WHERE I WANT TO VENTURE OFF TO NEXT PT.2

If you haven’t seen part 1 of this list, feel free to check that out here. Without further ado, here are the other places that I’d love to visit. Again, in no particular order.

  1. MOSTAR, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA
  2. ZANZIBAR, TANZANIA
  3. COPENHAGEN, DENMARK
  4. HALONG BAY, VIETNAM
  5. QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA

MOSTAR, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA

The World Heritage Site Stari Most which translates to Old Bridge in English is quite the sight. Surrounded by a beautiful green river, it is one of the iconic views in Mostar. The bridge that stands today is actually a reconstruction of the original bridge that was ruined in 1993, a result of the Croat-Bosniak war, after standing for 427 years. The rebuilt bridge was reopened in 2004. That’s not so long ago! How crazy is that?!

If you visit Mostar, be sure to stay at Hostel Miran. I have it on good authority that their City Tours are phenomenal, particularly their War Tour. They also offer a tour to visit the Kravice Falls. Make sure to bring your swimsuit as you can swim near the falls too! But bring warm clothes for afterwards, as the water is said to be freezing. Best time to visit? After any sort of precipitation, as during the dry season, they’re not in their full glory.

It is a smaller hostel, so if you’re traveling solo, this is perfect for you to meet new people. Smaller hostels feel more like home and you are treated like family, rather than just a bed. The prices are such a great value (C. $14/night for 6 or 8 bed dorm) and there’s free WIFI. It’s centrally located and minutes away from train and bus stations.

Image courtesy of Naterally Wicious via flickr
Image courtesy of Naterally Wicious via flickr

ZANZIBAR, TANZANIA

Most people who visit Tanzania, go to see the Serengeti, and with good reason. Who wouldn’t want to be up close with nature and wild animals? And by up close, I mean in your jeep… far enough away that you don’t become lunch. Gulp.

Once you’ve satisfied your safari cravings, perhaps make your way to Zanzibar!

Zanzibar is comprised of 2 large islands and many small islands. The island that most people refer to as Zanzibar is called Unguja, where the capital city, Zanzibar City is located. This is more than just a beach vacation. There are many tours and excursions you can participate in.

Zanzibar is known for its ties to spices. Portuguese traders imported spices from their colonies in India and South America, but it wasn’t until the 18th century that the production of spices began to dominate in Zanzibar. And while they are not the only export of the island (seaweed is also a key export), they still continue to help the economy thrive.

Take a sailing trip. There are many different sailing companies, or you can charter your own sail boat. While you’re sailing, head to Prison Island where you will find many giant tortoises! You can also take a spice tour, which will bring you plantations just outside Zanzibar city.

Wondering where to stay? Try Zenji Hotel Located in Stone Town, it is great value for your money. They offer airport pickup, laundry services, as well as free internet in every room and up on the roof (where they serve breakfast!). The rooms offer a view of the harbour.

If you’re looking for luxury, try Next Paradise Boutique Resort. While you will need a car or transportation to get around (it’s located about 30 minutes from Stone Town), it is located right near the beach. With 2 swimming pools and 20 beautiful rooms, you cannot go wrong. You can plan all of your excursions at the hotel, including: kite surfing, swimming with dolphins, snorkelling and more.

If you do plan on diving (as much as I would love to, I am claustrophobic and diving scares the bajeezus out of me!), check out Scuba Zanzibar. They offer many different options, including PADI courses for those who either want to refresh their skills, or get a certification so you can dive all around the world. Not into diving? They also offer snorkelling. If you don’t feel like lugging your gear with you, they also offer rentals, including underwater cameras to capture the 400+ marine life situated in the Indian Ocean. Something cool that they do is offer Clean Up Dives. This is such a great way to preserve all of the marine life along the reef.

Image courtesy of mostrito75 via flickr
Image courtesy of mostrito75 via flickr

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

Copenhagen was originally a fishing village in the 10th century. The city is now distinguished by its parks, waterfronts, and promenades.

If you plan on visiting Copenhagen, I suggest you do as the locals do – ride a bike. There are many companies where you can rent bikes. The prices vary a bit but you can expect to pay about 75DKK (~$15 CAD) per day, or 350DKK (~$70). You can also rent a bike through the city. Copenhagen also has bike rentals all along the streets, funded by the city. If you just need the bike for an hour or so, you can rent one for 25DKK/hour (~$5 CAD).

Be forewarned though, Copenhagen can be an expensive city. Don’t let that stop! You can visit this city if you’re on a budget. You just have to do a bit of research and planning beforehand! Don’t bother staying in hotels, they’ll cost you $200+ per night… Unless you want to, of course! Hostels in Copenhagen are clean, comfortable and reasonably budget-friendly. While they are more expensive than a lot of other cities in Europe, it won’t empty your wallet.

One of those options is Copenhagen Downtown Hostel. Located in the heart of the historic centre, you’ll be close to all of the major sights. They also include the usual hostel offerings: wifi, linens, 24hr security, no curfew, etc. If you don’t want to worry about the fuss of breakfast, they offer All-You-Can-Eat breakfast for 65DKK (~$13 CAD), but I’d suggest skipping that and buying your own groceries, as they have a fully equipped kitchen for you to cook your own food in. Cost efficient!

Another freebie is their nightly dinners. The hostel offers a free, nightly dinner. Sign up early as it’s a limited amount. This is a highly recommended way to meet fellow travellers. It’s also a great way to save money to spend at the bar, which is located IN the hostel. With happy hour specials, live music twice a week, and alcohol being served until 5am, you’re in for a good time.

Speaking of alcohol, Carlsberg Brewery is located in Copenhagen. For 85DKK (~$17 CAD) you get entrance fee and 2 drinks (either soft drinks or beer). Not a bad way to learn about the history of Denmark’s famous brewery. Fun fact: Carlsberg Brewery doesn’t just make Carlsberg beer, it also brews Somersby Cider. Second fun fact: I love Somersby Cider.

If you are able to make it North, there’s a resort town called Skagen. It’s quite a long journey from Copenhagen, but well worth it if you have the time. At the northernmost part of the country, is Grenen. Grenen is a long sandbar. At the tip of Grenen is where the Baltic and North sea meet.

Whether you enjoy people watching along Nyhavn (the waterfront canal), or the thrill of rides at Tivoli (amusement park), Copenhagen has something for everyone. Gardens, museums, beautiful landscapes, etc.

Image courtesy of MotorsportsZeta via flickr
Nyhavn: Image courtesy of MotorsportsZeta via flickr

Hạ Long Bay, VIETNAM

As you can probably tell already, I have a thing for water and waterfronts and beaches and pretty much anything related to water. That’s why Hạ Long Bay is no exception. Not many things would make me happier than taking a cruise along the bay for a couple of nights, getting a clear view of the limestone islets jutting out of the emerald-esque water. Legend has it that these islets were created by a “great dragon from the mountains.” I don’t know about all that, but I do know it’s a sight for sore eyes.

There are many cruise operators, so take your pick. Keep in mind the time of year, as there can be tropical storms from May-September. Your best bet is to book for more than 1 night. Be sure to get off the boat and check out the caves. Kayak around the limestone and take in the incredible views.

Image courtesy of sacharules via flickr
Image courtesy of sacharules via flickr

Last but certainly not least…

QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA

Many things are located very close to Queensland, with Great Barrier Reef being one of them. Now I know I said earlier that diving scares the bajeezus out of me, but I’d be willing to attempt conquering that fear in order to dive the Great Barrier Reef. Does that sound up your alley? If so, hop aboard a sailboat and cruise the Whitsundays with Cruise Whitsundays. You can do day trips or go one step further and do the Reefsleep. You’ll be on board 2 full days and 1 night where you’ll get to partake in all of the day trip activities (snorkelling, diving, visiting Whitehaven Beach), but you’ll get the opportunity to sleep amongst the marine life and stars. The sound of nature lulling you to sleep on the top deck of the boat, in a tent-sleeping bag hybrid called a swag.

Image courtesy of gjhamley via flickr
Image courtesy of gjhamley via flickr

So… where do you wanna go next?

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