The last two years of my life, have been all about exploring different corners of the world and each one of them have been very unique. I always believe it is good to travel to new places, as it has nourished me with life experiences which are hard to learn any other way.
There are some places where one expects to find many tourists because they are famous with their beauty and wonderful appearances but then there are those that are unusual. The most common question I get from travel blogging is what my favorite travel destination is. The truth is I don’t have a solid definite answer as I have been lucky enough to have seen so many spectacular places. I thought of writing a blog about destinations I have been to, or going to be visiting in the next month that I believe are offbeat. Some of the destinations on the blog need to be enjoyed during particular seasons and some require overnight stays.
But with so many exceptional places to see, cultures to discover, and experiences to live, it is often difficult to make a choice about where to go to balance the time we have. So I created my list of top 15 places, architecture, culture or art that I believe have something unique to offer.
Although this is not a very offbeat location, it is a unique one. Rated as one of the world’s natural wonders, and the most breathtaking viewing platform, Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) is a must-see attraction for visitors to Norway. I climbed it a year ago and it was one of the most thrilling views I have come across. It has a nearly flat shelf is in the shape of a square, measuring approximately 25 x 25 meters.
Geologists believe it has been this way for about 10 000 years ago. Being my first ever real mountain climb, this one is very special to me. The usual season to climb this is between April to September but I would suggest visiting in September if you want to club it with having a chance to view the northern lights. The hike is about 6km and it takes 4 hours round trip with some portions being flatter than others. This would be on my top list of places to visit in Norway!
AMBULAWAWA TOWER,SRI LANKA
Ambuluwalwa is considered one of the must-visit places in Gampola, a small town situated close to Kandy in Sri Lanka. I will be visiting next month and it is something I have been waiting to visit for a while. It is about 1,965 feet from the level of Gampola town and the entire place is richly diverse, comprising of evergreen forests, blossomed flower plants as well creepers, with about 200 different kinds of plants from 80 plant families.
A number of medicinal plants are also grown here, namely Iramusu, Muva Kiriya, and Nawa Handi. The climb is going to be exciting because at the top lies an unobstructed view of Sri Lanka’s green estates.
LEPAKSHI TEMPLE, ANDHRA PRADESH
If we have a list of man-made wonders of India, Lepakshi Temple will certainly find a place in it. It is a temple, some people visit it to offer prayers while others come here to just marvel at the Vijayanagara architecture. The intricate stone carvings and engineering genius of the Lepakshi temple are comparable to the Vittala temple of Hampi.
The trip to Lepakshi is planned for next month and I am anticipating how each pillar, each wall of the temple compound has a story to tell. A melting point of history and mythology, the beauty of the temple is likely to keep calling me back…
RAMSGATE TUNNELS, UNITED KINGDOM
A trip through the Ramsgate Tunnels is a dark little treat: an atmospheric tour underground where you’ll carry torches through old tunnels. It is a good chance to experience total darkness in these tunnels. The tunnels were built as a form of deep shelter around the 1940s, at one point housing over 1000 local citizens during the war.
It’s a unique opportunity to revisit the underground version of daily life in the shelters, great for kids schooling in wartime histories, but fascinating to imaginative. It is around 1.25 kilometres and takes approximately an hour to cover. Dress with sensible shoes but not too many layers as the tunnel is a steady 11 degrees Celsius year round. vary greatly so this kind of access is at the guide’s discretion. Best to call ahead with the dimensions if you’re uncertain. I have never seen a better underground network of tunnels than these in my life.
LONDON EXPERIMENTAL BAR SPEAKEASY, UNITED KINGDOM
Looking for the Experimental Cocktail Club (ECC) can prove tricky. You may find yourself backtracking up and down Gerrard Street looking for an unassuming black door, inconspicuously sandwiched in-between two Chinese restaurants. To enter this speakeasy there is usually a guy at the front door, and he does not show any gestures of wanting to welcome you inside.
For a moment you feel like you are dealing with the mafia! But, once inside, the music keeps getting louder and louder and the the vibe is as upbeat as it gets. It has a show stopping mirrored ceiling and a bar that is very tempting to stay away from. This is a MUST SEE when you are in London!
HAMMOCK BAR, RAILAY, THAILAND
Hidden in the middle of nowhere, this picture is one of my favorites!
Railay is an island off the coast of Thailand and has a spectacular setting surrounded by light blue water and towering cliffs. Rock climbing is one of the most famous activities on these rocks as they are not too enormous.
Walking down the street of railay, to the dead end you will find yourself at a small restaurant called the Hammock Bar. A bunch of hammocks, some cushions, with the perfect music and the blue water in front of you. This is a must visit island close to Thailand.
BADAMI CAVE TEMPLES, HAMPI, INDIA
The Cave Temples of Badami consist of four separate temples, each holding intricate carvings and depictions. Being an architecture student this has been on my bucket list for a long time. There are three temples with carvings that depict Shiva and Vishnu in various avatars.
There is a fourth temple which is dedicated to Jain Tirthankaras. Located on the middle of a water body, the Bhootanatha temple is a part of this complex. The waterfall on the back adds to the beauty of this spectacular temple. I would be visiting tis temple next month.
SHELL GROTTO, MARGATE, UNITED KINGDOM
Discovered in 1835, the Shell Grotto is an astonishing find; 70 ft of winding passages decorated with 4.6 million shells – images of gods and goddesses, trees of life patterns made of whelks, mussels and oysters. Some think it is an ancient grotto, others that it is simply an ornate folly; but with no definitive explanation or history.
There are interesting depictions on the walls of the grotto and each one of them have a unique story.
BORGUND STAVE CHURCH, NORWAY
For those of you wanting to visit interesting churches, this one is for you. Being a black church, the building is very interesting architecturally and has been described as a “cube within a cube”, with each being independent of one another.
The inner structure supports the roof by way of continuous columns that rise from ground level. The roof is notable for its four dragon heads and the color of the wood has gotten black over the years. There are now very few Stave churches left around the world, they are very distinctive and beautiful.
GRANIAN OF AILECH, IRELAND
From the site there are spectacular views over Lough Foyle, Lough Swilly and the surrounding countryside. The stone fort is believed to have been constructed during the 8th or 9th century as the seat of Cenél nEógain, rulers of the ancient kingdom of Aileach. The interior of the circular fort measures some 23m across and an entrance passage extends through the thickness of the massive encircling wall.
This dry-stone wall stands some 5m high and incorporates a series of terraces that are accessed by stone steps.The monument clearly has ancient origins and surrounding the stone fort are the remains of a much older hillfort that was most likely constructed around 1000BC. There is also a small stone cairn nearby that is most likely a burial monument from the Neolithic or Early Bronze Age.
KULDHARA VILLAGE, JAISALMER, INDIA
A story about the Paliwal Brahmins set about 200 years ago, it was the story of a community who had vanished overnight, leaving behind a ghost village to narrate their tale.
A haunted trail to a village called Kuldhara near Jaisalmer was organised by Suryagarh at night, but it was tempting to explore the abandoned village during the day as well. It is about 30 minutes away from Suryagarh in Jaisalmer and is one of the most interesting stories I have heard about.
THE HENNINGSVAER FOOTBALL PITCH, NORWAY
The Henningsvær,Norway is a home of only around 500 people. It consists of a few islets and has very well-preserved architecture. This fishing town, also enjoys soccer.
That’s why Henningsvær Idrettslag Stadion was designed, for amateur players.
The field is located on an island and it is surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Steep mountains,sea, fishermen cabins along the bays create an unforgettable experience.
THE ROYAL PAVILION, BRIGHTON, UNITED KINGDOM
The Royal Pavilion is an exotic palace in the centre of Brighton with a colourful history. It was built as a seaside palace for King George IV, this historic house mixes Regency grandeur with the visual style of India and China. I added this place onto my list of offbeat destinations because it was amazing!
I have never seen a palace so intricate, fine and beautiful and is underrated for how it really is. It made me think of how George IV had such a unique taste in the choices of the interiors in the palace. Starting from dragons holding chandeliers, to serpentine brackets for curtains, each detail is brilliant.
This was my travel journal so far but the journey continues….
On a closing note, this is one of the quotes I think of while I write this blog,
“So much of who we are is where we have been”.
–Lots of Love,
The Road Dress Travelled x