Destination Tip For Traveling Abroad – – The Sapphire Town Of Chefchaouen, Morocco

I am a firm believer that when people travel, they have this subconscious desire to find a genuine utopia. However, they always come up short because their idea of utopia is flawed, not the place. For some reason, utopia has become synonymous with the “cookie-cutter idea.” Thanks to many of the sci-fi films, we now know many of the inherent flaws in this dissatisfying place. However, I would like to propose a place, a town actually named Chefchaouen, that is a utopia for a much more genuine reason.

Chefchaouen is a town located 110 kilometers southeast of Tanger. The reason I went there is a bit of an interesting story. First, on the bus from the port of Tanger to the city, a man was trying to hustle me into joining him at this party “full of cocaine and girls” and stay at his house for the night, free of charge (I really wanted to believe him).

I knew he was lying, as with anything that is way to good to be true. When I got off the bus, two men came and shouted at the hustler “Don’t trust him! He rips off tourist!” When I heard this, I thought these guys were safe and could help me out (first mistake). Anyways, he went with me to grab food and ordered twenty plates of appetizers before I could even speak (he makes me pay for the bill in the end). At the end of the dinner, two of his friends show up and sit down at the same table.

HE then suddenly brings up the topic of hash and how much I want. I reply “Uh..what? I don’t want any drugs man I just got here” and am shocked. He acts equally surprised (fooling nobody) and said that he did me a favor and called up his friend (a dealer) for some hash.

He continues “The dealer is upset he had to come here. What are we going to do with this?” in the kind of tone suggesting that he doesn’t like problems and prefers my money. They all sit back down, leaning in, trying to surround me, and the fear of what these guys would do, as well as the foreign country got to me and I gave them the money, left the drugs, and booked it to a hostel. The next morning I was looking for a place to go and found Chefchaouen on the destination list of the bus station. I thought “Why not? I like being spontaneous.” Little did I know how much this random decision had in store.

At first, Chefchaouen seems pretty plain and routine. These outskirts consist of the white, three to four story apartment buildings that are common in Tetouan. Once you make the climb up the hill, the beauty starts unfolding before you. You come upon an open square decorated with a few murals. This square is the entry point to the real beauty of Chefchaouen. After passing the square, you immediately become distracted by the Moor castle standing on your right. The left side of the street is adorned with unique storefront each coming from a different time period. Despite the urge to stop, the real beauty is still further up ahead. Once you enter the old town of Chefchaouen, your senses become so satisfied there is no need for an imagination.

There are kids running around, laughing and playing tag, seamlessly dodging the other pedestrians walking. People from an older tradition slowly trudge up the hill wearing their old traditions. Vendors sell small bites at every couple turns. All the while, you are caught in this peaceful atmospheric calm created by the sapphire walls of Chefchaouen. The walk further upward brings you to the old town square. This area was my least favorite because it was the only bit of the town that had a touristic feel. However, this can easily be escaped with a climb up to the Mosque. The panorama up here is quality, with a dome of mountains to the back of you and the wonderful gem of Chefchaouen beneath your feet.

As you walk down from the Mosque, back down the blue alleys of Chefchaouen, you start to feel like you are floating downstream a river as the downhill sweeps up your feet in a calm pace. Your thoughts quiet, and you you just simply observe everything that is happening in this utopia of a river. Then by chance, you get washed up aside into a side alley, away from the current. The silence wakes you from the peaceful meditation you were in earlier. In these alleys you find mothers peeling nuts, kids passing the soccer ball, or a man smoking a lonely cigarette.

In one of these side alleys I met a painter with his own gallery who offered me to some sweet tea and a discussion. We got to talking about Chefchaouen. Turns out, they painted these walls blue because it makes the suns reflection off the building much easier. Some other locals I met prefer a much more interesting story behind these mysterious walls. In the end, my words do not do justice to the magnificence of this true gem of a town. I strongly urge you to travel there for yourself and experience the harmonic beauty that will silence your mind and light up your face in blissful awe.

Disney – Affordable Destination Tips

Is Disney an affordable place to go on a family vacation? It may be more affordable than ever to plan a great and memorable getaway for those young hearts who love the wonder of Disney. You can have a great time on a shoe string budget, it just may take some planning rightly.

You would be amazed that you can save hundreds if you get into the little tricks that few people are aware of. Disney some times has promotions that can save you big money. More savings can come in the form of a guide. These printed savings are great.

All inclusive packages can save you money too. And don’t overlook the savings that you can gain by ordering tickets in advance. A travel agent can guide you through this and may save you money if you don’t want the hassle of doing your own homework.

Disney sometimes offers great deals like free shuttle service and baggage. This keeps you organized and its free.

There is a lot you can do to avoid expenses on your room and dining out. Just plan a big meal once a day and try to eat on the cheap for the other meals. The children are more interested in Mickey anyway. Use little good judgment on games and trinkets, set a limit before you go and stay with it.

The internet is full of tips good and bad. Discounts and special offers abound. In magazines and other advertisements you may find some useful savings.

Just remember that you can save money this way, but be sure to get the facts from a real live person. The internet is also full of people trying to scam you into a dream vacation that may leave you on the street looking for a hotel that does not even exist.

Packages of all shapes and sizes exist. If you take the time you may find one that is a big bonus to you. For example some packages include free hotel and tickets for the kids. That is great if you are planning to take a large family.

Destination Tips – Places to Visit in Singapore

Singapore is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. Although most of the old buildings have already been demolished, there are still a number of tourist attractions that are worth your time to drop by Singapore.

When you visit Singapore, you will realise that it is easy to commute to different places. You do not need to rent a car in Singapore as the public transport service is excellent. There is an extensive bus and train network in Singapore that will bring you to places easily. Also, you will realise that Singapore is a very clean city. Heavy fines are induced for those who litters and therefore the standard of cleanliness is pretty high.

In this article, let me share with you some places that you can visit when you come to Singapore:

1. Orchard Road. Orchard road is a shopper’s paradise. It is the most popular street in Singapore with shoppers all around the clock. Orchard road is located at the heart of the city and you can easily reach there by public transport. Along orchard road, you can find a lot of Singapore famous shopping centres such as Takashimaya and Wisma Atria. You can find all sorts of things like electronic goods, clothes, branded goods, furniture, etc. When you are tired with shopping, you can easily find cafes along orchard road that you can rest and drink a cup of latte.

2. Sentosa. If you love the sun and sea, you must visit an island just off Singapore. Sentosa is part of Singapore and it is famous for its beaches, volleyball games, Butterfly Park and historical monuments.

3. Singapore Changi Village. Changi Village is located in the north-east part of Singapore. Changi Village is famous for its restaurants and food centres that serve local delicacies, where tourists can enjoy a variety of Singapore cuisines. Changi Village is also famous for its centre terminal and ferry terminals.

4. Sisters Island. If you love adventures, you will love Sisters Island. There are many activities that you can do on Sisters Islands, such as snorkel and air diving. If you want to experience something else other than city life, you must visit Sisters Island when you are in Singapore.

5. China Town. In China Town, you can get a find a lot of bargains on goods and is a place that shopaholics must visit when they are in Singapore. You can also enjoy a variety of local delicacies too.

So do include Singapore as one of your travel destinations when you go for holidays and I am sure you will not regret coming here.

Bali Destination Tips For Aussie Travellers

Bali Travel Tips

Seasons/When to go

Anytime is a great time to head to Bali. Dry season, which roughly runs from May to October is the most popular time to visit (with June/July sometimes totally overcrowded). Although during the wet season November to April still has some fantastic weather there is just more chance of rain. Having to sit back and wait for the rain to ease up is a good way to recover as it makes you stay in the one place long enough to soak up your surroundings that you may have strolled past quickly in a normal sunny day. The rainy season doesn’t really stop people enjoying their time in Bali, as any time here is a good time!

Getting cheap flights from Australia to Bali

There are quite a few airlines that can take you to from Oz to Bali. If you can try to avoid the peak times like the Australian school holidays (both secondary and university) and Christmas. June/July is the busiest period. Currently outside of these times you can get return flights into Bali from around $400 in tax, depending on your departure point. Very cheap!

Air Asia Asia’s budget airline. Extremely cheap, all you have to pay for is your food and drinks while onboard. There isn’t any in-flight entertainment although some of the flights can hire you a movie screen where you can watch TV shows and movies on demand.

Jetstar Another cheap option. Both airlines have great service, best to sign up to their websites email list and book when they send out their specials.

Strategic Air – A new full service airline from Perth to Bali, with rates similar to the no frills Jetstar and Air Asia

Check out sites like Jetabroad for cheap deals as well.

Don’t forget to check out qantas.com.au, garuda-indonesia.com, and singaporair.com even those these are known to be a bit more expensive than the no-frills airlines; they still have great specials that will bring them into line with the no-frills airline prices.

Costs

Bali is a very cheap destination, and with the Aussie dollar now buying almost double what it did last year a trip here is usually cheaper than staying within Australia. Depending on the type of traveler you are, you can opt for the 1 star hotels and guest houses to the 5 star and anything in between.

Food is extremely cheap as you can get your classic Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice) and Mee Goreng (fried Noodles) for 20,000 Rupiah a meal (approx AUD$2.20). This usually comes with a couple skewers of meat and a fried egg on top with the rice crackers on the side.

Bintang is the local beer and if you are a beer drinker, a delightful drop. A small Bintang will set you back 8,000 rupiah (Approx AUD$1) and a large Bintang 640ml’s 16,000 rupiah (Approx AUD$2.00). You can find Bintang anywhere from the local 7 eleven store to the markets (just ask the shop owner).

If shopping is your reason to go then Bali is the right choice! Anything from market shopping to retail outlets you will be able to find it here. In the retail outlets all prices are marked but head into the markets and its bargain time. Don’t forget to start off very cheap around 1/3 of the price they first gave you. Just remember that towards the end of the bargain you may only be arguing over a couple of dollars. Remember that bargaining is a custom, a way of laughing and interacting with the locals, it’s a way of life so don’t get mad or treat them like they are ripping you off just keep bargaining till you both agree on a fair price.

Domestic Airlines

If you want to travel around some of the surrounding islands to Bali quickly then flights is your option.

merpati.co.id

lionair.co.id

mandalaair.com

All these airlines are quite cheap; they can be booked online or through a travel agent while you are in Bali.

Getting from Denpassar airport to Kuta/Legian area

After collecting your bags and heading to the exit you will probably face the crowds of people holding signs and taxi drivers ready to pick you up. Just ignore these people and turn right to an isle of small shop windows.

Along this wall is a Taxi shop that sells one way fares for the taxis at 50,000 rupiah (about 6 Aussie dollars). This is the easiest way, as describing your hotel they will then organize a taxi to grab you and take you there. Don’t pay more than 50,000!

Accommodation options

You can get everything from backpacker accommodation to 5 star resorts.

Backpacker guest houses range from AUD$5 per night which normally also come with breakfast. Just make sure that you check out the room before checking in. You want to make sure that the standard is exactly what you’re after. Your $5 in backpacker accommodation will change depending on the area, the further away from the tourist trail the more you will get. In most backpacker accommodation in Bali you will get an en-suite, fan and double bed for your money.

If you’re on a budget but can afford to splurge a little then going with a 3 star is always a good option. There you will usually receive a pool, possibly a swim up bar, en-suite, double room, aircon, breakfast and usually a couple of other things thrown in.

Just remember with all the options, you are never in your hotel as there are so many activities to do during the day. It’s just a bed for the night; you just need to decide what level of luxury you want to sleep in.

Popular 1 star options are scattered around Poppies One and Two, two roads at the heart of Kuta (also the noisiest and most shambolic).

Popular and still cheap 3 Star options around Kuta are places like the Legian Jayakarta, and the infamous Bounty hotel.

Seminyak, up the beach from Kuta, is the more civilized alternative to Kuta/Legian. This area houses some spectacular 5 star hotels, as well as a few decent cheapies and some of the best restraunts on the island. This area is better for families if you feel the need to get away from the bogan/crowd factor in Kuta.

For a good website to look for rooms of all varieties check out asiarooms.com.

Getting around Bali

Taxis are around on every corner and will drive past you as you walk down the street asking if you need a taxi, so these are not hard to find. They are relatively cheap and if you catch the Blue Bird taxis they have a meter. Just make sure you tell them you want a meter before you hop into the taxi.

For the more adventures hiring a Motorcycle or Car is an option. Both are reasonably cheap and you have the freedom of driving wherever you want. The only downfall is the lack of road rules might be hard to navigate. A lot is done from the horn. Just remember its not rude to toot like it is regarded in Australia, it’s just signals to warn the other drivers.

1 toot – “hi I’m here”

2 toots – “move”

The other option is to hire a car with a driver. They are more than happy to drive you around and show you all the tourist destinations.

Beach Destinations

Kuta beach is the most popular and with all the action you can understand why everyone hangs around. You can hire a sun bed with a umbrella and relax while you watch all the action from the hawkers, masseuse to the tourists learning to surf.

If you want some quiet time with a more picturesque beach then heading over to Sanur or Nusa Dua is where you want to go. Only 30min drive from Kuta it’s a nice day trip to get out of the hustle and bustle of Kuta/Legian area.

Nyepi day

Nyepi day is Bali’s day of silence. This is Bali’s first day of the New Year celebrated in March; make sure to check out the coming dates as it changes each year.

The night before Nyepi day the Balinese celebrate by creating huge floats which they parade down the street. These floats seem to look like they are made out of papier-mâché but don’t be fooled into thinking they are like children’s art these have so much detail on them from the long eyelashes to the finger nails. Every inch of their creations have been thought about and well designed. These floats are Ogoh-ogoh which symbolizes the evil spirits which they have to get rid of out of their lives. These floats are tied onto bamboo which is then lifted by the dancers and they dance the floats around to the music. It’s quite incredible watching these huge creations dance around in fluid movements.

The next day is the day of silence, no one is to walk outside and this includes the tourist. Apparently as the story goes, the gods come down on the day of silence, look around Bali and then decide that Bali is inhabitable so they leave.

You cannot leave your hotel so make sure you have chosen one that has a restaurant inside and perhaps rent a DVD player and pick up some DVD’s to watch as if you try to leave the hotel staff will stop you as well as the police on the streets. Some of the hotels even go to lengths to put up black plastic to cover the entrances.

The Balinese love Nyepi day as it’s a day where they travel back home to spend it with their family, like how we spend Christmas.

Off the beaten path

Not really off the beaten trek, but Ubud is definitely worth a look. With awesome arts and crafts to monkey forest its worth the 1 hour drive to get there. You can stay up there with plenty of hotels offering cheap rooms. As you wonder around the town which is situated up in the mountains you will fall in love with the shopping, atmosphere and culture.

Balian is a village an hour or so north from Kuta.. A quiet alternative and more a village than the free for all of Kuta.

Also check out along the relatively new highway on the opposite side of the Island from Kuta. There’s some great surf spots and interesting villages to pass through.

Visas

Australians can get a 30 day visa on arrival which costs US$25 per person. It’s a bit of a myth that you need to have this $25.00 in USD: they will take Aussie dollars and you will get through just as quickly as if you had bothered to get the same in Us dollars before you arrive.

There are ATM’s at the airport which will give you decent rates (usually much better than changing money before you leave Australia).

If you liked this article check out my travel site Aussie Travel Advice. It’s a free and independent site with over 140 pages of travel advice and links, as well as our travel blog. It’s written by a former travel agent, doctor and journalist and contains the best travel tips for Australians going overseas.

If you are interested in travel check out the site. It’s not just for Aussies.

Travel Destination Tips

Destination tips serve as a guide for a luxury vacation. Always remember the reason as to why you want to travel. Remember that travelling is always a good idea. It helps you see the world in a new and different perspective. You get a glimpse of their must try and to die for cuisines and the different tourist destinations.

Remember these travel destination tips when planning a trip.

Be open-minded. Try to learn about the place that you want to go to. With Internet access, it is very possible to get a grasp of what to expect from that place.

Be creative and consider underdogs: Try to pick locations that aren’t very familiar with tourists and be a little creative when visiting their tourist spots.

Be decisive: Don’t let peer pressure get to you. If your friends tell you that they’re going to visit the Eiffel tower and you’ve plan to visit the Maldives go for your first choice. Never regret so you don’t miss out on what you could experience in a certain place.

Ask yourself why: Remember to ask yourself the reason why you want to go there. Is it because you want to do some soul searching? Are you trying to reconnect with an old flame? Whatever maybe your purpose you always have to be definite because this will help you choose the perfect places to travel to.

Remember to remember: When travelling to a different place don’t forget to research about their culture and traditions. Furthermore, keep your valuables handy. Don’t let them out of your sight when travelling so better make sure that all of your must haves are in your travel pack.

Safe choices aren’t bad choices: If you want to travel but are having second thoughts about your safety and the location of your chosen place. Don’t worry and stop bugging yourself. If you feel like going to a different location is a perfect fit for you then try to choose the location where your heart is set in.

Go solo: You may wish to travel in groups but sometimes you must not be afraid to go alone. Going alone doesn’t mean you’re desperate or lonely. It will help you discover your abilities to be independent. You get to explore more places on your own without the hassle of worrying about your companions.

Don’t miss out on the backyard: Different places have different must try locations. They might offer pretty souvenirs or trinkets, their delicacies, and everything else in between. These little backyards will help you learn more about the place you are in.

Budget options: It doesn’t necessarily mean that when budget is tight you would not be able to enjoy different places and attractions. Try to choose the places where you spend less but enjoy a lot more. There are a lot of destinations right now that are not too expensive but have a wide array of travel and tour packages.

These travel destination tips are only guidelines for you to follow to have a stress free travel.