train Bangkok to Chiang Mai

The Most Incredible Train Journeys to Take in South East Asia

Asia Travel Advice Trains to take

Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai scenery, or getting to Ella in Sri Lanka eating crispy dahl balls, train in South East Asia is a full-blown experience. What you see through a train window is incomparable to what you catch in the first and last 2 minutes of your flight or ferry, not talking about the sustainability of train travel. Here are the best train journeys you can take whilst in Asia.

When it comes to trains, there is little we can say to choose another transport mode. Trains are the most sustainable way to travel in a region, and you can get an authentic travel experience by travelling together with locals – after all, conversations only get interesting after a while.

Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Thailand

One of the most popular routes in Thailand is a train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Taking the night train is a special experience on its own in Asia, as sleeper trains and buses are one of the most popular for both locals and tourists. 

Both cities have some 680 kilometres (422 miles) away from each other, but travelling between the two isn’t as difficult as you may think. The sleeper train takes around 13 hours and is comfortable for both first-class as well as second-class sleepers. 

Our tip? The night train Bangkok to Chiang Mai will not allow for much scenery to see in the evening, so make sure you sleep early and wake up in the early morning to catch the sunrise as you arrive into the hilly countryside of Northern Thailand.

Train Bangkok to Chiang Mai Tickets

If you are more into sleeping in a hotel in Bangkok and then taking a full-pledge scenic train ride for the day, then trains from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Station run every day, also in the daytime. Third-class tickets are the cheapest, though the wooden benches can quickly become very uncomfortable and the carriages can be stuffy and crowded. Seats aren’t allocated either. But what else you would want from an authentic solo travel experience, when you see locals all around, can strike some simple gesture-conversation or take amazing travel portraits during 15 hours or scenic ride.

Second-class seats (that can recline) are the next cheapest option. Tickets typically cost around 500 THB (approximately 15 USD) in a carriage with fans; air-conditioned carriages are a little more expensive, but to make the best value for your buck, you may just take a sleeper train and skip the hotel booking in Bangkok.

If you book a bunk in a train Bangkok to Chiang Mai as sleeper carriage, second-class bunks (in a fan carriage) cost around 800–1,000 THB (approximately 25–30 USD), but you have to pay a little more to get an air-conditioned carriage. The lower bunks are slightly more expensive, but at the same time have more space. At the first-class rooms, however, sleep four and these are lockable.

If you are a solo female traveller or take a gap year trip to Thailand, then there are carriages available solely for females and their young children. For those looking for accessibility, there are very few and selected trains which are wheelchair accessible. 

To buy train Bangkok to Chiang Mai tickets, you can go to any of the major train stations, through agents, and online. To make sure you get to one point to another, and does not lose you hotel booking in Chiang Mai, you should book a trip at least a day in advance of travel by train Bangkok to Chiang Mai to ensure you get the tickets you want.

Asia Travel Advice Trains to take

Kandy to Ella, Sri Lanka

If you wish to experience the beautiful views of Sri Lankan Hill Country with all its tea plantations, you should definitely opt for a  train over a plane. Getting from Kandy to Ella, it will take around seven hours, but worry not about getting hungry on the train. There are many sellers offering fruit and snacks on the way.

Both cities have some 140 kilometres in between, and taking a train for around 7 to 8 hours is just enough to enjoy the scenic train ride without the hustle of booking a hotel in Sri Lanka.

The train was initially conceived by the British Colonial government in 1864 to transport tea and coffee. However, the mysterious fungus wiped out entire crops in Sri Lanka, so the coffee plantations were ruled out, and therefore, you only know Sri Lanka for its tea now.

For years, crates of tea were the primary passengers on this route, until people started to travel in the 1960s. Today, taking a train in Sri Lanka is one of the cheapest ways to travel around, and is vital for locals. 

Kandy to Ella Train Tickets

As for the types of tickets and where to book a ticket, you should rather opt for what’s your aim on the seven-hour train ride. If you want to talk and experience the rough train ride with locals with chickens in cages, cats and dogs, and children playing around, go for the 3rd class! But if you desperately need some comfort on the ride, here are the other options.

The first-class tickets are reserved, but you should book them in advance to guarantee a seat. You will get a conditioned room, but these rooms have no open doors or windows to hang out and see the magnificent views, other than getting out of the room, hang out the window and try to strike a pose with other tourists around.

As for the second class, you may want to opt for this arrangement. There are options for unreserved and reserved seats, and for the first option, you have to get a train ticket on the day of the ride. You are also, therefore, not guaranteed to get a seat, but you may probably get a seat along the way.

If you do get a train ticket with a reserved seat, however, then the number of seats are constrained, and you would pay double the price of the unreserved one. Because there are only a limited number of seats, during the holiday season you can book a train ticket in advance. 

The third class is quite an experience. You will see everything you can imagine all around, from cats to dogs, to vegetables and chickens, but beware the smell. 3rd class tickets from Colombo – Kandy cost 10 LKR. That is not even worth the conversion…

Kandy to Ella Train Tips and Buying Advice

Some tips before you take the train is to not to take an overnight train, as you will miss the scenery, and sit on the right side of the train from Kandy to Ella, and the opposite on the opposite direction, from Nuwara Eliya to Ella. Also, make sure to charge your camera and bring a toilet or sanitizer, and, although taste some of the snacks offered. from fruits to ‘wade wade,’ a deliciously crispy fried balls of dhal, watering it down with a sweet cup of warm chai. 

Are there any more train journeys you absolutely must consider when in South East Asia?

Make sure you get on the train from Hue to Da Nang in Vietnam, and Alishan Forest Railway in Taiwan, as well as Goa to Londa in India – and read about it on our next article.

Ready for a train ride? Make sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to keep up to date with travel news!

Share this on Pinterest:

Asia Travel Advice Trains to take

CuddlyNest blog Balkan budget ski resorts

Best Dirt-Cheap Balkan Ski Resorts for Family Christmas Holidays You Can Ski below $20 a Day

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Balkan ski resorts In Southern Eastern Europe packs the best value per buck, if you ask us. While there are many opportunities for Christmas holidays spent together with family or friends, Balkans can offer you one of the most fun and unforgettable ways on skis. You can choose from resorts totalling in 883 kilometres of slopes, served by 521 ski lifts. That said, skiing opportunities in Southern East Europe Balkan countries are virtually endless.

While skiing is for everyone, skiing in Alps in France or Switzerland can get expensive. To have more fun while spending less, we suggest skiing in Europe in Slovakian Tatry, or go to Balkans instead.
Not only it is much more enjoyable stay away from tourist-crowded ski destinations; you will also save quite a bit of money by going to the budget Balkan ski resorts. Offering world-class skiing opportunities for just a fraction you would spend in the US, Western Europe or even Scandinavian glaciers, CuddlyNest made a list featuring the best Balkan ski resorts that are also family-friendly.

After all, Christmas is all about being together with your loved ones, isn’t it?

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Vitosha, Sofia – Bulgaria

Budget-friendly Resort for All, € 18

We already wrote about 15 good reasons to visit Balkans this holiday. But here comes another one. Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, hosts one of the least expensive, but well-rated ski resorts in Balkans. With more than 20 km of ski slopes available and 15 lifts in disposal of skiers, there is plenty of space to practice, learn and simply enjoy skiing for all technique levels.

 

The winter sports area is situated between 1340 and 2290 m, and while most of slopes are for those aiming at blue trails (easy level), approximately 30% of ski slopes is for intermediate skiers. If you are sure about your ski and want to go for extreme adrenaline trails, there is not that much to see in Vitosha. Only 2 km of total ski slope area is surviving advanced skiers.

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Sofia, Balkan Ski Resort Prices

As for pricing, you will save quite a bit when skiing in Sofia. Day ticket for adults cost approximately €18 (BGN 35), while youth and children day passes come at approximately €14 and €11, respectively.

Night Skiing in Sofia, Bulgaria

The resort is opened from 9 am to 4 pm, but you can also ski at night. Night skiing is operating from 6.30 pm until 10pm, daily, so you can enjoy starry sky while going back to top on the escalator chair.

The resort is one of the best established in the whole region. Although there are no recently opened slopes, the very first slope with the 2-person fixed-grip Dragalezvi-Saslona chairlift was opened back in 1956. After that, the resort undergone 2 large upgrades, with each adding 5 slopes. The current slopes is the result of 1984 upgrade. However, there have not been any Olympic games hosted in Vitosha, so while you get a great value for the buck, do not expect the world-class training slopes, especially if looking for moguls.

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Skiing Babin Do – Bjelašnica – Bosnia and Herzegovina

Want to ski on Olympic Games slopes? The winter Bjelašnica Olympic Mountain Ski Centre facilities are located on the eastern slope of Bjelašnica. Close to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is plenty to do both in winter and summertime. While it is one of the most marvellous places to go for a hike in summer (or winter, if you are into ski shoeing), do not get carried away with hiking trails.

Olympic Ski Resort in Balkans

Indeed, Bjelašnica is one of the top ski resorts, having more than 12.5 of slopes available. Good for both skiing and snowboarding, the resort lies around 27 km away from the capital city of Bosnia, making it an attractive destination for those who want to spend some time in the city where the World War I started. The capital boasts beautiful architecture, and affordable restaurant scene – you may want to check it now, and book Sarajevo hotel in advance.

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Balkan Skiing Red Trails

Contrasting with other Balkan ski resorts, there is more to do for intermediates than those who are beginners. Located between elevations 1,270 and 2,067m over the sea level, skiing near the capital is also one of the most affordable, considered great Bjelašnica summit slopes. With day pass costing adults €18 (BGN 35), and €13 (BGN 25) for children, you can enjoy the slopes where Winter Olympics of 1984 were hosted. It is an experience of a lifetime to ski the same slope where Bill Johnson (US) won the alpine skiing downhill, and twins Phil and Steve Mahre (US) slalom.

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Stara Planina – Babin Zub for Beginners – Serbia

Located in Southern and Eastern Serbia, Stara Planina offers one of the least costly options for beginners. The perks of choosing Stara Planina as your Balkan winter ski destination also include the fresh countryside air. The slopes practically end at the village Jabučko Ravnište, and you can go straight to your home after a long day on skis.

Serbia Ski Resorts

As for the offering, the Babin Zub is perfect for those families looking for a place to practice skiing safely. Out of 13 km of the resort’s slopes, more than half is for those trying to learn. When surpassed the blue slope skill level, you can either go for red or black slopes, both of which are equally abundant, compromising 3 km each.

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Stara Planina Ticket Prices

Day tickets for adults and children are little bit more expensive but considering 5 lifts for just 13 km of ski slopes, you can be sure you will not freeze at the line waiting to go to top. Gondolas will take you to the top, and you can be sure the chairlifts are up to the latest standards, being constructed just back in 2006. Daily ticket for adults cost €19 (RSD 2250) and €15 (RSD 1760) for children.

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Sljeme (Medvednica) – Zagreb – Croatia

While Croatia beaches and historical sites are appealing to those families seeking sun and summer in the midst of winter, there is a lot to do in Croatia for those willing to take up skiing, too.

Best Croatia Small-Scale Ski Resort

Sljeme ski resort near Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is small enough to feel cosy and always be sure about where your family members are. One of the best ski resorts for those with young children, Sljeme ski area is totalling in 4 km. Mostly serving those who go after blue and red tracks, the ski area is equipped with a 3-person chairlift to bring you 1030 m high into the mountainous area, and 2 J-bar lifts to bring you to the top of the slope again.

Croatia Ski Resort Near Zagreb

The day ticket is one of the least expensive, costing €13 (HRK 100) for adults and €7 (HRK 50) for children. Operating from 9 am to 4 pm, Medvednica is a good option for those looking for a wintertime activity close to Zagreb, Croatia. After visiting Zagreb SPAs, you can relax in tranquillity on skis!

Have you skied in Balkans? Let us know and share this with your Facebook friends, Instagram fellows and Pinterest audience!

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Travel Europe after Brexit travel after brexit

Travel Europe After Brexit: What to Keep in Mind to Stop Losing Money Abroad & Travel Sustainably

Travel and Visit Europe After Brexit on 31 October

What else will change after October 31? With no-deal Brexit, visiting Europe after Brexit may become a bit more of a struggle. Read further to know what to expect and how to prepare in advance.

Visas to Europe

There will be no visas. The European Parliament has granted Britons right to travel to the European Union without a visa after Brexit, staying in Europe visa-free for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. It is, however, only granted if the UK implements similar measure for EU citizens.

Travel Europe after Brexit Eurail Interrail

Travel with Pets to Europe after Brexit

After October 31, there will be slight changes in pet travel to Europe. To prepare for travel with your pet, there are some simple steps you should follow.

If the United Kingdom becomes the third country once it leaves the EU, and automatically an unlisted country. However, it can apply to the European Commission to be listed (Part 1 listed or Part 2 listed), in which case pet travel becomes easier. If leaving with no-deal Brexit, then with conditions of the unlisted country, you should follow the following procedure to travel to Europe with your pet.

  1. You have to microchip and get your dog/cat/ferret vaccinated before you travel, and take a blood sample within 30 days of the last rabies vaccination.
  2. Your vet will send the blood sample to the EU-approved testing laboratory and wait for the blood test results.  When 3 months from the successful blood test sample have passed, you can now go to Europe to travel.
  3. Your vet will give you a copy of test results and enter the date of a sample taken into your pet’s health certificate.

If you are a frequent traveller to Eu, your pet will not need a repeat blood test if the previous one was successful and rabies vaccination history is up-to-date. However, you will need to get a new health certificate for each trip within 10 days before your trip.

Returning to the UK, you will need your EU pet passport, animal health certificate and UK pet health certificate. To learn more about pets travelling with UK nationals living in the EU or scenarios in which the UK becomes a listed third country, read more on UK government Animal and Plant Health Agency guide here.

Holidays to Europe after Brexit: How Not to Lose Money?

With the British pound tumbling long-term low ( lowest since 2012), it is a serious matter to manage your pounds before going on holiday to Spain, Italy or Croatia this autumn. To plan ahead and not to exchange pounds in Europe is a must; to be exact, it is much more of a better deal if you take cash with you – this way you will not lose 15% of your money on airport booths. Want to save even more? Buy your holiday currency now.

Spain Listeria Outbreak: Keep Safe from Bug

The food poison and listeria outbreak in Spain have been on news recently, with 200 Britons suffering. To keep safe, you should stay away from meat products and rather go for vegetarian and vegan Spain meals. To learn how to ask for a no-meat meal at a restaurant, read our advice  here.

Travel Europe after Brexit by train Interrail

Sustainable Travel and Responsible Transportation in Europe

If you think that sustainable travel is all about booking a green hotel, visiting countryside tulip farms, then you may as well be tricked into buying a refillable water bottle while waiting for a carbon-fuelled cheap airline flight from one city to another.

While crossing out the overcrowded destinations and cutting out plastic is indeed important, even more so is your transportation mode and dietary habits. While we already wrote about how to eat sustainably in Spain, what to pack for zero-waste travel and where to switch from overcrowded Europe destinations, the transport is oftentimes overlooked as neutral to sustainable travel when in fact, it is not. 

Train Travel in Europe after Brexit

There is only as far you can get walking, running or pedalling on your bike. While we strongly encourage you to go on a cycling tour in France, or all across Europe, it is almost inevitable to use a transport mode powered by other than man energy, unless you are up for riding a horse or sailing across Atlantic to attend a business meeting like Greta Thunberg.

There are a few simple ways to switch from unsustainable low-fare, high-emission short flights to green vehicles, like electric trains and electric buses to get to your holiday destination. For visiting Europe, one of the most convenient, no-fuss and also the most sustainable way to get around the continent is to get a Eurorail pass. Partnering with national train lines, routes include thousands of European towns and cities in 31 countries for Eurorail global pass. Alternatively, you can slash your expenses and choose one country pass. Easily accessible, customizable train passes may not be the cheapest, but definitely the most convenient way of getting around, allowing for days, weeks and even months of travel.

Buses

Unless you are going on family Europe holidays and your rental car is fully loaded, public buses come second best choice to tackle transport carbon emissions. European public inter-city and international bus lines are quite well developed, especially in less populated and developed regions, like Balkans and the Baltic States, or in between smaller towns. If you are up for a long-haul bus ride, though, be prepared to check reviews first, to avoid smelly toilets. Most buses in Europe these days come from with reclining seats, free WiFi, and silence, instead of the latest Eurovision song on repeat.

Hitchhiking

Not being an option if strive for convenience or try to juggle across Europe with a family or dog, but.. As long as you are (young?), wild and free, hitchhiking around Europe is the easiest way to travel with zero regrets about environmental track left behind you, as you are simply making the trip of somebody else to be more resource-effective. As for the budget, it is also a more budget-friendly option, while for safety you should always check Hitchwiki site for tips, tricks, best spots and even gatherings and hitch-races.  

Carpooling

An alternative to blind hitchhiking is other sharing transportation services, like carpooling. Hopping into Oskar in Hungary, BlaBlaCar in Southwestern Europe, or Carpool.be in Belgium and Netherlands, you can give a boost to shared services. These will work the best in mainstream hours following people who do daily or weekly commuting to work, university or countryside house.    

Eco-friendly Travel Transportation Apps

To choose between the modes of transport, we suggest always go for road transportation and if possible then sharing services, but if you are still puzzled what’ s the best for planet, here are some apps to guide you through travel ecology and help to plan you travel consciously.

Green Travel Choice

Green Travel Choice app allows you to track your CO2 emissions, no matter if you are driving a rental car, taking a  bus or riding a motorbike. The app logs your trips, travel distances, and your emissions over time, and you can travel and learn at the same time. Partnering with TIES, The International Tourism Society, developers have worked hard to provide accurate data in collaboration with one of the most influential ecotourism organizations.

To download the app, you will need to have $1.99 on your card and iPhone, iPod or iPad running at least iOS 3.0 

BlaBlaCar Travel After Brexit

BlaBlaCar is an app dedicated for people to share rides. You can look up rides several weeks In advance or create search reminders for either carpooling or bus taking you to the destination. You can decide between the cars based on who has booked a ride already – red their profile feedback before sharing a long-haul ride. The app is for free, available for both iOS and Android devices.

FlixBus

Need a last-minute bus from one city to another? There is no better (and almost no greener) way to get around Europe – just open the app, book your ride and hop on the bus to get to your desired destination.  according to the reviews, however, the FlixBus app does not always update the time schedules for buses, so beware the fact that there is a slight chance of you staying on the road.

Eurail vs Interrail – Carbon Neutral Travel Transport Options

Eurail and Interrail passes are probably the best option to anyone coming to Europe for sustainable holiday and visiting several cities at once. 

Eurail or Interrail – What’s the Difference and Which One Should You Get?

Both are referring to international or intercity train network passes for the European 31 country network. The difference here lies In the fact that all-in-all, while InterRail passes are for Europeans, Eurail passes are for non-Europeans, it can get a bit more tricky with residence area. You cannot buy a Eurail pass if you reside in Europe, as well as you cannot buy an InterRail pass if you don’t.

As a UK citizen, you are in luck, as InterRail is much cheaper (under 25 years of age one-month pass goes for €422 for InterRail and €568 for Eurail). While Eurail pass offers many more options for travellers to choose from: one-country pass, two-country and regional passes.

Just in case you wonder, there is a difference in train types included in each type of pass. InterRail Global Pass also covers Ecostar high-speed train connecting London, the United Kingdom with France and Belgium. You can reserve the train up to 3 months in advance. However, for many other high-speed trains like French TGV, night trains and scenic trains, reservation with an additional fee is required. 

InterRail – Is it Worth it? Budgeting for Sustainable Travel

Is Interrail worth it? To say the least, Interrail pass is quite a splurge. While flexibility and city-hopping may be worth it, we advise you to always check the trains available on your approximate travel route. More often than not, with good planning and booking bus and train tickets well in advance, single-ticket rides are much more budget-friendly, allowing you to save some money.

However, if you are with your backpack, open to spontaneity and rather horrified of catching free WiFi’s across the road trying to look up train schedules and understand the timetables in a foreign language, Interrail may be for you.

However, you should still remember to make reservations in advance – you can do it via Rail Planner app.

Travel for Free with UK youth pass to Europe after Brexit

If you are a student coming from the United Kingdom and wishing to travel for free, go for it! Even after Brexit, British teenagers will be able to apply for free EU rail passes awarded by European Union on its 20,000 free train passes within “DiscoverEU” project. No matter if UK exits EU on 31 October, British teens will be continued to be awarded EU train passes, to be “ambassadors” of Europe and share their travels on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. If you missed the deadline on 16 May, there is still a chance to apply for tickets in the second round in Autumn 2019. 

Once the UK leaves the EU, the British will not be able to take part in European programmes, like the Erasmus student exchange, so InterRail pass may be one of the last chances to milk Europe.

Want to share what’s important for you with others? Pin this:

Travel Europe Agfter Brexit Interrail Eurail train and visas

10 Things to Do in Hanoi, Vietnam on Budget

If one goes for budget accommodations, yet wants to get the most value out of the money, enjoying all the perks of traveling and exploring new places, exotic locations, an abundance of fresh fruits, then South East Asia is the place to go. Even high-class places and luxury hotels here in Vietnam are priced very moderately. From hotels to cafes to even haircuts and foods are extremely budget-friendly. Here we list 10 experiences you should have when visiting Hanoi, Vietnam.

Why Vietnam?

Vietnam is one of the countries of South-East Asia that in the West is mostly known for its clothing and apparel industry, tea, coffee, and war. However, the history of Vietnam makes it much more alluring. If you for a Vietnam 10 day itinerary, you will definitely see it. From the early days of inhabitation, the rule of Chinese and European arrival and colonization, Vietnam has survived and blossomed throughout centuries and preserves the diversity of cultures, customs, and traditions. French architecture, Chinese temples, Vietnamese coffee, and traditional religion has been well preserved and not yet destroyed by globalization, tourism and catering to travelers.

Eat Out and Good

If you are a foodie, then Vietnam will be a paradise for you. We promise this. From healthy vegetarian Pho soups with tofu to crunchy spring rolls to green clean-eating vegan Morning Glory dishes, Vietnamese cuisine is simple, yet super delicious and good for your belly. And the best thing is, you can eat like a queen for just a couple of dollars a day. Even at the fanciest restaurants, your meals are unlikely to cost you more than 5 dollars. Make sure you try street food as well, like spice mango slices everyone gets crazy about!

Taste the Egg Coffee and Vietnamese Coffee

Food is food, but what desserts are a whole different level. What could be better than a freshly picked mango, dragon fruit or guava fruit for breakfast? These exotic fruits are deliciously sweet, ripe and well preserved. Look for the best prices at night markets, on the streets of Hanoi in the daytime or grab a snack of mango and spices on the street at night. The best market we recommend for you to visit is Cho Hom Market. Get some cash before though, as looking for an ATM that accepts your Western card in Hanoi can be a bit of a hassle.

If you are more into nuts, seeds, and other salty and savoury snacks, here is great news for you! Vietnam is the largest exporter in the world of blood cashew nuts. As an exporter country, Vietnam also offers the best prices for cashew nuts. So do not wait and dive straight in!

 

Shop for Silk Clothing for Cheap

Along with cotton fabrics and sports clothing manufactured for Nike, H&M, Zara and other consumer labels around the world, silk is one of the top export fabrics of Vietnam. If you happen to look for a new dress, shirt or some other clothing, then go and visit Hang Da Market in the Old Quarter which is open every day from 5 AM to 5 PM. You will find deals you would never imagine.

Go to Body Massage

 

If you wish to relax a bit, you should definitely go and try Vietnamese massage. You will find posters advertising cheap foot massages or full-body massages on every single street for one of the best prices in the world available, but in case you want to visit a trusted review, go and have a massage at  TRE Massage.

Ride a Bike

Are you more into action? Hanoi (and the whole Vietnam) is best enjoyed and discovered while riding a motorbike. If you live in the outskirts of the city, make sure you rent a bike. In case you are staying here for longer, it is even better to buy one and sell it further when you leave. Many go on a full-fledged adventure from South to North or the other way around, discovering Vietnam on a whole different level.

 

All in all, you can enjoy just about any experience in Vietnam on a budget. Be it a fancy restaurant, a street food market, tailoring services or even hairdressers, you can have it all, not wasting money and having the best travel experience and quality time. Not sure you want to go to Vietnam? Here is our guide on how to choose between Vietnam vs Thailand trip.

Enjoyed the article?

Pin this:

cusslynest blog travel blog croatia vacation beaches holidays in europe spain florida naples dubrovnik granada alicante valencia san sebastian zaragoza madrid barcelona travel guides

Best Eastern Europe Festivals to Attend

You already attended at least some Europe festivals in the first months of summer? There is still August left to enjoy! Here we list the best music festivals in Eastern Europe in August 2019. While Eastern European events are generally more friendly to pocket, you can expect the line-ups being as diverse and interesting as their British isle and Western Europe counterparts. Let’s dive in!

Image source: Sziget

Sziget | Hungary

When? 7-13 August 2019

Music genres? Electronic dance music (EDM), indie, rock, pop, rap

Where? Budapest

 

Born out of the collapse of the Soviet Union and located on the island in the heart of Budapest, this festival features the best world-class musicians. Find your place to stay here or take a hammock with you to sleep between the concerts of your favourite artists!

Image source: Untold
UNTOLD Festival | Romania

When? 1-4 August 2019

Music genres? Various pop, rock and EDM

Where?  Cluj-Napoca

 

Romania is famous for its wine, warmhearted welcomeness to guests and rose plantations. But what’s more, Romania is expanding with every year in its music scene, and Untold festival is no different. Hosted in the central park of Cluj Napoca, this festival sees 300,000 visitors yearly, and hosts one of the best dance music DJ’s in the world.

Image source: Defected Croatia
Defected | Croatia 

When?  8-13 August 2019

Music genres? House

Where?  Tisno

 

Defected is a boutique festival which has found its venue on the shores of Adriatic. Get yourself a tent, or grab a hammock to go to the house music festival!

Image source: Sea Dance
Sea Dance | Montenegro

When? 30 August – 1 September 2019

Music genres? Electronic dance music (EDM), electronic, house techno

Where? Budva

 

Montenegro is famous for its yet undiscovered nature with mountains and beautiful coastal area. Dance and house will shake you up, and Buljarica Beach will treat you well.

Image source: Awake FestivalAwake | Romania

When? 15 – 18 August 2019

Music genres?  Drum’n’bass, hip-hop, indie, soul and punk

Where? Teleki

 

Awake is a boutique festival in Romania. The rural baroque castle Teleki Estate homes dancers and music lovers from all over Europe, and with a good reason. Not only the festival offers music, but also enhances the experience with interactive theatre and cinema, a forest library, talks from the “feed your mind” and wellness activities.

 

Image source: Uprising Festival | Europe Music Festivals 2019Uprising | Slovakia

When? 23-24 August 2019

Music genres? Reggae, dancehall, ska, latino, hip-hop, jungle and drum’n’bass

Extras: half-pipe, yoga, capoeira (Afro-Brazilian martial art), dance workshops, street art, Jamaican food

Where? Bratislava

 

Slovak festivals marking the anniversary of the second world war resistance movement, the Slovak National Uprising of 1944 is held in a laid-back atmosphere by the natural park with a lake. Take it slow and breathe in – the dance workshops, yoga and other activities will sum up your summer in a relaxing way.

 

Still not decided where to go? Take a look at what accommodation we have to offer and share this by pinning on Pinterest!

cusslynest blog travel blog croatia vacation beaches holidays in europe spain florida naples dubrovnik granada alicante valencia san sebastian zaragoza madrid barcelona travel guides

Digital Nomad Travel Tech List

Digital nomad travel tools – how hard can it be?

Both Europeans and non-Europeans are heavily using mobile devices when traveling. Today, travelers recognize the smartphone to be the single most indispensable item they carry with them.

But apps we use whilst on the trip are not always exceeding our social media “stack”. And here, we face one of the largest inefficiencies. Tech allows you to discover the best deals. They uncover the best opportunities and tackle the most urgent problems.  In short, the smartphone is indispensable in every way, as it is our arms and hands whenever we go.

And it is up to us, how to equip our tech with the best software or apps.

brown truss towers during daytime

International Roaming

For Europeans, it is no longer a problem to travel around Europe without incurring additional roaming charges. However, the problem may be very true for all travelers coming from countries around EU.

What you may do is to use the Ajura mobile app allowing for international roaming and calls with your own country number, not the share the new number every time one travels. How does it work? Whenever you are connected to the internet, your phone can receive calls via the app, no matter what country find yourself in. This way, there is no need to get a  new number for the country number you are traveling to every new destination.

Image result for revolut

Cash and Cards – What to Get

For Europeans, it is easy again. European banks are largely connected in networks which are charging lower and lower fees for foreign withdrawals with every year. However, if you are a foreigner, things can become tricky.

But let’s start with the easy stuff. The simplest account is one in a mobile bank. Currently, the European leaders are N26 and Revolut, of which both offer pretty awesome deals for frequent travelers, freelancers and other people who often find themselves in different countries.

Revolut

Revolut is one of the leading, and most talked-about opportunities if one is concerned with. Moreover, the bank is also licensed as from December 2018. Revolut is innovating and soon to provide IBAN codes to all its customers (Update July 2019: Revolut launched IBAN codes for its non-UK customers), no matter inside or outside of the United Kingdom. You can order your Revolut prepaid card for free. Then, you can withdraw money for free up until  €5,000.

The pre-paid card is then available for card payment and money withdrawals. Anywhere in Europe, it is free for the first €200 per month.

N26

N26, on the other hand, is a totally free German bank (an important aspect with Brexit coming soon!), charging no fees for the initial card ordering, but having a 1.7%  fee on non-euro ATM charges, while no fees on spending. Opposite to Revolut, N26 also is integrated with both Apple Pay and Google Pay, while Revolut supports Google Pay exclusively.

If you come from countries outside the European Union, then Uber Visa may be another good international credit card coming at zero annual fees. The card offers you 4% cashback in restaurants, takeout and bars, while you can earn 2% back on distinct online purchases including Uber, and 1% back on all other purchases. Additionally,  there is no other annual fee, as well as no foreign transaction fees. Could not sound better, right?

person holding black smartphone

Offline Maps in Your Pocket

There are several leaders, with Google Maps probably ruling others out at the popularity. Google Maps allows you to save places and load different types of navigation. The rrendering speeds of maps are much higher while using Maps.me –

You will have a much quicker feeling app, at the same cost-less rate!

Apartment, Carpet, Chair, Living Room, Contemporary

The right travel apps for booking experience, and accommodation

Booking your accommodation the last minute? It can rain deals! Booking.com, CuddlyNest.com and other booking apps are worth checking out. These websites are only one part of the possible opportunities when looking for a last-minute booking opportunity.

Airbnb, for example, is not particularly well used for the last-minute bookings, as the app is not linking hotel rooms.  Therefore, you may have better luck booking accommodation at some of the all-in-one e-travel websites.

man riding on black underbone motorcycle

Get There Fast, Get There Cheap

If there is something distinct about traveling Europe, it is the one-of-a-kind roadway linkages all across the continent. The network allows you to get from any place, anywhere.

The most used app across both sides of the ocean is undoubtedly Uber, and for a good reason. Not only Uber allows to get from one point to another in large cities like Berlin and Paris. It also allows to spend significantly less when traveling in a pair or in a  small group of friends.

As for other types of alternative taxis, the taxify, recently re-branded to Bolt to offer services likewise to the Asian Grab, and deliver food on both bikes and cars, the Bolt is not widely available all around Europe, either.  

You may also want to know that Oszkar is the variety of carpooling services offered in Hungary, in case you visit Budapest, but limited to passengers. No food here!

As for Southern European countries, the carpooling services are offered by BlaBlaCar, a hugely popular service in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. This carpooling will also get you further than from the city one side to another one.

white train with the distance of mountain during daytime

Flight Bookings and Beyond

Although carpooling is a wonderful opportunity to save some cash for people traveling alone, like backpackers or adventure travelers, the last minute flight offers may provide you with uncovered opportunities for the next destination. Especially if you are around the hubs of large airline companies, such as Ryanair or Wizzair.

One option to make sure you travel with the right mode of transport is Rome2Rio.com. Compromising not only data about European transportation service providers but also Asia, South America and North America among other destinations, the aggregator website lists prices and modes of transportation, leading you to the website directory to make the purchase.

If you are looking for specifically European service, then Omio (previously GoEuro) may be the way to go. The service is particularly adapted to European databases, composing trains, buses,

As for Skyscanner, the plane can take you anywhere, and for cheap! Especially looking at short flights or flight at least 3 weeks ahead, you can spot the best deals here. Skyscanner allows you to browse per date, per the cheapest destination, or per the time of the year when to travel.

Skyscanner, however, will not be the best choice if you are looking for the last-minute deals for European flights. We advise you to go to the airline websites and look directly – the two most popular and widely covered airlines are Ryanair and Wizzair, among others, with the first based in Ireland, while the other one in Hungary, thus covering both ends of Europe.

brown and white structure between trees

Go Places You Have Never Been Before

If you want to step out of the ordinary tourist-book guided and well-beaten path, we advise you to look no further than peer-reviews and well-curated stories and travel atlases, such as Guides by Lonely Planet, Atlas Obscura, and the well-known Trip Advisor. The last one, however, will do exactly what is best avoided, hence, guide you to places the most advised for mainstream tourists.

As for Guides by Lonely Planet, the simple bookmarking tool, just on your phone. You can save and curate your own city guides, adding from the TRips app from Lonely Planet for the best experience.

Atlas Obscura, however, will leave you with a little more guidebook-like experience, recommending places as a travel guide, curated by the fellow travelers and locals, or, as the site suggests, the world’ s hidden wonders.

men and woman standing and sitting on rock

Meet People and Connect 

As for meeting locals, there are two ways to go. Either you explicitly state your intentions on Tinder, or you go with Couchsurfing. Both options may end up well, and much depend on your preferences.

As for the differences, Tinder largely does not support large, or group meetings, while Couchsurfing community meet-ups or hang-outs are just that. While you will see more activity to be biased towards the profile pictures of the initiator, the apps allow you to connect with the locals, or other travelers, as per your preferences.

And, who would have thought? Meeting locals may enhance your travel experience like no activity, tour or museum visit could!

Restaurant, People, Eating, Socializing, Socialize

Stay True to Values While Eating Out

If you are among that 72 % of people who are “labeled” as the “connected travelers,” you may also find to look for restaurants and booking dining places whilst out.

You may find it to be a daunting task to come up with the right choice every day. Your satisfaction may drop in a moment in case you cannot find anything suitable.

While the task may come to be hard for the carnivores, it may at times be almost impossible to find restaurants in your area serving vegan and vegetarian or gluten-free foods. Here, you can turn to the Happy Cow app. It provides local knowledge about vegan menus in the travel destination, prices and serving sizes. You can also try the luck on your own, download the app with cards claiming what foods you can not eat, such as V Cards: Vegan Abroad. Reminder: in Western countries, vanilla bean staple marking is not used to mark vegan dishes.

Recognized your beloved travel app? Comment below!

Wish to share your travel adventures with your fellow travelers? Book a room in a shared apartment, house or condo via CuddlyNest here

Enjoy reading on Medium? Click here and add our curated stories to your Medium reader!

Are you on Pinterest, too?

Share your travel destination inspiration with others! Pin this:

cusslynest blog travel blog croatia vacation beaches holidays in europe spain florida naples dubrovnik granada alicante valencia san sebastian zaragoza madrid barcelona travel guides

Countless Ways to Spot a Backpacker

Ever wondered why are backpackers so different kind of travelers? Why on Earth someone would refuse the comforts of piles of towels in hotel rooms and instead book a hostel to meet fellow travelers, or why would anyone prefer to carry luggage on their backs all day long? Well, we too.. And yet, we love the way luggage-free travel gives freedom to you and allows to enjoy your travel experiences to the fullest, taking away struggles as lines for check-ins in airports and additional charges for large-sized lockers in train stations.

Keep tuned and know how to spot a backpacker to immerse yourself in a totally new travel experience stories!

Living off their Phones

Having a Couchsurfing meetup? Getting a taxi? Booking a CuddlyNest apartment last-minute? Finding the nearest peer-recommended market to get the traditional dish? Connecting with fellow visitors or nomads in the city? Any way, backpackers are living off their phones, and for a reason. It is a gold mine if you are looking for free information, tour guides, and free drink promotions in nearby bars. I mean, all that you need, right?  

You are Stuck in the Train between Two Backpacks

Found yourself stuck between two backpacks in a train or metro, with no way out? Well, chances are, you are stuck between two backpackers.

Wearing Climbing Shoes… In Restaurant

Please, be considerate. When you travel with a backpack, there is no room for several pairs of shoes, especially ones that are not functional. Functionality comes first, especially for full-time travelers, and most importantly, those who are about to chuck everything they own in their 80-liter backpack and continue to another country every couple of weeks.

Mastering Off-Beat Places

If you have ever heard about the off-the-beaten-track gems found in guide books, good for you. Backpackers take a different approach. They go for a beer in a local bar, spend the whole night talking to locals, and then… Well, then they know everything, the ins and outs of local customs, must-tries and must-see local spots.

Connecting with Locals

As you get to know the locals, the whole new world opens to you. Local experience saturates your trip, and guidebooks become unnecessary. If only one could get over the barrier of tourism and share their space with travelers, the world would become more connected… This is the backpackers’ dream, in short.

Street Food for Life

Are you ever seeing backpackers in high-class restaurants? Not really. This folk is all about getting the essence of local culture, whether it means music, traditional dances, or local street food. And yes, it may even mean you taking up the challenge and playing with your gut health.

Picking up the Language in One Night

Goes back to the point where you meet people. Yes, that simple, as to get to know people, and pick up some of the common words to use in the market, at the bar, or… yes, when your Google Maps are not delivering the best results. Backpackers have mastered short foreign phrases. After all, it is all about connecting with locals, right?

Cords and Chargers are their Restaurant Mates

So, it is noon and they are having lunch in the restaurant… for a change. But wait, they are all just tapered to walls and electricity cords… Waiting for the hostel check-in hour while getting some freelance work done. So easy to spot.

No Heels for Ladies, Please

And who would think about carrying around pairs of heels when your whole life is packed in your backpack? No extra (unneeded) stuff. Not even for the sake of elegance.

Living off Trail Mix and Cheap Local Fruit

Markets are full of backpackers. MAgically, they know how to communicate with locals selling guavas in Vietnam and persimmons in Portugal, and can get the price on the spot from French cheese sellers. Awesome, we would love to get that skilled, too!

Wearing Clothes just Washed in the Hotel Sink

Keeping clean is a must, and keeping clean is much harder when you are always on the go. Is that guy wearing this wrinkled, yet not-supposed-o-be wrinkled shirt slightly damp? And do you notice your fellow worker at the cafe having his jeans just washed, and totally faded out from the color-ignorant laundry soap? Bingo, that’s a backpacker!

Getting Resourceful

It is only your imagination holding you back from using navigation as a spoon. Backpacking light comes with a creative mind.

Recognized yourself? Comment below!

Wish to share your travel experiences with your fellow backpackers? Book a room in a shared apartment, house or condo via CuddlyNest here and now – as seamless as it could be!

 

Enjoy reading on Medium? Click here and add our curated stories to your Medium reader!

Written by Anna Auza, April 2019

cusslynest blog travel blog croatia vacation beaches holidays in europe spain florida naples dubrovnik granada alicante valencia san sebastian zaragoza madrid barcelona travel guides

Best European Nature Festivals 2019

Looking for Europe Music Festivals August 2019? We too! Here is our guide.

Is the sun is shining out of the window leading you to restlessness waiting for the lunch break to escape the doomedness of sitting in front of your blue-lighted screen all day long? Even if the break is yet to come, you can freshen your mind already now, by taking a look at the amazing and diverse festivals in Europe this summer!

Image result for kolorado festival

Kolorado

Where? Hungary

When? June 19 -22

What? Music and arts

Kolorádó is a good mix of arts and music for the ones tired of the popular music offered in the most popular Hungarian summer festival Sziget. Kolorádó allows to escape the crowds of the city and rest for a couple of days in the nearby Sztrilich Scout Park. the festival is quite new, being hosted for the fourth time in 2019. You can stay in Budapest, but we encourage you to dive deep into the festival aura and stay in a hammock in the forest, or a special mini house built exclusively for the festival. Drawing, painting and other visual arts are on the plan, so be ready for self-expression!

Image result for ultra

Ultra Europe

Where? Croatia

When? July 12 – 14

What? Music

Ultra is a  multi-venue outdoor electronic music festival that is a part, happening in one of the most beautiful beach locations in Europe, in Split. Ultra Music Festival’s worldwide expansion is a guarantee for good music and unforgettable electronic music dance experience in Croatia this summer. Be sure you do attend at least one Ultra in your life in one of its twenty host countries.

Image result for la linea festival

La Linea

Where? England

When? April 25 – May 5

What? Music

If you are into Southern rhythms, this one is for you. Best Latin music performances in the heart of London is precisely what La Linea Festival London offers to its attendees. Every year showcasing new artists, the festival invites singer-songwriters with futuristic sounds to the mecca of European culture every spring. If you are looking for fusion styles in music, this one is just for you. Check out where to stay in London – we have both shared rooms, apartments, or hotel rooms for the best rest after a long day of pleasing musical experiences.

Showcasing new artists and singer-songwriters with futuristic sounds and fusion styles, you can expect lots of class and fun.

Positivus

Where? Latvia

When? July 26 – 27

What? Music

Positivus is another gem for the ones looking for an immersive nature and music experience. Hosted in the idyllic location just by the sea, the festival has seen major growth since 2007. It will be a great choice for those looking for an alternative European destination, as it is the heart of Eastern Northern Europe, allowing you to visit Nordic countries and the Baltics on your way.

Image result for feel festival

Feel Festival

Where? Germany

When? July 11 – 15

What? Music and Dance

Feel festival is, just as described, for the ones who enjoy immersive experiences, feeling all aspects of a festival. Here you can camp almost directly on the beach, and visit Berlin before or after the festival, which is located by the Bergheider See 127km south of Berlin.

Image result for boom festival

Boom 

Where? Portugal

When? July 28 – August 4

What? Visual arts and music

Boom Festival is for the environmentally conscious ones enjoying the green forests and the wilderness of Portuguese nature. It is hosted every second year and won the Outstanding Greener Festival Award – the highest accolade of the four categories to be awarded, as a recognition for its environment and social program once again. Hosted according to periods of the Moon, and is one of the closest nature-immersive experiences you can possibly get while enjoying music and arts.

So now, when your coffee break is over, go and hit the productivity list. And, make sure to plan something amazing for your European summer adventure with CuddlyNest.

 

Pin this to save it for summer:

cusslynest blog travel blog croatia vacation beaches holidays in europe spain florida naples dubrovnik granada alicante valencia san sebastian zaragoza madrid barcelona travel guides

Budget European Surfing Destinations

In winter, it may be tricky to maintain the physical strength and stamina until the summer season. When on vacation with your surfing friends, you do not always have to splurge on expensive airplane tickets to catch the wave. Here we suggest 4 best destinations for your surf craving this spring – and for cheap.

Image Source: Red Bull, The Big Wave Tour

Surfing Paradise Nazare, Portugal

One of the least expensive, guess what, budget, destinations for your early spring surfing getaway are to be found in Portugal. From ones craving the extreme (and we warn you, this requires a super-skill) experiences, Nazare Canyon is one of the most exciting. Yet, it may be one of the most dangerous and extreme places to get on the wave.

Some of the world ’s records are from here, amongst which was the Rodrigo Koxa. He broke the world’s record wave in 2017 on an 80-foot wave in off the coast in Praia do Norte. The record was close to death, but definitely worth it, bringing him. If you are on a safer side, we suggest opting out for Algarve for a nice swim, supporting the adrenaline junkies watching the documentary The Endless Summer portraying adventures of the surfing team.

Source: Skyticket

Surfing in Biarritz, France

Another great pick to go on Europe surfing weekend in Biarritz in France. You can find accommodation easily if start looking early on, and the best time to go being June and July. If you are not a complete beginner, then go from April up till late October. That’s the season for seasoned surfers, and Biarritz is then a good surfing destination. Do not expect to break world records here, though, as it is located in the inner side of the Bay of Biscay.

Source: Isles of Sicily Travel

Cornwall, Ireland

Are France and Portugal not your cup of tea? Ireland off Continental Europe has a good offering as well. The climate in Northern Ireland is rather mild. Also, waves are consistent, making it an excellent choice for those just starting out. But beware the summer crowds, as here it is a thing. The best places to visit are Chapel Porth, Godrevy and Gwenvor. The latter one has the longest surfing area of all.

Source: Conde Nast Traveller

Algarve Surfing

We cannot help it, Portugal is one of the best spots for surfing. But if you are the one traveling in a company of s surfer, we advise you to plan going to Algarve instead of Nazare. You will love the white sandy beaches. Don’t forget taking a swimsuit with you, no matter the season you are in!

 

Pin this:

CuddlyNest Blog by Anna Auza Vacation Rentals All Around the Worls

Free Budapest Activities, Tours and Excursions

While looking for budget destinations in Europe, you cannot go wrong with Hungary. While some of us plan Christmas Holidays well in advance, some in a distinctively human way postpone every single decision, among them – where to go this Christmas Holiday. Eastern and Central Europe have an emerging travel scene and some of its destinations shine brighter with every year. Prague, Budapest, Vienna, and others are true gems. What’ s the best? They are not overly expensive, as the tourism industry is still emerging. Here CuddlyNest had a look at what activities Budapest has to offer for budget travelers.

Taste Hungary Wandering Around the Great Market Hall

If there is something every single traveler loves about the Eastern and central Europe, it is surely the food. Hungarian cuisine is well known for its real and unimaginably tasty food. Cheese croissants selling in the Hungarian pékség are fresh and full of cheese, and Hungarian specialty lángos is made on the spot as ordered. Have your stomach grumbling already? When visiting Great Market Hall, do not forget to buy a couple of paprika spice satchels selling on the Hungarian street and climb up on the second floor to have a free tour on Hungarian national handicrafts, which are selling at bargain prices.

Wander the Streets with Eyes in the Sky

Budapest has a lot to offer beyond museums. In fact, the best museum to visit is the streets of Budapest. Conserved the history of ages of different ruling powers and cultures present,  the architecture tells its own story. From the Budapest Parliament building to Szent István (St. Stephens’s) Basilica to Castle, you will see architecture from Medieval and Baroque to Neoclassicist, preserved throughout centuries. And if you have a chance to stay in one of the Neocclaccisist buildings while sharing the apartment or renting out the whole place for your family trip, you will see how spacious are the buildings.

Budapest Free Tours in English, German and Spanish

Budapest winter weather may not always be as welcoming as in Medditarean climate, but the guides of Budapest free tours will make you feel better instantly. Tours are offered in Chinese, English, Spanish, German and even Russian, and are generally very informative and interesting. One thing you should keep in mind though is the fact that you must be registered before. Not required but welcomed also are some donations for the guides. Keep in mind that tours range from 1 to 3 hours and start from the Jewish Quarter – you better be there on time!

Ruin Pubs for the Contemporary Budapest Experience

If you wish to save whilst on the road, yet experience not only the historical architecture but meet people and have fun in one of the Budapest’ s signature places, you must go to its ruin pubs. From the super touristic Szimpla Kert to Csendes Bar, Budapest will exceed your expectations and amaze you with its diversity. If you love cultural experiences, go to Szimpla on Mondays and join the Hungarian dances. If your thing is brunch, then Farmers’ Market and Breakfast will be just right for you. Other hotspots of alternative, yet free cultural experiences are Golya, Aurora and Kék Ló (Blue Horse).

Free Days on Budapest Museums are Worth It

Budapest art scene may not be regarded as particularly avant-garde, although you may find many inspiring and innovative approaches present in its many local galleries, especially when taking a stroll around the District II. However, Budapest offers a lot to art lovers, and if you are lucky, you may get into museums completely for free. Every month on the third Saturday you may visit Hungarian National Gallery (Castle District) and Fine Arts Museum ( near Hősök Tere – Heroe’s Square) for free given that you are a European passport holder under the age of 26. For modern and contemporary art lovers Ludwig Museum will be the best fit, free to attend on the last Sunday every month. Hungarian National Museum in the centre of the city and Skanzen of Szentendre on the outskirts of Budapest are good places to go as well.

Overall, while Budapest weather definitely takes a toll on the possible things to do in December and January, it is never short on events and places to go. Budapest is therefore just the perfect getaway for anyone looking for a great place to go for a couple getaway for Christmas or New Year holidays.