Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Palace on Wheels: A roving extravaganza into the heart of Rajasthan

Witness the synthesis of unique art, colorful culture, royal lifestyle, astonishing architecture and impeccable hospitality aboard the pioneer of luxury train traveling in India – the Palace on Wheels. This Indian luxury train, which started rolling in 1982, is equipped with the most exceptional amenities and takes you across the vibrant state of Rajasthan along with the home to the world Wonder Taj Mahal. Come explore India’s most frequented tourist destinations, rich culinary delights, royal hospitality, age-old forts & palaces, and irresistible wildlife in pristine habitats all on board Palace on Wheels.

The luxury train, operated by Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC), lets you discover the hidden facts and the enchanting beauty of the desert state of Rajasthan during its week long voyage amidst sheer luxury and opulence.
The carriages of this wonderful luxury train have a history to narrate of their own. Originally used by the rulers of princely states of Rajputana, Gujarat, the Nizams of Hyderabad and the Viceroy of British India, the magnificent coaches make you feel like an erstwhile Maharaja or a Nawab. After the independence of India in 1947, Indian Railways decided to discontinue the use of these magnificent coaches. Due to the coaches having finely decorated interiors with magnificent furnishing, it wasn't viable to have them used as normal passenger trains. In 1981-82, RTDC and Indian Railways decided to launch a special heritage train for tourists, covering Rajasthan. The journey was started to provide an extravagant, an unforgettable and a momentous tour experience to the tourists. And so that was how and why the Palace on Wheels came to life!

Powered by a steam engine, the Palace on Wheels made its maiden journey on 26th January (India’s Republic Day) 1982. Ever since then, this Indian luxury train has gained remarkable success and attained worldwide acclaim and popularity including the PATA gold award in 1987. In 1991, a new air-conditioned meter gauge Palace on Wheels on the lines of the old heritage train was launched, which has 14 saloons, 2 restaurants cum kitchen cars, one bar cum lounge and 4 service cars. Each saloon boasts 4 cabins, equipped with bath and shower facilities. The Palace on Wheels also has a well-maintained library. It now boasts of a Spa, Wi-fi and Digital television facilities as well. All thanks to these world class facilities, the train has been rated as one of the ten best luxurious rail journeys in the world. Recently, it bagged the "Readers Travel Award" by a popular American travel magazine - Conde Nast Traveller.
Departing every Wednesday from Safdarjung Railway Station in Delhi, the Palace on Wheels takes you to a vibrating journey to the royal land of sand dunes and regal palaces. It makes you visit the majestic expanse where Royal Rajputs lived in a grand style. It lets you explore this imperial land that carries with it an intrinsic ambience that goes perfectly well with the majestic charm and beauty spread so lavishly here and there in Rajasthan. The journey lets you spend a fabulous week in India and bask the immortal grandeur of Taj, the mystical sand dunes of Jaisalmer, the romanticism of Udaipur, the historical magnificence of Jaipur, the adventure of Ranthambore, and the never dying charm of the country capital Delhi. The train runs from September to April every season for it is the best time to visit the otherwise hot Rajasthan. Festivals are at their peak and the winter season with its romantic charm makes the journey all the more colourful, vibrant and unforgettable.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Uganda, Home to half the world's primates

The world is believed to habour 880 primates, but 400 are confirmed to be located in Uganda forests.Tourists will find it easier to track gorillas at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park after the ministry of Tourism and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), announced an increase in the primate’s population. According to UWA, the latest census found that there was an increment by 60 gorillas to 340 counted in the last one in 2006.

This brings the gorilla population in Bwindi to 400 in addition to the 80 primates found on the Ugandan side of Virunga Massif. The latest findings ranked Uganda highest in the world as far as gorilla population is concerned.

There is a considerable increase in the mountain gorilla population in Bwindi following a three-week census that was carried out in the park in September and October 2011.

The population of mountain gorillas in Uganda has been confirmed to stand at a minimum of 400. The census was carried out by UWA - Uganda Wildlife Authority with assistance from the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP), the Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) in Democratic Republic of Congo and RDB from Rwanda.

There were 36 gorilla families at Bwindi and 16 solitary males. Of the 36 families, 10 are habituated for tourism and research. Following the two censuses carried out in the Virunga Massif and in Bwindi in 2011, it was confirmed that the world’s population of mountain gorillas now stands at 880.

The 2010 results showed that there were 480 mountain gorillas at Virunga Massif, which comprises the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (Uganda), Volcanoes National Park in (Rwanda) and Virunga National Park (DRC). The 400 gorillas which were confirmed are entirely in Uganda and this means that Uganda is the host to more than a half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas.

Increase in the population of mountain gorillas at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is evident in the sound natural resources management policies that are being implemented in the protected areas.

The increase in the number of gorillas at Bwindi could be attributed to the insurgency in the DR Congo. However, Bwindi is detached from Virunga Massif where Uganda, Congo and Rwanda share 480 gorillas, with Uganda having 80 of the 480. Therefore, this makes Uganda the highest gorilla breeding place and home.

Paul Okia
Happy Tours Africa

World Travel Options: Explore For Vacation Inspirations. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Rutundu- A Romantic Paradise in Kenya

Kenya has always been admired for its adventure jungle safari tours but this East African country is host of a number of romantic getaways too.  If you remember, Prince William proposed his girlfriend Kate Middleton during Kenya safari tour. However, there are a number of romantic retreats in Kenya. 

On the slopes of majestic Mount Kenya, Rutundu is a romantic yet adventurous getaway. It is a perfect destination for romantic holidays in the lap of pristine nature, in an area of pure wilderness and spectacular beauty. It is an ultimate destination for those who wish to escape in utmost seclusion.

Located at an altitude of 3100 meters, Rutundu is a remote romantic retreat where couples love to start a new chapter of romance by walking hand-in-hand around lakes, enjoying pictorial beauty and hiking in the amazingly fresh mountain air.  Tourists fall in love with incredible views from cedar-log cabins.
Rutundu log cabins are just a rough-luxe accommodation in serene surroundings and add more vivacity to the romantic ecstasy. They are more like dream homes, having log fires, a verandah, a well-furnished kitchen. Besides, there are en-suite bathrooms and elegant upholstery, beddings and crockery to convert the rustic accommodation into a cocoon of comfort and luxury.

Surrounded by alpine moorland, these log cabins overlooking Lake Rutundu attract nature lovers, ornithologist, rainbow trout fishing enthusiast and hikers alike. At the rustic bolthole, couples enjoy sojourning through Giant Groundsel and Heather forests.  Moreover, just a half an hour drive takes the tourists virgin Cedar and Podo forest, where they can walk leisurely and explore magnificence of unspoiled beauty of nature.
In short, there are three major activities to enjoy at Rutundu and each of them takes tourists close to nature:
  • Walking
  • Fishing
  • Bird Watching
However, romantic holidays at Rutundu become more exciting if they start with horse riding from Kisima Farm. You can always visit the country via cheap flights to Kenya, for your romantic getaway holiday.
Author Bio: Rachna is associated with, one of the best known online travel brands in the US for the cheap flights and travel deals it offers. She loves to write on various topics related to travel and tourism. Read more articles by her at

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Maharajas’ Express: Chugging along in style

A beautiful gleaming carriage straight out of ancient India; just step into it and discover a larger than life world inside. Experience the opulent interiors with antique furniture, a brightly lit ceiling and a turbaned guard welcoming you. You can now forget everything about the rest of the world and taste pure luxury even as you chug along some of the country’s best destinations.
Since its inception of Maharajas’ Express in 2010, the well heeled traveller has got a wonderful new haunt in India.  It is no less than a palatial hotel on wheels. In just two years of its launch, the response to this luxury train has been so encouraging that its makers Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) introduced five new pan-India journeys for the seasons 2012-13 and 2013-14.

Every moment spent on this luxury train is a celebration. The journeys make you explore royal palaces, majestic forts, classic havelis, captivating traditional bazaars, exciting elephant rides, camel safaris, jungle safaris, colourful local festivals, and magical desert camps, scintillating cultural evenings, unforgettable campfires, exotic local cuisines, tranquil boat rides, astonishing caves, unique temples, awe-inspiring monuments and much more. Indeed, the flavours of a royal life come alive onboard the Maharajas’ Express. 

The five-star hotel on wheels, Maharajas’ express, is all equipped with contemporary amenities too, and yet embellished with inspirations from India’s rich and exotic past. Its carriages resemble the personal saloons of rulers and viceroys of British India. The 23 coaches include five carriages, two suite carriages, and a grand Presidential carriage. All the carriages have been named after precious stones. All amenities are infused with luxury. These include attached bathrooms and plasma TVs in each cabin and a lounge on board, besides the pleasures of a well-stocked bar – The Rajah Club, thus providing the perfect blend of the past and the present for unsurpassed luxury on the move.  No wonder the train has earned many laurels in the international tourism market in just two years of its inception. It bagged the 1st Runner up award in the Conde Nast readers choice travel award 2011 and is also the winner of CNBC travel award 2010 under category of “Best Luxury train”!

The train welcomes you to the world of traditional Rajasthani hospitality. It makes you forget your worries in this beautiful and comfortable mini castle on the move whose warm hospitality and splendour will linger in your minds forever. So pack your bags and travel on this ultimate luxury train to enjoy the charming and the exquisite Indian warmth, savour the royal cuisines and enjoy the beautiful off-train excursions. No doubt, you would fall in love with your journey onboard Maharajas’ Express!

Airport Guide to Belfast International Airport

Belfast international airport is Ireland’s second busiest airport after Dublin. The airport is considered the gateway to Belfast, a city known to have a troubled past. Easily accessible from Northern Ireland and a ferry trip away from England, there are many ways of travelling to and from Belfast airport using various modes of transport.  With Belfast becoming a popular travel destination for weekend breaks, there are also a lot of  European carriers  which provide huge discount on airline tickets for various destination.
The airport provides facilities for business, disabled and children travelers. Those who wish to drive to the airport find the route easily accessible because of different signs posted on the roads. These are the different ways of reaching Belfast airport.
·         Car: Travelling to airport by car is considered a convenient option. If you have a personal car then there are a lot of cheap parking options available at the airport, else you can always hire a car.
·         Train: You can also travel by train. Nearest services operate from Antrim which is six miles from the Belfast international airport. If you want to travel to Dublin, then you can choose express train from the Belfast station.
·         Coach: You can also reach the Belfast airport from national express which operates throughout UK and is also considered a reliable option. For detailed information on its timings and services, you can also check their website.
·         Taxi: Travelling by taxi is convenient and fast but is considered a tad expensive when compared to other options. There are more than 250 companies that offer taxi services to Belfast and its surrounding areas.
By housing many low cost carriers (Easy jet, Thomas Cook etc), Belfast is trying hard to establish itself as a prominent travel destination especially for short vacations and going by the response, the plan certainly seems to have worked.