The Galle Fort or the Dutch Fort is one of the most popular attractions in Sri Lanka because of its historical facts as well as its stylish looks.
Needless to say or describe, the Dutch Fort is in Galle, Sri Lanka, and is, of course, the main landmark that the city has. It is, of course, one of the best places to visit in Galle according to what is mentioned on popular travel sites such as Truly Sri Lanka as well.
It is a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO and this very clearly depicts how important the Galle Fort is. According to a statement by UNESCO, it is one of the few amazing attractions in the world that show characteristics of both European and South Asian architectural styles.
A bit from the history
Although it was the Portuguese who started building the fort in the 16th century, the Dutch were the ones who made extensive modifications in the 17th century. When the British came in later, they too made some improvements here.
Important attractions inside
The Dutch Reformed Church, the Old Dutch Government House, The Residence of the Commander are also some important attractions you come across near this main attraction.
Whistle Village is perhaps Canada’s most famous ski resort destination. Nestled between the towering Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, Whistler Villages is simply paradise for anyone passionate about winter sports and thrill-seeking.
A Gondola Ride
Most Whistler hotel and resort establishments – for example, the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside – will include a host of activities in their itinerary list, and most of them will start off by mentioning the amazing peak-to-peak gondola ride! Take in stunning views of the mountain valleys as you travel from Whistleblower to Blackcomb from up on high!
Experience the Local Culture
IF you want to get a flavour of Whistler Village’s local culture and history, head on over to the First Nations Museum. Here you will find fascinating relics belonging to the local Squamish and Lil’wat people – from masks and attire to hunting utensils. You can even book a tour here and enjoy some traditional Squamish dishes to end the day!
Of course, the main draw of Whistler Village is the winter sports, so be sure to try some out for yourself! In particular, consider an exciting bike ride through the mountains at Whistler Mountain Bike Park or try out bungee jumping to get the adrenaline flowing.
The areas surrounding Whistler Village are perfect for a great hiking or camping trip. Locations such as Lost Lake or Garibaldi National Park are prime for an outing – here you’ll find a stunning array of natural beauty, be it the distant mountains, lush vegetation, or unique wildlife.
Whistler Village is a great destination for those interested in winter sports or for those who want to enjoy the great outdoors – try activities like mountain biking and camping!
If you’re vacationing in Hanoi, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding new and exciting attractions to visit. From ancient historical landmarks to sprawling marketplaces – there’s much and more to do in Vietnam’s wonderful capital city.
The Imperial Citadel
Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Imperial Citadel is an important historical landmark. It once served as the ruling centre of Hanoi in ancient times and remained as such for over 8 centuries. If you’re staying at a major hotel Hanoi has on offer – say for example the Pan Pacific Hanoi – the citadel should just be a short walk away. Meaning, there’s no reason to miss out on this fantastic attraction!
Water Puppet Theatre
The ancient form of art that is water puppetry is still well and alive in Hanoi. The original – perhaps the best – theatre in town is the Thang Long Puppet Theatre. Here, you can watch whole casts of puppets sing, dance, and re-enact famous tales of the country’s past.
The Perfume Pagoda
The Perfume Pagoda is a series of Buddhist temples believed to have been constructed in the late 15th century. These continuously stretch upwards along the incline of the Son Mountains. As you begin your own ascent, you’ll find the serene surrounding lend a peaceful atmosphere to this fantastic attraction.
Dong Xuan Market
The Dong Xuan Market is the largest shopping precinct you’ll find in Hanoi. After a long tour of all the city’s sights and attractions, this is the perfect place to pick out some souvenirs and memorabilia to remind yourself of all the adventures you had in Hanoi.
Despite its small size, Sri Lanka is one of the most richly biodiverse regions in South Asia. The island is home to all manner of fascinating wildlife, both big and small. This is in large part due to many national parks and forest reserves spread out through the island – these act as safe havens to some of the most unique and rare creatures on the planet!
The Big Game
The large national parks in Sri Lanka such as Yala and Wilpattu are great places to spot the stars of Sri Lanka’s wilds – namely the leopard and Sri Lankan elephant. In fact, areas like Yala National Park have some of the highest leopard concentrations in the world! The best way to catch a glimpse of these spectacular species is to choose one of the Sri Lanka wildlife tours that cover the large national parks, like the ones offered by Soultrek Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s forest reserves are perhaps the most biodiverse areas in the country; even though these verdant refugees aren’t usually home to the biggest game, the island’s forest denizens are by far the most unique and bizarre. Take for example the sloth bear – a small ursine species with shaggy black hair that specialises in eating insects. Then there’s the endemic red slender lorries, a peculiar primate that patrols the forest canopy at night.
Sri Lanka is without a doubt a bird lover’s paradise, and a bird-watching trip to any of the island’s avifauna hotspots can be extremely rewarding. Some of the notable species found here include the endemic Ceylon magpie – a strikingly colourful bird native to the central hills of Sri Lanka – and the very rare Sri Lankan whistling thrush.
Sri Lanka’s impressive biodiversity isn’t just contained to the forests and parks on land, the calm blue waters that surround the island are home to a menagerie of life that’s just as impressive. The coral reefs of Hikkaduwa, in particular, are home to many different types of reef fish and are regularly visited by various species of the endangered sea turtle. Further out at sea you’ll find the true giants of the ocean – baleen whales such as the blue and humpback whales regularly visit the warm waters of Sri Lanka!
The relief of settling onto the deck of a massive cruise ship sailing towards your desired destination as you sip on a pina colada is simply one of the most rewarding experiences, especially if you managed to plan the whole time to your precise needs.
Compare your options:
It easy to get swamped by the range of options and destinations available for you when you first begin your search. Take care to not get overwhelmed and always cross-check to ensure that you are making the best choice.
Trust a travel agent:
Once you know what cruise you want to take get the help of a travel agent to assist with the best possible itinerary for your trip!
An element that is easy to overlook is the time factor, if you prepare well in advance it is much more likely that you will be able to secure for yourself the best experience out in the ocean or even on a Mekong river cruise if you are siged up with places like Mekong Kingdoms.
Think about a shorter trip:
Sometimes the 5-day long trip can be as satisfying and refreshing as the 3-week long journey on the high seas and could be more cost-effective as well!
If you ever decide to take a vacation in Asia, you’ll realise that the range of options you have are essentially endless. One option that might just fly under your radar is the wonderful country of Cambodia – don’t let it though! From its amazing history and culture to its natural beauty and cuisine, here’s why Cambodia is worth visiting.
The Angkor Gardens
Located at the heart of Cambodia is the sprawling expanse of the Angkor Gardens, and at its centre lies the largest religious monument ever built. The Angkor Wat is a UNESCO world heritage site and a must-visit if you’re ever in the country. The Wat’s popularity means there are plenty of accommodation options in the surrounding area, from resorts to hotels. Siem Reap, Cambodia is the gateway to Angkor, and you can absorb all that history and then slip back into luxury by staying at establishments like the FCC Angkor.
The Relaxing Beaches
Destinations like Thailand and Bali are renowned for their picturesque, sun-kissed beaches but Cambodia is no slouch in this regard either. The south of Cambodia contains an array of islands that are perfect for a beach getaway. If you’re looking to have the time of your life, head on over to the popular party island of Koh Rong or if travel to Koh Thmei for some relaxing nature watching.
Cambodians tend to be a really friendly bunch, often described as being generous, hospitable and approachable. When you’re walking through the streets, you’ll most likely be greeted by warm smiles and the occasional “hello” from passers-by. Try to strike up some conversation and listen to the stories the people of Cambodia have to say about the land.
A culinary journey through Cambodia can be an unforgettable experience, made special with rich textures and inimitable Asian flavours. Almost every dish you’ll find incorporates rice into it, often in creative ways that will delight your palate. Taste delectable white fish and rice topped off with a healthy dose of coconut cream, or try a hearty serving of rice and beef complemented by the rich aroma of a dozen different spices – the choices are endless
If you’re planning on hiking in Sri Lanka, chances are the Pidurangala rock is high up on your list. Now, while completing this hike will net you an amazing view with the Sigiriya rock in the distance, on the way up you’ll run into another impressive site – the Pidurangala Viharaya.
How to Get There
The best way to reach Pidurangala is to reach Sigiriya via Dambulla. If you take the bus from the Dambulla bus station you’ll arrive in about an hours’ time. A taxi or tuk-tuk is also an option, particularly if you want to start your hike up in time to catch either the sunrise or sunset.
Where to Stay
Due to Pidurangala’s proximity to Sigiriya – a UNESCO world heritage site – you should have no trouble finding all manners of accommodation options for your trip. If you’re specifically looking for a luxury Sigiriya hotel, in particular, consider the Water Garden Sigiriya Hotel.
The History of the Temple
Pidurangala was a Buddhist monastery as far back as the first century BC, but it rose to prominence during the reign of King Kashyapa, around 473-495 AD. The King, fearing an invasion from India, wanted to setup a fortress atop Sigirya – which was also a monastery at the time. As such, King Kashyapa requested the monks to relocate to Pidurangala, and he, in turn, renovated it to better accommodate the new residents.
Though much of it is in ruin nowadays, the temple was once said to have consisted of five main buildings – a prominent stupa, chapter house, image house, bodhigara, preaching hall and an area for the monks to rest and retire. An impressive 12m long reclining Buddha statue still remains and will make for a fantastic sight as you hike your way up the mountain.
If you’re planning to tour Sri Lanka, you should definitely make plans to view the island’s amazing wildlife. In recent times, Sri Lanka has been cited as a premier destination for safari-goers outside of Africa. This is in large part due to the numerous national parks doted around the island, and among these ones clearly stands out – Yala National Park.
Yala is situated in the South-Eastern edge of Sri Lanka, bordered by the waters of the Indian Ocean to the south. The park stretches for over 130,000 hectares and consists of a variety of biomes, from dense scrub forests to lagoons surrounded by fertile grassland. Due to Sri Lanka’s highly developed road network, reaching the park mis relatively easy by car – it’s a 300km drive from Colombo via the Southern Express Highway.
Leopard Watching at Yala
If there’s one thing Yala is known for above all else, it’s for its leopards. In fact, Yala boasts one of the highest concentrations of leopard anywhere in the world! Due to a large number of vehicles that pass through Yala near every day, these big cats have become habituated to safari jeeps and do not shy way from them. As such many safari operators – like Walkers Tours – make a point to seek out these elusive big cats, providing you with some excellent photo opportunities.
The Elephant Herds of Yala
Leopards aren’t the only stars of Yala, as the park is home to several herds of majestic Sri Lankan elephant. There exists a natural corridor that connects Yala to Uda Walwe National Park, and the elephants regularly use it to travel back and forth between the two protected areas. If you’re aching to get a good look at these gentle pachyderms, the dry season which lasts from May to August is the best time to visit.
The Other Denizens
While the big cats and elephants are the park’s main attractions, they are by no means its only residents. Yala is, in fact, a bird lover’s paradise – it is home to over 130 species of birds, including the rare black-necked stork and raptors like the crested serpent eagle. If you visit the banks of the park’s many lagoons and tanks, you’re bound to spot basking mugger crocodiles and the odd monitor lizard. Ungulates like chital and sambar – favourite prey of the leopard – are also a common site.
With all there is to see in Beruwala, a noisy, smelly fishing harbour might not seem like your typical tourist destination. However, if you are looking for things to do in Wadduwa, you shouldn’t miss out on the inimitable charms of the Beruwala Fish Market.
Getting to the fish market is a relatively simple affair if you’re staying over at a nearby hotel – for example, The Blue Water Hotel and Spa. First, get yourself to Beruwala, then simply take a tuk-tuk or cab to the Beruwala Harbour which is only around 3km away.
When to Get There
The fish market begins to come alive in the early hours of the morning, and this perhaps the best time to go visit too. You’ll find fisherman loading up their gear, boats readying up for a day of seafaring and the crisp ocean sunrise sneak up over the horizon.
Choose Your Fish
There’s an abundance of fish varieties to choose from if you’re in the mood for buying. You’ll find piles of mackerel, sardine and seer piled up all around the market floor – careful not to step on them! There are also bigger catches, like sharks, rays and giant tuna.
Get it Prepared
Once you pick out your fish, you can hand it over to certain fishermen who’ll have it prepared for you – essentially gutting and filleting your purchase. Take this opportunity to get to know the locals, most of them are quite friendly and might show you a thing or two about how fishing works in Beruwala.
Once a place of humble beginnings has now turned into a thriving metropole, Woolloongabba is now home to one of the famous cricket stadiums called ‘The Gabba’. The history of this spot is worth learning about before you decide to visit.
Ever since the 1860s, Stanley Street has been nicknamed as Clarence Corner. Clarence Hotel was opened here in 1863. This place still conserves its old-world charm with structures that belong to the 19th century commercial capital it used to be. Quite interesting to explore indeed!
Mater Misericordiae Hospital
Yet again in the 19th century, the Six Sisters of Mercy which was initiated by Mother Vincent Whitty in Ireland arrived in Australia on the request of the bishop. Upon learning about their great teaching skills, the Bishop turned to them for help to set up a school and thus All Hallow’s Convent and School was started. Later with their medical skills, Mater Misericordiae Hospital was also instigated.
This is one of the oldest theatre’s built in Brisbane by Philip Hardgrave who saw great potential for this kind of entertainment back in the 19th century. If you are lodged at a Woolloongabba hotel close by, such as Oaks Woolloongabba, do visit this wonderful place.
Since the economy of Woolloongabba was booming at the time, this building, a shopping complex is truly a work of art. Designed in Victorian Filigree style, it brings out the feel of the 19th century in the present.