Two Must Sees When Visiting Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm Sweden

Stockholm at Night, by hector melo

For its brilliant harbor, dramatic architecture, and nearly eight hundred years of history, Stockholm Sweden deserves its reputation for being a true gem of Northern Europe. The oldest part of this capital, known as Gamla Stan, epitomizes genuine Swedish culture in many ways, and is replete with wonderful shops and restaurants. The narrow streets and cobblestone roads are as picturesque as any fairytale setting you can imagine. The museums, palaces, and venerable churches make this a major tourist spot, but not experiencing this small town would mean missing quintessential European beauty.

You can walk the entire quarter in about two hours by crossing one of four bridges that link it to the rest of the city, but there are enough cafes and landmarks to spend an entire day in this historic place. In this instance, being a tourist attraction is a good thing, considering that you can take in inspiring churches, the Royal Castle, and sit in the oldest square known as Stortorget and marvel at your unique surroundings. Taking in Gamla Stan in warmer months may be especially appealing if you enjoy slowly wandering beautiful surroundings and want to really get to know this enduring old city.

In contrast to the local artistry and historic atmosphere of Gamla Stan, the Icebar Stockholm is a chilly but exhilarating ice bar, and is in fact the first of its kind in the world. The interior, including the glassware, is composed entirely of pure ice culled from the Torne River. Kept at a temperature that is slightly below freezing, the Ice Bar offers a unique experience for small or large groups. The warm wrap and gloves included with your cocktail will let you enjoy your time here, and there are special menu items and activities for children, making this cool place a hot spot for an entire family. From its ancient landmarks to its modern wonders, Stockholm Sweden will surely delight visitors year round.

Visiting Ang Thong National Marine Park

Until 1980 the collection of islands known as Ang Thong was off limits because the area was used by the Thai navy. Now it is possible to do day trips from either Koh Samui or Koh Phangan to the fascinating archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand.

Ang Thong National Marine Park consists of over 40 islets that stretch over 250 square kilometers of ocean. Taking a trip around the islands is fascinating. The islands are made of limestone and dramatic granite cliffs. The terrain holds many weird and wonderful shapes that has resulted in some of the islands being called such things as ‘Sleeping Cow Island’ and ‘3 Pillars Island’. Dotted throughout the archipelago are hidden coves, sea caves and perfect deserted beaches. If you have your own yacht, Angthong is one of the places where your boat comes into its own – you can moor off a different beach every night.

The interiors of the islands are covered in lush tropical forest. Except for Koh Wua Talab where the park headquarters are located and Koh Paluay where sea gypsies live the area is free of humans. As a consequence the wildlife has flourished on the islands. If you go on a tour of some of the interiors it is possible to see macaques, langurs and sea otters. There are also over 40 different types of bird to spot.

The main island has a couple of great trails to follow that lead to viewpoints. There is also a camp site where tents can be rented.

The name ‘angthong’ means ‘golden basin’ and the reason for the moniker is because on the island of Koh Mae Ko there is a large inland lake surrounded by a golden basin. A visit to the lake is one of the highlights of a trip to the area.

Another highlight is to go diving or snorkeling in the area. There are several great dive spots around the islands with corals and a profusion of marine life to enjoy. Another memorable activity is to kayak around some of the islands.

The cost of entry to Ang Thong National Marine Park is 200 Thai Baht. A tour to the islands from Koh Phangan or Koh Samui should cost between 1,000 and 2,000 Thai Baht. If you are in the area it is money well spent.

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