Category Archives: Indian Ocean

Top 5 National Parks to Discover in Sri Lanka

sri-lanka

Sri Lanka is not just about endless beaches, rolling surf and eternal sunshine, there’s a lot more to this Indian Ocean destination. Its sprawling national parks are among its major draws. The unique and diverse wildlife including Asian elephants and Sri Lankan leopards attract wildlife and nature lovers from far and wide. Here are some of the top national parks of Sri Lanka:

Pigeon Island National Park

A place where you can experience beach vibe as well as exciting wildlife, Pigeon Island National Park is one of the most famous marine national parks in the island country. It is the only place in Sri Lanka to discover a variety of blue rock pigeons. The park comprises two islands – the small pigeon island and the large pigeon island; and you can spot plenty of sea life including blacktip reef sharks and Hawksbill turtle. Besides, water sports enthusiasts can indulge in excellent snorkelling opportunities offered here.

Yala National Park

Yala-National-Park

Considered to be the second largest and the most popular eco-tourism destination in Sri Lanka, Yala National Park is a true wildlife delight in the country. It is famous for spotting elephants, birds, buffaloes as well as the big cats, the leopards. You can plan a visit to the park with your family and friends at any time of the year and can enjoy the beaches, safaris, bird watching and a host of other things to do amidst its diverse landscape.

Udawalawe National Park

Udawalawe-National-Park

Lying on the boundary of the dry and wet zones of Sri Lanka, Udawalawe National Park is the third-most visited national park in Sri Lanka. If you wish to witness elephants in the wild, this is the place to be. Apart from the Sri Lankan elephants, you will also get a chance to spot other habitants including sambar deer, mongooses, wild buffalo, water monitor lizard, jackals, leopards, sloth bears, snakes and turtles. Bird watchers can enjoy spotting endemic bird species here such as red-faced malkoha, brown-capped babbler, Sri Lanka spurfowl and Sri Lanka grey hornbill and more.

Bundala National Park

Bundala National Park is a UNESCO biosphere reserve and is home to nearly 200 species of birds making an excellent choice for birders. The park is open all year-round; and most of the people visit the park on jeep tours from Tissamaharama, a town in the Southern province of Sri Lanka. The Greater Flamingo, Painted Stork and Eurasian Spoonbill are the major bird species to spot here. Reach the park early morning to start your jungle exploration, and you will have a good chance to spot crocs, wild boar, monitor lizards, mongooses, monkeys and elephants.

Minneriya National Park

Minneriya-National-Park

One of the best places in Sri Lanka to see Asian elephants, Minneriya National Park is popular among tourists for its wonderful safaris and camping. It is situated in the dry zone of Sri Lanka; and May to October is the best time to visit here when you can spot the largest gathering of the wild elephants. Plenty of scrub, forest and wetlands within the park draw huge crowds of nature lovers from all around. You will also have an opportunity to witness toque macaques, sambar deer, buffalo, crocodiles and leopards.

Five of the Most Stunning Seychelles Beaches

Called “the island of love”, Seychelles is a true beach haven in the Indian Ocean with numerous beaches brimming with powdery sands, translucent warm waters and lush jungle landscapes. Beach bums can experience the best of sun, sand and surf amidst these sparkling beaches that are known for their aquatic delights and thrilling water sports opportunities.

Seychelles Beaches
Here are five of the most stunning Seychelles beaches you can explore:

Anse Intendance

The most unspoiled spot on Mahé Island, Anse Intendance is a beach haven with perfect turquoise water, powder-fine white sand, thickly-vegetated mountain backdrop and impressive granite formations. With some of the finest waves along the island, it is a perfect place for surfers. However, the beach is not protected by a reef and thus, does not make for an ideal swimming spot. One can stay at Banyan Tree, a five-star resort along Anse Intendance coastline to experience true glamour and luxury of the Seychelles.

Beau Vallon

Situated on the north coast of Mahé Island, Beau Vallon is one of the longest beaches here with a wide bay and calm, gentle waters. It is the most popular beach in the island offering wonderful diving and snorkelling opportunities due to its clear waters and coral reefs. Here many visitors are witnessed picnicking and playing music under takamaka trees. You can also explore a number of vendors selling Creole cuisine, drinks and clothing along the crescent-shaped coastline of the beach.

Anse Lazio

Considered to be the best on Praslin Island by Lonely Planet, Anse Lazio is an ideal beach with gorgeous blue, clear waters and golden sands. It has one of the most romantic settings on the island appealing to honeymooners from different parts of the world. Ideally popular for relaxing, sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling, the beach makes for an amazing holiday spot with a picture-postcard scene. Besides, you would love to watch the sunrise here creating a magical aura that is a treat for sore eyes.

Anse Georgette

With an ideal mix of bright turquoise ocean surface, pristine white sands and tropical palm trees, Anse Georgette is considered to be second among the best beaches in Seychelles. Located right next to the Constance Lemuria Hotel, it is a small but sensational stretch of sand with lush green trees fringing its coastline. What makes this beach unique and special is it is a pure white sand stretch with no coral or rocks. Besides, the beach offers best snorkelling opportunities for water sports lovers.

Grand Anse

An imposing sand bay, Grand Anse is one of the three widest and longest beaches on the Mahé Island. It is known for its crystal-clear waters and features a background boasting lush green mountains. Visitors can take a relaxing walk along this long stretch of shoreline and delight in the beauty of the rolling waves. The beach has strong currents and no corals, making it an ideal haven for surfing. Swimming is not recommended along most of the beach; however, it is a perfect spot for experienced swimmers.

Discover the Many Charms of the Seychelles with these Wonderful Experiences

seychelles

The Seychelles is a tropical heaven in the Indian Ocean with more than 100 islands blessed with divine beaches fringed by translucent warm waters, isolated bays, terrific mountain areas and lush green spaces. Along with having a good time at the beaches of the country, travellers can have an exciting time enjoying the different unique activities here. Take a look!

Hike on the Mahe Island

Most of the inner islands of the Seychelles like the Mahe Island are made of granite. Enjoy amazing hikes on the Mahe Island and take in the stunning views of the natural beauty of the region. Mount Copolia, Anse Major Trail, Morne Blanc and Morne Seychellois are some major hiking spots here and will take you across cinnamon and rubber tree forests, mosses and ferns while presenting many thrilling experiences.

Kayak through the mangroves

The ideal way to explore the calm turquoise waters is to kayak through the mangroves across the islands. With so many islands in close proximity to each other, the Seychelles is a perfect sea kayaking destination for adventure seekers. North Island is one major kayaking destination here where families and couples can enjoy a gentle work-out, paddling in the light swell while taking delight in terrific views of the crystal clear waters all around.

Ride a horse

Tourists are seen enjoying a horseback ride on the stunning Seychelles beaches and through the captivating island forests all throughout the year. Turquoise Horse Trails, located on the west coast of Mahe Island, are extremely popular with the travellers, promising them a scenic ride through forest, mangrove marshes, and along the shores Barbarons and Grand Anse beaches.

Witness turtle nesting during daytime

You will be surprised to know that Seychelles is one of the very few places in the world where the Hawksbill turtles can be spotted nesting during the day. October and January are the two months to enjoy this scene in Seychelles. Come along with your whole family and witness these incredible events on North Island!

Enjoy Moutya dance

Moutya is a slow, traditional dance originated on the Seychelles among Creole slaves but is now celebrated all across the island. A number of hotels across the island offer Moutya nights where many traditional dancers perform this bare-feet cultural dance. The music, played usually with three goatskin drums of different sounds and sizes, during the dance performance is a wonderful treat to the senses as well!

Top 5 Trekking Destinations in Sri Lanka

Boasting of alluring wilderness, Sri Lanka is a popular tourist destination in South-east Asia inviting adventure seekers from far and wide. From easy walks to more intense treks, there are plenty of hiking trails ensuring all sorts of trekking experiences to the travellers.

Trekking Destinations

Take a look at top five trekking destinations of Sri Lanka avid hikers should not miss exploring:

Ella Rock

A lovely, intimate town with a stunning countryside, Ella is a nature lover’s delight. Ella Rock, the highest cliff in the village, offers breathtaking views of the lush green meadows and tea plantations and is one of the best hikes in Sri Lanka. It is a day hike from the town in the highlands about 1000 metres above sea level that begins and ends at the Ella Railway Station. Surely, this beautiful hiking trail presents an incredible adventure experience.

Adam’s Peak

Lying 2243 metre above sea level, Adam’s Peak is the most popular hiking trail in Sri Lanka, visited by millions of tourists every year. Also famed as Butterfly Mountain or Samanala Kanda, this place is not just a natural landmark but has been a sacred place for more than 1000 years now. The trek begins from the far end of Dalhousie Village and hikers have to climb 5,200 odd stone stairs to reach the peak of the mountain. The mesmerising views of the rolling hills and tea plantations are treats to the hikers! You can start the trek in the night so you reach the top by early morning and can enjoy the stunning sunrise.

Hortons Plain National Park

Covered by montane grassland and cloud forest, Hortons Plain National Park is an area situated around 2000 metres above sea level in the Sri Lankan Highlands. The major draw of the plateau is that it comes to an abrupt end at the World’s End, a steep 800 metre fall overlooking the countryside. Be it the short one hour trails or the longer ones spanning the entire plateau, there are a number of options for trekkers on Horton Plain. An ideal combination of misty lakes, breezy grasslands and fresh waterfalls fills your trek with many exciting experiences.

Pidurangala

Situated in the neighbourhood of Sigiriya, Pidurangala is a massive rock formation offering astounding hiking opportunities for travellers. The panoramic sight of the Sigiriya Fortress and a 360 degree view of the valley around are a treat for the sore eyes. It is advised to embark on your trekking journey at dawn and reach the top before the sunrise and start your day with a delicious breakfast at a perfect picnic spot on the top of the rock.

Knuckles Range

Situated in the Central Highlands between the regions of Matale and Kandy, Knuckles Range is an amazing adventure spot in Sri Lanka. Abundant with a variety of waterfalls, vegetation and villages, the range ensures a thrilling trekking experience for visitors. Be it a one-day trek to one of the lowest peaks or a three-day two-night expedition to Meemure, there are a number of hiking options for all sorts of trekkers here.

Top 5 Cultural and Religious Sites of Sri Lanka

One of the finest travel destinations in the Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka has a rich culture, traditions and heritage! The cultural depth of Sri Lanka is recognised by UNESCO and appeals to the senses of travellers from across the globe.

Take a look at some of the prominent sites to get an insight into the island’s rich heritage:

Adam’s Peak

Located in the south of the central highlands, Adam’s Peak is a 2243 metre high mountain capturing the attention of tourists from all over the world. It has been a holy place for over 1000 years now. The unique rock formation is believed to be the footprint of Shiva among Hindus, Adam among Christians and Muslims, and Buddha among Buddhists. Also known as Samanala Kanda or Butterfly Mountain, it is also an ideal trekking destination in Sri Lanka.

World Buddhist Museum

The world’s first international museum, World Buddhist Museum is a major attraction of the island country. Situated next to the popular Temple of the Tooth and National Museum in Kandy, it is where you can learn about the fundamentals of Buddhism and its global history. Established with contributions of 17 nations, the museum boasts of individual exhibits on each of those countries. A large number of tourists pay a visit to the museum every year.

Dambulla Cave Temple

Dambulla-Cave-Temple

Also known as the golden temple of Dambulla, Dambulla Cave Temple is one of the most famous religious sites in Sri Lanka. It is the largest cave temple in the country lying at an elevation of 1118 feet from the sea level. The temple houses five caves, three statues of the kings of Sri Lanka, four statues of gods and goddesses and 153 statues of the Lord Buddha.

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

Nestled on the edge of Lake Kandy, Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a major draw among pilgrims as well as the tourists. It is the only temple in the world with a tooth relic of Lord Buddha. Also famed as Sri Dalada Maligawa, this temple is centuries old. Besides enjoying a tour of the temple, you must take some time to sightsee around the city and take in the beauty of the place.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Sigiriya

The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’, Sigiriya Rock Fortress is one of the key historical monuments of Sri Lanka. Situated on a massive rocky plateau between the towns of Dambulla and Harbarane, the fortress is the single most dramatic site of the country. Comprising of remnants of a ruined palace surrounded by vast gardens, canals, fountains and alleys, it is an ideal spiritual as well as peaceful haven. Do remember to climb up through a stone-made stairway and witness the exclusive features of the complex that used to be the home of King Kasyapa.

5 of the Best Holiday Experiences for Families in Sri Lanka

srilanka-holiday

Sri Lanka surely has a lot to offer to the honeymooners but even the families can have many wonderful experiences here. Read on to know about some of them.

Go for White Water Rafting in Kitulgala

If adventure delights you and your family, you must make your way to the picturesque Kelani Ganga River and experience the thrill of white water rafting. You can take your kids, who are above the age of 10, along with you and have a memorable experience while enjoying the picturesque surroundings. The raft covers the distance of around 5kms; you are provided with modern rafts, safety gear and a comprehensive safety briefing by the instructors beforehand.

Take a scenic train ride

The island of Sri Lanka is well-renowned for its scenic train rides. One of the most exciting rail routes is between two hillside towns, from Nuwara Eliya to Ella that will leave you amazed. Take this beautiful ride with your family and create unforgettable memories as you enjoy the views of the rolling emerald hills and tea plantations. The train takes you through the countryside and 21 narrow tunnels.

Climb Little Adam’s Peak

A hiking hotspot in Sri Lanka, Little Adam’s Peak in Ella is the highest summit on the island, offering ideal trekking opportunities for tourists including children. This trek of 4kms takes you through the tea plantations and presents stunning views of the hill station of Ella. Besides, a spectacular 360-degree view from the top of the peak, including the beautiful Ruwana Falls, is a sight to behold.

Take a stroll along the beach

Sri Lankan beaches with their clear blue waters and sandy sunsets promise a delightful time to you and your loved ones. You can have an enjoyable family time while catching some sun rays at Passekudah Bay, become an adventure enthusiast doing water sports at Hikkaduwa or dance your night away at Unawatuna beach.

Discover an elephant orphanage

If you like picnicking with your family and your kids are elephant lovers, the Pinnawela Elephant Orphange is the perfect spot to be at! Your kids would love to watch the elephants being bathed, fed and well-nursed to good health here. They get a chance to get close to them and feed these gentle animals. The orphanage also organises many educational programmes where kids can learn more about caring for the elephants.

Street Shopping in Mauritius: 5 Most Popular Markets of this Pristine Island

Popularly known for its cobalt-blue seas, white-sand beaches and luxury resorts, Mauritius is a traveller’s paradise in the Indian Ocean presenting a relaxing holiday experience for all.

shopping-in-malaysia

Though people visit this mesmerising land for an ideal beach vacation, street shopping in Mauritius is the most indulging and exciting experience, offering plenty for every budget, from surgically carved handicrafts to nostril-tingling rum.

Read on and know about some of the best street markets in Mauritius:

Port Louis Central Market

A huge market in the capital city of Mauritius, the Central Market is popular among locals as “Bazaar Port Louis”. The market is operational since Victorian times and is where you can shop for local clothing, artisanal jewellery, musical instruments, glass sculptures and various handcrafted goods. You will find the market crowded even during the weekdays and can utilise your bargain skills to get the best deals.

Le Craft Market

Located in Port Louis close to the central market, Le Craft Market welcomes visitors with a refreshing fragrance of the scent of teak meddled with mahogany. The market houses 36 stalls spread over two floors wrapped in warm tropical colours in a cosy atmosphere. You can have a long stroll through the market and shop for colourful beach sarongs, semi-precious stones, wooden sculptures, embroidered linen, spices, a unique array of regional handicraft and cultural traditions from Mauritius, Madagascar and Rodrigues, and the sought-after Mauritian RUM.

The Mahebourg Market

A unique market in the fishing village of Mahebourg which is open only once a week on Monday, the Mahebourg Market is just a walk away from the sea and astonishes visitors with an array of colonial buildings. It is the most bargain-friendly market in Mauritius where you can buy some local crafts and fantastic souvenirs. Food lovers can try here a number of traditional dishes such as Dholl Puri, biryani, Chinese noodles and a variety of Creole and Mauritian cuisines. Besides, you can also get your hands of some traditional Indian and Chinese goods, local spices, fruits, vegetables, electronics and a lot more.

The Flacq Market

The largest open market in Mauritius, the Flacq Market is an ideal place to sharpen your bargain skills, to purchase souvenirs to take back home and to see locals shopping for their daily needs. The tropical fruits and sweets stalls in the market are a treat to watch and appeal visitors to purchase some. The market is quite busy on all days; however, it is a better option to visit on weekends. Moreover, there is no chance you’ll not buy a few t-shirts, hats, and some local tea from here.

The Quatre-Bornes Market Fair

A delightful, merry market place, the fair of Quantre-Bornes is where you can treat your eyes to the beauty of a variety of lined-stalls. Opened on Tuesdays and Sundays only, this ephemeral market is where you can shop for garments and fashion accessories. It is an ideal shopping paradise for Mauritian shoppers, and appeals visitors with its reasonable prices. You can buy sweaters and fleece clothing during winters and get your hands on some cool T-shirts and shorts in bright colours during summers. Besides, you should not miss trying the famous dishes served here such as gato-piment, samosas and gato arouille.

Holidays to Mauritius – What to Do and See!

mauritius

Mauritius is undeniably one of the most aesthetically blessed places in the world and tourists visit here all round the year. Have a look at some of the truly interesting things you can do here before you plan your trip.

Le Morne Brabant

This peninsula is situated on the windward side of Mauritius, the southernmost tip of it. The huge basaltic mountain is hard to miss. People visit here from different parts of the world; there are several interesting activities that you can partake in here, right from rock climbing to hiking.  Be it exploring the different caves here or simply lounging around on the spectacular beach, there is much to experience here.

Port Louis

Port Louis, the capital, is the best place to live like a local. If you truly want to experience the essence of Mauritius, you need to get into the skin of it. Right from the nooks and crevices of the city, to the local food joints, art galleries and museums, parks and homes; learn the local language, visit the local markets and get to know everything better.

Black River Gorges National Park

If you love nature, this is going to be true bliss for you. This national park situated on the south-western part of Mauritius, is a brilliant place for hikes and camps. There are several different species of flora and fauna that you will witness here. It’s always better to hire tour guides, who know their way around the region, so that you can have a safe yet adventurous trip. This place is home to the Rusa deer, Mauritius Parakeet, Pink pigeon etc.

Ile Aux Cerfs

One of the must-visits during a visit to Mauritius, Ile aux Cerfs is abode to exotic vegetation, white beaches, golf clubs and resorts, and spas to help you unwind and relax in the lap of nature. You can make a day long trip to this island, indulge in adventure sports, sightseeing or simply relaxing on the beach with your cocktails.

Seven Coloured Earths

These naturally occurring rainbow mountains are beyond fascinating!  The Chamerel Plain of the Rivière Noire District is famous across the world for this spectacular phenomenon. Different coloured earth layered over the years due to the rain and other geographical factors has resulted in creating this wonder, attracting tourists from all over.

Upcoming Exciting Events of Sri Lanka

srilanka

Sri Lanka is one of the most exciting destinations to visit in the Indian Ocean. Though this pearl-shaped nation is renowned world-wide for its coastal charms, the country also boasts a long list of festivals and events for people to enjoy. Here are some of the exciting upcoming events where you can experience the luxury, glitz and cultural richness of the nation.

Kandy Esala Perahera 2018

Also known as the Festival of the Tooth, Kandy Esala Perahera is one of the oldest and grandest Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka, celebrated annually at the palace of Kandy called Dalada Maligawa. The festival parade lasts for ten days and amazes with many traditional local dances such as Kandyan dances, fire dances, and various other cultural dances, a large number of caparisoned tuskers and interesting drum performances. This year, the festival is going to be held from 18th July to 28th July.

Designer Wedding Show Galle 2018

Taking place on 28th July at Amari Galle Resort in the city of Galle, the designer wedding show is an exclusive fashion bridal show calling fashion lovers from all corners of the world. Here you will get the chance to witness the stunning creations of the leading bridal designers from all over the country.

Havana Night with Chandani and C&C

If you are a party animal, don’t miss this special night in Sri Lanka! Scheduled to be held on 28th July at Pegasus Reef Hotel in Colombo from 8pm to 1am, it is a family-friendly party with an interesting Sri Lankan twist. Popular songstress Chandani and her band C&C are sure to enthral you.

Colombo Night Bazaar

Held in Colombo for two days during Hajji Festival Season, Colombo Night Bazaar is the largest night market in Sri Lanka. It is an event that serves as a platform to showcase businesses, artists, talents and local entrepreneurs, and is scheduled to be held on 18th and 19th August this year. Make your visit to Green Path after 5 in the evening and treat the food lover and shopaholic in you with over 100 food stalls and plenty of art and craft shops. Music and many other attractions add to the experience of the night.

The Facets Show (Facets Sri Lanka)

The country’s leading international gem and jewellery show, Facets is a big event being held in Colombo since 1991. It is scheduled to be held from 30th August to 2nd September this year; exhibitors, buyers and visitors can all be a part of the event. From fashionable costume jewellery to branded watches to precious gems, there is a lot you will find here. Visit the exhibition and check out the many interesting international stalls with merchandise from around the world.

Unravelling Pakistan – Top Things to See In the Country

One of the most beautiful countries in Asia, Pakistan is famous for its several historical monuments and architectural wonders. Though not as popular a tourist destination as it should be, travellers from across the world visit here and are left awestruck by the expanse of natural and man-made beauty that has history dating back to centuries. Have a look at some amazing places to visit and things to do in Pakistan.

Lake Saiful Muluk

Lake-Saiful-Muluk

It is surprising how under-rated the natural beauty of Pakistan is on the world tourism scene. People have the least idea about how extremely aesthetically appealing this country is, with its lakes, mountains and meadows. Lake Saiful Muluk is one such beautiful spot. Situated in Saiful Muluk National Park, this lake is the perfect place for picnics and boating and hikes in the surrounding areas. Overlooking snow-capped mountains, for the greater part of the year, the view is nothing short of a fairytale!

Sheesh Mahal

Literally known as the palace of mirrors, Sheesh Mahal is a fine example of sublime architectural finesse. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been preserved over the years whilst visitors from different parts of the world visit it to admire its beauty. The use of white marble and fine mirror-work put into creating the piers and minarets of this glorious place are breath-taking.

Mohenjo-Daro

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient city of Mohenjo Daro is one of the largest settlements in the Indus Valley Civilization. There have been revolutionarily astonishing excavations made here, which have revealed how foresighted and intelligent the residents of the Civilization were. Clothing, jewellery, pieces of art, ancient coins and manuscripts has been found here besides other things.

Derawar Fort

A huge Fortress situated in Punjab, Pakistan, Derawar Fort is a historical monument you must see. Built under the guidance of Rai Jajja Bhatti, a Rajput Ruler, this place used to be home to the then royals. Visit to witness the vast expanse of this structure and how it has still been preserved.

Wazir Khan Mosque

Located in Lahore, Pakistan, Wazir Khan Mosque is one of the most spectacular places to visit. Built during the rule of Emperor Shah Jahan, it is one of the primary places for worship in the country. The embellishment done on the walls, the ceiling and the pillars of the mosque are extremely beautiful. The tomb of the Sufi saint Syed Mohammad Ishaq Gazruni is situated in the mosque and people visit here from different parts of the country as well from the rest of the world.

Shalimar Gardens Lahore

This is a Mughal Garden complex situated in Lahore. The gardens consist of several water bodies, artistically designed marble sections and beautiful flora. There is also the Hamam or the royal bath situated here. It is definitely one place you should visit when in Pakistan.