Until the Splash House pool and music festival, I had never really been a fan of music festivals held in the United States, the overwhelming police presence, the over-commercialization of American music festivals and the hefty price tags of stateside festivals left me with a preference for music festivals overseas.
So, when I got a message alert from Partytrail’s apple mail client about an opportunity to be part of the media delegates for an event called the Splash HousePool and Music festival in Palm Springs, California, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was going to be another festival that was just really an opportunity for Coca Cola to sell their wares.
Fortunately, I couldn’t have been more mistaken. The Splash House pool and music festival co-founded by Tyler and Kelly McClean was something special and every music festival in America could take a page from this festivals playbook.
They kept it simple and focused on great music, ruthlessly efficient logistics and keeping their attendees engaged throughout the duration of the event.
While the event was very secure and properly organized I didn’t get the feeling that I was attending an event at Fort Knox. There was an organic feel to the event and everyone I encountered seemed to be there to meet people, listen to good music and indulge in some positive vibes.
Unlike other events I had attended previously, I hardly noticed the presence of advertisers or sponsors, a pet peeve of mine. Instead, I was able to focus on actually enjoying music, fraternizing with like minded people and soaking up some desert sun.
Hear From The Founders Of Splash House Tyler and Kelly McClean Credit: MCE TV
After my amazing week at the Yacht Week in Croatia (my wrist bands are yet to come off by the way), it was nice to re-live some of the more memorable moments of the Yacht Week only this time in California at Splash House.
Once it was confirmed that the Partytrail was to be part of Splash House’s media delegates, I headed to Palm Springs from Los Angeles were I am based, and joined the crowd of attendees, predominantly California college students and locals in their early to late twenties.
Splash House is held poolside at three separate resort style hotels out in the desert in Palm Springs. The hotels that hosted Splash House this year were The Saguaro, the Renaissance and the Riviera.
Guests typically book hotel rooms as part of the festival package and take shuttle buses in between all three hotels to see different DJs and musical acts. The shuttle buses were organized such that you were barely 15 minutes away from each hotel at any point so you were pretty much within reach of any of the stages at each of the three hotels.
To make the shuttle rides even better, each bus was equipped with booming speakers that played music at full volume, with riders actively chanting at the top of their lungs, this ensured the party didn’t stop while you were in between venues.
There was also an “after hours party” at the festival held at the Palm Springs Air Museum between 10 pm and 2 am on Friday and Saturday. Acts that performed at the Splash House after hours party included Klatch, Elderbrook, Sofi Tukker and Bob Moses. Saturday had James Murphy playing his DJ set from 9 PM till 2 AM.
Tip: To have a smooth sailing experience at Splash House, it is best to download their mobile app on android or iOS as this will give you all the information you need about everything from performance times to Shuttle pick up times.
Saturday, in my opinion is when things really went into full gear at the Splash House, the morning started out with guests attending one of two Yoga sessions held at the Renaissance by Pi Yoga pants or the other session led by Tiffany Baker at the Saguaro.
Attendees then got breakfast, got their floaties pumped and started heading to the pools of their respective hotels where stages had been set up for the musical acts and DJs to entertain an undeniably enthusiastic crowd.
Some of the DJs and musical acts that performed on Saturday included Overjoy, Croatia Squad, Manilla Killer and Sage Armstrong (Watch out for our interview with Sage in an upcoming post). Sunday on the other hand, had artists like Blond:ish, Big Gigantic, and Jamie Prado
The Vibe at the pools was nothing but utter mayhem, as guests went all out to bring the party to seriously high octane elevated levels. The pools were packed edge to edge with attendees splashing water, pumping bubbles from bubble guns and pumping their fists to DJs on stage jamming their tunes just a couple of feet away from them.
The greater California area is notorious for people being “too cool for school” and preferring to sit on the sidelines when attending pool parties. I promise you, this was not the case at Splash House.
Attendees got into the water, splashed around, rode on floats, made friends, sang along and soaked every second of this wonderful event. As an added incentive to get people to be full participants of the event, guests were encouraged to decorate the balconies of their hotel rooms according to a theme of their choosing.
Guests who participated got a chance to win a full travel package to the upcoming year’s festivities. To participate guests had to upload pictures of their fully decorated balconies onto Instagram with the hashtag “#bitchinbalconies” and if they impressed well enough they got to take home prizes.
This year, the winner of “#bitcinbalconies” were guests who called themselves “the Dancing Chillis, Wild Thots & Sirens.”
Tip: If you intend to take part in the #bitchinbalconies contest at Splash House, it might be a good idea to get your hotel room at the Saguaro hotel as their balconies seem more suited to being decorated.I got a hotel room at the Riviera and it as quite challenging to get our decorations in place.
One of the things I also really liked about Splash House was the warmth and openness of the attendees. There were several side parties being held by attendees in their hotel rooms and one such event that I attended was the “No Pants Party” held at one of the rooms at the Riviera Hotel.
The final night at Splash House saw attendees wrap up at the pools of all three hotels and then head off to Zeldas night club in Palm Springs for one final rager before closing out Splash House festival season. Mind you, Splash House is held twice a year (once in June and once again in August) and Zeldas was definitely a great way to close things out. Attendees got a chance to extend a weekend they unanimously didn’t want to end deep into the early hours of Monday morning.
At Zeldas, I met up with a crew of new friends I had just made, had some drinks and talked about one of best California weekends we had been opportuned to partake in for the longest time. Splash House was amazing to say the least and I will definitely be back, enthusiasm in tow for another weekend for the ages, fate willing in 2018.
The Banana pancake trail is the metaphorical route set by backpackers traveling through cities and countries in South East Asia. The trail is reminiscent of the Hippie trail set forth by a generation of backpackers in the 1960s. These travelers who in their quest to liberate themselves from the stifling fifties set the world alight looking for new adventures in faraway lands.
Why the Name Banana Pancake Trail?
Banana pancakes are a delicacy native to the regions that travelers on the aforementioned trail eat while they traveling. The term Banana pancake trail was thus co-opted to describe the string of hostels, hotels, guesthouses and other lodging options that serve Banana Pancakes while they cater to mostly western backpackers.
What Countries Are On The Banana Pancake Trail?
There are no clear geographical boundaries describing the trail and the number of countries and cities on the list keep increasing. However, there are some cities and countries that are mainstays on the list and we shall take a look at those countries below.
Thailand, a country I have visited many times is one of the mainstays on the Banana pancake trail. Due to its low cost, welcoming and fun loving people, it is no wonder backpackers old and new keep visiting this country.
In fact, according to the Travel and tourism competitiveness report, Thailand boasts a visitor return rate of over fifty percent. Most of the cities and islands in Thailand visited by backpackers on the Banana Pancake trail include; Khao San Road in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pai, Kanchanaburi, Krabi, Phuket, Ko Tao, Ko Pha Ngan, Ko Phi Phi, Koh Lipe, and Koh Chang.
Laos recently opened up as a travel destination in the 1980s and 1990s and has been giving Thailand a run for its money ever since. While Laos, a former French protectorate is a more mellow version of Thailand, Vang Vieng is known among the backpacker community for its Tubing events. The Partytrail is yet to visit Laos but from what we gather some of the stops in Laos for backpackers include: Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Nong Khiaw, Bolaven Plateau, and Si Phan Don.
Cambodia, like its aforementioned predecessor, Laos is favorable destination because of its unbelievable affordability. Just like Laos, Cambodia used to be closed off to foreigners but opened up its borders to tourism in the eighties and nineties and it has seen a steady influx of travelers ever since. The cities and stops often trailed by backpackers include: Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Battambang, Phnom Penh and Kampot.
Myanmar, bordered by India and Bangladesh to its west, Thailand and Laos to its east, and China to its north and northeast is another formerly closed off country that has since opened up its borders.
Still underdeveloped with a massive potential for growth in the tourism sector, there is lots to see and do in this country. The stops in Myanmar on the Banana Pancake trail include: Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake and Hpa-An.
I have personally been to Indonesia and it is a country that stays very close and dear to my heart. Indonesia and its very hospitable people will leave any one visiting the country never wanting to leave.
Home to the ever-popular surfer and resort town Bali, it is no wonder savvy travelers and backackers alike keep returning to Indonesia. Bali, however, is not the only stop for travelers or backpackers, other stops include Lake Toba, Yogyakarta, Mount Bromo and the islands of Bali, Lombok, and Gili Trawangan.
The Philippines is another country on the Banana Pancake trail that deserves to be on the list. With the crystal clear waters and vibrant nightlife of Boracay, there should be no surprise as to why the Philippines has been anointed a place on the trail, backpackers and travelers alike also have Banaue, Sagada, El Nido, and Siargao as stops on the Banana Pancake Trail.
Nepal home to the almighty Gurkhas recently suffered a devastating earthquake but this hasn’t stopped the people of this resilient nation from welcoming backpackers to their country. Nepal experiences five seasons: summer, monsoon, autumn, winter and spring so make sure you are selective of when you want to visit. It is also home to the Everest base camp. The trail in Nepal includes Thamel in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
I got to visit Vietnam sometime last year and I didn’t want to leave. My visit to Halong Bay on a party boat made the visit to Vietnam a vacation for the ages. Vietnam’s low cost, internet accessibility and rapid modernization have made it a hotspot for tourism. The cities in Vietnam on the Banana Pancake trail include Ho Chi Minh City, Dalat, Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, Halong Bay and Sapa.
India, home to Hinduism and the birthplace of Yoga has served as a source of inspiration and awe amongst travelers for ages. With its unique and diverse culture, delicious palette and breathtaking sights, India should be on everyone’s travel list. The partytrail hasn’t made it out to India yet but we will in the future. Cities in India that are frequented by Banana Pancake trailers include Goa, Pushkar, Varanasi, Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Kerala, Dharamkot or Upper Bhagsu and Old Manali or Vashisht.
China was originially not on the trail for Banana pancake travelers or backpackers but of recent, incursions into Nothern China, more specifically – Yunnan, Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Yangshuo have made it onto the list of countries on the Banana Pancake trail.
As more formerly closed off countries in Southeast asia and the rest of the world start opening their doors, the Banana Pancake Trail will surely continue to expand its metaphorical boundaries and just as the post 1950s generation of travelers blazed the hippie trail, the millennial generation armed with better technology and an ever growing thirst to see the world from the tips of their noses will heed Mark Twains ever-present words.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
The Yacht Week Croatia is the brain child of William Wenkel and Erik Biörklund, this amazing phenomenon involving yachting, youthful bodies, tons of drinking and breathtaking scenery has taken recreational travel for people between the ages of 20 and 39 years by storm.
As legend has it, a couple of drinking buddies decided to go on a sailing trip in the Mediterranean and posted pictures of their trip to their social media accounts.
People were so amazed by their pictures that they asked to join their next sailing trip.
Other people joined them, posted pictures and a domino effect of sailing and social media posts soon led to a business venture (The yacht week) that by 2013 had grossed nearly one million dollars in profits.
As a representative of the Partytrail, I was fortunate to attend the festivities of “Week 29” of the Yacht week-Ultra combo, a daring combination of the Ultra music festival in Split, Croatia and 5 days of the yacht week.
Before I delve into my experiences at the Ultra-Yacht week in Croatia, I think it might be necessary to give you some background into how the yacht week works.
The Yacht Week Destinations
The original route for the yacht week was Croatia but the routes have since expanded to six other destinations around the globe.
At the time of this writing, Greece, The British Virgin Islands, Montenegro, Thailand and Mallorca in Spain can be counted as sailing destinations for the yacht week.
To book whatever destination you fancy, simply go to their website and search for the location you intend to sail.
Once your route is selected you can move on to the next stage of the process, selecting the week of the year you want to set sail.
What Week Do You Intend to Set Sail?
Once your destination has been selected, the next step is for you to pick what week of the year you intend to sail. Most of the summer weeks of the year seemed to be geared towards European destinations, i.e: Greece, Croatia, Montenegro, and Italy while the winter events happen on the Caribbean and Asian route.
Where’s Your Crew At???
Without crew mates, the yacht week is no fun and this has been taken into consideration, so it is usually advised that you rent a yacht with an equal number of guys and girls. Part of your crew will include a skipper who will sail the yacht and a hostess (a recently added option) who cooks and cleans up after you.
The number of people in a boat should range anywhere between three and twelve people. If you don’t have a large posse of friends to attend yacht week with, the option is there to rent a cabin. This option accommodates two people, which provides a bunk or double bed for two.
If you are however riding solo, do not despair as you can use the yacht week’s crew finder option to find a yacht that is looking for a crew mate. If you search well and long enough, you should find a yacht waiting to accommodate you.
Word of Caution: If you are traveling as a duo or riding solo, be warned that the vibe on your yacht is largely decided by the rest of your crew mates, keeping in mind the fact that your crew mates will ultimately be strangers when you board your yacht.
If you are a fun-loving person stuck with a bunch of squares, kill joys or people with corrosive personalities, you just might have a long week ahead of you.
The organizers of the Yacht week have done their part to give you one of the most memorable weeks of your life, however, the wrong crew, skipper, or hostess will quickly torpedo your week into a downward spiral of regret, dysfunction, and despair.
From everything, I gathered during the week, if you are riding solo or a duo the most pertinent determinant of what your week will shape up to be are the people who will be on your yacht.
How Big Is Your Yacht?
Once you have selected your crew mates and fingers crossed, hope you get some amazing people as crew mates, the next step is for you to select the yacht you will sail on.
There are four yacht options to pick from at the yacht week; Economy, Standard, Premium and Premium plus.
The choice of yacht you select depends on how deep your pockets are. Considering the yacht week is a pretty expensive endeavor I would advise you save a little bit on your yacht size and put the extra cash towards enjoying the week itself.
How Deep Are Your Pockets??
The Yacht week is not cheap and we were blind-sided by some hidden costs. I would place the cost for the yacht with skipper and hostess included at around 1000 Euros per crew member. Since we were on the Ultra yacht week Croatia-route, the costs jumped to about 1700 Euros per crew member. These did not include costs like the deposit for the yacht. Our deposit for the yacht came out to be 2500 Euros or 315 Euros per person in our case.
The good news is that you get your deposit money back if the boat is left in good condition. Also costs like fuel, mooring, water taxis, the cost of your hostess’ and skippers’ meals when you go out for crew dinners, yacht staff tips are not included in the initial cost of the yacht week.
Other expenses you will incur during the week include the cost of eating out, buying drinks at event venues, and the costs for any other extracurricular activities you may partake in during the week.
What to Pack for The Yacht Week
The things you need to pack for the week include floaties for the raft parties, bathing suits, toiletries, earplugs and a sleep mask if you sleep light.
An auxiliary cord to connect your music to the yacht speakers, a portable fan, if your yacht doesn’t have air-conditioning, boat shoes to protect your feet when boarding water taxis, outfits for the theme parties.
Since you will be exposed to lots of sunlight, you will need sunscreen, dark glasses, a light jacket because it gets cold at night, strap-on sandals, a duffel bag because suit cases are not allowed on the yacht, and any other essentials required to help you survive a typical summer event.
Your Itinerary for The Week
What you do during the week depends largely on what route you select. Since I was on the Ultra-Yacht week Croatia route we are going to just give you a description of our itinerary for the week.
Arrival at The Marina
On day one, we headed to the yacht week tent at the “ACI Split Marina” in Split and we registered, got our Yacht week wrist bands and went to a restaurant at the ACI marina to wait for our other crew mates. There is a deposit that has to be paid to the yachting company you are renting your yacht from, in our case, until this deposit had been fully paid, we were not allowed to get on our yacht.
Since we only rented a cabin and not the whole yacht we had to wait for our other crew mates to arrive so we could settle the boat deposit.
Shopping for Supplies
You and your crew mates will need food and lots of alcohol to fully maximize the week’s potential. Our hostess requested two of our crew mates come along with her so that our yacht could get some of the food and drinks we needed for the week. The general rule is to buy triple the amount of beers and liquor you think you will need.
The hostess knows what ingredients she needs to buy for your meals throughout the week so no need to sweat it. Just let her know of any food allergies you have and anything else about your dietary requirements and she has you covered.
Once we did our shopping and settled the yacht deposit, we took the supplies to the boat and selected cabins. In all, there were ten of us, including our skipper and hostess. The yacht was a Jeanneau 53 2011 model, it had 2 smaller cabins each with their own toilet and shower combos. The toilets were however cumbersome to use as we had to use a manual pump to flush.
The other cabins included a bunk bed for the skipper and hostess and two other cabins with shared bathroom facilities.
One of the major upsides to the yacht week is the mind-boggling number of nationalities that take part in the festivities. While people from different parts of the globe do indeed attend the event, I found there were more people from certain countries in attendance. Countries like the United States and Australia seemed to have the most attendees at week 29 Ultra-Yacht week.
However, there were people from South Korea, India, Canada, Brazil, South Africa, Colombia, Germany, Norway and Spain also in attendance. All this goes to show is the extent of the global reach of the yacht week. Speaking about nationalities, make sure you represent your country by bringing your country’s flag with you.
Ask your skipper and he or she can hoist your flag up for you along with those of your crew mates.
The Yacht Week Festivities
The activities packed into the week were amazing and left us not wanting the week to end. In fact, as at the time of this writing, my yacht week wrist band is still on and I have been back home for two weeks. The events of the week will definitely leave an indelible mark on your soul and you are sure to remember the yacht week as one of the better weeks of your existence.
To keep up to date with all the latest news during the week, make sure you download the yacht week app on Android or iOS as this will give you updates to all the latest news and events throughout the week.
The Ultra Music Festival
The “Ultra” music festival was held at the Stadion Poljud in Split Croatia and featured some top of the line DJs including Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, and Armin Van Buren.
The acts were good but getting our tickets at the Yacht Week Ultra-booth could have been better organized. Gaining entry into the stadium was cumbersome and a mini stampede occurred while we were trying to gain entrance onto the stadium grounds.
Once we got in though, all was well, and the night turned out to be everything we expected and more.
The Raft Party
Once the Ultra-music festival in Split wrapped up, our skipper got the crew together and we set sail and headed to Stari grad for one of two raft parties (the circle and tunnel raft parties) scheduled for the week.
In my opinion, this was one of the best events of the week. We docked in Stari grad, got our floaties inflated, the yachts were lined up in two perfectly lined rows adjacent to each other and the crews from different yachts jumped into the water for an epic all-out raft party.
To make the event even more epic, a boat with a DJ docked and played some high-quality tunes for the duration of the raft party.
At night, people got out of the water because it was too cold and instead resumed partying on the boats. At this point, people had made new friends, so the raft party had synergized into one big party of yachts merging all the crews of the different yachts into more or less one big crew.
The Ultra Beach Party
After the raft party in Stari grad, we set sail for Hvar, also known as the St. Tropez of Croatia. Here, the yacht week attendees and Ultra attendees got together for the Ultra beach party. The event was held at the Amfora grand beach resort in Hvar.
There was a DJ booth set up overlooking the hotel’s large swimming pool and guests from the yacht week and Ultra got into the pool for some more fun.
The event started around 4 pm and ended abruptly at midnight. The stop in Hvar is a good time to re-up on supplies, explore the city, dine at local restaurants, or contribute to the island’s local arts and crafts economy. Hvar itself has a lot to see and depending on the amount of time you spend in the city; my advice is that you use it as judiciously as possible.
Just when you thought the yacht week couldn’t top itself, then comes along the Riviera theme party. Set in the beautiful island town of Komiza, we took a water taxi from Vis to get to the open-air beach club in Komiza and it was an amazing time.
The party this time was an invite-only party for yacht week crew members and it was pure nirvana. The party was themed and more or less Riviera chic inspired. See the yacht weeks Riviera chic theme here.
Bottle service was also available for purchase and if you had great synergy with your crew and you have some extra cash to spend, it might be worth it to get your own table at the event.
Once the event wrapped up, people took a water taxi either back to their yachts or back to Hvar where they continued partying into the night.
One of the favorite hot spots for the night was Kiva bar where a mix of Yacht week attendees, locals, and tourists visiting the island got to mix and mingle.
If at this point, you decide to depart from the yacht week crowd, it’s easy to do so as there are tons of bars, restaurants, and cute little eateries where you can hang out till you are ready to head back to your yacht.
Tip: The water taxis from Hvar to Vis where you are docked stop running at some point during the night and resume once again at 11 am. If you miss the last boat leaving Hvar for Vis, you will most likely have to sleep on the dock till the boats start running again at 11 am in the morning.
The Circle Raft Party
In between the Riviera theme party and the Tropical retro party was a quick stop at one of the bays on the islands for the circle raft party. While not as intense as the first raft party, it was a chance for the crew of the different yachts to once again to throw their floaties in the pool while their yachts circled around them in perfect formation.
The Last Supper
After spending a night in Vis recovering from the madness that was the Riviera theme party, it was time for the “Tropical retro party”. However, before the event, each yacht got their crew mates together for “a last supper” of sorts.
The hostess of the boat while docked in Vis makes reservations for the crew, herself and the skipper at a local restaurant and you all dine together and bond even some more before the Tropical retro party at Fort George.
The Tropical retro party is another themed party held at the incredible Fort George in the town of Vis, Croatia. The city of Vis itself is a naval town and Fort George is a product of two centuries of naval squabbling in the Adriatic Sea. In recent times, however, after extensive restoration, the fort has been converted into a venue where music, art, and cuisine all come together in perfect harmony.
Shuttles left from the port in Vis at around 11 pm, and to keep things organized, there was yacht week personnel dressed in light blue polos with “crew” embroidered on their backs, shuttling attendees into buses. These buses were departing for the fort at 15-minute intervals.
Once there, the full flamboyance of Fort George was on display and the afore-mentioned grandiosity was amplified by the booming music emanating from the fort. Once again, we danced into the night and there was a festival-level DJ spinning his tunes.
On this night, however, while I was sandwiched between all the twenty-somethings and young professionals pumping their fists to the booming music, I had an epiphany about how lucky I was to be a part of the festivities of the week. The opulence of the venue, the smiles on everyone’s faces, the positive energy, the euphoria and exuberance of the attendees all made it seem like I was on the set of the 2013 flick “The Great Gatsby”.
It was personally one of the more memorable nights of the whole week for me and a part of me was left wanting the week to never come to an end.
At the end of the night, after dancing all night, chanting at the top of our lungs, we were left totally spent, we boarded one of the shuttles waiting to ferry people back down the hill and strolled beneath the blanket of glowing stars back onto our yachts.
Before we headed to bed, our skipper alerted us to the fact that we were heading back to Split at sunrise. I was tired from the festivities of the night so I simply passed out in my cabin.
The Regatta is held as all the yachts race back to the island of Split (the starting point of the trip). Each crew is supposed to come up with costume themes for their yacht and this is usually the time you get to show all the skills you learned about yachting during the week.
A winning yacht is selected from all the participating crew and gifted a prize at the final party which is held in Split at the Vanilla club.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to participate in the regatta event as the event scheduled for our week had taken place earlier on in the week.
This was vital information that our skipper forgot to alert us to. On the bright side, we used the time to get some much-needed rest as all the week’s activities had left us feeling depleted.
One last dance
We had finally arrived in Split and what seemed like a week that would never end was now on the verge of painfully coming to a close. All the crews from the week of about 50 yachts came together one last time to dance and bond before it was time to head back to their yachts, pack up their stuff and be off the yachts by 9 am the next day.
There were two shuttle options to get us back to the marina, one which, took attendees back to their yachts at 2 a.m. and another which, took attendees back to their yachts at 4 am. We decided to leave a bit early, we said our goodbyes to friends new and old and headed out the door of the venue. With a heavy heart, we hailed a taxi for about 70 Kuna and went back to the yacht for one last time.
At sunrise, with our belongings packed, we got our deposit back, got the remainder of the crew kitty returned to us and headed off the yacht. It had been an unreal week but every good thing as the saying goes must come to an end. We said our final goodbyes to crew mates, tipped the skipper and hostess for their friendship and hospitality, boarded a taxi and headed to the airport for our flight back home.
I have been to a lot of events that are preceded by a ton of hype, fortunately, this time around, my experiences from the Ultra-yacht week Croatia far exceeded the hype that preceded it.
I left the event not wanting the week to end. The magical scenery of Croatia’s islands, the fraternal bonds formed, and the experiences gained could only have emanated from this unique event. I couldn’t help but think that all this came about as a result of friends sailing together in the Mediterranean.
One of my crew mates and I talked about how we were left in awe at the level of organization that was in place to keep the yacht week machine rolling. What I was personally awe-stricken by was the fact that William Wenkel and Erik Biörklund were capable of putting together an event that was sure to leave an indelible mark on the lives of so many. Some people have criticized the yacht week as an overly extravagant, over the top, frivolous and destructive event.
To them I say, have fun being a bunch of f*****g kill joys.
Summer officially started on the 20th of June and ends on the 22nd of September, in between these days, memories will be created, bikini bodies will be flaunted and airports will be crowded with vacationers scurrying their way to the hottest tourist destinations around the world.
To keep you up to date on the best pool parties to attend in Los Angeles in 2017, we have compiled another list to help you navigate your way to an amazing summer.
1. SPLASH HOUSE
A new entrant on this year’s list, think Coachella but instead hosted by the poolside of three hotels (the Saguaro, the Riviera and the Renaissance) out in the desert in Palm springs. The party is held twice every summer with the first event held in June and the second event in August. This year it will be held once again between the 11th and 13th of August.
The festivities don’t end at the pools of the three hotels, after the sun goes down, there is a concert that features a host of artists playing at the event which, this year, includes Big Gigantic, Redlight, Overjoy and more. Check out the full artist line up here. We will be covering the event in August, so make sure you check back at the end of August for an in-depth coverage of what spending three days on the party trail at Splash House is like.
Update: Read about our experience at Splash House when we attended in August of 2017
A couple of guys from Australia partnered up to form “deep down under productions” under which the liquid frequencies pool party is thrown. The party itself takes place in the Westchester area of Los Angeles, a part of town, we los angelenos like to call Silicon beach due to new tech companies moving to the area.
Our visit to Liquid frequencies, left us feeling like the crowd was a departure from L.A.’s main stream crowd and made from an eclectic mix of people. On the Sunday we attended, DJ Yoko Ono was headlining and came on to play later on in the day. The party started off at 2pm but did not get going till about 5pm.
Food was also served up at the bar along with drinks to quench your summer thirst. Liquid frequencies is held on Sundays at Custom Hotel on 8639 Lincoln Blvd, Westside Los Angeles, CA 90045. For more information about the party and to purchase tickets to the event please visit their website at www.ddpla.com
3. STONES THROW BY THE POOL AT THE LINE HOTEL
The Line Hotel is one of the marquee hotels in Koreatown, Los Angeles. Koreatown in itself is one of the up and coming neighborhoods in Los Angeles so it is no surprise that Line Hotel is living up to the reputation of the neighborhood it resides in by throwing one of L.A’s best summer pool parties. Simply named “Stones throw by the pool” and held every week during the summer, anyone in attendance is bound to have an amazing time. Different DJs spin their tunes every week and a diverse crowd of attendees seem to follow. To attend one of the amazing pool parties held at the Line Hotel, please visit stonesthrow.com for information on how to purchase tickets and other event details.
4. The POOL PARTY AT THE STANDARD HOTEL DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES
The Standard Hotel is once again on our list and when we visited this year, we were amazed at how this pool party continues to amaze us year after year. There have also been some upgrades to the hotel itself with the addition of a ping pong bar to the hotels amenities. If you really want to have a mind blowing experience at the Standard stop with some friends to play some ping pong over some beers and then head up to the roof top to get some sun and chill by the pool.
5. THE SKYBAR AT MONDRAIN LOS ANGELES
The Skybar at the Mondrian has been throwing parties in Los Angeles for quite sometime and they haven’t slowed down one bit. With other locations in South Beach Miami, and London, one could easily see they have spread their signature sophistication across all three locations.
A summer in L.A. however, would not be complete without a trip to one of the famous pool beds at the Mondrian. Getting past the velvet ropes can be quite a hassle but once in, you quickly realize it was well worth the wait and hassle. For more about the hotel please pay their website a visit at www.mondrian.com
6. The HOLLYWOOD ROOSEVELT LOS ANGELES
Another mainstay on our list is the pool party at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel. Like the pool at the Mondrian, people have some difficulty getting in especially if they are not residing at the hotel or they are not on the guest list. The trick is to find someone a promoter who works the door and all should be well.
Los Angeles is still one of the best summer destinations on the planet. Using this list as your guide in finding the best pool parties in the city will definitely make your summer more awesome that it was ever meant to be. Please stay tuned for our next post about our trip to the Croatia for the phenomenon known as “The Yachtweek”. Till then stay blessed and rock on!!!!!
The Movie Lost In Translation Was A Big Hit Set In Tokyo Japan
Tokyo first came onto my radar after watching the 2003 blockbuster “Lost in translation.” Something about the final “goodbye” scene between Scarlet Johansson and Bill Murray left me itching to visit Tokyo.
After waiting fourteen years to get a chance, I finally got a chance to see the sights and hear the sounds from Lost In Translation, the movie that brought Tokyo into my living room.
A Little About Tokyo
Tokyo is the capital of Japan and as at the time of this writing has a population of about 9 million people. From visiting this amazing city, I can personally say Tokyo is one of the most unique cities I have ever been to.
Lots of things about Tokyo make it unique—from its fully automated toilet seats to its bullet trains, the cherry blossoms of spring, the seamless blend of tradition with advanced cutting edge technology and lest not forget that Tokyo has unbelievable culinary tastes and amazing nightlife.
Getting to Tokyo.
There are two major international airports that service Tokyo, one being the Narita international airport, and Haneda international airport. We flew into Narita International and had a pleasant experience as it is with all things Japanese.
However, it is advised that anyone flying to Tokyo should fly to Haneda International if they have it as an option. Narita international is outside the city of Tokyo and requires quite the commute to get to the city.
Accommodation in Tokyo Japan
Tokyo has a plethora of accommodation options from less expensive hostels to mid-range and high-priced hotels. On average and compared to most cities, I would say Tokyo’s accommodation is pretty expensive so be prepared to feel the pinch in your wallet. I was lucky to have found a quite affordable hostel which I would recommend in Asakusa aptly named “Ace Inn Asakusa”.
Transportation in Tokyo Japan
Tokyo’s Transportation system is amongst the most advanced in the world and it is even more advanced than what we have in my home country of the USA. From buses to trams, trains and bullet trains, getting around Tokyo should be a breeze.
Most of the station stops are written in Japanese but they also have numbers demarcating what each stop is. A tip that will save you a lot of money (if you intend to travel outside of Tokyo) to is that you should buy the Japan rail pass.
For a flat fee, you get to travel to cities outside of Tokyo as many times as you like for a limited amount of time. It cost about USD 500 for me to pick up a Japan rail pass which was good to use for about 30 days.
Food in Tokyo
I found the culinary scene in Tokyo to be quite satisfying with an endless array of street food, food stalls, restaurants and the like littered all around the city. The Japanese cuisine or “washoku” as it is called in Japan encompasses dishes such as Ramen noodles, Yakisoba, Dunburi, Sushi, and Chazuke.
One of the most unique restaurant experiences I had, when I visited, was a trip to the Robot restaurant in Shinjuku and automated service restaurants which had patrons pay at a machine and use the receipt they get from the machine to pick up their bowls of noodles from a conveyor belt.
Paying a visit to the Tsukiji fish market might also be a good idea as it allows you to sample a wide array of freshly prepared seafood.
Note” The Tsukiji fish market is slated to move to Toyosu in the near future.
Nightlife in Tokyo Japan
Tokyo has amazing nightlife and although it is not as crazy as Seoul nightlife, there are still a ton of options to help you dance your night away. Even though there are clubs scattered around the city, I found there to be a concentration of clubs in Shibuya.
One of the most popular clubs in Shibuya is Womb, which appeared in the 2006 hit movie Babel. Other clubs in Shibuya include Harlem and Club Camelot.
If you are a Gaijin (a term used to describe foreigners in Japan) and want to party with other Gaijin, then you can head to Roppongi where they have clubs like Odeon, Muse, and Club six Tokyo just to name a few.
Tourist Sights In Tokyo and Cultural Things To Do
One of the things I enjoyed the most about Tokyo was the endless amount of cultural sights and landmarks one could indulge in.
From a visit to the grounds of the Emperor’s palace to a journey through time at the Samurai museum in Shinjuku. The sights and sounds of Tokyo will definitely keep you occupied for the entire duration of your stay. Here is a list of sights and landmarks you must see while you are in Japan.
The Robot Cabaret in Shinjuku
Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street) to get a view of Harajuku Teenage Culture.
Godzilla Statue in Chiyoda Tokyo and another Godzilla statue in Shinjuku.
The Samurai Museum in Shinjuku.
A visit to the emperor’s palace.
Walk across the world-Famous Shibuya crossing.
Visit the Meiji and Senso-Ji shrines.
Visit a Kabuki Theatre.
Visit a Bathhouse.
Stroll through one of Tokyo’s many historical gardens.
Visit the Dover street market in Ginza.
Stop by a Manga and Anime bookstore.
Stop by the Tsukiji fish market.
Catch a sumo wrestling match.
Visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum.
Visit the Tokyo stock exchange
Check out Tokyo tower in Minato
Go shopping in Roppongi hills
Go shopping in Ginza.
Visit the Tokyo sky tree.
See amazing swords at the Japanese Sword museum.
Head to the Park Hyatt’s 52nd floor New York Bar in Tokyo
Learn Origami at Origami Kaikan
Get seedy at Tokyo’s red light district Kabukicho.
Indulge in some amazing nightlife in Shibuya.
Final Tokyo Travel Tips
Before I depart I would like to share some final travel tips that would make your travel to Tokyo as amazing as mine was.
Japanese people take politeness very seriously and it would be advisable to respond in kind. A slight bow while uttering phrases like “Arigato gozaimasu” (Thank you very much) seemed to win me praise with the locals.
English penetration is very low in Japan. It would help to learn a few basic Japanese words to make your stay a bit easier but to be honest you could probably get by very well in Japan for a short period of time without needing to learn any Japanese.
In the event that you use chopsticks to eat, do not stab your sticks into your bowl pointing upward. This signifies death in Japanese culture and could get you a few frowns from the locals.
Please “do slurp” on your Ramen while you are eating your food. To the Japanese, it simply shows you are taking great pleasure with the food you are eating.
You will get confused more than once by the transportation system in Tokyo because Japan’s transportation system while advanced is quite convoluted. The good news is that the station attendants are very helpful, polite and guide you around the city.
If you are worried about safety, that shouldn’t be an issue in Japan as the city is mostly safe and Japanese people are literally the most civilized people I have met in any country I have traveled to. However, In Roppongi, I heard of fights occurring amongst mostly foreigners.
If you go out at night you should know that Tokyo’s subway system closes at midnight and reopens again at 5:30 am. If you leave a bar or nightclub between midnight and five in the morning, be ready to feel the pinch in your wallet as Tokyo taxis are very expensive.
If you want to do intercity travel, it is a good idea to buy the Japan rail pass as explained above. It will save you tons of money. However, you need to buy the pass before you arrive in Japan and have it shipped to the country you reside in.
You might be rejected from some bath houses and hostels if you sport tattoos. The level of enforcement of this policy varies from bathhouse to bathhouse.
In terms of accommodation, I found the Asakusa area to be more affordable than the rest of Tokyo and it still had tons of things to do.
I had a great time during my visit to Tokyo and given the chance, I would definitely return again. I hope you find this write up interesting and helpful, if you do, please share with friends. Till the next time, Happy partytrailing!!!!…
Traveling to Seoul South Korea is one of the most rewarding experiences “the Partytrail” has ever had the pleasure of indulging in.
Everything about Seoul South Korea is tantalizing, starting from the food to the people, the world-class transportation system, the ultra-amazing nightlife, the fashion, and the music scene.
Seoul will leave any visitor to the country with a feeling of never wanting to leave.
A LITTLE ABOUT SEOUL SOUTH KOREA
South Korea is located in East Asia on the southern half of the Korean peninsula. It covers a land area of about 97,000 square kilometers.
As as the time of this writing, the country has a population of about 50 million people. The city of Seoul is home to about a fifth of the country’s population (10 million people).
South Korea’s currency is known as the “Won” and one U.S. Dollar is worth about 1,100 Won. South Korea has a three-branch system of government headed by a President.
The language spoken in the country is “Korean”, which is the country’s dominant language but amongst the younger population and the educated, English is widely spoken.
GETTING TO SEOUL
The airport we flew into was the Incheon International airport (ICN) and it is a full amenity airport with direct rail (Airport Railroad Express (AREX)) to the city, “Seoul station” to be exact.
There is another airport into the city, the Gimpo international airport (GMP) which was first established by the Japanese as a military airport but is used today for commercial flights, domestic and international.
The travel time from the airport to Seoul station is about 60 minutes and the train runs every 23 minutes. Other options to get you into the city include Seoul Metropolitan Subway, airport limousine buses, and taxis.
ACCOMMODATION IN SEOUL
There are many options for accommodation in Seoul. As a visitor in the country, you will find yourself gravitating towards either the Gangnam district or “Itaewon”, a district where most of the foreigners that reside in Seoul live or hangout.
Booking.com and Expedia have several listings for hotels to stay while you are in Seoul, Airbnb has some options for apartments and if you are a budget traveler, you might want to take a look at some of the options they have for hostels in Seoul.
TRANSPORTATION IN SEOUL
Seoul has an advanced and easy to use metro system that is efficient and connects virtually every part of the city.
It was our preferred method of getting around when we visited Seoul. Other options for getting around the city include the bus and taxis.
From our experience most of the taxi drivers were not too conversant in English so giving them directions was not too easy.
There are however apps that are used by locals that can help you order taxis when you need them.
FOOD IN SEOUL SOUTH KOREA
If your city has a Korea-town, then you should be familiar with some of the culinary delicacies that are served up in Seoul.
If you are not too familiar with Korean dishes, you will be pleased to know that Seoul, South Korea has some of the best delicacies we have ever encountered.
Dishes you are likely to come across include Korean barbecue, Kimchi, Bulgogi, Bibimbap, and Galbi. There is also a wide array of street foods all over the city.
From our experience, most of the street food seemed to be concentrated in the Myeong-dong and Hong-dae areas (more on these areas below).
The Street foods we ate were just as delicious and satisfying as the food you find in Seoul’s many restaurants.
FASHION IN SEOUL SOUTH KOREA
The fashion scene in Seoul is up to par with any other major city around the world and we would posit that most of the residents of Seoul were pretty fashion conscious.
There are tons of shopping malls around the city where any visitor to Seoul can shop till they drop.
However, no mall or shopping area in Seoul had more offerings than the Lotte Duty-Free Shop by the Seoul station.
If you are a hardcore fan of fashion, it would be great if you could snag tickets to “Seoul fashion week” where you will be witness to Seoul’s up and coming local brands as well as its already established fashion labels.
If malls bore you and you would like to do some street shopping instead, the Myeong-gong district is an entire district in the city dedicated to everything from beauty products which South Korea is known for, to clothes and accessories.
THE MUSIC SCENE IN SEOUL SOUTH KOREA
If you heard the ultra-mega hit “Oppa Gangnam style” a couple of years ago then you are in good company. The hit song conquered the airwaves of a lot of countries and then fizzled out some time after.
Many people thought the song was a one-time phenomenon coming out of South Korea but they are sadly mistaken.
South Korea has one of the most developed music scenes in the world with K-Pop and K-Hip hop being some of the country’s biggest musical exports. Other genres of music you will encounter in Seoul range from electronic music to rock.
K-pop, a genre of popular music in South Korea is still very much in force and it has produced stars such as the pop-rock band CNBLUE and G-Dragon. Of late South Korean artists have moved into other Genres of Music like Hip Hop, Rap, and R&B.
NIGHTLIFE IN SEOUL SOUTH KOREA
This would be a good time to segway into Seoul’s unbelievably amazing nightlife. While a lot of cities we have been to like to use the moniker “city that never sleeps.” Seoul was the first city we visited that undoubtedly lived up to the moniker.
From the University town of Hongdae which had clubs like “M2” and “Cocoon” to the ultra ritzy and glam district of Gangnam which is home to Octagon.
A traveler to Seoul will find that there are clubs that simply stay open till the break of dawn. Surprisingly, the intensity of the nightlife did not die down, no matter what day of the week it was.
Every night of the week simply had an event at almost every club in the city. For the simple fact that nightclubs shut down and re-open under new names all the time, we won’t list any club names here.
We will, however, list districts where you can find some of Seoul’s most stand out nightclubs and bars and you can do some more research on your own.
This is the foreigner district in Seoul as we mentioned above and there are tons of bars and nightclubs here, where a mix of locals, American G.I’s, European and Asian expatriates go to wind down after a long week of work.
While there are some bars on the main strip in Itaewon. A healthy serving of bars and nightclubs can be found directly behind Hamilton Hotel in this part of town.
To get to Itaewon, simply get off at the Itaewon stop on the metro station and start exploring.
If you want to party it up with the college crowd in Seoul then Hongdae is where you want to go.
The clubs here are literally open till 10 am on the weekends and you will find a wide array of clubs playing different kinds of music.
Beware they have an age range for potential patrons, 18 years being the minimum age and 35 years being the maximum age.
Clubs like Cocoon in Hongdae will not allow patrons over the age of 35 years into their clubs.
This is where most of the super clubs in Seoul are located and when I say super clubs we mean clubs that are so huge that they could house more than a thousand people easily.
Octagon is one such club but if you do more research you will find there are many more clubs of that size in Gangnam.
Cheongdam, Sinsa-dong, and Apgujeong
These areas are wards of the Gangnam district and are upmarket areas of Seoul where wealthy Koreans live. There are many more nightlife options in this area where as mentioned earlier you can party till you drop.
TOURIST SIGHTS IN SEOUL
Seoul is such a dynamic city that there is so much to see and do in terms of culture. There are several museums, theaters, landmarks and more to see while you are in the city.
We have listed some of the more famous landmarks you can see while you are in Seoul below.
Bukchon Hanok Village
National Folk Museum
N Seoul Tower
National Theater Company of Korea
Sungkok Art Museum
Bank of Korea Money Museum
The Myeongong Cathedral
Apgujeong Rodeo Street
Horim Art Center
Seoul Central Mosque
The Cheonggyecheon water stream
Love locks at the North Seoul Tower.
Namsan Cable Car
Seoul Museum of Art
Some Final Travel Tips for Seoul
Seoul and South Korea, in general, are relatively safe and the people compared to most first world cities are friendly and helpful. There are however a few cultural norms that we should gloss over so you don’t run afoul of the locals in Seoul.
Elderly respect is taken very seriously
South Korea takes respect for older people very seriously, so much so that if an elderly person offers you a drink in a bar or night club you are compelled to drink it to show respect for the person offering.
Also on the metro, they have sections where the seats are reserved for the elderly, unbeknownst to us we sat here and we got yelled at by a local who demanded we go sit where the younger people and general population sit.
Koreans will express their displeasure if you run afoul of a custom
We found that being foreign did not exempt one from the repercussions of running afoul of local customs.
While I must say that Koreans are generally friendly and easy going, they seemed to take societal norms and customs quite seriously and will be compelled to set you straight if you violated any.
Beauty is taken very seriously in South Korea
South Korea has one of the highest plastic surgery rates of anywhere we had previously visited in the world. Whitening creams to help lighten the skin of the locals were abundant and there were no shortages of surgically altered but perfectly oval faces.
Also, South Korea is one of the largest markets for beauty products with companies like Tony Moly, innisfree and “Peach & Lilly” cornering a significant share of the local beauty economy.
Make Sure To Get A Refund On Your Ticket After Every Metro Ride
After riding the metro, make sure you go to the deposit refund machine to get some of your money back from your metro card.
We must have lost close to 5000 Won because we didn’t know one could retrieve the deposits left on metro cards.
Coupled With A Disciplined Work Ethic Comes An Epic Drinking Culture
Along with the mind-boggling Korean work ethic comes an epic drinking culture, you will be pleased to find locally brewed drinks like soju, Bokbunja ju, and Makgeolli.
Getting from the Airport to Quito: I arrived at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito at 1 am and by that time there were no buses left to take you to downtown Quito (a guy working at the airport told me that the last one left at 10 pm). Keep in mind that the airport is about 40km away (a 40min drive) from Downtown Quito, therefore your only other choice is to take a taxi. The price for a taxi to Quito is set at $25 by some agreement between the taxi Union and the airport. I managed to share a ride with a lovely Canadian family to my hostel in Plaza Foch.
Hotels and hostels in Quito are concentrated in two main areas: Plaza Foch, the lively, hip part of the city where the nightlife is concentrated or the Historic Center, the oldest UNESCO heritage site in the world. A taxi between the two areas would cost $3-4, but if you think you will want to have a taste of Quito’s nightlife, I would definitely recommend staying in Plaza Foch.
What to do
The Historic Center (Plaza de La Independencia)
There are plenty of museums, basilicas and historical buildings to visit near to the main square. If you are feeling adventurous, you can hike the “El Panecillo” hill and get up close to the Virgin Marie statue. Only once you are on top, you realize how big this city actually is, stretching for about 60km from north to south. Further down, you can walk around “Calle La Ronda” a small cobblestone alleyway where you can try some delicious traditional food and buy local arts and crafts.
The Telefériqo (cable car)
First, you will need to take a taxi to get to the Teleferiqo. The trip to the summit will take you around 15mins. Once you reach the top, there a few trails you can hike or you can just relax and enjoy the view of Quito. If you would like to have an unobstructed view from the top, get there in the morning when here are very few clouds. Also, make sure to bring an extra layer before taking the teleferico as it will get chilly once you are up there.
We chose to take a tour offered by one of the many traveling agencies in Quito. Our tour guide picked us up at 7 am and we departed for Cotopaxi which is about 2 hours south. The bus took us into the Cotopaxi National Park and dropped us off at the base at about 13600ft (4200m).
As we were hiking up the volcano it started to snow and by the time we reached the refuge at about 16000ft, it was snowing quite heavily. After drinking a hot coca leaf tea at the refuge, we returned to our initial starting point at the base. Then we got on our mountain bikes and we started our descent down the volcano and through the national park.
Otavalo is a town about 2 hours north of Quito, which hosts the largest indigenous market in South America. Getting there requires a stop at Terminal Carcelén, which is about 25 mins by taxi or 1 hour by bus. There you can get on the buses to Otavalo which will take you 2 more hours, so if you are planning to visit the market, make sure to depart early in the morning so you can enjoy a full day in Otavalo.
During the week, the market is confined to the main plaza, but on Saturdays it will expand to the adjacent streets, which will be filled with vendors from around the region. Be prepared to find various colorful crafts, arts, and knits made from soft alpaca wool. Bargaining is part of the local culture.
No matter the day of the week, you will find Plaza Foch teeming with life, though Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest. A lot of nightclubs and bars will require you to pay a cover fee and almost all of them will require you to show them an ID to enter, so make sure to have one with you before you go out. The locals are very friendly towards foreigners and are not afraid to engage in conversations with you. There is a lot of nightclubs in the area, but unfortunately, most of them will close by 2-3 am.
Things to keep in mind
I flew into Quito from Panama City without any concern for the altitude difference between the two (almost 9350 feet). I found it the hard way that altitude sickness is a real thing, and will affect anyone regardless of physical health. So for the first two days, try to sleep early and do not engage in heavy physical activity.
The Bus system in Quito is cheap ($0.25 per ride) but be warned that they do stop a lot on the way. Taxis are the best way to get around Quito. Most taxis have a taximeter but they will almost never turn it on, so make sure you negotiate the price beforehand to avoid getting ripped off. A 15min drive. A 15min drive should cost you no more than $3-4.
Safety in Quito
Prior to our arrival in Quito, we had heard many horror stories about walking around in Quito (day or night). Nonetheless, I never felt unsafe or at risk at any point during my stay in Quito and I went out almost every night. You are going to notice “tourist” police walking around the streets of Plaza Foch, which I believe were security guards hired to give tourists an extra sense of security. But just like with any other big city, be aware of your surroundings, try to not walk alone at night and you will be just fine.
Every year for the last seven years I have been fortunate enough to spend New Year’s Eve abroad. I spent the New Year eve’s prior in Morocco and that was such an amazing and eye-opening experience that I wondered where on earth I could go to match or top my Moroccan adventure.
Enter Panama!!!! A friend suggested we visit this Latin American country on a whim and as usual, all I knew of Panama was a documentary I saw about how the United States toppled the country’s dictator (Noriega).
More recently, “The Panama Papers,” another incident that put Panama on my radar was about a scandal involving politicians who had used Panama as an avenue to launder ill-gotten money.
Once the chance presented itself, I booked my ticket to Panama to coincide with New Year’s Eve. My travel itinerary in Panama was to take me to Panama City for a day and then travel to the tiny island of Bocas Del Toro and then back to Panama City for a couple of days after which I was to return to the United States by the second week of 2017.
Bocas Del Toro
Bocas del Toro is an island province of Panama and it is great for people trying to escape the hustle and bustle of Panama City. Like most Island getaways, there was a ton of stuff to do and see.
Some of the stuff to do in Bocas Del Toro includes taking a tour to see many of the interesting wildlife on the island, renting four wheelers for a trip through Bocas Del Toro’s forests, visitors to the island can partake in water sports like surfing, and much more.
Let’s just say in Bocas Del Toro you can literarily do anything you think of. For more about things to do in Bocas Del Toro I have included some websites for you to stop by: Bocas Del Toro Travel and Lonely Planet
Bocas Del Toro Nightlife
This is one of Bocas Del Toro’s strongest points, the nightlife on this island is so amazing. There are several hostels on the island teeming with people in their 20’s and 30’s who usually want a place to wind down and relax after participating in whatever water sports they fancy during the day.
One thing that I did find was each day had a club or bar that was packed with people and the music played ranged from reggaeton to Caribbean-inspired music. There was never a night in Bocas Del Toro that wasn’t “my best night ever”.
New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve on the island was a riot, as soon as the sun set, the celebrations began and people were in the streets lighting up fireworks and blaring music from their stereos. On closer inspection I noticed the revelers were both Panamanian and from far flung corners of the globe.
After starting the night off at Selina hostel in Bocas Del Toro, my newly made friends and I headed out to “Summer beach club” one of the more popular clubs on the main strip. From that point on, a combination of excessively drunk revelers, the rain, fireworks and an impending New year made for one of the most memorable nights of my life.
As per my itinerary, it was time to say goodbye to Bocas Del Toro and head to Panama City where I was pleasantly reminded that the Republic of Panama is indeed like a gift that keeps on giving.
Panama City is the largest city and the capital of the Republic of Panama, it has a population of half a million people and is designated a “gamma+ world city.”
Simply stated, it means Panama City is a world class city and if you were to see all the high-rises that make up the city landscape you would understand without a doubt why it was given such a designation.
Things To Do In Panama City
The Panama Canal
One of the most innovative feats of engineering in recent times is the Panama Canal. A dispute over the canal was part of the reason why the United States removed Noriega, Panama’s former dictator from power.
The Panama Canal is an artificial 48-mile waterway that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. The canal is one of the world’s major trading routes and was responsible for a whopping 340.8 million tons of shipping in 2015 alone. If you would like to learn more about the Canal, please stop by this page to learn about the canal.
Casco Viejo which stands for old quarter in Spanish is as you might have guessed is Panama city’s old quarter. There are bars, restaurants, churches and small shops gracing this part of town. There are cobbled stone streets at every turn in Casco Viejo and you can also get a decent view of the Panama City skyline from this part of town. A visit to Panama City would not be complete without a stop in Casco Viejo.
This heavenly stretch of land shows the beauty of Panama City in all its glory. The best way to experience Amador Causeway is to rent a bike and cycle or walk as far your legs can take you along the Causeway. From the path on the causeway, you get to see Panama’s sky blue waters, yachts, the Panama City skyline, and every other element this beauty of a city has to offer.
The Museum of Biodiversity
The museum of biodiversity was designed by Frank O. Gehry, a world-renowned architect whose signature works include the Vitra design museum in Germany, the Olympic Fish Pavilion in Barcelona and the “Dancing house” in Prague. To see more of this brilliant architect’s work please stop by Architectural Digest. The museum of Biodiversity showcases some of Panama’s biodiversity and is also sometimes used to host small events such as concerts, private events, and expositions.
Panama Viejo is another must visit landmark in Panama. It is home to some of Panama city’s pre-modern ruins and is home to Panama’s former capital. Stop by the ruins to get a peak into what Panama City was like in it’s early days.
The Hard Rock Hotel
The Hard rock hotel is one of Panama city’s premier hotels and even if a night’s stay here is out of your budget, you should at least try to go up to the pool area or the night club situated on the hotel’s 62nd floor. From the hotel’s rooftop, one can get panoramic views of the city rooftop while sipping on some amazing cocktails.
Next on the party trail
Next, we head to Japan and the wonderful city of Almaty in Kazakhstan. Stay tuned and till then, Stay awesome!!!!!!
I am usually left flabbergasted when people tell me all they can think of Washington DC is a city filled with statues and white buildings. Considering the fact that I used to be a former resident of the city, I feel like a huge population of the country that associates DC with just politics and statues have no idea what they are missing out on.
Most people I have conversations with about visiting the city with usually say they only ever visited Washington DC when they went for a field trip in middle school.
To all the middle school field trippers and the people who have never really got to experience DC for what it is but have decided to cast it as a city with just statues and white buildings, I have some news for you.
Buy a plane ticket and head to Washington for your next vacation because I know of very few cities in the United States that have as much culture, fine dining, amazing nightlife and intellectual capital all packed into 68.34 square miles of it.
Washington DC is divided into the four quadrants mirrored off their geographical coordinates (i.e: NW, NE, SW, SE). While there are noteworthy things to see and do in all four quadrants, most of the activities that center on tourism are found predominantly in the North Western quadrant of the city.
So that we don’t lose your attention, we have decided to compile a list of noteworthy things to do while you are in Washington DC.
1. Take A Tour Of The City’s Museums, Monuments and Statues
We know it might sound cliche but Washington DC has some of the most amazing works of arts, architecture, and monuments all paying tribute to some of the most accomplished citizens this fine country of ours have ever produced.
From the newly opened Smithsonian museum dedicated to African American history to the omnipresent monument dedicated to Abraham Lincoln, a man renowned for bringing unity to our country during it’s darkest moments.
2. Indulge In Some Of The City’s Fine Dining
Washington DC is fast becoming one of America’s culinary bastions. With the city’s diverse population comes a diverse palette and a plethora of restaurants waiting to quell your appetite. No matter what kind of food you crave, Washington DC has something for you.
3. Take A Tour Of The City’s Prestigious Colleges
Washington DC moonshines as a college town and this is what I personally think makes the city so dynamic. There are about 19 colleges in the city from the world-renowned Georgetown University to the history black Howard university.
Each school has its own unique flair and dynamic that combines to make DC one of the most youthful and vibrant cities in the nation.
4. Visit The White House
What good would it do you if you visited Washington DC but you failed to visit the home of the Chief executive of the nation’s highest office and the commander in chief of the armed forces?
There are guided tours that give visitors a walk-through of the white house. You just have to make sure you plan your visit properly because from what I hear the tours can be booked for up to three months in advance.
5. Spend some time at the city’s waterfront
Washington DC was built to be a city in a swamp as a means of keeping the tyranny of government out of the lives of the country’s citizenry. While tyranny is never a good thing, DC’s unique location also gave the city access to a waterfront where you have tons of restaurants, summer partying on boats and the like.
So, if you are up for a good time and you are in DC for the summer make sure you stop at the waterfront for some summertime fun.
6. Get Cultured At The John F Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts
The John F Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts has been home to some of the most significant entertainment events in our nation’s history.
7. Indulge In Some Of The City’s Nightlife In Adam’s Morgan
While DC’s nightlife is more or less scattered around pockets of the city, no other part of the city is as dedicated to bars and nightlife as Adam Morgan. This part of the city is a long stretch of bars and restaurants that cater to students, young professionals, and politicians alike.
The pan-African restaurants here will leave your taste buds ringing due to the spiciness of the food they serve and you get to quench the fire with drinks from one of the several bars they have in this part of town.
8. Go Shopping In Georgetown
While we previously mentioned waterfront dining and partying at DC’s waterfront, something else we need to let you know is that there are tons of boutique shops in Georgetown, DC. Also in this part of town are the famous steps that were featured in the 1973 blockbuster, “The Exorcist”.
9. Indulge In Some More Nightlife
One of DC’s most hidden secrets is the fact that the city nearly rivals New York in terms of nightlife. From the mega nightclubs on F street to the lounges on K Street and the rooftop bar at the W hotel. There is always a dance floor open somewhere in the city on any day of the week for you to dance the night away.
DC has it’s own unique style of music called the “go-go” that originated in the city back in the 70’s and 80’s. Other styles of music you can expect to hear while enjoying the city’s nightlife include; Hip-hop, top 40, house and electronic dance music.
10. Watch A Game By One The City’s Sports Teams
Like any other major American city, sports is a huge past-time in the city and with various sports teams from both the professional and collegiate levels, any sports jockey will be well impressed with the level of excitement these teams bring to the city.
Some of the teams on the professional level include; the Washington Wizards, the Washington Redskins, and the Washington Nationals. While the city is represented on the collegiate level by the Georgetown Hoyas, the American University Eagles, and the George Washington Colonials.
From beautiful beaches to crumbling cathedrals, Europe is full of amazing holiday destinations that you have to see to believe. But what if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on your getaway? Where are the budget-friendly alternatives to big cities and expensive resorts? If you’re looking to travel without breaking the bank, here are just seven of the cheapest holiday destinations in Europe.
7. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is the very image of a European vacation. With cobbled streets framing cultural touchstones like Sandor Palace and St. Stephen’s Basilica, you’ll enjoy a rich sense of history as you grab a hot greyano vino and walk the outdoor marketplaces under a fresh canopy of fallen leaves.
You won’t need to spend a lot of money, either; though Budapest has a thriving tourism industry, its prices remain well below the average European hot spot. You can also find tucked-away shops and bed-and-breakfasts if you’re willing to travel off the beaten path and down the stones.
6. Costa del Sol, Spain
Also known as “Coast of the Sun” or “Sun Coast,” Costa del Sol more than lives up to its name by offering tons of beaches, boardwalks, and bungalows for the sun-loving traveler. Most public places are free for anyone who feels like exploring, so you’ll only have to spend as much as you want to, and even famous attractions like El Torcal Natural Park are low-priced. Just keep in mind that Costa del Sol spans several different towns and communities along the shoreline, so prices may fluctuate depending on your exact location.
5. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is where old Europe meets new Europe. With ancient basilicas towering over glitzy fashion boutiques and throngs of pedestrians on smartphones, it’s a place filled with equal parts modernity and serenity. You’d be surprised by how inexpensive it is, too! While not the single cheapest holiday destination in the country, you can find hotels and restaurants for a fraction of the price of other European cities. There are also markets filled with everything from souvenirs to fresh fruit to help you curb everyday expenses. All things considered, Prague is a must-see location for travelers on a budget.
4. Moscow, Russia
You haven’t been to Europe until you’ve been to Russia, and Moscow is the glittering centerpiece of an elaborate tableau. With almost 12 million people packed within its borders, it’s a modern metropolis that offers a constant thrum of energy in the form of shops, restaurants, theaters, malls, bars and nightclubs. While some of these activities will cost you, you can stretch your money even further by taking advantage of free and low-price attractions like museums, parks and town squares. One thing is for sure: You won’t want to miss Moscow if you’re looking for cheap travel in Europe.
3. Nesebar, Bulgaria
One of the most beautiful towns in Bulgaria is also one of the oldest. Founded sometime in the sixth century, Nesebar has carefully preserved its heritage by cultivating a wide variety of churches, museums, and cultural landmarks. From ancient monasteries to elaborate towers dedicated to religious icons, you’ll find plenty to see and do in this gorgeous relic of centuries gone by. Best of all, many of Nesebar’s attractions are completely free, so you’ll be able to enjoy true Bulgarian history without paying a dime.
2. Crete, Greece
Many people assume that Greece is expensive because it’s such a popular tourist destination, but places like Crete are actually a gem for the budget-minded. Not only can you find inexpensive accommodation along the coast, but the island is full of shops, cafes, bistros and market stalls that make wining and dining a cheap experience as well. As with any large area, your exact expenses will depend on your location and season, but cities like Agios Nikolaos are especially renowned for their affordability. Do your research before you go to figure out which destinations are within your price range.
1. Algarve, Portugal
Known for its sandy shores and crystal-clear waters, Algarve is a tropical paradise for any beach lover. Explore the colorful tide pools of Algar Seco; snorkel in the underwater caves of Ponta da Piedade; grab a drink at one of the many bars and clubs dotting Falesia Beach. You can even feed the dolphins at the Zoomarine water park! If it has anything to do with sand, surf or swimming, Algarve probably has it, and you won’t have to break the bank to enjoy it. Algarve is widely considered one of the cheapest cities in Europe.
These are just a few of the cheapest holiday destinations in Europe. Whether you’re jet-setting across the globe or just crossing another continent off your bucket list, these cities will give you everything you’ve ever wanted in a European vacation.