Monday, May 18, 2015

The World is a colorful Place

I know we all cannot get enough of colors. People say that there are mental effects of seeing colors which brighten up moods help stimulate happy hormones in our life. Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours provides you more colorful places to visit around the world:

Keukenhof Park, Lisse, The Netherlands
                Also called the “Garden of Europe,” Keukenhof Park (which covers 80 acres) is planted with over 7 million flower bulbs every year. Though the park is only open from March to May, it has been around since 1949 and remains a major attraction for tourists and dignitaries alike. Many people who have visited the place have thought that the flowers which is sprayed with tulips, roses and other wild flowers are fraud but when it seems too good to be true, they are actually real array of colors.

Kelimutu crater lakes, Indonesia
Far from the buzzing busy street of Jakarta, Indonesia, Kelimutu, one of hundreds of volcanoes in Indonesia, is unique in that it is topped with three crater lakes of drastically different colors. Tiwu Ata Mbupu (“Lake of Old People”) sits apart from the other two and appears deep blue or even black. Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (“Lake of Maidens”) is separated from Tiwu Ata Polo (“Enchanted Lake”) by a shared crater wall. These lakes tend to be bright blue-green and red, respectively. The colors of these lakes have been known to change depending on the chemical composition of the water and the position of the sun.

Guilin Rice Terraces, Longji, China
Located in southern China close to Vietnam, the Longji terraced rice fields cover an area of almost 20,000 acres and rise as high as 3,600 feet into the air. These fields, nicknamed the “Dragon’s Backbone” because of their resemblance to scales, first appeared in this area around 1300 AD and take on a different appearance in every season, depending on the life cycle of the rice being grown. Many reviews has also been written on this place which shows petitions for it to be declared as one of man-made wonders of the world.

Lake Retba, Senegal
Literally translating into “pink lake,” this body of water north of the Cap Vert peninsula in northwest Africa is known for its high salt content, and gets its pink color from large concentrations of Dunaliella salina algae, which produce the red pigment as a byproduct of their metabolism. Coincidentally, Dunaliella salina is one of few organisms that can survive in such salty conditions, making Lake Retba an ideal home for the algae species.

Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, India
Located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in the 2500-year-old city of Madurai, the Meenakshi Amman Temple is dedicated to the gods Meenakshi (Parvati) and Sundareswarar (Shiva). The temple consists of 14 gopurams (gateway towers), all between 100-170 feet high, and two vimana (shrines).

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Introducing Lombok

Indonesia is known as one of the world’s most tourist destination. Its archipelagic geography gave it an advantage for different spots and abundant supply of natural beauty. Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours has the pleasure of introducing Lombok, Indonesia, one of the prides of the country.

Tourism is an important source of income on Lombok. The most developed tourism area of the island is on the west coast of the island and is centered about the township of Senggigi. Lombok is only a few kilometers from the country’s capital, Jakarta, Indonesia which made it more accessible to tourist to visit the place.

We have reviewed some of the most sought-after adventures in Lombok as follows:

1. The Lombok Chili Pepper
Since the word lombok means chili in Bahasa Indonesia, you'd expect the locals to know a thing or two about spicy food. The green and red Lombok chilies are often made into sambal — a fiery condiment — with locally grown naga jolokia peppers, garlic and shrimp paste. Sample it as an accompaniment to local dishes like ayam taliwang (grilled wild chicken) and sayur nangka (jackfruit curry).

2. Hit the Beach
Lombok's beaches are second to none and a blessed relief after Bali's busy strips. Head for the island's southwest to really escape the crowds. Surfers love the big waves at Bangko-Bangko (also known as Desert Point); if its long-walled and hollow left-hand breaks sound too taxing, then try the tiny island of Gili Nanggu, 15 minutes by boat from the town of Tawun.

3. Two Wheels Good
Public transport on Lombok is unreliable. Many visitors opt to hire a car and driver, which can be obtained at very reasonable rates, but if you're feeling adventurous try renting a motorcycle — available from shops all over the island. At just over 80 km at its widest point, Lombok is easily traversable and its roads are in great condition for Indonesia — the beneficiaries of recent infrastructural investment. The excellent 21-km coastal stretch from Senggigi to Pemenang winds past beautiful inlets and beaches and is an easy, exhilarating ride. Other, smaller roads meander through rugged highlands, passing secluded waterfalls and verdant rice paddies.

4. Hot, Roasted Worms
The largest and most colorful festival is the Bau Nyale or Sea Worm Festival. Every February at Kuta beach, the Sasak people commemorate a mythical princess who drowned herself in these waters rather than enter a politically vexatious marriage. The festival is timed with the spawning of marine worms, which are eagerly caught and eaten — often after being wrapped in banana leaf and roasted — and the celebrations last for four days. The locals never had any complaints on the taste of worms in the spirit of the festival.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

It’s Nice Having a Boring Long Road Trip

Have you ever been in a long trip and got bored along the way? Wouldn’t it be worse for your kids? Well, Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours thinks it shouldn’t be boring. Try to be more creative. This long boring trip may be a way to secure your bonding with your colleagues, family and friends with you. Here are some games you can review and play along the way:

1. The Alphabet Game

Everyone knows how to play — you go up and down the alphabet picking letters out of words you see from the car. Some people play where you can use license plate letters, which is total bullcrap.

The double alphabet game is a great variation. Only words that have at least two instances of one letter can count. 'Alligator' - A, 'Blueberry' - B, and so on. No one in recorded history has ever finished a round of the double alphabet game.

2. Car plate Abbreviation

This is the game Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours staff had invented when we were traveling Jakarta, Indonesia. Try to make up a meaning out of car plates that you pass by. You will be surprised on how hilarious this game will be. 

3. Fortunately / Unfortunately.

One person makes a statement, and the next person has to counter. Example: Person A: Fortunately, we have lots of snacks in the car. Person B: Unfortunately, they’re all covered in mold!

4. Name a country. 

The next person has to name a country that begins with the last letter of the previous country.

5. Car Colors. 

Everyone picks a color, and each person counts all of the passing cars in that color. Whoever reaches X number of cars first wins.

6. Would you rather X or Y?

Best game ever. All parties MUST answer. Example: Would you rather be able to read minds or be invisible? You might get a lot of complaints and heaps of laughter with this one. 

7. Alphabet Signs

Players must watch signs out the windows. The goal is to go through the alphabet (in alphabetical order), finding a word that begins with each letter while you are are "on" it. This is great for beginning readers and older people alike.

8. Alphabet Search

Same premise as alphabet signs, but in this game you are not looking for signs. You are looking for actual objects or physical entities that begin with the letter you are "on." This is much more challenging than it seems, because most people tend not to see visually and think in terms of words simultaneously.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How to Avoid Travel Scams



Travel Scams are rampant nowadays that reports in these cases have reached wider scope from underdeveloped countries in Africa, developing cities like Jakarta, Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and even already developed countries and states like America. As your trusted travel consulting partner, Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours has listed some tips that you may follow on how to avoid scams and any other fraudulent acts there.

If you have been offered a great bargain on a cruise or resort vacation, but you cannot seem to get all the details unless you pay the company first, you may be dealing with a travel scam.


Retain a healthy dose of skepticism. Be extremely skeptical about unsolicited e-mail, postcard and phone solicitations saying you've been selected to receive a fabulous vacation or anything free. Be especially wary of firms requiring you to wait at least 60 days to take your trip.

Do your homework. Some offers might sound great on the surface, but be sure to read the fine-print. Certain offers impose so many requirements and restrictions, such as black-out dates and companion fees, that you will either never have the chance to take the trip or you will end up paying more than had you made the arrangements on your own. Remember, the devil is in the details

Run a "background check." You should vet the companies from which you purchase travel services.

Keep private information private. Never give out your credit card number unless you initiate the transaction and you are confident about the company with which you are doing business.

Get the facts. You should receive complete details in writing about any trip prior to payment. These details should include the total price; cancellation and change penalties, if any; and specific information about all components of the package.

Follow up. Once you have the complete details of your trip, contact the hotel and transportation companies on your own to make certain the reservations have been made.

Know where you stand. If you insist on replying to an e-mail or calling a 900-number in response to a travel solicitation, understand the charges and know the risks.

Know when to walk away. High-pressure sales presentations that don't allow you time to evaluate the offer, or which require that you disclose your income are red flags to be heeded.

Protect yourself. Always pay with a credit card if possible. Even legitimate companies can go out of business. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, credit card customers have the right to refuse paying for charges for services not rendered.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Spiritual Check: Religions around Asia

Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, with millions of different peoples following a wide variety of different religions. As a melting pot of culture, Asia is the birthplace of most of the world's mainstream religions including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zoroastranism, as well as many other religions. When traveling Asia, you should be careful in recognizing the religion of the place you are visiting. Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours has listed the top religions in the region:

Hinduism

Hinduism is the majority religion in India, Nepal, and the Indonesian island of Bali, with strong minorities in the Asian nations of Bhutan, Fiji, Jakarta Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Singapore, and Sri Lanka with approximately 1 billion followers. Before the arrival of Buddhism and Islam in Southwest Asia and Southeast Asia, Hinduism (and Shaivism in particular) was the most widely practiced religion in Southwest Asia and Southeast Asia

Hinduism as we know it can be subdivided into a number of major currents. The main divisions of Hinduism are Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Smartism and Shaktism. The vast majority of present day Hindus can be categorized under one of these four groups, although there are many other, partly overlapping, allegiances and denominations.

Buddhism

Buddhism is the fourth largest world religion and the 3rd largest in Asia. It is dominant and the majority in Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, Tibet, Laos, Mongolia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. According to reviews, Large Buddhist populations live in China (18.2%), Japan (36.2%), Taiwan (35%), Macau (17%), North Korea (13.8%), Vietnam (10%),Singapore (33%),Hong Kong (15%) and South Korea (22.9%). It also has strong minorities in India, Indonesia (which practiced it widely and considered it the major religion in Jakarta), Malaysia, Brunei, Nepal and Russia. Buddhism was founded by Siddartha Gautama, also known as Buddha.

Christianity

Christianity is a widespread minority religion in Asia with more than 286 million adherents according to Pew Research Center in 2010, and nearly 364 million according to Britannica Book of the Year 2014 constituting around 12.6% of the total population of Asia.

Asian countries with large Christian populations are China (68 million), India (24 million), Indonesia (23 million), Kazakhstan (16.5 million), South Korea (15 million), Vietnam (7 million), Georgia (4.6 million), Armenia (3.2 million), Malaysia (2.6 million), Japan (2.5 million), Pakistan (2.5 million), Uzbekistan (2.5 million), Syria (1.8 million), Sri Lanka (1.5 million) and Taiwan (one million).

There are still large ancient communities of Middle Eastern Christians and Arab Christians in Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Palestine numbering more than 3 million in West Asia. There are also a large populations of expatriate workers which include a sizeable Christian communities live in Arabian Peninsula numbering more than 3 million.

Asia is also home of other unnamed sects and even fraud religions with thousands of followers so better be careful when you run along with them when traveling.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Asia’s Martial Arts

We know Martial Arts have somehow originated in the regions of Asia. While people in western countries armed their rifles and guns in battle, people in the East depend on their body to fight. Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours listed some of the martial arts per country in Asia that you might need to attend to when you are traveling:

Bangladesh
Lathi khela is a traditional martial art of Bangladesh and India that emphasize weapon-based fighting with sticks and other weapons. Lathi made by bamboo and other materials. Lathi khela teaches self-defense with sticks. One who specialized himself in wielding lathi and who lived on the martial art came to be known as lathial. The Lathial Bahini (group of lathials) performed various acts on the Eid or Puja occasion. Lathi Khela has a remarkable history but the popularity is on the wane now with the existence of fraud practices and strategies.

China
We all know Chinese Martial Arts which is also called Kung Fu. We find these fighting skills from Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Kung Fu, as a matter of fact have developed over the centuries in China. These fighting styles are often classified according to common traits, identified as "families" (; jiā), "sects" (; pài) or "schools" (; mén) of martial arts. Styles that focus on qi manipulation are called internal while others that concentrate on improving muscle and cardiovascular fitness are called "external".

Indonesia
Silat (Minangkabau: silek) is a collective word for indigenous martial arts from a geo-cultural area of Southeast Asia encompassing most of the Indonesian Archipelago including its capital, Jakarta, the Melayu of Indonesia and part of Melayu (Malay Peninsula), and the entirety of the Nusantara(South East Asia). Originally developed in what are now Indonesia, Melayu at Peninsular Malaysia, South Thailand, and Singapore.  There are hundreds of different styles but they tend to focus either on strikes, joint manipulation, throws, bladed weaponry, or some combination thereof. Silat is one of the sports included in the Southeast Asian Games and other region-wide competitions.

Korea

Korean martial arts are military practices and methods which have their place in the history of Korea but have been adapted for use by both military and non-military personnel as a method of personal growth or recreation. Among the best recognized Korean practices using weapons in reviews are traditional Korean Archery and Kumdo, the Korean sword sport similar to Japanese Kendo. The best known unarmed Korean Martial Arts Taekwondo and Hapkido though such traditional practices such as ssireum - Korean Wrestling - and taekkyeon - Korean Foot Fighting - are rapidly gaining in popularity both inside and outside of the country

Friday, April 17, 2015

Traveler’s Checklist

Do all the people you know travel? Are they already asking you to join them and that you are already itching yourself to? However, a trip requires careful planning.  Before you pack your bags and hitch hike with your friends, Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours has listed some important steps you can take to prepare for a safe trip anywhere: 

Be Aware of Any Travel Alerts and Warnings for Your Destination
               
The State Department may issue Travel Warnings to recommend postponing travel to a country because of widespread civil unrest, dangerous conditions, terrorist activity or, in some cases, because the your country has no diplomatic relations with the country and may have great difficulty in assisting foreign citizens in distress. Travel Alerts disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats or other relatively short-term or transnational conditions that could pose significant risks to you and affect your travel plans.

Do You Have All Required Travel Documents?

Most foreign countries require a valid passport to enter and leave. Some countries may allow you to enter with only a birth certificate, or with a birth certificate and a driver’s license, but all persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling by air, must present a valid passport to reenter the United States. Some countries have the strictest policies in knowing fraud passports entering their country.

What about your children?

Some countries have instituted requirements to help prevent child abductions and may require travelers to present proof of relationship to the children and evidence of consent from any non-accompanying parent(s).  Visit our child abduction country information pages for information about your destination.

When does your passport expire?

Some countries require that a traveler’s passport be valid for at least six months beyond the dates of the trip. Contact the embassy of your foreign destination for more information. Foreign embassy and consulate contact information can also be found in our Country Specific Information pages.

Do You Plan to Drive Overseas?

If you plan to drive overseas, you may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP).  Many countries do not recognize your local driver’s licenses without an accompanying IDP, and it is illegal to drive without a valid license and insurance in most places.  You should check with the embassy of the country where you plan to travel to find out more about driver’s license and car insurance requirements.  If you will be residing overseas for an extended time, say, Jakarta, Indonesia or Singapore, it is a good idea to obtain a local driver’s license as soon as possible, since IDPs have a limited validity.  Foreign countries may also require that persons considered resident obtain a local driver’s license if they are going to drive.  To renew a U.S. driver’s license while abroad, contact the Department of Motor Vehicles in your home state. IDs are also important to verify your identity so that you would not be tagged as scam.