Monday, December 31, 2007

Ireland, Dublin, Cork City and Belfast


When I was in Europe in the 70's in Belgium, I did take the hovercraft over to United Kingdom. Only problem was, my visit was confined to London. I regretted not venturing further, for the Republic of Ireland, the third largest island in Europe,[1] and the twentieth largest island in the world, is just next door. I missed visiting Dublin, its capital city.

I had faced lots of difficulties and wasted much precious finding accommodation when I was traveling around Europe in the 70s which could have been better spent enjoying the sights and sound of the places I visit. Now with the convenient Internet, I can just book online my accommodation at online booking websites like Ireland Hotels


Dublin is not only the vibrant capital city of Ireland, it is also its economic, administrative and cultural center and largest city. It boasts of interesting nightlife full of pubs and tourist attractions. My colleague talks proudly of pub crawling as a student in Australia. If you like that, you can do exactly the same thing in Dublin. If you have interest to see an intricately decorated New Testament text dating back to 800 AD named Book of Kells, go to Trinity College, Ireland's oldest and most prestigious college.

A good day for you to plan your visit to Dublin will be on St. Patrick's Day on 17th March when a big parade will march through the city. It is part of a part of a five-day festival, a celebration of Irish culture as well as a Christian festival. See those attractive ladies in the photo above. Wouldn't you like to be there to watch? Online accommodations booking is available at Dublin Hotels

Cork City

Cork City, the administrative capital center of County Cork, Province of Munster is Ireland's third most populous city after Dublin and Belfast. You can find interesting sidestreets like the one in the photo above with sidewalk cafe.

It hosts many festivals, including

  • Midsummer Festival from mid June to mid July
  • .
  • Film Festival from the beginning of October

  • Jazz Festival on the last weekend of October

The Midsummer Festival is a month long festival when lovers of theatre, music, art, poetry plus others can enjoy them throughout the city during this period. During the Cork City Film Festival, film lovers get to watch not only Irish, but also international films. Cork City host one of Europe's largest jazz festival which from year to year brings together great jazz musicians from around the world. All these has helped Cork City earned the honor of being called a festival city.

Visitors to Cork City can book their accommodation at Cork Hotels

Belfast City

Belfast is the capital of the Province of Ulster of Northern Ireland which is a constituent country of the United Kingdom, . It is the second largest city of Ireland. If you are put off by the more expensive Dublin, you can enjoy a nice and cheaper vacation in Belfast. Belfast is sprouting new hotels, bars, restaurants, clubs and shops every day and is becoming a great vacation city. You will also enjoy the sight of beautiful gardens and great Victorian and Edwardian architecture like what you see in the photo above.

Instead of strive and killing that has wrecked Belfast in the past, you will find peace and prosperity. If you visit Belfast, it is likely you will be greeted warmly by its inhabitants, and if you patronise the numerous pubs and bars, its local patrons will be curious as to what brought you to Belfast and probably eagerly share a little bit of the history of Belfast with you. It will be a great change from that tourist trap, London.

Online accommodation booking is available from Belfast Hotels .

Friday, December 21, 2007

Australia's serviced apartments: Home away from home

Australia, the lucky country

Thia nickname "The Lucky Country" originated from a book with the same title published in 1964 by Donald Horne. Australia has vast resources, freedom from many plants and other diseases that plague other less fortunate countries, a huge land mass and a low population density.

Why visit Australia, the lucky country

There is the Gold Coast, the Great Barrier Reef, the wonder architecture of Sydney's Opera House which I understand took them a fortune to construct, the very unique Flora, fauna and animals found no where else in the world, Uluru (Ayers rock), parents attending their children's graduation ceremony and much more. Especially if it is the later, you are likely to bring an entourage of your family. And for this, hotels are not the best accommodations you should seek, for they are not meant for large groups. Serviced apartments are more suitable.

What are serviced apartments

Serviced apartments are much similar to normal apartments. With normal apartment, you will have to sign a long term contact and cannot check out at your whims and fancies. Serviced apartments do not need fixed contracts and renters can check-out anytime they want. You can stay for a few days to a few months depending on your plans.

Advantages and serviced apartments

What are the advantages of serviced apartments over hotels especially for large groups? Serviced apartment compared to hotels are generally cheaper, have more room and are good for families or for staying for longer periods with a degree of independence, including the freedom to cook your own meals if you are up to it. That freedom can save you a lot of money compared with having to eat out. It is very much like a home away from home.

Serviced apartments in Australia

There are many serviced apartments for visitors to Australia spread all over the vast country. Among them are:

Brisbane, Queensland

Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland and is located beside the Pacific Ocean. It is the third largest city in Australia.

Serviced apartments in Brisbane

Astor hotel or serviced apartment BrisbaneYou can book serviced apartments online at Brisbane Accommodation

Among the hotels in Brisbane, you will find that the Astor Apartments are strategically located very close to Brisbane's busy CBD (Central Business District) being a short 200 metres from the Central Railway Station. There are plenty of Cafes and Restaurants, entertainment, leading businesses and the city's premier shopping district, the Queen Street Mall which are just a short walk away.

There are many room types, but all are smartly furnished with modern facilities with convenience of home facilities, separate bedrooms and private balconies and if you like to look apartments with city views, they have that. You get spacious layouts with the comforts of home. Get the bigger sized one with two bedroom and they will have space and comfort for the daily, weekly or long term guest for business or holiday.

Even one bedroom apartments have separate master bedroom and bathroom. Two bedroom apartments will get you a master bedroom with en suite plus two single beds in the second bedroom with a separate bathroom. You get complimentary safe covered car parking. You can relax by the pool, have a spa and sauna, organize a barbecue on the pool deck at Astor Apartments.

Adelaide, South Australia (City of Festivals)

Adelaide is the capital city of of South Australia situated on eastern side of Gulf Saint Vincent on the Adelaide Plains, north of the Fleurieu Peninsula, and west of the Mount Lofty Ranges. It has been nicknamed "The City of Churches" because in its early history, it has great religious freedom. Modern Adelaide is now famous for its many festivals, wine, arts and sports. If I remember correctly, it is also referred to as a City of Festivals hosting numerous festivals like the Adelaide Festival of Arts, Fringe Festival, Adelaide Film Festival, Adelaide Festival of Ideas, Adelaide Writers' Week, the Feast Festival and WOMADelaide, Australia's premier world music event.

Serviced apartments in Adelaide

Vines apartments, AdelaideOnline booking are available at Adelaide Accommodation. One of the apartments in Adelaide you can book via them is Vines Apartments which is rated 4 stars out of a possible maximum 5 by that site. You can book a Vines Apartment at last minute prices from AUD 84, but this will vary from time to time. For group bookings services for conference, Cheaperthanhotels have a partnership with The Vines Apartments Adelaide to provide for conference, weddings or tour groups.

Vines Apartments have luxury fully furnished, self contained studio style apartments right in the middle of Melbourne Street, North Adelaide nested amongst restaurants and cafes. It is only a short walk from the well known River Torrens, the city center, various hospitals, universities and park lands. Include in the package is a weekly clean.

Its address is

81-91 Melbourne Street
North Adelaide, S

Perth, Western Australia

Perth is the capital city of Western Australia, and among the fastest growing Australian city located in south west Australia next to the Indian Ocean. The scenic Swan River flows through the central business district and suburbs of Perth. It is one of the most isolated city in the world and is closer to East Timor and Jakarta than any major Australian city. The nearest Australian city is Adelaide, 2,104 kilometres away.

Serviced apartments in Perth

Duke's apartments, PerthA good place to look for apartments is Perth Accommodation. Among others, Cheaperthanhotels have a special arrangement with Duke's Apartments for group booking for conferences, weddings or tour groups. It is rated 3 stars if star rating is important to you.

You can get luxury self-contained 2 and 3 bedroom apartments in Duke's Apartments, central Perth. It is designed like a resort with pool, spa, sauna and gym. You can sleep 5 – 8 people for the just the price of a hotel room.

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne located at the Port Phillip Bay, South-east Australia's, is the state capital of Victoria. It is a major commerce industrial center plus numerous cultural activity. Melbourne has been called Australia's "sporting and cultural capital" and is host to many of Australia's significant cultural and sporting events and institutions. You can find a mix of Victorian and contemporary architecture in Melbourne. A distinctive feature of Melbourne is its extensive tram network. It also boasts of many Victorian parks and gardens. Melbourne is a diverse and multicultural city. It had the distinction of playing host to the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Melbourne was the capital city of Australia when the nation was first formed in 1901. However, it has now been replaced by the new, purpose-built capital, Canberra, in 1927. The Federal Parliament of Australia is now located in Canberra.

Serviced apartments in Melbourne

Park Squire Motor Inn And Serviced Apartments, MelbourneMy daughters graduated in Melbourne universities. Had I gone with an entourage of my family for their graduation ceremonies, I would have booked via Melbourne Accomodation a serviced apartment like Park Squire Motor Inn And Serviced Apartments. It will not be cheap to feed a family via eating out in restaurants, especially at the unfavorable currency exchange rates, plus the fact that my bank account had been depleted by my daughters' living expenses and tuition fees during their studies. It would have reduced my expenses a great deal.

And just like the apartments mentioned above, Cheaperthanhotels have a partnership agreement with Park Squire Motor Inn And Serviced Apartments to provide group bookings services for conference, weddings or tour groups. Good thing my daughters did not get married there for even though we may get special rates, hosting wedding receptions there will definitely be more than what it will cost us in our home country.

Monday, December 17, 2007

New Zealand, a unique place in the world

New Zealand, a very unique island country in the world

New Zealand is a very unique country comprising 2 large main Islands and several other small islands. It was for a long time unpopulated by human was about probably the last country to be populate sometime between around AD 800 and 1300. It boast of many unique flora and fauna seen nowhere else in the world because of its isolation. Before the arrival of humans, New Zealand only have animals that can swim or fly such as seals, sea lions, whales and bats. There were only insects and birds, some flightless ones like the Kiwi, the Moa and the Kakapo, and there were no predators to hunt them down. The Polynesians who first landed on the islands brought with them the Polynesian Rat (Kiore) and domesticated dogs. Europeans that arrived later brought cattle, sheeps, pigs, etc. Many of the imported animals drove the indigenous species to extinction, but there are still many unique to New Zealand you can see nowhere else in the world. And I am sure travelers to New Zealand will be glad to know that there are no man eating animals or snakes there.

You will get to see active volcanoes, ancient native forests, prehistoric glaciers and isolated island sanctuaries that will give you a unique experience. New Zealand is also bless with many world heritage sites (sites that have been recognised by UNESCO as having outstanding natural or cultural value. These include Tongariro National Park, Te Wahipounamu and the Subantarctic Islands.

Tonggariro National Park by Gemma Longman

Dent Island, one of New Zealand Sub-Antarctic islands by Twiddleblat

Dent Island, one of New Zealand Sub-Antarctic islands
Te Wahipounamu UNESCO world heritage site by Manuel

New Zealand is really a unique place in the world and worthwhile visiting. For accommodation, the environmentally way is to book online using the environmentally friendly Internet and one which I would have used when I was traveling around Europe in the 70s had it been available. Would have saved me a lot of headache, a lot of precious time, and I believe probably a lot of money too.

New Zealand hotels

Now there are online accommodation booking websites like New Zealand Hotels.

Auckland and Auckland hotels

Auckland is located in the North Island of New Zealand and is the largest city and most populous of the New Zealand. It also has the distinction of having the largest Polynesian population of the world. Auckland is blessed with a warm-temperate climate. In summer, it is warm and humid summers while in winter it is mild and damp. For booking accommodation online, try Auckland Hotels.

Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand

Wellington is the capital city of the New Zealand located at the southern tip of the North Island. You will find an active art center and nightlife in Wellington and café going is a way of life. The Te Papa Tongarewa (the Museum of New Zealand) is located in Wellington. For culture, you have the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. The International Festival of the Arts is held on a biennial basis in Wellington.

For booking accommodation online, try Wellington Hotels


The regional capital of Canterbury is Christchurch and it is the largest city in the South Island. The scenic Avon river flows through the center of the city. The Cathedral Square located in the center of Christchurch houses Christ Church, an Anglican cathedral. It is a popular tourist attraction, particularly the speakers' corner popularized by Ian Brackenbury Channell, the Wizard of New Zealand.

Other attractions include Cashel Street, Christchurch's urban mall which is closed to traffic and open to pedestrian only. At one end of the mall is the Bridge Of Remembrance and at the other end is Hack Circle, an amphitheatre.

You may also be interested in parks like the Botanical Gardens, Hagley Park, Mona Vale, Riccarton House and Bush. Other places of interest include the Canterbury Museum, Ferrymead Heritage Park, Orana Wildlife Park, Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, Air Force Museum, Southern Encounter Aquarium and Kiwi House, International Antarctic Centre, Christchurch Art Gallery, the Christchurch Arts Centre, the Timeball Station in Lyttelton, the New Brighton pier, Heathcote Gondola, punting on the river Avon (see photo below)

punting on the river
Punting on a river by Zakgollop

For booking accommodation online, go to Christchurch Hotels.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

eBay of vacation cruises: Cheap way to go on vacation curise

By now, I believe all visitor to this website would have heard of eBay where you can get bargains of all kind of things. I have purchased stuff like stepper motors, servo motors, etc. on Even put up for sale myself on my country's local eBay which charge no listing fees. Hard to sell because I was not prepared to deliver, which means I limit my market to a very small area. But did sell off a set of stuff I wanted to get rid of at huge discount to the price I bought for it. But because of the low reserve price, someone was prepared to travel great distance to take delivery of it. Just shows you can often get real bargains, for what I sold through the auction was more than a bargain. It was practically a giveaway. You can see what I sacrificed for a paltry sum at Sherline lathe with stepper motors and drivers.

Now introducing the eBay of vacation cruises - cheap vacation cruises!!!! have auctions that begin with a $1 open and no reserve prices. With luck, you can get a vacation cruise bargain as good as that guy who got a whole set of useful stuff from me, and probably even better! And just like eBay, there often is a "Buy it now" option so you need not wait for the auction to end and book your bargain vacation cruise on the spot.

There are lots of choices like Carnival Cruise or Norwegian Cruise.

So wish you good luck, happy bidding and hope you get your dream vacation cruise at less than bargain price.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

San Diego, lovely weather, lovely beaches

I traveled to San Diego, South California, United States of America in the 1980s. San Diego is a nice city to visit, with pleasant weather and many lovely beaches. I am not the only person who like to visit San Diego, as many others from the neighbouring states of Arizona and Nevada flock in droves to San Diego in summer to escape the searing heat. My sister-in-law lives in Yuma, Arizona, and she is one of those temporary migrants.

San Diego is also very near to the Mexican border with the border town, Tijuana, just 16 miles away. Many who visit San Diego as well as San Diego's own residents go to Tijuana to buy fake brand-name clothing and accessories, prescription drugs plus for cheap entertainment. There are many night clubs at Tijuana. I went there, but didn't buy anything nor did I go to any night clubs.

But the lovely beaches in San Diego is attractive enough and you don't really need to travel to Tijuana to enjoy yourself. One of the more popular beach is Mission Beach, but is not the only one, there are many. If you are only a visitor like me, and not a resident of San Diego, obviously you will need to rent accommodation. One of the places you can book online is San Diego beach rentals. They offer say they everything from basic vacation rentals to luxury vacation rentals and San Diego beach house. If you are more interested in Mission Beach, you can browse through their selection of Mission Beach rentals.

If you do go to San Diego and took some nice digital photographs, I hope you will upload them to Flickr or similar photo web host, and leave a comment with the URL of your album of lovely places in San Diego for all of us to enjoy. They say "sharing is caring" and I hope you care enough to share your experiences in San Diego with others who are not so fortunate. I would had digital cameras being in existence when I visited San Diego 20 years ago.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

World Wide Vacation Rental Directory

Introducing a world wide vacation rental directory - vacation rental by owner. Would you happen to be a vacation rental property owner or manager in any part of the world? That directory is where you can list your property or properties for prospective renters. All you need to do is to create a Goin2Travel account, select a listing option, submit your property listing information and photos. Your listing will be on the web within minutes and you can start getting inquiries and accepting reservations.

With a Goin2Travel account, you will get a detailed web page where you can tell visitors about the good things about your vacation rental property, add in photos, include details of rates and provide your contact information. You can put in unlimited text, you will get your very own Goin2Travel web page with a link to your personal website and you can login to edit your page on a 24 hours day, 7 days a week basis.

Would you happen to own vacation rental property or properties in Myrtle Beach, a resort town along South Carolina's coast which gets more than ten million visitors each annual holiday season? Or if you are just a traveler looking for vacation rentals in Myrtle Beach? Whichever, do check out Myrtle Beach vacation rentals.

Or perhaps you have interest in something further down the United States of America's Eastern coast - Miami Beach? This World Wide Vacation Rental Directory have a site Miami Beach vacation rentals for that popular place too.

In fact from what I see, they have covered pretty much the whole globe, except for a few blank spot. But don't be surprised if you check later after this post is published, that those blank spots have been filled up too, for it don't look like the people running the directory is just sitting down idly but going all out to promote the site so all you vacation rental property or properties owners or managers will get your money worth when you list your vacation rental property or properties with them.