Niagara Falls Ontario Canada

Niagara Falls Ontario is located just across the river from Niagara Falls New York with the great waterfall situated right between these twin cities. The Canadian side offers the best views of Niagara Falls and has a very different character than its counterpart in the USA. Niagara Falls Ontario is much more commercialized and tourist oriented than Niagara Falls New York. On the Canadian-side, the escarpment overlooking the falls has a beautiful park with well-manicured gardens, but just behind that, the hill is covered with high-rise hotels, casinos and numerous tourist attractions. The adjacent streets are filled with museums, souvenir shops, gaming arcades, restaurants, clubs and tourist attractions of all kinds. If you don't mind all of the commercialism, Niagara Falls Ontario offers more to see and more to do than Niagara Falls New York.

Crossing the border

The main border crossing between Niagara Falls New York and Niagara Falls Ontario is via the Rainbow Bridge that spans the Niagara River Gorge just a few hundred meters below the falls. Unfortunately, this bridge can become quite congested especially on weekends during the summer vacation season and traffic may back up several kilometers forcing you to wait an hour or more to cross. With a bit of foresight, you can avoid the annoying delays.

You can cross the Niagara River into Canada on the Peace Bridge in Buffalo New York approximately 25 miles south of the falls. Once you reach the Canadian side of the border, you can either take a quick trip along the Queen Elizabeth Highway to Niagara Falls, or you can take the scenic drive along the Niagara River Parkway. As an alternate, you can cross the river and enter Canada at the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge about 5 miles north of the falls, then take the spectacularly scenic Niagara River Parkway along the Niagara Gorge to the falls.


The main attraction in Niagara Falls is naturally the waterfall, and the Canadian view is magnificent. A rock escarpment adjacent to the falls provides a wonderful viewing platform with panoramic views of the Horseshoe Falls as well as the smaller American Falls. This shelf of rock several hundred meters wide and a kilometer long has been converted into the beautiful Victoria Park. Niagara Parkway which becomes River Road through the park can become quite congested with gawking sightseers during the popular tourist season. The best way to fully view the falls is to park your car and explore it afoot. Plan on seeing it in early morning or late afternoon when a gleaming rainbow shines incessantly in the mists, and see it at night when the colored spotlights create an illuminated spectacle.

There are large public parking facilities above the Horseshoe Falls with people mover shuttles to transport you to view points along the river. You can avoid some of the congestion by driving to the top of the hill, turning south on Victoria Street and left on Clark Street, then parking in one of the lots near the Skylon Tower. It is just a few blocks walk down the hill to Victoria Park and the falls.

The Clifton Hill area has something for everyone. Located only one block to the Falls are over 35 attractions, including the new Niagara SkyWheel, Canada’s largest observation wheel. Towering 175 feet above the city, the Niagara SkyWheel delivers stunning daytime and nighttime views of the Horseshoe and American Falls. Clifton Hill has a wide variety of restaurants, lots of shopping, and numerous hotels to fit all budgets. Clifton Hill is also the place to be for nightlife with night clubs, comedy clubs, live music venues, and cafes that stay open late.

Other views of the falls

From the Table Rock Lodge near the Horseshoe Falls, you can descend 50 meters and follow a tunnel through the rock to a small balcony near the base of the falls. It is not as spectacular as the Cave of the Winds on the US side, but the immense power of the water is very impressive. Waterproof gear is provided to protect you from the drenching mists.

The Maid of the Mist excursion boats depart from a wharf in the gorge a few hundred meters below the falls. A small funicular transports you to the dock. They also depart at the base of the tower on the US side. This is absolutely the best attraction at Niagara Falls. These small boats sail within a hundred meters of the Horseshoe Falls. You can feel the gale force winds generated by the immense power of the water and hear the mighty roar of the falls. Rain gear is supplied to keep you dry.

Other attractions

There are many tourist attractions in the immediate area around the falls including a gambling casino, several museums, a Marineland, an I-Max theater, amusement arcades and various other entertainment facilities. Most of these are located on or near to Victoria Avenue that becomes Ferry Street and finally Lundy's Lane.

The drive north along River Road, also known as Niagara Parkway, follows the Niagara Gorge from below the falls to the little town of Niagara-on-the-Lake at Lake Ontario. There are many scenic lookouts along the way that provide glimpses of the deep rocky canyon and the turbulent Niagara River. About two miles below the falls, the Great Gorge Adventure offers an elevator ride to the bottom of the canyon with a boardwalk along the river where the waters boil up into huge foaming stacks. A mile further down the river, the Spanish Aerocar provides cable car rides above the great swirling whirlpool caldron in the river.

Across from the Great Gorge Adventure lies a very interesting compound centered around the Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas. It is worth visiting. Approximately five miles below the falls, the vast and beautiful Botanical Gardens contain a wonderful butterfly conservatory with an amazing collection of exotically beautiful live specimens from around the world.

One of the best ways to see all of the major attractions at the falls and along the gorge is by purchasing a Niagara Parks Commission Pass that includes transportation on the people mover, admission to many of the attractions and discount coupons for other attractions. It costs about $30.

Niagara on the Lake

Niagara-on-the-Lake is a quaint Victorian era town located nearly 15 miles north of the falls at the end of the Niagara River where it enters Lake Ontario. The town has been beautifully restored and converted into a wonderful up-scale tourist attraction with elegant hotels, quaint boutiques and interesting shops. The town is located adjacent to a large lakeside fruit and wine growing regions that produces some very nice white wines and some world-class ice wines. It is well worth spending a day in the area visiting the town, browsing the quaint shops and visiting the nearby wineries.

There are plenty of shopping opportunities in Niagara on the Lake and in the city of Niagara Falls. Beside the usual souvenir shops, there are plenty of boutiques, shopping centers and a discount mall on Lundy's Lane.


There is a wide variety of hotels in all price ranges in Niagara Falls. The hotels overlooking the falls and nearest to the falls are moderate to higher priced while the hotels further away are more budget priced. You can find a nice selection of budget hotels along Lundy's Lane about a mile or two from the falls area. There are a number of Bed and Breakfast homes along River Road just north of the falls.

There are some really fine hotels and Bed and Breakfast establishments in and around Niagara on the Lake. They tend to be in the moderate to higher price range.

Written by: Mike Leco

Universal Studios Escape

Universal Studios Escape is a must-see in Orlando

Universal Studios Escape in Orlando Florida is making a strong effort to compete with Disney World, and they are off to a good start. With the recent opening of Universal's new theme park called Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Escape now has two full-sized theme parks and a City Walk area, to compete with Disney's four theme parks, and Downtown Disney area. Universal also opened its luxurious Portofino Bay Hotel, the first of several new on-property hotels scheduled to open in the next few years. Universal's continued expansions are ensuring its status as a must-see attraction in the Orlando area.

Universal Studios Escape is a resort complex with two theme parks, a Citiwalk shopping, dining and entertainment area and three hotels. The two theme parks are the original Universal Studios Florida and the new Islands of Adventure. Universal Studios Florida is a movie theme park containing rides and attractions based on movies and television shows, as well as some behind the scenes looks at movie and television making techniques. The park is similar in nature to Disney's MGM studios.

Islands of Adventure is the newest high-tech amusement park

Islands of Adventure is a new fantasy theme park, similar in layout to Disney's Magic Kingdom, but with some notable differences. The entire park is filled with completely new high-tech rides, attractions, restaurants and shops. It is super clean, very functional and filled with the latest technology. The park is divided into several themed areas including Marvel Super Hero Island and Jurassic Park. Two of the areas, Toon Lagoon and Seuss Landing, are particularly suited for younger visitors.

The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman ride is possibly the most modern high-tech ride in world. A moving vehicle combined with state-of-the-art 3D holographic technology transports the rider into a visual reality comic book adventure. It is well worth experiencing. There are also several state-of-the-art roller coasters, and plenty of water rides to cool you off. Put this all this together and you get, arguably, the best theme park in Orlando today.

Citiwalk offers entertainment, dining and shopping

In addition to the two theme parks, Universal's new Citiwalk contains restaurants, nightclubs, specialty shops and a state-of-the-art movie theatre. Most of the restaurants are based on American pop culture like Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, the NASCAR café and the world's largest Hard Rock Cafe. For fine dining, try popular television chef Emeril Lagasse's restaurant, aptly named Emeril's Restaurant Orlando. The nightclubs are also themed like Pat O'Brien's Orlando, an exact replica of the famous New Orleans bar which was the birthplace of dueling pianos. The specialty shops include names like Fossil, Tabasco Country Store and naturally, the Universal Studios Store. The Universal Cineplex is a twenty-screen movie theatre featuring state-of-the-art sound and picture, and comfortable high-backed tilting chairs. There is no admission charge to Citiwalk, but many of the nightclubs charge a cover charge. You can purchase All-club passes with or without a movie admission.

Universal offers some great hotel accommodations

Universal Studios Escape provides some great accommodations as well as some great entertainment. Its new top-of-the-line Portofino Bay Hotel looks like a resort town on the Italian Riviera and provides the peak of luxury. Some rooms even include butler service. A more modestly priced Hard Rock Hotel will open in January of 2001. A tropical paradise themed hotel called Royal Pacific Resort is scheduled to open in 2002.

All of these hotels will be located in the Universal Escape Resort with easy access to the parks. Guests at Universal hotels enjoy a number of benefits including early theme park admission on select days and front-of-the-line access until 10:00AM for some of the more popular rides. Other benefits include room-charging privileges throughout the resort and package deliveries to your room.

Navigation at Universal Studios Escape is simple

One of the nicest things about Universal Studios Escape is its convenient layout. Two huge garages provide convenient parking for the two theme parks and the Citiwalk area. From the garages, visitors enter the Citiwalk area with easy access to the two theme parks, and all hotels. Having all the parking in one location with the Citiwalk area as a hub, makes getting around very simple and straightforward.

Written by: Gerry Leco


Florida is a Tropical Peninsula

Florida, the "Sunshine State", is located on a large peninsula at the southern extreme of the eastern coast of the United States. It is just over 1000 miles (1.650 km) south of New York City. This flat sandy spit of land is approximately 100 miles (165 km) wide by 400 miles (660 km) long. It has nearly 400 miles (660 km) of eastern shoreline with sandy beaches on the Atlantic Ocean and and over 600 miles (1.000 km) of sandy beaches bordering the Gulf of Mexico on its western side. It is blessed with a very hospitable semi-tropical climate that offers hot rainy summers, mild winters and near ideal spring and fall temperatures. It is, however, subject to the threat of tropical storms and hurricanes during the late summer and fall.

The regions of Florida

Florida can be divided into several distinct geographical regions with differing features. These are the Eastern Coast of Florida, the Western Coast, Central Florida, the Panhandle and the Southern Tip with the Keys. Each region offers some unique features to attract visitors.

The Eastern Coast of Florida has some very nice beaches with moderately good surf on the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the beaches, especially those near Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Daytona and Jacksonville, tend do be commercialized for tourism. They offer plenty of high rise hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions and entertainment venues that cater to the beach loving tourists. The beaches near Saint Augustine and Melborne are a bit less commercial and tend to attract more family vacationers and local tourists.

The Western Coast of Florida is very different than the Atlantic Coast. The beaches on the Gulf of Mexico tend to be shallower, with less surf and with warmer waters. They are great for families with small children. The soft sands of the wide beaches extend far out into the sea, and one can wade hundreds of meters from shore without the water becoming very deep. While Clearwater caters to tourism, most of the other areas along the Gulf coast are far less commercialized. They tend to feature condominiums and rental cottages rather than high-rise hotels. During the summer months, the coastline is notorious for its daily thunderstorm activity with intense lightning. It is also famous for its beautiful sunsets.

Central Florida draws the most tourists

Central Florida is the most popular destination for tourists from all over the USA and from many other parts of the world. This is the home of Disney World, the largest amusement park on earth. Located just south of Orlando in central Florida, Disney World is surrounded by many other family-oriented amusements such as Universal Studios, Sea World and other attractions too numerous to mention. Combined, they make up the largest family amusement area on our planet. Central Florida is also known for its agricultural lands that produce oranges, citrus fruits, sugar cane, vegetables and beef.

The southern tip of Florida mostly consists of tropical jungle and swamplands. Everglades National Park covers nearly the entire tip of the peninsula southward from Miami and Naples. It contains a vast ocean of wet grasslands punctuated by islands of tropical forest and stretches of open waters. This vast wetland is infested with hordes of insects, wild birds, alligators, snakes and other wildlife.

A one hundred mile long (160 km) archipeligo of islands known as the Florida Keys stretches southwestward from the tip of the penninsula into the Gulf of Mexico. A 90 mile (150 km) long series of bridges and causeways connects these islands down to the town of Key West on its southern most tip. The only North American tropical reef lies just a few miles off shore. It is a veritable paradise for scuba divers and fisherman.

The Florida Panhandle is the narrow strip of land that extends westward from the top of the penninsula. It is bounded on the north by the state of Alabama and on the south by its Gulf Coast beaches. This is the least commercialized and least tourist oriented part of Florida. It has beautiful shallow white sand beaches with warm waters but few tourist oriented features. This part of Florida draws many permanent or seasonal residents and offers more condominiums and rental cottages than hotels. Panama City is the lone tourist oriented city on the panhandle, and is famous for its "Spring Break" festivities every March.

A retirement home for many Americans

Florida is a favorite retirement location for many senior citizens of the US. Many older folks move to Florida to enjoy the warm climate and to take advantage of all of the year-round recreational opportunities. Some of them maintain summer homes in the northern states near their children and grandchildren, but annually migrate to Florida for the winter months. The Florida natives call them "the Snow Birds".

A favorite Winter Vacation spot

Florida is the favorite winter vacation retreat for millions of Americans from the frigid northern states and Canadian provinces. It is also a popular vacation destination for foreign visitors. In the summer months, many families with children on school holidays brave the tropical heat of Florida to visit the Disney World entertainment complex. Early Spring is a good time to visit this semi-tropical land as the temperatures are usually warm but not oppressively hot. Experienced visitors tend to avoid Florida during the late summer and fall when the possibility of tropical storms and hurricanes are more likely to dampen any vacation.

Florida attractions

The most popular attraction in Florida is the huge variety of family entertainment activities centered around Disney World near Orlando. This is the number one vacation destination in the USA for families. The beautiful sandy beaches and the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are the second most popular attraction. Golf, tennis, sports fishing and other outdoor activities are also very popular especially during the winter months when they are not available in northern climates.

Miami is a vibrant city along the southern Atlantic Coast with a distinctly Latin American atmoshere. Its "Little Havana" neighborhood and its many Hispanic residents create an enclave of South American and Carribean culture in the USA. The Kennedy Space Center visitors complex and the Cape Canaveral Space Launch facility are located along the East Coast not far from Orlando. They are popular destinations for tourists. A bit further north, the Historic city of Saint Augustine is one of the oldest colonies in North America.

Daytona Beach on the north Atlantic Coast and Panama City on the coast along the panhandle are the most popular destinations for the "Spring Break" festivities every March. Hundreds of thousands of university students on break from their studies descend on these two cities for several weeks of round-the-clock, non-stop parties on the beaches. If you are looking for wild parties, these are the places to go. If you are on a quiet family vacation, these are places to avoid during March.

Written by: Mike Leco


The Hawaiian Islands are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean

The Hawaiian Islands are located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean approximately 2,400 miles (4.000 km) southwest of California. You can go there only by airplane or boat. There are six major islands: Oahu, Maui, The Big Island of Hawaii, Kauai, Molokai and Lanai. Each island is unique and may feature live volcanoes, lava flows, tropical rain forests, beautiful beaches, sugar cane fields, pineapple plantations or historic sites. These tropical paradises attract about 7 million tourists each year, but most visitors only see one or two of the islands.

You can easily travel between the islands by using one of the two domestic airlines: Aloha or Hawaiian. Flights are frequent and inexpensive. When landing at each airport, be sure to look for the racks of free coupon magazines. Each island has its own coupon book with lots of discounts.

Hawaii has a wonderful climate

The climate is consistent and enjoyable. Temperatures seldom fall below 65 degrees or rise above 80 throughout the year. A pleasant breeze frequently cools the day. Don't forget your sunscreen, or sunblock! In such pleasant conditions, you can easily forget that the tropical sun causes severe sunburn to anyone not accustomed to it. Rainfall varies by location but can be an almost daily occurrence in the rain forests.

The Aloha Spirit is prevalent everywhere

Visitors are warmly welcomed and quickly enveloped by the "Aloha" spirit of Hawaii. Life is very informal on the islands and the dress is casual. Take lots of casual warm weather clothing and don't forget your swimwear! Men visiting the islands usually buy and wear "Aloha shirts" made of bright colorful fabrics. Women usually buy colorful muumuus (loose fitting comfortable dresses that can be worn anywhere in Hawaii).

The different islands offer a variety of features

There are numerous recreational opportunities on the islands. You can swim, surf, scuba dive, snorkel, sail, fish, golf or just see the sights. The famous Hawaiian surf is among the biggest and best in the world. Remember these two rules when surfing in Hawaii: 1. Never turn your back on the ocean! 2. If the natives are not in the water, stay out! When picking which islands to visit, consider the type of activities you enjoy. Some islands provide lots of nightlife and lots of sports or recreational opportunities. Others offer spectacular scenery or quiet beaches and solitude.

Accommodations on the islands include plenty of hotels and motels in various price ranges. If you stay longer than a few days, there are also lots of condominiums and apartments for rent. Car rentals are readily available and are the best way to see all of the spectacular scenery on most of the islands. When visiting Oahu, long-term car rentals are not a good choice as parking is very limited in Honolulu. Tour busses and daily car rentals are much better options on Oahu.

Hawaii has a strict quarantine

Hawaii enforces a strict quarantine inspection upon arrival. You will not be allowed to take any fresh fruit, flowers, plants and certain meats into the state. Small sniffer dogs very efficiently search all luggage and passengers on arrival.

Written by: Joane

New York City

New York City is located on the eastern coast of the United States about 1000 miles north of Florida and 200 miles South of Boston. It is situated at the mouth of the Hudson River, and is divided into five districts called boroughs. Long Island stretches almost 100 miles to the east of New York City and the state of New Jersey lies just across the Hudson River to the west. The "Big Apple", as the city is often called, is the largest city in the US with over 7 million residents. It is filled with a diverse mixture of inhabitants including immigrants from many countries. Some of its many neighborhoods, such as Chinatown, Little Italy, and Spanish Harlem reflect the rich ethnic heritages of the resident's original homelands.

Manhattan borough, the business and commercial center of New York City, is situated on a large island in the middle of the Hudson River. Just south of it, across the main harbor, lies the borough of Staten Island, a large residential community. Across the East River branch of the Hudson, the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens are situated on the western tip of Long Island. The borough of Bronx is on the mainland to the north. New Jersey lies across the Hudson to the west.

Manhattan Island is the heart of New York City

Manhattan Island is about two miles wide and over 12 miles long. It contains most of the business, economic, entertainment and cultural sights of the city. A four-miles long by half-mile wide Central Park, located at the very center of the island, neatly divides the city into sectors. The southern part of the island is called "Downtown" and the section directly south of Central Park is called "mid-town". Everything from the middle of the park to the northern tip of the island is usually called "Uptown". The part of the island closest to Long Island is called the "East Side" and the part closer to the Hudson River is the "West Side". The two neighborhoods lying on either side of Central Park are called "Upper East Side" and "Upper West Side".

The numbered streets of Manhattan all run east-west beginning with First Street just above Greenwich Village, and extending all the way up to 218th Street at the far northern tip of Up-town. Avenues run north-south beginning with First Avenue on the East Side and extending to Twelfth Avenue along the Hudson River on the West Side. These numbered Avenues are interspersed with named Avenues such as Park Avenue, Lexington, Madison and Broadway. Broadway is a bit unusual as it starts out as a typical north-south avenue in the middle of the island downtown, but angles sharply to the west just below Central Park and continues on up the West Side to the top of the island.

Navigation in Manhattan is not difficult

Navigation in Manhattan is not difficult as long as you remember compass directions and use the proper terminology. Subways and Busses go "uptown" when heading north to the higher numbered streets and go "downtown" when heading south. They go to the "East Side" or the "West Side" when crossing the island. Building Numbers, especially on the avenues, often do not follow a logical pattern. When asking directions, always try to specify the nearest intersection of streets and avenues. For example: "On Broadway, near 42nd Street" or "near Third and fifty fourth".

Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island are bedroom communities

Brooklyn is across the East River on the southwestern tip of Long Island. It is accessible via bridge or tunnel. This borough is nearly four times as large as Manhattan Island and has a population of about four million. It is one of the primary bedroom communities for New York City. Unlike Manhattan, there are few tall buildings in Brooklyn. Typically, the tree-lined streets are filled with brownstone townhouses and small apartment buildings. There are very few hotels in Brooklyn, but those few offer a quiet alternative to the noisy hectic streets of Manhattan. Coney Island Beach and Amusement park are located along the southern shore and John F. Kennedy Airport lies just east of Brooklyn.

Queens is north of Brooklyn on the tip of Long Island. It is also a residential community with many high-rise apartment complexes. LaGuardia airport, Shea Stadium and the crumbling ruins of the old World's Fair are located there. There are a few hotels near the airport. The Bronx is another mainly residential community almost due north of Manhattan on the mainland. The large and impressive Bronx Zoo is located there.

Staten Island is due south of Manhattan across the main harbor basin. It is most easily reached via the Staten Island ferry from Battery Park on the southern tip of Manhattan. The ferry ride offers spectacular views of the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty and is absolutely free for all pedestrians. Staten Island has a small town atmosphere with many single-family homes.

Three airports serve New York City

There are three major airports near New York City. John F Kennedy (JFK) airport is on Long Island about 12 miles east of Manhattan. LaGuardia is in Queens about 6 miles from downtown and Newark airport is across the Hudson river in New Jersey about 12 miles to the southwest of the city. Ready access is available from each airport via taxi or bus. Public transportation is excellent in New York City. Busses, subway trains and taxis provide the most convenient means of transportation. New York City is one of the few cities in the USA with adequate train service. Commuter trains cover most of the nearby communities and neighboring states. Longer distance passenger trains travel the east coast corridor and go to many major cities across the country.

New York is the "city that never sleeps"

New York is one of the most exciting cities in the world. It is often called "the city that never sleeps." In fact, Times Square at midnight seems more vibrant and active than most other cities at noon. New York has many tourist attractions like the Statue of Liberty, the United Nations headquarters, the Empire State building and over 300 museums. It is renown for its wide variety of entertainments including the world famous Broadway theaters. There are over 30,000 restaurants in New York City plus countless bars and clubs. If you like big cities and lots of excitement, the Big Apple is a great place to visit.

Written by: Mike Leco

Walt Disney World , Florida

Disney World is a huge resort complex

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is not just a theme park, but a huge resort complex covering 47 square miles. The resort contains four separate theme parks, three water parks and 99 holes of golf on several different courses. Miles of outdoor recreation are available including hiking, biking, boating and swimming. It has three separate areas containing shopping, dining and entertainment facilities as well as a fourth area with nightclubs. A fairly new addition to the resort is the state of the art sports complex where Disney hosts a wide variety of sporting events. Finally, there are about 18 Disney owned and operated hotels and several non-Disney hotels in the resort. All this combined with many other attractions in the Orlando and central Florida area can be quite overwhelming.

No other Disney Park equals Disney World in Florida

No other Disney resort comes close to the size and diversity of Disney World Florida. If you have previously visited one of the other Disney resorts such as Disneyland California, Disneyland Paris or the new Disneyland Tokyo, you should still visit Disney World in Orlando, Florida. All other Disney resorts consist of a single theme park and are quite small compared to the massive resort complex in Florida. Each of the other parks are no larger than the Magic Kingdom theme park in Disney World, which is only one small part of the complex. Remember, that only the resort in Orlando, Florida is referred to as Disney World or Walt Disney World. The other parks are usually called Disneyland. The size and diversity of the Disney World resort ensures that it will probably remain the number one vacation destination in the world for years to come.

The main attractions at the resort are divided into four theme-parks

Magic Kingdom, the first theme park built at the resort, has rides, shows and attractions divided among seven fantasy areas. This is the place to find all your favorite Disney characters and attractions.

Epcot, the second theme park built at the resort, is divided into two areas: Future World and World Showcase. The attractions in Future World are based on modern and futuristic advances in communication, transportation, energy, agriculture and much more. World Showcase allows you to explore culture, cuisine, shopping and entertainment from many countries including Canada, UK, France, Japan, Morocco, US, Italy, Germany, China, Norway and Mexico.

The Disney-MGM Studios offers behind-the-scenes looks at the making of movies and popular TV shows and provides live original shows. There are also a number of thrilling rides or attractions based on blockbuster movies, which provide exciting stunts and amazing special effects.

Animal Kingdom
is the newest and largest theme park to open in the Disney World resort. This 500-acre park is divided into three areas: The Real, The Mythical and The Extinct. The Real area features live animals in exotic landscapes and provides a safari-like experience. In The Mythical area, guests come face-to-face with magical and make believe creatures. In the Extinct Area, dinosaurs come to life.

The Water Parks are a great way to cool off

The four theme parks are the heart of Disney World, but there are many other attractions including three full-sized water parks. Typhoon Lagoon is a tropically landscaped 56-acre water park based around a huge wave pool that covers 2.5 acres and holds 2.75 million gallons of water. At certain times the pool is even used for surfing. Blizzard Beach is Disney's newest and largest water park and the most interesting. It is made to look like a snow-covered ski-resort and offers the most slides and the most thrilling attractions. River Country, the first water park built at Disney World, is actually a roped-off section of Bay Lake and is designed to give the feeling of "an old swimming hole." It is the most tame and relaxing. Spending a day at one of the Disney World water parks can be a pleasant break from the theme parks as well as a great way to cool off from the hot Florida sun.

There are many recreational activities

Disney World offers lots of outdoor recreation. It has five challenging 18-hole golf courses as well as a 9-hole beginner's course and a 36-hole miniature golf course for family fun. If you prefer tennis there are many courts throughout the resort including Disney's Contemporary Resort Racquet Club. Water sports are plentiful including water-skiing, parasailing, fishing and many types of boat rental. For the extremely adventurous, there is the Richard Petty driving experience where you can drive an actual Nascar racing car. The car has about 600 hp and can attain speeds of up to 160 mph.

Disney World even offers cruises and education

Disney World has still more vacation options such as the Disney Institute and the new Disney Cruise Line. The Disney Institute offers many great hands-on classes designed for fun and education. It is located in the Disney World resort so you are still close to all the other attractions as well. The Disney cruise line combines a Disney World resort vacation with a Caribbean cruise. You stay at the resort in Florida for several days, then board a Disney cruise ship and sail to Disney's own private-island resort in the Bahamas.

Work at Disney and earn college credits

Disney World has a special college program for young adults. Students can earn college credits while working and living in the Disney World resort. This program is extremely popular with young adults from around the world. Several links are included for anyone wanting more information.

As you can see, there is plenty to do at Walt Disney World, and there are many other attractions in the Orlando area and the rest of Florida. Some planning is required to get the most out of your Disney vacation but don't worry, the planning can be half the fun.

For more tips and information about Disney World, visit our Disney Tips page.

Written by: Gerry Leco

Washington DC

Washington DC is located near the middle of the eastern coast of the USA. It is 230 miles south of New York City, less than an hour drive to Baltimore and slightly more than two hours to Philadelphia. The city is near the vast Chesepeake Bay about 100 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. The surrounding landscape is nearly flat with some gently rolling hills and shallow valleys. Summers can get quite warm with temperatures often exceeding 80 degrees F during June through August. Winters can be quite cold with temperatures intermittently falling below freezing from December through March. They get a modest amount of precipitation evenly distributed throughout the year. Occasional Atlantic storms can bring deluges or can dump large amounts of snow on the area in the winter.

Washington DC is more than a city but not quite a state. It is a "district" created by the Congress of the United States in 1790 as a place to meet and transact their affairs of government. It was originally a ten-mile, square of land straddling the Potomac River between Virginia and Maryland. They called it the District of Columbia and named the new capital city, to be constructed within, Washington in honor of our founding father and first president.

A city planned by a French engineer

Washington DC is one of the few cities in the USA that was built according to a plan. In 1790, President Washington hired a French engineer from Lafayette's army named Pierre L'Enfant to design a glorious capital city similar to Paris. The complete name of the city is Washington, District of Columbia. Most people call it Washington DC or just DC.

Today Washington DC is a city of variety and contrast. The central area is beautifully designed with broad avenues lined with magnificent buildings and monuments set in spacious green parks. The surrounding neighborhoods vary from modern commercial districts and upscale residential neighborhoods to ethnic enclaves and working class neighborhoods. The city houses a myriad of workers, diplomats, politicians and immigrants from many lands. It is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the US with numerous ethnic neighborhoods and restaurants featuring a wide variety of exotic cuisines. Suburban communities in nearby Virginia and Maryland house an army of government workers and businesses supporting the operation of our huge federal bureaucracy.

Most of it is free

There is a lot to see in Washington DC and most of it is free. You can tour the US Capitol Building, the White House, the Supreme Court and many federal government agencies like the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (where they print the money) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) (where they shoot a machine gun). You can visit the Washington Memorial, the Lincoln, Jefferson and Roosevelt Memorials. You can see Arlington National Cemetery, the Vietnam memorial, the Korean War memorial and the Battle of Iwo Jima memorial. You can even spend several days touring the many parts of the Smithsonian Institute, one of the largest and finest collection of museums in the world. None of it will cost anything!

Washington DC offers many historical and educational attractions, a variety of cultural and entertainment activities, plenty of multi-ethnic dining experiences and an array of shopping opportunities. Outside of the city, there are many civil war battlefields within a short drive; and President Washington's home at Mount Vernon is just south of DC. The port city of Baltimore and Anapolis, home of the US Naval Acadamy, are within an hour drive. Even Piladelphia and New York City are within a half-day drive.

Three major airports

DC is served by three major airports. Washington National Airport, now called Reagan International, is just across the Potomac river from the district. It offers many domestic flights to cities throughout the USA. Dulles Airport is located in suburban Virginia 30 miles west of the city. It offers many international flights and a variety of domestic connections. Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) is about 30 miles north of DC near the outskirts of Baltimore. It offers both domestic and international travel options.

The DC Metro, or subway system is quite good. It offers easy access from Washington International Airport and from numerous "Park and Ride" locations around the city to most of the major attractions. On weekdays, the parking situation in the city can be quite difficult. I recommend parking outside of the downtown area and using the Metro. On weekends and holidays when the government beaurocrats desert their offices, downtown parking is readily available.

Navigating the baffling street system

Driving in DC can be frustrating. The beltway system around the city is quite good, but access to and from the central area is not so easy. All major roads often become congested during the busy hours of early morning and late afternoon.

The well-planned street system is an easy to comprehend grid that is often difficult to maneuver. The north-south streets are numbered and the east-west streets are lettered beginning at the Capitol and extending in both direction. You can have two 3rd streets (one to the east of the Capitol and one to the west), and you can have two "D" streets (one to the north of the capitol and one to the south). That is why the city is divided into quadrants. The intersections of 7th street and "C street" can occur in the NE, SE, NW and SW sectors. You must specify the quadrant to find an address. There is a series of broad avenues that radiate out from the Capitol like the spokes of a wheel. They produce some complex angular intersections that can baffle even the most experienced drivers.

Visit our Washington D.C. Attractions for information about the best sights in and around DC!

Written by: Mike Leco

Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam, Indonesia

Banda Aceh is suffered an immense loss of life during the tsunami of December 26, 2004. Over 100,000 residents lost their live in a matter or minutes as the huge tidal wave swept ashore. Many heart-wrenching and poignant reminders of that day still remain. They range from a huge generator ship that now become a monument that was lifted several kilometers inland from its seaside berth to crush a rom of family houses and their inhabitants and a smaller ship which landed atop another house and ironically served as a means for the survival and resque of 57 people, to a myriad of battered landscapes, shattered buildings, and mass gravesites. Visitors are awestruck at the devastion, but inspired by the recovery process. They marvel at the stories of the survivors, and they revel at their determination to rebuild their lives.

Tourist Office

Jl. Tengku Cik Kuta Karang No. 3, Banda Aceh. Phone. (0651) 23692, 26206, 21108 Fax. 3723

Getting there

Only forty-five minutes from Medan and two and half hours from Jakarta, with Singapore and Kuala Lumpur via Medan even closer than Jakarta

Tourism Events

Aceh Cultural week is held on Aug 2008 in Banda Aceh and perform dances such as Tari Seudati (Seudati Dance).

Places of Interest

Weh Island

Weh Island often referred to by the name of its capital, Sabang, is the western most island of the Indonesian archipelago. It is situated at the mouth of the Malacca Strait a sea passage for many yachts and cruise ships only 18 miles away, one hour by ferry, from Ulee-Lheue harbor in Banda Aceh. Diving in Pulau Weh is a well-established recreational activity with dive masters and dive instructors ready to offer a variety of dives to sites like the fabled Sea Garden in Pulau Rubiah.

Alas River

Alas River flows into the Indian Ocean; this river has exceptional rapids that attract whitewater rafting enthusiasts for all over the world.

Gunung Leuser

Hiking to the peak of Gunung Leuser (3,404 meters) take about 10-14 days. The small village of Angasan is a suitable starting point. Angasan is located several hours walk west of Blang Kejeren. Most hikers spend the night in Angasan and start their trek in the morning. The first five days go
Baiturrahman Mosque
through virgin rain forest where rare primates can often be seen.

Baiturrahman Mosque

Baiturrahman Mosque is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture and ornamentation is the main feature of Banda Aceh. It has five onion-shaped domes, two towering minarattes, expansive white walls, and pillars with beautiful design

Bunaken National Park, North Sulawesi

A flat island about 15 km from Manado, with a friendly people. The coral reefs off Bunaken island shouldn't be missed while you are in Manado. These magnificent virgin reefs are still relatively unspoiled. The drop-off walls at Liang cove is not only rare in the world, with caves, gullies and caverns, harboring an immense wealth of marine life. Spectacular formation of reefs begin with flat at about 5 m depth. These plunge downward to form underwater vertical crevices with often reach depth on several hundred meters. On these beautiful reefs, a wonderful collection of marine life thrives.

The Bunaken reef is a chain of over 40 five star dive spots. The Marine Park is spectacular with the greatest concentration of tropical fish, coral species and world famous wall diving.
Clear, warm waters (sea temperatures usually range between 27-30 degrees C), light currents and calm seas allow easy access to the underwater attraction awaiting visitors to the five-islands of the Bunaken-Manado Tua National Marine Park which sits directly offshore of Manado. Bunaken is the standout favorite, with the highest density of schooling fish and the greatest probability to see larger species such as turtles, sharks, and napoleon wrasse. There are enough sites here to keep any diver happy for over a week without going elsewhere.

The Dive Sites :
Most diving takes place near Bunaken and Manado Tua, because of their many excellent sites. The following is representative of the diving in the area.

Lekuan Walls (I, II, III)

This long wall on Bunaken is divided into three sites: Lekuan I, II and III. Together they represent the park's best. Steep walls are marked with deep crevices, sea fans and giant sponges. The shallows are filled with fishes. The wall, often protected from stronger currents, is frequented by bumphead parrotfish, turtles, and Napoleon wrasses.

Mandolin has a knockout reef crest and a wall that attracts thousands of fishes like schooling fusiliers, surgeonfish, unicornfish, and bannerfish. They are acclimated to divers and are easily approachable.
Bunaken Timor
There are strong currents and lots of fishes on this long wall. The shallow reef isn't as spectacular as some but there are turtles, sharks, eagle rays, and other big fishes in the blue. Overhangs and small caves mark the wall.
Tanjung Kopi

Tanjung Kopi is a nice wall with a small school of barracuda and lots of sweetlips. Visibility in the shallows is not terrific but the numbers of fishes make up for it. Nudibranches and fire gobies are easy to spot here.
Siladen Island
Siladen has a beautiful wall of soft corals that bloom when the current is running. The shallows are nice with lots of fishes and schooling snappers.
Muka Gereja
Muka Gereja is a pretty site with thousands of fishes in the shallows and deeper canyons that lead to the wall.
Barracuda Point
Barracuda Point, on northwest Montehage, is one of the furthest sites. A school of giant barracuda are regulars along with jacks and tuna.
Manado Wreck
This 60m (200ft) long German merchant ship sank near Molas Beach in 1942. It sits upright with the bow at 23m (78ft). The ship is split near amidships back to the stern, exposing the wheelhouse and cargo holds. Dives finish up on a nearby shallow reef. Expect 10-15m (30-50ft) visibility.

Getting There

Bunaken Island is easily reached from Manado by motorized outrigger boat start from Manado harbor, Molas, Kalasey and Tasik Ria beaches. The public boats from Manado to Bunaken are leaving daily around 2 p.m (depending on tide), except Sundays, from Pasar Jengki near Manado harbor. Back from Bunaken to Manado usually early in the morning, around 7-8 a.m

Where to Stay

On the island you have the choice amongst a number of homestays, with rates starting at
Rp. 40 000 per day and person including full board. Some of the dive operations on Bunaken are offering more up-market accommodation, and even running water.

Moving Around

You can explore the land on foot. And you can use a boat to move from one dive sites to another sites.

Dining Guide

There are several of restaurants and cafes throughout Manado and the islands. Try their specialties: seafood, bubur manado and food made of coconuts!

Souvenir Tips

Sea-related products, such as items made of seashells, corals, etc

Other Things to See or Do

Diving, swimming, and snorkeling.
Walking around on the beach.
Sampling the tempting seafood cuisine.
Ornithologists and amateur bird-watchers might find visiting Tangkoko Dua Sudara Nature Reserve entertaining.

Travel Tips

Entrance tags and tickets can be purchased through marine tourism operators based in Manado and in the Bunaken National Park, or can be purchased from one of three ticket counters in Bunaken and Liang villages on Bunaken Island and on Siladen Island;
You should be aware that during the absolute peak season months July and August it usually gets VERY busy. Many of the better resorts and dive operators will not be able to accept walk-ins during that time since they are fully booked. Better make a reservation before;
Try to hire equipment from larger firms as these tend to be more reliable, but remember the responsibility of checking the equipment is ultimately yours.

Komodo National Park, Indonesia

Komodo National Park lies in the Wallacea Region of Indonesia, identified by WWF and Conservation International as a global conservation priority area. The Park is located between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores at the border of the Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) and Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTP) provinces. It includes three major islands, Komodo, Rinca and Padar, and numerous smaller islands together totaling 603 km2 of land. The total size of Komodo National Park is presently 1,817 km2. Proposed extensions of 25 km2 of land (Banta Island) and 479 km2 of marine waters would bring the total surface area up to 2,321 km2. (Click on the map to enlarge - 70kB)

Komodo National Park was established in 1980 and was declared a World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1986. The park was initially established to conserve the unique Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), first discovered by the scientific world in 1911 by J.K.H. Van Steyn. Since then conservation goals have expanded to protecting its entire biodiversity, both marine and terrestrial.

The majority of the people in and around the Park are fishermen originally from Bima (Sumbawa), Manggarai, South Flores, and South Sulawesi. Those from South Sulawesi are from the Suku Bajau or Bugis ethnic groups. The Suku Bajau were originally nomadic and moved from location to location in the region of Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara and Maluku, to make their livelihoods. Descendents of the original people of Komodo, the Ata Modo, still live in Komodo, but there are no pure blood people left and their culture and language is slowly being integrated with the recent migrants.

Little is known of the early history of the Komodo islanders. They were subjects of the Sultanate of Bima, although the island’s remoteness from Bima meant its affairs were probably little troubled by the Sultanate other than by occasional demand for tribute.

There are presently almost 4,000 inhabitants living within the park spread out over four settlements (Komodo, Rinca, Kerora, and Papagaran). All villages existed prior to 1980 before the area was declared a national park. In 1928 there were only 30 people living in Komodo Village, and approximately 250 people on Rinca Island in 1930. The population increased rapidly, and by 1999, there were 281 families numbering 1,169 people on Komodo, meaning that the local population had increased exponentially. Komodo Village has had the highest population increase of the villages within the Park, mostly due to migration by people from Sape, Manggarai, Madura, and South Sulawesi. The number of buildings in Kampung Komodo has increased rapidly from 30 houses in 1958, to 194 houses in 1994, and 270 houses in 2000. Papagaran village is similar in size, with 258 families totaling 1,078 people. As of 1999, Rinca’s population was 835, and Kerora's population was 185 people. The total population currently living in the Park is 3,267 people, while 16,816 people live in the area immediately surrounding the Park.

The average level of education in the villages of Komodo National Park is grade four of elementary school. There is an elementary school located in each of the villages, but new students are not recruited each year. On average, each village has four classes and four teachers. Most of the children from the small islands in the Kecamatan Komodo (Komodo, Rinca, Kerora, Papagaran, Mesa) do not finish elementary school. Less than 10% of those which do graduate from elementary school will continue to high school since the major economic opportunity (fishing) does not require further education. Children must be sent to Labuan Bajo to attend high school, but this is rarely done in fishermen’s families.

Most of the villages located in and around the Park have few fresh water facilities available, if any, particularly during the dry season. Water quality declines during this time period and many people become ill. Malaria and diarrhea are rampant in the area. On Mesa island, with a population of around 1,500 people, there is no fresh water available. Fresh water is brought by boat in jerrycans from Labuan Bajo. Each family needs an average of Rp 100,000.- per month to buy fresh water (2000). Almost every village has a local medical facility with staff, and at least a paramedic. The quality of medical care facilities is low.

Traditional Customs: Traditional communities in Komodo, Flores and Sumbawa have been subjected to outside influences and the influence of traditional customs is dwindling. Television, radio, and increased mobility have all played a part in accelerating the rate of change. There has been a steady influx of migrants into the area. At the moment nearly all villages consist of more than one ethnic group.

Religion: The majority of fishermen living in the villages in the vicinity of the Park are Muslims. Hajis have a strong influence in the dynamics of community development. Fishermen hailing from South Sulawesi (Bajau, Bugis) and Bima are mostly Moslems. The community from Manggarai are mostly Christians.

Anthropology and Language: There are several cultural sites within the Park, particularly on Komodo Island. These sites are not well documented, however, and there are many questions concerning the history of human inhabitance on the island. Outside the Park, in Warloka village on Flores, there is a Chinese trading post remnant of some interest. Archeological finds from this site have been looted in the recent past. Most communities in and around the Park can speak Bahasa Indonesia. Bajo language is the language used for daily communication in most communities.

Topography: The topography is varied, with slopes from 0 – 80%. There is little flat ground, and that is generally located near the beach. The altitude varies from sea level to 735 m above sea level. The highest peak is Gunung Satalibo on Komodo Island.

Geology: The islands in Komodo National Park are volcanic in origin. The area is at the juncture of two continental plates: Sahul and Sunda. The friction of these two plates has led to large volcanic eruptions and caused the up-thrusting of coral reefs. Although there are no active volcanoes in the park, tremors from Gili Banta (last eruption 1957) and Gunung Sangeang Api (last eruption 1996) are common. West Komodo probably formed during the Jurasic era approximately 130 million years ago. East Komodo, Rinca, and Padar probably formed approximately 49 million years ago during the Eocene era.

Climate: Komodo National Park has little or no rainfall for approximately 8 months of the year, and is strongly impacted by monsoonal rains. High humidity levels year round are only found in the quasi-cloud forests on mountain tops and ridges. Temperatures generally range from 170C to 340C, with an average humidity level of 36%. From November through March the wind is from the west and causes large waves that hit the entire length of Komodo island’s west beach. From April through October the wind is dry and large waves hit the south beaches of Rinca and Komodo islands.

The terrestrial ecosystems are strongly affected by the climate: a lengthy dry season with high temperatures and low rainfall, and seasonal monsoon rains. The Park is situated in a transition zone between Australian and Asian flora and fauna. Terrestrial ecosystems include open grass-woodland savanna, tropical deciduous (monsoon) forest, and quasi cloud forest.

Due to the dry climate, terrestrial plant species richness is relatively low. The majority of terrestrial species are xerophytic and have specific adaptations to help them obtain and retain water. Past fires have selected for species that are fire-adapted, such as some grass species and shrubs. Terrestrial plants found in Komodo National Park include grasses, shrubs, orchids, and trees. Important food tree species for the local fauna include Jatropha curkas, Zizyphus sp., Opuntia sp., Tamarindus indicus, Borassus flabellifer, Sterculia foetida, Ficus sp., Cicus sp., ‘Kedongdong hutan’ (Saruga floribunda), and ‘Kesambi’ (Schleichera oleosa).

The terrestrial fauna is of rather poor diversity in comparison to the marine fauna. The number of terrestrial animal species found in the Park is not high, but the area is important from a conservation perspective as some species are endemic.. Many of the mammals are Asiatic in origin (e.g., deer, pig, macaques, civet). Several of the reptiles and birds are Australian in origin. These include the orange-footed scrubfowl, the lesser sulpher-crested cockatoo and the nosy friarbird.

Reptiles: The most famous of Komodo National Park's reptiles is the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis). It is among the world's largest reptiles and can reach 3 meters or more in length and weigh over 70kg. To find out more about this fascinating creature click here.

Other than the Komodo Dragon twelve terrestrial snake species are found on the island. including the cobra (Naja naja sputatrix), Russel’s pit viper (Vipera russeli), and the green tree vipers (Trimeresurus albolabris). Lizards include 9 skink species (Scinidae), geckos (Gekkonidae), limbless lizards (Dibamidae), and, of course, the monitor lizards (Varanidae). Frogs include the Asian Bullfrog (Kaloula baleata), Oreophyne jeffersoniana and Oreophyne darewskyi. They are typically found at higher, moister altitudes.

Mammals: Mammals include the Timor deer (Cervus timorensis), the main prey of the Komodo dragon, horses (Equus sp.), water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), wild boar (Sus scrofa vittatus), long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis), palm civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus lehmanni), the endemic Rinca rat (Rattus rintjanus), and fruit bats. One can also find goats, dogs and domestic cats.

Birds: One of the main bird species is the orange-footed scrub fowl (Megapodius reinwardti), a ground dwelling bird. In areas of savanna, 27 species were observed. Geopelia striata and Streptopelia chinensis were the most common species. In mixed deciduous habitat, 28 bird species were observed, and Philemon buceroides, Ducula aenea, and Zosterops chloris were the most common.

The marine area constitutes 67% of the Park. The open waters in the Park are between 100 and 200 m deep. The straits between Rinca and Flores and between Padar and Rinca, are relatively shallow (30 to 70 m deep), with strong tidal currents. The combination of strong currents, coral reefs and islets make navigation around the islands in Komodo National Park difficult and dangerous. Sheltered deep anchorage is available at the bay of Loh Liang on Komodo’s east coast, the South East coast of Padar, and the bays of Loh Kima and Loh Dasami on Rinca.

In the North of the Park water temperature ranges between 25 – 29°C. In the middle, the temperature ranges between 24 and 28°C. The temperatures are lowest in the South, ranging from 22 – 28°C. Water salinity is about 34 ppt and the water is quite clear, although the waters closer to the islands are relatively more turbid.

Indonesia is the only equatorial region in the world where there is an exchange of marine flora and fauna between the Indian and Pacific oceans. Passages in Nusa Tenggara (formerly the Lesser Sunda Islands) between the Sunda and Sahul shelves allow movement between the Pacific and Indian oceans. The three main ecosystems in Komodo National Park are seagrass beds, coral reefs, and mangrove forests. The Park is probably a regular cetacean migration route.

The three major coastal marine plants are algae, seagrasses and mangrove trees. Algae are primitive plants, which do not have true roots, leaves or stems. An important reef-building algae is the red coralline algae, which actually secretes a hard limestone skeleton that can encrust and cement dead coral together. Seagrasses are modern plants that produce flowers, fruits and seeds for reproduction. As their name suggests, they generally look like large blades of grass growing underwater in sand near the shore. Thallasia sp. and Zastera spp. are the common species found in the Park. Mangroves trees can live in salty soil or water, and are found throughout the Park. An assessment of mangrove resources identified at least 19 species of true mangroves and several more species of mangrove associates within the Park's borders.

Komodo National Park includes one of the world's richest marine environments. It consists of forams, cnidaria (includes over 260 species of reef building coral), sponges (70 species), ascidians, marine worms, mollusks, echinoderms, crustaceans, cartilaginous and bony fishes (over 1,000 species), marine reptiles, and marine mammals (dolphins, whales, and dugongs). Some notable species with high commercial value include sea cucumbers (Holothuria), Napoleon wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus), and groupers.

While most visitors enter Komodo National Park (KNP) through the gateway cities of Labuan Bajo in the west of Flores or Bima in eastern Sumbawa, the departure point for your trip is actually Denpasar, Bali.

How to get there ?

By Air:
Indonesia Air Transport (IAT)
Depart : Everyday
DPS - LBJ : 10.00 – 11.30
LBJ - DPS : 12.00 – 13.30

Y CLASS : IDR 751.000
H CLASS : IDR 696.000

Trans Nusa Airlines (TGN)
Depart : Everyday
DPS – LBJ : 10.00 – 11.50 & 13.00 – 14.20
LBJ – DPS VIA BMU (BIMA) : 12.05 - 12.35
BMU-DPS : 12.50 – 13.45
LBJ – DPS : 14.35 – 15.15

Y CLASS : IDR 761.000
L CLASS : IDR 651.000
M CLASS : IDR 541.000

By Land:
The gateway cities of Labuan Bajo and Bima are connected to Denpasar, Bali by overland buses.

By Sea (ferry):
Travel time: approximately 36 hours
The gateway cities of Labuan Bajo and Bima are also connected to Denpasar, Bali by inter-island ferry.

Contact the Indonesia Sea Transportation Company (PELNI) at Jalan Raya Kuta No. 299, Tuban - Bali (Tel: 0361 - 763 963) to reserve a seat on the KM. Tilong Kabila, which departs Benoa Port, Bali bound for Bima and Labuan Bajo

Benoa-Bima-Labuan Bajo
Fortnightly (every two weeks) on Saturdays: 09.00-20.00 (next day).
One-way ticket (as of 10/6/06) from Rp. 143,000.00 - Rp. 435,000.00

Labuan Bajo-Bima-Benoa
Fortnightly (every two weeks) on Thursdays: 08.00-11.00 (next day).
One-way ticket (as of 10/6/06) from Rp. 143,000.00 - Rp. 435,000.00
Note: the ferry schedule and ticket prices may change with or without prior notice

By Sea (live-aboard):
Komodo National Park is serviced by a wide range of live-aboard boats, with return packages to Komodo National Park from a variety of departure points, including Bali, Lombok, Bima and Labuan Bajo
Prices (as of 10/6/06) are ranging from USD 230.00 - USD 295.00 / person / night.

From Gateway Cities to Komodo National Park (KNP)

You can easily organize a shared boat charter by local boat from either ports at Labuan Bajo or Bima (Sape) to the two major points of access in the Park: Loh Liang (on Komodo Island) or Loh Buaya (on Rinca Island)
Charter price (as of 10/6/06) - excluding meals, KNP entrance fee etc:
Labuan Bajo: KNP: Rp. 750,000 - 1,500,000 per boat / day
Bima (Sape): KNP: Rp. 1,500.000 - 2,000.000 per boat / day
"Note: the charter prices may change with or without prior notice"

For more information please contact:


Komodo Marine National Park Office
Jl. Kasimo Labuan Bajo
West Flores, East Nusa Tenggara 86445
Ph. +62 385 41004 Fax. +62 385 41006

PT Putri Naga Komodo
Bali: Jl. Pengembak No.2 Sanur 80228, Bali T: +62 381 780 2408 F: +62 361 747 4398
Labuan Bajo: Gg.Masjid, Kampung Cempa. Labuan Bajo, 86554 West Manggarai. East Nusa Tenggara. T: +62 385 41448 F: +62 385 41225
E-mail: Website: /