A Scenic Train Ride to the Hillside of Sri Lanka

 

There is no better way to explore the scenic hillside of Sri Lanka than hopping on board a train. As you pass by the verdant hills, lush tea terraces and stunning cascades, do not forget to stop by and take in the beauty and serenity of the surroundings.

image via https://www.flickr.com/

The Train Ride

Journeying across the hillside of Sri Lanka on a train ride is an absolute pleasure. Some Kandy hotels like the cosy Amaya Hills are located within proximity to the train station, so hopping on board the train is hassle-free. As you embark on this spectacular train ride, do not forget to stop and explore the beautiful Haputale, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, and many more.

Haputale

Surrounded by cloud forests and leafy tea terraces, the quaint town of Haputale gives a glimpse of the local village life. Here you can escape the hubbub of the city and relish the tranquillity of the hillside. Some of the most delightful things to do as you while away in this serene locality include hiking up to the Lipton’s seat, exploring the Adisham Bungalow and trekking through the Thangamale Bird Sanctuary.

Ella

An hour-long train ride away from Haputale, Ella is a hidden gem for the modern-day adventurer. Teeming with stunning tea terraces and misty mountain trails, no trip to this small town is complete without stopping by the famous Nine Arches Bridge and taking a hike to the panoramic little Adam’s peak.

Traversing the Train Tracks

As dangerous as it may sound, walking along the train tracks surrounded by sweeping mountains and lush greenery is a dream come true. Start your walk from the Ella railway station and pass through the long tunnels and bridges until you come across the towering Nine Arches bridge. It will surely be a 30-minute-long scenic walk that you will never forget.

 

 

A Visit to Yala National Park

Being one of the biggest national parks in Sri Lanka, a visit to Yala National Park is a must if you are ever on vacation on this charming island. Here are some of the highlights.  

 Yala National Park

Spanning a total area of 900 sq km, Yala National Park is easily one of the most enormous national parks in Sri Lanka. This exotic sanctuary was once a popular hunting ground for the British but now claims to have the highest leopard density in Asia whilst sheltering a host of other fauna the likes of sloth bears, deer, crocodiles and exotic bird species.

 What to see and do

Yala National Park
Yala National Park – Image by Nadil Jayakody from Pixabay

The Yala National Park tops as a hotspot for spotting leopards. Hop on board a 4 x 4 safari ride with binoculars in your hand during dawn or dusk to catch these inimitable animals in action. Whilst catching a glimpse of leopards has become a coveted attraction among travellers, there is a host of other wildlife to be seen amidst these exotic savannahs. During a ride along this wildlife sanctuary, you can easily spot some sloth bears, ample endemic birds emerging out of mangroves and elephants roaming across the land.

 Hotspots for Accommodation

From small boutique hotels and eco-friendly villas to opulent hotels and retreats by the jungle, you are spoilt for accommodation choices when holidaying in Yala. Amongst the top-notch accommodation spots in the area, a Yala hotel the likes of Cinnamon Wild Yala is indeed a wise pick for the hotel is kin to camping in the wild except with luxurious amenities brought to your arms.

 Best time to go on safari

The dry season from February to June is the idyllic time to go on a safari in this exotic wildlife paradise. With water levels decreasing, there is ample opportunity to witness wild animals emerging out of their habitats in search of water. The park also boasts a serene year-round temperature of 29°C and only experiences heavy showers during the months from September to December.

 

 

 

 

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.

Exploring the Bako National Park in Sarawak

Those who love nature, hiking or wildlife encounters have plenty to look forward to on a visit to the Bako National Park in Sarawak and here’s more on what you need to know.

Image credit-Wikimedia,CC0

Getting There

This national park can be found in the Muara Tebas peninsula’s northern part and is around 37 km from the city of Kuching. Those based here in the prime district of Jalan Simpang Tiga at properties like Citadines Uplands Kuching can easily plan an excursion to this site; look to leave a bit early (around 8:00am or before) by bus or taxi to the Bako jetty from where you need to take a shuttle boat (around a 20-minute journey) or book a private charter to the park.

What to Expect

Once you have found accommodation among the places to stay, Kuching excursions to this site will offer plenty to discover. While this is one of the smallest national parks in Southeast Asia, it is blessed with rich biodiversity and has seven varied ecosystems along with diverse wildlife. It’s home to everything from mangroves and grasslands to mixed dipterocarp forest, idyllic beaches and more with different trails on offer too.

Wildlife to Spot

On your visit to Bako National Park, you may spot some of its many animal residents including the hilarious-looking proboscis monkey with its pot belly and large nose! You may also see other primates like silver-leaf monkeys and long-tailed macaques as well as bearded pigs, squirrels and wild boars. Birdwatching enthusiasts have a chance to also catch sight of the ruddy kingfisher, Asian fairy-bluebird, sunda scops owl and many other bird species.

Varied Trails

Amongst the best things to do in Sarawak for those who love trekking is to explore the many trails at this park. In fact, it has 18 trails that are colour-coded and provide both short hikes and those that can be for almost the whole day. Highlights include the Telok Pandan Kecil trail which takes one to a small beach, while the Telok Delima and Telok Paku trails are great for spotting wildlife. For a longer trek, consider the Lintang Loop that takes you to the varied habitats of Bako National Park.

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!

 

 

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.

 

The Underrated Safari Experiences in Sri Lanka

Famed for its tropical beaches and alluring sunsets, Sri Lanka may not appear to be the bearer of forests and jungles of untamed wildlife. However, the country’s reputation as a tropical vacation hub overshadows its ability to provide some of the best-known safaris.

1024px-Minneriya_National_Park,_elephants_gathering
Walter Gehr, Minneriya National Park, elephants gathering, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Road to a Minneriya Safari

A 17-minute ride is all it takes to reach the Minneriya National Park from hotels like Aliya Resort and Spa. The park is known to be one of the best places on the island to witness the largest elephant gatherings that occur during the months of June to September. Most accommodations in the area offer safari packages to tourists which are inclusive of well-trained drivers to educate them along the way, and it is also about a 20-30 minutes distance from most other Sigiriya hotels in the area.

A Jungle Exploit

While visitors can witness herds of elephants freely roaming out and about, they are not the only wildlife that can be spotted at the Minneriya National Park. The sanctuary is home to a wide array of species ranging from eagles, monkeys and peacocks that can be seen in numbers. The park shelters 24 species of mammals, 9 species of amphibians, 25 species of reptiles, 160 species of birds, 75 species of butterflies and 26 species of fish.

Travelling with Young Ones

A safari at the Minneriya National Park is not one that is catered only for adults but is considered a safe experience for children as well. While older children are likely to appreciate wildlife and the knowledge of their lifestyles, younger ones are more drawn to the thrill of the jeep ride and climbing up the rocks in the park 

The Overall Experience

Many travellers have shared positive testimonies of their fabulous experiences at the Minneriya National Park, commenting on the expertise of the drivers and guides that accompany them throughout the journey. This family-friendly safari is certain to be one of education as well as a real-life adventure for adults and children alike. 

Minneriya Elephant Gathering

The elephant gathering at Minneriya is one of the most famous wildlife phenomena in the world! Elephants from different herds all gather together to travel in search of water to Minneriya Wewa. One could even call it the elephant’s summer home for their summer vacation.

Minneriya
Minneriya | Image via Pixabay

When and where?

Located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka, Minneriya National Park is the spot where elephants from all over the country gather. This occurs during the dry season from July to October.

Why?

During the dry season of Sri Lanka, the water available for these huge mammals decrease in other parts of the country. Minneriya National Park has plenty of water and shelter for these giants of the wild.

How can I see the gathering?

This is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka. You can rent a vehicle from Malkey Rent A Car and drive up to this region. There are a few hotels that provide easy access to this national park at which you could stay and set out with a guide at the right time.

Best time to go

Although you’ve got time from July to October, the best time to visit for the best experience would be in August and September.

Minneriya National Park

Giving you the perfect respite from becoming ‘templed-out during your stay in Sri Lanka, Minneriya National Park will feast your eyes with its famous ‘elephant gathering’. Read and know more facts.

Image credit- unsplash,
Vasim Memon,CC0

Overview

Dominated by the ancient Minneriya Tank, the park unfolds plenty of lush forests, grasslands, and wetlands. It’s located in the North Central Province, Polonnaruwa district. The wetlands closer to the reservoir provides an important feeding ground during the dry season. If you are starting your journey from Colombo, book an air taxi in Sri Lanka with an entity like Cinnamon Air, to make your journey faster and hassle-free

The elephant gathering

This is an entirely natural phenomenon that takes place between August and September annually. The largest meeting venue for Asian elephants! Park’s reservoir welcomes more than 300 elephants during the dry season. An amazing sight to behold!

Vegetation

The park’s vegetation comprises wetlands, grasslands, abandoned chena cultivated lands, and tropical dry mixed lush forests. The reservoir along with its surroundings plays a significant role as a wetland, speaking volumes of its rich biodiversity.

Fauna

The Minneriya National Park is home to more than 24 species of endemic animals. The most important of them is the ‘wild elephant’. You can also spot different species of aquatic birds and fishes.