WHY THIS IS THE TOILET PAPER YOU SHOULD BUY

People started hoarding toilet paper as soon as the Corona virus became a serious matter. As a result: the shelves with toilet paper in the supermarkets are empty.

The sustainable toilet paper company The Good Roll offers a solution for those who have been fishing behind the net for days to get toilet paper.

The good roll toiletpaper

If you are buying toilet paper, buy the good kind

You don’t have to leave your house because the rolls are delivered to your home so you don’t have to make contact. The toiletpaper from The Good Roll are made from 100% recycled paper and 50% of the net profit goes to building of new toilets in developing countries. Nice side effect, the roles look witty so you can make your lockdown time a bit more cheerful. And there is a QR code on every roll with funny toilet jokes.

TOILET PAPER THE GOOD ROLL

The Good Roll offers three different sets of toilet paper:

Cheerful Choice (24 rolls, 2-layers) € 19,95
Wrapless Choice (24 rolls, 2-layers € 17,96
Luxury Line (24 rolls, 3-layers € 21,95

More info on thegoodroll.nl

Love,

Wander-Lust

CHECK OUT THESE BRAND NEW NETFLIX TIPS FOR APRIL!

 

VLIEG GRATIS NAAR THAILAND OF MEXICO!

Als we 2 landen mogen kiezen waar het eten rijk is aan smaak en kleur, dan zijn dat Thailand en Mexico wel. Eens? Dan hebben we goed nieuws voor je.

Lays Sensations organiseert namelijk een Global Travel Contest waar je vliegtickets kunt winnen naar 2 van de Lay’s Sensations bestemmingen!

Reizen en Smaak

Als je op reis gaat dan is het eten op de bestemming vaak net zo belangrijk als de reis zelf. Daarom bedacht Lays Sensations een manier om je (reis) dromen waar te maken. Een aantal gelukkigen krijgen de mogelijkheid avontuurlijke reizen te maken naar Thailand en Mexico om daar intense smaken, texturen & aroma’s te ontdekken. Dit wil je. Oké, wij zijn ons er van bewust dat Lays de Thai Sweet Chilli en de Mexican Peppers & Cream smaken wilt promoten (Sweet Chilli is trouwens onze favoriet), maar dat neemt niet weg dat zo’n bijzondere prijs pretty awesome is! Het gaat om retour tickets.

CO2-neutrale reizen

Bewust reizen is voor ons belangrijk en daarom zijn we blij om te weten dat er voor deze win-actie alleen CO2-neutrale reizen worden weggegeven, zodat de campagne geen milieuvervuilende voetsporen achterlaat. De CO2-uitstoot van de vliegtickets van de Lays Sensations® Global Travel campagne worden gecompenseerd én draagt tegelijkertijd bij aan de verbetering van leefomstandigheden van huishoudens in India. De onderontwikkelde regio in de Indiase deelstaat Karnataka, koken mensen binnenshuis op een open houtvuur, wat ontzettend schadelijk is voor de gezondheid. Met de CO2-compensatie, kan Fair Climate Fund een biogas project opstarten, waarbij organisch afval omgezet wordt naar biogas. Dit is een schonere manier van koken die de gezondheid van mensen in India verbetert én tegelijk de CO2-uitstoot vermindert. Lees er meer over CO2 compensatie en hoe het werkt.

Wat moet je doen om kans te maken

De vliegtickets worden in twee korte time slots weggegeven. De eerste release tickets zijn voor Bangkok en de tweede release is voor Mexico-Stad. Om kans te maken op een vliegticket naar Thailand of Mexico moet je het volgende doen:

  1. De online Lay’s Sensations Global Travel Contest opent op donderdag 12 maart 2020 om 18.00 online haar gate. Op deze dag kun je je inschrijven voor tickets naar Bangkok van 18:00 tot 22:00. Op donderdag 26 maart kun je je inschrijven voor tickets naar Mexico-city van 18:00 tot 22:00. Na afloop worden de winnaars willekeurig gekozen.
  2. Ga naar Layssensationsglobaltravel.com en registreer met naam, email en telefoon.

That’s it! De wedstrijd loopt van 2 tot 29 maart 2020. Je moet tenminste 18 jaar oud zijn om mee te doen. Info en voorwaarden op layssensationsglobaltravel.com

Good luck!

Wander-Lust

Raak geïnspireerd en lees hier onze artikelen over Thailand!

Experience the real Malibu | California Paradise

There’s a 27-mile stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway that dips and rises, drops then peaks, allowing its riders both the feeling of being enveloped in the coastal cliffs and the exhilaration of cruising above the endlessly blue and shimmering Pacific. 

Malibu, California is only 30 miles from the bustling downtown LA, and myriad movie stars, Hollywood elites, and affluent Angelinos are lucky enough to call its beaches and bluffs home. With a Mediterranean climate and breathtaking estates sprinkled across its hills, Malibu manages to make an average day feel like a holiday.

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So, when you wake up early on a day off in Los Angeles and are wondering over your morning coffee how to best soak up your daily dose of Vitamin D, why not head to Malibu?

Kickstart your morning with a Hike in the Hills

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or more of a nature-walker, the hills of Malibu provide a medley of trails to suit your style. Each hike has its draws, but when I want a moderate challenge and impressive panoramas, the Los Leones Trail is my top pick. This 7.2-mile hike starts in the Pacific Palisades and winds through Topanga State Park. Relatively graded, judiciously shaded, and beautifully lush, the coastal-canyon trek summits at 1,525 feet. Also, it’s the ultimate view of the sprawling coast makes it so worth the sweat. You’ll know you’ve reached the top when you find a lone bench; sit, stretch, meditate. You’ve earned it!

If you looking for a local Off the Beaten Track hike, check the Deep Creek Hotsprings!

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Stunning views on top of the Los Leones Trail

Experience Malibu and reward yourself at Malibu Farm

Malibu Farm is a full-service restaurant and bar at the start of the iconic Malibu Pier. To best appreciate its prime real-estate, I opt to sit outside on the patio, stilted above the waves as they crash on the sandy shore. With something for everyone’s taste, the menu takes advantage of local, fresh produce. Each item comes out of the kitchen impeccably presented and reliably delicious.

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Contently taking in the view chardonnay in hand

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One of my favorites on the menu is the Cauliflower-Crust “Pizza”.  It has just the right amount of pesto and mozzarella spread atop a perfectly crispy crust. The Chicken-Broccoli Quesadilla and Raw Brussels Sprouts Salad are two other must-orders if you’re looking for shareable starters. Or, if you want something a bit more substantial after burning calories on your morning hike, the Breaded Mustard Chicken Sandwich offers juicy chicken breast.

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Cocktail ‘o Clock

The General Manager, David Shoham, is also the Bar Manager and has crafted some signature cocktails just for this ocean-side eatery. Leading my list are the “Watermelon” – mixing cucumber-infused vodka, watermelon and lime juices. Besides that one I love the organic agave; the “Coconut” – featuring toasted coconut-infused rum, coconut agave, and fresh pineapple juice. Special shout-out to the Jalapeno cocktail, as it allows for the awesome flavor of this popular pepper without too much of the heat. And the best part? The agave syrup used in these masterpieces is made in-house! Or, maybe you’re feeling like a chilled glass of wine, instead? I recommend the crisp and dry Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Valley Chardonnay. Yum! www.malibu-farm.com

Inside-restaurant Malibu Farm
Pop inside for a Malibu Farm Cookbook or gourmet gifts to bring home.

Taster’s Tip: The Malibu Farm Café, a sister site to the restaurant and bar, is located at the opposite end of the same pier!

Catch the sunset in Malibu

If you’re looking for a change of scenery after your meal and a taste of the grapes of the coast, Malibu Wines is an ideal final destination from which to watch the sun go down over the Pacific.

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Wine with this view: What more could you ask for?

The Malibu Wines Tasting Room is nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains and offers two labels of wines: Semler and Saddlerock. Choose whether to take part in a tasting flight or indulge in a full bottle. Either way, sip your wine on this estate’s vast lawn or at one of the rustic tables provided. Outside food is allowed, so if you’re still peckish after your bite at the Farm, stop by the Malibu Country Mart on your way for some snacks to graze on while you drink.

As you soak up the last moments of daylight, drinking your fermented grape of choice, you’ll wonder why you didn’t find a way to make all those other ordinary days into extraordinary ones. And, you’ll already be planning your next unforgettable day spent in Malibu.

Do you want more California? Read Shea’s tips about this secret spot at Marina Del Rey or check out this California hidden gem!

Love,

Shae

*Shae is our guest blogger from Los Angeles. She travels with the desire to immerse herself in diverse cultures, seeking new adventure and inspiring others to engage with compassion and expand their world view. Follow Shae on Instagram! @seekvantage

killer-shrimp-me-and-drink

International Women’s Day: Violence against women in Bolivia

Around this time three years ago, Sarah visited various local organisations in Bolivia for Dutch organisation ‘Mensen met een Missie’. Wander-Lust and a group of volunteers went there to support the human rights for women.  


Women from different backgrounds at Levantate Mujer in Sucre with all the reporters 

About Mensen met een Missie

Mensen met een Missie was founded in 1931 and is involved in about 350 initiatives of partner organizations in 16 target countries, Africa, Asia and Latin America. They join forces and coordinate their program with other stakeholders in each of the 16 countries. One of the countries is Bolivia, where they support local organisation Fundacion Levantate Mujer in 5 different cities. Levantate Mujer, means women who stand up’ is the organization who helps women to build up an independent life and teach them the rights for women (that’s it not normal that their husband is beaten them up).  These women have has a hard time: now money to feed their kids and there was no place where they could go to. Finally there’s a place where they can go to.

Violence against women needs to stop

One of the things they are focusing on is reducing the violence against women by learning women what their rights are. Mensen met een Missie is supporting this topic with workshops. Women get the change to enter one of the shelter homes of Fundacion Levantate Mujer where they learn how to cook, sew, knitting and more for free. 

There’s a lot of violence against women in Bolivia. Seven out of the ten women are dealing with physical or sexual abuse. I haven’t seen any violence in the streets in Bolivia so far, but it happens at home where you won’t see it.

I thought it was normal that my husband physically humiliated me – Patricia

‘Mensen met een Missie’ supports young people and victims and I got the chance to talk with these women and to share their stories with you.
Today it’s International Women’s day, the day where we celebrate women’s achievements and opportunities worldwide. A very important day for these women in Bolivia.



Women learn how to sew

They also have the opportunity to learn how to work with computers. Mensen met een Missie offers workshops every month where women get informed about women rights and how to educate their kids. This local organisation offers child service upstairs for their kids between 2.5-5 years old and for kids from 5-6 years old they help out with school stuff for their children that go to school. This way they make it a lot easier for women to take courses and workshops since they don’t have to babysit.

Women from Bolivia with a story:

1. Jacqueline

“I learned to be independent”

A woman of 37 with two kids of 17 (student of a university) and 11 (student) wasn’t afraid to share her story. She was a victim of violence, but not anymore. She learned via workshops how to stand up for yourself, how to treat your kids and how to be independent. Jaqueline has her own business in kids clothes and is happy that her kids are doing great. More than that, she is very thankful that she got the support which helped her to be where she is right now.

2. Patricia

“I thought it was normal that my husband physically humiliated me”



My husband told me day in and out that I was stupid, not good enough for our kids, that I was ugly and a lot more. I got in contact with Levantate Mujer (local organisation which Mensen met een Missie supports) via my neighbours and after a few workshops from Mensen met een Missie I learned that it was not normal how my husband treated me. Within a few weeks Patricia got an enormous amount of confidence and decided to leave her husband. She learned how to educate her children (5 kids between 4 and 15) and her goal is to give them a ‘normal’ future. She now works on a local market where she sells bags and more handcrafted items.

3. Noellia

“I got beaten up by my husband several times in the past, but he changed since he started following the workshops of Mensen met een Missie.”



I met this young and talented mother of 2 kids at Levantate Mujer in Sucre. She told us that her husband changed since he got in contact with this organisation.  “Before he didn’t accept that women study, but now he does. He’s is a different man and he supports me in my ways. I now study history and work as a teacher at Levantate Mujer.”

“They all survived, but not all of them have. Some go back to their husband anyway.”

 

Hopefully it’s gives you a better understanding of where the money will go when you donate. If you haven’t done so yet then please do! It’s a beautiful initiative and they need your help to keep on supporting these women!

Watch our video here

All images are shot by Ilsoo van Dijk 

Love,

Sarah

Amsterdam Event Calendar March 2020

Oh boy, it’s been a while since we published our monthly event guide. Our reason? We have been writing our first travel book! But we’re back, and hopefully we can get back into the same routine.

This month is filled with cool events and Amsterdam NEVER disappoints.

Amsterdam Event Calendar March

Japan Winter Festival
When? 28th of Feb – 1st of March, DOK

This brand new festival is celebrating everything Japanese! Think about Japanese food (sushi galore!), cherry blossom, lights, tea gardens, Arcades and Japanese goodies! Tickets are €8,50 and available here.

Amsterdam Event Calendar March, Japanse festival

Spring is in the air Sunday Market
When? 1st of March, Westergas

As you may know, this is one of our favourite markets in Amsterdam! This March they are back with the Spring edition filled with local goods, foods and activities for young and old!

Kloffie Market
When? 7th of March, De Hallen from 12pm

Shopping in Amsterdam? We got you covered with Amsterdam’s finest clothing market. Once a month De KLOFFIE Markt takes place at De Hallen Amsterdam. Each edition you can find the finest second-hand designer clothing, vintage treasures and rare collector’s items. 

Women’s March 2020 in Amsterdam
When? 8th of March, Dam Square

If you all about feminism or you just want to stand for women rights in every sense of the word, you should join this years Woman March on international Women’s Day! Staring from the Dam Square and walking through the city with powerful women, you go girl! have you heard of these badass women?

Women March AMsterdam

Bottomless Brunch at INK
When? 8th of March, INK Hotel

For €35,- p.p. you can drown yourself in bubbles (they serve free refills!) pancakes and savory dishes. And all that on a Sunday! In the end the best weeks starts with a hangover. Read more about their restaurant Pressroom.

Dinner at Pressroom

Het Grote Bierdiner
When? 11th of March, Danzigerkade 8

This one is for beerlovers! The zero-waste-restaurant Instock is launching a brand new beer. And to celebrate, they are hosting a beer dinner on the 11th of March at the newly opened Chez Miné in Amsterdam. For 35 euro you will get a 3-course dinner paired with beers. There is space for 100 people so hurry up and book your table!

Amsterdam event calendar March, Beer

Coffee Festival CANCELLED!
When? 13 – 15th of March at Gashouder

Coffee takes the centre stage at this festival. Top coffee roasters, barista competitions, coffee cocktail workshops, mindful coffee tasting, live latte art and more. Of course there is a food village, a chance to buy various coffee and music. Tickets cost €15,-. amsterdamcoffeefestival.com

Amsterdam Wine Festival
When? 20 – 22nd of March, Gashouder

If you are more into wine than coffee, this festival is worth looking into! Whether you are a beginner or a real wine connoisseur, Amsterdam Wine Festival is a day out for everyone who loves wine. So enjoy all the beauty that the Northern Hemisphere has to offer! amsterdamwinefestival.nl

Extra for Expats:

Renting in Amsterdam Talk
When? 4th of March, Zoku (6.30pm – 7.30pm)

During this presentation, organised by Expats Republic, you will gain a comprehensive overview of the Amsterdam rental market. They will explain the headaches of this heated market and explain why Amsterdam appears to have a bad reputation. More importantly, it will guide you through the typical process of renting an apartment, what to look out for and what to avoid, as well as top tips for finding your perfect home. Tickets are free!

Where to stay in Pai, Thailand

Ok, so you’ve arrived into Pai. (If you want to know how, check this article about getting to Pai) After hours on a motorcycle or sitting in a van, it’s time to look for a bed to rest your head. Pai is not very big but there is lot’s of accommodation that you can choose from.

Sure it’s hostel galore here but there are also some pretty amazing luxury resorts around. Most resorts are a little further out of town but the the nice walk is worth it.

pai-city
The map of Pai city

Where I stayed

When I was traveling to Pai, I travelled alone so I was happy that I received a recommendation from a friend as I wouldn’t know where to start searching! I ended up staying at Jan’s GuesthouseIt’s a fairly simple budget hostel but the bungalows are equipped with a bathroom,tv and I had my own porch. It’s tucked away in a quiet side street so its perfect for relaxing but it’s also very close to the main district of Pai. (3 min walk)
You can sit in the nice garden where, if you are lucky, you can find the signal for free wifi. (whoopwhoop!) It will cost you about 250 bath per night which is about 7 euro’s. (I know right?!) Make sure that you are packing something warm, because Pai can get very cold at night. (I was freezing!)

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Panoramic view over the Pai river, where you can find many budget hostels

Other options in Pai

Walking around Pai, you come across many hostels and resorts. All top recommended resorts include Montis Resort, Phu Pai Art Resort and Pai Hotspring Resort and Spa. My favourite resort has to be the Oia Resort & Spa. I discovered this place when I was on a stroll towards the white Buddha. I simply walked in and ordered a glass of water and I just sat there for an hour staring at the beauty of this place.. Overlooking the mountains, the resort is fairly new and cost about 100 euro’s per night if you go for the room with the best view. It’s expensive if you’re a backpacker, but ey, you can always walk in and ask for a glass of water like I did 😉

Where to stay in Pai, Thailand
The amazing Oia resort in Pai

For best value for money accommodation, check these out:

» Baan Pai Riverside Sleep in cute bamboo huts on the Pai river bank where you are bound to relax. 600-800 bath.
» Rim Pai Cottage Great for couples! Clean, comfy rooms and breakfast is included from Oct. until Feb. Available from 400 bath.
» Darling view point resort Gorgeous views overlooking the river & mountains with a restaurant, swimming pool, and hot showers. 400-500 bath.
» Spicypai Backpackers This place is well known for the great atmosfeer rather than the comfy beds but nothing beats making new friends! 150 bath for a dorm.

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The infamous Spicypai Backpackers Hostel in Pai

So wherever you might stay when getting to Pai, it’s bound to be fun, relaxing and special. Let me know if you’re heading up there!

Looking for an island that looks like paradise? Check out our free Koh Lipe Guide 2020!

Love,

Elke

THE BEST OF BORNEO, MALAYSIA

Borneo is third largest island on earth, a tropical paradise with crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, the oldest and most bio-diverse rain forest, impressive wildlife and an abundance of natural wonders. back to.

If you plan to visit Malaysia, then Borneo should be on your travel list!

Tips before you visit Borneo:

» Book your domestic flights ahead as far as possible. Often tickets will be cheaper than traveling by bus and it saves you a lot of time.
» Air Asia & Malindo Air are your best friend. They offer low fares online across Asia. Make sure to bring your credit card, the only other option you have is to book a flight at one of their shops.
» Ask the locals for help! Generally, they speak English very well and they like to help. It saved me a lot of time and money!
» You will find the best food on the street food markets in Sabah Borneo
» I made the mistake by not setting my bankcard to International before I left

Borneo island, Malaysia

Kota Kinabalu

I took a 2.25 hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu (KK) with Malindo Air. KK is the capital of Borneo and a part of the Sabah province. I decided to stay just for a few days because I wanted to have enough time to explore Kuching and it’s nearby jungles. Perhaps you may think Kota Kinabalu isn’t as vibrant or diverse like Kuching, but it is still worth visiting for a couple of days.

Most travellers who come to KK don’t come here for the city itself but to travel further into Saba to the numerous idyllic islands, jungles and other various nature sites in the area, but if you do want to spend some time in KK, you should definitely pass by the Filipino night market. This famous food court in Borneo located at Jalan Kampung Air is open from 5PM until the last paying customer is ready to leave. Over here you will find a diversity of a culinary mix of food dishes from South East Asia.

Man in Borneo

Another thing you should do is snorkeling in KK, simple, easy, affordable (like these destinations) and a fun activity. It’s easy to arrange a snorkeling trip via an agency, but if you want to save money you need to take the local bus to the jetty at Jesselton Point and book your trip over there. You will find various tour operators inside who can bring you to one of the 5 islands for about RM100 and RM200.

Borneo has a typical equatorial climate with sunshine all year round!

Kota Kinabalu
Jesselton Point

Manukan island

If you ever wondered what heaven looks like? This is the closest you will get! Near Kota Kinabalu, just a 15 min boat ride, you will find a place that is a wonderful treat to nature and adventure lovers, talking about Manakan. It’s one of the five tropical islands  – Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Sulug and Pulau Mamutikis – of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (TARP) and the second largest of all 5 islands. TARP is full with colorful fish, crystal clear waters, idyllic beaches and a turquoise sea. Plenty of tourists come here for the underwater activities, so it can be a bit crowded but still Manakan is the best island for diving and snorkeling.

Borneo Turtle

Extra Tips:

» Don’t forget to go up hill for a great walk in the jungle. After 1.5km you will see some of the best views.
» You need to buy a ticket for about RM40 when you arrive to enter the island
» T
he last boat will head back to KK at 4PM

PulauManukan
Snorkling at Manukan island

Love,

Sarah

Check out our full Kuala Lumpur Guide!

Aloft Kuala Lumpur

RENZY TAKES YOU ON A SUSTAINABLE TULIP TOUR!

During wintertime, the Netherlands may seem gloomy and grey. But from April onwards, the country transforms into a colourful display of flowers! People from all over the world come to our Holland to see the best tulip fields.

If you have never seen the Dutch tulips before, you are in for a treat. There are several ways to explore the fields across the country – by car, bicycle or touring bus (we discourage the last option though). But now there is also a sustainable and unique way to explore the Dutch tulips. 

Electric Tulip Tour

Renzy is a relatively new tour operator that is 100% electric and let’s you discover the Netherlands in a Renault Twizy! They also offer other tours through the Netherlands like the Dune & Beach Tour, the Countryside & Windmill Tour and the History & Castle Tour. But because it’s almost Tulip season, we’ve recently tried and tested their Tulip & Flower Fields Tour to see what it is all about.

Tulip tour Renzy

Off the Beaten Track

Well, this tour couldn’t be more suitable for us! (As you know, we’ve written a book called Off the Beaten Track) Finding tulip and flower fields in Holland isn’t that difficult. What is difficult however, is finding a tour or route that doesn’t includes busses full of tourists! If you book an electric Twizy tour with Renzy, you get the chance to drive yourself, stop wherever you want, and listen to an audioguide in English, German or Dutch. Every Twizy is equipped with a GPS system so you won’t get lost. The Twizy is suitable for 2 adults or one adult and a child (children seats are available). The tour also passes a tulip farm (De Tulperij or Annemiekes Pluktuin) where you can stop and walk around in the tulip fields.

Renzy GPS

How to Book

Pre-book your tour now before it’s full! The tulip tour is available from 21 March to 10 May and they depart 4 times a day. For €85,- you get a 120 minute audio guided tour. Are you ready for a new way of exploring the Netherlands?

Renzy
Electric GPS Audio Tours
Meer en Duin 36A
Website

Wander-Lust

*This article was written in collaboration with Renzy. We always pick our collaborations wisely, looking at a background and the message we want to spread

TRAVELLING TO PAI, THAILAND | ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

Ok, where do I start.. This place is very special for the both of us. Pai is a small hippie town tucked away in the most northern part of Thailand. Once you get there, you don’t want to leave. 

But travelling to Pai is a small adventure on its own. Taking in account, Pai is not a Thai tropical island, but a mountain village so the scenery is completely different than anywhere else in Thailand. In this article I will talk about the means of transportation and the costs.

How to get to Pai

First of all, you need to travel to Chiang Mai, the largest city of Northern Thailand. I advise you to stay in Chiang Mai for a couple of days so you can get used to the climate difference depending on where you’ve started your trip. After all, you are in the mountains of Northern Thailand. Depending on where you’re staying, you can often book your trip to Pai via the hostel or hotel you’re staying in. If not, make sure you book an air-conditioned minibus because it’s a long drive. Another option would be by motorcycle or scooter. A lot of people do this because the scenery along the way is pretty amazing. The downside of this option is that there is only one gas station along the way and the road has quite a few bumps so it’s not the safest option. But traveling is all about risks right? 😉

getting to Pai

Scooter or Minivan?

I recommend you to hire your scooter here. This company is well known and you can leave rent your scooter in Chiang Mai and leave it in Pai if you like. When I traveled through Thailand, I was alone and without a licence so I didn’t want to take the risk. So I took the minibus. The trip takes about 3 hours and you have one stop to use the toilet and to buy a drink. (don’t expect a fancy toilet, and don’t look back is my advice) You will notice that the landscape will change the more you drive away from Chiang Mai and up the mountain.

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Tip » is to take a carsickness tablet because the road doesn’t have many straight paths!

Along the way I saw a lot of people selling warm colourful hats, which I love, but didn’t quite understand.. This became clear to me later (it get’s freezing at night!). When you finally arrive, it feels like you’ve entered a new world. The van will drop you off in the main street where you will see cute shops and bars on each side. The air is clean and the valley in the distance is amazing. Welcome hippy town!

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Sipping on herbal tea in Pai

Cost to get to Pai, Thailand?

» By minivan: from 150 bath (one way)
» By Scooter: From 100 bath per day inclusive of insurance (yes, it’s that cheap!)

Love,

Elke

Do you want to know where to stay in Pai? Check it here!
IMG_5774

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.