Browsing Category

Travel

Europe North America Travel

Top Five Locations By Paris and Andy

We’re Paris and Andy, we are both 24 and are currently 2 months into a 7 month trip travelling around America. We’ve always loved the States and had so many places on our bucket list that we wanted to visit we decided to put both our careers on hold to take a trip of a lifetime to see them all. As we are from England, we are only allowed a 6 month tourist visa but wanted to extend our trip to 7 months so we could spend a few weeks in Canada, with a stop off in Iceland first.

5. LIDO DI JESLO, ITALY

Lido di Jeslo is a perfect destination in Italy in which you can have the best of both worlds. It is home to 15km of white-sandy beach, with Venice also easily accessible for a day trip, there is no need to worry about the dreaded smell during your stay. Although a gondola ride is expensive, you can’t beat seeing the Grand Canal from a comfy seat on the canal, try and share a ride with another couple so you can split the cost. We highly recommend renting bikes in Lido Di Jeslo and exploring the area, you never know what you’ll find! Italian food is incredibly cheap and with hundreds of.

 Continue Reading
Asia Travel

48 Hours In Hong Kong, The Pearl Of The Orient

When you’re travelling far away, a stopover is not always inevitable. Waiting around at an airport for your next flight, is probably one of the most annoying things to do during your trip. So why not make it a pleasant experience, by using a stopover to see a whole new city?! Not only do you get to experience a new city and country, it’s also a good way to slowly adapt to the time zone you’re going to be in. When I was traveling to Indonesia, I planned a 48 hour stopover in Hong Kong, the Pearl of the Orient. A perfect opportunity to discover this amazing city.

Hong Kong

Credit: Latoya Rafaela

Hong Kong is an autonomous territory in China that consists of 261 islands and is officially named The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s republic of China. A nickname for the city is The pearl of the Orient and for good reason. Its location is right on the intersection of so many different cultures and that shows in its diversity of modern architecture combined with the traditional temples, busy street markets, beautiful beaches and nature. Even though Hong Kong is densely populated, it has a very lively, welcoming and unique atmosphere.

It’s a large city, divided over several islands and if you want to see more of it, 48 hours will not be enough! But even if you’re only there for a short stopover, there are still plenty of great sightseeing you can fit in! These are the things you really don’t want to miss.

Buddha

Credit: Latoya Rafaela

Big Buddha

Even if you only have a few hours in Hong Kong, this is a must see! The Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha, is located on Lantau Island. The statue, solely made out of bronze, is the largest seated Buddha in the world. You can spot the 34 meter high statue from a far distance and even from the plane or from Macau.

To get all the way up to the statue, you have to climb a few stairs, 268 to be exact. Don’t worry, it really is worth it!
The best way to visit the Big Buddha is by cable cart: Ngong Ping 360. This will bring you up to the entrance, while you can enjoy a 30 minute trip through the mountains and enjoy a wonderful view of the surroundings.

There’s an option to book a “Cristal Cabin”, a cart with a glass floor. This way the experience gives you an amazing view on every angle! If you’re afraid of heights, this might not be the best option for you.

Tip: If you have enough time, also visit the Po Lin Monastery, that is situated not far from the Big Buddha.

Credit: Latoya Rafaela

Victoria Peak

Credit: Latoya Rafaela

Also known as Mount Austin or The Peak, is the highest mountain on Hong Kong island. The easiest way to get there is by taking the Peak tram. The Peak tram will take you from Garden road up to Victoria Peak in just a few minutes. While you’re on the tram, you can already enjoy a beautiful view, that will only be a preview of what’s yet to come. Once you’re there, you’ll need a few more escalators to get to the Peak. But I can ensure you, it will all be worth it, as the view from the Peak is breath taking!

You can enjoy the amazing views over the Victoria Harbour, the city, the waterfront and the surrounded islands. There’s more than just a great view up there, you can have your picture taken as a souvenir, have some food or a refreshment in one of the bars or restaurants, shop in one of the many shops inside the building or visit the museum Madame Tussaud.

The Victoria Peak is definitely one of my highlights of Hong Kong. Remember though, that the Peak and its tram are a big tourist attraction and therefor it’s wise to visit it first thing in the morning. This way you avoid the crowd and standing in a line for the Peak tram.

Credit: Latoya Rafaela

Credit: Latoya Rafaela

Star ferry

The Star ferry boats transport passengers from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and back. Even though the two sides of the Victoria harbour are connected by roads and rail tunnels, this is still the most beautiful way to cross the water. A single ticket (a token) can be bought at the terminal for as little as €1,- for the lower deck.

Of course there’s the option to get the tourist round tour on one of the other star ferries. This will cost around €10,- which is still cheap, but I would recommend you to just cross the water with the star ferry like all the locals do! It’s a lovely way to see Hong Kong in another way and to enjoy the wonderful panoramic views over the harbour and the many skyscrapers.

Credit: Latoya Rafaela

The Temple street night market and Ladies market

There are many markets in Hong kong, that really show you a whole other side of this city. My two favourites are the Temple street night market and the Ladies market.

The Night market is a typical Chinese street market, where you can find anything from electronics to antiques, jewellery to fortune tellers and some of the best food to be found in Hong Kong! Many people visit the market for dinner. And even though doesn’t always look like a place where tourist should eat, many tourists do and it usually doesn’t cause any problems. Just make sure you pick a stand where it’s crowded. If it’s good enough for the locals, it must be amazing!
Best time to visit: between 5pm en 10pm

The ladies market is probably the most famous street market in Hong Kong. It’s kind of a Chinese local market that sells many products such as clothing, shoes, bags and electronics.
Even though it’s very busy, there’s a nice buzzing atmosphere.

tip: Best time to visit is between 7pm and midnight.

Credit: Latoya Rafaela

Symphony of lights

This spectacular sound and lights show projected at 40 skyscrapers at the Victoria Harbour, is definitely one to watch. It’s the world’s largest permanent Laser show according to Guinness World Records. The show is free of charge and starts daily at 8pm.

The best places to watch, is at the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade or at the Golden Bauhinia Square. Many people want to see this spectacle, so make sure you be there in time to get yourself a nice spot to enjoy the show. Also: There a some lovely restaurants in de area around the promenade, a perfect place to have dinner before or after the Light show.

tip: Have a nice stroll down the promenade before the show starts and visit the Avenue of the stars.

Credit: Latoya Rafaela

If you have more time in Hong Kong, I can recommend you to visit one of the many shopping malls. Such as: The Landmark, Time Square Shopping mall or Ngong Ping Village (which is great to combine with a visit to the Tian Tan Buddha).

Another place to visit if you have an extra day is, Hong Kong Disneyland! I didn’t get a chance to visit it myself this time, but I sure will when I return!

As you can read there are plenty of places to see in this beautiful city. And even if you only have a stopover of less than 48 hours, all of the highlights I mentioned are doable. The metro system, that will take you to all the urban destinations, works really well and even taxis are relatively cheap (just be aware of the Hong Kong traffic during rush hours). Hong Kong might not have been on your bucket list, but I definitely should! It has everything you need for a few days in a city: from big shopping malls, to

typical Chinese street markets, from old traditional temples to futuristic skyscrapers, from high class restaurants, to food stands on the streets. Hong Kong has a perfect combination of two different worlds that came together.

Have you ever been to Hong Kong, or do you wish to go here? Let me know in a comment below what you favorite place is, thank you so much!

Book your next trip and visit Hong Kong, the Pearl of the Orient!

Safe travels,
Latoya Rafaela

For more photos of my trip, visit my website:
www.latoyarafaelaphotography.com/blog

Or Instagram:
@latoyarafaela.photography

 

Europe Travel

5 Things To Do In Berlin

After a very long ride we finally arrived at the hotel, which was easily reached by car. Thank god for the big parking lot in the back, it’s a small luxury some hotels don’t have (and where you have to carry the bags in the end for ages to finally arrive in the hotel). Please keep in mind a day ticket is €18 though. Our first impression when we walked in was that the place looks absolutely fabulous! The main entrance and the nice open bar gives the place a relaxed (and trendy) atmosphere! Checking in was very fast, and we loved the people who are working there (so kind and polite)! They have been very helpful. One downside is the small elevator, when you are with more than 2 persons carrying your bags it can be a problem to go up or down at once (though there is a bigger elevator if needed).

 

When we entered the room we got happily surprised by the space you get! We stayed in the premium room, which has a trendy design. After a long trip the best thing to do is first hit the rain shower (such a nice feeling!) and drink a bottle of Berlin beer on the king sized bed. This was not a bad way at all to close the day!

The next morning (after a very long good night sleep) we enjoyed the breakfast (even if you do not stay here we recommend trying it out, it’s fresh and versatile! With the breakfast behind us, we freshened up and head to the Metro (U Nollendorfplatz) which is just a 5 minute walk from Hotel Berlin. From this point everything is just over 30 minutes away by metro.

The second night we enjoyed Hotel Berlin’s finest dinner and cocktails (we can really recommend you trying the Berlin Flair) before heading back to the room and fuel up again for another day of wandering in Berlin (which you will read about more in this Berlin review!). The waiter who helped us that night (long, short blond hair with glasses) was so polite, I personally even felt like a royalty every time he made a small bow after bringing the dinner.

The reason why we picked this hotel is because of it’s trendy looks, the location of hotel Berlin itself and the great reviews (which we totally understand). If you are looking for a hotel in Berlin please head out to their website here: http://www.hotel-berlin.de/en/ and don’t forget to give their instagram also a visit to get a good impression about this venue: https://www.instagram.com/hotel_berlin_berlin/.

2. Reichstag

When the decision was made to move the Federal Government to Berlin, it was time to reawaken the Reichstag building from its long years of slumber on the Mauerstreifen, the military zone between the two sides of the Wall. The building has since been completely modernised, and today’s visitors to the Reichstag can look out from the building’s glass dome to get a bird’s eye view of the hustle and bustle in the city. There are also a number of government buildings in the vicinity of the Reichstag, for example the Bundeskanzleramt (Federal Chancellery) and the Brandenburg Gate.

3. Brandenburg Gate

Without a doubt, the Brandenburg Gate is Berlin’s signature attraction. Built in 1791, it was just one of many old city gates around the city of Berlin which, at that time, was still a manageable size. The decorative Pariser Platz was laid at the foot of the gate and is now home to many of the city’s important buildings, for example, the Hotel Adlon with its wealth of history and the Akademie der Künste (Academy of the Arts).

4. Berlin Television Tower (Fernsehturm)

The Berlin Television Tower, which is known to locals as the Fernsehturm, and is instantly recognisable from the distance, stand outs of the skyline at 368m, making it the tallest building in the city. Built in the 1960s, visitors to the tower can enjoy a unique 360° panorama of the city.

5. Berlin Cathedral

The German Cathedral (Berliner Dom) with its magnificent dome is a remarkable example the of late 19th century architecture. Near the Cathedral are also the German Historical Museum and the Museum’s Island. On the side of Berlin’s boulevard “Unter den Linden” stands the Catholic St.Hedwigs-Cathedral.

 

 

 

Europe Travel

What To See In London When You Have 24 Hours

Sometimes with overlay times, or when you are on a short business trip you have 1 day to spend in a different city. This time we highlight London in the United Kingdom. What should you do, visit and see if you only have 24 hours in one of the most beautiful cities in London? Let’s kick off and give you the best highlights in one post!

1. St. Paul’s Cathedral

This landmark cathedral was designed by Christopher Wren and construction took 36 years until its completion in 1711. However there were five previous churches which stood on this site, the first dating back to 604AD. Three times the previous churches had been destroyed by fire and rebuilt and the building we see today was constructed following the Great Fire of London in 1666. The church stands on Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the city and is the seat of the Bishop of London. Among the auspicious events held at the cathedral were Winston Churchill’s funeral and the wedding of Charles and Diana.

Distinct features of the church include the dome which is the second largest in the world; it reaches a height of 111 meters and weights approximately 66,000 tons. The dome is supported by eight arches and is crowned by an 850 ton lantern. Visitors can climb the 560 steps to the top of the dome to get awesome views of the city. As you ascend within the dome there are a series of galleries, the first is the Whispering Gallery which earned its name due to its great acoustics. The next gallery is the Stone Gallery which is 53 meters from the ground and protrudes on the exterior of the dome above columns which circle the dome. The Golden Gallery is just beneath the lantern and is the highest point that visitors can climb.

2. Tate Modern (1.1 km, 13 minute walk)

London’s top museum of modern art houses works of art representing a range of modern art movements including fauvism, surrealism, abstract, impressionism, Op Art, minimal art, conceptual art, pop art and more. The art dates from the 1500s to present day and includes both British and international modern and contemporary art. Visitors can see work by Picasso, Matisse, Dali, Degas, Ernst, Warhol, Miro, Magritte and Pollock. There are paintings, murals, prints, drawings, photography, film, performance and sculptures. In addition to the extensive permanent collections there are temporary exhibitions displayed on the 3rd and 5th floors; temporary exhibitions of large scale specially commissioned works by contemporary artists and a collection of British art from the 1500s.

The museum has been organized so that you are taken on a journey through the significant stages of the development of modern art. The art on display has been chosen for its unique contribution to the history and development of art. Recently work from Latin America, South-East Asia and Eastern Europe has been included in the collection. Thanks to the frequent rotation of displays between the Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Tate St. Ives there is always something new to see.

With almost 70,000 works of art by more than 3,000 artists you should plan your visit so that you get to see the highlights of the museum and the pieces which interest you most. Check-out the curator’s pick of the museum highlights which includes 195 works. Among the top picks are Whaam! By Roy Lichtenstein; Weeping Woman by Picasso; Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych; The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse; Recumbent Figure by Henry Moore and Water-Lilies by Claude Monet. So you can see by this impressive list of the crème-de-la- crème of artists and artwork why the Tate Modern has earned its stellar reputation.

Admission to the Tate Modern is free except for special exhibitions. You can download a map of the massive 6 level museum from the museum website. There are two eateries in the museum, the café on the 1st floor and a restaurant on the 6th level where you can get stunning views across the river and city from large panoramic windows. The Turbine Hall has been closed for part of 2013 and will be open again in early 2014.

3. London Eye (1,9 km, 23 minute walk)

Among all the historic attractions of London the London Eye is one of the more recent and contemporary attractions. The Eye is a huge Ferris wheel located on the edge of the Thames River in the Jubilee Gardens. The wheel was built as part of the millennium celebrations and has changed name several times due to different ownership and sponsoring, at present it is officially called the EDF Energy London Eye. The wheel took 1.5 years to build and was designed by David Marks and Julia Barfield. It is constructed from 1700 tons of steel and has foundations made with 3000 tons of concrete.

The wheel is 135 meters high and has a diameter of 120 meters, it was completed in 1999. The wheel has 39 sealed egg shaped capsules which can each hold up to 25 people. Each capsule is 8 meters long and weighs 500kg. In each capsule there is air-conditioning, seating and interactive screens which give information about the sites you can see below in London. One full revolution of the wheel takes about 30 minutes and at ground level the passengers get on and off without the wheel actually stopping; as the Eye rotations at such a slow rate (26cm per second).

From the capsules passengers have a 360 view of London and most of the famous landmarks can be seen from the wheel. There are a number of combination tickets available for the wheel as well as tickets which include a boat ride down the Thames which brings you to the Eye.

While in London, avoid the long lines and save money by getting London Eye tickets in advance.

4. Big Ben & Houses of Parliament (0,6 km, 8 minute walk)

The building widely referred to as the Houses of Parliament is actually called The Palace of Westminster. It is located on the banks of the River Thames and is the place where Britain’s House of Lords and House of Commons convene.

The site where the Palace of Westminster stands today was originally the site of an 8th century Saxon church called West Minster (west monastery). In the 10th century the royals paid an interest in the site and when Edward the Confessor came to power in 1042 he moved his court to Westminster and had a Benedictine abbey and royal church built.

Under William the Conqueror Westminster Hall was built, it is the largest hall of its kind in Europe. Westminster gained importance and grew as different kings made additions to the edifice. In 1265 the two houses of parliament were created, the House of Lords met at Westminster while the House of Commons had no permanent location. In the 13th century King Henry III made several alterations including the Queen’s Chapel, Queen’s Chamber and the Painted Chamber or King’s Chamber which have survived. St. Stephen’s Chapel (1184-1363) was redesigned over the years with beautiful glazed windows, a vaulted wooden roof and walls covered with murals in scarlet, green and blue shades. In 1365 King Edward III had the Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft completed; it was here that the royal court and household prayed. In 1547 the House of Commons joined the House of Lords also meeting at the palace thus Westminster became the undisputed central seat of government.

A fire destroyed the palace in 1834 and the only parts of the original medieval palace which survived are the Cloisters, Chapter House of St. Stephen’s, Chapel of St. Mary’s Undercroft, the Westminster Hall and the Jewel Tower which was built in 1365. After the fire a new neo-Gothic structure was designed by Sir Charles Barry and Augustus Welby Pugin and completed in 1870.

The parliament building has three towers, the octagonal Central Tower; Victoria Tower and the most famous Elizabeth Tower. Victoria Tower (1860) stands opposite Elizabeth Tower, here the records of both houses of parliament have been kept since 1497. During the parliamentary year the British flag is flown on top of the 98 meter high tower.

Big Ben is the name of the bell which hangs in Elizabeth Tower which is at the north end of the Houses of Parliament. The tower is commonly referred to as Big Ben, it is 96 meters tall and UK residents can climb the 393 steps to the belfry. The square tower bears the famous four clock faces of the Great Clock of Westminster. The clock faces of this accurate time piece are 7 meters in diameter and the hour hands are 2.7 meters long. Within the belfry there are five bells, four strike the Westminster Chimes on the quarter hour and the largest bell, Big Ben, strikes on the hour.

UK residents can take a tour of the Houses of Parliament, observe parliamentary debates and even climb up into the Big Ben belfry. Foreign visitors can tour the Parliament building on Saturday and during the Summer Opening, they can also watch debates and committee hearings when Parliament is in session.

5. Churchill War Rooms (0,5 km, 6 minute walk)

The Cabinet War Rooms were constructed in 1938, but they were opened and become operational later in August 1939, soon before the outburst of war. They were used through World War II, before being neglected after the surrender of Japan in 1945. After the war ended, the true historic significance of this structure was realized, which in turn led to the preservation of the Cabinet rooms.

The highlight of the museum is a 15 meters (50 foot) interactive table that provides visitors with an access to scanned materials, predominantly from the archives center of Churchill.  The museum won a prize in 2006, which is known as “Council of Europe Museum”. Approximately 300,000 tourists pay a visit to this legendary place every year.

6. Westminster Abbey (0,4 km, 6 minute walk)

This religious edifice is where royal British coronations and burials are held, it is officially a place of worship owned by the royal family. The Abbey stands next to the Houses of Parliament on the edge of the River Thames and parts of the structure have survived since 1050 although the building began as a shrine established here in 616. Edward the Confessor had the Abbey built here in order to redeem himself in the eyes of the Pope after the king failed to take a required pilgrimage. The Abbey was completed in 1065. Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmor were responsible for the addition of the two western towers in the 1700s. The original style was Romanesque but between 1245 and 1517 it was redesigned in the Gothic style. Parts of the King James Bible were translated here and later the New English Bible was compiled here.

The building is famed for its medieval architecture and features like the coronation throne. In the Abbey you can see the Poet’s Corner where the likes of William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Geoffrey Chaucer are buried. Among the royals entombed here are Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Mary and King Henry III. Other famous Brits buried in the Abbey are Charles Darwin, Henry Purcell, Sir Isaac Newton and David Livingstone. Above the Great West Door you can see statues of ten 20th century Christian martyrs including Oscar Romero, Martin Luther King Junior and Dietrich Bonheoffer. The relics of the Royal Saint Edward the Confessor are kept in the Sanctuary and the shrine attracts pilgrims who come to pay homage to the saint. The beautiful Chapel House was built in the 1200s and restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1872. The octagonal chapel has eight shafts supporting a vaulted ceiling. Within the 11th century vaulted undercroft is the Westminster Abbey Museum which has been open to the public since 1908.

 

North America Travel

Top 5 Things To Do In Los Angeles

This is probably one of dozens of other “Things to Do in LA” lists you’ve stumbled across while planning your trip, but believe me when I say that you’ll be glad you came across my page. Here’s why: It’s compiled by a California travel expert (me) with more than 20 years of experience who has lived in Los Angeles as well as visited it hundreds of times. Hundreds, folks. I’ve seen Los Angeles change into the green juice loving, eccentric city it is today.

My guide started with a list of the most popular destinations based on tourism data, but it doesn’t stop there. We also asked our readers to vote for their favorite things to do and all that went into the final list, which is like you asking all of your friends with different tastes and preferences about their favorite places to go in LA and things to do while there.

Chill Out on Catalina Island

If you want a taste of the Mediterranean in southern California, head just off the shore of the city. You’ll technically still be in Los Angeles County, but you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped onto the coast of Greece when you visit Catalina Island,

Things are different on Catalina, and especially in the town of Avalon, where most visitors go. You’ll see fish fly and people driving golf carts instead of cars, but that’s only the start.

The real charm of the island is in its unpretentious, laid-back ambiance, enough to get you chilled out in no time. The island is worthy of a full, week-long vacation if you have the days off; if not, a weekend escape provides plenty of distractions, too.

The only downside? You have to get on a ferry boat to get there, and if you get more excited by city lights than by the sight of a buffalo in the wild, this quiet escape may not be for you.

Spend a Day at Disneyland

Disneyland Paris – July 2012

OK, we know Disneyland is technically in Orange County, but it’s still a top destination for Los Angeles visitors.

Disneyland earns a spot on this list for its cleanliness, friendly employees, and overall fun factor. Unlike other area theme parks, the park doesn’t have extra-fee attractions that raise your costs—and it doesn’t charge for a line-busting FastPass, either. It’s also sentimental: The Anaheim-based theme park is the original, the one baby-boomers grew up yearning to visit.

You can wear a funny hat all day and not feel silly about it. Its landscape is engineered to keep anything outside from intruding on your experience. Disneyland is a place where you can just enjoy being a kid with your kids.

Walt Disney wanted to create a place where parents and kids could do things together, and Disneyland offers plenty of chances to do just that. Most rides are on the gentler side, and you’ll also find shows, parades, and daily fireworks in summer. And if you don’t want to do any of that, just take a kid or two and watch them have fun.

Next door to Disneyland is California Adventure, a separate Disney park with a growing collection of rides based on animated films. Downtown Disney, a shopping, dining and entertainment area is next door.

A few downsides to keep in mind: lines can be long, tickets pricey, and people who like extreme thrill rides may find the park too tame.

Drive the Malibu Coast

West of the city of Santa Monica, the beaches run east and west, creating a beautiful setting and making for some great surfing when conditions allow. Since the days of beach-blanket movies and Beach Boys songs, Malibu has exemplified Southern California beach culture.

From a visitor’s perspective, the Malibu coastline is too scenic for its own good—you’ll spend more time than you want to driving past the backs of houses that face the beach.

Go far enough north and you’ll begin to see what all the fuss is about.

You can take in all of the scenery when you drive from Santa Monica to Oxford in just a few hours during the Malibu coast drive. Or, make a day of it and get your fill of Greek and Roman antiquities in a villa taken right out of the pages of history at the Getty Villa.

Say Hello to Hollywood

Don’t let outdated guides tell you that Hollywood is dirty and run-down. For the most part, that’s a thing of the past. That doesn’t mean it isn’t crowded and sometimes tacky-touristy, though.

Hollywood is more of a state of mind than a real place. In Los Angeles, much of the hype centers on Hollywood Boulevard, around its intersection with Highland Boulevard. Ever since Sid Grauman built his first movie houses near there and started asking his friends to imprint their hands and feet in wet cement outside his Chinese Theatre, it’s been the site of a film fan frenzy.

Along the boulevard, you’ll find the Walk of Fame, a series of stars embedded in the sidewalk, celebrating hundreds of folks’ achievements in film, television, and music. Celebrity impersonators prowl the sidewalk, posing for photos with the passers-by (for a small tip), and everyone seems to want to check out the hand and footprints at the Chinese Theatre. If you’re lucky, you might even happen by when there’s a footprint ceremony, star ceremony, or movie premiere going on.

There’s more to Hollywood than just the boulevard. Nearby you’ll find the Hollywood Bowl (the best place for a summer concert), Paramount Studios, the Hollywood Heritage Museum (birthplace of the film industry), and a bunch of other sights. You’ll find them all on this driving tour.

See Sunset Strip

Sunset Boulevard runs from downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean through some of Los Angeles’ most exclusive neighborhoods. Its most famous stretch is probably the Sunset Strip, a section whose sexy curves make it a visual icon, lined with nightclubs and emblematic billboards.

During the day, this area is mostly quiet except for folks shopping, dining and wanting to be seen at Sunset Plaza. At night, it’s illuminated by neon lights, an easy place to club-hop without driving around, and the sidewalks are full of party-goers.

The Sunset Strip runs through West Hollywood between Crescent Heights and Doheny Drive, on the north side of the Los Angeles Metro area. It’s northwest of downtown and northeast of Beverly Hills.

Learn about hours, how to get tickets, admission discounts, how to get there and the best time to go with this complete guide to Sunset Strip.

 

Asia Travel

10 Things You Must Do In Bali

So, you’ve set your New Year resolution to travel more this year, and you are currently planning your trip to a popular bucket list destination: Bali! There is an insane amount of information about Bali on the internet, which is why we’ve narrowed it down to the top 10 things to do in Bali! These 10 activities will help you get the most of your Bali trip!

HIT THE BEACH

Bali is known to be an excellent beach holiday destination. What’s better than a leisurely day by the beach, getting sun-tanned, drinking coconut water and slashing around in the deep blue sea? Whether you like a tranquil time listening to the soothing waves or want to have a blast at a beach club, there is something for everyone in Bali.

WATER SPORTS

Bali is a great destination for surfing, with surf breaks for all levels. There are surf schools along the beach where you can take lessons from experienced trainers. Seasoned surfers will fall in love with Echo beach – the surfer’s paradise. If you are into diving or snorkelling, Bali offers some magnificent spots to explore marine life.

LOCAL FOOD

There’s plenty to explore in Bali, from fining dining to street food. There are many warungs (local food stalls) which offer amazing dishes at a budget-friendly price. If you are looking for something different, there is an abundance of restaurants which offer an international fare. The renowned ‘Eat Street’ in the chic Seminyak, Bali’s tourist hotspot, has a collection of awesome restaurants, bars and cafes to satisfy your palate.

SUNRISE AT MOUNT BATUR

Active travellers should not miss the opportunity to catch one of the most magnificent dawn in on the island. You will have to climb up Mount Batur to catch this glorious scene. The trip starts at 2am, and you will have to hike in the dark. However, the scene at the top is definitely worth the effort.

BALI TREETOP PARK

If you are travelling with friends, this is a great team activity for the group. Challenge yourself with ziplines as you climb from one tree to the other. Tough as it is, it’s a great way to spend the day.

UBUD MONKEY FOREST

Ubud is Bali’s cultural heart, where you can learn about the culture and history of the island. Apart from that, you would also be able to get close to nature, explore rice paddies and have fun with monkeys. Watch out for your belongings, though.

TEMPLES

You can’t say you’ve visited The Island of Gods without visiting the temples. Religion is an essential part of Balinese life, and you will be able to see how locals pay their respect to the Gods. There are plenty of temples for you to visit, the most notable ones being Uluwatu Temple and Tanah Lot.

VILLAS

Villas are a part of the Bali tourism scene. In recent years, there are more and more people who choose to stay in a villa than in a hotel, and for good reasons. Unlike in other countries, villas in Bali are much more affordable while the level of service is top-notch. You will be able to get a private pool, customised service and your own space and freedom to do whatever you like.

GET A MASSAGE

Getting a massage is part of “Bali experience package”. What’s better than a relaxing massage after a long day discovering the island? There are different styles for you to try: Fish massage where you will have little fish therapists nimble away dead skin cells, leaving your feet clean and smooth. Sounds scary and painful, isn’t it? In fact, it is a little bit tickling and can be a very interesting experience if you have not tried it before. The Balinese are also known for their traditional massage therapy. If you are not into massage, try a spa session instead. Professional, luxurious yet affordable, these sessions will make you relax.

SUNSET

Last but not least, a magnificent sunset by the beach or at the villa is an experience you should not miss. It’s a great moment to slow down, take a breath, unwind, appreciate nature and let go of all the worries. It’s also a great time to take some insta-worthy photos too! No filter needed!

North America Travel

Climbing the Haiku Stairs (Stairway to Heaven)

The Haiku Stairs, a.k.a. the Stairway to Heaven, is a semi-secret forbidden hike on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The stairs were originally built in 1943 to install antenna cables as part of a larger military radio communication system to communicate with US Navy submarines as far away as Tokyo Bay. The original wooden steps were replaced by metal, cable-supported stairs in the early 1950s when the US Coast Guard took over the installation. Soon after, the military decommissioned the entire site and it was opened to the public–until 1987, when fences and ‘no trespassing’ signs went up to prevent hikers from accessing the stairs.

After hearing about the stairs, I knew it was something I just had to do–I live for this kind of stuff. I set out solo before the crack of dawn to hit the trail before a scheduled security guard began his daily duty to thwart off would-be trespassers.

Finding the Way

After reading the horror stories local residents vs. rude hikers, I parked well away from the trail head and treaded lightly through the residential area and then stealthily over a fence onto a pitch-black maintenance road that I thought would take me directly to the stairs. I was wrong. With nothing more than a dim penlight, I spent 45 minutes heading far off-course while stumbling through dark side trails searching for a clue of a the way to the stairs. I came across some high school kids who were also searching for the stairs. With the sun beginning to rise, we found a small opening in a bamboo forest and headed in.

Finally things were looking promising and we eventually found our way to the foot of the 3,922 stairs that would take us to the 2,480 ft summit. Luckily, the security guard still hadn’t arrived and all that stood between us and the stairs were two fences covered with signs warning of the consequences of trespassing, mostly related to bodily injury or death. After getting around the fences, I accelerated skyward, leaving the group of kids behind. I was already dehydrated from my earlier fast-paced quest for the stairs, and tried to conserve the small amount of water I had. I didn’t come to the island geared up for much hiking.

The Climb

I ascended with my gigantic camera dangling around my neck like a dumbbell which made things a little more difficult, but I managed to get almost 200 pictures while struggling to clear my lens of stuck-on bugs using my sweat-drenched t-shirt.

The climb was well worth it. The sun rose over the Windward coast as I ascended at a furious pace into the dense clouds–it quickly becomes obvious how the stairs earned their nickname. I met some people along the way–mostly locals, including an Army soldier who was curious how I had heard of the stairs.

I won’t mention the exact whereabouts of the stair trailhead, but a little Googling can point you in the right direction. Just remember to respect the residents–many of them aren’t too happy with some of the hikers that come trampling through.

source

North America Travel

10 Most Famous Things For Visitors to See and Do in New York

Trying to decide what to do when you visit New York? Start with this list of New York City’s most popular attractions to get started planning your trip to the Big Apple. Popularity naturally brings crowds, but these attractions are all popular for a reason — they’re all pretty great.

Many of the attractions on this list are iconic New York institutions and could very well be on your NYC bucket-list. Do you find the idea of going to a popular attraction unappealing? I’ve listed the attractions in order of increasing popularity, but each of the highlighted attractions welcomes more than one million visitors annually!

 Continue Reading
Travel

10 Safe Destinations for Solo Female Travelers

The truth is, solo traveling to another country as a woman is actually not as threatening as it may seem. While there are some countries where a woman traveling alone will certainly draw more attention, in general a willingness to respect local customs and a cautious awareness of your surroundings will see you through.

Sometimes, though, it’s easier not to worry about extreme culture differences. Sometimes you just want to have fun. In these ten destinations, it’s not uncommon to see women traveling alone, so you can feel free to relax without standing out.

WALES

This country in the west of the United Kingdom has an amazing landscape and an even more amazing cultural history. If you’re interested in the King Arthur mythology, you’ll find a number of important sites from those texts. If you’re into outdoor sports, try a solo hike on the Pembrokeshire coast. Cardiff, the capitol, also offers a number of theaters (including the famous Millennium Center), museums, sports arenas, and shopping centers.

Perfect Destination for Solo Female Travelers

For more information about solo travel in Wales, visit Why Wales is a Perfect Destination for Solo Female Travelers.

 Continue Reading
Asia Travel

10 Things To Do In Chiang Mai Thailand

Heading to Chiang Mai on your trip in Thailand and wondering what to do? Don’t look any further and check out these 10 great things you can do in Chiang Mai!

1. EAT A HUNDRED YEAR OLD EGG

A century egg, also know as a thousand or hundred year old egg is an Asian tradition in which an egg is preserved for several weeks or months using a process that combines, clay, ash, salt, quicklime and rice hulls. You can typically find them in the food markets around Chiang Mai, I tried mine at Somphet market just off of Moonmuang Road. The century egg smelled like ammonia and boasted a moldy green color, though tasted like a warm, old hard-boiled egg.

Read > Eating a Preserved Century Egg at a Thai Market.
Century Egg (aka: hundred year old egg) in Chiang Mai

 Continue Reading
Get the week’s best articles right in your inbox
Subscribe
Join 12K subscribers