Traveling is in itself one of the most enduring experiences. You get to see new places, immerse yourself in new experiences, try new cuisines and meet incredibly different and unique people and culture. However, not all travel experiences are complete and satisfactory. So many people miss the once-in-a-lifetime memories and the unforgettable experiences when their faces are buried deep in guidebooks or stuck with other tourists at famous landmarks.
Most of the people forget a simple secret that is the key to the most life-altering, memory-making and beautiful travel is to do it like a local. This simple clue will transform your trip into one you’ll remember forever.
Here are a few tips how to travel like a local, and how to make your holiday the most memorable one.
Go beyond the landmarks
There are of course some things you need to do in every city or country, and some places you need to visit. Like the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Qutub Minar in Delhi. However, that does not make your trip complete. Unfortunately, you miss lifetime opportunities to see a whole new country and culture. Because you ignore to explore the neighborhoods, quirks and sights outside of these major landmarks. Some of the most memorable experiences come from the moments you veer off the beaten path and get lost in the neighborhoods, cafes, stores and parks where locals live and breathe.
Explore with a local
For a while leave those double-decker packaged bus tours or an AC packed luxury private car, and book an experience with a local. Locals offer a perspective you’ll likely never receive from a mainstream (or usual) tour operator. Won’t it be exciting when they show you their hanging spots, that one secret corner from where the whole city is visible, or the favorite pub where gather daily. For once, try this; your outlook of traveling is bound to change!
Learn a few key words
Irrespective of whether English is conveniently used in the place you are visiting, try to learn a few key phrases in local language. Like daily greetings, how to you stuff, apologetic words, thank you statements, even some food names. You will be surprised how those simple few words would bring the whole place nearer to you.
Stay in a homestay
After staying in hotels of various brands and stars, you of course feel they are same (well, almost) everywhere. when you enter inside the complex, you are disconnected from the place you are actually visiting. Try a local homestay, a guesthouse. Rent an apartment on AirBnb or try CouchSurfing. Even more important to choose for a locality that is a bit far from those popular tourist attractions. That will give you a chance to really live like a local, experience the lives of the locals.
Volunteering while traveling is one of the most satisfying experience you can ever have. Whether you are going to Uganda, or New York, or India, or France – there are always options to volunteer for a social cause and contribute to the society. Even if your itinerary is packed, consider to spare at least one day for any of the volunteering tasks. Not only it gives you opportunities to help out local communities, but also will leave a permanent mark of your visit there. In addition, you will visit those uncharted locations of the country which would always be hidden from normal tourists.
Consider a cooking class
Few things can give you a more deeper insight about the place like the local food and cuisine. And what may be a better way to pay a short visit to a cooking class to experience the local dishes? This not only gives you chance to taste the most secret dishes from an authentic kitchen, but also enables you to reproduce the stuff when you are back home.
Finally, Be Respectful
You must adore and respect the local people, their lives, their culture and tradition. Comparing with other places and people is no way to enjoy that particular place. You must remember, you are visiting someone else’s world, not the other way around. In addition, always stay observant to what the people around you are doing. What are they eating? Where are they going out? What are they wearing? Knowing the answers to these questions will truly open you up to a more local, authentic trip. If you want to travel like a local, be respectful to the locals!
Everyone loves the Sphinx, the Eiffel tower, the Stonehenge – but how about one in China, one in USA or one in Japan? The famous UNESCO World Heritage sites have replicas around the world. Here is a little list of these famous fakes.
Tower Bridge, Suzhou, China
The Tower Bridge was built by Suzhou Municipal Engineering Design Institute and sports four tower rather than two.
It houses a couple of English-style coffee shop on its top floors.
Leaning Tower of Pisa, Sanghai, China
The 1:4 scale replica of the famous Italian monument is situated in the financial hub of China. The original tower’s construction started on Aug. 14, 1173 and was completed in three stages over the course of 199 years.
Sphinx, Shijiazhuang, China
The 60-meter long and 20-meter tall statue was built as part of an outdoor filming location. It is about the same size as the original and is made of concrete and framework reinforced with steel.
The original, known across the world as Great Sphinx of Giza, is located on the Giza Plateau adjacent to the Great Pyramids of Giza on the west bank of Nile River. It is the oldest known monumental sculpture and it is believed that it was built during the reign of Pharaoh Khafra (c. 2558-2532 BC).
Chauvet Cave, Vallon-Pont-d’Arc, France
It took approximately $60 million and several years to create a near-exact replica of the famous Grotte Chauvet. The replica includes more than 400 paintings of horses, bears, rhinoceros, mammoths, hand prints and carvings.
The original can be seen in southern France and contains the earliest known and best preserved figurative cave paintings in the world.
Eiffel Tower, Tianducheng, China
The 108-meter tall replica of the Eiffel Tower is the main attraction of the Tianducheng town.
The original was built in 1889 as an entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris, France.
Stonehenge, Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, USA
A full-size replica of Stonehenge made entirely of styrofoam. The replica was created by Mark Cline of Enchanted Castle Studio in 2004.
The original is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located in the U.K.
Stonehenge, Hefei, China
Stonehenge is one of the favorite among the replicators. However, no replica comes as close as the one built in the Chinese city of Hefei. Built as a part of the new housing development, it is a remarkable replica of the original.
St. Peter’s Basilica, Nikko, Japan
A miniature model of Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica at the Tobu World Square in Nikko, Tochigi prefecture on Aug. 16, 2010. The amusement park exhibits 102 structures of 1:25-scale world-famous architectural works and ancient monuments including 45 inscribed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
The original was built during the 10th and 11th century and is located within Rome, Italy.
Parthenon, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
A full-scale replica of the Athenian monument, the Tennessee model was built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition.
The original was built in 447 BC at the peak of Athenian Empire’s power. It is one of the most important surviving buildings of Classical Greece.
Colosseum, Macau, China
A replica of Roman Colosseum is at the Fisherman’s Wharf, a local invested entertainment park with a casino at the Outer Harbour area in Macau. Companies around the world are pumping billions of dollars into this former Portuguese enclave to build new casinos, hotels and shopping malls to tap a growing flood of Chinese tourists.
The original was built in 80 AD under the rule of Emperor Titus. It is believed that the structure had a capacity of 50,000 to 80,000 spectators.
Pyramid of Egypt, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
The pyramid-style hotel houses 4,407 rooms and is named after the city of Luxor in Egypt. It is similar in size to the Bent Pyramid and Red Pyramid in Egypt. It was constructed at the cost of $375 million in 1993 and, at that time, was the tallest building in the Strip.
The original was built by the Old Kingdom Pharaoh Sneferu and is the third largest Egyptian pyramid.
Statue of Liberty, Tokyo, Japan
This Statue of Liberty in Tokyo is actually a replica of a replica! In 1998, a replica of the famous statue was erected to celebrate Japan’s ties with France. It was taken down after a year but proved so popular, another replica was produced to take its place.
The original Statue of Liberty was dedicated on Oct. 26, 1886 and was a gift to the United States from the people of France.
Christ the Redeemer, Lisbon, Portugal
Inspired by Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and overlooking the city of Lisbon is the statue of Christ the King. The project was completed in 1959 and was a way of expressing gratitude after Portugal was spared from the devastation of World War II.
The original was completed in 1931 and is listed among the New Seven Wonders of the World. It is considered as a symbol of Christianity across the world.
2017 has been declared as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by United Nations. The declaration recalls the potential of tourism sector to advance the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The #IY2017 will promote tourism’s role in the following five key areas.
Inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction.
Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change.
Cultural values, diversity and heritage.
Mutual understanding, peace and security.
2017 presents a unique opportunity to explore and highlight tourism’s potential to help transform our world into a place of prosperity and well being for all.
It is a unique opportunity to advance the contribution of the tourism sector to the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental, while raising awareness of the true dimensions of a sector which is often undervalued.UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai
As one of the largest and fastest-growing socio-economic sectors of our times, tourism can stimulate economic growth, create decent jobs and business opportunities, helping millions of people escape poverty and improve their livelihoods. The tourism sector accounts for 7% of worldwide exports, 10% of the world’s GDP and one in eleven jobs. Even then this sector is almost ignored as a mainstream economic portfolio in many countries and societies. If managed well, it can foster inclusive economic growth, social inclusiveness and protection of natural and cultural assets.
Inclusive and sustainable economic growth
4% or more annual increase in international tourist arrivals since 2009
7% of total world exports and 30% of world services exports
US$ 1.5 trillion in exports from international tourism in 2015
10% of world GDP
Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction
One in every eleven jobs globally
Largest export category in many developing countries
57% of international tourist arrivals in 2030 will be in emerging economies
Almost twice as many women employers as other sectors
Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change
Committed to reducing its 5% of world CO2 emissions
Raises financing for conservation of heritage, wildlife and the environment
Can be a vehicle for protecting and restoring biodiversity
Must sustainably manage an expected 1.8 billion international tourists in 2030
Cultural values, diversity and heritage
Revives traditional activities and customs
Empowers communities and nurtures pride within them
Promotes cultural diversity
Raises awareness of the value of heritage
Mutual understanding, peace and security
Breaks down barriers and builds bridges between visitors and hosts
Provides opportunities for cross-cultural encounters that can build peace
A resilient sector that recovers quickly from security threats
A tool for soft diplomacy
This mandate of declaring 2017 as International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development is an initiative to make tourism as a prevailing medium for economic growth, culture preservation and social stability.
We, at Born2C, are glad with the declaration and look forward to making ideas happen for Sustainable Tourism.
Some text & content from tourism4development2017.org
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The Born2C Diary is an open space for all travel related information, experiences, articles etc. More interestingly, this space is also for publishing various news and information about Indian Heritage, Arts, Crafts, History etc. True to our core values, information and news and updates about Sustainable Tourism in India also would be published here.
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So you are contemplating where to go this summer - Himachal, Uttarakhand, Kashmir, even in far east at Sikkim, Arunachal etc. And you don't want to stay in a regular touristy hotel or resort.
Presenting a few offbeat places to stay in Uttarakhand in this issue. Be it himalayan homestay, or boutique resort, or luxury hotels, or private cottages - whatever your preference this time is, Uttarakhand offers you all.
Many of us living in urban areas long for travel for brief escape from deadlines, pollutions, traffic jams, inhuman daily routines and expectations. Mountains are almost perfect for these kind of respites, and more so in the summers like this.
We long for a place where we can sit back, relax, with our favourite book, or a canvas with our brushes, or simply free time with our dearest ones... along with a hot cup of coffee, while boundless green woods and snow capped mountains tranquillize our eyes.
But unfortunately most of the places on the hills cannot offer you such a retreat. After all, most of the popular hill stations, including the likes of Shimla, Nainital and Manali, have become highly commercialised and are often crowded with hordes of tourists. If you want to enjoy the real charm of being in a hill station, choose to stay in some offbeat destinations - far from the maddening crowd, are surrounded with the nature's best which is actually the soul of the Himalayas.
Here's a collection of some of the most serene and secret stays that are perched within the mountains of Himachal Pradesh that can treat you in a way you truly want to spend your holidays on the mountains.
A volunteer travel program allows you to completely immerse yourself in a different environment and culture. You will gain a deeper understanding of the world in a way that isn't possible through ordinary travel.
While all of our programs will give you the opportunity to travel India and give back, here are some more options that are particularly good for volunteer travel, specially this Summer.