REAL TRAVEL GUIDES, BY REAL PEOPLE

Find destination, accommodation and travel guides specifically for young and young at heart travelers. These articles aren’t your usual commercial articles crammed with paid endorsements. Real people, either locals or travelers will give you the inside tips on what to do so you step off the plane, train or bus and get straight to the heart of your destination.

Coastal Culture: The Best of South Korea’s Islands & Beach Towns

The small nation of South Korea is often characterized by its heavily militarized northern border and high-tech, neon-charged cities. However we can’t forget this east Asian peninsula also has about 2,400 kilometers of coastline and 3,000 islands within its territory. This makes for unique mixed landscape of sandy beaches, lush forests, mountainous peaks, and volcanic rocks. Whether you’re wanting to try out a new water-sport, eat freshly caught seafood, go to a festival, or just bond with nature – these five locations have vibrant cultures with something to offer every traveler. 1. South Chungcheong-do, Anmyeondo / 충청남도, 안면도 Located on the west coast of Korea south of Incheon, Anmyeondo is the sixth largest island in Korea characterized by rocky coastlines and several busy beaches. The island is also home to Anmyeondo NationalForest which during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392 B.C.) was managed by the royal family. Now visitors mostly come to stroll through the forest and see the beautiful vegetation and fauna. Two must see beaches on the island are Kkotji Beach and Anmyeon Beach, both of which offer clean sand, clear water, as well as views of the stunning rock formations that dot the horizon. During peak swim season, you can also rent innertubes, water toys, tents, and umbrellas. Camping is available for those who want to barbeque on the beach and wake up to the sound of the sea. Generally you can find a seaside hotel during the off season for around 50,000 KRW, though there are many great resorts and pensions to choose from. 2. Jeollanam-do, Mokpo & Jindo / 전라남도, 목포 & 진도 In the southwest corner of Korea you’ll find Jeollanamdo, a province that contains a large portion of the 3,300 islands in Korea. Here you can find Mokpo, a small port city of about 250,000 people. When the Japanese occupied this territory, it served as an important location for commercial trade and public transportation. Nowadays, tourists flock here for the unique seafood and indigenous products found in the vibrant fish markets. If you’re looking for something romantic, try taking a sunset sailboat ride near the marina. You can hire a private captain for an hour tour for around 25,000 KRW per person. A short drive out of the city is Jindo, the third largest island and the southwestern most tip of the Korean peninsula. Jindo is most famous for its annual sea parting festival where the extremely low tides allow visitors to walk to the neighboring island of Modo. The Korean Jindo is a breed of hunting dog that originated on this island and their national cultural legacy live on today in the many dog sculptures you will see around the area. 3. Gangwon-do, Gangneung, Yang-Yang, and Sokcho / 강원도, 강릉, 양양, & 속초 Gangneung may be small in population but it is rich in spectacular mountain views and tranquil nature. Located on the east coast of Korea, this town is also known as a literature and arts hub. The sm all coastal village is a thriving hub […]

Kuala Lumpur – The Budget Travel Guide

Malaysia is a beautiful, culturally diverse country like none other in the whole of Asia. In no other Asian country will you see a diversity of ethnicity as rich as it is in Malaysia, from the big 3 ethnics which are the Malays, Chinese and Indians, to the more indigenous ethnics like the Sabah state natives “Kadazans” and the Sarawak state natives “Iban”. Even with such a diverse culture, the people of Malaysia are truly united as one, living harmoniously day to day, co-existing with each other in peace. Her Capital, Kuala Lumpur, is the heart of all things rich, diverse, and is the flagship example of power through unity, and it is also very much known for her rich history which attracts millions of tourists each and every year. But let’s say you were to plan to visit Malaysia, but you were a bit, shallow in the pockets, do not worry my dear reader, you’ve come to the right blog. Kuala Lumpur has a lot of tourist-friendly attractions, and I’m sure by now you may have heard a lot of about the twin towers, the rotating dining experience, and the latest trendy “Dining in the sky” restaurant. But all of those attractions share one thing in common, they will blow holes in your wallet and will leave a deep mark in your credit cards.  Which is why today, depending on when you read this, of course, I have prepared a rather special itinerary for you and your partner a romantic, easy on the pocket travelling experience that isn’t always featured in today’s travelling guide. Sort of like a trip off the beaten path. Therefore you may want to bookmark this guide for your special adventure. Happy travelling dear reader! KLCC Park  ¨NBSP; The KLCC Park, (Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park) is, as stated in its name, located in the city centre of Kuala Lumpur behind the Suria KLCC mall. The park is huge, beautiful, and most importantly, free of admission. Anyone and everyone can simply spend quality time enjoying the beautiful lake, which has a secret feature that activates at night which I’ll get to in a bit, or if you guys are the more “active” traveller, you can guys can also jog around the 50 Acre park complete with it’s jogging track.  Planning to visit on a blisteringly hot day for whatever reason you and your partner might have, this park located smack in the middle of Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, also offers a surprisingly cute little water park. It’s perfect to cool off yourselves after having been dried like a raisin under the blistering sun.  Now about that hidden feature, I talked about. At about 7 pm, you’re going to hear music being played, through the parks many hidden speakers, you’d notice lights dancing around to the beat of the music, and, a water fountain dazzling to the rhythm of the night. It is a glorious spectacle to behold together with that special someone of yours. The […]

Beyond Trevi and Colosseum: Rome like a Local

Rome – the Eternal city – is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Over 7 million travelers visit the metropolis at the Tiber each year; most of them just stay for a short trip spending their time between the Colosseum, Forum Romanum, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish steps and the Vatican and complaining that it is ‘such a touristy place’. Italy’s capital however has so much more to offer. If one dares to take a look at things that lie beyond the typical attractions, Rome is a young, exciting and colorful city full of people actually spending their everyday-lives in one of the most beautiful places in the world. The Orange Garden and its little brother The Orange Garden close to Circo Massimo and the area Testaccio offers an incredible view over the Tiber, the picturesque neighborhood of Trastevere and the Gianicolo hill, overlooked by the copula of St. Peter’s. Especially during sunset the panorama of the Eternal City is breathtaking and the place has been on the list of secret tips for years now and it is not so secret anymore. Not only tourists roam the place, it has also become one of Rome’s most popular spots for newly-weds taking their wedding pictures. So, having a picnic or a bottle of good Italian wine during sunset does not only offer one of the best views over the Eternal city, but also the endlessly entertaining spectacle of watching young couples fully dressed-up navigating trying to get a picture without crowds of tourists and not ruining their spotless white dress, while also pretending to have the time of their lives. Those who like it a little bit quieter and less touristy only have to go a couple of meters up the hill and they will find another garden. It does not have the same old walls surrounding it or the beautiful orange trees, but the view is almost the same and most tourists completely ignore this place situated perfectly between the famous Orange Garden and the even more famous keyhole. Speaking of which: waiting in line for the keyhole is not worth it, except for saying that you actually did look through it. You get almost exactly the same view as from the two gardens – you simply have to wait about 30 minutes for it. Garbatella – a small Italian town in the middle of the capital Away from the crowds in the city centres, but just as enchanting, the quarter Garbatella is easily reachable by hoping on Rome’s metro line B. Built in the 1920s to bring the charm of a small Italian town in the countryside to the big city, Garbatella has lost nothing of its appeal. Nowadays it is a popular neighbourhood for left-wing activist groups and young families. Just stroll around the little alleyways and discover a completely different side of Rome that most tourists miss out on! Villa Ada – Borghese’s big, overlooked stepsister Of course, Villa Borghese is stunning and if […]

Explore Saint Petersburg, Russia as A Solo Traveller

Saint Petersburg in Russia attracts several thousand tourists each year, solo travellers being a significant number of them. And why not? Since it is a fast-growing tourist hub, well known for being a cultural and historic centre that retains the charm of Eastern Europe while giving off distinctly Western European vibes. If this interesting mix of Eastern and western charm has got you interested, you might wish to explore Saint Petersburg as a solo traveller. 3 Must-See Attractions in Saint Petersburg There are several interesting museums, extravagant palaces, historic cathedrals, and beautiful parks and botanical gardens scattered throughout the city of St. Petersberg. Here are three of the top Saint Petersburg attractions that you just cannot afford to miss. Palace Square Palace Square, Saint Petersburg Russia Similar to the majestic beauty of the famous Red Square in Moscow, the Palace Square in Saint Petersburg stands in a proud display of unadulterated Russian architecture. At the centre of the square is the ‘Alexander Column’, a feature that commemorates Russia’s war victory over France. History testifies to several bloody episodes that played out at this square, including what is known as the Bloody Sunday Massacre of 1905 where the imperial guards open fired on thousands of demonstrators. Today, the square plays host to festivals, parades, cultural events and social gatherings. The State Hermitage Museum Hermitage Museum – Saint Petersburg, Russia (Pic Courtesy: Quinntheislander – Pixabay) To many, all of Saint Petersburg city is one big open-air museum, but be that as it may, the Elizabethan Baroque style of architecture at the State Hermitage Indoor Museum literally wows you off your feet. Just a 3-minute walk from the Palace Square gets you here. The museum houses the largest collection of paintings in the world, not to mention several interesting historical and cultural artefacts. The famous Winter Palace, once the imperial residence of the tzars, is also within the main museum complex. Here’s a travel tip you never expected. Do not buy your tickets online, buy them physically at the entrance booth and you’ll get them much cheaper. Now isn’t that contrary to all the travel trends worldwide! Peter & Paul Fortress The Peter and Paul Fortress, located on Hare’s Island, is also known as the ‘museum of history of Saint Petersburg city’. The fortress, which once served as the burial site of the royal family, was also the birthplace of Saint Petersburg, after whom the city has been named. The original citadel, which can be seen in the picture above, was founded by Peter the Great in the year 1703. The fortress has also served the purpose of a prison during the 1920s, under the rule of the Bolshevik Government. The easiest way to get to the Peter and Paul fortress is to take the metro and disembark at the Gorkovskaya metro station. It is just a 5 to 7-minute walk to here from there. 3 Recommendations for Solo Travellers There are just so many things for solo travellers to do here in […]

Jaipur – The Pink City of the Royals!

Jaipur – the City of the Royals! Renowned as the Pink City of India, Jaipur captures the heart not only with its beautifully architectured walled city in pink color but also with its magnanimous forts, breathtaking vistas and sumptuous delicacies that through the ages have come to be an imminent expression of the royal lineage of the Rajput clan of India. Built during the 18th Century by Maharaj Jai Singh with the help of Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya, Jaipur was one of the first planned cities of India. Popular for its intriguing forts and monuments that reminisce the royal history of the city, Jaipur is a mere 4.5 hours drive from the capital city of India – New Delhi and is favorably connected to various parts of the country through a network of Domestic & International flights and railway services. Listed below are some of the must-visit spots of Jaipur for each individual coming to the royal city. Amer Fort The Fort of the Royals Renowned as the Fort of the Royals, Amer was built-in as early as 1592 by then ruler of Jaipur – Raja Man Singh. Built along the banks of the picturesque Maota Lake, Amer Fort was the initial capital of the royal kingdom till the late 18th century. Built primarily with red sandstone and marble, the Amer Palace takes pride in its sturdy yet stunning exteriors that give the impression of a fort and intricately designed palace interiors that enunciate the remarkable craftmanship of yore! The Amer Fort was the abode to the royal family and is consequently divided into the outer and inner quarters. The outer quartes of the palace fort exhibit the parade ground and impressively architected Diwan-i-Aam. The famed ‘Sheesh Mahal‘ or the ‘Palace of Mirrors‘ falls within the inner quarters of the palace separated from the Diwan-i-Aam by the stunning Ganesh Pol. The palace is also home to the revered ‘Shila Devi‘ or the Holy Goddess within the fort premises. The colossal gateways constructed at the entry and exit way of the palace fort in Amer, known as the Suraj Pol and Chand Pol due to their location on the eastern and western flanks of the fort, is a sight to behold with their intricate white marble work and Rajput wall motifs. The palace is open for the general from 9 in the morning till 6 in the evening. You can even enjoy a grand Light and Sound Show delving into the history of the fort held near the palace premises in the evening. Nahargarh Fort The Abode of the Tigers Built-in 1734 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, Nahargarh forms one of the most beautiful triage along with Amer and Jaigarh Fort overlooking the Pink City of Jaipur. The highest point of the royal city of India, Nahargarh is frequented by the tourists for the entrancing sunrise and sunsets visible from the fort. The fort, built as a retreat for the royals and a sentient overlooking the walled city of Jaipur, exhibits Indo-European touch […]

Shopping in Frankfurt am Main

Frankfurt am Main is an elegant mix of old and new. It’s one of the cities in Germany I always like to come back to since it’s never dull, there is always something going on. This time it was a business trip that gave me a chance to explore Frankfurt for two weeks during winter. I was lucky that the timing was ideal to enjoy Carnival events in and around the city. However, the chilly winds of February made most of the sightseeing an arduous pastime so I spent a substantial amount of my free time either in Frankfurt’s numerous engaging museums or bargain hunting. The timing was perfect for that as well since I was just in time for excellent winter discounts. Here is a list of destinations in Frankfurt am Main that shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re in need of some retail therapy.   Zeil The most obvious destination that comes to mind when one thinks about shopping in Frankfurt is definitely the busy Zeil street. The part between the underground stops Hauptwache in the west and Konstablerwache in the east is a wide pedestrian zone brimming with shops and stores of all kinds like Primark, Zara, Peek & Cloppenburg and Pimkie, to name some. Shoe lovers can head to Deichmann, Görz and Salamander among others. In the immediate proximity to Konstablerwache, there is also an open-air market selling fresh produce on Thursdays and Saturdays. Furthermore, if you cross the street and continue to the east, you’ll come upon a few more budget-friendly shops like Kik, as well as numerous reasonably priced restaurants. When your shopping bags get full and your stomach empty, do come by. What awaits you is a wide selection of different cuisines (e.g. Turkish or Thai) competing to indulge your taste buds.   Zeil is also home to a few larger shopping establishments and among them, MyZeil is beyond any doubt the most unique. Even if you don’t intend to buy anything, do enter and take a ride on the longest unsupported escalator in Europe and enjoy the ever-changing view on the architecturally exceptional interior. If you do wish to go on a shopping spree, then expect to come across Bershka, Gant or Adidas. Galeria (Karstadt, Kaufhof) Karstadt is a department store that can also be found on the Zeil street, not very far from MyZeil. If you don’t mind paying through the nose for a high-end handbag, then the ground floor is your destination. If it’s the opposite, you can always hope for discounts – there were some excellent deals when I visited. On the other floors, you can also find clothing, shoes, toys, sporting goods, houseware… Finally, if you are hungry, head to the restaurant on the top of the building and check out their rich offer of food and drinks. On workdays, there are special lunch offers from 11 to 15. The other department store on the Zeil from the Galeria family is Kaufhof. It is quite similar to Karstadt and […]

One Day Trip to Warangal from Hyderabad

Are you looking for weekend getaways from Hyderabad? Are you looking for cheap thrills aka budget trip? Warangal is one of the underrated weekend getaways that I explored with a budget of just INR 1288 per head in a group of 3. Hyderabad is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in all of India being a new-age IT hub. We often feel the need for a break in the city that is always moving at a high pace. Due to the geographical location of Hyderabad, we tend to believe its far from the Coastlines, the Ghats and usually ends up muttering how we can’t plan a short trip. So here I am sharing my experience, itinerary and details of the budget spent on my One Day Trip to Warangal to help you plan yours. These are some must-visit places of Warangal in 1-day. If you have more than 1 day then you can update your itinerary with some destinations mentioned at the end. Let’s begin. How to reach? We started at 4:15 from our place that is Hitech City. Took Ola auto to reach Hitech City MMTS station. INR 100. Took MMTS for Hitech City to Secunderabad. INR 15. Reached Secunderabad by 05:15 Hrs. You can check out MMTS timings on their official website MMTS Time Table                 We had a South Indian breakfast from a restaurant outside Secunderabad Station. INR 95. Krishna Exp 17406 from Secunderabad(Departure: 6:05 Hrs) to Warangal(Arrival: 08:32 Hrs). INR 225. The train was delayed by about half an hour. Reached Warangal by 09:10 Hrs.    Places to Visit in Warangal After exiting Warangal railway station, We bargained with an autorickshaw driver to take us to 3 places – Warangal Fort, Bhadrakali Temple, and Thousand Pillar Temple in that order and drop us back to the local bus stand. INR 500. Warangal Fort   Warangal Fort said to be built in the 12th century by Kakatiyas is an architectural masterpiece. The fort was destroyed by invaders but its beauty can still be witnessed through its rustic remnants. Look for details in the architecture present and you will wonder about the artisans of the 12th century. There is no big structure to which you can refer to as fort it is just ruins of Fort. It feels like an open exhibition in a field so better you choose your time to visit it wisely. It opens from 9 AM to 8 PM. Try to avoid peak sun hours. When there you can also visit the public hall, which goes by the name Kush Mahal. You can go to its terrace and witness a mesmerizing view. You can also observe the boundary of the fort and one wonder how big the fort was once.   Bhadrakali Temple Bhadrakal Temple is one of the oldest temples for Goddess Bhadrakali. The temple is believed to be built in 625 A.D. It is a must-visit for its picturesque beauty of natural rock formation and the vast lake that creates […]

Attractions You Can’t Miss When Visiting Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

What are some of the must-see attractions in Malaysia? – one of the most common questions people ask me ever since I returned from Malaysia after studying there for almost two years). I used to love walking around discovering different places, experiencing the hustle-bustle of locals and tourists alike, or just sipping coffee and working in a quiet café. Of course, when on vacation, you would have just a few days to explore the country. Studying there for about two years, even I wasn’t able to see the whole of Malaysia, just Kuala Lumpur, and nearby areas. But hey! I can still recommend the must-see attractions in KL. Let’s get started. 1. Petronas Towers The Stunning Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur If you don’t see the famous twin towers, your trip wouldn’t be complete. This incredible architecture is usually the first thing people go to see in Kuala Lumpur. I would recommend going there at night. The lights of the towers are mesmerizing, and the dancing fountain looks beautiful. You can also roam around the KLCC mall; there is a lot to do there too. There are two food courts there, aside from different cafés and eateries, a cinema, an art gallery, and a lot more exciting places inside. There is also an observation deck (the bridge between the two towers) where people can go and witness the breathtaking view of the city. Aquaria KLCC is also another attraction you don’t want to miss. It is hardly a 1-minute walking distance away from the mall. The ticket is RM 80 per person. Make sure you check the operating hours and book your tickets in advance if you are planning to go to the observation deck. 2. Batu Caves This is one of my favorite places in Malaysia. A Hindu temple which is inside a cave, which is around 100 years old – of course, you have to see it! The Stairs Leading to the Caves But, there are A LOT of steps to climb to reach the temple inside the cave. Make sure you don’t take any food with you while climbing the stairs because many monkeys are roaming around, and they WILL snatch the food from you. Remember to take water bottles with you as you will need them after climbing 270-something stairs. There’s no fee to visit the temples. Note: Dress appropriately, since you are visiting a place of worship. They do offer scarves at the entrance, but it is always better to take your own. You can also take a guided tour of the caves. Wait, let me rephrase this: you MUST take a guided tour of the caves. The cost is RM 35 per person and is about 45 minutes long. The guide will take you inside the caves to explore. I loved every minute of it! A Look Inside the Cave 3. Sunway Lagoon Theme Park If you love amusement parks, then this […]

Staying Cool in the Vegas Summer

Ok, so you just arrived in fabulous Las Vegas. Vegas is a fascinating destination to visit in the beautiful United States. It does get super hot in Vegas, so just be prepared. When you go to walk out of the airport, after you’ve got your luggage, you will finally understand what hot is. The heat hits you the same way it does when grandma is baking cookies, and you open the oven. You will get smacked by a heatwave. Don’t worry because Vegas is undeniably worth it. You need to know how to cool down, and I’ve got you covered. Don’t forget to wear your sunscreen and drink plenty of water. Where to swim in Las Vegas? When you think of heat, you think of water. Where can you get some water? Better yet, where is there a beautiful pool to cool off? Maybe you are the type to relax and catch up on a good book, or perhaps you want a Hype pool party. Whatever you want, Vegas has it. One of my favorites is the Tank located downtown at the Golden Nugget. This option lets you experience the feeling of swimming face to face with sharks that have mouths as big as your face. Right behind the crystal clear glass, you can see the razor-sharp sharks teeth and piercing eyes glaring at you. Complete with a water slide, the Golden Nugget takes your mind away from the heat. Caesars Palace is a place I go to relax and get sunkissed. They offer seven different pools, some heated and some for topless bathing. I like the swim-up blackjack tables. This location is good for my schedule as they provide play all week long.  If you’re looking for a wild time, check out the Wet Republic. Regardless of which pool you choose, I assure you Vegas is the right place to be in the summer. Like I said, Las Vegas is hot, so don’t forget your sunscreen. Dinner on the Strip Vegas has a large variety of food spots. Do you want something simple and amazingly delicious, or something unique like dining in the dark? Stripburger on Las Vegas Blvd is a go-to. During the summer, I prefer to go at night because they offer their customers the luxury of sitting outside, giving you an up-close and personal experience. Grab a drink at the bar with front row seats to all the excitement while you wait on one of the best, juiciest burgers you’ve ever had.  Every time I go, they’ve always had the best customer service and upbeat personalities. You can not come to Vegas and not eat here. Are you looking for something a little more romantic? Maybe you’ve arrived here for your anniversary, or maybe shes just something special. Whatever the reason, you should check out the Top of the World on the top of the Stratosphere. With such an astonishing view, it sure will take your special someone’s breath away. The restaurant rotates, giving you an […]

Explore Puerto Princesa in Just Three Days!

Puerto Princesa City is the capital of the Provine of Palawan in the Philippines. The city boasts a combination of urbanization and tropical paradise from its historic landmarks to its breathtaking white sand beaches, virgin mangrove forest, and subterranean river. My latest visit to Puerto Princesa was in April this year (2019), which is the best time to visit the city according to locals because the seas are calm and the weather is just right. I stayed there for three days. For my trip, I availed a travel package that includes Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park and Honda Bay tours. First day – DIY City Tour Exploring some of the tourist spots around the city proper can be done in half a day. So, I opted to remove it from my travel package and did it DIY. I paid PHP1,000.00 (including tip) to a local tricycle driver to be my service and guide around the city. Below are the places I visited and their corresponding entrance fees, if any: – Immaculate Conception of Mary Cathedral It is said that the Spanish friars declared Immaculate Conception of Mary as the patroness of the city. Inside of the Immaculate Conception of Mary Cathedral – Plaza Cuartel Located just across the Cathedral, this plaza has ruins of a tunnel were American soldiers were imprisoned and killed by the Japanese soldiers during Worl War II. As much as it was a death tunnel, it also served as an escape route for the eleven American soldiers who survived the massacre.   Memorial Marker for the 143 American soldiers that were murdered in a tunnel inside Plaza Cuartel. – Puerto Princesa City Bay The Bay is surrounded by restaurants that offer seafood dishes. These restaurants open in the afternoon and until late hours. – Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center – Entrance Fee: PHP40.00 The Center houses crocodiles, birds, mammals, and other reptiles endemic to Palawan. Inside are the displayed skin and skeleton of a crocodile, as well as eggs and hatchlings, and of course, adult crocodiles in their individual cages. After the mini-tour hosted by the Center, guests are free to roam the Nature Park. Near the exit is a photo booth where guests can take pictures with a crocodile hatchling; print out thereof costs PHP250.00. Saltwater Crocodiles hatchlings in their cage. Careful not to touch them, they can jump and bite your finger off. One of the adult crocodiles in the Center. – Butterfly Garden and Tribal Village – Entrance Fee: PHP50.00 A garden indeed. Aside from butterflies, millipedes, roaches, and stick insects, the Garden also houses different animals. Here, guests can observe beautiful butterflies emerge from their pupas. It also has a tribal village for the indigenous people of Palawan, the Palau’ans. A village was built so that Palau’ans who descent from the mountains can have a place to stay and share their hunting tools, songs, clothing, etc., through a show, to the guests. After the show, guests can hold their pet […]

Czech Republic: The Best Place For Cross-Country Skiing

I am shivering as I stand at the side of the road, my thumb pointing to the dark sky, hoping. Earlier, that same sky was a brilliant blue and I regretted not bringing my sunglasses to protect my eyes against the glare of the snow. After sunset, however, the temperature dropped rapidly and my thin jacket, as brightly coloured as it is, no longer keeps me warm.   The temperature dropped rapidly after sunset   I don’t have to wait long. A car emerges from the car park opposite, and in the space of time it takes for my eyes to adjust to the blinding headlights, the car has pulled over beside me. The window opens and the driver leans over. He’s been skiing too and his face is flushed, his eyes bright. He looks healthy and happy, and I know I must look the same, because that’s exactly how I feel.   ‘To Liberec?’   He nods and gets out to help me put my skis in the boot. ‘Cold, isn’t it? It’s a proper winter again this year.’ He grins, delighted that he’s able to make the most of the season.   It turns out he can speak perfect English. He tells me he is a freelance actor and comes to Liberec from Prague most weekends in winter. ‘Prague is good for acting,’ he says. ‘But Liberec is good for sport.’   Local Czechs Go Cross-Country Skiing Every Weekend   Local Czechs, like this actor from Prague, lead a good lifestyle. They finish work early, do their shopping in the evenings, and spend the weekends busy being active in ‘the nature’. In winter this means skiing. The towns and villages empty of all but the unwitting tourists; the locals escape the hustle and bustle of city life and head for the hills. This is where the life is – but even here, it’s peaceful. There are 200km of prepared ski tracks in the Jizera Mountains: plenty of space for everyone from professional athletes to young families to spread out and enjoy the fairy-tale landscape.   This is where the life is   Hitchhiking Is The Best Way To Get Around   I decided to hitchhike after my boss suggested it. He moved out to Liberec from England twenty years ago and never left. I think he’s hoping I won’t want to leave either. ‘It’s best to go skiing in the evening when it’s a bit quieter,’ he said. ‘Take a head torch. And you don’t need to worry about catching the bus afterwards; everyone will be heading back to Liberec at that time. Just hitch a ride back.’   So I did. With the skiing only 15 minutes from my door in the centre of the city, there is nothing to stop me going mornings, evenings, at the weekends… On this occasion, I hopped on the bus after work on Friday afternoon and headed into the woods on my skis, stopping only to admire the expert skiers glide […]

Nature's Miracles: Avatar Mountains in Zhangjiajie, China

When we happen to think about China, the first image that comes to mind is of romantic mountains surrounded by curly clouds and tiny temples with upward-pointed roof corners; some other times we imagine large metropolis, skyscrapers and crowds wearing anti-pollution masks. Yet China is much more. In its territory as large as a continent it’s possible to find different climates and landscapes: from the Ice festivals and the Siberian cold in Manchuria to deserts and grasslands in Inner Mongolia, from the windy Tibetan Plateau to dry depressions in Xinjiang and to the humid tropical weather in the South-East. In this article I am going to focus on a little, almost unknown corner far away from everything we have heard of China, an alien-like piece of nature, so special that inspired the film director James Cameron to set over there his movie “Avatar”: The National Forest Park of Zhangjiajie. If you are curious about a special adventure in China, just come with me to: The National Forest Park of Zhangjiajie An overview of Zhangjiajie landscape Located in the Southern province of Hunan, where Chairman Mao Ze Dong was born, the National Forest Park of Zhangjiajie hosts one of Mother Nature’s most surprising creations: in this massive park we find around 3000 500-600 meters tall quartzite-sandstone formations, shaped by the wind and the weather phenomena during million of years. Smaller at the bottom and larger on the top, the rock pinnacles seem to defy the laws of gravity, create naturals bridges suspended in the air and are home of gluttonous for industrial snacks monkeys, which jump form tree to tree careless of the precipices. How to get to Zhangjiajie using public transport in China Stone pinnacles in Zhangjiajie   The National Forest Park of Zhangjiajie in Wulingyuan district, about 50 km away from the city of Zhangjiajie, is located in Eastern part of Hunan; capital of the province is Changsha, reachable by national flight or train by any city in China. Changsha and Zhangjiajie are connected by bus (about 7 hours) or trains (about 6 hours, 83,5 RMB for hard seat, 17 AUD or 187,5 RMB, 39 AUD for hard sleeper). If you want to get there from a farther city you can travel by overnight train, as I did from Guangzhou, in Guangdong province (12 hours, 299,5 RMB for hard sleeper or 465,5 RMB for soft sleeper: 62 AUD or 96,5 AUD). Buses from Zhangjiajie train station to Wulingyuan village (where the entrance of the park is) leave every hour. The trip takes around 45 minutes and the fare is 13 RMB (2,79 AUD). In Wulingyuan village you can easily find a cheap accommodation using, as I did, the Chinese app “Trip” (English version available). The main entrance to the park is only 1 km away: city buses and taxi will bring you there, or you can reach it by foot. The ticket to the park costs 228 RMB (49 AUD) and it’s valid 4 days. Green, blue and fresh […]

Hiking in Tayrona National Park in Colombia

In our Colombian tour, we got to the point when we headed to the Caribbean coast. Our first stop was Santa Marta, the oldest city in Colombia. The city itself is not a big deal but it’s at the ideal location: anyone who wants to discover the coastal area, could get a room here and move around. We wanted to do the Tayrona hike so it was a perfect spot. Arriving to Santa Marta We arrived from San Gil by a night bus. That seemed to be the easiest and cheapest option. It was not bad, we could get some sleep and we didn’t lose a day while traveling. We arrived to the Santa Marta bus terminal around 8 am. Turned out, that the terminal is quite far from the center. We weren’t prepared so we just started asking around about any public transport, but all we could find was taxis. (On our way back we went by public bus, so it’s doable.) We took a taxi then, who probably charged double, so be careful. As it was still really early, we couldn’t check in to our hotel, so we went to get breakfast and then took a walk around the center. There are various breakfast places and they are well prepared for tourists. You can find fruit vendors too. We walked around the coast and discovered the beach but it is not that nice during the day. Great spot for sunset though. As we were still a little tired after the night, and it was already very hot, we got a quick burrito lunch then headed back to our room for some siesta. In the evening we watched the sunset from the shore, got some dinner and went to bed early because we wanted to get up in time to avoid the crowds in Tayrona. Getting to Tayrona National Park To get to the park, you have to take the bus from the Central Mercado. It’s a little bit hectic, as everyone is selling something, but the bus can be found easily as there are people yelling Tayrona around it. We didn’t get breakfast at our hotel so we got some empanadas at the market. We didn’t want to enter at the main entrance because we heard that it could be crowded. There are several entrances, we took the one at Calabazo. We were the only ones there and during the hike, we only met with a few other people. This entrance is the one which is closer to Pueblito, the reconstructed indigenous village. Unfortunately, it was closed during that time (2019. October) when we visited. You can still meet with indigenous people who live in the park in small communities. The entrance fee was 114 000 COP (34 USD) for the two of us. The hike The most important thing is: take enough water! Seriously, it’s very important. The weather is very hot and humid and you will drink a lot. We ran out of water at the end […]

Experience Conchagua Volcano in El Salvador

One of the greatest natural attractions of El Salvador is its volcanoes and Conchagua volcano is not the exception. Conchagua volcano is one of the most visited volcanoes by salvadorans and tourists, and that’s because the volcano is right at the east limit of El Salvador, where you can have an amazing view of the Gulf of Fonseca and its islands from the top. You can enjoy the nature and chill weather at all seasons. You can also see part of Honduras and Nicaragua from the top of the volcano and if you feel adventurous you can take a boat trip to the islands and get to one of these countries as well. A curious fact of this volcano is that it doesn’t have a crater at the top. It used to release the lava from its bottom, directly into the sea. So now, there is wood deck on the top where you can just enjoy the view, have a picnic, install your camping tent if you are staying the night, etc. How to get there There’s a viewpoint at the top of the volcano known as “Mirador Espíritu de la Montaña”, it is located in “La Union” department of El Salvador. There are two options to get here, either you take a tour from San Salvador to Conchagua or you drive to Conchagua city and take a tour from there.  Here I explain what you need to do in any case. San Salvador to Conchagua If you are driving part of the way, you need to get to the city of Conchagua, it is a 4 hours drive from San Salvador city (the capital of El Salvador). Whether you drive or take a tour bus from San Salvador, it is better to get to the road very early in the morning. You can take “Panamericana” road. If you don’t feel like driving, there are many tour companies that would take you there and bring you back to San Salvador after your trip. Once at Conchagua city, you can look for the “Golfo de Fonseca Tourism” office, this is one of the tour companies that can take you all the way from San Salvador to La Unión but of course the cost is a bit higher than taking the tour from their office. You can find them in Google Maps as “Dolphins Tour”. Tour from Conchagua to “Mirador de la Montaña” “Golfo de Fonseca Tourism” company takes you to the top of the volcano, the price is $22.0 per person and $15.0 per kid (3-9 years old) to take you from the office to the top of the Conchagua volcano.  This price includes the drive to “Mirador Espíritu de la Montaña” viewpoint, which is at the top of the volcano, the entrance fee and a guide. If you are lucky to have a friendly guide, they tell you the history of the place and even take photos of you and your friends at no extra charge. The time of departure from the […]

The best route for the first trip to the Altay Republic, Russia

The Altay Republic is located in the southern part of Siberia. Beautiful landscapes, clean air and a variety of flora and fauna make hundreds of thousands of tourists come here every year. The republic is often called the “Russian Switzerland” and this is justified. The beauties of Altay are immense and everyone who has been here once will certainly come back here again. There is the highest mountain in the Siberia, its located in the Ust-Koksinsky district of Altay and its called Belukha (4506m). The way to area of this mountain is the great rout to go on the first visit of Altay. Ust-Koksinsky district Ust-Koksinsky district is located in the southwestern part of the Altay Republic near the border with Kazakhstan. A bus departs from the Gorno-Altaysk bus station daily at 12-15 pm local time on the route Gorno-Altaysk – Multa. You need to buy a ticket to Ust-Koksa, because Multa is a small village and there is no infrastructure there The travel time from Gorno-Altaysk to Ust-Koksa will take about 9 hours, but the road passes through picturesque places and the views are simply fascinating. The bus arrives in Ust-Koksa late in the evening, so you have to spend the night here. There are no problems with the infrastructure in Ust-Koksa, there are many hotels and a camping. It should be said that this town is the last point of civilization. If necessary, you have to use ATMs and pharmacies here, because that opportunity will not be available later. Ust-Koksa Tyungur The bus Ust-Koksa – Tyungur departures from the bus station Ust-Koksa 3 times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). Departure time must be found on the bus station. The travel time from will take about 40 minutes. Tungur is the name of the village, from which all the routes to the area of Belukha mountain begins, so here you can easily book a hotel or find a place to stay with a tent. But there are no ATMs and pharmacies in the village. There is only 2 grocery stores, in one of which you can pay by card, but not always. Tyungur Go to Akkem Lake! The route to Lake Akkem is a hiking trip. No special skills are required to overcome it. The trekking takes 2 days at an average pace of movement. The route starts in Tyungur. After passing the bridge over the Katun River, you should turn left and walk along the path to the village of Kucherla. A river with the same name flows in the village and there are 2 bridges through it: Nizhniy and Verkhniy. The main street of the village leads directly to the Nizhniy one, while the Verkhniy one is already on the outskirts. We cross Kucherla along the Nizhniy bridge and find ourselves on a trail. We have left the last point of civilization. There is a start of 40 kilometers way of unity with nature. The trail goes along the […]

Walking through Chisinau City Center

The heart of Moldova, a charming country located between Romania and Ukraine, is without a doubt Chisinau, a capital city. Even though it is still the least visited city in Europe (annually around 145 000 thousand people visit Moldova), Chisinau slowly but surely becomes more and more popular among tourists. What attracts tourists and makes them visit the capital of Moldova? I believe it is a chance to explore new routes and observe significantly different traditions and attitude to life among the European counties that motivate people to visit Chisinau. But let’s start at the beginning and explore a bit of the capital of Moldova. Chisinau in numbers I don’t know why but there is a tendency online to reflect information about any city in numbers. So consider the next information your homework. Chisinau was founded in 1436. The area of Moldovan capital is 123 sq km and the population is about 669 thousand. Now we can move on. Stefan Cel Mare Street It does not really matter how you arrive at Chisinau, by bus, by train or by plane it can take you approx. 30-40 minutes to rich the city center. You can start visiting the city center by walking up the Stefan Cel Mare* St., which is the city main street. Here you can find some governmental offices, cultural attractions, restaurants, flea market next to the Organ Hall and everything else which is supposed to be in the main city street. Look around, some of the buildings are rather peculiar. *Historical note. Ștefan cel Mare or Stephen III of Moldova is one of the most important historical figures in Moldovan history, who stood for the central authority strengthening. And his image is also depicted on Moldovan banknotes, which is called lei. Chisinau’s main square Walking through the Stefan Cel Mare St., you will eventually find Great National Assembly Square, which is Chisinau’s main square. In front of it, there is the Triumphal arch built in 1840 in honor of the Russian Empire’s Victory in the Russo-Turkish War. The main orthodox cathedral of Christ’s Nativity and its belfry, both built in a neoclassical manner, is situated on the square, just behind the Triumphal Arch. Unfortunately, both the cathedral and belfry were severely damaged and almost demolished during World War II and communist time, but now it is fully renewed and looks quite impressive. Without a doubt, this place is the calling card of Chisinau and Moldova. Take a picture in front of the bell tower and join the tourists all over the world. Tip #1. Next to the main square, there is a tourist information point, and there you can find out more about different excursions within Moldova. On the opposite side of the square just behind the Stefan Cel Mare monument, there is a square park with a lovely fountain. Once it was known as Pushkin Park (the well-known Russian poet spent some time in Chisinau; however, it wasn’t the best time for him, as he lived there […]

What is important when visiting Greenwich?

It is without a doubt that Greenwich is the most idyllic centerpiece of the South East of England. However, it being apart of the country's capital  It is most obvious that it is very different from the other areas of East London. The fact that is that it is without a doubt filled with a sort of respectful peace that truly vibrates around the whole of Greenwich. This is what makes it all so different from the rest of East London. The area that is, of course, the focal point of Greenwich is not the newest addition to the O2 with the opening of the O2 Retail Outlet which offers some of the biggest names in High Street Fashion from LEVI’S, Cath Kidston, Clarks to premium fashion designers Hackett, Hobbs, Kurt Geiger and of course the Build- A- Bear shop which is our love of all for soft toy lovers. However this is not about the serene addition to the O2 but the centerpiece is, of course, the Greenwich Town center. Green Town Greenwich The Greenwich Town center boasts spectacular market stalls that offer everything from independent local artwork, the most delicious home baking and organic handmade cosmetic products and of course not to forget for the fashion lovers among us who are willing to file through the heaps of racks of stereotypically iconic East London Fashion. It reminds me of a mini Camden with a lot less cattle of people with more authenticity than the North London Market place. Then of course just a short walk from the main town center which is filled with restaurants and cafes galore. Then we come to the focal point of Greenwich of course none other than the Greenery of Greenwich Park with over 180 Acres of Greenspace. Greenwich Park During the Summer months, this park credits attention from tourists all over the world to make it up to the top of the hill to see the perfection of 17th Century Geometric architecture. Not to mention the ultra-impressive London skyline which has for sure transformed over the past 10 years due to the creation of Canary Wharf. With Ticket prices from just £7.20, this is the perfect day out for the family and friends. Not to mention and not to fear the hill that one might believe could end of life due to its steep pathway, I did this recently with my Grandmother at the ripe old age of 75 so if the old can do it then the young have nothing to complain about. Nearing the end of the day and the stars are sure to appear as Greenwich is one of the cleanest parts of London with the lowest light pollution you can lay on the grass on a good summers night and observe the universe above you will also see a green beam of light emanating from the observatory which will signify the meridian line you are in alignment with the center of the Earth. England's Historic Past There is […]

Experience Tbilisi off the beaten track – a guide for wanderers

When I go places I try to blend in with the locals and do things the locals do, rather than going to all the must-see places. Here is my more local tourist guide to Tbilisi: Where to stay If you are up for exploring Tbilisi, I would recommend staying in Rustavelli area. Why? It is one of the most central areas in Tbilisi and cafes/ shops/ museums/Old town are at your easy reach. No hassle. How to get around Public Transport in Tbilisi Be like a local and use public transport. Metro is super convenient, departs every 4 minutes and gets you safely from A – B. Do not expect to find fancy-looking metro stations, but they do the job. One journey costs only 15 Euro cents and for those 15 cents, you can use the metro network for 1 hour! All you need is to purchase a metro card from one of the stations and you are good to go! Taxi in Tbilisi Another option is using Bolt or Yandex taxi apps (Uber alternative). It is quite common there and cheap as hell. We were going around the city by cab quite a lot and it never got more expensive than 2-3 euros per trip. But please, do not catch a taxi on the street. That can end up quite pricey. A friend of mine paid 50 euros to get from Tbilisi airport to the city centre with a standard taxi while Bolt priced it around 8 euros. You get the idea. What to experience in Tbilisi Check out Fabrika A very trendy area of Tbilisi. If you need to get some work done, Impact Hub is a coworking space located in one of the old factory buildings in the area. There are some nice looking cafes and small artsy shops as well. Check out Fabrika’s facebook page to be in the loop of interesting events and markets which might happen while you are there! Address: Fabrika Tbilisi, 8 Egnate Ninoshvili St, Tbilisi, Georgia The trendy Fabrika area in Tbilisi Go to Dezerter Bazaar It’s a farmer’s market popular with locals. A variety of grapes, figs, pomegranates, peaches, fresh walnuts, local cheeses can be found there. Address: The Dezerter Bazaar, 5 Abastumani St, Tbilisi, Georgia Local nuts and sweets in the Dezerter Bazaar Check out Stonehenge of Tbilisi A huge monument which resembles the real Stonehenge and looks as ancient but it’s construction started only in 1980. Whatever the history, the grandness of the monument will leave you breathless. If not the monument itself, the view over Tbilisi city will for sure. Perfect place to get a piece of nature in the city. It is located just 12km from the centre of Tbilisi, near Tbilisi Sea and can be easily reached by taxi. It is also called as The Chronicles of Georgia. Tbilisi Stonehenge Drink trendy coffee at Stamba Are you into having your coffee specially brewed? Head to Stamba for your morning freshly roasted and brewed cup of V60 […]

A hidden tourist destination in the Netherlands: Noordwijk

  According to many tourists, Noordwijk is an idyllic coastal town in the Netherlands. Once in Noordwijk, you will pass many flower fields, followed by a beautiful view of the Dunes, ending at the beach and the North sea. Every time I have traveled abroad, I feel at home the moment I see the flower fields with the Dunes in the background. However, the long summers when I was young where not solely spend admiring the view. Noordwijk has a lot more to offer.   Traditional: the Bloemencorso (Flower parade) Noordwijk is probably most famous in other countries for the Flower parade (Bloemencorso in Dutch). The Bloemencorso brings at least a million visitors to the Bollenstreek every year. A long parade of trucks, walking orchestras, dancers and cars decorated with flowers (many tulips), pass through several small towns, including Noordwijk. Every year the Bloemencorso has a theme, and everything that is part of the parade is decorated to fit the theme. It is a unique experience in April, where you will be able to see the most beautiful flower constructions. I used to go to every parade when I was younger, standing on the side of the street through rain, wind, and sun, surrounded by people that have brought chairs, and snacks to enjoy the event. Local tip: Do not forget to bring your chair and snacks, because you might be next to the side of the road for a while.   Informative: the Space Expo Noordwijk has a space center, the Estec, which is a part of the ESA. The grounds are not accessible to tourists, but there is a museum with everything related to space right in front of the Space Center. If you have ever wondered what a rocket launch sounds like, how gravity feels, and what astronaut training consists of, the Space Expo is the place to go. You are allowed to touch (and smell) objects that have been to space, see and hear a rocket launch, and try some of the things an astronaut would have to do. It is the perfect trip for a Dutch rainy day. Local tip: Do not forget to stop by at the souvenir shop where you can get an astronaut set and rocket cookie cutters.   Relaxation: the Beach Most people that live in Noordwijk spend their summer vacation lying on one of the many beaches. There are beaches stretched over the entire length of the town, with many different activities taking place during summer. You can go kite- or golf surfing, play beach volleyball, beach tennis, enjoy one of the playgrounds, enter a sandcastle competition or go sailing. The only downside of all of this is that the Dutch weather is not always so reliable, but Noordwijkers go to the beach no matter then weather. So don’t be surprised if it is 15 degrees Celsius and you see people in bathing suits tucked away in tents against the cold, but determined to spend the day at the beach. […]

The best museums in Monterrey!

Monterrey is one of the most important cities in Mexico, next to Guadalajara and of course, Mexico City. If you’ve read some travel guides to my country, you’ll know that we are (thankfully) full of amazing museums. Monterrey is widely known for its modernity and progress, and also as a center for conventions, conferences and summits. But we’ve got our hands full of museums as well! I’ll proudly present to you some of the best places of cultural recreation in the north.  Upon arrival, the first thing that will pop into view is our beautiful mountains. In fact, Monterrey is also called the City of Mountains, and that’s because we are surrounded by them! Fun fact: our glorious mountains (yes, I do love them and the beautiful landscapes they gift us) protect us from hurricanes and tropical storms; once they touch land, they are broken down by the mountains. The famous Cerro de la Silla, a saddle-shaped peak, has become a city trademark and can be seen from almost anywhere in the city… and in most of your souvenirs!  And it is right here, in the middle of these wonderful views, that some of our most famous museums can be found. I’ll guide you through some of them but first, let me introduce you to the beautiful city of Monterrey.  A Mexican industrial hub Monterrey is one of the main industrial hubs of Mexico, and our highlights include telecommunications, automotive, aerospace, TI, and engineering so, if you’re looking for a suitable place for your business, you might have found a winner! Since it has tons of modern industrial parks and cutting-edge infrastructure to organize events, I can assure you that you will enjoy your stay.  So, what can I see in Monterrey? Monterrey combines contrasting natural and urban landscapes; history and antique traditions converge in antique buildings, cultural and entertainment spaces, as well as modern financial and industrial hubs. You’ll find great ecological parks, breathtaking waterfalls, museums, theme parks… even a planetarium! Visitors are pleasantly surprised by the clash between Mexican charm and modernity, as well as the regio cordiality (inhabitants of Monterrey). If you seek a city rich in culture and tradition, may I take you to some of the best museums in-city?  The best museums in Monterrey! You might (or might not) know that Monterrey is actually a cultural nest, although most people think that there’s nothing to be seen when they come over for business matters. However, I would like to introduce you to my top (favorite) five, so buckle up! 5. Museo de Arte Contemporáneo MARCO (Museum of Contemporary Art) This museum is distinguished by its architectural beauty, a true masterpiece created by internationally recognized Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta. As a space dedicated to the promotion of international contemporary art that emphasizes the dissemination of Latin American visual arts, MARCO usually exhibits top-notch well, exhibits, by world famous artists. You can’t miss it: there’s a beautiful exhibit in the door called La Paloma (The Dove), a […]

A Short Visit/Tour to Governor’s House Karachi

Governor’s House is a place where everyone wants to visit and explore what’s inside. It has great importance as it is the official Governor’s residence and their business meeting place which is co-essential used for the events and parties for the Governor’s. In almost every country there is always a house which not known as the Governor’s house but they might use different names for the governor’s residential and their business meetings area. Some of these cities used other words instead of the Governor’s house; Rideau Hall-Canada, Rashtrapati Bhavan-India, Kings house-Jamaica, Pavilion-Singapore. These are some places around the world that use different words. If we talk about Pakistan’s Governor’s house then there are four provinces and according to the provinces 4 Governor’s houses take place. From 1947 until 2018, the Pakistani Government doesn’t allow anyone to visit and check the glorious view of the house. Soon, the new GOVT of PTI (Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf) landed on Pakistan in August by winning maximum votes across the country, imposed the new law to open Governor’s house to Public. Governor’s House (Karachi) As I am from Karachi, Pakistan, in the province Sindh so I visited the governor’s house Karachi on 24th September 2018. I love traveling and majorly I love to roam around old buildings/houses and the Governor’s house is one of them-the oldest one. I was very excited when I saw the news on TV that they will open the house for Public like as it excites a kid for a new toy (Yes, for traveling I am kind of like that). The Governor’s House at Aiwan-e-Saddar, postal 75580. It opens at 09:00 am and closes at 05:00 pm, Monday-Friday, they allow visitors to visit at 6 am-9 am and 4:30 pm-6:30 pm on Sundays for families. It covers the area of about 1.5 km-2 km approx. boundary to boundary, for which you can think how big it is and as far as I remember it has over 6 gates and they restrict some of them to the employment area. A little history I would like to share is the Old governor house situated somewhere in Karachi has now demolished but they made it in the year 1843 by Sir Charles Napier while Sindh was the part of British Raj until 1847. The present Governor’s house build in 1936 and made in 1939. Entrance As I was so excited to see the house so I rushed and arrived at 10 am around, it was gate 1 where I entered and go for a little security check as they check my National Identity Card to ensure my identity and passes my bag from the machine to check and detect if I have any harmful item or not. After all of this when I entered it seems like some kind of Paradise where every area covered with beautiful long trees and some well-cut plants in different shapes, almost every area covered with beautiful fragrance flowers and my heart was feeling so soothing just to see the entrance after passing from the main gate, it is just the entrance a lot more to come. The […]

A tour around Bergamo: a local’s guide

When I get asked ‘where are you from’, and I reply Bergamo, Italy, the comment is: ‘upper town or downtown?’ (Respectively, in Italian, called Città Alta and Città Bassa). Maybe you don’t know, but Bergamo is divided into two parts. Upper town The old part is the upper town, surrounded by walls built in the XVI century and listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017. In a warm and autumn day, having a walk around the walls is regenerating. You can admire Bergamo’s downtown and if you are lucky, you can see the skyscrapers of Milan. How to reach the Upper Town Bergamo’s walls are the first thing I advise you to visit. If you come out of the railway station, you can see Città Alta in front of you. What you have to do is walk towards them or take the bus (line 1) to reach the top quicker. Use Google maps, you will easily find the bus stop. If you want to walk for a while, but then you get tired, after 15 minutes walking (just follow the main street, it’s all straight) you can take the cable car for 1.30 Euro. In two minutes, you will be in the heart of Città Alta. Where to eat in Città Alta Ice cream shops, bakeries, vintage, and handmade clothes shops, souvenirs shops, restaurants and more is all you can find in Città Alta. Keep walking along the main street of the old town called via Gombito, which is very characteristic and open your eyes. Bgigi Gusto Italiano This place will cuddle you with handmade Italian food. If you decide to taste it, you can take a seat outside in the street: the atmosphere will make you feel a real Italian master. You can have a look at Tripadvisor to get you to stay. Location 58 This is a restaurant and a bar. It will enchant you with its cocktails and jazz music. This place is all about mixology and good food, perfect for relaxing after a long walk. They serve some Cantucci cookies with an after-dinner cocktail: delicious! Birreria di Città Alta If you prefer a beer, you can look at the opposite side of the alley. Dark wood is the main characteristic of this place. You can seat outside on a bench sipping a good draft beer. Piazza Vecchia, the square This is the main spot where Città Alta shows its beauty: the Cathedral of Bergamo and the bell tower deserve a visit. In Piazza Vecchia, many restaurants and bars offer Italian specialties. You can enjoy a cup of Espresso or an Aperitivo sat in a table in the square. Aperitivo is an Italian habit consisting of an alcoholic drink, in general Spritz, combined with some snacks, like olives, slices of pizza, cheese, and ham cold platter. It’s the perfect match before dinner. Papageno Drink&Food Take Via Colleoni to continue the visit of Città Alta’s old town. I recommended this place for beers, too. They don’t have […]

A Guide to Vegan Coffee in George Town, Penang

There are more than enough blog posts about the best coffee shops in George Town, the capital city of the state of Penang. However, we struggled finding a list of those offering vegan milk alternatives so Christine and I took it upon ourselves to hunt those down and our hunt was rather delicious! As both of us used to live in London, a city ridden with independent and quirky coffee shops, each better than the last, we got used to the abundance of good coffee with various dairy-free milk alternatives. To keep up our habits in Malaysia proved a lot more difficult as the vegan trend hasn’t emerged there yet quite as well as in London. We were aware of this, however, so we were prepared to work harder! Mugshot Café This quirky coffee shop was one of our favorite spots in George Town. The welcoming and relaxing interior, classic tunes and the smell of ground coffee beans all around you easily make you forget you’re steps away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can enjoy a delicious cup of coffee from Papua New Guinea with either soy or almond milk, admiring the wall art or tiny colorful fish swimming in the pond. Currently the soy milk (sweetened but soon to be changed with an unsweetened option) is free of charge and the almond milk is only MYR 2 extra, making this the cheapest almond milk we managed to find. The staff is very friendly and attentive, taking the time to explain the reason behind the different milk options and the origin of the coffee. The floors above the coffee shop house a female-only hostel and adjacent to the café is a bakery (unfortunately no vegan cakes on offer as of yet). The place is also very instagramy, with wall art and a “mugshot” station for fun photos! We had a flat white with oat milk and a cappuccino with soy milk and both were delicious! I rarely prefer the soy milk option but this time round that was my favorite. Price: Cappuccino with soy milk – MYR 13, Flat white with almond milk – MYR 15 Address: 302 Chulia Street, George Town, Penang Island, Malaysia Opening Hours: Sunday – Saturday: 8:00am – 12:00am Coffee 45 We stumbled upon this cozy little eatery on Love Lane by chance. We just saw the “coffee” sign and were drawn inside, only to be pleasantly surprised by the affirmative nod in response to the question whether they serve non-dairy milk. They only had one vegan milk option – soy – and it was sweetened so if you, like Christine, are not a fan of sweet coffee, maybe this one’s not for you. I, however, enjoyed my soy latte very much. Bonus: they also serve vegan wraps, a vegan tempeh burger and homemade soy yogurt with either fruit or granola. The small but rich in flavor yogurt pot was mouth-watering and definitely worth the 9 Ringgit. Price: Soy latte – MYR 9, Soy […]

Ultimate Travel guide to Leh – Ladakh

Leh-Ladakh is a place like no other. An Exceptional demystifying beauty in the Himalayas in North India. Leh-Ladakh is a blend of Indian, Buddhism as well as Tibetan linings, a place which is worth paying a visit to. “A Heaven for Adventure Junkies. A Dream for Soul Finder and A Love for the rest of us.” Situated at the height of 2750 – 7672 meters above sea level, Ladakh is indeed extremely blessed with an incredible topography that comprises hilly terrains, lush green grasslands, and high altitude peaks. Adventure lovers from across the globe visit Leh-Ladakh as there is multiple numbers of trek trails and trekking options available here. Beautiful Ladakh Roads To Visit such a place you need to prepare in advance. I bring to you an Ultimate guide for the Road trip to Leh Ladakh for 11 long days There are two ways by which one can en route the Road journey to Ladakh. Both ways are worth experiencing. However, the second one is more reliable as the roads are properly built. Manali – Leh Ladakh : Total Distance 472 KM Srinagar- Leh Ladakh : Total Distance 420 KM Best time to visit Ladakh The perfect time is Mid August — Early October, with fewer tourists around. The temperature is around -6 to 20 degrees Celsius. Fall is the best season to visit Leh-Ladakh. Go there in September and experience the colors with the shades of gray of a cold desert under a shiny blue sky. You will enjoy the picturesque landscapes as well the Changing weather at every altitude. Places To Visit during the road trip from Srinagar to Leh Ladakh  Srinagar – Kargil (204 km / 6 hours) Once you have commenced your Road Journey from Srinagar, the first stop will be Kargil. Ensure to fill your Bike Tanks and keep extra Fuel with you. There are halts in between at Sonmarg — an immaculate valley with lush views and snow-clad peak, Zojila Pass (a high altitude pass), Drass Village- the world’s 2nd coldest inhabitant place. You can either stay for overnight at Hotels in Kargil or continue with your Road Trip towards Leh Ladakh. Kargil – Leh (217 km/ 5-6 hours) On the route to Leh, pay a visit to Lamayuru monastery a Buddhist Temple, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib a religious place of Sikhs, and Magnetic Hill. The worship places are beautifully built and the architecture is worth seeing. Magnetic Hill is one of the most famous optical illusions. Vehicles seem as if they’re moving uphill while going straight on the road. Leh -Khardung La Pass ( 40 km / 1 hour 30 mins) Next on the way is the highest motorable road in the world, the Khardungla Pass. Every year, thousands of tourists visit Khardung La Pass from all parts of the world. During summer months, you can even book a horse safari. Khardungla – Nubra Valley Stay overnight in Royal desert Camp or any other camps in Nubra Valley. You can indulge in several adventure activities, such as Camel ride, […]
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