Witness Cherry Blossoms in Taiwan

When it comes to seeing cherry blossoms in full bloom, it’s a little-known fact that, Taiwan around March time is a good substitute to the more popular destinations of Korea and Japan. The  Key West team will share their experience .Here are the places to see these beautiful flowering trees in Taiwan.

Yangmingshan National Park

This park is usually where the cherry blossoms first become visible. Yangmingshan is one of Taiwan’s finest national parks, and it’s a favored place for hikers and those looking to get out of the city for a breath of fresh air.

Many of the cherry blossom trees here are planted alongside hiking trails and paths.

Alishan National Scenic Area

People take a trip up the mountain railway to witness the sunrise over the sea of clouds here at Alishan and is popular throughout the year. The absolute best time to visit the cherry blossom season is from January to April. The area is flooded with color, and it’s modestly breathtaking.

Wulai

There are tons of reasons to check out this beautiful little village, especially during the cherry blossom season, the scenic surroundings become even more extraordinary.

Donghu

The park is small and it’s not quite as busy as some of the other locations as the newly planted cherry blossom trees here draw quite a lot of local residents while they are in bloom.

Wuji Tianyuan Temple

The temple overlooks a stunning garden full of a variety of blooming trees and flowers so it’s best to take a trip here during early cherry blossom season. It is a much more serene experience than the other more tourist-oriented areas like Wulai and Alishan as the blossoms located right by the temple and in a relatively quiet part of Danshu.

Wuling Farm

Wuling Farm is no different as farms are always popular destinations for a weekend away in Taiwan. The area metamorphose into a veritable sea of pink flowers during the early months of the year.

Sun Moon Lake

Embraced by unparalleled natural beauty, Taiwan’s largest inland body of water is actually a man-made lake. Dotted around Sun Moon Lake itself are cherry blossom trees. The Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village is the best point to enjoy the spectacular colors.

 

 

 

 

Exploring Sapa, Vietnam

 

Located in Lao Cai Province, Sapa is a small, mountain town. This town is close to the Chinese border, situated 350 km northwest of Hanoi. Including Fan Si Pan—the country’s highest peak is where you’ll find the Hoang Lien Son mountain range. A home to different ethnic tribal groups for this peaceful Vietnamese town. Sapa welcomes all visitors from different nations these days. It said that visitors get attracted by the forest treks, highland tribes, and exemplary rice paddies. Truly, Sapa is endowed with magnificent natural beauty.

 

What to Do in Sapa

 

The name of the game in Sapa is hiking and just enjoy nature. Fan Si Pan is the highest mountain in Vietnam is the most famous attraction in the area around Sapa. To reach, travel from town around 19 km. If you think this short distance for trekking, don’t be deceived because the trek is complicated with the rough terrain and unpredictable weather provides difficulties. As the peak is available all year round, travelers who are fit and have mountain climbing experience will surely appreciate this attraction the most. Endurance is a must while technical climbing skills are not necessary. An attraction in itself for Hoang Lien National Park where Fan Si Pan can be found. The park serves as the habitat for a diverse set of animals and shelters a picturesque mountain landscape including several forests. Some highly endangered species can only be found in northwest Vietnam. Travelers will truly appreciate this park especially those nature lovers. The Cat Cat Village and the Ta Phin Village and cave are other attractions that are part of the Hoang Lien National Park that’s worth the visit. A small museum and a modest cathedral can also be found in Sapa.

 

Sapa Food Hub

 

Go directly to Cau May Street, the main street where most of the restaurants and cafés are located if you’re looking for a good meal in Sapa. One recommendation for a good quality Vietnamese meal is the Moment Romantic Restaurant. Ingredients are fresh, and there are many vegetarian options as the menu is diversified. At Gerbera Restaurant, indulge in a Vietnamese hot pot to warm you up on a cold night if you’re looking for a local experience. You can adore the rustic charm of this local restaurant and its authentic décor. For those who have sweet tooth, Le Gecko is the go-to place as this place offers pastries and is the best in town. After a chilly day, it’s best to take a sip with a cup of hot chocolate here.

 

Queenstown, New Zealand

There’s a good chance that you are thinking about launching yourself from a bridge attached to a bungee cord or cruising down some white water rapids when you arrive if you are heading to Queenstown. After all, it is the extreme sports capital of New Zealand. However, head out of the city to see some of the excellent attractions in the surrounding area, many of which are just a short drive away if you decide to take a break from the action.

Gibbston Valley Wines

A short drive out to Gibbston Valley Wines is an excellent option If you want to make sure you try some of New Zealand’s famous wines during your holiday. Only about 20 minutes from Queenstown on State Highway 6. Here you will find award-winning wines located in the Central Otago.

Before relaxing in the excellent restaurant take a tour of the wine cave the largest in New Zealand, enjoy some wine tasting sessions, and learn about the winemaking process.

Milford Sound

During your stay in Queenstown a day trip to this world-famous fjord is one of the absolute musts. Easy to arrange Rental cars in Queenstown after which you can head out with ease and enjoy a fantastic drive.

The route takes you through the Fiordland National Park with its stunning scenery, and highlights include the Mirror Lakes, Eglinton Valley, and Hollyford Valley. You can head out onto the fjord on a boat cruise, where you will be able to see an incredible bird and marine life when you arrive at Milford Sound.

Mount Cook

home to the old gold mines Head north out of Queenstown and drive through the Kawarau River Gorge, then on through the Mackenzie Basin to get to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. Which stands 3,754 meters tall Here you will be able to see the highest mountain in New Zealand. The alpine background is spectacular, and a helicopter ride is what better way to see it.  As an alternative, to experience the best of the scenery up close, take a walk along a mountain trail.

Lakes District Museum

Arrowtown a small gold mining town in the Wakatipu District, easy to reach from Queenstown is the location of this museum with impact windows. As well as the arrival of Europeans in the area, the museum puts on interesting exhibitions where you will be able to find out all about the gold rush of the 19th century.

Skyline Gondola

To see the amazing views of the city and the surrounding lake and mountains, Head up above Queensland on this gondola ride. You could go for a walk along one of the walking trails or go to a café at the top where you can take in the views. If you’d prefer, there are even mountain biking trails. Why not hike to the top instead if you don’t want to take the gondola.

Train Transportation in India

As part of Great Rail Journeys India’s Golden Triangle – a 5* rail 13-day tour which comprises the Shatabdi Express and the Toy Train plus excursions to Delhi and Agra with its white marble icon the Taj Mahal on how the journey will move on.

Delhi to Kalka by Shatabdi Express

Early in the morning in the Delhi station, where it seems that an enormous proportion of the 23 million people who use Indian Rail daily have all decided to take the train altogether. Going to Kalka, I choose the Shatabdi Express, to take my journey to catch the narrow gauge “Toy Train” up to Shimla. The travel is about 4 hours and the air-conditioned Executive Class is cozy and comes out with a rather delicious spicy breakfast, finished with a few warming cups of Indian Chai.

We arrived in Kalka, right on time, and I pass over the platform to board the Himalayan Queen, waiting patiently for passengers. It’s dominated by the mighty Express, and why it’s known as the “toy train,” now I completely understand. As Executive Class gave absolute comfort, it was rather uncomfortable for the six rows of seats in the narrow gauge carriages. Thankfully I’ve been tipped to bring my own cushion.

To Shimla from Kalka on Himalayan Queen

The line was put up to ferry mem-sahibs of the British Raj up to Shimla from Kalka, a cool alternative to the steamy plains below, and regarded as one of the great railway journeys of the world. It will take five bone-rattling days when the town transformed as the summer capital in 1864, the 1200 mile journey from Calcutta, any combination of horse, camel, elephant, bullock cart or sedan chair could work. The line was only operated in November 1903 although the idea for a rail connection was first mooted in 1847.

My transport is full of other tourists and the train starts ascending immediately, bounded by hills on both sides. I positioned myself by the open window, adoring the cool breeze and gasping in the smell of the pines as the engine chugs uphill. 11mph is the average speed but on this stretch, it’s way slower. We pass four stations in 20 miles and Dharampur is our first stop at, 1500m. From the stalls on the platform, everyone moved off to try chai and samosas. I see a cow on the line just ahead, just one of the many risks of train travel in India.

It was a remarkable feat of engineering constructing the railway, with a total of 103 tunnels, more than 864 bridges and about 919 curves. Over a distance of 60 miles, the line conquer 1500m from Kalka to Shimla, and passing 18 stations, the train travels around five hours. UNESCO added it to its World Heritage list along with the Nilgiri and Darjeeling railways in 2008.

California Paradise

Catalina, a sunny island, is a Mediterranean-style paradise that’s far away from the traffic and full packed Los Angeles, located 20 miles off the coast of Southern California.

When it was acquired in the early 20th century by industrialist William Wrigley, the island was unoccupied, who set about transforming it into a world-class resort island. He brought his Chicago Cubs first, for spring training and then he put up resorts and infrastructure to attract his wealthy and celeb friends from Los Angeles.

At Avalon is where the ferries dock, is the island’s main village. A  little town but it’s a gorgeous with a sheltered harbor, casino, shopping, bars and several attractions. All the places are reachable just by walking and it only takes a few minutes to do so, but for those who wanted a ride, bicycle rentals are available.

The first stop on a nice weather for travelers has to be the beach. Just off Crescent Avenue is Avalon’s main beach, is a very nice place, but during high season, it can get quite crowded. As the club is located on its own private cove and offers a restaurant, several bars, private cabana rentals and sea kayak rentals, the Descanso Beach Club provides a luxurious option.

The Grand Casino is another attraction in Avalon, which is accommodated in a beautiful art-deco building and harkens back to glamorous Jazz Age perfect place for artists. The building is somewhat of a misnomer, is not a casino and is instead a ballroom and cinema. Travelers can tour the place and be in awe of its circular design and waterfront location or even take in a movie.

The Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden is a few miles inland, a peaceful retreat that exhibits indigenous flora and offers fantastic views of the island from its advantaged location.

Travelers should venture out of Avalon and into the island’s pitted interior to really get the most out of one’s visit to Catalina. The scenery consists of rolling hillsides, canyons, and intimate coves, completely isolated from human intrusion, as it is owned by the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy.

Cars are not allowed in Catalina, so golf carts are the most locals form of transport. A better way to explore the countryside is by foot but visitors can rent the golf carts as well. The Trans-Catalina Hiking Trail nearly 200 miles of trails on the island, crosses the entire island in 37 miles, but the options are unlimited.

Before heading out, hikers must pick up their free hiking permit and trail maps from the conservancy office in Avalon. Hikers beware!  While hiking, keep an eye out for buffalo! Its kinda off to see buffalo on the island, it’s because it is. The buffalo has since become a figure on the island as brought to the island in the early 20th century as film extras.

What Makes Traveling Fun

Some people shop to unwind and pamper themselves, others travel. I belong to the latter. I have always loved exploring and discovering new places. It’s what I do for fun.

Discovering a place and experiencing life like a local is what makes traveling fun. Imagine eating food that you haven’t tried before. Some of the local delicacies may not exactly be appealing but that’s what makes it fun. You won’t appreciate a place if you don’t try their local cuisine. Even if you’re not a fan of exotic food, you have got to try once in a while.

One of the things that I always try when I go to a new place is their coffee. I cannot live without a decent caffeine fix. I love traveling to other cities and countries to find quaint, little cafes and coffee shops.

For someone who loves chasing cultures, talking to the locals to know more about the country’s history is really interesting. It’s one of the best parts of wandering around. Getting lost in a city you’ve never been is fun if you have the courage to go out there and live like it’s the last day of your life.

You don’t always have to stay in your comfort zone. Travel to experience freedom, travel to meet people, travel to discover that there’s more to life than what you know. Don’t let your fear hold you back. It’s nice to go backpacking, you have got to try that at least once in your life. It’s an experience worth treasuring, and something that you won’t ever forget.

Do not travel for the sake of social media. Travel because you want to discover new places and meet new people. Don’t travel for photos. Travel for the experience, and for the memories. Do not travel because it’s the trend. Travel because you want to get out of your comfort zone.

 

Fun Things to do in Key West, Florida

Key West, Florida has a lot of interesting spots and activities to offer. If you plan to go on a vacation there, you can easily explore different points while hopping on and off the different designated sightseeing stops.

One of the most popular spots in Key West is The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. It’s where the author lived and wrote most of his works. Hemingway’s house operates as a museum with guided tours. It’s open daily from nine in the morning to five in the afternoon. The museum can also be used as a venue for weddings and corporate events.

If you are the outdoorsy type, you might want to go dolphin watching and try the snorkel cruise. It redefines “fun in the sun”. Dolphin-watching lasts for three hours and you will have to sail away from the island city of Key West to see the beautiful dolphins swim and discover the amazing coral reefs with hundreds of different marine species.

After your adventure with the dolphins and the coral reefs, you can relax and enjoy the warm sunset sail while admiring the best views you can ever get your eyes on. This two-hour sunset cruise is definitely a great way to escape the hustling and bustling city life.

There will also be tons of food and drinks while you’re in Key West, so make sure to savor all the rich flavors that this place has to offer. It’s also a good idea to make sure that you have your camera ready to capture the beautiful moments and places you have yet to discover.

Exploring Key West, Florida is an adventure that you don’t want to miss. You can bring your friends and family, or you can go on a solo trip to relax and unwind. Either way, you’ll surely love Key West.