Ultimate Mini Guide: 24 Hours In Bangkok

The crowded, bustling city of Bangkok is rarely described as beautiful or scenic, but what it lacks in aesthetics it certainly makes up for in atmosphere, buzz, and thrills. The city is forever moving, with crowds of people adorning every street corner, every bar, and every shop. The hot and stifling nature of the city can be overwhelming at times, which is probably why people spend little more than a couple of days in the city at any one time. Maneuvering around the city, seeing the sights and experiencing the humidity is an experience in itself and will be one that stays with you for many years to come. Take a look at some of the things you might want to do if you find yourself with 24 hours to kill in this eclectic city.

bangkok-2732437_960_720
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Grab a Patongo

Nearly every jaunt into the world of Thailand travel begins in Bangkok before you move onto the serene beaches of Koh Samui or the cultural wonders of Wat Rong Khun. Fuel the start of your day in Bangkok with a patongo, a Thai sweet treat to give your body a sugar kick ready for the day ahead. Ensure you’re stocked up on plenty of fluids and head out onto the streets with your trusty itinerary. There’s no excuse not to be prepared.

Head To The Flower Market

To fully immerse yourself in the culture of any city you have to make an effort to travel to a market. The Pak Klong Chalat market sees stallholders opening up before the crack of dawn to await the fresh shipments of exotic flowers of all colors, shapes, and sizes arriving from all over Thailand. You could embark on a mini two-hour tour of the market, learning about its history as you allow the intoxicating aromas of sweet smelling jasmine and roses to invade your senses.

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Guest Post: Your Guide to Washington, DC

This is a guest post from Adam & Stephanie from Road Unraveled  blog. We are Stephanie and Adam, the travel writers behind Road Unraveled, and we want you to take a different vacation. We’re part time travelers with full-time jobs, and we’ve learned when you combine limited vacation time and budget with a passion to explore the globe, you can uncover some incredible adventures!

Washington, DC
The White House

Your Guide to Washington, DC

Even though Washington, DC is the United States’ capital city, it’s not always the first place visitors think of when they plan a trip to the USA. We have lived in DC for the last decade, and we know that when it comes to history, free activities, and great food, you won’t find a better place to spend your vacation!

Here are our tips for what to see and do when you visit the capital city of the United States of America.

Washington DC
Capitol building

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What do you HAVE to DO in Budapest as a first-time visitor

Budapest
Heroes’ Square

I’ve visited Budapest three times. Twice in wintertime and once for a couple of hours on a hot September day on my way to Bratislava. So basically my experience of Budapest is a Budapest decorated with Christmas lights and smelling of mulled wine and sweets. I loved exploring the Christmas markets in Budapest and eating cake in one of the city’s oldest cake shop Gerbeaud. On my first visit back in 2004 (for New Year’s ) I travelled with a boyfriend and we did most of the usual tourist attractions. We admired the grandiose Heroes’ square and the nearby castle and felt romantic at Fishermen’s Bastion and crossed many bridges. I compared Hungary’s parliament with the Houses of Parliament in London and we used the oldest underground in the continental Europe. We also took a night boat ride on the Danube river and ate in a traditional but very touristic restaurant. However, my most precious memory of that Budapest visit was winding down in the famous Gellért Baths. It was indeed a special experience!

In 2011 I visited Budapest again during Advent time and of course I bought a lot of Hungarian gingerbread biscuits (and some ginger ale). I pretty much re-visited all the major sights and admired the view of Budapest from the Gellért Hill. My last visit was in September 2012 but then I just spent a few hours in Budapest on my way to Slovakia’s capital Bratislava. I saw a different Budapest but I must say I prefer it in wintertime 🙂 During this last visit I had drinks at one of the infamous ruin bars.

Budapest

My personal and very subjective recommendation is to visit Budapest during Christmas season and to enjoy the wonderful Christmas markets. Beware though, Budapest can be very, very cold in winter so pack warm clothes. How long should you stay in Budapest? Three days is the ideal length of visit but if you want to stay longer than you might want to take a day trip to beautiful Lake Balaton for example or to Vienna.

So, what do you HAVE to DO in Budapest?

Visit Castle Hill where you’ll find the Buda Castle, Matthias Church and the romantic Fishermen’s Bastion

Budapest
Buda castle

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Ferarri ISN’T made in Ferrara

It might come to you as a surprise but luxurious Ferrari cars have nothing to do with the town of Ferrara. Ferrari cars are actually made in another Italian town: Maranello. Unlike some other cities (Florence I’m talking about you!), Ferrara is still a peaceful town undisturbed by hordes of tourists. There’s a lunch break for a lot of shops and bars and restaurants which means that if you want to buy something, at let’s say 2 pm, tough luck, the shop will be closed! Italians need their lunch (and afternoon nap!) more than your money.

Where is Ferrara? It’s in the region Emilia-Romagna, some 50 km from Bologna. It’s also 150 km from Florence and 111 km from Venice, if you’re contemplating a day trip. Ferrara is famous for its Renaissance town planning which has earned it a place on UNESCO World Heritage List.

What can you see in Ferrara?

Castello Estense: This red brick castle dates from the 14th century and it was once an opulent residence of the noble Este family. It’s right in the center of Ferrara and you can walk freely into it, but if you want to explore its rooms you have to pay an entrance fee. The tourist office, as well as public toilets, are in the castle’s courtyard.

Ferrara

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A guide to Cannes + giveaway

Cannes

Worldwide famous for its annual Film festival Cannes has become synonymous with film star glamour and glitz but you can enjoy it too especially if you don’t visit during the festival frenzy. Cannes can be appreciated even if you can’t afford to stay at Carlton because there are many things to do that don’t cost much.

So here are my suggestions for a day or two in Cannes (really you don’t need to stay longer unless you want to take day trips to other beautiful towns along French Riviera):

1. Walk along the Boulevard de la Croisette

Whether you want to do some people watching or do some window shopping or you want to imagine how it would be to stay at Carlton or Martinez this is a must while in Cannes. When you get overwhelmed with everything sit at one of the blue chairs and relax your eyes by staring out to the sea 🙂 You can refresh yourself with an ice-cream or a drink from kiosks along the promenade and you can even get a temporary tattoo or buy a painting or sunglasses.

2. Climb the stairs to the top of Suquet hill and wander the streets of the Old town
The bet view of Cannes is from the little square at the top of Suquet hill. You have to go through the clock tower and you find yourself at the square with the Virgin Mary statue in memory of the fallen soldiers. From here you can see the entire bay of Cannes and the Lerins islands. If you want you can visit Musee de la Castre or go inside the church Notre-Dame-de-L’Esperance. After you’ve rested your feet and took numerous photos you can go down and explore the winding alleys back to the Rue Meynadier or even buy something fresh at the local market (Forville).

the view from the hill
the view from the hill

3. Find your palm twin at the walk of fame around Palais des Festivals et des Congres
Sorry, but the building of the Film festival is so ugly. However, it might be fun to take your photo at the red carpet on the stairs or to walk from the Tourist Office to the little park on the left and try to recognize the names of the film stars in the pavement. My palm is the exact size of Sharon Stone’s. 🙂

casino&film festival palace
casino&film festival palace

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Monaco-part II (Oct 2015)

Do you want to read about how I lost my fortunes in a Monaco casino? I’m sorry to disappoint you but that won’t happen because although I did gamble in a casino I wasn’t that reckless 🙂

So, if you read my first post on Monaco you’ve already seen the oldest part of the country Monaco-Ville where you can find the Prince’s palace and the Cathedral. If you came by car to Monaco after visiting Monaco-Ville you should drive along the port area (this is where the Formula 1 race starts) and through the tunnel and go into another underground parking. And that’s already Monte-Carlo. When you leave the car you should take a short stroll along the promenade and you come across Grace Kelly’s Japanese garden. It’s lovely and you should visit it. This is a tranquil oasis among Monaco’s skyscrapers. When you  come out of the garden go back via the promenade and you’ll see something interesting on the pavement. If you love football, you’ll be delighted.  The winners of the international Golden Foot award which is given to outstanding football players leave a permanent mould of their footprints on the so-called Champions’s Promenade.

But Monte-Carlo is all about its famous Casino Square. How can you reach it from the parking where you left your car? Only by going uphill on foot past the famous Hotel Fairmont (those of you who follow Formula 1 have seen this hotel and know that taking this bend is the most dangerous part of the whole race). You can admire the luxurious cars parked in front of the hotel and then take the steps up to reach the Monte-Carlo Casino.

The Monte-Carlo Casino is a huge building dating from the 19th century and it also houses the Opera and a Buddha bar/night-club and some luxury clothes shops. You need to continue walking to reach the main entrance and see the other landmarks on the square which include the most expensive hotel in the country Hôtel de Paris and Cafe de Paris which is a casino and a restaurant. If you like fast & expensive cars this is the place for you! There are many Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bentleys and the rest parked in front of the casino and in front of the hotel. All this uphill walking has probably made you very thirsty so you should rest and have a drink. And there’s no better place for that than the terrace of Cafe de Paris where you can do some people-watching (and car-watching!). You can take the best photos of yourself with the Casino entrance if you go to the fountain (park) across the casino. There are some new pavilions with clothes shops too.

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Monaco (Oct 2015)

Have you ever gambled in a casino?Or maybe you like collecting stamps? Are you a fan of late Grace Kelly? If so, you might want to visit Monaco.

the view of Monaco (if you're coming from Italy)
the view of Monaco (if you’re coming from Italy)
the view of the oldest part of the country Monaco-Ville on the rock (if you're coming from France)
the view of the oldest part of the country Monaco-Ville on the rock (if you’re coming from France)

The tiny Principality of Monaco is completely surrounded by France.You could literally be with one foot in Monaco and with another in France 😉 Why is Monaco so famous and rich? Well, the rulers of Monaco were very smart and introduced no tax policy which attracted the wealthy people & businesses from all around the world. And those wealthy people needed to spend their money too hence the casino of Monte-Carlo.

It is thought that the marriage of Monaco’s prince Rainer III with the Oscar-winning American actress Grace Kelly brought international fame to this small Mediterranean country. It is in fact the second smallest country in the world (Vatican is the smallest country) ! Today, the son of Grace Kelly ,Prince Albert II is the current ruler. He finally got married in 2011 and has recently baptized his twins.

I’ve been to French Riviera a couple of times in the past five years so I also visited Monaco. The most recent visit was in October. So what could an average traveller see in this city-state? First of all, Monaco state consists of 6 main quartiers or wards. The oldest one is Monaco-Ville (to differentiate it from the name of the country) situated on a rock. This is where you can find the Cathedral, the Prince’s palace and the Oceanographic museum. From this rock you can admire the part of Monaco called Fontvieille where you can see the football stadium ( FC Monaco plays in the French league) and where the International Circus Festival is held. From another viewpoint, just right from the palace you see the port (and yachts) and the road where the starting position of Formula 1 Grand Prix race is. That part is called la Condamine. You can also see the condos of Moneghetti (the residential area let’s say) and the cupola of Monte-Carlo casino. What you can’t see is the last part of the country and that’s Larvotto and there’s where you can lie on the beach.

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