Two day trip to Tokyo

Continuing with our suggestions on travel itineraries, today we are posting a sample itinerary for the vibrant megalopolis of Tokyo!

While two days are nothing to even scratch the surface of Tokyo, if you find yourself in the city on a weekend and wondering how to utilize your time for maximum sightseeing, you can follow the following itinerary (created using Holidayen)

Day 1

Tsukiji Fish Market (Early morning)

You will have to start early (very very early, 5 AM) to stand a chance to enter the Tsukiji fish market, famous for its giant tuna auctions and the myriad variety of fresh fish on display. If you cannot swallow the idea of waking up that early, fear not, it is still worth a visit until noon. Have breakfast in one of the famous sushi bars in the market area, you cannot miss them. Tip on selecting the best place to eat: one with decent enough long line but not the longest. Yes, did I mention, there will be a waiting time of about 1 hour on all the decent locations.

Imperial Palace and Imperial Palace Gardens (Morning)

The palace and its gardens offer a nice retreat from the metropolis without actually leaving the city. The beautiful gardens offer nice views of the city and are ideal for spending lazy couple of hours after the busy market.

Akhiabara (Afternoon)

Akhiabara, the otaku town of Tokyo is a ‘must-visit’ Full of gaming arcades, electronics and pachinko machines, this is an area which has helped in giving the adjective of ‘weird’ to Japan (and Tokyo in particular). Try your hand in one of the many arcades, or if you feel like, experience the costly, yet very intersting, maid-cafes. If you have time, you can also visit the nearby Ueno Park for another dose of different Tokyo.

Roppongi Crossing (Evening)

Unwind by people watching in Roppongi. The area also has a number of sake bars to relax after a wonderful day.

Day 2

Sensoji and Asakusa Jinja (Morning)

Next morning, experience the holier side of the city, by visiting Sensoji, the temple area in the north-east. It gives a nice picture of the religious practices of the region, and is especially a good place to visit if you have not visited any other Japanese temple or shrine.

Next to the temple is the Shinto shrine Asakusa Jinja. You can also buy religious charms and souvenirs in the area. Another must try is one of the numerous street food vendors in the vicinity.

Edo-Tokyo/Ghibli Museum (Afternoon)

Consider spending the afternoon in one of the museums, Edo-Tokyo being one of the favorite. I have also thrown in Ghibli Museum in the itinerary below if anime interests you.

Tokyo Skytree (Evening)

Do come back to the Asakusa area for Tokyo Skytree in the evening, preferably after its dark, for the stunning views of the city. Also a perfect place to end the trip and capture some snaps for awesome memories.

For more details, and a map view of the itinerary, visit this page.

Vienna – City of Dreams

On the banks of the scenic Danube, Vienna marries Western European sophistication with Eastern European culture and charm. Remnants of pre-Roman history in the Danube River Valley make Vienna an intriguing center of human settlement apart from its European neighbors. This city was the political center of the Austrian Empire and is home to ornate palaces and museums. Celtic and Viking history adorn the extensive museum collections while any conversation with a local will reveal a rather complex, if not completely convoluted, lineage.

A romantic imperial city, Vienna bears the hallmarks of a capital steeped in history, beautifully contrasted by its modern infrastructure. Vienna is home to several palaces built for the Hapsburg family. The Imperial Palace is located in the inner city and it was from here that the Hapsburgs ruled for seven centuries. It was constructed in the early 13th century. The Gothic chapel on the site is still open on Sundays for services. The Vienna Boy’s Choir sings here.

The Gothic and Romanesque Cathedral of St. Stephens is located near the Imperial Palace. Construction on this ornate cathedral was started in the thirteenth century and completed in the fifteenth century. The steeple of St. Stephens can be seen from all over the city. Climb the 343 steps of the nearly claustrophobic spiral staircase to the watchman’s lookout in the South Tower or head underground from the North Tower to the catacombs beneath the cathedral where 14 members of the Habsburg family are buried alongside the mausoleum of the bishops.

Schonbrunn Palace was built as a summer residence for Empress Sisi. The grounds include a park, the oldest zoo in the world and a large labyrinth that are open for tour as well as an ornate, Baroque style palace. Go next door to the famous Spanish Riding School where the coveted Lipizzan Stallions are bred, trained and shown in elaborate performances during the winter. There is so much to see at this palace that you should plan an entire day here.


The Belvedere Palace, designed by Von Hildebrandt, is also built in the Baroque style. This palace was the heart of the former Hapsburg empire. The Austrian Gallery Belvedere, built for Prince Eugene of Savoy as a summer home, is located here. It is now open for tours and contains art work and historical information, including a delightful Klimt collection. In addition to viewing the artwork, you can tour the palace and spectacular gardens.

The Imperial Burial Vault is located below the Capuchin Church and is open for tours. This was the burial place for members of the Hapsburg family. The vault contains 146 aristocrats, 12 emperors and 19 empresses.

The inner city is also home to monuments and parks that are popular tourist attractions. Old, ornate churches can be found here as well as other building such as Parliament, the University and Opera house.

Kuntshall Wien is a museum with a collection of modern and contemporary art. The artists are both Austrian and International artists. This museum is run by the city of Vienna.

The Sigmund Freud Museum is dedicated to the Father of Modern Psychology. It is run by the Sigmund Freud Society and traces the doctor’s life and work.

A city of music, Vienna was home to some of history’s greatest composers. Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Strauss were all proud to call Vienna their home. Vienna’s musical heritage has been preserved to the present day. The Vienna Boys Choir is ever popular and the Wiener Philharmoniker remains a world class orchestra. 

Summer, winter, spring and fall are all celebrated with unwavering zeal through a seemingly endless string of festivals. During the Film Festival am Rathausplatz, which is held during July and August, remarkable movies are projected onto the grand wall of the Rathausplatz (city hall) nightly, along with operatic performances from the world’s best. Men and women gather here after work to enjoy cocktails and the extensive array of international cuisines and stay well into the night to dance, watch films and stroll through the adjacent park.

 A theatre break is always a rewarding experience; witness the latest film and dance productions or just sit back and soak up the best of classical opera. A vast array of concerts and exhibitions are held throughout the year.

Right through history, Vienna has embraced the world of art and proudly boasts many of its own world famous artists. Through the centuries, kings and queens of Austria were passionate art collectors, rendering Austria – and Vienna in particular – a treasure trove of fine art.

Many of these masterpieces can be seen at the Museum of Fine Arts; a magnificent building exhibiting works from across the world. Indeed, art and literature feature predominately during Vienna’s history. Underground railway stations designed by Otto Wagner are listed properties; coffee house literature is digested by both young and old.

Besides their love of the arts, the Viennese love to shop. Markets are scattered throughout Vienna but most popular is the Naschmarkt flea market. Dating back to the 16th century, everything from children’s shoes to apples can be purchased. If you can endure the crowds, bargains are aplenty.

Indulge in the fun and games at the Prater, Vienna’s biggest funfair. If the noise and crowds become too much, escape to the open fields or take a stroll through the adjacent forest and chill out with the wildlife.

For spectacular views of the city head for the Danube Tower, known locally as the Concrete Needle. The tower is over 350 meters high; with your head in the clouds, Vienna never looked so good.

Round off your Vienna experience by indulging in their proud coffee culture. Find a coffeehouse and order from the endless menu of roasts. Also, you may find it difficult to avoid the tourist-targeted Mozart Balls (chocolates made for the man himself), but resist temptation and venture into a true Viennese chocolaterie like the famous Demels. Also, the Sacher Torte is unmissable.

Steeped in art, history, music and culture, a trip to this breathtaking City of Dreams is an enriching experience.

Adventures in Namibia

Namibia may evoke vivid monotonous images of an endless, arid panorama of technicolor dunes, shimmering mirages and treacherous dust clouds, but this is just an illusion. The deserts, savanna, canyons, saltpans and windy coastline come together to create a dramatic and magnetic landscape, with safari options to get close to elephants, rhinos, lions and giraffes in their natural habitat. The range of activities you can indulge in the unsurpassable physical environment is truly impressive. Ballooning over the desert, skydiving over land and sea,  coastal and fresh water angling, hiking, desert camel riding, and sand skiing along coastal dunes are good activities for starters. More adventurous games to pick from include abseiling, scuba diving, paragliding, whitewater rafting, 4×4 desert runs and mountaineering.

Namibia is sparsely populated, with the native Bushmen ingeniously adapting themselves to the punishing climate, harsh environment and scarce resources. They speak in a unique click language and are very gifted in storytelling, mimicry, and dance. Namibia’s other people, mostly of Bantu origin, are thought to have arrived from western Africa from about 2,400 years ago. The African groups include the Owambo, Kavango, Caprivians, Herero, Himba, Damara, Nama and Tswana. The Coloureds in Namibia, of mixed racial heritage, such as black- white, have a separate identity and culture. The Afrikaans-speaking Basters, descended from Hottentot women and Dutch settlers of the Cape, also have a differentiated identity.

Namibia has four distinct geographical regions. The Etosha Pan in the north is home to exotic African wildlife and is the heart of Etosha National Park. The narrow Caprivi Strip between Zambia and Botswana is a wet forested area with a few rivers. Along the coast is the 80 million year old Namib Desert, considered as the world’s oldest desert. At the coast, the chilly Atlantic meets the blazing African desert, resulting in dense fogs. The well-watered central plateau runs north to south, and comprises rugged mountains, magnificent canyons, rocky outcrops and expansive plains.

The capital Windhoek is the only true city in the country, and the first base for those traveling to more remote regions. German influence is distinct in the charming style of older buildings in the city. Places of interest in the city include the State Museum, State Archives, and the Namibia Crafts Centre. The Dan Viljoen Game Park, 24 km west of Windhoek on Khoma Hochland, is where you can find ostriches, baboons, zebras and over 200 species of birds. The Waterburg Plateau Park, located 230 km from Windhoek is popular with weekenders. This extensive mountain wilderness is home to cheetahs, leopards, kudus, giraffes, and white rhinos.

Namibia’s biggest attraction is the Etosha National Park, rated as one of Africa’s finest game sanctuaries, drawing wildlife lovers. The park is comparable in size and diversity of species with the best in Africa. The unusual terrain of Etosha holds savanna grassland, dense brush and woodland. But it is the Etosha Pan, a depression that sometimes holds water and covers 5,000 sq km, that is the heart of park. The perennial springs around the pan, attract many birds and land animals in the dry winter months. The effect of this background is magical and some of the best wildlife photographs have been taken here. There are 144 mammal species in the park and elephants are particularly abundant. Some other interesting wildlife here includes giraffe, leopard, cheetah, jackal, blue wildebeest, gemsbok and black rhino. The best time to see animals is between May and September, when water draws them in huge numbers to the edge of the pan. Etosha is 400 km to the north of Windhoek by road. The birding is great at Etosha and over 300 bird species have been recorded. There are excellent accommodation facilities at the three rest camps of Namutoni, Halali and Okaukuejo.

The Fish River Canyon is unrivalled in Africa and only the Grand Canyon in the U.S in larger. The Canyon runs for 160 km and reaches a width of 27 km and depth of 550 m. But size alone does not explain the appeal of the canyon. You experience incredible views at various points along the rim. Adventure lovers do not merely come for the views. Hiking through the canyon is the ultimate endurance adventure for hikers. There is an established 90 km hiking trail that will take you 4-5 days to cover.

The trail ends at Ai-Ais hot spring resort where you can unwind. You are allowed to hike between early May and end of September. The hike is quite strenuous and needless to say, you must be physically fit. The authorities disbelieve the capacity of most people to undertake the hike and will actually insist on seeing a medical certificate of fitness before allowing you to start off. Fish River Canyon is 580 km to the south of Windhoek.

The Skeleton Coast with its dense fogs has been the graveyard of seafarers and whales, and justifies its morbid name. Ahead is the Namib Desert, one of the driest and harshest places. Adventure travelers love trekking along the coastline as they enjoy the stark beauty of the area. The Skeleton Coast Park covers 16,400 sq km and begins at 355 km northwest of Windhoek. To the south at Cape Cross, you find a seal colony carrying tens of thousands of seals.

Further south is the Namib-Naukluft National Park, a vast, diverse wilderness covering mountain outcrops, majestic sand dunes, and deep cut gorges. The Sossusvlei area has spectacular dunes, some rising upto 300m. The orange tint giants extend as far as the horizon, making it a surreal experience.


To the northeast of the country, the well-watered Kavango and Caprivi Strip region offers virgin wilderness suitable for rugged game viewing and camping. The area also promises a feast for bird lovers. Game reserves in the area include Kaudom, Caprivi, Mahango, Mudumu and Mamili. Some of the wildlife in the region includes leopard, elephant, buffalo, cheetah, lion and various antelope species. The Caprivi Reserve falls in an area of swamps and flood plains. Here you have an opportunity for water activities such fishing and river trips in traditional mokoro boats.

Adventure, romance, wildlife and 300 days of sunshine are a compelling draw, and make Namibia the perfect exotic African destination.

Holidayen 101

Holidayen is here to simplify your trip planning! Planning a trip on Holidayen is a quick 3 step process.

1. Select your destination and duration

As you begin typing the name of the city in the “Where do you plan to go?’ search box, you will get the list of available destinations matching your query, and can select the city you would like to visit. Alternately, you can pick a destination from those marked on the map which comes up when you click ‘Browse All Destinations’ under the search box.

After selecting the city, you can pick your dates, or just the duration of your trip if the dates are undecided.

Just let us know who else you are traveling with, and you’re good to go!


  • Need inspiration? If you are undecided about where to go, you can just wander around a city listed under ‘Browse Destinations’ at the bottom of the homepage.
  • Feeling a little adventurous? Just pick a featured itinerary.

2. Customize your trip

You now have a collection of attractions and activities (psst, we will soon have events) that would be on the top of most locals’ and travelers’ recommendations. However, you may want to focus on some specific interests, say museums or neighborhoods. You can simply tweak the tuners to increase the proportion of your interest area (museums), and the selected collection of attractions changes automatically

Click on any attraction to know details such as opening hours, entry fees and contact information and you can also select or unselect individual attractions from the selection.

You can review our selected hotel, and change it under the ‘Hotels’ tab.

The green icons on the map indicate selected sights and activities, and the red icons denote the rest. As you zoom out, the icons cluster into circles showing the number of attractions in the neighborhood. A red circle indicates an attraction-dense neighborhood, a yellow circle a medium number of attractions in the vicinity and a blue circle a few attractions in the area.

Clicking on ‘Create Itinerary’ takes you to the itinerary page, where you can drag and drop attractions across days, and also change the duration by dragging the right bottom corner. The map gets updated with every edit.

When you’re happy with the way your trip looks, you can finalize the trip.


  • You can browse the attractions on the map. Click on any icon to find out more about the attraction and add or drop it from your itinerary.
  • We have also estimated the cost for your trip. It gets automatically updated with all the changes you make.
  • You can also go back to ‘Select Sights’ to change your selections.

3. Share your itinerary with friends

You get a permanent link to visit your trip itinerary whenever you like. You can also mail your trip page to yourself, or share it on Facebook and Twitter.

And of course, you can save it on your tablet or phone, and take it with you for that awesome trip you just planned.

It’s that simple, really. Get started with Holidayen!

Traveling with Dogs

If you’re planning a long trip and can’t leave your pooch at the neighborhood kennel, there’s no reason to worry. With a little planning and orienting your dog, traveling with your favorite pet should be one joyride.

Road Trips

Here are some tips to make the trip easier for both you and your dog.

  • Pre-Trip

Get your dog used to riding in the car by taking him on short trips to fun places like the dog park, so that he looks forward to amusement at the end of the drive. Also, try not to feed the dog much before the trip – this can help control car sickness.

  • Packing List
  1. Pack your dog’s food, treats, favorite toys, and leash.
  2. Water varies in smell and taste depending on the place, and your dog may not want to drink it. It is best to carry plenty of water along, and give it to your dog regularly.
  3. Dog seat belts are an option if your pet is too frisky.
  4. If your dog has a folding crate, carry that along too. When you get to your destination, you can put your dog in his crate when you have to leave him alone for some time.
  5. Ask your vet for motion sickness medication if this is your dog’s first long distance trip.


  • On the Road
  1. Use a strapped crate or a dog seat belt to ensure safety. Use towels to protect the seats.
  2. Stop every few hours to walk your dog and give him water.
  3. Never leave your dog in a hot car with the windows closed.

Air Travel

Air travel can be a little tricky for dogs, so here’s your best bet to make it as safe and comfortable as possible.

  1. Most airlines allow dogs, so call ahead of time, verify and make reservations accordingly. Airlines have a limit on the number of pets on a flight, so best to do it well in advance.
  2. Dogs require health certificates and in case of international trips, vaccinations to fly, which your vet should be happy to provide.
  3. Few airlines even allow you to carry your dog along in the cabin if it small enough and well-behaved. Large dogs have to be left in the cargo area, which is temperature and pressure regulated. Your dog will need a kennel, verify with your pet store owner that it is suitable for air travel and meets requirements. If it is a long distance flight, kennel training your pet might be a good idea.
  4. Lastly, pets should have proper identification, with the owner’s name, address, phone number and the name of the dog clearly mentioned on the dog tag.
  5. It is advisable that you do not feed your dog a few hours before the flight to avoid motion sickness.  Moreover, do not put food or water in the kennel as it may spill and create a mess. There is no need to use a sedative before departure, and always consult your vet in case your dog is on medication.


The first trip is always the hardest, as your dog may get jumpy due to the unfamiliar happenings. Once you’re done with it, your dog’s going to dig the roads as much as you.

Cruising along the Nile

Egypt, the cradle of civilization, where history first emerged, with Hieroglyphic records dating back to about 3200 BC and fascinating tales of the time of Pharaohs, pyramids and the Sphinx is an amazing place to visit. The discovery of the Rosetta Stone, inscribed in both Greek and Egyptian, rekindled interest in Ancient Egypt in the West that remains undiminished to this day.

Religion is the common theme running through the attractions of ancient Egypt. The diversity of Gods found worthy of worship is astounding. There were over 2,000 of them of either sex and they supposedly manifested themselves to earthlings as animals. There were overlaps and the same Gods could be known with different names in various parts of the country. There was hardly any part of the life experience that was not assigned a deity- digestion, mummification, sexuality, feasting, childbirth, writing – you name it. Some Gods came and went out of fashion, but those connected with basic aspects of life endured. Such deities had cults and temples dedicated to them.

The afterlife was taken very seriously, and a lot of the monuments relate to preparation for that glorious time. Mortuary and burial preparation was so elaborate as to ensure a painless and enjoyable afterlife. The custom of mummification was seen as necessary, for the soul needed a physical body to occupy in the other world. The Pharaohs and other royals, nobles and key officials were mummified and accompanied by grave goods and great treasure. The common folk who could not afford the full treatment had to do with statuettes of mummies.

The main draw to Egypt is the legacy of the Pharaohs and the Greeks and Romans who ruled after them. Basically this legacy is associated with temples, tombs and burial places. People in Egypt from the earliest times to present have always lived along the River Nile and this is where you find the richest harvest of ancient monuments. Infact, the river is often referred to as the Lifeline of Egypt. One of the best ways to experience classical Egypt is on a Nile cruise.

The typical Nile cruiser is similar to an ocean liner in terms of facilities, but smaller. Amenities on board will include lounges, restaurants, bars, swimming pool, jacuzzis, sundeck, discotheque and shops. Generally, the quality and romance of Nile cruisers surpasses other riverboats anywhere else in the world.

The best time to take a Nile cruise is over the cooler months of November – March. These are also the peak months and to avoid crowds, always start out early each day. October, at the end the hot season is tolerable, especially when you factor in that it falls with off-season period: it is cheaper ad less crowded. When visiting the monuments, you are advised to hire a guide who will explain the historical context at each site. If you are on a Nile Cruise package, the services of a guide will usually be included.

Nile cruises normally take three, four or seven nights. You will be able to see the most important and interesting monuments on the shorter and more popular cruises that ply between Luxor and Aswan. The longer sail takes you up to Dendera. The boats sail both downstream and upstream and on the shorter cruises, you can embark at either Aswan or Luxor. The more adventurous travelers or those on a tight budget avoid the luxury cruisers in favour of fellucas- the traditional Nile sailboats. Though amenities onboard fellucas are very basic, those who can survive them, visit all the attractions along the Nile at a fraction of the cost of the cruisers.

At Aswan, the Nile is deep and placid. Aswan was for long Egypt’s southern frontier city and its gateway to Africa. This was the region known as Upper Egypt, being upstream of the Nile. After Aswan, the Nile passes through a section of hard rock, resulting in rapids or cataracts. Thus Aswan attained its strategic position by virtue of its location and has served as a garrison town for those who have ruled Egypt over the centuries. And for this reason, there are monuments here associated with the Pharaohs, Greeks, Romans, Christian Copts and Islam.

At Aswan, make sure to visit the Philae Temple. Ptolemy II started the temple when the Greeks ruled, and the Romans completed it. It was dedicated to the goddess Isis, an important figure in Egyptian mythology that was worshipped across the Roman Empire. Even after Emperor Theodosius ordered all pagan temples to cease operations, Isis was still being glorified at Philae, until about AD 550 when Emperor Justinian finally shut down the temple. The early Christians converted the temple’s hypostyle hall into a chapel. For good measure, they defaced some of the pagan reliefs adorning its walls.

The temple forms an excellent backdrop for the nightly sound-and-light show. The temple was nearly lost after the Aswan High Dam was commissioned in the 1960’s. It took UNESCO and the Egyptian government ten years to move it, one stone at a time, to higher ground on Agilka Island. Most people also visit Elephantine Island, which has temples and a museum. The Island has been inhabited since about 3000 BC and was an important trading and cultural centre.

Aswan is home of the Nubians, a dark skinned people, related to the people of the north of the Sudan. You can see some Nubian villages at Elephantine Island. The Nubian museum celebrates Nubian culture right from prehistoric times. Aswan was once an important centre for Christian Copts. You can see the ruins of the once majestic Monastery of St Simeon, which was destroyed by the conqueror Saladin (Salah ad-Din) in 1173 AD.

Aswan was the source of the granite stone that the Pharaohs favoured for building temples and other monuments. The Northern Quarries are the site of the giant Unfinished Obelisk. Had the obelisk been successfully completed, it would be the single heaviest piece of monolithic stonework -reaching about 42 m and weiging over 1168 tonnes. It must have broken the hearts of the builders, who supposedly abandoned it, after coming across defects in the rock formation.

The next stop on the cruise is Kom Ombo, 48 km to the north of Aswan. The main attraction here is the Graeco-Roman temple. Work on the temple was started by Ptolemy VII in early second century BC and continued by some of his successors. The Romans Emperor Augustus built part of the temple at around 30 BC. The Temple of Kom Ombo actually consists of two separate temples, each with its own entrance, colonnades, hypostyle hall and sanctuary. The southern temple is dedicated to Sobek -the crocodile god, while the northern one honours Horus -the falcon God.

Though the two Gods shared the same grounds, in mythology, Sobek was associated with the god Seth, an enemy of Horus. At Kom Ombo, the gods took the liberty to bring along family – Sobek sneaked in his consort Hathor and son Khonsu, while Horus had his wife Tesentnefert and son, Panebtawy. If you have not seen mummies before, be sure to see the mummified crocodiles in the Sobek part of the temple.

At Edfu, you disembark to see the Temple of Horus. Edfu was the cult centre of Horus the falcon god. It is perhaps the best preserved of ancient temples of Egypt. The temple standing today was started by Ptolemy III at about 237 BC on the site of an earlier Pharaonic structure. Work continued under some of the Ptolemies that followed. Appropriately, the entrance adorned by two majestic granite falcons. The walls bear reliefs depicting Horus. One scene would please any tyrant -it shows Ptolemy XII dealing mercilessly with his enemies.

Your next stop and highlight of the cruise is Luxor. The range, magnificence and diversity of the monuments in the Luxor area is unsurpassed in all of Egypt. Known to the Greeks as Thebes, Luxor became the capital of Egypt at around 2040 BC. The city survived the sacking by the Assyrians in the 7th century BC, but steadily declined, and was finally destroyed by the Romans in the first century BC. Among the celebrated monuments dating from Luxor’s heydays are the necropolis complexes at the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens and Tombs of the Nobles. You will also come across some outstanding temples scattered in the region.

The Egyptians buried their dead in the direction of the setting sun and the west bank at Luxor was the final resting place of royalty and high officials. The Valley of Kings is where the rulers of the period historians refer to as the New Kingdom period (BC 1550-1070) awaited the afterlife. The Pharaoh normally picked the spot for his tomb and had it built in his lifetime. Tomb building for royalty and high officials was very serious business and it supported a battery of architects and craftsmen, who had a settlement in the valley. The valley contains over 60 tombs that have so far been excavated.

The tombs have suffered in recent years due to increased number of visitors, pollution and the rising ground water that has come with the Aswan High Dam. For this reason, not all of them are open to the public at any one time. Unless you are a scholar, visiting three or four tombs should be sufficient. Among the best tombs are those of Ramses I, Tuthmosis III and Ramses VI. Tutankhamun’s is today the most famous – though he is not considered a significant Pharaoh and he died at only nineteen.

Treasure hunters had over the years looted most tombs in the valley. But Howard Carter, the British archeologist, discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb almost intact in 1922. The treasure that was found here is truly amazing- statues, chests, chariots, beds, weapons, and many items he needed for the afterlife. The main item today at Tutankhamun’s tomb is his mummy. About 1700 items recovered at the tomb are now at display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The most outstanding of the collection is the 11 kg solid gold death mask. Imagine then, what the looters carried off from the bigger tombs of the more illustrious Pharaohs!

On the other side of the Valley of Kings is the Temple of Deir el-Bahri, built by Queen Hatshepsut. Hatseput. The temple is very impressive from a distance and is a great place to take photos. The name Valley of the Queens is misleading, as both male and female royals and some high officials were interred here. About 80 tombs have been identified, of which the most famous is that of Queen Nefertari. Take more photos at the Colossi of Memnon – two huge statues that are the sole legacy of the temple of Amenhotep III.

Amenhotep III also built the Temple of Luxor on the east bank. The temple was dedicated to the god Amon, though inside you also find a shrine dedicated to Alexander the Great. The temple’s entrance is lined with Sphinxes, and inside you find colonnades, courts, obelisks and wall murals. The mosque of Shaykh Yusuf Abu al-Hajjaj was built on top of part of the temple. You can also visit the Luxor Museum, which has interesting exhibits from the area.

The incredibly impressive Temple of Karnak is a huge complex that was dedicated to the god Amon. In the New Kingdom period, this was the most important temple is Egypt. It is probably the largest religious building ever and it can carry no less than 10 average Christian cathedrals. Some of the interesting structures within the complex are the gigantic hypostyle hall, the Kiosk of Tarhaka, statue of Ramses II, temple of Ramses III and the sacred lake.


A cruise is a pleasant and relaxing way to get close to the attractions of antiquity, and also get a glimpse of rural Egypt. Book your cruise now!

Summer travel idea – Nuremberg, Germany

Everyone has started planning for their summer vacation travel and many are clueless on where to go. We are going to throw in some suggestions. Location ideas are courtesy Where the f*** should I go this summer?

Some basics about Nuremberg first. You can easily reach here through its airport which has a good service by Air Berlin, but the best way is to enter the city by its train station, located a stroll away from the beautiful old town. Within the city, it has various subway lines and the old town is best explored on foot.

Begin your stay in the city with a trip to the Castle which dominates most of the old city. It offers a tour in English from the Tourist Information Center in the Market Square. The Castle offers best views of the old town through its towers. It also houses a museum and an old deep well.

Outside the castle, you can visit Castle Quarter with its romantic timbered houses and St. Sebald Church. The heart of the city is at the market square Hauptmarkt – a lively place with beautiful Frauenkirche and the fountain Schöner Brunnen.

The old city also houses St. Lawrence Church and a huge National Museum of art and crafts. Depending on your interests, you can visit New Museum (art and craft), Albrecht Durer’s house, Toy Museum or Medieval Dungeons.

Nuremberg also had a Nazi connection and outside the old city, one can visit the Nazi party rally ground with its large Colosseum.

Especially if you are traveling with family, Nuremberg zoo is a must visit. It is one of the best zoo in entire Europe and a sure delight for the kids. It is nicely landscaped and provides lots of activities for the kids.

From the city, you can also easily travel for a day trip to another beautiful city, Erfurt, famous for its impressive ensemble of cathedral and St. Severi.

This summer, the town is hosting International Puppet Theater Festival (3rd to 12th May), and the biggest outdoor (and free) music festival, Bardentreffen (July). Late in summers, the city hosts Altstadtfest, or the “Old Town Festival”, attracting over a million tourists.

So what is your plan this summer?