Exploring Nature’s Wonderland – A Visit to Penang National Park

Nestled on the northwest corner of Penang Island, Penang National Park stands as a testament to Malaysia’s rich biodiversity and natural beauty. With its pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and diverse ecosystems, the park offers visitors a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life and immerse themselves in the wonders of nature. Go on a journey through Penang National Park as we explore its captivating landscapes, abundant wildlife, and enchanting attractions.

ImageCredit,NaruKiob,Unsplash,CC0

Getting There:

Accessible by road or boat, Penang National Park is easily reached from various points here including your hotel in Penang Georgetown. Visitors can take a scenic drive or opt for a thrilling boat ride from Batu Ferringhi or Teluk Bahang to reach the park’s entrance at Teluk Bahang, located just an hour away from popular hotels in the area such as Citadines Connect Georgetown Penang.

Coastal Trails and Hiking Routes:

Lace up your hiking boots and embark on an adventure along the park’s network of well-marked trails, which offer varying levels of difficulty and scenic views. The most popular trail is the coastal trek from Teluk Bahang to Monkey Beach, where hikers can traverse dense forests, mangrove swamps, and rocky shorelines while enjoying panoramic vistas of the Andaman Sea.

Mangrove Swamps and Canopy Walkway:

Explore the park’s mangrove swamps, which serve as vital habitats for diverse wildlife and plant species. Take a guided boat tour through the mangrove forest to observe its unique ecosystem up close, or venture onto the park’s famous Canopy Walkway for a bird’s-eye view of the lush canopy and surrounding landscape.

Monkey Beach and Turtle Sanctuary:

Relax and unwind at Monkey Beach, a secluded stretch of golden sand fringed by swaying palm trees and clear turquoise waters. Swim in the gentle surf, sunbathe on the shore, or enjoy a picnic amidst the tranquil surroundings. Don’t forget to visit the nearby Turtle Sanctuary, where visitors can learn about efforts to conserve endangered sea turtles and witness hatchlings being released into the sea.

Pantai Kerachut and Meromictic Lake:

Discover the hidden gem of Pantai Kerachut, a pristine beach nestled between lush hills and rocky cliffs. Marvel at the beauty of its unspoiled landscape and crystal-clear waters, perfect for swimming and snorkelling. Nearby, the Meromictic Lake offers a unique natural phenomenon, with layers of freshwater and seawater remaining separate due to their differing densities.

Climb Monkey Mountain in Gal Oya 

Explore the hidden wonders of Gal Oya as you ascend Monkey Mountain at sunrise. For outdoor enthusiasts seeking an unforgettable adventure, Monkey Mountain offers a unique blend of physical challenge and natural beauty.

Discover the Enigmatic Veddas Tribe

Explore the Gal Oya area, an off-the-beaten-track destination that remained off-limits during the war, preserving its natural beauty. Encounter the Veddas, Sri Lanka’s indigenous community, hidden within the deep forests surrounding the national park. Learn about their mystical beliefs regarding the unusually high density of medicinal plants in the area, believed to cure various diseases.

Diverse Wildlife Encounters

Gal Oya
Gal Oya – Image via Flickr

Embark on a thrilling two-hour hike up Monkey Mountain with a naturalist guide, navigating through dense forests and climbing over giant boulders. Encounter a rich variety of wildlife, including 32 recorded mammal species, interesting birds, butterflies, and reptiles. The Gal Oya area provides a unique opportunity to witness a wide range of flora and fauna, making the climb an exciting adventure for nature enthusiasts.

Panoramic Views from Monkey Mountain

Rise with the sun and start your climb at the crack of dawn to beat the midday heat. The twenty-minute walk to the base of Monkey Mountain is just the beginning of a challenging ascent. Navigate the uphill climb, sometimes hand-over-foot, to reach the mountain peak. Once there, be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding forest, creating a serene and breathtaking backdrop. The tough hike becomes worthwhile as you take in the phenomenal scenery. Conclude your adventurous climb with a well-deserved breakfast back at one of the Gal Oya Sri Lanka hotels the likes of Wild Glamping Gal Oya.

Pack Smart

Equip yourself with light and cool clothing, wear a cap, apply sunscreen, and bring along a camera to capture not just the stunning views from the summit but also the unique flora and fauna encountered during the climb.

Gorge Swinging along the Victoria Falls – Adrenaline-fueled activities along the Falls

The Gorge Swing at Victoria Falls is a heart-pounding and exhilarating adventure that takes thrill-seekers to new heights, both literally and metaphorically. Suspended above the Zambezi River, this adrenaline-pumping experience offers a unique perspective of the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls and its breathtaking gorge.

Image via needpix

A little overview

Embarking on the gorge swing stands out as the pinnacle of your Victoria Falls experience. Spanning a length of 95 meters across the gorge and soaring at a height of 120 meters, this thrilling ride promises an adrenaline-fueled adventure like no other. The swing’s harness, capable of reaching speeds of up to 180 kilometres per hour, adds an extra layer of excitement for the daring, alongside a nearby spot of luxury like the Avani Victoria Falls Resort.

Things to bring and leave behind

Opt for comfortable clothing during the Gorge Swing experience. If your shoes are loose, it’s advisable to go barefoot during the jump to prevent them from falling into the river. Rest assured, you can retrieve your shoes once the thrilling adventure concludes.

Bringing your Children​​​​​​​

Participants must be a minimum of 14 years old, and individuals under 18 must obtain written consent from a parent or guardian. The weight requirements dictate a minimum of 40 kilograms and a maximum of 160 kilograms – and remember, full pricing applies to children aged 14 years and above, but it makes for great fun at any Victoria Falls hotel.

A few final tips

Each jumper is securely harnessed, with jumping ropes affixed to the cable’s midpoint. Participants are advised to tie back long hair and secure it throughout the swing. It is also recommended to leave valuables at your accommodation for added convenience during your visit – and a guide to Gorge Swinging at Victoria Falls is indispensable for those eager to partake in this extraordinary activity.

The Ultimate Guide to the Land of Eternal Spring – Travel Tips for Holidaying in Captivating Kunming

Called “The City of Eternal Spring,” Kunming is no ordinary travel hotspot in Yunnan Province. Here are some guidelines to help travelers navigate this vibrant corner of China.

Kunming | wikipedia commons

When to Travel

Although Kunming is a pleasant vacation destination for most of the year, first-timers should time their trip between March and October. As the official tourist season in Kunming, this sunny time of year is when the flowers in the city are in full bloom and nearly every outdoor excursion is accessible and safe.

Getting Around

Whether one is based at a property belonging to the Park Hotel Group or any other hotel chain, hopping on the local metro trains is the best way to get around Kunming. Offering passengers efficient and affordable transfers around the city, the metro trains are reliable and even connect visitors with the airport. The two largest bus terminals in the city are the Kunming East Bus Station and the Kunming North Bus Station. Cycling enthusiasts will also find Kunming to be a very biking-friendly city.

Cultural Landmarks

Some of the most popular cultural landmarks visitors must explore in Kunming include the Yuantong Temple. Built during the Tang Dynasty, it is the largest temple compound in the city. The Qiongzhu Temple which dates back to the Song Dynasty is equally impressive, while a Museum of Yunnan Province tour is another must for culture buffs.

Top Attractions

Apart from paying homage to ancient temples, hiking and enjoying nature are among the top things to do in Kunming. The Stone Forest World Geopark and the Western Hills Forest Park are ideal for discovering the natural beauty of the area.

The Truth About Otaru – Japan’s Hidden Gem

Nestled on Hokkaido’s coast, Otaru is a delightful surprise. It’s a sweet treat for those who venture beyond Japan’s well-trodden tourist paths. Known for its beautifully preserved canal area and rich history, Otaru offers a blend of cultural charm and scenic beauty.

Img via flickr

What Is Otaru Known For?

Otaru is famous for its beautifully preserved canal district that harks back to its prosperous port days. With warehouses now converted into charming boutiques and cafes, Otaru takes you on a journey to a bygone era. The city is also renowned for its glassworks and music boxes.

Places to Stay

Accommodation in Otaru caters to various budgets. From cosy ryokans to hotels like Grand Park Otaru, there’s something for every traveller. Want to stay at the best hotel in Hokkaido but don’t have the budget for it? Keep an eye out for offers and packages; you will find a place that fits your needs and budget.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Otaru is from June to August, when the weather is warm, and the city is vibrant with festivals and outdoor activities. Winter, February in particular, is also a great time to visit, especially if you’re interested in the famous Otaru Snow Light Path Festival.

Things to Do

There’s no shortage of activities in Otaru. Take a stroll along the canal, explore the city’s rich history in museums like the Otaru Music Box Museum, or enjoy a scenic cruise from the port. Nature lovers can head to nearby Tenguyama for hiking in summer or skiing in winter.

Cuisine

Otaru’s culinary scene is as diverse as its culture. Being a port city, it’s a paradise for seafood lovers, with fresh sushi and sashimi being local specialities. Don’t miss out on grilled seafood and sweet corn – the city’s famous street food.  For a unique experience, visit one of the local sake breweries to sample the city’s rice wine.

Kyoto’s Most Stunning Seasonal Flowers – Discover the Breathtaking Natural Beauty of Japan

Kyoto, a city steeped in history and culture, is also a paradise for nature lovers, especially those who can’t resist the charm of blooming flowers. In Kyoto, every season brings a different floral show, filling the city with delightful scents. The city offers a never-ending spectacle of natural beauty all year round.

 

Img via flickr

Spring: Cherry Blossoms

When spring arrives in Kyoto, you can’t miss the gorgeous cherry blossoms painting the town pink. Head over to Maruyama Park, where a magnificent cherry tree takes centre stage, offering you a truly breathtaking sight. And don’t forget the nighttime charm – during Sakura season, the park lights up, turning into a magical wonderland.

Summer: Lotus Flowers

Summer in Kyoto brings the serene beauty of lotus flowers. You can see them at the Kamigamo Shrine, just 15 minutes from Park Hotel Kyoto. The place has a calm pond filled with these pink and white blooms. It’s a simple yet peaceful sight that you can enjoy during the summer. You can easily get here from any Kyoto Japan hotel.

Autumn: Maple Leaves

Autumn in Kyoto is all about enjoying the vibrant colours of the maple leaves, a tradition known as Momiji-gari or maple leaf hunting. Head to Tofukuji Temple, which is famous for its extensive maple tree groves that paint the landscape in stunning shades of red, orange, and yellow. You can take in these breathtaking autumn scenes from various viewing platforms throughout the temple grounds.

Winter: Plum Blossoms

While cherry blossoms steal the spotlight, don’t overlook winter’s hidden gems – plum blossoms. At Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, you’ll find these delicate plum blossoms blooming in various shades of white, pink, and red. Don’t miss the annual plum blossom festival held here; it’s a delightful event that’s worth experiencing.

Photographing Paradise

Koh Samui instils a feeling of immense satisfaction the minute you touch down on its shores, and it is easy to see why. Beyond its sun-kissed shores lies a photographer’s paradise, where every frame tells a story of the island’s mesmerising beauty. From golden sunsets to hidden waterfalls, Koh Samui offers a diverse canvas for photographers seeking to capture the essence of paradise.

Sunset Splendors

Koh Samui Photography
Koh Samui – Image via Flickr

Koh Samui’s sunsets are legendary, painting the sky with hues of orange, pink, and gold. The island’s western beaches, such as the iconic Chaweng and Lamai, have properties such as Santiburi Koh Samui that provide front-row seats to this daily spectacle. Photographers can capture silhouettes of swaying palm trees against the fiery backdrop, creating images that embody the island’s serenity.

Turquoise Horizons

The crystal-clear waters that embrace Koh Samui’s shores are a visual feast. Snorkelling at spots like Ang Thong Marine Park and Silver Beach are some of the best things to do in Koh Samui, and offer opportunities to capture the marine life beneath the surface. Photographers can immortalise the island’s aquatic wonders, from colourful coral reefs to gracefully gliding sea turtles.

Cultural Kaleidoscope

Koh Samui offers a wealth of cultural experiences for photographers to capture, in addition to its stunning natural beauty. The Big Buddha, Wat Plai Laem, and Fisherman’s Village offer glimpses into the island’s spiritual and historical heritage. Colourful festivals and local markets provide additional opportunities to document the cultural heartbeat of Koh Samui.

Exploring Marrakech

Marrakech, a city steeped in history and adorned with incredible colours, beckons travellers to immerse themselves in its enchanting blend of tradition and modernity. Here’s a diary of must-see attractions that transform your journey into an unforgettable adventure.

Jardin Majorelle

Jardin Majorelle is a botanical masterpiece that captivates with its cobalt blue walls, exotic plant species, and tranquil fountains. Strolling through this enchanting garden, you will discover a serene retreat amidst the lively streets of Marrakech.

Jemaa el Fna

As the sun sets, Jemaa el Fna comes alive with an irresistible energy. This bustling square is a sensory feast, offering everything from aromatic street food to mesmerizing street performances, representing everything beautiful about Marrakech. Things to do here include basking in the electric atmosphere that immerses you in the heart of Moroccan culture.

Medina Souks

Navigating the labyrinthine alleys of the Medina, you can find yourself in a shopper’s haven. The souks, brimming with colourful textiles, intricate ceramics, and aromatic spices, invite you to haggle and indulge in the art of bargaining.

Bahia Palace

Stepping into the opulent Bahia Palace felt like entering a time capsule of grandeur. The intricately designed courtyards, mosaic-tiled walls, and lush gardens showcase the architectural prowess of Moroccan craftsmanship. Take a short journey from your stay at La Maison Arabe Marrakech to spend some time in the glorious past.

Koutoubia Mosque

Koutoubia Mosque
Koutoubia Mosque – Image via Flickr

The towering minaret of Koutoubia Mosque dominates the city skyline, serving as a timeless symbol of Marrakech. Its elegant architecture and serene surroundings create a perfect backdrop for contemplation and photography.

Explore the Best Things to Do in Sigiriya

Situated in the central province of Sri Lanka, Sigiriya has much to offer. It is therefore no wonder that it is a popular site among both locals and tourists.

Visit Sigiriya

If you are staying at a property like Ayurvie Sigiriya, it is highly recommended to visit the Sigiriya Rock which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The site offers numerous attractions to explore such as landscaped gardens, incredible paintings, and a magnificent view from the top.

Visit Pidurangala

One of the best things to do near Sigiriya would be to visit Pidurangala. This rock situated opposite Sigiriya is a popular climb and is known for having amazing views. Many may even argue that the view from Pidurangala is better than that from Sigiriya. However, note that as there is a temple at the bottom, visitors are expected to cover up.

Go on a Nature Trail in Habarana

Habarana
Habarana – Image via Flickr

This activity is perfect for nature lovers as it involves walking through Habarana village on foot. With a knowledgeable guide, time flies by as you observe an array of colourful birds and playful monkeys. However, it’s important to remember not to feed any of the animals you encounter on the trail, especially the monkeys.

Go on a Hot Air Balloon Ride

While this may not be something that everyone can do, if you do have some money to spare it would be great to go on a hot air balloon ride. This can easily be the experience of your lifetime as you would be able to observe the cultural sights of Sri Lanka from the sky. However, make sure to book this ride with a Government-certified vendor.

A Day Trip to the Knuckles Mountain Range 

Embark on a day trip to the Knuckles Mountain Range, a hidden gem in the heart of Sri Lanka. This rugged landscape promises a day filled with nature’s wonders and breathtaking views.

Scenic Drive through Knuckles Pass

Begin your journey with a scenic drive through Knuckles Pass, surrounded by lush greenery and mist-kissed mountains. The winding roads offer glimpses of hidden valleys and cascading waterfalls, setting the tone for a day of exploration.

Hike to Mini World’s End

Mini World's End
Mini World’s End – Image via Flickr

Lace up your hiking boots and trek to Mini World’s End, a vantage point that rewards you with panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. The moderate hike is a perfect blend of challenge and tranquillity, providing an intimate experience with nature.

Visit Corbett’s Gap

Make a stop at Corbett’s Gap, which is just a 21-minute car drive from Wild Glamping Knuckles. It is an open grassy area offering unobstructed views of the Knuckles range. The cool breeze and scenic beauty make it an ideal spot for a picnic or simply to pause and absorb the natural serenity that envelops the mountains.

Explore Pitawala Pathana

Conclude your day at Pitawala Pathana, a vast plain atop the Knuckles Range. The grass-covered plateau provides an ideal setting for relaxation and photography. Take a leisurely stroll and absorb the tranquillity of this unique landscape before heading back. After a day well spent in the embrace of nature, head back to one of the hotels near Knuckles Mountain Range for some much-deserved rest.