Posts by Huong Nguyen

Meet Sakia Haque – Founder of the Travelettes of Bangladesh

One of my favourite things about being digital nomad is the amazing amount of unlimited network you can get. You not only get to meet a wide diversity of people so from many countries and backgrounds when traveling, but also on the internet. We voyagers and nomads have formed such a large bonding community online that it is so easy nowadays to connect with like-minded people from any part of the world. That’s how I e-met Sakia Haque – a young medical student, passionate photographer and founder of Travelettes of Bangladesh. We were both excited about the concept of female traveling, then one day decided to start a group for Female Travelers of Asia together to help young fellow travelettes to embark on their next adventure to Asia. Her story is so inspiring that I had to share it via this week’s featured story blog post.

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Meet Linh Ngo – A Banker, Blogger and Travel Enthusiast

‘Hello there! I’m Linh Ngo, a Vietnamese living in The Philippines. I’m currently working in finance for an American company. I have a passion for traveling and exploring, which was why I left my job as a banker of a big foreign bank in Vietnam in 2012 and relocated to Manila, the Philippines ever since. Traveling with a 3rd world passport is never being easy, but somehow full of excitement and experiment getting my tourist visa stick on.’ (Linh Ngo, founder of bylinhngo.com).

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Linh created the blog Fernweh by Linh Ngo 4 years ago (Fernweh means having an itchy feed to foreign countries or craving for travel). She’s a brilliant and fascinating young girl I got the connection with over an online group for travel bloggers/female travelers. Despite her current location in the Philippines, Linh has been active with the female traveler scene in our country of origin – Vietnam. During her journey, she met and fell in love with a Malaysian Chinese man, who happens to be her husband now. He ends up as her travel buddy and ‘partner in crime’, said Linh. They went exploring several countries together for the sake of tasting local street-food, experiencing new cultures, trying traditional clothes from different parts of the world, and eventually making friends from all walks of life.

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‘I travel to taste the life, to reach out the world, to make memory and to learn about people’. Linh’s journeys through 7 countries and 2 continents have been filled with memories – about the girl who helped her take a taxi in a foreign country whilst giving careful instruction to the cab driver to make sure she would be home safe, about all those beer parties with friends from different countries traveling the world just like her, about the guy who quit his office job and became a famous DJ in Tokyo nowadays. 

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Meet Thais Ribeiro – A Wanderlust Brazilian Linguist, Teacher and Author

‘Being a foreigner in China is a very extreme experience. Either u love it or hate it. Either u get treated like a goddess or like a stupid tourist. Either you are instantly a VIP and get a free table at the club that usually costs 2500 RMB (about 360 USD) with drinks, or you have to wait in the longest line because there are lots of other foreigners wanting to get the same perks.’, said Thaís Ribeiro – the author of ‘Good Vibes’.

This week I had the privilege to interview a fascinating Brazilian-American author to feature on my latest series about Female Travelers of Asia. I met her in Germany during my past 7-month Europe trip last year. Read on to find out more about her life adventure and wanderlust journey to come up with this book.

Thais Ribeiro in China

About the Author

Thaís Ribeiro was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1982. As a child, she moved to Florida and spent more than 20 years there. Since then, the travel bug really got her bitten. She has been lucky enough to travel quite extensively. Besides Brazil and America, she also lived in Spain, Romania, China and currently Germany.

One of her favorite experiences was working on a cruise ship, where she actually got paid to travel the world. Traveling, learning and teaching languages, singing, playing the clarinet, and writing are just some of her favorite things. After teaching English in small town named Zhangjiagang in China for about a year, she moved to Germany and is now living there – where she believes her routes set. Thais speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Galician and German fluently. Her great grandmother is Austrian, and her dad encouraged her to start picking up the language at a very early age.

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About the book –  ‘Good vibes’

The book was based on real-life stories of the three women who started off having a hard life and were able to turn things around. By writing ‘Good Vibes’, the author brought some more significant messages to her readers: ‘Everybody has made mistakes, everybody has hurt someone’s feelings and some people have done even worse but that doesn’t make them any less worthy of redemption then you. What it does mean is that they need some extra help to get to the point they need to be. What they need is a helping hand, kind words, and guidance. This is what everyone needs at some point or another and there’s nothing wrong with that, that’s normal! Take the time to see the good side of the people around you, but before you do that, take a good look in the mirror. But don’t just look at what’s on the outside…’

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Thais also mentioned: ‘When I worked in customer service, my favorite stories to tell were the ones about the crazy bitchy angry customers, who just needed somebody to listen to them. Nobody has probably really listened to them because they could not get past the giant brick wall of “bitch”. After being treated badly so many times in life, they slowly built this wall around them as a defense mechanism. Then when somebody come around and actually listens to them, these walls fall down and the real person is able to come out. Some people are ready for that. Some are not. But I’m going to try to help if I can.’

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Everybody needs a hand sometimes…and everybody can use some good vibes! Find her book on kindle here.

Thais Ribeiro - Good vibes

Top 7 Experiences Traveling Vietnam As A Digital Nomad

‘Travelling across Vietnam wasn’t just a tour, it was a tale’, said Oliver Astrologo (check out his video of Vietnam here!), For me, traveling Vietnam was a life-time experience perceived by not just a Vietnamese, but one that has traveling and lived abroad for years. Exploring Vietnam got me from being curious to thrilled and shocked to see Vietnam. After traveling throughout Europe and living as a marketing student turned digital nomad for 5 years, I came back to my country to explore my routes and to seek the ‘feeling of being home again’! I did not know my own country has been this beautiful, and these best things I could imagine as a traveler were happening right next to me, but nowhere further as I was searching for adventures. Here are the best experiences traveling Vietnam to me as a digital nomad, and probably many other travelers who have been to the country where there is way much more than just remainings from the war with Americans.

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Cruising through Ha Long Bay UNESCO Heritage

A must-visit destination in Northern Vietnam is without double Halong Bay. You can choose a luxurious cruise, or book a day tour on the spot, both of which are great! You probably wont know where to start as Ha Long is too big and almost every travel agencies in Hanoi would try to sell you tours or party cruises. Just make sure not to miss out important spots such as Thien Cung Cave and Lan Ha Bay (close to Ha Long Bay, near Cat Ba Island). Kayaking is a must-do. Jumping from the cliff is possible, but optional.

You probably wont like it for the first time to visit Ha Long! For many people, the bay looks overcrowded and dirty as you kayak through some corners. However, having traveled to Halong for several times, I could see the different beauty of the bay: whether during the mystic spring time or through magical sunset.
Top experiences traveling Vietnam - travel Ha Long Bay
Top experiences traveling Vietnam - Lazalee cruise
Chilling on L’Azalee Cruise
Top experiences traveling Vietnam - visit Ha Long Bay

Explore Cat Ba’s hundreds of dazzling Islands 

Besides Hoi An, Cat Ba is certainly the second best destination of mine in Vietnam, and the best choice of visit in Northern Vietnam. The Cat Ba archipelago, consisting of 367 islands spanning 260 km2 (100 sq mi), has everything of a paradise for all sorts of travelers. Empty beaches, a breath-taking bay, gorgeous mountains, a massive national park, top-notched seafood choices – Cat Ba as it all! You can spend one day exploring the bay on a local boat and then go kayaking, the next day trekking trough the National Park and then try some adventurous mountain climbing. Though Cat Ba is not as well advertised by the country as Ha Long Bay, visiting the island is still more highly recommended outside the peak season. You wont enjoy the real Cat Ba during the crowded summer months.
Top experiences traveling Vietnam - visit Cat Ba Island

 

Top experiences traveling Vietnam - Le Pont Bungalow hostel
Breakfast at le Pont Bungalow hostel

Top experiences traveling Vietnam - kayak in Lan Ha Bay

Taking the boat ride in Ninh Binh through the caves and karsts

 
Chosen as one of the filming locations of Kong – Skull Island, besides Quang Binh and Ha Long, Ninh Binh is definitely a natural gem to explore while traveling Northern Vietnam. This little town is filled with tons of spiritual and historical attractions (Bai Dinh Pagoda, Hoa Cu Ancient Capital); stunning caves (Hang Mua, Tuyet Tinh Coc), gorgeous limestone mountains, and stunning rice paddies surrounding peaceful river flows. You will be amazed while taking a boat ride through Tam Coc or Trang An, as these natural landscapes are simply unbelievably beautiful!
 
Experiences traveling Vietnam - Ninh Binh Valley Homestay
Ninh Binh Valley Homestay

Top experiences traveling Vietnam - boat tour in Ninh Binh

Trek through the rice terraces in Sapa

The best experience in Sapa I had was neither to take the cable car up the Fansipan mount nor capture a panoramic view of the colourful houses from Ham Rong park, but to trek through the villages and rice fields. It is amazing to see how these little people of ethnic groups can grow themselves such impressive rice terraces in a remote area like Sapa.
Top experiences traveling Vietnam - visit Gem Valley Art Gallery
Gem Valley Art Gallery (Restaurant & Homestay)

Top experiences traveling Vietnam - see rice terraces in Sapa

Riding the scooter or cycling around Hoi An

Ask travelers who have been to Vietnam to pick the top-rated destination and the majority would go for Hoi An. Not just experience of cycling through the old central towns of this ancient pedestrianised city is magical, but also to walk through the temple and congration halls, or watch Hoi An glowing on the waterfront from a local boat is majestic! If you are into adventurous riding, experience driving through the dangerous mountain passes in Ha Giang or Sapa too!

Grooving and working by the beach in Southern Vietnam

I was never a kind of traveler in the mood to relax on the sea shore, enjoy drinking coconut and watching the sunrise. Checking the must-see spots off my list, trekking the national parks, hiking up the mount or cruising through the bay have always been stirring my heart and soul more than get-away vacations. However, adoring the seaside of Vietnam gives me rather adventurous thrills rather than the will to rest and have for myself a treat. There are dozens kinds of natural beaches that you could find near Da Nang, Quy Nhon, Nha Trang and Mui Ne. These are all landscape gems made by Mother of Nature! It’s incredible to witness how breath-taking and endless the coastlines in Vietnam are! Book your one-way ticket plus a top-notched bungalow style home-stay in Quy Nhon and come see them with your own eyes!
Trải nghiệm du lịch Việt Nam ở Quy Nhơn tại bãi tắm Hoàng Hậu
working by the beach at Life's A Beach Guesthouse
working by the beach at Life’s A Beach Guesthouse

 

Trải nghiệm du lịch Việt Nam ở Quy Nhơn ngắm bãi tắm Tiên Sa

Having plenty of cafe options to work from remotely in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh

It was nice for me to not just enjoy the experiences traveling through Vietnam, but also to live and work as a digital nomad. The dynamic working environment and booming start-up create tons of opportunities for young people to grow and sell themselves. Working remotely in Hanoi is convenient thanks to a decent number of authentic co-working spaces (e.g. UP, Toong, HanoiHub, Moonwork), and the massive number of cafes – all of which with free wifi and diverse range of drinks offered.
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Toong Co-working Space
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HanoiHub Co-working Space
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Moonwork Co-working Space
Everyday spent in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh is still exploring and discovering new places for me! I could literally pick a different cafe to work per day, and take weeks to visit all the nice ones. Try some recommended places below that I have been to (to be updated):
Hoan Kiem District (Old Quarter): Ifeel (lake view), Avalon (lake view), Chachago (close to beer corner and party area), Highlands (lake view), NEST AIA, Helio,
Ba Dinh District (near the Mausoleum): Xofa, Highland,
Tay Ho District (West Lake area where the expats live): Xuan Dieu street is full of options
Thanh Xuan District (south): Firefly (large space)
Dong Da District: Bui Xuyen Viet (travel theme)
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What It’s Like To Travel Alone As An Asian Girl

Having travelled across Europe and Asia since 2011, mostly solo, I have had my ups and downs before officially becoming a digital nomad nowadays. Most people would say that traveling alone is not easy, and certainly not for everyone. However, I believe going full-time solo is one of the best way to learn, experience and develop yourself and skills set that can be achieved only by being solo travelettes. Below you will find a detailed listing of problems I faced when traveling throughout Asia and Europe, and how to overcome them. I believe many people had the same issues. Hope this article would help women across Asia to travel better and longer.

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Everyone was wondering why I traveled alone in Asia

 
To travel within Asia and Europe is a huge difference in terms of culture, food and so on. However, it is still fascinating for me to see and experience how people treat solo female travellers differs between these two continents. When I was backpacking alone in Europe, most locals were very welcoming and amazed by the fact that I was bold and brave enough to wander by myself. Many people helped me as I was alone and new to the surrounding, regardless of having lived in Europe for years.
Nevertheless, to travel alone as an Asian girl in Asia still seems to remain a strange concept. It’s ok though if you are a white backpacker. Otherwise most people would hang out as a couple or in a group. Even in Vietnam, some locals would feel pity for me as I was eating alone in a restaurant (by my own choice). The good thing was they tried to be my company then. Most of the cases, Vietnamese were just asking me where my boyfriend, family or companions were. My Family, most of my friends and even colleagues who work with me remotely were probably also worried that something bad would happen to me. So far, nothing significant did!
How-to: Despite the time that I really had to work alone or spend some time for myself, I would always approach people around when traveling – who I believe would be able to have valued conversation with. The best thing about traveling alone is to get to know new people easily, but be wise about who to pick. You do not want to waste time with people who dont share the same values. The locals and experienced traveler are the ones to look out for help!

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Hidden racism and discrimination

Being an open-minded and internationally oriented person, I always find it hard to tolerate any sort of racism and discrimination, even the slightest ones. I did not experience any major racism when I was living and traveling in Europe. However, it was sometimes funny to face comments (for example, about my eyes or skin colour) or questions like: ‘How come your English is so good?’ or ’Can I take a photo with you?’ (simply because the person never met an Asian before!). This was in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In Asia, the story is different. When I was in Thailand or Singapore, most people would speak Thai or Chinese to me as I looked like a local. This is great as the chance is get ripped off as a tourist is less! In Vietnam, many locals would treat western people nicer than locals, but watch out when they try to charge  you double the real price!
How-to: do not worry about coming from a developing country and learn to be flexible. In Europe, I was warmly welcomed at a hostel in Montenegro and stayed for free simply because of the first Vietnamese person to stay there. People are excited about new things, and perhaps ’exotic’ people too!

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Dating and relationship

In fact, many solo travelettes and digital nomad cannot afford to be in a long-term relationship as we dont stay in a fixed location for too long. Despite hating long distance relationship a lot, I got myself mostly into lDR or short-term flings. What other choice do you have when you happen to meet the person that you believed was ’the one’, but to fall for him? It turned out that being in a stable relationship never worked out for me. Therefore, I chose to be alone and attached to family, friends and potential partners.
How-to: Being single and not married before 30 in Asia and especially Vietnam is such a forbidden thing, for real! However, I have met different western people that chose to stay single by 30 or even 40, and are happy with it. It’s important to find the right date, right boyfriend, and right life-time partner. But it has to be at the right place and time. If you cant dedicate enough time and effort for long distances, do not force yourself to be in a serious relationship!

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Health problems

 
We travelettes suffer hell lots of health problem on the road. That could be any issue with with your stomach, back, hair, skin, etc. Staying fit and gorgeous is quite a mission impossible when traveling for many girls, including myself. You simply enjoyed the sun, the food, or the experiences so much that you tend to forget simple things for a girl to do on a daily basis to take care of yourself. In 2016, I moved back to Vietnam due to my health issue, which was the same for my Austrian friend who was working while traveling the world by herself as well.
How-to: there are different ways to maintain your heath and beauty on the road. Drinking lots of water, keeping your skin away from strong UV lights, going for sporty activities instead of relaxed luxury trips are some examples. When I get the time to be back home, I would spend afternoons doing work-outs, having facial masks and hair treatment. Even while being abroad, I try to keep track of these small activities though it’s hard to ‘feel like home anywhere’!
 

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Put aside beauty and shopping

 
Shopping was more of a hobby than passion for me when I was a teenager. I initially wanted to become a fashion blogger, but turned travel and lifestyle blogger because of getting biten by the travel bug. Shopping was also something I had to cut off since the beginning of my journey as a travelette. I simply cannot afford to pack tons of clothes in a carry-on luggage, which would be the only thing I take when traveling. Plus, I’d rather spend for flight tickets in Europe, which can be even cheaper than a pairs of jeans.
How-to: I tend to dress simple but also nicely when traveling, not just for the photographs but also to make sure I dont look like a wandering backpacker but more like a local. To mix and match, pack and wear different layers help to keep you warm and reasonably fashionable on the road!

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Visa issue

 
Many travelers from Asia cannot travel to most of the countries in the West, unless you are from Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, etc. Even if you can, it’s only possible to stay under 30 days, or 90 days maximum. I was only allowed to visit something around 50 countries around the world with my green Vietnamese passport. However, the whole situation changed as I started my bachelor in Finland. This gave me access to visit not just 26 nations in Schengen area, but a few more within Europe (e.g. Russia and the Balkan countries). It was such a great privilege and chance for me to see the world.
How-to: You can always easily apply for a visa to other countries in Asia, as long as you ensure a stable income and well planned itinerary.
 

Experience Quest – The First International Festival In Vietnam

Held in the beautiful premises of Son Tinh Camp at Ba Vi, less than an hour driving from the capital city Hanoi, Quest is an international festival combined with outdoor camping – a communal celebration of music, arts and interpersonal connection amongst nature. Ques Festival is a 3-day escape for both local and foreigners, who came to Vietnam to enjoy diverse forms of art. More than 150 artists, festival enthusiasts and the event organizers including over 100 volunteers (counting for more than a thousand people in total), gather around this gorgeous space just for these special experiences, taking place once a year every November.

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The story of Quest

4 years ago, Quest was formed by a small group of expats and locals in Hanoi, with the idea to bring the brand new international festival concept to Vietnam. During that time and even till today, there is no such event at a similar scale. Quest started with only couples of hundred attendants, expanding more than a thousand this year. Highly drawn to the event from its unique concept, bustling vibe and growing popularity, many artists from different part of the world signed up to play, even without having their flight from the other half of the world covered.
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Questival offers the whole 3-day package of diverse art – music – performance – workshop

From Acoustic to Hip-Hop, Electronic to Rock, Folk to Heavy Metal, Quest’s live music program has it all! While there were above 30 bands playing throughout the whole festival, the most spectacular show to me were well performed by Kylian and Vegeance. Their set was a mind-blowing sophisticated compilation of electronic DJ set, violin play combined with singing. Emily (Kylian) and Attiss Ngo (Vegeance) were both young talented producers and artists originally from the US. Besides having artists coming from 5 continents, Quest also welcome local talents, including some of the most impressive Vietnamese rappers and beat-boxers I have seen.
One of the coolest workshops was Yoga, taking place every morning. You would find a wide variety of other interesting options including: belly dance, playing different instruments, etc. At Quest, not only do you get to see the performance, but also to actually get your hands on the art.
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The vibe of freedom and escape

At Quest, you are free to express yourself! This is true in many ways – either dressing, performing, or enjoying all sorts of music, arts and culture you could find from around the world. Whether you’d not bother to look as casual (and probably messy too), or dress up in lots of fancy and expensive layers of costumes, we all feel welcomed at Quest. Most artists do tend to look very edgy, vintage or hippy.
I had tons of fun putting on facial arts at the festival. There’s even a workshop area where you can have your face and body painted. Frequent questers have their costumes well done and prepared long time ahead. You can check different out Quest theme each year, costume guide and ideas on their website. And don’t be shy to show some skin too. Vietnam is quite a traditional and slightly conservative country in terms of dressing out, but at Quest, it’s important to be yourself!
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Partying is definitely counts a big part!

Be well prepared for partying hard, drink and dance from day till dawn. From evening till late night (9PM – 2AM), you’d feel the best energies out of the event. This is when the best DJs and artists rock the shows at main stages within the same time set. So make sure to scroll around the premise, in order not to miss any spectacular performance. Once the crazy parties are over, I love watching people doing nothing but chilling, lying besides the shores, or floating above the lake watching sunset.
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Things to consider

As this is not going to be anything like a promotional article, I must mention several drawbacks of Quest. Like any other good festivals, it is a big mess! And it is certainly one of the FUN parts of it! Do not bring along anything way to expensive, as you do not want to lose it while being tipsy at the event, or have it stolen from your camp by the worst scenario. Most of the toilets are not clean, though there were cleaners working on site from time to time. I did not shower for days as my ankle was broken several days before the event (yet I decided that I must show up at Quest!). Nevertheless, the lake is dazzling, where you should definitely enjoy your time swimming and chilling.
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Đọc bài viết bằng tiếng Việt tại đây.

My Top 7 Hostel Experiences As A Nomad In Europe

Would you go for money or experiences when booking accommodation for your next Europe trip? Think twice – you can have it all here! Take a glance at some of the most unique, quality and affordable hostels in Europe below. After 7 months of nomading throughout the continent as a solo female,  here are my top 7 hostel experiences for low-budget travelers who can now be thrilled to spend approximately 5 to 10 EUR per night in one of these selected places during low season.

Celica Art Hostel (Ljubljana, Slovenia) – No.1 hippest hostel in the world 

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Located not very far away from the historic centre of Ljubljana, in the city of Metelkova, the ex-prison Hostel Celica was rated by lonely planet as the No.1 hippest hostel in the world. Experience the night behind bars from 20 former prison cells. These are some of the most fantastic artworks in town, designed by 80 local an international artists who renovated the previously abandoned building and transformed it into a social centre for travelers nowadays. Celica is located in the underground hippy city of Metelkova – an alternative culture community with plenty of art gallery, artists studios, LGBT spaces, cultural organizations and clubs featuring different types of alternative music. Celica has a space for art exhibition and some thrilling underground areas, both of which I could entered for free.

Read more about Celica Art Hostel here.

Franz Ferdinand (Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina) – Yugoslavia history and art in one place

 

-5While strolling around the capital city of Bosnia & Herzegovina that survived the war 50 years ago and is now growing drastically as a top destination in the Balkans area, one must consider spending a night at Franz Ferdinand. This first and only boutique hostel of Sarajevo is known for its interior designed by young  architects who transformed the Austro-Hungarian building into story-telling spaces. Nowadays, you can enjoy versatile art concepts through massive artworks on the walls that embed aspiring history of the country during the 1st World War.

Charlie Rockets Hostel (Bruges, Belgium) – bustling bar found in a classic movie theatre

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In what used to be the biggest movie theatre in Bruges, Charlie Rockets Hostel is now one of the most trendy cafes and hostels with a very unique interior design that differs itself from other cafes and bars. The walls are wrapped artistically with newspapers, a massive chandelier along with various Christmas decorations are hung from the ceiling in the main lounge. This creates a colourful, yet medieval atmosphere for the hostel. Charlie Rocket has an indoor bar, a pool room with five tables and lively on-going atmosphere.

Read more about Charlie Rockets here.

United Hostel Frankfurt (Germany) – impressive art and lightning

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One of the most impressive things about United Hostel Frankfurt is their versatile collection of artworks, all of which were bought by the owner from a French artist, displayed throughout the whole building. Dont be surprised to find an Old English Theatre on the ground floor of United Hostel Frankfurt, just by the corner. Yes you have not read it wrong! This stunning theatre with a dazzling LED lightning system can hold up to over 100 people, hosting a wide range of events such as movie nights, live bands’ performances and discotheques.

Read more about United Hostel Frankfurt here.

Old Town Kotor (Kotor, Montenegro)

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The most impressive, eye-catching feature about the Old Town Kotor is its interior design. From the moment you walk in, you will be immediately attracted to the stone walls, vintage looking furniture, antiques and typical classic artworks of Montenegro. Experience spending a night within old walls of Montenegro, enjoy delicious dinner and breakfast served only at 4 EUR in total, and the vibrant atmosphere of both premises ran by Old Town Kotor.

Read more about Old Town Kotor Hostel here.

We-Bologna (Bologna, Italy) – a stunning modern hostel and residence

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Built based on the concept of bringing guests and students to live together, We-Bologna is one of the newest accommodations in town. Is is run as both a hostel and a dormitory. The student-friendly environment is one of the things I liked the most about We-Bologna. With 250 beds located in a highly modern premise, We-Bologna did not cease to amaze me with its mini cinema room on the ground floor, a contemporary style study room, and the open-air green surroundings.

Read more about We-Bologna here.

Urban Garden Hostel (Lisbon, Portugal) – my favourite of all

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Among all of these unique experiences, my favourite of all was the night spent at Urban Garden Hostel in Lisbon. After leaving my couchsurfing host due to an unexpected incident, I changed my accommodation to the nearest hostel where I was warmly welcome with a free beer. And every guests can get a free check-in beer, yay for that! They serve free breakfast with pancake (not those typical boring cereals packages and bread with jam), and decent vegetarian dinner offered at only 3 EUR. Keep in mind that though Portugal is the place to be for foodies, it is not easy to find vegetarian dishes around!

Read more about Urban Garden Hostel here.

Source: Trip101

10 things to put on your 2016 Travel Resolution – Germany

This month is the most exciting time to plan your annual travel bucket list again. While most nomads are keen to backpack in Asia or go on a get-away trip in South America, I would stay in Germany for many reasons. After years of traveling in Europe and many months spent in Germany, I can say this country never get me bored with its rich history, diverse culture, splendid landscapes and fun people to hang out with. Thus I have created this concrete list of the top 10 things for all sorts of travellers must try here.

10. Adore the most visited cathedral in Germany

Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral, also known as the Kölner Dom, is probably the most famous and oldest building of Cologne. There are about 6 million visits to the Dom annually, making it the most visited cathedral in Germany. Cologne is also popular for its annual carnival taking place every February.

9. Walk through the Red Light District in Frankfurt

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Known for its versatile cultures and lifestyles, Frankfurt is undoubtedly one of the most interesting city in Germany I ever visited. Right at the Station Quarter near the main station, there are many legal brothels, strip bars, sex shops, adult clubs, and pornographic cinemas. You will be surprised to find here not only prostitutes and drug dealers but bankers, students and rich people in the same neighbourhood. Photos are usually not allowed in this area.

8. Go on a shopping spree at the longest pedestrian street of Europe

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The small city Heidelberg is not only famous for its gorgeous castle but also its longest shopping street in Europe. This traffic-free street offers an excellent location for the real pleasure of shopping at countless boutiques, speciality shops and chilling at various coffee shops and restaurants.

7. Party in Berlin

Berlin is one the most well-known cities in Germany for its intense and alternative clubbing culture. The city never seems to sleep. You can find here all sorts of places for a great night out: from the most erotic clubs like the Kitkat, gay bar like the Schwuz to indie places like the Comet Club. Berlin is also famous for the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Wall and the Checkpoint Charlie – a symbol of the Cold War dividing the East Berlin and West Berlin in the past.

6. Take a boat tour in Hamburg

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If you love port cities and waterways, come to this town of the so-called Hamburgers! With its harbour being the heart of the city, Hamburg offers great views on Binnenalster and Speicherstadt, especially on sunny days as you can view the old small houses lying along the rivers. Remember to take a boat tour here to adore the sunset view, watching the small boats as they pass by.

5. Drink beer

As one of the best specialties in Germany is beer, dont miss out the weekly beer tasting night at your hostel. Check out Five Elements Hostel in Frankfurt – they usually organize beer tasting night, pasta night, pub-crawls, free walking tours and other events for guests. After few beers, you will be ready to explore the German nightlife and fall in love with it!

4. Try the second best kebap in Europe

The Turkish have originally brought their kebap to the multicultural Germany and created another version to suits the German taste. Hence nowadays you can find one of the best kebaps in Europe in Berlin. This is an awesome snack for after-parties, along with fries.

3. Experience Oktoberfest

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Oktoberfest is so famous that every year this world’s largest beer festival draws over 6 million people around the world to come together to Munich. During these 16 days of celebration people put on their best Bavarian outfits, drink beer by litre since noon, eat traditional Bavarian food and listen to live bands performing at various tents while singing and dancing all day.

2. Go to a Christmas Market

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The famous Christmas market is a worldwide tradition and a great excitement for both children and adults throughout Germany. The magic of German Christmas Markets attracts such a huge number of visitors that every December millions of travelers come to Germany to taste a cup of Gluhwein, enjoy Germany’s traditional food and experience the Christmas atmosphere that you can find nowhere else.

1. Visit a castle in the real-life fairy tale

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Germany and especially Bavaria region is well-known for castles which are like in your dream fairy-tales. Some of the most famous ones is the Neuschwanstein Castle built by King Ludwig II in Schwangau and the Heidelberg Castle in Heidelberg city close to Frankfurt (about 1 hour by bus).

How I Travel 17 EU Countries At 22 On Low Budget

After 4 years of experiencing all the ups & downs of student life whilst traveling on and off around Europe, I was questioned by many friends about how I afforded time and money to travel every now and then. Thus I decided to write this post, realizing I was blessed to have such an amazing opportunity to travel to 17 European countries without spending so much.

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My journey started when I decided to move from Vietnam to Finland to pursue business bachelor at the age of 18. Coming from a middle-class family, I had to save, work part-time and do my university study at the same time, especially in one of the most expensive countries in Scandinavia. Nevertheless, I took advantage of my 4-year Schengen visa and traveled as much as I could.

1517499_667650409945387_744604126_nOn 2011 I moved to Rovaniemi – the hometown of Santa Clause village located in the north of Finland, where snow, reindeer, and as low temperature as -20 degree is no surprise. Studying abroad while living far from home for the first time in a totally different culture was a huge shock and challenge for a young girl coming from a small country.

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After few months, a classmate invited me to Italy together to explore the country, where spent 11 days somewhat one-third of the savings I brought to Finland for half a year of living. Though the cost was high, I enjoyed Italy so much and knew I had to travel more. Later on, I luckily figured out how to travel cheap so I can see more of Europe without cutting on my other expenses.

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In 2012, I decided to move to Helsinki where connections to other cities are better. Here you can easily take a cruise with Tallinn/Sijia line, which offers 0-Euro or discount ticket to customers sometimes to Tallinn (Estonia), Stockholm (Sweden) and Saint Petersburg (Russia); or cheap flights (Norwegian Airlines) to Scandinavian countries like Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.
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In 2013, I used some of the savings from my summer job to visit Estonia (Tallinn), Lithuania (Vilnius), Latvia (Riga) and Poland (Warsaw, Krakow). This trip was designed by a friend of mine who is a well-experienced traveler, thus we saved a lot by traveling by cruise, Eurolines Bus, and Baltic Airlines. We stayed overnight on boat, buses and at our friends in Warsaw to save the accommodation expense.

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Fascinated by the gorgeous classic European architecture of Poland and how sweet Polish people are, I decided to go back there in summer 2014 for an internship with AIESEC – the world’s largest student organization. Working as a freelance blogger in Szczecin for SzczecinAloud enabled me to stay in a residence, eat in restaurants, and attend festivals for free. Here I’d travel to different parts of Poland and Germany (Berlin) with Polish train, buses, and airlines which offer 1-euro ticket sometimes.

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The last autumn 2014, I decided to take another huge step of my student life and take the 6-month Erasmus Program in the Netherlands (Groningen), which changed my life completely and opened up my world with so many new connections with people from all over the world. Here I got supported with my home university’s Erasmus grant and worked also as a freelance blogger for GroningenLife, which helped me cover part of the expenses.

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Like in Poland, it’s easy to travel within different cities of the Netherlands (Amsterdam, the Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Eindhoven, etc) with the 7-euro day ticket for a group of 10 people with NS train, which allow you to go to any part of the Netherlands within 24 hours. Here I started using Couch-surfing and Blablacar a lot to save, which I also did in Belgium (Brussels and Antwerp).

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After 6 months in the Netherlands, I met amazing people from all over the world especially Germany, Spain, and France. This was why I decided to take another big challenge and designed a root to 6 different cities in 5 countries (Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic) in 2 weeks. In these places, I’d stay with friends, at hostels and move around with Ryanair, Norwegian, BlaBlacar and take free walking tours.

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Through my journey, I’d worked as a volunteer, promoter, and freelancers on and off. I slowly developed different personal travel blogs, leading me to the marketing & freelance writing field which I never knew I’s enjoy this much. Since January 2015, I started working online for LittleLives – an education technology company based in Singapore. This work allowed me to travel after graduation to Greece, where I again couch-surfed in Crete & Athens.

The journey so far has been incredible, and I am looking forward to being seeing the rest of Europe before heading back to sweet home Asia!