Hiking in Hong Kong: Easy & Beautiful Trails

Despite being a large, bustling city, Hong Kong is an excellent place to get outdoors in nature!

Since ~70% of Hong Kong’s land is covered in greenery and country parks, hiking is a popular activity for locals and expats. Often the trails have gorgeous views and lead to some spectacular destinations.

On your next Hong Kong trip, I highly recommend trying a hike to experience Hong Kong’s outdoors and see some beautiful nature.


Here are three easy, yet beautiful trails to get you started!

1. Quarry Bay Tree Walk

Distance: 3.2 km / 2 miles

The Quarry Bay Tree Walk is an easy trail through the forests behind the Quarry Bay neighborhood on eastern Hong Kong Island. Start at the Taikoo MTR station (exit B) then walk west on King’s Road. Turn onto Greig Road and walk up until you reach the Tree Walk.

The trail is mostly paved and has a slight elevation gain (124 m/406 ft). Along the way, you’ll encounter remnants of the Wartime Communal Kitchens (listed as Wartime Stoves on Google). These kitchens were used during the second world war in Hong Kong as an influx of refugees after the fall of Canton led to increase of food demands.

Continue along the Quarry Bay Tree Walk until you reach Mount Parker Road. At this point, you can turn and head back down towards Quarry Bay or choose another trail for a longer hike.


2. Dragon’s Back Hike

Distance: 5.4 km / 3.4 miles

The Dragon's Back hike is a meandering ridge trail located in Shek O Country Park in southeastern Hong Kong Island. Because the trail is on a ridge, you’ll have spectacular views of the sea and Hong Kong’s south side as you hike.

To get there, ride the MTR to Shau Kei Wan station (exit A3) then take the number 9 bus to the trailhead. The first part of the hike is a gradual climb up to the ridge. Once you reach the ridge, you’ll be able to see Shek O Beach off to the right and Tai Tam Bay on the left. The trail undulates across the “dragon’s back” for ~2 km (1.25 mi) and offers amazing views. Some days you’ll find paragliders setting up for flight on the hillside.

Once you’re finished the ridge, you’ll descend into a forest and have a flat and shady walk for the remainder of the trail. At the end of the trail, turn left to head back to the road to catch the bus.

If you’d like a longer hike, turn right and continue on to Big Wave Bay (~2 km extra). The descent to Big Wave Bay is rather steep and consists mostly of stairs.


3. Sai Wan Pavilion to Ham Tin Beach in Sai Kung

Distance: 5.1 km / 3.2 miles

Although it’s a bit difficult to get to this hike, the views and secluded beaches along this hike make it worth the effort!

The hike from Sai Wan Pavilion to Ham Tin Beach is located in Sai Kung East Country Park in New Territories. To get there, you’ll need to take a combination of MTR and bus to Sai Kung town. Once you arrive in town, you can take a taxi to the Sai Wan Pavilion.

The trail begins along the stunningly turquoise High Island Reservoir. Even on a cloudy day, the color of this water never ceases to amaze me. Most of the first part of the trail is flat or downhill until you reach Sai Wan Beach – the first of four gorgeous beaches in Sai Kung East Country Park.

At this point, you could stop your hike. I prefer to continue to Ham Tin Beach – the second beach – which is larger and even more beautiful. Both beaches have restaurants, toilet facilities, beach equipment for rent, and places to purchase boat tickets to return to Sai Kung town.


Any Questions?

Do you have any questions about hiking in Hong Kong or these three beautiful hikes? Please let me know in the comments below!

If you’re looking for other Hong Kong hikes or tips on traveling to Hong Kong, be sure to check out the Becky Exploring blog.


Popular Outdoor Activities in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is so much more than just a gambling capital. It is also a popular tourist destination that has a lot of attractions for tourists and visitors.

You can go on a bus tour of the city, visit Tussaud’s museum of wax figures, or see the Stratosphere observatory. Recreations of famous Ancient Egyptian monuments can be seen all over Las Vegas. Museums of all sorts are waiting for you. You can see the Hoover Dam. And, of course, you can experience the atmosphere of a big American city. 

In fact, you can go to Las Vegas and have an amazing experience without ever setting foot in a casino. And you wouldn’t be missing much, either. After all, you can play gambling games on online sites like the betting site 22bet, whereas a lot of the special outdoor experiences offered by Las Vegas cannot be found anywhere else in the world. 

Not all people enjoy the bustle of a city – some go for the calmer and cleaner environment of the suburbs. For them, there is a whole other set of interesting attractions around the city. National Parks, nature sanctuaries, and monuments await you.

Read this article to learn more about...


All the different outdoor activities you can do in Las Vegas


Cathedral Rock

One of the more interesting places you can visit in Las Vegas is Cathedral Rock. It is a huge towering mountain, which will overawe you with its size and form. And if you come here at night, you will be able to see the stars through the pure mountain air. This will be a whole new experience for you. Stargazing is especially scenic here.


Valley of Fire

If you go to the Valley of Fire, you will find thousands of ancient petroglyphs there. You can spend countless hours strolling through the endless valley. Many try to find a glyph everyone else has missed. There are lots of interesting cliffs and rocks to climb, and everyone will find it exciting.


Mount Charleston

It is hard to believe, but in the winter the mountain tops get a lot of snow. Mount Charleston even has a small ski resort that you may also visit. You will get excellent views of the surrounding areas from the mountain.


Mojave Desert

Walking in Nevada’s arid desert is another pastime that is popular. Everyone who has been to Las Vegas has heard about it, and many people have done it as well. Prepare to get cold, since the desert gets much cooler at night, which is when most people visit it.


Red Rock Canyon

Hiking in the Red Rock Canyon is also interesting. Don’t miss this opportunity. Visit Red Rock in the day and the desert at night for a full experience.



Bonnie Springs Ranch is a facsimile copy of an old Nevada city, and it lets visitors travel back in time. The place mimics an 1800s town, and it has everything correct, down to the smallest details.

Note for visitors: the Red Rock Hotel is there. It is the only hotel for miles around. If you want to stay for the night, this is the only place.


Spring Mountain Ranch

The Spring Mountain Ranch is another place you must visit. It has a yoga class held on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It involves the local goats, which take yoga to a new level. The curious goat kids come to investigate new people. They make regular yoga much more exciting.  You also get to play with them and feed them. Goat Yoga is a unique experience, and many visitors have warm memories of it.


Sports and Other Outdoor Activities


Spear-chucking is a sport that visitors find very interesting. It is more than entertainment – it is a way to cool off and fight stress. If you have been feeling pent-up anger or stress, then go to the spear range and let off some steam. You may throw spears at a target for accuracy, or you may do it for distance too.


Bike Riding

Riding on bikes is no less popular than hiking in the desert. Many people come to this area for the ride and scenery, without visiting the city. There are long routes for bike rides in the area, and the extreme one is 100 miles long. But most go for the easier 40-mile ride instead. The 35-mile long route around Lake Mead is the best for new riders.


Horse Riding

Horse riding is popular, and people visit the Red Rock canyon, where the stables are located. The stables are home to many fine horses, and there are five different horse trails for you to ride on.


Beautiful Beaches and Accommodations in Turks & Caicos

If the thought of jumping on a plane and flying to a Caribbean paradise island has stumped your mind, then you probably have imagined one of the Turks & Caicos beaches.

The Turks & Caicos archipelago is surrounded by waters so turquoise that they appear to be glowing at times, plus it has endless stretches of white sandy beaches. Then there are the historical ruins, the museums, and other attractions. But if you are visiting Turks & Caicos for the first time, you will find it very difficult to stay too long from its beaches.


Popular Islands and Beaches in Turks & Caicos

It is not easy to find the ideal beach as everyone has their definition and personal expectations. However, according to the Conde Nast Traveler’s list of the world’s best beaches, Grace Bay on Provo is the number one beach in the world.

Leeward Beach is another stunning beach located east of Grace Bay. Its turquoise waters and startlingly white sand beaches are quite memorable. Although there are no hotels along Leeward Beach, there are many modern beachfront villas for rent and several private residences.

Sapodilla Bay and Long Bay Beach are two more beaches found on Providenciales that are also very popular. Sapodilla Bay has shallow and calm waters, making it ideal for families, whereas Long Bay Beach is known for its kiteboarding.

Other Turks & Caicos Islands that should be on your list are Parrot Cay, Grand Turk, South Caicos, and Pine Cay. Parrot Cay is the home of some of the most luxurious villas for rent in the Turks & Caicos archipelago. At the same time, South Caicos is mainly known for its long stretches of undeveloped sandy beaches and cozy villas.


Accommodation in Turks & Caicos

You can choose from Turks & Caicos villas for rent, beach houses, and the standard resort hotels for accommodations. The common nominator for almost all types of accommodations in Turks & Caicos is that you will never be more than a few meters away from the beachfront.

Whether you prefer to be pampered in a luxury villa with all the amenities, or a basic one featuring just the essential furniture, the wealth of options is pretty much endless.

Furthermore, there is an almost endless choice in terms of location. Visitors can choose from a very quiet place for absolute peace and solitude to one surrounded by other villas full of other people eager to socialize.


Turks and Caicos private villas for rent

Most of these villas have large bedrooms, contemporary bathrooms, the massive patios or decks, and a view to die for. In terms of style, most of the villas are modern with minimalist interiors. Typically there is an abundance of glass framing so that you never miss a moment of the spectacular views that surround you. The neutral finishing is quite comfortable. Another common thing about most villas for rent is that they come with modern, well-equipped kitchens that include washers, dryers, and even a video and audio system.


How to do Barcelona with a Dog

For many people, a dog is like a family member – with a study carried out by Amazon last year revealing that 52% of Spanish people prefer their pet to other humans!

So, we know you want the best for your pup, whether a visitor or resident of Barcelona, you want to know how to enjoy life to the full with your furry friend.

Barcelona is an excellent dog friendly city, complete with parks, restaurants and outdoor spaces that welcome both you and your dog.

Read on for our guide of the best places in Barcelona for man’s best friend.


A Guide on How to do Barcelona with a Dog

Parks and Green Areas

Living in the city centre doesn’t mean you have to always take a pavement walk, as Barcelona is home to countless parks, over a 100 of which being dog friendly. This means you don’t have to worry about needing to leave, and these areas all have bag dispensers, non-rust litters and fountains for your dog to drink and cool off by.


Parc de la Ciutadella

The renowned Parc de la Ciutadella is one of the best places in Barcelona to take your dog, due to not only the sheer size of their green areas for throwing a ball on, but for the beautiful scenery for you too! The long paths through the park are perfect as well if you enjoy running with your dog. Or, just grab an ice cream and relax by the lake, both sound good to us.


Jardins Joan Brossa

Found on the breathtaking Montjuïc hill, the Joan Brossa gardens are a huge 5.2 hectares of green space for you and your pup to take a stroll. The views of Barcelona are stunning from up here, great for taking a breather from fast city life.


Parc del Joan Miró

Many local dog owners of the Eixample Esquerra neighbourhood have Joan Miró as their park of choice for their pet, and it’s not hard to see why. The beautiful park is one of the biggest in the city and has a designated area for dogs to be let off the lead to run.


Parc de l’Estació del Nord

This unique park is found just slightly north of the Parc de la Ciutadella, with an area of more than 1000m2 that welcomes four legged friends. It is unique in its style due to the art sculptures that have been constructed into the land, by American artist, Beverley Pepper.


Pet-friendly Restaurants, Cafés & Bars

Not every restaurant in Barcelona is welcoming of dogs, so it’s always best to check with the individual place before you head down. However, a surprisingly large number are dog friendly, but here’s a few of our personal favourites:


Billy Brunch

Billy Brunch is infamous for serving what many customers call the best brunch they have ever tried. Open 365 days a year, serving delicious pancakes, smoothies, and even cocktails, Billy is a must try. Now, add in the fact your pooch can accompany you to brunch with friends, and what’s not to love!

Carrer de Bailèn, 115, 08009 Barcelona



Serving burgers, chicken wings, and over 20 craft beers on tap, Cocovail beer hall is the best place to head for a bite to eat with friends. Or, just to head for a beer and watch the live sport they show! Cocovail also welcomes dogs to join in the fun.

Carrer d’Aragó, 284, 08009 Barcelona


A Tu Bola

This quirky restaurant quite appropriately for dog-lovers serves all of their food in a ball shape! Yes, you read correctly. A Tu Bola has rave reviews for its innovative take on home cooked food, but a must visit for you and your four-legged friend!

Carrer de l’Hospital, 78, 08001 Barcelona


Pet-friendly Beaches

One of the best parts of the beautiful city of Barcelona is the array of endless beaches to visit. It is essential however to be aware of the rules around bringing your dog along for the fun. In the winter, dogs are permitted on the beach at any time.

However, during the summer months, pets are only allowed onto the beaches after sunset, late at night, or early morning.

The exceptions to this are guide and assistance dogs, who are allowed to access the beach at any time or day of the year.

The best part is there is actually a designated dog beach in Barcelona! The Playa del Llevant in Poblenou offers a space of around 1200m2 of secured area where pooches can paddle and play, as well as showers and fountains to cool them off at the end. Further out of Barcelona there is also Sant Pol de Mar, Playa les Banyeretes and Playa Les Salines which have been designated as dog friendly.


Travelling Around the City

Pets are allowed onto the metro system, so long as you travel with them outside of the busy, rush hour times, this being: between 7:00 – 9:30 and 17:00 – 19:00. The rule is also that you must either muzzle your dog or put them into a carrier, with the exception to this being for small dogs. Similarly, a non-extending lead must be used.

It is a rule for those coming into Spain with a pet that it must be microchipped too, but it’s also generally a good idea to have this done even if you’re a resident.


So, whether you’re a resident or a visitor looking to enjoy life with your dog in Barcelona, we hope with our advice you can make the most of the city, as it’s one of the most dog-friendly ones you can find!


Getaway to Portland: An Insider’s Guide to the City

Portland, Oregon figured out how to offer travelers the best of each city rolled into one.

A reliable light rail system, responsible urban planning featuring parks and walking/biking trails, an eclectic art scene and an evolving food market makes this Northwest city a travelers haven.

Its bustling culture positioned between the Tualatin Mountains, Oregon Coast Range and the actively volcanic Cascade Range, while located at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers makes Portland the perfect stop while traveling the Oregon Trail.

Its natural beauty and landscaped scenery offers travelers a rejuvenating and progressive experience.

Portland is divided by the Willamette River, which runs north and south, and Burnside Street, which runs east and west. Organized and managable, the city is organized as a grid with numerous bridges to cross the river and intercepting streets to make it east to navigate.

From historic Old Town in the northwest part of the city to the swanky, vivacious Pearl District, upscale Nob Hill and the rich culture of central downtown, Portland's many different neighborhoods offer an array of entertainment, sightseeing, nightlife and outdoor activities.

No matter the season, Portland is a highlight year-round. The city is known for it's skiing in the outlining mountains during through the spring, Rose Festival in the summer, International Film Festival in the winter and many breweries to visit any time of year. Not only does Portland deserve to be top on the travel list, it has become the most progressive destination to visit in the Pacific Northwest.


Here are a few must-see and must-dos while visiting the city:

Where to Stay?

Hotel Rose is a boutique hotel located in downtown Portland across from the riverbank of the Willamette River. The fun, energetic vibe inside the hotel mirrors that of the city's. Not only is Hotel Rose located steps from the iconic river, it is a short walk to many shops, restaurants, food carts, coffee shops and the famous Powell's City of Books. The boutique hotel is also located across the street from a light rail stop, which makes getting around Portland convenient and easy.

Not only does Hotel Rose offer an array of ammenities, including complimentary bike rentals with your stay, it has a full-service bar on site. H50 Bistro and Bar, which was named Portland's Diner's Choice Winner for Best American Food and Best Scenic View, serves dinner and drinks daily in its bar area while the dining room gets an overhaul. The bar also offers a delicious happy hour with an ever-changing menu. Not only is the hotel in prime location, but the views of Portland it offers from some of the rooms makes this boutique hotel worth the stay.


What to See?

Powell's City of Books is a major attraction and rightfully so with it encompassing a 68,000 square foot area in the heart of downtown Portland. The bookstore is a like a small city within itself. For bibliophiles, a complete day might not be enough time to get through the many color-coded aisles and floors of this bookstore. The Classical Chinese Gardens is also a popular sight in Portland. It is the largetst Ming-Style Chinese Garden outside of China. It occupies a full city block and is filled with a variety of flora, waterfalls, a pond and beautiful architecture.

Tasting some of Oregon's famous microbrews is a worthwhile activity for beer lovers, or travelers who are looking to expand their varietal of beer. Well-known for their microbreweries, Portland is home to more than 60 of them spread throughout the city. A full day can be spend roaming around the city, enjoying some suds. Hair of the Dog Brewing Company offers great beer, good food and lots of Porland culture.

Another fun option when in Portland, but depending on the time of year, is to attend a Portland Timbers' soccer game. The city revolves around the sport when it's in season and watching the team play and experiencing the energy from the crowd first-hand at a home game is an unforgettable experience. This MLS powerhouse is worth rooting for when visiting their city.


Where to Eat?

Portland has a blooming restaurant scene. Offering a wide variety of styles and flavors, from ethnic food to American pub fare, the city is a foodie mecca. Each restaurant has its own vibe, while most are laid-back, there are also some upscale eateries located in downtown Portland and within the other sections of the city, such as Knob Hill and the Pearl District.

But for a quality meal that is the most economic, convenient and cultural, eating at the city's food carts is a must-do when visiting Portland. From vegetarian to even greater eclectic varieties, the food cart craze is at the heart of Portland. The food carts, which are referred to as "pods," are a big part of Portland's food scene. With more than 600 to choose from, their locations differ throughout the city. For a map and more information on where to find the pods along with a list of the different cuisines, visit Food Carts Portland.

So the next time you are up for a road trip, or just looking for a new place to explore, Portland is the way to go.


Travel Tip Shared by Ashley

What To Do in Bath, United Kingdom


Covid killed travel. Or did it?

Did it rather open our eyes to the beauty on our doorstep? To experience the local? To be more mindful of ourselves and our impact on the planet while exploring it? More introspective?

I hope so. It’s a flag I've been flying for the past couple of years since producing the first Green Weekend for UNESCO UK last year, when we visited the Jurassic Coast. This time around, I took a different approach.


With so many saying travel was dead and that community spirit was lying next to it in the grave, I wanted to challenge that view (within the boundaries of the law). With my mask in tow, I went to Bath with my camera equipment, a tent and an idea.

My weekend would be directed entirely by the people that I meet, there and then, in the moment – and that these encounters would be filmed.

I love solo travel and the challenge of filming everything by myself appealed to me, even if from a production perspective it meant there were a few rough edges to the product, I like to think the audience would be in a forgiving manner considering the nature of the video itself, and how it was made.

I started by putting a callout on Reddit’s Bath community sub for suggestions of what to do during my stay. I thought maybe one or two people might give me an idea, but I got 19 comments. Many of which were detailed explanations of viewpoints, restaurants and cycle paths from locals or people who had been to Bath before. But this was all a moot point, or at least I wanted it to be. Because this was plan B.

The real aim was to meet locals in the moment and get their recommendations.

This. Worked. Swimmingly. And wow, was I relieved.

From all of what was being written online we would have assumed interaction between strangers would be at a premium – but almost every local I met was keen to share their ideas with me (albeit at a 2m distance!). This speaks to the strong sense of community that many relied upon or (re)discovered during the height of lockdown. I want this series to speak to that spirit and support it.


Over the weekend, I stayed at the YMCA in the city, for £20 a night it was perfectly adequate, clean and centrally located.

Eventually I found someone who recommended that, considering the sun was shining (a rare event), I should head up to Victoria Park. A convenient walk 10 minutes from the city centre sent me north through tree-lined thoroughfares with wild flowers and a limestone path paving the way forward. The sound of laughter alongside the distinctive ping of a golf club hitting a ball alerted me to the mini golf course on Royal Avenue. South of the old duelling ground which has long since been abandoned but still some say is haunted and on a cold winter’s night can host poltergeists and the like.

The Royal Crescent along the way is Victoria Park’s showpiece attraction. With the first stone laid for its construction in May, 1767 the iconic design inspired a whole series of crescents to be built across the UK. This first one, designed by John Wood the Younger, is made up of 30 houses built in a 200m giant sweeping arc – and best appreciated from the sky, in my opinion (watch the video!).

Napoleon said an army marches on its stomach. The same analogy can be used for film productions. A circumstance made even more acute if you’re filming, interviewing and carrying all the equipment on your own. So it was time for an early lunch. Bath has great eateries and Meatbusters, a local recommendation, is no exception. Brilliant service, great hospitality. The chicken burger was succulent, with beautifully crisp brioche buns alongside sweet potato fries and a pint. Considering my state of hunger, I was in dreamland. Craig, the manager at Meatbusters who kindly gave me a free pint after I explained the whole purpose of my trip, suggested I visit the Roman Baths.

I intentionally did not check Tripadvisor before visiting the city but I hazard a guess that the Roman Bath is probably number one on their list of things to do in Bath. En-route there I googled and discovered  that, due to COVID-19, only online bookings were being accepted. So, after trying to get in, I accepted my fate and moved on.

There are plenty of things about Bath besides its main attraction that I’m keen to promote, and trying to shine a light on visitor attractions which may be less popular, but equally as beautiful and worthwhile seeing, is a central pillar to sustainable travel in any case. If we can spread the interest in a given place or promote off-season visitation, that is up there in terms of social benefit with which mode of transport you use to get to your destination with regard to the environment.


So, onto the next place.

I was recommended a walk (vertical hike) up to the viewpoint in Alexandra Park to get ‘the best panoramic of the city’. It didn’t disappoint. After rigorous stretching and frequent breaks along the way with water pouring over my head (taking care not to wet the camera bag) during what was a heatwave weekend, I successfully made the ascent, and got out the drone.

Shaz and Yvgenia were there embracing the beauty of ‘selfie-point’ as it was christened by another local. I interrupted their picture-perfect moment with a request for a place with good food and drink.

Shaz was keen to promote a recently opened Indian kitchen (mercifully close to the YMCA so I could drop off the bags) that had good curries and other exotic plates. I hurtled, because of the steep angle of the descent, back down towards the city, hungry as ever, and at Bandook was met with lovely staff and food to match, able to do a quick piece to camera after dinner before the light failed me.


The day was done, as was the impromptu part of my weekend away.

The next morning I interviewed Kathryn Davis, the CEO of Visit Bath for her view on tourism in the city and what lies ahead, the benefits of spontaneous travel in a post-(current?)-COVID world and why voracious seagulls were part of the visitor experience. 

Bath is a World Heritage City in its own right, and the community, in my view, plays a big role in its appeal. The people were warm, welcoming and friendly enough to talk to a random stranger in the midst of a pandemic and give them advice on what to do, eat and see in their city. It’s a great testament to the people and culture there. You can’t ask for more than that.

This is the first in a You Tell Me series I'll be making for UNESCO UK, documenting visits to the UK’s World Heritage sites and with every other detail about the trip inspired entirely by the local people I meet.


My top 5 highlights from the trip are below.

1. Victoria Park (With the Royal Crescent, Botanical Gardens and mini-golf course is ideal

when the sun is shining for a socially distanced stroll

2. Alexandra Park

3. Fudge Kitchen

4. Pulteney Bridge and the walk along the canal

5. Bandook, Indian restaurant


Some of Reddit’s top tips on what to do while visiting Bath:

1. Dundas aqueduct

Dundas aqueduct 100%, one of the coolest places in Bath. It’s also a lovely cycle along the canal to get there.

recommended by spudsaregreat


2. Bath Abbey Visiting Tours

I used to work as a tower tour guide in the abbey, I totally recommend contacting the manager to get a view from the top!

Also, have a chat with the chaps in the Fudge Kitchen opposite the abbey entrance, they'll make your day!

recommended by Stornow4y


3. Saracen’s Head Pub in Bath

When I lived there, my locals were Eastern Eye, now called The Grand Eastern, for a curry and The Raven around the corner for a nice cider.

Saracen's Head is nice too and they claim it's the oldest pub in Bath.

recommended by Valeru28


4. The Two Tunnels

For cycling, I'd definitely recommend the Two Tunnels. Which are two old railway tunnels that were converted to be part of the national cycle network (and a good cycle route), with music playing in the middle of one too. Filming these will be difficult though with it being so dark inside.

There's also the Guildhall MarketsParade Gardens, and Prior Park Ladnscape Gardens (looking a little ropey with ongoing building work though).

Other great views not already mentioned are Little Solsbury Hill the namesake of the song "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel of Genisis, and Sham Castle built by Ralph Allen an old 1700's local and the namesake of a local school.

recommended by user TZ26


5. Bathwick Meadow

Bathwick Hill/ Meadow which has probably the best view of Bath. 

recommended by d5tp

51° 22' 54.2172" N, 2° 21' 32.1984" W

Bhutan Travel Guide

Rich in culture and tradition, Bhutan is a beauty that surpasses the ordinary.

From strolling around Thimphu City to Trekking Tiger’s Nest, to enjoying the local delicacies to getting lost in the beautiful breath-taking valleys, Bhutan is in one word Magical!

We've covered everything that you need to know to explore this incredible country in our all-inclusive Bhutan travel guide.

Memory Montage – Our Bhutan Experience

Bhutan is a small landlocked country in south Asia tucked in the Himalayan Ranges. This last standing Buddhist Kingdom is said to be one of the happiest countries in the world. Standing true to its title, this country greets everyone with the warmest of smiles ever.

Strolling in the serene valleys, walking through pristine forests, soaking in the untainted air, Bhutan is the ultimate destination to disconnect and rejuvenate.

Backpacking to Bhutan was one of the most exciting expeditions, not just because of the thrill of the first international trip but also because of the mystical experience this country offers.


Bhutan travel guide: What to know before you go

When is the best time to visit Bhutan 

Bhutan is blessed with seasonal variations. It has distinct summer, spring, monsoon and winter seasons which makes it a year-round travel destination depending upon your choice.

Visit during summers for a clear look of the lush green landscapes, spring for the beautiful rhododendron flowers that lights up the valleys, monsoon for the thriving flora and fauna and winters for the magical snowfall.

We visited during Spring in the month of April and absolutely loved it. The valleys come alive as the beautiful rhododendron flowers bloom in abundance. The mild cold weather, clear skies makes every view worth the while.


Capital & currency in Bhutan

Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan, a modern city in an ancient place.

Currency in Bhutan:

  • Bhutanese Ngultrum (BTN)
    ▪ 1 INR = 1 BTN (Indian currency has one on one mapping with Bhutan)
    ▪ All major international currencies such as U.S. Dollar, Pound Sterling, Euro, Australian Dollar etc are easily convertible.


    Do you need a visa to visit Bhutan?

    Citizens of India, Bangladesh and Maldives with a valid passport need a permit available at the point of entry. All other international tourists need to obtain Visa, which can be processed online.


    Is it safe to travel to Bhutan?

    Bhutan is one of the safest place to be. Crime, petty thefts are minimal. The country scores high in the safety index.


    Getting to Bhutan 

    Paro International Airport

    Bhutan has only one International airport – Paro International Airport. National Air carrier of Bhutan - Druk Air operates regular flights to Paro mostly via Kolkata, India. Search for flights on Skyscanner.


    By Train/Road – This is how we did it

    • Pocket Friendly & full of experiences.
    • Bhutan is accessible by roads via Phuntsholing – known as the Gateway to Bhutan, it is the Bhutan side of the Indo–Bhutanese Border.
    • We took the following route to reach.



    • Kolkata – Hasimara (Train) - Hasimara is a small town in West Bengal, India. The Indo-Bhutanese border is a 45-minute auto ride from Hasimara station.

    • Hasimara station – Jaigaon – (Auto) – Jaigaon is the Indian side of the Indo-Bhutanese Border.

    • Jaigaon - Phuntsholing – Just walk by!!


    Bhutan travel guide: Travel tips

    Money Matters

    Not all international debits/credit cards work in Bhutan. You might want to confirm with your bank before travelling to Bhutan. Thimphu is the best place to stock up some currency as smaller villages and towns might not have ATMS.



    • Network connectivity is good in Bhutan except for remote valleys. 

    • Most hotels in Thimphu and Paro have Wi-Fi but you wouldn’t find internet connection in the other smaller towns/villages.

    When in Bhutan...

    Try the local food in Bhutan

    Chillies are an essential part of Bhutanese cuisine and hence needless to say food in Bhutan is spicy. We tried a lot of local cuisines during our stay and following are the few must haves.

    • Red Rice – One of the staple foods of Bhutan. This is a variety of rice which tastes nutty and is a little grainy.
    • Momo – These heavenly dumplings need no introduction.
    • Suja – The Bhutanese Butter Tea. A Frothy butter drink, salty in taste. Different but worth the try.
    • If you eat non- veg, try Pork at any local restaurant


    Hop around the local markets in Bhutan

    • The best way to explore a country’s local culture is to visit its local markets. Phuntsholing, Thimphu and Paro are the prominent places to do some souvenir shopping.
    • Wooden Handicraft and Hand-woven Textiles are very good in Bhutan.

    Bhutan itinerary for 8 days

    Day 1: Hasimara - Jaigaon- Bhutan

    Day 2: Entry permit and reach Thimpu

    Day 3: Explore Thimpu

    Day 4: Day trip to Punakha via dochula pass

    Day 5: Thimpu to Paro via Chele la pass and Haa Valley

    Day 6: Hike Tigers Nest

    Day 7: Explore Paro 

    Day 8: Leave Bhutan

    You can read the deatiled itinerary here.


    Hotels in Bhutan

    We stayed at the below hotels in Bhutan:

    • Phuentsholing: Hotel Centinel 
    • Thimpu: Hotel Tandin
    • Paro: Hotel Sonam


    5 places to visit in Bhutan

    Tigers Nest, the cliffside monastery

    Tiger’s Nest is Bhutan’s most sacred religious site and one of the must places to visit in Bhutan. Also known as Paro Taktsang, Tiger’s Nest is a beautiful Monastery hung 900 meters above on a cliff overlooking the spectacular Paro Valley.

    As legend has it, Guru Rinpoche flew to this site on a Tigress’ back to subdue local demons after which he meditated there for months. Guru Rinpoche is said to be the second Buddha and the one to introduce Buddhism to Bhutan.


    Haa Valley, Bhuan's best kept secret

    One of the most beautiful valleys of Bhutan and our favourite pick has to be the Haa Valley. Approximately 65kms from Paro, this beautiful hamlet is Bhutan’s best kept secret.

    The Valley is very close to the disputed Indo China Border in Doklam and hence was closed for tourists till 2002. It was made available for the public in 2002. Not many people know of it, as a place to be included in their itinerary.

    There are numerous ancient Buddhist temples around which makes the valley ideal for hiking. A few hike options are Yangthang – Hatey Hike, Bjungneydra – Kat – Sho, Gonpa Hike, Jyenkhakha – Jamtey Gonpa – Yangthang Gonpa Hike


    Punakha Monastery and river rafting

    Punakha is around 80kms from Thimphu and is a 2-hour ride by road. Punakha monastery is one of the most scenic one along the river bank Pho Chhu & Mo Chhu River

    If out of all the genres of travel, adventure is your true love, do not miss rafting in Punakha.

    Imagine yourself flowing with the current, all drenched while watching a few rare birds in their most natural habitat along with the beautiful Punakha valley at the backdrop. White water rafting is a different experience altogether. Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers in Punakha are famous for river rafting in Bhutan.

    Little to no experience is required for rafting on these rivers as there are certified experts who would guide you throughout the course. Specific instructions are given before riding the boat and off you go for an amazing adventure.

    The most memorable part of the course is the point where you can see the Punakha Dzong from the river. The Dzong looks beautiful at the backdrop while rafting across. 


    Dochula Pass

    Mountain passes are always beautiful because altitude nurtures tranquillity. Located at an elevation of 3100m, Dochula pass is a tale of bravery, valour, inspiration and spirituality. This place comes on the way to Punakha from Thimpu.

    This beautiful mountain pass is located on the way to Punakha from Thimphu and one of the most divine places to visit in Bhutan.

    It was built in commemoration of 108 Bhutanese soldiers who passed away in military operations of 2003. There are 108 memorial Chorten or stupas built in remembrance of every lost soul.


    Chele la Pass: the highest motorable road in Bhutan

    Standing on the highest possible road in Bhutan, wrapped in clouds and prayer flags, Chele La is enthralling. Located at an altitude of 3810m, Chele la links the two Valleys of Paro and Haa.

    • Approximately 36kms from Paro and 27kms from Haa, Chele La is situated in between the two valleys.
    • Because of its altitude, natural trails through forests with a view of Himalayas , Chele la is famous for mountain biking and trekking in Bhutan.
    • The drive to Chele La is through dense spruce forests. Depending on the season of visit, one may come across gushing waterfalls, blooming rhododendrons and yaks grazing.
    • The mountain slopes on the way to Chele La are covered in white poppy – a type of flower only found here and nowhere else in the world.
    • The temperature at the top is pretty cold and staying long becomes difficult due to the altitude. Summers are chilling but clear and winters are blood freezing cold.
    • One a clear day, one can view Mt. Jumolhari – one of Bhutan’s most sacred peak, standing tall at 22,000 ft.


    Pack your bags and set out to travel Bhutan if you want to disconnect for a while only to reconnect again happier than ever. The serene landscapes, beautiful valleys, majestic mountains, pristine forests, soothing rivers, traditional lifestyle and warmest people makes Bhutan an experience worth every penny.



Best Places to Play Padel in Barcelona

When you’re in a park in Barcelona, you will quickly notice just how many people are staying active, either with running or working out.

The city is obsessed with it.

Over the years, the local councils and governing bodies have put a lot of money into ensuring that people can quench their thirst for exercise and maximise their potential. One of the other things that you will also realise in most parks, is that there are enclosed courts with people playing a sport called Padel.

This sport is one of the most famous in Spain and parts of Latin America. It offers a great alternative to tennis and squash in Barcelona. However, if you are from a country where Padel isn’t well-played, then you may have little to no knowledge on how to play it. Therefore, we thought best to shed light on the topic, so that you can...


Enjoy a game of Padel in Barcelona on your next visit to the city:

History of padel

The sport began in Acapulco, Mexico, by Enrique Corcuera in 1969. The idea was to make a new game that people could play instead of tennis. However, he wanted the sport to be played in an enclosed space that would enable two players to compete on the ‘same side’ of the court as they tried to out maneuver the opposition into committing an error. The sport would soon cross the atlantic, to parts of Southern Portugal and Spain, becoming very popular in the process. Corcuera mapped out a 10 by 20 metre court in his home, building enclosing walls along each side of this court. Shortly after the rules were finalised, padel was brought to Spain by Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe after spending a holiday at Corcuera’s house. Prince Alfonso made the game able to thrive at his Marbella Club hotel, spreading from here- Spain was hooked.


How to play

The first and founding set of rules were proposed by Viviana Dellavedova Corcuera, Enrique’s partner! The rules are basically the same as in tennis except serves are underarm and the ball can bounce off the walls that surround the court. Similar to tennis, volleys are encouraged to make a more exciting and competitive match! Point scoring is the same as tennis, meaning that the game comes very naturally to anyone with some familiarity with tennis! 


Where to play Padel in Barcelona: 

Fairplay Padel Club

The first of places to play padel in Barcelona, is Fairplay Padel Club of Montjuic, which offers eight courts where you can take classes, participate in leagues, events and tournaments. Whatever level you want to get to/experience, you can’t go wrong here.

Location: Carrer del Foc, 2, 08038 Barcelona


Club Natació Atlétic-Barceloneta

How does this sound, playing a game of padel right on the beach, not bad right? Well, let us introduce you to Club Natació Atlètic-Barceloneta! Offering four wonderful courts, it makes for the most ideal location to have a friendly game of padel whilst enjoying the ocean breeze. With flexible prices, you can be assured to find your match here!

Location: Plaça del Mar, 08003 Barcelona


Club Tennis De La Salut

Despite being known as a tennis club in Barcelona, Club Tennis De La Salut also offers 9 padel courts. You can even bring your kids here to have a go at a new sport in a friendly environment. As well as padel, this club offers fitness classes for members and non-members alike, giving you a chance to warm-up well before hitting the court!

Location: Carrer de la Mare de Déu de la Salut, 75, 08024 Barcelona



Meetup is an app that gets people who share similar interests together. It is used for all things from art classes to book clubs, this app can also be used to connect people who want to play tennis or padel. Therefore, be sure to keep an eye out for a padel Meetup group to meet new people and improve your game on your next visit to Barcelona!


Kangaroo Valley: Top Sights from this Scenic Getaway

Kangaroo Valley is a 2 hour drive from Sydney, and as the name suggests, provides ample opportunity to see these native animals.

The town is a quaint set of shops nestled in the valley, completely surrounded by mountains.

Often in the mornings you will see the kangaroos amongst the trees before they disappear in to the surrounding bush.


There are many sights to see whilst spending a weekend here:

1. Bushwalks

You can visit Fitzroy Falls, a 20min drive away which is a beautiful bushwalk with waterfalls and local flora and fauna. Easy to medium walks available and starts at the visitor centre.

Walks are also in nearby Morton State Conservation where you see vast views across the valley including the local dam. 6km there and back.


2. Pioneer Village Museum

Great for families and kids entertainment, the museum contains a series of houses, schoolhouse, mill and even a 30,000 year old fossil. It tells the story of the early settlers to the area.

There are bushwalks that commence at the back of this property if you wish to extend your stay at this sight.


3. Hampden Bridge.

Named after the state governor in the days of the early settlers, this is the only wooden structural bridge of its kind, complete with medieval pylons.


Sights and Things to Do on Curacao, Netherlands Antilles

A travel tip about things you might like to do and see on Curacao.

- Queen Juliana Bridge, Willemstad. At 185 feet, this is highest bridge in the Caribbean (and one of the tallest bridges in the world.) The bridge overlooks St. Anna Bay as well as Willemstad. Note: The observation platform has been closed to pedestrian traffic.

- Queen Emma Bridge (a.k.a "The Swinging Old Lady"), Willemstad. A floating pontoon bridge that links the "Punda" (Point Side) and the "Otrobanda" (Other Side) of the Willemstad across the Sint Annabaai Channel. You get to see the bridge open and close to away marine traffic into St. Anna Bay. (In the event the bridge is open for a prolonged time, there is a ferry service across the channel as well.)

- Christoffel National Park, A national park that is run by the by the Carmabi Foundation. Christoffel National Park is home to Boca Grandi, Indian caves where you can see paintings left by the Arawak Indians and Mount Christoffel. (At 1292 feet high, Mount Christoffel is the highest point in Curacao.) Address: West Point , Tel: +(5999)/864-0363,

- Shete Boka National Park, A national park also run by the by the Carmabi Foundation, Shete Boka is home to the "7 boca's" including Boca Tabla and Boca Pistol (also known as "The Shooting Pistol") In season, some of the boca's serve as sea turtle breeding grounds. Address: West Point, Tel: +(5999)/864-0444,

- Curacao Sea Aquarium, Home of the Dolphin Academy. This is one of the most popular attractions in Curacao. If you wish to do a Dolphin activity book as early as possible! $entry price (depends on activity you choose BUT paying for an activity (such as something at the Dolphin Academy) gets you entry to all of the Aquarium. Address: Bapor Kibra Z/N, Tel: +(5999)/461-6666,

- Hato Caves, Open 7 days a week, with tours 2 times a day. Coral and limestone caves that was carved out below the sea and born when the sea level dropped. There are beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations as well as water pools and a waterfall. The cave is also home to a colony long nose fruit bats. (Because of the colony, photography is limited and not allowed in certain chambers.) Address: F.D. Rooseveltweg Z/N, Tel: +(5999)/868-0379.

- Curacao Ostrich & Game Farm, Santa Catharina. The Curacao Ostrich Farm is one of the biggest Ostrich farms outside Africa. The tour takes you around the ostrich pens and incubator. Meat from this farm is shipped to Aruba (Ostrich is a red meat, which is high in protein and low in fat.) Address: Tel: +(5999)/747-2777.

- Fort Amsterdam, The seat of the Netherlands Antilles, Fort Amsterdam sits at the mouth of the harbor at the end of the Sint Annabaai Channel on the point. The complex has restaurants, shops as well as the Governors Palace. Address: Punda Side, Willemstad.

- Fort Nassau, was built on the hill to defend both St. Anna Bay as well as part of the city of Willemstad. The fort is open for tours and there is also a restaurant that overlooks the bay. Address: Willemstad

- The Floating Market, the "floating market" is actually a mini boat fleet that comes in from Venezuela and sells ultra fresh fish and fruit at the best prices. Address: Punda Side, Willemstad.

- Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in the western hemisphere, with a sand floor and museum containing ancient artifacts Address: Tel: 599-9-4611067,

- Museum Kura Hulanda, open Daily from 10:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m. This anthropological museum chronicles the African slave trade as well as the cultures of Curacao. Entry: $9 Address: Willemstad. Phone: +5999 434 7765

- Postal Museum, Willemstad.

- Maritime Museum, Willemstad.

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