January 17, 2019
Out Chasing Stars- My Favorite Destination:
Fatu Hiva, French Polynesia
Fatu Hiva holds a special place in any sailor’s heart once they’ve crossed the Pacific Ocean – Fatu Hiva is the first island in the most remote island group in the world – the Marquesas. After 19 days at sea, my sailboat dropped anchor in the Bay of Virgins, which continues to be one of our most favorite places in the world, even two and a half years of island hopping later. Not only is Fatu Hiva usually the first landfall after a long voyage, but the island is positively Jurrasic with large, craggy, volcanic mountains and lush native jungles.
A small village gives a taste of the indigenous culture, but the best way to occupy your time is to hike out to the waterfall. It takes about an hour to walk out to the waterfall, passing a hydroelectric damn and being guided by moss-covered cairns the entire way. The trail is well defined and hibiscus cobble the path. Thankfully, after working up a sweat in the hot Marquesan weather, the pool below the waterfall offers a very refreshing dip while the mist from the 200-feet tall waterfall provides an invigorating breeze.
Fatu Hiva is hard to get to, but it’s worth the trip. The only option is to come by boat. If you aren’t up for buying a boat and crossing the Pacific yourself, you can charter a private ride from the nearby Hiva Oa, or join the small ship cruise ship that makes port in Fatu Hiva every so often. A few small pensions, or guest houses, are available for rent in the town of Omoa.
Contributed by Amy at Out Chasing Stars
January 10, 2019
Jack and Jill Travel- My Favorite Destination:
Contributed by Caroline at Jack and Jill Travel
January 3, 2019
Be Marie Korea- My Favorite Destination:
It is easy to spend days or even months in Seoul without seeing everything. There are new restaurants, museums, attractions opening constantly. On top of that the coffee scene in Korea is huge. Streets are filled with coffee shops, each with a different theme and style.
The best areas to discover when in Seoul for the first time are Myeongdong, Itaewon, Insadong, Gwanghwamun, Jongno, Dongdaemun and Gangnam. When looking for food, visit Itaewon, Insadong, Gwangjang or Myeongdong, the best restaurants are located in these areas.
Contributed by Marie at Be Marie Korea
DECEMBER 27, 2018
Laska Baby Travel- My Favorite Destination:
Gold Coast Australia
Whether it’s surfing, shopping, swimming or sunbaking you are after, coming to the Golden Coast of Australia fulfils your every desire. Stretched over 57kms of a pure coastline with pristine waters, it’s a family friendly paradise.
The best way to get here is to fly into Coolangatta airport located in the heart of the holidaying heaven. You can certainly book your stay around this spectacular area as it offers a relaxing quite atmosphere with plentiful of cafes and shops, and the ocean views you can’t beat. Although the budget accommodation prices attract a lot of backpackers in this side of town, the benefits speak for themselves.
The Gold Coast’s Currumbin wildlife sanctuary is a short 15 mins drive from the airport and is an excellent place to meet the local wildlife.
If you more of a luxury style traveller, Surfers Paradise is the heart of the city, therefore accommodation ranges from a all inclusive 5- star Marriott exquisite suites to a cute little rental shack a stone throw away from the ocean.
Vastly known as an entertainment city, Gold Coast has three Amusement parks: Dream World, Movie World and Sea World. Inland, hiking trails crisscross Lamington National Park’s mountain ridges and valleys, home to rare birds and rainforest. Finally, it’s a real foodie town boasting with multitude of healthy cuisine catering for all specialities.
Lived and worked on Gold Coast for a few years, I still call it home as it has my heart.
Check out Alex’s web site at Laska Baby Travel
DECEMBER 20, 2018
Horizon Unknown- My Favorite Destination:
Pai in Northern Thailand
Pai is a small, backpacking orientated town in northern Thailand. looking back on the many amazing experiences I had in the beautiful town of Pai, it is my favourite destination I’ve visited.
Within the town limits are so many great attractions. For major waterfalls, bamboo forest treks, a large canyon and splits in the ground and a short day trip to some amazing caves in the area.
I love to hike to more remote places when I travel, and through the bamboo forest to Mae Yen Waterfall ticked all my boxes. It surprised me that such a small town can be home to a canyon, but Pai Canyon is an incredibly popular attraction, especially at sunset. However, there is enough room for everyone to take in the stunning vista told purple and pink as the sunsets.
One of my all-time favourite day trips, Tham Lod Cave is around 90mins away by rented motorbike. The cave is by tour guide only as it is so easy to get lost, but the gas lit lantern dimly lighting the ancient walls of this natural wonder was eerily beautiful. Even the road TO Tham Lod Cave is amazing, Pang Mapha lookout gives another great view over the wonderful town of Pai and the valley it sits in.
Visiting Pai was on my list of places for quite some time a softer I heard about it travelling through Thailand a year before, and I am so glad I ventured 3 hours north along the winding road from Chiang Rai. It became my favourite destination not only Thailand but all of Asia.
Check out Ben’s web site at Horizon Unknown
DECEMBER 12, 2018
A Girl and Her Dog on the Road- My Favorite Destination:
The Scottish Highlands
The West Highland Way: 96 miles of bliss and blisters in the Scottish Hills
Last year my best friend and I completed the West Highland Way, a 96 mile (154 km) trek in the Scottish Highlands.
Usually completed in anything from 4 to 10 days, we opted for the middle ground of 7 days. To read more about our full itinerary click here.
The route runs along the edge of stunning Loch Lomond, across the bleak but atmospheric Rannoch Moor, before heading into the mountainous and dramatic Glen Coe Valley.
This is a popular route, so if you are looking for solitude this may not be the trek for you. If you are looking for a sense of camaraderie and stunning views you will get this in abundance. It certainly renewed my passion for long distance walking.
My West Highland Way Top Tips
Don’t be a hero and struggle with your heavy rucksack: If your not a seasoned hiker, book the baggage transfer service. You then just carry a day sack and your gear is dropped off and picked up at your daily accommodation. Carrying a heavy rucksack if you aren’t used to it is a killer. A lot of fellow walkers came unstuck on this one. We agreed this was money well spent.
Come prepared for the famous Scottish Midge: These swarm in their thousands on the west coast of Scotland during the Summer and they can be horrendous. Come armed with a good insect repellant, cover up at dawn and dusk and consider using a midge net. They may look stupid but they can be a blessed relief.
Minimize the chance of blisters: Blisters ended some of our fellow walkers’ journeys. Make sure you have broken in your boots, wear good walking socks, slather your feet in vaseline and stock up on Compeed plasters.
Check out Gemma’s at A Girl and Her Dog on the Road Facebook
DECEMBER 6, 2018
Bacon Is Magic- My Favorite Destination:
My first trip to Havana was only four days and while I’ve been to almost every country in Latin America, Cuba is so different. Before I left I vowed to return in a month to research Cuban food and now I’ve been based in Havana for nine months.
Everything in Cuba has such political, social and economic significance. Something as simple as Cuban coffee has so many cultural nuances. As soon as someone drops in unannounced to my apartment, and that happens daily, I absolutely must offer them coffee if I want to appear as a good host. In some cases, a Cuban may only have one cup of coffee left and they would always first offer it to a guest. Cubans may not have a lot but they do have a strong sense of hospitality and generosity.
The best places to eat are never in hotels or historic districts. They are always little spots where you can buy a full plate of lunch for $3-5. If you’re lucky you’ll get a choice of plain white rice or moros y cristianos, which is beans and rice. But don’t just dig in right away, Cubans often dress their rice with oil, salt and vinegar, just as you would dress a salad. It’s knowing little things like this that make eating in Cuba so much more interesting.
Check out Ayngelina’s at Bacon is Magic Instagram
November 29, 2018
Overhere- My Favorite Destination:
The Tatra National Park
Many people consider Tatra National Park to be one of the most beautiful regions in Poland. I am one of those people.
Tatra mountains are the highest and most amazing of them all in this part of Europe. They are divided into a few ranges, each of them different, which makes the area even more interesting.
These mountains are famous for their dramatic landscape – bare rocks soaring up into the sky, rumbling waterfalls doubling their volume after rain, deep post-glacial lakes which never get warm. Tatra National Park is simply a paradise for nature lovers, photographers, hikers, trail runners, and all the people who need to get away from everyday stress and big city’s hustle and bustle.
There are many hiking trails suitable for hikers of all levels of experience. We have via ferrata-like trails in High Tatras, long but nice and safe trails in Western Tatras, and picturesque valleys perfect for families with children, and hikers who want to warm up before bigger challenges.
The most famous places in Tatra mountains are:
- Five Lakes Valley (1,665m) – the most beautiful place in Poland, just a few hours hike from the parking lot.
- Kasprowy Wierch (1,987m) – popular peak in Western Tatras. There is also cable car, so that tourist who can’t or don’t want to hike also have chance to admire astonishing landscape.
- Giewont (1,895m) – characteristic mount with big cross at the top. Landmark of Tatra National Park.
- Kopa Kondracka (2,005m) – one of Czerwone Wierchy massif. Beautiful hike, must-see for all mountain lovers.
- Morskie Oko Lake (1,406m) – big post-glacial pond. Accessible also for the disabled thanks to asphalt road.
- Chocholowska Valley – about 10km long, it’s the longest valley in Poland.
- Zakopane – the biggest tourist resort in the area, offering variety of hotels, many SPA centers, shops and restaurants.
Follow Overhere on their Facebook page
November 22, 2018
Travel Collecting- My Favorite Destination:
The Grand Canyon
My favorite location and experience is river rafting in the Grand Canyon. Seeing the canyon from above is awesome, and hiking into the canyon is incredible, but travelling through the canyon on the river that carved it over millennia takes the Grand Canyon experience to a whole other level.
Imagine setting out in a tiny wooden boat with only small hills on each side and hour after hour, day after day, seeing the walls climb higher and higher around and above you as you proceed deeper and deeper into the canyon. Pretty soon, colored layers that were once beside you tower high above you. Or riding the rapids in that tiny wooden boat, thrashing wildly, waves crashing into the boat, frantically bailing the water out and holding on tight at the same time. Or camping on sandy beaches at night, sleeping under the stars, surrounded by the grandeur of the canyon. Or taking daily hikes into narrow canyons, dramatic in scale, awe-inspiring in their beauty, and only accessible by boat. Or hiking up a steep hill to an ancient native American granary, with sweeping views down the canyon of the river far below.
The six days I spent rafting down the Grand Canyon were pure magic. At the end? A night in Phantom Ranch, a long hike up Bright Angel Trail and three restful days at the South Rim. The perfect Grand Canyon experience!
Check out Jame’s Travel Collecting Pinterest Page
November 15, 2018
The Winged Fork-My Favorite Destination:
Igloo’s In India
Last winter, I stayed at a seasonal igloo camp in India. Can you believe it? Igloos in India! My friends can’t either when I tell them about it. But now, every year from late January through March there’s an igloo camp in Manali, India.
Many of us just dream of staying in an igloo or ice hotel but never get the chance. And getting there is a bit of a challenge, but the chance to stay in an eco-friendly and economical igloo in India was definitely worth it.
You fly to Chandigarh Airport and take an oh-so-long 10 or 11 hour drive to Manali in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The trip managers arrange for us to stay in a bed and breakfast that night.
The next day, they dress us up in snow gear and drive us to Sethan Valley in the hills near the famed Hamta Pass. Little hamlets, prayer flags and trees line the roads there. Once at the top of the valley, we get a glimpse of the camp below and then trudge and tumble through a foot of snow to get there.
We’re greeted with warm tea and soon start taking pics of the camp. Of course, those pics weren’t as good as the ones we took after breakfast the next morning when my friends were scrambling to pose atop the igloos. 😉 It really was an amazing experience spending a night in an igloo in the middle of nowhere. And waking up to see the sunlight filtering in to the snow. That was indescribable!
The igloo camp also has sleds and skis for some fun times. A bunch of us also walked almost halfway down to the river Beas nearby. Would have gone all the way if we had known it was there. Hmm… But we only found out about the river after we got back to the camp.
After a few more hours of communing with nature, it was time to pack up and leave. I wish we could have stayed longer. It was such an amazing experience!
Check The Winged Forks Facebook page
November 8, 2018
Tales From The Lens- My Favorite Destination:
Baños de Agua Santa
Baños de Agua Santa is one of our favorite places in South America for many reasons. First, this small Ecuadorian town is found at a much lower altitude than most of the country, which allows higher temperatures and no struggles to breathe. It is also an incredible place that is surrounded by rolling mountains and rushing torrents, ideal for adventure sports enthusiasts or nature lovers like us.
What we loved is that Baños is easily reachable from the capital Quito after a quick 4-hour bus ride across the gorgeous highlands of the country. And if you decide to continue a bit further down the road, you can even enter the Amazon and discover as part of a short trip, the jungle wildlife or visit remote communities living off the grid.
However, our favorite part would undoubtedly be the Swing at the edge of the World… A fun and affordable activity that takes you on a huge swing at the top of a mountain with nothing else ahead (or below) other than a gorgeous fertile valley and a smoky volcano! Finally, what ended stealing our hearts for good, were the several hot water springs that are a result of the local volcanic activity, in which we would relax at the end of each day filled with unforgettable adventures.
To read more about Baños, visit Tales From The Lens’ article: Baños de Agua Santa – 4 unforgettable experiences on a budget.
Check out Tales From The Lens instagram too!
November 1, 2019
Travels with Talek- My Favorite Destination:
New York City
New York City, The City of Dreams, The City that Never Sleeps, The Empire City, Concrete Jungle Where Dreams are Made Of. The self-declared capital of the world is called many things; but it is never called dull. There really is an electricity in the air in NYC. You really do feel the possibilities are endless.
This culturally rich gateway for immigrants is home to ethnic enclaves speaking every language on earth. The aromas of every cuisine from Albania to Zambia wafts through the city streets and the Statue of Liberty lifts her lamp beside the golden door.
It goes without saying there is something for everyone here. Are you’re a culture vulture? There are 113 in the island of Manhattan alone. Ballet, symphony, cinema as varied as the Bosnian and Senegalese Film Festivals. It’s all here.
New York is home to some of the most recognizable and iconic sights, think Times Square, Empire State Building, Lincoln Center and Central Park. The City’s true character, however, lies in its neighborhoods; SOHO, Chelsea, The Upper East and West Sides, Harlem, Little Korea, Chinatown and many, many more.
The clichés are true. You really CAN get a pastrami on rye with mustard at 2 o’ clock in the morning if you want. You can even get it delivered to your apartment which, if you live in The City, is probably a teeny, tiny studio apartment measuring 300 square feet. But you love it anyway because, hey! You’re in New York!
Important Note: Don’t forget all the wonderful Things to do in NYC for the Holidays
Check Travels with Talek’s Facebook too!