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Breathless Vacation Destinations in Egypt

Breathless Vacation Destinations in Egypt

The Eid Al-Adha weekend is just a couple days away and while some have been organizing their vacations since the last Eid rest, many others continue to pause – even squabble – over where to invest the ‘Bairam’ rest. Many Cairenes’ goto getaways revolve in and about the North Coast and Alexandria; but we’re here to tell you that you can find plenty of options to escape Cairo’s brouhaha this Eid.

From the primitive heaven that is Siwa, to the nightlife-buzzing Red Sea destination which is Sahl Hasheesh, there’s plenty waiting to be investigated across Egypt’s coasts.

Dahab

A lovely coastal town located 500km away from Cairo and most recognized to be the-goto destination for anyone seeking a water activity- themed holiday, Dahab charms with its breathtaking Red Sea locations overlooking the Sinai desert and by its wonders that are underwater.

In Dahab, you’ll be able to have a variety of activities including snorkelling, wind surfing, desert hiking, rock climbing and scuba diving.

Combining a budget- accommodation, along with a laid-back hippie lifestyle, Dahab proceeds to be an alternative holiday destination for lots of independent travellers and an excellent area for water sports.

Relish your Eid rest at Dahab’s Sindbad Camp or at Dahab Divers Hotel – if you don’t mind going a little over budget. Take to the Kitchen Cafe for delicious meals at incredibly affordable costs while you are at it.

Castle Zaman

With its own breathtaking view over looking Jerusalem, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and its perfect location between Taba and Nuweiba, Castle Zaman is that one destination for vacationers searching for a private, mysterious and a less conventional getaway.

While that stone-carved citadel using a mountain-like exterior-uniting an old, historic and authentic ambiance-doesn’t offer accommodation, the castle offers, nonetheless, an immaculate stone pool with panoramic Red seaview, along with some tasty slow-cooked meals served in pottery dishes. Just half an hour away from Taba and Nuweiba, Castle Zaman supports a natural encounter, where you could enjoy the water the elements as well as the tranquillity.

El Gouna

El Gouna is an ideal destination for vacationers seeking to have a package of sea, sunshine, pool, while enjoying top-notch nightlife and resort experiences. Gouna’s spa hotels are equipped with best quality services –resort, personal seashores, gigantic pools- guaranteeing you a munificent stay, to not mention some extraordinary dining alternatives like the Club Home, Maritim, Pier 88 and Jobos Sports Bar.

When it comes to day time actions, El Gouna supplies an assortment of water-sports including waterskiing, kite browsing, boating, diving, yachting, in addition to aquarium trips, desert safari and promenades. Should you don’t mind spending a bit and searching to have that small-bit-of-everything escape, El Gouna is perfect.

Siwa

An oasis holding among the very most unique primitive ambiances you’ll find in Egypt – in addition to some enormous sights like the Mountain of the Lifeless and Alexander’s Temple of the Oracle –Siwa has its unique Berber tradition.

Worlds a way from El Gouna, the oasis is brimming with palm trees, with houses produced from salt and h AS several eco-hostels with natural-spring services that are equipped with every one of the accommodation that is necessary, pools.

Eco-hostels like Adrere or Taziry Amellal, though quite expensive, offer holiday experiences that are bewitching with a no- electricity coverage, authentic Bedouin aesthetic and breathtaking views over-Looking the lake and the Adrè re Amellal (the White Mountain in the Amazigh language).

We highly recommend Siwa Gardens or Carols Ghaliet Lodge you stay, there’s nothing really like taking a stroll down Town to relish the oasis’ local artisanship, with suppliers attempting to sell basketry, silverware and embroidery.

Sahl Hasheesh

Though previously favoured over the past few years for couples, as a honeymoon destination, Sahl Hasheesh h-AS evolved to be a favorite area to get a relaxing holiday and among the latest goto night-life locations on the Red Sea.

A 20 minute push from Hurghada, the resort encompasses tons of resorts with superior services, including Premier Romance Hotel, Oberoi Sahl Hasheesh and Tropitel Sahl Hasheesh.

With a breathtaking sea view, diving trips to research its marine-life and underwater wonders, persistent DJ shore parties, unique fine-dining areas and several others, you ought to not hesitate to pack your bags and devote your holiday there; Sahl Hasheesh h-AS something for everyone.

Nuweiba

Located on the eastern tip of Sinai, Nuweiba is another perfect destination for vacationers seeking to have both a laid-back and a budget-pleasant holiday.

Primitive in its being, Nuweiba is a coastal city perfect for those people who are searching for peace and tranquillity; with several sights including water activities-primarily snorkelling and diving – inexpensive eateries offering tasty all-natural food, and lots of local shops selling Bedouin crafts.

Nuweiba unites some adequate resorts –of which we urge Nakhil Inn and Dream – along with inexpensive camps and hostels convenient for backpackers; including Habiba Seaside Lodge, Dayra and Moon Island Camp.

Ain El Sokhna

A mere one-and-a-half hours away from Cairo, Ain El Sokhna has consistently been that fast – sometimes impulsive – chill out destination for many. While most Sokhna getaways generally entail staying at a buddy ‘s – or more likely, a friend’s buddies’ – location, resort alternatives at Sokhna include the township’s well-liked resorts Moevenpick Resort and Jaz Small Venice. In the event that you perform your cards right, you can have a holiday that is inexpensive and cheerful, but youwill need to create your own personal fun with Tabla being among the only real places that may take you far from the beach.

Happy Eid!

Managing the Family Holiday

Managing the Family Holiday

With folks concerned over rising fuel prices, increases in the expenses of home, food, electricity and transport families in many cases are left feeling as though they can’t afford a family vacation.

This doesn’t must be the situation, it simply means families need to eventually become much more knowledgeable with regards to their vacation spending and seem to command their budget attentively. There are many tips and tricks to reach budget busting holidays whilst still allowing all family members to feel as though they experienced a fantastic time away but maybe not leaving Dad and Mum of returning home with the worry and settling the excursion for the remainder of the entire year.

Travellers today have so many options available when planing and booking their escapes and this all results in loads of techniques money can be saved. For the truly bright traveller, in case you have enough time to purchase studying means and your destination to make it happen once you have arrived subsequently and travel about there are money saving opportunities everywhere.

The best way to cut the price of your vacation in a couple of easy steps:

Book off-peak and mid-week

Generally Friday, Saturday and Sunday attract additional supplements. Try to travel outside the holiday and peak periods, even a couple of days the cost can alter significantly. The rule of thumb in case you must travel at these peak instances will be to book as far in advance as you can, especially if you know exactly when you want traveling. Nevertheless, if you’re flexible with dates then as airlines make an effort to offer the few remaining seats that were odd, there in many cases are amazing bargains for last minute travel. This is insecure although you need to be someplace on a unique date but great for a spontaneous holiday.

Ask questions

Think of all means changing the arrangement of your travel plan can constructs, sometimes your travel plan this can lead to a lesser price fare. Make your travel agent actually work for their commission! Don’t take alternatives that aren’t precisely what you had in mind.

Research on line and at travel agencies

The prices for many important traveling items (airfares, hotels, car hire) do change significantly and on-line is not consistently the most economical. Travel agents will frequently come up having a wider selection of alternatives, specially if you are travelling to multiple locations. Look out for “Special Offerings” and snap up any acceptable alternatives when you see them as they usually have limited availability and are only on sale for a time frame.

Transports

Now that is the location where you can definitely save some dollars. In place of booking transports during your journey agent, research other alternatives that are independent accessible. An instant internet search will inform you if you will find shuttles, trains or buses from the airport to the town, check also the average cost of a taxi to the city and finally, ask at your hotel when they will have some type of shuttle support – even low cost backpacker places provide these in a great deal of places.

Research your travel insurance

Travellers often incorrectly add countless dollars per year onto the expense of their trip by perhaps not getting the best value coverage out. Firstly, resist the lure to purchase more insurance than you’ll need. If you’re planning to go skiing or ski-diving then it is crucial to take out insurance that is sufficient. Second, check around around!

A fast search on the internet will provide insurance comparison websites. Here, you can locate the least expensive deal that’s just right for you personally. Beware of those that appear to be outstanding value. Adroit insurance companies will most likely have a low guide price, which is later bumped up through expensive surpluses. Keep in mind that in case you are more likely to travel more than annually, you will save your self money by purchasing yearly, multi-trip insurance, rather than an individual trip coverage.

Additionally, check by means of your credit card company as some have journey insurance insurance plans included when you purchase a certain dollar value of your trip arrangements with the card. Make sure that the cover they provide is sufficient for you conditions. Additionally consider obtaining quotes from businesses that you just have existing insurance with, such as; contents and house, private health insurance businesses or auto. You are going to most likely receive considerable savings when you take multiple policies with all the one business out.

Pre-buy attraction tickets and travel passes. Research passes and accessible tickets to attractions you need to visit whilst on your journey. A fast search on the web will reveal quite a few websites that will offer these at prices that are discounted if bought in advance. With all passes, check carefully what websites/activities are included and ensure that you will really get value for money with the pass or if it’s going to cost less to purchase individual entrances to the few places you genuinely wish to see and realistically can match to the amount of days you might have in that place. Check around about because there is obviously bargaining to be completed when there is competition for the cash, once at your destination there will be tours being offered.

Are your vacation essentials bought by n’t at the final minute! Make a list well in advance of most items you will need for the destinations. As they have been on sale in the months leading up to your own departure purchase the products and set them allin the one location prepared for your journey. Last minute purchases of sunblock, sunglasses, reading material and medical items done at the airport will definitely cost significantly mo-Re as you spend higher mark ups for convenience shopping.

Travelling is regarded as a luxury item when we’re going through hard times financially and as some thing that the ordinary man feels they can’t afford. It certainly doesn’t have to be a huge expense, there are lots of means that the vacation may be constructed to be family-friendly and price effective, yes – to even global destinations!

Shop around for currency bargains

It is important to check for the best rates if you are employing travellers checks or conventional currency, travel cash passports. Check with your bank as to what they are able to offer with regard to currency as well as for getting your funds although away. To find the top price you ought to look for 2 things – the exchange rate being offered along with the commission charged. Because of the explosive character of rates of exchange, they’ll fluctuate frequently. So, in the event that you see a deal that is good, it’s best to buy straight away.

Germany Travel Tips

Germany Travel Tips

Planning a trip is a hassle right? Planning one outside your home country can be much more of a hassle if you do not plan ahead. If you are going to Germany in the future here are some useful travel tips that should help you on your way.

Restaurants and Bars – You do not get water for free, you have to pay for it. If you order water you will get carbonated water. In most restaurants you can request tap water and they may or may not charge you but it is most likely straight from the sink. In some American fast food restaurants, (i.e. McDonalds) you must pay for ketchup as well. Be aware that the menus at most fast food restaurants in Germany are not exactly the same. You may also notice that a sandwich that you recognize from back home may taste a little different or it could be smaller. When you enter a restaurant you will not be seated, just walk right in and pick the table of your choice!- the tip should be much smaller than you would give in the States (this is because the waiters/waitresses get paid more than in the states) A tip of two or three EUR would be considered a good tip for very good service.

Supermarkets – If you shop for groceries in Germany you will notice the supermarkets have all of their large rolling carts outside in a designated area and they are locked to one another. In order to utilize a cart you must place one EUR in the cart itself, you will see the slot on the handle. Upon leaving the supermarket you latch the cart back to the other carts and pull the device out where you placed the coin, now you can retrieve your coin. When you have all of the groceries you want, proceed to the check-out counter. You will have to purchase plastic bags to put the groceries in or you can take one in yourself. If you decide to purchase one they are usually visible at the counter and normally only cost a few cents. If there is a long line do not put all of your groceries in the bag, put them back into the cart and bag them away from the line.

Closing hours – On Sunday everything is closed except for some restaurants, bars, gas stations and shops at the main train station and bigger airports. Some bigger stores are realizing that they can make much more money if they open on Sunday so they are doing just that, but I would not rely on it. During the week shops in bigger cities close at 8 PM at the latest. You may see shops in smaller cities closing even earlier.

Public Phones – Public phones are very rare in Germany. If you find one you will notice that they only take telephone cards. You can buy a telephone card in different shops like “T-Punkt”, “Telekom”, “Post”, and “Vodafone” or you can go to an Internet cafe.

Miscellaneous – “Bad” in front of a towns name does not mean that the people or the city is bad for example, “Bad Homburg”. Bad in front of a towns name normally means that the town is designated as a healthy location normally with very clean air and water.

What About Traveling? By Sue LaPointe

What About Traveling? By Sue LaPointe

When Apple first introduced the iPhone in 2007, who knew that the smartphone would become an essential section of our everyday lives? From documenting the season in a digital scrapbook to booking hotels, the human-and-their-phone relationship is bridging the gap between reality as well as the digital world. Being a tourist is always a fascinating thing, because it represents a unique chance to discover new cultures, new places and new destinations. Dealing with all of the details of final arrangements along with dealing with travel details can be a serious challenge. What about if you have to consider this show on the road? The very thought might strike fear inside your heart. What about should you have had to take this show about the road? The very thought might strike fear within your heart.

The two most common forms of deductible travel expenses are transportation and lodging. Utilize every possible pocket since you really don’t wish to over pack. It can be a must see in South Dakota.

The invention of a laptop freed the modern businessman from the fetters of disorganization as well as the clutches of the bulky desktop. The night before leaving, fill plastic water bottles half way with water or their favorite juice and place them to your freezer. Joseph originally hailed from Bethlehem (he were required to return there for that census mentioned in the Gospel of John (John 2:4). Make efforts permit your nanny know some way ahead ( 3 months ) of your holiday plans so as to plan your journey with all the nanny on board.

3)It’s a sort of challenge. Or you can travel The Highway to Success which is often uphill, rocky, and bumpy. Or you can travel The Highway to Success which can be often uphill, rocky, and bumpy. The independent owners pay a share of their “take” for their ride for the carnival owner. MOVING TO FOREIGN COUNTRIESYou might have to maneuver to an overseas country for any particular reason such as marrying right into a family from another country which speaks a different language.

Collecting and ultizing coupons has become a serious endeavor for many regular shoppers. There are so many more that are strongly suggested to learn. . There are so many more that are recommended to learn. Travelers have become accustomed for the simplicity and efficiency of booking online, but the latest trend of making options accessible through a centralized platform just isn’t only saving precious serious amounts of money, it forces the adventurer in every folks to ask “what if?”.

Travel Tips :: Travel By Airplane

Travel Tips :: Travel By Airplane

Why in the event you learn a different language? People learn a different language for several purposes. This also means respect each other and make our trip enjoyable. Memories erupt at the sight the thrill of being spun around at top speed the sticky sweetness of cotton candy the joy of carrying home a huge stuffed bear won at a game booth. This also means respect the other person and make our trip enjoyable. Eat a thing that only in Chile you can eat and obtain a small souvenir to cherish for the years to come.

Entertainment discounts available include Disney World in Orlando, NYC for Broadway show or you could visit Las Vegas, take a visit to Hawaii, go to a lovely beach inside the Caribbean, or spend a good vacation at the Riviera Maya in Cancun either through the certificates, or booking the hotel by using the vendors listed on the Hotels Etc. If you foresee a difficulty, trust your instincts and communicate your concerns. Take out some time to work out on your wardrobe and accessories.

2)It causes some problems in the stage of organization – getting a visa can be considered a trouble. The independent owners pay a portion of their “take” for their ride towards the carnival owner. The independent owners pay a share of their “take” for their ride to the carnival owner. Albeit its tendency to have smaller and smaller with every new model, one thing is for sure–its capacity to perform monolithic tasks won’t dwindle.

Readers love to read about Travelers as well as the different places they travel to as well as the many experiences they’ve got encountered…Altogether it is just fun!&#13. Whose hands support the answer? The response is in your hands and nobody else’s. You can obtain a pair of four for less than $20 that are made from mylar (like the balloon). 55 cents for that candy bar and 99 cents for the soda adds up to $5 Multiply that by approximately 182 days and you can have saved $280. Once limited as a portable device to hold information and necessary documents is currently upgraded in to a dynamic tool for communication and whatnot.

&#13. And use a wonderful trip. &lt&lt Back to “Travel And Leisure” Index.

Top Restaurants in San Francisco

Top Restaurants in San Francisco

San Francisco sits on the peninsula of the same name and is literally packed with things to see and do, magnificent hotels and a staggering array of eating-places.  The city is the second most densely populated in the country after New York so offers a huge range of everything within a much smaller space than many of its neighbours.  Whatever cuisine you favour, you will find something to your tastes, and also to your budget.

American cuisine

If you want classic American food with a wonderful view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay, then Applebee’s on Fisherman’s Wharf may be the choice.  It offers a range of menus including for children and has a drinks menu that entices you with cocktails.  It is found on 2770 Taylor Street and can also offer banqueting facilities if you are travelling for business.

Ame is a sophisticated restaurant with mesquite wood floors, eye-catching décor as well as a custom made sashimi bar, and a range of handcrafts wines from around the world numbering around 300.  It offers intimate dining in its L-shaped restaurant and also has a signature ‘Red Table’ for parties up to eight.  It is located at 689 Mission Street.

Mexican

La Urbana Alamo Square offers a modern take on traditional Mexican food with unusual cocktails and cantina-style food in an innovative restaurant.  The owners aim is to combine the best of Mexico with local produce and talent.

Local specialities

If you want to sample something born in the city during your trip, then perhaps try sourdough bread or the mission burrito, both of which were invented there.  The speciality on Fisherman’s Wharf is Dungeness crab while there are numerous food companies based in the city producing their own specialities.

Food trucks and gourmet street food are also a feature of San Francisco and follow a schedule so certain trucks can be found at certain places and times.  This means if you want a surprise, don’t look but if you want to plan to catch a certain truck, this can be an easy job.  There are even a couple of locally grown organic produce stores in the city including the Rainbow Grocery Cooperative and Bi-Rite Market.

Famous restaurants

The Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar is a famous restaurant and tiki bar of the Fairmont San Francisco Hotel.  It opened in 1945 and features a Polynesian-themed bar, an artificial lagoon, rainstorms and lava rocks making it one of the best of the high style Tiki bars in the city.

Travel tips

Most of the restaurants and bars in the city will use credit or debit cards though it can be advisable to have some cash to hand, especially for smaller vendors such as food trucks.  Travel around the city is simple and around 32% of the locals use the public transport system.

Majority of international flights into the city will use San Francisco International airport, which is 12 miles south of downtown.  The main requirement for entry to the country is either a Visa or an ESTA Visa waiver.  The former is available by a trip to the US Embassy while the latter can be done using an ESTA online application.  Either must be done before departure.

Temecula Valley: SoCal’s Undiscovered Wine Country

Temecula Valley: SoCal’s Undiscovered Wine Country

While Napa Valley tends to steal California’s vino spotlight, there’s another California wine country you need to put on your travel bucket list: Temecula Valley.

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Sitting just about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, Temecula Valley is home to dozens of under-the-radar wineries that offer all the vineyard tours and wine tastings you could ask for, minus the pretension.

And for first-time wine country visitors like Mike and myself, it’s nice to feel like you’re in a safe space when you ask the inevitable silly wine question.

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Last month, we were guests of Callaway Winery while I was on assignment. It’s said their 1974 white riesling, served to Queen Elizabeth II during a luncheon in New York City, was the only wine to ever prompt the Queen to ask for a second glass. So, it was safe to assume the bar was going to be quite high for this winery! Overall, we were pleasantly surprised with this laid-back and intimate winery in the heart of Temecula Valley wine country.

The Winery

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Rows and rows of various wine grapes surround you as you drive up to Callaway Winery. It’s a quiet estate, and it’s easy to see why so many choose to get married here: hills filled with lush vines, hawks soaring overhead and an ever-present light breeze blowing through the tranquil air.

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Tours run about an hour, taking you through the impressive cellars and the rustic barrel room, which practically begs to host a wine-themed wedding. Along the way, you’ll get to taste chardonnays and cabernets drawn directly from the fermentation tanks, developing your palette for finished and unfinished wines.

The Food

If you’re coming to Callaway (and I highly recommend you do), you need to get yourself to Meritage’s patio. This onsite restaurant overlooks Callaway’s rolling vineyards through glass enclosures. And the menu is impressive. Farm fresh fare like a roasted half-chicken with market vegetables or pear and goat cheese salad are all listed on the menu with the perfect wine pairing, making it easy for the novices like us to not completely ruin our meal with the wrong wine.

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The absolute must-try is the Ceviche Mixto. I’ve had my share of Mexican-style ceviches (and I’m a big, big fan) but this Peruvian-inspired dish is one that General Manager Jozef Juck says is a crowd-favorite. Generous chunks of tuna are served with octopus, clams, wild shrimp and blue crab, all marinated in a citrus juice that “cooks” the seafood. Paired with their house made chips, the ceviche here is a winner.

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Chef Mike Henry creates daily specials, too, so be sure to look for the blackboard on the wall. If the black cod (also known as butterfish) happens to be on the day’s menu, go for it. Buttery and light, you won’t be disappointed – or too full to enjoy the wines.

The Wine

What I love about Callaway’s tasting room is the options: you can go automatic or full-service. They have a wall of self-serve tasting machines where you can buy a preloaded card and have at that dozens of wines – or, you can opt for that personal service at the bar. Tastings run $10 for 4 or $15 for 6 of your choice.

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Mike and I are complete opposites when it comes to wine. He loves heavy reds that pack a punch, I’m a sucker for sweet dessert wines. But Callaway had plenty to please us both. And here’s where I would really recommend tasting at the bar, especially if you’re a first-timer: your server can design a progressive tasting menu for you based on your tastes, helping you to better enjoy the wines and their subtleties. While Mike was ready for a heavy red from the get-go, our guide was able to design a tasting flight of various reds that helped him build up to that big heavy finish – and boy, did he enjoy it.

If you fall in love with Callaway’s wines (and really, it wouldn’t be surprising), you can become a wine club member and have bottles shipped to your door each month. But one of the neatest perks of membership? If you’re within driving distance, you can come to Callaway and enjoy the member’s-only lounge, which offers nearly 360-degree views of Temecula Valley. Gorgeous for sunsets with a glass of wine in hand.

Callaway Winery is one of my faves in Temecula Valley for romance or a laid-back girls’ weekend. What about you? Have you visited Temecula’s Wine Country?

Avoiding Tourist-Targeted Crime in the “Safest” Cities in the World

Avoiding Tourist-Targeted Crime in the “Safest” Cities in the World

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For nearly two years, we lived in what we thought was one of the safest cities in the world: Seoul, South Korea. Mike never thought twice about keeping his wallet in his back pocket. I never worried if I accidentally left my purse unzipped on the subway. In fact, I once even left my wallet in the back of a cab and had it returned to me several weeks later.

Walking the streets at night alone as a woman never bothered me – or Mike, admittedly the worrywart of our travel duo. The city was simply…safe. Petty crimes just weren’t something to worry about in Seoul, we thought.

We weren’t the only ones who thought this city was above petty crimes, either. TripAdvisor rated Seoul the 8th safest city in the world, and the U.S. Department of State classifies the country’s crime rate as “low.”

So, it came as a great irony when Mike was pick-pocketed two weeks before we left the country.

In our months leading up to leaving Seoul, we were selling two years worth of stuff to incoming teachers who, we knew, could certainly use a few gently used home goods. One by one, we said goodbye to books, clothes, our champ of a toaster oven and the rice cooker that baked our birthday cakes, casseroles and homemade yogurt.

We left our bikes for last, since Mike especially loved riding his bike around town and down by the Han River.

When it finally came time to sell his bike, he arranged to meet another expat at our neighborhood subway station. He waited for about half an hour outside the station for the buyer, who was running late. And all the while, Mike didn’t realize the three college-aged men hanging around a staircase outside the subway station were keeping an eye on him.

And when Mike finally met the buyer and exchanged the bike for 70,000 won (roughly $60 USD), he didn’t realize he’d become a target.

Sure enough, the three boys flanked him, one accidentally bumping into him.

“Oh, sorry!” he exclaimed, patting Mike on the back with an overly friendly smile. The other two asked him if he was okay, a stellar performance that fooled Marco for just long enough.

But as Mike started walking the few blocks back to our house, it finally clicked.

And as he slipped a hand into his now-empty back pocket, he’d realized he’d just been pick pocketed.

In what we thought was a city above petty crime.

We walked the streets in disbelief for hours that night, checking every bar and pool hall in hopes of finding the thieves blowing their newfound cash on rounds of maekju (beer) and billiards.

But we’d been had.

The fact is, we had become too comfortable. Too trusting in a city where we believed crime was nonexistent.

But let me tell you, safe city or not, crime can happen anywhere. Even the most romantic sites in Paris! Take it from us.

Here are a few tips for avoiding tourist-targeted crime in so-called “safe cities”:

1. Never Say Never

We thought crime could never happen to us in Seoul. After all, it’s one of the safest cities in the world and in this Confucian society, one of the worst things you can do is bring shame upon your family. We got comfortable – and we paid the price.

Whether you’re in a seedy neighborhood or surrounded by locals wearing suits that cost more than six months rent, never think it couldn’t happen to you. That was us – and it did.

2. Keep a Healthy Dose of Skepticism

No, you don’t need to go into all-out paranoid mode, but I’ll tell you this: If Mike had been a little more skeptical of the guys hanging around a little too long at the subway station and their friendly, “So sorry I bumped into you,” he may have been able to see their ulterior motives in time to catch them in the act or avoid them all together. Even in one of the world’s safest cities,

3. Avoid Flashing the Cash…

…or any other valuables, for that matter. Removing a large wad of bills or your fancy travel tech puts you right in an opportunist’s crosshairs. And that’s exactly what happened to Mike: The thieves saw him exchange his bike for a large wad of bills, and bam! They had a target.

All this being said, I still consider Seoul one of the safest cities in the world. The fact is, every city has its opportunists. But after two years of absolutely safe living, this one rare incident isn’t changing our view on Seoul. I’m not in any rush to start tucking my cash in my shoes and I still feel perfectly comfortable walking through the city alone at night.

We’re just learned the hard way that no city is above crime.

Have you ever experienced petty crime in a so-called safe city? What tips do you have to avoid being a target?

Sak Yant: Getting a Traditional Bamboo Tattoo in Thailand

Sak Yant: Getting a Traditional Bamboo Tattoo in Thailand

Before we ever made it to Thailand, I knew I wanted a sak yant.

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I can’t remember exactly how I found out about these traditional Buddhist tattoos, but once I did, I was on a mission.

sak yant is a traditional Buddhist tattoo applied by tapping a needle on a bamboo stick (or even a sharpened piece of bamboo) to set the ink under the skin.

These tattoos are like amulets for protection, good luck, strength…the list of attributes goes on. There are so many designs, but the basics include the nine spires (gao yord) and five lines (ha taew).

You can get a sak yant tattoo applied by the traditional tapping technique at many tattoo shops around Bangkok, but I wanted to have mine applied by an ajarn. At a tattoo parlor, you can get whatever you want, wherever you want. With an ajarn, placement and design of your tattoo depend on, well, you. They say ajarns will not apply these tattoos to anyone and that the ajarnmust deem you worthy before he will tattoo you. They also say an ajarn will not apply a tattoo that’s wrong for you, so to speak.

I can’t speak for how true that is, as it seems there are those who would be willing to do these tattoos to any farang for a quick buck, but I like to believe this is, by and large, truth.

I decided to visit Ajarn Thoy at Wat Tong Nai for my sak yant. One of the main factors in my decision was that he applies sak yant to women, which not all will do.

It was a sticky February day when we arrived at Wat Tong Nai. There was a crowd outside Ajarn Thoy’s studio, as the room had not yet been open. The crowd was almost entirely Thai women. As the anticipation built, we were finally let into the room to sit Indian-style on the floor in wait. One by one, Ajarn Thoy’s assistants plucked us one by one to receive our sak yant.

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I was nervous about the entire process, especially considering he applies the tattoo blindly (note the mask in the photo) and the inevitable risks for disease (though that turned out to be a non-issue in my case). And, of course, I was nervous to find out whether or not Ajarn Thoy would bless me with a sak yant.

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I had one other tattoo experience before receiving this sak yant. It was a very small tattoo on my right shoulder blade. Let me tell ya, the tattoo with the needle and gun hurt way more than this experience with Ajarn Thoy. This wasn’t pain, exactly. I could feel the point ripping into my skin, no doubt, but it was a very organic, almost transcendent experience.

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After the sak yant is applied, it must be blessed. The shot above is of the blessing.

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This is my ha taew just after it was applied and blessed. Note the raised, irritated skin and drops of blood.

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Another interesting note is that not all ha taews will read the same. Each Ajarn writes his own blessings, so the scripts will be unique based on where you received your sak yant.

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This was the next day. I’ve never seen a tattoo heal so quickly. The swelling and redness were completely gone by morning, and the sak yant never peeled.

Have you ever received a traditional tattoo on your travels?