Photo of the Week: “Aqua Azul”, Palenque, Mexico

I went to Mexico when I was 16, and have always wanted to go back. This photo goes against all my previously formed stereotypes about the country. It is lush and tropical. The water in this photograph is so inviting. Incredible. I must return.

3.1219483200.3_aqua-azul

These waterfalls weren’t as blue as seen on postcards, but despite that they were still incredible. There are about 7 cascades falling over a relatively short stretch of the river. We spent about 50 minutes taking loads of photos and looking around before heading off to Misol-Ha.Vermaakjeanne

Photo of the Week

10 man-made world wonders by Howard Hillman

Howard Hillman of the site Hillmanwonders.com puts together many lists of travel-inspiring destinations. I’m going to take a few and compare them to the experiences that TravelPod bloggers have had there. Shall we begin?

1. Pyramids of Egypt

Rucamuffin got majorly ripped off at the Great Pyramids of Egypt

Rucamuffin got majorly ripped off at the Great Pyramids of Egypt

A man with not a full set of teeth greets us and brings us into his courtyard front yard area. He proceeds to write the “prices” of riding a camel into the dirt. I’ll spare you all the sad painful details of the haggle. Basically after unloading all our US money and Egyptian Pounds, we settle on the official dirt posted price of 500 Egyptian Pounds each. Feeling a little uneasy with the deal, we mount up, ready to take on the pyramids!
Now here is the best part…….We come back to our “hotel” and told the nice guys that work here how it went. When they found out we paid 500 Egyptian Pounds EACH, they laugh and say we could have bought our own camel with just a little bit more money! Great……. – Rucamuffin

2. Great Wall of China

Akbar thought the Great Wall of China was incredible

Akbar thought the Great Wall of China was incredible

Great Wall (SPECTACULAR – must see before you die) – Akbar

3. Taj Mahal

Rachellecornel also recommends a visit to the Taj Mahal

Rachellecornel also recommends a visit to the Taj Mahal

We saw the Baby Taj, the red fort and the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal was so amazing. Definitely something everyone should try and see! – Rachellecornel

4. Machu Picchu

Jwmoles at the top of the Huayna peak

Jwmoles at the top of the Huayna peak

People start lining up in the middle of the night at the gate. From the gate, it’s a two-hour hike to the Sun Gate (the first view of Machu Picchu). Many people hike fast (and even run) to the Sun Gate for a view of Machu Picchu at sunrise. We were toward the front of the line and managed to make it to the Sun Gate around sunrise for a beautiful view of Machu Picchu about a mile away and 1,000 feet down. Absolutely breathtaking.

It’s an amazing place. Ruins everywhere. Mountains everywhere. I set out for the hour hike to the top. It was very steep and required the use of fixed cables for support in some of the steeper sections. The view at the top was amazing. I spent thirty minutes on top and headed back down to the city, which by then was populated with all the lazy tourists who ride the buses into Machu Picchu. A city built for 500 was holding about 5,000. Tough. I’ve heard rumors that the government has tentative plans to place further limits on the number of peeps who can hike the trail and enter the city. – Jwmoles

5. Bali

Thebogantrekker in Bali

Thebogantrekker enjoying the facilities in Bali

We paddled down the Telaga Waja river for a good couple of hours, on what was, all in all, a pretty tame ride. For what it lacked in adrenaline it made up for twofold in scenery, the river snakes its way down between cliffs and ridges covered in jungle, with the occasional waterfall or farmers rice paddie cut into the side of the hill. We finished the course pretty much unscathed bar a killer sunburn on my legs. – Thebogantrekker

6. Angkor Wat

Harryvs traveled to Angkor Wat on his Gap Year trip

Harryvs traveled to Angkor Wat on his Gap Year trip

We ended the day climbing up to a top of a temple on a hill with thousands of other people which gave us a panoramic view of thick jungle, the sunset, Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. There were so many people that we thought we’d head down before the sun actually set. – Harryvs

7. Forbidden City

Sywellfrasers inside the Forbidden City

Sywellfrasers inside the Forbidden City

We were not quite expecting what we saw at The Forbidden City as it is such a large place, the buildings are so amazing and very colourful – through one square into another and another and so on. The emperor had a building for every part of his day and life!!! There were 9,999 rooms (not surprisingly we did not visit them all!!) Hard to believe that for over 500 years the chinese people were not allowed anywhere near this city let alone enter it. – Sywellfrasers

8. Bagan Temples & Pagodas

Mannchild... in Bagan, Myanmar

Mannchild... in Bagan, Myanmar

The ancient capital of Myanmar, Bagan, is a great place to chill out. It is surrounded by green mountains, full of dusty roads, and oh yea, is the site of about 4,500 ancient temples, stupas and pagodas in a 45 square kilometer area. It is an absolutely breathtaking experience to see 11th, 12th and 13th century temples that dot the landscape as far as the eye can see. The pics do no justice to the experience of seeing this amazing place. It was one of the coolest places I’ve seen in my life. – Mannchild…

9. Karnak Temple

Sabenafrica in front of the Karnak Temple

Sabenafrica in front of the Karnak Temple

The Hypostyle Hall with its hundreds of columns was stunning and well worth seeing, but the rest was just many ruins overrun with thousands of inappropriately dressed (although some single men and women i know would disagree) tourists from Eastern Europe. – Sabenafrica

10. Teotihuacan

Meluebke on top of Teotihuacan's pyramid of the sun

Meluebke on top of Teotihuacan's pyramid of the sun

After an amazing lunch, we traveled to the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacán, a nearby district of Mexico City. The Pyramid of the Sun is the 3rd largest pyramid in the world. It is claimed to have been built by the Aztec Indians but, as our amazing tour guide, Armando, explained, this is false because the structure and details of this pyramid do not match with other Aztec structures. Thus many speculate that the Aztecs were trying to claim the pyramid as theirs when, in reality, no one is quite sure what tribe constructed it. – Meluebke

Featured blogs

10 Cheapest Cities in the World

The Telegraph.co.uk came up with a list of the 10 cheapest cities in the world. Here’s what TravelPod bloggers thought about the price of living in each of these cities

1. Johannesburg, South Africa

Nath_h loved to take his host family out because food was so cheap in Johannesburg

Nath_h loved to take his host family out because food was so cheap in Johannesburg

After church I bought lunch for Andrew’s family at a local steakhouse – it was so nice and so cheap. I love the price of food here. – Nath_h

2. Monterrey, Mexico

Serenebamboo went shopping in Monterrey

Serenebamboo went shopping in Monterrey

Then, I moved into my apartment. It’s PERFECT and is in one of the safest neighborhoods in all of urban Mexico. And the landlady, who speaks perfect English, is super nice. She has been essential to me adjusting to everything around here – she took me grocery shopping, let me borrow an extra cell phone of hers, and so forth… – Serenebamboo

3. Asuncion, Paraguay

Willsez enjoying the view in Paraguay

Willsez enjoying the view in Paraguay

Highlights of Asuncion nice and cheap hotel, really nice and cheap food. Dave is willing to forgive Asuncion for all of the above because he had his best meal on tour yet… in reality, only a good meal but it was really cheap. – Willsez

4. Karachi, Pakistan

Ramdux buying fruit from a local merchant

Ramdux buying fruit from a local merchant

It’s humbling to see how the people react to Westerners. Yes, there is always a degree of being ripped off because locals see Westerners as being rich which is not entirely false when you consider that £50 a month is a good wage in Pakistan. But Pakistani’s are extremely hospitable. They will help out wherever possible to help you, so long as you treat them with respect and give them a small financial token of appreciation. It’s a fair cop when you’re like me and don’t speak Urdu and don’t understand the way things work on the inside. – Ramdux

5. Wellington, New Zealand

Robnicb loved the exchange rate in New Zealand

Robnicb loved the exchange rate in New Zealand

This place has got everything, a beautiful harbour, lovely SUNSHINE, surrounded by hills, lovely botanical gardens, loads of cool cafes, bars and restaurants, oodles of atmosphers and, because of the brilliant exchange rate, everything is cheap! –

6. Auckland, New Zealand

Carlosb1978 at a cheap cafe in New Zealand

Carlosb1978 at a cheap cafe in New Zealand

There is a huge Asian population in NZ which is good for Asian food lovers! Cheap sushi bars everywhere like Oz (UK needs to get on to that); Korean; Chinese; Thai…3 pounds 20 for a great plate of pad thai in the downstairs food court on Queen St. 4pound bowl of teriyaki chicken rice at Renkon up an alley way off the main street. – Carlosb1978

7. Mexico City, Mexico

Solskjaer20 enjoying the cheap beer in Mexico City

Solskjaer20 enjoying the cheap beer in Mexico City

Things are also so ridiculously cheap. Like 2 pesos for the bus or train, 30 pesos for a meal, 10 pesos for a cerveza from a bar! $1AUD roughly equals 30 pesos! Genius times! – Solskjaer20

8. Quito, Ecuador

John2112's wife bartering for a scarf in Quito

John2112's wife bartering for a scarf in Quito

Although there was a sense of relief when we left Quito, that we had not been ripped off (we bought some things so cheap, we almost felt we were doing the ripping off), it was a city with a very different character than any we had experienced before and many attractive features. We are pleased to have got something of the feel of Latin America even if it left us a little ‘breathless’. – John2112

9. Chennai, India

Billster_ny enjoyed affordable food in India

Billster_ny enjoyed affordable food in India

I have had dinner at a couple of really nice and especially cheap restaurants in the area. Monday I was taken to Dakshin in the Park Sheraton hotel and tonight I ate at the Red Dragon. Both were in the upscale area of Chennai. – Billster_ny

10. Tunis, Tunisia

A busy souk in Tunis where you can find cheap stuff

A busy souk in Tunis where you can find cheap stuff

Food is certainly cheap enough, prices that almost make you cry, and it tastes good too, similar to that of Morocco. Espresso’s about 400 TND, about a $.25 George W (no, not THAT ‘W’). Those cheap hotels probably don’t have heat though, so that won’t work right now. – Hardiek


I have had dinner at a couple of really nice and especially cheap restaurants in the area. Monday I was taken to Dakshin in the Park Sheraton hotel and tonight I ate at the Red Dragon. Both were in the upscale area of Chennai.
Hot places

Dia de los Muertos, blogs from Mexico

Dia de los Muertos translates literally to “Day of the Dead” in English. It’s a day Mexicans set aside for honouring relatives who have died. Less spooky than Halloween, people put on colourful parades and share tiny skulls made out of sugar.

TravelPod bloggers have been drawn to this festival, which is held all across the country at the beginning of November.

Death marching in the parade

Death marching in the parade

“I was getting ready for a day of wandering the streets when I heard a band outside my window. It was a police band and behind them was the most glorious monster I had ever seen.”1947zazu

Day of the Dead figurines Jackiesworld found in Mexico

Day of the Dead figurines Jackiesworld found in Mexico

“This unique tradition reveals important elements of Mexican culture: love and respect for our ancestors; celebration of the continuity of life; strengthening family relationships; promotion of community solidarity; and, ultimately, finding humor in death.”Jackies-world

Greg-adrienne at a graveyard during the Day of the Dead festivities

Greg-adrienne at a graveyard during the Day of the Dead festivities

“Inside the gates, the cemetery was a beehive of activity, as family members streamed in and covered their loved ones’ tombstones with flowers, photos, candles, incense, toys, favourite food and drinks. Families were picnicking and listening to music, the kids laughing and playing tag.”Greg-adrienne

Featured blogs

10 most populated cities in the world

If you love the hustle and bustle of the city, there are all kinds of places in the world for you to experience the traffic jams, high rises and general cacophony of extreme humanity. Check out some of TravelPod’s latest blogs from some of the busiest places in the world.

1. Mumbai, India, 13,922,125 people

Owain was overwhelmed by the driving experience in India

Owain was overwhelmed by the driving experience in India

The driving style here is incredible, and certainly takes some getting used to. There are no lanes, no gentlemen of the road and seemingly no rules. You go where you want, when you want. The use of the horn is a big part of driving here – it is in constant use, and unlike back home where it is reserved for matters of urgency, I am sitting in a cyber cafe listening to the constant toots and beeps outside.Owain

2. Shanghai, China, 13,831,900 people

Trizzyb found that Shanghai was very busy

Trizzyb found that Shanghai was very busy

Shanghai is not a walkers dream, which is how we are use to getting around, so we got acquainted with the Metro system, very easy and clean. We took the metro to People’s Square, well manicured and clean and headed to the Shanghai Museum – note to self do not go during the weekend. – Trizzyb

3. Karachi, Pakistan, 12,991,000 people

Redheadgrrl was troubled by children begging in the street in Karachi

Redheadgrrl was troubled by the children begging in the street in Karachi

As we drove home around 11:30 pm, we were stopped at a light when this tiny boy, with his baby brother riding piggy-back, started washing our windows with a rag and a squeegee. He couldn’t have been more than six, and the baby looked about two. We gave him money, of course. Washing windows for a few rupees in the middle of the night. My heart broke all over again. Adnan and his friends were blasé about it, having seen the same thing for their much of their lives. They said I’d get used to it when I stay here, but I fervently hope not. Redheadgrrl

4. Delhi, India, 12,259,230 people

Robgandee got really sick in Delhi

Robgandee got really sick in Delhi

Delhi – big, noisy, dirty (there is no government trash collection, except around the govt buildings)… Auto rickshaws all over the place, taxis look like they were made in the 50s, food is awesome if you like curries, but watch out for the dodgy water (some vendors refill water bottles from the tap and reseal the cap) – it is the cause of many an intestinal event (4 for me, in my 2 week stay)…Robgandee

5. Istanbul, Turkey, 11,372,613 people

Willinturkey spent a month in Turkey thanks to the Rotary Club

Willinturkey spent a month in Turkey thanks to the Rotary Club

Istanbul is an incredible, fascinating city, and they ways in which this developing nation is influence by its history and tradition, as well as by western civilization is very intriguing.Willinturkey

6. São Paulo, Brazil, 10,990,249 people

Redwoodm at the train station in Sao Paulo

Redwoodm at the train station in Sao Paulo

We arrived in SP in about 1 hour as the pollution could be seen in the distance and favelas in sight. Then the traffic jam began! We sat in traffic for about 2 hours just to get to the Rodoviaria! I saw people on the side of the highway and at the median with their carts selling things to the drivers! I guess if you are sitting in traffic you do get hungry.Redwoodm

7. Moscow, Russia, 10,452,000 people

Richardlodge getting acquainted with Moscow

Richardlodge getting acquainted with Moscow

Moscow is amazing but very difficult for the non-Russian speaking tourists as everybody only seems to speak Russian and if you’re lucky maybe a bit of German which leads to me and the other person doing hand signals at each other which is quite funny…I wanta beero pleasea doesnt work!Richardlodge

8. Seoul, South Korea, 10,421,782 people

Yyztrvlr found a gigantic fish market in Seoul

Yyztrvlr found a gigantic fish market in Seoul

The fish market was huge. I walked down the stairs from the top level of a parking garage and my jaw dropped at the expanse of this market. On the ground floor I was able to take in the breadth of this undertaking. I walked down lengthy aisle after lengthy aisle and began to wonder if there was anything left in the oceans. Everything was for sale and most of it was alive. There were shrimps, giant king crabs battling each other in buckets, octopus managing to make daring escapes from one bucket into another bucket, flounder, halibut, rays, tuna, grouper, snails, whelks, clams, oysters, sea cucumbers and an odd assortment of mollusks and fish that I had never seen before. Most were alive and people were all ready to chop, slice and dice the marine morsels into bite sized bits.Yyztrvlr

9. Beijing, China, 10,123,000 people

Ladengast is the odd one out in Beijing

Ladengast is the odd one out in Beijing

Culture: the noisier the better, flashing advertisement, crowded underground, parks, malls, number 1 hobby of the Chinese- shopping. Girls use an umbrella in the sunshine to stay pale. Ladengast

10. Mexico City, Mexico, 8,836,045 people

Tipperoonie loved the bustling markets in Mexico City

Tipperoonie loved the bustling markets in Mexico City

There’s always something special about being in any city on a weekend. It affords a tourist the chance to mingle with the locals in markets, fairs and going about their usual business. San Jacinto is a place where artists gather on the weekend to sell their works while all crowded around a romantic plaza and fountain. There were food sellers, painters, silversmiths, potters, figurine makers and all manner of arts and crafts to peruse. The garden of the Templo de San Jacinto and its overflowing Jacaranda trees proved to be a heavenly place to relax from the hubbub of merchandising outside.Tipperoonie

Uncategorized

10 Breathtaking Pilgrimage Sites Around the World

Some of the most beautiful places in the world are also sacred religious sites. TravePod bloggers have visited some of that are simply incredible. Here are 10 of them.

1. Jagannatha
Puri, India

Jagannath was Rbair's favourite Hindu god

Jagannath was Rbair's favourite Hindu god

The cool part of Puri is that they worship Lord Jagannath, Lord of Chaos, Destruction, and Loose Change. Unlike all the other hindu gods, he doesn’t really have a shape or body. He is literally just a smiley face. So they draw smiley faces on things and are like “OMG! it is Lord Jagannath!” As we neared his main temple Jagannath Mandir, we saw the beginnings of their construction of the juggernaut chariot thingy. It is amazing. The size of this is beyond comprehension. For a little estimation stuff here, this cart is pulled by 4,000 people to make it move. Big.Rbair

2. Cathedral of St. Mary of Zion

Aksum, Ethiopia

Donna321 visited the Ethiopian Orthodox cathedral

Donna321 visited the Ethiopian Orthodox cathedral

Though we couldn’t access the old church (men only) which is located adjacent to the small building which is said to contain the Ark of the Covenant (only one monk has access to its specific location and is charged with the duty of guarding it until his death), we were lucky to witness a beautiful Lenten procession taking place around the new church. After a tour of the new one-room museum located at the church, which houses a number of crowns, robes and other Ethiopian royal paraphernalia, we were treated to a viewing of an ancient bible, which we were told we were extremely lucky to see since it will supposedly soon never be seen again by the public, as priests are currently in the process of creating a copy for viewing. – Donna321

3. Sri Harmandir Sahib

Amritsar, India

P.rajesh attended a 4 a.m. ritual at The Golden Temple

P.rajesh attended a 4 a.m. ritual at The Golden Temple

The famed transportation of the Palki (the palanquin) is indeed special. The Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs is carried from the Akal Takht, its resting place for the night, to the Harmandir Sahib at 4 in the morning – the process gets reversed at day-end with similar fervour and fanfare. The surreal serenity of the Gurudwara’s premises, with the dull gold reflecting in the still waters of the lake, combined with the soothing chants of the Prabhat Pheri (morning prayers) – all this makes for an experience you would never want to miss, and something that will find a place in your heart, irrespective of your communal leanings, or even the lack of any.P.rajesh

4. Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Mexico City, Mexico

Mebiner attended the feast for the Solemnity of the Virgin Mary

Mebiner attended the feast for the Solemnity of the Virgin Mary

One of the best parts of our visit to the shrine was watching the traditional dancers outside the church in the grand plaza. There was a sort of religious dance of men in cowboy hats holding crosses and wearing sequinned capes depicting the Virgin Mary. A few steps away was a traditional Aztec group dancing to thunderous drumming.Mebiner

5. Shatrunjaya Hill

Palitana, India

Killucan2 inside one of the many shrines

Killucan2 inside one of the many shrines

Reaching the top we were stunned by what we saw. the buildings were like wedding cakes and nothing seemed real, the carvings and craftsmanship was amazing. Apparantly the temples were built in the 11th century but were torn down by the muslims in the 14th and 15th centuries before being rebuilt in the 16th century.Killucan2

6. Sri Pada

Sri Lanka

Salcat watches pilgrims ring the bell at the top of the mountain

Salcat watches pilgrims ring the bell at the top of the mountain

Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada) is Sri Lanka’s 5th highest peak in the at 2243m, but it is one of the most celebrated places of pilgrimage. Every religion seems to have their own reasons to worship this mountain: – Buddhist: – there is a depression at the top which is claimed to be the sacred footprint – of Buddha himself. Muslim: – they claim the footprint is that of Adam, who first set foot on earth and had to stand on one leg in pentinence until his sins were forgiven. Hindu: – they claim the footprint was created by Shiva. Christian: – the colonial Portuguese claimed that the footprint belonged to St Thomas, the founder of the religion in India.Salcat

7. Mecca

Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Pura_vida's makeshift outfit to wear at Mecca

Pura_vida's makeshift outfit to wear at Mecca

Amazing to be here! This is the first and original mosque to have ever been built. We believe it to have been ordered of Abraham to be built at this location by God. This is the culmination of a lot of anticipation in every Muslim´s life! Pura_vida

8. Western Wall

Jerusalem

Jimmyrh at the Western Wall

Jimmyrh at the Western Wall

Today, we walked through the tunnel under the Western Wall. A friend had given me a prayer on a small piece of paper and asked me to place it in the wall as we visited, and I did so. I watched the deep devotion of many faithful jewish men and women and learned the history of this holy hill, the Temple Mount.Jimmyrh

9. Mount Athos

Greece

Stellios knows everything about going to Mount Athos

Stellios knows everything about going to Mount Athos

Mount Athos, known in Greece as the Holy Mountain, is a peninsula in Halkidiki, north Greece containing 20 monasteries. Although the peninsula of Mount Athos is part of Greece, it enjoys certain autonomy. The region is governed by the “Holy community” under the ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Only men are permitted to enter Mount Athos. The rule, known as the “ABATON”, forbids access to Mount Athos by any female and is enforced by law. In accordance with the procedures established by the Holy Community foreigners must obtain a written permit to visit Mount Athos from the “Mount Athos Office”. Stellios

10. Bodh Gaya

Bodh Gaya, India

Travelingamanda found Bodh Gaya to be like "Buddha Disneyland"

Travelingamanda found Bodh Gaya to be like "Buddha Disneyland"

My (possibly scamming) tour guy with the motorcycle took me to the Mahabodi Temple. This is THE temple of Buddhism as it commemorates the spot where the Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in 663 BC. The temple was built in the 6th Century AD atop the site of a temple that was erected by Emperor Ashoka 800 years earlier (200 BC). However, amazingly, there are still railings that surround the site that date from 184-72 BC. Clearly, this is cool (and old) Buddha shit. – Travelingamanda

Uncategorized

Top 10 travel videos on TravelPod

There are lots of interesting travel videos on TravelPod.com. Here are the ones getting the most clicks this month:

1. Megan’s Bay, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

Smachim took a short video in Megan's Bay

Smachim took a short video in Megan's Bay

Although the island has extraordinary geographical features (Magen’s Bay, views of the BVI, etc), we didn’t like the hectic traffic, the pushy vendors and the crowded beaches.Smachim

2. Mumbai, India

Angiedarren gets a head massage on Chowpatty Beach

Angiedarren gets a head massage on Chowpatty Beach

After saying no multiple times, Darren relented when the price tumbled and got a head massage for 25p. The masseur gave him a good pummeling. At the end, just when he thought it was all over, his head was tipped to one side and his neck yanked sharply. Darren shouted ow, Angie shouted oh, and his neck made a loud crunch. The masseur was unperturbed and proceeded to do the same on the other side. Darren felt a new man afterwards.- Angiedarren

3. New York, United States

Orizarska raised money for girls' schools in Asia with this slide show

Orizarska raised money for girls' schools in Asia with this slide show

For one night only in New York , we have collected enough money to send 34 girls to school for a year. A year is enough to learn to read and to do simple math. Imagine a life with and life without those skills. – Orizarska

4. Okayama, Japan

Kateinjapan's outrageous Naked Man Festival video

Kateinjapan's outrageous Naked Man Festival video

Eyo is a 14-day New Year ritual during which monks of the Shingon sect pray for a year of bountiful harvest and good fortune. On the 14th day, amulets (an object that protects a person from trouble) said to guarantee a good year were presented to the elders representing the people. But an increasing amount of believers began to gather for these amulets. People fought until their clothes tore off!! Thus the paper amulets were replaced by wooden sticks which were tossed into the crowd. Good fortune is bestowed to those who catch these sticks. By the end of the 19th century, the event had evolved into the current style, being held naked (not completely but rather in a ‘thong’ that looks similar to that worn by sumo wrestlers). Recently, the festival has been attracting over 10,000 naked men who thrust themselves into the crowd upon the release of these wooden charms at midnight. Despite the chilling temperature, the intense fight produces steam that casts a mysterious spell on this winter event.Kateinjapan

5. Phuket, Thailand

Surfy_sarah riding a mechanical bull

Surfy_sarah riding a mechanical bull

The night life is very good! A huge number of bars & clubs to choose from. I met a couple of dutch girls, an Aussie called Sam & a couple of Americans & have been hanging out with them. Mainly drinking at Happy Night Bar where ladyboys dance on a podium all night! All good clean fun!!!Surfy_sarah

6. Koh Samui, Thailand

Lisaandpaul watched an unbelievable snake fight in Thailand

Lisaandpaul watched an unbelievable snake fight in Thailand

Oh my goodness the snake guys are crazy, they pissed the snakes off so much and then got out of the way when they striked. quite scary.Lisaandpaul

7. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Globedecker falls off a surfboard at an indoor waterpark

Globedecker falls off a surfboard at an indoor waterpark

Katie redeemed her birthday gift from me today, an afternoon at Wild Wadi Water Park! (wadi is the Arabic word for creek or stream) See the videos to laugh at our exploits with the surf rides.Globedecker

8. Doha, Qatar

Andreadd caught the call to prayer in Doha

Andreadd caught the call to prayer in Doha

This video is around the corner from where I’m staying. i was walking home from the grocery store at prayer time and I was the only one on the street. All of a sudden the muezzin’s call to prayer sounded from all the mosques in the area.andreadd

9. Oaxaca, Mexico

Johnb22 witnessed a big dance party in Oaxaca

Johnb22 witnessed a big dance party in Oaxaca

Speaking of the Oaxcans – what a friendly bunch! I’ve been met with nothing but smiles and politeness. It’s such a simple place – the town’s people seem perfectly content going about the day’s business, which, from what I’ve seen, consists mostly of two things. 1} chillin around the Zocolo {center plaza}, chatting and generally kickin back, or 2} retailing food, drink and-or clothes. – Johnb22

10. Cairo, Egypt

Aszliross took a video of the traffic in Cairo, complete with mood music

Aszliross took a video of the traffic in Cairo, complete with mood music

We ran out of time before we were burnt out, and we headed back to the van to struggle through traffic back to our hotel. There are a couple very appropriate videos that give you a slight idea of the traffic ‘rules’ in Cairo. – Aszliross

TravelPod Buzz

10 ruined travel destinations

National Geographic came up with this list a while ago, citing the most ruined destinations resulting from extreme popularity.

Let’s see what our bloggers had to say about them:

1. Cancun, Mexico

Sarzmc in Cancun

Sarzmc in Cancun

The colour of the water was amazing – I can see why hotels were constructed there in the first place. However, now they really wreck it – not only are they all jammed up against one another, they also haven’t left much actual beach to lie on! Sarzmc

2. Santorini, Greece

Deannekristen in Santorini

Deannekristen in Santorini

The ferry cruises by the youngest part of the volcano on one side and cliffs on the opposite side. The cliffs are hundreds of feet high and have a shear drop off. Apparently, a portion of the center of the island slumped into the earth when the volcano erupted last. – Deannekristin

3. Orlando, Florida

Disney World in Orlando

Disney World in Orlando

I really like Orlando and there’s tons to do, but it all costs a lot of money so if you’re broke you will get bored (and I’m always a tad broke since I travel way too much).Bashleyf

4. Kuta, Bali

Elopfamily at Kuta beach

Elopfamily at Kuta beach

I would guess a lot of visitors would find it touristy and tacky but with the beautiful beaches, combined with our Fat Yogi’s oasis, it is a perfect place to relax after all of the driving we did in Australia.Elopfamily

5. Dubai City, UAE

Danharriet in Dubai

Danharriet in Dubai

The entire city appears to be under construction. Every where we looked there was a new building project under way. – Danharriet

6. Myanmar

Tomandlizzie in Myanmar

Tomandlizzie in Myanmar

On arrival at the Thai-side border town we got stamped out of the country and jumped on a boat to Kawthoung, Myanmar. A busy port town mostly full of people extending their visas.Tomandlizzie

7. Antarctica

Ahdumb boarding his Antarctic ship

Ahdumb boarding his Antarctic ship

We didn´t see any polar lights, but we did have amazing nights with all the stars out when the clouds were cooperating. – Ahdumb

8. China Beach, Vietnam

Markrob in Vietnam

Markrob in Vietnam

The traffic from China Beach to the competition was horrendous. We have never seen such a mass of people, said to have been perhaps 1.5 million.Markrob

9. Costa Rica’s Over-Developed Coast

Panf007 in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Panf007 in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

It used to be one of the best surf spot in Costa Rica, now like many other Pacific Coast cities, big resort development has spoiled Tamarindo a little, but it is still one of “hot spot” for any traveler. Panf007

10. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Robthebruce at the top of the crater

Robthebruce at the top of the crater

We spent the better part of the day driving around the crater seeing all kinds of animals and birds.Robthebruce

Travel news

10 chocolate lover destinations

1. Oaxaca, Mexico

"This is where the magic happens"

"This is where the magic happens"

Oaxaca is the home of mole, probably the most interesting culinary tradition in Mexico. It is made from countless spices, but also include a dose of chocolate.Bocalee
2. Ghana

Cocoa fruit in Ghana

Cocoa fruit in Ghana

I ate a number of these. The fruit inside, surrounding the seed used to make chocolate, tastes like sour candy. – Exumbris
3. Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States

Street sign in Hershey

Street sign in Hershey

This is a fun place to visit for anybody of all ages, but an absolute MUST for “Chocoholics”. Chictravelers2

4. Philippines

French toast with chocolate in the Philippines

French toast with chocolate in the Philippines

In the Philippines, breakfast French Toast is served with Chocolate syrup. It looked so delicious I ordered it for my dessert instead.Dreyes

5. Zurich, Switzerland

Patti drinking hot chocolate in Zurich

Patti drinking hot chocolate in Zurich

We took a scenic boat ride around Lake Zurich, enjoyed the best hot chocolate in the world in the world’s largest chocolate shop, and even found pints of cider in a local pub.Ryanandpatti

6. Bocas del Toro, Panama

Cocoa beans in Panama

Cocoa beans in Panama

Finally, off to snorkelling. The primary goal of the day. But first, food. Uhhh, problem. We spent all of our money on chocolate. – Thepotvins


7. Cologne, Germany

Chocolate molds at the Lindt chocolate factory

Chocolate molds at the Lindt chocolate factory

I bought a couple of the Lindt truffles…and like everything else…they really do taste better at the Lindt factory.Mackieineurope
8. New York, NY

Frozen hot chocolate in New York

Frozen hot chocolate in New York

And Caroline enjoyed a private moment of pure caloric bliss with a famous frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity Café. Heaven.Cc_world_tour

9. Bruges, Belgium

Chocolate shop in Bruges

Chocolate shop in Bruges

It is official, they are keeping all the chocolate in Belgium.Jewels24

10. Barcelona, Spain

Chocolate con churros by Ckuryak

Chocolate con churros by Ckuryak

So Chocolate con Churros is a standard snack or sweet dish in Spain. It is basically fried dough (like a funnel cake) that you dip in chocolate pudding. As you can see, my mouth was faster than my camera. – Ckuryak

Hot places

20 best views in the world

Once again, another list recommended to us by mmbcross aka Martin Crossland, a Miami tour guide and regular in the TravelPod forums.

Here’s the list, with accompanying TravelPod member photos

1. The Grand Canyon from the South Rim

Kristenjohn at the Grand Canyon

Kristenjohn at the Grand Canyon

2. Hong Kong Island from Kowloon

"View of the city and our ship" by Aniseh

"View of the city and our ship" by Aniseh

3. Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

"Into Phang Nga Bay" by tsveti

"Into Phang Nga Bay" by tsveti

4. Manhattan from the top of Rockefeller Plaza

"View from Top of the Rock" by Buckeyeclayfan

"View from Top of the Rock" by Buckeyeclayfan

5. Istanbul skyline from the Bosphorus strait, Turkey.

Sproutfamily cruising on the Bosphorus Strait

Sproutfamily cruising on the Bosphorus Strait

6. The Ngorongoro Crater from North Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Tanzania

Shumphlett at the Ngorongoro Crater

Shumphlett at the Ngorongoro Crater

7. St. Paul’s from Waterloo Bridge, London.

St. Paul's Cathedral from Waterloo Bridge by Nklenske

St. Paul's Cathedral from Waterloo Bridge by Nklenske

8. The Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands.

Ellenwillow at Marin Headland

Ellenwillow at Marin Headland

9. Machu Picchu, Peru.

Jev at Machu Picchu

Jev at Machu Picchu

10. The Yucatan Peninsula from the top of Chichen Itza, Mexico

Ahartry on top of Chichen Itza

Ahartry on top of Chichen Itza

11. Florence from the loggia of Villa San Michele, Italy.

Jillflorant enjoying the view of Florence

Jillflorant enjoying the view of Florence

12. Paris from the Pont des Arts, France

Pont des Arts in Paris by Worldtaste

Pont des Arts in Paris by Worldtaste

13. The medina of Fes from the Palais Jamai, Morocco

Chooklotto overlooking the Fes medina

Chooklotto overlooking the Fes medina

14. Annapurna from Sarankot, Nepal

View of Annapurna from Sarankot

View of Annapurna from Sarankot

15. Sydney Harbour from Taronga Zoo, Australia

Samcohen1987's view of Sydney from the zoo

Samcohen1987's view of Sydney from the zoo

16. The Potala Palace from across the Lhasa River, Tibet

Potala Palace from across the river by Scottshangguan

Potala Palace from across the river by Scottshangguan

17. The Parthenon from Mount Lycabettus, Athens, Greece.

Mount Lycabettus' view of the Parthenon at night by Joseph_hillier

Mount Lycabettus' view of the Parthenon at night by Joseph_hillier

18. The Lemaire Channel, Antarctica

The Lemaire Channel by Rogersusieq

The Lemaire Channel by Rogersusieq

19. The City Palace from the Lake Palace, Udaipur, India

City Palace by Jbscott36

City Palace by Jbscott36

20. The temples of Bagan, Myanmar

The temples of Bagan by Markl

The temples of Bagan by Markl

Hot places

9 travel jobs for the newly unemployed

Travelandleisure.com has come up with a list of the top vacations for the newly unemployed.

Some of our travel bloggers have given up everything and pursued their new career while traveling. Here’s a selection of some of the best blogs about it:

1. Farm your way around the world:

Lucy.cooper worked for her stay at a farm in Ngunguru, New Zealand. It’s a popular way for backpackers with small budgets to travel the world.

Lucy.cooper WWOOFing in NewZealand

Lucy.cooper WWOOFing in NewZealand

2. House Swap:

Redbikini‘s mom arranged a house swap for her in Australia, right on the beach.

Redbikini and mom on the Australian coast

Redbikini and mom in Australia

3. Sail Off Into the Sunset:

Nikihead became a yachtmaster after sailing from Australia to New Zealand.

Sailing the Pacific

Nikihead ailing the Pacific

4. Take Classes in a U.S. National Park:

Keggebeen‘s kids took the “Junior Ranger” class at Yellowstone National Park.

Exploring a wolf den in Yellowstone

Exploring a wolf den in Yellowstone

5. Stretch Your Savings with Yoga Teacher Training:

Bonniebzdok spent four weeks learning to teach yoga at a center in Baja, Mexico.

Bonniebzdok with her yoga instructors

Bonniebzdok with her yoga instructors

6. Finish Your Novel in a Medieval French Village:

Maddewar found her own little retreat in Perpignan, France.

The medieval town or Perpignan

The medieval town of Perpignan

7. Become a Chef – Or Just Eat Like One:

Ericsophie learned how to cook in the Thai style in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Learning to cook in Thailand

Learning to cook in Thailand

8. Work the Slopes:

Robertbeddow became a ski instructor, where else? In Verbier, Switzerland.

Learning first aid in the Swiss Alps

Learning first aid in the Swiss Alps

9. Save the Whales, or Whatever Else Needs Saving:

Tvpitz volunteered with Earthwatch to help protect the Pantanal in Campo Grande, Brazil

Tvpitz taking off for the Pantanal

Tvpitz taking off for the Pantanal

TravelPod Buzz

10 most dangerous cities in the world

RealClearWorld.com recently released their list of the most dangerous cities in the world.

Let’s see how our travelers fared in these circumstances

10. London, U.K.

Julie1227 in front of Big Ben

Julie1227 in front of Big Ben

9. Saskatoon, Canada

J_and_j pass grain elevators in Saskatoon

J_and_j pass grain elevators in Saskatoon

8. Norilsk, Russia (in Siberia)

No blogs: Foreigners banned since 2001

No blogs: Foreigners banned since 2001

7. Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg Skyline by Ianvictoria

Johannesburg Skyline by Ianvictoria

6. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Hippler in Rio de Janeiro

Hippler in Rio de Janeiro

5. Detroit, U.S.A.

Foreman on Detroit's streets

Foreman on Detroit's streets

4. Caracas, Venezuela

Jamesandjulie at a rally in Caracas

Jamesandjulie at a rally in Caracas

3. Linfen, China

Ruudbatta at a wedding in Linfen

Ruudbatta at a wedding in Linfen

2. Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Billiegreenwood in Ciudad Juarez

Billiegreenwood saw big guns in Ciudad Juarez

1. Mogadishu, Somalia

Usmcsniper finding water in Mogadishu

Usmcsniper finding water in Mogadishu

TravelPod in the news

Mardi Gras and Carnaval celebrations

Christian communities around the world celebrate Mardi Gras this week, as the beginning of the Lenten season. We’ve got blogs direct from Louisiana, Mexico and of course Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Check some of the crazy party action out:

Sinbadniz is “plunging himself” into South American culture. He ends up smack dab in the middle of Mardi Gras festivities in Brazil. Don’t miss the “hideous costumes” he has captured in photographs:

Rio de Janeiro Carnaval

Rio de Janeiro Carnaval

“So you start early in the morning.. walk with the band and sing like and dance to the crazy percussions like there is no tomorrow and then, the lovely people watching from the terraces of their houses shower you with cold water to cool down the crowds.. I LOVE IT!!!”

-from “Days 12 & 13” – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Halenann is working at a hostel in Ensenada, Mexico to pay her rent. She checked out the Carnaval celebrations there:

Carnaval in Ensenada, Mexico

Carnaval in Ensenada, Mexico

“We went the first night that it opened…it’s basically like a state fair but with a lot more salsa dancing and so much more crowded! Saturday was the main day and I have never been in such a big crowd in all my life. We literally had to hold onto each other and push through the mass of people to get anywhere/not lose each other.”

-from “Carnival!” – Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico

And who could forget the Mardi Gras celebrations in Louisiana? Princeprince traveled all the way from Toronto, Canada to Lafayette to witness the hubbub:

Louisiana Mardi Gras hubbub

Louisiana Mardi Gras hubbub

“WOW! With a couple hundred people dressed in crazy coloured outfits, tall pointy hats, and masks, all with coolers full of booze, it was like a psychadelic KKK circus parade. Some rode horses, some walked, and some folks sat on the flatbed trailers being towed. There was probably a different band on each trailer. The parade would move slowly down a road and stop in front of a farm where many of us would chase chickens or pigs or have mud fights. Then, every once in while the parade would stop somewhere beautiful, a band would play, and all would dance. This went on until late in the day when we finally arrived back to our starting farm, a new band played on the porch, and everyone enjoyed the gumbo,the two step, and the last of their coolers. What an incredible day and finish to our Mardi Gras vacation. Tuh-mah-ruh, weez goin to Norleenz.”

-from “From Sarnia to Lafayette” – Lafayette, Louisiana, United States

Featured blogs

WWOOFing blogs on TravelPod

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, WWOOF, it stands for World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (aka Willing Workers on Organic Farms) and it’s a growing organization that matches workers to organic farms.

Lots of TravelPod bloggers use the network to travel all over the world. If you’ve ever been intrigued by the lifestyle, it doesn’t pay much (many times nothing at all) and it can be extremely hard work. If you’ve been contemplating sustaining your travel addiction by working with organic farmers, look no further. Here are a few blogs that I found intriguing:

Traicee found a temporary home in Nelson, BC, Canada to help a young family do landscaping around their new straw bale home. They also traveled to the Slocan Valley, settling for a while in Winlaw, BC to help with feeding pigs, fixing some buildings and gathering eggs on a small farm.

Traicee hard at work in Nelson, BC

Traicee hard at work in Nelson, BC

Our daily chores included feeding the pigs slop three times a day, gathering hen eggs a couple times a day, feeding the hens once a day, and picking rasperries (every 2 days). Traic and I decided early that pigs aren’t our thing. They are pretty agressive and they smell rancid, although we became slightly more accustomed to the smell after a couple weeks. Chickens on the other hand seem to be more useful. We’ve been told that the “money” in chickens is in their excrement…fantastic fertilizer. To boot, they lay eggs, and fresh organic eggs don’t taste much like the eggs we usually buy at the grocery store. They are fabulous. Aside from the daily chores, we watered and boxed some baby trees for a local tree planting company, built a stone pathway, drywalled and painted their new guesthouse, baked bread and Traic and I looked after the place for a few days when the owners went to Vancouver. This meant cooking and cleaning.

-from “More WWOOFing in the Slocan Valley“, Winlaw, BC

Seanryan volunteered at a farm in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico for three weeks.

Seanryan vs. a cactus in Mexico

Seanryan vs. a cactus in Mexico

We spent most of our time planting 5,500 pine trees on a mountain. I had a great time camping and hanging out with Diego and the other WWOOFers. Planting that many trees is sure to offset the carbon emissions that my travels entail. At another of his properties we worked on cabins, pathways, gardens, and a dry composting toilet. We ate really good vegetarian food the whole time and tried many new fruits and veggies. Every day we ate mangos, tunas (a fruit of the cactus plant), granola, and soups with tortillas and bread. Eating healthy and nutritious food was a welcome change from taco stands and fast food. The chef is quite the character as well. Porfirio (Diego’s dad) would cook for us and entertain us with his mad rants in English, Spanish, and French.

-from “WWOOF in Michoacan Mexico” – Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico

Well New Zealand is probably the quintessential place to go WWOOFing, so I couldn’t write this post without a nod to the islands. Miss_clay managed to find a place gardening in Kerikeri, New Zealand at the last minute with another WWOOFer at a communal garden.

Miss_clay with WWOOFer, Tim and her host's daughter, Sofia

Miss_clay with WWOOFer, Tim and her host's daughter, Sofia

But now for the BIGGEST NEWS OF ALL!!! Susan has this friend/boyfriend named Richard. Susan had asked me my first day why I wanted to come to New Zealand to which I promptly replied “Sheep!! I wanna sheer and spin!!”. So she mentioned this to Richard when he came by one day. He says, “Oh well I’ve got tons of sheep and I’m sheering them on Sunday, come by and you can help and watch and I’ll give you a bunch of fleece for free”. I almost pissed myself I was so excited, but I kept my cool as not to look like too much of a freak and said “Okay”.

-from “on the wwoof again” – Kerikeri, New Zealand

Featured blogs