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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Lesser Known Destinations That Are Worth The Try In Europe

More often than not, people would always choose something bigger and more popularly known over something that only one out of ten people would recognize. In the case of places worth setting foot on, most travellers would prefer to go where everyone else has already gone. I would bet a week’s allowance on gas that if any of my friends were given a free ticket to anywhere in Europe, one of their top three choices would most likely be the prominent and widely known Eiffel Tower. If you are the type who would rather go where no one else has gone yet and play the heralding angel when you get back from shall we say a lesser known but worthy destination, here are a few suggestions:

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Korcula, Croatia
The alleged birthplace of no less than Marco Polo himself, this small town brags of astounding and remarkable vistas and opulent local way of life. It hides within its beautiful island isolated beaches and bays as well as unspoiled, picture-perfect, lush, green hills. Its winding streets coupled with the old-fashioned towers securing and supporting its harbours are what make the town so entrancing you would probably never want to leave anymore.

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Azores, Portugal
Once you’ve stepped foot into this little paradise, you will probably realize that there might really just be a small piece of heaven on this earth. One, the really impressive cliff-side mansions. Two, cobalt blue waters on which, during the summer months, the whales can be seen making their annual migration. Three, hot mineral springs. These and a lot more you can explore in this picturesque, charming little town.

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Sintra, Portugal
Situated in the Lisbon Region of Portugal, this visually appealing and impressive town sits in the middle of the pine covered hills of Serra De Sintra. What makes this place even more interesting is the fact that it has long been the home of Portugal’s monarchs so that it is filled with extraordinarily wonderful and stunning historic mansions. What’s nice about the town is that it is small enough that one can easily explore it on foot. It is also classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Bled, Slovenia
Settled on top of a tiny rock island in the middle of Lake Bled, the sight of this town is like looking at a post card that has come to life. Its natural beauty is so mesmerizing that it’s impossible to get the picture out of our mind at all once you’ve set your eyes on this dreamy place. Not only is the town a sight to see, it also boasts of warm, fresh air, and mild, healing climate. It is an ideal getaway place for those who wish to achieve total relaxation with its beautiful alpine resorts and thermal lake water.

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Kotor, Montenegro
This small, old town immersed in tradition and history can found at the base of the mountain Locven. One of the best preserved sights in the Mediterranean area, it is a place filled with primitive, old-fashioned buildings and significant monuments. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one for the bucket list.

I love exotic travels, don’t you? Come with us on exclusive exotic travel at askus@ladyredot.com.


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.

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.

The Otaku Mecca: Tokyo’s Akihabara Electric Town

Origin of Akihabara
The name Akihabara originates from an ancient Japanese deity called Akiba Junja- translating to fire extinguisher. In 1869 a fire ravaged the region, destroying much of the area. In response, the locals made an Akiba Jinja shrine which later leads to naming the city Akihabara.

Due to its disconnect for the government, Akihabara evolved into a modern entrepreneurial city. In the 1930s much of its economy boomed towards electronics- washing machines, microwaves, radios, etc.… This spurring the nickname Akihabara Deki Gai (Electric Town). As the old electronics lifespan died out, business shifted into video games, anime, and gadgets; transforming Akihabara into a modernistic worldwide attraction. Many in Japan consider the Eclectic Town a sacred place for gaming culture- an Otaku (nerd) Mecca.

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By http://www.flickr.com/photos/heiwa4126http://www.flickr.com/photos/heiwa4126/477038814, CC BY 2.0, Link

Electric Town Culture
Otaku roughly translating to computer nerd or fanboy/ fangirl. This word has defined the Electric Town culture. From the city’s economy to the buildings. Architects do their best when drawing blueprints, to resemble the popular game worlds. Building to the culture is the enormous colourful anime ads displayed throughout the city. Along with this are Café maids, girls dressed in vibrant character outfits to advertise shops. Another aspect of the playful culture is the many conventions and special events that let players and creators come together and share. Here, also, is a known place for amateur manga (Japanese cartoons) writers to get exposure and network.

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By hiroakiGinza 4, Chuo-dori St., CC BY 2.0, Link

Walk Down Chuo Dori
Chuo Dori is Akihabara’s main street and a perfect place to start exploring this maze of a town. Close to the road also is Akihabara Radio Center which was the birthplace of the city and its name. At the Radio Center buyers can find a plethora of old electronic parts. Continue down Chuo Dori and you’ll see what once was small stores, huge gaming centers and hobby shops. During the weekends, café maids and people in character costumes line the streets for pictures. After seeing all that this road has to see, try adventuring through one of the many alley ways selling niche games and retail.

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Yodobashi
Yodobashi is a known legend when it comes to cheap electronics and colossal stores. At 9 stories tall selling everything imaginable: TVs, computers, cameras, vacuums, headphones, and more; it is one of the biggest electronic stores in the world. From floor 1 to 6 the stores consist of various gadgets and appliances- PC parts, ovens, games, fax machines, tablet. But when you hit floor 7, it opens up to a couple chain stores selling books, music and retail. At the eighth floor is a full size food court- they probably figured customers would be starving after going through hours of buying options. Finally, at floor 9 Yodobashi decided to stick a driving range and golf store. All they need now is a 10th floor for apartments and people could live there. It’s a gadget wonderland.

Exploring Japan on your own? We can help you to plan your trip! Just askus@ladyredot.com.


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.

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.

Chinese New Year in China

We are approaching what is called the biggest festival among the Chinese in the world. Of course, the biggest country that will be celebrating Chinese New Year is China. Do you know that a lot of offices and factories closes for at least 7 days for this big event for the Chinese workers who hasn’t seen their family for a year to travel home for Chinese New Year. It is deem unfilial not to go home with gifts during this period hence every year, China has this human migration all over the country, flocking to go home.

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History
There are a number of versions of the history of the Chinese New Year, but the most famous revolve around the mythical beast Nian. Legend says Nian is fond of threatening and eating humans, especially young children. The people, except for one old man, decided to flee and hide from the terrifying creature. The brave man decided to stay and ward off the horrifying best by using red pieces of paper and firecrackers. The people left the old man anyway. Upon their return on the next day, they were astounded to see the town was just as they left it: nothing was destroyed. The townspeople began to conclude that the old man was actually a deity who saved them and that loud noises and the colour red fend off Nian. From that day on, the people made sure to wear red clothing and decorate with red lanterns and red spring scrolls every time the New Year comes. Nian never showed his face to the people again.

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Significance
Also known as the Spring Festival, it starts on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month of the Chinese calendar. In 2017, it falls on January 28. It is a key public holiday for the Chinese people, and it usually lasts for about 23 days. Most shops, restaurants and business are closed for several days, but supermarkets and public transportation are available (although most of the time overcrowded). Chinese New Year is celebrated not only in Mainland China but also in Singapore, Taiwan, Macau, Hongkong, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Aside from honouring the Chinese deities, the festival is time to celebrate their hard work all year long and to wish their families and friends a prosperous New Year, just like the non-Chinese New Year.

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Celebration
Aside from decorating their homes with red lanterns and red posters, wearing red clothing (the color red was a sort of an amulet, but now symbolizes happiness and fortune), Chinese people make sure to thoroughly clean their homes days before the New Year’s day to rid of bad luck and to welcome good luck. Families with members from different generations gather around tables to enjoy the “reunion dinner” or the New Year’s Eve dinner. They also gift gifts, usually money inside a red envelope mostly to children and seniors. Adults do not usually receive money unless it is from an employer.

Customarily, fish and dumplings (usually in Northern China) are served for the New Year’s Eve dinner. Foods like New Year Cake, Tang Yuan, Congee, and a lot of others are served depending on personal preference.

Aside from the celebration in their homes, cultural activities are also organised. These include imperial performances, ancestor worship and the famous dragon dance. They also pray in temples for bountiful fortune and luck. Firecrackers are set off; the louder they are, the better.

It is also believed that asking for money on New Year’s and cleaning the house within the first three days are huge taboos in a traditional Chinese setting. Doing so will not attract good luck.

If you are looking to travel to China during Chinese New Year or you would like to experience first hand on Chinese New Year culture in China, we can arrange for you! Just askus@ladyredot.com and we will ensure that you will savour the full experience of local festival celebration.


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.

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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.