Generally, tourists are oblivious to the narrowness of their expectations during periods of travel, do little in the way of studying weather and climate of the destinations they intend to travel to let alone any research into what they might realistically see and do at the time of their visit. Consequently, a bad travel experience is often a consequence of bad planning and unrealistic expectations. Few if any destinations possess the perfect weather sought by visitors all of the time, and the pressure within the tourism industry to disperse peak season tourist numbers into the shoulder and low seasons has never been stronger. However, for some regions, particularly Asia the impact of climate and weather become important when travellers consider their travel options. Two distinguishing features dominate Southern and Eastern Asia; monsoons and typhoons, both of which have largely determined the annual cycle of life for many Asian communities. A greater depth of information is needed for travellers considering travel to Asia in low and shoulder seasons.
No visit to Barcelona, would be complete without seeing some of the work of Antoni Gaudí and a major “bucket list” attraction for many Tourists is the Sagrada Familia. However, what is overlooked is the amount of extraordinary architecture constructed in and around Barcelona due to Gaudi and it would be easy to base a visit to the famous city on Gaudi’s work alone. Much of the identity of the city is founded on the notable architectural works carried out by Catalan Architects, with the creative talent of Gaudi foremost. For those wishing to understand the City during the times of the Industrial revolution a trip to Cripta Gaudí – Colonia Guell is not only recommended, but essential.ile rural areas cater for just about every soft adventure activity, or if preferred, over the top adrenalin rich pursuits.
Due to the topography of the surrounding area, Central Wellington is compact, with its diverse and substantial cultural, culinary, and event activity concentrated in close proximity within easy reach of the waterfront. Because of its difficult geography and erratic weather, Wellington has developed its own unique identity which is unrivalled in New Zealand. Today, with an abundance of diverse cultural and entertainment facilities, along with a strong events programme, Wellington presents itself as one of the foremost New Zealand destinations. New Zealand’s National Museum Te Papa is an obvious drawcard but is only one of many facets embodied along the Wellington waterfront.
UNESCO’s World Heritage sites are recognised as possessing outstanding universal value, and provide visitors with unique experiences within the world’s exceptional Natural Heritage or Cultural Heritage locations . Central Vietnam possesses three cultural sites, Hoi An Ancient Town, Complex of Hue Monuments, and My Son Sanctuary, all in close proximity of each other. The cultural characteristics and timeline of the three cultural sites are distinct from each other and provide diverse slices of ancient Vietnamese history. The sites are a must see for travellers regardless of their personal interest in history and heritage.
Travellers should consider visiting the south-central area as it has a variety of attractions that are steeped in history. There are three UNESCO heritage sites within close proximity of each other, seemingly unrelated. The interaction and conflict between the Dai Viet in the North, the coastal Champa Kingdom, and the Khmer Empire, have had significant impacts on the development of Vietnam. Taking the time to look at the region’s history not only makes sense of it but provides greater understanding of how the earlier peoples living in Vietnam lived their lives.
Situated in almost opposite areas of Asia, China and India differ vastly in their ethnicity, culture and natural landscapes. They sit somewhat uneasily apart, separated by a raft of smaller Asian nations along the coastal expanses and the wall of the Himalayan Mountains in the interior reaches. There is significant diversity in what it means to be Asian, and much centres around the traditional religions that flourished in each area. Religion was not merely a part of life, it was inseparable from the way of life and determined almost all aspects of societal activities.
The Central Otago Region of New Zealand’s South Island possesses a stunning but rugged vista, an interesting historic past centred around gold-mining, along with a multitude of adventure experiences. The landscape is dominated by a bronzed topography, shades of tussock, and outcroppings of grey stone, all of which is softened by hardy grasses and scrubs. The area is one of the foremost adventure destinations in the world with a network of major ski-fields, paragliding, bunny jumping, tramping tracks and cycle-trails being forever popular. Alternatively, some of the finest golf courses are located nearby, fly fishing is acclaimed, and high country horse treks available.
Nepal is one of the destinations that captures the imagination of travellers, that few others can match. For venturesome people, Nepal identifies as one of those last undiscovered places on earth where true experiential travel could be found. However, despite development initiatives it remains an extremely poor country with rural Nepali continuing to live a stoic lifestyle, marginally above the poverty line. The development of trekking has as much to do with returning Gurkha soldiers, as any real desire to create a tourism industry. In many ways becoming a Gurkha soldier was seen as a way in which families could step away from the poverty trap. With a more worldly outlook, returning veterans kindled the belief that tourism was a way forward, where the dependancy of the Lahure way of life could be diminished and ultimately replaced.
Who said that trekking is not for ordinary travellers ? The Poon Hill Trek, in Nepal, is a great example of the accessibility of trekking for travellers if they are prepared to do a bit of groundwork, and have a moderate level of fitness. For those who take the time, it will sit beside the most memorable travel adventures that they have undertaken. The Annapurna area in west-central Nepal is renowned for its array of mountain peaks and stunning scenery, making it a sought after trekking region for international tourists. The diverse and contrasting landscapes are a highlight for travellers, and a multitude of treks are available. On the Poon Hill Trek, the crowning moment is the early morning view, and at that moment the appreciation of being surrounded by some of the tallest mountains in the world overtakes those viewing the sunrise.
Is Vietnam a niche destination for venturesome travellers ? or merely another Asian country looking for an angle to attract tourists ? Being isolated from the world after the Vietnam War, the country suffered from a lack of development for decades. However, this has allowed it to create a point of difference in todays tourism market, appealing to venturesome travellers, and those who want to visit authentic destinations. While possessing a wide selection of natural and cultural resources, visitors to the country will remember most, the richness and affable nature of the Vietnamese people.
Changing global mobility has seen unprecedented tourism, and consequent pressure on renowned destinations such as New York, Barcelona, Los Angeles, and Rome. In popular destinations, homelessness has been aggravated by the pressure on accommodation by tourists. For travellers in America, it seems that “the homeless” are a part of American identity and there is a perception that living on the street is accepted, and “normalised”. Nowhere is this more apparent than San-Francisco, but it doesn’t take many walks about the city, observing the homeless playing informal chess tournaments, listening to blues and jazz music, or reading classic literature, to realize that homelessness doesn’t always result from a set of simple circumstances. While travel provides a very hands-off situation that requires no moral or ethical thought on our own part, the reality of coming face to face with the homeless in real life poses something completely different.
Why go to Spain ? The Ultimate Experiential Destination, or an Overrated Flashpoint of Over-Tourism?
Why go to Spain ? Its an interesting question. Spain is an enigma that for travellers seeking authentic travel experiences. Put simply, it is hard to get past its earlier and not so appealing scramble to provide what can really only be described as chaotic tourism ghettos along coastal fringes. However, fast forward to today, Spain should be foremost as a great destination for any traveller. Travelling through Spain provides visitors with a diverse range of cultural perspectives, culinary experiences, community identities, and historical settings. Cities cater for the most sophisticated, the most exciting, the most casual, or the most grungy entertainment; while rural areas cater for just about every soft adventure activity, or if preferred, over the top adrenalin rich pursuits.
Driving Turkey proved to be a great way to travel, allowing us to visit places that were not publicized & providing insights into its history, cultures & religions. Many travellers going to Turkey rarely see outside of Istanbul, and while it is certainly one of the Iconic cities of the world there is much to be explored in the rest of the country. Thrace and other sub-regions of the Marmara Region, the Cappadocia sub-region of Central Anatolia, and the Aegean Coast are all areas that are almost impossible to see properly without a car. Importantly, having a vehicle allows for a more authentic travel experience and interaction with the local Turkish people.
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the truly iconic structures of America. It has lost none of its Majesty over time and is a must for all travellers going to San Francisco. Cycling the Bridge can take a little as three hours or so (one way) or the whole day, depending on what you are wanting to get out of it. The actual time depends on whether you bike there any back or catch the ferry at Sausalito. There is a lot along the way that is interesting and an integral part of San Francisco’s history, making for a great day and having numerous stops only enhances the trip. The bike ride is suitable for all ages and fitness levels and so is a must do when visiting this gateway city to the United States.
When we visit remote places, there is still an expectation of being able to buy commonplace things, with little appreciation of what it takes to get them there. Mostly, goods get distributed to outer islands by local ferry, in an archaic cycle carried out by old ferries and barges that seem more at home in the times prior to the World Wars. However taking the time to watch how the goods actually get to where they are supposed to be, leads to a new respect of how the islands make the best of, and adapt to the resources available to them. The casual observer is left pondering how those receiving goods, invariably receive every little item that they have had shipped.
Turkey is a destination where east meets west providing a rich display of history, culture and adventure for ‘Real’ travellers. Turkey is a country that most people will talk about going to but when it comes down to seriously looking at going, somehow something else comes up. However, no matter your age or interest, Turkey has something for you. The shopping is different, fantastic and culturally interesting …. as are the food and architecture. It is where historically, East meets West providing an extremely rich intermingling of societies.
The Hauraki Rail Trail forms one of the ‘Great Rides’, a series of mainly off-road bike trails showcasing great landscapes, rural communities, kiwi culture & history.
If you are thinking that you would like a new challenge in your travels, here is a suggestion. Perhaps not something that you would normally think about, but seriously consider going trekking in Nepal. You will not regret it ………… well perhaps climbing up and down innumerable steps will have you thinking, but the views, the villages along the way, the “tea” houses, the people and the challenge more than compensate.
Most countries in the world have unique aspects which set them apart, and these are left engrained in your memory when all the other intricacies fade with time. I have to admit that Italy holds a special place in my mind because it has so many unique aspects that keep floating back compared to most countries that I have visited. That was until we travelled down the coast of Croatia, which at times literally took our breath away.
I think that it is notable that over the years I have avoided the States in favour of other destinations, but somehow have found myself in San Francisco twice within the last year – and thoroughly enjoyed both times. To most people, perhaps outside of the States, it’s easy to think of all the major cities being of a similar size, each with a population in the millions. It is a bit unreal when you read the statistics, to see that compared to L.A. which has a population of about 3,800,000 and is the second largest City in U.S.A, San Francisco only has a population of 800,000 and is only the fourth largest city in California.