Why You Must Visit Sarajevo In 2018

The recent traumatic history of the city is well documented but what is hardly know is the welcoming, warm and amazingly cool exotic travel destination the city is. Sarajevo is surrounded on three of its sides by mountains and it is where the twin strains of ottoman and Hapsburg architecture come together. Trains and buses rumble past bazaars and mosques, and minarets take their place on the skyline together with the Catholic spires and Orthodox domes.

Below are reasons to make Sarajevo your next destination for exotic travel

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The captivating Old Bazaar

Suspended on the steep Miljacka valley slopes, Baščaršija, the city’s old Bazaar is a smoky, hectic and noisy locality that is unlike any exotic travel place in the Balkans.

The narrow alleys burst with antique Ottoman monuments, the sweet-smelling ćevabdžinica and several street-corner cafés, and a varied assortment of stalls each selling all types of goods, from sandals and slippers to copperware and coffee sets.

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The one place with the best cevapcici in the Balkans

The legendary staple in the region can be found here. The high calorie spiced minced meat is typically served with kajmak-(a slightly sour and thick cheese) or ajvar (red pepper spread which is first roasted) and somun- a doughy delicious flatbread. Ćevabdžinica Petica is known amongst the locals as the one place with the best of these morsels.

The coffee

Bosanska kafa is served on a thin metallic tray; this bubbling coffee is served from an attractive džezva (copper vessel) into small fildžan (tumblers). Sugar lumps can be added – the regular practice is to dip the sugar lump into coffee then taking a tiny nibble to help customize the taste.

The two world-class summer festivals

During July, the old town streets rock big time throughout the Baščaršija Nights. This is a month-long music gathering from folk, rock and classical to the theatre, ballet, comedy, and opera and it is free.

Augusts’ Sarajevo Film Festival is more prestigious and bigger adding to your exotic travel experience. The festival has grown ever since its start during the 1995 siege to turn into the greatest movie gathering of Eastern Europe.

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The most captivating architecture in the Balkans

Numerous elegant monuments all though Sarajevo are proof of the 4 centuries of dominion from the east. The most exquisite is the Gazi Husref Beg Mosque and above it towers the Sahat-kula- the striking seventeen-century clock with hours of prayer marked in Arabic numeral. Also, check out the Sebilj fountain.

In contrast, the buildings down the Ferhadija Street have an Austro-Hungarian orientation – as are much more along Obala Kulina bana- an elegant riverside fare found further south.

The most symbolic building in Sarajevo is the National Library. It was obliterated in 1992, this noble neo-Moorish construction reopened in 2014. Its renovation is the most obvious proof of Sarajevo’s renaissance.

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The most important Bosnian War exhibitions

Inevitably, Sarajevo is full of sights attributed to the siege. However, the most significant exhibition is Galerija 11/7/95. It stands as a proper memorial to the traumatic events that widely spread at Srebrenica on this eponymous day. The show is presented in a potent way, courtesy of interviews, audio-visual documents and black and white imagery.


Kally
Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food.

Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com

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To The Ends Of The World in Choquequirao

Many people say only the tough ones can make it to Choquequirao in Peru. They may be right. To get there, one has to tackle the 45 kilometer trek (back and forth) and numerous elevation change. It’s definitely not an easy feat, but it is going to be totally worth it.

Brief Background

Choquequirao, Chuqi K’iraw or Chuqik’iraw, which means “cradle of gold,” is a remote Incan site  in the Andes. It is on the Vilcabamba mountain range and is 3,050 meters above the ground.

People call it the “sister of Machu Picchu” because aside from the fact that it is located in Peru, its structure and architecture are also very similar to that of its more famous sibling. Choquequirao, however, spans up to three times the size of Machu Picchu (although only 30% of it is visible) and gets only a handful of visitors daily. (Machu Picchu has more than 2,000 visitors a day while Choquequirao has only had about 5,000 visitors since 2013).

How to Get There

Choquequirao can be reached by hiking or trekking for three days (or even up to more than a week) just outside Cusco. The starting point is the village of Cachora (just 5 hours away from Cusco), and then through the Apuramic Valley, and then to Chiquisca where travelers pitch their tents and spend the night. The next morning, the journey involves uphill trek to Santa Rosa and to Marampata. The travelers will then have to descend to 2000 meters, and then ascend again to 3000 meters (and this pattern repeats all throughout).

Choquequirao is, again, not easily accessible (but the 5,000 travelers who have gone there will surely tell you it will be all worth it). The journey requires high level of fitness and determination. To get around, it is also advised that you get an experienced guide.

P.S If you are wondering how to get back to the starting point, it’s the same way you came: trek up and down!

When to Go

It is best to go anytime between May and October as this season has the driest months of the year. However, still expect occasional rain even during the dry season.

While in Choquequirao

Choquequirao gives you a glimpse of the ancient Andean life. Although you only get to see the ruins of the structure, the richness of their culture and the brilliance of the people behind the amazing architecture are very apparent. For instance, you will notice that the water fountains were strategically made of large rocks for durability, and  flat slabs of stones were inserted under the windows which refrigerate stored food. You will also see terraces that were decorated with white stones formed into llamas, animals that played an important role in ancient transportation.

Aside from the majestic ruins of the Incan royal estate, you can also marvel at the beauty of the surrounding snow-capped mountains of Ampay, Panta, and Quishuar. It’s easy to get lost in the mystery of Choquequirao. So don’t forget to look up and witness the marvelous mountains around you.

Looking for a totally unique location to explore? We specialised in creating unique experience for you. Just askus@ladyredot.com!


 

Hello, I am Mish! I used to work as a travel expert, customer service specialist and a communications trainer in the past. After working for eight years straight since I graduated, I decided to give up my corporate job to focuses on my 4-year old son, works as a freelance writer and a real estate assistant. I am a sun-worshipper, a water baby, and an earth warrior. And oh, I’m tiny but I am an Olympic-level glutton. Let me bring your tummy around the globe! You can reach me at LinkedIn.

 

 

In Love with Art and History

In this day and age, we seldom find art lovers anymore. Kids have suddenly become accustomed to holding gadgets and you can hardly even ask them to go out of the house anymore to explore the world, much less go to a museum and appreciate the finer things in life like arts. For those who were born already in love with art and museums, though, below is a list of five of the most enchanting, gorgeous and well-stocked museums in the entire universe which, if you let your kids or friends read, might just encourage and steer them to the art path. So here goes:

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The Louvre
I think everyone would agree that this museum has got to be THE most famed and prominent museum of all. It’s not a wonder why The Louvre is most frequented, why, its displays and collections are estimated to be more than 30,000 including paintings, sculptures and all other sorts of famous artworks. The great Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, graces this wondrous museum too, with a special shrine of its own protected by bulletproof glass inside a climate controlled area. Not only that, it also houses the works of other famous artists like Michelangelo, Raphael and Caravaggio.

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The Egyptian Museum
From the name itself, this museum holds the most complete collection of all Egyptian arts in the entire world. Otherwise known as the Museum of Cairo, as it is, obviously, located in Cairo, Egypt, this building full of interesting and valuable things houses the Gold Mask of Tutankhamun which is made out of eleven kilogrammes of pure gold. Imagine that! If you are a fan of ancient treasures, then you better go and visit this place at once, for it holds over 120,000 objects from ancient times.

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The Vatican Museum
Founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century, the Vatican Museums is said to shelter an immense collection of arts. It is a series of rooms totalling to 1,400, chapels and galleries. One of its chapels is called the Sistine Chapel, the walls of which were decorated by no less than Michelangelo himself. Also part of the Vatican Museums is the St. Peters Basilica, noted and renowned for being the biggest Catholic Church in the world.

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The National Archaeological Museum
In Athens, Greece, this museum is one of the rare places where a well-documented history of the country can be seen. If you think that the name Ludwig Lange sounds quite familiar, it’s probably because of he, together with Panagiotis Kalkos, designed the neoclassical building we now know as the National Archaeological Museum. Noteworthy sights that can be found inside the museum are colourful paintings dating back to 1500 BC, statues, jewellery and pottery.

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By GryffindorOwn work, CC BY 3.0, Link

The Tokugawa Art Museum
This private museum houses one of Japan’s National Treasures, the Genji Monogatari Emaki, which are prized and treasured documents of The Tale of Genji. The Tokugawa clan was a family of military commanders who reigned over Japan from 1600 to 1868. The museum basically contains superb samurai swords and armours, pottery and clothing that were once worn by the Tokugawas.

No museum tour is completed without the local expertise. Want to learn more on Van Gogh or Da Vinci from an art expert? Contact us at askus@ladyredot.com and we will arrange it for you.


mish

Hello, I am Mish! I used to work as a travel expert, customer service specialist and a communications trainer in the past. After working for eight years straight since I graduated, I decided to give up my corporate job to focuses on my 4-year old son, works as a freelance writer and a real estate assistant. I am a sun-worshipper, a water baby, and an earth warrior. And oh, I’m tiny but I am an Olympic-level glutton. Let me bring your tummy around the globe! You can reach me at LinkedIn.

How to visit Japan on shoestring budget

Japan, the little island with so much to see in culture and nature, always on the bucket lists of wanderlusts worldwide. But, there is a big but, it’s too expensive, the bias that stuck in our head all the time has stopped us from exploring this beautiful country. The reality is, you CAN visit many cities in Japan on your tight budget if you plan well, let’s us brief you a little.

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Time to visit
Cherry blossom is extraordinary in Japan, so no doubt, Spring is the best time, that is March to May, but avoid the golden week around the end of April and beginning of May.

Next best time is, of course, autumn, September to November in Japan. Finally, for winter lover, who enjoy the snowy cold, book your flight to Japan between the December – February time, again, avoid the peak at New Year or Christmas.

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Accommodation
Of course, if you are an avid traveller and has an excellent profile on Couchsurfing, you can cut off the cost of accommodation intensively. Sadly, not everyone is lucky enough or comfortable enough to crash overnight at stranger’s house, so here come a few suggestions for accommodation:
There are plenty of budget options: (around $20 – $40/night): hostel, dorm or capsule hotels are among the top choices for shoestring travellers. All these places are facilitated with shared shower, toiletries and kitchen. Around this range, you can also make use of internet café, where you can buy the pass for 5 hours or so, with shower, the internet, snack, drinks, not bad at all.

Travelling with a friend? Opt for business hotels, as you pay the same price for hostel option, but being much more comfortable and private.

A few more tips to save extra on accommodation: make use of the 24 hours’ bath if you are only transiting in town, and opt for the comfortable overnight bus to save on the hotel cost.

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Transportation
Japan has it all that will suit your budget requirements comfortably. From the bus, train to flight.

Once decided on the destinations you love to visit, check out the bus or train pass, which gives you the best deal for intercity trips. One of the best public wide coverage bus passes you can reserve online is Willer Express, where you can enjoy three non-consecutive days pass starting at 10000 Yen (about $90). The site even offers an illustration on how this option benefits you, check it out, and you will be surprised that at least you can hop to 5 major cities in Japan with the 3 or 5-day pass.

Another incredible deal you can get if you travel in Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Wakayama, Shiga, Hyogo) is the Kansai Thru pass (about $50). The single use pass works for bus, subway and train, non-consecutive day and also comes with several discounts at major tourist spots.

Compared to the seven consecutive days pass JR train at nearly $300, the bus pass is a better option for budget concern folks with the extraordinary flexibility.

Tight on time? Don’t worry; Japan is incredibly convenient when it comes to purchasing a flight pass, check out at http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2364.html for the most suitable pass.

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Food
If you fancy noodles, fantastic! Follow the locals and enjoy your cheap, delicious ramen meals, which is typical around $4-5. If you are not that into the local food, the pre-packed meals from the supermarket, convenience stores or kiosk at train stations are also very economical while still delicious and nutritious. Finally, don’t forget to hit the street markets and Japan’s vending food machines for the variety of options that won’t break your wallet.

Tips: make lunch as your main meal, as many restaurants offer the cheaper lunch set menu, starting around $9 or take away at $5. While take away the meal from groceries in the evening will help you to save a few more bucks. Another way to save is to pay attention when booking your accommodation that may offer 1 or 2 meals per day.

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What to do
Regardless if you are a museum people, nature wanderlust, photography hobbyist or a technology geek, Japan has plenty to offer for free. Make sure you research well at each destination, there are always a mix of experiences you can try for free and get the authentic tastes of Japan, like watching cherry blossom if you come during Spring time, stroll around the famous temples or time your visit right and get free entry to museums.

Finally, bear in mind that planning in advance is the best way to keep your budget in control, as being such popular tourist spot, several services in Japan got booked out several months.

So, I hope after this article; start planning your Japan trip without worrying about the cost, after all, it is entirely worth it to visit a country where the beauty of tradition and nature has well blended with the most advanced modern technology.

Or leave all the planning to us. There is always a travel plan to suit every budget and lifestyle. Just askus@ladyredot.com.


 

june
June explores different roles to find out what is her passion. She used to be a travel consultant, a Kindergarden English teacher, an Expedia’s Lodging Partner Support agent, and the latest is being a freelancer. Eventually, she figures that her passion is to express the hospitality spirit from her heart and inspire others from her works. Being a writer for LadyRedot, where she get inspired and inspire others, and running her own bed and breakfast in her homeland. She views life as a colorful and adventurous journey, join her as she shares her passion with you! You can reach out to her @ LinkedIn.

Amazing Temples All Over the World

Regardless of one’s religion or beliefs, temples are fascinating structures that envelope mystery, devotion, divinity and culture. Here, in no particular order, let us bring you to top 10 amazing temples from all over the world, from different religions.

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Angkor Wat
Covering 162.6 hectares, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat is the largest religious shrine in the world, and probably the most famous, too. This magnificent structure features over 3000 asparas or heavenly nymphs carved into its walls and astounding bas-reliefs detailed with intricate carvings of mythology and historical events. The complex is surrounded by a moat and has towers that mark every corner.

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Borobudur (or Borabudur)
This Mahayana Buddhist temple is the largest Buddhist monument in the world. It was built in the 9th century and is located in Central Java, Indonesia. This gigantic temple has about 55,000m3 of stones. One can read the story of Buddha’s life and his teachings through its bas-reliefs for over 2 miles.

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The Hanging Monastery or Hanging Temple
This small temple is in Datong, China. It’s mainly made of wood and is suspended in the air with only thin timbers as support. It’s notable not only for its location (it’s built into a cliff) but it is also because it encompasses three Chinese traditional religions (Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism).

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Paro Takstang
Also called Takstang Palphug Monastery or the Tiger’s Nest, this Himalayan Buddhist temple clings to a cliff in Takstang Trail, Bhutan. Built in 1962 in devotion to Padmasambhava, this temple is only accessible by passing through mountainous paths. The monastery has eight caves, only four are easy to access. Fenced with emerald green mountains, the surroundings are as breathtaking as the temple.

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Mahabodhi Vihar Temple
Another Buddhist temple on the list, this temple in Bodh Gaya, India features a 50-meter tall grand temple and the sacred Bodhi tree, among others. It’s believed to be where Prince Siddharta attained enlightenment and became Buddha.

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The Abu Simbel Temples
The Abu Simbel Temples are two gigantic rock temples located in Nubia, Egypt built during the reign of Ramesses II. Saved by UNESCO, the complex was relocated in 1968 and now sits on a plateau. The temple’s interior shows engravings of Ramesses and his wife paying homage and making offerings to the gods and his great victory at Kadesh.

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Temple of Hephaestus
This temple is located in Athens, Greece overlooking the Agora. What makes it amazing is that after all the years, one can say it’s remarkably preserved. It has sculptures that depict the battle of Thesseus and the Lapiths against the Centaurs, the labours of Hercules, and the fall of Troy. The structure features Pentelic and Parian marble, terracotta roof, wooden ceilings and limestone steps.

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The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Dedicated to his father, Alexander II, Alexander III manned the construction of this church in 1883. It is located along the Griboedov Canal in St. Petersburg, Russia. It contains more than 7500 m2 of intricate mosaics depicting biblical scenes, which entirely cover the walls and ceilings of the church.

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Chichen Itza
This is actually an ancient Mayan City in Mexico that has pyramids and temples. It’s most notable for El Castillo or the Temple of Kukulkan, which exhibits the Mayan’s expertise on astronomy. It has 365 steps, one step for each day of the year. On the equinox of Spring and Autumn, a shadow in the shape of a serpent falls on the pyramid, which descends and then joins a stone serpent as the sun sets.

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Machu Picchu
This is actually a city, but it’s on the list as it has temples and palaces and was built as a ceremonial site. The Incas exhibited expertise on landscape engineering, as the buildings and terraces of the site are meticulously situated in a steep, mountainous terrain. Surrounded by tropical forests in the eastern slope of the Andes, this site is truly amazing.

History is best heard through the mouth of the locals as they bring you back in time through their stories and emotions. We can link you up with them, just askus@LadyRedot.com.


mish

Mish worked as a travel expert, customer service specialist and a communications trainer in the past. After working for eight years straight since she graduated, she decided to give up her corporate job. She now focuses on her 4-year old son, works as a freelance writer and a real estate assistant. She is a sun-worshipper, a water baby, and an earth warrior. And oh, she’s tiny but she is an Olympic-level glutton. Let her bring your tummy around the globe! You can reach her at LinkedIn.

Fun things to do in Mexico

Mexico is full of hidden wonders. From its past Mayan history to its mastery of cuisine. Here is a short list of 7 fun places to visit while there.

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Visit Guanajuato
Originally built in the 16 century, Guanajuato is now a booming cultural destination. The city became rich in the mining industry where at their height, was responsible for two-thirds of silver production in the world. Now Guanajuato is mostly known for its brightly coloured alleyways, cathedrals and local music. Another one of city’s attractions is their mummy museum with some bodies dating back more than 150 years.

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Soumaya Museum
Soumaya is the most visited private museum in the world. Opened in 2011, this architectural innovation houses over 66,000 American and European art pieces. Its crazy hourglass shape was designed by Mexican architect Fernando Romero. It holds expensive pieces from Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, and Degas. Although its popularity, the museum has been harshly criticised for the expensive design in a time of high pollution and violence.

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Guachimontones
This circular pyramid was re-discovered by an American archaeologist in 1970. It dates back to the Teuchitlan, an ancient society which put a lot of emphasis on religion. The pyramid was a known site for worshiping. Diagrams found from excavations also show the pyramid being related to feasting, music, and burials. Directly under the platforms shaft tombs were found. Although its mysterious past of the pyramid, this archaeological gem is a wonder to see.

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Museo Subacuatico De Arte
This museum is unlike any other. Jason deCaires Taylor and Jaime Gonzalez Cano built this underwater wonder in 2009. It was designed to represent the disastrous effects humans are having on coral reefs. They first started off with only a few sculptures and now have 500 permanent life-size pieces. The art was made with specialised materials and fixed to the seabed to act as an artificial coral reef. Being only 4 meters underwater, you can reach it by snorkel or glass tour.

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Playa Del Amor (Hidden Beach)
Mexico’s famed hidden beach is located on the Marieta islands, 20 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. The surrounding island were all formed due to underwater volcanic eruptions, but the beach was man made. In the early 1900s, this site was a popular military testing grounds. It is rumoured that this site was the cause of massive explosions. The island is now named a national park and although the devastation that took place, it now shows great recovery. On a boat ride there, travellers can see sea turtles, manta rays, dolphins, tropical fish, and the occasional humpback whale. The place is a testament to the wonders of nature.

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City of Books at Biblioteca Vasconcelos
Not your average library, this Biblioteca is the compilation of 5 smaller libraries and holds over 470,000 books. It is located north of Mexico City and was built by architect Alberto Kalach. The design of this building was inspired by 5 of Mexico’s greatest thinkers: Ali Chumacero, Carlos Monsiváis, José Luis Martínez, Jaime García Terrés, and Antonio Castro Leal. Each of the 5 smaller libraries corresponds to the thinkers and their immense collections. The Mexican President at the time stated: “this was one of the most advanced constructions of the 21st century and that it will be spoken of throughout the world”. Try not to get lost.

Care to join me at my next adventure? Sign up to follow us at LadyRedot.com or you can find us at our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


 

josh-mayHello! I’m Josh and I’m a journalism and business student from the U.S. I grew up near Boston but now I’m living in Thailand. In the past I’ve been a ski instructor, waiter, and camp counselor. Now I’ve taken up the pen and want to develop my skills as a writer. I got hooked on traveling last December. I found the microscopic image of my town and realized how much of the earth I hadn’t seen. Since then I’ve had a fire in my belly to see and do as much as I can. My experience here in Thailand has been so great and now I’m eager to share and inspire others to get out, it’s worth it! You can keep in contact with me at LinkedInUpwork or Facebook.

Free-ish Activities When in Phuket

Many think that tourism has spoiled Phuket and made it a little too ‘commercial’ for what it used to be a laid back little village. Despite the booming tourism in Phuket, there are still somewhat free-ish budget activities to do when you are in Phuket. Come and join me while I share my secrets with you.

Rent a Bike
Only about 100 baht (2 dollars) a day, renting a motorbike can end up being the best part of your trip. If you’ve always driven a car, riding a bike will make the landscape come alive. You’ll notice places you would have otherwise missed. Although be careful, Thai traffic can be hectic. If you’ve never ride one, ask the renter to teach you.

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Beach Hopping
Phuket has over 30 beaches. With crystal blue water and tropical weather, they have been ranked some of the best in the world. There’s the bustling Patong beach with jet skiing, surfing, and parasailing; or if you’re looking for something unique stop at a local restaurant and ask around. If you’re lucky you might end up getting the directions to a secret beach.

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Bang Wad Dam
This reservoir has a refreshing 6k loop. For those tired of beach hopping take a jog around Bang Wad to clear your head. The loop with a scenic opening then goes through the woods. It’s also a popular place for fishing and to hang out with friends at night.

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Promthep Cape
The cape is located at the southernmost point of Phuket, out looking the Andaman Sea. A popular tourist’s attraction, at the top of the Promthep viewpoint you can get an 180° scene of the adjacent island and sea. Go there during a sunset for a humbling picturesque experience.

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Big Buddha
There’s ‘big’ in the name but it’s hard to fully grasp the size of this Buddha statue unless you see it in person. At 45 meters tall and sitting on a hill, this site can be seen from all around the island. The view outlooks Chalong Bay, Phang Nga Bay, Kata Bay, Kata Noi Bay and others. It is a larger than life representation of the Buddhist values of moral happiness and peace on earth.

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Chalong Temple
The most visited temple on the island, Chalong Temple is like walking into an ancient museum. It has many smaller temple nearby all decorated with vibrant colours. Tourists are allowed inside but you must respect their traditions: people should wear clothing that covers their shoulders and pants. In each room, there are paintings and monk statues. At the top of the temple, you can get a view of each of the smaller temples in the area.

Walk Around Phuket Town
Most known for its artsy coffee shops and bars, Phuket Town also has some really historic sites. Dating back to the 19th century, the architecture is a site to see. This area is also a hotspot for some live music and local festivals.

Potong Clubs – People Watching
For all the nightlife people, Bangla road is the place for you. Clubs and bars have free entree but drinks are quite expensive. So don’t go into a bar but you can walk along as if you’re on a mission. After every five steps, a promoter or stripper will try to suck you into their bar so walk fast. And with the beach so close after a night of dancing, you can head towards for a swim in the sea.


josh-may Hello! I’m Josh and I’m a journalism and business student from the U.S. I grew up near Boston but now I’m living in Thailand. In the past I’ve been a ski instructor, waiter, and camp counselor. Now I’ve taken up the pen and want to develop my skills as a writer. I got hooked on traveling last December. I found the microscopic image of my town and realized how much of the earth I hadn’t seen. Since then I’ve had a fire in my belly to see and do as much as I can. My experience here in Thailand has been so great and now I’m eager to share and inspire others to get out, it’s worth it! You can keep in contact with me at LinkedInUpwork or Facebook.