The best of Mykonos

Everybody has heard of Mykonos once in their lifetime. The island is part of the Cyclades islands and called the Ibiza of Greece. Known for its lavish parties and the jetset life, it has a lot more to offer than just that. Like many of you, I dislike mass tourism, so finding some less crowded spots on Mykonos seemed to be a quest. Lucky enough I did find some and I love to share these with you.

Mykonos Old Man

The Beaches:

Mykonos is surrounded by the Aegean sea so there are plenty beaches to choose from! But not all are suitable for what you might be looking for. If you have small children, you might want to visit the south east coast for example. For the best quiet beaches check these out:

The North:

» Fokos Beach (quiet, plus one small and tasty restaurant!)
» Merssini (private beach best for couples! No restaurant)

Mykonos has some quiet beaches
Staring in to the sea and feeling the warm sand at Fokos Beach

The South beaches:

» Kalaftis (beautiful, windsurfing, good for children)
» Kapari beach (great for couples, to get there you must go off road a little bit)
» Agios Ioannis Beach (some nice beach bars like Hippiefish but very chilled out and not crowded)


Kapari beach Mykonos
The hard to find Kapari beach. Ssst, it’s a secret!

The water on Mykonos is like.. wow.

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Eating well and enjoying the sound of children playing at Kalaftis beach

Accommodation:

Hotels can be expensive in the high season so if you’re looking for the best budget deal, check out the Paraga Beach Hostel at Paraga Beach. The view from the poolside is amazing and you won’t spend more than 120 euro’s for 3 nights depending on what accommodation type you will get. I slept in a 2 persons tent (TRB) with electricity but you can also hire a small tent for as little as 15 euro’s per night.  The only thing to be aware of is that on the left side of paraga beach you will find the infamous Paradise beach which is full of youngsters getting their groove on until 4 in the morning. Bring some earplugs and you should be fine though. The service at this hostel is great and they serve food all day long and even have a small supermarket.

Paraga Beach Hostel
The view from Paraga Beach Hostel was pretty amazing!

glamping at Paraga Beach Hostel Mykonos
Very basic but you can’t get a better deal in Mykonos than this one! 🙂



Paraga Beach Hostel Mykonos
Laying by the pool at Paraga Beach Hostel

Luxury Stay:

Next door to this hostel is an amazing boutique hotel called San Giorgio. This is a completely different experience and a big upgrade! I was lucky enough to get a tour and taste the amazing breakfast buffet. The hotel manager (who happened to be Dutch) explained to me that a lot of her guest come here to get that comfortable “home” feeling that large hotels don’t offer. San Giorgio’s architecture suits any type of traveller because it’s warm, stylish screams hippie chic.

San Giorgio Hotel, Mykonos
The bohemian entrance of San Giorgio Hotel

Their pool area is by far my favorite place of the hotel. Overlooking the aegan sea, you can chill here on large beds or relax at the bar next to the pool. I enjoyed my first healthy smoothly here and it cured my cold which I brought back from The Netherlands.
For rooms check their amazing website: sangiorgio-mykonos.com. 

San Giorgio Hotel, Mykonos
Endless views from the pool area

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A colorful vitamin boost!

San Giorgio also has a stylish little brother called the Scorpios beach club just on the other side of Paraga beach. Same architect, different management.
They just opened in May and it already attracts celebrities and the elite. I danced at sunset which is something you must do when coming to mykonos. Read about the best beach bars in Mykonos here. In the “club” they also have an amazing clothing shop where they sell one Mexican label called Caravana Montaecristo. They offer an exclusive capsule collection for luxury-minded globetrotting travelers.


Caravana Mykonos
The beautiful collection of  Caravana

Where to eat

The main town of Mykonos is called Chora. Be aware that it’s crowded at nights and you will walk through the small street at a slow pace. The best time to visit is in the morning. I have to be honest and I have to say I was a little disappointed by the food in this area and it was overpriced when you compare it to the more secluded areas. One restaurant I can highly recommend is Joanna’s Nikos Place Taverna. The food is amazing. Try the moussaka or the fresh fish from the grill! It’s situated at the left beach next to Chora and it can be busy. If you want a table with sea view, you must make a reservation.

Budget Tip:

Try and visit your nearest bakery and order a feta and spinach roll or if you like something sweet, try the pastry filled with cream. Both are typically Greek and this way you can have lunch on the beach and save some cash! A win win right?

Verdict:

Mykonos is a must visit if you like the jetset life, don’t mind to spend a little more cash than usual and dance until sunset. This island hasn’t lost his raw beauty yet so definitely check out the afore mentioned beaches and enjoy the white and blue houses! If you’re looking for a more quiet island, check out Naxos, or Folegandros which are nearby.

Love,

Elke

These are the best beaches and natural pools on Madeira

Madeira may not have that many sandy beaches, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sunbath on the island. The volcanic rocks created many natural pools and there are also plenty of man-made beaches and sundecks to choose from. We’ve selected the best ones for you.

Natural pools on Madeira

  • Porto Moniz are probably the most popular natural pools on the island. Mind you, it can be busy during the summer season.
  • Seixal Natural Pools are surrounded by stunning nature and a black beach. You can rent a lounger here.
  • Pocas Do Gomes/Doca Do Cavacas are not big but quite worth a visit! There is a natural pool next to the normal one and you can see the fish swim around your feet!
  • Cachalote Natural Pools are located at the entrance of Porto Moniz Village, right next to Cachalote restaurant and to the Aquarium at São João Baptista Fort.


View down on to the lava swimming pools at Porto Moniz on the island of Madeira.

Seixel Natural Pools Madeira
Seixal Natural Pools

  • Lido Galomar Bathing Complex is located in Canico and it combines a normal pools with a natural pools.
  • The Quinta do Lorde belongs to a luxurious resort which offers its guests this natural sea pool.

natural pools Madeira

Beaches on Madeira

  • Prainha is one of madeira’s best natural beaches and located near popular Ponta de São Lourenço. It offers sun beds, parasols and toilets.
  • Calheta, this man-made beach has a beach restaurant and bar and is also popular with the locals.
  • Porto do Seixal Beach, is a natural black sand beach located right next to Seixal harbour. It has no services and you should bring your own parasol when it gets hot.


Calheta Beach

  • Praia das Palmeiras is a rocky and popular beach that gets very busy during summer. It’s great for kids because there are free beach toys to play with and there is a lifeguard on site. The beach is separated into 2 different area’s. The pool (various opening times) and the pebbled beach which is open anytime.
  • Paul do Mar Beach, also known as Ribeira das Galinhas (Chicken’s River), is one of the most popular pebble beaches on the western coast, due to the pleasant atmosphere and beautiful landscape. The beach however, is rocky.
  • Ribeira do Faial is situated next to the wonderful Miradouro do Guindaste (see photo) Its not big but there are toilets, a restaurant plus an area for playing football.

Concrete beach Madeira

Happy swimming!

Wander-Lust

Are you looking for the full Madeira Island Guide

Madeira Guide

8 x Swimwear Trends for 2019

Summer is just a few months away! Time to start with some preparations… Next to the iconic Levi’s 501 shorts, flared trousers, sandals, kaftan’s, short skirts and silk dresses, we really love to spend time finding the perfect swimwear. Where does summer take you and which bikini will suit your travel plans the most? Take a look at the Swimwear Trends for 2019.

Neon

Whether you like it or not, Neon is going to be the big trend this year and also on the beach. Ready to show off that bikini body? This swimwear trend is going to get you noticed. There are many colours and combinations available and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Asos, H&M and Zara are all joining team Neon this summer.

Neon Swimwear trends 2019
Stand out on the beach

Nudes

We’ve always loved skin tone colours so we’re happy to say that nudes are going to be a thing on the beach and poolside this year. Monday Swimwear sells a beautiful rose piece. The girls behind Monday Swimwear might sound familiar to you. Tash Oakley and Devin Brugman are the hottest bikini girls out there and their swimwear line is really taking the leas this year.

Monday Swimwear trends 2019

Gold & Metallic

Get ready to look like you’re about to walk into a beach party, because gold and metallic is on trend. Our favorite? The swimsuits and bikini’s from Gooseberry Seaside. Shop it here.

Swimwear trends 2019

The Bandeau Bikini

We’re not sure whether this is the most comfortable fit, but we like it! Go sporty with different funky designs like this Protest bandeau bikini. Printed with a multi-coloured stripe, this Postwick is ‘one-shoulder’ – a hot trend for this season.

Protest bikini Swimwear Trends 2019

Belted Swimwear

Love, love, love this swimwear trend of 2018. It is here to stay in 2019 and really compliments a women’s shape and it was the perfect swimsuit for Elke when she just became a new mum. Too insecure to wear a bikini? This might be the solution for you! The best ones are a little more pricey, but sooo worth it! 


Crinkled Fabric

Looking around the pool after a recent press trip, we noticed that everyone was wearing a crinkled once-piece or bikini. It may look a bit strange but apparently it’s one of the most flattering styles of swimwear to date. Would you wear it? 

Swimwear trends 2019

Animal Prints

Animal prints have been a things for years now, and yes 2019 is no different. Get ready for summer and pick your favorite print at Triangl.

Animal prints swimwear trends 2019

Yellow

An Instagram favourite is the yellow one-piece or bikini. The soft yellow is complimenting your skin, especially when tanned. Wear it on the beach, or out and about, yellow is here in 2019. 

Yellow swimwear trends
Yellow is proven to suit every skin tone as seen on Marie

Enjoy summer y’all!

Love,

Wander-Lust

The Koh Lipe Island Guide

Walk on white sandy beaches with a fresh coconut in your hand. You will arrive at a picture-perfect tropical island where you want to stay forever! An unbelievable exotic destination that has everything you need to have the perfect holiday. This is Koh Lipe, Thailand.

Koh Lipe is a paradise island in the southern of Thailand’s Satun Province near the Thailand/Malaysia border. The three main beaches of Koh Lipe are Sunset Beach (west), Sunrise Beach (east), and Pattaya Beach (south), all beautiful. The island is famous for it’s white sandy beaches, turquoise blue waters, coconut trees, snorkeling and scuba diving and its relaxed atmosphere!

koh-lipe-map
Map of Koh Lipe: Source: http://www.thailand-guide.com/koh-lipe

How to get there

There are several options, but we arrived from Langkawi by boat which takes around 1.5 hours. Tip: bring something warm to wear, because sometimes the air-condition is turn up high which makes it freezing. Also, bring some travel sickness tablets, you may need it when the sea is rough. Book your boat ticket in advance, there is no need to print the ticket, as long as you have your QR code on your phone. You need to register before entering the boat and you should do this at the departure gate at least 1,5 hours before departure from Langkawi. Upon arrival, you need to pay 200 bath per person as an island fee, this is normal and you need to pay in cash. It’s a bit of a hassle to get there, but once you have arrived, it will be worth your time.


Where to Stay

Koh Lipe has become very popular over the years, so therefore we advise you to book your accommodation in advance to avoid disappointment, especially during the high season (nov – feb). Unfortunately, prices are quite expensive compared to other destinations in Thailand. A hut on the beach for €20,- a night? Forget it. During Christmas we paid at least 100 euro per night. But we don’t want to discourage you, Koh Lipe offers a variety in accommodations, with  not many big resorts, yet. Here are some of our recommendations:

  • Cast Away Beach Resort (sunrise beach, mid range)
  • Andaman Resort (sunrise beach, midrange)
  • Serendipity Resort (sunrise beach, high end)
  • Bundahya Beach Resort (pattaya beach, mid range)
  • The Box Resort (walking street, mid range)

Tip: Also check on Airbnb, a lot of guesthouses and hotels also sell their rooms on there.

Koh Lipe resort
Bundahya Beach Resort

Koh Lipe Island Thailand
Sea la Vie beach bar at Sunrise Beach

Things to do

Koh lipe is famous for snorkeling and diving! The incredibly clear water and excellent visibility makes snorkeling very famous on this island. There are many shops on the island that offer snorkeling trips and a full range of PADI and SSI courses.Koh Lipe is surrounded by over 30 islands and hundreds of reefs. You will find a lot of small colorful fish at Koh Lipe, but keep in mind that the coral isn’t what it used to be. Most of the coral is dead because of global warming and the suncreams people use. Ingredients like oxybenzone can harm the oceans. Tip: We use Dermalogica or Badger Sunscreens.

Koh Lipe island guide 2019


Where to eat & drink

From Thai green curry, Phad Thai, Tom kha kai (spicy soup) to Som Tam (Papaya salad), it’s all so delicious, healthy and fresh! They always use fresh herbs and lots of greens. There’s something for everyone, it’s doesn’t matter if you are vegetarian or vegan, enough options. There’s s a great variety in food on the island: From tasty Thai street food to fresh fish you will find right at the beach.
Tip! Learn these words to save you from a chilli pepper disaster! Spicy = mai pet, A little bit spicy = pet noi, Very spicy = pet mak

Best Breakfast & Coffee

  • Elephant Koh Lipe
  • Bloom cafe (amazing coffee!)
  • Tropicana (healthy/vegan options)

Elephant cafe Koh Lipe
Great coffee at Elephant Café

Best cocktails

  • Maya Bar (walking street, great music and cocktails!)
  • Sea la Vie beach bar (Sunrise beach, the food is not so good, but at night the music and vibe is amazing)
  • Reggae bar (Pattaya beach)

Street food Koh Lipe
Street food at the Koh Lipe Walking Street

Best Western food

  • The Box (walking street)
  • La Luna Italian Restaurant

Best Thai Food

  • On The Rocks Restaurant at Serendipity Resort (perfect for a romantic dinner!)
  • Cast Away Restaurant (great for lunch!)
  • Elephant Beach Bar (Sunrise beach, great Pad Thai!)

Koh Lipe Beaches

Koh Lipe has three beaches and because the weather doesn’t change much throughout the year, it’s perfect to lay on the beach..but which one is the best?

  • Sunrise Beach
    This is the best beach, hands down. The water is crystal clear, the sand is white and you can find a lot of quiet spots. All parts of this beach are good, but we relaxed in the middle a lot, next to the Elephant Beach Bar. There is some shade from the trees so great if you have small children. If you walk to the left side of Sunrise beach, you will find yourself a zandbank in the water, great for taking those tropical photo’s! And if you walk towards the right end of the beach (towards Ten Moons Resort), you have a small beach cove, that not everybody knows about. Here you can chill in hammocks and drink fresh coconuts.


beach swing Koh Lipe
In front of 10 Moons Resort, Sunrise Beach

  • Sunset Beach
    This beach has the sunset (hence the name) but it’s smaller doesn’t have many beach bars to chill. Because of this, the beach is more quiet and popular with the older crowd. Worth taking a look at!
  • Pattaya Beach
    This is the beach where all the boats arrive and depart to/from, which makes it the busiest and less attractive beach. At night you can find some bars here with loud(er) music, but there are some restaurants at the end that are nice enough to eat.

Sunrise Beach, Koh Lipe
At the sand bank Sunrise Beach

Our advise is to stay on Koh Lipe for at least 4 to 6 days in order to enjoy the island to the fullest. Take in account that it rains more from April through September, but that doesn’t mean you should skip this magical island. Apparently the average temperature is always around 26 degrees, so no matter what time you visit Koh Lipe, the weather will typically be the same. Yes, it takes some time to get there, but once you step on the white sand, you will feel right at home.

Love,

Wander-Lust

Our best travel moments of 2018

As the year comes to an end, it’s time for one of those lists that reminds us, that we are blessed to do this thing we call our job. We travelled far and wide, met new people along the way, and left with a suitcase full of new memories. Here are our best travel moments of 2018.

ISAN, Thailand
International press trip, February 2018
This is by far Elke’s most memorable press trip of 2018. Because we were the first ever international media that had been sent to this region, it was even more special. Elke travelled side-by-side with people from Vienna, UK, Dubai, Romania, Germany and more. The trip took us across the North East region of Thailand, a less explored area, which means less to none tourists, a lot of culture, local food, and stunning nature. We visited several national parks, which included a canyon (San Phan Bok) that consist of thousands of holes, some filled with rainwater. To read the whole story check https://www.wander-lust.nl/off-the-beaten-track-isan-northeast-thailand/.

Our first trip as Wander-Lust Agency, Zarautz
Wander-Lust Agency, September 2018
This summer, we launched our Wander-Lust Agency. Here we connect influencers to brands at a beautiful location. For our first trip, we took influencers @bentheliem and @elisebak. 2 lovely girls with a great style, which we connected to Loreal Biolage, Protest Women, Eastpak and Havaianas. We stayed at Zarautz Surfing Village and slept in deluxe tipi tents. During the day we surfed, explored the area and practised yoga. San Sebastian was only a short train ride away, so great for pincho’s, good coffee and shopping! Are you a brand or influencer that wants to collaborate? Send us an email: info@wander-Lust.nl.


 

Cruising across the French rivers, without a permit
Testing Nicols Boats on the Saône river, July 2018
It was something we had never heard of before, but when Elke got the chance to cruise over the French rivers, and there was no sailing permit needed, she said yes immediately. “Nicols invite me to try it for one week. Cruising from Dole, all the way up to Port Sur Saône by boat. Or may I say yacht. It was huge! The boat they provided for us, was the Estivale Sixto. It had 3 bedrooms, 2 toilets, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and a living area. Oh, and I forgot to mention the large sundeck big enough for 8 people. Instead of 8 people, me, my hubby and our child Caiden opted for the challenge”. Good news if you want to try this in Holland, Nicols is offering a Dutch route this year! More on that soon..Read the full experience here: https://www.wander-lust.nl/cruising-the-rivers-of-france-with-nicols-without-a-license/

sailing with Nicols
A must try!

Coachella Festival
Palm Springs, CA, April 2018
The festival of festivals. Coachella is everything you would expect it to be and more. It was Sarah’s 2nd time at Coachella, and it didn’t disappoint. With performances from Beyoncé (including Destiny’s Child!!), Dr Dré, Eminem, and many more, it was a week to remember. Will you go next year?

coachella

Greece
Perdika, August 2018
As you guys know, we are big fans of Greece. It’s so stunning, the weather is perfect, the food is yummie and the people are warm and welcoming. Therefore we visit Greece at least every two years to recharge our batteries. Last summer, Elke visited Perdika for the 32nd time (yes, not a lie) to be at her best friend’s Big Fat Greek wedding. Do you want to know more about this part of Greece? Check https://www.wander-lust.nl/greece-explore-the-ionian-islands/


Perdika, Greece

Wine Tasting with Campo Viejo
North Spain, San Sebastian, September 2018
Campo Viejo is a Spanish wine brand that specializes in red wine that comes from the La Rioja region. If you live in The Netherlands, you may have seen their bottles in the Albert Heijn supermarket. Sarah and I are both winelovers, so you we said yes immediately. La Rioja is region located in North Spain and is renowned for it’s local wine industry. The climate is very different than that from Southern Spain, so therefore the wines also taste different. You can fly to Bilbao with KLM and it’s only a 2 hour flight. From there you’ll need to continue by car or bus, as it’s in the middle of the mountains. It was a great trip with lovely people and so much fun! 

Campo Viejo Winery
Picking grapes

Club Med Cefalu
Sicily, October 2018
We experienced the newly opened Club Med Cefalu in Sicily for 6 whole days! The all-inclusive members club is giving their guests the opportunity to relax in this 4 star coastal resort. Several pools, a gym, tennis court and three different restaurants. This place was heaven. Yes, it’s for the traveler that has a little more money to spend, but every dime is worth it. Sometimes you need to treat yourself a little bit, and Club Med is making sure you are treated just fine! (ok, maybe a lot more than fine). Elke also had the chance to explore Sicily which was awesome.

Club Med Cafalu

How about that for some of our best travel moments of 2018! And we are not finished yet.. Elke is flying to Malaysia and Koh Lipe this month, so stay tuned on Instagram.

Happy 2019!

Elke & Sarah

How to see Rome in 2 days

This city has been on my European bucketlist forever. Somehow I never got the chance to visit Rome but when I planned my Greek Island hopping tour a few months back, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to fly via Rome. With only 2 days to discover this Italian capital, I needed to plan a little ahead to make the most of it. After all, 2 days may seem too short for a city with so many things to see but it can be done! How?

Here’s my guide on how to make the most of  your visit to Rome in 2 days:

1. Book yourself an Airbnb and stay in an area just outside the centre.
You’ll proberly stay in an authentic italian house with a local host. This way you get real inside tips and information.
I stayed at Mario’s Place which was located at Trastevere. Great walking distance to most must see attractions and next to the tram 8 which takes you to the centre in just a few minutes. Breakfast contains of fresh cakes and pastry’s and is including within the price. (Just make sure you get the directions right as Mario will send you a full and clear description at the time of your booking. I booked a few months ahead so I already forgot about them and ended up calling him a few times as I couldn’t find his front door.)

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My flowery Airbnb accommodation in Rome

2. Bring comfy shoes.
Rome is very accessible on foot and every area is near to eachother.  
But Rome wasn’t build in a day so expect to walk a few extra miles! I didn’t use the tram a lot so I walked an average of 7km(!) a day and in this case you might end up with blisters if you bring those: they-only-look-good-shoes.

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Caught in an exhausted “moment”

3. Pre-Buy your tickets 
Especially for the main attractions like the Colosseum.This way you can skip the que. During summertime it can be craaaazy busy!

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Both impressive: The Colosseum and the 2000 year old Pantheon.

4. Eat where the locals eat.
This is my biggest tip for all destinations. Don’t eat near the tourist attractions as the food will be overpriced and you won’t taste real authentic food. I had my first pizza at Mirrors pizzaria. Pizza’s cost 6 euro’s and were crunchy and delicious! I had a lovely dinner at Baylon Café where they serve homemade pasta with a twist. I was the only “tourist” in the restaurant (i see myself more as a traveller) and I enjoyed watching the beautiful people of Rome eating and drinking wine. Perfect night.


Enjoying the Italian cuisine at Baylon Cafe in Trastevere.

5. Save cash by using the free tab water.
Rome is hot, and in summer it’s boiling. Thank god for the free and very drinkable tap water that you will find throughout the city in little fountains. I filled about 4 bottles a day and I saved money at the same time!
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One of the many life savers in Rome!

6. Keep it real Italian
Go to a little bakery/delicatesse shop like Giselda Forno and taste the fine italian cuisine and even better, take it with you while you wander round. Sit in the shade and enjoy!
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Help, too many to choose from at Giselda Forno!

7. Check the Rome events calendar for special celebrations or nights.
When I was there, I enjoyed a special art cinema night by the river with music and films.
I found this great website here you can easily see what’s on and when.

8. Walk alongside the Tiber river at night
Have a cocktail at one of many cute bars alongside the water. Make deals with the temperamental market sales men and listen to the occasional karaoke.

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One of the many outdoor bars you will find on one side of the riverbanks

9. Visit one of Rome’s many markets.
From vegetables, herbs and fresh fruit to wine, kitchenware and art.
The most famous markets are Piazza Testaccio and Il Traittore. The less crowded but also great are San Teodoro – Circo Massimo and Ponte Milvio.

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Colorful vegetables and pasta’s at the Piazza Testaccio market.

10. Last but not least; if you can, do not visit Rome during summer.
Why not? Well, because it’s just so bloody hot! 
30 degrees is a high temperature if you have to walk around in Rome. It was a sticky experience sometimes and it’s not the dry heat you will find in Greece for example. Lucky for me, I like the heat (perhaps it’s because I have Indonesian blood?). If you must go during this period, then you should be aware of this and dress accordingly.

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They still exist! 
 
I hope you can use these tips for your next visit to Rome!

Ciao Ciao wanderlusties!

Love,

Elke

The many faces of Central and Southern Vietnam

Vietnam is just one country, but it sure feels as many different ones. If you are heading out to this Asian pearl, the north part should be (in my opinion) your main priority. I still long for those emerald karst mountains. However, if you have a bit more travel time, central and southern Vietnam are parts of Vietnam that cannot not be overlooked. Well, most parts of them anyway.

Ancient emperors in Hue

Hue, the capital of the Nguyen emperors, really is the middle of Vietnam. It is a city most people only pass for a day while on their way to Danang or Hoi An. But it is worth it to linger for a few days in this small, cozy city. The main reason is the Citadel. A walled city within the city, showcasing how the emperors of old days lived. It’s impressive and pretty big, you can easily get lost there for half a day. If you can stand the burning sun, going during mid-day will give you the most alone time with the temples. The ancient city is not the only thing that has been abandoned. A half an hour motorbike ride takes you to an empty amusement park. Water slides and swimming pools that havent heard a child’s laughter for ages, now overgrown with trees and bushes. It’s also possible to do a tour to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), an area that played a big part in the Vietnam war (or American war, as the Viets call it). Next to sightseeing, Hue offers lots of nice little cafe’s, eateries and rooftop bars for some lounging around. A great little budget hotel is Glenda guesthouse, friendly people, great location and a nice breakfast included!

Vietnam

Feeling at home in Hoi An

An absolute must in Vietnam is taking a tour on the back of a motorcycle with an easy rider. These drivers take you from one place to another, while you enjoy the road and the scenery (perfect if navigating yourself through the Vietnam traffic chaos really isn’t your thing). There are lots of options to do these tours, but the route from Hue to Hoi An is a famous one. The reason? The Hai Van Pass (a.k.a top gear mountain since Jeremy Clarkson cruised this road for his tv show). Winding roads up and down the mountain, combined with stunning vista’s of the sea and the mountains. There is no camera that has the ability to capture these pretty pictures. Go see for yourself!

img_4791

On the way to Hoi An you’ll pass Danang. If you are looking for anonymous 5 star resorts, lots of Russian tourists and a beach, this is the place to be. Otherwise, skip this boring city and spend your time in Hoi An. And time is what you need in this cute little town. Yes, there are tons of tourists here, but that doesn’t dull the little lights coming from the lampions that hover above the narrow streets. There is lot’s to look at in Hoi An and even more to buy. Get your tailor made clothes for a dime (i recommend Maya) and pretty leather bags for even less.

Have dinner at the waterfront and sip on a brightly colored smoothie while you watch all the people passing by. Most hotels won’t be in the ancient city centre so opt for one that includes (free) bicycles. It’s the perfect way to explore ánd to head to An Bang beach for some time in the sand and water. Lots of beach bars offer free loungers if you take lunch with them, a fair deal! The Hoi An Rose Garden Hotel is in between the city and the beach and offers a nice swimming pool to cool down after a day of strolling/biking around. A word of advise: don’t go with one of those snorkling trips to the Cham Islands. The underwater scenery is meh and much worse: you’ll be surrounded by tourists in life jackets who are stepping on (and thus damaging) the corals. The trip you should take is to My Son. These ruins will take your breath away.

Adventurous Dalat

Further down the coast lies Nha Trang. The beaches are nice, but that is about it. This town has been attacked by many tourists. If beach is what you want, just stick around Hoi An a little longer. If adventure is what you seek, head to Dalat. This is one unique city, as it lies up in the mountains and carries a much cooler climate. There are waterfalls, there is wine and a lot of adventure sports. The true adrenaline junkies have to sign up for canyoning. Abseiling from waterfalls, sliding through rock pools and jumping of a 11 meter cliff (if you dare). After a day like this, you’ll be pumped for the rest of your travels. You can book a tour at Vietchallenge.com

Lie down in Mui Ne

In need of some chill time now? On the southern coast between Dalat and Ho Chi Minh City, quiet Mui Ne will give you just that. It has a beach which is okay and some nice restaurants. Hire a beach lounger at coco beach resort and you’ll find relaxing here is pretty easy (they have some very nice massages there too). If you are an avid wind or kite surfer, Mui Ne offers it all. But be aware, the prices for lessons and gear hire are extremely high. There are many places to spend the night in Mui Ne, but the Xin chao hotel offers the best bang for your buck. Spacious rooms, a pool table ánd a refreshing swimming pool. Near Mui Ne are the white sand dunes. All little piece of desert in Vietnam. Pretty cool to run up and down those sand mountains. Lots of excursions to these dunes are organised in Mui Ne. However, most of them are package deals, also tacking you to other (tourist trap) sights. Oh and they mostly forget to mention that you have to pay an extra fee when you want to go up the dunes. So be extra aware on what you book and if it is what you are looking for.

Central and Soutern Vietnam
Mui Ne

Smoggy Ho Chi Minh City

You either love it or hate it, the second big city of Vietnam is Ho Chi Minh City. It’s a smoggy and crowded metropole, with lots of bars, shoppingmalls and street food. Try to find a local or a tour that takes you out of the centre to experience true Vietnam city life. A city full of skyscrapers asks for a drink in a rooftop bar. The best one: the View rooftop bar. It is not the highest one, but you’ll find a great informal vibe and an amazing cocktail list.

theviewrooftopbar Cnetral and Southern Vietnam
The View Rooftop Bar Source

Ho Chi Minh City also is the gateway to the Mekong Delta. Multiple or one-day tours are on offer throughout the city (or just take a bus and organize everything by yourself). If you take a one-day tour its worth it to spend a bit more money. That will get you smaller groups and more time to experience life in the river delta. Little boats will guide you on small canals through fields. Learn how to make coconut candy and down a fermented-snake-shot. It all is a bit touristy, but still a lot of fun.

The ‘once was’ paradise: Phu Quoc

Surely, before the tourist boom hit Vietnam, the Southern island of Phu Quoc was a real beauty. But the white sandy beaches now are full of rubbish and troubled by fumes from all the boats. But there are still a few nice places left to end your Vietnam trip in pure relaxation. Ong Lang Beach is quite far from the nearest town and therefore very peaceful. The beach here is a bit rough, but clean. Phu Quoc Dragon Resort & Spa will give you all you need for ultimate relaxation (at very reasonable rates). While you’re in the area, grab a chicken sandwich at Sakura restaurant. Not a very Vietnamese lunch, but you’ll be craving this sandwich for weeks afterwards! And if you are on the island in the dry season, hop on a boat for some underwater life. Be aware that the diving schools offer snorkel tours for a slightly higher price than regular tour operators, but that is probably worth it. The regular tours are, again, full of Tourists (you know who) who have no respect for the aquatic life.

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Still lovely; Phu Quoc Dragon Resort & Spa Source

Central and Southern Vietnam has some flaws, but most definitely it’s beauty. There is only one way to find out if you love it or not: go see for yourself.

Love,

Jill

Our Favorite Wanderlust Moments of 2016

Damn, 2016 is coming to an end and wow, did it go by fast! Many new memories have been made and adventures shared. Time to look back at some of our favorite wanderlust moments of 2016!

Elke’s trip to the Philippines December – January 
It was on our bucketlist forever and Elke finally crossed it off her list last Dec-Jan. She traveled to Cebu, Bohol and Palawan where she saw the most amazing islands. “It’s like Thailand 20 years ago and even more beautiful” To read all her tips about The Philippines, have a look here: wander-lust.nl/the-philippines/

Favorite Wanderlust Moments of 2016
In El Nido, Palawan

Sarah’s trip to Malaysia – November
For 3 weeks Sarah traveled through Malaysia visiting Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi and Borneo. She was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Malaysian people are extremely creative and you will see street art, local handmade goods and delicious food everywhere. If you’re planning to go, you must read her articles about Malaysia: wander-lust.nl/malaysia/

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Our city trip to Prague – April
It was our first trip together funny enough and we had so much fun! The life is cheap in Prague so we enjoyed it to the max trying out all the best food spots and checking out the nightlife. From cycling tours to getting lost, finding a hipster Vietnamese bar and drinking a lot of beer. We also discovered that we are perfect travel partners! Read our city guide to Prague here: wander-lust.nl/falling-in-love-with-prague/

Wanderlust in Prague
Perfect travel partners 

Switzerland during Springtime – May
If there is something you should do when you live in Europe, is to grab your car and drive up to Switzerland during springtime. The incredible nature, mountains and lakes are stunning! Elke drove up to Lutcerne, Vitznau and hiked up the Rigi Mountain. It’s not the cheapest place to visit but the views are more than worth it! Must do for 1017! wander-lust.nl/why-you-should-visit-switzerland-this-summer/

Hotel Rigi Kaltbad, Switzerland
Stunning views from the Rigi mountain

Our secret trip to Valencia – June
We didn’t know where we were going and found out at the airport when we scrashed our SRPRS.me card. Valencia it was! The weather was great, the food was great and the whole city break was great. Although it was Sarah’s 2nd time, we managed to discover so many new spots! wander-lust.nl/our-secret-trip-to-valencia/

Watermelon in Valencia
Eating watermelons in Valencia

Glamping in Portugal – June
This was a very special trip because we didn’t really know what to expect. We got invited by Into The Wild Algarve, a couple that left their hectic lives in Amsterdam to move to Portugal and start a Eco-Glamping Resort. We were their first official guests and they made us feel so at home. The care that they treated us with, really touched us. We enjoyed outside Yoga, Supping, Vegan Cooking and discovered the beaches of the Algarve. Check our report here: into-the-wild-algarve/

Into the Wild Algarve Tent
Our bohemian glamping tent

Swedish Lapland – June
After our visit to the travel bloggers conference (TBEX) in Stockholm, Sarah checked out the Swedish Lapland for a few days. She discovered the untouched nature, fishing, ice sculpture, spa’s and sleeping in the light. (it doesn’t get dark there in June!) wander-lust.nl/relaxing-activities-in-kukkolaforsen-swedish-lapland/

Grilled fish
Smoking freshly caught fish in Sweden

Elke’s trip to Norway – August
“Cried when they landed, in the bus and cried when I saw the first mountain.” All because it was so beautiful. What a stunning place! Together with Visit Norway Elke and a bunch of journalists visited the Fjords where she learned how to kayak. wander-lust.nl/my-amazing-trip-through-north-west-norway/

Visit North West Norway
Crying 3.0

So there you have it, new memories were made, hidden gems were discovered and many new hotspots were found. These were our favorite wanderlust moments of 2016. We hope we’ve inspired you this past year! It was great to see that some of you actually did the trips or took the route we wrote about! Get ready for 2017 as we have more exiting things planned!

For more impressions about all our trips, check our YOUTUBE Channel where we add all our travel memories! We need more subscribers so hopefully you guys can help us out! 😉

Love,

Elke & Sarah

Club Med Palmiye » the crème de la crème of all inclusive

Don’t get me wrong, I really like my live in Amsterdam. Correction; I LOVE my life in Amsterdam but sometimes it can be quite hectic. Life goes pretty fast down here and catches up with you, especially in a big city. So when I say that sometimes you need to get away from it all, I think a lot of you can relate to this. It was time for me to have a little break. Now, if you know me, you know that I’m a true traveler, explorer and someone that can’t stay in one place for too long. And if you know me, you also know that I would never go for the All Inclusive concept. Right? Last week I tried something a bit different. I needed to give my body and mind some rest so I did the unexpected; I booked an All Inclusive. But not just any..I stayed in one of the best All Inclusive resorts there is. Club Med Palmiye.

Tipi at Club Med

Club Med
The all inclusive concept has been around for ages and Club Med was there from the start. They have resorts all over the world but because I wanted to stay in Europe plus get a temperature of at least 25 degrees, I decided to fly to the south of Turkey. And it was more than just sunshine I got! Upon arrival you feel this is a different kind of all inclusive you might expect. With this resort, transfers are included and the 50 minutes drive in the nice airconditioned bus only seemed like a short ride. When you arrive you get a warm welcome from the staff and a refreshing lemon drink while some of the park details are explained.

The Accommodation
Your suitcases will be waiting for you in front of your room when you get there. The resort has several options when it comes to accommodation. Overall, the rooms are more basic than the rest of the resort because they want people to go outside and enjoy the sun, sea and activities. That completely makes sense because the park is only open until the last week of October before having a winter break. You can sleep in one of the many bungalows or stay in the hotel next to the entrance. Both nice in their own right but I preferred the bungalow that I stayed in because it feels more natural. Around the bungalows you will find different sort of trees and plants that really take your breath away. Besides the many palmtrees, you will also find orange and persimmon trees (my favorite fruit!)

Accommodation Club Med

Accommodation Club Med Palmiye
Tropical bungalows

Activities
One thing is for sure, you won’t get bored at a Club Med resort. There are lot’s of things to do and the Palmiye resort I stayed in offered activities such as wake-boarding, water skiing, sailing, windsurfing, tennis, archery, Pilates, fitness and more. If you don’t feel like doing anything at all, there are 2 adults-only areas where you can chill to the max while ordering cocktails or other refreshments. As much as you like! Yes, if you’ve never enjoyed an all inclusive resort before, it might be something to get used to. (I needed one day haha) If you want to out at sea, you can take the resort boat and enjoy some snorkeling or sunbathing on the deck for about 2 hours or grab a Catamaran and sail away on your own. (there is a small training course if you need to). At night there is a beach club open until 2am and you can enjoy several shows in the open air theater. The staff even joins in which made me laugh because they’re not the best dancers but ey, they certainly entertained me! 

Activities Club Med
Trying to hit the bullseye

Hammam Club Med in Turkey
Enjoying the Hammam

Sailing at Club Med Palmiye
Sailing

If you know me, you also know that I would never go for the All Inclusive concept. Right?

The Food
Ok, this is probably one of the best parts of Club Med. The Food! Wow, but seriously, really wow. Every day it’s a feast of different flavors and colorful decorations made out of food. At Club Med you never want to sleep in because you don’t want to miss breakfast! At home you pay a fortune for pomegranate seeds and here you can grab bowls full of it! It’s not just a buffet like you’re used to. No, there is a different chef at every food stand; Pasta (homemade), traditional Turkish food, cakes and sweets, salads, BBQ and the theme changes day by day so you never get bored of eating the same thing. There are 4 restaurants at the resort but because I visited the Club in October, only one was open but it was perfect for the amount of guest at the resort.

club-med-palmiye-food
Heaven!

Lunch at Club Med Palmiye
One of the amazing pool lunches at Club Med Palmiye

Club Med Palmiye
The sun dissapearing behind the mountains

Strange but true, I really enjoyed my time here and managed to relax and enjoy the perks of the ultimate All Inclusive concept to the max (without having to run for towel space). Yes, Club Med Palmiye is designed to take away your stress and worries and simply makes sure you can get away from it all. Perfect for city people that are so foccused on work. And let’s be honest, you freakin’ deserve it!

Club Med has resorts all over the world and this is just one of them. They even have winter resorts in the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. To find out about all their destinations and booking details check www.clubmed.us or www.clubmed.nl

Want a really good impression before you book? Check out my video on YOUTUBE!

Love,

Elke

An Italian Summer full of festivals!

It seems as if Italy has finally got its mojo back, this year the Italian beaches will be the summer destination of choice for millions of Europeans probably wary to venture to tourist destinations in Turkey, France and Spain. Unfortunately, the terror threat has had a certain decisive factor for many travelers however Italian hotel owners will be the last to complain. If you are coming to Italy this summer you are absolutely spoiled for choice as there are countless music, theatre and gastronomy festivals, outdoor operas and concerts by international stars. There is still plenty on schedule for this Italian Summer.

As it promises to be another long hot summer with temperatures up to 40 degrees in many popular destinations I’m guessing you will be up for some action during the cooler evenings. This is a rundown of my favourite events which will be taking place during the end of July up to about the end of August in some of the main tourism destinations such as Marche, Tuscany and Sardinia.

Marche is a glorious summer destination with some of the best beaches, food and wine Italy has to offer. Marche is also the destination for Summer Outdoor Opera lovers such as the Macerata Opera Festival will be playing through the 14th of August at the Arena Sferisterio. www.sferisterio.it

A favourite of Classical music lovers is the Ravello Festival, these enchanting concerts take place high above the Mediterranean Sea in the ancient hamlet of Ravello, with unmatched views over the Amalfi coastline. Concerts are to be scheduled throughout the month of August up until September 30th. www.ravellofestival.com

Italian Summer ravello-festival
Stunning views at the Ravello Festival

I’m going to skip right over to Sardegna if I may, for the Dromos Festival, for those of us that would like to celebrate the existence of the ‘disobedient’ woman! Who doesn’t? The objective of the festival is to pay homage to contributions of women in music and the arts. A festival that could potentially please many with an international line up filled with new age jazz, blues and contemporary acts. Taking place from the 1st august until the 15th of August: Concerts, expositions and theatre some of which will be held center stage at the spectacular ancient seafront amphitheater, the Arena di Tharros. www.dromosfestival.it

So you actually think you would like to spend August in Rome? No you aren’t completely weird, no weirder then me in any case! Because I think Rome is awesome in August, no traffic, parking spots, quiet evenings. So don’t miss taking in an Puccini Opera at the Roman Thermal Baths of Caraccalla which is being used as a backdrop for some of the most amazing Italian Operas up until mid August with Madame Butterfly, Nabucco and The Barber of Seville on the program. Tickets are available here 

However the hottest ticket in town is most likely the Andrea Bocelli concert The Cirque to be held at the open air Teatro di Silenzio near the Tuscan town of Lajatico on the Maremma Coast on the 29th and the 30th of July. http://citysoundmilano.com/it/teatro-del-silenzio/biglietti/

Italian Summer, teatro del silenzio

I’ll meet you here this Italian summer! – Cous Cous Fest 16th – 25th of September in Sicily
If you ever traveled to Sicily and missed a visit to the beaches and islands off the Western Coast in my opinion you have missed out on some of the prettiest beaches, national parks and idyllic holiday islands on the Sicilian coastline. From Castellemare di Golfo to the outer island of Pantelleria the province of Trapani makes for a stunning holiday destination. Those of you looking for great street food, eateries and great beaches look no further than the town of San Vito Lo Capo. You would do well to stop by during the annual Cous Cous Fest that’s set between the narrow streets and piazza’s. It’s a truly a gastronomy festival where Europe meets Africa. This is a Cous Cous cook off with contestant chefs from eight countries – Côte d’Ivoire, France, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Senegal, and Tunisia, plus the Palestinian Territories
www.couscousfest.it

Ttalian Summer, cous cous fest
Feast your tastebuds at the cous cous fest. Photo source: http://www.deliciousitaly.com/

Love,

Elisabeth

*Elisabeth Jane is one of our guest bloggers who lives in Rome and knows all about Italy! If you are looking for more entertainment options, feel free to give these events pages a quick visit for a year round selection of the best events in Italy. www.dolcevia.com