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Posted on Aug 14, 2013 in Guest Posts, Travel |

Budget Eating in Sydney: Best Restaurants and Cafes

Cost of dining in Australia Australia is not really known for cheap eating, in fact many people would say the opposite; that it is an expensive place to eat especially compared to somewhere like the United States.  Then there is Sydney which is considered an expensive place to eat, even by Australian standards. Just because many people think that, it doesn’t mean that there are no cheaper restaurants, it just means that they did not know where to look. Although for the main part, Sydney is an expensive place to eat out, there are places that are cheaper than most and although they still may not be prices as low as what you are used to; they are far cheaper than most other Sydney eateries. Fond Favorites Once you know exactly where to go, eating can become cheaper in Sydney and so here are a few favorite hangouts for value for money. If you don’t mind a long queue for breakfast The Grounds of Alexandria, Alexandria is worth the wait or try a breakfast at Copo Café & Diner in Drummoyne for a South American style. For those with a sweet tooth for cream cake and pastries, the Black Star Pastry, Newtown is a must or try Gelato Messina, Darlinghurst for some great gelato creations. Vegetarians will like Bread & Circus, Alexandria for breakfast, salads or sandwiches or Nourishing Quarter, Redfern for a Thai slant on veggie. The Via Napoli, Lane Cove or Pizza Mario are a must for pizzas, whilst if dumpling parcels filled with hot broth and pork are you thing, then you must try Din Tai Fung in Chinatown. Variety Even though you may want to eat fairly cheaply in Sydney you do not have to compromise on variety as there are many budget dining places to be found, serving a variety of different menus. Obviously though, as the whole of Sydney seems to be going through a phase where it cannot get enough Vietnamese food, the cheaper establishments also reflect that. Vietnamese Food For those who would like to eat Vietnamese food, here are some...

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Posted on Aug 13, 2013 in Travel Destinations |

Caught the travelling bug? Experience these popular European landmarks on a budget

You know how it is, you haven’t had a holiday all year round but as soon as you come home from one, all you can think about is getting back on that plane and jetting off again as soon as possible! In the current economic climate where everyone is watching what they spend, it seems that rather than giving up on holidays and travelling all together, people are just spending less and having a holiday on a budget instead. And if you thought visiting popular landmarks in Europe would be too expensive on a budget, think again! Take a look at these top attractions: Eiffel Tower, Paris, France The Eiffel Tower is the tallest structure in Paris and a worldwide icon of France. Visitors can buy tickets to either walk up the first two floors and then a lift to the top, or a lift all the way. You can save money by walking the first levels. There are restaurants on these two floors, but instead why not take your own picnic and sit outside the Eiffel Tower to view this amazing structure? And if you visit in the evening you can experience the spectacular lights, which also sparkle! The Colosseum, Rome, Italy The Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre in the world, and a must see for anyone interested in ancient Roman history. To save money, and queuing time, you can purchase a Roma Pass online before you even arrive in the country, which gives you free entry to two museums or archaeological sites of your choice. After the two uses, it still offers discounted prices if you wanted to visit any other museums or sites. It also allows you free use of selected public transport for 3 days. Berlin Wall, Berlin, Germany The Berlin Wall was a barrier between East and West Berlin that was constructed by the German Democratic Republic. In 1989 the division was destroyed, and now only a few small sections remain. You can still visit the site and take a walk along the full length, which takes about two hours. And best of all,...

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Posted on Aug 13, 2013 in Guest Posts, Travel Destinations |

San Francisco’s Historical Hotspots

With 182 registered historical sights, San Francisco can feel nearly impossible to visit in its entirety. Whittling down the list and selecting a manageable few to go see is a hard task—but one that I have attempted so that you don’t have to. Here is a list of the six places you must see that represent a wide variety of the culture and history that only San Francisco can offer. Alcatraz: A maximum security prison from 1934 until 1963, Alcatraz is famous for a number of reasons. For starters, it is located in the San Francisco Bay as an island. In spite of this, it has housed a number of now-escaped convicts that have inspired much lore and a Clint Eastwood film (Escape from Alcatraz). Throughout its history, it has been a military fortification, a military prison, a federal prison, and a home to a number of protesting aboriginal peoples before becoming the national recreation area it is today. While there, you can learn about nefarious prisoners and see various items either made by prisoners during their sentences or used to restrain them while imagining the flight of Frank Morris. Golden Gate Bridge: This is one of the seven wonders of the modern world, so it’s a must-see. It is also the most photographed bridge in the world, and the most recognizable feature of the city. It’s especially beautiful at night—so checking it out at different points in the day might be worth a trip. Golden Gate Park: The fifth most visited park in the US, and 20% larger than Central park, Golden Gate Park is a giant expanse of land that is home to a music band shell, the California Academy of the Sciences, Conservatory of Flowers, the De Young Museum, the San Francisco Botanical Garden, AIDS Memorial Grove, five natural lakes, windmills, bison, and a number of homeless folks. You’ll still have to narrow down the park attractions you want to see, unless you think ahead and buy a discount pass ahead of time that gives you cheap access to the museums. Japanese Tea Garden: This tea...

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Posted on Jul 22, 2013 in Australia, Travel |

Travelling in Sydney on a Budget

Travelling in stunning Sydney is a dream for so many people. The majority of people I meet overseas all give me the same answer when I ask “If you could choose anywhere in the world to travel, where would it be?” – Sydney, Australia. When I proceed to ask these people why they haven’t made it to this magical place down-under, I am given the same answer every time; ‘”It’s just too expensive.” Whilst flight tickets to Australia can definitely be on the expensive side, there are many ways to enjoy this incredible place whilst not blowing the budget. Here are some of my tips: Where to stay Thankfully, Sydney is a budget traveller’s heaven when it comes to accommodation. Sure there are luxurious hotels such as The W and The Swiss Grande, but if you’re looking for something a lot more affordable, you can find so many great hostels in convenient areas. Most are renovated and clean, and you have a choice of private or dorm rooms. My personal favourite would have to be Surfside Backpackers Bondi Beach – perfect location and a wonderful, youthful atmosphere. What to do Sydney is known to be the most beautiful of the Australian states  (just don’t tell the Melbournians!) The views are breathtaking, and what better way to see it all than from the sea. Ferries leave regularly from Circular Quay and go all along the harbor – you’ll even be able to see the famous Opera House! What will it cost you? Just $5.20 for a return ticket and the wind in your hair! Another must is of course Bondi Beach. There is a reason it is one of the most famous beaches in the world – the crystal clear sea and soft white sand bring the Sydney-siders by the masses. Make sure to head down early before it gets too hot, and pack a picnic lunch so you wont have to break the budget at one of the expensive beach cafes. Where to eat Another thing Sydney is famous for is its incredibly tasty food. Being such a multicultural...

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Posted on Jul 22, 2013 in Guest Posts, Travel |

Unwind and De-Stress: Travel to One of These 7 Serene Parks in Phuket

While most tourists visiting Phuket go for the sun, sand and sea (and a few cocktails no doubt) there is also a plethora of flora and fauna in the area that travellers can immerse themselves in. Although you will find Phuket hotels offer a variety of facilities to keep you busy, if you’re a nature lover you can also enjoy the many oases of relaxation on offer. From national parks with affordable entry fees to the free beachside spaces or hilltop viewpoints that offer sweeping vistas over the island’s greenery, there are plenty of choices to explore. If you’re looking to cool off in the midday tropical heat, you can enjoy one of the many waterfalls in Phuket, or if you desire some peace and quiet and contemplation time, you can spend hours trekking through tropical forests. Either way, the beauty and majesty of the island has more than enough natural variety for everyone to find something they can appreciate. Read on for a guide to some of the most breathtaking green spaces in Phuket. Sirinat National Park Covering 90 square kilometres on the island’s northern tip, Sirinat National Park offers some of the best beaches on Phuket (including Nai Yang, Nai Thon and Mai Khao) plus vital mangrove ecosystems, beautiful coral reefs, great nature trails and a well-known sea turtle nesting site. Founded in 1981, the area contains a wide variety of bird and wildlife species. These include the Asian Fairy bird, sea eagles, the Pied Fantail, Common Lora, Greater Racket Tailed Drongo, crabs, monitor lizards, mudskippers and Mangrove and Cat Eye snakes. Laem Phromthep Also known as Phromthep Cape, this spectacular location offers magnificent views of Phuket and is packed with locals and tourists alike each early evening as people gather to watch the breathtaking sunsets from the peak. During the day visitors can hike down the cape or view the impressive Elephant Shrine to Brahma that’s surrounded by thousands of wooden elephants. Khao Phra Thaeo National Park With an abundance of natural flora and fauna, Khao Phra Thaeo park in northeast Phuket covers around 23 square...

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Posted on Jul 17, 2013 in Road Trip, Travel, USA |

5 of the Most Classic West Coast Drives

If you’ve ever dreamed of taking the ultimate road trip, the western coast of the United States has some of the most scenic beauty the country has to offer. From the North to the South, you can soak in majestic mountains and pristine coastlines or take in some of the history of the area. The only problem you may encounter is in determining which route to trek. Here are a few suggestions for the ride. 1. The Pacific Coast Highway Stretching 123 miles along the central coast of California, the Pacific Coast Highway is routinely voted as the most beautiful drive in the country.  The Highway starts just south of San Jose in a town called Monterey. Be sure to visit the nearby town of Carmel which has shopping, historic buildings, and restaurants. If you keep traveling north, you’ll arrive in Big Sur, which is where the mountains meet the sea — this is simply a stunning scene. Keep traveling and you’ll hit the other scenic points, including the much-photographed Bixby Bridge, before you finally arrive in Morro Bay. 2. Route 66 Beginning along the Arizona-California border, the final stretch of Route 66 takes you through some of the more barren stretches of the famed road, but provides you with some interesting scenery. The first two stops from the Arizona border are the towns of Needles and Barstow, which are now in heavy decline, but worth checking out if you’re a photographer. Past Barstow, you’ll finally start to emerge from the Mojave Desert towards Victorsville, Pasadena, and then finally, Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean. Ultimately, you’ll see a dramatic change of scenery and people in a short distance. 3. The 405 Perhaps the busiest and most traveled stretch of Interstate, the San Diego Freeway, or the 405, links the northern and southern parts of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. While the drive isn’t nearly as scenic or historic as some of the other options in the West, it has its place, particularly in music culture. So, the next time you hear Tupac talking about the 405, you’ll know...

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Posted on Jul 17, 2013 in Thailand, Travel Destinations |

6 Great Ways to Embrace Thai Culture

Thailand may be famous for its glowing neon nightlife and full moon parties, but the real beauty of Thailand lies beneath all that. It’s the luscious, natural landscape, fantastic food and slower pace of life that should really put Thailand in your top five must-visit countries. The real essence of Thailand lies in its unique culture, which has been able to absorb western influences, whilst still retaining its rich heritage and identity. Thailand is a feast for the eyes, mind and body, awash with natural beauty and colourful traditions. Millions of tourists fly into Thailand every year and while some may be planning a week of partying, others will be in search of Thai culture. So if you’re after a Thai massage at Wat Pho, rather than a fish pedicure on Khao San Road, here are six great things you can do in Thailand for a more authentic experience. 1. Experience Thailand’s Rural Past at Bang Krajao (Bangkok) If you’re staying in Bangkok and in search of more green than can be found in Lumphini Park, you may be surprised to learn that you don’t have to journey too far to find it. Alongside the rapid urban development of Bangkok’s centre is a reminder of its rural past. In fact just across the river from construction sites and grey expanses, lies the beautiful pocket of green that is Bang Krajao. Within the green jungle, traditional stilt houses stand between the trees. The luscious greenery is fed by a maze of tributaries, pouring life into every corner of the jungle. Amid the green, fresh fruit adds a surprising splash of colour to the scenery, while floating markets and temples will give you a change of scene. There are hundreds of paths leading through the jungle and many of these are on stilts above the wet land. A great way to explore this area is by bicycle – it’s around 100 baht a day and you can glide through the treetops! How to Get There: Travel to Klong Toei port or the riverside temple in Bang Na and pay 10 baht...

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