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Chase the Lights: 5 Places to Be Awed by the Night Sky and Southern Lights

MD Staff

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Sometimes, all we have to do to see magic is to look up.

This July marks the 50th anniversary of the Lunar landing, and it’s the perfect reminder that there’s so much beauty and mystery surrounding space and the universe around us. While we can’t all be jet-setting space travelers just yet, what we can do is admire some of the world’s most brilliant sights from down here on Earth.

Catching the Northern Lights – a transfixing display of lights caused by charged particles entering the atmosphere – is one of the most sought-after experiences of all time. Lucky for us, we don’t have to travel all the way to Iceland – their counterpart, the Southern Lights, are just right around the corner! At the same time, there are so many places in Asia where we can chase after the beauty of the night sky and go star-gazing. Here are five of them to get you started.

1. Lake Tekapo (South Island), New Zealand


In the day, Lake Tekapo offers a picturesque view of the dramatic Southern Alps – by night, it transforms into a whole new destination. Part of the UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, the lake has some of the darkest skies in the world, forming the perfect viewing spot for the Southern Lights. Seize the winter season (June to August) to catch the illuminating lights display, with a full array of colorful lights dancing in the night sky. It’s simply a sight to behold! You can also head to the Mount John Observatory, which houses some of New Zealand’s largest telescopes, to get up close and personal with millions of stars. Bucket list? Checked.

2. Flinders (Victoria), Australia

There’s no doubt that the Melbourne city center has a lot to offer, but by nightfall, seek new attractions elsewhere. Make your way to the unassuming town of Flinders, a 90-minute drive away from the city. Located on the southern coast of the Mornington Peninsula, the beaches of Flinders offer an uninterrupted view of the night sky and its magnificent lights. With an absence of noisy tourist crowds or sounds of the city, you can marvel at the other-worldly Southern Lights in complete serenity and peace.

Stay: DoubleTree by Hilton Melbourne Flinders Street

Strategically located just steps away from the arts and entertainment district, DoubleTree by Hilton Melbourne Flinders Street is a choice location for when you do spend time in the city. Start your trip with a warm DoubleTree welcome with their signature chocolate chip Cookie, and take full advantage of the proximity to attractions like Federation Square and the historic Flinders Street Station.

3. Halong Bay, Vietnam

With its pristine emerald waters and towering limestone islands, Halong Bay has long become a fan-favorite among those looking to take a day trip out of central Hanoi. Believe it or not, the experience here gets even better at night! Get aboard an overnight cruise and set sail on a journey off into the starry, starry night. Without the smog and light pollution from the city, you’d have full view of the clear skies and constellations. The universe has never felt so vast.

Stay: Hilton Opera Hanoi

When back in the city, head to Hilton Opera Hanoi to continue the rest of your travel adventures in style and comfort. This iconic landmark is situated in the historic French Quarter of Hanoi, and offers locally-styled rooms and traditional Vietnamese cuisine for the full Vietnamese experience.

4. Doi Chiang Dao, Thailand


If you are up for some adventure, look no further than Doi Chiang Dao, Thailand’s third highest peak! No matter how difficult the hike, it’ll certainly be worth it in the end. Literally translating to the “City of Stars”, Doi Chiang Dao offers ethereal views of star trails, and takes you so high up, the stars are almost within your grasp. If you are keen to sleep among the stars, overnight camping is available, but be sure to get a permit in advance.

5. The Maldives

The Maldives is often considered to be paradise on Earth, and for good reason – from untouched white-sand beaches, exhilarating sea-sport activities to the ultimate in resort-styled luxury, you’re sure to have the getaway of your dreams. By day, bask in the sunlight and soak up your fair share of Vitamin D; by night, kick back with a cocktail and take in the mesmerizing view of the sea of stars. With these clear Maldivian nights, you’re almost guaranteed to catch a shooting star. Time to make your wish!

Stay: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Set on Rangali Island, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is one of the Top 100 Greatest Destinations in 2018, and home to the world’s first undersea residence, THE MURAKA. With its distinctive design and focus on personalized experiences, you can even star-gaze from the luxury of your own living room.

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Travel & Leisure

5 Reasons to Visit Europe This Summer

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Europe is a vast and miscellaneous continent. From the luxury beach to rugged mountaineering expeditions in the Alps, the attractions are countless. It is one of the most popular destinations for travelers to visit at any time of the year, especially in the summer. The warmer months of summer are hectic and peak season for tourists to visit this amazing country. Though summers in Europe can be sweltering, every year, millions of travelers decide to plan their trip to every capital city in Europe during this season as they get to enjoy long days, sunny weather, and exuberant nightlife.

But this is not it, and if you are planning your visit to Europe this summer, then there is so much more you need to know about. A summer trip through top European destinations offers travelers so much to do and see. No matter where you go in Europe, the history of this continent will be all around you. From architecture to unique cities and from festivals to European nightlife, you are not limited by the travel choices. In this article below, you will find a few best reasons to visit Europe this summer. To learn about them, continue reading.

European Festivals

If you want to enjoy a music festival, then summer is definitely the best time of the year and Europe offers thousands of summer music festivals every year to music lovers. European festivals offer tourists the best of both worlds. From sizzling boat parties in Croatia to live music in ancient coastal towns and historical cities, you will have a lot of options to choose from. When you are in France, you cannot miss out on the ‘We Love Green’ festival and when you plan to visit Hungary, you need to attend ‘Balaton Sound.’ In addition to this, the ‘Oya Festival’ in Norway and ‘BBK Live’ in Spain are worth visiting as well.

Warm Weather

The temperature during the daytime in Europe makes it easier for travelers to explore most countries. During this season, you can expect to enjoy the best and sunny weather across the continent. If you are one of those travelers who prefer to travel in summers as compared to winters, then summer is the best time for you to explore Europe. Therefore, you need to stick to the summer months of June, July, and August to get the most out of your trip. July and August are probably the most preferred months to visit Europe when travelers take advantage of their vacations and beautiful weather. Out of all the months, August is the most crowded, as both Italian and French tourists make their way to Europe’s seaside areas and major cities during this month. Particularly in August, hotels are often fully booked as well. So, if you are making your way to Europe, then to avoid the crowd, you need to book your trip in the early months of the summer.

You can Book Less Expensive Flights

Yes, you heard it right. Typically, travelers get a good discount on flights and hotel rooms during the off-season, but you can even get discounts on accommodations and airplane tickets in the peak-season as well. All you need to do is to select the right time to book your flight. Consider traveling in the first week of June, or after mid-August to find less expensive flights. Ensure that you book your tickets and hotels, in advance, so that you can prevent facing unnecessarily high fees or even worse all your options getting sold out altogether. If you want to book business class flights, then you can also get a discount on them as well. If you want to book a business class flight, then Business Class Experts are offering 30%-70% off on Business and First Class flights.

Nightlife

Europe is invincible for nightlife as it is home to some of the party capitals in the world. You will find trendy underground music scenes in every city, hip bars on high streets, and super clubs on party islands. If you feel a bit overwhelmed while planning where to go, then you can choose from Ayia Napa, IOS, Ibiza, Sunny Beach, Prague, Mykonos, Mallorca, Budapest, and many others to visit for nightlife. If you are the one who wants to enjoy the wildest summer life in Europe, then do not hesitate to visit Greece. The magnificent island of Hvar is also commonly known for its exciting nightlife.

Outdoor Dining

Since Europe offers the best weather in summer, you cannot miss out on outdoor dining as it is very much a European affair.  You can sit for many hours and watch the people as you sip on your wine or coffee. This is an experience itself. Typically, the days are long with daylight hours from 6 am to 10 pm. This will allow you plenty of time to get the most out of your one day.

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Travel & Leisure

Why Princeton is The Best Place to Raise A Family & Purchase Real Estate

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As parents, we are all put through many tests. One of these tests is choosing a home where one can raise their family and offer the best quality of life possible. As such, when choosing a city to raise your kids, you need to take a lot of factors into consideration. Among many, the most important of these factors are education, crime index, the potential for earning, and recreation.

One city that stands out in all these factors is Princeton, New Jersey. This article will examine the city from the perspective of the above-mentioned factors and help you in making a decision for your family home. Hopefully, by the end of the article, we’ll have convinced you to buy a house in Princeton NJ.

A PART OF AMERICAN HISTORY BEFORE THERE EVEN WAS AN AMERICA

The area today known as Princeton was once home to the Lenni Lenape, a Native American tribe. European settlers first started to occupy the area in the late 17th century and, during the early stages of settlement, established the College of New Jersey, which is known today as Princeton University.

Princeton also played a role during the American Revolution and served as the site for the Battle of Princeton. General George Washington served the British an embarrassing defeat, forcing them to abandon the city and turning it into an early symbol of American independence.

CRIME INDEX

This is by far the most important factor, especially if you’re considering the city to raise a family. However, there’s little to worry about when it comes to Princeton. In 2018, there were 22 reported incidents of “violent crimes”, which consisted of 16 incidents of assault and 6 robbery-related crimes. Compared to the national average (286 incidents of assault and 136 incidents for robbery-related crimes), these statistics are very low and show that Princeton is a relatively safe city.

EDUCATION

The status and caliber of Princeton University notwithstanding, the city is also able to boast when it comes to the local public school system. Over the past 5 years, Princeton High School has held an average qualification rate of 95%.

The foundation is just as strong with four elementary schools in the area, all of which feed to the one middle school of the area, which in turn feeds to Princeton High School.

POTENTIAL FOR EARNING

Princeton is located almost an hour away from New York City, which is one of most important economic hubs of not just the United States, but the world at large. Many people commute from Princeton to New York City for work and still manage to lead a happy and economically satisfactory life.

In the other direction, at almost the same distance is Philadelphia. Philadelphia is a major city and holds massive potential as far as earnings are concerned. As is with New York, many people commute from Princeton to Philadelphia for work.

CONCLUSION

As you can see, Princeton has a lot to offer. You should know there’s a lot when it comes to recreation as well. The city has enough to keep you preoccupied including public parks, cafes, restaurants, theatres, museums, and so much more. All in all, one can lead a quality life in Princeton.

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Why Monaco remains the residence of choice for billionaires like James Richman

MD Staff

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Latvian-born billionaire financier James Richman, who is known to have made his wealth in successful private investments in exciting technologies with the most notable ones including Tesla, Uber and Facebook, reportedly keeps Monte Carlo as one of his main residences when in Europe / Image: Flickr, Billionaire Mindset

An average person may have a very small chance to bump into a billionaire in their lifetime, but not in Monaco. The small city-state seems to be the residence of choice for the wealthy.

Along with other mega rich, billionaire finance magnate James Richman is one of the investors known to have invested in various luxury properties and assets in the country for many years now.

With growing investments in Georgia, Cape Town, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Canada, Russia, and New York, the Latvian-born investment tycoon is known to maintain assets and residences in the world-famous luxury properties in Monte Carlo.

The intriguing country of Monaco

Monaco remains one of the most interesting countries in the world. Despite its minute size of 2 square kilometers, it has averaged more than 310,000 tourist arrivals per year since 2010.

The city-state is located in the French Riviera in Western Europe and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea. Italy is just within reach with a distance of 16 kilometers, as well as Nice, France which is just 13 kilometers away.

Amazingly the country is the second smallest state, just next to the Vatican City. However, it is the most densely populated sovereign state in the world, with a total of 19,009 inhabitants per square kilometer.

Today, Prince Albert II is its head of state, is mainly governed under a constitutional monarchy form of government. Despite being a constitutional monarchy, Prince Albert II still has great political influence. The House of Grimaldi has been in power since 1297, with only brief interruptions.

The official language of the country is French, although Italian, English, and Monegasque are widely spoken and understood.

Since 1861, it has been recognized as sovereign by virtue of the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861 and became a full voting member of the United Nations in 1993. The defense of the nation relies on France despite being independent and maintaining a separate foreign policy. Yet, it still maintains two military units.

Fit for celebrity living

What could be the factor that drives the ultra-rich to peg their permanent address in this parcel of land?

With only around 40,000 residents, the average net worth per person in Monte Carlo is €1.42 million. The capital city of the principality of Monaco is known to be the favourite playground of choice for the super rich and is home to many of the world’s multi-billionaires / Image: Pixabay

One factor appears to be the posh, glitz and glamour of the way of living in Monaco.

The city-state is a virtual billionaire’s clubhouse. Recreational facilities like bars and resorts are peppered along the beaches and center of the country. Buildings and other infrastructure are beautifully designed and reflect the laid-back lifestyle of the area.

Another factor is the great tax incentive that the state offers. It lures them with a zero percent income tax policy. What’s amazing is that the country still manages to be classified as a wealthy nation. It has a $6.401 billion GDP, with a $166,726 per capita income.

It works as a sort of magnet for other common minded rich people to live here. By getting to live with more multi-millionaires and billionaires, they could live like normal people and not get the unwanted attention that could invade their privacy.

Also, the great weather serves as a come-on for the country. Most celebrities spend their summers in their residences in the city-state. It may have the world’s shortest coastline at 3.83 kilometers but this is packed with luxurious beach resorts that are fit for the rich and famous.

Events, such as the Monaco Grand Prix, also lures in many celebrities every year. Once they get to experience the wonders of the country, they find interest in spending their summer vacations or even set up their residences there.

Brushing elbows with celebrities

Experts estimate that around 30% of the population in Monaco are certified multi-millionaires.

Several celebrities also come from all sectors ranging from F1 drivers, sports athletes, musicians, actresses and much more. Monaco is certainly a haven for people who want to be brushing elbows with their idols.

Home to some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful multi-billionaires, Monaco also hosts the highest class of single-seater auto racing in the world, Formula 1 / Image courtesy: F1.com

One of the celebrities that you may come across in the country-state is David Coulthard. He is a retired formula one race car driver. His connection with the city has become very strong. During his career, he had won a total of two Grand Prix in Monaco. He says that he feels especially safe in the country and has been a very active citizen ever since.

Another celebrity who has graced and lived in the country is Grace Kelly. The late American actress boosted her fame and fortune after marrying Prince Rainier III in 1956. This made her princess of Monaco and has led to her being one of the most iconic celebrities to have ever lived there.

Sought after investment

The ambiance of Monaco is really something to be marveled at. Despite of it being “the most expensive real estate in the world,” according to Edward de Mallet Morgan, a Knight Frank partner, it comes as no surprise that it is home and well-sought after playground and investment for the global super rich such as Latvian-born financier James Richman who made his wealth investing in promising technologies such as Uber, Tesla, and Facebook; American casino mogul Steve Wynn, and UK’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s.

Monaco is home to some of the world’s wealthiest including UK’s richest man, Sir Jim Ratcliffe / Image: Foreign Office

The principality did not get to where it’s at for no reason. Its rich history and secure atmosphere have made it a tourist and investment destination.

Depending on the location, property costs range from $30,000-70,000 per square meter. It does come at a hefty cost, but for the ultra-rich like financier James Richman who can afford these investments, opportunities are very only welcomed.  

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