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Best Islands To Go To

25 October 2011

I am not a big fan of the beach area. Large body of water scares the hibbie jibbies out of me. However, it is nice to share the beautiful islands worth visiting as mentioned in Yahoo Travel's list of World's Best Islands written by Jennifer Miranda. The list is taken from the result of the 16th annual World's Best survey. And here are the top notchers:

No. 1 Santorini, Greece

This island haven took the number one slot because everything is just brighter: from the white-washed cube houses set on cliffs above the Aegean Sea, the bluest of blue sea, and the wonderful sunsets that light up the caldera.

Bali, Indonesia
No. 2 Bali, Indonesia

Bali is well-known around the world as the island paradise. And true to its name, Bali is still untouched by industrialization but at the same time, it is teeming with beautiful and luxurious beach resorts around its coastal areas.

Bali has been ranked the number 1 island every year since 1998 but was beaten by Santorini this year. So why go to Bali? This lush tropical island, located in South East Asia lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, is very rich in culture, arts, architecture and traditional medicine.

Cape Breton, Canada
No. 3 Cape Breton, Canada

I have not heard of Cape Breton yet but a quick look in the internet gave me a better understanding why this beautiful island is always on the top list.

The island has beaches backed by cliffs, has forested headlands and beaming with plenty of lighthouses. The local culture is a hodgepodge of Scottish, Acadian, Irish, African and native Mi'kmaq influences.

Boracay, Philippines
No. 4 Boracay, Philippines

This small islands in the Visayan area of the Philippines is surrounded by white sandy beaches and plenty of luxurious hotel properties like the Shangri-la. Boracay is the included in the list for the first time and is becoming famous world-wide.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia
No. 5 Great Barrier Reef, Australia

World-famous Great Barrier Reef in Australia is always in the top list. The reef is teeming with sea life such as baleen whales, leatherback turtles, gian clams and 400-odd species. The island is surrounded by cerulean water and corals. Around the shores are different kinds of hotels and island resorts.

Sicily, Italy
No. 6 Sicily, Italy

An island with 300 days of sun per year is a magnificent vista of coastal houses, resorts and hotels with a back-drop of cliffs. Sicily is becoming famous and one of Italy's favorite destinations.

Sicily boasts of its culinary scene, rich history and beautiful ocean-front scenery.

Big Island, Hawaii
No. 7 Big Island, Hawaii

This island in Hawaii is rich in lava rock and hot magma especially when Kilauea erupts, making it one of the hottest islands to go to (no pun intended!).

Big Island is a tropical island with mostly rural lifestyle like farmers' markets and cowboy culture. The island is surrounded by black/greenish/white sand beaches.

Kauai, Hawaii
No. 8 Kauai, Hawaii

Another beautiful island in Hawaii has made it into the top list of Best Islands. Kauai has lush vegetation with beautiful waterfalls spill from jagged cliffs and deep green valleys.

Maui, Hawaii
No. 9 Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii is a country with beautiful islands located in the Pacific. It is not a surprise to see another beautiful island of Hawaii included in the list. Maui is a well-known tourist destination especially by the rich and famous. Maui boasts of luxurious resorts and spas and ocean-front hotel properties frequented by the Hollywood A-listers.

Galápagos, Ecuador
No. 10 Galápagos, Ecuador

The wild islands of the Galapagos continue to entice travelers from across the globe. Galapagos is in Ecuador and is famous for its gigantic iguanas, tame sea lions, blue-footed boobies and huge Galapagos turtles.

Take a cruise and explore this exotic island for few days. Relax in the beach area of San Cristobal, Puerto Ayora, Bartolome and Espanola.

Netherlands or Japan?

18 October 2011

I can be fickle minded at times when it comes to traveling. I was so keen to go to Netherlands few weeks ago; as in, my mind is really set on that but other options came up all of a sudden which will save money. 

My husband's friend who lives in Japan is inviting us to stay for few days in Nagoya. April will be the right time to see the cherry blossoms in bloom. And if you might ask, cherry blossoms are one of my favorite flowers next to tulips. So, a light bulb moment came up. I can actually save a big amount of money if we go to Japan because we will have free accommodation and transportation. 

Accommodation fee is one of the important things to consider when one is planning for a trip especially to countries with high cost of living. Japan is considered as one of the expensive countries to visit. So, if we can get free accommodation for few days then I can actually use the money intended for the accommodation fee to our Tokyo Disneyland package.

My daughter is very happy to hear that I "may" change my mind about the European trip for my 40th birthday. She loves anime and where is the best place to get "manga" stuff? JAPAN! I already did a comparative cost analysis on Netherlands, US and Japan trips and the result is in favor of Japan. At least, if I choose Japan as my destination in April 2012 then I will only think about the airfare, accommodation in Tokyo and the Disneyland package fare. The visa is free of charge for Filipinos so that is a chunk of money saved already as compared to the Schengen visa which is quite expensive.

US is another option. I will slash my cost of travel expenses almost in half if I go here as compared to Netherlands. I checked the Disneyland package in Anaheim and they are offering great price with a free night stay if I book for 2 nights. I don't have to pay for US visa because we already have one so that is another money saved. We have relatives in Los Angeles area too and we can bunk there for few days if we want too and that's extra savings. The only concern I have is that going around US is tiring. We have to drive for few hours to reach San Diego and more hours to go to Las Vegas which we all have visited already. My daughter is not that excited but mention Japan, she jumps up and down for joy.

I am not considering this as a dilemma because I want to be more pragmatic with my choices. Besides, I can always visit Netherlands some other time. Right now, I want to save more money so I can buy my collectibles from Japan. My husband and daughter will be thrilled of my decision when I finalize it.

Bye Netherlands or Hello Japan?

I Love Paris

15 October 2011

Paris is famously known as the City of Light. I have always dreamed of seeing the place for myself and my family and I was lucky enough to have that privilege.

The City of Light is very picturesque. Even the people are friendly. They have good food (love their crepes!) and the place is teemed with pantomime! There are plenty of places to visit like Euro Disneyland, the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur de Montmartre, the Champs Elysees, L'Arc de Triomphe, Louvre Museum, Musee d'Orsay, Montparnasse Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, cruise in River Seine, Le Jardin des Tuileries, Latin Quarter, Catacombs of Paris, Madeleine Church, The Opera, Trocadero, Champs du Mars Parc, Invalides, Palais Royale, Place Vendome, Place de la Concorde, Jardin Du Luxembourg, Pont Neuf, Saint Germain des Pres and so much more.

I cannot stop gushing about how beautiful the place is. I will just let the pictures say the words...

First Time Travel Jitters

12 October 2011

Traveling for the first time is a nerve-wracking experience. Even the planning stage before the actual trip is something to be jittery about. However, planning a travel and going away for the first time can be achieved with less hassle if we follow this tips:

Pre-flight

  • Do your assignment and research about the place you are visiting.
  • Get some maps in advance and try to familiarize on the known landmarks to visit.
  • Make an itinerary. And if you can afford to shell out extra money, join a group tour instead to save you time from figuring out where you will actually go.
  • Pack lightly.
  • Organize your travel documents and secure travel insurance.
  • Put your travel documents in one pouch and place them in your hand carry bag.
  • Change currency if you can for taxi fare when you arrive in your destination if you don't have any airport shuttle arrangement.
  • Have a good rest and be hydrated.

On the day of the flight

  • Wake up early and feel fresh by taking a warm bath.
  • Dress accordingly depends on the weather condition of your destination. 
  • Another final check on your travel documents.
  • Go to the airport early. Normal check in time is at least 3 hours before the flight. I, on the other hand, always put traffic, weather and other unforeseen circumstances in the equation so I arrive at least 5 hours before the flight.
  • If your airline has an online check-in facility then avail of that. So all you have to do is drop your luggage in the baggage drop zone. If none, then check in when the counter opens and proceed to the immigration area.
  • If you have a lot of time left before the boarding and final call, make a bee hive in the duty free area for your last minute purchase like books, personal necessities or goody treats.
  • Wait for your boarding call in the gate area.
Then, after all the formalities, you are set to go! Happy trip and take a lot of pictures!

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