Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Maldives

Maldives Flag




"A Garland of Islands" & "Money Islands"



Photo Credit: Isabra/Pixabay



Why visit Maldives?
A tropical relaxation paradise best known for badminton, beaches, fishing, golf, kayaking, kneeboarding, marine life, natural landscape, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, spas, surfing, sunsets, tennis, turquoise lagoon, volleyball, yachting, wakeboarding, windsurfing,

popular destination for:
  • Amateur & Professional Photographers
  • Bucket List
  • Destination Wedding
  • Groups: Family, Friends and Multigenerational
  • Honeymoon
  • Milestones: Anniversary, Birthday, Retirement and Vow Renewal
  • Ocean Cruises Embarkation/Disembarkation
  • Proposal
  • Romance


Photo Credit: Pixabay



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Black-coral jewelry, colorful island fabrics, lacquer work, stamps, wood carvings, and woven mats.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Boshi Mashuni (banana flower salad). Garudhiya (fish soup). Huni roshi (bread). Mas'huni Roshi (breakfast). Masroshi (snack). Paratha (flatbread). Saagu bondibai (pudding). Tuna Curry.
  • Local Drink to Try: Raa (traditional). Sai. Tea.


Veligandu Island. Photo Credit: Suzy T/Unsplash



Fun Facts
  • In 1972, the first tourist resort opened, Bandos Island Resort and Kurumba Village (Kurumba Maldives).
  • In 1998, rising sea-temperatures killed two-thirds of their coral reefs.
  • Archipelago of 1190 coral islands, only 202 are inhabited.
  • Has approximately 120 exclusive island resorts.
  • Asia's highest population growth rates.
  • Largest operators of seaplanes in the world.
  • By law, there are no dogs.
  • Lowest country in the world.
  • Gan is the largest island. 
  • Marine ecosystems sponges display anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties.
  • Islands were mentioned in the Ancient Sangam Tamil Literature as "Munneer Pazhantheevam" or "Older Islands of Three Seas".
  • Offers over 2,000 species of fish.
  • Westernmost islands are connected by roads over the reef (Addu Atoll).
  • Smallest Asian country by land area.
  • Known to hold the highest national divorce rate in the world.
  • Over 9 million tourists visit annually.
  • Royal dynasties ruled Malé (capital) "Kings Island".
  • No archaeological artifacts have been discovered from the first Maldivians.


Kuredu Island. Photo Credit: Pixabay


Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (April) Party with a Purpose Festival, Ramadan, (August) Whale Shark Festival, (September) Eid Festival, and (December) Fisherman's Day.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Presidential Address Holiday, March Equinox, Government Holiday, Ramadan Start, Labor Day/May Day, Eid ul Fitr, Eid al Fitr Holiday, June Solstice, Public Holiday, Hajj Day, Eid ul Adha, Eid ul Adha Holiday, Independence Day, Muharram/Islamic New Year, September Equinox, National Day, Milad un Nabi, Victory Day, The Day Maldives Embraced Islam, Republic Day, and December Solstice.



Photo Credit: rn858/Pixabay



Good to Know
  • No cost VISA is issued upon arrival and valid for 30 days.
  • English is widely spoken.
  • Vulnerable to tsunami waves.
  • Nightlife is limited.
  • Diving Season is October - April.
  • Surf Season is April - October, best breaks along the eastern edges of North Male' Atoll and South Male' Atoll.
  • Travel between islands is by either boat, domestic flight, or seaplane.
  • Monsoon Season is May - October (southeast).
  • Only a few of the islands are large enough to support automobiles.
  • Dry wind Monsoon Season is December - March.
  • Non-Muslims are prohibited from becoming citizens.
  • Onward/return ticket and sufficient funds are required for entry. 
  • Diving options are drift dives, kandus (underwater channels for drift dives), and thilas (underwater land masses).
  • Transportation in Malé is by bus, foot, or taxi.
  • Henveiru District offers the best cafes and restaurants (Malé).
  • Against local law to openly practice any religion other than Islam.
  • Illegal to enter with alcohol, pork, or religious items of worship.
  • Camouflaged Stonefish inject a painful venom.
  • Aloe vera aids with sun and wind burn. 
  • Same-sex relations is illegal.
  • Respect local Islamic customs and laws.
  • Dress codes vary by islands.
  • Has limited medical facilities. 
  • Compression chambers are available on Bandos Island, Kandholhudhoo Islands, and Villingili Island.
  • Due to conservative culture, women should dress conservatively, cover shoulders, chest and knees.
  • Traffic moves on the left of the road.
  • Known issues concerning abuse, corruption, lack of religious freedom, and unequal treatment of women.


Photo Credit: Nightmanx/Pixabay



This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA required.
  • Yellow Fever Vaccination required from select countries. 
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: $10,000USD.


Photo Credit: BDK/Pixabay


  • Best Time to Visit: November - April
  • Coolest Month: January 
  • Hottest Month: March
  • Peak Season: December - April


Photo Credit: Pixabay


Ready to embark on custom and personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet Travel

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                                                 All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

Malaysia

Malaysia Flag

Why visit Malaysia?

Ideal for adventure tours, bazaars, beaches, birdwatching, bicycling, cave, coral reefs, culture, ecotourism, fishing, golf, hiking, indigenous tribal, remote rain forests, sailing, vibrant old ports, wildlife, and windsurfing.






Capital City, Kuala Lumpur. Photo Credit: Pixabay





At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Neetle nut sets, brassware, carvings, gold brocade, kites, ornamental kris, pewter, silver brocade, silverware, songket fabrics, woven batik, and wooden masks.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Akok (sweet dessert). Apam johol (sweet rice cake). Asam Pedas (meat stew). Durians (fruit). Gulai (curry stew). Ikan Bakar (fish fish). Ikan Goreng (fried fish). Keropok Lekor (fish fritter). Kerutuk Daging (traditional dish). Kuzi Ayam (curry dish). Mee Bandung Muar (noodle dish). Murtabak (stuffed pancake. Nasi Dagang (rice dish). Nasi Lemak (leaf wrapped rice). Pek Nga (breakfast bread). Puding Diraja (dessert pudding). Rendang (beef dish). Roti Canai (flatbread). Roti John (breakfast sandwich). Satay (skewered meat). Sup Kambing (soup). Just to mention a few!
  • Local Drink to Try: Air Bandung (cold pink milk). Air Janda Pulang (traditional). Arak Putik (white liquor). Barley Juice. Nutmeg Juice. Teh Tarik (tea). Tiger Beer. Water Chestnut Juice.



Tea Plantation, Cameron Highlands (Pahang, Malaysia) Photo Credit: FonthipWard/Pixabay





Fun Facts
  • Gunung Mulu National Park (Sarawak Chamber) has the largest cave system in the world.
  • Home to the largest parasitic flower, Rafflesia in the world.
  • Bowling is an extremely popular sport.
  • Temenggor Lake (Terengganu) is the largest manmade lake in Southeast Asia.
  • Has 118 airports.
  • Considered one of the world's largest exporters of communication products, electrical devices, IT, and semiconductor devices.
  • Mount Kinabalu is the tallest mountain.
  • Popular sports played include badminton, bowls, field hockey, hockey, horse riding,  martial arts, squash, sailing, skateboarding, and tennis.
  • A narrow causeway and a bridge links to Singapore. 
  • Leatherbacks and Olive Ridleys are known to nest annually on Terengganu "Land of Turtles" beaches.
  • Taman Negara is one of oldest tropical rainforests in the world.
  • One of the world's largest producers of palm oil.
  • Along the ancient spice route culture and cuisine is influenced in Chinese, Javanese, Indian, Malay, Sumatran, and Thai.
  • State of Kelantan is popular for fying giant Wau kites and playing Gasing, a game of spinning tops.



Batu Caves Sri Murugan Perumal Kovil, Selangor, Malaysia. Photo Credit: Pixabay




Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) International Surfing Competition, Le Tour De Langkawi, MyBalloonFiesta, Royal Langkawi International Regatta, Thaipusam Festival, (February) Pasir Gudang World Kite Festival, (March) Tanjung Tuan, (April) Malaysia Water Festival, Petronas Malaysia F1 Grand Prix, Regatta Lepa Semporna, (May) Miri International Jazz Festival, Tadau Ka'amatan Harvest Festival, (June) Melaka River Festival, Sarawak Gawai Festival, (July) Malaysia Mega Sale, Rainforest World Music Festival, (August) Bazaar Ramadan, Mooncake Festival & Hungry Ghost Festival, (December) Fabulous Food 1Malaysia, and The Dragon Boat Festival.
  • Holidays: Muhammad's Birthday, Hari Merdeka, Chinese New Year, Wesak Day, Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Hari Raya PuasaHari Raya Qurban, Deepavali, Christmas, Labour Day, Awal Muharram, and Malaysia Day.



Kellie's Castle, (Batu Gajah, Kinta District) Perak, Malaysia. Photo Credit: Esther Choi/Pixabay




Good to Know
  • Permission to enter and remain is solely at the decision of and discretion of the Malaysian Immigration Department.
  • Travelers should have a high tolerance for heat and humidity.
  • Does not recognize or permit dual nationality.
  • Predominantly an Islamic country, majority practicing Muslims.
  • Eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak (Island of Borneo) have special entry requirements. 
  • Alcohol is strictly controlled.
  • Carry your passport with Malaysian entry stamp with you at all times.
  • English is often fluent in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Smallest stated, Perlis remains of the old-world charm.
  • A multi-cultural and ethnic country.
  • Coastal areas of eastern Saba have land and water curfews.
  • Windsurfing is popular on Stulang Laut Beach.
  • Surfing is best November - March along the East Coast (Cherating).
  • Top ranked beaches are Juara Beach (Tioman Island), Tanjung Rhu (Langkawi), and Terengganu (Perhentian Kecil Island).
  • The east coast area boasts in beachfront fishing towns and villages.
  • Sarawak offers unspoiled countryside.
  • Death penalty is used for serious crimes such as drug trafficking, kidnapping, murder, and terrorism. 
  • Homosexuality is illegal with up to 20 years in prison and/or whipping.
  • Monsoon Season is October - February.
  • Air quality fluctuates by seasons.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is subject to incarnation.
  • Kuantan (Pahang state) off the east coast offers some of the nation’s most popular beaches (Cherating).
  • Fishing is best in Aur, Pemanggil, and Tioman.
  • Central Kuala Lumpur is known to have violent crimes against passengers from Taxi drivers.
  • Dry Season is July - October prone to wildfires.
  • It's deemed illegal to distribute religious literature of another faith to Malaysian Muslims. 
  • Counterfeit medication is commonly practiced so avoid pharmaceutical purchases.
  • Avoid tap water consumption.
  • Human trafficking and sex trafficking are known problems.
  • Sipadan Island ranks one of the top dive sites in the world.
  • Prevalent disease: Dengue, Chikungunya, Leptospirosis, Malaria, and Zika.
  • Sharia Law forbids Muslims from drinking alcohol. 
  • Online scams target Americans for bank overpayments, contracts with promises of large commissions,  gold purchases, inheritance notices, job offers, lucrative sales, money transfers, romance, and work permits.
  • Closely monitor your credit card transactions due to high fraud risks.
  • International Driving Permits (IDP) is used in conjunction with a valid U.S. Drivers License.
  • Healthcare and treatment is below our U.S. standards.
  • ATMs use six-digit PIN's which causes issues with four-digit PIN's.
  • Labuan Island, Langkawi, Tioman, and Pangkor are duty-free shopping.



Perhentian Islands (Besut District) Terengganu, Malaysia. Photo Credit: Manusama/Pixabay




This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA not required for visits under 90 days.
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: $10,000USD.



Wat Uttamaram (Buddhist Temple), Pasir Mas District, Malaysia. Photo Credit: Wonmee/Pixabay


  • Best Time to Visit: December - February
  • Coldest Month: December
  • Hottest Month: May
  • Peak Season: June - September


(Malacca River) Malacca City, Malaysia, Photo Credit: Sharonang/Pixabay





Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley, Gunung Mulu National Park, Kinabalu Park, Melaka and George Town Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca.  

 

LEGOLAND Malaysia, Johor, Malaysia. Photo Credit: FonthipWard/Pixabay




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                                                 All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Malawi

Malawi Flag




"The Warm Heart of Africa"




Why visit Malawi?
Best known for their beaches, birdwatching, boating, culture, diving, fishing, national parks, and wildlife.



Photo Credit: nike159/Pixabay


At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Baskets, mask carvings, oil paintings, and wood carvings.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Kachumbari (salad). Kondowole (delicacy). Nthochi (banana bread). Nsima (porridge). 
  • Local Drink to Try: Chibuku (beer). Kuche Kuche (local beer). Mawehu (unsweetened). Malawi Gin (gin). Thobwa (sweet beer). 


Fun Facts
  • Home to one of the richest lake fish faunas in the world.
  • Malawian cannabis "Malawi Gold" is considered the best and finest in the world.
  • Relies on imports from China, India, South Africa, Tanzania, USA, and Zambia.
  • Elementary schools teach in Chichewa language and even though English is the official language.
  • Approximately 250 new HIV/AIDS cases occur daily.
  • American Actress, Singer, Songwriter Madonna "Queen of Pop" (Madonna Louise Ciccone) founded nonprofit foundation, Raising Malawi, to help AIDS orphans.


Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (April) Manda Wilderness Dug-Out Canoe Race, (May) Malawi Fashion Week, Zomba City Festival, (June) Luwawa International Mount Bike Marathon, (July) Lake Malawi Sailing Marathon, Mulanje Porters Race, (August) Blantyre Arts Festival, Interregional Music CrossroadsMalapenga Dance Season, (September) Lake of Stars Festival(October) Lake of Stars Festival, Likoma Festival, (November) Blantyre Arts Festival, and Sand Music Festival.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, John Chilembwe Day, Martyrs' Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Labour Day, President Kamuzu Banda's Birthday, Eid al-Fitr, Independence Day, Mother's Day, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.


Good to Know
  • Amongst the world's least-developed countries.
  • HIV/AIDS is highly prevalent.
  • Diverse population of Asians, Europeans, and natives.
  • Child labour and human trafficking is known to occur.
  • The Legal age for marriage is 18. Historically, one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world under the age of 15.
  • Homosexuality is illegal. Violators are subject to 14 years of hard labor each.
  • All currency must be declared upon entry.
  • Avoid crowds and public demonstrations.
  • Avoid exploring alone or at night.
  • Credit cards are not widely accepted.
  • Dress modestly.
  • Avoid ice cubes, raw fruits, tap water, and vegetables. 
  • Prevalent diseases: HIV, Malaria, Schistosomiasis, and Tuberculosis.
  • During Rainy Season most roads are impassable (November - April).
  • Roadblocks are common. Fines are paid on the spot. Obtain a receipt.

This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity upon return and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA required.
  • Yellow Fever vaccination. 
  • Currency Restrictions Exit: $3,000.


Photo Credit: 12019/Pixabay



  • Best Time to Visit: May - October
  • Coolest Months: June - August
  • Hottest Months: September - November
  • Peak Season: May - August


Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Chongoni Rock Art Area and Lake Malawi National Park 


Photo Credit: 12019/Pixabay



Ready to embark on custom and personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet Travel

Your one stop source: Accommodations I Air I Car Rentals I Cruises I Disney Excursions I Tours I Transfers I Travel Insurance I Villa Rentals


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"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page" Saint Augustine


                                                 All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice. 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Madagascar

Madagascar Flag




Why visit Madagascar?
Best known for beaches, birdwatching, coral reefs, culture, fishing, hiking, landscape, scuba diving, surfing, tropical islands, and wildlife.




(Lemur). Photo Credit: Fabio Grandis/Pixabay 




At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Embroidered fabric, linen, local spices, semi-precious stones, and wood carvings.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Akoho (chicken dish). Hena Kisoa Sauce (pork dish). Lasopy (soup). Masikita (skewer). Mofo Gasy (breakfast bread). Ravitoto (meat dish). Romazava (casserole). Sesika (black pudding).
  • Local Drink to Try: Ranonapango (rice water). Ranovola (burnt rice tea). Three Horses Beer (pale lager). Trembo (palm wine). 



Photo Credit: aga2rk/Pixabay 




Fun Facts
  • Home to two-thirds of the world's chameleon species.
  • Valiha is an instrument made of bamboo (28 strings) that resembles a bassoon but sounds like a harp.
  • Over 90% of their wildlife is found nowhere else on earth.
  • Many native plant species are used as herbal remedies and illness treatments.
  • Split from the Indian subcontinent around 88 million years ago.
  • One of the primary rice producers in the world.
  • World's second largest island country. 
  • The French built canals connecting chains of human-made and natural lakes.
  • Home to around 170 palm species.
  • Near Ilakaka provides half of the world's supply of sapphires.
  • Has one of the world's largest reserves of ilmenite (titanium ore).
  • Largely exports cloves, vanilla, and ylang-ylang.


Photo Credit: mika mamy/Pixabay 




Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (March) Alahamadi Be, (April) Santabary Festival, (June) Famadihana, Feria Oramena, Fisemana Festival, (July) Hiragasy, (September) Donia Music Festival, and (October) Maddajazzcar.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Women's Day, Martyrs' Day, Easter Monday, Labour Day, Ascension, Whit Monday, Independence Day, Assumption, All Saints Day, Christmas Day, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha.



Photo Credit: Pixabay




Good to Know
  • Considered one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world.
  • Lacks infrastructure.
  • English is not widely spoken.
  • Fianarantsoa (north) produces red, rose, sparkling, and white wine.
  • Most roads are unpaved and impassable in the rainy season (November - April).
  • Restaurant sanitation does not always meet our standards.
  • Cyclone Season is between December - April. 
  • Undernourishment and hunger amongst citizens is relevant.
  • Annual bubonic plague outbreaks from September - April.
  • Public transportation is unreliable.
  • Criminals are known to steal luggage from Airport Baggage Claim areas.
  • Avoid use of public transportation.
  • Avoid exploring after dark. Street lighting is limited.
  • Has no working traffic signals.
  • The Local government restricts the export of precious gems.
  • Prominently cash country. Credit cards are not widely accepted.
  • Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminal for persons under 21. Violators are subject to fines and imprisonment.
  • Pedestrian injuries are common due to lack of sidewalks and designated pathways.
  • Relevant diseases: Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, Malaria, Plague, Rabies, Polio, and Tuberculosis.
  • Randomly vehicle checkpoints occur by local police. Inform the officer you're a U.S. Citizen and display your recommended photocopy U.S. Passport through the window.
  • Use of mobile phones is illegal, including hands-free.
  • Helmets are required to be worn on motorcycles.
  • Seat belts are required.


Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Madagascar. Photo Credit: photosforyou/Pixabay 




This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity upon return and three blank pages for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA required.
  • Yellow Fever Vaccination from select countries. 


Nosy Be, Madagascar. Photo Credit: Rossana Bollero/Pixabay 




Prone to cyclones, flooding, and monsoons.
  • Best Time to Visit: July - October 
  • Coolest Months: May - October
  • Hottest Months: November - March
  • Peak Season: April - October


Photo Credit: aga2rk/Pixabay 




Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Rainforests of the Atsinanana, Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, and Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve.



Photo Credit: Anthony-X/Pixabay 




Ready to embark on custom and personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet TravelYour one stop source: Accommodations I Air I Car Rentals I Cruises I Disney Excursions I Tours I Transfers I Travel Insurance I Villa Rentals


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"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page" Saint Augustine


                                        All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice. 

Maldives

Maldives Flag "A   Garland of Islands" & "Money Islands" Photo Credit: Isabra/Pixabay Why visit Maldives? A tropical...