Follow Love & Road By Natalie and Rob on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook


There is something special about traveling by train and seeing a new country passing by your window while you sip some tea or wine. Even better when the landscape is incredible India, a country packed with unique architecture and stunning beauty. During our 7 days on Palace on Wheels train, we saw the best of Rajasthan and visited the majestic Taj Mahal. We explored this intriguing part of India pampered by royal service, private tours, lovely staff and yummy food. After a week of living like Maharajas, it’s time to share our thoughts about this luxury train in India, so here goes our Palace on Wheels review.

Our Palace on Wheels review will be divided into 6 topics, so we can explain the whole experience. We’ll be talking about the Palace on Wheels route, attractions, tours, service on board and what is included in the price of the train journey. Plus some tips on how to plan a luxury train trip in India.

What is included on Palace on Wheels package?

The Palace on Wheels train tour is an all-inclusive trip, so from the moment you board on the train you don’t need to worry about anything anymore. Accommodation, food on board, tours, entrance fees to the touristic attractions, transfers from the train stations to the  attraction sites and back, lunch or dinner in the cities you will be visiting and a dedicated butler that will take care of you during the entire trip are all included in the Palace on Wheels price.

What really stands out is the fact that you don’t need to worry about how to visit the cities or attractions. As soon as you board on the train you will receive a Palace on Wheels pin and you must keep it with you at all times, this is the ticket you will need to show at the places you will visit in Rajasthan. You won’t need to queue, get paper tickets or book anything in advance, just show your Palace on Wheels pin and the doors will be open for you. On top of that, you’ll have a guide from the train plus a local guide with you all the time, and they do speak perfect English. If you need a toilet break, some water or food, just ask them and they will sort it out for you.

It’s a truly hassle free experience, you only need to bring your clothes and leave the rest for the Palace on Wheels team to look after. They even know what time you will need to wake up, and the wake up call will come accompanied by freshly brewed coffee or tea served in your cabin. It took us a couple of days to get used to so much attention and care, but now that the trip is finished I do miss O.P. and Pharad, our lovely stateroom attendants.

Palace on Wheels Accommodation Review 

The Palace on Wheels train will be your home for 7 days and they do provide everything you need for a comfy stay. The train is huge, it has a total of 39 Deluxe Cabins and 2 Super Deluxe Cabins, and you can choose between single or double occupancy. The train has a maximum capacity of 82 travelers and all cabins have a private bathroom, a small wardrobe, a coffee table, chairs and a butler to take care of you. We stayed in one of the Super Deluxe Cabins, with a huge double bed, working table and a spacious bathroom.

The train is fully air conditioned, the water in the shower is steamy hot and they offer internet connection, although the wifi is not reliable as the train travels through areas without 3G or 4G coverage. There are also two restaurants/bars on the train and an Ayurvedic Spa offering massages and treatments. If you feel like exercising you can use the treadmill or the stationary bike at the Palace on Wheels Spa.

The train is super comfortable, there is no doubt about it, but many travelers complained it was hard to sleep due to the noise and movement of the train. Most of the traveling is done overnight and I recommend taking some motion sickness pills just to help you relax and have a good night of sleep. Palace on Wheels tour is intense and you need to have a good night of sleep to face the full days of activities and tours in Rajasthan.

Another thing you must keep in mind is the Palace on Wheels interior décor. It’s considered a luxurious train and it has been nominated by PATWA as one of the Best Tourist Trains of the Year, but it’s completely different from the type of luxury we see in the western trains or hotels. Palace on Wheels is like a trip to the past, to the royal times of Rajasthan when the Maharajas and Maharanis used the train to travel across India. Colonial wooden furniture, draped pink curtains, fluffy colored rugs, silver cutlery and staff wearing the traditional Rajasthan turban… This is the type of luxury décor you will find on the train.

If you come to Palace on Wheels expecting to have a luxurious minimalist room, with modern art and impersonal staff, you will be disappointed. Palace on Wheels is the opposite, it’s warm, it’s vintage and it’s unique. We traveled on Palace on Wheels with other bloggers and we talked a lot about the “luxury train” denomination and for some people the train shouldn’t be called luxury. We disagree, it’s a very luxurious train, especially for Indian standards. We need to be honest on our Palace on Wheels review, so here goes a bunch of photos of the train, so you can see how comfy, vintage and uniquely beautiful it is.

Palace on Wheels Itinerary and Tours Review 

The Palace on Wheels route is the highlight of the trip. Comparing to other luxury trains in India, Palace on Wheels has the best itinerary for travelers who are visiting India or Rajasthan for the first time. It covers the famous Golden Triangle [Delhi, Jaipur and Agra] and adds a couple of other places that are worth visiting in Rajasthan but are overlooked by travelers due to the lack of time or for being hard to reach.

Because you are on a luxury train tour, you can do a lot in one week. If you had to travel by regular train, bus or even fly to the cities, you wouldn’t be able to visit as many places in 7 days. As the train mostly travels at night, every morning you wake up in a different destination and you don’t need to worry about checking in and out of hotels, packing, buying tickets to the attractions, buying food. The Palace on Wheels itinerary is a time saving option for those who want to see a lot in a week.

The cities and attractions visited during the Palace on Wheels tour are always the same throughout the year, but the order of places visited might change according to the weather, traffic or some festivities that might be happening during your trip.

  • Palace on Wheels Itinerary – Day 1

Palace on Wheels tour starts in New Delhi, at the Safdarjung Railway. Music, flowers and tons of smiles will welcome you at the station. After the check in all the guests are escorted to their cabins and at 6:30 pm the train departs. Dinner is served on board with a small ceremony talking about the history of the train and how the trip will be organized.

  • Palace on Wheels Itinerary – Day 2

Wake up early and be ready for a busy day. Elephants, dancers and musicians will welcome you at the station and from there a bus will take you to Jaipur. Our first stop was at Albert Hall Museum, a great introduction to the city’s architecture and life. Then we went to a gem factory and while some of the travelers stayed there watching the demonstration, we gathered a small group to wander around the neighborhood. Time for a delicious masala chai, street photography and to meet some locals.

Next stop was at impressive Amber Fort. The bus took us to the foot of the hill and from there you can go up by jeep or riding an elephant. Please, please, pretty please, don’t choose to go by elephant, those animals have suffered a lot to be domesticated and serve the tourists. If you have no idea about all the cruelty behind the elephant tourism please watch this video.

The jeep tour was great fun and we got to see the village around the fort. When we arrived at the top I couldn’t believe the size and the beauty of the fort and its walls. It’s magnificent! Take your time to walk around and discover more of its history by following the guide. Our lunch was at 1135 AD, a boutique restaurant that serves traditional recipes inside the fort.

After lunch we were headed to the famous pink city, in Jaipur we visited Hawa Mahal Palace [just a quick look from the outside], stopped at the UNESCO Heritage site Jantar Mantar and we finished our Jaipur tour at the City Palace. After a long day, the dinner was served on board and we were ready to sleep and travel to our next destination.

  • Palace on Wheels Itinerary – Day 3

Our 3rd day on Palace on Wheels started early, very early. The wake up call was at 5:30 am and at 6 am the group left to visit the Ranthambore National Park. The sanctuary is famous for its great nature and tigers, one of the highlights of Palace on Wheels itinerary. I was sick the entire night so I stayed on the train while Rob went on the safari. They saw beautiful birds, deers and a female tiger sleeping behind the trees. All the travelers were thrilled by the unique experience despite the cold weather they had to face during the safari.

After a couple of hours at the Ranthambore National Park everybody got back on the train for a proper breakfast, some rest and lunch. Around 10 am the train departed to our second destination of the day, Chittorgarh. At 4:30 pm the bus left the train station to visit the Chittorgarh Fort followed by a Light & Sound Show at the fort. As I was feeling unwell, Rob and I stayed on the train so I could recover for the next day.

  • Palace on Wheels Itinerary – Day 4

Our 4th day on Palace on Wheels was dedicated to Udaipur, the City of Lakes. We started our morning with an awesome tuk-tuk ride through the narrow streets of the city. Udaipur World Music Festival was happening that day and we had the chance to watch a morning concert by the beautiful lake. Next stop was at the Saheliyon-ki-Bari also known as the Garden for Maidens.

The third stop was at a local cooperative where artists work on the traditional micro painting and you can buy the beautiful paintings or other Indian souvenirs and clothes. After shopping it was time to visit the Udaipur City Palace, another impressive building. The city palace was packed with tourists, some of the travelers from the train followed the guide but Rob and I decided to have a nice coffee at the palace garden. Sometimes the best thing to do is to contemplate the beauty. Next stop was at Crystal Gallery, just beside the palace followed by a great lunch in one of the royal saloons. Food was delicious and the view of Lake Pichola was stunning.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Paris is always a good idea, especially if you are planning a romantic getaway. But many couples change their travel plans because of the prices of hotels in Paris. However, the most romantic hotels in Paris don’t always need to be the most expensive ones. In fact, we just discovered that you can book a romantic hotel in Paris with 56% discount.  

During our 4 years of full time traveling, accommodation has been one of our biggest expenses. So when we got invited to test a booking platform that offers discounts on hotels, of course we said yes. Nustay is a members-only booking platform that claims to offer up to 72% discount on hotel rates and they have over 1.2 million hotels worldwide listed on their website.

We have been to Paris four times already and we are planning on visiting the city of lights this year again, but before booking our flights to Paris we started playing on Nustay’s website to see if we could find a good hotel deal. Paris is the ultimate romantic destination and I was expecting to find only a few hotel deals with a maximum of 3 or 5% discount. Well, it turned out I was wrong, so wrong that I decided to turn this website testing into a comprehensive guide to help you save on your next hotel booking in Paris.

So take a sit, bookmark this post and read it carefully. We’re gonna give you a list of romantic hotels in Paris with discounts that go up to 56% compared to the prices we found on the other booking platforms.

The most romantic hotels in Paris with up to 56% discount

The first thing we did was register to Nustay and filled out our profile [we’re gonna talk about setting up your Nustay profile later on]. Then we asked the platform to give us the best match for romantic hotels in Paris and we filtered the results by discount. That was the moment Nustay surprised me, a 56% discount on a romantic hotel in Paris was too good to be true!  

  • Hotel: Villa Beaumarchais

Villa Beaumarchais was a great find. This 4 star hotel is located in the super trendy Marais, a charming neighborhood packed with impressive architecture, local restaurants, culture and art. The hotel is a Parisiense Villa with a winter garden, traditional French décor and great reviews. Not to mention that Notre Dame Cathedral and Center Pompidou are less than 2 km away and the magnificent Louvre Museum is only 3 metro stations away from the hotel.

Now comes the best part of it, the price for booking Villa Beaumarchais Hotel on Nustay is 56% cheaper than the other booking platforms. Check this out:

  • 2 nights at Villa Beaumarchais – from March 2nd to 4th.
  • Standard Double room
  • Prices including taxes and fees
Nustay Price: € 300.00 – 56% Discount on Nustay

To check if this discount was real we searched for the same room, on the same dates on three other booking platforms: Booking.com, Hotels.com and Expedia. Surprisingly they all had the same more expensive room rate.

Booking.com Price: € 684.00

Hotels.com Price: € 684.00

Expedia Price: € 684.00

Ok, Nustay beat the price of the three booking platforms, but I wasn’t convinced yet. So I decided to check the hotel website to compare the price of the direct booking versus Nustay, and again I found a price that was more than double.

Villa Beaumarchais website: € 684.00

I was sold! In less than an hour of searching, we found out that some of the most romantic hotels in Paris can be booked through deals that give you up to 56% discount. So we kept searching and found out other 4 amazing hotel deals in Paris to share with you. The price for them all are based on the same dates (2 nights – March 2nd to 4th ) in a standard double room, taxes included.

  • Regina Hotel:

A 5 star hotel located besides Louvre Museum with excellent reviews

Nustay Price: € 789.00

Discount: 42% compared to the market price, save € 594 when booking a two-night stay.

  • Napoleon Hotel:

A 5 star hotel located near the Arc de Triomphe with fabulous reviews

Nustay Price: € 385

Discount: 41% compared to the market price, save € 272 when booking a two-night stay.

  • Best Western Allegro Nation:

A 4 star hotel located a bit far from the city center with reviews considering it a good value for money.

Nustay Price: € 210

Discount: 40% compared to the market price, save € 146 when booking a two-night stay.

  • Hotel Plaza Athenee:

A 5 star hotel located in the heart of Paris, close to the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Grand Palais, its reviews are superb.

Nustay Price: € 1,889

Discount: 40% compared to the market price, save € 1,286 when booking a two-night stay.

For more incredible discounts on Nustay – Register Here

How can you find the best hotels discounts on Nustay?

We proved that Nustay has the best deals for romantic hotels in Paris and just to make sure it really works, we also tested for other destinations like The Maldives and Amsterdam. Places that we are planning on visiting this year. But to get the best hotel deals at Nustay there are four important things you need to consider:

1st) You must sign up to Nustay

To have access to the hotel deals you need to be a member of the site and it is free, easy and fast to sign up. I signed up using my Facebook account and in seconds I was in. No need for a credit card number, address, blood type or any personal information.

Register here for the best hotel discounts on Nustay > 1.2 million hotels worldwide

2nd) You must fill out your profile

It took me 5 minutes to link all my social accounts, fill the profile out and get it set with my traveling preferences and taste. With an accurate profile Nustay can offer you tailor-made deals, so if you type in the search for romantic hotels in Paris they already know if you are more interested on good breakfast, a hotel with great amenities, good location or a pool, the results will be personalized. So after filling your profile out, the result of your search for the most romantic hotels in Paris with the best discounts might be different than mine.

3rd) You must wait for Nustay website to load before scrolling down to the hotel deals

Nustay combines information across the web and their database has over 1.2 million hotels, so it takes a couple of seconds to load all the deals. Wait, it’s worth it!

4th) You might need to check the hotel website for more information

Nustay has a huge database with hotels and prices, but it doesn’t have a great description of all the hotels and their rooms. While searching for the best deals on romantic hotels in Paris we needed to check the hotels’ websites to get all the information about the properties, but that’s also a good way of quickly comparing the rates.

Check out Nustay’s amazing discounts and get access to hotels deals worldwide 

So how does Nustay work?

By now you are probably curious about how Nustay manages to offer such great discounts. Well, I will try to explain it in a simple way:

  • Nustay is a Danish startup founded in 2015 by a small team. Most of its operations are based on big data rather than people, making their operational costs lower than the other booking websites.
  • All the magic happens based on the information you give to Nustay. If you fill your profile out completely they can offer you a custom hotel match with great discounts, so most of the searches will end up in a successful hotel booking.
  • If you book a hotel on Nustay with a good discount and you enjoy the stay, they believe you are more likely to recommend the website and hotel to your family and friends. Which means more business for the website and for the hoteliers. Less profit in one booking can lead to more bookings and customers.    
  • Nustay is a members-only booking platform and because of this, they can get better discounts for the hotels. The hotel discounts will be shown for a small group of people through a tailor-made match, it won’t be open to everyone on the internet.
  • Most of the hotels are luxury 5, 4 or 3 star properties, so they can work on the prices to offer great deals.
Final thoughts about Nustay booking website

We not only enjoyed the great discounts on top hotels in Paris, we also enjoyed the search itself. Nustay is a fantastic website and has a lot of potential, it still needs to get better on the loading speed and gathering more information about the properties. But it’s a time-saving booking tool as it offers hotel deals matching your style of traveling. This helps a lot when you are planning a trip to a new destination or a place like Paris that has an overwhelming amount of hotels.

We became a part of the #NustayExplores and we’re gonna use the website to search for accommodation for all our future travels. Even a 5% discount is a money saving deal, especially in expensive destinations like The Maldives, London or Paris. Another positive aspect is that all the prices shown on Nustay include taxes and fees, so no surprises when paying your reservation.

Now it’s your time, sign up for Nustay and find romantic hotels in Paris that match your style and budget. Don’t forget to read our guide to romantic things to do in Paris and if you are a sports enthusiast like us, plan your romantic trip during the Paris Marathon and you will get to have twice as much fun.

Sign up to Nustay Personalised Deals in Paris and Around The World. 

Love this post? Pin it for later!!

The post Up to 56% Discount on The Most Romantic Hotels in Paris: We Tested Nustay and Love It appeared first on Love & Road.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
When you think of Antarctica you likely think of a barren wasteland, filled with snow and ice and without much life. This is the image that most people have of it, but it isn’t entirely correct. As one of the seven continents, it actually has a lot more diversity than you would think of and it’s becoming a trendy destination for adventurous travelers.

Covering over 5,400,000 miles, it holds a number of fascinating features and it is more accessible than most people would think, although it’s still expensive. Getting to know that people live there year round and that there is actually native vegetation there is likely shocking to most people.

Here are five of the most interesting facts about the southernmost continent in the world to show you how beautiful and diverse Antarctica is.

1. Antarctica has actually lots of fresh water

While most people know this continent is surrounded by the ocean, they don’t know that it actually holds around 60% of the freshwater on Earth. However, this doesn’t mean that it is accessible, as most of is frozen throughout the year.  

However, stations that have been built by humans can actually melt the ice down, creating holes and lakes used by humans and non-humans. Once the water has been melted, it is usually placed back into the holes or lakes, making them larger, before going to heated storage tanks that provide easy access to anyone at these research stations. There is also a dam near Macquarie station that feeds its tanks with fresh water. They even employ plumbers and tank cleaners that live in the Antarctic full time!

2. Antarctica is actually a desert

When we think of a desert, we usually think of the Sahara desert, the sandy, barren and hot desert of Africa. However, the Antarctic is also considered a desert because of the lack of rainfalls in the area.

A desert is any area that gets less than 10 inches of rain per year. Antarctica gets 2 inches or less each year, making it one of the driest deserts in terms of precipitation. However, the permanent layers of ice and snow, as well as the fact it’s surrounded by oceans make it less arid and barren than the other deserts in the world.

3. Antarctica has a marathon held on its shores

It might sound a bit strange when someone says they have run a marathon in all seven continents, but there is a good chance they are saying the truth.

Every December the Antarctic Ice Marathon is held in Antarctica, about 100 miles inland. This marathon is the only footrace held in this continent, but not the only race. The marked course is almost 27 miles of length, the temperatures average around minus 20 degrees Celsius and it takes approximately 3 days to be completed, that’s including the time to fly to and from the race course. The actual running is done over the course of a single day, during which a half marathon is also held. Contestants are housed together, provided with food and water, and the entry price even covers the flight to and from Chile. Usually, Chile is the start point for tourist expeditions to Antarctica.

4. Antarctica has active volcanoes beneath the surface

Volcanoes are generally thought to be in extremely hot places which wouldn’t generally allow for giant sheets of ice to be over them, but Antarctica actually has at least 138 different volcanoes underneath the ice. Out of these volcanoes, only two are currently active – Mouth Erebus and Deception Island, but the majority of them still have the potential to reactivate. Mount Erebus has actually a boiling lava lake but it is also covered by glaciers. If you were not told they were there, you wouldn’t  believe the area had so many volcanoes.

Antarctica hides so many amazing things and there is so much left to be discovered as well, but due to the extremely low temperatures in this continent, there is a very limited time frame for research to be made each year, which is already enough for plenty to be discovered. With extra funding and technologies such as drones, solar batteries, and improved thermal clothing, we can only expect to learn more and more about it in the years to come.

5. Antarctica has a “blood” red waterfall

While you don’t usually think there is running water in the southern continent, there is actually a waterfall that is not only flowing for the majority of the year but it also looks like it is made out of blood.

The coloration of its water has actually stained the ice and the rocks around the fall, making the area appear to be permanently bathed in red. This striking sight is caused by the oxidation of iron in the saltwater, a similar phenomenon to the orange or red color resulted by rusting. The high levels of iron and salt are actually the reason why the water is able to flow rather than freeze as well.

Traveling in Antarctica is developing quickly as well. In the past years, the number of tourist expeditions to the ice continent has increased considerably. It’s not an easy or cheap trip, but definitely an adventure of a lifetime. While you can’t make it to the southernmost continent, you can satisfy your desire for a freezing adventure by traveling to Iceland or searching for the Northern Lights in Rovaniemi, Finland.

The post 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Antarctica appeared first on Love & Road.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
If you’re planning a trip to Italy in the near future, Rome, Venice and Florence are three cities you absolutely must visit. There are some unique reasons to visit these incredibly beautiful cities: the fascinating history of Rome, the gorgeous canals of Venice and the Renaissance art of Florence, not to mention the delicious Italian food you’re gonna find in all of them.

Let’s take a look at a few of each city’s top attractions and check out what makes them so special and worth combining the three of them on a great Italian tour.

Impressive Rome

The Colosseum: Rome is famous for its history as one of the greatest empires that has ever existed. What better place to experience all this history than the Colosseum itself? Once, this was the site of bloody battles and chariot races. Today, it’s a major tourist attraction and even though it hasn’t been used for centuries, the structure is mostly intact. This is a must-see for anyone who appreciates history.

The Sistine Chapel: you can find the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, which is located in Rome. Widely considered one of the greatest artistic achievements in human history, the Sistine Chapel is something every art lover deserves to see. Along with its famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo, the Sistine Chapel also contains brilliant frescoes made by artists such as Botticelli and Ghirlandaio. Visiting this Chapel is a once in a lifetime opportunity and you don’t want to miss it.

The Pantheon: originally built as a place to worship the Roman gods, the Pantheon dates back 120 AD. It was also the largest dome in the world for many centuries and a burial place for many Roman kings. Because it’s been used for various purposes throughout history, it’s one of the best preserved buildings of Ancient Rome.

Romantic Venice

Saint Mark’s Square: one of the best places to start your adventures in Venice is in Saint Mark’s Square. This famous piazza has been the site of many important historical events. From here, you can find your way to many of Venice’s top attractions, including Saint Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace. It’s also a wonderful place to simply get lost and wander around. As it’s a site that holds so many beautiful works of architecture it can keep you entertained for hours.

Saint Mark’s Basilica: Saint Mark’s Basilica is one of the most famous religious buildings in Italy and it’s also one of the most visited attractions in Venice. If you’ve ever wanted to see some Byzantine architecture up close, this is the most perfect example of it. Besides being a beautiful work of architecture itself, the church also contains many fantastic works of art which includes over 8,000 square meters of mosaics, a truly magnificent site that you can’t afford to miss.

The Grand Canal: as you probably know, the city of Venice is made of hundreds of canals and the Grand Canal is the largest one. This massive waterway stretches from one side of the city to the other and before you leave Venice, you should go on a ride down the canal on a gondola. This is a marvelous way to see the city, and it’s a ride unlike anything else you’ll see anywhere. As you go down the Grand Canal, you’ll pass by nearly 200 buildings, some of which have been around for centuries.

Artistic Florence

Duomo di Firenze: the Duomo is one of Florence’s most iconic landmarks. The construction took 140 years to be completed and it is a truly breathtaking sight to behold. The interior, as a contrast, is surprisingly sparse but still worth seeing, it holds frescoes by Vasari and Zuccari. There are also 44 stained glass windows and on top of all this, you can go up the cathedral’s famous dome. This is will give you an indescribably beautiful view of the gorgeous city of Florence.

The Uffizi Gallery: the Uffizi Gallery is one of the world’s first modern museums. To this day, it’s one of the most famous and most visited museums in the world. It’s well-known for its collections of priceless Renaissance art. Some of these include The Birth of Venus by Botticelli, Bacchus by Caravaggio, and Madonna of the Goldfinch by Raphael. Of course, the Uffizi isn’t limited to just the Renaissance. It also contains works from Ancient Greece all the way to the 18th century. It’s a truly magnificent museum and something art lovers have to see.

The Accademia Gallery: for those of you who can’t get enough of Renaissance art, you should also check out the Accademia Gallery. This museum is famous for being the home of Michelangelo’s David, which is possibly his greatest work. It also contains many of his other sculptures, including the harrowing Prigioni. There you can also find paintings by other Renaissance artists such as Botticelli, Lippi and Ghirlandaio.

Of course, this is only a small sample of what makes Rome, Venice and Florence unforgettable cities. Start planning your Eurotrip today and see for yourself what makes them must-see destinations in Italy and in Europe.

The post 3 Cities You Can’t Miss in Italy: Rome, Venice and Florence appeared first on Love & Road.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

My legs were tired. The rain kept the heat away but made the 12 km ride uphill more dangerous and challenging. It was our fourth day cycling in Taiwan, the hardest and the most beautiful one. I wasn’t sure if Nat and I would be able to cycle Taiwan’s east coast and if we would survive the 4 days of full cycling, but we did it and it was an adventure of a lifetime.

Taiwan is famous for exporting bikes all over the world. While the bikes leave the island to the streets of Asia, Europe and America, every year more and more people are traveling to Taiwan for cycling. Taiwan is a cycling paradise attracting professional and amateur cyclists from all around the globe. Cycling in Taiwan is a mix of adventures, stunning nature, local experiences and fun, perfect ingredients for an unforgettable trip.

What makes cycling in Taiwan such an incredible experience?

The answer is simple: biking in Taiwan is a serious business. They even have a festival to celebrate their bike culture, the Taiwan Cycling Festival that happens in November. The Formosa 900 is the biggest event during the cycling festival, a 9 days cycling tour around the island covering a distance of 900 km.

Well, Taiwanese people love to cycle and there are many cycling routes in the country. The roads are safe, there are many cycling lanes and the drivers do respect the cyclists. The nature in Taiwan is stunning and you can cycle from easy to challenging routes.  

Taiwan produces great bikes, from urban models to mountain bikes and speed bikes, and you can easily rent them from point A and return them to point B. If you are planning a cycling holiday in Taiwan there is no need to travel with your own bike.

You’ll never be alone when cycling in Taiwan, there is a big sense of community among the Taiwanese cyclists and if you need help they will be there for you. Plus, all the police stations along the roads are officially bike aid stations, so if you need to rest, to use the toilet , to fix your bike or ask for directions, stop at the police station and you will be in good hands. Not to mention the endless amount of 7-11 shops that you will find along Taiwan’s cycling routes. These convenience shops are a safe harbor where you can buy cold & hot drinks, warm soups, sandwiches, coffees or even rest in the aircon and use the toilets.

Photo by Shin Yeo

You can cycle around Taiwan by yourself, in a group or on a guided tour. Our Taiwan bike adventure was in a group of 13 people from all around the world with the same target: cycling Taiwan’s east coast and having fun while doing it. The group was a great mix, four of us were really good cyclists, a couple of us had no previous experience and the rest of the team were all good cyclists. And  that was ok, because at the end of the day what really mattered was our passion for having a good time and for pushing our limits. If you have never cycled long distances before I recommend you to go on a cycling tour in Taiwan.

Now we’re gonna break our four days biking in Taiwan down to help you plan your cycling itinerary. It will be divided into daily routes with starting and ending points, the distances we cycled and our perception about the cycling trip.

Photo by Shin Yeo

Cycling in Taiwan east coast: itinerary and tips

Our Taiwan cycling itinerary started at Hualien, inside the Taroko National Park and ended at Checheng town. The Taiwan east coast route is the most famous one and offers amazing landscapes, great cycling experiences and you can have a taste of the local life. The west coast is where the big cities, the big ports and industries are. For us, it was like two different countries in the same island, one busy and modern and the other calm, raw and packed with friendly locals.

Our Taiwan cycling itinerary started at Hualien, inside Taroko National Park and it ended in  Checheng town. Taiwan’s east coast route is the most famous one and it offers amazing landscapes, great cycling experiences and you can have a taste of the local life. The west coast is where the big cities, the big ports and industries are. For us, it felt like there were two different countries on the same island, a  busy and modern one and a calm, raw and packed with friendly locals one.

  • Cycling in Taiwan’s east coast day 1:

Cycling from Taroko National Park to Fenglin Township, Hualien County

Distance: 67 km

We started our Taiwan cycling tour in Taipei where we got the train to Hualien to meet our guides and to get our bikes. There are trains departing from Taipei to Hualien every hour and you can board them with your bike. From Hualien Train Station we hopped on a bus to reach  Taroko National Park. A traffic jam due to road renovations delayed our arrival at the starting point and our team had only a few minutes to prepare the bikes and start cycling before the road was open for the cars again.

Expectations and anxiety built up and we were off to 10km downhill through the stunning landscape of Taroko Gorge. The sharp curves and the traffic added an extra challenge to this ride, I enjoyed it a lot but I was a bit worried about Nat. She was not used to cycling on busy roads, actually she wasn’t used to cycling long distances at all. The photo breaks were great for  admiring the stunning nature and also for Nat to catch her breath up.

Exiting the park we cycled for about 17 km on flat roads to reach Xincheng Township where we would have lunch, the heat was killing us. Seafood for me, vegetarian dishes for Nat, aircon and a cold tea put us back into shape for the second half of the day.

The route from Xincheng Township to Fengling Township included a 23 km long easy ascend, followed by a 10km descend and finished with 7 more km up. On the way we crossed villages, rice fields and the beautiful Lyu Lake. Luckily the sun wasn’t that strong so the heat didn’t drain us that much. We reached our hotel at night time, tired and starving. It was time for a shower, dinner and chatting with the group about our first day.

We had a support car following our group and two guides cycling with us all the time, one leading the squad  and the other following behind making sure everybody was still alive. Every hour or so we stopped for photos, drinks, resting or to get the squad back  together. Nat was the first one to get a flat tire which was promptly replaced by our support team. On the first day, we revealed our addiction by stopping several times at 7-11 shops to get iced coffees. By the end of the cycling trip, we were not the only ones.

Book your hotel in Fenglin Township: Booking.com – Hotels.com – Agoda

Cycling in Taiwan’s east coast day 2:

Cycling from Fenglin Township to Chishang Township, Taitung County

Distance: 99 km

After a good night of sleep and a replenishing breakfast we were ready for our second day cycling in Taiwan’s east coast. The morning ride was supposed to be an easy one, about 50 km of which 7 were ascending until our lunch break. The route was easy, the issue again was the heat. The sun was terrible, Nat needed to stop for a while in the shade to cool down. The bright side is that we cycled by tea plantations with beautiful mountains along the road.  

Photo by Shin Yeo

The afternoon was reserved for one of the most beautiful cycling paths I’ve ever been to, Yufu Cycling Pathway. Built over a former railway track it crossed lush green rice fields with impressive mountains in the background. And on our way to Chishang we saw vast pineapple, noni, sugar cane and dragon fruit fields.

The second day was easier than the previous one, I even went for a 5 km run after cycling 99 km.

Book your hotel in Chishang Township: Booking.com – Hotels.com – Agoda

Cycling in Taiwan’s east coast day 3:

Cycling from Chishang Township to Taimali Township, Taitung County

Distance: 99 km

Not sure if the run on the previous day was a good idea, my legs were really sore on day 3. While Nat was feeling 100%, I was complaining at breakfast, not much excitement that morning. The weather forecast for our 3rd day biking in Taiwan wasn’t good and we left the hotel under the rain.

All the beautiful rice fields we had seen before became average after cycling along the rice fields in Chishang. Opulent mountains on both sides of the valley, narrow roads and green rice fields as far as the eyes could see. Even with the rain, the place was outstanding. This was in the beginning of our journey that day and such a beautiful landscape put everybody in a good mood.

Our journey was about to change sceneries, from valleys to rolling hills with sea view. The views were fantastic but there was a drawback, part of the road was under construction, so we needed to share our space with cars and big trucks while cycling up the big hills. The rain followed us almost the whole day, at least on our third day cycling in Taiwan we didn’t suffer from the heat.

Book your hotel in Taimali Township: Booking.com – Hotels.com – Agoda

Cycling in Taiwan’s east coast day 4:

Cycling from Taimali Township to Checheng Township, Pingtung County

Distance: 81 km

They saved the best for last. Our fourth day cycling the east coast of Taiwan was the most scenic, challenging and rewarding one. The first 30 km we cycled by rolling hills along the coast and for about 1 hour we could see a storm approaching the shores of Taiwan and once again the rain was our companion. No complains as the rain kept the heat away and the big waves crashing on the shore were beautiful. That was the scenic part of our cycling itinerary.

Then the biggest challenge of our Taiwan’s cycling trip started: 12km uphill to reach Souka Bike Station which was 460 meters above sea level. To be honest it went better than I expected, not easier but better. The countless curves and the traffic added an extra challenge to it. It took us about one hour to cover the distance and at Souka Bike Station there were dozens of bikers, a proof that Taiwan breathes cycling. Yes, that was the challenging part of the day.

Photo by Shin Yeo

Our lunch was 11km downhill from Souka Bike Station. I was so happy to hear these 2 words: lunch and downhill. The 11km downhill were pleasant but required a lot of attention as the road was quite narrow and there was some traffic. The food at Maljipa Aboriginal Restaurant was outstanding, my favorite restaurant of the trip. They served aboriginal food prepared with fresh ingredients and served in a simple way , we loved it.

In the afternoon we cycled 28 km to reach Taiwan’s west coast. We couldn’t believe that our cycling trip in Taiwan was about to end. This was an easy and enjoyable ride, we chatted with the group, stopped for more photos and of course, for more iced..

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Planning a trip to Phuket, Thailand? We got you covered! After our 4th trip to this beautiful Thai island we have some good tips to share with you and the first one is: stay in Karon Beach! There are so many great things to do in Karon Beach that your summer days will be packed with nature, fun, good food and stunning views.

For us Karon Beach is special, it offers a good mix of gorgeous nature and great infrastructure, including many good hotels, restaurants and shops. During our last trip to Phuket, Rob raced the Ironman 70.3 Thailand [triathlon competition] and after the race we spent a couple of days in Karon Beach. It was our little heaven on Earth. To convince you that Karon Beach is one of the perfect places to stay in Phuket, here it goes our list of top 10 things to do in Karon Beach that will make you book your flights to Phuket now!

10 Best Things to do in Karon Beach, Phuket 1- Stay in a top hotel that won’t cost you a fortune!

Everybody knows Thailand is a great travel destination for both budget and luxury travelers. But on Phuket, especially in Karon Beach, accommodation can be cheaper than you imagine. The best hotels in Karon Beach cost a fraction of similar hotels in Europe or the USA, making this beach a good summer destination for any traveler of any budget.

Among all the great hotels in Karon Beach we stayed at Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa and it was spot on! The beach in front of the resort is beautiful and the hotel offers everything you need for an awesome holiday, making it hard to leave the room or the pool area. We stayed in the Superior Plunge Pool, a spacious room with a contemporary design that connects you with nature. The pool is a few steps from your bed and it’s an invitation to relax, perfect for couples. If you are planning a romantic trip to Thailand check their Phuket Honeymoon Package.

Novotel Phuket Karon is one of the best places to stay in Karon Beach. It’s a complete resort with great restaurants, delicious breakfast, gym, two big pools, one pool for the kids, spa and a rooftop bar. Not to mention all the activities, the themed dinners and the pool bar with great happy hour offers. After our stay, Novotel Karon made to our list of the best Phuket Resorts.

Book your room at Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa:


2 – Enjoy the Beach as much as you can!

One of the best things to do in Karon Beach is to enjoy the beach! But what makes this little paradise so special is that Karon Beach has a vast infrastructure, it’s quite urban yet you don’t have the feeling you are too close to the city.

The beach is surrounded by trees and plenty of grass. When you are sunbathing you don’t hear the sound of the cars, only the waves crashing on the sand. As you arrive at the beach you will find rental chairs and umbrellas, drinks and massage stalls. And they are not as pushy as in Patong Beach, in Karon even the locals are more relaxed.

Karon Beach is long but walkable both over the sand or the sidewalk along the beach. The north end of the beach is quieter than the south one, where you can watch the sunset in a bar on the rocks.

Karon Beach is perfect for families with kids. There are plenty of activities and things for them to do in Karon Beach from little kids to teenagers. Plus, you don’t need to rent a motorbike, neither get a taxi to enjoy Karon Beach, everything is close and you can explore the beach area on foot.

3 – Water Sports in Karon Beach is a must

From swimming in the crystal clear water to flying over the sea, there are many things to do in Karon Beach for those who love being in the water.

In Karon Beach you can go parasailing, paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling or just floating on an inflatable bed. The sea is calm, the water is clear and there many stalls renting out all the water sports gears you will need for the fun. Snorkeling is our favorite Karon Beach activity and for us the best place to do it is in the south end of the beach where you can swim close to rocks. If you want to go deep, book a diving session in one of the dive shops located in front of the beach.

4 – Indulge yourself with heavenly massages

A trip to Thailand is not complete without a good massage, but don’t go for an ordinary one, pamper yourself with some proper spa time and leave the room willing more.

We went for a couple’s massage at the In Balance Spa and it was superb. I’m very sensitive to the traditional Thai massage so we chose an aromatherapy oil massage, one hour of pure relaxation. They have a great menu with all types of massages, facial and body therapies, pick one or two and enjoy it!

5 – Karon is much more than a beach

Take a break from the beach and go explore the streets of Karon. There are plenty of things to do in Karon Beach that are perfect for those cloudy days. What about visiting the traditional and beautiful Karon Temple? Or maybe go shopping for new clothes and fresh fruits at the Karon night market?

The Karon Temple Market is open every Tuesday and Saturday from late afternoon until midnight. It’s a good place to try street food, eat bugs and buy souvenirs. The temple itself opens daily and you can walk around and enjoy the peaceful surroundings any time of the day.

The Karon Beach shopping area stretches along the two main streets, the beach front road and Patak Road that runs parallel to the beach road. On the beach road you can find many restaurants and all kinds of shops. Patak Road is where the locals go, it has a wide range of shops, massage parlors, restaurants, banks and travel agencies.

Karon Beach nightlife will not disappoint the travelers who want to have some fun. In front of the beach there are pubs and restaurants with live music and on Patak Road, just before Karon Temple you can find snooker bars and cheap drinks.

6 – Go on a tour to Phuket Town for a cultural day

Phuket town is one of the top places to visit on the Island and you can do it as a day trip from Karon Beach. To avoid all the hassle to book our transportation from Karon to Phuket town, and to understand more about the history of the island, we joined a private tour with TakeMeTour. Even though it was our 4th time on the island we chose a local guide to discover Phuket Town in a different way.

There are many things to do in Phuket Town and I’m glad our Local Expert convinced us to wake up at 5 am to watch the sunrise. We went to a park in Phuket Town full of locals cycling, running, jogging or only appreciating nature’s spectacle. No tourists around, only us mesmerized by the beauty of the sunrise and the hard work of the local fishermen catching shrimps and crabs.

After filling our souls up with a beautiful sunrise, it was time to fill our stomachs with delicious Thai food. Better than that, traditional Southern Thai breakfast. Think about aromatic curries, fish cakes, rice noodles, eggs, fresh vegetables and Thai tea. God, I could eat that every day!

With a full belly and smiles on our faces, we started our walking tour in Phuket town. We walked by temples, fresh markets, super cute cafes, shops and a well preserved Sino-Portuguese architecture that are perfect for Instagram shots. It was so good to have a Local Expert with us, he explained everything about the places, the traditions and the food. Knowing that it was our 4th time on Phuket him and his father [our super funny driver] took us to some amazing viewpoints we had never visited before.  

Watch our video and discover how is Perfect Day in Phuket, Thailand!
A perfect day in Phuket, Thailand: Culture, Food, Nature & Fun - YouTube

If you are traveling to Phuket or anywhere in Thailand, I recommend you to take a look at TakeMeTour Day Trips. They are a Thai startup that connects travelers with local people who can show you a different and unique side of the country. They are not a tourism agency offering group tours and boring guides. All the trips and experiences can be personalized, before going on a tour you talk with the Local Expert and plan the trip. And during the tour you feel like you have a local friend with you, not a guide.

The tour we went on is called “A Touch of Phuket living & nature”, you get to know Phuket town and visit some of the most beautiful viewpoints on the island. Click on the name of the tour to know more about it!

There are many great day tours from Karon Beach, you can go on day trips to other beaches in Phuket or to other islands around. The are plenty of options and they do pick you up at the hotel in Karon Beach, so you don’t need to worry about anything.

Choose your favorite tour from Karon Beach and book your day trip here!

7 – Viewpoints to die for

Prepare yourself for amazing views of Karon and the beaches around it. Karon Beach is on the way to the Big Buddha, a huge statue that you can see from almost every part of the island, and from where you can have a 360º view of Phuket. Take a taxi, a tuk-tuk or even venture yourself driving up there, the view from the Big Buddha is stunning. Don’t forget to take a jacket or a scarf with you, women need to cover their shoulders to get in the temple.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Photo by Evoflash

There are a lot of places on my bucket list and many of them have ended up there after I’ve watched a movie that  featured  the location. This is what happen with Kefalonia in Greece, which is my latest addition.It’s an amazing destination that was featured in the movie Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. If you are looking for some travel inspiration check out this list of film locations and here are 5 reasons why you should visit Kefalonia on your next summer trip.
  1. Exciting history

There are a lot of great things to do in Kefalonia and some of the most interesting ones are visiting the archeological sites that can be found on the island. With its history   dating back thousands of years it is no surprise that Greece and its beautiful islands have amazing archaeological attractions.

One of the best sites is the ancient city of Sami near the modern city of Sami. The site was  mentioned in the writings of Homer  and it boasts ruins from the Hellenistic period, Roman occupations, and every historical period until the present moment. With the remains of a theater, baths and even an acropolis, the town is fascinating and it is easy to explore it.

Other ruins include a 4000 years old grave complex, a full Roman villa and the tombs of kings. Anyone who is interested in history will find a lot of entertaining places to visit on Kefalonia.

Photo by borosjuli

  1. Secluded beaches waiting for you

Greece is known for having stunning beaches, but many of them are full of visitors mainly from Europe and sometimes hard to enjoy. This isn’t the case on Kefalonia, in fact, the beaches there might be the most beautiful ones  in all of Greece and they are not so packed with tourists. Myrtos is regularly called one of the most pristine beach and it’s famous for its turquoise water and the huge cliff that protects it from the wind.

Many beaches on the island can only be accessed either via  narrow footpaths or by boat. Some of the best beaches that fall within this category are Platia Ammos – accessed by a boat or by climbing over 250 steps, Kato Lagadi – isolated and tucked between giant rocks, and Koroni – surrounded by cliffs, usually quite empty and far from most of the people.

Photo by Mike_fleming

  1. Great Caves to explore

Melissani Cave is one of the most popular and it can only be accessed by boat. Be ready for different shades of blue as the sun hits the water inside the cave.

Drogarati Cave features a large number of stalactites and stalagmites, and while much of the cave is still inaccessible, the area that  can be explored  is big enough even to hold concerts. Spend a few hours exploring it and you will be amazed by its mysteries.

  1. Spot amazing wildlife

The secludedness of some beaches make them a safe home to a variety of animals and some of them are endangered species. The Loggerhead Sea Turtles choose the beaches in  Kefalonia for  their nesting grounds, especially the Skala beach and Argostoli, a small harbor famous for its caves.

Wild horses have also been spotted on the sides of the mountain, although few are able to approach these magnificent beasts. On the other side of the island, hidden among the cliff faces, endangered seals hide and mate. It’s one of a few self-sustaining colonies of Monk Seals that are not threatened in any way.

Photo by Neon Tommy

  1. A feast of delicious food

Greece is known for their amazing food so be prepared to eat well. Kefalonia is an area that has long preserved the tradition of home cooking, ensuring that all of the food served on the island is unique and delicious.

One of the best foods on the island is a fritter made of  salt cod. There are several different variations of this dish, but the most common includes potatoes or bread crumbs along with olive oil, lemon juice, and  some boiled  salt cod of course.

As the name suggests, Kefalotiri, a hard cheese that has the texture of a paste is made on the island. Kefalonia also produces  its own feta cheese and the recipe  has remained unchanged and  heavily guarded for over 1000 years.

Finally, the Robola and Mavrodaphne wines are well aged and made of  local grapes on the island . Robola is originally from the region and it’s  been produced  exactly the same  way for hundreds of years.

Now it’s time to book your flights and visit Kefalonia. The pristine beaches, wildlife, delicious food and Greek wine are waiting for you.  we might see you there  next summer!

The post 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Kefalonia, Greece appeared first on Love & Road.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Taiwan’s capital was everything we expected, busy, traditional, yet young and vibrant. Taipei is truly one of the most bustling capitals in Asia and it’s packed with things to do. Our Taipei itinerary is a sum up of the best places to visit in Taipei, what to do and where to stay there, pus some essential travel tips for anyone visiting Taiwan and Taipei for the first time. When is the best time to travel to Taipei?

During the Spring and Autumn is the best time to visit Taipei, it’s not too hot neither too cold. From July to August it’s the high season and the city is packed with tourists and the same happens during the Chinese New Year celebration. We were in Taiwan in the first week of October and it rained a lot, mostly because of a typhoon that was passing near the island. 

When planning our first trip to Taiwan we did a big research about what to do in Taipei and we decided to stay for 8 full days in the city. Time enough to rest from our 5 days cycling trip through Taiwan’s East Coast, to catch up with work and to do some serious sightseeing. Out of our 8 days in town, 4 days were fully dedicated to visiting Taipei tourist spots, searching for unique experiences and eating local food.

Before heading to our 4 days Taipei itinerary, let’s talk about visas, transportation and where to stay in Taipei. Some practical stuff you need to sort out before the trip!

How to get to Taipei and around

My recommendation is to use Skyscanner and Kiwi.com to search and book the best flights to Taipei. These websites will help you find great deals and it’s easy to search for international connections.

The Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is outside of town but it’s connected with the metro and shuttle buses, making it easy to get in and out of the city. Before leaving the arrival area stop at a phone company stall to buy a phone SIM card. The tourist prepaid card gives you unlimited 4G internet service for the duration of your trip. They will help you set the chip, easy peasy.

When leaving Taiwan consider arriving at the airport at least 3 hours before your departure. They have a baggage scanning procedure that slows down the check-in process and the huge queues at the immigration are also a big problem.

Getting around Taipei is easy, the metro system is efficient and most of the attractions and things to do in Taipei are close to a MRT station. You can buy single tickets or top up cards at any metro station. Taxis and Uber also work pretty well in the city.

Do you need a visa to Taiwan?

To travel to the Republic Of China – Taiwan you might need a visa. So before start planning your Taipei itinerary visit the Taiwan Bureau of Consular Affairs website to check if you need to apply for the Taiwan Tourist Visa or if your country is eligible to get 30 or 90 days visa-free.

Best places to stay in Taipei – hotels and budget accommodation

Do you want to stay in a peaceful area or in the middle of the action? Do you want a 5 star hotel or a budget accommodation in Taipei? Follow our tips for the best areas and places to stay in Taipei and I’m sure you’re gonna find the best hotel for your trip.

  • Grand Mayfull Hotel Taipei, luxury in Zhongshan District

This was our heaven on Earth after the cycling trip in Taiwan’s East Coast. The Grand Mayfull Hotel Taipei has everything you need for a luxurious stay in a quiet and posh area of the city. But even being a bit far from the bustling downtown, the hotel is close to a metro station and in 30 minutes you can be at the famous Taipei 101 Tower or at the busy Ximending shopping district.

No doubt Grand Mayfull is one of the most luxurious hotels we’ve stayed and one of the best hotels in Taipei. From the moment we stepped in until our last goodbye the service was impeccable. It is the perfect hotel for any traveler seeking comfort, a first-class dining experience, relaxation and a romantic atmosphere. If you are traveling as a couple don’t think twice, book your room at Grand Mayfull and enjoy a romantic bath with bubbles.  

While I loved our Executive Suite and the hotel amenities, Rob couldn’t get enough of the Haagen Dazs ice cream buffet for breakfast.

Fancy a 5 star hotel in Taipei? Book your room at Grand Mayfull Hotel Taipei here!

  • Sheraton Grand Taipei Hotel, comfort in the heart of the city

Sheraton is one the best places to stay in Taipei because of its location, the delicious breakfast buffet and the comfort of an international hotel chain. We stayed in a Deluxe Non-Smoking Suite and to be honest the decoration was a bit outdated, but the room was spotless clean and spacious. From the hotel you can walk to some of Taipei’s tourist attractions and to the Ximending shopping district.

Want to stay close to Taipei’s tourist spots? Book your room at Sheraton Grand Taipei here!

  • Mid-range hotels in Taipei downtown

Here are some options for affordable hotels in Taipei with good location and good reviews:

Ambience Hotel Taipei – it’s a 3 star hotel with great reviews and friendly prices, especially for double or twin rooms. It only takes 10 minutes to walk from the hotel to the nearest metro station and 20 minutes to Taipei’s train station.

Check the rates and book your room at Ambience Hotel Taipei:


Just Sleep Ximending Hotel – you can’t be more central than this, the hotel is a 5-minute walk from Ximen MRT Station and the shopping area with hundreds of restaurants, street food and shops. No doubt this is the most vibrant and best area to stay in Taipei. The hotel has good reviews for its cleanliness and spacious rooms, and you get breakfast buffet included in the room rate.

Check the rates and book your room at Just Sleep Ximending Hotel Taipei:


NiHao Café Hotel – this boutique hotel has great reviews for its intimate décor, beautiful garden and good prices. NiHao Café Hotel is a good option for travelers who want an affordable place to stay in Taipei that’s close to the 101 Tower. Daan MRT Station is just outside the hotel door and you can walk to the busy Linjiang Night Market for a local dinner.

Check the rates and book your room at NiHao Café Hotel Taipei:


  • Cheap hostels in Taipei [dorms and private rooms]

Here are some of the best places to stay in Taipei for budget travelers:

Taipei Sunny Hostel – this hostel has great reviews and it’s close to some of Taipei’s tourist spots and to the Ximending shopping district.

Check the rates and book your room at Taipei Sunny Hostel here:


Ximen Wow Hostel – for under 20 USD you can have a bed in a dorm, free breakfast, free wifi and stay in the middle of the Ximending District. This is the area where you can find affordable food and fun and the metro station is only 3 minutes away.

Check the rates and book your room at Ximen Wow Hostel Taipei here:


  • Airbnb in Taipei

As we wanted to experience the Ximending district we booked two nights in an Airbnb studio there. Traveling to Taipei with friends and family? Check out the Airbnb apartments in Taipei they might be a money saving option.

Sign up for Airbnb here and get 25 USD in credits for your next trip!

Taipei Itinerary: what to do and places to visit

Our 4-day Taipei itinerary is packed with activities and places to go in Taipei. They are organized by regions so you won’t spend too much time on transportation. If you prefer you can add more days to your trip and explore the best things to do in Taipei at a slower pace.

> Taipei Itinerary Day 1

The first day will be dedicated to some of the most famous tourist attractions in Taipei. It’s a nice way to get to know the city and be ready to dive deeper into its culture and local life.

  • Visit the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

Metro station: Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Bannan Line [blue line]

The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall was built in 1972 in honor of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China – Taiwan. Inside the complex there is an exposition of his life story and you will see many Taiwanese paying respect to Dr. Sun’s statue there. The change of the honor guards happens every hour, from 9 am to 5 pm, be punctual to watch it.

What really surprised us at the memorial was how people use that space for leisure and sports. The area around the building and the park was packed with teenagers breakdancing, meditation groups, old ladies practicing yoga and even some artists painting the beautiful scenery around.

  • Get high at Taipei 101

Metro station: Taipei 101/World Trade Center, Tamsui-Xinyi Line [red line]

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Carmem López is back as our guest writer with more travel tips.

Travelling can be stressful and this stress can cause all sorts of misery when you travel. Many holidays and adventures can be ruined through excess stress but much of this stress can be alleviated by following many simple steps.

Ensure your visa is up to date – Many countries require a valid visa to enter, you should ensure that the papers that you have are valid for entry to the country. Often all you will need is a valid passport but it’s always best to check before you leave. If you need to apply for a visa, check all the requirements in advance. It’s useful to know where to check your visa status, you can find this all online even where to check for example your Kuwait visa status.

Read before you go – Find out as much as you can about where you are going, one of the biggest causes of arguments when you are travelling is food locations.  There are loads of websites where you can check out f the best places to visit, eat and stay. If you are more old fashioned a guidebook will serve as a good companion while you are travelling, ensuring that you go to the very best places.

Plan ahead – Planning ahead is often a no brainer but nothing is more stressful than not knowing what to do. Give yourself a list of activities which you can choose from while you are on your holiday.

Inform your bank – Say to your bank where you are going before you leave and make sure you give them the dates that you are going. The last thing you want when you are travelling is to have your credit or debit cards blocked due to suspicious transactions. Suspicious transactions can damage your credit report, keep this in mind and keep your bank informed.

Stay hydrated – one of the easiest ways to ruin your holiday is by not drinking enough, drink lots of water to ensure that you stay at the top of your game. Ensure that you drink at least 2 liters of water a day and more if you are in a hot country.

Follow these tips and you can reduce a lot of your travel stress. Don’t ruin your holiday by getting stressed, just follow these simple tips and you can ensure that you will have an excellent holiday. Bon voyage!

The post 5 Travel Tips to Reduce your Stress appeared first on Love & Road.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Prague is amazingly beautiful and everybody should visit it at least once in a lifetime. But a trip to the Czech Republic must go beyond its capital. Prague can be your first taste of the country’s culture, its stunning architecture, history and beer. After visiting the city you are ready to explore the rest of the country and the best way to start is by going on day trips from Prague.

We traveled to the Czech Republic three times and in most of the trips we used Prague as our starting or finishing point. Although the city is unique and beautiful there are other stunning places waiting to be discovered near Prague. So when planning your Czech itinerary leave some extra days for going on the best day trips from Prague. I’m sure you won’t regret it!

Read:  Travel guide to the best cities in the Czech Republic

The ultimate travel guide to Prague

The good news is that the Czech Republic is a small country with a great train and bus system, making it super easy to visit the attractions near Prague. It’s good to remember that despite being a member of the European Union, the Czech Republic still uses its own currency [the Czech Koruna], so traveling around the country is more affordable than traveling to other European destinations. The top things to do in the Czech Republic outside of Prague include beer tasting, visiting castles, outdoor adventures, winter sports and much more. So follow our list of the best day trips from Prague and have fun!

Awesome day trips from Prague

If you want to explore the Czech Republic beyond Prague you better do it right. We listed for you all the top places to visit on one-day trips from Prague, some of them are very famous and packed with tourists, others not that much. You might find familiar names as Český Krumlov and Pilsen, but also some hidden gems like Olomouc and Liberec.

Prague to Český Krumlov Day Trip

This fairytale city is one of the most visited places near Prague and it’s easy to understand why: it’s a charming town that looks like a movie set. In the city you can visit a castle,  a tower with impressive views and a Baroque theater that was considered one of oldest Baroque theaters in the world. It’s a lovely and romantic town and you can visit most of the attractions in one day. A day trip from Prague to Český Krumlov can be done by train, by bus or on a guided tour, but before going there don’t forget to read our guide:

Best Things to do in Český Krumlov

Prague to Český Krumlov on your own:

By train: take the train from Prague to Český Krumlov at 6 or 8 am as it takes 3 hours to arrive there. The 8 am train from Prague to Český Krumlov is a direct one, the other ones will stop at the České Budějovice station and from there you will get into another train to Český Krumlov.

The last train from Český Krumlov to Prague is at 7 pm with a connection in České Budějovice. This trip will take almost 3 and a half hours because of the waiting time in the České Budějovice station. Another option is to take the train from Český Krumlov at 5 pm, you still need to stop and change trains in České Budějovice but this trip will be 30 minutes faster. There is only one direct train from Český Krumlov to Prague and it is at 2 pm, but I believe that is too early to go back, half a day isn’t enough to visit the top attractions in Český Krumlov. You can book your train tickets from Prague to Český Krumlov here.

By bus: the RegioJet Company offers buses from Prague to Český Krumlov hourly, starting at 6 am all the way to 9 pm. The return buses depart from 5 am to 8 pm and the trip takes about 3 hours.

Prague to Český Krumlov on  a tour:

As we traveled to Český Krumlov on our own by train, I can’t recommend any specific  tour. If you don’t want to go on a day trip from Prague on your own, check which are the best tours to Český Krumlov on Tripadvisor.

Where to stay in Český Krumlov:

If you decide to stay longer book your room at Hotel Bellevue Český Krumlov or check other options here: Booking.comAgodaHotels.com – TripAdvisor

Prague to České Budějovice Day Trip

If you love beer, this is a trip for you! České Budějovice got in our itinerary when we traveled from Prague to Český Krumlov, so instead of going on a one-day trip, we put the two cities together and did a 3-days trip from Prague. České Budějovice is the hometown of the traditional Budweiser Budvar, the original one which tastes better than the American version. Visiting the brewery was great fun, we learned about the history of the factory, the production process and tasted fresh beer straight from the barrel. In addition to the tour at the Budweiser Budvar, the main square of the old town is another good reason to visit České Budějovice on a day trip from Prague.  

Prague to České Budějovice on your own:

České Budějovice is one of the cities near Prague you should visit on your own as there is no need for a guided tour. From the train station you can get a tram or a bus to the Budweiser Budvar brewery and from there you can take a bus to the old town which can be explored on foot. At the end of the day you can easily walk from the main square to the train station and go back to Prague.

By train: the trains departing at 7:31/ 8:01/ 9:01 and 10:01 am are the best options as the trips will take only 2 and a half hours. There are other trains going from Prague to České Budějovice but they can take up to 4 hours, so pay attention when buying your ticket. To go back to Prague take one of the direct trains at 5:01/ 05:58/ 6:01/ 7:01 or 8:01 pm. You can buy the train tickets from Prague to České Budějovice here.

Where to stay in České Budějovice

Need a hotel in České Budějovice? Our pick was Residence U Černé věže, amazing apartments and delicious breakfast. You can also check other options here: Booking.comAgodaHotels.com – TripAdvisor

Prague to Olomouc Day Trip

Olomouc is a charming town located in Central Moravia and for me, it is the best-kept secret in the Czech Republic. The town has beautiful Baroque architecture, stunning churches, the Holy Trinity Column that is a Unesco Heritage site and even a communist astronomical clock. Be ready for an overdose of historical buildings, fountains and cheese, Olomouc’s speciality.

Olomouc is a great travel destination and I truly believe it deserves more than one day. We visited Olomouc last Spring and 3 days were enough to explore the city and the castles around it. But if you are short in time, go for a day trip, it’s worth it. To make the most of your day read our guide:

12 Things to do in Olomouc

Prague to Olomouc by yourself:

A day trip from Prague to Olomouc is doable but it will be a busy day. Wake up early and be ready to explore Olomouc on foot.

By train: the trains from Prague to Olomouc start departing at 6 am. Be smart and take the fast trains at 06:24/ 06:58/ 07:10 or 07:24 am and the trip will take only 2 hours and 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the clock as the last train from Olomouc to Prague departures at 8 pm. You can buy the train tickets from Prague to Olomouc here.

Where to stay in Olomouc

If your day trip becomes longer, the best place to stay in Olomouc is Miss Sophie’s Olomouc Hotel. We love it and highly recommend it!

Book your room at Miss Sophie’s Hotel with our promo code “LOVE” to get 5% off!

or keep searching and book at Booking.comAgodaHotels.com – TripAdvisor

Prague to Bohemian Switzerland National Park Day Trip

Be prepared for impressive sandstone towers, canyons, rocks rising from the middle of the forest and also the largest natural stone bridge in Europe. Put your hiking boots on and have fun, this one-day trip from Prague offers a lot of adrenaline and breathtaking views. Already love the idea of traveling from Prague to the Bohemian Switzerland National Park? So read our full guide:

Bohemian Switzerland National Park: one of the best hikes in the Czech Republic
Prague to Bohemian Switzerland National Park on your own:

The park is huge, full of trails and most of the entrances are far from the towns or train stations. This is one of the day trips from Prague that we don’t recommend doing on your own. It’s an adventurous activity so it’s better doing it with a local guide that knows the site and the rules of the park.

Prague to Bohemian Switzerland National Park on a tour:

We went on a two-days tour to Bohemian Switzerland National Park with Northern Hikes. They are passionate about their work and the guides are locals that know the history, the culture and the secrets of the park. The best part is that they can pick you up in Prague and take you back at the end of the day. On the Northern Hikes website there are different tours for everyone, families, groups, private tours, beginners… You chose!

Where to stay in Bohemian Switzerland National Park

Do you want to sleep close to the park? My suggestion is to stay at Na Stodolci, a family-run pension with one of the best restaurants in the Czech Republic. You can also check other options here: Booking.com

Read Full Article
Visit website

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free year
Free Preview