Last month, I got PEP Singapore with One Visa and arrived at the city. It was only after I reached here that I realized that this is not a place for just work. But instead, this is one such location that has to be visited at least once by every one of us. I have dozens of reasons for making this statement, but I am going to quote only the top reasons here. So, why should you come here? Continue reading…

Cleanliness and Safety:

You should be aware that most often, visitors to Singapore will use the words ‘cleanliness’ and ‘safety’. I’d say it’s no wonder! As an expat, I’d declare to you that Singapore is the safest city on Earth, with stricter laws in place and advanced security systems. Not just this, Singapore is also safe for your wealth. This is the information from HSBC Premier.

Pretty Easy to Move Around:

With more than five million occupants, transportation is the primary source that keeps everyone moving. What I saw in the city is that it has a brilliant transport system. The ultra-modern subway stations have an enormous number of stops, which makes it easier to transit from one place to another. And, it’s to be mentioned that the transportation is relatively cheap.

Enjoyable Nightlife:

Everyone doesn’t get a chance to enjoy the nightlife, but if you’re in Singapore, you will! Only your interest matters. It might be the nightlife district, Clarke Quay, or the beach parties like ZoukOut or Siloso, but you will definitely find a place to have a great time!

Marina Bay Sands:

This is a new kid on the block with three giant towers with an apparent ship at its top. This building dominates the city’s skyline. A good reason to visit this place is the rooftop pool, which is the most spectacular part. If you are a guest at the hotel, you will have a great chance to swim in the infinity waters.

Incredible Food:

For me, the food was the most worrying aspect when I looked for relocation. But, only when I came here, I knew boasts the the best of all foods. I had a great opportunity to taste various cuisines of Asian origin. Not only this, I came to know that most of the best chefs on the planet have their restaurants here. This city has more cool things to offer!

Amazing Zoos and Parks:

The zoos and parks of the city are tagged as among the best ones around the globe. In the zoo, I could see that the animals are being treated very well and there are around 2800 animal members to see and enjoy. Also, the parks especially the Gardens by the Bay, aren’t to be missed. In this park alone, there are over a million plants. So, there’s no reason to miss these places!

Outstanding Architecture:

All around the city, I could see a mix up of old and new when it comes to architecture. The gorgeous skyline of the city took my breath away. So amazing! It was even more attractive after the sunset and I have taken some amazing pictures of the scene.

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Relaxing on Corsica’s Best Beaches

by Julie on May 23, 2017

The French territory of Corsica offers a dizzying array of different landscapes, from craggy peaks to lush forests. While you can certainly spend the better part of a Corsican holiday exploring these inland charms, Corisca’s pristine beaches are the jewel in its crown. You’ll find no shortage of relaxing stretches of sand here, but we’ve chosen a few of the best to narrow it down for you.

Loto Beach

Start off with a visit to Saint-Florent, a picturesque town tucked into the north-western region of Corsica. From here, you can take a 40-minute hike to Loto Beach through pine and oak groves, before emerging at the sea. With white, powdery sand and turquoise water, you may feel as if you’ve stumbled into the Caribbean here.

Calvi Beach

Calvi is dominated by its historic Citadel, but it’s also known for the crystal-clear waters of its beach. The sands sprawl for over 6 kilometres, ensuring there’s no shortage of space to stretch out and spend a lazy afternoon. If you should work up an appetite in the surf, there’s a good variety of restaurants and bars.

Palombaggia Beach

Head to the south of Corsica to explore vibrant Porto Vecchio, and make a day trip over to Palombaggia beach. It’s one of the most popular on the island for good reason, always bustling with local families and holiday makers alike.

Ostriconi Beach

Many of the main ferry routes from the French mainland to Corsica deposit you in the north of the island. Here you’ll find Ostriconi Beach, a wildly beautiful landscape not too far from the mountains. This means you can swim with a spectacular view of the hills behind you. For Corsica Ferries ticket reservations, click here. You’ll be able to start planning your great escape in Corsica!

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Australia is an amazing country to visit. It’s a particularly popular destination amongst millennials and you’re sure to bump into a fair few backpackers. The appeal is obvious. Big expanses of sandy beaches, great surfing opportunities, a laid-back vibe, and, of course, the amazing weather. Australia is a huge country and getting around outside of the bustling city centers can be challenging. That shouldn’t put you off. You’ll want to travel the length of the country to really experience it in all its diverse glory! The best way to do it? Campervanning of course!

Is Campervanning For You?

There are so many positives about hiring a campervan to tour Australia, but there are some pitfalls too. Even if you do go for the more expensive models, traveling in a campervan isn’t glamorous at all. It will involve sacrificing lots of your everyday luxuries and some essential too (like showering!) However, if you’re willing to give these up you’ll gain so much. The flexibility to plan your own route, to travel and see Australia authentically, and to meet lots of people along the way. There is a lot more responsibility involved in campervanning as opposed to flying or taking planned trips.

The Route

Before you start your trip you’ll need to decide on is the route you’re taking. You may think that choosing a campervan is the first thing you should do, but it isn’t. When hiring a campervan you need to know a pickup and drop-off point. It’s also worth bearing in mind that some companies charge one-way fees. Returning your campervan to the point you picked it up from is often, but not always, cheaper. Obviously, the length of your route depends on how much time and money you have to spend.

One of the best routes is the east coast. Traveling from Melbourne to Cairns or vice versa takes you some of the best national parks and beaches Australia has to offer. You’ll journey from cosmopolitan cities to rural communities. You can do this route either way you want but starting in Melbourne is a good idea. Melbourne is a lot cooler than Cairns, so it often breaks travelers into the heat better. It also works particularly well if you’re going to Bali afterward because it’s just a short flight from Cairns. This route looks deceptively short, but it isn’t. It will take a minimum of six weeks to do it justice. Bearing in mind you’ll need a few days at either end to catch your breath!

Hiring A Campervan

There are lots of lots of reviews out there for different campervan companies in Australia. Make sure you head these reviews. Saving money at the hiring stage could cost you later. It’s important to get insurance as well. Most, if not all, companies offer insurance as an add-on. This will keep you covered if anything happens to the van whilst you’re using it. In Australia, it’s well worth getting! As long as you drive carefully you should be fine. However stones, kangaroos, and wombats frequently cause damage to campervans, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

What You’ll Need

There are some things you’ll need to buy if you’re planning on touring Australia in a campervan. Firstly, make sure you have plenty of water. You’ll go through bottles of it a day in the heat and you don’t want to run out. Plus you’ll also need it for cooking on the camp stove. Keep empty water bottles in a plastic bag and fill them up with water whenever you can. You’ll also need to pack light. There isn’t much room in most campervans so only pack the essentials. Buy some vests and shorts from a department store along with a sunhat. Use these Target coupons to get some money off your purchase. Suncream is another essential and you’ll need to use it every day. Pack a first aid kit too with some bandages and plasters. Bringing a book and some speakers is also a good idea. When you’re camping you’ll need entertainment in the evenings.

Where To Stay

There are plenty of places to camp along the east coast. To save money, try highlighting the free campsites before you go. You can camp in national parks too, and you really should. These make for fantastic places to stay. With plenty of wildlife and walks, they’re well worth the $12 or so you’ll have to pay. Council-run campsites are also a good idea. There usually very well kept and secure. Keep in mind that not all campsites have showers. Some are remote and very basic.

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Top Cultural Sights to See in Ireland

by Julie on May 17, 2017

Ireland has been a tourist destination for many different reasons; the magical folklore in its history, Guinness and of course, its stunning attractions. Irish heritage and culture can be found at every turn, from its Irish knitted sweaters to its live music in traditional pubs. Ireland carries a very special reputation that sets it apart from the rest of the world, so if you’re planning a visit then you’re in for a treat. With so many different breath-taking sights to take in, it doesn’t matter if it’s your first visit or your tenth; you’ll still find some hidden gems along the way.

Steeped in culture, Ireland has a lot to offer its visitors. Forget your perception of the country and its stereotypes, and get involved in the real Ireland to uncover its charm! So, what are some of the best cultural sights to visit while you’re there?

Skellig Islands

The Skellig Islands sit just off the coast of County Kerry, and they are a popular spot for both tourists and natives alike. Made up of 2 islands, the larger one is known as Skellig Michael and was home to a monastic settlement sometime in the 6th century until the 13th century. With 600 steps to reach the stone huts that were used by the monks, it’s a fascinating sight that plays a huge part in Ireland’s history.

The Skellig Islands are home to some of the largest collections of wildlife such as puffins, gannets and storm petrels. Every year, hundreds of birds migrate to the Skelligs to nest.

Dublin

Dublin has often been named the cultural centre of Ireland, and has been known for its famous figures in art and literature such as George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde. The capital of Ireland is rife with cultural festivals and celebrations and as a tourist, it’s probably high on your list.

The Book of Kells, written around the year 800AD, is kept in Trinity College Dublin. Its pages contain the Latin text of the four Gospels, and it’s one of the most beautiful manuscripts in the whole world. Dublin is also home to the Guinness Storehouse, the National Gallery of Ireland and St Patrick’s Cathedral, the largest cathedral in Ireland.

Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher offer a view of Ireland’s most spectacular landscapes, highlighting just how stunning nature is. Rugged cliffs facing the ocean, the Cliffs of Moher are located on the coast of County Clare and even have 5 designated busking pitches so that you can hear local talent at its best. Live musical performances in the open air are a long-standing tradition at the Cliffs.

Travel journals from the late 1700s offer descriptions of the Cliffs of Moher and its surrounding area, and the rocks themselves that make up the Cliffs were formed over 300 million years ago.

Aran Islands

Another important part of Irish culture surrounds the Aran Islands. Made up of 3 islands just off the mouth of Galway Bay, they are known for their ancient sites that teach us what life was like all those years ago.

With only a combined population of around 1300 people, the inhabitants still speak primarily Irish. The islands are known for their fascinating monuments, including their Christian and pre-Christian heritage. Providing an escape from mainland Ireland, there is a strong sense of community. With farming, fishing and tourism making up the chief sources of livelihood, the Aran Islands are home to the world-famous Aran knitted sweaters which you’ll see everywhere, even today.

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What do the Maldives and Mauritius have in common? Well, they’re both located in the Indian Ocean, they both feature some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and they’re both popular with holidaymakers looking to escape to a tropical island paradise for a week or two.

With the help of travel experts, Destination2.co.uk, we’ve had a look at the differences between these two popular holiday destinations to help you decide which one’s more suited to you.

The best time to go

The Maldives enjoy hot temperatures throughout the year, with averages ranging from 27°C – 29°C. However, alongside this tropical climate comes an abundance of rainfall, which is more common from May through to October, during the aptly named rainy season. It’s worth noting that the rainstorms in the Maldives are different to the ones we have in the UK, in that they usually don’t last very long, and the hot sunshine dries everything up in next to no time.

A great time to visit the Maldives is during December and January. On December 31st, many of the luxury resorts on the islands have elaborate New Year’s Eve celebrations right on the beach!

Mauritius has more of a range of temperatures throughout the year, with averages ranging from 21°C to 26°C – still great beach weather! However, it does still have a rainy season, which begins in January and ends in April. This makes Mauritius a great place to visit for a summer holiday, as the dry season will be in full swing.

Things to do

Each year, millions of tourists flock to the Maldives to relax in the hot sun and sample some delicious local cuisine. With that being said, there’s not an awful lot more to do here, aside from snorkelling and watersports. Snorkelling in the Maldives is a truly unforgettable experience – with miles of colourful coral and fascinating sea creatures, it’s like being in a dream world.

We advise that you go whale watching during your Maldives holiday. Many of the islands have trips where you can be sailed out to sea and watch the spectacular whales do their thing – magnificent!

Mauritius, although still very much an island paradise, is much more built up that the Maldives. The island has lots of heavily promoted attractions, including hikes over the rolling hills, undersea walks, the Black River Gorges National Park and the Crocodile & Giant Tortoises Park and Nature Reserve, to name but a few.

It’s due to the sheer amount there is for holidaymakers to do on Mauritius, that we recommend this island for families with younger children, so as to keep them occupied. However, many of the resorts in the Maldives do have kids clubs for the kids to attend during the day, so it really does depend on personal preference.

Cost

Maldivian resorts tend to be expensive due to their incredible luxury. The best option when selecting a hotel in the Maldives is to book an all inclusive option, which includes drinks, food and flights. Due to the remoteness of the islands, many Maldivian resorts are specifically designed so that you don’t have to leave them for the duration of your holiday.

Mauritius can be slightly less expensive than the Maldives, and holidaymakers usually have a choice ranging from ultimate luxury to mid-budget hotels. As the island generally has more going on than the Maldives, it’s not essential to go all inclusive here, but we recommend it to ease the stress of budgeting once you’re there.

Both the Maldives and Mauritius are stunning island jewels, surrounded by the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean. For a luxury escape on a white beach, with nothing else but relaxation and delicious cuisine to fill your day (bliss!), choose the Maldives. If you’re looking for a holiday that’s got a little bit more going on, but you still want that stunning island scenery, Mauritius is the perfect island escape for you.

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Top Tips for Going Wild Camping

by Julie on May 8, 2017

Wild camping is an activity that is taking the outdoor activity world by storm. Whilst camping is a hugely popular thing to do, the idea of camping ‘wild’ makes it that little bit more adventurous. Wild camping is a pursuit that is mainly undertaken by campervanners, as it’s safe and secure staying inside a supportive vehicle, over a lighter, pop up tent! It is however very important to be safe and responsible when wild camping, as you’re spending the night in the home of many beautiful animals and any loud disruptions or mess left behind can cause serious damage to some habitats!

Defining Wild Camping

For many campervan owners, the thought of camping is still appealing and exciting. Whilst you may not be spending the night in a small tent with your favourite sleeping bag, you still get to experience all of the other great things about camping such as campfires, long walks, toasting marshmallows and waking up at the crack of dawn to watch the sun rise and listen to the beautiful bird’s song. So, what is wild camping? Wild camping is spending the night in a random location with no other campers around. Whilst you usually opt for a campsite or location that attracts many tourists and campers, wild camping is choosing a remote location and setting up your pitch somewhere off the beaten track. The beauty of wild camping is the ability to find somewhere peaceful and quiet, enjoying it with your friends or family having no other distractions, as this can also encourage wildlife to continue as it would, giving you the chance to see some beautiful scenes!

Selecting your Spot

It’s extremely important to keep certain rules in mind when it comes to wild camping, as you don’t want to upset anyone or break the law. Wild camping is a fun, exciting activity and you don’t want any angry land owners or farmers knocking on your door in the middle of the night! Try to find yourself a location that is on open land, meaning it isn’t private property. There’s nothing worse than finding out you were camping on someone else’s turf and them getting worked up about it. Similarly, try to avoid selecting a pitch with lots of animals. Whilst it’s a huge bonus to see some wildlife on your stay, you don’t want to distress any poor sheep or cows, so avoid setting up camp in the middle of a field full of them! Remember that this is their home, so they deserve to feel safe and secure there. Finally, think about your surroundings. If you’re close to houses or urban areas, you’ll need to consider pitching in a spot that won’t allow the sound to travel across and have any disturbances, as this could cause complaints!

Interior Must Haves

Whilst it’s really important to concentrate on your location and practical considerations for your wild camping trip, you also need to focus on the interiors of your campervan, to ensure you have a comfortable, relaxing trip. One of the first things to do is to set up your bed. Whether you have a cosy rock and roll bed, or you’re opting for a pull-out bed that can be used as a sofa too, you want to make sure it’s comfortable and ready for you to have a good night’s sleep on. You also need to focus on packing the right food and drink, as wild camping can often have you pitching up in the middle of nowhere, so it’s important to have the essentials on board. Make sure you pack plenty of water and dry foods, this way if you struggle to make a fire you’ll still have plenty of food to keep you going!

Practical Considerations

During and after your wild camping trip, it’s important to be conscious and aware at all times. Whilst your enjoying some campfire toasted marshmallows and some good company, be sure to keep things tidy and litter free. The last thing you want to do is leave litter in the area, as this can be a serious risk for wildlife living in the area. It’s also important to make sure you leave everything as you found it, for example, close any gates that you opened to reach your camping spot and make sure the grass is intact wherever your campervan was positioned. These simple things may not seem very important, but you need to make sure you don’t cause any negative impact on the area you chose to wild camp in!

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My first trekking trip was years ago as a student in Minnesota. Back then; I didn’t even plan for the trip.  A group of friends came around and suggested it spur of the moment. The next day, we were off to Big Spring Falls in Sandstone’s Banning State Park.

Although Big Spring Falls is just a 4-mile scenic trail that everyone can do on their own, it’s always advisable to prepare for a hike no matter how short. In this post, I’ll be sharing some basic things you must organise to make the most of your trek. From preparatory workouts to hiking gear and food options, this piece has got your back.

But before we proceed, if you’ll be travelling to the United States for your hike, you need not worry about Trump’s immigration ban, especially if you are from the affected countries. Now that the executive order has been reversed, you can enter the U.S., so long as your visa is valid.

However, citizens from visa waiver countries are still obligated to apply online for an ESTA approval before making their trip to the U.S. An ESTA is a document that allows nationals from the designated countries to travel to the United States. The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in the airport will hold up tourists who arrive in America without an ESTA, and may turn you away. If you need help getting an ESTA then contact a company like www.esta-approval.com/.

Get Your Gear On!

Hiking is not easy. To borrow a line from Forrest Gump, it’s no box of chocolates. Like any other heavy workout activity, it requires proper check-ups and planning.

These three areas are most important:

  • Hiking muscles;

  • Cardiopulmonary fitness; and

  • Hiking gear.

  1. See a physician

Before you embark on any trail trek, be sure that you are in the best health conditions. Many people have made the mistake of starting a hike, only to discover halfway that they are unfit. Ensure that you get a doctor’s blessing to proceed. If you have been inactive for a long time, the doctor may recommend some exercise programs to get you in shape.

  • Here are some tips

Start by walking regularly. If your office is close to your home, shirk driving or public transport and walk instead. Do the same for your shopping and other extra-curricular errands. Like a turtle, start slow, 1.5 miles, 2 miles, 3, and 4 miles. Progress to a longer walk every day with some break days in between. Jogging, running, and stretches can prepare your calves. Even climbing the stairs is a good way to get in shape.

  • Walk right

The way you walk could affect your progress or even drain your strength faster. It may sound strange, but it’s true. You don’t feel this when you walk to the kitchen for a sandwich, but when you walk over 5 miles of alpine terrain, the smallest defect can present a painful issue. When you walk, make sure your heel touches the ground first, roll on to your toes and propel yourself forward.

Free stock photo of man, person, bridge, train

  • Mix up the terrain

You’ll be hiking across rocky, sandy, and gravel terrains. It only makes sense that you allow for these in your training. Limit your treadmill workouts to a minimum and focus more on rigid grounds. Find out the real conditions of your trek and mimic the realities in your training.

  1. Light is right

When preparing your trip, the backpack shouldn’t weigh down on you or it’ll be doing more harm than good. You are not Sisyphus. So, do it light (assuming this is for an average 4 to 6-mile hike). Take only water and a first aid kit. It’s all the more essential to hike light when you are walking through populated areas.

  1. Wear the right boots

Your footwear is equally important. Neglecting your feet would be at your own peril. Invest in a good pair of quality boots. Boots may vary according to the climate and nature of your trek trail. However, they must have the following qualities; lightness, comfort, durability, and waterproof. Don’t buy your boots a few days to the trek. You want to get them months early so your feet can grow more accustomed to them.

Free stock photo of chocolate, dessert, brownies, cake

  1. Stock up on your carbs

Hydration and food are essential to your trek. Ensure that you eat healthy on the days leading up to your trek. Foods such as dried fruit, nuts, oat bars, jerky, and chocolate are instant sources of energy and protein. Find out if you’ll be crossing a stream or waterfall; both make good sources of fresh water. Learn to eat on the move as you train; it helps your body digest food under rigorous conditions.

Bonus tip: Go with a friend or as a group for more security.

Ready to go now? Let’s do it!

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