Summer vacations are here, let’s do some travelling!

When summer is at its peak, and the hot sun blazes right onto you, Malayalis just cannot resist going to other places. “It is so hot! Let's go somewhere. How about Kodaikanal? Or maybe we can try Munnar this time?” are common phrases in the Malayali lingo around this time. However, times have changed. Gone are those days when Malayalis used to spend their vacations in Ooty or Kodaikanal. Travellers here have already visited Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Those who can spend an extra penny or two have crossed the seas for holidaying in Europe. Some have started travelling to Africa and Latin America to observe the marvels that are these countries. Despite all of this, the colourful sights, cultural differences and diverse cuisines within the Indian subcontinent still remain to be wonders to the typical Malayali. The summer vacations are here. Having said their goodbyes to textbooks, children are all set to celebrate their vacations. So what's the wait? Let’s pack our bags and get to those places that promise to awe us! **Golden Triangle** Delhi, Agra and Jaipur are the tourist locations known as the golden triangle. Shah Jahan’s symbol of love, Taj Mahal, is the main tourist attraction in Agra. Delhi is a rare mix of old times versus the new age. Jaipur is replete with the ancient ruins of a rich kingdom that once stood tall, and is now called the Pink City. Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, Amber Fort, Jantar Mantar are monuments that offer sheer visual treat. 6 day flight packages are available and starts from Rs 26,000 onwards. Train packages start from Rs 9500. (Rates vary according to the type of accommodation and duration of stay. Rates of tour operators also vary). **Shimla Kullu-Manali** Himachal translates to the land of snow. Shimla, Kullu and Manali are at the foot of the Himalayas. Located in Himachal Pradesh, these places offer sights that truly mesmerise the on-looker. Once upon a time, Shimla used to be that special place where the British loved spending their summers. With beautiful rivers, lakes and temples, Kullu is undoubtedly the valley of angels. If you want to have some adventure, then Kullu has a lot to offer you. Rohtang Pass, 13,050 ft above sea level, is one of the main attractions of Manali. One can see houses that are made of stone and wood planks in old Manali. Flight package tours start from Rs 32,500 rupees. **Enticing Jammu Kashmir** It was the Mughals who named Kashmir the ‘paradise on earth’. Even now, Kashmir is described across the globe by that phrase. It is spring time in Kashmir. Beauty encompasses this place—Dal lake, Amarnath shrine, Gul Marg, Pahalgam which is also known as the valley of shepherds; Sona Marg, which is filled with snow peaked mountains, and so on are some of the places to tour here. 6 day flight packages starts from Rs 38,000. **Goan Beaches** Relax, fun, enjoyment—these are synonymous with Goa! Lovely sea shores and churches with the beauty of the bygone remain the main attractions in Goa. Adding to this are the Goan restaurants that serve delicious food. Train packages start from Rs 7000. Volvo bus packages are also available starting from Rs 9000. **Come and witness the seas, at Andaman and Nicobar Islands** Bharatpur and Radhanagar beaches are sea experiences everyone looks forward to at the Andamans. The Cellular Jail that used to accommodate prisoners during Indian freedom struggle still has blood stains on its walls, and sends shivers down spines to visitors even now. Limestone caves and Viper Island are some of the other tourist attractions amongst the many. Vegetation and certain living organisms seen here are specialities of these islands. Flight packages from Kolkata begin from Rs 28,000. **Hyderabad** This is a city where the grandeur of the monuments of the bygone era meets the splendour of the modern era. Charminar is to Hyderabad what Taj Mahal is to Agra. Mecca Masjid, Birla Planetarium, Hussain Sagar Lake, Hi-tech city, and Ramoji Rao Film City are some of the tourist attractions loved by people who visit this place. The city id fondly called as the Pearl City. Flight packages start from Rs 15,000. **The Holy Himalayas** A pilgrimage to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangothri and Yamunothri is considered holy. These pilgrimage centres are located at Uttarakhand. Haridwar, which is also located at Uttarakhand, is yet another pilgrimage centre. This is the best place to start your travel to Kailas. **Holy Places** You can visit Israel, the place where Jesus was born. Jordan, Palestine, and Egypt are also included in the list of travel to holy places. You can travel through these holy places that are familiar to you only through Bible. Bethlehem, Nazreth, Gagultha, and Western Wall can be seen as part of the travel. A package tour that includes all the expenses begins from Rs 65,000. **The Beauty of Europe** England, France, Germany, Italy, Vatican and Switzerland are some of the favourite destinations of the Malayalis when they tour Europe. Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Finland, and Norway also influences the Malayali’s itinerary. Tour packages vary according to countries and duration of days spent. A 10-day Europe package starts from Rs 1, 29,000. **China-Hong Kong-Macau** Malayalis also love to witness the land where Communism has found a stronghold, and where the Great Wall calls out to them. Even though a part of the mainland of China—Hong Kong and Macau—have their own governments, these places are to watch out for. Macau is also famous for its casinos and gambling centres. Tourism is the main source of income for Macau. 8 day tour packages starts from Rs 1.05. If you plan to visit only China, then you get rates starting from Rs 70,000. **Singapore-Malaysia** Singapore can also be called as Europe of Asia. The land is full of man-made wonders. Malaysia is typically the melting pot of many cultures. One can see the togetherness and unity of the Chinese, Indians and Malays here. Petronas Twin Towers that was once known as the tallest building in the world can be seen here. Langkawi Islands are yet another visual treat that must not be missed in Malaysia. Combined packages to these two countries are available from Rs 55,000 onwards. If it is only one country that you want to visit, then it begins from Rs 30,000 onwards. **Enchanting Thailand** Thailand is the land of Buddhist shrines replete with entrancing islands. Thai cuisine and Thai massages are very popular. Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya are the main tourist attractions here. Beach resorts pull the crowds in at Pattaya. Five day packages are available from Rs 39,000 onwards. **Nepal-Bhutan** You can visit Nepal without a visa. Apart from Kathmandu, Pokhara and Lumbini are other tourist attractions in this Himalayan country. Lumbini, which is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Buddha, is a holy place for Buddhists. Bhutan is the land of happiness. It is the land of beautiful mountains and old temples. Here are a list of tourist places, where you can fly to at lower rates, get good accommodation and food. 1.Srilanka 2.Malaysia 3.Nepal 4.Bhutan 5.Thailand 6.Hong Kong (Also, there are places where you do not get cheap food and accommodation in Thailand and Hong Kong) Holy Places 1.Jordan 2.Israel 3.Palestine 4.Egypt You can visit 4 places in 10 days. One can visit the place in Jordan where Moses is said to be buried. Jordan River is believed to be the place where Jesus gave the holy bath to John. Believers can dip in this holy river for redemption. There are many places in Israel that is associated with the life of Jesus. Jerusalem, Jericho and Dead Sea are the popular among these. The speciality about Dead Sea is that one can float on the Dead Sea, and yet not sink! Bethlehem in Palestine is the main pilgrimage centre. Church of Nativity, that belongs to the place where Jesus was born is a must visit. You can witness Pyramids in Egypt. Museum in Cairo, and the 3 huge pyramids in Giza are a must see. Giza is located near the Sahara desert. **Renowned personalities speak about their favourite places** **Mexico Beckons Again – Riyas Komu (Artist)** Mexico is one of my favourite places. Many memories linger in that place. There is something about Mexico that makes tourists want to go back there again. The culture of Mexico is deeply rooted. Their culture is different and exciting. We have some similarities with the Mexicans, and that includes music and football! **First comes Paravur, then Dubai – Salim Kumar (Actor)** Dubai is like a beautiful girl growing up fast right in front of your eyes. There is something about the air in London, whereas Singapore is like a dining table that is always kept clean! I have travelled to many countries and seen different cultures. But there is no destination as beautiful as my Paravur anywhere in this world! Whenever I start a journey, I have only one aim, and that is to get back to Paravur! Dubai tops my list as my second favourite destination. The city has accepted Malayalam as its second language. My love to Dubai is mainly due to the presence of Malayalis there. **Unforgettable Brazil – I. M. Vijayan (Football Star)** The huge statue called ‘Christ the Redeemer’ at Rio De Janeiro and the stupendous mountains in Brazil are my all time favourites. Rio is a modern city with huge buildings and skyscrapers. The city is awake 24 hours, and is filled with happiness. There is football, dance and music always. Brazil is known for its fun beaches as well. **An Attractive Destination Called Singapore – Sijo Kuruvilla (Start-up Village Founder, CEO)** Of all the places that I've travelled, Singapore is my favourite destination. The people treat you with love and opens their hands and hearts out to visitors. Traffic is very organized in Singapore; one of the reasons why Singapore is a favourite to many tourists. Another thing that I found interesting was the libraries in their metro stations; there are many who come here and read. All these and much more call me back to this small country of infinite joy.

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