Tag Archives: backpacking

Rice terraces at Tegalalang, Bali

Following the tourist trail through Ubud is not difficult, there are the usual temples and diversions and if you venture outside the town plenty of gorgeous vistas await.

One of the most photographed locations in the area are the rice terraces of Tegalalang. True, it is swarmed by tourist vans and trinket sellers however it still manages to be fairly tranquil and wonderfully photogenic. If you are on an organised tour it will surely feature on the trip list, if you have your own transport it’s about a twenty minute drive north of Ubud itself.

Rice Terrace Tegalalang
Rice Terrace Tegalalang

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Selçuk, Turkey and the riches of Anatolia

We so often think of ancient Rome, the famous sights of Athens, the Pyramids and wonders of Egypt to be the highlights of western antiquity. Another country, Turkey, bridges the lands between east and west and holds a wealth of civilisation and history with vast treasures just waiting to be rediscovered by the more intrepid traveller.

Tourists visiting Turkey may coo at the Hagia Sophia or the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, they may rave at the natural wonders of Pamukkale or Cappadocia; however, far too often a trip to Turkey is undertaken as a whistle-stop tick the boxes type of tour and given the vast size of the country it seems, at the least, to do a vast disservice to both host country and visitor alike.

temple of apollo

It is tempting if one only has a short break or a tight budget to try to cram as much in as possible. I would suggest that visitors could get “more bang for their buck” by concentrating on a couple of regions and endeavouring to spend less time travelling on long distance buses and more of their valuable vacation actually in situ.
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The Fall(s) Guy – Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Foz do Iguaçu Brazil

I have to admit it; I am a sucker for waterfalls. I will hike through jungles and climb mountains to find them. Okay that may be a little bit of an exaggeration; nonetheless I will travel far and wide to gaze upon these wonders of nature and marvel at the force and ferocity of the water.

This time I was aiming to get to the big daddy of them all, less flow overall than Niagara but absolutely first class in presentation; getting there on the other hand was a little more complicated.

devils throat

Located in the far reaches of a finger of northeast Argentinian territory poking into the border of Brazil and Paraguay, Iguazu falls draws visitors from all over the world be it by bus plane or car. As I was in Buenos Aires, the most typical starting point for a trip to the falls, I had several options; I could board a bus for the twenty-four hour trip, undoubtedly the cheapest way, or I could opt for a short flight to the airport on the Argentine side of the falls.
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Packed in, not packaged – travelling around the Dominican Republic

Being a regular tourist can be an altogether easy task; everything can be laid on for you, all inclusive, gated living, clean beaches and no hassle from the locals. What is missing for many is the interaction with the daily life of the host country and the feeling that, for all intents and purposes, one could be anywhere in the world.

I had chosen the Dominican Republic, referred to as the DR, as an extremely last minute trip and had magnificently underprepared, getting a guidebook at the departure gate. In a previous article I talked about getting last minute tickets and the joys of local transportation. In this story I want to talk about the country in general and the opportunities for an independent traveller in the land of the package tour dollar.

bag and bike in the dr

First of all do not be put off by the lack of hostels and pre bookable budget accommodation, with most visitors taking the all inclusive options it is relatively simple, in all but high season, to get a bed for the night at a reasonable price. Secondly cast away all doubts on how to get around, the transport system is designed to get almost everyone and anything anywhere although not usually at night!
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