10 Unique Foods to try in Thailand

March 01, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

One of the best things about traveling, is the food.  Trying out the cuisine of another culture can be a thrilling adventure in and of itself.  Once you get checked into your Thailand accommodation, it is time for a snack.  Here are 10 dishes that will surprise and delight.

Laab Luead
This is a pork salad that is very popular in Isaan.  Most travelers tend to have some difficulty getting it down, however.  The difficulty has less to do with the sour and spicy flavors than with the pork itself.  Traditionally, the pork is served raw and topped with fresh pig's blood.

Goong Dten
This dish translates to “Dancing Shrimps.”  As you may have guessed, the shrimp are served with their heads and legs still attached.  What you may not have guessed, is that they are still alive when you eat them.  You can feel them dancing all the way to your stomach.

Cab Moo
Cab Moo is more accurately a garnish or side dish.  This piece of deep-fried pork skin is served with many Thai dishes and is definitely worth trying. There are two basic varieties.  One is mostly fat while the other is fat-free.  The fat variety is much more popular in the country because it has a lot more flavor.

Yum Kai Deng
Yum Kai Deng is usually served over steamed rice.  It is the salted red yolk from a duck egg.  It is considered a delicacy and is very high in both calories and cholesterol.  In some restaurants, there is an additional layer of spicy and sour salad on top of the egg.

Fried Bugs
These snack foods all have different names depending on where your Thailand accommodation choices have placed you.  But they all have one thing in common, the main ingredients are crickets, grasshoppers, water bugs and a few other crawly things tossed in the fryer and served as a finger food.

Ant Egg Soup
The soup is spicy and loaded with vegetables but what really makes it special are the ant eggs.  The ants are very protective of the eggs and separating them is quite difficult.  As a result, when it is time to add the eggs, the ants go into the soup too.

Tripe Soup
Using liver, intestines and heart to make a soup may not be unique to Thailand, but the sweet, sour and spicy flavors of the Thai variety give the soup a distinctive and enticing aroma.

Pat Pet Noo Na
This is a barbeque dish that may be served over rice in a rural restaurant or skewed on a stick from a street vendor.  The meat used is field rat.

Squid Jerkey
These dried, salted pieces of squid can be found on most streets in Thailand.  They are sometimes served as an accompaniment to salads, much like bread sticks.

Steamed Stingray
There are very few places where you can enjoy a plate of Stingray.  With lemongrass, ginger, lime and chillies, the Thai dish is definitely one of the tastiest.

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The Attractions in Canary Islands

February 28, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Tenerife is the biggest island among the seven islands of the Canary Islands and it also has the highest number of residents. It is estimated that five million travellers come to Tenerife each year and it is the highest among other Canary Islands. Tenerife is an island that is sculptured by volcanic eruptions and some of the sceneries here are simply breath-taking. The island is also free from pollution and is one of the cleanest places in Spain.  This is what makes tourists come to this place again and again.

There are two airports on this island, Reina Sofia Airport at the south and Los Rodeos Airport at the north. Both these airports handle domestic flights only, therefore tourists who want to come to this place must come from other airports in Spain like Barcelona El Prat Airport or Madrid-Barajas Airport. As the island is quite big compared to the other Canary Islands, it is highly recommended that you hire a car at car hire Tenerife located at the airport, because this car hire company provides the best service compared to all the other companies available on this island.

Tenerifa was once a really poor region in Spain where the main activity was banana planting in small plantations. It was only after the airports were built in 1960s, that Tenerife became one of the top destinations in Spain in terms of tourists’ numbers. A lot of hotels and resorts were built and the government then built more and more facilities to cater for the crowd of tourists that come here. The south and north side of the island is quite different, and the southern part is more crowded with tourists especially those who come to this island in groups. The weather in the south is also more stable than the north. However, this does not mean that the north does not have the same attraction as the south.

The north offers a more vibrant local culture to its visitors and the weather here is not as hot as the south. Between the two different parts of the island lies the Teide Mountains that is also declared as Teide National Park. This mountain was once a volcano but sadly, tourists are not able to visit the crater of the mountains anymore as there are concerns about safety and security of the tourists.

If you are searching for a great place for a holiday, you can consider Tenerife as the best place you can find in Spain.

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Barcelona: Spain’s rich cultural hub!

February 24, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Barcelona, Catalonia’s capital is one of the most colourful and vibrating cities in Spain. Its unique location near the Mediterranean Sea and Gaudi’s impressive architecture are a magnet for people all over the world and contribute to the cosmopolitan charm of the city. The hotels in Barcelona add to this charm through its central locations, excellent service and luxury facilities.

A lot of tourists head to Barcelona to spend their beach holiday, but miss out on its famous tourist attractions and rich culture. The idea of this post is to throw some light on some of the rich culture of this Spanish city that is situated in the north-east part of the Iberian peninsula. First, there are the classic Joan Miro and Picasso Museums. Then the architecture of Barcelona’s most famous artist Gaudi who helped to develop a unique form of Art Nouveau. And, who can miss out on the long La Rambla Promenade.

Here is a list of places that one should visit to get closer to the city’s true culture.

Ciutat Vella (The Old Town)
The Ciutat Vella is the historical centre of Barcelona. In former times, Barcelona was only a small Roman village called Barcino, surrounded by a massive defensive wall. During the 14th and 15th century it grew rapidly and today the small winding streets, gothic buildings and medieval places still remember of Barcelona’s golden era. The best way to discover the Ciutat Vella in Barcelona is by foot – drift along the small streets and enjoy the lively atmosphere.

Museu Picasso
The Museu Picasso is Barcelona's most visited museum. It's housed in three strikingly beautiful stone mansions on the Carrer de Montcada, which was, in medieval times, an approach to the port. The museum shows numerous works that trace the artist's early years, and is especially strong on his Blue Period with canvases like The Defenceless, ceramics and his early works from the 1890s. The haunting Portrait of Senyora Canals (1905), from his Pink Period is also on display.

El Raval
Raval is the original medieval name for the district left of Las Ramblas of Barcelona. Shabby apartment houses and dodgy bars can be found right next to modern museums and trendy shops in the small winding streets in this district of Barcelona– Raval is a traditional workers area that is constantly changing. Once known as poor and dangerous area, it is now growing in popularity for its central location and its shops. El Raval is the home of many immigrants and the multicultural atmosphere contributes to the charm of this district of Barcelona. Some streets in El Ravel make up the red-light district of Barcelona. 

Barri Gotic
The Barri Gotic contains a concentration of medieval Gothic buildings only a few blocks northeast of La Rambla, and is the nucleus of old Barcelona. It's a maze of interconnecting dark streets linking with squares, and there are plenty of cafes and bars, as well as the cheapest accommodation in town. Most of the buildings date from the 14th and 15th century, when Barcelona was at the height of its commercial prosperity and before it had been absorbed into Castile.

Las Ramblas
Las Ramblas is probably the most famous boulevard in Barcelona. The street is two kilometres long and right at the heart of the city. It divides the Ciutat Vella starting from the buzzing Plaça Catalunya right to the harbour of Barcelona. The wide pedestrian area in the middle of Las Ramblas is the ideal place to meet people, watch the busy traders or street performers. The numerous birds and flower stalls underline the colourful atmosphere of Las Ramblas.

La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia is truly awe-inspiring - even if you don't have much time, don't miss it. The life's work of Barcelona's favourite son, Antoni Gaudí, the magnificent spires of the unfinished cathedral imprint themselves boldly against the sky with swelling outlines inspired by the holy mountain Montserrat. They are encrusted with a tangle of sculptures that seem to breathe life into the stone.

Montjuic
The hill Montjüic (Jewish mountain) is one of the most significant landmarks of Barcelona. The huge park lies 213 metres above the harbour and is today one of the major tourist attractions in Barcelona. Montjüic hosted the World Exhibition in 1929 and the Olympic Games in 1992, remains of these big events in Barcelona can still be visited. The impressive view of Barcelona and the sporting and cultural devices on Montjüic are worth more than one visit.

La Pedrera
Another Gaudí masterpiece, La Pedrera was built between 1905 and 1910 as a combined apartment and office block. Formerly called the Casa Milà, it's better known now as La Pedrera (the quarry) because of its uneven grey stone facade that ripples around a street corner - it creates a wave effect that's further emphasized by elaborate wrought-iron balconies. Visitors can tour the building and go up to the roof, where giant multicoloured chimney pots jut up like medieval knights. On summer weekend nights, the roof is eerily lit and open for spectacular views of Barcelona. One floor below the roof is a modest museum dedicated to Gaudí's work.

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Blog and Photography Portfolio…Now on Mobile!

February 24, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

The mobile is becoming the new web!! And most of us travellers are smartphone users. So why am I missing on catching the ‘mobile’ bus was the question that was plaguing my mind for a long while. Both my travel blog and photography portfolio could be seen on the mobile, but it was the web version that was rendering on the mobile. This web version on the mobile brought with it a unique set of problems. My travel blog used to take a lot of time to load on the mobile and the widgets on the site would add to the misery. And my photography portfolio, where the slideshow runs on Flash failed to render properly on the mobile and again was very slow.

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To overcome these problems, I put my limited technical knowledge and ‘Googling’ to full use and tried various 3rd party tools, mobile templates and native mobile apps. But, none of them solved my purpose as they were either too slow or directed my online properties through their site or ended up showing unwanted Ads.

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After a lot of online research and permutations and combinations, I finally ended up using the default mobile template provided by blogger for my travel blog and built a custom template for my photography portfolio. The mobile template for the travel blog is lean and hence loads quickly. It works on all mobile platforms as certified by Google. And it provides a simple user interface for the user to see my photographs, read my content and comment through the commenting system. The navigation is also pretty simple, though doesn’t have the flexibility of the web, but what the hell, how much can I browse on the mobile.

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The mobile app for the photography portfolio offers a whole lot more functionality. My slideshows are there are so are my picture thumbnails. My site navigation has been retained and offers great flexibility in navigation. And all these have been perfectly morphed for the mobile. But, it does have its limitations. This mobile view is currently limited to the iPhone and the Android devices. And the videos do not play exactly the way I want it to. Right now, I have to click the back button to get the video to load. Still some more work is needed here, but I am very happy with the progress so far.

Would love to hear your thoughts on what you think of the new mobile views!! Here is the URL again for your reference.

Travel Blog: http://www.beontheroad.com (All mobile platforms)

Photography Portfolio: http://photos.beontheroad.com (iPhone and Android)

Do remember to enter this in your mobile browser!!

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Top Free Things to do in Australia for Backpackers

February 23, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Especially in today’s economy, many travel as inexpensively as possible. Visiting world renown destinations does not necessarily require great financial sacrifices. Backpacking is a popular form of sightseeing and touring among the younger set. Budget conscious travellers enjoying Australian holidays find dozens of locations around the country’s largest cities that do not require fees. Beaches and coastal walks do not cost travellers anything to visit and many museums welcome guests without charging admission fees. One city in particular offers tram services around the metropolis free of charge.

Australia’s largest cities lie along the coast, offering amazing views and the opportunity to view local wildlife. Melbourne developed on the southern coast and offers guests on Australian holidays the chance to see the city by taking the free City Tram. Passengers may board and exit anywhere in Melbourne and take limitless rides throughout the day. The NGV International is the oldest museum and art gallery in the country. Exhibits and artefacts include pieces from ancient Egypt and Roman times to contemporary art. The Yarra River meanders through the city and features a free outdoor art exhibit, in addition to amazing sights. The Queen Victoria Market, located on the corner of Elizabeth and Victoria streets, welcomes visitors five days a week. Journey through the many areas that house approximately 1,000 vendors selling everything from fresh produce and homemade foods to clothing and pets.

Situated along the south eastern coast, Sydney offers the chance to enjoy a coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee Walk. Indulge in a refreshing swim at Coogee Beach, relax in the sun, or visit one of the many cafes located along the boardwalk. Tour the world famous Opera House inside and out, or journey to Darling Harbour, where street performers often provide live entertainment. Located in the heart of the Sydney, the Royal Botanic Gardens encompasses over 30 hectares with displays of native and international plant life. The Rocks Discovery Museum, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Sydney Observatory all welcome guests and do not charge entrance fees. The Australian National Maritime Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art are also free of charge to visitors.

Further up the eastern Australia coast lie Brisbane, Gold Coast and Rockhampton. Brisbane Museum and the City Hall Art Gallery not only do not charge admittance, but both facilities also provide free tours on certain days of the week. The city’s 52 hectare botanic gardens offers visitors on Australian holidays the opportunity of strolling through numerous gardens containing subtropical plants. All of the National Parks in Gold Coast are free and provide the chance of seeing picturesque landscape while trekking through rainforests on the many trails. Springbrook National Park is noted for having a variety of waterfalls. Cool off from the heat by taking a dip in a cool mountain stream. Many Rockhampton visitors enjoy climbing Mt. Archer, which rises to 604m at its tallest north peak. Anglers might drop a line in the Fitzroy River, for the chance to catch native barramundi. Enjoy the antics of animals from all over the world at the Rockhampton Zoo.

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