Experiencing Yi Peng & Loy Krathong in Thailand

Two lantern festivals that are popular in Thailand, Loy Krathong and Yi Peng are truly spellbinding to witness and here’s more on what you need to know.

Loy Krathong

Lantern festival
Image via Wikimedia Commons (Takeaway, LK loy krathong yi peng san sai, CC BY-SA 3.0)

This is the name given to a water lantern festival in Thailand that falls on the full moon of the local lunar calendar’s 12th month, normally November. ‘Loy’ translates to ‘float’, while ‘krathong’ is in reference to a floating object or container. Thus, it’s no surprise that the key element of this event is the krathong which is traditionally made from the bark of a banana tree; on this small krathong, an incense stick or candle is placed, before being sent down a waterway, generally at night.

Making a Wish

Each person will launch one of these floating lanterns which can also contain food, flowers or garlands and at the same time make a wish in the hope it will be granted; some also consider it symbolic of sending their problems ‘floating’ away. As you would expect, the waterways throughout the country become places to see and join in the traditions of Loy Krathong. This not only includes cities like Bangkok, but destinations such as Koh Samui; 5-star hotels on the island including SAii Koh Samui Choengmon are within easy reach of sites such as Chaweng Lake, one of the places to experience this festival.

Yi Peng

An equally captivating and visually stunning festival, Yi Peng is more popular in Northern Thailand since it’s a traditional Lanna (ancient northern kingdom) festival. It takes place on the full moon of the second month according to the Lanna lunar calendar; ‘yi’ translates to ‘two’ and ‘peng’ means ‘full moon day’. Interestingly, it coincides with the date of Loy Krathong so both festivals are celebrated on the same day; however, the key difference is that for Yi Peng, the lanterns float not on the water but up in the air!

A Magical Sight

On this day, people will gather in one place to release what are called ‘khom loi’ which are special lanterns with a flame that makes them float into the night sky against the backdrop of a full moon. By releasing the lanterns, one symbolically releases the misfortunes of the year, while some may write a wish on them believing it will come true. Chiang Mai is one of the best places to witness the stunning spectacle of Yi Peng with the Three Kings Monument being a prime spot. It’s celebrated at other locations and visitors can join too as well as enjoy parades and other cultural events.

  

 

 

 

Set Off on a Desert Hike – A Beginner’s Tips for Survival

Explore the desert landscape for a thrilling ride in the golden dunes on a sunny day. While these terrains will offer an action-packed adventure to whoever chooses to venture out into the desert, it is also important that one is equipped and dessert-ready for a hike.

 Stay Hydrated

It is no secret that your desert adventures will not involve any natural source of water. Therefore, staying hydrated is among the most important factors to adhere to, when setting off on a desert safari from your vacation lodging at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara. The harsh environment in the desert gives minimal shade and is likely to be a scorching experience, therefore, carrying plenty of replenishing juices, water and snacks to munch on will help keep you hydrated and energised to explore miles and miles into the desert.

Image via Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara

 Choose Off Times

Whether you are setting off on a desert safari or a hike, the rule of thumb is to avoid peak hours. Summer heat in the deserts usually climbs up to three digits and will not treat one kindly. Therefore, expert hikers choose their timings wisely. The ideal times for a hike in the desert would be early morning or late afternoon when there is shade and less heat.

 Protection is Key

A desert’s biggest threat to a hiker is the sun. Therefore, the right items of clothing and sun protection should be chosen to survive the heat. Be sure to include sunscreen, sunglasses, hats and loose-fitting synthetic clothes to keep you protected from the scorching sun. It is advisable that sunscreen be applied every 1-2 hours in order to avoid sunburns and poisoning.

 Be on the Lookout

A desert is not simply an empty land of grains but also a home for some of the most poisonous creatures known to man. Therefore, desert hikers are often warned to be on the lookout for rattlesnakes, scorpions, poisonous lizards and tarantulas who can camouflage themselves in the desert dunes. Therefore, do a thorough check of your sleeping bag before use and avoid sticking your hand in any wet or cold places.

A Hike to Castle Hill

Looking for a bit of adventure in Queensland? Go on a little hiking tour to Castle hills, standing tall in the epicenter of Townsville. With panoramic vistas of the city’s landscape and nearby attractions, you will feel that getting to the top of this giant monolith is all worth the effort. Want to know more about the popular hiking trails, where to stay, what to eat, and what scenic views await once you reach the summit? Keep reading to find out!

Getting to the top

Hiking to the summit of the castle hills | Image by Samuel Mann via flickr

Whilst you can drive up to the top of these magnificent hills, I bet it will not be as fun making your way through an adventurous mountain trail. Out of the two main hiking trails that guide you to the summit, the Goat track remains a favorite among hikers. Offering a pleasantly challenging route, it will take a little over an hour for you to complete your journey across this popular mountain trail. Since the mountain track is enjoyed by hikers around the world, prepare to meet some like-minded explorers during your expedition as well.

Where to stay

Making your pick from the best Townsville Australia hotels depends much on your preference and budget. From budget hostels for backpackers to plush little abodes for family stays like Oaks Townsville Gateway Suites, within easy reach of the city and nearby attractions, finding accommodation in Townsville is indeed a piece of cake. Whilst planning your stay in this thriving metropolis, also remember to unlock the special offers and discounts curated by opulent hotels and resorts to make your stay more memorable!

Views from the summit

Once you reach the top of the hill, take a small stroll to reward yourself with some sweeping views of the city, the Great Barrier Reef, Magnetic Island and many more! Paired with the changing hues of the glistening sun, there is no better way to see the best of what this beachfront city has to offer than from the top of Castle Hill.

Things to be mindful of

With the blazing sunrays and grasslands, the castle hill trail is an ideal terrain for slithery snakes to wind their way across the land. During your journey to the top, always keep an eye out for these slimy creatures to avoid any risk to your life. While the hill is also a great place to accompany your dog on a little adventure, watch out for those stray dogs wandering around the trail that you do not want to meet.

Dhow Cruise Doha: Sail Through the Teal Water of The Arabic Gulf

 Are you wondering how to make your holiday in Doha extra memorable? Why not take a traditional cruise through the waters of the Arabian Gulf? Read on to find out more about this unforgettable experience!

1024px-Doha_Skyline_Nacht_night
FLASHPACKER TRAVELGUIDE, Doha Skyline Nacht night, CC BY-SA 2.0

Where Can You Stay?

 Are you looking through all the hotels in Doha wondering which of them to check in to? Resorts such as Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels By Tivoli and many others offer guests unparalleled comforts as well as central stays. So, pick your hotel based on your budget, itinerary and your preference of location.

What is a Dhow Cruise?

 It is a traditional wooden boat which was steered by sailors, which is unique to Doha. Apart from its wooden frame, what set it apart was the two triangular sails which had pointed ends for the bow and the stern. However modern designs have one large sail which has been proven to be more powerful and efficient.

Dinner on the Dhow

Set off at dusk and enjoy watching the sun dip into the still waters of the Arabian Gulf. Dinner cruises are a wonderful way to take in the views of the city skyline from a unique perspective as well. Admire the glittering skyline from the waters while you make some unforgettable memories on your holiday in Doha.

A Beach Worth a Visit – The Ton Sai Beach of Ao Nang

Thailand is nature’s utopia for adventurers and globetrotters. This South Asian country has been blessed with magnificent beaches, tropical foliage and ancient ruins from the days of yore. Among its many popular beaches lies Ton Sai Beach in the resort town of Ao Nang.

The Path to the Beach

The Ton Sai beach is reachable from most Ao Nang beach hotels. Whether it is by land or sea, make sure to pay a visit to this refreshing shoreline during your vacation at Avani Ao Nang Cliff Krabi Resort. From the Krabi bus station, the beach is reachable by taxi or tuk-tuk. However, if your journey takes place from the airport or the Ao Nang Pier, a shuttle or a longtail boat must be taken, respectively.

Rocking Adventures

The Ao Nang beach is not only dedicated to pleasing one’s eyes with its breathtaking views of an endless ocean and the far horizon. During a visit, guests can explore some thrilling adventures like rock climbing to add some flavour to their Thai vacation. Amateur climbers and experts can engage in a session of excitement through various schools and companies dedicated to this activity.

Maria Ly, Climbing at Ton Sai Roof, Thailand, CC BY 2.0

Diving in the Deep Blue Ocean

Explore life under the sea as you visit the beautiful Ton Sai Beach. If your heart lies in aquatic adventures, head over to Railey Beach, located a mere 10 minutes away from Ton Sai Beach to sign up for a diving session that lets you witness the deep blue ocean, filled with vibrant marine life and beautiful corals; an underwater experience like no other.

Island Hopping

Island hopping is a must in Thailand. As you visit the pristine beach of Ton Sai, do not forget to hire a longtail boat that takes you island hopping. Some of the best islands to visit in the surrounding area of the beach are Chicken Island, Tub Island, Phanang Cave and Podah Island which sends you on a family-friendly cruise to cherish for a lifetime.

All you need to know about Rumassala

For the curious adventurer visiting the Emerald Isle, tours along its southern coastal belt will bring you to the picturesque setting of Rumassala Hill, easily reachable from Unawatuna.

Rumassala
Rumassala | Image via wiki media commons

Historical value

During the course of the battle involving King Ravana and Lord Rama over the custody of Sita, the monkey-god Hanuman was tasked with having to carry the holy Sanjeevi Mountain which contained a large number of herbs. On his way back, it is believed that fragments of the mountain had dropped, one of which is considered to be the present site of Rumassala Hill.

Scientific evidence

According to renowned science visionary, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, it was revealed that the area in question contained a magnetic anomaly; a condition occasioned by a meteorite that had fallen from the sky. Additionally and interestingly, Clarke took up the position that Rumassala featured one of the lowest gravitational fields on earth.

Main elements

Spread out across its entirety is a series of rare medicinal herbs and plants which are unique to Rumassala with a fraction of the aforementioned found solely on Ritigala Mountain. What’s more? A host of endemic species ranging from birds, mammals and reptilians continue to seek refuge within Rumassala Hill which overlooks the dancing waves of the Indian Ocean. To those staying at boutique hotels, Galle is known for great options such as Kahanda Kanda, and the said attraction will come across as a wonderful introduction to Sri Lanka’s scenic beauty & history.

The adventure of a lifetime

No matter your age, the best way to experience the true beauty of Brisbane is by climbing the famous Story Bridge. Here are some things to know before planning this memorable excursion.

Highlights

You’ll get to scale the iconic Story Bridge that is the crown jewel of Brisbane QLD. The city views that stretch as far as the eye can see are a magnificent sight at twilight and will surely mesmerise you as it wakes up with twinkling lights.

What’s included

You will be provided with all the safety equipment and lights and even a brief training once you’re at the location. All you have to do is wake up a bit early and leave your comfy Milton accommodation with time to spare.

What you’ll see

Glasshouse Mountains,Brisbane | Image via flickr

Once you reach the top, you’ll get an unmatched 360° view of the city beneath you. You’ll even get a clear view of the Glasshouse Mountains, Moreton Bay Islands, The Milton Brisbane, Mt. Coot-tha, and the World-heritage-listed Lamington National Park.

 

Stay at a Niseko Ski Resort in Hokkaido

Ski holidays and adventures in the snow are always a great idea. Read on to find out more about Japan’s most popular ski resort and what you can expect when you make your way to chilly Niseko!

niseko
                                      niseko | Img by dave.see via flickr

Where Can You Stay?

You can bet that there’s ample choice of Niseko accommodation given how popular this spot is the world over for its amazing slopes. Hotels such as Chatrium Niseko Japan offer a warm and cosy respite from the chilly breeze and the ample snow outside!

What Can You Do?

Whether or not you’ve ever skied before, Niseko is a great place to have at it! Learn how to manoeuvre the baby slopes under the care of a trained instructor or else just do some snowboarding to make the most of the snowy slopes.

Ski Terrain

As far as world-famous ski terrains and slopes, Niseko is rated up there by avid skiers. Widely acclaimed as the best place to ski in Japan, the slopes are perfect for those who want to put their skiing skills to the test!

What Else Can I Do?

Niseko has plenty of places to eat and drink! So, if you aren’t in the snow, you can warm yourself with a hot chocolate or a delicious meal at one of its many restaurants. Apart from local delights, there’s plenty of international cuisine on offer to accommodate the influx of skiers from the world over!

 

 

Camping in Sri Lanka for an Adventurous Getaway

 If you’re looking to escape the busy city life in Sri Lanka and escape to nature, camping is one fine way to do so. Here are some excellent sites to get your tent out, set up, and enjoy uninterrupted, stunning landscapes.

Udawalawe National Park

Known for its elephant population, Udawalawe National Park stretches over 30,000 hectares. Animals such as wild boar, jackals, common langurs, sambar dear and over 180 species of birds call this park their home. To travel here, get one of the many self-drive cars in Sri Lanka, offered by the likes of Malkey Rent A Car, where you can drive at your own pace. Depending on the area of the park that you want to camp in, the price may vary.

Ella

Ella
Ella | Image via wiki media commons

The central highlands of Sri Lanka emit beauty so splendid that you’ll never want to leave. Famous for its lush green hills and now thriving party scene, Ella will not disappoint hopeful campers! You can also hike Little Adam’s Peak and visit Ravana caves.

Knuckles Mountain Range

Another spectacular location found in central Sri Lanka, Knuckles boasts many forest trails and sites ideal for camping. In fact, this location is ideal for eco-camping, so now only are you enjoying yourself, but you’re also conserving the environment.

Yala National Park

The most renowned National Park in Sri Lanka, Yala is full of picture-perfect sceneries, bordering the Indian Ocean. You will spot many mammals, birds and insects while you’re here, that’s a given! Camping with the sounds of nature and wildlife around you is surreal in Yala. There are also onsite washrooms and barbeque facilities.

Top Experiences and Adventures in Indonesia You Should Definitely Try

Those with a passion for adventurous activities and thrilling excursions will find Indonesia meets their holiday needs. Let’s explore some of the most exciting experiences available in the country.

Mangrove Forest Tour

Ranked among the most rewarding things to do in Indonesia, exploring the mangrove forests occupying breathtaking Bintan is a must for those who wish to walk on the wild side with mangrove snakes staring back from branches above. There’s no better way to uncover the beauty of nature than embarking on this mangrove tour. Visitors based at The Residence Bintan and similar rests will find that it is one of the top things to do in Bintan.

Snorkelling in Kanawa

Snorkelling
Image via Wikimedia Commons (Julie aka Piper from Southern Michigan, USA, Snorkelers watching fish, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Tipped to be one of the top snorkelling destinations in Indonesia, Kanawa offers tourists a glimpse of the coral gardens and the marine life occupying the Indonesian sea bed. Often compared to the exquisite underwater landscapes of Koh Phi Phi, Kanawa is a less crowded locale to engage in your favourite activity.

Ayung River Rafting

Those who head down to Ubud for a beach holiday can also sign up for a river rafting excursion of a lifetime. Taking rafters through the dense jungles of this tropical paradise, the rapids of Ayung River offer experienced and newbie rafters a fantastic challenge.

ATV Ride

ATV rides are not only accessible on the beaches of Indonesia and its pastoral villages but also in the country’s lush jungles. Travellers hankering for an off-road adventure will find that there’s nothing more engaging than driving down the rocky surfaces of Indonesia’s untamed wildernesses.