Kenya, East Africa
Who doesn't want to see wild animals up close and personal in their natural habitat!? Definitely something I want to experience, going to the zoo just doesn't cut it for me!
What to do
Giraffe Centre, Nairobi
This centre, which protects the highly endangered Rothschild’s giraffe, combines serious conservation with enjoyable activities. You can observe or hand-feed the giraffes
Today the population numbers more than 300, and the centre has successfully released these giraffes into Lake Nakuru National Park (home to around 45 giraffes), Mwea National Reserve, Ruma National Park and Nasalot National Reserve.
Prices start from $64 (around £50.00) upwards depending on the tour, but if I were you I would make the most of the visit and see as much as possible. That even includes visiting the Nairobi Elephant orphanage.
There’s nothing more famous about Kenya than going on a safari to one of the many national parks or reserves located throughout the country. The most famous wildlife viewing sanctuaries include Maasai Mara, Amboseli, Lake Nakuru and Tsavo East.
Safaris can be on the expensive side, but observing African animals in their natural habitat including the big 5 (African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and white/black rhinos) is a once in a lifetime experience and probably well worth it!
Now I'm not one for extreme sports or activities especially ones that involve water! So i will sit this one out! For those dare devils though you can River Raft the Tana River, Whitewater raft and kayak on the Tana River. When you're not screaming for your life, you can take the opportunity to view Kenya’s nature from the river!
Hell's Gate, National Park
Named after a narrow crack in the cliffs, once a tributary of a prehistoric lake, this national park north-west of Nairobi. Visitors can walk among buffalo, zebra, eland and Thomson’s gazelle and see baboons scratching each other. Prepare to be rendered silent by the beauty of the Njorowa gorge’s red sandstone walls.
With a long coastline along the indian ocean, Kenya is home to some of the most incredible beaches (Nyali, Diani, Bamburi Beach, Malindi). Whether you want to swim snorkel or surf, most of the beaches offer some sort of activity. There are also plenty bars and restaurants in the areas.
Where to stay
You can sleep under the stars Loisaba Lodge is set in a 61,000 acre reserve, and guests can experience the wilderness by night in private huts open to the skies a 20-minute drive from the main building.
*Angama Mara, Masai Mara
*Nay Palad Bird Nest
Kenya shilling (136 KSH = 1GBP)
It is advised to also take some U.S. Dollars, as some places will only accept these as currency.
Kenyan authorities introduced an e-visa system in 2015, meaning British travellers no longer need apply for entry documents before travelling, or queue at the airport for all the right stamps. A single entry visa costs $51 per person (£39) and the e-visa site is linked from the Foreign Office’s Kenya travel advice page. Ensure that you use the official e-visa website to avoid being scammed by fake providers.
Las Vegas, USA
The city that never sleeps, or is that New York?! Either way, Vegas is not for the faint hearted. If you are going to relax and chill, then this is not the place for you! For starters it’s HOT, like really hot! We went in September and it got to 45 degrees, I could only sit out in the sun for 30 minutes max, before I was running inside for shade and air con. Even though we were there for 10 days, we packed in as much as possible and still didn't get to do it all.
Vegas isn't just about casino's and the nightlife, it has a lot of history behind it. Downtown Vegas is where it all happened with the main strip with its extravagant hotels being an added extra. A taxi driver actually told us that the main source of income for Vegas isn't the casino's but gold and I think possibly oil, but I might be making that bit up!
Trip was booked through My America Holiday and we got a fantastic deal. I expected to be bored on an 8.5hr flight, but as soon as we took off we were given drinks and snacks and food then more drinks, snacks and food. A great selection of inflight films to choose from. It was great and I normally hate flying.
What to do
You could easily spend 2 days just checking out the hotels, which are beyond massive. The Americans know how to make an impression!
One activity I had to do whilst I was there was the Grand Canyon and it was well worth the bumpy plane ride!
There are 2 parts to the Canyon, West Rim and South Rim. We booked for the South Rim as this gave us more for our money. Pick up and drop off from the hotel (nearly got left behind!), plane ride (seats 12 people so it's tiny), hop on to a bus that took you to the national park, 30 mins taking pics, head to another area where you get lunch spend 20 mins there, head back to the plane (25 min flight ), then back on the bus home. It's an all day activity so don't try and cram anything else in as you won't have tome. You can add an additional experience by going on the helicopter tour as well, but that could set you back by another $200.
Take plenty money, as it is very expensive (bottled water $10, Vodka & Cranberry $20). How you spend it is up to you, but I would make sure you keep money separate for tips and cab rides.
House Of Blues
Located inside the Mandalay Hotel, HoB offers authentic American food with live music every night. Book in advance as this places gets full quickly. Food portions are HUGE. Ordered Calamari as a starter and it was enough to feed another 4 people! It's either go big or go home!
Cirque Du Soleil
I would go back to Vegas just to see all of these shows. It was spectacular! Some shows are more expensive than others and i think this is based on the hotel it's located in. We watched Mystere at Treasure Island hotel. Tickets were purchased whilst we were over there and actually worked out cheaper than buying them in advance. You can't really take pictures, but if you are slick enough like me, you can manage to sneak one or two, just remember to turn off your flash!
Where to stay
We stopped at the Luxor, which is at the start of the strip. This is a 20 min ride from the airport and cost us $35! Side note if you don't wait or collect your change, they will assume it's a tip as I learnt as soon as I got there. Taxi driver took the $5 change and I didn't even hear him drive off in his electric car! Start of the holiday I was already down by $5!
Rooms at the Luxor were slightly dated, but big and comfortable. After looking at the other hotels and their locations, I would opt for staying near the centre, that way you are closer to all the bars, clubs restaurants and shopping centres. This should cut down on your taxi rides too!
Right next door to the Luxor was the Mandalay Hotel. This hotel is fantastic and we spent most of our time there as there was more to do in regards to food and entertainment. After walking up and down the strip nearly every day, I realised our location was a tad poor. Being right at the bottom means either walking for 30-40 mins or getting a taxi to your destination. You can use the mono rail, but you have to walk to the main station in order to get on it and go else where.
It's been a while since I last ventured across to the Greek islands, but my next trip will be August 2019 for my cousin's wedding in Rhodes.
Greece is steeped in history with plenty to see and do, so this destination is definitely more for the budding tourist. If you don't fancy trekking round ancient ruins in the baking heat, then head to the beach! Regardless of what island you choose you will find sand to lay on!
Santorini is the go-to island for couples and a haven for honeymooners, with is clear waters white, washed buildings and sunsets out on the Aegean Sea, it's a popular wedding destination to tie the knot.
Where to stay
Vedema is in the village of Megalochori with the town square and village church only a minute walk away. The 45 rooms at this hotel have views of the village homes or the surrounding rolling vineyards. Vedma's sister property Mystique, is set in Oia. It has a secret wine cellar, and it's 22 cave-style rooms are terraced into the cliff face, providing that classic Santorini experience.
Vedema, Megalochori, 84700, Santorini; +30 22860 81796; prices start from €223 per night for a suite
Mystique, Oia, 84702, Santorini; +30 22860 71114; prices start from €648 per night for a suite
For July and August this place comes alive with revellers ascending in their droves for the night life! If all that hubbub isn't for you then sneak off to Hotel Kivotos, on Ornos Bay. Set on a hill with steps down to a peaceful rocky beach, it's an ideal refuge to refuel and recharge.
Hotel Kivotos, Ornos Bay, 84600, Mykonos; +30 22890 24094; prices start from €506 per night for a suite
What to do
Mount Olympus - I'm a big fan of Greek Mythology and Mount Olympus is probably one of the most famous mountains in the world and is not be missed off your itinerary. If you're up for the challenge then you can climb the mountain. You will need to travel to Litochoro where you can trek part way or all the way to the top. Don't forget it will be hot, so be prepared!
Dive with dolphins - Rumors say that they hang out in Halkidiki, in North Sporades, around Kythera and in some areas in Crete.
Scuba dive - You can more or less scuba dive anywhere in the world. This is a must and if I wasn't such a chicken, I would attempt it again!
Volcanoes - Go to Sousaki, Methana, Milos, Nisyros, Santorini.
Festivals - There are different traditional Greek festivals (Panigiri) happening all around Greece, especially during summer time, but also in Spring. Attend an Easter celebration in Greece in Corfu or mainland. Attend the Sardine celebration or the Tomatoe (or tomato) celebration and more.
My last post touched briefly on my trip to Paris and I promised to elaborate further on this one.
On our arrival, we experienced the hustle and bustle of the Latin quarter. It has music, people, food and a great atmosphere. Every narrow street leads off to somewhere new, which is probably why I almost got lost!
What to do
Eiffel Tower - Looks fantastic at night with all its lights flashing. We didn't bother going up it though as the queues are long and you can pretty much see the city from any high building or point.
Musee Du Louvre - I can't tell you how stunning this museum is. Its absolutely huge, but for all the beautiful pieces of art and sculptures it houses it has to be. If you like that sort of thing then you could easily spend all day, so wear comfortable footwear. Entry fee was about €15 and you get to keep your fancy ticket as a souvenir.
Yves Saint Laurent Museum - For a mere entrance fee of €10, you can do the tour in 2hrs, but as we were cramming a lot in one day, we did it all in an hour.
Sacré-Cœur - The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known simply as Sacré-Cœur, is a Roman Catholic church and a popular landmark. It’s located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city and you get a cracking view of the city! To appreciate this view however you do have to climb stairs. I don’t do stairs! I gave up after 6 steps, but persevered to the top........it was well worth the moaning and sweating!
We took a midnight walk on the Champs Elysées and got as close as possible to the Arc du Triomphe without getting run over by the ridiculous amount of traffic! Paris has such a different vibe about it on a night time, less tourists, but still has a buzz that makes you want to stay out until sunrise.
One of the main streets for shopping is Rue du Rivoli where we were able to appreciate the architectural beauty of Parisian apartment buildings. The city has a ton of history which you just can't absorb all in a weekend.
I would say Paris can be a ideal for both a short weekend and also a quick honeymoon break, all depending on what you intend to do whilst you're there. Either way you will have so much fun and won't want to come home. It rained whilst we were there (typical!) but that didn't stop us from enjoying the sights. A rainy day in Paris beats a rainy day in England hands down!
Where to stay - Paris is a massive city and it's not until you arrive that you realise all the famous and well known tourist attractions are not close by! So you have to decide what you want to be closest to or better yet stay in a district that has regular metro links to other areas. We stayed in the 10th district and were only 100m from the metro/tube station (La Chapelle). Top Tip - purchase your tickets for the metro in advance for the length of time you are there, it makes it easier and less hassle when you need to get on the train. Plus you get a free map too!
I've listed other places we looked at through Airbnb and Booking.com, but note that you get what you pay for in terms of location, size of room and amenities.
Ibiza, Balearic Islands
Last visited in 2012, I learnt to appreciate the beauty of this island. It's not all just about the parties, Ibiza has some stunning places to explore and see. Ideal for more of a stag/hen parties if you go to San Antonio, but if you are looking for a more chilled out vibe, then the rest of the island is at your disposable from golden beaches, quite villages to yoga retreats. My aunty had her honeymoon in Ibiza and loved it! I do think another trip is in order for 2019!
Break from the nightlife and super clubs and head to Ibiza's south-coast capital Eivissa (Ibiza Town). There is plenty to do and see in Eivissa from sight seeing, shopping to fine dining. This town is full of history and architecture with museums and galleries hidden away down narrow cobbled streets.
Where to stay - There are numerous options depending on which part of the island you chose to reside in and how much time you think you will spend in the hotel.
*Mirador de Dalt Vila at Placa d'Espanya
*Cas Gasi, Santa Gertrudis
*El Corsario, Carrer Ponent
*Ses Pitreras, San Agustin
*Hotel Xereca, Puig d'en Valls
What to do - You can either make the most of the sunshine by laying on the beaches sipping cocktails or you could add a little culture to your trip. The choice is yours! Ibiza has some stunning views, so I would take full advantage of those whilst you're there.
*Museu d'Art Contemporani d' Eivissa
*Lips Reartes at Carrer Porreres
*Visit Dalt Vila (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site)
*Boat trips ( head to Es Vedra to watch the sunset )
*Beaches (Playa d'en Bossa and Talamanca)
*Scuba Diving (I've done this and it's a worthwhile experience!)
Thailand has become a popular tourist attraction over the years known for it's golden tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces and temples. With over 2,000 miles of coastline, 8,000 islands to choose from all with great photo opportunities, what's not to love about this place!
Bangkok is the cosmopolitan capital of Thailand bursting at the seams with life, buzzing with tuk-tuks and markets and fascinating sightseeing prospects. If you want to get to grips with Thai culture and history then this is your first pit stop. Head for the old town area, known as Ratanakosin for a dose of culture and temples.
Accessible only by boat, but just a 15-minute ride from Ao Nang, the busiest parts of Railay are sandwiched between Hat Railay East and Hat Railay West and Hat Tham Phra Nang. As it becomes more popular, it still remains much less-developed than Ko Phi-Phi. For all those thrill seekers out there if you love rock-climbing, then this is an ideal place for you as long as you don't mind the company of the wildlife on the way up. A back drop that you would expect to see in a film, Railay provides stunning scenery from the beaches to the jungle.
What to do - Hot-air ballooning, kite surfing, walking with elephants, nearly every imaginable activity can be done out in Thailand.
A Thai massage is not for the faint hearted, but if you don't fancy being contorted into various pretzel shapes then you can learn how to inflict the pain on others! There are training centres that you can register at in Chaing May (Northern Thailand) where you can sign up for 5, 2 or 1 day courses.
Fancy brushing up on your culinary skills to wow your friends back home? Then try your hand at a cooking school. A the most a lesson can cost is a £46pp (about 1950 Thai Baht) which includes a trip to Thanin market and instruction by a top chef. For a more budget option, check out the Chiang Mai Thai Farm Cooking School which offers hands-on, small-group classes. At £24pp ( just over 1,000 Thai Baht) this includes food and transfers.
Alternatively you can do something more therapeutic and head on out to the Elephant Nature Park some 40 miles from Chiang Mai. The park has been rescuing and rehabilitating elephants since the 1990s. Visitors can spend the day feeding, swimming with and walking alongside the herd in their 200-acre habitat. Now this sounds like my ideal trip.
Food - I'm not much of an adventurous eater, so I think I would struggle a little out in Thailand, but I'd be prepared to try at least one exotic food as long as its not bugs!
The main food of Thailand is Khao niao or sticky rice which is traditionally steamed and is eaten as a staple food both in the northeast as in the north of Thailand.
If your staying in the capital then head to China Town ( also known as Yaowarat to the locals) Khao gang (curry rice) is a fixture on Bangkok’s streets. A popular breakfast and lunch option for diners on the go, curry rice is a selection of curries and stir-fries, any combination of which can be piled on to a plate of rice.
Most of the food in Thailand you would be content with eating, its just with an extra spicy kick of flavours!
Be warned, bugs are eaten as snacks and can be found on numerous market stalls, but once deep fried and heavily salted, I'm sure they taste just like Ready Salted crisps! You only live once so bite the bullet and snack on a few grasshoppers, giant water bugs (huge btw!) crickets and silk worms! It will be something to tell the grandkids one day!
Where to stay - A vast amount of places to chose from, all depending on which part of the island you are staying at. Hosts on Air bnb offer some great accommodation, prices and availability vary on the time of year you travel. Again depending on location, you can opt for apartments in the capital, hotels by the beach or tents in the jungle (not your average tent may I add!)
If you really want to go all out and splurge (it's your honeymoon why not!), then treat yourself to a 5* luxury stay at the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle. The pictures don't do it justice, so it's definitely a place to go on my bucket list.