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.

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.

The Best Dive Sites in North Male Atoll, Maldives

If you are looking for a diving destination that offers stunning coral reefs, diverse marine life, and mysterious shipwrecks, then look no further than the North Male Atoll in the Maldives. These are some of the best dive sites to be found here, each with its own captivating marine wonders.

Banana Reef

Banana Reef is one of the oldest and most popular dive sites in Maldives, named after its curved shape. This reef is a paradise for divers, and you can expect to see bannerfish, Napoleon wrasse, snappers, and barracudas, as well as sharks, turtles, and moray eels. It also has some spectacular overhangs and caves that add to the thrill of diving. For such adventures, look to be based at resorts in the North Male Atoll like OBLU SELECT Sangeli which offers PADI and SSI courses and diving excursions.

The Victory Wreck

For more exhilarating underwater discoveries in the Maldives, adventure activities can include exploring the Victory Wreck. This approximately 100-metre-long cargo ship that sank in 1981 is home to an array of marine life. The ship with its mast, stern, bridge, wheelhouse, and cabins intact, provides an intriguing sight to come across along with the colourful corals and diverse fish species like pufferfish, lionfish, batfish, groupers, lionfish and more.

Manta Point

Manta Point - Image via Flickr
Manta Point – Image via Flickr

In the Maldives, dive sites such as Manta Point in North Male Atoll are not to be missed since one can get up close to majestic manta rays. It is best visited from around May to November when this site becomes a ‘cleaning station’ as other smaller fish remove unwanted parasites off the mantas! There’s more to discover here as well and divers can also come across marine species like eagle rays, moray eels, hawksbill turtles and whitetip reef sharks.

Rainbow Reef / HP Reef

Rainbow Reef or HP Reef is a stunning site that lives up to its name, featuring a dazzling array of colourful soft corals that create a vibrant world beneath the waves. With dives ranging from 10 to 40 metres along with caves, swim-throughs and overhangs on offer, there’s plenty to explore. On underwater escapades here, one has a chance to see grey reef sharks, clownfish, parrotfish, eagle rays and butterflyfish as well, adding to its allure.

Adventures at the Five Dragon Pools in Ningbo

When it comes to top excursions in Ningbo, Five Dragon Pools is a site that is well-known for taking intrepid travelers on a journey through a realm of natural wonders and ancient Chinese folklore. If you have never been here before, the below insights will come in handy.

Planning an Excursion

This attraction can be found in the Longguan Township about 35 km from the city where you can be based at properties like Pan Pacific Ningbo. Public transport on Bus No 638, offers a two-hour scenic journey, while taxis provide a quicker but pricier option. Consider a combination – take the bus for the experience and return by taxi for convenience. To beat the crowds, venture early in the morning, as the site opens at 7:30 am and closes at 4:30 pm, and prepare for a day of enchanting exploration.

What to Expect

Five Dragon Spring Pool | Image via Wikimedia Commons

Those arriving at the Five Dragon Pools from their 5-star hotels in Ningbo will find themselves amidst breathtaking natural beauty, intricately linked with Chinese dragon folklore which adds to the site’s allure. Interestingly, each pool bears the name of a dragon and is set amidst lush landscapes featuring idyllic streams, waterfalls, peaks, temples, and more. It’s the perfect escape from the bustling city streets and where the sublime serenity of Mother Nature will surround you.

Preparing for the Hike

While there is a small bus that goes up the mountain, for outdoor enthusiasts, hiking is the gateway to a deeper adventure. Clearly marked trails in both English and Chinese lead to the pools, while you can also visit other sites of interest like the Five Dragon Hall, Yinglin Lake, and Jilong Altar which add to the sense of enjoying cultural discoveries as well. Although the ascent involves numerous stairs, the pools, waterfalls, and rewarding panoramic views make the hike worthwhile.

Keep in Mind

If you want to limit the time spent, opt for the tourist bus to the middle of the mountain and hike from there for an ideal balance of convenience and exploration. Ensure a comfortable adventure by wearing sensible hiking attire and footwear. Additionally, bring snacks and plenty of water for the journey, as there are limited stalls along the way. For parents with little ones, leave the stroller behind due to the abundance of stairs; opt for a baby carrier or backpack instead.

Why Sri Lanka is the Ideal Holiday Destination Right Now

Looking for the ideal holiday destination? Sri Lanka ticks all the boxes, offering a blend of natural beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality. Here’s why it’s the perfect choice for your next getaway.

Diverse Landscapes

Sri Lanka is a small island that packs a punch when it comes to diverse landscapes. Whether you prefer the golden beaches of the south that stretch for miles or the cool misty hills covered in emerald tea plantations, the variety ensures there’s something for every traveler. You can unwind on the pristine shores or embark on an adventure through the lush interiors, making Sri Lanka an ideal destination for those seeking both relaxation and excitement.

Cultural Riches

Immerse yourself in the island’s rich culture and history, which dates back thousands of years. Explore ancient temples that whisper tales of bygone eras, marvel at intricate architecture that stands as a testament to the craftsmanship of the past, and witness traditional ceremonies that showcase the vibrant tapestry of Sri Lanka’s heritage. The cultural wealth of the island provides a unique and enlightening experience for every visitor.

Warm Hospitality

What sets Sri Lanka apart is the genuine warmth of its people. Experience hospitality like no other as you interact with friendly faces eager to share their traditions. Locals may recommend hidden gems, and ensure your stay is nothing short of delightful. This welcoming atmosphere, coupled with the comforts of a Kalpitiya hotel the likes of Dolphin Beach Resort, will add a personal touch to your holiday, creating lasting memories.

Culinary Delights

Sri Lanka Foods
Sri Lanka Foods – Photo by Nilantha Sanjeewa on Unsplash

Sri Lankan cuisine is a treat for the taste buds, reflecting the island’s diverse cultural influences. Indulge in a variety of flavors, from aromatic and spicy curries that showcase the country’s love for spices to mouthwatering street food delights. The food scene is a true reflection of the island’s diversity, and every meal becomes a delightful journey into Sri Lanka’s rich culinary heritage.

Don’t Miss Trying These Amazing Water Sports in Maldives

In the tropical paradise that is the Maldives, there’s more than just lazing away on sun-kissed beaches and enjoying luxurious pampering to look forward to; if you are a water sports enthusiast, this exotic haven offers an array of rewarding activities both on and below the waves!

Snorkelling and Diving

Snorkelling and diving in Maldives offer a portal into a mesmerising underwater world with many marine treasures to discover. To make the most of this, choose a resort in the South Male Atoll such as OZEN LIFE MAADHOO that offers an all-inclusive plan with complimentary snorkelling equipment and unlimited snorkelling excursions; additionally, such properties feature a PADI-certified dive school so you can get the needed training and certification for diving excursions. Soon, you will see vibrant coral and get the chance to swim next to colourful reef fish, sea turtles, sharks, manta rays and more!

Kayaking and Stand-up Paddleboarding

If you prefer laidback exploration, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding are ideal options in the Maldives. 5 star resorts can include such non-motorised water sports in their all-inclusive plans as well giving you plenty of opportunities to try them both. Paddle across calm, pristine lagoons, admiring the unrivalled beauty of this destination from a unique vantage point. As you glide serenely along the azure waters, you will feel the gentle breeze on your skin and island tranquillity soothing your soul. Of course, it’s not just about soaking in the views; these activities also provide a fantastic cardio workout!

Jet Skiing and Water Skiing

For those who crave an adrenaline rush, the Maldives offers the thrilling speeds of jet skiing and water skiing with the open sea providing a seemingly unending playground. You will get the opportunity to fulfil your need for speed as you zip across the surface of the Indian Ocean, feeling the wind whip through your hair as you leave waves in your wake. These water sports are a heart-pounding experience, perfect for adventure seekers looking to add a splash of excitement to their tropical getaway. So, get ready to unleash your inner speed demon and conquer the waves in style!

Seabobs and Flyboarding

Flyboarding Maldives
Image via Wikimedia Commons – Jonathan Palombo, Fly Boarding (15970941927), CC BY 2.0

In the Maldives, water sports do not just stop at the classics, and travellers can experience relatively newer activities which are considered the ‘new kids on the block’ – Seabob experiences and flyboarding. A Seabob can be termed as a state-of-the-art underwater jet ski that you can use to travel up to 22 km/h in the water and dive up to 40 metres. Meanwhile, flyboarding utilises water-propelled jets to lift you high above the water to enjoy a unique perspective; those who have mastered it can effortlessly dive in and out of the waves and soar above too for the ultimate superhero-like feeling!

Gal Oya National Park

Sri Lanka is celebrated for its natural beauty and diverse wildlife, and the Gal Oya National Park is a hidden gem that promises an off-the-beaten-path adventure for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. Situated in the eastern part of the island, this park offers a unique experience, mainly due to its large reservoir, which is central to its ecosystem.

Getting to Gal Oya National Park

Reaching Gal Oya National Park can be an adventure in itself. The park’s entrance is accessible from various locations, but most visitors choose to start their journey from Ampara, which is the nearest major town. You can hire a local guide or join an organized tour to explore the park.if you want to try your hand at camping or wildlife safaris there are plenty of Gal Oya Sri Lanka Hotels that offer a glamping experience such as Wild Glamping Gal Oya.

Boat Safaris on Senanayake Samudraya

Senanayake Samudra
Image via Wikimedia Commons – G.Kiruthikan, Road on dam of Senanayake Samudra, CC BY-SA 4.0

What sets Gal Oya National Park apart is the vast Senanayake Samudraya reservoir that runs through it. It’s one of the few places in Sri Lanka where you can embark on a boat safari to spot wildlife. As you glide across the calm waters, keep your eyes peeled for elephants swimming between islands, diverse bird species, and perhaps even the elusive crocodile.

Land Safaris and Wildlife Encounters

Aside from boat safaris, the park also offers traditional land safaris where you can observe elephants, leopards, deer, and a variety of birds in their natural habitat. The park’s unique landscape, consisting of grasslands, forests, and water bodies, provides a diverse range of environments for wildlife to thrive.

Birdwatcher’s Paradise

Gal Oya National Park is a haven for birdwatchers. With over 150 species of birds, including raptors, waterfowl, and endemics, it’s a fantastic destination for ornithologists and anyone with a love for avian life. Keep your binoculars handy as you explore the park to catch glimpses of these feathered wonders.

Cultural Encounters

Apart from its abundant wildlife, Gal Oya National Park is also home to indigenous communities, such as the Vedda people. Engaging with these communities can provide a unique cultural perspective and an opportunity to learn about their traditional way of life.

Conservation and Respect

As with any natural habitat, it’s crucial to respect the environment and the animals that call Gal Oya home. Follow the guidance of your guides and be mindful of park regulations to ensure the continued preservation of this pristine wilderness.

Exploring the Awe-inspiring Tokyo Tower

Tokyo, Japan’s dazzling capital that seamlessly blends tradition with innovation, is home to an iconic 333-metre-tall landmark that never fails to inspire awe: Tokyo Tower. Rising like a sentinel over the city’s bustling streets, it will remind you of the Eiffel Tower and is not only great to photograph but visit too. Here’s more on what you need to know.

How to Get There

This distinctive red and white attraction is in the Minato ward near the Autumn Maple Leaves Valley and is only around a 15-minute taxi ride from properties like Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel. The tower is about a five-minute walk from the Akabanebashi Station on the Oedo Line of the Metropolitan Subway; alternatively, the subway’s, Mita Line offers access via the close by Onarimon Station. Toei and Tokyu bus services also have stops close by, while there’s a free shuttle bus from Tokyo Station which has a stop at Tokyo Tower as well.

The Main Deck

Tokyo Tower observation deck during Evening time | Image by Kirs10 via Wikimedia Commons,CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED

Ensure to visit Tokyo Tower after or before enjoying the many things to do in Shibuya, and head up to its Main Deck; while you can use the elevator, those looking to get in some cardio can make the ascent by foot up 600 stairs! Located 150 meters above the ground, this observation deck provides a panoramic view of Tokyo’s cityscape and landmarks. Here, you will also find the Skywalk Window, a glass floor section, where you can stand above the city and feel like you’re walking on air. Other notable aspects include the Great Shinto Shrine of the Tower and a charming café that serves light bites and drinks.

The Top Deck

For even more breathtaking views, you can book a “Top Deck Tour” which offers exclusive access to the Top Deck positioned even higher, at a height of 250 metres. The experience in this section begins with information on the construction of the tower before leading you to the observation area with spellbinding vistas. A fascinating feature here would be the geometric mirrors that help create a unique setting. There is also an audio guide in various languages that provides insightful details on some of the major landmarks and attractions that you can see, and you can rent high-performance binoculars as well.

Foot Town

The attractions in Tokyo Tower are not just up above but down below in an area called Foot Town. Here, you’ll discover an array of shops, restaurants, and attractions catering to the whole family. Amongst the highlights is Red Tokyo Tower, an eSports park with high-tech attractions and immersive VR experiences. There’s a shop selling official merchandise and souvenirs of the tower as well, while there are diverse dining options too in case hunger strikes during your adventures. Those visiting on the weekends or national holidays may also encounter the adorable mascots of this attraction, the “Noppon Brothers”!

Hidden Gems in Whistler to Uncover During Your Visit

British Columbia takes pride in the world-class adventures in its coastal rainforest, Whistler. Discover the hidden gems in this tranquil landscape while you immerse yourself in the most memorable time. Here are some activities to boost your stay at Whistler.

The Train Wreck Hike

Hiker walking through snow on a Train Wreck, Whistler | Image by Zane via unsplash

If you crave awe-inspiring vistas coupled with an exhilarating surge of adrenaline, look no further than the legendary Train Wreck trail nestled within the scenic wonderland of Whistler. The trail owes its name to a historic freight train mishap that occurred many years ago, and now, the remnants of the wreckage have transformed into a captivating pathway, beckoning hikers and bikers alike. This is one of the most popular places to see in Whistler, and it is only a 10-minute ride from hotels like Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside.

Indulge in Local Breakfast

Whistler’s breakfast is a must-try for those who want to discover local flavours and hearty spreads. The poutine is to die for, and the fluffy pancakes packed with flavours of maple syrup are a true delight. You can find healthy meals like Caesar’s salads and smoothies to boost your day and keep you refreshed.

Paddleboard

Whistler Lake takes the spotlight of the neighbourhood with its serenity and tranquillity. Paddleboarding in the lake and tread the clear blue waters for a relaxing experience, or even try some yoga on a paddleboard for a change, letting the soothing breeze revive your energy. You can rent paddleboards for hours or days depending on your love for this activity.

Don’t Miss These Top Things to Do in Doha in 2023

From exciting experiences to amazing attractions, Doha has plenty to offer those heading to the Qatari capital; here are some of the key things you should not miss doing this year, or any other time you visit for that matter!

Shop & Dine at the Souq Waqif

Over a century old, the Souq Waqif is a traditional market where one can shop and soak up local culture too. Just a five-minute walk from Al Najada Doha Hotel by Tivoli, this lively market features numerous stalls and shops selling spices, Bedouin weaving, incense, handicrafts, traditional clothing, art, dried fruits, and more; there’s even a section with flacons! Once done, you can savor delectable food and drink at one of the many restaurants and cafes to be found here.

Unwind at the Doha Corniche

A picturesque waterfront promenade, the Doha Corniche offers a lovely 7 km-long stretch to enjoy a pleasant stroll by yourself, with the family, or with that special someone! Easy to reach from some of the best hotels in Doha, it is also an ideal place for those looking to get in an early-morning jog; there are green spaces, play areas for kids, and cafes here too. You can additionally visit the National Museum of Qatar and embark on a magical dhow cruise from here as well.

Visit the Museum of Islamic Art

View from Museum of Islamic Art | Image by Florian Wehde via unsplash

Another key attraction that can be easily accessed from the Corniche is the Museum of Islamic Art housed within a distinctive building that truly stands out amidst the waterfront. Those venturing inside will get a chance to browse one of the world’s largest collections of Islamic art which is part of a stunning permanent collection; the captivating exhibits include textiles, ceramics, woodwork, metalwork, ancient coins, and more from around the Islamic world.

Embark on a Desert Safari

No trip to Doha would be complete without venturing to the vast surrounding deserts where plenty of exhilarating adventures await! One of the must-do activities here is dune bashing; you will be taken on a thrilling ride as a skilled driver expertly maneuvers a 4×4 vehicle up and down imposing dunes. For a more relaxing escape, you can also go on camel rides, and the perfect end to the day would be to have dinner at a traditional-style Bedouin camp.