Luang Prabang Swimming Lake at Tad Thong

Luang Prabang’s Best Kept Secrets

As the new year begins, my time in beautiful Luang Prabang is drawing to an end. I am going to miss this special place very much. From the monks that can be seen everywhere and the sound of their drums at four in the afternoon, to cycling around the French colonial buildings that do shabby chic so well, I can hardly think of a thing in this royal city that I won’t miss. Most people that visit here for a few days will remember the monks, their trip to Kuangsi Waterfall, climbing to the top of Mount Phoisi, Utopia and the night market. For me, though, I will remember some of the things most tourists are unaware of, or lack the time to visit. Here are my favourite parts of Luang Prabang, and the city’s best kept secrets.

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Top 10 Travel Blogs of 2014

Top 10 Travel Blogs of 2014

First of all, Happy Christmas! I hope you all had a wonderful day, filled with laughter and joy. If, like me, your belly is too full from all the food and booze consumed yesterday, you’ll be looking for indoor activities that require little to no moving. Say, a spot of reading, maybe? If your dreams of 2015’s big adventure are already filling your thoughts, why not take a look at my top 10 travel blogs of 2014 for a little travel inspiration? Warning: reading any of these blogs may result in a sudden urge to book flights to places you’ve never thought to visit, itchy feet and compulsive day dreaming, AKA wanderlust syndrome.

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Hobart from the top of Mt Wellington

Hobart Highlights

Hobart is a beautiful and small coastal city, surrounded by beautiful mountains. I spent around 4 days here in total and instantly fell for the cities laid back attitude and love for sea food.

I arrived at the airport, which is tiny, in the early morning and hopped on the shuttle bus to town. The shuttle bus is great, it’s 30USD return and will drop off/pick up from most the hotels and hostels in town. I was dropped at The Pickled Frog, ditched my bag and set off to Bathurst Street’s farmer market.

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Litchfield Wangi Falls

Litchfield National Park

The local aboriginal tribes believe that Litchfield National Park was formed by their ancestors thousands of years ago, and their spirits are believed to be present in the area still. The landscape here is stunning, and the area is filled with history. Whilst staying in Darwin we hired a car and took the two hour journey south to visit Litchfield. All the attractions at the park share information about the site, the aboriginal importance and the wildlife you can look out for.

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Winter Wonderland Ferris Wheel

Winter Wonderland

When I was growing up in the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Moors a good old town fair was never far away. Some of my greatest memories of growing up include playing on the rides, trying to win a giant teddy and filling my face with hot dogs and candy floss. So you can imagine my delight when I received a call from my sister, who very recently moved to London, late Wednesday night asking me to go to Winter Wonderland.

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Blackheath Firework Display 2012

Fireworks at Blackheath display, London

Fireworks at Blackheath display, London

Every year parks all across London (and the rest of the UK) set up hot dog carts, coffee stands and sell as many flashing toys to children as possible. Its 5th November, or the closest weekend when the 5th falls on a week night. Last night a group of friends and me took the long journey from zone 3 North London into the deep, dark depths of South London’s Blackheath for their annual fire works display.
We got there a little early, so early in fact the hog roast I insist on for dinner at any fire work display I attend wasn’t ready yet!  Blackheath is one of the most popular free displays in London so it gets pretty busy there, as well as on the trains to get there, so getting there early really does pay off (even if you do have to wait a while for your hog roast dinner).
After we had all filled our bellies with hot dogs, burgers and candy we went down to the fairground to go on some rides! It was like going back to the early naughties when I was about 14, it was quite simply amazing. There were all the classics; Twister, Dodgems, a Carousel and my personal favorite the Waltzers.

Now, feeling like a big kid, it was time to head out onto the heath to watch the fire works. Never mind Christmas, you can forget about Easter, birthdays and whatever else, bonfire night is without a doubt my favorite night of the year for no other reason then the firework. Yes, the fairs are fun and the food is yummy, but its all about the show!
The display at Blackheath was simply fabulous. Having spent my uni days in Liverpool (I’ll give a few little guides to Liverpool soon, to include nights out and exploring the Beatles) the best place to go to see fireworks was Sefton Park, which puts on the very best display I had ever seen! However, as soon as the display is over you would have to make a quick exit from the park unless you want a firework in your face! This being my second display I have been to in London I still get a little concerned walking through the crowds that there will be a “joker” among them ready to set a rocket off. This being Blackheath and not Liverpool you won’t need to be worrying about that, something that I always find to be a pleasant surprise.

Right as the show was about to start my house mate pulled a bottle of red wine and some Halloween cups to sip through the demonstration, and I shared a few packs of sparklers with everyone. Just a little word of warning though, we were told off by one of the safety stewards for having them.

There is, however, just 1 small critique I have about the Blackheath display. All other shows I have been to have had a soundtrack, usually ending in Katy Perry’s Firework. It was only a small thing but it does make a difference.
There was also a reptile house with rescued snakes and lizards of all shapes and sizes. We held a lovely snake named Opal. It was nice to see something non traditional at the display, and I’m sure it was a great way for the charity to make a few extra pennies.
All in all Blackheath had it all, great food, awesome rides, snakes and a fabulous display! I will be there next year for sure!
Originally posted 4/11/2012, but because I’m an idiot I deleted it!