8 X BOOKS THAT WILL INSPIRE YOU

Maybe you’re not a reader but you finally have the time to start picking that up. Reading will help you relax but can also feed your brain.

With more time on your hands we’ve selected a bunch of timeless books that will inspire you to become creative, dream and learn. A picture says a 1000 words so we’ve also added some amazing photography books.

1. Once in a lifetime

This book is a part 2 but even better then the first one. Once in a Lifetime Vol. 2 celebrates exceptional hotels, lodges, and other locations.
Whether readers use the book to plan their next trip or to simply enjoy a marvellous visual journey from the comfort of their own homes, it reminds us that there are a host of places out there that are worth the trip –and that our personal paradise might be closer than we might think. Buy it at Amazone for 40 euro’s or check your nearest bookstore.

2. Weg ermee by Dennis Storm

The book we all need right now. About minimalism and getting back to the source. Why do you need 12 dressed, 25 pairs of shoes in every colour, new stuff? Dennis was a successful TV presenter and was travelling a lot for his work. He discovered by staying in many, simple hotels, that he didn’t need anything else that the basic needs. Buy it here. It’s in Dutch only unfortunately.

inspiring books

3. The new Nomads

Nomads are coming back and if you feel that itch to try a nomadic lifestyle, we have just the book for you. New Nomads: Temporary Spaces and a Life On The Move, written by Robert Klanten, Sven Ehmann and Michelle Galindo, is a book about freedom, liberation and enjoyment. Sleeping in your own bed just got boring.

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We all seek that Nomadic lifestyle..

4. Before they pass away

This photography book made a lot of people talk. Positive but there is also a lot of criticism towards photographer Jimmy Nelson.
“The pictures are staged and look like a fashion shoot” Whatever you may think of it, I think the most important thing is that we respect the different culture. Every picture is beautifully taken and makes you think about, well, life and the world. Widely available from various online bookstores and online.

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Amazing but criticised, the pictures by Jimmy Nelson

5. Hide and Seek

Follow-up to the bestselling title Rock the Shack. The highly individual cabins, hideaways, and summer homes featured in Hide and Seek offer their owners exceptional, yet convenient ways to escape urban routines and embed themselves into the land. The photographs exemplify how to create remote shelters that bring calm and balance to our hectic lives. With the right concept, furniture, décor, and atmosphere, even small or basic designs become stunning sanctuaries. Although the individual cabins and hide outs are very different from each other, all of them respect nature and focus on the essentials. 

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The ultimate hiding place

6. National Geographic – The Covers

Since I can remember, I used to read the National Geographic magazine. My dad used to read it to me when I was a little girl. This is when my love for travel was born. I needed to see the whole world and I wanted to know about the people, habits, animals and cultures. National Geographic is famous for it’s realistic pictures and brings worlds together. My dream was to work for them one day. They published a lot of books but this is one of my favorites and a Photography Book that you can enjoy time after time. The Covers edition. Shop it here.

National Geographic book

7. Below sea level

I must highlight this new book because I’m from the Netherlands. Below Sea Level, The Netherlands in Photographs.  Almost one quarter of the country’s surface is made up of drained inland lakes and land reclaimed from the sea. In Ewout Huibers’ stunning photographs, the ever-present water plays a natural leading role.  For many people, it’s strange to think that we, the Dutch, live below sea level. This book represents both the simplicity yet a complicated and dangerous relationship with water. Buy it at the Amsterdam based bookstore Mendo.nl

March in Amsterdam

Turn right where everyone goes left

8. Off the Beaten Track by Wander-Lust

A little self-promo never hurt anyone right? 😉 Yes, we’ve written our first ever travel book. Actually, it’s not even in stores yet! Off the Beaten Track is for those who are curious and love adventure.  During our many years of travelling, we’ve discovered that the best places are the hidden ones. Told by a local or discovered by chance. By going off the beaten path you also avoid the ever growing mass tourism and you often support local communities. Together with 32 travel bloggers, journalists, photographers and creatives, we have bundled our best tips across the world, that you may have never heard of. Unknown islands, unique places to sleep, amazing restaurants and much more. You can pre-order of wait patiently until May 12th. Dutch only (but may be translated in the future!)

Off the beaten track by wander-lust

Enjoy reading!

Love,

Elke

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!

THE BREDA CITY GUIDE 2020

Breda is a vibrant place in the southern part of the Netherlands. The city exudes cosiness and is a perfect destination to enjoy food, drinks and shopping. Hotspots such as trendy restaurants, cafés and concept stores pop-up one after another.

In other words: Breda is HOT! Therefore, it’s time to discover the pearl of the Southern Netherlands and the pride of Brabant (more on Brabant here).

How to get there?

Amsterdam and Breda are not very far apart from each other so you can easily take the train or go by car. I would recommend taking the train because it is a more sustainable way of traveling and it takes the same amount of time (1 hour) as going by car. In addition, it is only a 5-minute walk from Breda central station to the city centre. A return train ticket from Amsterdam to Breda will costs you around 45 euro.

Breda City Guide Puick
Puick

Where to eat?

Puick
This place can be best described as a living room where you can enjoy a healthy fair-trade meal between hanging plants, peaking cactuses, old Chesterfields and vintage 70’s lamps. So if you want to go for a healthy lunch with creative green dishes, this is your place to go!

Hemels 
For a delicious lunch or dinner I would recommend going to Hemels. The restaurant is very atmospheric, the service is always attentive and they have a cozy, green courtyard garden for long warm evenings.

Bobbi’s bar
Probably one of the biggest hotspots in Breda right now. The ambiance in this restaurant is great and it is beautifully decorated to the last detail (especially the bar which looks like it’s straight out some movie). So if you want to dine in an Instagram-proof restaurant with velvet chairs, neon lighting, and golden detailed interior; head your way to Bobbi’s! The restaurant is often full, so a reservation is a must.

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Bobbi’s Bar 

Chocolat
Planning a special date night or just feeling like having an elegant dinner? The culinary restaurant Chocolat serves special and creative dishes made of seasonal products. Be prepared for an explosion of flavours while sitting in a fancy chocolate brown interior.

FoodHall
This big industrial-styled open space has a big bar in the middle and is surrounded by food stalls where you can find 14 different kitchens with a wide variety of dishes and drinks from all over the world. This is the place to be if you want to eat, drink and socialize with friends, family or colleagues in an easy-going, relaxed atmosphere. The FoodHall also regularly has live music performances during the weekend and they hold game / quiz nights. Check the program here.

’t Hart van Breda
Are you strolling around the city and want to have a little break while enjoying a drink and a little snack? ‘t Hart is a cozy, easy-going café located in the middle of the city centre with a large outside terrace. They are famous for their delicious nachos.

Tiger Club
The best Asian street food restaurant in town! All their dishes are the size of an intermediate dish and are intended – according to Eastern family traditions – to share with the whole dining company. Service, interior and the quality of food: everything is right. Personally my favourite place to eat in Breda!

Breda City Guide Tiger Bar
Tiger Club


Where to drink coffee

Koffie bij Teun
Whether you order espresso or cappuccino, it is certainly a taste sensation. The owner (Teun) and his employees all have a real passion for coffee, and it will surprise you what these people get out of beans!

Yirga
They call themselves an urban espresso bar with a natural kitchen and that actually describes them in a nutshell as they serve great coffee and tea, and cook with as many organic products as possible. Everything is home-made; from cake to ketchup!

Koffiebar Sowieso
A nice, relaxed coffee bar just outside of the city’s bustle, where only delicious home-roasted coffee is served. Tip: this place is a must for vegetarians and vegans because they have many vegan cake & lunch options.

Breda City Guide Coffee
Koffiebar Sowieso


Where to go for drinks

Dok 19
A great place for a drink in the sun along the harbour of Breda. They have a cupboard filled with board games, an extensive specialty beer menu, and nice music. You won’t get bored here!

De Bommel
Café de Bommel has been a household name in Breda for more than fourty years. You can go there for a casual drink or go out during the weekend. The nice thing about this cafe is that people from all age-classes hang out here.

Beers and Barrels
An industrial looking restaurant located in the old beer brewery of Breda. Their huge range of beers (internationally and locally) make it difficult to choose! A must-go if you are a beer-lover and want to do a little beer tasting.

Breda City Guide BB
Beers & Barrels

Suikerkist
From gin & tonics to fresh smoothies or a delicious specialty beer: you name it and they’ve got it. Their large outside terrace catches the sun all day and has a nice view of the big church.

De Botanist
This spot is known for its inviting terrace along the water. The prices are affordable, and they have tasty cocktails.


Where to Shop?

Ginnekenweg & Wilhelminastraat
These two streets are connected to each other and are full of historic buildings and contain an extensive range of different independent boutiques and restaurants. From clothing stores to book stores and from interior stores to places where you can find the most beautiful bouquet, it’s all here. The concept boutique PALMA is definitely worth a visit, here you can find cool lifestyle products, trendy and extraordinary clothing and beautiful jewellery. Exclusive fashion / beauty chains such as Skins cosmetics, IKKS and Pauw are also located in this street.

Palma Breda
Palma

Veemarktstraat
This is a broad restaurant and shopping street in the centre of Breda. The stores consist mainly of specialised boutiques in clothing and lifestyle areas. Halfway the street is a little square (Veemarktplein) where an organic market is held every Tuesday morning.

Ginnekenstraat & Eindstraat
These two combined are the main shopping streets in the centre of Breda. The big retail chains such as Zara, Scotch & Soda, Mango, Bershka and Levi’s are settled here.


What to visit?

Valkenberg park
When walking from the train station to the city centre you pass through Valkenberg Park. This park was until 1812 the garden of the Breda castle which still stands next to the park. Valkenberg has also been voted in 2019 as the most beautiful park in the Netherlands. It is a wonderful place to relax among the green trees.

Club solo
This artist initiative club offers Dutch and Belgian mid-career artists the opportunity to create and show their work in solo presentations. Club Solo is also a platform for discussions, lectures and music. A ticket is only a few euro’s. It is an inspiring place to walk around! Check out what exhibition is on now here.

STEK & PIER 15 Skatepark
STEK is a breeding ground for creative and artistic entrepreneurs who are committed to sustainability. There are studios, office units, workshops, flexible workplaces, shops and various types of little restaurants and bars. Next to STEK lies the PIER 15 Skatepark. On Saturday (during summer) an event called “Haveneiland” is organised there and you can expect great soul, jazz, disco and funk tunes. Get ready to dance!

Markdal
Just on the outskirts of Breda is a beautiful piece of nature: Markdal. This area is rich in nature and cultural history and is popular by walkers, hikers and cyclists.

Markdal Breda
Markdal Breda

Whether you want to shop, go out for lunch / dinner or do something cultural; Breda has it. They don’t call Breda “the pearl of the south” for nothing! Planning your next trip yet? 🙂

Curious about our favourite LUNCH SPOTS IN AMSTERDAM? Or check out all our CITY GUIDES!

Love,

Iris

*Iris is one of our guest editors from The Netherlands. She’s got a big interest in photography, fashion, spirituality and traveling. She was 3 months old when she was on the plane for the first time and has been to every continent in the meantime. You can follow iris on Instagram.

 

 

 

What to do in Kuching, Borneo

Borneo is one of the favorite destinations of many travelers who visit Malaysia. I totally agree! I’ve been to many places in Asia, but Borneo will always have a special place in my heart. From food, friendly local people to music, nightlife, culture, wildlife and jungle – Kuching has a lot more to offer than many other countries in Asia.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to hear the sounds of the sea and the splashing waves, read a book under palm trees, relax and then jump into a swimming pool, but after a week I’m craving for some adventure. Kuching, and Borneo for that matter, has something for everyone!

When I decided to stay in Kuching for 3 days, the the owner of my hostel convinced me to stay at least 5 days since there’s so much more to discover than jungle/wildlife only. He was totally right! I eventually stayed for almost 1 week. I’ve spent four days outside the city and three days inside the city of Kuching. You probably won’t expect it – neither did I – but Kuching has a lot of trendy restaurants where they serve top notch food and wines and cafes that come alive at night where locals play the guitar and sing oldies like the Beatles. Definitely my cup of tea:)

Let me take you along a journey you will never forget!

The city of Kuching

Kuching is the Capital of the Sararawak province. The city is well know for it’s style, culture and natural habitat. It might be a small city but it it’s big in it’s venues. You will see statues of cats everywhere – the city’s name is derived from the Malay word for cat — Kucing. A bit weird in the beginning but you will get used to it. It’s a vibrant and dynamic city with beautiful new and historic buildings with impressive architecture. The locals are very friendly and warm, you feel at home right away.

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Cruise along the majestic Sarawak River

Explore the city by boat along the Sarawak River. The Sarawak River, separating the north and the south called, is the best way to view the city. Relax and take a moment to see the city from another angle. Normally you will pay around RM60 (13 euros) per person when you do a tour via an agency where you share a big boat with at least 15 people. Tip » I took a small taxi boat where the locals travel with. A lot cheaper – RM 30 (6 euro) for two people – you will get a lot more inside info and you will have the boat all for yourself! You will have to negotiate, but my trip took 1.5 hours and the local guy I had was so lovely. Take a breath and enjoy the calm river while sipping a cold refreshing beer.

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Walk along the waterfront

Kuching’s Waterfront Boulevard is great for a walk during the whole day. During the day you see the daily activity on the river where local people using the small ferry boats to travel to and from their homes across the river. There are food with beverages and snacks to eat as you stroll along. In the afternoon/beginning of the evening when the sun sets you will enjoy the beautiful view of the waterfront where locals preform almost every night. There’s not only a harmonious vibe on the streets but also in different bars and restaurants!

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Visit China Town

Kuching’s Chinatown is Carpenter Street, marked on its western end by the large Chinese gate officially called the “Harmony Arch”. While there are a few guest houses and lots of restaurants along the road, the area is not very ‘touristy’ at all. Somewhat surprisingly, Carpenter Street still has a few carpenter shops, along with bicycle shops, printers and other small businesses.

DRINKS | Drunk Monkey Old street Bar
Drunk Monkey Old Street Bar brings a taste of the urban hipster scene to Kuching. Nice ambiance, great beers and music.
TIP! Check out the other side of the bar/terrace – Beautiful street art!

FOOD | Saigon Fusion
If you’re hungry you should definitely check out the authentic Vietnamese restaurant Saigon Fusion. Try the PORK PHO, amazing! The owner Allan Goh know how to surprise people with his excellent food and service!
You can also ask the staff of Drunk Monkey Old Street Bar for the food menu, they can get the order for you from this amazing Vietnamese restaurant. 

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Check out the Street Art in Kuching

Next to the open air market and India street you will see beautiful street art of the talented Lithuanian painter Ernest Zacharovic, famous for his interactive street art in different countries. This was the first time that I’ve ever heard of him and immediately I became a huge fan. He brings his street art to life and interact with local people by letting them participating in his work. His work is widely shared on social media and I understand why!
More of him to come in my next blogpost about George town Penang, Malaysia, where I have seen a lot more of this impressive work.

Ernest Zacharevic

Ernest Zacharevic

5. Hip Hang outs
Kuching is a hip and happening place. I never expected Kuching to be so trendy, but it is!
Kuching has a great bar and restaurant scene, where many

DRINKS & FOOD | The Barber
Before an old barber shop with mirrors and barber chairs, became a trendy and chic venue to dine and have cocktails. They serve American style food, like burgers.

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FOOD & DRINKS | The Junk
After a jungle trekking and some street food dinner we wanted to have a few drinks before going to bed. We found this place – a few doors away from The Barber – The Junk. It’s quit a unique and impressive place, it’s divided into 4 areas which named as Backstage, Red room, Junk bar and restaurant area. Every room is different and if full with great decor pieces like red lanterns. At night this restaurant turn into one of the hottest clubs in town! Oh what a night…

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I hope I have inspired you a bit… More of Malaysia and Borneo down here!

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.

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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

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Snorkling at Manukan island

Love,

Sarah

Check out our full Kuala Lumpur Guide!

Aloft Kuala Lumpur

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!
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Our top 10 favourite lunch spots in Amsterdam

To be fair, there are too many great lunch and brunch possibilities in Amsterdam, but a few standout! 

We’ve handpicked our favourite 10 lunch spots in Amsterdam because they have that extra little thing. More importantly, we have also selected our choices by these important pillars:

  • They serve topnotch food
  • Provide excellent and friendly service
  • Good quality at reasonable prices
  • Great vibe
  • Inspirational or unique design

1. COTTONCAKE, 1e van der Helstraat 76-hs

This Concept store in the Pijp has it all! No need to travel to Paris,  Berlin, Melbourne or New York – Cottoncake brings all influences together in their store and café. They put all their love in fine organic food & smoothies. Besides food & drinks you will find a mix of fashion, design & lifestyle. From lovely handmade jewelries of Mimi et Toi & Monocraft, organic creams of La Bruket, to lovely basic shirts of Samsoe & Samoe and beautiful knits of Sita Murt.. I really fell in love with this concept store; you can sit down and relax, enjoy their organic healthy food and find that special item that you have to try on and you will keep for ever. cottoncake.nl

CottonCake
source: www.cottoncake.nl

2. BAKERS & ROASTERS, Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat 54

Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland are known for their great coffee shops and these two friendly owners of New Zealand & Brasil brought the caffé culture to Amsterdam. This New Zealand style café is a very nice place where they serve fresh fruit salads, healthy juices, hot pies fresh from the oven, eggs, granola and is packed every day and we totally understand why! They do not except reservations, but it’s worth to wait.
Don’t forget to take a coffee, since their crafted coffee is a selection of Roasts from Ozone Coffee. They establish relationships with all their growers, batch roast & dispatch daily to ensure maximum taste & freshness. http://bakersandroasters.com

Lunch spots Amsterdam

3. VINNIES DELI, Haarlemmerstraat 46 | Nieuwezijds Kolk 33

Are you looking for tasty & healthy lunch where they use organic, fair-trade and sustainable products? Then Vinnies Deli is definitely the place to be for you! It’s no surprise this is one of our favourite lunch spots in Amsterdam. It’s a small cozy lunch/coffee room where you can eat your hart out! I have two favorites on the menu: eggplant with buttermilk sauce and pomegranate, and smoked mackerel with grapefruit chutney. But they also serve delicious cakes & coffees. Vinnies Deli is open from 7.30m in the morning and does take a killer take away and delivery. Do you like what you see inside? All the designer furniture is for sale! vinnieshomepage.com

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4. GARTINE, Taksteeg 7

In the hectic city you will find this secret’ place in Amsterdam, Gartine, a cute, cozy and lovely restaurant that is known for it’s high tea! From the garden to your plate: The special thing about Gartine is that they produce vegetables, fruits and herbs from its own garden. Almost all products are produced locally and everything is organic. They serve high quality breakfast, lunch & high tea dishes on flower-printed china plates. You need to make a reservation upfront since they only have 7 tables in total. gartine.nl

gartinesource: www.gartine.nl

5. CANTINA, Joris van Den Berghweg 107

In case you were looking to escape the city, Café Cantina is one of our favourite all time spots in Amsterdam. It’s not close to the city center and you can only reach it by car and bicycle. Therefore it’s never crowded and popular with locals. The organic café is also part of “Het Rijk van de Keizer” which is a location that can be used for weddings, parties and special dinners. You chill in the sundeck on a fatboy, hammock or even sit in an old car wreck. Find a spot in the shade under umbrella’s tucked away in between the trees. Don’t be surprised if you see chickens walking around, this is normal! Read more about this amazing spot.

Favourite lunch spots in Amsterdam, Cantina

6. SLA

If you want to eat something healthy and nutritious and organic, SLA is the place to do it. Currently, they own x locations in Amsterdam and they are still growing. Our favourite location is the one on the Amstelveenseweg because it’s large and next to the famous Vondelpark in Amsterdam. Every season they change their salad options, so you won’t get bored and they have more than 12 choices! It’s also one of our favourite workspots in Amsterdam, and furthermore, they offer free tea refills! ilovesla.com

Lunch spots in Amsterdam, SLA
Source: SLA

7. KARAVAAN, Kwakersplein 2h

To begin with, this place is brand new. It’s large, warm and the staff is extremely friendly which can be rare these days. In terms of people, you will find it all here. Couples, friends, freelancers, you name it. Find out more about this favourite lunch spot in Amsterdam.

Karavaan, lunch spot Amsterdam

8. BENJI’S

One of us has Indonesian roots, so we especially love Benji’s Toko. That being said, all of their locations are magnificent!  Best of all, all locations are full of plants and greenery, making you feel like you are in a tropical location.

Benji's

9. DROVERS DOG, Heemstedestraat 25 | Eerste Atjehstraat 62

This Australian café/restaurant has been around for many years now, but is still popular with locals and visitors till this day. To be fair, their service is excellent and the kitchen produces delicious comfort Aussi style food. In fact, two Australians and a Dutchman set up this great spot. In addition to the fact that a Drover is a well-known dog breed, the name has more to do with what these dogs do. They bring large herds of cattle together in Australia and bringing them together is what is important at  Drovers Dog. It is always cozy and full of friends, couples and families. Everyone who works there speaks English fluently and often with a strong Australian accent. (Oh, how we love it). 

10. BAR LELY, Cornelis Lelyplein 4

It’s one of Elke’s favorite workspots in Amsterdam at the moment, and situated at a brilliant location in Amsterdam West. Bar Restaurant Lely is so much more than just a restaurant next to Lelylaan train station. The restaurant opens at 8am, so early birds can drink a quick coffee and have some simple breakfast such as granola & yoghurt or a croissant. For lunch they serve simple but very tasty options and I must say that the avo on toast with a poached egg. 

Bar Restaurant Lely Amsterdam

Happy eating!

Wander-Lust

The USA Roadtrip | This is all you need to know

It’s probably everyones dream; a USA Road trip West Coast! In 2015 I finally made the dream a reality. I rented an RV and hit the road in what would become a 1600-mile journey from LA to San Francisco via Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Death Valley & High Way 1.

A few years ago, my roomie exchanged Amsterdam for LA and last year two other dear friends moved to the US. Together with my close friends we decided to visit and it became one of the best trips ever. Here you will find the preparations for the ultimate USA roadtrip.

Transport

Many people travel from San Francisco via High Way One to Los Angeles, but we did it the other way around by RV. The reason why we’ve chosen an RV is that your home goes with you, you can cook, you have transportation, no need to rent a car, no packing and unpacking every day. And more importantly, it was so much fun to do it with my dear friends that I’ve known for over 10 years..

Road trips are one of the best ways to really get to know a country!

USA roadtrip VA

The USA roadtrip checklist:

1. Check which period is the best to travel around
2. Check which period in the cheapest/most convenient for you
3. Write down which states you don’t want to miss
4. Set your route » From San Fran to LA or the other way around
5. Check which stops you want to visit in between
6. Check how to get from A-B
7. See how you would like to travel
8. Determine Motel – Hotel – RV
9. See if you need extra transport
10.Download Hotel Tonight AppHand-selected hotels at great prices on your mobile device. Rent unique accommodations from local hosts for great prices

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Our Route

Together with my two friends we flew from Amsterdam to Los Angeles. My lovely friend from Pittsburgh – that we didn’t see for a few months – traveled with us. We rented a car and stayed for two days where we did some great things together with my Dutch friend that lives in LA. After two lovely days, we picked up our RV – that we’ve booked online – and drove to Las Vegas. After 2 nights of gambling and partying we went via route66 & Death Valley to Salines & San Jose – High Way 1. From there we went up to San Francisco. We dropped off the RV in San Francisco and rented an apartment via Air BNB. After 4 unforgettable days we flew to Pittsburgh where we dropped off my friend and stayed for a few days. Ended our trip for 5 days in the best of the best; New York – where we visited my last Dutch friend.

What do you need?

» Car Rental in LA & San Francisco
» Tom Tom for the RV
» Camper Rental – Tip! Take the one of 6 persons and listen carefully to the instructions.
» Campsite availability »  www.recreation.gov
» (I phone) string for your play list
» USB cable for mobile phone > also acts as charger
» Apartment in LA, San Francisco, Pittsburgh & New York – Tip! Air BNB

The costs:

Budgeting goes hand-in-hand with planning, as the budget is probably the most important part of any road trip. Do plan to spend more than you budgeted. Hereby what I’ve spent: (keep in mind that we shared RV, Hotels etc with 4 persons)

» 1100 euro tickets
» 360 euro RV
» 300 euro Apartments
» 900 euro Food
» 300 euro Drinks
» 200 euro Car Rental
» 200 euro Other (festivals, places of interest)
Total cost: 3369 euro’s for 3 weeks

Can you do it for less? sure! You can always spent less, depending on how much you want to spend on food, drinks & shopping.

Love,

Sarah

Read all our articles about the USA!