Travel tips for Mexico

Mexico travel tips

Mexico is a marvelous vacation location. Diverse marine life with Pacific and Caribbean coastline it is great for water sports. Also you can go on Jungle trail for a hike.

There is no dearth of adventure. It is plentiful, and the Mexican restaurants offer great dishes which will make your day. However every country has its own challenges. Same is for Mexico where you can enjoy better keeping in a mind a few things.

Photography in Mexico

You need to keep a few things in mind while shooting a photo here. Museums will generally allow photography with a nominal fee charged. However some of the artifacts are not to be photographed. Violation of the rules can land you in trouble, hence follow the signs in Spanish and English.

Shooting a photo at an archaeological site is a bit more complicated. You will invariably need a permit if you are using tripod. Except for museums and archaeological sites, all other locations are open for a shoot.

If you are trying to take photos of people, ask them. Some of the tribes will not like taking a photo. So be mindful of the photo etiquette. Also refrain from taking photos in military areas, and churches during service.

Alcoholic beverage intake

The legal age of drinking here in Mexico is 18, 3 years less than USA. Keep a proof of age and identification as the authorities might ask for it. The law is not that strict but it is better to be aware and safe.

Altitude has a direct effect on the intoxication of alcohol. In Mexico City which is at a higher altitude you might feel tipsy after normal alcohol intake. The altitude magnifies the effect of alcohol.

Do not drink and drive in Mexico. It is a serious crime, and you could be serving a long sentence in prison. Drinking in streets is also not legal but the authorities are a bit lenient.

Staying in Mexico

There are plethora of options of staying. However the best place to live are, the end number of rental options. The properties give you a relaxed environment and equipped with all modern facilities like Wi-Fi.

There are many properties spread across Mexico which you can rent. There are options for every budget and duration. The rental properties range from Four Star Villas to 2 Bedroom apartments. The vacation rentals will allow you to merge with the locals and feel the culture inside out. This cannot be experienced in a hotel. Also you are free to bring your pets along in most of the properties. So, if you are planning a vacation in Mexico Vacation rentals are the best place to stay.

Drinking Water

It is advisable to drink only bottled water. When in the villages take care the most as water may be contaminated. While eating salads ask whether it is washed using tap water or purified water. Most of the hotels use purified water always. But be careful about water as you would not want to fall sick and spoil the vacation.

Taxis

Taxis are very affordable all around Mexico. You can take a cab and trust what the driver charges. A simple 10 Peso tips will make the cab driver happy.

Enjoy your trip and the ride in taxis around the country. You will especially need the taxis after partying hard with friends.

Exploring Chicago

If you want a quick escape from the monotonous life of going to and from the office and your home, why not bookmark Chicago on your travel map like I did. Many exhausted workers are looking to escape the city to have a quiet vacation but that could definitely cause a dent to your wallet. Why not opt instead to escape to a different city and explore its sights. Here are some of the places I visited in and can swear by them.

chicago

See The Amazing Chicago Landscape at Navy Pier

This is one of Chicago’s top tourist attractions; meaning it’s the number 1 most visited tourist attraction in this amazing city. If you’re bringing the kids with you on this holiday, this is the destination spot to see. The attraction of this place is the Family Pavilion which is one of the main areas of the Navy Pier. It’s here where you can find the Chicago Children’s Museum, the most modern version of the IMAX theatre nature park like the Crystal Gardens and an indoor botanical park. You won’t have to travel far when you’re hungry because there are operating restaurants and shops within the area.

The Birds Eye View of Chicago at Sears Tower Skydeck

The beauty of Chicago is best seen atop the Sears Tower Skydeck. Access to this place comes whenever you purchase a standard Chicago Card; see online for details. Voted as one of the tallest buildings in North America, the attraction of this place is its observatory; the perfect way to capture the panoramic view of Chicago at dark.

Meet and Greet with the Creatures of the Lincoln Zoo

If you want to see an amazing exhibit of wildlife in their natural state, a visit of the Lincoln Park Zoo will do just the trick. Whether it’s the cold or hot season, the Lincoln Zoo caters to its visitors all year round. Just visit online for the schedule.

Just remember, plan the places you want to visit in Chicago in advance. That will save you time and hassle when visiting this place.

Loose yourself in Angkor Wat

Cambodia is one of the most beautiful countries in the entire world. You could spend an entire lifetime there and still have a whole host of things you have never done. However, if this is the first time you are visiting Cambodia, you should spend an extended amount of time in Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat

The Angkor Wat is the largest temple in the world, and one of the most stunning constructions ever built. It is a surprise it has not been named one of the Seven World Wonders yet! The Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century, and is spread over a 500 acre territory. It’s an incredibly well preserved temple and depicts all the power and skill of the Khmer dynasty.

Angkor Wat Cambodia

The Angkor Wat is the main temple, and it is supposed to be modeled after the universe itself. There are a number of bas reliefs depicting various fables from Cambodian mythology, and a lot of sculptures of Vishnu. The temple looks absolutely stunning, covered in undergrowth and surrounded by beautiful fields.

Tree in Angkor Wat

The main temple is located in the middle of the Angkor Archaeological Park, which spreads over 180 square kilometers. A number of other temples line, from the 9th to the 15th century are scattered around the archaelogical park.

If you are a fan of exploration and ruins, take a few days to explore the Angkor Wat. It is a once in a lifetime experience you will never forget.

Things Not to Do In Ho Chi Minh City

Water Puppet Theatre included in 3 day tour of Ho Chi Minh City

Water Puppets

Well my visit to Ho Chi Minh City did not go as planned. I had my three day trip and it was every bit as good as I’d hoped. I got a thorough introduction to Ho Chi Minh City. I especially loved the Saigon cooking class and the water puppet show. I also enjoyed the boat trip & meal on the last day. At the cooking class I had a bit of fun and shared one of my favourite recipes, Crispy Vietnamese Beef as learnt from the Hairy Bikers. What I did not expect was to follow in Simons footsteps, or as near as damn it. Simon King (one of the Hairy Bikers) broke his ankle while filming.

the Hairy Bikers crispy Vietnamese Beef

Crispy Vietnamese Beef

Me, I broke my wrist while falling, sober, off the motorcycle I had hired for the rest of my stay. So I had the rather unpleasant and painful experience of a broken bone, trying to negotiate a taxi to the nearest hospital and  arranging care of my scooter until I could come and collect it.  Fortunately an English speaking Vietnamese helped me out, as my limited knowledge of the language disappeared with the rising pain. He organized for the motorcycle firm to collect the  bike and sent me in a taxi to collect my passport and insurance details. So glad he did that, although at the time I thought he was being over fussy. When I got to the hospital I found without my documents I would not have been treated. I am so glad I was sensible about taking out health insurance, Vietnam does not have the best reputation for health care and no health insurance scheme. There are public hospitals but private ones tend to have better facilities and staff, along with foreign language speakers. So I am now in plaster and a bit uncomfortable in this humid heat but I am planning on staying here a little longer and the bloke who helped me out is a city engineer and has offered me a room at his home until I leave. Actually quite excited at this development, to actually stay with a Vietnamese family will be great. For their hospitality I have agreed to spend 2 hours a day coaching his two children with their English. Let you know how it goes next time.

Motorcycles are the foremost way of transport in Vietnam especially Ho Chi Minh City

Just a few motorcycles…

Things to do in Vietnam

So I was looking at some things I’d like to do when I go to Ho Chi Minh City. I’ve found quite a few things on tripadvisor that look pretty interesting both historical and night life. I think there are a lot of things to do that you could really get involved and soak up the history of the city and the politics of the region. It’s an exploding country and the city really shows that. I am certain there will be more than enough sites to visit in the city and would love to visit some of the memorials from the Vietnam war. I was checking out some other trip reviews and this one hit my fancy because its a 3 day trip and gave some good insights into things I can do in the city in a short amount of time. Looking forward to getting a few days to check out all of this stuff and really interested in checking out the reunification palace and the war remnants museum if I can. Also the emperor jade pagoda looks like a really great site. I am hoping as well to find a good motorbike rental so I can get around without having to worry about taxing taxis everywhere.

nightlife and tourism in ho chi minh

Hanoi provides

So, surprise, surprise, I’m still in Hanoi! I met a bloke in a bar (i know, I know) who runs these amazing food tours of Vietnam. We had been talking about our favourite food experiences, and I must have been going on so dramatically that, the next thing I know he offers me some work, helping organise different food tours around Hanoi, getting people from A-Z via B in Hanoi can be challenging to say the least.

fresh market food

Well, food and money, what more could a financially challenged man want for! I managed to find a sweet little place through Airbnb for a month (really small, but sweet as, and great location near the covered market Dong Xuan, meaning I don’t need to cook, ever!). I’m just helping in the background of things, taking bookings, meeting people etc., but I’m also learning about the fantastic food culture here, like nothing I’ve ever experienced, The French influence, the Asian spicings, and street food everywhere you turn, cheap as,  is just to die for. A stroll through the markets is an eye opener, live animals, rows of vegetables I would have no idea about. The food here is fresh and quick, salty, sour and bitter, perfect accompanied by a cold beer. Barbecuing is the go, but not like back home, here its done in alleyways, or even the back of bikes.

grilled meat in abundance

The evenings are when things really come alive, so with work out the way, I’m free to walk around the narrow winding streets full of people, on the look out for that perfect bar, the one that gives me my next inspiration.

First Impressions: Hanoi, Vietnam

I’m going to write a little differently this week with a focus on my first feelings and impressions of a place, rather than a reflection on my experiences after an extended time there. First impressions have a lot to be said for them, often shaping and setting the tone for all future experiences. I arrived in Hanoi two days ago and here’s what I think so far!

The capital city of Vietnam but the second largest is a bustling, hive-like sprawl of buildings, alleys, French-inspired architecture, coffee shops and wafer-thin buildings. From the airport I took a taxi to Doi Can and marveled at the sights that sat on the other side of my passenger side window. The driver looked at me with a knowing grin and a sparkle in his eye which said ‘Ah you’re first time to Hanoi.. it’s crazy isn’t it!’ We drove through fields in which workers wore the signature pointed hats and bent doubled over striking the ground, pulling up plants and wading through rice paddies.

Old-Quarter-Hanoi

Once we hit the city centre I was amazed at the traffic. Bikes bustled busily weaving in, out and around the other vehicles with seemingly zero consideration for other drivers. I tried to observe the rules of the road but quickly realised there are none. Just drive slow and try not to hit anything. I’ve since learned that Hanoi experiences more road deaths in a month than the UK does in one year!

When planning a visit I’ve found both the New Hanoian and this wikitravel article on Hanoi massively helpful.

Keep an eye out for my next blog post where I’ll be detailing some of the (mis)adventures of my time here.