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  • 58 places to visit from the 58 guides we published this year | Rough Guides
    sits high on a hill overlooking the atmospheric city of Granada Book an early morning time slot in advance and avoid the high season Jul Aug when some 6000 visitors crowd the site every day The Rough Guide to Andalucia Buy the guide 23 A Folk Village Korea Take a day trip from Seoul to this riverside recreation of a traditional Korean folk village with thatched houses and dirt paths recalling an antiquated rural life Performances are the highlights watch colourfully clad gents whirling super long head ribbons to a cacophony of clangs and drum beats in an old fashioned farmers dance a quinissentially Korean sight The Rough Guide to Korea Buy the guide 24 Alónnisos Marine Park Greece Sea Turtle by Nektarios Sylligardakis CC BY 2 0 Take a boat trip to the Alónnisos Marine Park in the northern Sporades for stunningly clear water even by Greek standards If you re lucky you might catch sight of dolphins or an elusive monk seal The Rough Guide to The Greek Islands Buy the guide 25 Ao Phang Nga Thailand Among dozens of contenders along Thailand s vast coastline in the end the best view in the country has to be the implausible concentration of limestone turrets in Phang Nga bay The best way to really experience these staggering coastal formations is from the water itself paddling in a sea canoe is not only low impact but will enable you to really soak up the sublime beauty The Rough Guide to Thailand s Beaches Islands Buy the guide 26 Brooklyn Bridge New York City Spanning New York s East River this monumental piece of engineering connects Manhattan to Brooklyn Its wooden boardwalk the entrance is opposite City Hall Park is the place to grab a freebie view of the Financial District and take pictures through the latticework of cables For the best view of the bridge itself you re best off looking up from the redeveloped Dumbo waterfront in Brooklyn Pocket Rough Guide New York City Buy the guide 27 Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda Yangon Myanmar Even in a land of big Buddhas the giant reclining figure at the Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda is an unquestionable show stopper almost 66m long with a 7 3m long face 2 7m worth of nose and half metre high eyes The Buddha has a delicate rather feminine looking face complete with blue eyeshadow and supersized eyelashes each a third of a metre long A stylish little bindi diamond encrusted crown and golden robes decorated with glass mosaics complete the look The Rough Guide to Myanmar Burma Buy the guide 28 Chipping Campden Cotswolds This quintessentially English market town has heaps of Cotswold stone beauty and a thriving local community Yes there are coach tours but if you wander the ancient high street in the early morning or evening you ll have the atmospheric market hall all to yourself And as the town marks the beginning or end of the long distance Cotswold Way you can easily strike out into the surrounding picture perfect rolling hills The Rough Guide to the Cotswolds Includes Oxford and Stratford upon Avon Buy the guide 29 Colombo Sri Lanka Colombo s most interesting and original shop Barefoot is best known for its vibrantly coloured woven fabrics sold on their own or made into all sorts of objects including clothes tablecloths and marvellous soft toys grown ups will love them too A local weaver can often be seen at work in the courtyard at the back The Rough Guide to Sri Lanka Buy the guide 30 El Mirador Guatemala The experience of visiting El Mirador begins with the journey a tough two day hike through remote dense jungle and mosquito plagued swamps Once there visitors are rewarded with what is perhaps the most exotic and mysterious Maya site of them all whose epic scale and grandeur are only now beginning to be revealed The Rough Guide to Guatemala Buy the guide 31 Fish River Canyon Namibia Fish River Canyon by Joachim Huber CC BY SA 2 0 The Fish River Canyon in Namibia s less visited far south is worth going out of your way for a vast chasm 160km long snaking through the desert it s an awe inspiring sight A five day hiking trail winds along the valley floor ending at the hot springs spa of Ai Ais where you can soak your weary limbs in the sulphurous waters The Rough Guide to Namibia Buy the guide 32 Gugulethu Township Cape Town Mzoli s by Michael Howe Ely CC BY 2 0 For a true taste of South Africa check out Mzoli s Shop in Gugulethu the closest township to the centre It may be full of tourists but you will get the real thing food wise Devour tasty barbecued meat tshisanyama chi san knee yama ranging from chops boerewors sausage cuts of beef and lamb served with pap dumplings thick maize porridge meat sauce and chakalaka a tomato salad The Rough Guide to Cape Town The Winelands The Garden Route Buy the guide 33 Haspengouw Belgium Haspengouw by Bert Heymans CC BY SA 2 0 Come springtime the fruit growing region of Haspengouw in Limburg province is alive with blossoms Rent a bike and pedal through the gently undulating landscape beneath the floral boughs stopping off at Zoutleeuw s pretty St Leonarduskerk a pre Reformation hamlet church jam packed with treasures from religious paintings to reliquaries The Rough Guide to Belgium Luxembourg Buy the guide 34 Hoi An Vietnam Head to Hoi An for fine dining Vietnamese style The town has an almost bewildering selection of mouth wateringly good restaurants but Morning Glory just about takes the biscuit For a reasonable price you can eat your fill of superbly prepared local specialities only this time in an elegant restaurant rather than a kindergarten style plastic chair Try the roast duck with banana flower salad a masterful blend of tastes and textures The Rough Guide to Vietnam Buy

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/special-features/58-places-to-visit/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Rough Guides Readers' Awards 2015 | Rough Guides
    go Their new 2016 routes include family trips to Ecuador and the Galapagos New York City walking tours and a winter adventure in Romania Still need travel inspiration See if you ve ticked everything off our list of 50 things to do before you die Best hotel WINNER The View Monument Valley We love The View with its unparalleled vistas of Monument Valley s dramatic buttes and we re not the only ones The only hotel actually within Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park it doesn t disappoint Want to learn more about the region Find out what Monument Valley means to the USA s largest Native American tribe RUNNER UP Mama Shelter Paris Philippe Starck s cool design hotel continues to turn heads with its iMac equipped rooms and bold decor Plus with rock bottom starting prices there s a lot to like about this Parisian pad now one of a small but growing chain across Europe and the US Need more reasons to take that trip to Paris This collection of magical photos by Kaamna Patel will convince you Best hostel WINNER CODE Edinburgh Relative newcomer CODE which opened its doors on Edinburgh s Rose Street North Lane in 2014 got your vote for hostel of the year This modern welcoming hostel prides itself on its modern design warm welcome and sophisticated pod beds Been backpacking recently We bet you ll have learned at least one of these 14 lessons on your trip RUNNER UP Urban House Copenhagen Copenhagen s Urban House describe themselves as a place to sleep relax be social and throw back a few beers It seems you loved their inclusive attitude plus their on site tattoo studio bar games room and cinema Planning a trip hostelling through Europe Check out these 12 essential tips before you go Best attraction WINNER The Blue Lagoon Iceland The Blue Lagoon stormed into first place proving it s not just one of the top Icelandic experiences but one of the best attractions worldwide If you re heading to Iceland in 2016 be sure to make time for a relaxing dip in this trumpeted geothermal spa Sound like your kind of holiday activity Here are 9 more hot pools to visit while you re in Iceland RUNNER UP The Grand Canyon Few superlatives or statistics can prepare you for the sight of Arizona s Grand Canyon measuring 1 mile deep 10 miles wide and 277 miles long There s little wonder you chose this momentous natural wonder as one of the attractions of the year Need more ideas for getting outdoors in the USA Here are 20 places to get you started Best blogger WINNER Nomadic Matt Matt Kepnes has been blogging about budget travel for over 7 years building up a huge following among Rough Guides readers and beyond with his insider tips and tricks Whether you want to travel the world on 50 a day book a cheap flight or just get some inspiration his blog is a

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/special-features/rough-guides-readers-awards-2015/ (2016-02-16)
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  • 25 Amazing Experiences | Rough Guides
    weekend of browsing and bargain hunting But for the best foodie shopping head to Borough Market which is tucked under the railway arches between Borough High Street and Southwark Cathedral There s still an early morning wholesale fruit and vegetable market but these days Borough Market is best known for its specialist food with stalls selling high end produce from around the world 12 Try the life aquatic in the Red Sea Egypt Once a sleepy fishing village over the last 25 years Hurghada has become a tourist destination And it was diving some of the best in Egypt that put it on the map Coral islands and reefs are only a few hours away by boat while a clutch of further flung sites can be visited on dive safaris and live aboards In the shallows there s an abundance of marine life while the deeper waters are home to lurker sharks giant moray eels and manta rays Alamy Martin Strmiska 13 Explore the ancient temples of Angkor Cambodia From the magnificent pyramidal temples of Angkor Wat and Pre Rup to the maze like monasteries of Banteay Kdei and Ta Prohm the temples of Angkor are one of the greatest architectural showpieces on earth Seemingly sprinkled across a vast area of countryside the temples were once at the centre of villages towns and cities Time has taken its toll the surrounding houses and buildings have vanished and many of the monuments themselves have been smothered by the ever encroaching jungle 14 Conquer the majestic Pamirs on foot Tajikistan Standing at a skyscraping crossroads the Himalaya Karakorum Hindu Kush and Tien Shan ranges meet here the magnificent Pamirs remain one of the most unexplored places on the planet Known as Bam i Dunya Roof of the World this vast rugged stretch of Central Asia boasts astounding crested peaks and stretches of undulating fields While many of Tajikistan s hundred odd mountains have never been scaled you can climb Peak Lenin which at 7134m is the country s second highest mountain The unique landscape gives awesome opportunities for hiking and climbing and visitors can even try camping with nomads or bareback riding Dreamstime Michalknitl 15 Ski from the sky in British Columbia Canada Daring but pricy heliskiing is endlessly exhilarating One of the best places to give it a go is in British Columbia Canada Cornices and drop offs that seemed forbidding from the helicopter will be enticingly adventurous trees that from a distance looked impossibly dense reveal tempting paths and you ll drop into inclines that would have been unthinkable on harder snow plunging in and out of chest deep powder again and again Dreamstime Steve Rosset 16 Look down on Rio de Janeiro Brazil Sitting pretty on the shores of near landlocked Guanabara Bay no other city in the world can compete with Rio de Janeiro s sensational combination of raw urban sprawl sweeping sandy shoreline and lush jungle clad mountains Even the city s skyscrapers manage to look magnificent

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/special-features/25-amazing-experiences/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Going off grid at Greenland’s Eqi Glacier | Rough Guides
    are glued to the glacier in the hope of witnessing a huge ice calving Staying alert to the glacier s movements is key If you hear the glacier rumble the ice has already collapsed leaving nothing to see except a wisp of frosty vapour curling upwards from the water marking the spot it fell Photo Visit Greenland Leif Taurer But it isn t long until we see a large block drop away from the wall The collision of ice and water triggers waves that tremble out from the glacier face The fallen pane of ice rocks crazily in the water and irritated seals raise their noses surprised by the disturbance The experience is made more otherworldly by our spectacular isolation Eqi is only safely reachable from mid June to mid September In winter temperatures plummet to 20C or lower and Glacier Lodge Eqi battens down the hatches windows are protected by plywood solar panels are covered up and electronic equipment is all hauled back to Ilulissat Staff leave until the spring thaw When large swathes of ice fall away from the glacier the resulting wave can sweep the beach So it s with a little trepidation that I step unsteadily across the gangplank to shore Summer is no picnic either The sea is so cold that falling in can be fatal When large swathes of ice fall away from the glacier the resulting wave can sweep the beach Staff repeatedly warn us to steer clear of the shoreline and to run uphill if we see a large calving So it s with a little trepidation that I step unsteadily across the gangplank to shore This small harbour Port Victor was the starting point of epic expeditions by namesake explorer Paul Emile Victor in the mid 1930s Victor s hut still stands bound to the rocky substrate with ropes to prevent this weather beaten piece of history from blowing away Port Victor is crouched at the edge of the world and it s a strange place for a city junkie like me to find herself After glancing mournfully at the no signal message glaring from my smartphone I turn my attention to the setting Photo Visit Greenland Mads Pihl Rows of wooden huts some topped with solar panels face the glacier which glows above surreally turquoise water Nestled within a shallow valley the lodge and its one reastaurant and meeting point Cafe Victor have some protection from the elements Above and around them extend rocky wind pummelled hills Reindeer moss and crowberry bushes clutch the ground And every time the wind dies down clouds of mosquitoes appear seemingly out of nowhere It s one of the only places where you really feel that you re existing on nature s premises I ve travelled a lot and this is the only place where I really experienced truly untouched nature says Linn Espensen one of the daily managers at Eqi over the summer It s one of the only places where you really

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/special-features/going-off-grid-at-greenlands-eqi-glacier/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Towards the heart of the Amazon: a journey by Bolivian river boat | Rough Guides
    morning we watched incredulously at their tireless labouring marvelling at the increasing weight of the cargo and expanding size of the vessel which quickly became five boats to be attached to a single engine Lazily we moved around on shore acutely conscious of our redundancy as the activity at the river s edge continued Our crew were an army of ants toiling ceaselessly regulated and collaborative Finally as the day yielded to dusk we pushed off from shore In the end it took two solid days of physical labour to fill the boats Then our crew skilfully nudged and pulled each into place securing them with ropes and well practiced knots tied around the central boat which would propel them Finally as the day yielded to dusk we pushed off from shore Images Steph Dyson A beautiful watery sunset welcomed us to life on deck Soon after the blanket of falling night coated the banks and surrounding water punctuated by sheets of distant lightning which engulfed the sky ahead As our ears tuned into the cacophony of the jungle starring as I would later learn singing toads we became aware of the dozens of fireflies dancing in the shadows of the trees There they mimicked the constellations hidden above by heavy clouds clouds which threatened rain but also a welcome release from the sticky heat of evening and the pungent diesel fumes gasping from the engine Our ears tuned into the cacophony of the jungle starring as I would later learn singing toads Travelling deeper into the night we were astounded by the glimmers of what could only be a ghostly apparition of a fire surely no one could live this far from civilisation Yet our eyes had not fooled us The stark orange of shooting flames burning outside a small thatched hut appeared through the blackness before disappearing once again into silent desolation The thick clouds above were not merely a threat that night but became a commanding storm which would send me crawling from my soaked hammock to find dry shelter Spray drenched us from every angle and the boat rocked ominously as if pushed by malignant river spirits Against the brunt of the wind our vessel became powerless and our crew took the sensible decision to dock Image Steph Dyson The following day was spent motionless against the bank awaiting the calming of the wind to allow us to continue With little work for the crew we began to learn about them and their families some of whom were on board to cook Gifting a spare can as an offering of friendship to our hosts together we drank warm beer sharing jokes and glimmers into our respective lives Together we drank warm beer sharing jokes and glimmers into our respective lives With more placid weather the boat recommenced its patient passage Our final two days were a blend of cold winds and grey clouds which were spent peering from the roof into the surrounding jungle willing a

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  • The Northern Lights | Photographing The Northern Lights | Rough Guides
    beast of an off road jeep cum minibus that can set up camp anywhere Mother Nature decrees If she lets you sleep at all that is The travelling hotel Diana Jarvis This warm and cosy accommodation on wheels is run by Tatra Photography who ve been providing photography tours for the last five years My team consists of trip captain Matt Jón a native Icelander with expert knowledge of the geography of the country and Mark Bauer a seasoned landscape photographer whose passion and technical knowledge mean you ll return home with shots well beyond your anticipated capabilities and a very expensive equipment wish list What I saw with my eyes was darkness but what I saw on the back of my camera after a 15 second exposure was something quite different On my first day after a six hour drive heading east we arrived at Jokulsárlón glacier lake where the travelling hotel was already set up for the night Just as well too as the clouds had rolled in and rains were descending little of the lake was discernible Yet as we cozied up listening to the pitter patter of rain on the canvas roof of the dining room later that evening Matt and Mark began to get excited the Kp readings were reaching 6 and 7 indicating the chance of dancing lights in the skies at 2 maybe 3am if the clouds dispersed It was going to be a long night Shooting at Jökulsárlón Diana Jarvis Diana Jarvis Diana Jarvis My first few attempts were unappealing murky grey approximations of the shifting icebergs on the lake in front but it was all good practice for when aurora put in her first appearance It wasn t what I d been expecting just as when you photograph light trails from speeding vehicles you capture something the naked eye doesn t see it s the long exposure that reveals the colour and shape of the aurora What I saw with my eyes was darkness clouds parting and a faint shifting whiteness in the sky that could be mistaken for clouds illuminated by stadium lights or similar But what I saw on the back of my camera after a 15 second exposure coupled with ISO 3200 f 2 8 set to infinity focus for the geeks among you was well something quite different Jökulsárlón Diana Jarvis The rest of the trip continued in the same vein during the days we were taken to beautifully photogenic spots electric blue glaciers to Atlantic waves crashing over weather sculpted ice blocks desolate black sand beaches to jagged volcanic peaks At night we wrapped up in our merino and down layers and waited patiently for aurora to put in an appearance Morning light on Jökulsárlón Diana Jarvis I raced up to the top of the hillock to revel in every moment of it with my very own sleepy eyes recording the twists and turns of the colourful strands in my memory for future replays While night

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/special-features/the-great-disco-in-the-sky-photographing-the-northern-lights-in-iceland/ (2016-02-16)
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  • St Helena: Go Now | Rough Guides
    the RMS is on the way out By August next year its 27 year tenure will be no more than a memory confined to the that was then world before the airport opened Since St Helena was discovered in 1502 every single visitor has approached by sea Jamestown Tricia Hayne For most bar the occasional invading army first footfall on the island has been at Jamestown a tiny well preserved Georgian town at the foot of towering cliffs that is the island s capital Like us they ve walked along the harbourfront crossed the moat and passed through the town gates onto the Grand Parade where centuries of British soldiers have mustered for duty An extraordinary rock where every corner turned is another scene revealed The sense of history may be palpable but it s all very low key Far more obvious is the welcome Passing strangers smile and say hello Women in the St Helena Coffee Shop sit and chat Car drivers wave as we pass on the scarily steep and narrow roads heading out of Jamestown for the only way is up Up into the aftermath of a turbulent volcanic past that gave birth to this extraordinary rock where every corner turned is another scene revealed And so we explore from the bare forbidding cliffs that fortress like ring the island to the high peaks clothed in green plants found nowhere else on Earth We head into the verdant Sane Valley where Napoleon was entombed nearly 200 years ago Past wavy rocks painted in every hue of brown cream and deep red Beneath jagged outcrops King and Queen Lot the Gorilla s Head that gaze down on the waters crashing far below There are walks across rolling meadows to the sea punctuated by the unique but rather unprepossessing wirebird as it picks its way across the fields We climb up steep hills through pinewoods rich with the scent of resin and scramble down vertiginous valleys to otherwise inaccessible coves All images Tricia Hayne Aided by ropes we make our way across barren rocks to sea ponds watched over by Lot s Wife where the crystal clear water reveals brilliant green and silver fish darting around as we swim Beneath the waves the world feels more ordered for despite its size it s easy to get lost on St Helena Snorkelling off the wharf we re enfolded by pretty gold fringed cunningfish which seem to find us as attractive as the fishermen s spoils More of them accompany us at Lemon Valley Bay where we ve kayaked for a swim while diving deeper we spot turtles spiny lobsters and moray eels among the jumble of rocks and colourful ledges Scores of pan tropical spotted dolphins practise acrobatics oblivious to the oohs and aahs and clicks of our camera shutters Out in the bay scores of pan tropical spotted dolphins practise their acrobatics oblivious to the oohs and aahs and clicks of our camera shutters In winter humpback whales make

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  • The real Wild West: behind the buttes of Monument Valley | Rough Guides
    his cowboy hat against the sun He explains that the Navajo refer to themselves as Diné the people who live under Father Sky and on Mother Earth Standing right before us are three of the most recognisable monuments known as Merrick Butte and the two hand shaped East and West Mittens But if a monument is something left behind to commemorate the dead then maybe it s a misnomer here In our culture each of these mesas and these buttes they have heartbeats I recall the words of Miesha Holiday a young guide who booked my three hour trip and whose father owns the tour company It s taught to us that the rocks are alive she said My great grandpa would call them talking rocks and in our culture each of these mesas and these buttes they have heartbeats I think people feel that when they come here It s a really spiritual place We drive on the road throwing up red dust as it dries out Arriving just short of the Three Sisters three tall sandstone pinnacles a few dozen tourists enjoy the panoramic view from John Ford s Point John Wayne s Point is in the distance the famous director and actor team made five Western classics here in Monument Valley starting with Stagecoach in 1939 Playing to the crowd a Navajo man on horseback wearing a bright red shirt takes position on the rocky overlook striking an image recognisable from the silver screen and tourists reach for their cameras But by now I m eager to hear more about Native American lore We climb back on the truck and head off road into restricted area away from the throng We pass imposing shapes with otherworldly names such as Rain God Mesa Sleeping Dragon and Ear of the Wind Lush green vegetation contrasts with the red desert earth Don explains that after a dozen or so years of drought the first proper snows finally came this year and replenished the underlying aquifer bringing life back to the ground Coyotes bobcats and foxes all returned He assures us there are no wolves Don t worry about snakes and scorpions either he adds They usually don t hang around once they ve felt our vibrations A Navajo hogan Lee Howard He picks off a sprig of sage explaining its benefits for high blood pressure sufferers It s also used to cure viruses in the sweat lodge one of three main mud and wood constructions or hogans in the nearby hogan village The small sweat lodge is where a boy becomes a man and a warrior while undergoing a purification ceremony involving hot rocks and intense steam Standing outside the second hut the cone shaped male hogan for men only Don describes the Navajo handshake It s softer than an American handshake he laughs The Navajo have nothing to prove by grasping a stranger s hand with all their might In fact the hand he demonstrates counting his fingers has

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