Incredible India – Hannah Roth

Hello McCabe World Travelers! Hannah here reporting live from a whirlwind trip to India (finally got a free morning before our 11AM flight to Mumbai, the last city on our itinerary before we sadly have to depart to go back home to the states). It’s been a packed schedule, all so we can see as much as possible in our short 8 nights here…fitting 6 cities into such a restricted time frame is no small feat. My goal is to relay back to clients the tips, tricks, recommendations, and expertise to make your India adventure as amazing as mine has been

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A taste of Delhi traffic

 

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Tomb of Humayun

 

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A visit to Salaam Balak orphanage

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India is the kind of destination that seeps its way into your soul – the colors, the people, the religions, the architecture, the food! I knew going into this trip that it would be the kind of lifechanging experience that an adventure-seeker like me only hopes to have, and I was right on all counts. We started our journey in Delhi, a massive and teeming city. The traffic is almost as bad as in the DC area! We arrived to the Leela Palace New Delhi, a new building that was crafted with a true sense of place.
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The relaxing pool at the Leela Palace in Delhi
Our tour guide, Punim, was an absolute delight and helped ease us into the hustle of the city and the shock of a new culture. Greaves Tours does a magnificent job with coordinating all aspects of such foreign travel to make it a seamless and unforgettable experience. Stay tuned for some more India posts (there’s so much to tell and so much to see) and of course contact me at hannah@mccabeworld.com with any specific questions – I would love to chat!
By booking the Leela Palace through McCabe World Travel, a proud Virtuoso member, you will receive the following amenities:
  • Upgrade at time of booking, subject to availability
  • Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • A complimentary dinner for up to two people per room
    • once during the stay , excluding alcohol, taxes and gratuities ( 3 course menu, with a minimum value of USD 100 equivalent ) at Jamavar our Indian Specialty Restaurant.
  • Early check-in/late check-out
    • subject to availability

24 Hours in Hong Kong – Beth Jenkins

Reporting from the skies after a whirlwind 24 hours in Hong Kong! I’m en route to Bali and so excited to get there, but what a tease to only have 1 night to spend in the energizing city of Hong Kong.  When planning my Bali trip, my flight options included flying Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong.  I knew I had to make time to stop to see this booming modern city.  It is the perfect stopover city en route to many Asian destinations from the US and it’s a no brainer – no visa required, everyone speaks English, it’s super safe, and one of the most dynamic modern cities in the world.

The best decision we made was hiring a guide to help us efficiently see the city in the short time we had.  I trust Abercrombie & Kent Hong Kong with my clients so I arranged for a guide to meet us at the hotel and we’d go around the city for the day, on foot, by ferry, and by taxi. It was a great way to get around the city like a local and also cover lots of ground. Our guide Angela was excellent.  Originally from Shanghai, she has lived in Hong Kong most of her life and is a wealth of knowledge on the history of Hong Kong.  In a city that has completely transformed over the last 20 years, it is so cool to hear about it from someone who has experienced the city’s boom first hand.  A huge benefit of having an A&K guide includes skipping the line at the Victoria Peak tram – crucial as we would have wasted half our day in that line! A local guide also offers expert ordering advice at a dim sum lunch, and a perfect recommendation for a boutique filled with only Hong Kong designers (can’t wait to show off my new fall coat when I get home!).
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Our favorite parts of the day were:
  • exploring in Soho and Hollywood Road area… a very international and hip neighborhood full of shops, restaurants of every type of cuisine you can think of, galleries and bars.
  • visiting a Taoist temple (the oldest in Hong Kong) where they honor the gods of public service and martial arts. The scents were incredible as the ceiling is covered in hanging incense spirals which burn for days.
  • the bird park… think “dog park” but for birds. Yes, bird owners bring their birds to the bird park to socialize and chatter with their other bird friends. You wouldn’t want your pet bird to be lonely, would you?  The price of real estate in Hong Kong means most people in Hong Kong live in small condos and apartments, so having a larger pet like a dog or cat is not as feasible. Birds make the perfect pocket-size pet!
  • taking the ferry across Victoria Harbor. I wish that was my daily commute.
After a long day of running around Hong Kong, it was time for a cocktail! The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong in the ICC building boasts the highest bar in the world – Ozone – on the 118th floor.  It is amazing how one of the highest cities in the world can look so small when you see it from above.  (The good news: no, I did not have another fear-of-heights meltdown like at the Eiffel Tower)
We had the great privilege of laying our heads in one of the most iconic hotels in the world, the Peninsula Hong Kong.  The hotel is famous not only for its impeccable service (led by the gracious (and gorgeous) general manager Ms. Rainy Chan) and afternoon tea (perfect people watching), but also for its fleet of hunter green Rolls Royces.  It is an absolute MUST that you splurge on the Rolls Royce airport transfers when you are staying here.  It completes the whole experience of the stay… and you have a luxurious and smooth ride with wifi.  I highly recommend the Harbour View rooms in the Tower building, overlooking Victoria Harbour and with spectacular views of Hong Kong Island.  Waking up and falling asleep to the view is the definition of “sense of place”.
As members of Virtuoso, you receive the following amenities when you book the Peninsula Hong Kong through McCabe World Travel:
  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily Buffet breakfast for two
  • $100 USD equivalent Food and Beverage or Spa credit
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

Stay tuned for more of Beth’s adventures as she heads on to Bali here: http://bethvoyage.blogspot.com/

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Istanbul – The Spice of Life – Jessica Griscavage

I recently returned from Istanbul and was blown away. I had always dreamed of visiting this enchanted city and it truly lived up to all of my expectations. The city boasts history, culture, cuisine and some of the kindest, most genuine people I have ever met.

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While I visited many of the must-see sites including Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Blue Mosque, it’s no surprise to those who know me that the highlight for me was a visit to the Spice Bazaar.

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This bazaar is the home to both locals and tourists who are in search of spices, dried herbs, nuts, teas, dried fruits, and plenty of souvenirs. I walked away with three types of tea and spices that will last me for many meals to come. I have already enjoyed a number of new recipes and flavors thanks to my various purchases!

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Fun facts about this beautiful city:

-Istanbul is the only city in the world that straddles two continents: Asia and Europe.
-Tulips, the symbol of Holland, originated in Istanbul and were sent from Istanbul to Netherlands.
-The Grand Bazaar is the largest covered bazaar in the world, with over 3,000 shops
-Istanbul was the European Cultural Capital City in 2010, but has never hosted the Olympics.

Istanbul is a fabulous city to visit on its own, in combination with a full land tour of Turkey, or pre/post cruise.  Please contact me at jessica@mccabeworld.com for more details.

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