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Argentina, The Southern Paradise

With images of cascading Iguazu Falls and melting Perito Moreno Glaciers, you would think that Paradise is right before your eyes. Off course, you’ll never know Argentina, without a taste of her bustling capital, Buenos Aires. Yet Buenos Aires is just the gateway to the Argentine paradise because way beyond the confines of this lovely capital are veritable Edens such as Peninsula Valdez, Tierra del Fuego, Iguazu Falls, Perito Moreno Glacier, El Chaltén, Mendoza Province, Bariloche, Quebrada de Humahuaca, and many more.

Argentina Highlights

  • Iguazu Falls, majestically cascading on the border of Brazil and Argentina. Travel to the city of Puerto Iguazu and reach the majestic myriads of falls via train to the mouth of Devil’s Throat—a horseshoe shaped gorge carved out of the hills by the gigantically cascading waterfalls—a must see in your Argentina vacation.

  • Perito Moreno Glacier, a titanic glacier in Los Glacieres National Park, is truly a breathtaking scene. Perito Moreno is best seen by boat tours, though there are platforms for good awesome glimpse. Always include this in your itinerary when you make your Argentina travel.
  • Likewise, hike to El Chalten and Bariloche in your Argentina vacations. Nothing beats the Andean Peaks when you want to hike and trek.

  • Moreover, peek into Talampaya and Ischigualasto (Valley of the Moon) and travel back in time. These two places are havens for archaeologists and geologists with picturesque landscapes untouched through eons. Popular Ischigualasto is a hotbed of dinosaur fossils.

  • Quebrada de Humahuaca, an Andean valley a couple of miles above sea level was a vital canyon during the Incan Empire. Surely you don’t want to miss its Pucara de Tilcara and the hill of the seven colors.

  • Valdez Peninsula, a sanctuary for birds, sea lions, penguins, whales, and sea elephants. At Punta Tombo, have a glimpse of wildlife—A true Argentine paradise.

  • Nahuel Huapy, proclaimed a National Park in 1934, is a must-see destination in your Argentina vacations. Here, you can enjoy fly-fishing, hiking, trekking and skiing. 

  • Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego, the gateway to Antarctica is ideal for skiing and outdoor sports such as hiking, trekking, canoeing, and riding a mountain bike during summer.

  • A bacchanalian party in Mendoza wine region is the best for you. Its sprawling vineyards produce some of the best wines in the world, a must in your Argentina vacations. Likewise, it is a great place for outdoor sports such as kayaking and hiking.

  • The Ibera Wetlands, taunted as the second-largest wetlands in world, has the richest fauna collections in Argentina which is best enjoyed while on riding on a horseback.

Best Times to Visit

Visit to Buenos Aires is year-round long. The best times to view the Iguazu falls are during January and February, when Brazilians and Argentinians are on a holiday. Likewise, Argentine Andes is best for trekking and hiking between October and April.

Perito Moreno is awesome in February. You can witness some huge chunk of falling ice. Mendoza and Quebrada de Humahuaca are best visited during springtime, particularly in September when the wine festival is held.
Insider Tips
Glacial Ice Bar (El Calafate. GlacioBar)

Experience the only bar in the world made out of glacial ice. It is a new addition to Glaciarium, a new science museum (very futuristic). Try its house cocktail: Fernet con Coca, a bitter, aromatic dish served with Coca-Cola.
Club Tapiz Hotel, (Mendoza)

Have a taste of fine amenities in this lovely small luxury hotel with seven exquisitely decorated rooms. Adjacent to the main edifice is Casa Sol, a former governor’s mansion which you can rent out as well.

Grand Cru Shop (La Recoleta)

Buy some fabulous wines from the hidden cellar of Grand Cruthe. It is the only shop which sells original bottles from the Noemia vineyard in Patagonia.

Restaurant Jean-Paul Bondoux (Buenos Aires)

Be like “Portenos” and savor some elegant classical French cuisine in this fine restaurant.

Plaza De Mayo (Buenos Aires)

Walk with Argentine heroes across Plaza de Mayo, which is the main Plaza of Buenos Aires—a living landmark of beauty and struggle for Argentina.

Venice Vacations—Your Best Gifts to Yourself and Your Beloved

Let go for a while of your dependable cars, but make sure you take the lovely Gondola as you wade through the watery streets of the world famous City of Venice. I’m pretty sure you’ll be left gasping and sighing and even hankering for more as you get mesmerized by the magnificent palaces and museums in your Venice vacations. Off course, how can you forget the picturesque image of Piazza di San Marco and its magnificent centerpiece—the Basilica di San Marco, the Doge’s Palace, the Campanile, the Museo Correr and many other museums. Likewise, you will never get enough of basking in the beauty of the Grand Canal, lined with lovely palaces which stand as proofs of the glory of Venice.

You would say, “Venice vacations are indeed my best gifts to my-self and my beloved.” Historically romantic, Venice is fantastically built on the sheer determination of men to rise up from the challenges of nature; I guess in your Venice jaunt, you would surely always want to rise up from your bed to get more of your Venice travel.
A leisurely walk across the Piazza di Marco towards the Basilica di San Marco gives you an awe-inspiring experience of classical Venice. Surely, after feeding those lovely Piazza pigeons, you would love to soar high with them to the Campanile to get a breathtaking panoramic glimpse of Venice.
Venice vacations are not complete without taking the Vaporetto to have a closer look at the grandeur of the Grand Canal and its impressive palaces and museums. Likewise, you can view the Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge perspective—it’s stunning!
Moreover, don’t forget in your Venice vacations to make a “peregrinatio” to the classical Venetian Churches such as the Basilica della Salute—and I bet you’ll be awestruck by the church’s massive art collections. Likewise, the Basilica dei Frari will inspire you with works of famous Renaissance painters such as Donatello, Titian, and Bernini; yet more than one hundred forty other historical Venetian churches await your admiration.
If you haven’t had enough of arts, then take a peek into the Gallerie dell'Accademia, which houses and chronicles the evolution of Venetian Arts, and includes priceless art collections. Then immediately hop into Guggenheim, another famous Venetian Museum, located near the Gallerie.

The Teatro La Fenice is a good place to tour, and I bet, you would love to watch concert in Venice. Travel by waterbus if you want to reach Fenice. Furthermore, your Venice vacations can’t be complete without some island excursions to Murano, located just north of Venice where the famous Museo del Vetro is. Known for its glass arts and glass blowers, you would surely want to bring home some souvenirs. Likewise, add a short jaunt to the island of Burano, famous for its lace shops which are open every day except Sundays.

Venice vacations can’t be complete if you haven’t had a dining experience at the Grand Canal in Calle Vallareso, romantically situated in front of the Church della Salute just a little distance from the Vaporetto stop. Likewise, you could also add to your Venice Travel a wonderful dining experience in Vini da Gigio and Alle Testiere.

You can never have enough of Venice and I am absolutely sure that you would always want to go back and have more of this lovely city.

Types of Malaysian Holidays
Malaysian holidays are categorized into two types: national and state levels. National holidays are the ones usually perceived by most governmental and private groups. On the other hand, state holidays are usually observed by particular states in Malaysia. It is sometimes observed when it is relevant to a particular state.
Moreover, government organizations are shut down on Saturdays and Sundays. Meanwhile in KedahKelantan and Terengganu, government organizations are shut down on Fridays and Saturdays.
Types of Holidays
Malaysia is regarded as one of the countries with the most number of holidays all over the globe. It ranks seventh among the top ten countries. Various holidays are publicized as public holidays while others are observed only by certain states. On the other hand, some holidays are observed only by certain ethnic or religious groups but are not considered as public holidays. The primary holidays of major religions are considered public holidays which takes place on either the western or religious calendars.
The most prevalent holiday is the "Hari Kebangsaan" or the so called National Day or "Hari Merdeka" or Independence Day. It is held every August 31st celebrating the independence of the Federation of Malaysia. Other major national public holidays are the Labor Day celebrated on May 1st and The King’s birthday celebrated every first Saturday of June.

The Federal Territory Day is commemorated in the three federal states. Malaysia Day is celebrated on the 16th of September to venerate the foundation of Malaysia. These two holidays were previously observed only in Sabah but they became national holidays in the year 2010.

Religious and Ethnic
Being a Muslim country, Muslim holidays are the most prevalent religious holidays in Malaysia. The most significant of these holidays is the Hari Raya Puasa. This is the Malaysian version of the Eid al-Fitr.

Malaysian Holidays: New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day marks the beginning of the year. In the Gregorian calendar it is celebrated every January 1st, exactly one week after Christmas of the preceding year. It is considered as a public holiday in all countries observing the Gregorian calendar except Israel. Some countries even have January 2 as an added New Year holiday. On the other hand, countries using the Julian calendar hold New Year’s Day every January 14. New Year is customarily celebrated with an extravagant display of fireworks at exactly 0:00 in every local time zone.
New Year as a component of the Malaysian holidays is often celebrated in hotels, diners, discos, bars and also in the homes of the people. The festivities have a multicultural touch to them. Religious folks go to churches, temples or other places of worship to pray for a bountiful year. New Year is celebrated throughout Malaysia’s diverse cultures with enthusiasm.

The Merdeka Square of Kuala Lumpur is the prime place in celebrating the New Year. However, Penang’s Gurney Drive is also a highly regarded place for both young and old. Numerous foreigners also join the Malaysian New Year celebration and become part of the merriments. A number of people nostalgically sings the “Auld Lang Syne” reminiscing the previous year. Loud noises are heard all over Malaysia. Motorists go round the streets sounding their horns in merriment. Bars and pubs are crowded by people from all walks of life. The partying goes all night long and even lasts up to the wee hours of day. Malls and stores usually hold sales of different goods. Restaurants are often jam-packed with people dining to celebrate New Year’s Day.

The New Year is also the day wherein many people make resolutions which they intend to keep all throughout the year. Families gather together and dine with a bountiful table filled with a lot of foods. This day is really meant for a family gathering.

Malaysian Holidays: Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year is among the Malaysian holidays with a distinct history. In other customs, most resolutions have been moved to the succeeding year. Nevertheless, there is another opportunity to correct it through the Chinese New Year Celebration.
The Chinese New Year is very similar to the Western New Year. Both are filled with customs and rites. The beginning of the Chinese New Year is traditional in nature. It is widely recognized as the Spring Festival. Its commemoration even lasts for fifteen days.
The preparations start a month from the date of the Chinese New Year. Individuals start purchasing gifts, decors, foodstuff and apparels. “Sales” and “discounts” abound in the different shopping places. Also, an enormous clean-up starts days prior to the New Year. Chinese houses are cleaned from top to bottom, to remove any smidgens of bad luck. Doors and panes are furnished with a new paint coating, the usual color of which is red.
The eve of Chinese New Year is the most thrilling portion of the occasion. Here, ethnicities and customs are consciously observed. The food and even the outfits are carefully observed during this time.
Rituals comprise of cleaning the house and setting up placards of "door gods" on their door. Firecrackers and fireworks precede the family dinner. This dinner is a 10 course banquet with a complete fish entrée. It signifies the lavishness of the approaching year.

It's customary to wear something red as this color is intended to fend off evil spirits. Black and white colors are out of the game, as these are related with bereavement. Next to dinner, the family goes for card games, board games, and watching TV programs and movies devoted to the event. At midnight, the sky is filled with a magnificent fireworks display. This part is usually the most awaited part of the season. People go out to watch the fireworks display and enjoy the merriment of the event.

Malaysian Holidays: Federal Territory Day
The Federal Territory Day is a national holiday for the Federal Territory in Malaysia. It is commemorated every 1st of February in Kuala LumpurLabuan and Putrajaya. These three states compose the Federal Territories of Malaysia. The Federal Territory Day signifies the anniversary of the foundation of the Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory in 1974. It was yielded by the state of Selangor to the national administration of Malaysia. It is declared as one of the national Malaysian holidays.
History of Federal Territory Day
Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya were initially part of the state of Selangor while Labuan used to be a part of Sabah. Selangor succumbed Kuala Lumpur to the national government on February 1, 1974. Labuan was liberated by Sabah in April 16, 1984. In February 1, 2001, Putrajaya was established as the third federal territory. Due to the resemblance in the day of the liberation of every state, the Federal Territory Day was commemorated every February 1st.
Federal Territory Day Traditions, Customs and Activities

The Federal Territory Day is commemorated in all three integral states with spectacles, fireworks display, cultural demonstrations and exhibitions. Day trippers will certainly enjoy drifting around Malaysia as they get the opportunity to witness pronounced street presentations. What’s good about it is that the folk displays and presentations won’t cost you a penny. They are free of charge and the whole public is welcome. Students from several schools, government and non-governmental establishments, and private organizations form exceptional street displays and expositions during the occasion. Fun goings-on such as games and competitions are also additional events.

The festivity also comes with conferring both public and private corporations because of their cherished contribution to the public. If you are in Malaysia, you can discover more info by calling or visiting the tourist offices or travel agencies.

Malaysian Holidays: Mawlid al-Nabi (Birth of Prophet Muhammad)
Mawlid celebration is commemorated marking the birth of the Islamic clairvoyant Muhammad. Commemoration of Mawlid occurs in Rabi' al-awwal, on the 3rd month of the Islamic calendar. In certain areas of the world, like in Egypt, the term Mawlid is used in a universal way to signify birthdays of sacred figures like Sufi saints.
Celebration of Mawlid
Mawlid is one of the most revered Malaysian festivals. During Mawlid festivities, huge parades come out on the streets. Homes and mosques are decorated for getting into the mood of Mawlid celebrations. People exercise donations and allocate food to others. There is also the tradition of recounting stories of the life of Muhammad with the aid of a recital. Scholars and rhymesters make it a point to celebrate Mawlid by reciting Qaida al-Burda Sharif, the distinguished verse of the 13th century Arabic Sufi Busiri. 
Typically in all Muslim countries, Mawlid is commemorated. Also the countries which have Muslim visitors like India, Britain, and Malaysia commemorate Mawlid. The only Muslim country which does not perceive Mawlid as a public holiday is Saudi Arabia. People are likely to take part in the festivities of Islamic holidays as they wish to revive Islam.

Mawlid al-Nabi is a festivity of the birthdate of the Prophet Muhammad, the originator of Islam. During Muhammad’s lifetime, he founded Islam as a creed. He was able to instill fidelity and faith among his followers.

The Mawlid al-Nabi was initially celebrated around the 13th century and was indicated by a month of merriment. The day of Muhammad's birthdate includes a discourse, recital of litanies, reverence of religious luminaries, gift giving, and a banquet. Its centenary, the 100th year anniversary, is spread throughout the Muslim world and is commemorated in several countries today. Even though some people regarded is as idolatry, Mawlid al-Nabi is still delightfully celebrated yearly.
Malaysian Holidays: Wesak Day (Birth of Buddha)
Wesak Day is a Consecrated Day for Buddhists. Indeed, it is known as the most divine day in the Buddhist Calendar.
The Buddha's birthdate is observed annually on the Sunday next to the full moon in May. It is a holiday celebrated by Buddhists all around the globe. However, the precise date of the Holiday may vary from one country to another.
In Malaysia, Wesak Day is also deemed as one of the country's major Malaysian holidays. It is a time wherein Buddhist temples show a stunning exhibition of lights. It is also the time when Buddhists devote the entire day at the temples. They contemplate, sing prayers and pose gifts to Buddhist monks.
One of the temples which celebrates the Wesak Day is the Vihara Temple at Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur. The celebration starts at sunrise when aficionados meet at the temples to reflect. At nightfall, a candlelight parade from the temple to Kuala Lumpur city is performed. Numerous Buddhists and audiences line the course of the parade, which is steered by a decorated float. This float has a statue of the Buddha in it.

Once the procession yields to the temple, an alfresco blessing service is executed. In addition, a talk regarding the significance of Wesak Day is held. Conventionally, the rest of the night is celebrated with meditations, incantation and offering litanies to the Lord Budda.

To summarize, Wesak is vital for the reason that it marks three crucial events in Lord Gautama Buddha's lifetime - his birthdate, the enlightenment and his attainment of Nirvana. Religious contributions and rites such as 'bathing of the Buddha', incantation of Holy Scriptures, illumination of the joss firewood, and consecration of monks frequently take place in Buddhist temples. In the evening, there will be attractive processions in metropolises such as Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysian Holidays: Labor Day
This holiday is done as a memorial of the attainments of the labor crusade. Its date of celebration is done yearly on the first day of May. This holiday came up when the American Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions called for an eight-hour workday starting May 1, 1886. This gave rise to strikes and the Haymarket Riot of 1886. However, it also gave rise to the formal authorization of the eight-hour workday.
May Day is commemorated as Labor Day in most nations all over the globe. In the twentieth century, the holiday acknowledged the formal commendation of the Soviet Union. In selected Communist federations, it is also renowned as the Day of the International Solidarity of Workers. The celebration in Communist Republics, during the Cold War, is comprised of hefty military parades with state of the art artillery being displayed.
However, the United States rejoices Labor Day on the first Monday of September. There are several propositions that the cause for this was to avoid the riots that had befallen in 1886.
May Day has long been a time of protests by several communalist, socialist, and revolutionary groups. Groups come with their placards and signs. They usually protest for their labor and union rights.

May 1 also used to be a pagan holiday in lots of areas in Europe. Its origins as a holiday started from the Gaelic Beltane. It was deemed as the most recent day of winter when the commencement of summer was exulted.

Labor Day is among the most significant Malaysian holidays of all time. It is a day to celebrate the laborers and labor unions in the country. During this day, the usual work is stopped. Everybody is given the chance to rest and commemorate the day. Labor and labor unions, as well as the fruits of their labor, are given praise or commemoration.

Malaysian Holidays: King's Birthday
Malaysia observes a scheme of government founded on a constitutional and parliamentary republic. The head of state is the king, also known as Seri Paduka Baginda (SPB) Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Even though the word king is used, this is not a heritable position. The SPB Yang di-Pertuan Agong is also the supreme commandant of the Malaysian armed forces. The national head of government is the prime minister.
The SPB Yang di-Pertuan Agong is among the three bodies that constitutes the Malaysian Parliament. The additional two are the Senate and the House of Representatives. The king is voted to a term of five years. Adhering to the Malaysian Constitution, only the Conference of Rulers has the supremacy to elect and designate the king. The Conference of Rulers is an assembly consisting of state leaders who deliberate on issues of national doctrines and other significant issues.
June 2 is set aside as one of the national Malaysian holidays every year. This day is set aside to commemorate the birthdate of the existing and previous SPB Yang di-Pertuan Agongs.

Malaysians rejoice the King’s birthday on June 4th with a chain of events and ceremonials in the capital, Kuala Lumpur. The different occasions consist of a traditional Trooping of the Colors and a stirring presentation by a military band. This ceremonial symbolizes the Malaysian Armed Forces' pledge of devotion to the King of Malaysia.
The formal residence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is the Istana Negara. It is situated in Jalan Syed Putra in the national capital Kuala Lumpur. There are likewise other residences, such as Istana Melawati in the national administrative capital Putrajaya. This is the regal refuge or 'istana hinggap' for Yang di-Pertuan Agong and his family. This regal refuge is also the location of the meetings of the Conference of Rulers, which elects the King.

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