Backpacking

Guidelines for a Wieliczka Salt Mine Tour

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is situated in Poland and is named after the town of Wieliczka in the southern part of this country, where this rock salt mine was in operation till 2007.

Now this abandoned salt mine is enlisted as a national Historic Monument and also known as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978, due to the creations of many beautiful architecture and sculptures carved out of the rock salt columns.

So this place is now considered as a popular tourist spot, which is entirely built under the earth’s surface.

 

Special features of Wieliczka Salt Mine

  • This entire salt mine is created in nine levels, with the first level is located at a depth of only 64 meters below the earth surface; while the ninth one is at a depth of 327 meters. 

  • It is a huge underground labyrinth that consists of 2400 chambers, all of which are connected to one another with network of sideways of a total length of 245 Km.

  • There are plenty of galleries made in these underground chambers of Wieliczka Salt Mine, where the tourists can see marvelous statues carved out of the rock salts. All these sculptures were created by the talented miners and also some professional artists.

  • The tourists can also see the four chapels created amidst this rock salt mine and feel amazed at the beautiful architecture of these gray stone structures, which mightily look like the natural granites. Large chandeliers were made out of rock salt and processed further to give a transparent appearance like the glass chandeliers. Hence, this place is also fondly called ‘Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland’.

  •  The tourists are provided pick-up and drop-off facility from their hotels to the site of this Wieliczka Salt Mine as a part of their tour package, so that they do not need to worry about the transport for this sightseeing.

  • It is believed that the air passing through the rock salt is healthy for the people visiting this underground mine and spending some time there. The microclimate of this mine with a constant temperature of only 14 degrees is found to have positive impacts on the health conditions of the patients suffering from asthma and different allergy symptoms. There is also a private rehabilitation and wellness centre that helps in the improvement of the health of the tourists.

  • This is known as one of the oldest salt mines that have been included in the list of UNESCO Heritage Sites. It was treated as a fascinating tourist spot since the early 19th century, as an amazing Polish monument. The tourists can see the history of this salt mine and the legends related to it, which are depicted in the form of sculptures created on the walls of the underground chambers.

  • The tourists need to enter Wieliczka Salt Mine through a flight of 800 steps on the stairs that lead down to the galleries and chambers at a height of 64 meters below the earth. There are some underground lakes, several shrines and monuments till they reach 135 meters below the ground. Then they are brought back by a lift to the earth’s surface, after finishing the entire tour.

 

Hence, it is best to book the Wieliczka Salt Mine tour with any reputed travel agency and they can get a full refund of their booking amount, if they cancel their trip at least one hour before starting the tour program.

The cost of a local guide and entrance fee to this salt mine are also included within the tour charges.

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Popular Places to Visit in Thanjavur

Thanjavur is an important center of South Indian religion, art, and architecture. Sited on the banks of the River Cauvery, Thanjavur is famous for its Brihadeeswar Temple built by Rajaraja Chola in the year 1010 AD.

Considered as an important agricultural centre located in the Cauvery Delta and is known as the 'Rice bowl of Tamil Nadu'.

Most of the Great Living Chola Temples which are UNESCO World Heritage Monuments are located in and around Thanjavur.

 

Top 4 places to visit in Thanjavur

1. Brihadeeswar Temple

Brihadishvara Temple, is a popular and ancient Hindu temple dedicated to lord Shiva. This 212 ft. (64.8 meter) towering Shiva temple is home to one of the largest Shiva Lingas of the country. Built out of granite, the temple has a huge statue of Nandi and the outer wall of the upper storey is carved with 108 dance postures of Bharatanatyam. Considered as the big temple, the temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site known as the 'Great Living Chola Temples'. 

The Brihadisvara temple continued the Hindu temple traditions of South India by adopting architectural and decorative elements, but its scale significantly exceeded the temples constructed before the 11th century. The Chola era architects and artisans innovated the expertise to scale up and build, particularly with heavy stone and to accomplish the 63.4 metres (208 ft) high towering vimana.

 

2. Punnai Nallur Mariamman Temple

Popularly known as Mariamman Kovil, Punnai allur Mariamman temple is one of the famous Hindu temples built by the Maratha rulers. Built over the natural formation of the anthill, the seven-tiered gopuram was erected recently. The Great saint Sadhasiva Brammendra swamy shaped the white-ant hill into a form of Mariamman and also installed a powerful Chakra.

 

3. Schwartz Church

Schwartz Church is one of the important old structures in India that were built during the British administration in the country. Built by Raja Serfoji in 1779 to honor the Danish missionary Reverend Frederick Christian Schwartz. Also known as Fort Church, the main attraction is the white marble monument and is noted for its intricate carvings depicting the final moments of Schwartz.

 

4. Thanjavur Palace

The Thanjavur Royal Palace is one of the ancient palaces in Thanjavur constructed by the Nayakas around 1550 CE. Also known as 'Aranmanai' and Maratha Palace, the palace hosts a myriad of primeval items including the Thanjavur paintings, statues from the Pallava, Chola, Pandiya and Nayaka periods. Divided into two parts, where the first part followed by Saraswathi Mahal Library is extended by Maratha rulers and it houses Royal Museum, Maratha Darbar Hall and Sangeetha Mahal. It is also one of the top places to visit in Thanjavur.

 

Search for transport in Thanjavur and accommodation in Thanjavur.

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Why Responsive Tourism is Key to Saving the Gorillas in Uganda & Rwanda

Mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda has tremendously turned to be one of life’s bucket list wildlife encounters.

Responsible tourism par say comprises of conservation, preservation, maintenance and the protection of wildlife and their habitat. Promoting this kind of practice in Africa’s jungles, where these tremendous primates are kept, will in turn help to increase not only their population but also other wildlife species in the wild.

Around the 1970s, there were only 400 mountain gorillas in the whole world. Because of escalated interest in the conservation and gorilla tourism in the 1980s and 1990s, an increase in population of these critically endangered species was realized and currently, there are nearly 900 that are protected in the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The increase in the mountain gorilla’s population is an indicator that responsible tourism plays an important role in the conservation and protection of these critically endangered species and their habitat.

 

Gorilla tracking as a fund raising tool

Gorilla tracking has not only become an important fund raising tool, in Uganda gorilla tourism contributes nearly 80% of the national wildlife authority’s general budget which also funds most of the country’s wildlife and habitat conservation throughout the year.

Today, mountain gorillas have become a valuable commodity in many local communities around national parks and governments at large. These humble creatures offer a lot more required financing for local infrastructure and job creation not only on a local level but also a national level as well as boosting the countries’ tourism sector. It is this revenue that governments raise from sustainable or responsible gorilla tourism in either Uganda or Rwanda that is used to finance various conservation projects such as anti poaching patrols and critically it makes the local communities to get aware of the economic value of that is derived from these world’s endemic species.

It is also one way that trekkers and other travelers around the world show off their passion, dedication and above all act as vocal advocates of conservation of world’s critically endangered species in their home countries.

 

Gorilla trekking for responsible tourism

Whereas a typical trekker’s major goal is to view mountain gorillas in the wild, in most cases they also end up traveling to more other national parks or exciting attractions in and around the region. Tourism has turned out to be the main player of national economy in respective countries. The Rwanda Development Board revenue has nearly doubled for the past 5 years and tourism accounts for 7.8% of the country’s GDP. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on the other hand estimated that every mountain gorilla generates $1 million in Uganda annual revenue based on the fact that these primates are not killed in the course of the year.

In addition, poachers are not usually after mountain gorillas as most wire snares might only be targeting the small animals, like duikers, but unfortunately the gorillas also get trapped in the course of the day. In 2013, the gorilla doctors, a veterinary group that offers mountain gorillas with medical care in Rwanda, Uganda and DRC, carried out 4 medical interventions on mountain gorillas that were trapped in wire snares. One of which was for a juvenile male mountain gorilla known as Kajeyo. The trackers had seen the wire snare covered around this young primate’s arms when they visited the gorilla family with visitors the day before. The operation on Kajeyo was successful unlike other mountain gorillas that rarely survive snare injuries. In the previous years, there were over 1200 snares that were and destroyed in the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and this still remains as a main threat to these creatures.

Political unrest is another critical factor. Gorilla Trekking Tours in Uganda and Rwanda tours are unstable unlike DRC where political instability has inflicted not only gorillas and their habitats but also the local communities that have been displaced while others have lost their lives.

 

Health risk and growth rate for the gorillas

Also, health risk to these tremendous species has escalated due to increasing gorilla tourism. Mountain gorillas share nearly 98% of their genes with humans making them the most susceptible creatures to most of human infectious diseases. However, there are strict gorilla trekking rules and regulations which include, among others, a minimum distance of 7 meters and restrain any visitor from trekking these endangered species especially if such a person has transmittable illness. At times certain situations are unavoidable say for instance a gorilla approaches a tourist and gets in contact, you may be asked to step back but at that moment you won’t run away from contact.

More still, it appears there is a surprising relationship between habituated gorillas and the highest growth rate of these species. It is believed that the annual growth rate for habituated gorillas in the Virunga for instance is more than 5 times that of the unhabituated gorillas. This tremendous growth is attributed based on the fact that habituated gorillas have higher chances of benefiting from strict conservation practices like medical interventions unlike the absolutely wild mountain gorillas that are a bit difficult to treat when they are sick, injured by one another. Whereas habituated gorillas can be more vulnerable to human infectious diseases, they also have higher chances of healthy population growth.

Climate change has also continued impacting on the growth of these remarkable species since many farmers look for land at higher altitudes and this threatens the gorilla habitat. It is estimated that the growing conditions for specific crops after century will have increased to nearly 700 meters in altitude which indicates that there will be more demand for land on higher mountainous slopes of Bwindi or Virunga.

 

In conclusion, the survival of mountain gorillas is a significantly critical factor for both local and national economies. The threats that impact on the survival of these species in the world are ever on increase and the only way to save them from extinction is through responsible gorilla tourism.

At the end, respective national parks will also be well protected and many wildlife safari dwellers can be attracted into the destination to enjoy authentic experiences in African wilderness.

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Interesting Places to Discover in Frankfurt

Frankfurt is known for being the most important economic and financial center of Europe, for being the city where the emperors of the Germanic Empire were crowned, for being the city of Goethe and for its Fair (car, books, etc). 

Its airport is the largest in Germany and the third in Europe, behind London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle.

I, after spending several days in Frankfurt am Main, fully recommend your visit. It is true that it does not have as much history as other German cities or so many places to see, but it is a very interesting city because of its mixture of tradition and modernity, I found it a very lively city, with lots of life and with large shopping and leisure areas.

It is a small city, so practically the most touristy areas of ​​Frankfurt can be covered on foot, but in case you do not like it, the city has an excellent network of metro, train and tram that connects the entire city. The single ticket is worth about € 2.50 and there are tickets for 1 day and tickets for groups of up to 5 people of 1 day (you can also choose a rate that includes the airport). On the RMV page you can find all the information about rates and maps.

I have to tell you also that Frankfurt is a major operations center with other places to visit nearby. Some that I find very interesting include villages of the Rhine Route, Mainz, Wiesbaden, Heidelberg or Marburg, to name a few, there are many more.

 

Interesting Places to Discover in Frankfurt

Well now, after this brief introduction, the 14 corners of Frankfurt am Main that I propose are:

Train station (Hauptbahnhof)

Our most visited corner of Frankfurt. We were staying nearby and took public transport and trains there that took us one day to Rüdesheim am Rhein and the other to Heidelberg. A recommendation, you will see very strange people, but do not be scared ... hehehe.

 

Euro tower

The headquarters of the European Central Bank.

 

Hauptwache

One of the most important squares in Frankfurt. From here, the Zeil Street (Commercial Street) and you reach the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. 

 

Zeil Street

One of the most important shopping streets in Frankfurt. It is always very animated with street musicians and people walking and shopping.

 

Frankfurt Stock Exchange

It is the most important stock exchange in Germany and the third largest in the world.

 

Cathedral of San Bartolomé

The cathedral of Frankfurt was constructed between centuries XIV and XV and destroyed first by a fire in Century XIX and later by the bombings that there were on the city during World War II.

 

Eiserner Steg

Iron bridge built in 1868 and connecting the Römerberg area with the Sachsenhausen district.

 

Skyline from Eiserner Steg

Do not miss these views at night, much more spectacular than during the day. 

 

Main Tower

Measures 200 meters high and has 56 floors. The entrance costs 6.50 euros and it is worth your visit for the views, even if there is a bit of fog, as happened to me.

 

Alte Oper

Destroyed during the bombings of World War II and was rebuilt and reopened in 1981.

 

Römerberg

It is the center of the old part of Frankfurt, each house has a name and houses the City Council (Römer). It was built in the middle ages and destroyed, like other parts of the city, by the bombings of World War II. What we can see now is a reconstruction of the year 1986.

 

Römer

Building that houses the City Council. It is medieval, like the rest of the square.

 

Alte Nikolaikirche (Old Church of San Nicolás)

It is from the year 1290 and it was an imperial chapel until the 14th century.

 

River Main

German river of 524 km in length that crosses Frankfurt and that is part of its name. It is navigable so there are boats that make tours, especially in summer.

 

These 14 places are the ones I discovered, I left some in the inkwell like the Goethe Haus and the Sachsenhausen Quarter, but I did not have time for more. So don’t wait and book your flights to Frankfurt Germany now!

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Romantic Destinations in Asia

So if you have decided to spend a memorable and beautiful time with your loved one, there is no better place than Asia for a new experience and adventure.

Being the biggest continent on the planet means that there is plenty of diversity. A trip to Asia will give you the flexibility to pursue your travel enthusiasm and adventure goals within your budget.

You can visit Singapore, Dubai, Indonesia and various other attractive places in Asia to make your holiday memorable.

 

Here are five of the best romantic destinations in Asia

Singapore

Singapore is one of the most romantic places in Asia as well in the world. It adds a bit more spice to your relationship, and in Singapore you will find special moments that you will remember for the rest of your life. The places to visit in Singapore are Sungei Buloh Wetland, Botanical Gardens, and Marina Bay. Enjoy going shopping while in Singapore and taste the delicious foods influenced by the Chinese, Indian and Arab flavors. You can also enjoy relaxing spa treatments.

 

Bali

If you are in Asia you can’t miss visiting Bali - one of most popular destinations in Indonesia. Bali has its diversity and everything needed for a honeymoon couple. It includes fascinating culture, relaxing beaches and wild jungles. Make time to go on a safari in Bali where you can also see Tirta Empul Temple.

South Bali has some of the best beaches in Bali. The beaches are generally quiet and perfect for quality moments for you and your partner. For a change of scenary you can visit the less-crowded territories of Indonesia and Lombok Island, waterfalls are the attraction along with Volcanoes.

Check out our guide on where to stay in Bali.

 

Dubai

Dubai is the new attraction of the world. While the holiday season starts, lovebirds are also planning to visit Dubai for a relaxing holiday. There are plenty of things to do in Dubai for a romantic couple getaway. With the beauty of the distant desert and tall skyscrapers, the city is full of excitement and recreations that give you a great memorable experience. For its ultramodern facilities and luxurious setups, Dubai is always an amazing place for couples.

 

Thailand

Thailand is blessed with crystal clear beaches and a spectacular coastline with palm fringe, making it the perfect romantic getaway. Having the thrill of strolling on the beach of Phuket hand-in-hand with your sweetheart does not even dig deep in your pocket. Make sure to enjoy the amazing scuba diving opportunities here, along with the many other activities in Thailand. If you are desperate to have a party go to Bangla Road, Patang. Also make sure to enjoy the romantic, and really affordable, couple spa treatments.

 

Maldives

Despite it being the smallest in Asia, the Maldives is packed with things to do. Like Thailand, Maldives is also a place where you can enjoy the fun of scuba diving. Grab the opportunity to stay in a floating bungalow surrounded by nature or perhaps book a honeymoon suite in a resort. Many couples who visit the Maldives  start their journey in the capital city of Male. This is an amazing and budget-friendly place in Asia to spend honeymoon or romantic vacation with your partner. 

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Epic Vintage Stores to Visit in London

There are not many places in the world where you can find such tremendous opportunities for shopping as London.

The British capital still tops the statistics over the world's most visited destinations and the shopping is probably one of many reasons. When you arrive in London you cannot help being struck by the numerous different cultures and people, styles and personalities and fashion is simply something that brings us all together.

As a fashion designer and stylist now turning into a committed and professional writer, I needed to combine my two main interests fashion and writing. Sweet London Town is filled with pretty and mysterious boutiques, providing everything known to man. When traveling here you should definitely take at least one day to visit these hidden gems, packed with goodies from the past.

Here is a guide to some epic vintage stores you absolutely cannot afford to ignore. Bring your wallet and an open mind and be prepared to being taken by surprise.

 

Vintage Stores You Should Visit in London

Peekaboo Vintage

If you try to avoid smelly old clothes with the odour of mummies, there are a few vintage stores that are still worthwhile.

Mostly second-hand stores and vintage boutiques leave you with a cosy feeling but yet a lack of lust to buy anything because of the scent. It is a shame, for these clothes all share a story and are often in a good or even excellent condition.

In Peekaboo vintage, situated both in Oxford Street in Top Shop and at China House in Edgware Road, the entire collection stands out. If you are too lazy to get out of the couch you can also have a sneak peek at their vintage line in ASOS.com.

I assure you that the garments are in great condition and come with a trendy feeling. Silk blouses, alpaca ponchos, suede pants and cool accessories are typical pieces in Peekaboo. Not cheap nor expensive in camparison to other vintage stores and definitely worth a visit. You will certainly not leave empty-handed.

 

William Vintage in Marylebone

On appointment only, this well preserved and famous second-hand store lives a life of its own and will blow you away.

Situated in Marylebone, you should skip the usual thoroughfares nearby and head straight to the hidden treasures at 2 Marylebone Street. Inside, you will face internationally known designer brands, beautiful accessories and shoes to die for.

Forget bargains and donated second-hand outfits and stockpiles at Portobello Road or Camden Market. In William Vintage you will find haute couture at its best from Versace, Gucci and other luxury clothing wonders. Not so pricey as one would think but in case you cannot afford most of its content, you can reach the big "under 500 GBP rack" and see if there is anything you like. If you are lucky you might bump into celebrities like Amal Clooney, Kate Moss and world renowned stylist Rachel Zoe. It is also the favourite spot among Vogue editors.

 

Alfies Antique Market

Church Street offers a great deal of both vintage stores as well as antique stores. At Alfies you can kill two birds with one stone and shop clothes and antiques till you drop. This store/market is the home of 75 dealers, selling everything from jewellery, modern furniture and vintage garments and furs from the early 1910s and on.

Check out their flapper dresses from the '80s or preserved costume sets from theatre plays. Cheap and pricey at the same time, you just have to hunt through the racks to discover the treats. Across the street from Alfies you can see another epic store called Deborah Woolf, selling fantastic '60s and '70s garments at quite reasonable prices.

 

Rokit -3 Places in London

The story of this success store started in Camden Town in the '80s. Ever since the golden days it has now expanded to several stores all over London.

One of the best ones you can find in Covent Garden (the others in Camden and Spitalfields), providing you a range of clothes from the '40s and forward. The price average is around 30 BGP but there are also som expensive goods as well. I should already tell you that this vintage store is packed and sometimes you do tend to feel the scent of oldies, but if your wallet is not as thick as you would hoped, this place is a gem.

 

Merchant Archive

Head for the treasure trove Merchant Archive in 22 Bloomsbury Street as soon as you arrive in London. This fabulous store mixes vintage and contemporary pieces in an incredible environment. The vintage store is simply a must during your stay and if you do not feel like buying clothes or designer objects, you can stop by to enjoy the art exhibitions or a take a look at the books. Its growing client base is constantly evolving around celebrities, editors, ordinary people as well as fashionistas and interior nerds.

 

Even though you reckon vintage might not be your thing, then think again! Second-hand and vintage does not necessarily mean stained garments and a stinky atmosphere. Thrift shops can equally offer you a wide range of selections and give you a unique style.

You just have to go for the handpicked spots to meet your needs.

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Tips for First Time Travelers to Norway

When people think of visiting Europe, some of the most popular countries that come to mind are Italy, France, and Spain. But what about Norway?

A hidden gem bordering Sweden with a vast coastline, Norway offers travelers a unique experience.

 

If you've never visited this region, here are a few tips to help plan your first trip to Norway:

Discover Nature

Norway's highlights are primarily it's agriculturul make-up. The country has a wide variety of landscapes from islands and fjords to forests, lakes, and waterfalls

When traveling this vast region, it's important to take your time. Unlike other European cities where main sites and attractions are clearly mapped out, Norway's charm is in the fact that a major part of your experience is the journey itself.

Another great thing about experiencing nature in Norway is that many of the sites are free. You can rent a car for a minimal fee and travel around the country, seeing fjords at every turn and discovering waterfalls along the way. Be sure to visit Geiranger where you'll see both!

Did you know that Norway has its own breathtaking view of the Northern Lights? If you enjoy hiking than you'll love Norway's Pulpit Rock. Located in Stavanger, this rocky incline is designed for hikers of all abilities. And the view at the top will be well worth the effort.

If you're traveling with family you can visit one of Norway's newest attractions, the Norwegian Mountaineering Centre with the purchase of a budget-friendly admission ticket. Here the family will learn about the history of mountaineering in the region and have the opportunity to discover indoor caves and rock climbing walls. Grab lunch at the Centre's cafe. 

 

Learn the Language

This is an important tip when visiting any foreign land. It's helpful, and respectful, to learn at least a few commonly used words.

Using the native language in Norway isn't a must - most Norwegians speak fluent English. But wouldn't it be nice (and fun) to say thank you or ask a question in Norwegian? The residents will be both impressed and appreciative of your efforts. 

But be prepared, just because you're using your manners doesn't always mean you'll be "thanked" in return. Some cultures handle manners differently than others and it is not uncommon for Norwegians to neglect to say "please" or "thank you". Try not to be offended. They aren't being rude, it's just a different way of life.

 

Bring Your Wallet (and be ready to use it)

That's right - even though you can budget while in Norway, be prepared to spend some money. Oslo, the capital of this beautiful country, is also voted one of the most expensive cities in the world.

If you plan to eat and drink in one of Norway's restaurants, you'll be spending quite a bit. A great way to save is to stay at a hotel that offers accommodations for cooking your own meals. Many Norwegian restaurants offer the staples of meat and potatoes. The cuisine is not that extravagant and might not be worth spending your cash on.

 

Dress Warm

Regardless of when your trip is scheduled, be sure to dress warm when visiting Norway. The "hottest" month in the capital of Oslo is July and high temperatures only reach 64 degrees.

The country, over all, sees high temperatures in the upper 60's and low 70's. On occasion, temperatures will top out in the 80's but this isn't common. The warmth from the Gulf Stream is what brings more mild weather to this northern nation.

The best time to visit Norway is between the months of May and September when the climate is mild. If you plan to visit in the winter months, be prepared. Temperatures can dip as low as 20 degrees.

You also need to prepare for Norway's Polar Nights and Midnight Sun. During Polar Nights parts of the country are blanketed in darkness for nearly 20 hours a day - twilight is the most light you'll see. The Midnight Sun means exactly that - sunlight is visible 24 hours a day. 

This natural phenomenon is amazing and worth seeing, so be sure to check the region and how it's effected before booking your trip.

 

Consider Norway

Though it's a relatively uncommon, and costly, destination for travelers, Norway offers a unique experience. With an abundance of natural wonders and landscapes, this Nordic country is a nature enthusiast's dream.

With a little budgeting and preperation, Norway could be your next best excursion. 

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5 Fascinating Places to Visit in Kodaikanal

Kodaikanal or Kodai is a popular hill station located in the Western Ghats of Tamilnadu.

Often referred to as 'Princess of Hill Stations’, Kodaikanal is one of the best hill stations in South India and also one of the top places to experience Tamilnadu Tourism.

At an altitude of about 7000 feet on the southern tip of upper Palani hills, Kodai is blessed with picture vast plains, green blankets of gorgeous hills, glittering lakes and enchanting waterfalls. Kodaikanal offers a pleasant experience to tourists with relatively less crowds when compared to other hill stations of Tamilnadu. 

 

Here are some of the most famous tourist places in Kodaikanal

Kodaikanal Lake

Kodai Lake or Kodaikanal Lake is an artificial, star-shaped lake situated in Kodaikanal town. It is the most famous landmark of Kodaikanal & often represented in promoting Kodaikanal Tourism. Spread over an area of 60 acres, the Kodai Lake was built in 1863 by Sir Vere Henry Levinge, then Collector of Madurai.

The lake is located amidst the most calm and serene environment. There is a walk way around the lake and is one of the favourite places where tourists come for a casual walk to enjoy the beauty of nature. Boating in the sparkling blue waters of Kodai Lake is one of the most popular things to do in Kodaikanal.

 

Coaker’s Walk

Coaker's Walk is a narrow pedestrian path situated close to Kodaikanal Lake in the town of Kodaikanal, Tamilnadu. Constructed by Lt. Coaker in 1872, Coaker's Walk is a 1 kilometer paved pedestrian path running in parallel to the Club Road along the edge of steep slopes on the southern side of Kodai

This is one of the most scenic & beautiful Kodaikanal tourist places and also one of the must visit places in Kodaikanal. The kilometer long walk provides the most picturesque views of the hills, the valley of the Pambar River, Dolphin’s Nose, Madurai city and Periyakulam town on a clear day. Evenings is the best time to visit the place when the mountains are covered by mystic clouds.

 

Bryant Park

Bryant Park is a botanical garden situated on the eastern side of the Kodai Lake. Spread over an area of 20 acres, the park was planned and built in 1908 by H.D. Bryant, and named after him. This is one of the biggest parks in Kodaikanal and also one of the best places to visit in Kodaikanal. With 325 species of trees, shrubs and cactuses, the park is a rainbow of various flowers during the monsoon and winter season. A large section is dedicated to nearly 740 varieties of roses. There is a beautiful glass house and a small lake filled with water plants inside the park. 

 

Bear Shola Falls

Bear Shola Falls is a beautiful waterfall situated in the mesmerizing hill station of Kodaikanal. This is a seasonal waterfall that spouts rich, clear water from all sides during the monsoons. Its name is derived from the fact that bears used to come here to quench their thirst. This is one of the best waterfalls in Kodaikanal and also one of the top places for sightseeing in Kodai. Cascading down from a height of 40 feet, the falls is nestled in the thick reserve forest and the walk through the forest itself is a wonderful experience.

 

Dolphin's Nose

Dolphin's Nose is flat rock projecting over a wide gorge which is approximately 6,600 feet deep. This rocky hill cliff provides a bird’s eye view of Kodaikanal and breathtaking Western Ghats. It is one of the most scenic places in Kodaikanal and also one of the frequently visited Kodaikanal tourist places.

Resembling the shape of a Dolphin's Nose, it is also a popular trekking trail in Kodaikanal. One can also access the amazing Pambar Falls from here which is an amazing hidden attraction.  It is an enormous rock formation that is entirely unique.

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Three Must-Sees While Visiting Victoria, B.C.

Take a step off the ferry and into Victoria, B.C. and you'll think you've entered another land.

From the towering hotels to the breathtaking waterside views, you could spend a month here and never even scratch the surface of its magic.

I first discovered this city about five years ago. Before we started our family, my husband and I decided to go on a road trip around the Pacific Northwest. One of our last stops was Port Angeles, WA.

After a fantastic breakfast of stuffed French toast, we left our car stateside and decided to board a ferry to Victoria. While planning the trip, I'd made a point to focus a majority of our time at this destination, and I'm beyond glad I did.

Of course, there are myriad exciting and interesting cultural and historic sites to see around the city. If you're planning to vacation in Canada, consider spending a night (or two) here before you check out all the rest that the country has to offer.

 

Below are some of our favorite experiences that we enjoyed during our stay in Victoria:

1. Tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel

Since our trip, the hotel has been shorn of the glorious and magestic ivy that covered much of its exterior surface. Still, the towering structure is equally impressive and just as stunning. If you only have an hour or so to spare, it's worth a visit inside just to see the incredible architecture, soaring ceilings and luxurious furnishings.

Yet, if you have a little longer to explore, don't miss the Victorian Tea. A longstanding tradition for more than a century, the tea is held every afternoon. Celebrities, royals, digitaries, and yes casual toursists alike, have all experienced the elaborate and fanciful occasion. 

Sip on rare tea blends, such as the Tong Mu Phoenix Lapsang Souchong, or the trademark Empress Tea. Enjoy your beverage alongside homemade scones, pastries, preserves, and more. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event that you'll cherish for years to come. 

Planning a trip to Victoria around the holidays? I hear the Empress is especially beautiful during the Christmas season. Take in the lights and other festivities that the hotel offers during this time of year.

 

2. Stroll the Butchart Gardens

Don't just take the word of National Geographic and CNN, two of many media outlets that designate Butchart Gardens as one of the top display gardens around the world. Take a walk through the meandering scenery and see for yourself what all the fuss is about.

Once an abandoned quarry, the Gardens are now home to six uniquely landscaped areas that will leave you stunned and inspired. Start in the Sunken Garden, and admire the plentiful annuals and shrubbery that paint this area with incredible color.

From there, continue on to the Concert Lawn Walk. If you're traveling with small children, be sure to stop and let them hop aboard the Rose Carousel, which features more thant 30 hand-carved animals.

Other can't miss stops along the gardens include the Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Italian Garden, and Mediterranean Garden. Stop by the conservatory for a quick meal at the Blue Poppy Restaurant, or splurge on a more elegant dining experience at the The Dining Room.

 

3. Shop along the Inner Harbour

After a long day of sight-seeing and taking in all the cultural experiences that Victoria has to offer, you may want to unwind along the waterfront. 

In this case, you can't go wrong with a visit to the Inner Harbour. From whale watching expeditions to folk concerts, the harbour is used year-round in varying capacities. I can say from experience that it's especially charming in the early evening, when the sun dips below the vast array of ships and ferries. 

Though there are many fine dining estabishments within walking distance of the harbor (and you can't go wrong with any of them), I suggest Red Fish, Blue Fish. Don't be fooled by the outside. Yes, you're looking at an upfitted cargo container. No, you can't eat inside, but that's the glory of it!

Grab a classic fish and chips, then walk over to one of the many nearby wooden benches overlooking the water, and reminisce on a day well spent.

 

Go and See Victoria Today!

I could talk for days about how beautiful of a city Victoria is, how clean the streets are kept, and how polite and friendly the locals are. But simple words don't do it justice!

When planning your wintertime itinerary, be sure to add this stop to your list. While you can fly directly into the city, I think there's something so special about taking the ferry up to it. You'll slowly come upon a city so glamorous yet accessible, you'll think you've entered a storyland, and in many ways, you have.

Have you been to Victoria? I'd love to hear some of your favorite spots to frequent and what you love about the city!

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