Nature sometimes shows the splendid colours of the world and sometimes reveals the mysterious side of the world. Be that magical colours and wonders or mysterious marvels, nothing can beat the creations of nature. Here are some masterpieces that reveal the vibrant diversity of Mother Nature.
Travelling around the globe is the only thing that we as humans can do to explore the astonishing avenues that nature has hidden all over the world. This spectacular collection of flower fields and gardens will definitely blow your minds and especially the camera lenses of the photographers!
Antelope Canyon, USA
This is an unbelievable geological formation located in northern Arizona which is undoubtedly a photographers’ dream destination. Its sandstone bedrock is carved into striking curves and hollows by the violent flow of water. Simply the two sections of this uncommon formations are referred to as “the place where water runs through rocks” and “spiral rock arches.”
Bamboo Forest, Japan
There are 2 important facts that you should know about this verdant masterpiece of nature in addition to its alluring scenic appearance. One is the heavenly sound that arises when the wind is blowing through the bamboo forest and the other one is the neat and well-woven railing on the sides of the road amidst the forest that is made out of fallen parts of bamboo. This sprawling bamboo grove is one of the most highly photographed sites in Japan.
Tulip Fields in Netherlands
What else is ravishingly colourful to a camera’s lenses than the tulip fields of the Netherlands that spans acres and acres. These landscapes sprawling with rainbow like flowers can be best photographed from a plane over the fields. These tulip bulbs can be seen at their best during the spring season falling at the end of March and lasting till mid May.
Canola Flower Fields, China
This magnificent landscape loaded with fresh yellow floras sometimes gives an impression of being a golden sea with waves of yellow rapeseed flowers. Any photographer visiting these fields stretching as far as the eyes can see can capture as much of the golden scene as they like which is a rare opportunity for one to encounter. The canola season begins early March when the sea of canola flowers start to bloom.
Lavender Fields, UK and France
The glorious purple festival of Lavender begins during late June and generally continues till August. Photography in this scenic atmosphere admits the gorgeous lavender flowers is a blessing more than just an opportunity. These lands of purple miracle spans from France to the UK with billions of flowers once a year. These flowers have been used to make not only fragrances and soaps but also to get lavender honey and lavender sorbets which are worth a taste.
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Vibrant Hong Kong is a country that blends its proud heritage and culture with a colourful past. Discover the exotic here as you explore relics from its colonial years under the British and observe the customs of the lands well preserved religion. Learn of the nation’s colourful history and traditions of its proud occupants. Read on and book your memorable holiday to Hong Kong with Travel Center today.
Take on a Temple Tour
Let the soothing aroma of josh sticks rejuvenate your mind body and soul as you tour the many temples of Hong Kong.
The Beautiful Wong Tai Sin Temple
This infamous Taoist temple – Wong Tai Sin is dedicated to the teachings of the immortal ‘Wong’. The temple which is one of Hong Kong’s premier attractions is located in vibrant Kowloon just south of another major attraction – The Lions Rock. Devotees flock to the temple due to its reputation of ‘answered prayers’ and is home to many locals lost in prayer. ‘Kau Sim’ a traditional form of prayer is practised here adhering to an age old adage of ‘What you ask is what you get’, which seems to work for the devoted locals who place much reverence in the temple.
Walk around the Won Tai Sin Temple and discover other attractions such as the Nine Dragon Wall and the Three Saint Hall. The Three Saint Hall is dedicated to the memories of Lu Dongbin, Guan Yin and Lord Guan. History and architecture buffs will love the traditional buildings and architecture genius displaying typical Chinese styled coloured carvings, intricately designed golden roofs inlaid with yellow latticework and imposing red pillars.
Try and plan your visit to the temple during honoured Wong Tai Sins birthday celebration festival or the days that follow the Chinese New Year celebrations. It is quite interesting to observe how worshipers wait outside the temple just before midnight to be the first to offer incense sticks to the revered saint just as the New Year dawns. The belief here is that the earlier an offering is made the more good luck one will have throughout the year. A real treat to any visitor would be to observe a very colourful Taoist wedding ceremony at Wong Tai Sin Temple.
The Po Lin Monastery and Infamous Big Buddha
Beautiful Lan Tau Island should definitely be on your list of sightseeing places when in Hong Kong. One of the main attractions here is the Po Lin Monastery and Big Buddha. Both monuments are placed against a stunning backdrop of beautiful mountains, lush countryside’s and the gorgeous South China Sea.
The Big Buddha – the largest sitting statue in the world is an impressive bronze structure that is 34m in height. Just as impressive is the three tiered alter of worship the Buddha sits on. You will notice a number of religious artefacts are displayed on the tiers. Watch out for the traditional ringing of the temple bell which is quite a sight weighing around six tonnes. As tradition dictates the bell is rung exactly 108 times in one day.
Culture buffs explore the Monastery and its impressive architectural facades; you will also discover intricate Chinese adornments within the main prayer room.
Explore the Hong Kong Heritage Museum
The Hong Kong Heritage Museum located in Sha Tin brings together a fine collection of culture, history and art. The site based along the scenic Shing Mun River is a lovely spot in which to spend an evening of cultural entertainment.
On display are a number of interactive exhibits that showcase the country’s diverse heritage. Visitors are encouraged to hang around for artistic performances and interactive discussions which are held on a regular basis at the museum auditorium. Do make it a point to catch a performance of the infamous Cantonese Opera which is performed within a traditional bamboo house. You will love the glitzy costumes and accessories that are part of a proud inheritance from many generations of opera performers.
Historic Village of Lam Tsuen
Check out the concept of the – ‘Wishing Trees’ at the historical villages of Lam Tsuen. The much loved wishing trees are a pair of ancient banyan trees which are found in the centre point of the 700 year old historic villages. According to legend people would write their wishes on paper and wrap it up in an orange, which is then tossed into the branches of the tree. Unfortunately this act is now prohibited as a means of preserving the much loved trees. Do however visit the villages for sights of the ‘wishing trees’ and an insight to olden day traditions and customs practised within these villages.
Another must see attraction in Lam Tsuen is the historical Tin Hau Temple which is a dedication to the mighty Sea Goddess. Culture buffs will love the fact that the temple was constructed during the Qing Dynasty.
The Tsz Wan Court Temple
A dedication to ancient Chinese mythology the Tsz Wan Court temple is a labyrinth of gorgeous frescoes and lifelike statues that depict ancient Chinese tales of Gods and demons. Many folklore myths are depicted within these murals while imposing figurines of demons are depicted in startling poses that bring to life the horrifying myth of the 18 levels of hell as preached under Taoist belief. Continuing with the mystery you will love exploring the shrine reserved for spirit tablets and the ancient art of ancestral worship.
Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre
The Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre is an interesting artsy village. Located in the not so well known locale of Shek Kip Mei the centre is worth a visit if you are in Hong Kong. Workshops, exhibits, performances and colourful artistic festivals are held here on a regular basis.
Apart from all this cosmopolitan Hong Kong is also an amazing place for shopping, dining and simply enjoying the holiday vibes check out the amazing travel deals to Hong Kong offered at Travel Center.
The traveller of 2015 is seeking a genuine experience and will look for holidays that deliver on the authentic, according to a 2014 World Travel Market Global trends Report. According to the report last year the ‘peer to peer’ accommodation trend picked up in a big way with the success of such online sites as Airbnb and HomeAway. The success can be attributed to the fact that the modern traveller does not look to stay in star class luxury away from reality, but to spend less on accommodation and more on experiences. By staying with locals the adventurous traveller is able to immerse him or herself in the culture of that country. So what has 2015 travel in store for us?
It is all about the food
Looking for even more ways to truly understanding a country you visit? Then you will appreciate the new trend of food playing a prominent role. Home-cooks is a new trend where tourists can stay with home hosts or even restaurants for a fee and learn about the region through the cooking. Of course you also get to dine on amazing dishes that represent the region to the core. According WTM experts, travellers have come to appreciate that eating and sampling local food is the way to truly get an authentic travel experience of the region you are visiting. People love to take home memories that are unique and not in the normal guidebooks and feel the joy of having been part of the culture.
Hotels to hostels
2015 will also, according to travel experts see more travellers moving away from star class hotel stays and looking for more affordable hotels, hostels and homestays. This again in keeping with the need for an authentic travel experience, as people look for the best travel deals so that they can spend more on truly experiencing their travel destination. When you spend less on accommodation you have more to spend on proper exploring. Sampling the local food, using the local transportation methods and staying with a local family are a great way to enjoy an affordable and truly satisfying holiday.
Using their mobiles as travel tools
To be honest this trend has been growing over the past few years. 2015 will see more people making bookings via mobile with the WTM predicting that in 2018 this will reach a growth level of 35% using their mobiles for online travel research and to make online travel bookings. It is easy to download the latest travel apps on to your smart phone, so that you can plan your holiday while on the go. New trends also show that your phone may well indeed become your travel wallet as it reduces the hassle of currency exchange.
Travellers of today are smart and do plenty of online research before making a decision. Owing to this they are more aware of ways to make their money stretch for longer. They have come to appreciate budget travel and all its benefits. So in 2015 always look for the best airline deals which today are a great travel option, opening up new travel destination across the world for people that would otherwise limit travel owing to the expense.
New travel destination
People are definitely going off the beaten track. The world is vast and offers so much for the adventurous traveller to do and see. Thanks to the now available budget flights and accommodation and travel deals travellers are able to literally broaden their horizons and experience new destinations. Destinations such as Colombia which were once feared owing to the internal strife are now proving to be amazing holiday destinations. With more and more airlines offering flights to these once forgotten destinations such as Cuba, Bahamas, South Africa and Iceland to mention just a very few, you are now able to explore this amazing planet and all its hidden wonders.
WiFi for the modern tourist
WiFi facilities have now become part and parcel of modern travelling. It is one of the first things tourists look for when searching for places to stay. While all other facilities can be basic WiFi has now become essential for the modern tourist. This is not really surprising when you take the world of today into consideration. Gone are the tools of yesteryear, notebooks and pens and instead nowadays we keep travel blogs. We keep in touch with loves ones instantly through social media such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. And let’s not forget about Google Maps that has become essential for travellers today as they find their own way around new destinations. 2015 shows a shift towards more places offering this service free or at a very affordable rate.
Actually we saw this trend in 2014 as well. After the toll of a fast paced life, tourists are coming to appreciate holidays that help promote good mental and physical health. This does not mean simply relaxing but really taking care of yourself with professional help to get you on the path to complete rejuvenation. This is why people seek Ayurvedha holidays that use ancient treatments to rid the body of toxins, help people detox and eat well. The therapeutic massages work wonders on healing the body. In the same way tourists now opt for weight loss retreats, yoga and meditation camps as holiday options.
Holidays which give back
As humans we are becoming more and more aware of the impact we have on our planet. Modern tourists love to go on holidays they know will help them reduce their carbon imprint or benefit the destination of their choice. Many look for options where they can bike around the region or for hotels that use solar power. Better still many look for holiday options that give back to the community, where proceeds and profits are shared with the locals.
2015 has just started and you can get a head start on planning your holiday. There is so much to look forward to and so much to see and do, so start planning your off the beaten track holiday today.
If someone asks you what the largest Caribbean nation is, chances are that you will reply “It’s Jamaica, isn’t it?” Well, you will be off by a long way, because that title belongs to the often overlooked island nation of Cuba. In the North of the Caribbean, very close to the United States, yet so far away due to political reasons, lies Cuba, a nation that has a reputation that some claim is unfounded. Others tend to disagree. This is not a look at the political background of this often forgotten country, but a glimpse of a nation waiting to unleash itself on the world as the next big tourist destination.
There are many reasons to visit Cuba, but they can be categorised into four areas, as discussed in Lonely Planet’s description of the country:
A Princess in Rags
Cuba is a country that comes with a paradox – active, yet at a standstill. Visitors should expect to abandon their preconceptions and accept Cuba for what it is. Beneath the Mildew and the lagging infrastructure, behind the 1950s cars and architecturally beautiful, yet hardly maintained buildings lies a culture that is screaming to get out and face the world. Cuba has some class, and a certain richness about it, but it is all packaged in a façade that hides its true self. Like a royal princess having to wear pauper’s rags, economic poverty in a seemingly perpetually limited economy has made Cuba a shadow of what it could be.
What Cuba lacks in modernisation, it makes up in historical value. It is quite ironic, too, that what made this former Spanish colony a living museum filled with historical forts, palaces, hotels, and colonial towns is what made Cuba the ostracised big brother of the Caribbean. Modernisation never happened, as economic embargoes slapped on the country meant development was kept in a standstill for the past half a century. There is a silver lining in this story – many of the historical remnants of the colonial era are being faithfully restored. Visitors for generations to come will admire the artistry and the craftsmanship of the original builders of these magnificent sites.
A Culture of Music
Although Spanish is the main language spoken in Cuba owing to the Spanish colonisation in its past, the influences of French, African, American, Jamaican and indigenous Taíno populations are abound – often obvious, sometimes subtle, but definitely there. Nowhere do these influences manifest themselves quite like they do in the music scene.
If for a moment, you think that Cuban music has been drowned out by the influence of communism, you would never be so wrong. In Cuba, music is everywhere. Through every doorway of every street, and in the operas and the ballets, in the bars and eateries, music emanates throughout Cuba, drowning out any preconceptions you may have had before you visit. From the hypnotic drumming in a Santería Ceremony to the sounds of a trombonist honing his skills on the seawall, to the rhythmic walk of the locals as they wander the busy Havana streets, music is very much a part of Cuban life.
Cubans – a Lively People
What we have discussed above will all not be possible if it were not for one defining factor – the Cuban people. Strong-willed, resilient, survivors – however you choose to describe them, you will not be at a loss of words to do so. As the infrastructure has crumbles, it is the people who have kept the country going. A testament to this is the fact that most cars in the country were made in the 1950s, and are still running perfectly well, despite the conditions. If you need more evidence, look no further than the beaches, the mountains, the bays, the music and the landscapes of this paradoxical nation, all well preserved and untarnished. Cubans are poets and dreamers, everyone a philosopher, everyone a sage. No conversation is boring, and no rum is left untouched. All the pressure exerted on this lump of coal has turned this people not into dust, but into a diamond in the rough, waiting to be mined, cut, and polished so it could shine with the brilliance it holds.
What are you waiting for?
If you are looking for your next great adventure, Cuba is the place to go. Tourism infrastructure might not be what it is in the rest of the Caribbean, but you will find some great options if you look for them. Travel Center UK is well-equipped to provide you the best deals on flights to Cuba. Call us today, and we will be able to find you the best add-ons at the cheapest rates.
Cuba is the ultimate off-the-beaten-track destination. What more do you need?