The World’s Most Luxurious Beach Resorts

Luxury hotels are easy to find in urban areas, but what if you want a top-of-the-line experience right on the beach? Enter the over-the-top luxury beach resort. These ultra-luxe spots have the same superb service and gorgeous facilities as their city counterparts, but also have the low-key vibe of a quintessential beach vacation.

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
Tucked away in a residential neighborhood along Hawaii’s Kona-Kohala Coast, this Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star resort has an abundance of unique luxury amenities, from a 1.8-million gallon snorkeling pond to outdoor showers made of lava rock. The resort created its own sheltered swimming areas with native materials, so you can swim in clear Hawaiian waters. Each guest room has a view of the Pacific Ocean, thanks to the resort’s four horseshoe coves that line the beach.

Sprawled out on a hillside in southern Bali, Amanusa has 35 thatched-roof suites and exudes a palpable sense of serenity. Each suite is decked out with a private terrace and some have stunning views of the Indian Ocean, outdoor showers and private swimming pools. Head down the hillside to the Amanusa Beach Club for luxury beach lounging — snag one of the nine beach bales, each with two lounge chairs surrounded by pristine white sand.

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island
Five-Star golf and beautiful beaches go hand-in-hand at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. The resort — located on a 10,000-acre barrier island off the coast of South Carolina — is designed as an antebellum Southern estate with gracious Southern hospitality. The friendly staff can arrange for chairs, umbrellas and towels so all you have to do is walk past the luxury pool piazza to hit the sand. Want to swing your sticks? Play one of the island’s five championship courses.

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc
For more than 140 years, this has been the crème de la crème resort on the Côte d’Azur in France, and now more than ever due to its recent renovation. With 118 rooms, suites and villas, Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc is private yet convenient —it’s just 15 minutes to downtown Cannes and located within the artsy town of Antibes. The service team will see to your every whim whether you decide to take a dip in the beautiful saltwater infinity-edged pool or lounge in the cabanas that line the rocky coast of the Mediterranean.

Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru
Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru’s 102 villas are the epitome of paradise — some branch off the jetty and jut out onto the water, while others lie on a picturesque beach. Most of the villas and bungalows have private plunge pools and the ones that don’t have the ocean as their playground. The Maldivian-style design is accented by all the modern trappings of a luxury resort such as flat-screen TVs and mini-bars.

Turtle Island Resort
A private isle in Fiji, Turtle Island is outfitted with just 14 cottages. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by your “bure mama,” a go-to person for anything you need during your stay. Overlooking the legendary Blue Lagoon, thatched-roof cottages — known as “bures” — are exotically lavish. Each is outfitted with an open-air shower and unique Fijian artwork. Whether you rent out the entire island or just one cottage, all food, service and amenities are included in the price.

The St. Regis Monarch Beach
For standout views of the Pacific, a championship golf course and primo service, visit the Five-Star St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point, Calif. The 172-acre property has three pools and a Five-Star Mediterranean-inspired spa. A shuttle will bring you to and from the beach where your personal St. Regis butler can arrange for you to have a beach chair and umbrella, as well as a margarita (if you so desire, and we hope that you do). Done relaxing? Hike the scenic bluff trail overlooking Dana Point Harbor — keep your eyes peeled for blue whales and pods of dolphins.

Photos Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Viceroy Hotel Group, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and Montage Laguna Beach

Waltair’s Sky Diving Camp MYSORE (October, 2012)

The Final season of 2012 Sky Diving Camps are back again….starting this OCTOBER…

The Waltair Group is conducting this camp in association with the ISPA (Indian Skydive & Parachute Association).. We thank the ISPA for their patronage and support..
We know it has been a long wait for all our enthusiasts. With scores of calls and emails flowing in every single day enquiring about our next camp dates and location, we are finally pleased to announce the beginning of the Sky dives this October, 2012 onwards.
Calling all enthusiasts, first time jumpers willing to experience Tandem Jumps & Static Line Jumps to join us…
Free Fallers most welcome…

Fly over the gorgeous city of Mysore in your private little Cessna. Experience the hawk eye view of the city as it lights up like a bride. The highly talked about Mysore Palace, Vrindavan Gardens, the beautiful erstwhile Sultanate of Tipu Sultan will be below you to enjoy with your friends this season. Join us for a 20 minutes of unforgettable memory you would cherish for a lifetime Skydiving and Parachuting camps and courses in India.


Important Information:

For Tandem Jumpers:

Jumps will be carried out on all days from 20 – 28th Oct, 2012.

Participants need to report in the Mysore Airbase as per their date, time and jump slot allotted to them during their booking and registration.

For Static Line Jumpers:

• We would be conducting 4 batches. You and your friends can join us on any of these as below :
• Batch 1 : 19 – 21 Oct (Weekend)
• Batch 2 : 22 – 23 Oct (Weekdays)
• Batch 3 : 24 – 25 Oct (Weekdays)
• Batch 4 : 26 – 28 Oct (Weekend)

• Ground training for Weekend batches  1 and 4, will be conducted in Mysore Airbase on 19th and 26th Oct respectively. These batches are ideal for people from everywhere. Jumpers would be required to plan their stay for at least 2 nights in Mysore for this course.

• Ground training for Weekday batches 2 and 3 would be conducted in Bangalore on 13th and 14th Oct respectively. Address of the same would be communicated during registrations. Weekday batches are exclusively for jumpers from Bangalore. Jumpers can come for their scheduled jumps as per their batch, date and time allotted and they therefore do not need to stay back in Mysore for these batches.

Jump Cost includes –

– State of the Art training facilities and Instruction, all Equipment Hire Charges.
– Videos for your jumps and landing.
– Jump Cost, Log Books & Certificates.
– All Discounts and Taxes.

Cancellation/ Refund Policy –

In case of cancellations and refunds:

– 80% of the net amount would be refunded for Cancellations on or before 21 days of the camp dates.

– 60% of the net amount would be refunded for Cancellations on or before 14 days of the camp dates.

-Cancellations within 14 days are Non-refundable.

Dive Adjustment Policy –

In case you’ve paid up and are unable to make it to the camp, your total paid up amount would be adjusted with any Dive you undertake with us within a year at any of our Drop Zone locations across India.


Depending on the time of the year and weather permitting, you will either make your static line parachute jump on the saturday, or on the Sunday after some revision parachute lessons.
You will board the plane with the rest of your fellow class mates under the supervision of your static line instructor ready for the climb to altitude of between 3,200 – 3,500 feet.
When it is safe to do so, you will be despatched from the aircraft by your instructor and your static line parachute will open automatically by the static line.
It’s then up to you to navigate your canopy back to the landing area with the help of another instructor on the ground talking to you giving you some helpful pointers on your radio.
The canopy ride is about 3 minutes, so plenty of time for you to take in the birds eye views as well as enjoying flying your canopy.
Once safely on the ground, you will receive a de-brief from your instructor. Then smile for the camera as you are presented your certificate for completing your Static Line Jump.

A Tandem Skydive is the quickest and easiest way to experience the exhilaration of being in freefall! Strapped to a highly qualified tandem instructor you will jump from 9,000 – 10,000 feet falling at speeds of around 120mph before your parachute is deployed for you to enjoy the views as you float back to the ground. No previous experience is necessary and it takes just 20 minutes to be trained to make the jump!

What to Expect:
Training for your tandem parachute jump is simple and takes around 20 minutes, covering the following:
> The tandem parachute equipment and how it works.
> How you will be attached to your tandem instructor.
> What you need to do when you exit the aircraft.
> What is expected of you during free fall.
> What happens during the canopy ride and landing process.

When it’s your turn, you will be given a jumpsuit, hat and goggles, and then fitted into your harness.
Then you walk with your tandem instructor to board the plane where you will then be securely attached to your instructor.
The plane will climb to an altitude of between 10,000 – 12,000 feet.
When it is safe to do so, you and your tandem instructor will move to the door ready to exit the plane!
On leaving the aircraft, you will freefall reaching a speed of 120mph before your tandem instructor opens the parachute at around 5,000 feet.

You then get to enjoy the local views, gliding through the air whilst suspended underneath your tandem parachute. You may even get the chance to take control and fly the canopy back to the landing area!
As you get near to the ground it’s time to wave to your friends and family and then feet up whilst your tandem instructor takes control and lands the canopy.
Then smile for the camera as you are presented your certificate for completing your tandem skydive.

Happy Landings!!!

Cheers & Blue Skies,
Team Waltair Escapade Thrills

+91 7259822869/ +91 9820156817

Fitness for Travelling – a Two Pronged Approach.

Fitness is an important part of both adventure sports and travel. Its importance in adventure sports is unquestionable as it enables to reach advanced levels of the sport and thus simply experiencing more. It’s important for travel as it helps to cover not only a greater number of places but also visit locations that involve considerable physical efforts like trekking and climbing. Improving fitness also has innumerable added benefits in travelling and adventure sports like better immunity and improved muscle & bone health.

There is a simple two pronged approach to achieve physical fitness – Exercise and Nutrition. Both are to be combined optimally to increase strength and stamina in a safe and healthy manner.

1.       Exercise

One has an option between –

a. Resistance/Weight Training, and

b. Aerobic Endurance Training (involving activities like yoga, dancing, running and swimming).

Many choose between the two based on the activities they take up. For example, marathon runners & long-distance trekkers choose more Endurance type workouts while wrestlers opt for Resistance training. The choice should be primarily based on what activity one enjoys the most. Remain interested and watch the results!

Example can be taken from Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Fighters. Their sport involves the ability to both deliver/receive hard body impacts, which requires immense body strength, and being able to endure many rounds that require stamina and endurance. Hence, they go for a mix of both Resistance and Endurance Training. Some MMA athletes even practice Yoga to correct their body posture (required to execute complex moves and combinations) and breathing.

A mix of Resistance and Endurance training helps in Muscle building, Core conditioning and improving blood circulation in our body. One can avail both the benefits of –

a.  Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) effect or Afterburn, where body takes in more oxygen to bring it back to resting state, thus increasing metabolism and fat-burn in the process, and

b. Hypertrophy, which is simply the process when muscles get trained to handle greater strains and thus resulting in more strength & size. It also reduces the chances of muscle injury.

Some of the benefits of this combination are –

a. Increased testosterone levels

b. Increase in bone density

c. Reduction of chances of Hill Sickness caused due to lack of Oxygen in high altitudes

d. Increase in muscle strength and endurance thus offsetting geriatric diseases

We have different forms of this mix of exercise like Circuit Training and Crossfit.

Crossfit has recently been introduced in India and is followed by the military, top athletes, and even celebrities like Jason Statham (of ‘Transporter’ fame) and Arjun Rampal.

However, before undertaking any sort of exercise, a Doctor’s advice must be taken to determine whether one is medically fit to undertake the chosen activity. The activity must also be performed under the guidance of an expert in that activity.

2.       Nutrition

We can say that health and fitness is 20% exercise and 80% nutrition. What we eat determines our body shape and overall health. Exercises are effective only when the right food is consumed.

When people seek to change their food habits to become healthy, everyone thinks of the term ‘Diet.’ However, there’s a very wrong notion that it involves consuming low amount of food and starve for considerable periods of time. However, let’s take the example of Hong Kong where people eat a lot. They take approximately 5 to 6 meals daily on an average. However, the portion of each meal is small and the foods they consume are healthy. This habit is a really effective way to diet in the following ways:

a. It keeps hunger in check as the body gets regularly supplied with nutrients. It also keeps the body metabolism going, thus food getting processed more efficiently resulting in better digestive system,

b. Risk of binging on food and alcohol gets virtually eliminated

c. Energy levels are maintained throughout the day.

The important part is to strike the correct balance of nutrients that we consume based on our environment and activities. People in southern India consume high amount of curd and spices as their combination acts as preservatives to keeps the body cool in the prevailing tropical weather. Activity wise, long distance runners consume greater amount of carbohydrates to get energy while pugilists consume more Proteins to aid in muscle building.

The tough part is the first few weeks of switching to a healthier diet where one tends to get attracted towards junk food. A simple solution is to actually have junk food occasionally but in small quantities. This helps in satisfying our cravings and to avoid binge eating. After all, one deserves a reward for following a healthy diet! Some tips for a better diet are:

a. Switch to healthier modes of cooking. Grilled, baked & stir-fried food taste just as great.

b. Olive oil, Sunflower oil and, to an extent, Mustard oil easily replaces more processed oils that are normally used in cooking. Limit consumption of oil though. Also, use non-stick cookware.

c. Nuts lower risk of blood clots and improve cholesterol profile. It’s high on nutrients and energy value. It’s perfect for snacking when hungry between meals. It should be taken in moderation though. Try Almonds, Walnuts and Peanuts but check if you are allergic to them or not.

d. Fruits are a storehouse of essential vitamins and minerals required for essential bodily functions and boosting body immune system. Fruits are not only the perfect breakfast but also serves well as snacks. Fruit juices are also the perfect substitute to fizzy cold-drinks.

It’s easy to cut off unhealthy food from our dietary intake, but pretty tough to hit on the right combination of food and thus one can take a dietician’s help. However, even a few basic changes by choosing healthier options make major differences.

Pavlova – A “Dessert” Safari of its own Kind!!

The Kiwis claim they invented it. The Aussies declare it as theirs. It is worth the fight for something crunchy and yet soft, topped with heavenly cream and having a wide variety of toppings. It’s a Meringue based dish and worth fantasizing about.


It’s a dessert that is popular in both Kiwi and Aussie culinary. There’s considerable proof that it has been invented in New Zealand, though there is still a dispute regarding its origin. This dish has been said to be inspired by a Russian ballerina named Anna Matveyevna Pavlova. She was one of the greatest ballerinas of her times. The dish probably got its name when people described it “as light as Pavlova.”
Pavlova comes in various sizes and shapes. The main variety comes from the toppings and the cream that is used in it. Traditionally, Passion Fruit is used as its topping. It’s widely available in both New Zealand and Australia. However various different fruits, like Apples, Strawberry and Blue Berries, can be used. It can also be multi-layered and can even vary in the basic flavors. Thus herein lays it popularity where it can be adapted to various taste buds. Not a very difficult dish to make, it serves as a wonderful dessert in the tables of food connoisseurs and those with a sweet tooth.

We provide below a recipe of Pavlova that was seen in the MasterChef Australia series:


  1. 150ml egg white (approximately 4 eggs)
  2. 1 cup (220g) caster (superfine) sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons corn flour, sifted
  4. 2 teaspoons white vinegar


  • Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F).
  • Place the egg white in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, whisking well, until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Add the corn flour and vinegar and whisk until just combined. Shape the mixture into an 18cm round on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper.
  • Reduce oven to 120°C (250°F) and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the Pavlova to cool completely in the oven.
  • Decorate with your desired toppings.

10 Incredible Travel Wonders

While dozens of architectural feats and natural phenomenon have made it onto lists of world wonders, not all exist today. The ones that do exist, however, often grab and hold the attention of tourists from around the world.


Image Credit: khalid almasoud

The fact that many of these man-made and natural wonders still exist in any form makes each one special in its own right. Years ago, a travel writer by the name of Howard Hillman compiled a list of the most popular world wonders visited by travelers. Here are the 10 sites he chose to include.



Image Credit:Sam and Ian

The complex of monuments found just outside of Cairo, Egypt is more commonly referred to as the Giza Necropolis. Within this collection of monuments you will find the Great Pyramid of Giza – the only one of the original “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World” that still stands today. The complex includes the Pyramid of Khufu, the Phyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure – amongst many others.



Image Credit:SmokingPermitted

The Great Wall of China is a series of walls spanning across the northern border of China. Originally designed to protect the border from attacks throughout the course of history, various sections of the wall have been built and rebuilt over time. Originally believed to span only 4,000 miles, more recent studies have shown that the wall is actually closer to 5,500 miles in length.
Image Credit: Christopher Chan



Image Credit:Stuck in Customs

The Taj Mahal is not a mosque, but a mausoleum, and stands in Agra, India. The mausoleum was originally built by Emperor Shah Jahan in order to honor Mumtaz Mahal – his favorite wife. Construction at the Taj Mahal was not completed until 1653 and the Persian, Indian, and Islamic styles combined represent the incredible diversity of Mughal architecture.
Image Credit:prakhar



Image Credit: szeke

Located in Peru’s Urubamba Valley, Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian site traced back to the Inca. It is believed the Incas began construction during 1430 AD but was only used by Inca rulers for the next hundred years. Afterward it was simply abandoned and was not officially rediscovered until 1911, although historic documents show that the site may have been found as early as 1847.


Bali, Indonesia

Image Credit: ^riza^

The Indonesian island of Bali is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands situated between Lombok and Java. The island of Bali is known for being the home of most of the Hindu population of Indonesia. Bali is a particularly popular tourist destination and is incredibly well known for it’s cultural attractions, including dance, artwork, and music.



Image Credit: ScubaBeer

The Angkor Wat temple complex was built during the early 12th century by King Suryavarman II. The complex was used as the capital city of Cambodia for many years and even after it was abandoned remained a significant religious site. The historic complex is cherished by Cambodians, who have included an image of the temples on their national flag.
Image Credit:Stuck in Customs


Forbidden City

Image Credit: http2007

The Forbidden City is one of the most visited attractions in Beijing, China. Built during the early 1400′s, the complex currently houses a series of 980 buildings on more than 7.8 million square feet of land. The Forbidden City is still the center of the Chinese government, though many of the buildings are now under the control of the Palace Museum. Visitors to the Forbidden City have the opportunity to explore not only a huge part of Beijing’s history, but a collection of artwork collected throughout the Ming and Qing dynasties as well.



Image Credit: Marc oh!

The city of Bagan, found in Burma, was once the epicenter of an ancient civilization. Sadly, many of the beautiful temples and pagodas here are in desperate need of repair, but the Burmese military refuses to let UNESCO name Bagan as a World Heritage Site. As a result, many of the temples and pagodas in this stunning collection have received repairs using materials that bear no resemblance to the original architectural designs.
Image Credit: kamoda



Image Credit: stevesheriw

The Karnak Temple Complex can be found near Luxor, Egypt and is made up of a series of chapels, temples, and buildings that are believed to have been built sometime after 16thcentury BC. The Karnak complex tells the story of the development of Thebes, although it is believed that the complex did not become an important part of history until sometime after the Eleventh Dynasty.


In the Basin of Mexico you’ll find a collection of pyramid-style structures known as Teotihuacan. The archaeological site is believed to have been built during the pre-Columbian era and consists of not only residential complexes but murals, and pyramids as well. While historians have not been able to identify Teotihuacan as a major epicenter for a specific empire, they have been able to determine that it was one of the largest cities to exist at the time – housing over 100,000 individuals at its zenith.


Image Credit: El Fotopakismo

Each of these wonders is spectacular in its own right. More important – each one still exists today. There’s no excuse for missing out on some of the greatest historic sites the world has to offer. Include one of these sites on your next vacation itinerary and you’ll quickly realize just how special each really is!

Article Courtesy: Jennifer Gregory

Bike maintenance tips for monsoon

Monsoon is considered as the bikers’ favorite season for bike riding. Who doesn’t love riding a bike amidst raindrops and a cold weather and greenery all around? But along with fun, monsoon brings along a number of problems for bikes and riders too. Here are some very vital and interesting tips for maintenance of your dearest bikes this monsoon. After all, your bike needs care too.

Before the Gods start showering Earth with rain, it is important that you shower your bike with timely check-ups and servicing. Regularly repeating this routine before the monsoon, provides negligible chances of your bike giving you tensions and expenses. The engine, too, wouldn’t be a problem if it is checked upon time to time.

Proper functioning of brakes are a must for safety of the rider and the surrounding atmosphere as even the slightest of errors in brakes may lead to unforeseen danger and damage. Ensuring the cleanliness of your liners, discs and the inside of your drum brakes should be your topmost priority. Make sure your brakes are appropriately oiled regularly.

3. TYRES :
The legs of your bike i.e. tyres should be in proper shape and the rubber of the tyre should be in good condition. If you notice a slight sign of the tyre getting worn out, immediately go for a tyre change as worn out tyres are an invitation to accident. The tyre treads are the ones providing grip by dispersing the standing water in monsoon. So, for this job, the treads must be deep from the centre as well as from the sides. The treads should be minimum 2.3mm deep as they are the ones responsible for appropriate grip on those ruthless and troublesome roads. If the treads are less than 2-3mm, its definitely time for a change of tyres for you to be safe. The pressure in those heavy and huge tyres highly affects your grip. Make sure the pressure in the tyres is optimum for the wet season.

Try to park your deary bike under a shed even when the halt is for some minutes. Avoid parking under trees as there are major chances of tree branches falling down on your bikes because of the torturing showers. Just like you wear a raincoat in rains, provide your bike with its raincoat too. Keep your bike covered when parked.

5. RIDER :
Just like your bike, you yourself must be in good condition too. Wearing a protective gear while riding should be first in your list of riding. A rider totally drenched and wet in rains may succumb to momentary lapse in concentration leading to calamities. Waterproof jacket, gloves, helmets and knee pads are the armours of the riders in monsoon. The rider must be equipped with these armours.

Landscapes of Ladakh, India [Join us this July, 2012]

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Day 01: 14 Jul – Arrive Leh (By flight ex Delhi)
Meet on arrival Leh airport and transferred to the Hotel. Check in to the hotel for a complete day of rest wherein welcome tea and coffee will be served by the Hotel. Afternoon visit Leh Market, Leh Palace, Shankar Gompa and Shanti Stupa. Evening free at leisure.
Overnight at Hotel.

Day 02: 15 Jul – In Leh
After breakfast we take you for a tour of the famous Gurudwara Patthar Sahib, the Magnetic Hill, Hall of Fame & Nimo to witness the confluence of Zanskar & Indus River enroute visiting Spituk & Phyang Monasteries. Evening free to explore.
Overnight at hotel.

Day 03: 16 Jul – Leh/ Khardongla/ Hunder (120 kms/ 6 hrs) – Nubra Valley
Travel by surface from Leh to Hunder enroute visiting Khardongla pass, which is the highest motorable pass in the world 5600 m and has been recorded in the Guiness Book of World Records. Continue drive to Deskit visiting the Gompa and then further to Hunder. On arrival check in at camp. In the evening visit the sand dunes and optional bactirian camel ride.
Overnight in beautiful organic camps.

Day 04: 17 Jul – Hunder/ Panamik/ Samastaling/ Leh (170 kms/ fullday)
Travel by surface from Hunder to Leh enroute visiting hot springs at Panamik and Samastaling monastery. Later drive back to Leh. On arrival check in.
Overnight at hotel.

Day 05: 18 Jul – Leh/ Pangong lake
After early Breakfast leave for Pangong Lake (14,500 ft), through Changla Pass 17,350 ft.,it is the third highest motorable road in the world. 1200 hrs. Arrive Pangong, it is the highest salt water Lake in the World, shared by two countries India & China. Enjoy the beauty of the lake on the Banks of Pangong Tso while appreciating the changing Colors and fascinating high altitude of the Lake. Camp overnight.
Overnight at Organic Camp in Pangon Tso.

Day 06: 19 Jul – Depart Leh (by flight)
Spend the day traveling back to Leh. On arrival check in by afternoon. Evening at leisure.
Overnight at hotel.

Day 07: 20 Jul – Depart Leh (by flight)
Morning in time transfer to airport to board flight for Delhi. End of tour.

Package Cost: Rs.21000/- per guest.

Package Inclusions:

  • All Accommodations in ‘A’ Category Properties and Organic Camps in Leh, Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso.
  • Breakfasts & Dinners.
  • Private Vehicle (SUV) for all tours and sightseeing.
  • All Taxes.

P.S.: Arrangements can be made at extra costs on actuals for guests willing to drive down from Delhi/ Chandigarh/ Manali to Leh.

5 Simple Ways to Pack Your Backpack Lighter

Here are my toiletries...

Here are my toiletries…

You don’t have to be a minimalist to pack lighter when you travel. It’s not about scaling everything down to the point where you claim you own just “five” things.

Instead, packing light is about being able to be flexible, to make taking transportation much easier to cope with, and just to save your back from suffering throughout your journey.

You may have already seen my packing list, and here are 5 of the ways that I lower the overall weight and size of my backpack.

My new backpack

1. Use a Smaller Bag

This might be an obvious way to scale back on the things you bring with you, but seriously speaking, no matter what size our bag is, we’ll probably fill it up.

Have you ever seen a backpacker walking about with a half empty backpack?

No, in fact most of the time I see backpacks maxed out and overflowing with extra things hanging from strings and carabiners.

Possibly the easiest thing to do when you want to pack lighter is to use a smaller bag – that way when your bag is full, it still won’t be too big.

2. Bring Less Clothing

Clothing is one of those things that I see nearly everyone bring too much of. Sure you need the basics and you need a few extras, but do you really need seven shirts and seven pairs of underwear?

I travel with no more than around three sets of clothes, sometimes with just two.

Now of course, you have to take into account the weather conditions where you’ll be traveling, but really think about how many clothes you actually need.

Remember you can wash your clothes in a sink each day or even buy new clothes wherever you are.

3. Hold Back on Toiletries

I’ve honestly seen travelers with toiletry kits that are nearly the size of my entire backpack!

Stuffed inside are full bottles of shampoo, entire boxes of band-aids, facial creams and who knows what else. Depending on your own physical needs and comforts, you can probably still cut back on some of the unnecessary toiletries. Also remember again that just about everything toiletry wise will be available in the nearest store in whatever city you’ll be in.

4. One Pair of All-Purpose Shoes

Shoes are extremely bulky and often quite heavy… but they are indeed important, depending upon where you’re going or the activities you’ll be doing.

The way I travel, I bring one all-purpose pair of shoes which I use for walking, hiking or jogging and I carry one pair of flip flips which I actually prefer to wear the majority of the time.

These two footwear options are probably all you’ll need for a normal backpacking trip and any extra footwear will only make your bag heavier with little use.

5. Less Books

don’t mean less reading material (I think reading is a great thing to do when you travel), but I do mean less physical reams of paper that are outrageously heavy.

I know, it is really nice to have a physical book to read while you travel (maybe 1 or 2), but a whole stack of books may not be worth its weight. You can often find used books when you need them or trade with other travelers. Also consider an electronic book reader where you’ll be able to store hundreds of books on a tiny device.

When it comes to guide books, either don’t bother at all and just rely on information you find online, or I’ve seen people tear only the useful pages out of guides and ditch the useless portion.

I’m an advocate for traveling the way you feel most comfortable and we each have our own unique wants and needs. However I strongly believe that lightening the load is directly correlated with getting the most out of your trip.

These are just 5 suggestions, but there are countless other ways you can cut weight from your bag, so you can travel with ease and give your back a break!

Article Contributed by: Mark Wiens

About the Author:

 is the author of 72 posts on Go Backpacking. Mark was raised in central Africa before migrating back to the US for University. After graduating, he decided to continue traveling the world. On Migrationology, he shares the cultural side of travel from a slow paced local perspective that often revolves around his love for eating all forms of food. Join him onFacebook, follow him on Twitter @migrationology, and add him on Google Plus.

World Champion Free Diver Free Falls into Blue Hole – Belize

World famous French free-diver Guillaume Nery who currently holds the world record for constant weight free diving (without fins) to a depth of 113 meters (370 feet), showcases his artistic side in a stunning video which went instantly popular.

The world champion freediver took time off during a freediving competition at Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas (the World’s second deepest blue hole which plunges 202 meters/663 ft to the ocean floor) to make a short movie that emphasizes aesthetic images and innovative camera moves. The video featuring Guillaume Nery base jumping underwater into the depths of the Blue hole, takes your breath away just watching it. However, Nery clarified earlier rumors that he never reached the bottom which is at an impossible depth of 663 feet! Impressively enough though, the video is filmed entirely on breath hold by Guillaume’s girlfriend and french champion Julie Gautier.

Article Courtesy: 

Underground Resort in China

Sky-high hotels and resorts are invariably impressive – shooting up as if to kiss the clouds. But what if a resort was created inside a deep gorge – would it look equally spectacular?
Here are some artist impressions of the Songjiang Shimao Hotel project by engineering and design consultancy, Atkins.

Songjiang Shimao Hotel is a resort that includes extreme sports facilities, visitor centre and a five-star luxury hotel with some levels of the hotel situated under water.

The unique resort is being built into an abandoned, water-filled quarry.

A naturally-lit internal atrium incorporates the existing rock face, with its waterfalls and green vegetation.

The design solution for the resort includes the use of green roofing and exploiting the site’s geothermal heat to generate electricity and heating.

Atkins is providing the architecture, structural and civil engineering services for this leisure resort in China.

The resort includes extreme sports facilities, visitor centre and a five-star luxury hotel with some levels of the hotel situated under water.

(Credit for all Images: Atkins)

Radisson Blu Hotel Berlin’s Spectacular AquaDom

The Radisson Blu Hotel, Berlin (Germany), which is situated on the River Spree, directly across from the Berlin Cathedral, appears from the exterior to be just another ordinary luxury hotel. Once you enter the hotel, nothing prepares you for the sight of the giant cylindrical Aquarium towering 25m (82 feet) smack in the center of the lobby.

Meet the Radisson Hotel’s  AquaDom, the world’s largest cylindrical aquarium filled with one-million liters of  saltwater and houses thousands of fish.  With a 11 meter (36 feet) diameter, this monstrous tank has a glass-enclosed elevator through the center of the tank through which visitors and guest can travel up to reach the sightseeing point and restaurant under the glass roof.

The AquaDom is said to contain around 2600 fish from 56 different species and is maintained by the Sea Life Berlin Aquarium located next door to the hotel. Two full time Scuba divers are responsible for the care and feeding of the aquarium and its inhabitants, and one can often see them swimming around in full scuba gear with the fish as an added attraction. Sea Life Berlin conducts a Sea Life discovery tour which concludes with the two-story elevator ride through the middle of the AquaDom, during which guests learn about both the tropical-fish inhabitants and the architecture of the AquaDom.
Construction of the AquaDom was no easy feat, inaugurated in December 2003; the acrylic glass cylinder was manufactured in four pieces and constructed on-site on top of a nine meter concrete foundation. The pieces of acrylic were crane lifted into place during the construction of the hotel itself, as the rest of the hotel was gradually being built around the tank. The estimated cost of construction of the AquaDom is said to around 12.8 Million Euros.

Guest staying at the Radisson can opt for AquaDom facing suites which have windows looking directly to the Aquarium, which must be one amazing view to wake up to each morning.

Photos from flickr by: EagerEyes, nrubi, Jean-Louis Paquay, {erikv}, vxla

Article Courtesy: NEVIN

Sir Richard Branson’s New Boy Toy- An ‘Underwater Plane’

Sir Richard Branson billionaire Entrepreneur, recently showed yet again his extravagant side with the unveiling of his new aero submarine christened the “Necker Nymph” which is unlike anything else in the world. Branson, who already owns a mobile phone company, a record label, an airline, a Caribbean island,space travel and a handful of luxury restaurants just added one more frontier to his portfolio- The Sea!

Underwater Plane Video

Richard Bransons Underwater Plane 3

The 3-seater submersible built in the likeness of a fighter plane, uses the same principles of flight through air underwater. The Necker Nymph that runs on battery that’s so quiet it just glides through the water with very low noise emissions and low light to avoid interfering with fragile ecosystems. It has an open cockpit and passengers use scuba gear, stored in the craft which can dive to depths of up to 130ft. The unique submersible cost around 415,000 British pounds and the billionaire has lofty aspirations to eventually create a plane that explore depths of 35,000 feet. Designed by Hawkes Ocean Technologies, the Necker Nymph is the first underwater plane to ever be designed and an entirely new class of vehicle.

Richard Bransons Underwater Plane 5

Richard Bransons Underwater Plane

As of now it’s a great Boy-Toy to glide around reefs and explore dive sites without having to do any work at all and Branson hopes to uncover some shipwrecks as it can cover more ground than just scuba diving. Sir Richard recently allowed cameras to shoot as he went for his first ride on the Nymph, describing the experience as ‘brilliant’ through microphones fitted on his scuba gear. To catch his ‘virgin’ flight underwater in his shiny new and very awesome underwater plane take a look at this clip from Oprah, where he gave presenter Nate Berkus a tour of his Island, yacht and aero submarine.

Richard Bransons Underwater Plane 2

Richard Bransons Underwater Plane 4

For guests who spend $88,000 to rent Branson’s high-end yacht for one week, the Necker Nymph can be hired out for an equally princely sum of $25,000 per week.

Article courtesy: 

Waltairians speak up on the WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY

“Free as a Bird
It’s the next best thing to be

Free as a Bird
Home – Home and Dry,
Like a homing Bird I’ll fly
As a Bird on wings
Whatever happened to,
the life that we once knew?
Can we really live without each other?
Where did we lose the touch,
that seemed to mean so much?
It always made me feel so
Free as a Bird
It’s the next best thing to be
Free as a Bird”

– Free as a Bird by The Beatles

Remember our schooldays…. The joy of getting dirty in the playing grounds, covered in wet mud, returning home stinky and getting life threats from our mother?

Remember going off to picnics with our gang of friends, singing to our hearts’ content, playing games like ‘truth or dare,’ cooking with our own hands while some strumming their guitars. How about the days when we were found not in our classes but only in canteens or in the campus lawns – anytime of the day and night, out for long walks, sitting under the shades of trees while indulging in the juiciest of all gossips, simply sneaking away with our college crushes or busy with organizing, participating and enjoying the college fests.

The climb up the hills and mountains, and enjoying that cup of warm tea when we last went with just our backpacks enjoying in the nearest hill station, during the weekend holidays or just bunking the exams we weren’t prepared for. How about the time when we walk on the beach, holding the hands of our life partners and expressing our deepest feelings, or planning to do so.

Remember the sensation when we walk on the wet green grass in our bare feet when we see a lawn, whether it’s in that tiny little patch in front our office or our home? The feeling when the rains arrive, no matter how busy we are when deep inside we feel restless, having a burning desire to go out and get wet in the rains not caring whether we are in our most expensive business suits. The beautiful sensation when it’s cool in the night with the moon in its full radiance and we go out either walking or driving a long, aimless distance. 

No matter who we are, in our daily lives we all love to be in touch with our nature in our little ways. Our simple joys and happiness are tied up with Mother Nature and some of our most precious memories were formed by going one step closer to her. Some of us enjoy by becoming adventure junkies or simply doing a lot of outdoor activities. But almost all of us enjoy by simply stepping out of our air-conditioned and glass-steel-concrete confines of our work and houses. We all enjoy the Nature in our own simple ways. We feel the unbridled freedom and joy of a bird, something no amount of material or man-made pleasures can give us.

Today is World Environment Day. We know the Environment, our Mother Nature, needs us as much as we need her. She needs our love, care and protection as much as we need hers. In our daily busy lives, we often forget the deep bond we share with her and end up doing things that harm the environment.

We know how to give our love, care and protection. All that’s required to do of us is to do it in our small ways. Our individual little efforts will combine to make a positive difference to our fragile environment. Let our future generations enjoy the simple joys and happiness that we have enjoyed. 

Everyone counts in this initiative and World Environment Day relies on you to make this happen!
We call for action – organize a neighborhood clean-up, stop using plastic bags and get your community to do the same, plant a tree or better yet organize a collective tree planting effort, walk to work, start a recycling drive . . . the possibilities are endless.

Waltair opens up Pondicherry as the new Drop Zone for Sky Diving starting April 2012

A warm morning in Pondicherry, Opening up your eyes to the soothing sounds of the Wind and the Sea, with the Bright Orange Sun rising across the Horizon.

10000 feet… The Fastest way down!!

Nah! We ain’t talking of just waking up in your room to a Hot bed tea in Pondy. Rather this is what you would X-perience when you open up your eyes early in the morning, after you jump off a tiny CESSNA aircraft from 10000 feet.

Imagine gushing @ 120 miles per hour towards the Earth for a neat 40 seconds, the Sun, the Sea, the Terrain, the Feeling, would never be the same again until you decide to Fly with us once more. That’s what we bring to you inPondicherryfor you. SKYDIVE!!

Alongside the French Riviera of the lovely tiny coastaltownshipofPondicherry, commonly pampered as Pondy, you can find Surfers, Jet boats, Water scooters, etc. The abode of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Pondy has been a very popular destination for both Indians and Foreigners.

Geared up to Take off for the BLUE SKIES!!
Just Arrived from Up Above!!



A destination for Pilgrims, Leisure Travelers, Foodies, Bikers, Honeymooners and now a major attraction for ADVENTURERS, this place certainly has the WOW factor to sweep you off your feet.

Some lovely food joints simply add to the flavor of the experience… Quite literally!!






Whether you’ve visited this gorgeous place in the Southern part ofIndiaor not, doesn’t really matter.

Coz now Pondy has something much more to offer than what it has ever done so far!!

Connect with us to plan your Next Escapade to the Peaceful Pondy!!



THE WALTAIR BROTHERS…. Karan (Left) & Ronak (Right)
The Marine Drive
By the Rocky Beach












Cheers & Blue Skies,

Team Waltair


The National Safety Day – March 4, 2012

The theme for “National Safety Day 2012” is:

“Ensure safe and healthy working environment – A fundamental human right”

Since inception, we focused our policies principally on safety elements. We are, as a matter of fact, obsessed with it.

Amongst the strongest pillars, upon which we stand tall today, is Safety. The inherent risks of adventure sports make them worth playing for our clients and we, ensure they enjoy the thrill of such risks, safely! Hence, the importance of safety that’s embedded in the very way we operate, perform & excel.

Our team re-emphasizes the importance of safety and continues to improve the various safety measures we routinely undertake. We provide the highest safety standards to ensure safe yet thrilling activities to our clients, who ultimately become inseparable part of our Waltair family.

This day, on the National Safety Week, we resolve to remain committed as we maintain the highest standards of safety in all the activities that we offer, for we are, one family – the Waltair family.

Valentino Boogie Sky Diving Festival, Patiala

Valentine’s Day – the day all love smitten couples wait for. It’s the day bright red & pink flowers, cards, gifts, some chocolates and more are exchanged as promises are made. Couples, hand in hand, walk into cafés, restaurants, parks, malls, spas, pubs and the frenzy begins!! Many even go out for a romantic vacation at exotic locations.

However, in Patiala, amidst the land of five rivers – Punjab, people are planning to push their partners out of a plane mid-air and jump off themselves.

Love’s labor lost? Fed up with their partners? High on Patiala peg?

A closer look and these Punjabi Kudis and Mundas seem very happy about jumping off planes mid-air. They are actually excited and looking forward to jump off mid-air!

Turns out they want to try something different this Valentine’s Day. This is Punjab, the land of braves and the valiant. So, will they spend this day on mushy thoughts, clichéd lovey-dovey-softy acts meant for the flower-soft hearted and visiting the same old places they visit throughout the year?


Here things are done differently, with an open heart, letting out all pent-up feelings in the most boisterous manner and always trying out something new. It’s time to try out the adrenaline hit. What better way than to jump of a plane with a parachute behind their back and go sky-diving.

Thinking of it, it’s the ultimate way for the sona mundas to show off their ‘Macho’ to the soni kudis, to show how together they can live life on the very edge, evoking a sense of danger and taboo – ‘My Man happily jumps off a plane for and with me, top that!’

Not that the ladies are far behind. Throwing a serious challenge to the brotherhood, they too are gearing up to jump off. Why get bored sitting in a café or a restaurant while the guys try all the outdated moves to impress them? Just to think, all those hours of dressing up in their very best going waste for a couple of dim-witted guys. Jumping off a plane with a parachute along with the girls is an interesting and a far better way to celebrate the V-Day (also, quite symbolic of doing anything to get away from those dim-wit cowards). And yes, no need to bother having to impress others.

Whatever the reasons maybe for making the jump, we are providing the opportunities for the people to do it. It’s the season of love and Patiala sure is going to celebrate it in a very different and special way.  Come February 16, 2012 onwards, the skies of Patiala shall start getting dotted by colorful parachutes of skydivers celebrating St. Valentine’s Day, the season of love, by experiencing something unique –the sensation of dropping a few thousand feet from the sky, where only the Eagles dare, and letting go of all fears, enjoying unbridled freedom and excitement. The sensation and thrills of Skydiving!

The buzz has set in, people are talking about it and more people are rushing to book dates to skydive in Patiala. Mukul Ronak Das, CEO of Waltair Escapade Thrills, is already there with his team of skydiving experts and people are coming to Patiala for what can truly be called ‘Jinda Dil’ Experience for ‘Jinda Dil Punjabis’ in saada shaan Patiala.

So what are you doing this St. Valentine’s Day?

Welcome to Waltair Family!!

Born to Nature,

Born of Nature,

Born for Nature,

In it – Let’s Play

A step closer to our Mother Nature, playing in her lap..lets enjoy her vast, beautiful and diverse cradle. Let us help you discover and experience the natural joys long forgotten in our daily chores.

Jal (Water), Vayu (Air) and Prithvi (Earth) – We’d introduce you to new facets of these three conventional frontiers of our planet. Together, we discover, experience and conquer them all. Breaking our bonds and shackles, we’d overcome fears, unlearn and learn the ways of life..afresh! Feel the freedom & express your pent up emotions – oneness with the nature is our ultimate goal.

Join us!! Together, Let’s Play!

The Travel, Adventure, Food & Lifestyle Blog by the Waltair Group

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