount of visitors, it is important to know as much as you can about the area you travel to, so do some research on hotels in the area, and plan ahead. On average, over 600 passports end up in the lost and found at Oktoberfest…so hold your important possessions close.

Give us a call if you want help to get there this year!

Must See Destinations in France – That Aren’t Paris

France is quite often a top priority on traveller bucket lists, and Paris of course is usually the big drawcard to France for most, but there is so much more to this beautiful country with rich history than Paris.

France has many famous cities and there are also some beautifully exquisite places you should visit as well. Paris of course has the entire bang for your buck tourist attractions, but if you’re looking to really see France in all her unique European glory, this list is for you.

Mont Saint-Michel

In the Normandy region lays one of the most amazing natural beauties, and Mont Saint-Michel is her name. Mont Saint-Michel is now packed with amazing restaurants, is fantastic for shopping, and if you’re the outdoors type, climbing and ocean sports is very popular around here.

The French Riviera

The French Riviera is lined with spectacularly beautiful villages and cities and has all types of accommodation available, from low end budget to high end 6 star resorts. Some of the most famous cities to visit here are St. Tropez, Nice, Cannes, La Turbie, and Antibes.


About an hour’s drive from Paris is the Fontainebleau Forest. If you really want to indulge in nature, this little beauty is just what you need.


“Chateau de Versailles” (or the Versailles Palace)is one of the most beautiful places to see in all of Europe, and the city itself is awe-inspiring, and just a short train ride from Paris.


Lourdes is a very busy city, but is quite an epicentre or religious pilgrimage destination. A spiritual and magical place throughout history, her “healing waters”still draw tourists from across the globe.


One of the largest cities in France, Lyon (located in the Rhone Valley) isan absolute heaven for foodies, thanks to its world famous cuisine. Fashion and restaurants are the biggest drawcard here.

These cities are all quite popular and easy to get to via public transport or on tours, however the best way to see France is by hiring a car, and stopping through all the amazing villages you can handle.

Top Travel Modes in Vietnam

Travelling to Vietnam has its highs and lows, and getting around can prove to be either very expensive, or downright dangerous. Vietnam’s transport network is genuinely improving however, there is a still a long way to come. Most roads are decent quality surface-wise, and the vehicles are also raising the standards with air-conditioned coaches now transporting tourists regularly.

Here are the best ways to get around Vietnam.

Xe Om

Taxis are becoming more popular in Vietnam, but the most unique transport mode is the Xe Om – or motorbike taxis.  In the cities you can barely walk 10 metres without being offered a lift.


Although you are not allowed to rent your own car drive in Vietnam, you can hire cars with drivers for a similar price to what the norm would be.


Flying can save precious hours or days off journeys within Vietnam – the two hour flight between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi is amazing compared to the forty hours you would spend on the train for the same distance.


A boat trip around Ha Long Bay is one of Vietnam’s most pleasurable rides, and ferries cruise year round to the major islands off the coast including Con Dao, Cat Ba and Phu Quoc.


Although very few travellers opt for the train, the prices will save you a lot of money if you can handle a rough ride.


Most travellers use buses to travel Vietnam. The national bus network is slowly being upgraded and the unstable older vehicles are now being replaced with fancy air-conditioned models on the more popular roads.


Motorbike rentals are available in most towns and cities and are the most regularly used mode of transport by tourists. Inexperienced bikers however need to take care, as Vietnam’s roads are very dangerous, and accidents are very common.


Cycling is also a great way of sightseeing around towns and cities, and is very cheap to do.

If you want to book a trip to Vietnam, we are able to offer some fantastic tours, so give us a call today!