Germany Destination Tip – Explore Your German Heritage

It’s well-known that the United States has always been a “melting-pot” of cultures, but did you know that more immigrants to the United States have come from Germany than anywhere else? That’s right. More Americans-50 million in 2005-trace their ancestry to Germany than to any other country, including the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Though the history of German immigration to the United States reaches back to colonial times, by far the largest wave of immigrants arrived in the 19th century. Between 1848 and World War I, nearly 6 million Germans sailed to the United States. After crossing the Atlantic, many settled in the Midwest, in states such as Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Whatever their reasons for emigrating, Germans saw America as offering them the chance for a new life. And they took it.

Researching one’s family history has become increasingly popular among Germans and Americans alike. Many historical records kept by churches and government agencies have already been digitized and can be searched on the internet from your home computer. There are a number of websites that can guide you in this research, allowing you to contact other members and collaborate on family trees. Whether you’re an experienced genealogist, or just beginning to trace your German roots, we stand ready to assist you in contacting the relevant agencies and resources in Germany.

Destination Tips – Popular Tourist Attractions in Singapore

Singapore is a lovely country that is located south of Malaysia. It has a total population of around 4 million and today is one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world. Although Singapore is located in Asia, it is not a typical Asian country. Because of its rich British history, you can see very strong British influence in everything, from politics to architecture.

If you intend to fly to Singapore, you should take the Singapore Airlines because it has one of the best aviation services in the world. I am sure you will enjoy the experience when you are flying with Singapore Airlines.

Now, let me share with you a few popular tourist attractions in Singapore:

1. Sentosa. Sentosa is an offshore island of Singapore. If you love the sun and beach, you must visit Sentosa when you are in Singapore. To go to Sentosa, you can take a cable ride from Habour Front and enjoy the breath-taking view. At Sentosa, you can find lots of famous resorts and tourist attractions such as Butterfly Park, Dragon Trail and Underwater World. Also, do not forget to head down to Siloso Beach for a day of sun tanning and volleyball games.

2. The Singapore Zoo. The Singapore Zoo is another place that you must visit when you are in Singapore. There is a Night Safari that opens daily from 1930 hour until midnight. It is the first night safari in the world that allows you to view nocturnal animals at night. Night Safari gives you the feeling that you are in a jungle with the various nocturnal animals in their natural settings.

3. Orchard Road. If you are a shopaholic, then you must head down to Orchard Road. Orchard Road is famous for its shopping experience and many locals like to shop there. Along Orchard Road, you can find many famous shopping malls such as CK Tang, Takashimaya, Paragon and the newly opened Orchard ION.

4. Sim Lim Square. Sim Lim Square is where all the gadgets are. If you like to buy any laptop or gadget, you must visit Sim Lim Square and enjoy tax free shopping. Before you purchase from any store, make sure that you negotiate with the store owners.

The nightlife of Singapore is also very lively. You can head down to Clark Quay or St James Power Station and enjoy a night of good food and drinks. I strongly recommend you to mark down Singapore as your next holiday destination.

Disney – Affordable Destination Tips

Is Disney an affordable place to go on a family vacation? It may be more affordable than ever to plan a great and memorable getaway for those young hearts who love the wonder of Disney. You can have a great time on a shoe string budget, it just may take some planning rightly.

You would be amazed that you can save hundreds if you get into the little tricks that few people are aware of. Disney some times has promotions that can save you big money. More savings can come in the form of a guide. These printed savings are great.

All inclusive packages can save you money too. And don’t overlook the savings that you can gain by ordering tickets in advance. A travel agent can guide you through this and may save you money if you don’t want the hassle of doing your own homework.

Disney sometimes offers great deals like free shuttle service and baggage. This keeps you organized and its free.

There is a lot you can do to avoid expenses on your room and dining out. Just plan a big meal once a day and try to eat on the cheap for the other meals. The children are more interested in Mickey anyway. Use little good judgment on games and trinkets, set a limit before you go and stay with it.

The internet is full of tips good and bad. Discounts and special offers abound. In magazines and other advertisements you may find some useful savings.

Just remember that you can save money this way, but be sure to get the facts from a real live person. The internet is also full of people trying to scam you into a dream vacation that may leave you on the street looking for a hotel that does not even exist.

Packages of all shapes and sizes exist. If you take the time you may find one that is a big bonus to you. For example some packages include free hotel and tickets for the kids. That is great if you are planning to take a large family.

Destination Tips – Places to Visit in Singapore

Singapore is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. Although most of the old buildings have already been demolished, there are still a number of tourist attractions that are worth your time to drop by Singapore.

When you visit Singapore, you will realise that it is easy to commute to different places. You do not need to rent a car in Singapore as the public transport service is excellent. There is an extensive bus and train network in Singapore that will bring you to places easily. Also, you will realise that Singapore is a very clean city. Heavy fines are induced for those who litters and therefore the standard of cleanliness is pretty high.

In this article, let me share with you some places that you can visit when you come to Singapore:

1. Orchard Road. Orchard road is a shopper’s paradise. It is the most popular street in Singapore with shoppers all around the clock. Orchard road is located at the heart of the city and you can easily reach there by public transport. Along orchard road, you can find a lot of Singapore famous shopping centres such as Takashimaya and Wisma Atria. You can find all sorts of things like electronic goods, clothes, branded goods, furniture, etc. When you are tired with shopping, you can easily find cafes along orchard road that you can rest and drink a cup of latte.

2. Sentosa. If you love the sun and sea, you must visit an island just off Singapore. Sentosa is part of Singapore and it is famous for its beaches, volleyball games, Butterfly Park and historical monuments.

3. Singapore Changi Village. Changi Village is located in the north-east part of Singapore. Changi Village is famous for its restaurants and food centres that serve local delicacies, where tourists can enjoy a variety of Singapore cuisines. Changi Village is also famous for its centre terminal and ferry terminals.

4. Sisters Island. If you love adventures, you will love Sisters Island. There are many activities that you can do on Sisters Islands, such as snorkel and air diving. If you want to experience something else other than city life, you must visit Sisters Island when you are in Singapore.

5. China Town. In China Town, you can get a find a lot of bargains on goods and is a place that shopaholics must visit when they are in Singapore. You can also enjoy a variety of local delicacies too.

Bali Destination Tips For Aussie Travellers

Bali Travel Tips

Seasons/When to go

Anytime is a great time to head to Bali. Dry season, which roughly runs from May to October is the most popular time to visit (with June/July sometimes totally overcrowded). Although during the wet season November to April still has some fantastic weather there is just more chance of rain. Having to sit back and wait for the rain to ease up is a good way to recover as it makes you stay in the one place long enough to soak up your surroundings that you may have strolled past quickly in a normal sunny day. The rainy season doesn’t really stop people enjoying their time in Bali, as any time here is a good time!

Getting cheap flights from Australia to Bali

There are quite a few airlines that can take you to from Oz to Bali. If you can try to avoid the peak times like the Australian school holidays (both secondary and university) and Christmas. June/July is the busiest period. Currently outside of these times you can get return flights into Bali from around $400 in tax, depending on your departure point. Very cheap!

Air Asia Asia’s budget airline. Extremely cheap, all you have to pay for is your food and drinks while onboard. There isn’t any in-flight entertainment although some of the flights can hire you a movie screen where you can watch TV shows and movies on demand.

Jetstar Another cheap option. Both airlines have great service, best to sign up to their websites email list and book when they send out their specials.

Strategic Air – A new full service airline from Perth to Bali, with rates similar to the no frills Jetstar and Air Asia

Check out sites like Jetabroad for cheap deals as well.

Don’t forget to check out qantas.com.au, garuda-indonesia.com, and singaporair.com even those these are known to be a bit more expensive than the no-frills airlines; they still have great specials that will bring them into line with the no-frills airline prices.

Costs

Bali is a very cheap destination, and with the Aussie dollar now buying almost double what it did last year a trip here is usually cheaper than staying within Australia. Depending on the type of traveler you are, you can opt for the 1 star hotels and guest houses to the 5 star and anything in between.

Food is extremely cheap as you can get your classic Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice) and Mee Goreng (fried Noodles) for 20,000 Rupiah a meal (approx AUD$2.20). This usually comes with a couple skewers of meat and a fried egg on top with the rice crackers on the side.

Bintang is the local beer and if you are a beer drinker, a delightful drop. A small Bintang will set you back 8,000 rupiah (Approx AUD$1) and a large Bintang 640ml’s 16,000 rupiah (Approx AUD$2.00). You can find Bintang anywhere from the local 7 eleven store to the markets (just ask the shop owner).

If shopping is your reason to go then Bali is the right choice! Anything from market shopping to retail outlets you will be able to find it here. In the retail outlets all prices are marked but head into the markets and its bargain time. Don’t forget to start off very cheap around 1/3 of the price they first gave you. Just remember that towards the end of the bargain you may only be arguing over a couple of dollars. Remember that bargaining is a custom, a way of laughing and interacting with the locals, it’s a way of life so don’t get mad or treat them like they are ripping you off just keep bargaining till you both agree on a fair price.

Domestic Airlines

If you want to travel around some of the surrounding islands to Bali quickly then flights is your option.

merpati.co.id

lionair.co.id

mandalaair.com

All these airlines are quite cheap; they can be booked online or through a travel agent while you are in Bali.

Getting from Denpassar airport to Kuta/Legian area

After collecting your bags and heading to the exit you will probably face the crowds of people holding signs and taxi drivers ready to pick you up. Just ignore these people and turn right to an isle of small shop windows.

Along this wall is a Taxi shop that sells one way fares for the taxis at 50,000 rupiah (about 6 Aussie dollars). This is the easiest way, as describing your hotel they will then organize a taxi to grab you and take you there. Don’t pay more than 50,000!

Accommodation options

You can get everything from backpacker accommodation to 5 star resorts.

Backpacker guest houses range from AUD$5 per night which normally also come with breakfast. Just make sure that you check out the room before checking in. You want to make sure that the standard is exactly what you’re after. Your $5 in backpacker accommodation will change depending on the area, the further away from the tourist trail the more you will get. In most backpacker accommodation in Bali you will get an en-suite, fan and double bed for your money.

If you’re on a budget but can afford to splurge a little then going with a 3 star is always a good option. There you will usually receive a pool, possibly a swim up bar, en-suite, double room, aircon, breakfast and usually a couple of other things thrown in.

Just remember with all the options, you are never in your hotel as there are so many activities to do during the day. It’s just a bed for the night; you just need to decide what level of luxury you want to sleep in.

Popular 1 star options are scattered around Poppies One and Two, two roads at the heart of Kuta (also the noisiest and most shambolic).

Popular and still cheap 3 Star options around Kuta are places like the Legian Jayakarta, and the infamous Bounty hotel.

Seminyak, up the beach from Kuta, is the more civilized alternative to Kuta/Legian. This area houses some spectacular 5 star hotels, as well as a few decent cheapies and some of the best restraunts on the island. This area is better for families if you feel the need to get away from the bogan/crowd factor in Kuta.

For a good website to look for rooms of all varieties check out asiarooms.com.

Getting around Bali

Taxis are around on every corner and will drive past you as you walk down the street asking if you need a taxi, so these are not hard to find. They are relatively cheap and if you catch the Blue Bird taxis they have a meter. Just make sure you tell them you want a meter before you hop into the taxi.

For the more adventures hiring a Motorcycle or Car is an option. Both are reasonably cheap and you have the freedom of driving wherever you want. The only downfall is the lack of road rules might be hard to navigate. A lot is done from the horn. Just remember its not rude to toot like it is regarded in Australia, it’s just signals to warn the other drivers.

1 toot – “hi I’m here”

2 toots – “move”

The other option is to hire a car with a driver. They are more than happy to drive you around and show you all the tourist destinations.

Beach Destinations

Kuta beach is the most popular and with all the action you can understand why everyone hangs around. You can hire a sun bed with a umbrella and relax while you watch all the action from the hawkers, masseuse to the tourists learning to surf.

If you want some quiet time with a more picturesque beach then heading over to Sanur or Nusa Dua is where you want to go. Only 30min drive from Kuta it’s a nice day trip to get out of the hustle and bustle of Kuta/Legian area.

Nyepi day

Nyepi day is Bali’s day of silence. This is Bali’s first day of the New Year celebrated in March; make sure to check out the coming dates as it changes each year.

The night before Nyepi day the Balinese celebrate by creating huge floats which they parade down the street. These floats seem to look like they are made out of papier-mâché but don’t be fooled into thinking they are like children’s art these have so much detail on them from the long eyelashes to the finger nails. Every inch of their creations have been thought about and well designed. These floats are Ogoh-ogoh which symbolizes the evil spirits which they have to get rid of out of their lives. These floats are tied onto bamboo which is then lifted by the dancers and they dance the floats around to the music. It’s quite incredible watching these huge creations dance around in fluid movements.

The next day is the day of silence, no one is to walk outside and this includes the tourist. Apparently as the story goes, the gods come down on the day of silence, look around Bali and then decide that Bali is inhabitable so they leave.

You cannot leave your hotel so make sure you have chosen one that has a restaurant inside and perhaps rent a DVD player and pick up some DVD’s to watch as if you try to leave the hotel staff will stop you as well as the police on the streets. Some of the hotels even go to lengths to put up black plastic to cover the entrances.

The Balinese love Nyepi day as it’s a day where they travel back home to spend it with their family, like how we spend Christmas.

Off the beaten path

Not really off the beaten trek, but Ubud is definitely worth a look. With awesome arts and crafts to monkey forest its worth the 1 hour drive to get there. You can stay up there with plenty of hotels offering cheap rooms. As you wonder around the town which is situated up in the mountains you will fall in love with the shopping, atmosphere and culture.

Balian is a village an hour or so north from Kuta.. A quiet alternative and more a village than the free for all of Kuta.

Also check out along the relatively new highway on the opposite side of the Island from Kuta. There’s some great surf spots and interesting villages to pass through.

Visas

Australians can get a 30 day visa on arrival which costs US$25 per person. It’s a bit of a myth that you need to have this $25.00 in USD: they will take Aussie dollars and you will get through just as quickly as if you had bothered to get the same in Us dollars before you arrive.