Tag: travel guide

Why Travel Is So Important

We live our lives in a truly connected time; it seems that every day we are learning lessons that show us that in the modern age, humans are more globally connected than at any other point in history— languages can be learned in a matter of months just by opening an app, pictures from virtually any place on Earth can be shared with anybody and everybody, and more of us are learning about other cultures more quickly and easily than ever before. The interest in travel is increasing, but many are still left dreaming of a week lounging under the Indonesian sun or walking on glaciers in Iceland without any catalyst for action, and if more people knew the benefits, other than the stunning photos and experiences, of travel, that would change. I’ve been to eight countries in seventeen years, and I’ve learned some valuable lessons from my voyages. Here are some of the highlights:

 

 

  • Travel teaches you first-hand how to adapt to (almost) any situation

 

      • The beautiful pictures you see on Instagram only show a small fraction of travel, often hiding the not-so-beautiful trials faced during travel. From losing baggage to getting sick in a country where you’re not fluent in the language, many things can go wrong, but you learn to adapt and problem solve.

 

  • You can get to know other people and cultures for yourself, not just through a lease, textbook, or screen.

 

      • In the age of social media, it’s easy to look at somebody’s profile, acknowledge that they live somewhere cool, and then move on with your life. When you travel, you get to learn what life is like for other people, for the most part, and you begin to appreciate the difference between cultures.

 

  • You lose the -isms (“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness” – M. Twain”)

 

    • Travel reveals that, no matter who you are or where you live, we all share cultural universals–a sociological principle that establishes the fact that the human race is more alike than many nowadays seem to think. Humanity is interconnected, and discovering that will open up a sympathetic, and more importantly empathetic, door.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness” – M. Twain

 

  • You gain experiences that, while shared with others, are wholly personal

 

      • Your own experiences are just that– your own. When traveling, you get to keep something all for yourself to hold dear in your heart, and to hold on to forever.

 

  • You gain a better appreciation for life

 

      • It’s the little things– the sunrise over the bustling morning market in Marrakech or the crowded faces around flaming embers in Finland– that truly make life beautiful. When you travel, you’re able to find more of those moments in your own daily life, and your normal suddenly becomes vibrant and beautiful.

 

  • You get a break from the humdrum of daily routine.

 

      • Let’s face it: daily routine becomes boring after doing the same things day in and day out. When you travel, you are able to have a great recess from the monotony we tend to get stuck in.

 

  • Life is short, why not live it to the fullest?

 

    • The lifespan of an average American is only 78 years; why not have as many adventures as possible? To explore is to fulfill a rather youthful desire in one’s heart, and to do so brings such a fundamental joy.

 

With all of the lovely things that the world has to offer, why not take advantage of anything you can? Travel isn’t always easily accessible, but it could also be walking on a different road or reading a book from the library about a different country; anybody can travel anywhere they’d like and reap the benefits that it brings. Peace out.

 

By: Aly Sickles

Malaysia Travel Review

Malaysia is often known as the melting pot of Asia; various ethnic groups (from an assortment of religious groups in the Malays to Indians and Chinese)  live there with the native Dayaks. The result of this mixture of cultures is an astounding array of cuisine, festivals, experiences, and people to meet. Aside from the cultural beauty, Malaysia is known for its idyllic natural beauty in the beaches, diverse animal species, equatorial national parks, ancient rainforests, and islands. Here is your guide to travelling the beautiful Malaysia (on the cheap):

 

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  1. The City of Penang

Penang is the lesser-known foodie capital of both Asia and the world. Because of the ethnic diversity, cheap food, and authentic cooking traditions, the gastronomic scene in this city is nothing less than eye-opening and astounding. Street food is an integral part of Asian cuisine, and Penang does it best. From Georgetown’s Chinatown to its Little India, walking the streets of Penang offers a sensory overload of fresh spices and aromatic dishes being served. Start at the waterfront, ready to walk and eat your heart out, then go to Gurney Drive to continue around the city square. You can get anything from freshly-cooked meat to biryani, from chili dishes to Hainan Chicken Rice. One of the most iconic dishes of Malaysia is Char Koay Teow, a noodle dish that evolved in the Guangdong province in China and combines prawns stir-fried with flat noodles, soy and chili sauces, blood cockles, bean sprouts, and often other proteins like egg or chicken.

(Information taken from a great article on Matador: https://matadornetwork.com/read/penang-malaysia-food/)

 

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  1. Batu Caves

Located in Selangor, the Batu Caves are the site of a Hindu temple and a large shrine of the Hindu God (Brahman), in addition to the three caves. If you like animals, monkeys are everywhere here, but make sure to guard your personal belongings, as they’re known to steal. The limestone on the caves is also perfect for rock-climbing enthusiasts. The official tour of the caves is around $50, but you can explore on your own for as little as $5– a strategy recommended more from various attendee reviews. Take a gander at some of the most beautiful forms of geological growth!

 

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  1.  Langkawi Sky Cab

If the “steepest cable-car trip in the world” title isn’t enough for you,  the picturesque views of the stunning beaches and tropical forests surely will be. The Langkawi Sky Cab offers an astounding view for $17 per adult ticket–which may seem a little pricey, but the experience is priceless. It’s a cross between a closed Ferris wheel and a ski-lift (or vernacular), which easily makes it easy to feel on top of the world.

(http://www.panoramalangkawi.com/skycab/)

 

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  1. Teman Negara Hike

While being in the major cities is fun and upbeat, nothing beats being out in nature, and with the Teman Negara Hiking Trails, it’s even easier to feel tranquility in the wraps of a beautiful rainforest– the oldest one in the world, that is. There are a myriad of trail options, from one that lasts an hour to one for nearly 7 days. You can even explore the caves or do their famous “canopy-walk” suspended among the tall trees and magnificent birds.

(Learn more at http://www.tamannegaratravel.com/taman-negara-trails-trek/)

 

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  1. Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

$7 can take you far in Malaysia, but nothing might be as spectacular as the orangutan rehabilitation centre in the Sabah District of North Borneo in Malaysia. The centre primarily rehabilitates young orangutans orphaned as a result of illegal logging and deforestation or illegally being traded and kept as pets, and visitors can have a chance to see the renewal of life for these magnificent animals. Whether zoology is one of your interests or not, this experience is an unforgettable one.

(Visit their website at https://www.orangutan-appeal.org.uk/about-us/sepilok-orangutan-rehabilitation-centre)

 

By: Ally Sickles

Travel Guide to Budapest, Hungary

If you’re looking to travel to Europe on the cheap while not missing out on any of the stereotypical famed architecture or fascinatingly beautiful walking streets, the capital of Hungary is just the place for you. A small country situated right in the middle of the continent, Hungary has been involved in every war in the history of Europe, each one diminishing it in size. Though the country has been through every fathomable war and tribulation, the Hungarian people, ever filled with pride and happiness, have kept their own culture intact, something very apparent while walking down the cobblestone sidewalks of Budapest. From the fresh paprika stalls to the thermal baths that the locals visit every morning before work, here is your (cheap) guide to Budapest, Hungary.

1. Visit Széchenyi thermal baths

 

 

A true highlight of any trip to Budapest, the Széchenyi (pronounced say-cheh-nee) baths are housed in a yellow building from 1913 are are fed from underground thermal springs. There are 21 pools in total, ranging from ice-cold temperatures of 18 degrees Celcius (about 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit) to the practically steaming 40 degrees Celcius (about 104 degrees Fahrenheit)– the locals go there before work and switch between the hottest and coldest bath to help with blood circulation!

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2. Eat Lángos

 

Sure, we have fried dough here in the States, but in Hungary, it’s turned into a pizza/open-faced sandwich hybrid. Lángos (pronounced lahn-gohsh) has been around since at least the early 15th century and has delectably satisfied many locals and tourists alike.

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3. Fisherman’s Bastion

 

A remarkable castle built as the turn of of the last century that is very reminiscent of one you’d see in a Disney movie.The view overlooking the city is stunning.

9627578095_63f83e9d6f_h.jpg4. Art museum

 

 

If you’re looking for a dash of artistic culture, the Budapest Fine Arts Museum has got your back. From exhibits displaying Egyptian art to temporary ones (one of which was Van Gogh!), this art museum has you covered.

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5. Gellért Hill

 

A hill overlooking the Danube and Pest (metropolitan) part of the city, Gellért Hill is a beautiful and easily walkable reminder of the fact that Budapest is truly a sight to behold, views from the top and all.

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6. Hero’s Square

 

Hero’s Square is one of the major squares in Budapest with large statues of the 7 Magyar chieftains– the leaders of the first Hungarian people. Under the communist regime, large parades with military tanks and the communist leaders rolled past this square. Nowadays, the square serves as a reminder of Hungarian resilience and traditional culture.

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7. Central Market Hall

 

 

If food is what you’re looking for, Central Market hall is the perfect place for you. A large multi-story building with indoor sprawling food and tchotchke vendors, the aromatic euphoria sets in the moment you walk through the front doors. The locals sell everything from fresh meat to the most colorful paprika and local dishes to local handicrafts.

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8. Eat Nokedli, Gulyas, (Chicken) Paprikash

 

Many people say that in order to truly gain an understanding of a culture, you need to eat the local food. In that case, Hungarian culture is decadent, savory, and absolutely delicious. Nokedli is a kind of Hungarian egg noodle dumpling filled with itself. It serves as a perfect companion to Chicken Paprikash– chicken well seasoned with paprika. Gulyas, more commonly known as goulash, is a stew of meat, vegetables, and paprika. The best way, from personal experience, to make gulyas is over an open fire with family and/or friends.

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9. City Park

 

 

City Park is a sprawling park with many major destinations either in or right by it: Széchenyi, the zoo, the circus, the museum of fine arts, and more! Enjoy a picnic of lángos (from the stand right next to Széchenyi) and fresh fruit while people-watching for a cheap and memorable way to spend a few hours.

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10. Hungarian State Opera

 

 

The State Opera House may be beautiful on the outside, but the inside is even more so. Gold accents against red velvet line almost every inch inside the theater itself, but even something as simple as the coat room can capture and melt the hearts of all who enter. Catch a show here (in the nosebleed seats) for as little as 500 forint (about $1.80 USD) or just tour– either way will leave you breathless.

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By: Allison Sickles