TRAVEL QUIZ: Where are you going next?

27 02 2008

With so many amazing destinations in the world, sometimes it is hard to narrow down the list. This quiz will help.

 

1. It is your birthday, and you get to choose the restaurant. Where do you go?

 

A. An ethnic restaurant serving spicy food like Mexican or Indian cuisine

B. An open-air seafood restaurant with lots of fresh vegetables

C. A cozy and romantic Italian restaurant

D. A place you have never been before- you always like to try something different!

E. A pub or tavern with simple fare, great beer and lots of friends

 

            2. What would be your ideal place to stay while on vacation?

 

            A. Treehouse in the jungle

            B. Thatched-roof hut on the water

            C. Charming inn with full of character and a colorful past

            D. Luxury safari tent

            E. High-rise hotel on the beach or a B & B

 

            3. What are you looking for in your next adventure?

 

            A. An off-the-beaten-path natural and cultural experience

            B. A perspective-altering yet inexpensive trip

            C. History, romance, and great cuisine

            D. Wildlife and incredible trip-of-a-lifetime encounters

            E. Beautiful scenery and laid-back beaches

 

            4. You never dream of traveling without your:

 

            A. Sense of adventure

            B. Visas

            C. Map, guidebook, and sensible walking shoes

            D. Itinerary at least partially planned out

            E. Swimsuit

 

            5. You like to travel primarily in order to:

 

            A. Immerse yourself in natural splendor

            B. Tweak your perspective of the world

            C. Learn about new things

            D. See amazing places

            E. Relax and Recreate

 

 

 

 

 

If you answered mostly A’s, you are in need of a trip to South America! A trip to Peru, Argentina, or the Galapagos would expose you to a myriad of wildlife, ancient ruins, and modern cultures.

If you answered mostly B’s, you are up for anything and ready for Asia! Sample your favorite destinations with a combination trip to Thailand and Vietnam, or meet the sleeping giant that is China.


If you answered mostly C’s, get thee to Europe! A grand tour of the Old World will fulfill your desires to linger in sidewalk cafes, stroll along the river in the moonlight, and have an eye-opening experience.

If you answered mostly D’s, head to the greatest continent- Africa! Whether you track the gorillas in Uganda, go on safari on the Serengeti, or kite-surf in South Africa, a powerful journey awaits you.

If you answered mostly E’s, you want to head down under, mate! Australia or New Zealand calm the soul with breathtaking scenery, amazing beaches, and indigenous cultures- not to mention the laid back natives!

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Full Moon Beach Parties in Thailand: Get Ready to Get Down

6 02 2008

You are dancing under the blazing full moon on the island of Ko Pha Ngan, your arms flailing about wildly, your bare feet turning around and around on the white sand, your legs doing things you didn’t know they could. Electronic music stomps it’s way up and down the crescent beach, and the Gulf of Thailand seduces the partiers successfully with its warm, foamy waves. You are surrounded by thousands of travelers from around the world; backpackers, worldrompers, budget tourists, fire-twirlers, old hippies, new hippies, artists, hedonists, jugglers, dancers, musicians, deejays, and wanderers. It is mere minutes until the fireworks show, and many, many, hours until dawn. The night has just begun.

Are you smiling? Scheming how you can get a ticket to Thailand? Already Googling Ko Pha Ngan Full Moon Party? If not, then maybe you shouldn’t go to THE WORLD’S BIGGEST BEACH PARTY.

Or maybe you need to go the most of all.

Celebration is universal; having fun is essential to human happiness. Some of us even make it our priority in life. We have been dancing bare-footed to drum beats around fires for much longer than we have spent our days in pursuit of big-screen TVs or the newest car or diamonds or whatever else we use our money on in place of experience, which is worth more than anything you can order on Amazon.com.

This indisputable truth, that humans need to celebrate, is manifested every month during the full moon as anywhere from three to ten thousand travelers converge on a white sand beach in Southeast Asia, take off their shoes, and straight GET DOWN. Thailand is a dream for travelers, easy and cheap to navigate, with killer cuisine and the chill energy found in Buddhist cultures. American citizens need passports only for stays of less than 30 days, and round trip air tickets from the west coast of the U.S. to Bangkok are about $900-$1000 for March and April travel. The giant music festival takes place at Haad Rin Beach, and accommodation can be found as low as $2 per night (for a beach-side hut with shared bath). There are also plenty of luxury digs for those of you who crave a private pool or outdoor shower. If for some reason you actually plan on sleeping during the Full Moon party, be sure to book your room OUTSIDE of Haad Rin, and take one of the all-night taxis back to your bungalow.

Full Moon parties go off the hook every month, with upcoming summertime dates of February 22, March 21, and a very special festival on April 20. If you can’t make it to Thailand on those dates, no worries: there are also Half Moon and Black (New) Moon celebrations. All the parties are free and stocked with food, drink, and craft vendors. During the rest of your stay you can snorkel, dive, wakeboard, rent a moped, explore natural caves, and swim at pristine beaches all over Ko Pha Ngan and her sister islands of Ko Samui and Ko Tao.

Festivals and celebrations are are part of every culture on the globe, and whether you like all-night dance parties on the beaches of Asia, man-festivals on the dusty plains of Mongolia, or sugary skulls at the Day of the Dead in Mexico, HAVING FUN is the perfect excuse to travel!

So what are you waiting for? Someone to remind you how short life is, to tell you that if you are really really lucky, in the blink of an eye you will be old, wrinkly, and not that into beach dancing? You don’t need ME to clue you in; you’re reading my blog which means YOU have already taken the first step: admitting that you want to travel and have fun and experience everything you possibly can- and you will accept nothing less in your amazing life.

Your next step: ACTION. Now is the time to begin a real plan for your next journey. For more information on flights to Thailand, the Full Moon Party in Ko Pha Ngan, or traveling to festivals around the world, contact The Adventure Travel Company.

See you on the beach!

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Post and photos by Shilo Urban





Destination Spotlight: Costa Rica

3 02 2008

Costa Rica is high on the list of places to visit for many people due to it’s peaceful reputation, abundant wildlife, beautiful beaches, and amazing scenery. It is also one of the least expensive foreign countries to fly to from the United States, which makes it even better.  Located in Central America between Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica exists at the convergence of two continents and two huge bodies of water, making it a geographic bottleneck which produces great ecological diversity illustrated in the abundance of flora and fauna that awaits the traveler, including many endangered species. Howler monkeys, jaguars, pumas, poison dart frogs, toucans, tapirs, anteaters, sloths, macaws, turtles and crocodiles are just a few of the animals you may encounter during your visit to the pristine forests and tropical jungles. A true nature-lover’s paradise, Costa Rica has set 25% of its land aside as protected reserves, the highest percentage of any country in the world and an example to many of its neighbors who are struggling with land-use management. 6% of all the world’s known species can be found in Costa Rica, which represents just 0.03% of the world’s land- giving some idea of the rich diversity of flora and fauna in the country.

HISTORY: This region of Central America has been inhabited for over 10,000 years, proved by many artifacts left behind including most impressively dozens of perfectly shaped granite spheres, from the size of a baseball to a Volkswagen bus. The first European to set foot on Costa Rica was Christopher Columbus, who arrived in 1502 on his fourth and final journey to the Americas; however the name of “Rich Coast” was given by the Spanish explorer Gil Gonzalez Davila who was impressed by the gold bands worn in the noses and ears of the natives. Costa Rica has been a democratic nation since the 19th century and has the highest literacy rate in Latin America, 95%. Many of Costa Rica’s inhabitants are descendants of white European settlers, though there are African and indigenous peoples as well- some say over 90% of Costa Ricans have a little mestizo, or mixed blood. Today this vibrant cultural heritage comes through in the cuisine, communities, and way of life in the stable country which the traveler will appreciate as she journeys through the country. The main language spoken is Spanish and the currency is the colon.

GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE: Costa Rica has a wide range of geographic features as well. A string of mountains, offshoots of the Andes-Sierra Madre chain, form a backbone down the middle of the country from low hills in the north to high, rugged mountain in the south which offer incredible views of the diverse landscape. The eastern, Caribbean coast stretches for 132 miles and is known for its magnificent turtle habitats and heavy rainfall (300+ days a year), while the western, Pacific coastline is 780 miles long and boasts warmer weather and long, sandy beaches. There is no spring or fall in Costa Rica, just verano (summer) and invierno (winter), but the temperature often has a greater variance between night and day than between winter and summer! The average daily temperature is 80 degrees, the warmest months being March, April and May and the wettest months are September and October, and each season brings it’s own colorful flowers and plants.

HOW DO I GET TO COSTA RICA? Most flights will have one stop in the United States before continuing on to San Jose, Costa Rica’s capitol and economic center. From there, rent a car and head towards one of the many national parks or take a bus and hit the beach, or another option is to join a small group adventure tour that takes care of all of your accommodation and transportation and arranges activities for you.

posted by: Shilo