Our last trip to Marrakesh allowed us to get to know the city more and we are here now to share some of our tips we hope you'll find useful.
If you want to see more of the city, take the guided bus tours. These buses have just been introduced in recent years. They are red, double-deck buses and offer continuous tours throughout the day. Get a 24-hour hopper ticket and you can get off at major stops that take you to Djamaa Lfna, Menara, Saadieen Toms, Koutoubia, Bahia palace, Median, etc. The buses are equipped with recorded messages in multiple languages that provide major highlights of the bus route.
The horse carts might charge more, but have that leisurely stroll around town. May not cover as much of the city as the bus tours. You can however ask the cart person for a short tour that your bus did not cover.
As far as where to visit, start with Djemaa el-Fna or assembly place of the nobodies. This is the centre point of Marrakesh. It is a large square where many of the budget hotels and souks are located. In the evening, there are rows of open-air food stalls, jugglers, snake charmers, storytellers and magicians. Around the square there are rooftop cafes and restaurants with balconies, where you can watch the entire spectacle.
On the other side of the square outside Median walls is the Bahia Palace. It was built in the 19th century as a residence of the grand minister of one of the sultans. It has wonderful gardens, fountains and a shady courtyard. The walls are decorated with Moroccan mosaics, and hand-crafted artwork.
To the front of the square is the Koutoubia mosque. It is the tallest (70m) and most famous landmark in Marrakesh, and is visible for miles in any direction.
The bus tours will also tale you to the Menara garden, which is the most popular among the Marrakshis because it is peaceful and relaxing. It houses the oldest and best-preserved of the three most famous minarets, as well as the largest.
There are many other places we could not see such as The Saadian Tombs, Majorelle Gardens... but I recommend that you don't miss Ali Benmalah or what many call Chez Ali: an impressive memorable Fantasia Show, acrobat, traditional Moroccan folk dance and a dinner fit for a king. A traditional event, it includes an opportunity to see the Berber folklore, the jugglers' performance, the flying carpet, the belly dancing and finally the Fantasia show.
We had our hotel reservation made through www.asiarooms.com/ which we found offer very good deal on five-star hotels, just make sure you book way in advance.
The bus tour company does not have a site, but was recommended to us by hotel staff, you can't miss it if you ask, some hotels sell their tickets.
This ancient city clings to the side of a mountain high in the hills inland from Finike, on the Lycian coast of Turkey.
It's known as the 'Turkish Delphi', but one of the great things about Arykanda is that it's right off the beaten track, so you don't get the huge crowds you do in Greece. The ruins and setting are equally beautiful and impressive.
We were lucky enough to go there with an archaeologist, Peter Sommer, who knew the site and truly brought it alive for us. We were on a gulet cruise, visiting ancient cities along the way. I had no idea there were so many ruins in Turkey - and so well preserved! But it was Arykanda that really shone out.
Only a short ride from Stockholm, you will find a magnificent red brick building, which used to be a factory, brimming with activity. This is the 'science centre' Tom Tits Experiment.
Here children (and adults) can try out more than 400 experiments using water, wind, gravity, sound, light and movement while at the same time learning about themselves and the world around us.
The huge house has four floors, and an enourmous outside area for water experiments. There is a buffet restaurant serving food that will appeal both to the young and older taste buds, but there is also space for eating a packed lunch.
Tom Tits Experiment is located in Södertälje 35km south of Stockholm, close to the E4 and E20. If travelling by train from Stockholm, it is within walking distance from Södertälje station.
The building housing this wonderful collection of antiquities is purpose-built for the job. Although the number of items on display there is fewer than in Cairo Museum, I think that these exquisite pieces have been selected for their importance and beauty. The lighting of all exhibits is really superb. This gem is not to be missed, but if you're pushed for time you could go in the evening as they stay open quite late.
Konish el-nil, East bank
Outstanding tour taking you to places you would never find yourself. Loads of street art, scorching graffiti. Abandoned places, funky shops, markets. Hidden neighborhoods and cultural icons. These are the places locals go to. You'll hardly see a tourist all day. They offer a brilliant night tours as well: bars/clubs/secret spots. These guys know their stuff.
Begins at Alexanderplatz TV tower
Me and some friends went to Rio and we used a service down there that was pretty good. We contacted a place called Brazil Expedition and they booked some great tours for us.
We went to the Favelas, Maracana stadium and many other great places they had for us. I really recommend them, because it’s pretty good to have everything planed by such a great staff.
(21) 9998-2907 or (21) 7894-7523
This quirky little museum is located near New Road in Old Bangkok not far from many of the riverside hotels. The museum is in a traditional house, which was a family home, built before World War II. You can see an interesting collection of antiques, traditional household utensils and items of ceremonial significance. The museum is well laid out with lots of information in English. It takes less than an hour to visit and is included in the popular Bangkok tour offered by Exotissimo Travel.
They are state-run and organised for us an excellent bespoke itinerary complete with driver for the whole visit - airport and back to airport - for a very reasonable amount of money.
They were always prompt and efficient in all our communications as well as helpful and authoritative. I would wholeheartedly recommend them. Using them and an internet airfare can provide an excellent, reasonably priced holiday in this beautiful state.
Off the beaten backpacker trail, this truly unique, extremely well-equipped backpacker accommodation is located on the idyllic East Cape, just a ten-minute drive to art deco Napier, Hastings or sleepy Havelock North.
With only 11 beds, it is important to book ahead but well worth a few days' stay to relax and enjoy the surrounding award-winning vineyards.
Those who enjoy cycling and wine (or even just a good day out) should book themselves on the 'on yer bike' wine tour for a unique and entertaining wine tasting experience (bookable through the hostel). The relaxed owners with a small, toy, farm holding and soon-to-be vineyard are a pleasure.
Birdwatchers, or those who enjoy another good day out should try Gannet Beach Adventures to get a background to the area, excellent views and a chance to see around 17,000 gannets.
A museum of everything red! See stuff from the start of Liverpool Football Club's history, funny old kit, a HUGE trophy room, a model of the first ground and pictures of the original Kop. See the Shankly Gates and be photographed by his statue, respect the Hillsborough memorial and see the ground (the tour guides are great). The ground won't be there much longer. Sit where Owen sat or kneel by Gerrard's seat in the changing rooms. Respect!
A true Red doesn't need to ask! Get a taxi or walk (about 40 minutess) from the city centre. Alternately, shout out "Anfield" and God will part the clouds and point to it for you!
The Beatles Story on Albert Dock is a must see for any Beatles fan. The audio guide is fantastic - it's narrated by John Lennon's sister Julia and is available in 8 different languages. There are some great pieces of memorabilia including John's glasses, George's first guitar and the reconstruction of the Cavern is incredibly atmospheric. There's a brilliant gift shop too and they've recently announced a massive expansion plan.
Lime Street is about 20 mins walk away.
Very interesting and enthusiastically led by the guides, one of whom doubles up as custodian for John's house.
The custodian of Paul's house is a dead ringer for the man himself without the hair dye!
Try to go off season and late in the day to avoid the crowds.
One tour starts from Speke Hall well worth a visit in itself.
see National Trust website - www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-the_beatles.htm
I've just come back from Reykjavik; high point was the Golden Circle trip. Head out early to catch the mid-Atlantic ridge, the waterfalls, collapsed volcanos and, especially, the geysers in one day.
I went with Black Tomato, photos at the link below...
Santiago is a university city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the destination of an important pilgrimage route. It has an impressive cathedral where, if you stay for pilgrims mass, you may be lucky enough to see an enormous incense burner (botafumero), swung dangerously low over people's heads during the service.
Like most Spanish cities, the nightlife is good here and anyone who feels brave can do the Paris-Dakar bar crawl - having a drink in each bar between 'Paris' and 'Dakar'. Try the local white wine, especially from Rías Baixas region, which is excellent. In some bars I remember wine being served in saucers, which seems a little abstemious on reflection, but you can always go nuts afterwards with the Basque digestif 'Patxaran'. This is a rather too-easy-to-drink sloe and anise spirit - a headache is guaranteed.
Regarding the weather, rain wear is essential here and don't skimp on quality or you'll find you spend most of your trip drying off in cafes then getting drenched again. In fact, to keep out the kind of torrents you'll face anywhere on the north coast of Spain, I'd recommend waterproofs and an umbrella. Spanish people will tell you that they feel sorry for you living in a country like the UK where it rains all the time. If only they knew! England is a desert compared to Galicia and Asturias. Go anyway though, but be prepared!
Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain. a good link with info and further links is en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santiago_de_Compostela
Whether you have sailing experience and do this yourself, or have someone sail for you, this is the best way to experience this part of the Dalmatian coast. You can find secluded bays or pull up in towns like Hvar that are bustling playgounds of the rich and famous and their huge gin palaces.
If you want to see how confident the new gay generation is in Cuba, check
It's a gay tour guide service for gay travelers in Cuba! Nice college kids,
openly gay and they seem to feel that the government isn't against gays.
Meeting these people was the highlight of our trip. They really opened our eyes to a Cuba we could never have discovered on our own.
There are two things that are really special about Chamonix: the jaw-dropping scenery and the off-piste skiing. Why stay on the tame groomed runs with the crowd the whole time when you can spice things up with a real mountain adventure?
Use the lifts to get your elevation, then work out of ski area boundaries for fresh snow, long descents, beautiful views, challenging skiing/boarding and solitude.
Or better yet, use skins to climb up where there are no lifts. Or hire a helicopter or a ski-plane to drop you on a nearby peak.
Avalanches, crevasses and other high-mountain hazards mean you definitely want a guide to help you with this. Try www.markseaton.com/ for a great British guide who lives in Cham and knows the area ski options well.
Rombuk is the highest monastery in the world and boasts absolutely stunning views. It was one day of our amazing 'Back Roads to Kathmandu' trip with Electric Pagoda - highly recommended!
www.electricpagoda.com offer a variety of trips to China. The tour guides are great fun and really knowledgeable.
A family-run affair of two cabinas, simple, but well-equipped and super clean, in the hills one hour from the capital San Jose.
To see the real Costa Rica, not the meretricious zip lines and canopy tours offered by exploitative ex-hippies, stay with Don Freddy and Dona Barbara. He has reasonable English and French, comprehensive knowledge of local wildlife and can show you how real local people live their lives. There is even a frequent bus service if you don't want to drive, as far as the capital for just over one pound each way.
Don't overlook San Jose either. Chaotic it is, but has some interesting backwaters like Barrio Amon; see the areas south of the Central Avenue before they get developed. Great little sodas (cafes) abound and, if you want upmarket, then try the Argentinian restaurant near La Solidad church; a timbale of green apple and prune accompanying a pork fillet in brown beer and honey sauce is worth taking the trip!
1 kilometro al suroeste del cementario (porton verde)
Barrio San Martin
carretera a San Juan
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