Category: Uncategorized

Finland Has So Much To Offer!

Posted By : Edward/ 65 0
Finland has so much to offer! Fall in love with Finnish winter.
malta-dive-spot

Top 10 dive sites in Malta, Gozo and Comino

Posted By : Edward/ 77 0

Explore the beautiful sea and marine life around the Maltese Islands

Diving around the Maltese Islands is a real joy and there several caves, wrecks, walls and reefs to explore. Don’t forget to visit these top 10 dive sites during your holiday in Malta and experience the Mediterranean marine life. Swim with large groupers, dentex and as barracudas at Reqqa Reef in Gozo or explore the fascinating cave systems at Santa Maria caves in Comino, the choices are endless!

1. Santa Maria Caves

The Santa Maria Caves in Comino provide interesting dives for all levels of diving expertise

The Santa Maria Caves are located on the north side of Comino and this is a very popular dive site due to its fascinating cave systems.

Divers come here year after year and thus, arriving early to avoid the crowds is recommended. There are 10 caves known to divers as Santa Maria Caves and they each have their own particular beauty. Some of them offer great swim troughs, some with large underwater tunnels while others have fascinating views into the blue through their entrance.

The caves are quite shallow and some of the caves are even half above water, also ideal for snorkelers. The shallow Santa Maria Caves are rich in marine life and you can spot Nudibranch, octopus, crabs, spiny lobster, eels, mullets, shrimp, damselfish and morays.

Another attraction is the Banded Sea Bream that will swarm you when you feed them with bread. The pretty Santa Maria Caves are suitable for all levels of divers and offers plenty of things to explore and for the underwater photographer the possibilities are never-ending.

2. Reqqa Reef

Reqqa Point is a popular reef diving site in Ghasri, Gozo, giving you an opportunity to explore the underwater world and discover the marine life

The Reqqa Point or Reqqa Reef dive in Ghasri, Gozo is a nice dive due to its beautiful view into the clear blue Mediterranean Sea and diversity of marine life of the north coast.

Diving at Reqqa Point or Reqqa Reef you will see large groupers, dentex, rays as well as barracudas and if you look by the boulders you can also find lobsters and morays. Getting to the dive site might be slightly hard as the site is not easy to find and you have to walk a bit fully geared. It is recommended to dive at Reqqa Point with someone who has been there before and diving is not recommended during strong winds.

In the Reqqa Point dive you descend along a large wall that runs down to over 60 meters covered in sponges with a lot of small fish present. You can choose to stop on the sandy reef bottom before the drop at about 25m.

There are several smaller overhangs, caves to explore and at 18m you will find a spectacular chimney. When visiting Reqqa Point or Reqqa Reef take the opportunity to visit the salt pans nearby.

3. P29

The P29 dive in Cirkewwa is an interesting dive that combines the exploration of a wreck with the discovery of beautiful marine life

The P29 wreck dive is done around the 62m long, 16m high and 7m wide ex German Kondo class minesweeper that was deliberately sunk in 2007.

The P29 is situated 150 m from the coast off Cirkewwa Point and is easily accessible from the shore and marked by a buoy. The P29 dive site is very popular with both locals and tourists visiting Malta and can be explored by experienced divers.

If you are looking for rich marine life, the Rozi wreck is a better choice, however there is plenty of fauna and fish on the wreck and on the way to the P29 dive site. You will reach the P29 wreck at 30 meters and the seabed is at 38 meters.

You will find some amazing swim troughs, however the smaller and tighter areas are not recommended unless you are experienced in wreck penetration. The deck house has several openings, a lot of light and hardly any mud. The P29 dive is a fun and interesting dive that can be combined with several other dives such as The Arch.

4. The Blue Hole

The Blue Hole in Dwejra, Gozo is one of the most popular dive sites in the Maltese Islands.

The Blue Hole dive site in Dwejra overlooks the beautiful Azure Window and starts in a fantastic 10m wide inland sea pool which leads into a large crevice and through to the open sea. Once you start your dive you will see a natural rock arch with clear blue waters that is your doorway leading to the open sea.

After passing the Arch you will swim through the tunnel with very nice rock formations, you will discover fantastic marine life such as parrot fish, Schools of Bream, Moray Eel, Lobster, Octopus and much more.

Heading towards the reef wall you have to swim through a large vertical crack in the reef (The Chimney) starting at 18m and then go up to the coral garden located at 4m. If you do not wish to swim out to the open sea you can turn back and visit the cave at the far end of the Blue Hole.

The Blue Hole is a good dive for all level of divers as there are several depths and routes to choose from. The Blue Hole dive can be followed with the Inland Sea dive.

5. Ghar Lapsi

The Ghar Lapsi dive offers a great cave dive which is ideal also for beginners

The quiet and shallow waters of Ghar Lapsi offer a perfect dive for beginners and new divers who can descend on the reef to about 15 meters.

Divers with more experience can discover the natural beauty of the Ghar Lapsi Cave with azure blue and green waters and with beautiful underwater photography opportunities as the sun reflects through the entrance.

The Ghar Lapsi Cave has several entrances and exits and inside, the cave is wide and flat with plenty of marine life. Since large areas of Ghar Lapsi Cave are covered in sea grass, you have good chances of spotting nudibranches and sea hares.

The Ghar Lapsi dive is easily accessible by either a ladder or by a large slipway leading down to the sea. Diving at Ghar Lapsi can also be combined with swimming at this popular beach and diving at Um El Faroud.

6. The Inland Sea and Tunnel

The Inland Sea dive is one of the most spectacular dive sites in Malta and Gozo, offering beautiful lighting effects and plenty of marine life

The Inland Sea is a very popular and spectacular dive that can be can be done on the same day with the Blue Hole dive located close by.

The dive at the Inland Sea and Tunnel starts in a 60m wide scenic inlet surrounded by high cliffs. The unique tunnel connected to the inland sea is 80m long, however be careful when diving in the tunnel as boats pass through it as well.

At the end of the tunnel you will see some stunning lighting effects created by the sunlight hitting the water. Light inside the tunnel is usually not a problem; however some divers prefer to bring a torch along to explore the tunnel walls. Once you exit the tunnel, the seabed drops to beyond 30m and you can choose to dive on the right or left side of the tunnel.

Whichever you choose you will have fantastic wall dives and see plenty of marine life such as John Dory, Octopus, Cardinal Fish, Barracuda, Parrot Fish, Spotted Doris. Even though the reefs and the walls are beautiful, the Inland Sea and the tunnel are very unique and is a must dive if you visit Malta and Gozo.

7. Billinghurst Cave

The Billinghurst Cave dive in Gozo is an interesting dive that allows you explore the marine life and enjoy beautiful play of lights

The Billinghurst Cave dive is situated in Gozo and is one of the longest cave dives in Gozo near Reqqa Point.

The Billinghurst Cave is about 50m long with the entrance only 3m under the surface with a maximum depth of 30m. At the entrance of the Billinghurst Cave the sunlight hits the water and creates fantastic lights perfect for silhouette photographs.

However, bring a torch with you as there is very little natural light penetration to be able to see all the colourful fish, red sponges and lace coral covering the sides of the tunnel.

The marine life is not as rich in the Billinghurst Cave as it is elsewhere. If you swim to the end of cave you will enter another cave called Railway Tunnel and at the end of this cave it is possible to surface. Diving in this site is only possible with a dive centre.

8. The Madonna Statue – Cirkewwa

The Madonna Statue is a very popular dive site situated in the northern part of Malta.

The Madonna Statue is the ideal diving site to explore during your holiday in Malta as it is suitable for both open water divers and more experienced ones. One of the main attractions of this dive is the Madonna statue which was placed in the sea over 25 years ago by a local dive club at the entrance of a small swim-through at 18m.

The dive starts from the shore with an easy access through a 1m deep pool and offers diving around shallow plateaus of maximum 10m. More experienced divers can dive off the plateau until around 30m.

The wall has several tunnels as well as two amazing swim-troughs. This dive site is also popular for fantastic night dives. Be prepared to see interesting marine life such as amberjacks, barracuda, and scorpion fish and if you’re lucky, you might even see trigger fish.

9. Qawra Reef

The Qawra reef is an interesting reef on the Northern part of Malta, ideal for both beginners and intermediate level divers

The Qawra Reef is one of the most beautiful reefs in the touristic resort of Qawra in Malta and is a perfect dive for beginners and intermediate divers. Access to the Qawra Reef is easily done from the shore and offers a drop off until 40 m with a nice wall as well as several big caves on the right side of it.

The caves are going inside and under the reef and are safe to enter as they have wide entrances and do go deep. If you like marine life this is the place for you as you will find Spiny or Slipper Lobsters, hermit crabs, nudibranchs and spider crabs.

If you follow the drop off to the deeper parts there are large boulders, which are home to barracudas, dentex, tuna and amberjack hunting for smaller fish and it is here that you can spot the rare Axinella verrucosa (Mediterranean ‘finger’ sponge).

The Qawra Reef dive site has several shallow parts where the reef top comes to around 15 m for the beginners to explore with parrot fish, different types of groupers and cardinal fish to watch. This dive is not well known, so you might be the only one exploring the Qawra Reef.

10. The Rozi Tugboat Dive

The Rozi tugboat in Cirkewwa is an interesting dive giving you the opportunity to explore the underwater marine life

The Rozi is a 40 m tugboat that was purposefully sunk in 1991 in Cirkewwa and is one of the most popular dive sites in Malta today.

The dive starts from the shore with a swim over one of the most beautiful reefs in Malta towards the wreck which is only 150 m away from the shore and very easy to find as it is marked by a large yellow buoy. The Rozi wreck is still intact in an upright position at about 34 m, except for the engine and the propellers that have been removed.

Thanks to this, the engine room and the wheel house are now empty and can be safely entered; while exploring the rest of the wreck is also possible. Behind the wheelhouse you can dive into several doorways and explore different rooms.

The beautiful clear blue waters around the Rozi are filled with a lot of fish including rainbow wrasse, cardinal fish, lots of Sea breams and scorpion fish. The Rozi dive in Malta is a spectacular dive that can be combined with the Madonna Statue dive. If you have time, explore the reef on your way back as it offers a few swim troughs in the rock and has a very rich marine life.

Top 10 Value Destinations in 2020

Posted By : Edward/ 412 0

Got itchy feet but don’t want to break the bank? Here are 10 destinations where you’ll find you’ll be able to make your money go further.

1. East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

This often overlooked region of Indonesia rewards those who hit Bali and keep going – and going. These islands are home to pristine beaches that are quieter than those further west, and one of Indonesia’s best diving scenes can be found on the Alor Archipelago.

2. Budapeset, Hungary

Of all the grand dames of Central Europe, Budapest is one of the most rewarding on your pocket, while serving up highlights memorable enough to rank high on continental explorers’ lists of big hitters.

3. Madya Pradesh, India

There’s wildlife spotting with a difference in this state of India. The first difference is the price – wildlife-spotting excursions come with a far lower cost than in Africa.

4. Buffalo, NY, USA

Buffalo’s resurgence continues. Plan a visit now to take advantage of expanding budget air routes and a fast growing hotel and restaurant scene.

5. Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is a near-unique destination with a low visiting cost for the quality of accommodation, food and experiences on offer.

6. Serbia

What’s this? An authentic, characterful European country, rewarding slow exploration and barely discovered by travellers? Serbia can’t even be said to have been hiding away – it’s capital, Belgrade, has for centuries been one of the continent’s great crossroads.

7. Tunisia

Tunisia is a wonderful place to first dip your toes into North Africa at a reasonable cost. While Morocco offers a similar instant immersion, Tunisia’s efforts to win back visitors means that it offers terrific value and also shines a light on what makes the country unique.

8. Cape Winelands, South Africa

South Africa is a regular fixture in lists of places that offer a friendly exchange rate for those looking for world-class safaris and other wildlife spotting, but there’s so much more to the country than Kruger and other reserves.

9. Athens, Greece

The best things in Athens are free. Yes, the simply wondrous Acropolis Museum charges a modest fee, but you can gawp at the Parthenon itself from various vantage points for nothing. In fact, admiring the glowing Acropolis at night is one of the most magical experiences in Europe, let alone Greece.

10. Zanziber, Tanzania

Such is the evocative nature of the word ‘Zanzibar’ that there’s anticipation of adventure before you’ve even landed. And if arriving on the ferry from mainland Tanzania, you’ll get an unusual internal passport stamp: bonus! Two passport stamps for the price of one.

Celebrating Ramadan

Posted By : Edward/ 493 0

Ramadan Kareem to you our dear customers and clients! It is the Holy Month of Ramadan once again. During these challenging times we would like to remind everyone to

Stay Positive
Stay Safe
Stay Home

Our services are still available and open should you need to consult us, and we are glad to be of service to you.

Our Office Timings During Ramadan

As per the recently updated government regulations, duty hours for the private sector will be from:

09:00 to 15:00 (9AM to 3PM).

Thank you very much!

We Have Moved!

Posted By : Edward/ 644 0

We have moved!

Dear Valuable Client,

In an effort to serve you better, we’re getting closer to you!

Our new office location:

Office No. 19, Al Muthanna Complex, Salwa Road (Opposite Jarir Bookstore)

For Bookings, Contact Us at:

Landline : +974 4435 4777
Mobile : +974 5589 7239
WhatsApp: +974 5025 0208
Email: book@falcontravelqatar.com

With Falcon Travel, We Make It Happen!

BANANA ISLAND – Your Private Luxury Island Getaway in Doha

Posted By : Edward/ 531 0

BANANA ISLAND – Your Private Luxury Island Getaway in Doha

Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara is a crescent of golden beach and over water villas just off the coast of downtown Doha. Accessible by private catamaran, escape for family adventures, ocean thrills or serene spa bliss.

Enjoy an alcohol-free atmosphere with the little ones as you surf, dive, golf, bowl or cinema. Race across lagoon waters with a host of motorised water sports. Unwind in the Middle East’s only wellness centre in an island resort setting, spread across lush botanical gardens.

All in-house guests and day visitors are required to provide the following identifications at Al Shyoukh Terminal Reception prior to issuance of boarding passes:

  • Qatar Nationals and Expats (Original QID)
  • Tourists and Non-Residents (Original Passport)

At A Glimpse

  • 141 sea view rooms, suites, beach and over water pool villas
  • 800m of golden shoreline
  • Surf pool, dive centre, VIP cinema, bowling alley, putting green and F1 simulator
  • Anantara Spa and Balance Wellness Centre

Book Now

Book now with Falcon Travel for an easy luxury travel getaway.

Contact Us

Mobile

+974 5589 7239

+974 5025 0208

Landline

+974 4435 4777

Email

book@falcontravelqatar.com

Happy New Year!

Posted By : Edward/ 474 0

Happy New Year!

2019 is about to end, and 2020 is about to begin. For many of us, this time of the year is when we make some of the biggest decisions of the year. Many cultures observe New Years Day according to their own customs, some on their own dates and calendars. For most of the world, New Years is celebrated on the 1st day of January, and is often marked as a national holiday.

We would like to take this opportunity to greet our dear clients and customers a Happy New Year on behalf of Falcon Travel! Let this time of the year symbolize a renewal of strength and determination in all of our endeavors. We wish for everyone to have a prosperous year in 2020.

Merry Christmas to Our Dear Customers

Posted By : Edward/ 667 0

Merry Christmas to Our Dear Customers

The year 2019 is about to end and all around the world there are festivities in celebration of Christmas.

While most people are aware that Christmas is a Christian holiday, it does have roots in non-Christian holidays that celebrated the winter solstice. And since the early 20th century, Christmas has increasingly become a secular family holiday, observed by Christians and non-Christians alike, devoid of Christian elements, and marked by an increasingly elaborate exchange of gifts. In this secular Christmas celebration, a mythical figure named Santa Claus plays the pivotal role.

So in the spirit of Christmas, Falcon Travel would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a joyous winter season as we await new beginnings for everyone!

Celebrating Qatar’s History On National Day

Posted By : Edward/ 654 0

Celebrating Qatar’s History On National Day

Qatar National Day is soon approaching, and with it we would like to take the opportunity to celebrate Qatar and its rich history.

Today, Qatar is a small prosperous state with great quality of life and high life satisfaction. Qatar is rich in history and culture, and every year thousands of expats and Qatari nationals celebrate in honor of Qatar and its independence.

Early Human Settlement

According to archaeological evidence, humans have occupied the Qatar Peninsula as far back as 50000 years in the past, where small groups of Stone Age inhabitants built seasonal encampments and sites. More permanent settlements started popping up around 8000 to 7500 years in the past. One of the oldest known settlements in Qatar is Wadi Debayan, situated on the northwest coast.

Classical Era

In classical antiquity Qatar was occupied and influenced by various empires and kingdoms, including the Assyrians, the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire, and the Parthians. Classical historians have written about the peninsula and its population around this time, such as Herodotus describing its inhabitants as “sea-faring Canaanites”, and Pliny the Elder describing them as nomads who constantly roamed in search of water and food.

The Origin of “Qatar”

The origin of Qatar’s name can be traced as far back as the second century, during which Ptolemy produced the first known map to depict the peninsula, referring to it as “Catura”. Later on under Sassanid reign after Christianity had begun to spread in the region, Qatar was known by the Syriac name “Beth Qatraye” or “Beth Catara”, which translated means “region of the Qataris”.

Muslim Rule

Most Arab tribes in Qatar converted to Islam in 628 under Persian rule when a Muslim envoy, Al-Ala`a Al-Hadrami, was sent to a Persian ruler in Eastern Arabia named Munzir ibn Sawa Al Tamimi. After the adoption of Islam, the Arabs led the Muslim conquest of Persia which resulted in the fall of the Sassanian Empire.

During the period of the Umayyad Caliphate (661-750), Qatar was described as a famous horse and camel breeding centre. In 750, discontent in the caliphate had reached a critical level due to the treatment of non-Arab citizens of the Empire. The Abbasid Revolution resulted in the overthrow of the Umayyad Caliphate, ushering in the Abbasid period.

Several settlements, including Murwab, were developed during the Abbasid period. Murwab fort is the oldest intact fort in the country and was built over the ruins of a previous fort which was destroyed by fire. The town was the site of the first sizable settlement established off the coastal area of Qatar.

The Abbasid era resulted in substantial development for the pearling industry in Qatar. It is suggested from archaeological remains from the 9th century that greater wealth, perhaps from pearl trade, allowed Qatar’s inhabitants to build higher quality homes and public buildings. However, when the prosperity of the Abbasid caliphate declined, so too did it in Qatar.

Qatar is mentioned in 13th-century Muslim scholar Yaqut al-Hamawi’s book, Mu`jam Al-Buldan (Dictionary of Countries), which alludes to the Qataris’ fine striped woven cloaks and their skills in improvement and finishing of spears, known as khattiyah spears. The spears acquired their name as an homage to the region of Al-Khatt which encompassed present-day Qatif, Uqair and Qatar.

Post-Islamic Golden Age

Much of Eastern Arabia was controlled by the Usfurids in 1253, and then by the prince of Ormus in 1320. During this time Qatar’s pearls provided one of the mains sources of income for the kingdom. By 1521, the Portuguese seized Bahrain and mainland Qatar. The Portuguese focused on creating a commercial empire in Eastern Arabia, and exported gold, silver, silks, cloves, amber, horses and pearls. The population of Al-Hasa submitted voluntarily to the rule of the Ottomans in 1550, preferring them to the Portuguese.

After the Portuguese were expelled from the area in 1602 by the Dutch and British, the Ottomans saw little need to maintain and military presence in the Al-Hasa region. As a result, the Ottomans were expelled by the Bani Khalid in 1670.

Various other periods of Qatar up to its independence include the Al Khalifa and Saudi control (1783-1868) Ottoman Control (1871-1915), and being a British protectorate (1916-1971). The Qatar-Bahraini war occurred in the 1860s, around the tail-end of Al Khalifa control, and is a milestone in Qatar’s history. The resulting peace treaty after the war implicitly recognized the distinctness of Qatar from Bahrain and explicitly acknowledged the position of Mohammed bin Thani as an important representative of the Peninsula’s tribes.

Mohammed bin Thani is best known for being the father of Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, the founder of Qatar and who fended off the Ottoman army in the late 19th century. Notable in the Battle of Al Wajbah in 1893, when Jassim bin Mohammed’s was able to defeat Ottoman forces and retrieve Qatari captives. Although Qatar did not gain full independence from the Ottoman Empire, the result of the battle forced a treaty that would later form the basis of Qatar emerging as an autonomous country separate within the empire.

Independence (1971-present)

Qatar declared its independence on 1 September 1971 and became an independent state on 3 September. When Ahmad bin Ali issued the formal announcement from his Swiss villa instead of from his palace in Doha, many Qataris were convinced that it was time for a change in leadership. On 22 February 1972, Khalifa bin Hamad deposed Ahmad bin Ali when he was on a hunting trip in Iran. Khalifa bin Hamad had the tacit support of the Al Thani and Britain and also had the political, financial and military support of Saudi Arabia.

In contrast to his predecessor’s policies, Khalifa bin Hamad cut family allowances and increased spending on social programs, including housing, health, education, and pensions. In addition, he filled many top government posts with close relatives. In 1993, Khalifa bin Hamad remained the Emir, but his son, Hamad bin Khalifa, the heir apparent and minister of defense, had taken over much of the day-to-day running of the country. The two consulted with each other on all matters of importance.

On 27 June 1995, deputy emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa deposed his father Khalifa in a bloodless coup. An unsuccessful counter-coup was staged in 1996. The emir and his father are now reconciled, although some supporters of the counter-coup remain in prison. The emir announced his intention for Qatar to move toward democracy and permitted more liberal press and municipal elections as a precursor to expected parliamentary elections.

In June 2013, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa stepped down as emir and transferred leadership to his son and heir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who is the current Emir of Qatar.

The Best Winter Sun Activities in Qatar

Posted By : Edward/ 571 0

Qatar might be a small nation, but it’s swiftly earning a big reputation when it comes to winter sun. With a reliable climate, one of the best-connected airports on the planet, long swathes of sandy coast and a futuristic city with a stellar skyline at its heart, it’s too often an overlooked option for late-year getaways.

Plus, the current glut of luxury hotel openings means there are superb deals to be had right now. Here are our top spots to soak up the ceaseless Arabian sun in one of the peninsula’s most underrated holiday destinations.

1. Katara

Qatar’s fascinating cultural village (just north of Doha) is also home to one of the country’s finest stretches of sand. Katara Beach is 1.5km long, with pretty much every watersport you can imagine on offer, from waterskiing to gondola rides. It’s also a strong option for ocean-front dining, with an impressive 14 restaurants to pick from.

2. Sealine Beach Resort

Located south of Doha, this surprisingly affordable luxury hotel boasts outstanding beach access and ocean views. It’s also an excellent jumping-off point for activities in the desert beyond – from dune bashing to sandboarding around Qatar’s awe-inspiring inland sea.

3. Banana Island

This insanely luxurious, 13-hectare private island off Qatar’s coast is reached by a luxury yacht transfer service. As you’d expect, the resort has plenty of secluded sandy beach to go around, not to mention eight restaurants, three pools, 141 bedrooms and marvelous overwater villas.

4. MIA Park

Adjacent to Doha’s monumental Museum of Islamic Arts is MIA Park, a tranquil green space on the city’s waterfront. Here you can enjoy everything from working classes to live concerts – or simply stroll around, lapping up the atmosphere and topping up your tan while gazing at Doha’s dazzling skyline from one of the city’s best vantage points.

5. St. Regis, Doha

Arguably still the most outstanding five-star hotel in a city full to bursting with them, the St. Regis, located in Doha’s West Bay, boasts an exclusive beach, one of the best spas in the entire region, and an Olympic-sized infinity pool.

6. Nobu Doha

Thrusting up from the ocean from its own promontory curving around a harbour, Nobu’s Qatari outpost looks more spaceship than restaurant – and the food is equally out of this world. Request a table out on the deck: the sunsets here, amid the ancient dhows and purring supercars, are just as delicious.

7. The Pearl

An artificial island spanning an impressive 4 million sq m, The Pearl contains a lavish mix of properties as well as restaurants, cafes and boutiques. Make a beeline for the picturesque Qanat Quartier, where the colourful townhouses, pretty roof gardens and meandering canals are inspired by Venice.

8. Al Thakira Mangroves

For winter sun-seekers of a more active persuasion, the Al Thakira Mangroves – just north of the seaside town of Al Khor in the north of Qatar – are a fascinating area to check out. A rich natural oasis in the desert, the best way to explore Al Thakira is on one of the many kayak tours offered by local eco-adventure operators.