Tag Archives: Indian ocean

A peak inside the Gem of Zanzibar – Stone Town!

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A peak inside the Gem of Zanzibar – Stone Town!

Stone Town is not just any town – it’s a delight for the senses not to be found anywhere else in the world!

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Stone Town is a city of prominent historical and artistic importance in East Africa. Also known as Mji Mkongwe (Swahili for “old town”), it is located in the old part of Zanzibar City, which is the main city of Zanzibar, in Tanzania.

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Its architecture, which mostly dates back to the 19th century, has STORIES to tell, as it reflects the diverse influences of Swahili culture – yet also giving a unique mixture of Arab, Persian, Indian and European elements.

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The buildings are honestly a feast for the eyes, despite their deteriorating condition. That only adds charm and character to the entire painting! Stone town was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 due to it’s distinct archetecture.

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The most well-known feature of Zanzibari houses are the finely decorated wooden doors.

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You won’t find these giant wooden masterpieces anywhere else in the world! Elaborately carved with astonishing detail, the heavy doors in Stone Town are quintessentially ‘Zanzibar’, and served as a valuable glimpse into the homeowner’s place of origin, profession and economic status.

For example, the Indian doors were crafted by skilled tradesmen out of imported teak. The large brass studs have their origins in India, where they were once used as a defense against charging war elephants. In Stone Town, however, they were used only as decorative pieces and symbolic markers of wealth.

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Arab doors have intricately crafted frames with Arabic inscriptions at the top. The chain, lotus and pineapple are common and culturally significant motifs.

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The heart of Stone Town consists of a maze of narrow alleys lined by houses, shops, bazaars and mosques. The streets bustle along with bicycles and motorbikes as they are too narrow for cars. Stone Town can easily be explored on foot.

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Of course, the beaches in Zanzibar are RAVISHING, but this UNESCO World Heritage Site is definitely worth a stroll at some point during your holiday in which you feel like exploring. Trust me, it’s worth it – It is utterly captivating!

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I hope this has given you a good glimpse of a little town you may never have even heard of! Stone Town has an interesting history. Everything about this place will make you feel alive – from the melting pot of African, Arab, Indian and European cultures; the vivid shades of every color imaginable; the textures; the vibrant energy of the seafront and markets; and the locals who greet you with a “jambo!” (hello) and “karibu” (welcome) everyday!

To add to your itinerary, if you have been following me for a while, almost a year ago I wrote about the most unusual and amazing place to check out on the Indian Ocean off Zanzibar (which got a lot of buzz, thank you muah!). You can check that here:

https://karenskaleidoscope.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/the-rock-a-luxurious-fairytale-in-the-indian-ocean/

And OF COURSE I’m sure the main reason for your holiday would be for the astonishing beaches, with a day or so excursion to Stone Town, so I don’t want you to forget what that beautiful pond looks like 😁 —–>

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-Karen Bahri

 

 

 

 

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The Absolute BEST New Resort in the Maldives!!!

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The Absolute BEST New Resort in the Maldives!!!

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If you know ANYTHING about me, you know the Maldives is on my top 3 (I say 3 but really 2 hah!) destinations on my list in the world!!! There are a few places I will always jump back to in conversation as my dream destination..and well, now we have another reason to go….

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A new 5-star, exclusive luxury resort has opened up this past November by the Soneva team called Soneva Jani.

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This is the third property by them that has pioneered around-the-clock butler service, a strong environmental code and a determination to disconnect from the noisy outside world (guests are asked to remove their shoes on arrival, which are then slipped into a linen bag until their departure; how relaxingly fancy!).

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The island lagoon of Soneva Jani will comprise of 57 villas – 24 water villas and 23 beach villas. All the villas will enjoy all the amenities of the resort, and each would get their own personal butler, as the same in all Soneva Properties, called Mr./Mrs. Friday.

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Each Water Villa will feature an amazing water slide and private pool, large lounge areas with open views on the blue, ample wooden decks, kids’ sleeping area, a living area with sunken seats, top floor with seating and a dining area as well as several other amazing living spaces.

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Among these, what you are not going to get enough of is the waterslide!!!!! YES, you can SLIDE your way to the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean!!!!! As if a private pool isn’t enough!

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The amenities for the beach villas are more or less the same, and all guests can enjoy the resort’s exclusive amenities.

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Soneva Jani Resort has a cinema, Cinema Paradiso, which is the first overwater silent cinema in the Maldives!

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Guests are provided with Bluetooth headphones, leaving the surrounding nesting wildlife at peace. The resort also includes the first ever over-water observatory, a beach restaurant, a spa, and a water and sports center.

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Inspired by a word that means ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit, Soneva Jani encompasses a collection of Water Villas and Island Sanctuaries set within a lagoon of crystal clear waters, fringed by pristine beaches and blanketed in lush tropical greenery. The highlight of the islands that the resort is surrounded by 5.6 kilometers of private lagoon! An awe-inspiring azure spectacle that inspires a sense of calm.

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The resort can be reached by a scenic 40 minute seaplane flight direct from Male International Airport.

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Already making headlines in the hospitality industry, it’s not surprising if Soneva Jani will make it as one of the must-visit luxury resorts in the world!

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-Karen Bahri

 

Stilt Fishing – a unique attraction on the shores of Sri Lanka!

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Stilt Fishing – a unique attraction on the shores of Sri Lanka!

Stilt fishing is a method of fishing unique to the island of Sri Lanka. The fishermen sit on a cross bar called a petta tied to a vertical pole and driven into the sand a few meters offshore. From this high position, the fishermen casts their lines and wait until a fish comes along to be caught. One may assume this to be an ancient practice with an engaging history, but stilt fishing is actually a recent tradition.

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The practice is believed to have started some 70 years ago during World War II; when food shortages and overcrowded fishing spots prompted some clever men to try fishing on the water. At first they started fishing from wrecks of capsized ships and downed aircraft, then some began elevating their stilts in coral reefs. The skills were then passed on to at least two generations of fishermen living along a 30 km stretch of southern shore between the towns of Unawatuna and Weligama.

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The practice is unlikely to last much longer other than as a tourist attraction as the catch is pretty much always meager. The 2004 tsunami that devastated much of the Indian Ocean coastline forever altered the Sri Lankan shoreline and reduced access to fish using this method. Fishing also stops entirely during the annual monsoons. The best time is when the currents are flowing in the right direction; which is mostly between October and December during sunset. And the sunsets are as beautiful as ever, which makes for amazing photographs!

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Today, few fisherman are willing to pass their stilts to their sons, instead renting them to “actors” who pose as fishermen for photographers and tourists. Definately one of the many attractions to check out on the spectacular island of Sri Lanka!

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-Karen Bahri

The Rock – A luxurious fairytale in the Indian Ocean

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The Rock – A luxurious fairytale in the Indian Ocean

Call it a beautiful drop of luxury in the Indian Ocean. The Rock – A fairytale restaurant perched in the Indian Ocean off Zanzibar. It is by far one of the most unusual and unique restaurants in the entire world!

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If there was anywhere to travel half way around the world for, it just might be The Rock in Zanzibar, Tanzania. This restaurant, perched on a rock in the Indian Ocean, is straight from a fairy tale!!! During high tide, it becomes a veritable island with a wooden boat taking you the short distance to shore. In low tide, you simply walk across the seaweed strewn beach to get to this magical place. Both methods will take you to a rickety wooden staircase and into the restaurant, built in the local Zanzibar architectural style with a Makuti palm tree roof.

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Inside the restaurant you will find 12 cozy tables while if you head to the back, you will find a beautiful patio surrounded by the turquoise sea.

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The menu at the Rock is seafood inspired as well as an incredible cocktail menu. Be aware it is a bit on the prettier side of the penny. A two person meal with starter and main course with two cocktails will run you about $90. As a New Yorker, this is pretty standard though.

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The wine list is impressive and you can even got a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne for $330. They have a variety of tropical cocktails to entice you as well. You can take your drinks out the the terrace and take in the beauty of the surrounding ocean and ponder about what life should really be about while watching the sunset – ahhhhh sounds wonderful to me!!!

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So how did this come about and who thought of this unusually magnificent idea?? The story is, as is often the case in Zanzibar, a little blurry round the edges. The people behind this hotel project were (probably) Italian. They left the island because they may or may not have not satisfied the right people in government. Do they still own it? Did they own it in the first place? Possibly.

However it began, it is an absolute unique experience! It being in the ocean though, one cannot control mother nature, so the view will depend on if the tide is high or low. Overall though, it’s worth the adventure!

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-Karen Bahri 

Over-Water Villas & Outdoor Showers? YES PLEASE! #MaldivesGoalVacation

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Over-Water Villas & Outdoor Showers? YES PLEASE!  #MaldivesGoalVacation

Helloooo my colourful Kaleidoscopers!!!

I hope all of you are having a great start to the year! I have something I want to talk about! Goals. My goals in life are travel related. I want to see the world, wear diamonds, stay at luxurious resorts and make friends with locals. My daily motivational speech to myself are along the lines of “I wanna go to this country and stay and that resort.”

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I stumbled upon a youtube video of a resort in the Maldives that I just cannot get out of my head. Its like one of my ULTIMATE goal destinations that I want to pamper myself with. It won’t happen soon bc its really expensive (around $900/NIGHT, fam!) and if I travel the 72 hours on planes and trains and boats to get to the Maldives I better spend at least a month! But momentary my eyes are locked on the Six Senses Laamu!

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They have over-water and over-land villas, for those afraid of sharks. As funny as it sounds, the part that struck me the most about this resort (besides the fact its a 5 star resort with 1250 excellent reviews) is that there is an outdoor shower! Lol! Aaannddd…a glass bathtub with a window looking out into the ocean!!!!! And under the tub (and various areas of the floor throughout the villa) is glass so imagine you sitting in the bathtub and you look down into the ocean AAAHHHHHHHHH I WANT IT SOOO BAD!!!! I’ve never stated at an over-water villa and just the thought seems soo heavenly!!!

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This is something I will do in the next 5ish years, so watch this space, because you know I’ll be taking 28543 pics & posting them all on my *new* instagram page! (karenskaleidoscope on insta, find me! Follow me!)

I’m not gonna say anymore. The pics can do the talking! 

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Website/Links: 

http://m.sixsenses.com/resorts/laamu/destination

http://m.sixsenses.com/resorts/laamu/accommodation/villas

http://www.tripadvisor.com/2045398?m=19905

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~Karen Bahri