The many faces of Central and Southern Vietnam

Vietnam is just one country, but it sure feels as many different ones. If you are heading out to this Asian pearl, the north part should be (in my opinion) your main priority. I still long for those emerald karst mountains. However, if you have a bit more travel time, central and southern Vietnam are parts of Vietnam that cannot not be overlooked. Well, most parts of them anyway.

Ancient emperors in Hue
Hue, the capital of the Nguyen emperors, really is the middle of Vietnam. It is a city most people only pass for a day while on their way to Danang or Hoi An. But it is worth it to linger for a few days in this small, cozy city. The main reason is the Citadel. A walled city within the city, showcasing how the emperors of old days lived. It’s impressive and pretty big, you can easily get lost there for half a day. If you can stand the burning sun, going during mid-day will give you the most alone time with the temples. The ancient city is not the only thing that has been abandoned. A half an hour motorbike ride takes you to an empty amusement park. Water slides and swimming pools that havent heard a child’s laughter for ages, now overgrown with trees and bushes. A bit creepy i might add. Its also possible to do a tour to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), an area that played a big part in the Vietnam war (or American war, as the Viets call it). Next to sightseeing, Hue offers lots of nice little cafe’s, eateries and rooftop bars for some lounging around. A great little budget hotel is Glenda guesthouse, friendly people, great location and a nice breakfast included!

Vietnam

Feeling at home in Hoi An
An absolute must in Vietnam is taking a tour on the back of a motorcycle with an easy rider. These drivers take you from one place to another, while you enjoy the road and the scenery (perfect if navigating yourself through the Vietnam traffic chaos really isn’t your thing). There are lots of options to do these tours, but the route from Hue to Hoi An is a famous one. The reason? The Hai Van Pass (a.k.a top gear mountain since Jeremy Clarkson cruised this road for his tv show). Winding roads up and down the mountain, combined with stunning vista’s of the sea and the mountains. There is no camera that has the ability to capture these pretty pictures. Go see for yourself!

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On the way to Hoi An you’ll pass Danang. If you are looking for anonymous 5 star resorts, lots of Russian tourists and a beach, this is the place to be. Otherwise, skip this boring city and spend your time in Hoi An. And time is what you need in this cute little town. Yes, there are tons of tourists here, but that doesn’t dull the little lights coming from the lampions that hover above the narrow streets. There is lot’s to look at in Hoi An and even more to buy. Get your tailor made clothes for a dime (i recommend Maya) and pretty leather bags for even less. Have dinner at the waterfront and sip on a brightly colored smoothie while you watch all the people passing by. Most hotels won’t be in the ancient city centre so opt for one that includes (free) bicycles. It’s the perfect way to explore ánd to head to An Bang beach for some time in the sand and water. Lots of beach bars offer free loungers if you take lunch with them, a fair deal! The Hoi An Rose Garden Hotel is in between the city and the beach and offers a nice swimming pool to cool down after a day of strolling/biking around. A word of advise: don’t go with one of those snorkling trips to the Cham Islands. The underwater scenery is meh and much worse: you’ll be surrounded by tourists in life jackets who are stepping on (and thus damaging) the corals. The trip you should take is to My Son. These ruins will take your breath away.

Adventurous Dalat
Further down the coast lies Nha Trang. The beaches are nice, but that is about it. This town has been attacked by many tourists. If beach is what you want, just stick around Hoi An a little longer. If adventure is what you seek, head to Dalat. This is one unique city, as it lies up in the mountains and carries a much cooler climate. There are waterfalls, there is wine and a lot of adventure sports. The true adrenaline junkies have to sign up for canyoning. Abseiling from waterfalls, sliding through rock pools and jumping of a 11 meter cliff (if you dare). After a day like this, you’ll be pumped for the rest of your travels. You can book a tour at Vietchallenge.com

Lie down in Mui Ne
In need of some chill time now? On the southern coast between Dalat and Ho Chi Minh City, quiet Mui Ne will give you just that. It has a beach which is okay and some nice restaurants. Hire a beach lounger at coco beach resort and you’ll find relaxing here is pretty easy (they have some very nice massages there too). If you are an avid wind or kite surfer, Mui Ne offers it all. But be aware, the prices for lessons and gear hire are extremely high. There are many places to spend the night in Mui Ne, but the Xin chao hotel offers the best bang for your buck. Spacious rooms, a pool table ánd a refreshing swimming pool. Near Mui Ne are the white sand dunes. All little piece of desert in Vietnam. Pretty cool to run up and down those sand mountains. Lots of excursions to these dunes are organised in Mui Ne. However, most of them are package deals, also tacking you to other (tourist trap) sights. Oh and they mostly forget to mention that you have to pay an extra fee when you want to go up the dunes. So be extra aware on what you book and if it is what you are looking for.

Central and Soutern Vietnam
Mui Ne

Smoggy Ho Chi Minh City
You either love it or hate it, the second big city of Vietnam is Ho Chi Minh City. It’s a smoggy and crowded metropole, with lots of bars, shoppingmalls and street food. Try to find a local or a tour that takes you out of the centre to experience true Vietnam city life. A city full of skyscrapers asks for a drink in a rooftop bar. The best one: the View rooftop bar. It is not the highest one, but you’ll find a great informal vibe and an amazing cocktail list.

theviewrooftopbar Cnetral and Southern Vietnam
The View Rooftop Bar Source

Ho Chi Minh City also is the gateway to the Mekong Delta. Multiple or one-day tours are on offer throughout the city (or just take a bus and organize everything by yourself). If you take a one-day tour its worth it to spend a bit more money. That will get you smaller groups and more time to experience life in the river delta. Little boats will guide you on small canals through fields. Learn how to make coconut candy and down a fermented-snake-shot. It all is a bit touristy, but still a lot of fun.

The ‘once was’ paradise: Phu Quoc
Surely, before the tourist boom hit Vietnam, the Southern island of Phu Quoc was a real beauty. But the white sandy beaches now are full of rubbish and troubled by fumes from all the boats. But there are still a few nice places left to end your Vietnam trip in pure relaxation. Ong Lang Beach is quite far from the nearest town and therefore very peaceful. The beach here is a bit rough, but clean. Phu Quoc Dragon Resort & Spa will give you all you need for ultimate relaxation (at very reasonable rates). While you’re in the area, grab a chicken sandwich at Sakura restaurant. Not a very Vietnamese lunch, but you’ll be craving this sandwich for weeks afterwards! And if you are on the island in the dry season, hop on a boat for some underwater life. Be aware that the diving schools offer snorkel tours for a slightly higher price than regular tour operators, but that is probably worth it. The regular tours are, again, full of Tourists (you know who) who have no respect for the aquatic life.

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Still lovely; Phu Quoc Dragon Resort & Spa Source

Central and Southern Vietnam has some flaws, but most definitely it’s beauty. There is only one way to find out if you love it or not: go see for yourself.

Love,

Jill

Jill is currently traveling through Vietnam and Thailand and will monthly update us about her Asian adventures

The diversity of Basque Country, Spain

Perhaps Basque Country has never come to mind when thinking of a Spanish holiday but this green part of Spain will pleasantly surprise you.

Basque Country is situated near the border of France and has a landscape that includes mountains, green valleys and coastlines. You can find different scenery all into one region and that’s what makes this place so amazing. It’s a region that is often overlooked in favor of more conventional destinations in Spain. If you decide to visit Basque Country after reading this article (chances are, you will), we have a few tips lined up so you can enjoy everything in just a couple of days.

There are 5 Guggenheim Museums located in Europe. Guess where you can find one of them?

The 3 Cities and their Culture
Basque Country is full of culture. Every year, especially during summer, you can enjoy several exhibitions, activities and events. This year, the capital of Bilbao celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum, where you can find high quality exhibitions that are well worth the visit. The famous landmark is covering a wide variety of artists and themes in both contemporary and modern art. The Guggenheim Museum is housed in Bilbao, Surrounded by mountains and sea, from its origins as
an industrial hub, it has evolved into an international reference point for urban design and has set the standard as a model of urban regeneration. Internationally renowned architects showcase the model regeneration of Bilbao. A city that has managed to find a different way to express itself with design firmly at its heart.. Tip » buy the Bilbao Card to get free access to several museums and attractions. With this card you can travel with Bilbao’s public transport.

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The Guggenheim Museum

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Puppy & Torre Iberdrola in Bilbao

San Sebastián, also locally named Donostia, is a beautiful coastal city close to France. It has even won the prestigious title of European Capital of Culture back in 2016. Surrounded by mountains and located next to the sea, it’s a popular place for tourists. Did you know San Sebastián has one of the most beautiful bays in the world with 3 city beaches? Close to San Sebastian, you will find the Cristobal Balenciaga Museoa. This museum is a homage to one of the most influential fashion designers of the 20th century and you can see selected pieces of his collection. This year, the fashion brand exist a staggering 100 years! 

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A perfect viewing point over San Sebastians bay

Once voted the “European Green Capital”, Vitoria-Casteiz is surrounded by stunning nature

The third city we need to mention is Vitoria-Gasteiz, once voted the “Green Capital” of Europe. This city is surrounded by nature and is also the most important centre for logistics in Northern Spain. To do’s here are; taking a stroll through the “Green Belt” which is full of flora and fauna and includes wetlands and lakes. There are also some great Jazz festivals and events happening in Victoria, with the best ones in April and August. Another popular attraction is the old quarter they call the “Medieval Almond” where you can find the Cathedral of Santa Maria and a unique project called “open for work” inspired Ken Follet in his novel “World Without End”. To find out more about these 3 amazing cities, check here.

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The streets of Vitoria

849.00 KM. 7 stages. 109 landscapes.
Another popular thing to do, is to take a roadtrip through the beautiful landscape of Basque Country. On this route you will find beaches, quaint little villages, vineyards and forests. We can imagine that it’s hard to choose between the many options, but you can easily find the route that suits your needs. There are also 3 pilgrim trails that will take you to the more offbeat corners of the Basque Country; The St. James’ Way Coastal Route, which takes you around the countryside and ever changing landscapes. The St. James’ Way Inland Route where you will pass coastal landscapes, greenery, farms and even industrialized localities. You can also opt for the Ignatian Way, a trail that covers 675 km. To find more info about all these routes, check this link. Another highlight is San Juan Gaztelugatxe, a small island connected to the mainland by a man-made bridge. 

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San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

Wine & Dine
If you’re a real foodie like us, you’re at the right place. The food and drinks are very affordable and locally produced, so you can really taste the different regions. Because the gastronomy, from the most traditional to the most innovative, is one of the hallmarks of the Basque Country and is deeply rooted in the daily lives of the people, linked to its history, customs and leisure activities. The secret? The excellence and diversity of the raw materials that the sea and land of the Basque Country provide and the expertise of the great Basque cooks.

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There is an unmistakable joie de vivre in Basque Country

Whether you are looking for a lazy beach holiday, a culture trip or an adventurous trail through nature, Basque Country has it all. Maybe it’s time to opt for a different kind of Spain when you book your holiday next time?

Wander-Lust
www.wander-lust.nl

baskenland

Why You Should Travel Alone

It’s midnight and I’m walking through the rainy streets of Koh San Road, Thailand. I’m surrounded by fried scorpions and Thai neon signs I don’t understand. With a backpack filled with courage I try to connect with the already drunken tourists, but unfortunately without any success. The first time out of Europe, the first time backpacking. I walk alone, but I feel more powerful then ever. A sense of freedom, I can do what I want, whenever I want. There is nobody here to stop me. I kissed my fears goodbye and convinced my dad that backpacking through Asia would be a better fit for me than a road trip trough Belgium. (seriously dad?) It was time to discover the world on my own, and go on an adventure. It was the best decision I could have made. Here are 5 reasons why I think you should travel alone.

Why you should travel alone

Nobody can discover the world for you
We can get lost in the most beautiful travel documentaries, dream away with breath taking photos and listen with unbelief to the stories of others. But nothing can compare to the experience in real life. If you want to discover the world we live in, go. Cause nobody can discover it for you. Being on your own means you can decide where you want to go, which places inspire you and choose the adventures that most appeal to you. You are in charge of broadening your horizons.

Finding your own rhythm
I’m definitely not a morning person and it has always been a challenge to agree with the overenthusiastic waking-up time of my friends. It’s a great feeling waking up and start doing whatever you want. There is no boss waiting for you at the office or a friend that desperately wants to go to that trendy, hipster breakfast place four blocks away while you’re starving. You have the time and space to create your own rhythm and discover your own needs. This is a valuable lesson to learn, also regarding your daily routines back home.

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You are more in the moment when you travel alone

While traveling I realized that the differences between all of us are insignificant compared to what connects us.

Experiences will be more intense
The autopilot of the mind will be switched off when you’re confronted with new situations, which results in a higher level of focus. You’ll have to stay alert, take care of yourself and create your own path. Because of this you’ll feel more aware of your surroundings instead of looking at it passively or getting lost in a conversation with your partner. You will experience the world around you instead of only seeing it.

New perspectives
Not being with friends or a partner means you have to go out of your comfort zone to meet new people or talk to locals. You’ll meet travelers from different cultures, backgrounds, social environments and also different characters. While traveling I realized that the differences between all of us are insignificant compared to what connects us. Traveling alone will teach you to be flexible, open minded and less judgmental.

Trust your intuition
Being on your own in an unknown country will give you a major confidence boost. Not only will your self-esteem grow (cause it’s really awesome to travel alone), the trust in your own intuition will increase as well. I can be quite the control freak so I tried to avoid making too many plans for my backpacking trip. It made me really nervous in the beginning as I was constantly questioning myself if it would workout. And to be honest, not everything did work out like it was suppose to. There was one day I didn’t have any money, food or a place to sleep cause my creditcard got blocked. Or this time that I jokingly challenged a Muay Thai boxer (what was I thinking) and broke my toe. But in the end, everything will be fine, one-way or another. There is no need to stress or worry cause if you trust on your intuition it will always work out.

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Eva in Chiang May, 2015

In my opinion, to travel alone is not only a ‘cool’ thing to do but it really helps you to extend your boarders and develop yourself. You will gain new insights of the places you go, the people you meet and the cultures you will learn about. Beside that it will also deepen the perspective on your own social environment and needs.

Traveling alone is the greatest gift you can give yourself. So, where are you going next?

Love,

Eva

*Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heals at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. You can follow her on Instagram.

More travel tips? Check them here!

 

 

World Festival Guide 2017

The festival season has began! Time to put up our new World Festival Guide 2017! We’ve picked our favorite festivals from around the world. Some you might know, others you don’t. But one thing is for sure; book your tickets and dance!

World Festival guide 2017

We are FSTVL, UK
When? 27th – 28th of May
Where? Upminster Greater London
It’s a huge festival with a lot of big names is dance and techno music and guess what, Graig David is even performing! Expect 50.000 people in London’s bankholiday weekend. Tickets are about £60 and almost sold out so if you’re heading over to London you might as well check this festival out. www.wearefstvl.com

We Love Green 2017, France
When? 10th – 11th of June
Where? Paris, France
This festival focuses on sustainability and uses solar power to generate enegrie. It will celebrate it’s 6th year and eadliners include Solange, A Tribe Names Quest, Flying Lotus and Maceo Plex. www.welovegreen.fr

Word Festival Guide 2017
Dance all summer!

Meadows in the Mountains, Bulgaria
When? 9th -11th of June
Where? Bulgaria
If you want something different and special you should check this festival out. Right near the Greek border, this is a festival hidden away in the mountains where you will see day turn into night and the morning fog fall over the trees. A truly encompassing and unique music and arts festival that brings to life the possibility of real adventure embraced by guaranteed sun and friendly faces. Unlike UK festivals our accommodation, food and drinks prices are affordable also because  Bulgaria is yet to convert to the Euro. www.meadowsinthemountains.com

mountain festival

Awakenings Festival, Netherlands
When? 24th – 25th of June

Where? Spaarnwoude, near Amsterdam
The best names in the Techno, minimal and deephouse gather each year to make this festival a huge succes. stages are huge and the sound is spot on. A must visit if you love Techno music! www.awakeningsfestival.nl

Awakenings Festival
The sunset at Awakenings Festival

North Sea Jazz Festival, Netherlands
When? 7th – 9th of Juli
Where? Rotterdam, Netherlands
Our Dutch city Rotterdam does a briljant job in hosting one of the best Jazz festivals in the world. With names like Erykah Badu, The Roots, Gladys Knight, Norah Jones and Usher, it’s hosting more than 1000 artists from the worlds of jazz, hip-hop, and pop music. www.northseajazz.com

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Source: North Sea Jazz

Love International Festival, Croatia
When? 29th of June – 6th of July
Where? Tisno, Croatia
Love International was born after Croatia’s legendary electric garden festival ended 2 summers ago. Some of the world’s best DJs provide the soundtrack to open-air clubs, boat parties, beach parties, stages, and even secret island parties. Previously a small funny train is took you from the amazing camping site to the festival so we are expecting more of this and… you’ll make friends for life! www.loveinternationalfestival.com

The Garden Festival
Croatia’s most famous festival (source: Love International)

Sea You Festival, Germany
When? 15th – 16th of Juli
Where? Freiburg, Germany
Just around the corner of the black forest, lays a lake where summer will be celebrated to the max. It’s an intimate festival with 2 stages but the biggest names in dance/techno music. It’s about 6-7 hours drive from The Netherlands so a nice roadtrip that’s well worth it. You can also wakeboard if you’re up for it and cool down in the big lake. www.seayou-festival.de

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Source: Sea You Festival

Wilderness Festival, UK
When? 3rd – 6th of August
Where? Oxfordshire, England
Here you will find barefoot, flower-garland-toting bohemians dancing about the woods and skinny-dip in the lake at Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire.Grace Jones and Two Door Cinema Club will headline the festival this year but music is not all you can experience here. There is theatre, debate, arts, workshops, food and more. www.wildernessfestival.com

Festival guide wilderness
Is it real? (Source Wilderness Festival)

DGTL Festival, Spain
When? 11th – 12th of August
Where? Parc del Forum, Barcelona
Elke was there when they hosted their first edition and it was amazing. Strangely enough, it rained a lot but that didn’t even matter. Everybody was having a good time. Besides the festival, it’s a great opportunity to eat tapas and check out the capital’s beach. We say: book your flight and go! http://bcn.dgtl.com

DGTL Barcelona

Lost Village Festival, UK
When? 24th – 27th of August

Where? Lincolnshire, England
We had never heard of this one before until this year but wow, this looks cool! Tucked away in a woodland of the Lincolnshire countryside is a world where the best DJ’s and acts come together and make you dance until your feet hurt. Sleep in basecamp where the fun never stops and shop and eat at the village market. Names like Dixon, Jackmaster, The Black Madonna, Ben UFO will be present in this intimate setting. They open the gateway once a year so you better be there to experience the fun.. Check out the cool website for more info!

lost village festival

LolaPalooza, Germany
When? 9th – 10th September
Where? Berlin, Germany
This intimate festival is striking down in Berlin for the 3rd time and with succes! Names like The Foofighters, The XX and Hardwell will be on stage. Book yourself a comfy hotel in Berlin and explore the city! www.lollapaloozade.com

Other cool festivals worth mentioning this spring/summer:

May
20th May: 22Fest, Netherlands
26th – 28th May: Masked Ball Festival, UK

June
31st May – 4th June: Distortion Festival, Denmark
9th – 10th June: Wildlife Festival, UK

10th of June: Komm Schon Alter, NL
15th – 17th June: Sonar Festival, Spain
21st -25th June: Glastonbury, UK
24th of June: Boardlife Festival, NL

July
4th – 9th July: Nowhere Festival, Spain
6th – 8th July: NOS Festival, Portugal
12th – 15th July: Gurten Festival, Switzerland
22nd of July: Welcome to the Future Festival, NL

27th – 30st July: Kendal Calling, UK
27th -31st July: Soundwave Festival, Croatia

August
19th – 20th August: Summer Sonic, Japan
17th – 20st August: Green Man Festival, Wales
24th – 27th August: Shambala Festival, UK

We hope you enjoy our world festival guide 2017!

Love,

Wander-Lust

5 x Travel YouTube Channels You Should Subscribe To

YouTube is freakin’ booming and is taking over laptops and screens around the world to inspire young and older generations. Travelers are not just looking on websites anymore, but search for information by checking inspirational video’s from travel vloggers on YouTube. We selected 5 Travel YouTube Channels (and a nice bonus!) for you to subscribe to.

1. Brooke Saward – World of Wanderlust
This Australian cutie is an inspiration for many young women who have a dream. Brooke packed her bags and left everything behind to travel the world. While she did, she started blogging about it and documented everything. Before she even realized it, she became one of the biggest travel bloggers in the world. She started her YouTube Channel a little while after her blogging succes and she gives you tips, travel hacks, personal experiences and her sweet but funny personality really makes you fall in love with this girl. She is taking things a bit slower nowadays as she realized, life is not just about large numbers and being the best in everything. She is more selective about her press trips and wants to be at home more where she started her own bakery recently. https://www.youtube.com/user/brookehaute

World of Wanderlust Travel YouTube Channels

2. Angie Lal – Travel In Her Shoes
She’s a Polish born, Australian educated, Los Angeles based adventure traveler, writer, blogger and photographer. Her Instagram account is already to die for and she decided to focus more on YouTube since a couple of months and things are going fast! Be inspired by the amazing locations she visits and her beautiful sense of style. This girl will take you around the world! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8_L-xSXL3GO2k-FMqmXeZw

travel-in-her-shoes

3. VagaBrothers
We met these crazy bro’s at the TBEX conference in Sweden last year where they gave a seminar about YouTube. They are very savvy with anything to do with video and montage (award winning actually!). They are on a mission to explore the planet by connecting with other young people and inspiring viewers to do the same. And they have! Besides being cute, they are pretty funny too! Check out their cool video’s here: https://www.youtube.com/user/vagabrothers/featured

4. FunForLouis – Louis
He is the biggest travel YouTuber in the world right now and well deserved! He started his channel 6 years ago and gained his subscribers before YouTube was a hype like it’s nowadays. Once he grew an audience, he could focus more on content and adventure. Yes, adventure is Louis middle name! Watch video’s how he’s flying a tiny plane, joining coffee ceremonies, visiting the Hobbit house in New Zealand or riding on the roof of a car. He’s done it all and he is taking you along with the ride. Louis is not the guy who started his YouTube Channel for the views, no he really loves to travel and has stayed humble throughout this big adventure. https://www.youtube.com/user/FunForLouis/featured

5. Hey Nadine – Nadine Sykora
She’s positive, funny, quirky and successful. This is Nadine Sykora. She is posting 2 video’s per week (how on earth does she do it??) and has a lot of travel tips and advice. She does the traditional Q&A’s but it’s never boring. Besides travel she also creates beauty, fashion and comedy video’s. Check her out here: https://www.youtube.com/user/nayders07

hey-nadine-youtube

Bonus: Wander-Lust
Eh well, we need to give ourselves a little self promotion right? ;-) We are waaay behind on YouTube but this will change shortly! We will start to post new video’s soon where we will continue to take you along on our adventures and we are also planning on sharing some inside travel tips. We have to admit that we are not really too keen about vlogging because we can’t imagine that you will find our lives interesting enough that we feel the need to share our every move. BUT, please let us know what you would like to see and we will brainstorm about it. And eh..you can start helping us by subscribing to our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfNCgBBEAs7_ClfgZm1LQNA

Love,

Wander-Lust

Check out our favorite Travel Instagram accounts here!

polabur-amsterdam

How To Decrease Your Ecological Footprint While You Travel

Nowadays, there is so much written about the negative environmental impact of traveling that it almost seems impossible to buy a plane ticket without experiencing any form of guilt. The current growth and way of traveling is simply not long lasting and we’re facing a conflict between wanting to travel but not wanting to harm the planet. Yet -being a traveler by heart- I’ll be the last person on this (still) beautiful planet to discourage you to jump on that plane towards your next new adventure. In fact, I’m telling you exactly what you do want to hear. Go explore the planet, travel the globe and visit the places of your dreams, but we’ll have to make some changes. Cause while we’re all focusing on that perfect world on our Instagram feed, the real world is slowly drowning in our love for her beauty.

sustainable travel

Sustainable travel
One of those changes is putting sustainability on your holiday checklist. It’s the new IT-word that everybody talks about, but what exactly does it mean? I’ll teach you: Sustainability / Noun / [suh-stey-nuh-bil-i-tee] – the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance. Well, that’s what the dictionary says. To me, sustainable travel is being mindful to the economic, environmental, and cultural impact of travel. So it doesn’t necessarily mean we all have to stop traveling around the globe. By not traveling we will actually create far more severe complications. Many countries depend on tourism as a main source of income. Closing the borders will delay the spread of knowledge, economic opportunities and of course… shutting down the money flow.

It’s about making some smarter decisions that will allow earth to slowly recover to their original ecosystem. So let’s put the money where the mouth is: hereby I provide you with an easy to use guidebook to decrease your own ecological footprint.

Traveling
Choose your way of travel consciously. There are thousands of articles on how to travel cheap and comfortable, but (please) put sustainability on your check-list as well.
Paradise might be closer than you think. We go on 15 hours flights to discover the world while we haven’t even discovered our own country. Find a balance between traveling far and staying closer to home. There’s nothing wrong with being a tourist in your own country. In fact, I promise you it will be more fun than you think.
Calculate the Carbon Footprint of your Flight. Living in the Netherlands, I can understand that it’s sometimes unavoidable to travel further away. Although I love our small, flat, cow-country, it would be pretty difficult to climb mountains here… not to mention getting a tan. But if you can’t stop the urge to fly, you ca compensate by paying for your CO2. Calculate how much you use via this website. Also make sure you book your flights with an airline that recycles waste from food, beverages and paper.

At your destination
Support the community you’re visiting by purchasing products from local suppliers. It’s better for the environment, supports the economy and it’s a great way to meet locals.
Combine sightseeing with a workout: rent a bike or walk instead of hiring a car. The advantages are that you can stop whenever you want to take photo’s of the beautiful surroundings (or just a selfie cause the light is great). But moreover, you’ll work on your own health and the health of the globe.
Go for an Eco accommodation. You can choose your hotel that gives you the chance to offset your carbon footprint when you make a booking. By choosing an Eco Resort, you also contribute to the local community. Organisations like Better Places make this possible. By the way, did you know trees can be planted with your donated money for example? 
Mi casa es tu casa. Treat your hotel room like it’s your own house: turn the lights and air conditioning off while leave your room.
Eat vegetarian or vegan foods. Yes this is extremely sustainable. The production of meat and dairy causes more pollution than factories, flights and all traffic combined together. Eating vegetarian is also cheaper most of the time so it’s a win win situation!

how to decrease your ecological footprint

Just as you explore the world, explore which of these guidelines work for you. They are all small steps, but small steps in de good direction. Combine them with your own ideas on how to decrease your ecological footprint and be mindful of your journey. Cause in the end we all want the same thing: make a contribution to a better world.

Love,

Eva

*Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heals at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. You can follow her on Instagram.

6 Reasons To Still Love Thailand

Thailand. Once a tropical and far away destination but nowadays, more than ever, a super touristic country where real adventure and authenticity seem to be disappearing and mass tourism seems to be taking over. Some travelers don’t even bother going to Thailand any more, but for me, even after three times, it is still one of my favorite Southeast Asian countries. Why? I’ll give you 6 reasons why to still love Thailand.

1. The People.
Thailand is known as the land of the smile and even though ginormous amounts of tourists have found their way to the land once known as Siam, the Thai people still remain friendly. Of course you have the general exceptions such as the merchants on Khao San Road who don’t even let you try something before buying it, but the (big!) majority of Thai people I met remain respectful, friendly, humble and do everything with a big smile.

Bangkok, love Thailand
Bangkok

2. The Food.
Okay, this one is a SUPER big cliché, but so true! I tried fresh Spring Rolls in Vietnam, ate Khmer Amok in Cambodia and love a portion of Indonesian Gado Gado, but, let’s be honest, nothing beats a Pad Thai. Thai food is so versatile, so full of flavor and even as a vegetarian you are treated to mouthwatering dishes day after day after day. And yes, food is definitely a reason for me to go to a country and that’s why I love Thailand ;)

3. The convenience.
Traveling around Thailand is easy. Did I say easy? It is super easy! Every hostel has a travel desk and in every town you’ll find heaps of travel agencies. Whether you take the bus, boat, minivan and TukTuk, everything is well planned out and you’ll always arrive on your destination. Flying is sometimes even cheaper than the train or bus (you can, for instance, fly from Bangkok to Krabi for 20 Euros) and vehicles like minivans are often of good quality. Believe me, if you’ve seen what I traveled with in countries like Cambodia you’ll never complain about a Thai minivan again…

Love Thailand
Traveling through Thailand by boat

4. The Islands.
There are so many islands in Thailand that you could easily stay for 2 months, and there is something for everyone. If you like to go partying you go to Koh Phi Phi or Koh Phangan, if you want to relax I’d recommend Koh Lanta (check our tips on Koh Lanta), if you want to get your PADI or want to go snorkeling then Koh Tao is the place to be and if you’re looking for something different then Koh Chang is where you should set sail to. And what all the islands have in common: they are beautiful.

Krabi, Love Thailand

5. The Temples.
What can I say? I love temples, and Thailand has many of them. Some people say that “after you’ve seen one temple you’ve seen them all” but I strongly disagree, especially in Thailand. In Bangkok you can’t miss the reclining Buddha and Wat Arun, whereas in Chiang Mai Doi Suthep is a definite must-go-to. But also walking into the smaller, less well-known temples that aren’t mentioned in travel guides like the lonely planet are worth wandering around.

6. The Sunsets
Yes, there are pretty sunsets everywhere, but the last few I saw during my most recent visit to Thailand were out of this world. Whether you’re in a busy metropole like Bangkok or chilling on an island, Mother Nature will treat you to some of her best sunsets ever. Order a cold Chang, get comfortable and watch the day turn into night.

Sunsets in Krabi Thailand,
Sunsets like no other

I could go on about the weather, the parties, the adventure, how the Thai people speak English and so on but I think I made my point about why I love Thailand: this country is still more than worth visiting. Enjoy! 

Love,

Evelien

*Evelien is one of our guest bloggers who currently travels and lives in Australia. Follow her on Instagram (@eefexplores) or check out her website!

The adventurous South Island of New Zealand

As the ultimate New Zealand ambassador (seriously, if the immigration laws weren’t so impossible, I would already live there) I would highly recommend to visit every part of this beautiful country. But I also know that you need at least two months to fully explore every corner. Reality is that a lot of (short-term) travelers have to be selective on where to go and pick the South-Island of New Zealand as their go-to destination. With reason, it’s a dream to drive the long roads, stare at the ridiculously gorgeous and ever-changing scenery, wander through the cozy towns and have fun with the hilarious, straightforward locals. Next to all this beauty, there are also a ton of opportunities to have some adventure. I’ll let you in on some of the ones I experienced.

Oh and by the way, if you are going to travel the whole country (you lucky bastard), make sure to check out our insights on the Stunning North Island as well!

The North Island of New Zealand
The North Island of New Zealand

Pick Picton
Easily overlooked by many, little port town Picton (where the ferry from the North Island arrives) is worth to stay for a few days. Where the town is small, the nature is grand! the maze of the Marlborough Sounds with it’s valley’s, peaks, beaches, birds and crystal clear waters just scream for some exploring. Be prepared to feel really small when walking (pieces of) the Queen Charlotte trail. If you are not a hiker, there are also plenty of kayak and bike tours, as long or short as you like. Also, if you’re into sailing, make sure to ask around in town if the local sailing club still has training nights and if you are allowed to join. It’s what we did and it resulted in an epic afternoon of high speed sailing on an amazing sailboat, sarcastic jokes and home-brewed rum by the crew included. You can find more info about Picton here: www.newzealand.com/nieuw-zeeland/picton/

The seals of Abel Tasman
Of course you are going to visit Abel Tasman National Park. Golden beaches, lush nature, secret waterfalls, they have it all here. Whatever you have planned for this park, make sure to add some kayaking even if it is just for a few hours. It’s paddling on open sea and therefore pretty damn exhausting, but you’ll forget about that when you look around you. The occasional seal will lazily float by your canoe, enjoying the sun as much as you’ll do. I did a two day tour, with one day of kayaking to a campsite (the tour agencies will provide you with a fully stocked kayak, tent included) and walking back to following day. This really was a magical two days, bonfires included!


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Kayaking at Abel Tasman National Park

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Roadtrip
If you have been doubting whether to hire a car to get around or just take the easy way and buy a buss pass: hire a car!! This coming from me (the most scared car driver alive) says something. The South Island offers not so many roads, and they are also not that busy. But men, they are breathtaking. And at some parts also quite adventurous, with mountain passes, hairpin bends, cliffs, no gas stations for miles and of course driving on the left side. Having your own car gives you the opportunity to really wander off the main roads, stop to gaze at your surroundings wherever and whenever you want, travel at your own pace. Oh and perhaps getting chased by a herd of cows and losing some hubcaps in the process, like happend to us. But hey, that’s a story for another time. Trust me, take the car. Car rental Picton (you can rent the car her, and drop it off in several other cities, Christchurch for instance): https://www.omegarentalcars.com/car-rental-picton/

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Adventure capital of the world
The true thrill seekers will know this: Queenstown is the place to be if you are looking for adventure (and for a scandalous pub-crawl). This town does, In my honest opinion, no real justice to the rest of the country since it pulls in a lot of tourists who just want to get hammered. But hey, it’s good fun for a few days and it still looks magnificent. Also it’s the best place to book a trip to Milford Sound, a mystical fjord which seems to come straight out of a movie (remember that movie with elves, a ring and some bad orcs ;-) ). But back to the adrenaline, this town will get you pumped with it. From jet boating to luging to bungeejumping, make sure to save some of your money to engage in at least one of the adventures on offer. If you have some real guts, do the bungeejumping. You have multiple bungee sites to choose from. The Nevis bungee let’s you fall ‘ only’ 180 meters, The Ledge offers cool views on Queenstown (but not sure if you’ll be aware of that if you are about to make a free fall with nothing but a rope around your ankles). I did the Kawarau Bridge jump, since this is the first commercial bungee site in the world and my inner nostalgia bubbled up because of this. Imagine jumping of an old bridge, in the middle of a gorge, dipping into turquoise water. And of course being pulled back by that gigantic elastic. I was scared, I screamed, I was terrified. And I would do it again any day.

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Queenstown

south-island of new-zealand queenstown_kawarau_bungee
It’s the perfect place for thrillseekers

Stewart Island
Most people know about the North and the South Island, but forget the third island of New Zealand: Stewart Island. I’ll admit, it will steal some days of your travels to get there, but if you have the time and you’re looking for nature in it’s purest form, go! While on the island, we had the privilege to actually spot a real life Kiwi (the bird which functions as New Zealand’s national symbol). They only live in the wild on Stewart Island and are hardly seen. We just happened to trip over one while we are arguing about the scary and dark forest path we were taking. Its all possible here. Same goes for the little penguins that show up at dawn in the harbor. Getting to Stewart Island is possible by ferry boat. But if it has always been your dream do go cage diving with great white sharks, you can also book a (really expensive) tour which offers you the cage as well as the transfer to the island. It’s what we did because my sister had this crazy desire to face the shark of death. Be careful when booking a trip like this, my sister actually ended up not seeing the shark in the water at all (while I had a pretty clear sight of the monster when I was just lounging on the deck). But hey, if it’s your dream..

Meet a sea lion
Another place that a lot of people skip is student town Dunedin. Which is a shame, since they have a chocolate factory! Jokes aside, it’s a very laid-back city, home to the worlds steepest residential street of the world. More importantly, it’ s also home to the Otago peninsula, where you can drive around and spot marine wildlife. Think penguins, albatrosses, seals and sea lions. We encountered two sea lions of which one was surrounding a bird watching hut to ensure that the people in there, would stay in there. The other sea lion (which we named Claude) was actually chasing us. Quite the adventure, but I guess that’s what the South Island of New Zealand is all about.

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Claude chasing us!

This is only a small list of everything you can do on this amazing island. there is whale-watching in Kaikoura, climbing Franz Josef glacier, Mount Cook. spotting dolphins in Greymouth, hiking around Lake Wanaka, the TranzAlpine train ride, Christchurch, Akaroa, and so so so much more. Go there, and make me jealous.

Love,

Jill

*Jill is one of our guest bloggers living in Amsterdam (@jillgwendolyn) where she works as a content manager for a digital agency. She’s Crazy about traveling and has spend her studies in New Zealand . You can read a new article from Jill in every 3rd week of the month!

How to avoid the crowds at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat is undoubtedly Cambodia’s biggest tourist attraction. And this is no surprise since Angkor Wat is the biggest religious monument in the world which dates back to the early twelfth century. These days almost 5 million tourists yearly make their way over to Cambodia to wander around the temples of Angkor themselves, making it a very popular but very busy place to visit. You better think again if you ever dream of having these temples all to yourself, but there are a few tricks to avoid the big crowds and wander around in peace…

1. Watch the sunrise and leave a little early
Watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat is a definite must-do when you’re visiting these temples. Not only is it a truly magical experience when a new day presents itself by rising up against the temples, but it is also a great way to arrive at the temples early. If you want to have a good spot without hundreds of iPad and Selfiestick waving Chinese tourists in front of you, walk right instead of going straight ahead at the famous ‘sunrise temple spot’. You won’t be right in front of the temples, but you will share the view with just a dozen of other tourists. When the sun is up and you captured enough Instagram-worthy shots, head back to your Tuk Tuk driver before everybody else does. Doing this you’ll arrive at the other temples as one of the first, having the temples (almost) all to yourself :)

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

2. The further away, the better!
Ask your Tuk Tuk driver to bring you to the popular temples that are further away first. Many Tuk Tuk’s and tour buses follow a certain route, creating the perfect opportunity for you to do the exact opposite thing :) Also, if you see tons of big tour buses standing outside of a temple, ask your Tuk Tuk driver to take you to another temple which appears to be less crowded first.

no crowds at ankor-wat

3. Go back at the end of the day
Wandering around the temples of Angkor is extremely beautiful, but also extremely tiring and HOT! If you decided to watch the sunrise you will probably feel very tired around 12pm, making you want to go home and take a nap during the hottest hours of the day. If you buy a one-day-pass this pass is valid for a whole day, so you can come back to the temples in the late afternoon, when most of the crowds already have disappeared. Make sure you don’t go too late as Angkor Wat closes at 6pm.

Angkor Wat takes you back in time

I hope the three tips above will help you explore this ancient Kingdom in peace and quiet. Enjoy :)

Love,

Evelien

*Evelien is one of our guest bloggers who currently travels and lives in Australia. Follow her on Instagram (@eefexplores) or check out her website!

Did you know Cambodia is one of the world’s cheapest countries to live in? Check which countries made it to the top 5!

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Support the human rights of women in Bolivia

At Wander-Lust we get to travel to the most amazing places and experience various cool press trips. But life is not all about Instagram pictures by the pool. At Wander-Lust it’s also about giving back. To mother nature, to society and to the countries we visit.

Giving back is key! 
One of our first charity projects will be in Bolivia. On the 2nd of March,
Wander-Lusty Sarah will be joined by Fat Kids Cake Co-founder and photographer Ilsoo van Dijk for a charity project in Bolivia. This project, by the organization “Mensen met een missie” supports the human rights of women in Bolivia. We need your support too!

mensenmeteenmissie

Violence against women is becoming a huge problem in the Bolivian society. Seven out of ten women are dealing with physical or sexual abuse. Although Bolivia implemented a law back in 2012 that has to protect women from violence, in practice there is not much of a change. “Mensen met een Missie” from the Netherlands supports young people and victims in Bolivia.  They offer psychological, social and legal support for victims and they lobby actively at both local and national authorities.

We will travel around Bolivia for 2.5 weeks  to see how they work and to talk to the victims. We will write about our experiences during this trip and we will share our stories with you in the hope that also you will subscribe some day as volunteer or donate money to support “Mensen Met een Missie”.

We made a video with our friends!

Video by: Laurens Smit

To find more information about this project or to make a donation, please click here

Thank you!

(S.O. too everyone who helped us!)

Love,

Wander-Lust