Asia Cambodia

Kompung Khleang, Angkor Province, Cambodia

A Travel Bloggers Guide to Off the Beaten Track in Angkor, Cambodia.

This blog post focuses on my return visit to the community of Kompung Khleang, Angkor province, Cambodia. This is a village largely centered on and living off the Tonle Sap Lake and river that feeds into it. It is not a pretty, or sanitised tourist place, but rather, offers a glimpse into the reality of life for most of Cambodia’s population i.e. poor. This was my second visit and I am once again struck by the warmth and open generosity of the people who live and work along its shores. It is also a place that few who marvel at the many sights or Angkor and Angkor Wat will see, as it lies off the beaten track and has not suffered a tourist makeover. But for those who have a genuine interest in how the majority of Cambodians live and survive in this part of the country it is a good starting point. From a personal perspective I cannot imagine visiting any country, and particularly one steeped in such a profoundly  creative and important history, and not be interested in the inhabitants, who are after all the ancestors of it creator’s. Behind the laughter smiles and warm welcome lies the cruel truth of a life expectancy of 40 to 45 years due to Dengue fever and Malarial mosquitos. Still the children will rush forth at the mere sight of a stranger using it as an opportunity to share their few words of English “Hello mister, where you from?” They are quick to smile and delighted when asked to gather for a picture. It is also a place full of strong colour form the vibrant blues of the clear sky mirrored in the shades of blue in the house and building and set dramatically by the rusty burnt orange colours of the mud roads. The road eventually terminates in the village square beside a monastery school and boat jetty where we take our river and lake trip out to the vast expanse that is Tonle Sap Lake and the floating villagers who call it home. I cannot imaging visiting Siem Reap or Angkor again in the future and not paying yet another visit to this fascinating place.

 

Stilt House on Tonle Sap River

All houses are built high on stilts as the water level raise dramatically in the rainy season.

Girl on bridge with takeaway lunch.

Man descales fish kept company by a cat that bizarrely seems disinterested

Kids at play

Village kids pose and smile for a group photo

The Smoked Fish Trader

A blanket of fish drying in the sun

The Crossraods

Alms collection for the local Wat

A tarpaulin re-imagined as a sun shade. The sun here gets scorching hot

Shrimp drying in the sun

The vegetable seller

Boy securing a bag of rice to carrier on his bike

Sleepy corner shop

Dramatic view of the main stilt village on the banks of the Tonle Sap river

The banks of the river are a hive of industry and trade

The river and the stilts supporting the buildings may be dull but the houses never are and are a riot of blues, reds, greens and browns, all contrasting beautifully with the deep blue skies and fluffy flaoting clouds

Fisherman takes a break in his small wooden dugout boat and fishing net

The journey home from market.

Dramatic skies and clouds along the banks of the river

The great Tonle Sap Lake shimmers in high sun

Life on the Lake

Typical floating house Tonle Sap Lake

Young girl shelters from the sun looks wistfully out to the lake beyond

Mother and children relaxing in hammock

Funeral procession on the river

A Buddhist Temple on the road to Kompung Kleang

 

Getting there

Trips from Siem Reap are easily arranged and you can make the trip by Tuk Tuk although it is a bit far for this method of transport of alternatively you can travel by car with a guide.

We included our trip here as part of the 3 day package with our Angkor Tour Guide.

Next stop: Phnom Penh

#TravelWise #TravelWell #TravelThere

Asia Cambodia

A Travelbloggers Guide to Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Travelbloggers guide  and top tips for Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor

This was to be my second visit to Siem Reap and the temples and ruins of Angkor. Spread out over an area of some 600 acres amidst the tropical humidity of Cambodia it is at once beguiling and mysterious in its state of semi ruin, a state accentuated by the creeping gripping roots of giant fig trees that have embedded themselves into the stonework and structure of so many of these part ruins. Indeed it is this very otherworldly quality that led Hollywood to use it as the location for large parts of the film Tomb Raider.

To sum up my experience of the return to Angkor In a word magical!!

 

Angkor Wat itself is surrounded by a 650-foot wide moat encompassing a perimeter of more than 3 miles, it is approximately 13 feet deep. This water way adds further to the enchantment of the area as a whole. The trees and roots that add so much drama and structural damage to the remaining temples are those of the Ficus strangulosa tree, a member of the fig family of trees. Although they caused a lot damage to the structure of a  lot of the temples, in some they have become so embedded as to become part of the supporting structure. In  many it is hard to see how they could be removed at this point, without causing further major damage to the remaining element. They also add to the drama and mystery of the area, having become synonymous with the temples and aesthetic of this region throughout the world.

Angkor was originally conceived in the 12th century by the Khmer Empire as a Hindu Temple in honour of Vishnu. Built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II as his state temple, it would eventually, in death, become his mausoleum. In the 14th century it was converted to a Buddhist temple when adornments of the Buddha were added to the temples. Angkor was also once the capital city of Cambodia, before its eventual relocation to the capital we know today Phnom Penh.

Fossil Spotted this on the lintel of the entrance-way to one of the temples.

Top Travel Tip Many of the itineraries on offer proposed a sunrise visit to the Angkor Wat site on the first morning of visit, this is a mistake as first you have to go and purchase temple passes at what will be one of the busiest times, meaning you end up arriving later when all the best viewing spots have gone. Far better to start a little later on your first morning, assuming a 3 day tour, using this first morning to buy your 3 day pass then set off to visit the various temples in reverse order to the majority of the crowds, whilst still availing of the best light conditions, (frankly any less than 3 days to my mind is not worth travelling half way across the globe for!)

 

We started on day one at 9 am heading to the ticket office which was virtually empty. We did not make our first visit to Angkor Wat until mid-afternoon on day one, when the sun was lower in the sky and the light softer. We visited again for sunrise the following morning, setting off at 5 am and because we already had our passes driving directly to the entrance way to Angkor Wat. Our guide then brought us to a perfectly located spot on a ledge of one of the outer temples in the grounds of Angkor Wat. As we were the first ones there we got prime position from which to view the spectacular sunrise over Angkor Wat. In fact, before sun up every ledge and step of this temple filled and overflowed, but none had a better spot than the one we occupied.

Faces of The East Gate Angkor Thom

South Gate and main entrance to Angkor Thom

Portrait of a Monk taking shelter from the scorching sun Angkor Wat

The red rings on his arms and back are the result of a traditional Chinese treatment for fever or pain. The technique is called cupping and involves  glass cups heated on the inside with fire to create a vacuum and then placed on the afflicted area of the body. The cup’s suction pulls at the skin and is said to “suck out” the body’s toxins.

View from the highest point Angkor Wat

Monk in the high reaches of Angkor Wat takes in the view from an arched opening.The temples of Angkor Wat are still in use today as a place of worship.

Bas Reliefs

Novice monks take school lessons.

Many poorer families in Cambodia will send at least one of their children to spend time as a novice monk in monasteries around the country as a means of both supporting the child and providing him with a free education.

Colonnade Angkor Wat

Top view of South Gate of Angkor Thom

Ficus Strangulosa consumes the walls and archway

Banteay Kdei

During our first meeting with our guide, the evening before our 3 day tour was to start, I had suggested to him that we did not want air conditioning in the car, but would rather just have the windows open. Ever the diplomat Sophanna said, ok let’s see how we go. Day one and a couple of hours in I had completely changed my mind and was so glad of the relief offered by the air conditioned 4×4 and the ice cold eucalyptus soaked and refreshing face towels on offer.

As another requirement of our itinerary we also wanted to visit local villages and markets, but again this requires careful planning as many have become little more than sanitised tourist traps selling a false image of what life is really like for the majority of Cambodians in this region. Having visited the Kompong Khleang community last time I was here I was keen to revisit to see how, and if, things had changed. Being that bit further away from Siem Reap it is also a lot less crowded with tourists, we probably saw about 4 others visitors whilst we were there. From here it is also possible to take a boat trip out onto Tonle Sap Lake and visit a floating village. The inhabitants of this floating village, originally from Vietnam, mainly live off the fish trade. It offers a fascinating glimpse into a traditional and nomadic way of life that has been in existence for many many years. It is also a great way to get a taste for life along the river and offers a unique glimpse into both the construction and day to day comings and goings of the stilt village. My picture post of this visit will be under a separate blog post in order to do it justice.

 

 

Getting There

We flew Air Asia first from Chaing Mai to Bangkok, then following a 2 hour stopover took a direct flight from Bangkok to Siem Reap With both flights taking little more than an hour it saved having to stay in Bangkok.

Click this link for info

Top Travel Tip It is now very easy and cost effective to arrange an e-visa through the Cambodian embassy in London for anyone living in the UK. I used the service for this trip and found it to be very fast and efficient.

Click this link for info

Staying There

We booked well in advance and got a great deal on a one bedroom apartment at Hotel Chateau d’Angkor. This is a great hotel based in the heart of Siem Reap itself and a short walk from all the main pubs, restaurants and sights that Siem Reap has to offer. Shop around the various hotel comparison sites for the best deals.

Click this link for info

 

Angkor Tour Guide

As mentioned in the blog after many months of research we finally settled on Sophanna Muon who runs Angkor Tour Guide for our 3 day itinerary. I am now sharing the results of my research and giving you the details to one of the finest guides in Angkor and Cambodia, lucky you who find this!

Click here for info

 

I am not going to publish a copy of our  itinerary as I believe that part of the adventure and excitement of any visit lies in the construction and planning of an itinerary, but am happy top offer advice and help in the construction of an itinerary for any that might require it, just email me, or post a comment with your contact details, and I will get back to you.

#TravelWell #TravelWise #TravelThere

Asia Thailand

A Travel Bloggers Guide to Chiang Mai Thailand, Top Travel Tips

Chiang Mai, Thailand

A travel bloggers insight guide and recommendations.

There are 6 main reasons that tourists to travel north of Bangkok to the much more relaxed and chilled out city of  Chiang Mai. One: To see the exquisite Buddhist temples, Two:  Because it is a much more relaxed and safer place than Bangkok, Three: As the gateway to jungle trekking into the surrounding mountains, Four: Probably most popular of all, to visit and experience a close up encounter with elephants. Five: For Thai massage and Six: Last but not least, the food!!

I had first visited Chiang Mai in 2014 as the meeting point with a tour guide for a 3 day trek up into the rain-forests of Northern Thailand, a trip that had turned out to be one of the best experiences of my travel adventures. For the few days spent in Chiang Mai on either side of the trekking adventure I had grown to like the laid back and friendly atmosphere of Chiang Mai itself. Based on this the aim of my return was simply to relax and enjoy that laid back atmosphere. Having gone trekking in the past I also wanted to have a close up encounter with elephants, but at a place that have a No ride policy. It is an unfortunate truth that many tourists visiting this part of Thailand do so with the aim of taking part in an Elephant encounter which has led to the rise of many unscrupulous and unethical Elephant farms. I use the term Elephant farm deliberately as they are little more than exploitative and cruel places run by people with little care for elephants, other than how to exploit them.

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Austria Europe

Vienna revisited, a travel bloggers view.

The Long Weekender

Vienna (Wien) Austria

 

Vienna is a city that has held a special place ever since I first visited as an 18 year old. I returned after that first visit a few times between the ages  of 18 and 25, but had not returned since. From that very first visit it struck me as a fairy-tale city, full of romance and joy, enhanced given that it was  December, close to Christmas, the ground covered in a blanket of pure white snow, all adding to that feeling of magic. On one of my visits on a Christmas day I made my way to St. Stephens’s cathedral, more out of curiosity than religious compulsion, and ended up with the very good fortune of hearing the Viennese boys’ choir sing. It still stands out as a profound life memory, along with those memories of the friends I made and times we shared. On one such evening a gang of us all met up (me being the only non-Austrian) in the metro station at Opera before heading off into the snow covered streets, snow ball fighting as we went into the night. The memory of that night and many other remain vivid to my recollection. Indeed, such was the impact of my experiences in Vienna it inspired a short story I wrote shortly after one visit, which was published in a well-known Dublin magazine of the time “In Dublin”

Would I feel differently all these years later I wondered?

View from the plane as we come in to land Vienna.

This time there was no snow to greet me, but then on many of my past visits in younger days the snow had long passed. I am happy to say the city has lost none of its charm and is as wondrous and romantic a place now as it was then.

From a practical point of view  it’s also turned out to be one of the least expensive European cites I have visited, even taking Brexit bashing on my pound into account. This is another city where a city pass is an absolute must, called the Vienna Pass, it offers not only free entry into 60+ attractions in many it also allows you to skip the ques and gain easy access to the attraction, a real boon in peak season As if that wasn’t enough it includes the Hop on Hop off City Tour Bus, again a great was to familiarise yourself with the city and it stunning architectural history. If fact it covers entry to so many places you will be hard pressed to visit them all.

Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens Vienna

Schonbrunn Palace and gardens, a place I remembered well from all those years ago.

Tree lined avenue Schonbrunn

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Denmark Europe

Getting down with the Hygge in Copenhagen……..

Copenhagen Dreaming

 

The long weekender Copenhagen Denmark

 

Top Tips and Travel Know How

Frederiks Kirke (The Marble Church)

Sometimes fast sees more than more time spent can find. It is the fleeting glimpse and quick insight, when the light shines in a particular way, illuminating a view, I sometimes think it better to absorb quick and move on. The light here, on this day, told me all I wanted to know and feel.  In this light, with its crisp short span, from dawn till dusk, it is easy to understand the aesthetic and pared back simplicity that is the very definition of our understanding of what we refer to as Danish style. The light at this time of the year is made for photographers, never too high in the sky, rising late and setting early, but I cannot imagine I could stand too many of these short days and long nights of winter. Yet I can only wonder why it has taken me so long to visit this wonderful city and finish by saying I will be back when the sun and day hold for longer.

 

Stroma Canal Tour

Top Tip here, don’t go for the Netto boat as its pretty naf. A better option with much nicer boats and reputed to be the original tour, Stroma Canal Tour Copenhagen. Offering the Grand Tour and lasting one hour (Included with the Copenhagen Pass) you can join the boat tour at either Nyhavn, or Gammel Strand. A guided tour around the harbor and through the idyllic canals with guide commentary will tell you about Copenhagen’s beautiful churches, castles, old listed houses, new buildings and all other sights of interest. (The English speaking guide gave a very good commentary along the way)

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New Zealand

A Month in New Zealand continued, Te Anau, Fiordland,

4 days 3 nights in Te Anau, Fiordland, New Zealand  Pictures and top travel tips

We arrive in Te Anau as the sun begins to fall in the sky and casts a shimmering glitter over Lake Te Anau. Checking into our motel we are less than impressed (Parkland Motel), but having left it late to book this is virtually all that is left as it is high season with virtually everywhere fully booked. On that count I guess we are lucky to have found accommodation, but this place, although clean and well located, is seriously dated and overpriced and on reflection would count as the worst value of the entire trip.

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Top Tip For accommodation, Te Anau for Fiordland, book as far in advance as you can.

Ok, so putting that aside, Te Anau itself is a nice small town with a good range of amenities, including some good cafes, bars, restaurants and a good supermarket. For my recommendations see links to bottom of this post.

After checking in we head into the small town in search of information and tickets for Doubtful and Milford Sounds. Arriving at the i-Site (You will find these centers in most tourist destinations in New Zealand, a great place to get both information and book tickets for trips and attractions.

With the aid of the very friendly and helpful advisor Laura Needs we settle on a dual package deal covering Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound and receive a discount for the double booking. If you are using this i-Site to book and purchase tickets see if Laura Needs is around as she is a fantastic advisor, with great patience and care in the way she deals with all visitors. Following Laura’s advice, we booked the Real Journeys tour for Doubtful Sound and Southern Discoveries for the Milford Sound trip and I can highly recommend both, although the Doubtful sound trip was definitely the better of the two, but hardly surprising as it cost a lot more money. The main difference between the packages and tours, Doubtful Sound is virtually an all-day experience on the water, whilst Milford Sound is about one and three quarter hours on the water. If I had to book again personally I would probably just book Doubtful Sound and give Milford boat trip a miss, but still do a road trip from Te Anau to the Milford Sound terminal as it involves some of the most breath-taking scenery in New Zealand.

 

Trip 1 Doubtful Sound

We are up at the crack of dawn and on the road by 7am. The itinerary starts at the pickup point at Lake Manapouri. Even though the boat does not leave until 830am and the distance from Te Anau to   Manapouri is a mere 22 kilometres we are keen not to take any chances, given that we are unfamiliar with the route, or road. We needn’t have worried as the road is easy and straight, although heavy with early morning misty fog. There is also a good café on site serving decent coffee and sandwiches. We also managed to snatch an hour of the Paul Henry show as we readied ourselves for the day.

The Doubtful Sound tour consists of two parts, with the first boat taking us out onto Lake Manapouri as the sun began to rise and clouds gently broke and cleared. This is followed by a trip across New Zealand’s most expensive road leading up and over Wilmot Pass, it also stopped along the way providing the perfect opportunity to view and gasp at the first sight of Doubtful Sound glistening far below. It has to be said that all staff on this trip were first rate, extremely helpful, knowledgeable and in parts funny, in particular our bus driver who took us on the Wilmot Pass stretch of the journey and kept everyone amused and laughing with his repartee. Equally, the compere/local expert, on the Doubtful Sound cruise gave a knowledgeable and enthusiastic commentary throughout the trip.

I would have to say the highlight of this trip for me, and one of the most memorable of my many travels, was when the captain announced a request for 5 minutes of silence, when the boats engines were cut and all passengers and crew just sat, or stood, still and quiet. Rarely have I ever experienced such, sheer calm, uninterrupted and beautiful silence.

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Lake Manapouri Fiordland New Zealand

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New Zealand

A Month In New Zealand- Christchurch-Dunedin-Te Anaua

A picture od Dunedin Town House with the setting sun creating a halo aeffcet behing the clock tower

New Zealand road trip, Christchurch to Dunedin and 1 night stopover then Dunedin to Te Anau-Fiordland via Invercargill

Leaving Christchurch we head out onto the open road heading south for Dunedin and our first real taste of life on the road in New Zealand. As we set off for Dunedin little did we know we were but a day away from discovering Paul Henry. Looking back I know realise how fortunate we were to have made this discovery so early on in our trip, but more on that later.

Driving in New Zealand New Zealand drives on the left, great for us as we are visiting from the UK where we also drive on the left, but challenging for anyone not used to driving on this side of the road. Don’t just take my word for it though, as a couple of days after we departed Christchurch a Chinese driver caused a very serious accident by driving on the wrong side of the road at high speed around a blind corner, causing serious injury to New Zealander. In fact, of all the bad driving we experience in our month long travel I can guarantee that at least 80% was the result of very poor road driving skills displayed by visitors from mainland China.

Don’t expect motorways, or dual carriageways although there are a few duals c’s, instead most routes consist of 2 lane highways with passing lanes every 4 kilometres or so. That said driving in New Zealand is a pretty pleasant and relatively stress free experience, due in no small part to low traffic levels. In fact, the only time in our entire trip that we encountered any form of road traffic delay was in and around Auckland, but again, nothing when compared to a pretty typical UK road.

Driving time from Christchurch to Dunedin is about four and a half hours, but allowing for a more leisurely drive, with a few stops along the way, give it five and a half. The other great thing we discovered about New Zealand is that virtually everywhere you stop they will have real coffee, made fresh, with a proper coffee matchine. A real plus, if like me, you like your coffee fresh and strong.

The speed limits on most long distance roads is 100kph, which at about 60 miles an hour,  which is lower than the UK max.

All in all follow these top 4 Top tips and you should enjoy a stress free driving experience.

Top 4 driving tips: (1) Check you’re hire car, or van, thoroughly for any and all faults prior to setting off from collection (don’t assume it will be fine) including looking under the car for any signs of damage to underside, wheels, or bodywork,  (2) Drive on the left (3) Obey local speed limits. (4) Check your fuel and fill your tank prior to departing on any long road journeys, as the next petrol station may be a lot further away than you think.

Top Tip Do not be tempted to break the 100k speed limit in New Zealand, the Police here are vigilant with many Police cars stationed along all major routes, usually hidden waiting to catch anyone tempted to break the limit. You are here to relax and enjoy and that should extend to a leisurely and laid back approach to driving and low speeds. The only other thing to watch out for is in a lot of the more remote and rural parts of New Zealand many locals seem to have a dislike for turning on their lights in the dark, which led to one or two hairy encounters for us along the way.

 Dunedin

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St Paul’s Cathedral, Dunedin, New Zealand

Although the primary interest for most tourists visiting New Zealand is the landscape and the great outdoors, some of it towns and cites are well worth a day or two of any visitors time, Dunedin is, to my mind, one of those place. It is also the gateway to the Otago Peninsula and on to the stunning coastline of Invercargill.

Dunedin is a charming city with strong links and connections to Scotland and indeed much of its architecture would not look out of place in Edinburgh, whilst the Gaelic transliteration of the name Dunedin is Edinburgh. Equally, a lot of the architectural colour would not look out of place in parts of the USA and much of it reminded me of San Francisco.

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Staircase detail Museum Modern Art Dunedin

Another architectural gem of note, the train station is a must see and following that if you continue along to the end of the street there is also a charming Japanese garden. The Toitū Otago Settlers Museum Dunedin is another place worthy of a visit, as is the museum of art, for the buildings architecture if nothing else. I loved the lines of the staircase pictured above.

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The Old Railway station Dunedin New Zealand

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New Zealand

A Month in New Zealand Travel Stories and Top Travel Tips

Botanic Garden Christchurch New Zealand

Travel-Wise Travel-Well Travel-There with DK-Travelpix

 

A Month In New Zealand 

DK Travel pics visited New Zealand earlier this year and over the next few weeks will be posting a series of picture posts and top travel tips documenting all the places we visited, but in the meantime and to get things off to a flying start here are my first top travel tips for anyone planning a trip to one of the most beautiful places on earth. or, to quote Paul Henry, welcome to another day in Paradise. Who’s Paul Henry I hear you ask? More on that later.

First Stop Christchurch

Although I had, like everyone else, heard on the news about the tragic earthquake that hit Christchurch on February 22nd 2011 nothing quite prepares you for the sight of the devastation left behind, particularly if, like me, it’s the first time you have ever been to an earthquake hit place. Some 5 years on the pace of the rebuild is slow, with many factions apparently fighting over what to keep and what to lose along with slow fund releases by the insurances companies involved, further hampering the rebuild. In its place there is an evident strong resilience amongst local people to invent and overcome as witnessed by the fabulous cardboard cathedral erected as a replacement for the famous Christchurch cathedral, which is in a state of propped up ruin. The use of converted shipping containers is, to my mind, another fantastically creative innovation which has seen shops, restaurants and bars pop up, and in so doing help to revitalise city life. The Botanic gardens, located on the edge of town, provides a green oasis in which to while away sometime and is a must see. All in all despite the devastation wreaked by the earthquake no visit to New Zealand would be complete without at least a one day visit to Christchurch.

As if to emphasise the true resilience of the locals we heard reports of another reasonably big earthquake about a week after we had left Christchurch, occurring on a holiday and a warm sunny day many on their way to the beach for the day carried on regardless!

 

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A forlorn spectacle hanging in the balance The Famous and Original Christchurch cathedral resembles something more akin to a disemboweled alien creature.

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Symbols of destruction and renewal archway to Bridge of Remembrance. Currently undergoing reconstruction and closed to the public.

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Tip 1 Vehicle rental

Whether you are planning on hiring a car or camper van it is essential to book your vehicle as early as possible as there is a limited number to go round, the later you leave it the narrower the choice available. We toyed with the idea of a camper van but after speaking to many who had, and given that we planned on being on the road for 30 days, in the end we opted for car hire as this allowed for greater freedom and flexibility of accommodation choice. Many fellow travellers told us that in their experience a van was great fun for the first week but after that cabin fever tended to set in. All in all a camper van is really not necessary as New Zealand is very well set up for road travel with lots of motels and hotels to choose from in all locations. Bear in mind though that these can fill up quite rapidly in peak season, again forward planning is essential. I did my research using Booking.Com saving a shortlist for each place into my next trip folder and then booked a few days prior to arrival in each destination. We pretty much got the places that were  first choices on our list except for Milford Sound area where we ended up in a pretty second rate motel. That’s not to say there was anything particularly wrong with it apart from being a little dated and overpriced in comparison to other places we had stayed at along the way.

Top Tip When arranging to hire a vehicle try you’re very best to secure a diesel car, or van, as diesel is half the price of petrol on both islands this will save a small fortune when you think about driving for a month.

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UK

Weekender Llŷn Peninsula Gwynedd North Wales

August Bank Holiday 2016 Llŷn Peninsula Gwynedd North Wales

The Llŷn Peninsula extends some 30 miles into the Irish Sea and I am told on a very clear day you can see the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland. In my humble opinion its a place of outstanding natural beauty. Being on the gulf stream this is also one of the sunniest places in the UK. From glorious blue, to broody grey, the changing light adds to the drama of this stunning landscape.

Day 1

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (2) by David Keegan PhotographyCraggy rocks atop a hill afford a view through purple heaters and fading grassy mounds to mountains beyond.

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (3) by David Keegan PhotographyBeetle on lichen covered rock. This one has some really cool twists!

On a visit to The Llŷn peninsula in Gwynedd Wales over the August bank holiday weekend I couldn’t help thinking how much the landscape and topography reminded me of Cornwall. That set me to thinking that somehow this area of Wales is missing a trick. This was my first visit to this part of Wales and to be honest it was never really on my radar prior to this, nor had I heard very much about it. In fact it was a small feature in the Sunday Times travel supplement that caught my attention and made me do a bit more research, eventually leading to a desire to visit. What is missing is the crowds one would expect in Cornwall and although the weather was superb over the bank holiday weekend nowhere was what I would consider packed. Yes Abersoch may well be the exception to that rule and is firmly set on the Cheshire radar but even here what’s on offer is nothing special, and is in fact the one place I would avoid as it’s a bit trashy if I am to be totally honest, as well as being probably the least interesting destination that this area of coast has to offer.

 

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (4) by David Keegan PhotographySweeping views through rusted bracken and purple heaters across fields of verdant green to oceans blue and green to the tip of the peninsula and on to Bardsey Island.

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Europe

The Long Weekender Oslo, Norway Part 3

 

Day 3 Oslo 

Day 3 starts early  with the ferry to the Bygdøy peninsula which operates operates between March to October. More info and links for ferry at the end of post
The trip on the ferry is included in the Oslo pass again making this a fantastic investment for any travel to Oslo.
Departure is every 20-30 minutes from Pier 3 by the City Hall. We caught the first fery at 8:55 as this was to be the last day of our visit we wanted to see and do as much as possible.
Leave the ferry at the first stop  Dronningen and taking about 20 minutes to get there its a very pleasant trip across. (Norwegian Museum of Cultural History/ Folk Museum, Viking Ship Museum and Oscarshall).

 

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 3 (0)

View from the ferry back to City hall

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 3 (1)

Viking Museum

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 3 (2)

Viking museum. Fascinating place full of preserved artifacts and Viking boats and things.

Norwegian Folk Museum

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 3 (3)

For me this museum had to be one of my favorite places to visit as part of my Oslo long weekender. Packed full of fascinating glimpses in Norway’s past, and near past, history all brought to life with full size replicas and originals of the lives and living places of the Norwegians. Fascinating and deserves a good few hours of any visitors time to see it all as the grounds are quite extensive. More info on this at link to bottom of this post.

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