It Is No Wonder Why Utah Is A Popular Sought After Travel Destination

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Many would say Utah, and it is not hard to see why.

Utah is actually a well-known travel destination. It is not hard to understand why Utah is so often visited with all of the breathtaking pictures I have found checking the state out on the internet. I would absolutely love to visit Utah and see all the glorious scenery. Utah can be a popular vacation spot is because of its overlavishness of natural resources that are made up from their numerous national parks. Visitors that are considering visiting the lovely state of Utah would need to visit the Office of Tourism’s consumer web site to be able to find all of the information so they do not miss a thing while visiting.

Utah Kodachrome State Basin Photo by vtveen via flickr

A few of these spectacular, breathtaking views that can be located in Utah are:

The Utah State Parks. Utah has 45 state parks that are made for leisure, picturesque and brimming with heritage. State parks are undoubtedly a great area to just take the family tenting, fishing, going swimming and just a good ol’ sense of peace.

Salt Lake City, Utah. Salt Lake has some of the best, epicurean dining. As the capitol of Utah, the sightseeing, traditional and recreational activities are a must-do for your vacation. For more information when visiting Utah, a person must have a look at the Utah Office of Tourism.

The Canyonlands is the biggest national park in Utah. River canyons can be seen from thousands of feet up in the air. The red rock spires tend to be impressive to observe. When viewing Canyonlands, you will want to take a drive through the park. You can either travel a passenger car on the secure, paved roadways or individuals can move off-road on the four-wheel drive roads for a little adventure. You actually can can track down these routes throughout the whole park. If you need to experience some fresh air, exercise, and take a bike, or saunter, The Canyonlands is a great place to start!

The Native Utah Tribes. Would you believe that Native American Tribes still reside in Utah? Utah Tribes still have quite a lot to teach us and are full of natural history.

 

Experience Thailand Would You Travel There?

Many people find that Thailand is an ideal vacation location. There is something there for everybody no matter what preferences you have. For example you will find there are many great family vacation locations as well as opportunities for fairly strenuous trekking trips through less traveled parts of the country. There are many tour groups operating within the country with many located in either Bangkok or Chiang Mai. You will find that you can also book tours into some of the neighboring countries as many of the Thailand tour groups also offer tours into Laos and Cambodia.

Some of the more popular tours that people take are those that visit the northern hill tribes. Family package beach vacations are also very popular as are trips to see the northern cities of Chiang Mai. They even offer very specific packages such as golfing holiday or an off road adventure.

Kata Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Although costs have risen in recent years, Thailand is still one of the cheapest places you can vacation in Southeast Asia. While you may be able to find cheaper tours in other neighboring countries, you will find that the overall standard of accommodation will not be the same as it is in Thailand. Thailand depends on tourism and as such they have gone to great lengths to insure that their accommodations and amenities are very high quality.

When looking for the cheapest Thailand vacation packages it is usually best to contact one of the local tour companies. Although most are reputable some are definitely better than others. It is always a good idea to search online for different reviews of tour companies and see what other people have to say before you commit to using anyone. Most will pick you up from the airport, arrange accommodations and daily tours.

Most people, when visiting Thailand, visit Chang Mai, Bangkok, Sukhothai and Phuket. The hotels in Phuket rival hotels in Australia , but  at a fraction of the price and Thailand beaches are as beautiful.

 

About Big Buddha in Koh Samui

Koh Samui is the most visited island in the Gulf of Thailand. It has long been a favorite with people looking for sun, sand and good quality accommodation at reasonable prices.  When you arrive on your flight to Koh Samui, Big Buddha is hard to miss.

There is a number of tourist attractions in Koh Samui, but easily the most visited is the Big Buddha statue.

Wat Phra Yai is the name of the temple where the golden Buddha is located. It is in the north of Koh Samui in Bang Rak bay. The name of the beach is not surprisingly called Big Buddha Beach. It is a beach with a pier with regular ferries to Koh Phangan.

The Golden Buddha is on an island. There are stairs leading up to an elevated plinth where the Big Buddha is placed. The statue itself is just over 12 meters high and covered with a layer of gold. Since it is at the top of a set of stairs the impression of height is greatly enhanced. Down the stairs at either end are two long nagas or snakes that represent wisdom.

Big Buddha, Koh Samui, Thailand, Photo IMP1 via flickr.com

The main statue was erected in 1972, just a year after backpackers started arriving on the tropical island. In 2005 to 2006 more work was done. This work involved putting a Dharma wheel behind the Buddha’s head and also building a Suphannahong boat. The Dharma wheel represents the laws of Buddhism and the laws of the universe which must be attuned to each other. The Suphannahong boat is the Thai royal barge and is a reminder of the maritime tradition of the Kingdom.

It is free to go and see the Buddha. It is also no problem to take photographs. The only restrictions placed on those who visit the Golden Buddha is that they show respect by wearing long sleeved tops and trousers or long skirts.

There are a few cheap restaurants and shops around Wat Phra Yai. It is not recommended staying in Big Buddha because it is directly over the flight path of planes going to and from Bangkok. It is recommended to go and see the Golden Buddha.

Epcot Center: An Inside Look

Epcot, which stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow will not just provide you with a great educational tour on geography and science, but will also provide you with an opportunity to have some fun as well as be entertained through the numerous shows and activities that happen around the entire theme park. Below is a glimpse of the many entertaining attractions and shows which you must definitely not miss out while touring Epcot.

Here is an Epcot Center Florida Walt Disney World Guide for you!

epicot center orlando
Photo: The Inspired Photographer via flickr.com

Character Greeting along the Park – Do not think that only Magic Kingdom offers great photo-ops with lovable Disney characters. Here at Epcot, you can spot your favorite characters from Disney classics such as Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, either riding a bus around the whole World Showcase area, or simply strolling along the park. Of course, there are also your all-time favorite characters like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy, among others that are always willing to strike a pose with you. Jammitors – The Future World section is totally rocking with great percussion players utilizing materials which are unlikely for drumming. Things like dustpans, trashcans and flyswatters are all pieces of their expertly choreographed performance. Their show is definitely worth the trip.

Kidcot Fun Stops – In each country pavilion within the World Showcase area, there are fun stops which allow young children (and possibly even the young-at-heart) to do creative arts & crafts. Kids can create masks, for instance, and these make for wonderful souvenirs to keep. Turtle Talk with Crush – Crush, the famous turtle from the Disney movie Finding Nemo entertains queries from the audience with this very interactive, and not to mention entertaining 15 minute show. This 3D show experience varies throughout each and every show; however, this ultra-hip turtle always makes it certain to remind all people regarding the importance of protecting earth’s many oceans.

The Angkor Wat Bike Race & Ride

A unique way to explore the beautiful temple complex of Siem Reap –

Phnom Penh, (August 2011) – Cyclists & adventure holiday seekers from all over the world are invited to sign up to the Angkor Wat Bike Race & Ride presented by CIMB Bank and experience Siem Reaps magical temple complex at a unique time when the Angkor roads are closed off to traffic. Entering its sixth year, the annual charity fundraising event, organised by Village Focus International, will take place on Saturday 3rd December.

Angkor Wat Charity Bike Ride

The Bike Race & Ride encourages participants of all ages and fitness levels to cycle through the beautiful temples of the UNESCO World Heritage Angkor Wat temple complex to help raise funds for Village Focus International’s life changing work supporting vulnerable children and sex trafficked victims.

Since the event began in 2006, it has grown each year and raised a total of US$100,000 towards empowering young people and communities break out of poverty.

Rick Reece, Director at Village Focus International said “the Angkor Wat Bike Race & Ride offers bikers from around the world to join in solidarity to ride on the Angkor roads (car free) through forest, rice fields and the magnificent ancient temple complex. We encourage friends and families to cycle together and unite for a special cause.”

Village Focus International and CIMB Bank hopes the Angkor Wat Bike Race & Ride 2011 will be its biggest yet this year and is aiming to raise over US$50,000 (net proceeds) and beat previous participation figures.

To sign up for the Angkor Wat Bike Race & Ride or for more information please visit www.villagefocus.org/bike. You can also follow the Angkor Wat Bike Race & Ride on twitter or via facebook. Village Focus International is currently in the process of registering as a charity in the United Kingdom.

For media enquiries please contact Hayley Newnham
E: hayley@villagefocus.org
T: +855-(0)-979-594-246

Notes to Editors:
Village Focus International (www.villagefocus.org) is registered as a 501(c)(3) organization in the United States, as a charitable organization in Hong Kong, and as a local NGO in Cambodia (and pending registration for our local partner – Our Village Association– in Laos). In 2000, we became the first international organization to be founded in Laos, and began working in Cambodia in 2003. During this period, we have worked in almost 200 remote and vulnerable villages and focused on local leadership development in an effort to bring about positive fundamental social change. VFI’s annual budget has grown from US$125,000 in 2000 to almost US$2 million in 2009. In 2009, our 75 staff members served approximately 50,000 people, a dramatic increase from 15 villages and 4000 people in 2000. Despite our growth, we have remained true to our founding spirit: to emphasize and support local leadership, decision-making and ownership, in both Laos and Cambodia. Village Focus International implements three human-rights based programs in Laos and Cambodia; Protection & Empowerment of Women and Children, Healthy Villages and Local Leadership Program and Land & Livelihood Program.

Review of Angthong National Marine Park

Angthong National Marine Park makes a great day trip from either Koh Samui or Koh Phangan. It is also possible to stay in the park over-night. The park consists of 43 small islands stretching over 250 square kilometers in the Gulf of Thailand. The islands are the peaks of a mountain range that ends in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Most of the islands are islets that are deserted. Many are odd shapes. It makes a great couple of hours cruising around the islands and admiring the dramatic cliffs and limestone rock formations. Many of the islands have names that reflect their shape such as ‘Sleeping Cow Island’. Among the islands are small coves with beautiful deserted beaches that remind one of being in a movie.

It is possible to camp over night on the beach at Koh Wua Talab. It is the biggest island in the archipelago and is also the home of the park headquarters. The island also has some trails to impressive view points.

Angthong National Park

The islands are covered in tropical forest. Due to a lack of predators (including humans) many of the animals on the islands have flourished. It is possible to hire guides and explore the interiors of some of the islands. The area contains a number of animals including macaque monkeys, langurs and sea otters. There are also several species of colorful birds to spot.

The sea around many of the islands is rich in corals. Due to its protected status as a park a plethora of marine life gathers around the corals. Dive spots such as the one near Koh Sam Sao are popular with dive schools because it is possible to see short bodied mackerel and sometimes dolphins.

The word ‘angthong’ means ‘golden basin’. It is a reference to the beach fringed inland lake found on Koh Mae Ko. It is a natural wonder of the area and worth a visit just to see the lake.

As well as trekking, camping and diving Angthong National Marine Park offers great opportunities for exploring sea caves, going kayaking and snorkeling. There is more than enough for the visitor to the park to do in one day. Many are the tourists who visit Angthong Marine Park and find themselves wishing they had opted to spend the night in the beautiful unspoiled natural surroundings of the park.

 

Where is the Aletsch Glacier?

The Aletsch Glacier flows down the valley from its beginning high in a pass between two massive mountains, the Jungfrau and the Monch. Located in south-central Switzerland, it measures some 15 miles (25 kilometers) in length and encompasses about 50 square miles (130 square kilometers), making it both the longest and the largest glacier in the Alps.

Aletsch Glacier Photo: David Abet via flickr.com

Glaciers are often thought of as rivers of ice—rivers that are made of snow that has compacted under pressure. Like ordinary rivers, they have their sources, tributaries, and outlets. In the case of the Aletsch, three ice streams—the Great Aletsch Firn (fern is the name used for compacted snow), the Jungfrau Firn, and the Ewigschneefeld (“Eternal Snow Field”) —come together in the region called the Concordia Platz. From this point the great glacier moves south toward the Rhone Valley, flowing at an average rate of 500 to 650 feet (150 to 200 meters) per year.

Along the way small tributary glaciers feed into the main glacier. However, most of the tributary glaciers are melting back and have become disconnected from the main glacier, so that ice from them no longer reaches the Aletsch.

On its left bank the Aletsch Glacier forms a wall, damming up the waters of a small tributary valley and creating a lake called the Marjelensee. In the past the lake sometimes drained unexpectedly into channels beneath the ice, but now the drainage has been controlled to avoid flooding.

The last big ice advance occurred in the 17th century, but today there is not enough snow to compensate for loss by melting. Since 1892 the terminal snout of the Aletsch has receded more than 3,300 feet (1,000 meters), and the glacier now occupies only about half of its former basin. Traces of irrigation canals, which were dug into the old valley floor and then buried by the ice during the late Middle Ages, have now become visible again. Along the sides of the glacier a line of boulders and rocky debris (lateral moraines) shows the former extent of the ice.

But even at its present size, the Aletsch Glacier stores a tremendous amount of water. In fact the Massa River, which is a tributary of the Rhone, consists entirely of meltwater from the Aletsch. Though in winter the stream almost runs dry, its torrential summer flow supplies a seasonally operated hydroelectric station.

At one time difficult to reach, the Aletsch region now attracts many visitors, who can take a tram up the side of the Jungfrau to the highest point in Europe that is reachable by rail. Also, several cable cars run up from the Rhone Valley to vantage points above the glacier itself.

The glacier provides exceptional terrain for skiers, even in spring, and the Aletschhom (the highest peak in its basin) offers a challenge to the most experienced mountain climbers. In addition, there is a nature reserve (the Aletschwald), as well as two resorts at Belalp and Riederalp, which provide accommodations for visitors interested in glacier excursions. The beautiful scenery and the pure air are clearly reasons enough for visiting Switzerland’s Aletsch Glacier for an adventure.

Belfast City Centre

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland, and the second largest city in all of Ireland. Belfast’s city centre is made primarily of Donegall Square and Belfast City Hall. The city’s main bus routes meet here, and this is where residents of Belfast can be seen enjoying a sunny day. City Hall is the masterpiece of the city, and is often the starting point of city exploration by visitors to Belfast.

Belfast City Hall, photo: a11sus via flickr.com

Traveling north from the center of Donegall Square will take a visitor to Donegall Place, which is a broad and very busy shopping street, and will lead eventually to the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast and the Arts School. The east boundary of the city centre is the River Lagan, and the southern is the area of the Donegall Pass.

City Hall is a stunning masterpiece of architecture, created in 1906. Guided tours are offered daily. The grounds include a memorial to the victims of the Titanic sinking and a statue in honor of Queen Victoria.

Saint Anne’s Cathedral, stunning and beautiful, is located on Royal Avenue, the main shopping street which also hosts City Hall. This piece of history is grandiose and lovely, and sits at the center of the Cathedral Quarter, which is slowly being redesigned to become Belfast’s cultural district.

Belfast Exposed is the only dedicated photography gallery in all of Northern Ireland, and displays a fine exhibition of artwork at all times provided by local photographers, hosted in a refurbished warehouse building. It also allows local photographers to use its dark room and processing facilities. It has an art library for the public and exhibitions are usually free to enjoy.

Many pubs, bars, B&B Belfast and shops are located in the city center, allowing guests to have places to pick up souvenirs and enjoy the area. Food and drink are offered as well as unique shopping opportunities. The city center also includes part of the River Lagan for visitors and residents to enjoy its natural beauty.

The Belfast Central Library, also located in the city center, houses an extensive Irish book selection, and newspapers and historical archives can be found here. It is a wonderful source of historical research and information about the city of Belfast and surrounding area. Because of the many historical events that have taken place in Belfast, many visitors find the library to be a source of fascination. These features and many others make the city center of Belfast known as the heart of the city.

Cruising the Adriatic Sea: Little Known Corner of the Mediterranean

Cruising the Adriatic Sea may just be the best kept secret in the cruise industry. Its not that people don’t regularly cruise there its just that very few cruise lines promote cruising the Adriatic since technically its considered to be part of the Mediterranean Sea and with the popularity of Mediterranean cruises it pays from them to promote it that way. The secret however lies in finding cruises with the major lines that promote the Adriatic itinerary because the savings can be big.

Peaceful Adriatic – Great Cruising photo: tomkellyphoto via flickr.com

The luxury lines also offer Adriatic cruises because their smaller ships are able to enter some of the smaller ports which allows them to offer more unique cruises than the larger ships can. Those make great cruises if you want to go the all inclusive cruise route but if you are looking to save some money check out the 7 night Adriatic cruises this summer offered by Royal Caribbean on the Jewel of the Seas. For less than $800 you can get a balcony on a great ship visiting ports such as Venice, Koper, Ravenna, Bari and Dubrovnik.

Adriatic cruises are a great way to visit countries such as Slovenia and Croatia that you normally wouldn’t think about cruising to. All of the ports on this itinerary are also good walking cities so even if you don’t take excursions you should have plenty of sites to see without spending any additional money.  With that being said you may want to splurge a little in some places like Bari, Italy and Koper, Slovenia. Both cities offer excellent chances to see beautiful sites within a couple hours of the city.

In Bari, Italy you could choose to take a trip to see the cave dwellings of Matera which are considered a World Heritage Site or you could head to Alberobello to see the fairytale like Trulli Huts. Koper may be your best chance however to get out of the city to see the amazing coastal town of Piran, visit caves in Postojna or check out the picturesque Lake Bled. No matter what you choose to do, at under $800 a person, an Adriatic cruise makes a great trip.

The best lodging options for your Thailand holidays

It is always a good idea to get your accommodation in place, before you leave for your holiday in Thailand, and Thailand has a long list of options for your stay to choose from. Starting with the very reasonable priced to the more luxurious accommodations in the highest end of the price scale. you will always be able to find something that fits your exact budget, depending how many people is in your travel party, and how close you want to stay to popular tourist destinations.

Boutique hotels

Boutique hotels is a relatively new phenomenon, they are the way for the small hotels to compete with the big ones, and you find some of the best of its kind in Thailand, some of them have even achieved international recognition, for their high quality service, comforts and conveniences that helps your stay always being a pleasant one. in most cases they fully live up to  Thailands motto of being “The land of smiles”.

Bed & Breakfasts and Guesthouses

Are you looking for accommodation in the cheaper range, a good solution is often a nice guesthouse, They offer all your basic requirements to ensure a comfortable stay. And since all cities have their fare share of guesthouses, it is never hard to find one that suites your needs. An other possibility is a bed & breakfast, which also offers great value for your money.

Home stays in Thailand

If you want to get a little closer, and really get to know the culture in your local area, home-stay is a great way to do it. Staying with a local family, you get closer to the native lifestyle, and learn a lot about it. Its a great way to get acquainted with the ways of the local handicraft artisians, that you will find in the rural areas which most home-stay options are in.

Floating homes  – Sleep on the river

An other very unique way to stay in your Thailand holiday is in a floating home, theres a lot of possibilities on the many rivers and reservoirs in Thailand. And you even see that some developeres have constructed buildings which is partly on land and partly on the water, Nothing beats the feeling on waking up in the morning on the water in the beautiful surroundings of the nature.

Other options are of course available, you can either buy or rent apartments, condoes, houses and bungalows.

 

Fifteen Minutes Of Fame On The Warner Brothers Studio Tour

We live in a society that has an obsession with all things celebrity, from autographs to news to gossip and more. The Warner Brothers Studio Tour Los Angeles is a backstage look at some of your favorite movies and television shows. There are changes at times when new movies or television shows become hits, but there are also some standards that are always included.

Photo: Kara Brugman via flickr.com

A statue of Bugs Bunny greets you as you enter the starting point of your tour at the VIP Tour Center and Store. While there, you can purchase souvenirs, check out the displays, or grab a bite with some employees of the studio. Once your tour starts, you hop on a tour bus to see the backlots and sets; some are from shows gone by and some are still used today.

You will see the Jungle studio, which is home to scenes from Million Dollar Baby, The Last Samurai, and Merlotte’s Bar and Grille from True Blood. You will see Brownstone Street, used by shows like ER and The West Wing, and Hennessy Street, which you may recognize as Gotham City from the Tim Burton version of Batman. You will see Midwest Street, which you will recognize as Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls, as well as New York Street.

If you’re wondering what to do in Los Angeles with kids this studio tour has more than just street sets. You will get to see the immense prop building that has every type of furniture prop one would ever need, as well as other exciting sights. The tours run Monday through Friday from 8:20 am to 4 pm. The tickets cost about $58 per person for the VIP Studio Tour. You can also check out the Deluxe Tour and the Group Tour.

The Warner Brothers Studio Tour is an experience you do not want to miss. It changes frequently as new movies and new shows come out, so make sure you do it more than once so you do not miss the fun. So get your fifteen minutes of fame by having fun and taking pictures to show your friends of all the famous sets you have to visit.

Have Kindle Will Travel

I’m excited – its coming. I think its somewhere over the Pacific actually – its left LAX but not got to Auckland yet. It’s my Kindle!  Mid 2010 was significant not just because the latest version of the Kindle was released – the Kindle 3 – but because it was made available to residents of New Zealand and other third world countries who previously hadn’t been able to buy it (Nook makers take note! )

I missed the excitement – I bought a netbook and smartphone for travelling and missed the whole Kindle thing. I spent part of my holiday browsing through second hand shops and swapping paper backs with the random collections left behind at guest houses by other travellers. The time honoured to feed a book habit without having to hire a porter to carry the dame things.  It might well have been the last time.

The Kindle weights not just less than your average Lonely Planet  guide book – but less than the slimest of thin paperbacks as well.  You can download a newspaper onto it and read the paper on the plane without needing an upgrade to Excecutive Class to have enough room to turn the pages.

But most surprising of all – apparently the photo above is for real – you really can read at the beach in bright sunlight!  Now last year I had a netbook at the beach in Ko Lipe, Thailand. The beach was lovely – but it was pretty basic – my “resort” had an open sided reception hut and lots of loungers with good palm tree coverage – but nothing more substantial. During most of the day – the only place I could read my netbook’s screen was  right at the back of reception in the shade of a wall – or inside my hut. There was just too much glare off the sea and sand to make it possible to read anywhere else. The Kindle claims you can – I intend to take it on this year’s trip to Phuket to find out!

The Kindle is a pretty exciting gadget for a the average tourist – you will be hearing more about mine!


 

 

Best Travel Pillow: Features To Look For

The best travel pillows provide just the right amount of neck and head support so that you can rest comfortably while traveling.  Most are designed specifically to allow you to sleep in an upright position without over-extending your neck muscles.  While that seems relatively straight forward, once you start to analyze what is on the market, you’ll be faced with a bewildering array of choices.

One of the first things to work out is what material you would like the pillow to be made out of.   Are you a fan of highly supportive memory foam for example, or are you a frequent traveler who prefers very lightweight inflatable designs?  Are you interested in being able to adjust the amount of filling in the pillow – something that is possible with some micro-bead and buckwheat filled designs?  What trade-offs are you willing to make?  Is a high level of support more important to you than weight?  Is portability your primary concern or the ability to adjust the fill density?

Also, don’t assume that all travel pillows have a standard horse-shoe shaped design.  Recent years have seem numerous new shapes emerge.  You’ll find comma shaped pillows, petal shaped designs as well as sash pillows.  Some will fold away in their own travel pouch while others will be designed to strap onto your carry on bag.  It’s enough to make your head spin.

To get you started on choosing the best travel pillow for your needs, here are three of our favorites:

1) The Travel Rest pillow – This is worn across the body much like one would wear a sash.  It allows for very natural sideways resting position.  A tether keeps the pillow firmly in place and, as it’s an inflatable pillow, you’ll find it very lightweight.

2) The Miracle Neck Rest – Made from a high grade memory foam the pillow will gently contour to the shape of your head and neck, without any pressure points or bounce-back.  Although memory foam pillows are generally heavier than other types of pillow, this one is smaller than your typical pillow with a very paired back design.

3) The Total Pillow – This is marketed as “five pillows in one due” to its adjustable panels.  It can be twisted and shaped in a multitude of different ways.  It’s filled with micro-beads that provide a high level of support without bottoming out.  It’s got a removable washable cover, something you should look for in whatever travel pillow you decide on.

The Cotswolds – Typically English

Located in the south west of England, the Cotswolds are what most people imagine when they think olde England. The area consists of low, rolling hills, or ‘wolds’ and picturesque towns and villages made from the local honey colored limestone. The Cotswolds are home to larger towns such as Bath, with its Roman remains and mineral water spa; and Cheltenham, home to one of the UK’s most important security services. However, there are also plenty of smaller places that beckon tourisrs, such as Stow-on-the-Wold, known for its shops, restaurants and tea rooms.

Coltswold Cottage Photo: Maia C via flickr.com

The Cotswolds are so typically English and it is this that is part of their appeal to overseas visitors. The best way to explore the countryside and small towns andd villages is by driving, although you should be careful of the narrow, winding roads and the occasional sheep on the road.

Touring Ideas

There are also several castles in the area. One option is to stay at Berkeley Castle, which was built originally to keep the Welsh out of England. It is just one of a line of castles stretching along the Wales and England border. Blenheim Palace is well known as the place where Sir Winston Churchill was born; and Broughton Castle near Banbury is considered one of the the most beautiful in England

If you are arriving by air in the UK, the Cotswolds are easy to reach from Heathrow and are just a short drive along the M4. Not far from the area is the large city of Bristol, with its many hotels and restaurants and offers a more lively pace.

Although there are many places in the Cotswolds worth visiting, some places should not be missed, including Bath, Malmesbury, Stow and Cheltenham, for their feeling of Englishness. Cardiff airport is actually closer to the area than Heathrow and one strategy is to fly into Cardiff and hire a car to explore. A visit to Cardiff will also give you a chance to visit the country of Wales for a different perspective.

Giving Romantic Vacations as Gifts

When it comes to presents and special occasions, a variety of gift ideas come to mind time and again… flowers, chocolates, money, gift cards, electronics, and of course, jewelry. For a very special occasion, though, sometimes an even more exciting gift idea could be the perfect fit for the special couple. Giving romantic vacations as gifts instead of just giving money or standard presents can make all the difference in the couple’s experience. Even if you can’t afford a full trip, weekend getaways for couples also make very nice gift ideas for special occasions.

Romantic Getaway Photo:Comfort Inn Monterey CA via flickr.com

If you are interested in giving a gift of a romantic vacation rather than a typical wedding or anniversary gift, you should consider these important tips:

Occasions to Give a Romantic Vacation Gift
Certain milestones in life call for more significant recognition and celebration than others. Weddings, anniversaries, milestone birthdays, and pregnancies comprise many of these important life events and occasions. If you are interested in giving your loved one a special gift of a romantic vacation, here are some suggestions on the most appropriate occasions:

1.    Wedding gift – Surprise your son or daughter and their spouse with a special trip for two sometime after the honeymoon. Or, surprise your husband or wife with a romantic vacation for the two of you to enjoy sometime after your wedding.

2.    25th or 50th Anniversary gift – Show your parents or in-laws how much you care with a special customized vacation just for them on their silver or golden anniversary.

3.    30th, 40th, 50th, or 60th Birthday gift – Let’s face it – some birthdays deserve better presents than others. Chip in with your friends for a best friend’s birthday or surprise your child or parent with an amazing birthday present they’ll never forget.

4.    Baby Moon – Treat your wife to one last hurrah before your little baby arrives. Go somewhere tropical and wonderful like Hawaii or the Caribbean! If you can’t afford a long and exotic trip, a few romantic weekend escapes should do the trick.

5.    Retirement – Retirement is an excellent excuse to get out and travel the world! Get your gift special recipient started on the path to relaxation, world travel, and excitement.

These are just a few examples of milestone occasions that might be appropriate to receive a romantic vacation as a gift. Depending on a person’s schooling, career, and lifestyle, other occasions may be fitting as well. Remember, a gift of experience – like a romantic vacation – lasts a lifetime in the person’s memory. Celebrate those special occasions in style!