Experiences Worth Booking Flights For


Adventures in ChiangMai, Thailand

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Adventures in ChiangMai, Thailand

If you're looking to immerse yourself in Thai culture, Chiang Mai is a great place to start. As Thailand's second-largest city, it's a hot tourist destination, but this means getting around is very easy as locals cater to many English speakers.

Sunday Walking Market

On our first day, we were treated to an amazing handmade market that sprawled across the old city. Little did we know that these would feature the best souvenirs that we never bought. So other than picking up some colourful postcards, I'm still kicking myself for not searching harder for some unique items.

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While we were warned about not eating street food, we couldn't pass up on $1 pad thais. It was plenty cooked, so no worries there! 

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A city of temples

There's no shortage of temples in ChiangMai. You can easily find one on every corner, in any residential area or obscure alleyway. Each unique in it's features, we came to question some details of the decorations...

Elephant Nature Park

We headed to Thailand with the intention of seeing elephants and tigers (more on that later). There's an absurd amount of "do's" and "don'ts" when choosing an animal adventure, and I'm so glad we picked our excursion with Elephant Nature Park. All of the elephants are rescued and are free to roam in a massive jungle parkland. Some of their stories are heartbreaking, which is all the more reason to avoid the "elephant ride" excursions.

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With several packages to choose from - I wish we planned early enough to do the overnight one! - we opted for the "Sunshine with Elephants". We were introduced to a small herd, and learned how to interact and feed them. Disclaimer: The novelty of the day never wore off, and we were just as giddy at the end of the day.

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We trekked through the jungle with our new friends (read: slowly walked and lured them with food while stopping for as many selfies… *ahem* "elphies"… as possible). Lunch awaited in the valley, and after we filled up, we fed the leftovers to a curious gal who wandered over to the table.

We made our way back to home base and splashed around in the river while attempting to bathe the elephants.

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Tiger Kingdom

I don't want to indulge on the experience. While certainly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it was especially disappointing after spending a beautiful day in the vastness of the jungle with elephants. The sad reality is that Tiger Kingdom exists purely for tourists to get "that photo."

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What you should know: 

What you should bring: Money! Your dollar goes a long way in Thailand, so splurge!

Where you should stay: In the "old city". Walking around is easy and you'll quickly learn to navigate between the alleyways. Either way, a tuktuk is always available.

Who you should contact: 
Elephant Nature Park http://www.elephantnaturepark.org
Flight of the Gibbon - https://www.treetopasia.com/thailand-holiday/chiang-mai
Bamboo Bee Vegetarian Restaurant - http://www.bamboobeecm.com

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Four Days in Tasmania

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Four Days in Tasmania

From Melbourne, Hobart is a quick one-hour flight with several departures throughout the day. We based ourselves in Hobart, and did a few day trips. The winding coastal roads are gorgeous, and there’s never a dull view for a quick pit stop to stretch your legs. 

Here’s how our four days played out… 

Hobart

The city itself is very walkable if you are centrally located. There are plenty of interesting cafes, bars and shops to wander through. Not to mention the historic waterfront along Battery Point. We loved our brunch at Machine Laundry Cafe. 

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Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park

The park is on the route to Port Arthur, and makes for a good pit stop. Recently rebranded as an "UnZoo", the $35 admission fee is spent on conservation, and not on fancy exhibits and habitats. The park has several other protected tasmanian devil habitats off site, and they are hoping to bring the devils back from the brink of extinction in the next 10 years. The park is small enough to zip through in 2 hours, but do make sure to catch the devil and kangaroo feedings that happen several times a day. 

This is what going on a trip with a professional photographer looks like.
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 Port Arthur Historic Site

Get here early so you don’t have to rush too much. The grounds are massive, with lots of history preserved. From the entrance, you are provided with a playing card that corresponds to a prisoner - a neat concept to be able to track your convict through their typical day in the grounds. We allotted two hours, but your entry is valid for two days – a true testament to how much there is to explore!

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 Peninsula Kayak Day Trip 

Roaring40s offer a variety of day trips, and we opted for the Tasman Peninsula Day Trip. We had some great weather, but the swells prevented us from getting too close to the rock cliffs. However, a few seals wiggled off their perch and joined us for a swim under our kayaks.

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It was nice to travel as a small group, and our guides were very knowledgeable about the area. We were treated to a great lunch, and plenty of snacks. Overall - well worth the $200 price tag! Certain tours book only once a week, so make sure to pre-book.

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Frecyinet National Park & Wineglass Bay

From Hobart, Frecyinet is a good 3-hour drive (one way!), so leave early to make the most of the day. At the visitor centre, we grabbed a vehicle pass, and drove to our starting point. We opted for the longer hike, completing Hazards Bay & Wineglass Bay circuit. The track was moderately challenging with plenty of stairs (read: rock faces) to climb, but we were treated to great views around every corner. Make sure to take plenty of food and water… we were not as well prepared for our sunny hike.

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After our extensive adventures, we spent our last day in Hobart, and let our car do the work as we drove up to Mount Wellington. Just make sure you have plenty of gas and a solid set of brakes, because this is one heck of a climb. The summit is 1200m above the city, and there are plenty of treacherous corners to get there. Also, bundle up, because the peak is 10°C colder than in the city centre! The view is well worth it.

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What you should know: The weather in Tasmania is always changing, especially throughout the day. Always be prepared for extremes – extra food and clothing are a must!

What you should bring: Plenty of layers, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, raincoat, hiking shoes.

Where you should stay: We stayed at a great AirBNB in Hobart CBD, but there's no shortage of boutique hotels and mountainside cabins.

Who you should contact:

Roaring 40s Kayaking: http://www.roaring40skayaking.com.au

Port Arthur Historic Site: http://www.portarthur.org.au 

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Macau - China

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Macau - China

Coloane & Hac Sa Beach

Take a taxi to the southern most point of Macau to Coloane. We spent the better part of the day walking from the beach through the rock lands and some paths-less-travelled into the village. The largest natural beach in Macau boasts its famous black sand, but sadly it’s disappearing to erosion.

We were not expecting to walk and hike as much as we did. And while Edith maintains that her flats were comfortable, she’s not fooling anyone. Once in the village, we were glad to refuel with custard tarts from Lord Stow’s Bakery.

 

And of course we had to stop at the panda sanctuary on the way back to Macau Central.

{Obligatory panda photo}

Angela’s Café in New Yaohan Department Store (L2)

Hard to find without a map, but well worth the short walk from city and the wait for a table. With a quick turnover for lunch, we grabbed a spot overlooking the makeup counters and quickly checkmarked the toppings for our custom sandwiches. We watched plates of food walk by us, and were not disappointed when our order arrived. While we easily could’ve shared one plate, the leftovers were well appreciated later that evening.

 

Hard Rock Hotel - wave Pool Bar

A great place to hang out if you don’t mind spending a bit of  money. You can go here even if you are not staying at the hotel. They charge a resort fee but it gives you access for the whole day. If you really want to splurge, we recommend ordering a carafe of frosty strawberry margarita and then taking a nap in a cabana, or on the steps halfway into the pool. We won’t judge. 


Macau Central

Macau is a seriously mashed up collection of architecture and culture as well. There are heavy roots in Portuguese culture since Macau was a Portuguese settlement from the 1500s till it transferred sovereignty in 1999.  One thing that was very handy is the fact that road signs are written in Portuguese. It is actually quite friendly to westerners since it uses the Roman alphabet. You can still find your way around. 
The buildings are a constantly changing collection of modern mixed with 16th Century influences. Skyscrapers rule the skyline line, but there are still small pockets of protected heritage sites.

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My Favourite Hotel In The World Is Close To Home

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My Favourite Hotel In The World Is Close To Home

A Story About ALT Hotel Toronto
Words and Photos by Taylor Jackson

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The ALT Hotel Toronto opened at Pearson Airport in Toronto a few years ago, and it quickly became my favourite hotel in the world.

It might be very strange to hear that an airport hotel in Toronto my favourite hotel in the world. While I love Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, and I will never stop talking about Hilton Bora Bora - ALT Toronto has my heart.

They are a small chain managed by the fantastic Groupe Germain out of Quebec.

Alt Hotel Toronto

ALT Toronto doesn't have a beach, a Michelin 3 star, room service or a valet. However, they will place a framed photograph of Bill Murray in your room if you ask nicely.

I stay with them before every morning trip because they're on the airport tram line. No waiting for a shuttle or taking a cab. Just wait 3 minutes and get on the train.

It is the most consistent hotel I have ever stayed in. Consistent down to the pricing -- rooms are the same cost every night of the year. 



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Swimming Pigs in Exuma Bahamas - The Most Unique Experience in the World

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Swimming Pigs in Exuma Bahamas - The Most Unique Experience in the World

Taylor and I decided to go to the Bahamas solely because we heard they had swimming pigs. Seriously. When we first found it we posted it on our facebooks to see if anyone had done it, but it seemed like this was still a somewhat uncharted territory.. but I think everyone that saw pictures of these floating piggies wanted to do it. After a bit of research and planning we discovered there were pigs on two islands in the Exumas – a group of small islands in the Bahamas.

 Bahamas broken down is baha mer, meaning shallow seas which is why there are so many stunning sand bars and crystal clear waters. We booked our swimming pig tour through Exuma Watersports, and showed up at a completely abandoned restaurant. Aside from the wasp nest and the washrooms out of a horror film it was a pretty un-remarkable starting point – although if you do choose to book with Exuma Watersports keep in mind that unless you’re at Sandals it’s on the furthest point of Exuma.. and in true Bahamian fashion there may or may not be restaurants open nearby, so plan ahead with some snacks.

 We set out on the Exuma Watersports 007 Thunderball, stocked with water, beer, and coconut cookies. We made a couple of quick stops around some islands, our Captain Justin pointed out some popular drug-running islands, and then we were off to visit the pigs.

 There are lots of theories about how the pigs ended up on the island, but Justin told us the truth… he bought them from Nassau, and his Mom picked them up in her car, put them in a boat and brought them to the island. I can only picture this being the funniest thing either of them had ever done. They feed them twice a day (chicken hot dogs, veggie scaps, rice.. all kinds of nutrient goodies), and bring visitors by to swim. There’s another island in Staniel Cay that has been doing swimming pig tours for years, but it’s a full day tour and most people don’t have that much time to dedicate to piggies.

 Before we had even gotten to the island the pigs came running out, just from hearing the sound of the motors. They splashed into the water, and it still seems unbelievable that they swam right out to the boat. We all jumped off the side of the boat to meet them, and soon realized there were PIGLETS running out to meet us! There were about 28 piglets born on the island a couple weeks before, and although they couldn’t swim yet they were still cool with being picked up and played with. I can’t make this stuff up.

 After the pigs we trekked out to a few different stunning islands, found a few natural pools in the middle of islands, another island filled with dinosaurs (iguanas), and had an overall incredible day. It was by far one of the highlights of our trip and can’t wait to go back and visit our piglets all grown up.

 We feel like through a couple of pig selfies we’ve already inspired hundreds of people to visit. It’s absolutely something everyone should do once in their lifetime.. like a much cooler version of swimming with the dolphins.

 What you should know: Pigs are awesome. There’s not much to know other than you should do this as soon as possible.

 What you should bring: Sunscreen, a hat, and a shirt - you’re out in the sun the majority of the day.

 Who you should contact: Ray at Exuma Watersports http://www.exumawatersports.com/ & check them out on Instagram: http://instagram.com/theswimmingpigs

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LUXURY Oceanfront Hotel Los Angeles | Terranea

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LUXURY Oceanfront Hotel Los Angeles | Terranea

Terranea Resort LA

Terranea is truly one of the best experiences you can have in Southern California. My good friend Mario(link) came down from his house in the Hollywood Hills to meet me for an afternoon beer on the patio. His drive in was just as amazing as mine was from San Diego. Sweeping ocean panoramas, and a new part of the Los Angeles are to discover. 

On check in, you're greeting with a glass of champagne, and the kindest concierge I've met anywhere in the world.

One of the best feelings in the world is the moment you enter an ocean view room. This is your little place in the world for the night. It feels special. You feel different.

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Where To Stay At Atlantis

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Where To Stay At Atlantis

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Our first few days in Nassau were spent at Atlantis which is like a mix of Las Vegas and Disney World. It is by far one of the most expensive trips we’ve ever taken, but definitely worth the money. Everything you likely already know about Atlantis is true: they have the world’s largest open-air aquarium, a slide that goes through a shark tank, and a suite that costs over $50,000 a night. 

What you might not know is that within Atlantis there are 5 hotels within Atlantis. This was the most confusing part of booking at Atlantis because there weren’t many guides to the differentiating factors, so I’ll give you a bit of an idea of what they are:

The Cove: Adults only hotel, the most expensive, gives you access to the stunning adults only pool. *totally worth it

The Reef: All-suite hotel beside the Cove, closest hotel to the beach/furthest away from Aquaventure but still only a few minute walk away

The Royal Towers: What you likely picture when you think of Atlantis, this is where the casino and aquarium are and is central to most things except the beach.

The Coral/Beach Towers: If the Cove and Reef are First class, the Royal Towers is Business, and the Coral and Beach towers are coach. There’s nothing wrong with these hotels, but they were some of the first built in 1984 and are beginning to show their wear. 

Our room at the Reef

Our room at the Reef

Balcony Reef Atlantis

Just like Vegas and Disney, there’s no way to do it all, and you will spend an absolute fortune no matter what you do. So do some research before you go, and take a long walk around the property on your first day there. 

Aquaventure, the waterpark, is included in your stay (and one of the only things), so start there. The not-so-lazy river is a blast and I could have spent an entire week there. The slides are amazing and I don’t care how cool the adults only pool is, there is no denying a slide that has so much water pressure that it shoots you uphill. 

Aquaventure Atlantis

The restaurants are fine, we went to all of them and Nobu was probably the best, but if you’ve eaten at Nobu in Vegas, New York or Malibu this will not measure up. I definitely recommend either heading off the resort for meals or asking your cab driver to stop at a grocery store on your way in to stock up on some snack items. Everything is a fortune: drinks are $13, a bottle of water is $7, so plan ahead.

When we got there I really wanted to swim with the dolphins, I’d done a lot of research and found that these were some of the best treated dolphins in captivity, and we had a great view of the dolphin cay from our room at the Reef which made me want to go even more. As we looked in to it a bit more we found out that you can actually go snorkelling in the aquarium. This was 100% cooler than just swimming with dolphins. We got to swim in the aquarium that surrounds the Royal towers - which meant swimming with sting rays, sharks, and nearly every type of aquatic life you could think of. The best part was that everyone who had signed up for our scheduled time bailed, so Taylor and I got a private session, and our guide was super cool and really knowledgeable! 

Swim with Sharks Atlantis

Check out the casino, it’s really fun and right beside the restaurants and night clubs. I won $2,000 on a slot machine.. so I’m a big fan. But at the end of the day, it’s a casino. 

If you have an extra $700-$1300 kicking around then rent a cabana, the seats around all of the pools, and especially around the adult’s only pool at the Cove can fill up really quickly. If you’d rather hold on to your money, get there early and put a towel/beach bag on your chair. Cruise ships come in around 11am and get day passes for pools and the waterpark, so as long as you’re there before them you should be fine. 

Atlantis Bahamas

What you should know:
-You will spend a fortune. Accept it now and you’ll have a blast.

-Be nice and the concierge might upgrade your room, just ask nicely :)

What you should bring:
-A lot of money, a lot of sunscreen (the weather is perfect), some snacks & water

Who you should contact:
-Look on sites like Expedia, they frequently have great deals on rooms, don’t bother with the meal plan it’s not worth the $$

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Parc du Verdon

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Parc du Verdon

Less than one hundred miles from the supercar packed streets of Monaco and the cafe's of Nice and Cannes is a hidden gem known as Parc natural regional du Verdon. Over 4,000 miles into a two week road trip through France, Spain, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland I stumbled upon this park by accident and it turned into one of the photo highlights of my trip. 

Parc Verdon

Combine the sweeping roads and views of the Pacific Coast highway, and the terrain of the Grand Canyon and you get the Parc du Verdon. Highway D952 on the north side, and D71 on the south side both offer breathtaking views of the over 700 metre drop from canyon's edge to the river below. In the winter, sections of D71 nestled against canyon walls see zero sunlight leaving an alternating clear and snow filled road perfect for a unique picture.

If you're in the south of France, make sure to take a detour and enjoy this spectacular region. 

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Beijing China

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Beijing China

Beijing is massive. It is the definition of urban sprawl. Due to the smog you will never see the full skyline, but as you drive new buildings seem to appear out of nowhere. The traffic is crippling on the major highways and there doesn't seem to be any rules of the road. Its fantastic. 

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Note: The best bet is to book a guided tour. They know the fastest way to navigate the pandemonium that is Chinese tourist attractions. Try booking a guide and a private car over doing a bus tour. You will be able to stop at more locations and see more in a shorter time frame. They will take you to the typical tourist trap places like the silk factory and jade jewelry stores along the way. Don’t feel obligated to buy anything. Plus having a driver provides it’s own form of adventure on the highways and country roads. Counting the traffic violations between stops became part of the game.

Forbidden City

The largest collection of ancient wood structures in the world! The Forbidden City was the center of Chinese government for nearly half a century. From the Ming Dynasty through to the end of the Qing Dynasty this was the place the place to be! There are almost a 1000 buildings inside the complex which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It would take a full day or longer to fully explore the whole palace. Best bet is to try and go to the outside perimeter of the complex to avoid the tourists. The majority of people seem to stick right down the center of the symmetrical layout. You can find places that are pretty quiet if you take a hard right as you start your walk through.

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The Great Wall of China

The name doesn’t disappoint. Its pretty great. The air is cleaner and you can see the actual horizon. Its best to get there as early as possible as the light is great through the fog. If you have a private car this is generally when they will take you. Its a few hour drive from Beijing so its an early start that day. Construction on the walls started in the 8th to 5th century BC, but in 220 BC it was unified into the beginning of The Wall lines we see now.  Its hard to find any remaining parts of that wall. The wall that is there now was made during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). Most of the areas available to tourists are made up of this era of wall. It is in fairly good condition in the tourist areas but there are sections that are falling apart and crumbling away.

Note: Planning a trip in the autumn months makes for better photos. The light is better and the colour in the trees makes for more dramatic shots. These photos were taken in late October and the whole valley was changing colour. The temperature is also way better for climbing stairs, which there is no shortage of.


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Best Island in Bahamas | Great Exuma

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Best Island in Bahamas | Great Exuma

Words by Lindsay Coulter, Photos by Taylor Jackson

Best Island Bahamas

We wanted to check out Atlantis (mostly because of The Other Woman) but quickly found out that Nassau and Exuma (where the swimming pigs live) were about as different as Muskoka and Toronto. There’s no real easy way to connect these trips, but luckily from Toronto there’s a direct flight right in to the Exuma. It’s by far one of the most gorgeous places to fly in to, but certainly not on our list of top airports to visit… their check-in/security/gift shop are about as big as our condo’s lobby.

Great Exuma Photo Spots
Augusta Bay Exuma
Augusta Bay Great Exuma
Augusta Bay Pool
Santana's Great Exuma

 

We picked up the most expensive rental car (in a Walter Mitty-esque fashion, we chose from a red car or a blue car) and headed to our 16-room hotel, Augusta Bay. It’s one of very few hotels in Great Exuma, and even fewer in Georgetown. Having done so many all-inclusive vacations this was an amazing eye opener to the true culture and vibe of the area. Instead of only seeing the locals on pick-up and drop-off, we had drinks with them every night, and chatted with them on the street and at the beach every day. We actually met one somewhat hilarious, somewhat insane Bahamian named Bahama Obama. We paid him $20/hour to take us around the Exumas…Everywhere he took us people immediately told us what they thought of him, both good and bad. It turns out he may or may not have been a pretty prolific drug dealer, but he did show us some of the most incredible sites in the area and also introduced us to one of our new favourite places on earth: Turquoise Cay.

Great Exuma Vacations

 

Turquoise Cay is a beautiful boutique hotel, previously owned by the family who owns the majority of Coca Cola. It would be the perfect honeymoon destination, the suites are beautifully decorated, and the entire hotel has been designed to offer guests the best most relaxing experience. There are hammocks suspended over the water and a natural pool created out of rocks that you can always see sea turtles and tropical fish swimming in. And the best part: it’s surrounded by water on 3 sides. In the words of the owner of Turquoise Cay “Exuma is like the atlantis aquarium, only in real life”. 

Turquoise Cay Hotel
Turquoise Cay Great Exuma
Great Exuma Bahamas

What you should know:

-Sand flies are the absolute worst thing that could happen short of someone stealing your money and your passport, put baby oil all over your body and they won’t be able to bite you. I had sand fly bites that lasted for over a month after getting home.

-In “off-season” (September/October) most bars and restaurants are open on Friday nights, some aren’t open any other time

-Expect nothing to be open on Sunday – Air Canada flies in on Sunday and Thursdays… so if you get in on Sunday you won’t be able to go to the store until the next day

-Rent a car, it’s expensive but everything’s too spread out to walk or cab to

What you should bring:

-A laid back attitude, the term “island time” has never been so apparent as it is in Exuma

-Baby oil & long pants

Who you should contact:

Augusta Bay: http://www.augustabayhotelgeorgetown.com/

Turquoise Cay: https://www.turquoisecay.com/

Bahama Obama: Go to any local bar and ask, they’ll find him for you

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Park Hyatt Tokyo - Lost In Translation Hotel

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Park Hyatt Tokyo - Lost In Translation Hotel

Words, photos and video by Taylor Jackson.

I have a strange obsession with the Park Hyatt Tokyo.  It is my 5th time in Tokyo, and I can't stay away from it.  Last year I stayed at a hotel closer to Shinjuku Station, but found myself at the Park Hyatt for sunrise 4 of the 5 mornings I was in the city.  It's an addicting and relaxing place.

Lost in Translation was the movie that inspired me to book my first flight to Tokyo, and the Park Hyatt Tokyo is where the characters all stay. (Bill Murray/Scarlett Johansson/Giovanni Ribisi/Anna Faris)
That's why I first visited, but not why I return --

It feels like another world, completely separated from reality. Going to sleep here feels like you accomplished more with your day.

The room views are out of this world. This is my room view from the penthouse floor.

Lost in Translation Hotel Room

As expected, everything here is world class. It is home to one of the coolest rooftop pools in the world. New York Bar (The one featured pretty heavily in Lost in Translation) is also one of the best spots to enjoy some music and a drink in the city.

All things considered, it is one of the best hotels in the world. The only downside is that the hotel is so great it's difficult to get motivated to go outside and actually experience Tokyo. It's worth the cost of the hotel just to experience the pool during sunrise.

Lost In Translation Hotel Tokyo

This is a hotel to stay at at least once in your lifetime. You'll never forget it.

 

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Multi-pitch Climbing - Dolomites, Italy

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Multi-pitch Climbing - Dolomites, Italy

Words and Photos: Ryan Ritter.

Going to Italy, I thought I was going to do all the tourist activities - see the canals of Venice, wine tour of Tuscany and try to say what’s up to pope Francis. Then, for a surprise birthday gift I received a guided climb in the Dolomites.

Out of everything I did in Italy the climb in the Dolomites was my favourite thing.

At the time, I had been been rock climbing for less than a year. I wasn’t a super strong climber but I also wasn’t out there to do a crazy challenging route --

I was there to slowly scale the mountain and enjoy the breath taking view.

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The route I did was relatively easy, anyone who has been rock climbing in a gym a few times would have no problems. I emailed the guide Enrico before I left Canada. We talked back and fourth a few times talking about gear and my climbing experience. I knew I wanted to go really high so I told him I wanted to do a multi pitch climb.

As soon I landed I rented an Alfa and headed north to the mountains. We spent the night In Cortina D’ampezzo, a famous ski town. I met with Enrico the night before the climb at my hotel where he explained the climb and the possibilities that it might rain. I knew I was going to try and climb no matter the weather conditions. Enrico picked me up early in the morning.

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Our original plan was to do a big mountain called Coiche but due to the weather we were unable to. Enrico had a back up plan to go to Cinque Torri where there are some multi-pitch routes and single pitches just in case the rain started to pour down. We pulled up and there were these little hotels called Refugio’s. Enrico said that if you didn’t want to pay the expensive price of Cortina another option was these cheap Refugio’s. Costing roughly 50 Euros and that included food. If I did it over again I would defiantly stay at the Refugio’s. The view alone would be worth staying.

We hiked up to the base of the climb, strapped on our gear and started to climb. The route was called Via Miriam it had 6 pitches and was roughly 190m. The climbing was amazing nothing like the polished rock outside of Toronto. The last pitch it started to rain but even with the rain the holds were awesome to grab on to. We got to the top walked around to another spot and rappelled down. I still wanted to climb more so Enrico found some short sport routes, which I was able to climb up. The rain started to come down really hard so we hiked back to the Refugio and had some lunch and wine. Even with the rain cutting my day short it was still the highlight of my trip.

If that’s not enough climbing for you. We headed down to the Amalfi Coast after, rented a boat, strapped on our climbing shoes and deep water soloed the endless cliffs there. If you have the strength try the Lovers Arch in Capri.

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British Colonial Hilton Nassau

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British Colonial Hilton Nassau

british colonial hilton nassau photos

We discovered the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau on our last day in Bahamas. 

After a week of Atlantis, it was nice to feel a little more at 'home' at a Hilton property. It's amazing that they can keep their in-room brand feeling consistent across 6 continents. (Still waiting for Hilton Antarctica)

I will say that the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau is without a doubt my favourite Hilton experience. (Haven't yet visited Hilton Bora Bora)

When checking in we entered the lobby to the sound of the Grand Piano upstairs. We were told he's a local retired man that just comes in to play from time to time. They also have fantastic musicians in the lounge at night time.

The beach is perfect, and being so close to the cruise ship port was more fun than anticipated. It's amazing to watch the boats come in and out of port.

I'd recommend the British Colonial Hilton above Atlantis for couples looking for a resort hotel in Bahamas. You might even catch a glimpse of Nicholas Cage.

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Getting a SIM Card In Japan

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Getting a SIM Card In Japan

As much fun as it is to explore a city with a physical map, I prefer Google Maps.

I've used a few different companies over the past years, but https://www.econnectjapan.com/ is by far my favourite.

They'll either ship to an airport and you can pick it up there, or (my new preferred method) you can have it shipped to your hotel. You feel a little bit like Jason Bourne when you check in, and they hand you a package.

You'll need an unlocked phone. Buy an old unlocked iPhone 5 if you're locked to a carrier.

Here is a photograph of me riding a bike in Japan:

taylor-jackson-riding-bike-in-puffy-jacket-tokyo

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3 Remote Canadian Hotels

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3 Remote Canadian Hotels

Note: some require a float plane, boat or helicopter to access. The hotels will be happy to set up transportation.

It feels entirely different to be so far gone.

It isn't as much about the actual hotel stay, as it is about the journey to get there.

At these hotels, you breathe differently. You think differently. You dream differently.

In no particular order:

Moraine Lake Lodge, Banff AB, Canada

I stayed at Moraine Lake Lodge in the Spring a few years back. It felt like a remote location in South Island New Zealand, but so much closer to home.

Sonora Resort British Columbia

My first seaplane flight was by Seair. I was equally excited about the flight and hotel. Both experiences stay with my as favourites. Can't wait to visit again.



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