Marathons 2020 Cuddlynest blog

Exotic Marathons Around the World in 2020

Are you a running addict and you would like to perform a marathon outside your comfort zone? Well, this is the ideal post for you. We are going to discover what marathons 2020 are the most suitable long-distance trails for the craziest and toughest runners who need a bit of adrenaline new goals. Of course, we all know the mythical marathons like New York, Athens or the great and mythical cities. Therefore, we will give you 5 options a little more alternatives for marathons 2020 has to offer.

1. Marathons 2020: The Great Wall Marathon (16th May 2020)

A Marathon that opened in 1999 and now has approximately 2,500 runners. A very tough race, since it crosses the 5,164 steps of the Great Wall of China, one of the most famous scenarios worldwide. Mentalize to endure the humidity and heat of the area, that is one of the most important conditions with which you will face.
If you are not prepared to run 42 kilometres but you still want to have the chance to experience it, do not worry, you can make other distances such as the half marathon or even an 8.5 km fun run.

2. Midnight sun Marathon (20th June 2020)

The next edition of this marathon celebrates its 31st anniversary. The most curious thing about the race: the sun will accompany you all the way. With 24 hours of daylight in the summer, this unique evening marathon can start at 8:30 p.m.
Sure, you have to deal with possible freezing temperatures and a few crossings of the gruelling Bridge of Tromso, but you might also spot some polar bears hiding out in the snowy mountains, too.

3. Inca Trail Marathon to Machu Picchu (3rd – 12th July, 2020)

Rated as the toughest Marathon on the planet, it can not be completed in a single day or two. It is a little-known race since it only has 6 years old. It started in 2012 with 40 entries and is gradually increasing in number.
For this event, it is necessary to be an expert runner as it’s described like “A Marathon in distance but an ultra in effort”.
The highlight of the trip is one of the world’s hardest marathons as well as the most scenic South American marathon with the finish line at Machu Picchu (Peru).

4. Antarctic Ice Marathons 2020(13th December 2019)

If you are into eccentricities this is your one. 42 km crossing the ice and the low temperatures characteristic of the Antarctic. That is why it is impossible to establish an average finish time since the weather conditions and terrain are variable from one year to the next. To give you an idea: The men’s event record of 3: 34.47 was set by Petr Vabrousek (CZE) in 2013, while the women’s event record of 4: 20.02 was set by Fiona Oakes (GBR) in 2013.
It’s a unique event that usually does not have more than 50 brave humans, are you one of them?

5. Great Ocean Road Marathon (16th – 17th May 2020)

This is a foot race on one of the most iconic routes of Australian road trips. But you must bear in mind that it can also be extremely hard: the point-to-point course is winding, hilly and is technically 45 Km in distance to the finish in Apollo Bay (although you’ll get a finish time at the 42 Km mark, too). A unique opportunity to experience another way of traveling by road.

Luckily for you, we have all kinds of accommodation to help you rest and prepare your body and mind for any challenge you have ahead. Take a look at our website and do not forget to pack your sports shoes!

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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.

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cuddlynest thailand booking vietnam book a villa private villa with pool versus thailand what to do

Vietnam or Thailand, Where Should I Go?

When it comes to choosing between two Vietnam vs Thailand travel destinations, it is not easy. There are several factors to consider. What kind of vacation are we looking for? What is the budget? How much time do you have? Who are you going with? These are just some questions we suggest you to answer. Then, you can go on packing the luggage for sustainable travel to Asia.

If you have to choose between two exotic and budget-friendly destinations: Thailand and Vietnam, what then? Both countries are part of Southeast Asia. What’s more, both are famous as backpacker paradise and loved by authentic travelers, offering authentic experiences, such as Ha Long Bay Tour – we definitely recommend experiencing the wholeness of South East Asia with budget travel tips!

Vietnam vs Thailand: What to Expect

Thailand: the most Fun Country in the World

Cozy and festive, exotic and tropical, cultured and historic, Thailand versus Vietnam offers a thousand attractions. From striking temples and tropical beaches to the always comforting smile of its people, it is a destination to have fun.

If it is the first time you travel to Asia, it is the ideal destination. Many of its inhabitants speak English, so communication is easier. Bangkok Thailand is a developed city. While it retains the charms of Asia, the culture sock may not be as great, in comparison with neighbouring countries in South Asia.

If you are looking for a destination with dream beaches, Krabi, Southern Thailand is just perfect. Do you remember the famous movie “The Beach” starring Leonardo Di Caprio? It was shot here on the Maya Beach, Thailand. There are thousands of similar beaches throughout the country (in fact, the Thai government has decided to close Maya Beach to the public between the months of June to October to avoid further deterioration of its natural heritage).

Surely you have also heard about the famous Full Moon Party. It is said that Thailand is the most fun country in the world. It is celebrated on the island of Koh Phangan once a month and is the high point of chaos and fun. Maybe that kind of parties are not to everyone’s liking, but if you’re there by the date indicated, it’s worth seeing for yourself at least once in a lifetime.

If you are keen on diving, a must-visit is the Similan Islands. They may not be as popular as Koh Tao. But this is only because the nature reserve is not open all year round. It must be said that there is also a substantial difference in the price. Koh Tao is the best place if you are an inexperienced diver and your goal is to get a license. Many head to Koh Tao to obtain one, as courses are one of the cheapest you can possibly find. 

On the other hand, we have the North of Thailand, the most cultural part of the country. Here, people are calmer and more receptive. In the North of Thailand, you will find that image of Southeast Asia. It is full of the typical mountains and valleys, rivers and waterfalls, temples and history. Places like Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai or Pai are a gateway to Asian ancestral culture.

Vietnam: History, Beauty, and Culture

Its attractions are almost endless: a cultural diversity that combines centuries of local history.  Both Chinese and French had a large influence over Vietnam throughout the centuries.  Eternal rice fields, paradisiacal beaches, and natural landscapes are among the most beautiful in the world. Definitely visit Ha Long Bay, for shopping and for the fresh food that is common in Vietnamese cuisine!

Looking for an adventure? Vietnam, a little more shocking than Thailand but not as extreme as exotic India, is the middle ground.

While films like Apocalypse Now or Platoon are recent classics of the history of cinema, many relate Vietnam history to war. Picturing the Cu Chi tunnels is something common, yet make the country special.

Vietnam is your destiny if you want to have a deeper experience and you are open to new points of view. Local dynasties, Chinese occupation, the Hindu kingdom Champa, the French colonization, the union of Indochina, the occupation of Japan during the Second World War, the division and horrors of the Vietnam War, the consolidation of the communist regime, the opening towards Capitalism … The intense history of Vietnam cannot stop beating you behind every corner of the country.

One of the most magical things about Vietnam is its gastronomic culture. Go out to the street and share a table with the locals in a den where you would probably never enter. Open your mind and try new things, soak up their culture and their customs and above all, observe. Sometimes communicating with locals is tricky.  Since a large part of the population doesn’t speak English, prepare yourself to use body language throughout the trip.

Of course, Ha-Long Bay is a place you can not miss. Get lost in the rice fields of Sapa, if you are good at riding a motorcycle – do not hesitate to rent one! Go on exploration as authentic adventurers. Go canyoning around Da Lat and take some time in Hoi An (read: What to do in Hoi An)to visit the best tailors in the world.

 

Thailand or Vietnam?

As a summary, we will say that both countries are a great option. It does not matter if you are a backpacker, or a solo traveler. Or, if you go on family vacation with kids. Budget-wise, the choice is irrelevant, as in both countries prices are quite similar. 

So, for the first trip to Asia, Thailand is an enviable country. It is full of contrasts, yet local sympathy flows over every corner. Vietnam, on the contrary, is more authentic and surprising.  Thus, it may be that the surprise is not to everyone’s liking. If you want to combine culture and beaches, the right choice is Thailand. Do you are want to explore the history and experience a cultural shock? Then Vietnam is surely your target destination. But before you head to Ha Long bay in Vietnam, read our top things to do on a budget in Hoi An, the Lantern City in Vietnam, or what to do on a budget in Hanoi, Vietnam.

 

9 of the Most Romantic Canals in the World

 

You’ve probably seen a cliché, romantic scene with a couple on a gondola, going down a waterway under the moonlight. You may have only seen these images in movies and on TV, but the truth is that they can indeed be a reality!

If you want to experience true romance, find a short-term rental property on CuddlyNest in one of the following cities and go on the romantic adventure of a lifetime.

Venice, Italy

 

 

That cliché scene you were thinking of? You were probably thinking of one of the canals in Italy. Italy is famous for its romantic scenery, but perhaps no location is more iconic than Venice and their Grand Canal. Gondolas take tours and couples up and down the Grand Canal all day, especially under the Bridge of Sighs. There’s a legend that says if a couple kisses under this structure, their love will be eternal.

 

Annecy, France

 

France is even more beautiful when you’re touring it via a canal boat ride. For optimum romance, head to Annecy and sail past Vieille Ville, a part of the city containing a myriad of cafes, bridges, and shops that all have a decidedly French flair. Once you’re off the bridge, stop by the lover’s bridge, Pont des Amours

 

St. Petersburg, Russia

If you decide to travel down the Griboyedov Canal in St. Petersburg, you’ll get to see the stunning Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood up close. The canal flows for about three miles, showing you downtown St. Petersburg like you can’t experience it anywhere else.

 

 

Alleppey, India

 

The canals that can be found in Alleppey are numerous and winding. Couples can enjoy a relaxing boat ride while under cover of palm trees, exploring Indian villages from a houseboat. You can see everyday activities like prawn fishing and peek in on villages from your comfortable boat.

 

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Canals may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think about Amsterdam, which may be why it’s surprising that there are 165 running through the city. At night, the boats that line the sides of these canals light up to match the bright lights of the shops and restaurants of the city (pictured above), casting Amsterdam in a yellow glow.

 

Nan Madol, Micronesia

Nan Madol is a treat to see in the first place, but experiencing it via a canal boat is an even more incredible experience. The sunken city can be toured by boat, which can allow couples to experience the city that inspired famed authors like Lovecraft and Rollins.

 

Suzhou, China

Suzhou is where you can travel to experience a canal experience under beautiful Chinese blossoms. Dubbed “Venice of the East,” Suzhou, China is home to another Grand Canal that has been around for over a thousand years. Tourists can enjoy a ride down this canal in a traditional Chinese boat while observing the everyday goings on of this beautiful city.

 

Bruges, Belgium

 

Bruges, Belgium is called “Venice of the North.” By traveling the canals in Bruges, you can get a personal look at the Europe you can see in fairytale illustrations — orange brick buildings, green yards with ducks and geese. The scenery is medieval and absolutely stunning.

 

 

Stockholm, Sweden

 

Finally, Stockholm is a beautiful city with a long canal of its own, linking the city to Gothenburg. The Gota Canal is man-made and took over two decades to complete, though the finished product is well worth it. Couples can see historic churches and palaces along their ride, and there are numerous docking spots for a quick lunch or dinner.

 

Romance is waiting for you in any one of these cities. Check out our current rental options on CuddlyNest.com and pick the destination that’s right for you!