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Why? When?Where?

? When?

Travel is like anything else, it takes some help. If you don't travel much, chances are you may overlook small details like  rainy season, planned closures, or maybe overcrowded weekends. Listen, through much trial and error, I myself have learned these little details can make all the difference. Small facts like the Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays or the Heineken Brewery is closed on Mondays can really change things on your travel intinery. I know (I know) every guide book in the world already tells you this, -Not so fast. If this were the case than my guess is travel would go/be flawless. Think of this website as a real trip down the informational/educational road of where you want to go. Iceman travel' will tell you how it is in an informal way , so you can make the decisions on where, when and that all important why. Lastly, when deciding on a place to travel too, consider all the boxes, as in how many boxes does it check off and compared to maybe your second choice. 

Boxes:

 

How many boxes does your potential destination check? 

1. Beauty 2. Culture 3. Weather 4. Relaxing 5. Food 6. Adventure 7. Cost 8. Beach 9. Travel Time

10. Festivals 11. People 12. Visually Simulating 13. Sites 14. Markets 15. Nature/Jungles 16. Culture Shock

17. Ease 18. Parks/Zoos 19. Party 20. Winter/Mountaineering 

Vietnam:
Boxes Checked

*Beauty * Culture *Weather *Relaxing* Food  *Adventure *Beach *Low Cost * Festivals * People *Visually Simulating* Sites *Markets *Nature/Jungles*Culture Shock *Parks/Zoos* Party 

When: December - August .

 

Wonders: 1. Cu Chi Tunnels  2. Halong Bay 3. My Son

Vietnam holds a special place in my heart, like Thailand the food will blow your mind. Costs are ridiculously  cheap. A round of 5 beers can easily be found for about 1 dollar USD. Yes, you read that right, and this is in touristy areas of Vietnam. Guesthouses go for 30-40 USD a night all over the country. Like much of Asia cheap goods are a plenty and tours are everywhere. Many of the "sites" you'll see on the tourist map include museums and sites centered around the Vietnam war. One downside to Vietnam is much of the travel with-in the country is only possible by road as only a few airports exist. The main issue is major freeways are few and far between, so except to spend some time in cars/buses. All of which is worth it, but plan on some extra days to account for some longer travel days. The weather will be hot (as long as you stay away from rainy season) and plenty of beach options exist along the miles coastline. So lets break down Vietnam.

 

Why?

Southeast Asia trips are a must for any traveler. Vietnam along with Thailand offer the most. Vietnam also is a very small country so a few weeks and you can see/do a lot of stuff. Food rating is number 1. So great street food is everywhere and available for very cheap.

 

Culture:

 

As the you travel through the country you will see the scares of the Vietnam War. Museums and culture sites are scattered everywhere throughout the country and are worth a trip. Cu Chi Tunnels are a great recommendation and a tell a strong story of survival. The Vietnamese women are known for there hard work and you will see them working all the time. The Vietnamese ride scooters everywhere  and getting buzzed by them on the streets of Hanoi/Saigon is quite common. Tip- don't hold your cell phone out, it's possible you see someone snag it as they buzz by.

 

Beauty:

 

Like much of south Thailand the coast of Vietnam offers island fun and great waters. Halong Bay in the north offer a variety of activities and amazing rock formations. The smells of south Asia continue to change you and the history of the war show a beauty of appreciation and understanding you may not have realized before.

 

Cost:

 

Guesthouses : Cheap, 30 USD gets you a private guesthouse in every city in Vietnam. I few dollars more and you go luxury , a few less and a little seeder is what you get. Food and travel costs are in-line with most of southeast Asia , cheap cheap and more cheap, 10 dollar bus rides 3-4 hours from town to town. 100 USD flights with-in the country as well.

 

Food :

 

Like Thailand the food is dirt cheap and unbelievable. The food in Vietnam stacks up against anyone and sits with Thailand as a tie for best in the world. The travel guide and any (jackass) body who has ate at a Vietnamese restaurant anywhere will tell you try the Pho. Guilty here, eat a lot of Pho, find the street places around the corner (dingier looking places) and avoid the nicer restaurants and Pho is even better. This is true in almost every developing country , the more money you spend the worst the food. Just something to keep in mind.

 

Party :

 

The party(s) are not nearly as big as they are in Thailand, but there are plenty of backpackers/travelers looking for a drink so the bar scene is alive. Saigon and Hanoi see the most amount of this and party cruises run around Halong Bay like nothing else.

 

Adventure:

 

Like all Asian countries the adventure tours are a plenty: Jungle trips ATV tours, sand dune fun, war sites, water sports , and animal excursions are all possibilities.

 

Language:

 

Although their is a big French speaking population among the older generation, Vietnamese is the main spoken language and often times signs/menus appear in Vietnamese, English, and Russian. The Russians vacation in Vietnam more than other cultures and restaurants have adapted there menus to this.

Thailand
Boxes Checked

*Beauty * Culture *Weather *Relaxing* Food  *Adventure *Beach *Low Cost * Festivals * People *Visually Simulating* Sites *Markets *Nature/Jungles*Culture Shock *Parks/Zoos* Party 

When: November - July .

 

Wonders: 1. Grand Palace 2. South Island Rock Formations 3. Attirytua 4.Khao San

 

Ever see a postcard of a destination, decided to go there and realize it does not  look like that?. Well news flash, in Thailand those postcards look like that and the water really does look that color. Combine this beauty with amazing rock formation islands, and tropical jungles and you have southeast asian bliss.

 

Cost:

 

By far one of the cheapest destinations you'll ever go to. Over the years Thailand has gotten a little more expensive and pricer options are now more common, but the traveling on a budget is still the way to go. 23- 30 USD still gets you great hotels in prime areas with pools. Street food is dirt cheap and tastes unbelievable.  Tours and excursions cost very little compared to Western countries.

 

Food:

 

Thailand gets an A+. The food here is the best. Only a handful of countries even compete with flavors of Thai food. Make sure to eat on the streets as the cost is not only much better than a restuarant, but the taste will be too. Must try

 

Party :

 

Thailand is know for the parties. Partying happens everynight in this country. The beaches of phuket, the streets of Bangkok, the beachside bars of Koh Phi Phi. Of course if you're looking to party the can't miss party of the trip is the Full Moon Party on Koh Phanghan which happens once a month, along with half moon partyies as well. 

 

Adventure:

 

The amount of adventure tours offered alone allow one to choose at will. Elephants rides, tiger temples, zip lining, ATVing, adventure parks , zoos, historic sites, bungee jumping, go karts, watersports of all kinds.

 

Language Barrier :

Thai's speak English, at least any English that you need to navigate around the country.

 

Where ?

 

Go North if you want more Culture, Head south to the islands if you want beauty and party options. Stay in Bangkok  for all the crazyiness wrapped into one.

 

Must Try: Orange Juice from the streets, Thai Pancake, and any street cart in your visual spectrum.

 

Must Visit : Koh Phi Phi Island

 

Must Do: Tuk Tuk ride around the streets of Bangkok, Long Tail boat to the  small islands. 

Spain:

 

Boxes checked: Beauty, Beach ,Festivals, Food, Weather, People , Visually Simulating 

When: December - May.


What to say about Spain, easily the best of the western European countries, including the best food in Europe. Spain also has two intriguing festivals: La Tomatina and the Running of the Bulls. 

 

Wonders: Sagrada Familia, Granada, Santiago de Compostela 

 

Why? 

 

European trips are must and Spain heads the list of countries not to miss. The food in Spain ranks amoungst the best in the world. Tapas bars are king and are found everywhere. Tapas is  word used to describe small shareable plates. This country is a foodies paradise. I suggest going just to eat. Madrid is colonial with walking streets, gorgeous buildings, great food markets, & great weather. Unlike it's neighbors to the

north France and the U.K. who receive months of gloom and rain Spain receives roughly 50 rainy days a year. Compare that to the U.K. which averages over 150 rainy days a year. While comparing big cities such as London and Paris to say Madrid. Madrid is much cleaner and inviting than the dirty/ugly cities of both Paris and London. Historic castles and vineyards keep you wanting to explore more. Breathtaking beaches keep you from leaving.   

Culture:

Spanish history is everywhere as this country also progresses toward the future. Food and wine connect you with the lifestyle.

Beauty:

Spain is gorgeous in every aspect of the term. Rolling vineyards, spectacular beaches, great weather, rustic castles, & and stunning architecture make it the best in Europe. 

Cost:

Like much of Europe , Spain can be pricey in terms of transportation and lodging. Minimal hotels in Madrid or Barcelona can run you 100 USD or more. Cheaper hostels can still run 50-70 USD. So be prepared to spend a little cash for basic needs.  

Food :

As I've already mentioned, Spain boosts the best food in all of Europe and will give the rest of the world a run for it's money. Tapas is the word, small plates is the way to eat in Spain and as you go farther south in the country  they actually become free (provided you are purchasing alcohol from the bars). Paella is the national dish and a must try, a dish from Valencia that has amazing flavor and rice as the base. Jamon Iberico is worth the flight over alone. This cured ham is sliced thin and great with cheese of any kind.

Also worth consideration is the wonderfully delicate seafood choices.

Party :

Because the Spanish enjoy a glass of wine daily , Spain actually does land relativity high on the having fun scale. Every night turns into a party in many regions of Spain. This is moderately tame tapas bar partying to be fair. Looking for a real doze of a party and head on over to the Spanish island of Ibiza. Drugs, clubs and party goers flock all

summer long from neighboring European countries on cheap RyanAir/WizzAir/EasyJet flights. it is not uncommon for busy summer weekends to have over 10,000 people raving at various clubs that attract the best Dj's such as David Guetta.     

Adventure:

Although Spanish jungles do allow for some adventure type fun. I would consider Spain

to not be a place for extreme adventure. As any country has this days , if you look hard enough , you will find ATV's for rent and Zip lines, this just isn't the place that specializes in them.

Language:

 

Spanish is spoken and English will get you almost anything you need. Each region has it's own dialect, which is broken off into their own language.  

Spanish  Olives
Sagrada Familia
Jamon
La Tomatina
Welcome to Madrid
Cured Meats
Seafood Ceviche
Awesome market
Madrid
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Vietnam Highlights;

Thailand Highlights;

Spain Highlights

France:

Boxes Checked;      Culture

When: Whenever

The weather will be better in the summer, but the crowds won't.

 

Wonders: Eiffel Tower & Mount St. Michelle. 

Well, unfortunately I don't have a ton of (great) things to say about France. Fact is France offers very little for the adventure traveler. Outside of wanting to play in the country side and enjoy the simple life it is extremely overrated . Yes, architecture is great, but architecture is great in most of Europe. Yes, it has a historic past , but again so does all of Europe. So outside of "The Louvre"  being a must hit museum on your own travel quest. If you travel for museums I can see the argument for a few days in Paris. Be advised "The Louvre" is crazy packed with people, and I recommend being the first in line and going straight for the Mona Lisa (if you actually want to see it). Below I will tell you a number of reasons you may actually change your tune on Paris; and or France.

Weather; Is horrible most of the year, and in the summer when the weather is good, there are 3 times as many people, also helping shoot prices up.

People; Parisians aren't exactly known for their kindness.

Cost; France is a crazy expensive and just looking at transportation,  taxi's will cost you an arm and a leg. Even the metro isn't cheap. Even minimal accommodations will cost over 140 dollars (USD) a night and they won't even be in the heart of Paris  

 

Food: Listen, your probably saying wait, French food is great right, lots of butter, croissants, so on and so forth ..yadda yadda, but not so fast, you're not Anthony Bourdain, you don't have special chef friends bringing you to high end impossible to find restaurants. Even if you could find them, can you afford to eat at them more than once on your trip? Truth is common day French food kind of sucks, and you'll find yourself eating lettuce and tomato on a dry baguette. Americanization of fast food here in Paris is pretty gross as well.

Adventure: Good luck, looking for zip lines, or ATV parks at an arms reach. Jungles? This just isn't what France does.

Safety; Paris is not a safe city and after dark , find yourself in the wrong neighborhood and you could be in trouble.

Cleanliness; Lets face it, outside of a few metro stops , France is a shithole, it's dirty, filled with poverty, petty thieves, gangs, many metro stops smell like urine and most of the metro trains themselves have spray paint tags from hooligans. Rats are common as well. Add gloomy weather, rain and cold and it just feels dirty. 

Why Go; Lets talk positives for a moment, if you are packing cash, use the internet and seek out high end restaurants. History has a good place here, museums, landmarks, and points of interest are common. Iconic site; Check- The Eiffel Tower is probably the most recognizable tower structure from around the globe. At the end of the day it's just a  5 minute gasp of visual stimulation. The Louvre is easily the world's most must want to see museum. France has always had the mystique of being the country where people speak "french", and french speaking people are not only different, but also interesting in their own right. For the record, a ton of countries also speak French (over 25). Another reason to go would be its relative ease of distance from other high profile European countries such as Spain & Italy. 

   

  

  

 

Singapore

 

Boxes checked: 

Weather, Visual Stimulating, Food, Adventure, Beauty, Culture, Relaxing, Sites, Markets, People, Culture Shock, Ease, Parks &Zoos

 

 

Singapore is extremely clean & safe as a side note: It would probably be most people's number 1 in this category in an argumentative conversation. 

Wonders; Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Super Trees

Why; Singapore is small and probably not on most people's radar. As a host of the most spectacular F1 Grand Prix race of the year and probably the most clean city on planet earth the streets of Singapore do not disappoint. Food stales, sites, and culture ride a wave of travel excitement as you explore this city state. 

When; Anytime 

Where: Being a small city state, the whole country is part of the discussion.

Weather; Being in the tropics means weather is always amazing. 

Culture: Singapore is a melange of cultures from Malaysian, Indian, & Chinese. Although the makeup seems very Asian, a large part of the foundation is based on Western cultures. This cross allows for a great cultural experience. 

 

Food: Singapore is known for it's food stale hawker stands, serving the best street food in the world. In efforts to keep street food safe and clean food carts became food stales in what is know as hawker centers, basically giant food courts of the best food you kind find. 

 

Visually Stimulating; Singapore is full of weird buildings, architecture, and culturally driven sites. Just short walks can produce plenty to look at. 

Bolivia

Boxes checked;

People, Adventure, Beauty, Food, Culture, Cost, Nature

Wonders: Salar De Uyuni (Salt Flats) 

 

When;  Summer= less people, colder nights 

         Rainy Season= November -March 

Why? Bolivia is one of those forgotten countries in South America, as most people op for the more popular Peru, Argentina, Chile, or Brazil. Bolivia offers many of the same things as those countries in a more primitive state. Andes mountains, Spanish culture, cold bitter nights in higher elevations to name a few. The Salt Flats (largest in the world) are natures highlight. Be sure to book a few days/nights on the salt flats doing a variety of. activities. 

Weather? Much like the rest of the signature countries in this part of the world the weather varies by season and the mountains cause mountain unpredictability.  

 

People- Are great and very hospitable. 

 

Food- Bolivian food is very similar to it's neighboring countries. Lots of meat and potatoes. I very easy transition for foreigners visiting the country. Try- Saltenas and Bolivian snack similar to the empanadas. 

 

Why go? Bolivia is raw and much less developed than it's close South American counterparts.    

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