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Earlier this week I was nominated by @backpackerboy of Top Backpacking Destinations to participate in Tripbase’s Project, “My 3 Best Kept Travel Secrets”. I must admit, I was flattered and intrigued, then I was stumped as to what my 3 Best Kept Travel Secrets would be. I’ve traveled, but sporadically due to career choices and I’m not sure what I can contribute to this project. However I’m always up for a challenge!  So here we go…

Waterton Lakes National Park- Alberta, Canada

Unlike Banff, Waterton Lakes National Park still has a very local feel to it.  A UNSECO World Heritage site and the Canadian half of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, Waterton is a great place to visit any time of year.  Waterton has great hikes (Crypt, Carthew-Alderson, Bears Hump), yummy pizza (Pizza of Waterton), and one of Canada’s oldest and most famous hotels, the Prince of Wales. Although Waterton is mostly a summer destination, with many businesses closing after Labour Day weekend, Waterton is still a great pick in winter. If you’re looking for a great vista, hike Bear’s Hump.  It only takes about 30-60 mins, but it can be a little steep towards to top. Don’t worry, the walk is easy and the view is amazing!  If you’re not into a steep hike, head over to the Prince of Wales Hotel and stand on the cliff behind the hotel.  Although it can be really windy, it’s a great view of Upper Waterton Lake, the townsite and surrounding mountains.

Carbisdale Castle, Culrain, Sutherland Co., Scotland

I had to tell the conductor ahead of time that I wanted to get off at Culrain so I could get off.  Leaving the platform with my backpack I headed for the crossroads, looked up and made my way towards the castle on the hill. I was kind of excited about staying at HI Carbisdale Castle. Although the walk up the hill/ mountain to Carbisdale Castle almost killed me at the time, I was loving it.  The castle itself is small, secluded and a great place to relax and unwind.  It’s also a short train ride from Dun Robin Castle, former home of Clan Sutherland, which has a great beach behind the castle walls.

Chengdu, Sichuan, China

Okay, so maybe it’s not a big secret, after all its a major gateway to Tibet and the place to go if you want to interact with Pandas.  But aside from those things Chengdu also offers beautiful temples, and lively neighbourhoods. Wenshu Temple dates back to the Tang Dynasty and is Chengdu’s largest and best preserved Buddhist temple.  But if you’re an early riser and looking for a relaxing way to spend your morning, then this is the place to go.  The grounds are vast and utterly breathtaking.  I’m always amazed at how peaceful temple grounds are, especially when they’re in the middle of a large city like Chengdu. The best part is relaxing near the temple, writing in your travel journal while listening to chanting monks.

Now, you may read this post and say “pff, these aren’t secrets!” and maybe they’re not. But they’re unique and special and are worth a visit. We live in a great big world, full of amazing places and people. Sure, this is my current 3 Best Kept Travel Secrets, but after 6 months of traveling through Asia starting this fall can you imagine what my next 3 Best Kept Travel Secrets will be? I’m kind of excited to find out!

What are YOUR 3 Best Kept Travel Secrets? Write your own post and share it with the rest of us!! In keeping with the spirit of the game, I nominate @ibackpackcanada @theaussienomad @AbbyTegnelia and @CailinOneil.

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