Popularly known as the city of Senkadagalapura, the sacred city of Kandy was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1988. Drawing tourists, pilgrims and other visitors in numbers, this city radiates a celestial atmosphere which makes it stand out among other cities in Sri Lanka.
Kandy is located in the central part of the country, with an elevation of 500 metres from sea level. Hidden in the thick forests and majestic mountain ranges, the city stands in pride in all its glory. These mountain ranges include two of Sri Lanka’s most beloved hiking hot spots, Knuckles and Hanthana. Kandy’s location and historical significance have been core reasons for opening up many hotels and resorts like Hunas Falls Hotel, Kandy. Most tourists and pilgrims who visit this sacred city often seek accommodation in a hotel in Kandy, Sri Lanka for a comfortable stay as a day’s trip will not do justice to the beauty of the city.
Kandy was the last capital of the country in the era of the ancient kings. It is also home to the Sri Dalada Maligawa, also known as the Temple of the Tooth which shelters the relic of the tooth of Lord Buddha. Although the locals rebelled massively to save the kingdom of Kandy from British rule, the efforts were finally beaten as the British Ceylon period rose from 1815 to 1948, until the country was freed of colonial rule and gained independence.
While Sri Lanka is widely known for its tropical weather conditions, Kandy’s geographical positioning deviates the city climate to a wetter and cooler temperature as a result of its 500-metre elevation from sea level. However, the city is still a part of the country’s tropical climate and faces the monsoon seasons from May to July and October to December.
The Kandy City
The cityscape of Kandy includes a quadrangular manmade lake at its centre, with two open spaces in which one corner is occupied by the administration buildings of the old capital. Although not as commercialised as Colombo, Kandy still welcomes tourists and hosts several hotels, shopping complexes and local eateries to taste the traditional flavours of Sri Lanka.
Amongst the most stunning attractions in Cambodia, Angkor is well worth exploring and here are some insights for solo female travellers planning to visit this site.
What to Expect
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Angkor Archaeological Park encompasses a massive area and features what remains of the ancient Khmer Empire’s capital. A key attraction here is the 12th century Angkor Wat temple, while there are many other places of interest to visit including the Bayon Temple and Ta Prohm.
When looking for a nearby place to stay, be it a budget or boutique hotel, Siem Reap is the town you should be based in. Consider properties like Anantara Angkor Resort which is not only 15 minutes away from Angkor Wat but is also safe for travellers. You can easily reach and explore Angkor by tuk-tuk or Vespa, while some properties offer helicopter tours too.
Because the complex is so vast, it’s best to get off to an early start and have a map too. You can easily explore various sites on foot, though another eco-friendly way to do so is to rent a bicycle and use some pedal power! Some companies offer bicycle tours, while personalised excursions are also available to visit lesser-known ruins as well.
Keep in Mind
Angkor Wat opens at 5:00am and by visiting at dawn, you can catch a spellbinding sunrise that will be well worth photographing too. You get several ticket types depending on the number of days you plan to visit though you will need more than a day to properly explore the complex. Additionally, since these are religious sites, wear attire that covers bare shoulders, legs and midriffs.
If you are an adventurer travelling to the Maldives all ready and set to explore what lies beneath these waters, a brief guide might just help you out! Here are a few things to know before your snorkelling trip to the Maldives.
When to Snorkel in the Maldives
The best thing about snorkelling or scuba diving in Maldives is that the weather is wonderful all year long. However, there are a few months where the water is clearer than it is the rest of the year. January through April is the best time for your underwater adventure.
Best Snorkelling Environments
Most resorts in Maldives, the likes of Reethi Faru Resort have great snorkelling opportunities. This is either because of the house reef located close to the island or the lagoon and house reef within the accessible range surrounding the island.
What to Expect
There is just so much to see when it comes to the underwater kingdom. Colourful corals, black-tipped reef sharks, morays and different kinds of turtles too. So, be prepared to uncover a true treasure of nature.
Other tips for snorkelling in the Maldives
Always be vigilant about the weather and make sure it’s a clear sunny day before your set out to the water. Bringing your own gear would be best, however, some resorts also provide snorkel equipment on rent. Yet another important thing to keep in mind would be to use plenty of sunscreen and make sure that your product is eco-friendly.
Be you looking for daring adventures or hiking escapades, Mount Huashan in China is not to be missed and here’s more on what to expect.
Planning Your Visit
Mount Huashan is in the Shaanxi Province around 120 km from Xian; accommodation can be easily found here including at coliving properties like lyf Dayanta Xi’an which make an ideal base. For transport, consider the 30-40-minute high-speed train from Xian North Railway Station to Huashan North Railway Station, only around 5 km from the mountain.
What to Expect
Rising to a height of approximately 2,154 metres, Mount Huashan is considered one of China’s famed “Five Mountains”. It has five peaks (North, South, East, West, Middle), each with something different to offer; those exploring this enchanting site will come across amazing panoramas, ancient Taoist temples and some seemingly death-defying paths to traverse!
Changkong Plank Trail
Billed as the most dangerous hiking trail in the world, the Huashan Plank Walk will test even the hardiest of adrenaline junkies. It features an old plank trail along the cliff face of the South Peak; some sections are a mere 30 cm and there are no handrails and a sheer drop beneath; those daring to try this trail can breathe a little easier knowing there’s a safety harness in case you lose your footing!
Those not quite so keen to “walk the plank”, can take in some of the many other attractions here. These include Yuquan Temple which is a sacred Taoist site, the Thousand Feet Zhuang Path with its narrow steps cut into the mountain and Black Dragon Ridge; also, of note is the Chess Playing Pavilion set amidst a “sea” of mists and clouds.
This mountain is the perfect place for those looking to go hiking in China; the best thing is, one can explore trails on each of the five peaks. The North Peak is the gateway to the other peaks and home to sites like the Golden Lock Pass; you can also ascend the South Peak, which is the highest of the five, while the West and East peaks are known for their stunning sunsets and sunrises respectively.
The Chao Phraya area in Bangkok is one of those places where you can commute through the entire city through the river. These canals that run through the city of Bangkok are like the lifeline of the city, with long and interesting histories. Here are some user-friendly tips when you’re here for your holiday.
Also known as the River of Kings, it is formed by four major rivers combined. This is the main waterway for central Thailand. Many people live on the spacious and luscious banks of the Chao Phraya and for some this has been the main source of living for centuries. The hotels in riverside Bangkok too flaunt precious views of this graceful flow of water.
Some of Bangkok’s most famous attractions are on the banks of the Chao Phraya. You can access the Wat Pho, Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Arun quite easily through the river. These are the hottest tourist hubs in all of Thailand so be warned; they’re extremely crowded and packed with all sorts of vendors, and scammers alike.
Chao Phraya Express Boat
These boats are the cheapest way to get around the city. You can easily get your tickets either from the pier or once you board the boat. The boats are easily reached from your hotels such as Avani+ Riverside Bangkok Hotel. There are three types of boats, demarcated by the flags they carry.
These are another way to see the canals but they’re on the pricier side. However, you can enjoy a nice dinner and the view while you flow calmly along the scenic Chao Phraya. If you’re willing to spend around $40 per person for a dinner on the cruise, you can have a splendid evening with your loved ones with good food!
More than 1,000 years old, the Shangqing Ancient Trail with its bamboo forest and pristine natural beauty is popular for hiking excursions from Shanghai.If you love nature and hiking, then add the Shangqing Ancient Trail to your itinerary the next time you are in Shanghai and here’s more on what you need to know.
Planning Your Trip
This ancient trail is in the Zhejiang Province around 200 km from Shanghai, around a 2.5 to 3-hour drive away. For those staying in the Keqiao District of Shaoxing, serviced apartments here including those on offer at Citadines Keqiao Shaoxing make an ideal base in the city. Since getting to the trail can be tricky using public transport, consider signing up with a tour group.
A Long History
Also referred to as the Huiji Ancient Caravan Trail, this ancient trail is said to go back over a thousand years! It was originally the only road that connected Shengzhou County and Shaoxing County; this area was well-developed in the Tang Dynasty period and was linked with the trade of items like tea, wood and bamboo.
The Trail Today
While no more used for trade, the Shangqing Ancient Trail today offers the ideal hiking adventure set amidst scenic natural beauty. The most well-known section is the one connecting Suosiqiao Village with Xinlian Village and it’s well preserved too; it’s around 11 km long and features stone pavements and over 1,400 stone steps.
The chance to enjoy pristine nature is one of the allures of the Shangqing Ancient Trail; you will come across an enchanting bamboo forest which adds to the area’s charm as well as shelters originally constructed for merchants who used this trail. You will also pass a more modern reservoir and at Xinlian Village, some old houses and eateries too.
The nation of Qatar offers an array of alluring attractions for visitors. Seekers of sunny weather, shopping enthusiasts, and adventure lovers will all enjoy experiencing the attractions of this country.
The great weather
If you seek a holiday destination with sunny weather, Qatar would be a great choice. You will find that the weather here would generally be pleasant. Winters in this country will be very mild, and the coldest month would be January. Meanwhile, summers will be warm and humid, with July being the hottest month, though there are plenty of air-conditioned comforts too!
The shopping opportunities
Qatar offers a splendid selection of shopping options. If you seek large modern malls you will not be disappointed here, with the Mall of Qatar being a highlight. On the other hand, for a traditional shopping experience, there is the historical Souq Waqif as well as Souq Al Wakra beside the coast; an accommodation choice to consider located next to the latter would be Souq Al Wakra Hotel Qatar by Tivoliwhich also offers a spa in Doha Qatar.
The blend of modernity and tradition
The nation of Qatar inherits a rich cultural heritage as suggested by its architecture, museums, marketplaces, and World Heritage Sites certified by UNESCO like the Al Zubarah Archaeological Site. However, this nation has also embraced modernity, as shown by its impressive skyscrapers, contemporary amenities, and modern infrastructure.
The outdoor adventures
Adventure seekers will be in their element in Qatar as this nation offers an array of exciting escapades. Outdoor adventurers will enjoy skydiving above the Arabian Gulf, ascending sand dunes, scuba diving off the coast and so on. You could also embark on an ATV desert safari, ride camels, go kayaking and more!
The ultimate experience for thrill-seekers in Queensland, Australia, is on offer at Gold Coast Skydive. On this exhilarating skydive, you will take to the air and take the jump in tandem with an experienced instructor.
Get started and attend to safety
After completing the preliminaries, you will become acquainted with your instructor and go through the safety briefing. You will be given the necessary knowledge and instructions, as well as the procedures to be followed. A Coolangatta resort to consider from which you could easily undertake the Gold Coast Skydive would be Oaks Gold Coast Calypso Plaza Suites.
Take to the air
At the Gold Coast Airport, you will board the aircraft and take to the skies. The climb to a 12,000 ft. altitude should take about 15 minutes. During the ascent, you will have the opportunity to admire the breathtaking sight of the Gold Coast’s beautiful coastline and verdant hinterland which will be a striking experience too.
Taking the jump
As you glance over the airplane’s edge, you will see the ground far below and hear the revving sound of the plane’s engine; your heart will beat fast as you take the jump! Initially, you will fall at a speed of as much as 220 km/h which will undoubtedly be an amazing adrenaline-inducing sensation.
The parachute descent
At around 5,000 ft., the parachute will be opened by your instructor. When this happens, your descent will slow dramatically so that you will soar gracefully in the air. On your way down to the inviting Kirra Beach, you will once again be able to experience stunning vistas of the Gold Coast, this time from a different perspective.
The Pearl of the Indian Ocean is a precious island in the shape of a jewel. The island itself is a treasure trove of beauty, culture and history. There are numerous historical landmarks and lovingly preserved relics everywhere and there is so much to see! Here are a few tips for you so that you too can experience this lovely island without denting your savings.
Eat the local food
Sri Lankan cuisine is delicious! Primarily centred around rice and curries, all the savoury dishes are made using coconut milk and fresh, aromatic spices. A meal would typically cost you less than 5 USD and even if you go to a local restaurant, it is only 15 USD including table service. The fancier, western-style food here is what will cost you a lot but it’s not worth it, especially when the local food is out straight up to God’s food.
If you’re a solo traveller or a backpacker, many hostels and guest houses charge around 6 USD per night; you can’t go wrong with that price as you get a bed, mosquito net, shower, and a fan. Worrying too much about accommodation is not recommended because you can get amazing food and everything else you need for so cheap. However, if you’re travelling with your family or want to treat yourself to a nice vacation, investigate less travelled areas such as Kalutara; resorts are relatively easier to book. There are so many rooms, suites, and villas to choose from at places such as the Avani Kalutara Resort.
Getting around on the island
Conveniently, there is a bus from Colombo Fort Bus Station to the airport leaving every 30mins. It costs less than 10 USD and is the cheapest way to get to and from the airport. Getting from major cities to other destinations is easiest by train. It is cheap and the routes are very scenic. If you want to travel within a city tuk-tuks are your best bet! Seriously, these tiny taxis are a quintessential Sri Lankan experience that you must have.
What’s there to see?
If you have the time, go everywhere! Although the north suffered decades of civil war, they’re rebuilding and re-energizing which is an amazing feat that must be witnessed. The southern parts of the country are serene and beautiful with azure blue beaches, rainforests with magic in the air. The hill country is enchanting on its own with a different vibe and energy from the rest of the island. It truly is a beautiful country with so many diverse experiences all a few hours away from each other.