Buying Guide to the Best Compression Socks 2018

We are all aware that spending extended periods of time inactive is unhealthy. However this is something we can not always help – especially when we are traveling or have other medical problems. Something that can be used to relieve some of the problems associated with sitting is compression socks. Once mainly used in the […]

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Ice Skating in the tropics at Jumeirah Vittaveli

Renowned for year-round equatorial sunshine and its noticeable absence of snowy winter months, tropical Maldives is the last place you’d expect to go ice skating. But you can now add that to your bucket list of holiday experiences in the Maldives; that is if you’re staying at Jumeirah Vittaveli.

This December Jumeirah Vittaveli introduced their very own ice rink to celebrate Christmas. Normally, ice rinks are constructed with a layer of frozen water on top. But since this is impractical in the Maldives where the temperature lingers between 27°C and 30°C, Jumeirah Vittaveli has come up with the novel idea of making their ice rink with artificial ‘ice’ plates which are actually made of plastic. It doesn’t require either electricity or water to function. To all intents and appearances, you can break out your ice skating moves and feel like it’s the real deal. How cool is that?

Another important aspect of the artificial ice rink is that it is environmentally sustainable. According to Jumeirah Vittaveli, the ice rink requires zero-energy levels to function. The artificial ice plates were manufactured by Swiss company Glice, which claims that their products don’t impose common problems faced while skating on artificial ice rinks, such as increased friction.

Jumeirah Vittaveli, part of the world-famous Dubai-based Jumeirah Group, is appreciated by all who choose it for their Maldives vacation for two main reasons: the impeccable luxury on offer, and the surprising rate of new developments.

“We have many guests who keep coming back to us and I often hear that one of the reasons for their returns is that they love to be surprised by our updates and developments each time they come,” said Jumeirah Vittaveli’s General Manager Amit Majumder. “Apart from the ice rink, we have some exciting changes in our rooms and dining outlets upcoming, which we will announce in the near future.”

The news of more developments in choices of accommodation is exciting in itself. Currently, the island resort boasts 43 thatched villas – each with a view of the beach and housing its very own garden and pool – along with 39 Water villas where the turquoise water of the lagoon swirls literally under your feet. By cashing in a bit more, you can stay at one of the seven Ocean Suites, which are completely secluded and accessible only by boat. Then there’s the vast Royal Residence, a completely exclusive experience with crazy perks worth the US $35,000 per night cost. Judging by Jumeirah Vittaveli’s standards, the new developments will no doubt achieve the resort’s goal to ‘always WOW guests’!

Jumeirah Vittaveli is perfect for couples and families seeking a luxury getaway that grants tropical seclusion as well as excitement. The island resort is just twenty minutes away from the main airport island by speedboat.

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Pack smart for your Maldives holiday

So, you’re all packed and ready to vacation in the Maldives. But before you run out your door, hold up, and recheck your luggage. We’ve to make sure you’ve packed smart for your holiday in the Maldives.

You see, since the Maldives is smack dab in the middle of the equator, the sun’s rays aren’t to be taken lightly. The sun is fun in the morning and evening, but at noontime can become literally scorching. If you have sensitive skin, make sure you throw in some sunblock and moisturizer into your bag. Go for a Sun Protection Factor of 30 to 50. Since a dip in the sea is obligatory once in the Maldives, sunblock is almost always a better choice than sunscreen, because it can be absorbed deeper into the skin for better protection. Get the best moisturizer for your skin as well, preferably with Aloe Vera extract (for improved healing), to rub in at bedtime so that your skin won’t be dried up like a jellyfish on a hot pan by the time you wrap up your holiday. A rash guard for snorkeling will help you avoid a burnt back.

Now it’s time to double check your choice of clothes. Heavy clothing is guaranteed to make you miserable here in the equator. Go for thin, cotton clothes. Guys will be content with loose fitting shirts and polo shirts along with boardshorts or perhaps roomy running shorts. Ladies will be delighted to wear diaphanous blouses, maxi dresses, sundresses; these are great coupled with pashmina’s or shawls thrown over bare shoulders. Kaftans and rompers aren’t bad in the Maldivian climate, either. Cram in as many swimsuits as you can. Sarongs are heavenly in the Maldives climate, for both men and women. But you can choose to overlook this item when you’re packing and buy a sarong in the Maldives when you get here. That way you’ll have a cool souvenir to take back as well.

Don’t forget to pack sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats (yes, guys as well), tank tops, and sandals or flipflops. This last is crucial: do not pack your high heels, ladies. Wedges are fine but high heels are just not going to cut it on the powdery, soft sand on the resort islands.

Your camera needs underwater casing/protection because that’s how you’re going to get the best pictures you can possibly take in the Maldives, which is underwater. Without a doubt, your Maldives holiday will be best captured by GoPro’s and drones. Your day-bag should be waterproof so that you can keep your phone safe and close by when you’re taking a dip.

You’d also need to pack some medications and supplements. If you’re prone to dehydration, pack some oral rehydration packets along with your choice of headache medication. Insects aren’t so much of a problem in most resorts, but it’ll be great if you have an insect repellant handy. Also important are antidiarrheal medication, decongestants, and allergy medications; always best to be prepared in this department. Another priority in your first aid kit should be anti-motion sickness medication. Your trip will most probably start with a speedboat transfer or a seaplane ride. Almost all excursions involve traveling on the sea. If you have a weak stomach, those anti-motion sickness pills will be a lifesaver.

Lastly, have you packed a plug or adapter for your electronics? Most resorts have standard UK three pin sockets with a voltage of 230 V and frequency of 50 Hz, but there’s no way to be sure whether you’d need flat prongs or round prongs since both kinds are used equally often in the Maldives. Make sure you pack some universal travel adapters. Examples are Bestek Travel Converter and Adapter, and the Xcords Worldwide All in One Universal Travel Plug; both are available on Amazon for reasonable prices.

You might wonder what the whole fuss is about… you might assume that you can just buy whatever you need at the resort. But, you see, each resort in Maldives sits on its very own private island. There is no assortment of malls on resort islands to choose from. Each resort houses a clinic and a couple of tiny shops. Although you will still be able to purchase some items in an emergency, you’ll have to brace yourself for the enormous price tags and the possibility that you can’t find exactly what you want. Packing smart guarantees less financial stress and hassle during your holiday.

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Sleeping in a snow hotel

Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel by FriKant Mediedesign
Sleeping in a snow hotel might sound like a cold choice for many people but I can promise you this is a truly cozy and once in a lifetime experience. After spending one night at a snow hotel in Northern Norway people asked me if I would do it again. I guess in my case the answer is definitely yes. It is the combination of sleeping in such a special place, the ice art, the activities and the chance to see the amazing Northern Lights which makes a stay at a snow hotel so special and different each year.

But how do they actually build a snow hotel?
Of course, during summer, the whole hotel melts down. So, when winter comes around they have to rebuild the whole hotel from scratch. Normally the building process starts in December when the temperatures have stabilized below zero. To build a snow hotel you need a lot of snow and I mean really a lot. So, they have to produce snow with snow making machines. 
Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel by FriKant Mediedesign
Once they have enough snow they blow up giant balloons for the rooms and usually for an ice bar as well. They cover the balloons with snow and let it set for a while until it is stable enough. When the building process is finished it is time for the “finishing touch” – the decorating process. Themes for the decoration change from year to year but the result is an impressive artwork of snow and ice.

What do you need for your overnight at a snow hotel?
Everyone wonders about what’s needed to stay at a snow hotel and the answer may surprise you. Not much. The hotels give you everything you need for a comfortable night’s sleep. Mostly this includes clean wool socks,  a sheet sack, and of course a sleeping bag rated for minus-30 degrees Celsius. The beds at snow hotels usually have normal mattresses with an extra thermal insulation layer.
 Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel_Alta by Baard Loeken
Ice blocks placed around the beds make it look like you’re sleeping on ice, but you’re not. The temperature inside the snow hotel is a constant minus-4 degrees Celsius, so you do need your usual winter gear for roaming around. Bathrooms, showers, a sauna, restaurant and lounge are in a heated lodge, open all night and easily accessed from the snow hotel.

How is it to sleep in a snow hotel?
Sleeping in a snow hotel room, made completly of snow and ice, beautifully lighted and decorated, will surely give you a memorable and unique experience. Once you enter your room for the night you will be amazed. Who knew that there are so many shades of white and blue? And there is this profound silence in the whole snow hotel. And once you are into your sleeping bag you are warm as toast. 
Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel by FriKant Mediedesign
After a hopefully good night sleep you will have coffee and breakfast in the warm restaurant. During breakfast you will also get a certificate, declaring you made it through the night. Here you also have the chance to exchange stories with your fellow overnighters and wonder if you´d ever do it again? I really hope your answer will be the same as mine – definetly yes!

20 Things to do in Krabi with Family

Travelling to Krabi with your family? You couldn’t have made a better choice. With postcard perfect beaches, unparalleled scenic beauty, beautiful resorts and loads of attractions, it makes for a perfect holiday retreat. If your little ones are tagging along, there are plenty of kid-friendly activities to keep them occupied and keep you stress free. So dig out our compilation of 20 Amazing things to do in Krabi with your family.

1. Chill at Ao Nang Beach

Ao Nang is the liveliest beach in Krabi and also the most popular one.The beach is lined with sundecks where you can just lie down and sip on some chilled juice. If you want to splash about, its turquoise waters are ideal to enjoy a cool swim.

Ao Nang

2. Take a boat and go to Railay beach

Railay beach is simply the most stunning beach that you would come across. In fact it is often considered to be among the best beaches in the world.Cut off from the mainland, you have to take a boat to reach it, giving it the feel of a private island.

Railay Beach

The towering limestone formations which wrap around the beach are famous for their rock climbing routes. If you are not an adventurer, you can paddle a kayak in the ocean or just lie down on the beach and gaze at the sparkling blue waters.

3. Take a dip in the emerald pool and the hot water spring.

Krabi has quite a few national parks and contained in these jungles are its hidden gems. The Emerald pool, true to its name lures travelers with changing shades of its waters. As the sun hovers over the pool, it changes color – a phenomenon that has to be seen to be believed.

emerald pool

A short walk from the pool takes you to a natural jacuzzi, a hot water spring, forming shallow pools at its bottom. A refreshing dip in its hot waters is the best way to end a sweaty walk through the forest.

4. Go on a island hopping jaunt on the 4 island tour

The 4 island tour is one of the most popular ones in Krabi. As the name suggests, it takes you to four small, yet beautiful islands, all surrounded by shimmering blue waters.

4 island Tour

Snorkeling in these waters is the highlight of the trip. At low tides, you could even walk from one island to the other along its narrow sandbars.

If you don’t want to be among the flock of tourists on these tours, you can hire a boat, a guide and hit these islands all by yourself.

5. Head to the famous James Bond Island

James bond island is probably the most popular island surrounding Krabi, its ticket to fame being featured in a James Bond movie (The man with the golden gun).

James Bond Island

Of course, you can do more than just click an instagram worthy selfie here. You can marvel the limestone outcrops jutting from the see, specially the funnel shaped one which magically stands on the water despite having a narrow bottom.

You can also discover tonnes of caves, mangroves and beaches by leisurely kayaking in the waters.

6. Gape in awe at the surreal beauty of Phi Phi island

Another celebrity in the island world, Phi Phi rose to fame after Di Caprio fell in love with it in the movie, The Beach. Tucked between two picturesque bays, Phi Phi’s unbelievably green waters are some of the best diving sites in Thailand.

Maya Bay

The island’s biggest draw is Maya Bay, a green lagoon hidden from view by imposing limestone towers. The color of its waters will put an emerald to shame, the landscape with hidden coves is just out of this world.

Although phi phi deserves at least a couple of days, if you don’t have the time for it, just go for a day trip.

7. Take a stroll around Krabi town

Krabi town is great place to get a flavor of authentic Thai culture. The town has retained its old world charm despite the commercialization.

Krabi Town

The town is lined with charming bars, quaint cafes and beautiful parks. Its night markets are a major hit among travelers. If you are weary from a day’s travel, just chill at any bar you fancy.

8. Quench your shopping pangs at the various popular night markets

Krabi’s quirky night markets are the best places for some street shopping. These markets sell everything from cheap shoes, second hand t-shirts, funky accessories, cheap souvenirs to electronics.

Krabi Weekend Walking Street

The street food at these markets will drive your taste buds into overdrive. The stalls sell an array of mouthwatering dishes from barbecued meat, delectable desserts, exotic fruits, coconut drinks, fruit shakes to Thai ice teas.

9. Bask in the spiritual vibes at the Tiger temple

If you are up for a physical challenge for some fantastic views, then how about climbing a thousand steps of the tiger temple?

Tiger Cave Temple

If you manage to reach the top, you will see a giant shimmering Golden Buddha statue. From the platform, you will also get a birds eye view of Krabi’s scenic beauty, a much deserved reward for your efforts.

10. Go kayaking in the dense mangroves at Ao Thalane

Krabi has a dense network of mangroves with swamps meandering around them. The best way of exploring them is on a kayak.


Thalane bay is ideal for kayaking, with its hidden coves and famed limestone  karsts. Explore the place as you paddle along leisurely. There are tonnes of guided tours to help you map out a route.

11. Witness the enchanting marine life of Krabi while Scuba Diving

With its lush green tropical forests, clear turquoise water and exotic marine life, Krabi has the perfect backdrop for scuba diving.

Similan Islands

Krabi has innumerable islands around, meaning there are tonnes of diving opportunities. Gliding through the water peacefully while coming face to face with small squids to big ones like stingrays and black tip reef sharks will be the highlight of your trip.

12. Go on a gastronomical ride as you enjoy your dinner at the Grotto

Nestled in a cave under a limestone cliff on Phranang beach, Grotto has a setting unlike any you have seen so far.You should go here just for the ambience.


The luxurious spread of lip smacking food and traditional cocktails mixes will surely take your taste buds on an adventure. Its a great place to take your family along, though it might cost a bomb.

Note: Grotto is only accessible by boat, so remember to book a boat for your return journey.

13. Witness a magical sunset from the deck of a traditional cruise boat

The sunset cruise is a great way for families to spend an evening in the seas. You will sail on a traditional junk boat, one of the last remaining Siamese sailing ones. With its red sails fluttering in the wind, you can relax on its deck while absorbing the scenic beauty around you.

Sunset Cruise

If you want some adventure, you can cliff dive, snorkel and swim in the bio-luminescent waters. Or you could just relax on the deck, sip on some cocktails and watch the sunset.

14. Relax in the lap of nature at Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok is one of the largest national parks in Thailand, attracting travelers from around the world. Rich in its diversity, it is home to bears, leopards,elephants, gibbons and tonnes of birds. You will also find the largest flower in the world – Rafflesia, while exploring it on foot.

Khao Sok

If you are a nature lover, exploring the jungles of Khao Sok national park will delight you. You can hike in this endless rainforest and discover caves, waterfalls or just leisurely canoe along a river. Or you could just camp on floating rafthouses on an emerald green lake while listening to nature’s music.

15. Get dazzled by the glamorous Illumanorah Show

Held at Paka Show Park, Illumanorah Show is a cultural show that tells the story of Thailand through a traditional dance performance, with all the artists dressed up as birds.


The show is a riot of colors and the glitter, music, choreography and lighting create one eye popping spectacle.

16. Check out the Wat Kaew Temple

Krabi doesn’t have too many temples, but if you want to see a beautiful, calm temple, then Wat Kaew is a good choice. The temple is white in colour with a golden dragon slithering down its staircase, the first thing you will notice.

Wat Kaew

The inner sanctum has a golden Buddha statue. You would be surprised to see beautiful peacocks outside,proudly strutting their stuff.

17. Discover the rain forests from the canopy at Krabi Fun Park

Krabi fun park is an adventure land for kids. The creative theme park has some of the coolest rides out there. You can zoom from one treetop to another by zip lining, ride a bicycle in the air or a Harry Potter-themed broomstick.

Krabi fun park

The rides are totally safe and apart from being fun, they offer a good view of the rain forests from the canopy.

Note: Only children taller than 120 cm are allowed on these rides

18. Meet cute Elephants at the Krabi Elephant Sanctuary

Krabi Elephant sanctuary is the closest you can get to these gentle giants in their natural habitat. The highlight of going here is getting to bathe these beautiful animals.

Krabi Elephant Sanctuary

They are quite playful and will let anyone give them a scrub, sit on their back and they will even spray you with water from their trunks, all in good fun of course. This serves as a delightful experience, especially for the kids.

19. Drive amidst the limestone cliffs at Krabi Kart Speedway

Which kid doesn’t have a need for speed? Well let them go all out at the Krabi Kar Speedway. With tracks passing amidst gigantic limestone cliffs, even adults would enjoy driving here. You just need to pick out their double-seat karts.

Krabi Kart speedway

While you are here, check out the Krabi Paintball park to have a gala time there.

20. Hang out with your kids at the Ao Nam Mao Outdoor Aquarium

This little known attraction in Krabi, specializes in breeding endangered species in large salt water lakes, lying near the coast. It is run by the Thai government and is a cool place to hang out with your family.

Krabi Aquarium

Right from small fishes to sharks and turtles are bred here before being released into their natural habitat. It’s a great place to learn about wildlife preservation!

The post 20 Things to do in Krabi with Family appeared first on Ithaka Travel.