Tag Archives: thailand

Travel From Thailand To Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia With The Rawfoodfamily

16 Nov

http://www.KaSundance.com

We did it!
We finally left our lonely island in Thailand where we lived for the last 4 months and moved on.
The South-East Asia Tour 2012-13 with The Rawfoodfamily continues.
Enjoy one of the most beautiful cities on earth – Kuala Lumpur – see through the eyes of Ka Sundance and his family.

THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES!

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**** To get information on how we finance an location independent lifestyle traveling the world on a constant base as a family of 6 AND how you can do the same by making a living with your passion online, please visit us at ****
http://www.KaSundance.com

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Event-o-Rama: 12 Must-Dos in April

29 Mar

On Queen's Day, Amsterdam residents are allowed to sell wares on the street without a permit, transforming the city into a vrijmarkt (free market). (Photograph by Ferry Peys, My Shot)

There are some amazing events on tap all over the world, all the time. Here’s a taste of what you can see and do in April:

  • If you still haven’t been to the Big Easy, spring is the time to go. Come for the French Quarter Festival (April 11-14), the “largest free music festival in the South,” but stay for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (April 26-May 5), a bucket-list worthy celebration of Louisiana music and culture that’s been going strong since 1970.
  • Calling all foodies! Report to Singapore for the World Gourmet Summit (April 16-26). Described as a “gastronomic extravaganza,” the upscale event promises 10 days of eating, drinking, chef demonstrations, and classes. The experience will require some dough though, and we don’t mean the edible kind.
  • With a name like Queen’s Day (April 30), you might expect something regal and refined. Instead the Dutch holiday transforms Amsterdam into a citywide party and a sea of orange, with revelers sporting the national color flooding the streets and forming flotillas in the canals.  This year’s spectacle is also the official day of Queen Beatrix’s abdication (next year the holiday will be called Koningsdag – King’s Day — and held in honor of soon-to-be-King Willem-Alexander).
    The Golden Comanche Mardi Gras Indians take center stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.  (Photograph by Derek Bridges, Flickr)

    The Golden Comanche Mardi Gras Indians take center stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. (Photograph by Derek Bridges, Flickr)

  • Woombye, Australia’s Big Pineapple Music Festival may celebrate homegrown artists from Oz and neighboring New Zealand, but the concert, which takes place on a plantation that practices fair trade and organic growing, is an occasion worthy of an international crowd. Join the fun on April 20.
  • Best known for its aquarium, Monterey, California will soon turn its attention to terra firma for the Sea Otter Classic (April 18-21). What has been billed as the world’s biggest bike festival boasts races, expositions, beer, barbecue, and excursions – enough to satisfy the most fanatical cyclers.
  • Preeminent tea makes a brief bow to its caffeinated counterpart during The London Coffee Festival (April 25-28). Hosted by the hip Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, the four-day fete celebrates all that is coffee and more, with tastings, barista demonstrations, gourmet food stalls, and live music.
    Tea makes way for its caffeinated counterpart at the London Coffee Festival. (Photograph by David Clare, Flickr)

    Tea makes way for its caffeinated counterpart at the London Coffee Festival. (Photograph by David Clare, Flickr)

  • Bangkok may be Thailand’s superstar city, but Chiang Mai still has it beat when it comes to celebrating the traditional Thai New Year. In addition to a massive parade, street performers and street food pervade the nation’s northernmost city during its Songkran festival (April 12-15). But the festival’s final day makes a real splash, with locals and tourists taking to the streets for a massive water fight. Though the tradition stems from a cleansing ritual, it has a practical purpose: April is Thailand’s hottest time of year.
  • Grenada may have been marred by political conflict in the past, but the island nation is moving forward fast. See for yourself at the Carriacou Maroon and String Band Music Festival (April 26-28), a triumphant display of authentic Caribbean food, music, and dance.
  • No wicked witches here, just modern-day Hansels and Gretels looking to celebrate. Two centuries after the Brothers Grimm published their first volume, Kassel, Germany honors the hometown heroes at Expedition Grimm (starting April 27). In addition to seeing the storytellers’ manuscripts and personal effects on display, visitors can take in walking tours, festivals, and special performances.
    Celebrants splash water on each other to mark the traditional Thai new year.  (Photograph by Charlie Tray, My Shot)

    Celebrants splash water on each other to mark the traditional Thai new year. (Photograph by Charlie Tray, My Shot)

  • It’s that time again in Hampyeong, South Korea when the canola flowers start to bloom and boatloads of butterflies flock to the meadows in a glorious display. Celebrate the arrival of spring and an ecological spectacle at the Hampyeong Butterfly Festival (April 26-May 8) with countless exhibits and experiences dedicated to these delicate insects.
  • Get a head start on your summer reading…in good company. The 39th annual Buenos Aires International Book Fair (April 25-May 13) expects to draw more than a million attendees from all over the world this year, and features 400 exhibitors, a comprehensive series of conferences, readings, and workshops.
  • If you’re looking to put some pep in your step, head to Memphis, Tennessee (one of Traveler‘s Best Trips for 2013). Today, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music occupies the space where the “Soulsville U.S.A.” recording studio once sat, but the beat goes on at Stax to the Max (April 27), a free and family-friendly festival that celebrates soul legends like Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes — as well as the modern-day musicians that are keeping their legacies alive.

What would you add to the list? Let us know what we’re missing by leaving a comment.

Event-o-Rama: 12 Must-Dos in April amsterdam , Argentina , Australia , Big Pineapple Music Festival , Brothers Grimm , Buenos Aires International Book Fair , California , Caribbean , Carriacou Festival , Chiang Mai , French Quarter Festival , germany , Grenada , Hampyeong , Kassel , Kirani James , louisiana , Memphis , Monterrey , netherlands , new orleans , Queen Beatrix , queens day , Sea Otter Classic , Singapore , Songkran , South Korea , Stax to the Max , thailand , The London Coffee Festival , Woombye , World Gourmet Summit , World’s Largest Jazz Brunch

The Radar: Travel Lately

22 Mar

Selime Cathedral, a rock-cut church in Cappadocia, Turkey. (Photograph by Zhiqun Fei, My Shot)

The Radar – the best of the travel blogosphere – is a regular feature on Intelligent Travel every Wednesday.

Here’s this week’s:

  • Turkey links the East and the West — and its landscapes are just as unique. Read on as one blogger finds subterranean surprises in the smack-dab center of this cultural olio. @YoungAdventures
  • Modern travelers may take to the air to see the globe, but some of the world’s wonders are still best seen by way of water. From Idaho rapids to a remote corner of Fiji, here are 21 places to get your feet wet. @MatadorNetwork
  • Vilnius may be Lithuania’s capital and largest city, but Kaunas has its own contributions to make. Find out what makes this Baltic city tick (and don’t forget your umbrella!). @EuropeUpClose
  • What do you get when you pair an iconic car with the Mexican backcountry? The Traveling Beetle – a series of all-inclusive road trips that one traveler calls “a vintage dream.” @Butterflydiary
  • The elephant may be Thailand’s national animal, but that doesn’t mean they’re treated with universal respect. Pay homage to the mammoth mammals at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai@WanderlandAlex

 

The Radar: Travel Lately Alex in Wanderland , Butterfly Diary , Cappadocia , Chiang Mai , Europe Up Close , Kaunas , Lithuania , Matador Network , Mexico , ngtradar , thailand , The Radar , The Traveling Beetle , turkey , Young Adventures

World’s Most Beautiful Waterfalls

20 Mar

For those who love experiencing beautiful landscapes, visiting waterfalls is one of the best ways to add some extra beauty to a day in the outdoors. Not all falls are created equal, however. If you want to view some of the world’s best cascades, here are our suggestions.

Niagara Falls, USA/Canada

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Located in both Ontario and New York, Niagara Falls is made up of three waterfalls — Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side and the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls on the U.S. side — that form the southern end of the Niagara Gorge. Although the height of Niagara Falls varies due to seasonal flow, American Falls can get up to 194 feet during peak season June through August. While not the highest waterfall in the world, it certainly is the most powerful, and it’s sheer overall size is enough to draw over 10 million visitors each year.

For the best views, opt to do either the Journey Behind the Falls or the Maid of the Mist. Journey Behind the Falls is an unguided excursion that takes you below and behind the falls as it travels up to 40 miles per second before crashing into the basin below. On the other hand, the Maid of the Mist is a guided boat tour that takes riders past the American and Bridal Veil Falls right into the curve of Horseshoe Falls and into the mist. It’s also worth visiting the attraction at night, as the cascades are lit up in an array of colors.

Sutherland Falls, New Zealand

Located near the scenic ford of Milford Sound, Sutherland Falls in New Zealand is one of the tallest water falls in the world. It features three drops at heights of 751 feet, 815 feet and 1902 feet, thundering down dramatically into an enormous pool at the bottom. It’s beautiful to look up and see the water pouring from the glacial reservoir of Lake Quill over the edges of the mountaintops. To get to the falls, you’ll need to hike a section of the Milford Track from the Quintin Public Shelter.

Dettifoss, Iceland

Dettifoss

Dettifoss. Photo credit: csproete via Flickr.

Located in Vatnajökull National Park in Northeast Iceland, Dettifoss is touted as the most powerful waterfall in Europe, flowing at about 17,657 cubic feet per second. The falls are about 145 feet tall and 328 feet wide, and takes on a milky color from the sediment-rich meltwaters of the Vatnajökull glacier, from which the falls is fed its water. To access Dettifoss, it is a 30 minute hike from the parking lot. The best views of the falls are had from the top of the falls, watching it from above as it drops off. Just don’t get too close to the edge as the risk of erosion is quite high. If you’re still in the mood to see more waterfalls afterward, distant views of Selfoss can be has just a short hike upstream.

Pailon del Diablo, Ecuador 

For those staying in the adventurous city of Banos, one popular excursion is to bike the “Waterfalls Route,” which includes Agoyan, Manto de la Novia, Machay and the most impressive of all, Pailon del Diablo, Ecuador’s second biggest waterfall. You’ll go about 11 miles, taking in lush jungle, roaring rivers and beautiful mountains until you reach the parking lots for Pailon del Diablo. Here you’ll park your bike before hiking about 15 minutes to the approximately 100-feet-high falls.

To get the best view, you’ll need to shimmy through a narrow cave and climb some stairs that will take you about midway to the top. Make sure to bring a raincoat, as the powerful falls ensure you will get a little wet. If you don’t want to bike, you can also take the bus from Banos to Puyo and stop off at the falls, or take tour of the area’s waterfalls on a colorful “chiva” trolley.

Iguaza Falls, Brazil/Argentina

Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls

Iguaza Falls features an edge that is 1.7 miles long, with about 275 individual waterfalls and cascades that range from 197 to 269 feet in height. Because of its immense size, visitors should allot at least one full day, preferably two, to explore the entire attraction, which is littered with catwalks and lookout platforms for closeup views. Additionally, visitors can take a boat tour to go under some of the falls.

Usually, visitors will spend one day exploring the Brazilian side and the other traversing the Argentinian side, as both offer completely different views. The most impressive section of the falls is undoubtedly the Devil’s Throat, which is best seen from the Brazilian side. Here you’ll witness 14 falls plunge 350 feet and spraying mist 100-feet into the air. It’s a beautiful sight, especially since you’re almost guaranteed to see a rainbow.

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls. Photo credit: i_pinz via Flickr.

Located across Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia and Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is one of the world’s most impressive waterfalls, boasting the largest curtain of water formed on the planet. In terms of size, Victoria Falls are 355 feet high, 5,577 feet wide and with over 500 million liter plunging over the edge into the Zambezi River. Because of the water flow’s intensity, a spray is shot 1,000 feet into the air that can be seen from 30 miles away. Not surprisingly, there are almost always rainbows.

In terms of viewing, the best time to go is June through August when they are between medium and high water. Additionally, the Zimbabwe side offers the best rim-level views, while the Zambia side allows visitors the best base-level view via the rainforest footpath. If you have the time, it’s worthwhile to explore both sides as each has completely different perspectives. Additionally, you can see the falls in a more adventurous way by white water rafting on the river below the falls, bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls bridge, taking a microlite flight over the forge from the Zambia side or canoeing on the river above the falls where you can also view wildlife.

Na-ra Falls, Iriomote Island, Okinawa, Japan

Located on the lush rainforest island of Iriomote in Okinawa, Japan, is the lesser-known Na-ra Falls. While not the largest falls in the world, it is a truly beautiful and natural site and the journey adds an element of adventure. At Nirakanai Iriomotejima lodge you can hire a guide to take you to the falls, which requires a boat ride down the mangrove and Adan fruit tree-littered Nakama River, before de-boarding for a hike through the jungle. The trek can be difficult at times as you make your way over narrow hilltop trails, shimmy over boulders and wade through knee-deep water to reach your destination.

After about an hour, you will be rewarded for your efforts with the Na-ra Falls, a multitiered waterfall creating a calm swimming pool at the base. You can wade at the base on rocks to view the falls from the base or continue your trek to the top for the best views. What really makes this waterfall so worthwhile to visit is the fact nobody really knows about, leaving it wild and untouched by tourism.

Erawan Falls, Thailand

Erawan Falls

Erawan Falls. Photo credit: Todd Huffman via Flickr.

Thailand is home to some of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls, the most magnificent being the 4,921-foot Erawan Falls. Located in Erawan National Park in the Kanchanaburi Province, the seven-tiered Erawan Falls are thought to resemble a three-headed white elephant from Hindu mythology called the erawan. As the water spills over limestone cliffs it plunges down into cool blue pools. Visitors can do jungle hikes around the falls or swim in its pools. For the best views, trek to the top of the falls, which takes about three hours round-trip. Along the way, you’ll have many opportunities to cool down in the fall’s many levels.

Ban Gioc-Detian Falls, China/Vietnam

Ban Gioc-Detian Falls

Ban Gioc-Detian Falls. Photo credit: Denise Chan via Flickr.

Composed of two waterfalls straddling the Guichun River and the China-Vietnam border, Ban Gioc-Detian Falls is so powerful it sounds like thunder when it hits the basin, especially during wet season. With multiple tiers, crystal waters and surrounding karst peaks, it is a moving setting to be in. While Ban Gioc is considered the largest waterfall in Vietnam, Detian Falls is thought to be one of China’s most spectacular natural sites.

As a whole, the waterfall drops 98 feet and is 656 feet wide, making it the 4th-largest waterfall along a national border. For the best views, visit during June and July when river flow speeds up. Additionally, the Chinese side offers a scenic rainforest walking alongside the falls to the top, while the Vietnamese side allows you to swim in a refreshing natural pool. To get a closer look at the falls, there are locals nearby offering bamboo rafting tours.

MacKenzie Falls, Australia

MacKenzie Falls

MacKenzie Falls. Photo credit: Alpha via Flickr.

Located in one of Australia’s most scenic but lesser-traversed parks, you’ll find MacKenzie Falls in the Grampians National Park. You’ll have to hike down a well-marked steep set of stairs — and then back up again — to reach the waterfall; however, you’re hard work will be rewarded by a frontal view of gushing torrents of water from Lake Wartook cascading over a cliff edge. Viewing the waterfall from the stairs as you come down is also a worthwhile photo opportunity, as it is easier to make out the tiers of the falls. While the

The view that awaits you at the end of this steep trail is spectacular. Enormous torrents of water cascade over huge cliffs into a deep pool, sending fine sprays of rainbow mist high into the air above a stunning gorge. While MacKenzie Falls flows all year, it is must stronger in June through September when it rains more frequently. And if you’re hot after your hike, feel free to take a dip in the fall’s refreshing waters.

Marmore’s Falls, Italy

A beautiful as well as historical attraction, Marmore’s Falls (Cascate delle Marmore) in Italy is a man-made falls built by the ancient Romans. Located in Umbria, the falls are the highest man-made waterfall in the world and one of the highest in Europe at 541 feet. The area itself is very relaxing, with hiking trails and an expansive park. Although fed by the Velino River, the falls are sometimes deviated to feed the hydroelectric power plants system, so double check their website’s timetable before visiting. Generally, they’re open longer in the summer and less in the winter.

For the best views of Cascate delle Marmore, you can either go to the Lower Outlook for an entire view of the falls and panoramic of the first drop. The Upper Lookout offers views from the top as well as the chance to see La Specola, a 1781 arcaded loggia built by Pope Pius VI.  The Upper Outlook is also known for its wonderful rainbow views.

Burney Falls, California

Burney Falls

Burney Falls. Photo credit: Amit Patel via Flickr.

Not as well-known as some of the United States’ other waterfalls, Burney Falls is located in McArthur Burney Falls Memorial State Park in Shasta County, California. The falls have a height of 129 feet and strong flow year-round of over 100 million gallons of water per day, which appears to burst from the middle of the cliff face. This is because the source of the falls is from underground springs. While you’ll be able to drive to the lookout point to see the falls, the best views are had after a 2.4 mile loop hike to the base.


World’s Most Beautiful Waterfalls Argentina , Australia , brazil , California , China , Ecuador , Iceland , Italy , japan , Niagara Falls , South Africa , thailand , Vietnam

Spring Break Destinations for Every Kind of Traveler

8 Mar

With Spring Break just around the corner, now’s the time to cast aside your studies, hunt down those last-minute deals and plan an unforgettable trip.  Whether you’re looking for a budget beach break, a romantic getaway or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, here’s a roundup of the best Spring Break destinations.

For budget travelers

Bahamas

Nassau Cable Beach - Best Spring Break Destinations

Budget travelers can find good deals in the Bahamas

One of the most affordable destinations in the Caribbean, the Bahamas offer plenty of Spring Break deals, with cheap flights running from the US to Nassau and Paradise Islands and a variety of island cruises available. Lounge on white sand beaches or try your hand at water sports during the day, then hit the beach clubs by night.

Puerto Rico

With a drinking age of 18 and prices far cheaper than most U.S destinations, the aptly nicknamed ‘Island of Enchantment’ is fast becoming a popular alternative to the party hotspots of Mexico. If the pristine beaches and lively nightlife aren’t enough to entice you to Puerto Rican shores, there are plenty of alternative activities to try, from horseback riding to scuba diving to trekking in the rainforest.

Florida

If you’d prefer to stay stateside and cut down on pricey airfares, there are plenty of options in Florida. Hit the beach bars and celebrity studded nightclubs at Panama City Beach, join the crowds at Miami Beach, or get involved in myriad spring break activities in the Florida Keys.

Mexico

We couldn’t complete a spring break roundup without a nod to the student party Mecca of Mexico. If you’re looking for a non-stop roster of sunbathing and parties, head to the beach resorts of Cancun, Los Cabos or Acapulco, but don’t expect to have the beach to yourself – masses of students will be descending on the coast for the busiest season of the year.

For sun seekers

Thailand

If you’re happy to fly further afield, Thailand offers some of the world’s best value beach resorts, with vast beaches, coral filled waters and a notoriously debauched party scene. Spend your time snorkeling or elephant trekking in the jungle, then hit the beach bars at night. Phuket, Hua Hin and Koh Samui are all popular among beach lovers, but be sure to join the masses for one of Koh Phangan’s infamous Full Moon Parties where cocktail buckets and blaring dance music keep the scantily clad revelers dancing until the early hours.

India

Goa Baga Beach - Best Spring Break Destinations

Goa’s Baga Beach

Uncover India’s bohemian roots with a beach vacation in Goa, where you can revel in the laid-back vibe and try wakeboarding, kite surfing and jet skiing, before hitting the beach bars at sunset. Once you tire of the sun, sea and sand, head inland to the ‘pink city’ of Jaipur, home to some of the country’s most spectacular architecture, and undergo a pilgrimage to the magnificent Taj Mahal.

Brazil

With powder white beaches, scorching temperatures and endless Caipirinhas, Brazilians know a thing or two about a beach holiday. Head to Rio where you can soak up the rays on the famous Copocabana beach, hit the waves on neighboring Ipanema and pay a visit to the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. If you’d prefer to dodge the crowds, travel north to Natal where you can spread your beach towel on the popular Ponta Negra beach and hit the samba clubs in the evening hours.

South Africa

Few countries boast more sunny days than South Africa and whether you’re after an action packed vacation or a leisurely beach break, there’s something for everyone. Of course, you just might need a trust fund to afford the airfare, but if you’ve got the cash to splash out, a South Africa Spring Break is an unforgettable adventure. Brave the waves on the famous Wild Coast, spot the Big 5 on safari in the vast Kruger National Park or come face to face with Great White sharks on a shark diving excursion from Cape Town.

For adrenaline junkies

Costa Rica

Costa Rica offers myriad activities to get your blood pumping, from hurtling down rapids in a whitewater raft to scaling the crater of an active volcano. For the most mind-blowing experience, make like Tarzan on a rainforest canopy tour, where you’ll get to zip line at breakneck speed through acres of untamed jungle, or zoom along the rainforest floor on an ATV instead.

Belize

Belize scuba divers in Blue Hole - Best Spring Break Destinations

Go underwater in Belize

Home to the second largest Barrier Reef in the world, Belize is the perfect place to strap on some fins and dive to the depths of the ocean on a scuba diving excursion. Another hugely popular activity is cave tubing with Belize harboring one of Central America’s most extensive underground cave networks. Still not exciting enough for you? Try zip lining through the jungle, kayaking through crocodile infested waters or parasailing on the open ocean.

Las Vegas

The bright lights of the famous Strip aren’t just for revelers and gamblers; Las Vegas makes the perfect destination for thrill-seekers, with the vast Grand Canyon right nearby. Take a helicopter flight over the strip, whiz through the Valley of Fire on a dune buggy, brave the Grand Canyon Skywalk, take a sunrise hot air balloon ride or skydive over the spectacular Red Rock Canyon. Or you could just blow your savings on the roulette table.

Niagara Falls

One of Northern America’s most celebrated natural attractions, just catching sight of the thundering Niagara Falls is a thrill but those hoping for an action packed trip can hurtle beneath the falls on a high-speed jet boat, zoom over the top in a helicopter or get a view from a giant tethered helium balloon. Not all activities have to involve the falls, though – go kayaking along the Niagara River, bungee jumping in the Niagara Falls area or climb the precipitous gorge at the nearby Devil’s Hole.

For snow bunnies

Whistler, British Columbia

Just because it’s spring doesn’t mean you have to opt for a beach holiday – swap sand for snow and hit the ski slopes instead. Head to the world-renowned Whistler resort – the continent’s largest ski area – where you’ll have the pick of over 200 ski runs. There’s plenty of snow-free activities to keep you busy on the warmer days too – horse riding, canoeing and mountain biking are all popular pastimes.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

With some of the best ski runs in America, Jackson Hole is a veritable paradise for skiers and snowboarders. Springtime offers warmer weather activities too, so once you tire of the slopes you can hike or horseback ride through the Grand Teton Park, whitewater raft in the Snake River Canyon or explore the legendary landscapes of nearby Yellowstone National Park.

Lake Tahoe

Springtime in Lake Tahoe is the perfect time to explore the area’s idyllic beaches and waterfalls, but those hoping to hit the slopes will find plenty of powder still dusting the peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Squaw Valley and the Heavenly Mountain resorts are popular spots, where you can ski or snowboard through the day, enjoy a beachside barbecue, then party the night away at one of the lakeside casinos.

For couples

Hawaii

Couple in Hawai - Best Spring Break Destinations

Hawaii is great for couples

Whether you take a romantic sunset boat cruise, cuddle up in a luxury eco lodge or just stroll hand in hand along a moonlit beach, Hawaii is a destination tailor-made for falling in love. There are plenty of adventures to be had in paradise too – try your hand at surfing, snorkel among the shimmering corals or take a helicopter ride over the famous ‘Ring of Fire’.

Vancouver

With its impressive mountain-backdrop and park-lined waterfront, Vancouver offers the perfect backdrop for a loved up getaway. Enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride around Stanley Park, take the ferry over to the picturesque Vancouver Island, then enjoy dinner with a view at Grouse Mountain’s observatory restaurant or on a sunset dinner cruise through Vancouver harbor.

Buenos Aires

Effortlessly cool and oozing with Latino charm, Buenos Aires is the unofficial romance capital of Latin America. Get in the mood with a tango show or dance class; enjoy a stroll through the Palermo Rose Gardens, where you can hire a rowing boat on the lake and visit the planetarium for some sunset stargazing; then head to the waterfront Puerto Madero for dinner with a glittering view of the docks.

San Francisco

With its abundance of art galleries, designer boutiques, hip bars and gourmet restaurants, San Francisco never falls short of ideas for date night. If you prefer some low-key romance, snuggle up on a boat cruise around San Francisco Bay, take a day trip to the Sonoma and Napa Valley wineries or take in the sunset from the famous Golden Gate Bridge.

For Europhiles

Tuscany

Rent a villa in the idyllic Tuscan countryside and spend your days cycling the vineyards and olive groves, pouring over masterpieces in the birthplace of the Renaissance and over-indulging in delicious Italian pastas. Whether you’re after serene landscapes or iconic architecture (don’t miss the famous leaning tower of Pisa), few European destinations offer such variety as Tuscany.

Paris

Alternatively, opt for a memorable sojourn in the City of Lights, where you can breakfast on croissants and shop among the world’s most fashionable people. A trip to the Louvre, the exquisite Château de Versailles and of course, the inimitable Eiffel Tower, are all must-dos, along with a cruise long the River Seine and an entertaining evening at the notorious Moulin Rouge.

Costa Brava, Spain

Costa Brava beach - Best Spring Break Destinations

Join the sunbathers in Costa Brava

If you want to guarantee some warm weather, the glamorous resorts of Spain’s Costa Brava coastline are one of Europe’s most popular springtime destinations. Beloved by the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Orson Welles, the vast Mediterranean beaches are not only popular with sunbathers but renowned among surfers, windsurfers and kite surfers, and with a network of hiking and cycling trails running along the coast, you’ll never be short of things to do.

London

You can’t visit Europe without paying a visit to the British capital and even after the excitement of the 2012 Olympics has died down, there’s still lots to see and do in London. Take a tour on the city’s iconic double-decker buses, enjoy a boat cruise along the Thames, watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and get spectacular views of the city from the London Eye and The Shard. Make sure you spare some time for the quintessentially English tradition of afternoon tea at one of London’s glitziest venues.

Spring Break Destinations for Every Kind of Traveler Bahamas , Belize , brazil , Buenos Aires , Costa Brava , costa rica , featured , florida , hawaii , india , Lake Tahoe , las vegas , London , Mexico , Niagara Falls , Paris , Puerto Rico , San Francisco , South Africa , spring break , thailand , tuscany , vancouver , whistler

25 Incredible Ways to Propose Abroad

8 Feb

Forget dropping down on one knee at a glitzy restaurant; these days popping the question requires a little more thought. From drifting along the Venice canal ways on a romantic gondola ride to camping out under the Egyptian stars, or even from the top of the Empire State Building, here are 25 ideas for mind-blowingly romantic proposals.

1. In a private capsule on the London Eye

London Eye

Propose on top of London in the London Eye

Pop the question with a glittering view of London from above by hiring out a private capsule on the London Eye and impressing your loved one with the best views in the city. For a romantic twist, book a  London Eye: Valentine’s Private Capsule where you’ll get champagne, flowers and chocolates to seal the deal.

2. At a private picnic in NYC

For a low-key and intimate proposal, few locations are as idyllic New York’s Central Park and with a Perfect Picnic Delivery to New York City Parks you’ll get a delicious array of gourmet foods delivered directly to your picnic blanket. All you need now is a ring.

3. On a private horse and carriage ride in NYC

Take a fairytale horse and carriage ride around New York’s Central Park where the iconic scenery offers the perfect backdrop, with great views of the Bow Bridge, the Central Park Carousel and Belvedere Castle.

4. On a gondola in Venice

Venice gondola ride

Cozy up on a gondola ride in Venice

Few places in the world do old world romance like Venice, with its historic canal ways, cobblestone plazas and majestic architecture. After experiencing a Venice Gondola Ride and Serenade along the picturesque Grand Canal, the only problem will be how to top it for the honeymoon.

5. At a fairy tale castle in Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

Make your partner feel like a modern day Cinderella with a trip to the enchanting Neuschwanstein Castle, the real-life inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle, where you can swap the glass slipper for a diamond and propose in style. Top it off with a stroll around the lake and waterfall gorge, and a stop-off at the equally beautiful Hohenschwangau Castle.

6. At the top of the Empire State Building in NYC

Empire State Building

With Manhattan as a backdrop, the Empire State Building is a memorable place to propose

Views don’t come more special than the glittering New York City skyline from the city’s most iconic building – the Empire State Building. Reenact one of the many famous film scenes set on the hugely popular observation deck and create your own piece of movie magic.

7. On a sunset cruise in NYC

Don’t fancy scaling the lofty heights of the Empire State Building for a view of the Big Apple? Get a dazzling view from the water instead, with a New York Dinner Cruise. Much more than a simple dinner date, you’ll be served a 4-course gourmet meal while cruising through Manhattan on the Hudson River with views of the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.

8. At the happiest place on earth

Disney World might be top of the wish list for family friendly holidays, but whatever your age, the iconic theme park never fails to bring a smile. For the most atmospheric way to experience the park, take in the legendary Illuminations with a spectacular Fireworks Helicopter Tour over Disney’s Epcot Center where you’ll get the ultimate view of the mesmerizing fireworks, laser and water show.

9. While watching a Hawaiian sunset or sunrise

Haleakala sunrise

The magnificent Haleakala sunrise

Get a taste of paradise without leaving the United States, with a romantic sojourn to Hawaii where you can set the scene for the big question on a Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small Group Adventure Tour or a Spectacular Haleakala Maui Sunrise Tour.

10. Just about anywhere in Paris

What better place to propose than Paris, one of the most famously romantic cities in the world? Take a horse and carriage ride around the City of Lights, enjoy dinner with a view at the top of the Eiffel Tower or admire the glittering city skyline on a Seine River Cruise.

11. At Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls at night

At night, the lights at Niagara Falls make it even more romantic

You might have to shout to be heard over the thundering falls, but few backdrops are as dramatic as the world’s most famous waterfall, Niagara Falls, and there are plenty of options for a romantic sightseeing trip. Take a boat trip beneath the falls, explore behind the falls, enjoy a late night stroll by the illuminated Falls or dine with a view at the Skylon Tower’s revolving restaurant.

12. Toasting with cava in Spain

From fiery flamenco dancers to moonlit walks along the beach, Barcelona knows a thing or two about romance and the city boasts a myriad of ways to say ‘te quiero’. For the best dinner date, couple your tapas with a glass (or several) of local specialty, Cava, or better yet, explore the region known as ‘Cava county’ with a Wine Tasting and Winery Tour.

13. Under the Tuscan sun

Chianti Region Wine Tasting Half-Day Trip from Florence

Propose over wine in the Chianti Region!

The birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and home to the inimitable Leaning Tower of Pisa, there’s plenty to keep you busy in Tuscany. To make the most of the Tuscan sun, sample the Italian high life on a luxury Chianti Region Wine Tasting Half-Day Trip from Florence, where you’ll couple visits to the region’s most renowned wineries with a scenic drive through the spectacular Tuscan countryside.

14. On a deserted island in the Caribbean

Bring your desert island fantasies to life with a San Juan Snorkel and Picnic Cruise to a secret Puerto Rican island, where you can swim in crystal clear waters, sip Pina Colodas on the deck and snorkel amidst colorful corals.  Just don’t forget to pack the engagement ring.

15. In a vineyard in Vienna

Vienna wine tasting bike tour

Go on a Vienna wine tasting bike tour

Explore Austria’s most picturesque wine region with a romantic Wine Tasting Bike Tour departing Vienna where you’ll get to explore the traditional wine taverns in the Wachau Valley and sample some of the country’s finest wines. Take time to pedal through the cobblestone villages and sprawling vineyards, before cooling off with a romantic dip in the Danube River.

16. In California’s wine country

Prefer to stay stateside? Explore the rolling hills and verdant valleys of California with a Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Tour, instead. Home to some of the world’s most renowned wines, there’s something to impress even the most ardent wine connoisseur, with idyllic wineries hidden in the heart of serene Californian countryside.

17. Under the stars in Egypt

What better way to get starry-eyed than stargazing in the Egyptian desert? Spend the day marveling over the vast pyramids, then head into the Sharm desert to dine in a traditional Bedouin encampment and spend the evening spotting star constellations in the night sky with a Private Tour: Egyptian Stars and Bedouin Dinner.

18. On a beach in Bali

Bali

Bali is beautiful and romantic

No longer just for hippies, surfers and yoga enthusiasts, beach lovers will find few places as heavenly as Bali. Indonesia’s spiritual hub makes an idyllic spot for a romantic getaway, where you can indulge in luxury spa treatments, cycle around the glistening rice paddies and stroll hand in hand along the white sands.

19. At the Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Admire the Taj Mahal together

Looking for an awe-inspiring setting to get down on one knee? Take a break from sightseeing and propose at the famous Princess Diana bench before the magnificent Taj Mahal – the iconic white marble dome and exquisite gardens will make a spectacular backdrop to your holiday snaps.

20. On the Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China in autumn

The Great Wall of China in autumn

A UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the 7 wonders of the world, no travel wish list is complete without a trip to see the epic 8,850km long Great Wall of China. Make your move as you marvel the ancient structure and the views won’t be the only thing taking your breath away!

21. At the top of Mt Fuji

Scale the summit of Japan’s most iconic peak, teetering a heart-racing 3,775 meters over the surrounding Fuji Five Lakes, Mount Fuji offers a sunrise so magical that you’ll understand why the mountain is considered sacred. Huddle together on the summit and whisper sweet nothings as the sun melts over the horizon.

22. Dancing the tango in Buenos Aires

Oozing with Latino charm, Buenos Aires is the self-proclaimed romance capital of South America. Stir up the passion by learning to dance the tango in a traditional milonga (dancehall) or opt to watch the professionals at work with a sultry tango dinner show.

23. Hot air ballooning over Cappadocia

Cappadocia hot air balloon ride

Watch hot air balloons take off in Cappadocia

Float over the otherworldly landscape of Cappadocia on a sunrise Hot Air Balloon flight where you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the region’s famous fairy chimneys, then celebrate with a champagne toast on landing.

24. On an elephant trek in Thailand

Chiang Dao Elephant Camp

Pop the question on an elephant trek

For an adventurous way to mark your engagement, explore the jungle from the back of Thailand’s gentle giants with an elephant ride in Phuket or Chiang Mai. Alternatively, get up close and personal with a visit to an elephant sanctuary, where you’ll get to splash around with the baby elephants as you help with bath time.

25. On safari in South Africa

Pilanesburg Nature Reserve Safari

Zebras at Pilanesburg Nature Reserve

An African safari is sure to top everyone’s bucket list so throw an engagement party to remember with a wildlife adventure in South Africa. Spot the Big 5 from the comfort of a private jeep, gallop across the savannah on a horseback safari or cuddle up in a luxury eco lodge beneath the desert stars.

25 Incredible Ways to Propose Abroad bali , Barcelona , Buenos Aires , Cappadocia , China , Egypt , featured , hawaii , india , London , Munich , napa and sonoma , new york city , Niagara Falls , Paris , Puerto Rico , romantic travel , South Africa , thailand , tokyo , tuscany , venice , Walt Disney World

Food Fridays: Bike Tours for Foodies

21 Jan

Two women picking red peppers for spice powders near Jodhpur. (Photograph by Shivji Joshi, My Shot)

What better way to sample the culinary delights of a region than by peddling along its backroads, enjoying the scenery and working up an appetite for the next meal?

Here are ten great itineraries for all you food- and wine-loving cyclists out there:

1. Blue Ridge, Virginia

Tucked away in Virginia’s vineyard-dotted farmland awaits a land of gastronomic pleasure. After a gourmet breakfast, head out to the region’s wineries, and return to a sumptuous dinner in the evening. Some tours include an evening at The Inn at Little Washington, which invented such signature dishes as veal Shenandoah and timbale of Maryland crabmeat.

Napa Valley from above. (Photograph by Marek Hosek, My Shot)

Planning: Base yourself at the Foster Harris House bed and breakfast.

2. Sonoma and Napa Valleys, California

Vine-covered hills, redwood groves, and sprawling farmlands provide perfect cycling country. Follow Sonoma’s backroads in the Dry Creek, Alexander, and Knights Valleys, stopping to taste the wines and the best of California’s farm-t0-table cuisine. Then move on to Napa Valley’s winery-lined Silverado Trail and stay in St. Helena, sampling locally raised lamb, cheeses, and seafood.

Planning: Some tours start from San Francisco; or stay in the area and book tours by the day.

3. Salta Province, Argentina

Beginning in colonial Salta, visit ancient Cachi, remote Estancia Colome — featuring a private tasting of its high-altitude wines — and picturesque Cafayate, the hub of Salta’s wine-making business. Gaucho barbecues and a regional cuisine of corn-based Locro stew, tamales, and lots of desserts, are complemented by the Malbecs and Torrontes of the province’s vineyards.

Planning:The route involves some hard cycling at high altitudes.

4. The Golden Triangle, Thailand

Sample the cuisine of northern Thailand, with its liberal use of spices, curries, and noodles prepared with fresh local ingredients, on a tour that starts in Chiang Mai and visits hill-tribe communities en route to the ancient Burmese kingdom of Chiang Saen. Peddle past jungle valleys and boat-dotted rivers, eating in local restaurants, and taking in markets and an optional cooking class.

Soak in the local street food culture in Chiang Mai. (Photograph by Christian Schmidt, My Shot)

Planning: The route goes along rural roads with some climbing.

5. Rajasthan, India

Rajasthan‘s royal kitchens turned the preparation of food into an art form, cooking scarce meats with elaborate curries, dried fruits, and yogurt. Sleep in palaces and feast on some of India’s finest cuisine in towns such as Umaid Bhawan, Jodhpur, and Udaipur, sharing lonely roads with camel trains and shepherds en route.

Planning: This is an easy route. Bikes can be rented in most towns if you want to devise your own tour.

6. Mediterranean Turkey

For centuries Ottoman chefs crafted dishes for sultans, creating a rich culinary tradition in the process. On this tour of epicurean discovery, you will cycle through the citrus-perfumed countryside and along the Mediterranean coast, exploring the seaside towns of Bodrum and Datca, and ending with a three-day cruise on some of the world’s most dazzling blue waters.

Planning: A challenging route for intermediate and advanced cyclists.

7. Piedmont, Italy

With robust wines (Barolo, Barbaresco) and singular gastronomy, Piedmont is a gourmet’s paradise — a typical meal consists of at least six courses, accented with some of the world’s finest truffles. Peddle along quiet but hilly country roads, visiting red-roofed villages, such as Alba, and the five towns of Barolo.

Planning: Moderately difficult.

8. Burgundy, France

With lazy lanes, picturesque canals, farmland, and vineyards galore, Burgundy is a biker’s delight. Discover the abbeys at Cluny and Vezelay and the historic cities of Dijon, Macon, Tournus, and Beaune, with architecture funded by wealthy wine merchants. Taste the likes of Vosne-Romanee, Gevrey-Chambertin, and Puligny-Montrachet along the way.

Sample salame in Piedmont, Italy. (Photograph by Rachel Black, Flickr)

Planning: A network of linked cycle routes covers the region, providing services and facilities for cyclists.

9. Basque Country, Spain

The region’s cornucopia of ingredients combine to create some of the best cuisine in Spain: including aged beef grilled over hot coals, and bacalao (salted cod) — washed down with Basque cider or Rioja wine. Cycling tours take in fishing villages along the area’s rugged coast, the cultural delights of Bilbao, and Haro and the Spanish plateau, where Rioja wines are produced in all their glory.

Planning: Tours are available tailored to your interests and fitness level.

10. The Cape & Winelands, South Africa

Beginning in Cape Town, explore the Cape Peninsula coast before heading inland to the Franschhoek Valley, with its French roots and magnificent vineyards, and the Shamwari Game Reserve. On the way, taste a medley of Cape Malay, Indian, Afrikaner, and European culinary delights, such as springbok loin in balsamic broth.

Planning: Spring and fall are the best times.

This list originally appeared in National Geographic’s Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe.

Food Fridays: Bike Tours for Foodies