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Friday, 20 March 2015

Russia Things to See and Do

Source: Russia Things to See and Do
Website: World Travel Guide

Bolshoi Theatre
Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre holds regular performances of opera, as well as being home to the world-famous Bolshoi Ballet Company, among the oldest and most prestigious of its kind anywhere.

Catherine Palace
Sitting 25km (16 miles) outside of St Petersburg, the Catherine Palace acted as a summer residence for a succession of different tsars. It’s perhaps best known for being home to the Amber Room – a stunning array of amber panels looted by Nazis and since recreated.
Experience ‘White Nights’
If you’re in St Petersburg at the height of summer, don’t expect too much kip. By dint of its northerly location, the city experiences some three weeks of 24-hour daylight from mid-June, a time at which the streets and riverbanks never sleep.

Go Skiing
In the Western Caucusus, Krasnaya Polyana (also known as Red Valley) has 25km (16 miles) of runs, making it a magnet for the country’s skiers and snowboarders. Elsewhere in the country, the Kamchatka Peninsula has the potential for a dramatic heli-skiing trip, and Sochi the home of the 2014 Winter Olympics, offers vast slopes with a huge variety of skiing available for all abilities.

A common stop-off for those tackling the Trans-Siberian Railway, Irkutsk is worthy of a day or two’s exploration, particularly for those interested in learning more about Siberian culture. Try and catch a bandy match – a kind of al fresco ice hockey.

Kola Peninsula
The Kola Peninsula offers exceptional salmon-fishing – 18kg (40lb) catches are almost a regular occurrence – while Siberia and the Far East also provide a rich variety of angling options, catering for everyone from beginners to experts.

Krasnaya Ploshchad (Red Square)
Red Square is bordered by some of Russia’s best known monuments - the Kremlin, St Basil's Cathedral and the GUM department store. This enormous, 700m-long (2,300 ft) public space was used for May Day parades back in the Soviet era, and nowadays it serves as a major tourist attraction. The GUM department store functions as an upmarket shopping mall – symbolic of the country’s new found enthusiasm for the market economy. In contrast, the square’s west side has Lenin's Mausoleum.

Lake Baikal
Set close to the Mongolian border, the world’s deepest lake is also one of the clearest, and a trip around some, or all, of its 2,000km (1,242 miles) coastline makes for an awe-inspiring wilderness encounter. Unless snowmobiling’s your thing, the summer months are best.

Lenin’s Mausoleum
The embalmed body of revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin has been on public display almost continuously since his death in 1924. Filing past the regularly moisturised corpse – still in a smart dark suit – is an odd experience, but one not easily forgotten.

Moscow’s Nightlife
The Russian capital has a famously wild nightlife. You may have to shell out to get into the trendier spots – this is one city where luxury means luxury – but there’s also no shortage of lively places where the emphasis is more on partying than profits.

Mount Elbrus
Mount Elbrus is the tallest mountain in the Caucasus and, indeed, Europe itself. Standing 5,642m (18,510 ft) high, it makes for a strenuous but not overly technical climb. Six-day trekking circuits are available for those who fancy looking down on the rest of the continent.
St Isaac’s Cathedral
An impressive reminder of St Petersburg’s tsarist-era design, St Issac’s Cathedral was 40 years in its construction, eventually being unveiled in 1858. The bright golden dome was actually repainted grey during the war to avoid undue attention – it’s now back to its former glory.
St Petersburg’s Canals
The size and grandeur of imperial city of St Petersburg has a tendency to amaze first-time visitors, and there are few better ways of appreciating the architecture of the centre than in the comfort of a leisurely canal cruise through its heart.

State Hermitage Museum
Home to more than three million artworks and artefacts, St. Petersburg’s Hermitage is one the planet’s most acclaimed museums. The collection dates back to a number of Western European paintings purchased by Empress Catherine the Great in 1764, and has since gone on to encompass a catalogue of priceless works.
The Kremlin
Some visitors are surprised that there’s any access at all to the Kremlin – there’s actually enough to see to warrant more than one visit. Most famous of its attractions is the Armoury Museum, a treasure-trove of Fabergé eggs and imperial bling.

Trans-Siberian Railway
The Trans-Siberian railway is perhaps the single most iconic rail journey in the world. The week-long voyage from Moscow to Beijing is the most popular route, and takes you through some of the planet’s most remote wilderness. The sheer length of the trip gives you an idea of the scale of the area you’re covering – almost 9,000km (5,600 miles).

If you’ve made it this far east, congratulations. Fringed by hills and overlooking the Golden Horn Bay, Vladivostok is actually one of the country’s most attractive cities. There’s a number of diverting historical sights, as well as good access to beaches.

Renamed Stalingrad during the socialist era, Volgograd has the dubious honour of being the site of one of WWII’s most infamous battles. The city was levelled by the conflict, but has recovered to become an interesting destination for history buffs.

Yusupov Palace
Your jaw will no doubt drop at St Petersburg's gorgeously decorated Yusupov Palace. Its rooms are sumptuously decorated in 19th-century style and include a gorgeous mini-theatre. A waxwork exhibition also commemorates Rasputin, who was murdered here.

Zero-Gravity Flight
Ever wanted to experience complete weightlessness? Join a zero-gravity flight at Star City, part of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre (http://www.gctc.su), 35km (22 miles) from Moscow. Guests can in a modified cargo plane, which rises to 6000m (19685 ft) before a further steep ascent allows passengers to float weightlessly around the plane. It’s not cheap, but then, this isn’t your average tourist activity.

With love from Travel Funky

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Wat Pho or Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Bangkok

Website: Temples in Bangkok

Having been built during the Ayutthaya Period, Wat Phra Chetuphon was previously known as “Wat Photharam or Wat Pho”.  During the reign of King Rama I the Great of the Royal House of Chakri, the monastic complex was restored with a new Phra Ubosot (main chapel), Phra Rabiang (cloisters) and Phra Wihan (assembly hall) and re-established it as a royal temple with the title of Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimonmangklawat.  King Rama III managed the decorating of the surrounding walls of the Sala Rai or satellite pavilions with inscriptions from medical texts on plaques.  Although King Rama I the Great had established the temple, every King of the Royal House of Chakri saw it as one of the most important royal temples.  The restoration was conduct continuously using traditional methods.  It was also considered Thailand’s first university as the temple gathered inscriptions of all knowledge pertaining to traditional medicines, history and literature.

Inside the main chapel or Phra Uposot is the principal Buddha image, depicting “Phra Phuttha Theira Patimakon” seated on a three tiered pedestal, which has underneath some ashes of King Rama I the Great.  Thailand’s 4th beautiful and largest Reclining Buddha or Phra Phutthasaiyat is located in the Phra Wihan.  The sole of the statue’s feet are inlaid with mother-of-pearl showing the 108 auspicious signs of the Buddha.


Thais believe that if you bring a flower garland, 9 incense sticks, 2 candles, and 11 gold leaves to pay respect to the Reclining Buddha, you will have a happy life.  The word “Pho” means Bodhi Tree.  The shade of the tree offers cooler temperatures and comfort.  This concept is also applied to the teaching of the Lord Buddha, which offers people enlightenment and happiness.


This temple complex has 99 chedis, considered the highest number found in any temple in Thailand.  There are also 4 of the Phra Maha Stupa, each dedicated to the Chakri King including Rama I to IV.

How to Get There

Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimonmangkhlaram is located behind the Grand Palace, Sanam Chap Road, Phra Barom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok.  As with Wat Phra Kaeo, you can take a city bus to get there, but for a few dollars more, why not either take a taxi directly there, or join a tour which takes you to several temples all in one day?

With love from Travel Funky

Attractions in Oslo

Source: Attractions in Oslo
Website: The Best Travel Destinations

From medieval architecture to modern day amusements, Oslo
offers countless attractions for everyone.

The Nobel Peace Centre

The Nobel Peace Centre is the place where you can learn and explore various Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and the various activities which they carried out making them worthy of the prize. One can also view Alfred Nobel’s works, after whom the prize was named. The centre combines state of the art technology with modern design where films are exhibited with the latest digital and interactive solutions.

Oslo Opera House

The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, and the national opera theatre in Norway operate through the Oslo Opera House. All their musical dramas, ballets and operas are played out here. The structure stands right in the centre of Oslo in Bjørvika. The total area of the Opera House is 38,500 m² which includes 1,100 rooms. The main auditorium can accommodate up to 1364 people at a time. King Harald V of Norway established it on April 12, 2008, and was attended by all national leaders, as well as other Royals like Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.

TusenFryd Amusement Park

The TusenFryd Amusement Park is an attraction where the whole family can get together and have one of the best times of their lives. Along with spectacular roller coaster rides, there are various other games, shops and restaurants for people of all ages. Whilst the older, adventurous ones can enjoy rides like ‘Speed Monster’, ‘Super Splash’ and ‘Thunder Coaster’, smaller children have the choice of enjoying their time in Barna Fryd; a water park especially designed for them.

Vigeland Sculpture Park (Vigelandsparken)

Vigeland Sculpture Park is one of Oslo’s most visited attractions with over 1 million tourists visiting it every year. This innovative park was designed and built by Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943) and exhibits nearly 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and cast iron. Also displayed are various drawing sketches, woodcuts and other items.

Oslo Cathedral

The Oslo Cathedral (Our Saviour’s Church) was first built in 1697. The Cathedral, which is situated at Stortorvet Square in Oslo, is the main church for Oslo bishopric. The main church, the bazar, and the Fire Watch are all built of red brick. The church hosts weddings and public events of the Royal family and the Norwegian government.

The islands of the Oslofjord

The islands of Oslo fjord are a popular tourist spot in Norway. The fjord is a long stretch of a number of islands, about 100 km’s between Færder lighthouse and Oslo. This is one of the most densely populated areas of Norway. The islands are worth a visit during the summer and are easily reachable by ferry. Enjoy the soft tan on the beaches or play a good game of beach volleyball with your friends. The various islands like Hovedøya, Lindøya, Nakholmen, Bleikøya, Gressholmen, and Langøyene have their own history and are famous for various attractions like monastery ruins, beaches, rabbits and recreational facilities. On the fjord all kinds of boats are available for various activities like kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and sailing.

Holmenkollen ski jump

The Holmenkollen ski jump was built in 1892 and is one of the world’s oldest ski jumps. Over the years, many people have enjoyed the thrilling ride of the jump and tough competitions have been held at the arena. The attraction was last renovated in 1982 and today the ski tower is 60 metres above ground and 417 metres above ski level. The ski jump arena also played host to the 1952 Winter Olympics and other national and international skiing competitions. In 1923, the Holmenkollen Ski Museum was built at the base of the ski tower and is the oldest ski museum in the world.

With love from Travel Funky