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Feeling Stressed? Head To France To Restore Your Wellbeing!

19 January 2017

During our everyday busy lives, many of us often find it hard to relax. Whether it's work, family issues or simply trying to fit everything into your schedule, it's no wonder so many people feel stressed and exhausted. Some studies suggest that certain modern advances, such as social media and processed foods, can also lead to people feeling stressed and even depressed. If you have been feeling a bit overwhelmed of late, you have probably considered doing what any sane person would in this instance: booking a vacation! But before you do so, stop and think about what you need out of your vacation. So many of us take a break for a week or so to simply forget about our troubles; then we come home and find things exactly as we left them. This can end up being a vicious circle that doesn't end your stress and also doesn't let you fully enjoy your vacation. With this in mind, have you ever thought about going on a vacation specifically designed for your wellbeing? Wellbeing vacations have seen a huge spike in popularity over recent years, with many hardworking people leaving the city in favor of solitude and a week to rejuvenate themselves. So where exactly can you go to find such places of calm and relaxation? Well, if you are looking at Europe, there's no better place than chic and cosmopolitan France. Here are just some of the best French escapes where you can enjoy taking some much-needed time out.



The mountain resort

Think of rural France and one thing that probably comes to mind is the French Alps. They stretch across and into a number of different countries, but in France they boast 24 peaks - one of which is the famous Mont Blanc, standing at an altitude of 4,810 meters. Sure, the cities and countryside of France has plenty to offer too. But if you are looking for somewhere otherworldly and serene, there really is no better location than the mountains. The air is fresh and crisp, and you may find yourself gasping at the snowy backdrop - unspoiled and like something out of a movie scene. There are plenty of resorts to choose from, some with luxury  accommodation such as Freedom Ski, Morzine. Trying your hand at skiing down some of the famous runs is a must - and we all know exercise is great for your wellbeing, as it is a natural mood-booster.



The yoga retreat

If chilly temperatures and high-octane activities aren't for you, you may find moving down to the south of France a little more suitable. Temperatures here are generally warm, as the climate is on the cusp of Mediterranean. This means dry, hot summers, warm falls and mild winters. Therefore, you can be sure that whatever time of year you choose to visit, you will be able to spend some time outside. This is just as well, as the landscape is frequently stunning, making it a great place to attend a yoga retreat. These kind of retreats often involve practicing mindfulness and meditation alongside the yoga, as well as eating a fresh, vegan diet (almost always provided for you). So what's in it for you? Yoga can bring your mind and body back into equilibrium, and taking the time to learn it can mean you are equipped with a new life skill. It can be the perfect way to unwind and feel ready to tackle anything life throws at you.



The red wine detox

Okay, so this one does appear to be in stark contrast to the other two. But you may have heard about the popularity of red wine in France - after all, the country is home to some of the very best wineries and vineyards. Popular varieties you may have heard of include Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. According to certain studies, red wine is said to have a number of positive health effects - such as promoting a healthy heart, lowering cholesterol and warding off dementia. Health retreats where red wine plays a notable role have become very popular in France in recent years, where the alcohol is drank alongside healthy home-cooked meals. Due to a culture based heavily around food and drink, French wine is actually designed to be tasted alongside certain types of food. A bit of indulgence, on a healthy scale, can only be a good thing for both your health and mental wellbeing. If there has ever been an excuse to pick up a bottle of the good stuff, it's this!

Travel Goals To Tick Off Your Bucket List This Year

17 January 2017

January is a bit of a ‘nothing’ month, with the excitement of Christmas and the new year over and it’s back to work it can leave us feeling a little dull and uninspired. But actually, January is an excellent month to start making plans. You have a fresh new year stretched out ahead of you, so it’s time to start deciding what you want to do with it. Where do you want to go, what do you want to see? Here are just a few of the travel goals you could add to your bucket list for 2017.

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Be A Tourist In Your Home Town/ City
Travelling somewhere new is always exciting, and when wanderlust starts creeping in chances are you start picturing all kinds of exotic places. But when was the last time you explored the place right under your feet? Everywhere has places of interest, there are bound to be sights, tourist attractions and things to do that you’ve either never bothered to see or haven’t explored in many years. If you live in the countryside, you could go on a hike, explore woods and go camping with friends. If you live in a city, you could check out the different attractions and things to do that it offers. Don’t just disregard the place where you live, take the time to enjoy it and see and do everything that’s available.

Volunteer Abroad
Volunteering allows you to help others while building your skills and gaining new experiences. Many countries in the world have different kinds of volunteering opportunities available, so decide on what kind of projects interest you most and go from there. For example, if you want to help abandoned children by building orphanages you could volunteer in Ghana. If you want to help with conservation efforts and wildlife, you could volunteer in Australia. If you already speak another language such as Spanish, you could volunteer somewhere like South America by teaching children to speak English. It looks incredible on your CV; you get to see a different part of the world, and it can give you a new perspective on your own life too.

Go Backpacking
Backpacking allows you to see the world in a completely different way. Instead of relaxing in a five-star resort, you’re mixing with the locals, exploring the area, travelling by foot and public transport. You can immerse yourself in a culture and get to understand a place in a way that just isn’t possible when you’re on a luxury vacation. You could sign up with a chain of hostels and travel from place to place, meeting other explorers and like-minded people. If you don’t have a whole lot of money, this is also ideal since backpacking is much cheaper than other forms of travel. If you’re new to backpacking, you could sign up with a tour group, or you and your friends could sit down together and plan your own route.

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What are your travel goals for this year?

Review - Diamond City Hotel in Bangkok

15 January 2017



My husband and I had a very quick weekend getaway in Bangkok last December. We have been to Bangkok many times but we love staying near MBK, our favourite shopping complex in Bangkok.

The property we booked for 2 nights and 3 days is the Diamond City Hotel in Ratchathewi, Bangkok. It is 15-20 minutes walk from the hotel to MBK. If you're feeling very lazy, you could actually take the Ratchatewi line since it is near the BTS to reach Siam Centre, MBK and other shopping malls nearby.

There are nearby convenient stores like 7-11 and other small eateries nearby if you get hungry. The hotel also offers room service as most hotels do in Thailand.

The hotel itself is just ok. It is not a fabulous hotel but rather an old one. It needs a lot of updating since the furniture are worn out and outdated. It is also not a very clean hotel. I saw some small cockroaches in our room and the electrical outlet is not properly fastened on the wall that you could see the wiring inside.



The lighting in the room was ok and sufficient. I also like the fact that our room has a mini balcony.



The room is ok with good working air condition unit and a very fast free wifi connection. There is a mini bar but the refrigerator seems to be malfunctioning even if it was plugged. It wouldn't get cold.

The bed was big and comfortable but there were patches of lace on some of the bed sheet. I mean, if the bed sheet is seriously torn or has huge holes, rather than patch them up with lace strips here and there which only make the be sheet untidy and very unprofessional, why not throw them or recycle to pillow cases? I felt the sheets weren't too fresh, maybe because I got turned off with the lace patches in one side of the sheet.



Other amenities in the room are the standard like free water bottles, coffee and tea condiments and toiletries.



The bathroom is large enough but really needs some serious make-over, as the whole hotel does.



The old cabinet inside our room was dirty and dusty. Although there was an extra pillow inside, I didn't use it because it didn't look fresh at all.

The free buffet that came with our booking was nice. We had a selection of noodles, chicken, steamed rice, cereals, sausages, eggs, coffee, juice or tea. The hotel also provided free water and coffee for guest for 24/7. A welcome drink of orange juice and some mandarins were provided upon checking in. That was nice of the management to offer.



There is an indoor pool but I didn't see anyone using the pool. It smelled like chlorine the whole time we were there in the hotel.

(The pool area was just behind the sofa)


Staff are all friendly and courteous. They spoke good English and are always ready with tips for arriving guests on how to navigate Bangkok safely without falling prey to scammers and the tuktuk drivers.

The rate is ok and a real value for money.


Nearby attractions:

Siam Square
MBK Shopping Plaza
Pratunam
Siam Paragon
Jim Thompson House
Madam Tussauds Wax Museum
SEA Life Bangkok Ocean World
Bangkok Arts and Culture






My recommendations:    (2 out of 5)


The staff are all friendly and very willing to help. However, I cannot overlook the fact that it is not a clean hotel with electrical outlet jutting from the wall, some small insects crawling in the bathroom and a serious make-over is already long overdue for this property.

If you are not a fussy traveller who is after value-for-money accommodation, then this one is for you. However, if you have kids or a bit picky with cover all cleanliness then you may want to look for other accommodations nearby.

(This is just outside our room. The area was used as storage of some linens, boxes, and other maintenance supplies/tools.)



Diamond City Hotel is located in 594/23 Soi Payanark ,Rama 6 Road | Thanon Phetchaburi,Ratchathewi, Bangkok 10400, Thailand

If you want to book in this hotel or similar priced hotel in Bangkok, search below:

Booking.com
Disclosure:
This hotel review is my personal review. I have paid for this stay and in no way sponsored by the property nor Booking.com. I love to book via Booking.com because I always find a very competitive rate or great deals when compared to other booking sites. My opinion is 100% mine and may vary from yours.

Your Australian Adventure Begins: Discover Victoria

14 January 2017


If you’re planning on an Australian adventure this year, and plan to visit Melbourne, expand your trip throughout Victoria. As Australia’s most densely populated state, it offers a thriving cultural scene, along with unrivalled coastal and wildlife experiences. Everything is easily accessible, within a few hours drive. Fly directly into Melbourne Airport from numerous worldwide destinations.

Melbourne

You can’t visit Victoria without spending some time in its capital city. This sprawling metropolis is located on the bay of Port Phillip and expands outwards to the Dandenongs, Mornington Peninsula, and Yarra Valley. Take the City Circle Tram which stops at many areas of note. Grab a coffee on the banks of the Yarra River. Melbourne boasts the highest density of cafes and restaurants in the world, so you’ll be spoiled for choice.

A unique way to experience the city and everything it has to offer is via the Eureka Skydeck. This is the tallest viewing platform in the southern hemisphere and provides outstanding views of the city and surrounding areas.

Shopaholics will love Queen Victoria Market. It is one of the largest open-air markets in the world and is open five days a week.

Ballarat

Located on the Yarrowee River in the Grampians region of Victoria, Ballarat is a short drive from Melbourne. Hotels like The Lake View Hotel in Ballarat provide a friendly and comfortable stay. Enjoy the elegant buildings of Victoria’s largest inland city and immerse yourself in its rich history. Here you can enjoy theatre, fine art, and delicious local cuisine. Or explore the banks of Lake Wendouree and stroll around the stunning botanical gardens.

Dandenongs And Yarra Valley Wineries

Wine buffs will love exploring Victoria’s wine region. Sample the local wines and take in the magnificent views by hot air balloon.

The Dandenong ranges are just an hour out of Melbourne. Visitors enjoy discovering this area on foot, by car, or by Puffing Billy, the area’s historic steam train.


The Great Ocean Road

Travel light and take a trip along the Great Ocean Road from Torquay to Allansford. This is one of Australia’s most famous road trip routes. You’ll drive through stunning coastal towns, rainforests, and under canopies of lush trees. There are lots of isolated beaches to discover, along with lighthouses and thick forests. You could spend at least a week travelling this route and still not see everything.

Yarra River

The banks of the Yarra River are a great place to dine as the light begins to fade. The city’s lights are reflected in the water as you eat at one of the region’s most sought-after restaurants. Cuisine covers everything from traditional fare to French, Italian, and Japanese. There’s plenty of choice and something to suit all pockets.

If you’re considering a trip to Australia, be sure to take in the stunning Victoria region with its bustling cities, stunning coastline, and beautiful forests. You can shop, hike, surf, eat, or find an isolated beach and while away the days. Each member of the family is catered for in terms of food, accommodation, and activities. And you’ll be assured a warm Aussie welcome.


Must-Have For An Overnight Hiking Adventure Trip

10 January 2017




There are plenty of avid travelers who prefer to hike than roam the urban jungle. The thrill that they get when they explore the nature around them and discover beautiful vistas is second to none! If you are one of those type of travelers who love to seek joy by being one with nature then you need to equip yourself with the proper information, outerwear, and the must-have gizmos and tools for your hiking adventure.


Waterproof camera without housing

A hiking adventure will not be complete without your handy camera to capture the beautiful vista around you for posterity sake. The waterproof camera is like any camera that has the point and shoot capability but with better protection from the elements. Since you are going to be surrounded by nature, the likelihood of having moisture around is high. You do need to carry all those casing for your expensive DLSR camera and fear that you may end up crashing your precious high-end camera. Carry a waterproof camera instead as this camera is ruggedly built for outdoor activities.


Travel documents

If you planning to join a group of hikers in another country, then it is advisable to carry your travel documents in a waterproof ziplock bag and tucked securely inside your bag.


Medical and first aid kit

(Photo credit: edisaster.com)

This is one of the primary things any hikers should carry whether it is a day-long hike or a long one. You will never know when you will need medication or first aid assistance. So, a handy first aid kit with enough supply for a group of people can help when an emergency arises.


Insect repellant

Nature is a good breeding ground of insects and it is wise to carry insect repellant in creams.


Informative maps, brochures, flyers

It is always wise to equip yourself with the proper knowledge of the place you are going to, the terrain, and weather conditions around the area.


Smart phones with GPS tracking app

(Photo from unsplash.com)


There are plenty of smart phones these days that can be installed with tracking apps. Bring your smart phone with GPS tracking app to help you navigate in the wilderness.


Clothing and footwear

Invest on a high-quality hiking boots that can weather any terrain regardless of season. If you are planning to hike during the colder season then get a nice snowshoes that can handle extreme weather conditions.

You need to bring warm clothing as it can get very cold in the mountains or forests. Weather may change all of a sudden so pack rain gears as well to keep you dry and warm.

Wear long socks too to deflect any cold draft and stave off any ticks!


Hiking/Trekking poles

These are sturdy poles that hikers and trekkers use when traversing the various terrains of their hikes.  They have plenty of uses; thus, hikers and trekkers love to carry and use them. They provide balance during hikes on uneven terrains. They are also used to swipe off nature's nuisances like spiderwebs, vines, and even thorny bushes. Poles also aid in putting rhythm on hikers' steps, adding speed and agility to their movement.  They also help reduce the pressure and tension on your feet and legs.


Headlamp or flashlight

(Photo credit: muchbuy.com)

It is good to carry headlamp and flashlight that are either solar powered, rechargeable, and batter operated. With hikes, you would usually start very early in the day and the only source of illumination you have is from either your headlamp or flashlight.


Sturdy and lightweight sleeping bags, tents or emergency blanket


(Photo taken from yahoo images)


Since you will be spending an overnight in this hike, take into consideration packing a good sleeping bag. Other hikers prefer to bring an emergency blanket instead of the whole tent kit because it is lightweight and has plenty of uses aside from providing warmth during cold temperatures and acting as mini shelter too by stringing and tying it on branches.


Waterproof backpack

Every hiker needs a good quality backpack that can withstand the weight of the load. A good backpack will also be durable enough to last a long hike and also, it should be waterproof to brave the elements.



Journal and pen

For the avid nature lover, a pen and paper is a must for every hike. The beauty of the surrounding is enough to trigger an inspiration worthy of mention in your journal, travelogue, or blog. Who knows, the notes you'll make along the way can one day become a novel to a great film? Wishful thinking!



Swiss-army knife, duct tape and some safety pins

(Photo credit: outdoorgearlab.com)


You'll never know when you might need all these but a torn garment or bedding or even a tent can easily be repaired with a nice safety pin or a duct tape.


Solar-powered battery charger with adaptors

(Photo credit: odditymall.com)

Since you are going to carry a smart phone and some source of illumination that needs to be recharged, a handy solar-powered battery charger with the appropriate adaptors for various connections for gadgets will come in very handy.


Food and hydration

(Photo credit: rei.com)


Pack lightly with energy bars, light sandwiches, easy-open canned goods that are ready to eat and few chips. You need to have a portable water purifier to help you purify the water from natural resources should you run out of bottled water. You can also carry some chlorine tablets if you don't have any portable water purifier.


Fire starter kit

(Photo credit: survivalcampingstore.com)


This is necessary when it gets very cold and you need to warm yourself up. Use a fire steel which is like a flint that makes plenty of spark. Make sure that you put off the fire when you are done to prevent wildlife fire.



Whistle

(Photo credit: lazada.com.my)

This is one the must-haves of any adventurer out there. Not that it is only small but it packs a punch in the survival gauge. It can help you when you get lost especially in the wilderness. Whistles are louder than the human voice and the sound can go much further than shouting. Also, shouting can wear you off. A good whistle will be one that is of high quality material and louder than standard whistles.


Once you have gathered everything you need, make sure you are well informed about hiking.  Hiking is a strenuous activity and it requires physical strength and stamina. So be sure to keep yourself fit for the hike.  Have fun! Be safe and take a lot of pictures!


January Travel Guide for 2017

09 January 2017

Make way for your travel dreams to come true! Check out the fabulous getaways you can have with the January Travel Guide. Let 2017 be your year of travel!


Great Deals on best selling tours around the world at Tours4Fun.com through January 28, 2017!

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