Da Lat Surrounding Attractions

Located just outside of Da Lat are several fantastic attractions such as Datanla Falls, Trúc Lâm Temple, Robin Hill and Tuyền Lâm Lake. All of these attractions are within a short driving distance of the city if you rent a bike or scooter. Located at Datanla Falls is an awesome land based rollercoaster that takes you through the forest and down to a cable care. The cable car takes you through a small valley to the falls themselves. The falls are beautiful and are a very relaxing way to spend the day. Trúc Lâm Temple can be accessed via a cable car that departs from the Robin Hill cable car station. The view from the car is stunning and takes you over valleys, hills and alpine forest, ending at Trúc Lâm Temple located on the shores of Tuyền Lâm Lake. The temple complex is beautiful and is surrounded by forest area. Overall you can have a fantastic day exploring these attractions while still spending very little money. The only real cost involved is the roller coaster ticket and cable car tickets, which amount to very little.

 

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Four Thousand Islands/Don Det

 

The Four Thousand Islands is a large island group located in the Mekong River near the Laotian border. These islands primarily house farmland and small villages but are also home to some fantastic hostels and bars. I suggest spending at least a day or two on these islands, the largest and most tourist-friendly of which is Don Det. There are several places to eat and some great bars in the main town area on the island. My favourite of all of these was Adam’s Bar, a restaurant/ bar where you can spend the day relaxing, watching the latest pirated movies or playing Xbox, or watching turtles swim in their encolsure. The bar was also famous for selling other, non-standard edible and smokable items. The two main things worth doing on the island are cycling around and between islands, and tubing. Sadly for me tubing was not possible a the time of year that I visited, due to the water levels of the Mekong being dangerously high. As far as the cycling side of it goes, I suggest just renting a bicycle and going off down one of the island paths ad seeing where they take you, you will find some very cool locations. Just make sure to relax, enjoy and explore the natural beauty of the islands and the relatively cheap cost of everything compared to the larger cities.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g1082249-d4354676-Reviews-Adam_s-Don_Det_Champasak_Province.html

 

Kanchanaburi

Kanchanaburi is Thailand’s western province, bordering Myanmar. This part of the country is far removed from the tourist hub of Phuket or the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. In Kanchanaburi you will find farmland and lush forest landscapes. This part of the country is however home to a number of famous tourist attractions including the infamous Tiger Temple, which I had the common sense to avoid due to its horrific animal cruelty and black market smuggling activities. Aside from that, you will find Erawan Falls, Thailand’s famous floating markets, the bridge over the river Khwae and Death Railway amongst others. If you have a spare few days in Bangkok, I would suggest spending it here instead as it isn’t a far drive and there are plenty of tours available to take you. If you have yet to see monkeys in the wild, this is the place to do it, because they are literally all over the place in this region. Floating hotels built on the rivers are common in this area too if you would like a unique experience.

 

Floating Markets

The floating markets are one of Thailands best known attractions and normally feature on the walls of Thai restaurants in other countries. These markets are an amazing experience, but an enormous tourist trap. I recommend browsing at these markets for fun, but buying elsewhere, as you will find the exact same items for a fraction of the price. If you pay for a markets tour, you will be taken by boat through the floating market place itself and then on a brief tour of the canals in the surrounding area, passing through farms and housing areas. It’s a great experience and definitely worth doing.

http://floatingmarketthailand.com/index.html

 

Erawan Falls

Erawan Falls are part of Erawan National Park and are a protected area with some of the most stunning sites I have ever seen. The waterfalls and pools in this park are cleaner, clearer and bluer than anything I had ever seen before or have seen since that day. You can easily spend hours exploring the park, swimming in the pools and having a free foot massage from the local fish.

https://www.thainationalparks.com/erawan-national-park

 

Bridge on the River Khwae

This bridge is what inspired the famous 1957 film, The Bridge on the River Kwai, which went on to win 7 academy awards. The film focused on the building of the bridge for the Burma Railway, a horrific two year project by the Japanese during WW2 which led to the deaths of 330,000 labourers through forced labour conditions. Of theses deaths, the vast majority were civilians and prisoners of war, all dying  in order to construct a 415-kilometre stretch of railway between Thailand and Burma. The bridge and the railway still stands and operates to this day. The bridge has become a pilgrimage for many who fought in the war or who lost family or friends in the war, as well as for film enthusiasts wanting to see the bridge from the movie. In actuality, the film was shot in Sri Lanka using a similar looking bridge, but the meaning of this bridge remains the same regardless.

http://www.bridgeriverkwai.com/

 

Death Railway

Death railway as discussed above was the forced labour project of Japan during WW2, resulting in the deaths of 330,000 prisoners of war and civilian labourers. The railway still operates and can be ridden in order to experience a portion of what was build at such an immense human cost.

http://www.deathrailwaytours.com.au/

 

Floating Hotel

You will find plenty of floating buildings including hotels built on the Khwae River. If you get a chance, I highly recommend staying in one for a unique experience and the chance to watch the sun rise and set over the river.

 

Monkeys

If you still have yet to see monkeys in the wild in SE Asia, then this region is the place to go, as there are plenty of  them to be found and they are relatively friendly and playful.

Singapore

Singapore is in all honesty one of the most amazing cities/countries in the world. I have had the pleasure of visiting the city four times and have loved every visit even more than the last. There is nowhere that I have been that is cleaner, more efficiently run, more futuristic and more surreal than Singapore. You can do everything from drive a sports care, fly in a hover dome, to visit a Buddhist monastery or eat in a several level food court filled with SE Asian cuisine. You will need money to spend to enjoy many of the cities attractions, but there is PLENTY to do on a low budget, especially just taking in the sights and sounds of the city. The entire city changes as soon as night falls, but stays just as busy at all times of the day. The city has something for everyone, regardless of what it is you’re looking for. On top of that, it has the best subway system I have ever had the pleasure of using, to get you to all of its various districts and attractions.

Singapore Gardens by the Bay

Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay is an absolutely mind blowing place, both by day and by night. By day, it acts as a botanical garden, filled with what is known as the supertrees, large solar powered towers that draw moisture from the air and are covered in greenery. The gardens are also home to two large bio-domes, each with its own unique content. One of these domes houses plant life from around the world, containing species from multiple different biomes. The other dome contains a mountain climate, it houses a small man made mountain that generates its own cloud cover with a walkway through the clouded area. If you return at night, the supertrees put on a light show timed to music that is not to be missed.

 

http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en.html

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year in Singapore is an enormous deal and the entire city is decorated with art and filled with celebrations. If you happen to be there at the right time, make sure to join in with the festivities.

 

 

Buddhist/Hindu Temples and Mosques

The city is filled with Buddhist temples and shrines wherever you go. The scale of these vary from small roadside shrines to massive temple complexes. In addition to Buddhist temples, you will find churches and mosques throughout the city due to Singapore being such an interesting melting pot. On one street alone you are able to visit a Buddhist temple, a Hindu temple, a mosque and a church. If you have time, definitely make an effort to visit Buddha’s Tooth Temple and Museum, it is a stunning temple inside and out.

http://www.btrts.org.sg/

 

Singapore Zoo

Singapore Zoo is hands down the best zoo I have ever visited. I recommend setting aside the better part of a day to spend exploring the zoo and seeing its unusal collection of animals from around the world. The zoo features a fantastic collection of Asian animals that many other zoos do not seem to have. The animals exhibits are extremely well constructed and kept as natural seeming as possible which seems to make the animals themselves seem happier and healthier than many zoos I have visited.

http://www.zoo.com.sg/

Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island is Singapore’s top shopping, theme-park and resort destination. You can either reach the island by road or take the cable car which runs from the city center to the island, passing through a skyscraper on the way. On the island you will find the Merlion statue, sitting at around the same size as the statue of liberty and offering a view of the city from either its mouth or head. You will also find Universal Studios and several other tourist attractions and rides, including a racecar simulator and skydiving hover simulator. There is also very nice beachfront area and an enormous mall located on the island.

 

http://www.sentosa.com.sg/

 

Singapore Botanical Gardens

Singapore Botanical Gardens are amongst the best that I have seen anywhere. The grounds are enormous and incorporate plants and biomes from all over the world. One nice thing about these gardens in particular is the tropical nature of the gardens themselves, offering thick jungle-like areas and palms. Additionally, the Singapore Orchid Garden located within the botanical garden itself is definitely worth a visit. Orchids of all varieties are housed there, providing a stunning array of shapes and colours.

https://www.sbg.org.sg/

Rural/Inland Queensland

Rural or inland Queensland is almost an entirely different world to the coastal cities in Southern Queensland. You can expect a very different experience from Brisbane or the Gold Coast. You will find numerous small towns, their frequency and size both growing smaller as you travel further inland. The landscape will also slowly change from tropical forests to gumtrees, to open plains covered in long, dry grass. Each town will generally have one thing that they are locally famous for. You can also find plenty of lakes and watering holes to swim in, such as Crows Nest Falls, located a few hours from Brisbane. Crows Nest is famous for its Crows Nest Sodas range, but just outside of the small town is a watering hole with a waterfall that is fantastic to swim in on a hot summers day and a great place for a BBQ or camping. If you’re looking for a short hike with a nice view, Table Top Mountain is a great way to spend a few hours, but I recommend climbing at either dawn or dusk. If you travel further inland into the deeper countryside you will find a small town called Roma that hosts camel and pig racing tournaments every year. If you want a unique experience, then make sure to attend it at least once. Toowoomba is the largest inland city in Queensland and is the gateway to the outback. Once a year the city hosts an annual Carnival of Flowers which attracts people from all over the region to attend the parade and view the cities flower gardens. Just make sure that if you are going to be hiking out going into bush land in rural and forest areas, that you are wary of spiders, snakes and ticks and not to touch the skin of any cane toads that you may encounter.

http://www.queensland.com/en-US/event/Mitchell-Camel-and-Pig-Races

http://www.southernqueenslandcountry.com.au/destinations/crows-nest/attractions/crows-nest-falls

http://tcof.com.au/

 

 

Street Art

Toowoomba, despite being a country town has a surprising amount of street art, brought in within the last few years or so in order to add more life and youth to the city. First Coat Festival first began in 2015 and has been ingoing since.

 

Architecture

Travelling through rural Australia or into the Outback, you will come across many small towns with some fantastic architecture. The main buildings worth seeing in any town are the town halls and pubs/hotels.

Knick Knacks/Antiques

If you enjoy shopping for antiques or knick kancks, then you will find plenty of them in most country towns. Huge antique stores can be found in several towns around Toowoomba. You can also find plenty of stores that sell specialty crafted items such as cuckoo clocks or vintage signs.

 

Rob Roy Glacier Track/ Mount Aspiring National Park

The Rob Roy Glacier Track, located in Mount Aspiring National Park is one of New Zealand’s lesser known attractions. This trail is located a short drive from Wanaka, accessed by gravel road. This trail can be done in one of two ways, one can hike to the glacier in a matter of about two hours and then return, or they can hike the full trail, staying in huts along the way. The hike begins in a valley, crosses a few rivers and ends in the mountains, where the glacier and countless waterfalls are located. You will witness some incredible panoramic views at the glacier site. Being a short beginner hike, I highly recommend at least attempting the glacier segment.

http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/otago/places/mount-aspiring-national-park/