Shantang Street is Exotic Adventure Travel- The Jewel in the Crown of Suzhou, China

Have you found Shantang Street yet? This charming little street is exotic adventure travel, somewhat hidden from the view of passers by is a well-preserved ancient street near the downtown, where we can get a sense of the glory and prosperity of Suzhou in ancient times, when it was the most important city in southern China. This street is the epitome of Suzhou, a picture postcard of the ‘real China of long ago’ where the dark wooden roofs cap the white walls, displaying the ancient architecture still so well preserved throughout Suzhou’s downtown area.

There are various estimates as to the age of this ancient street, but the general consensus is between 1100 and 1500 years old. The young men came here to find their friends and write poems by the river while merchants in the boats displayed lanterns and merchandise to greet passers-by.

Historical records tell us that in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) emperors fell in love with Shantang Street at first glance. Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795), whose ancestors were from nomadic tribes, was haunted by the beauty of the Shantang Street and ordered a replica built in Yuanmingyuan in Beijing (now called The Summer Palace) to celebrate his mother’s 70th birthday. The Dowager Empress Ci Xi (1835-1908) rebuilt this replica after it was destroyed in 1860, naming it Suzhou Street.

The Tang Dynasty poet Bai Juyi (722-846), who built the street and the canal to improve water transportation, could never have imagined the wonder he left behind along with his great poems.

To improve water transportation links, Bai, who was an official in Suzhou at that time, ordered that a canal be dug, and a 3.5-kilometre-long waterway stretching west from Duseng Bridge at the Changmen City Gate to Wangshan Bridge in the Tiger Hill area was created. It was …

Once In A Lifetime Travel Adventures – Shake Your Hips to Jamaica’s Traditional Island Dances

Once In A Lifetime Travel Adventures – Music and dance are two elements of Jamaican culture that you should consider experiencing during your visit to the island. Many original dances in Jamaica are of African origin, and Jamaicans love to dance. The traditional dances of the island bear a striking resemblance to African dances, but the newer dance moves are more global and infuse hip-hop, jazz, and other international dance forms.

The single most popular and traditional dance is the “Kumina,” which originated in West Africa. This style of dance is predominantly found in the parishes of St. Thomas and St. Mary and is otherwise known as “Kalunga” or “Kaduunga.”

Kumina features flat-footed inching of the feet (or the kongo step), a steady, but often subtle forward-thrusting of the hip with the rib cage and arms moving against the hip, followed by wild spins and sudden breaks, all signaled by the lead drum. The dominant elements of Kumina are dance, music, spirit possession, healing, and the use of herbs.

The drums used in the dance are the Kbandu, which provide the basic rhythms, and “Playing Cast,” the lead drum. These go together with candles, graters, shakas and catta sticks, played on the back of the drum. According to Jamaica Journal, Volume 10, No.1, “Linguistic evidence cites the kongo as a specific ethnic source for the ‘language’ and possibly the music of Kumina.” There are Congolese words in some of the Kumina songs performed in Jamaica, which shows Jamaica’s connection to Africa.

A Kumina session involves dancing and drumming of two natures. Bailo is more public and less sacred, where songs are sung mainly in Jamaican dialect. Country is more African in nature and is a serious dance involving two leaders, a male and a female. The leaders must be able …

Visit Chile As Part Of Your South America Travel Adventure

South America is a fabulous continent full of contrasts. From the Amazon to the Andes, there is something for everyone in the colourful and diverse countries that make up this fascinating land. A South American travel adventure is definitely something that should be on everyone’s bucket list!

One of the countries that you will love to visit during your tour is Chile. It is a wondrous nation of glaciers, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, lakes, forests, fjords, beaches and deserts. Local legend reveals that all these features were left over after God had finished making the world. Instead of letting so much beauty going to waste, Chile was created. This multitude of natural attractions continues to draw visitors on a travel adventure to this stunning part of the world.

Chile also has a strong European heritage which means that travellers often feel a stronger connection to the history of Chile than to other countries in South America. Like all the people of South America, the Chilean nationals are warm and welcoming and love to share their unique blend of culture and heritage with visitors.

Stretching down the western edge of the continent, Chile is a mix of the modern and traditional, with large cities like the capital city of Santiago and small villages where farming families make a meagre living from the land. The vibrant city of Santiago is set spectacularly at the base of the Andes and has everything for the visitor from the historic San Francisco Church to the important national monuments in the Plaza de Armas.

Other picturesque Chilean towns you will enjoy include Bariloche and Puerto Varas where you can embark on a tour of the lakes area, bull of native forests, mountains, volcanoes and waterfalls. You will also be spellbound by the geographical wonders of Atacama and …

Adventure Travel In December – Saddle Up and Enjoy Horseback Riding in the Wild West on Your Gap Year Travel Experience

Adventure Travel In December – Few things are more evocative of the USA than movies set in the Wild West and while the region’s lawless heyday may be in the past, you can still taste life as a cowboy during your gap year travel experience.

One of the great things about America holidays is that you can cram so much in to a relatively small space of time, as the country has so many different landscapes, cultures and unique cities. You can try your luck at the roulette tables in glittering Las Vegas, hike through deserts, spot grizzly bears in the mountains and take part in activities such as white-water rafting, helicopter flights and horseback riding all in one visit.

And if you are going to enjoy horseback riding during your visit to the west of the USA, why not do so as part of a genuine cowboy experience? You won’t be in danger of being scalped, robbed by outlaws or fighting over a gold find, but a trip to a cowboy camp is still an authentic experience.

The camps offer the opportunity for long rides across prairie or desert terrain, either during the day or under the stars, and give you the chance to see some of the spectacular American wilderness and its varied wildlife close up. You will also enjoy some traditional cowboy meals and be entertained by some tall tales about the Wild West. The camp will even provide you with boots and a Stetson to ensure you look the part!

Spending a day or two at a cowboy camp is a great activity for people travelling in a group, but those undertaking adventure holidays for singles are also more than welcome. You can enjoy the riding by yourself or use the trips for socialising.

Many of …

Where To Travel In Costa Rica For Adventure – Travel Reminds Me

Last week I traveled to Costa Rica and back in a six days whirlwind trip with my friend Corrie. It was our version of a business trip – the purpose being to check out a property on which we plan to host a couple of week-long retreats focusing on yoga and coaching.

During our six days trip, a great deal did not go as planned. I am somewhat joking when I say that almost everything that could go wrong did, but the statement isn’t far off the mark. Between missed flights and bad weather, closed roads and a ridiculous rental car, no street signs and difficulty navigating, language barriers and miscommunication, we had a good number of close calls and mishaps in our few days in country. Even coming home was difficult for both of us. My luggage was lost and Corrie’s connections were delayed.

Yet… I’m not complaining. In fact, I had the best time! Corrie and I laughed hard every day. Our adrenaline was high and the trip was an adventure. It was as if we were flying by the seat of our pants the whole trip, and in truth, we usually were.

This is the beauty of becoming the traveler. The step outside daily routine, structure, and predictability brings, to me, a heightened experience. When I travel, particularly in a foreign country and as a budget traveler, I am in the flow. I have to be! I’m not in control of anything and there’s not much to grab on to beyond whatever I am observant of in the moment. How am I going to get from this town to that? Not sure, but I’ll be figuring it out! What are they saying? Not sure, but I picked out a few words, and if I try intently, I …