Gangaramaya Temple – A temple in the midst of the bustling capital!

Away from the lavish lifestyles and the bustling capital city is the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple which comes across as an idyllic escape where we can seek spiritual fulfilment.

Historic appeal
Being one of the largest temple complexes in Colombo, the Gangaramaya Temple is well-known for hosting the most colourful Vesak festival annually. It was established in 1885 and has a rewarding history of 120 years. The surrounding areas of the Beira Lake were once a swamp and now it has turned out to be a significant complex including this temple, the breathtaking lake, and the assembly hall.

Located in the heart of Colombo, the Gangaramaya Temple has always been at the forefront of protecting religious values of the country. For those who are holidaying at a hotel in Wattala the likes of Pegasus Reef, the temple is 38 minutes away.

The temple has gained popularity for its lavish architecture and a large number of statues showcasing Sri Lankan, Burmese, Chinese and many other architectural styles. The exterior of the temple is designed with golden adornments and elaborated design. The grounds of the temple are black slate tiled and you’ll come across various statues of Buddha and nymphs. The most distinguishing feature of the temple is treasure-trove museum which showcases numerous Buddha statues from all over the world.

If you are visiting Sri Lanka in February, you should not miss the Navam Perahera which is one of the grandest festivals of the temple. It’s a stunning spectacle to view how elephants decorated in lavish costumes move in a rhythmic pattern.

Guide to Travelling During Chinese New Year – Experience the Best with None of the Pitfalls

Chinese New Year is one of the biggest celebrations of the nation, and many wonder if travelling to China during this time is a good idea. It definitely can be if you’re aware of a few things.

Chinese New Year | Image Credit - Crisco 1492, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikipedia Commons

Chinese New Year | Image Credit – Crisco 1492, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikipedia Commons

Closed Institutions in New Year

Many travellers tend to think that everything closes during Chinese New Year, but that is far from the case. During this time, educational institutions, business offices and factories close, but not places such as restaurants, airports and tourist destinations.

Travelling During New Year

Since this is one of the most significant festive seasons in China, you will have to deal with higher rates along with much higher crowds as well if you’re travelling to or around the country. Since there will be lots of people coming to China, and moving around within the nation, it’s best to make travel arrangements in advance.

Accommodation and Dining

Many of the top hotels in China’s big cities, including Xi An China hotels, tend to be fully booked. So if you’re planning on staying at a place such as Grand Park Xian, you should book your rooms well in advance. It’s also best to do the same with dining reservations.


The explosive kaleidoscopic experience of fireworks during Chinese New Year is a sight to behold and takes place precisely at midnight. Look to witness this spectacle from a high altitude for the best experience.

Intrigued by history, art and food, Shazzana Hamid is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary. Disguised as Lavinia Woolf she writes of the exhilarating and enchanting.


Safe and Healthy Chinese New Year – Things to Watch Out For

Chinese New Year is massive nationwide celebration and an astonishing experience with much joy and cultural splendour. The fireworks in particular are unbelievable.

Chinese New Year | Image Credit - Westerheversand, CC BY-SA 1.0 via Wikipedia Commons

Chinese New Year | Image Credit – Westerheversand, CC BY-SA 1.0 via Wikipedia Commons


During Chinese New Year, there’s mass exodus of people travelling from the city to their various hometowns. This can result in exponentially more pollution, which will reach critical mass when the fireworks go off. So if you suffer from health problems, it’s best to be prepared.

Stay Vigilant in Crowds

During Chinese New Year, crowds will be at their most congested, so one should always keep an eye out for pick-pockets or kinds of unsavoury people. Theft can easily go unnoticed if you’re in a crowd.


When the fireworks begin they can be overwhelming, and dangerous if you’re at ground level. If you’re staying at some high end accommodation, such as Clarke Quay hotels Singapore along the likes of Park Hotel Clarke Quay, then it’s best to enjoy the fireworks from the comfort and safety of your balcony.

Prepare Everything in Advance

During Chinese New Year, tourism can be at its peak, so be sure to make your travel arrangements, book your accommodation and reserve your restaurant tables well in advance to secure them for your arrival.

Intrigued by history, art and food, Shazzana Hamid is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary. Disguised as Lavinia Woolf she writes of the exhilarating and enchanting.


Festivals in Dubai – Add Colour Your Vacation

Dubai is a major tourist destination in the world and in order to provide a wholesome experience for tourists the country is packed with festivals and events throughout the year. Most festivals are closely related to Islam due to the dense Muslim population of the country.

Here are a few of the most popular festivals in Dubai.

Dubai shopping festivals

This is a massive shopping fiesta usually scheduled from January 1st to the 2nd February. Stocked with tons of clothes, shoes and bags for bargain prices, this is a shopper’s paradise. The festival involves every shop in the city, fireworks, and fun activities for kids and many more.

Festival of Taste

This is a vibrant city with diverse varieties of food. This is held in the Media city of Dubai and is run for over one week. This is a glorious event where the best chefs of the world will flock to prepare their best dishes.

Dubai international Jazz festival

This is another annual event that attracts tourists from all around the world. Held in the media district of Dubai this is an event with major lineups of Stanley Jorden, Toto and Robin Gibb. Visitors staying in 5 star resorts in Dubai such as water bound properties like Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort.

Art Dubai

This is an annual art fair where the best artists and curators flock together to showcase their artistic skills. This is a wonderful platform for growing talents and established artists of the city.

Intrigued by history, art and food, Lavinia Woolf is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary and writes of the exhilarating and enchanting.


Why ‘Holi’ festival brings so much fun for kids: The wonderful festival of colours.

Holi festival is a Hindu event that signifies spring awakening. This is widely celebrated in India and most parts of the world. It is a joyful celebration that is guaranteed to bring loads of fun for your kids and here’s why;


It’s a carnival of colour


festivals for kids, Holy

A Kid enjoying Holy in Spain | Photo by Steven Gerner, Flickr(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Holi festival is an exciting event where people collect in the streets and throw coloured powder at each other, leaving participants coated in shades of vibrant colours by the end of the day.

Vibrant shades, cheerful people and playing with coloured powder are some of the elements adored by children and make the Holi celebration experience amongst the highlights on many of the best vacations with kids.


The music and dancing


The festival of colour is often praised for its impressive music with traditional drums by most travel sites such as The Family Travel Blog.

Holy gives kids an immense joy

Holy gives kids an immense joy | Steven Gerner, Flickr(CC BY-SA 2.0)

These child friendly festivals where people get together to forget their troubles and celebrate with their families and friends. Children are free to dance away in the streets to rhythmic beats, it is the most fun any religious festival in the world will ever offer.


Coming together


This is a fiesta that brings people together irrespective of age, gender, caste or status. Therefore, it is filled with smiles, laughter and love. Thus is a heartwarming experience for all children.


It an annual event


The only thing better than celebrating the festival of colour is awaiting the colourful event every year. It is a refreshing religious event to look forward to.

References : BBC, The Telegraph

Intrigued by history, art and food, Lavinia Woolf is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary and writes of the exhilarating and enchanting. Google+

Upcoming Moon Festival in Bangkok – Party All Night Long…

Bangkok city, famous for being most alive at the night time attracts many tourists from all over the world.

Plan ahead

During the festival season, Thai hotels get quite busy, so it is better to secure your booking as early as possible. If you would rather stay at a service apartment in Bangkok, there are plenty of popular options like Anantara Baan Rajprasong. Coming up is the most awaited festival of all seasons, the Moon Festival, so this is a very good time to plan your visit to Bangkok.



Even though this festival has originated in China, it has moved to a different phase in Bangkok. Story goes that in 1985 a small group of travellers who were inspired by the beauty of the moon in Koh Phangan had arranged an all night long beach party which later developed to the major bash known as the ‘Full Moon Party’.

The party

Every month a crowd of about 10,000 – 30,000 comes to enjoy the most happening beach festival with dance, music, food, and drinks. The glamorous fireworks make most of the party atmosphere, while the fire eaters thrill the crowd with their skillful performances.


This has gained so much fame among tourists that even variants like ‘Half Moon’ and ‘Quarter Moon’ parties were on the rise during the early days. But the government had banned all celebrations apart from the Full Moon Festival considering the noise pollution and severe damage it caused to the routine lives of Islanders.

Intrigued by history, art and food, Lavinia Woolf is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary and writes of the exhilarating and enchanting.


The Adelaide Festival of Arts – A Celebration of the Creative Spirit

The music scene of Australia has an extensive history from indigenous Australian music to contemporary fusions of Western styles including country, jazz, rock, pop, electronic and dance music. Apart from music, the country also showcases some amazing theatrical, dance and literary works. Highlighting these aspects is the Adelaide Festival of Arts that is hosted each year in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia.

Offering a rich selection of opera, theatre, dance, classical and contemporary music, cabaret, literature, visual art and new media, the Adelaide Festival has attracted participants and visitor from around the world for over 55 years. If you have plans to enjoy the extensive array of performances from famous musicians to astounding dance troupes amid the warm and starry autumnal nights, this event is the place to be at. Look for Adelaide accommodation in CBD – Central Business District – the nucleus of all the excitement of the festival. Consider staying at properties like iStay Precinct that are within easy reach of music venues and local pubs.

exterior up-shot of iStay Precinct hotel in Adelaide city at dusk with lights on and car parking on street

The Adelaide Festival of Arts is centred in the heart of the city. The River Torrens and the Adelaide Festival Centre form the focal point of the event with the North Terrace area featuring many festival venues. Most recently, however, the area known as Elder Park has been the chosen venue for the opening ceremonies of the festival.

With the collaboration of artists, performers, musicians and literary greats that include Marlene Dietrich, Allen Ginsberg, James Thiérrée and Philip Glass along with renowned companies like the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, the festival has been infused with a welcoming mix of modern-classical fusion and expression. After taking in the performances you can enjoy some stimulating conversation over a pint at places like “the Gov”, “Jade Monkey”, “Rocket Bar” or the “Crown and Anchor – The Cranker” which adds to the experience.

Intrigued by history, art and food, Shazzana Hamid is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary. Disguised as Lavinia Woolf she writes of the exhilarating and enchanting.


Anantara Celebrates 15 Years! – taking the hospitality industry to new heights

Anantara Celebrates 15 Years!

                                                        Anantara Celebrates 15 Years!

From the deserts of the Middle East to the white sand beaches of a Maldivian island and lush tropical gardens in the North of Thailand, the global hospitality and leisure brand, Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas recently celebrates 15 years of luxurious journeys and dedicated service since the opening of its first resort, Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa back in 2001. Several high profile guests attended the grand celebrations at its headquarters in Bangkok. A part of Minor Hotels, Anantara has become synonymous with luxury and bespoke experiences. Today, the International Hotel Group has a continuously growing portfolio which features 35 luxury resorts in a wide range of locations spanning across Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Over the past 15 years, the brand has set global benchmarks in the hospitality industry; Anantara is world famous for its signature concepts such as Dining by Design, and resident experts, Anantara Gurus as well as for its Anantara spas which make use of native techniques and ingredients to create a unique spa experience. Building upon the company’s philosophy of “Life is a Journey,” Anantara launched ‘Balance’, a new wellness concept which will motivate guests to pursue passions through customised experiences. Whether it’s weight loss and body toning, to de-stressing or holistic healing, Balance lets you customize the experience to suit your needs, all while enhancing your wellbeing along the way.

Looking to the future, there are several projects in the pipeline as Anantara have announced plans to open their second resort in Sri Lanka – Anantara Kalutara Resort, and two resorts in Oman – Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort and Al Baleed Salalah Resort by Anantara, all three resorts are scheduled to open by end of 2016. Adding to the award winning resorts lists is the Anantara Guiyang Resort in Guizhou Province in central southern China, the first of the group’s hotel in the region.

Intrigued by history, art and food, Lavinia Woolf is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary and writes of the exhilarating and enchanting. Google+

Koh Phangan Full Moon Party – Make it special; celebrate it under the Moon Light

For those travelers heading out to Thailand I suggest you make your way to the most celebrated beaches of all time. Haad Rin Nok Beach- the perfect beach for a mid night’s treat of party rock merged with some explosive performances ranging from fireworks, electrifying music to nerve racking dance performances ensuring every partygoer is treated to a once in a life time experience of night time amusement. With the ability to hold over tens of thousands of people at a time this beach offers you an enormous variety of options extending from a hillside bar where you can relax at a safe distance from the excitement or mingle with fellow partiers in the night’s activities.

There is nothing to compliment this blissful beach experience than that of the indulgence with one of the best hospitality providers in the region. Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villa Resort and Spa is nothing but the very best of Phangan resorts that gift every visitor with an unimpeded breath of the Ton Nai Pan Nai Beach, a secluded beach meant for an uninterrupted adventure of the beautiful blue waters of Thailand. If you make your way to Anantara Rasananda Villa Resort and Spa you are on board on an exciting and intriguing snorkeling tour and an escapade into the mysteries of the island that are meant to last for a life time. Quit contemplating, head over to Anantara and make this all yours.

Intrigued by history, art and food, Shazzana Hamid is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary. Disguised as Lavinia Woolf she writes of the exhilarating and enchanting.Google+

Jakarta International Jazz Festival – An international musical phenomenon

Considered the heart of Indonesia, Jakarta is a city known for being the cultural, economic and tourist hub of the country. The city exudes a fast paced, fluid and vibrant culture, incorporating the principles of its western counter parts to grow and retain its advanced stance in the modern world.

Alongside the desire to facilitate globalization of the country, the lifestyle of the community too changed drastically with the introduction of western influences. Among which, a sensation that has fast become a globally popular phenomenon, drawing thousands of locals and international viewers to one location is the Jakarta International Jazz Festival, an event founded by a jazz music enthusiast celebrating the universal love for music, specifically jazz among other musical genres. Though the festival venue shifts, it is always organized in a prime area of the city, whereby tourists on vacation who reside in any hotel, Central Jakarta such as the luxurious Alila Jakarta during this festival period, are just a short walk away from being awestruck by the amazing talents of Indonesian and international artists.

Initially held in 2005, this exhibition of various musical mediums has attracted a growing loyal following from all over the world making this festival one of the largest musical events in the world as well as undoubtedly ‘the largest music festival’ in the southern hemisphere of the world. Spread across the span of three days, the Jakarta International Jazz Festival kicks off with a series of pre event activities where some of the international and Indonesian artists perform at various hangout places such as malls, clubs and cafes. The artists use these opportunities to connect with the public through a musical medium and peak the interests of the observing music lovers thereby guaranteeing their attendance at the big event.

Intrigued by history, art and food, Shazzana Hamid is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary. Disguised as Lavinia Woolf she writes of the exhilarating and enchanting.