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NEWS FROM THE TRAIN

A TRAVEL BLOG

December 2016

Asia

The Solo Travel Guide To Vietnam – For Women

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Heading out on an adventure to a far flung country can be exciting and a bit terrifying if you’re going solo, especially if you’re a woman. It can be dangerous out there in the wider world for women travelling alone, and in some places women on their own is significantly looked down upon or an invitation for unwanted attention. This isn’t the case everywhere though and some places like South East Asia are actually ideal places for women to travel solo, due to its fantastic connections to other areas and also the laid back atmosphere which is great for meeting other fellow travellers – something that happens almost seamlessly if you’re travelling solo. Check out the rest of this article for the woman’s solo guide to Vietnam.

Getting In and Ho Chi Minh

Depending how you want to start your trip, the most likely city you will fly into is either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh (Saigon). Additionally, depending how you’re getting into Vietnam it’s likely you’d start in either of these cities – Hanoi to the north, perfectly located for those coming from China or northern Laos, and Ho Chi Minh to the south, ideal for those coming from Cambodia and the Philippines or Malaysia. Most people would probably come from the south, so this is how we will approach it.

Ho Chi Minh is a great place to start off, it’s a bustling, busy city but no more than Bangkok or other cities in the area, which means it’s easy to get around and renting a scooter for yourself is probably one of the best ways to do this. Likewise, motorcycle taxis are popular – literally a scooter or motorbike you hop on the back with to go to your destination (not advisable with all of your bags, but still doable). Stick with a regular taxi if you’re carrying a lot of bags.

If you’re looking for some secluded island life, Ho Chi Minh offers ferries to a lesser known Vietnamese island of Con Dao – a small clump of islands off the south coast which boasts luxury and budget places. This is likely to be off the tourist trail by quite a bit, so it’s worth checking out if you want something off the beaten trail, quiet and pristine.

Ho Chi Minh is a great city to get lost in – it’s got a large collection of fantastic buildings, museums and boasts some great “foodie tours” – literally a walking tour you can join that takes you around to some of the street stalls selling delicious Vietnamese cuisine. Don’t miss the fresh spring rolls!

Da Lat and Further North

Da Lat is a small city a bit further north and slightly inland – it’s on the tourist trail, so you won’t be able to miss it, unless you choose to. It’s home to the “Crazy House” – literally a guest house made out of a tree house and other strange building, and acts as an art installation by day that welcomes visitors to have a poke around. Da Lat is a beautiful city, with a lake right in its centre and is significantly more laid back than Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city. It’s a place that travellers like to stop off at to relax for a day or two before hitting the road towards Hoi An and Da Nang, so you will likely run into other travellers at some of the local bars and hangouts.

The Coast

Heading further toward the coast you will find the smaller, beautiful coastal centres of Hoi An and Da Nang. It’s likely that you will want to stop off before Hoi An if you’re driving yourself – perhaps in the smaller centres of Qui Nhom or Tuy Hoa – both around five to seven hours drive from Da Lat. Regardless of how you do it, Hoi An and Da Nang are two places that command a few days on any journey through Vietnam. Hoi An particularly is a beautiful coastal stop, and is fast becoming the “it” place for travellers of all kinds. You will likewise find a number of expats here who have fallen in love with it and chosen to stay to teach English and the like. Maybe you will, too!

Hanoi and Beyond

Hanoi is in the very north of the country and is the next logical main stop after Da Nang and Hoi An. It’s a bustling, busy city, similar to Ho Chi Minh. From Hanoi it’s possible to head to a number of other locations (China, Laos), and also to do tours of Halong Bay. Tours can involve a cruise over the course of a few days, or just a couple hours around the bay, it just depends on your budget and what you’re looking for. From Hanoi, instead of having to go back to Ho Chi Minh City, it’s possible to get flights onward either to return home or to head to other further away locales in places like Malaysia, India, China, Philippines, etc so make sure you look into the possibility of flying out of Hanoi or heading onwards from there or flying back to Ho Chi Minh on one of the local airlines that would make it fairly cheap, depending on how much time you have.

So there you have a great travel guide to Vietnam for women. Vietnam is a great place for solo female travellers – it’s interesting, safe and welcoming and is a hot spot for travellers and tourists that you can meet and enjoy the company of. Always remember to exercise common sense and general safety such as not accepting drinks from strangers or leaving drinks unattended. By following your own code of safe conduct but being open minded and open to new experiences and meeting great new people, you will surely have the most amazing time on your own in Vietnam.

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Article Source – theroxyonsunset.com

Central America

Must Sees And Do’s In The Dominican Republic

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If you’re heading to the Dominican Republic for your next holiday, you might be wondering what there is to see and do that you shouldn’t miss while there. Depending what you like to do and your various interests, the Dominican Republic is perfect for both history buffs as well as beach bums, budget travellers and luxury seekers. Read ahead to find out more about the Dominican Republic and the things you should make time for when you’re on the island.

La Aurora Cigar Factory

Cigars have long been a tradition of the Caribbean, from the Dominican Republic to Jamaica and especially Cuba so it stands to reason that the cigar factory in the Dominican Republic at Santiago de los Caballeros is one of the best in the region. Come and experience the history first hand of one of the Dominican Republic’s best cigar brands and learn about all the work that has gone into making it the well known brand it is today. Purchase a sample for yourself to take home from the gift shop and enjoy a bit of the Dominican Republic anytime you want.

Alcazar de Colon

This building, now museum, is the oldest Viceregal building in the Americas and is a shining example of historical Spanish colonial architecture in Santo Domingo. While it’s only around half the size it originally was, it’s still an impressive building nonetheless with numerous rooms, gardens and a colourful history, having been build by Diego Colon, the son of Christopher Columbus.

The Ruins of Monasterio de San Francisco

A keen piece of heritage in the Santo Domingo colonial zone this former monastery was built by the Franciscan monks in or around 1508 and was the first monastery built in the new world following initial colonisation. A few hundred years later, the monastery was used as a mental asylum but when it was damaged by a hurricane it ceased its use for that purpose. These days it’s seen as one of the most historic sites in the city and is used for various events. It’s also protected under law.

Beaches, Seas and Sands

The Dominican Republic is, of course, home to numerous beaches and therefore also home to numerous outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, swimming, water sports, fishing, and just plain old sun bathing. Day trips can be arranged to snorkelling and diving sites from most hotels on the island, and they’re well worth it. Some of the coral gardens and sea life in the area are stunning in their beauty and are definite must sees.

So there you have a couple of great suggestions for things you have to see and do on the island of Dominican Republic. Remember that the national language is Spanish. With so many things of historic significance, paired with water activities and a generally beautiful position in the Caribbean, this makes the Dominican Republic the ideal place for any sunny holiday.

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Article Source – theroxyonsunset.com

Middle East

Dubai Travel Guide

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If you’re thinking about heading off to somewhere a bit unusual and different to your usual vacation destination, but you aren’t quite sure where to go, why not check out the gateway to the east in the form of the unique desert city of Dubai. Dubai is one of the hugest hubs of travel in the world, acting almost literally as the gateway between east and west – with London being only around 4 hours west and India/Bangkok being about 4-5 the other way. Dubai in itself though is a hub of activity and makes for an interesting holiday alone!

Getting There, Getting Around

Regardless of how you’re getting here, chances are you will be flying into the Dubai International Airport, although you can also enter via the neighbouring Sharjah Airport in Abu Dhabi. Dubai is well-serviced by a modern metro system which can be one of the most affordable ways to get around the city. There is also an extensive local bus network, trams and also a monorail, but despite all this Dubai remains a primarily car based city, and in truth you will undoubtedly see some of the worlds best and most beautiful high end cars here due in part to the money that can be and is made in Dubai. Buses are available if you’re interested in visiting the other areas of the UAE such as Oman and Abu Dhabi.

What To See/Do

It can be easy to think of Dubai as just a huge mix of glass and sand, but nothing could be further from the truth. It has some amazing high end shopping and dining options along with the Burj Khalifa building – the highest in the world. Hotels and shopping adorn the crown of Dubai, and the observation deck at the Burj Khalifa needs to be seen to be believed. Check out the network of souk markets strewn throughout the city which mix modern shopping with old world traditional markets, and visit the district of Old Dubai to see how the city looked before it was injected with the money it has today. Save up your pennies and spend a night being pampered in luxury at the Burj al-Arab hotel, the only (although self-proclaimed) seven star hotel in the world. You can stay for a night or just come for afternoon tea or a meal, either way, do not miss this piece of pure luxury in the lap of the Middle East.

Things to See Around Dubai

You can book a few different tours around the city itself, perhaps a boat trip along the Dubai Water Canal or take a stroll down to the Dubai Marina, both fantastic opportunities to get out and around Dubai in a different way. There’s also Ski Dubai – an indoor ski slope for those who miss the white stuff while they’re in Dubai as well as a number of great sand safaris and even Wild Wadi – a great adventure park for the whole family.

Likewise there is always the beach as well as the exclusive Palm Islands – the artificial island that were created off the coast of Dubai in the shape of palm trees where many of the worlds rich and famous have homes or property. There is ultimately something to do for everyone in Dubai.

So there you have a quick run down of everything there is to see and do in Dubai, proving that it’s not just a city of sand and skyscrapers. Come on over to Dubai, even if it’s just a stop off on your way to somewhere else. You will be left in awe at Dubai, and plan to come back again. We promise!

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Article Source – theroxyonsunset.com