Tag Archives: Paradise

Know Where Your Health Products Come From – The Beauty of Wakaya Island

Fiji Island daytrip on the SeasprayAt Intent we believe very firmly in knowing the source of the food you eat and the products you use in your wellness regimen. It’s almost impossible to avoid GMOs in the United States or to know exactly where your health products are coming from so it’s a relief when a health company is upfront with the process and source of their products.

We’ve talked a lot about the benefits and tips of Wakayan Perfection ginger, but what is so “perfect” about this particular brand of ginger? It’s the island it comes from, and how the ginger is cultivated from the soil.

If you’ve never heard of Wakaya Island, you’re probably not alone – it’s a 2,200 acre privately owned island in Fiji that I’m almost positive your World Geography professor never mentioned (there are 333 islands in Fiji, so you can let your professor slide on that). The island’s exclusivity, seclusion, and eco-friendly focus make it a rising luxury vacation destination and home to a new line of organic health products.

Fiji water founder, David Gilmour, purchased Wakaya in 1973 after he found the island uninhibited and envisioned a unique slice of island paradise that connected nature, luxury, and eco-wellness (is it just me or does this island sound beyond heavenly?). A health buff and entrepreneur, David recognized an opportunity to create a luxurious getaway location and develop a never-before-seen level of natural health and wellness products grown in the rich, untouched Wakaya soil.

After investing in some developmental needs such as paved roads, an airport, and fresh water, David and his wife, Jill, opened the Wakaya Club Resort in 1990 (designed and decorated by Jill). The resort merges luxury, nature, leisure, international cuisine, and seclusion – my idea of the perfect vacation.

In addition to the resort, David recently launched Wakaya Perfection, a line of organic ginger and dilo plant products (a unique Fijan plant and the next new super plant) grown in the virgin (uncontaminated by pesticides and GMOs) soil of Wakaya. Both the organic ginger roots and dilo plants are cultivated by hand (no machinery allowed) and only receive water from natural rainfall (no man-made irrigation system here). This takes organic to a whole new level!

While not all of us will be able to take our next vacation in Wakaya (although that would be pretty awesome – please send me pics if you go!), we can all benefit from the rich soil of the island when using Wakaya Perfection ginger products and dilo cream. Yeah, it’s not a private island getaway, but you’ll get a slice of the Wakaya island paradise while taking care of your health and wellness too!

Kerala Backwaters Vacation Ideas

With the Arabian Sea in the west, the Western Ghats towering 500-2700 m in the  east and networked by forty four rivers, Kerala enjoys unique geographical  features that have made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations  in Asia. An equable climate. A long shoreline with serene beaches. Tranquil  streches of emerald backwaters. Lush hill stations and exotic wildlife. Waterfalls.  Sprawling plantations and paddy fields. Ayurvedic health holidays. Enchanting  art forms. Magical festivals. Historic  and cultural monuments. An exotic cuisine…  All of which offer you a unique experience. And what’s more, every one of these  charming destinations is only a two hour drive from the other. A singular advantage  no other destination offers. Kerala, India’s most advanced society : A hundred  percent literate people. World-class health care systems. India’s lowest infant  mortality and highest life expectancy rates. The highest physical quality of  life in India. Peaceful and pristine, Kerala is also India’s cleanest State.  For administrative purpose, the state of Kerala is divided into fourteen districts.  Most of these districts offer all the tourism products typical of the State.  It’s up to you to decide whether Kerala is the most beautiful state of  India for summer
vacations
. At least it is the greenest and is a melting pot of cultures, activities  and other interesting sights. It is situated in the south of India with the  Arabian sea along its western coast, that paved the way for international trade,  and the mountain range of western Ghats on the east with its marvellous (Trivandrum)  in the south. Trivandrum is the state capital although it might not appear  like that at first sight. It still has a rustic ambience. The Napier Museum  has a good overview of the state’s history. From here, you can easily  explore the marvellous beaches of Varkala and Kovalam.

A trip you can’t refuse when you’re in Kerala is leaving the small  town of Kollam by boat and go by means of the backwaters, to the market town  Alappuzha. You’ll have a spectacular view of what life is like in that area.  Kochi, the commercial capital, is a bit more to the north and has, besides  its seaside front, a lot to offer for those interested in history. The old  European church, Chinese fishing nets and the Jewish synagogue are only a few  of the remnant’s of the former days.

Getting Around
  On arrival, take a prepaid taxi from the airport to your hotel. You can order    one in the arrival lounge. This avoids haggling and provides a measure of    security. For further short distance travel    packages, use taxis or the local    bus service (very cheap but, as often is the case, buses are generally overcrowded).    Hardly any traveller dares to drive a hired car. This is definitely a smart    decision when you don’t have any driving experience on the local roads (that    sometimes tend to illustrate the survival of the fittest). A few adventurous    types buy a motorbike for the duration of their stay, the legendary Royal    Enfield built in Madras being the favourite one. Trains are convenient for    longer distances and, again, very cheap. There is no need for booking seats    when travelling shorter distances within Kerala. However, it is a must if    you’re planning to travel to the neighbouring states.

Kerala Backwaters
 Kerala and backwaters are synonyms to one another. Known by the name of God’s    Own Country, Kerala has always attracted visitors from far away destinations    to relax their mind, body and soul in its magnificent backwater destinations    like Alleppey, Kollam, Kumarakom, Kochi and Trivandrum. Apart from its backwater    destinations, Kerala is world over famous for its Ayurveda Therapy and Yoga Treatment Spas.

It is really one of the best experiences of lifetime to hear the soothing  sound of ripples in the backwaters of Kerala, when you relax on the houseboats  away from the fast and hectic life of metros.

Famous Backwater Destinations in Kerala

Kochi
  Kochi or Cochin is a really neat and compact town in Kerala. The town has a    distinct european feel, due to the fact that it was controled by the Portugese,    Dutch and English who each left buildings and foot prints in the culture.    It is a very nice town to walk around and has quite some sights of it self.It    is a reasonable base to do an excursion to the backwaters of Kerala. The    rivers around Kochi are not as wide as further down south and you get to    see much more. There are a number of small travel    agents that allow you to    book these tours or transport options for further travel.

Alleppey
  Alleppey is famous by the name of Venice of East because of its beautiful backwaters,    lakes and lagoons. It is also known by the name of Alappuzha, which is located    on Vemband Lake’s banks. It is famous for its Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race,    which is organized annually around Onam festival.

Kollam
  There is a famous proverb in Malayalam ” kollam kandavanillam venda, Kochi  kandavanachi venda” It means one who saw kollam doesn’t need a house.  This old famous proverb tells the blessed heritage and popularity of Kollam.  Because of the pronounciation problem britishers named Kollam as Quilon. So  in the railway map you may not see the name Kollam but quilon. the name Kollam  is very famous in Kerala even though the britishers called it as quilon.Kollam  is very rich with its costal area, cashew nut, backwaters, mountains, rivers,  beautiful natural forests etc.Lot of people comes from foreign countries to  enjoy the beauty of kollam.

Kumarakom
  Kumarakom is situated on the banks of Vermbanand Lake and is treated as a paradise    on earth for enjoying holidays in backwaters. It is one of the most sought    after tourist holiday backwater destinations in Kerala, India.
   
  Trivandrum
  Trivandrum is the capital city of Kerala and is also famous by the name of    Thiruvananthapuram. It is also one of the famous starting points of many    backwater cruises in Kerala. There are a number of historic attractions    in Thiruvananthapuram. One of the beautiful beaches of India, Kovalam Beach    is also situated in Thiruvananthapuram.

Kasargod
  Kasargod is an another beautiful city famous for its serene backwaters in Kerala.    It is located in North Kerala and is well known for its Valiyaparamba backwaters    stretch. The main attraction of this place is the cruise ride in and around    Chandagiri, which is located 4 km to South East of Kasargod.
   
    Honeymoon in Kerala
  It is your Honeymoon and you and your companion needs privacy, luxury and security.    This is time for romance, excitement and leisure.Dreaming of an exotic Honeymoon?    Kerala is for lovers,    romantics and those in search of a tropical vacation.    Cuddle up in a warm beach cottage, dine and vine under the stars, or getaway    to your own clandestine vacation hill station with a picnic lunch. Kerala    is a perfect place for your island vacation.

Kerala is the right place to spend your Honeymoon where an  assortment of activities is on hand. Lakes to sensitize, Sparkling backwaters,  Luxuriant jade Hill Stations, Distant Beaches, Succulent Cuisine, Gracious  people and great facilities. With us visit top attractions in Kerala and benefit  from exploratory activities in Kerala on your honeymoon.So whatever honeymoon  destination you choose – whether  it is Hill area (Munnar),  Wild Life (Thekkedy), Jungle (Wayanad – Vythiri),  and beaches (Kovalam, Poovar, Varkala, Aleppey and Cherai) – we can facilitate  you to accomplish utmost contentment and unforgettable honeymoon.Make your  honeymoon holidays unprecedented by selecting the most romantic destinations  in Kerala.

Valentines Day Vacation Spots

One can never outgrow the charm of Valentine’s Day. No matter what people say, it is a occasion to celebrate love. Add to it the fact that this year, it happens to fall on a long weekend with Friday, February 12 being Shivratri and a holiday for many. So pack your bags this Valentine’s Day and take a weekend break to one of these magical places in India, perfect for a romantic getaway.Valentine’s Day (February 14) is a great excuse to take a break from the daily grind and spend some quality time with that special someone. And with V-Day falling on a Sunday this year, it’s the perfect opportunity to skip town and head out. So we asked readers to send in their most romantic vacation spots that would make great V-Day getaways.

The Misty Hills of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
How much ever people try to dissuade you, do not listen. Shimla, about 370 km from Delhi, is the eternal favourite honeymoon spot in North India and for good reason too. The nip in the air, the misty skies, the breathtaking views and evening walks on the Mall road make it the perfect romantic location.Must-do: Walk hand in hand with your beloved while devouring a softy ice cream from the famous stall near the church. The toy train from Kalka to Shimla is also a must do.

Where to stay: Unless you want to go the luxury way and stay at the Oberoi, be adventurous and walk down the mall towards a campsite called Potters Hill. The Swiss Tents are comfortable and the location in the middle of the pine forest perfect.

 
Marvelous Matheran, Maharashtra
Leave the hustle bustle of city life behind and lose yourself in this tiny hillock called Matheran, about 108 km away from Mumbai.The only hill station where there is no vehicular traffic allowed, spend leisurely afternoons taking pony rides or treks along the unused railway track.Matheran is delightfully accessible from Mumbai and Pune by local trains that don’t need prior booking.

Must-do: Take a walk along the lanes that wind their way through the forests, buy a guava from the stall on the way and hear the birds twitter.

Where to stay: Maharashtra Tourism has excellent cottages at throwaway prices.

Gopalpur-on-Sea, Orissa
It may sound like a description but Gopalpur-on-Sea is actually the name of this sleepy town located about 180 km from Bhubaneshwar in Orissa.Once a busy sea port, it is now a quaint and quiet beach side town. There is a lighthouse for some sightseeing but besides that, there is just the sand, the sea and you. Perfect for a quiet romantic weekend vacation packages .The waters of the sea here are a pleasurable deep blue which is rare to find in the ever crowded Goa.

Must-do: Walk barefoot in the sand and watch the sun go down on the sea.

Where to stay: Swosti Palm Resort is a nice and clean but affordable stay option here.

The Spice Route through Kerala
One would never think of Kerala as a weekend vacation. But if you happen to be in that part of the country, this is the perfect answer to your Valentine’s Day plans.What could be more romantic than a cruise in a houseboat down the backwaters at Alleppey and fresh prawns for dinner!Plan a 2-day trip to Cochin and go down to Alleppey (2 hours away) for a day’s cruise.Must-do: Visit the Mattancherry Antique market in Cochin and pick up a 200 year old souvenir to remember your trip.

Where to stay: Book the houseboat for the night and return to Cochin the next day.

The epitome of Love – Taj Mahal, Agra
It would be sacrilege to talk of romance and not mention the monument of Eternal Love, the Taj Mahal in Agra, about 203 km away from Delhi.As hyped that the monument may be, a visit to the Taj will convince you that it still remains magical in its power to amaze.Club a visit to the Taj with a tour of the magnificent Agra fort and you are in for a treat. Immerse yourself in the romance of years gone by and rediscover each other.

Must-do: When you visit the monuments, do make sure you hire a guide. They may charge an extra Rs.50 but they will help you appreciate the beauty much more than you otherwise would.

Where to stay: There are plenty of 5 star options in Agra, the best of which is the Jaypee Palace.

Seeped in history – Orchha, Madhya Pradesh
This may not be an obvious choice but it is merely a lack of marketing and not of potential. Madhya Pradesh remains one of our most unexplored jewels and Orchha may just be the crowning gem.A town seeped in history and culture, Orchha, about 170 km away from Khajuraho, is a historian’s dream.You don’t necessarily need to appreciate architecture to pay this town a visit though. The quiet little town on the banks of the Betwa river is as romantic as it gets. Orchha is best reached by taking a train to Jhansi (16 km away).

Must-do: Watch the sunset over the river.

Where to stay: Book the Orchha Resort and stay in the Swiss Tents instead of the rooms. You will have your morning tea literally in the lap of the ruins.

Coorg (Kodagu), Karnataka
Referred to as the Scotland of India, nestled between teakwood and sandalwood forests, Coorg is beauty that must be experienced.A popular destination yet so abundant in natural beauty that it seems untouched. The region is known for its stunning scenic beauty and undulating coffee plantations.A comfortable drive from Bangalore (252 km)/ Mangalore (135 km), Coorg is the perfect Valentine’s Day weekend if you live in these cities.

Must-do: The Abbey Falls, near the main town of Madikeri can be reached by hiking through the cardamom and coffee plantations.

Where to stay: The best part about Coorg is to stay in the midst of the plantations. For a luxury option, the best recommended is Orange County. But if you want to save the dough, experience Coorg by staying in one of the homestays like Ashraya Homestay or the Palace Estate Homestay.

Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
Though Udaipur is rumoured to be the romantic capital of India, take a cue, bypass the city and plan a trip to Jaisalmer instead.There are few things more romantic than endless sand dunes till the eye can see, villagers dressed in the colours of the rainbow and a camel ride watching the sun go down.All this and more, only at Jaisalmer the desert capital of India Tours.

Must-do: Take a guided tour through the ancient fort of Jaisalmer, once an important stop on the trade route between India and Persia and Egypt.

Where to stay: Fort Pokaran has fabulous location and completes the Rajasthani experience. For a more budget option, stay at the lovely Hotl Fifu. Despite the strange sounding name, the hotel is well located and has tasteful rooms.

Getaway: Lansdowne, Uttarakhand
If there is heaven on Earth, it is here. Lansdowne offers majestic beauty, serene surroundings and lovely atmosphere, perfect for a couple to share their best moments with each other. It truly is one of the most romantic getaways for special occasions.

Sights: St Mary’s Church and Tip-n-Top are two of the most reknowned tourist attractions. Though Lansdowne also boasts of a quiet lake where you can find swans and ducks swimming around.

Eats: There isn’t much to offer as regards Lansdowne in terms of eateries. Almost all the hotels provide good food included in the package of your stay there. Though the ultimate fun is cooking your own food on a fireplace.

Shopping: Lansdowne has shops operated by the Garhwal Rifles from where you can buy cheap leather goods and other winter accessories like bags and boots.

How to get there: Lansdowne is about 250 km from Delhi. It is roughly a six-hour drive. The highway till Kotdwar is good. After that, for the last 40 km, the hilly terrain is really enjoyable with pines and cedars on both sides of the road.

 

Amid mountain mists
Getaway: Amboli, Maharastra

A great weekend destination worth visting.

Sights: If you like silence, if you like nature, Amboli is for you. The best thing about this place is that unlike other hill stations, this one is not yet commercialised, hence Amboli offers you natural beauty. Amboli is highly recommended if you like to spend some time in peace and would like to relax in nature. Amboli has not much to offer in terms of entertainment, but it’s a real paradise for nature lovers. Some facts about Amboli: receives the highest rainfall in Maharastra; has the largest green cover; is home to around 30 species of animals, around 129 species of birds and over 350 species of medicinal plants; is a great location for adventure tourism; has cool and pleasant pollutuion-free climate round the year.

Eats: Vegetarian food at Vithal Kamat. We were there for lunch and the only option available was Veg Thali. We asked for some other options but they had none so we had to go for the thali. They charge around Rs 35 per thali. The food was simple and good with great dessert. It is on the main road, near Sunset Point.

Green Valley Resort: This resort has an in-house restaurant. The menu offers a wide choice of veg and non-veg food(including Chinese). This restaurant has no bar. Though I tried only the veg food here, I am sure they serve good non-veg food also. Prices seemed to be on the higher side. Service was good.

Shopping: The small Amboli market has nothing much to offer except for some local masalas at Narvekar (opposite Sailee Hotel).

Sights: If you are not travelling by your own vehicle, you can hire an auto (Rs 400) or a taxi (Rs 700). It takes around 4- 41/2 hours to cover the 5-6 spots. The siteseeing locations are Hiranyakeshi Temple (a small temple where the river Hiranyakeshi originates, a beautiful location but the approach road to the location is pathetic, it is around 4 km from the Green Valley Resort); Kavalesaad Point (beautiful location with awesome views; if fogs allow, you can see the beauty of the Sahyadri range from this location; it is around 9 km form the Green Valley Resort on the highway towards Belgaum; here too the approach road is quite bad); other locations to be covered are Madhav Ghad, Raghaweshwar (Maruti Mandir) and Nagarthas Falls. The last one is the waterfall ahead of Sunset Point. Make sure you are ready to get yourself totally drenched in this beautiful waterfall. It is located 3 km away, at the Sawantwadi-Belgaum road. Thirty minutes in this fall will make you feel awesome. Have a cutting chai with some hot pakoras while you are wet, I bet you will love it.From Belgaum, Amboli is about 68 km which is covered in two hours. You can either take the NWKRTC or the MSRTC bus heading towards Sawantwadi at the main bus station. Fare is about Rs 45.Please make sure to make advance reservations if going on a weekend.

Tucked away in peaceful hills

Getaway: Writers Hill, Himachal Pradesh

Description: Romantic and peaceful

Sights: Renuka lake, zoo, campfire

Shopping: Local antiques, small carvings

Activities: Visit to Renuka Lake and Zoo, picnic by the river, fishing, trek to Churdhar.

How to get there: Writers Hill is 220 km from Delhi. Take a right turn from Ambala flyover and go upto Nahan. Writers Hill is 20 km drive from Nahan.

Accommodation:

There are three cottages with a central kitchen. Two of the cottages have a study attached and each of the cottage looks into the Jalal river valley. The mountain in front gives you a breathtaking view. With all the cottages having bay windows, it’s an unrestricted view.The cottages are large, airy and offer a simple yet very comfortable stay.Each study has a collection of books both fiction and non-fiction and in the days to come the collection will only increase and improve.

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