So you’ve decided to join one of our legendary YachtLife Croatia tours? Congratulations: you’re in for one hefty summertime blowout of deck-top beers and sun-splashed beaches, raucous DJ parties, wild swimming sessions in the sparkling waters of the Adriatic, historic towns crowed with Byzantine castles, endless sunbathing sessions, soaring coastal mountains – the list goes on! And that’s not even mentioning the top people you’re bound to meet along the way, from the onesie-touting partiers to the free-thinking backpackers to the fun-loving tour leaders courtesy of LBW’s dedicated team.
SANGRIA AND SUN: 5 SPANISH CITIES YOU HAVE TO VISIT
Ranging from the dusty valleys of Andalusia to the verdant mountains of the Basque Country, the snow-capped Pyrenees to the salt-washed southern coast near Cadiz, Spain has got plenty of secrets up its sleeve. Traveling here means adding not only mouth-watering tapas and paella to the menu, but also the bucket-list cities of Madrid and Barcelona, not to mention a whole load of other enthralling urban spots. No siree, there ain’t nothing like a Spanish Fiesta!
Knowing your mai khao jai from your sa wat dee was never going to be easy! But if you’re heading – like so many other backpackers - to the Land of Smiles this year, perhaps it’s finally time to get to grips with the tricks and twists of the Thai tongue. Not only will commanding a basic level of lingo put you in great stead when it comes to impressing the locals, but also be a helpful addition when you come to navigating through the beer bars of Khaosan Road, ordering up those frothy Chang beers, or finding out where the best beaches are in Phuket, Phi Phi and the other kohs of the south.
If you’re heading off to case out the wilds of beautiful Brazil with LBW Travel this year, then be sure to take some time out from Ipanema and the glowing sands of Ilha Grande for a spot of these Brazilian delicacies. They go from spicy fish stews to fruity concoctions packed with healthy goodness, and are the things any traveller heading to this corner of South America should be sure to sample!
IN THE LAND OF VOLCANOES: THE TOP 5 HIKES IN NICARAGUA
Peppered with the smoking calderas of countless volcanoes, beset by deep and misty stretches of primeval forest, trodden by curious tree frogs and jaguars, white-headed capuchin monkeys and ocelots alike, it’s hardly surprising that Nicaragua is the go to place for trekkers in Central America these days. Check out this list of the nation’s top hikes, some of which are on the menu of our acclaimed Nica itineraries!
PICCHU, PARTIES AND BREATHTAKING WONDERS: 7 BUCKET LIST TRIPS YOU HAVE TO MAKE
Perhaps you’re pining for a party under the full moon? Maybe you’re longing to case out the mysterious wonders of Latin America’s ancient peoples? Or, are you eager to check off the world’s longest rail journey, Europe’s greatest historical treasures, and Croatia’s party towns? Whatever your wanderlust has got you thinking this year, be sure to check out this selection of LBW’s top bucket list journeys. We don’t think it’ll disappoint!
NOODLE SOUPS AND TAILORS: THE TOP 7 THINGS TO DO IN HOI AN
Hoi An is unquestionably one of the true bucket-list sights of Vietnam. Far from the heady fray of cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, the town oozes French colonial charm and the ancient traditions of both Chinese and Japanese settlers. It’s also got a fine beachfront of shimmering white sand, famous tailors and it’s very own cuisine. No wonder we head this way on our Vietnam Explorer itinerary!
10 TRAVEL WRITERS TO INSPIRE YOU TO TRAVEL THE WORLD
Perhaps you're in need of a good old travel quote or two to get your wanderlust fired up for the next journey. Or, maybe you're looking for a cracking travel novel to inspire that next jaunt around the globe. Check out our list of the top 10 travel writers to get you focused on the globetrotting once again this year…
Whether it's lazing on white-sand beaches or delving into subterranean mazes built by the Viet Cong, riding record-breaking gondolas or hiking the wild paths of the northern mountains, Vietnam has plenty on its bucket list. Check out our top suggestions below…
Imagine the jungles of Krabi at your back, the sounds of swinging macaques echoing through the palm boughs. Then add the scintillating rollers of the Thai Andaman, lapping rhythmically against the karst cliffs and picture-perfect beaches of the shore. Drop in a group of likeminded travellers all eager for a blowout in the Land of Smiles, not to mention daily classes of yoga that push the body and mind, a regime of healthy smoothies and not-so-healthy Chang beers, the opportunity to scuba through coral reefs and the succulent flavours of the Thai kitchen. Bingo: that’s the YogaLife. As if you needed eight more reasons to go and live it!
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A LOCATION INDEPENDENT NOMAD IN THAILAND
Thailand has risen and risen in recent years to become one of the favourite destinations for digital nomads. Many go to the north and settle to work in the cool vegan cafes of places like Pai and Chiang Mai. Others will embrace the seething energy of Bangkok, indulging themselves on the weekend with rooftop cocktail parties and wild blowouts down Khaosan Road (hey, who wouldn’t?).
COCKTAILS, CLIFFS AND SUN: 5 AWESOME BEACH TOWNS IN THE ADRIATIC
Boasting everything from hedonistic party towns that cascade right down to the sparkling Adriatic shore to enthralling historical centers that look like they’ve been lifted straight out of Game of Thrones, there’s a reason that the Adriatic region is hailed as one of the most beautiful in all of Europe. On our much-loved YachtLife tour, a weeklong blowout of ship-deck shindigs and wild swimming in the Med, we hop to a whole host of the top spots along the coast in Croatia. Here’s a look at just a few other gems the greater Adriatic has up its sleeve!
WHAT TO PACK FOR BALI: FROM BOARD SHORTS TO SURF WAX
So, you've decided to travel to the Isle of the Gods? Great choice! We at LBW have been touring and exploring this jewel of the Indonesian islands for years now. We always have a blast. Between the fascinating fire dances of Uluwatu and the majestic cliff-backed beaches of Bingin, the misty jungles that shroud Ubud and the mighty volcanic domes of the north, there's oodles and oodles to do. But what about that all-important packing list? We've lined up some tips below. See you on the sands of Kuta folks…
10 AWESOME THINGS YOU CAN LEARN WHILE DOING THAT GAP YEAR
From adventurous sports to classic language learning, there are myriad new skills to learn on that gap year. Check out this list of our top ten, to see how you can convert that 365 days of globetrotting into a character-building experience…
There's no question about it: Sapa is one of the most awesome places in Vietnam. Nestled high up between the dagger-like karst mountains of Lao Cai Province in the extreme north of the country, it’s a totally wild place. It's surrounded by sweeping vistas of deep-green rice paddies and forest. The horizon is marked by the colossal outline of Phan-Xi-Pang (also known as the Fansipan Mountain), which is Vietnam's highest at a whopping 3,100 meters above sea level. Meanwhile, winding rivers and clutches of fir trees pepper the surroundings, creating a place that rarely fails to take the breath away (seriously, no cliché!).
Ah Bali: the fabled Isle of the Gods. This land of carved Hindu temples and smoking incense, lush jungles, swinging macaques, bustling bazaars, brooding volcanos and roaring surf swells has a deserved place amongst the big players of Southeast Asia. It can rival Thailand for beaches and Vietnam for its adventure. It can muster a party that would put even Bangkok to shame (sorry Khaosan Road!), and offers some of the most primeval backcountry in Indonesia – think mist-topped jungles and cascading rice paddies that bloom with 10,000 shades of green!
10 AWESOME WAYS TO EXPLORE EUROPE YOU WOULDN'T THINK OF
Europe remains one of the most exciting destinations on the globe. From the smoky beer halls of the Czech Republic to the sun-kissed isles of the Med, it's packed with awesome things to do and see. It's also the perfect place to get creative with your travel, with possibilities for everything from hiking jaunts to boating on the seas. Check them out…
No matter if you're heading to a coworking space between the swaying palms of Southeast Asia or the smoke-spurting volcanos of Central America, the monkey-spotted jungles of Indo or the frenetic towns of India, there are a few things that every remote worker will need. We're not just talking about the obvious things: speedy internet, somewhere to sit and work, a comfy bed. We're also talking about the things you might not consider; the things that transform those nomadic trips with the laptop abroad from a plain old working holiday into an experience you're going to love and treasure.
You might be ready for that gap year, but are you ready for the stereotypes that go with it? Whether that means being a soul-searching warrior of free love, a renegade against the nine-to-five, or just a broke pre-student who needs the occasional check from mum and dad to keep the pad Thais a-flowing, there's oodles to choose from. Dust yourself down would-be globetrotters of a year, because LBW have our terse retorts and pithy answers at the ready…
So you're going to Thailand, eh? Good choice. Get ready for nights of bucket-sloshing parties on tropical sands. Get ready for neon-painted shindigs under the full moon. Get ready for lazy days on the beaches of the Andaman, palm trees swaying to and fro nearby. Get ready to meet perennially-smiling locals and a whole load of fellow backpackers. Get ready for incense-scented temples topped with stupas so golden you won't believe it. Get ready for cold Changs in Chiang Mai and canyon-hiking in Pai. (We won't mention the (C)hangovers!)
DESTINATIONS THAT TOUR OPERATORS LOVE IN CENTRAL AMERICA
Ah Central America: a world of mystery and magic; of come-at-able locals with perpetual smiles and tropical birds so colourful they seem almost unreal. Ranging from the vine-dressed temples of Guatemala's Tikal to the salty fishing towns of the Panamanian Pacific coast, from the ambrosial sands of the Caribbean islands in Bocas del Toro and Belize to the endless surf streams of Mal Pais and Manzanillo in Costa Rica, there are plenty of reasons why tour operators simply love organizing trips to this bucket-list-busting corner of the globe.
Maybe it’s bungee jumping in the jungles of South America that’s got you all fired up? Or is it the thought of intrepid hikes to ancient Incan ruins in the Andes? Perhaps it’s the promise of hidden surf spots in the Indonesian Nusa Tenggara, endless parties on the full moon-floodlit beaches of Thailand, scrambles up Nica’s volcanic hills, or slides down Vietnam’s sandy dunes? Maybe its days spent under the Slavic sun hopping the plunge pools of Croatian waterfalls? Maybe it’s the vast Atacama and the hidden pueblo towns within? Maybe it’s Bali’s mysterious monkey forests or the green, green hills of Ubud? Maybe it’s all of the above…
Ah, Koh Samui: Land of sun, sand, sea, swaying coconut palms and the splash of the turquoise-coloured Thai Gulf. There are plenty of reasons why this shimmering jewel of an island remains one of the top tourist draws in the fabled Land of Smiles. Whether you come to laze on the beaches with a bucket cocktail, pull some downward dogs on the cliffs, sample the ginger-packed, chili-topped sizzle fries of the roadside eateries, or wander the jungle paths in search of mysterious Buddhist shrines and hidden little hamlets made from bamboo, you're sure to find something to satisfy that tropical wanderlust here.
Da Nang, Vietnam, is a city often overlooked by the globetrotter. Once written off as just a provincial hub for transport to and from the UNESCO sites of Hue, Hoi An and the verdant Ba Na Hills, it's now changing its tone with speed. It spills into the ocean along the bustling strips of China Beach, where luxurious hotel resorts mingle with DJ-spinning clubs and pearly-white sands. It's bolstered by the mysterious religious shrines and legends of the Marble Mountains on the outskirts of the centre, not to mention the gorgeous ridges of Son Tra. And then, of course, there's the bucket list retreat of Hoi An – one of Vietnam's top draws, sat just a stone's throw down the road from the big city. LBW tours pass close by, which means you might just get a chance to indulge in some of these top activities…