Kandy, The Hill Capital – Exploring a Mountain Citadel

Be it rail or road, the journey to Kandy is certainly an enthralling one. About a three and a half hour drive away from the commercial capital, Colombo, this ancient city is set amidst awe-inspiring mountain ranges and it is not hard to see why this once mighty citadel is the hill capital of Sri Lanka. Vacations to the island would not be complete without a visit here. You can either plan an adventure to Kandy on your own or enlist the services of local tour specialists like Walkers Tours who will organise the trip for you.

The city of Kandy may cover a large area, but the main town is relatively small and can get congested especially on weekends. However, it also means that it is easy to explore with some major attractions within easy reach of the town. Foremost of these would undoubtedly be the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Right in the heart of Kandy and beside a lake, this historic attraction is where one can find the sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. Those visiting during the famous Esala Perahera (held yearly generally during July or August) can witness even more traditions and customs tied in with this scared relic along with colourful pageantry that includes street processions featuring elephants.

For an escape into nature, you can look to walk from this temple to the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary. This relatively small patch of forest was once the site of a royal park, but today is open to the public. It is a great place to spend the day walking along paths that take you past ancient trees. In the stillness, you will hear and see all kinds of birds and if you are lucky may even spot mouse deer and even wild boars. For more of nature, plan a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya which has some wonderfully landscaped gardens and trees from other countries too. It is a great spot for a family picnic or even if you want to enjoy some quietude amidst lush landscapes.

Of course, there is a modern side to Kandy as well. The town is home to a mall called the Kandy City Centre where you will find shops selling everything from clothes to electronics. Once you have had your fill of shopping, step outside the mall and take a short walk to the Kandy Lake. Amidst the shaded pathways, soak up the atmosphere of this grand city in the hills that still has a unique old world charm.

Auburn Silver is a travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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Bangkok Khlongs and Canals – Travel Around Bangkok by Boat

Many of the grand, picturesque canals that made the city of Bangkok famous as the ‘Venice of the East’ in the 19th century, have gradually disappeared over time, but there are still a few Khlongs, as they are known locally, that have survived the onslaught of modern life. Once the life-line of the city, several of the enchanting Khlongs were filled or drained in the last century, due to the risk of cholera or to make way for new modernised roads, however, there are a few that still exist today.

For travellers interested in exploring the waterways, area excursions in Sathorn Bangkok are organised by several tour operators as well as hotels, like the Anantara Sathorn Bangkok Hotel, for example. Unlike the massive Chao Phraya River which winds its way through the city, little to no trade passes through the remaining Khlongs. Now only privately hired boats, and canal boats ferrying locals to and from the suburbs, use the network of Khlongs that run through Bangkok.

A boat ride down the maze of Khlongs offers a quick glimpse into the past as you glide past old bridges, twisted trees and lopsided houses that still crowd along the banks as they once did before. If you would rather skip the boat ride, take a walk along the narrow canal footpaths, and take in the scenery and steady pace of life as locals go about their daily routines. Several markets and temples are located alongside the wider khlongs, making for interesting stops along the paths.

The khlongs have long held the fascination of travellers, unable to resist the enduring charm of these old waterways. And while Bangkok’s canals have long bid farewell to their glory days, they continue to play a role in the lives of locals, who still prefer travelling by boat as opposed to Bangkok’s traffic congested roads.

Auburn Silver is a travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world. Google+

Bellanwila Athidiya Wet Land – The city’s green haven

It’s no surprise that Sri Lanka is a hub and a massive attraction to a large variety of birds and other flora and fauna. The Bellanwila Athidiya Wet Land is a great place for bird watching and just soaking in the atmosphere of the island’s wildlife. The wet land is famous for the Attidiya Bird Sanctuary which can be accessed along the trail that begins near the Attidiya information center and goes through the marshy lands along Bolgoda Lake. While on your walk along the trail, you will come across a tower that was built for bird watchers and animal enthusiasts where they can watch the wild life without interrupting their natural behaviours and movements.

In Sri Lanka, apartments to stay in are quite numerous and the upcoming Cinnamon Life Colombo located in the city is one of the options to consider when searching for accommodation. As there are plenty of things to do in the city, a visit to the bird sanctuary is an absolute must, as you isolate yourself in the midst of this wet land, completely away from the noise and pollution of the city. There are known to be around 166 species of birds that live in the area, most of which are known to be residential birds while about 40 are known to be migratory birds. Research conducted on the wetlands has concluded that there are about 71 recorded species of butterflies in the park and an approximate amount of 44 different species of fish living in the marshy waters.

While you’re out exploring, keep an eye out for the Indian Shag, the Ruddy Crake, the Blue Breasted Banded Tail, the Spotted Billed Pelican, Painted stork, White Ibis and the Glossy Ibis which are quite rarely spotted but are a sight to behold nonetheless. Consider yourself extremely lucky if you happen to spot any of these birds. The canals are said to be home to a few crocodiles and water monitors and occasional reports of jackals and fishing cat have also been made here.

Auburn Silver is a travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world. Google+