In our “24 Hours In” series, we present ideas for how to spend a full day in a featured city. The cities we’ll be covering include places often traveled through, but not in. These cities often act as international flight hubs, and layovers can extend from hours to a full day at times. So if you’re in a city on your way to or from your destination, following are some of our favorite things to do there!
The Global Basecamps Blog
Mainland Ecuador is often just a stopping point before travelers embark on a Galápagos cruise. However, mainland Ecuador travel, with the colonial capital of Quito, lush cloud forest of Mindo, and tropical rain forests in the East should not be overlooked. October and November is typically the off season in Ecuador, meaning travelers can avoid the crowds and take advantage of reduced rates. Further, travelers can avoid the rainy season, which begins in December in most regions of the country.
Banyan Tree Lijiang Lijiang, China
The Banyan Tree Lijiang is located 2,000 meters above sea level 15 minutes away from the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old Town of Lijiang. The Old Town of Lijiang is sometimes regarded as the Venice of the Orient because of the bridges and canals that wind through the cities cobbled streets. The hotel design was inspired by local Naxi culture, and includes pink stone, grey bricks, traditional red clay roof tiles, and interconnected canals. The hotel offers 55 villas with breath-taking views of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The spacious villas can include a private garden, heated outdoor jet pools or plunge pools. There are 40 Garden and Deluxe Garden Villas, 13 Pool and Deluxe Pool Villas, one 2 bedroom Pool Villa, and one Presidential Villa. The extensive spa includes spacious treatment rooms, a hair salon, a yoga pavilion and a gym. There is also a tea lounge connected to the spa. The resort has 2 all day dining options, Ming Yue cafe and Bai Yun, which offers banquet style dining. Additionally, there is a bar and lounge. If you're looking to explore the surroundings, Banyan Tree Lijiang offers guests exclusive treks with local guides.
Inca Trail, Peru
The Inca Trail Trek is one of the most famous treks in South America. The 26 mile hike offers travelers natural beauty, culture, and adventure. Hikers will experience beautiful mountain scenery, lush cloud-forest, subtropical jungle, and of course an incredible mix of Inca ruins. Culminating the challenging trek is the arrival at the ancient Inca site, Machu Picchu. Travelers should anticipate spending at least 2 full days in Cusco prior to the hike in order to adjust to the altitude. The best time of year to hike the Inca Trail is during the dry season, which lasts from May to October or November. The rainy season is from December to April, and the trail is closed in February due to heavy rains. However, light rain at Machu Picchu is not uncommon year round. Day time temperatures can range anywhere from 50-82ºF, with night time temperatures from around 32-50ºF.
Ever cringed and declined when offered a strange looking dish in a new country? Gawked when you saw someone dressed strangely in a different nation? If so, then you are not being culturally responsible and respectable. A few weeks back we discussed how important is it to know before you go. Preparing for your adventure travels by learning the customs and traditions of your host country can help you avoid awkward situations. After living in Shanghai for 4 years, I’m here to give you a few tips on being culturally responsible in China.
If you are luckily enough to have a native guide in your travels to China, then you will get to enjoy the best local cuisines the country has to offer. Chinese food is shared and served family style on a rotating glass circle in the center of the table. Always arrive on time to dinner, as punctuality is valued in China and a demonstration of respect.