Experiencing Oman – a photo diary

Oman, a holiday destination? Would you rather travel to Dubai or Abu Dhabi if you are looking for a few days off in the Middle East? A mix of luxury, opulence, adventure and nature, Oman is slowly moving up the ladder on the places to visit list for many European travelers. These pictures below speak a thousand words. Once seen, you can decide for yourself what kind of destination you would like to call Oman.

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The big fat Indian wedding in Muscat

For the last few months the team at THC has been very busy planning the logistics for a destination wedding in Muscat, Oman. A few months ago we also wrote about Muscat being awarded the second best city to visit in the world in 2012 by Lonely Planet.

We worked day-in and day-out to make the wedding experience, the travel and stay for 500 plus wedding guests as comfortable as possible. From coordinating visas, rooming and flight requirements; crafting all communication going out to the guests including managing the wedding Instagram page; to the working with the gracious and kind team at the Ritz Carlton Al Bustan Palace property; to managing the hospitality desk for the wedding. The overall experience was just magnificent and we enjoyed every minute of it!

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One day in Luxembourg City

Luxembourg is one of those tiny countries that seems to fall off the radar of many travelers while visiting central or western Europe. From Amsterdam, it’s about a 4 hour car ride or a 5 hour train journey.

As far as Luxembourg is concerned, my knowledge about this country was limited. I knew that while it is one of the smallest countries, it is also one of the world’s richest. Quaint and appealing as it is, the city also has a hard-working business and administrative side, which has made it wealthy. It is a major centre of international banking, the seat of several significant European institutions, and one of three capitals of the EU. Despite its permanent metropolitan population being just 107,247, it is one of the most multi-cultural cities with around 60% of the residents being foreign origin.

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A weekend in Rishikesh, beyond river rafting

I have visited Rishikesh about three to four times over the last few years as a weekend destination from New Delhi. Always, the agenda has been quite simple. Check-in to a camp site, head out for a thrilling rafting expedition and  after an exhilarating few hours in the  river head back to the camp site. Ending the day with a usually quite and relaxed evening on the banks of the Ganges.

The plan does vary person to person, group to group, but if I may allow myself to generalise a little, the itinerary pretty much remains the same for people looking for a weekend getaway in Rishikesh.  Of course let’s not forget that Rishikesh is also famously known for it being a Yoga and mediation destination. Ashrams  can be seen at every corner but then a trip like this would require much more time than a just weekend.

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Muscat – the secret jewel of the Middle East

When we think of luxury holidays, wedding destinations, ultra-modern architecture, lively night life and shopping in the Middle East, the first destination that would probably come to mind would be UAE and of course Dubai.

Besides UAE, if you are wondering where else will you get a great holiday experience in the Middle East, you could potentially look at Muscat, the capital of Oman.

The Sultanate of Oman over the past few years has developed as a strategic partner for India in the Gulf region. Both countries enjoy warm and cordial relations, which can be ascribed to historical maritime trade linkages, intimacy of the Royal family with India and the seminal role of the Indian expatriate community in the building of Oman. And of course the two countries are linked by geography, history and culture.

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Hotel Review: Courtyard House, Kanha National Park

Kanha National Park is known for its Tiger spotting; hundreds of people flock to this park every year from across India and overseas in the hope to see a Tiger. My suggestion, visit this park for reasons beyond the king of the jungle. This jungle can also make for a memorable holiday if you are looking for some peace and quality time with family and friends.

While planning our accommodation in Kanha, we decided to stay away from the popular hotels mentioned online and chose to stay at a boutique hotel called Courtyard House. A quaint house with its exterior walls painted a warm yellow,  it is perched on a slight height and can be spotted from a mile away. Literally, off the beaten track the house is situated in the buffer zone of the Kanha Tiger Reserve and the view of the jungle from the house extends as far as the eyes can see.

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Hotel Review: Forsyth Lodge, Satpura National Park

A last minute booking, we arrived at Forsyth Lodge for a night but ended up extending  our stay by another. As one enters the premise, it is clear that the lodge is built and put together by a team of people who are passionate about the wilderness and the environment. An eco-friendly lodge, Forsyth is set within 44 acres of rehabilitated jungle on the edge of Satpura National Park; this was the first property to also be constructed near the park.

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Bhopal, an interesting weekend destination

In an attempt to hunt down a new weekend destination near the Capital,  Bhopal came up as an interesting option if looking for a mix of history, heritage, wildlife, and of course some luxury. This city has the ability to thrill and pamper.

I had no expectations from Bhopal when we visited, it was meant to be a one night stop during our 2 weeks Madhya Pradesh road trip. However, once I spent some time here, I realised that this city has much more to offer then then just being the political hub of Madhya Pradesh.

While we could not stay longer than a night, I promised myself I would return soon to enjoy a little more of everything.

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Hotel review: Deo Bagh Neemrana, Gwalior

A seven hour drive from New Delhi (via the Yamuna Expressway), Gwalior city is typically not known a holiday destination, unless of course you are travelling to Orchaa, Khajuraho, Shivpuri or even Bhandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.

Since we were on a two week road trip through Madhya Pradesh, Gwalior was a good option for us to take our first overnight stop between Delhi and Orchaa.  We had pre-booked a room in Deo Bagh Neemrana,  a heritage property located amidst two 17th and 18th century Maratha temples a hathi khana for elephants, stables and two cenotaphs.

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Belgium’s best-kept secret, Antwerp

Have you ever thought of planning a holiday to Antwerp? This is one of those cities that you will fall in love at first sight.

Art, history, food, culture and diamonds is what this port city is about. If you are traveling by train in to Antwerp (which is what I would recommend), you will arrive at the Railway Cathedral. This neo-gothic masterpiece regularly appears on lists of the most beautiful train stations in the world. The enormous roof and towers are absolutely impressive. It is a welcome you will not want to miss!

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