Discover 5 countries to visit which have the best beaches in the world!

One of the best holidays you can go on is a lovely beach vacation. It gives you a chance to relax and rejuvenate before you return to your busy schedule. After all, as the study reveals, people are less stressed when they can see large expanses of water. Therefore, it’s time to take a vacation to the beach. However, it can be hard to know where to visit to experience the best beach. Here are five countries to visit which have the best beaches in the world.

South Africa

The beautiful country of South Africa is somewhere that needs to be on your radar if you are looking for the ultimate beach break. The amazing country is known for its stunning beaches, cliffs, and culture which sees people flocking there every year. Cape Town is one of the areas people visit to soak up the sunshine. As we talked about before, there are several beaches including Llandudno Beach which are stunning. Other areas people go to for stunning beaches include Port Elizabeth and Durban in South Africa.

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Malaysia

Another country which has some of the best beaches in the world is Malaysia. The country is full of culture, history, and wildlife and is a popular place to visit for a beach break. Beaches such as Perhentian Kecil offer beautiful white sand where you can sunbathe to your heart’s content. As well as sunbathing, the beaches in Malaysia are popular down to the wealth of watersports available to the public. In fact, Malaysia is often named the best place for snorkeling in the world. Therefore, you should look online and discover the villa with a private pool in Malaysia. Then you can head out to the beach every day.

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Portugal

A lot of people would dismiss the beaches in Europe as the best in the world. However, a lot of people rave about Portugal’s Algarve region. The stunning beaches are often named the most picturesque in the whole of Europe and see millions visit every year. Praia da Rocha is often named one of the best in Portugal with its wealth of caves and white sand.

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Maldives

One of the top reasons why people head to beautiful Maldives is to spend time on the beaches. A lot of the accommodation in the Maldives is very private with their own stretch of beach. The service at the beach resorts are some of the top rated in the world. The stunning crystal blue water and white sand makes it a very picturesque area to visit. As this article reveals, there is beautiful coral reef and underwater creatures which make for a scuba session!

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Thailand

Although when most people think of Thailand, their mind goes to the bustling city of Bangkok, it is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. A lot of people head here to soak up the sunshine on the white sanded beaches. You could even visit one of the many secluded beaches which is only accessible by boat. For example, this feature says Phra Nang Beach is one of the most beautiful and mysterious to visit.

thailand-180828_1280https://pixabay.com/en/thailand-phang-nga-bay-beach-sea-180828/

All of these are full of culture and history that will make your holiday perfect!

Posted in 2016, Africa, beaches, bucket list, ocean, outdoors, photography, relaxation, tourism, travel, travel ideas, travel tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vacation dangers you may not have considered

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Pixabay

Going somewhere far away for a vacation is supposed to be this amazing experience. But every year it goes horribly wrong for many people. This is often because they underestimated the risks that come with every vacation. Make sure you’re prepared. Here are some of the dangers you should think about, and the preventative methods you should take.

Back home

Unless you’ve given someone the keys and are letting them look after the place, you’re pretty much leaving your home unattended! This isn’t a comforting thought for anyone when planning a vacation. Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to lessen the risks. The first, of course, is to get a house-sitter. If that’s not possible, then review your security features and unplug your electronics. Have your mail held at the post office instead of letting it pile up at the door. And don’t advertise your vacation on social media. I know that’s a thing the cool kids do these days, but you’re basically telling everyone no-one’s at your house. Not always a good idea.

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Your passport

You must have heard horror stories in your time about people losing their passport. A lot of people don’t seem to realize that you can actually get copies of your passport made. Many will opt to make a copy so they can keep their original at the hotel. Others may decide to make two copies so they can leave the original at home.

Weather

People are always travelling to new places and then finding themselves shocked by the weather. You must make sure you do your research before you head off. You’ll want to be properly prepared. Don’t just assume that a place is merely hot or cold. Take New York City in winter, for example. Everyone knows it’s cold. But people rarely know just how cold it really is – until they get there and find that they’re underdressed! Heat, as well, provides its own dangers. Don’t just think about the temperature, though – heat usually means very bright sun. Hop over here to check out sunglasses.

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Money

Don’t be so sure you’re not going to get robbed! I know, that’s a pretty grim thing to say. But you can never be certain that something bad won’t happen. Of course, most of the time people lose money on vacation, the cause is simply losing their wallet. Don’t keep all of your money with you. People usually bring all of their vacation money in the form of cash that they acquired back home. Either look into international options with your bank account, or keep most of the cash in the hotel safe when you’re out and about.

Location-specific dangers

Every vacation is unique. But not only that, each location within a vacation is unique. There will be areas with higher crime rates. There will be towns more prone to flooding during severe weather. And then, of course, there are the dangers that come with every beach! Do thorough research not only on the country or town at large, but on each area you plan on visiting when you get there.

Posted in 2016, tourism, travel, travel ideas, travel tips | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Flower season at West Coast National Park, Cape Town

The perfect Sunday drive to see Spring’s burst of colourful flowers, between August and September, is up the coast to West Coast National Park  and is about an hour or two’s drive from Cape Town.

On arrival, as you purchase your tickets you will receive a map so that you can plot out your journey. You can drive through the park, stop to view a variety of game and various view points while inhaling the fresh sea breeze and scented fauna; and the aqua blue Langebaan lake makes you feel like you’ve been transported to a sleepy Mediterranean town. A few hours spent in the park does not do it justice and I found myself adding to my activity wishlist at West Coast National Park:
– Do one of the many hikes;
– Cycle through the park;
– Rent a house boat and go for many SUPs (Stand-up Paddle Boarding);
There are so many activities to do.

Our short day trip’s priority was to visit the colourful fields of Cape Town’s flower season. In August and September each year, visit West Coast National Park and head north of the park to Postberg for the best flower sightings. It’s well worth it as you can see below:

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It’s flower season! Pic credit: Katie Wilter

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Little cars and visitors approaching the orange flowers that leave a big impression. Pic credit: Katie Wilter

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A single cloud hovering over Langebaan Lagoon. Pic credit: Katie Wilter

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House boats on Langebaan Lagoon. Pic credit: Katie Wilter

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A wildebeest frolicking in the flowers. Pic credit: Katie Wilter

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Game spotting at West Coast National Park, Cape Town. Pic credit: Katie Wilter

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An ostrich taking a Sunday stroll. Pic credit: Katie Wilter

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Orange and purple blooms with the ocean in the distance. Pic credit: Katie Wilter

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Yellow fields. Pic credit: Katie Wilter

 

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Posted in 2016, Africa, beaches, bucket list, Cape Town, hike, holiday ideas, inspiration, nature, ocean, outdoors, photography, road trip, safari, sailing, tourism, travel, travel ideas, travel tips | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Bangkok makes such an awesome holiday destination

pexels-photo-30271.jpgImage Via Pexels

Bangkok is one of the most visited cities in the world, with hundreds of thousands flocking to it every year. It’s an incredible destination for your perfect fix of culture, history, tourist attractions and everything in between. If you’ve still not been- here are just a few reasons why Bangkok makes such an awesome holiday destination.

The Architecture

Despite being the most developed city in Thailand, Bangkok has retained much of its original architecture. Many of the buildings date back hundreds of years. From the Grand Palace to the Wat Arun Temple, Vinmanmek Mansion and towering skyscrapers. You won’t be short of fantastic sights and inspiring buildings on your trip.

The Attractions

Bangkok offers some unique attractions. You are likely to experience things on your trips that are entirely new to you. For example their floating markets feature boats brimming with local foods and produce which are anchored to the shore. Check out a boat tour for a full look at everything the markets have to offer. There’s an epic safari park, ‘Safari World’ and Dusit Zoo which are well worth a visit. Plus you have numerous fascinating museums, and buildings of cultural and historical interest. To make sure you see everything the city has to offer, there are various Bangkok tours and attractions you’re able to book.

The Scenery

Despite being a vibrant city offering spectacular views of the city skyline, Bangkok is also dotted with natural beauty too with its parks and gardens. Perfect for a relaxing stroll in the lush greenery, going on a boat ride or going for a picnic. Lumpini Park is Bangkok’s oldest park, a natural oasis in the bustling inner city. Rama IX Park is the largest park in the city. It features a large lake and botanical gardens that have been inspired by different countries around the world. The Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall and gardens have a stunning Renaissance-style building. Along with its lovely landscaped gardens, it makes for great photo opportunities as well as providing fresh air and a break from the city.

The Shopping

From high-end malls to raw and gritty street markets, Bangkok has it all when it comes to shopping experiences. Asiatique on the riverfront combines two of the most popular shopping experiences in the city: a night bazaar and a mall. Once a busy trade port, it is now home to over a thousand boutiques and numerous restaurants, all housed under a massive replica warehouse complex

The Food

Thai is a much-loved cuisine and has gained a lot of popularity in the West over the last decade. Thai food shares elements of other Asian cuisines but with many of its own unique elements. It is based on four basic taste elements; sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Dishes tend to be healthy and aromatic featuring lots of fresh ingredients. Thailand is a culinary paradise, from high-end restaurants from rustic street food. You’ll experience and taste dishes that you’re familiar with but cooked traditionally using local ingredients. As well as things that are brand new to you. Check out Bangkok’s Chinatown which is a prime foodie destination. Explore Old Town to discover the old-style Thai street food gems. In contrast, Sukhumvit is a very upscale neighborhood full of high-end cafes and restaurants.

Posted in 2016, travel, travel ideas, travel tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why no visit to the Philippines is complete without going to Cebu Island

Did you know that the Philippines comprise over 7,641 islands? As you can imagine, a visit to the country has plenty to offer any visitor! One of the hottest tourist spots in the Philippines is Cebu Island. Here are some of the reasons why you need to visit this beautiful place at least once in your life:

Tumalog Falls
It’s no secret that there are many natural waterfalls in the world. But, one of the most captivating waterfalls you should check out is Tumalog Falls!

Basílica del Santo Niño
Founded in 1565, this small church is an important religious point of interest. It’s also the oldest Roman Catholic church in the Philippines.

Tops Lookout
If you want to see a commanding view of Cebu city, make your way to Tops Lookout. A habal-habal (motorbike taxi) can take you there in just 20 minutes from the city center.

Fort San Pedro
Built by the Spanish in the 16th century, Fort San Pedro is a unique triangular structure. With two sides facing the sea, it originally got built from wood. The fort is now a museum and features stunning Spanish artifacts within it.

Magellan’s Cross
As you probably know, the Philippines got claimed for Spain by Ferdinand Magellan. In 1521, he planted a cross in the soil to mark the occasion. And you can still see it today!

Want to know more about Cebu Island? Take a look at this fact-packed infographic:


Infographic Thanks To Cebu island

Posted in 2016, tourism, travel, travel ideas, travel tips | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Operation Smile: Changing lives one smile at a time in Zomba, Malawi

If someone told me years ago that one day I would be working in an operating theatre in Zomba, Malawi; I would have laughed and responded with disbelief. Yet last week I sat as a Patient Image Technician (PIT) volunteer for Operation Smile, right outside two operating theatres as a global power team of experienced plastic surgeons, anesthetists and nurses changed the lives of many babies, children and adults as they had their cleft lips, cleft palettes and noses repaired.

I had absolutely no idea of what to expect on an Operation Smile mission so I decided to go with the flow and take it one moment at a time.  I believe it’s the best way to approach something so far from your comfort zone. I made sure I packed some Rescue Remedy in case things got overwhelming and arrived at Cape Town International Airport not knowing any of my fellow volunteers or how the next ten days would unfold.

We spent the first two days medically screening patients who travelled over 14 hours to get to Zomba Central Hospital in hope that they themselves or their loved ones would be selected to receive a safe, life-changing surgery. Over dinner one evening; Conrad, the Plastic Surgeon Team Lead, said that he was surprised to see how many adults had arrived on the screening days – far more than any other mission he had been involved in. Conrad’s comment struck a chord with me as I observed each case.

Take a moment to think what life would be like as an adult if you had a cleft lip and/or palette. Imagine you lived in a rural village in Malawi and whenever the sun sets and it’s time to make a fire; you have to call a passerby or a neighbour to blow on the coals to spark a healthy flame because you cannot? It’s highly likely that your speech is impaired, throat and ear infections are a regular problem with a scarcity of medical supplies and trying to find a good job or a life-partner is an endless, hopeless struggle. That is what makes each Operation Smile mission so amazing – around 150 patients will leave this hospital with healthy new smiles; which will renew their hope and open up new opportunities they never thought possible.

One morning I chatted to a 19 year-old patient who was waiting to go into his surgery and I asked him what he was most looking forward to post-surgery. My PIT buddy, Clem, translated his answer for me; ‘Man, I just want to get married!’.  In rural Malawian villages men get married around age 18. I shot his post-op photos and when he was handed a mirror to admire his new mouth and face, his eyes welled up with emotion. As I walked him through to the recovery area, I pointed to where a wedding ring would sit on my own hand and tried to say, ‘Now you can find a wife’. Another smile, another life changed for the better.

I was amazed how the adult patients undergo cleft lip and cleft palette surgery with only local anaesthetic. On the second day of surgery, I saw a 44 year-old man sitting outside on a bench waiting to be called in for his surgery and he was shaking. His nervousness unsettled me and later, as I watched an exceptionally talented plastic surgeon work on him, reminding him to keep his eyes closed, I sent him all the good vibes I could muster up. Can you imagine? It’s like sitting in a dentist’s chair except that the medical professional leaning over you is doing a major surgery that will change the rest of his life. And that’s why each local patient lies dead still and perseveres for what must feel like a life time as the plastic surgeon works his / her magic.

The result makes it all worth it as each adult patient sits up and admires their new reflection for the first time. The Malawian patients I observed seemed to have an ’emotions party’ internally that sometimes made their eyes glisten with gratitude.

“Today is the day for transformation. Today I begin a new life.” – Vincent, 60 years old

If I had to describe my behind-the-scenes experience in one word, it would be ‘surreal’. Each night, it took me a good hour or two for the theatre monitoring machinery metronome to quieten in my mind. As the beeping faded away, I drifted off to sleep thinking about the 35+ smiles that were operated on that day and how their futures will be redirected on a much brighter path.


You can read my previous Operation Smile blog posts by clicking on the hyperlinks below:

My Operation Smile #run4smiles journey

1st Operation Smile operation covered, 3 more to go

Support my Operation Smile fundraising project

Posted in 2016, Africa, charity, illnesses, inspiration, photography, tourism, travel, volunteer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Excellent reasons to escape to Ocean Isle Beach

When it comes to globetrotting, some of us need no excuse to pack our bags and board a plane. But if you’re looking for excellent reasons to book a holiday in Ocean Isle Beach, you’ve come to the right place. The US may not be the first place you think of when somebody mentions the word beaches. But you’d be crazy to turn down the chance to explore some of this country’s beautiful islands and beach resorts. Here are five fantastic reasons why Ocean Isle Beach could be the perfect summer escape for you.

Ocean_isle_BeachImage credit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_Isle_Beach,_North_Carolina

1. The scenery

Ocean Isle Beach is a quaint seaside town located on the coast of North Carolina. It has a rugged charm and a tangible sense of tradition and times gone by. Wander through the streets of town before ending up on the expansive beaches. Feel the sand between your toes, as you watch the rolling ocean waves crash against the shore.

2. The beaches

Of course, the star of any beach holiday should be the beach. That goes without saying. And if you choose Ocean Isle Beach for your next trip, you won’t be disappointed. The soft powdery sand stretches are secluded, safe and free from hoards of tourists. You can enjoy views out across the ocean or panoramic vistas of the surrounding towns from the iconic pier.

3. The activities

For a small town in Brunswick County, Ocean Isle Beach has a lot to offer. Any beach holiday lover will probably appreciate a few days of doing nothing and taking advantage of the sun, sea, and sand. But if you do feel like being a little more active, there’s plenty to keep you busy. Book a boat trip and keep your eyes peeled for sea turtles. Visit the Museum of Coastal Carolina and explore the touch tanks. Take a boat tour of the Shallotte River Swamp Park. Or get your adrenaline pumping on the zip line. Get your beach games out or book a round of golf.

Before you go, it’s also a good idea to check the events calendar and see what’s going on. You may be lucky to time your trip with the annual North Carolina Oyster Festival.

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4. The food and drink

You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to eating and drinking in Ocean Isle Beach. One thing you won’t want to miss is the incredible seafood. Head down to the waterfront to take advantage of ocean views, al fresco dining and some of the best oysters you’ll ever taste.

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5. The weather

In the summer months, Ocean Isle Beach enjoys plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures. Perfect for topping up your tan and enjoying all those outdoor activities. The climate is pleasant in spring and autumn, but winter can be chilly.

If you’re looking for inspiration for your next holiday, why not throw Ocean Isle Beach into the mix? This charming seaside resort is an idyllic base for a family holiday, a trip with friends or a solo adventure. Ride the waves and catch the rays. Sample the local delicacies and get out and explore. However you spend your time, you won’t regret choosing this little gem.

Posted in 2016, beaches, tourism, travel, travel ideas, travel tips | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment