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Monthly Archives: December 2012

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The Li River
China has much more to offer the traveler than silk bags and tasty foods, it has wonderful natural beauty, exotic architecture and a diverse wildlife. Our first destination is the Li River that flows into Guilin and where it may be considered its most picturesque location. The mountains and hills that surround the Li River have been eroded to tall round pillar like shapes, that emerge from the landscape to create a surreal and unique landscape.  It’s magnificent features include reed-flute rock, a limestone cave with a large number of stalactites, stalacto-stalagmites, rocky curtains, and cave corals. The mountain of splendid hues consisting of many layers of colored rocks and elephant-trunk hill, a riverside cliff that looks like a giant elephant drinking water with its trunk. Guilin is a pictorial town and one of the best-known tourist destinations in China with its many scenic places in short traveling distance of Guilin. Destinations include Longsheng with its famous Longji rice terraces; the Li River itself that is printed on the back of the ¥20 bank note and Yangshuo, a small county downstream from Guilin plus so much more. A luxury Li River cruise can also be a wonderful way to experience this iconic destination, as the traveler can enjoy the fantastic visions with a panoramic view.

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Snow Mountains of Tibet
Traveling to Tibet will make one feel as though they’ve entered an ancient tribal world. With over 1,500 lakes, eight peaks over 21,000 feet and a rich cultural heritage, there are countless things to experience in Tibet. The land offers intense sunshine, crystal-clear blue rivers and sapphire lakes with terraced fields of gold barley and where the Tibetan people are extremely religious, viewing their daily lives and environment as challenges along the path of life. Aside from the endless human cultural experience are the iconic site of Lhasa including the Ganden Monastery that consist of eight major buildings the most impressive structure being the Gold Tomb of Tsongkhapa in the center of the complex, recognized by the recently built white small shrine and standing before the red building. A path circulates the monastery and starts from the parking area, where you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Lhasa River Valley and only takes about an hour to complete.

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The Great Wall of China
Touring The Great Wall of China is considered a-must destination for many people from all around the world. It can be visited at many places along its length of several thousand miles. The condition of the wall ranges from excellent to ruined and access can be easy or difficult depending on where you try to view it. There are many ways to visit the wall and some visitors admire the views from popular tourist sections and take advantage of the amenities offered such as restaurants and shops. Others choose to explore the more rugged sections of the wall with extended hikes of the wild sections. Another great reason for traveling to the Great Wall is the diverse Chinese wildlife around it. You may be able to spot the rare Siberian tiger in the northeast to the protected and rare Giant Panda in southern Gansu. Other types of wild mammals include the manchurian weasel, brown and black bear, northern pika and deer include the sitka deer, roe deer and the long-sought-after spotted deer. The birds of the region include various pheasants, black grouse, pine grosbeak, various woodpeckers, the colorful mandarin duck and the fairy pitta with its somewhat tail-less shape, colorful body and green luminescent wings that catch the sun and seem to glow.

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Beautiful Pandas
Although not a place but an animal, Pandas are one of the world’s most recognizable and loved animal. Traveling to The Bifengxia Panda Reserve Center will give the you a chance to interact with pandas on a personal level. The reserve is situated in 5 miles from Ya‘an City. The reserve is the first effort in creating a scenic destination into a natural eco-zoo in China that includes sightseeing and entertainment. The Ecological Wild Animal zoo was built in 1999 in the Bifeng Gorges. with more than 20 locations designated for panda-related activities and scientific research. There are dedicated grazing grounds, “kindergartens” for young pandas and a panda hospital alongside a research institute. Several different varieties of bamboo have been planted in the base either by the water or on the slopes to allow the pandas to graze naturally. Visitors can spend the day volunteering with pandas at Bifengxia with opportunities to take pictures with pandas. The male panda Tai Shan, born at the National Zoo in Washington DC, now makes his home in Bifengxia.

travel-tour-Macau-globotours

First and Last European Colony of Macau
As the first European and the last European colony in Asia Macau has more colonial history and architecture than Hong Kong. The Portuguese and Macanese population continues to maintain a presence, but most of the population and culture is Chinese and although Macau is best known for gambling the city has lots of historical and cultural attractions that have both European and Chinese influences. An interesting sight to see is the statue of the Bodhisatta Avalokitesvara located next to the Sands Casino and MGM Grand. Besides the statue being a Chinese deity its design is very slick and European with minimal adornment. Travelers can also enjoy a day in Fisherman’s Wharf where you can experience theme-park activities and shopping or admire the Ruins Of Saint Paul’s Cathedral that consist of the southern stone façade intricately carved in the 1620s by local craftsmen. From colonial church ruins and grand temples to the iconic Portuguese custard tarts famous throughout the island, traveling to Macau provides a true blend of European west and Exotic east.

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Swamimalai-Temple-globotours

Traveling to India will always consist of icons such as the Taj Mahal  but the Temple town of Swamimalai can give the experienced traveler a local’s experience. Located in the Thanjavur District of India near the banks of the river Cauvery and most famous for being one of the six Battle Camps of the Lord Murugan the town is crowned with a picturesque and brightly colored icon. The name of the town means ‘God’s mountain’ and where the impressive Swamimalai Murugan Hindu Temple is located. The temple featured on the left, is built in a step format and is adorned with brightly colored motives. Inside the temple are  representations of Lord Shiva and Lord Muruga being shown as one and in the place of the traditional peacock before the Lord there is an elephant that was gifted by Indira after the destruction of the demon Harikesa. The surrounding town is small in comparison and only offers the minimal tourist experience but a much more intimate and local living experience.

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Pinnawala-Elephant-Orphanage-globotours

Warm greetings from Sri Lanka, the land of a thousand breathtaking spectacles as you journey through tropical beaches, majestic temple ruins, lush foliage countryside, underwater coral scapes, cascading waterfalls and colorful festival pageantry. Vacationing in Sri Lanka offers a real chance to feel transported to a fantasy with its seemingly endless sites and activities especially when considering it’s an island. Sri Lanka is a tropical country so you can expect rain at almost any time of the year and in most parts. Things to do include surfing and ocean activities, visiting iconic sights including the Citadel of Sigiriya also known as “Lion Rock”, the imposing Dambulla Caves filled with religious relics and artwork. Another location worth visiting is the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, notable for having the largest herd of captive elephants in the world and was established to feed, nurse and house young elephants found abandoned by their mothers. A true paradise vacation.

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tour-Ganges-river-globotoursA famous pilgrim destinations for locals but still somewhat hidden from westerners is touring the Ganges river. It’s the most sacred river to Hindus and is a lifeline to millions of Indians who live along its course and depend on it. It’s worshiped as the goddess Ganga in Hinduism and has historical importance including many former provincial and imperial capitals have been located on its banks. As soon as the day begins, Hindus arrive at the river to begin giving offerings of flowers or food by throwing it in handfuls of grain or flower garlands into the Ganges. Others will float small oil lamps on its surface while praying. In cupped hands they will also take the ritual drink of the Ganges and then fill a container to take with them to the temple. On great festivals Hindus float on the river in boats, shouting “Victory to Mother Ganga!” The entire experience of the Ganges will fill the traveler with a renewed appreciation for religious practices.

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maldives-vacation-globotoursThe Maldives are blessed with plenty of sunshine, crystal blue waters and comfortable temperatures throughout the year, making a Maldives vacation a real tropical getaway. Relaxing is the number one thing to do in Maldives and aside from lounging around in your luxurious Maldives water bungalow, the primary activity on the Maldives is scuba diving and surfing. The islands are all coral reef hundreds of miles from any major landmass, and offer excellent water clarity plus an abundant underwater life to seek. Manta rays, sharks, marine wrecks such as planes or ships can be explored all around the island chain. The Maldives are also becoming a popular surfing destination as the turquoise water and perfect waves makes it an ideal and uncrowded destination for surfers looking for prime surfing conditions.

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india-vacation-globotours-Khajuraho-Group-of-Monuments

The Khajuraho Monuments in Khajuraho is one of the most popular tourist destinations for photographers. Khajuraho has the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples, famous for their erotic sculptures. The locals living in the Khajuraho village knew about and kept up the temples as best they could. The Khajuraho Group of Monuments has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered to be one of the “seven wonders” of India. Only about ten percent of the carvings contain erotic themes and do not show deities the rest depict the everyday life of the common Indian when the carvings were made. The temple complex offers much more than a curios visit. The temples are grouped into three sites; the western, eastern and southern complex. The Khajuraho temples are made of sandstone and where not built using  mortar as the stones were put together with joints and held in place by gravity, the columns were built with megaliths that weighed up to 20 tons.

Khao-Luang-Cave-Thailand-GlobotoursThe Khao Luang Cave is located in the mountains of southern Thailand. The cave is filled with majestic stalactites that create a magical aura surrounded by religious objects and incense smoke alongside Buddha images and chedis relics of different sizes. Most of them were put in place by kings Rama IV and Rama V and the cave can be reached by a short walk from the parking area. Watch out for an opportunity to take pictures of the monkeys. The ideal time to visit the cave is on a clear morning between 9 and 11 when the sun shines through and reflects off the Buddha images and religious relics. For a donation a nun will light  the rear of the cave for a chance to enjoy the full visual effect of this spectacular location. The large monastery Wat Tham Klaep, is located at the bottom of the hill and is open to the public.

Kuching-globotoursOnce the capital of the White Rajahs of Sarawak Kuching is small enough to be enjoyed on foot but interesting to keep you intrigued for several days and a good base for exploring Sarawak, one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo and is known as the Land of the Hornbills. The name of the city is thought to derive from the Malay word “kucing” meaning cat and why locals refer to Kuching as the “Cat City” but it more likely comes from the Chinese word for port (“cochin”) coupled with the Malay name mata kucing (cat’s-eye). The people of Kuching take pride in being the cleanest city in Malaysia and in their diverse cultures, so be prepared for a totally different experience from that of the West. One of the more unique experiences in when traveling in Kuching is the cat museum and although its basically a mix of ceramics, modern art and toys the museum is free and lighthearted. Another wonderful experience is the Orangutan and Wildlife Rehabilitation Center located in the Semenggoh Nature Reserve where you can observe the red-haired orangutan, beautiful tropical butterflies, birds and plants.

tombs-of-Emperor-Tu-Duc-vietnam-globotoursTraveling to the tombs of Emperor Tu Duc located in the Duong Xuan Thuong village, is like traveling into the forgotten culture of Vietnam. It’s one of the most beautiful royal complex site of the Nguyen dynasty, with several buildings and designs made of stone and aged charmingly by the tropical weather. The site is located in a large pine forest about 5 miles from Hue. Also peppered around the countryside that surrounds Hue are several tombs and mausoleums of the Nguyen Dynast rulers but they resembled more palatial monuments than final resting locations. Each site was actually a summer palace complex that was built for each emperor, where construction began as soon as the emperor took the throne and would serve as a retreat from the Imperial City. Each one is different in reflecting the style of the time and the emperors taste. Visiting any one of these sites will give the traveler a more cultured experience when traveling to Vietnam rarely appreciated.

Tamu-Kota-Belud-Borneo-globotoursAnother less traveled destination is Kota Belud located in east Malaysia on the island of Borneo where you’d be sure to drop by the famous Tamu Kota Belud. This weekly market is a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and smells as traders gather here to sell their produce and goods and where the famed “Cowboys of the East” gather. During the grand Tamu Besar held around the last weeks of November is when all the tribes come out fully dressed in their traditional costumes for three days of a cultural extravaganza. The Bajaus will stage a grand parade of horses and ponies also dressed in colorful costume and perform spirited display of their riding skills. Besides the usual buying and selling of local goods, other organized activities include a display of farm produce and animals. A great time to witness traditional sports such as buffalo racing and the crowning of the Sarempak Beauty Queens.