A Complete Travel Guide to Bali

by Drew on March 30, 2016 50 comments

*I’ve been to Bali twice and spent a total of 3 weeks on the island.  I absolutely love it!  Inside of this Bali Travel Guide, I am going to give you an overview of the island, and provide travel tips and recommendations for things like culture, attractions, food, nightlife and more. Everything you read is based off my own experiences.

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DrewA Complete Travel Guide to Bali

Visit Myanmar, With Green Wood Tourism

by Drew on March 24, 2016 No comments

As you may have noticed by reading my blog, Myanmar (Burma) is one of my favorite countries in the world. I had the chance to go on a 2-week backpacking trip to Myanmar in early 2015, and I had the time of my life.

Why did I fall in love with Myanmar? What makes this country different from its neighbors in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia)?

Here are 3 reasons:

The People – Burmese people are so kind and welcoming. It’s almost over-the-top how incredible their service is and their overall kindness towards you. Even if they can’t speak English, they will greet you with a big white smile and say “Minglaba” which means “Hello!”

The Food – The food in Myanmar is kind of a mixture between Indian and Thai. With sour, spicy, and tasty flavors combined, you can never go wrong! My favorite dish is Shan Noodles, a special noodle dish found in the Shan Region of the country – and it’s only about 60 cents (USD) per serving.

The Culture – Myanmar is predominantly a Buddhist country, and some of the temples and palaces are spectacular. Specifically the golden Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, and the tens-of-thousands of 11th century temples in the ancient city of Bagan. You have to check it out!

So, you want to visit Myanmar, but how will you plan your trip?

It’s my pleasure to introduce to you a lovely company called Green Wood Tourism. They are a great tour company in Myanmar, fully licensed under the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism and registered as a member of the UMTA (Union of Myanmar Travel Association).

Green Wood Tourism offers great package deals for tours with friendly service and a great price! They can also provide a personal itinerary for a holiday in Myanmar to suit your needs.

Some of the services that Green Wood Tourism offers are:

– flight bookings (International and domestic)
– car rentals
– sightseeings
– tour guides (customized)
– package tours around the country
– hotel bookings
– and more!

On their website, they have a statement saying, “We assure you that we do our very best to make your leisure time a worthwhile experience with our services that include clean comfortable accommodations, delicious local cuisines, going for sightseeing not only delightful to see but also knowledgeable, while ensuring your safety as well.”

You are guaranteed to have a unique, personal and memorable experience by using Green Wood Tourism, and I highly recommend using them to guide your trip!

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DrewVisit Myanmar, With Green Wood Tourism

5 Things to do With Locals in Bali

by Drew on March 11, 2016 1 comment

Bali is one of the most magnificent islands in the world. I am about to embark on my second visit to this tropical Indonesian paradise next week because I’m hooked on the culture, lifestyle and natural beauty!

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Drew5 Things to do With Locals in Bali

A Travel Guide to Manila

by Drew on March 10, 2016 5 comments

I’ve been to Manila 3 times for a total of 10 days spent in the city.  In this blog post, I’m going to give you an overview of the city, and provide travel tips and recommendations for things like culture, attractions, food, nightlife and more. Everything you read is based off my own experiences.

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DrewA Travel Guide to Manila

Meal #14: Surf & Turf Burger

by Drew on February 20, 2016 No comments

Thank you for tuning into episode #14 of Monday’s Marvelous Meals!

In this interview-based food series, you’ll learn about the world’s tastiest cuisines from other travelers and travel bloggers.

In today’s episode, I am thrilled to host fellow Arizona native Cameron (A.K.A. Cam Escapes) talk about his favorite Danish specialty.  Make sure to listen closely, because he gives a great description of the amazing dish that will make your taste buds go crazy!

If you want to be the next person featured in this series, then please contact me with your favorite meal and I will send you the guidelines.  My aim is to cover all cuisines of the globe, so please try to contribute a meal that hasn’t already been covered.

Ok, now I’ll let Cameron take over!

Meet Cameron:

Cameron is an Arizona native with a background in social work. Six months ago he quit his job and got rid of nearly everything that wouldn’t fit into a backpack. He left Arizona behind and has been traveling across Europe ever since. Soon he will be heading to Southeast Asia.

Cameron loves all types of food but his passion is street food. During his travels, he searches out the best street food in each city and hopes that by writing about it, others can enjoy his favorites as well. He also enjoys writing about local culture and general travel tips.

You can follow his travel experiences on his blog, Cam Escapes, as well as Facebook and Instagram.

Question 1: Please share the name of this meal, and carefully describe what the magical ingredients are.

The best meal I’ve had while traveling so far is called the Overload Surf & Turf Burger. It starts with a massive beef patty, gooey 3-cheese sauce, crispy bacon and onions that are sautéed in whisky. Then shrimp and scallops are grilled and stacked on top. This all balances on a tiny sourdough bun. They ran out of toothpicks when I was there, otherwise the sweet potato fries would have been stacked on top as well. For me, the fries were served on the side with garlic aioli. Everything was incredible! It was a challenge to eat but that was part of the fun.

Question 2: Where did you eat this meal? Did you discover it while you were traveling or did you previously know about it?

I had this burger at Fish Art Street Food on Paper Island in Copenhagen. I wasn’t aware of Fish Art Street Food or Paper Island prior to traveling to there. A friend and local foodie who lives there told me about it and I’m so glad she did!

Question 3: How much money did it cost, and where do you recommend to find it?

The burger goes for $18 US. This is on the higher end for street food but considering I was in Copenhagen, it was a fair price for such an incredible burger. Fish Art Street Food is one of 32 indoor street food vendors in Paper Island. It’s just across the water from Copenhagen’s New Harbor. There’s a lot of great food offered there with a variety of cuisines. I recommend that everyone who visits Copenhagen should check out Paper Island.

Question 4: What is your overall favorite cuisine in the world? What makes it so damn tasty?

I love street food but if I have to pick a specific type of cuisine, Korean is my favorite. I love cooking on the tabletop grills, sharing the experience with a group of friends and trying 20 or 25 different flavors. I love how all of the little banchan dishes can be eaten on their own or tried with each bite. Each person can have their own favorites. Korean food offers a high level of quality, versatile flavors and affordable prices. Those are the three key areas I’m looking for when I decide on where to eat. I can’t wait to head to Seoul soon and try all of their local street food as well!

Question 5: Eating is my #1 favorite part about traveling. Why do you think it’s so important to eat local food when you travel abroad?

I completely agree. I think it’s important to eat the local food for two reasons. First, you’ll likely be exposed to new flavors and cooking techniques. I recently saw people cooking food in enclosed clay pots in Cappadocia, Turkey. I hadn’t seen that before, it was really interesting. The second reason is because it tells you something about the people and their culture. Whether they eat a lot of meat or vegetables, if they’re fresh or pickled and if they eat individually or in large groups, family style. These all tell you one thing or another. I think that’s really interesting. I love it.

Thanks for sharing, Cameron! What’s your favorite dish around the world?

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DrewMeal #14: Surf & Turf Burger

Party #14: Coachella with Mimi

by Drew on February 18, 2016 No comments

Welcome to the 14th edition of my series “A Party to Remember!”

I apologize for the long delay from the last episode… I’ve been quite busy working on my travel series in LA!

In this interview-based web series, you’ll learn about the best parties and nightlife all over the world from other travelers and travel bloggers.

Today, I am thrilled to feature an awesome travel blogger named Mimi, who is going to share her experience at Coachella Music Festival in California.   This fest is HIGH on my list to attend, and after hearing what she had to say, I am fully convinced to go next year!

If you want to be the next person featured in this series, then please contact me with your party idea and I will send you the guidelines.  My aim is to cover nightlife all over the globe, so please try to contribute a party that hasn’t already been covered.

Ok, now I’ll let Mimi take over!

Meet Mimi

Mimi is a California girl who recently spent the last two years living abroad in Oceania. She’s done everything from jumping out of a plane in New Zealand, to eating snakes in Vietnam, learning how to cook in Italy, and even scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

She’s currently based in the Pacific Northwest for the next year, and blogs about slow travel, craft beer escapades, festivals, and outdoor adventures on her blog, The Atlas Heart.

You can join Mimi’s travels on Facebook and Instagram.

Question 1: What What was the party/event and where was it?

Coachella Music Festival 2012! Every year around April, a mass of music lovers come together In the inhospitable California desert to dance and enjoy live music from the top and/or up and coming artists of the year. Coachella was one of the original California music festivals, starting in 1999, and arguably still one of the most popular festivals in the country, and even the world. There are a ton of international party-goers that come to California each year for the sole purpose of attending this festival.

Coachella 1

The Coachella stages have hosted some of the greatest musicians throughout the years and 2012 was no  exception.

The week that I went was unbearably hot at over 100 degrees for 3 days straight. Even with the heat, we managed to have a ridiculously good time. At the time, I had never been to a music festival that was as large as Coachella, and I was blown away by the perfect acoustics and variety of acts. I rocked out to The Arctic Monkeys, swayed to the feels of Bon Iver, and danced all night long for the likes of Calvin Harris, Martin Solveig, Dada Life, and Swedish House Mafia. Oh, and I saw Tupac’s hologram rapping up a  storm.

It was, without a doubt, a weekend to remember.

Question 2: How did you hear about this party/event? Did you stumble upon it, or plan to go?

I had been wanting to go to Coachella since I started college in Southern California and heard about it constantly. It sounded exactly like the type of atmosphere I would love, and three days of straight music was a dream come true for me. Also, I had just turned 21 so I thought it was finally the perfect time to experience the famous festival.

As I mentioned before, Coachella was the first large festival I went to so I wanted to do it right the first time around. Once I got a group together with a few of my sorority sisters and bought my ticket, I was excited to hit the road en route to the dusty hot desert.


Question 3: Did anything funny or ‘out of the ordinary happen that night? Please share the story. 

Let’s see, where do I even begin? Coachella is another animal all together, you never know what will come next or what crazy thing someone is going to do. However, we did have a pretty funny story in our own camp.

When we were packing for the festival, we snuck in a handle of silver tequila mixed in with our 24-pack of water, we just filled a few water bottles with tequila and put them in the middle of the case so no one could tell the difference.

Well, we were camping and the line for the shower was over two hours long with no shade. One of my campmates was over feeling sticky and gross from the heat and just wanted to dunk her head with water, so she quickly grabbed a water bottle, forgetting some of them still had tequila in them. You can guess which type of “water” she picked, and she poured the whole bottle on her head. Needless to say, she waited in the hot sun for a shower after that.

In terms of the actual festival – the last act of the festival with Snoop Dogg was hilarious. He not only left the stage for a few minutes to smoke a joint with his buddies, but introduced the epic Tupac hologram that people would be talking about for weeks after the festival.

Coachella 2012

Question 4: What were the top 3 highlights from that night?

  1. The Do-Lab – The Do-Lab was this genius part of the festival, located in between all the stages. The area had music to dance to, water misters in a circle cooling people off, and best of all, a stage of people using machine water guns to get us soaked. It was the best highlight of our days to head to the Do-Lab between sets to cool off and wash off the  heat.
  2. Calvin Harris Set – I didn’t realize how much I love live electronic music until I went to Coachella. Calvin Harris put on a phenomenal set and everything worked so well in terms of the people, the atmosphere, and his trippy lights. When “Feel So Close’ came on, the whole crowd was on their feet dancing and singing their lungs out in unison, linking arms and spreading the love around – it was perfect.
  3. Seeing Radiohead & Bon Iver for the first time – My two favorite artists of ALL time, Radiohead and Bon Iver, not only both played at the 2012 Coachella, but played back-to-back on the same night. I was in heaven listening to both of their sets live for the first time, I still can’t think of a better concert moment to this day. Honestly, if I had just seen them at Coachella, my experience would’ve still been  complete.

Calvin Harris

Question 5: What advice can you give for anyone else that wants to attend this event and party like you did?

  • Go Camping! Even if you’re not a camping type of person, it’s a completely different experience when you’re in the action and the midst of it all. I’ve tried both camping and off site accommodation for the festival, and nothing beats sharing a beer with your tent neighbor or walking around the campground after a night of music, meeting the mot random and friendly people.
  • If you’re camping, bring baby wipes and a canopy. We forgot the canopy and we had to either find another friend at the festival, or find little pockets of shade around our car, the heat was that unbearable. Rookie mistake! Baby wipes are just a necessary means to an end when the shower line can be up to 3 hours wait time. No one wants to wait in that unless you can’t stand the thought of not taking a shower for 3 days.
  • Bring in alcohol and whatever else you need but be smart about it. You are allowed to bring in a “reasonable” amount if you’re over 21, which is equivalent to 1 case of beer per person, but whatever you do don’t bring glass! If you want to bring more than that or other substances, just don’t be obvious! The people checking cars don’t really care, they’re just volunteers, but don’t make their job awkward by being that clueless guy in line.
  • Enjoy it and actually listen to the music. Coachella has changed a lot in the last few years, and I’m sure even before that. It has become less about the music and more about the fashion and “being seen”, but don’t forget to enjoy why it’s there in the first place: to bring together a love of music. There’s seriously nothing better if you enjoy it for what it is.

Question 6: Which city do you think has the best nightlife?

That’s a hard one! I’d have to say that Melbourne, Australia has a unique nightlife that I really grew to love while I was living there. I especially like how much it’s centered around live music and eccentric bar concepts. They have everything from upscale clubs, craft beer pubs, to bars that serve cocktails in teacups and have waiters walking around in tennis getups. Also, rooftop bars – it’s hard to beat rooftop bars in Melbourne and a late night dumpling run after the night is done.

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, Mimi! Have YOU ever been to Coachella?

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DrewParty #14: Coachella with Mimi

5 Unique Bars Around the World

by Drew on February 16, 2016 No comments

What’s better than finding awesome and unique bars around the world?

After a long and hard day of sightseeing and walking around the city, sometimes all you need is a glass of cold beer or a nice glass of wine. Of course, there are tons of places where tourists love to hang out after all-day long tours, but yet, some bars are so exceptional that deserve a separate story!

Before you head out on your trip, be sure to check out Travel Ticker to find the best hotel deals! I will now present you with five of the most amazing bars all around the globe 🙂

Underwater Bar – Israel

Red Sea Stars Bar is considered one of the most original bars in Israel because of its location – it is located in about 5 meters under water. While you are sipping your cocktail, you can watch the colorful fish and plants in the depths through bar’s small windows, so it is truly an experience to have a drink here.

Moreover, Marine theme is embraced in the interior as well. You can literally sit on chairs that look like jellyfishes while one room’s floor in this bar is entirely covered with sand. If you are afraid of dark waters – not a problem. The bar has a venue over water you can also enjoy your drink at.

Trippy Ruin Bar – Budapest

Photo by Emma D on Flickr

The Famous Ruin Bars of Budapest were built 50 years ago in the old district VII (the old Jewish quarter) in the ruins of abandoned buildings or lots. Every ruin bar is different- they look like normal bars from the outside and the inside is hip, lively, artsy, and funky with loud music, lots of bars, crazy cool decorations and loud music.

Szimpla is the most famous ruin bar in Budapest, and it’w awesome! It is very artsy and hipster with so many interesting decorations all over the walls.  The crowd is a great mix of locals and foreigners, mostly young and outgoing.

During the day, this place is a farmer’s market, and by night, it turns into an insane bar!

The rooms are so random, like one room has a chill atmosphere with people hanging out, smoking hookah, and listening to Bob Marley — whereas the next room will be raging to techno music with blacklights on the walls and people are ripping shots.

Underground Cave Bar – Prague

Photo by Brandon B on Flickr

I spent a LOT of time in this bar when I was studying abroad in Prague in 2012.

When you walk in the door, your first impression ofU Sudu is no more than an ordinary bar…  But as you keep walking and turning corners, you will keep discovering new rooms underground, in a cave-like set up.  There are about 6 different rooms all spread out from each other, and several bars to get your favorite drinks.  You literally feel like you are inside a cave when wandering around this bar- that is why it is so unique.

There are always people there everyday of the week- mostly locals but also some foreigners who have heard about this secret bar.  U Sudu is the best place to meet with a group of friends before going out to a club or wherever the night takes you.  In each dim-lit room, there is always different music, bringing on different vibes constantly.  Don’t miss out on the fun at U Sudu!

Winter Wonderland – Canada

Photo by Paul F. on Flickr

Canada’s Quebec City-based Ice Bar (Inside the Hotel de Glace) can be visited only from January to March because then it dissolves – there is not even a ground there you can have your drink at.

Yes! This bar is literally made from ice, so dress code in here is all-you-can-wear to keep you warm! And do take this advice seriously – everything from walls to tables and chairs are made of ice, so you don’t want to get your bottoms frozen in here.

A 5 Star Oasis – UAE

Photo by Kelley Anne on Flickr

The last bar I would love to visit one day is literally located in a middle of the desert – Bab Al Shams bar is in the United Arab Emirates and the middle of the wasteland.

Although the view in this bar is not much more than the high dunes and starry sky, there is no shortage of people here. It takes only 40 minutes by car to drive here from Dubai, so people are often coming here to spend a romantic evening and enjoy exquisite drinks.

It is also worth mentioning that here you can also book a stay at a hotel. So if you want to spend your holidays in the desert, you can do it a five-star way.

What are your favorite bars around the world? 

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Drew5 Unique Bars Around the World