Shangri-la Boracay Resort


Boracay Island is one of the most beautiful islands in Asia. The Shangri-la in Boracay Philippines is one of the top luxury resorts on the island. 

In this video I give a run down on what to expect when you stay here.


Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa, for the ultimate luxury, on one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

Perfect for a romantic getaway, family holiday or just a luxury holiday - this resort has to be one of the top resorts in the Philippines.

In the video I look at the Deluxe Seaview room and Tree House villa. The later having some of the best views in Boracay. The villa is two stories, with the upper floor having a Jacuzzi on the balcony with panoramic views of the ocean as well as being perfect to watch the sunset. A perfect romantic villa to stay in Boracay. Even the window views from the treehouse villa have such beautiful views.

The resort is just gorgeous with its secluded beachfront area. It's lovely swimming pool. Other facilities include the Chi The Spa, one of the best in Boracay.

I check out some of its restaurants, including the Shangri-la's famous buffet breakfast.

The resort covers 12-hectare and has 219 rooms including 36 villas and suites, Room rates at the Shangri-la Boracay start from around 41,500 PHP (at time of video). I show rates on all the room types on Trivago, TripAdvisor and Agoda so you can see prices at this resort.

If you're looking for a fantastic place to stay in Boracay, for me The Shangri-La Boracay Resort is one of the best resorts on Boracay.

This video I give my review of this resort. When you stay expect amazing service, fantastic rooms and stunning beaches.

For more resorts in the Philippines please subscribe.

*All rates and conditions subject to change without notice. Please check with resort directly.

11° 59' 17.7792" N, 121° 54' 22.7304" E

Coronavirus Outbreak: Tips to Keep Yourself Safe on Travel

The widespread of coronavirus in China has prompted a global fear of traveling.

However, the following tips and tricks might help in reducing travelers' concerns.


First of all, do NOT panic. Hoarding food and toilet paper is NOT helping the situation!

In the end it's a flu and the different countries try to limit its spread, so that the health systems can handle the situation and can take care of the people who are in need.


Several countries have decided to lock down specific areas and some have even restricted to travel at all, even in the own country. Some of the major companies and airlines have suspended business operations and traveling in the country. 

Tech giants like Facebook and Microsoft asked its employees to restrict their travel plans and suggests to work from home. Major banks like Standard Chartered and Commonwealth Bank of Australia also asked its employees to suspend non-essential trips. 


What is Coronavirus and what are the symptoms

Novel Coronavirus also called 2019-nCoV, is a member of the coronavirus family. Like other viruses from the coronavirus family, novel coronavirus also comes from animals. 

According to medical reports, coronavirus causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (MERS).

In 2002, SARS widely spread to 37 counties causing more than 750 deaths, infecting 8,000 people and caused global panic. On the other hand, MERS has greater lethality that killed 35% of 2,500 infected people. 

Originally spreading from animals, coronavirus now seems to spread from person to person. And not only in China but many more countries are reportedly hosting the lethal virus. 

Symptoms of coronavirus are severe coughing, fever and breathing difficulties. This viral pneumonia seems unaffected by antibiotics. The usual antiviral drugs we have to cure fever won't work against it either. 

People infected and diagnosed with coronavirus and who got a bad immune system should be admitted to the hospital immediately as this dangerous virus can cause organ failure in extreme cases, and the hospital may restrict serious organ damage. 


How to Keep Yourself Safe on Travel in Coronavirus Affected Countries 

Even after knowing that the deadly coronavirus continues to spread in China and many other countries, some of us still need to travel. In this case, it's our responsibility to be prepared and guard ourselves against the viral disease. 

Most important, take care of your immune system. Eat healthy, go for walks and get enough sleep. 


Information is the Key

Constantly spreading viruses like Novel Coronavirus requires constant updates. To get all the latest information regarding scientists at WHO and CDC have the up-to-date intel on coronavirus situations around the world. They provide all the information, advice and even details about travel restriction.

By having access to a high-speed internet availability on your travel you can stay connected with WHO and CDC for coronavirus updates.


Keep on Washing Your Hands

Minor and major flu viruses are capable of spreading from hands. Therefore, it's important to wash your hands often especially after coughing, sneezing or blowing the nose. 

According to Mayo Clinic, the best way to properly wash hands is to sing “Happy Birthday” song twice. In addition, scrubbing your hands with warm running water and soap for 20 seconds frequently, decreases the risk of catching flu viruses as secure as coronavirus. 

In case you do not have soap, water or sink available nearby you can use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. 


Choose Windows Seat on Your Flight

Passengers seated in the aisle are more likely to be infected with viruses as compared to those who sit near the window, say researchers.

This is because people sitting near the aisle are close to more passengers and therefore are vulnerable to persons to person spreading viruses, like coronavirus. 


Avoid Constantly Touching Your Face

According to the National Academics of Sciences. Engineering. Medicine, most of the flu causing viruses and bacteria enter our body through the mucous membrane. The mucous membrane present in our mouth, nose, and eyes upon encounter allows viruses to invade our bodies. Therefore, it is better to keep your hands away from your mouth as even after washing your hands are prone to re-contaminated immediately. 


Sneeze and Cough into Elbow

It might sound weird, but coughing or sneezing into your elbow is safer than covering a cough or sneeze with hands. This is because when you cough into your hands you save the tiny droplets from your mouth from spraying into the air but your hand becomes contaminated. In addition, inevitably you’ll touch something or someone and might start a chain of infected people on your trip. 



Although the tips mentioned above are helpful to keep travelers healthy and safe from deadly viruses like novel coronavirus, considering canceling your traveling plans to majorly infected cities can be a far better choice.  

Even after staying super-conscious about your health, if you fall sick while traveling it's your responsibility to keep your germs to yourself. 


Reasons Why Experiencing Culture Shock While Traveling Abroad Will Eventually Benefit You

“Culture Shock" can be described as a feeling which is experienced by a person, when he/she moves from a familiar culture to an unfamiliar one.

Most of the people, who travel abroad for higher studies, work, internships, volunteering, or just to explore, face some kind of culture shock or the other. It comprises of sudden events that come as surprises of a new way of life, in a new environment, with new people!

There's a feeling of anxiety and discomfort, that occurs due to separation from the family and friends.

And it just doesn't end there!

A new country will introduce you to new weather conditions, new cuisines, different language, manners, and behaviors - which all might take a toll on you! But you'll slowly get used to it, and start enjoying the flavors and sights as and when they'll unfold before you. You need not rush and force yourself to adapt anything - rather, go slow, absorb all that happens around you and learn how to live happily outside your comfort zone.

When I traveled to Kenya for a volunteer trip, I was working with the locals and there were many times when I would have difficulty understanding them, but eventually, I realized that if we are open to accepting new things, we can easily bond over emotions.

You must remember that culture shock is entirely normal, usually unavoidable and doesn’t reflect badly on you.

In fact, experiencing culture shock will put your life into perspective and make you a much better person.


Experiencing culture shock will make you a stronger person.

Being in an unfamiliar environment might appear to be scary, uncomfortable, and confusing in the initial phase.

However, those moments will slowly shape you as a person by helping you discover your capabilities and what you are made of. You'll eventually develop a thicker skin since you'll have to deal with a lot of stressful situations and long periods of loneliness and unfamiliarity. The best way to grow is to throw yourself out of your comfort zone, no matter what lies there ahead of you.

It is during these times when you'll truly understand your own potential.


Experiencing culture shock will make you more adjusting and adapting.

When you travel to a distant land, you will constantly be faced with uncomfortable situations, which will teach you to calm your nerves and stop worrying about every second thing that's happening around.

You will learn to rely on yourself a lot more than you used to and even laugh at yourself when you do something completely absurd, or better to put it as something 'out of culture'! You might have difficulty in understanding what the natives are trying to tell you. In case you are traveling for an internship or volunteering abroad and staying with a host family, you'll have to mold yourself like them and adapt to their living style.

Every country has a certain societal structure and adapting to those newly introduced things will make you feel more confident about yourself. 


Experiencing culture shock by coming into contact with a new language will force you to learn the language.

It is often said that language and thought are interconnected - thus, by learning a new language, you'll learn how to think differently as well.

Being involved with the locals of a region and listening to them will definitely help you to learn a language faster, and it'll be a far better learning method than the otherwise regular courses that you could have opted in your homeland. Set a project for yourself - and interact with at least one new person each day, whether that’s a shopkeeper or a bartender. You'll learn a lot about that country in a way no book could ever tell you!

Befriend a child and know what he thinks about this country, and also ask an old man the same question - you'll probably have a lot of food for thought after those conversations.


Experiencing culture shock will essentially make you a more open-minded person.

One of the best things about traveling abroad is that gives you a chance to broaden your social network.

Once the culture shock starts to wear off, you'll feel more at ease with everything and everyone around you. The relationships that you'll gain from moving abroad can benefit you for the rest of your life - no matter where you go. Getting to know people with different backgrounds and perspectives can help you develop a more open mind and may lead to better opportunities ahead. If you opt for an exchange program, you'll meet others like you, who've also traveled across the borders.

You'll slowly open up and embrace everyone, knowing that in spite of all the differences, we all share similar dreams and experiences on this earth.


Experiencing culture shock will teach you some valuable lessons about life and give you another chance to start afresh.

In a foreign land, when everything is new and alien to you, where no one knows who you are - you'll get a once in a lifetime chance to start everything afresh and erase all the previous chapters of your life.

There will be difficult times when you'll crave to see a known face or feel like having mom's cooked food - but then, you'll have a new family and friends in this faraway land. You'll probably discover a creative side of yourself, about which you had no clue before. A journey to another part of the world will teach you new life lessons and your interactions with the natives will make you more humble as a person. Whether you volunteer for a social cause, do a part-time job at a cafe or work at an MNC, your entire outlook towards life will be reshaped once you step out of your comfort zone.

It'll be a journey to self-rediscovery.


While it’s tempting to stay within your comfort zone, exposing yourself to new cultures and ways of seeing the world is vital for personal growth.

So, are you ready to travel abroad and experience the world waiting for you on the other side of the flight?


Historic Bars and Restaurants in Barcelona

Barcelona is a place that is known for having a history dating back over 2,000 years.

In recent times, the city has become world renowned for offering fantastic food and drinks in its restaurants and bars.

Nothing seems better than having a taste of the city´s history and culinary wonder in one sitting.


Therefore, we bring to you the most historic bars and restaurants in Barcelona!

Els 4Gats

This wonderful restaurant opened its doors in 1897. The founder, Pere Romeu, wanted to imitate the Parisian style eatery that he had worked at in the French capital. Two years later, a 17-year-old Picasso began to make regular visits to the restaurant and even carried out his first exhibition here.

Els 4Gats soon became one of the main centres of Modernism in Barcelona and a place for famous artists to display their artwork. Unfortunately, in 1991 it was put into administration and subsequently closed. Luckily, it has risen from the ashes to the sophisticated tapas restaurant, bar and brewery we see today.

They offer a breakfast menu and a wonderful lunch and dinner menu; the most eye-catching dish would be their famous sautéed octopus. The bar here itself is worth the visit, making the Els 4Gats the ideal stop off point for food or a couple drinks in one of the most historic restaurants in Barcelona.

Address: Carrer de Montsió, 3


Can Culleretes 

Originally, founded back in 1786, Can Culleretes is easily one of oldest bar/restaurants in Barcelona. It has a wonderful interior that make you feel as if you are truly in the 18th Century! Its name came from the fact that the waiters used up so many spoons that they were heard shouting “Noies, Culleretes!”, or, “Girls, get the spoons!” This name has stood the test of time and you can still enjoy the hustle and bustle of this busy spot. 

One of the most fascinating things that you can experience here is that you can truly dine with the stars! The walls are adorned with photos, drawings and other imagery that have been signed by some of its most famous visitors. In knowing this, you can feel a deeper attachment to the restaurant and imagine some of the amazing conversations that took place here.

Address: Carrer d’en Quintana, 5.


Bar Marsella 

Bar Marsella is arguably the most famous oldest bar in the city, known also for hosting likes of Gaudí, Picasso, Dalí, and Hemingway. Luckily, for us, the vibe of this bar has not changed over since when it opened back 200 years, in 1820!

Bar Marsella has an incredibly unique design that still stands. With wooden walls, dusty chandeliers and the same mirrors from almost two centuries ago. You should try out their most famous drink, absinthe. If you dare!

Address: Carrer de Sant Pau, 65.


London Bar

Opened in 1910, the London Bar is found by La Rambla. It was known to be a favourite of Ernest Hemingway, whilst serving in the Spanish Civil War as part of the International Brigades. These were a group of people made up from all over the world, who came together to help the Spanish Republicans. As for locals, how do the usual suspects of Picasso and Dalí sound? The eventful history of this bar is one of its main attractions, as well as having plenty of live music on offer!

Address: Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 34


Casa Almirall

Back in 1860, Casa Almirall opened its doors. With moon-shaped lamps, marble décor, and an amazing Gaudi-style wooden doorway, Casa Almirall is a true showing to Barcelona’s modernist movement. A place that is as busy as it was some 160 years ago, you need to try out the tradition that made it the popular spot you see today, serving its´ vermouth with a skewered olive.

Address: Carrer de Joaquín Costa, 33.


La Confiteria 

In 1912, a confectioner’s shop opened for business, La Confiteria still holds many memories of this time, with scales for measuring loose sweets and other equipment used for the store. A neat setting indeed, that has its ambience enhanced by the jazz music while you enjoy your drink: such as a craft cocktail.

This intimate bar will give you a welcome feel and a great atmosphere to enjoy, as you sample another one of the oldest bars in Barcelona. There is even an outdoor area if the summer sun is too tempting!

Address: Carrer de Sant Pau, 128.


Boadas Cocktail Bar Barcelona

Dim lighting, bar stools, long bars and smartly dressed staff, this is a cocktail lover’s haven; this family run bar is allegedly the first cocktail bar in Barcelona. With its first mix made in 1933! Transport yourself back in time to the 30s with Miguel Boadas’ family portraits, old newspapers, letters and other memorabilia, which are hung from the walls adding to the historical authenticity of the bar.

Given its location, on La Rambla, it is extremely popular amongst tourists and still held to a high regard by locals. It does not have its own drinks list, so we suggest getting stuck in and having in mind what cocktail you would like, or what mixers you want to experiment with!

Address: Carrer dels Tallers, 1


Forget about turkish bath! Go to a turkish barbershop!

You have been on the road for a while and except the daily shower, probably went wild…I mean hair wise :-).

Didn’t shave for a long time and feel like your beard is growing out of your throat?

Have bushy eyebrows or ear hair going crazy?

Well, the problem you seem to experience only away from home is a daily occurrence for many Turkish men, as genes have not been kind to them:-). Thus, Turkish barber shops have excelled in removal of unwanted hair.


Travelmind explored various painful and pain less ways for the globetrotting tourist as to how…

I made my way to a barber shop in Yeniköy, Istanbul and explained what I set out to do. The barber’s name was Imdat, literally meaning “help”. In Turkey, this name is given when the family has too many kids, as a cry for help. Barber Imdat sympathized with my cause immediately.

He was kind enough to tell his apprentice to go and get an Ahmet as his hair was perfect for “me”. As the apprentice rushed away, I waited in the shop and chatted about the busiest days to take some pictures. These turned out to be Mondays and Saturdays. Soon the aprentice came back, unfortunately Ahmet was playing soccer. There was no other client in the shop. So I decided to come back.

So I called and checked whether clients were available on a Monday and went in. There were two men. One was a young guy who was studying in the U.S. who complained about the barbers in the U.S, which criticism I fully share. Either Super Cuts on the cheap or 300 Dollars, no middle range :-) The other client was just "my cup of tea". He was having his throat kindly creamed and the ingrown hair there pushed to surface with a needle and then removed with a tweezer. When he saw my interest, the client explained that this was happening because he was shaving every day. It sometimes hurt him at night.

Then an older client was called in, "especially for me" said Imdat. He had hair growing out of his ears. So he was going to be waxed. So Imdat showed me how this was done. He first put the wax on to cheeks and ear. I took my pictures and then he pulled the wax out. All hair was removed in one go!

I also knew there were alternative ways for removal of cheek hair: by thread. (done not to shave the thin hair on the cheeks) I asked Imdat to demonstrate it for my international readers. This technique relies on pulling the hair out while squeezing it inside the thread. The next client who was a young guy was a little bit hesitant to volunteer for us. He insisted that he didn’t have much hair. After being convinced for the cheeks, he made clear that the answer was "no" when it came to eyebrows!


If you have not stopped reading yet, I will freak you out even more.

There is an alternative way of removing ear hair. You take some cotton, roll it on a pencil and lit it. If you hold it close enough to the ear hair while using your hand to prevent fire, the lit cotton burns the hair. It smells a little bit but is less painful.

So after reading all this, you might be feeling like my big fat greek wedding and would never make it to the barber in Turkey but remember these "treatments" are optional!

You can also have just a haircut and shave. But if you let the barber do his tricks and go for the extras, I guarantee you that your wife or girlfriend will like the outcome. No one wants to be with a monkey :-). But being subject to it for the first time raises different reactions. When I picked up my ex (French)  who was subject to the removal of cheek hair by thread, he said “you guys are completely obsessed with hair” while my sister's ex (German) who was subject to the same operation apparently said “tell him to stop, it hurts”.


You might be thinking  this experience explains why they are our exes :-). Hardly…


Other Beautiful Palaces in Mysore Apart from Mysore Palace

Mysore, is the most popular and the second largest city in Karnataka. Mysore is one of the top destinations of Karnataka Tourism and also one of the famous places of heritage in India.

Often referred as the City of Palaces, the royal city still retains its old world charm with its palaces, heritage buildings, traditions and temples. Apart from Mysore Palace, there are many lesser known but beautiful royal buildings spread across the city.

Here is a list of six other beautiful palaces in Mysore apart from Mysore Palace.


Places to visit in Mysore

Karanji Mansion

Karanji Mansion is one of the famous palaces located in Nazarbad Mohalla of Mysore.  The palace was built in 1902 on an area of 38 acres on an elevated place. It was constructed for Krishnajammanni, a second princess of Mysore. The Mansion is built using the Indo-Sarcenic Renaissance style of architecture and comprises of stone cleave balconies, cusped arches, carved stone columns and sunshades. This mansion houses the Postal Training Institute of the Department of Posts from 1965.


Lalitha Mahal Palace

Lalitha Mahal Palace is one of the elegant palaces located close to Chamundi Hill Road in Mysore. This is the second largest palace in Mysore after Mysore Palace. The corridors and the hall have lovely paintings of Mysore rulers and historical events of the Mysore Kingdom.

The restaurant block is the alluring part with the curved roof and the glass dome at the center follow spectacular architectural interest of the Mysore rulers. It is one of the magnificent palaces in South India and one of the top tourist places in Mysore. Now, the palace is converted into a five-star hotel and is maintained by the India Tourist Development Corporation.


Cheluvamba Mansion

Cheluvamba Mansion is one of the magnificent palaces located on the Mysore- Krishnaraja Sagar road, close to the Mysore Railway Station. The mansion was built in 1911 by Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV for his third daughter Cheluvajammanni. This mansion is spread over a huge area and is surrounded by gardens like all other palaces in Mysore. The Mansion is beautifully built and all the rooms have splendid cravings.

But, today it is home to a premier research institute of the country, The Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI). Entry to the palace is restricted for general public.


Jaganmohan Palace

Jaganmohan Palace is one of the most beautiful royal palaces located in the Princely state of Mysore. It was built in 1861 CE by Krishnaraja Wodeyar III as an alternate retreat for the royal family. The main attraction of the palace is the hall with wooden doors. These wooden doors have marvelous carvings which depict Dashavatara, the ten incarnations of the Lord Vishnu. On the other hands, the breathtaking carvings on the walls of Jaganmohan Palace display royal history, lineage of the Mysore royal family along with murals on the Mysore Dussera. 


Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion

Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion is one of the stunning palaces situated on a high ridge in the campus of the University of Mysore. Built in 1905 by Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar, the palace was originally set in vast estate of 800 acres. The palace has an imposing structure and an equally impressive architecture with large & intricately carved pillars. The interior decorations of this magnificent building are in a purely Indian style.

The highlight of the palace is the kalyana mandapa which is a square shaped hall with 40 feet high glass dome. The Palace is now a part of the Mysore University and currently houses three museums - Archeology Museum, Folklore Museum and General Museum.

It is one of the best places to experince Mysore Tourism.

21st February – History, Significance & Celebration of Amor Ekushey

21st February is also known as the ‘Amor Ekushey’, the root of the Bengali Nationalism and an independent country, Bangladesh.

The International Mother Language Day on 21st February is observed worldwide to promote the awareness of the cultural diversity, linguistic and multilingualism.

The announcement of the IMD – International Mother Language Day came from UNESCO in November 17, 1999. But, it was officially recognized in 2008 under the United Nations General Assembly’s resolution to establish. More than 280 million people speak in the Bangla language across the world currently. 21 February is the most memorable annual day in the history of Bangladesh. It’s a national day with a public holiday to commemorate the sacrifices and protests to protect Bangla as the national language in 1952 at the time of the Movement of the Bengali Language.


A Brief History of the Language Movement of the 21st February, 1952

This day is commemorated for the martyrs of the language movement on 21st February 1952. After the movement, Bangla got the honor of being the state language of the former East Pakistan, the current Bangladesh. The movement was made on the strength to preserve the privileges to speak and write in some one’s mother tongue. The day of International Mother Language has been celebrated since 2000 to create awareness of multilingualism and peace worldwide.

It was on 21st of the February in 1952 that the students of the Dhaka University, Jagannath University along with Dhaka Medical College come out with a demonstration to restore ‘Bangla’ as the National Language of the former East Pakistan. But, the Junta of Pakistan ordered to shoot out over the procession brutally. Large quantities of students, common people were killed near the High Court of Dhaka. We commonly know the name of Rafiq, Barkat, Salam etc. But, there were a lot more people killed.


The Significance of 21 February, Amor Ekushey

Amor Ekushey of 21 February has a large value and significance for the Bengali nation. On this day they get the right to speak and write in their mother language after donating a huge amount blood under the shooting of the Pakistani Police. It acted as the catalyst of the identity of the Bengali national in the East Bengal. It also became the ancestor to the movements of the Bengali nationalist, including the Movement of the 6-point and finally the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. 21 February is the National Day of the country with a public holiday. There is a Shaheed Minar (the Martyrs’ Monument) near the Dhaka Medical College to remember the victims and the movement.


Events and Celebration Internationally of the Amor Ekshey, 21 February

Each year, UNESCO selects the theme of the IMLD – International Mother Language Day. It sponsors all of the events relating to the IMLD in its Headquarters in Paris. The first and ancient event is the ‘Probhat Feri” from the first minutes of the 21st February. The other celebration and events of the day include discussion about the importance of the day, national, international and provincial award presenting. Bangladesh is the home of the Bengali Language and the day is observed all over the country. The day is also celebrated across the world, including countries like India, Canada, Russia, Philippines, Chile,  Egypt etc.

Another significant part of the Amor Ekushey, 21 February, is the month-long ‘Amor Ekushey Book Fair’.


Month-long Amor Ekushey Book Fair

The fair used to go up until the 21st of February for many years. But, due to the demand of the sellers, buyers and visitors, the fair is prolonged for the whole month of the February. The department of the Cultural Affairs of Bangladesh government controls the fair. The stalls are divided for the publishers, little magazines, child corner, Non-Governmental and Governmental Institute.

Moreover, the fair is also divided according to the name of the language movement martyrs, including Rafiq, Barkat, Shafiur, and many other scholars and renowned personnel. Here come many local publishers as well as some foreign publishers from India, Japan, Russia, and other countries. Some government institutions take stalls in the fair, such as the Bangladesh Tourism Board etc.

At the present time, some of the digital publishers like CD, VCD, and VDV take place at the Ekushey Book Fair. Some mobile operators come into the fair to introduce their new products and offers. The little magazines draw huge attention to the visitors.


Prestige, Luxury Dhaka Hotel 71

Hotel 71 is one of the best hotels in Dhaka and this Dhaka hotel is situated in the middle of the city. The Hotel 71 offers a great stay with its luxurious and modern amenities and cordial hospitality of the staff. All other facilities are included to make your stay in a Dhaka a memorable trip. The breakfast includes a variety of dishes made up of about 40% western dishes and 60% local dishes.


So, 21st February is a very important day with the history, significance and celebration of Amor Ekushey along with the Bengali nationalism. The 21st February is the part and partial to the Bengali language, Bengali tradition and all about Bengali (Bangla). Without the Bengali Language Movement of the 21st, the Bangladeshi national has nothing to say about.

It’s the base of all Bangladeshi and Bangla speaking people around the world.


Top One Day Hikes Around Taipei

Hiking is a big deal in Taiwan and with good reason. There are literally hundreds of world class hikes all over the island that attract locals and tourists alike to their stunning scenery.

Being a largely mountainous country, there is no surprise that the hiking here is so good.

It might come as a surprise that a number of these great hikes can be done as day trips from the capital city Taipei. For many of us city dwellers, the idea that we could wake up early and then be hiking in the middle of thick vegetation, high up on a mountain that has stunning views of the city, might seem quite far-fetched, but with Taipei, this is not a dream, it’s a reality.

As a hiker that has explored the best trails that the city has to offer, I decided to let you know my top choice trails that can be done as day trips from Taipei.

Before you set out, don’t forget to pack a good quality rain poncho because the weather around Taipei is always extremely unpredictable.


Top One Day Hikes Around Taipei

1.    Wu Liao Jian 

This spectacular trail is definitely not for the fainthearted, or indeed, those who might be out of shape.

To get there, you will need to get a taxi or some private transportation out to the starting point by Hezue Bridge, as it is a little out of the way. From there, you start out by walking through thick forests as the trail winds its way gradually upwards. This trail is probably the most technical you will encounter, as often the paths are slippery and in some cases require you to step over trees and other obstacles. There are also a number of quite frightening metal ladders that require you to climb, the largest of which is around 25 meters.

The views from the top are stunning and definitely worth every moment of discomfort it took to get up there.


2.    Teapot Mountain & Mount Banping

If you are an aspiring photographer then this is the trail for you.

Located out to the northwest of Taiwan, this trail will definitely require a fairly early start to complete in time. The hike begins and ends at 2 historical towns, Jiufen and Jinguashi, the first of which is a former gold town that was made famous in the critically acclaimed film City of Sadness, while the latter town is part of Jinguashi Ecological Park. The hike winds its way around the wide open grasslands that hug the coastline and yield some amazing views over the Pacific ocean.

There are a few nice spots to catch the sunset if you decide to stick around and more than enough great restaurants in Juifen for you to find a great place to have dinner.


3.    Bei Cha Tian Shan

This has to be the most difficult hike on this list, while also being one of the remotest.

You can do 2 different hikes here, the first from Manyueyuan, is a long loop that will take you through some incredible scenery and take you the full day to complete. Another shorter trail, starts in Xiao Wulai and passes through a small section of giant redwoods, some of which are more than 500 years old.

The only drawback to this hike is that you will have to take private transport, as buses are non-existent out here.


4.    Pingxi Crags

If you want to test your nerve as much as you want to test your hiking abilities, then Pingxi Crags is the hike to try.

Though the hike is, on the whole, a lot easier than the others featured here, the Pingxi Crags themselves are pretty daunting. Likewise, Cimu Feng (Loving Mother Peak) and Shaozi Shan (Dutiful Son Mountain) can be a little scary, especially for those with a fear of heights.

As long as you are brave enough, you will be rewarded with some spectacular views of sprawling mountain ranges and beautiful little temples sleeping in the nearby valleys.


5.    The Four Beasts

For spectacular sunset views over Taipei, this is the best hiking trail around.

Comprising of the 4 peaks, Leopard, Lion, Tiger and the most famous Elephant, this trail gives the best rewards for the least effort. For the most part, the trail has been paved, meaning that it is relatively easy for even the most novice hiker. There are lots of ways you can enter and exit this trail, so you don’t need to follow it for its whole length if you don’t want to. For those people who just want the stunning views, you can take the MRT to the end of the red line and simply do the small climb up to Elephant peak to watch the sunset.

For those who decide to do the trail, you will be treated to tonnes of temples, shrines, gardens and even gyms that will have your camera shutter working overtime.


Belgium: Waterloo and Beyond


Visit Waterloo, 1815

You have to visit Waterloo if you travel to Belgium!

Seriously, you should not miss this… let me tell you why...

I’m pretty sure you have heard of the Battle of Waterloo? If not, let me give you a short recap. The Battle of Waterloo was where Napoleon lost a very important battle which lead history into what we know as Europe today.

(If you know about this historical event, skip this quick history lesson and read more about the museum beneath.)


Info about the historical event of the Battle of Waterloo

Napoleon dominated Europe for 10 years until 1814 when he was sent to the island of Elba for exile. After only 10 months on Elba, Napoleon saw the chance to rule over France again and headed back to Paris. He was right, and the army welcomed him and the French folk cheered. This was not in favor of the coalition of allies who defeated him before, so the Austrians, Prussians, Russians and British raised a new army and planned to defeat the French again.

In June of 1815, Napoleon marched into Belgium (not existing at that date yet as an own country) and fought the Prussian army, forcing them to move back and keeping them separate from the British army, otherwise the French army would be outnumbered.

Napoleon then decided to charge against the British army, which included Belgian, Dutch and German troops who were based in the village of “Waterloo”.

In many heavy fights on the 18th June 1815 it looked like Napoleon was going to win this important battle and that he was able to march through to Brussels. But Napoleon committed several tactical errors and the Allies were finally able to stop the French army. The Prussians were able to fight back and support the British troops, which got to the point that the French army fled, inclusive Napoleon.

After the defeat, Napoleon was sent to exile on the tiny island of Saint Helena between Africa and South America, where he died 6 years later.

Before 1815, Europe was a region with many wars between all the different kingdoms and borders. After the final defeat of Napoleon, Europe had a period of relative peace, which held up for over 40 years.

Without a doubt, Europe would have definitely been a different place today if Napoleon would have won the battle of Waterloo. Want some more information? Watch this video to learn more about Napoleon and the Battle of Waterloo.


The Museum of Waterloo 1815

The Battle of Waterloo might have taken place a very long time ago and you might think that a museum about this event might be a bit dusty with its appearance, but The Museum of Waterloo 1815 is different, very different.

They use modern technology to bring life to the battle, and the history of that time. It feels a bit like traveling back to the year 1815. There is a huge hill called “Lion’s Mound” with over 225 steps, which is the memorial of the battle. You can climb up and take a look at the landscape where the battle took place, but even then, you cannot really imagine how it was in 1815. Choose to look again through your virtual reality glasses! Yeaph… here you have the option to compare what you see nowadays and what happened over 200 years ago.

You also can’t forget to visit the actual museum. The museum found a really impressive way to combine history with new technology and to even excite historical grumps to find out more about this important life event.

Wall images are not “simple” oil painted images, but actually animated screens, which still look like oil paintings, but moving! Take a look here:

Then there is a path you follow which will take you past soldiers with their uniforms, which are definitely not dusty, but where you get a good impression of that time.

This leads you into a 4D cinema experience. This is where you can really imagine how it was at that time. They show and explain you the different tactical maneuvers and mistakes which were made, but also show the madness of this massacre. Around 50,000 people were killed or wounded in the battle of Waterloo.

There were three farms which played important roles and one is an extra must visit place, the farm “d'Hougoumont”. The Hougoumont Farm lies only a short walk South of the Memorial, but there is also a free bus transfer from the memorial. A battle in a battle took place at this farm.

The French tried to take over this strategically positioned farm and were even able to get through the gates. Ten British soldiers were then able to close the doors again, which meant that the farm was held by the British soldiers. This tinier battle played a very important role in the overall battle, and by understanding those tinier events, you can better understand the bigger battle and the events that took place.

The Hougoumont Farm brings you closer by using modern technology. You’ll experience a nice exhibition, but the film in the barn is what you have to see. I would like to tell you more, but I really can’t. Just trust me, you will be surprised, the creative way the battle of Hougoumont is presented is truly remarkable.


Good to know…

There are two different ticket prices and depending on how interested you are, you can choose the ticket that is right for you. No matter what, you should invest a minimum of 4-5 hours in to visit the Waterloo Battlefield. It’s easy to spend the full day there, if you are interested in learning more.


3-4 hours: Combined Ticket Memorial 1815 - €17

This includes the:

  • The Memorial 1815

  • The Panorama

  • The Lion’s Mound

  • The 1815 Experience

  • The Hougoumont Farm


6-7 hours: Pass 1815 - €21

This includes the:

  • The Memorial 1815

  • The Panorama

  • The Lion’s Mound

  • The 1815 Experience

  • The Hougoumont Farm

  • The Wellington museum

  • The Last Headquarters of Napoleon

  • The Farm/Brouwery of Mont-Saint-Jean

Find more info here.


Belgium beyond Waterloo

Yes, there is far more to explore, as you can read and watch in the video here. On top of that you should visit the Solvay Regional Estate. From the car park, it’s a short walk, which will first lead you to…


Fondation Folon

Here you will find the cafe/restaurant La Taverne de l'Homme Bleu, which is the perfect place to have lunch before exploring more. Enjoy the view and the good food before visiting the Fondation Folon. Never heard of Jean-Michel Folon? Me neither, but you might have heard of “The Blue Man”, which made Folon famous. Apart from that, he created many posters and drafted many cover images for magazines like Times Magazine. His work is often presented in well-known museums around the world… or you can just head to the Fondation Folon, where you can explore much more of his work all in one place. You’ll find painted art, sculptures, typical things, but also funky and unusual work. This is definitely a dynamic museum and the worth the €9 entrance if you are interested in art.

Just up the hill, you’ll find the…


Château de la Hulpe

The Château de la Hulpe has a huge park around it which you should definitely take a look at. This is the perfect photo stop along the way. Stroll along, relax on the grass, do some yoga, enjoy the views and this nice trip into nature.


Explore the City of Nivelles

Here you will find a typical Belgian city with that atmosphere you were looking for when first arriving in Belgium. You’ll find old traditional houses, a church with a few restaurants, bars and cafes.

The Collegiate Church of Nivelles definitely stands out with its two towers and a huge front.

Right next to it you’ll find the “Taverne Restaurant de l’Union”, which is well-known and is one of the best places to eat the local dish “Tarte Al Djote”. This is a tarte you should not miss! It’s full of chard, local cream cheese and butter... and it’s delicious. Here you’ll find the Tarte Al Djote recipe, if you are interested to give it a go yourself, but let me tell you, it tastes better in Nivelles. ;-)

Why? This dish was more or less endangered to be forgotten until some men got together and formed the brotherhood of Tarte Al Djote. Their mission was and is to preserve this cultural dish and to keep the folkloric and gastronomic heritage of the city of Nivelles.

It’s not easy to join this brotherhood and they take their duty very seriously. Each year they test all the different tarts and rate them. At the end, a winner is chosen and a list is published (in french) with the different restaurants who took part.


Find more info about Brabant Wallon on

50° 40' 44.67" N, 4° 24' 14.5872" E

Amazing Tidal Pools in Cape Town: A Local’s Guide

Known to be the busiest time of the year for Cape Town, during December locals know all too well to brace themselves for the influx of tourists flocking to the popular beaches. It is during these times that I slip away to secluded spots instead.
While many of the trendy beaches in Cape Town have amazing tidal pools, if you prefer less people, be sure to visit some of the tidal pool locations on my list. What’s great about these locations is that they are tucked away from the madness that comes with the festive season and still offer a picturesque view of the sea.
Here’s my guideline to exploring some of the hidden gems in my city that I’ve discovered over time.

Tidal Pools in Cape Town:

St James Beach

St James beach is one of the most visited beaches in Cape Town, as it is well known for its large tidal pool and array of iconic colourful beach huts. For sure, during the holiday season (December to January) you’ll find the beach packed with locals and tourists eager to catch a tan and a swim in the cooling waters of the tidal pool. But if you’re looking to enjoy the tidal pool and beautiful view minus the crowd, head to the beach during the early morning for a swim or jog. In addition, from February until mid-March while the weather is still sunny you’ll find the beach less busy.
St James beach is in close proximity to nearby restaurants, luxury accommodation, stores, and even has some heritage sites.  
Here’s a list of some of the great restaurants in St James:

  • Octopus’ Garden
  • C’est la Vie
  • Trattoria Antonia

Now that the road works on the main road leading to False Bay have been completed, driving to St James beach is no problem. If you’re up for a more adventurous trip be sure to travel by the public train, as the St James train station is right next to the beach.
Other than tanning, sandcastles, and laps in the tidal pool, you should go for a scenic walk down the charming pathway running to the neighbouring beach Muizenberg, which is well known for surfing and vibrant restaurants.


I’ve found that Glencairn is the last place people consider when travelling along the False Bay coast of Cape Town. Bear in mind, Glencairn beach is in close proximity to the tourist hotspots False Bay and Simons Town, which could explain why many travellers just pass by, sometimes without noticing the little haven.
Glencairn beach is easy to miss especially when you’re driving to get to the neighbouring suburbs of False Bay and Simons Town, your best bet is to look out for the Glencairn train station, which is located right next to the beach. Here, the tidal pool is quite similar to the one of St James beach but has yet to be discovered by the crowds.
Considering its closeness to the neighbouring beaches it’s surprising how Glencairn isn’t packed during the holidays and weekends. Since the secluded beach is located next to Glencairn train station, you can expect a scenic train ride on your way on both sides. If you’re travelling with a car, it’s a pretty straightforward drive seeing that it is situated along the main road connecting to Simons Town.
While it may not be as popular as St James it has all of the qualities for one to enjoy as you would at any other beach along the False Bay coastline. So if you’re the type who would enjoy a quick swim in the refreshing waters of the tidal pool or dip in the ocean, Glencairn beach is the ideal destination even for the sun-loving folk.
I find that the best time to visit this tidal pool is just before sunset as it offers a beautiful viewpoint of the ocean. The exclusive feel is perfect for those seeking tranquillity after being caught up in the hustle and bustle of the main attractions.
Also, there are a few great restaurants and pubs that you should visit. What more could you ask for as you sip on a sundowner while overlooking the sea – the ultimate Capetonian ritual after a long day in the sun.


Peregrinate the False Bay coast to the small town of Kommetjie. A popular surfing and kite surfing location, Kommetjie is also a world-class windsurfing destination. Tucked away south of Long Beach at De Kom (Dutch for bowl) you’ll find the wide tidal pool accompanied by a breath-taking view of the sea. Most people spend the entire day here, as it’s a great opportunity to have a picnic with the family all while enjoying the sun.
While Kommetjie may be a little town it sure has plenty attractions that you should visit while in town.
These attractions include:

  • Bird watching: Most bird watching activity mainly takes place in the De Kom area.
  • Slangkoppunt Lighthouse: Tallest cast iron lighthouse in South Africa.
  • Imhoff Farm: Includes camel rides and reptile park.
  • Restaurants: There are a ton of popular restaurants in Kommetjie.
  • Soetwater Recreational Area: Camping site.

There’s no official public transport that goes all the way to Kommetjie aside from a bus service that ends in the neighbouring suburb, Noordhoek. The best option is to drive with a car as it will give you the opportunity to stop along the way and enjoy the majestic view of the coastline and suburbs below as you drive high up along the mountain.

Millers Point

Situated between two main attractions, Simons Town and Cape Point, Miller’s Point is often is the last place included in a tour down the False Bay coast. Here, you’ll find two small sandy coves and a spectacular tidal pool. It’s hard to believe how a beautiful destination such as Miller’s Point is excluded, but this could be due to its close proximity to the popular attractions.
The beach offers a lush expansive lawn, braai (South African name for barbecue) area and a boat-launching site for speedboats. This is the ideal location if you’re looking to enjoy a day in the sun with the entire family. On a clear day (roughly between November and February) you’ll get a beautiful view of the cliffs plunging into the sea.
Nearby attractions include:

  • Table Mountain National Park: Stretches from north of Cape Town down to the Cape Peninsula, includes Table Mountain and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
  • Cape of Good Hope: The most south-easterly point of South Africa.
  • Bird watching
  • Shark cage diving
  • Blue Marlin Restaurant: Popular seafood restaurant.
  • Boat trips: Venture a scenic boat trip to Cape Point where you’ll get to sightsee the breath-taking coastline.

While the coastal drive to Miller’s Point is a spectacular experience, be sure to be on the look out for baboons. It’s advised that you refrain from feeding them as they’re known for their vicious behaviour and therefore it’s best to roll up your car windows.
There’s no doubt that Cape Town’s popular attractions should not be missed; however, I find that the hot spots are often glamourized to a point that tourists don’t get a true sense of the city.  Use the above-listed unique guideline for not only the tidal pools but also to explore the turns and corners of Cape Town that are less travelled but worth the effort.
Travel tip shared by Anthea Adams

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