Vietnam Lunar New Year – 10 Things To Do and Don’t

For many of us younger Vietnamese, Tet always had been something very important to our families, to our culture and to our people.

However, we often don’t understand certain things that the older folks in the family usually say and do during these 3 important days of the Lunar New Year.

Just like many of the young Vietnamese living overseas, I have been through the age of wondering and struggling to find out the real stories and reasons behind each activity and behavior that the Vietnamese people do for Tet.

You may not agree with some of the believes and traditions that I’m going to list below, but reading this list will save you a lot of headache and hopefully will help you in starting to appreciate the beauty of our Vietnamese culture and traditions:


The 10 Do’s:

1. Say “Happy New Year” in any language that you can when you see a Vietnamese or an Asian person. In Vietnamese, it is “Chuc Mung Nam Moi,” with a big smile!

2. Give red envelopes (Li Xi), though in the old days, only married people were supposed to do this task in the new year because married people were believed to be more successful than single individuals. However, nowadays, giving away Li Xi is an act of showing your generosity and wishing the recipients luck throughout the year. Who doesn’t like getting money from those red envelopes? Because, I DO!

3. Smile, laugh often, and be energetic. Just don’t overdo the smiling and laughing because people may misjudge you as someone recently discharged from an asylum or someone on dope. Nevertheless, seeing someone with a smile on his/her face will brighten the mood of anybody on any day, so definitely do this!

4. Offer others something sweet such as candies or “mut Tet”. People believe that sweet things will bring sweetness for the rest of the year.

5. Offer the elderly a warm cup of tea if they have lost all their teeth or have diabetes. A warm cup of tea is believed to deliver happiness, warmth, and the flavorful sweet taste to the person. Vietnamese families usually gather around during Tet to just drink tea. The tea might not be warm, but love of family is surely warm.

6. Visit all your relatives. This is your golden excuse to visit your relatives and catch up with them. This is my golden excuse to meet the rest of my crowded family members to make sure that that cute chick I’m dating doesn’t happen to be my 5th cousin. (J/K!)

7. Give anything related to number 6 or 8. This is because our culture has been tied with some aspects of Chinese culture. Number 6 in Cantonese sounds like the word “Loc” in Vietnamese, which means Luck. Number 8 in Cantonese sounds like the word “Phat” in Vietnamese, which means Prosperity. I personally don’t believe in these, but I will do anything to make people happy. So, giving $6 or $8 for Li Xi would beat the $10. In the end, I save $2 to $4 for each Li Xi and still make others happy. Nice trick huh?

8. Give anything red in color, such as watermelon, li xi, dried fruits in a red box (mut Tet), etc. The color red is associated with Luckyand High Class rankings in Asian culture, especially the ones that are heavily influenced by Chinese culture. In addition, the color red brings warm feelings or hotness, like fire. So in short, red brings luck and warmth to the family.

9.  Wear new, colorful, beautiful clothes with light colors. Put those wrinkled, stinky clothes in the washer already!

10. Give the following package of fruits: custard apple, coconut, papaya, and mango. In Vietnamese, the fruits, respectively: Mang Cau, Dua, Du Du, Xo In the Vietnamese Southern accent, the fruits will be pronounced as “Cau Dua Du Xai”, which means “wishing you having enough money to spend”.

However, if you read number 4 on the 10 Dont’s List below, you will see that people usually take out the custard apple from the package due to the difficulty of finding it during Tet and the belief that 4 is a bad number. You will often see the package contains only coconut, papaya, and mango, which gives you the combination of “Dua Du Xai”, the truncated version with the meaning of “Enough Money to Spend”.


The 10 Dont’s:

1. Don’t show up at somebody’s house on the 1st day unless you have been invited by the house owner first. Otherwise, go on the 2nd day or at a later time. People believe that the first person who shows up at their house will bring to the family all the characteristics of that person. If a person is a successful person, the family will be successful. If the person has been unlucky last year, the family will be in bad luck all this new year.

So it is best for you to stay home until someone has invited you over. It’s their signal of telling you that either someone already has entered their house for this year or they personally like your characteristics to have you over and bring them luck. Believe it or not, I don’t think all this luck stuff is true, but I recommend you to listen to this advice to avoid being unreasonably blamed.

2. Don’t wear dark clothing or just black and white. Dark, black, and white clothing is believed to be associated with death and funerals. By the way, wear something nice and lively–it’s New Year!

3. Don’t swear, curse, trash talk, or argue. Any of these is already bad for any time of the year, not alone the New Year…

4. Don’t give presents with unlucky signs. For example: Any foods with squid or duck meat and number 4 and 7.

Squid produces black liquid, which is considered to be dirty and harmful, though the squid itself tastes super good! Ducks are believed to be stupid and their meat is dark (at least darker than chicken meat).

Number 4 is pronounced as “Tu” in the old Vietnamese language system which sounds almost like “Tu”, which means Die or Death in the old Vietnamese language that is heavily influenced by the Chinese language. Most people have mistaken the fact of number 7 being a lucky number. However, in old Vietnamese language, 7 is pronounced as “That”, which is the same spelling and same sound as the word “Lost” or “Missing” in old Vietnamese language. So in Vietnamese, number 7 is actually very bad! Not as lucky as you thought.

Oh yeah, and if you are in Vietnam, don’t eat or give dog meat during New Year. I’ll tell you the reason in person.

5. Don’t talk about negative topics such as accidents, deaths, or funerals. Who likes to talk about these things anyway?

6. Don’t ask someone to repay you a debt or loan. Wait until the next 2-3 weeks. People believe that if they have to repay or borrow money at the beginning of the year, they will have to borrow and repay money for the rest of the year. Best time of the year to dodge your debt, eh?

7. Don’t ask for “Li Xi” if it was not given. This is considered equivalent to asking the person to pay their debt. In my personal opinion, this has more to do with courtesy and politeness.

8. Don’t visit anyone’s house for the first 3 days of the lunar calendar if you have funeral in your immediate family in the last 3 years. Vietnamese people believe that the dead person in the family will not go to Hell within the first 3 years of his or her death.

Their spirit will follow the family members for 3 years before they either get tired from it or witness the fact that the family has gotten over the fact of their death. People don’t want spirits to go into their house during New Year because gods, goddesses, and Buddhas are partying it up during this time and paying less attention in guarding the house of the owners from ghosts and spirits.

So, sit home with your beloved spirit; people will come to your house to share your sadness if they are considerate. You do not want to take any stupid blame if some family sheds some blood for something that is totally unrelated to you.

9. Don’t take or ask to take things that are related to fire out of somebody’s house such as: lighters, matches, coals, fire fluid, gas, etc. Fire is considered to be the source of the warmth of the family, the desire of couple’s love. It is believed that families with fire taken away will have problems within the family. Firefighters should take 3 vacation days during Tet if their station happens to be within the Asian neighborhood.

10. Don’t take or ask to take things that are related to water out of somebody’s house such as: bottles of water, water containers, water dispensers, drinking cups, glasses, etc. People usually wish each other “Tai Loc Nhu Nuoc” or “Money and success coming in like water”.

So, taking water out of somebody’s house is equivalent to taking away their wealth. If you are thirsty, drink the water inside the house, don’t take the bottle home or you will see the owner coming to your house to take back their waterbottle with an angry face.


Lastly, I wish all the readers and travelers a happy new year, a successful 12 months, an amazing 365 days, and a wonderful 8,760 hours with your loved ones!

Chuc Mung Nam Moi!


Plantation Bay Resort & Spa in Cebu Philippines


Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Cebu Philippines is one of the countries top resorts and one of the largest privately owned waterways in the world.

In this video I spend Christmas at this resort.


If you are looking for a accommodation in Cebu for Christmas, Plantation Bay Resort and Spa is one of the top resorts in the Philippines.

Located in Mactan Island, the resort offers lots of activities for the whole family over the Christmas holidays.

In the video I show the resort's restaurants, the lagoons and how to get there. When I stayed at Plantation Bay Resort I slept in the Water's Edge Room that has direct access to the lagoons. One of the best rooms you can stay in the resort.

My other video has the Lagoon side room. This is a great room for a romantic stay!

For Christmas they had a special Christmas Eve Buffet complete with music, singing, dancing and fireworks. It was a fantastic way to spend Christmas in the Philippines.

When I book, I look at room prices for Plantation Bay Resort Cebu on the resort's own website.

For more travel vlogs around Cebu and the Philippines please subscribe.

*All rates and conditions subject to change. Please check directly with the resort for latest info and rates.

10° 15' 40.2156" N, 123° 58' 57.558" E

Tips and Highlights for Visiting Zurich

Switzerland is one of those places people know from photos or postcards, but have rarely had the chance to visit.

With the allure of the Swiss Alps, towns like Lucerne and Zermatt, as well as the chocolate and the cheese, there is so much to visit in this country, it is often hard to choose!

No matter where you decide to spend your time in Switzerland, one place you will often end up is Zurich. And although most people are in a rush to leave this bustling financial metropolis, there is actually a lot to see and do. And often you can do it all in one day. The city is so compact and easy to navigate on foot.

So, if you decide to spend a day or two in Zurich...


Here are some of the highlights you absolutely should not miss in Zurich:

ETH & The Polybahn

The ETH is not only one of the best universities in Switzerland but it is also an amazing place to get a great view over the city of Zurich. So, I recommend you come here straight away to get a fantastic overview of the city before you start exploring things further.

The ETH is reached either by foot about 10-15 minutes uphill from the Central tram station, or via the famous Polybahn cog railway from next door to Starbucks. That means you can also stop off for a coffee before you head up on the train.

The cog railway is part of the Zurich train network, so if you buy a day card for public transport, this will also be included.

Once you arrive at the top, it is just a short walk to the ETH Polyterrasse where you can see the whole of Zurich spread out before you. This means it is also a great spot for sunset, and the great news is you can grab a drink from the student bar just below the terrace to make that susnet all the better!



Niederdorfstrasse is the main street running through the old town of Zurich and as luck would have it, it starts right next to the Polybahn train station. As such, it is a great follow on from your ride up to the ETH.

The street winds its way through the East side of the old town, connecting to another street further own after the Grossmunster church. This actually takes you all the way to Bellevue and the Lake of Zurich, so it might take you a few hours to explore.

There are cozy side streets, small shops, cafes and bars, as well as a huge range of restaurants along here. One of which is popular with tourists as it allows you to have a Swiss cheese fondue while soaking up the atmosphere of the street. Great on a balmy summer’s night, or even on a cool winter evening when cheese fondue is really at its best!



No visit to the old town of Zurich is complete without popping in to the Grossmunster. Not only is it the most iconic, and standout building along the river running through Zurich. But the stain glass windows inside are said to be some of the best in Switzerland, if not Europe.

There is also the opportunity to climb one of the towers and get yet another stunning view of Zurich, only this time from a different perspective. If you missed the ETH and Polyterrace, then this is an absolute must! And at only 5 Swiss francs, it is one of the cheapest attractions you will find in Switzerland!


Lake Zurich

Once you reach the end of the old town of Zurich, you arrive at the grandiose and scenic shores of Lake Zurich. Here you have a few options, depending on the weather and amount of time you have available.

You can take a stroll along the shores in either direction. Zurich has kept quite a lot of the cityside lakeshore available to the public. This includes walkways, public parks and benches where you can take 15 minutes to soak up the lake views, which stretch all the way to the Alps in the distance.

There is also the opportunity to go for a swim in the lake in summer. You can jump in from the park itself around Bade Enge, or you can pay to enter the swimming baths themselves. They also become a bar at night, and sometimes have entertainment.

On both sides there are also paddle boats available for rent, so if swimming is not your thing, or it’s not warm enough, you can still enjoy the water directly! And for the more adventurous, there are also stand up paddle board rentals at various points along the lake which is a once in a lifetime experience.



Zurich is famous for the boatloads of money that are stashed in the vaults of the many banks that call this city home. And Bahnhofstrasse is where all the bankers who work there come to shop and hang out.

So, if you want to get a feeling of how it is to be rich, and even a little famous, this is the street to stroll along. Starting at the lake end of the street, you will pass the likes of Bulgari, Dolce & Gabbana, Jimmy Choo, Cartier, Omega watches, and a whole lot more.

As you reach the midway point along the street, the price of the goods in the shops starts to enter the “normal” realm. It is here that you may want to pop into some of the more run of the mill stores like H&M, Zara, WE and other brands you might already be familiar with.

Another great thing about Bahnhofstrasse is that one side of it is also the second half of the old town of Zurich. So, if you head off the main street a little you will also find even more alleyways and hidden treasures to explore.

Some of my favorite spots include:

Lindenplatz which is a spot high above the Limmat River where you can come to relax, or take one of the best photos in Zurich. It includes a view over the city and of the iconic Grossmunster you hopefully visited earlier!

St Peter’s Church is tucked away in this area, right along the river, and has the largest clockface in Europe. If you are lucky enough to hear the bells ring, you will see how impressive they are too.


Chocolate Exploration

Of course you came to Switzerland to sample the chocolate, so let me give you a few tips and how to find the “good stuff” while exploring Zurich.

My absolute favorite is Laderach, and they are very easy to find these days. They seem to have more and more shops around Zurich, so you certainly can’t miss them. From their main shop on the Bahnhofstrasse, to their smaller shop under the train station.

Sprungli is another absolute treasure and also scattered in various corners of Zurich. One of the biggest shops is on Paradeplatz, halfway along Bahnhofstrasse, where they also have a cafe. They are well known for their chocolates and cakes, but their most renowned item is the Luxemburgerli, which is actually a macaroon. Grab a small box of mixed Luxemburgerli, you won’t regret it.

If you want to sample some more niche chocolatiers instead, then you also have a few options. There is the Max Chocolatier near the Frauenmuster church, the Confiserie Teuscher also near the St Peter’s church and last but not least - Say Chocolate in the Europaallee, not far from the Sihlpost near the main train station.


Outdoor Activities

It may seem like Zurich is all about shopping, eating and relaxing, but there are actually a huge range of outdoor activities to do here. The forest is only a stone’s throw away from the city, on almost all sides, and there is a lake right in the middle of the city. And on top of that, Switzerland is definitely not flat!

The home mountain of Zurich is the Uetliberg, which is a 15 minute train ride from downtown. You can ride the train to the top and go for a walk along the ridge trail, as well as take in the stunning lake views while you are there. Or, you can hike all the way to the top from Triemli tram stop, which is again around 15-20 minutes from downtown.

The same goes on the other side of the lake where you have both the Zuriberg and Pfannensteil, great places to lose yourself in the forest for hours. Of course, you can never really get lost in Switzerland because the next town, road, train or bus is usually just around the corner.

And for those wanting to get in a little skiing while in town, that is also very easy to do. The closest resorts are either Flumserberg and Hoch-Ybrig, both around 45 minutes train ride from downtown. So, if you are here in the winter months of January or February, there is sure to be some great skiing to be had, even if you only have a few days in Zurich!

Of course, there are far more outdoor activities to enjoy if you venture even further afield, but that is for another time.


The Best Places To Go Hiking In The UK

The UK features a lot of amazing places to go hiking, so picking just 4 places is tricky. I’ve tried to include something for everyone, from stunning strolls through the countryside, to nail-biting scrambles over ridges with steep drops either side.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

The Best Places To Go Hiking In The UK

Snowdonia, North Wales

Snowdonia features the second highest mountain in the UK, Snowdon standing at an elevation of 1,085m. Though there are lots of walks to do in Snowdonia, Snowdon is by far the most popular and not just because it’s the second highest mountain, it provides amazing views for miles. If you are considering tackling Snowdon, you’ll be glad to know there are several routes to the top of varying difficulties. The easiest being the Llanberis Path and the most difficult being Crib Goch. Though be warned the Llanberis Path is still not easy, at around 9 miles and taking between 4 and 6 hours.

Other great walks in Snowdonia you should check out are Llyn Ogwen circular walk, Tryfan and Rhosgadfan.


Isle of Skye, Scotland

The Isle of Skye is located off the north west of Scotland, though there is a bridge so you can still drive over. The landscape on Skye is very rugged and untouched due to its remoteness. Due to its unique landscape, you’re likely to have seen Skye featured in a film you’ve watched such as The BFG, The Wickerman and Macbeth.

You’ll definitely want to check out The Old Man of Storr, an iconic rocky walk which features large sharp rocks emerging from the grassy slope. Although the walk only takes 1-2 hours, a good level of fitness is required.

Other areas you’ll want to visit include Fairy Pools, The Quiraing and Neist Point.


Lake District, Cumbria

Located in the North West of England, the Lake District is home to many bodies of water (16 in total!). The most famous being Lake Windermere, the largest in England measuring 5.69 sq miles. All of the bodies of water have scenic walks for you to explore, it’s just a matter of picking which one!

If you’re looking for a challenge, why not try and tackle one of the largest mountains in England, Scafell Pike, at a height of 978 meters. For those without a fear of heights, you’ll want to head to Helvellyn and take the route up via Striding Edge, this ridge walk will get anyone’s adrenaline pumping.


Peak District, Derbyshire

The Peak District is located to the centre of England so is easily accessible for people travelling from all directions, making it a popular spot for hiking in the UK. It hosts beautiful scenery in every direction, from moors as far as the eye can see to springs of water and caverns to explore.

Some the best walks to look at doing include Kinder Scout, a 14km circular walk that climbs Jacob’s Ladder, crosses Kinder Plateau and then down Grindsbrook Clough. Something a little shorter, Mam Tor at 8km is an easier walk but still provides amazing views of Edale Valley.


Whichever of the places for hiking in the UK you choose to visit for your next hiking adventure, you’re sure to have a great time. Make sure to check weather conditions before heading out as some walks mentioned can become extremely difficult if you’re not prepared.


Gear Guide: Must Haves for Camping and Hiking

When the summer months come around, campers start gettting excited to carry on with their long-awaited hiking trips. Of course, every trip would be incomplete without a great selection of high-quality essential gear. Forget the cool gadgets for camping, these are the essentials, the must haves for camping and hiking.

Packing for a camping trip also depends on what kind of trip you have in mind. If you’re driving to another city or planning small day hikes from a populated town, you can carry a big stove. If you’re hiking more than 30 miles, you would prefer taking along a more portable stove that is both lightweight and easy to use.

The most suitable gear for both hiking and camping depends on weight and ease of packing. So make sure you do your homework when buying the right equipment for your perfect getaway trip. Whether you’re a beginner to hiking or a pro, we’ve got you covered.

Must Have for Camping


Tents for overnight hiking or camping are available in a variety of sizes and prices. If you want to travel long distances and prefer carrying lightweight stuff, then you should look for a swag, bedroll or a portable, lightweight, waterproof bivy sack. Bedrolls and bivy sacks are robust, shapeless and waterproof bags that can readily convert into sleeping bags and are easy to set up almost anywhere. These bags help you keep off from the ground, and those with mosquitos nets are definitely a blessing.

Search Amazon for available tents.



Comfortable, weatherproof clothing is a must for your camping trip. Water resistant pants, shorts and shoes manufactured with breathable material makes climbing and trekking a lot easier. A rain jacket may also come handy in unpredictable weather. To dry yourself clean use a microfiber towel as it absorbs moisture and dries rapidly.


Solar Chargers

With the help of a portable solar charger, you don’t have to miss any Facebook post or email notification anymore just because your phone battery is dead. Invest in a long-lasting and durable charger that can accompany you throughout your trip.



Backpacks help you differentiate between a camping trip and a hiking trip. If you’re camping, you don’t really need a backpack, but it is a must-have if you’re planning to go on small hikes.

Backpacks fall into various categories, including day backpacks (read our list of top functional and stylish daypacks), overnights, and long trips. Make sure to purchase a backpack that fits you perfectly. If it doesn’t, you might end up with blisters and backache during the journey.


A First Aid Kit

Carrying a first aid kit along with you on your trip shouldn’t come off as a surprise. Stack your box with the usual aspirin, bandages, gauze, and painkillers. It’s better to do some research too before heading out. Include some camping essentials like bug sprays, Aloe Vera and moleskin for blisters and burns.

This ready-made first aid kit is ideal for camping and hiking as it is compact, organised, water-resistant, lightweight and includes over 100 items.


Must Have For Hikers

Hiking is comparatively riskier than camping. To have a good time you can ask a friend to accompany you on your trip.

Sightseeing Binoculars

If you have a little extra cash on your hand to spend, make sure to invest in a good pair of binoculars. You could even purchase digital binoculars that will automatically record everything you see. Sony recently launched DEV Digital Recording binoculars that work in high resolution even under water. So the next time you go back home from your hiking trip, you can boastfully tell tales of you spotting deadly crocodiles under water.



One of the major problems that could hinder your hiking is mediocre phone connectivity. This is a considerable risk, especially if you are heavily relying on internet and GPS connection. For long-haul hiking trips purchase software rather than your phone’s inbuilt GPS. Most smartphones have miserable battery life and are not compatible with hiking trips. A durable, long-lasting GPS unit has comprehensive geographic maps that also serve as compasses.

Garmin has a range of great handheld GPS's that are great for hiking, compare their options here.


Hiking Boots

What shoes you carry along, depends on the type of trip you’re planning to go for. Regular sneakers are just fine, but if your trip is long and requires a lot of climbing and trekking then you might want to pack high-performance hiking boots that provide support, protection, balance your movements, and rigidity while running and climbing.

Boots inevitably make a lot of noise, but they are definitely sturdier than sneakers. They are perfect for people who like getting their shoes dirty in the mud. While planning a hiking trip you specifically want to invest in trail runners, hiking boots and approach shoes. Trail runners are lightweight and provide very little ankle stability. They are perfect for jumping and climbing.   

Approach shoes are a combination of hiking boots and trail runners. They are suitable for climbing and have greater a life expectancy. Most people prefer approach shoes, but overall hiking boots do the job perfectly well too.


Hydration Material

Whether you’re hiking short distances or long, there is no such thing as enough water. Carry as much water as possible, so you stay hydrated the whole time. But if you’re backpacking, you’ll have a hard time carrying water, and you’ll require a filtration system. Holding bottles in hands while climbing is definitely risky, we suggest you purchase Iodine tablets or a hydration pack that attaches to your backpack (like this one), allowing you free movement.


Trekking Poles

Trekking poles, hiking sticks or walking sticks, you name it. Some hikers swear by these useful tools to help them pass through the steep landscape and provide support on rocky terrain. However, these sticks could be painful to pack, and we recommend you keep them home unless you suffer from a bad leg or knee and require support throughout your trip.


Paper Maps

Remember you’re out there in the wild, chances are you’ll have zero connectivity. It is reliable to carry paper maps along with you in case your phone GPS gives up on you. You can easily print a map online or purchase it at a minimum cost from the local camping station.


These were some of the essentials that you need to carry on every camping or hiking trip with you. They not only come handy but are also lifesaving. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy! 


Winter in Paris: A Unqiue Guide to Exploring the City

Winter time in Paris is no secret, the lights, the sounds and festive events are reason enough to book the next flight over. While the cities famous hot spots like the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré-Cœur, The Louvre Museum, The Centre Pompidou, and the Seine River are certainly worth adding to your travel itinerary, how about diving right into the streets of Paris? 

Let this guide inspire you to explore the unique sides of Paris. Once you’ve reached the end of this post, you’ll be fully prepared to throw away your map (or your blue dot on Google), get lost, fall in love and eat to your heart's content!


Getting Started in Paris 

Before diving into the streets of Paris, one things for sure, it definitely helps to be well equipped. As romantic and historical as the streets of Paris may be, Paris is still a large city, which means getting lost won’t be hard to do. To make the best of your city trip to Paris, I would recommend getting yourself set up with: 

  1. An excellent pair of walking shoes (I made the mistake of wearing brand new shoes) 

  2. A Paris City Pass 

  3. And a local SIM card

I’ll let you pick out your favorite pair of walking shoes, but if you’d like some more information on how to get your Paris City Pass and a local SIM card, I can definitely give you a few more tips. 


The Paris City Passes 

How you like to travel will depend on which city pass is best for you. You can buy the Paris City Pass which includes unlimited public transit travel between zones 1-3 and discounts to more than 60 different sights, tours and museums. Or, if you prefer to buy a local transit pass without the travellers discounts, then you can also purchase the Paris Visite travel pass directly on the RATP transit website.

If you do decide to opt for the full Paris City Pass, you can then decide whether you’ll be using your pass for 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 days. With this pass, you’ll have free admission to more than 60 different sights, tours and museums. The pass also includes a boat trip along the river Seine, an architecture tour of Paris, a street art/flea market tour and a museum & wine tasting at Les Caves du Louvre. 


Getting Set Up With a Local SIM Card 

While we’ve typically been used to purchasing portable wifi routers for travel, Orange has come up with an even easier solution. For 39,99 (of course, always subject to change), Orange offers up their Holiday SIM Card

With this SIM card, you’ll receive: 

  • A French phone number

  • 2 hours of international calling 

  • 1000 international text messages 

  • And 20 GB of mobile data 

The Orange Holiday Plan lasts for 14 days, but can be renewed at any time and quite easily, either online or in stores at an Orange Boutique, TABAC store, or any RELAY outlet locations.


10 Unique Ways to Explore Paris in the Winter Time

So now that we’ve got you prepared and ready to dive into the streets of Paris, it’s time to inspire you! Here are 10 unique ways to explore the cities most popular sights along with some of the cities most treasured locations. 


Discover the Renowned Streets of Montmartre

Montmartre is likely not a new name to you. You have probably heard about the neighbourhood from the popular French romantic comedy Amélie (2001). If not from Amélie, then certainly you’ve made the connection between Montmartre and the Sacre-Cœur. The Sacre-Cœur (known in English at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart) is a beautiful Roman Catholic church located in Montmartre which sits on the highest point of the city and offers a stunning aerial view of Paris. 

Montmartre is also famous for being home to many renowned artists like Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Amedeo Modigliani, and Claude Monet. While the neighbourhood itself is no secret to locals and travellers alike, there’s something about roaming the cobblestone streets of Montmartre which makes you feel like you’ve travelled back in time to enjoy the city like Picasso once had. 

While the neighbourhood of Montmartre is certainly charming, it’s an uphill climb (here’s where your good walking shoes will come in handy). Montmartre is located in Paris’s 18th arrondissement, 430 feet up on a hill. 

If you don’t mind the walk, I’d definitely recommend taking a walking tour around Montmartre where you’ll learn all about the beautiful history, enjoy the bohemian atmosphere and visit the former art studio of Picasso himself. 

Otherwise, if you’re looking for a unique way to explore Montmartre then definitely opt for a Citroën 2CV tour! You can also choose to extend your tour and explore other sights around Paris like the Champs-Élysées, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. 


Check Out the Underground Art & Music Scene in Paris 

If you’re into music, Paris has an incredible underground art and music scene. One location in particular is definitely worth mentioning, Les Ecuries

Les Ecuries is an underground bar and restaurant with an incredible history. The location was originally an old post office, where the underground space was simply used for storage. In the 70’s, the entire place turned into a secret social location, and then in the 90’s it had changed again into a medieval style restaurant. It wasn’t until 2014 that Les Ecuries made their grand opening. Today, Les Ecuries is where you’ll find the hottest art, music and creative pieces around Paris. Their unique underground location is now used as a bar, restaurant, exhibition hall, venue space and creative forum for famous and upcoming talents. 


Enjoy a Coffee at a Historical Café around the Saint-Germain neighbourhood 

The neighbourhood of Saint-Germain is a beautiful and historical district of Paris located next to the river Seine. More commonly, Saint-Germain is also known as the district where many travelling writers from America and other famous artists and writers went to work on their next big projects. Sipping a coffee, enjoying a divine French pastry and listening to the sights and sounds of the city streets in Paris at a renowned café like Les Deux Magots or Café de Flore is an adventure in itself. It is a neighbourhood filled with good vibes and inspiration. 

If you’re looking for something different to do in the area, and are a football fan, you may also enjoy the Parc de Princes Stadium Tour. On the tour, you can go backstage, learn more about the football legends who played in Paris, and hangout in their dressing rooms and VIP boxes. 


Roam the Trendy District of Marais 

The district of Marais is a beautiful neighbourhood filled with charming little boutique shops, creative spaces and hip bars. A few streets worth mentioning include La Rue des Roziers and Rue des Francs Bourgeois. Here, you’ll find unique and open concept art galleries mixed with cozy (and heated) outdoor patio cafés and delicious street food. La Rue des Roziers was once a Jewish quarter in Paris which is why you may also notice that this street has some of the best kosher restaurants in the city. If you continue onward towards the boutique shops, you’ll reach the trendy area of Marais where you’ll find all the fashionistas of Paris. If you have the whole day to roam the area, popular sights like Place de Vosges, Le Bohème Opera, the Picasso Museum, and Place de la Bastille are all worth checking out. 


Stroll Along the Caves, Waterfalls and Lakes at Buttes-Chaumont Park 

There’s no doubt that a city trip to Paris can keep you busy for days, but we all need a little time to wind down. A visit to Buttes-Chaumont Park is a must in your Paris itinerary, in any season! The Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is a gorgeous 24 hectare park located in the North-East area of Paris. The entire park actually sits on top of a quarry which allows for a breathtaking stroll through the park. On the perimeter of the park (the top of the quarry) you’ll find some of the cities most spectacular aerial views, especially if you plan on enjoying the sunset there. In the middle of the quarry, you’ll find a suspension bridge overlooking a beautiful lake and a waterfall that flows through a cave. You can actually hike down the steps to the bottom of the quarry and enter the caves to see where the waterfalls hits bottom. 


Galeries Lafayette 

Galeries Lafayette may be well known for shopping, and of course, if you’re big into shopping, it’s definitely worth a visit. However, I fell in love with Galeries Lafayette not because I love shopping (I actually thoroughly dislike shopping), but because the atmosphere during the holiday season is spectacular. 

When you arrive, you’ll know exactly what I mean. The entire street is filled with sparkling Christmas lights, lively music and beautiful festive storefront windows. If you make your way into the store, there’s no way you’ll miss a glimpse at one of the cities largest Christmas trees hanging high above the department store, dangling from the ceiling. Keep heading up to the top level and you’ll reach their gorgeous rooftop terrace (entrance is free). During the holiday season, it is not only the perfect spot to enjoy a beautiful sunset over Paris, but you can also throw on a pair of skates and try out their artificial ice rink. 

If you opted for the Paris City Pass at the beginning of your trip, you’ll also get a 10% discount and a free souvenir when shopping at Galeries Lafayette. 


Embrace the Spectacular Aerial Views of Paris On Top of Montparnasse 

If the spectacular aerial views of Paris at the Buttes-Chaumont Park and Galeries Lafayette had you mezmerised, you’ll likely also enjoy the breathtaking views on top of the Montparnasse Tower. The Montparnasse Tower is a 210 meter high office building with one of the highest rooftop terraces in the city. 

You’ll need to book a ticket in order to gain access, but the views are well worth the money spent! 


Take a Parisian Cooking Class 

No matter where I travel, I prefer to bring home tastes and experiences rather than souvenirs. Preparing a dish that you fell in love with while away, is one of the best alternatives to souvenirs. How about whipping up some mouth-watering warm French croissants and a few decadent macarons for breakfast when you return home? You’re friends and family will love you! 

In Paris, you can choose from a number of different classes like a macaron class at Galeries Lafayette, a make your own croissants course, a chocolate eclair making class, a French pastry cooking class, a Parisian bread making class or even a general behind-the-scenes French bakery tour for all-round inspiration.


Take in all the City Sights on a Seine River Cruise 

While some cities are neat to see by double-decker bus or private car hire, Paris is a magnificent city to explore by boat. The Seine river runs perfectly through the city so that you can actually spot almost all of the major sights while cruising along the water. You can also take a cruise by night to experience Paris in the best hours of the day. Paris comes alive at night, filled with stunning lights and vibrant music. However, at any hour of the day, if you cruise along the Seine river, you’ll catch stellar views of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Musée d’Orsay, Les Invalides, Notre Dame and the Grand Palais. 


Enjoy the Paris Lights During the Most Magical Time of the Year 

And of course, if you’re visiting Paris during the winter season, night time does get that much more spectacular! While some cities boast about their incredible Christmas markets or their snowy white sceneries, Paris has certainly won the title in my heart as being one of the most beautifully lit cities in the world! Christmas time in cities is often celebrated in the “old town” or “downtown” core, but in Paris, every single neighbourhood is filled with festive decorations, bright sparkly lights and the beautiful sounds of Christmas tunes. 

Everyone will tell you that if you’re coming to Paris for sparkling lights, then the Eiffel Tower should be the first stop on your list, ‘tis true. However, Paris doesn’t stop there. The Champs Elysées illuminates the streets of Paris with more than 150,000 lights, the Galeries Lafayette lights up the entire intersection/metro stop of Chaussée d’Antin and many of the cafés are full of lively music and beautifully bright festive deco. You can also enjoy a number of smaller brightly lit Christmas markets in the city, or visit a bigger fun fair market at Jardin des Tuileries. 

If cuddling up under a warm blanket while sipping on mulled wine and listening to Christmas music sounds like more of your thing, Paris also offers a 1,5 hour Christmas Lights Bus Tour. The tour takes you past some of the most beautiful sights in Paris, and of course, on board you’re able to cuddle up, drink mulled wine and listen to Christmas music.


Dining Local in Paris

There’s no denying that when one visits Paris, a lot of your time will consist of wining and dining at many local French spots around the city. It’s easy to spend the day indulging in local cuisine, but it’s not as easy to find unique spots around the city that you’ll be yearning to return back to even years down the road. That’s where I’m here to help.

Paris is certainly one of the best places to find delicious French cuisine, but it can also be quite a hit or miss. While visiting, I found that either I thoroughly enjoyed the food and drink, or was completely let down. So, how about I scrap the restaurants I didn’t enjoy and share with you a few of my favorite spots!?


Dine at a Local Pâtisserie like Ladurée

Ladurée Paris may be a luxury bakery and pâtisserie famous for their scrumptious macarons, but they also have a wonderful café worth enjoying. They have a large selection of pastries, macarons, teas and coffees, but if you’re up for having a little bit of everything from Ladurée, then I definitely recommend heading in for afternoon tea. I had the Christmas special when visiting which included a big piping hot pot of herbal tea, bite sized sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, jam, honey, and a number of small pastries and macarons. It was absolutely delicious and the perfect mid-day break to warm up when exploring the cold city streets of Paris in the winter. 


Hangout with the Locals at Brasserie Flottes 

After I explored the Christmas market at Jardin des Tuileries, I was looking for a nice hearty meal to end the day and stumbled upon Brasserie Flottes. The restaurant was packed, and for a good reason! The Brasserie Flottes offers up delicious and traditional French cuisine with a modern twist and at affordable prices, but if that doesn’t sell you, it may also be worth mentioning that their staff were phenomenal - bright, cheery and oh so friendly! It is definitely worth a visit, but make sure you make a reservation ahead of time, otherwise you may be caught waiting a while for a seat. 


Enjoy Haute Cuisine at Le Reminet

Or, you could kick it up a notch and really dive into the Parisian haute cuisine at Le Reminet, a charming little restaurant with a lot of flare. Just across the river Seine and around the corner from Notre-Dame is where you’ll find Le Reminent. As soon as you enter the restaurant, you’ll feel as if you’ve jumped back in time to an era where dining was adored and people sat and drank, ate, laughed and sang the night away. You are surrounded by beautiful antique mirrors, candle lit tables and charming servers who take you on a journey not just through Paris, but around the world with their different flavours offered on the menu. Their handpicked selection of wines is incredible and their menu is constantly changing to feature the next best dish. When you’ve wined and dined yourself silly, the area around Le Reminent is also worth strolling through. The Quartier de la Sorbonne is a small and romantic neighborhood filled with cobblestone streets, historical boutiques, book stores and tea shops. This may not come as a surprise, but this was also a popular area used in the filming of Midnight in Paris, starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams. 


Indulge in a 3-Course Meal at Restaurant “Le Poulbot”

On your way up to the Sacré-Cœur Basilicia and hoping to avoid the busy tourist streets around Montmartre for lunch or dinner? Restaurant Le Poulbot is hidden along one of the smaller streets and packs a lot of punch for such a little restaurant. Le Poulbot serves up French cuisine at its finest. If you get the chance, opt for the 3-course menu where you’ll enjoy freshly made local ingredients in every dish. I also can’t recommend their chocolate lava cake enough! Absolutely delicious. 


Looking for more inspiration? This info-packed guide to exploring the city of Paris during the winter time may be just what you need to get started, but there’s plenty of more to experience in our winter-inspired video! 


The Dead Sea & Amman, Jordan Guide


The Dead Sea in Jordan is a natural wonder not to be missed. Why?

This body of water holds a lot of power, fascination, and mystery. Why? 

The water in the Dead Sea is extremely salty, and has been estimated to be the second saltiest major body of water in the world. Its name is derived from the fact that the water is far too salinated for marine inhabitation.


Overall, we headed to Jordan, the heart of the Middle East, to check-off a must-do travel experience:

Float in the Dead Sea!

This natural phenomenon is 10 times saltier than the ocean and serves as an excellent cleanser and detoxifier for anyone who goes for a float and slathers on the mineral-rich mud. Here, we explain what makes the Dead Sea “dead” and how to get the most out of your trip to Jordan, including a brief visit to the busy capital of Amman.


Why should you visit the Dead Sea?

  • The Dead Sea is the Lowest point on earth at 430.5 meters below sea level.
  • The Dead Sea is 33.5% salt compared to the ocean that is only 3.5 % salt.
  • The Salt Sea has been admired by man for centuries mainly because of the rich mineral and salt content of the water and surrounding environment.

After the Dead Sea, we visit Amman the capital of Jordan. Amman is a capital that displays the various groups of people, influences, and styles of the Byzantines, Ottomans, Romans, and more. 

31° 44' 29.8824" N, 35° 35' 47.49" E

4 Things To See and Do in Kollupitiya, Colombo

Colombo’s Kollupitiya region is one of the most visited areas in the burgeoning city. 

The suburb is an important commercial district in the city, with great vibes and positive surroundings. It has multiple thriving shops, malls, international brands and great nightlife. 

The region has a rich cultural heritage and many historical sights to see around. Visitors staying in Kollupitiya, get a taste of Colombo’s rich culture when they visit the neighborhood. 


A Mini-Guide to Colombo’s Kollupitiya Region

Kollupitiya Market

Kollupitiya market is the largest market in the Colombo commercial area, and is flooded with hundreds of thousands of tourists from across the world. Travelers can gain a large variety of experiences shopping around for gems in the city. 

There are wonderful small markets, antiques, and showrooms that display the most beautiful of handicrafts in the region. You can drop off your bags at the nearest Yoho Asoka Gardens, and take a short trip around the market for a great time! 


Galle Face Park 

The urban sea-park of Galle was made more than 150 years ago, and is a great destination for travelers wanting a taste of history. It stretches over half a kilometer along the Indian Ocean, and is a fantastic escape from the hustle and bustle of the main city. On top of all that, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is heavily inspired by Dutch-colonial impressions. 

There are many stylish cafes, boutiques, and great hotels that are forts converted into modern-time resorts. A great haven away from all the noise of the city, Galle Face Park is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the city. 


National Museum

The National Museum of Colombo was one of the first museums set up by British governors to capture the rich history of Colombo. The museum has natural artifacts that date back over 2500 years, and have multiple ornamental delights that amazes most travelers who visit here. 

The museum is a great place to bring the kids, and to have a good time bonding by learning about all that our past has to offer. Anyone can step in, take guest lectures and watch informational videos to learn more about Kollupitiya’s beauty. 



Kollupitiya’s nightlife is second to none when it comes to sights, sounds and vibe. The crowd is always buzzing, the atmosphere divine and the place is royal and cultural at the same time. 

Clubs like Cloud Red and Texas Night club, add a rouge of romance to any traveller’s itinerary. For those who want to party the night away, Kollupitiya has many rooftop bars and hotels that have some excellent music playing all night. The view from these rooftop bars is divine!


Ministers Island in New Brunswick, Canada

Road Trip

Located near St. Andrews, New Brunswick Ministers Island is a fascinating road trip excursion.

This part-time island can only be accessed a few hours a day during low tide. As the water from a low tide recedes, a road is revealed to access the “part-time” island.

45° 6' 15.1668" N, 67° 2' 27.5172" W

Eco Friendly Gifts Ideas for the Eco-Conscious Traveler

As travelers, we love exploring our beautiful planet. With that comes the responsibility to try our best with reducing any negative effects that we may have with our actions. Travelers are becoming increasingly more eco conscious on the products that they are using – following the path of an eco-conscious traveler.

The good news is that there are so many products designed with eco-conscious travelers in mind. More and more companies are designing wonderful environmentally friendly travel items and accessories to help eco travelers reduce their footprint while traveling the world.

Whether it’s a Christmas gift, birthday gift, wedding gift or farewell gift – we’ll help you find the perfect eco-friendly gift for the eco-conscious traveler in your life!

Here is the Travel Dude’s teams favorite eco-friendly gift ideas for eco-conscious travelers!

Eco Friendly Gifts for all Travelers

From recycled gifts to sustainable and ethical gifts – below is a list of great unique travel gifts for all travelers. Including travel gifts for men and travel gifts for women.

Eco-friendly toiletries

Buying travel-size toiletries is so unnecessary! Some alternative toiletries to buy include:


Scrubba wash bag

Backpackers or any traveler that is looking to pack light will often wash their clothes while traveling. The Scrubba Wash Bag is a useful item for doing laundry on the go as it allows you to wash your clothes pretty much wherever you can find water. Saving you on excess water use when doing laundry the traditional way as well as expensive laundry costs in hotels.


Collapsible coffee mug and water bottle

Coffee lovers will love getting a collapsible coffee mug. Because it’s collapsible, it doesn’t take up much room when it’s not in use – making it great for traveling! The same with a collapsible water bottle.

We love the Stojo collapsible coffee mugs and the CHICMODA collapsible/foldable water bottle. For travelers who frequently travel in areas with unsafe drinking water, bottles with a purification (not just filtration) system may be a better gift option. Two popular options are Grayl and LifeStraw.


Reusable straws

While more and more restaurants and bars are ditching plastic straws thanks to the worldwide #NoMoreStraws movement, it’s still a good idea to keep your own reusable straws with you while traveling. They’re great to whip out while sipping your Pina Coladas on the beach or for families traveling with kids.

Check out this 12-pack of Bamboo straws (handmade in Bali and comes with a cleaner and pouch bag), or these handy collapsible reusable straws (they also come with a cleaning brush).


Multipurpose travel towel

Fast-drying towels are a lifesaver when traveling. A quick-drying, antimicrobial towel made of eco-friendly fibers like the Trespass bamboo towel is an all-in-one option. This isn’t only convenient while traveling as it folds up really small, but it also means less washing which is better for the planet.


Reusable food containers and cutlery

In countries with a strong street food culture, it is almost impossible to not have to use one-time use takeaway bags and containers. That’s if you don’t have your own reusable containers to rather use, of course. The collapsible silicone food containers from reuseit are great. We also love the silicone reusable food bags from Stasher – these are great for packing snacks for a hike or long bus ride.

Takeaway containers often also come with plastic cutlery – which are both pretty useless and usually don’t get recycled properly. Get your travel buddies a set of reusable cutlery to carry with them on their travels. The Light My Fire Spork is a great option, along with this bamboo cutlery set that rolls up into a neat pouch (it even includes a pair of chopsticks!)!


Solar charger

Finding a way to keep your gear charged can be a hassle for travelers on the road – particularly during long bus/train rides or when hiking off the grid. The Anker PowerPort Solar harnesses the energy from the sun to allow you to charge your gear. Other solar charger options are from Instapark or Goal Zero.

This is a great environmentally friendly gift for active travelers spending a lot of time in the outdoors. A solar charger really is a gift that keeps on giving!


Sustainable backpacks

Whether for staycations, day trips while traveling, backpacking treks, or to use as carry-on only luggage, finding a well-made and versatile backpack is important for many travelers. Cotopaxi is one of the best companies out there that makes well-made backpacks and gives back with their poverty alleviation project. Ethnotek is another great company focusing on keeping culture alive by creating high quality laptop and travel bags that feature ethically sourced handmade textiles. Buying one of their bags sustains employment for the art of hand printing, weaving and embroidery with their partnering artisan villages in Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia and Vietnam. You can buy their iPad sleeves, women’s backpack and women’s messenger bag on Amazon.

Read our post on the top functional and stylish daypacks for more inspiration.



If there’s one thing that all travelers need, it’s a pair of good headphones. Long flights, bus rides and train trips are made so much better with your own jams playing in your ears. The House of Marley headphones are made from recycled plastics, metals, and bamboo - it’s the perfect sustainable gift.


Eco Friendly Travel Gifts for Women

Looking for the best travel gifts for her? Make sure they’re also eco-friendly!

Menstrual cup

With this reusable menstrual cup, ladies can have an environmentally friendly period. They also make having your period while traveling so much easier! Ladies – get one of these for yourself as well as your female travel buddies! While it may take a while to get used to, once you get the hang of it you won’t look back. Did you know that using a menstrual cup for one year can save the waste of over 200 disposable period products?!

There are loads of different menstrual cups on the market – search through the options here. Or, save time and check out the most popular ones, including the RubyCup, Lunette or DivaCup. For every RubyCup sold they donate a menstrual cup to someone without access to safe period products.


Reusable makeup wipes

Disposable makeup wipes are a nightmare for the environment! They aren’t biodegradable and are also filled with nasty chemicals. These bamboo organic reusable makeup remover pads are a great alternative – plus, they come with non-latex makeup sponges.

And if your traveling bestie can’t go without wipes, then these face and body wipes are a great ethical gift. The Ode to Clean wipes are fragrance, allergen, and toxin-free and they’re entirely plant-based, biodegradable, and wind-power manufactured.


Causes and experiences

Gift giving doesn’t always have to be physical products. Another great gift idea for eco travelers is the gift of experiences or donations to specific causes. Donate to an environmental cause that your friend cares about – it could be a conservation project, wildlife protection or environmental education and research.

Alternatively, book an eco-conscious trip or experience wherever their next trip is going to be. G Adventures has a strong focus on responsible travel with many great eco-conscious trips around the world. Read more about their initiatives here. Intrepid Travel is another tour operator with a strong responsible travel policy – they offer many trips around the world. Gift card options are available for both G Adventures and Intrepid Travel.

We also love the idea behind the Tinggly gift box! It allows the receiver to choose between a massive list of the most awesome travel experiences around the world. From skydiving in Singapore to a horseback riding adventure in Puerto Rico!


Gift Cards

Another great idea is to give gift cards for online services that will make your traveler buddy enjoy their travels more. Give an iTunes gift card, a Netflix gift card, an Amazon gift card, a Kindle gift card, an Audible subscription or a Spotify gift card.

You can also get them an Airbnb gift card, a Hotels gift card or an airfare gift card.

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