Despite the fact that Elbrus is considered a technically easy mountain for climbing, it still attracts thousands of rock climbers from around the world. For many of them, to conquer this Russian mountain is a life challenge. Mount Elbrus (in fact, a dormant volcano) in Russia’s Caucasus region is annually visited by thousands of foreign tourists from over 70 countries. Some of them are ski enthusiasts, but most dream of conquering one of the highest peaks in the world. One of the world’s 7 summits A true dream of every mountaineer is to climb all the so-called 7 Summits, the highest peaks on each continent. With a height of 5,642 meters, Elbrus occupies fifth place in this list. “Often climbers summit Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa first, then Mt. Elbrus second,” says Andrew Slate, who operates the tour company Beyond Red Square that does Mt. Elbrus climbs. “For many, it’s the first real climbing in snow they’re doing at such a high … [Read more...] about Why do people climb Europe’s highest peak Elbrus?
Sea view resort koh chang
Having visited about 50 countries to date, Thailand has been for the past few years top of my bucket list as the country I most yearned to visit – and boy was it worth it. To get a great flavour of this magnificent destination it’s probably best to spend a few days firstly in Bangkok, before going exploring elsewhere. Most Irish holidaymakers flock to the likes of Koh Samui or Phuket, but for my trip I will eventually head to lovely Koh Chang island in the east of the country, but more about that later. Bangkok is the nation’s capital and with an urban population of some 12 million people it’s certainly a bustling and heaving place. The Centara Watergate Pavillion was my base for three nights in the city. This homely four star hotel – which has a relaxing spa centre – is located near the main shopping district, which includes street bazaars as well as giant malls. Prices depend what you’re looking for, ranging from expensive imports to … [Read more...] about Thailand: Boy, it is worth a visit this bucket list country
Now, this is a first. Wellness holidays have until now eluded me. More than eluded: they simply haven’t been on my wish list. Of course the occasional massage in a hotel spa has been a treat, but lovely though they feel at the time, the effects have been transitory. With one exception. “Is it Ayurvedic?” my long-suffering husband always asks, when I tell him a treatment is in the offing. This is because I once had a consultation and chakra balancing at the hands of a top practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine and my husband swears that I was bearable for a full three weeks afterwards. Not just bearable, but really quite nice. Last June, I was the beneficiary of another amazing Ayurvedic massage from Sheena, a therapist at Kamalaya, the wellness sanctuary and holistic spa on Koh Samui in Thailand. Along with John and Karina Stewart, founders of Kamalaya, and a few of her colleagues, she had come to Lime Wood in the New Forest for a week’s residency in the … [Read more...] about Just another day in Ayurvedic paradise: why Kamalaya is the perfect place to heal mind, heart and body
South-East Asia beckons... goodbye dark nights, hello white, sandy beaches, turquoise seas and magical massages. Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam Best for... spa junkies, culture vultures and shoppers The low-down: From the temple-like lobby, three tiers of infinity pools, the last and grandest of which is fringed with tall, elegant palms, cascade down to a white-sand beach lapped by the China Sea. The property’s 100 villas are decorated in impeccable Indochine style; think lacquered wood and silk, with jungly outdoor showers and huge bathtubs. The spa is a real highlight: each of the airy treatment villas overlooks a jade-green lake speckled with lotus flowers. The signature treatment, Nam Hai Earthsong, with sound bath, herbal scrub and massage, will leave you floating on air and as silky as one of those lotus petals. Out and about: UNESCO-protected gem Hoi An is 10 minutes away by shuttle bus: check out the beautifully preserved architecture and raucous food … [Read more...] about Book It: Four incredible beach resorts in south-east Asia
Child-friendlyMajorca, Spain The largest of Spain's Balearic Islands, with an appealing climate and short flight time, Majorca is an obvious choice for families with younger children. Throw in the soft sandy beaches, particularly Alcudia, Puerto Pollensa and Cala Bona, sheltered coves and limestone mountains, and fine Roman and Moorish remains, and this becomes an all-ages' favourite. Visit the Moorish Almudaina royal palace and 13th Century Santa Maria Cathedral, and the stone-built villages of Pollenca and Fornalutx. Try tumbet, a delicious local dish of fried aubergines, potatoes, red peppers and tomatoes, along with ensaimada, a pastry made with pork lard (sorry vegetarians!). Stay at one of TUI's three Family Life resorts. The four-star Mallorca Mar is right on the seafront, with rooms that include kitchenettes and a balcony or terrace. www.tuiholidays.ie Cantabria, Spain Northern Spain is still relatively low-key as a holiday destination. Which is just the way the Cantabrians … [Read more...] about 50 best holidays for 2019: Get your trips started here!