Travels

Boracay

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Boracay is one of the small islands in the middle of the Philippines (Visayas). Nowadays, it is very touristic, full of hotels and venders, which might not sound nice, but the pleasures the beach gives makes you forget it all.

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Boracay Philippines 3It was my first time in Boracay. I was with my boyfriend. We stayed at the Boracay Beach Club and booked a package. Our hotel was situated in Station 1, which is what i call the high class station. Station 2 is the party part with many clubs and bars and therefore had a less attractive beach. Station 3 is in my opinion a disaster. There are many gypsies sleeping on the beach. Everything is much cheaper there though, the shops and massages, etc.

We took a plane to Kalibo costing around $50, as this is much cheaper than going to Caticlan ($150). From there, we were picked up by a hotel employee (included in our package). We got into a bus for an almost 2 hour drive, which was long but the scenery was great and made the time fly by. Boracay Philippines 4

Then from Caticlan, we got into a boat to go to the island. If you don’t have a hotel employee, then you can hire one of the guys there to carry your bags for you, just pay them 20 pesos. Our hotel employee bought all our tickets and brought our bags in the boat.

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The hotel employee brought us to our hotel. The Boracay Beach Club (BBC) is a 4-star hotel in station 1. It is not directly on the beach but one street away, which might sound bad, but is actually alright. Like most of these hotels they have a restaurant directly on the beach, where you can eat breakfast and have some drinks. Our package included a 7 nights in a huge Deluxe bedroom with breakfast, the transfer from and to the airport, a banana boat ride, Sunset sailing, 2-hour island tour, 1-hour massage, 12 drinking vouchers and 2×500 pesos dining vouchers for 2 persons for only $700!!! which is a pretty amazing deal.

The hotel itself was good, there is a pool, but why go to the pool if the beach is just 50 meters away. The staff is very friendly.

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Breakfast on the beach is amazing, makes a great start of the day. After we finished our breakfast, we went swimming and sunbathing on one of the sun beds. Most of the time the hotel had a police man to make sure the venders didn’t bother us. And every day, we had one activity.

The banana boat was fun for old and young. The sunset sailing was nice but pretty quick not even 10 minutes. We just took a picture and the boat went back. I don’t know if i would have done it (for 600 pesos) if it wasn’t included in our package.

The island tour was nice: they bring you to Pucket beach, which is a much quieter beach. Though the beach is less refined than in the stations, it is still very beautiful.

The hour massage was nice, though there are other places to get a massage for cheaper.

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The first evening, we got a free diner at the Astoria Resort, which was a very nice hotel. There are lots of nice places to eat and go out in Boracay. There are also plenty of restaurants in the D’mall (the only small and prehistoric mall in Boracay). My favorite restaurant is Andok’s.

Popular places to go out are Epic and Wave, which are both classy and expensive. If you prefer a more local and less high profile club, you should visit Club Paraw. It was right in front of our hotel and much fun.

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After 7 days, I took the last pictures of this beautiful and fun island. Sadly packed our stuff to leave the island. On the boat trip back, we decided that we were definitely going back to Boracay again.

Things to do in Boracay

Activities:

Paraw-sailing (sunsetsailing)

Parasailing

Jetski

Wakeboarding (on the other side of the white beach)

Surfing (on the other side of the white beach)

Banana boat

Ariel’s Point (whole afternoon: a boat sail to Ariel’s Point with lunch)

Island tour

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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!  

Puerto Vallarta

I´m normally not that fond of major resort destinations, but I can´t really complain about the resort in Puerto Vallarta. This Mexican city is situated on the Pacific Ocean’s Bahía de Banderas. I had a wonderful time there and enjoyed the company of the Dutch and American tourists a lot. Actually, if you are ever going to plan a trip with your parents in law, this is a great place to go! Relatively not expensive, beach, sun and fun for all ages.. and I’m speaking out of experience!

My best memories include eating fresh oysters everyday (the fisherman catches these in the morning and this sounds very random but I like eating oysters in the morning), hugging dolphins in the water and simply watching the sunset on the beach (which was one step from my hotel)  and enjoying my coconut juice. One remark: The activities that I’m going to mention can vary a lot in price, it really matters from who you buy a tour.

Sea Safari was so much fun! We went to see the waterfall in the forest and got to swim in the clean water. To get into the forest and near the beautiful waterfall we were riding horses. Riding on the horses was a bit scary because we went up and down small mountains of Sierra Madre the whole time. Riding a donkey was optional. Also we went on a boat to swim with brightly colored fish. This boat went to a piece of paradise called Pizotita, where you can BBQ and just lay down on a hammock.

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As I said earlier, swimming with the dolphins was one of my best memories. The dolphins were so cute and not scary at all!

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Whale watching on the other hand was so disappointing. Being on a sailboat for a few hours and having a spotter plane looking out for whales sounded hopeful, but no. I couldn’t take good pictures of whales because I didn’t see them (except the fins, that just sucks…) at all. But because I’m assuming that you’re curious about how it would look like on a successful whale watching day, here’s  a picture that was included with the whale watching tour I took. I saw a few dolphings though.

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A beautiful tropical beach is Las Caletas, where you can snorkle and see local animals

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There are a lot of activities to do on the beach. One of them is parasailing.

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The hotel was fine!

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And let’s end with these inspirational quotes, hanging on wall outside a restaurant I walked by:

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Sin City


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Las Vegas is one of the most fun places to visit. Of course, it is awfully shallow and it totally revolves around sex and money. But I, a very optimistic person, see it as a place where you can see the remarkable things in the world all in one place and still experience all the fun the world has to offer. I guess, you can say Las Vegas doesn’t have it’s own personality, or does it…

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The first time I went to Las Vegas was when I was 15 years old. I was so excited to see all the buildings that I’ve seen in plenty of movies. Las Vegas at that time was mostly theme-based. The most famous hotels were Alladin, Luxor and Stardust. The Wynn hotel, which was the newest hotel back then, was practically the only hotel without a theme.

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Nowadays, most new hotels in Las Vegas don’t have a theme. They’re just very luxurious and exclusive, with huge casinos and crystal chandeliers hanging everywhere. Each designer hotel is even more luxurious than the other. I guess Las Vegas changed together with modern fashion. Yet still, I can’t help missing the fake old imitation hotels and ladies wearing tacky shiny suits and guys dressed up like Elvis, because for me, all that was the real Las Vegas.

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Hotels and Clubs

The Cosmopolitan Hotel is the place to be in LV. Practically every aspect of this hotel has been well thought of, from the humongous crystal chandeliers to the statues of designer shoes in the hallways. The chandelier bar looks amazing an

The Chelsea ballroom, where Kaskade’s concert was held, was very beautiful. It felt so high class and chique going out in a huge classy ballroom, almost made me feel like doing the Viennes Waltz.

An epic fail though was Marquee, where I LMFAO was featured. People were dressed in weird tutu’s, i guess showing what a great fan they are of LMFAO. But you see the thing i like about going out in Las Vegas is that people have to wear nice clothing, so i was kind of disappointed when people came in wearing slippers. The second drama was that it was so crowded and you’re not allowed on the main dance floor because you have to pay for a VIP table even though you don’t have a table. The security guard obviously could not manage the crowd and they kept on telling us to “go left, go left”. So we went left and straight to the exit, bye bye Marquee!

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Though i like the Cosmopolitan, i loooove Encore. XS and Encore are my favorite clubs in Las Vegas. The people are classy and friendly. You can also go to the pool area but going out in a bikini is quite trashy so we didn’t do that. The first time i went to the Encore club, we met some guys who let us in for free. The second time, we bought our tickets beforehand which was cheaper ($20) and more convenient as we could just pass the line 🙂

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Tao is also a nice club in LV, but don’t expect the bouncers to be nice. It doesn’t even matter if you buy your tickets upfront, they won’t let you in first. The club is nice, downstairs there’s a lounge area in Asian design and upstairs the club. It was very crowded, but no one was annoying, just relaxing and having fun.

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There are lots of other nice smaller clubs in the Strip, like the cathouse in Luxor. We got a free table and bottle because we went to the Thunder from Down Under. Which is by the way, a very fun show to go when with your gals or gays.

The next time, i’ll post about things to do in Las Vegas besides clubbing…

Tip: If you want to go to a specific club or concert, buy your tickets beforehand. It is much cheaper and sometimes you can skip the line.

Reminder, wear classy clothes and don’t forget your ID, it’s just too bad when you have to go back to your room to change or get your ID.

Aruba, one happy island!

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Because I will celebrate my 26th birthday this week, I´m a bit excited to write about one of my best birthdays I´ve ever had, spending it on this tiny island called Aruba. Their slogan `Aruba, one happy island´ does count for me.  For my 24th birthday, my boyfriend and I decided to go somewhere hotter than the month March could offer in The Netherlands.  Aruba is one of the Dutch islands in the Caribbean, also known as the Netherlands Antilles. The mean monthly temperature varies from 26 to 30 degrees and the island is blessed with white sands and crystalline turquoise waters.

Beneath some pictures of my favourite spots in Aruba:

 

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The Palm Beach Area

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The capital of Aruba, Oranjestad:

 

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Kite shack, California Lighthouse and the famous divi divi tree

 

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Smokey Joe’s Island Grill

 

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At the Palm Island Waterpark, where scuba diving was a nice activity to do!

 

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Paris

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La cité de l’amour et la lumière (The city of love and light) as the French call it. From Amsterdam, Paris is only a 5-hour drive. It’s an easy drive until you reach the city of Paris. Then everything becomes a blur, as the streets are large and the signs aren’t very clear, especially when your French isn’t that great. And you have to drive aggressively. We got lost many times, but even though the French are known for their arrogance and unkindness, we did get help to find the way.

We stayed in a hotel near la Défense, which was a few metrostops away from the city center. I always use the tube when in Paris, as it is conventient and walking is just too far.

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Of course, the most remarkable building in Paris is the Eiffeltower, which you can see from everywhere in the city. Even from my hotel in the suburb!

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Another favourite is the Sacre Cour. You have to travel all the way up the hill with the cable way which is cool, then climb some stairs to reach the church. The church is beautiful, how do they keep it so white? From up there, you get an amazing view of Paris. On the other side of the church, painters hang out and you can let them paint you a portrait for a small fee.

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My favorite museum in Paris is of course La Louvre. It is so massive, there’s so much to see. My favorite part is of course the crown room. I was looking for the Mona Lisa and found it hanging on a huge white wall with the painting in the middle and a herd of tourists in front of it. The painting was smaller than I imagined it would be but very beautiful. Word of advice: do not try to take a picture of it. It is utmost prohibited and they will confiscate your camera if you even hold it in your hand.

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For shopping, the Champs-Éllysée is fancy and sophisticated if you have a big wallet. Otherwise, it’s nice to stroll around and pass the Arce de Triomph. The Saint-Germain-de-Prés is also a nice place to go shopping or drink a coffee in one of the café’s. I found a nice English bookstore there. And of course, the ultimate shopping center in Paris is La Fayette.

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Batu Caves in Malaysia

Batu Cave

The Batu Caves is said to be around 400 million years old and one of the best tourist attractions to visit while being in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. About the spiritual caves:  Thamboosamy Pillai, an Indian trader dedicated the temple to Lord Murugan, the Hindu god of war, victory, wisdom and love.  The statue in the front of the caves represent the Hindu God. To enter the cave, you must walk 272 wooden steps and finally upstairs, you will have an incredible view.

When you’re inside the caves, you will notice some little monkeys. The largest cave is called the Temple of Cathedral Cave, there are Hindu shrines inside and the cave curtains are really impressing. My favorite spot in the cave is where there is a large hole in the ceiling and the daylight shines through it. This spot reminds me of so many fantasy movies but also creeps me out, when you think about how it feels being there all alone in the night.

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London, baby!

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I can never get enough of London! It is clear why they call it “City of Dreams”. The buildings, the people, the ambiance are almost addictive. I usually go there during the summer and although London is known for it’s bad weather, my visits have always been sunny.
There are plenty of ways to discover London: by metro, which is quick but expensive (multiple days-tickets are cheaper and you can use them in the bus as well); by bus, which takes a bit longer and is quite complicated, but you do get to see more; and walking, which is probably my favorite, because you can feel the ambiance and it’s a good work-out at the same time. Also, you can get lost and bump into something very nice.

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Buckingham Palace
What I like about Buckingham Palace is that it is in the middle of the city (just like the Royal Palace in Amsterdam). It’s a beautiful and elegant palace and the surroundings are well maintained (unlike the Royal Palace in Amsterdam). I like to watch the switch of guards. Word from the wise: Do not harass the guards, because you will look very stupid and really… do you like being harassed by complete strangers when you’re at work?

Hyde Park
A beautiful park, peaceful and relaxing. We had dinner in the restaurant along the water. There was a concert in the park, so it was pretty crowded, but we managed to get a good seat on the terrace with a view of the water and the swans swimming, while the sun was setting. Very romantic. But the most surprising thing of all was that the band that was playing at the concert that evening was none other than THE ROLLING STONES! What are the odds….

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Harrods
This luxurious store is my favorite in London. The beautiful interior and clothing heal my sorrow and make me happy again, even just for a while. One time I was there during the supersale (December 27th) and it was amazing. Almost everything was half the regular price. I felt like a fat kid in a candy store with a discount card. My favorite spot in Harrods is the Ice Cream Bar. An ice cream is very expensive (around 13 pounds) but massive and delicious!

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