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How to Spend a Weekend In a New City

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So, you’ve either planned a mini-break or else you’re stopping over in a nearby city to see the sights while you can. Either way, two days in a city you’ve never visited before may not seem like much, but you can definitely tread some serious ground while you’re there. Whether you’re the outdoorsy type or you prefer perusing art galleries, it’s important to soak up as much culture as you can from the experience, so you don’t feel like you’ve missed out. With this in mind, here are five tips to help you make the most of your weekend in a new city.

Dine In the Best Restaurants

Before you land in your city of choice, do some online research to determine the best restaurants in the area and make some reservations. You can check out the Top 10 lists on Trip Advisor and read customer reviews to find the top picks. If money is an issue, you might want to avoid the pricier options, but you should aim to try as much as you can of the local cuisine especially if it’s food you wouldn’t normally eat.

Take a Historical Tour

If you’re visiting a big city like London or New York, there’s bound to be plenty of history to fill the gaps in your knowledge. Most touristic places offer guided tours of or bus-top tours that show the local highlights, so book yourself on one of these and try to see as much as you can while you’re there. You can also visit local monuments, museums, and landmarks where you can take some great photos of your trip.

Book an Escape Room

If you’re looking for that extra bit of excitement to get your adrenaline pumping, an RVA Escape Room could the perfect way to while away an afternoon. These crop up in most major cities and they’re increasing in popularity all the time. Whether you’re traveling alone or with a partner, you can call upon your inner sleuth to solve clues, crack codes and work on puzzles to break out of the “locked” room.

Stay Somewhere Unusual

Whether you’re a full-time traveller or a summer vacationer, chances are you’ve stayed in your fair share of hotels. Why not switch it up and try something different, such as a Botel (hotel on a boat) in Amsterdam or an undersea lodge in Florida. Staying somewhere new and exciting will give your weekend trip an edge and make it even more memorable.

Fight the Jet Lag

A weekend in a new city often isn’t long enough for you to explore properly, but for this time at least it’s all you have. Therefore, you don’t want to spend the whole period jet-lagged and not be able to enjoy it. If possible, avoid jet lag by selecting a flight that lands early evening, and try to stay up until at least 10pm to keep your body clock on your side. You should also avoid alcohol and caffeine on the plane and drink plenty of water when you arrive. Take short naps if you must, but don’t let jet lag overshadow your experience!

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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Travel Tips

How To Assess Which Saigon Guided Tours Are Worth Taking

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Knowing where to begin when you arrive in a foreign city or country is the biggest challenge facing those on a travelling or backpacking experience especially if you only have a limited amount of time in which to enjoy it. So this is why a good guided tour can be invaluable as it cuts down wasted time and energy seeing parts that are not quite what you wanted.

Look At The Routes Offered

You might think all tours are essentially the same but this is absolutely not the case. What you will find is that many of the tours are geared more for one demographic than another and this can affect the routes and sites they take in. For example, if you choose a tour geared more towards older people and you are looking for something a bit physically active including, hiking or climbing, for example, you are sure to be disappointed this way. So be sure to check where they go and choose appropriately

Read The Descriptions On Their Website

This seems obvious but rad the description carefully as this will let you know exactly what you are going to get and what not to expect. Often the company can be a bit vague or offer a certain price on an advert that turns out to be the most limited version of what they offer. Also be sure they offer a tour in a language you can comfortably understand, there’s no help in having the most top-notch tour guide if you don’t understand them.

Check Out The Reviews

You’ll have no greater idea of whether or not a tour operator is better than reading what others have said about the experience. You will want to get one of the most reputable tour operators in Ho Chi Minh City and this made the time spent so much more enjoyable. The best tour guides will know where the top ho chi minh photography spots are. I even found that you can get a photography class in Saigon as part of some of these packages.

Get In Touch & Ask Questions

If you are unsure of something or have any specific requirements a good tour operator will be happy to answer these before you book. There are so many things you may not have even considered to ask, here is an excellent list of things to consider such as is food included and what provisions there are for poor weather etc.

Try Something A Bit Different Where Offered

If you ask around and are lucky you might find some more alternative types of tour that offer a real insight into the local culture and way of life. As the main tourist spots are easily known these days with resources such as TripAdvisor etc. Something like this Slum Tour may sound weird but can be a real eye opener and give you a real feel for the city rather than just the history. So look around and find the tour that’s right for you.

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Travel Tips

8 Best Road Trips in Australia

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Welcome to the Land Down Under, where gorgeous cityscapes meld with the rough outback and sunburns are indicative of a day well spent. This continent/country is tailor-made for the wide-eyed adventurers. Expansive rainforests, canyons, mountains, and world-famous beaches beckon thousands of visitors every year, but what exactly is the best way to get the most out of a tour in Australia? Eschew the plane in favor of a 4WD! Cruising the open road guarantees the best sights and experiences, so here are 8 of the best road trips in Australia.

  • The Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road leads you along some of Austalia’s most stunning coastlines. Gawk at cliffs, rainforests, and shipwrecks and don’t forget to spend a moment taking in the beauty of the Twelve Apostles – a collection of limestone structures just off the shore of Port Campbell National Park.

Recommendation: Twelve Apostles is Port Campbell National Park’s most iconic spot, but don’t forget to wander further. Check out Lock Ard Gorge for the stunning 19th century shipwreck, the Island Archway, and snap a few photos of the Gibson Steps rock formation.

Distance: 243 kilometers

Starting and ending point: Torquay to Allansford, South Australia

Duration: 2-3 days.

Best time to go: February-March or October-November for warmer weather and off-peak prices away from the crowds.

  • Gibb River Road

A road trip through the Gibb River Road is definitely one for the books, what with its magnificent displays of wildlife and wilderness. Touted as one of Australia’s greatest 4WD adventures, this road trip takes you through Kimberley where you can explore gorges, waterfalls, outback cattle stations, rock art, and Aboriginal sites.

Recommendation: The Bell Gorge can be a challenge to reach, but the sight itself is worth all the effort. Marvel at cascading waterfalls while swimming in its natural pools!

Distance: 660 kilometers

Starting and ending point: Derby to Wyndham, Western Australia

Duration: One to two weeks.

Best time to go: Catch the dry season from April to September when waterfalls are fully fed by the previous rainy season. The road is closed December to March due to heavy rains and flooding.

  • The Great Eastern Drive

For adventurers seeking a little solace, the Great Eastern Drive offers the peace and quiet of Tasmania with the hustle and bustle of only its wildlife. From Orford to St. Helens, this reflective journey takes you through the east coast wine country, forests, beach towns, and stunning farmlands. The region’s bountiful produce and seafood guarantee you’ll be munching something along the way.

Recommendation: The Freycinet National Park is a worthy detour with its crystal-clear bays, waters and rich birdlife.

Distance: 176 kilometers

Starting and ending point: Orford to St. Helens, Tasmania

Duration: 2-5 days.

Best time to go: The autumn months of March-May for crowd-free travel.

  • Roadtrip to The Tip

Looking to get lost in the wilderness? A trip to Cape York, one of Australia’s most remote landscapes, offers more than a thousand kilometers of untamed and rugged rainforest beauty. This picturesque route features river crossings infested with crocs, ancient rock art, and two World Heritage sites in the Wet Tropics. Beautiful as it may be, here’s some bad news for your social media followers: Cape York has very limited phone reception, so bye-bye Instagram (that’s right, take this time to reconnect with Mother Nature!)

Recommendation: Take a guided tour through the Quinkan Galleries at Laura to gawk over 30,000-year-old rock art.

Distance: 1000 kilometers

Starting and ending point: Cairns to Cape York, Queensland

Duration: One to two weeks

Best time to go: During the cooler months of June to October. Other times of the year might be met with road closures and floods.

  • Australia’s Coral Coast

Nature lovers, buckle up your seatbelts. This trip from Perth to Ningaloo promises to offer you the best that Mother Nature has to offer. Here, the sprawling Indian Ocean converges with the rugged outback, offering countless adventures on both land and water. Explore the Pinnacles Desert and the Kalbarri National Park for land-dwelling creatures and the World Heritage Shark Bay to spy on manta rays, dolphins, and whale sharks.

Recommendation: Dedicated divers must check out the Navy Pier – one of the world’s top 10 on-shore dive sites.

Distance: 1200 kilometers

Starting and ending point: Perth to Ningaloo, Western Australia

Duration: 1 week

Best time to go: Come between June to September for a stunning display of vibrant wildflowers.

  • Great Alpine Road

Cruise along the continent’s highest accessible sealed road to marvel at scenic mountain ranges, deep valleys, and spectacular wine regions. The waterways of the Gippsland Lakes region are a must visit. Looking to reflect? The journey is studded with charming historic towns, such as Omeo, Beechworth, and Bright.

Recommendation: Visit Mt. Hotham, Victoria’s highest alpine village, for rejuvenating mountain air and absolutely breath-taking alpine views. Lots of action here for snowboarders, skiers, and sledders!

Distance: 500 kilometers

Starting and ending point: Wangaratta to Metung, Victoria

Duration: 3 days

Best time to go: Any time of the year, but some roads may be closed during winter (June to August)

  • The Savannah Way

Our penultimate road trip will have you traveling 3,700 kilometers across five World Heritage sites and 15 national parks, all without ending up in another country or kissing the ocean. This epic road trip may be grueling, but this is one journey that truly offers the Australian outback experience. Expect lots of time spent in nature from grassy plains to lush rainforests, waterfalls, ancient rock art, remote cattle stations, and turquoise waters.

Recommendation: The Boodjamulla National Park is a must-visit. Gawk at magnificent gorges, 25-million-year-old fossils, emerald waters, and orange sandstone cliffs.

Distance: 3700 kilometers

Starting and ending point: Cairns, Queensland to Broome, Western Australia

Duration: 10 days to 3 weeks.

Best time to go: Come during the dry season between May to September.

  • The Big Lap

Ready for an adventure of a lifetime? The Big Lap is for die-hard road-trippers – an epic road trip that encompasses the entirety of Australia. If you have 6 months or more to spare, this road trip promises more than just spectacular sights and the full Australian experience, you’ll also get lifelong bragging rights.  Highway 1 links Australia’s seven capital cities and skirts around Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Cairns, Broome, Esperance, Hobart, and Adelaide. The Big Lap offers everything Aussie: verdant rainforests, bustling cities, coastal towns, the rough outback, and crystal beaches. This is one road trip unlike any other.

Recommendation: Add more to the experience by including Alice Springs, Kakadu, and Uluru, all accessible via the Stuart Highway in NT.

Distance: 15,000 kilometers

Starting and ending point: This is an epic road trip around Australia with no definite start or end points. You will be cruising along Highway 1 which skirts around the entire continent, with some divergences if you want to explore key cities

Duration: Six months to a year

Best time to go: If it’s summer, December to Australia head south. During winter, June to August, head north or explore the red center. Wet seasons from November to May may close roads and national parks.

If you want an amped up travel experience, explore Australia on four wheels. The greatest part of a road trip isn’t about arriving at your destination and this rings true in the Land Down Under. This continent offers a myriad of sights and adventures you just might miss when traveling on air!

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Travel Tips

7 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Kerala

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Kerala, God’s own country is one of the most famous tourist places in India. For explorers from across the world, it is a promising coastal state that  lies between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, offering diverse and dynamic experiences. The land is capable of pleasing tourists throughout the seasons. Golden beaches, unique emerald backwaters, high mountain ranges, beautiful hill stations, culturally rich art forms, delightful cuisines; the options are many to relish at Kerala. There are many tourist destinations in the state that are equally ideal for families, honeymoon couples, adventurists, and solo backpackers. Listed below are the some of the best tourist spots in Kerala which makes the place a must-to-visit destination.

  1.  Alleppey, The Venice of east welcomes you!

Alleppey (Alappuzha) is an inevitable choice to be included in your bucket list if you visit Kerala. Known by the title, The Venice of East, Alleppey is a perfect destination of backwaters and beaches which is an ideal place to spend your houseboat vacation. The exploring of watery routes in the age-old transportation facility houseboat can even provide you luxuries equivalent to a 5-star hotel.

The sight of scenic landscape and backwatering through coconut groves, paddy fields, villages, water lilies, and ducks will give you a soothing effect. The excited cuisines offered there is the fresh produce from the water into your plate. The bliss you earn from there will be remembered all the time.

The main attractions of Alleppey are the Alleppey beach, Marari Baech, Punnamadas lake, Krishnapuram Palace, Ravi Karunakaran Museum, Pathirmanal island, and Sri Krishna temple Ambalappuzha. The snake boat race held at Alleppey during August o September is another attraction.

The best time to visit Alleppey: September to May

Nearest airport: Kochi International Airport is 53 km away from the place

Nearest railway station: Alleppey Railway Station.

  1.  Munnar, The Kashmir of Kerala

Munnar is one of the widely attracted tourist places in Kerala for its natural beauty. Located at an altitude of 6000 ft. above the sea level, Munnar is a town of excess charm. The mind soothing climate of the hills and mountains covered with tea plantations. About 80,000 miles of hills are covered with tea plantations. The cold climate and the mind-blowing sights make Munnar undoubtedly a place for Honeymoon. The ancient colonial ambiance of Munnar is evident through the TATA tea Museum. The comfortable stays, trekkings, camps make your days in Munnar the most memorable in your life.

The major attractions of Munnar include Anamudi, Top station, Eravikulam national park, Attukal waterfalls, TATA tea museum, Meesapulimala, Marayoor Dolmens, Mattupetty dam, Kundala lake, Blossom Park, Pothenmedu vide point, Indo-Swiss dairy farm, Life of Pi Church and Lockhart Gap.

The best time to visit Munnar: October to March

Nearest airport: Kochi International Airport which is located 143 km away

Nearest railway station: Aluva Railway Station which is located 110 km away.

  1.  Kovalam, Experience the beauty of Beach

Kovalam is one of the must-visit tourist places in Kerala for its beach beauty. Kovalam offers cherished experiences for lots of tourists. The pleasant weather, soft sand, eye catchy blue sea, a soothing sea breeze, and the tall coconut trees aside the beach makes the place a miniature of paradise.

The tourists there are allowed to involve in swimming, surfing, bask under the sun, and enjoy the lip-smacking seafood. The mind soothing body massage is another attraction where both the mind and body are nurtured. There are various accommodation facilities for every kind of visitors ranging from the cheapest to most luxurious ones. You can relax in the sunbathing and get engaged snorkeling, parasailing etc.

The main attractions of Kovalam include Hawah beach, Samudra beach, Vizhinjam marine aquarium, Fishing harbor, Akkulam Lake, Aruvikkara, Rock cut cave, Karamana River, Thiruvallam parasurama temple, Kovalam Juma masjid and Valiathura Pier.

The best time to visit: September to May

Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport which is 15km away.

Nearest Railway Station: Trivandrum Railway Station is 14 km away.

  1.  Fort Kochi, ¬¬¬¬The gateway of Kerala

Fort Kochi, considered as the gateway of Kerala is one of the most attractive tourist spots in Kerala. Fort Kochi is the main attraction of the Queen of the Arabian Sea with a multitude of personalities. The ancient city possesses a wide heritage and multi-ethnic culture. Being a most visited place in Kerala, Fort Kochi is an ideal destination for nature lovers, tourists and history buffs.  The mind-blowing sights, delicious seafood, museums, palaces, synagogues, heritage buildings, beaches, art galleries, churches, Hindu temples etc makes Fort Kochi a promising land for exploring. People will not leave Fort Kochi without savoring the multi cuisines and grab some reminiscence to home.

The major attractions of Fort Kochi are the Bolgatty Palace, Mattancherry Palace, Paradesi Synagogue, Santa Cruz Basilica, Hill palace, Willingdon Island, Museum of Kerala history, St. Francis Church, Marine Drive, Ernakulam Shiva temple, the sunsets and sunrise near the Chinese fishing net and Kodanad Elephant training center etc.

The best time to visit Fort Kochi: September to March

Nearest Airport: Kochi International Airport

Nearest Railway Station: Ernakulam Junction which is located 13 km away

  1.  Thekkady, Experience the wilderness

Thekkady is one of the top-ranked tourist destinations in Kerala. It is blessed with the wild beauty cuddled with the lush greenery of the Western Ghats and the dense forest. The Periyar wildlife sanctuary nearby the Periyar Lake is known for the tourist delight. It is one of the 27 Tiger reserves in India which is a home for 35 diverse species of fauna such as Tigers, wild Elephants, Sambars, and Gaurs etc. other than this, there are coffee and many spices plantations in Thekkady which is another attraction of the place. There are around 265 species of birds. You can enjoy the wild beauty of Thekkady through adventurous jungle safaris, patrols, bamboo rafting, border hiking, and camps.

The main attractions of Thekkady include Rmakkalmedu, Kumily, Elephant Junction, Periyar wildlife sanctuary, Periyar Lake, Deepa world spice and Ayurvedic Garden, Mudra cultural center, Mullaperiyar Dam, Chellarkovil, Vandanmedu, Murikkady, Periyar Tiger Trail and Kadathanadan Kalari Center.

The best time to visit Thekkady: November to May

Nearest Airport: Karipur International Airport which is situated 95 km away

Nearest Railway Station: Kottayam Railway Station which is situated 114 km away.

  1.  Wayanad, The symbol of scenic beauty

Wayanad is the proof of why Kerala is called God’s own country. It is the greenest place to visit in Kerala. The ravishing wild beauty with the adventurous trekking experiences makes the place a must-to-visit spot in Kerala. The comfortable stays in the soothing climate and wild ambiance of Wayanad are promising.

Real-time experience of the tribal heritages from more than 50 tribe dwellings in Wayanad is uniqueness about Wayanad expedition. Trekking and camping is another factor which attracts tourists from various parts of the worlds. You can even try your fortune if you spot the Neelakurinji flower which blooms once in 12 years.

Major attractions of Wayanad are Banasura Sagar Dam, Edakkal caves, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Papanashini river, Kuruva dweep, Thusharagiri waterfalls, Thirunelli temple, Lakkidi viewpoint, Puliyarmala Jian, and Padinjarathara Dam.

Best time to visit Wayanad: October to May. Also, you can enjoy the trip to Wayanad during Monsoon seasons.

Nearest Airport: Karipur International Airport which is located 95 km away

Nearest Railway Station: Kozhikode Railway Station which is located 72 km away.

  1.  Kumarakom, Enjoy the contours of Vembanad Lake

Kumarakom is a famous tourist destination in Kerala known for backwatering and bird sanctuary. The peaceful hamlet possesses enthralling sceneries, exotic environment, and cool weather. Being one of the best places to visit in Kerala, Kumarakom gives you a mind-blowing experience in backwatering through the fresh paddy fields, coconut groves, and villages. The relaxing houseboat rides are available for all type of tourists at cheap rates too expensive ones. The delightful cuisines of Kumarakom should be tried at least once.

The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a must-to-go place in Kerala which homes to a wide variety of bird species that mainly includes migratory birds and Siberian storks.

The major attractions of Kumarakom are The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Kumarakom Backwaters, Aruvikkuzhi waterfalls, Vembanad Lake, Pathiramanal Island, Kumarakom beach, Bay Island Driftwood Museum, Thriunakkara Mahadeva temple, Cheiryapally, Valiyapally etc.

The ideal time to visit Kumarakom: September to May

Nearest Airport: Kochi International Airport which is located 85 km away.

Nearest Railway station: Kottayam Railway station which is situated 16 km away.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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