Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dreamworld Resort, Hotel & Golf Course, Karachi. Rooms and facilities review

Dreamworld resort and hotel is a resort in Karachi, which is a bit outside the city.
The resort is membership based, however rooms are available for non members on a special price.

The rooms are well laid and maintained with free wi-fi internet, free mini bar and use of their facilities like bowling, swimming, archery, horse riding, buggy ride etc.

The washrooms in the room are well kept.

The hotel is good for long weekends or getaway. The resort also has 4 restaurant offering variety of food, but my pick is cafe lagoon, which has a good selection of burgers and steaks.

They also offer night facilities which are open well into the night upto 5 am.

While resort is huge, you may not find it over crowded except at the pool area and washrooms around the pool where people tend to be loud.

Over all its a good experience to spend some time at the resort.

Suite Room - Living Area

View from Balcony of Deluxe Room

View from Suite Room

View from Suite Room

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Trip to Manora beach by local boat

Karachi is full of tourist spot, it is just that we need to understand and develop the trend of tourism in this city which has a mix of old and new, modern and historical. However, tourism in Karachi is neglected by both the locals and government.

Recently, I along with my few friends decided to visit manora island and beach for a evening.

For this we went to Keamari Jetty to take a boat to manora island. Many public boats flock to an fro from manora on daily basis with a one way fare of Rs. 50 / person.

However, we decided to hire our own private local boat. After some barganing we hired a boat for 3 of us for Rs. 1200 (Rs. 400 / person ) for 2-way trip.

We were accompanied by 2 other passengers, so the boat was sory of semi-private.

The trip to manora from Keamari takes about 20 minutes, and you dont really get a feeling that you are in deep open sea as manora is very much near the karachi port.

Once we reached manora jetty, we paid the entrance toll to manora which was Rs. 10 / person.
Once inside manora, it looked quiet impressive as the area is under pakistan navy. The roads were smooth and clean as per pakistani standards and many shops were selling drink, eatables etc.

WE took a local suzuki carry to take us to the beach. The fare was Rs. 20 / per person.
It took less than 5 minutes to reach the beach.

Once we were at the beach area, it was worth the visit.

The Road leading to the beach area. Clean and Crisp.
The facilities at the beach were also an added advantage which you do not find easily in other beaches of Karachi. There were clean washrooms, place to wash your feet once you are out from the beach, and eateries.

Manora Tower in the background. Eateries and Washrooms.

The beach itself was clean, well maintained and many people were enjoying there on a saturday evening which is not a holiday. The environment and location seemed clean, impressive and secure.

View of Manora Beach

Since we were on a short trip, we spent less than an hour at the beach before heading back to karachi.
All in all it was a memorable trip, and longer duration can be planned easily, as the place is easily accessible, secure and clean.

So we took a suzuki back to the manora jetty, and headed back to karachi before sunset.

Approaching Karachi's Keamari Jetty.


Monday, June 1, 2015

Burj Khalifa, "At the top"

On this recent trip to dubai, I booked online tickets for Burj Khalifa "At the top"
I booked the ticket for a fixed date and fixed time which was around AED 125 / per person

Express ticket, which can be purhcased at the spot is AED 500 / per person

So it is better to book in advance either online or from the ticket counter at burj khalifa for a fixed date / time ticket which is far cheaper.

We went there at around 3 pm. The skies were clear and it was a good view from the top which was 125th Floor of burj khalifa.

The views were stunning with a 360 degree viewing of dubai from the top.

Lift, which takes to 125th floor in 60 seconds


View from the Top of Burj Khalifa

View from the Top


Al Mamzar Beach Park, Dubai Beach and Chalet Rental

On my recent trip to dubai, I wanted to spend some time on the beach.

I read and heard about mamzar beach park in dubai which is a bit off the city but a good park.
Another good thing is that they offer chalet rental, which can be rented from the park itself, or dubai muncipality office in dubai or online on the dmc.gov.ae website.

A friend of mine staying in dubai booked the chalet for me.

The chalet is at the extreme end of the park which makes it a bit private as that part is not much visited by the people but had to walk a long way to reach the chalet.

The chalet was nicely build with refrigerator, satellite tv channels, completely air conditioned, with small kitchenette which included a sink and cabinets and a 4 seater sofa and complete washroom with toilet and shower facility and running hot and cold water.


View from Inside the Chalet

Small Kitchenette with Sink

Sitting Area with sofas, table, refrigerator, tv and Air conditioning

Chalet

Chalet Washroom


The out door patio had sitting area and barbecue area.

This was a great chalet for a beach day with lots of place to sit and barbecue and direct access to the beach. My family loved it the most.

The chalet was well kept and maintained which was very surprising to us, but hats off to the dubai municipality.

We rented a small chalet which was AED 150 / day timing from 8 am till 10 pm.

We took a bus to the mamzar beach park. The bus route was C28, which we took from REEF Mall / Salah Al din metro station and it dropped us right outside the beach park.

Bus fare was around AED 3 / person / one way
Park Entrance: AED 5 / person


Here is a brief walkthru video of the chalet


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Churna Island Trip, Karachi

Recently tourism scene in Pakistan, specially in Karachi is on a roll. There are many companies and individuals who have started offering tourism packages with in karachi. This includes Karachi city tour, island tours, karachi historical tours, karachi beaches, national parks etc.

I heard a lot about churna island (charna island) tours, which have been going around for last 3 to 4 years. I always wanted to take the tour but due to one reason or the other could not take it.

I have had heard about the clear water, the underwater life and the journey and always wanted to take on such a journey.

Finally I decided to take a tour and signed up with Divers club for the tour on a saturday morning.

The tour started from a said location in Karachi at about 8 am where we boarded an air conditioned coaster bus.
We were given on board refreshments which included sandwich, juice, cookies and cup cakes.

After a drive of about 2 hours, we reached the beach area, named mubarak village.\

Local Boats waiting for us to take us to churna island


From there we boarded a local boat to reach churna island.

The boat took around an hour to reach the churna island. By around 12 pm we were at churna island




Churna island itself is a small cliffy island in the middle of the sea. The water there is clear with lots of flora and funa life can be observed thru the snorkelling gear.

Some of the guys on the tour also enjoyed diving from a cliff.

We were in the open sea for about 3 hours and by 3 pm it was time to head back to the shore.

By 4:30 pm we were back to the beach area where hot lunch was ready to be served to us.
The tour had its lunch with drink and finally by 5 pm we were ready to head back reaching back the city at around 6 pm.

All in all it was 12 hour trip including transport, boat rides and snorkelling and swimming.

While Karachi is starved of entertainment, this is surely a great day out of karachites to explore and see the natural side of karachi. The cost of the tour was around US$ 30.00 per person while the same tour in thailand and malaysia may cost around US$ 70 - 100 / per erson.

I will recommend karachites to explore this island and have a good time out with friends and family.

Make sure to take some sun block and some medicines in case you are sea sick

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Salam International Restaurant. Muslim Buffet Restaurant in Guangzhou, china

In my recent trip to Guangzhou, China a client took to me to a muslim halal restaurant in Guangzhou.

Restaurant name was Salam Interntaional Restaurant

My chinese supplier took to me to this halal buffet restaurant.
the restaurant seemed popular with muslim customers as it serves halal food including turkish, middle eastern, afghan, indian, pakistani and chinese dishes.

Buffer price was around RMB 165 per head including drinks, mineral water, tea, coffee all inclusive.

Variety of Soups, salads, starters.
Full roasted mutton
Shrimps
Fish
Briyani / Rice dishes
Curry Items
Bread / Nan Items
BBQ Items

Green Tea
Black Tea
Mineral Water
Cold Drinks


All in all it was a good place to dine out with the ease of halal food and authentic arabic, pakistani, indian flavor.

Tajmahal (Eiman) Restaurant, Yiwu - Pakistan, Indian food in Yiwu

Yiwu is an international trade city and is very popular among arabs, africans and middle easterns.
This is becuase people can buy all sorts of items from Yiwu city which they can then sell in their own country.

You can buy minimum quantities from yiwu, hence it is becoming very popular among asians, arabs and africans, hence you can find many halal restaurants in Yiwu including pakistani, indian, turkish, arab, afghan and other arabian restaurants.

Tajmahal (Eiman) Restaurant is a halal pakistani restaurant in Yiwu serving pakistani and indian dishes along with some chinese dishes.

However, its main speciality is halal meat. You can try Nehari, Daal, tandoori bread and other pakistani and indian dishes.






It also serves breakfast like fried egg, ommllette. The taste is good which can give you the flavor of home.

It has option for indoor and outdoor seating along with bbq items.
However, you can find halal food restaurants around the area serving bbq, indoor and outdoor food.

Yiwu International Trade City - review and information

Yiwu International Trade City is like a big wholesale mall where you can find almost all items from a pin to aeroplane. The market is huge spread around in 6 buildings. Each building has around 5 floors.

Each floor specializes in a particular commodity.
Like ground floor will specialize in a particular category like toys - so you will find all toys related items in this floor.

The market is big, and you need to do your homework before coming as each building has its own speciality and its very huge and vast. Depending on the type of product you are looking for you need at least two days to search the market and analyze products and then place the order on third or fourth day.

Market is big with lots of variety and combination of the same product.
Most shop owners do not know english, so better take a translator or even better if you install translation app on your spart phone.

Most Google services are banned in china, so it is better if you install the language package before hand which becomes very handy.




Its better if you do your search and work before hand. Yiwu market has an official site which list all the shops and their products, so you will be in a better position to visit those shops directly for your order. The site is : http://en.yiwugou.com/

Over all the market is huge and you are surely to find the product you are looking for.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ramada Katunayake Colombo International Airport - Review and Comments

I stayed at Ramada Katunayake, as it was provided by Srilankan airline as i was transitting thru colombo for 14 hours and as per IATA rules, airlines will provide accomodation if transit is greater than 8 hours.

The hotel is near to the airport, around 7 - 10 minutes drive.

If you are transitting thru colombo airport it is better that you take the airport hotel which is right inside the airport, else considerable time is wasted in going into the city as lot of time is wasted in immigration and then waiting for the hotel bus to take you.





Then the next morning the bus will drop you back to the airport around 4 hours before the flight.

The hotel itself is quiet alright, good for transit.
The room was quiet big with bathroom amenities and tea coffe making along with complimentray water bottles.

However, there was not dental kit, tooth paste / tooth brush.
When you are transiting you need to brush your teeth etc, which this hotel does not provide.

Wi-fi was $ 3 / hour or some thing like $ 15 / day, which we did not go for as it was too expensive.

Overall the hotel was good for overnight stay and some few hours sleep.

Serenediva Colombo Transit Hotel - Review

The hotel is part of SriLankan airline so major cusutomer are of srilankan airline.

I had a 10 hour transit between flights, and someone recommended me to stay at Serenediva Hotel as it is right inside the airport so i will not have to stand in long line of immigration and then for the hotel bus, if i chose another hotel which is away from airport.







I asked my agent to put the request for this hotel due to its convenient location.

The hotel is at the first floor of the airport building. Once my flight arrived I went to the transfer counter, where they issued me the voucher for the hotel.

The room was nice, with television (though i didnt watch much as i was just staying for less than 9 hours) the washroom was decent good with all amenities and toothbrush / paste
along with tea / coffee making and complimentray water bottles.

The hotel also provided free wi-fi which for me was super fast and streaming was good enough.

The beds were alright and no major complaints

WE were also given dinner vouchers for Palm strip restaurant (which is inside the airport)
The dinner was not that great.

We had taken our own snacks so we used our own snacks for the night.

We were not given our luggage so its better that you put your night suit and other essentials in your hand baggage which you may use at the hotel.

Also take some snacks for the overnight as the airport do not have many eateries and they all charge in US$.

On another note about Colombo Airport, which I think i should share:

Majorly all duty free shop, and restaurants charge in US$ and no other currency , not even Lankan Ruppee. So you are at a loss if you dont have US$ -

There are some convenience stores selling mineral water and other snacks etc

The smoking room is only in the departure hall, so if you have a transit flight and want to smoke right after coming out of the plane, you would have to walk towards the departure hall.
If the security guard is in good mood he will let you go to the smoking room , else he will tell you to do it outside after immigration.

Same is the case with muslim prayers. If between flight you have to offer prayer, the prayer hall is in the depature hall and you have to walk right at the end of the other end of the airport.
If security guard is in the mood, he will let you go for prayers, else he will ask you to go to immigration and offer prayers in the hotel.

These are few things that make the difference to international airports and srilanka airport needs a lot of work to reach to that level.