Archive

May 2015

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Thanks to Vagabond Family for hosting me. I stumbled across Alison’s post on why you should travel with your kids and first of all am in total awe of her gumption—and here I thought a two-week vacation was difficult to plan; I can hardly imagine travelling long-term with kids—but also, I think it makes some excellent points! As I’m sure all the other regular readers know, though, there’s a lot of great advice spread all over this site. So anyway, it’s an honor to be here!


If you’re planning a trip with the family, look no further than China. This huge country—one of the largest in the world—is home to a ton of fun and culturally-rich activities that will bring those sometimes boring history classes to life for your kids, while proving interesting for the whole family. But not only is China not as cheap as some of its neighbors, you’ll also find that flights and visa costs for the whole family will cut a pretty big hole in your funds.

China with kids

China with kids – Image credit: https://flic.kr/p/2HYiYB

Still, it’s entirely possible to do China with the family while on a budget—and while still giving your kids a trip that you’ll all be talking about for years. Actually, you’ll find a ton of free options for things to do around the country. Let’s take a look at some of your options:

Beijing with Kids

We’ll start with the capital city of China, Beijing, which is a must-have on any itinerary. While you’re there, you’ll definitely want to take a trip to Tiananmen Square. Think it looks impressive in pictures? Actually, it’s the world’s largest city square and can literally fit a million people—so it’s even more impressive in person! Also on a historical note, don’t forget to check out the National Museum of China, where you can learn all about the history of the country. For a look at more modern history, head to the 2008 Olympic Park, which looks spectacular when it’s all lit up at night.

Beijing with Kids

Beijing with Kids – Image credit: https://flic.kr/p/6NixnK

From Tiananmen Square, head south and take a stroll along Qianmen Street, where you’ll find plenty of interesting architecture and will get a good feel for Chinese culture. For a deeper look at modern life in Beijing, head to the markets, the most fascinating of which are the Silk Market and the Panjiayuan Antiques Market. Of course, once you start buying things at the markets, this ceases to be a free way to pass the time, but if you’re looking for souvenirs, markets can be a good place to haggle and find something for all interests.

Shanghai with Kids

If you’re in China for the museums, you’ll definitely want to head to Shanghai, where you’ll find free admittance to the Shanghai Museum and the China Art Museum, both of which house impressive collections. If the kids are bored with another ancient history museum, they’re sure to be interested in the more modern propagandist art to be found in the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre.

Shanghai with Kids

Shanghai with Kids – Image credit: https://flic.kr/p/5VJLCi

On the first and fifteenth of every lunar month, you can also visit the Jing’an Temple for free. It’s a modern reconstruction, but it’s still a remarkable place to visit. Then, take a walk along the Bund and take your own picturesque shots of the skyline—who needs to buy souvenir postcards when you can take better and more personal pictures yourself? And don’t forget to check out some of the free watertowns like Fengjing or Zhujiajiao to really get a feel for this Venice of the East!

Hong Kong with Kids

As with Shanghai, you’ll have plenty of options for museums if you visit Hong Kong—and many of the museums offer free admission on Wednesdays. Head to the Museum of History or the Museum of Art for a general look at Chinese history. If your kids are sick of seeing yet another history or art museum, or if you want to delve deeper into modern history in China, check out the Racing Museum or the Space Museum.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery – Image credit: https://flic.kr/p/rtfsD

Don’t miss Po Lin Monastery and the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery to see some interesting Buddhist iconography and architecture, and head to the markets for a glimpse of modern life in Hong Kong—markets can also be a great place to sample some of the local food for cheap. There’s also plenty of scenic hiking around Hong Kong if you’re in the mood for a walk. And you can cap off any great day with a free viewing of the spectacular harbor lightshow.

Festivals

A great way to maximize the number of free activities available to you is to visit China during one of its many festivals. Oftentimes with festivals, you’ll find yourself treated to free concerts, parades, activities, and more—and it’s the best way to get a free and memorable crash-course on certain aspects of Chinese history and culture! Why just read about the colors of the Lunar New Year or the Dragon Boat Festival when you could be experiencing everything firsthand? Talk about photos to make the kids’ friends jealous!

China Festivals

China Festivals – Image source: https://flic.kr/p/oBahfK

Unfortunately, you’ll often find that there’s more competition to find the cheaper rates for accommodation and transportation during a festival, but if you plan ahead, you could get lucky and snag a great deal. And isn’t a visit during one of these epic festivals pretty priceless anyway?

There are plenty of sights and activities across the length of China that will be interesting for the whole family. Check out some of the museums, let the kids haggle at the marketplaces, and get a feel for this unique, wonderful culture. And of course, if you really need to save your budget, you can always take a night and chill in the hotel streaming some Netflix! (You’ll just need to set up a VPN first to bypass Netflix’s geo-restrictions.) Wherever you end up, there’s a plethora of things to do that will help you immerse yourself in the local culture without breaking the bank. Enjoy!

 


About the author: Hi, my name is Jess Signet. My parents were travelers since before I was born. Even in the womb, I was able to travel all over the place! Boy, did things NOT change as I grew older! Knowing there’s more to the world than the bubble I live in made me want to travel even further. Traveling is my drug and I’m addicted. (Please, no intervention!)

Italy is one of those countries you must visit at least once in your lifetime- add it to your bucket list if you haven’t. The boot-shaped country fits multiple tastes. Verona is a romantic city, Naples is the perfect spot for pizza lovers, Florence is ideal for architects and Milan breaths fashion and luxury. You will definitely have an unforgettable time in Italy, but will your kids enjoy Italy as much as you will do? Sure!

Start by preparing your kids for the trip. Locate Italy in the world map, watch some videos and tell your kids a bit about Italy. For example, I choose some of the most famous monuments of Italy like the coliseum, iconic churches and cities to customize puzzles. My kids had a lot of fun with those puzzles and quickly became curious about Italy- they asked a lot of questions. So, if you want to order your own personalized puzzles, check this online printer– they offer a large collection of customizable products.

If you have decided to take your next vacations in Italy, consider these four tips to help your children be enthusiastic about your trip:

1. Take Your Kids to an Art Class

Even if your kids attend painting classes back at home, do not miss the opportunity to take them to an art workshop with professional Italian artists. For example, in Florence you will find several art studios and academies that offer short courses or single classes, which are ideal for families with tight travel schedules. There are also several museums in Florence to visit like the Accademia Gallery and Museo di San Marco. Even though going to museums is not always fun for kids, they need to learn to enjoy visiting museums a common way to do so is to create a small scavenger hunt where they need to find and point out pieces in advance; it keeps them engaged. Aside from art lessons, your kids can also take cooking lessons.

Bonus tip: If you want to immortalize your kid’s art experience in Italy, take your children’s artwork back home to transform them into unique pieces of art printed on canvas. (Check out these affortable rolled canvas to take a look specifications,if you’re interested in ordering your own).

2. Go to Venice During its Carnival

Even without its famous carnival, Venice is a magical city to visit with your partner or whole family. The Carnival of Venice started from the victory of the ¨ Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia¨. Since then, in February you will find multiple events and festivities scheduled all around Venice. Everywhere you walk especially in San Mark’s Square, you will see most people wearing elaborate costumes and masks. You can enjoy the parades of the Venice Carnival and take some great photographs. Buy your kids a traditional mask- they will enjoy themselves!

3. Have a Picnic at Lake Garda and Eat some ¨ gelato¨

Your greatest wish on your holidays is to get some rest. However, it seems impossible when you have kids. Well, I’ve got some good news for you: Garda is a lake with an astonishing view visited by hundreds of families. It located in northern Italy. If you go during summer, you can have a picnic at lake Garda, relax under the shades of a tree and jump in the water! Spoil your children with delicious Italian gelato (ice cream).

4. Have a Grasp of Basic Italian

The great part about traveling to foreign lands is that your kids get to hear a new language outside of their classroom. Do not warn your children about the spoken language- just see their first reaction. Language is part of the traveling experience for kids and it is so easy to teach them the basics; even if you do not speak Italian. For example, buongiorno! (good morning) – grazie (thank you)- prego (you’re welcome)- buon appetito (enjoy your meal). They will hear these words all the time; probably by the end your kids will teach you!

Do you have your bags ready? Pack asap and embark on an exciting adventure with your loved ones. Try not to miss the fabulous places mentioned before and the handy tips that will help you make the most out of your family trip to Italy.

Hi – we are Simon, Donna and Araya – the ‘3 on the road‘. We have been house sitting full time since 2013 which has allowed us to slow travel around Europe, Asia and now in the U.S. During this time we have looked after many wonderful homes and pets…

In 2012, we were living in France while my husband worked as a pilot just over the border in Switzerland. His job required him to be away from home a lot as well as glued to a cell phone. It was very stressful, as are many jobs.

Then came the surprise-the unexpected (we thought impossible) bundle of joy. Araya! We had been trying for a baby for 7 years, and had practically given up hope. Our plan had become to make as much money as possible and retire early, but she changed everything.

We began thinking there must be another way. We don’t want to work our way through these early years of her life, putting her in day care to only see her in the evenings. We wanted to be there for the first steps, first words etc.

Simon decided to quit his job and we were going to travel for a few months before moving back to the US. Then I saw it – owners of a castle in southern France needed someone to care for their 2 dogs and 2 cats while going away over the winter. I thought that looks interesting. Why not apply…

The rest is history. The owners chose us to take care of their home for 3 and a half months, and thus began our life as house sitters. We have now been on the road full time for over a year and a half, and we have completed 18 house sits in Europe, Asia and the US.

So if you are wondering exactly what we do– We take care of people’s homes and pets free of charge while they are away in exchange for free accommodation. The home owners save on boarding or kennel costs while the pets get to stay in their own environment. We get to travel and still have pets while saving on accommodation. It is that simple, and wonderful!

As well as house sitting in an amazing French Chateau, one of our highlights was house sitting a tropical paradise in Laos. We had to take care of 4 dogs, 3 cats, 2 chickens, a guinea fowl and a fish pond. One of our duties included taking the 4 dogs to the Mekong twice a day for a long walk, and we had to drive them in a tuk tuk. It was such an adventure driving through Vientiane with Simon at the wheel, Araya on my lap(no seat belt) and 4 very large dogs in the back. We were like a tourist attraction to the locals!

The experiences gained from house sitting versus a vacation are unforgettable. The gardener and house keeper cooked a traditional Lao lunch for us one day, we became known as regulars at our local vegetable market, and we befriended monks and practiced English with them. I really don’t think that we would have had these experiences as tourists.

We have learned so much from house sitting. Here are a few of the benefits and things that I have realized from this life on the road.

1-We still have a home. I don’t think that I could handle going hotel to hotel with a 2 year old. When we are accepted for a house sit, the home owner knows that they will have a toddler in their home. Many times this means that homes come already equipped with toys, plenty of space for a travel cot, a kitchen and dining area for proper meal times, or Netflix with great cartoon access. It helps us settle into daily routines such as napping, but we still have the adventure of new surroundings.

2-We still have pets. Simon and I have both had pets and we want the same for Araya. This can be tricky if traveling. While pet sitting, we have had the chance to care for numerous animals. The only downside is it gets really hard saying goodbye to them. I have cried on several occasions when saying goodbye and Araya will call for particular cats and dogs several months after we have parted. It is a worthy downside however, because these animals get to stay and be cared for in the comfort of their own home.

3-Long term travel is affordable. We have very little outgoings. Think of the money that you would save if you didn’t have to pay for your home! We don’t have rent, a mortgage, utilities, and insurances to pay. That leaves very little for us to cover every month. We have often joked that it would be more expensive for us to stop traveling and settle down!

4-Flexibility is key. We have a routine down of how to pack the car, how to pack and unpack the suitcases, what food to arrive with for the first day, etc. However there is always a new kitchen to navigate, new bedrooms to settle into, and new play spaces to set up.

I remember in Laos, we had a borrowed crib for Araya. It was very high and she could have easily fallen out. After trying many things to block her in, we wedged her between a wall and huge boxed up car windshield. It made me laugh, but she didn’t seem to notice. Now, after having lived in numerous homes, she easily wonders around any new environment and settles herself in. As long as she has her sheep to sleep with and her bag of toys, she is happy.

5-We really don’t need much. My husband is a nomad. Having less is more to him. This is something that I have had to learn. When we first went on the road full time, we had 2 car loads of things such books, exercise equipment, DVDs, and who knows what else filled those bags.

Now we are down to 1 car load. This includes 2 suitcases, a computer bag, highchair, travel cot, a bag of toys and a guitar. That’s it. It keeps things simple and I think that we still have too much sometimes.

6-Araya is collecting friends from around the world. One of the downsides of full time travel can be finding children for her to connect with. House sitting has answered this problem. As we are generally in one place for an average of 3 weeks to a month, we have time to meet the neighbors. For example, on our current house sit, we have met 9 children who live on our street. Everyone is happy to meet the new kid, share their toys, and introduce her to their friends. It is a joy to watch and we are meeting great other parents along the way too!

6-We appreciate the little things. One of the first things that I see every morning is my daughter’s smiling face. I make her breakfast, she watches Caillou or Dinosaur train, we tend to the animals and homes that we are caring for and we plan our day. We don’t eat out a lot, we don’t have designer clothes or expensive gadgets , but we are together.

House sitting is allowing us to have this lifestyle. Check our “House Sitting Guide” I think the best way to put it is we live everyday life in beautiful locations, in other people’s homes and with other people’s pets. Long may it last…

Are you planning a trip to Sydney with your family soon? Or are you living in Sydney and are sick and tired of all those same, boring places you take your kids to? If you were thinking about spending some quality time with your kids in Sydney, but not being to bored and having to pay (way) too much, I am going to share with you some of my family’s absolute favs in Sydney. Who knows, maybe your kids will love it too.

#1 – ‘Adrenalin’ experience

Because our kids love running around, jumping, and climbing all sorts of things, we decided to go to Blaxland Riverside Park and have some fun. This is not a typical kids park with all those boring fences and tons of plastic, but it is out in the open and has many natural slopes and curves which are turned into climbing walls, sand play areas, and great aluminum slides. Our kids simply loved it there and spend hours playing catch, running, hiding, sliding, and screaming with their friends.

Sydney With Kids

Sydney With Kids Photo credit

 

#2 – A nice little walk

We have heard from some of our friends who walked from Bondi beach to Coogee beach that this was an amazing experience and we couldn’t wait to see for ourselves. Luckily, they informed us that we couldn’t take our strollers, so we had to wait for our little ones to grow up a bit. After all, an hour and a half for a walk is not such exactly the same for the kids as it is for the grownups. We were so happy and thankful for all those little parks and playgrounds along the way because they have given us a chance to call a time-out and relax a bit.

Bondi Beach With Kids Sydney Australia

Taronga Zoo – Sydney With Kids – Photo source

 

#3 – Taronga Zoo

We had to solemnly swear to our kids that we will take them to the zoo, because what is a trip to the big city without going to the zoo?! We did a little bit of research and came up with Taronga Zoo, which has several thousands of animals, both native Australian and exotic. This was a chance to actually learn something while having fun, and we were glad we gave it a go. It also gave us a chance to travel by ferry (kids were thrilled). Kids loved Daily Seal Show the most, sea-lions and fur-seals were super funny and absolutely adorable.

Taronga Zoo Koala - Sydney

Sydney With Kids – photo credit

 

#4 – Fun & educational

When our kids were both under the age of five, we were hesitated a bit to take them to a museum (actually, we hesitated a lot), but Sydney Powerhouse Museum was a revelation! We got back when they were older, but at that point, they fell in love with The Wiggle Room. They were sitting at The Big Red Car and later enjoyed the virtual concert.

Sydney PowerHouse Museum

Sydney PowerHouse Museum -Sydney With Kids – Photo credit

 

 

#5 – Jumping, jumping, jumping

With their ever growing love for jumping, skipping, and spinning around, we decided to take them to try out trampoline basketball at Boing Central, and we scored. They pretended they were famous basketball players who could jump incredibly high and dunk whenever they feel like it. They screamed and laughed and played for solid two hours before deciding they’ve had enough, and they begged us to come back again.

 Jumping

Sydney With Kids Photo source

 

 

#6 – Sydney Aquarium

I mentioned before the children’s obsession with animals, and so one of our stop s was the Sydney Aquarium with the famous underwater glass tunnel which allows you to see everything while you go through. Kid’s fascination with sharks was totally predictable, but they also found out that stingrays are pretty cool too. Ask around for children’s tickets and do book the tickets online and in advance, it will give you a major discount. We went there a couple of times, and the second time I booked the tickets online in advance and saved a significant amount of money.

Sydney Aquarium

Sydney Aquarium With Kids – Photo credit

 

 

#7 – Sydney Festival

One time, we didn’t have enough money to wander around the city and visit different museum and amusement parks so we had to improvise. This is how we decided to go and explore the city itself a bit, but we waited for a special opportunity and so it came that we all wanted to see the Sydney festival and I am so glad we decided to ‘dive into it’. The incredible street performers, singers and artists – there was something for everyone’s music taste and preference. There are also many free performances and exhibitions which gave us a chance to go and get some gelato afterwards.

Sydney festival

Sydney Festival With Kids – Photo source

 

 

#8 – Sydney Observatory

I insist on kids learning while they have fun, so one time we took them to Sydney Observatory in the heart of The Rocks and it was one of the best ideas! They learned about Aborigines, their idea of astronomy, some history, and later they climbed up into that famous telescope domes, trembling with excitement. Great guides were there to show and explain to them everything there was to see, and we were lucky to come in the evening. Guides told us that you can also come by day and look directly at the Sun through some special lenses. This disappointed our youngest one a lot, he really wanted to see how the sun looks like and so we had to promise he would get a chance to see that the next time we come to Sydney.

Sydney Observatory

Sydney Observatory With Kids – Photo credit

This may sound corny and all, but to be honest, the most important thing about spending time with your kids is to spend time with your kids. Talk to each other, tell them about the time when you were their age, show them a game form that time or teach them a retro expression. Before you know it, they will be teenagers and in a blink of an eye they will move away, find a job, get married, and have their own kids… Looking back, these moments you shared together as a family will be precious.

Ever wonder what the best zoos worldwide to take your kids before they grow up are?   If you’re looking to find information, you’ve come to the right post, as we present our top 10 list of the world’s best zoos!

1. Wellington Zoo (New Zealand)

Situated on a massive 32-acre area boasting more than 500 animals of 1o0 species, Wellington Zoo is the place  to take you kids to if you desire giving them a once-in-a-lifetime close encounter with nature’s wonderful creatures. Every year, people flock over to see the Sumatran tigers and the smallest of bears—the Sun Bear!  Many of which are said endangered and protected, and as part of the zoo’s effort, they are a member of a group called ‘Free the Bears.’ All in all, the zoo is committed to providing quality care and sustainable enclosures to all it animals (solar power and heating) as well as to educating its visitors, especially kids with the significance of wildlife preservation.

Wellington Zoo - Red Panda

Wellington Zoo – Red Panda – Image source: https://flic.kr/p/7Bbmyn

  • Website: http://www.wellingtonzoo.com/
  • Address: 200 Daniell St, Newtown
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WgtnZoo
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/wellingtonzoo
  • Contact #: +64 4-381 6755

2. Berlin Zoo (Germany)

Often described as a brilliant mishmash with an animal-centered theme, Berlin Zoo is the oldest of all zoos in the country which opened 1844, with 9,500 animals spread over 1,500 species. It displays a complete collection of species in the most visited zoo in Europe and houses a large aquarium (with 250+ tanks), where kids could witness a great display of marine species—all in one place!  Aside from a massive animal collection, it’s very stunning with its lovely architecture highlighted by two elephant sculptures in the entrance.

Polar Bear Knut Berlin Zoo

Polar Bear Knut Berlin Zoo – Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knut_%28polar_bear%29

  • Website: http://www.zoo-berlin.de/en
  • Address: Hardenbergplatz 8
  • Contact #: +49 30 254010
  • Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/zooberlin?ref=website&_rdr
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/zooberlin
  • Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/104701528956071850722/posts

3. Toronto Zoo (Canada)

Housing over 5,000 animals from over 460 species, it features unique exhibits, including sting ray touch tanks and camel ride. Best part is that here your kids will find different animals, such as Indian bison ‘Gaur,’ spider monkeys, African elephants, Western lowland gorillas and pygmy hippopotamus, among others.  But these aren’t all because Toronto Zoo also boasts indigenous animals, such as the Moose, raccoons, cougar and Grizzly bear.

Toronto Zoo

Toronto Zoo – Image source: https://flic.kr/p/rk6LzA

  • Website: http://www.torontozoo.com/
  • Address: 2000 Meadowvale Rd
  • Contact #: +1 416-392-5929
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheTorontoZoo
  • Instagram: https://instagram.com/thetorontozoo/
  • Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/TheTorontoZoo/
  • YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/TorontoZooChannel

4. London Zoo (UK)

Located right on the north portion of the Regent’s Park, it has been in operation since 1826, but its grounds were only opened for the public in 1847. It has been a successful family attraction since then and has developed for the better in years.  It opened its reptile house in 1849 and public aquarium in 1853.  This world’s oldest scientific zoo houses popular animal attractions, including Galapagos tortoise, Komodo dragon, gorillas, reptiles and tigers in its 15-hectare space.

Lizard - Reptile house London Zoo

Toronto Zoo – Image source: https://flic.kr/p/ard3Dd

  • Website: http://www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo
  • Address: Regent’s Park, London
  • Contact #: 020 7449 6200
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zsllondonzoo
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/zsllondonzoo
  • Instagram: https://instagram.com/zsllondonzoo/

5. National Zoological Gardens (South Africa)

Otherwise known as the Pretoria Zoo, it was established in 1916, and since then has expanded to its current 216-acre space, with half stretching over the lowlands while remaining on the hill side (and in between is the Apies River). To get around, cross the suspension bridges and follow the six-kilometer trails or walkways. After, you can take your kids to a ‘wild’ exhibit featuring animals, such as red pandas, waterbirds, smaller primates, kangaroos and marmosets. And last but not the least your children will be able to witness a massive display of over 9,000 animals of more than 705 specie types—only in the National Zoo of South Africa!

National Zoological Gardens

National Zoological Gardens – Image source: https://flic.kr/p/tjqyF

6. Tiergarten Schönbrunn Palace (Austria)

One of the world’s oldest zoos, being built in the 17th century, the Tiergarten Schönbrunn Palace is a haven of regal animals that may deserve your attention! It features exotic and lovely creatures, including flamingos, giraffes and pandas and boasts top attractions, including baby panda bear exhibits.

Tiergarten Schönbrunn Palace

Tiergarten Schönbrunn Palace – Image source: https://flic.kr/p/ohZFKe

7. San Diego Zoo (United States)

Located in the Balboa Park, San Diego, it is the place where both adults and kids can become fascinated over a fantastic animal display, making it one of the top tourist’s attractions in the US. It is also a host to wildlife adventures with its SeaWorld and its Birch aquarium.  Families looking to see a deeper glimpse of the animal world can hit this zoo offering them great explorations of the wild with its Chinese alligators, elephants, koalas and pandas, to name some. Animals are housed into separate bioclimatic zones—where visitors can stroll from arctic tundra to tropical rainforests, while getting a leisurely lesson from the zookeepers about every climatic zone’s inhabitants.

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo – Image source: https://flic.kr/p/hyRoGw

  • Website: http://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/
  • Address: 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego
  • Contact #: +1 619-231-1515
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/sandiegozoo

8.  Singapore Zoo

Find more than 2,800 animals of 300 species of birds, mammals and reptiles all around this 64-acre park in the lush Mandai rainforest zoo (formerly Singapore Zoological Gardens), where to see open-air exhibits, meaning no cages for the animals but special elevated platforms for visitors. Not only that Singapore Zoo boasts its natural animal habitats, but it also showcases feedings and regular shows for acquainting you and your kids with some of nature’s scaly and furry friends.

Singapore Zoo

Singapore Zoo – Image source: https://flic.kr/p/arAV2P

  • Website: http://www.zoo.com.sg/
  • Address: 80 Mandai Lake Rd
  • Contact #: +65 6269 3411
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wrs.sg
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/tweetWRS
  • YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/WildlifeReservesSg

9. Bronx Zoo (United States)

One of the world’s oldest of metropolitan zoos, this 265-acre zoo has kept its charming naturalistic lands and property through the years, despite New York’s development. It houses more than 4,000 animals of 650 species.

 

Bronx Zoo

Bronx Zoo – Image source: https://flic.kr/p/9NsBzU

  • Website: http://bronxzoo.com/
  • Address: 2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx
  • Contact #: +1 718-367-1010
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bronxzoo
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/bronxzoo
  • Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+bronxzoo/posts

10. Columbus Zoo (United States)

  1.  
    • Website: https://www.columbuszoo.org/
    • Address: 4850 W Powell Rd, Powell
    • Contact #: +1 614-645-3400
    • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/columbuszoo
    • Twitter: https://twitter.com/ColumbusZoo
    • YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Columbuszoomedia
  2. Located in Powell, Ohio, the Columbus Zoo is a world-class attraction inviting more than 2.3 million of tourists every year and featuring more than 9,000 animals of over 793 species. Some tops attractions include the American bison, Baboon reserve, big bears, butterfly garden, mouse house, sea lion pool and Tiger Mountain.

     

    Columbus Zoo

    Columbus Zoo – Image source: https://flic.kr/p/4sEjhJ

    There you have the best zoos in the world that attract thousands of tourists yearly and definitely the best ones where kids can enjoy being one with nature even for a couple of hours and where you can educate them of wildlife awareness and preservation.

    Have you visited any of these world zoos? Or do you think we missed your favorite zoo in the list? Feel free writing your comment or starting/joining the conversation with the rest of the community below.

Looking for a perfect place for your next family getaway? It doesn’t get much better than a tropical resort of Koh Lipe, a small island located only 60km from the mainland of Thailand. Approachable by boats and ferries and regular transport organized from Phi Phi, Langkawi, Lang and Ko Lanta, this island is a heaven on earth, a jewel of the ocean, with crystal clear beaches and anything that your family could possibly want in just a short walk away. If you are looking for a kid-friendly place, where you can get relaxed and enjoy your stay also, this is a definitive choice.

Koh Lipe Sunrise Beach

Koh Lipe Sunrise Beach – Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/kEhfMr

Never more lively, and still with many options for privacy and hiding spots, once you reach Koh Lipe your definition of family vacation will never be the same.

Koh Lipe Transportation

Believe it or not, cars are redundant in the island of Koh Lipe. You can literally walk around the whole island in a matter of a few hours, no matter what are you looking for, a hotel, a beach, anything you could possibly need is close, but far enough to give you the space you need. If you’ve just arrived, you can always get a “tuk-tuk,” a three wheel motorcycle taxi famous in whole Thailand, and have a tour of Koh Lipe before you get to your hotel.

Tuk Tuk Thailand

Tuk Tuk Thailand

The kids will love it! If there is any need to leave the island, which won’t be the case since people tend to stay as long as they can once they get here, or if you want to visit the nearby islands, boats are accessible and an affordable way of transportation as well and they are always there at your service.

Koh Lipe Accommodation

The hosts in Koh Lipe really value your stay, and are doing anything they can to make your vacation as pleasant as it could be. An enjoyable accommodation is their main concern, and they will make you feel like you are right at home. Almost all guests that visit Koh Lipe are returning on their next vacation. As far as rooms go, if you have any adventurous spirit you can find a bungalow on the beach! But it does come with an air condition system and full service so the adventure is a comfortable and a soothing one also. Of course, you can stay in one of the modern hotels, but be aware that from December to February it is the very peak of the season in Thailand, so make sure that you book your time as soon as you can. There are 15 hotels available, but you can find more than 60 B&B, Inns and lodgings.

 

Blue Tribes Garden Beach Resort

Blue Tribes Garden Beach Resort $30

– Providing pet-friendly amenities, this resort is situated in Satun and offers a private beach. It is an excellent base for those wanting to immerse themselves in nature, with Tarutao National Marine Park just moments away.

 

Green View Beach Resort

Green View Beach Resort   $23

– Situated in Satun, Green View Beach Resort offers 2-star accommodation and free Wi-Fi, a private beach and a beauty centre. Just a stone’s throw from the beach, it is ideally located for those looking for a sea-side escape.

 Anda Resort

Anda Resort $74

With an outdoor pool, a private beach and a Jacuzzi, Anda Resort provides a comfortable setting while in Satun. Only moments from the shore, it is perfectly situated for those in search of a beach-side retreat.

Koh Lipe Beaches

There are three main beaches in Koh Lipe: the Sunrise beach, the Sunset Beach, of course, both named after their famous view, and the Pattaya beach.

Pataya beach - Koh Lipe

Pataya beach – Koh Lipe – Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/dBpea8

The Sunrise beach, or Hat Chao Ley as the locals calls it, is maybe not as touristy as the Pattaya beach, but it is a perfect resort if you are looking for some quiet time and relaxation with your family. And if you are into snorkeling, this is where you want to be, but we will get to that later.

Sunset beach, Koh Lipe

Sunset beach, Koh Lipe – Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/2bFucL

The Sunset beach on the other hand is perfect for romantic getaways and all who have witnessed a sunset on this beach agree that you won’t find a better view in Thailand. It is only a short walk away from the main street of Koh Lipe, the Walking Street, and you can find a few restaurants and lodgings here as well. The Pattaya beach is the most visited one, and a large number of accommodations, bars, shops and restaurants can be found right here. So if you are a sociable person, and you like to be in the crowd, you should definitely find a room here. One more interesting thing, people who have visited the Pattaya beach all agree that the sand on the beach is like silver dust, and as your feet sink into the sand you will have an entirely wonderful experience that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

Koh Lipe Beach

Koh Lipe Beach – Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/dSERSY

All of Koh Lipe is also famous for its crystal clear waters.

Koh Lipe Restaurants and Bars

If you are into spicy and exotic foods, pack your bags right away. Although Koh Lipe is a relatively small island, the variety of cuisine selection is astonishing. Of course, you can have traditional Thailand meals anywhere, but if you get the urge for some Italian, Mexican or Indian food you won’t be disappointed. The prices are very reasonable, the service is quite exquisite. You can get breakfast in one of the bakeries on the Walk Street, or even a coffee and a bagel under a palm tree on the Sunset beach.

Koh Lipe Beach Bar.jpg

Koh Lipe Beach Bar – Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/dSzjLi

If you head down to the Sunrise beach, not far from it you can find the OMG Sportsbar & Restaurant, which will serve you even long after dinner time and in a great accommodation too. An excellent Thai food can be found in the Sunrise Restaurant, and in the La Luna you can meet a genuine Italian chef, and he will prepare you a meal worthy of Rome and Venice in the very heart of Koh Lipe. You can have an elegant and classy dining experience in the tropical garden of the Cove Bistro, and couples can try one of their famous cocktails or choose a wine from a very rich selection.

Sunset beach bar, Koh Lipe

Sunset beach bar, Koh Lipe – Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/78cdnC

When it comes to bars, you can take a tour from the Longtail bar to the Rainforest Gallery bar, and end up in the bar called Mellow Mango, just near the Pattaya beach.

Koh Lipe Activities

You can bring your family along on an adventure and take a boat trip to one of the uninhabited nearby islands, where you can even get an opportunity to have a beach only for yourself and possibly have a picnic there. And as we already mentioned, this island is quite famous because of its crystal clear waters, and if you are looking for an authentic Koh Lipe sea diving resort you will get a chance to be amazed by the wonderful sea life like nowhere else in Thailand.

Koh Lipe Diving

Koh Lipe Diving – Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/5Zdfmj

If you forgot to bring your own snorkel, don’t worry, you can get it here! If you need diving lessons those are available also, and they are conducted by certified professionals, and with Adang Sea Divers program you can get certified as well! It’s a really exciting time and a high quality entertainment for the kids, but you yourself will love it too. More than 25% of the world’s most exotic species of fish can be found right here! The channels between islands provide a rich habitat for whale sharks, turtles, soft corrals and thousands more species, all there for you to discover them.

Koh Lipe Family Vacation

Koh Lipe Family Vacation – Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/mFGxYZ

Anything your family could possibly need, you can find it in Koh Lipe. Don’t let its secluded nature deceive you, you can find any service you might need right here. From internet and ATM-s to, god forbid, hospital and pharmacist if you’ve forgotten your suntan lotion. The wonders await you, and Koh Lipe knows that you will be coming back.

Are you based within Sydney, or planning to travel to Sydney anytime soon? If you’re looking for something unusual to do in Sydney that’s apart from the usual, here are 15 unusual activities that might interest you. Have fun!

1. Take A Gourmet Safari

Sydney has many distinct regions where people of different nationalities have settled. Check out Italian cuisine in Haberfield, Turkish in Auburn, Lebanese in Punchbowl, Greek in Marrickville and Vietnamese in Cabramatta. Each village reflects the unique culture and traditional aspect of its settlers.

 

Gourmet Safari

Gourmet Safari – Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/6U5PLZ

2. Spend a night at Taronga Zoo

Getting to the zoo itself is an adventure –  first, you board a short ferry ride at Circular Quay and then take a royal cable car ride that takes you right over the zoo. Take up the ‘Roar and Snore’ experience with food, board and breakfast in a beautiful tent within the zoo.

Taronga Zoo

Taronga Zoo – Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/8BMRk

3. Explore Convict Barracks

Explore Sydney’s convict history at the World Heritage-listed Hyde Park Barracks. You can even put on their leg-irons and sleep in a convict hammock too. Look up your ancestors in the convict database and explore the streets of then-Sydney on a map.

 

Sydney Hyde Park Barracks

Sydney Hyde Park Barracks – Image credit: https://flic.kr/p/btwpQt

4. Take A Karaoke Shopping Tour

How about a shopping tour on a karaoke bus? You get to visit some of the best shopping spots in Sydney, and also scream loud to your heart’s content and dance to your favorite tunes on karaoke. So basically it’s a karaoke party disguised as a shopping tour.

 

Sydney karaoke bus

Sydney karaoke bus

5. Take Up An Extreme Flight Experience

Here are some great ways to see fabulous air views of Sydney. You can take a helicopter tour, a fighter jet flight, or try tandem jumping from a hang glider or a small Cessna. If you really dare to, try the extreme tandem military style High Altitude Low Opening (HALO).

 

Sydney Flight Experience

Sydney Flight Experience – Photo credir: https://flic.kr/p/bAmGWL

6. Attend A Special Deep Ocean Exhibition

Visit the deep ocean exhibition at the Australian Museum. You’ll see some of the strangest creatures that live in the deep depths and learn their habitats. Imagine Giant Anglerfish with long teeth and huge jaws and colorful glow-in-the-dark creatures that survive where light doesn’t penetrate.

 

Australian Museum Deep Oceans Exhibit

Australian Museum Deep Oceans Exhibit – Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/dDmT8i

7. Go Kayaking Among The Mangroves

Hire a kayak from the Sydney Harbor Kayaks on the side of the spit bridge on the way to Manly. Go kayaking on the many waterways of Sydney around high tide. Head to the fantastic mangrove forests and forget you’re actually still in the middle of the city.

 

Sydney Mangroves

Sydney Mangroves – Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/M8KkJ

8. Get The Best Views From The Harbor Bridge Museum

Ignore the expensive Harbor Bridge, and get even better views from the Harbor Bridge museum near the Opera House. It’s cheap to access and is open from 10 to 5 on weekdays. As an added interest, there are fascinating pictures of the original bridge building on the pylon.

Museum of Contemporary Art with the harbour bridge behind

Museum of Contemporary Art with the harbour bridge behind – Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/6PDTsb

9. Have A Drink At The Orbit Bar

The Summit Orbit bar is located on the 42nd floor of Australia Square. Grab a decent seat by the window at sunset, and you have the best all-round views of Sydney. What’s more, every 45 minutes, the entire floor rotates, so your views keep changing.

10. Check Out The Sydney Observatory At Night

For a beautiful night view of the lit harbor bridge and the whole of North Sydney, take a night tour of the Sydney Observatory. The observatory has two telescopes – a 40-inch modern reflecting telescope through which you can see nebula. There’s a large refracting telescope, through which you can see a local clock tower or the moon.

11. Enjoy Artistic Food At The Quay Restaurant

Book a table at the Quay Restaurant to enjoy dishes that are nothing less than fine works of art. Take your camera along. The dishes are presented in the most artistic manner possible, graced with tiny flowers, sculptures and so on. There are magnificent views of the harbor to enjoy with the flawless food.

12. Visit the Harbor Islands

Check out the famous Sydney Harbor islands such as Shark Island, Cockatoo Island and Fort Denison. Shark Island is terrific for a day picnic, especially if you’re into shark-watching. Fort Denison has a very interesting convict and Aboriginal history, but is now is a great place to relax and watch the river traffic.