Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Wide Open Spaces: Road Trip Across the American Southwest

Wide Open Spaces: Road Trip Across the American Southwest

The American Southwest, best known from the old Western films, often has a reputation of being the wild west or for its very, very barren landscape.  

 

lost mine trail big bend national park texas
Lost Mine trail at Big Bend National Park, Texas.
 

And it is true - the landscape of the American Southwest is very empty.  But its vast emptiness lends to an amazing beauty not witnessed in most place in the world.  This seemingly limitless scenery of dry barren plains and wide open blue skies, dotted here and there by flat plateaus and rugged mountains, contributes to a landscape that is unimaginably beautiful.

How to Travel Safely During the COVID-19 Outbreak

how to travel safely during the covid-19 outbreak


In 2020, travel spending declined an average of 46% overall, with international spending taking the biggest hit at about 76%. The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined travel and has most people rethinking where to go, how to get there, and what precautions to take along the way. While globetrotting might not be feasible, there are still plenty of ways to get away while protecting yourself from COVID-19. Here are a few tips on how to stay safe while traveling during COVID-19 outbreak.


Some Travel Restrictions Are Being Lifted. But Should You Travel?

madagascar ile aux nattes signs


Restrictions on travel are slowly being eased, allowing tourism to start back up in a growing number of countries. But is it safe to do so and should you travel at all?


After months of staying home, many Americans are yearning for a vacation. And although there is still a rapid growth in coronavirus cases in the United States (there have been over 15 million cases and over 289,000 deaths), some countries around the world are slowly beginning to reopen to American tourists.

Where Can U.S. Tourists Travel?

Where Can U.S. Tourists Travel?


For Americans eager to continue their traveling outside of the States, there are a few countries beginning to open their borders to U.S. citizens.


With the United States being hit the hardest by the corona virus and the uptick in cases ever growing, many countries are flat out saying 'No' to American tourists.  Many of those that have opened their borders have done so with restrictions and requirements. 


Additionally, the State Department categorizes most nations as Level 3, or "reconsider travel.""


Whether travel to "open" destinations is responsible or advisable is up to individuals to decide. 
For those who do choose to travel, it is strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 before departure - as things are continually changing. 

Nam Et - Phou Louey National Protected Area: An Innovative Eco-Tourism Model



              Deep in northeastern Laos lies Nam Et - Phou Louey National Protected Area; the largest national park in in Laos and one of the most remote primary jungles in all of Southeast Asia.  Due to the near inaccessibility of the park, wildlife is left relatively undisturbed, leading to growing populations of many endangered species like the sambar deer, gaur, white-cheeked gibbon, and even tigers.




Plain of Jars: Secrets of Death

plain of jars secrets of death laos


              The Plain of Jars is a mysterious ancient site that has hidden its secrets with time, but also bears the scars of a more recent ‘secret.’  Shrouded in mystery and myth, this bizarre collection of ancient megalithic stone jars is scattered in the hundreds across a war-scarred countryside in northern Laos's Xieng Khuang province.


many jars site 1 plain of jars laos
One of the groups of stone jars and grave markers at Site 1.


              Little is known about the civilization that created these giant jars, but archeologist estimate that they date from the Southeast Asian iron age (500 BC – 200 AD).  It’s believed the jar sites lie on what may have been an ancient trade route that linked the iron ore in the area to the salt supplies in the northeast.

Elephant Conservation Center: Rush to Save a National Icon


Elephant Conservation Center: Rush to Save a National Icon


A visit to the Elephant Conservation Center could be the highlight of your trip to Laos!


              Centuries ago, Laos was known as the ‘Land of a Million Elephants,’ and although the Asiatic elephant has endured as a national icon, their numbers are in severe decline.  It is estimated that there are only about 800 elephants left in the country; 400 in the wild and 400 in captivity. 

Luang Prabang Travel Guide

luang prabang laos travel guide



              Tucked between the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers and surrounded by a wall of mountains, the UNESCO Heritage Site city of Luang Prabang is a beautiful destination that shouldn’t be missed.  With It’s 33 UNSECO Heritage temples, turquoise waterfalls, jungle clad mountains, and world class food, it has become one of the most popular destinations in Laos.


buddha statue luang prabang laos

Vang Vieng: A Party Capital Reborn

vang vieng party capital reborn


              When I was asked to go to Vang Vieng, Laos, I was less than enthusiastic about it.  I knew it had once been the party capital of Southeast Asia, but had read that it had died down a lot since then.  But still, that really wasn’t the type of scene I was looking for.  But my girlfriend at the time really wanted to experience the tubing and, being from Texas, it’s hard to pass up a good tubing experience. 

10 Things to Do in Vientiane, Laos

10 things to do in vientiane laos


              Beautiful French-influenced architecture, Buddhist temples, and natural beauty make Vientiane a must-see stop on any tour of Laos.  Vientiane is usually just a stopover for tourist as they make their ways to other places in Laos, but make no mistake, this sleepy capital is more livable and navigable than other Southeast Asian cities.


What to Do in the City



Pha That Luang



pha that luang vientiane laos


Top 7 Places in Vietnam



buddha sapa vietnam


During my three months in Vietnam, I traveled across most of the country, visited many of the sights, and stayed in all of the big towns (and a lot of the small towns and villages).  Vietnam stands as one of my favorite countries that I have visited and has so much to offer any traveler.  All of my stops had something special, but a select few demanded my attention.  Here is a list of my top 7 favorite cities in Vietnam and how they ranked. 

Demilitarized Zone

demilitarized zone vietnam world away


              Visiting the former Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Vietnam is a look into a very significant chapter of Vietnamese and U.S. history.  This dividing line between North and South Vietnam, despite its name, became the most militarized area in the world and saw some of the heaviest and bloodiest battles of the war. 

7 Ways to Satisfy the Travel Bug at Home

world map starbucks costa rica a world away


              When you have the travel bug there is nothing worse than being stuck at home.  It can be depressing to have your travel plans grounded because of funds, time, or travel restrictions.  But it is important to remember that the thrill of travel is a state of mind, not body.  If we accept that, then a world of possibilities opens up and we can experience the world while be stuck at home.


              Here are 7 simple tricks to satisfy that sense of wanderlust and be better prepared for your next big trip!

10 Must Try Foods in Hue


10 must try foods hue vietnam


              All you need to plan for this next vacation is a love for food.  Vietnamese food varies a lot from region to region, but nowhere has more of a distinctive cuisine and unique dishes as Hue.  Once the royal seat of the emperors and the capital of Vietnam, chefs turned out 50 course meals day after day for the emperors.  Due to this, of the almost 3000 dishes Vietnam produces, about 2/3 of them originated in Hue, and many of them never left.  This creates a foody paradise just waiting to be explored.  Below, I’ve rounded up my 10 must try foods in Hue. 

Hue: The Imperial City

imperial city gates hue vietnam


              Grandiose structures, royal palaces, tombs of emperors, and delicious local specialties are just a few things Hue has to offer.  Hue is a popular stop on people’s tour of Vietnam and rightfully so.  The Imperial City that dominates the northern banks of the Perfume River and the many tombs that dot the area around town are all part of Hue’s UNESCO Heritage Site. 

Top 7 Things to Do in Hoi An

art gallery hoi an vietnam


              Hoi An has become a favorite destination for tourists to Vietnam; many of them making it a must see stop on their trip north or south.  The Ancient Town is packed with sights to see, old world architecture, and delicious food.  The canary yellow painted buildings with ropes of silk lanterns swooping across the tree covered roads, and all located along a slow-moving river make it an ideal location for a tourist getaway.  Not to mention that it is often touted as the ‘tailor capitol’ of Vietnam. 

Elephants of Yok Don

elephants yok don national park vietnam


              Yok Don National Park makes history by releasing its elephants and creating the first elephant conscious tours in Vietnam.  They have created an eco-tourism initiative that replaces chains and cruel rides with observation and learning. 

5 Reasons to Visit Nha Trung (And Everything Else You Need to Know)

nha trang beach


Nha Trang isn’t your typical seaside town.  Combining high-rise resorts and a laid-back backpacker scene, this city caters to absolutely everyone.  Nha Trang has a beautiful turquoise bay wrapped in a crescent shaped beach of white sand and palm trees, backed by a cosmopolitan city and a ring of mountains.  No matter where you stay you are never more than a 15-minute walk from the beach.  Whether you are into visiting historic temples and learning about the local culture or having a relaxing day on the beach sipping cocktails, want to explore the local markets or looking for a relaxing wellness retreat to get away from noise and stress, Nha Trang has a bit of everything.

Mui Ne

mui ne harbor vietnam


              If your looking for a break from the chaos of Ho Chi Minh City, think about Mui Ne.  Located just a five-hour drive from the big city, Mui Ne is a world away.  Mui Ne is a favorite destination for many Saigonese and Russian travelers looking to get out into nature or enjoy the beach.  Mui Ne is home to some breathtaking landscapes and unique scenery you won’t find anywhere else in Vietnam.  Apart from that, it has an abundance of delicious, fresh, and cheap seafood.

Phu Quoc

sao beach phu quoc vietnam


              Phu Quoc is considered the top beach destination in Vietnam and it is no wonder why.  Wrapped in white sandy beaches, you can easily find a spot to take in the sun and views.  The popular spots, like Long Beach lined with beach bars and Sao Beach with its resorts, see most of the islands tourists, but one can easily get away from it all by exploring outside of these two areas. 

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