In honour of International Day of Forests (21st March), the meaningful travel experts at Rickshaw Travel are shining a spotlight on some of the greatest forests in the world.
The Happy Valley Forest
Located in King Township, north of Toronto, Canada’s Happy Valley Forest is a classic example of the type of lumberjack forest your mind typically conjures up when you hear the word, full of dappled pines and woodland trails.
This 2,850-acre forest is one of the largest remaining intact deciduous forest tracks in Canada’s Oak Ridges Moraine. The forest consists of a smorgasbord woodland of sugar maple, American beech, paper birch, black cherry, red oak and towering ancient pinewoods. Home to old field habitats, wooded swamps, wetland areas and several creek valleys. More than 110 bird species live in the forest too, and many endangered species including the hooded warbler, the red-shouldered hawk, the Acadian flycatcher and the Jefferson Salamander.
Happy Valley is a shining example of the significant role nature can play within communities, with the local townsfolk from nearby King regularly arranging nature trails and legislating to protect and preserve their ‘King Forest’, one of the last remaining forest giants of southern Ontario.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Japan has a hyper modern feel, with its singular soaring stalks of emerald bamboo creating a distinctly minimalist aesthetic. Located in the Arashiyama district of western Kyoto, The Bamboo forest has been a popular destination since the ancient Heian Period, when aristocrats would sojourn there and enjoy its peaceful setting and breath-taking beauty.
The importance of living in harmony with nature is deeply rooted in Japanese culture and the popularity and respect shown to the Bamboo Forest is a perfect example of this relationship. The Bamboo itself is also a classic symbol of strength in Japanese mythology and it is believed that the forest was originally planted to protect the temples from evil. In modern times, the forest seems to have gained a new magic power, being extraordinarily photogenic.
The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is often cited as being one of the best photography locations in the world, with the skyward stalks distorting perspective and creating a visually arresting image.
The Amazon Rainforest
There are very few contexts in life where the addition of ‘rain’ is pleasant, but with yearly rain fall of over 3,000 millimetres the Amazon Rainforest manages to maintain its lush, thriving and utterly unique ecosystem. Covering over 6.9 million square kilometres and spanning across Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, the Amazon Rainforest is the largest forest on earth.
Tropical rainforests are one of the oldest continuous ecosystems in the world and play a massive part in the health of the Earth by digesting and converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. Regularly referred to as the “Lungs of the World”, the Amazon has a staggering number of plant and animal species. An estimation of 50 to 70 million different organisms hang out in the rainforest and more than 80% of the world’s food varieties can be traced back here, including tea and coffee.
The Cardamom Mountain Region
Often overshadowed by its volatile past, the Cardamom mountain region of Cambodia boasts a lush green covering of forest which is home to a spectacular array of wildlife including pangolins, sun bears, and macaques.
Until recently, the Cardamom Mountains were essentially off-limits, with decades of war raging in the wake of the collapse of Pol Pot’s brutal regime, and in the midst of this chaos Cambodia was experiencing one of the most alarming rates of deforestation in the world. However, the coming of peace heralded the coming of tourism and a whole new economy. Communities, who had never been able to prioritise environmentalism, were suddenly able to appreciate the beauty and worth of the forest surrounding them. Families opened their homes as guest-houses, men who once fought now lead guided nature hikes and the journey of reversing deforestation has begun, with the planting of about two million trees.
Despite the transformative power of tourism on the region, the Cardamom Mountain range itself is still relatively off the grid, with the nearby jungle-clad temples of Angkor Wat instead drawing the crowds.
Rickshaw Travel provides travellers with immersive and enriching experiences in the heart of the countries they visit. For more information on the trips available please visit, https://www.rickshawtravel.co.uk/
About Rickshaw Travel:
Rickshaw Travel is an independent tour operator based in Brighton. They are committed to providing enriching, immersive travel experiences that take holidaymakers off the beaten path and into the heart of local communities.
Meaningful travel – or travelling in a way that everybody benefits from – is the core ethos of Rickshaw: the traveller benefits from enriching experiences where they learn something new (about the destination, culture, a skill or about themselves) and at the same time the local people, animals and/or environment benefit too.
Rickshaw Travel’s individual approach to independent exploration enables adventurous holidaymakers to visit the heart of a destination and experience the real spirit of a local culture. Rickshaw specialises in offering small-scale, authentic accommodation that truly reflects the character of each destination.
Rickshaw are proud to have built up a team of passionate Travel Specialists who each have extensive travel experience in their own dedicated destinations. They pride themselves on being open and honest about the places they have visited and are on hand to inspire and support travellers. The company’s style of travel is unique – Rickshaw’s dedicated Product Team has worked alongside the company’s in-destination partners to create a choice of carefully selected bite-size trips, typically 2-4 days long, which can be combined to create the perfect itinerary. Rickshaw’s bite-size trips include a range of local excursions, charming authentic accommodation and some transfers to ensure a hassle-free holiday.
Protecting nature and wildlife – and encouraging travellers to do the same – is also key for the Rickshaw team. The company has partnered with World Animal Protection to develop an Animal Welfare Policy, has committed to supporting the end of elephant riding by signing World Animal Protection’s elephant-friendly pledge, and is in the process of auditing trips involving any type of wild animal interaction.
Rickshaw Travel now offers trips in 24 destinations across Asia, Central and South America, including Cuba, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, India, Costa Rica, Peru, Borneo, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Chile, Brazil and Japan. The company’s turnover and passengers carried increased by 50% from 2015 to 2017 and the company is aiming for a further 30% increase by 2019.
For more information, visit https://www.rickshawtravel.co.uk/, https://www.facebook.com/rickshawtravel/, https://twitter.com/Rickshaw_Travel or https://www.instagram.com/rickshaw_travel/ or call 01273 934 823.