VACATIONS Newsletter – January-2023
ICICI Bank introduces VACATIONS – your monthly Travel Newsletter!
Month’s theme Introduction: Look, how far we’ve come!
A spectacular start to a New Year! Let’s be grateful for the greatest gifts of all – health, family and freedom.
The world is literally shaking off its two years of slumber created by the pandemic and starting to spread its wings. And the New Year is always a great harbinger of change. It reminds us that one of our most precious commodities is time. And whether we do something or not, time is something that will keep ticking.
To see how much we have achieved as humans, there is no better place than Egypt to give that sense of awe and wonder. Egypt is not the world’s first civilisation but is definitely one of the most advanced for its time. The pyramids of Giza are still a mystery – how did they manage to build it without access to any of the modern technology. Their magnificent, larger than imagination temples, their myths, their religion, everything is a wonderful story edged with mystery, even after unearthing so much about them.
In a way, when we see how advanced this ancient civilisation was, it rekindles our belief in human endeavour and human industriousness. Something we all need at this crucial time in our modern civilisation.
Soul Trip: What a Wonderful World
195 countries, countless regions, innumerable cultures – our world is truly a wonderful place. Mother nature has been very kind to bestow many geographical blessings on our planet and human beings have made their home planet such a diverse playground with different languages, cuisines, lifestyles that it already looks like a multiverse.
Travelling to see this beautiful planet, to experience this myriad of cultures should be one of the primary goals of every human being. Not to check things off a bucket-list, not to win brownie points amongst our social circle, not just for kids’ annual vacation, but truly, to experience the depth and width of humanity.
Humans are explorers by nature. We are not meant to be bound to our office chairs and just follow a 9-5 routine. We are meant to wander. We are meant to feed our souls with blues of oceans, greens of forests, whites of snow and with noisy chirping of birds flying overhead.
Let’s go! The world is waiting.
Discover Your World
A civilisation beyond imagination
Egypt, a country linking Northeast Africa with the Middle East, dates back to the time of the pharaohs. Millennia-old monuments sit along the fertile Nile River Valley, including Giza's colossal Pyramids, The Great Sphinx, Luxor's hieroglyph-lined Karnak Temple and Valley of the Kings tombs. The capital, Cairo, is home to Ottoman landmarks like Muhammad Ali Mosque and the Egyptian Museum, a trove of antiquities.
Egypt contains some of the oldest, grandest sites in the world. Sure, everyone is familiar with the great pyramids on the Giza Plateau, but there is a lot more to Egypt than just the pyramids. The lesser known and more fun to visit pyramids in Saqqara and Dahshur are well worth the day trip from Cairo. You can also spend a day or two visiting the churches and mosques in Cairo, walking through Old Cairo and getting a history lesson at the Egyptian Museum. Alexandria, with its location on the Mediterranean Sea, makes a nice day trip from Cairo. In Luxor, not only can you visit the exquisitely decorated tombs of the ancient kings and queens of Egypt, but there is also the enormous Karnak Temple and the Temple of Luxor. The West Bank contains so many tombs and temples that it can take days to see all of them. It is one of the largest open air museums in the world.
In Aswan, drift on the Nile in a felucca and visit the beautiful Philae Temple.
Abu Simbel, a temple that is located near the border with Sudan, is worth a visit. This temple is dedicated to the Ramesses II. In the 1960’s the entire temple, including the mountain of rock it was carved into, was painstakingly disassembled and moved to higher ground, as water levels rose after the construction of the Aswan High Dam.
If you want some chill time, check out the opulent resorts in Hurghada. Finally, add some adventure to your trip by visiting an oasis in the Sahara Desert. And while Egypt is mainly a desert, its seaside town Sharm-el-sheikh has some of the most stunning diving sites in the world.
Long weekends 2023
For office and school going travellers, making full use of weekends and especially long-weekends is a definite sign of being a smart traveller. Here’s an exhaustive list.
Jan 26, 2023, Thursday (Republic Day): Four day long weekend, if you take Friday Jan 27 off.
Mar 30, 2023, Thursday (Ram Navmi): Four day long weekend, if you take Friday Mar 31 off.
Apr 04, 2023, Tuesday: Four day long weekend, if you take Monday Apr 3 off.
Apr 07, 2023, Friday: Three day long weekend starts from Friday Apr, 7 on the occasion of Good Friday (Apr 7, Friday).
Apr 29, 2023, Saturday: Three day long weekend starts from Saturday, Apr 29, on the occasion of Labour Day (May 1, Monday).
May 05, 2023, Friday: Three day long weekend starts from Friday, May 5 on the occasion of Budhha Purnima (May 5, Friday).
Jun 17, 2023, Saturday: Four day long weekend, when you take one day leave starts from Saturday, June 17 on the occasion of Rath Yatra (Jun 20, Tuesday).
Jun 29, 2023, Thursday: Four day long weekend, when you take one day leave starts from Thursday, Jun 29 on the occasion of Bakri Id/Eid ul-Adha (Jun 29, Thursday).
Jul 28, 2023, Friday: Three day long weekend starts from Friday, July 28 on the occasion of Muharram (Jul 28, Friday).
Aug 12, 2023, Saturday: Four day long weekend, when you take one day leave starts from Saturday, Aug 12 on the occasion of Independence Day (Aug 15, Tuesday).
Aug 31, 2023, Thursday: Four day long weekend, when you take one day leave starting from Thursday, Aug 31 on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan (Aug 31, Thursday).
Sep 07, 2023, Thursday: Four day long weekend, when you take one day leave starting from Thursday, Sep 7 on the occasion of Janmashtami (Sep 7, Thursday).
Sep 16, 2023, Saturday: Four day long weekend, when you take one day leave starting from Saturday, Sep 16 on the occasion of Ganesha Chaturthi (Sep 19, Tuesday).
Sep 29, 2023, Friday: Three day long weekend starts from Friday, Sep 29 on the occasion of Onam (Sep 29, Friday).
Sep 30, 2023, Saturday: Three day long weekend starts from Saturday, Sep 30 on the occasion of Mathatma Gandhi Jayanti (Oct 2, Monday).
Oct 21, 2023, Saturday: Four day long weekend, when you take one day leave starting from Saturday, Oct 21 on the occasion of Dussehra / Dasara (Oct 24, Tuesday).
Nov 25, 2023, Saturday: Three day long weekend starts from Saturday, Nov 25 on the occasion of Guru Nanak's Birthday (Nov 27, Monday).
Dec 23, 2023, Saturday: Three day long weekend starts from Saturday, Dec 23 on the occasion of Christmas (Dec 25, Monday)
Sustainable Travel Tip of the Month
Let’s all be responsible travellers
“To get a sample itinerary for Egypt, Click here
Know your destination before you arrive.
A responsible traveller is not just the one who is minimising carbon footprint, reducing the usage of throwaway plastics or eating seasonal, local cuisine. A responsible traveller is also the one who tries to create deeper bonds with every place he/she travels to.
Let’s face it, we are not going to really know a country in our 6 days of touring, but there is indeed a way to make these 6 days wholesome. And for that, preparation begins even before you land.
Try to read up about the places you are going to. The place’s history, weather, current affairs, current economic and political conditions, what makes that place unique, make a list of things that you definitely would like to experience while you are there. Figure out the local currency, what can you bring back and also, see if there is any way you can give back while you are there. Learn a few local language phrases and counting up till ten.
This will not only help you connect better to the new place you are going to, but it will also enhance your travel experience and make you a responsible traveller. Let that be one of your New Year travel resolutions.
‘Vacations’ is powered by OneShoe Trust for Responsible & Mindful Travels – a social enterprise that promotes travelling as a means to raise awareness about climate change and environmental issues. Incubated at IIM Bangalore, OneShoe is the source of most authentic travel experiences around the world.
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