The Best National Trails in the UK: Our Top 7 Picks

The Best National Trails in the UK: Our Top 7 Picks

One of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of our world is by walking. The process of moving one’s limbs and breathing in the fresh air not only refreshes the body and mind but also the spirit. 

“[Walking] is the perfect way of moving if you want to see into the life of things. It is the one way of freedom. If you go to a place on anything but your own feet you are taken there too fast, and miss a thousand delicate joys that were waiting for you by the wayside.”

— Elizabeth von Arnim

What are the National Trails?

If you live in the UK or are planning a visit, then you will be happy to know that the country is covered in some of the world’s best walking paths. Do you get confused about the UK? If yes, then keep in mind that the below countries are a part of the United Kingdom:

  • England
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • Northern Ireland

All these countries are hiking, cycling or even road trip friendly. You can read about road tripping in Scotland here.

The UK officially has 15 national trails as of now and the 16th one is in the making. All these trails have something unique about them. These trails are long distance walking routes, but you can also opt for cycling or horse riding on some parts. Yes, just like Ireland’s the Great Western Greenway Trail where I cycled.

The first national trail in the UK opened in 1965 – Pennine Bridleway. The longest national trail in the UK is South West Coast Path, that takes 30 days of fast walking. South West Coast Path is 1014 KM long. At 127 KM, Yorkshire Wolds Way is the shortest national trail in the UK.

Some of these trails pass through lush green hills, incredible coastal scenery, lakes, farms, and a lot more. They pass through some of the most stunning and truly beautiful landscapes in the UK. 

Pembrokeshire Coast Path in Wales - Top UK National Trails

Pembrokeshire Coast Path in Wales – Top UK National Trails

As awesome as these national trails are, some of them are world-famous, such as Hadrians Wall, West Highland Way, or Cotswold Way. This is just a small few of the wide-ranging trails on offer. These are all different lengths, and suitable for all kinds of fitness levels. Here’s a list of all the national trails in the UK:

  • Cleveland Way, England
  • Cotswold Way, England
  • Hadrian’s Wall Path, England
  • North Downs Way, England
  • Peddar’s Way and Norfolk Coast Path, England (single National Trail)
  • Offa’s Dyke Path, Wales and England
  • Pennine Bridleway, England 
  • The Ridgeway, England 
  • South Downs Way, England
  • South West Coast Path (South West Way), England
  • Thames Path, England
  • Yorkshire Wolds Way, England
  • Pennine Way, majority in England and a little in Scotland
  • Glyndŵr’s Way, Wales
  • Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Wales
  • England Coast Path around England (the construction will complete in 2020)

Experiencing one of the national trails in the UK is something you can do with your children to teach them to appreciate nature. It can also be a team building activity that you can do with your work colleagues. You don’t even need to be an adventure enthusiast but if you’re looking for an outdoor holiday, then consider trying out some of the amazing national trails. 

So, if you are looking for one of the top ways to explore the UK, heading out on the national trails is a great idea. Here are some of the best routes out there. 

Top 7 National Trails UK

Hadrians Wall Path

Hadrians Wall Path - National Trails UK

Hadrians Wall Path – National Trails UK – CC0 by Julia Schwab via Pixabay

Hadrians Wall path stretches 84 miles (135 KM) from the east to the west coast. It starts at Wallsend on the east coast and ends at Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast. The wall is actually a World Heritage Site, thanks to the many important historic points of interest along the way. 

These include Roman settlements and forts, temples, watchtowers, and giant earthworks. If you love history and are interested in the Roman occupation of the area, then Hadrian’s wall is a fascinating attraction. 

An ancient well along the Hadrians Wall Path

An ancient well along the Hadrians Wall Path – CC0 by Summersdale via Pixabay

Hikers come from all around the world to walk the Hadrian’s Wall trail. This is thanks to its interesting points of interest along the way, as well as the amazing walking trail itself. The path runs along the entire length of the wall, and there are plenty of stops to be made where you can learn about the history of the place. 

The Hadrian’s Wall trail usually takes about 6 days to complete, although many prefer to slow down and extend this a bit. There are accommodation options all along the way. The trail also passes through some of the most stunning green scenery in the UK. 

Hadrians Wall Path route

Hadrians Wall path is divided into the below sections.

  • Wallsend to Heddon-on-the-Wall – 15 miles (24 km) long.
  • Heddon-on-the-Wall to Chollerford – 15.5 miles (25 km) long.
  • Chollerford to Steel Rigg – 12 miles (19 km) long.Steel Rigg to Walton – 16.25 miles (26 km) long.
  • Walton to Carlisle – 11 miles (18 km) long.
  • Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway – 14.75 miles (24 km) long.

Reaching Hadrians Wall Path by public transport

To reach the start of the Hadrians Wall Path, you first have to take the national train to Newcastle and from there you need to get on to the metro to Wallsend metro station. Or, you can reach Carlisle via the national train and do a part of this train in any direction. You can also reach some parts by Bus AD122 that crosses Hexham, Chesters, Housesteads, Once Brewed, Vindolanda, Walton and Haltwhistle.

If you’re thinking of driving to one of the points in the trail then you should know that Bowness-on-Solway doesn’t have a parking place. A good option for parking is at Newcastle airport but it can turn out to be expensive. 

Cotswold Way

Broadway Tower on Cotswold Way Path

Broadway Tower on Cotswold Way Path CC0 by Bond Supanat via Pixabay

Cotswold Way is a long trail, running all the way from the medieval town of Chipping, to the historic city of Bath. The route covers a total distance of 102 miles (164 KMs) and should take 7 – 11 days to complete.

Cotswold Way trail runs from Bath to Chipping Campden. This famous trail will see you walking from the North Cotswolds to the edge of the Cotswold hills. British scenery doesn’t get much better than this. 

The scenic Cotswold Way Trail UK

The scenic Cotswold Way Trail UK – (CC BY 2.0) by Kumweni via Flickr

The trail passes landmark sights and points of historic interest. There are also many grand homes, green hills, and places of incredible natural beauty that you will pass. Although the Cotswold Way trail is long, the walking is fairly easy to accomplish. If the entire trail seems a bit much, you could just walk the shorter sections of it, too. 

Cotswold Way Trail route

Along the Cotswold Way - Top UK National Trails

Along the Cotswold Way – Top UK National Trails

If you look at the places and points of interest, he’s how you can divide the Cotswold Way in different sections:

  • Bath to to Somerset Monument at Hawkesbury, Gloucestershire
  • Hawkesbury, Gloucestershire – Tyndale Monument at North Nibley
  • North Nibley to the highest point at Cleeve Hill and to Sudeley Castle
  • Sudeley Castle to Hailes Abbey
  • Hailes Abbey to Broadway Tower 
  • Broadway Hill to Chipping Campden

Reaching Cotswold Way by Public Transport

It is relatively easier to reach Cotswold Way path as compared to many others since a lot of stops are served by the national rail. The stations Banbury, Bath, Cam and Dursley, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Kemble, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stroud, Charlbury, Kingham and Oxford are on the national rail network. 

It is easy to reach the Cotswold way by bus. The national express coaches run from Heathrow, Bristol and Birmingham airports to Cheltenham, Stroud and Bath.

 

Pembrokeshire Coast Path

Musselwick Sands - Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Wales

Musselwick Sands – Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Wales – (CC BY 2.0) by David Evans via Flickr

The Pembrokeshire coastal trail is an extremely scenic and hence a favourite walking path in Wales. The path is completely located within the Pembrokeshire National Park, and it is one of the UK’s most well established national trails. It passes Pembrokeshire’s award-winning beaches, which have been awarded the Blue Flag awards.

Stackpole Head on Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Wales

Stackpole Head on Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Wales – (CC BY 2.0) by Andrew via Flickr

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path route covers a long distance of 186 miles (299 KM), following the Welsh coastline from Amroth to Cardigan. This can be a fairly challenging walk that can take 5 – 17 nights.

The route is known for its fantastic views of the ocean, bird watching opportunities, and total sense of escape. You will pass widely ranging landscapes and sights, making this an exciting trail to enjoy. The highest point of this path is at the height of 574 feet at Cemaes Head.

The Welsh coastline is rugged and beautiful, and this trail has got to be the best way of experiencing it. 

Pembrokeshire Coast Path Route

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is very long and it can be segregated in many different parts. However, below is a broad segregation:

  • St Dogmaels to Newport (Town)
  • Newport to Fishguard
  • Fishguard to Pwll Deri
  • Pwll Deri to Porthgain
  • Porthgain to Whitesands
  • Whitesands to Solva
  • Solva to Broad Haven
  • Broad Haven to Martin’s Haven
  • Martin’s Haven to Dale
  • Dale to Neyland
  • Neyland to Angle
  • Angle to Freshwater West
  • Freshwater (W) to Broad Haven(S)
  • Broad Haven(S) to Skrinkle Haven
  • Skrinkle to Amroth

Reaching Pembrokeshire Coast Path by Public Transport

You can reach Pembrokeshire Coast Path by taking a train to Fishguard, Haverfordwest or Pembroke Dock. If you’re booking a place to stay near any of the stations, some accommodation owners also provide a pick up service from the stations. 

North Downs Way

Running from Farnham to Dover, North Downs Way is one of the most magnificent trails found in the UK. This trail extends for 153 inspirational miles (246 KM) through the countryside, with plenty of iconic sights along the way. 

The most popular point of interest along the route has got to be the White Cliffs of Dover. These cliffs are always a treat for tourists, but walking along them during the trail makes them even more enjoyable. The complete North Down Way takes around 12 days to complete. 

North Downs Way route splits into two at Boughton Lees, where one path runs through Wye and the other through Canterbury. Both these paths meet at Dover. At Wye, the path crosses the Stour Valley Walk and Wye Crown.

If you love beer, there is also a fun initiative called Ales of the Trail. They help to reveal the best beers along this monumental national trail.

North Downs Way Route

The walking route of North Downs Way can be divided into 15 sections as below:

  • Farnham – Guildford 
  • Guildford – Westhumble 
  • Westhumble – Merstham 
  • Merstham – Oxted 
  • Oxted – Otford 
  • Otford – Cuxton 
  • Cuxton – Detling 
  • Detling – Lenham 
  • Lenham – Wye 
  • Wye – Etchinghill 
  • Etchinghill – Dover 
  • Broughton Lees – Chilham 
  • Chilham – Canterbury 
  • Canterbury – Shepherdswell 
  • Shepherdswell – Dover 

 

Reaching North Downs Way by Public Transport

You can reach the start of the trail by taking a train to Farnham. At the end of the trail, look for a train from Dover Priory train station to London.

Suggested: Achill Island on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way 

Offa’s Dyke Path

Offa’s Dyke Path follows the border of England and Wales for 177 beautiful miles (285 KM). The path is actually found along Offa’s Dyke which dates all the way back to the 8th century.

Wondering what is Offa’s Dyke? It is a hand dug ditch that runs along England and Wales border and it was built in the 8th century under King Offa. Offa’s Dyke Path doesn’t go along all of the Offa’s Dyke but only some.

Starting at Chepstow and ending in Prestatyn, it generally takes 14 days of walking to complete the Offa’s Dyke Path. While walking along this trail you can expect plenty of rolling green hills and natural landscapes. It crossed the summit of Black Mountain, the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley

This trail offers a total escape from the city, and it is always a popular choice amongst nature lovers. It does however passes through some historical towns. Local wildlife can be spotted all along the route. Offas Dyke Path blends history with natural scenery – making it a great all-round choice for keen hikers.

Offa’s Dyke Path Route

Offa’s Dyke path route can be divided into 12 sections:

  • Sedbury Cliffs to Monmouth 
  • Monmouth to Pandy 
  • Pandy to Hay-on-Wye 
  • Hay to Kington
  • Kington to Knighton
  • Knighton to Brompton Crossroads
  • Brompton Crossroads to Buttington Bridge
  • Buttington Bridge to Llanymynech
  • Llanymynech to Chirk Mill 
  • Chirk Mill to Llandegla 
  • Llandegla to Bodfari 
  • Bodfari – Prestatyn 

 

Reaching Offa’s Dyke Path by Public Transport

To reach the start of Offa’s Dyke path, you need to take a train to Chepstow and from there walk for 3 KMs. The end of the trail is just 500 meters from Prestatyn station. 

Thames Path

The Thames is one of England’s greatest natural landmarks. This trail follows the course of this great river – from its source in the Cotswold hills all the way to the sea in Greenwich.

Along the way, you will get to pass through some beautiful rural villages and historic towns. Oxford is also along the way for those interested in exploring the historic area. The trail will eventually take you to London. 

A brilliant feature of the Thames Path is that you get to experience a range of landscapes – from farmlands to the city streets. This is a great choice for anyone wanting to gain a better understanding of England as a whole. The route is 184 miles long (296 KM) and fairly easy to manage. It normally takes 14 days to complete Thames Path.

Thames Path Route

Thames Path can be divided into the below 6 sections:

  • Thames Head to Oxford 
  • Oxford to Henley-on-Thames
  • Henley to Windsor
  • Windsor to Richmond
  • Richmond to the Thames Barrier 
  • Thames Barrier to Crayford Ness

 

Reaching Thames Path by Public Transport

It is very easy to reach the start of this path or the end by trains. From Oxford you can take a train to Thorney Leys and from there just walk for 5 minutes to Cotswold Meadow where the trail starts. 

Yorkshire Wolds Way

Millington to Nunburnholme - Yorkshire Wolds Way

Millington to Nunburnholme – Yorkshire Wolds Way (CC BY-ND 2.0) by alh1 via Flickr

The Yorkshire Wolds Way is a trail that covers 79 miles (129 KM) of pure natural bliss. The trail stretches across the Yorkshire Wolds, from Hull to Scarborough. This walk usually takes anything from 6 to 9 days

Yorkshire Wolds Way was also featured in a documentary by BBC where it was called “arguably Britain’s least well-known national walking trail”. This is one of the most scenic trails around, passing many grassy valleys, wildflowers, hedgerows, birds and butterflies. This trail covers some classic UK scenery and is a perfect choice for anyone wanting to try out a walking holiday in Northern England. 

Millington, East Yorkshire Yorkshire Wold's Way

Millington, East Yorkshire Yorkshire Wold’s Way – (CC BY-ND 2.0) by alh1 via Flickr

Not only does the route pass a great deal of natural beauty, but you also get to pass many art installations that pop up along the path. This is part of a project called WANDER – Art on the Yorkshire Wolds Way

Yorkshire Wolds Way Path Route

Yorkshire Wolds way path route can be segregated into the below sections:

  • Hessle to South Cave – 13 miles (21 Km)
  • South Cave to Market Weighton or Goodmanham- 12 miles (19 Km)
  • Market Weighton or Goodmanham to Millington 8 ½ miles (13.5Km)
  • Millington to Thixendale 12 miles (19Km)
  • Thixendale to Sherburn 19 miles (30Km)
  • Sherburn to Filey – 17 miles (28 Km)

Reaching Yorkshire Wolds Way Path by Public Transport

In order to reach Yorkshire Wolds Way, you can take the Northern Rail to Hessle from Leeds, Sheffield or Hull. All these destinations can be reached directly by train from London. 

Suggested: Triglav National Park in Slovenia 

 

Final Thoughts

Taking a walking holiday in the UK is always a great idea. It allows you to enjoy a sense of escape and freedom in nature. You will get to pass some of the best sights and landscapes that the area can offer. 

While these might be some of the best and most well-known national trails, there are still loads more to choose from. So, grab your hiking boots, choose a destination, and breathe in the fresh air. It will definitely be an experience to remember.

PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

9 Tips for Hassle Free Air Travel

9 Tips for Hassle Free Air Travel

Let’s face it, traveling would be a lot more fun if you could find a way to avoid air travel. Delayed flights and crazy lines at the airport are just some of the issues that you may have to contend with. In fact, just thinking about this can make you want to put off your trip. 

Well, fortunately for you, things are about to get easier. Simply follow these useful tips below and you will find that air travel will become simpler than ever before. Here is what you need to know: 

Top tips for hassle free air travel

Top tips for hassle free air travel

Book Your Flight Early 

If you are going on vacation, then you are probably aware of your travel plans several months in advance, at least. The moment that you are certain about your travel dates, make sure to book the ticket. For one thing, you will have a lot more options to choose from in terms of airlines. 

For another, the tickets will be a lot cheaper as well. Since most people wait until the last minute, airlines won’t hike up the price just yet. As such, you will be able to get an excellent discount, particularly if you are traveling during a slow period. 

Choose Your Seat Ahead of Time

Now, there are some airlines that will allow you to book your seat for free or for a negligible fee. If this is the case, then you should certainly jump on this chance. In case you are on a longer flight, it may be best to pay a higher cost as well to choose where you want to sit. 

If this is something that you are going to do, think about your habits as a traveller. For instance, are you someone who likes to get up and move around during the flight? If so, the aisle seat is the right option for you. On the other hand, if you can sleep throughout the flight, pick a window seat to remain undisturbed. 

Check-in Online if Possible

Almost all the airlines offer an option of web check-in, which will save you a lot of time and hassle at the airport. In some cases, you won’t even need a paper boarding card but you can just enter using the QR code on your phone after you check-in on the internet successfully. In many instances, the queues for web check-in are considerably shorter than the traditional check-in queues. 

I highly recommend you always check-in online before your flight to save some in the airport. 

When checking-in online, make sure you enter your name and your passport details correctly. Be careful and this travel mistake.

Make Security Check Easier for Yourself (and the Staff)

There are certain things that you aren’t allowed to carry in your hand luggage and if you do, you will just make the security check process longer for yourself and the staff. Don’t carry a lighter, matches, scissors and fluids over 100 ml. Make an effort to make the security check process faster. Here are all the things you can do to go through the security faster:

  • Pack all your toiletries in a small see through zip lock bag, 100 ml and less.
  • Keep your laptop and other electronics in an easy to reach location. You will have to take them out and put them all in a separate tray. 
  • No sharp objects, flammable things and prohibited items. Here’s a complete check list of things you can’t carry in your hand bag on an airplane.

Consider Going Private for a Group 

Are you traveling in a group? Then you may want to do some research into how much a business jet is going to cost you. Understand, private planes don’t charge per person. Instead, the overall charge is determined by the length of the journey and the type and size of the plane. So, if you are going with several people, the total cost for this kind of trip might be less. 

This is especially true if you are considering a jet charter to a popular destination. Not only will you be able to save on price, but you can also cut down on the distress. You will not have to go through traditional security checks or stand in line with thousands of other people. 

Renting a private jet makes a lot of sense for company organized official trips or destination weddings. A private jet sounds more expensive than it may end up being if you’re in a big group.

Travel Light

Travel light - hassle free air travel

Travel light – hassle free air travel

Travel light and don’t carry a big backpack or a suitcase unless it is absolutely necessary. Try to fly with only a cabin bag, so that you don’t have to waste time and energy in checking in your baggage and then picking it up when you land.

Most airlines allow 7-9 KGs of hand bag but I don’t carry more than 5 KGs. I don’t like to lug around so much weight and move from point A to point B in the airports. Of course, if your hand bag is ending up being heavier than 5 KGs, you should divide the weight in two bags and check in the heavier bag to make it easier to move around in the airport.

Pay for a Lounge 

If you have special privileges as a traveller, then you may already have access to a lounge. If not, it will be worth it to you to pay a one-time fee to use them. This is a great idea if you have an extended layover. These lounges are incredibly comfortable and also have lots of food and drink. So, you can relax while you wait. 

These are the top tips that you can follow to cut down on the hassle that is traditionally involved with air travel. 

Add the New Time Zone to your Clock Before Flying

Add the new time zone on your clock app - hassle free air travel

Add the new time zone on your clock app – hassle free air travel

I love and hate smart phones, but the ability of adding multiple time zones is awesome. Every single time I visit a new country, I make it a point to add the new time zone on my clock app to make things easier for me. Yes, the phone time gets updated on its own but it only happens when you have network. 

Layer Up and Be Comfortable

I wear almost the same thing on most of my flights – long tunic or a tank top that can also work as a dress, leggings, ankle socks, canvas shoes, a jacket and a scarf. Depending on the weather, I may just wear a pullover too. If I’m flying to a super hot country, then I carry flip flops in my hand bag.

You see, this attire is comfortable and can work in many different weather situations. I can just remove my jacket and leggings, then I’m all set for summer. Or, I can wear my jacket, scarf and pullover and I can tackle the cold. 

Now, I’m not saying you wear exactly what I wear at the airport, but try your best to be comfortable. Flights tend to get cold so be prepared to handle it. Wear something that you can easily sleep in, so that you can catch a quick snooze on the plane. You may have to walk a lot in the airport so let your feet be comfortable too.

Are you flying with a baby?

I have a post that has ALL of my tips for traveling with a baby, and it includes a section about flying. Be sure to check it out.

Traveling Long Term? Here’s How To Feel At Home [Away From Home]

Traveling Long Term? Here’s How To Feel At Home [Away From Home]

Even if you’re an experienced traveler, there are going to be moments where home really does feel a million miles away. We all feel it occasionally, whether that be down to missing a family occasion, or generally having spent a large period away. 

If you’re traveling long term or you’ve moved to another country, then you’re going to be homesick for sure. It can be really disruptive to your traveling and can play a downer on almost everything you do while away from home even if you’re only on holiday. Yup, it is the downside to long term travel.

There are many ways in which you can combat that awful feeling though, and with a little help having you enjoy your time away to the maximum.

Find A Home Comfort

Home comforts are always helpful in such scenarios as they are a little slice of your home life. What people find comforting can vary. It could be a cuddle toy, your mom’s freshly made cookies or it could be your favorite TV show.

You can learn to cook food from your mom (or dad). In the case of your favorite TV show, finding your show can be easier said than done. Geoblocking can prevent you from watching certain channels abroad, although there are ways around this.

VPNs are great tools that allow you to change your IP address so it’s as if you’re browsing from a different location. For those originally from the UK, that’s particularly useful as BBC iPlayer, Channel 4 and ITV can’t be viewed abroad. To pick up a Channel 4 live stream outside of the UK, and watch your favourite shows, a VPN downloaded to your device is just the ticket.

Find Food from Your Country 

Home comforts may also lie in food and there’s more opportunity than ever before to pick up your favourite items and snacks in other countries. Learning to cook food from your parents or grandparents isn’t something that everyone can do. If cooking is not really your thing, then you can try to find decent options around you. Restaurants can get expensive but your favorite dish from home is maybe waiting for you at the supermarket. 

World food aisles in supermarkets are ideal for finding such things. They won’t come cheap, but if you’re really feeling down then it’s certainly worth treating yourself. 

Take A Break From Social Media

One of the major contributors to becoming homesick is spending too much time on social media. It causes a real fear of missing out, as you’ll likely see your friends hanging out together, images of family birthdays and many other occasions. 

Taking a break from social media or keeping your usage down will help combat this and certainly help quell that desire to be back home and involved in such events.

Don’t Lose Your Hobbies

People often move to a new country in order to start a new life. But that doesn’t mean completely starting from scratch. 

Many of us completely leave our hobbies within our old lives, but there really is no need. For example, if you’re a keen runner, there are running clubs available to join worldwide. Parkrun puts on events globally, so there are plenty of opportunities to be part of a club, and that applies no matter what your interest. 

Make Friends

That will inevitably lead to making friends too. Joining a club is ideal to build new friendships and is certainly a great way to settle into your new home much more comfortably.

As well as this, get to know your local neighbors, new colleagues, or even just visit the local pub or bar and get to know the regulars. Pushing yourself into new communities is a great way to avoid loneliness, which will inevitably result in you longing for home. 

Create A New Routine

Feeling a little lost isn’t uncommon when away from home. It’s often what leads us to wanting to hop on the next flight back. Creating a new routine straight away will keep you busy and not only that will give you a clear idea of when certain things will happen.

A good way on feeling closer to home is be scheduling in Skype calls with friends and family a few times a week to catch up and keep you in the loop.

Knowing when you’re next going to speak and see the faces of loved ones will make the time away from home more bearable when you’re feeling far away, as there are days, hours or minutes in which you can count down to. 

Elsewhere, as part of routines you can add in time to take part in hobbies, go to classes or just get out and explore, keeping yourself active and engaged with your new world. 

Go Explore

The best way to make you feel closer to home though is by embracing your new home, whether that be temporary or permanent. 

Making yourself familiar with your surroundings, enjoying what your local area has to offer, and engaging with the local people will quickly make you feel part of a community and ultimately give you the same satisfaction as you would in your hometown. Participate in local festivals, attend musical concerts, join the international community, spend time in the library, or join a gym. 

How do you make yourself feel at home away from home when you’re traveling long term? Let us know in the comments.

5 of Los Angeles Top Attractions – the City of Angels

5 of Los Angeles Top Attractions – the City of Angels

What do you say about Los Angeles?
Still, the only place for me that never rains, the sun is always out and everybody got love.
To live and die in L.A.  It’s the place to be
You’ve got to be there to know it
What everybody wanna see.

If you’re a hip hop fan you have probably heard those words before. They’re part of the lyrics to Tupac’s, one of the greatest rappers ever, hit song To Live and Die in LA. In the song, Tupac describes life in Los Angeles and says anybody who visits the city will love it.

He wasn’t wrong. The City of Angels is an amazing place to visit and if you’re planning a trip to LA, California you couldn’t have chosen a better destination.

Its sunny weather, beautiful people, fun nightlife and definitely Hollywood make it easy to see why Los Angeles is appealing to tourist.

As the second largest city in the United States LA is huge with a lot to offer tourists. It can be overwhelming deciding what to do while there. I would say you actually cannot see all of LA if you’re spending less than a month there.

But don’t worry I’ll help guide you on what to include in your travel itinerary. If you are traveling with your family note you’ll need to fill an ESTA family application to get a visa to travel to the US.

Here are Los Angeles Top Attractions:

Hollywood

Hollywood is one of the districts in LA. If you’re a movie buff you will absolutely love visiting the sites here. You can start your see sight with a tour to the famed Hollywood Walk of Fame.  The Hollywood Walk of Fame has over 2,600 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded on the sidewalks along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard. These stars bear names, foot and hand prints of famous musicians, actors or celebrities. So while there look for the star of your favorite actor and take a photo standing next to it.

Once you’re done with looking at the stars you can proceed to the Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre (Chinese Theatre). This movie theatre was opened in 1922. It was the venue where the first Hollywood film premiere was held for the movie Robin Hood starring Douglas Fairbanks in 1922.  Other sites to see in Hollywood include the Dolby Theatre where the Oscars are held each year and The Madame Tussauds Hollywood, where you can hang out and take photos with celebrity wax figures.

A visit to the Hollywood Studio Museum to see displays of historic movie props, photos, documents and movie memorabilia will also be nice.  You could also take a tour bus which will take you past some of the homes of celebrities who live in Hollywood.

Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Sign Los Angles, California

Hollywood Sign Los Angles, California [cc0] via Pixabay

You have seen this sign in so many movies so while in LA you shouldn’t live without taking a photo of it. The Hollywood sign which is an iconic landmark in Los Angeles was put up in 1923 as an advertisement for a local property. It became so popular it never came down.

Located on the southern slope of Mount Lee you cannot get close enough to touch the sign because it is barricaded and under surveillance. So the only way to get a photo is from a distance. There are several points you can get good shots though like the junction of Hollywood Boulevard.

You can take a shuttle to the Hollywood Sign or if you love hiking or biking you can use three hike trails to get to a good viewing point.

Venice Beach

Venice Beach, Los Angles, California

Venice Beach, Los Angles, California [CC0] via Pixabay

This is another district in LA and there is so much you can do here. You can relax on the sand in its amazing beaches or take a stroll on its boardwalk to see some sights and sounds.

Venice Beach also has a recreational center with a kids play area, volleyball, tennis, handball and basketball courts. If you’re into skating pass by the Venice Beach Skate Park opened in 2009 and learn some new skating skills.

Finally, Muscle Beach in Venice attracts many tourists.  Here you get to see muscle men doing crazy weight lifts in the outdoor gyms on sand. Within Muscle beach is the original Gold Gym used by Arnold Schwarzenegger and other world renowned bodybuilders in 1970s.

While in Venice Beach you can also dine, enjoy some drinks while watching the sunset or do some shopping.

Universal Studios Hollywood

Hogwarts - The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios, Hollywood

Hogwarts – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios, Hollywood [CC0] via Pixabay

A visit to this world famous film studio and theme park must be part of your travel itinerary. It will be great to see one of the oldest Hollywood film studios and tour working movie studios.

In the theme park, you can enjoy The Walking Dead walkthrough attraction if you’re a fan of the TV show. It can get scary as you’ll face real walkers so I don’t recommend kids under 13 doing this.

There are a lot more movie theme activities you can enjoy at Universal Studios Hollywood like

  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmade
  • Jurassic Park- The Ride
  • Transformers: TheRide-3D
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • Visit Springfield made famous by the Simpson family and enjoy The Simpsons Ride
  • Revenge of the Mummy ride

After you’re done with Universal Studios you can also visit Disneyland another wonderful theme park in the City of Angels.

Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive LA California

Rodeo Drive LA California [CC0] via Pixabay

Want to do some shopping and are willing to spend.  Head over to the luxury shops in Rodeo Drive to empty your wallet. If you don’t have money to burn Rodeo Drive is still a popular tourist destination in LA made famous by Julia Roberts in the movie Pretty Woman. This is the street where she got turned away from a fancy story in the movie.

Rodeo Drive has also been featured in many other TV shows and movies. So you can go do some window shopping and ogle at the super-rich. To do some shopping without spending much try the Grove.

We cannot tell you everywhere to visit in LA that would make for one very long article. We suggest you get a guide to take you around LA or buy a tourists guide book then decide where you would like to go. Other Los Angeles locations that you may enjoy include,

  • Beverly Hills
  • Santa Monica State Beach
  • Paramount Pictures or Warner Bros. Studios
  • Griffith Park
  • Walt Disney Concert Hall
  • Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens
  • Downtown Los Angeles
  • Getty Center

Final Words

The best time to visit LA is during summer which starts from June to September. The weather at the time is perfect for a sunny vacation.

When you go be prepared for traffic. The traffic in this city is horrendous and it is there all the time. But don’t let that spoil your trip. Just factor in the hours spent in traffic while making your plans and you will have an enjoyable and memorable trip.

For you to easily move around consider renting a car or taking taxis as the public transport which is good may not get you to some areas.

Hope you enjoy your trip to Los Angeles. Let us know how much fun you had once you’re back.

Kuwait Travel Tips – All You Need to Know Before You Go

Kuwait Travel Tips – All You Need to Know Before You Go

When you mention Kuwait the first thing that comes to many people’s minds is the 1991 Gulf War. A war started by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein when he invaded Kuwait with the intent of taking over the country’s vast oil reserves.

The Gulf War has been over for over 27 years now and this Middle Eastern country has overcome this turbulent past. Kuwait now boasts of a thriving economy and offers its citizens one of the best standards of living in the world.

As a tourist destination, Kuwait has beautiful beaches, historic sites, excellent galleries, museums, amazing restaurants, welcoming people and a lot more to offer its visitors.

I recommend visiting Kuwait if you’re looking to travel to less explored countries or are not excited about returning to some of the popular vacation hot spots.

Should you decide to make a trip to Kuwait here are some things to know before you travel.

Kuwait Travel Tips

Facts About Kuwait

Kuwait is located in the Arabian Gulf and its neighbors include Iraq and Saudi Arabia. It is a small country about the size of the US State of New Jersey. Should you visit the Kuwait Towers, Kuwait’s famous landmark, you may be able to see the entire land area of Kuwait on a clear day.

Kuwait Towers - one of the most famous landmarks

Kuwait Towers – one of the most famous landmarks

The country has a population of about 4.25 million people most of whom live in the country’s capital Kuwait City. Arabic is the nation’s official language but English is widely spoken. Their currency the Kuwaiti Dinar fetches the highest exchange rate in the world and due to their vast oil reserves gas is cheaper than water.

The months of May through October experience extremely high temperatures. Making a trip to Kuwait during this period may confine you to your air-conditioned hotel room. You are better off traveling there from November to April when pleasant weather prevails.

Kuwait Entry Requirements

Kuwait requires those traveling to the country to apply for a visa. For example, British nationals will need a Kuwait visa for British citizens. Applying for a visa can be done quickly online and you should get a response in 24 hours. The visa application costs about 3 Kuwaiti Dinar ($10) for a 90-day single entry visa.

Your passport should also be valid for at least six months beyond the end of your intended stay in Kuwait. Kuwaiti immigration authorities are very strict so ensure you have all the correct travel documents.

Be Careful With Your Hands and Feet

When greeting anyone while in Kuwait ensure you do so with your right hand. Using your left hand to greet locals or receive something from them is considered disrespectful. This is because the left hand is commonly used for bathroom duties and is seen as filthy.

With your feet, ensure they are always on the ground. Showing the soles of your feet when in the presences of other implies you consider them to be dirt. Not just in Kuwait, but this is an important travel tip for visiting Thailand too!

Watch How You Dress

Unlike other Gulf States, Kuwait is more liberal when it comes to how you dress. As a rule, women should ensure they don’t wear tight clothes or reveal their shoulders, arms or legs. It would be a good idea to leave your sleeveless shirts and shorts home when traveling to Kuwait. You can carry that hot new bikini but wear it only at the hotel pool not at the public beaches.

[Box] Suggested: Travel tips for visiting Myanmar [/box]

Respect the Local Laws and Culture

Kuwait is a Muslim country. If you don’t want to get into trouble while there ensure you don’t offend their religious beliefs. Some things to avoid are

  • Homosexual acts.
  • Cohabiting if you’re not married.
  • Being in possession of alcohol, narcotics, pornography or pork products. These are totally prohibited in the country.
  • Public display of affection by heterosexual couples.
  • If you travel during the holy month of Ramadan it is illegal to eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum in public.

Doing any of these actions can get you some serious jail time. Talking negatively about the Emir of Kuwait is also a no-no. Such talk can see you locked up for seven years.

You’ll Find A Lot of Expatriates in Kuwait

As I mentioned, Kuwait has an estimated population of 4.25 million people. Kuwaitis only account for 30% of this population. A lot of foreigners from other ab countries like Egypt, Yemen and Lebanon are there to take up low skilled jobs which rich locals will not do.

Europeans and Americans are in Kuwait working as doctors, engineers or at multinationals.

Food and Drink 

Given the large number of foreigners in the country, there are a lot of cuisines to try out.  You can stick to your McDonald’s burger and fries or try some Lebanese, Egyptian, Indian, Iranian or Kuwaiti dishes. I suggest you try Kuwaiti dishes like Machboos, a rice-based specialty prepared with basmati rice seasoned with spices, and chicken or mutton.

How to Get Around in Kuwait

Kuwait has an efficient public transport system. To move around you can use buses which leave various stations at regular intervals and are cheap. Bus departures start early in the morning and continue way past 10pm.

Taxis are also available but this option can be quite costly because drivers don’t use a taxi meter. If you opt to use a taxi discuss pricing with the driver before you begin your journey.

Another option would be renting a car. This is also expensive and driving in Kuwait is not something you would enjoy. Traffic on the roads can be a nightmare and road safety records are worrying.

Places to Visit in Kuwait

This article would not be complete if I didn’t mention popular places to visit while in Kuwait. These are my top picks.

Kuwait Towers

Kuwait Travel Tips - fireworks and Kuwait tower

Kuwait Travel Tips – fireworks and Kuwait tower

This is a major tourist attraction in Kuwait. It has two large towers and smaller. From the top of the main tower, you can see most of the country. That will give you an idea of how small Kuwait is. The main tower also has a restaurant where you enjoy some Kuwaiti cuisine.  

The Grand Mosque

You’ll learn more about the country’s Muslim religion when you visit this mosque. Tours are offered daily but you’ve to book a guide in advance.

Failaka Island

Many tourists visit this island to see the destruction caused by the Gulf War. Many hospitals, schools, offices on the island were destroyed during the war and have not been rebuilt.

Visit the desert

Go deep into the Kuwait desert for a camping experience. You’ll absolutely love it. Remember to carry some sunscreen, UPF clothing, hats, and sunglasses temperature there are crazy!

Camel racing sport

You’ve seen horse racing now head to Kuwait Camel Race Club in Kabd to watch camels race. These camels reach speeds of up to 60km/h and are controlled by robot jockeys, am sure you’ll be thoroughly entertained.

House of Mirror

Another top attraction in Kuwait City. The museum is made solely from mirrors created by an Italian artist Lidia and her late husband this attraction will leave you in awe.

Shop at Avenues Mall

This is Kuwait’s largest mall with over 800 stores. If you are looking for souvenirs for your trip this mall will have what you’re looking for. The mall has local and international brands like H&M, Forever21, Prada, Dior, Chanel, IKEA, and Starbucks.

Also, visit Mubarakiya or traditional souq (market) to buy goods and services from the locals.

Chill on the Beach.

After hours of sightseeing am sure relaxing on the beach will be welcome. Kuwait has many public and private beaches to choose from. For a great beach, experience try out the Hilton Kuwait Resort or Al Corniche Club.

Hope this guide makes you want to visit Kuwait. Enjoy your travels.

Cover image by Snap® [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr.

Trekking in Bhutan – the Last Shangri La [Where to Go]

Trekking in Bhutan – the Last Shangri La [Where to Go]

The Kingdom Bhutan has many nicknames. It is often called the Last Shangri La because it is the last remaining Buddhist kingdom in the world. It is also called the Land of Happiness because of the country’s philosophy of measuring development with happiness (Gross National Happiness) instead of income.

Bhutan as a country is a mystery to many because of its elusive visa. Those who have been lucky enough to visit, often tell tales of the country’s culture and natural beauty.

Mountains in Bhutan - trekking and hiking information

Mountains in Bhutan – trekking and hiking information

Geographically, Bhutan is entirely in the Himalayas and borders India and Tibet part of China. The best way to experience this mountainous country is by trekking here. This small landlocked country away from the modern culture of the world is offers both beauty and variety. In this post, we talk about trekking in Bhutan and where to go. Also check out Bhutan Tour Packages by TourismBhutan.net for more information.

In this post we talk about different trekking routes, and some of them are short, and of moderate challenge, others are long and tough. 

Trekking in Bhutan

Light to Moderate Treks in Bhutan

Trekking in Bhutan - mountains and horses

Trekking in Bhutan – mountains and horses

There are plenty of light and moderate treks to pick from in Bhutan. And this is really good news for the beginners. Even if the trek is long, it may carry a moderate level of difficulty and is doable. Plus, the treks are a perfect addition if you happen to be backpacking in Bhutan.  

Druk Path Trek

Druk Path is the most popular trek route in Bhutan. It is an easy trek that lasts for about six days on your trip. You will pass through the two most famous towns, Paro and Thimphu on this trek. Although the mountain views may be a bit distant, you will come across many beautiful lakes on the way. For example, a highlight of this trek is the mesmerizing Jimiling Lake. This is a relatively easy trek and will take you through villages, ancient dzongs and pine, and rhododendron forests.

Jumolhari Trek

This is the right choice for those looking for comfortable and easy treks as well as to enjoy the natural beauty around. Although the trek will take about six days to complete, you are going to enjoy every moment of it. Enjoy spectacular views of the mountain scenery as well as mountain scenery as you go through the village of Shana and Drugyal Dzong ruins.

 

Suggested Post: Ladakh Road Trip Itinerary + Map + Stories 

Bumthang Cultural Trek

Another moderately arduous trek you can take is the Cultural Trek that lasts for three days. Enjoy the fantastic scenery on the way and get familiar with Bhutanese’s culture. Explore the forests and enjoy some bird watching on the way. You will cross the Dhur village and pass the Drangela Pass and alter on the way down; you can visit the Chuedak monastery.

 

Gangte Trek

Gangte Trek will last for about four days and is a delightful and comfortable trek. Although you can take the trek during winters the best time to enjoy it is in summers. It is a beautiful trek that will take you through several villages and monasteries and lush green forests filled with magnolia, bamboo, juniper, and rhododendrons. It is a perfect trek for those who are still a novice with trekking and want to explore the biodiversity of Bhutan.

Suggested Post: Hampta Pass Trek – from Manali to Spiti Valley in the Himalayas, India

Intermediate Treks in Bhutan

A stray dog in the mountains - trekking in Bhutan

A stray dog in the mountains – trekking in Bhutan

Bhutan is home to some of the most challenging treks that go to high-altitude and through the wilderness. You need to be an experienced hiker to complete these treks. Here are some of the challenging and tougher treks of Bhutan.

 

Snowman Trek

Snowman Trek is supposed to be one of the most difficult treks in the world. What makes this trek more challenging is the long duration and the high altitudes. Thus, only if you have a strong will and endurance, should you embark on this trek that will take about 25 – 30 days to complete. Beginning at Paro and ending with Lunana, you will pass some of the highest passes on the way such as and Gangla Karchung La.

Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek

This tough and challenging six-day trek is for experienced hikers. The trek will take you through the fabulous alpine lakes, where you can enjoy fishing. You can camp and enjoy the local trout fishing. What makes the trek challenging are the numerous ascents and descents on the way and thick forests, and often some ridges are difficult to cross.

 

Jhomolhari Trek

The challenging trek is immensely popular and will take you across Bhonte La pass and Tak-hung La. While trekking on this route, you will reach the height of more than 5000 mt. You are rewarded with magnificent views of mountains between Bhutan and Tibet. It will take about eight days to complete the trek.

 

Duer Hot Springs Trek

Another tough trek of Bhutan is the Duer Hot Springs Trek, and a part of it overlaps the Snowman Trek. Duer Hot Springs is the highlight of the 9-day trek, and you will find yourself in one of the pristine and beautiful parts of the Himalayas. Those numerous climbs and descents traversing through the mountains and forests make the trek challenging. You will come across many hot springs on the route.

No matter what kind of trek you take, you are sure to get rewarded with some gorgeous views of sweeping valleys amidst majestic mountains. 

Have you ever experienced trekking in Bhutan? If yes, let us know where and we’d love to feature you on our website. 

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