Best ways to enjoy a glorious summer day in the Big Apple

Central Park is always a good idea on an amazing summer day in the Big Apple

Photo by CC user Ingfbruno on Wikimedia Commons

Although some write-off New York City during the summer months, others can’t get enough of the heat and bright sunshine during this time.

If you are looking to make the most of great weather while you are in the Big Apple, the following suggestions will help you enjoy it alongside this city’s locals.

1) Hang out in Central Park

There is no better time to experience Central Park in its full glory than on a summer day. The trees are lush with leaves, the flower beds are exploding with colour, and the lawns are filled with locals socializing and enjoying each others company.

If you’d rather be by yourself, though, there are plenty of paths to follow which will take you past ponds, through forested glens, and to structures which have been here long before the first skyscraper in Manhattan reached towards the heavens.

2) Go to the beach

The beach? In NYC? Yes, it is possible to find an expanse of sand on which to sun yourself, and you can even go for a dip in the ocean.

While the sounds of the city will be present at places like Coney Island (sounds of the midway, throngs of kids, business flights to New York soaring overhead on their way to JFK), those seeking peace and quiet need only rent a Zipcar and head out to Jones Beach State Park, or hop on the ferry to Fire Island.

Surfers looking to get in some waves should head to Rockaway Beach in Queens, as it gets the most consistent swells from the Atlantic.

3) Grab some ice cream

Nothing goes together better than a summer day and ice cream; this fact is no less true in the Big Apple. Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream on the Lower East Side is a great choice for traditionalists, as they scoop up ice cream just like you remembered it as a kid.

Those who are more open-minded will still love this place, as they serve flavours like green tea alongside chocolate, but if your group is comprised of uncompromising hipsters, then you’ll have a better time cooling off at Black Tap.

Creating gaudy milkshakes topped with massive amounts of candy and ice cream, your diet will suffer, but your Instagram account will pop with enough likes and comments to make a visit here a worthy sacrifice.

4) Catch a rooftop movie

End your ideal summer day in New York City by catching a rooftop film. Put on by a non-profit organization on rooftops ranging from Trilok Fusion Center For The Arts to The Old American Can Factory, you could be exposed to anything from documentaries to old classics at the show you end up checking out.

Vegas beyond the casinos: things to do to entertain yourself

 

There is a Vegas beyond the casinos

Photo by CC user tedmurphy on Flickr

Of all the things people do when visiting Vegas on holiday, spending time in the pits playing blackjack and roulette is a stereotype that endures to this day.

However, there is so much more to do in 21st century Las Vegas, that you could spend your entire holiday entertaining yourself here without dropping a single silver dollar in a slot machine.

If you want to experience Vegas beyond the casino, spend some time visiting the attractions listed below…

1) Check out the Hoover Dam

The electricity to run all those twinkling lights on The Strip has to come from somewhere. In the Las Vegas area, the source of the juice that powers its economy comes from the Hoover Dam, a massive piece of infrastructure that has been lauded as one of the most ambitious civil engineering projects in American history.

Started during the Great Depression as part of an infrastructure program designed put mass amounts of unemployed citizens back to work, its massive turbines now generate 4.2 billion kWh of power annually, although drought has limited its usefulness in recent years.

Tours will take you to see turbines are larger than you could ever imagine, making it well worth the price of admission.

2) Attend a pool party

Starting in March and ending in October, many of Las Vegas’ finest resorts host regular pool parties that attract beautiful tourists and local alike to frolic under the warmth of the desert sun.

Accompanied by tunes spun by established and up-and-coming DJ’s, these events are create a fervor that only builds as opening dates approach in the spring.

Mandalay Bay’s Daylight is especially famous, as its weekend parties have crammed in 5,000 people to see acts such as Skillrex in the past.

3) Go indoor skydiving

Want to start pushing the envelope a bit more in your life, but afraid to make the huge jump to activities like bungee jumping and skydiving?

In Vegas, you can ease yourself into these sports by visiting Vegas Indoor Skydiving. Situated inside a vertically-aligned wind tunnel, people that want to experience this sport in a safe manner will have the opportunity to do so by jumping into 120 mile per hour winds.

Directed towards the roof of the silo, the person that jumps will instead float in the air, and will be slowly brought down to the ground as the fans beneath them slow down.

4) Play the machines at the Pinball Hall of Fame

Remember when the pinball machine was the king of the arcades? You can re-live this aspect of your past by dropping by the Pinball Hall of Fame.

More than just a museum for these popular games, you can actually drop a quarter in many of these machines and demonstrate your superior skills to amazed onlookers. Come on, you know you want to!

5 Tips to Help You Have a Relaxing Romantic Getaway

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When you are planning for a relaxing, replenishing and romantic getaway, there are a few things you’re going to need to consider and implement. It’s okay visualising and hoping for everything to turn out perfectly, but we all know that things don’t always turn out as expected. So, what does it take to achieve such a getaway? Here are just a few tips that may help you out.

Plan

Where do you want to go, how much do you want to spend, and what do you want to do when you arrive? These are all things that you need to think out before you just book and turn up at the airport. Think about the purpose of the vacation and how much money you need to put aside to cater for it. Also, the occasion should be considered. Is it just a much-needed break to help you both reconnect, or is it for an anniversary? If you are celebrating something, you may want to find somewhere special to stay.

It goes without saying that where you go should be a mutual agreement. Discuss it together, or if it’s a surprise, ensure you have taken their interests into account. For example, if your partner is a lover of history, plan a cultural trip that you can both enjoy.

Live in luxury 

It’s great finding the perfect location, but if your accommodation is poor it will impact the entire getaway and your shared enjoyment of it. For example if you want a luxurious room located directly on a white sandy beach, why not stay at the best resort in the Maldives where romance will be heightened and relaxation will take over?

Spending time in such a hotel will give you all that a luxury romantic getaway calls for; from top of class spas, to stylish restaurants and evening walks along the seafront. The tranquillity and breath-taking views may just be what revives your relationship.

Be available

Create time for both playful and romantic moments with your partner. Don’t be distant and don’t be selfish in what you want to do. Find ways to reconnect, whether it’s trying something new together or conversing over a candlelit dinner.

Enjoy special moments 

A romantic getaway is made memorable by the little moments that arise between the two of you. Sure, big gestures and impressive sights are unforgettable, but it’s often the small things that mean the most. You don’t have to be talking and sight-seeing all of the time to connect. Embrace intimate moments and don’t feel like you need to constantly fill the silence. Sometimes, simply being in each other’s presence is enough.

Consider time for self-discovery

Although a romantic getaway is a way to treat your loved one, it’s advisable to create time for self-discovery too. Maybe in the morning as your partner is getting ready, you could take a brisk walk in the surrounding area and just be with your own thoughts for a while. Or if you both want to see separate sights or try different activities for an hour, do so. Having some time by yourself is essential and can often help strengthen your relationship, as neither of you will feel trapped or desperate for space.

With these tips in mind, you are bound to have a relaxing getaway with your partner.

Off the beaten track destinations in Indonesia

Photo by CC user Michael Gunther on Wikimedia Commons

Love what you have found in Indonesia so far, but looking for some off-the-beaten-track destinations to escape the tourists? Below, we will describe some alternative spots to travel to in this very diverse country.

Samarinda, East Kalimantan

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Photo by CC user Hidayat008 on Wikimedia Commons

Located on the island of Borneo, Samarinda is the largely unknown capital of East Kalimantan. Known mostly for coal mines and the palm oil plantations that lie in the countryside just outside the city, Samarinda does have a few attractions of note.

The first of these is the massive Masjid Islamic Center Samarinda, which dominates the skyline of the city from the river.

While it is not clear whether tours are available or not, those that dress respectfully and ask a local may find it easy to tour its expansive campus outside of prayer times.

Additionally, the markets in this city are lively given the amount of tropical fruit that is available from the surrounding farmland, and there are tons of modern malls available to help you stock up on supplies before heading into the Borneo wilderness on a trek.

A place like Samarinda isn’t on the main tourist grid, which makes planning accommodations ahead of time a smart plan. Through traveloka.com, one can book a comfortable hotel like Aston Samarinda to relax after a hectic day spent traveling on Indonesian Borneo’s rough roads.

Alor Islands

Those seeking to see a part of Indonesia that has changed little even in modern times will want to check out the islands of the Alor archipelago.

While the going here is tough due to the lack of infrastructure present in other parts of the country, seasoned travelers will be rewarded with some of the best diving in the region, people that are untainted by mass tourism, and traditions that have endured the relentless march of 21st century modernism.

Papua

Traveling to the very fringes of Indonesia will take you to the province of Papua. Consisting of the western half of the island of New Guinea, this is a place where the indigenous people still hunt for their food with bows and arrows, and where a complete lack of roads means that much of your travel will be completed by plane and boat.
Their cultures retain much of their authenticity as a result of their isolation, making the expense of a journey here well worth the money you’ll shell out to get here.

Raja Ampat

Photo by CC user 124569475@N05 on Flickr

If you’d like to push your travels to the edges of Indonesia without having to venture into the jungles of Papua, Raja Ampat is a destination that will appeal greatly to you.

Representing one of the few true paradises left untainted by mass tourism in the world, this archipelago is populated by karst-like Islands that resemble mushrooms in shape, has beaches that are bleach white and cotton soft, and marine life that is among the most diverse of any tropical marine destination in the world.

Londa, Sulawesi

Situated in the southern portion of Sulawesi, the burial caves of Londa have attracted a bit more attention in recent years thanks to the investigative reporting of leading travel blogs, but as far as off-the-beaten-track destinations go, this place is one of the best for culture hunters in Indonesia.

In this place, the local people have buried their dead in crypts built into the side of a cliff for generations.

Photographers will love this place, but be sure to ask permission before photographing anyone you find here.