Monthly Archives: July 2017

Smart Tips To Uncover Traveling Secrets

Once you’ve been travelling for awhile, it is possible that you are aware about some gadgets that are essential during your travel. The following is the list of the gadgets that you can take into consideration once you are planning for a travel.

It is apparent that camera phones are widely used by numerous individuals when it comes to capturing images at the time of their travel. On the other hand, investing for a good camera is an ideal thing for you to do if you travel a lot. It is beneficial for you to give time in reading the reviews online so as for you to be guided accordingly with the right camera. In terms of looking for a good one, it could help you a lot to consider the quality of capture that you want to acquire. In addition, you have to identify if how much money you want to spend for the investment. It is important for you to do a little investigation regarding the gadget when you are into photography. Having a tripod is another important thing that you have to bear in mind once you are fond of travelling solo. Through this, you can have the best shot of the subject that you want to have. There is indeed a lot of help that can be obtained when you have a selfie stick when you’re travelling alone. When it comes to the spot that you want to have a capture with, it is possible for you to have it without asking for the help of other tourists.

Once you adhere with impulsive travel vacation or it is typical of you to have a nomadic lifestyle, you can take advantage when you invest for high-end smartphone. You have the opportunity of having a communication with your friends and family members by using the social media and video calls. You can download apps in your device so as to book for hotels, look for transportation and read for the reviews. It is also beneficial for you to use the camera of the gadget which can be easily accessed. If you love listening to music, it is good for you to update your playlist as well. You just have to remember bringing with you’re the charger and the adapter.

When travelling, it is undeniable that you will be entertained when there is music. You will not notice the time when you are inside the bus during your travel or you have to wait for the train to come. You won’t find any issue with the long hour travel once there is music. In order for you to have something to use for the music that you want to listen at the time of your vacation, the most significant thing for you to do is to purchase for the best travel headphones.

Travel Experience in my Life

I try to never lose track of how lucky I am that my work as a travel writer introduces me to extraordinary locations, experiences and people. Never has this been more in focus than during a recent hot air balloon ride over the spectacular ancient temples of Bagan. Without a doubt it stands alone as the most incredible, breathtaking travel experience of my life.

There are over 2200 temples and pagodas on the plains of Bagan, most constructed between the 11th and 13th century, the final markers of what was once a thriving kingdom. The plains of Bagan are home to the largest concentration of religious buildings in the world and, in addition to the religious and spiritual significance, the region holds special meaning for archaeologists, historians, seismologists, architects, linguists and artists.

To say that there’s truly nothing like it in the world would be an understatement. Bagan is the place where travel dreams come true.

The sunrise hot air balloon rides are popular so it’s best to book well in advance, but last minute travellers need not despair as standby tickets are often available at a slightly reduced rate 48 hours before departure.

We (Vanessa was travelling with her husband Ryan Wright) were given strict instructions to be ready for pick up at 5.10am and, true to their word, our bus arrived right on time – no small feat considering the state of some roads and the tardy habits of travellers.

It was a special ride. The Canadian built wooden bus that picked us up was brought over in World War II for the purposes of transporting troops. At the end of the war, the cost of shipping all the buses back to Canada was prohibitive and so they were left behind. Today the fleet has been lovingly restored and they must be some of the most unique buses in the world!

After picking up some additional guests, we made our way to the launch field. The pilots introduced themselves and explained the basics of ballooning. They were warm, friendly and funny and set my nerves at ease.

The pilots divided us into groups to balance out the baskets and gave us complimentary baseball hats. These were souvenirs with a practical purpose, as dust can enter the balloon while it is filling and later drop down on the passengers (we never noticed any falling dust, but we were thrilled to have the souvenirs). It was fascinating to watch the balloons being prepared. From the metres upon metres of rippling silk to the roar of the fire, it was an incredibly intricate process to observe.

A few pointers for all the other anti-adventurist folks out there: There is no graceful way to get into a hot-air balloon basket. There are little grooves for your toes as you climb up the side but essentially you just tip in. Happily, there’s no chance of tipping out! The basket went up to my chest and its walls had very sturdy grips.

There’s also no chance of the basket swaying or shaking in the sky. It’s huge, weighs nearly 500 kilograms and is divided into different compartments to distribute the weight. The basket is also very comfortable – inside each little compartment is a padded bench in case you wanted to sit down and the sides and edges are also padded.

Just before our launch pilot Graeme noticed that a passenger was not well and seemed to be suffering from a panic attack. The decision was made that the man should not fly and the situation was handled with discretion. Then, before I even realised what had happened, we were off the ground. The earth just seemed to drop away from the hot air balloon. I honestly felt nothing when the ropes were released and we started to fly into the sky. Graeme reminded us to relax and release our iron grips (but that didn’t apply to me, I was already in my element!) He then proceeded to point out some of the best sights and photo opportunities, starting with the sunrise. Once the sun was up, the temples and pagodas were even more beautiful. Ranging from magnificent large complexes to tiny, crumbling structures, Graeme was keen to point out some of his personal favourites, as well as those buildings experiencing restoration work. Who knew that bamboo scaffolding could be so beautiful?

One of our most unique experiences was flying over a small pond so we could see our reflection in the water.

Graeme is one of the few pilots who does a 360 degree spin for a full panoramic view. It was spectacular.With the end of our flight approaching, Graeme pointed out some final sites to us, including a small village and farm area. He then reminded us of landing procedures and asked us to hold additional sightseeing questions while he concentrated on the landing. I really appreciated that he was so clear and focused on safety!

Our gentle landing went off without a hitch and we were soon back on solid land. A small group of souvenir sellers were on hand to greet us, but none were pushy. Clean, wet facecloths were handed around so we could refresh and remove dust. A circle of chairs was set up for us to enjoy a light breakfast, consisting of sparkling wine (or lemonade), croissants, banana bread, and sliced fruit (banana and papaya).

Hot air balloon rides are an incredible travel experience and I cannot think of a more exhilarating location to enjoy them than in Bagan. It was the most stunning travel experience of my life.

Two Exciting weeks in Australia

Australia’s vast wilderness, relieved by a handful of vibrant modern metropolises, is one of the world’s great travel destinations, containing an immense diversity of cultures and climates, tastes and terrain for wanderers to explore. This two-week itinerary winds its way up the country’s east coast, taking in cities such as Sydney and Brisbane, sojourning in the sun-drenched Whitsunday Islands, and finishing in the great wild worlds of reef and rainforest that surround and enclose the city of Cairns. This is an unforgettable trip, encompassing almost 3000 km and some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world.

Begin in the southern hemisphere’s greatest colonial metropolis, Sydney

First stop, follow the example of the early colonists and drop into Sydney, built on the site of the first British settlement in Australia. It was originally established as a penal colony, but is situated in an ideal location for a city – on the hills surrounding one of the world’s largest natural harbours. This harbour is now an icon itself, framing a skyline composed of iconic structures including the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The shoreline where the city meets the sea is defined by a string of famous beaches, such as Manly Beach, which is one of the world’s great casual surfing destinations. Younger travelers are likely to adore the Sydney SEALIFE Aquarium, with 12,000 animal inhabitants and exhibitions on the marine life in Sydney Harbour, in other areas around Australia’s coast, and across the southern oceans.

Party or stretch out in Australia’s east coast chill city, the Gold Coast

From Sydney, wind your way north up Australia’s east coast and – a short 900km later – you’ll reach the sun-dazzled city of the Gold Coast. This is one of Australia’s most alive cities, balancing the fast-paced nightlife and sky-scraping skyline, with a shoreline of white-sand beaches and a hinterland of dense and wild rainforest. Experience the town’s coastal life at Burleigh Heads, a sheltered and secluded beach with protected waters perfect for swimming, and a more turbulent headland area swarming with surfers. Inland of the Gold Coast lies a vast terrain of rolling forest-covered hills. This can be explored in Springbrook National Park, an ancient land of crashing waterfalls, huge trees, and verdant rainforest which is home to a fantastically diverse ecosystem of plants and animals.

Get to know warm, trendy, and up-and-coming Brisbane before the hipsters take over

Drive a couple more hours north of the Gold Coast and you’ll reach Brisbane, which is rapidly becoming one of Australia’s hippest and most desirable cities. It has a chilled-out, tolerant vibe and a gorgeous subtropical climate, which translates into a great café culture and a friendly, open attitude which sees life unfold on the streets instead of behind closed doors. A birdseye perspective on Australia’s up-and-coming mid-coast capital can be gained from The Wheel of Brisbane, with particularly memorable views at night. Get to know some of Australia’s unique local fauna – koalas, platypuses, kangaroos, Tasmanian Devils, that kind of thing – at the fabulous Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, one of the country’s best zoos. And drink down the open-armed ambience of this warm and cultured city in the South Bank Parklands, a precinct that encompasses much that is great about Brisbane: the outdoor gardens and beaches of the Parklands; the cosmopolitan bars and restaurants of Little Stanley; and the galleries and music venues that speckle neighboring Grey Street.

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Fraser Island

Fraser Island, a few hours north of Brisbane, is the world’s largest sand island and a place of phenomenal natural beauty. A shoreline of soft sand beaches flanks an interior of winding creeks, freshwater lakes and rainforest growing out of island’s sandy floor. All this is guarded by stunning colored cliffs, which rise bright and jagged above the glimmering green-blue Pacific. The entire island is contained in Great Sandy National Park, and one of its most unique and representative features is Lake McKenzie, a sapphire blue lake raised above the regional water table and filled with water so pure it is unsuitable for many species. Six kilometers from Lake McKenzie is Kingfisher Bay Resort, the island’s biggest provider of accommodation which has, thankfully, been built to blend with rather than dominate the surrounding natural world. Knowledgeable tours to Fraser Island’s remoter reaches are offered by Tasman Ventures.

Drift round the pristine Whitsunday Islands

The Whitsundays are an archipelago of 74 islands off Australia’s east coast, a collection of sand-ringed green gems dotting the sun-glazed surface of the Pacific Ocean. The launching point into this pristine natural world is the small town of Airlie Beach, perched on the mainland, a fun and convenient place to base yourself for a few days exploration of the islands themselves. Among the most memorable sights in the Whitsundays is Whitehaven Beach, the quintessential Australian beach which borders a green jungle interior with vivid white silica sand that runs and curves alongside crystal-blue seawater. If you have your own boat, you can base it at Abel Point Marina and explore the rest of the islands from there; or there are plenty of charter and boat tour companies with which to roam the pristine network of islands, and discover your own hidden coves and tranquil spaces.

Explore a wild world of reef and rainforest from the northern city of Cairns

Continue up the coast for another 600 km to reach Cairns, a small city in the far north of Queensland, around 2700 km from this itinerary’s starting point in Sydney. Cairns is a friendly and relaxed city surrounded by a fabulous wild world, both on land and in water. The city is the best gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, which stretches for 2000 km along Australia’s northern coast. Kaleidoscopic coral, visible from space, is home to an immense diversity of marine life – fish, molluscs, birds, sea snakes, turtles, whales, dolphins, sharks, rays – and an entire underwater topography of seagrass, mangrove, canyons, plateaus and deep oceanic gulfs. This can be explored by boat or with flippers, a wet suit and SCUBA kit. Back on land, just north of Cairns is another fantastical stretch of uninhibited biodiversity – the Daintree Rainforest. Daintree takes up only 0.2% of the landmass of Australia but contains 30% of the country’s frog, marsupial and reptile species, as well as 20% of the country’s bird species. The reef and rainforest around Cairns, thriving with the life that makes Australia so unique, is the ideal place to take one last deep draught of this unforgettable natural world.

Cheap Travel Destinations in Asia

Asia’s always been a prime destination for gap year students and adventurers thanks to the thriving backpacker culture and cheap lifestyle. Cities like Bangkok and Hanoi have long been recognized as places where the dollar becomes positively acrobatic in its ability to stretch its value, but it seems that nowadays, travelers can travel more and spend less with some basic informal planning. All across Asia, quality doesn’t necessarily come at a price, making it easy to really enjoy the adventure.

    Taipei, Taiwan

Perhaps because of its low-key reputation, Taipei does not often get recognized for the cheap paradise it is. While taxis and hotels can be more expensive that the other places on this list, it’s the food and shopping that really matter. The endless night markets provide a way to indulge in conspicuous consumption and stuff your face on the cheap. The subway fees are also incredibly reasonable, topping off around US$2. The city contains all the international comforts of home on a great price scale, perfectly mixing ease and excitement.

   Penang, Malaysia

Malaysia tends to be left behind on must-see lists, but the country is cheap and gorgeous, and the food is delicious, providing a trifecta of reasons to visit. Penang offers a dazzling mix of cultures, architecture and food so that all visitors are sure to find something to fit their budget. Must-see museums like the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion costs just US$4 for a guided tour, while climbing Penang Hill or the Temple of Supreme Bliss is free. The wide range of culinary delights, whether from street stalls, Little India or local pastry shops keep bellies and wallets happy.

   Bohol, The Philippines

The Philippines is a country of cheap delights. Even places like Palawan and Boracay, which are no secret to hoards of tourists, remain easy to do on the cheap. Bohol is notable for it’s nature, whether man-made, like the mahogany forest, or natural, like the decidedly unnatural-looking chocolate hills. Crossing the rickety bamboo hanging bridge costs a few cents, and the Tarsier Sanctuary is an unforgettable, if short, experience.

   Sri Lanka

Yala National Park is one of the more expensive ways to spend a day in Sri Lanka, where the entrance fee, jeep rental and driver’s tip will set you back about US$30. The emphasis on natural beauty and ancient sites keep even the most restless occupied. Visit a turtle hatchery, hang out with elephants, climb Adam’s Peak and check out all eight World Heritage sites. Taking the train not only ingratiates visitors to a local way of life, but it’s also a super cheap way to travel. Hanging out of the beach is of course the cheapest way of all to laze away a vacation, and eating endless amounts of curry keeps stomachs and wallets stuffed.

   Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thailand’s capital remains cheap and cheerful, but it’s the northern part of the country that really satisfies wanderlust and a tight fist. Even splashing out on a hotel doesn’t necessarily mean a busted budget. Cheap eats abound, and the night markets are also wallet-friendly. In Chiang Mai, there are a plethora of free or insanely cheap things to do, many with an tinge of adrenaline to them. Cliff jump, go zorbing, or ride an elephant for nothing or next to it, and then relax at the hot springs or with a massage at the women’s prison.

   Sihanoukville, Cambodia

For a truly cheap stay, spend the whole time on the beach and just eat street food. And while that is some people’s version of paradise, doing more won’t put much of a strain on the bank account. Many guesthouses offer boat trips to nearby islands for less than US$20, or it’s possible to rent any kind of boat from kayaks to party junks for cheap as well. Answer the call of adventure with a 4X4 excursion or learn how to windsurf without breaking the bank and relax with a strict diet of cheap beer and beautiful sunsets.

   Bagan, Myanmar

Chock-full of temples, pagodas and stupas, Bagan practically comes with a foolproof itinerary. Renting a bike to explore the temple-dotted landscape is the cheapest way to spend a day, which will offset the US$300 needed to see the sunrise in a hot air balloon over the temples. Another way to see the sights is by horse-drawn cart, which is comparatively a total steal at around US$20. Like pretty much the rest of Asia, food and drinks are dirt cheap.

   Sapa, Vietnam

Vietnam as a whole is a haven for saving money. The country’s home to the world’s cheapest beer, hoi bia, and it practically requires more effort learning how to order it in Vietnamese than it does to pay for it. In Sapa, rent a motorbike for the day for around US$5 to do some exploring. Sapa is also an ideal location as it sits in the center of some of Vietnam’s best scenery. Take the motorbike and find Silver Waterfall, one of the many markets or nearby villages. Going in winter also cuts costs, as the entry visa is cheaper than in summertime.

   Vientiane, Laos

The Laotian capital resembles a sleepy riverside town more than the political center of a country, but that just adds to its charm. The capital is largely walkable or can be easily crossed with a cheap bike rental. Unlike the foreigner-packed Vang Vieng, the capital doesn’t have quite the tourist-inflated prices. In fact, a day of wandering, a nice meal, and a few beers down by the river should set you back barely a few dollars. Excitement is definitely not the name of the game, but since it’s so money-friendly, why would you want it to be?

   Pokhara, Nepal

As a backpacker haven, Pokhara has a huge array of budget, mid-range and premium hotel choices. The sheer amount of outdoor activities also make it possible to customize a cost-effective stay. The town’s a jumpoff for tons of treks, but there are plenty of other options before the big adventure. Paddle to the middle of Phewa Lake and drift the day away, see the sunrise from Sarangkot hilltop and check out Davi’s Fall, a stunning waterfall. Street food costs just pennies, and a nicer dinner will run you about US$4.