Medina of Sousse

Medina of Sousse
Photo by: snake3yes , Creative Commons

If you are in the mood to spend a few weeks of vacation in the lovely country of Tunisia, do not forget to drop by the prominent Medina of Sousse. Truly, your visit in Tunisia is never complete without even experiencing this World Heritage Site chosen by the UNESCO foundation.

The best part of Medina of Sousse is its vast market. Even from its historical roots, Medina of Sousse is already known as a junction of markets and bazaars. Aside from being a business-oriented town, Medina of Sousse is also considered as a military port. Thus, you can also see in this town the numerous signs of ancient wars between varying expeditions with missions to conquer Africa. If you have a chance to see this place, it will be like having economic and historical lessons all in one vacation.

However, it’s best advised for you to know at least the basic words and replies in their language. Many Tunisians are incapable of understanding and speaking English, so you will do yourself a favor by educating yourself first. Remember that business transactions, especially in Tunisia, require a lot of bargaining. Although the general prices of the souvenir items here are at most half the price of other souvenir items from other famous tourist spots, you will still lower the prices if you can effectively bargain with the vendors.

All in all, Medina of Sousse is a very ideal place for you to visit. If you are looking for an affordable vacation, this should be one of your priority places to witness. In addition to the affordability of the items, the overall response of Tunisians to your visit is a warm one.

January 31, 2010 at 10:45 pm | No comment


Photo by: tylerdurden, Creative Commons

The story of Taipei began when the Han Chinese stayed in the basin of Taipei in 1709. It was caught between colonial politics. Though there is insufficient knowledge about its earliest inhabitants, human life started here about 5000 years ago.

A Portuguese writer once called this “Ilha Formosa” or beautiful island when translated in English. The Dutch were the first ones to colonize this land where at that time, a few Chinese fishermen inhabited the land. Spanish red beards claimed Dan Shui in 1626. The Dutch managed to chase away the Spaniards in 1641, but its rise to power didn’t last upon Koxinga coming to the scene.

He was a loyal Ming follower and also the son of a merchant in China. When the Ming Dynasty fell, Koxinga was forced to get out of China because of his refusal to pledge his loyalty to the Quing. Koxinga made Taiwan his base of operations regarding the rebellion against the Quing. After getting rid of the Dutch, he and his approximately 30,000 men went on to war against the Quing, where they unfortunately lost the battle. When the French occupied Taiwan in 1884, it became the province of China. In 1895, Taiwan was handed over to Japan at the end of the war.

Japan was overthrown after World War II and Taiwan was again under China. When the Qing died, Sun Yat Sen established the republic of China.

Taiwan’s government underwent a vast transformation after the Martial Law Ended. It started and lasted for 40 years after the mainland lost the war to Chiang Kai-Shek. Many treasures were taken away from the Forbidden City. There was also a prior massacre which killed many innocent people.
The Democratic Progressive Party was established in 1986. The citizens were allowed to send letters through mail and get travel permits for the first time in 40 years.

January 31, 2010 at 8:45 pm | No comment

Desert Castles

Desert Castles
Photo by: peuplier , Creative Commons

If you enjoy visiting historic destinations, then Jordan might be a possible location for you. Why not go to a side trip to the Desert Castles situated near the capital Amman? The Desert Castles are marvelous for sight seeing and on the architectural aspect, it represents the impressive style of Islamic architecture and art. Thus, the tour will certainly make you appreciate the beauty and charm of Islamic art through the castle structures.

If you wonder what the Desert Castles of Jordan where built for, scholars say that these castles where probably constructed for agricultural, defensive and trading reasons. The castles where built between the 7th and 8th century. Although many of the castles have already been destroyed through time and the difficult desert conditions, there are still many well preserved and restored castles which you can visit. Some of these include Qasr Al Castal, Qsar Mshatta, Qasr al Hallabat, Qasr ‘Amra and other castles scattered throughout the area.

One of the most popular among the castles is the Qasr Azraq also known as the blue fortress. Its charm to visitors is probably because it was T.E. Lawrence’s headquarters during his campaign in 1917-1918 and the fact that it became known in his book the Seven Pillars of Wisdom as well as his popular nickname Lawrence of Arabia.

The Qasr Amra is the best preserved and the most eye catching among the castles. The castle is built to serve as bath house for important people. Another interesting attribute of the castle is the mosaic art on the walls and the intriguing art depicting important people despite the fact that Islamic art prohibits depicting humans.

So if you would like to travel to a new destination, include the Desert Castles in Jordan to your list and you would surely have an enjoyable experience.

January 31, 2010 at 4:39 pm | 2 comments

Hatshepsut Temple

Hatshepsut Temple in Egypt
Photo by: Andrew®, Creative Commons

The temple of Hatshepsut or Deir el Bahri has served as a trace of the major events that happened during the Hatshepsut’s reign. The Hatshepsut temple was built just next to the Mortuary Temple. The temple got damaged big time due to the rock sliding. It however was resorted during the year 1998.

Hatshepsut in English means the Foremost of noble ladies. The Hatshepsut is said to be the fifth ancient Egyptian ruler of the 18th century dynasty in Egypt. The Hatshepsut is considered to be one of the most popular and successful rulers and has a tenure longer than any other women in the entire Egyptian dynasty. Data tell us that the Hatshepsut was the only daughter of Thutmosis I. She was a Pharaoh in other words the strongest lady ruler in Egypt and that was the reason she was pictured in her mortuary temple and other monuments. It is said that the Hatshepsut ruled the place and the kingdom for twenty two years, and when she died she was buried in the Valley of Kings under the supervision of Thutmosis III.

Once her rule was over, her successors defaced all the temples and monuments and very specifically removed her name and replaced it with their own. People say that it is still a mystery, if Thutmosis III out of personal rage and anger ordered to deface her name and figure. However, archeological evidence tells us that her face was defaced almost after 20 years of her death. So it is quite a possibility that some ruler amongst the successor had a long time grudge with the Hatshepsut.

January 31, 2010 at 4:02 pm | 4 comments

Antigua Guatemala

Antigua Guatemala
Photo by:
Mike Murga
, Creative Commons

Antigua Guatemala has always been one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Latin America. A proof of its tourist-wise stellar power would be the fact that it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Not only does this city in the beautiful country of Guatemala boasts its different attractions, but also the rich and colorful culture that is imbibed in the society that inhabits the site.

One of its numerous historical places would be Saint Joseph Cathedral or Catedral de San José, which withstood the biggest earthquakes in the country and is still standing despite partial renovations. The church is still the face of how much Christianity has spread throughout Guatemala in times of Spanish pre-occupation.

Vólcan de Agua or the Volcano of Water can be seen from the busy streets of Antigua Guatemala. Although the volcano does not really bring water out of its mouth, the volcano is famous for its scenic view behind the clouds and the tradition of the people to lay out a carpet pointing to the volcano during Easter.

The Central Park in the city is considered the main gathering spot for the townspeople. On special occasion, presentations and celebrations are held there.

As mentioned earlier, the rich culture and traditions of the people residing in the city makes Antigua Guatemala a worthwhile place to visit. Festivals of saints are held frequently in the city, where colorful costumes are worn by people depicted in plays. Spanish language teaching here is also recognized as one of the most comprehensive courses. Foods made from different herbs and spices are also must-tastes for the visitors.

Someone planning to visit a particular city in Latin America should never pass on the chance going to Antigua Guatemala. Everything and everyone in this wonderful city is surely a site to behold.

January 31, 2010 at 3:33 pm | No comment

Nuku Hiva

Nuku Hiva
Photo by: Poverarte, Creative Commons

In the French Polynesia territory of France is the largest island of the Marquesas Island, Nuku Hiva. This is an overseas territory by the Pacific ocean. It is sometimes called Nukahiva or Madison Island. While the majority of the locals are Polynesian, there are also a significant number of European residents. Getting to this place is not much of a problem. It has a single-strip runway airport which caters to travelers.

Retreating to an island such as this for a vacation or for a special occasion is a great idea. The view and the different areas within this place are astounding. There are valleys all around the western coastline of the island. There are no inhabited villages on this area. The northern and southern coastlines of Nuku Hiva have bays all around them and the two largest bays are found on the northern area. If you seek a wider place to wander off, the center of the island is a plateau which is covered by tall grass. Here you will be able to find a prairie where they now raise cattle. The highest peak is found at the western area of the plateau. This is where most of the rain water is caught and collected. The area is covered by pine tree plantations and is where you can find a three hundred and fifty meter high water falls called the Vaipo waterfall.

Apart from hiking and sight-seeing, there are more activities you can do in this island. There are festivals which are held for various occasions and as this is an island surrounded by the ocean, there are water-related activities to experience and enjoy. Some of the resorts offer services and facilities for snorkeling and diving. Shopping and dining are also common points of interest as the locals offer an array of specialties for their visitors.

January 31, 2010 at 12:40 pm | No comment

Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela

Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela
Photo by: mk_b, Creative Commons

The Rock-Hewn Churches located in Lalibela, Ethiopia is an outstanding work of architecture for early times. The series of churches was built under the order of King Lalibela, who planned to transform the city of Lalibela into a New Jerusalem, as Muslims mainly occupied the old Jerusalem in Israel. A series of monolithic churches were built around 12th and 13th century and until now, the Rock-Hewn Churches still stand firm to continually amaze tourists around the world. It was honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1978.

In total, there are thirteen churches in the Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela and these are grouped in four:

Northern Group

– Bete Medhane Alem, wherein the Lalibela Cross can be found.

– Bete Maryam, the church believed to be the oldest among the Rock-Hewn Churches.

– Bête Golgotha

– Selassie Chapel

– Tomb of Adan

Southern Group

– Monastery of Ashetan Maryam

– Yimrehane Kristos

Western Group

– Bete Giyorgis, acclaimed to be the best well-preserved church among the series of churches.

Eastern Group

– Bete Amanuel, believed to be the royal chapel.

– Bete Merkorios,

– Bete Gabriel Rufael

– Bete Abba Libanos

The city of Lalibela is a frequently visited tourist attraction. An airport, a hospital and several markets can be found within the place. While visiting the Rock-Hewn Churches, it is advisable to wear the most comfortable shoes as venturing throughout the churches can be quite tiring. There are many local tour guides and helpers around the place and it is recommendable to appoint one. The local tour guide will help you navigate around the churches; moreover, the helper will take care of your shoes as you enter the church because shoes must be taken off before going in. Inside the churches, different religious items can be found, including the wall paintings, swastikas and crosses. You will absolutely be amazed at how the rocks were cut and curved; so pay a visit at the Rock-Hewn Churches and be dazzled with its amazing beauty!

January 30, 2010 at 11:27 pm | 2 comments

Ilulissat Icefjord

The Ilulissat Icefjord
Photo by: kaet44, Creative Commons

One of the largest and most popular tourist destinations in Greenland is the Ilulissat Icefjord. To the Greenlandish language, the word Ilulissat literally means icebergs. It has been recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is a place of sheer brilliance and significance to every person on the planet. Here in Ilulissat Icefjord you will find much information and proof of global warming.

While this is a place which is most focused on the studies and research of the effects of global warming to ice lands such as Ilulissat, tourists and other curious visitors are most welcome. This is actually a place which is often sought out by people who would wish to see the majesty of Greenland. And for visitors to be able to truly appreciate this place there are a number of different activities and services offered. There are some places in this area which offer programs of day trips around the glaciers. Some offer hiking trips which may last for hours or even overnight. There are also boat rides and sailing trips which are not only relaxing and enjoyable but are highly informative as well. To others who would seek a grander view of the glaciers, they can take helicopter rides which will take them around the ice caps and glaciers to be able to marvel at the splendor of the ice.

The greatest aim of the Greenland Government and other global organizations is to promote awareness. As you embark on a journey to Ilulissat Icefjord, you will be able to understand the grand effects of climate change. The small things that we may barely notice at home are experienced at a much grander scale in other places such as this. There is much to see and appreciate in this land; so much of nature which we rarely see and experience. It is a side of the globe which has much to offer and welcomes visitors with open arms.

January 30, 2010 at 10:22 pm | No comment

Museum d’Orsay

Museum d’Orsay
Photo by: ell brown, Creative Commons

Want to be awed by fabulous art in a museum that stands on what used to be a train station? The Museum d’Orsay or Musée d’ Orsay, situated in the old Gare d’Orsay, is one of the must-see spots if you’re in France. Besides showcasing to appreciative crowds the astounding Impressionist paintings by the masters, furniture, photographs, and 19th century sculptures & curios, Musée d’ Orsay is an architectural marvel.

The stone façade of the former Paris Gare d’Orsay was created by architect Victor Laloux. The train station was completed in 1900 in time for a world fair held in Paris. Decades years later, the train station became dilapidated and was used as a backdrop for celebrated movies such as Franz Kafka’s The Trial. During the late 1970s, the railway station was converted into a museum.

Even with the conversion of Gare d’Orsay into the Musee d’ Orsay, it retained Laloux’s architectural vision but reinterpreted the structure’s new function. The splendid art nouveau glass awning was turned into the museum entrance. In the 1980s, additional floor area was added to be able to house vast art collections. Today, the Orsay museum, which houses thousands of art works, is among the most popular locations that people from all over the world come to see. It’s an amazing architectural showcase. It even has a glass walkway (part of the original train station), and also has a restaurant-café, auditorium, bookstore, and gift shop. The interior design of the museum, which Italian designer Gae Aulenti spearheaded, sparked some controversy. Detractors have decried some of the museum’s features as “mussolinian” in terms of style. Whether you’re an art aficionado who looks forward to viewing French masterpieces created between 1848 and 1915, or someone who loves seeing architectural wonders and enjoying a piece of history, the Musee d Orsay is well worth including in your itinerary.

Paris Famous Landmarks

January 30, 2010 at 6:40 pm | No comment

Jagged Mountain

What is attracting more and more tourists to Antarctica? The temperature is so cold that it is difficult to find a reason behind their expeditions. They want to visit the Jagged Mountain. Make sure to include this in your schedule when you visit Antarctica.

The Jagged Mountain is such a breath-taking view especially for tourists who love to take beautiful pictures as well as those who would want to climb the rough terrains. What will you see during your stay at the Jagged Mountain? Well for starters, there is the Nunataks. They are not abominable monsters they can sometimes appear to be. They are called Jagged Mountain since they have peaks that jut upwards as high as any tall building.

The next natural phenomenon would be the Razor which happens to be a vertical rock wall that stands a whopping 2,000 feet. Did you know that it remained unscaled for years until someone broke the record in 1996? There is so much for you to see in the Jagged Mountain and you definitely need your hiking boots and extra food. Keep in mind that any travel across continents does come with a hefty price. Antarctica is not an inexpensive trip, so better save up!

Since the Razor was already scaled or someone climbed it already, there are still virgin summits waiting for you at the Jagged Mountain. As every tourist should always keep in mind, never forget your gear. Not all places are complete with stores for you to go for if you need additional supplies. So pack up and prepare yourself for the worst case scenarios that can possibly take place like sudden snowstorms, avalanches or even shortage of food. Even though, this is a remarkable tourist destination, it pays to always be prepared.

January 30, 2010 at 4:25 pm | No comment

Santo Tomás Chichicastenango

Santo Tomás Chichicastenango
Photo by: chensiyuan, Creative Commons

Santo Tomás Chichicastenango or simply Chichicastenango is one of the most visited towns in the country of Guatemala. Popularly known for its cultural K’iche’ Maya way of living. Besides its quite complex yet catchy name, Chicicastenango is more than just a tourist spot remembered for its name.

What makes Chichicastenango a great tourist attraction is that it has market days where vendors sell different items that are natural and handmade. Besides the food that is mixed with Guatemala’s most exquisite herbs and spices, wild flowers, uniquely-designed pots, medicinal herbs, cultural incenses and domesticated animals are also sold here. Tourists are definitely in for a delightful treat. Festivities are also held in the square. Dances and rituals are done, as well as the serving of different delicacies.

Tourists can do their sight-seeing right after shopping because the church of Santo Tomás is just beside the central market. The church is already 400 years old, which makes it one historical church and a witness to the town’s significant events. Rituals are held here by K’iche’ Maya priests.

Lying beneath the historical cathedral is the Chichicastenango Regional Museum or Museo Regional. The museum still has the most precious ancient artifacts and materials. Some of these artifacts are made of precious stones like jade and ceramic. Spears and arrow heads are also present in the area, which attests to the fact that it had been a witness to the bloodiest wars during the early times of the town. The museum is frequently referred to as Museo Arqueológico Rossbach. This is because a large portion of the collection and artifacts were donated by Idelfonso Rossbach – a German Franciscan priest who held masses and lived in the town during the 1900s.

January 30, 2010 at 3:36 pm | No comment

Grand Palace

Grand Palace 400
Grand Palace
Photo by: G4EGK, Creative Commons

The Grand Palace in Bangkok is undoubtedly a must see in a any travel guide. This marvelous palace was built in 1782 and since then, for more than a hundred years it became the official residence of Thai Kings. The Grand Palace is a marvelous structure that signifies the creativity as well as the craftsmanship of Thai artisans. Although the King has moved to another residence, the Palace serves as the heart of the Kingdom of Thailand.

What you can see inside the palace are numerous impressive structures which include the Wat Phra Kaew also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The Emerald Buddha has been world famous since the 14th century, when it was crafted. Another custom associated with the said Buddha is the ritual wherein the King of Thailand personally changes the robe of the Buddha every changing season. The temple dedicated to the Buddha was located on a corner in the outer part of the whole complex.

The general design and layout of the palace is closely similar to the palaces in the former capital Siam, the Ayutthaya. Its outer structures formerly serve as the government offices which include the army, treasury and civil administration. The Grand Palace also serves as an important landmark in ceremonies and special events of the country. In the central part lies the halls were the King used to entertain visitors and state businesses were conducted. Among the three throne halls, 2 are open to visitors for public viewing.

Another highlight of the palace is the inner court where the Royal consorts as well as the princesses lived. As of the moment, no royalty reside in the Palace and it is closed for public viewing. Other places worth visiting include the Boromabiman Hall, Amarinda Hall and the Justice Hall.

If you visit the Palace, you will be able to see the impressive design of the interior wherein the coronation takes place. You can also see the throne as well as the Chakri Maha Prasat, a European styled reception area. The Dusit Hall, a beautifully built building and a museum that showcases the history of the palace can also be visited.
Visitors of the palace must remember that the Palace being a sacred site follows a strict dress code. Men should be dressed in long pants and women are not allowed to wear revealing clothes. In case that you visit in an inappropriate outfit, you can borrow clothes provided for in the entrance with minimum fees.

Bangkok Famous Landmarks

January 30, 2010 at 1:17 pm | 1 comment


Olomouc 400
Olomouc, Czech Republic
Photo by: treyka, Creative Commons

Olomouc is one of the large cities in the Czech Republic that has attracted throngs of tourists from different parts of the world. It is a charming city that can be found in the center of Moravia. It is a busy place at the center of historic landmarks such as cathedrals and palaces. It is indeed one of the places you should visit when in Olomouc, Czech Republic.

Considered as a place of rich culture and education, you will not find much quiet time in this area, most especially if you visit it in June when the festivities light up the sky and show the grandeur of the Czechs. Every tourist knows by heart that when you visit a place such as the Olomouc, you will become so amused with how they have embraced their more than a thousand years of history by the significant design of their landmarks.

You can reach Olomouc in many ways – by car, bus or train. That is hordes of tourists often find themselves submerged in thought as to what landmark they have to visit first. You also have to check your budget for this place is quite expensive should you want to reach your place of destination in less time. No tourist would want to visit this place in a jiffy so rest assured that you will be just spending a lot of your pocket money on food and lodging.

When you leave the Czech Republic and head home, you shall be full of wonderful memories of your stay there. Travel destinations come and go, new faces shall fleet but if you have Olomouc in your mind, nothing shall come close to the charisma is envelopes you.

January 30, 2010 at 12:16 pm | 1 comment

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park
Photo by: stignygaard , Creative Commons

If you’re an adventurous, thrill-seeking and nature loving person, this is the haven for you.

Lake Manyara National Park is well known for its abundance of birds. There are also different varieties of trees which include sausage trees, umbrella trees, baobabs, yellow fever trees and doum palms. There are over 400 species of birds. Some examples are pink flamingos, yellow-billed storks, herons and cockscrews. Mto Wa Mbu is the most popular mosquito creek that you will ever see. It is a small park with mammals including zebras, lions, baboons, impalas, wild beasts, hippos, elephants and buffalos. It is a perfect place for rest and tranquility because it guarantees you a relaxing ambiance to enjoy.

Other than the beautiful scenery there are many other activities to experience. Some of the sports and exercises that you can do here are biking, nature walks, horse riding and rappelling.

The word Manyara comes from the word Maa which is the language of the Maasai, which is the tree plant used to create hedges. The whole place occupies 230 square kilometers. Two thirds of the park is an alkaline lake so the place is mostly submerged in alkaline water.

Tree-climbing lions are also a thrill to see, because they’re the only ones in the world. They are sometimes the only reason why people actually come and pay to visit. There are also rare mahoganies and acacias, which are the only places where lions could find themselves at home. The place is also homes to a lot of baboons-which also makes it concentrated on primate families.

January 30, 2010 at 11:26 am | No comment

Fatu Hiva

Fatu Hiva
Photo by: wikipedia , Creative Commons

Fatu Hiva belongs to the Marquesas Islands in the French Polynesia territory in France. To the local Marquesan, this is known as Fatu Iva where the letter H is not pronounced. Back in the sixteenth century, Spanish explorers have once named this place as Isla Magdalena or Magdalene Island. This name is now rarely used. This is the southernmost island in the Marquesas group of islands in the Pacific Ocean.

This place is best known for its natural rainforests which have drawn much attention to visitors – both local and foreign. This is a commune which is best opted by those who wish to appreciate nature in the simplest and most magnificent way. The commune’s population of five hundred and eighty-seven (as of 2007) is only located in three villages namely Uia, Omoa and Hana Vave.

Uia is located at the eastern coastline. This is best known for a number of narrow valleys; Uia being the largest one. The streams between the valleys flow in to the interior of the island. There are large cliffs in between these valleys which goes straight in to the sea. For visitors to travel around these areas, they can only opt to either go by boat or over the high ridges. Hana Vave or Bay of Virgins is located in the north of the western coastline of Fatu Hiva. This is where it is said to have the most scenic sites. Omoa on the other hand is located near the south of the western coastline where it is said to be to have the well protected harbor.

The center of the Fatu Hiva island is a plateau. The flat plains are covered greatly by pandanus trees and tall grasses. There is a mountain ridge by the south of the plateau called Tauauoho. And no visit to Fatu Hiva is ever complete without trying their dried bananas – the local specialty.

January 30, 2010 at 12:26 am | No comment

Mana Pools National Park

Mana Pools National Park
Photo by: Wikimedia commons , Creative Commons

Mana Pools National Park is located in the extreme north of Zimbabwe, and is a fragment of Parks and Wildlife Estate, the 10,500-square kilometer domain that extends from the Mozambique River in the east to the Kariba Dam in the west.

Situated here are the remains of old channels that have been left behind by the Zambezi River. These remains formed small seasonal pools dispersed over two thousand square kilometers. No walls or any physical borders surround the park and animals are given great freedom to move throughout the land. In fact, they could even move northwards across the Zambezi River to as far as Zambia where wildlife conservation sanctuaries are also found.

One of the great things about Mana Pools is that visitors can walk in the open woodland without having to use guides since the visibility is good and the chances of suddenly coming across wildlife are very slim. This opportunity to walk alone unaccompanied by a guide in an area with dangerous animals is unique in Zimbabwe. It is actually the thing that made Mana Pools National Park the magical place that it is today.

During the summer season, over 450 species of birds can be seen. Some of the common sights include waterbucks, sables, elands, kudus, lions, wild dogs, and cheetahs. During the winter months of June and July, photographers love coming to Mana Pools because during its normal misty mornings along Zambezi River.

The other enjoyable activities visitors usually do here aside from walking during the morning to observe the animals include game drives, fishing, and canoeing.

The ideal time to go to Mana Pools is perhaps between the months of March and August since the climate is dry and warm, and the temperature is moderate. For those who plan to have the best game-viewing experience possible, it is best to go during September and October as the animals concentrate by the river to drink.

January 29, 2010 at 8:35 pm | No comment

The Great Mosque of Kairawan

The Great Mosque of Kairawan
Photo by: worldlearning , Creative Commons

Are you tired of all the vacation sights offering the same activities you have experienced in your previous get-away vacations? Is there a lingering feeling of void in you after engaging yourself on a typical trip? Well, if this is your case, you should plan carefully for your next vacation. Usually, a change in scenery will do the trick in helping you kill the boredom in your urban lifestyle and your repetitive trips.

The Great Mosque of Kairawan can supply you with that change. Aside from the fact that you don’t need to repeat the same stuff again, visiting this sacred place can help you find the inner tranquility within you. Next to Jerusalem, Mecca and Medina, this mosque in the African country of Tunisia is the fourth holiest place on Earth. You will enjoy the distinct calmness within its intricately designed walls, an experience you might want your vacation to have.

In addition to the soothing ambience you can feel inside its corners, the whole mosque is an architectural wonder. The ancient Arabian techniques of designing mosques are clearly seen in the facades of the structures inside, most especially in the 115-feet high minaret. The whole courtyard is also uniquely designed, from the materials used to pave it to the water-recycling methods incorporated in it. Aside from the receptive function, the courtyard is also the water collector for the mosque. The surface was angled in a way to drain the rainwater into a central filter, also with the elaborate designs. Everything inside the mosque is a definite mind reliever, especially for a busy person like you.

However, if you visit this place, you need to remember that it is still a sacred venue. Prepare modest clothes for the place unless you don’t mind using the robes offered inside for those wearing improper attires. You may also notice Muslims doing their rituals. In that case, be a humble witness and just enjoy the overall calming aura that your successful trip provides.

January 29, 2010 at 12:09 pm | No comment

The Gelati Monastery

The Gelati Monastery
Photo by: Martijn Munneke , Creative Commons

One of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites can be found in Georgia. This is the Gelati Monastery. This place is one of the most visited places in this region as best attributed to both its history and beauty. It is the home of many cultural and intellectual aspects of Georgia. It is a monastic complex located in western Georgia.

The Monastery of Gelati was founded and built around the eleventh century by one of the greatest kings of Georgia, King David the Builder. This is also where the Church of the Virgin can be found. Among the most common reasons for visitors to take interest in this place is because of the fact that this monastery used to be the center for some of the greatest Gregorian philosophers, scientists and theologians. This center was then referred to as the Gelati Academy; at times considered to be the new Hellas or the second Athos. There are a significant number of murals and manuscripts which have been preserved throughout centuries and are now being exhibited within the monastery.

There are about ten great people who were buried within the Monastery of Gelati and this has also become part of the biggest tourist attractions in the area. As you look up in the dome of the monastery, you will find the Christ Pantokrator. And as you walk around this place, you will be able to appreciate the great mosaics and murals decorating the walls of the structure. Among other things which you will find in this place would be the mosaic of Archangel Michael, the murals of the Ascension and of David IV of Georgia. The northern wall is full of ancient art and other relics which will sure keep you standing in awe. There are also other icons which stand as memoirs to the greatest saints and significant people to the monastery.

January 29, 2010 at 1:20 am | No comment

Times Square in New York

Times square 400
Where? Times Square!
Photo by: Oquendo, Creative Commons

We all know Times Square for its New Year’s Countdown parties. Every year, residents of New York and people all over the world flock to Times Square to join in the biggest New Year’s Countdown party. Visitors book flights and hotels in the area as early as June in order to get good rates and be able to take part of the yearly event which is always jam-packed. Formerly known as Longacre Square, it has been one of the most iconic landmarks of New York. Times Square is famous for its huge neon, and now digital advertising billboards that are strewn on every building in the area.

Often called the “Crossroads of the World,” Times Square is the hub of New York City. Times Square got its name from the Times Building, the former home of the New York Times. As like many city squares, Times Square is all hustle and bustle and is home to many Broadway theaters as well which has produced major productions such as “Jersey Boys” and “Wicked.”

If you plan to visit, there are many hotels that you can choose from. Some may be pricey, but you are guaranteed quality service with the best amenities. You will never get bored when at Times Square as it is a cultural hub for almost everything especially its nightlife. There are many clubs, bars and restaurants that you can choose from to party and dine at. Vendors and shops also abound for the visitor who loves to shop. You will really never run out of anything to do when at the Square. However, since the area is always congested with traffic, people opt to walk around instead. Visiting Times Square in New York is a must; a trip to New York will not be complete without it.

January 29, 2010 at 12:07 am | No comment

Medina of Tunis

Medina of Tunis
Photo by: upyernoz , Creative Commons

If you are the adventurous type of person and looking for some place exotic to experience, visit the Medina of Tunis. In case that you are finding it hard to find a new spot to spend your vacation at, the Medina of Tunis can help you solve it. This place is famous for its enormous markets. Moreover, since the area of the market is so large, the products available are also a plenty. From the leather bags to decorative plates, from perfumes to purses of all sorts, the Medina of Tunis can provide you with all of that. In addition to that good news, all the prices are affordable even for tourists of limited financial capabilities. In that case, you won’t need to always break your piggy banks just to make your vacation a successful one. Also, most of the time, vendors are open for bargaining, so get ready for some Tunisian business negotiating. To help you with that, arm yourself beforehand with some basic terminology in their language.

As you shop, remember to observe the overall scenery of the place. If you are observant enough, the market itself can turn into a wonderful collection of beautiful ornaments.

In case these reasons are not yet appealing for you, know that the Medina of Tunis is also hailed by UNESCO as a member of the World’s World Heritage Spot, so the place is surely rich in culture and history.

January 28, 2010 at 10:45 pm | No comment

The National Palace Museum

The National Palace Museum
Photo by: Jim Epler , Creative Commons

The National Palace Museum was first established in the Forbidden City under Dai Kong in the Sung Dynasty on October 1925, and was moved after the expulsion of the last emperor of China. The museum collections mere relocated under the orders of Chiang Kai-Shek from Beijing to its current location to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Japanese. The present building was constructed in 1964 and was finished by August of 1965. It went under renovation in the late ninety’s and reopened on December 25, 2006.

It is a haven for attainable knowledge interesting for archaeologists, historians, connoisseurs and antiquarians as it contains the imperial family’s national treasures. It contains the finest collection of 4000 year old Chinese paintings and other works from the Ming, Quing and Tang dynasties. It also holds the world’s largest collection of ancient Chinese artifacts. The rotation of the 60,000 exhibit pieces happens once every three months- which means that it will take approximately 12 years to see everything the museum has to offer.

The main artifacts are mostly potteries, paintings, bronzes, jades, rare books and documents and some of the calligraphies from the different dynasties of China. Some of the most treasured items of the palace include jades like the “Jadeite Cabbage” and the “Meat-Shaped” Stone made of jasper which was made in the image of pork. They are also housing a realistic painting by Giuseppe Castiglione entitled, “The One-hundred Horses” which embeds in a native theme.

January 28, 2010 at 8:45 pm | 4 comments


Photo by:
Esme Vos
, Creative Commons

Aside from the popular Desert Castles, the country of Jordan has many other structures and historical sites. One of these is the Jerash site in Jordan which is also known as the “Pompeii of Asia.” Jerash is located 48 km on the northern part of Amman and is situated on the valley of Gilead. The Jerash site boasts of being one of the most preserved and largest Roman architecture built outside Italy where the Romans created a great civilization. Until today, the grand structures such as streets, temples, public plazas, squares, baths, walls and fountains are in good condition.

The place has been created during the Neolithic age some 6500 years ago. Traveling to the Jerash is ideal during the spring since the climate is good and the wild flowers in the area are in bloom providing a nice vibe and ambiance for visitors. Also, the view contrasting the old city to the modern structures of Jerash is outstanding.

For visitors, there are many places worth touring in the area such as Hadrian’s arch, the Corunthium column, circus, temples dedicated to Artemis and Zeus, the Forum, the South Theatre and the North Theater and many other well preserved buildings displaying great architecture and art.

A contrasting cathedral was built during the 4th century with an ancient synagogue which has marvelous mosaics can also be found in the area alongside some thirteen churches which were built by the Christian community who settled in Jerash during 400 to 600 AD.

January 28, 2010 at 6:47 pm | No comment

Wat Arun

Temple of Dawn 400
Temple of Dawn Ancient Guards
Photo by: Bruce Tuten, Creative Commons

There are many places worth visiting as you go to Thailand. Many popular places you probably see on postcards will motivate and excite you to tour these places. Among the popular landmarks is the Temple of Dawn. Also known as Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn is one of the most photographed and marvelous landmarks that represent Bangkok. It is distinguished for its Khmer style tower, commonly known as prang. The Main tower is surrounded by smaller ones which are four in number. According to the tourism agency of Thailand, the main tower is 104 m in height. The building is adorned by porcelain, a marking of King Rama III’s reign.

The Temple of Dawn can be viewed from a distance across the river. The building also has murals and images of the Buddha. You can walk up the very steep stairs of the prang, and soak in the beauty of the river of Chao Phraya.

Named after the Indian god of dawn Aruna, the Temple of Dawn is best viewed during sun set. Establishments such as restaurants can be located nearby and staying in one of these establishments is enough for you to have a great view of the Wat Arun.

To reach the Wat Arun, you can use the river transportation. You can take the Tha Tien express boat near the Grand Palace. You can take a cab to reach the Tha Tien.

When you visit the Temple of Dawn, you can also schedule a side trip on other nearby visitor attractions such as the Wat Phra Kaew, the district of Banglamphu, the Wat Pho, Chinatown and the National Museum.

You will sure enjoy and love the old world atmosphere brought about by the massive architecture of the Temple of Dawn. It sure is a very memorable experience for you and your loved once to see the temple.

Bangkok Famous Landmarks

January 28, 2010 at 1:21 pm | 1 comment

M’zab Valley

M’Zab Valley
Photo by: dalbera, Creative Commons

Did you know that there is something more in the M‘zab Valley than itself? Apart from the edifices, there are innumerable reasons why they built such an astounding city. And the reasons will be unfolded as you go through this expose.

One is that the country responsible for this archaic wonder is Algeria; known for other UNESCO World Heritage Site such as Djemila and Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad.

Second, these cultural wonders which Algeria is famous for include other works of art and chronological events from sundry voyagers. Plans are uniquely made per individual as it reflects one’s feelings and how you want something to be done. From the various ethnicities who tried to conquer the country, a mixture of diverse structure has been made and lately become one of the world’s legacies.

Third is the architecture of M’zab Valley’s extraordinary design. It is kinfolk-inspired with respect to privacy of egalitarian type of family. Because of the strong ties of families during this era, a specially built city was fabricated. It has five walled cities explicitly known for the names, Ghardaïa, Beni Isguen, Melika, Bounoura and El-Ateuf which is collectively known as the Pentapolis. It has watchtowers that add beauty to each citadel and was created by the Ibadites at around 10th century designed for a much simpler yet non-invasive way of livelihood among family units.

Fourth, the M’zab Valley is a limestone plateau which was deeply preserved for historical purpose. The valley served as the major haven for Sahara desert travelers as it is surrounded by dry riverbeds and palm groves as well.

And fifth, travelers should familiarize themselves to the customs and traditions of Algerians, the way they dress themselves and their customs for a more carefree experience on roaming the country. A guide should be hired and is highly suggested since the area is ruled by Muslims. So there you have it, the decision of visiting one of the legacies the world has to present now lies on your hands.

January 27, 2010 at 4:12 pm | No comment

Paradise Harbor

The Raffles Hotel
Photo by: Bruce Tuten , Creative Commons

If you are looking for that happiest place on earth, visit Paradise Harbor, Antarctica. This is a haven for shutterbugs, so bring along your lenses, tripod, and charge their batteries so you capture all the bounty of nature. This place happens to be Antarctica’s pride and joy due to the serenity of the location.
Several tourists who already visited Paradise Harbor, Antarctica, can very well attest to the magnificent shots they have taken when they saw the calving icebergs. True enough, these glaciers have beautiful reflections when the light bounces on water. You will be amazed when the icebergs break off in chunks as you pass by in your zodiac or otherwise known as a rubber boat.

You really have to ride in these smaller boats for you to tour the entire scenery being offered by Paradise Harbor, Antarctica. Since it is easier for small boats to maneuver in tight narrow passages, a regular cruise ship cannot pass through and besides, since tourists are known to come in groups, it will be a wonderful ride. If you are on the solitary expedition, kayaks are available too but it would be better to go with the group since emergency situations can really leave you helpless.

Another added attraction that would surely make this place special is the candid movements of penguins, whales and sea lions. They are not bothered by human presence anymore since they have already became accustomed to these zodiacs bearing as many as twelve people who are taking shot after shot with their cameras. Always bear in mind that Paradise Harbor, Antarctica is nature’s gift to mankind, so make sure you do your part in keeping it clean and not polluted. Your family will remember the happiest place on Earth as witnessed through your lens.

January 27, 2010 at 2:52 pm | 3 comments