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Home / Asia / China / Travel China | Uncover a secret Great Wall of China near Beijing

Travel China | Uncover a secret Great Wall of China near Beijing

Updated: February 8, 2018
By: Ian Yacobucci
Arrow Nock Jiankou

Huairou Beijing, CN – View of “Arrow Nock” along the Great Wall of China Jiankou (Ian YacobucciBorderless Travels)

As an untouched section of the Great Wall of China, Jiankou offers an authentic and remote experience that is unparalleled.  Easily accessible from Beijing, it is by far the most authentic and exceptional testimony of ancient China’s civilization making it the best place to experience the Great Wall.

Jiankou is not easy to get to on your own, but finding a way to this exotic location offers a truly genuine journey to the most historically significant destinations in China, and winter is the best time to do it.

A telephone rang;  black and antique, with a bronze rotating dial from another era, it vibrated violently on the bedside table waking me from a deep late morning sleep after a 6 am arrival in Beijing.  “Aie an? This is Sonja,” spoke the female voice with a Chinese accent on the other end of the line.  It was our tour guide checking in before our Christmas day journey to one of the most rugged and beautiful sections of the Great Wall of China.

We chatted about how I was able to email her from my google account, nefariously circumventing what is known here as the “Great Firewall”.  A massive government operation that monitors and blocks the general public from access to an open and free Internet; there’s no Google or Facebook beyond China’s Great Firewall.  Holding the phone to my ear, semi conscious with my eyes closed, I confirmed our meeting time, “don’t forget to bring gloves” Sonja reminded before hanging up.

Jiankou Stairs

Huairou Beijing, CN – Hiking a stair like section of the Great Wall of China Jiankou (Ian YacobucciBorderless Travels)

Wild and unrestored, Jiankou is the most exotic sections of the Great Wall of China that is accessible from just outside Beijing.  There’s a good chance that if you’ve come across a remarkable photograph of the Great Wall snaking its way along forested mountain ridges and sharp cliffs, it’s probably been taken somewhere along the Jiankou’s three sections.

East, west, and middle sections of Jiankou often appear to defy logic when you try to fathom that this part of the Great Wall was constructed roughly 600 years ago and stands more than six meters high and five across, excluding the base that’s dug two meters into the mountainous rocky surface.  In that time there were no motorized vehicles, no highways and no modern technology, yet somehow the subjects of China’s ancient dynasties worked this seemingly inaccessible and rugged landscape to protect their empires from outside intruders.

My previous visit to Jiankou was back in the summer 2010 when my roommate at a Korean summer camp told me that Jiankou was by far the best section of the Great Wall to explore.  Back then there wasn’t much information about it on the Internet so, banking on a post from on an old forum thread, I ended up adventuring there on public transportation with a Canadian couple I had met on my solo travels.  Our visit then was abruptly shortened when I slipped on a cliff-like section of the wall we were climbing and took a large coin size chunk of skin out of my shin.

This time around was a little different. Instead of trying to figure out the public transportation system, use sign language for taxi negotiations, wonder if we were going to the right place for the right price, and realizing that the trip only offers the possibility of visiting a small section of the Great Wall before having to rush back to the taxi just to catch a glimpse of an ancient, untouched, and obscure section of the Great Wall; I organized a private tour to Jiankou.

My wife and I met our guide Sonja from China Travellers at Dongsishitiao station.  Quickly firing off some Mandarin she helped us order a couple of egg sandwiches from a street side vendor outside the station before heading to the car.   Waiting for us in the parking lot of the Swiss Hotel Beijing was a white Malibu with tinted black windows, our modern chariot to the Great Wall, and with a few quick introductions to our driver we were off.

The ride from downtown Beijing to Jiankou takes around two and a half hours and meanders into the mountains of Beijing’s Huairou District. From passenger windows, a country in transition is exposed as the city slowly becomes rural farmland contrasting old and new. Along the highway the lumbering overpasses of the future bullet train, being build for the 2022 winter Olympics, sit in the middle of fields that have been cultivated for generations.

As the traffic dissipates the highway gradually becomes country-roads, the flat fields turn to rolling hills and in no time you’re driving through the valleys between towering mountains.  In winter here, the forest sleeps in a deadened grey slumber.  Driving through the mountains elderly men and women, hired by the state to watch for fire, sit along the roadside wearing bright orange vest like pylons marking a drought ridden region.

Eventually, we turned off the paved road and parked next to a barren dirt field where we stepped out of the car to meet our hiking guide Lin.  Lin was a spryly 60-year-old local with weathered skin, a gentle demeanour and a long face.  To shield him from the winter weather he dawned a faded blue military style winter hat along with with a worn navy winter coat that almost reached his knees, and black Air Jordans with bright red accents on the sole.

As a local farmer Lin shared stories through our guide Sonya about life growing up in the area before revealing his energy with a smooth stride and spring in his step as we started our hike. Struggling to keep up on the first leg of our hike, we watched Lin effortlessly navigate the inclined hiking trails to “Arrow Nock,” one of the steepest and most picturesque sections of Jiankou and the Great Wall of China. Breathlessly we trailed from behind as we followed him through the forest where he was raised. After around 30 minutes of hiking, we broke out of the  and trees climbed onto the most scenic location of the Great Wall of China. The impressive view was intensified by wintery blue skies, whisping clouds, and a clear view to the horizon; this was only our introduction to China’s ancient Great Wall.

Jiankou from above

Huairou Beijing, CN -Looking out across
Jiankou’s Arrow Nock Great Wall of China from above (Ian YacobucciBorderless Travels)

After our warm up hike, a walk along the cliff like structures of the Arrow Nock section of the Great Wall and four dozen photos, we headed back to the car to start our official hiking tour.  As we drove to our next hiking spot we mentioned to Sonya our surprise by Lin’s athleticism and learned that he had been living near the Jiankou section of the Great Wall since the time before the regional roads existed, which meant that walking up and over the wall was the only way to visit the larger neighbouring town nearest his village.

Our hike with Lin spanned roughly ten kilometers of the Great Wall and took us from Jiankou’s abandoned and unrestored east section to Mutanyu (one of the most famous and recently restored sections of the Great Wall).  This meant that we could explore and feel the deep connection that comes with hiking along Jiankou’s rugged and untouched beauty, followed by a more touristy visit to Mutanyu before finishing the adventure off with a toboggan ride down the mountainside, lunch, and dozing drive back Beijing.

Our hike took us about three and a half hours and filled our day with clear blue skies, visibility that reached the horizon, new friends, and an epic trek along the Great Wall of China’s most spectacular locations.  We also got to experience the less visited and wild Jiankou with the opportunity to contrast it with the official tourist highlight of the Mutanyu section of the Great Wall.

Great Wall Tower Jiankou

Huairou Beijing, CN – A watch tower along the Jiankou hiking section of the Great Wall of China Jiankou (Ian YacobucciBorderless Travels)

Typically, especially in the more popular summer months, visibility can often be quite limited and the bloated tourist numbers can take away from an authentic experience.  We found that winter was the best time of the year to visit the Great Wall of China because tourist numbers are low and visibility is high (a contrast to the humid summer).  During our hike from Jiankou to Mutanyu we did not see a single tourist until we reached Mutanyu, and since it was winter even a popular section like Mutanyu had only a few dozen people.

Planning a guided tour was the best decisions we could have made for our visit to the Great Wall of China.  Although it can be more expensive than other alternatives, our experience with a local guide who helped us explore the less visited sections of the wall safely with a unique knowledge of the area coupled with the comfort of an organized ride that dropped us off in one section of the Great Wall and picked up at another, the addition of an English speaking guide like Sonja to organize it all, and the ease of booking online made our unique experience safe, effortless, and fulfilling.

We can’t wait to come back and explore another section of the Great Wall upon our next visit to Beijing and hope that you too will find the joys of exploring the Great Wall of China by adventuring off the beaten path and hiking along it the way it was meant to be explored.

For more information about how to book a trip like this visit www.chinatravellers.com

Been to the Great Wall!! Tell us about your recent visit to the Great Wall of China by  sharing your experience and advice with our readers in our comments below.

Home / Europe / Switzerland / Switzerland| Quick Guide to Hiking Lac de Salanfe & Gorge du Dailley

Switzerland| Quick Guide to Hiking Lac de Salanfe & Gorge du Dailley

Updated: October 9, 2017
By: Ian Yacobucci
Lac de Salanfe

Marigny, CH – Lac de Salanfe (Salanfe Lake) Switzerland (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

If you hear about a hike from a local, you have good reason to do everything in your power to find it.  This is what brought me to Salanfe Lake and Dailley Gorge, two spectacular hikes that can fill a day, and are only superseded by the drive to find them.

Switzerland is the land of lush green forests, lakes, rivers, and mountains.  It is a place where the melody of cowbells crosses the alpine winds and views that each mountain vista unveils is often more impressive than the last.  For good reason it is one of the most expensive countries in the world, and the only way to experience its natural beauty is by walking through it.

Marigny, CH - Salanfe & Gorge du Dailley Hiking Map area (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Marigny, CH – Salanfe & Gorge du Dailley Hiking Map area (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

The easiest way to get to the Dailley Gorge and Salanfe Lake is to drive. Located just outside the city of Martigny is the mountain town of Salvan where the adventure begins.  At 912m with a population barely scraping past 1000, Salvan is the last stop before you aventure along the pencil thin switchback roads with dark cavernous tunnels built right into the rock leading to Van d’en Bas.

You can hike from Salvan to Van d’en Bas, but in the interest of making this a day trip it’s easier to just drive up and enjoy the adventure of navigating the alpine roads (wondering how buses and winter drivers do it).   

Before entering Van d’en Bas you’ll see a small parking area off to the left.  This is the first stop, and the easiest way to enjoy Dailley Gorge and its breathtaking Pissevache waterfalls that crash down its narrow cliffs.  Lined with elevated wooden bridges and stairs that lead down the gorge, each section revealing impressive engineering and  new views of the snowcapped Rhone Valley mountains towering above the horizon in the distance.  

For us, a 30 minute vertigo-inducing walk down the gorge was invigorating, and more than enough to enjoy everything Dailley Gorge had to offer.  Back at the car, after exploring Dailley Gorge, you’ll need to continue driving up to Van d’en Haute, a tiny hamlet of summer cottages, before the Lac de Salanfe hike begins.  Beyond the cottages is a small parking area before you reach the camp ground.  Here is where you’ll leave the car and begin your hike to the lake.

Van den Bas, CH - Gorge du Dailey overlooking Rohne Valley in the distance  (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Van den Bas, CH – Gorge du Dailey overlooking Rohne Valley in the distance (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

The hike to Salanfe Lake takes about an 1hr 15min and has two routes, one of stairs and another road-like path. Plan to arrive in the afternoon for a Swiss lunch at the lakeside Salanfe Inn while you take in the towering peaks of the surrounding mountains.  If you want to stay the night along Lake Salanfe the Auberge de Salanfe offers dormitory bunks and private rooms as well as a delectable assortment of traditional Swiss options at its restaurant.

Salanfe, CH - Swiss Lunch Goatheard's Rosti with Bacon - grated potato cakes topped with cheese & bacon along Lac de Salanfe (Ian Yacobucci\Borderless Travels)

Salanfe, CH – Swiss Lunch Goatheard’s Rosti with Bacon – grated potato cakes topped with cheese & bacon along Lac de Salanfe (Ian Yacobucci\Borderless Travels)

Not planning to ascend any of the big hikes surrounding the lakes my wife and I enjoyed an afternoon hike and traditional Swiss lunch, then opted to head back down the mountain to the comforts of a Martigny hotel rather stay the night at the Auberge.  However, from the lake sitting at 1950m, you can attempt a variety of other hikes to enjoy exceptional views of the lake and les Dents-du-Midi on a multi day visit with a stay at the inn.  

From here, it’s up to you how you want to plan your adventure to Lake Salanfe and Dailley Gorge but we hope enjoy it as much as we did!

Option: if you’d like to hike up to Dailley Gorge you can do so from Salvan where a hiking trail begins from behind l’Hotel de la Balance.

More: For more information about staying at the Auberge de Salanfe and hikes in the area check out their website http://www.salanfe.ch/en/

Manage to find these hikes and explore the lake and gorge?  Have another great hike in the Martigny\Montreux region?  Share your comments below and let us know that you thought!

Home / North America / Canada / Canadian Nature| Hiking in Hamilton the Heart of the Niagara Escarpment

Canadian Nature| Hiking in Hamilton the Heart of the Niagara Escarpment

Updated: September 18, 2017
By: Ian Yacobucci
Hiking in Hamilton

Hamilton, CA – Sanding overlooking Spencer Gorge in the Websters Falls Conservation area (Ian Yaocbucci/Borderless Travles)

It’s Autumn, the perfect time to go hiking. The spectrum of orange and red coloured leaves are arriving, as the summer is coming to an end, turning the forest into a fiery painters pallet.  The   wonderfully cool hiking weather has arrived so that you can dress comfortably without overheating and Hamilton, Ontario, a short drive from Toronto has some of the best hiking in the area.

“Go right to the edge.  It’ll be perfect.  There’s nothing underneath you except forest!” I yelled across the windy gap, as I snapped a perfect Instagam photo of my wife balancing on the edge of Dundas Peak.

For some it’s easy to smile standing more than 135 ft above the forest on a tiny outcropping that looks out towards a massive valley in the the heart of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest.  For others observing the densely forested Spencer Gorge, outside Hamilton, from the safety of a well-groomed trailhead is adventure enough.

It might come as a surprise to hear that the city of Hamilton, once better known for heavy industry, is home to more than 100 waterfalls and dozens of hiking areas where wildlife and the greatest diversity of Ontario tree species can be found.

More stunning is Hamilton’s scenic section of the Bruce Trail, which runs along the 725 kilometer Niagara Escarpment (a UNESCO world biosphere reserve), where the distractions of everyday life can easily fade away as you look upon an epitaph of limestone cliffs that detail the regions natural history and glacial past.

Boundary Falls Hiking

Hamilton, CA – Autmn Hiking at Boundary Falls in Hamilton, Ontario Canada (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Located less than an hour from downtown Toronto and Niagara Falls, makes accessing Hamilton’s natural landscape easy and accessible.

There is no doubt that your first hiking stop in Hamilton will take you back in time with a visit to Webster’s falls in the Spencer Gorge Conservation area.  Showcasing a 78ft cascade of water, Webster’s falls is encased by ancient layers of limestone rock and dominated by hard wood forest along its more than 6 km of trails.

For adventurers, and a little extra exercise, you can venture below the forest canopy to the base of the falls, and along Spencer Creek, via the 123-step metal staircase.  As you descend the stairs towards the river, let the limestone walls of the Spencer Gorge envelop you with a sense of awe as you’re taken back to a time long forgotten.

Forget about all the things on your to do list and breathe in the perfumed air of pine and cedar as you try to spot a tiny yellow warbler fluttering from branch to branch, its neon feathers reflecting like light off a piece of river gold among the dark foliage.

Take a moment to listen to the pileated woodpecker hard at work searching for its afternoon meal, as the waterfall fills the air with the soothing sounds of its cascading water crashing on ancient boulders below.

For hikers, the Spencer Gorge/Webster’s Falls Conservation area offers 6km of groomed trails.  From Webster’s Falls, hikers can follow the main trail along the valley’s east rim towards the 135ft Tew’s falls (only a few meters shorter than Niagara Falls) and Dundas Peak.

“I didn’t really know that Hamilton had such good hiking trails” say’s Danielle Aniceto of Orangeville, who was visiting a friend in the area.  “It’s kind of like a hidden treasure,” she describes before posing for a picture on the edge of Dundas Peak.

Dundas Peak is a highlight for many visitors who hike Spencer Gorge because of its unobstructed views of Hamilton and Dundas Valley.  Here you can stand on the edge of a cliff that drops more than hundred feet back towards the city on your left, or down the valley along your right.  Make sure you stop to capture a new profile pic picture to show all your friends.

For a more local feel you can hike along the tucked away section of the Bruce Trail only a few kilometers from Highway 403.  Here lies a quiet hike that starts along side the 6m high Boundary falls (named for it’s location on the Hamilton and Burlington city border).

Fall Leave

Hamilton, CA – Hiking in Hamilton, Ontario Canada an Autumn leaf on a log at Boundry Falls (Ian Yacobucci, Borderless Travels)

Autumn is a great time to visit Boundary Falls along Great Smokey Hollow Walk, although this waterfall is best to visit during the wetter months of the year.  As a ribbon waterfall Boundary Falls cascades into snake falls and eventually meets with Grindstone Creek.

It’s along Grindstone Creek that you’ll find yourself in the heart of Hamilton’s section of the Bruce Trail.  Great Smokey Hollow walk offers visitors 5 km of trails to explore.  Here the trail snakes its way along the quiet creek where you’ll find yourself deep in a forested valley with the remnants of an old limestone structure, wooden bridges with benches to rest and enjoy the sights and sounds of the forest, and absolutely stunning nature located only minutes from the highway.

Plan to visit early morning or late afternoon so you can make a quick food stop along Main Street Waterdown, just down the road from the falls.  The quaint shops and restaurants here are a great place to enjoy a well deserved drink and a bite to eat before heading out feeling refreshed and stress free after your hike.

So take some time to explore nature by taking a day trip to Hamilton and revisit a city with some of the best hiking in the Toronto Niagara corridor.  Forget about the hustle and bustle of the city and reconnect with Ontario’s most spectacular geologic formation, the Niagara Escarpment.

 Getting to Hamilton’s Best Hikes

Finding Spencer Gorge (Tew’s Falls) Webster’s Falls Conservation Area

From Toronto: Take Highway 403 to Highway 6 North; turn left onto Hwy.5West. Turn left onto Brock Road. Turn left at the flashing light, onto Harvest Road. Turn right onto Short Road and left onto Fallsview Road and follow the signs for the parking lot. For Dundas Peak and Tew’s Falls lookout parking, follow Harvest Road further down until you see the signs.

Finding Great Smokey Hollow / Boundary Falls

From Toronto take Highway 403 and exit on Highway 6 North (Guelph).  Turn right onto Highway 5 (Dundas St. E).  Turn right onto Mill St.  and park in the Smokey Hollow Resource management Area parking just past the overhead railway bridge on your right.

More Information on these hikes an others visit http://www.waterfalls.hamilton.ca/

Enjoyed these hikes, have more hiking information for us, share your comments below to let know what you discovered hiking in Hamilton!

Home / Adventure Travels / Travel America | Along the Colorado River Discover Utah Off the Grid

Travel America | Along the Colorado River Discover Utah Off the Grid

Updated: June 26, 2017
By: Emily Long

Moab Utah Outdoors Arches Landscape Rocks

The western United States is famous for its rocky mountains, alien deserts, big skies, and endless opportunities for adventure. Before I moved to Utah from the hot, humid, and flat East Coast a few years ago, I’d never seen anything like the Wasatch range towering over Salt Lake City or the rolling red rocks and arches around Moab. There’s just so much…space. I immediately set out to explore every national park I could drive to, from Glacier National Park in northwest Montana all the way to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Utah alone claims five unique national parks, along with miles and miles of open federal and state land.

National parks offer a friendly gateway to adventure for families and outdoor newbies, but after several summers of busy campgrounds and highly-trafficked trails, I was ready for something new. After all, national parks attendance is hitting record highs, it’s becoming harder to get off the grid, and nature in general feels more crowded.

Moab, a bustling desert town in southern Utah that serves as the jumping-off point for Colorado River float trips, ATV excursions, and all manner of mountain biking, hiking, and camping adventures, is a great base for exploring the desert. It is just a few miles outside of Arches National Park and within an hour’s drive of Canyonlands National Park, so it can feel like a circus during peak season. Luckily, as with much of the western U.S., it’s possible to find complete isolation within spitting distance of busy cities—if you’re willing to.

Our plans took us west from Moab out Kane Creek Road, which quickly meets and follows the banks of the Colorado River. The pavement ends just under five miles, and that’s where the fun begins. There are plenty of camping spots, mountain biking and hiking trails, and rock climbing routes. The road turns to red dirt leading up to Hurrah Pass (~mile 10) and then into jeep track with big boulders and steep dropoffs and all manner of off-road fun. For those with a high-clearance vehicle, the road also leads to one of the three most extreme disc golf courses IN THE WORLD, as well as remote riverside camping and caving. We spent two days playing in the desert—doing yoga on the rocks, exploring dark caves, hiking sun-soaked trails, and watching sunsets over the Colorado—before heading back to the real world.

Mountain Biking Adventure Moab Utah Red Rocks Bike


As incredibly fun as this trip was, it wouldn’t have happened without some careful planning. Here’s a newcomer’s guide to preparing for off-road adventures:

Do Your Research

Experienced travelers of all shapes and sizes know that there’s a time and place for spontaneity—and a trip out to a remote location is not it. Know where you are going, what obstacles you might encounter, and what there is to do along the way. Preparedness is the key to a safe and fun off-road experience.

Prepare for the Remote

Your smartphone more than likely won’t be much help out in the wild. Download offline maps, write down any key information about your destination, or simply use an old-school paper map.

Take Maintenance and Emergency Prep Seriously

There’s no excuse for heading out on any road trip with overdue service issues. Get your oil changed, check your tire pressure, stock your emergency kit, and fill up with gas. Take high clearance and 4WD recommendations seriously, and never head out on a road for which your car isn’t suited!

Gear Up

There’s nothing more exciting than gear—and having the right gear matters when you’re out in the desert (or in the mountains, on the water, anywhere in nature). In addition to having the right tools for your vehicle, prepare yourself for all weather conditions and scenarios. Take warm layers, camping gear (if appropriate), plenty of food and water, and any equipment for hiking, biking, or other activities. Remember that you’ll likely be several hours from resupply resources.

 Slow Down

Much of the fun of off-roading is in the bumpy ride, the unplanned stops, and the views along the way. Focus on the journey rather than the destination, and enjoy!

Share you comments below to let me know what adventures you found off the grid and how these tips helped you discover something new!

Home / Asia / India / Discover India| Epic Guide to 10 Best India Road Trips

Discover India| Epic Guide to 10 Best India Road Trips

Updated: May 5, 2017
By: Borderless Travels Team

India Rickshaw Driving

Yes, it’s almost the time of the year when you should pack your bags and hit the road, but that great North American & European past-time deserves the new hot spot of Asia. Irrespective of how many birthday candles you have blown out, you need to discover your next Asian road trip adventure.

India and a great road trip across Thailand offer what we hope will show you new world with impressively beautiful routes or destinations that will help you discover Asia in a new light

1. Driving from Mumbai To Goa India

Yes, its legendary ‘Dil Chahta Hain’ route! Fun, frolic and feni! Whenever holiday plans are tossed around, it is hard to resist the charm of this route. Driving on National Highway 48 is a pleasurable experience with several food joints to satiate your taste buds en route before you reach the party state of India— Goa.

Approximate Distance: 607.9 kms (via NH 48)
Estimated Drive Time: 10 hours and 34 minutes

2. Driving from Jaipur to Ranthambore India

Indian Bearded Man

Presenting a perfect mélange of mustard fields and vast open spaces, the highway that takes you from Jaipur to Ranthambore is as picturesque as you wish it to be. Start your journey early in the morning from Jaipur and head over to State Highway 24 which proceeds through various villages, like Lalot, Bassi, etc. Consider yourself lucky, if you spot a tiger in Ranthambore wildlife reserve!

Approximate Distance:  180 kms
Estimated Drive Time:  2 hours and 47 minutes via SH 24

4. Driving from Bengaluru to Nandi Hills India

Fall head over heels in love with the beauty of this beautiful road trip that takes you to Nandi Hills from Bengaluru! Once you reach Nandi Hills, be ready to get the warm welcome from various rare species of birds and plants. Even if you are not a history lover, plan a visit to a Tipu’s Drop, where Tipu Sultan used to condemn prisoners by throwing them to death.

Approximate Distance: 70 kms via NH7
Estimated Drive Time:1 hour and 45 min

5. Driving from Chennai to Munnar India

If the scorching heat of Chennai is bothering you, it’s time to travel to Munnar to enjoy the pleasant weather out there. Once you reach the destination, either unveil your adventure side by indulging in activities like paragliding, rock climbing, etc., or spend time in learning tea-making process. Spending some quality time in the lap of nature is also a nice idea!

Approximate Distance: 586 kms
Estimated Drive Time: 10 hours and 39 mins

6. Driving from Delhi to Agra India

Thanks to Yamuna Expressway, Taj Mahal has come closer to the national capital. In fact, so close that Delhiites can plan their quick weekend getaway to Taj Mahal—the seventh world of the wonder—without complaining about an exhaustive journey through jam-packed roads. After Taj Mahal, it’s time to visit Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Get lost on an incredible Agra adventure or enjoy a wonderful Agra tour before adding Jaipur to your list and making it a Golden Triangle! The rich heritage of the city combined with its hospitality reflects the beautiful culture that is so typical of Jaipur. After sightseeing, it is the time to visit Chokhi Dhani, which is an ethnic village offering all types of entertainment options like dance, music, food, etc.; in royal styles.

Approximate Distance: 232.7 kms via Taj Express Highway/Yamuna Expy
Estimated Drive Time: 3 hours and 35 minutes

Taj Mahal from the Arga Fort India

Taj Mahal from the Arga Fort India

6. Driving from Puri to Konark India

Don’t make a mistake of considering this as just any other route. In fact, what it offers is every traveller’s dream. The Puri-Konark highway is one of those fabulous roads to do photography which when you start will compel you to drain the entire battery of your camera. The canopy formed by trees on both sides of the road, the cool breeze and the tranquil beauty will enthrall, now and forever! Famous for the Sun Temple, Konark witnesses the presence of artists, dancers, and musicians throughout the year. Don’t miss Chilka Lake in Konark which is also the second largest lagoon in the world.

Approximate Distance: 35.5 kms
Estimated Drive Time: 49 minutes

7. Driving from Dehradun to Nainital India

A car trip from Dehradun to Nainital is filled with all the scenic beauty, including hills and great weather, making some perfect shots for photography. You can enjoy the delectable taste of cuisines at Chandni Chowk— not the busy area of Delhi but a quiet restaurant on the Mall Road of Nainital. For an adventurous soul like you, there are options like rock climbing, trekking, etc.

Approximate Distance: 285.2 kms
Estimated Time: 7 hours and 26 minutes

Nandi Hills Deccan Plateau Karnataka, India

Nandi Hills Deccan Plateau Karnataka, India

8. Driving from Manali to Leh India

This long stretch that sees visitors only a few months in a year, will test you, scare you and mesmerize you. The experience of riding through tough terrains in your car is something which you will always cherish in your life. With the snow-capped mountains smiling at you and distant valleys welcoming you with their open arms, you will be amazed to see the exotic beauty of Mother Nature.

If you have a travel partner who also knows driving, you can cover the distance between Manali and Leh in one day, otherwise, it is advised to have a stopover at Sarchu before recommencing your journey.

Approximate Distance: 474 kms
Estimated Drive Time: +24 hours

9. Driving from Kalimpong (West Bengal) to Zuluk (Sikkim) India

If you are a daredevil traveller, the trip from Kalimpong to Zuluk is an apt choice for you. Over the last few years, the hilly terrain of Zuluk has risen in popularity as a picturesque tourist spot due to its 32 wild hairpins and bends. The pristine clear view of Kanchenjunga makes the trip memorable.  West Sikkim is also home to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institutes Mountaineering Base Camp.

Approximate Distance: 87.2 kms
Estimated Drive Time: 3 hours 14 minutes

Landscape Gangtok Sikkim, India

Landscape Gangtok Sikkim, India

10. Driving from Assam India to Thailand

Undoubtedly, it is an incredible road trip passing through some of the lovely mountains and valleys in the northeast region, taking travellers to Thailand, all the way from Assam! During your trip, you will pass through stunning Assam, Megalya and Manipur before reaching Myanmar and finally, Thailand.

You can spend a day at Myanmar which is widely appreciated for its exotic cuisines, breathtaking views, and Bagan— the place which is known for its superb architectural splendor. The sunset view of Bagan is something which you should not miss.

Approximate Distance: 2,146.1 kms via Ah Myan Lan
Estimated Time: 43 hours

Logistics: Know how for a successful India road trip

A road trip doesn’t mean impulsive travelling. A lot of preparation needs to be done before heading out. So, let’s start:

Choose your vehicle wisely: Indian roads are always ready to surprise you. You will experience some extreme road conditions and landscapes across its length and breadth. So, don’t underestimate the power of potholes as they can disrupt even the journey of an SUV. Be careful while choosing your vehicle.

Take it easy: A road trip doesn’t mean a long stretch without a halt. Spare a few days to make proper stops at places that interest you. Remember, it is a vacation, and not any exercise regime that you have to complete.

Tuk Tuk Agra India

Tuk Tuk Agra India

Have a Travel Companion: Long drives aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so if feasible, travel with a person who has good driving skills. Also, if you’re driving with four people, make timely rotation of seats.

Carry essential items: For a smooth journey, carry some basic road trip essentials that you can buy for almost nothing!

  • Flash light
  • First Aid kit
  • GPS/Navigation System
  • Toolbox

Getting your vehicle repaired: Get your car isn’t a rental and your traveling with a friend or buying it make sure it’s repaired and properly functioning before taking a trip. At the service station, inform people about your plans of long drives so that they can do a proper check of your vehicle. Also, while you are on a road, hit a repair centre at the first sign of a trouble. Don’t take any risk on unknown terrains.

Carry cash: Seems simple but is essential because while driving you’ll come across a lot of toll and police check posts. Make sure to carry enough cash to pay toll taxes. Here, change comes handy. As for police check posts, you might be subjected to a lot of checking as your vehicle bears other state’s registration number. Make sure you have all the valid car papers, including driving license, registration paper, car insurance, etc.; to avoid hassles.

Do advance hotel bookings: To avoid any last-minute fiascos, make your hotel bookings much in advance. It will help you get some good rates as well.

Essentials: Two must have insurance policies for a safe and smooth journey

Car Insurance

Never ever start your road trip without having a comprehensive motor insurance for your vehicle. When you are on a road, accidents can happen not because of your carelessness, but because of the fault of the other driver. The reason is simple—You can have a control over you and your vehicle but you can’t control the other person! So, it is best to have a comprehensive car insurance policy which will come handy in case of any accident or loss or damage to your vehicle. For instance, if you meet with an accident, contact your car insurer in India who will come to your rescue and help you recoup all losses or damages.

If a damage happens to another vehicle due to your fault, the insurer will cover third-party liability as well. You can also add roadside assistance cover to your main car insurance policy and enjoy assistance during mishaps, like flat tyre, mechanical breakdown, dead battery, no fuel, etc. Some insurers also arrange for alternative accommodation if the vehicle repairing time is over 12 hours and the breakdown/accident spot is more than 100 kms from the address as stated in the policy document.

Nandi Hills Forest India

Nandi Hills Forest India

Imagine, you are on a Delhi-Agra highway or driving through the Nandi Hills Forest when mechanical failures halt your journey or the fuel tank of your car goes below the reserve point and there is no petrol pump nearby. What will you do—make SOS calls to friends or spend the night on a road? Both the situations are less than ideal.

However, if you had purchased a roadside cover, your one call to the insurer would have helped you. For instance, in case of a flat tyre, the insurer will send a mechanic to replace the flat tyre and in case your vehicle runs out of fuel, the insurer delivers emergency fuel to the breakdown/accident location.

Travel Insurance

Some audacious people also include foreign locations in their road trip itinerary and make only a half of their journey by road and the rest by air. In such a case, it is necessary to buy a travel insurance before embarking on a journey. Though you are on a vacation, accidents and emergency situations aren’t! So, buy a comprehensive travel insurance policy which will come handy in case of situations like a personal accident, losing your passport, a personal liability, etc.

Get Set, Go

Now that you know where to find some of the worlds most epic road trips it’s time to plan your next visit to India and discover your next epic life experience!

Home / Europe / Italy / Italy Hotel Review| Il Boscareto Resort & Spa

Italy Hotel Review| Il Boscareto Resort & Spa

Updated: May 4, 2017
By: Ian Yacobucci
Piedmont Italy

Piedmont, IT – Looking across the Langhe hillsides on the terrace of Sunsi Bar at Il Boscareto Resort and Spa (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

There is a place in Northern Italy where rolling hills of lush green vineyards extend towards the horizon to meet a blue cloudless sky that rises to the heavens like the dome of a grand cathedral.

Looking out among the hilltops dotted with ancient villages of unhurried times, their medieval castle spires symbols of the regal powers that once reigned, it’s hard to believe that places like this still exist in the busied hurried world we live in.

It’s here in Piedmont, Italy, on a hilltop near one such town, that you’ll find Il Boscareto Resort & Spa; a place that blends the pastoral splendor of the Italian countryside with the modernaties of contemporary luxury.

Established in 2009 by Valentina Dogliani whose vision combined the lavish comforts of a luxury resort and spa with the magnificence of the Langhe countryside in Piedmont, Italy’s iconic wine region.


Piedmont Vineyards

Piedmont, IT – Il Boscareto Hillside vineyards from the spa terrace (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Il Boscareto Resort and Spa is located next to Serralunga d’Alba in the Langhe region of Piedmont, Italy.  Easily accessible from Milan’s international airports, diving here takes roughly 1.5 to 2 hours of mostly highway driving with an exhilarating trip through the small hamlets of the Langhe countryside before your arrival.  It’s also a short drive away from Turin and Genoa for those who are in the area.  Be sure to make time for a local stop to sample local wine and some traditional cuisine.

What you get

Amenities –With immeasurable attention to detail the staff and services offered at Il Boscareto ensures visitors can leave their stresses behind and enshroud themselves in relaxation as soon as they step through the door.  Here the Michelin star restaurant, bar, and full service spa and wellness area overlook the surrounding countryside with access to a gym, pool, Finish sauna, Turkish bath, massage suites with the natural wonderment of the region.

Double Room Boscareto

Piedmont, IT – Double Room Suite Il Boscareto Resort and Spa (Ian Yacobucci/ Borderless Travels)

Of course, wifi, direct tv, and all other modern amenities are provided so you can stay connected while you enjoy the comfort of your stay.

Rooms – All of Il Boscareto’s 38 rooms are lavishly designed with detailed luxury that inspires visitors with large windows and patios to connect them with the natural beauty of the resorts surrounding vineyards.  Consideration to detail is seen everywhere from the silk walled textiles to the carefully orchestrated furniture that makes each room unique.

Breakfast – Nothing is more important to us then waking up to a hearty breakfast.  Every morning from 7:30 – 10:30 breakfast is served in Il Boscareto’s breakfast rotunda.  With organic juices (including blueberry!), yogurts, fresh croissants, bacon, eggs, local cheeses, fresh breads, fruits, vegetables, and morning deserts there is something for everyone.  For us, it was the view that made this breakfast location special, and of course the Italian coffee.

La Rei Restaurant

La Rei, named after one of the vineyard terraces that crisscross the hillsides around Il Boscareto, is a Michelin starred restaurant helmed by executive chef Pasquale Laera.  Hailing from Puglia and mentored by infamous Italian chef Antonio Cannavacciulo, Pasquale passionately works to inspire creative Italian dishes that arouse a visceral infusion of northern and southern Italian influence.

Sharing an aperitivo and a coffee Borderless Travels sat down to learn more about Pasquales inspiration.  Passionate about pushing culinary boundaries Pasquale gets inspiration from the natural beauty and splendor of the Piedmont region.  His influence from time spent at Michelin starred restaurants in Copenhagen and Japan also provoke his attention to detail, and with his team they create a tapestry of culinary pleasures well worth the visit.

Pre Desert

Piedmont, IT – Creative pre-desert designed by executive chef Pasquale Laera at Il Boscareto Resort and Spa restaurant La Rei (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Scorpion Fish

Piedmont, IT – Delicately orchestrated Scorpion fish, crusco peppers and spring onion entre from La Rei at Il Boscareto Resort and Spa (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Why you should stay

For a truly Italian experience that unites affordable luxury with impeccable service and spectacular surroundings Il Boscareto stays true to its ambition.  Piedmont’s Langhe is one of the world’s top wine producing regions with beauty beyond what you can experience any other way than visiting.

At Il Boscareto you can enjoy a Michelin stared meal, let the world melt away in relaxation at the spa, explore the medieval hamlets and vineyards of surrounding countryside, and experience the authentic Italy that defies stereotypes.

Hotel Cost: 200€  – 800€  (double to platinum suites)

5 Perks:

  • Lavish yet affordable luxury at a 5 Star hotel
  • A top resort and spa in Piedmont, Italy’s Langhe region
  • Michelin Star Restaurant with high quality cooking worth a stop at La Rei
  • Spectacular surroundings in one of Italy’s top wine regions
  • La Sovrana Spa because you deserve it

Il Boscareto Resort & Spa



Via Roddino, 21
12050 Serralunga d’Alba
Cuneo – Italy

Langhe Vineyards

Piedmont, IT – Overlooking Langhe regions vineyards from the grassy spa terrace of Il Boscareto Resort and Spa (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Spa View

Piedmont, IT – Il Boscareto Resort and Spa relaxation area and view from our double room (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Home / North America / USA / Travel America| 5 Best Car Camping Spots in Southern Utah

Travel America| 5 Best Car Camping Spots in Southern Utah

Updated: May 1, 2017
By: Krystal Rogers-Nelson
Utah, US - Southern Utah Camping in the wilderness (iStock)

Utah, US – Southern Utah Camping in the wilderness (iStock)

While Yellowstone National Park may get a lot of attention, southern Utah’s national parks are waiting to steal your heart. Utah hosts striking red rock formations and diverse wildlife like gray foxes and desert horned lizards. Rivers slice through deep canyons. Cool lakes, perfect for dipping in after an afternoon hike, abound. You can even spot petroglyphs and other testaments of humanity’s attempts to tame the wild.

Even though Utah doesn’t fall in the ten largest states, it still has the third-most national parks—which means you don’t have to travel far to visit them all. The Mighty Five national parks—Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion—listed here follow a travel itinerary starting in Salt Lake City and finishing near Las Vegas. Each section below includes must-see sites, best campgrounds to stay at, and a safety tip to keep you well rested, protected, and ready for adventure.

1. Arches National Park

Utah Arches

Utah, US – Delicate Arches in Utah’s Arches National Park are created from centuries and millennia of weather wear (Eric Nelson)

Arches National Park owes its name to an obvious feature: arches, naturally formed in the rocks. You will see many arches from bulky ones to ones so ethereal that they seem like something out of a fantasy novel. Delicate Arch is the most well known, and you should make time to see it. Try taking an early morning hike to beat the crowds (and the heat).

When planning your trip, be aware that the main camping area, Devils Garden Campground, will be closed for construction until November 2017. There are plenty of other BLM campsites nearby, such as Goose Island and Granstaff. But reservations go fast, so you may want to venture further out toGoldbar, Kane Creek Rd.  You can also try your luck at getting an individual site, but they are first-come/first-serve, so you need to get there in the morning and act fast.

Safety Tip: Visiting a national park puts you in close proximity to desert flora and rock formations.  Make sure to pack a 1st aid kit for hiking that can handle scrapes, sprains, and cacti spines.

2. Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands possesses four distinct areas separated by rivers. Some sections showcase majestic cliffs, mesas, pinnacles, and domes. Others are home to the Green and Colorado Rivers, which you can raft. Must-see sites include Island in the Sky and Mesa Arch.

You won’t find any proper campgrounds inside the park, but multiple options exist outside it. Squaw Flat Campground and Willow Flat rest near the Needles District and Island in the Sky, respectively. The Bureau of Land Management maintains much of the land in and around Canyonlands, so you can always rough it and pitch a tent.

Safety Tip: Many of the hikes in Island in the Sky are family friendly, but come prepared. Some of the hikes involve steep ascents and require good hiking shoes. Canyonlands is also more remote and far from services, so it’s a good idea to pack an emergency kit in your car and note that cell service may be spotty.

Green River Utah

Utah, US – Gaining perspective overlooking Green River Utah’s Canyonlands National Park,(iStock)

3. Capitol Reef National Park

Once inside Capitol Reef, you’ll see why Native Americans termed it “Land of the Sleeping Rainbow.” The park’s prismatic colors and historical sites, which include a harvestable fruit orchard, will capture your attention and possibly your affection.

Campgrounds for Capitol Reef are on a first-come-first-serve basis. The best sites include Fruita Campground, Cathedral Valley, and Cedar Mesa. Fruita offers more amenities while the other two are more primitive.

Safety Tip: Like the other southern Utah parks, you’ll do a lot of walking in Capitol Reef. Take plenty of water with you, even if it means your pack is a little heavier. You won’t regret it. Make sure to balance your water intake with salty snacks like trail-mix or add a powdered electrolyte drink to your water bottle.

Capitol Reef

Utah, US – Capitol Reef “land of the sleeping rainbow” (Bob Rogers)

4. Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon boasts the largest number of hoodoos (tall, thin spires of rock) in the world, and the landscape feels magical, resembling castles in a fairytale. The park also displays ancient bristlecone pines, with some approaching 1,800 years in age. Also considered an oasis for stargazing, you can attend special Astronomy Ranger programs where you could see over 7500 stars on a moonless night!

Most travelers stay at a campground because of the chance to see the stars, as well as to see the sunrise and sunset transform the surrounding sandstone. The best-known sites include North and Sunset. Both accept reservations between May and September. You can also find yurt rentals nearby.

Safety Tip: Bryce Canyon starts at an elevation of 8,000 to 9,000 feet, so swath your skin in sunscreen to avoid sunburns and drink lots of water.

Bryce Canyon

Utah, US – Bryce Canyon National Park (Bob Rogers)

5. Zion National Park

Zion tends to be the most visited national park in southern Utah, perhaps because of the Virgin River and the park’s towers and monoliths. For must-see sites, put Angel’s Landing (age 8+), Emerald Pools, and Weeping Rock on your list. Observation Point is also one of my favorites. Child backpacks are essential for hiking with babies and small children, though there are some paved paths that can accommodate strollers or wheelchairs.

Zion Observatory

Utah, US – Posing at Zion National Park Observatory in Zion National Park Utah (Krystal Rogers-Nelson)

Most people prefer to stay at the Watchman or South campsites. Travelers who enjoy a more rustic site may wish to stay at Lava Point, which is over an hour drive from the main entrance of the park. Watchman requires a reservation, but the other two are open. To stay off the beaten path but in luxury, reserve a spot at the glamping site Moonlight Oasis.

Safety Tip: Some of the hikes, like Angel’s Landing, have specific paths marked to keep you safe. Stay on the trails to make sure no one gets hurt.  If traveling with young children, consider a child GPS tracker since it can get crowded on the shuttle, at the trail-head and hiking on the popular trails.  I personally have found the My Buddy Tag to be useful with my rambunctious three year old, though cell coverage may vary depending on where you are in the park.

Overall, you can’t lose no matter which national parks you visit in southern Utah.

Have you been to any of southern Utah’s Mighty Five before?

Comment and share which places to camp are your favorites.

Home / Europe / Spain / Spain| 4 Best Places to Get a Burger in Barcelona

Spain| 4 Best Places to Get a Burger in Barcelona

Updated: December 19, 2016
By: Chris Kosmopoulos

A juicy Bacoa burger with so much aioli, it’ll feel like you took a bath in garlic mayonnaise. Jorge Franganillo Flickr CCL

I know what you’re thinking. Why would I want a burger while I’m in Barcelona?

Why wouldn’t I opt for tapas (which is actually a way of dining and not a cuisine, but we’ll cover that at a later point) or some other deliciously stereotypical Spanish fare like paella?

It’s a fair question to ask, but while there are a lot of options for good authentic Spanish dishes, the truth is, they’re quite hard to come by in a city that’s saturated with restaurants to feed a starving tourist market.

Barcelona has become the third most visited city in the world with over 8 million visitors a year. With tourist hotspots in every pocket of the city, cafes and restaurants vie for the business of holiday-makers with fat wallets.

What it’s led to are restaurants with identical menus that serve sub-par food to unbeknownst tourists happy to be chomping on “tapas” such as croquettes. Unfortunately, in most places these croquettes are still frozen in the middle and bought at the supermarket around the corner for a euro a bag.

So, if you don’t have the resources to enjoy the luxury of one of Barcelona’s tried and tested 5-star restaurants, why not give their take on a classic a try?

Unlike their American counterparts, the best burgers here are constructed with Mediterranean components that serve as culinary staples in parts of the Iberian Peninsula.

I highlight the 4 best places to get a great burger and give you a rest from all that bottled gazpacho you’ve been enjoying.

1. Bacoa

With locations all over the city, this is the pioneer joint that kicked off the burger craze in Barcelona. Beyond the great cuts of meat they use as the base of their offer, it’s their homemade condiments that really steal the show.

Choose one of their recommended burgers or build your own, but the real appeal of Bacoa is their proprietary selection of gourmet kethcups and mayonnaise with their aioli and brava sauce as local favorites.

2. T-Burger Station


Barcelona, ES – T-Burger Station on Consell de cent, right off the Las Ramblas, Chris Kosmopolous Borderless Travels

The most American of this list, T-Burger Station can’t be left out simply due to the quality of their meat and the integrity with which it’s prepared.

Reminiscent of New York’s Shake Shack, T-Burger lets the beef speak for itself on a nice brioche bun accompanied by simple ingredients.

The best part of this burger found in Barcelona’s Eixample neighborhood is the way they let the fat render to a crisp, providing that crunchy contrast before getting the juice from their calculated lean to fatty meat ratio.

3. Timesburg

Timesburg Storefront

Great burgers, and if you ask nicely, I bet they’ll even make you a sangria. Kay Oswald Seidler Flickr CCL

Similar to Bacoa, Timesburg offers excellent beef with local in-house sauces that hispanicize their sandwiches.

Just as big and with all the options of their local competition, Timesburg is as safe a bet as any for an authentic Spanish or even Catalan (depending on the ingredients you choose) burger you can get.

4. Foc i Oli

Tucked away in a quant corner of Eixample, this small grill is always overflowing with locals grabbing a bite, which is a testament to its quality.

Other than its popularity, for an English speaker, its name is also quite an attention-grabber. Without knowing better, you’d think it’s a cheeky attempt at wordplay, but really, it just means fire and oil in Catalan.

With great burgers that provide a gourmet twist, the charm of the place is all about the ambience of their small location that makes it feel like a well-kept local secret.

Don’t think you’re diminishing your Spanish experience by opting for a burger instead of more traditional fare. You’ll be glad you visited any of these sites for a hybrid Hispano-American culinary experience. Then you can go back to eating all the frozen croquettes and sangria you desire.

Home / Europe / Greece / Life Abroad| Tour Greece like a local

Life Abroad| Tour Greece like a local

Updated: November 13, 2016
By: Danielle Aniceto
Paros Hotel View

Paros, GR – HOtel View overlooking Paros from my hotel (Danielle Aniceto/Borderless Travels)

In my life, fortune has come to me in the form of good friends. One of which was born and raised in Athens, Greece.  It is through her that I have had the much-appreciated privilege to fall in love with the birthplace of western philosophy over and over again.

Having a local tour you around a new country is probably the only way to really get a uniquely local experience and perspective; and I would suggest it in every city or country that you have friends willing to show you around.

However, for those who are not lucky enough to know a Greek with an excellent taste in food and culture, I have made you a list of my favorite spots in Greece.  I became familiar with these places over the years and I hope you’ll get a chance to experience them too.  I’ve also made sure to give you the best time to visit them because, everywhere in Greece can feel like a tourist hot spot if you’re there during peak times.

In other words, this is a tourist’s guide to Greece from a local perspective, complimentary of an honorary local who spent her life exploring Greece’s wonders.


Athens, GR – The city of Athens, Greece overlooking the Acropolis, the highest point in a city of millions (Danielle Aniceto/Borderless Travels)

A for Athens

A must see cocktail bar with a rooftop patio and a spectacular view of the Parthenon at night. If you can find somewhere to sit, you will be able to spend the night sipping cocktails while admiring an awe inspiring piece of ancient history. Despite how busy it can get, it still has great service. Someone dropped a glass while I was there and accidentally cut my foot and one of the waiters actually cleaned and bandaged my foot on the spot, talk about customer service.

Location: Miaouli 2 – 4, Athens 10554, Greece


There are so many different ancient sites in Greece that for some it can seem a little repetitive. However, Delphi stands out among the ruins due to its rich history, mythological mystery, and location.  Located on Mount Parnassus in the south of mainland Greece, Delphi is a place of spectacular views.  The temple complex is truly impressive; just make sure you look up from walking up the ancient stairs built for Apollo to take a moment to breathe in the view. There are tons of sites on the way to Delphi as well, so think about renting a car for the day or look into a bus tour!


Full Moon Party

People enjoying the full moon beach party in Greece (Danielle Aniceto/Borderless Travels)

Many of us have a couple of islands in mind when we plan our trip to Greece such as Santorini or Mykonos, however a word of advice from a local is to avoid these islands if you can and find your own island paradise. Santorini is definitely home to the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen but it is also full of tourists, and trying to book a hotel last minute is almost impossible, especially on Mykonos. Paros is a great alternative, because the beaches are beautiful, the party scene is good and it won’t be as packed so you will be able to find a spot for your towel on the beach. Just remember to check the weather.

Full moon party on Mykonos

Although locals know when to avoid the islands, they also like to join in on some of the action. The Full Moon parties on Mykonos are where everyone wants to be.  Locals and tourists alike, however you need to plan and book your hotel room way in advance or else you won’t be able to join the locals party until sunrise.

This is just the tip of the iceberg as the old saying goes, which has no relevance in the sunny laid back atmosphere of Greece.  If you’re lucky enough to spend more than a couple of weeks there or are just stopping over for a few days you need to try to visit at least one of my recommendations because Greece is one of my favourite places on the planet and it can be yours too.

Home / Asia / Republic of Indonesia / Indonesia | Cultural Immersion at Yogyakarta’s Prambanan Temple   

Indonesia | Cultural Immersion at Yogyakarta’s Prambanan Temple   

Updated: November 9, 2016
By: Ian Yacobucci
Prambanan Java Indo

Yogyakarta, ID – Close up of Prambanan Temple a hindu temple complex in Java, Indonesia (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Traveling across West Java in search of waves I didn’t expect to experience more than just the small surf village of Batu Karas while visiting Indonesia.  My Indonesian adventure started in Jakarta where I spent a few days pursuing a Russian travel visa for a future trip across Russia on the Trans-Siberian, along with a visit to Jakarta’s M-Block mall complex.

After that I spent a couple days trying to find a whispered town from an old roommate I had, while teaching in Korea for a month.  He told me about this place called Batu Karas, a small fishing village with some tame surf that was quiet, and off the tourist track back in 2012.

After a seven hour train ride, where I met a couple of German tourists to share a room with for a night, followed a truly organic Indonesian bus experience of the same length, I finally made it to Batu Karas, where for the better part of two weeks I settled down spending my days exploring the West Java countryside with a surfboard strapped to the side of my Vespa.


Yogyakarta, ID – Posing in front of Prambanan Temple with a couple cool travelers from Finland (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

While surfing in Batu I heard about Yogyakarta from a couple Finnish travelers who were in the area at the same time as me; and after a blissful two weeks disconnected from the busy cities of Indo, and exploring the costal surf in the area, it was time to move on.  So, with our packs strapped the three of us tramped over to Yogyakarta, the bohemian and cultural centre of Indonesia’s Java region.

Since surfing was a priority at the time, I hadn’t thought much about the cultural treasures of Indonesia. Thankfully, upon our arrival in Yogyakarta we were able to discover one of its most famous cultural sites, the UNESCO world heritage site of Prambanan temple is a10th century compound dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, and Brama Hindu divinities.

The temple complex itself offers some great photo opportunities and, if you’re lucky, you might find some free student led cultural tours as your roam the grounds (in English of course).  Although, from an Indonesian price point, it can be a little expensive for foreigners to visit, so depending on your budget, paying three times the cost of a student price might not be worth it for you.

Prambana Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta, ID – Prambanan Temple complex from a leisurely rest under some trees on a hot summer in Java, Indonesia (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

That being said, if you take an early morning or a lazy afternoon, Prambanan offers a beautiful place to walk, relax, and photograph at your leisure.  There’s no need to rush around the temple; and make sure you take advantage of the free water and coffee in the foreigner ticket office!

Happy Travels,


This article is supported by traveloka.com