Thursday, June 30, 2022

Pakistan

Pakistan Flag



"Land of the Pure" or "Land of Purity"



Why visit Pakistan?
For the adventurous travelers seeking to enjoy archaeological sites, culture, historical sites, mountain scenery, shopping, and trekking.



Mansehra, Pakistan. Photo Credit: awan30696/Pixabay 



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Brass goods, carpets, copper, embroidered goods, fabrics, gold jewelry, marble, miniature painting reproductions, onyx, pottery, shawls, silver jewelry, and wood carvings.



Shalimar Gardens, Lahore, Pakistan. Photo Credit: Qasim Rehmani/Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • Home to five of the world's 14 highest peaks.
  • Formerly a part of India.
  • Routinely considered as one of the world's most corrupt nations.
  • Expect to witness severe poverty.
  • Anticipate unexpected delays and/or schedule changes. 
  • Don't expect deluxe accommodations.
  • Fourth largest producer of milk.
  • Village of Sialkot makes the majority of the world's soccer balls.
  • Major producer of Scottish bagpipes.
  • Gwadar Port is the deepest sea port of the world.
  • Birthplace of horseback ball game, Polo.
  • Has the world's sixth-largest standing armed forces. 
  • Home to the blind Indus river dolphin and snow leopard rare animals.
  • The Orange Line Metro Train (Lahore) has 26 subway stations and designed to carry over 250,000 passengers daily.
  • Newspapers and television stations are routinely shut down for when critical of the government or military.
  • Cricket is the most popular sport.
  • Fifth largest producer of cotton.
  • Celebratory gunfire occurs during wedding celebrations.
  • Alcohol and pork consumption is forbidden by religious laws of Islam.

Lahore, Pakistan. Photo Credit: tayyab3425/Pixabay 



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) Ali Arshad Mir Mela Festival, Basant Festival. (February) Jashn-e-Baharaan Festival, Pakistan Flower Show, Punjab Sports Festival,  (March) Faiz Ahmad Faiz Mela Festiva, Lahore Literary Festival, Spring Festival, (July) Shandur Polo Festival, (September) Chitral Festival, (October) Festival of Lights, Lahore Fashion Week, (November) National Horse & Cattle Show, and World Performing Arts Festival.
  • Holidays: Kashmir Day, Pakistan Day, Labour Day, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Ashura, Independence Day, Eid Milad un-Nabi, Christmas Day, and Quaid-e-Azam Day.


Chaukhandi Tombs, Karachi, Pakistan. Photo Credit: Jamal Panhwar/Pixabay 



Good to Know
  • Corruption, illiteracy, poverty, and terrorism are of concern.
  • Wild goats are endangered therefore authentic shattoush shawls are illegal.
  • Dress modestly.
  • Mountain altitude sickness could be a health risk. 
  • Due to the sun intensity, wear sunscreen.
  • Polio vaccination within one year may be required to exit.
  • Due high surf, jellyfish, powerful undertow, and raw sewage avoid swimming June - August (Karachi).
  • Sweaters during the evenings is recommend year round.
  • Woman should cover their heads with a scarf while in public places.
  • Avoid giving money to beggars.
  • Driving is on the left.
  • Largely a cash economy. 
  • Restaurant sanitations is usually inadequate.
  • Roads are narrow, heavy traffic, and in poor condition.
  • Winter (December - February) tends to be cool and dry.
  • Male homosexuality is illegal and punishable up to life in prison.
  • Spring (March - May) tends to be dry and hot.
  • Avoid evening travel.
  • Only consume sealed bottled water.
  • Medical care is limited in rural areas.
  • Ambulance service is limited.
  • Pick-pocketing and theft occur in public places.
  • Tourism is unevenly regulated, safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. 
  • Air pollution is a significant environmental problem.
  • Illegal to photograph cantonments, government buildings, military installations, nuclear sites, and structures. 

This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity and two blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA required.
  • Polio vaccination required. 
  • Currency Restrictions for Exit: $10,000USD.


Lahore Fort, Lahore, Pakistan. Photo Credit: Muhammad Haris Zuberi/Pixabay 


  • Best Time to Visit: May - September (North) & September - March (East & South) 
  • Coldest Month: January
  • Hottest Months: March - May 
  • Peak Season: May - June & August


Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro, Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Neighbouring City Remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol, Fort and Shalimar Gardens (Lahore), Historical Monuments at Makli (Thatta), Rohtas Fort, and Taxila. 



Saif-ul-Maluk Lake (Saiful Muluk National Park), Pakistan. Photo Credit: Hammad Tahir/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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                                        All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice.   

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Oman

Oman Flag




Why visit Oman?
For the affluent international traveler seeking to enjoy ancient ruins, bazaars, beaches, camel treks, culture, desert sand dunes, mosques, mountains, old forts, oases, scuba diving, and stream valleys.



Muscat Harbor, Oman. Photo Credit: bhart9070/Pixabay 



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Antiques, brass goods, copper, daggers, frankincense, pottery, silver jewelry, and weavings.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Albadhinajan Mae Tawarikh (cake). Dates. Halwah (dessert). Machboos (rice dish). Sakhana (soup).
  • Local Drink to Try: Khawa (flavored coffee). Laban (salty buttermilk).


Fun Facts
  • Coastline boat builders craft small fishing boats by hand.
  • Has a (Nizwa) giant Arabic coffee urn sculpture surrounded by silver lined cups roadside.
  • Kingfish is a popular ingredient.
  • Arabian Oryx Sanctuary is the first site ever to be deleted from UNESCO's World Heritage List.
  • Home to rare variety of mountain goat (Arabian tahr).
  • Government decides who can or cannot be a Journalist and permission can be withdrawn at any time.
  • Traditional sports are bullfighting, camel racing, falconry, horse racing, and sail (dhow) racing.
  • Hosts tennis tournaments annually.
  • Central desert area has been an important source of meteorites for scientific analysis.
  • One of the world's main producers of hardened gum-like material (resin) that comes from the trunk of the Boswellia tree (frankincense).
  • Oldest continuously independent state in the Arab world.
  • Government declared 40 days of National Mourning upon the death of Qaboos bin Said Al Said (November 18, 1940 - January 10, 2020), Founder of House of Al Said. 
  • Bait Al- Zubair Museum (Muscat) is privately and family-funded.
  • On formal occasions a black or beige cloak (bisht) covers the dishdasha.
  • Police Officers legally shoot stray dogs in effort to control the population.
  • Criticism of the government is prohibitive.
  • The waist dagger (khanjar) symbolizes a man's courage, manhood, and origin.
  • Tea is a common hospitality drink.
  • Search warrants are not required to enter properties.
  • Of the nine main newspapers four are in English.


Riyam Incense Burner, Muscat, Oman. Photo Credit: Hans Schwarzkopf/Pixabay



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) Masqat Festival, (March) 

    Sultan Camel Race Cup, (April) Sinbad Classic,

    (July) 
    Khareef Festival, Salalah Tourism Festival, (August) 
    Khareef Festival, (December) Cultural Theater Program, 
  • Holidays: New Year, Isra and Mi'raj, Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Muharram, Prophet Birthday, and National Day. 


Royal Opera House Muscat​, Muscat, Oman. Photo Credit: Sharon Ang/Pixabay



Good to Know

  • Relatively an untouched country.
  • Workweek is Saturday - Wednesday.
  • Near extinction do not buy rhino horn goods.
  • Lunch is their main meal of the day.
  • Hand gestures can lead to personal defamation charges.
  • Men typically wear a simple, ankle-length, collarless gown with long sleeves (dishdasha).
  • Requires proof of adequate funds and onward or return ticket.
  • Has no emergency ambulance service.
  • Interior tends to be hot and dry.
  • Coastline is usually humid.
  • Drinking is permitted in bars, homes, hotels, and some restaurants.
  • Non-Muslim visitors can bring two bottles of alcohol from a duty-free shop.
  • Dusty conditions will aggravate respiratory problems.
  • Homosexuality is illegal and subject to 6 months to 3 years in prison.
  • Vulgar language can lead to personal defamation charges. 
  • Traffic laws are strictly enforced and hold hefty penalties, a $1200 fine and/or 1 year in jail for running a red light. 
  • Do not wear halter-tops, sleeveless shirts, or shorts. 
  • Wearing a seat belt is mandatory.
  • Traffic cameras extensively monitor speeding and stop light infractions.
  • Sunscreen and a hat are recommended for sun protection.
  • From December - March severe storms occur.
  • In the event of an automobile accident do not move your vehicle until advised by local police.
  • Failure to maintain a clean car is a violation.
  • U.S. bills printed before 2006 are not usually accepted. 
  • Insure rental cars against death, injury, and loss or damage.
  • Southern region is subject to the Monsoon Season (May - September). 

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 required from select countries. 
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: $20,000USD.
 
Subject to flash flooding, heavy fog, high temperatures, humidity, and monsoons.

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


Khor Najd​, ​Khasab, Oman. Photo Credit: Makalu/Pixabay 




Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Aflaj Irrigation Systems of Oman, Ancient City of Qalhat, Archaeological Sites of Bat Al-Khutm and Al-Ayn, Bahla Fort, and Land of Frankincense.



Nizwa, Oman. Photo Credit: Sharon Ang/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, June 27, 2022

Norway

Norway Flag




Why visit Norway?
Best known for art, colorful wooden houses, countryside, cycling, cruises, dog sledding, fishing, fjords, forests, glaciers, hiking, horseback riding, mountains, music festivals, open air museums, Northern lights, rock carvings, shopping, skiing, Viking history, water sports, and wildlife.




Photo Credit: Nico Franz/Pixabay 



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Ceramics, elk leather products, handmade glass, hunting knives, moose leather products, pewter, pine furniture, porcelain dinnerware, ski equipment, smoked salmon, wood carvings, and wool goods.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Breiflabb (sea scorpion). Brunost (brown cheese). Fårikål (mutton dish). Karbonader (reindeer burger). Kjøttkaker (meatballs). Lapskaus (stew). Lutefisk (dried white fish). Pinnekjøtt (lamb dish). Rakefisk (fermented trout). Raspeball (potato dumpling). Sursild (pickled herring). Vaffel (pastry). Smalahove (sheep head).
  • Local Drinks to Try:Aquavit (spirit). Glogg (mulled wine). Mead (honey wine). Pilsner (beer). Punsch (liquor punch). Solo (orange flavor beverage). Voss (bottled water).


Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim, Norway. Photo Credit: Michelle Raponi/Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • Black Death (1349) spread killed a third of the population. 
  • Part of Norway lies above the Arctic Circle.
  • World's largest oil exporter.
  • The remote Arctic Island of Jan Mayen (volcanic) is also a part of Norway.
  • The copper mining town built entirely in wood went bankrupt (1977).
  • Claims a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.
  • The country has also been used as filming location for several Hollywood: Black Widow (2021), Die Another Day (2002), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2008), No Time to Die (2021), Spies Like Us (1981), Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Tenet (2020), and The Golden Compass (2007) just to mention a few.
  • Amongst one of the first countries in the world to give women the right to vote.
  • Urnes Stave Church (Ornes) is one of the most prominent and oldest wooden churches.
  • Home to a strong folk music tradition which remains popular.
  • National Geographic ranked the Norwegian fjords as the world's top tourist attraction.
  • Village of Lyngor (southern coast) is one of the best preserved villages in Europe.
  • Birthplace (Tønsberg) to World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen.
  • There is no midnight sun in Oslo.
  • The first country in the world to enact an anti-discrimination law protecting the rights of gays and lesbians.
  • The 6th country to legalize same-sex marriage.
  • Host of one of the world's biggest extreme sport festivals with music.
  • First country to ban cutting of trees (deforestation).
  • The elks are considered "king of the forest".
  • World's second largest exporter of fish.
  • The Royal children attend state run schools.
  • Has the largest registered stock of plug-in electric vehicles per capita in the world.


Saltstraumen Bridge, Nordland County, Norway. Photo Credit: David Mark/Pixabay




Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) Bodø Jazz Open, Northern Lights Festival, (February) Birkebeiner Race, Kristiansund Opera Festival, Polarjazz,(March) Holmenkollen Ski Festival, Narvik Winter Festival, (April) oss Jazz Festival, (May) Bergen International Festival, MaiJazz, Nordic Media Days, Norwegian Festival of Literature, The Oslo Forum, Trondheim Jazz Festival, (June) Arts Festival of Northern Norway, Ekstremsportveko,
    Emigration Festival, Faerder Sailing Race, Fête de la Musique, Midnight Sun Marathon, Midsummer Night, North Cape March, Norwegian Wood Festival, Viking Festival, (July) Exxon Mobil Bislett Games, Gladmat Festival, Kongsberg International Jazz Festival, Molde International Jazz Festival, Nattjazz, Norway Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament, (August) Chamber Music Festival, Oslo Jazz Festival, Øyafestivalen, Peer Gynt Festival, Risor Wooden Boat Festival, Sildajazz, Telemark International Folk Music
    Festival, Tromsø Jazz Festival,(September) Arctic Film Festival, Bjørnson Festival, Norwegian Military Tattoo, Oslo Marathon, (October) Kids in Jazz, (December) Nobel Peace Prize Concert, and Christmas Markets.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Princess Ingrid Alexandra's Day, Saami National Day, King Harald V's Day, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Labor Day, Day of Liberation, 17 May Constitution Day, Ascension Day, Whit Sunday, Whit Monday. Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.


Photo Credit: ELG21/Pixabay 



Good to Know
  • The prime travel destination in Scandinavia.
  • Western coast area is known for fjords.
  • Standard of living is among the highest in the world.
  • One of the most expensive countries in Europe.
  • Seatbelts are mandatory for drivers and passengers.
  • Has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
  • Has a low level of crime.
  • A $1,300NOK fine is imposed for use of a hand-held cell phone while driving.
  • Mountain roads tend to be narrow, tunnels, and winding.
  • You must be north of the Arctic Circle for the sun at midnight.
  • Roadway cameras enforce speed limits.
  • Possible to see the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) between mid September - April.
  • Local law requires drivers to use headlights when driving.
  • From April 15th - September 15th fire lighting is prohibitive.
  • From late May - late July beyond the north area there's 20 hours of daylight per day. 
  • Maximum legal blood alcohol content level while driving is .02%. 
  • Tourism to Ny-Alesund is restricted due to polar bear attacks.
  • From late November  - late January beyond the north area the sun never rises above the horizon and daylight hours are very short.
  • Arctic char, salmon, and trout are popular catches.
  • Much of nature  remains unspoiled.
  • Winter dog sledding is very popular.
  • Indigenous Sami consider "Laplander" and "Lapp" offensive.
  • Most visited cities/towns: are Ålesund, Bergen, Kristiansand, Oslo, Stavanger, Tromsø, and Trondheim.
  • Bergen's Bryggen and Oslo's Vigeland Sculpture Park are the most visited landmark.
  • Oslo Central Train Station is known for pickpockets and bag snatchers.
  • Use of winter tires is mandatory on all motor vehicles (November - April).
  • Mountain roads usually close due to snow from late Fall - late Spring.
  • Svalbard is accessed by limited air service, sea, or snowmobile.
  • Svalbard is not a part of the Schengen Agreement.
  • Beyond Tourist Season (June - August) museums keep limited hours.


Bodø, Norway. Photo Credit: Tommy Andreassen/Pixabay 



This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity and two blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA not required for visits under 12 months.
  • Required Vaccination from select countries. 
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: $25,000NOK.


Henningsvær "Fishing Village", Vågan, Norway. Photo Credit: Gustav Melin/Pixabay 



Subject to extreme weather, floods, landslides, and snowstorms.
  • Best Time to Visit: June - September
  • Coldest Months: December - March
  • Hottest Months: May - September
  • Peak Season: May - August


Kjøllefjord, Norway.Photo Credit: Bernd Hildebrandt/Pixabay 




Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Bryggen, Rock Art of Alta, Rjukan–Notodden Industrial Heritage Site, Røros Mining Town and the Circumference, Struve Geodetic Arc, Urnes Stave Church, Vegaøyan The Vega Archipelago, West Norwegian Fjords and Geiangerfjord and Nærøyfjord.




 

Photo Credit: Murat Demirel/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


Stay connected, find us online: Alignable Facebook  LinkedIn  Pinterest  Twitter 

"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.   

Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Flag Why visit Solomon Islands? Ideal for the adventurous experienced off-the-beaten path travelers seeking to enjoy battle ...