As a solo trekker, I try to cover as many routes as possible in a year. I’ve explored many of Himalayas best trails, at times in a group, at times by myself. Yet, the famed Valley of Flowers trek remained unattempted until this year. This tour with Thrillophilia helped me strike it off my bucket list. In June of this year, egged on by some of the positive Thrillophilia Facebook reviews, I decided to take the Haridwar-to-Haridwar Valley of Flowers trek.
The trek attracted me especially because it spanned across 6 days and 5 nights, which meant there was no extreme trekking or short stops involved. There were 8 of us in the group in total, and together with our trek leader, we formed quite the spectacular team! Our trek actually began with a drive. The group assembled at a pre-decided location in Haridwar early in the morning, and drove onward to Govindnath, which is the official starting point of the trek.
The drive itself takes 10 hours to complete, and passes through some spectacular views that forms the befitting preface for the stunning trek to follow. We crossed the Devprayag and saw the confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi flowing into the Ganga. Our road also cuts through Joshimath, which is a prominent pilgrimage site in the Himalayas.
That night, we camped at Govindnath for the night. Early next morning, we took a quick meal and drove to Poolna from whereon began the first phase of our trek. The first half of the trek led us through untarnished Himalayan forests, with the Lakshman Ganga floating alongside. While spotting wildlife is rare, birdwatchers should keep an eye out to catch the occasional bird or two.
After a 6 hour trek, we then reached Ghangaria, which was our stop for the night. On the third day, we took the main ascent up to the Valley of Flowers. A steep six hour hike led us to the Valley, which nestles at a height of over 3,500 feet above the sea. Those that have never witnessed the valley will probably never be able to imagine its full beauty. Acres and acres of fields blanketed in bright blue, purple and yellow flowers appear to stretch as far as the horizon. Our tour guide took his time showing us the different flowers that grew around the valley- the zinnias, the petunias, the daisies, geraniums and even the very rare bright blue Primula.
The Thrillophilia reviews had recommended monsoon as the best time to visit, and the resulting effects were indeed quite spectacular. There was a little hidden lake as well, where I had a great time taking photographs. Although the group wanted to spend a fair bit of time there, we had to make a quick return in order to return to the campsite before nightfall.
Having finished with the main highlight of the tour package, the next day we then embarked on an excursion to Hemkund Sahib. Legend has it that Guru Govind Singh Sahib had meditated in this very spot in his previous life. Now, a famed Gurudwara stands here, at an elevation of more than 4,600 feet above the sea. The trek to Hemkund Sahib proved to be quite steep, and I had to use my walking stick along the way.
Once there, we paid a visit to the Gurudwara and also spent some time by the Hemkund Lake just behind it. Back at the campsite that day, we had dinner under the open sky, which stands out as another major highlight for me on the trip. The next day onward, we began our journey back to Haridwar.
The slope downward was fairly easy to navigate. Once back in Ghangaria, some of us in the group decided to take a short detour to Auli, a nearby hill station, and stayed overnight in Ghangaria before finally making our way back. True to the Thrillophilia reviews, the entire team and support staff made my first trek to the Valley just as memorable as I had hoped. The best part of the tour package was that no part of the journey had to be fretted over. The accommodation was all taken care of, with hotel-stays at two different locations.
All meals were arranged as well, as we received hot plates of freshly prepared vegetarian food thrice each day of the tour. Morning tea and snacks were provided as well. The staff proved to be extremely effective in offering moral support for the novice trekkers in our group: our trek leader was always ready to guide anyone, and first aid necessities, including oxygen tanks and oximeters were always kept at hand should anyone have needed them.
The support team that accompanied us throughout the trek included a group of cooks, porters and helpers, who made sure that all aspects of the trek was as hassle free as possible. Moreover, all required COVID precautions were taken care of by everyone involved in the tour as well, which made us feel even safer. The Valley of Flowers trek turned out to be one of the best ones I’ve taken so far. I can’t wait for my next experience with this team!
6 Things To Do On A Quick Trip To Macau
Filled with highly contrasting sights, such as historical colonial buildings included as part of the world heritage at Unesco.org, and state-of-the-art casino architecture, Macau is one of the most underrated destinations in the world.
The one-time Portuguese colony is a hotbed of culture, a fusion of classic Asian as well as European. It makes it a fascinating place to visit, with lots to see and do. The combination of western and eastern cultures, as well as relaxing and exciting sites offers visitors a great variety of entertaining options. And you don’t need a lot of time to enjoy them.
Visit Famous Landmark Replicas
Some of the most famous casino chains have brought their business to Macau, and like their Las Vegas counterparts, they wasted no time building replicas of famous international landmarks. Visitors can visit The Venetian and walk around shops copying the Italian city, or climb up a replica of the Eiffel Tower at the Parisian. This last one might not be as imposing as the real thing, but the amount of detail put into its construction makes the trip worth your time.
Try the Street Food
Singapore tends to receive a lot of attention because of its street food, but Macau has some of the most unique and delicious in the world, as a result of their combination of Chinese ingredients with techniques from Japanese and Portuguese culture. Visitors shouldn’t leave before trying both spicy and sweet dim sum, or the famous Capela, a dish made from minced pork with onions, cheese, and bacon. For dessert, try some delicious almond cookies or, if you are feeling brave, a Durian ice cream.
Check Out the Casino Games
Casinos have a reputation for offering something for everyone. And given that Macau hosts some of the biggest Casinos on the planet, visitors should definitely take a look at some of their games. The Venetian, for example, has more than 1,700 slot machines to choose from. On the other hand, the Grand Lisboa has elegant Texas Hold’em poker tables, allowing players to feel like movie stars for a moment.
Admire the A-Ma Temple
Poker.org suggests that A-Ma Temple is the number one thing for visitors to do when they’ve wrapped up with the resorts and the casino games –– and really, the very idea of jumping from a poker table to a historic temple speaks to what a unique destination Macau truly is. The Taoist temple is dedicated to the goddess who protects fishermen, who are traditionally an essential part of Macau’s everyday life. The impressive architecture contrasts with the modern buildings, making for an excellent relaxing stop after an intense night of playing games.
Explore the Coloane Village
This gorgeous village will surround the visitors with traditional colonial architecture, making them feel like they have been suddenly transported to a small town in Spain or Portugal. It also offers an excellent opportunity to do some shopping and eat at some of the best restaurants, allowing tourists to enjoy the contrast between old western architecture and eastern culture.
Enjoy the House of Dancing Water
If you like theater and variety shows, then there’s no better attraction for you than the House of Dancing Water. The show uses circus performers, actors, and even motorcycles and fountains to tell the story of a fisherman who is transported to a fantasy world where he witnesses an unusual love story. The show is famous worldwide for its extravagant but immensely entertaining presentation that you will remember for years to come.
Macau is one of the most beautiful and versatile destinations. It offers visitors all sorts of activities: from extravagant shows and luxurious games of poker to relaxing colonial villages and delicious street food. It might be impossible to explore every single corner in one trip, but by giving these attractions a chance you will ensure to make the most of your quick visit to Macau.
Thailand 3 Days Itinerary
Known for its opulent palaces, ancient Buddhist temples and thriving markets, Thailand has emerged as one of the top holiday destinations in Southeast Asia. Generally, touring the country requires about a week or more, as there is so much to see, do and explore here. Read about Thailand 3 Days Itinerary below.
However, that does not mean that short tours in Bangkok are absolutely impossible. The best way to spend three days in the country is to spend it right where all the buzz and the thrill finds itself- in Bangkok, the bright Thai capital. Here is our recommended itinerary for a three days tour in Bangkok which will take you across most of the marvels around the city:
Day 1: Explore ancient Bangkok
- Start the first of your three packed days in Bangkok on a walking tour around its ancient marvels
- Take a ferry on the Chao Phraya and travel to No.9 Tha Chang Pier
- Although it matters little how your reach Tha Chang, a ferry ride on the Chao Phraya is esteemed for its views of the city; for the best experience, start early
- Hereon begins our walking tour; stop first at the Grand Palace Temple complex, the former residence of the Thai Emperor
- Located right within the Palace complex is the Wat Phra Kaew, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, one of the biggest Buddhist temples in all of Thailand
- You could even choose to take a guided tour of the Palace Grounds. For more information on Bangkok guided tours, head over to the Thrillophilia reviews section
- Having completed your tour, then take a 10 minute walk to Wat Pho, or the Temple of Reclining Buddha
- Next, stop for lunch at any of the Thai eateries around Wat Pho, as there are many
- Post-lunch, take a quick ferry ride across the river to the Wat Arun Temple
- The temple stands out in its Khmer-style architecture, and is one of the only few temples in Bangkok to stay open till the evening
- After a quick Wat Arun Temple, head over to Chinatown for a quick dinner
- Bangkok’s Chinatown is known for its delectable local Thai food, and specializes in street bites
- You could choose to end your tour here and head back to the hotel
- Alternatively, you could extend further into the night and head over to the Khao San Road to explore its night markets and clubs
Day 2: Explore modern Bangkok
- Start your day with a shopping spree
- If you’re lucky enough to be here on the weekend, do not miss out on the chance to visit the Chatuchak Weekend Market. The largest open air market in the world, Chatuchak has over 1,500 stalls selling virtually everything
- On weekdays, however, you can just as easily head over to the Siam area for shopping, which is equally brimming with a host of malls and traditional markets alike
- Take a quick lunch break, then head over to the Jim Thompson House Museum for a look at Thai art and handiwork
- Take the evening of the second day out for a tour of the night markets around Bangkok
- The Talad Rot Fai Market sits at the top of our list, with its cool vintage vibe and retro fares
- For a more sophisticated option, head over to Asiatique, which has plenty of restaurants, high-end retail outlets and even features a Ferris Wheel
- The Chang Chui Bangkok Plane Market believes that “nothing is useless”, with its artists turning waste into best
- The Khlong Thom Night Market is an interesting venture, as one often needs a flashlight to look through the goods late at night
- For more information on night markets tours, check out what our customers have to say on the Thrillophilia reviews page
Day 3: The best of the rest
- Spend the morning of your last day here exploring the floating markets around Bangkok; spreading their wares about an open river, these markets offer a unique shopping experience
- The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is the biggest one of them all, although the markets in Amphawa Wat Sai and Ban Nam Phueng are worth a mention as well. Check out the Thrillophilia Pinterest reviews for Bangkok’s night markets to choose the best experience for yourself!
- Having shopped to your heart’s content, then head over to Lumpini Park, the biggest green space in all of Thailand
- If you’re in Bangkok with a loved one, taking a stroll through Lumphini’s landscaped gardens or having a picnic on its lawns might be a good idea; there are plenty of other things to do in Lumpini as well, such as boating, playing or even camping
- Having spent some time here, head over to Wat Saket, or the Golden Mountain Temple
- Sitting atop a small hill, this little temple is known for its magnificent views of the horizon
- On the evening of the last day, you could choose to have a dinner cruise on the rivers
- Alternatively, head over to any of the rooftop bars to have a classy dinner with a view
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Singapore Immigration Schemes and Their Requirements
There is no doubt that Singapore has quickly become the ultimate destination for all sorts of businesses in Southeast Asia. This is thanks to its immigration policies that can easily attract foreign professionals from all around the world. Singapore is known for having several different work permit schemes. The immigration schemes can help foreigners with a professional background and seasoned entrepreneurs either find a suitable job or set up their own company in Singapore.
If you would like to learn more about the immigration schemes that are available in Singapore, as well as about their requirements, you have come to the right place!
Entry Visa Application (For Foreign Visitors)
- Visa Application Form: You can either get the visa application form from just about any Singapore overseas mission out there or by downloading it from the Internet.
- Visa Application: You can apply for a visa through a local contact in Singapore (this individual must be either a citizen of Singapore or a permanent resident of Singapore) who has a CorpPass/SingPass account. You can apply for a visa online through your local contact in Singapore by making use of the SAVE system that can be found on the official site of the Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA). Once the visa application process is complete, your local contact in Singapore can help you get your visa either by printing it out or by collecting it on your behalf and mailing it to you.
- Visa and Entry Requirements: Every foreigner who decides to enter Singapore must meet a certain set of requirements.
Visa Immigration Schemes and Entry Requirements
The following is a list of the requirements that must be met by foreigners:
- They must have a valid travel document that has a minimum validity period of six months at the time of departure
- Must have confirm either return or onward tickets (whichever is applicable)
- They must have entry facilities to the next destination (including visas)
- Must possess enough funds to support themselves throughout the entire duration of their visit to Singapore
- They must possess a visa that grants them access to Singapore (when applicable)
- Must go through the process of Yellow Fever vaccination (when applicable)
- They must check their eligibility
Visitors who come from ASEAN countries and most western countries have the right to stay in Singapore without any visas for up to 30 days. However, they must possess a passport with a minimum validity period of six months (beyond the intended duration of their stay). They must provide either an onward or a return ticket, and enough funds to support themselves throughout their entire stay in the country. However, it should also be note that visitors with passports from certain regions or countries are require to apply for an entry visa (either for a Business Visit or a Social Visit) before their arrival in Singapore.
Work Permit Immigration Schemes For Foreign Professionals and Entrepreneurs
Immigration Schemes #1 – Employment Pass Scheme:
As its name suggests, the Employment Pass (EP) is meant for skilled employees and company owners who will be either working or conducting their business in Singapore. One of the requirements clearly states that the applicant’s fixed monthly salary has to be above S$3,600. Employment Passes are initially issue for a period of 1-2 years. They stay valid until their applicants’ employment contracts get terminate.
- The applicant has to be a working professional (this individual can be either a company owner or a skilled staff member who is a part of either a management team or an executive team, or someone who is known for being a part of some sort of special job).
- Applicant has to possess a tertiary degree from a renown university.
- The applicant needs to have a strong professional employment history.
- The applicant’s monthly salary during their employment in Singapore must be above S$3,600.
- There is no quota system in place for this scheme.
- Employment Pass holders have the right to apply for PR in due course.
Immigration Schemes #2 – EntrePass (Entrepreneur Pass) Scheme:
The EntrePass is a variation of the Employment Pass. This work pass is known as the primary type of work pass. The pass is for owners of newly incorporated companies who are willing to relocate to Singapore so that they can run their new businesses. Entrepreneur Passes are issue for a period of one year. Their renewal depends on several different factors, including proof of business activities, incorporation of a company, and just about any other thing that can prove that the business is viable.
- The applicant has to either have already incorporate a private limited company with the Regulatory & Corporate Authority of Singapore or is planning on doing so in the future. If a company was register not too long ago, the application date has to show that the company is less than six months old.
- The applicant has to hold at least 30% of the total share capital of the company.
- There is no quota system in place for this scheme.
- EntrePass holders have the right to apply for PR in due course.
Immigration Schemes #3 – PEP (Personalised Employment Pass) Scheme:
The PEP was design with Employment Pass holders and foreign professionals in mind. These individuals must be earning high amounts of money on a regular basis. The difference between the Personalised Employment Pass and the regular one is that the former provides more flexibility than the latter. It is also important to note that Personalised Employment Pass holders have the right to switch jobs without reapplying for any new work visas, but those individuals must not be jobless for a period of more than six months. The biggest downside of this work pass, however, is that its holders are not allow to start their own companies in Singapore. Also, Personalised Employment Passes are issue for a period of three years and cannot be renew.
- The applicant must not be jobless in Singapore for a period of more than six months.
- Regardless of how much time the applicant stays employ by a company, their fix annual salary must be at least S$144,000.
- Overseas foreign professionals whose last monthly salary earn overseas was at least $18,000 are eligible. The last drawn salary must not be more than six months old.
- Employment Pass holders with a fix monthly salary of at least $12,000 are eligible.
- There is no quota system in place for this scheme.
- Personalised Employment Pass holders have the right to apply for PR in due course.
Immigration Scheme #4 – S Pass Scheme:
The S Pass Scheme is for employees with medium skills who have a fix monthly salary of at least $2,200. S Passes are issue for a period of 1-2 years. The passes can be renew for as long as the applicant’s employment stays active.
- The applicants must have either a degree or a diploma.
- Individuals with a technical certificate might also be consider under the condition that their certifications must have at least one year of full-time study.
- Only mid-level technical staff is eligible.
- S Pass holders have the right to apply for PR. Their applications will be assess base on the criteria set up by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore.
Immigration Scheme #5 – The Miscellaneous Work Pass Scheme
As its name suggests, the Miscellaneous Work Pass Scheme is issue to foreigners. Foreigners who are working on short-term assignments in Singapore. Miscellaneous Work Passes are only valid for a short period of time.
- Individuals who are directly involve in activities that are relate to either an organization or conduct of a seminar. (Or a workshop, conference, religion-relate gathering, community or race, or political end) are eligible.
- Individuals who are foreign religious workers/religious leaders who are planning on giving religion-relate speeches about any religion are eligible.
- Foreign journalists who are not sponsor by any Singaporean government agencies are eligible.
- There is no quota system in place for this immigration schemes.
- Miscellaneous Work Pass holders do not have the right to apply for PR.
Other Immigration Schemes
The Dependent Pass Scheme:
The Dependent Pass Immigration Scheme is issue to select family members. (Spouse and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age). This include family member of EntrePass holders, S Pass holders, Employment Pass holders, and Personalised Employment Pass holders. Employment Pass/S Pass holders must have a fixed monthly salary of at least S$6,000. The Dependent’s Pass stays valid until the main work visa holder’s employment contract gets terminate. Dependent’s Pass holders have the right to enter, exit, and live in Singapore without reapplying for any separate entry visas.
Permanent Residence Scheme For Work Pass Holders:
Professional work pass holders have the right to apply for PR in due course.
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