Iloilo – A City of the Ilonggo People

Image result for iloilo cityIloilo is a city I discovered that had urban comforts, scaled-down as compared to Manila, the capital of the country. It is, however, the largest city in the Panay region. What is characteristic of this place is the people here, known as Ilonggo.  This is something my friend who owns Alaska Back Care Center had told me about.  I was fascinated by what he shared and really got me intrigued & excited to visit and learn more.

Cityscape Features

People here are connected to the history of the place as well as stay invested in future developments as well. Hence, the community here follows distinct traditions and customs that reflect in their lifestyles, retail as well as in their food. It is an old city that is by the Iloilo River. Over time it has developed its areas, for instance, the vibrant complex called Smallville or the Mandurriao district, the business park area called Megaworld and the riverside boulevard or Esplanade area.

Places to Visit

There are several places that one can visit here with a local tour. I went sightseeing that covered several places such as Miagao church, built around 1787 which has pyramidal towers and is an old church building. Casa Mariquit is an old historic building that has a grandiose design, owned by the prominent Philippines VP in 1803.

My tour also stopped by BulabogPuti, a national park which covers 847 hectares of forest area; there are about dozens of caves here which is a delight for spelunkers. A must visit is also at Museo Iloilo; here indigenous people of the Ati tribe have their weavings and other handicrafts on display.

City Eateries

SM City as several themed restaurants at the different malls among which I explored several. Wawa is a heritage restaurant here with Spanish and Chinese dishes of heritage value. The breakthrough restaurant is an open-air eatery where one can select fresh seafood for cooking. These are some of the several places to visit and local cuisine to explore while you are here.

Jeddah – The Desired City

Related imageJeddah is one of Saudi Arabia’s most bustling and oldest cities. The city is also the largest among the other cities around.  Being the oldest city in itself, the culture and the markets here offer you the taste of the country’s ancient times. When you interact with the people in the city, they always see Jeddah Ghair; this is what I have heard from over twenty different locals I interacted with when I found out that the phrase means that Jeddah is the best. This is how the locals always appreciate their city. This city here is the kind of place you will find everything, it is highly diversified. Here are some of my recommendations to visit.

Jeddah Waterfront

For over a period of a hundred years, the city has served as the prime seaports for all sorts of trading in and out activities being held around here. Due to being a premier location, the waterfront starting bustling with people, it became so crowded that people started comparing it with red sea and then declared it as the bride of it. The waterfront as many little kiosks around it which offers you some scrumptious seafood snacks, which you must have. Apart from that you can take a tour of the port through officials and see their work process.

Try Al Baik

Al Baik is to Saudi Arabia, what Mc Donald’s is to America. This the popular fast-food chain you will come across everywhere you go. This is the kind of dining experience trust me you don’t want to miss. You might think that what would you find special in a fast food joint, but the dishes prepared here are so unique you will yourself answer that question. You will get hummus crusted fried chicken with their special home-made garlic sauce and that is unbeatable.

What has Ulsan in Store for its Tourists?

Image result for ulsan south koreaUlsan is the seventh largest metropolitan city in South Korea. No matter you are touring here for a family vacation or honeymoon or in groups, it has a lot to offer for all kinds of tourists. I would like to highlight the most important places and landmarks that I found worth visiting the city of Ulsan.

Attractions of Ulsan

 

  • Grand Park

 

This is a very large park that offers family members the option to enjoy a long walk, trails, water sport, and also to enjoy a good picnic. It is about 4 kilometers long and also includes small lakes, a butterfly garden, fountain, water park, etc.

 

  • Jangsaengpo Whale Museum

 

I was pretty excited to enter this museum as I wanted to know more about the whales. I would like to tell you that you will have a wonderful experience watching the whale skeletons, and to know more about them. It also has an underwater adventure zone.

 

  • Seoknamsa Temple

 

This temple was built in 842BC and is named based on the location. It was destroyed during the Japanese invasion and was rebuilt in 1674. This is now a Buddhist temple. The main attraction is the three-tier pagoda. It houses the Monk Doui statue as well.

 

  • Bangudae Cliff

 

This is a perfect spot to visit for all foreigners. The cliff has got its name as it looks like a turtle on the ground with its head touching down. I loved the site of the cliff and there were depictions of whaling and sea animals.

 

  • Ulsan Museum

 

I had high hopes about this museum after watching the whale museum and this too did not disappoint.  It is located in the Grand Park and has exhibits from all over the world including the history of Ulsan.

 

  • Ilsan Beach

 

This is one of the best beaches in Ulsan that allows you to enjoy the sand, water, and the sun. There are plenty of bars and restaurants around the beach for tourists to catch up with a wide variety of Korean and international dishes.

Jizan – Exploring the Various Attractions

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In my opinion, Jizan is one of the most attractive cities of Saudi Arabia. It is the port city of Saudi Arabia. It has several natural wonders. The city encompasses a rich history and culture. There are a plethora of things that you can see and do in the city. If you are planning to visit the city any time soon, here are a few things that you can do.

  1. Farasan Island

If you are in Jizan, you should not miss out on this island. It is only a trip away. I found this to be a breathtaking natural wonder. I went snorkeling in the blue water. Apart from this, you will also be able to enjoy coral reefs and diving. It is the best place to be if you have to unwind.

  1. Fifa Mountains

Next on my list was the popular tourist attraction, Fifa Mountains. The natural charm is beheld is just stunning. Here, you will be able to watch nature at its best. Towards the edge of the mountains, you will find scattered historical fortresses.

  1. Al-Khoubah Hot Springs

Take a 75 km ride away from the city to reach Al-Khoubah Hot Springs. This place is worth a visit. Here, you can soak in the naturally hot waters. It is said that the healing properties. Hence, it can relieve you the stressful life that you are leading.

  1. Heritage Village

This is a historical village which dates back to the fifteenth century. Wherever I laid my eyes, I saw the marks of history. I came across traditional houses which are made of stones and mud. There is also an old market and an exhibition for handicraft.  It is surely going to take you back in time. I bought some souvenir for my loved ones from the market.

Sydney – The Best of Australia

Image result for sydney australiaSydney is the capital city of New South Wales in Australia. Located on the eastern coast, the city extends towards Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains. It is one of the most happening metropolises in Australia that attracts thousands of tourists from different parts of the world. Sydney is known for its archaeological findings that testify to the culture of numerous ancient civilizations. Mentioned below are some of the best places I visited with an old friend.   We had an amazing time during our stay in the city.

Clovelly Beach

Clovelly beach has been one of the most memorable destinations so far.  It is a public beach and you can enjoy the sights without paying any entry fee. It also has a free parking area. It is a great beach for swimmers looking for calm waters. However, there are some rocky areas that experience high tides. Besides a long relaxing walk, we enjoyed snorkeling and swimming. It is a great place to visit with friends and family.

Barangaroo Reserve

Barangaroo Reserve is a 15-acre headland that offers an amazing view of the city’s Harbour. The place was recreated and named after Barangaroo, an influential Cammeraygal woman who lived during the colonial days. The place is home to thousands of trees and nature trails that are ideal for trekking and cycling. Several events like NYE fireworks and exhibitions are held in this area. The events have entry fees that may range between 2 to 30 AUD.

Wild Life Sydney Zoo

Although Sydney has many tourist destinations, nothing can match the fun and beauty of its grand Wild Life zoo. If you are traveling with family you should diffidently visit the place. The zoo houses all the iconic animals Australia is known for. Koalas, kangaroos, and wild crocodiles are some of the popular animals you get to see. For adults, the entry fee is 44 AUD and for children, it is 31 AUD but you can save around 10 AUD if you make advance online bookings.

Wuxi – Enjoy Wonderful Waterscapes Here

Did you know that this city is 3000 years old, located by the northern shores of Tai Lake in the southern border of Jiangsu province? Today it is one of the top ten tourist destinations you can visit in China. That is one of the reasons I planned to make it one of my stops when visiting Chinese cities. It is also because I love ancient caves and beautiful gardens which are here.

When I came here I was greeted by a moist and warm climate, the lush, green lands. It is also known as Land of Fish and Rice. The nearby waterways are the Grand Canal and Yangtze River. I can tell you that this port city dates back to the 19th century and has been known for its cloth and rice market, much of which can be found even today.

When you are here you will find the region to host modern bustling commercial areas as well as several local sports venues.

Explore the Tai Lake

This should be your first stop when you come by Wuxi city as it was mine. The water scenes by the lake are fascinating. Lake Taihu is known for the freshwater pearls that are found in the waters. Stop by the numerous stalls here to buy pearls and jewelry items as I did.

Stop by Turtle Head Isle

The waterscapes here were fascinating and I had a wonderful day here when I came by. The countryside scenes here are breathtaking, especially with landscaped gardens all around.

Resorts and More at Huishan Mountain

This mountain range, known to lie south of Yangtze River, first of its kind, is a scenic place to visit; you will find several resorts to stop by here and recreational activities to indulge in. I stayed a night here and had a wonderful time with my friends.

Other attractions that we stopped by to see were the Li Garden, Plum Garden, and Lingshan Grand Buddha. Book yourself a tour of the city, for a day or more and enjoy exploring these places, especially in spring or autumn season.

Xuzhou – Discover Unique Chinese traditions

There is something unique about it when I came here, with locals offering a friendly environment to travelers and being a walkable city in general. This is the fourth largest city of Jiangsu province of the country. There are distinct neighborhoods to explore here such as Peixian County which is famous for Wushu, a form of martial arts and Qijia village that is famous for Chinese chess.

I found it easy to get here as it is well connected to other cities of the country such as Shanghai, Lianyungang, and Shandong. The city is known to be a middle point between Shandong, Henan and Jiangsu provinces. The history of the place dates back thousands of years and it was a political and cultural center of Han dynasty whose several historic landmarks can be found here.

Stop by Handai San Jue

This is a place of attraction that showcases the history of the Han Dynasty and so I made it my first stop. The first emperor Gaozu was born here and there are countless historic landmarks left behind. You will find here Han tombs, sculptures of kings and warriors in stone and terracotta. There are several cultural and ancient relics that are housed around the scenic mountain ranges here.

Walk and Explore Pinyin, Meizhuang and Qijia Villages

These are villages around the city that I loved to explore. I stopped by Pinyin to check out the Chinese form of martial arts called Wushu; Mei Zhuang village had several places of culture and folk custom and I got to discover the Chinese form of chess in Qijia village.

Plan a Visit to Pan’anhu National Wetland Park

This wetland area is a scenic waterscape close to this city which you can reach by a hired car or with a city tour service. I spent much of my time here exploring unique species of flora and fauna.

The Scenic Mucheng Park

As all tourists do, I took a boat ride here and tried different recreational activities that are popular by this scenic local lake.

The above places are some of the numerous landmarks to explore and enjoy when you are at Xuzhou.

Yangzhou – Spend a Day Sightseeing and Enjoy Chinese Cuisine

When I came here I discovered that this place is not only a unique picturesque city located in the western part of the country but also a city that is well connected to other cities of the region like Suzhou and Nanjing.

When I was out for a tour of this region, I realized that this is a favorite destination of many who love Chinese cuisine.

If you are planning to visit this city, stop by in spring or autumn seasons when the weather is pleasant; winters are not too cold either whereas the summers are humid and hot.

Prime Attraction Here – Slender West Lake

One of the several attractions here is this scenic lake. You will find it in the northwest part of the region; it is like a green, wide ribbon with winding dikes, rippling waters, dancing willows, arch bridges, and colorful flowers. The lake expanse is considerable and there are about 24 attractions around it to explore so take your time here.

Stop by the Ge Garden

This is one of the scenic gardens that I loved spending a day walking around in, especially since the weather was pleasant. It is located in the downtown area of Yanfu Lu which showcases unique rock layouts through the four seasons. This region contained several private gardens of famous personalities which an experienced guide can show you around.

Enjoy Landscapes of the Garden

You will realize that this city is dotted with several gardens that showcase unique landscaping and stand testimony to architecture during the late Qing dynasty.  In particular, there was a top private garden of the emperors of this dynasty and was used from 1644 to 1911. Located by the south of Yangtze River, it is a place worth visiting.

A Religious Site to Explore – Daming Temple

I did not visit many religious sites but included this temple in my tour. Daming temple is by the northern suburbs here and is 1500 years old. It is a treasure of national Buddhism with beautiful gardens around it.

Explore Local Cuisine

This is not to be missed. I would particularly recommend restaurants in Guangling district where I stopped by and enjoyed dishes like the local fried rice, beef dumplings, crabmeat balls, and other dishes.

Yaroslavl – Take a Trip to the Countryside

Yaroslavl is a small town in Russia’s Golden Ring. My love for history and art attracted me to this city. I went for a weekend trip. There are some fun things to do here. In fact, tourists are never going to feel bored. When you visit Yaroslavl, here are few sites and attractions that you should not miss out on.

The Volga Embankment

To spend some peaceful time, take a walk along Volga’s embankment. I loved the view that it had to offer. You can catch a view of the city, as well as the water. There are many cafes where you can refresh yourself. The best part is the end of this walk. The merging of Kotorosl and Volga River is a breathtaking view. And as I turned back, I saw the beautiful Assumption Cathedral.

Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery

In case you have visited for a short period of time, Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery should definitely be on your list. The monastery had been created in the 13th century. This is the oldest architectural building you will find in the city. I could see the domes sparkle in the bright sunlight. There are 12 bells that ring every hour. Climb to the bell tower to get a bird’s eye view of this beautiful city.

Yaroslavl Art Museum

The museum has different branches. I visited the main one that is at the heart of the town. It used to be the residents of Yaroslavl governors. The collection of art from the 18th-20th century truly impressed me. The benefit of visiting in the summer months was that I got an entry to the Governor’s Garden, too.

Izgib Sports Park

Spend a few hours in this sports park. However, this is best visited during the winter months as you will be able to snowboard, ski, and toboggan. Adventure seekers are simply going to love this place.

Bluefields, Nicaragua

Bluefields is a cosmopolitan destination. It is the municipality where 6 ethnic groups come together, especially because of the mix of African, mestizo and indigenous tribes. Majority of its population live in urban areas, from where tourists can travel to other sites, such as Monkey Point, Rama Cay, Corn Islands, The Bluff and many more. We can easily find people who speak Spanish and English in Bluefields.

Sites to See

There are several attractive sites in Bluefields. We can reach most of the important points on foot as the city is relatively small. I explore the following sites in the city-

 

  • Parque Reyes

 

There are large statues of six young men holding products and supporting a flame into the front and center. Huge trees are planted in pairs in the center, a wall of bright murals along with the north and a nice bandstand is fixed in the center. This is a vibrant community park with children playing, adults occupying benches and a group of students having a meeting.

 

  • El Bluff Beach

 

From Bluefields, I can easily get to El Bluff beach. But one must go in a big group as the boat will not leave if it is not full.

 

  • Bluefields Cultural Museum

 

For this small community, this is an important museum. I find old maps there hanging on the wall, wooden model for the Main Plaza’s statue to the six indigenous people, several saddle millstones. So historic and huge, this place really deserves a visit.

Weather of Bluefields

Temperature feels hot all year with a very low chance of rain. Bluefields has some extreme humid months and high humidity throughout the year. The least humid month is March (72.4%) and the most humid month is July (83.9%). Wind is usually calm. The best time to visit Bluefields is January followed by February and March. We enjoyed a lot here in our week – long vacation.