Kodaikanal Travel Guide – Check Out The Gift Of The Forest

Kodaikanal is one of the beautiful hill stations in Tamil Nadu marked by enchanting waterfalls, beautiful lakes and many more attractions. It is also rich in flora and fauna. The place is located at an altitude of 7200 feet above mean sea level. This has been one of the favorite honeymoon destinations of the young couples for ages. Any nature lover is sure to be taken away by the charms it has in store.

Kodaikanal literally means the gift of the forest. It has dense vegetations with various types of trees and shrubs growing in abundance. The visitors of Kodaikanal would love to purchase the pure eucalyptus oil, homemade chocolates, fresh vegetables and fruits like plums, pears and carrots. The kurinji flower that blossoms once in twelve years is one of the attractions of this place.

If you want to reach Kodaikanal by air, then the nearest airports are located in Trichirapalli, Madurai and Coimbatore. If you want to reach by train then you have to stop at Kodai Road at a distance of 100 kilometers from Kodaikanal. However there are frequent buses to the town from Dindigul and Palani and from many other places of Tamil Nadu.

There are many places of interest in Kodaikanal namely Berijam Lake, Coakers Walk, Bryant Park, Kodai Lake, Kurinjiandavar Temple, Green Valley View, Pillar Rocks, Silent Valley View, Devil’s Kitchen, Guna Caves and Pine Forest. The pine forests and the exotic vegetation of Kodaikanal are real feast for the eyes.

You can enjoy boating at the Kodai Lake and these are available at per hour basis. Trekking and cycling around are other activities that you can enjoy here. Horse riding is available at the entrance to the boat club and you can rent a horse if you want to enjoy the ride. The kids would love to explore the Fun Park near the Fairy Falls.

Though there are many good hotels in Kodaikanal, staying in cottage or bungalow would give you a unique adventure. If you prefer Kodaikanal hotels near the lake it will be easier for you to have nice walk in the evening time. There are some best budget hotels near the Coakers Walk. If your choice is a splurge then, Carlton Hotel will give you a comfortable stay with a great view of the lake.

There are both vegetarian and non-vegetarian restaurants in Kodaikanal. The noodles and soup varieties served at the Royal Tibet and the mouth watering and authentic Tibetan and Chinese foods at Tibetan Brothers and pastry, cakes and tea at the Pastry Corner will melt into your mouth. A good Kodaikanal travel guide will help you to pick out the right Kodaikanal hotels and Kodaikanal restaurants during your stay. You can enjoy the ecological lifestyle, tour around the Potters Shed to have a look at and buy the crockery and artifacts and relish the herbal teas and mouth watering chocolates of this exotic location.

Traveling in Italy: The Amalfi Coast

If you were to make a list of the most beautiful places to visit in the world, then the Amalfi coast in Italy would have to be in the top ten category.

This is the coast which is famous for hairpin turns, breathtaking views, sweet lemons (I mean sweet) charming hotels and picturesque towns.

The Amalfi Coast is situated in the southern side of the Sorrentine Peninsula of Italy. The best way to visit the coast is to fly to Naples, rent a car and drive down to Sorrento. If you make Sorrento your base camp, you can spend several days visiting the jewel towns of the Amalfi Coast at your leisure.

Start in Sorrento and drive to Positano. It is best to carry a Michelin map with you to avoid getting lost.

Before you arrive in Positano, you might want to stop at Positano Belvedere; a vantage point on the road that allows you to see the town of Positano in the distance. The view is breathtaking.

When you arrive in Positano, stop and walk around town. Chances are you have seen it in commercials. Once a small fishing village, it is now popular with the international crowd and some celebrities who stay at Positano’s 4 and 5 star hotels.

Most houses look like small boxes painted white with bougainvilleas growing along the walls.

After Positano, continue to Vertica Maggiore, and then Furore del Valle, another gem of a town. Near by is the Emerald Grotto. An emerald color cave only reachable by boat. The water of the Tyrrhenian Sea, enters the cave and the sun takes care of the rest.

Continue to the town of Amalfi and Ravello. Ravello also has unforgettable views.
In Ravello, you will see white washed houses perched on the hills with gardens planted with vines, lemon and olive trees. It is a major tourist destination, the beauty of the city, and its charm, has inspired its inhabitants and guests for centuries.

Things to see:

Ravello:

  • Villa Rudolfo
  • Villa Cimbrone
  • CathedralAmalfi:
  • St Andrea Cathedral
  • Cloisters of Paradise (Chiostro del Paradiso)

    Dining in the region:

    Sorrento and the Amalfi coast are situated in the Campania region, and typical southern dishes are likely to appear on the menus. Among those are pizza, pasta, tomatoes, eggplant, mozzarella cheese, seafood and citrus fruits.

    If you have ever had tomato and mozzarella salad, you will surely have it there. It is called “Insalata Caprese” named after the Island of Capri. The famous San Marzano plum tomatoes that grow in the region, together with silky soft buffalo mozzarella cheese, olive oil and basil, will surely make a delightful dish.

    And let’s not forget the wines. The region is rich in volcanic soil, an ideal medium to grow grapevines, and although wines from this region are not well known internationally, they are just as good as more popular Italian varieties. Wine at lunch and dinner is usually served in small carafes, but you can also order wines by the bottle.

    Don’t forget to finish your meal with a cup of dark espresso just as most Italians do.

    Resources:

    If you decide to go, arm yourself with a good map and a good guide book. My favorite travel guides are Frommers and Michelin. You can find them at any major bookstore.
    Italians are a friendly people by nature and driving around the area should not be difficult even if you don’t speak Italian.

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  • Kuala Lumpur Travel Tip – Series 3 (Weird Food)

    Malaysia has many weird food (weird even to some locals) to offer, and most of them can easily be found in Kuala Lumpur. However, each state in Malaysia offers its own special delicacy. For example, budu in Kelantan, keropok lekor in Terengganu, cencaluk in Melaka. However, all of them are easily found in Kuala Lumpur. Be sure to treat yourself with these :

    Petai – Green beens from the deep jungle, which some people say smell like methane gas. Its popularly cooked in sambal tumis ikan bilis – which is fried chili with anchovies. However, locals absolutely love them eaten raw as ulams (almost equal to the western salad). Petai is also enjoyable grilled or boiled. A typical dipping with petai is sambal (chili paste), budu (a fish sauce) and tempoyak (a paste made from durian). Budu and tempoyak themselves are also considered ‘weird’ food.

    Durian – A fruit as big as a football, covered with tough spiky skin. The pulp is pale yellow, with shape and consistency of raw brains. Smell has been compared to rotting flesh, old gym socks, or sewage. Yet the taste has been called so exquisite that a European explorer of the 1700’s claimed it was worth the journey to experience it; “the King of fruits.” Many believe it aphrodisiac and hold durian-eating parties. Most hotels, and so on, forbid it on the premises.

    Keropok Lekor – Its not what you think it is. Its actually fish sausages, normally deep fried and dipped in a sweet chili sauce (tastes almost like plum sauce). The best keropok lekor you can find is available in the state of Terengganu (where many fishing villages are). Fresh caught fish are brought to roadside stalls, where the fish are deboned, cooked and made into fresh keropok lekor you can ever find, made right in front of your eyes.

    Otak-otak – Brains anyone? Otak literally means brain. But otak-otak has nothing to do with it. Otak-otak is made by pounding fresh fish into a paste, and mixing it with chilies, coconut milk, and spices, then wrapping the whole thing in a banana leaf and grilling it. When the banana leaf chars, the fish is read to eat.

    Some are unique, but not so horrible looking. Make sure you try these:
    Lai Chee Kang, ABC (Air Batu Campur/ Mixed Ice), Longan drink, Karipap (curry puffs), cendol (colorful goodies made from starch eaten in cold coconut milk mixed with dark sugar), tapai, pulut, popia, roti canai, the tarik (literally means – pull tea), char kuey teow, and so many others.

    Enjoy!