Explore Vancouver – A Traveler’s Insight

Vancouver, the “Hollywood North”, is one of the most underrated tourist spots in the world. Be it a rich businessman who wish to take a break from his busy schedule and enjoy the mystical silence of nature, or it be a lonely adventurer looking out for some action, this is one place that fits the interests of every kind of people. Vancouver is a town with a lot of buzz throughout the year with numerous Festivals happening on every season. Exotic Beaches, Spectacular Mountains, Fun filled parties and Heart throbbing Action were few things that a tourist can always expect from the artistic city of Vancouver, one of the top five most liveable cities of the world.

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When To Go:

Any time of the year is a special time to visit the City of Vancouver, but Spring and Autumn here are more frequented by tourists than any other time of a year.

Spring starts early in March and so as the time of internationally acclaimed festivals. People from all over the world flock the city at this time, to enjoy the fabulous and colourful events like International dance Festival and the Vancouver Sun Run that are held all through the Spring that lasts till May.

It’s summer in Vancouver from June to August, and in here, this is the high season for Festivals and outdoor activities. To regulate the number of the tourists visiting the city at this time, Hotels raise their lodging prices considerably making it the only downside.

Spring season is from September to November, and next to Spring, this is the other best time to visit and enjoy the complete beauty of Vancouver at peace. The hotel rates would drop at this season and people who love beaches would not want to leave Vancouver until the surrounding mountains get themselves covered in ice.

Winter season starts in December and lasts till February. While Santa Claus parade and Festival of Lights are there to engage people in fun filled activities, there are snow clad mountains and steep hills to please people who thirst for skiing and winter sporting adventure.

Where To Go:

Vancouver itself is rich with beautiful beaches, maples tree parks, Museums, Art galleries, etc. Thought there are a lot of attractions in and around the city, there are some places that should not be missed at any cost if someone visits Vancouver.

1. Grouse Mountain

This is a four season attraction point located at about 3500′ above the seal level. Once can get the most excellent views of the Ocean, City, Islands and the Mountains around on the way to the top. Refuge for Endangered Wildlife with bear cubs and timber wolves were located here, so as the Theatre in the Sky that provides an Eagle’s view of the Southwest British Columbia. Hiking, Helicopter tours, Lumberjack shows and paragliding were the main attractions when the weather is not cold. Winter is the high time for visitors to engage in breathtaking activities like skiing, sleigh rides and snowboarding.

2. Gulf islands National Park Reserve

A group of 15 islands and the waters that is just a short ferry ride away from Vancouver beholds one of the nature’s most beautiful park reserves of the world. The locals, as well as the tourists, enjoy sporting activities like Kayaking, camping and hiking in the Gulf islands. One of the most awesome features that attract travellers from all around the world is the exotic marine life of this island that includes Coral reefs, Whale watching locations, Sea Seals and Oysters.

3. Fort Langley

This fort was built about 50 years before the City of Vancouver was created. When the city of Vancouver was buzzing with the Gold Rush Trail in 1858, this was an essential stop and also a business post. People can get to know the historic processes and methods involved in the traditional barrel making and blacksmithing here. This place is also famous for its cultural performances and its rich history.

4. Dr Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden

This place is selected as the Top City Garden by the National Geographic in the year 2011 and it also reserves a place in the list of “1000 places to see before you die”. This place exhibits the tradition and culture of the Chinese in the 15th century. This is the only Garden outside of China that depicts their rich culture and their devotion to the concept of Yin-Yang.

5. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

This is another significant place to visit on a tour to Vancouver. One of the most thrilling experiences is to have a walk on this century old, 70m high and 135m long Suspension bridge over the Capilano River. The Treetops Adventure offers a walk over suspension bridges 100feet above the ground level, all bridges attached to big old rainforest trees. One of the most interesting features about this place is that the staffs here are dressed in 1890s style.

Chinatown, Granville Island, Kitsilano, West End, Commercial Drive, Punjabi Market and Gas town are some of the other spots that cannot be missed and are always a part of local tour packages.

Getting Around:

There are a lots of transit systems available for every purpose and the fares were also cheaper than anyone could expect from such services. Translink is Vancouver’s transit system and it has rail lines, bus services and ferry trips to offer for any tourist. SkyTrain is the best option to get around the city and the downtown, because of the spectacular views it offers on almost every trip. More to it, this service is completely automatic and one can find the locals travel worry free in these trains though there is no driver, thanks to its extraordinary their safety standard.

The best option to travel via water is to take the AquaBus service or False Creek ferries that are available all over the day. The greater city of Vancouver is divided into three fare zones and most of the transit systems were wheelchair accessible.

Food/Cuisines:

Vancouver offers exotic food experience to every kind of tastes. There are lots of Oyster bars, Waterfront restaurants, Canadian cuisines, Beer joints, Breweries and traditional Chinese restaurants, spread all over the city and in the neighbouring places.

Hawksworth and Blue Water can provide the best upscale dining experience, whereas La Qercia and Wildebeest are best for casual dining. Blue water is also the best place to enjoy seafood and its raw bar is one place to enjoy Vancouver’s most acclaimed wines and beers. Dim Sum restaurants like Dynasty or the Jade can offer wonderful bite sized traditional Chinese dishes. Restaurants at the Chine Town offer some of the delicious moon cakes and roasted ducks one could have ever possibly tasted. The Top of Vancouver revolving restaurant is also a place to visit and it offers exotic views along with its international cuisine.

Culture:

The Culture in Vancouver is so diversified such that about 52% of the total residents are not native English speakers despite the fact that English is the official language here. About 25% of the city’s total population is comprised of Chinese, and Filipinos and South Asian people occupy 6% each of the total population. Other signification cultures include the First nations, Inuit, Korean, Japanese and Latin American.

Almost everyone here speaks English and all the people are very friendly to get along with. Also, people of all the cultures will be very happy to take the tourists through a brief history of their own culture and how it flourished in the city of Vancouver. One of the most noticeable factors about the culture here is that Gay marriage is very much legalized here.