HOW TO CREATE A BUDGET FOR 2023 AND MAXIMISE YOUR SAVINGS.

Wednesday 28 December 2022

I love creating budget spreadsheets and savings vaults on Revolut. Whether I always stick to them is another thing, but at least the intention is there! As we get older you’ve probably realised that there are suddenly a lot more things to pay for, and your take home salary isn’t the same as soon as you start paying things like your pension and life insurance etc. Here is why creating a budget is important and some tips for how to create one and stay on track of your finances. 




Why create a budget?


For the simple reason, that nobody likes to be struggling with money. We also know life is full of unexpected costs and it’s better to be prepared than have debts to pay left right and centre. It’s important to live within your means and to understand the difference between wanting and needing something. 

How to start a budget


Create a spreadsheet


It doesn’t have to be complicated and full of formulas, but the ‘equal sum’ one will come in handy and means you won’t have to manually add up figures or whip out your phone calculator. The way I organise mine is having a table for each month and keep my total income at the top and another row for money I might have coming in from my blog. I then list all my fixed spendings such as my pension and the gym, and then I can see what’s left to arrange into savings or disposable income for the month.

Have multiple savings accounts


Any kind of savings is always great (and better than being in debt). I have 3 savings accounts opened in Natwest just so I don’t feel guilty if I pull from my savings for a treat or a holiday for example. My first savings account is dedicated to furnishing my house when it’s eventually ready, and this I hope to not touch until then. Especially when I’m getting 1.5% interest with Natwest Savings Builder. My second savings account is for ‘fun stuff’ like holidays and festival tickets. My third being ‘adult stuff’ like dental appointments and unexpected expenses. You can also use a savings calculator to see the value of your monthly investments, depending on how much you choose to deposit. 

Pay yourself first


It can be easy to spend as you like and then put away ‘whatever’s left’ at the end of the month, but doing that makes it very easy to be left with nothing and just living from paycheck to paycheck. When your salary comes in, pay everything you need to and save and then see what you have left for the month. I usually move my monthly disposable income to Revolut and keep that as my budget for the month.

Plan ahead


December ends up being an expensive month for everyone with all the Christmas shopping and social gatherings, but it doesn’t have to leave you scraping pennies and using up half of your next salary by the end of the month. What I did at the beginning of January is I calculated all the birthday and Christmas presents I had to make this year and then I divided that sum by 12. I then set up a recurring transfer to a ‘Presents Vault’ on Revolut each month so that I had the money saved already. I can say that’s definitely helped!

Plan a savings challenge

For the last few years, I've been doing a 365 'penny' challenge. Where you start by adding 1p on the 1st January, and go increasing the amount by a penny as the days increase. This means that by the end of the year you would have saved £672. You can also do a weekly challenge, where you put in £1 at the end of week one, £2 at the end of week two, and so on. This gives you a total saving of £1,378 at the end of the year! 


I hope you have found these tips useful, and want to wish you all a happy new year!

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A REVIEW OF INAMO'S UNLIMITED ASIAN SUSHI & TAPAS AND BOTTOMLESS DRINKS.

Monday 17 October 2022

If you follow me on my Tea With Gi Instagram page you might have seen that I just got back from a weekend in London, and probably wondered how I manage to fill so much food into 48 hours. Eating good food when I travel is probably at the top of my priority list, and London has no shortage of this! For me Italian and Japanese are always my top choices, so of course one of our meals was at Inamo in Soho. 


Inamo consists of pan-Asian cuisine which includes asian tapas and sushi, and also has the world's 1st interactive table ordering system. They are located both in Soho and in Covent Garden. We booked our table through the OpenTable website, which allows you to browse through over 100s of restaurants in London (and other major cities). Here you can make reservations, read reviews and earn points towards free meals. One of my favourite features of the website is that it allows you to search for 'experiences' at restaurants, so it's easy to find a bottomless brunch or unlimited buffet option!



At Inamo we opted for the 'unlimited asian sushi & tapas and bottomless drinks' which cost £45 per person, plus a 10% service fee that we were charged at the restaurant. When we arrived we were promptly shown to our table and our waitress explained how the interactive concept worked. Using a touch pad on the table you could:

  • order your food
  • check what you had already ordered
  • call the waiter to refill your drink
  • play games
  • watch the chef in the kitchen
  • and see your total

We were given an hour and a half to order food and drinks (beer, wine and prosecco) and we were only allowed to order 3 dishes at a time before ordering the more plates. Between me and my partner we managed to get through 16 sushi/tapas dishes - not a bad attempt! The food arrived quickly and we found that we didn't really have to call the waiter to top up our drinks as they were attentive, and would fill up our glasses before we'd even finished! We did call them 5 minutes before our time was up so we could finish off our meal with a cheeky quick glass of prosecco. 


For me the best dishes were the rose salmon sashimi, Szechuan Chicken, bang bang cauliflower, yuzu pork belly, korean BBQ ribs and the yellowtail roll. I was slightly heartbroken that the dragon roll wasn't included in the unlimited menu, but in hindsight i'm sure we could have ordered this as an extra if we wanted to!


Overall, we had a great experience and would definitely return in a few months to try some different dishes if they change up the 'unlimited menu'. There are probably no more than 15 tables in here, so booking beforehand is necessary to get a spot. The dim lighting makes it a great place for a date night, or even just for a get together with friends. 




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10 TIPS FOR FIRST TIME CRUISERS ON ROYAL CARIBBEAN.

Monday 26 September 2022

This summer I embarked on my second cruise with Royal Caribbean, and I can say my experience visiting as a teenager and as an adult were very different but both very memorable. A cruise is a great way to explore different cities/countries in a short space of time, and due to there being no coverage, also a great family bonding experience. If you still haven’t embarked on a cruise or are in the process of planning one for 2023, here are some of my tips.


1. Book in advance



We booked our Royal Caribbean cruise a year and a half in advance of our sail date, and we managed to save £400 with an ‘early bird’ discount. We did take a bit of a risk as we didn’t know what the travel situation with covid was going to be like, but it worked out in the end! Booking in advance means you also get a larger choice of staterooms, and if you get seasick you’ll want to ensure you bag one of the top deck rooms.


2. Look at the port terminal before you book your flights



Our cruise departed from ‘Venice’, but what they really meant was a port that was two hours away from Venice airport and in the town of Ravenna. Make sure you research your terminal ports first, as you may need to give yourself more time to travel. If you arrive a day before it’s also a great way to explore another city!



3. See which stops you can do at your own leisure



It’s no secret that cruise tours are usually double the price of those you can get via other agencies or from the tourist office when you arrive at one of your stops. There will be times where it’s worth booking a tour with your cruise as it will include transport and all the highlights a place has to offer. If you’re stopping at a smaller city or a beach town then it’s easier and more cost effective to do so at your own leisure.



4. Take advantage of the drinks package



Cocktails on most cruise lines are expensive, so if you’re really looking to splurge on your first day at sea it might be worth purchasing a drinks package. On Royal Caribbean a drink package of unlimited cocktails, soft drinks and speciality coffees was around £45. Which would just about get you 4 or 5 cocktails otherwise. The only thing to note was that this offer was only available the first two days of our cruise.



5. Pack your swimsuit in your carry-on bag



Just like in the airport, you will go through a check-in process before you’re allowed to board. The cruise staff will keep your suitcases and then throughout the day they will have them taken to your stateroom. This means that you might get on the ship at midday, but won’t be reunited with your luggage until 5pm. So bring your swimsuit, towel and other essentials in your carry-on luggage!


6. Make the most of the drinks allowance



As mentioned above, alcoholic drinks onboard aren’t the cheapest. Most cruise lines allow you to bring two bottles of wine per stateroom with you, which is great if you want to enjoy a glass or two on your balcony as you’re watching the sunset! You are also allowed to buy drinks in the port stops but the staff might keep this aside and give it to you when you check-out on your last day.


7. Keep your phone in aeroplane mode



Even if you’re embarking on a Mediterranean cruise, there is a chance you will sail past non-EU countries where you will be charged for data roaming. My brother learnt this the hard way when he woke up and saw a ‘welcome to Albania!’ text message. Wi-Fi on the ship usually starts around £20 a day, so in my opinion it’s not really worth it. You’ll still get coverage when the ship is docked, and chances are the people who you really need to speak to will be on the cruise with you!



8. Download the cruise app



Most cruise lines will have a dedicated app to make your journey a lot smoother. On our Royal Caribbean app we were able to check-in, book excursions, see how much we’d spent onboard, and see all the daily activities taking place. We also got the full menu for evening dining for the whole week, and obviously we couldn’t help ourselves in looking beforehand. The app is also a great way to plan your day as you can add activities to your calendar.


9. Opt to pay for the tips beforehand



I remember the first time we went on a cruise my parents had to dish out tips left right and centre at the end of our trip, which usually amounts to hundreds. Some cruises now give you the option to pay for the gratuities when you pay for your remaining balance before the cruise, and I believe this was around £120 per person.


10. Dining vs Buffet



On your cruise you will usually have two options for dinner each night included in your package. You can opt for a more formal dinner in the dining room, where there is usually one or two gala nights and you are given a 3 course menu every night. The other option is to eat in the buffet restaurant which usually has themed nights too. It’s worth checking on the app beforehand to see which menu appeals to you more!



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5 SIDE HUSTLES TO CONSIDER IN 2022 TO BOOST YOUR INCOME.

Monday 8 August 2022

Nowadays it feels like every other person is making a second income in some sort of way, and social media has made it easier than ever to create a second revenue stream, and to promote it! I'm lucky that through my blog it has allowed me to earn money in different ways, but that didn't come until after 2 years of establishing myself as a blogger and building up my SEO and following. If you're looking for a way to earn money from the comfort of your own home (mostly), here are 5 side hustles to consider to increase your income. 




1. Monetise your blog 



If you already have a website, one of the ways in which you can earn a passive income is with affiliate marketing. Depending on your niche, you will find plenty of websites which allow you to earn commission every time one of your readers books through your unique link. Since my blog is mainly travel, the two best affiliate programmes for me are Booking.com (around 15% commission) and GetYourGuide (10%). 

Another way to earn money through your blog is with sponsored content. Once you have built up a good domain authority (your Google ranking, basically), brands will pay you to have a link to their website within one of your blog posts. They do this in order to improve their own DA. I have a blog post all about improving your Domain Authority and SEO here


2. Start your own small business



Every time I log into TikTok I see unique products that small business owners are selling, to the more popular items like bar soaps, bespoke cakes and candles. You don't have to re-invent the wheel to start your own small business, you just have to get a bit creative and have a unique selling point. 

One thing that a lot of people are conscious about is products being eco-friendly, this also means choosing bespoke e-commerce packaging that minimises waste. Here you have a selection of envelopes or boxes to package your product in. You can then pretty much use sites like Canva to create your logo and all the graphics for your business. 

3. Write an e-book



If you have a particular skill, why not make some money from it? The good thing about this is, you have to put the work in at the beginning and then once it's written you can keep making money from sales. It'll just be your job to keep promoting it. I know of people who have made nutrition guides, SEO guides, guides on how to start a blog, manifestation guides, and have managed to make some money from it. 

All you need for this is Microsoft Word (or Google docs), your knowledge, and friends to help promote the product on social media once it's done! 


4. Teach english online 



TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) courses are popular with people who want to go live abroad and teach English at a school. However, it's also a good option if you have spare time in the evenings and want to teach English classes to children in Vietnam for example. Most courses require 120 hours to be done to be able to teach english. 

If you're a school teacher and have the summer off, why not use the time to go on a working holiday in South East Asia with this? 

5. Sell your unwanted items



If you look around the room right now, I bet you can spot 3 items that you haven't used in ages. You won't earn loads with this, but it's a great way to declutter your house, and give something a second home. 

You could also offer to do this for friends and relatives by agreeing to take the photos, write the descriptions and arrange deliveries. Just agree on the % you'll be taking beforehand! Etsy, eBay and Facebook Marketplace are all great places to do this. 

Do you have any current side hustles? Feel free to leave your links below! 




A GUIDE TO SPENDING 3 DAYS IN DUBROVNIK, CROATIA.

Wednesday 13 July 2022

Dubrovnik has been on my bucket list for years, the interest was probably sparked when I heard Game of Thrones had been filmed there. The city has definitely milked this as you'll find GOT merch, tours and experiences everywhere. Nevertheless it is a beautiful city and it is the perfect place for a weekend escape or as part of a trip around Croatia! I'd love to explore Split, Zagreb and Hvar another time. Here is my itinerary for things to do and where to eat on a 3 day trip to Dubrovnik, Croatia. 


tea with gi dubrovnik guide


Day 1 



Breakfast: Cele

Located right at the end of the Stradun (main street), you'll find Cele. It's a great spot for people watching and you'll get quite a range of breakfast options here. I opted for the french toast, my sister went for pancakes and my mother went for eggs benedict.

AM - Walk around the city walls

Here you will find some of the best views of the city and it is a great way to get your steps in! The first thing you'll notice about Dubrovnik is that 80% of the Old Town is made up of steps, but we still saw plenty of over 70s on group tours so it isn't anything for concern! 

The walls take between 1.5 - 2 hours to walk, depending on how often you stop to take pictures and how many people are stopping in front of you. You can enter from Pile Gate and entry for adults is around 30 euros. 

Lunch: Barba

I'd watched a couple of videos before our trip and obviously my main point of interest was 'must eats in Dubrovnik'. One place that popped up a few times was the small restaurant Barba, and specifically their octopus burger in a squid ink bun. A local had also recommended this place on our tour so it was definitely worth the hype! You can't book, but we went for lunch at 2:30pm and managed to get a spot on the windowsill. 


barba dubrovnik


PM: Kayaking Tour

For £21, you can take a 3 hour kayaking tour that takes you around the city walls at sunset and will also take you around the 'cursed' island of Lokrum. You'll also have a guide who will tell you about the history of Dubrovnik and some urban legends. You will also get 30 minutes on a private beach. Informational, relaxing and you'll also work off that octopus burger! 


Dinner: Taj Mahal (Bosnian Food)

I definitely recommend reserving your tables in advance for dinner because most of the popular places will be fully booked on the night. Don't let the name fool you, as Taj Mahal is actually a Bosnian restaurant! If you have any vegetarians travelling in your party then this probably isn't the restaurant for you as their menu is very meat heavy. We opted for the 'genghis khan plate' which consisted of cevapi, chicken kebab, pljeskavica, suńĎukica, rumsteak and chicken. The food was delicious, my only complaint was that they gave us the table right at the end of the alley way and there wasn't even a street light beside. So as the picture depicts, we basically ate in darkness! 


taj mahal dubrovnik


Day 2 


Breakfast: SNEK

What I liked about this place is that it had a number of healthier options on their menu such as chia pudding and protein pancakes, and it would cost you between £5-£10 depending on what you were eating. They also had an extensive cocktail list, so it’s a great place to come back to in the afternoon.


AM: Game of Thrones Walking Tour 

If you're reading this travel guide, chances are you still haven't got to Dubrovnik. Meaning there is still time to watch the show so you can experience this tour and know your Khaleesi from your Cersei. My mother and sister hadn't seen GOT but still found the tour entertaining as the guide has plenty of pictures, funny anecdotes and non-GOT related stories about the city to share. 



game of thrones tour dubrovnik


PM: Visit Lokrum Island

The small island of Lokrum is only a 30 minute boat ride away from Dubrovnik, and there isn't much to do there except for seeing the peacocks, an Iron Throne replica and a lake that you can sunbathe by and swim in. During your stay you will probably hear how the island is haunted because of a curse that was placed by the Benedictine monks. I'll leave that story for you to find our for yourselves!


DINNER: Gradska Kavana Arsenal

This was probably my favourite meal we had, as we were right by the sea and the food was delicious and moderately priced. They serve a mix of seafood, meat and pasta dishes. I had the fish stew, my mother had squid ink risotto, and my sister had the truffle and mushroom pasta. 


Day 3


As I mentioned Dubrovnik is a relatively small city, which means that it gives you the chance to explore neighbouring cities, or even countries. There are day trips available to Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina. We decided on B&H because it's somewhere we wouldn't necessarily do an exclusive trip to. 

Day trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina 

For me the highlight of this tour was our driver, our pick up was at 7:30am so safe to say we were half asleep but he made the tour so entertaining and interesting. We drove for around an hour and a half before reaching a waterfall where we had an hour of free time, and then we continued on to the city of Mostar. 

I didn’t have any prior knowledge of Mostar or the Bosnian war in the 90s, so it was interesting to get the perspective from our Croat tour guide, and our Bosnian guide in Mostar. You definitely get the sense that people still feel very strongly and divided about what happened. 


mostar bosnia

Lunch: Restaurant Sadrvan 

This place was recommended to us by our guide, and a plate of meat, pita bread and chips cost us less than a fiver. They had a terrace so we got a great view of the bridge and river.

Mostar Day Trip from Dubrovnik (£41) 

Dinner: Mex Cantina 

The tour will have you back in Dubrovnik for dinner time, and if you fancy a change of cuisine then I recommend Mex Cantina. Half the menu was mexican and half was pizza, so we got a bit of everything and thoroughly enjoyed it.



If you have extra time...


  • If you need a pick me up on the go, try the coffee and a pastry (spinach and cheese burek) from Barcaffe in the main street. 
  • Head to Buza Bar, a cliffside bar that's a popular spot to enjoy a wine or beer and see the sunset. Note that this place only takes cash. 
  • If you fancy doing something alternative, try the 'Haunted Dubrovnik' Ghost Tour in the evening. 


We visited Dubrovnik at the end of September and we had perfect weather, aside from 20 minutes of light rain but that was the perfect opportunity to get photos with nobody in the background! I'd recommend going at the end of spring or at the end of summer as the heat can be unbearable in peak summer. 

I hope you've found this guide useful, and if you have any other questions about Dubrovnik, feel free to send me a message on my socials! 



Map created with Wanderlog, for making itineraries on iOS and Android

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tea with gi dubrovnik travel guide



HOW COMMERCIAL VEHICLE WRAPPING BOOSTS BRAND VISIBILITY.

Friday 1 July 2022

Success in today's competitive business climate requires creating and upholding a prominent brand presence. Businesses always seek fresh marketing strategies to spread their name to more people. This informative article explores how commercial vehicle wrapping can boost brand visibility. Commercial vehicle wrapping is a method of large format media which is often used to brand company vehicles and advertise businesses.



What is Commercial Vehicle Wrapping?


This involves covering a company's vehicles, such as cars, vans, trucks, or buses, with vinyl graphics or decals that display the brand's logo, colours, images, and promotional messages. The vinyl film is precisely applied to the vehicle's exterior, creating a seamless and eye-catching advertisement.


The vehicle wrapping process requires skilled professionals to design, print, and install the graphics accurately, ensuring a professional and polished appearance. The result is a mobile billboard that travels the roads and streets, reaching thousands of potential customers daily.


Benefits of Commercial Vehicle Wrapping for Brand Visibility

Widespread Reach: One of the primary advantages of commercial vehicle wrapping

is its ability to reach a broad and diverse audience. As the branded vehicles traverse different areas, the brand's message is exposed to people from all walks of life, including potential customers who have never encountered the brand through other advertising channels.


Constant Exposure: Unlike traditional static billboards or print ads, vehicle wraps offer continuous exposure. The brand message is always visible to passersby and other motorists, whether the vehicles are parked, stuck in traffic, or on the move. This constant presence significantly reinforces brand awareness over time.


High Impact: A well-designed and attractive vehicle wrap can make a powerful impression on viewers. The vibrant colours, eye-catching graphics, and creative designs demand attention, impacting the audience's memory. Such a memorable advertisement increases the likelihood of potential customers seeking more information about the brand.


Non-Intrusive Advertising: Vehicle wrapping presents an advantage over traditional advertising methods in that it is non-intrusive. Unlike TV or online ads that may interrupt and annoy the audience, vehicle wraps blend seamlessly into the urban landscape, making them more welcome and less disruptive.


Local and Targeted Advertising: For businesses that primarily operate within a specific geographical area, vehicle wrapping provides targeted advertising. As the branded vehicles travel through local neighbourhoods and communities, they specifically target the audience the business aims to reach.


Credibility and Professionalism: Branded vehicles exude a sense of professionalism and credibility. When potential customers see a fleet of well-maintained and branded cars, they perceive the company as reliable and established, enhancing its reputation.


Designing an Effective Vehicle Wrap


To maximise the impact of a commercial vehicle wrap, careful consideration should be given to the design process. Here are some essential tips for creating a compelling and attention-grabbing vehicle wrap:


Simplicity: Keep the design simple and easy to comprehend at a glance. A cluttered design can be overwhelming and difficult for viewers to process.


Brand Consistency: Ensure that the vehicle wrap aligns with the overall branding of the company, including the logo, colour scheme, and brand messaging.


Clear Message: Deliver a clear and concise message that communicates the brand's core value proposition or critical products/services.


Contrast and Visibility: Use high-contrast colours and bold fonts to enhance visibility and legibility, especially from a distance.


With its widespread reach, constant exposure, and cost-effectiveness, vehicle wrapping offers a unique opportunity to showcase a brand to a diverse audience. A business can benefit from it since it is flexible and can target specific local markets. Mobile advertising can significantly increase a company's revenue and customer base.



*This is a collaborative post*


A FIRST TIME VISITORS GUIDE TO THAILAND - WHERE TO GO?

Thursday 16 June 2022


Thailand has officially removed all of its restrictions for vaccinated tourists, so If you have been itching for a big trip this year, you’re in luck! The great thing about Thailand is that it suits every type of traveller. Whether you’re looking to go with your partner, with a group of friends, with your family or on your own, Thailand has something for everyone. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s my guide on where to consider going on your trip depending on your interests.

elephant sanctuary chiang mai


Bangkok


This will no doubt be in your itinerary for the simple fact that it’s the easiest and cheapest airport in Thailand to fly into. People have mixed opinions about Bangkok, and personally I wouldn’t recommend spending more than 2-3 days there, but there are a lot of things to do in the area. Temperatures in Bangkok can soar, so I recommend starting your day early and then relaxing by the pool in the afternoon. If you plan on temple hopping, my top recommendations are The Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Muang and Wat Arun. 

We also took part in a thai cooking class, where we got the chance to make pad thai, sticky mango rice, tom yum soup and a thai green curry. Had we done this at the beginning of our trip, I'm certain I wouldn't have added 3 chillies inside my curry. In the evening, head to Cielo rooftop bar for great food, cocktails and amazing views of the Bangkok skyline. To end the night, walk through Khaosan road which is very popular with backpackers. Just expect it to be loud and very crowded!




Ko Samui


Ko Samui is the second largest island in Thailand, and is a popular choice for families as there are a lot of resorts in the area. Personally I don’t think it’s the nicest island, but we did have the best excursions from Ko Samui and we loved the night market in Chaweng. Who wouldn’t love a pad thai and dumplings for £3? During your time there I recommend a day trip to Mu Ko Ang Thong Park, where you’ll get the chance to snorkel, kayak and visit the blue lagoon. Other sites of interest are the Wat Plai Laem Temple, and the Overlap Stone. Just make sure your Grab driver fills up the tank before heading up there!




Koh Phangan


There is one primary reason why people go to Koh Phangan, and that’s for the monthly Full Moon Party. To get here you can get a 30 minute speedboat from Ko Samui, which I recommend buying in advance from 12go asia because the boats do fill up. My advice for the full moon party is not to go with the expectation that it is going to be great music and a sophisticated atmosphere. Buy yourself a famous bucket drink and try to make the most of the experience! In terms of dining, our hotel restaurant Sand & Tan is situated right on Haad Rin beach and has the best Pad Thai I have ever tasted.




Koh Tao


Koh Tao is the best spot for adventurous travellers who want to have a go at scuba diving.There are plenty of diving schools scattered around the island, but if you would rather just snorkel at your own leisure then I recommend heading to Shark Bay, Freedom Beach or Sairee Beach. You will also find some great viewpoints in Koh Tao, my favourite being the John Suwan Viewpoint.




Phuket


Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, and arguably the most famous. It is also the gateway to the Phi Phi islands, which was the filming location for The Beach, which Leonardo Dicaprio starred in. When in Phuket, explore the Sunday Walking Street Market for some cheap food and to purchase some buddhas and bracelets to bring back for your friends and family. When you’ve had enough of tanning on Pa Tong beach, you can climb a hill for 5 minutes to see the 45 metre tall White Buddha.




Chiang Mai


Once you are done exploring the south, fly north to experience a different side of Thailand. Chiang Mai is a great place for street food, and one of the typical dishes in northern Thailand to try here is khao soi. It consists of either chicken or beef, in a coconut curry broth with boiled and fried noodles. Here is where you will also get the chance to visit an Elephant Sanctuary. We gave the elephants a mud bath, fed them tons of bananas and made medicine balls for them.The company we went with were called Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, who have a no riding policy. You could genuinely tell the elephants were happy here. From Chiang Mai you can also take a
day trip to the nearby city of Chiang Rai, where you can visit the famous White Temple.


white temple chiang rai


Pai


From Chiang Mai, you can take a 3 hour minivan ride to the town of Pai for a real authentic Thai experience. Word of warning, I suggest taking an anti sickness tablet because there are more than 750 twists and turns to get there. You won’t need more than two nights in Pai but we loved the fact that you could walk everywhere, and it is also a great place to meet other travellers.

Here you can visit the Pai canyon, try ‘tipsy tubing’ down the river, visit the hot springs and swim in the Pam Bok waterfall. Note trying to drink a beer whilst also avoiding scraping your bum on a rock or crashing against a bush was hard work, but fun. Another traditional Thai dish you can try here is the Kaeng Hang Lei, which is a slightly spicy pork curry.


pai canyon



Thailand is known as ‘The Land of Smiles’ for a reason, and you will find the locals to be so friendly and helpful. It’s definitely a place that I will visit again in the future, and if you have the time and annual leave, you can definitely see all these places in the space of a month! 



GUEST POST | TOP 7 THINGS TO DO IN SIKKIM IN 2022

Wednesday 1 June 2022

Sikkim is a state that personifies the beauty of nature. It is surrounded by beautiful and majestic mountains, misty hills, lush greenery, and semi-frozen lakes that make the state a frequent spot of recreation for tourists both in India and internationally.


Besides getting lost in the dreamy landscape, you can also indulge in a lot of activities around the state that should make up for your time there. People who visit Sikkim have time and time clarified that they never want to return. Not only is it a nature lover’s paradise, but Sikkim is also equally exciting for adventure enthusiasts. So, if you are planning to Sikkim, do it in a planned manner with eSikkimTourism for the best travel experience. This article will explore the top 7 things that you can do in Sikkim in the year 2022 with a cost breakdown so you can plan ahead of time.



1. Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek


Before we describe it further, be assured that this isn’t for the faint of heart. You do need proper medical documents and verification before you are allowed to even start this trek. Although it is just until the Kanchenjunga Base Camp, the paths leading up to the final destination aren’t the simplest.

It is a 90 km long trek and takes around 10 days to finish. Now, you must be wondering why does it take so long for a meager 90km trek? Well, the distance isn’t the factor; the trekking trail is very jagged and needs to be treated with utmost caution. A single wrong move can be very dangerous.

The trail initiates from Yuksom and ends at the Bakkhim point, where the trekkers finally get to take in the beautiful and mesmerizing view of the surroundings.


Cost per person – Rs. 14,700.


2. Camping


Sounds boring, doesn’t it? But, that’s the beauty of Sikkim. Even in the snow-capped mountains, the tourists have the option to wrap their things up and go out for a camping adventure. Camping is a massive revenue source for the locals during the winter months. Yes, you heard it right – During the WINTER MONTHS.

The experience is one of a kind, something that you will never want to indulge in quite frequently and without any questions asked. The backdrop of the wildflowers with the blazing heat from the fit pit in the middle is bound to take you to a whole different dimension.


The cost per person – varies and depends on the camping site.


3. Take Nature Tours


We aren’t saying that Sikkim doesn’t have its staple sightseeing spots, including temples, monasteries, and the local markets. But, if you want to do something off-beat, we’d recommend signing up for the Nature Tours instead. They are fun, enthralling, and are the perfect thing that your inner child needs to explore.

The nature tours are also perfect for the tourists who enjoy a quick trek but don’t want the steep and high-altitude treks. Some of the most popular nature tour trails include Varsey Trail, Kasturi Orar Trail, etc. 


Cost per person – Depends on the trail.


4. Bungee Jumping


Now, we had to include a good adventure sport to the list of things to do in Sikkim, right? So, why not start with the most heart-pounding one? Can you even imagine taking a free-fall plunge from a 200m height into the abyss, letting go of all your inhibitions, and taking in the thrill and adrenaline rush?

The experience is one of a kind, something that you are going to want to experience at least once in your life. Freefalling like a bird with the backdrop of the scenic view and the lush greenery is something you need to tick off your bucket list.


The cost per person – Starts from INR 500.


5. Visit the Caves


If you are an explorer, you are going to love exploring the hidden mysteries inside the various caves that are popular in Sikkim. While you are looking for a popular spot, go for North Lha-Ri-Nying Phu. It has a range of history and local traditions associated with it. It is believed to be home to a holy aura, which is one of the reasons why tourists frequent this spot.

Although it might look easy to explore, the caves contain a lot of steep terrains, which are quite difficult to walk through. So, planning your trip ahead of time is crucial for a safe travel experience.

Cost per person – INR 4500.


6. Visit the Local Monasteries


No Sikkim trip is complete without a quick visit to the local monasteries. There are quite a few that you can look around. However, we’d highly recommend that you explore the underrated spots. Visiting a monastery and taking in the peace and calm in the surroundings is something you can only experience once you are there.

Some of the best monasteries to explore in Sikkim are Pemayangtse Gompa, Rumtek, and Enchey. They are a little farther out from the main city but worth the travel.


Cost per person – Entry is free of cost.


7. Explore the National Parks


Lastly, you can’t forget to explore the natural wildlife of Sikkim, now, can you? Kewzing and Khangchendzonga are the two most popular national parks in the state that you can visit and explore. The biodiversity in these parks is stunning and you might cross paths with certain wildlife that you didn’t expect to.

It houses a lot of unique wildlife like red pandas, musk deer, snow leopards, and even the Himalayan tahr. Also, the flora in the area is unique and one of a kind as well. So, don’t forget to add it to your itinerary.


The cost per person – Starts from INR 350.


Conclusion

Sikkim is a blast of nature, one that has to offer a bit of everything for its visitors to explore. If you are sitting here confused as to what you can do and explore around the state, we hope this article gives you all the details that you are on the lookout for.


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