Dambulla Cave: The Sistine Chapel of Buddhism – Keep Calm and Wander

Dambulla Cave Temple - Keep Calm and Wander

I haven’t been to many Buddhist temples but I can surely claim that Dambulla Cave Temple is The Sistine Chapel of the Buddhism world. And I’ve been to both. Everything inside this Buddhist temple – from its craggy floors to its painted walls and roof and life-size statues – is incredibly magnificent! It is also called as “The Golden Temple of Dambulla” or / and “The Rock Cave Temple.”

Buddhism and Hinduism. Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist. Thus, visitors will find Buddhist temples on plains, mountains, and rock caves. In fact, in Dambulla area alone, more than 80 rock temples were discovered. Another interesting fact is that, some of the Buddhist temples in the country also include the deities of the Hindus. My mind was blown away at its combination but I think it’s a beautiful testament of two major world religions sharing a place of worship.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Sri Lanka Gay Travel Resources

Penis Park in South Korea – Gay Star News

Penis Park - Gay Star News

Located in Sinnam, South Korea, this penis-themed park is a NSFW tourist destination.
Formally called Haesindang Park, the theme of the park is based on an old legend.

What’s the legend?

In the Legend of Auebawi and Haesindang, a woman was left by a man on a rock in the sea while he worked. Due to a storm, the man was unable to retrieve her, and the woman ended up drowning.

After this incident, the people of the village were unable to catch fish. They blamed this on the dead woman. Then, one day, a fisherman ejaculated into the sea and suddenly was able to catch fish again. It was thought that exposing the deceased virgin woman to male genitalia pleased her, and thus allowed them to catch fish.
To honor the dead virgin and to ensure the fish would remain, the people of the village built wooden phallic-shaped effigies in her honor and held religious ceremonies on her behalf.

By Rafaella Gunz – Full Story at Gay Star News

Oahu’s Scenic Route – 2TravelDads

Oahu's Scenic Route

As you know, we get to serve as Chief Travel Guides for Alamo Rent A Car and share our ideas for exploring the Scenic Route. We recently completed a grand tour of the Island of Oahu and came up with the four key ways to experience this incredible island. Here are a few hints about what makes Oahu with kids so much fun, and particularly what makes the Scenic Route around Oahu so unforgettable…

Oahu’s Kid Friendly Beaches

An island full of beach is sure to have lots of great spots to relax, right? Well, yes and no. We’ve made our recommendations for some of Oahu’s kids friendly beaches and what to plan for. Our kids LOVED the beaches of Oahu!

Snorkeling the Scenic Route Around Oahu

Just because there’s a beach doesn’t mean that the snorkeling is going to be amazing. What makes Oahu so great for snorkeling in certain spots are the ancient lava rocks and coral reefs that make for calm, clear waters. Care to know where along the Scenic Route you’ll find some of these great spots?

Full Story at 2TravelDads

Oahu Gay Travel Resources

Sri Lanka Views – Keep Calm and Wander

Tea Plantation Liptons Seat Haputale Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka – on our way up to Lipton’s Seat, the views are breathtakingly stunning. I had to tell the driver a couple of times to stop here and there so I can take some photographs. The emerald views seem endless as hills and mountains roll high and low.

Lipton’s Seat is, of course, the seat where Sir Thomas Lipton, used to sit (or maybe stand :D?) to survey his lush green tea estates.

Where is it? Take the train and get off at Haputale.

Hike. Yes, you can hike to the top. You can start from the paved road at Dambatenne Tea Factory. Remember that it’s an 8-kilometer hike – one way – and make sure you’ve got enough time to walk down.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Sri Lanka Gay Travel Resources

Orvieto – Dolly Travels

View from Orvieto - Dolly Travels

Good morning, everyone,

You can tell that I am excited about returning to Italy. I thought I might go back and read some of my blog posts where I wrote about places that I will revisit this coming June.

Orvieto - Dolly TravelsI have had Orvieto on my mind for some time. I love that hill town that is situated in Umbria, somewhere between Florence and Rome. I first visited that town in 2010, by myself. I enjoyed traveling from the train station up the hill to the old town, which sits like a giant mushroom on cliffs that overlook the newer city of Orvieto (down at ground level) and the Umbrian countryside. Now there is a funicular, a small train, that takes visitors up to the old city more quickly.

Duomo Orvieto - Dolly TravelsThe cathedral in Orvieto is one of the most strikingly beautiful churches in Italy. While it is not as ancient as some of the others, the artistic design is gorgeous. It is a Roman Catholic cathedral and was built in the 14th century A.D., in the Italian Gothic design.

One chapel at the rear of the cathedral is called the Brizio Chapel. An artist by the name of Luca Signorelli decorated the walls and the ceilings with paintings that were probably inspired by Dante’s Inferno, for they are actually downright scary. Beautiful but scary.

On a gentler note, as I walked through the town, along the city walls, I found the peaceful scene at the top of this post. This is some of the countryside, looking south, with the newer city of Orvieto in the center.

Old Church in Orvieto - Dolly TravelsNow here is an older church. This is the Chiesa di San Francesco, which sits right at the edge of a cliff at the western end of the old town. This church was dedicated in 1266 A.D. Inside it still looks very old and stark. It is kept in good repair, but I did not find it as inviting as the Duomo, the grand Cathedral.

While I was staying in Orvieto, I took a bus to another hill town, Bagnoreggio. The bus driver knew the roads, thank goodness. I had been told that the trip from Orvieto to Bagnoreggio would take an hour. This bus driver made it in 40 minutes, stopping once for a stop sign when he got to the town of Bagnoreggio. I wrote on my blog post at that time that I felt like I was on Disney’s Mr.Toad’s Wild Ride. But I arrived safe and sound, and welcomed the half hour walk that I would have across town, for my goal was to cross over a bridge to the ancient town of Civita.

When I got to the eastern edge of Bagnoreggio, I found that bridge. I don’t know what I expected, but when I looked at it, I thought, “I can’t do this.” However, I had come that far to get to that little town, and I knew I had to cross the bridge over that canyon to get there.

Civita Gateway - Dolly TravelsYes, the foot bridge does go almost straight up. My concern was walking over that canyon on that bridge, for I am afraid of heights. I walked in the center of that bridge, not daring to get too close to the edges until I was safely at the top.

Civita House - Dolly TravelsThe gateway to the city, a rock archway, was built by the Etruscans over 2,500 years ago, but was renovated, for lack of a better word, in the 7th century by the Romans.

Inside the city were the ancient stone buildings. Population is minimal, as the young people are gone, and the older citizens have by necessity, moved to Bagnoreggio, or other towns nearby.

Orvieto View - Dolly Travels

After I had toured the town, I made my way back across the bridge to the town of Bagnoreggio, where I had some lunch. In Civita, or rather, underneath the town, are still ancient caves. I did not explore them on my first trip there, but took a peek at some of them on subsequent visits.

Back in Orvieto, I relaxed for a bit before I went out to explore more of that city. This is the view from my window in my room.

Orvieto View - Dolly TravelsAnother view of Orvieto. Maybe you can get an idea of how high in elevation this town is, from this picture.

There is still more of Orvieto to explore again, and places to sit and relax, good restaurants, some who specialize in serving the wild game of the area: wild boar (cinghiale), wild birds and other meats that I did not particularly want to try, but the cinghiale salami is delicious.

Now I will leave you with this memory of mine of one of my favorite hill towns. I am looking forward to visiting Orvieto again, as well as Bagnoreggio and Civita. The bus ride promises to be just as exciting this year as it was in 2010, I am sure.

Ciao for now,

By AUTHOR – Full Story at SOURCE

LOCATION Gay Travel Resources


What Happened to the Gay Bars? – Traveling in Our Fabulous Gay World

Black Crown

Years ago, Gays went to the bars to meet people, have fun and enjoy being with other Gay people. In today’s world with the acceptance of Gays, Gays can go to straight bars and feel just as comfortable as going to a Gay bar.

Other factors have stopped people from going out to the bars. Cover charges for no reason is one thing. For those who are not into drag queen shows, they have opted out of going to bars. Last year we went to a leather bar in St. Louis and they had drag queens performing. Several customers did an about face and walked out of the bar.

The GangwayA lot of bars have bachelorette parties where straight women come in to see the drag shows and makes the Gays feel very uncomfortable. It makes money for the bar owners but they are alienating the Gay clientele.

Rising cost of drinks and the “drinking and driving” idea has stopped a lot of people from going to bars. And then there is the Smartphone and the different websites to ‘hook up’ and that has had a tremendous effect on bar business.

Rising costs of operating a business with rent, insurance, utilities, etc. are rising and forcing a lot of bars out of business. There are also a lot of owners of Gay bars who simply don’t understand how to operate a business. Long ago all you had to do was open a Gay bar and Gays would flock to the bar. This certainly is not the case anymore.

Since we travel from coast to coast a lot, we have walked in to hundreds of Gay bars or the past many years. We have seen bartenders rip off the owners and in today’s world the worst thing is to have a bartender on his smart phone and doesn’t even seem to care if you are there or not. There are a few Gay bars that still do it right and take care of their paying customers and we salute them.

Some of the bars that we really enjoyed in the past and now out of business are listed below:

The TropicsThe Tropics in Ft. Lauderdale which we have been going to for years closed their doors last year. It was always packed and one of the busiest bars in the city. It was sold and the new owners simply didn’t know how to operate a business properly so what was once a real cash cow, now is closed. In a resort city like Ft. Lauderdale one really has to be dumb to lose a bar such as this. Thankfully another smart businessman opened up the old Chardee’s which had been around for years until it closed about 13 years ago. Now 95% of all the patrons of the old Tropics will drink down there.

Burkhart'sBurkhart’s in Atlanta had been a very thriving Gay for many years and we have been there several times on our driving trip down to Ft. Lauderdale. Some owners just don’t get it ! Any business depends on it’s customer base and for some strange reason, the owner turned out to be VERY racially stupid. All of his staff left and his customers stopped going there as well. Yep, he had to close the doors last January. Atlanta had already had two other bars closed due to not enough business.

The Palace Bar in South Beach which has been an “institution” for years was getting ready to close do to high rent, however the owner was able to find another location just 2 blocks away so the Palace will continue.

The Gangway in San Francisco, the city’s oldest Gay bar there closed last month. We have been to San Francisco many times over the years and never even heard of it. We had always thought that the Twin Peaks bar in Castro was the oldest Gay bar in the city. Well, we guess that is now !

The Double Header in Seattle, which was thought to be the oldest Gay bar in the country closed a couple of years ago.

One of our very favorite Gay bars was the Black Crown in Denver, Colorado. It was a very upscale and handsome bar. Unfortunately the owners simply did not know how to operate the business and then sold it a guy who really didn’t know how to operate a business. Sadly it also closed after just a couple of years.

In life, things change and the intelligent people know that they have to change with it. Just always remember the good times.

Don and RayAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at [email protected] and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Las Vegas Gay Travel Resources

Best Western Plus Inn of Sedona – Sedona Gay Friendly Hotel

Best Western Plus Inn of Sedona - Sedona Gay Friendly Hotel

The Best Western Inn Plus Inn of Sedona is a beautiful home base for your Sedona adventure.

The hotel’s award-winning, terraced design takes full advantage of its ridge top location. With broad promenade decks along both sides of the property, guests can enjoy 360 degree red rock views without leaving the hotel.

Take in the views on the sunrise side as you enjoy a hot breakfast each morning.

In the evening stroll along the west side and take in an amazing red rock sunset right from the deck.

One of the first class amenities included in your stay, the “About Town” shuttle takes all the guesswork out of getting around Sedona. Climb in and relax – our friendly and knowledgeable staff will get you where you want to go in Sedona.

Go ahead, enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. Your ride back to our Sedona hotel is only a phone call away. We are the only hotel in Sedona that offers this service, and at the Best Western PLUS Inn of Sedona, we’re proud to be the leader in red rock hospitality. Many guests park their cars when they arrive and don’t get back into them until after check-out. Now that’s a relaxing vacation!

The energy of Sedona’s famous vortices and the spectacular natural beauty of Sedona’s red rocks combine to make Sedona, Arizona one the “Top 100 Places to Visit in the World” according to Trip Advisor. But red rocks aren’t the only attraction!

From Jeep tours to swimming tigers, hiking to train rides and of course amazing local art and shopping, there’s something for everyone in Sedona and the Verde Valley. But more than anything, you just have to experience the magical feel of this wonderful place. To show respect for the surroundings, and to help protect their natural beauty, the Best Western PLUS Inn of Sedona is a certified “Green Hotel”.

Are you interested in the famous Vortices? Well, the Airport Mesa Vortex is just across the street.

Want to know more about the history of the area or maybe just find out about the local flora and fauna? The complimentary Concierge Service can assist you in making the most of your time in Sedona, your way.

Whether you’re looking for dinner reservations or want to book a tour in a Pink Jeep, they can help take the hassle out of planning your itinerary. For a customized experience call our Concierge Desk 7 days a week to get personalized service to help you create your dream Sedona vacation.

If you plan on traveling with your best friend, and they happen to have 4 legs, don’t worry, this hotel gives new meaning to the term “pet friendly”. With a welcome gift at check-in and a list of local pet friendly restaurants for your reference, your furry best friend will be sitting pretty.

Sedona’s famous red rocks are waiting! A visit to Sedona can be anything you want to make it. We hope you make it memorable.

See the Best Western Plus Inn of Sedona Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Sedona Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Gay Philadelphia – The Hornet

Gay Philadelphia

Philadelphia, founded in 1682, played a significant role in shaping America. This city was where the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. From there, Philadelphia became one of the leading industrial cities during the 19th century. Today, the City of Brotherly Love continues to thrive. There’s also quite a lot to explore in gay Philadelphia, as the city has one of the nation’s most vibrant LGBTQ neighborhoods known as the Gayborhood.

There are a total of 67 national landmarks in Philadelphia. You can spend a whole week just sightseeing! The Liberty Bell, the most iconic American symbol, is a great place to start your tour. Find it at the Liberty Bell Center (oddly enough) in Independence National Historical Park.

The Betsy Ross House, several blocks away from the Liberty Bell, is a tiny museum and a landmark where the seamstress and flagmaker Betsy Ross lived when she sewed the first American flag. Take a tour of the house and relive the days of how Ross lived.

The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site is a must-visit place for fans of his work. This house, the only surviving residence of Poe, is in the Spring Garden neighborhood of Philadelphia. Check out different rooms while savoring Poe’s famous works like “The Raven” during the tour.

By Charles Thompson-Wang – Full Story at The Hornet

Philadelphia Gay Travel Resources

On a Gay Cruise – Gay Star News

Gay Cruise
The Netflix documentary, Dream Boat, follows a cast of gay men aboard their first ever gay cruise | Photo: Netflix

After the recent tragedy on a gay cruise this week, where 36-year-old Joel Taylor, star of Discovery’s Storm Chasers, died of an overdose onboard, I thought I would share my own gay cruise experience. Sadly, the fact someone died of an overdose onboard doesn’t totally surprise me.

I don’t mean to say any gay cruise encourages drug use; they all have strict policies which prohibit illegal drug use. But, while the organizers’ intentions are good, many decide to break the law and sneak drugs onto the ship to ‘enhance’ their onboard experience.

As soon as you board, you’ll find a huge array of activities to choose from. But, where a gay cruise differs from others is by the sheer amount of men on board, of course.

Being on a gay cruise makes you the majority, not minority

You are no longer a minority as a gay man – in fact, being gay is now mainstream. This freedom of self-expression is one of the many reasons that people choose to attend a gay cruise. However, with such a large array of gay men from around the world in attendance, stereotypes begin to emerge and the ‘freedom’ is taken too far.

By Auston Matta – Full Story at Gay Star News

Fishing for Money in Sri Lanka – Keep Calm and Wander

Fishing for Money in Sri Lanka - Keep Calm and Wander

When traveling in Sri Lanka, one of the scenes that would forever be etched in your memory is the fishermen on stilts. They can be found along the coast or wherever there’s water. However, the practice of stilt fishing may look like a time-honoured custom but it’s actually not. It started around World War II – more or less 80 years ago.

What is stilt fishing? It’s a way of fishing where fishermen are sitting on a pole while holding a dangling fishing rod onto the ocean. These stilts are usually planted far from the shore but the ones I saw where just right on the shore. Why? Read on…

I found them along the southern coast, between the Galle and Weligama. They’re usually in groups – so you can’t miss them. Keep your eye on the coastal side. Since the southern part of the country is known for its beaches, tourists do flock in the area. Be warned: these fishermen on stilts are there for the money. Yes, they’re fake! Once you stop and take a photo of these fishermen, a fellow is gonna follow and collect “donation.” If you refuse to pay, they’ll ask you to delete the photos.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Sri Lanka Gay Travel Resources