Amazing Pools

Amazing Pools | Today’s blog post introduces you to six true masterpieces of a pool. Some are natural beauties, some manmade marvels. We found them in Singapore, Greece, Switzerland, Tanzania, Bali and Arizona.

Amazing Pools: Marina Bay Sands, Singapore | Our first amazing pool is located in the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore; impressive in many ways. The roof top pool might have the most impressive aspect of all. Almost 150 meters long, it claims to be the longest elevated pool in the world. It’s located on top of the three towers of Marina Bay Sands at 183 meters height. The view over Singapore is astonishing. Unfortunately the pool is for hotel guests only. And still even as a privileged hotel guest you will feel very crowded at this amazing roof top pool.    Rating: view 5/5, pool 5/5

Amazing Pool
Amazing pools:  infinity pool on top of Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Amazing Pools: Thasos, Greece | Our no. 2 most amazing pool we found on the Greek island of Thasos. The Giola pool had been naturally carved into a sea-facing wall. The pool is filled with ocean waters and warmed by sunshine. According to myths and legends the entire Giola lagoon is the eye of Zeus. This Greek God created Giola for Aphrodite – Goddess of beauty and love. The pool is only accessible by foot. To get there requires a walk quite some distance. But it’s worth it.   Rating: view 2/5, pool 5/5

Amazing Pool Greece
Amazing Pool Greece

Amazing pool in Switzerland | The Hotel “Cambrian” in the Swiss village of Adelboden made it into our list of our Amazing Pools not so much because of the pool itself but because of stunning views throughout the year. Ok, we know: it is actually quite hard to go anywhere in the Alps without coming across a breathtaking vista. So technically this pool is just benefiting from the fact of being located in a place of eternal beauty.    Rating: view 5/5, pool 1/5

Amazing Pool Switzerland
Amazing Pool Switzerland

Amazing Pool in Tanzania | Swimming in African water holes is generally not recommended. First you might catch deadly diseases and second you might be eaten by a lion. The Sanctuary pool at Sanctuary Swala, Tanzania mind be the ONE perfect exception. Set within the outstanding beauty of Tarangire NP, it overlooks a water hole, allowing you to watch rare wildlife including lions. The pool is sheltered by a number of the nice baobab trees that are characteristic of this region. This pool is located at The Four Seasons, Serengeti, Tanzania. Watch the elephants drink in their watering hole while you chill our in yours.   Rating: view 5/5, pool 1/5

amazing pool tanzania
Amazing pool Tanzania

Amazing Pools on Bali | In the small sleepy city of Ubud – a 1.5 hours car ride away from Bali International Airport – you will find one of the most photographed pools ever in The Hanging Gardens Ressort (Desa Buahan, Payangan, 80571 Payangan, Bali, Indonesia). The pool is a perfect example of how a high effort leads to an even higher reward. The world is full of boring cheap architecture. By giving a project just a bit more strategic input and a bit more money you easily outcompete the entire neighorhood. The Hanging Gardens of Bali are now constantly outbooked with weddings. For the owner the return on investment should be satisfying. And yeah, there are copy cats around, as you can see in the phots below :)   Rating: view 4/5, pool 5/5

amazing pool bali
Amazing pools in Ubud, Bali

Amazing Pools: Arizona | The Havasu Falls Natural Pool in Arizona (US) will give you that one truly authentic pure natural swimming experience you dreamt of. Head to Havasu Falls near Supai, Arizona. You’ll find a magical place where the traditional culture of the local Havasupai people and stunning Mother Nature come together in all the glory possible. Only limited numbers of tourists are allowed to visit! You will need to obtain an entry ticket from the Havasupai tribe. If you are lucky by getting such permit, most probably you’ll have this incredible place all to yourself.   Rating: view 5/5, pool 5/5

amazing pool bali
Amazing pools: Havasu Falls near Supai, Arizona.

Amazing Pools. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here.

Top 10 Islands in the World: Cook Islands

Top 10 Islands in the World: Cook Islands | It’s the last of 10 recommendations in our mini series “Top 10 Islands in the World”. If you’ve ever dreamed of being a castaway in the South Pacific, the Cook Islands might be for you. Strung between French Polynesia and Samoa but with strong ties to New Zealand, the archipelago’s 15 islands are known for their enticing aquamarine lagoons, palm-fringed beaches, and volcanic peaks. But be warned: our vacation will become expensive. Rarotonga is the main tourist hub, with its many resorts, lush peaks, and plentiful beaches. Aitutaki competes with the beauty of Bora Bora, and also comes with kind of the same price tag. Hibiscus-laced villages snuggle on the hillsides, and along its heavenly lagoon lie 21 smaller islets, many within kayak distance of the resorts. Ensconce yourself here in an over-the-water bungalow or hole up in a rustic beach shack on a remote out island and live your Robinson Crusoe fantasies.

Top 10 Islands World Cook Islands
Top 10 Islands in the World: Cook Islands – our number 1.

The Cook Islands is a self-governing island country in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand. It comprises 15 islands whose total land area is 240 sq km. Although Cook Islanders are citizens of New Zealand, they have the status of Cook Islands nationals, which is not given to other New Zealand citizens. There is a larger population of Cook Islanders in New Zealand, particularly the North Island. 58,008 self-identified as being of ethnic Cook Islands Māori descent. With more than 100,000 tourists traveling to the Cook Islands every year, tourism is the country’s main industry, and the leading element of the economy, ahead of offshore banking, pearls, and marine and a bit of fruit exporting.

Top 10 Islands World Cook Islands Tiare Tahiti
Top 10 Islands World Cook Islands. National flower: Tiare Tahiti.

Named after Captain Cook, who sighted them in 1770, the Cook Islands became a British protectorate in 1888. By 1900, administrative control was transferred to New Zealand. In 1965 residents chose self-government in free association with New Zealand. The Kiwis still handles defense, foreign affairs (including issuing passports) and currency.

Top 10 Islands World Cook Islands
Prime Minister Henry Puna of the Cook Islands, and George Ellis, CEO of the Cook Islands Pearls Authority, watch as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton dons a black pearl necklace during a Sustainable Development and Conservation event in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, August 31, 2012. You can read Secretary Clinton’s remarks at the event here: www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2012/08/197268.htm. (State Department photo by Ola Thorsen/ Public Domain)

The three unique dollar coins depicted are still in use, but the 5 and 10 cents coins, along with all other cent denominations have been discontinued since 2006. New Zealand coins are used in their place. The figure with the large head and penis on the $1 coin is Tangaroa, a sea god in Māori mythology.

How to get to Cook Islands

Rarotonga International Airport (RAR) will be your main gateway to get in. There are daily services from Auckland (3.5h) and weekly services from Sydney, Fiji and Los Angeles. The only international airlines at present are Air New Zealand, once-weekly Air Tahiti, and twice-weekly Virgin Australia. Air New Zealand has code share arrangements with other Star Alliance members including United. Rarotonga is a popular stopover on Round-the-world-flights. But there is another way to get in: Rarotonga and Aitutaki are regular stops for boat cruises operating from Tahiti. If you’re planning to sail to the Cook Islands you must enter through one of the five designated ports of entry. These are Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Atiu in the Southern group, and Penrhyn and Pukapuka in the Northern group.

Where to stay on Cook Islands

booking.com lists 172 properties to choose from. But they all sell fast. It is possible to stay for 60 Euros per night. But in order to get a bed on the lower end (2-star-resorts) you better book 1 year in advance. The Cook Islands are called “the Mallorca for New Zealanders”, demand is high year round. For those of you able to fork out 1,000+ Euros per night: try the Pacific Resort Aitutaki – a luxury resort on Amuri. At this price it comes with a free airport shuttle and free bike rental :D

Top 10 Islands World Cook Islands Pacific Resort Aitutaki
Top 10 Islands World Cook Islands: Pacific Resort Aitutaki

Top 10 Islands World Cook Islands Book hotel Cook Islands
Book a hotel on Cook Islands

Top 10 Islands World Cook Islands. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here.

Top 10 Islands in the World: Seychelles

Top 10 Islands in the World: Seychelles | Pristine and picture-perfect, the Seychelles are really worth traveling for. Some 1000 km east of Kenya, this relatively unspoiled archipelago of just 115 coral and granite islands feature tropical jungles, beautiful coral reefs and palm-lined powdery white sandy beaches. Some are flanked by giant dark granite boulders. Almost half the total land area of the Seychelles is protected, and many of the islands lie within fish-rich marine sanctuaries with excellent diving and snorkeling. The Seychelles feature some of the planet’s richest fishing grounds, making this a top destination for anglers. Add some spicy Créole cuisine into the mix as well as plush tourist resorts and it’s easy to understand the Seychelles’ allure.

There are 45 granite-based islands known as “Granitic Seychelles”. Pictures from these granite islands become iconic in the internet and kind of represent the Seychelles among tourists. Example:

Top 10 Islands World Seychelles
Top 10 Islands in the World: Seychelles. Stereotype Granite Seychelles. Photo: wikipedia (cc)

Environmental legislation is very strict. Every tourism project must undergo an environmental review and a lengthy process of consultations with the public and conservationists. Seychelles is the world leader in sustainable tourism. The end result of this sustainable development is an intact and stable nature, which only attracts financially strong tourists. Short-term mass tourism is not appreciated.
Since 1993 a law guarantees the citizens the right to a clean environment and at the same time obliges them to protect this environment. The country holds a record for the highest percentage of land under natural conservation—nearly 50% of the total land area.

Now this might sound like paradise too: Through harmonious socioeconomic policies and developments over the years, today Seychelles is described as a fusion of peoples and cultures. Numerous Seychellois are considered multiracial: blending from African, Asian and European descent to create a modern creole culture. Evidence of this harmonious blend is also revealed in Seychellois food, incorporating various aspects of French, Chinese, Indian and African cuisine.

Top 10 Islands World Seychelles Jerzy Strzelecki wikipedia
Seychelles: sailfish catch, Photo by Jerzy Strzelecki (wikipedia)

Top 10 Islands World Seychelles
Seychelles: typical beach at Mahe Island

Seychelles: Aldabra turtle
Seychelles: Aldabra turtle

Where to stay in Seychelles?

There are only hotels. Spending $1,000 per night for a room is no problem. Plenty of 5-star-hotels are eager to help you. On the other end of the scale only one resort gives you shelter at $100 per night: the Reef Holiday Apartments at Anse aux Pins. Heavy favorites among tourists: Sunset Bay Apartment in Glacis (completely booked until late 2018), Chateau Elysium in Beau Vallon ($477 per night), the H Resort at Bel Ombre Road, Beau Vallon ($800 per night).

Top 10 Islands World Seychelles Book a hotel in Seychelles
Book a hotel in Seychelles

Top 10 Islands World Seychelles. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here.

Top 10 Islands in the World: Palawan

Top 10 Islands in the World: Palawan, Philippines | It is the Philippine’s answer to paradise – simply stunning and not yet overwhelmed by tourists. But the province of Palawan is also known for kidnappings and even terror threats. And topping all that scary stuff, Nickelodeon plans to build a theme park in Coron. Such mass tourist attraction may destroy the health and beauty of a unique marine ecosystem.

Palawan province is composed of the long and narrow Palawan Island, plus a number of smaller islands surrounding it, totaling roughly 1,780 islands. They stretch southwest towards Borneo (Malaysia) with limestone peaks rising from a jewel-like sea so clear, that you can almost see the expressions on the fish from above the surface. Slivers of gleaming white sand fringed with rustling palms rim many of these jungle-clad islands, while under the water, coral reefs flourish with an impressive diversity of tropical fish, offering some of the best diving in the world. Other attractions include unique wildlife, emerald lakes, and quaint fishing villages. Coron is home to plush resorts, and El Nido drips with natural beauty and is one of the most alluring islands in the chain. From here, you can island hop around the spectacular Bacuit archipelago. One of Palawan’s top attractions is the UNESCO-World Heritage-listed Puerto Princesa Subterranean River NP, an impressive limestone cave system with a long underground river.

Top 10 Islands World Palawan Puerto Princesa Subterranean River
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Source: wikipedia CC

In 2010, a group of environmentalists and geologists discovered that the underground river has a second floor, which means that there are small waterfalls inside the cave. They also found a cave dome measuring 300 m (980 ft) above the underground river, rock formations, large bats, a deep water hole in the river, more river channels, and another deep cave, as well as marine creatures and more. But deeper areas of the underground river are almost impossible to explore due to oxygen deprivation.

Top 10 Islands World Palawan Coron Island
Top 10 Islands World Palawan: Coron Island

Top 10 Islands World Palawan
Book a Hotel on on of the Palawan Islands

Top 10 Islands World Palawan. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here.

Top 10 Islands in the World: Fiji

Top 10 Islands in the World: Fiji | The friendly country of Fiji is every beach bum’s idea of heaven. One of Australia’s favorite tropical escapes, Fiji ticks all the paradise island boxes. Powdery white sand beaches, clear turquoise waters, teeming coral reefs, perfect weather … that’s all you need. Truly relaxed Fijian people welcome visitors with warm, friendly smiles. Conditions for diving, snorkeling, fishing, sunbathing – and in some areas even surfing – are all fantastic.

Top 10 Islands World Fiji
Fiji is every beach bum’s idea of heaven. Source: wikipedia (cc)

With more than 300 Fiji islands, it’s easy to find the perfect match, from luxurious celebrity hideaways and family-friendly resorts to the sublime Yasawa and Mamanuca group. And no matter how big your wallet, prawling under a palm tree and slipping into the silky warm seas is very rewarding to everybody. Fijians love young children, so this a fabulous destination for families looking to relax. Apart from a beach vacation you might also consider river rafting an option. It will be the most unique way of discovering rainforests at Upper Navua. The views are stunning. You can go through narrow passages and pass waterfalls, but still paddle around through some rafts.

Top 10 Islands World Fiji River rafting Fiji
River rafting Fiji. Source: wikipedia (cc)

Fiji is a diving mecca. An underwater world that is unadulterated, beautifully intact and teeming with life. With over 1,200 species of fish to admire, and a colourful display of both soft and hard corals, divers are spoilt by the sheer diversity of sea life on offer.

Top 10 Islands World Fiji diving mecca
Top 10 Islands in the World: Fiji. The island of Fiji is a diving mecca.

It might sound funny, but the Islands of Fiji are located in between France, New Zealand and Australia – territories :) Fiji has one of the most developed economies in the Pacific due to an abundance of forest, mineral, and fish resources. Today, the main sources of foreign exchange are its tourist industry and sugar exports. Fiji has a significant amount of tourism with the popular regions being Nadi, the Coral Coast, Denarau Island, and Mamanuca Islands. The biggest sources of international visitors by country are Australia, New Zealand and the United States, but China is catching up recently too.

Where to stay on Fiji Islands

For backpackers and low budget travelers there are options! 16 to be exact. Booking.com lists them all under 50 Euros per night. Ahead of the pack: Colo-I-Suva Rainforest Eco Resort on Suva Island, and Nanuya Island Resort. At 250+ Euros options become abundant. 77 resorts want to have your attention. The front runners with ratings at 9+ out of 10: Likuliku Lagoon Resort on Malolo Island (with whooping 1200 Euros per night) and Qamea Resort & Spa on Qamea Island (“just” 1000 Euros per night). If this is still below your average spending power, book a beach villa at Vomo Island Resort, coming at 1500 Euros per night.

Top 10 Islands World Fiji
5-star Likuliku Resort, Fiji.

Top 10 Islands World Fiji Qamea Resort
Qamea Resort & Spa.

Top 10 Islands World Fiji Vomo Island Resort
Vomo Island Resort.

Top 10 Islands World Fiji
Fiji natives.

Top 10 Islands World Fiji Nausori-Highlands
Fiji: Navala village in Nausori-Highlands

Top 10 Islands World Fiji
Fiji: Mamanuca Island. Welcome to paradise!

Top 10 Islands World Fiji
Book a hotel in Fiji

Top 10 Islands World Fiji. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel News here.