Where to Stay on Turks and Caicos? 

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If you’re planning a trip to the Turks and Caicos, you’re in for a treat. Unless you’re visiting on a cruise ship, you’ll most likely be staying on Providenciales (Provo), which is the chain’s most visited island. If you have visions of sugar white sand, dazzling turquoise water, and plenty of shade umbrellas, you’re going to LOVE Turks and Caicos. The good news is that Provo is home to quite a few magnificent beach resorts, hotels, villas, and vacation homes.

The bad news is it can be pretty overwhelming trying to sort through all the options and pick the best one for your trip. Turks and Caicos has also gotten a reputation for being super expensive and while it’s definitely not a cheap island, you can find a wide range of accommodation options to fit any taste and budget. To take some of the guess work out of it, here’s a guide to where to stay on Provo including which part of the island you’ll like best and my picks for the best places to stay.

Lay of the Land

Grace Bay: If you know anything about Provo, you’ve heard of Grace Bay. And for good reason. Grace Bay is the most beautiful beach in the Turks and Caicos and the bug of tourism on Provo. This stunning 12 mile beach on the north shore of Provo seems to be home to about 90% of the shopping, dining, and accommodation options on the island. It’s highly likely that this is where you’ll end up staying. It’s the only area of the island where you can easily walk to shops and restaurants from where you’re staying so it’s also possible to get away without renting a car if you’re staying here.


Leeward: This northeast portion of the island is largely residential so it’s much more quiet and low key than nearby Grace Bay but it has some perfectly lovely beaches.


Chalk Sound: Located on the southwest side of the island, Chalk Sound is a stunningly beautiful place to stay. In addition to Chalk Sound national park, Sapodilla Bay and Taylor Bay are also nearby and are some of the island’s best beaches. This area has the majority of the island’s rental villas but it’s also quite a ways away from all of the amenities of Grace Bay.


Long Bay: This is probably Provo’s second most famous beach and a great place to stay if you’re looking for a world-class beach with a little more quiet and seclusion than Grace Bay. It’s world known for kite boarding and this is also where Provo Ponies does their rides, but otherwise you won’t find any shops or restaurants in the area.

Where to Stay in Turks and Caicos

So now that you know the layout of the island and where everything is, here are some picks on where to stay:

All Inclusive Resorts

If an all-inclusive is your style, Provo has a couple of options. For families, Beaches takes the cake. It’s opulent and full of more fun than you can imagine. It’d be easy to spend a whole week here and never leave. Even though it feels a little dated, Club Med is still the go to spot on the island for singles searching for an all-inclusive experience.

Luxury Beach Resorts

If you’re looking for a little luxury, Turks and Caicos can’t be beat. The Gansevoort has a seriously swanky vibe that’s “Manhattan chic” meets the tropics. For something a little more “old world,” the Venetian offers everything you’d expect from a luxury beach resort with the option to book a 3 bedroom/3 bathroom “condo” for extra space. The Seven Stars Resort has a prime location right in the middle of Grace Bay with a huge pool area. The Tuscany gets the best reviews of any resort on Provo and is renowned for its friendly staff, gorgeous grounds, and uncrowded portion of beach. For a truly lavish experience, book a villa at the Amanyara Resort on the northwest point of the island. It will cost you but you’re unlikely to find its equal in the luxury department anywhere else.

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What’s It Like In Cuba? 

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Article by Dose


Cubans are colorful, they’re loud, they’re friendly and they’re absolutely beautiful. But I won’t lie—the constant whispers into my ear as I walked down the street of “Hola, mi vida, preciosa!” and other cat-callsThey love to love, and you can’t deny them that.

At times it can feel like nothing makes sense in Cuba. Even the simplest things can be complicated—try finding a bottle of water in the middle of Havana, I wish you luck! The more questions you ask, the more confused you’ll become. And in a way, that’s part of the beauty of Cuba.

There is a simplicity of life amongst all the confusion in Havana, and You will be told many times by Cubans: don’t try and understand it, just live it. And that’s exactly what Cubanos do.


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Cubans will be the first to tell you that they don’t need much to be happy, and you see it everywhere you look. They are survivors—they’re resourceful and clever, and if you pay close attention, you’ll see this in little eccentricities throughout the city. For example, the $1 hamburger at the cafeteria on San Nicolas Street is served on an Aeroflot airplane tray, a subtle reminder of Cuba’s past ties with the former Soviet Union.


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Or their concept of “home delivery,” which consists of dropping a bucket attached to a long string out a window so that someone on the street can send something up. You know, home delivery, pero a lo cubano.


Another one of Cuba’s locuras is its methods of transportation. Getting around Havana can involve a mix of walking, bicitaxis, shared taxis (colectivos), coco-taxis, tourist taxis, and fancy tour buses. They all serve distinct purposes and all have their own peculiarities.

One of the favorites is the bicitaxis, which are exclusively used for short distances and always require some bargaining skills. They should only cost $1, but almost every bicitaxi driver will try and hustle you for more. The gear-less bicycle with a seating carriage attached to the back will take you around the neighborhood very slowly.

Driving around in one of them at night is always an adventure as the driver swerves and swoops to avoid potholes, of which there are many. Some drivers pimp out their bicis with neon club lights and speakers that blast reggaeton music, and obviously those are real favorites. 


If you’re not into the tourist scene and you really want to spend an authentic Havana evening, its super simple: all you need is a bottle of Havana Club ($3!) and plenty of hours to people-watch on the malecón, or boardwalk. This is probably one of the most popular Cuban hangouts, because it’s cheap, it’s social, and the possibilities of meeting new friends are endless.


Cubans, specifically the younger men, sport some of the most outrageous and unique style you will observed anywhere in Latin America. Colorful rules: I’m talking bright red pants with a neon pink shirt along with electric yellow sneakers. Or harem pants with sagging crotches, as well as miniscule, tight nylon shorts with neon flowers on them. Think: Roxy board-shorts a 13-year-old American girl might wear and imagine them on a young Cubano.


You will meet many men with eyebrows more meticulously manicured better than ladies, and with a perfectly primped head of hair to match. Some of the most popular hairstyles involve a geometric design shaved into the sides with some extravagant poof of slicked-back hair on top. 


The color, chaos and smog of Havana can be overwhelming, but part of the fun is trying to survive it all. Despite how hectic the city can feel, Cubans are easy-going and Cuba is safe.


The beach is never more than a quick bus ride away, and it’s guaranteed to be as beautiful as the Caribbean gets. Despite the changes coming its way, Cuba continues to be the magical island it has always been.

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10 Places You Must Visit In Thailand

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Article Contributer Lena Blos

With its dazzling white beaches, its lush, tropical jungles and fascinating cultural sights, Thailand remains one of the most intriguing countries. We have explored its regions and compiled a list of the most beautiful places in the country.

Pai

Located about 100 kilometers from Thailand’s biggest northern city, Chiang Mai, Pai is arguably one of the most magical villages in the country and is especially popular with backpackers. With its relaxed atmosphere, cheap accommodation and numerous spas, there’s hardly a better refuge than the mountainous area of Pai. A range of waterfalls and hot springs in the surrounding area are just waiting to be discovered. What better way to do so than going on a trekking tour or bike trip along the curvy roads? The culture retains strong Burmese influences and many hill tribe people continue to live in small mountain villages close to Pai. Apart from offering some of the best vegetarian and traditional food around, Pai is also a popular destination for fans of yoga and meditation, with numerous retreats and schools. Albeit increasingly popular with tourists, Pai retains its magical essence and offers secluded spots in which visitor can experience their journey to its fullest.

Koh Tao

While ranking among the more touristy islands, Koh Tao still offers one of the most relaxed and dazzling settings in the country. While many travelers make their way to the bigger neighboring islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, Koh Tao attracts numerous divers and visitors looking for a more tranquil ambiance. You can hardly find a more beautiful scenery than the spotless white shores and magnificent, turquoise waters around the island. If that weren’t enough, the color palette of the island’s sunsets can’t be described in words. Due to the easy accessibility of diving sites and the marvelous, diverse underwater world, Koh Tao is one of the best places to plunge yourself into the warm waters for snorkeling or to acquire your diving license. Hikers can explore the coastal jungles and marvel at the beauty of Koh Tao. End your evening here by enjoying the catch of the day alongside a fruity cocktail.


Koh Jum

Koh Jum is one of the last secluded islands in the country and is conveniently situated between Krabi and Ko Lanta Yai. The laid-back atmosphere of this place, which is home to no more than 3000 people, will make it hard for anyone to leave its shores. Surrounded by the dazzling blue waters of the ocean, the island’s shores are mostly rocky but a handful of beaches offer spots for sunbathing and a splash. Koh Jum only houses a handful of bars and restaurants and the ambiance generally tends to be more low-key. For those looking to get off the touristy, beaten track, this place provides a welcome respite and immediately enchants any visitors that touchdown on its shores with its tranquil atmosphere and friendly population. The starlight nights and nothing but the sound of the waves will fulfill all nature lovers.


Ayutthaya

Located about 50 kilometers from Thailand’s bustling capital, Bangkok, lies Ayutthaya, once considered the world’s most impressive city. The ruins of the ancient site have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and can be marveled at in their full glory. Ayutthaya itself was erected upon an island between the Chao Phraya, Pa Sak And Lopburi Rivers. The kingdom of Ayutthaya retained importance throughout the region for 417 years and reached its military, cultural and financial height in the course of the 16th century. Once serving as the capital of the Thai empire, the city was home to more than 400 temples and other architectural masterpieces. It was finally conquered and destroyed by Burmese invaders in 1767. Due to relentless efforts, the remnants have been largely restored and give visitors an insight into its former grandeur and beauty.


Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s most significant cultural hubs, housing hundreds of ancient temples and sights. The capital of the former Lanna Kingdom has its own charm and is particularly popular for outdoor activities such as trekking, rafting or elephant camps. In recent years it has become the home for a large yoga and health community and delights its visitors with a multitude of vegetarian places to eat. If that wasn’t enough, the range of national and international restaurants here provides some of the best food in the country, from the traditional Khao Soi to quality French cuisine. Numerous daily and weekend markets sell handmade artifacts and touristy trinkets and street stalls around every corner will allow you to get a taste of authentic Thai food. Make your way up the mountain, home to the city’s most dazzling temple, Doi Suthep, and marvel at the panorama or stroll around the old city and the Ping River. It is impossible not to fall for Chiang Mai’s magical charm. 


Railay

The Railay peninsula not only offers marvelous beaches but is also a true paradise for rock climbers, providing opportunities for different levels of experience. Located close to Krabi, in the Andaman Sea, Railay or Rai Leh has a more laid-back atmosphere to it than most places in the region. Numerous reggae bars and cozy beach huts are increasingly attracting a mixed crowd of backpackers and other tourists, all looking to while away the days on the lush beaches or to explore the tropical jungles. The dazzling mountain panorama of Railay makes it one of the most special islands in the country and it can be accessed only via boat or ferry. Additionally, the island is home to a number of lagoons and caves which are waiting to be explored.


Phanom Rung

Phanom Rung is probably the most impressive and significant of the Khmer temples that can be found in Thailand. It was restored to its original splendor over the course of 17 years and has recently been under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Site organization. Made from sandstone and laterite, it was constructed in the Angkor style from the 10th to the 13th century as a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva. Built on top of a spent volcano during the reign of King Suriyavarman II, it stands as a dazzling symbol of the peak of Angkor architecture. Due to its precise solar alignment, the sun bathes all 15 sanctuary doorways around four times a year. During the April alignment, the complex sets the scene for the impressive Phanom Rung Festival, including traditional Brahmin ceremonies and scenic light shows.


Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is widely considered one of the most fascinating northern cities in Thailand and is home to a variety of cultural monuments and natural sights. The city was founded as far back as the seventh century and served as the first capital of the Lanna Kingdom. It is closely located to the Golden Triangle, a border area on the Mekong River where Thailand, Laos, and Burma meet and which was once an important site for the opium trade. Visitors can explore numerous ruins and shrines or embark on a hike through the mountains in search of the remote hill tribe villages. Perhaps the most widely known attraction is Wat Rong Khun, also called the White Temple. Constructed in unconventional and modern designs by the architect Chalermchai Kositpipat, the temple is one of the most dazzling in the country. For those looking to learn more about the heritage of the Lanna Kingdom and the lifestyle of northen Thailand, Chiang Rai is well worth the trip.


Koh Mak

While welcoming an increasing number of tourists, Koh Mak has managed to retain its cultural values and Buddhist essence. It remains one of the last authentic spots in the country. Home to 10,000 palm trees, a tree fishing village and charming temples, Koh Mak is located about 40 kilometers from the mainland, resulting in a secluded atmosphere. Apart from a few resorts and restaurants, the place is largely untouched, making it one of the best-kept secrets of the country. A nearby Marine Park offers visitors the opportunity to explore its surrounding sea life and additionally there are watersport activities on offer such as windsurfing or padding. If you have had enough of relaxing on the beach, go on a hike through the tropical jungle or jump on a bike and explore the island. Koh Mak is one of Thailand’s most relaxed spots.


Phetchaburi

Phetchaburi can easily be accessed from Bangkok and is considered one of the oldest settlements in the country. Dating back as far as the eighth century, the city is one of the cultural highlights of any trip to Thailand, but it rarely sees large crowds passing by. The city is home to numerous historic buildings from the 12th century, from magnificent temples to Khao Wang, the Royal Palace. Phetchaburi thrives on agriculture which is reflected in its extensive traditional markets, selling local goods and spices. Few tourists make it to the sleepy city, allowing it to provide an authentic insight into Thai culture and lifestyle. For nature enthusiasts, the province provides lush, tropical jungle areas and magical cave shrines. Unlike other areas, Phetchaburi survived the downfall of the great Asian empire remaining largely untouched. This is why it is often referred to as the ‘Living Ayutthaya’, enabling visitors to inspect century-old preserved relics.


Enjoy!!

Yourvacationguru!!




8 Epic Destinations to Visit at Off-Peak

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Article Contributer  Genevieve Fish

The world is full of majestic locations most of us can only dream of. School calendars and busy schedules often force us to only travel during peak tourist seasons when airfare is higher and hotel rates are inflated. However, if you take the time to plan vacation getaways in advance and carefully use your vacation days, you can schedule off-peak travel to five-star destinations for a fraction of the cost. Scroll through to read about our favorite vacation spots and when it’s best to visit them.


Amalfi Coast


Starting around mid-September the heavy crowds of tourists leave the Amalfi Coast but the weather is still perfection—warm and sunny with the benefit of a cool evening breeze. While rooms at the most sought-after hotels start opening up in the later half of September, we recommend holding off until October when room rates drop. If you’re in the mood for traditional luxury, book a room at Le Sireneuse in Positano. Hotel rates in Positano usually drop over $150 between September 1 and October 1.

Best off-peak time to visit: October

Mozambique, Africa
With more than 1500 miles of coast, turquoise waters, and Indian Ocean sunrises, Mozambique is definitely one place you should visit in your lifetime. The weather is beautiful year-round but a bit too hot to enjoy during the month of January. If you want to have guaranteed dry weather, skip March through May as well. Peak season is June through September so we recommend booking a room at Azura on Benguerra Island sometime between September and mid-December. Luxury hotels often offer deals or reduced rates during this time. This romantic island is ideal as a honeymoon spot and perfect for scuba diving, fishing, and bird watching.

Best off-peak time to visit: October and November

Kona, Hawaii


We love going to Hawaii’s Big Island as much as possible but in order to snag great hotel rates and avoid the intense crowds that descend on the island during the winter holiday and Easter holiday seasons, plan ahead. The best time to visit Hawaii is late spring, from mid-April through early June and in the fall, from September to mid-December. Stay at the Four Seasons Hualalai for the best breakfast buffet you’ve ever seen, a killer tennis facility, and flawless scenery everywhere you look.

Best off-peak time to visit: Early December or late April

Guiones Beach, Costa Rica


Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the world—and the happiest. The country has two distinct seasons—the wet season (May to November) and the dry season (mid-December to April). The dry season is definitely the tourist favorite and hotels increase their prices heavily during this time. We recommend going in June or July. Yes, you’ll have one or two downpours a day but they are short and sweet and don’t ruin the sunshine or ocean activity of your trip. When visiting this sleepy surf town of Playa Guiones, stay at The Harmony Hotel. Nestled on a pristine surf break off a dirt road, it’s the ultimate getaway spot to disconnect and recharge your batteries.

Best off-peak time to visit: June and July

Bali, Indonesia


We wouldn’t say there is ever a bad time to go to Bali. However, peak season is July, August, Christmas, New Year’s, and any time there are Australian school holidays. Autumn holiday usually coincides with Easter, winter holiday is June and July, and summer holiday is December through January. Frommer’s identifies Bali’s low peak season as January 9 through June 30 and September 16 through December 20. We recommend staying at the Viceroy Bali. The family-owned and operated resort is made up of 25 luxurious private pool villas situated in Bali’s “Valley of the Kings.” We also love Alila Villas Uluwatu, a resort set on a limestone cliff-top overlooking the Indian Ocean.

Best off-peak time to visit: May or September

Byron Bay, Australia


Byron Bay’s somewhat recent reputation as the it-destination for the Australian fashion elite and bohemian surf crowd has made this formerly empty paradise a bustling vacation destination. However, if you book your holiday for February you’ll miss the busy season—when Aussie families and university students travel to the Eastern-most part of mainland Australia for Summer break. Definitely get your Byron Bay holiday in before it starts to get too cold to enjoy the sand. This starts around May. We recommend staying at The Byron at Byron Bay—a stunning but wonderfully understated hotel right on the water or one of our blogger’s favorites, Raes Hotel. Travelling to this gem of a vacation destination will be a life-changing trip, we guarantee.

Best off-peak time to visit: February and October

The Maldives, Asia


The Maldives are synonymous with luxury and the uber-glamorous. With white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, we can see why. However, you don’t have to spend big to make this dream destination a reality. Visit during the tail end of the dry season (end of April/beginning of May) for reduced rates and a less-likely shower storm. If you want a less-expensive option during dry season, try booking an Airbnb. Locals, often trained in the five-star hotels on the island, offer excellent deals for renting a room.

Best off-peak time to visit: Beginning of May

Tulum, Mexico


Dreaming of a beachside Mexican getaway filled with Mayan ruins, yoga classes on the beach, and a blissfully laid back atmosphere? Look no further than hotspot Tulum. This casual chic escape is warm year-round, but from January through March, the tourist crowd gets a little too intense to enjoy it. We recommend travelling to Tulum’s Jashita Hotel—a picturesque boutique hotel on the beach, sometime from October to December. This way you’ll skip the crowds and the rain.

Best off-peak time to visit: October and November

Enjoy!!

Yourvacationguru !!



Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, for your Spring Breake Vacation?

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Topsail Hill Preserve State Park offers a wide variety of natural resources including 3.2 miles of secluded, white sand beaches with majestic dunes over 25 feet tall. Three rare coastal dune lakes provide excellent freshwater fishing. Although boats are not allowed, fishing from the shoreline yields bass, bream, panfish, and catfish.


Lakes, pristine beaches, old-growth long leaf pines, sand pine scrub, and a variety of wetlands offer a bird-watching and hiking paradise. Visitors may bike, walk, or enjoy a quick ride to the beach on the tram service to swim, fish, sunbathe, or beachcomb.


A full-facility campground features a swimming pool, tennis courts, and shuffleboard courts. Furnished bungalows are available for weekly stays. A camp store offers a variety of camping items, as well as snacks and drinks. Located in Santa Rosa Beach on the West end of Scenic 30A.


Throughout the year, there are ranger-led interpretive programs with topics that include fishing in the surf, freshwater fishing, beachcombing and learning about burning. Other guided tours offer wildlife discussions on sea turtles, alligators, sharks, butterflies, the Choctawhatchee Beach mouse, shore birds and birds of prey. Check ranger activities for program details.

The park’s options of tent and RV sites, cabins and bungalows make this a perfect destination for family-friendly year-round vacations. A tram carries guests to the beach, but visitors can also walk or ride bikes along the paved path to the shore. There are 13 miles of hiking trails for those wishing to explore the 1,640-acre park.


Guided tours like the beachcombing interpretive walk are fun for the whole family. Head to the beach where the rangers teach you what to look for there. You can discover the difference between sea beans and egg casings or the type of shells you find scattered along the shoreline. Other interpretive programs are guided walks where rangers take a group out to look at flora and fauna or visit the various ecosystems at the park.

Another interpretive offering features sea turtles. A hands-on turtle program on the beach demonstrates the various turtle crawls. To recreate the actions of a nesting sea turtle, children crawl around obstacles as she would to get to a safe and protected spot to lay her eggs.

There are also puppet shows, mainly for children but adults enjoy them as well.

Breakfast with a ranger provides biscuits and gravy, eggs, pancakes, orange juice and coffee for $4. While visitors eat breakfast, a ranger answers questions about the park and park life. The entrance fee is waived for this event.

Topsail was recently selected as one of the top campgrounds in the country providing tours and events. Although the summer is a busy time with lots of activities, there is always something happening a Topsail.


For a schedule of events, contact the park at (850) 267-8330.

When is the best time to visit Greece? 

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Article Contributer The Blonde Travler

The quintessential tropical getaway, Greece can be a gorgeous destination any day of the year. From Thessaloniki to Athens and beyond, there is so much to see in this historically rich, picture-perfect Mediterranean paradise.

Here’s the best time to go to Greece!

Spring in Greece

Months: April to June

If  youhad to choose one definitive best time of year, I would say that the prime time to see Greece is from mid-April to mid-June. You’ve got perfect weather during spring and you are able to enjoy some peace and quiet before the crowds of tourists show up.

While it can still be a bit chilly, areas like Crete, the Peloponnese, the Cyclades, and the Ionian islands are often warm enough for swimming.


Ready for a spring sojourn?

Just watch out for Easter week! It’s an incredibly busy time in Greece. Hotels are often fully booked with Greeks traveling around the country and many of the primary tourist attractions are closed so it’s not the most convenient time to try to explore.


Summer in Greece

Months: July to September

I probably don’t need to tell you that summer in Greece is amazing. With weather regularly pushing 90 degrees and nonstop sunshine, it’s heavenly.

It’s the best time of year to just lie on the beach and forget about the world.

One of Greece’s summer hot spots is Santorini Island where every moment is Instagram worthy. The island is visited by millions every summer. The rich and famous scatter the beaches in the day then party the night away. It’s definitely got something for everyone.


Mykonos is also one of Greece’s top spots for lush beaches and insane nightlife. Lie under the hot Greek sun all day and then party until you drop.


On the hunt for something more low key? Check out the region of Heraklion which has a great mix of cafés, restaurants, beaches, and family-friendly spots.


Autumn in Greece 

Months: October to December

While we tend to think of Greece as all white sand beaches and endless blue sea, there are some other intensely beautiful colors farther inland. When the leaves start to turn and you can smell that autumn scent in the air, you are ready to explore the other side of Greece.


Fall can be just as stunning as summer but in a totally different way.

Visit in September when the grapes are being harvested and the world-class vineyards are in full swing. Or wait another month and get your hands on some homemade raki from the street stands of Crete.

And let me tell you, fellow foodies, there is no better time or place to eat than October and November in Greece when local olives and other Mediterranean treats are fresh for the taking.

Winter in Greece

Months: January to March

Last but certainly not least, winter in Greece is the perfect opportunity to see the country like the locals do. Take in the café culture in Athens while you chat away for hours over a perfectly brewed cup of coffee. When the sun sets, check out the local night life.


Into history?

You can visit the suddenly tourist-free Acropolis or the uncrowded, world-famous museums like the National Archaeological Museum and the Benaki Museum. With the endless lines gone and the lower prices, you can see so much more of the city than you ever could have during the summer or spring.



While Athens is great during the winter, the islands are a different story. Many ferries stop running and you won’t find a whole lot to do so it’s not worth the trip unless you are searching for your own deserted island.

Whichever time of year you decide to visit, I can promise you one thing: you will fall in love. The people, the food, and the breath-taking scenery (maybe even a modern-day Greek god) are sure to steal your heart away!

Enjoy!!

Yourvacationguru 

Top Picks For Things You Can’t Miss In Bali

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Article Contributer Along Dusty Roads

Bali is a huge tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world – and with good reason.

Beautiful white sandy beaches, incredible restaurants, a vibrant and colourful culture and importantly, given the number of digital nomads that choose to hang out here, it has excellent wifi!

Here are some top picks for the things you can’t miss when visiting.


FIND YOUR OWN HIDDEN BEACH

Sure, you could hang out at Seminyak or Kuta beach for your two weeks of sun, but for those seeking a little more isolation, there are dozens of stunning tropical beaches just a moto-taxi ride away.

Green Bowl, on the south coast of the island. Idyllic white sand, turquoise waters and lush rainforest. It’s kind of perfect, no? One word of advice, to reach the beach requires a long walk down steep stairs – either buy all you need from the shop at the top or accept you’ll have to pay the beach hawkers. You will not want to climb back up more than once!

Two others you can’t miss are Padang Padang and Pandawa beaches, but be sure to check out this article for some great suggestions on other hidden and hard-to-reach but stunning beaches in Bali.

SUNSET DRINKS AT LA PLANCHA

Perched on the west coast of the island, Seminyak and its long, wide beach is an ideal spot to watch a wold-famous sunset over the ocean. But if you want to make it truly epic, there’s only one place to go – La Plancha.

A bar with more coloured bean bags than a pre-school and dozens of beautiful sun shades, this place gets busy – so make sure you arrive with at least an hour to spare before the sun goes down. 

And while  you wait for the main event, indulge in one of their fantastic cocktails – served in the eternally hipster-friendly jam jar, of course!

VISIT UBUD

If Seminyak and Kuta are all about sun, sand and cocktails, Ubud is the place to go to find a peaceful side to Bali. Lush green rice fields and spectacular rainforest, it’s the colour palette of nature.

Spend your days exploring rice terraces, beautiful waterfalls, playing with monkeys and enjoying incredible scenery.

DISCOVER ULUWATU TEMPLE AT SUNSET

Sunsets and sunrises – there are few more perfect times of day for a photographer.

And when you’re in Bali, there are few places better than Uluwatu Temple to watch the sun fall below the horizon – just aim to arrive a good hour before sunset, as the changing colours are quite amazing and, as this is a rather large site, you’ll want plenty of time to enjoy it from every angle.

Just a little word of warning – beware the monkeys! Unfortunately, a few too many tourists have taken to feeding them, and so the monkeys now firmly believe that anything not securely stored in a bag is fair game!

Entrance cost: Rp. 40,000. You will be expected to cover up when visiting the temple, but sarongs are provided.

TAKE TO THE SURF

Peak surf season is between April and September, when the swell is at its biggest, but newbies will be pleased to hear that you can find consistent small waves even in the wet season (November to March), making this an ideal time to learn. 

Beginners should head to Kuta, Seminyak and Legian beaches where you will find nothing but sand underfoot and the waves are small. As always, take note of warning flags along the coast – even usually calm waters have been known to turn nasty.

If you’ve never encountered a surf board before, a few lessons wouldn’t be a bad idea, but otherwise you can find board rental along the above mentioned beaches – expect to pay around Rp. 100,000 for one day’s rental, or 600,000 for the week. 

But Bali is not just for beginners. In fact, it has a number of world-class waves that attract die-hard surfers from around the world. 

EMBRACE THE COLOUR AND THE CULTURE

With the influx of tourism, the face of Bali continues to change. And yet, the local Balinese have not abandoned their traditions.

The air is permeated by the smell of incense, and you can go but a few steps along any street before you’ll catch sight one of the thousands of beautiful offerings left daily by the island’s Hindus.


For a further insight into the local culture, be sure to make time to watch a performance of Balinese dance. These shows are held all over the island, but for a truly memorable experience head to the GWK Cultural Park and watch a performance of the famous Kecak.

Held beneath the 75ft bust of Vishnu (an important Hindu deity), this dance is in equal parts fascinating and haunting. You may not understand the words that are spoken, but an evening spent here provides a fantastic insight into Balinese culture.

STAY AT A BOUTIQUE HOTEL

Long-time readers of Along Dusty Roads will know that we often opt for locally-run guest houses rather than hotels. Yet, while plenty of these exist in Bali, even we’d recommend that this is the place to go boutique! 

Bali is teeming with beautifully designed hotels that cater to all tastes – and they’re not expensive!


PLAN YOUR TRIP TO BALI

As with many places in the world, it’s the dry season that attracts the visitors, with July and August attracting thousands of visitors to the island. 

Of course, if you have no choice but to visit then, you’ll still have an amazing time, but bear in mind that if you can visit between April – June or in September, you’ll have the best of both worlds – it’s still dry season, it’s slightly less humid, and room prices and villa rentals can be 30-50% cheaper than during the peak summer months. 

Bali’s international airport is a hub for flights arriving from Asian destinations, and while there are currently no direct flights, there are several indirect departures per day from variety of airports. 

YourTourGuru