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.

The Top Attractions of the Hill Capital of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean is renowned for its hospitality, natural beauty, rich culture, history and magnificence, which draws tourists from across the globe to visit and experience this beautiful island. Here are some of the must-visit spots in the hills.

Kandy

Kandy, the cultural centre of Sri Lanka, is home to the revered Temple of the Tooth Relic, beautiful botanical gardens, lively marketplaces, picturesque views and lush green landscape. Flooded with tourists throughout the year, Kandy offers the best in hospitality and is one of the top places to visit in Sri Lanka. Some of the hotels you must consider for your stay are the properties owned by Aitken Spence Hotels.

Nuwara Eliya

Known as “Little England”, Nuwara Eliya offers breathtaking natural beauty that includes tea plantations, colonial buildings, beautiful landscapes and cool weather.

Horton Plains

With its challenging treks and climbs, foggy plains, and World’s End which is an 800 metre deep cliff, Horton Plains is a biodiversity hotspot that provides locals and tourists a taste of the island’s natural beauty.

Ella

Ella – Photo by Lucija Ros on Unsplash

Located within a small community, Beautiful Ella is known for its waterfalls, lush green landscape, breathtaking views, and the world-famous nine-arch bridge

Exploring the Enigmatic Threads of Melbourne’s Captivating Past

Melbourne is a city that wears its history on its sleeve. From the grand Victorian architecture lining its streets to the hidden laneways whispering tales of a bygone era, Melbourne’s past is as captivating as it is complex. Delve into some of the enigmatic threads that weave together the story of this vibrant metropolis.

Gold Rush Glory

In the mid-19th century, Melbourne boomed as a result of the Victorian gold rush. Grand buildings like the Parliament House and the Royal Exhibition Building were constructed during this period, reflecting the city’s newfound wealth and ambition. This era also saw a surge in immigration, with people flocking from all over the world to seek their fortune. The city’s population exploded, and the need for accommodation grew rapidly. This led to the development of boarding houses and shared living arrangements, which in a way, can be seen as a precursor to the modern concept of coliving in Melbourne. Today, coliving spaces offered by properties such as lyf Collingwood Melbourne offer a vibrant and social living option for young professionals and newcomers to the city, echoing the collaborative spirit of those early gold rush days.

From Humble Beginnings

Step into the cobbled bluestone lanes of Melbourne and you’ll be transported back in time. These laneways were once bustling with horse-drawn carts and overflowing with goods from all corners of the globe. Today, they offer a haven for trendy cafes, art galleries, and hidden bars, each with its own unique story to tell.

Aboriginal Heritage

Melbourne’s story extends far beyond European settlement. The city is situated on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people, whose rich culture and connection to the land are slowly being unveiled. Explore the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens for a glimpse into Aboriginal plant use, or visit the Koorie Heritage Trust to learn more about the city’s indigenous history.

A City of Many Stories

Melbourne – Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash

Melbourne’s multicultural character is a defining feature. From the vibrant cafes of Lygon Street’s Italian precinct to the bustling Chinatown, Melbourne’s neighbourhoods offer a chance to explore the cultures that call this city home.

A Walk Through Georgetown: Penang, Malaysia

With a captivating mix of history, culture, architecture, and cuisine, all baptised with a touch of modernity, George Town is the capital of Penang and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a place where the past meets the present in a spectacular manner.

Architecture and Colonial Charm  

Georgetown’s streets are a showcase of colonial architecture and European influences.  KOMTAR Tower is a notable structure, which stands at a crossroads between the past and present.

Street Food Markets

Penang is a food haven, and no place demonstrates this better like George Town. There’s an array of street food stalls serving up delicious local delights. From hawker centres to the Gurney Drive, the town has a diverse mix of food spots that cater to all.

Looking for Penang hotel apartments closer to hawker centres? Stay at a place like Citadines Connect Georgetown Penang.

Street Art and Culture

The city’s narrow streets are alive with various street art, which offers a glimpse into the island’s culture. A walk through George Town is an photo worthy visual feast.

Temples

Image via Wikimedia Commons – This Photo was taken by Supanut Arunoprayote., Kek Lok Si Temple (I), CC BY 4.0

The town has a vibrant religious heritage that shines through its many temples and spiritual sites. For a peaceful and serene escape, visit Kek Lok Si Temple. These spaces are a must visit for anyone visiting Penang, especially for those in search of spiritual bliss.

Discovering the Colonial Heritage of Menteng

Jakarta isn’t all skyscrapers and modern marvels. Tucked away in the city lies Menteng, a neighbourhood brimming with colonial charm and historical significance. Here, time seems to slow down as you wander through leafy boulevards lined with grand old houses, each whispering tales of a bygone era.

A Rich Heritage Unveiled

Menteng’s story intertwines with Jakarta’s own. The area’s development began in 1810 under Governor-General Herman Willem Daendels, initially as part of Batavia’s expansion. Fast forward to 1910, and Menteng underwent a remarkable transformation. Inspired by the concept of a ‘tuinstad’ or garden city, Dutch architect P.A.J Moojen meticulously designed the neighbourhood. Today, Menteng stands as a testament to this vision, offering a tranquil escape amidst the urban sprawl.

An Exclusive Address Through the Ages

From its inception, Menteng was envisioned as an exclusive enclave. In 1910, the Dutch government transformed it into a residential haven for politicians, high-ranking officials, and the Dutch upper class. The architectural grandeur of the houses reflected the social standing of their residents.

Even after Indonesia’s independence, this locale retained its elite status, becoming the preferred address for state officials. Interestingly, this prestigious neighbourhood played a role in shaping the life of a future world leader – Barack Obama spent some of his childhood years (1969-1971) in Menteng!

Colonial Architectural Gems

Those staying in the heart of this area at properties like The Grand Mansion Menteng by The Crest Collection will be transported back in time. History buffs based at an executive Menteng apartment will delight in exploring landmarks like the Bappenas Building (National Development Planning Agency), the Bouwploeg Building, and the charming Saint Theresia Church. Don’t miss St. Paul’s Protestant Church (GPIB Paulus), while a stroll through the verdant expanse of Suropati Park, established during Dutch rule, adds another layer to your exploration.

More Highlights to Discover

Image via Wikimedia Commons – Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas, Jakarta Indonesia National-Museum-09, CC BY-SA 3.0

While colonial architecture takes centre stage, Menteng offers a diverse cultural experience. History seekers can delve deeper at the Formulation of Proclamation Text Museum and the National Museum of Indonesia (Museum Nasional Indonesia). Art enthusiasts can explore the Tugu Kunstkring Paleis and the Bartele Gallery. Broader Indonesian history comes alive at the Tugu Proklamasi, a landmark commemorating the nation’s independence proclamation, while Tugu Tani (Heroes Monument) is also of interest.

Exploring Hobart’s Enchanting Waterfront

Nestled in the southeastern corner of Australia awaits the charming city of Hobart, the historic capital of Tasmania. With its roots dating back to 1804, Hobart is a city steeped in captivating history and architectural splendour. From its elegant Georgian buildings to the bustling waterfront, Hobart offers a delightful blend of old-world charm and contemporary allure. Join us as we embark on a journey to uncover the treasures of Hobart’s enchanting waterfront.

Rediscovering Hobart’s Rich Heritage

Hobart and its neighbouring regions are a treasure trove of colonial history. Visitors can lose themselves in iconic sites such as Clarendon, a stately colonial mansion, and Runnymede, a captivating whaling family home from the 19th century. A visit to the Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site in central Hobart offers a poignant glimpse into Australia’s convict past. The city showcases a delightful mix of architectural styles, including Edwardian, Victorian, and Regency, with the honour of hosting the country’s oldest theatre.

The annual National Heritage Festival provides a unique opportunity to explore usually closed National Trust houses. The waterfront area, especially Salamanca Place, boasts beautifully preserved warehouses from the 1830s whaling era. Battery Point, with its quaint streets, offers a glimpse into the original seamen’s quarters, while Macquarie and Davey Streets boast over 60 classified historic structures.

Immersing Yourself in Historic Hobart

For architecture enthusiasts exploring Hobart, convenience is key. Car rental services like Hertz with GPS navigation ensure visitors can traverse the city and its environs like seasoned locals. With a car at hand, touring Hobart becomes a seamless experience, allowing for maximum exploration and discovery.

Strolling Along Hobart’s Waterfront

The Hobart waterfront beckons with its picturesque allure and vibrant ambience. Begin your day at Salamanca Market, nestled within charming sandstone buildings housing galleries and boutiques. Dive into Tasmania’s whisky heritage at Lark Distillery before indulging in bakery delights at Battery Point’s Jackman & McRoss. Savour fresh fish and chips from a floating punt while soaking in the waterfront’s scenic vistas. Venture north to North Hobart, where the State Cinema awaits with its eclectic film selection. Pair a movie with a glass of local wine for a quintessential Tasmanian evening.

Embracing Hobart’s Timeless Charms

Hobart – Image via Flickr

In Hobart, history whispers through cobblestone streets, and the waterfront dances with the echoes of a bygone era. Somerset on the Pier Hobart offers unparalleled Hobart waterfront accommodation, providing a gateway to Tasmania’s captivating past and vibrant present. Whether you’re captivated by heritage architecture, local artistry, or culinary delights, Hobart promises an unforgettable experience. Let the enchantment of the waterfront wash over you. Book your stay today and unlock the magic of Hobart.

Top Island Escapes in Singapore

Beyond the urban hustle and bustle of Singapore lie gems of tranquility and natural beauty — the enchanting islands nearby. As Singaporeans and travellers seek respite from the city’s relentless pace, these islands offer the promise of pristine beaches, secluded coves, and a retreat into nature’s embrace.

Sentosa Island

Escape to a world of endless fun and excitement on Sentosa Island, just a short distance from Citadines Fusionopolis Singapore, the ideal establishment for travellers looking for a stylish 1 bedroom serviced apartment in Singapore. From the sun-kissed shores of Palawan Beach to the panoramic views atop Tiger Sky Tower, Sentosa is a playground for thrill-seekers and relaxation enthusiasts alike.

Lazarus Island

Lazarus Island – Photo by Joylynn Goh on Unsplash

For those craving solitude and seclusion, Lazarus Island offers the perfect retreat. Tucked away next to St John’s Island, this hidden paradise boasts pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, away from the crowds. Indulge in a private holiday experience as you soak up the sun and let the gentle ocean breeze soothe your soul.

Bintan Island

Venture beyond Singapore’s shores to discover the exotic allure of Bintan Island, a tropical paradise belonging to Indonesia. Just a short distance from Singapore, Bintan offers an escape from the city’s hustle and bustle, with its tranquil beaches and lush landscapes. Whether you seek adventure or relaxation, Bintan promises an unforgettable island getaway.

Batam Island

Looking for a quick escape from Singapore? Look no further than Batam Island, a popular destination reachable by a short ferry ride from Harbourfront Ferry Terminal. Batam beckons with its pristine beaches, vibrant culture, and an array of recreational activities, making it an ideal destination for a weekend getaway or day trip from Singapore.

Saint John’s Island

Step into a world of serenity and seclusion on Saint John’s Island, an idyllic retreat off the coast of mainland Singapore. Whether you’re a solo traveller seeking solitude or a honeymooner in search of romance, Saint John’s Island captivates with its secluded beaches and pristine waters. Discover a true haven for the weary soul.

Exploring Negombo – Unique and Offbeat Attractions for a Different Experience

Nestled along the picturesque shores of Sri Lanka’s western coast, Negombo is renowned for its pristine beaches, bustling fish markets, and vibrant cultural scene. While its popular attractions are well-known, Negombo also boasts a wealth of hidden gems and offbeat experiences waiting to be discovered. Uncover the lesser-known treasures of Negombo, offering a unique and memorable experience for travellers seeking something different.

Dutch Canal Boat Ride:

Boat rides in Negombo dutch canal | Image via Wikimedia Commons

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and embark on a serene boat ride along Negombo’s scenic Dutch Canal. Built by the Dutch in the 17th century for transportation and trade, the canal offers a tranquil escape from the city streets, winding through lush mangrove forests and picturesque villages. Glide past traditional fishing boats and colourful houses, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty and rich history of this hidden waterway.

Angurukaramulla Temple:

Explore the Angurukaramulla Temple, a hidden gem and one of the best places to visit in Negombo. Adorned with intricate carvings, vibrant murals, and towering statues, this ancient temple offers a glimpse into Sri Lanka’s rich Buddhist heritage. Marvel at the imposing statue of a reclining Buddha, said to be one of the largest in Sri Lanka and explore the temple’s tranquil gardens and sacred shrines, where devotees come to pay their respects and seek blessings.

Muthurajawela Marsh:

Discover the natural wonders of Muthurajawela Marsh, one of Sri Lanka’s largest wetland ecosystems and a haven for biodiversity. Join a guided boat tour through the marshes, where you can spot a variety of bird species, including kingfishers, herons, and eagles, as well as crocodiles, monitor lizards, and water monitors. Learn about the unique flora and fauna of the marshland and gain insight into the importance of wetland conservation efforts in Sri Lanka.

Negombo Fish Market:

Experience the vibrant sights, sounds, and smells of Negombo’s bustling fish market, where fishermen haul in their catch of the day and local vendors sell an array of fresh seafood straight from the Indian Ocean. Wander through the maze of stalls and witness the lively atmosphere as fishermen negotiate prices and buyers haggle for the freshest catch. For a truly authentic experience, visit the market in the early morning hours to witness the hustle and bustle of the fish auctions. You can easily do this if you’re staying at a hotel like Sentido Heritance Negombo as its just 9 minutes away from the market.

Negombo Beach Park:

Escape the crowds and unwind at Negombo Beach Park, a serene oasis of palm-fringed beaches and tranquil waters. Take a leisurely stroll along the sandy shores, bask in the warm tropical sun, or simply relax and soak up the breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean. With its tranquil ambience and pristine natural beauty, Negombo Beach Park offers the perfect setting for a peaceful retreat away from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Visiting Penang Kek Lok Si Temple From George Town

One of Southeast Asia largest temples, Kek Lok Si Temple is located just outside George Town. A token of Penang’s cultural and historical significance, the temple is a must-visit for anyone visiting the island. This guide covers everything you need to know for a memorable visit.

Location

Perched atop a hill, Kek Lok Si Temple is in Air Itam, a suburb of Penang. The temple’s isolated location adds to its mysterious allure and offers a peaceful escape from everyday life.

Getting Here

The temple is located just 20 minutes from Citadines Connect Georgetown Penang, which is a hotel in Penang, Georgetown, so getting here is quite easy. You can take the bus or a taxi. Alternatively, you can rent a car and drive here yourself.

Significance

Image via Wikimedia Commons – Balou46, MY-penang-george-kek-lok-si-tempel-garten-1, CC BY-SA 3.0

The temple is a symbol of the harmonious existence of different Buddhist sects and Chinese rituals. It’s an epicentre of Buddhist and Chinese rituals, attracting pilgrims and devotees from around the world.

What to See

Kek Lok Si Temple features several highlights you should not miss. They include Pagoda of Rama VI, The Avalokiteshvara Hall and the Buddha Pavilion, The Statue of Kuan Yin, and Liberation Pond. Plus, there are several gardens, ponds, and scenic viewpoints.