Travel

Get a Glimpse of India’s Religious Bearing through Varanasi

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We all know that India is a strong advocate of keeping their religious roots intact compared to other nations in the world. If you wish to really immerse yourself into knowing how India’s religions were crafted and conceptualized and still feel the importance of it today, then planning a trip the holy city of Varanasi should come naturally. Still thriving in its olden ways, the mighty preservation of how things were is certainly an asset that Varanasi has.

This little town will take you on a trip down memory lane, and looking back at the past is quite a serious concept to Varanasi locals. Expect ancient ruins, rundown temples, yellowing pavements and the absence of anything modern here, as you’ll be subjected to embrace a lifestyle that seems defunct to the modern world.

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Location

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Specifically, Varanasi can be found lying on India’s topmost edge. Some of the known spots that surround Varanasi include the Ganges Valley, the iconic state of Uttar Pradesh on its eastern edge and the huge Ganges River. Varanasi is known to be elevated at 264.80 feet above sea level and is the appointed headquarters of the Varanasi District.

If measured by its proximity to other Indian supercities, Varanasi is 39 miles from Jaunpur, 200 miles from Lucknow, 495 miles from New Delhi and 75 miles from Allahabad.

Climate

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According to the very reliable Koppen Climate Classification, Varanasi is categorized under the humid subtropical climate. This means that the city experiences a wide gap between its winter and summer seasons. The highest recorded temperature in Varanasi is an average annual mark of 48.0-degrees Celsius, with the months of April until June as the hottest of them all.

Temperatures are observed to drop when November kicks in, stretching until the month of March, with 0.3-degrees Celsius as the coldest record. Annually, accumulated precipitation is at 41.66 inches with average rainy days marked at 51.5.

Transportation

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You’d be delighted to know that Varanasi manages to connect itself to other Indian cities and provinces via all conventional modes of transportation such as road, rail and air.

Lying about 16 miles from Varanasi’s city center is the Lai Bahadur Shastri International Airport which just recently received its international airport status. The aforementioned aviation terminal connects Varanasi to flights going to Kathmandu, Sharjah, Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyberabad.

When traveling through public transportation, you’d better know the ins and outs of the familiar Varanasi Cant Railway Station, or more popularly known as the Varanasi Junction. Certain trains with different routes run through this railway system, and the trains which can transport you to major cities around India are named the Udhna Varanasi Express, the Kashi Vishwanath Express, the Varuna Express, the Sabarmati Express and the Kanpur Varanasi InterCity.

What to See

Ramnagar Fort and Museum

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Built as far back as the 17th century, the Ramnagar Fort and Museum is a great place to visit when you want a panoramic view of the whole city.

Rich in artifacts and mementos, this museum is now home to vintage American automobiles, chairs that are adorned with rare jewels, an intriguing astrological clock and an impressive weaponry collection on display.

Bharat Kala Bhavan

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Situated within the walls of another famous landmark which is the Benares Hindu University, the Bharat Kala Bhavan is slowly gaining popularity through word of mouth and countless tales of surprise and applause. This museum is expansive in terms of the things that can be found inside, and people are commenting that the various pieces inside it are truly worth the visit.

Some of the things that visitors can drool over and explore include a wide collection of creative miniature paintings, palm-leaf manuscripts dating as far back as the 12th century, genuine sculptures and historical displays relaying local culture.

Manikarknika Ghat

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If you want to feel morbid and historic at the same time, then a trip to the Manikarnika Ghat will satisfy your craving for the weird and the quirky.

Mainly for ceremonies in cremation, the people of Varanasi highly regard this place, hence the almost-perfect preservation observed within this tourist spot. Here, the tour will be conducted by a priest, leading you to areas wherein old cremations were performed.

Images:

(1) http://hivewallpaper.com/wallpaper/2015/01/varanasi-in-india-25-hd-wallpaper.jpg
(2) http://www.zastavki.com/pictures/originals/2014/World___India_Colorful_city_of_Varanasi_069086_.jpg
(3) https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/29/1911_Map_of_Benares_Varanasi_Uttar_Pradesh_India.jpg
(4) https://littlebirdbombay.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/dsc01269.jpg
(5) http://www.aidandoyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/IMG_18155.jpg
(6) http://www.holidayiq.com/images/attractions/Ramnagar_Museum_Varanasi_9781.jpg
(7)https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/48/Bharat_Kala_Bhavan_Museum,_Banaras_Hindu_University,_Varanasi.jpg/1280px-Bharat_Kala_Bhavan_Museum,_Banaras_Hindu_University,_Varanasi.jpg
(8) http://travelersguideindia.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/manikarnika-ghat-varanasi.jpg

See More:

Varanasi – Lonely Planet
https://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/uttar-pradesh/varanasi

Varanasi Tourism – Travel to Varanasi – Varanasi India
http://www.varanasicity.com

Paul Intalan

Get a dose of the yesteryears at Fenghuang

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There is more to Fenghuang than the majestic beauty of the nature that surrounds it. Hailed as a Phoenix city of China, the evolution of the city from a mountain city to one of the country’s biggest tourist destinations is due to the preserved culture that emanates from the city in an effortlessly impressive manner.

Aside than the nature found here, get a little more intimate by taking a trip to some of its famous tourist attractions that schools visitors about the town’s heritage and culture.

Location

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The ancient town lies under Hunan province in the country of China. What makes this town exceptional is the preservation of the olden culture from art, traditions and architecture that make up Fenghuang.

The natural beauty mixed with interesting ethnic culture makes it a standout that attracts travelers from all over the world. Become cultured by setting foot in a town that serves as your gateway to the past.

Climate

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Climate in Fenghuang is classified as subtropical monsoon humid. There are four distinct seasons that attributes to a good amount of sunshine and ample rainfall.

The average annual temperature is 12 degree Celsius. July is considered to be the driest month while January is known to be the hottest.

Transportation

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Those who will travel internationally should book a flight to neighboring cities such as Huaihua or Zhangjiajie. From there, arrange a connecting trip to Fenghuang, wherein the most advisable way is by bus.

Those who will come from other cities are also suggested to take a bus as most of them pass by Fenghuang. There is no railway in town but those who will come across Jishou or Huaihua can travel via train and resort to riding a bus to reach the city.

Attractions

Huang Si Qiao Castle

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Formerly called as Feiyang Castle, what makes this attraction exceptional is the fact that it is made of bluestones put together by sticky rice and cornstarch.

The scientific wonder behind this architecture is the fact that it is sturdy enough to have withstood the long period of time since it was founded.

The castle was originally built as a representation of the firm government against attempt rebellion of the Mioa ethnic tribe.

South Great Wall

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This is the Great Wall’s version in the southern part of China. Created by the Ming and Qing dynasties, the main purpose of this 190 kilometer-long division is to set territories between the minorities residing around the southern part of the country including the Miao ethnic group.

The former military defense station is now a heritage site that embodies the history of not only the city, but also of the country as a whole.

Shanjiang Miao Village

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This ancient town hosts the culture cultivated by the past that was able to survive even until the modern times. This is where the impressive Miao culture can be seen.

The ethnic group that was suppressed by China’s past dynasties proved that they are stronger than the attempts of abolition as they remained sustainable which is considered as a gift to the present generation. See their traditions and cultures as displayed in their houses, traditions and art.

Images:
(1) http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-qB6dcaHLpR8/TjBMfmZ7-UI/AAAAAAAAOoE/k9UJYDvAT0s/s1600/AAL13625.JPG
(2) http://www.chinatouradvisors.com/UpLoad/Maps/Hunan-Map/Fenghuang-Map/Fenghuang-Tourist-Map.jpg
(3) http://stuckincustoms.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-5VcxbCX/0/900×613/The%20Lonely%20Boater%20-%20China-900×613.jpg
(4) http://live-less-ordinary.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Bus-Station-Leaving-Fenghuan-Phoenix-Ancient-Town.jpg
(5) http://www.shanxichina.gov.cn/en/public/images/index/inimg4.jpg
(6) http://www.xintyan.com/ChinaSep2012/dsc01371.jpg
(7) http://images2.mygola.com/southwestern-china_9274074_l.jpg

See More:

Fenghuang Attractions:
http://www.chinahighlights.com/fenghuang/attraction/

Phoenix Ancient Town (Fenghuang):
http://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/hunan/zhangjiajie/fenghuangcheng.htm

Aira Algado

Experience Taiwan’s Latest Offering for Travelers: Tamsui District

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Tamsui has never been a hot destination in Taiwan until 1998 when the MRT line was extended to touch the historic ends of this town. Since the nation that it belongs to is quite small in size, Tamsui has been regarded as a sweet escape from the city even though it is not that far from the metropolis.

Cutting past thick shrubs and sturdy mangroves, Taiwan has opened new possibilities for Tamsui to be a tourist destination.

Tamsui is now a bustling town full of beauty, promise and enjoyment. If you want to get away from the crowded city center, then get a train ride to this modern paradise where nature and development meet. Be amazed with all the foreign influences preserved in Tamsui, all the while marveling at towering mountains, volcanoes and thick greenery.

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Location

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Known to be a part of the recently established New Taipei City, Tamsui is strategically located at the topmost part of Taiwan. Due to its close proximity to the famous Tamsui River, the city has served its purpose of being a passageway for the country’s booming commerce.

Hailing its name from a word that means which is ‘fresh water’, Tamsui has been inhabited by a total of 162,441 residents since January, 2016.

Climate

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Many tourists have commented that one of the best parts of staying in Tamsui is the well-balanced weather brought about by the town’s position in the globe.

Since it faces a huge body of water, the direct heat of the sun is toned down by the strong, cold winds coming from the Tamsui River, making it perfect for a day outdoors or a beach escapade.

Transportation

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One of the main modes of transportation that connects Tamsui from all over Taiwan is the Tamsui Station. Recently opened, the Tamsui Station caters to as much as 77,000 passengers daily and is located specifically in Zhongzheng Road.

Using the Tamsui Station will let you see other points of interest within the town such as the Danshui Old Street, Tamsui Customs Wharf, Fort Santo Domingo, Tamsui Church, Drop of Water Memorial Hall, Tamsui District Office and the Tamkang University.

What to See

Yinshan Temple

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Constructed in 1872 by Hakka immigrants, the Yinshan Temple is a landmark in Tamsui that you wouldn’t want to miss out on. The Yinshan Temple takes part in Tamsui’s rich heritage and homage to worshipping gods, emperors and queens.

Be mesmerized by the intrinsic architecture that this landmark has in store, and be informed of some temple customs and traditions once you’ve taken the short tour inside it.

Maritime Museum

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One thing you’ll immediately notice in the Maritime Museum is its ocean liner shape, which is extremely appropriate to what can be found inside. This four level museum is home to a wide array of nautical artifacts and essentials, which are quite important to Tamsui’s roots as a town near a huge body of water.

Specifically, the Maritime Museum is located at the infamous Tamkang University campus and here, you’ll be exposed to a wide array of maritime displays like steamers, frigates, carriers and aircraft all frozen into replicas and models.

Tamsui Art and Culture Park

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Due to the influences of Dutch conquistadors, there were several buildings and structures constructed during their colonization period in Tamsui. One of these is the Royal Dutch Shell. Over time, this once wondrous edifice has lost its use and was later converted to be the home of the Tamsui Art and Culture Park.

Now bustling with Tamsui’s most creative minds, the park is dedicated to showcase local talents through changing exhibitions and displays. Also, a small cafeteria has been set up for the growing number of tourists visiting this destination.

Images:

(1) https://lifetoreset.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/p1010816.jpg
(2) http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8483/8190098551_005fe2d750_b.jpg
(3) http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-02g0pX6l84k/Tq-EXkoeCXI/AAAAAAAAH1Y/g2r-FWl0h6Q/s1600/IMG_7092.jpg
(4) http://www.alectravelguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/fisherman-wharf_20.jpg
(5) http://eatthewind.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/PA041016-1024×768.jpg
(6) http://www.fattrips.com/uploads/5/7/7/5/57755899/2637146_orig.jpg
(7) http://enweb.culture.ntpc.gov.tw/userfiles/New1387.jpg
(8) http://www.fattrips.com/uploads/5/7/7/5/57755899/6963872_orig.jpg

See More:

Taiwan Travels: A Day in Danshui/Tamsui
http://howibecametexan.com/2013/01/19/taiwan-travels-a-day-in-danshuitamsui-淡水/

13 Things to Do @ Danshui, Taiwan – Always Travelicious
http://alwaystravelicious.com/2015/07/07/danshui-taiwan/

Paul Intalan

Be in The Middle of Growing Lilongwe and Be Impressed

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You’ll definitely trade the tranquil life for a beach club or a mountain trail when you get to know more about Lilongwe. Hundreds of business establishments line the streets and it feels just like New York in a Malawi setting.

Be delighted to know that Lilongwe also is home to several public markets that might drain your finances due to the variety of culture seen in their local products. Furthermore, satisfy your culinary cravings and taste the way Lilongwe residents cook via endless strips of fine restaurants that will surely placate your hunger.

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Despite the seemingly chaotic community that lies within, Lilongwe managed to preserve some of its beautifully structured ministries, embassies and shrines while keeping up with the growing demands of the world economy. Truly an interesting place to visit, get in touch with old monuments and the modern fancies of Lilongwe, a city of ambivalence and excitement.

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Location

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The whole of Lilongwe lies on the Central Malawi plateau and along the famous Lilongwe River. If you look at it on a map, the city is an elongated patch of land which forms part of the East African Rift Valley.

Lilongwe also borders two African nations which are Mozambique and Zambia and is currently populated by almost 1.1 million inhabitants. Lilongwe is also said to be subdivided into two parts which are named as the New and the Old City.

Climate

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Due to Lilongwe’s altitude of 1,050 meters, it is classified to be under the humid subtropical climate that borders on the subtropical highland type according to the Koppen Climate Classification. This type of climate equates to mild and breezy winters with pleasant and balanced summers. Throughout the year, Lilongwe experiences long dry summers and hot spells with a much-awaited wet season that runs from December to March.

Before the rainy season, the hottest temperatures are said to be observed in September to October that can go as high as 36-degrees Celsius. Furthermore, a whopping 8.27 inches of rainfall comes in the first quarter of the year.

Transportation

The main aviation entry point for Lilongwe is in Kamuzu International Airport, which is specifically located in the city’s northern region. Only specific flights are catered by this airport including Johannesburg, Nairobi, Lusaka and Addis Ababa with selected domestic inter-flights to Blantyre.

The airline carrier that serves passengers is the Malawian Airlines. If you want to get in and out of Lilongwe, regular bus trips are also available which connects the city to the neighboring towns of Mzuzu, Kasungu and Zomba.

Train

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Also, if you wanted to be transported by a railway system, Lilongwe has trains to Zambia and Solima as destinations for its west and east lines respectively.

What to See

Lilongwe Wildlife Centre

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Summing up to a vast 180 hectares of wilderness and protected wildlife perched between the Old and New Town is a cistern called the Lilongwe Wildlife Center.

Like the safari-inspired scenes seen in movies, setting your feet within the realms of this complex will need a caged vehicle, which would not put you in a place to see the animals per se. Thus, there are animal enclosures for you to see domesticated animals collated and currently cared for.

Kamuzu Mausoleum

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Located in Heroes Acre, feel the valor and dignity of Malawi’s first ever President, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, and be astounded by how beautifully his mausoleum was built. Aside from the fact that you’ll be able to pay respect to the remains of Dr. Banda, you’ll also be treated to a historical venture through the library and research center found inside.

Tobacco Auction Floors

A worker at Boka Tobacco auction floors displays some of the tobacco crop, in Harare, Zimbabwe, Tuesday May 14, 2013. The country's tobacco selling season kicked off in February and to date tobacco worth over $400 million dollars has been sold to buyers mostly from China and the European Union.

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As what the name suggests, the Tobacco Auction Floors is where commerce, trade and the pumping economy of Lilongwe rest on. Visit the Auction Holdings warehouse just a good seven kilometers away from the city center and find your way through an assortment of locally produced goods and souvenirs.

Parliament Building

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After you visit the Kamuzu Mausoleum, get in touch with Lilongwe’s administrative seat of power by going on a sidetrip to the Parliament Building. Just recently completed, be amazed by how the granite stone and marble floors give-off a very serious yet enchanting ambiance to this government office and be acquainted to how the leaders of Lilongwe craft development for its people.

See More:

Lilongwe | Malawi Tourism | Malawi Safari | Malawi Attractions
http://www.malawitourism.com/pages/attractions/the_attraction.asp?AttractionsID=13

Lilongwe – Useful Information about Malawi’s Capital City
http://www.kumbalilodge.com/lilongwe/

Images:

(1) http://img.ev.mu/images/villes/4116/1605×642/4116.jpg
(2) https://oswildlife.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/img_0380.jpg
(3) https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/1200x/af/c4/d0/afc4d06743ec946c96faa7aed914f797.jpg
(4) http://www.footiemap.com/country/malawi/maps/lilongwe.jpg
(5) https://bamboobikeride.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/malawi-landscape.jpg
(6) http://www.journeyinstyle.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Train-over-Vic-Falls-bridge.jpg
(7) http://mabuyacamp.com/images/mabuyaadventures/large/SLNP.JPG
(8) http://world-adventurer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Kamuzu-Banda-Mausoleum-Exterior.jpg
(9) http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/shared/npr/styles/x_large/nprshared/201506/415833027.jpg
(10) http://www.afriem.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/day-38-31-1-11-quid-pro-quo-brand-new-parliament-building-built-by-the-chinese-in-exchange-for-diplomatic-recognition.jpg

Paul Intalan

Peek at the ancient city Xitang

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Discovering China and its unique culture as seen in its one of a kind architecture is like a trip through time. Going here makes you feel as if you are stepping into a different dimension that is truly exceptional. Going on a trip to this country and exploring every city helps you understand the charm this place exudes.

Xitang is an ancient town that history lovers and oriental fans would surely find endearing. The known water city was once a hub for mercantile transaction. Stepping foot here means discovering China’s important history especially from the remnants of the great Qing and Ming dynasties. So prepare your eyes to be left in awe as Xitang unfolds its own beauty that makes it an interesting place for your next vacation.

Location

The captivating town is found in Zhejiang Province in Jiashan County. There are a lot of antiquities that can be found here. The history can be traced back to the Spring Autumn Period, dating 770 BC – 476 BC.

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Adorned by the beauty of nature and the rivers that surround it, the town is a picturesque view and a total must-see. Its allure even made it one of the places featured in the famous film Mission Impossible III.

Climate

Climate in the town of Xitang is classified as semitropical monsoon. Manifested by four climates, going here in any month of the year will let you see different facades of the place that are apparent in each season.

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The average temperature per annum falls between 15.5 – 15.8 Celsius. Sunny days last to up to 2,000 hours.

Transportation

Going to Xitang from different cities in China is accessible via bus rides. From Shanghai, travelling to this town can take up to one and a half hours.

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Those who will come from Hangzhou can either take a bus or a fast train through the Hangzhou East Railway Station going to Jiashan Station.

Attractions

Bridges

Travel above the abundant bodies of water that hug this town. Due to the amount of water that surrounds Xitang, coping with it meant building bridges.

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There are approximately around 100 bridges that can be seen in this town. Each are characterized with interesting designs including rainbow and flute-like architecture.

Covered Corridors

The scenic town is dominated by covered ceilings that have served their purpose especially during ancient times. It was very useful especially for the traders who maneuvered on the edges of their boats.

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Today, these covered corridors provide a picturesque view especially for those who will be experiencing its ambiance for the first time.

Ancient structures

Its ancient lanes are other unique attributes that add charm to the town of Xitang. Do not worry about getting lost in one of these lanes as they have their own names.

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Each are have different sizes between 80 cm to 120 cm. One of the most famous would be the Sixianci Lane, which measures 236 meters.

Images:
(1) http://www.chinatouradvisors.com/members/4209/%E8%A5%BF%E5%A1%98%E5%8F%A4%E9%95%872.jpg
(2) http://english.dreams-travel.com/chinaguide/china-map/zhejiang-map.jpg
(3) http://www.tripww.com/data/upload//editor_201402111342088261.jpg
(4) http://www.tklife.com.cn/home/attachment/201104/4/19017_13019306296Z85.jpg
(5) http://www.myfavouritelens.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/china-xitang-bridge.jpg
(6) http://www.chinatouradvisors.com/members/3234/1-091222132I8.jpg
(7) http://cache.wallpaperdownloader.com/bing/img/XitangAtNight_20140101.jpg
(8) https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7512/16155946946_9f6f5392a7_b.jpg

See More:

Xitang Brief Introduction:
http://www.shanghaihighlights.com/neighbours/xitang.html

Bamboo Compass / Xitang:
http://www.bamboocompass.com/xitang-travel-guide-251.html
Aira Algado

Pristine Sayulita is Mexico’s hidden getaway spot

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Not only does Mexico serve as a lair for world’s most beautiful people, the country also champions beautiful vacation spots that will surely amaze visitors.

Mexico’s beaches may be crowded because of their popularity, but behold as the country hides one paradise that’s not as crowded as the vibrant coasts that most vacationers go to. Get to know Sayulita, the silent paradise that provides a complete tropical experience fit for some time off.

Location

Sayulita is known as the crown jewel Riviera Nayrit. The town that’s slowly gaining fame with travelers was once a fishing village that has grown into a surfing spot for those who have fondness for sea waves.

Aside from the beauty it possesses, the town is also near the hailed Puerto Vallarta which is another frontrunner when it comes to Mexico’s tourism.

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Sayulita is rich not only in beaches, but natural resources as well. Fall in love with the abundance of coasts and luscious greenery that will surely calm your senses.

Climate

The town has subtropical climate that has two seasons, warm winters and semi humid wet summers. Winter occurs between the months of November to May while summer happens every June to October.

Those who want to do some sun soaking should try paying a visit here during its dry season to get the best experience by the sea.

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Most precipitation falls in the months of August and September. You may want to avoid these months especially if your main goal is to have fun at the beach.

Transportation

Those who want to experience the beauty of Sayulita should consider Puerto Vallarta as starting point. Tourists who will travel via air must land at Puerto Vallarta’s airport then hail a cab or a bus to reach the town center.

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Travel from Puerto Vallarta should not take long as it will only last for less than an hour.

Attractions

The Beach

Sayulita is known for its pristine beaches. The beauty of the blue waters and the fine sands that are good for the skin are some of the reasons why people flock here. If you aim to get more privacy, Playa de los Muertos is the place to be.

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Literally translated as ‘Beach of the Dead’, what makes Playa de los Muertos even more interesting is the fact that it is near a cemetery. If you are attracted to anything odd, then this spot is for you.

Jungle Hiking

The town is not only rich in beaches but with green nature as well. If getting more physical is your thing, then jungle trekking will best fit you.

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Try hiking in the magnificence of the Monkey Mountain and see how beautiful Sayulita is from its peak.

Water activities

Get the most of your beach stay by engaging in different water activities like surfing, snorkeling and fishing. Sayulita is also known as a surfing spot.

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2014 ISA World StandUp Paddle and Paddleboard Championship - Photo: ISA/Rommel Gonzales

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Should you be lucky to experience the fine waves that are found on its coasts once in a while, have more fun by renting boards and taking advantage of the inviting waves.

Images:
(1) http://www.puntasayulitamexico.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/punta-sayulita-mexico-casa-club-1500×607.jpg
(2) http://www.destination360.com/north-america/mexico/puerto-vallarta/images/sayulita-map.jpg
(3) http://www.sayulita.com/images/slider/town.jpg
(4) http://bbf3a3d1ead2d7cb910c-e45474148c03db5d88098116248d7166.r46.cf1.rackcdn.com/19/4/large.jpg
(5) http://www.bestonproperties.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/SAYULITA-BEACH.jpg
(6) http://images.nationalgeographic.com/wpf/media-live/photos/000/307/cache/sayulita-mexico-surf-town_30735_990x742.jpg
(7) http://www.playa-escondida.com/assets/img/1360×683/monkeymountain-compressor.jpg
(8) http://travelingcanucks.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/surfing-sayulita-mexico.jpg
(9) http://wakewindandsurf.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Technical_Races_Nicaragua_Lake_ISA_Rommel_Gonzales_108.jpg

See More:

Top 10 things to do in Sayulita Mexico:
http://farmboyandcitygirl.com/destinations/north-america/mexico/sayulita/top-10-things-to-do-in-sayulita-mexico/

Sayulita Adventurer’s Paradise: Activites, Recreation, and Exploration:
http://www.sayulitalife.com/sayulitarecreation.htm

Aira Algado

The Warmth and Fun Only Antigua Can Provide

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You might have heard of Antigua as a city so magical that it has never been duly exposed to worldwide tourism. Situated in the festive country of Guatemala, Antigua is its former capital which never lost its luster and magnificence amid the constant change that its mother country has gone through.

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Set upon a patch of land which experienced calamities like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and unexpected floods, Antigua still emerged as the gem that it is now and is still capable of showing how fascinating its general vicinity is.

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This city will introduce you to pastel-colored facades, the local charm that’s just hard to miss and the numerous parks, plazas and churches that explain why Antigua deserves to be a part of your travel list. Behold the magic and beauty of Antigua and look at Guatemala from a whole new perspective.

Location

Antigua, more commonly known as La Antigua, is strategically located in the middle of some of Guatemala’s biggest states and areas.

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Jocotenango and Pastores lie on Antigua’s northern edge, while the eastern tip is embraced by a place called San Antonio Aguas Calientes. To Antigua’s west, you can find the cities of San Bartolome Milpas Altas, Santa Lucia Milpas Altas and Magdalena Milpas Altas. To the southeast you can see the little town of Ciudad Veja and lastly, Santa Maria De Jesus can be found on its southern edge.

Currently, Antigua is home to nearly 35,000 residents and is regarded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its unmistakable association with culture preservation and enriching it through time.

Climate

According to the Koppen Climate Classification, Antigua is under the temperate climate which means that generally, both hot and cold seasons are evenly distributed within the whole year. Annually, the city reaches 23.51-degrees Celsius in the months of March, April and May which are the hottest.

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On the colder side, the city’s annual low temperature is at 13.16-degree Celsius in December, January and February, which are the most frigid months. Rain showers are quite common in the city with June getting the highest amount of precipitation at 9.09 inches.

Transportation

Almost all types of transportation will come from Guatemala City, may it be via air, water or land. Antigua is easily reached through the capital city’s main transportation hub and traveling to and from will never be a hassle. If you wish to get into the heart of Antigua, the most convenient way is to hail or book bus services from the capital airport with an estimated travel time of around 45 minutes.

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Once inside the city, you can deliberately scan the whole area by means of walking and never regret doing so since this is the best way for you to go to places within the city’s scope. Hailing taxis and renting cars are also suggested, but the prices might be a little bit hefty. Still, if you’ve got it all covered, then you’re free to choose these modes of transport.

What to See

Antigua Market

Located specifically north of Calle 4A, the city’s main market is such a pleasing sight during its busiest hours as you can see many people finding their way to purchase Antigua’s freshest and economical goods and produce.

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Visiting the Antigua Market will provide you the opportunity to haggle and acquire some of the city’s treasured spices and handicrafts while being immersed into the usual city life going on every day.

Cerro de la Cruz

If you want to breathefresh air coming from Antigua’s collection of mountain peaks and volcanoes, then head to the Cerro de la Cruz which will suit your needs.

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Cerro de la Cruz is a small hill that can be accessed by tourists and give you the right altitude to see the whole of Antigua and all of its fascinating sights. Be worry-free as even this remote landmark is secured by numerous police forces tasked to ensure the safety of tourists and locals all day long.

Casa del Tejido Antiguo

Founded and funded by a local named Alicia Perez, the Casa Del Tejido Antiguo is a multi-purpose tourist destination which is home to a museum, a workshop and a market to buy souvenirs.

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Within this specific hub, you’ll be delighted to know that you can create your own type of souvenir using the city’s backstrap weaving techniques and accomplish things such as head coverings, shawls and many others. Don’t fret if most of the people here speak using their native tongue as English tours are also available on schedule.

Catedral de Santiago

The Catedral de Santiago was originally erected in 1545 and has faced numerous natural disasters causing it to be renovated over a couple of decades.

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Be mesmerized by this well-protected shelter of religion and adore its very structure that is crowded with unmistakable architecture and reminiscent ruins.

See More:

Antigua Guatemala – Colonial City in Guatemala
http://www.enjoyguatemala.com/destination/guatemala/antigua-guatemala/

Around Antigua: Travel guide to Antigua Guatemala
https://www.aroundantigua.com

Images:
(1) http://i1.wp.com/snarkynomad.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Hill-of-the-Cross-Antigua-Guatemala.jpg
(2) https://mrantsypants.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/antigua_snapseed.jpg
(3) http://guatemalanguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/PhotoTours_Antigua_Guatemala.jpg
(4) http://antiguadailyphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/308121342_3c7d9befbe_o.jpg
(5) http://cdn.sandals.com/sandals/v11/slideshows/resorts/sat/media/large/slide-01-new.jpg
(6) http://2backpackers.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Antigua-Guatemala.jpg
(7) http://andreaonvacation.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Guatemala-AntiguaOutdoorMarket1.jpg
(8) http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-kVIzpQGFr9M/T3ShwvXXgqI/AAAAAAAAA8A/bJKgu8oD4Mc/s1600/antigua6.JPG
(9) https://theantiguaproject.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/img_8952.jpg?w=1200
(10) http://www.wellhowdidigethere.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/IMG_3800.jpg

Paul Intalan

Berat, Albania’s window to the past

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Berat is your chance to peek at the Ottoman charm that was instilled back in the mid-1400s. It is one of Albania’s best bets for tourism that champions the country’s heritage and culture. Be amazed by the city’s allure found in its ancient structures.

What’s more impressive is the preservation of these remnants making Berat a living memory paving way from the past’s collection of stories and events.

Location

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The name Berat is believed to come from an ancient Bulgarian word meaning white city. The city is situated in South Central Albania. It is the capital city of Berat County and lies on the right bank of River Osum.

The city became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008 due to the well preserved Ottoman houses that make up the majority of the town. As a matter of fact, due to its impressive structure, the city was named the ‘town of a thousand windows.’

Climate

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Berat is known to possess the hottest weather in Albania and is categorized to have a Mediterranean climate. The driest month is July while wettest is January.

The hottest month is August with average temperatures of around 24 degrees Celsius. Average precipitation per annum is at 128 mm.

Transportation

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The city can be reached via buses from its neighbors Tirana and Saranda. Travelling from Tirana will take approximately three hours.

There’s a minibus found outside the university and hospital that passes through Berat. Be informed that the road going to the city will be dusty, but this would not hinder the amazing view of the places you would come across as during the trip.

Attractions

Berat Castle

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Berat Castle provides a good view of the town. Believed to be founded during the 13th century, see various mosques and churches found in this beautiful tourist attraction that is located in the rocky hillside.

What’s even more impressive is the fully functional town that’s equipped with bars and restaurants, which is why tourists need not worry about satisfying their hungry stomachs as eateries are conveniently situated throughout the town.

Mangalemi Quarter

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Known as the city of a thousand windows, Mangalemi quarter’s architecture is one of a kind. Impressive due to its uniform white facade and houses made of bricks, the houses that make up this ancient attraction provide a good view of the Osumi River.

Get the best of both worlds and never miss a chance to see the beauty of Mangalemi Quarter.

Bridge of Gorica

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Founded in the 18th century, this became one of the famous landmarks in Berat. The bridge that was originally made of wood connects the city to its neighboring town, Gorica.

The seven-arch bridge measures 423 ft. long and has undergone several renovations since it was originally built.

Images:
(1) http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-lBWV0dJ3m1U/T5V4P-wh5xI/AAAAAAAADqA/_-24zQBkoh0/s1600/Berat_8.JPG
(2) http://www.infoalb.net/02conavstivit/Berat/Berat-city-map.jpg
(3) http://cdn.travelcake.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/WALK3.jpg?ff89e8
(4) http://www.2wanderers.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/150504-Albania-Gjirokaster-1-640x480_thumb.jpg
(5) http://www.rearviewmirror.tv/albania/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/berat-castle-1.jpg
(6) http://www.bikooch.com/social/imageviewer/19426
(7) http://images2.fanpop.com/image/photos/8500000/Berat-albania-8583081-800-600.jpg
(8) http://albca.com/albania/images/berat/berat.jpg
(9) https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5538/11365549114_6419eae986_b.jpg

See More:

Albanian Tourist! / Berat:
http://www.albaniantourist.com/berat.html

Albania through the Eyes of Visitors:
http://www.infoalb.net/02conavstivit/con_berat.html

Aira Algado

Admire the shape of Volgograd

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As progressive as it can be, one of Russia’s pride cities from the old world has surpassed the passing of time and was able to stay on top of its game as it successfully retained its economic glory.

Don’t get it wrong though, because as progressive as it may sound, the city remained grounded as there were still remnants of the past the people can recognize to walk down memory lane and learn a thing or two about Volgograd’s history.

Location

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The southeastern part of European Russia is where the city of Volgograd can be found. The city is between the Tsaritsa and Volgo rivers. Volgograd was established in 1589 and has changed names repeatedly. Initially, this city was called Tsaritsyn but was renamed Stalingrad in 1925.

What makes Volgograd world famous was the intense fighting during World War II that lasted for about seven months. After getting demolished, this progressive place in Russia has been called ‘City of Heroes.’

Climate

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The city is classified under the humid continental climate. This category is characterized by sever winters, no dry season and hot summers.

Those who live in the tropics should prepare their winter outfits as the average annual temperature is approximately 7.4 degrees. The warmest months are July and August while winter occurs during the months of December, January and February.

Transportation

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The city is serviced by the Volgograd International Airport. From here, riding a bus situated in Komsomoslkaya Street should take you to the city center.

Travel time is approximately 25 minutes. The city is also accessible via train. This is convenient especially for those who are coming from other Russian cities like Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Attractions

The Square of Fallen Fighters

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This is where the most important events are held. As the largest square in the city, this place holds a special memory as it is where 55 revolutionaries were killed by the Wrangel white guards in 1919 during the height of civil war.

The place is a essentially survivor as it also managed to stand after the bloody Stalingrad Battle.

Monuments

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You’ll never run out of monuments in the city. Due to the excessive bloodshed that occurred in its past, people who have performed remarkable acts of heroism are recognized.

One of the best that summarizes how deeply the city appreciates the efforts of its people is the monument of Motherland Calls.

The Heroes’ Alley

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This park also hosts its fair share of 125 monuments that commemorates those who gave their lives during the Stalingrad Battle.

Now, the place is a peaceful hub where people can relax as it provides peacefulness and tranquility thanks to the abundance of trees around the area.

Images:
(1) http://www.welcomevolgogradcity.com/spfile.ashx?id=0CYWbQOSL7pE*L2UKotAVUq8HrYIi6RCDLAo$WfRQuZm1uJZTfRTxLPmoTMtoSKQ00YVpDYGFWe2aH*KulM703uZQsOI4ZjtoHHy1cMlNAEaNlmmrMaA6U9VdybkMt5uaE9S79eSsCgZXVFxzBgzjVGYxJ7$ZSv0lpjPLKNSNlc-
(2) http://gdb.rferl.org/F31A6CAE-24D5-4548-B4B0-B01CF2622601_mw1024_s_n.gif
(3) http://russiatrek.org/images/photo/volgograd-russia-city-tank.jpg
(4) http://static.panoramio.com/photos/large/36267511.jpg
(5) http://citds.ru/img/Photo/2.png
(6) http://artinrussia.org/wp-content/uploads/original19039207.jpg
(7) http://www.lazerhorse.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/The-Mother-Land-Statue-Volgograd-from-above.jpg
(8) https://farm7.staticflickr.com/6191/6112456063_722371977e_b.jpg

See More:

Volgograd / Famous Wonders:
http://famouswonders.com/volgograd/

Welcome to the City – The Hero Volgograd!
http://www.visitvolgograd.info/Index.htm

Aira Algado

Lombok, Indonesia’s clandestine gem

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Indonesia in itself is a country blessed with lush tropical destinations that draws beach bums to travel here whenever there’s a chance. While Bali is its prime beach location, exploring a little will allow the travelers to see that there is, indeed, another beautiful location hiding behind Bali’s popularity.

Contrary to the noise and crowd found in Indonesia’s famous spot, Lombok is a more serene destination that provides a good deal of sights without the hassle of congestion. So pack your bags and ready yourself for some soul searching and a wonderful beach experience that this beautiful location can provide.

Location

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It is not a surprise that Lombok offers pristine beaches as it is an island that is part of West Nusa Tenggara. Untouched and pure, the island’s promise as a prime tourist location has not yet been discovered.

This is the ideal time to experience the beauty of the island while its magnificence and natural allure are still intact.

Climate

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Lombok has a tropical climate that matches with the adorable beaches within it. It is ideal to visit the island between the months of May and September.

These months make up the island’s dry season, which is ideal for some beach loving and obtaining that golden tan. Travelers might want to avoid the months of October until April because most rainfall happens during these times.

Transportation

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Lombok is served by the Lombok International Airport. Those who fly internationally can book a flight going to Bali then get a connecting flight going to the island through its airport. From the airport, those who do not have arranged transport can ride scheduled buses destined for either be Mataram and Sengigi.

There are also taxis available outside the airport. To avoid falling to hoaxes, make sure to only use official taxis with marks of either Bluebird or Express Taxi.

Attractions

Mount Rinjani

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Hailed as Indonesia’s highest volcano, Mount RInjani is an active volcano that attracts both local and foreign climbers and hikers. There is also Crater Lake that offers a stunning and picturesque view.

Do not be fooled though, as this lake isn’t the final stop of the whole trip. While some already stop after reaching this place, reaching the peak is another story as it provides a better view of everything around and below.

The Gili Islands

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This is a mind-blowing tropical destination due to its fine sands and spectacular waters. Secluded as it is, this destination is made up of three small islands located in the Lombok Strait.

People residing here usually do fishing as an occupation. Pay this undiscovered paradise a visit before anyone else does.

Tanjung Aan

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This isolated beach is where the high end and exclusive hotels can be found. The effort of going here is worth it as the sight that will welcome you is undeniably stunning.

It is located at the southern coast of Lombok and provides a tortoise water and waves that will surely satisfy those who have fondness over surfing.

Images:
(1) https://i.ytimg.com/vi/d6dW6TuQw-g/maxresdefault.jpg
(2) http://www.mappery.com/maps/Lombok-Island-Tourist-Map.jpg
(3) http://www.thestar.com.my/~/media/online/2013/12/03/21/07/metd_dz_0412_p14d.ashx/?la=en
(4) https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f9/Lombok_International_Airport.jpg
(5) http://www.holidaylombokisland.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/rinjani.jpg
(6) http://www.trekkingrinjani.com/images/summit-mount-rinjani.jpg
(7) https://vacationspotindonesia.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/gili-trawangan.jpg
(8) http://static1.squarespace.com/static/5372cd85e4b0bbcc0ca2de9d/53eb0dc9e4b0e9a39b751fc0/53ed6c33e4b027cf34f0a782/1408779437226/Gili-Trawangan-Island-Lombok-Pearl-of-Trawangan-Pearl-Beach-Lounge-Hotel-Restaurant-Beautiful-Amazing.jpg?format=2500w
(9) http://indonesiatraveldestinations.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/sunbathing-at-Tanjung-Aan-beach.jpg

See More:

Places to Visit / The Lombok Guide:
http://www.thelombokguide.com/places_to_visit.html

15 things you should see on Lombok:
http://homeiswhereyourbagis.com/en/15-things-you-should-see-on-lombok/

Aira Algado