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.

A Day Trip to the Knuckles Mountain Range 

Embark on a day trip to the Knuckles Mountain Range, a hidden gem in the heart of Sri Lanka. This rugged landscape promises a day filled with nature’s wonders and breathtaking views.

Scenic Drive through Knuckles Pass

Begin your journey with a scenic drive through Knuckles Pass, surrounded by lush greenery and mist-kissed mountains. The winding roads offer glimpses of hidden valleys and cascading waterfalls, setting the tone for a day of exploration.

Hike to Mini World’s End

Mini World's End
Mini World’s End – Image via Flickr

Lace up your hiking boots and trek to Mini World’s End, a vantage point that rewards you with panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. The moderate hike is a perfect blend of challenge and tranquillity, providing an intimate experience with nature.

Visit Corbett’s Gap

Make a stop at Corbett’s Gap, which is just a 21-minute car drive from Wild Glamping Knuckles. It is an open grassy area offering unobstructed views of the Knuckles range. The cool breeze and scenic beauty make it an ideal spot for a picnic or simply to pause and absorb the natural serenity that envelops the mountains.

Explore Pitawala Pathana

Conclude your day at Pitawala Pathana, a vast plain atop the Knuckles Range. The grass-covered plateau provides an ideal setting for relaxation and photography. Take a leisurely stroll and absorb the tranquillity of this unique landscape before heading back. After a day well spent in the embrace of nature, head back to one of the hotels near Knuckles Mountain Range for some much-deserved rest.

Explore the Fascinating Indonesia

Indonesia, a land of vibrant culture and stunning landscapes, boasts an array of breathtaking destinations. From ancient temples to scenic coastlines, here are five places you can’t miss:

Bali

Island Paradise: Nestled in the Lesser Sunda Islands, Bali is an icon of natural beauty. Explore its terraced rice fields, idyllic beaches, and rich cultural heritage. This enchanting island offers a perfect blend of tradition and modernity.

Borobudur

Temple Marvel: Experience the grandeur of Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple globally and a UNESCO Heritage Site. Dating back to the 8th century, its intricate architecture and layered design are awe-inspiring.

Bandung

City of Contrasts: Bandung, a city adorned with rice fields and volcanic peaks, is a hub of culture and development. Its European ambiance, set amidst Indonesian landscapes, makes it a unique and bustling destination. You can also enjoy a pleasant stay at a stylish hotel in Braga, Bandung, such as the Kimaya Braga Bandung by Harris as you explore the city.

Komodo National Park

Where Apex Predators Roam: Discover the remarkable Komodo National Park, home to the rare Komodo Dragons. This protected area also teems with diverse wildlife and vibrant marine ecosystems, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts.

Lake Toba

Lake Toba
Lake Toba – Image via Flickr

Nature’s Wonder: Lake Toba, a colossal crater lake, presents a sight to behold. With an island almost the size of Singapore at its heart, this Southeast Asian gem offers serene waters surrounded by breathtaking landscapes.

Each of these destinations embodies Indonesia’s diversity and natural splendor. Whether you seek cultural immersion, historical exploration, or nature’s marvels, Indonesia has something unforgettable for every traveller.

Discovering Oman’s Hidden Gems – Must-Visit Off-the-Beaten-Path Destinations

Oman, a land of rugged landscapes and rich cultural heritage, harbours hidden gems that promise extraordinary experiences away from the crowds. Embark on a journey of discovery as you explore these off-the-beaten-path destinations in Oman.

img via flickr

1. Wadi Bani Khalid: Oasis of Tranquility
Venture beyond the usual wadis and explore Wadi Bani Khalid, a hidden oasis nestled in the Eastern Hajar Mountains. Discover emerald-green pools, palm-fringed landscapes, and tranquil corners ideal for relaxation and rejuvenation aside from the amazing Oman hotel offers for places such as Oman Hotels.
2. Jebel Shams: The Grand Canyon of Arabia
For a breathtaking natural spectacle, visit Jebel Shams, the “Grand Canyon of Arabia.” This rugged mountain range offers awe-inspiring views of deep gorges and rugged cliffs. The Balcony Walk provides a thrilling trek along the canyon rim.
3. Misfat Al Abriyeen: Timeless Mountain Village
Step back in time as you explore Misfat Al Abriyeen, a charming mountain village surrounded by lush terraced gardens. Wander through narrow alleyways, admire traditional mud-brick houses, and experience Omani hospitality at its finest.
4. Ras Al Jinz: Turtle-Watching Paradise
Head to Ras Al Jinz, a secluded beach known for its nesting turtles. Join a guided tour to witness the mesmerizing sight of green turtles laying eggs under the moonlight or observe hatchlings making their journey to the sea.
5. Al Hamra: Historic Mud Village
Explore the historic mud-brick village of Al Hamra, where ancient structures and traditional architecture tell the story of Oman’s cultural heritage. Don’t miss a visit to Bait Al Safah, a living museum showcasing Omani crafts and traditions.

Trekking in Kandy

Trekking in Kandy isn’t about extreme climbs or elaborate trails; it’s about embracing the down-to-earth charm of Sri Lanka’s landscapes. Whether navigating Hanthana, exploring Udawatta Kele, immersing in local culture at Gannoruwa, or ascending to the Bahirawakanda Vihara, each trek offers a practical adventure that connects you with the heart of Kandy.

Hanthana Mountain Range Hike

Embark on a trek through the Hanthana Mountain Range, a series of lush hills surrounding Kandy. This is considered one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka. The simplicity of the trail unveils panoramic views of the city, showcasing a side of Kandy that goes beyond its cultural heritage. If you’re short on time and prefer to skip road travel, consider the convenience of air taxis offered by domestic airlines like Cinnamon Air. By flying to Polgolla Reservoir in Kandy, you can easily access Hanthana without the hassle of lengthy road journeys

Nature’s Simplicity at Udawatta Kele Sanctuary

Explore the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary, a tranquil forest reserve on the outskirts of Kandy. The straightforward trails wind through dense foliage, offering a quiet retreat where the simplicity of nature takes centre stage, and vibrant birdlife provides a symphony of sounds.

Cultural Interlude at Gannoruwa Hills

Combine trekking with a cultural touch at Gannoruwa Hills. Wander through quaint villages, meeting locals, and gaining insights into their everyday lives. The straightforward interactions offer a genuine experience of Sri Lankan rural culture.

Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha Statue Ascent

Bahirawakanda Vihara
Bahirawakanda Vihara – Photo by Yves Alarie on Unsplash

For a blend of spirituality and trekking, climb to the Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha Statue. The straightforward ascent provides not just an awe-inspiring view of Kandy but also a moment of reflection at the towering Buddha statue, a symbol of tranquillity in the midst of nature.

Glamping and Hiking in the Beautiful Knuckles Mountain Range, Sri Lanka 

Sri Lanka may be known for its tropical climate and its beaches. But it also contains some amazing hiking trails and camping experiences that one cannot miss out on.

What is Glamping?

Even if many may have heard of wild glamping in Knuckles, they may not always know what glamping is. Well, while it is like camping where you are expected to sleep outside in a tent, glamping is more luxurious. Although you would be sleeping in a tent, you would get a proper bed and even a functioning toilet. Thus, it is ideal for those who don’t want to rough house.

The Knuckles Mountain Range

Riverston in Knuckles range, Laggala – Image via Flickr

When it comes to Kandy and hiking, the Knuckles Mountain Range Hiking trail is one of the most popular trails out there. That is because this mountain range has thirty-four peaks and covers an area of eighty-one square miles.

Hiring a Guide

Hiking may seem like a solitary activity, but when it comes to the Knuckles Mountain Range, it is recommended to hire a guide. That is because of the sheer size of this reserve. Therefore, there is a good chance of wandering away from the track and getting lost. Furthermore, having a local who knows the flora and fauna of the area would make the experience more enriching.

What to Wear When Hiking

Hiking in the Knuckles can be a long and exhausting experience. Therefore, it is recommended that hikers wear comfortable clothes along with covered shoes and socks. This is especially important if you want to avoid leeches. That is another reason why you should wear long pants.

Japan Travel: Best Time to Visit Niseko and Things to Do

Niseko, located on Hokkaido island, is a world-renowned ski destination. Here’s your guide to the best time to visit and what to do in this winter wonderland.

Best Time to Visit Niseko

Winter (December to February) is the peak season for skiing and snowboarding in Niseko, with powdery slopes that cater to all levels. For a less crowded experience, consider a visit in spring (March to May), which offers a mix of winter and spring activities, including “spring skiing” with excellent conditions for both on-piste and off-piste adventures.

Winter Activities in Niseko

Niseko skiing
Niseko skiing – Image via Flickr

Besides skiing and snowboarding, Niseko offers various winter activities. Try snowshoeing for peaceful forest walks, snowmobiling for panoramic views, snow tubing for all-age fun, and winter rafting through icy rapids. Don’t forget to relax in the onsens (hot springs) after an active day.

Culinary Delights and Relaxation

Indulge in Hokkaido specialities, including seafood, ramen, soup curry, Jingisukan (grilled mutton dish), and soft serve ice cream. Enjoy the serene ambience and cultural events in Niseko Village, offering a mix of shops, restaurants, and cafes.

Scenic Beauty of Niseko

Take time to appreciate Niseko’s natural beauty, whether it’s the views of Mount Yotei (Hokkaido’s Mount Fuji), serene forest hikes, or the picturesque Hangetsu Lake. For comfortable accommodations during your visit, check out hotels in Nagoya, Japan, the likes of Travelodge Nagoya Sakae as they provide a great base for your Niseko adventure. Enjoy your winter wonderland experience in Niseko, Japan!

Experiencing Lesotho’s Captivating Capital – Enjoy the Best Things to Do in Maseru

Maseru, the enthralling capital of Lesotho, is a city that seamlessly blends the beauty of its natural surroundings with its rich heritage. If it’s going to be your first time here, these are four things to do that you should not miss.

Go on a City Sightseeing Tour

The city boasts a unique blend of modernity and tradition, and a sightseeing tour is the perfect way to immerse yourself in its diverse culture. Start your exploration at the stunning Our Lady of Victories Cathedral, a masterpiece of architecture. Not to be missed is the Mokorotlo Building shaped like a traditional Basotho hat and the Resident Commissioner’s House. Consider being based at properties like Avani Lesotho Hotel & Casino where you can embark on such adventures, before coming back and trying to win big at the city’s only casino!

Enjoy an Afternoon of Pony Trekking

Amongst the most exciting things to do in Lesotho is to go pony trekking in the afternoons which can be enjoyed during a stay in Maseru. The rugged terrain and breathtaking landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for this escapade. This activity offers the perfect chance to venture off the beaten track to not only soak up the idyllic natural scenery but also experience local culture which will provide fascinating insights.

Image via Avani Lesotho Hotel & Casino

See Ancient Rock Art at Ha Baroana

Delve into Lesotho’s prehistoric past by visiting Ha Baroana or “Home of the Bushmen”, where you will find ancient rock art which is around 2,000 years old. Located 40 km from Maseru, this site features a sandstone wall spanning a length of about 70 metres; though the art on it has faded over time, you can still make out certain elements. These include hunting scenes, people dancing and animals like antelopes and lions that offer glimpses of a period seemingly frozen in time.

Explore the Ha Kome Cave Dwellings

You can also look to take an excursion to the Ha Kome Cave Dwellings approximately 60 km from Maseru to discover more about the nation’s history and heritage. This living museum was the home of the original Basotho tribe and is known for its mud huts shaped like igloos found under a natural rock overhang that offers protection. You can also interact with friendly locals who still inhabit these cave dwellings and find out more about their traditional way of life in Lesotho.

Exploring the Knuckles Mountain Range

For adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts, Sri Lanka’s Knuckles Mountain Range offers a trekking experience like no other. Nestled in the central highlands of the island nation, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

Breathtaking Scenery

As you embark on your trek in the Knuckles, prepare to be captivated by the stunning scenery. The range is named after its series of peaks that resemble a clenched fist. Lush green forests, cascading waterfalls, and mist-covered valleys create a dramatic backdrop. You can see this picturesque mountain range from hotels in the area such as Hunas Falls Hotel Kandy.

Varied Terrain

The Knuckles offer a range of trekking options, from gentle walks to challenging hikes. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced trekker, there’s a trail for you. The terrain includes rugged paths, dense forests, and river crossings, ensuring an adventure suitable for your fitness level.

Biodiversity

Biodiversity
Image via Wikimedia Commons – Isuru Shashintha Wijesinghe, Dumbara falls in knuckles mountain range, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Knuckles Mountain Range is a biodiversity hotspot. During your trek, you’ll encounter a diverse array of flora and fauna. Keep an eye out for colourful bird species, elusive leopards, and unique plant species found nowhere else on Earth. Trekking in Kandy is especially famous for the vibrant biodiversity one can encounter.

Cultural Encounters

The area surrounding the Knuckles is home to indigenous communities. Interact with locals and gain insight into their way of life. You may even have the opportunity to enjoy a traditional meal, adding a cultural dimension to your trekking adventure.