For authentic, good value and delicious food, head to the top floor of the Chiang Mai Airport Plaza. There's an excellent food court where you can get light meals freshly cooked for 30-50 THB ($1-$2) in addition to a range of quality restaurants which are very popular with the locals. Most tourists eat around the night bazaar or downtown but the food is more authentic and it's much better value where the locals eat - at the Airport Plaza.
The souks (undercover markets) of Aleppo are truly magical. Colourful soap stalls sit next to huge sacks of coffee and walnuts. There are delicious sweet treats to sample and fine fabrics to marvel at. Unforgettable.
In the centre of Aleppo by the Great Mosque.
Google map: bit.ly/gAaD3H
In the red, barren desert of northern Chile this gorge in the surrounding rocks was cut by the river which provides an oasis below. You can cycle to the top and then speed down the desolate sandy tracks. It is also possible to explore this quiet landscape on foot. However you choose visit it you can be sure you won't forget this beautiful canyon in the desert.
If you hire bikes in San Pedro de Atacama you can follow the cycle map from the town centre to the canyon.
Google map: bit.ly/fPBDah
This eco-tourism project is situated in the jungle of Laos in order for villagers and elephants to live alongside each other happily and generate an income from tourists. Guides from the local village can take you on a two day trek to the elephant observation tower where you spend the night after eating a tradition meal cooked by the guides. This is a wonderful experience for those who want to get off the tourist trail.
Take the bus from the southern bus station in Vientiane to Ban Phakhan Km 8.
This breathtakingly beautiful national park is situated in the Andean range. It holds towering snow-topped volcanoes with flamingos in the surrounding glassy lakes. Alpacas and llamas graze in the surrounding land. It is unforgettably stunning.
Khao Sok National Park is a wonderful rainforest in Southern Thailand. You can stay in huts just outside the entrance and either trek independently through the trees and wildlife or hire a guide. There are: howling monkeys, gigantic flowers, and lagoons to swim in all surrounded in thick jungle.
We stayed in these apartments on the Thai island of Koh Samui and I would recommend them because they are situated right on the beach and luxurious but a bargain (we paid £10 a night in total for two people). The staff were very friendly (a waiter came as our guide to a local market) and there is an excellent choice of food. If you need some time out to chill and enjoy some real Thai hospitality this is the place to be!
26/9-5 Wat Napralarn Mae Nam-Ko Samui 84330
This website is useful for backpackers: it has a budget calculator so you can accurately work out the cost of travelling in every country. I found it reliable when travelling throughout Thailand.
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