Next Trip Myanmar

10 interesting facts about Bagan
Photo from Royaltravelcity.com

 

So its been a short while since my short trip to Cambodia’s Siem Reap, Malaysia’s Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur and the quick touch of Thailand in Koh Lipe.

So where next?

Well I have a quick weekend trip to Amsterdam this September. However I have also decided to pursue a trip to Myanmar also known as Burma this October. Reason being is that I have been persuaded by a friend who is from the country and the fact that Bagan has just been made a UNESCO world heritage site. I am a little sad I wont be able to visit Mandalay and the country’s new capital Naypyitaw  but I guess this could be done on another trip.

I want to visit as much of the country as possible but unfortunately with only a week to venture (due to work) it looks like I will only have time to visit two main regions, Bagan and Yangon. Bagan being highly advised and a must not miss during a stay in Myanmar, whilst Yangon is a huge city which is my entry and exit point, so I decided to have a look around aswell. I have decided to stay in hostels for the simple reason that I meet more people there, then to end the trip I have decided to stay in a more luxurious hotel in order to rest-up and relax.

So what do I expect from this trip?

I expect similarities between Myanmar and  Cambodia. I expect Myanmar to have the more modern temples whilst Cambodia the older more ancient temples, however the lifestyle I envisage (but could be wrong) to be the same. I expect to use unusual modes of transport but food similar to that of Cambodian, Thai and Malaysian cuisines. Visiting here hasn’t really been on my bucket list but just recently after visiting Cambodia it was high up on my list.

Any advice for this trip?

Photo from Irrawady.com
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Where to go for Winter ’19

Time to plan for Winter 2019, and with 2018’s winter trip to Finland’s capital Helsinki and Rovaniemi proving very successful, I’m just wondering where I should go to this year.

My winter trips are usually festive so, me what with a Christmas spirit. Furthermore my desired trip should preferably be with snow but its not necessary and hopefully with something new and different.

My Past winter trips have been:

The list I’m choosing from this year are:

  • Svabald (Norway)
  • Sweden
  • Manchester (U.K)
  • New York (U.S.A)
  • Santiago (Chile)

All are just a thought right now but where would you recommend is a good place for my next December trip?

Below is a quick video of last years winter trip to Finland.

 

Next Trip: A visit to Finland and Estonia

5 months since going to Japan my last holiday and now its time for another trip. As its December I have decided to book myself a winter (Christmas Market) trip. Ive been to many places well known for its Christmas Markets such as Vienna, Berlin, Frankfurt, Edinburgh but now its time to go to the place where its known to be the Christmas city of the world, Helsinki.

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I don’t have firm plans yet but will go to Lapland and Tallinn Estonia as short excursions.  It will be my first trip north to a Scandinavian nation and will have around 7-10 days to do as much and go to as many places as possible.

tallinn-2112816_960_720

I don’t know too much about Finland or Estonia and I don’t know what to expect once in Lapland, I don’t know how food and transport will be or the character of their people.

Any suggestion on what I should go and see, and where I can excurse once in Lapland. Anything I should look out for? Please do let me know

 

Photos

https://pixabay.com/en/helsinki-cathedral-lux-helsinki-1142357/
https://pixabay.com/en/tallinn-estonia-old-town-2112816/

Next Trip: Japan, the new and the old

My last overseas trip to South American  was somewhat of an eye opener. The terrain, nature, culture and infrastructure of both Peru and Brazil was amazing with so much learnt. After Peru and Brazil I travelled across the United Kingdom to Cardiff, Wales’s capital city. Cardiff had similarities to London (my home) but is developing with huge investments, hopping to be a striving tourist destination, especially for shopping. However now its time to go far again and I’m using my yearly trip to the Philippines (which is my second home) commencing this May 18th to venture to new places and excurse to a nearby Asian country. Whilst in the Philippines I’ll be staying in my home city of Quezon City but I plan to roam and visit places I have never been yet, however till now i don’t have a clue where yet.

One thing is for sure and that’s a confirmed trip around Japan. Knowing me I like to roam as many cities in a limited amount of time, just like in Peru and Brazil with a duration of 10 days and my ‘South France and Spain trip’ which took me only 5 days.

The Journey

The cities I will visit in Japan are Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto which should show me many of the old and new aspects of the country.

I will enter Japan through Tokyo  but will transit (flight) straight to Osaka where I will stay one night. This should give me enough time to visit places such as the ‘Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium’, Osaka Castle and other attractions in the city. I will then take either train or bus from Osaka to Kyoto where I will stay for 2 nights, giving me 3 days to roam. Kyoto which was once the capital city of Japan is famous for numerous Buddhist temples, imperial palaces and much more. I intend to visit many of its attractions and dine in their many traditional restaurants. After Kyoto I will head back to Osaka and fly straight to the capital Tokyo where I will spend a further night. I believe Tokyo will be the bustling modern city of Japan, one of the worlds most advanced in technology. Furthermore as an extra bonus I may see some of the sites for the Olympics due to commence in 2020.

Prefectures_of_Japan_grayhou

I expect Japan to be very technologically advanced but very intact with their history and ancient culture. Furthermore I’m guessing Kyoto to be very strong in traditional culture and religion, whilst Tokyo and Osaka being a modern metropolis with the most modern infrastructure. Finally I think Japan will be fast paced and one of the most expensive ive travelled.

 

 

Preparations for Machu Picchu

To visit Machu Picchu I believe careful planning is required as it is not as straight forward as visiting the likes of the Coliseum and Eifel tower. Remember the site is in a undeveloped rural area so various transports and hotels would be needed and you would require to plan a base city to travel from.

There are a few things you’ve got to consider before travelling to Machu Picchu, aspects such as weather, altitude, food, tickets, transport and many moreUntitled

Tickets- Before travelling to Machu Picchu it is advisable to pre-book your tickets as there are long queues and there is a restriction of the number of people they allow in the site. Furthermore if you wish to enter Huayna Picchu there is a limit of 400 people a day, 200 in the morning (07:00-11:00) and 200 in the afternoon (11:00-14:00) so reserving your ticket as soon as possible is highly advisable

Remember to print your tickets- Firstly you have to keep in mind Machu Picchu is a rural mountainous area and because of this there is little to no Wi-Fi or electronics so be sure to print your paper tickets and fully charge all your gadgets for your personal use.

Plan your hotel and transports- Remember the site is in a undeveloped rural area so various transports and hotels would be needed and you would require to plan a base city to travel from. Cusco city may be too far and complicated to travel from on the day (especially for tight schedules), so I believe either Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes to be a more desirable stay for ease of commute to Machu Picchu.

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Bring food and drinks- Machu Picchu is a whole days visit with long walks and tiring climbs so food and drinks are important. There is lots of restaurants at Aguas Calientes village however at the Machu Picchu site there is nothing for sale. I highly advise for each person to bring a big bottle of water and some nibbles as there is a lot of walking and it can get very hot at times.

Bring Cash and Passport- Another advice is to have plenty of cash as only a few establishments take credit card. Passports are also used for entrance to the site so it is equally as important to remember.

Prepare for Altitude- As Machu Picchu is 2,500 metres high, the air is thinner and oxygen less that normal, this could result in sickness and headaches. To prevent this I advise to climatise in one of the towns/ villages nearby first before going straight to Machu Picchu. However I also advise to be prepared bring Coca leaves to chew and for a tea, go to the pharmacy and ask for altitude sickness tablets.

Know the climate-  Lastly before travelling one of the most important fundamental to keep in mind is the climate. You have to remember that although Peru is known to be a hot dry country, Machu Picchu can be the opposite. As the site rises above the clouds you can imagine it being wet and sometimes cold so bringing a jacket and rain coat is advisable. Although the attire you bring should be good for both the climate but also for the activity ahead as there is plenty of walking and climbing.

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After taking these on-board then all you need to do is relax and enjoy the famous mountain attraction.

Next : Travelling to Machu Picchu

Next Trip: The Majestic South America

Its now 2018 and i’ve got more travel plans on the agenda, this year I’m looking for something new, somewhere I’ve never been, doing activities I have never done.

So my initial plans for this year are:

  • Lima/ Cusco/ Aguas Calientes (Peru)
  • Sao Paulo/ Rio De Janiero (Brazil)
  • Tokyo/Osaka(Japan)
  • Edinburgh (Scotland)
  • Marrakesh (Morocco)

And many more across the UK and the Philippines.

To start off this year (in March) I’ve got my first ever trip west from Europe and I have chosen ‘South America’ instead of the richer more developed ‘North America’. With only 7 days to spare from work, ill be visiting 2 different countries, 5 different cities and 2 of the ‘7 world wonders’.

The Journey

Firstly I fly to ‘Sao Paulo/ Brazil’ where ill spend a single day. I plan to visit the city’s Cathedral, Municipal Market and other attractions allowable within my time frame. I will then leave Sao Paulo for a short layover at ‘Lima’ in ‘Peru’ where I will arrive late night and only have a few hours till I leave early next morning for a 5am flight straight to ‘Cuzco’. I’ll probably stay at the airport due to it being late night and only having a few hours, not a problem as I will have plenty of time to roam Lima on my way back. ‘Cuzco’ will be my base for the next 4 days but will excurse to one of the world wonders ‘Machu Pichu’ whilst staying overnight at the nearest town ‘Aguas Calientes’ where I’ll have a whole day to roam the small town before heading back to Cuzco. After returning to base at ‘Cusco’ I plan to visiting many more attractions within the Inca trail including the ‘Moray’, ‘Sacsayhuaman’, ‘Coricancha’ and plenty more. I will then return to Lima for a longer period to roam around the capital, probably at the city’s central. Then to end the vacation its back to Brazil but this time into ‘Rio De Janiero’ the samba and carnival capital of the world where I will stay for 3 days. Here I am not sure what I’ll be doing but I will most definitely visit another of the world wonder in the ‘Christ the redeemer’ statue. Overall its somewhat of short boomerang trip.

South America trip

The Complications

There are a few potential problems in this trip, from my busy jam packed schedule, the hurdles of Peru’s undeveloped cities and Brazils reputable crime rate. My daily itinerary is so tight and busy that if I miss a single flight, it will ruin the following sector and mess up my whole schedule which could result in wasting valuable time, missed reservation and higher spending. Furthermore even with early planning I’m finding transport a little difficult in Peru where trains and buses seem less straight forward and find myself with a huge chance of getting lost. The two countries also speak very little English which will toughen my trip should I need assistance or enquiries. Another precaution of this trip is the altitude of ‘Cuzco’ and ‘Machu Pichu’ peaking at 2,430m which will probably be the highest I’ve ever been, hopefully altitude sickness is something I don’t get. Finally the main thing I’m cautious about is safety in the regions I’m visiting more so for Rio De Janiero, with the city being a metropolis for snatchers, pickpockets and robbers that sometimes carry weapons, the dangers loom and I’ll need to be vigilant.

So why am I going?

Apart from all the negatives and risks these two countries retain, they both have the most beautiful landscapes, attractions and culture in the world.

According to Lonely Planet’s 500 best places, Peru’s ‘Machu Picchu’ is 3rd behind only to the ‘Great Barrier Reef’ 2nd and the ‘Temples of Angkor’ in Cambodia winning the title of best place in the world. Brazils ‘Christ the Redeemer’ 170th and ‘Ipanema Beach’ is 440th. Visiting these places will just be a spectacular and an amazing experience the reason for taking this trip even with 7 days.

What I expect form this trip?

Well its not going to be a relaxing trip, that’s for sure!

In Peru I expect to experience new cultures, somewhat familiar to the influx of tourist but still hold ancient values some maybe influenced from the Inca empire. I expect to find tourism to be the breadwinner in Cuzco, so maybe people will be very welcoming but also aggressive on selling products, tours and food as it has been in many rural tourist spots I’ve visited in the past. However I hope to find new ways of life that I’ve never seen before and lastly to witness probably one of the most majestic villages left by the ancient world in ‘Machu Picchu‘. Lima would probably be a developing city, a metropolis of Hispanic influence.

Brazil is probably more livelier as I’m visiting two huge cities ‘Sao Paulo’ and ‘Rio De Janeiro’. I expect ‘Sao Paulo’ to be a busy business and industrial centre, whilst ‘Rio’ will be the messy but beautiful party and cultural region. I am aware of the dangers in Rio and although I wont ignore them, I will try and enjoy the city for what it is. In the country overall, I envisage to find a division between the rich and poor as shown in many movies, shows and documentaries.

South America will be very new to me and although the two countries can have influences and similarities to places such as Spain and Philippines, I expect to find a new side to Hispanic cultures.

Picture Credits:
Cover Photo
Machu Picchu -Lonely planet (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/peru/machu-picchu)
Christ the redeemer - https://wall.alphacoders.com/by_sub_category.php?id=210814&name=Christ+The+Redeemer+Wallpapers

Next stop ‘Milan and Lugano’

So another holiday coming up, in fact all holidays planned for the rest of the year are more or less confirmed. Next stop will be Italy with a quick visit to Switzerland. It is summer here in Europe so I’ve decided to enjoy the sun while it still lasts, however with only 3 days to dispose, I’ve opted for a short city break rather than a beach holiday. Out of all the places I was choosing from (Lisbon, Milan, Nice, Madrid, Nice and more) Milan stood out to be more desirable in terms of flight, budgets and other aspects. I was looking at places to go in Milan and although Duomo, other cathedrals and shopping are the highlights, a huge review to visit lake Como caught my attention. So I booked a day excursion to Lake Como which included a visit to ‘Lugano’ Switzerland, why not. Interestingly just like London, Milan has 2 main airports ‘Malpanesa’ and ‘Linata’ I didn’t know the pros and cons of each but I guess I’ll find out as ill be flying in to Malpanesa then flying back with from Linata. All in all the trip should be straight forward it’ll be more of city tours rather my usual adrenaline activities.

Confirmed Trips

Italy (Milan) – Switzerland (Lugano)                 11/08/17 – 13/08/17

Hong Kong – Vietnam – Singapore                      20/10/17 –  29/10/17

Expected Trips

Finland (Helsinki) – Estonia (Tallinn)               November 2017

Philippines – Malaysia                                          December 2017

On my shortlist

South Africa for shark diving

 

Image taken from topflight
https://www.topflight.ie/summer-sun/italy/lake_como

 

 

 

 

Could this be my most interesting trip yet?

Could this be my most interesting trip yet?

It might just be up there.

Ok so I’m going away for 1 week to 2 different countries, 5 Cities while I’m out there, about 8 long distance train rides and 4 different hotels, a few activities such as scuba diving and cycling however inevitably my main purpose for this trip, the world famous ‘SAN FERMIN FESTIVAL’.

Yep so it definitely looks like a jam packed 7 days, so I’m not classing as a holiday to relax and recharge. I usually go on short holidays to a single country and a single city at a time, however this time I’ve opted for something more.

I start my journey on Sunday 9th of January 2017, taking a flight from LHR (London Heathrow) to MRS (Marseille) where I will be based for 4 days. Within that 4 days I will be doing a cycling tour around Calanques, Scuba Diving and a visit to Montpellier.

Then using the trains make my way to Spain, Pamplona via Barcelona for the San Fermin festival. Now I don’t have a clue what’s going to happen in Pamplona, but I do ‘plan’ to run the bulls, depending on how I feel after watching it the day before and local advice of course. So whatever happens it’ll be interesting.

After Pamplona I head to Zaragoza where I will stay for 2 days,  I plan to visit Huesca and their Canyons (as I love Canyoning) but it all depends on my mood as I may be too tired or out of money at this point. I’ll try use Zaragoza as a bit of a charging point and relax before I head home. On my last day I leave Zaragoza in the morning and head to Barcelona for a little bit of shopping then head to the airport and fly home in the evening.

So standby and keep tuned to my blog page (sunandthreestars.blog) for the updates of this trip.