The Wanderlust of.. Welike Bali!

They are THE girls you contact if you want to know anything Bali related. With more than 12 years island experience, Pris and Eve’s Welike Bali platform has evolved in a household name and brand. They sell merchandise, test the best hotels and hotspots and they have recently published their first Dutch Bali Guide! Time to have a chat.

Hi Girls! How are you? Could you tell our readers a little bit about Welike Bali and who you are?

Hi! We are Pris & Eve, two best friends from Holland. We met each other at our first job after we finished our study and became friends. Back in 2009 we decided to move somewhere sunny for one year. Given that we both have Indonesian roots, decided to go travel to Bali. 11 years passed, and here we are! When we arrived back in 2009 there were lots of cool things happening on the island and new hotspots opening.  So that’s how we started Welike Bali.

We couldn’t find any nice websites with non-touristy info about Bali.

A blog about everything we like on the island. Over the years we expanded our blog with our Instagram channel, YouTube, published our Bali travel guides in English and recently also our official Dutch book! It’s filled with more than 300 tips And since 2 years we also run our Welike Bali shop. We design Island life inspired t-shirts, sweaters and accessories and have them handmade in Bali.

We think a lot of our followers love the island of Bali, but what makes it so special for you guys?

The moment we arrived in Bali we felt that instant connection. It’s the sun, the ocean, surf, the people, amazing creative vibe, incredible food from vegan till the best nasi campur. But mostly because we love the feeling of freedom and life outside. Getting up early when the sun rises, jumping on the motorbike, surf, have coffee and breakfast at one of our many favourite cafes and after that we start our working day. In the evening we see our friends over dinner and in weekends we go on trips to create content and explore new spots. It’s an inspiring place to live!

Welike Bali at High Tide

So for those who haven’t been to Bali, what are THE hotspots on the island at the moment?

This one is so hard to answer haha! You can’t even imagine how many amazing stays, restaurants, beach hangouts and other hotspots there are. The 300 spots in our book are even a tiny few of our favourites! And it also totally depends on your travel preferences and budget. You can go all out luxury or off the beaten path local or low budget.

But we can say for first time Bali go’ers it’s a must to go to:

  • Canggu to eat, surf & chill.
  • South Bali (The Bukit) for the best beaches, magical sunsets, surf and cute stays on the beach
  • Ubud for culture, arts and rice field walks (if you are more adventurous head up to Jatiluwih or Karangasem for incredible nature and rice paddy jungle valleys)
  • East Bali for the authentic Bali vibe away from mass tourism. Black sand beaches, local villages, eco stays along the beach and palm tree fields as far as you can look.
  • An island outside of Bali! It’s a must. Visit the Gili- or the Nusa islands for clear blue water and white sand beaches. Or head up to Flores for an unforgettable trip with island hopping, snorkelling with manta rays and sleep on a deserted island.

Flores Island
The Welike Bali girls in Flores

Evelien (Eve for short), you just became a new mum to a baby boy – who looks very cute btw, how will you combine the traveling to Bali, especially when he gets older?

Thanks! Haha. Manua is turning 1 this week! Before Manua I spend a few months on and off in Amsterdam and Bali and with Manua we plan to do the same. This first year we stayed more in Holland, to be close to family but we’re so ready to head back into the sun haha. It was super easy to fly with him as a newborn, when he could sleep in the basinet in front of our chairs. I’m curious how our next flight will go since he won’t sit still anymore I’m sure it will be tough but we’ll survive haha.

Apart from Bali and Amsterdam, what is your favourite place you want to keep coming back to?

Los Angeles, Hawaii and Tahiti! These three places in the world are our absolute favourite. We’ve been here a few times and we are already planning a new trip this year. Can’t wait to bring Manua here! We love the energy and creative vibes of Los Angeles, and get so inspired each time we are here. We love to just live a ‘daily life’ in LA. Get up early, workout, hike or surf, have breakfast or pick-up a juice or coffee to go on Abbot Kinney and then start the day. Hawaii & Tahiti is island life to the fullest for us. The ocean, waving palm trees, eating açaí bowls along the road at the local food truck and exploring its beautiful raw nature and incredible beaches.

Bali flower bath

You have recently published a Bali Travel Guide, what can people expect to read and see?

We did, so excited! Up to the present time, we have been self publishing our smaller-size English Bali Guide for 3 years now, and last September we released our official Dutch Bali Travel Guide! Together with Uitgeverij Unieboek Het Spectrum which is being sold in more than 100 stores throughout the Netherlands. We made it to give everyone an unforgettable dream holiday to Bali! Whether you’re travel solo, with friends, on a honeymoon or with kids. It’s the crown on our 10 year anniversary in Bali!

We curated our top 300 favourite addresses. From the nicest places to eat and sleep to the best surf spots, beaches, spas, shops, yoga schools and special trips. We also give tips how and where to travel for the surrounding islands including Flores, the Gili Islands and Nusa Lembongan, Ceningan & Penida. And we interviewed fellow Bali lovers, like Benthe Liem, Vivian Hoorn, Rachel “De Huismuts” from Sas and Nina Pierson about their favorite Bali places. We wanted to make it a ready to go guide, so we also added a handy packing list, day-to-day travel routes, practical tips and a Bali bucket list to tick off while in Bali!

If you could only pack 3 items in your suitcase, what would definitely be in there?

Without hesitation; a bikini, sunscreen & our analog camera.

The Instagram game is constantly changing, how do you guys keep your relevance and stay innovative in “the game”?

We believe the key is to be valuable and offer something to your audience. In our case: our personal tips for Bali and inspiration to travel anywhere sunny. We’re lucky amazing new spots and island stays are popping up every day in Bali so we always have something new to share. The whole lifestyle around it, like what bikinis or Summer outfits to wear make it personal because you can understand more of who Pris & Eve are.

We think the trend is moving towards being creative and real

e take our followers along in our daily life in Bali and Amsterdam with Manua (and Pris in Biarritz with the boyfriend in the Summer months) and also experiment with analog photography on the feed and more IGTV videos.

Which music can we find on your ultimate roadtrip Spotify list?

  • It’ll be mostly Hawaiian and singer songwriter music! A few on repeat are:
  • Kimie Miner – Sea of Love
  • Khai Dreams – Sunkissed
  • Nani – Good Morning
  • Anuhea – Forever Summer
  • Leon Bridges – Beyond

But we can also be in the mood for a good Beyonce, Anderson Paak and always love a good 90’s hip-hop playlist!

So far, which was your highlight of 2019 (ok, the baby doesn’t count ;-))

Haha ok otherwise, we would definitely have baby on number one! And our first time with baby Manua in Bali :))
But besides baby, our highlight is the launch of our Welike Bali book. It really felt like the cherry on the pie of 10 years Welike Bali. But we must say our years are usually a collection of highlights as each trip is so special! We fell in love with Bawah, an island in Indonesia so paradisally it’s almost unreal. Loved our surf trip to the Mentawais with 10 surfer girls from around the world, work trips to Mauritius and Portugal.

Welike Bali with baby
Evelien with her husband and baby Manua

What can we expect from Welike Bali in 2020?

There will be exciting things happening! We have designed some new curated travel guides and clothing collections for our Welikebali Shop which we will release around February/March. And we’re having something fun to announce soon, can’t spoil everything yet but is has something to do with Welike Bali Holidays ;)) In addition we also have some sun-kissed destinations on our bucket list we want to travel to, like the Philippines, Greece, Maldives, Mexico (ok we’ll stop this list will get too long haha) so above all we’ll be spreading lots of sunshine in 2020!

And last but not least, what kind of travellers are you?

Notably, we are in love with the ocean, beach and waving palm trees! Long days under the sun, exploring sea life, surfing and eating our way through the day hehe. But we also love to visit cities like Paris, Marrakech, Los Angeles, New York (NY is still on the bucket list!) and explore new spots. That cool coffee bar, cool concept store or incredible vegan cafe. We get so excited when we see new places in the world, it gives so much inspiration and energy! We don’t really have a specific travel style, we can enjoy a luxurious resort in the Maldives, a low-key airbnb in the city, but also a simple beach shack on a deserted island. But we are a sucker for a good design or an eye-catching tropical set-up so it will need to look a little bit nice 😉

Beach Bali

Thanks for the chat girls and let’s travel soon!

Find our more about Welike Bali on their tropical website!

x

Wander-Lust

Read more interviews here:

These are the Best Spa’s in Amsterdam

Time for some YOU-time. Luckily, Amsterdam has a wide variety in Spa’s where you can pamper yourself.

These are some of the best spa’s in Amsterdam that are worth your while.

Best Spa's in Amsterdam, Women with flower

Akasha Spa, Conservatorium Hotel

All in all, this spa is considered as one of the best spa’s in Amsterdam. located in the middle of the museum district inside the Conservatorium Hotel. Complete with a swimming pool, sauna and amazing treatments, this is a place where you walk out as a new you. I enjoyed an aromatherapy massage for 75 minutes and it was heaven. Prices are what you expect of a top notch hotel like this but let’s be real, everybody deserves a treatment like this once in a while!

Akasha Spa
Van Baerlestraat 27
www.conservatoriumhotel.com

Akasha-Moderne-Hippies-winactie2
Total zen at the Akasha Spa

Skins Institute at Hotel De L’Europe

This amazing Spa is located at the 5 star Hotel De L’Europe in the heart of Amsterdam. They used to have 2 locations, but they’ve now put everything under one roof. They do body, face, waxing, beauty and even hair treatments. I tried and tested one of their signature facial treatments and wow…heaven! Seriously, I should do this more often! You can even create your own exclusive oil base by getting your skin analyzed. A full day at the spa will cost you 30 euro’s and you can use the swimming pool (pictured), sauna’s, steam room and relax area where you can read a travel book?. They serve lunch from the hotel and during spring and summer, you can enjoy the patio outside overlooking the Amstel.

Skins Institute
Nieuwe Doelenstraat 2-14
www.skinsinstitute.nl

PicMonkey Collage
Also on top of our list as one of the best spa’s in Amsterdam 

Sauna Deco

This Sauna and wellness Spa has been settled in Amsterdam  for 30 years already! The art decor is what you call, somewhat special. Sauna Deco is a household name in Amsterdam and many of our friends love going here. Their massages are reasonably priced and the sauna wellness area is available from 19 euro’s per person.

Sauna Deco

Herengracht 115
www.saunadeco.nl

Sauna Deco Spa
Source: Sauna Deco Spa

Spa Sport Hotel Zuiver (Spa Zuiver)

It’s where you will find mothers & daughters, couples, friends and business people. Spa Zuiver is for everyone. Sarah loves this place and returns here a couple of times a year.

Spa Sport Hotel Zuiver
Koenenkade 8

Spa_Baden_Zwembad35A3903
The pool area in Spa Zuiver. Photo by Karen Steenwinkel

These are without doubt the best spa’s in Amsterdam

The City Street Spa

Lucky for us, this Spa has 2 locations in Amsterdam! One flagship and one smaller which is called “Le Petit Spa”. From facials, pedicures, killer eyebrow and body treatments to Acupuncture and reflexology, you can find it all in one place. This popular spa also offers special face, hand and feet treatments for men so if you ever want to surprise your boyfriend, this is the place! 

The City Street Spa
Prinsengracht 764bg
Centre neuf Utrechtsestraat 120
www.thecitystreetspa.com

one of the best spa's in Amsterdam
Source: hethaartheater.nl

Cowshed at the Soho House

Cowshed
Spuistraat 210, Amsterdam
www.sohohouseamsterdam.com/en/spa

Cowshed is located on the ground floor of the relatively new Soho House Amsterdam. The Soho House is a members club but the spa is open to everyone. The Spa has six treatment rooms and four mani-pedi chairs which are divine. Men can also enjoy a traditional barber and hair treatment here, but we tested the massage. The Cowshed relaxing moody massage is wonderful and you can choose between different oils. After the treatment you can enjoy a free herbal tea and on Thursdays they serve bubbles and chocolate! Good to know: All skin products are free from parabens, petrochemicals, sulphates, and artificial fragrances. 

Cowshed spa in Amsterdam

Human Beauty

This spa is not huge but smaller and cozy than the above mentioned. This makes your spa experience more personal and customers keep returning. The interior is light and bright with a small boutique where you can buy ceramics and Jewellery from the like of Mimi et Toi.

Human Beauty
Eerste Tuindwarsstraat 1
www.humanbeauty.nl

Best spas in Amsterdam
Photographs by Lisan Timp  &  Marijn Wijs

Floatcenter Amsterdam

Floating is one of the most relaxing things you can experience. It’s weightless, silent and you and your mind is all there is. A little difficult for some of us as doing “nothing” is somewhat out of the ordinary when you have a busy schedule like us but nevertheless, very needed. This spa also offers massages, a hamam (scrub),spa capsules, beauty treatments and sauna.

Floatcenter Amsterdam
Nieuwe Kerkstraat 5k
www.floatcenteramsterdam.com

PicMonkey Collage
Me floating at the float center Amsterdam. 

Spa 1001

Most hotspots are in the city centre of Amsterdam, at least that’s what most people think. I live outside the centre so I know better. Spa 1001 is located in Amsterdam New West in Osdorp and close to the upcoming Tuinen van West area. The spa is also popular with Dutch celebrities like actrice Victoria Koblenko, footballer Justin Kluivert, vlogger Sisi Bolatini and other top sporters and well known vloggers. You can either book 2,5 or 5 hours and enjoy your private sauna, steam room with a optic star-ceiling, spacious jacuzzi or unwind in the luxurious (and large) lounge area that includes a fireplace. 

Spa 1001
Meer en Vaart 4, Amsterdam

Website

Spa 1001, best spas in Amsterdam

Love,

Elke

ELLIS GOURMET BURGER AMSTERDAM

It is years ago now, but when I lived in London and I found out that an Ellis Gourmet Burger restaurant was opening near my place, I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’ve been a vegetarian for most of my life, so why do I dig this burger place you ask?

In comparison, Ellis Gourmet Burger is a little different to other burger joints. And in recent years, they’ve made an even bigger transition when it comes to their menu. Surprisingly, vegan and vegetarian dishes are well established on the menu so when Wander-Lust was asked to test the new latest venue in central Amsterdam, we said yes in a heartbeat.

Ellis Gourmet Burger

With restaurants in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and Breda, Ellis Gourmet Burger is doing something right in the Netherlands. It has been a while since I ate at a burger restaurant, so I invited Sarah to join at their location on the Gravenstraat so we could pick and mix. 

Wander-Lust at Ellis Gourmet Burger

The Menu at Ellis Gourmet Burger

Honestly, everyone can eat here. But oh boy, those sticky flower wings. Basically, these are deliciously disguised cauliflower parts, glazed with sweet sriracha and panko-crumbed. Still licking my fingers as we speak. They are the latest edition on the menu plus they’re 100% vegan!

Vegetarian Burger Ellis Gourmet Burger

For mains you have plenty of choice between 11 burgers, sides and salads. Sarah tried the Quinoa & goat cheese salad (it was January, so healthy orders were made), and I opted for the vegetarian burger. By the way, the buns at Ellis Gourmet Burger are crunchy and not to be compared with the soft dry burger buns you get at Mac D’s. We all have our preferences, but I prefer this. If you still like the taste of meat but you want to save the planet, you can order the revolutionary and sustainable plant-based Beyond burger!

The Interior

It has to be said, this wasn’t my favourite location I’ve seen. However, the location is perfect for visitors, as it’s located right in the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam’s shopping district, near the Dam Square. If you are looking for a more local experience, try their other locations the Prinsengracht or Singel.

All in all, I filled my tummy with some good comfort food!  Vegetarian or not, I can assure you, Ellis surely knows how to serve a tasty burger!

Ellis Gourmet Burger
Gravenstraat 20, Amsterdam
Website

Elke

 

TRAVEL FOR FREE | 6 WAYS TO DO IT

It’s something we all can relate to. Your bank account looks a lot less attractive when I return home from your travels. But, there are a few ways to spend little to none cash if you do it the right way.

Be warned; it’s not always easy, but if you try and follow these tips, you might just travel the world a lot more efficiently (money wise). It’s something every frequent traveler would love to do; travel for free. 

1. Hitchhike

Oh yes, this one is old skool but ey, it works! You’ll be surprised how many people stop and take you along for a few miles. The best spots for doing this are; Petrol stations, Bus Stops and Toll Roads. Always carry a good map (yes, that’s your first investment) and wear steady shoes. The nice thing about hitchhiking is that you meet new people that can tell you where to go next and so your adventure begins. For women; I wouldn’t recommend it for when you travel alone. And if you’re bad-ass, just use your common sense. A good website for all your hitchhike information is: www.hitchwiki.org

Travel for free. Photo by Atlas Green.
The hitchhikers guide to..?

2. House sit

I’ve mentioned this trick in a previous post about 7 ways to save money whilst traveling, but I want to highlight it again because it’s such a good idea! A friend of mine recently booked her ticket to Australia and will live there for free because she is house sitting a friends house in Sydney. Talk about living the local life! There are a lot of websites that offer this service and here are my favorites: Check out mindmyhouse.com to find the best houses in the country that you seek your adventure. For travellers that love animals trustedhousesitters.com  is your best bet and look on housecarers.com. You may need to clean the house a few times and look after some pets but that’s a small price to pay for completely free accommodation. If you’re lucky, you will get a small fee, depending on the number of chores you need to do around the house.

travel for free, house sit
You may just end up here..

3. Travel & Royalty Cards

I always thought this would be something that would take a lot of hassle and I couldn’t be bothered but this is a very efficient way to save your money.
How it works: Travel rewards credit cards work on a points-based system. You basically earn one point (mile) for each dollar/euro that you spend at the most basic level. However, you can usually earn extra points for certain purchases. How much you earn, and what you earn extra points for, depends on what type of loyalty program you are enrolled in and which credit card you are using. This way you can travel for free on your points.
The best cards for this are Capital One Venture, Chase Sapphire and the Barclay Arrival+ Card.

4. Free Camping

Although it’s totally cool to book an luxurious glamping trip, it is still possible to camp around the world for free. Yes, a little investment is required but a steady tent doesn’t have to cost much. Camping is widely available and in countries like Central America, The Caribbean or Mexico, camping on beaches can be completely free. Europe is also offering free options, especially in the UK, Ireland and Portugal. To make your life easier (and that’s what we’re here for!) there a site that listed all the free camping sites in the world. www.freecampsites.net If you have a Camper Van, you can always try to park it in the street and wish for the best. Some excitement never hurt anyone!

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Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Camping is a great way to see the world and travel for free

5. Work

Yeah, I know, this was not the plan but let’s be real for a second. Work pays off and get’s you a long way. It doesn’t mean you’ll need to work all the time but you can earn more money overseas sometimes than in your home country. (depending on where you live of course). Countries that pay well are Australia, (landscaping for instance!), The UK (work as a nanny), or try to wwoof. Fill your pockets in Australia and continue your travels in Asia for example. (very low living cost)

Work overseas. Picture by Danurwendho Adyakusuma
Work overseas and travel for free! 

6. Eat for free!

Honestly, it should not come to this, but if you are really out of cash and you don’t want to beg on the streets, this may be an option. You need food to function so it’s the one thing you can’t do without. There are ways to solve this problem and you can do it for free! Visit markets about 15 minutes before they close. A lot of times, perfectly ripe fruits and vegetables are thrown away so if you ask nicely, they might give it to you without hesitation. The same applies for bakeries. They can’t use their bread for the next day so they will give it to the poor, the garbage or to a hungry backpacker!  

travel for free, food by Luke Michael

I hope these tips will help and if you have an extra inside tip, don’t hesitate to comment below!

Love,

Elke

For more travel tips check here.

photo-1442947834688-906754688969

Discover Vilnius, the underrated gem of Europe!

Vilnius is a place with lots of amazing architecture and delicious local cuisine. This guide will tell you about the best hotspots and foods that Vilnius has to offer!

Truth be told, I didn’t know anything about Vilnius or Lithuania in general. It is quite an unknown city in Europe, but it turned out to be a great place for a city trip with a variety of hotspots, historical buildings, culture, history and especially loads of foods. 

How to get there

Lithuania is situated in the north of Europe and is part of the Baltic states. There are several flights to Vilnius from Amsterdam, however only with Air Baltic you can fly directly from Amsterdam to Vilnius in 2 hours and 15 minutes. Other airlines like Lufthansa and LOT offer flights with one transfer. The airport of Vilnius is very close to the city centre and you can easily reach the centre by bus or train for less than €2.

Lithuania – a place just a 2-hours flight away from Amsterdam– is still fairly unknown as a tourist destination.

Where to stay

Vilnius is not that big so the city’s highlights are relatively close. There are many hostels for the budget traveller and hotels are available for as little as 30 euros per night for two persons. We stayed at the Amberton hotel which had the perfect location on Cathedral Square right in the middle of the city centre. If you want to have a really luxurious stay, I would recommend design hotel Pacai, which is modern and unique with authentic details like frescoes.

Pink Building Vilnius

What to see in the city centre

Not surprisingly, Vilnius Old Town is full of historical buildings with impressive architectural styles. I was amazed by all the architecture; around every corner you will find a building that takes your breath away. The streets of Vilnius are not very crowded and you can enjoy the beauty of the city without being disturbed by many tourists. Furthermore, everything is walkable! Here are some of the top spots of the city.

  • Cathedral Square
    This square is the heart of the city. You can spot the Cathedral Bell Tower, where you can climb to the top to have a perfect panoramic view of the city. You can also visit the Vilnius Cathedral and right next to it you’ll find the Grand Dukes Palace. In December there’s a Christmas market with a beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the middle.
  • The Uzupis area
    Uzupis is the oldest suburb of Vilnius and has been declared as the Republic of Uzupis by Lithuanian artists. Just walk around and take a look at the street art and beautiful buildings. Make sure you go to Paupio Street where you can find special plaques with 41 rules of the Republic in various languages. Close to Uzupis you can visit the Gothic St. Anne and St. Bernardine churches from the 15th century which are very impressive and statuesque. The beautiful St. Michael the Archangel Church is also nearby.
  • The Church of St. Casimir
    This building was one of my faves, mainly because of the beautiful pink exterior with baroque architecture. Since many of the houses surrounding the churches and historical buildings are quite small, you can spot the church from many different places in town. It’s easily recognizable with a golden crown on top of one of the towers.
  • Turgus Hales
    Many locals come to this market hall to do their shopping and you’ll occasionally spot a tourist. Roots is a particularly interesting little store, because it has the largest selection of Lithuanian handcrafted cheese in the country. The lovely ladies there are happy to let you try some of the cheeses.

Street Lithuania

Vilnius Church

Things do in and around Vilnius

  • Go by bike or step or make a trip with a hot air balloon
    You can easily get bikes in the city or rent an electric step to discover the Old Town. During spring and summer, you can even take a balloon ride over the historical city centre. Breath-taking views guaranteed!
  • Visit a museum
    Vilnius has various museums. The National Museum portrays the history and culture of Lithuania, but if you are particularly interested in the Soviet period of the country, you should visit the Museum of Genocide (KGB museum). The exhibition tells more about the terror of the Soviet Union in Lithuania and you can visit the prison complex.
  • Visit historical town Trakai
    Trakai is a small town with a rich and interesting history. It’s only a half-hour drive away from Vilnius. The Trakai castle is based on an island in the middle of the lake. You can visit the museum and find out more about the medieval history of Trakai and its inhabitants. If the weather is good you can also take a boat ride across the lake to see the castle from various viewpoints.

Trakai Castle
Trakai Castle

The city of great food

If you are a food lover, Vilnius will not disappoint. The locals really value their local produce and everywhere in the city you can find shops that sell unique local products. Cheese, fruit wine, rye bread, kvass (a soft-drink) and tree cake are popular amongst locals. Going on a food tour is a must-do if you’re a foodie! Vilnius has various restaurants with local cuisine, the ones below are definitely worth a visit!

  • Queensberry
    A special product of Lithuania is wine made of fruits like rhubarb, raspberry, and cherry. Queensberry is a good place to go if you want to try the different types of wines in combination with modern Lithuanian food. Do try the fried rye bread with cheese dip, it is so yummy!
  • Ertlio Namas
    Ertlio Namas is a very special restaurant where authentic Lithuanian cuisine is mixed with modern cuisine. You can choose a 4-course or 6-course tasting menu and the enthusiastic waiters will tell you a historical background story with each course.
  • Augustas ir Barbora
    If you want to visit a cafe which is Instagram worthy, then you should go here. The interior is filled with pink chairs and flowers on the ceiling. Grab a coffee here, have breakfast or enjoy various pies and tasty pastries.

Terrace Vilnius

Vilnius is the hidden gem of Northern Europe, so go there in 2020 (find out which destinations we recommend for this year) before everyone else knows about it!

Love,

Merel

*Merel is one of our guest editors in Rotterdam. She describes herself as a daydreaming student who loves to travel. Last year she made a 5-month backpacking trip through Asia and she can’t wait to see more of the world. Check her out on Instagram: @merel_d94.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NHOW AMSTERDAM RAI IS OPEN

After a 3 year period of intensive construction, the highly anticipated nhow Amsterdam has finally opened its doors on the 10th of January for guests.

The new hotel is a unique location for meetings and events, with nine different rooms on the 23rd floor that offer an amazing view of Amsterdam. A few important facts about the brand new nhow Amsterdam RAI:

Facts nhow Amsterdam RAI

  • The already iconic building between the RAI and the A10 was designed by the renowned architectural firm OMA. (fun fact, the architect used to be my father in law)
  • The interior contains colours and patterns from all over the world; the design stimulates inspiration and creativity.
  • nhow Amsterdam RAI has 650 hotel rooms and nine multifunctional event spaces on the 23rd floor.
  • Luckily, the hotel is only a ten-minute drive from Schiphol Airport.

bedroom nhow Amsterdam RAI

Food & Drink

Both international guests and locals can work and network in the lounge on the first floor. THE ENTOURAGE GROUP is launching a Kitchen & Bar and Lounge & Bar on the top floor at a height of 91 meters with a panoramic view of the city. The hotel is directly located on the RAI complex. Between the Europa Boulevard, the A10 ring road and RAI Amsterdam. Schiphol Airport is only ten minutes by car or train and the tram will take you to Dam Square within six minutes.

Restaurant nhow Amsterdam

RAI Amsterdam headquarter hotel

Needless to say that hotel is perfect for organizers, exhibitors and visitors to national and international events at RAI Amsterdam. Maurits, COO of RAI Amsterdam, adds: “As a multicultural hotspot, the hotel will be the home base for organizers, exhibitors and visitors to national and international events. With this RAI Amsterdam strengthens its competitive position on the international stock exchange and congress market and adds something special to the city of Amsterdam. “

Pink room nhow hotel

Future plans for nhow lifestyle brand hotels will be opened in the coming three years. Nhow Brussels, nhow Frankfurt, nhow Hamburg and nhow Lima are on the planning.

Book your stay here!

Love,

Elke

Find out which hotels in Amsterdam are the most sustainable!

Most sustainable hotels Amsterdam

POP-UP BAR 0.020 AMSTERDAM: 0% ALCOHOL, 100% FUN

Restaurants and bars increasingly have alcohol-free cocktails and beers on their menu. The only disadvantage: the choice is very limited. Pop-up Bar 0.020 in Amsterdam is temporarily changing this during Dry January. The one-month booze-free challenge that helps lots of people reset their relationship with alcohol.

Bar 0.020: Without a drop of alcohol

Bar 0.020 – pronounced as zero point zero twenty – is definitely cloud nine for the ones who leave the drink for a month (or for an unlimited period). It’s the very first bar with only non-alcoholic drinks. So, expect a bar where you can walk in and out both completely sober. And yes, no hangover the next day. Let’s toast to that!

Bar 0.020 Amsterdam

About the concept

Bar 0.020 has opened her doors Friday the 3rd of January and will be open till the 31st of this month (every Thursday till Sunday). A tasty idea which already is spotted in London and NYC. Founders Mariska Leising and Niels Krommenhoek guessed it was the right time to introduce this sparkling idea in the Netherlands, our credits to the way they were thinking. And so, it happened. Bar 0.020 is a spot with a warm pub feeling, but without the temptation of alcoholic refreshments. They offer a stage to various beer and cocktail brands and thus to show people that it can be so much fun without alcohol. Where many bars and restaurants have only three or four non-alcoholic alternatives, Bar 0.020 offers thirteen types of beer.

Bar

It doesn’t stop with beers, cocktails and other drinkable treats. Thursdays are all about love. Fridays are for after work drinks with DJ and cocktail shaker. On Saturdays they have delicious tastings. And on lazy Sundays? Bar 0.020 is a big game bar.

Mark your calendar

On Saturday the 1st of February Bar 0.020 will celebrate achieving the New Year’s intention. This time not without but with alcohol, to celebrate your achievement. Bubbles, entertainment and great tunes to get you on to the dance floor. Still not in for alcohol? Don’t you worry, there’s enough to choose for you as well. Buy your party ticket here.

Bottums up!

Sharmaine

Bar 0.020
Nieuwe Zijdsekolk 25, Amsterdam
Website

Opening hours
Thursdays: 16:00 – 22:00
Fridays – Saturdays: 16:00 – 0:00
Sundays: 13:00 – 19:00

THE AMMAN GUIDE 2020 | JORDAN

“Welcome to Jordan”, is a phrase you will hear time and time again in this majestic land from the locals who are delighted to have visitors in their country.

From the moment you step off your flight and arrive in Jordan’s capital Amman, you’ll be impressed with the best of the Middle East this 2020.

Where to stay in Amman

There’s only one place to head to as soon as you arrive in frantic Amman and that’s the city’s 4th tallest building, otherwise known as the W Hotel. At a striking 150m high, it is a towering spectacle within Amman’s skyline. When you enter you are immediately blown away at the interior. It features a canyon – designed in homage to the country’s most famous archaeological site, Petra. The W Hotel is somewhere you want to wake up again and again. The 240 rooms are contemporary in look and feel, yet bring local characteristics through colours and textures.

W Hotel Entrance, Amman
Entrance of W Hotel Amman

Hotel bedroom Amman

Take time to explore the hotel in full: you’ll have a luxury spa to visit (we recommend the reflexology and full body massages). Aswell as a gym and not to mention the picturesque roof top poor which delivers quite a luxe experience. The rest of the hotel offers a Living Room area for guests to chill and read many of their impressive coffee table books while enjoying a cocktail. After dark the area becomes one of the best bars in the city with a who’s who of Amman flocking to be seen alongside an international array of guests. Book your stay here.

W Hotel Rooftop Pool

Jordan is one of the most progressive and modern countries in the Middle East and it’s also one of the safest. Woman have equal rights to men and the royal family have a huge influence on their people by championing education.

What to do in Amman

If you can tear yourself away from the W Hotel to marvel at the sights of Amman there’s plenty to do! (Though don’t get us wrong – the best of Jordan lies outside of the capital). Amman was built on seven hills so be sure to wear your most comfortable walking shoes as they’ll be putting in the hard work. The hustle and bustle of the capital city is sure to inspire and delight..

City of Amman, Jordan

Plan a morning exploring the Citadel which sits on the highest mountain in the city so provides the best point for getting your bearings. Built during the Bronze Age, the site was destroyed by an earthquake in 749AD and never rebuilt yet it’ll leave you with a sense of a time gone by. The scale of the columns still standing provide insight into how magnificent the site once was. From here you’ll be able to see the Roman Theatre which provides a 7,000 seater stadium. You can buy tickets to music and theatre performances.

Amman Citadel
The city’s Citadel

Theatre Amman, Jordan

Rainbow Street acts as a central hub of restaurants, bars and coffee shops which cater for tourists and locals alike. If you want to eat like a king you’re best to set off for Hashems which has hosted royalty here since it opened in 1953. This legendary eatery is famed for its falafel and hummus! You can order a classic lunch meal for around 3JD and be sure to sip their mint tea too. 

Amman City, Jordan

Culture

After you’ve refuelled with falafel, the Jordan Museum is not to be missed. Built in 2014, this is a modern building in the centre of the city. Its home to some of the most incredible ancient treasure in the land. The experience here is entertaining, informative and like no other. You’ll first be guided around the Jordan exhibition which tells the rich history of this nation. Illustrating the countries impact and evolution within the surrounding Middle East. The space also holds the oldest-known human statues. But it’s what lies at the very end which is why this stop is firmly on our must-do list: the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed here. These biblical manuscripts are one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century! When in 1946 a Shepard stubbed across them in a cave near to the Dead Sea. They give great historical, religious significance from the era when they were written from around 300BC.

Roman Theatre, Amman

The last cultural stop on your Amman to-see list should be the vast King Abdullah Mosque. This blue-domed landmark is open to worshipers as well as non-Muslin visitors. (But only during certain hours and if you’re a female you’ll be asked to wear a abayas. Standing as a some-what timeless looking building, over 7,000 people come on a daily basis to pay their respects. It’s a peaceful and reflective experience – while the outside is covered in decorative mosaic tiles.

King Abdullah Mosque, Amman

Where to Eat in Amman:

  • Wild Jordan Cafe (good for a a healthy lunch)
  • Shams el Balad (an outdoor hipster hangout with the most delicious beetroot hummus)
  • Levant (great for dinner – order everything on the menu, nothing will disappoint)
  • Primal (for anyone following a Paleo diet)
  • Sufra (a Rainbow Street must-visit)

Good to know ahead of visiting Jordan:

  • Buy the Jordan Pass for £75. This includes your tourist visa as well as entry fees for the likes of the Citadel in Amman as well as Petra and the Dead Sea.
  • There are 9 million people who live in the country, while only 8 years ago there were 6 million. The sudden rise of inhabitants is due to the influx of refugees coming in from their neighbouring countries. 4.5 million people live in the capital city Amman.
  • Weekends in Jordan fall on a Friday and Saturday, so it’s likely that shops, some attractions and restaurants may be shut on a Saturday.
  • Smoking is allowed indoors, so don’t be surprised when people light up in hotels, restaurants and shops.
  • All hotels have their own airport-like security in the entrance meaning that your suitcase and day bag will need to go through the x-ray scanners every time you enter the building.
  • Uber is currently available in Jordan, however they can’t pick up from the airport. If you’ve not arranged airport transfers via your hotel, you’re best to use a licensed cab when you land and be sure to tip the porter.

In short, before you head into the rest of Jordan, Amman is a worthy stop for a few days!

Love,

Stephanie

WINTERLICHT AT PAMPUS ISLAND | UNUSUAL DINING

A gem with a capital ‘G.’ An UNESCO World Heritage place with a lovely scenery and a surprising pop-up restaurant. Get ready for an incomparable culinary experience. 

Ever heard of the annually recurring dining experience Winterlicht on fort island Pampus? (you can also exclusively camp on the island during summer) It’s one of the most special hidden gems of Amsterdam.

Winterlicht, a super exclusive concept

With the festive season full of fabulous foods, blinking lights, a dose of youthful memories and lots of snow (fun) – OK we wish we had that last Christmassy one – behind us, it’s high time for some New Year’s good-for-you goals. What about enjoying life more? Having more special and, above all, unforgettable moments together with your loved ones, for example. 

Fort Eiland Pampus

Restaurant Winterlicht deserves a spot on your bucket list for 2020.

For those who’ve never heard of Winterlicht. It’s a full evening’s culinary adventure on Pampus Island. An experience that deserves the claim ‘one size fits all.’ Firstly, it’s a perfect getaway for a social gathering with friends or family or for a heartwarming date night for two. However, we didn’t know what to expect, so with expectations on mode zero we jumped on the cosy clipper Sailboat. And so the 5-hour Winterlicht adventure begun!

An unforgettable culinary experience

Together with all the other guests you sail from IJburg, Muiden or Almere (depends per date) to Pampus around 18:00 p.m. You’ll set foot on the island in approximately 30 minutes. Expect a warm welcome from the Winterlicht crew, some ins and outs about the night and a short tour through the half-hidden historic fortress. After the historical walk and talk through the enlightened fort corridors, it’s time to find two of your not so ‘cheesy’ starters in this charming atmosphere: a hot steamy Dutch cheese fondue and mini pancakes overloaded with…well see it yourself. On the other hand; don’t overeat yourself with this heavy kickstarter. Just sayin’!

Oilcan with fire

Sneak peek of what to expect at Pampus’ Winterlicht

Around 20:00 you’ll be warmly greeted by the crew of the islands’ pavilion. A surprising seasonal 3-course dinner – fixed menu – is waiting for you. It’s lovely to hear they cook exactly the same as they did years and years ago: as sustainable as possible, eye for superb quality, and they make use of local products. For the vegetarians, vegans or the ones with a food allergy, don’t you worry. Although they serve a fixed menu, suitable alternatives without juicy meat, lactose or whatever you prefer aren’t a problem at all. Share your preferences in time, and you’ll be pampered. Mark my words.

Winterlicht menu

And what about the ambiance? Well, it’s exactly what you want during the wonderful winter time: a cosy, warm, laidback and welcoming vibe. Everything but pretentious. Looking sharp or comfy, come as you’re. Sounds inviting, doesn’t it?

Winterlicht knows how to pamper their guests after short river crossings

toetje Winterlicht

Winterlicht versus Zomerlicht

Although Winterlicht is hibernating for now, they’ll be up and running again every Friday and Saturday between the 21st of February till the 28th of March. Can’t make it this winter? No worries! During summery days there’s also ‘Zomerlicht’, Winterlicht’s little sister. Instead of fire baskets, lovely red wines and X-mas carols, you can have a cosy outdoor escape with a picture perfect picknick, summer breeze and tropical drink on the side. All things considered, for the exact information, please check out the up-to-date information on the website, or keep an eye on their socials. Claim your spot before it’s go go and get enchanted by the overload of charm.

In essence, we thank Winterlicht for having us, it was an amazing experience. Let’s forget the humdrum of daily life, make beautiful new memories and jump on the Sailboat soon!

Winterlicht
Pampus Island, Amsterdam
Website 

Package price €67,50 (crossing, culinary tour through the fort, a 3-course dinner and contribution to preserve the historical heritage.)

*Photo’s by Tony Perez

Cheers,

Sharmaine

*Sharmaine is one of our guest editors from Amsterdam with a sweet tooth. The sweeter, the better! She no kitchen princess so she’s always in search for the best hotspots in Amsterdam! You can expect an article from her once a month! Check her out on Instagram!

 

 

8 x Travel Trends for 2020

What’s happening in the world of travel this coming year? A lot, if we believe the experts. They are predicting 8 travel trends for 2020 and we’ve lined them up for you. 

Are these travel trends for 2020 are here to stay? You decide!

1. Sustainable Travel

Needless to say, that the biggest travel trend of 2020 is sustainable travel. This is a big subject that can be divided into separate subjects like; fighting the plastic problem, flight shame, compensating and awareness. Millennials and Gen Z search for sustainability in their destination; looking for opportunities to use less plastic and to travel more sustainable by taking the train or sleep in eco hotels for example. Travel bloggers like @chelseakauai and environmental activist Greta Thunberg, raise awareness which inspires young travellers to think different. 

Chealsea Instagram

Tip: Find out how to actually compensate your CO2 emissions!

2. Space Travel

When it comes to traveling, we continue to push our boundaries and that includes space tourism. As a result, the travel industry and other companies will invest in tests with space travel on earth to make space travel possible. They meet the growing demand of consumers who want to take the big leap. 40% of travellers confirm that they think the prospect of space travel is fantastic, and would also consider this experience themselves (38%). Until space travel becomes reality, 60% of travellers opt for adventure below sea level. 

3. Under Tourism

It’s the opposite of Mass or Over-Tourism. People are more into discovering less visited places, where, consequently, you’ll find less tourists. Mass tourism is also taking it’s toll on nature, that resulted in popular beaches like Maya Bay being closed to the public. By finding alternatives, you’ll gain a more local experience and you have more unique tales to tell. Firstly, two-thirds of travellers (60%) value experiences more than equipment. That is why ‘Doing’ when traveling becomes just as important as ‘going’, and perhaps even more important. There is no less pressure on life, and therefore experiences can help to strive for a less stressful existence. Find out more than 150 less known places in the world in our new book Off the Beaten Track which is available from May 12th!

Off the beaten track by wander-lust

4. Travel to learn

For travellers, making meaningful trips is becoming increasingly important. More than half (56%) of travellers say that traveling has taught them new skills and insights. 68% of respondents want to participate in a cultural exchange and learn new skills, 54% indicate that they want to volunteer and 53% opt for international work placements. For instance, we can totally relate and traveled to Bolivia 3 years ago to report about women rights. It was incredible, tough and we learned so much.

5. As easy as possible

In 2020, convenience will become the standard when it comes to technological innovations in the field of travel. The innovations that, according to travellers, will strike the most, are those who offer practical solutions for traveling with artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and speech recognition. Think of opening your hotel room with your smartphone or a robotic concierge who speaks the language of the guests. Crazy? Well, 57% of travellers are interested in solutions such as an app for real-time baggage tracking or one app that has everything for planning and booking their trip. In addition, 31% are interested in the idea of ​​a ‘virtual travel agency’ in their living room, with for example virtual assistants with speech recognition who answer travel questions. 

travel trends 2019

In 2020, a lot is going to happen in the travel world

6. The more personal, the better

The generic travel guides are history and make way for shorter but personally relevant content. One third of travellers (34%) want “something” or someone to take the difficult work off their hands and provide them with travel recommendations: 41% would like companies in the travel industry to use technologies such as AI to provide travel suggestions based on on previous travel experiences. By the same token, personal is becoming increasingly important; individual recommendations are increasingly giving direction to each journey.

travel trends 2019
Be the travel trend

7. Awareness Travel

In 2020, the social, political and environmental problems of a possible travel destination will be examined before travellers actually book: 48% of travellers think that social problems in a travel destination are taken into account when deciding on a visit. In addition, travellers are increasingly looking for new and authentic adventures, and want to be sure that they can travel safely – regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation. Platforms such as Destination Pride provide destinations with a score that allows travellers to see how LGBT + are friendly. 19% of travellers plan to visit a Pride festival in 2020, of which almost a third (30%) is between 18 and 34 years old.

8. Small is good

More than half of the travellers worldwide (53%) say they plan to make more weekend trips in 2020. These small trips are characterised by the fact that more activities are planned in shorter times. ‘Less is more’ is the motto, and consumers swear by custom on these trips. Think of weekend trips, city trips or road trips. This also results in more train travel, which is better for the environment of course.


Take a city trip to Budapest!

Happy traveling in the year 2020!

Wander-Lust