Hidden in the trees of a small hilltop along the coastline in between Koh Samet and Laem Mae Phim Beach is Chao Pho Tho Kong Shrine. It's one of the more than 40,000 temples scattered across Thailand and easy to drive past without even noticing. However Chao Pho Tho Kong Shrine is definitely worth visiting if you are in Rayong province, even if only for the amazing view.
The entrance to the temple and several small, colorful, elaborately decorated shrines are located at the base of the hill. Grab a handful of incense sticks, light them using the flame and then proceed to place three incense sticks at each of the three small shrines (in clockwork order starting from the shrine located furthest from the hill). The remaining incense are for the giant Buddha.
After finishing proceed up the stairs to the rest of the shrine. Even before this specific shrine was built, local fisherman have long since used this spot to pay homage before going out to sea.
As beautiful as the shrine is, don't forget to spin around 180 degrees and soak up the amazing view of Koh Samet island.
Leh is located at about 3,500 meters above sea level in the corner of Northern India, to be precise in Ladakh near the Indus Valley. It's the most common and most beautiful entry point to the Ladakh region. It is one of the most popular Kashmir tour packages.
Surrounded by two of the world's largest mountain ranges and also surrounded by alpine desert; Leh's dry, barren landscape is rich in historic Buddhist monasteries that make it an incredible sight to behold. This guide will help plan your trip in a better way.
Note: The trip is around two days because of the difficult terrain. Travel by road if you have that kind of time and stamina to withstand the terrain. The view would be worth it!
The best time to visit Leh Ladhak is in the summer i.e. May to November. Since Ladhak does not experience rainfall like the other places in the country, it can be visited during the monsoons as well. Even in the summers though, it is a good idea to carry light woollens as the temperatures and weather here are unpredictable. Also be sure to carry sunscreen to protect from the sun.
Leh’s Buddhist historical monuments and monasteries are the biggest draws for visitors. The most imposing of all is the Shanti Stupa, which is situated just outside town. There is an 800 year old Kali Temple, on the mountain, which is home to a collection of masks.
You should definitely stop to spin a huge prayer wheel on your way. There is also a 17th century Leh Palace which is built in traditional Tibetan style which offers a captivating view of the town. Southeast of Leh is the Thiksey Monastery, which is the place for seeing amazing sunsets. The Hemis Monastery is the wealthiest and the oldest most important monastery in Ladakh.
The Ladakh Festival is generally held during the month of September. It opens with a spectacular procession through the streets in Leh. Villagers get dressed in traditional costumes; they dance and sing folk songs which are also backed by an orchestra. The festival also features musical concerts wherein dances are performed by masked lamas from mock traditional marriage ceremonies and selected monasteries.
The Hemis Festival, which takes place in June or July for two days at the Hemis Gompa, is to commemorate the birth of Guru Padmasambhava, who was the founder of Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. There is also a fair full of beautiful handicrafts, music and a traditional colorful masked dances.
Nature and adventure lovers will be thrilled with the excellent hiking and paragliding opportunities. There are various long trekking trails to choose from like the ones from Spituk to Markha Valley and Likir to Temisgam.
Mountain climbing trips are also booked to peaks like the Goleb (19,356 feet), Stok (20,177 feet), Matho West (19,520) and Kangyatse (20,997 feet) in the Zanskar Mountains.
White water rafting is also possible in August and July along the Indus River in the Leh area.
One of the most awaited and most beautiful side trips possible from Leh is a journey along the Zanskar River. You will be amazed to see green villages, hanging glaciers, huge Himalayan peaks, and Buddhist monasteries. The Nubra Valley situated on the Khardung La is the world’s highest road. The sights of wild yaks and horses, hairy double humped camels and Himalayan icicles, and reward of mountains, desert and water all in the one area is a natural gift.
From May 2014 on, all Indian citizens no longer need to obtain an Inner Liner Permit to visit most of the areas in Ladakh including Khardung La, Pangang Lake, Nubra Valley, Changthang and Tso Moirri. Instead of this an identification card like driver's license will suffice the need. Foreigners including OCI and PIO card holders still need a Protected Area Permit (PAP). Local sightseeing in Zanskar, Suru Valley or Leh, does not require permits.
A recommended alternative while trekking around Ladakh is to stay in people's houses in remote villages which are along the way. This provides the traveller insight into the life of Ladakhi farmers.
You will even be fed with traditional home cooked meals which are prepared by the farmer families. Local trekking experts organize such trips to places off the beaten path. Local guide Thinlas Chorol is the founder of the notable Ladakhi Women's Travel Company, which is the first female operated and owned travel company in Ladakh that uses only female guides.
Give yourself plenty of time to acclimatize after arriving in Leh because of altitude sickness; avoiding anything for the first two days and drinking plenty of water should help the best.
Laptops do not appreciate the high altitude and hard drives also crash. Nights get chilly during the summer so don’t forget warm clothes to layer.
Leaving Leh by flight is a lot more challenging than arriving. Demand for flights in this region is high in peak season, so it is better to book well in advance.
Buddhists have a sense of calm that seems ingrained, the gift of wisdom, and solace in a peaceful setting. Not everyone can commit fully to the Buddhist way of life, but a lot of people can learn from their practices.
While it’s not easy to get the hang of, once you have mastered meditation, it comes with many benefits. Not only does meditation help to calm the mind and ease emotional suffering, but it’s also been said to ease physical pain. Practice, patience, and hard work are required to reach that point. If you find it difficult to concentrate lately, consider taking a vacation. Nothing is quite as peaceful as Oklahoma cabin rental getaways.
Used correctly, every thought can be a wonderful gift. Used incorrectly, though, thoughts can turn into destructive patterns, encouraging people to have poor self-talk. Being mindful means being aware and accepting of your feelings. When you accept what you’re feeling, you’re able to come up with solutions.
For non-Buddhists, this practice may take a little getting used to. First, imagine that the food you’re about to eat is made up of nectar that will increase your wisdom. Then, picture Buddha as the lightness in your heart. When you eat, offer your food to Buddha, and imagine that the nectar is nourishing your heart. Visualizing this will help you to eat mindfully. You’ll naturally eat slower, too, savoring every bite, and being grateful for the meal.
At the start of each day, take a few minutes to think about the positive outlooks you want to carry with you. Maybe you want to vow to remain kind in all interactions, to find the happiness in everything you do, or to be accepting of everyone you encounter. Whatever the day ahead brings, you’ll remain at peace.
Just as you begin each day with positive intent, you should look back on the day in order to be mindful of everything that occurred. By reflecting on your day, you can feel happy about the things that went well. At the same time, you can reflect on the blunders and mistakes, and figure out how to make the next day better.
If you’re feeling blue from the normal, everyday things life can hand you, these Buddhist techniques will help you rest and rejuvenate.
India is not easy to define, because this vast land is as diverse geographically and demographically as it gets and there are rituals and the traditions that vary virtually from village to village. You will be surprised to know that are over a hundred major languages in addition to nearly two-thousand other minor languages in the country. So even if you are a linguist, you need to be a magician to be able to master all these languages.
The geographical difference among its different parts is also pretty apparent, as on one side you have the magnificent Himalaya, while on the other side it is surrounded by oceans and seas. Then there are deserts and alpine forests that are scattered across the country giving the traveler a terrible choice to decide what to include and what to leave out when he visits this wonderland. For the uninitiated, India is also the land of spirituality, with yoga being its most import to the western world. Let’s check out some major destinations:
Mizoram One of the sisters of the seven sister states, Mizoram with its rolling hills, meandering valleys, gurgling rivers and sparkling lakes is no less than a paradise for the nature lover. The state is dotted with no less than 21 mountain ranges of varying heights which are home to a wide range of animals and plants. The dress worn by the local population is also strikingly different from other parts of the country, and so is their food and culture. Even in this day and age they lead a lifestyle that is symbiotic, which is why you will find pristine greenery everywhere.
Nohkalikai Falls, Cherrapunji Waterfalls with their unfettered flow tends to free us of our man-made rules and urges us to be wild and be ourselves. When you visit Nohkalikai Falls, which is located near Cherrapunji, the wettest place in the world, you will understand what I am talking about. The falls is one of the tallest in the country and you will be left awestruck by the force with which the water cascades down the high cliffs. Nohkalikai Falls in the Khasi language translates to "Jump of KaLikai," and has a popular legend associated to it. It is believed that a local woman by the name of Kai after being struck by a family tragedy took her life by jumping off the cliff next to the falls.
Nubra Valley, Ladakh One of the most amazing valleys in India, Nubra lies to the northeast of Ladakh valley. The high altitude and the unique weather of the region are the cause of rare precipitation and scare vegetation seen here. But despite being a cold desert, the villages are irrigated and one will find heat, barley, peas, and mustard besides a good number of fruits and nuts, including blood apples.The unsurpassed beauty of the region and availability of a number of adventure sports are a few of the many reasons why visitors keep trickling into the valley.
StokKangri, Ladakh For the adventure fanatics who love mountains, StokKangri is just tailor made for you. With an elevation of 6,153m (20,182ft) it is the highest mountain in the Stok Range and is a prime attraction among the visitors who trickle in from across the world, not only to enjoy adventure sports, but just to take in the majestic view of the snow-draped mountains; however, if you come around late July and August, the summit peak may not be covered with snow, but the rest of the year it is.
The Tea Gardens of Munnar This hill station-cum-town is perched 1,600 metres above sea level and is famous for its rolling tea gardens which look incredibly beautiful; visitors should take a stroll through the tea gardens and feel the ambiance of the place. Believe you me; the moments will stay with for a long, long time. The flora and fauna of the region is thriving and you will get many subjects of interest to keep yourself busy!
Key Monastery This Tibetan Buddhist monastery is a prime example of Indian plurality and the celebration of the human spirit. Perched atop a hill at an altitude of 4,166 metres (13,668 ft) above sea level, the gompa is close to the famous Spiti River. Being the largest monastery in the Spiti Valley, it is an important center for religious training of the Lamas. The origin of the monastery dates back to circa 1008-1064 CE, when Dromtönis said to have founded it.
Andamans If you love water and water sports, Andaman’s should make your bucket list. This group of islands is positioned at the meeting point of the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea and is famous among travels across all ages. The vegetation is mainly dominated by tropical trees, with rainforest canopy being a common occurrence, and is composed of mixed flora. Among the popular animals, the saltwater crocodile takes the cake.