Daily Archives: 25.03.2014

Land often ignored, Sri Lanka



Land often ignored, Sri Lanka

Ceylon the then called Sri Lanka homes for the kaleidoscopic view of rich cultural heritages aged from Vedic period to the bliss of flora and fauna in the 21st century. Along the bay of scenic beaches, wildlife in the soaring jungles and the essence of rich culture and its diversity is prevailing across the length and breadth of the country. The land of serene smiles for which it is famed for across the globe is now being ignored for various reasons, stating from international political issues, Sri Lankan civil war and divesting Tsunami which effected the major part of  tourism of the island country.

 

The scenic beauty of Sri Lanka appears like a rainbow on earth with beautiful landscapes, lush forests & gushing water falls. The nature of this magical island changes along the country from tropical forests on part to the carpets of paddy and green tea gardens. It has pristine beach bums along the coastline offering various thrill and adventurous drives. Some of the beaches include TangUlla, Arugam bay & Bentota with varying options of food and stay to explore the undiscovered paradise.
Scuba diving and surfing are the famous beach water sports in the country apart from the emerging new sports as white water rafting, kayaking & canoeing. The adventure of Sri Lanka can be felt by feet beneath the rocks under the sea to the multitude of mountains reaching the clouds amidst the sun. The nature of Sri Lanka doesn’t complete without its wildlife endemism. The country boasts land and oceanic species along with the endangered ones. It is the home for famous Sri Lankan Asian Elephant. The country has the highest amphibian species with huge density in Sinharaja rain forest.

 

The rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka from the age of epic Ramayana to the period of Gautama Buddha, holds some of the world’s ancient cities, architectures & monuments. Anuradhapura and Digamdulla are some of the ancient cities where Anuradhapura is one of the most sacred temple of world Buddhists. Sri Lanka homes for eight world heritage sites which include;  hill capital Kandy, The sacred city of Anuradapura, The Dutch fort of Galle, The ancient city of Polonnaruwa, The rock fortress of Sigiriya, The golden rock temple of Dambulla, The beautiful Horton plains and The Singharaja rain forest. The cultural diversity can easily be noted from giant statues of Lord Buddha at North central part of the country to colorful Hindu temples at Northern part of Sri Lanka. The rich cultural diversity of different races, religions & communities is cherished along the year by different festivals and celebrations making Sri Lanka the country with more number of festivals and holidays. The Sinha-Tamil New Year in April is a major cultural festival of the country remarking the beginning of the New Year along with Vesak an important religious celebration where Buddhists celebrate the enlightenment and passing away of lord Buddha.

The Kandy Esala Perahera or the Dalanda Perahera is the largest cultural parade in the world and showcases the best of Sri Lankan dancing and music and the best of the domesticated tuskers in the country. There three major dance forms of Sri Lanka resembling there culture ; Kandyan dancing, Low country dancing and sabaragamuwa dancing.

Sri Lanka has been the renowned place for spices to the world, the aura of Sri Lankan nativity can be much found in their cuisine. Rice being the main course food it is cooked and served in different styles with a tinge of their nativity to make it delicious. Some of the food includes  kottu, kiribath, lamprais, pittu along with passion fruit juice being popular in the country. Traditionally the food will be served in plantain leaves in most of the parts of the country.

Relaxation and rejuvenation can be experienced to both heart and mind by Buddhist way of mediation and native healing system; it deals with right concentration, right views and right mindfulness. Apart from the luxurious shopping ambience in Colombo, Sri Lanka is the land for many native hand crafts such as makara, silver ware, lacquer ware, wood carvings, batiks (cloth made by using manual wax resist dye technique), cane works and lace works. Precious stones such as blue sapphire, cat eye, garnets, moon stones, topazes, spinets and aquamarines are commonly found.

 

This vibrant geography along with the colorful mixture of different races of people and their eternal values & tastes makes the dusk and dawn of the island country much more picturesque and makes intent for everyone to mark their foot mark on this island.

The pearl of the Indian Ocean by which Sri Lanka is acclaimed worldwide, a “Land like no other”, by which Sri Lanka tourism promotes it country, need to be wide spread along all the corners of the globe. After the hasty civil & political situations of sri lanka ending in 2009, the stagnated tourism field has started resurgence slowly. The marking of Sri Lanka in ‘New york times’ 46 places to visit in 2013, show the potential of the country even in the hard times. The panorama of the bliss and the blessings of the nature along with a cultural diversity & affordable budget can only be experienced in the island nation Sri Lanka.

The Majestic Angkor Wat



The Majestic Angkor Wat

Nothing as grand and magnificent as this everlasting architectural marvel should be missed from your list of travel destinations. Should you need the ultimate experience of mankind’s architectural capabilities, The Angkor Wat temple is a place you should go to.

view from the moat

Angkor, situated in the northern province of Siem reap, is one of the most valued site of archaeology in South Eastern Asia. This place is spread over 400 square kilometers and houses many temples. This place holds the extravagant remains of the Khmer empire that ruled this place from the 9th to 15th centuries. The Khmer architecture was highly influenced by that of the Indian subcontinent which later evolved into a unique style characterized by its intricate art.

suryavarman II

The most famous of all is the majestic Angkor Wat Temple. It was constructed by the King Suryavarman II between 1113 A.D and 1150 A.D. This is temple is one of the largest religious monuments ever built in the world. Angkor Wat means ” Temple City “. The king was a staunch follower of Hinduism and always worshiped lord Vishnu. His devotion can be seen in the construction methods and styles. There are many idols of Lord Vishnu that are visible across the Temple City. Initially, this temple was built for the Hindu gods which subsequently became an abode for Buddhism in the 14th century. The city where this temple was built, Angkor is now in Cambodia. Until the Industrial Revolution had hit the world, this place was believed to be the largest city in the world. Such was the grandeur of this place.

view from behind

The temple has a 65 meter tall central tower which is surrounded by four other smaller towers which were enclosed in a wall. This temple is surround by a moat that is 200 meters wide, 5000 meters in perimeter and 4 meters deep. This moat played a pivotal role in providing stabilty to the foundation of the structure. It also acted as a tool that moderated the level of the groudwater. The temple had two entrances, the main entrance being the one on the West which is grand. It is guarded by two lions and was built across a stone causeway. On the other hand the one on the East was humble. The temple’s heart is the Central tower which hoouses the statue of Lord Vishnu. A steep staircase leads to the abode of the Lord. According to researcher Eleanor Mannikka, ” From the Unparalleled Place, Lord Vishnu and the King ruled over the people of Khmer “.

the temple

The building of this temple needed a lot of care for the art work , digging and quarrying. It would have required thousands of people to be working at once. The moat itself had almost 53 million cubic feet of sand and silt removed to be constructed. It is believed that the temple was constructed in such a way that Lord Vishnu is placed not just at the latitude of Angkor Wat but also on the axis of the Earth which indicates that Khmer knew that the earth was round. The Angkor Wat is believed to have many Lunar alignments with the towers of Angkor Wat.

aerial view

In the 19th century a french explorer and naturalist had visited this place and wrote in i=his notes that said, “One of these temples—a rival to that of Solomon, and erected by some ancient Michelangelo, might take an honorable place beside our most beautiful buildings. It is grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome, and presents a sad contrast to the state of barbarism in which the nation is now plunged.” Such is the lavishness of this architectural great.

A lot of considerable restoration had to be done in the 20th century, removal of the vegetation and elements of earth that were accumulated over the years. The Angkor Wat temple is a symbol for Cambodia’s pride and honour. This has been an integral part of Cambodia. It also is part of the Cambodian Flag. This temple is a UNESCO world heritage site. The best time to visit this place is in Novemeber to March when the temperatures are relatively moderate and is the best to explore this place. The only disadvantage is that there are too many people in that time. June to October has lesser people visiting but the place gets too wet and humid. Visiting in April would be risky as the place heats you up!

the Angkor wat

This temple is located at about 6 kilo meters away from the city of Siem Reap. Tour buses, cars, motorbikes, tuk tuks, bicycles, horse carriages, electric cars, helicopter flights, hot air balloon flights are available. There are many other attractions around the Angkor Wat temple like Angkor Thom, Little Circuit, Big Circuit, Roluos group , Outlying temples. There are many souvenir shops around the area. The ‘Black Garuda’ is one of the best stores which sells original key holders. There are various places to eat, Angkor Cafe, Chez Sophea. There are many excellent hotels in this place that offer great hospitality and comfort for a relaxed stay after an all day long temple tour. One of the most famous hotels in the Temple Region is the La Niche d’Angkor Hotel. It is known for its facilities and its luxury.

hotel

This place is one of the top destinations that offer an incomparable treat for architecture and history lovers. The different touches of Hinduism and Buddhism are felt here. This is one place a person must see in his lifetime. The building is a book which is bound by its architecture with the sculptures and art being the text.

 

 

 

 

Snowdonia National Park, Wales



Snowdonia National Park, Wales

Mount Snowdon

Spanning a mammoth 823 miles of picturesque serenity, Snowdonia National Park in Wales can most aptly be described as a land of superlatives. Tucked away along Britain’s west coast, it bears the honour of being the oldest National Park in Wales and the third oldest in all of Britain. Established in 1951, the region is home to the Snowdon, the highest mountain peak in Wales, from which it derives its name. The Snowdon and its fellow mountains descend into flourishing valleys, gushing rivers, massive lakes, placid beaches and raging waterfalls flanked by little market towns and villages. The climate, though best described as wet and rainy is in no way dampening to one’s spirits.

Speckled generously across the scenic landscape, one can find distinct markers of history and culture in the castles, museums and villages of the area. Brushing up on your Welsh is an added bonus as the park is home to over 20,000 inhabitants, more than half of which speak Welsh.

Providing some of the best opportunities globally for adventure, relaxation, symbiosis with nature and cultural exploration, Snowdonia National Park offers a little something to lift the spirits of every tourist. It’s no wonder then that over 6 million visitors visit the park annually, making it the most visited National Park in Wales.

Snowdonia National Park

Snowdonia National Park

History of the Area

For a region that boasts staggering views of untouched natural beauty, the region of Snowdonia bears generous traces of history and cultural heritage across the landscape. Snowdonia National Park served as a natural fortress for the Princes of Gwynedd and for Llewellyn, the last true Prince of Wales. Here, one finds a host of castles dating as far back as the 13th century including the Castell y Bere and the Harlech Castle built by King Edward I.

On traversing through some of the remote villages, one may come across the ancient practice of witchcraft transmitted orally across generations, so integral to the history of the region. This is evident from the many myths and legends of witches and wizards that took shape here, the most iconic being the story of the Wicked Witch of Snowdonia.

The industrial history of the region is quite rich as well. Snowdonia is home to one of the highest railway stations in the U.K. and the iconic Welsh Highland Railway. The Talyllyn Railway is said to have inspired the film The Titfield Thunderbolt.  The Llechwedd Slate Mines at Blaeneau Ffestiniog are a marvel and serve as phenomenal indicators of the flourishing Welsh slate mining industry way back in the 18th Century.

Attractions

One can reach Snowdonia National Park by train, bus, sea, plane or car and commute within the park by train, bus or car.

 Nature

Words can never be enough to describe the staggering views of natural beauty one experiences in the region.

The heroic Snowdon Mountain stands majestically at 3560 feet and lords above the park. It takes a bit of training and fitness to summit the peak, but the breathtaking views at the top are absolutely worth it. Dressing appropriately and wearing the right footwear is necessary owing to freezing temperatures and slippery paths due to the rains. Besides the Snowdon, Snowdonia National Park houses over 90 other peaks including the Tryfan and the Y Garn amidst several mountain ranges.

Mount Snowdon

Mount Snowdon

The region has its fair share of lakes, Lake Bala and Padarn Lake being the most iconic, offering expansive views, water activities and marine life. For a change of scenery, one can walk along the seashore at Snowdonia National Park’s beaches, the most visited being Harlech Beach flanked by beautiful mountain peaks in the background.

Lake Bala

Lake Bala

The area boasts a mélange of exotic flora and fauna. A variety of birds such blackbirds, robins, finches, owls, buzzards and many many more make Snowdonia National Park an ornithologist’s nirvana. Keep your eyes peeled for The Snowdon Lily, a protected, rare species, the Gwyniad (a freshwater fish), found almost exclusively in Bala Lake and the Freshwater pearl mussel, an endangered species. Bats, badgers, polecats, dolphins, porpoises and seals are also found here.

Snowdon Lily

Snowdon Lily

 Cultural Attractions

The landscape of Snowdonia National Park is peppered with castles dating back to the 13th century including the Castell y Bere, the Doldabarn, the Dolwyddelan and the spectacular castle at Harlech built by King Edward I.

Harlech Castle

Harlech Castle

St. Mary’s Church and St. Grwst Church are two of the most frequented churches in the area.

The Welsh Slate Museum at Llanberis, the Conwy Valley Railway Museum and Model Shop at Betws-y-Coed and the Conwy Mussel Museum at Conwy among others enrich the tourist’s historical knowledge of the region in various aspects. A cocktail of ancient and modern Welsh culture can be seen in the area’s many villages with ancient arts and crafts still being practiced even though villagers are tolerant and well integrated with tourists.

Make sure you pay a visit to Plas Mawr, Conwy Town Walls, Conwy Suspension Bridge and the smallest house in Britain while you are in Conwy.

Activities

Adventure

Scoring high on the list of Britain’s premier hiking destinations, you can summit over 90 mountain peaks and check them off your bucket list within the limits of Snowdonia National Park. Other adventure sports include rock climbing, canyoning, kayaking, gorge walking, canoeing, ziplining, underground tours, treetop adventures, kite surfing and white water rafting to get your adrenaline pumping.

Sightseeing

After a bit of thrilling adventure, you can take it easy and take in the beautiful sights with guided tours of various regions including walking tours, cycling tours, and cruises.

Cycling Tour

Cycling Tour

 Dining

A village pub characterizes the dining culture of Snowdonia’s villages. Almost every village has its own pub that serves food as well. Try some of the local delicacies at popular pubs such as The Albion Ale House at Conwy and the Cellb at Blaenau Ffestiniog. Very few nightclubs are found limited to luxury resort areas.

 Accommodation

A variety of hotels, inns, cottages and resorts are found all over the area ranging from plush luxury resorts to bed and breakfast hotels. There are arrangements for fully residential farmhouse cottages, hostels and camping in the area.

A perfect destination for your next holiday, Snowdonia National Park is sure to leave you with picture perfect memories that you will treasure forever.

Saxon Switzerland National Park: Germany’s Rocky Wild



Saxon Switzerland National Park: Germany’s Rocky Wild

You are on a German expedition and still haven’t satiated your adventure quotient in this picturesque country. Where do you head towards? Well, the Saxon Switzerland National Park is a strong contender to fulfill your latent desires for thrilling activities such as rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking and a lot more. But before we delve a little deeper into the nitty-gritty’s of this visually pleasing landscape in the East German wilderness, here’s a small tidbit on how the place acquired its rather intriguing name.

‘Saxon Switzerland’ as we know it is located in the German free state of Saxony, southeast of the capital city of Dresden, surrounding the Elbe valley. The name came to be derived in the 18th century, when two Swiss artists Adrian Zingg and Anton Graff joined the Dresden Academy of Art in 1766. They both felt the beauty of the place came very close to Jura mountain range in Switzerland; and thus the name became popular through its repeated usage by Wilhelm Lebrecht Gotzinger in his books, after it was coined by the former two. Though it was the latter that was responsible for getting the general public well versed with the name ‘Saxon Switzerland’.

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The park covers two areas of 93.5 square kilometers and is adjoined by the Bohemian Switzerland National Park in the Czech Republic. It is as such located in the midst of a 710 square kilometer expanse of Saxon Switzerland, with human population peppering the landscape in smaller towns and villages like Bad Schandau and Konigstein. With the status of National Park being afforded to the area in 1990, around 40% of the vast, forested region is subject to dormancy and no activity at all.

The beauty of this place owes its thanks to two things mainly – the wild forests and the visually bizarre rock formations that have formed over millions of years. Within such a phenomenon, we humans have created around 400 kilometers of hiking paths, 50 kilometers of biking paths and a whopping 755 climbing locations with an astounding 12,600 possibilities of climbing routes! No doubt this forms an integral part of the bucket list for international climbers, year-in year-out.

Very literally, this area of Germany has been steeped into history with close to 200 years of tourism and 140 years of rock climbing, making it a sort of pioneer in both regards. Though not known much to the public outside of Europe, these activities have left a deep trace on the identity of the stunning landscape on show at Saxon Switzerland. There is a lot of contradicting word play used to describe this location, with many calling it a ‘rock landscape national park’, even though they are completely forested!

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Climbing the Elbe Sandstone Mountains

Now a bit on the viability of this place. Saxon Switzerland can be reached by either train or bus. There are regular National Transport Trains to the Dresden Main Station and to Bad Schandau. From there onwards, there are regional S-Bahn trains from Dresden that take you straight to Saxon Switzerland. Also, there are passenger trains between Bad Schandau, Sebnitz and Neustadt or there’s always an option to make it by bus.

As for your stay, there is a variety of accommodation options to choose from ranging from hotels and inns in Bad Schandau as well as an authentic experience of the mountain inns surrounding the Elbe Valley. Do make sure that in the peak hiking times of May/June and September/October, you book in advance. The good news when it comes to climate is that this region is amazing to visit at any time of the year. There are a plethora of distinct activities and occurrences to be enjoyed in any season of the year; though winter is least favored of all due to the ice.

So once you are there, what do you first plunge into amongst the wide range of options at your disposal? It would be advisable to take your hiking boots out and take them for a spin at the romantic “Malerweg”, also known as the Painter’s Way. This trail will make you appreciate the fascinating, rocky landscape of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. The path will also lead you to a one-of-a-kind Rock Theatre within the Elbe Valley, into the heart of the National Park. As you conclude the walk, get ready to be mesmerized by the Konigstein Fortress and then sign off with the beautiful view from the vantage peak points of Papststein and Pfaffenstein.

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The Painter’s Way or ‘Malerweg’ is a main attraction for hikers

Now if hiking is too main-stream and you want to crank up the stakes, climbing is your best bet. As stated earlier, there are numerous climbing options to choose from in this extensive landscape of the Saxon Switzerland National Park. With top notch safety mechanisms in place, get ready for the climbing experience of a lifetime in the backdrop of one of Europe’s lesser known picturesque landmarks.

If you’ve had enough of climbing and hiking and family time is what’s on your mind, don’t worry, you won’t be disappointed. Delve into the 40 kilometer long cycling trail with your eager family members and appreciate nature in its pure, original form. The stretch runs through Saxon Switzerland as it takes you past the water’s edge in the Elbe Valley surrounded by awe-inspiring sandstone formations. And don’t worry; there are lots of restaurants along the trail, where you could halt for quick refreshment!

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Enjoy the 40 km cycling trail

If you thought that was about it, then you were miserably wrong. Water enthusiasts too have something in it for them in Saxon Switzerland. Wade through the Elbe River in either a dingy, canoe or a kayak either alone or with your family. There is 700 meters of crystal clear water waiting for you to swim in, fish from or paddle through! Not just that; the spas, sauna and thermal springs by the Elbe are sure to relax you after a day’s hiking or climbing. Or if you aren’t tired enough, you could always indulge in a game of beach volleyball by the Elbe.

Let’s dig deeper into the cultural escapades of Saxon Switzerland now. The Konigstein Fortress, Weesenstein Castle, Fort Stolpen and the Baroque Garden sum up the royalty of Saxon Switzerland. These castles, stately homes and gardens add that sparkling touch to nature’s vast bounty that blesses this place in Eastern Germany. Surrounding the National Park, you have a lot of muse temples, monuments and museums, rich in the arts and crafts that tell the story of the region.

Saxon Switzerland National Park

Konigstein Fortress looking over the National Park

Finally, you could take a tour of the National Park Centre to marvel over the beauties hidden from the human eye and know more about the myriad evolution of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.

How better can it get for the tourist as well as adventure freak in you? One gets to admire the raw, speechless beauty of rock canyons, crazy formations owing to the sandstone and at the same time scale such peaks or take a hike or bike ride through the wild. Pack your bags and explore this natural hinterland as soon as you can!

The City of Parks: Malmo, Sweden



The City of Parks: Malmo, Sweden

Have you ever been to Sweden? If you have then you must have visited Malmo City. What? No!  Malmo tops the list when it comes to visiting some most of the underrated but beautiful cities in Sweden. Known as the City of Parks, because of number of key anchor parks, Malmo is a port city situated in the southern coast of Sweden. It is the third largest city of Sweden with a population of about 3 million. For all the expansion, Malmo is a small, friendly city with a good choice of cultural attraction, including the Moderna Museet Malmo. Don’t forget to buy a Malmo City Card for discounts on entrance fees to attractions, goods and products in shops and free parking.

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City has an oceanic climate. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, temperature difference between seasons is low. It has warm summers and no dry season. Over the course of a year, the temperature typically varies from -3 degree to 22 degree and is rarely below -9 degree or above 26 degree.

How to get here?

 2-Malmo Airport

You have the possibility to choose between two airports, when going to Malmo. Malmo Airport and Copenhagen Airport are close to city even though one is in another country. You can easily get a cab outside the airport to reach downtown. It is also easy to travel by train to and from Malmo. You will find direct trains from Denmark and Germany. You can come by your own car from the Oresund Bridge that connects Malmo with Copenhagen. From Germany and Poland you can reach Malmo by ferry.

Accommodation and Food

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You can find a large and varied selection of hotels, apartments, hostels, Private rooms in Malmo in affordable price range. The Ibis Hotel is the best choice for budget travelers as it offers central location in Malmo along with the best rates in the city. Scandic Loddekopinge, the 3 star hotel, which is part of the Scandic hotel chain offers limited first class amenities. There are many others budget hotels like Ibis Lund, Scandic Star Lund, Boka Hotel and many more. If you would like to go for 5 stars then famous Radisson Blu Hotel will be the best choice. You also can find youth hostels in Malmo downtown.

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Malmo is known for having an international style restaurant and pubs. You have the opportunity to try out virtually everything at reasonable prices, thanks to the tough competition. The Swedish Kitchen is today world famous. In Malmo you will find gourmet restaurants as well as taverns in all price ranges. You have Burger Kings and Mc Donald’s all over the city. Swedish people are coffee lovers and its no surprise that you will find the cafes and coffee shops full with people. There are many cozy cafes and coffee shops along the streets where you can drop in and enjoy a tasty Cappuccino and a delicious big sandwich. There are many popular pubs around Lilla Torg in the centre of the city which have great food and you can order the menu until 10 pm.

The Attractions

Oresund Bridge

 Oresund_Bridge_-_Malmo,_Sweden

The Oresund Bridge is one of the biggest constructions in Europe and consists of 8 km long bridge, a 4km artificially made island called Pepparholmen and a 4km long tunnel. The bridge was opened for traffic in 2000. The Oresund region is today one of Europe’s most important areas in terms of growth and environment. The bridge is quite unique as it connects two countries. A travel between Malmo and Danish Copenhagen takes only approx. 20 minutes.

Turning Torso

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Turning Torso is a great skyscraper, not far away from Malmo, in the north of Sweden. It has changed the profile of the city and also became a popular place to visit both for local citizens and tourists. It was designed by Santiago Calatrava and it is northern Europe’s tallest residential building. It took four years to prepare. In 2005, Turning Torso was awarded the prize for the best new skyscraper by Emporis.com, the world’s largest site for skyscrapers.

Aq va kul

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Aq va kul is a water park with heated indoor and outdoor pools, a waterslide, wave machine, sauna, solarium and Turkish bath. It is located right in the center of Malmo and is open year round. Aq va kul is one of larges meeting place for people of all ages who want a meaningful leisure. This water park is surely worth a shot.

Malmo Opera

malmo-opera-house

Malmo Opera is the opera house situated in the centre of Oresund Region and Economic region combining of Southern Sweden and Eastern Denmark. The Opera presents the whole reange of music theatre with main emphasis on opera and musical. Great opera classics, musical and contemporary musical drama are performed here. Gala nights and orchestra and chamber concerts are also arranged and guest performances of contemporary dance and classical ballet are invited.

Malmo Konsthall

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Malmo Konsthall is one of Europe’s largest exhibition halls for contemporary art. It was designed by Architect Klas Anshelm and was opened in 1975. Malmo Konsthall arranges exhibitions with an international focus which encompasses both the classics of modern art and current experiments.

St. Petri Church

sankt-petri-kyrka-malmo

St. Petri Church is a Gothic style Church located in Goran Olsgatan, Malmo. It was built in 1319, being the oldest church in the city. An interesting feature of the church is the altar, the largest wooden altar in Europe.There are many other attractions in Malmo, like Limhamn, Malmo Stadium, Rooseum and Kungsparken Malmo.

The Mediterranean Paradise: Antalya, Turkey



The Mediterranean Paradise: Antalya, Turkey

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Wouldn’t you want to spend your holidays at a place which has 15 of the world’s top 100 hotels? A place which offers lot of waterfalls, caves and an endless beach with abundance of food and drink. It sounds like paradise and it is indeed a paradise of the Mediterranean, Antalya city, Turkey. Along with a cultural heritage deeply rooted in history, Antalya’s coves and islands of unique beauty, comfortable hotels and marinas, colorful entertainment venues and art filled festivals make it a tourist destination that offers endless possibilities to its guests. Antalya is situated on a cliff in the southern part of Anatolia Peninsula, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sear. It is on the gulf bearing the same name. Agriculture, industry and tourism are the most important sectors in the economy of Antalya.

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The climate in Antalya is typical. Summers are hot here and winters passes mild and rainy. Almost 300 days of the year are sunny and you can swim from April to November. Average sea temperature is 28 degrees and you should not forget to take your coat, umbrella and thick clothes if you have decided to go on holiday in Antalya in winter.

How to get here?

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Antalya can be reached by highways from all parts of Turkey and the international airport provides easy access for domestic and foreign visitors. The International Antalya Airport is 13 km from the city centre and there are regular coach services to the city centre. Taxis are available and there is access for private cars.

Accommodation and Food

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Antalya is considered one of the greatest destinations in the Mediterranean, with a great variety of tourist activities. It also has one of the world’s best stocks of accommodation. There are hundreds of five star hotels in the city including some super luxurious hotels. You will feel very special as Antalya embraces visitors in the comforts of luxury. If you like to keep you stay within budget and taste then there are options of holiday resorts, motels, lodging houses, apartments, boutique hotels and self catering bungalows which can be booked personally or online.

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Turkish food is famous all over the world. You can find all the cuisines of the world in Antalya hotels and restaurants but some of the special foods of the region are Sac Kavurma, Tandir Kebab, Kolle, Tomato cive and Hibes. The most famous drink of Turkey is tea. Turkish coffee is made by grinding the coffee grains coming from Yemen and Brazil. It is served by cooking with water and sugar with its bubbles. You can enjoy famous Antalya jams, black and green olive, salami, bread in breakfast and Kebab for lunch. The famous drink here with alcohol is raki. You can find every kind of alcoholic beverage in bars and restaurants of hotels.

The Attractions

Pamukkale

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When it comes to natural wonders then Antalya has a gem named Pamukkale. Also known as “Cotton Castle”, Pamukkale is an unreal little village that has come of the most spectacular turquoise water terraces you will ever lay eyes on. For thousands of years, people have come here to bath in the hot springs. What makes it so breathtaking is how the pools look against the white limestone mountains. You can get here by taking a plane or a bus to the city of Denizli.

Duden Waterfall

Duden Waterfalls in Antalya, Turkey

About 10 km from the beaches South East of Antalya, Duden waterfall gives a divine view to its visitors. Over here, the river Duden leaves a higher plateau of the Taurus Mountains by falling about 15 m deep and 20 m wide onto a lower plateau next to Antalya. From the entrance, you will be astonished by the vegetation and a coll air wave. It is a must see place in Antalya.

Antalya Museum

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The Antalya Museum covers an area of 30000 square meters and consists of 14 main exhibition halls, open display galleries and a large garden containing some fine statues and other artifacts. It is among the leading museums of the world, on account of its sculpture works belonging to the Roman period especially from Perge and unique artifacts found during the rescue exactions of the museum. It is located on the Konyaalti Cad.

Yivli Minaret

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Yivli Minaret is a historical mosque located in Kaleici along Cumhuriyet Street, next to Kalekapisi Square. The mosque was first built in 1230 and fully reconstructed for the second time in 1373. The minaret is 38 metres high, built on a square stone base with eight fluted sections and has 90 steps to the top. The minaret is decorated with dark blue tiles and it is a landmark and symbol of the city.

Konyaalti Beach

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Konyaalti Beach is famous for it’s up market food court and spacious stretch of sand and is located on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. It sits in the heart of Antalya and a great holiday option for anyone who might be bored by the idea of lying on a beach towel for hours. Although the population swells during the weekend here, the beach seems to stretch on forever so you won’t have a problem claiming your own patch of sand.

Hidirlik Tower

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Hidirlik Tower is a landmark tower of tawny stone where Old Antalya meets Karaalioglu Parki. It is a 14 meter high tower; set in a small park overlooks the cliffs of Antalya and Roman Harbor. This is a fine place to stop for a drink, a snack or a meal.

Antalya attracts millions of people with its beautiful nature and historical riches for visiting this city. So, what are you waiting for? Just plan a trip to this majestic city.

Island of Gods -Jeju Island



Island of Gods -Jeju Island

Do you want to get off from the routine life and go to some place which is heavenly? Then Jeju Island is the best place to visit this summer! It is a beautiful place with rich flora and fauna hence descended the name “island of gods”.

jejuisland

Jeju Island which was formerly known as the Cheju Island is located in the southwest of Korean peninsula. Jeju Island is a volcanic island in the shape of an oval that measures 73km from west to east and 31 km from north to south. Its capital is jeju city. As jeju is Korea’s most southern region, its weather is relatively warm throughout the year compared to the mainland. Jeju Island is also referred to as Samdado Island which means “three many” because of its abundance of women, rocks and wind. Wind from the ocean blows steadily throughout the year with a rhythm of its own. The previous volcanic eruption has flooded the island with assorted beautiful rocks which are to be admired.

Main tourist attractions in the islands 

There are wide ranges of activities you can choose to do in the island like hiking on Halla-san or Olle-gil, catching the sunrises and sunsets over the ocean, riding horses, meeting the world famous K-drama stars or just lying lazily and gazing around the sandy beaches.

Jeju Island has three main world heritage sites which showcase its natural beauty and volcanic legacy. The three sites are namely Hallasan national park,Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak and the Geomunoreaum Lava tube system.

Hallasan national park: Hallasan Mountain was formed from volcanic activities millions of years ago. It is a shield shaped mountain with a lake called Baekrokdam Lake and countless small parasitic volcanoes. The mountain is surrounded by over 360 small volcanoes and 2,000 plant species making it a breathtaking area.

halla

Seongsan Ilchubong Peak: it lies at the far east of the island and is as a result of previous volcanic history. One side of the peak rises out of the sea and the other side slopes down to the countryside. It is famous for its geological wonder as well as the best place to watch sunrise in Korea, getting its name as “Sunrise peak”.

seongsan

Geomunoreaum Lava Tube System: it is the largest lava tube system in jeju and is made up of Manjanggul cave, Gimnyeonggul cave, bengduigul cave, yongcheongul cave and dangcheomuldonggul cave. It is well preserved and can still be seen in original condition.

In jeju where ever you go, you can spot small volcanic mountains rising from the fields and farmlands. These are called “oreums”and there are over 365 of them spread out over the Hallasan Mountain. Few of the famous oreums are Saebyeol oreum, Darangshi Oreum and Yongnuni Oreum.

There are magnificent waterfalls around the islands to complement the geographical beauty. The three most beautiful waterfalls are Cheonjiyeon falls,Jeongbang falls and Cheonjeyeon falls. The falls e surrounded by variety of flora and fauna. They create a romantic mood in the evening because of the surrounding paths and the silent atmosphere.

Jeju islands are packed with museums and theme parks which are attraction for all the tourists. The range may amuse you! You will surely encounter one of them wherever you go and they can be very fun to roam around.

Jeju national museum showcases pieces related to culture and history of the islands.Jeju folk village museum gives the tourists idea of the daily living of locals in 19th century. The teddy bear museum in jeju can amuse you as the tourists are greeted by over 1000 teddy bears! There is also a chocolate museum which tells the tourists story of the chocolates and also gives a chance for them to see the chocolate making process and get a sample.

The “dol harbang” is a stone statue seen every in the island. The park shows stone grandfather at his best with artistic presentations. It reveals simple expressions blended naturally with the island.

harubang

Yeomiji botanical garden is the home for diverse tropical and subtropical plants beautifully laid out in themes. It is the main botanical garden of jeju.

The list of attractions in the island goes on .I have listed the main attractions, but if you are ready to explore the full island it will take days to as the island is packed with loads of attractions for the tourists. You can also visit the islands surrounding the jeju islands. These are udo island,marado island and Biyangdo island.

Main food

What is a holiday without food? But don’t worry jeju island is very famous for the varieties of sea food available! This island has a long history of fishing and is hence famous for dishes made with fresh and savory sea food. Most of the food use mackerel, hair tail fish, abalone, and tilefish caught from the waters surrounding the island. Famed black pork is a trademark dish of this island and is famous for its chewy taste. There are number of dishes using horsemeat which is available only in this island.

Jeju Hallabong Oranges

The mild and pleasant weather of Jeju Island is perfect for growing citrus fruits. Gamggyul is a fruit which was served to the royal families previously. It is the main product of Jeju Island and the sweet taste of this fruit lingers on ones tongue. Hallabong is a hybrid citrus fruit which is known for its large size and extremely smooth and sweet taste. You can also find lot of other native foods in this island. Do not miss the kimchi which is the traditional fermented Korean dish made of vegetables with variety of seasonings.