Go Backpacking http://gobackpacking.com Round the World Travel Guide Mon, 17 Aug 2015 12:54:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Heli-Skiing British Columbia: Deep Powder Awaits http://gobackpacking.com/heli-skiing-in-british-columbia/ http://gobackpacking.com/heli-skiing-in-british-columbia/#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2015 21:00:51 +0000 http://gobackpacking.com/?p=28419 Heli-skiing
No car needed for this vacation – just a pair of skis and lots of snow (photo: Sasho Bogoevski)

Year after year skiers and snowboarders alike find themselves attempting to plan the most unique, personalized, and exciting fresh powder vacation. Enthusiasts will research the conditions, resorts, and reviews in order to piece together what they believe to be the perfect winter sport getaway.

All of their work points to one thing. Heli-skiing holidays in Revelstoke, British Columbia offer the perfect winter vacation for the adventurous traveler.

Heli-skiing vacations in Revelstoke, British Columbia provide unique and personalized excitement in one fell swoop. First and foremost, when it comes to skiing holidays, heli-skiing is so unique that few people actually get to experience this sport. Having an entire vacation built around it just makes it that more special.

No rental car is necessary for this vacation; the only way to make it to your accommodation is by helicopter.

The private helicopters included in heli-skiing packages typically carry four winter sports enthusiasts to the top of a specially designated area in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. There will never be any waiting in lift lines, as the only way up the mountain is via helicopter.

Once skiers and snowboarders reach the top they are greeted with beautiful views that are exclusively theirs as skiers have the mountain all to themselves. As for personalization, all heli-skiing holidays are customized to those involved so you can have your trip just as you plan it.

Posing for a photo opportunity before the next run (photo: Laurie & Tom)

The length of their holiday is up to their discretion, and the talented pilots and expert guides will make sure that the utmost safety and fun is had. At the bottom of the mountain skiers and snowboarders will find accommodations that are almost as beautiful as the view they enjoyed on their run down the mountain.

There are many opportunities to heli-ski but none so unique as a the Great Canadian HeliSkiing. The best heliskiing packages from Canadian HeliSkiing offer access to this exciting sport for any adventurous traveler.

As a small venture run by dedicated heli-skiing enthusiast themselves, they fly skiers to the best part of the mountains where the snow and views are better than anywhere else on Earth.

When you book your heli-skiing holiday with a small, happily run company, you’ll experience more helicopter rides, more untouched powder, and more indescribable scenery.

Any skier or boarder has the ability to enjoy a winter resort vacation, but not everyone has experienced the thrill of heli-skiing.

The Rocky Mountains truly become your own; from the moment you are lifted to the top to the moment you arrive at the bottom. There is no other vacation more exciting or personal, than a heli-skiing holiday, a unique way to enjoy the Rocky Mountains.


This story was brought to you in partnership with Great Canadian Heli-skiing.

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Traveling Europe for Free http://gobackpacking.com/traveling-europe-free/ http://gobackpacking.com/traveling-europe-free/#respond Fri, 07 Aug 2015 12:00:00 +0000 http://gobackpacking.com/?p=28399 Everyone wants to live the dream of getting “On the Road,” Kerouac style.

We dream of hitting the asphalt and running hard into the sunset, not caring where we end up or where we’re going.

Well, we might be a long way separate from the Beat Generation, but that doesn’t mean we can’t reproduce an authentic traveling experience in Europe.

Here’s a few examples of how to travel in style and for free, and three hidden travel essentials that can save you money and time.

The most important should be The EU Health Card. See more at www.ukehic.com where there is lots of information about the European Health Insurance Card provided.


The most obvious way to travel for free is to hitchhike. There are many great advantages to hitching, including the potential to meet new friends, hear and share exciting stories and, of course, cover a great many miles for absolutely nothing!

Of course, there are pitfalls. There’s always a risk that you might meet some unsavoury characters, and you’re putting your safety at risk by entering into their car and going on a journey with them.

But hitchhiking is a lot more common than many may think, particularly in Eastern Europe. So, what are you waiting for? Get out to Europe and experience the true meaning of being on the road!


There is a slightly different, 21st-century option to traditional hitchhiking, and that comes in the form of carpooling, using sites such as Liftshare and BlaBlaCar.

These platforms allow you to arrange a lift in advance with, what should be, trusted members of the wider community!


A similar concept is that of Couchsurfing, which works in the same way, only in that instead of sharing a lift, a host will give you accommodation for the night.

On Assignment

Another great but very tricky way to travel for free is to get sponsorship or payment as a travel writer or blogger. This can be done by writing to various magazines or companies, and pitching your idea, and why you are qualified to do the job.

Travel Essentials

No matter how you travel, there are some absolute essentials that every adventure must begin with. There are the obvious ones, like your passport, or your pants and socks, but here are a couple of hidden essentials you may not always remember.

1. EHIC – the European Health Insurance Card covers you for medical injury anywhere in Europe, so it’s a vital thing to carry on you at all times, just in case one of your daily adventures goes all wrong. Your EHIC card, (also known as an EU health card or formerly an E111 card) may need renewal before you leave, so make sure you visit an EHIC renewal site.

2. Cash Passport – instead of taking all your money in cash, or risking huge charges on your debit card while using it abroad, get a cash passport. They’re usually free, and the charge to withdraw money abroad or use in stores is minimal.

3. Micro fibre towel – an odd one, but a godsend. These beauties pack into a tiny bag, and dry super-fast. A traveling must-have!


This story was brought to you in partnership with EHIC Applications UK.

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3 Middle East Breaks Which Are Still Safe http://gobackpacking.com/middle-east-breaks/ http://gobackpacking.com/middle-east-breaks/#respond Tue, 04 Aug 2015 12:00:00 +0000 http://gobackpacking.com/?p=28377 The Dead Sea (photo: israeltourism and Itamar Grinberg)
The Dead Sea (photo: israeltourism and Itamar Grinberg)

Need a break? Want to go on holiday? Well, have you considered a trip to the Middle East this time?

Due to political turmoil and disturbances, planning a holiday in the Middle East may sound a little unsafe. But, the Middle East still has a lot to offer its tourist while ensuring they’re safe there.

Three Middle East countries which are still very safe to travel and explore are Israel, Jordan and Oman.


Israel offers a variety of experiences ranging from history, archaeological sites and education to beauty, splendor and unlimited fun. This magnificent country has much more to offer you than you could ever expect.

Israel is said to be world’s “only Jewish and democratic state” but this country isn’t limited to cultural and heritage sites.

The Mediterranean coast, the Dead Sea, the Galilee region with its green hills and valleys and the undying festive spirit of the country never cease to amaze and make a luxury holiday in Israel unforgettable.

The best time to travel Israel is now, so pack your bags and head off to this wonderful land.

Camping in Wadi Rum (photo: Lawrence Murray)
Camping in Wadi Rum (photo: Lawrence Murray)


Jordan, like Israel, is totally safe to travel and is one of the countries where you can get great holiday deals in the Middle East.

You will never be disappointed to explore this beautiful land where you will receive a very warm welcome from the locals.

Jordan is a very peaceful and safe country to travel so do not restrain yourself from planning your trip to Jordan. Keep all your worries aside and step up to allow this beautiful land to make your life more exciting and enjoyable.

Beauty comes in various forms in Jordan, in the form of the Dead Sea to the Red Sea or in the vast expanse of deserts.

Spending time in Wadi Rum could be your best experience ever. You can get involved in exploring the history of Amman as well enjoy its mouth-watering cuisine.

Jordan with its hospitality and warmth of its residents will only leave you surprised.

Salalah, Oman (photo: Juozas Šalna)
Salalah, Oman (photo: Juozas Šalna)


Oman too brings you an amazing experience wiping out all the misconception you had about travelling in the Middle East.

Oman is extraordinarily beautiful to say the least. Whether it is Oman’s mind blowing golden deserts or stunning beaches, it is determined to leave you spellbound.

The Musandam Fjords, The Omani Grand Canyon, The Green Mountain, Sur Turtles or Salalah, all will make you go crazy about this beautiful land.

The best time to travel Oman is November to March. Going off-road driving bashing the sand dunes in desert will always be an unforgettable memory for me.

But while packing your bags choose your clothes wisely. Pack clothes which will cover your knees and shoulder irrespective of your sex and age. Wear proper, suitable clothing and enjoy your trip!


This story was brought to you in partnership with Corinthian Travel and Simply Holiday Deals.

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4 Quintessential Things to Do in England http://gobackpacking.com/4-things-to-do-england/ http://gobackpacking.com/4-things-to-do-england/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 12:00:00 +0000 http://gobackpacking.com/?p=28375 The National Gallery in London (photo: Elliott Brown)
The National Gallery in London (photo: Elliott Brown)

England is one of the greatest tourist destinations in the world. It has some of the best attractions and activities with a rich culture, amazing historic monuments, and well-preserved tourist sites.

The museums in England contain the world’s most precious treasures. English theaters host some of the world’s greatest artists, performing in musical concerts and classical plays.

With hotels and various types of tourist accommodation available to fit almost all budgets, you’re assured a pleasant stay any time you visit this great country. Here are four quintessential things to do when you visit England.

Go to the National Gallery

The National Gallery is home to one of the greatest art collections in the world and it is the one of the most visited art museums in the U.K.

It has over 2,300 paintings which have been carefully preserved since the mid-13th century up to the 20th century.

In this museum, you’ll see great works by Van Gogh, Renoir, Gainsborough, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli.

You’ll also enjoy the special audio-visual programs, guided tours, and special holiday events arranged for all members of the family. All these are available for free for 361 days a year.

Victoria and Albert Museum (photo: Bill Smith)
Victoria and Albert Museum (photo: Bill Smith)

Visit the Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum is the world’s most prestigious museums of decorative art and design.

It houses over 4.5 million collections that represent over 3,000 years of man’s creative ability.

It was named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and it has been open to the public since 1852.

In this museum, you’ll see galleries containing great treasures from the Medieval era and the British Galleries that illustrate British history through her rich art and design.

Admission to V&A is free throughout the year but several paid exhibitions and events are also hosted in the museum.

Chelsea's Eden Hazard on the attack (photo: Ben Sutherland)
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard on the attack (photo: Ben Sutherland)

Watch a Premier League Game

While you’re in England, make sure you watch a Premier League football match.

This is the birth place of Premier League football and almost all the football clubs playing in the league have a very rich history. Some clubs have played in the Premier division for nearly 100 years.

You’ll be amazed at the fanatical football fans who wear their favorite team’s jerseys and cheer their teams vigorously from the beginning of each game till the blast of the last whistle.

Check here to get tickets to watch great matches involving England’s most popular premiership clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Everton and Tottenham.

Enjoy Great Music at the Brick Lane Music Hall

No trip to England will be complete without a visit to one of the classical theaters or musical performances.

Brick Lane Music Hall is a beautiful venue that hosts great shows including comedies, plays, and concerts, that will entertain people of all ages.

Attend one of the live performances here to get a taste of the real Spirit of England.

The staff at Brick Lane Music Hall are very courteous and friendly, they serve good food, and the memories of the exceptional environment will linger in your mind for a long time.

These are just a few of the things you should do when you visit England. Although there are so many other unique attractions in this country, doing the things highlighted above will start you off on the right foot.


This story was brought to you in partnership with Ticketbis.

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Introducing FLYTE, a Non-Profit to Encourage Student Travel http://gobackpacking.com/flyte-non-profit-student-travel/ http://gobackpacking.com/flyte-non-profit-student-travel/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 16:03:53 +0000 http://gobackpacking.com/?p=28339 FLYTE

Growing up, it was my parents who introduced me to travel through trips to Disney World, Arizona, Mexico, Hawaii (my personal favorite), and England.

Heck, I even have a few fond memories of our driving tour of Pennsylvania Dutch Country!

But, for many American families, travel, even budget travel, is considered a luxury they can’t afford.

And as I learned at last December’s White House Global Summit for Study Abroad, surprisingly few American students either choose to take advantage of or can even afford to study overseas.

All this is to say I’m happy to share news of a new non-profit founded by my friend Matt Kepnes, better known as Nomadic Matt, to encourage travel abroad by students in underprivileged communities.

In today’s post announcing The Foundation for Leadership and Youth Travel Education (FLYTE), Matt explains:

FLYTE’s mission is to provide the resources and funding to help high schools in underserved U.S. communities send kids overseas.

We are doing this to help students become global citizens, bring life to the subjects they learn in school, and expose them to new ideas and cultures.

The new foundation has a clear mission and values, and already recruited a Board of Directors and an Executive Director in Courtney Dalton, and partnered with several tour companies to help with the on-the-ground learning opportunities.

But for FLYTE to take flight, and begin creating new opportunities to change American students’ lives, they need our help.

FLYTE’s goal is to raise $250,000 in the next few weeks to launch the foundation and fund five student trips within their first year.

I’ve read the business plan and have the utmost confidence donations will be used for their intended purposes. In fact, I donated myself just a few minutes ago.

Click here to donate.

Of course Matt is offering some sweet incentives to make giving even more rewarding than that warm fuzzy feeling you get by contributing to a good cause.

Smaller donors, which almost always represent the majority for funded projects like these, are rewarded with free copies of Matt’s books, t-shirts, and other swag.

Donate $1,000+ and he’s giving away flights! For the full list of goodies, check out Matt’s blog post.

And once again, if you want to help kids experience the world beyond U.S. borders, please click here to donate.

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5 Things to Do in the Dominican Republic http://gobackpacking.com/things-to-do-in-dominican-republic/ http://gobackpacking.com/things-to-do-in-dominican-republic/#respond Tue, 21 Jul 2015 15:45:27 +0000 http://gobackpacking.com/?p=28326 Santo Domingo National Palace
Santo Domingo National Palace (photo: Jean-Marc Astesana)

The Dominican Republic is much more than sandy beaches and resorts, it also has mountains, desert lands, colonial architecture, city nightlife and famously welcoming people.

Here are some of the things you should consider doing and seeing while visiting the Dominican Republic.

1. Explore Santo Domingo

You’ll likely fly into Santo Domingo so why not see what the capital has to offer.

It’s the oldest city in the Caribbean and has plenty of cobblestone streets to remind you of that fact. Old plantation mansions can be found in the landmark quarter.

You can see how Santo Domingo used to be and see its history. You can see the charming old buildings and architecture, from which it began.

Playa Rincon - Santo Domingo
Playa Rincon (photo: Brent)

2. Relax at Playa Rincon

Outside of the city, you’ll want to go to Playa Rincon. If you like the beach, it doesn’t get any better than this one.

It’s big, but not always crowded, so you can carve out your own piece of this beautiful beach and not have to be close to anyone else.

3. Escape to Las Galeras

Go out a little further and you’ll want to visit Las Galeras. It’s a small fishing village and a great escape from the big city.

There aren’t that many tourists, so you’ll feel like you’re in the real Dominican Republic. And when you get hungry, go to Restaurante El Cabito. You’ll get great food and likely see some whales or dolphins while you eat.

4. Take a Boat to Bahia de Las Aguilas

If you want to go farther out the beaten path, you’ll have to take a boat. Take it to Bahia de Las Aguilas.

It’s a huge six-mile sandy beach that is so isolated you might be one of only a few tourists. It’s worth it to see this beautiful beach and feel so far away from the busy and stressful world.

5. The Nightlife

Go back to the city to experience its nightlife. Eat a traditional Caribbean dinner and then go out and experience the clubs and dancing that Santo Domingo is famous for. You might even learn a few new dance moves.

The Dominican Republic has a unique Caribbean culture, and that includes a unique style of dancing. It’s hot and sensual so be ready to have more fun than you’ve ever had before.

Other things to do in the Dominican Republic include whale watching, waterfalls, white water rafting, mountain climbing, and baseball (something of a religion in a country that produces so many Major League Baseball stars).

When you’ve decided on one of the Dominican Republic hotels available, decide on what you want to do once you get there. Your hotel can help you organize your trip and help with the cost and travel to do it.

You’ll have a great time there and we recommend you see some of the things we’ve talked about in this brief guide.

 All Include Outdoor Instagram Tips

If you want to practice these Instagram tips in one of the Barcelo Hotels, you should check out Dominican Republic Hotels.


This post was brought to you in partnership with Barcelo Hotels.

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Discover Lithuania in 5 Stops http://gobackpacking.com/discover-lithuania/ http://gobackpacking.com/discover-lithuania/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 15:48:59 +0000 http://gobackpacking.com/?p=28309 Vilnius Cathedral
Vilnius Cathedral (photo: Bernt Rostad)

Need another travel destination, but you’re short of ideas?

Consider amazing, yet-to-be-discovered Lithuania! In this country, you can see old cities, castles, and natural wonders too. Here are the top five destinations to get you started.

1. Vilnius, the Capital City

Chances are you’ll arrive in Vilnius, the capital, first, so you’ll definitely want to explore the city.

The biggest and one of the oldest cities in Lithuania will amaze you with a lot of green space and friendly people who will be happy to help you.

Although this is a post-Soviet country, and not everyone knows how to speak a language apart from Russian, the youth of Lithuania speak perfect English, so you’ll be able to communicate with them.

Stops in Vilnius should include the old town, the main cathedral, and the famous Saint Anne’s Church. Just visit Vilnius and take a simple tour to discover the city.

2. Castle of Trakai

Another historical site to visit is a few kilometers away from the capital. Trakai used to be the capital of Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 13th century.

The main castle has been rebuilt in the middle of a vast lake and attracts plenty of international visitors. In Trakai, you can also meet the local community of Tatars, and discover their traditional cuisine.

Trakai is the best place to stop if you want to learn about Lithuania’s long history, as well as to see a bit of the country’s natural beauty.

3. Rumsiskes Open-Air Museum

While traveling further, visit Rumsiskes Open-Air Museum too. Located in a rural area of Lithuania, you’ll be able to visit and see traditional mini-villages of four different ethnographical regions.

If you happen to be visiting or are planning to visit Lithuania, during the Pancake Tuesday, be sure and visit this area.

During that holiday, Rumsiskes comes to life because of the exclusive traditional Lithuanian Pancake Tuesday celebration the museum hosts. So, put Rumsiskes Open-Air Museum on your list and visit it to learn more about Lithuania.

Siauliai Hill of Crosses
Siauliai Hill of Crosses (photo: Mandy)

4. Siauliai Hill of Crosses

One of the most sacred places in Lithuania, the Siauliai Hill of Crosses is a one-of-a-kind place to visit in the Baltic Sea region.

The whole hill near the city of Siauliai is covered with many different types and sizes of crosses, which symbolizes the historical struggles of Lithuanians through the years.

It is believed that the very first cross was put here in the 19th century after the 1831 Uprising, which didn’t end well. In the years that followed, crosses were placed in and out, especially during the Soviet rule.

The exact number of crosses today in unknown, but some people who’ve tried to count them say there’s about 100,000. Visit this small, amazing place and get a feel for its unique energy.

5. The Curonian Spit

Finally, one of the greatest natural wonders in Lithuania, and Europe too is the Curonian Spit. Although it is only a 98 kilometers long, the thin, curved sand-dune spit that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast, the view by walking through this place is amazing.

No wonder, UNESCO decided to put the Curonian Spit on their list of World Heritage Sites.

It’s also no surprise that many famous people, not just Lithuanians, love this place. Famous writers, such as Thomas Mann, had his summer-house there, as well as Jean Paul Sartre, who loved to visit too.

What you need now is a ticket to Lithuania and a good backpack to help you carry all the souvenirs you’ll pick up during your trip.

Check out Kohl’s for great bags, as the store is having a huge sale. Get a $50 discount with a Kohl’s coupon code for luggage and bags to help you buy something stylish.

Once you’ve got you’ve got your new bag, it’s time to start discovering amazing Lithuania.


This post was brought to you in partnership with Chameleon John.

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Top 5 Natural Wonders of Africa http://gobackpacking.com/natural-wonders-africa/ http://gobackpacking.com/natural-wonders-africa/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 12:00:00 +0000 http://gobackpacking.com?p=28102&preview_id=28102 Wildebeest migration
Wildebeest migration (photo: shankar s)

Africa is one of the world’s most incredible places, but the continent is so vast that it is impossible to see everything it has to offer.

However, these are five of the best-known natural wonders, all of which should make any traveler’s bucket list for Africa.

1. The Great Migration

The Great Migration is one of the most unbelievable wildlife sights anywhere in the world.

By far the planet’s longest and biggest overland migration, the Great Migration spans the Tanzania’s Serengeti and Kenya’s Masai Mara, an area covering 18,641 square miles.

Wildebeests are the most common animals sighted during migration season, with around 1.5 million wildebeests traveling through Africa to set up in a new home. They are accompanied by some 200,000 zebras.

The best time of the year to see the Great Migration is July to August in Kenya, with the Mara River arguably the prime place from which to view this stunning sight.

Visit Safari Bookings to book your safari tour to Serengeti National Park.

Zebra in the Ngorongoro Crater (photo: Sarah Tzinieris)

2. Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro Crater is one of Africa’s hidden gems, home to some of the most diverse wildlife you’ll find anywhere on Earth.

This gigantic volcanic caldera is home to an estimated 25,000 animals. In fact, almost every species of wildlife that can be found in East Africa can be seen in the crater.

Rare, endangered animals such as the black rhino and the African buffalo, among others, live in the crater.

Among the many amazing sights of the Ngorongoro Crater is Lake Magadi, which is in the southwest sector of the crater.

It is particularly well-known as it is typically inhabited by thousands of mainly lesser flamingos. The crater is so beloved that it is often called Africa’s Garden of Eden.

Browse the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority website for more information.

Feluccas are the traditional Egyptian boats used on the Nile River (photo: David Lee)

3. River Nile

No trip to Africa would be complete without experiencing the Nile, which is, of course, the longest river in the world.

The Nile spans 10 countries, and if you want to hunt for the source of the river, there are two places to try: Uganda and Ethiopia.

The mouth of the Nile is a lot easier to find in Egypt. A river cruise down the Nile is a fantastic trip for anyone wanting to check out one of the most important rivers in Africa.

Explore some interesting facts about the River Nile here and if you’re interested in visiting the Nile contact Holiday Supermarket.

Sahara Desert
Dawn in the Sahara Desert (photo: Jamie McCaffrey)

4. Sahara Desert

Along with the Nile, the Sahara Desert is probably Africa’s most famous natural landscapes The Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world, covering 11 different countries across North Africa.

Sand dunes in the Sahara Desert can reach as high as 600 feet and, in total, the desert covers some 3.5 million square miles; about the same geographical area as China or the United States.

Read more about at the Sahara Desert from The Encyclopedia of Earth.

Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwe side (photo: Alessandro)

5. Victoria Falls

No African adventure safari is complete without going to see Victoria Falls, one of the most incredible waterfalls in the world.

Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall on the planet due to its width of 5,604 feet, as well as its height of 354 feet. Over 1,766 cubic feet of water per minute, plunge through the waterfall at the peak of the rainy season in Africa.

Victoria Falls is ideally placed for visiting the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and the Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe. Hippos and crocodile are among the many types of animals that can be spotted at the waterfall.

Visit the Victoria Falls tourist website for more information.


This post was brought to you in partnership with Holiday Supermarket.

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Bursa Icons: The Grand Mosque and Green Tomb http://gobackpacking.com/bursa-grand-mosque-green-tomb/ http://gobackpacking.com/bursa-grand-mosque-green-tomb/#respond Mon, 06 Jul 2015 12:00:00 +0000 http://gobackpacking.com?p=28091&preview_id=28091 Ulucami - Great Mosque of Bursa
Entrance to Ulucami in Bursa

When my time with Turkish Airlines drew to a close, after having explored Istanbul, Ephesus, and Pamukkale together, it was time to strike off on my own.

I paid $8.50 for a ferry ticket from Istanbul to Bursa, a city a few hours south of Istanbul which was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site last year:

“This property is a serial nomination of eight component sites in the City of Bursa and the nearby village of Cumalikizik, in the southern Marmara region. The site illustrates the creation of an urban and rural system establishing the Ottoman Empire in the early 14th century.”

Ulucami - Great Mosque of Bursa
Interior of Ulucami

Ulu Cami (Grand Mosque)

The main attraction is Ulu Cami, the Grand Mosque of Bursa, featuring 20 domes, two minarets, and a large water fountain in the middle.

This monumental mosque was built between 1396 – 1399 and is famous for its Islamic calligraphy.

Green Mosque
Inside the Green Mosque

Yesil Mosque (Green Mosque)

Another excellent example of early Ottoman architecture is the Green Mosque, which was built from 1419 – 1421.

Similar to how the Blue Mosque in Istanbul was named after the blue tiles used inside, the Green Mosque features blue and green tile work.

Green Tomb
The Green Tomb at sunset

Yesil Turbe (Green Tomb)

More interesting to me was the Green Tomb, a mausoleum where Ottoman Sultan Mehmed I was laid to rest in 1421. It was ordered by the Sultan’s son and designed by the same architect as the Green Mosque.

Unlike the mosque, however, the mausoleum features colorful tiles on the exterior as well as the interior.

Green Tomb
The tomb of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed I


Bursa and Cumalikizik: the Birth of the Ottoman Empire became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014. Click here for the full list of UNESCO sites Dave has visited.

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Six Summer Sun Getaways for 2015 http://gobackpacking.com/summer-getaways-2015/ http://gobackpacking.com/summer-getaways-2015/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:00:00 +0000 http://gobackpacking.com/?p=28210 Paphos Castle
Paphos Castle (photo: Jeremy)

It’s that time of year again: the summer sun is beating down and you want to soak it up!

It’d be nice to go for a swim in warm waters, feel hot sand between your toes and go on an awesome adventure. And a summer sun getaway in 2015 doesn’t need to cost the Earth: there are thousands of cheap holidays on offer.

But if you want to get the most out of your money, choose from these top six summer sun destinations.

Paphos, Cyprus

Reportedly the birthplace of goddess Aphrodite, Paphos is a must-see area in Cyprus.

This coastal area has it all: gorgeous beaches, ancient sites, quaint cobbled streets, pavement cafés, a growing nightlife scene and glorious sunbathing opportunities.

Particularly renowned for its Neolithic ruins, don’t miss The Temple of Aphrodite and Tombs of the Kings, rock-carved Egyptian catacombs.

Expo Milano
Expo Milano (photo: Andrea Passoni)

North Italy and Milan

Northern Italy offers some spectacular backpacking scenery. If you want an urban experience in 2015, Milan is an ideal choice thanks to Expo Milano 2015 (May 1 – October 31).

This year, the city is a global showcase for sustainability, food and energy under the heading “Feeding the Planet.”

With over 20 million visitors expected, you can view the futuristic ideas presented in these exhibitions.

For a more relaxing experience, head to the beautiful Lake Como or coastal Portofino, only two hours’ drive from Milan.

Majorca as seen from Bellver Castle (photo: Cristian Bortes)

Balearic Islands – Majorca

With prices reducing all the time, the beautiful island of Majorca is a popular destination for cheap holidays because of the affordability of the flights and accommodation.

This is because you’re practically guaranteed great sunshine for a lot of year, great beaches, delicious good, great nightlife and historical villages to visit.

Suckling pig
Suckling pig, known locally as “Babi Guling” (photo: David Lee)


This is a taste of paradise which isn’t as expensive as you might think. You can find really great deals to this part of Asia, and with some research it’s easy to find local digs and food to make up the deficit in flights costs.

What’s more, the jungle terrain, white beaches, the cuisine and the friendly people, all make Bali a dream destination for a little R&R.

Wine tasting in Avignon
Wine tasting in Avignon (photo: David Lee)

Provence, South of France

If you’re looking for a simple yet beautiful way of life, go to Provence in the heart of the French countryside.

With outstanding poppy and lavender fields, rolling hills, hot temperatures, exquisite cheeses and bold wines, Provence is the authentic French experience.

Haad Rin Beach on Koh Phangan
Haad Rin Beach on Koh Pha Ngan (photo: David Lee)


Yes, it’s a popular backpacking destination but Thailand is more accessible than ever before.

What makes Thailand a real draw is that it can cater to any type of holiday, whether you want to party in Koh Pha Ngan, go diving in Ko Tao or have a family friendly beach vacation in Phuket, you can find what you’re looking for, on any budget, in this exotic southeast Asian nation.

Take the time this year to go somewhere amazing without worrying about your bank balance, by trying one of these budget friendly destinations. Good luck, and happy holidays!


This story was brought to you in partnership with Thomson. 

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