If you are a fan of ancient wooden architecture, the Horyu-ji temple is a place of high significance you should consider visiting. Some of the oldest building made of wood is present in this temple situated in Ikaruga in Nara Prefecture in Japan. This Buddhist temple dates back to the Asuka era in Japan.  Here are some interesting facts and information about the site.

How the temple came to be

The construction on the temple started in 587 AD under Emperor Yomei’s rule. The temple was to be a form of atonement for recovering from a sickness. At that time, Buddhism was still in its fledgling stage here and Kyoto was not made the capital yet.

After the death of Emperor Yomei, the construction was left to his heir apparent, Empress Suiko and Prince Shotoku, her regent. They finished building the temple in 607 AD. Some seventy years later the original structure burned due to an accident, but reconstruction was done to restore the damage by 710 AD.

Heritage site

Since most of the ancient Japanese architecture is known for its susceptibility to fire, the survival of the building is a miracle in itself. The building has until now remained unscathed.  Some even doubt on the initial fire’s occurrence, as without it the building would be even more ancient. Even with the accident, the complex has been used continuously for over 14 centuries, which has made UNESCO declare it as a World Heritage Site.

Wooden marvel

The complex is made of a pagoda of five stories with a Golden Hall present alongside it. There is an inner gate and a corridor made of wood that surrounds it. While now we have many useful wood finishing tools such as the belt sander found at this source, it is a wonder how the Japanese had worked on wood and created such masterpieces so many centuries back.

The temple serves its main purpose even today. You can find several valuable treasures belonging to the Nara and Asuka period here. The temple is mentioned in, ‘The Tale of Genji’ a Japanese Classic. It is one of the major Buddhist temples in the region and is a place, which nurtured the religion and spread it all over the country.

There are about 45 building present here of which some are made of wood. The woodwork is quite intricate and exquisite. As we mentioned before, while we do have great tools such as those at BELTSANDERWORLD to make the finishing easier the extent of craftsmanship that has gone into the building’s creation is simply breathtaking. And the place is just apt as it has a serene ambience.

Architectural expanse

The temple grounds spread over a large expanse. You have at least 20 gates as well as building here that are designated as important national treasures and cultural properties. The entire temple area is divided into two parts namely Eastern and Western Temple.  The Western temple is the older of the two buildings. Kondo is the key temple in the building and has several Buddha statues inside.

The Eastern temple is named as To-in Garan and is situated about 500 meters from the eastern side of Sai-in Garan (which is the name of the western part).  Gyoshin, a high priest had built this structure in memory of Prince Shotoku.  Yumedono is the chief building in the eastern part. It is octagonal in shape and has the statues of Gyoshin and Shotoku inside it.

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Trekking the Great Wall of China

You aren’t a real man until you’ve seen the Great Wall, so goes a Chinese saying.

The Great Wall of China is considered one of the most impressive, man-made structures built during the medieval era. Successive dynasties built, re-built, and expanded the wall structure for over thousands of years. Stretching about 3,950 miles, this mega-structure is unrivaled.

Its impressive engineering, rich history and panoramic landscape are just a few reasons why you have to visit this Chinese cultural treasure. While many parts of the wall have deteriorated and are relatively unsafe, there are few sections that are well maintained and are open for guided walking tours – a must if you are to visit China.

Where to start?

You can choose which section of the wall to start. Some areas where you can find guided walking tours include Juyong Guan, Badaling, Jinshaling, Mutianyu and Simatai. Many tourists flock Badaling, where a 15-minute clip features the rich history of the Great Wall. You can also try the Great Wall Museum. Being the most accessible and popular section of the Great Wall, it is easily the most crowded.

If you want to see how the Great Wall originally looked like, then trek the Simatai section. Acknowledged as a World Heritage Site, Simatai is displays some peculiar features not found at other sections.

Things to Remember

Before you book a flight and plan your trek, know that climbing the Great Wall is not for everyone. If you are out of shape, have problems with balance and coordination, or have trouble walking, you may reconsider joining a walking tour. If you have some back ailments, a back support brace would surely be needed. You might need to visit this link first before you even dream of conquering the wall.

Except for the well-maintained and touristy sections of Badaling, majority of the Great Wall’s stairs are considerably worn down. In some parts, stairs are hardly recognizable and look more like slides than staircases. There are also no handrails or other safety precautions installed. However, if you think you’re not physically able for the trek, you can still try staying at a watchtower and enjoy the scenery.

Make sure to wear comfortable shoes with strong grips. Expect smooth stones that can sometimes get slippery, especially if it’s damp out. Dress in layers so you can remove and re-place clothing depending on the temperature. You’ll feel warmer as you walk more.

Schedule your walking tour of the Great Wall between the months of March and May or September and November. It is best if you catch a day without rain so the stairs are not slippery. Avoid trips during the summer months (June to August), as the stairs can easily become overheated, especially with a huge crowd. Meanwhile, the winter months (November to February) are not usually friendly for walking tours; aside from the freezing temperature the snow can make the stairs slippery and the surrounding less pleasant.

Plan your trip well and conquer the Great Wall of China! And finally you can say, you’re a man!

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Exotic places are those that are totally different from what you had seen before. These have a unique appeal that you won’t get to see in your neighborhood. From the barren deserts to quaint little villages by the mountains or the pristine wilderness you are eager to explore, there are some in every continent. Here are some of the best places to visit. Check out these wonderful places, you’re sure to be enthralled by them.


Bagan is one of the densest and biggest conglomerations of stupas and Buddhist temples. Located in central Myanmar it has pagodas and ruins in addition to the temples and stupas many of which date back to the 12th and 11th centuries. Each temple is constructed differently and has an individual spiritual meaning.

Arashimaya Bamboo Forest

Located in Kyoto, Japan this famous forest has several temples and tombs that are wonderful to see. Arashiyama is a popular tourist attraction due to its ancient heritage. Its history dates back to Helan Period that existed between 794 and 1185. This region is popular for its cherry blossom season and the fall color season. There are bamboo groves, small shops, temples and other attractions including the Togetsukyo Bridge that can be explored, while cruising in the pleasure boats available for visitors. The name Arashimaya refers to the wooded mountains on the southern bank of the river, but the whole district is also referred to by the name.

Mendenhall Ice Caves

For those who love their view filled with snow and ice, this is just the place to visit. The caves are formed due to melting of the glacier and are expected to disappear soon. All the more reason to visit the place now! The glacier is 12 mile in length and situated in Mendenhall valley present near Juneau downtown in Southeast part of Alaska. The glacier is under federal protection and part of Tongass National Forest. The glacier was called by two names Aakwtaakshit(which means glacier behind the little lake) and Sitaantaagu (Glacier behind the town).

The ice caves can be seen only by travelling in kayaks and then by climbing on the glacier. Unfortunately, due to global warming the glacier is receding alarmingly. It has receded by nearly 2 miles since 1958, while before that it had gone back only by 0.5 miles in the time from 1500. The caves are surreal and wonderful structures not to be missed.

Białowieża Forest

This forest takes you back to Europe before 14th century. A wonderfully preserved forest, it gives you the exact picture that King Arthur had seen when he went off exploring. Present between Belarus and Poland border, there are broadleaved and conifer trees here. It has the largest European Bison species and is present on the Black Sea and Baltic Sea watershed area.


This place is present in Burma (Myanmar,) is a complex of Buddhist caves. The name denotes mountain of isolated solitary meditation. The caves can be reached through a new bridge built across the river or also through the Nyaungbin village. There are 947 caves filled with statues and artwork that date back to 18th and 17 century with some dating as far back as 14th century. The walls have murals, stories and patterns depicting Jataka tales and the statues are carved from sandstone.

Ngorongoro Crater

Situated in Northern Tanzania, this crater is one of the most beautiful places to go on a safari. It also houses the great Mount Kilimanjaro. This remains an untouched exotic place in Africa. This is the best attraction in Tanzania and a natural wonder. The crater and the highlands surrounding it make it a great place to visit. The stunning backdrops for the craters are made of fertile and rich grazing grounds. The place also has the highest concentration of big game in entire African continent and has the largest volcanic caldera that is intact still.

Caño Cristales

This is a river in South America and is called as liquid Rainbow. While there are many places to visit in South America, this is a must visit place. There are no fish in this river, so you can swim freely. Also referred as ‘river of five colors’ and as ‘the river that ran away from paradise’, the river looks like any other river with a rocky bed, green mosses and a clear and cool water current. During a particular season in a year, the river suddenly explodes into colors of all kind.

This happens between the dry and wet seasons, when the water level attains the right height. The colors are due to plant species that line the floor of the river. These species called macarenia clavigera, change the river into brilliant red color, which is interspersed with green and yellow sand and blue water with several other shades.

Mount Roraima

This is a mountain is South America. The mountain is considered by the locals as a mighty tree that had borne all the vegetables and fruits present in the world. This is also the highest in the Pakaraima mountain range in South America. The mountain has one of the most beautiful natural geological forms that were created over two billion years back. The mountain includes the borders of Guyana, Venezuela and Brazil.


This is the capital city of ancient empire of Khmer and houses the historic Angkor Wat. This is the largest temple in the world and one of the most appealing places in Cambodia. The surrounding jungle gives the appearance of the trees engulfing the temple and taking it back. If you are going to visit South East Asia, do visit Phuket Island in Thailand!

Kawachi Fuji Gardens

Present in Japan this place is located at five hours from the capital city, Tokyo when you travel by Nozomi train. The garden consists of a 15 km long beautiful fairy tale tunnel that should be seen in the month of April for the best view. There are nearly 20 different plant species in all colors. Kawachi Fuji Gardens grows various types of exotic plants, which you are also able to grow at home.

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Phuket, one of the upcoming tourist’s destinations in Thailand is one of the places you don’t have to miss to spend your holiday. With the fascinating spots that you have to visit and see, your holiday will be full with memories. With the features that this island boasts, you can visit either in summer or winter. The most appealing thing is that, you won’t lack anything to do while on this island. Especially for those tourists who’re looking for romantic places to spend with their loved ones, here are the places you have to visit.

In this article, we’re going to look at five places in Thailand that you’ve to spend your holiday that are ideal whether you’re on honeymoon or whether you’re taking your family or fiancée. These places are worthy to be visited by locals as well as tourists who are on holiday. The serenity of these places, the calmness allows intimacy to those who visits them. Let us look at the five places you have to spend your romantic holiday in Thailand.

Phang Nga Bay

This bay is ideal to tourists and other visitors who love nature. With the serene environment surrounding the bay, they can enjoy seeing the aquatic fauna that is quite appealing to every tourist who visit this bay. The limestone cliffs on this bay is a must see thing that will turn your holiday out of this world. Koh Panyee and the JamesBondIsland are two spots that have made this island to be famous in Phuket. A boat ride on the Island and exploring the beaches is something that you will enjoy a lot while on the bay.

Old Phuket Town

This is a historical town that contains features like the shrines, temples, public museums, quaint cafes and printing shops. The architecture of the buildings in this old town is one of the must do things in Phuket. The Sino-ColonialMansion, the Chinese language school preserved in the museum, photos of old temples and houses are some of the things you have to take a picnic.

Soi Bangla Nightlife in Patong Beach

Leisure is something that one has admired to have. Leisure can be in form of drinking, dancing or being in a company of friends doing something that pleases you. If you’re on holiday in Phuket, don’t miss out the Patong’s live parties that erupt after sunset. Enjoy seeing the girls dancing in bars around the post to entertain the customers in the bars to buy more beers. Not only buying the beers is the major intention of the girls, but also they look forward to be taken away for the evening too. This is one of the places you have to visit and spend your evening in Phuket.

Phuket Simon Cabaret

Your holiday won’t be completed without visiting the Phuket Simon Cabaret where you will be entertained from a range of music and culture shows. The costume that is used during this culture shows display the originality of Phuket and hence attracts tourists and the whole of Southeast Asia who enjoy this spectacular show. It’s one of the must visit places.

Wat Chalong and Phuket Temples

This is an area in Phuket with several beautiful temples. They are about 29 temples in the locality. Buddhist temples are the ones’ spread in this area. Tourists visit the temples to learn about Buddhism and the locals visit the temples to pray. Some temples have sacred places for the locals where by tourist can see how the locals worship. The statues in the temples will also give you that thrilling experience.

These places will not just make your holiday enjoyable but your romantic holiday will be full of memories. Make a visit to any of these places in Phuket and you will not regret spending your holiday in Thailand. Enjoy your holiday!

For more info about Phuket travel have a look here http://www.phuket.com/

photo credit: ilya

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Kamalaya in Thailand is one of the places you have to spend your holiday if you’re looking forward to have a fitness holiday. This sanctuary is located in the valley that faces coast of Koh Samui. The lily ponds and the tropical jungle will turn your holiday into a wild adventure.

However, adventure is not the only attraction in this sanctuary but the crossfit training that is offered to those who tour this sanctuary.

There are different packages of fitness that you have to choose from. In this article, we’re going to narrow down and look at the four best packages that you have to choose form to exercise while on holiday in Thailand. You can choose form either of the following:

Kamalaya Fusion Fitness and Crossfit training

Are you on holiday in Thailand and you’re looking for a place to enjoy a wide range of exercises? You don’t have to worry. Welcome to Kamalaya Fusion fitness and enjoy wide range of exercises that will leave your body rejuvenated.

Enjoy mind and body exercises like the Yoga, Pilates, Reiki, Personal mentoring and Pranayama. Cardio exercises available are Beach run, Circuit training, Power walk, cardio combat, Personal fitness training and Crossfit.

Crossfit is a program whereby you have a mix of exercises ranging from gymnastics, weight loss exercises, muscular strength and weightlifting exercises. For more information on crossfit training, crossfit cloth and best crossfit shoes please visit this website.

Adventure sports training like kayaking, Stretching not forgetting the Indian head massage, Traditional Asian foot and hand massage.

Kamalaya Yoga Synergy

Enjoy the kamalaya cuisine meals and beverages as you attend fitness activities. Private Yoga exercises, Wellness Consultation, Essential Oil massage are some of the fitness activities offered. If you’re new to Yoga exercises, Yoga Synergy is where you can start to train. These exercises will enable you to fulfill your fitness expectations.

Kamalaya Detox

You can enjoy this 7 day Programme where you’ll be treated from Lymphatic massage, Asian foot massage, traditional Thai massage, and use of steam cavern, plunge pools, swimming pool and Shakti fitness centre. These therapies for cleansing your body will enable your body to combine your detox. It’s one of the places that you have to enjoy their activities for the well being of your body.

Kamalaya Ideal Weight

Kamalaya Ideal Weight is the place where you can exercise and maintain optimal weight of your body. The fitness activities, the Yoga and the Tai Chi have attracted many tourists who want to exercise and maintain their body weight.  After enjoying these programmes enjoys the kamalaya cuisine and drinks as you rejuvenate your body as you enjoy your holiday.

We believe this article has highlighted and narrowed to the specific package that you are looking for. Kamalaya is one pf the spots that you don’t have to miss. It’s one of the places where you will return home form holiday and still plan your summer holiday to go and spend at the sanctuary.

photo credit: Rick Tew’s NinjaGym™ Martial Arts

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