10 Reasons Not To Miss Out On Mozambique

Mozambique is a rather short drive from SA and is becoming one of Africa’s gems. Below are reasons why you need to visit soon.

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 11.54.23 PM.png

  1. Visit Gorongosa National Park

Gorongosa, now under Carr Foundation has buffaloes, lions, and the majestic sable antelopes.

  1. Horse riding on Bazaruto

The indigo bay Island resort found on Bazaruto has boerperd horses that love to climb dunes and gallop on the long, beach on the eastern side of the island.

  1. Paradise snorkeling

The waters around Santa Carolina -the official name for Paradise Island- are warm, shallow and sheltered. The visibility is excellent. The reef is rather busy with a population of rays, reel fish, eels with the rare appearance of the blacktip reef shark.

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 11.55.44 PM.png

  1. Walk in the Lago Niassa

Mozambicans call is Lago Niassa and Malawians call is lake Malawi. A beautiful lodge, Nkwichi Lodge is built around the trees and into the rocks in the remote bays of the lake. This offers a great view of and an exotic travel experience of the lake.

  1. Experience History on Ilha

Ilha de Moçambique is a crumbling colonial masterpiece which has seen the succeeding waves of Chinese and Arab traders. You will also see the little chapel de Nossa Senhora de Baluarte, built by the Portuguese and still survives to date so do the original cisterns that get the island its fresh water.

  1. Ride the train across the North

The every day run between Cuamba and Nampula ranks as the worlds hardcore railway journeys in the world. You can buy your ticket a day in advance from the ticketing offices in Cuamba or Nampula. To avoid the overcrowding be sure to get a second-class ticket.

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 11.57.35 PM.png

  1. Dhow sailing on the Bay

Inhambane is the most relaxed and prettiest town in Mozambique. For an exotic travel experience, head down the beach, and hire yourself a good boat. Go down on the water and drift around the bay, chasing dolphins, chasing dhows and sipping coconut juice of its shell.

  1. Enjoy Piri Piri’s Pawn Curry

The stalwart restaurant café at Avenida 24 de Julho in the town of Maputo has a reputation for excellent yet simple food. Their grilled chicken, doused in the best peri-peri sauce in the world, is consistently excellent, so is their prawn curry which is renowned world over.

cheers-839865_1280.jpg

  1. The beer

At the end of the war, the best beer in town was called Impala, Which had a sweet and yeasty taste. Impala has gone and now everybody drinks Laurentina or 2M and it worth noting there are very few things more satisfying in the world than a cold, dark Laurentina Preto beer on a hot day as you wait for your chips and grilled chicken, as you stare at the sea.

  1. The Gods seafood

You can enjoy seafood on the terrace of Costa do Sol, a deco art hotel and restaurant at the road out of Maputo while watching palms sway in the breeze. Make a point to have Africa’s awesome coffee milkshake as you chill on the lounger by the pool.

Join me on an exotic tour of South Africa as we bring you the best because you deserve the best. Want to know more on how you can squeeze out the best from your travels? Just askus@ladyredot.com!


 

Kally

Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food.

Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com

Advertisements

Adventures in Hang Son Doong, the World’s Largest Cave

Considered as the largest cave world over, the three million-year-old cave is located in central Vietnam. The cave’s name translates as ‘Mountain River Cave’. The cave ceiling is spread 100 meters over our heads. Sun rays stream in through the serrated sides of the cliffs. The high-pitched calls of the macaque monkeys and the birds bounce off the limestone walls, resounding from the world past the skylight. The Hang Son Doong cave is situated in Vietnam’s Quang Binh province in the middle of the Phong Nha-Ke National park.

Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 11.44.16 PM.png

In 1990, a local farmer, Ho Khanh, stumbled upon the cave. While in the jungle, he heard the gushing sounds of the underground river and saw clouds hanging above the large opening in the limestone. He reported his discovery to the British Caving Research Association but sadly, upon his return he got lost and could not find the cave. The cave remained lost for eighteen years, and in 2008 as he was hunting for food, Ho found the entrance to the cave again. A year later he returned with Howard and Deb Limbert both from the BCRA.

The Hang Son Doong covers an area of more than 5 kilometers (3 miles) and a height of two hundred meters. The main grotto is huge enough to accommodate a whole New York City housing block. The Hang Son Doong was for the first time opened to the public in 2013, with the Oxalis tour company offering limited 5-day expeditions. The use of only one Tour Company has helped protect the cave from huge developments. The tours run once a week from February to August yearly and only ten customers are allowed for each departure.

The Hang Son Doong has a unique eco-system with its own localized weather. Scattered in the dried pools are the unique limestone cave pearls and the biggest stalagmite ever stands eighty meters tall. The collapsed cave ceilings have formed openings called dolines, which allow plant life to grow in the cave.

Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 11.44.44 PM.png

The journey into the Hang Son Doong involves a 2-day trek through thick jungle shrubbery and crossing rivers to arrive at the cave’s entrance. Night-time is spent camping within the cave and the close by Hang En cave. The Hang En has come to be recognized as the third largest cave world over. In order to get to the end of the cave, hikers climb, crawl, abseil and swim through the underground rivers, making this a remarkable adventure. Even with the physical strains, guests are well cared for; accompanied by 2 caving experts, two chefs, three local guides, 20 porters and two park rangers who ensure the expedition is exceptional and safe. Small tour groups ensure the cave is preserved as well.

The Quang Binh province has greatly benefited from the growing tourism after the discovery of the cave. Many locals turned to tourism after guests started arriving; this has contributed greatly to the provinces’ economic growth. Local entrepreneurs have established hiking, mountain biking, kayaking and eco-conservation companies to work together with the caving expeditions.

Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 11.48.52 PM.png

In recent years, the Sun Group, a Vietnamese development firm has been forward with its intention to construct a cable car to the Hang Son Doong. In 2015, strong opposition from the UNESCO and other activist groups urged the Vietnamese government to briefly stop the construction permits. The cable car construction still looms and it remains unknown whether the approval will be allowed.

Some people are for the idea that tourism will keep benefiting the locals, while others express their concern regarding the destruction tourism will cause to the ecosystem due to the high numbers of guests it brings. Comparable projects like the Mount Fansipan and the Halong Bay have experienced major environmental due to tourism. It can only be anticipated that a responsible and sustainable decision is arrived at to help preserve the Hang Son Doong.


Kally

Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food.

Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com

How to Stay Safe as A Single Female Traveler In India

In India, attacks on tourists have recently been on the rise, leaving one question the level of safety of women touring alone in the country. This has led to women taking safety measures to avoid “Eve-teasing”; the name used in India referring to sexual harassment.

The problem has greatly been attributed to the easy access to illegal homebrews, an increase of porn on the internet and the increasing numbers of uneducated bachelors- who, having lost hope of settling down- relocate into towns and cities away from their families.

Grktdivirng%6.jpg

I have put together a useful list of what to do and not do for women traveling alone in India. Women are further advised and reminded that they are not without help. Opportunists are always watching a woman’s behavior and not with the best of intentions. Please be reminded western women that they are not to carry themselves as they do back home. It was observed that both local and foreigner women are at risk of these horrific attacks. Most of the local educated women hardly go out after dark and are often brief when dealing with male strangers and even hotel staff who attempt to chat with them.

What to do or not do when traveling alone in India

To Do

  • Always make arrangements with your guesthouse or hotel for taxi transfers to rail and bus stations particularly after dark.
  • Make use of pre-paid cab counters at the airports and always take the smart and air-conditioned taxis.
  • Ensure your hotel room door has fast bolts on the inside. You can acquire rubber doorstop to help prevent intruders.
  • Avoid the streets after dark. Make use of a rickshaw or taxi to restaurants like the local women do.
  • When in Delhi, use the carriages for women only on the metro and only walk when you have to. This will keep you away from encountering the growing eve-teasing problem.
  • Even when you have not made a hotel reservation, act as though you do. As the taxi to drop you off a particular place then continue from there.

Not to Do

  • Wear any revealing or skimpy clothing. This can be anything from long see-through skirts, strappy tops, shorts or a cut-off pair of trousers. Putting a long tunic over a loose trouser is suggested.
  • Be too welcoming with hotel staff or men who engage you at tourist attraction sights. Instead, hold conversations with women only. While on trains, it is unusual to see any Indian woman chat with a strange man unless it is her husband.
  • Accept drinks from any stranger. The local women barely take drinks in public- even at the hotel bars- therefore be careful of men who invite you for drinks.
  • Facing staring Indian men. This is understood as an invitation. Therefore look away or turn your eyes down. This will indicate your lack of interest in any further interaction.
  • Take walks in the countryside alone. If you have to, have your mobile phone at hand with a speed-dial number ready to call for help. Use your mobile to make fake calls when you get an uncomfortable feeling.

DfkericVMF293.jpg

It pays to stay safe when you travel to another country especially when you are alone and this is your first time in a new destination. Bring back fond memories of your travels  by being cautious, alert and respectful.


Kally

Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food.

Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com

Burma’s Rising Capital

Naypyitaw, the roughly 12-year old nation capital of Burma, has been called many things since it was created. A ghost town, a post-apocalyptic suburb. Its 16-lane roads are vast and endless, and apparently unused by motorists or pedestrians. The larger-than-life mansions and villas that look uninhabited. You could hear a host of negative things about Burma’s relatively new capital, all of which will discourage you from even thinking of the name of the place.

Or you could hear another view: Naypyitaw is awesome. Yes, the place is quiet, and yes, it looks like actual living beings are scarce, but Naypyitaw is awesome. You can’t let that turn you away from visiting one of the most beautiful nation capitals in the world now, will you?

Naypyitaw – Not Isolated: Surrounded

The city is said to be isolated on all sides for at least fifty miles around (verification needed about that), but Naypyitaw is actually strategically located between Rangoon, the former capital, and Mandalay (verification provided).

Naypyitaw is also a part of another town called Pyinmana, which is another place you should visit in Burma. It is a lovely historic town with teak and brick edifices and shady, leafy lanes.

With the number of residents increasing, mosques have been built, and there is also a Catholic Church in the city if you really need to go to church.

Naypyitaw – No Ghost Town

People actually live and work in the new capital, and, despite the fact that there is seemingly no traffic, the roads are used by people coming and going in trucks or on motorcycles.

Naypyitaw – There is Food!

Where there are people, you will always find food. Restaurants are thriving in the new capital, with several options to choose from, depending on your tastes and your pockets.

The Santino Café is a restaurant and bakery mix that serves a broad spectrum of dishes, including Japanese, Thai, European, Chinese, and American.

Maw Khan Nong 2 lets you enjoy bowls of delicious Shan noodles with a cold beer on the outdoor terrace.

You can visit the YKKO to sample their noodles: they are to die for. What’s more, your dining options are all in the same area, so you can’t get lost.

Naypyitaw – Not a Boring Moment

There are places to go and things to see in the new capital for everyone. History buffs can visit the museum to see the rich culture and history of Burma, or go to the Uppatasanti Pagoda, a replica of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, which is filled four jade Buddha images facing the four directions, and carved reliefs showing scenes from Gautama Buddha’s past lives.

Love nature? Visit the Naypyitaw Zoological Gardens, and the Safari Park, which has many species animals, including the rare white tiger.

Naypyitaw – Who Said You Can’t Stay?

There are several hotels operating in Naypyitaw, including the Hilton, which has rooms with a ore international feel to them; Kempinski, built with classic Bamar-style wood carving and roofed walkways; and the Lake Garden MGallery Collection, whose on site restaurants are among the best in the city.

If you love exotic travels as much as we do, come and drop us an email askus@ladyredot.com to find out where is our next adventure!


Hi, I’m Kally. A Singaporean who has been relocated twice, first to Shanghai, now based in Kuala Lumpur. I have always been the avid traveller since young. I had my passport made even before I went to primary school! I travel extensively during my free time, either on tour groups or backpacking around Europe and all within the recent years. I am exposed to many different cultures and places, which allow me, to have the ability to look at many things and situation from various angles. Having gained 20 years of corporate world, I decided it is time for me to hang up my briefcase and heels to indulge my passion: Writing and Traveling. The two passions that give me pure enjoyment and liberation. As much as I enjoy traveling and writing, I strive on assisting people in making their lives easier. This is evidently shown in MiddleMe.net where I am the founder and editor. Allow me @ kally@ladyredot.com to help you to pen down your next trip abroad!

9 Things You Need To Know Before You Travel To Cuba

The Republic of Cuba is made up of; the island of Cuba, Isla de la Juventud and several archipelagos. Spanish is the national language. Havana is the largest city as well as the capital city of Cuba.

Cuba is Caribbean’s largest island and the second-most populous after Hispaniola. The country has 16 provinces and is home to the world’s famous Che Guevara.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 10.46.53 PM.png

Below is a list of what you need to know before you arrive in Cuba.

  1. Singaporeans do not need visa to Cuba unlike Americans

Unlike the American passport which has restrictions when visiting Cuba, the Singaporean passport passes the test and you can travel to Cuba without a visa for up to 30days.

All tourists require a tourist card, which goes for $20 and which you must purchase prior to your arrival in Cuba. This can be obtained in the country you are arriving in from.

  1. Avoid Hurricane Season – July to Nov

Cuban experiences stormy weather between the months of July and November. Hurricanes are mostly ranging in late August and early October. The other months of the year offer favorable weather for you to visit Cuba.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 10.47.30 PM.png

  1. Print out your documents before leaving

It is advisable to have a print-out of your return ticket or even saved on your phone or laptop. During the check-in process, the airline checks to ensure that you possess a copy of your return ticket. Unfortunately, the airline isn’t in a position to have a print out done for you.

  1. Credit Card is useless there

All transactions in Cuba are done using cash. It is advisable to have ready cash on you. Foreign exchange counters are available at the airport for your access to Cuban currency.

American dollars are charged a 10% additional fee to the exchange rate when changing into Cuban money, so it is advisable to use other foreign currencies like the British pound, Mexican pesos, or Euro which do not attract such additional fee.

  1. Cuba’s 2 currencies

Cuba uses two currencies, the Cuban covertibles CUC, – which is mostly used tourists -and Cuban pesos CUP. Changing foreign currency to CUP you have to first change to CUC then to CUP. As a tourist, you can use CUP should you prefer.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 10.47.45 PM.png

  1. Stay in Casas Particulares aka local Airbnb

Accommodation in Cuba is mostly what is referred to as Casas Particulares. Hotels are available but are few making Casas Particulares more common. Families with several rooms available in their homes offer the boarding services at a fee. You will have a shared common space with its members.

  1. Buses are the best transportation

Travel in Cuban is mostly by bus and they have good infrastructure connecting all the major cities. Few bus companies are available that offer bus services to tourist, but should you opt for bus tours ensure to be at the bus terminus earlier since no online booking services are available.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 10.48.37 PM.png

  1. It is very safe in Havana

Havana is heavily guarded with security troops everywhere. This makes Havana very safe for you to even walk in the streets at night.

  1. The Internet is a scarcity

Internet access here is rather expensive and not easily available. The way for you to have access is to either check- in into one of the hotels that have Internet services, then pay for it, or buy local mobile provider (ETECSA) Sim-card then connect through one of the wifi hotspots available in the major cities.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 10.49.15 PM.png

Havana city is a prime touristic site. I truly enjoyed the morning strolls along the El Malecon which has a fantastic view of the bay and runs alongside the main streets of Havana. The weather was warm and humid so an early stroll was more enjoyable, refreshing and scenic.

During my short stay, I could not pass up a quick stop at the Camara Obscura. It is situated in the old town and has a breathtaking 360-degrees view of the entire city.

Want to know more about Havana and Cuba? Just askus@ladyredot.com, we have all the tips and tricks for you.


Kally Hi, I’m Kally. A Singaporean who has been relocated twice, first to Shanghai, now based in Kuala Lumpur. I have always been the avid traveller since young. I had my passport made even before I went to primary school! I travel extensively during my free time, either on tour groups or backpacking around Europe and all within the recent years. I am exposed to many different cultures and places, which allow me, to have the ability to look at many things and situation from various angles. Having gained 20 years of corporate world, I decided it is time for me to hang up my briefcase and heels to indulge my passion: Writing and Traveling. The two passions that give me pure enjoyment and liberation. As much as I enjoy traveling and writing, I strive on assisting people in making their lives easier. This is evidently shown in MiddleMe.net where I am the founder and editor. Allow me @ kally@ladyredot.com to help you to pen down your next trip abroad!

My Adventures in Bhutan

Bhutan – which translates as “the Land of the Thunder Dragon”- is a small landlocked country, hidden in the eastern side of Himalayas between the sprawling enfold of China and India. The country’s single international airport is located in the hilly side of Paro valley. Most of the connections to Bhutan are via Bangkok and Delhi with limited access from northern side from India.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 10.16.28 PM.png

Thimphu, the capital city, although in its growth stages, is growing rapidly. Even with a new domestic airport in the south, we mostly journeyed alongside single-lane roads which warped round valleys or plummeted down mountainsides.

Our team toured the Taktsang monastery – also called Tiger’s Nest- Bhutan’s main tourist attraction. The temple -dates back to the 15th century- is an out of this world accomplishment of engineering, white-walls and red-roof on top of an obdurate visage of stone, thrusting 1,000m into the sky. The temple has an easier access rebuilt and has greatly helped potential pilgrims.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 10.15.13 PM.png

In addition to efforts of maintaining sustainable development and preserving Bhutan’s natural environment, cultural principles are upheld. Tourist numbers to Bhutan are dwindling due to the difficult access, and a “high-end” tourism policy supported by the Bhutanese Tourism Council. A seasonal daily tariff of between $200-250 is to be paid by each tourist.

Overlooking the paddy Paro-basin fields is the Uma Paro- an International Hotel and Resort, where we were staying. Using conventional Bhutanese plan and a set round courtyard, the central building houses the rooms. A lustrous spa area and a serene indoor pool are to be found in the basement.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 10.15.54 PM.png

Dining in the Bukhari restaurant was the best part for me. The restaurant design extends from the belly of the central building and the plan encompasses a focus-point stone fireplace, amid a view from each table. Nonetheless, if you opt for some privacy, eight spacious one-bed roomed villas are available. The villas expand up the hill following the central building; room-service is offered and each has a spa room of its own.

“Tour of the Dragon” race , which was held here from 2010 to 2011 was aimed at promoting mountain biking. The race-course mapped out the mountainous path between Bumthang to the east and Thimphu, covering a distance of over 267km. I later came to learn that December is the most ideal time for this sport since there are no monsoon rains and the air is cooler.

Paro is the single-most heavily visited Bhutan city, and it is bordered by tactfully hidden luxury resorts, and yet it’s hardly bigger than a village in the Alps. We ventured the magnificent river-bank Rinpung Dzong castle, voyaging on its pretty suspension bridge, taking regular stops to savor the spectacular view down below of the cascading, jade-colored river.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 10.14.53 PM.png

We finally arrived at the grand courtyards of Punakha Dzong, the temple at the confluence of two great rivers where the king had fêted his marriage. From here we could observe the Upper Valley, families doing their daily errands and above, the majestic Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten was glowing, as it towered above the Bhutan country.

Curious about my trip in Bhutan? Want to explore Bhutan? Why not askus@ladyredot.com?


Kally Hi, I’m Kally. A Singaporean who has been relocated twice, first to Shanghai, now based in Kuala Lumpur. I have always been the avid traveller since young. I had my passport made even before I went to primary school! I travel extensively during my free time, either on tour groups or backpacking around Europe and all within the recent years. I am exposed to many different cultures and places, which allow me, to have the ability to look at many things and situation from various angles. Having gained 20 years of corporate world, I decided it is time for me to hang up my briefcase and heels to indulge my passion: Writing and Traveling. The two passions that give me pure enjoyment and liberation. As much as I enjoy traveling and writing, I strive on assisting people in making their lives easier. This is evidently shown in MiddleMe.net where I am the founder and editor. Allow me @ kally@ladyredot.com to help you to pen down your next trip abroad!

Unusual Beaches in the World

Beach. It’s a place usually dotted with palm trees where you get sand between your toes, get a tan under the heat of the sun, and bathe in crystal clear waters. Sure, but did you know that there are beaches in this mysterious world that offers more than that?

Did you know that there is a beach in this world that has glow in the dark particles dwelling in its waters? Did you know there are beaches in this world with green, purple, pink, black, and red sand? Prepare to be amazed as we show you the unusual beaches in the world.

  1. Red Sand Beach (Rabida, Galapagos)
    This beach is unusual because, yes you’re right, it has orangey red sand. The red sand is not because of blood of course, but it’s because of the oxidation of lava that contains a high level of iron and tiny bits of corals washed up.
  2. Pfeiffer Purple Sand Beach (California)
    It’s named “Purple Sand Beach” obviously because of its purple sand. Its sand however, is not purple all over. It has streaks of purple that look like someone spilled purple and indigo watercolor. No, nobody spilled watercolor on the sand. The purple color is because of the manganese garnet deposits from the hillside soil eroded to the beach.
  3. Pink Sand Beach (Bahamas)
    Here’s another one named after the color of its sand. Pink Sand Beach is pink because of the tiny pieces of coral that are broken down and washed ashore by the strong waves. Just imagine the blue waters and the pink sand! Just perfect!
  4. Papakolea Green Sand Beach (Hawaii)
    The first thing that you’ll probably think of when you see this beach is how slimy the sand must be because it looks like it’s covered with seaweeds. But no, the green shade is not because of seaweeds but because of Hawaii’s volcanic mountains. When the volcano erupts, the lava that reached the sea produces a mineral known as “olivine.” It’s the reason why the sand is green.
  5. Glass Beach (California)
    This beach is unusual because it is covered with tiny bits of glass. Sure, it may look nice and unique, but its history is exactly the opposite. Long ago, Glass Beach was the residents’ landfill. Locals used to dump their rubbish in the beach. The glass sand is a result of the waves pounding the glass materials into tiny pieces.
  6. Maldives (no specific beach though)
    Who says you can only enjoy the beach at daytime? In Maldives, visitors laze around the beach at night. When the sun goes down, when the stars appear in the sky, the bioluminescent phytoplankton gather up and line up the shore. The microscopic organisms glow in the dark as a reaction to the strong movements of the water. Oh so magical!
  7. Giants Causeway Beach (Ireland)
    This beach is unique and very picturesque because of its mysterious rock formation. Several million years ago, basalt lava rose to the surface. When it cooled, it cracked into gigantic columns that still exist until today.

Aren’t you attempt to pack your bags and go? I am! Come and join me for a trip today at askus@ladyredot.com.