The Towering Jabal Sawda in Saudi Arabia

If you love outdoor adventures and are heading to Saudi Arabia, make time to ascend Jabal Sawda, a well-known mountain that offers much to experience.

Image credit-Wikimedia,CC0

Where Is It?

This mountain can be found in the Asir province and is part of the Sarawat Mountain Range overlooking a section of the Red Sea coast. Those planning a visit will find it only around 20 km from the city of Abha; accommodation options here include serviced apartments at properties like Citadines Abha which makes an ideal base for your travels.

 Towering to The Skies

This mountain is known to reach an impressive height of over 3,000 metres providing stunning views of the surrounding areas. While certain sources claim it’s the highest mountain in Saudi Arabia, there is some dispute over this with others stating that the title should go to Jabal Ferwa. Either way, you should not miss visiting Jabal Sawda!

The Idyllic Setting

Those who head here can expect a mesmerising setting with juniper trees and other flora creating a lush landscape. Added to this, are the cool climate and refreshing breezes that make it a popular place for locals looking to escape the heat. Right at the top, clouds shroud the peak adding to the sense of enchantment.

Things To Do

Apart from unwinding here amidst the spellbinding natural beauty, you can engage in some captivating things to do as well. Hiking is a popular pastime to enjoy with both easy and challenging paths on offer. It’s also a great spot for having picnics, while shutterbugs will have plenty to photograph at some breathtaking vantage points.

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.

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.

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.

 

 

 

Why Kandy is Sri Lanka’s Cultural Capital

A popular day-trip destination for all, Kandy is not only home to the Temple of the Tooth but some of Sri Lanka’s top cultural highlights. Here’s why this hill station is deemed the cultural heart of the island.

Ceylon_tea
Charles R. Benedict, Ceylon tea, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Temple of the Tooth

The main reason why Kandy is dubbed the cultural epicentre of Sri Lanka is that it is where the Temple of the Tooth is located. The sacred dental remains of Lord Buddha are contained within this iconic shrine, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site decades ago.

Historic Kandy Lake

Although most visitors know that enjoying a boat ride on Kandy Lake is one of the top things to do in Kandy, few are aware of the legacy of this manmade body of water. Having been the execution site for many Sri Lankan nobles during British colonial rule, Kandy Lake is most infamously connected with the beheading of local hero Madduma Bandara and his family.

Tea Country

Whether you are based at the Hunas Falls Hotel Kandy or any other rest, a tour of the tea estates and factories surrounding the city will illustrate how it is a prime tea-producing region in Sri Lanka. World-famous Ceylon Tea is linked with the plantations and colonial-era tea factories that still function today and form a part of the hillside’s tea country.

 Kandyan Dance and Drumming Heritage

As a dance tradition that differs significantly from the island’s southern dance school, Kandyan dance and drumming techniques date back centuries and have been preserved by local artists.

 

A Solo Traveller’s Guide to Exploring Horton Plains

 

Horton Plains, one of the national parks in Sri Lanka, is an example of Sri Lanka’s unspoiled natural beauty. It is also one of the best places to visit in Nuwara Eliya. With thriving wildlife and milder climate conditions, the place offers a respite from the typical harsh weather conditions of the country.

What you need to know

You need to carry plenty of water with you as there aren’t any shops here. You cannot really bring plastic bags with you, and make sure you don’t litter. Also, if you are planning to visit in the afternoon, wear sunscreen.

Accommodation

There are plenty of hotels near Hotel Plains; all you have to do is take your time and find one that suits your budget. It’s best to choose a hotel like Araliya Green Hills, as Horton Plains is part of the experiences on offer.

Baker’s Falls  

You have to hike through uneven terrain to get here, but it’ll be worth it. Baker’s Falls is one of the principal attractions here. Named after Sir Samuel Baker, a British explorer, the waterfall has a height of 20 metres.

World’s End

World's End
World’s End | Image via wiki media commons

For scenic panoramic vistas, visit the World’s End. The journey is fairly easy, with frequent wildlife encounters. World’s End is a steep cliff that’s considered one of the best lookouts in the country. The views you get here stretch across two provinces.

Camping

To camp in Horton Plains, all you need is basic camping gear; however, as you are alone, you should consult a tour guide to ensure that you don’t do anything you are not supposed to. You can also get in touch with a tour operator.

What You Need to Know About the Sacred City of Kandy

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.

 The Positioning

1024px-Knuckles_Forest,_Sri_lanka
Abishek Palraj, Knuckles Forest, Sri lanka, CC BY-SA 4.0

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.

The History

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.

Climate

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.

An Unforgettable Visit to Mount Huashan

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!

Other Attractions

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.

Hiking Adventures

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.