What a year it has been! No words can fully describe all the chaos and interesting chain-of-events that took place in 2020. Many of these changes will continue to transform the world forever.
Remote work, telemedicine, political dysfunction, money printing, pandemic control, vaccine production, home schooling (just to name a few massive trends) — 2020 was one of those years where a decade has happened.
From climate change, to systemic racism, to rising wealth inequality to combating a raging pandemic which no one could effectively control in most of the world has taught us many critical lessons. Hopefully, some of these lessons will make our world a better, safer, and fairer place for all.
Okay with that said and as we are all preparing to wrap up the year, we bring you 2020 year-in-pictures.
Australia Forest Fire
Taal volcano erupts in the Philippines. From a green oasis to red death. The volcano has had several violent eruptions in the past, causing loss of life on the island and the populated areas surrounding the lake, with the death toll over 6000 as of date.
Covid Outbreak in China
Within months, the virus outbreak went loose and spread across the entire planet. Travel started to slow down and nations-states started to close their borders.
Initially, as the testing rate was low and death rate were high, panic and an impending sense of doom was all over the news. Everyone was taking extra precautions and by March, WHO declared Coronavirus a Pandemic.
With time covid testing and tracing became humanity’s only chance of hope.
The unfortunate event that led to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked a series of protests around the country and later across the globe around systemic racism, gender inequality, government corruption, police brutality, and other social injustices.
The protests against the police brutality and issues around the police reform led to more cases getting surfaced with either police forces using excessive force or not taking actions at all. This led to month long protests, riots, death, damage, and chaos.
California & West Coast Forest Fires
2020 US Election
This was the most important election in the recent US history. On the one side, it was pro-Trump nationalists with America-First at all cost camp vs the progressive democrats who wanted America take back the global leadership role.
Once the covid19 cases surpassed a million and continued rising at an alarming rate, the governments around the world had no choice but to start locking down businesses, transportation, and other human activities.
The national lockdowns around the world resulted in millions of small businesses going out of business, millions of people losing their jobs, and causing both a severe economic depression and mental health epidemic. The “real economy” is far from normal no matter what the stock markets might be telling you.
The long awaited 5G (fifth generation) technology finally started getting rolled out and new phone models were launched which are now 5G compatible. 5G will bring Gigabit speed for its users. Furthermore, 5G networks are predicted to reach almost 2 billion subscribers worldwide by 2025.
SpaceX, NASA & ISS
NASA astronauts were launched in a historic test flight to International Space Station (ISS) in SpaceX Dragon. This was a huge deal not just in the field of reusable-Rocket Science, but also because it made America finally independent. Up until now, all commercial launches used to be done by Russia.
Bitcoin as Digital Gold
The year 2017 put Bitcoin into the mainstream news but it was not until this year’s rise in Bitcoin price which validated Bitcoin’s true potential as a digital store of value. With the new all time high price and market cap, Bitcoin continues to lead the digital financial revolution.
As if Coronavirus was not already bad enough, the 2020 locust infestation wrecked havoc and threatened the food supply across East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Indian subcontinent. The locust outbreak this year was the worst in 70 years in Kenya, and the worst in 25 years in Ethiopia, Somalia, and India.
Speaking of Biblical level plagues, infestation, and disease, 2020 gave us three new species of murder hornets in the Pacific Northwest in North America. These are Asian giant hornets, a species that recently invaded North America.
The bigger problem is that they are a threat to bees and without bees everything else goes down in the food chain beginning with the trees. This is a huge problem that we don’t know how to solve it yet. Only time will tell.
Brexit officially happened on January 31, 2020 and the UK has been in a transition period until the end of 2020. There are plenty of both the doom warnings and good days, but no body knows for sure how this will impact the UK in 10 years. The way things are going in the world, this doesn’t look like a happy ending for the British people.
Healthcare Workers Celebrated as True Heroes
Finally, to end this year end review on a positive note, we would like to thank our healthcare workers and all essential workers who make this world run. Covid19 made us realize that the true heroes are the people who lift up other people’s burden and take care of our sick. They were indeed the angels we needed to survive this pandemic!
If you think we are missing some key events from this year, please comment below and we will make sure to add it to our photo story.
Thanks for reading and we wish you a Happy 2021! This time is different 😉
Booked your first air ticket? Congratulations, you are soon going to fly at 32,000 ft above the clouds.
Flying for the first time can be both fun and exciting. However, if you have any flying anxiety, before boarding a flight, seek professional help or enroll in an online flying course to ensure a seamless experience.
Mistakes happen and many first-time flyers make blunders that can affect their journey and overall travel experience.
Let’s find out what are the most common travel mistakes and how you can avoid them!
Forgetting to check passport Expiration
There is nothing quite like the stress that comes from booking a flight and learning your passport is expired.
Many first-time flyers often make a mistake of not checking their passport expiration date. Some countries like China and Brazil require 6 months of passport validity. This means such countries will deny you entry if your passport isn’t valid for at least 6 months after your last day of travel.
It’s better to check your passport’s expiration date and, if needed, update it to avoid any problems.
As a first-time flyer, it may be tempting to pack a lot of stuff to make the trip more pleasant.
However, this can make your journey difficult and can boost the chances of you getting charged with potential baggage fines.
It is advised to go through the baggage allowance policies of your airline.
Reaching late at the airport
At the airport, it is a common sight to see people arriving late and many of them end up missing their flight.
For instance, if your plane departs at 2:00 pm, that doesn’t mean you have to reach the airport 20 or 30 minutes before just to find a closed boarding gate or to watch your plane flying away from the terminal.
Procedures like getting the boarding pass, security checks, and reaching terminals can all take much longer than you believe.
So, if you’re a first-time flyer, reach the airport at least 2 to 3 hours before the scheduled departure so that you have spare time to board the flight.
Not opting for web check-in
Whether you are a rookie flyer or an experienced jet setter, web check-in should be your top priority.
By web check-in, you can:
avoid standing in a long queue
save your precious time
choose the desired seat on the plane
immediately go through the security checks and then to the boarding
Forgetting to carry in-flight entertainment
This is the most common mistake that first-time flyers make.
Whether it’s a long-haul journey or not, carrying in-flight entertainment like headphones, iPad, e-reader, or smartphone can be a lifesaver on your flight.
Some of the benefits are:
Makes the journey enjoyable and fun
Calm your flying jitters
Time passes quickly
Keep you distracted
Block unwanted noises
Let’s wrap up
In-advance planning, double-checking your luggage, arriving on time, and avoiding these potential mistakes can make your first flight comfortable.
Above all, don’t’ forget to communicate with your co-passengers and seek help from the crew if you feel uncomfortable.
Japan is one of the most popular countries in the world to visit. It is a country where you can find old traditions mixed with modern technology.
And depending on which city you choose to go to, you’ll find vast differences between each one of them. For instance, Tokyo might be the city surrounded by technology, but Kyoto is the city known for its old traditions and temples all around.
Spring time in Kyoto
Which is why if you decide to visit Kyoto, you will be stunned by all the amazing traditions this city has kept. From the old shinto shrines to temples to bamboo forests to even geishas. You will feel like you traveled back into the past and get a first hand look at just what Japan was like in the older days.
There is simply so many things to see and do. And it is because of these things that many people will often think that visiting Kyoto is a very expensive thing to do.
And to be honest…Sure there are some expensive things here in this city, but it isn’t as bad when compared to some of the other countries in the world.
Kyoto On A Budget: Travel Tips
Path to Fushimi Inari Shinto Shrine
There are many things you can do here in this city for either a low cost or no cost at all. It is totally possible to save money when you are visiting Kyoto. Which is why in this post I’ll be detailing all the tips and tricks for you to visit Kyoto on a budget.
So let’s get started!
Finding Cheap Accommodations
As we know, one of the most expensive parts of a travel trip is the place we stay at.
So the first thing on our list of budget tips is on how to choose your accommodations wisely.
Good thing for you is that there are a variety of cheap accommodations in the city that you can choose from.
In this list, we’ll be starting with the most basic of places to stay at and then move slowly up to the more higher end price points.
A capsule hotel is basically a hotel that rents out small cubicles. The size of the entire cubicle is not very big and can only probably fit 1 person max. Even though it is small, it is a popular choice for many people to stay in if all they really need is a bed to sleep on. So if you don’t mind small spaces, then this will be perfect for you.
Typical Price: $10 – $15 USD a night.
This is something where a lot of people might be familiar with. They are basically communal places where you stay with a lot of people. One room might have many beds for a bunch of people to sleep in or depending on which hostel you decide to use, they may offer private rooms.
Typical Price: $10 – $50 USD a night.
This is one form of accommodation where I think everybody should be familiar with by now. It is incredibly popular in Japan as there are many houses available for you to choose from at affordable prices. Although it is a bit pricier than some of the other options, it is still cheaper than a hotel.
Typical Price: $20 – $50 USD a day
Just like every other city in the world, there are many hotels for you to choose from in Kyoto. Although the price point tends to be on the higher end of things, it may be something you’ll consider.
Typical Price: $80 – $100 USD a night
Using Public Transportation
When you are going to be traveling around Kyoto, there are a few methods you can use.
Trains, Buses and Taxis are going to be your friend. Now depending on where you are going, you might not even need them.
I personally recommend that if the destination is less than 30 minutes away by foot, I would just walk to that destination instead. Or, if you don’t feel like walking, there are some bike shops around that’ll let you rent out a bike to ride.
But if the destination is a little bit far, I would try a Public Bus first as they are relatively cheap. However if the Public Bus is not able to reach your destination, then I would try a Taxi.
Do know that taxi’s are actually quite cheap here in Japan compared to some other parts of the world. They are great to use especially if you are late for something or you missed that last subway or bus home.
Furthermore, here are some tips that can help you make traveling around the city more easier for you.
Download Google Maps if you do not have it yet. This is literally a god send and can help you out if you ever get lost. Google Maps is also able to give you accurate recommendations for different modes of transportation when you are trying to figure out your journey. So overall, it is a must have app for travel.
Download CityMaps2Go app for your phone to plot your destinations. This is a great app to use especially if you don’t have wifi because it works offline and is able to help you identify where you want to go.
If you are going to be using the train system here in Japan, then I would highly suggest you download Navitime for Japan Travel as it can help you figure out where you are going.
Finding Food To Eat
Fried pork with onions
This is the part everybody is probably waiting for.
You’ll be happy to know that eating food in Kyoto is incredibly affordable and cheap. Plus, the food is at a real high quality as well so you know you are getting some good food.
However, you do have to know where to go before you go buy your food. Mainly because, not everything is cheap in Kyoto.
Tip: Try to go where the locals eat. Avoid the restaurants that are geared towards tourists and go find some hole in the wall restaurant where locals eat. This will guarantee you save some money as foods tend to be cheaper here.
Note: The only problem in this approach is that they probably won’t speak or understand English so you might need a translation software or do some hand signs. Perhaps, learn a few common Japanese words, numbers, and phrases.
Also please note that these places might be a bit hard to spot if you don’t know what you are looking for. Typically you can find these places by going to any residential neighborhood and finding a place that can only sit 5 to 8 people only.
Street food is another type of food you can buy for a very cheap price.
You can find street foods by going to any of the street markets here in the city. And once you are there, you’ll be able to enjoy an assortment of different and delicious tasting foods.
Some of the foods you can find are:
Tempura – This is basically a fried Japanese dish that can consist of mostly seafood and vegetables. The batter is light yet crispy and makes for a delicious bite. Also, it is usually less oily than the other regular fried foods you’ll find in other countries.
Takoyaki – Takoyaki is basically a fried octopus ball and can be found all throughout Japan. They basically take a piece of octopus and cover it in dough batter and cook it into a ball shape. After that they top it with a sweet sauce, bonito flakes, and also Japanese Mayonnaise.
Okonomiyaki – A common street food (as well as commonly served in many restaurants) you might run into while in Japan is one called Okonomiyaki. It is basically a savory pancake excepted it is pressed on a griddle with a very diverse amount of ingredients. You can find them topped with all kinds of toppings such as cabbage, bacon, egg, seaweed flakes, and much more.
Yakitori – Yakitori is another street food you might run into while in Japan. Basically it is a grilled chicken skewer that has been cooked over a hot charcoal fire. It is a pretty cheap dish that is highly popular in pubs where people sit down and enjoy it with a glass of beer.
Donburi – Another simple dish you can find in Japan is one called a Donburi. It is a very cheap and affordable dish that is also very filling. The name Donburi means rice bowl and it can consist of many different types things added together with the rice bowl. It is a common item that you can find almost anywhere in Japan, as there are even fast food chains that sell this delicious item.
Donburi – this one is a traditional rice bowl with eggs
The best thing about this is that most of the street foods you buy are only around $5 bucks or less. So you can eat quite a bit without having to break the bank.
Another place where you can find some cheap and affordable food is at convenience stores all over the country. These stores are on a whole different level than those you can find back in the States.
Plus, they don’t just stock food, but they have literally anything and everything you can ever want.
One of my favorite things to get at these stores are the Ramen bowls. You can get them for as little as $0.50 cents and they will fill you up just nicely. Plus you can grab a drink and a dessert and make it a full on meal. How great is that?
So if you are wanting to save some money, I highly suggest you visit the convenience stores located in the area. They are amazing!
Places To Shop At
To be honest, Kyoto isn’t really the city to be shopping in as there are not that many stores around. If you are wanting to shop, I would recommend taking the 1 hour train ride to the city of Osaka where you can find literally anything and everything you want.
However what Kyoto does have is something called “Kyoto’s Kitchen”, which is the number one place for you to go buy all your food ingredients.
That place is the famous NISHIKI MARKET.
Nishiki Market is popular with both locals and tourists as it offers you a glimpse into what a traditional Japanese shopping street looks like. This is the place to find all your traditional Japanese ingredients as well as fresh seafood. They also have takeaway food stalls and even restaurants selling all kinds of delicious and yummy foods at affordable prices.
Definitely recommend coming here if you are looking to try new foods.
Free Or Cheap Places To Go Visit
Did you know that you can visit a bunch of different attractions for either no cost or low cost price?
It’s true! There are literally a ton of things that you can do for either a low cost or no cost budget!
So lets see what you can see for FREE or very little entry fees:
Fushimi Inari Shinto Shrine
This is probably the number one attraction of Kyoto. The famous gates of the Fushimi Inari Shrine. The gates form a line and go all the way up the mountain of Southeast Kyoto. Definitely a must see attraction as it is something you’ll never find anywhere else.
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is one of the most beautiful sights here in Kyto. It is favored by many people from all around the world for its beautiful bamboo. Walking along the path of these bamboo shoots will make it feel as if you are going through a different dimension. There are also some local temples nearby which you can visit as well.
Tenryu-ji Temple is the most important temple in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district. It is the head temple of the Tenryu sect of Rinzai Zen Buddhism and is ranked first among Kyoto’s top five Zen temples. It is also here where you can find a beautiful Zen garden that dates back to the 14th century. It is one of the most beautiful Zen gardens in all of Japan.
This is a small and interesting temple that is located close to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest and is known for its picturesque view of its moss garden, bamboo grove & maple trees.
Kinkakuji Temple is a unique temple because it is all Golden yellow. Heck, even the top two floors are covered in gold leaves. Although you are not able to enter this temple, it is still a beautiful sight to see.
Nanzen-ji temple is said to be one of the best temples in Northern Higashiyama district. It is one of the most important Zen temples in all of Japan as well as being the head temple of one of the schools within the Rinzai sect of Japanese Zen Buddhism. It is a magical place where you’ll have to really visit it to understand everything it has to offer.
Cost: Free to explore
Philosopher’s Path (Tetsugaku no michi)
If you want to see something truly beautiful, then head to Philosophers Path. It is a 2km long walkway that follows a canal and is surrounded by hundreds of Cherry Blossom Trees. If you come during the right season, the trees will be in full bloom and full of color making the area extremely beautiful to walk along in.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple is a Buddhist temple that is unlike any you ever seen. It is one of the most celebrated temples in all of Japan. What makes this temple famous is that it has a wooden stage that juts out from its main hall.
This stage allows visitors to a nice view of the surrounding area. Not only that, but there is also a shrine here that is popular among women for it is said to be the shrine to the god of marriage. Definitely a must see temple.
Gion Street is a famous geisha district that is filled with shops, restaurants and teahouses. It is here where you’ll be able to see many geiko’s and maiko’s roaming around trying to entertain people.
Cost: Free to roam
As you can see, there are quite a bit of things for you to see and do for either a low cost or for no cost at all. Hopefully this post was able to show you that you don’t have to spend a lot of money in Kyoto just to have fun.
So next time you plan a trip, you might want to consider traveling to Kyoto and enjoy all it has to offer.
Let me know how your trip goes!
Wayne is a part-time traveler and a firm believer that anybody is able to travel no matter how busy they are in work or life. He wants to show you how you can travel better and smarter like never before. So, if you want to check out his travel blog, you can do so by visiting Daily Tourist.
The visit to a museum has always been an enchanting experience for every visitor since humans started collecting and preserving ancient artifacts and memories of bygone people, wildlife, and cultures.
A visit to a museum always leaves a visitor gawking at the unexplored parts of both the past and the present. That’s why if a museum houses elements from paleontology, geology, archaeology, climatology and various other natural spheres, then the visit to such a museum becomes the greatest source of pleasure and excitement.
The best part about these museum is that you can visit them with kids as well, which makes it a great choice for family travel.
India is blessed with the presence of 8 such natural history museums across its prominent cities. Even though each of these 8 natural history museums is a great place to explore, in today’s blog, we’ll highlight the top 4museums because of their rich collection and beautiful ambiance.
National Museum of Natural History, New Delhi(1972–2016; sadly, it got burned down in 2016)
Ready? Let’s being.
Indian Museum, Kolkata
The Indian Museum in Kolkata is the oldest museum present in India. Not only is the Indian Museum the largest in India and best among all museum in Kolkata, but, it also acquires a significant place in the Asia-Pacific zone. Started out in 1814 by the Asiatic Society, this museum has emerged as the most-stocked museum in India over the years.
As soon as the visitor sets foot on the steps leading to the museum, he or she is greeted by the huge, white pillars structured as per the British architecture. The various halls of the enormous building are tagged as per the different contents stored in them.
While a visitor may get awestruck looking at the weapons and coins of the old era at one hall, another visitor may get scared looking at the giant skeleton as soon as he or she enters the Paleontology section.
However, even though these things are beautiful in their own ancient way, the biggest source of attraction at the Indian Museum is the Egyptian section. The reason why every visitor rushes to the Egyptian section is because of the mummy that is displayed within the glass chambers.
There is a particular sort of chill in the air that automatically makes every tourist keep quiet and pay respect to the Egyptian mummy resting there peacefully.
Apart from the specimens, the architectural bounty of this museum, especially the white-washed walls and the huge pillars surrounding the lush green courtyard, leaves every visitor dreaming of returning to this exceptional place again and again.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai
Started out in the early 1900s as the Prince of Wales Museum, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya is known for its massive collection. This museum too has different sections and specializes in the collection of art and culture.
However, a huge natural section is also present at this museum which is a beautiful deviation from the age-old cultural partiality of any museum. Thus, as a whole, the collection of this Indo-Saracenic style architectural museum along with the adjoining lush, green lawn makes the city of Mumbai a proud owner of immense diversity.
The Napier Museum, founded in 1855 in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, is one of the oldest museums in India. Inspired by the Indo-Saracenic architecture, this museum boasts of a wide variety of the specimens of art and culture.
The natural air-conditioning system of this museum makes the visit a pleasant experience even in the hot, summer months.
This museum also has a zoological garden which was established in 1857. This is one of the oldest zoological gardens in India and, thus, has a huge collection in the field of natural history.
Thus, this varied flora and fauna, and, the cultural and natural biodiversity makes the Napier Museum a must visit for every tourist.
Thus, it can be comprehended how beautiful India is in terms of the natural museums. Because of the marvelous collection of natural specimens in each of these aforesaid museums, India boasts of being a proud owner in the field of displaying the untold stories of the past.
Rohit is a curious traveler who takes a keen interest in getting to know the past and comparing it with the present. He takes out time from his busy schedule to unearth true knowledge and share the same with his readers. You can read his stories and experiences at his travel blog Trans India Travels.
With growth comes prosperity. With prosperity comes an increase in travel and tourism. With an increase in travel and tourism comes pollution, ecological damages, and pandemics.
No, this post is not about Coronavirus. This blog is about the future of travel. This blog is also about how you can practice and promote sustainable travel.
By 2050, with all other economic sectors having greatly reduced their CO2 emissions, tourism is likely to be generating 40% of global carbon emissions.
The main cause is an increase in the average distance traveled by tourists, which for many years has been increasing at a faster rate than the number of trips taken.
In other words, more people are traveling to faraway international destinations than they did in the past.
Travel and tourism is related to traveling for leisure, business, or visiting friends and family. Tourism also involves primary transportation to the general location, local transportation, accommodations, entertainment, recreation, food and dining, and shopping.
Approximately, 72% of tourism’s CO2 emissions come from the transportation aspect of travel (moving from point A to point B), and 24% from accommodations related activities, and roughly 4% from local activities including eating.
Airline travel alone accounts for more than half of all travel-related CO2 emissions. Do whatever you can do to minimize this part.
How To Promote Sustainable Tourism
The world is massive and has endless possibilities. There is so much that we haven’t seen, and if we don’t travel, we aren’t going to either. Looking at Instagram photos and YouTube videos can only do so much for our wanderlust.
Traveling is adventurous, exciting, and stimulating, and I believe that everyone should make an effort to reach out beyond their borders. That said, it is important to be environmentally conscious while you are traveling. Hence, the promotion of sustainable tourism is essential.
In today’s post, I am going to discuss 10 practical ways to promote sustainable tourism.
Sustainable tourism is the concept of visiting somewhere as a tourist and trying to make a positive impact on the environment, society, and economy.
This can be done either by staying at a place longer than a few days and visiting adjacent countries, attractions, cities in a single trip instead of making multiple long-distance round-trip flights.
The future of our planet and climate change is in our hands
When Possible, Take Direct Flights
Planes are responsible for a significant amount of carbon emissions, and they are an essential part of traveling, yet we can start moving on sailboats to avoid these emissions.
So, how can we make our travel more sustainable and decrease the impact we have on the environment.
Did you know? Planes emit most of their carbon emissions during takeoff and landing. This means that connecting flights are more damaging to the environment as compared to direct flights.
Therefore, whenever you have the option, choose a direct flight, these flights maybe a little more expensive than connecting flights. Still, they are more convenient and use less fuel as well, which is also suitable for sustainability.
If you are planning to stay at a hotel or a hostel while you are traveling, make sure that the place you chose is environmentally conscious. This will allow you to decrease your carbon footprint. Moreover, you should try to be sustainability-conscious as well.
For example, try not to waste any energy, water, or food. Make sure that you don’t cause any noise pollution, either.
Finally, you should also try to find accommodation that is locally owned so that you can support the local economy.
Only Use Reusable Stuffs
Reusable coffee cups
While you are traveling, you should try to minimize the use of disposable items such as plastic cups, bottles, and straws.
We know that plastic isn’t good for the environment, therefore, when you are traveling, make sure that you keep some useful accessories with you, like a grocery bag for shopping, a glass water bottle, a travel mug, etc.
Leave the Place As You Found It
A clean beach in Greece
This is an essential rule to follow when you are traveling in nature; for instance, if you are hiking or camping. You should try your best to have no adverse effects on your surroundings.
This means that you shouldn’t damage any local plants or trees and be as eco-friendly as possible. In short, you should leave the place as you found it.
Support the Local Food Vendors
A local fruit seller
If you are a foodie like me, you can appreciate the local cuisine and street food or exotic locations. Whenever I am traveling, I take some time to check out the local street foods, and when I’m visiting a restaurant, I choose one that is locally owned.
Instead of eating at fast-food restaurants owned by global conglomerates, I prefer eating at local establishments so that my travels can benefit the local economy.
Moreover, trying out local foods allows me to experience a whole new array of flavors and cuisines. So, make sure that you give it a try as well.
Pack Light and Smart
Carry only the necessities
One of the first lessons to becoming a master traveler is to pack light. You should always aim to travel with a single backpack or small trolly case.
If you do have a large bag, then traveling in the local transport will be more difficult for you. You will have to take a taxi or use an online ridesharing app, which can result in extra carbon emissions.
Moreover, this is bad for your budget, and if you are using ridesharing apps like UBER, you are once again benefiting large companies rather than the local economy.
Therefore, pack light, but more importantly, pack smart. This is a skill that you will develop with time, so keep making an effort. For instance, once while traveling, I got a painful ear infection; luckily, I knew how to treat an ear infection at home.
Now I always keep some medications with me, because it can be challenging to find a good doctor sometimes, like when you are on a camping trip.
Volunteer to Help Local Communities
A group of UN Peace Corps Volunteers in Ukraine
One of the best ways to travel on a budget and have a significantly positive impact on the world is to volunteer with organizations like the peace corps. Not only will they fund your travels, but you will get a chance to help communities in need all over the world.
If you don’t want to make a long-term commitment with the peace corps, many other non-profit organizations will allow you to volunteer for a shorter time.
Use Sustainable Transport Wherever Possible
A bike parked in Amsterdam, Holland
When you are visiting another country, you will need to move around. Now, what form of transportation should you choose? Your objective should be to minimize your carbon emissions; therefore, for longer routes, choose public transport vehicles like busses and trains.
You can also use public transport to move around locally, but these days, most big cities have electric scooters that everyone can apply through an app. These are quite affordable and convenient as well. You can also consider renting a bicycle for the day.
Respect the Practices of Local Culture
When you are traveling to a foreign country, you will encounter different religions and cultures. To be a sustainable traveler, it is also essential that you respect the practices of the local people.
This means that you should try to be discreet when people are praying or doing cultural rituals. Also, make sure that you follow the appropriate dress code when you are visiting places of worship.
In short, don’t be insensitive and do some research.
Gondola in Venice / Climate change and its impact on Tourism
Raise Awareness About Sustainable Travel
Lastly, apart from following all the tips mentioned above yourself, you should always try to raise awareness in others.
This can be achieved by sharing your sustainable traveling experience with others through vlogs and your social media accounts. Moreover, you should talk to fellow travelers about sustainable traveling as well.
Katherine Joseph writes this article. She has been wearing hearing aids for over twenty years and still is a veteran of the audiology industry. She gives a holistic view of the hearing aid industry and the equipment available at DoctEar.
Note: At this time we strongly recommend against traveling anywhere in the world due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. To fight this pandemic it is important that all of us do our best, so the world can go back to normal with the least amount of human suffering.
That said, and assuming we are over Covid-19 by the end of the summer and your feet are itchy to travel. What should you do? Where should you travel to? What are some of the great deals?
If you are thinking of visiting the USA, how do to apply for a US travel visa or an ESTA? What travel documents would you need The steps and documents required will be determined by your country of citizenship.
Let us explain what is ESTA and how can you apply one.
How to Apply For A USA ESTA VISA
What is ESTA?
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (also known as ESTA) is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). It mainly applies to visitors who are coming to the US either by air or sea.
Is ESTA a Guaranteed Entry?
Travel authorization via ESTA does not mean that you are guaranteed entry to the United States. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers determine admissibility upon travelers’ arrival.
The ESTA application collects biographic information and answers to VWP eligibility questions.
When Should I Apply for ESTA?
It is strongly encouraged that ESTA applications be submitted at least 72 hours prior to your travel. But you can apply as soon as you begin preparing your travel plans. The US CBP’s website says that “In most cases, a response is received within seconds of submitting an application.”
Note: Passengers (including babies) without an ESTA will be denied entry into the US at the port of entry. There is a small fee for applying for ESTA application.
Do I need ESTA to visit US Territories?
Yes, ESTA is also needed for visits to territories such as Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.
Do I need ESTA if I am traveling from Canada or Mexico by car (land)?
No. ESTA is not needed when arriving by land from Canada or Mexico.
Note: The United States is very strict with its immigration policies and if you are caught entering the country illegally, you will be deported and jailed depending on your crime.
Is My Country Eligible?
As of November 2019, there are 39 countries in the US Visa Waiver Program. Visitors may stay for 90 days in the United States which also includes the time spent in Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or the Islands in the Caribbean if the arrival was through the United States.
The ESTA is only required if arriving by air or cruise ship. It is not required if arriving overland or on local ferries such as between British Columbia (Vancouver and Victoria) and Washington State.
ESTA Eligible Countries
How to Check Your ESTA Status?
You must know your ESTA status before you travel to the US by visiting the ESTA website. First, to know if your country is among the Visa waiver program countries (listed above), and second, to check the status of your application.
In case your country is not on the list of VWP countries, then you must apply for a US Travel visa through a US embassy in your country of residence. Please note applying for a US travel visa is a substantially lengthier process that may require an interview with a U.S. Consular Officer.
ESTA vs. US Travel Visa
At times, some people combine the two documents such as ESTA and US Travel Visa as one; forgetting that they are two different documents. If you are eligible for ESTA, then you must check your ESTA status online.
How Long Is ESTA Valid?
Each travel authorization under ESTA can be valid for up to 2 years. However, a Visa Waiver Program traveler must obtain a new ESTA authorization if they are issued a new passport, or change their name, gender or country of citizenship.
Entry under the Visa Waiver Program is only valid for a combined maximum stay in the US and its surrounding countries of 90 days. The admission period cannot be extended under the ESTA program. If a longer stay is intended, a proper US travel visa is required.
Third-Party ESTA Websites
Some websites offer to complete ESTA applications for a fee, often many times more than the required $14 USD fee charged by the US Government. Access and application through the official U.S. Government website are available to any visitors to the U.S. who qualify under the ESTA program.
Even if one of the third-party websites is used, passengers themselves still have to complete the same form.
Exercise caution though (if using a third party website) as concerns have been raised that third-party sites could be used for identity theft, credit card fraud, or the distribution of malware.
It’s wintertime! It’s cold, and we are all looking forward to a way to escape from those freezing blizzards. Just like birds do, it is thus time to head south for warmer temperatures and to take a break from the stress of your workplace.
If you are planning to go for a winter vacation, you are probably thinking of enjoying a cozy fireplace atmosphere while looking outside the window to the snowy mountain.
Well this winter, why not try something a lot different than usual. Have you ever thought of taking a cruise for your winter vacation?
Top Destinations for Winter Cruises
Cruises are the best way possible to explore the world’s most beautiful places. Whether you book a private cruise or choose one of the many itineraries available for families, we have selected the best destinations for winter cruises.
With our recommendations, you can be sure to book only the best winter vacation for you and your loved ones.
A Caribbean Vacation
Are you looking for a luxurious and glamorous experience that will take you from Boston to Miami? Then a Caribbean itinerary is best for you. Beautiful beaches, amazing wildlife and exciting adventures are waiting for you.
Perfectly warm water and equally beautiful beaches are spreading both on easter and western Caribbean routes. Whatever cruise you choose, you’ll enjoy thrilling activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, sunbathing, and many more.
You can also book a private island experience, which features an expansive water park in the Bahamas. However, if you are on a budget, you can also enjoy a 21-night cruise from Miami to San Juan, and maybe head to New York just in time for New Year’s celebrations.
Emperor Penguins in Antarctica
For those that enjoy cold weather here is a cruise idea that will take them to an even colder destination. Yes, this may sound like an odd idea, but many travelers choose Antarctica as their winter destination.
Although this region is now far more accessible than it used to be in the past, there are still only a few vessels that are built for forging through the iceberg-flanked passageways.
Antarctica is one of a kind experience. The snowy white surroundings, blossom ice, silence filled with calming sounds of nature and clear blue skies make the mesmerizing sights of Antarctica.
For a bolder experience, you can book a flight-cruise trip and fly over the breath-taking swells of the Drake Passage. As you can imagine, these cruises are not recommended for families with little children, but couples and solo travelers will definitely love this adventure.
Drake passage on the way to Antarctica
Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia are only some of the gems that Southeast Asia has to offer. This area provides lovely weather in winter, while it would be too hot and humid in the summertime.
Singapore is the central hub for cruise ships and a popular stopover for many travelers, but there are many other cities waiting for you.
If you wish to experience a river cruise, several companies offer itineraries through the Irrawaddy River. This will make you discover the beauty of places like Vietnam and Myanmar.
Sydney Harbor Bridge
If you have ever dreamed of viewing the majestic Sydney Harbor Bridge, then you should definitely book a winter cruise to Australia. January and February are usually the warmer months, but many tourists gather here in December for the New Year’s Eve fire celebrations in Sydney.
With its vibrant coffee shops, posh wines, local jazz music, and unique street art, Australia is the perfect destination to keep you and your fellow travelers warm. Your children will love it since this country is able to accommodate each of your family member’s needs.
Just don’t forget that Australia is our planet’s sixth-largest continent, meaning that you may need to book more than one cruise over your lifetime if you wish to visit every city and enjoy all the Australian landscapes.
A Navy battleship docked in Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii
Hawaii is, for many travelers, the quintessential destination for winter vacations. Despite what you may think, it is possible to book an unforgettable cruise and explore this area of the world while still being on a budget.
In other words, you don’t need to invest all your money to spoil yourself. For an unforgettable adventure, you can try a 15-day itinerary which includes a trip to Hawaii from Los Angeles or San Francisco.
The majority of Hawaiian itineraries originates from Vancouver and sometimes cruise ships stop in Mexico on their way to Honolulu. From January to March is usually the best timeframe to visit Hawaii, with some occasional whale spotting in the ocean.
On the other hand, this means that ships may be busier than usual. Consequently, we recommend booking your cruise to Hawaii as soon as possible, ideally in the summertime.
Norway Northern Lights Cruise
Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
Spectacular natural light show. This is how we can describe this natural phenomenon called the northern lights. For those brave enough to face one of the coldest destinations and witness some of the best views in their life, Norway will be an unforgettable winter destination.
The Norwegian cruise from Oslo to the Arctic Circle is a very beautiful experience overall, however, the highlight of this particular cruise makes it special. Seeing the northern hemisphere’s spectacular light show is equally mesmerizing for those that will enjoy it from the deck and those not willing to compromise the worm and cozy cabin or ship’s lounge.
As with each natural phenomenon, it can not be guaranteed to you that you will for sure witness it during your stay there, however, sipping a cocktail or enjoying a hot cup of tea cruising around the Arctic Circle sure makes it possible.
Though the temperatures are very low, this one of a lifetime experience is totally worth it. Moreover, there are many other activities you can enjoy on Norwegian ports such as ice-fishing, husky sledding, snowmobile safari, that will certainly keep you warm.
The Northern Lights cruise is once in a lifetime experience and something every person should see. It truly is a magical journey. As it is Norway, so is every other cruising destination – enjoyable and memorable.
Cruises are pleasant all-year-round and are the best way possible to explore and enjoy our beautiful planet.
It might be past November 25th, but planning for the next year in advance is actually a smart move! Monkey Buffet Festival is the weirdest festival celebrated in the world.
Every year in November thousands of monkeys in Lopburi, Thailand stuff their furry stomachs. This is one of those festivals that you have never heard of and perhaps for good reason.
The Story Behind the Monkey Buffet
Locals believe that the monkeys are the symbol of the Monkey God, Hanuman. In the Hindu Epic Ramayana, Lord Rama gifted Hanuman the “city of Lopburi” (a small city in Thailand).
Hanuman rescued Rama’s wife Princess Sita from clutches of ten-headed demon Ravana and thus helping Rama to win the battle between the evil and good.
Fast forward a couple of hundreds of years and approximately, 1000 years in the past from today, a powerful Hindu ruler settled in the Ayutthaya region. Thus this Hindu myth came into play, making Lopburi the abode of monkeys.
Now only ruins of the royal age survive, but monkeys still abound the city. In 1989, Yongyuth Kitwattananusont along with the help of Thailand’s tourism authority started the festival.
The primary motive of the festival was to attract tourists.
His efforts bore fruits, and after 27 years Monkey buffet festival is the sole reason tourists visit Thailand in November.
How to Get Here
Surprising to see a venue for monkeys? Wait till you get your sandwich snatched by one. Haha! No joke, it has happened to me and countless others.
To get here, you will most likely rent a taxi or private car from Bangkok, the Thai Capital city. Lopburi is approximately 138 KM north.
The old town in Lopburi has ancient temples from the age of Ayutthaya’s rulers. These temples are synonymous to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
The majority of monkeys stay in Khmer temple of Pra Prang Sam Yot. You will not feed animals here, but revered guests. The naughty macaques wolf down Wonderful meals cooked by chefs of five-star hotels.
There are even invitations attached to cashew nuts, sent out to guests of honors. (Now, whether these monkeys can read or not is another matter.)
What Do They Eat
From classy meals from five-star hotels to fresh fruits, these monkeys have them all. Seeds, fruits, tree barks, sandwich, noodles everything works for them.
They are crab-eating macaques, who live in a group of 20 female monkeys followed by males and babies. Crab-eating doesn’t mean it is their staple diet.
Crab-eating monkeys are not fussy eaters. But during the buffet, there is only serving of vegetarian food.
The traditional Thai dish Thong Yod (which could be a nightmare to cook) is the primary element in the buffet.
Fun Fact: Thong yot, also known as “gold egg-yolks drops”, is an ancient Thai dessert and one of the nine auspicious traditional Thai desserts.
Colorful and fresh tropical fruits packed in ice are a delight for monkeys, they keep licking the fruits till the ice doesn’t melt. Rows of elegant tables decorated in the red table cloth, loaded with trays of food become a chaotic mess.
All monkeys love banana
Watching the annoying monkeys eat in a barbaric way is funny. Many tourists click adorable pictures here.
But sometimes the hungry macaques can turn out to be unfriendly. They might fancy your camera, pick your hat, steal your food.
Not only that, jumping on backs, taking a free-ride and pulling hair are frequent incidences. We advise you not to panic. Play along and keep your belongings close to you before the monkey army steals it from you.
Safe Traveling gives you a sense of security. We love going places, meeting new people, seeing beautiful sunsets. That is what travel is about. But in the excitement of it all, we should not forget about staying safe.
Don’t be so immersed in walking down a bustling tourist street that you get pick-pocketed. There are some basic tips you need to follow for safety.
It is not just theft that you are up against, you never know when you face a natural disaster, or God forbid an illness during your trip. In that case, you ought to be prepared for the worse. Below are the safety rules for wise travelers.
Carry a door lock with you
No matter what kind of destination you go and no matter how high end the hotel you stay in, you always need to have your privacy.
That is the key to safe traveling. A door lock helps you keep unwanted visitors at bay and is particularly useful for women who travel solo.
Along with a door lock pack a smoke detector with you too. Not all the rooms have smoke detectors.
So it is better to have one with you in the case of an emergency it can be a lifesaver. Many buildings do not have smoke detectors, so to be on the safe side take one with you.
Memorize the Emergency Digits
For safe traveling, You need to be well aware of the emergency numbers before you travel to a new country.
For example, the emergency number for an ambulance in America is 911 but in Cuba, it is 104. Google the emergency numbers of your destination before you head out for being safe. It will be beneficial if you find yourself in any trouble.
You might snort and say that “English is Global, Why translate it?”. But just a bit of illness abroad and you will know how important the local language is.
Countries such as China, Japan, South Korea are very serious about their mother tongue. If you give them your health documents in English, they can’t understand it because they don’t know it.
In such cases, download the health app if you haven’t already. And then input the information into it. You can use a translation app to translate all the information, So the translation would not be a biggie.
Prepare all these documents before you head out for your trip, And keep apps like to translate Microsoft Translator, Translator and Google Translator in your phone. They come in handy while traveling.
Sign up with the State Department
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program provides US Nationals with many benefits. But above all in any case of emergency, the US Embassies can help you out in a much faster and swifter way.
It is a free service, so all the US citizens but takes advantage of it. The department also sends travel alerts regarding the country you are about to travel to.
Choose to Stay on Lower Floors
By lower floors, we do not mean the ground floor. You know in case of a break in the ground floor is the most vulnerable floor. But in the event of a fire emergency, the top floor is also going to give you trouble.
The comfy of all floors are the second and the third floor. In the case of break-ins, you are relatively safer, and in the event of a fire emergency, the ladder can reach you.
These are just a few practical tips for those travelers who love their safety. And yes it is also for those paranoid travelers who keep checking their door locks.
If you are a serious wanderluster, chances are Nepal is high on your travel bucket list. With eight of the top ten highest summits in the world and some of the most beautiful landscapes which are only reachable on foot, trekking in Nepal is one of the unique experiences of South Asia.
Trekking is the most popular tourist activity in Nepal and travelers have a lot of options to choose from on the streets of Kathmandu and Pokhara (the trekking hub).
Kathmandu valley, city view
The huge variety of options allows for people of many ages and capabilities to attempt a trek in the country.
Treks can be anywhere from just a day long to 20 days long. There are easy treks and difficult alpine climbing. There are treks where you’ll have porters and guides and then there are options where you just need a guide to come with you.
Despite what many may perceive, trekking in Nepal is not necessarily wandering alone through an uncharted wilderness.
Trekking through the countryside
As they walk along the well-marked trekking paths, travelers will often discover quite the opposite; hundreds of locals passing through each day as they haul food, water, and other odd necessities back to their tiny villages, along with dozens of fellow trekkers.
The regularly-spaced villages and tea-houses allow trekkers good opportunities to rest and recover, either for a few minutes or the night.
The strong culture and unreserved friendliness of the Nepalese people can also be witnessed as one traverses the hill tracks.
Best Time for Trekking in Nepal
The best seasons for trekking are the dry and warm seasons, March-June and September-November. During these times, the temperature is bearable and skies are usually clear, although the skies are foggier and the rain begins in May-June.
Note: It is possible to trek out of season, but expect lots of rain and leeches during the summer monsoon season and severe cold and closed passes during the winter months.
Experience and Fitness Level
As we have mentioned above, there are treks suitable for a wide range of experience and physical fitness.
An easy trek with Nepali support (guide and porter) and tea-house accommodation is quite attainable for anyone who is “reasonably fit”.
Note: Reasonable fitness here means you can walk uphill for a few hours each day. Your backpack is the only thing you’ll carry yourself.
Longer treks, crossing high passes and into remote regions demand a higher degree of endurance. For summiting a mountain taller than 5000m, it is desirable to have some alpine climbing experience (because you may encounter snow and hard ice).
What Supplies to Carry
While trekking in Nepal, your needs will be simple. It is, therefore, best to carry only what you absolutely need and leave the rest behind.
View from Pokhara
Enjoy the scenery and savor the moment. Leave books, gadgets, toys, and fancy cameras. They all make your bag heavy. (If anything, perhaps carry a dairy and a pen).
You can buy or rent everything you need in the Thamel neighborhood of Kathmandu or in Pokhara.
Note: When it comes to shows it is best to use your own footwear that is already broken in. Because you will be walking hundreds of kilometers and a new or misfitting shoe can be quite painful on your feet.
The main essentials to bring are sturdy and comfortable hiking boots, a sleeping bag (depending on your accommodation), a daypack, a few changes of clothes for the varying temperatures, fleeces & down jackets, a water filter & bottle/cup and some essential medicines.
For cold weather, hiking pants, thermals, gloves, neck warmer or scarf, beanie, a warm inner jacket and a windproof and waterproof outer jacket are essential. For the more difficult treks involving mountaineering, crampons and ice axes may be required.
Note: Always carry a map and compass whenever you venture into the wilderness (anywhere in the world).
Other items to bring include a hiking stick or two, waterproof case, fabric bandages such as moleskin, a headlamp, water purification supplies, altitude sickness and other medication, a lightweight camera, and binoculars.
Note: On the popular trekking routes, everyday supplies, such as toilet paper, soap, chocolate bars, and even basic hiking supplies can be purchased along the way, though prices rise dramatically as you go higher in elevation. Try to stock up lower down and buy locally-produced products such as fruit, and biscuits.
You may see several Buddhist statues on your trek
Go Guided vs. Independent?
This is more of common sense or a subjective question than a technical one.
Whether to join an organized group, trek unguided with other independent travelers or to hire your own guide and/or porter is a personal decision based on the difficulty of the trek, your budget, capabilities, and prior experiences.
Note: Guided treks must be legally organized through TAAN registered trekking agencies in Kathmandu and Pokhara. No one else — no hotel, no street broker, no nice person you just met, not even a trekking guide — is legally authorized to organize a trek.
During the main seasons, there are many group treks, and it is generally easy to find a group doing the trek of your choice. Group treks can be the both small or mid-sized. You can shop around for one that fits your needs.
On a guided group trek, all the necessary trekking gear, food, fuel, and other goods are carried by the porters. The cook will prepare all the meals during the camping trek. Trekkers carry only a daypack, as required.
At night, tents for dining, sleeping and washing are provided and set up. Mattresses, sleeping bags, tables, and seating are arranged by staff. For large group treks, a chief guide is employed to pre-arrange and then to oversee the entire program.
A Sherpa (Assistant Guide) is also hired to lead the staff and assist the Sirdar (Chief guide). All land transportation, local permits, taxes, porter insurance, port dues, and entrance fees to National Parks or sites that are part of the trip are arranged by the agency.
Note: When signing up with an agency, you should speak with several and make detailed inquiries about the differences in service besides just the base cost. Having someone along who is experienced, professional, attentive, and can speak your language could be very important.
Annapurna Trail, Nepal
Tipping in Nepal
If you are employing the services of guides and porters, it is customary to present a tip to the head guide at the end of the trip. This will be divided up between the various people employed in your group.
Note: Like most tips, the amount will vary depending on the quality of services provided, but it could be between 5% and 10% of the total cost of your trek.
Independent trekking is quite easy in the main trekking areas. You can also team up with an experienced local person.
If hiring staff independently and without an agency, be mindful of your responsibilities to ensure that your guide is suitably equipped for the job and stays safe.
Note: Know that foreigners on a tourist visa are not legally allowed to hire any staff directly.
Donkeys are often used to haul supplies
Get the Required Permits
Police checkpoints are numerous and unavoidable and park officers can check your permits at any time, with a fine of double the normal cost if you are caught without the proper permits.
Note: Do not try to bribe officers or police personnel; it might get you in more trouble than you think. You must purchase conservation or national park entry and TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System) card.
The Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) card is required for several treks in Nepal.
There are two types of TIMS cards:
Green (independent trekkers) – more expensive
Blue (trekkers in a guided tour) – less expensive
Individual TIMS (green cards) are obtainable only from Nepal Tourism Board offices in Kathmandu and Pokhara and from the Trekking Agents Association of Nepal office.
Note: Make sure that you bring the required insurance documentation, a photocopy of your passport, and passport-sized photographs when applying.
Treks in Annapurna, Khumbu, & Langtang
Treks in these areas only require national park entry tickets (prices vary per park) and a TIMS card, but do not require “special permits”.
Treks in Restricted Areas
Restricted areas such as Dolpo, Mustang, Manaslu, and Kanchenjunga require “trekking permits” (but not the TIMS card), which are obtainable only through trekking agents.
Trekking Mountain Peaks
There are 33 mountain peaks in Nepal of 5,650-6,500 m height classified as trekking peaks. Trekking Peaks require a qualified “climbing guide”, permits and deposits to cover camp waste disposal.
Climbing permits for these peaks can cost anywhere from $350 USD for one to four members to $500 USD.
Trekking Tips & Good Habits
Trek legally: If you trek independently, you are not allowed to take any staff by law. For this, you need a trekking agency authorized to employ staff for foreign trekkers. Do not hire staff or “independent guides” through hotels, unless they have a trekking agent license or offer this service through an affiliated trekking agent.
Please make sure you take all of your trash, including bottles and cans from goods consumed in restaurants, to the nearest truck-accessible road for the most proper disposal available. You may note pollution and lack of trash management in villages on treks—including trash-clogged rivers and mounds of discarded beer bottles. Nepal is struggling with its rapid development and hasn’t yet figured out how to dispose of its waste. Don’t contribute to the problem any more than necessary!
Filter your own water: Plastic water bottle use is increasing around the Himalayas. Try to use locally available water; you can use purification tablets, which are easily available, and most tablets make water drinkable within 30 minutes.
After your trek, you can donate your clothes to the porters’ clothing bank, which is managed by the KEEP association. This bank is in the Thamel neighborhood of Kathmandu and provides clothes to the trekking porters and their families.
Top Trekking Itineraries
The Himalayas in Nepal
The Great Himalayan Trail
The Great Himalayan Trail is a 1,700-km trek that connects all the main trekking areas. It is possible to make this trek with a coterie of very good guides, cooks, porters, equipment (including technical gear) and payment of many expensive fees.
The window for completing this trek is exceedingly short as snow closes the high passes for much of the year.
Annapurna Region Treks
The Annapurna Region, north of the middle hills city and the trekking base city of Pokhara, includes Annapurna I, the 10th tallest mountain in the world at 8,091 m above sea level, as well as thirteen additional peaks over 7,000 m and 16 more peaks over 6,000 m.
All of these treks offer amazing views of this mountain range.
Annapurna Circuit (18-21 days) – circling the Annapurna Mountains
Annapurna Sanctuary (14 days) – an oval-shaped plateau 40 km north of Pokhara, at 4,000 m above sea level. Trek through the sanctuary to Annapurna Base Camp.
Annapurna Base Camp (7-10 days) – can be reached via various routes.
Poon Hill (3-5 days), at 3,210 m above sea level, northwest of Pokhara, is the most famous viewpoint in Western Nepal.
Jomsom Muktinath Trek (5-10 days) – treks to Jomson, a village on the other side of the Annapurna mountains that can also be reached by air, and Ghorepani, a village that is 2,750 m above sea level. This area is always very windy.
The Royal Trek (3-4 days) – an easy trek with excellent views of the mountains and local villages. The trek was made famous by Prince Charles.
Mardi Himal (5,587 m) (4-7 days) – a trek that offers amazing views at the summit of Mardi Himal.
Khopra/Khayer Lake Trek (7-14 days) – a sacred lake at 4,500 m asl, reachable via a moderate/strenuous hike.
Sikles Trek (4-7 days) – a camping and homestay-based trek through the villages and the Gurung settlement of Siklis.
Panchase Trek (3-5 days) – a popular easier trek with great views.
Kande to Australian Camp to Pothana to Dhampus to Phedi, or reverse (3-4 days) – an easy trek for those that do not want to try the more challenging treks. Spend a night in each location to enjoy the sunrise and the sunset.
Gurung Heritage Trek (5-7 days) – Hike through the villages of the Gurung ethnic group, known for being humble with a great sense of humor.
Upper Mustang Trek (12-16 days) – the former Kingdom of Lo that has a culture very similar to Tibet, has amazing Trans-Himalayan scenery although it is a difficult trek because of high altitude, exposed terrain, and continual strong winds. This trek requires a restricted area permit of US$500 per 10 days, making it less favorable for budget travelers.
Naar-Phu Valley Trek (12-15 days) – a hidden Tibetan valley just north of the Annapurna Circuit.
Dolpa Trek (15-21 days) – Upper Dolpa is the remote Land of the Bon, almost as Tibetan as Nepali. Lower Dolpa is more accessible and can be reached by plane.
Manaslu Trek (14-21 days) – Manaslu is the 8th highest mountain in the world at 8,156 m above sea level. Hike unspoiled trails through remote villages and over the Larke pass at 5,135 m to circuit the mountain. You are required to have special permits and the services of a guide.
A Sherpa village on the way
Kathmandu Valley Region
Nagarkot (2 days) – offers a great spot for watching surrounding mountain ranges at sunrise or sunset from atop the hill.
The Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail (5 days), includes treks to Nagarkot and Dhulikhel
Shivapuri Hiking Trek (5 days) displays the best of Nepal’s rural culture, biodiversity and stunning Himalayan views. Trekking routes to Nagarkot, Gosainkunda, Helambu and the Langtang National Park (see Langtang region).
Indigenous Peoples Trail – a cultural delight with marvelous viewpoints through the Ramechhap district, just east of Kathmandu
Helambu & Gosainkunda Trek – a short taxi ride from Thamel to the roadhead at Shivapuri leads to a trail through the middle-hills countryside of Helambu, either circuit around and return to Kathmandu or cross the pass to the sacred Gosainkunda lake (4,380 m), descend and then hike up the Langtang valley
Langtang Valley Trek – start in Shyaphru Besi (bus from Kathmandu) and hike up the Langtang valley beneath stunning mountains that form the border with Tibet. Reach Kyanjin Gompa (3,830 m), where you can decide to continue further, climb the peaks just above the village, or descend back.
Tamang Heritage Trail (5-7 days) – cultural trek to meet the Tamang people, as well as enjoying great scenery in the Langtang Himalayas.
Mount Everest region
Gokyo Lake, Mount Everest, Nepal
Everest Base Camp Trek and the ascent of Kalar Patar – Visit the Buddhist Tengboche monastery for the Mani Rimdu festival in November. Explore the Gokyo valley with its sacred lakes and stupendous views of four 8000-m peaks. Or a circuit of the region crossing the high passes or Cho La and Renjo La.
Namche bazaar sherpa village
Khumbu – Take the bus to Jiri or fly to Lukla then hike up to Namche Bazar, capital of the Sherpa lands at the foot of Everest.
Island Peak Trek (trekking peak) – takes in some of the most spectacular scenery in the Himalayas.
Mera Peak (trekking peak) – During the ascent of Mera Peak (6461 m), enjoy panoramic views of Mt. Everest (8,848 m), Cho-Oyu (8,201 m), Lhotse (8,516 m), Makalu (8,463 m), Kangchenjunga (8,586 m), Nuptse (7,855 m), and Chamlang (7,319 m).
Makalu Barun is the 5th highest mountain in the world. This trek gives the opportunity to see rhododendrons, orchids, snow leopards, red panda, musk deer, wild boar, wild yak, and Himalayan Thar.
Numbur Cheese Circuit (12-14 days)
Mount Everest Base Camp Trek
Chitwan National Park
Chitwan Chepang Hills Trail (from the Trishuli River to the Terai)
Far Eastern Nepal
Milke Daada Ridge (7 days) – Spectacular views at 3,500 m asl and a visit to the bazaar town of Chainpu.
Kanchenjunga (21 – 28 days) – The 3rd highest mountain in the world. It is in far-eastern Nepal on the border with Sikkim in India. Peak 5950 is a more doable trek along this mountain.
Far Western Nepal
Rara National Park (8 days) – a remote trek that is hard to get to. The mountain views are not as nice as some of the other treks, but the highlight of this trek is a view of Nepal’s largest lake
Humla and Mount Kailash (18 days) – a trek that includes entrance into Tibet.
Api and Saipal Himal (16 days) – a remote off the beaten track trek to the mountains of far-western Nepal
Khaptad National Park (7-10 days) – a remote trek to Khaptad National Park that stretches over four districts of Province No.7 namely, Bajhang, Bajura, Achham and Doti.
Hiking in the Himalayas
Where to Sleep
Tea houses (lodges) at settlements at various points on the trek offer dorm room accommodation and simple basic meals reflective of what the local people in the area eat.
Although many tea houses and hotels in the hills and mountains are reasonably comfortable, some may be dirty and rather basic.
Note: Bedrooms and dorm rooms will not be heated. Note that linens are not provided by the lodges, and nights can get very cold, so it makes sense to bring a sleeping bag even for teahouse treks.
A Himalayan village in Nepal
Camping can be conducted almost anywhere in the country. Camping treks can be fully organized and supported by a team of guides, cooks, and porters to accompany you.
Homestays in local villages can also be organized by your guide.
Always carry a head torch or lamp, water, some food, and a mobile phone with helicopter evacuation number in case of emergencies.
Please read up extensively on Altitude sickness. Click the link to refer our page on acute mountain sickness (AMS). Be familiar with the symptoms and do not ignore them. Be sure to keep to a conservative ascent schedule and drink plenty of fluids.
If you or anyone in your party begins to experience symptoms of AMS, do not ascend any further, and if they do not improve, then descend to a lower altitude.
Note: Carry some Diamox (Acetazolamide) pills, which can be bought at local pharmacies in Nepal. Diamox forces the kidneys to excrete bicarbonate in the urine, therefore making the blood more acidic, which stimulates breathing, increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood. Diamox is not an immediate fix for acute mountain sickness; rather it speeds up part of the acclimatization process which in turn helps to relieve symptoms.
Drink More Water
One thing that is often overlooked is that your body requires large amounts of water at altitude to counteract sickness so be sure to drink more than you are used to.
Buy antibiotics for stomach infections at a local pharmacy when in Kathmandu or Pokhara. Getting a med for bacterial and amoebic infections is recommended.
For drinking water, the best practice is to treat all water as being contaminated, especially water in the cities.
Please do not buy bottled water on the trek as there are no rubbish disposal systems on the trek. It is both less expensive and better for the environment to treat your own water.
The main two options for trekkers are to use the safe drinking water stations along the trek for a small fee or bring your own water purifiers.
Chlorination and iodine tablets are available in the main cities.
You can also use a filter with a ceramic cartridge or a UV treatment system such as a Steripen which should remove anything 1 micron in size or larger. You might want to combine two of these systems just to make sure you have made the water completely safe.
Note: Use treated water for brushing your teeth.
Get Rescue Insurance
Before the departure check that your travel insurance covers trekking activities and the conditions.
Note: Be aware that “some” insurance companies view even walking in the mountains as “mountaineering” and will not provide coverage. So you may have to shop around.
Most reputable trekking agencies will require proof of rescue insurance before you start on your trek. It would be very costly to pay a helicopter rescue at 5000 meters.
Trekking Solo in Nepal
Make sure you trek with other people—especially on side treks with unclear paths. If a problem occurs, it is much easier to get help if others are nearby.
Note: Many people have gone missing or died on treks.
If you do not have a trekking partner, then look for one in Kathmandu or Pokhara. It is usually easy to find other like-minded people with similar travel plans. But do not trust any strangers blindly. If in doubt, go for a guided tour.
Tokyo is simply one of the world’s most fascinating cities of the world. Not only does it offer some of the most modern and advanced technological innovations but it also shows you a completely different side of it full of shrines and little snippets of how Japan used to be in the past.
Must Do In Tokyo
Japan’s capital is truly one of the most crowded cities in the world and it just introduces you to a place where you can always find something interesting to do.
From its amazing food to the world-famous sites and attractions, Tokyo is truly a city worth visiting. Here are some of the top 10 things you should do while visiting.
1. Meiji Shrine
If you want to see something different from the crazy everyday rhythms of the life in the city, the Meiji Shrine will truly help you find a serene and quite place to visit on your journey.
Built and dedicated to the late 19th-centure Emperor Meiji who opened Japan to the West, this shrine is just a beautiful spiritual place that is not that big or a tourist trap.
Before entering the old temple to pray, you are able to wash your face and mouth at the cleansing station’s communal water tank and you will also be able to write little wishes on a small piece of paper which you can tie on the prayer wall of the shrine, just like the locals do.
If you’re lucky, you might even come across a traditional wedding through the courtyard which will just allow you a peak into Japan’s traditions and beautiful traditional dresses. You might also want to keep in mind though that during New Years, this beautiful shrine can gather a crowd or a million if not more people who wish to celebrate together.
2. Tokyo Tower
Did you know that Japan has created something similar to the Eiffel Tower of Paris? Indeed, this incredibly tall structure actually stands 13 meters taller that the actual Eiffel Tower and it remains one of the most amazing things to witness in Japan.
You can actually even go to the observatory which has been built on the tower, where you will be able to be 150 meters above the ground and observe the beauty of Tokyo for high above. Sadly, the 250m special observatory is not available to the public due to renovations, but you will still be able to see a lot from that big of a height.
The Tokyo Tower truly is the most amazing attraction you will be able to spot from all the rest of the observatories in Tokyo and it is truly glorious to look at even during the night.
If you have ever been intrigued by Japan’s favorite sport and wanted to know more about it, this is the best chance for you to do so. You truly won’t be able to understand the character and intensity of this sport until you get to witness it in person.
You can watch Sumo wrestling practice at the Hakkaku Sumo Stable in Tokyo but you will have to know that this is not a fun game. This is a serious tradition and the fights are legitimate so you will have to be respectful to the people and serious about the situation in order to truly enjoy this incredible sport.
4. Walk across Shibuya Crossing
This is probably one of the most common things you have seen in movies and videos about Tokyo. The Shibuya Crossing is one of those things that are always on every visitor’s “to-do-list” and so it should be on yours too.
Not only is this perfectly organized but chaotic crossing fun to watch but it also shows a lot about how in order everything in Japan is. After you cross this awesome crossing yourself, you can easily take a break at the Starbucks nearby and get a better look at it from their 2nd-story window.
5. Sing Karaoke
One of the things that are very popular about Tokyo’s nightlife definitely has to be its Karaoke places. Karaoke plays a very important role in the Japanese culture and it’s something that you can often see presented as a fun activity in many animes.
Tokyo is truly full of all different kinds of Karaoke places where you will be able to even rent a room for you and your friends to have fun, eat, drink and sing to your heart’s content.
6. Try a Kimono fitting
Kimonos are some of the most beautiful pieces of clothing in the Japanese culture, Traditionally worn by all women on special occasions, they each have unique colors and patterns in order to fit the person’s likings and can truly be an awesome thing to try while visiting Japan.
There are actually a couple places where you will be able to try on a Kimono in Tokyo and you can ask a tour guide to help you even find a tour where you will be able to for example walk the streets of Asakusa in a Kimono for a truly unique Japanese experience.
7. Visit a Cat Café
Whether you are a cat lover on not, this is definitely a thing that you have to try and which can possibly help change your attitude regarding these furry creatures. Cat cafes are actually a very common thing in Tokyo.
They are essentially exactly what you are imagining; a café where you can have a nice cup of coffee and at the same time play with a couple cute kitties. If you give it a go, you might even come across a dog café and even a cute café where there are also hedgehogs!
8. Have Ramen at the Ramen Museum
Located just a little bit out of town, the Ramen Museum is pretty much an accurate representation of how Tokyo used to look in the 60s. Not only will you be able to go through the various narrow streets of “old Tokyo” but you will also be able to have a selection of amazing ramen restaurants at your fingertips.
There are quite a few things you can see and learn while visiting this place, but most importantly you will be able to taste and enjoy some traditionally cooked ramen.
Japan is surely known for its crazy technological innovations and one of the most fascinating ones has to be the vending machines. No matter where you come from, you have definitely come across the original vending machines which serve snacks and sometimes even warm and cold drinks.
Japan has simply taken this to a whole new level and even offers restaurants which solely work with vending machines serving anything from ramen, to milkshakes to even grilled sandwiches and you should definitely not leave Japan without visiting one.
10. Stay in a Capsule Hotel
Another thing that you should definitely give a try is spending a night in a capsule hotel. This is something that you should definitely avoid though if you are afraid of small spaces as this is essentially and small-sized pod which allows you to get a night’s rest without having to worry about spending too much on accommodation.
One of the most popular capsule hotels in Tokyo is Capsule Net Omotenashi, so you should definitely give this awesome invention a try and see if this might be a great way for you to travel on a tighter budget.
Tokyo is full of wonders
There are truly so many things to see and do while staying in Tokyo that no matter how long you stay you will wish you had a few days more. These 10 things will definitely make your trip to Tokyo a memorable one and have you wanting to come back for more!
Which one are you the most excited to try while being in Tokyo?
Preston Felix is a graphic designer, traveler and freelance writer for Rewarded Essays. He is passionate about covering topics on blogging, traveling, business writing and self-improvement.
There are many destinations all around the world that have marvelous wonders to win your heart. India is one of such place where the natural beauty and cultural influence can make people fall in love all over again.
There are many historic monuments as well as the natural beauty that attracts many travelers from all around the world. India is a huge country with diverse culture and landscape.
A traditional South Indian home lunch on a banana leaf
If you are looking for a romantic getaway there are some exceptionally romantic destination in the Southern part of the country.
Romantic Getaways in South India
South India is also called the romantic hub as it has gorgeous hill stations, beaches, and natural heritage. It is also a great place to visit on a honeymoon.
The states of Tamil Nadu, Goa, Kerala, and Karnataka take their tourism very seriously and make sure that the tourists have a good time. Here are some of the most romantic spots in the southern part of India which is worth a visit.
This is a stunning spot for romantic couples who are looking for a walk in the wild. The Mudumalai National Park is known for its rich vegetation and unique biodiversity.
The Mudumalai National Park is spread across 6000 square kilometers protecting many endangered wildlife species. This is the best place for newlywed couples looking for an adventure for their honeymoon.
Kodaikanal is a beautiful hill station located in the state of Tamil Nadu. Kodaikanal is also known as the princess of hill stations throughout the country.
It is also regarded as one of the famous romantic spots for a honeymoon in the state of Tamil Nadu. There are many enchanting viewpoints and lakes filled with water lilies that give the couples an opportunity to cherish their relationship.
The romantic trip to South India is the dream of many couples and honestly, it is worth a visit. There are many South India Tour Packages available from many online platforms such as Tamil Nadu routes.
If you are planning a trip to south India then makes sure to pack properly and prepare yourself for a treat.
Charles A. Jacobs has visited several places in the world including the 7 wonders of the world and is still looking for a place where he might end his journey. He is a travel enthusiast and owner of the TamilNadu Routes.
This is the story of how a distance of 480 km took us three days on a motorbike on one of the toughest terrains in the world. Yes, you read it right, the Manali–Leh highway in Northern Himalayan region of India is one of the toughest terrains.
Biking Manali Leh Highway
Four of us started with two Royal Enfields. Three of us could ride and we all took turns. The only traffic here is the occasional Indian Army trucks and other soul-searching wanderers who are also willing to test their will.
We started this adventure to ride what is claimed as the highest motorable road in the world. In this remote region, the phone connectivity is unheard of and you have to enter your details at every check post to let them know you’ve survived, to tell the tale. To live another day.
It was around 1 in the noon, when we had to stop riding. The tire was now wobbling beyond control. We couldn’t prolong it anymore. 12 spokes were broken. And we were in the middle of nowhere.
Our friend’s bike had gone ahead. We were wondering what to do next when we saw a bike coming from the opposite direction. Delighted we stopped him, asking him if he had seen our other rider somewhere ahead. He had, but almost an hour earlier.
No way of contacting the other bike, no towns spotted in the vicinity, and with no other riders for as far as we could see. This was not looking good. This was not how I had planned my bike trip to go when we started 3 days ago.
They said it would take us three days to do it. We had rented our bikes in Manali, filled them up with fuel, carried extra fuel in cans and off we went.
We knew the roads could get brutal, the climate could turn any moment without notice from warm sunny mornings to mild showers. At noon time we were enveloped in clouds and in the evenings we were greeted by the chilly winds.
Let’s recollect the journey. Let’s start at the beginning.
With all our gears on we slowly rode out of Manali towards Rohtang pass. Our journey had begun. Rohtang is the first high altitude pass (3987 M) you encounter when you set off towards this Himalayan journey.
We were initially cruising at a decent speed wondering why people take two-three days, as the roads though mountainous were well maintained. Soon we reached the beginning of the pass and it was here we encountered how brutal the mountains can actually get.
As we started ascending the pass, the roads started deteriorating. Pretty soon they became non-existent. All there was, was mud sloshed due to the slight rain which made it almost impossible to ride on, especially with a pillion.
Biking in the Mud
So two of us had to get off and walk down the road while the other two struggled to keep the bikes steady. The adventure had just begun. The muck which was almost 10 cm deep and your feet would go right in till the ankle.
The only people who were actually still cruising at their original speed were the truck drivers. At one point hitchhiked in the truck till a point where the roads got decent again which was after an easy half an hour.
We made it past the pass and down to a nominal altitude by 4 pm. Which was where we realized we had only covered 80 km in 5 hours!
Rest in Keylong
The other 40 KM of the day took us another 4 hours and by the time we reached Keylong it was pitch dark. We could hear the sound of a river flowing right next to us while the only source of light was from our bikes headlight.
One wrong turn could leave us going down the cliff into the icy cold water or right into the rocky mountain on the other side.
Dirty, exhausted we made it to the end of day one. After a quick dinner we went to our beds. Dreaming of how tomorrow would be.
DAY 2. KEYLONG-PANG (180 KM)
The next morning we were mentally prepared for what was ahead. We set out after a hot breakfast, cruising through the road for about an hour thinking we had gotten better after the previous day’s experience.
Of course, it wasn’t going to be that easy, we soon stopped at what was a waterfall flowing on the road. Rocks below, water flowing from the top. Even if the pillion got off, we still had to walk across the water and since we were not wearing gumboots the water went through our shoes. And our feet froze.
We rode past many such streams/waterfalls which flowed right through the road, the occasional rocks which fell from a landslide here and there, the muddy slush, the sandy road, and rocky terrain that day.
The Beauty of Pang
After riding through one of the most beautiful landscapes with natural rock formation, clean blue skies, and yellow-brown rocky cliffs, we reached Pang by evening.
Pang is just simply mesmerizing. It is a village with no phone connectivity at all. It did have an army base however which had a landline connection. Pang is a high altitude village located at almost 4200 m above sea level. And at that attitude sleep was hard to come.
The stars you see during the night from this village are mind-blowing. We saw almost one shooting star every ten minutes and the mesmerizing view of our milky way galaxy to make up for the lack of sleep.
We started our final stretch riding through another high altitude pass where the lack of oxygen and us being tired due to lack of sleep made it hard for us to continue.
The other bike went further ahead while we were cruising at a slower pace. As we crossed around 40 KM, we came past an amazingly rare straight stretch with well-maintained road our spirit rose.
All was well when suddenly our tire started wobbling. It was here we stopped to find out 12 spokes were broken. And there was no mechanic or civilization there. We then somehow pushed the bike and walked for about a Kilometer when luckily we found a small village with 10 houses.
A Kind Stranger
A small shop owner told us we could stay there while waiting for vehicles which could give us a lift. After an hour of sitting by the road hoping for a vehicle to pass by we finally saw a minivan. The villager stopped the van, spoke to the driver, explained our problem and he finally agreed to haul our bike on the back and take us to Upshi, the next town 30 KM away with a mechanic.
We were saved. While we hopped on the van, the other bike which had gone ahead came back as they heard about us stuck here through another rider. Now all four of us were together and we were finally heading towards Leh.
When we reached the mechanic, he did not have the needed bike spokes and asked us to go look for the spare spokes in Leh and to get it repaired there. (Sigh!)
Upshi to Leh
Now, Leh was another 15 KM away from Upshi. So one bike entered Leh carrying the tire of the other bike, going from one shop to the other for almost 2 hours trying to find the spare parts. By 5 PM in the evening, we finally got them and by 6 PM, we were back to the mechanic who told us to come back the next morning for the bike.
So this was how we finally made it to the city of Leh at 7 PM in the night after 3 full days of the journey.
Conclusion: Himalayan Wisdom
We started off with 2 bikes but reached the city with one! The mighty Himalayas can change all your plans and teach us how insignificant we truly are in the big picture.
If anything, this trip taught us the valuable lesson of humility and how everything is connected in the big picture. Strangers can be nice and helpful. Things can go wrong when you least anticipate them. After all, all things are connected and there is a reason behind it all. We must find our place in this world.
“I want to visit Turkey” is the line I often hear when I speak to other travel loving folks, but not all could turn their wish into reality. There are many reasons why people couldn’t make it and one common reason which people give is “Turkey is beautiful but very expensive”.
Turkey: A Transcontinental Country
I must say this is the biggest myth, Turkey is expensive if you don’t plan your trip well and if you don’t know what is there to see in Turkey. I was fortunate to turn my wish into reality.
It was a wonderful solo trip for 11 days where I had one of my best travel experiences traveling across Turkey at a very reasonable cost. I thought of sharing my Turkish experience with everyone, and if this blog could motivate at least one person to travel, I would consider this blog as successful one.
Why Visit Turkey?
Turkey has such lucrative landscape and culture which attract millions of visitors from across the globe and I wanted to be in that one in the million for sure, but the distance from India to Turkey so far that I really had to make up my mind that I will visit it no matter what.
Also, after visiting quite a good number of countries in South East and East Asia, I was sure my next destination is going to be different from my past travel and Turkey fitted in very well in my requirement.
The mix of Europe and Asia in the beautiful city of Istanbul, fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, and Ephesus’ historical sites looked so exciting in the photos, videos, and the blogs I read that I couldn’t stop myself from visiting the same and experiencing it all on my own.
The decision to visit Turkey is something which makes me feel satisfied as a traveler.
A Sample Itinerary & Travel Routes
I must say, to decide for a Turkey solo trip was a difficult choice but to decide what to see inside Turkey was even harder as there are so many things to see in Turkey that my 11 days vacation looked way too shorter.
So based on the number of days I had and the season, I picked up the below itinerary for my trip.
Bangalore, India to Istanbul, Turkey
Leg 1: Kuwait Airways > Landed in Istanbul > Turkish Air (to Cappadocia)
Leg 3: Selcuk > Izmir (by Train) > Istanbul (by Flight)
Things to See in Turkey
Let me detail out things which I covered in each of my stopovers.
After landing in Istanbul at around 3:00 PM in afternoon, I had a same day connecting flight at 6:00 PM for Navshahar and a shuttle booked in Navshahar airport to take me to my hostel booked in Gorame, Cappadocia.
Cappadocia is a wonder world and certainly a heart of Turkey that no one should miss. You can explore the city on your own or take a group tour based on time which you have in Cappadocia.
So I decided to combine both. On the first day, I took a green tour in a group covering the fairy chimney, underground city, monastery, etc. And the next two days, I spent exploring the city on my own by foot and by local transportation available.
Apart from the Fairy chimneys, Cappadocia is also a popular destination for people who love Hot Air Balloons. Since I had already done the hot air balloon in the past, I wasn’t interested to take it again but I did make sure to get up early in the morning to see hundreds of balloons taking off at one shot.
After spending three days in Cappadocia, I took an overnight bus to Pamukkale. Bus tickets were easily available for comfortable overnight journey which dropped me in Pamukkale by 5:00 AM in the morning.
Since the main attraction of Pamukkale (Cotton Castle) opens only by 8 AM, so I had some time in hand and I sipped a cup of Turkish coffee and waited for the gate to open.
I must say I was the first one to enter that morning from that specific entrance. It made me happy.
I spent half a day in Pamukkale admiring the beauty of mineral-rich thermal waters flowing down white travertine terraces, Hierapolis ancient theater, and other attractions in the vicinity.
Once I was done with it, I took a mini bus to Denzli from where I took about four hour train ride to Selcuk.
Selcuk is the town which people generally use it for stop over when they are visiting the UNESCO Heritage Site of Ephesus.
But I must say Selcuk is much more than just a stopover. This beautiful town is popular for its cafe culture and it’s wonderful to just walk around and enjoy the chilled vibe of Selcuk.
In my two days in Selcuk, I visited the famous ruins of Ephesus to experience the ancient Roman culture and architectures. Afterwards, I went to visit the Saint John’s Basilica, a beautiful historical place just in the city center and worth visiting any day.
During the evenings, I spent my time sipping famous Turkish tea with Seesha (also known as Hookah). The next day, I took a minibus to go to Sirince Wine Village about an hour drive from city.
This village is embraced in such a way that once reach here sure you don’t want to leave at all. I took my slow walk going around the village for the good part of that day.
Next early morning, I took a train from Selcuk to Izmir which took about an hour. Izmir is a laid back city in the west coast of Turkey. It is one of the biggest port city in the region and walking around the seafront (Kordon) is defiantly one of the best experience in Izmir.
Apart from waterfront and the clock tower in city center, the local market was a wonderful experience to visit. Overall, my days spent in Izmir was pretty tiring as I had just a day to explore the city but it was worth every moment.
After spending a day in Izmir, I took early morning flight to Istanbul to spend the rest of my three and half days remaining before returning back to India.
Istanbul took my heart even before the airplane landed. The view from the small plane window was so tempting that I couldn’t wait any longer to explore the city.
Istanbul have two side of it, a European side with much of the night life and an Asian side with all the historical sites. I took a shuttle bus to Kadikoy Ferry Terminal. I took the Ferry and Metro from there to go to Sultanahmet where my stay for the next two nights were booked.
Soon I realized that three days is not at all going to be sufficient to see Istanbul, so I need to pick what I really want to see in these three days.
So the plan I made was, one day I will spend in Prince Island, second day I will spend exploring the historical side of Istanbul, and on the final day I will spend exploring the modern side of Istanbul around the Taksim Square area.
Clock Tower in Izmir
Prince Island is the group of 9 small islands about two hours ferry ride from the mainland of Istanbul. Out of the 9 islands, only 4 islands are inhabitable and the rest remain unexplored.
Büyükada is one of biggest island and considered the most beautiful among all 9 islands. So I took an early morning ferry for this island and spent the rest of that day mesmerizing over this totally mystical and unique side of Turkey.
Sultanahmet is the area where major historical attraction of Istanbul is centered. The beautiful and well known blue mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazar are all here.
All these historical places are so beautiful that you can spend entire day just visiting one of them, since I had just a day time to explore I made sure that I could manage my time in such a way that I don’t miss any of these famous attractions.
For the last two nights I had booked my hostel near the Taksim Square which is the ultra-modern side of Istanbul where all-night parties are common. My morning started with walking around the famous İstiklal Caddesi and visiting the Galata Tower and enjoying the Turkish delight and my evenings ended with a couple of beers in a local pub.
On the last day, I woke up with a sad face thinking my wonderful time is about to end now. I had my breakfast, took a walk of İstiklal Caddesi for the last time, and got into the metro for the airport to catch my flight back home.
The myth about travelling is “it is an expensive thing” needs to be broken. In my view, traveling at times is cheaper than staying home. The longer you travel the cheaper it is.
In my Turkey trip I wanted to make sure that I spend on things which is needed and not things which good to have.
For any kind of travel, the major expenses can be categorized in three categories: Food, Accommodation, and Transportation. Let me put this little bit more in detail from Turkey travel perspective.
Turkish food is indeed a delight whether you are a vegetarian or non-vegetarian or continental or authentic country food lover. It has variety of options available and suitable for everyone.
An average meal in a decent mid-range restaurant cost anywhere between 12-20 TL ($5 USD). So in less than $20 USD, I was able to survive for a day in Turkey eating three meals which is way less than what normally people think. Not to be missed is their famous “Turkish delight” desserts, which is mouthwatering.
Accommodation in Turkey
In my entire trip to Turkey, I stayed in hostels where average cost was no more than $15 USD per night and in many cases it even included free breakfast. And trust me, it was without compromising the cleanliness and location in any manner.
Transportation in Turkey
Your international flight tickets consumes the major part of travel expense and it really differ from which city/country you are taking your flight. So I will not be able to give a correct estimation on that but what I can share is an average travel expense once you land in Turkey.
I took two domestic flights in turkey and one overnight bus and a train. Both of my flight tickets were less than $50 USD each, and the overnight bus ticket was about $25 USD and the four hour long train journies were not more then $10 USD each.
So transportation of any mode is relatively very cheap compare to anywhere else in Europe. Specifically in Istanbul you can take the prepaid Istanbul card which acts as a ticket for all city transport system including ferry in very basic cost.
Additional Information on Expenses
Museum pass is available that covers all major historical sites in Istanbul at the cost of 125 TL which will cover around 6 attractions in the city and if you buy ticket individually it will cost you about 40 TL each.
Istanbul card is like a prepaid card which you can load it with cash at once and use it for all public transport in city in lesser price than paying in cash. So highly recommended to take this card.
Apart from the places which I visited there are few other very good places which you can visit in Turkey based on time available. Few of my recommendation few are Konya, Antalya, Fethiye, etc.
In my entire trip I had not used private Taxi anywhere, so if you are someone who would prefer exclusive taxi service then expense will go higher.
Finally all I can say is, Turkey is defiantly one of the best country I have visited so far and I would recommend all travelers to plan for it.
Hi, I am Chandan Sharma. Working as a full-time job for a financial firm but still making a time to travel across different countries is my passion. This passion had taken me through 21 countries so far, mainly in Asia, Europe and just a glimpse of east Africa. The goal is to make it at least 50 countries before I turn 50.
Feel free to visit my Instagram page ‘Travel Freak Mr Sharma’ to a walkthrough of my travel journey. Do not hesitate to drop me a message in case if you need any further information on Turkey or any of the country which I visited.
Sit back tight and enjoy the photos from some of the magnificent sites ever built. Or better yet, plan your next trip. If you are into bucket lists, then you can even attempt to visit all 38 sites.
World Heritage Sites in India
The sites are grouped and listed based on geographical proximity, so if you are planning an India visit, you can plan your itinerary accordingly to cover some or all of them in the most efficient and cheapest way possible.
Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi
Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi was the precursor monument to the Taj Mahal (built a century later). Set at the center of luxurious gardens with water channels, it was built by the second Mughal Emperor Humayun’s widow Biga Begum (Hajji Begum).
Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi
Its Mughal architectural style has been acclaimed as the “Necropolis of the Mughal dynasty” for its double-domed elevation provided with Chhatris.
Apart from the tomb of Humayun, the funerary also has 150 tombs of various members of the royal family. It has a number of water channels, a pavilion, and a bath. The tomb set on an irregular octagonal plinth has a raised dome, covered by marble slabs and decorated with Chhatris.
Qutb Minar, Delhi
Qutb Minar is located south of Delhi. It is a tall red sandstone tower. Built at the beginning of the 13th century, the complex of structures comprises the Alai Darwaza Gate, the Alai Minar (an incomplete mound of the intended tower), the Qubbat-ul-Islam Mosque (the earliest existing mosque in India), the tomb of Iltumish, and an Iron Pillar without any rusting.
The complex is a testimony to the Islamic depredations during the period as seen from the materials used for building the complex which are those that were removed after destroying Hindu and Jain temples.
Red Fort, Delhi
Red Fort (Lal Qila) is a palace fort built in the 17th century by Shahjahan, the fifth Mughal emperor as part of his new capital city of Shahjahanabad.
Located to the north of Delhi, it represents the glory of the Mughal rule and is considered the Highpoint of Mughal architectural, artistic aesthetic creativity. The architectural design of the structures built within the fort represents a blend of Persian, Timuri and Indian architectural styles.
Isfahan, the Persian Capital is said to have provided the inspiration to build the Red Fort Complex.
The planning and design of this complex, in a geometrical grid plan with pavilion structures, was the precursor of several monuments which were built later in Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and other places.
The palace complex has been fortified by an enclosure wall built with red sandstone (hence the name Red Fort).
Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, Chandigarh
Chosen from the work of Le Corbusier, the 17 sites comprising this transnational serial property are spread over seven countries. Urban and Architectural Work of Le Corbusier in Chandigarh is home to numerous architectural projects of Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Matthew Nowicki and Albert Mayer.
Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks
Both Nanda Devi National Park and Valley of Flowers National Park are nestled high in Western Himalaya. Valley of Flowers National Park is renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty. This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear and blue sheep.
The gentle landscape of the Valley of Flowers National Park complements the rugged mountain wilderness of Nanda Devi National Park. Together, they encompass a unique transition zone between the mountain ranges of the Zanskar and Great Himalaya.
Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh
Great Himalayan National Park, in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, is characterized by high alpine peaks, alpine meadows, and riverine forests. The Upper Mountain glacial and snow melt water source origins of several rivers, and the catchments of water supplies that are vital to millions of downstream users.
It is part of the Himalaya biodiversity hotspot and includes 25 forest types along with a rich assemblage of fauna species, several of which are threatened.
Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World is a mausoleum – a funerary mosque. It was built by Emperor Shahjahan in memory of his third wife Begum Mumtaz Mahal who had died in 1631. It is a large edifice made in white marble in typical Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Islamic, and Indian architectural styles.
This much-acclaimed masterpiece was built over a 16-year period set amidst vast Mughal Gardens on the right bank of the Yamuna River. It has an octagonal layout marked by four exclusive minarets at four corners with a pristine elevation of a central bulbous dome below which the tombs are laid in an underground chamber.
Calligraphic inscriptions in-crusted in polychromatic pierra dura, decorative bands, and floral arabesques glorify the monument’s graphic beauty and provide a picture-perfect impression to the viewers.
Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh
Agra Fort, also known as the Red Fort of Agra, which represented Mughal opulence and power as the centerpiece of their empire. The fortress located on the right bank of the Yamuna River, built in red sandstone, and surrounded by a moat, encloses several palaces, towers, and mosques.
It is very close to the famous Taj Mahal with a buffer zone separating the two monuments. These monuments are remarkable for the fusion of Persian art of the Timurid and the Indian art form.
Agra Fort was built from the 16th century onwards till the early 18th century. The impressive structures within the precincts of the fort are the Khas Mahal, the Shish Mahal, Muhamman Burje (an octagonal tower), Diwan-i-Khas, Diwan-i-Am, white marble mosque or the Pearl Mosque, and the Nagina Masjid.
Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh
Fatehpur Sikri, “the City of Victory”, was built during the second half of the 16th century by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. It was the capital of the Empire and seat of the grand Mughal court for 14 years.
Despite bearing exceptional testimony to the Mughal civilization at the end of the 16th century, it had to be abandoned due to the twin reasons of lack of water and unrest in north-west India, leading the emperor to shift the capital to Lahore.
The complex of monuments and temples, all uniformly in Mughal architectural style, includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid, the Buland Darwaza, the Panch Mahal, and the Tomb of Salim Chishti.
The English traveler Ralph Fitch considered the city in 1585 as “considerably larger than London and more populous.”
Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Maharaja Jai Singh at his then new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1734. It is modeled after the one that he had built at the Mughal capital of Delhi.
He had constructed a total of 5 such facilities at different locations, including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur. The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved of these and has a set of some 20 main fixed instruments built in masonry.
Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan
Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur is located within the Indus-Ganges Monsoon Forest Biogeographical Province. The area of the wetland of the park shrinks to a mere 2500 acres during most part of the year.
It has a human-built environment created partly by embankments dividing the area into 10 units, and has sluice controlled arrangement to maintain the water level. It is famous for 364 species of wintering birds that flock in large numbers, arriving from distant countries of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China, and Siberia.
Hill Forts of Rajasthan, Chittorgarh
Hill Forts of Rajasthan, are a series of sites located on rocky outcrops of the Aravallis mountain range in Rajasthan. They represent a typology of Rajput military hill architecture, a style characterized by its mountain peak settings, utilizing the defensive properties of the terrain.
These hill forts in Rajasthan represent Rajput military strongholds across a vast range of geographical and cultural zones. They enclose large territories and even complete villages in walled compounds.
The property consists of Chittor Fort, Kumbhalgarh Fort, Ranthambore Fort, Gagron Fort, Amer Fort, Jaisalmer Fort. These fort complex includes palaces, Hindu and Jain temples, urban centers and trading centers.
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Gujarat
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is situated in Panchmahal district in Gujarat, India. There is a concentration of largely unexcavated archaeological, historic and living cultural heritage properties cradled in an impressive landscape which includes prehistoric sites, a hill fortress of an early Hindu capital, and remains of the 16th-century capital of the state of Gujarat.
The site also includes, among other vestiges, fortifications, palaces, religious buildings, residential precincts, agricultural structures and water installations, from the 8th to the 14th centuries.
The Kalikamata Temple & Jain Temple on top of the Pavagadh Hill is considered to be an important shrine, attracting large numbers of pilgrims throughout the year. The site is the only complete and unchanged Islamic pre-Mughal city.
The Queen’s Stepwell, Gujarat
Rani ki vav (The Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat, is a famous stepwell. It is famous for its size and sculpture. The length of Rani ki Vav is more than 64m long, 20m wide, and 27m deep and there are more than 500 sculptures of god.
Most of the sculptures are in devotion to Vishnu, in the forms of Dus-Avatars Kalki, Rama, Mahisasurmardini, Narsinh, Vaman, Varahi and others representing their return to the world. Also it has Nagkanyas, Yoginis, Apsaras (beautiful women) showcasing 16 different styles of makeup to look more attractive called “Solah-shringar”.
Historic City of Ahmadabad, Gujarat
The walled city of Ahmadabad, founded by Sultan Ahmad Shah in the 15th century, on the eastern bank of the Sabarmati river, presents a rich architectural heritage from the sultanate period, notably the Bhadra citadel, the walls and gates of the Fort city and numerous mosques and tombs as well as important Hindu and Jain temples of later periods.
The urban fabric is made up of densely-packed traditional houses in gated traditional streets with characteristic features such as bird feeders, public wells, and religious institutions. The city continued to flourish as the capital of the State of Gujarat for six centuries, up to the present.
Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra
Ajanta Caves are Buddhist caves that were built in two phases. The caves depict richly decorated paintings, frescoes, which are reminiscent of the Sigiriya paintings in Sri Lanka and sculptures. As a whole, there are 31 rock-cut cave monuments which are unique representations of the religious art of Buddhism.
Ellora Caves, Maharashtra
Ellora Caves are a cultural mix of religious arts of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. These are 34 monasteries and temples sculpted contiguously into rock walls of a high basalt cliff, which are seen along a length of 2 km (1.2 mi). Dated to 600 to 1000 AD, they are a reflection of artistic creation of the ancient civilization of India.
Elephanta Caves, Maharashtra
The Elephanta Caves are a network of sculpted caves located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri (literally “the city of caves”) in Mumbai Harbour, 10 km (6.2 mi) to the east of the city of Mumbai.
The island, located on an arm of the Arabian Sea, consists of two groups of caves — the first is a large group of 5 Hindu caves, the second, and a smaller group of 2 Buddhist caves.
The Hindu caves contain rock cut stone sculptures, representing the Shaiva Hindu sect, dedicated to the god Shiva. The rock-cut architecture of the caves is dated to between the 5th and 8th centuries, although the identity of the original builders is still a subject of debate.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is a historic railway station in Mumbai, which serves as the headquarters of the Central Railways. It is one of the busiest railway stations in India, and serves Central Railway trains terminating in Mumbai as well as the Mumbai Suburban Railway.
This famous architectural landmark in Gothic style was built as the headquarters of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway. It took ten years to complete.
Churches and Convents of Goa
Churches and Convents of Goa are monuments built by the Portuguese colonial rulers of Goa between 16th and 18th centuries. These monuments are mainly in the former capital of Old Goa.
The most significant of these monuments is the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which enshrines the tomb containing the relics of St. Francis Xavier. These monuments of Goa, known as the “Rome of the Orient,” were established by different Catholic religious orders.
There were originally 60 churches of which some of the surviving monuments are the Saint Catherine’s Chapel, the Church and Convent of Saint Francis of Assisi, the Jesuit Borea Jezuchi Bajilika, Asisachea Sanv Fransiskachi Igorz, the church of Saint Cajetan and its seminary, Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, and Church of Saint Augustine.
Western Ghats of India
Western Ghats, also known as the Sahyadri Mountains, a mountain range along the western side of India and one of the world’s ten “Hottest biodiversity hotspots.”
A total of 39 biodiversity hotspots (including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests) were designated as world heritage sites – 20 in the state of Kerala, 10 in Karnataka, 5 in Tamil Nadu, and 4 in Maharashtra. Some of the key ones are:
Group of Monuments at Hampi , Karnataka
The Group of Monuments at Hampi comprise a somber but ostentatious Hampi town, on the banks of the river Tungabhadra in Karnataka. Hampi, as an important Hindu & Jain religious center.
Dravidian temples and palaces abound in Hampi. These won the admiration of travelers between the 14th and 16th centuries. Hampi subsumes the ruins of Vijayanagara, which was the former capital of the powerful Vijayanagara Empire.
Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, Karnataka
The Group of monuments in Pattadakal cover a remarkable series of nine Hindu temples, as well as a Jain sanctuary in northern Karnataka.
In this group of temples, the Virupaksha Temple, built in 740 AD by Queen Lokamahadevi to commemorate her husband’s victory over the Pallava kings from the south, is considered the most outstanding architectural edifice.
These are a remarkable combination of temples built by the Chalukya Dynasty in the 6th to 8th century at Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal, the latter city was known as the “Crown Rubies”. The temples represent a remarkable fusion of the architectural features of northern (Nagara) and southern (dravida) India.
Pattadakal is considered a Hindu holy city and within the heritage complex are eight temples dedicated to Shiva, a ninth shaivite sanctuary called the Papanatha Temple, and a Jain Narayana temple.
Great Living Chola Temples, Tamil Nadu
The Great Living Chola Temples, built by kings of the Chola Empire stretched over all of Tamil Nadu. This cultural heritage site includes three great temples of 11th and 12th centuries namely, the Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram.
The temples testify to the brilliant achievements of the Chola in architecture, sculpture, painting and bronze casting. You can visit all three of these:
Brihadeeswarar Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Tamil Nadu
Airavateshwarar Temple, Darasuram, Tamil Nadu
Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu
Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
The Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, in Tamil Nadu, about 58 km from Chennai, were built by the Pallava kings in the 7th and 8th centuries. These monuments have been carved out of rock along the Coromandel Coast.
The temple town has approximately forty monuments, including the largest open-air bas-relief in the world. The monuments inscribed are the Ratha Temples: Temples in the form of chariots, Mandapas, 11 Cave sanctuaries covered with bas-reliefs, rock relief of Descent of the Ganges, which is the largest open air Rock relief also known as Arjuna’s Penance or Bhagiratha’s Penance.
Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, Bihar
Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya is a unique property of cultural and archaeological importance. The first temple was built by Emperor Ashoka in 260 BC around the Bodhi Tree Ficus religiosa (to the west of the temple).
Revered and sanctified as the place where Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was enlightened in 531 BC at age 35, and then propagated his divine knowledge of Buddhism to the world, it has been the ultimate temple for reverential worship, over the last several centuries, by Buddhists of all denominations, from all over the world who visit on pilgrimage.
The main temple is 50 m in height, built in Indian architectural style, dated between 5th and 6th centuries, and it is the oldest temple in the Indian sub-continent built during the “Golden Age” of Indian culture credited to the Gupta period.
The Nalanda Mahavihara site in Bihar comprises the archaeological remains of a monastic and scholastic institution dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE. It includes stupas, shrines, viharas (residential and educational buildings) and important art works in stucco, stone and metal.
Nalanda stands out as the most ancient university of the Indian Subcontinent. It engaged in the organized transmission of knowledge over an uninterrupted period of 800 years. The historical development of the site testifies to the development of Buddhism into a religion and the flourishing of monastic and educational traditions.
Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal
The Sundarbans National Park, the largest estuarine mangrove forest in the world is a national park, tiger reserve, UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a biosphere reserve located in the Sundarbans Ganges river delta bordering the Bay of Bengal, in West Bengal.
This region is densely covered by mangrove forests, and is one of the largest reserves for the Bengal tiger. It is also home to a variety of bird, reptile and invertebrate species, including the salt-water crocodile.
Sun Temple, Konark, Odisha
Konark Sun Temple is a 13th-century Sun Temple in Odisha. Located on the east coast of the Bay of Bengal in the Mahanadi Delta, it is built in the form of the chariot of Surya, the sun god with 24 wheels, and is heavily decorated with symbolic stone carvings and led by a team of six horses.
It was constructed from oxidizing weathered ferruginous sandstone and is one of the most renowned temples in India.
Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh
Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi, located 45 km (28 mi) from Bhopal in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh are a group of Buddhist monuments dated between 200 BC and 100 BC. The site, however, has been conjectured to have been developed in the 3rd century BC, when Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire ruled.
The principal monument is a Stupa dated to the 2nd century and 1st century BC. These Buddhist sanctuaries were active Buddhist religious monuments, which flourished till the 12th century. The sanctuary has a plethora of monolithic pillars, palaces, temples and monasteries in different status of preservation.
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka described in the UNESCO Inscription as “a magnificent repository of rock paintings within natural rock shelters” is located in the foothills of the Vindhya Hill Range in the Central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.
It is spread in sandstone formations. The rock shelters comprise a group of “five clusters of rock shelters” with paintings that are inferred to date from the “Mesolithic period right through to the Historical period”, with the 21 villages surrounding them reflecting the traditions displayed in the rock paintings.
The unique rock art has been discovered in 400 painted shelters spread over a vast area amidst a forest with high diversity of flora and fauna, with some of the shelters dating back to 100,000 BC to 1000 AD.
Khajuraho Monuments, Madhya Pradesh
Khajuraho Group of Monuments belong to both the Hindu and Jain religious practices with striking fusion of stone sculpture and architecture. The best example of this outstanding feature is seen in the Kandariya Temple.
Of the 85 temples built, only 22 temples have survived. Located in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, it is renowned for its unique original artistic creation and proof of the Chandela Culture that existed prior to the Muslim invasion of India in the early 12th century.
The stone walls of temples are decorated with a profusion of sculptures with intricate details, tantric symbolism, and sexual expressiveness of ancient Indian art.
Kaziranga, located in the Northeastern state of Assam in the flood plains of the Brahmaputra River’s south bank. It was established as a reserved forest in 1908 to protect the dwindling species of rhinoceros.
This large park, which covers 106,250 acres of land has the distinction of being home to the largest population of the great Indian one-horned rhinoceros. There are many other mammals and birds species protected in the sanctuary.
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the northeastern state of Assam. It is in the plains of the Manas River in the foot hills of the Himalayas, on the border with Bhutan (contiguous with the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan).
The sanctuary is the habitat of several species of plants, 21 most-threatened species of mammals (out of 55 mammal species in the sanctuary), 36 reptile species, 3 amphibians and 350 species of birds.
Endangered species include tiger, pygmy hog, clouded leopard, sloth bear, Indian rhinoceros, wild buffaloes (the only pure strain of buffalo in India), Indian elephants, golden langur and Bengal florican.
Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim
Located at the heart of the Himalayan range in northern Indian State of Sikkim, the Khangchendzonga National Park includes a unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers and spectacular, snow-capped mountains covered with ancient forests, including the world’s third highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga.
Mountain Railways of India
The Mountain Railways of India represents a collective listing of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, and the Kalka-Shimla Railway under the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Two railways, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (1881) and the Kalka-Shimla Railway (1898) are located in the rugged hill regions of the Himalayas of Northern India and the other two, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (1908) and the Matheran Hill Railway (1907) are located in the rugged hill regions of the Western Ghats of Southern India.
Scenic Train Rides in India that are also UNESCO sites:
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Matheran Hill Railway
These mountain railways of India has been stated as for being “outstanding examples of bold, ingenious engineering solutions for the problem of establishing an effective rail link through a rugged, mountainous terrain.”
So, which of these UNESCO Sites in India have you visited? Which ones are on your list? Please share your travel stories and tips in the comments below.
In central Vietnam lies a beautiful and ornate city named Hue. With its traditional Citadel comprised of beautiful architecture bathed in artistic craftsmanship, which is reflected in the Royal Tombs and Thien Mu Pagoda.
But, there are also the modern-age ruins which offer an alternative to those which are encompassed by the city dripping in historical value. Welcome to a sight that looks like Post-apocalyptic Vietnam.
Gargantuan concrete building carved in the shape of a Dragon
I had heard rumors of a post-apocalyptic scene roughly 8 km outside of the city and after talking to my two traveling companions, decided it was worth the journey to see. We put the idea to several people sharing our dorm in the tourist area of central Hue, and six of us mounted our motorbikes to begin our ride to the entrance of the park.
Upon researching the water-park I discovered it had closed down in 2004 for reasons unknown to me, and that there were tales of the aquarium tanks – still full of water – that still housed crocodiles left behind!
Our Adventurous Journey
The ride took around 20 minutes and our satnav escorted us to the entrance successfully. As we pulled up to the derelict gateway, a sign read Ho T uy T en after the letters a, h, and I decided to abandon the place similar to the customers and staff. At the gateway also sat a man on a plastic chair beside a barrier, charging entrance to the park albeit a clear illegitimate scheme.
There is a way to gain entry to the park without the admission fee however. Keen to add a little extra excitement and exploration in to our adventure we decided to explore the surrounding roads to discover this somewhat secret passageway.
We discovered that there is indeed an entrance through a field on the east-side of the lake. Accessible by way of turning right at the fork in the road (where the official entrance is down the road to the left), and then taking the first left.
Maps say the road is a dead end, but in reality, the road gives way to a dirt track leading through field and into the park. There are no barriers, fences or signs to say you cannot do this (if you’re concerned).
Descending a small hill onto the lakeside, we first discovered a small performance amphitheater with a pool inside – now green and dark with algae and vegetation. We spent some time here inspecting the rooms and seating areas. All the while being stared upon by the cows grazing outside the fenced arena.
The structure had various rooms displaying a tonne of graffiti – some artistic, some not – and you can definitely tell where the kitchen used to be as well as the toilets – not such a pleasant discovery.
The next structure which drew our attention was further around the lake, following the path on our bikes. We came across a small child’s area inclusive of a water-play-area along with slides, fountains (long since broken), and larger spiral slides which finished in a larger pool of dark green, stagnant water.
Scaling the larger slides from the bottom to the top was pretty fun. The view at the top certainly gives the impression of nature taking over what was once hers.
The abandoned children’s pool
Nature taking-over the creations of man
A short ride through the treeline then took us to the main attraction; a giant concrete building carved in the form of a dragon! Within the dragon sat a dark, damp aquarium littered with the shattered glass of the water tanks, used previously to house a variety of sea-life.
This eerily quiet and unnerving place is the rumored home of the crocodiles (ill leave you to discover the truth for yourself), and as at this point I was alone – the others had progressed without me as I had ridden my bike around the dragon a few times – I decided I best catch up with the others.
Exit from the over-grown aquarium
I found my friends at the top of a stairwell (designed to convey the inside of the dragons carkus) and looking out high above the lake as they stood within the mouth of the inanimate mythical beast. The view from here is spectacular and you can really spend some time taking it in.
Descending through the dark skeleton of the Dragon
We made it in to the mouth of the beast!
This little excursion for the day is definitely recommended as it gives a surreal feeling and a look into what the future our planet could look like. Providing great prompts for your imagination to run away with itself, as well as a sense of bewilderment and curiosity.
The current lack of a crowd also makes you feel as if you could be amongst the first people to wander into this mysterious place, often only known through word of mouth.
Jack Graves is a keen, enthusiastic traveler who enjoys discovering places and experiences a little different than the norm. He aims to provide entertaining and inspiring stories as well as informative advice in order to encourage people to take-on their own adventures which always encompass the experiences-of-a-lifetime.
Not too long ago, travel and adventure meant going out of your small town (be it even to the nearby woods). You left the comfort and safety behind and took significant risks, especially if you traveled solo.
Today, numerous travel niches have become popular, each with its own tourism appeal and unique perspective that it offers.
In this post, I will list the major types of travels that I consider to be broad enough to deserve a mention as a travel niche. These tourism niches have big enough market demand to sustain as an independent category on their own.
Travel Niches & Trends
Adventure Travel – Adventure tourism is the fastest growing and biggest travel niche today
Genealogy Tourism – tracing or returning to your roots
Jungle Tourism – traveling and camping in the deep and remote jungles
Underwater Tourism – exploring the marine life and ocean through Scuba, Snuba, Snorkeling
Shark Tourism – seeking underwater thrills & shark encounters across the globe
Rural and Village Tourism – countryside relaxation
Astronomy Tourism – visiting sites that provides excellent views of the stars and night sky
Inner city Tourism – exploring your own town or city in great details
Weekend Tourism – traveling every weekend (mostly nearby attractions)
Ghetto Tourism – traveling & exploring the living conditions in slums and ghetto
Deviant & Sad Trends
A beautiful ruin
I was debating at first whether to lost the following sad trends or not? Listing them will give them more exposure, so at first, I thought I will leave them out. But then I thought, these trends are actually growing (financially speaking) so closing my eyes to these problems will not help solve these issues.
The best thing I can do is to use this platform and bring public awareness about these. Some of these may sound harmless or even exciting (drugs and sex for example), but please understand that both drugs and sex causes overall more damage, deaths, and harm to innocent lives (including children).
The best way you can help is first by not participating in them and therefore cutting off the financial incentive. Second, you can be aware that these problems exist and thus help to spread the word. (Fact: Even in Prague or Amsterdam, most of the girls working in the red light district are there against their will via deception, bribery, and manipulation.)
Drug Tourism – mostly illegal and unsafe, please use common sense
Sex Tourism (Male, Female, Trans) – again, please use common sense. Do not do anything that hurts other humans
Dark Voyegeristic Tourism (Underground shady fights, deaths, & stuff) – please do not support or fund this industry by partaking in it. Anyone can be the next innocent victim of it
War & Disaster Tourism – visiting sites with tragic past for pleasure (War, disaster, & genocidal sites, Nazi camps, etc.)
Suicide Tourism (Important: if you are feeling suicidal, know that you’re not alone and confidential help is available for free. Please seek help. US Helpline | HelpGuide | Resource Center)
*Hunting is a personal choice. It’s a complex issue and would need an entire blog to discuss the various impacts and issues surrounding it. If you are not a hunter, please do not partake and support this industry.
As a starting point, please follow the first rule of life, do not kill life unless it is for your own or your family’s survival and safety. Also, the above category is about hunting the big animals (man of them endangered and at the point of extinction).
The Philippines, with its 7000 plus islands, has a LOT to offer foreigners and locals alike. Located on the Pacific Rim in Southeast Asia, the country is shaped by its geography, giving rise to diverse and unique wonders.
Needless to say, naming just the 10 best spots is almost an impossible task. ALMOST. The places below certainly demand commendation and are very well-deserved of special mention.
Ranked by several travel magazines as the best island in the world, Boracay is a right mix of leisure and excitement. While the white-sand beaches are considered ordinary in the Philippines, Boracay stepped it up with its powder-fine white sands, pristine waters, and serene view. Boracay is also known for its energetic nightlife with parties that last till dawn.
Imagine a lagoon with crystal-clear, blue water, white sand, colorful fishes, amazing rock formation, and green all around. That is El Nido, another highly acclaimed island in the Philippines that has starred on several international TV shows and movies.
Coron, another land-before-time paradise in the Philippines, is considered as one of the best scuba diving sites in the world. 10m to 40m below the waters of Coron reveals a dozen sunken Japanese warships and vibrant coral reefs.
Siargao is the surfing capital of the Philippines and is famous for its huge Pacific swells and thick, hollow tubes. There are also isolated beaches and unspoiled lagoons for a much-needed rest in between surfs.
One of the best representation of the Philippine culture is probably the Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao. The 2000-year old hand-carved rice fields at the sides of several mountains were long declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Vigan is another UNESCO World Heritage Site that depicts the remnants of the Spanish settlement. From the cobblestone streets to the colonial mansions and the horse-drawn carriages, Vigan is a stunning throwback to the 16th-century Philippines.
Located at the northernmost part of the country, Batanes is known as the “Home of the Winds” and offers a completely different landscape with its rolling hills, jagged mountains, stone houses, green pastures, and rugged cliffs.
Wanna climb the highest peak in the Philippines? Mount Apo in Davao is also the home of 272 bird species including the monkey-eating eagles. Considered as one of the largest eagles in the world, standing over 1m tall, the monkey-eating eagle is also the country’s national bird.
Albay shows off the most active volcano in the Philippines, the Mayon Volcano, which is also widely lauded for its 8000-feet of a perfectly symmetrical cone. Adventure awaits in riding an ATV up its slopes and lava front to the Ruins, where you can see the bell tower of a buried 16th-century church.
Last, but not least, is surreal Bohol. Its awe-inspiring Chocolate Hills, composed of 1200 hills, turn especially brown during summer and look like a spread of giant chocolate mounds. You can also find the smallest living primate in Bohol, the shy tarsiers, which are equally a sight to behold.
These 10 spots in the Philippines are sure to satisfy your wanderlust and invigorate your spirit. They should be on your radar and your bucket list.
Offering refuge, tranquility, inspiration, and adventure, the country is definitely aptly described by its tagline, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines!”
Summer is the hot weather usually comes after every spring in India. High temperature and sweating make the days and night tired and sluggish. So everybody is looking to visit some cool place to spend some time and beat the heat.
The destination like the Himalayas, southern beaches, the western and the eastern ghats (bay) are very much preferred locations to visit in India. So, if you are fed up with the hot weather, please consider including some of the recommended destinations from our list below.
There is a way you can still chill out during the hot Indian summer days.
Summer Places To Visit In India
Coorg is an awesome place for summer vacation in India. This beautiful piece of paradise is loaded with the hills and valleys of the Western Ghats. This is most desired and visited a hill station in Karnataka. Kodagu is also called the “Scotland of India” and “Kashmir of the south” because of greenery and clean weather conditions.
It is very special place in India which attracted most of the tourist to visit and spend time in natural beauty. This place is cuddled up at the altitude of 3500 ft above the sea. It is the home for Tibetan refugees and Kodava people. The majestic environment of this hill station is ideal for trekking, photography, and revival of the inner soul.
Manali is one of the crown jewels of North India. Almost everyone in India is well aware of Manali and about its natural beauty. Manali is the hill station located in the state Himachal Pradesh attracts lot of tourist and visitors. It lies in between the Pir Panjal and Dauladhar range of Himalayas be a magnet for water streams and mountain adventures.
Most of the adventurers visit Manali to have fun of playing sports like paragliding, water rafting, and trekking. It is one of the best hub to the newly wedded couple for honeymoon too.
The many gorgeous islands of the Andaman in the Indian Ocean is full of beautiful beaches and opportunities for water adventures. If you want to beat the worst heat of the summer season then visit this seaside. This is the popular destination for summer vacations and honeymoon.
There is 52 small islands are located in Andaman out of which 36 are occupied by various tribes and local people. The historical existence of stone age culture also attracts the visitors to spend time here. This tropical area is enriched with the trees and wildlife.
Place to visit in Andaman island
Jolly Buoy Island
Kashmir is the place which do not need any introduction. In India, it is known as the “The Paradise on Earth”. The awesome weather with snowy mountains is the perfect place to visit during summer. It is also called the “Switzerland of India”.
Gulmarg, Srinagar, and Pahalgam in Kashmir is most visited and popular valley among visitors. The rides of famous Shikara and mugal garden is the most famous things to do in Srinagar and in Gulmarg the most loved gondola rides of khilanmarg are the thing that most of the visitors do.
Place to visit in Kashmir
Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden
Ladakh is the“little Tibet” in India. Known for its natural beauty and several spiritual places to visit, it is the ultimate place to visit during summer season. The large mountain range of Karakoram, snow-covered hills, small lakes, cold weather, and enchanted Buddhist crowd attracts a lot of tourists.
In summer most of the motorcyclist take adventures trip here. The Leh highway is the most famous road for thrill lovers. This is the best place to visit during summer when the fierce sun comes to burn you out with excessive heat.
Ooty is a hot spot for summer vacations. Toy trains are fun to ride here. It’s a mountainous region. So if you want to visit the place which is very good to curve the hot weather with some interesting beautiful toy train riding then go for this amazing place.
The beautiful cottages, gardens flooded with different varieties of flowers, fresh air, churches, botanical gardens, and peaceful weather charms this place very much.
Place to visit in Ooty
Shimla is the very attractive tourist site during summer. Known for its natural beauty, it was first developed into a vacation town by Scottish civil servant Charles Kennedy in 1822 as a summer home. Now, it has attracted a lot of visitors. It is the best place to spend honeymoon as well. The snow hills, chilled weather, waterfalls, and the Himalayas are the most visited sites there.
Places to visit in Shimla
The majestic place well known for tea gardens is the hub for summer vacations. The mountain range of Kanchendzonga is the most luxury and rejuvenating place for everybody. The fresh air, Toy trains, Greenery, and tea gardens look very beautiful and charming. Darjeeling is a place that radiates inner peace and joy.
Shilong is the capital of Meghalaya is one of the famous tourist sites in India. The place is enriched with hills, pine trees, waterfalls, chilled weather, and fresh air. It is the most preferred site to visit during summer weather. For exciting offers check yatra coupons.
Places to visit in Shillong
Rajasthan is the place known for hot weather and desert. Mount Abu is the most amazing hill station of Rajasthan even it is the lone hill station of this state. It attracts enormous tourist to visit during summer days. Small lakes, hills, and beautiful greenery attracts the people to visit this place
Places to visit in Mount Abu
Chill out the summer weather by visiting these awesome and cool place. These are the most preferred and visited hill stations by the tourist during summer. These places are enriched with the beauty of nature like rolling hills, waterfalls, small lakes, and fresh air.
So, go ahead and beat the Indian summer by visiting these majestic places and enjoy the magic of mother nature.