A Cultural Canvas

Exploring local crafts and traditions in the Maldives offers a deeper connection to the archipelago’s rich cultural heritage. From the meticulous artistry of lacquer work and mat weaving to the craftsmanship of Dhoni building and the vibrant energy of traditional performances, each aspect provides a unique insight into the Maldivian way of life. So, when planning your next trip to this tropical paradise, take the time to delve into these cultural experiences and discover the true essence of the Maldives.

Traditional Lacquer Work

One of the most distinctive Maldivian crafts is traditional lacquer work, known locally as “Liyelaa Jehun.” Artisans skillfully apply layers of lacquer to wooden objects, creating vibrant designs in red, black, and yellow. These intricately decorated items, ranging from bowls to boxes, are beautiful souvenirs and represent centuries-old techniques passed down through generations. Visiting workshops on islands like Thulhaadhoo allows you to see the meticulous process firsthand. Such excursions can be arranged by certain Maldives all inclusive resorts.

Handwoven Mats (Thundu Kunaa)

The art of weaving mats, or “Thundu Kunaa,” is another cherished Maldivian craft. Made primarily by women, these mats are woven from natural fibres, such as reeds and grass, and are often used for sitting, praying, or as decorative pieces. The intricate patterns and vibrant colours make each mat unique. Local markets and villages like Gadhdhoo offer an authentic experience to watch and purchase these handmade creations.

Dhoni Boat Building

The traditional Maldivian fishing boat, known as a “Dhoni,” is an iconic symbol of the nation’s maritime heritage. Constructed primarily from coconut wood, these boats are crafted without nails, relying on wooden pegs and careful carpentry. Visiting islands like Raa Atoll gives you the opportunity to observe skilled craftsmen building Dhonis, showcasing techniques that have been honed over centuries.

Cultural Performances and Music

Bodu Beru – Image via Flickr

No exploration of Maldivian traditions is complete without experiencing local music and dance. “Bodu Beru,” which means “big drum,” is a popular traditional performance featuring rhythmic drumming, chanting, and dancing. These cultural performances, often held during festivals and special events, provide a lively and immersive experience of the Maldivian spirit. Resorts like OBLU NATURE Helengeli by SENTIDO and local islands frequently host Bodu Beru shows, allowing visitors to partake in this energetic cultural expression.

Rewarding Outdoor Adventures in Sigiriya – Unforgettable Escapades in Sri Lanka’s Cultural Gem

Sigiriya in Sri Lanka is home to more than just a historical marvel. Nestled amidst lush greenery, this ancient city offers a plethora of outdoor adventures for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike. Get ready to delve into the heart of local culture – all within this enchanting destination.

Ascend the Stunning Sigiriya Rock

Sigiriya Rock Fortress | Image via Needpix

Dating back to the 5th century AD, the iconic Lion Rock fortress rises 660 feet into the air. Consider staying at a nearby hotel such as Water Garden Sigiriya which provides guided tours to this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore this fascinating attraction, marvel at the beautiful frescoes on the rock face, and conquer the final ascent to the summit. Here, amidst breathtaking panoramic views, you will discover the remnants of the once-grand palace – a truly rewarding culmination of your climb.

Go On a Jeep Safari in Minneriya

This destination provides the perfect base for exploring the Minneriya National Park from your Sigiriya villa. Between August and October, witness the awe-inspiring “Gathering,” where hundreds of elephants congregate near the park’s reservoir. But that’s not all. Keep your eyes peeled for elusive sloth bears, playful toque macaques, a colourful array of birdlife, crocodiles basking in the sun and grazing sambar deer – an unforgettable safari in the wilds of Sri Lanka awaits!

Embark on Cycling Escapades

The ideal hotel in Sigiriya will boast beautiful surroundings with winding waterways, ideal for exploring on two wheels. Head off on a bicycle along scenic property trails or embark on a guided cycling tour to the majestic Sigiriya Rock. Rise early and cycle to the fortress and back as the sun paints the sky, soaking up the cool morning air and the captivating scenery – a truly invigorating way to start your day with some pedal-powered adventures!

Enjoy Guided Nature Walks

The idyllic landscapes surrounding Sigiriya are perfect for guided nature walks as well. Join a hotel-organised excursion and delve into the heart of nature. These walks will lead you through verdant landscapes and can culminate in a visit to a local village. Here, you can interact with welcoming locals and gain insights into their way of life and traditional practices – a unique opportunity to connect with Sri Lankan culture on a deeper level.

The Best Swings in Bali You Don’t Want to Miss

Apart from its dreamy beaches, cascading waterfalls, and ancient temples, Bali also boasts some of the most incredible swings you’ll ever find. Grab your camera and get ready to swing your way into an adventure that will be the envy of your entire social media feed!

Petitenget Beach

Forget pricey cocktails, Petitenget Beach in Seminyak offers a free swing with a million-dollar view. Located right across from Mano Beach House and easy to reach from properties like Harris Hotel Kuta Tuban Bali, this swing is a sunset chaser’s dream. Imagine the golden light bathing the ocean as you soar through the air – pure beachfront bliss that does not come with a price tag!

Dream Island Beach Club

Dream Island Beach Club in Sanur has a swing made for enjoying the glory of a magical sunrise or sunset. This spot is within easy reach of hotels near Kuta Beach, making it an ideal place to visit. Picture yourself perched on the swing, the ocean breeze whispering secrets in your ear as the first or last rays of the sun paint the sky with vibrant hues. Plus, the beach club is close by for some post-swing relaxation!

Tegalalang Rice Terraces

The iconic Tegalalang Rice Terraces are a must-visit in Bali, and guess what? They also hide some pretty amazing swings! One sits near Tegalalang Village, offering a gentle swing with scenic rice paddy views. But, for the ultimate Instagram shot, head to the far side of the valley. A captivating hike amidst the rice terraces will bring you to two swings with safety harnesses that provide an unforgettable experience.

The Real Bali Swing

Bali Swing – Photo by Christopher Alvarenga on Unsplash

The Real Bali Swing near Ubud is the king of the swing scene and for good reason. With a whopping 15 single swings and 3 tandem swings, there’s a swing for every mood! Feeling adventurous? Soar high above the jungle canopy. Want something more romantic? Cuddle up with your special someone on a swing built for two. They even have artistic ‘nests’ made from natural materials, perfect for adding a touch of whimsy to your pictures.

Where to Stay in Yogyakarta?

Yogyakarta is a traveller’s paradise, filled with ancient Buddhist temples, and a rich heritage in fine arts like batik and puppetry as well as music and drama, there is something for everyone in Yogyakarta. When it comes to places to stay there are plenty of lovely neighbourhoods to choose from, keep reading to find out the best places to stay, as you explore this wonderful city filled with character and charm.

Malioboro

Located at the heart of Yogyakarta, Malioboro is one of the most famous neighbourhoods in the city. You will find plenty of accommodation here for a great price. This area has a thriving nightlife as well as great shopping options and is a hub for tourism. This area is buzzing with activity, so if you like to stay at a location amidst plenty of excitement this might be just the place for you.

Kraton

Image via Wikimedia Commons – Photo by CEphoto, Yogyakarta Indonesia Kraton-the-Sultans-Palace-02, CC BY-SA 3.0

If you are on a budget and looking for a great place to stay and explore Yogyakarta, Kraton might just be what you are looking for. Located towards the south of Malioboro, Kraton is a vibrant neighbourhood that attracts many travellers and backpackers due to its rustic charm. You will find delicious food stalls and street-style hawker food options. Don’t miss out on the bright neon-lighted cars that add to the neighbourhood’s lively atmosphere!

Prawirotaman

Prawirotaman is one of the more bohemian neighbourhoods in Yogyakarta and is located towards the south of the city. You will encounter plenty of trendy cafes and bars, street art and a decent nightlife. Known for its hipster atmosphere you won’t be short of things to do if you decide to stay here. A Yogyakarta hotel such as the likes of Kimaya Sudirman Yogyakarta by Harris can be a good option to base your stay as you explore the city.

The East

This particular area is ideal for those travelling with a family. Located in the eastern region of Yogyakarta you won’t be short of things to do here. The east covers a large area and is filled with lots of fun and lively things to do and exciting attractions to keep everyone entertained and happy.

Discovering the Enchanting Waterfalls

Koh Samui, known for its pristine beaches and lush tropical landscapes, is also home to several breathtaking waterfalls that cascade through verdant jungles, offering a refreshing escape from the island’s sun-drenched shores.

Namuang Waterfall

Namuang Waterfall is one of Koh Samui’s most iconic natural attractions, consisting of two stunning cascades surrounded by dense jungle foliage. Namuang 1, the larger of the two waterfalls, features a picturesque pool at its base where visitors can take a refreshing dip. Namuang 2, located further upstream, is accessible via a short trek through the jungle and offers a more secluded and tranquil setting.

Hin Lad Waterfall

Tucked away in a peaceful jungle setting near Nathon, Hin Lad Waterfall is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. A short hike through lush forest trails leads to this serene waterfall, where visitors can cool off in the crystal-clear pool beneath the cascading waters. Surrounding picnic areas provide the perfect spot for a leisurely lunch amidst nature’s beauty. A trek here would be one of the most exhilarating things to do in Koh Samui.

Na Muang Waterfall 3

Lesser-known than its counterparts, Na Muang Waterfall 3 offers a tranquil retreat away from the crowds. Located in the heart of the island just 30 minutes away from hotels here like Santiburi Koh Samui, this secluded waterfall is accessible via a short hike through the jungle, rewarding visitors with a serene setting surrounded by lush vegetation. The tranquil atmosphere makes it an ideal spot for meditation and relaxation.

Wang Sao Thong Waterfall

Wang Sao Thong Waterfall, also known as Secret Falls, is a hidden gem nestled in the island’s interior. Accessible only by a challenging trek through the jungle, this secluded waterfall rewards adventurous hikers with its pristine beauty and tranquil ambience. Surrounded by towering trees and lush vegetation, it offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the tourist areas.

Tarnim Magic Garden Waterfall

Tarnim Magic Garden Waterfall – Image via Pexels

Tarnim Magic Garden Waterfall, located in the island’s interior, is a unique and enchanting attraction that combines natural beauty with artistic flair. The waterfall cascades through a series of terraced pools adorned with sculptures, statues, and intricate rock formations, creating a magical and whimsical atmosphere reminiscent of a fairy tale.

Exploring the Hidden Wonders of Petra 

Petra, the ancient rose-red city carved into Jordan’s dramatic cliffs, is a UNESCO World Wonder for a reason. But its fame often overshadows the hidden treasures waiting to be explored. So, ditch the crowds and delve deeper into the captivating world of Petra with these lesser-known wonders:

Unveiling the Monastery’s Majesty

Sure, the Treasury is iconic, but the Monastery perched high on a mountain peak, offers an equally breathtaking sight. The challenging donkey ride or 800-step climb is rewarded with panoramic views and a sense of accomplishment. Plus, the crowds are much thinner, allowing you to soak in the serenity of this architectural marvel.

Experience Local Charm at Beidha

Craving a break from the tourist throngs? Head to Beidha, a charming village nestled near Petra. Explore its traditional houses, wander through the bustling marketplace, and get a taste of authentic Jordanian life. Planning a trip to Petra? Consider consulting one of the travel agents in Sri Lanka the likes of Mackinnon Travels specialising in Middle Eastern adventures. Their expertise can help you craft a unique itinerary that goes beyond the usual tourist trail, allowing you to experience the hidden wonders of Petra alongside the iconic sights.

Step Back in Time at the Royal Tombs

While the Treasury grabs all the attention, the sprawling necropolis of Petra offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of Nabataean royalty. Explore the intricately carved facades of the Royal Tombs, each one a testament to the engineering and artistic skill of this ancient civilisation.

Hike the Hidden Canyon: Al-Khubtha Siq

Al-Khubtha Siq – Image via Flickr

The Siq, the narrow gorge leading to the Treasury, is a must-see. But for an alternative adventure, trek through the Al-Khubtha Siq, a hidden canyon offering stunning rock formations and a chance to spot local wildlife.

Discover Habarana’s Hidden Gems

Habarana, a charming town nestled amidst Sri Lanka’s north-central province, is often overshadowed by its more prominent neighbours. However, beneath its unassuming facade lies a treasure trove of cultural wonders, wildlife havens, and ancient ruins waiting to be explored. This haven for history buffs and nature enthusiasts offers a captivating glimpse into Sri Lanka’s rich heritage and breathtaking biodiversity.

Dambulla Cave Temple: A Sanctuary Carved in Time

Delve into a bygone era at the Dambulla Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This magnificent complex houses over 150 Buddha statues, intricate frescoes, and cave paintings dating back to the 1st century BC. Walk through the cool caverns, marvel at the artistic mastery, and lose yourself in the serenity of this sacred space.

Minneriya National Park: Witnessing the Gathering of Giants

Embark on a thrilling safari adventure at Minneriya National Park, renowned for its breathtaking elephant gatherings. Witness herds of hundreds of Asian elephants converging on the park’s vast reservoir, a spectacle that will leave you awestruck. Keep your eyes peeled for other fascinating wildlife, including leopards, sloth bears, and a diverse array of birdlife. When in Habarana, attractions such as this are a must-visit!

Habarana Lake: A Tranquil Escape

Seek serenity amidst the lush landscapes surrounding Habarana Lake, located near Habarana Village By Cinnamon. Take a leisurely boat ride on the calm waters, absorbing the beauty of the surrounding hills and vibrant birdlife. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the lake’s shores, or simply relax and soak in the tranquility of this idyllic haven.

Ritigala Forest Monastery: A Hidden Gem in the Jungle

Uncover the secrets of Ritigala Forest Monastery, an ancient monastic complex nestled amidst the verdant jungles. Hike through the dense foliage, explore the ruins of monasteries and stupas, and marvel at the breathtaking views from the summit. This hidden gem offers a glimpse into Sri Lanka’s rich monastic history and provides a serene escape from the modern world.

Pidurangala Rock: A Challenging Climb with Breathtaking Rewards

Pidurangala Rock – Image via Flickr

Challenge your adventurous spirit by climbing Pidurangala Rock, a smaller yet equally captivating neighbor to Sigiriya Rock. The ascent may be a little strenuous, but the panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and the ancient Sigiriya Fortress make it all worthwhile. Explore the remnants of cave dwellings and monasteries at the summit, and experience the thrill of conquering this natural landmark.

Discover Singapore, A Lion-Sized Adventure for Little Cubs

Singapore never ceases to amaze travellers with its futuristic cityscape, world-class attractions, and vibrant cultural scene. But beyond the dazzling lights and Michelin-starred restaurants lies a playground waiting to be explored by little adventurers. From thrilling theme parks to interactive museums and enchanting gardens, Singapore offers a plethora of activities guaranteed to keep your kids entertained.

Unleash Your Inner Explorer at S.E.A Aquarium

Embark on an underwater adventure at the S.E.A Aquarium, one of the world’s largest aquariums. Marvel at the majestic manta rays gliding through the Open Ocean tank, come face-to-face with playful penguins and explore diverse marine ecosystems from around the world. Interactive exhibits and feeding demonstrations will ignite your child’s curiosity and spark a lifelong love for the ocean.

Soar Through the Skies at Universal Studios Singapore

Get ready for thrills and spills at Universal Studios Singapore, a theme park wonderland for movie buffs of all ages — located about a 25-minute drive from Hotel 81 Lavender, a modern and stylish hotel near Bugis. Experience heart-pounding rollercoasters inspired by blockbuster films, meet your favorite movie characters, and immerse yourselves in enchanting movie worlds.

Get Wild at Singapore Zoo

Let your little ones roam wild at the Singapore Zoo, an award-winning wildlife park renowned for its open-concept enclosures. Explore diverse habitats from around the world, witness orangutans swinging through the trees, and come face-to-face with majestic lions and playful monkeys.

Splash Around at Wild Wild Wet

Cool off and have a blast at Wild Wild Wet, Singapore’s largest water park. From heart-stopping slides and thrilling wave pools to relaxing lazy rivers and kid-friendly attractions, Wild Wild Wet offers something for everyone. Let your little ones unleash their inner water warriors as they navigate slides, splash in pools, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Explore a Fairytale at Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay – Photo by Daniel Welsh on Unsplash

Step into a world of fantasy at Gardens by the Bay, a futuristic horticultural wonderland. Marvel at the towering Supertrees, illuminated with dazzling light shows at night, and explore unique garden attractions like the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome. Kids will love the whimsical playgrounds, interactive exhibits, and the chance to explore diverse plant life from around the world.

Exploring El Yunque National Forest – Puerto Rico’s Crown Jewel

Discover Puerto Rico’s crown jewel, the enchanting El Yunque National Forest. Immerse yourself in rainforests, beautiful waterfalls, and a variety of wildlife including birds, reptiles, and flora. Here’s everything you need to know before your next hike.

How to Get There

El Yunque National Forest | Image via Wikimedia Commons

You can fly to Puerto Rico via Inter Caribbean flights. Offering many convenient flights within the islands, InterCaribbean Airways flies to nearby international airports like San Juan and Roosevelt Roads airports. After you land, you can take a shuttle to the forest.

Entrance Fees

A $2 ticket per car must be obtained in advance to enter and the tickets go on sale five weeks in advance in two time slots, 8 am to 11 am and 11 am to 2 pm. Ticket holders can enter during their designated window, and can stay till closing time which is 5 pm.

Things to Pack

When getting ready for the trails, make sure to be dressed in long comfortable clothing, and wear a hat and walking shoes. Also carry a compass, binoculars, a camera, sunblock, and bottled water.

Forest Trails

The forest possesses many trails including the El Yunque Trail which is four hours long, La Coca Trail which is three hours long, Mount Britton Trail which is one and a half hours long and so much more. These routes lead to natural pools, waterfalls, and mountain peaks.

Embrace the Serenity – Sunset Hike on Seoul’s Fortress Wall with a Korean Food Experience

Seoul, a city where ancient traditions blend seamlessly with modernity, offers a unique opportunity to explore its history while indulging in its vibrant culinary scene. Embark on a sunset hike along Seoul’s majestic fortress wall, followed by a delectable Korean food experience that will tantalize your taste buds and awaken your senses.

1. Sunset Hike on Seoul’s Fortress Wall:

Begin your adventure by ascending the centuries-old fortress wall that once protected the ancient capital of Korea. Start at Naksan Park, where you’ll be greeted by panoramic views of Seoul’s skyline and the distant mountains. Follow the trail as it winds its way along the ancient stone wall, passing through lush forests, historic gates, and scenic viewpoints. As the sun begins to dip below the horizon, marvel at the breathtaking sunset illuminating the city below, casting a golden glow over the surrounding landscape.

2. Korean Food Experience:

After working up an appetite on the hike, treat yourself to a mouthwatering Korean food experience that showcases the rich flavours and culinary traditions of Korea. Head to a traditional Korean restaurant or street food market, where you’ll have the opportunity to sample a variety of iconic dishes that have been beloved by Koreans for generations. From sizzling barbecue and savoury pancakes to spicy stews and crispy fried chicken, there’s something to satisfy every craving and palate.

3. Bibimbap:

Indulge in a bowl of bibimbap, a quintessential Korean dish that combines rice, assorted vegetables, meat, and a spicy gochujang (chilli paste) sauce. Mix it all together to create a flavorful and satisfying meal that embodies the essence of Korean cuisine. You can find plenty of great Bibimbap places near hotels near Seoul Train Station such as the famous Travelodge Myeongdong Euljiro.

Image via needpix

4. Kimchi:

No Korean meal is complete without kimchi, Korea’s famous fermented cabbage dish that is packed with probiotics and bursting with flavour. Sample different varieties of kimchi, from traditional napa cabbage kimchi to spicy radish kimchi, and experience the bold and tangy taste that has become synonymous with Korean cuisine.

5. Samgyeopsal:

Delight your taste buds with samgyeopsal, a popular Korean barbecue dish featuring thick slices of pork belly grilled to perfection at your table. Wrap the tender meat in crisp lettuce leaves, add a dollop of spicy ssamjang (soybean paste), and savour the irresistible combination of smoky, savoury, and spicy flavours.