Where to Stay in Aguas Calientes

Where to stay in Aguas Calientes, the doorway to Machu Picchu

Aguas Calientes is a small village on the Urubamba river, located in the Cusco region of Peru, South America. The village is mainly known as the tourist resting point upon visiting Machu Picchu. Besides the ancient monuments, the area has plenty of other natural beauty and resources to offer.

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How to get to Aguas Calientes

Getting to the village can be achieved in two ways:

  1. By direct train from the city of Cusco or village of Ollantaytambo
  2. By bus to Hidroelectrica, and then on foot or by train to the village

Best areas to stay in Aguas Calientes

The village is small, and wherever you choose to stay, everything you might want to visit should be a maximum of 15 minutes away. The town only has 4,500 residents, but thousands of tourists that come to sightsee are there every day. Here are our favorite neighborhoods:

  • Machu Picchu Station
  • Ave Pachacutec
  • Estación Peru Rail a Hidroeléctrica

Here’s a quick breakdown of why these locations are the best.

Where to stay in Aguas Calientes
Best area for first-timers Machu Picchu Station
Best area to stay on a budget Ave Pachacutec
Best for long-term stay Estación Peru Rail a Hidroeléctrica

Best area for first-timers—Machu Picchu Station

Machu Picchu Station is your likeliest point of entry to the village, as it’s done by railway from Cusco. This is where most visitors decide to stay in. The central area around the station is the most developed for tourists since it has the highest circulation of them. It’s also home to plenty of inner-village attractions like the Cancha Football stadium, and there are plenty of shops and restaurants around the area. As the most developed tourist area, it’s the ideal place for first-time visitors.

Best area to stay on a budget—Ave Pachacutec

Ave Pachacutec is a large street connecting a mostly residential area. It is full of local and family-owned businesses, so the prices for food, accommodation, and basic souvenirs may be lower than in the more touristy parts of the city. This makes it the best location if you’re traveling on a budget. The area is also quieter and less crowded with tourists than the rest of the village.

Best area for long-term stay—Estacion Peru Rail a Hidroeléctrica

If you’re entering the village of Aguas Calientes from Hidroelectrica either by foot or train, this is the area you’re going to end up in first. It is close, as well as connected by road, to the most important monuments that everyone comes to see, such as Machu Picchu, Phutuq K’usi, Chávez Ballon Archeological Museum, etc. It’s also the closest area to the two village’s hospitals and the police station if either is necessary. This, along with its location near major tourist attractions, makes it best for a long-term stay.

What to see and do in the village of Aguas Calientes

The village itself is so small that splitting things to do into areas doesn’t make sense. Everything is within walking distance, so here’s a list of 10 attractions nearby. They are in no particular order, so pick and choose what to see and do as you’d like.

Machu Picchu

If you’ve decided to visit this charming village, there’s a 99% chance Machu Picchu is the #1 reason. Machu Picchu is an ancient settlement of the people known as Inca. The remains of the city are located on the mountain of the same name, at an astounding 2,430m (7,970 ft) above sea level. The city is known as one of the New Seven Wonders of The World and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is the main reason for tourists to visit Peru and especially Aguas Calientes. Getting to the ancient site can be done in two ways:

  • By bus that runs from the local town, takes about 30 minutes
  • By walking from the village, about a 2-hour hike

Those who are physically capable of making the hike are highly recommended to do so, as the scenery and open-air are much better enjoyed that way. Plus, you get to make stops for some epic views and photographs.

Source: Pixabay

Mercado Artesanal

Mercado Artesanal is a cool marketplace in the center of the Aguas Calientes. The stands are full of mostly handcrafted items, such as statues, bags, clothing, and more. There are also things like tea, spices, and coffee, although not much food. It’s the ideal place to get a bunch of souvenirs from your Machu Picchu trip. Be prepared to bargain, as similar items may vary in price from shop to shop. Other smaller gift shops around the area are also known for housing the same items at lesser prices, so keep that in mind if you don’t mind waiting.

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Inca Trail

What is known as the classic Inca Trail is a set of dirt roads (hiking tracks) that connect most of the ancient Inca sites around the area. Machu Picchu is the most famous, but far from the only monument left by the Incas. Just exploring the dense forests and hilltops in the area is an activity in itself. However, most places are only reachable by foot and recommended to those who can withstand multiple hours of walking through uneven fields. Most sites are a long walking distance away from the village, which is why many tourists go in groups and set up camp to spend the night. If you’re not in the mood for sleeping in a tent, ask for bus tours or bike rides to the locations.

Source: Inca Trail Peru

Patallacta

When translated, the name Patallacta means “Settlement on a platform”. What remains of this ancient village leaves plenty of evidence of it being used for religious and ceremonial purposes. The remains of shrines, temples, and tombs can be found all around the area. Getting to the location from Aguas Calientes may prove difficult on foot unless you’re willing to camp out or settle nearby. If you want to avoid tiring hikes, ask around for sightseeing tours.

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Inca Bridge

Fearless hikers looking for a thrill should look just south of Aguas Calientes for the Inca Bridge. The trail leading to the area gets narrower as you come closer to the middle. Eventually, you end up walking on a less than a meter wide trail on the hillside. It’s definitely not recommended for people who are afraid of heights, as even experienced climbers are left feeling uneasy. Remember, just don’t look down, and you’ll be fine! Those willing to take this road will be rewarded with some of the most beautiful mountain landscapes in the world.

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Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo is a small village settlement next to an ancient Inca settlement. It served as a royal estate to emperor Pachacuti, who is credited for leading the largest expansion of the Inca empire through his conquests. During the early invasions of the Spanish conquistadores, Ollantaytambo was used as a stronghold and housed the native people’s resistance. Many tourists going to Aguas Calientes will come through Ollantaytambo by train. In case you chose another path, use the same train to visit Ollantaytambo instead. Explore the village to find some local food and souvenirs, then head over to the terraces for a view of the area.

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Dead Woman’s Pass

Behind the noticeably sinister name is a rather normal sight to be seen, so to speak. This passageway between two mountain peaks along the Inca Trails got its name because it resembles a typical female body shape when observed from above. The pass is the highest hiking point along the trail, standing at 4,200m (13,780 ft). That’s almost twice as high as Machu Picchu itself! It is a must-see place on all Inca Trails sightseeing tours. Still, it’s a bit far from Aguas Calientes to cover in a single day’s hike, so you will have to settle for camping out or resting at nearby resorts.

Source: Instagram @anitaawu

Putucusi 

Putucusi (Phutuq K’usi) is a mountain peak just west of Aguas Calientes. Getting there takes little time, but it’s not nearly as easy to reach as some of the other mountain peaks. This one is an adventurer’s dream. The pathway leading to it is extremely harsh, and there are no beaten paths to follow. Most of the time, you’ll find yourself walking through the forest.

Eventually, once the mountain gets too steep, the only way up is by wooden ladders and ropes that are set up by the locals. No, that is not a joke. This is a seriously risky path for inexperienced climbers and those with low stamina. However, those who make it to the top are rewarded with a 360-degree view of the mountain surroundings. From the top, you will see Machu Picchu as well as the river valley. Those brave enough to climb it will literally find themselves in the clouds. Going up!

Source: Instagram @sweetspottravels

Temple of the Moon

The name itself holds no intrinsic meaning to the Incas. It was given more or less randomly by modern explorers. Although the exact usage of the temple is unknown, it is speculated that it was used for ceremonial purposes. A giant rock carving in the center of the cave is guessed to be a throne. The remains of the site are located inside a narrow, open-face cave. Evidence around the archeological site suggests it could have been used as a place of worship, a royal residence, or even a tomb. Most likely, it served multiple purposes over time.

Source: Martin St-Amant – Wikipedia – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Los Jardines de Mandor

When translated into English, the name of this site means Mandor gardens. This nature preserve is located about an hour’s walk from Aguas Calientes and can only be accessed by foot for a reason. The land is privately owned, meaning you’ll have to pay to get access to it. There is a reception office along the way. However, by paying to visit the reserve, you aren’t just filling someone’s pockets. The family that lives in and maintains the area has been doing so for three generations and can even be considered single-handedly responsible for the preservation and development of the surrounding flora and fauna. Along the way, you’ll be able to observe many species of plants and animals living peacefully in the gardens. At the end of the hike, you’ll be greeted by a waterfall.

Source: Instagram @jardinesdemandor

Where to Stay in Madrid

Where to stay in Madrid—The center of all the roads in Spain

A place where history and modernity meet, Madrid is an exciting city to visit. The landscape of the entire city is filled with something for everybody—museums, galleries, historical and cultural landmarks, clubs, pubs, bars, shops, restaurants—you name it, and Madrid has got it.

Madrid is considered to be the heart and soul of art and nightlife in Spain. Some of the more prominent and well-known tourist attractions and sightseeing locations include The Royal Palace of Madrid, Plaza Mayor, Puerta de Alcalá, and many more.

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5 best neighborhoods to stay in Madrid

The neighborhoods in Madrid are known as barrios, and there are well over a hundred of them scattered among twenty-one districts.

These are our picks for the top 5 best neighborhoods:

  1. La Latina
  2. Sol
  3. Malasaña
  4. Lavapiés
  5. Barrio de las Letras
Neighborhoods in Madrid
Best for expats La Latina A neighborhood located in the Centro district. Ideal for long-term visitors. During the day, it feels like any other busy city, but during the night, it comes to life. You can see people sitting around in cafes and bars, relaxing after a long day.
Best for first-timers Sol Situated in the heart of Madrid, Sol is close to all the sights that should be seen, as well as restaurants and shops. Most of the shops and restaurants have English speakers, so you don’t have to worry about the language barrier.
Best for party animals Malasaña The hub of Madrid’s nightlife. With bars, clubs, and pubs to spare, Malasaña is the place to be if you want to party like there’s no tomorrow.
Best for budget travelers Lavapiés One of the more affordable barrios in Madrid that has still retained its old charm and appeal.
Best for bohemians Barrio de las Letras One of many neighborhoods full of culturally relevant and significant places. Perfect for those who want to dive into the culture and art scene of Madrid.

Transportation in Madrid

 

 

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Like any major city, Madrid has an efficient and reliable public transportation system. You can move through the city via bus, metro, taxis, trains, and electric bikes.

Buses cover the whole city, and they typically run from 6 am to 11:30 pm. There are also some buses that run during the night time, covering the time period between 11:55 pm and 5:30 am. A one-way ticket costs €1.50, but you have the option of buying a metrobús which enables you to ride the bus and metro 10 times for a fee of €12.20.

Madrid has one of the longest metro systems in the world. This is one of the fastest and most reliable ways to get around the city. When it comes to the type of tickets, there are one-way tickets which cost around €1.50–2, the aforementioned metrobús, and tickets that get you to and from the airport for around €4.50–5.00.

Cercanía is the name of the train system in Madrid. The trains usually operate between 5 am and midnight. There are seven zones, and each of them has a different ticket price. For additional information on how this works, check out this website.

Taxis are another way to move around the city, but they are a bit pricier. Beware of taxi scammers, since there are drivers who will try to take you on longer routes in order to charge more. Another piece of advice is to write down the address and to keep an eye on the meter.

Renting an electric bike is a green way to move around and explore the city. If you want to learn more about how it works, check out the official website.

Where to stay in Madrid long term—La Latina

Known for its narrow streets and large squares, La Latina covers most of the oldest section of Madrid. Full of hidden gems in the narrow streets, this neighborhood is a unique blend of traditional and modern. The history of the city is visible pretty much everywhere. Besides having a number of mesmerizing landmarks, La Latina has quite the number of tapas bars. We picked this neighborhood for long term visitors because it is full of charm, and it is close to all the other areas and neighborhoods of Madrid.

Things to see and do in La Latina

These are our picks for things to do:

  • Juana La Loca
  • Plaza de la Cebada
  • Church of San Andrés

Juana La Loca

A restaurant in La Latina which serves traditional Spanish food. Enjoy some of those delicious tapas.

Image source: foodie_guide_miam

Plaza de la Cebada

One of the most well-known squares in La Latina, here you can see a number of vendors, street art, and performers.

 

Image source: sr.irregular

San Andrés Church

A beautiful and remarkable church which you should definitely visit when exploring the city.

Image source: m_socarras

Where to stay in Madrid for the first time—Sol

Smack in the heart of Madrid, Sol is a neighborhood full of energy and excitement. Every year it sees a great number of tourists, so there are a lot of places where you can find someone who speaks English, which is great if you are a first-time visitor and your Spanish isn’t the best.

Things to see and do in Sol

Here are some of our picks for things to see and do:

  • Gran Vía
  • Chocolatería San Ginés
  • Puerta del Sol

Gran Vía

One of the best-known streets in Madrid, occasionally referred to as the Spanish Broadway, Gran Vía is located in the center of Madrid. It is packed with shops, bars, cinemas, restaurants, as well as gorgeous architecture.

 

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Chocolatería San Ginés

Satisfy your sweet tooth with some delicious sweets. This chocolatería is open 24 hours and is best known for churros with chocolate.

Image source: jm_nimmer

Puerta del Sol

Here is another famous square, whose name means Gate of the Sun. This is the square from which New Year’s celebration is broadcast on television and the home to some great landmarks.

Image source: elisa.vespucci

Where to stay in Madrid for nightlife—Malasaña

A neighborhood where young people, as well as those looking for a vibrant atmosphere, gather and meet. Known for its youthful and fun energy, Malasaña has an abundance of bars, pubs, and clubs.

Things to see and do in Malasaña

Here are some of our suggestions for a good time out:

  • La Vía Láctea
  • El Penta
  • Tupper Ware

La Vía Láctea

A bar that plays a variety of music and serves delicious drinks.

Image source: camilolara

Lucy In The Sky Club

Experience a true Spanish night out, with excellent music and an enticing atmosphere.

Image source: lucyintheskyclub

Tupper Ware

A club with an easy-going vibe and 60s and 70s feel and decorations.

Image source: jbotet

Where to Stay in Manila

Where to stay in Manila, the city of action and adventure

If you’re looking for the perfect vacation destination in the Philippines, Manila is the city that has it all. Amazing nightlife, rich culture and history, great food, and a bunch of fun and engaging activities make Manila one of the most popular tourist hotspots in the world. The tropical climate is obviously a huge bonus. This is a massive city, which can make your search for where to stay in Manila quite challenging. We have decided to make things easier for you with our list of the top five neighborhoods in the city.

Image by Dylan Gonzales from Pixabay

Transportation in Manila

Public transport in Manila will make it simple to get from one point to another. You can use the Point to Point (P2P) buses, LRT and MRT Railway lines, jeepneys, and taxis. All of these are quite affordable. It’s also possible to rent a car, but you’ll need an international driver’s license. Learn more about Manila’s public transport here.

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Five best neighborhoods to stay in Manila, Philippines

As the capital and largest city in the Philippines, Manila is huge. The city is divided into 16 different districts, each with its own charm and historical value. Things can easily get overwhelming when you’re looking where to stay in Manila, Philippines, which is why we did the work for you. Here are our top five neighborhoods for staying in Manila:

  1. Makati
  2. Poblacion
  3. Malate
  4. Quezon City
  5. Intramuros

We used the following factors for the final list:

  1. The vibe and atmosphere of the area
  2. Historical and cultural importance
  3. Fun things you can see and do
  4. Safety of the area
  5. Accommodation cost
  6. Ease of transport
Best neighborhoods to stay in Manila
Makati For a first-time visit Clean, safe, with plenty of attractions
Poblacion For a budget-friendly stay Hip, lively, and affordable area
Malate For nightlife fun Safe area with plenty of bars and clubs
Quezon City For a cool and boho vibe Creative and edgy neighborhood
Intramuros For families/long-term stay An old and historically important part of the city

Image by TheDigitalWay from Pixabay

Where to stay in Manila on your first visit – Makati

Makati is a high-end, central area of the city that won’t leave you with a moment to feel bored. The area is full of great restaurants, fashionable shops, fun clubs, and historical landmarks. The green spaces are truly breathtaking and ideal for getting away from the city’s hustle and bustle.

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Where to go in Makati

  • Explore the parks and museums
  • Enjoy the partying, eating, and shopping

Best for outdoor and history lovers: Washington SyCip Park

Washington SyCip Park will leave you breathless. This gorgeous green space is ideal for relaxation and nice and mindful strolls after shopping and sightseeing. If you want to learn more about the culture and history of the city, head to the Ayala Museum.

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Best for foodies, shoppers, and party-goers: Greenbelt

The Greenbelt mall is a must-stop for everyone who wants to experience high-end shopping. Shopping enthusiasts should also visit Glorietta. Greenbelt has plenty of awesome places for everyone. Black Market is the vibrant hotspot for fun nightlife. You can’t go wrong with The Exit Bar, The Penthouse 8747, and Blind Pig either. For tasty cuisine, head straight to Sala and the Milkyway Café.

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Where to stay in Manila, Philippines on a budget – Poblacion

Poblacion may be the city’s former red-light district, but now is the lively and hip place within Makati, ideal for the budget stay. It’s also famous for its vibrant nightlife and great restaurants.

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Where to go in Poblacion

  • Treat your palate at amazing Poblacion’s restaurants and eateries
  • Enjoy some fun time at local bars, cafes, and clubs

Best for foodies: Tambai Yakitori Snackhouse

Tambai Yakitori Snackhouse is the most popular restaurant in the area for everyone who wants to taste some local specialties. Lobo also has a great Filipino menu. Asian Fare at Crying Tiger Street Kitchen and Alamat Filipino Pub and Deli are also worth your time.

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Best for partying and booze: Joe’s Brew

Joe’s Brew is the best place in the area to get refreshing craft beer. Dr Wine is also very popular, especially if you want to drink your night away in a great atmosphere. Commune is the true hotspot for all coffee lovers.

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Where to stay in Manila for nightlife – Malate

You can’t go wrong with Malate when you’re looking where to stay in Manila for some wild nightlife fun. The neighborhood is safe, which makes it easier to party all night long. Malate also has important cultural and historical sights together with fancy restaurants to complete your enjoyment.

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Where to go in Malate

  • Party, drink, and dance at popular bars and clubs
  • Eat the best food at hip restaurants and eateries

Best for party-goers: Club ZZYZX

If you don’t want the party to end, head to the Club ZZYZX and get wild from dusk till dawn. Verano Taft is also a great place to dance your night away. Local Caven Resto Bar has some of the best selection of drinks, while bar1951 is immensely popular for its live music shows.

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Best for foodies: Bourn Food Station

Bourn Food Station and Café Adriatico are some of the best places to treat your palate with delicious dishes. Purple Yam, Café Havana, and The Chillout Project Kitchen & Bar are also deservingly popular.

Image Source: bournfoodstation

Where to stay in Manila, Philippines for a bohemian vibe – Quezon City

Those of you interested in the coolest Manila neighborhood should definitely stay in Quezon City. The area is booming with creativity, youthfulness, edginess, and boho spirit. This is the place where you’ll find a bunch of hip bars and restaurants, together with cat cafes and unique boutiques. It’s also considered to be a foodie paradise in Manila.

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Where to go in Quezon City

  • Explore the national park and historical buildings
  • Party, enjoy refreshing drinks, and try delicious food

Best for outdoor and history enthusiasts: Quezon Memorial Circle

Quezon Memorial Circle is the national park in Manila, located in the traffic circle. Its elliptical shape, stunning sculptures, and picturesque greenery make it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Manila. This is also the neighborhood where you’ll find one of the oldest churches in the Philippines, called the Santuario de San Pedro Bautista Parish.

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Best for foodies and party people: Off the Grill Bar

Quezon City has a lot to offer to everyone who enjoys good food and partying. Off the Grill Bar and The Nautilus Bar are popular hotspots, but you should definitely check out Ma Mon Luk, The Manor Superclub, and The Distillery Eastwood, too.

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Where to stay in Manila long-term – Intramuros

Surrounded by the Spanish 16th-century walls, Intramuros is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, perfect for everyone looking where to stay in Manila, Philippines with their families or for a longer period. This is the cultural and historical hotspot of Manila with amazing green spaces and great restaurants.

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Where to go in Intramuros

  • Explore the historical and cultural sites
  • Relax at parks and enjoy some fun activities

Best for history buffs: Fort Santiago

Fort Santiago includes a museum and a park, located within the 17th-century stone fortress. It’s a must-visit for every history fan. Make sure to check out Manila Cathedral, Bahay Tsinoy, the museum and gardens of San Agustin Church, and the fortification Baluarte de San Diego.

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Best for relaxation and fun: Rizal Park

Rizal Park is the idyllic area in Intramuros where you can rest or take a stroll to immerse yourself in the natural beauties. If you want to get some souvenirs, go to the Mananzan Handicrafts and then satisfy your sweet cravings at Cioccolata – Churros Café. You can also get a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, called calesa.

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Where to Stay in Okinawa

Where to stay in Okinawa, the tropical paradise of Japan

Thanks to its rich and interesting history and culture, Japan has plenty to offer as a popular tourist destination. In the south of Japan’s main archipelago is a group of islands known as Okinawa, which is one of the favorite hotspots for international and local travelers alike. The islands are a true tropical paradise with pleasantly warm temperatures and pristine waters throughout the year. We have created a list of the best areas to make things less overwhelming for those of you looking where to stay in Okinawa for your next travel adventure.

Image by Joshua Bouchard from Pixabay

Transportation in Okinawa

Main public transport in Okinawa involves a Yui Rail monorail, buses, and taxis. It’s still more convenient to rent a car, motorcycle, or even a bicycle to get around if you want unlimited freedom to explore Okinawa. You’ll need a license for driving in Japan if you want to rent a car. Learn more about it here.

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Five best neighborhoods to stay in Okinawa

Okinawa is a group of islands in the East China Sea, perfect for everyone who wants to explore Japan in a tropical atmosphere. Snorkeling and diving are immensely popular, but there are also plenty of shops, restaurants, gardens, old castles and temples, and a jungle waiting to be explored.

If you’re looking for the best neighborhood to stay in, make sure to check out our top picks:

  1. Nago
  2. Iriomote
  3. Naha
  4. Ishigaki
  5. Kerama Islands

For our neighborhood roundup, we used several factors to pick the best areas for your stay:

  1. The atmosphere and vibe of the area
  2. Interesting things to do and see
  3. The cultural and historical importance
  4. Neighborhood safety
  5. Ease of transport
  6. Accommodation cost
Best neighborhoods to stay in Okinawa
Nago For a first-time visit Natural and wildlife paradise
Iriomote For a budget-friendly stay Jungle and tropical forests
Naha For nightlife fun The largest city with sandy beaches
Ishigaki For a cool and boho vibe A place with beautiful beaches
Kerama Islands For families/long-term stay Hotspot for diving and snorkeling

Image by knpknp from Pixabay

Where to stay in Okinawa for the first time – Nago

Nago is a buzzing city in the north of Okinawa’s main island, ideal for your first-time visit. It has an amazing beach, but there are other options to keep you entertained. The Busena Marine Park is a great way to learn more about the area’s marine life, while Pineapple Park will let you learn more about pineapples in a fun and unique way.

Image Source: jennijoneal

Where to go in Nago

  • Enjoy the amazing marine and wildlife of the island
  • Learn more about the island’s history and culture

Best for nature lovers: Busena Marine Park

At the Busena Marine Park, you’ll be able to visit the underwater structure, so that you can watch and learn more about marine life without having to get into the water. You can also visit the Neo Park Zoo if you want to check out the island’s wildlife. And Pineapple Park is definitely worth a visit if you’re interested in something different and special.

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Best for history buffs: the Nago Museum

If you want to learn more about Okinawa’s culture and history, head to the Nago Museum. It effectively represents the shift from the past to the modern lifestyle of the island. One of the most popular exhibits includes the giant clam shell weighing more than 200 kg.

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Where to stay in Okinawa on a budget – Iriomote

The second-largest Okinawa island is Iriomote, home to the National Park and a place mostly covered by tropical forests and jungle. This is the best place to stay in Okinawa for nature lovers and people looking to explore the area on a budget. River cruises, hiking, and beach fun are the main activities on Iriomote.

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Where to go in Iriomote

  • Hit the Urauchi river to explore the area
  • Hike and dive to get the adrenaline pumping

Best for newbie explorers: Urauchi river

Iriomote is the ideal place to get in touch with nature and check out the beautiful scenery, flora, fauna, and marine life of the area. In case you’re not an experienced adventurer, it would be best to get a kayak or join the cruise on the Urauchi river.

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Best for experienced adventurers: Manta Way

In case you have more experience with natural explorations and wildlife, don’t miss the opportunity to dive in Manta Way and swim together with manta rays. If you prefer hiking, you’d definitely enjoy the 20-kilometer hiking path in the middle of the island.

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Where to stay in Okinawa for nightlife – Naha

Naha is the capital of Okinawa and the biggest city on the main island. This is where the main airport is located, which is why the place is filled with tourists. The small beach in the city is really popular, and there are also plenty of other fun activities. History buffs will adore Shuri Castle, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is packed with bars and clubs, as well as lovely local shops.

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Where to go in Naha

  • Shop around and eat delicious local specialties
  • Explore the ancient sites and marvel at the architecture

Best for foodies and shopping fans: Kokusai Dori

At Kokusai Dori, you’ll be able to find the most curious items that will satisfy your souvenir needs. Make sure to visit the Tsuboya Pottery District, too if you’re interested in local pottery work. Soba noodles are the local specialty, so don’t hesitate to treat yourself with some at the Shuri Soba restaurant.

Best for history buffs: Shuri Castle

As a UNESCO World Heritage site, Shuri Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Naha. It dates from the 14th century. For almost 500 years, it was used as the royal court and administrative center of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Today, it holds huge historical importance for Okinawa and Japan.

Image Source: japonismo

Where to stay in Okinawa for the bohemian vibe – Ishigaki

Ishigaki is one of the Okinawa islands considered to be the coolest place in the area with some of the most gorgeous beaches. It’s also a great place to try out diving and snorkeling. Ishigaki is a paradise for foodies and it also has some fun activities for people interested in historical and cultural sightseeing.

Image Source: atsushi_okiphoto

Where to go in Ishigaki

  • Explore and relax at Ishigaki’s popular beaches
  • Check out the museum
  • Try out local delicacies

Best for relaxation and water sports: Ishigaki beaches

If you’re looking where to stay in Okinawa for a sandy paradise, Ishigaki is the best place. Yonehara Beach, Sukuji Beach, and Sunset Beach are the most popular hotspots where you can also engage in diving and snorkeling.

Image Source: juhudel

Best for history buffs: Yaeyama Museum

In case you want to learn more about Okinawa and Ishigaki, pay a visit to the Yaeyama Museum, and immerse yourself in the archaeology, history, art, and folk traditions of the area.

Image Source: marc_hungrylawyer

Best for foodies: Ishigaki restaurants

You can’t go wrong with any restaurants or eatery in Ishigaki. Ishigaki beef is the local specialty that is an absolute must-try during your visit. It’s even available in the form of sushi and sashimi.

Image Source: kaz.mix

Where to stay in Okinawa long-term – Kerama Islands

Those of you that decided to settle for a longer period of time in Okinawa should consider Kerama Islands. It’s also a fantastic place if you’re looking where to stay in Okinawa when traveling with your family. This is the hotspot for diving and snorkeling thanks to the amazingly clean ocean water. You can also witness the migration of humpback whales during the winter.

Image Source: tokyovisite

Where what to do in the Kerama Islands

  • Relax at the beaches, dive, and snorkel
  • Take a tour during winter months to see humpback whales

Best for nature lovers: Tokashiki and Zamami islands

Tokashiki and Zamami islands are the two most popular diving locations in Kerama Islands. Even if you’re a complete beginner, this is the place to learn how to dive. You can also snorkel and swim together with the sea turtles, or simply enjoy the sun and scenery at one of its picturesque beaches. If you’re staying in the Kerama Islands between January and March, you can easily find a cruise to check out the humpback whale migration.

Image Source: mkay2899mkay

Where to stay in Da Nang

Where to stay in Da Nang

Where to stay in Da Nang, the city of bridges

Da Nang goes by several nicknames—Tourane, City of Han River, and The City of Bridges. As one of the biggest cities in Vietnam, it has gone through the process of urbanization over the years. The history of the city can be traced back to ancient times, and throughout the centuries, Da Nang has been through a lot which is reflected in the city’s landscape and culture. Da Nang plays a key role in the region of Central Vietnam, and that’s thanks to its accessible port, which is important for the economy and trade, and a number of universities.

Image source: nature_egeo

5 best places to stay in Da Nang

There are eight districts in Da Nang – two of them are rural, whereas the remaining six are urban districts. Each of them has a number of communes. 

Here are our picks for the top 5 places to stay in Da Nang:

  1. Hải Châu 
  2. Hòa Vang 
  3. City Centre
  4. Liên Chiểu 
  5. My Khe Beach 

Where to stay in Da Nang

Best for culture vultures Hải Châu The cultural center of Da Nang filled with historical and cultural sights
Best for first-time visitors Hòa Vang The most popular tourist districts in Da Nang, home to the most iconic sights in the city 
Best long-term City Centre The most developed and urban area, as well as the business center of Da Nang 
Best budget area Liên Chiểu A quiet district filled with small cafes, local shops, and some great attractions 
Best for nightlife My Khe Beach A neighborhood lined with a number of bars and beach clubs, so it’s a great spot for partying and having fun.

Transportation in Da Nang

There are several ways of getting around the city. The cheapest way is by bus, but it is not the most convenient due to the potential long waiting period. It also takes a while to get to your destination due to the number of stops.

When it comes to taxis, there are two options – your regular, good old taxi, and Grab. Grab can be described as Vietnam’s Uber. In order to get a Grab, you need to download an app from the App Store. This option may save you a bit more money than a regular taxi. Another thing worth mentioning is that regular taxis have a meter, so you don’t have to negotiate the price and you don’t have to worry about being overcharged for your ride.

Motorcycles are the most popular mode of transportation in Da Nang. You can rent a motorcycle pretty much anywhere in the city, even at the airport. If you are feeling confident and have the skills, rent a motorcycle and explore everything Da Nang has to offer.

Where to stay in Da Nang – the culture edition: Hải Châu

Hải Châu represents the cultural hub of Da Nang.  If you decide to stay here, you can see some truly remarkable landmarks and sights. It is home to the Da Nang Cathedral, a museum, charming cafes, and other interesting sights. 

Things to see and do in Hải Châu

Here is a list of things you can visit in Hải Châu:

  • Da Nang Cathedral
  • Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture
  • Dien Hai Citadel

Da Nang Cathedral

Da Nang Cathedral was built in a Gothic style in the early decades of the 20th century. Besides being the only Catholic church in Da Nang, its most recognizable feature – and what ultimately contributed to its popularity among tourists and visitors – is its pink façade.

Image source: kanokwan_mamayaa

Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture

A museum that exhibits and showcases the collection of Cham sculpture. This museum has the largest collection of art from this ancient civilization.

Image source: gabika.sipos

Dien Hai Citadel

Once an important fortress, the Dien Hai Citadel today serves an important function as a historical landmark and a national relic.

Image source: grandmercure.danang

Where to stay in Da Nang for the first time: Hòa Vang

A little less urban and a little more rural is the best description for this district in Da Nang. It is a bit away from the hustle and bustle of the city center. Still, it has some beautiful and mesmerizing sights definitely worth visiting.

Things to see and do in Hòa Vang

Here are some ideas for places to visit while staying here:

  • Hot Spring Park
  • Fantasy Park
  • Ba Na Hills SunWorld

Hot Spring Park

Treat yourself to a relaxing day at this resort. They offer a variety of services, including the options for enjoying a mud bath or soaking in the hot spring pool. It’s a perfect way to spend a day during your holiday in Da Nang.

Image source: worldthermalsprings

Fantasy Park

Fantasy Park is an indoor amusement park located in the Ba Na Hills. This fun, exciting amusement park has rides and attractions suited for different ages and preferences.

Image source: ramiya0914

Ba Na Hills SunWorld

Ba Na Hills SunWorld is an incredibly popular tourist attraction both among the local population and foreign visitors. It consists of two levels: one which contains a massive amusement park (Fantasy Park) and a French Village, and the other level with the Golden Bridge and gardens, among other things. An impressive feat of engineering and architecture, this attraction is definitely worth a visit.

Image source: ralh1

Where to stay in Da Nang long term – City Center

The City Center is an ideal location for an expat wanting to live in this city. This is because it offers you easy access to transportation, shops, restaurants, bars, clubs, and all the other things we are used to having access to while living in an urban area. The City Center is also the heart of business and economy, and you can find a wide variety of properties.

Things to see and do in the City Center

Here are some ideas for places to visit or things to do:

  • Dragon Bridge
  • Hàn Market
  • Han River Bridge

Dragon Bridge

Da Nang didn’t earn the nickname “City of Bridges” for no reason. The Dragon Bridge is an impressive achievement of both engineering and design. And if having a dragon at one end of the bridge isn’t impressive enough, make sure to check out the fire and water show. This usually happens during the weekend.

Image source: ruben.anyone

Hàn Market

No foodie should miss the Hàn Market: a large indoor market where you can find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to clothes and house products.

Image source: elusivek

Han River Bridge

Han River Bridge is yet another impressive bridge Da Nang has to offer. It lies over the Han River, and during the night it lights up with beautiful lights in different colors.

Image source: jinstg

Where to stay in Luang Prabang

Where to stay in Luang Prabang

Where to stay in Luang Prabang, the cradle of religion and spirituality

Even if you’ve never considered going on a spiritual journey, Luang Prabang may awaken your inner religious enthusiast. Although this picturesque little town is hidden in the north of Laos, it has been one of the most beloved destinations in Asia for decades. With so many temples and gorgeous villas, it looks like a place from a fairy tale. It’s known for its laid back lifestyle, so it’s an ideal place to leave all your worries behind. If you’re wondering where to stay in Luang Pang, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. 

Photo credit: wherewemakememories

5 best neighborhoods to stay in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is an incredibly small place, and you can get anywhere you like on foot. Since you don’t have to worry about convenience, you can choose the neighborhood to stay in based on your own interests. To help you out, we have made a list of our top neighborhoods:

  1. Wat Mai
  2. Nam Khan Riverfront
  3. Wat Xiengthong
  4. Old Quarter
  5. Pakham

Where to stay in Luang Prabang

Best for the first time Wat Mai The central neighborhood in the Old Quarter where you will find all major landmarks
Best on a budget Nam Khan Riverfront An affordable area with lots of interesting places to visit
Best for bohemian souls Wat Xiengthong A gorgeous area near the estuary with interesting bars and sights
Best for nightlife Old Quarter The historical heart of the city with several great restaurants and bars
Best for expats Pakham A peaceful neighborhood close to the Old Quarter but away from the tourist crowds

Photo credit: elena_wuest

Where to stay in Luang Prabang for the first time: Wat Mai

Wat Mai is a small neighborhood in the heart of the Old Quarter, close to the Mekong waterfront. This area is Luang Prabang’s main tourist center and home to gorgeous sites. You will find temples, gardens, and monuments at every corner. It is also the most crowded part of the city and home to fantastic cafes and restaurants. As it is one of the most central areas, we recommend it to first-time visitors.

Best landmarks to visit in Wat Mai

The best thing about Wat Mai is that it is packed with all sorts of entertainment and sightseeing spots. You can visit many temples, go shopping, or even ride an elephant. Here are some of our favorite places to visit:

  • Wat Mai Monastery
  • The Royal Palace Museum
  • Haw Pha Bang
  • The Night Market
  • Elephant Village Sanctuary & Resort

The Royal Palace Museum

The Royal Palace was built under the French colonial rule for King Sisavang Vong. After the revolution that ended the monarchy, the palace was turned into a museum. It contains artifacts of immense value, as well as an impressive royal car collection. 

Photo credit: archanarjun

Where to stay in Luang Prabang on a budget: Nam Khan Riverfront

The mainland part of the Nam Kham Riverfront is an amazing place away from the tiring tourist crowds. As it is outside the Old Quarter, the prices are quite affordable. Still, it is close to the city center and you can get to the major sights on foot. 

What to see and do on Nam Kham Riverfront

Just because Nam Kham Riverfront is not the epicenter of the town’s attractions, it doesn’t mean that you will get bored in this neighborhood. This area has a lot to offer, especially in terms of sightseeing. Check out these places that we highly recommend:

  • Wat Misunarat
  • The Old French Bridge
  • Wat Mamorom
  • Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center

The Old French Bridge

The Old French Bridge is one of the most notable attractions in Luang Prabang. Although the bridge was poorly built, and only motorcycles and pedestrians can cross it, it has its charms. The view from the bridge is amazing, so you will be able to take some Instagram-worthy shots. 

Photo credit: unpetitboutdechemin

Where to stay in Luang Prabang for bohemian souls: Wat Xiengthong

The neighborhood surrounding the Wat Xiengthong temple is a place any bohemian at heart will appreciate. It is located at the very tip of the peninsula. Wat Xiengthong area is known for its many bars and restaurants, as well as several temples. It also includes a beautiful park where nature lovers can relax.

What to see and do in Wat Xiengthong area

In Wat Xiengthong, you can do all sorts of relaxing activities, from temple hopping to shopping and pampering yourself in a spa center. You will also see amazing restaurants where you can give local snacks a try. If you’re not sure where to go first, check out these amazing places:

  • Wat Xieng Thong temple
  • Burasari Heritage
  • Riverview Park
  • Le Banneton
  • Queen Design Lao

Wat Xieng Thong temple

Wat Xieng Thong is one of the most breathtaking temples in Luang Prabang. Known as the Temple of the Golden City, it was built back in the 16th century. It is a wonderful representative of Laos craftsmanship and religious devotion. 

Photo credit: pattdevdex

Where to stay in Luang Prabang for nightlife: Old Quarter

The Old Quarter is the town’s historic center and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The whole quarter is packed with wonderful sights and temples to explore. It is where the most lively neighborhoods are located, which is why we recommend it to nightlife lovers.

Where to go out in the evening in the Old Quarter

Luang Prabang isn’t a place where you can party all night long. Most places are quiet and the closing time is around 11 pm. Still, there are several great bars and restaurants where you can enjoy your evenings after a long day of sightseeing. Here are some places that have a good evening atmosphere:

  • Icon Klub
  • Chez Matt
  • Sa Sa Sunset Cruise Bar
  • Tangor Restaurant Bar & Lounge

Sa Sa Sunset Cruise and Bar

The only thing better than sipping a delicious drink is sipping it while watching the sunset from a boat. Sa Sa Sunset cruises are known for delicious food, interesting music, and an overall uplifting vibe. It’s a perfect ending to a beautiful day. 

Photo credit: krausedav

Where to stay in São Paulo

Where to stay in Sao Paulo

Where to stay in São Paulo, the city of drizzle and street carnivals

Long overshadowed by its sister city Rio De Janeiro, the city of São Paulo slowly overtook the spotlight to become the megacity it is today. One of Brazil’s most vibrant cities, it is known for its crazy weather, mixed culture, commitment to art, and diverse architecture. It also happens to be the most populated city on the South American continent. You could spend weeks exploring it, and you’ll still have plenty left to see and do.

With a city this large, it’s difficult to decide where to stay in São Paulo. To help you out, we will list the best areas and give you reasons why to pick them. Here are some top areas to consider:

  1. Centro Histórico
  2. Republica
  3. Bela Vista

We made our picks after careful consideration, based on the following factors:

  • The overall vibe of the neighborhood
  • Fun things to do and see
  • How connected the area is
  • Accommodation options
  • Safety

Where to stay in São Paulo

Best for first-timers Centro Histórico The historical center of the city with plenty of sightseeing options
Best for the nightlife Republica The most vibrant part of the city packed with clubs and bars
Best long term Bela Vista A peaceful neighborhood with all the amenities you could wish for

São Paulo transportation system

São Paulo metro map. Photo credit: Wikimedia

There are several ways you can get around São Paulo:

  1. Metro: There is a total of 15 subway and suburban railway lines run through São Paulo and connect pretty much all the important districts. São Paulo metro is fast and reliable since it plays a major part in the city’s tourist economy and connects many business sectors.
  2. Bus: Buses are plenty throughout the city, and they are frequent and reliable since the majority of citizens commute with them to work. They’re good for short distance hopping and are color-coded for the areas they pass through, making them easy to memorize.
  3. Taxi: Taxis are relatively cheap and reliable. A usual starting fee is around 4.5 reals ($1), and the price of one kilometer is about the same. Just make sure the driver uses a taximeter to avoid any unwanted “tourist taxes”.
  4. Uber: As in most modern cities, rental car services, such as Uber, are present in São Paulo. Although not necessarily cheaper than a regular taxi, they still provide the comfort and safety that attract customers to these types of services.
  5. Helicopter: Here’s a transportation method unique to São Paulo. The city has the largest fleet of helicopters in the world. The Voom service, for example, is similar to Uber and other vehicle renting services, charging passengers based on the distance traveled and weight carried. Although it’s obviously more expensive than ground transport, it’s worth checking out, if at least once for the experience. 
  6. Biking: The city has constructed over 400km (250 miles) of bicycle routes to battle its high traffic. Make use of them for short distance traveling to avoid getting stuck.

Where to stay for first-timers in São Paulo — Centro Histórico

There is no better place to start your journey through São Paulo than where it all originated from. Centro Histórico (city center) is the city’s core that brings all the pieces together. It’s a diverse combination of economic prosperity and cultural development. The district has plenty to offer for everyone.

What to see and do in Centro Histórico?

São Paulo Cathedral

The land upon which the cathedral stands has been a place of worship since early settlements in the then village of São Paulo. Construction began in 1913 under the guidance of Duarte Leopoldo e Silva, the first archbishop of São Paulo. The project was handed to German architect Maximilian Emil Hehl, who was renowned for his architectural work in Brazil.

This Neo-Gothic style megachurch stands at 111 meters (364 feet) tall and serves as a reminder of the city’s European roots and the strong spirituality among Brazilian people.

Photo credit: assembleiasp

Mercado Municipal de São Paulo

There’s no better place to experience the Brazilian taste and smell (literally) than the Marketplace of São Paulo. This legendary marketplace consists of two floors, the first floor being the shopping area and the second a restaurant. The stands are full of homegrown fruits and vegetables, coffee, spices, meat, and similar delicacies ready to intrigue your taste buds.

Although the historic building the market is housed in was built for the purpose it serves, looking at its architectural style, it reminds of elements typically found in cathedrals, such as large stained windows, pillars, tall ceiling, and a dome.

Photo credit: lubelingieri

Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo

Ancient Greek and Roman picture galleries called pinacothecas served as inspiration for the São Paulo Pinacoteca. It was founded in 1905 and established as a state museum in 1911.

Focused mainly on Brazilian art pieces from the 19th century, the museum also houses a department of European works. Most notably, you will see the works of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin, who inspired many Brazilian artists. The part of Pinacoteca devoted to his art is considered to be one of the most important art displays in Brazil.

Photo credit: lariduarteoficial

Where to stay for the nightlife in São Paulo — Republica

Republica is the area located around the Praça da República (Republic Park) and the metro station of the same name. You will find it right next to the historic city center.

Its large concentration of skyscrapers is broken by the parks and historic buildings that can be found in the area. This modern neighborhood offers plenty of things to do throughout the day and well into the night, and isn’t shy of its cultural significance either.

What to see and do in Republica

Theatro Municipal de São Paulo

The municipal theater of São Paulo was built in 1911 as a tribute to the city’s increasing presence and importance on the international stage. Architecture connoisseurs will recognize its Renaissance style and notice that its designers took inspiration from the Paris Opera House.

Home to the São Paulo Symphonic Orchestra and the city’s official ballet ensemble, its stage was graced by both the local and internationally acclaimed actors, orchestras, and opera singers.

Photo credit: theatromunicipal

Museu do Futebol

Brazilians are world-famous for their passion for football (soccer). The sport plays one of the largest cultural roles in the country. Located in the area of Estádio do Pacaembu, the most important stadium in the region of São Paulo is a museum dedicated to that passion. 

The exhibits are just as much dedicated to the players and their amazing achievements as they are to the fans without whom none of it would be possible.

One of the most beloved exhibits is the World Cup Room (Sala das Copas do Mundo) which hosts modern displays of each World Cup, from its inception in 1930 to the present day.

Photo credit: museudofutebol

Love Story Club

Known as “the house of all houses” and one of the best nightlife venues in São Paulo, Love Story Club has achieved world-famous status in the world of EDM (electronic dance music). The parties hosted in the club are known for lasting up to ten hours straight, usually starting before midnight and ending around 9 a.m. the next day. This makes the club absolutely unmissable. Whether you’ve just started your night or looking for a killer after-party, you’re bound to love this club.

In 2002, the legendary British duo Layo & Bushwacka created a song called “Love Story” to celebrate their time in São Paulo and the club.

Photo credit: Love Story

Where to stay long term in São Paulo — Bela Vista

The district of Bela Vista is the ideal location to base yourself long term for many reasons. It’s close to the city’s historic center, well-connected with public transportation, and has plenty of entertainment options to offer. What makes it ideal for living is that you can find everything you may need within the neighborhood, which makes it completely independent from other areas. Schools, shopping centers, hospitals, and similar necessities are within walking distance, and it’s a generally safe area.

What to see and do in Bela Vista?

Ibirapuera Park

Just a few blocks from Bela Vista you will find the Ibirapuera — the most visited park in South America, averaging jaw-dropping 40,000 visitors per day. While the park itself offers plenty of escape from the concrete jungle with its lakes and greenery, the real gems inside it are the many cultural and historical monuments. They include, but are not limited to:

  • São Paulo Modern Arts Museum (Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo)
  • Ibirapuera Auditorium
  • Afro-Brazilian Museum (Museu Afro Brasil)
  • Japanese Pavilion (Pavilhao Japones)

Photo credit: paulosilva087

Museu de Arte de São Paulo

The São Paulo Museum of Art is located on Paulista Avenue, one of the most recognizable streets in the city. The building was designed by Lina Bo Bardi, a famous Brazilian-Italian architect. In her effort to conserve as much of the public space as possible, she created a design that elevated the building above ground using four pillars.

Although the museum itself is a private non-profit, its founders went to great lengths to secure the best collection available. Because of their efforts, the museum now holds a priceless collection of recognizable European art, considered the finest one south of the equator.

Photo credit: masp

Some of the notable artists and paintings include, but are not limited to:

  • Portrait of a Young Man with a Golden Chain; Rembrandt, 1635
  • Portrait of Suzanne Bloch; Picasso, 1904
  • The resurrection of Christ; Raffaello, 1502
  • Virgin and Child with the Infant St. John the Baptist; Botticelli, 1490
  • The Student; Van Gogh, 1888

Livraria Cultura National Assembly

Just down the street from the Museum of Art sits the largest bookstore in all of South America: Livraria Cultura Conjunto Nacional. It is part of the Livraria Cultura bookstore chain and located in a renovated movie theater space inside the Conjunto Nacional building.

The incredible selection of books is tourist-friendly, as most of them can have the English edition as well. Apart from books, the store also houses music records, trading cards, board games, and more. It is also home to plenty of cultural events from the world of literature.

Photo credit: livraria_cultura

Where to stay in Bocas del Toro

Where to stay in Bocas del Toro, a fascinating Panamanian group of islands

Wonderful nature, fascinating coral reefs, and gorgeous beaches—Bocas del Toro has it all. This idyllic island has become Panama’s hotspot, and for a good reason. The area has plenty of entertainment and relaxation options to offer and it is still relatively affordable. With its interesting cuisine, secluded beaches, and friendly vibe, we’re sure Bocas del Toro will win your heart. 

Photo credit: bocasdeltoro.panama

5 best neighborhoods to stay in Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro is a wonderful province and whichever area you choose, you won’t regret it. It all comes down to your own preferences and needs. Bocas del Toro has both urban, lively places and peaceful, noiseless areas. To help you pick the best destination, we have selected our favorite places:

  1. Bocas Town
  2. Isla Colon
  3. Isla Carenero
  4. Big Creek
  5. The western part of Bocas Town

Our picks were based on these criteria:

  1. Natural beauty and beaches
  2. Fun things to see and do
  3. Cost of staying
  4. Location
  5. Safety
Where to stay in Bocas del Toro
Best for nightlife Bocas Town The epicenter of bars, clubs, and restaurants on the islands
Best for your first visit Isla Colon The biggest island in the province with a wide range of accommodation and entertainment options
Best for bohemian souls Isla Carenero A peaceful surfers’ paradise with outstanding nature
Best on a budget Big Creek An affordable area close to the town
Best for a long-term stay The western part of Bocas Town A neighborhood in the town, less noisy than the eastern part

Photo credit: bocasdeltoro.panama

Where to stay in Bocas del Toro for nightlife: Bocas Town

Bocas Town is the biggest town on Isla Colon and the major urban center of Bocas del Toro Province. Unlike other parts of the island, Bocas Town doesn’t have beautiful beaches and magnificent nature. Still, it is the most vibrant part of the island. This tiny town is where you will find most bars, pubs, and beach restaurants. Its nightlife is fantastic and you can attend parties that you’ll remember for years to come. 

Where to spend your evenings in Bocas Town

Bocas Town has a lot of nightlife options to offer so you will easily find places that suit your own needs. From live gigs and lively dancefloors to casual bars and pubs, whatever your inner party animal craves, the town will provide it for you. If you want to have a great time in Bocas Town, make sure to visit these places:

  • Bocas Bookstore Bar
  • Bocas Pub Cruise
  • Bom Bom Beach Bar
  • Summer Beach Club

Summer Beach Club

If you’re looking for a wild beach party with lots of people, delicious cocktails, and amazing DJs, Summer Beach Club is a place you shouldn’t miss. The atmosphere is incredible and the dancefloor is crowded at all times. The music is mostly what you can hear on current top charts but you may also discover some local hits. The club is open until 3 am so you don’t need to worry about the party ending early. 

Photo credit: summerbocasdeltorro

Where to stay in Bocas Town

Bocas Town has hundreds of hotels, hostels, and AirBnBs to offer. On average, one night will cost you around $60. Check out our favorite places:

Budget option: this whole home in the center

Midrange option: a private room in this tropical B&B.

Luxurious option: this wonderful room in a cozy guesthouse

Browse for more options here

Where to stay in Bocas del Toro for the first time — Isla Colon

Isla Colon is the main island in the Bocas del Toro Province. It is home to many wonderful beaches, cute little neighborhoods, and fantastic scenery. The island has plenty of beach activities to offer and is one of the favorite surfers’ destinations. Since it is rather small, you can move around the island easily and see all the best places on your first visit. 

What to see and do on Isla Colon

Isla Colon is full of fantastic tourist destinations. On this amazing island, you can explore stunning beaches, enjoy its natural wonders, and experiment with the local cuisine. Whatever your heart desires, you will find it on Isla Colon. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some ideas of what you could see and do:

  • Boca del Drago
  • Playa Bluff
  • Reserva natural
  • Istmito Beach
  • Bocas Town

Playa Bluff

Playa Bluff is a gorgeous, eight kilometers long beach that looks like a place you could see on a postcard. This beach paradise is known for its golden sand and coconut trees. The beach is not overcrowded and there are only a couple of bars and restaurants. If you want to try out your surfing skills or get away from the noisy tourist crowds, Playa Bluff may be an ideal place for you. 

Photo credit: scottytaylor

Where to stay on Isla Colon

Prices vary from village to village and you can choose between high-end and more affordable places. Check out our top picks:

Budget option: this lovely house near Boca del Drago

Midrange option: this fantastic house near Bluff Beach

Luxurious option: this wonderful villa on Boca del Drago beach.

You don’t like these places? Check out other options here.  

Where to stay in Bocas del Toro for bohemian souls: Isla Carenero

Isla Carenero is a small island near Isla Colon with outstanding historical significance. It is where Christopher Colombus and his crew spent a couple of months during their 1502 trip to the New World. The island is gorgeous: nature is pristine, the beaches, picturesque, and waves ideal for both the beginner and expert surfers. As the island is a bit off the beaten path, you will enjoy a peaceful and relaxing stay. What makes things even better is that it won’t take you more than two minutes in the water taxi to get to Bocas Town. 

What to do on Isla Carenero

Although the island is known for its laid back lifestyle, there are plenty of interesting things to do. Its greatest strong points are surfing, snorkeling, and kayaking. There are also several amazing restaurants specializing in seafood. In case you’re wondering where to go first, check out these places and activities:

  • Bibi’s On the Beach
  • Leaf Eaters Cafe
  • Bocas Stand Up Paddle Club
  • Escuela del Mar Surf School

Bocas Stand Up Paddle Club

Bocas Stand Up Paddle Club is Isla Carenero’s main attraction and is absolutely amazing! During these water tours, you will get to explore hidden beaches, coral reefs, and all the beauty of the Panamanian Carribean. This adventure is both exciting and eco-friendly, so it’s something no nature lover should miss. 

Photo credit: bocasstanduppaddleclub

Where to stay on Isla Carenero

Isla Carenero is full of wonderful accommodation options and one night costs around $100 on average. Check out our top picks:

Budget option: a suite in this colorful hotel.

Midrange option: a comfy room in a beach house.  

Luxurious option: this amazing house on the beach

You can browse for more options here

Where to stay in Bocas del Toro on a budget: Big Creek

Big Creek is a southern area on Isla Colon, connected to Bocas Town by Istmito Beach. This area is perfect for staying as it is peaceful but close to the town. Big Creek has several large resorts but most of the accommodation options are affordable family-owned hostels and AirBnBs. 

What to do in Big Creek

Although Bocas Town is where you will find the most interesting activities, Big Creek has some interesting locations to offer. Check out our favorite spots:

  • Finca Los Monos Botanical Garden
  • Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s Bocas del Toro Research Station
  • Istmito Beach

Finca Los Monos Botanical Garden

If you love animals or flowers, Finca Los Monos Botanical Garden should be one of your first stops. The garden is home to adorable sloths and playful howler monkeys. You will also see wonderful flowers of all shapes and sizes. 

Photo credit: alexandrawick

Where to stay in Big Creek

In Big Creek, you will easily find accommodation that suits your needs and budget. Check out our favorite places: 

Budget option: this private room in a guesthouse.

Midrange option: this eco-friendly bungalow.

Luxurious option: this fantastic villa.

You can browse for more AirBnBs here

Where to stay in Coron

Where to stay in Coron Palawan, a slice of heaven in the Philippines

Do pristine beaches, abundant marine life, and breathtaking nature seem like a good idea to you? In that case, it’s time to pack your bags and head straight to Coron Palawan! This group of islands in the Philippines is an outstanding place to visit. The islands are peaceful and idyllic, and you won’t have to deal with the tourist crowds. If you want to unwind completely and forget all your worries, Coron may be the best destination for you.

Photo credit: coron.palawan

Five best neighborhoods to stay in Coron

Coron has only one real town: Coron Town. Still, there are plenty of small villages and neighborhoods around the islands that may be ideal for you. Since the islands are not large, you can easily visit other areas regardless of the village you decide to stay in. To help you out, we have selected our favorite places:

  1. Banuang Daan
  2. Salvacion
  3. Coron Town
  4. West coast of Busuanga
  5. Conception

Our choices were based on these factors:

  1. Beaches and natural beauty
  2. Interesting things to see and do
  3. How connected the area is to the town
  4. Overall vibe
  5. Safety

Where to stay in Coron

Best for the first visit Banuang Daan A stunning area on Coron Island with gorgeous beaches and plenty of activities
Best for budget travelers Salvacion A village on the west coast of Busuanga island with affordable accommodation
Best for nightlife Coron Town The only town on the islands and the liveliest place to visit
Best for bohemians  West coast of Busuanga An area known for its exceptional beauty and diving locations
Best for a long-term stay Concepcion A small village on the west coast ideal for expats and families

Photo credit: coron.palawan

Where to stay in Coron, Palawan on your first visit: Banuang Daan

Banuang Daan, an area that includes the northern part of Coron Island and the neighborhood east of the Coron Town, is a genuine beach paradise. It is known for its stunning natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere. It is the perfect place to relax, unwind, and enjoy the serenity this island is so beloved for, which is why we believe it’s the best place for first-timers. Banuang Daan is close to Coron Town and well-connected, so you can visit it whenever you wish for a more crowded and lively atmosphere. 

What to see and do in Banuang Daan

Although Banuang Daan doesn’t offer many tourist attractions, you’ll never get bored in this area. Besides hanging out on its picturesque beaches, you can explore its turquoise lagoons, gorgeous lakes, and try local snacks in various bars and restaurants. Banuang Dang offers breathtaking coral reefs and gardens, so it’s ideal for scuba divers. Here are some places you shouldn’t miss:

  • The Malwawey Coral Garden
  • Twin Lagoon
  • Atwayan Beach
  • Kayangan Lake
  • Skeleton Reef

The Malwawey Coral Garden

This fascinating coral colony is a must-visit location for any Coron visitor. The water in this area is exceptionally clear so you can easily see all of its natural beauty. While swimming through this area surrounded by hundreds of types of fish, you will see coral groups in all shapes and colors you can imagine. You’ll feel like you’ve entered the Finding Nemo world!

Photo credit: authentictraveler.vicsimon

Where to stay in Banuang Daan 

Since Banuang Daan is all about nature and tranquility, there are fewer accommodation options in this area than in other parts of the island. The prices are affordable and one night will cost you around $30. Here are some ideas where you could stay:

Budget option: Dayon Hostel – definitely affordable!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another affordable option: a room in this picturesque inn right between Banuang Down and Coron Town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to stay in Coron, Palawan for budget travelers: Salvacion

Salvacion is a village on the west coast of the Busuanga island. The accommodation is incredibly affordable in this area and it is close to all major western Busuanga spots. Coron Town is not too far away, so you can go on a day trip to experience a more crowded atmosphere. 

What to see and do in Salvacion

Although you won’t find any major tourist attractions in Salvacion, the village has a lot to offer. You can sunbathe on its gorgeous beaches, take evening walks around the port, or try Filipino food in its restaurants and markets. You could also rent a boat or go kayaking. Here are some ideas of places you could visit:

  • Busuanga Public Market
  • Sakura Restaurant and Bar
  • Salvacion Beach
  • Busuanga Port
  • Echague Restaurant and Bar

Busuanga Public Market

Although Busuanga Public Market is small, you will find everything you need. The stalls are full of exotic fruit, local spices, and fresh seafood. There are also affordable clothes stalls, as well as souvenir shops.

Photo credit: vicbarbosasa

Where to stay in Salvacion

Salvacion has many accommodation options, both affordable and more luxurious. On average, one night in costs around $30. Here are our top picks:

Budget option: a room in this guesthouse near the local church

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another affordable option: a room in this cute lodge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mid-range option: a room in this fantastic inn

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to stay in Coron, Palawan for nightlife: Coron Town

Coron Town is the main urban area on the islands that has a lot to offer. Although it doesn’t have the picturesque look of other areas in Coron, the town is a fantastic place to visit. It is also connected to all major places on the islands so you can always visit some more peaceful areas. Besides beautiful beaches, hot springs, and tourist attractions, it offers a fantastic selection of bars, pubs, and restaurants, which is why it’s our top pick for party animals. 

Where to go out in Coron Town

In terms of nightlife, Coron Town will provide you with countless options. You can sip cocktails in seaside lounges, experiment with Philippine dishes in various restaurants, or dance till you drop on one of its many dancefloors. Some places host local bands so fans of live music will have an opportunity to hear traditional gigs. Make sure to check out these places:

  • Sigbin Bar
  • Helldivers
  • Dali Dali
  • Hangover Bar
  • La Sirenetta Restaurant & Bar.
  • No Name Bar

Hangover Bar

Hangover Bar is the best place in Coron for partying hard. The bar usually gets crowded after 10 pm and the dancefloor stays jam-packed until closing time. The DJs are fantastic, and you can hear an interesting mix of reggae, hip hop, Latin, dance, and pop music. The bar offers a good selection of cocktails and the prices are more than reasonable. The atmosphere is friendly, so you will have an opportunity to meet both locals and other foreigners. If dancing all evening makes you hungry, don’t worry. The bar has delicious nacho platters that go well with cocktails. 

Photo credit: hangoverbar_coron

Where to stay in Coron Town

Coron Town has the most accommodation options on the whole island. You can easily find a great place to stay based on your budget and preferences. Here are some ideas:

Budget option: Argamosa Bayside Inn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mid-range option: a room in this hotel in the town center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

High-end option: this amazing hotel room. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to stay in Coron, Palawan for bohemians: West coast of Busuanga

The whole west coast of Busuanga is an ideal place for any bohemian soul out there. This area is known for its fascinating nature and relaxing atmosphere. In this part of the island, you will stay away from the town’s hustle and bustle and get the peace of mind you’ve never experienced before. Its idyllic beaches and scenery will take your breath away. This part of the island is well-connected to Coron Town, so you can visit the center of all action whenever you feel like it. 

What to see and do on the west coast of Busuanga

Since the coast is long and well-connected, there are many wonderful places worth visiting. You can go bar hopping, experiment with local snacks in beautiful restaurants, or go on a diving mission and visit scary shipwrecks hidden below the waves. From the west coast, you also visit Calanit Island and go on a safari tour. Here are our favorite places to visit:

  • Conception Falls
  • Kaniki island
  • Rio Playa Beach
  • River Crab House
  • Guchi Falls

Conception Falls

This hidden gem is many tourists’ favorite place on the island. The falls are not the biggest falls you’ll ever see but they’re still magnificent. There is also a beautiful swimming area below them where you can refresh yourself on a warm summer day. You’ll feel like you’re in a Hollywood movie scene! On your way back, you can stop by Conception town and grab a beer and some seafood which is truly outstanding. 

Photo credit: ac_beauty_makeup

Where to stay on the west coast of Busuanga

There are many villages along the coast but we suggest staying in Old Busuanga as it is close to all major places. One night in a room will cost you around $45 on average. Check out our top picks:

Budget option: a room in this incredibly affordable inn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mid-range option: a room in this wonderful riverside house

 

 

 

 

 

 

More expensive option: La Estancia Busuanga

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to Stay in Koh Phi Phi

Where to stay in Koh Phi Phi, the island that has it all

An archipelago in the Krabi Province in Southern Thailand is known as Koh Phi Phi and can be easily called the paradise on Earth. Not only is this island mesmerizingly beautiful and filled with spectacular natural scenery, but it also offers plenty of other forms of fun such as gorgeous beaches and vibrant nightlife. Of course, adventurous souls can also explore the jungle and other mysteries of Koh Phi Phi off the beaten path. 

This island has something for everyone, which is precisely why it’s one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. We hope that our selection of the best neighborhoods will help you find the ideal place to stay in Koh Phi Phi.

Transportation in Koh Phi Phi

Once you settle on the Phi Phi island, you might be surprised to learn that there’s simply no form of public transport. Even cars and motorcycles are scarce. People mostly go around on foot, which is not that difficult to do. It’s also a fantastic way to experience the beauty of the island altogether. In case you have to travel a longer distance to reach another point of the island, you can use a longtail boat. Learn more about it here.

Image Source: thailand_vlog

Five (really four) best neighborhoods to stay in Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi is a pretty large archipelago that consists of six smaller islands. This might make things a bit more challenging when you’re looking where to stay in Koh Phi Phi. To make everything less overwhelming for your travel prep, we have come up with five top areas in Ko Phi Phi that will allow you to have the best time without breaking the bank. These are the factors we considered for our picks:

  1. The vibe and atmosphere of the area
  2. Historical and cultural importance
  3. Fun things you can see and do
  4. Safety of the area
  5. Accommodation cost
  6. How well connected the zones are to one another
Best neighborhoods to stay in Koh Phi Phi
Ton Sai Village For a first-time visit
Loh Dalum Beach For a budget-friendly stay
Ton Sai Village For fun nightlife
Laem Thong For a cool and boho vibe
Long Beach For families/long-term stay

Image by rungthip37 from Pixabay 

Where to stay in Koh Phi Phi on a budget – TonSai Village

TonSai Village is a reasonably large area divided into four sub-neighborhoods that have something to satisfy everyone’s tastes. This is why it’s ideal for a first-time visit. You can relax at sandy beaches, party your night away, or explore the archipelago on foot or longtail boat. The Andaman Sea offers a fantastic cruise experience.

Image Source: _young_wild_and_free_81

Where to go in Ton Sai Village

  • Make the foodie in you happy by visiting many wonderful restaurants and eateries
  • Get on board with explorations and adventure that await in the archipelago

Best for foodies: Ton Sai Village restaurants

If you’re craving delicious sushi, P.P. Wang Ta Fu is the place for you. Don’t miss the chance to try out the delicious dishes in the Acqua Restaurant, either. In case you’re more interested in American and Italian specialties, head over to the Cosmic Restaurant. Unni’s Restaurant is also a great place with an amazing menu.

Image Source: acquarestaurantphiphi

Best for explorers and adventurers: Ao Tonsai Pier

At Ao Tonsai Pier, you’ll be able to hitch a ride in a longtail boat, which will allow you to explore every nook and cranny of the beautiful Koh Phi Phi archipelago. You can also get snorkeling gear and learn the mysteries of the island below its turquoise waters.

Image Source: brettset

Where to stay in Ton Sai Village

You can find accommodation in Ton Sai Village at various price points, with $60 per night. These are our top picks:

This fun seaside hostel

 

 

 

 

 

 

This cozy mid-range bungalow

 

 

 

 

 

 

This lux hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to stay in Phi Phi on a budget – Loh Dalum Beach

Just north of the TonSai Village is the picturesque beauty of Loh Dalum Beach. This sandy paradise is fantastic for tropical fun and relaxation, with breathtaking scenery and a great party scene. It’s also an ideal neighborhood for travelers who are looking where to stay in Phi Phi on a budget.

Image Source: syla__alys

Where to go in Loh Dalum Beach

  • Marvel at the beautiful scenery of Loh Dalum Beach
  • Drink, eat, and party at some of the Loh Dalum Beach famous restaurants and bars

Best for outdoor lovers: Loh Da Lum Bay

If you’re up for some explorations and witnessing exceptional views, hop on the longtail boat at the Loh Da Lum Bay. Speaking of views, you don’t want to miss the chance to climb the Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint and marvel at the sight before you.

Image Source: alalulai

Best for party-goers: Loh Dalum Beach bars and eateries

Slinky Beach Bar is the perfect hotspot for anyone who wishes to dance their night away. Garlic 1992 and the Phi Phi Bucket Shop are amazing places to get cocktails, snack, and enjoy yourself. If you’re looking for Mexican food and a great atmosphere, head to the Banana Bar. Grand PP Arcade and Only Noodles are also great places to keep your palate happy.

Image Source: kto_zdess

Where to stay in Loh Dalum Beach

You’ll be able to find offers in this area from as low as $25, but the average price is around $45 per night. Check out our favorites:

This budget-friendly seaside option

 

 

 

 

 

This mid-range bamboo bungalow

 

 

 

 

 

This modern lux hotel

 

 

 

 

 

Where to go in Phi Phi Island for nightlife – TonSai Village

Ton Sai Village is a great area to stay in Koh Phi Phi when you’re visiting the island for the first time, but it’s also the hotspot for all the tourists looking for some crazy partying during their stay. This village is lined with bars and clubs to get you in the mood for partying and nightlife jam. Delicious restaurants, pool parties, and neverending fun make Ton Sai Village hard to miss.

Image Source: phiphitravelandtours

Where to go in Ton Sai Village

  • Explore the menus of hip restaurants
  • Get in the groove, dance, and drink at popular bars

Best for foodies: hip restaurants

We already mentioned some of the top-rated locations in Ton Sai Village for foodies, but if you’re looking for more options, definitely check out tasty Thai fare at Dow Restaurant. Efe Mediterranean Cuisine Restaurant is the best choice for pizza, pasta, and salads.

Image Source: eferestaurantphiphi

Best for party-goers: popular bars

Ton Sai Village has many great clubs and bars. Stockholm Syndrome is a popular place to play beer pong and drink to your heart’s content. Cocktails at the Banana Rooftop Bar will taste twice as good as you drink them under the starry sky. Full Moon Bar and Dojo Bar are also fun, and in Carlitos Beach Bar, you’ll get to see the amazing fire dancers.

Image Source: stina.ing

Where to stay in Koh Phi Phi for a bohemian vibe – Laem Thong

If you’re looking where to stay in Phi Phi island for some peace yet still want to experience the breathtaking scenery of this tropical paradise, the village of Laem Thong is the neighborhood for you. This is also known as the coolest area in Koh Phi Phi, especially for water sport enthusiasts.

Image Source: inga_kohlipe

Where to go in Laem Thong

  • Relax at the beach, explore the area, or enjoy some water sports
  • Treat yourself with some amazing food in Laem Thong restaurants

Best for outdoor lovers and sporty tourists: Laem Tong Bay

If you want to relax at the beach, get some tan, and swim, Laem Tong Bay is the ideal spot in Laem Thong. Of course, the beach over at Loh Lana Bay is also fantastic, and you can also get a ride in a longtail boat here to do some exploring. Bamboo Island is close and worth visiting, not to mention that the opportunities to dive and snorkel are all around you.

Image Source: stefalama

Best for foodies: Laem Thong restaurants

Sawasdee Restaurant is trendy in this neighborhood, but if you want to taste the most delicious seafood and Thai specialties, head to the Jasmine Restaurant, too. The Phi Phi Bakery is a fantastic place for everyone with a sweet tooth. To experience the unique happy hour, visit the Oasis Bar & Restaurant.

Image Source: sbuliii

Where to stay in Laem Tong Bay

Options close to the Laem Tong Bay usually go for about $70 on average per night. We like these two:

This spacious and cozy bungalow

 

 

 

 

 

 

This paradise hotel

 

 

 

 

 

Where to stay in Phi Phi long-term – Long Beach

Long Beach is the peaceful and relaxing area of Koh Phi Phi, with plenty of activities and beautiful sandy beaches. The area is just 5 minutes away from the center of all the action via longtail boat, which allows you to get away from all the hustle and bustle and get right back to it whenever you want. When you’re looking where to stay in Phi Phi while traveling with your family or planning to stay awhile, Long Beach is the ideal neighborhood for you.

Image Source: tripujeme.cz

Where to go in Long Beach

  • Enjoy the beaches and nature
  • Visit popular restaurants for delicious food

Best for outdoor lovers and people looking to relax: Long Beach

Long Beach has gorgeous and calm turquoise waters, perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The golden sands will invite you to lie down and get some tan after all the fun in the water. You might also want to go to Viking Beach, which offers plenty of fun activities, too. Don’t miss the chance to tour the Shark Point either.

Image Source: maurocapriglia

Best for foodies: Long Beach restaurants

Long Beach area has many popular eateries. Thai fare at Restaurant at Phi Phi Paradise Pearl Resort is one of the hotspots, but Phi Phi, The Beach Resort, also has some fantastic Thai specialties.

Image Source: masalaboxtravel

Where to stay in Long Beach

Accommodation close to Long Beach is a bit costlier, with an average price per night at about $100. Check out our top picks:

This beautiful bungalow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This mid-range garden bungalow

 

 

 

 

 

 

This deluxe villa