It’s True, A Journey Is Best Measured In Friends, Rather Than Miles

It’s True, A Journey Is Best Measured In Friends, Rather Than Miles

One of my favorite parts of traveling is the uncertainty of what I could encounter, but the most exciting part for me is the thrill of the unknown as to all the interesting people I will meet along the way. We can predict to a certain degree what we are going to see, but not the unpredictable nature of whom we will meet a long the way. Some of these characters will become part of our lives and stories, and others will change our lives forever.

After cooling down ourselves with a couple of beers in the garden of our hostel in Chiang Mai, me and some other travelers started wondering, how real, strong and long-lasting are the friendships you make while traveling? How those amazing and fun travel mates you get to know just for a couple of hours or days, in places like hostels, buses or trains can become long last friendships?

This conversation came to my mind the other day and couldn’t take it out of my head, so I decided to ask other Travel Bloggers their thought on this topic of meeting new friends while traveling, a perfect question for these adventurers that spend most of their time traveling around the world.

According to Travel Blogger Chantell Glenville (Travel For Your Life) there’s a big misconception that the friendships you make while traveling don’t last or aren’t real. She met some of her best friends and favorite people in the world while traveling. It is true that sometimes time defines the depth of the connection with others, like those friends we make during our childhood or school days, but it is not only time what creates that connection, is also sharing the same ideas or situations.

Travel Bloggers Emma & Yannick from Luxurybackpacking (they sent pictures as well) have become happier people and with a more positive mind-set than before by connecting with everyone along the road. Especially because most of them share their attitude towards being independent and not being stuck in a 9 to 5 job in a certain location.

Sometimes the connection that happens is so deep after hours of conversation that you continue traveling together or stay in touch for years creating a stronger bond. And giving both parts the opportunity to have someone across the globe that will be there for you as a friend. Like Travel Blogger Alice Pye (attached picture) who collects friends from around the world, not just stamps. In her own words, “Travelling has rewarded her with some pretty incredible people. A lot of them are what she would call best friends even though they live on the other side of the world! She has made friends in nearly every continent.”

Or for Lola Méndez (Miss Filatelista) who believes that travel friends are great because you’ve already connected over a shared passion and will have endless conversations about your past travels, current adventures and dream destinations. Travel-friendships have a tendency to last across cultures, borders and time zones.

But is not only time, Age is no barrier to friendship – at home we gravitate to our own age groups, travel friends are old and young. Just like what Regitse Cecillie Rosenvinge (The Copenhagen Traveller) experienced by meeting different people. “I’ve met some of my favorite people while traveling. When you dare to venture out in this world, you meet the most amazing people from all over the globe – young, old and from different cultural layers”. Without making it sound a bit cheese: creating friends from other cultures is the biggest gift you can give yourself. – Regitse Cecillie Rosenvinge (The Copenhagen Traveller)

Because when we decide to step out of your normal comfort zones for meeting new friends we could end up finding the craziest characters in the world. If you don’t believe me, ask Megan Seamans & Andrew Johnston from Indefinite Travel whose favorite part of traveling is meeting people along the way. From the hitchhikers they picked up in Costa Rica to the man they are pretty sure was running from the law in Oahu. Travel friends always have the greatest stories to tell.

Even that night at the hostel we all agreed that you can have a deep connection with people you just met and some of them can even become friends for life, because time, distance or age are not the only factors that define how strong a friendship will be. Its the fact that you meet people that just like you, decided to leave their comfort zone in order to travel around the world, those who help when you when you are completely alone in a foreign country without knowing you or asking anything in return. Because being vulnerable with others is what sometimes helps us connect.

So if you ever have issues connecting with others in a new destination, remember that Travello (Download here) gives you the amazing benefit of connecting with others before you get to your destination or while you are traveling. Connecting with others is just a signup away on Travello.

THANK YOU TO ALL THE AMAZING BLOGGERS THAT CONTRIBUTED TO CREATE THIS ARTICLE. IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THEM FOLLOW THEM ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Chantell Glenville

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Emma & Yannick (Luxurybackpacking)

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Alice Pye

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Lola Méndez (Miss Filatelista)

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Regitse Cecillie Rosenvinge (The Copenhagen Traveller)

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Megan Seamans & Andrew Johnston (Indefinite Travel)

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Samia SalamancaIt’s True, A Journey Is Best Measured In Friends, Rather Than Miles
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Win a $1,000 Student Flights Travel Voucher

Win a $1,000 Student Flights Travel Voucher

THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED SORRY!

THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED!

To Enter Simply:

It’s That Easy!

How Far Could $1,000 Take You On Your Travels?

WIN a Travel Voucher From Student Flights And Your Next Travel Adventure Could Be Closer Than You Thought!

Here are a list of just a few things to inspire you from Student Flights:

TERMS & CONDITIONS

CONDITIONS OF ENTRY – “Student Flights Travello Group Photo Competition”

  1. Information on how to enter and prizes form part of these Conditions of Entry.  Entry into this promotion is deemed acceptance of these Conditions of Entry by each entrant.
  2. Entry is open to all Travello users who are aged at least 18 years old. Entrant must be able to claim the prize within Australia by visiting a Student Flights store.
  3. Employees of Flight Centre Limited and Travello and their immediate families are not permitted to enter.

Duration of Promotional Period

  1. The competition commences at 5:00pm AEST Thursday 20th May, 2017.
  2. The competition closes at 11:59pm AEST Sunday 7th May, 2017.

 How to Enter

  1. Eligible entrants can enter the promotion in any of the following way:
  1. Persons must join the Student Flights Group page on the Travello app via. https://app.travelloapp.com/groups/studentflights/join. You’ve got to have an active account and have the Travello app downloaded in order to join the Student Flights Travello Group page.
  2. Once the entrant has joined the Student Flights Travello Group page, entrant must upload their most memorable travel photo to the group page and describe in 25 words or less why it took out the top spot.

This will result in a maximum of one (1) “primary entry”.

  1. Entries will be deemed to be accepted at the time of receipt and not at the time of transmission. Entries received will be considered final by the Promoter. Incomplete, inaccurate, erroneous, illegible or incomprehensible entries will be deemed invalid. Entries must be received by the Promoter during the promotional period. The Promoter accepts no responsibility for late, lost or misdirected entries.
  2. Any costs associated with accessing the Promotional Websites remain the responsibility of each entrant and are dependent on the Internet Service Provider used.

Draw Details

  1. The competition will be drawn at random using an electronic drawing method.
  2. There will be one (1) Prize draw with one (1) Major Prize Winner at random from all eligible entries received.
  3. The major prize draw will take place at 3:00pm AEST Monday 8th May, 2017 at Flight Centre Head Office, Level 13, 275 Grey Street, Brisbane QLD 4101.
  4. The Major Prize Winners will be notified by a comment on their winning entry at 5:00pm AEST Monday 8th May, 2017 and the result will be published on http://www.studentflights.com.au/deals/winners 5:00pm AEST Monday 8th May, 2017.
  5. The Major Prize Winners have until 5:00pm AEST Monday 7th August, 2017 to claim the prize. Although every effort will be made to contact the prize winners, should an unclaimed prize draw be necessary, the draw will be held at 10:00am AEST Tuesday 8th August, 2017 at Flight Centre Head Office, Level 13, 275 Grey Street, South Brisbane QLD 4101.
  6. The Prize Winner of any unclaimed prize draw will be notified by a comment on their competition entry at 1:00pm AEST Tuesday 8th August, 2017 and the result will be published on http://www.studentflights.com.au/deals/winnersby 5:00pm AEST Tuesday 8th August, 2017.

 

Prize Details

  1. There will be one (1) major prize consisting of the following components:

– $1,000 Student Flights travel voucher.

– Voucher is only redeemable by physically going into a Student Flights Australia store, with photo identification.

– Voucher is valid for a period of 12 months from the date of issue.

Full voucher terms here http://www.studentflights.com.au/plan/gift-cards

TOTAL PRIZE VALUE TO $1,000  (equivalent to $1,000 AUD).

  1. The following are not included as part of the prizes: all other out of pocket expenses including travel insurance, additional meals, beverages, laundry services, spending money, transfers, optional excursions, tipping, passports, visas and all other ancillary costs not expressly provided, as well as the costs of obtaining any of these. These are the responsibility of the Prize Winner.
  2. Winners must take the prizes as offered. Prizes are non-transferable, non-refundable, cannot be sold or exchanged for cash, credit or foreign exchange and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, discount or promotion. Negotiation with Student Flights will not be entered into.
  3. Any passes and tickets issued as part of the prize are subject to prevailing terms and conditions of use and any tickets or passes are only valid for use within the stated duration on the passes or tickets issued or the duration of the chosen prize, whichever is earlier.
  4. The Prize Winner consents to the use of their name, suburb of residence and image for promotional and marketing purposes.
  5. To the extent permitted by law, the Promoter is not responsible or liable for: inaccurate/incorrect transcription of entry information; purported entries that are not received for any reason, including because they are lost, misdirected or stolen, or that are received, but are late, illegible, incomplete, sent with insufficient postage (where entry is by post), or sent other than as directed in the entry instructions; any problems or technical failures of any kind, including malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems or network, servers or providers, computer equipment, or software; the unavailability or inaccessibility of any service whether or not caused by traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website; unauthorised human intervention in any part of the competition; electronic or human error which may occur in the administration of the competition; any loss suffered or sustained, to person or property and including, but not limited to, consequential (including economic) loss by reason of any act or omission, deliberate or negligent, by the Promoter, or its servants or agents, in connection with the arrangement for supply, or the supply, of any goods or services by any person to a prize winner and, where applicable, to any family/persons accompanying a winner; or any injury or damage to persons or property, including to the participant’s or any other person’s computer related to, or resulting from, participation or downloading any materials in this competition.
  6. Neither the Promoter nor the operators of the Event will be liable for personal injury suffered during prize winnings.
  7. This condition does not affect, and is not intended to affect, any rights a consumer might have, which cannot be excluded under applicable consumer protection laws. To the fullest extent permitted by law, any liability of the Promoter or its servant or agents for breach of any such rights is limited to the payment of the cost of having the prize supplied again.
  8. The Promoter is Flight Centre Limited trading as Student Flights ABN 25 003 377 188 ACN 003 377 188 Travel Agent Licence Numbers ACT 18800224 NSW 2TA002719 NT 008 QLD TAG262 SA TTA254 TAS TAS031 VIC 31089 WA 9TA 00589. The personal information of entrants will be collected to enable the Promoter to administer and promote this competition. The Prize Winner may be used to market the Promoter’s services to the entrant. The personal information of the entrants will be held and used in accordance with the Promoter’s privacy policy which is available at http://www.studentflights.com.au/about-us/privacy. The personal information of winners may be provided to others assisting, including prize suppliers and deliverers, and to authorities that regulate this competition. If an entrant does not truthfully provide all requested personal information, the Promoter may determine that they are not eligible to win the prize.

 

 

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Travello is a Mixpanel Partner

Travello is a Mixpanel Partner

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Create Your Own Travel Reality Shows By Winning Our GoPro Pack

Create Your Own Travel Reality Shows By Winning Our GoPro Pack

COMPETITION NOW CLOSED

Stop wasting time watching reality TV!

It’s time to start creating your own reality shows,

your very own travel reality shows!

Simply WIN our $1,000 GoPro Pack or a $1,000 (AUD) Travel Voucher to start you off on your own travel adventure stories around the globe! Entry is simple if you have the app. So first thing if you have not done so is to download the app! Then follow the instructions below.

Win a GoProJoin the Travello Competitions Group Here to get started!

 

Travello is the app where travellers connect from all over the world!

COMPETITIONS TERMS & CONDITIONS:

  • Entry is open to residents from all countries over the age of 18
  • Prize options include either 1 x AUD$1,000 Go Pro Packages (exact package can be compiled by the winner) or a 1 x $AUD1,000 Travel Voucher to the travel operator of the winner’s choice. Prize is not transferable for cash.
  • Value of prize is in AUD
  • Competition Dates: 10th February to 13th March 2017
  • Entry requirements: Join the Travello Competitions Group, post on the feed an update of a photo and comment depicting what is your most favourite or memorable travel destination and why.
  • Competition is a game of skill, Travello holds the right to choose the winner they deem to best fulfil the competition entry requirements.
  • Winner will be chosen and announced by 17th March and announced on the feed in the Travello App as well across Travello’s social channels.
  • Winner will be notified directly by all confirmed contact details from their registration/profile on the app.

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Sam LindnerCreate Your Own Travel Reality Shows By Winning Our GoPro Pack
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Welcome To The New Social Travel Feed & Interest Groups On Travello!

Welcome To The New Social Travel Feed & Interest Groups On Travello!

Introducing the new

Social Travel Feed & Interest Groups on Travello.

We’ve just introduced some exciting new features in the Travello app!
Lets start with the all new social travel “FEED” & Interest “GROUPS

The Social Travel FEED works just like any other social feed. Use it to post updates about your own travels, view updates from other travellers nearby or filter your feed to show the updates from other travellers in the Groups you have joined.

If you have the app already just click on the links below to join the Interest Groups that appeal to you. If you don’t have the app yet the same link will take you to the stores to download it first and once you have created your profile it will take you directly to the Group to join it straight away.

We’ve also partnered with some travel brands to launch their Featured Business Group, with many more new partners soon to be launched. So for example, if you’re on a trip with a tour group you will be able to join the specific social group for that business or even a specific tour group so that you can all meet and engage with each other in the app!

Or perhaps you are looking to connect with other travellers at a Hostel or Hotel you are staying at, we’ll be able to create groups for that as well! So feel free to provide feedback to us as to what interest groups or business groups you would like to see.

Our brand partners live now include the following, but stay tuned for many more shortly:

Sharing the groups with your friends not on Travello is also super simple!:

So start exploring the travel community on Travello through the new Social Travel Feed. Connect with travellers nearby or discover and join the tribe that best suits you in the new Interest Groups. Right now these include Travel Bloggers, Digital Nomads, Solo Travellers, Outdoors & Adventure, Australia Backpacking, Asia Backpacking and many more. We even have a dedicated private group for Female Solo Travellers!

If you are a business and would like to discuss how we can help set up either a Featured Business Group or a Private Business Group for you please reach out through our Partnerships Enquiry Submission Form Here

Travello is the app where travellers connect from all over the world!

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Sam LindnerWelcome To The New Social Travel Feed & Interest Groups On Travello!
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The Green Season, One Of Africa’s Best Kept Secrets

The Green Season, One Of Africa’s Best Kept Secrets

The Green Season, One Of Africa’s Best Kept Secrets

   

Hippos-Africa

There’s no doubting that Africa’s wildlife is easier to spot in the drier winters. The thinning bush and the large number of animals congregating around the waterholes make this a choice time to travel. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t deny yourself a trip to the continent in the off peak months. 

While it might not always be seen as the best time to head off on a safari, the green season, which runs from November through April, still has its own plus points and these months are ideal for budding shutterbugs.

Better air and light conditions along with dramatic short-lived thunderstorms (an afternoon storm may reward you with a rainbow) make for impressive photography and the longer days mean you’ll be able to spend more time on the game drive.

 The summer rains also leave lush green grasses and flowering plants in their wake, the animal action bursting into life during calving season and migratory birds filling the skies with colour.

 wild-dog-packSouth Luangwa National Park, Zambia

 Zambia’s, South Luangwa National Park isn’t an obvious contender when it comes to choosing a top safari destination, but it’s often dubbed as one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world.  You won’t find all of the Big Five here, as sadly the rhino was poached to extinction some years ago, but its 9,050 square kilometres are home to 60 different animal species and over 400 bird species.

Going from no sightings to spectacular sightings, after ongoing conservation efforts the wild dog population has put  South Luangwa back on the map. These curious creatures are often spotted only a few meters away and green season is one of the best times to spot the packs in action. 

The concentration of wildlife around the Luangwa River, and its oxbow lagoons is among the most intense in Africa, and even more reason to visit, leopard sightings in the national park are outstanding. 

Where the walking safari originated, you’ll leave with a more intimate appreciation of the bush and proof of its bucket list status, baby impala, larger than life hippo pods and busy carmine bee-eater and stork colonies will fill your view finder.

 

Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya

buffalo-sunset-masai-mara

Photo Credit – Johnny Chen

Kenya’s world renowned Masai Mara Game reserve might be best known for the annual migration, however, when the rains head for the plains you won’t be disappointed.  

Make sure you bring enough memory cards as green season always holds some surprises, whether you happen to spy a cheetah chasing its prey, herds of wildebeest and zebra gathering beneath the tropical sun or a leopard climbing into a tree to dry off after an afternoon shower. 

This time of year tends to be less popular with visitors, so it’s also worth noting that you won’t be going bumper to bumper with other safari-goers hoping to capture the same wildlife on camera.

 

Okavango Delta, Botswana
okavango-delta-mokoro-poler

Green season is also known as the secret season, and the Okavango Delta certainly has its own in store over the summer. The game viewing becomes even more rewarding as the floodwaters withdraw, leaving more areas open for bush walking. 

Expect to see large numbers of sitatunga (a swamp-dwelling antelope), red lechwe, and a plethora of migratory birds including the Woodland Kingfisher. 

Mokoro safaris will still be available in the heart of the delta over this period, making this the ideal time to combine water and land based wildlife pursuits.

 

Kruger National Park, South Africa

kruger-nartional-park-south-africa-tourism

Photo Credit – South Africa Tourism

 Admittedly, dry season is one of the best times to view wildlife in the Kruger, but green season still packs some punch. 

Toward the end of November and into early December calving season will be well underway. Aside from spotting the newly born wildlife with their mothers, during this period the park also becomes a predator’s paradise and when the summer migrant birds arrive the skies will be awash with colour.

 The best time for a beach and bush combo, don’t forget to add in a few lazy summer days on Cape Town’s sun-kissed beaches, as highs of around 28 degrees celsius are the norm in January and February.

 

Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

 zimbabwe-athena-cubs-3-lion-projectZimbabwe is another lesser known destination, but remember it’s going to be even more of a best kept secret when green season rolls around.  There will be plenty of big game viewing with substantial herds of zebra and wildebeest and a fair few predators on the prowl to boot.

The place to be if you’re an avid twitcher, you should definitely bring those binoculars as the number of bird species usually jumps from 400 to around 500! 

 

Acacia Africa (020 7706 4700; acacia-africa.com) SATSA membership No. 1931, ATOL No. 6499 and ABTA No. W4093 PROTECTED.

BIO: Arno Delport is the Sales & Marketing Manager at Acacia Africa.  Uganda is one of his favourite African countries, he says “It has some of the most beautiful scenery and gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife viewing experience. He also has a soft spot for South Africa, his birthplace. Arno says, “With its amazing wealth of wildlife, beautiful beaches, friendly communities and hip city landscapes, South Africa has it all.”

This is a guest post by Arno Delport, Sales & Marketing Manager at Acacia Africa

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Sam LindnerThe Green Season, One Of Africa’s Best Kept Secrets
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8 Best Restaurants & Bars in Bali you must visit

8 Best Restaurants & Bars in Bali you must visit

Best Restaurants and Bars in Bali

I’ve been living in Australia for the last two years and if there is a destination all Aussies love is Bali. The other month I decided it was time for me to visit this place, so I bought my airplane ticket, packed my bags and invited one of my girlfriends to join me.

She decided to make all the arrangements for us and plan the entire trip. The first idea that came to our mind was to experience the whole “Eat, Pray,Love” thing that most girls have in mind after watching the movie, but after the fourth day we realised we got stocked on the “Eat” part. And who could blame us after visiting the Best Bars and restaurants in Bali -according to us.

So here is the list of the places I think you shouldn’t miss if you are travelling to this wonderful destination:

 

  1. REVOLVER ESPRESSO:

Revolver esspresso

Their menu is based on Western food and is probably my favourite coffee shop in the heart of Seminyak, is perfect for breakfast and a cup of coffee or tea in the morning. The food and service are outstanding, the staff is super friendly and there is not a dish you’ll dislike. The dessert bar is as good as the rest of the food -a bit dangerous if you are trying to keep that bikini body. Would highly recommend to go there before 10 if you don’t want to wait for a table because the place is completely packed most of the time – but believe me there is a good reason for that.

Cons: Long wait to get a table for breakfast.

You’ll pay around 11 AUD (8USD) for a full breakfast with a coffee or tea.

 

  1. MOTEL MEXICOLA:

Motel Mexicola

Being a Mexican myself I can say that this place offers proper Traditional Mexican Food – never thought that I could find this treat in Asia. Not only the food takes you to Mexico, but the entire decoration is perfectly chosen to bring back memories from home. Even though the place is big sometimes is hard to move around or find a place to sit after 8:00pm. The drinks menu includes the Traditional “Michelada” – perfect drink to cure a hangover.

After dinner this place offers some nice music to have a couple of drinks and meet some people. Good place to party.

Cons: If your intention is to have a quiet night Motel Mexicola is not the place go. The music can be really loud sometimes and is hard to have a conversation.

My friend and I spent around 150 AUD for both (110 USD) for a very good dinner and several drinks.

 

  1. CHANDI RESTAURANT:

CHANDI BALI

Offers traditional Balinese Cuisine and takes it tot he next level. It’s fancy look could be a bit intimidating for some travellers but don’t let that stop you from going in, specially if you are there between 4 and 6pm when it is “Happy Hour Menu and Small Foods” hour. The sizes of the dishes are actually small but the food melts in your mouth. The food and the drinks were so good that we decided to stay longer and have dinner there. If you love coconut as much as I do, then you definitely need to try their “Frozen Coconut Vanilla Rumballa” is the perfect cocktail.

Cons: Prices outside Happy Hour are a bit dear, you could easily spend more than 100 AUD between two.

 

  1. KU DE TA:

KU DE TA POOL VIEW

Not only a Beach Club to spend the day chilling by the pool and the sea but a great place to watch the sunset, eat dinner and have a few drinks. The menu includes a wide range of dishes that go from Balinese to Japanese to Italian, so there are a lot of options to choose from. Their cocktail menu is also very diverse and each one of them is definitely unique and worth trying.

They have different settings for each type of customer, so you could go as a family and sit on a nice table, or choose a pool bed to have a more romantic setting.

Cons: Definitely need to reserve your spot if you want to see the sunset there because the place is completely packed around 5.

We had several drinks, snacks and dinner there and the bill was around 200 AUD (150 USD) for the entire day.

 

  1. SINGLE FIN Bar:

SINGLE FIN

The first thing to love about this place is the view, perfect for a sunset, to chill, have a drink and order the “Tomato & Olive Bruschetta” from the Menu -if you feel a bit peckish they are the perfect snack to enjoy with a cold beer and an ocean view. The place has several decks so you don’t have to worry about missing the sunset. They set a nice environment with the music they play, easy to enjoy if you go there by yourself or with a couple of friends. If you are a bit more active there is a path to go down the cliff and swim in the sea. Heaps of surfers there, so if you like it don’t forget to take your board and swimsuit with you.

Cons: If you are staying in Seminyak this place is not close, so you’ll need a taxi or shuttle service to get there and back. It is located in Uluwatu, which is about 45 minutes away from Seminyak.

The amount for a beer and a Snack is about 12 AUD (10 USD).

 

  1. SISTERFIELDS:

SISTERFIELDS BALI

Nice restaurant located in the heart of Seminyak that serves a wide range of Western dishes, highly recommend for breakfast or lunch. The portions of the plates are very generous and could be easily shared between two. If you visit the restaurant do not miss out the polenta fries – Completely loved them!. The location is great if you want to spend the rest of your morning shopping as it is located almost in front of Seminyak square and just a couple of blocks away from Kayu Ay Market (Flea market).

Cons: Long waiting list at rush hours.

You’ll spend for a dish and a drink around 17 AUD (13 USD).

 

  1. GINGER MOON:

GINGER MOON BALI DISH

Another great spot to eat Balinese Cuisine is this restaurant; they have a great tasting menu that includes a wide range of delicious dishes to try. My friend and I were more that full by the time we got to the dessert. At the beginning you think they serve very small portions per dish, but believe me is more than enough for two. I would highly recommend trying this option it if you visit the restaurant. The staff was friendly and the place is very nice to enjoy a lovely dinner.

Cons: Need to book in advance to get a table.

Dinner for two including drinks was about 120 AUD (100 USD).

 

  1. LA FAVELA:

LA FAVELA BALI

If you are looking for a place where you could enjoy a nice quiet dinner and then have a crazy night out without having to move around, then “La Favela” is the perfect place for you. The food is really good here – the baked Brie and bread platter is super good, the bread comes straight out of the oven and the cheese is just perfect. Before 9 the environments is pretty quiet and relaxed, you can have a nice chat and drinks before the craziness starts. Decoration is unique and something you shouldn’t miss.

After 10:00pm this place turns into a wild nightclub with people dancing and drinking to the rhythm of the strangest mixes.

Cons: When is time to change from restaurant to nightclub the staff take this seriously and moves the dinner tables and chairs without even asking. So don’t expect much courtesy from them and be completely prepared. If you are having dinner try to plan your schedule so you don´t get your table taken away while you are eating your dinner –NOT joking, they actually do it.

Also have your wallet ready because the prices of drinks rise to double or triple when it turns into a nightclub.

So if you are travelling to Bali or you are already there and wondering what to eat visit some of these restaurants and Bars, you won’t be disappointed.

Check my future blogs if you want more tips and recommendations for several destinations.

 

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Samia Salamanca8 Best Restaurants & Bars in Bali you must visit
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New Caledonia Romantic Holiday: Tropical Honeymoon Experience

New Caledonia Romantic Holiday: Tropical Honeymoon Experience

If you and your loved one are short on honeymoon ideas and wondering what to go for, a tropical holiday in New Caledonia is the answer to your prayers. Whether you are a couple that enjoys in strolling down the beach or that thrives on adrenalin, New Caledonia provides thrills for all. Here are 6 reasons to choose this destination for your ideal romantic escape, based on my experience.

Perfect location

Noumea, New Caledonia’s capital is only a three-hour flight from Auckland, which gives you more time to relax and enjoy with your lover. Once you get there, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a true tropical paradise comprised out of kilometers of white sandy beaches and crystal-clear water that are just waiting for you to discover them. You can enjoy in a warm climate, with temperatures that go around 26-30oC in summers and reach up to 25oC in winters. You can stay anywhere on this island that stretches over 400 km, or drop by to magical Isle of Pines, a secluded beach that promises romance, relaxation and a slower-paced holiday.

new-caledonia

Accommodation

There are plenty of hotels and resorts to choose from in Noumea that cater to all budgets. I’d suggest the Hilton on Anse Vata Beach with a stunning sea view and plenty of bars and restaurants in its vicinity. You can also opt for hotel Le Lagon, which is a little further from Anse Vata beach but a great option for those who want to enjoy in new and modern facilities for a medium price. You can explore New Caledonia deals to book a perfect romantic holiday that suits your style and interests.

New Caledonia Port

Food and drinks

Noumea is a multicultural melting pot of flavors, with a taste of French, Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian or Indonesian cuisine. I recommend Le Roof at Anse Vata beach, an amazing restaurant where you can indulge in French/Melanesian meals. Alternatively, you can pay a visit to local supermarkets (Geant is huge and well-equipped) and prepare a dinner for two. There are also bottle stores that sell amazing French wine at reasonable prices, such as La Vinotheque, so make sure to include that on your menu as well.

new-caledonia-3

For adrenaline junkies

Adrenaline-charged couples shouldn’t miss skydiving at Oua Tom, where you can parachute or tandem jump for 40 seconds of thrilling free-fall.  Before jumping you can enjoy in the breathtaking views over land and sea. You can also go paragliding at Oen Toro, in Noumea’s south, or take a chance with a famous full moon kayak tour of the Drowned Forest in Blue River Provincial Park in the west of Lac de Yate.

new-caledonia-blue-river

For laid-back honeymooners

If you’re seeking a proper honeymoon escape, take it slow by spending hours on the beach or enjoying a day out on a nearby island. Enjoy in the intimate atmosphere of the Amedee Island, where you can post each other letters from the Lighthouse Post Office (smallest in the world) and take long walks hand in hand along beautiful beaches.

amedee_lighthouse_entrance

Explore the lagoon

New Caledonia is the home of UNESCO protected lagoon, the largest in the world. Here you can find an infinite choice of sports and leisure activities. Go diving and snorkeling around rich colorful coral gardens or try out windsurfing, kitesurfing, or fly boarding. In between snorkeling sessions, enjoy in a beach picnic with baguettes and cheese, while absorbing the serenity of the area.

river_south_new_caledonia

New Caledonia is the kind of place that immediately grows on you and brings you and your partner closer together. The tremendous beauty and slow rhythm remind you of the important things in life that you should appreciate-including your loved one. Take your chances with New Caledonia for a honeymoon you’ll never forget.

Blog by Marie Nieves from High Style Life

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The City of Saigon!

The City of Saigon!

If you want to experience the rush of standing in the middle of a racing river of scooters, taste the best Thai outside of Thailand, drink Champagne on a roof top terrace, and marvel at grand examples of French Colonial architecture, then Ho Chi Minh City is the place for you.

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We started our afternoon in Ho Chi Minh City, still referred to as Saigon by locals, with a late lunch at the Rex Hotel Rooftop Garden.

Although it started its life as a two story car dealership, it is now famed for its style, luxury shopping, and of course its heyday as the bar of choice for journalists and American officers during the Vietnam War.

If you can find a spot on the balcony, you will have an excellent view of the Ho Chi Minh Statue (sadly covered whilst we were there) and beautiful Memorial Gardens.

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View from the Rex Hotel.

Embracing the humidity, you can walk a few blocks and find the Saigon Notre Dame, conveniently located across the road from the Saigon Central Post Office. Pop inside the post office to view the ceiling, and sourvenir shops and then wander back past the cathedral to find the gardens that will lead you to the Reunification Palace.

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This city is a marvel for wandering (if you can handle the aforementioned humidity). Amidst the movement are tranquil gardens in front of colonial homes, hidden restaurants, and for those inclined – fantastic shopping.

If it’s shopping you are after, you can’t miss Ben Thanh Market. This bustling market place has been serving the locals of Saigon (over a few locations) since the 1800’s. Local cuisine, souvenirs, clothing and accessories are all available – with a little friendly haggling of course!

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Ben Thanh Market

If you head back towards Lam Son Square you will be hit with a magnitude of luxury brand boutiques one can expect in a city like Singapore or Sydney, but very unexpected in a main city of Vietnam. And yet, the French Colonial style of buildings, and hotels of Lam Son Square ensure you couldn’t picture the area without them. Lam Son Square is also home to the Caravelle, another famed hotel from the Saigon era. During the 1960’s, it was home to both the Australian and New Zealand embassies and like its rival the Rex Hotel, its rooftop bar, Saigon Saigon Bar, was another meeting place for journalists of the day.

Here, from the comfort of your chair and with a cold drink in hand, you can look out over the city and bask in the extraordinary sunset. Take your time to decide on where you’d like to head for dinner as you gaze over the city you just explored.

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Municipal Theatre (Saigon Opera House)

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Sun setting over Saigon

For an exceptional Thai meal, I highly recommend Tuk Tuk Thai Bistro. Fresh and full of flavour. So good, some of us went back the second night.

Blog by Rebecca Morrissey.

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Ultimate Day Trips Outside of Barcelona

Ultimate Day Trips Outside of Barcelona

It is not without reason that Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in Europe.

With all it has to offer, from Gaudi’s famous buildings and architecture to sandy beaches to big shopping avenues and delicious tapas and inexpensive wine, you could simply spend weeks exploring all the free, unusual and fun must do things in Barcelona.

But even if you venture out of the city a little, there are still so many things to see and the city makes a great base for day trips outside of Barcelona.

Take a trip for a day, over the weekend or anytime really, just because, there are some pretty fantastic places around:

Girona

Girona is such a beautiful old city, reached in 35 minutes from Barcelona via the new high speed AVE rail service! Set on the junction of three rivers and encased in ancient Roman walls, the city currently generates some buzz in the news as the latest filming location of the popular Game of Thrones tv show. And who doesn’t like Game of Thrones?

Walking along the city’s walls takes you on a complete circuit of Girona and gives you some charming views of the rooftops below. The most prominent site is Girona Cathedral built on an ancient religious site which today shows a combination of Gothic and Romanesque architecture.

A fantastic time to visit the city is the Temps de Flors, a floral exhibition that covers pretty much the whole city for a few days.

Girona Cathedral

The elegant Arab Baths are also well worth the couple of euros entrance fee to learn of their interesting history and admire their beautiful construction.

Another popular image of Girona is the multi-coloured facades of the Cases de l’Onyar that overlook the river. The best views can be found from the narrow Gomez and Palanques Vermelles bridges.

Girona Cases de l’Onyar

Girona is also a great place to stay overnight as you will find some lovely accommodation options. Some recommendations:

Apartaments QLODGING

Choose an individual range of air-conditioned studios and apartments which are perfectly located in the medieval center of Girona, super close to the cathedral and town hall!

All apartments have a balcony with a nice view of the city and feature a seating area with sofa and TV as well as an equipped kitchenette including a coffee machine, microwave and oven. Great wifi! You can find a wide range of bars, restaurants, shops as well as supermarkets.

Hotel Costabella

Surround by beautiful gardens lies Hotel Costabella, only 15 walking minutes into the old town of Girona. A great feature here is definitely the outdoor swimming pool and the free wifi. The poolside terrace, restaurant and bar are a plus. For some extra coins you can also use the gym and spa area with sauna and a hot tub. The rooms are comfortable and all have air-con.

Tarragona

Just an hour south of Barcelona by train await Tarragona’s Roman remains and sweeping sandy beaches which attract many day trippers from the city.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tarraco boasts a wonderful amphitheater overlooking the sea and numerous other fragments of the once bustling Roman city can be found all throughout Tarragona.

Tarragona Amphitheatre

Stepping forward a few thousand years to the 11th century you can say hello to the Tarragona Cathedral! For a €5 donation visitors can admire stunning vaulted ceilings, elegant archways and an acclaimed art collection.

Known as the ‘Golden Coast’ Tarragona’s 15km coastline provides sparkling coves, sandy shorelines and blue flagged cleanliness for the sun-seekers among us. Ready to spread your beach towel?

tarroagona beach promenadeAfter a day of sightseeing and sunbathing, you can simply savour on some local delicacies under the Roman arches and vaults of one of the many restaurants built into the city’s Roman remains.

If you want to stay for a night, I recommend staying in the old part of the city around Plaza de la Font:

Hotel Plaça De La Font

Perfect for a nights stay is Hotel Plaça De La Font right in the best location in middle of Tarragona’s Old Town and only a short walk to the beach. The rooms have air con, TV and private bathroom. Downstairs you can sit out on the big square enjoying a drink or dinner watching the hustle bustle go by.

Tarragona Cathedral Spain

Sitges

The lovely Bohemian town of Sitges is an easy 35 minute train ride out of Barcelona and is famous for its open, welcoming and tolerant attitude to people of all races, religions and sexual orientation.

For rugged landscapes, geological curiosities and Catalonia’s first Buddhist temple, a walk through Garraf National Park nearby is highly recommended. There are marked trails for walking and biking for visitors to enjoy. Or try one of the many cafés, bars, restaurants in the winding alleys or the palm-lined promenade by the sea.

If you need some beach time, the choice is yours! Over 17 beaches with fine sand and good water quality are waiting for you.

Sitges, Spain

Photo Credit: Suzanne Wolko, Philatravelgirl.

Badalona & Montgat Nord Beach

Badalona is a city stuffed with historical sites, exciting festivals and some great beaches along the coast. Only 10km on the train or subway from Barcelona you can easily spend a day here sampling Anis del Mono at the distillery or checking out the wealth of Roman remains at the Badalona Museum which house the ruins of the ancient city of Baetulo with its elaborate bath houses.

If you happen to be in town for one of the cities weird but wonderful festivals in May, you cannot miss the celebration of Badalona’s patron saint involving fire walks and group dancing sessions on the pier. In August, Badalona film festival draws the crowds in. The summer of festivals is finally concluded with sardine-eating on the beach with music and fireworks.

Badalona, Spain

If you are on the lookout for one of the best pizza places around, check out Miranapoli, a small space with lovely atmosphere inside and super delicious pizza!

Not far from Badalona you will also find Montgat Nord beach which is a nice change from the busy beaches of Barcelona. Great for windsurfing, kayaking and other watersports it is a hub for locals taking a break from the city.

Well, speaking of busy, this photo was taken on an exceptionally hot day in Barcelona and the beach was definitely as crowded as elsewhere around the coast!

I call this: the ocean of sun umbrellas.

Montgat Beach Barcelona

Tossa de Mar

Situated North of Lloret de Mar and about half way between Barcelona and the French border, Tossa de Mar can be reached on the RENFE train to nearby Blanes where you take a bus or taxi the rest of the way. More travel information here.

Once an ancient fishing village, Tossa is today a large hotspot for travelers from near and far.

The main beach of town, Plaja Gran, can get very crowded in summer. The unmistakable silhouette of the town with its castle can be perfectly spotten also from the sea, when cruising on a Catamaran (highly recommended!).

Tossa de Mar, Costa Brava, Spain

There are some great walking trails and a lovely beach from which to enjoy picture-perfect views of the Old Town.

Tossa de Mar is also yet another history buff’s paradise with its old town set on the hill encircled by its 14th century walls complete with battlements and towers.

Montserrat Mountain

As the craggy edges and rounded domes of the aptly named Montserrat or ‘Serrated mountain’ soar up to the sky you can absolutely see why this has become such a spiritual centre for pilgrims from across the world.

Only 1 hour north west of Barcelona by train it is an unmissable day trip or tranquil overnight break from the buzz of the city.

Nestled at the base of the mountain you will find a Benedictine monastery famous for its Black Madonna statue and Gregorian chanting choir boys that perform at 1pm each day.

Montserrat Mountan

Photo Credit: Betsy Wuebker, PassingThru.

There are two funiculars that you can take into the mountains. Santa Cova takes you up to an ancient holy grotto where the discovery of an image of the Virgin Mary accompanied by reports of a great light in the sky ignited the area’s spiritual importance.

The funicular of Saint Joan runs up into the mountain above the monastery and from the top a range of walking trails weave through the landscape. There are combined ticket prices when using both so check out their website for more information.

There are spectacular views from the top but don’t forget to take a jacket and a packed lunch as it can get pretty windy up there and there aren’t any shops or restaurants.

As it is such an easy day trip from Barcelona it can get pretty busy during the day time and so some choose to stay overnight to relish the tranquillity of the mountain once the crowds depart:

Hotel Abat Cisneros Montserrat

With an absolute excellent location right by the Montserrat Monastery, Hotel Abat Cisneros offers beautiful views over the mountains and the Llobregat Valley. The town of Montserrat is within the Montserrat Natural Park. Each room is fitted with heating, tv and a private bathroom. There is a restaurant and reception is 24 hrs.

Begur

Begur is not so much an international tourist spot as an escape from the city for the Spaniards who live and work in Barcelona. A charming town with a historic centre and castle set on the hilltop overlooking the huge number of small coves clustered along the coast.

Begur Castle Panorama Costa Brava

From Barcelona airport, you can easily take the Sarbus to Begur. For more travel information also check here.

Boasting Spain’s only protected national marine park, the coast of Begur offers remarkable diving opportunities as well as other watersports. While there are numerous monuments of interest, I definitely recommend climbing up to the ruins of the medieval castle (Castell de Begur) that overlooks the city.

Small coves with lovely pebble beaches and crystal clear water you have to check out include: Sa Tuna beach, Aigua Blava and Playa Fonda. All those do get quite crowded in summertime since the coves are small and especially parking can get tricky, just come early in the day and you’ll be fine.

Sa Tuna Beach Costa Brava Begur

If a day is just not enough time for you, you can of course stay overnight:

El Petit Convent

Find beautiful rooms in the middle of the charming town of Begur. Bright, modern rooms with free wifi, air-con, flat-screen tv and an indoor terrace overlooking the old city. Take in breakfast in a traditional dining room and relax in the lounge which features beamed ceilings and exposed stone walls.

Hostalet dels Indians Bed & Breakfast

Another accommodation option in the centre of Begur is this colonial house features charming rooms with lovely decor in an antique-romantic style, as well as a community lounge with a fireplace. The interior patio is a nice plus.

From both, the beautiful beaches and coves are not far and even Girona can be reached in about 1 hour by car.

Empuriabrava

Empuriabrava brings together a strange but delightful combination of attractions, which I quite like though. Accessible from Barcelona on public transport or by car in about 2 hours.

With 15 miles of canals and 5000 private jetties, it is the biggest residential marina in the world and you can spend your time enjoying the beautiful beaches, waterfront bars and restaurants and admiring fancy boats! Yay?

Empuriabrava, Spain

Empuriabrava is also the home to Europe’s biggest skydiving centre, suitable for everyone from the nervous first timer to the experienced adrenaline junkie. The sky is often littered with a rainbow of parachutes looking down on the town. If you don’t want to go that high, I did try to fly in the wind tunnel!

In stark contrast to the glittering yachts and flash parachutes, Empuriabrava boasts the stunning Natural Park of the Aiguamolls de l’Empordà that is home to over 320 different species of birds and offers a large amount of hiking and biking trails.

Empuriabrava is also a wonderful destination to spend a night or two:

Port Salins

Want to stay right on the canals of Empuriabrava, then this is your choice! I very much liked staying in this hotel, which features a spa, rooftop jacuzzi and large pool. Only a few meters to the beach, you sleep in clean rooms decorated in blue water tones and your balcony overlooks will most likely overlook the canals.

The  excellent Noray Restaurant downstairs serves seasonal Mediterranean cuisine. From the terrace you have stunning views of the Bay of Roses, ranked as one of the most beautiful bays in the world.

Empuriabrava yachts

Roses & Cap de Creus National Park

Last but not least, possibly my favourite place on the Costa Brava. A few hours train or bus ride out from Barcelona, Roses is situated on the edge of the Gulf of Roses and its west-facing sea views are the perfect spot for catching beautiful sunsets.

The towns historic past of Roman and 15th century military occupation is still evident today as you can check out the ruins of the Medieval fortifications of the Ciutadella de Roses built to defend against African privateers and the crumbling Benedictine Monastery of Santa Maria de Roses.

Ciutadella de Roses

If you are in search of the truly ancient it is also well worth a trip out to the Megalithic Complex on the road to Montjoi.

The real highlight of this area is the Cap de Creus National Park, which isn’t far from Roses and offers a beautiful combination of protected marine area, wind and sea sculpted rocky outcrops and some of the most amazing vistas. One of the places I would immediately return to!Cap de Creus National Park

You should definitely spend some time walking a coastal path to experience the beauty of the area. There are also hikes which last a few days and where you camp at one of the allocated campgrounds.

If you want to be active on the water, try kayaking above the crystalline waters visiting deserted coves or even combine it with a picnic or snorkeling.

kayaking SK Kayak Llanca

Are you in for an overnight treat?

Hotel Spa Terraza

One real highlight of my trip around the Costa Brava was staying at the Hotel Spa Terraza in Roses. The hotel is situated right at the beach, with a nice garden and outdoor pool. The restaurant overlooking the Bay of Roses serves traditional Catalan cuisine made with local produce while the cafe-bar offers a more casual environment.

The interior style is simple but elegant and the balcony overlooking the ocean was another plus. On the rooftop there is a spa area with a pool, gym and jacuzzi which offers super nice views.

Have you done any day trips outside of Barcelona?

Hotel Spa Terraza Roses

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SOUTH EAST ASIA TRIP – THAILAND

SOUTH EAST ASIA TRIP – THAILAND

Some of us are not super organised or planned our trips when we decide to pack our bags and head to a new country, but if you are lucky and meet really cool people on the way you could definitely end up doing the trip of your life. I decided to travel for a year around Asia with no agenda or plan except visiting China, Japan and Thailand. After a month in China I decided to head to the next country and made Bangkok my next stop.

I arrived to that huge and hectic place with only my hostel booked and no idea what was I going to encounter in this new city, luckily I ended up in a super cool hostel called “Siamaze” – not located in the heart of the city and is a bit far away from the heart of Bangkok but the services, facilities, staff and owner are superb-.

On my first night I met an Spanish traveller that spent the last 6 years travelling around Asia and knew the area from top to bottom, how lucky was I to meet such a traveller when I had no idea where to go next. He sat down with me for two days and with a map in hand he draw me the best route around South East Asia according to him, so I could visit the best spots and don’t miss out anything.

While I was following his route I decided to write down some tips and recommendations for other travellers around the world, so here is the first part of my trip.

I left Bangkok from Morchit bus station and head to the first place pointed in the map.

SUKHOTHAI

Sukhothai Historical Park

Sukhothai: Some people miss this little town that is around 7 hours and a half away from the capital, but is definitely worth stopping there. A ticket for this journey varies depending on the class and time you choose, but the range is between 13-20 AUD or 250-350 Bahts (local coin). There are 2 Historical Parks to visit in the area:

  • Sukhothai Historical Park is the closest one from the city and has various Buddhism and Hinduism monuments. You can get there taking a local bus. The admission fee is 100 Baht and you can visit the place by hiring a push-bike for the day or walk around the park. definitely a place to visit if you like ruins and sightseeing. Don’w worry if you forgot to buy some food or water before getting there, if you are hungry or thirsty you can buy what you need with the locals around the area.
  • Satchnalai Historical Park is a bit far away from the town and you will need to take a bus from the main station (ticket is around 50 Baht), and it takes about an hour and a half to get there. The admission fee to the park is 20 Baht. This park is bigger and would highly recommend hiring a push-bike to move around. You can also find food and drinks in the area if you need. The park is really big, so take a lot of water and some snacks if you can, there is more than enough space to have a small picnic around the area and if you are cycling you could see the rise feels and charm of the country side lifestyle.

You only need two full days to visit this lovely place and then you can head to your next destination.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple

Chiang Mai: A place well know for its party life, animal shows and temples. The best way to move around the city is with a moped (scooter). Mopeds are a great way to get around no matter what country you’re in, and you could look for a moped insurance quote if you are interested in getting one of your own. The price to rent one does not change too much from one place to the other, the price per day including insurance is between 7-10 AUD (200-250 Baht).

Recommed:

  • Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple (Temple in the Mountain). The admission fee is 30 Baht. This is a really nice temple to visit, there is a lot to see. If you like meditation and looking for a place to do a retreat, this place offers this service to locals and foreigners.
  • Dinner at Night street markets. Look for the different night markets this city offers, they have food, handcrafts, drinks and much more to offer the visitors. The night markets are huge and you could spent hours shopping or looking around. Don’t leave Chiang Mai without spending a couple of hours enjoying the diversity and charm of the night markets.
  • The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary is an ethical and ecotourism park where you can spend time with this animals. They offer half day or full day visits to this place, the price for a half day visit is 65 AUD (1700 Baht) or 90 AUD (2400 Baht) for a full-day visit. Here the elephants are free and you have the opportunity to interact, bathe and see this animals in a safe and friendly environment.

Probably spend 3 nights in here to enjoy the nightlife this town offers, there are several bars and nightclubs to visit around the city centre. Great stop after the night markets.

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Pai

Pai: Another hidden gem, this secluded town in the middle of the forest should definitely be on your list. It is about 3 hours away from Chiang Mai and you can get there by mini-bus (just ask the staff at your hostel for a shuttle service). The road is a bit dodgy in certain parts, so just be patient and enjoy the ride.

Around the area there are several waterfalls to visit and the town offers a very relaxed and chilled vibe. Great place to rest after enjoying the hectic nightlife in Chiang Mai. There are some nice restaurants and bars in the centre, and if you still wanna dance a bit more, don’t worry because Pai has a great nightlife to offer.

Several hostels in the area have a swimming pool in their facilities, so you can spend a couple of days chilling by the pool and meeting other travellers like you.

After 2 or 3 days in there you are more than ready to head to your next stop.

church-1270475_1280

Church, White Temple

Chiang Rai: You need to visit the Wat Rong Khun Temple (White Temple), is definitely a place to ad to your to-do-list. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time there, you can always get a day trip from Chinag Mai and enjoy the beauty of the temple.

One day is more than enough in here and then time to head to LAOS. Ask the staff at your hostel or hotel if you can hire the slow boat service to Laos with them, I heard many dodgy stories about people doing the trip on their own because it is cheaper, but from what most people experienced is really not worth it.

The price of the trip with an agency or hotel is around 65 AUD (both offer almost the same price). They pick you up from your hotel at 6.00am, take you to Chiang Kong by mini-bus (2 hour trip) and then you cross the border to Laos. You have to go through immigration by yourself (visa on-arrival), but once you crossed they take you to Huay Xai by mini-bus and your trip in Laos begins.

See you on my next article with more tips and recommendations for the other countries in South East Asia.

High vibes.

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Samia Salamanca
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