11:12 PM | Posted in
The Big cliff  Preikestolen
country : Norway
place : west of the country


Preikestolen is a massive cliff in Norway that towers 604 meters (1982 feet) in near vertical drop over the ocean. When famous French writer Victor Hugo visited the fjords, he referred to them as “the most terrifying of the ocean reefs.” Preikestolen is a natural rock formation that was carved by melting glaciers at the end of the Ice Age. The 25 square meters plateau on top of Preikestolen Pulpit Rock offers breathtaking views of the fjord and creates terrific photo opportunities. You have quite likely seen pictures of people standing on top of Preikestolen Pulpit Rock before and found them suspensfully bewildering. You probably didn’t have them associate with the name of the place, but now you know. The most spine-tingling cliff overlooking the magnificent ocean fjord is called Preikestolen and you can find it in Norway. Thanks to its near straight vertical properties, Preikestolen is popular with BASE jumpers. BASE jumping is legal in Lysefjorden area but as it goes with extreme sports, some BASE jumpers jumped to their deaths here.

Preikestolen Location
Preikestolen Pulpit Rock is located in south-western Norway, in Forsand municipality of Rogaland county, on the edge of 42 km long ocean fjord called Lysefjorden. Kjerag Mountain, which are a home to another famous natural attraction in Norway – Kjeragbolten, a boulder wedged between two vertical cliffs is located at the end of Lysefjord, opposite of Preikestolen.

How to Get to Preikestolen
Most travellers who visit Preikestolen start their tour in Stavanger – closest major town to Preikestolen in south-west Norway. Ferries leave Stavanger three times a day and will deliver you to small town called Tau in about 40 minutes. The cost for a boat ride is 50 Norwegian Krone. Bus service and taxis are synchronized with the ferries and will take you to the parking lot where trekking route leading up to Preikestolen begins for 65 Norwegian Krone. From there you are on your own.

The hike up the hill will take between 1 hour to 3 hours, depending on your fitness level. The total length of the trail from the parking lot below up on top of Preikestolen is 3.8 km (2.4 miles) which is not that long – on flat terrain, an average trekker could cover such distance in less than an hour. The elevation difference between the parking lot and Preikestolen is only 334 metres (1096 feet). This should not cause any issues to most hikers, however do keep in mind that vertical sickness can affect anyone, especially those who come from coastal areas or spent a long time close to the sea. Have enough water on you to avoid dehydration and pack in something to eat as well. Most of all, make sure you’re wearing proper trekking shoes with hard soles as terrain is rather uneven and you will often walk on rocks with sharp edges.

The entire hike is very scenic so you will be getting rewards for your uphill walk with each step. It gets especially magnificent as you start approaching the top and the first glimpses of Lysefjord from high elevation come to sight. Once you have reached the top of Preikestolen, make sure you carefully approach the edge of the plateau and lay down on it so you can look straight down into the abyss below. more than 600 meters long drop will take your breath away and an adrenaline rush will evoke feelings you won’t easily forget.
Preikestolen Accommodation Options
You have several accommodation options if you wish to stay close to Preikestolen. Pulpit Rock Lodge is located on Rv 13, the main road that goes through the area. Recently rebuilt youth hostel Preikestolen Fjellstue is located in the Ryfylke hills, close to Refsvatn Lake. Aside from stunning scenery and proximity to Pulpit Rock, Preikestolen Fjellstue also offers great fishing opportunities and has several associated camping grounds for backpackers with tents.

Other Names of Preikestolen
The name Preikestolen is sometimes misspelled as Prekestolen. Translated from Norwegian to English, Preikestolen means Pulpit Rock but is sometimes referred to as Preacher’s Pulpit. Before it was named Preikestolen, the Pulpit Rock was known by its original name Hyvlatonnå, which means “the tooth of a woodplane”
Preikestolen BASE Jumping
If climbing Pulpit Rock and looking over its edge is not enough of a challenge for you and you’d like to engage in something that pumps more adrenaline through your veins, then you may want to consider Preikestolen BASE Jumping. However given that BASE jumping is one of the riskiest adrenaline sports in existence, make sure you have sufficient experience and understand potential risks.

Preikestolen Deaths and Accidents
In past 15 years, there have been more than 30,000 BASE jumps performed in Preikestolen and Kjerag Mountain area. Out of 30,000, only 9 people found their death on the steep cliffs around Lysefjord. While one death or accident is too many, the statistics clearly suggest that BASE jumping enthusiasts know what they are doing and are able to enjoy the rush safely. 9 deaths in 30,000 BASE jumps – you find more deaths in other popular tourist activities than here.

Lysefjord Cruise
If climbing up the hike to Preikestolen is not an option for you, due to health concerns, you may opt for Lysefjord Cruise. It’s a completely different adventure with different experience. The ship will take you for a cruise up and down the Lysefjord offering the view of Preikestolen from different perspective. Seeing this majestic vertical cliff from the ocean below is as breath taking as seeing the fjord from up there. Lysefjord Cruises are offered by Rodne Fjord Cruise company and cost 350 Norwegian Krone.






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2:15 PM | Posted in
Venice and its canals
country : Italia
place : Venice


The beautiful Venice is surrounded by water all over and is located on the north of Italy. The capital of Venice is Veneto. It is commonly known as the city of lovers, water and also the city of bridges. It is spread over 118 Islands, not very big in size. Venice is very famous in the worlds because of its canals. The city has in total 150 canals and the most important canal in Venice is called the Grand Canal. It is responsible for managing the traffic in water by corridor management. Instead of visiting any place by transportation means of roads or air, it is very common to find water buses and water taxi. It seems that the people here live in a different land and world altogether, During the day time, the city is very much crowded with visitors all across the world trying to experience love and romance in the city. Narrow yet beautiful canals, bridges streets give a very different feel of the place. Anyone who visits this place immediately falls in love with it. The nights on the other hand are quiet and peaceful.

Motor boats are not allowed to travel in small canals that are narrow, windy and lead to the old city. The city has almost 400 bridges and the Grand Canal cuts the city equally into two proportionate halves from the north to the south. The total length of the Grand Canal is three kilometers. One of the constant threat that the city is experiencing is the air, wind and water pollution over and above the natural disaster like the flood and weakening infrastructure of the building.



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The caves of Carlsbad
country : United States of America
place : New Mexico State


The Guadalupe Mountains span the Texas/New Mexico border and rise to heights of 8,749 feet, in great contrast to the flat Chihuahuan Desert land all around. Two national parks are found within their range; Guadalupe Mountains (in Texas), which features rocky peaks and scenic valleys with varied wildlife, and Carlsbad Caverns, one of the oldest and most famous cave systems in the world. The caverns are a full day's drive from any of the other major attractions in the Southwest, but are well worth the long journey - they include several vast underground chambers, up to 250 feet high, filled with amazing formations of many colors and shapes.
Approaches: A long straight road is a common feature of the Southwest, and the caverns are reached by one such route; US 62/180 that links Carlsbad with El Paso.


The western stretches in Texas pass 100 miles of salt flats, sandy wasteland and grassy prairie before the forested Guadalupe Mountains come slowly into view, then, after a steeper and more winding section, the highway straightens out again, crossing more desert flats towards Carlsbad. The turn-off to the national park is marked by a collection of Western-style souvenir shops, restaurants and lodgings, known as White's City, including the last gas station for 130 miles westwards. From here a rather narrow and winding side road climbs for 7 miles through a shallow limestone gorge (Walnut Canyon) that has attractive rocky scenery with particularly abundant Chihuahuan Desert plants such as agaves and opuntia cacti. There is no campground in the park, and the only official site nearby is the rather pricy establishment at White's City, though free primitive camping is possible along several dirt tracks heading east from US 62/180, a few miles south of the park junction.


Map: Map of Carlsbad Caverns National Park.


Carlsbad Caverns Hotels: Apart from White's City which has a motel, the nearest place with hotels close to Carlsbad Caverns National Park is Carlsbad, 27 miles northeast of the cave entrance.


Features: The entrance to Carlsbad Cavern is on the plateau at the south side of Walnut Canyon, where a huge visitor complex has been constructed, with acres of parking and a network of service roads. Inside the main building are a museum, book store, auditorium, cafe, cinema-style counter for purchase of tour tickets, and elevators that provide a short cut into the caverns below. The fee to enter the caves is $6 per person (unchanged for many years), although entrance to the park is free. Other attractions in this section of the national park include the 9.5 mile, one-way Desert Loop Drive (no vehicles over 20 feet allowed) that continues westwards along the plateau top then returns via upper Walnut Canyon, and the one mile Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail through similar scenery close to the cave entrance, while elsewhere in the park are several longer hiking trails and many secret backcountry caves, a few of which are open to the public, but of course almost all visitors come only for the trips underground in the main cavern.


The Cavern: The usual way to see the formations of Carlsbad Cavern is by one or both of two self-guiding walking tours - Big Room or Natural Entrance - which visit different parts of the chambers. Four other branches of the cave may be explored by ranger-led hikes, for an extra fee (Kings Palace, Left Hand Tunnel, Lower Cave and Hall of the White Giant)


Big Room - for this, the less strenuous option, visitors descend 754 feet over one minute in an elevator that starts from inside the visitor center to be greeted, rather incongruously, by a rest-area and lunch room, but a short walk along a wide passage leads to the main cave area - the Big Room, 3,800 feet long and 600 feet wide, where most of the largest formations are found. The 1.25 mile path follows a roughly circular (anti-clockwise) route down one side of the chambers and back along the other, and the cave is so large that the two parts of the trail are generally out of sight of each other. Around 20 of the most spectacular speleotherms have an official name - grandiose appellations such as Hall of the Giants, Temple of the Sun and Rock of Ages, and are subtly lit with electric lights to create a most enchanting spectacle; the lights are white, so all colors in the caves are natural. Some areas have shallow underground pools, also illuminated, whose reflections add another dimension to the delicate formations above. Rangers are stationed at frequent intervals to answer questions, and the tours are usually very busy, so this is hardly a wilderness experience, but still one of the highlights of the Southwest. Along the main trail are many closed gates guarding small paths leading to unseen passages, and there are frequent glimpses downwards to deeper levels, some not easily explorable including the Bottomless Pit, 370 feet deep. Most parts of the Big Room route are wheelchair-accessible, and all have a special non-slip surface.


Natural Entrance - a gentle walk across the cactus desert leads to a huge opening in the plateau, where the path zig-zags down into the darkness below. This chasm is the place of egress for a colony of up to 300,000 Mexican free-tail bats that live in one of the branches of the cave below from April to September, and it is a memorable event at sunset to watch the colony emerge, which takes up to half an hour. The bats spend winter in the warmer lands of Mexico. An amphitheater has been constructed at the entrance, and organised evening sittings are provided in season (no photography permitted). Underground, the path is quite steep at first as it drops 750 feet, into a large, dimly-lit chamber that is initially devoid of formations. This passageway continues eastwards into the bat residence, but the path turns back west, descending again, gently at first then more steeply, into narrower tunnels where the first extensive collections of stalagmites and stalactites are found, including such named features as Devils Spring, Queen's Chamber, Kings Palace and the Boneyard. The surroundings become steadily more scenic, with small side-caves filled with intricate rock forms, before the path arrives at the elevator to the surface visitor center, and links with the Big Room route as above.
Kings Palace - four separate chambers accessed from a cave near the elevator. This is the deepest part of Carlsbad Cavern currently open to the public, 830 feet in one section, and may be visited as part of a ranger-led tour that lasts 90 minutes and is provided five times each day, between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Highlights include the Queens Draperies, a particularly large series of rippled sheet formations.


Left Hand Tunnel - lantern-lit passageways featuring fossils, cave pools and delicate speleotherms. The tour is held once each day and lasts about 2 hours.
Lower Cave - a vast lower level, branching off the Big Room about half way along the loop, filled with equally spectacular features as the main chamber. Accessed by metal ladders, and visited on a 3 hour tour starting 1 pm, Monday through Friday.


Hall of the White Giant - a more remote section of the cavern, containing a huge white stalagmite. The tour requires crawling through narrow passages and climbing metal ladders, costs $20 per person, lasts 4 hours, and is scheduled only once a week (on Saturdays).
Other Activities: Details of other areas of the park, including hiking trails and backcountry caves.


Source: http://www.americansouthwest.net

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10:59 PM | Posted in
The Perito Moreno glacier
country : Argentina
place : Patagonia

The fracture of Perito Moreno Glacier
A phenomenon that was already becoming one of the Patagonian myths and that most people thought would never take place again has just happened: since October 2003 the glacier’s ice wall started moving towards the shore, closing the flow of the water that drains through Brazo Rico to Canal de los Témpanos. This was the first step of the process, which resulted in the glacier fracture.

Finally, after a great deal of expectation and in front of over 17 thousand mesmerized tourists from all over the world, the Perito Moreno Glacier fell apart during a process that started thursday March 11th. and ended on sunday March 14th, at 7.09 PM, when the ice giant could no longer keep resisting the slow but unstoppable flow of water underneath.

What is the process like ?

Lake Argentino, in which Perito Moreno Glacier is set, has many branches. Two of them, Sur and Rico, are behind the Magellan’s Peninsula and they debouch in the lake through the Témpanos Channel. And from time to time the glacier's front ice tongue moves forward and joins the Peninsula, even climbing its coasts. This amazing natural dam makes the level of the Sur and Rico branches (which still keep getting water, ice and snow), raise their level causing a huge amount of pressure. This pressure eases when the water starts filtering through the places where the glacier touches ground and it digs a sort of tunnel underneath the ice.

Finally, when this hole gets too big and due to the water pressure, the enormous wall of ice falls apart causing one of the most overwhelming natural phenomenon that can be seen. The fracture of the glacier may last two or three full days. In this case, it was four days of an endless show of huge pieces of ice detaching from the glacier, until the final moment when it all fell apart.

A little history
In order to better understand the fracture that has made Perito Moreno Glacier so famous around the world it is good to review the facts we know about the history of this unmatchable event.

The first fracture registered occurred in 1917. After that, during the 20th century the phenomenon occurred 16 times, the last one being February 17th, 1988. As years passed, and given the fact that most glaciers in the world are in withdrawal, people thought that the Perito Moreno wouldn't close over the Magallanes Peninsula any more.

But nature surprises us again.

It is important to remember that this time, like every other the glacier fractured in the past, the water level difference between the branches and the lake has to be very important: from 16 to 30 meters. From the south catwalk, the show was imposing; it could be seen from a distance of only 30 ft. and even feel the cold it generated in one's skin.

Experts say that this kind of phenomenon is impossible to predict, reason for which we must feel very lucky for having been able to witness such an event and for having one glacier that is still going strong despite the global heating: the Perito Moreno Glacier.

Perito Moreno Glacier
This is the most spectacular and unforgettable excursion in all Patagonia.
At the beginning of the tour, you will skirt Bay Redonda of Lake Argentino as well as have the chance to see Isla Solitaire.
You will go through the Patagonia valley with its natural environment of species such as guanacos, ostriches, foxes, etc.
Afterwards you will enjoy many interesting spots: Cerro Comision o De Los Elefantes, river Centinela, Cerro Frias (guanacos site), many Patagonian farmhouses and, across the Mitre river you will get into National Park Los Glaciares.


Then, you will go 35 km along the coast of of Lake Argentino's Rico Branch, among vegetation of incredible trees such as ñires, lengas, notros and cherry trees.
At Curva de Los Suspiros you will get the first panoramic view of Glacier Perito Moreno.

An ice cloak, or glacial cap, covers this Protected Area of 600,000 hectares. Among the 356 glaciers, the Perito Moreno is the most outstanding one, having a front of 5 km long and a height of over 60 meters above the level of the water.

Known worldwide because of its process of fractures, the front of the glacier closes the running of the waters of Brazo Rico when it approaches the coast. This produces a kind of pond where the water goes up 20 meters over the level, creating the filtration that ends up in the fracture; the last time was in March 2004.

But show is never-ending. You can watch the detachment of ice blocks of different sizes from a short distance, hear the roaring they produce, and then watch them turned into wonderful floating icebergs.

Walking on the glaciers (see Minitrekking) or going along Lake Argentino to see the front of the other Glacier, Upsala, (see Estancia Cristina, ex Upsala Explorer) is an unique experience.

In 1981 UNESCO declared National Park Los Glaciares a World Heritage Site.
It is an unforgettable experience.But there's more: If you wish to obtain alternative views of this ice giant, from the Bajo de Las Sombras pier (8 km from the watching spot) you can hire the service called "Sailing Safari" that consists of sailing for about half an hour in front of the south wall of Perito Moreno Glacier. This add-on excursion is the only way to get to see this part of the majestic Glacier.

If you opt for not to take this extension, then the Tourist minivan will take you up to the restaurant that is right beside the catwalks. However, if you wish to spend less for your lunch, there is also a snack bar where you can have a hot soup, sandwiches, cakes and beverages.The Perito Moreno Glaciernear Calafate
Just far enough from the bounds of civilization and urban dwelling, veiled by towering mountains and an expansive lake, the Perito Moreno Glacier epitomizes the natural beauty and splendor of Argentina. Unique in a variety of facets, including its size, scientific significance, and accessibility, the glacier is an essential stop for any traveler to the region. Visitors spend hours exploring its wonders and taking in its breathtaking vistas, barely believing their eyes as they gaze upon the picturesque sight which lies before them.

At first sight, you will be taken aback by the sheer magnitude of Perito Moreno, one of the largest glaciers in both Glaciers National Park and South America. Its walls tower over two-hundred vertical feet (forty meters) from the ground, where the ice meets the Lago Argentino, or Lake Argentina. At this height, equivalent to that of a fifteen-story building, the glacier maintains a commanding presence for approximately five kilometers of horizontal distance. At times the glacier will form an imposing panoramic wall, stretching as far as the eye can see in either direction. This undeniable physical beauty is only amplified when one learns of the scientific significance that the formation brings to Patagonia.

The most notable feature about the Perito Moreno Glacier is its dynamic and ever-changing facade. Unlike nearly every other glacier on the planet, which recede and dwindle in size over time, the Peritio Moreno formation actually swells with each passing day. Deemed an "advancing glacier," the ice is continually growing and expanding outward, gradually occupying more and more territory. 

While the glacier is said to move outward at a pace of up to seven feet each day, large chunks of ice falling from the walls make this growth a bit more subtle. This phenomenon also makes viewing the glacier all the more unpredictable and exciting.

There are many ways to experience the Perito Moreno Glacier, including Glacier Trekking and Viewing Cruises. Regardless of the option you choose, however, you'll never forget the time you spend exploring this one of a kind South American wonder.

Glacier Trekking
Glacier trekking is the most first-hand way to experience the Perito Moreno formation. By mini-trekking across the icy surface, you'll feel the chill of Patagonia, hear the roar of falling ice blocks, and see beautiful vistas of Lake Argentina. This is typically a half-day tour, including a brief walk through the glacial forests, and introductory discussion on glaciology, and an hour long hike on the glacier itself. Because of the complex nature of the Perito Moreno Glacier, only guided tours are allowed to trek on the ice. Thus, travelers should remember to book their mini-trekking excursion in advance. Unfortunately, children under eight years of age are not permitted on the glacier trek.

Glacier Viewing Cruises
There are a number of boat excursions that allow visitors to observe the vastness of the Perito Moreno Glacier without actually setting foot on the ice's surface. While the boat will likely maintain a safe distance from the glacial walls, you'll still experience the exhilarating feel of rocky waters caused by the icy debris falling from the glacier. Atop a turquoise sea of chilly waters spotted with countless icebergs, your journey can last anywhere from a single hour to an entire day.

Accessing the Glacier
The Perito Moreno Glacier is located with the Los Glaciers National Park, on the shore of Lago Argentino about an hour and a half drive from El Calafate. Shuttles departing from the town of El Calafate provide the most convenient access to glacial tours, which depart at several times throughout the day. Visitiors are encouraged to leave early, however, to ensure ample time to explore the magnificence of Perito Moreno.












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10:02 PM | Posted in
The Galapagos archipelago
country : Ecuador
place : off the west coast of the country


The Galapagos Archipelago is situated 800 kilometers west of the Ecuadorian coast and lie directly on the equator. The archipelago encompasses over 50 islands of volcanic origin that are spread out over an area of about 4,500 square kilometers. The volcanic Galapagos platform originated probably not more than 15 million years ago and the oldest island not more than 2.4 million years ago. Volcanic eruptions still occur in the islands. Isla Fernandina and the Sierra Negra volcano on Isla Isabela have erupted within the past 10 years.


The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago consisting of some 16 islands and numerous islets scattered over an area of nearly 36,000 square miles around the Equator. Each major island, with the exception of the largest island, Isabela, consists of a single large shield volcano. Isabela was formed from six volcanoes joined above sea level. The total land area of all the islands, islets and rocks that form the Galapagos Islands is about 3,028 square miles, with Isabela making up more than half the total land area, at 1,700 square miles. The islands all rose from the ocean floor as the tops of volcanoes, possibly during the Pliocene era, and have never been connected by land to any mainland area. Today, the Galapagos Islands remain one of the most active oceanic volcano areas on Earth.


Just as the extraordinary wildlife of the Galapagos Islands is critical to the study of biology, the unique geology of the islands has implications for the whole planet. In geological terms, the Galapagos Islands are quite young, probably no more than five million years old. Some of the westernmost islands, which are the most volcanically active, may only be hundreds of thousands of years old and are actually still forming. Fernandina, for example, at its current rate of activity, may one day expand to meet the shores of Isabela, creating a single, large island. As these amazing changes take place, scientists can observe the effects of the tides, wind and weather on the process. They are then better able to define the impact of the environment on both the Galapagos Islands and, by extension, the Earth. More importantly, these studies can help scientists develop ways to protect the environment in our ever-changing world.




Though the islands are now quite isolated, at 600 miles from the nearest mainland, some biologists believe that the Cocos Ridge, which runs under the sea and extends almost the entire distance from Costa Rica to the northern islands, was once a land bridge. These biologists use this theory to explain how some of the life on the Galapagos Islands arrived there, but it has not yet been proven. Although many species of flora and fauna that thrive on the Galapagos Islands resemble those native to South America, they have evolved so extensively in isolation that they now appear very different from their mainland ancestors.




There are four main ecosystems in the Galapagos Islands, which have been formed over time by wind patterns and differences in elevation. The first ecosystem is made up of arid lowlands and open forests of enormous cacti; the second consists of subtropical forests; the third, found at higher elevations, is composed of moist, dense forests; and treeless upland areas covered with ferns and grasses make up the fourth. Goats, pigs, and other introduced species left by 19th century sailors to multiply on the islands and serve as a source of fresh meat on later visits eventually destroyed much of the native vegetation on many of the islands. The remaining areas consist of little more than bare, hardened lava, which has formed cliffs and jagged points of land along the coasts. Volcanic activity has produced several thousand calderas and cones throughout the archipelago, the largest of which may be found on the islands of Isabela and Fernandina. These unusual landforms give the landscape of some islands an almost lunar quality.





































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11:09 PM | Posted in
Karstic peaks at Guilin, along the Li river
country : China
place : south of the country, between Guilin and Yangshuo


Well-known both home and abroad for its verdant hills, limpid waters, fantastic caves and exquisite rocks, Guilin has enjoyed the reputation of having the country's most beautiful scenery for hundreds of years. Guilin is a bright pearl on the list of China's top tourist attractions and the Li River is the highlight of sightseeing tours in Guilin. Originated in Mao'er (Cat) Mountain in Xin'an county northeast of Guilin, the Li River winds its way southeast for about 426 km.
Li River cruise takes visitors from Guilin to Yangshuo. A state-level scenic area, it is the centerpiece of your Guilin tour, as well as one of the highlights of any China tour. This section of the Li River appears like a classic Chinese ink painting with its green hills, crystal water, verdant bamboo and clear water reflection. The great Tang Dynasty poet Han Yu vividly described the landscape as "the river winds like a green silk ribbon, while the hills are like jade hairpins".


From Guilin to Yangshuo, the Li River gracefully flows over 83 kilometers and the banks of the river offer the most beautiful scenery. The natural beauty of the Li River is indeed beyond description. You will have to visit this amazing place, to witness it with your own eyes and to feel with your own heart.


The comfortable Li River cruise will take approximately 4 hours, carrying you away from the bustle of city life and into a peaceful and relaxing world. The only thing you need to do is bring your imagination, a camera, and keep your eyes open, as the stunning Karst landscape will give you a surprise around each bend of the Li River flows under the clear blue sky. Your tour guide will tell you the legends behind the different peaks, most of which are mythical tales, and love stories. For example: Wangfu Rock (yearning for husband's return) is so-named because it looks like a woman carrying her baby on her back and yearning for her husband's return after a long day of working on the river.


The Crown Cave (Guanyan):
Crown Cave, located 29km south of Guilin city, is relatively new to the Guilin tour industry, having been opened to public in 1995. Visitors can get there by bus from Guilin or making a stop at the Crown Cave Dock during your cruise along the Li River.


Half-Side Ferry (Ban Bian Du):
Not very far from the Crown Cave on the western bank, a huge rock descends into the river and cuts off a footpath by the water edge. Villagers have to take a ferry to reach the other side and continue on their way. It has been named Half-Side Ferry. The ferry precipices of the Half-Side Ferry are cut so smoothly that they seem to have been cut by a knife. It is a rare natural occurrence.


Cruising down the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo, you will see local fishermen at work on their simple bamboo rafts.
Nine Horse Mural Hill:
The hills and peaks in Guilin, crafted by nature, rise sharply from the ground in many different shapes. Each famous peak along the Li River has been given a name based on its shape.


Some peaks however require a great deal of imagination to see how it got its name. One of the most famous peaks along the Li River is the 416-meter-high Nine Horse Mural Hill. The precipice of the Mural Hill is even and straight as if cut by knife, decorated with colors of white, yellow, gray and black. Images of nine horses may be seen indistinctly on the precipice, hence the name Nine Horse Mural Hill.


Yellow Cloth Shoal:
Floating downstream, after passing Mural Hill, you will find the Yellow Cloth Shoal. The cliffs are steeper and the river becomes wider and calmer here, so it is the best place to appreciate the reflections of the verdant peaks. It is no wonder that the newly-issued RMB20 note carries the image of this part of the river. The water is so limpid that the reflection of a huge yellow flagstone can be clearly seen on the water. It is like a yellow cloth spreading across the countryside, hence the name Yellow Cloth Shoal.


Xingping:
As you reach the area surrounding Xingping village, some of the most striking scenery along the Li River comes into view. The short distance between Xingping and Yucun villages is the highlight of the cruise.


The river takes a big turn at Xingping and the beautiful landscape and country scenery will form a lifelong impression on visitors. Verdant bamboo greet visitors along the river while water buffalo eat grass casually on the fields, peasants harvest their crops, school children play on the way home, and fisherman float along on bamboo rafts with their cormorants.


Yucun (a fishing village):
A pretty village of Yucun on the left bank of the river is worth a visit. The villagers all have the same surname of Zhao. The 500-year--old village, which can only be reached by boat, was a highlight of American President Bill Clinton's cruise down the Li River in July of 1998.


Most of the courtyard buildings in the village were built during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties. Simple but elegant with flying eaves, carved beams and windows, these buildings are ancient architectural wonders. Visitors are often surprised by the openness and generosity of the villagers, when they find themselves warmly greeted by farmers in any farmhouse they call at.
Both Dr. Sun Yet-sun, the pioneer of China's democratic revolution, and former US President Clinton visited this Chinese tourism Mecca. They are really a great advertisement for Yucun. The President stated he was greatly impressed with the popularization of biogas and solar energy in Yucun, which has completely replaced wood as the fuel for the 120 households in the village.


Destination – Yangshuo County:
Yangshuo is the Li River cruise's destination. It is located 65 kilometers south of Guilin city.


An ancient saying goes "Guilin has the most beautiful scenery in China, but the landscape of Yangshuo is unmatched in Guilin". It is this unmatched landscape that has made this small county known to the world.
The perfect way to appreciate its beauty is by bicycle, as the scenery along the road is dramatic and the natural beauty is truly beyond description.
Yangshuo is an ideal place for moderate hiking or cycling excursions to get a taste of genuine rural life.


It is a wonderfully pastoral area, with small villages. In most of these villages, even new buildings tend to use the older style of architecture. The owners are often keen to show visitors around.


Things to see and do in Yangshuo:
In Yangshuo, there is a 1500-year-old Big Banyan Tree whose branches and roots spread over a large area close to the river. Moon Hill (Yueliangshan) is a great limestone pinnacle with a naturally-created moon-shaped passage going through just below its summit. Fascinating Yinzi Cave (Silver Limestone Cave), 3 kilometers away from Yangshuo County, was praised by French experts on karst geology as "a world treasury of karst caves".


If you stay overnight in Yangshuo, West Street and Impression Liu Sanjie are two attractions not to be missed.
West Street of Yangshuo is an old street with a history of more than 1,400 years. Every year hundreds of foreign visitors come to live here for a while and some of them settle down permanently in this small county just to enjoy its leisurely life and keep in touch with nature. A special feature on the street is the communication and interchange between Chinese and foreign cultures. You can learn Chinese, calligraphy, tai chi, cooking, and Chinese chess, while passing international languages and cultures to Chinese in bars, shops, or schools. Because of this, people in China called it "Foreign Street". West Street is lined with Chinese and western cafes, restaurants and hotels. It is a seamless blend of eastern and western culture and has helped give the area a "global town" image.


Impression LiuSanjie (Third Sister Liu), directed by the China's most famous movie director Zhang Yimou, is an outdoor performance on the natural stage setting formed by the Li River and 12 peaks. This performance expresses the beautiful scenery of the Li River, and the colorful culture of the ethnic groups in Guangxi by creatively combining the classical Third Sister Liu''s Songs, ethnic minority culture, and the lights of traditional fishermen on the river, to reflect the harmonious atmosphere between human beings and nature. The performance lasts for 70 minutes and over 600 actors and actresses are involved.


Guilin Featured Tour Packages


Guilin China is well-known for its dramatic Karst topography, the picturesque natural skyline of Guilin City, the limpid Li River, and the "global village" Yangshuo. At Longsheng County, Longji Terraced Rice Fields extends to as far as eyes can reach.
Want to see the best of Guilin? China Odyssey Tours provide all kinds of tours in Guilin. We provide both pre-designed city tour packages and flexible tailor-made tours






Source: http://www.chinaodysseytours.com





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11:15 AM | Posted in
Bali island
country : Indonesia
place : east of Java island


Bali islands is one of the thousands islands constructing the Indonesian Archipelago that has long been famous as a leading tourist destination in South Pacific or even in the world for its exotic and vibrant art and culture, natural beauties and the hospitality of the people. Bali islands covers an extent of 5,632.86 square kilometers consisted of mountain range stretches from the West tip to the East.
Hinduism is adhered by almost 95% of its population of more than 3 millions people, specifically blended with Buddhism and the Ancestor's worship. It is made inseparable from everyday life and no opportunity is missed to worship Gods in an unending series of ceremony stretches from birth up to after death.
The Conducive environment in Bali islands is supported by the Balinese philosophy of life, called "Tri Hita Karana". Tri Hita Karana dictates that happines can only be achieved if there are hamonious relationship between human and Gods; between human and their community; and between human and nature (its surronding). This philosophy has become a way of life among the Balinese, and is practiced in their daily life.


Bali islands has such a mild and agreeable climate the wholeYear round, with average temperature of the day in coastal areas varies from about 28C (82F) during May-July to abut 30C (86F) in March-October, while the most pleasant weather is between May-September.


Nusa Dua (Bali islands) is an exclusive resort area featuring pristine beaches and majestic palms overlooking a turquoise sea. This purpose-built development is a peaceful enclave where families can relax and enjoy a tropical paradise and the Balinese hospitality, all without having to venture far from their luxurious rooms. The Bali Golf and Country Club is only a few steps away and the International Airport is a mere 20-minute drive from Nusa Dua.


Ubud (Bali Islands) is a remarkable town inthe middle of the island of Bali. For more than a century, it has been the island's preeminent centre for fine arts, dance and music.While it once was a haven for scruffy backpackers, cosmic seekers, artists and bohemians, Ubud is now a hot spot for literati, glitterati, art collectors and connoisseurs. Famous names walk its busy sidewalks everyday.


Sanur (Bali islands) is traditionally a fishing village and has managed to keep that lazy-town feeling. This really makes Sanur a unique area and unlike most other beach areas in Bali, Sanur has stayed largely in local hands.


Tanah Lot (Bali islands), Located in Tabanan, just across the boundary of Badung regency, Tanah Lot is the most well-known and photographed temple. The temple is built on a small promontory, which is only accessible by foot at low tide. Take a scarf and dress with respect.


Menjangan island (Bali islands) popular diving site in Bali due to it's fine and preserved corals and rich equatic animal, turquoise clear water, and very calm sea. Every divers coming to Bali with the emphasize on diving program in Bali will put Menjangan and Tulamben sites as the priority sites. Menjangan island is unpopulated, but there is an old temple, supposed to originated from 14th century named " Pura Giri Kencana." During the expedition of Majapahit kingdom of Java in 1343 AD, it is believed that a boat was wrecked with their relics are still on sea bed. It is believed to have the magic influence.


Nusa Lembongan (Bali islands) is situated 12 miles south east of Bali. It is one hour travelling time by boat from Benoa Harbour. This pear shaped island is around 4km long and 2km wide. It is surrounded by a beautiful fringing reef and the waters are renowned for their abundance of life and great surf breaks.


Candidasa (Bali islands) is most often compared to Kuta as Kuta was some 15 years ago. The comparison has some merit - Candidasa is a small village with few inhabitants on the beach with a several - mostly inexpensive hotels that cater to more adventurous tourists looking for a more laid back atmosphere.


Bali, a tropical island in the Indonesian archipelago, is so picturesque and immaculate it could almost be a painted backdrop. It has rice paddies tripping down hillsides like giant steps, volcanoes soaring up through the clouds, dense tropical jungle, long sandy beaches, warm blue water, crashing surf and friendly people who don't just have a culture but actually live it. In Bali spirits come out to play in the moonlight, every night is a festival and even a funeral is an opportunity to have a good time.


Bali Island, the perfect holiday destination for all ages offers something for everyone. This tropical paradise has a unique blend of modern tourist facilities combined with wonderful shopping and a rich past and heritage. The Balinese people are proud of having preserved their unique Hindu culture against the advance of Islam, the dominant religion throughout Indonesia. This is still reflected in day to day life and can be seen in the numerous ceremonies, Balinese festivals and magnificent temples and palaces. Some of the best surfing beaches in the world can be found on the western side of the island whilst conversely the eastern side is a wonderful haven for families, with beautiful white sand beaches and gentle seas.


Bali Island is a shopper's paradise particularly for casual and tailored clothing, locally made jewellery, handicrafts, antiques and artifacts. Leather ware is one of the unexpected local bargains with everything from handbags through to tailor made leather jackets and coats, all at unbelievable prices. In fact, prices are so inexpensive, you're sure to need more room in your suitcase! Try bargaining at the street markets of Kuta, Sanur of Nusa Dua or fixed price shopping at a Denpasar department store. Bali has it all.
For those that want to stay wet, Bali Island has world class scuba diving, snorkelling and wonderful day trips out to Nusa Penida for beach sports and coral viewing.


When the sun sets, the choices are still hard to make - a quiet romantic moon lit dinner or watch the spectacular Balinese Fire Dance or Kecak Dance. For those that want to party, Bali Island has it all with bars, discos and nightclubs.


As a truly international destination attracting visitors from all over the world, restaurants in Bali are extremely cosmopolitan yet inexpensive. Experience not only local delicacies like Nasi Goreng and Sate Campur but also Chinese, Malaysian, Japanese, Italian/European Greek, Moroccan and even Mexican cuisine. We must not forget Bali's wonderful seafood - local lobster at such prices that you will want to keep coming back for more.
For those more culturally inclined, Bali can offer the peace and tranquility of Ubud high in the hills; the spectacular Mother Temple at Besakih; the ancient capital of Bali, Singaraja and the floating palace at Ujung near the pretty beach area of Candi Dasa. The Scenery is nothing less than spectacular. Jungle, picturesque hillside rice terraces and the awesome magnificence of Kintamani Volcano.


The more active, wanting a break from the idyllic beaches, can experience wonderful golf courses in the mountains at Bedugul and beachside at Nusa Dua, the thrill of white water rafting or kayaking down the beautiful Ayung River; mountain cycling amid scenery you will never forget and organized rice paddy and jungle treks to see the side of Bali most tourists never encounter.
Bali Island, a truly international destination, offers every standard of accommodation ranging from charming yet modest bungalow style hotels in lush tropical gardens for the budget minded through to arguably amongst the most exclusive and sophisticated hotels in the world.


Source:
http://www.baliisland.org/
http://www.all-bali.com/

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10:41 AM | Posted in
The Bora-Bora island
country : French Polynesia
place : in the middle of the Pacific


Your really do deserve a vacation to Bora Bora. Don't fight it, you know it's true...
Bora Bora island is possibly the single most famous island in all the world. The legends, mysteries, and romance associated with the words "Bora Bora" bring an almost mystical presence to the island.
It's true Bora Bora is indeed a wonderful place to vacation... but this magical presence is not so unattainable.
Facts from the fiction regarding this wonderful Tahiti Polynesian island paradise: Tourism aspects, activities, practicalities, culture, and all the things you'll want to know when planning a trip to Bora Bora. We propose to the would be traveler that the Island of Bora Bora is quite real and attainable as a vacation getaway.


Part of the allure has to be its almost unbelievable beauty. Two towering peaks of sheer black rock dominate the center of the island and make an impressive backdrop to an assortment of blue waters that will dazzle the eyes.
Bora Bora's lagoon is its most treasured feature, and allows the traveler many opportunities to experience it in a variety of ways. Windsurf, jetski, scuba dive, snorkel, swim, bask in its warmth... the list goes on.


Bora bora is truly an experience worth having. A wonderfully relaxing place to be as well as a great island for you to experience, your Bora Bora vacation will never be forgotten.


Bora Bora, The Romantic Island


Under a one hour flight from the island of Tahiti or Moorea, the island of Bora Bora, with a lagoon resembling an artist's palette of blues and greens, is love at first sight.Romantics from around the world have laid claim to this island where the castle-like Mount Otemanu pierces the sky. Lush tropical slopes and valleys blossom with hibiscus, while palm-covered motu circle the illuminated lagoon like a delicate necklace. Perfect white-sand beaches give way to emerald waters where colored fish animate the coral gardens as they greet the giant manta rays. This could be easily be described as the center of the romantic universe, where luxury resorts and spas dot the island with overwater bungalows, thatchedroof villas, and fabled ambience.


Simply said, Bora Bora is the most beautiful island in the world.


Pora Pora - the ancient name, meaning "first born," came from legends describing this as the first island to rise when Taaroa,
the supreme god, fished it out of the waters after the mythical creation of Havai'i, now known as Raiatea. Although the first letter "B" does not exist in the Tahitian language, when Captain Cook first heard the name he mistook the softened sound of the Tahitian "P" for "B" and called the island Bola Bola.


Romance on Bora Bora
Truly, the most romantic island in the world. From the dramatic scenery to the privacy and amenities of the overwater bungalows, everything in Bora Bora equals a 10 on the romance scale. Resorts have been welcoming couples for over 40 years and their special amenities have been fine tuned to perfection. From sunrise to sunset, each resort has designed their own blend of unique romantic experiences for their guests to choose from.


For The Visitor, The Majesty of Bora Bora offers:
Enchantment from the neon-lit turquoise lagoon waters with unending days of exploration through snorkeling and diving.
Excitement above the lagoon by outrigger canoe, Boston Whaler, wave runner, jet ski, and dramatic sunset cruises aboard a catamaran sailboat.
Exploration of the panoramic overlooks found by hike or 4x4 accompanied by entertaining local guides.
Discovery of the world-renowned shopping for local and international original art, Tahitian pearls, perfumes and oils, and precious wood handcrafts.


The turquoise water of the lagoons, an exhilarating ride over it by canoes, jet ski or a catamaran sailboat, a sunset view that takes your breath away, cruising along the panoramic views, a vibrant marine life that you can come close to by snorkeling and diving and the souvenir shops that allow you take home the memoirs from here, in short, this is the much acclaimed Bora Bora Island.
The name Bora Bora comes from the Tahitian word Pora Pora, which means “first born”. Legends describe it as the first island to rise when the Supreme God Taaroa fished it out of the waters after the creation of Havai’i. When Captain Cook heard the name, he mistook Pora Pora for Bora Bora and that’s how the name gained currency and is used till date.
As per an early transcription found in 18th and the 19th century accounts, the name of the Island is recorded as Balobolla or Bollabolla.


Location
The Bora Bora Island belongs to the Leeward group of the Society Islands Archipelago of French Polynesia, in the South Pacific Ocean. The Island, stretching to about 18 miles, is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef.
When to go
The Bora Bora Island has a tropical climate that favours tourism all through the year. The Polynesian summer is the wet season here, in the months from November to March. The months of February and March are the hottest months which also record a high amount of rainfall. The Polynesian winter or the dry season comes in the months from May to October.
The dry season is also the peak tourist season here with a number of tourists coming in at that time.
How to go
The Island of Bora Bora has a small airport on the Motu Mute. The airstrip at Motu Mute was built during the World War II, by US marines as a refueling stop on the America to Australia supply line.
You need to take a connecting one hour flight from Papeete in Tahiti Island to get here. Papeete is about 8 hours away by flight from Los Angeles.
Air Tahiti serves a 20 minute flight to Tahiti from Huahine and Raiatea, has regular flights to the Tuamotu Atolls as well as weekly flights to the Marquesas.
From the Motu Mute airstrip, you need to take a short ferry trip to get to the village of Vaitape and then take a shuttle or other means of transport to explore the Island.
While in the Bora Bora Island, you can ask your hotel to arrange a shuttle service for you or you can rent a car, scooter or a bicycle to explore the Island at your own leisure. These rental services are available at the Vaitape Village.


Attractions of Bora Bora Island
The Bora Bora Island is not just a scenic beauty. The Island offers a number of thrilling activities that you can enjoy.
The hotels here can make arrangements for fishing, diving, water skiing, sailing, canoeing, cruising or snorkeling and other water sports of your choice. You can paddle you way on kayaks to the lagoon. You can also opt for cruises.
There are jet tours that you can take for an excursion to the lagoons here and also explore the inland areas through an organized tour.
Snorkeling and diving can give you the joy of swimming with marine life like manta rays, eagle rays, sharks and over one thousand species of tropical fishes in the lagoon of the Bora Bora Island.
Some of the popular snorkeling and diving sites are over the coral gardens in and around the Bora Bora Lagoonarium and the Anau – a site between the former site and Point Haamaire. The lagoon off the eastern side of Motu Toopua and the islet nest to it, the Motu Toopua Iti too are good sites fro both snorkeling and diving.
Off Motu Tapu, the islet south of Teavanui Pass, is the most easily accessible site for diving in the Bora Bora Island. At some distance that can be covered by lengthy boat rides are two more dive site, the White Valley, off the airport and Tupitipiti, to the south east corner on the reef. They are however, meant for expert divers as they can experience strong currents.
The “Aquarium”, a snorkeling site off the southern end of Motu Pitiaau and around Motu Piti Uuuta, is one of the best snorkeling sites of the Bora Bora Island. To reach here, you would need to ride there by boat, or you can walk to the outer reef from the southern tip of Point Matira. Flying Underwater here too is a good snorkeling spot.


You can also go for night dives.
Shopping too can be fun here. The shops here are well known with souvenirs like local and international original art, Tahitian pearls and handicrafts made of wood.
If you are not comfortable diving or snorkeling, or even other wise, you can enjoy the view of coral and schools of tropical fish through a glass bottom boat. Motor boats give you a fast paced way to explore the lagoon.
If you want, you can enjoy the Shark and Ray feeding tours as well as you snorkel.
Going to Motu Tapu, a small islet about a few hundreds yard away form the Island of Bora Bora is just ideal if you want to relax in a secluded surrounding.
Another major attraction of this French Polynesian Island is the Matira Beach, one of the world’s most popular beaches.
There are guided hikes to Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu, remnants of two extinct volcanoes in the center of the Island, too that you can go for. The Mount Otemanu is the highest point here, measuring about 727 meters. Along the coast are ancient marae temples that are worth a visit.
The ambience of this South Pacific Island of Bora Bora creates a mood that is simply romantic, something that you dream of. The white sandy beaches, the turquoise water of the ocean, the lush green tropical slopes and the rich and vibrant, colourful marine life makes the place look like an artists imagination that has come live from a canvas. The Bora Bora Island is certainly a place you should visit once in your life time.


Source:
www.boraboraisland.com
http://www.tahiti-tourisme.com
http://www.theearthtraveler.com



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