QSuites Aesthetic

Review: Qatar Airways QSuites Business Class Chicago to Doha

On the way to my stay in the Maldives, my husband and I took QSuites Business Class known as “the world’s best business class” from Chicago (ORD) to Doha (DOH) and it cost 70,000 American Airline miles. The flight was QR Chicago (ORD) Flights 725/726 Boeing 777-300ER. In my opinion, Qatars QSuites product is the best Business Class product in the sky and is far superior to many first class products.

The suite seat was not only incredibly spacious but it was so stylish. There are several different seating configurations in Qsuites. There are six paired seats in the center of the cabin, which allow for a double-bed setup, and the first five sets of seats can be booked as a Quad seat arrangement. The window seats are private.

Qsuites Honeymoon Seats
Qsuites Honeymoon Seats

My husband and I had the honeymoon seats in the middle odd numbered rows and were able to combine our suites when it was time to sleep so we could rest together. The seats lie fully flat and are able to be conjoined as to mimic a double bed. However, if you’re in one of those seats and next to a stranger, there’s still a partition you can put up to maximize privacy.  

QSuites Conjoined Double Bed
QSuites Conjoined Double Bed

The design and aesthetic of the plane is incredibly pleasing and you can tell the seats are made of the highest quality fabrics. The pillows were soft and adorable and had fun messaging. You also receive a quilted mattress and a thick soft blanket (one of my favorite business class blankets). Pajamas are complimentary, and once you are ready to sleep you can turn on a ‘Do Not Disturb’ indicator to ensure no disruptions. The suites also have two air nozzles, a reading light, and a coat hook.

Cute Quites Pillows
Cute Quites Pillows & Thick Blanket
QSuites Footwell Space
QSuites Footwell Space
QSuites Reading Light
QSuites Reading Light & Coat Hook

The suite is designed to give you the optimal amount of storage and features a cocktail table, large TV monitor, a tray table underneath the TV, and then a counter near the aisle. On the side panel of the counter was most of the seat and entertainment controls were there as well. That included a handheld entertainment controller, 110v outlet, two USB outlets, and a headphone jack.

QSuites Entertainment Control Panel
QSuites Entertainment Control Panel

Next to the seat was a storage ottoman where there was Evian bottled water, airplane magazines, generic headphones, and extra room to store more things. To give you an idea of how much space “extra room” means, I stored my entire breast pump device and bottles. One of my favorite parts about the suite is the door, you can have the ultimate privacy.

QSuites Storage Ottoman
QSuites Storage Ottoman

Having flown many other business class cabins, I have to say I was greatly impressed with the style and functionality of the suites. The designers went above and beyond and paid great attention to detail. It is sleek and fun, the purple and gray, the stylish overhead lighting, detailed seat stitching pattern, and the rose gold detailing did not go unnoticed.

QSuites Aesthetic
QSuites Aesthetic

FOOD: The food was great and the menu items were on request so you could order whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. No restrictions on drinks, etc. There was more than enough to eat and the options were great. As soon as you are seated, they will offer you, your drink of choice, your choice of warm or cool towel, and an assortment of nuts (you can also have Godiva chocolates). I recommend the mint lemonade and saffron karak chai to everyone, if you get anything to drink make sure it’s that. For dinner, they went all in with the tablewear including stylish water glasses and a fake candle.

QSuites Menu
QSuites Menu

I also appreciated how well organized the transportation was to the terminal. They had separate premium cabin buses so we weren’t too crowded on the bus and it only took a few minutes from bus onboarding to the terminal. The drive to the terminal took just a few minutes.

Overall, the experience exceeded even my highest expectations and it is a fact Qatar Airway Qsuites is the world’s best business class.

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Atlanta Midtown

What to do during your Atlanta Layover & Review: Canopy by Hilton Atlanta

Have a long Atlanta layover and want to leave the airport? I have some great ideas for you!

On my way to Dallas from Cleveland, I had an almost 24 hour layover with the kids (not by choice, flights were cancelled due to weather). I decided to make the best of it and have some fun in the city. If you’re reading this and you have kids you know exactly why I didn’t just stay at the airport with 2 kids or wait for the sooner flights on standby with them. Fortunately, I used to live in Atlanta for 4 years when I went to school at the illustrious Spelman College. Coincidentally, it was actually my Spelman College reunion. Of course, I stopped by campus and I gave my husband and the kids a tour of one of the most influential places in my life, that shaped part of who I am today. 

Some of my favorite places I recommend on any visit to Atlanta as a 4 year Atlanta resident are: 

Then we went to Two Urban Licks which I recommend everyone frequent on any trip to Atlanta. It’s definitely not the best place to bring children but we still brought them anyway and we had an amazing time nonetheless. 

  • Georgia Aquarium – you can even swim with whale sharks
  • World of Coca-Cola – Atlanta is the home of Coca-Cola
  • Atlanta Botanical Garden
  • High Museum of Art
  • Piedmont Park
  • Atlantic Station 
  • If you have children, definitely check out the Children’s Museum of Atlanta and Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta

WHERE TO STAY: My family and I stayed at the Canopy by Hilton Atlanta Midtown. The room was large and the decor was very stylish. Not only that but, the rooms were also recently updated and very modern so the furnishings were refreshed, large bathroom with walk-in shower, and a balcony. The complimentary breakfast for Hilton Diamond Members includes hot breakfast which includes waffles, pancakes, made to order omelets. It also includes a wide continental breakfast spread, as well as lattes and smoothies. It is a great location for getting around to the biggest attractions in Atlanta and if you have children it’s by Atlantic Station which is a shopping center that has a movie theatre, shops, and most importantly a TARGET. Anyone with kids knows how important a Target is haha. The room had free WiFi, a 55-inch TV, refrigerated drawer, Nespresso® machine, and bedding designed exclusively for the Canopy Brand. You can grab water anytime at the filtered spring water stations on every floor.

Canopy at Hilton Midtown
Canopy at Hilton Midtown

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Emirates Business Class

Review: Emirates Business Class ORD–>JNB

Chicago —> Johannesburg, South Africa

THE LOUNGE: The Business Class Lounge in Dubai during our layover was incredible. It is truly one of the most luxurious flight experiences you can experience. Not only does it take up an entire floor but there is more to do than you would even have time for during your layover. It is truly a great way to begin your journey or relax during your layover.

There are quiet lounges, a plethora of gourmet restaurants, a kids club/daycare, multiple showers, nap chairs, bars, personalized barista experience, an ice cream cart and more. With partnerships with Moet & Chandon and Voss Water, I had our waiter bring as much Voss water as my heart desired and canapés crafted by Michelin starred chefs from the Moet & Chandon lounge. The service was great and so was the food from the buffets stations. I had teriyaki chicken, lamb, and rice. I relaxed and ate all of it while my husband took a shower and brought me tea and dessert. Safe to say the business class lounge was what Emirates calls a “seamless journey”.

Emirates Business Lounge Lobby
Emirates Business Lounge Dessert

THE FLIGHT: As if it could even get better than the lounge!!?? It does! We flew on one of their all new 777’s.

It has a 2-3-2 cabin layout, which the older one had before, it’s incredibly spacious. The interior is aesthetically amazing and the plush beige leather seats reminiscent of a Bentley Bentayga. The seat also features a privacy screen and one of the largest entertainment screen offered on any plane operating commercially. I absolutely loved the water and pellegrino in a glass storage box in front of me below the tv (super convenient). Also, the reading lights, storage space, fully flat bed, and Emirates classic woodgrain seat finishing was nice too. The seat was incredibly comfortable, I got a great sleep and the seat cushion (similar to a padded mattress cover, they lay on top of your seat for increased comfort) and blanket were big, plush, and thick. I could not have asked for a nicer seat besides not having a bar like on the A380 but besides that and the 2-3-2 configuration (configuration didn’t bother me as I sat beside my husband, so couples win!) the new 777 is a better product and I don’t drink alcohol anyway!

Additionally, the food and service was top notch! The food options were great and delicious and there were many times I was offered beverages or snacks that I declined because I was too full. I seriously got to the point of “jeez are people really still eating more food!” Needless to say you won’t go even a bit hungry.

Emirates Business Food

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my business class experience on Emirates new 777 and can’t wait to fly aboard again!

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Review: The Spa at Inn Walden

Spa Walden is a world class spa oasis in the least place you’d expect!

SPA WALDEN

1119 Aurora Hudson Rd., Aurora, (330) 995-9SPA

yourwalden.com

Let’s talk about the ultimate pampering experience! If you’re looking for a top notch spa weekend that features relaxation, privacy, and ultimate ambiance; Spa Walden is where you should plan to go! When planning a spa getaway at Spa Walden I would consider the Spa and Stay package which allows you one signature spa treatment per person for 2 people and a night in one of their spacious and luxurious guest rooms that feature huge luxurious Kohler massage bath tubs and massive Kohler showers. The rooms and Inn in general are incredibly designed and are truly a reward for any guest.

Spa Walden Guest Rooms and Suites
Huge Guest Rooms at the Inn Walden
Huge Kohler Massage Showers in Guest Suites bigger than some peoples apartments

The service at the Inn and the spa was impeccable. The staff caters to your every need to make sure your stay is beyond unique and special. Not only that, but the spa tailors treatments to fit your individual needs so you experience the ultimate pampering.

Each Spa suites has its own Kohler bubble massage tub and a personal steam room and a Swiss shower for full-body shower massages. If booking a couples treatment, couples can enjoy in their spa treatment room an additional fireplace, extra-large hot tub, and a light lunch.

Overall, this is one of the best spas I’ve ever been to and I’ve been to first class spas around the world. This is truly a hidden gem on the outskirts of Cleveland, OH and I definitely recommend it for the ultimate Spa experience.

http://yourwalden.com

 

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Featured

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park is South Africa’s largest games reserve and is often an additional trip partnered with travelers holidays to Cape Town. I throughly enjoyed my time here at this National Park as it features the Big Five and hundreds of other mammals, wildlife, and plant species.

The best time to visit is during the beginning or end of the dry season of the region which is April – September. I went in January so it was not the most ideal time but I still thoroughly enjoyed myself nonetheless and did not get rained out. One of the things that people like about Kruger National Park is that it is self-drivable. I did not self drive because in my opinion you should not go all the way to South Africa to see one of the worlds biggest National Parks to be limited to what you can see on the roadways but it is an option. Featured below is what you can look forward to seeing on your trip to Kruger National Park and also a guide to where to stay as accommodations are extremely important and an integral part of a safari holiday!

Kruger National Park Open Safari Vehicle
Kruger National Park Open Safari Vehicle – Guided Drive
Antelope Family
Antelope Family

WHERE TO STAY?

Location, location, location! Searching for somewhere to stay on a safari holiday can be extremely difficult with all of the budget lodges, luxury lodges, and private game reserves. Then there is the question of whether to stay inside of the park or outside of the park. At private game reserves around Kruger such as Sabi Sands, Manyeleti, Balule, and Timbavati there are no other tourists so they offer a more intimate experience. There is a plentiful amount of luxury safaris lodges like Royal Malewane, Ngala, or Singita. I decided to stay a luxury boutique lodge outside of the park in Hoedspruit but still on a wildlife estate by the name of Unembeza Boutique Lodge and Spa.The reason I did this was it still allowed me to stay close but not in the park with luxury amenities for an affordable price. They can also book tours and excursions for you which makes your Kruger safari planning much easier and they offer a plethora of luxury amenities as aforementioned.

I thoroughly appreciated the attention to detail and service as being pregnant in the hot landscape of the Kruger and the surrounding area of Hoedspruit. They cater to special dietary restrictions and offer a 4 course dinner menu, fresh juices and lunch, breakfast included with stay, swimming pool, laundry services, complimentary wifi, bush spa, and more in the middle of a wildlife estate surrounding Kruger National Park. They scheduled my Kruger National Park tour as well and even though we didn’t get to see all of the Big Five, the open safari vehicle and guide were excellent!






http://unembeza.com

If you have even more time in the area, I’d recommend checking out https://jordanaroundtheglobe.com/2019/02/19/panorama-route

and possibly adding on the Panorama Route to your itinerary for even more adventure!

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Featured

Panorama Route

Planning a trip to the Panorama Route? Thinking about what else to add to your Kruger National Park Itinerary? The Panorama Route is a perfect addition to your safari holiday and South African getaway. You can self-drive the Panorama Route in your own vehicle from Johannesburg to Kruger National Park, which will take you a few days. However, I decided to add it to my Kruger National Park stay as a one day tour.

The Route is incredibly breathtaking and I’m so glad I made it a priority of mine to see it! You get a true sense of the landscape which features the world’s third largest canyon, raging rivers, a plethora of waterfalls, and a dramatic terrain of mountains and cliffs. The most popular attractions to see on the route are God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon, Lisbon Falls, The Three Rondavels, The Pinnacle, Berlin Falls, and the Wonderview. Featured below are what you can look forward to on your Panorama Route trip.

BOURKE’S LUCK POTHOLES AT BLYDE RIVER CANYON RESERVE

Bourke’s Potholes Churning Whirlpools
Bourkes Luck Potholes
Bourkes Luck Potholes
Bourke’s Luck Potholes Waterfalls

Bourke’s Luck Potholes is a stunning geological formation in the Blyde River Canyon Reserve. Not only can you walk on bridges above the pools of water, you can also dip your feet in and take a seat in the whirlpools of this fascinating natural phenomenon.

LISBON FALLS

Lisbon Falls is the highest waterfall in the province and I was lucky enough to capture and see it with a beautiful rainbow.

Lisbon Falls
Lisbon Falls

BLYDE RIVER CANYON

The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world, offers lush scenery, is 16 miles in length, and known as the largest “green canyon” in the world.

Blyde River Canyon
Blyde River Canyon

THREE RONDAVELS

You might be thinking, what is a Rondavel? A Rondavel is actually a house or hut of the indigenous people and the three round rocks sitting on top together are reminiscent of such. The view here is absolutely stunning, a must see!! In my opinion it offers the best view on the entire Panorama Route.

Three Rondavels

If you have any more time in the area, I’d recommend checking out https://jordanaroundtheglobe.com/2019/02/19/kruger-national-park/

for more adventure at Kruger National Park to add to your South Africa itinerary!

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How to Maximize a Weekend in NYC

Have A Free Weekend And Want To See The Big Apple?

What to Eat | What to do | How to Enjoy

The crew and I ( Adham, baby Amirah, and I ) decided to take a family weekend trip to New York City and it was awesome! Of course the travel planner and Virgo (like Beyoncé) in me wanted everything to go by the itinerary, however, with a baby its just not that easy. I’ve been to NYC plenty of times but never had I been traveling with an infant and she showed me that I had been doing NYC wrong the whole time anyway! She has taught me that if you truly want to enjoy NYC have a light itinerary, I now believe it is incredibly advantageous to leave quite a bit of room in your itinerary to go with the flow. There are so many things to do in New York City and you can make yourself feel like you have to do everything in one weekend or even in a week. However, YOU WON’T and you shouldn’t.

 

For example, normally when I am in NYC I have so much that I want to do and see (so I can tell you all what to do when you get there), but also because people tend to make you feel like if you don’t do “this or that” in NYC then you missed out on something. However, we went to go have a picnic in Central Park, which I recommend you all do and baby Amirah just didn’t want to leave. I had a Michelin star restaurant I wanted to try for lunch but Amirah had her bottle, a blanket, the shade under the sun and she just wasn’t in the mood to leave. So of course, we stayed, Her and my husband both fell asleep and I ended up reading a book and people watching. When both of them woke up, I wasn’t disappointed at all that we skipped the restaurant! It was relaxing, it was peaceful, and even though it wasn’t a museum or a must-eat restaurant, it was still a very New York City thing to do.

Picnic in Central ParK

Adham and Amirah Asleep in Central Park

Later that night, we ended up going to a Midtown Michelin star restaurant, Cafe China, that was incredibly delicious and surpassed our expectations. Midtown’s Cafe China is unassuming, traditionally Sichuan, delicious and its the only Michelin star Chinese restaurant in NYC. The 1930’s Shanghai decor is sure to make you feel like you’ve taken a short journey to China. Our favorite dish their was the Chungking chicken which is only for someone with an appetite for spice, and by spice I mean an abundance of dried chilies.

At around midnight, while many people are out clubbing (I used to do this well) or grabbing drinks with friends. The foodie, parents, and Muslim in us decided to grab desserts instead. We continued to stay with our various Asian cuisine palette for the day and go to Grace Street Coffee and Desserts. Everything we ordered was nothing short of amazing so we ordered our first order twice. I recommend the Ho-Dduck Korean Donut (vegan option available), Apple Cider, Hong Kong French Toast, and he Mango Madness Shaved Snow.

The next day, the crew still wanted to take it easy, I obviously ignored their request because we ended up in Times Square. Walking around with a stroller and a baby in Times Square was not fun to me but my husband thought it was and seemed to think navigating with the baby in Times Square was a fun challenge as if he was in a video game. They ended up loving their navigation adventure and I throughly enjoyed taking pictures and people watching. Sponge-bob Squarepants on Broadway was showing at the Palace Theatre, if you are a Sponge-bob fan I would definitely see this. I preferred Aladdin, which was showing at the New Amsterdam Theatre.

Times Square

After a great show, you must eat and we decided to go to Miss Lily’s. Miss Lily’s is one of my favorite places to eat in NYC. The food is incredible and I have never had a bad experience food or service wise. Everyone there is extremely sweet and accommodating and they want you to have a good meal. I actually found out about Miss Lily’s a couple of years ago while watching Chef Andre Fowler’s of Miss Lily’s win ’Chopped’ on the Food Network. He brings authentic, and vibrant Jamaican flavor to Manhattan and crowds do indeed flock to experience it.

Miss Lily’s Restaurant

The weekend wasn’t over yet and even though there are so many incredible museums to see and many people purchase the New York City Pass, which includes admission into NYC’s top attractions, if you are only there for a weekend all of the attractions can be a bit overwhelming and it might not be worth the money. One of the museums that the New York City Pass includes is the Guggenheim museum which is a must see but due to my tight schedule this time we went to the Brooklyn Museum as I like the Brooklyn museum a bit more. It is NYC’s second largest museum and it features electrifying art, inspiring and educational exhibitions, and right now a David Bowie tribute display.

Brooklyn Museum

Every time I come to NYC I find so much more do and so much more to eat and I recommend that you visit the following on your next visit:
* You can find many discounts to attractions on Groupon as well

Central Park
Such a great time as aforementioned with bike and pedestrian paths, jungle gyms, ball fields, a zoo, picnic areas, carousel, and awesome city views,

Times Square
In the heart of the Theatre district where you should find a good show, do some shopping, and people watch .

The Empire State Building
Sweeping city views, museum, and history.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
National Monument, museum, history, and guided tours.

Brooklyn. Museum (my favorite)
Incredible large art museum as aforementioned above

Grand Central Terminal
Iconic train station, shopping, dining, and feeling like you’re on the set of NYC romantic comedy as you can’t watch one that doesn’t feature a scene in this station.

Brooklyn Bridge
Picturesque bridge that connects Brooklyn and Manhattan

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One Week Maui | Hawaii Itinerary

Your 7 Day Guide to Maui

There are so many different types of travelers and vacation styles and everyone knows someone who they “just can’t vacation with”. This could be because they don’t like the person entirely or they just don’t have the same travel style. The below itinerary is for someone like myself with an adventurous personality with a luxury budget who still needs R&R (rest and relaxation). If you don’t have a luxury budget, I have included alternative options as well. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what your budget is if you have an adventurous personality but still love to just lay out and soak up some sun at the beach (it is Maui after all)….this 1 week Maui Guide is for you!

I understand how overwhelming planning a vacation to Maui can be and each link provides additional information to help you further plan and experience all that Maui has to offer.

I recommend 2 weeks in Maui, however I understand most people don’t have 2 weeks time to take off. Check out Maui Must Do’s for more to add to your schedule for a 2 week Maui Vacation.

First Day: ARRIVAL
I recommend staying at the Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort. If you don’t have a luxury budget, check out “How to go to Maui for free”. Upon arrival, check in and enjoy all this massive resort has in store and if you get in early, hang out at the beach.

What to eat: Mama’s Fish House Restaurant and Inn

Second Day: HALEAKALĀ CRATER
Hiking Haleakalā Crater is one of my top things to do in Maui. If you aren’t a hiker you still must go and at least see the incredible views. Not only that but, if you arrive at Haleakalā Visitor center 30-45 mins before sunrise, you can watch the beautiful colors of the sunrise and then follow the Hosmer Trail. You will not take a more scenic photo in Maui than on top of Haleakala Crater.

What to eat: Paia Fish Market

Take the rest of the day to enjoy the amenities of the Grand Wailea resort and lay out at the beach or one of the Grand Wailea’s 7 pools. I prefer the adult only Hibiscus pool, I have a small child and when my husband and I are on vacation together by ourselves we truly want it to be adults only. All of the pools either have a restaurant or bar right next to or inside the pool that you can swim up to or order from your pool lounge chair.

Third Day: ALI’I KULA LAVENDER FARM
Don’t let the name “lavender farm” fool you into thinking this farm is all about lavender. It is true there is a gorgeous lavender field with views out of this world overlooking mountains and sea cliffs. However, this farm also has many other species of plants as well. Forget the nurseries you’re used to, this lavender farm makes you feel as if you are Alice in Wonderland and all you are missing is a friendly rabbit.

If you have a green thumb and are really interested in gardening and different species of plants then you can take a guided tour. If you are like me and just want to enjoy the scenic views of Maui from the lavender field and surround yourself with the aromatic smells of plumeria and lavender then you can self-tour and leisurely enjoy the atmosphere.

What to eat: Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman

Fourth Day: SUNRISE and SNORKELING/BEACH HOP

What to eat: Plantation House

Fifth Day: ROAD TO HANA
For my adventurers and photographers, the Road To Hana is a long but incredibly fun and sometimes scary drive filled with stops that feature Maui’s most picturesque waterfalls, gorges, streams, caves, fresh fruit stops and cool food stops.

Major Highlights:
Twin Falls
, Bamboo Forest, 
Waikamoi Falls, 
Keanae
, Three Bears Falls
, Beaches (Black sand, red sand, Koki)
, Seven Sacred Pools, 
Pipiwai Trail, 
Alelele Falls

Bamboo Forest

What to eat: Bruddah Hutts BBQ truck or Huli Huli Chicken, and Auntie Sandy’s Banana Bread.

Sixth Day: SPA DAY at the Grand Wailea or BEACH/POOL DAY
The Grand Wailea is home to Spa Grande, one of the best spas in the U.S. and once you experience it for yourself there is no doubt about it. We did the “Tropical Paradise For Two” which includes the “healing waters”, sauna, steam room, exfoliation, scrub, lunch, 50 minute massage, and pedicure. This treatment lasts 4 hours and will run you $$$$ (699). However, afterwards my husband and I looked at each other and he said it was “worth every penny” and I concur! If you are not on a luxury budget then I would enjoy some more of Maui’s beaches or have a pool day at the Grand Wailea. One of the things about being an adventurous traveler is sometimes you forget to rest on your vacations but you are in Maui for heaven’s sake, get to a beach or enjoy what the Grand Wailea Waldorf Astoria Luxury Oceanfront Resort has to offer!

http://grandwailea.com

What to eat: Try Kimo’s

Seventh Day: HELICOPTER TOUR
A helicopter tour is a great way to close out your time in beautiful Maui, Hawaii. Honestly, words cannot describe how incredible the experience is, the lush 3000 ft sea cliffs (highest sea cliffs in US according to our guide) and the many, many waterfalls cascading down the mountains are some of the most beautiful things you will ever see your life.  Sunshine, Air Maui, and Maverick are some of the most common and trusted helicopter tour companies in Maui. My favorite route was the West Maui/Molokai tour. In all of my travels I haven’t seen anything like it, if you love Jurassic Park this is your chance to see it. Feels like a dinosaur could start swinging at your helicopter at any moment.

If you do not have a luxury budget,  parasailing will also give you an opportunity to see Maui from a completely different perspective, flying above the sea and by the mountains.

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adventure life ✌🏿🚁

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Reasons Why Tanzania is a great destination for a Honeymoon AND a Family Vacation

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Looking for an adventure to a destination with idyllic beaches, a captivating culture, wildlife, and friendly people? Tanzania should be your next travel destination for your honeymoon and even your family vacation. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Tanzania and can’t wait to go back. You won’t find anywhere else that you can experience volcanoes, one of the world’s tallest mountains, stunning white sand beaches, and an island with pivotal history surrounded by the Indian Ocean, incredibly friendly people, and also happens to be known as the land of safaris.

———- The Safaris ————–
A safari is a perfect adventure for a honeymoon or a family vacation. If you’re looking for a honeymoon destination, I can’t recommend a romantic hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti or an overnight stay in a luxury camp in the Ngronogoro Crater where you can have dinner by a campfire in the middle of true wildlife underneath the stars. Both the Ngronogoro Crater and the Serengeti are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are home to the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth-The Great Migration where you can see the “Big Five”:
Lions, Leopards, Buffalo, Elephants, and Rhinos.

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I loved experiencing the Serengeti and the Ngronogoro Crater with my family. It was absolutely incredible and something that we will never forget. Whether you are an adult or a child, most people love animals! We used Good Earth Tours for our safari experience and our tour guide was incredible and everyone we encountered was incredibly hospitable. We did a 3 day safari and stayed at Ngronogoro Farmhouse and Mbugani Ndutu Camp. We even saw the Big Five and were able to watch a lion catch a wildebeest in its natural habitat! The accommodations were great at Mbugani Ndutu Camp and it was the most luxurious Camp experience I’ve ever had and the food was great. Ngronogoro Farmhouse is also a great accommodation for kids as well, at the resort you can go on a coffee tour and learn how to make coffee with the coffee grown on the farm. There is a nice pool and an interactive dance performance during dinner. Kids can learn and check about the farm which is full of diverse fruits and vegetables, some you’ve probably even heard of. The rooms are spacious and comfortable at the Farmhouse and it was incredibly peaceful.

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Glamping in the Serengetti

I’ve never encountered anything as truly beautiful as the Ngronogoro Crater and the Serengeti and being able to be in that breathtaking ecosystem was truly and experience of a lifetime. Any picture you take on your 4 X 4 safari journey there is Instagram worthy. You will not find a wildlife sanctuary with better scenery.

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——- Zanzibar Island ———

Zanzibar is an idyllic island off of the coast of Tanzania and could very well be the best honeymoon or family vacation decision you can make. On Zanzibar Island you can experience endless stretches of white powdered sand, water sports galore, a sail on a traditional dhow to explore and snorkel at sandbanks, incredible food made with world famous spices, and insight into infamous cultural highlights and historical remnants in Stone Town. Essque Zalu Zanzibar is a Resort on Nungwi Beach that exudes romance and luxury. It’s right on the beach and the architecture of the resort is captivating. The resort is known for its Swahili and Arabic architecture and has 40 suites and 8 villas overlooking the Indian Ocean. The Spa is absolutely incredible and if you’re hungry you have your choice of amazing food from one of the two restaurants and three bars. My family stayed in one of the huge 8 villas that had 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a private spa room, a family room, and dining room, a large porch with cool contemporary seating, a kitchen, a private pool, and an awesome rooftop patio! Most of the villas also come with a butler and ours was so friendly, hospitable, and one of the best parts of our experience there. I can’t say enough how friendly the people of Tanzania are, the staff was incredible. They also set up jet skiing and windsurfing as well for our family and that was a great time as well.

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Essque Zalu Resort

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You can’t go to Zanzibar Island without also going to Stone Town. I recommend staying at the Double Tree Hilton Stone Town during your stay in the town. Stone Town is where you will get to experience a ton of cultural highlights and if you are a history buff you will enjoy going on a Stone Town History Tour and to Prison Island. Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was an infamous trading hub between Asia and Africa where spices, goods, and people were traded. The island has a dark past but it’s extremely fascinating to learn about. The history is apparent and is illustrated by the diverse groups of people, from the mosques, the churches, Omani palaces, and Hindu temples. It is truly a harmony of diverse cultural regions. The architecture in the city is incredibly distinctive and features Arab, Persian, Indian, European, and African influences.

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Other things to do in Stone Town are:
– spice tour
– City tour
– Sandbank picnic: LOVED THIS
– Prison island: LOVED THIS
– Dolphin Tour

I really enjoyed the staff and experience doing the Sandbank picnic and Prison Island Tour with *“Nakupenda Isles Safari.” From families (there was even the most well behaved infant ever on our sailing tour) to honeymooners, everyone on the tour had a great time and it was so much fun. The staff was hilarious and they made sure we all enjoyed ourselves and were full during the Sandbank picnic. If you like seafood, you will love the picnic!

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*You can also do the tour privately as well.

——- Mt. Kilimanjaro ———

Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano and is the highest the peak in Africa. If you are honeymooners who are active adventures you can tackle Mt. Kilimanjaro and experience hiking through lush rainforests, alpine deserts, glaciers, and sleeping closer to the stars than you ever dreamed possible by night. However, if you not an incredibly active adventurer but still want to experience Kilimanjaro there a many different routes and you can still try the climb without your goal being the top! If you are on a family vacation and are bringing children, they too can experience climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and climb the base. Mt. Kilimanjaro takes several days to climb but if you don’t have time for that you can do a day tour as aforementioned and trek through the rainforest and catch a view of a variety of animals including blue monkeys, birds, Columbus monkeys, and exotic variations of plant life.

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There is so much to do in Tanzania and so much to offer no matter what age or trip type. Whether you are on a honeymoon or on a family vacation, there are so many places and activities to choose from. It is as equally a relaxing vacation destination as it is an adventurous one. And it is also truly a perfect destination to create family memories. Would you like to add Tanzania to your honeymoon or family vacation bucket list??

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15 Things to Do In Koh Samui Thailand

15 Things to Do In Koh Samui Thailand

| Digital Travel Guru Guest Post|

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Koh Samui, an island in Thailand, also known as the coconut island. Travel time is only1 hour by flight from Bangkok. This is the ultimate tropical beach paradise island. Koh Samui has everything you could ever dream of all on one island to cater for all your requirements, from partying all night to having a romantic getaway, exploring historical and cultural sights, endless places to eat and things to do, this is one place that you will find hard to get bored in. There are many parts to the islands depending on what type of holiday you want and it has a huge range of places to stay ranging from £10 a night up to £6000 a night for the exclusive villas. We wrote a post on the history of Koh Samui which you can read here: History of Koh Samui:

History of Koh Samui Island – Thailand

Here are 15 things we have put together for you to do and see when you visit Koh Samui.

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Big Buddha

Big Buddha temple is the biggest landmark on Koh Samui and can be seen from the sky as you fly into the island. It sits north of the island and is 12 meters high it was built in 1972. The area is known as Big Buddha. The locals call this temple Wat Phra Yai. The temple itself is reached by a small road over the sea which connects the Big Buddha temple with main land Samui. There are a lot of small stalls and shops and places to eat on this site and you can receive a blessing from the monks that live there for a small donation to the temple. Please ensure you adhere to temple rules of covering your shoulders and legs. To climb the steeps to Big Buddha you have to take off your shoes so take some anti slip socks as the ground can get very hot. From the top you will see views across parts of Samui and the sea, which is a great place for photography.

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Entry Free:

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Wat Plai Laem

Wat Plan Laem Temple is about 5 minutes drive from Big Buddha, it is a Buddhist temple with the 18 arm Guanyin goddess. There is also a huge Buddha statue on the same site, which has a beautiful compound with a small lake with fish with walkways A lovely place to have a picnic under the trees whilst seeing the temples. There are also beautiful murals and temple arts to see. Please ensure you are dressed appropriately to enter the temple, covering shoulders and legs.

Entrance is free, hover you can make donations to the temple.

 

Hin Ta and Hin Yai

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Located 5 minutes from Lamai beach towards the south of the island, Hin Ta and Hin Ya re also known as the grandfather and grandmother rocks. The rocks are famous for resembling genitalia. There is parking nearby and it’s easily accessible by local transport. The amazing rock formations are a popular attraction on the island. You can easily spend 1/2 a day here looking at the various stalls and shops and there are lots of dining options also including a reggae rock bar. Be sure to try out the famous coconut ice-cream, If you bring your swimwear there is a small cove for swimming.

Entrance Free

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Secret Buddha Garden

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Located high up on the hills above Koh Samui, Secret Buddha Garden was built by Nim Thongsuk, who started building the garden in 1976. The site is full of statues and a little templs. Nim passed way at the age of 91. The garden are a beautiful place to visit, with a waterfall and small stream running through it, surrounded by jungle. The road can be difficult to navigate and if going on motorbike you need to be extra careful as the path can be very steep in places. The trip is best taken in a 4×4 car. There are many tour operators on the island that can bring you here. Khun Nim was a farmer. When he retired he began sculpting these figures that represent Buddhist folklore. The are lots of stop off points on the way here to take in the scenery and views.

Entrance: 80bhat approx

 

Dusit DhewaSamui Cultural and Fine Arts Centre

Located about 35 minutes from the centre of Koh Samui (Chaweng area) the cultural centre, was built and opened by Khun Chart who was born and raised in Samui. His idea behind building the cultural was for people to learn about culture and heritage of Thailand and it’s heritage. Khun says the centre will never be completed as he states he will never stop collecting items that are of historical or cultural significance. In the grounds you can take lots of beautiful photos of statutes, and with the peacocks that live there. The land back onto a jungle and has a lovely stream and bridge on the grounds. There is a pagoda with numerous buddha ornaments and other buildings wit artefacts. If you pay a small fee you can dress up in Thai traditional wear and have photos taken. The site is popular with photographers and for wedding photos. It is a truly stunning location with a stunning collection of ornaments and sculptures.

Entrance 150 Bhat approx

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Fisherman’s Village Walking Street

Located north of the island in an area called Bophut, Fishermans village is a very narrow road that looks over the beach area, it is full of little boutique shops and many famous resturants and beach open air bars. The area used to be a traditional fishing village. There is market here on certain days of the week. The area usually becomes busy in the evening and there is also a newly opened area at the end of Fisherman’s village called the Wharf (which is a shopping mall and market). This is a great place to spend the afternoon / evening or night, it has a chilled relaxed atmosphere and is away from he party area’s of Chaweng and Lamai.

Entrance free

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Buddha Footprints

A great place to see an interesting engraved foot print of Buddha. From this location you will see some specular views of Koh Samui island. It can be a difficult place to find , however you can book a tour guide to take you or even find it yourself if you have your own transport and have a tourist map of the island. Please remember to wear appropriate clothing as it has the same rules as visiting a temple Also be warned there are 163 steps to climb. The grounds have a beautiful temple of course the magnificent 4 Buddha footprints with engravings.

Entrance Free (when I last visited)

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Hainan Temple (Chinese)
Is a Chinese Temple in Nathon the main town of the island.
It was built on 1862, by the many Chinese who moved to Koh Samui island. A lovely temple with two golden lions that guard the gate. Nathon is also a great area for shopping and for places to eat, you can see lots of the old Samui architectural buildings here and Nathon is also a main port area of the island and has lovely views of the coast line. Buy things and shopping here is cheaper than the other areas on the island.

Entrance was free when I visited

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Laem Sor Pagoda

Located on the south of the island, on Bang Kao Beach. This a tranquil spot to visit to see the golden pagoda, with 360 views of the ocean. The entrance has two warrior statues. And you can see the Pagoda and Buddha – a great area to explore and find off the beaten track beaches and small secluded restaurants.

Entrance Free

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Wat Khunaram

Located about about 25 minutes from Koh Samui, Wat Khunaram, is a Buddhist temple site. The mummified monk is of Luong Pordaeng who died in 1973, his body is seated in the sitting position in a case in the temple. The site has lots of information about the temple and the history of the monk that lived there. Entrance Free
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Wat Sila Ngu Wat Sila Ngu also known as Wat Ratcha Thammaram

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Known as the snake temple – Was Sila Ngu is located about 10 mutes from Lamai. Sila Ngu translates into “stone snake” in English. There is a huge red clay temple with carvings of snakes and a pagaoda. The walls inside the temple are spectacular to see as the carvings tell you a story of Buddhas life. On the temple grounds you can also see beautiful sweeping views of the ocean.

Entrance is free.

Jungle Club

Located high in the hills about 5 minutes from Chaweng Not beach is Jungle Club, which initially started as a small off the beaten track accommodation for backpackers. Throughout the years the site has had a lot of refurbishments and it is now a mid range property to stay in, which has luxury bungalows you can book.
The buildings are built out of bamboo and other natural products and has some of the best views on the island. The Jungle club is famous for it’s bar, lounge and swimming pool, which are built on the edge the huge mountain. The views from here are breathtaking on a clear day you can see most of the western and northern part of Koh Samui island as well as the ocean. This is a top spot to have a drink or two whilst taking in the views whilst relaxing on the comfy beanbags and hammocks.
Free entrance

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Guan Yu Koh Samui Shrine

The Chinese were one of the first expats to arrive on Koh Samui in the 1800’s. In 2008 the design for the temple and shrine were completed and building work commenced. It was opened officially in 2016. The shire and temple was built to celebrate Chinese history and heritage on the island. Guan Yu is a Chinese warrior that died 2000 years ago. The shire and temple when you visit has the history of the warrior inscribed under its magnificent statue. There are a few shops on the site selling Chinese food, other products and souvenirs.

Entrance was free when I visited.

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Five Islands:
An amazing half day trip by long tail boat from the southwest of Koh Samui, which you can do from a area called Taling Ngam. You can see the five islands from the beach and taking a long tail over is a fabulous experience. The islands are habitat to protected birds and the only people that are allowed to live there are the sea gypsies. You can visit by boat and see the caves of the islands and huge rocks which are in the middle of the ocean as well as the hidden cove beaches. Some trips allow you to snorkel the waters around the islands. A great time to take the trip is late afternoon just before sunset. Most of the local beach side restaurants in the area can arrange a boat trip for you.

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Cost: 4000 to 6000 Thai Baht for two people

Island Hopping:

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Koh Samui is located very close to many islands and Ang Thong National Park.
You can book various tours as day trips to visit neighbouring islands such as Koh Tao, Koh Phangan

Ang Thong National Park is home to 42 islands wth a spectacular emerald lagoon, you can snorkelling at various beaches and do sea canoeing and of course exploring the various islands the tour boat stops at.

Cost approx: £25-30 for a full day tour with lunch and drinks included

Koh Tao is located approx once and half hours from Koh Samui. It is a
Popular diving location and known for it’s stunning beach areas and diving sites.
Cost Approx £25-30 for a full day tour including lunch and drinks.

Koh Phangan about 45 minutes to 1 hour from Koh Samui.
Home to the full moon party and jungle parties, as well as the beautiful beaches all around the island. Cost approx £6.00 return

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