Guides from our travels

Day-to-day details & all costs of our trips

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Do's, don'ts, advice, how-to's

24 hours in Khiva, Uzbekistan

March 31, 2017

Most travelers visiting Uzbekistan stick to the three big cities of Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara that offer innumerable sights of the splendid mosques, madrasas and minarets. But visiting Khiva is a must for any traveler for its incredible old town.

Known as Ichon Qala (or Old City Fortress), the old town is walkable and can be easily visited in one day. With its incredibly preserved Persian-built fortress walls, Khiva’s name had been synonymous with the caravans of a brutal, systematic slave trade that kept the city profitable during the Silk Road days. The constant threat of marauding raiders of the desert mad this city a destination only for the most determined, ruthless traders. Hundreds of years later, after the rise of fall of many kingdoms, empires, and regimes that remarkably spared this city, it has become the most well-preserved medieval city of the Islamic world.

The best way to visit Khiva, located in western Uzbekistan, is to fly in to Urgench airport where Uzbekistan airlines flies daily, non-stop, between Urgench and Tashkent taking an hour and forty minutes.

Urgench is the capital of the Khorazem region and has always been regarded as a missable stopover city; a short distance from Khiva, one of the three great epicenters of the Silk Road (Samarkand and Bukhara among the other two). A taxi drive of about 30 minutes from Urgench airport brings you to this city, just across the border from Turkmenistan.

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Riyadh Experience: Where to Eat, Shop, and Stay

March 28, 2017

If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair; if it’s Riyadh you’re headed to, however, you’d better arm yourself with a reliable guide and a city map because the ride is bound to send your mind giddy, your heart racing, and your adrenaline pumping. Situated in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula, Riyadh is home to over six million people who cherish a strong connection with their roots, culture, and heritage. The crown jewel of Saudi Arabia and one of the historically most important cities in the area, Riyadh has been recording a steady growth in popularity among tourists in the past decade, so if you’re set on visiting the Arabian capital, you’d better do it before long. Ready to start packing? Here, help yourself to this list of best places to eat, shop, and stay and savor the Arabian gem to the fullest.

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Eight days in Cuba – tips, day-to-day activities and costs

March 23, 2017

Electronics in cabin not allowed for U.S. bound flights from 8 countries. U.K. to follow

March 21, 2017

Effective today, passengers arriving to any U.S. airports on direct flights from eight Middle Eastern nations are required to place most electronic devices, including laptops, tablets and cameras, in checked baggage under stepped-up security measures, and not allowed in cabin bags. Smartphones can be carried in the plane’s cabin, but nothing larger.

The measures took effect Tuesday morning and cover about 50 incoming flights a day from the eight countries — Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The measure does not cover flights leaving the U.S.

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How I hitchhiked from San Jose to Quepos in Costa Rica

March 13, 2017

It was the beginning of December and I was excited to backpack through Central America, starting from Panama City and making my way up to Belize. Visiting some of the best sights of Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala and ending in the Caribbean nation of Belize, while skipping El Salvador and Honduras in the middle.

With cheap flights in the region, and wanting to spend more time in Costa Rica, I decided to fly from Panama City to San Jose on Copa Air costing just $49 one way! I was to arrive at San Jose airport (SJO) at 5:00pm, and wanted to go directly to Quepos on the Pacific coast, about 160km or 3 hours away by car.

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Visiting one of Africa’s natural wonders – Victoria Falls

March 11, 2017

Along with the Iguazu Falls at the border of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay; and Angel Falls in Venezuela, the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi river at the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia are ranked as some of the most spectacular falls in the world. Most travelers visiting the falls stick to the Zambian side, considering the political turmoil in Zimbabwe, but the best views of the falls are from the other side of the border in Zimbabwe.

So should you go to Zambia or Zimbabwe? Or both?

Airlines from South Africa and Zambia, along with other neighboring countries like Botswana, Namibia or even Kenya have regular flights to Victoria Falls Airport in Zimbabwe and and Livingstone Airport in Zambia. Since it was December, which is the dry season for the region, the water pressure at the falls was not huge, which meant a lot of dry spots around the falls.

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New bus service from Lima airport (LIM) to Miraflores in city

March 8, 2017

Airport Express Bus

Many flights arrive at Lima airport (LIM) at night and the airport is located in one of the not-so-safe area of the city, called Callao. Taxis are abundant outside the airport but don’t go with anyone asking for a taxi. Check in with the information center and they will assign an “official” taxi to you which is reliable and safe. Taxis usually cost anything between PEN 70 (approx $22) to PEN 90 (approx $27) to Miraflores area.

Now, a new bus service is set to change this. Starting March 26, 2017, Airport Express Lima will run luxury, air-conditioned buses 24 hours a day, every 30 minutes from the airport to Miraflores area and back.

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Visiting Abu Simbel for Sun Festival? Think again!

February 28, 2017

[First rays of sun falling on the statues at Abu Simbel, during the Sun Festival]

The Sun Festival occurs at two distinct dates, on 22 October and 22 February. These dates are believed to signify the birthday of the Ramses II and the day he ascended to the throne. On each of these two days, when the sun enters the temple at dawn, the rays illuminate the statues at the back wall only, except for Ptah, the god of the underworld.

Although the dates have moved ahead by a day each, because of the astronomical errors from ancient times, it is quite a feast for your eyes to see the natural light falling on the statues at the back of the temple. But getting inside the temple at the right time is almost impossible!

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Tourist scam at the tombs of Valley of the Kings in Egypt

February 27, 2017

[Picture taken at tomb of Ramases IV]

The Valley of the Kings in the west bank of Luxor houses the tombs of Pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC. With discoveries in 2005 and 2008 of tombs, the valley is known to contain 63 tombs and chambers. The royal tombs are decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and give clues as to the beliefs and funerary rituals of the period. Almost all of the tombs seem to have been opened and robbed in antiquity, but they still give an idea of the opulence and power of the Pharaohs.

While most of the tombs are not open to public, we visited three of them (the tomb of Tutankhamun requires a separate ticket). To minimize the time spent in the tombs by tourists, the tour guides are no longer allowed to lecture inside the tombs, and visitors are expected to proceed quietly and in single file (one visit per tomb) through the tombs. More importantly, photography is not allowed in the tombs.

But this is a scam towards the visitors to make money from them.

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KHR vs. USD: Which currency to use on your Cambodian trip?

February 12, 2017

As you might already know, the official currency in Cambodia is called Cambodian Riel (code: KHR). Currently, Riel trades at around 4,000 to the US dollar. But what many visitors to the country find surprising is that in the country, there is a 90% level of dollarization. It only means is that you do not have to be worried about exchanging currency when you get to Cambodia if you’re coming from America or other countries that use USD.

Most tourist-oriented establishments like hotels, restaurants, and groceries quote their prices in US dollars. Little stores might quote their prices in riel; however, they wouldn’t refuse you if you want to pay in dollars.

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Top 10 Cities for Conferences and MICE Tourism

February 8, 2017

MICE Tourism

With the constantly progressing business world, technology and transportation have made long-distance meetings easy. Large companies with numerous employees often choose to host various corporate events in some of the world’s famous cities. Here are ten currently popular destinations with sites where such happenings can be organized.

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48 Hours in Luang Prabang, Laos

January 3, 2017

The royal capital of Laos until 1975, Luang Prabang is a small town that lies in a valley at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. Known for its many Buddhist temples, this town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Tourists flock this town nowadays and every other house around the town center is a hotel or a guest house.

Having ruled by France for 60 years, one can still see French influence in the architecture of the houses and all the road names are in Lao and French. Additionally, because the locals speak French, tourists from France compromise the most number of visitors to Luang Prabang.

With a tiny, sleepy town attitude, you can spend a lot of days here – with a whole lot of activities catering to all ages. But my visit to Luang Prabang was for two days and I wanted to cover a whole lot in that short time. So this is what you can do if you have 48 hours in Luang Prabang.

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Travel Trend: Active Holidays in the Land Down Under

December 14, 2016

There are many different kinds of travelling: romantic trips, party trips, sightseeing tours, going to the seaside etc. Another great way to travel is to go on an active holiday. This way you get to travel and be active, combine sightseeing and sports or recreation. It is healthy for both your body and your soul! Australia is a great candidate for this kind of vacation because of its untamed beauty that spreads all over the country. Here are some suggestions on how to spend your active vacation in Australia.

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Traveling in India? What you need to do for Rs. 500 & Rs. 1000 notes

November 8, 2016


The Prime Minister of India announced today that to curb the spread of counterfeit notes, the currency notes denominated of 500 and 1000 will be pulled off of circulation beginning November 9, 2016.

So if you are traveling to India in future or now, then this is what you must do:

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Meeting the stamp-collector immigration officer

October 23, 2016


We have all seen images of those unusual or rare stamps in passports that will make our friends jealous. Although most of them are stamped by immigration officers on our exotic travels, and some of them are visa stamps that could be different, there are stamps from places like Machu Pichhu, Galapagos Islands or Antarctica that are very rare to find on a passport. A lot of people like to collect these stamps by just taking a picture of those, and in my opinion, an immigration officer has the privilege to see these in person in various passports of travelers around the world.

I met this one immigration officer who loved to collect these stamps in passports.

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