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5 Things You Have to Do While Visiting Jakarta

do while visiting Jakarta

Planning a trip to Indonesia? Don’t miss out on the capitol city of Java. Located on the west coast of the big island; Jakarta is the largest city in Indonesia and one of the largest in the world. Famous for its hustle and bustle, here are 4 things you have to do while visiting Jakarta.

Cool Off at Waterbom
Jakarta is known for its unbearable heat but a trip to the massive Waterbom Waterpark can make the heat far more bearable.  With huge tube slides, a lazy river, and even some wild speed slides; Waterbom is one of the coolest things to do while visiting Jakarta. Whether you are traveling with friends or with the family, a day at Waterbom is a must.

do while visiting JakartaMake Sense of Indonesian History at the National Museum
Indonesia’s long history and multiple islands, languages, and cultures can confuse many first time visitors. A good way to get a handle on this fascinating culture is to check out the world renowned National Museum of Indonesia in Jakarta. The museum has an impressive collection of artifacts that run the full gamut of Indonesian history making it a must do while visiting Jakarta.

Get Stuck in Traffic
A city world renowned for its traffic jams, there is nothing more quintessentially Jakartan  than being in a multi-hour traffic jam. So we recommend you get a friendly english speaking taxi driver, make sure the a/c is working and prepare for a slow paced tour of the city. Often times your hotel can help you sort this out, such as the Hotel Mulia or many more found on sites like Traveloka.com.

do while visiting JakartaEat Your Way Through a Market
Jakarta is known world wide for it’s incredible food scene and some of the best (and most bizarre food) in Jakarta can be at outdoor markets. One of our favorites is Pasar Baru, a collection of shops, stalls, malls, and restaurants. Bring a group of friends and sample any food that smells good (which will be a lot!) Satay, is one of the most well known dishes worldwide, while it looks like just meat on a stick, once you try it you will be an instant addict. Another favorite is Chinese influenced meat filled dumplings: Bakpao. If you are feeling hungrier, go for the stick to your ribs Indonesian classic: Rendang, this curried beef dish will leave you wanting more. Don’t forgot your dessert, a popular sweet in Jakarta is Murtabak, sort of a stuffed pancakes with sweet fillings ranging from eggs to Nutella. So eating your way through the streets is definitely something you have to do while visiting Jakarta.

While there are hundreds of other activities to keep you busy in this mega-city, I hope our list of must dos while visiting Jakarta provides some good inspiration for your next trip. So prepare for the heat, the crowds, the friendly people, the traffic, and most of all the delicious food; and you will have an unforgettable time in Jakarta.



Off the Beaten Path Island Destinations

off the beaten path islands

Looking for a picturesque island getaway that is a little off the beaten path? Prefer to relax on a sandy beach all to yourself? Here are a few off the beaten path island destinations that will have have your friends frantically asking you where you took those photos.

The World, Dubai
A manmade island (could have been) paradise off the coast of Dubai is truly unique. This sandy archipelago shaped to mimic the globe’s 7 continents was originally designed to be occupied by both hotels and private homes but ran into trouble in trouble during the 2008 financial crisis. The project was never finished but the bulk of the islands still remain yet only one is occupied. An entire island chain with  just a single home, this is definitely an off the beaten path island destinations. Tours are offered from the Dubai mainland. Oh, did we mention the islands have begun to sink back  into the ocean? Better see them while you can!

Corsica, France
off the beaten path islands
Known for it expansive and truly unique scenery and culture,  Corsica is one of the Mediterranean’s most fascinating islands though it is often overlooked by many tourists. Corsica is known for it breathtaking mountain hikes including the famous GR 20, known as “the toughest long distance trail in Europe.”  The culture of Corsica is worth the trip as well, the cuisine features a unique combination with influences from both Italy and France, as well as their own unique dishes. The wild pigs of Corsica allegedly supply some of the worlds best pork products. Though the majority of the island speaks French, though there is also a large minority of native Corsican speakers. Corsica is also easily accessible with ferries available from online sites. You can check this one by going to visit ok-ferry.com So if you want a taste of a unique European culture while enjoying some of the Mediterranean’s best outdoors activities, we recommend a trip to Corsica this Spring or Summer.

Koh Mak, Thailand
This island is the definition of an off the beaten path island destination. Located near the Cambodian border in Thailand, Koh Mak is everything you would expect from a jungle island paradise. The white sand beaches have been listed as some of the world’s best, though surprisingly the crowds are few and far between. The island maintains a very traditional way of life based primarily on farming, which makes it unique amongst Thailand’s many tourist centric islands. A typical day off vacationing in Koh Mak would be drinking a coconut on a white sand beach, maybe a bit of snorkeling, followed by some sunset cocktails and a seafood bbq. It doesn’t get much more postcard worthy than this.
So if you want to get away to a paradise make sure you visit some of our favorite off the beaten path island destinations, that feature both privacy and uniqueness. But you better hurry up because these beautiful off the beaten path island destinations are so amazing it is hard to believe they will be off the beaten path for long. Bon Voyage!

Around the coast: Lisbon

Lisbon is one of those few cities in the world that is blessed with everything from architecture, art, culture, great food and a beautiful coast, that although now is one of the most populated sub-urban zones in Portugal it most definitely still retains the best chilled and relaxed beach holiday atmosphere.

Here are a few suggestions on what to look out for and what to do whether you’re planning a road trip along the ‘linha’ as it is referred to by the locals, or looking for the best beach to chill on your next holiday in Lisbon.

Estoril Casino

The Estoril Casino is one of the better gambling palaces in the Lisbon area


The heart of the entertainment in Estoril, the casino, also the biggest in Europe offers more than just gaming tables and slot machines. The restaurants are of exceptional quality whilst the complex boasts of an art-gallery with regular exhibitions, a theatre with a full-on calendar and also a club in case you want to kick back on a few cocktails and a dance.

Cabo de Roca

This is one for your ‘been there, done that’ bucket list as it is the westernmost point of mainland Europe. Cabo de Roca is a spectacular cliff top location marked by a lighthouse. Make sure you dress appropriately as temperatures and winds are rather unpredictable here and it can get really cold really quickly in comparison to the city.


Cascais is a remarkable place with quite a few idyllic spots to indulge in. Make your way towards the Citadela de Cascais, a fortified city that now houses several upmarket boutiques, a hotel and a few restaurants too.


Golf I hear you say? Yes golf. The Lisbon coast is chock-full of golf courses, in fact there are 8 in total, so if you’re planning your next golf trip with your friends, well then the Lisbon coast should be on your priority list. Check out the courses of Penha Longa or Oitavos in the Quinta da Marinha.



To visit Lisbon and not go to Sintra would be a big mistake. Portuguese Kings chose this place as their preferred summer retreat location and for good reason. No spoilers, you’ll see why when you get to this lovely hill town set on the northern slopes of the Serra.



Make sure you don’t overlook the Monserrate gardens. A mix of exotic, natural and artificial elements are the order of the day here, and you can easily grasp the Moorish, Indian and Gothic influences in both the architecture of the palace within and also in the pastiche of diverse elements the garden itself is made of.

Explore Flights, Hotels, and Seasonal Things to do in Vail, Colorado

There are many things to do in Vail, Colorado ... photo by CC user Nick Csakany on wikimedia

Of course, everyone knows about winter activities like skiing and snowboarding in Vail, Colorado. Although it’s one of the top trendy vacation spots and home to world-class athletes, it retains a friendly small town feel at the same time. Vail, known as a world-renowned vacation destination, isn’t only popular when the weather drops; it’s common during all seasons, boasting the ultimate experience for all ages.

Founded by Siebert and Eaton in 1962, the ski resort is named after Charles Vail, the legendary highway engineer who built the first road through the area. Their dream when viewing the mountain terrain from the top was to create a ski resort, never imagining that it would become so much more.

Spring Fling

Actually, March is the end of the ski season and noted as the biggest end-of-season bash of the Rocky Mountains. With free live concerts, after-dark parties, and base area giveaways, you’ll have the time of your life. Whether you’re ending the cold weather or beginning the warmer season, there is something for everyone.

Summer Vacation in Vail

On Wheels

Most people don’t think of traveling to Vail, Colorado during the summer months and others wonder why they would. Well, from experience I can testify there are a multitude of adventurous and exciting things to do in the warmer months.

There are gorgeous trails for hiking, biking, or horseback riding, the usual stuff. For something different, try mountain biking on the cross-country trails where you’ll see miles of scenic vistas. Getting to the top is fun, but if you want a ride down the mountain, the trails are accessed by Gondola One for the first timer, families, or experts. Purchase a bike haul ticket at the base gondola. And if you forgot to bring your bike or helmet, rentals are available from Vail Sports in the Village.

On Water or by Foot



Vail Village via Flickr.com by mattmangum

Tickets for other activities like kayaking and rafting are found in Vails White Water Park in the center of the village. Guided class 1-4 river trips on the Eagle or Colorado River are exhilarating and exciting. The Betty Ford Garden is the highest botanical garden in the United States. There, you’ll see waterfalls, as well as perennial and rock gardens, or you can have fun with a photography or kids educational class.

On the Mountain Top

Adventure Ridge is full of fun activities for all ages. Take the Eagle Bahn Gondola 10,000 feet up and play disc golf, or go tubing. If you’re not that adventurous, enjoy the spectacular views while eating BBQ food. Buy tickets in bundles of three or more goings-on. Try the Rebound Trampoline and catch air or step up the Climbing Wall. Play Lawn Sports like the bag toss, horseshoes, or Dino Dig. You can even fly through the air on the Zipline or go ice skating. Yes, summer ice-skating at Dobson Ice Arena. To heal those sore muscles, swim in a hot mineral bath at Glenwood Hot Springs.

Fall Extremes and Winter Variations

On Land, Air, or by a Motorized Vehicle

Everyone takes to the road during fall foliage, but have you ever thought about seeing the impressive end of summer colors from a hot air balloon? What about watching the X-Game athletes? Another exciting thing to do is to go jeeping with a professional Jeep driver climbing and turning for the experience of your life.

If you’re not a skier, try a Dog Sled Tour, a one-of-a-kind experience whizzing by wildlife like elk, deer, and the elusive snow fox. Try Ice Climbing with Apex Climbing School with a private guide. Give snowshoeing or snowmobiling a try or go on a sleigh ride. At the end of the day, visit Vail Valley where restaurants, shops, and attractions are plentiful.

Now that you know the time of year that appeals to you most, the below information will get you there and find lodging.

Fly Into Denver International Airport or Eagle Country Regional Airport

Finding an inexpensive flight to Vail, Colorado is tricky. Denver International Airport had its busiest year ever in 2014 with 53.4 million passengers. In fact, the busiest months were January, February, April, May, September, and October. Also noted as the 15th busiest airport in the world, DIA is just 121 miles from Vail Mountain, or a two-hour drive while Eagle/Vail Airport, is 30 minutes from the mountain and one of the fastest growing airports in the nation. I suggest you make your reservations on the fringe seasons if possible.

There are ample transportation services from the airport to the hotels, beyond car rentals. I use Vail Transport Services or All Mountain Transportation, both competitive with pricing.

Stay in a Hotel, Condominium or a Private Room

Prices are higher in the winter months. When looking for cheap places to stay, keep in mind, Vail is expensive. The least expensive is a private room in one’s home. But you’ll find lower cost lodging in Vail by staying a bit further from the mountain.

Places like the Holiday Inn Vail and the Eagle Point Resort are affordable, both with a pool. The Eagle Resort is a condominium with an airport shuttle, and the Holiday Inn has a fitness center, restaurant, and business center. If you travel with your pet, they’re welcome too. Finally, the Vail Marriott Resort and Spa is the least expensive in August, and the Simba Run Vail Condominium is cheapest in October. In 2014 World Travel Awards nominated Hipmunk as a lead comparison travel site, so investigate different places to stay using the best website.

I’m trying to build an ultimate resource for things to do in Vail. If you’ve been there, please add your thoughts or other tips and things to do below.


Linda Manning lives in trendy Newport, Rhode Island, with her husband, Paul, and young English springer spaniel Brooklynn. She is a licensed boat captain and certified diver who loves to travel. She is a freelance writer for travel sites such as Hipmunk.com. At home, Linda loves gardening, cooking, entertaining, art, museums, and all Newport has to offer.

Top reasons to visit French Guiana

monkeys like this fella here are among the top reasons to visit French Guiana ... photo by CC user deadmike on Flickr

While tourism isn’t the top economy of this overseas French territory, the top reasons to visit French Guiana allow you to explore this country’s untapped tourism potential. Located in the Amazonia department of South America between Brazil and Suriname, the country is blessed with a coastline of fine, golden sands and warm, azure waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, as well as the lush greenery of the Amazonia. And there’s a whole lot of other things to see and experience in this overseas French territory.

Here are some of the top reasons to visit French Guiana, and don’t forget about finding a French translation company before you go.

Rhythm of the Carnival Guyanais. Ranked as the 4th largest carnival in the world, the Carnival Guyanais is one of the most anticipated celebrations in the whole of South America. The carnival is filled with dancing to the sounds and rhythm of rumba, waltz, mazurka and the beguine. Booking a cheap hotel in advance is recommended as things sell out very fast closer to carnival. Many flights heading to French Guyana also transit through the USA, make sure you have a transit or ESTA visa in order before passing through the USA to avoid any headaches.

The Carnival Guanais takes place on January to February.

Watch rocket launches. Nothing’s more exciting than counting down to the majestic launching of the rocket ship, Ariane 5. To attend the launch, you may need to send a request for an invitation by mail. Don’t forget to include your name, age and contact details. Also, it’s best to send the request way ahead.

Take a walk on the wild side. One of the top reasons to visit French Guiana is the excursions to the Amazonia, where you can marvel at its abundant and unique flora and fauna in its forests and rivers and see the unique cultures of its indigent residents, the Amerindians and the Maroons.

Tours in the Amazonia offer a great deal of activities, from hiking, to boat trips.

Beaches. French Guiana is also known for its pristine beaches, where you can catch some sun, sea and surf, and if you’re lucky, giant sea turtles nesting in one of its isolated and protected beaches.

Unique shopping experience. Whether you go to the Hmong Market in Cacao or the market in Cayenne, shopping in French Guiana is a unique and unforgettable experience. Here, you can find interesting trinkets and pieces perfect for souvenirs. In addition, you can never ignore the country’s unique culture through the people selling their wares in the markets.