Tips, Holiday Ideas & Hotels - Travel & Leisure

The Famous Buddhist Festival Loy Krathong


Loy Krathong which is also spelt Loy Kratong or Loi Krathong is probably Thailands most famous Buddhist celebration in the calendar. The Loy Krathong Festival dates back thousands of years. It started out as a time where people would pay their respects to several different gods, those being Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma. Communities would craftttle lantern type objects made from paper and candles, which would go on display in the houses of the rich and noble. In more recent times, over a hundred years ago when King Rama IV ruled Thailand this celebration was adapted by Buddhists all over the land to honor Buddha. Folk then hand crafted a variety of lanterns, then gave them to their local temples to be put on display, thusghting up the temples and becoming a true festival ofght. The local Buddhist community would then pray to Buddha asking for their hope and wishes for a prosperous and healthyfe to become true. This today still takes place throughout Thailand but is particularly a large celebration in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand where it is known locally as the Yee Peng festival. Here it is celebrated over several days and is a very important time for all the Buddhists in the region. The Loy Krathong or Yee Peng festival always takes place on the night of the full moon in the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar, this normally is November. The festival becomes a fantastic visual display illuminating the sky and rivers with floating and flying candles. Thisght show utilizes floating lanterns on water known as krathongs made from banana stems and leaves while the flying sky lanterns or Thai lanterns known as Khom Loy are made from bamboo and paper which become airborne and fly into the night sky. These can be purchased anyway in the world now from organisations such as . Nowadays this festival is a major part in attracting tourists to the region. Each year thousands of foreigners, many of which are not Buddhist also take part in the celebrations. Many particularly enjoy releasing the sky lanterns into the air. This can be seen in many parts of the city of Chiang Mai. One main area is at the old city gate, Tapei gate. Each year many tourists flock here by the walls of the gate and purchase the Thai lanterns from local vendors to release into the sky. At the same time they also will often make a wish or may even send off one of the lantern in memory of someone that has passed. This then is almost a multi faith celebration. Sky lanterns now are available worldwide but many do not know the true history of them but they are all used almost for the same reason. That being to celebrate a birthday, a wedding, someone'sfe or to make a wish. Other activities also take place during the Loy Krathong festival, one being a large beauty parade and contest. This is common in other Thai celebratory festivals also. Local parades using a convoy of vehicles carrying the beauty contestants will circle the towns and cities of Thailand. A truly magnificent event during the festival with thousand of onlookers enjoying the site of the vehicles often decorated in flowers and such to compliment the females taking part. I would truly recommend a visit to Thailand just to see this famous festival which once experienced will never be forgotten but just make sure you bring aghter!

Where to stay on the Amalfi Coast


The Amalfi Coast is a world famous location, which still todayves up to its fame catering for all sort of needs and budget. Although since the 1950 this destination has been often associated with Dolce Vita glamorousfe style, the Amalfi Coast really does cater for all type of budget. The important thing when planning a holiday on the Coast is to really think ahead what your aims and expectations are for the holiday, and properly look into all the different type of accommodation solutions. Indeed beside the villas there are many more ways of spending a week or even more on the Amalfi Coast. It really depends on yourself what kind of holyday you wish to have, from glamorous to backpacking. It will be unforgettable either ways! The Amalfi Coast is much more than Positano, Ravello and Amalfi, so my advice is to look into accommodation solutions in the lesser known villages as well as in the more popular ones. I would suggest this not necessarily for budget reasons, because no matter how much money you can spend on a villa, I think that some of the smaller villageske Furore or Atrani, can offer a rather unique experience, sheltered from crowds and the always dangerous tourist traps! And I mean Anna Magnani and Rossellini retrieved to Furore, so if you are looking for Italian Neorealism atmosphere, this is definitely where you should book you apartment. The lesser known places have as many accommodation options as the most known ones, so really do look into Minori, Vietri sul Mare, Cetara and so on, and you'll be sure that when you'll be sharing memories of your holidays on the Coast all your friends will be quite surprised that they managed to miss such pearls! The second thing to chose to plan your perfect holiday is what type of accommodation you are looking for, which really means, what type of holiday. Indeed it will really make a huge difference if you are staying in a hotel, in a villa, apartment or farmhouse. The atmosphere of the holiday will be very different if you are staying at a hotel where your neighbors will mainly be touristske you, probably staying for short time. So it is really a matter of deciding whether you are going to the Amalfi Coast to enjoy the high standards of its hotels, being catered for possible and impossible whims, in your room and on the beach, (yes it does sound appealing on a cold winter Friday afternoon!) or if you are going to Southern Italy to get to know the people and mingle with them. Obviously there is a wide range of hotels, from incredibly expensive ones to more affordable solutions, so even in this case the experience could vary quite a bit. Also there is a growing numbers of B&B which are the halfway solution between not having to do any chores for the whole day and getting to know the locals. Usually landlords are very happy to share their wisdom with you giving you tips on which restaurant go to, or calling up their uncle to take you on a boat ride and so on. The only thing I would warn you about is that as typical Italian breakfast is only coffee and cookie or a pastry, it could be the case, that is all the breakfast you will get, and it really isn't enough to last you until dinner. This is not always the case, as some landlords are trying to give a meaning to the word 'breakfast' on the sign outside their door, but it is better to always ask, if they serve continental breakfast. Villa rental is one of the most sought after solutions here on the Amalfi Coast, and there are many reasons for this. One and maybe the most important is that renting a villa really allows you to set the holiday time to tour clock deciding what to do and when. Another winning reason for renting villas, is that some of them are incredibly beautiful with terraces with gorgeous views where to just lay for hours, sleeping, reading, dreaming and so on. So for a few days or weeks you can just cuddle yourself into a totally relaxing atmosphere and pace offe. Indeed if you are really enjoying yourself, even cooking or making the dishes will not be that much of a hassle. Actually some people find it quite a treat having to go down to the grocery shop to buy their dinner, and they spend hours smelling the fruit the vegetables, or tasting all sorts of cheese and ham, before deciding to buy them all. As much as I always suggest to try some local restaurants, to taste amazing fish dishes, pasta and sfogliatella, I know for sure that some time staying at home cooking an amazing dinner with your own hands can be as gratifying if not even more! When looking at villa rentals online , sometimes prices can seem quite high and that is why a lot people, especially young people tend to scrap the Amalfi Coast option, but actually considering the money spent to eat out, and the fact that villas tend to sleep 4 people, often with the possibility to add beds, I still think it worth having a look into it, and with a calculator in your hand try to estimate how much it would really make. One thing that you should look out for when booking villas and apartments is the square meters, and the TERRACE! The latter is often the most advertised part of the villa, and most times they really are amazing and large, but not always! Indeed at times what is advertised as a beautiful terrace may only be a tiny balcony which can only have to people on it. To be fair this may not be a problem if the view is really worth it, as even from the tiniest windows, there are some glimpses on the sea and Capri and Li Galli that will be worth even the smallest peephole! Lately the Amalfi Coast has also seen the development of many Farm Houses which are a very nice way to experience both the sea atmosphere and the hills atmosphere. These accommodations tend to be smallish apartments in some sort of courtyard, wood, lemon orchard or olive grove, where landlords have the main house and rent out smaller flats to tourists. Usually farm houses, serve breakfast and also have the option of full boarding. Meals can often be served outside in common areas, an opportunity to meet other people and get to get the owners. I particularlyke this option because it takes the best from all solutions, the view onto the sea is most probably going to be stunning, as agriturismi (farm houses) are usually a bit higher up, there is a nice contact with locals, there is outdoor space where to relax, and if you are travelling with children, they will have the time of theirfe running around on the green. These solutions are all suitable for single travelers, couples, families and group of friends, and also season price variations tend to be quite consistent in all scenarios. So start looking, and decide where you see yourself relaxing better and quicker!