Somewhere in the world it is cold. Just the word “cold” turns people off the idea of visiting a place but let’s be honest; we have all seen some amazing snowy photos in our time. People should try to embrace it. Trips are most certainly not all about going to warm places and sitting on a beach- well, not every time. Sometimes, the most beautiful destinations are caked in the white stuff. Some of the coolest photos show a glaze of icicles and huge glaciers.
In this article, Agness and Cez of eTramping travel blog will showcase to you their TOP FIVE places to visit to experience what any others will miss out on; visiting the most beautiful icy cold destinations the human eyes will ever see. They personally love to travel in winter, so you might beware plenty of enthusiasm!
1. Svalbard, Norway
With a name that sounds like it came straight out of a Lord Of The Rings novel, Svalbard is a collection of islands situated north of Norway, tucked in between the Arctic Ocean and the Norwegian Sea. Largely unpopulated across all islands, some have “nature reserve” status and offer so much potential for the more adventurous traveller. The higher mountain tops are permanently under snow and there are plenty of cool glaciers to check out for those who love an upward trek. If you time it right, you may catch a midnight sun (April to August) or a polar night (October to February) in your Svalbard trip. They will certainly add character to your trip!
There are plenty of ways of getting around each of the islands, but the postal service boat trips or Svalbard Cruises are the best ways. Most people there speak English very well, so communication will not be an issue. The best part of these trips can include a possibility of seeing a Polar Bear family finding its way through the craggy mountains. Not only that, there may also be an abundance of other remarkable wildlife in their natural habitat. Be sure to keep an eye out for Puffins, Humpback Whales, Orcas, polar foxes and many more.
One other interesting fact: any human artifacts left lying around from before 1946 must be left alone, as the law states. You may stumble across an old mining entrance, or a random spade on your travels. It is best to not touch them!
2. Harbin, China
Harbin is home to the Ice and Snow Festival, where the most incredible ice sculptures are showcased to those that visit. Popular throughout January, Harbin is the perfect icy getaway for those wanting to numb their New Year Blues. This expedition is becoming more and more popular every year as competition grows from participants around the world. There is no doubt you will wowed by the high quality of these sculptures and their intricate and accurate cuts, not to mention the sizes! It has been known that an Ice Castle was showcased here once, standing at a whopping forty-eight metres high! There are smaller, less hectic shows on Sun Island, although the name doesn’t reflect the temperatures. Be sure to pack strategically, as it can get super cold here during this time of the year.
There is plenty to keep you occupied other than the ice sculptures. Ice-skating and sight-seeing are two very popular things to do, as the architecture here is a mixture of Russian influence and neo-classical streets, which makes for an interesting mixture of styles. Plenty of history to be learned!
3. Barrow, Alaska
This part of the US is unique because it stretches far north of the Arctic Circle. Not only that but it is surprisingly diverse with culture. You will probably hear several languages spoken around you in any given day. Nevertheless, the majority of the population are of Eskimo heritage and the locals have gone to great lengths to preserve their natural way of life. Therefore you will find plenty of points of interest, where you will learn of the evolution and hardships of a very unique group of people. In fact, the more interest you show, the more welcome you will feel. Barrow Beach is a very photogenic area, with the added possibility of sighting some polar bears in their natural habitat. You may even see them in the middle of a seal hunt! It is best to keep a whole day free for this part of the trip, as you will have a chance to relax and take in your surroundings.
Temperatures in Barrow can get frightfully cold (lows of -50 degrees Celsius) but there is plenty of landscape to explore.
4. Patagonia, South America
This is quite simply a matchless part of the world, because of its incredible exploration opportunities. Shared by Chile and Argentina, the western part mixes with the Andes and give you awe-inspiring trek routes and the most beautiful nature experiences you may ever have. The Moreno Glacier is certainly worth a visit due to its vastness and photo opportunities. The eastern stretches of Patagonia have cool views of the Atlantic Ocean. The north collides with dry and humid desert land and Pampas lowlands. It has everything! It is such a huge, desolate area, a playground for trekkers and adventure seekers to enjoy.
What is even more distinctive is the local dialect. Welsh, you may wonder? Yes, one of the larger settlements in these parts are Welsh Argentinian. You will meet the kindest, most humble people on your trip here, people will drop everything to help you along your way.
Patagonia is actually proudly a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will most likely mix with some fantastic wildlife, such as sea lions, dolphins and penguins on the coast, and witness endangered Pumas and other such animals in the mountains.
5. Swiss Alps
You know where this is going- get your skis ready! Aside from the amazing skiing experiences (if skiing takes your fancy- or snowboarding, for that matter), there are plenty of quaint, fairytale-like villages to explore, such as Saas Fee and Wengen.
They offer sweet, alpine views, amazing hot meals, and are great places to base yourself as you explore the local skiing culture. Stay warm with some local Fondue, and mix with families and lone-travellers from all around the world. Make sure you bring a GoPro or something similar, for those winding alpine slopes!
There are also some fantastic mountaineering climbs on offer across the region. Plenty of choices include Matterhorn, Breithorn and Castor. If you enjoy challenging yourself to adventurous treks, you are in for a treat! The views are breath-taking, the glaciers are looming. Further down the mountains you will find wondrous gorges and national parks to gaze upon, so take a spare memory card for your camera!
Very few things in life are as satisfying as a vacation. Well deserved (or not), nothing quite beats packing your bags and being on your way to your holiday destination. The only thing that tops going on vacation, is shopping while on vacation. So if you always leave extra room in your luggage or are blessed enough to come back home with an extra bag- then here is a quick guide to the world’s seven best shopping vacation spots you can visit.
Adventure travel is always something that we all love doing. It gets no better than to going on a December adventure tour and get to discover some of the world’s awe but inspiring places. These vacation spots will take you aback with their inspiring looks and show you that reality does exist. Some of the locations can drive you to tears while others will get your heart pumping. Fancy an adventure discovery trip, this piece will take you through some of the most awe-inspiring place you can visit this December that will make your hair stand on end anyway.
Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
From the ancient days, Egypt has been identified to host some of the best historical sites in the world. The country is rich in history which dates backs to the biblical time. The Pyramids of Giza is both a World Heritage site and a tourist cliché. Every year, tourists from all over the world visit the country to have a look at the one of the sole survivors of the Seven Wonders of the World. The pyramid has been in existence for over 4000 years. Besides the history, the pyramids boast of their extraordinary shape, geometry and their so called alien nature.
Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an, China
China is known for a bunch of weird stuff and Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an is certainly one of the oddest places to visit. The subterranean life-size army boast of thousands of terracotta warriors has remained guard throughout the soul of China’s first emperor in the last two millennia. A visit to the aircraft hangar- sized Pit 1 will reveal to you the 6000 warriors and horses. The most interesting thing about these horses and warriors is that they are all facing east and are ready set for battle.
Everything about Petra starts building up as you walk the Siq, the long and dramatic chasm linking the ancient city to the outside world. Also known as the Rose-red City, get an introduction to the sites which normally come with a glimpse of treasury. The view is exemplified throughout the day as the sun moves over the sites. The colours glow from the faces of the great temple and tombs which are mostly carved out of rose coloured rock to give the Rose-red City and exquisite inspiring look.
Lake Retba, Senegal
Also known as Lac Rosa, the lake is located in north of Cap Vert peninsula in Senegal and attracts thousands tourists both local and international. The demand to visit the lake especially during December is high. It is therefore important to book hotel rooms online early enough if you truly want to make the most out of the experience.
The lake waters look like strawberry milk shake something which can be attributed Dunaliellasalina algae. During the dry season, the pink color is clearly visible. The fact that the lake has high salt contents allows people to stay above water in the same fashion as the Dead Sea.
China has always fascinated the West, mainly because the two cultures differ so much from each other. Have a taste of China and let’s count down the best tourist attraction that everyone can afford.
1. The Great Wall
The only man made construction to be seen from space, The Great Wall of China is made of stone, brick, earth and wood and it measures and amazing 12,171 miles (21,196 km). Its purpose was to protect China’s border from intruders. Some areas aren’t open to the public and parts of the wall are predicted to disappear in the next 20 years, but there is still a large portion of it that makes a great tourist hot spot.
2. Beijing Zoo
Don’t have money to go out into the wilderness with a guide and discover China’s fauna? Then head over to the Zoo and see China’s animals. The Beijing Zoo takes pride in the fact that it has many endemic species, such as the Giant Panda, the South China tiger and the Chinese Giant Salamander.
3. Forbidden City Tour
The Forbidden City is made of 980 buildings and it served as the imperial palace. Dating from the Ming Dynasty, it used to serve as the home of emperors for 500 years. The city was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 by UNESCO. A Forbidden City tour is imperative if you want to grasp its majesty.
China’s most populated city will offer the tourists whatever they please. Visit the Shanghai Museum, the Grand Theater, Jin Mao Tower or at 468 meters, the Oriental Pearl Tower. Take a break from the city and rest in the People’s Square Park in the heart of Shanghai.For those traveling from Australia and New Zealand, you can easily find affordable Shanghai flight tickets for your next holiday in China.
5. The Terracotta Warriors
Sculptures of the army of the first emperor of China, Quin Shi Huan, were discovered in 1974. More than 6,000 unique soldiers had the task of guarding the dead Emperor. The Terracotta Warriors were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As said, each face is unique and apparently eight face molds were used to create the skull and then unique features were added to make each face distinctive.
6. Beijing Opera
Try a completely different type of opera from what you’re used to and go see a show at the Beijing Opera. The costumes are over-the-top, the faces have masks painted on and there is a lot of wailing. It’s loud and unlike anything you’ve even heard before. A unique experience to remember!
7. World Financial Center Building
It is the tallest building in Mainland China – 1,615 feet (492 m), its construction lasting almost 10 years. Designed by architect Kohn Pedersen Fox, one of the largest architecture firms in the world, it has 101 floors, 91 elevators and has earned many architectural awards.
8. Jade Buddha Temple
One of the few working Buddhist communities in China, the Yufo Si, possess two impressive statues of Buddha made from jade, encrusted with semi-precious stones. The temple is located in Shanghai and he two Buddha figures were bought there by a Burmese monk in the 1800s.
9. The Red Carp Pond
Also in the city of Shanghai, this one is great for the kids. Watch how thousands of carps swim in unison in this large pond. Feeding the fish is allowed and supposedly they can grant a wish to the ones who feed them. So be careful what you wish for.
Also called Paradise on Earth, Hangzhou is a wonderful city built around the West Lake. It has gardens, temples and historic streets for you to lose yourself in. It is surrounded by hills where green tea grows and it insanely close to the hectic Shanghai.