If you haven't been to Cambodia before, and you are thinking about what destinations you should visit, if you can only go to one place it must be a place called Angkor Wat. Most people have seen this complex on movies, videos, and in books that people have written. Located in northern Cambodia, it is considered to be one of the more magical places on earth, one that inspires millions of people to visit. Although the name itself simply means Capital Temple, the name itself inspires the imagination. It is regarded as the largest religious structure ever created, and here are a few things that you should know about Angkor Wat and why you should visit.
Who Built Angkor Wat?
This is actually constructed, according to most accounts, back in the 12th-century by a ruler called Khmer King Suryavarman II. it was designed to be the centerpiece of his empire, a place that was initially a temple, but later became a tourist attraction and a mausoleum. This was a unique structure for a couple different reasons. First of all, it deviated from the traditional practices of prior kings that followed the Shaiva traditions. It was dedicated to a completely different God called Vishnu, and using its tall uniquely ornate spires, it is easily recognizable from afar.
The Construction Of Angkor Wat
The construction of this facility was what became known as Khmer architecture, named after the Empire and King that was responsible for its creation. It has become the symbol of the country of Cambodia, and is responsible for a large portion of the economy because of the mystique that this structure holds with many people around the world. It was designed to mimic what is called Mount Meru, a theoretical home that is discussed in Hindu mythology. It contains three rectangular galleries, and there is a moat that circumvents the entire structure, with a Quincunx of towers at the center. Another unique aspect of this structure is another significant deviation. It is actually aligned to the west as if it were mimicking a constellation in the sky that happen to be setting at the time of its construction.
What Is Inside Angkor Wat?
Inside of the structure you will see what are called bas-reliefs that are depicting images of people and Gods that are on the walls. They stand out, and they are often hard to photograph because flash cameras are not allowed. You will also see apsaras and devata throughout the complex, which are images of supernatural beings that are in female form. They come in a couple of different styles, most of which emulate the female persona, something that is unique at this ancient temple.
If you haven't been to Angkor Wat before, it is certainly worth the trip. They actually have many tours that are there to help people navigate to the temple, and provide them with a tour of the exterior and interior of the temple grounds. Based on both Hindu and Buddhist traditions, it will be a spiritual journey for many people that travel to this location. At the very least, you will marvel at the construction of this site which has a distinct appearance all to its own. If you haven't been on a vacation this year, and it is long overdue, definitely plan a trip to Angkor Wat to experience this magical structure that is considered by many to be one of the many wonders of the world. Fortunately, tourism has made it possible for money to be generated by the country to keep this facility intact. This will allow them to consistently maintain this incredible structure for people that visit now, and those that will see it years in the future.
The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis is a phenomenon that many people want to see and is generally part of a list of things you need to see. Viewing their vibrant colors and hearing the sounds that they make is an amazing experience. However, you might be wondering where you should head to see the Northern Lights because there are certain parts of the world where they are more common than others. There are 3 countries that are considered the best for viewing the Northern Lights and you need to consider going to them.
Going To Norway
The first country you should look at going to is Norway, in particular, Svalbard. The island of Svalbard is owned by Norway and is well into the Arctic Circle which is important because the further north you go the better the chances of seeing the Northern Lights. It is recommended that you look at going between November and February as this is generally when the lights are most likely to appear.
When you take a trip up to Svalbard you will also be able to experience a different phenomenon at the same time. This is the Polar night where there is no daylight and night gives way to an eerie blue twilight. The Polar Night also increases the chances of seeing the Northern Lights.
Going To Finland
Finnish Lapland is one of the best places to go for the Northern Lights. There is a resort in Lapland that offers you a glass igloo where you can watch the lights from the comfort and warmth of bed. Of course, you can always look at staying in a traditional log cabin if the glass igloo is not right for you. There are other areas in Finland that you could also consider visiting, but many consider Lapland to be the best for the Northern Lights.
It should be noted that if you are going to Lapland then you cannot get a direct flight. You will need to travel to Helsinki and take a smaller flight there to Ivalo. There are a number of other ways that you can travel to Lapland as well if you do not want to fly.
Going To Iceland
Iceland is considered to be one of the more accessible and affordable locations to go to if you want to see the Northern Lights. The best place in Iceland to go will be Reykjavik, but it is starting to become more popular with tourists. One of the reasons for this increase in popularity is the abundance of other activities available other than seeing the Northern Lights.
If you take a trip to Reykjavik you will be able to see the land geysers, blue ice and the volcano. There is also a geothermal spa close by which offers steamy stays throughout the year. If you are a TV fan you can also look at the Game of Thrones locations while in Iceland.
There are many countries that offer the chance to see the Northern Lights. However, the island of Svalbard, Norway is considered the best because it is part of the Arctic Circle.
If you are thinking of taking a skiing holiday to Italy then you need to know where the best ski resorts are. Many people believe that this is subjective with the best resort for one person not being the best for another. While this is true, there are certain resorts which are considered the best for different levels of skiing experience and you should consider them as a starting point for your trip.
Passo Tonale: Best For Beginners
Passo Tonale is a village that offers snow from late October to the middle of June. The village lies at 1880m and there is a ski lift that will take you up to 3088m. The marked runs at this resort are mainly for beginners and intermediate skiers. However, there are links to the more advanced runs at Ponte di Legno and Temu.
The primary reason why this is the best Italian ski resort for beginners is the gentle open slopes. These slopes are the best place to learn skiing and to gain confidence without any advanced skiers flying past you. The resort also offers 2 skiing and snowboarding schools which offer instruction for people who are not confident enough to take to the slopes.
Alta Badia: Best For Intermediates
The Alta Badia ski area offers easy access to the Sella Ronda circuit. There are a number of villages around the area which offer a lively and family-friendly environment for any holiday. The resort is located at 1570m and the highest point that you can take the ski lift id 3270m.
There are a number of luxury hotels in the area and many top-class restaurants which cater to any needs. The marked runs in the resort are primarily for intermediate and advanced skiers. Of course, there are some slopes which beginners can look at, but you need to be aware that more advanced skiers will be going past.
Alagna: The Best For Advanced Skiers
If you are very comfortable on skis then you should look at taking a trip to Alagna. This picturesque little village is in the Monterosa ski area which is where the powerhouses of skiing go. The runs in the area offer entertainment and challenges to expert skiers and some claim that the backcountry runs can rival those of Chamonix in France. The village is located at 1212m and the lift will take you up to 3275m for a starting point that offers a lot of dramatic free riding.
This is not a place for beginners and anyone that is interested in anything other than skiing. While Alagna only has 15km of pistes, there are links to other intermediate resorts such as Champoluc and Gressoney. However, if you are looking for a challenge then it is best that you stay in Alagna.
There are many ski resorts in Italy that you can visit. However, you should consider your experience on the slopes when you choose the best ones because they need to have runs suited to you.