The Sera Monastery in Lhasa, Tibet is a very magical and enriching place. As one of three famous monasteries in Lhasa, there is a wealth of history and culture that can be observed when visiting. The Sera Monastery was constructed in 1419 and is homage to the Gelugpa branch of Tibetan Buddhism. Among all of the sights that the monastery has, one is particularly special, the debates of the monks. These debates take place on a regular schedule and are open to the public for viewing.
Debates about Buddhist doctrines between monks are a very important part of the learning process in the Sera Monastery. It is believed that these debates create a deeper knowledge of the Buddhist philosophy and will allow the monks to reach a higher level of understanding of the doctrines. These debates between monks happen in front of their teachers and there are rules as to how the questioner and defender are to behave. As you are watching these debates, you might notice a set of physical gestures. Each of these gestures has a specific meaning. For instance, a monk clapping their hands loudly demonstrates the confidence he has in his argument. Another example of these gestures is when one monk disagrees with the statement of his opponent, he will gesture three circles around his opponent’s head with his hands followed by very loud shouting. The victor of the debate is the monk who was able to entrap his opponent into arguing ineffectively. To skillfully win a debate demonstrates ones wisdom as a Buddhist.
If you ever plan on visiting the Sera Monastery, definitely try to witness one of these debates!
Botswana is a place where outdoor vacations rule. If you want to go on a safari or simply view stunning vistas, then a trip here is well worth it. Bring a camera with high quality and a lot of memory so you have plenty of excellent images to take home and share with others.
Start off your Botswana vacation by visiting the Moremi Gorge. Many spectators have claimed this as one of the top spots to see in Botswana. Located east of the Palapye village in the Tswapong Hills, you’ll be able to get in a lot of the local flavor before seeing the gorge in its full beauty. The history, archaeology, and biology here are well worth the visit. You’ll see waterfalls spilling down into deep pools. Endangered Cape vultures make their homes here. The water brings in dozens of animals from kudu to leopards, so be sure to keep your camera ready.
At Makgadikgadi waits the largest salt pan in the world. The salt pan has been left behind after theMakgadikgadiLakedried up 10,000 years ago. Left behind is a vast expanse of salt that you can explore on a 4×4 or 4×4 quad bike. Camp out on the hills above for a bird’s eye view of the salt pans and watch for the animals that live in the area such as zebra and wildebeest.
If you haven’t heard of the Okavango Delta by now, it’s time to do some research! This is another one of Botswana’s most popular places to visit, and a great way to see it is on horseback. This lush paradise teems with exotic birds and features everything from floodplains to savanna grasslands, lagoons full of water lilies to palm islands. There are so many varied ecosystems here, horseback gives you that extra bit of speed and sure-footedness that allows you to see more throughout the day – as well as an even better view. Keep your camera ready because there is even more wildlife here, including elephants.
If you aren’t sure what else you might want to do in Botswana, finding a travel agent might help. There are dozens of ways you can have a bit of excitement and adventure, from sailing at the Letsibogo Dam to exploring the Gcwihaba Caverns. You can enjoy rides on elephants and view ancient rock art. Go on game walks with bushmen, fish, bird watch, or check out the hot springs in Kasane. All of this and so much more awaits you in Botswana!
Australia is one of those places that evoke a sense of excitement and adventure. After all, how can you go to Australia and not hike out in the wilderness or sleep out under the stars? That wide stretch of Australian sky beckons, as do the bustling cities and kangaroos!
Once you reach Australia– head right off the mainland! There are dozens of islands to check out that are situated off Australia’s coast, many of them with unique features that will make for amazing pictures to share when you return home. From Kangaroo Island to King Island, you’ll find the people are friendly and you’ll have plenty of time to fish, eat, and go diving.
When you get back to the mainland, check out Newcastle. Everyone always goes to Sydney, and while there’s nothing wrong with seeing the big city in all its glory,New Castle has a few delights of its own. Chitchat with locals there to find out where the best eateries are, where you can find the best cup of coffee, and even discover a few secret beach spots. Here you’ll have fewer crowds when you hit the sands, which is always nice.
Ready to see every color the ocean has to offer? Dive or snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef, one of Australia’s locations to make Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel. It’s the world’s largest coral reef and full of vibrant fish, corals, starfish, and numerous other sea creatures that name the Reef their home.
Do you like art? Then visit MONA. The Museum of Old & New Art opened just a few years ago and features over $100 million worth of stunning art. Take a little time to appreciate some amazing works of creativity on a more relaxed day. Or if you’re closer to Canberra, you can visit the National Gallery of Australia instead.
What would a visit to Australia be without a hike or outback road trip? Do either or both while you’re there and see Australia’s wilder side. Vast blue skies above and bold red soil beneath your feet make for a stunning combination. You’ll see plenty of flora and fauna as you go, and you can either do it without a guide or hire one to point out everything along the way.
Australia awaits you, so it’s time to start planning your journey. Schedule in a few days to kick back and relax once you arrive before going all out on your hikes or diving. That way you’ll be able to take in a few sites around your hotel and get your energy up for some exciting times that you’ll remember forever.
Thailand is a very mysterious place filled with tradition, religion and beautiful architecture. Tourists and vacationers are steadily realizing all that Thailand has to offer. More and more travelers venture to Thailand each year. Many tourists visit Thailand in hopes of visiting one of the thousands of gorgeous temples throughout the country. If you are planning on visiting Thailand for yourself, there are a few temples that you should consider visiting. These temples should be at the top of your list.
This temple was the largest temple in the area and was used as a royal palace throughout its history. The main attraction of this particular temple is a complex at the entrance which has a number of buildings which visitors can wander through. This is a great way to get a feel for the ancient history of this temple.
Wihan Phramongkhon Bophit
This temple is another must see! Wihan Phramongkhon Bophit is home to one of the largest bronze Buddha statues in Thailand. Restored in the 1950s, this temple was the first site for royal cremations.
Wat Chaiwatthanaram is a beautiful temple and is perfect for those visiting Thailand for the first time. Built in 1630 on the Chao Phraya River, Wat Chaiwatthanaram was designed to look like the temples found in Cambodia. There are over 100 Buddha images and statues throughout the temple and most travelers claim that it is one of the most peaceful temples in the area.
Whether it’s your first or fifth visit to Thailand, you absolutely must visit one of its thousands of temples. They are so much more than just religious and historical structures; they are magical and are sure to stick with you even when you leave Thailand.
We are always looking for ways to inform you about the most exciting destinations from around the world. We recently sat down with Destination Specialist Joanna Evans and spoke to her about Belize. She talks about the best times to visit, the best sights and other interesting info!
Q: Can you tell us some of your favorite places to visit in Belize?
A: Some of the most exciting places to visit in Belize are Actun Tunichil Muknal Caves, Tikal, Xunantunich, the Barrier Reef, Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, and Jaguar Paw Caving & Zip Lining.
Q: When is the best time of year to visit?
A: If you would prefer to go during dry weather, its best to go from November-May. If you are looking for less crowds and more value for money go from June-November.
Q: What is Belize best known for?
A: Natural Attractions & People! Over 40% of the land is set aside as nature reserves and the country offers a range of adventure and sight-seeing opportunities hosted by some of the friendliest, most passionate people you’ll meet.
Q: What is the cuisine of Belize like?
A: Varied- depending on the part of the country and the cultural group. On the coast there’s tons of seafood and coconut-based soups and meals, wherever there’s a large group of Maya and Mestizo, you’ll find corn-based meals (tamales, panades, salbutes, etc.), the Creole staples are rice and beans, stewed chicken and plantains.
Q: Are there any indigenous people in Belize?
A: Yes, the Maya & the Garifuna.
Q: Can you tell us about the plants and wildlife?
A: There are tons of special wildlife species in Belize. There are 5 species of wild cats, monkeys, an enormous amount of bird species, foxes, large lizards, iguanas and so much more! There are also many special plants in Belize. Rainforests and jungles have been known to provide a vast amount of edible and health-related plants. There are species of orchids, cohune and Xate trees.