Paris (France)

Type : City Break
Best Date : April – June (Spring)
Expense :  Medium
Things to do : Shopping, Sightseeing
Points of Interest: Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triumph, Louvre, Notre Dam, Champs Elysees, Disney Land, Stade de Frances, Moulin Rouge

Brief

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France. It is one of Europe’s major and popular cities and is known to be the most romantic city in the world. Given the name by the founding people called the Parisii in the 3rd century “Paris” has grown to be one of Europe’s best city destination.

The Place

I have fond memories of Paris due to the fact that from all the places I have visited from rich and poor places, it is the only place I have managed to get robbed, in a crowded Mcdonald’s near the Arc de Triumph, police however were not that helpful, fulfilling the reputation that the French has of being unfriendly, but don’t let that deter you from going it is still a fabulous place to go. Paris again is a quick city break away from London, its cheaper for my travels and hotels aren’t too expensive, that’s why I come back again and again, for a quick chill out.

First of all Paris has a rich culture and the people are full of patriotism and pride with everything they do. Food and restaurants are particularly impressive, there are patisseries and cafes everywhere and they are all with a good standards.

The Eiffel Tower is known to be the main landmark of Paris, it is the iconic figure always shown in magazines, poster, books and television. The structure is amazing from far or from below the tower itself, if you want to go to the top, it offers some great views but a ticket is required, you can go up to the top floor or the 2nd floor, obviously top floor will be more expensive. There are huge crowds around the Eiffel Tower, but with crowds comes lots of thieves, unlicensed vendors and beggars which get very annoying as a tourist, however military and armed guards are always present around the vicinity so safety and security is at a sufficient level.

Another popular location for tourists is the Notre Dam of Paris, situated in a fabulous area next to a river this gothic medieval catholic church is 20160302_125540.jpganother highly rate place to visit whilst in Paris. Notre Dam Paris meaning our lady of Paris is also known for the fictional character ‘the hunchback of Notre Dam’.

The Arc de Triumph is known to be the most monumental of all around the world. It is visited by tourism for its beautiful detail which has been changed numerous times  due to political changes and struggles. The Arc itself centres a huge round about and the only way to reach the Arc is by going underground as there is no crossing, a ticket is also required if you would like to enter the Arc. The Champs Elysées which runs from ‘Charles de Gaulle’ where the Arc de Triumph is located to the ‘Place de la Concorde’ which is on of the largest squares in Paris. The Champs Elyséesis a huge shopping district for both locals and tourists, various restaurants, cafes, theatres also surround this area.

Transport

Getting There

Obviously air carriers are the most popular mode of transportation to get to Paris. However Paris like London, Tokyo and other huge cities, has two main airports Charles De Gaulle International Airport and Paris Orly Airport. Charles De Gaulle is often the more popular destination as it is closer and has more transport links to central Paris than Orly. Various carriers travel to Paris from London, with the likes of British Airways and Air France being the obvious popular  two. It only takes a maximum of 30-45 minutes should there be no delays.

Another popular way to get to Paris from London is the Eurostar, a high speed train that travels from central London (St pancreas) to central Paris (Gare Du Nord). It is a non stop 3 hour journey and has 14 journeys a day with economy costing in the region of £150 and business class costing £250 one way.

As Britain is just above France, holiday makers from Britain often drive to France through the Euro tunnel. If you don’t have a vehicle but want to travel on road, various coach services are also available. The National Express takes passengers from London Victoria to either Paris CDG or Galleini. The cost could be as cheap as £20 to £30 one way, very cheap but the downside is that it will take 7-9 hours.

In Paris

Paris use similar modes of transport as of London, the Metro or RER Réseau Express Régionale (Regional Express Network) are Paris’s equivalent of the London Underground and are very similar by approach. A one day travel card can be purchased from the many machines in nearly all the stations.  There are also busses and taxis however I mostly just used their Metro or RER as like in London many points of interests are not far from stations.

 

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Manila City

Type : City Break
Best Date : November – January
Expense :  Medium
Things to do : Sightseeing, Casino, Shopping
Points of Interest: Star City, SM mall of Asia, Ocean Park, Resorts Worlds, Rizal Park, Fort Santiago, Quiapo Church, Malacanang,

Brief

Manila is the capital city of the Philippines. It is one of the 17 cities within the Metro Manila region. It hosts the majority of Philippines cultural museum, malls, theme parks, convention centres and cathedrals.

The Place

For whatever reason if you want to experience Philippines city life, then Manila is best for it. Everything you would want to see, as a complete day is just around 15-30 minutes away from the airport. Whatever your plans are for Manila whether cultural, shopping, bars and clubs, theme parks, food and a more are all within one area, which is really good if you are just in a short transit. SM Mall of Asia alone may take all day to roam, it has all levels of shopping from low level, mid range and luxury budgets, restaurants and bars also vary from all sorts of budgets are also available. Bored!!! Cinemas, arcades, gyms and an ice-skating ring are found inside the mall for your leisure. However if money is low and a simple tour or walk is needed, then manila baywalk is just outside, this is a manmade bay which overlooks the west Philippine sea, beautiful to sit around and soak up the atmosphere and the sun. Other attractions neighbouring the Mall of Asia is the Ocean Park, Star City theme park, various museums and cathedrals an31954_397127005817_1152763_nd also the Rizal football pitch, again just minutes from the airport for transit passengers. However if you are planning to stay in Manila for a little longer, then this city hosts many festivals, shows, sports, concerts and large conventions so if you are in the correct place at the correct time you may want to stop by and watch a show. If casinos are your fascination, then there are 2 large and popular ones “Resorts World” and “Solaire” however be aware that you must be over 21 with ID, with no shorts and slippers and strictly no pictures as we found out the hard way (security will come, and make you delete any photos). Nonetheless Casinos are a good way to pass time, and “Resorts World” being right opposite the airport, is a good way to transit, or waste time if your too early for your flight or whatever reason.

Transport

Like the Metro Manila (Transport) page, Taxis are best advisable mode of transport. Manila is also very easy to get one, Taxi bays at the airport make it easier for arriving passengers, however I do advise to sort hotel transfers with your hotels as taxi drivers at the airport know how to take your money (they are the best at it). Taxi bays are also very presence in all the Malls and areas of interests, making it easier for a point to point transfer.

Buses are also present in Manila and they journey across to other regions of “Metro Manila,” however they do get very crowded in peak times and school holidays and weekends, so luggage’s and bags are not advisable. Buses also have no designated stops, they simply stop whenever you tell them to stop, this could confuse tourists. They are vey cheap though costing 15-50 pesos, 30p- 80p pence. If you as a tourist would like to use Buses to get around, it is best to do so with a local friend or someone familiar with the area, if you know any.

For tourism the Kalesa (horse carriage) is popular in Manila I’m not too sure in price but they are found in the monumental and bay area.

There is much more modes of transport in Manila,  however I advise tourists to be safe, and use hotel services, hotel pickups or tour transport as much as possible, yes it may be pricey but a place like Manila safety is priority. If there is no such services like that in your hotel then use taxis as much as possible, just be wary of cheat taxi drivers (always be clever) if something doesn’t seem right, ask the driver to stop and get out. However the majority of taxi drivers are safe friendly and even informative. I do believe if tourists want to use other modes of transportation, then do so with someone from around the area, someone who knows the street smarts. However if you are an experienced traveller in a place like Manila then traveling in public transport should be just like Bangkok and Jakarta.