There’s more to this southeast Asian cuisine than Thai curries and the som tam. Chef Nisa Yimthong shares some pointers

There’s more to this southeast Asian cuisine than Thai curries and the som tam. Chef Nisa Yimthong shares some pointers

For most of us, Thai food is defined by Thai curries, Som Tam or raw papaya salad, Tom Kha soup or Pad Thai noodles. While these are excellent examples of Thai cuisine, there’s a lot more to this delicious South East Asian culinary destination than a couple of curries and coconut milk. As Thai chef Nisa Yimthong, who was in the city for a food festival held at a five-star hotel recently, puts it, “Thai food is characterised by flavours such as sour, sweet, salty, bitter and spicy.” Growing up in Nakornphatom in central Thailand known for its spectacular regional cuisine and landmark Buddhist temples, Yimthong picked up her love for cooking from her grandmother at a young age. After graduating from the Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, she went on to earn her culinary stripes at international hospitality chains such as The Blue Elephant Thai restaurant and The Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok. In this interview, the 35-year-old shines a light on the nuances of Thai cuisine and a few quick tips on how one can master it at home.
Facets of Thai cuisine
Just as Indian cuisine varies from state to state, Thai food also changes depending on what part of the Thailand you are in. According to Yimthong, Thailand is divided into four distinct regions – central, southern, northern and northeast and each plays a role in developing their version of the cuisine. “Central Thai cuisine comes closest to what guests view as ‘Thai’ food, with well-known dishes such as Pad Thai and curry pastes,” chef says. Pastes include staple ingredients like chillies, garlic, galangal, peppers and lemongrass. “Main courses are usually quite spicy, while desserts are rich and highly fragrant. Coconut cream is widely used,” she adds.
Meanwhile, cuisine in northern Thailand is less spicy with preference towards bitter flavours and use of dried spices. The famous Kai Yang (barbecued chicken) comes from this region. North-eastern Thailand, too, is known for its grilled meats as well as sticky rice, fermented salads, fresh vegetables and herbs. “The combination of flavours are layered and complex despite the simplicity of food preparation,” chef says.

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India Tour & Travel Packages 2019-2020 – Trip Inventor

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Experience colours and spice: Highlights of India
Welcome to a soulful experience of vacationing in India, the cradle of ancient civilization with rich cultural heritage. Experience the sights and sounds of its amazing diversity that is embedded in its geography, people and their cultures. Explore the gifts of nature and the timeless marks of man-kind that dot the landscape of this country.
Cool hill stations, wild life, adventure spots and beaches provide one of the best vacations that you would have anywhere in the world. Priceless treasures of ancient civilization in the form of ruins and excavations, the tall standing structures of the medieval times reflecting the splendor, art and architecture of times gone by and the achievements of modern India, all beckon you to explore them further and satisfy your curiosity. Notice the changes in elements of culture of its regions such as the folklore, music, dance forms, dress and decoration forms, languages, dialects as well as foods and drinks as you crisscross the length and breadth of the country.
Dressed down in saffron, white, and orange, flowing with the love of its natives and travelers, there is nothing quite like India. With just one touch on the rich soil, a certain sense of belonging is felt on an India tour .
While some love the rush of its snake-like lanes, where the aroma of cutting chai, and spices keep on pulling, others fall deep in the ocean of monuments. There are a few who think there is nothing better than the village life others can’t survive a day without the luxuries of the modern city. There is no perfect way to relish what the nation holds in its four directions, but an India travel guide can make things easy.
Trip Inventor takes you to this amazing learning, rejuvenating and joyous journey through its varied Holiday Packages.
India is a land of fascinating culture and diverse landscapes, and hordes of globetrotters come to soak in its majestic charm. Its long history, which dates back to thousands of years, is another thing that draws many people. Tourists looking to explore India are showered with various options, as there are infinite tourist destinations in India that they can visit.
If you are an adventure lover, you can go for trekking or mountaineering in the north, and if you fancy beaches , then the southern and western part of this country awaits you. Also, you can find tremendous options to spend your honeymoon packages in India. Among all other destinations Goa is always all time favorite for tourists across the globe.
There are variety of options available for hotels in Goa from luxurious to affordable. India is also praised for its spiritual background, an aspect that people love to explore. To cater to them, Trip Inventor also offers numerous pilgrimage tour packages that take travellers to religious places like Haridwar, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Rishikesh and Tripura. If you are a nature or wildlife enthusiast, you can look for tour packages that are centred around dense national parks and sanctuaries. Embark on a tour with Trip Inventor and enjoy an enthralling, exciting journey that will stay in your memory for life.
India is the land of vibrant colours, life and culture. The diversity of the country is portrayed in every human, land and also its cuisine. It is aptly said that, everything we really wanted was always there right in front of our eyes and we failed to see it. That is exactly the case for most travellers in India. We at, Trip Inventor, handcraft our India travel packages with most remarkable locations that lie in every corner of India. And if you are looking for tips on where to start, explore our India tour packages for best options!
Traverse through the country and know the land’s true and raw nature; be surprised with the inherent, divine beauty of the realm. With the perfect match for your choices among the holiday packages in India, breathe the beauty of untapped incredible India! India’s lavish natural beauties are dramatically the ones which carved its history. A country with ample of UNESCO world heritage sites, eloquent coastlines & beaches, royal palaces, ancient caves and temples, glaring deserts, the land of Himalayas and the list goes on. For a country so huge and with so much to offer we have passion in abundance and unrivalled knowledge to present you the perfect Indian vacation. Trip Inventor – Tour and Travel Company Phone No : +91-73038-37333 | E-mail :

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Dear Guest,
Greetings from Kumarakom!
Thank you very much for your review on Trip Advisor though a bit surprised at your comment reagrding the food. We hardly have a few european items on the menu which is mainly Indian and Local Kerala cuisine .
Glad to note that you loved our resort to have an excellent vacation experience.
Looking forward to welcoming you back soon, here at Karma Chakra!
Best Regards
Jaison Anithanam
jaison.anithanam@karmagroup.com

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Bali: Insider Travel Guide

Bali: Insider Travel Guide (CNN) Many would argue that Bali is a paradise lost. It isn’t. It’s just evolved. It now offers as many experiences as the varying hues of green found in a plot of terraced rice paddy. Whether you’re a hardcore partygoer determined to eat, drink and not sleep your way through Seminyak; a yoga devotee seeking peace and tranquility in Ubud’s tropical rainforest setting; a die-hard surfer whose only agenda is to paddle out and catch the monster swells at Padang Padang; or a curious traveler charmed by Bali’s sacred temples in Manggis — you can do it all (or do nothing at all) in Bali. The best of Bali has everything, the good, the downright ugly (braided, Bintang tank-top-wearing hordes in insufferable Kuta) and the sublimely beautiful. Here’s what to do in Bali: Hotels W Retreat & Spa Bali — Seminyak The new rock star on the island, there’s no denying the high-octane glamour that comes with this beachfront property. It’s large by Bali standards, but exudes its own sense of cool and calm. A room in the main building gets you close to the action. Back from the beach are the hotel’s brilliant, and affordable, private villas and pools. Very useful is the best of Bali AWAY spa, which remains open 24/7. That’s great news for late-night revelers in need of a foot massage after stumbling in from a night at Woo Bar — Bali’s newest hot spot. Equally useful is the hidden sliding door that conceals and reveals bathroom and bedroom areas, and the three-tier main swimming pool for ample lounging and photo opportunities. The hotel is far enough from the main array of hotels to keep the beach quiet, while further north is the even quieter Canggu beach. The hotel can arrange a motorbike rental for US$5 a day. The Colony Hotel There’s one big plus point about staying at The Colony Hotel: no children under the age of 16 allowed. Another bonus is the on-site Jari Menari massage facility. Not to be overlooked are the 20 rooms done up in a pretty but minimalist decor. The junior suite comes with a spacious balcony that overlooks the 16-meter pool. Amankila Located on a headland in Candidasa, high heels are not recommended while staying at the Amankila, as there are plenty of stairs to navigate. Luckily, golf carts are readily available to transport you down to the beach club where a generous strip of black sand beach remains tout-free. If you’re tired of the sand and wanting to know what to do in Bali come sunset, try watching the changing color of the sky from the hotel’s signature triple-stepped swimming pool. Early bookers, try to get upgraded to villa 37 — reportedly the resort’s most requested villa — which enjoys the best view of the ocean. Anantara Resort Seminyak Bali has a quirky local rule stating that buildings should not be higher than a palm tree. This five-story property just makes the cut. Sitting front and center on Seminyak beach, all 59 suites (and one penthouse) come with ocean views. Penthouse suites come with attached outdoor lounge space and a terrazzo bath, so you can fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves. Michi Retreat Ubud is where artists flock, so if you’re staying here, it makes sense to put up at a property with artistic inclinations. Michi is a work in progress, and its creator, the septuagenarian Professor Kung, calls himself a nomad. Hence, the resort near Jukut Paku is an eclectic collection of rooms that are always changing. Adding another dimension to the experience are mosaic grottos that overlook a particularly spectacular stretch of the River Wos. Harmony Hotel Cheap and cheerful, and located just minutes walk from Seminyak beach, this is one of the best values in Seminyak. The rooms are decent sized and come with Wi-Fi and a TV. All rooms are located around a common mosaic pool. Breakfast included. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan Away from the coast, amid dense bamboo jungle and perched looking over the sacred Ayung River is this wonderful, peaceful retreat. Jungle wildlife and the occasional screams of rafters thrusting along the river are the only sounds to intrude upon the privacy of each villa at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan. All 42 thatched maxi-huts/villas come with an outdoor shower that overlooks the river valley and a plunge pool that releases itself endlessly into the jungle’s steamy abyss. There are also 18 suites. You are far from the maddening crowds and if a non-beach stay is what you are looking for, your budget is well spent here. AYANA Resort and Spa Bali Since it relaunched in 2009 as AYANA Resort and Spa Bali, this hotel has bagged a whole slew of significant awards for its bar (see below), its accommodations and the spa. And it is clear why. Despite the size of the place (there are over 350 rooms, suites and villas — some on the cliff with staggering sunset views) there is still a sense of privacy and space. The rooms and hotel design are very well done — well appointed without the over the top ‘luxury flourishes.’ The hotel sits high above the Indian Ocean near Jimbaran Bay on Bali’s south-western peninsula so it is a bit of a schlep from the busier Seminyak, Kuta, Legian stretch. Not a bad thing, but it is harder to pop away should, for some reason, you want to escape. The above are some of the reasons the hotel is also proving a popular wedding (and honeymoon) destination. Restaurants Metis If you’re wondering what to do in Bali, start with great food. The charismatic chefs Said and Dou Dou, have taken bits of magic from Warisan — their former haunt — and elevated it at Metis. The foie gras (all six types) is Bali’s best, and then some. The kitchen is equally adept at putting out a freshly grilled sole as it is an aromatic plate of fork-tender osso bucco served on a bed of creamy risotto. The Grand Marnier souffl and passion fruit martini are highly recommended. After dinner, you can hang out at the lounge overlooking paddy fields. On Thursday night, there’s live music. Sardine More than 120,000 bamboo shingles and 10 types of bamboo were used in the construction of this restaurant. But you’re not really here to do an architectural survey. Sardine focuses on fresh produce and organic greens. Brilliant side dishes include smoky miso eggplant and wasabi mash. The scallops with ravioli and creamy panna cotta are outstanding. Sari Organik You’ll break a sweat getting to this restaurant — it’s surrounded by its own farm — where you can pick your own vegetables for the chef to cook. Take a pre- and post-meal walk through fertile paddy fields — this is a great thing to do in Bali — and revel in a meal of nasi campur crowned with chunks of tempe fried to crisp perfection. Sarong We’re not sure which we like better, the spiced Asian fusion with a strong Indonesian slant (the caramelized duck is a hot favorite) or the sexy fleur-de-lis and chandelier setting. Then there are some of Bali’s best cocktails. Sarong’s extensive cocktail menu is one of the most original we’ve seen. The Bill & Ben is a gin and pink grapefruit concoction topped with chamomile foam. The Sarong Cappuccino is made with vodka or brandy, maple syrup, Kahla and espresso. Mozaic If there’s one dining destination in Bali, it’s Mozaic. Part of the Les Grande Tables du Monde, since opening in 2001 the restaurant has had a flurry of global food critics eating out of its hand. Market cuisine is led by French Laundry-trained chef Chris Salans, who blends French and American culinary techniques with Balinese ingredients. Salans’ use of black olive Balinese Kluwek sauce is brilliant, and addictive. Expect to pay up to US$175 per person. S.O.S Supper Club If you prefer your sunsets unobstructed, and like to enjoy them without grains of sand stuck in hard-to-reach crevices, S.O.S. is your spot. The rooftop bar offers one of the best views of the Seminyak sunset slowly melting behind the horizon. Service is swift and the drinks icy cold. This is where to be and what to do in Bali come happy hour. La Plancha While most other beach bars roll out designer cocktails and fancy finger food, La Plancha keeps it simple with laid-back reggae beats, a selection of beer, oversized beanbags and jugs of potent sangria. It also helps that the bar has an uninterrupted view of the pink-to-red-to-orange sky. Bali Joe There’s rarely any room for women in Bali Joe, except for those that get up on the bar and lip-synch to Beyonc anthems. The bar is popular for its energetic vibe and nightly drag shows that feature plenty of audience participation. Performers can be persuaded to extend a few private DIY diva tips. Rock Bar Rock Bar’s mixologists pour creative cocktails set to the beats spun from a DJ booth carved into the stone — although some nights are devoted to live music. Designed by Yasuhiro Koichi of Japan’s Design Studio SPIN, this is one of the best, and most crowded, places to watch the sunset in Bali. A word of warning: wear suitable clothes. No board shorts or sleeveless tops for guys. T hursday to Saturday nights are extremely busy, so be prepared for a long wait. A scooter from the main Kuta/Seminyak stretch will take 30 minutes-plus to reach the bar. Ku De Ta No trip to Bali is complete without catching a sunset at this local institution. Arrive early or you’ll have to sprawl out on the lawn. Drinks are pricy, but the mojito, raspberry and lemongrass cocktail and Kuve Margarita made with lemon sorbet is worth the coin. Potato Head Beach Club Bali’s newest, hippest beach bar is housed in an impressive geometric facade that you won’t miss. It’s the best place to be seen drinking and partying. Celebrity DJs often play weekend gigs. Other nights see island residents streaming in at sunset for cocktails and tapas. The kookaburra is a popular order, a curious concoction made of lemongrass gin, passion fruit and mint, and topped by the club’s signature vanilla foam. Shopping / Attractions Jenggala There’s plenty of shopping to do in Bali, and few visitors are able to resist the urge to take home a full 24-piece set of Jenggala crockery in pale green jade or plain white. What started in 1976 as a small, experimental cottage industry has become a global ceramic force. The high quality, handcrafted ceramic decorated with painstaking detail is a pretty addition — and nicer reminder of Bali — to any home. Simple Konsep Store This store is anything but simple. At this concept space that fuses Bali’s traditional artisan skills with modern European designs, you’ll find everything from origami folding leather bags, Melissa shoes, commissioned ceramics objects by Gaja Gallery, jewelry by local and European designers and unique batik print apparel. Simple Konsep Store, 40 Jalan Lesmana-Oberoi, Seminyak; +62 361 730393 Mount Agung What to do in Bali after you’ve seen all the beaches, sampled all the menus and hit all the bars? Scaling the majestic Mount Agung — at 3,142 meters the highest point on the island — makes for a worthy challenge. A strato-volcano that last erupted in 1963, locals believe it’s a replica of Mount Meru, the central axis of the universe. There are two routes to the top. Both take up to four hours. And while you can scale it without a guide — they can be found lingering at the start of the trek — employing one is highly recommended. Tanah Lot Supposedly the work of the 15th-century priest, Tanah Lot is one of Bali’s most holy, and touristy, sites. Located in Tabanan, the sacred Hindu temple sits on a large rock out in the ocean and is said to be guarded by sea snakes. Head toward the footpath leading to the raised cliff area where the view of the sun setting behind the temple is outstanding. Only in Bali Paddy fields OK, they’re not only in Bali, but terraced rice fields in varying shades of brown, gold and green make for one of Bali’s most calming and beautiful sights. Keep Walking Tours runs daily excursions, but you can also head off exploring on your own. Start at Ubud Palace, head west on Jalan Raya Ubud and follow signs that bring you past the River Wos, Campuan Ridge and the village of Penestanan. Ubud Palace, junction of Jalan Suweta and Jalan Raya Campuan Balinese avant garde Balinese art is more than topless women and rice-paddy landscapes. The artist-run Sika Gallery in Campuan, Ubud, condemns commercial art and seeks to push Bali’s visual arts envelope. Ask after artist-curator I Wayan Sika and see if you can coax out the story of his artistic journey, during which a coma-like state inspired him to produce some of his best works. Balinese avant garde, Jalan Raya Campuhan, Ubud, Gianyar; +62 36 1975084 Medicine man Poor Ketut Liyer. The elderly medicine man has been kept busy all hours of the day since “Eat, Pray, Love” catapulted him to global fame. Consultations on your life and love prospects don’t come easy or cheap. Expect all tickets — yes, there’s a docket system — to be snapped up by 9 a.m. Prices vary, but often start from US$25. 10 minutes’ walk south of Pengoseken, follow the signs; +62 361 974092 Babi guling at Ibu Oka When in Bali, a meal of babi guling (roast suckling pig) is a must. It’s essentially a whole roasted pig stuffed with spices, carved up and served with rice and vegetables. While there are many places to get it around Bali, Ubud’s Ibu Oka is a famed institution serving up platefuls of the stuff daily till mid-afternoon, when the food runs out. This is a meal that works your jaw. You’ll need to chew hard till all the flavors are released from the succulent meat. Around noon, staff usually carve up another pig. It’s a great photo op. Jari Menari massage There are massages and then there’s a Jari Menari massage. The name means “dancing fingers” and your body parts will be in perfect harmony at the end of the treatment. The all-male staff employs a mixture of techniques (Swedish, deep tissue, Balinese) and emphasizes the rhythm and movements of your body. Book well in advance to ensure a spot. There’s another branch at Nusa Dua, and a one-masseur facility at The Colony Hotel. Introductory massages classes are held on Tuesdays.

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Food | Punjab Grill Tappa – Contemporary Punjabi Cuisine Bursting with Bold Flavours

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Serving a range of inventive Indian dishes in not so bite-sized portions, Punjab Grill Tappa is an attempt by the brand to go contemporary in its approach. From modern interiors to food that is as unique in taste as it is to look at, there is a lot to be explored and enjoyed at the restaurant.
It’s not often that chefs can rebrand and innovate Indian foods. Gaggan did that in Bangkok, and now he has the best restaurant in all of Asia. Locally though, there are attempts now and then to be different, but more often than not, they fail. Zorawar Kalra led Farzi Café is one of the success stories, and I do love how they play with food over there, even though their service lacks the professionalism that one would expect. However, the entire molecular gastronomy craze has reached its peak, and even the chefs who were once greatly influenced by Ferran Adrià are desperate to create their own identity.
When it comes to reinventing Punjabi food, the weight on the shoulders of the chef is likely to be tenfold. So, while I went into Tappa thinking it would be more show and less tell, it turned out to be nothing short of a revelation.
The menu at the restaurant is a warm mixture of contemporary Indian with a Punjabi touch. The liveliness, often associated with everything Punjabi, is evident in the descriptions and name of every dish. I was still sceptical after reading the menu, knowing that often what is promised it a lot different from the final plate — and thinking that in all probability they have followed Farzi Café and gone to the other extreme where I’ll end up with molecular gastronomic versions of Indian classics. Thankfully, I was wrong.
The dishes are experimental in terms of ingredients and flavours. The presentations range from the mundane – butter chicken in a bowl – to what I call the dump – where a bunch of elements get dumped on top of bread like in the case of Soya Ghee Roast Methi Thepla. And yes, there are definite hipster vibes thrown in for good measure as seen from combinations like asparagus and cauliflower in their choori kutti.
Tappa manages to create an ambience that compliments the food. There is a stylish look that doubles up nicely as a place to have a few drinks with friends. They do various promotions and exclusive cocktails, but I’ve never been one to be lured by the high that alcohol gives.
Food is my drug, and fancy names and ingredients perk my interest regularly. Tappa presents its menu in the form of “small plates” and “large plates”. I hate this concept. Call me old-fashioned, but listing dishes as “starters” and “mains” will do just fine. Still, this is the Millennial generation, and one must give them a fair share of freedom to play around. If listing their food under “small” and “large” is what floats their boat, then be it.
Getting back to the food, it is remarkable. It is Punjabi food at heart so expect a lot of spices, moderate amounts of chillies, and a feeling that you can’t have another bite for the whole week by the time you are ready to leave.
Among my favourites was the Dahi Kebab, the softest I’ve ever had. The Butter Chicken was tender, slightly charred, and came in a tick and creamy gravy. Both of these, as well as the Paneer Makhani and Dal, were under the “Classic” section of the menu. So, there is something for all tastes and likes.
As for bread, the Palak Chur Chur Naan was a delight. Initially, it had raisins in it, but I asked for one without them. The naan is somewhat like a paplak parantha but packed with bold flavours.
Looking for some fashionable and unusual items, the Choori Kurti – Crumbled Bread topped with Asparagus and Cauliflower – was a meal in itself. In simple terms, it is a laccha parantha with veggies. But thanks to the finger-licking sauce that came with it and overall wonderful flavours it turned out to be phenomenal and the dish-of-the-dinner for me.
Punjab Grill Tappa is on the expensive side. Their small plates tend to pinch a little more. Still, the food is delicious, the service friendly, the atmosphere is fun, and thus, paying a little extra doesn’t hurt all that much in the end.
Punjab Grill Tappa

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Eurotrip Inspiration

Klook Shortlists Best Single-Country Train Routes
Take the rail journey of a lifetime with these inspirational itineraries from Klook
Train travel is making a comeback among modern travelers who appreciate the convenience, value, and air of spontaneity – not to mention amazing views of passing landscapes along the way. Adding to the growing appeal, most train stations are located in city centers for easy access and few rail companies charge baggage fees.
To learn more about traveler’s behavior when traveling by train in Europe, Klook, world-leading travel activities, and services booking platform, analyzed internal data and found that over 60 percent of travelers preferred to visit multiple stops in a single country for their Eurotrip on rail. So what are the top destinations? According to Klook’s booking data since fall 2018, the most frequently booked Eurotrip by rail traverse Switzerland, UK, Italy, and Germany.
From architecture crawls to foodie trips, Klook shortlists the most popular routes for single-country sojourns:
1. Switzerland’s Nature Trail
Route: Zurich → Lucerne → Interlaken → Jungfraujoch → Montreux → Geneva
Keen to see several natural wonders in one trip? Make a beeline to Switzerland. After touching down in Zurich, make your way to the beautiful city of Lucerne, where you can soak up unparalleled views of Mount Pilatus from the comfort of an aerial cable car . From there, go hiking in Interlaken , ride to the peak of Jungfraujoch – home to the world’s highest rail station and one of the world’s largest glaciers – and wind down in the resort town of Montreux, located on the banks of glorious Lake Geneva. Cap off the nature-packed journey in the glorious city Geneva. Ringed by imposing mountains, this is a hiker’s paradise. The most accessible choice is Saleve mountain, just south of the city, where you’ll find over a dozen hiking trails to choose from.
2. Great Britain’s Gourmet Sojourn
Route: London → Edinburgh → York → Bath → Cardiff
Many people assume British food is limited to simple pub food, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Thanks to its diverse population and centuries of international trade, the country has developed an incredibly exciting food scene. Ready to eat your way through Great Britain? Start in London, one of the best food capitals in the world. You’ll find everything from Michelin-starred eateries to Indian cuisine , Instagrammable cafes , age-old bakeries , and more. From there, take the train to Edinburgh, Scotland, to seek out the best local eats. Need a hand? Join Secret Food Tour , which tempts you with traditional Scottish dishes such as Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties. Next, venture to the walled city of York, which brims with Roman, Viking, Normal and Tudor influences. Don’t forget to try some world-famous Yorkshire pudding, commonly served with roast beef and vegetables. Cap off the trip in Cardiff, Wales, which is fast becoming a must-visit culinary destinations thanks to an influx of new restaurants and cafes.
3. Italy’s Romantic Rendezvous
Route: Rome → Florence → Venice → Milan
Grab your partner for a romantic getaway in Italy. Kick things off in Rome, where world-renowned monuments and artwork such as the Vatican Museums , Sistine Chapel, and the Colosseum set the tone for an unforgettable adventure. Next, travel inland to Florence to experience a few wine tastings , the Duomo and Renaissance art tours , then over to Venice where romantic canals , artisanal Murano glass , and unique dining traditions await. Heading west, historic Milan will spoil you with architectural marvels like Piazza del Duomo, La Scala opera house, and an impressive collection of Da Vinci’s masterpieces , including The Last Supper, at Santa Maria delle Grazie church.
4. Germany’s Architecture Journey
Route: Munich → Heidelberg → Cologne → Hamburg → Berlin
Start your adventure in Munich, where the Romanesque Revival-style Neuschwanstein Castle (the inspiration behind Disney’s Cinderella castle) awaits in all its grandeur and glory. Don’t leave without taking the Romantic Road tour through stunning Harburg Castle, the preserved medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and the famed Romantic Road, weaving through the countryside of Bavaria. Next up, set off for Heidelberg. This romantic city promises cobblestoned streets, 16th-century castle ruins, and beautiful old bridges.
Heading northwest, Cologne is the perfect pitstop for architecture, thanks to the vast collection of Gothic and Neo-Romanesque buildings, including highlights like the Cologne Cathedral. From there, explore Hamburg’s architecture on a Discovery Walking Tour , which passes by the neoclassical Town Hall, St Nikolai Church, and Speicherstadt — a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest warehouse district in the world. You can’t visit Germany with stopping in Berlin. In this multicultural city, a half-day East Berlin Walking Tour hits historic landmarks, including the Brandenburg Gate, Chapel of Reconciliation, remnants of the Berlin Wall, and Tunnel 57 which was once used as an escape route.
Tapping into the rail renaissance, Klook recently partnered with Rail Europe, representing over 50 railways throughout Europe. With this landmark partnership, travelers can now book sought-after Eurail Passes and point-to-point ticket sales in more than 100 markets across the region via Klook’s innovative mobile app and website. The point-to-point tickets are currently available on Klook’s mobile app and are set to launch on the website. Advertisements

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Luxury in Goa: Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Benaulim

By BOE Magazine India , Travel February 17, 2019 Luxury in Goa: Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Benaulim Looking for a lush spot to completely chill-out in Goa? We head to Taj Exotica Resort & Spa in Benaulim and experience beach-side bliss, with a decent amount of coconut trees thrown in for good measure. When you’re approaching a resort and the only words you can utter are ‘wow’, then this is naturally a very good sign. Needless to say, this is the exact response elicited as we cruise up the driveway to Taj Exotica. Undulating gardens surround us – after traversing dusty roads of sunbaked Goa then it’s a startling site. Our eyes greedily drink in the buoyant, frothy blooms of flowers and the rolling emerald lawns. In India, bright colours are rife – gem-hued saris; piles of spices that look like they could paint a sunset; houses resplendent in purples and blue and powder pink. But to see this much verdant greenery in one go is startling. Image: Taj Exotica
Coconut trees cast long shadows across the main path and when we’re told that there are over 300 on the property it does’t come as a surprise – this place is massive. Expect lots of variations on the words ‘sprawling’ and ‘expansive’ – with 56 glorious acres to play with, the sense of openness is intoxicating. It helps that the resort is right in front of the Arabian Sea and commands an impressive 800m long beach frontage. This means not only can Taj Exotica Resort & Spa boast a 9-hole golf course, tennis courts, a main building, gardens for villas, an award-winning spa, and one of the largest pillarless banquet halls in Goa, but in the evenings you can look directly across at that famous orange sun dipping below the sea. What conveys a sense of space more than a limitless horizon? The whole effect is, quite frankly, magical. The main hotel building will be your first port of call – a beautiful, colonial-style structure set over two floors that stretches languidly across the grounds like a white swan dozing on a green lake. In the evening it seems to glow against an inky black sky- an effect amplified by the shimmering light pouring from the windows and lamps that wink from around the gardens. Image: Taj Exotica
When you first arrive expect to be greeted by local musicians and a refreshing coconut to sip from – may your life be full of music and your thirst always be quenched! I couldn’t properly concentrate though – my eyes kept flitting across the palatial interior. I’m talking chaise lounges, glorious potted palms, peacock-blue couches and cushions as plump as overripe papayas. Ceiling fans whir steadily overhead and in the courtyard below a fountain adds its calming trickle to the scene. The place is flooded with daylight due to the glass roof and the side of the lobby that’s completely open and looks out across the coconut tree-laced grounds and then onwards, to the sea. The proximity to beach is no doubt a huge draw for visitors, and there’s a sense of tranquility that’s miles away from popular spots to the North and South that are jostling with tourists and consist of people scrumming for sunbeds. Here it’s far more calm and clean, with no music blaring from beach shacks, and a well-maintained toilet just inside the grounds of the resort, directly next to the beach entrance. There’s also a stall that you can check your belongs into, so worries about leaving valuable items on your sun-bed can be a thing of the past. It’s little touches like this – perhaps previously unconsidered – that elevate this stay. Head along for a morning of tai chi, an afternoon of sunbathing, or get active by seeking out a body board or a windsurfing opportunity. Image: Taj Exotica One of my favourite ways to spend the stretch of early afternoon after breakfast (more of that later) was to sit in Lobster Village with a coffee or cocktail and alternately dip into the book I’d bought along, or idly spend my time people-watching. Lobster Village is just one of the dining options at Taj Exotica, of which there are x. This particular place is rather special – One of most lovely places to sit is Lobster Village, set in prime position on the seafront. It’s an oasis of white linen tables, wicker furniture, and a rustic thatched roof that has more of a hint of tropical-tiki appeal. Here you can either soak up the rays or be shaded from the sun, tucking into sandwiches, a glass of wine, or picking from their incredible Catch of the Day menu. In the evening it becomes a beacon of bobbing lanterns, with the bulbs of the sign picked out like a cabaret performance in the dark night. Other dining options include the fine-dining restaurant Miguel Arcanjo – named after legendary Goan Chef Miguel Arcanjo Mascharenhas. Unsurprisingly, this is an opportunity to savour local delicacies with a Goan-Portuguese influence, and is the best kind of introduction to the cuisine of the area. If you fancy a more global choice of food, take a seat at the buffet-style Sala Da Pranzo, or visit Li Bai for a taste of China. As for cocktails, there’s always somewhere to perch with a Mojito – be it in the lobby lounge Adega Camoens, or perched at the beach shack pool bar. Image: BOE However, it was breakfast that was one of my favourite times of the day. How could it fail to be, with the insane amount of options on offer?! Pancakes soaked in syrup; omelettes with mushrooms and cheese; waffles drenched in chocolate sauce; all kinds of cereals lined up in their jars; tropical fruits laid out in their various shapes and rainbow colours. Whether you crave croissants, congee, or a bacon roll, it’s all catered for. There’s almost too much to choose from – take for example the picture-perfect display of pastel-hued milkshakes, lassis and yogurts, in flavours that included mango, strawberry, coffee, coconut, buttermilk and pistachio. For me, it was all about the authentic Indian food station. Each morning was dedicated to another form of dosa – a traditional Indian pancake made from a fermented batter. Add some potatoes, sambal, coconut yogurt and tomato chutney, and I was pretty much set for the day ahead. Image: BOE This is making it sound like I spent the majority of the time wandering around the grounds, soaking up the beachside sun or stuffing my face. And true, this was a large portion of my vacation. But each day it was quite an effort to leave our accommodation, especially given the stunning villa I was inhabiting. At Taj Exotica you can stay in the main hotel, in rooms that range from large deluxe and luxury suites. But the jewels in the crown are undoubtably the villas. These are old-word cottages nestle amongst the foliage in gorgeous burnt orange, grass green and Portuguese blues. Our villa was a masterpiece of elegant interior design, with walls the kind of azure blue you’d find in a polished Lapis Lazuli. The Portuguese inspiration continued inside, with authentic tiles in the bathroom, china plates arranged artfully on the walls, and beautiful cushions piled enticingly on the beds and sofa. Image: Taj Exotica
But it was the garden that really made us clap our hands together in delight while formulating a plan on how we could obtain squatter’s rights. A private swimming pool, with garden space to boot! Who wouldn’t want to throw open curtains to French doors that slid open to reveal an enclosed space for sunbathing, sipping drinks, or simply taking a dip? A morning spent working on the tan whilst reclining on the sun-beds was perfectly punctuated with the occasional plunge into the cooling waters. Of course, there is also a large central pool for the whole resort to use, and those who aren’t so thrilled with children running amok will be pleased to know there’s also a child-free silent zone. Bliss for anyone looking to zen out with a large slice of tranquility.
Because really, that’s what you come to Taj Exotica Resort & Spa to experience. There’s plenty of ways to expend your energy if you’d like to, but few things are nicer than getting to the end of a sunbaked day and realising you’ve achieved the holy grail of ‘wellness’– completely blissing out and spending some time to yourself.
For me, visiting somewhere like India is about capturing the mystery and exotic allure of the country. When the evening creeps in, and the hundreds of coconut trees are picked out against a crust of glowing cinnamon sky, then it’s impossible to deny a certain sense of magic in the air. If that’s not enough reason to visit, I don’t know what is.
For more information visit www.tajhotels.com/en-in/taj/taj-exotica-goa/ Image: BOE
Note: We were invited to stay at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, but all views are of course writer’s own. Share on:

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One of the most influential and powerful endorsements for plant-based diets by the Lancelot Medical Journal to save the planet and feed the earth’s population. Yes, we’re on the right track!
Seven dietary changes to protect your health – and the planet
Consider a diet that can prolong your life and, at the same time, feed a growing global population without causing further damage to the environment.
That’s just what 37 scientists from 16 countries (the EAT-Lancet Commission) did for two years. Their findings resulted in recommendations for a healthy diet that can feed the world’s population from sustainable food systems and were published on Thursday in the medical journal The Lancet.
They recognize that food production needs to nourish human health and support environmental sustainability; currently, our food systems are threatening both. Strong evidence indicates that livestock farming is one of the biggest drivers of climate change, biodiversity loss, land degradation, water use and chemical pollution.
The “planetary-health diet,” largely plant-based and low in red meat and sugar, is estimated to feed 10 billion people by 2050 from sustainable food systems. The researchers also believe it will prevent 11 million premature deaths a year caused by an unhealthy diet.
WHAT’S IN THE DIET?
Daily protein comes mostly from plants including beans, lentils, soy and nuts. Whole grains, not refined, are included, and fruits and vegetables fill half of your plate at meals.
The recommended 2,500-calorie diet doesn’t completely eliminate animal foods. It can include, each day, one half-ounce of red meat, one ounce each of fish and poultry and one cup of milk or yogurt. One to five eggs can be eaten a week.
Plant-based oils are substituted for animal fats and added sugars are limited to 31 g a day, in line with the WHO recommendation for sweeteners.
IS IT FEASIBLE?
The planetary-health diet is a huge shift from the way we eat. But eating this way isn’t completely foreign.
The traditional Mediterranean diet of the early 1960s was largely plant-based and contained only 35 g of red meat and poultry combined each day. Many traditional diets (e.g., West Africa, India, Mexico and parts of Asia) contain lots of plant protein and little meat or dairy.
Some people, though, feel that achieving this global diet isn’t feasible.
Not today; that’s for sure. Reaching these dietary targets by 2050, the EAT-Lancet Commission points out, will require policies that encourage healthier food choices, agriculture sustainability, stricter rules around governing of land and oceans and reducing food waste.
TRANSITIONING TO A SUSTAINABLE DIET AT HOME
In the meantime, there are small steps you can take on an individual level to move toward the planetary-health diet.
Replace meat with pulses. Substitute cooked brown or green lentils for half of the ground meat in meatloaf, meatballs, burgers, shepherd’s pie, stuffed peppers and marinara sauces.
Replace some of the meat in tacos and burritos with black beans or pinto beans. Reduce the amount of meat in chili and add extra kidney beans or chickpeas. Eventually, replace all of the meat with beans or lentils.
Replace cheese in sandwiches with hummus.
Use nuts to replace meat. Add almonds or cashews to a vegetable stir-fry instead of beef or chicken. For lunch, have a nut-butter sandwich instead of ham or turkey.
Boost plant protein at meals by tossing toasted nuts or pumpkins seeds into greens salads.
Set a target. Determine how many meatless meals you’ll eat each week and then build on that. Vegetarian chili, tofu stir-fry, salad with edamame, bean burgers, chickpea curry and lentil soup are protein- and nutrient-packed lunches and dinners.
Include plant-based breakfasts, too. Try a smoothie made with fruit, greens and soy or pea milk, whole grain toast with almond butter, oatmeal topped with nuts and berries, quinoa or millet porridge or scrambled tofu.
Pack in produce. Eat a mix of fruits and vegetables, at least five servings a day (one serving is one-half cup of cooked or raw vegetables, a half-cup of berries or one medium fruit). One-half of each meal should consist of these foods.
Consider your snacks. Making snacks 100-per-cent plant-based is an easy step to take. Choose fruit and nuts, homemade trail mix, vegetables and hummus, whole grain crackers with nut butter, soy/pea milk smoothies or soy lattes.
Rethink restaurants. You’ll find a variety of plant-based options at restaurants that specialize in ethnic cuisines such as Indian, Middle Eastern, Mexican, Japanese and Chinese.
Or, pick a plant-based restaurant near you and when travelling.
Reduce food waste. Shop for, store and repurpose foods to minimize waste at home. Avoid buying in bulk; purchase only what you need whenever possible.
Buy “ugly produce,” misshapen fruits and vegetables often thrown away by farmers and grocery stores. Use vegetable scraps to make soup stock.
Store leftovers at the front of the fridge so you don’t forget them; eat within three or four days.
sauce https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life…_Ppz3dDaAe3buE

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Sorry for bringing this up all the time….
But FOOD MAAN!!
North South East West, we have such a HUGE diaspora of cuisines that you simply can’t have an “Indian” restaurant.
And the flavours too… I’ve been places abroad, and other than SE Asia, the food in most western countries pales in comparison.

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MultaniGuy said: ↑ Be honest now, do Pakistani eat South Indian food like people from Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Be a little reasonable here. Click to expand… We do maybe its only a Karachi thing but there are cuisine from round the world here in Pakistan so people do taste different foods.

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