The first thing people said to me after I told them I would be travelling to Phnom Penh was that I had to visit the Killing Fields. My response: a concerned look followed by a mumbled, “I’m not so sure I want to visit somewhere so sad on my holidays”. Most people followed up by telling me that, despite it being difficult, the whole experience was exceptionally well-done and moving. After getting a similar response from so many other travelers, I knew that I should stop Googling “should I visit the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh?” and just experience it for myself.
You’ll likely need at least two days set aside to tour the temples of Siem Reap. On the first day, I toured through Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Ta Prohm; the three main temples that most people know about. On the second day, I went to five different temples, the first of which (Banteay Srei) is about a 45 minute tuk tuk drive away from the city center. After spending two full days visiting eight different temples, I did feel deja vu on more than a few occasions, but overall I’m glad I chose the two day tour as opposed to only one day. The temples you see on the second day are quite different than the three main temples and, except for the first temple, they were much less crowded.
There is so much to do and see (and eat!) in Taipei that you might not have enough time to fit everything into your weekend getaway. While the list of things to do in Taipei is seemingly endless, I’ve compiled my top 10 favourite things I did while exploring the city for five days that were either absolutely free or incredibly cheap!
While spending a couple days in Taipei eating and shopping is a guaranteed good time, there are also a handful of areas just outside of the city center that are well worth a visit. One of my favourites is Wulai. Located about an hour or so south of Taipei, Wulai is a small Aboriginal town home to the Atayal’s and famous for its hot springs. If you’re wondering whether it’s worth your time to visit this beautiful area, I’m sure these 5 things to do in Wulai will convince you to check it out!
If you’re visiting Taipei, it’s likely you’ve heard about the Beitou Hot Springs, as they’re arguably the most well-known and visited hot springs in the surrounding Taipei area. Unfortunately, because of their popularity, Beitou is often crowded and has become very touristy. A much better alternative to Beitou is the public Wulai Hot Springs; a 45 minute bus ride from Taipei. While Wulai has plenty of hot springs at guest houses and hotels, the natural, public hot springs are a must, offering visitors some rest and relaxation in a beautiful, natural surrounding.
If you’re looking for a hike that gets you off Hong Kong Island, check out the Mui Wo to the Big Buddha hike: a challenging, yet incredibly rewarding hike that takes you through sections 1 – 3 of the Lantau Trail. While it’s easy enough to get to if you’re living near Central, the hike itself can be quite difficult. That being said, the stunning views of the surrounding country parks, rolling hills, and crystal blue water make this hike well worth the effort. What’s more, you’ll end up at the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery where you can grab some food and drink, and, if you’re feeling up to it, play tourist for a few hours before heading back home.
Having done a fair bit of travelling throughout South East Asia in the last four years, I’ve realized that there should be an order in which you visit countries. For example, Thailand should be first on the list: it’s cheap, easy to navigate, incredibly tourist friendly, and there’s a wide range of things to do and see. Somewhere like the Philippines could easily be second. I had previously traveled to El Nido, Palawan and Boracay, where I went on some of the most incredible island hopping tours and woke up to an immaculate white sand beach every morning. So, heading to Bohol for my third trip to the Philippines was, to be honest, a bit of a disappointment.
Panglao Island, Bohol is a good destination for those who are looking for an easy to get to short beach holiday. Panglao Island is a less developed version of Boracay, which for some might be great as it’s not as crowded (though it certainly looks like it’s becoming that way) or Westernized. However, that also means there’s not quite as much to do. In an attempt to fit as much as possible into a vacation, here are 10 things to do in Panglao Island, Bohol; from lounging on the beach and eating fresh seafood, to exploring Bohol during the day and watching a fire show at night.
Hong Kong’s food and beverage industry is saturated with a variety of bars, restaurants, and clubs; upscale and casual. Maison Eight’s concept attempts to roll all three, and then some, into one sky-high location in Tsim Sha Tsui. Calling themselves an “all day, all night” destination, Maison Eight has four different areas designed to suit all needs: a French restaurant, “Esmé”, a ballroom, a cocktail bar opened by Salvatore Calabrese, and a private room, “Le Club 1829”, on the top floor. The following review of Maison Eight is based solely on my experience dining at the French restaurant, Esmé.
Aside from the Bohol Countryside Tour, another popular trip is the Panglao Island Hopping Tour which takes you out onto the water for a day of dolphin watching, snorkeling on Balicasag Island, and finally to The Virgin Island. You can easily book this tour through your hotel or find someone selling these tours along Alona Beach. Be sure to negotiate a price beforehand; expect to pay 1,200 – 1,800 PHP depending on how many people are in your group, time of year, and how good your haggling skills are. If you’ve gone on other island hopping tours in South East Asia before (like the surreal island hopping in El Nido), this tour will likely be incomparable, and, at least for us, was not at all what we had expected.