ANCHORED: Europe’s Ultimate Week Long Festival Cruise

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My summer plans just got a whole lot better. With the rise in popularity of throwing music festivals at sea, Unique Cruises announced their brand new 7-day nautical adventure called ANCHORED, and it looks almost too good to be true. From June 11th – June 18th, over 2,500 people will embark on the European vacation of a lifetime.

The 7 Best Music Festival Cruises To Experience Before You Die

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Attending a music festival on a cruise ship is definitely something you must experience at least once in your life.  However, I should warn you, that after you spend a few days raving at sea, the idea of going back to camping festivals might not sound too great.  It’s honestly the most comfortable way to enjoy a festival, because it’s also an incredible vacation.  The destinations are always beautiful, the cruise amenities are top-notch, and the sunrises / sunsets you’ll witness while onboard the ship will leave you speechless.  If you’re looking for the best cruise music festivals, I strongly suggest you add these to your festival bucket list.


1 ) Groove Cruise

When:  October 7-9, 2017 (Los Angeles) — January Dates TBS (Miami)

Departing:  (January) Miami, and (October) Los Angeles

Destination:  Various locations.  Bahamas, Grand Turk, Mexico, etc…

Website:  https://www.groovecruise.com/

Groove Cruise is the OG festival at sea, and will definitely be one of the best experiences your life!  I’ve now attended two different Groove Cruises, and it’s simply unlike any other festival I’ve ever attended.  Check out my articles on why Groove Cruise is the Ultimate Festival Vacation & Groove Cruise Miami:  96 Hours of Atmospheric Bliss to get a better understanding why.  There are two separate editions every year, so start planning now and join the loving #GCFAM !


2 ) HOLY SHIP

When:  Every January (2 Weekends)

Departing:  Port Canaveral, Florida  

Destination:  Various locations:  Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, etc.

Website:  http://www.holyship.com/

Having just successfully finished their 8th and 9th voyages, HOLY SHIP has made some major waves in the cruise festival scene.  Their line-ups are always stacked with an eclectic mix of bass / electro/ G-House artists, and the previous destinations they’ve sailed to are absolutely gorgeous.  The main reason I want to go on Holy Ship is to witness the legendary Destructo Sunrise Sermon Set!

Photo via Facebook

Party on the back of the boat! #SpiceH2O #HolyShip #ShipFam

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3 ) Shipsomnia

When:  June 14-18, 2017

Departing:  Barcelona, Spain

Destination:  Ibiza, Spain

Website:  http://www.shipsomnia.com/

Unoffficially nicknamed “Tomorrowland Of The Sea”, Shipsomnia is guaranteed to be a party you never forget.  It’s maiden voyage sailed from Singapore – Thailand, and was one of the best festivals in South-East Asia.  They are now preparing for it’s second edition leaving from Barcelona, and making it’s way to everyone’s favorite party island. This event is likely to sell-out rather quickly, so plan well in advance to ensure your spot on the “Tale of the Kraken”.


4 )  Inception At Sea

The world’s first ever floating spring break music festival!

When:  March 13-17, 2017  

Departing:  Miami, Florida

Destination:  CocoCay & Nassau, Bahamas

Website:  http://inceptioncruise.com/

“The second annual Inception at Sea Spring Break Cruise will be setting sail March 13-17, 2017 from Miami to multiple destinations in the Caribbean for a 4-night music festival experience, with 96+ straight hours of music and partying.”  I’m personally going on this festival in just a few weeks, and can’t wait to share my experience with everyone!

Photo via Website


5 ) Anchored By Unique Cruise

7 Days.  7 Events.  7 pool Parties.  2500 People!

When:  June 11-18, 2017  

Departing:  Rome, Italy   

Destination:  Santorini -> Mykonons -> Monte Carlo -> Cannes  

Website:  http://unique-cruise.com/

This week long voyage sounds almost too good to be true.  Sailing to four destinations, in three different countries, this will be a vacation of a lifetime  This is the first ever edition, so if you don’t have plans in mid-June, you should definitely check this out!  The line-up is looking amazing already, and I know this is going to be a full-week of nothing but groovy house and techno.

“A fresh and innovative cruise looking to combine some of the very best of the nightlife you would normally find in Ibiza along with all the glamour of yachting and cruising.  Our vision is to be an exclusive holiday choice for the influential and glamorous.”

Double tap if our line-up has got you buzzing to get #Anchored17 this year! Tag your shipmates!

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6 ) The Ark

When:  August 31 – September 3, 2017

Departing:  Barcelona, Spain

Destination:  Ibiza, Spain & Marseille, France

Website:  http://www.theark.cruises/en

ELROW ON A SHIP FOR FOUR DAYS!?  Is this real life…?  This cruise simply looks like it’s be the experience of a life.  Take a look browse through the website and check out all the incredible stages, trip packages, and information about the venue of “the Feedom Of the Seas“.  It honestly won’t take you much convincing to start planning your trip!

“Four days long the ship will cruise the Mediterranean Sea in a tropical setting making sure mankind would not only survive, but to be fruitful, joyful and most of all: for mankind to create. To create an atmosphere in which any animal would duplicate. To create an environment in which everybody is loved, accepted and musically connected. To create conversation where likeminded people share stories and discuss the strings of life.”


7 ) Mdrinity Cruise

The First 100% Underground Electronic Music Cruise

When: September 16-20, 2017

Departing:  Genova, Italy

Destination:  Barcelona -> Mallorca -> Ibiza  

Website:  http://www.mdrnty-cruise.com/

“Setting off from Genova, this wild 4-night Mediterranean voyage, with stopovers at Barcelona, Mallorca, and Ibiza, will soon be the exclusive settings for an unforgettable party experience!

Each of 5 stages, including the main dance floor which is located above deck, will have its own unique atmosphere and a befitting line-up to go with it, providing an insane 24h a day music offer!”

 


8)  It’s The Ship *BONUS*

When:  November (2017 Dates TBA)

Departing:  Singapore

Destination:  Langkawi, Malaysia

Website:  http://www.itstheship.com/

This is Asia’s largest festival at sea, and should absolutely be added to your travel / festival bucket list!  They’ve had two successful voyages in the past that both have had massive line-ups, and sailed to beautiful tropical destinations!  I spent almost two years traveling around South-East Asia, and one of my biggest regrets is not attending It’s The Ship!  While 2017 dates / information haven’t been released, you should definitely keep this in mind if you’re planning a trip out to South-East Asia!

Our Day 1 pictures from #ITSTHESHIP2016 are up on Facebook! Check it out shipmates! ⚓️ http://bit.ly/DAY1ITS

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Am I Missing Any Epic Cruise Festivals…?

LET ME KNOW!

THANKS FOR READING!!

FOLLOW MY ADVENTURES AROUND THE WORLD ON FACEBOOKINSTAGRAM, TWITTER & ADD ME ON SNAPCHAT: — JONESATW

Travels, Festivals, & Photography: 2016 In Review

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We’re now two weeks into 2017, and I’m just finally posting my annual round-up article.

Sorry for the delay, but the past couple months I’ve been traveling, festivaling, and photographing Australia — and I’ve barely had any time to slow down and catch up on work.

2016 was a huge year of growth for me — both personally and career wise.

From beginning the year living in Sydney, traveling through Sri Lanka & Europe, spending a couple months back home in California, and finally exploring Australia — this year has definitely been full of adventures.

Countries Visited:  13

Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, France, Belgium, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, U.S.A       


Festivals Attended: 13

Field Day, Electric Gardens, Yacht Social Club, Return to Rio, Groovin The Moo, Voodoo Village, Balaton Sound, Brussels Summer Festival, CRSSD Festival, Dirtybird Campout, Groove Cruise, Return To Rio, and Lost Paradise

If you haven’t already, take a read through my Highlights of 26 Months of Travel post.  This goes into much more detail about the earlier months of 2016.

And if you want to stalk me a bit further, feel free to read my 2014 Annual Review & my 2015 year in Review


January – May  (Living in Sydney)

I started out the year finishing off my Working Holiday Visa in Australia, and to be honest — I wasn’t quite ready to leave Sydney.  As I discuss in my blog post about long-term travel and saying goodbye, this city has become much more than another stop in my nomadic life — it’s my second home.

The only reason I left the country was because of this “backpacker tax” that the Australian government decided they would enforce, which I even got interviewed about in the Australian Financial Review.  You can read that article here.  That was a really cool opportunity for me, and it opened up some doors for future travels (long story).


Everything happens for a reason though, because leaving Sydney ended up being a very important deciding factor for the rest of the year.  I had made enough money working full-time to fund my summer travels, and I was ready to hit the road again.


June in Sri Lanka + TBC Asia

This was my second trip to Sri Lanka, and was definitely one of the highlights of the year.


The main reason for it being so influential was it gave me the motivation to continue on with Jones Around The World.  

The truth is that travel-blogging takes a lot of damn time, and I had lost some of the original spark I had for this site.  I had a full-time job while in Sydney, and whenever I got home from work I just didn’t have the energy to write new content.

So attending TBC Asia and having the opportunity to network and travel with like-minded bloggers was exactly what I needed.  I learned quite a lot about the business side of blogging, and found some much needed inspiration.

Read all about my Sri Lanka adventures:

Beach life is the best. Especially when there is warm water, soft sand, and beautiful blue skies. I'm gonna miss these Sri Lankan beaches.

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on


Two Months Traveling Europe (July-August)

At the beginning of June, I hit the 2-year mark of being away from California (the longest I have ever spent away from home).  I actually was meant to fly back to Los Angeles, and spend the summer in the States…but when I was selected to be apart of TBC Asia, that included a free-flight to Europe, so I couldn’t say no to that.

Where did I go?

Paris -> Brussels -> Budapest -> Balaton Sound (Music Festival) -> Belgrade -> Bosnia & Herzegovina -> Montenegro -> Albania -> Greece -> Brussels

These were two of the most-action packed months of travel.  I’ve already written extensively about how much I enjoyed Balaton Sound, but the real highlight had to be the Balkan road trip.

If you’re thinking of the best places to go in 2017, then I would strongly recommend visiting The Balkans in Eastern Europe!

I think I'm gonna move to the mountains in Montenegro, build a house, and adopt 12 dogs. Yeah…that sounds like a good plan.

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

Shoutout to Dan Flying Solo & Lili’s Travel Plans for an epic road-trip!  


UBERing, FESTIVALing, and EXPLORing CALIFORNIA (September – October)

First stop:  In-N-Out

I was back home in California for about 2.5 months, and they honestly flew by so quick.  I had one main goal:  save up as much money as possible.  I didn’t have time to get a “normal job” because of interviews, training, and putting in “two weeks notice” before embarking on my next travels — so I signed up to be an Uber & Lyft Driver in California.

I actually loved my time being a driver!

C-A-L-F-O-R-N-I-A Oh, how I've missed you….

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

I would honestly say that 95% of the people who got into my car were really great, and it was also a really fun way to tell people about my travels, and make some new friends!  Yes, I made friends with my passengers!

With Lyft — there was a $2,000 Sign-Up Bonus if you complete 500 Rides in the first 60 days, and I was completely committed to reaching that goal.

It was a lot of hours on the road, but I saved up enough money to buy a new iPhone, Nikon D750, 2 FX Lenses, and a Drone.

Mmerica. #California #PCH #RoadTrip PC- @danflyingsolo

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on


I also had the opportunity to attend 3 incredible music festivals!  You can read the reviews of each of these by clicking the links:

CRSSD Music Festival

Dirtybird Campout

The Groove Cruise

When it comes to The Groove Cruise, this was honestly one of the best experiences of my entire life.  Not only was it one epic party, but it was when I discovered my passion for festival / event photography.

Check out my Groove Cruise Album on Facebook.  I think I got some pretty epic photos, and love that I was able to capture some beautiful moments on board that ship.

 I’m slowly starting to book some more work as a photographer, and can’t wait to improve my skills!


Finally Traveling Australia (November – December)

G’day Mate!  How ya going…?

If you’ve been reading my blog and following along on social-media for awhile, you probably already know that I was working my ass off my entire time while living in Sydney.  I moved to the country with basically zero money, and heaps of credit card debt.  Over the first few months in Sydney, I was able to pay off my debt, and slowly begin to build up my travel fund.  The plan was to travel the country during my working holiday visa, but I never got the chance.

So I emailed YHA Australia and asked if they’d be interested in partnering up and sponsoring me for Australia trip.

This was the first big sponsored trip I’ve done as a professional travel-blogger, and it really taught me a lot!

My trip along the east coast of Australia was truly incredible, and I’m completely in love with this country.  There really is so much to explore, and I met some really awesome people.

Read all about it:


What’s Next in 2017…?

If you asked me this a few months ago, I would have responded that I’d be moving to New Zealand…

"I don't know where I'm going from here…but I promise it won't be boring" — David Bowie

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

But now…I don’t think that’s happening just quite yet.

Since I’ve discovered that becoming an official festival / event photographer is something I want to pursue (as well as being a full-time travel blogger)…New Zealand just isn’t a place that is known for it’s mega festivals or vibrant nightlife scene.  So I’ve decided to put this idea on hold.

I’m planning on spending February – May in California.  I’ve been a traveling nomad for so long, and I’m ready to spend some time back in America.  I am hoping to do a couple mini trips to Colombia, Arizona, and maybe a couple countries in Central America.

During June & July, I’m hoping to fly over to Europe to check out a couple more different music festivals.  But we’ll see if that ends up happening, and if the USD is still relatively strong after Trump takes office, haha.

In August, I’m coming back to California, and will be trying to attend Burning Man.  I had tickets to go in 2016, but had to sell them due to being financially responsible.  I’m happy about that though, because in the past few months I’ve met a ton of inpsiring people that I’m planning on going with this year.

SYDNEY. One of the best cities in the world, especially for photography! Have you ever been?

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

September & October I have no plans, but in November I’m going to Mexico to shoot my first wedding!  Then I’m hoping in December I can return to Australia for another Christmas / New Years Eve festival?

With all that being said — my plans are constantly changing, and I highly doubt these plans will stay in tact.  I’m always open to new adventures and seizing opportunities when they arise. 


THANKS FOR READING!


FOLLOW MY ADVENTURES AROUND THE WORLD ON FACEBOOKINSTAGRAM, TWITTER & ADD ME ON SNAPCHAT: — JONESATW

Top 10 Tips For Traveling South-East Asia on a Shoestring

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Traveling South-East Asia truly changed my life in many ways, and I’m always recommending people to plan a trip out this beautiful region of the world.  So many people think that traveling is expensive, but that honestly can’t be further from the truth.  South-East Asia is the perfect place for budget travel, and I’ve learned quite a bit during my time out there.  So if you’re looking for some travel tips for Asia on a shoestring, I’m here to help!


1 )  Travel Slow

To begin, when I was backpacking through South-East Asia, I had all the time in the world.  I arrived in Bangkok on a one-way ticket, and had no set return date.  If you’re in the same situation, then my absolute best tip I can give you is to travel slow.  Stay in each destination a bare minimum of 4-5 nights.  This is going to give you the opportunity to get to know each destination, figure out the best and affordable accommodation, and learn your favorite budget places to eat.  You never know, you might enjoy a place so much you will find yourself getting a job at the local pub-crawl or hostel.  However, if you’re on a ‘Travel Talk Tours’ Thailand Tour then you’ll be on a bit more a time schedule.


2 )  Eat Like The Locals

South-East Asia is the street food capital region of the world.  In almost every place you will visit, there will be night markets with delicious food stalls, and I can guarantee they will always be cheaper than any restaurant.  This is especially crucial if you are in Thailand, which is my personal favorite for street food dining!  I stayed in Chiang Mai for one month, and the food was absolutely incredible!


3 )  Stay at Hostels

This should be an obvious one for anyone looking to save money in Asia.  There are so many incredible and budget friendly options to choose from, and you can find beds for as low as $5 per night.  I always like to do ample amount of research on Hostelworld before I book anything, and try to find a hostel with a lively backpacker atmosphere!  Traveling is all about the people you meet, so you want to be in an environment where it’s easy to meet like-minded travelers


4 )  Practice & Master Bargaining

You’re definitely going to get ripped off once or twice.  Don’t worry — it happens to all of us, but you will need to practice and master your bargaining skills.  The locals in these countries will try and get as much money out of you as possible (especially in Vietnam), so know how much you should be paying for each item, and bargain them down!


5 )  Bring Your Own Drinks

If you were to walk into a restaurant in the U.S or Australia with your own water bottle, you might be told that that’s not allowed or get some awful looks.  Well, in South-East Asia it is completely fine!  I NEVER ordered drinks when I ate out, because the price were always much higher than what you would find at the 7-11 across the street.  It’s a tip that I think can save tons of money throughout your trip in Asia.


6 )  Pre-Game Wisely

South-East Asia is one of the best places to party, but just like anywhere in the world, drink prices will add up.  That’s why I always recommend buying a bottle of a local spirit, and play some drinking games at the hostel before you go out.  It’s a fantastic way to start your night, make some friends, and save some money (since you won’t have to spend a lot out at the bars).


7 )  Don’t Buy Souvenirs

As a long-term solo traveler, I never had the space nor budget for souvenirs.  It’s my personal belief that the best souvenirs and pictures and the memories.  Obviously, if there is something you really want, then definitely get it!  Just be careful, it can be very easy to see all these fancy little tourist shops and want to buy stuff, only to realize you don’t have the space or need for any of it.


8 )  Join The Facebook Groups

While this may not be an actualy money saving tip, these groups are absolutely essential!  You can ask all your important questions here (or feel free to email me), and learn about cool stuff going on in each destination.  I was an active member in the south-east Asia backpacker groups during my time out there, and truly found them useful!

Check out these ones:


9 )  Overnight Busses & Trains / Cheap Flights

While some people may disagree with me on this point, I always found that the overnight busses and trains were a great way to save money.  They can get you from Point A – Point B in a decently comfortable way, and they save you a night of accommodation.  With that being said, South-East Asia has some incredible budget airlines that you can find some great deals on!  If you can take a 2-hour plane ride instead of a 12 hour bus…then why not?


10 )  Download My Free E-Book

If you’ve found these tips helpful, then you will absolutely love my Free E-Book “77 Amazing, Helpful, Money Saving Tips for Backpacking South-East Asia“.  I wrote while I was staying on Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia — and tons of people have said they really love it!  It’s short, easy to read, and you will learn a lot.  *Download link below post*


If you’re ever planning a trip, feel free to email me and ask me any question you can think of.  I love helping people plan their travels!

THANKS FOR READING!


Follow my adventures Around The World on FacebookInstagram, Twitter 

& Add Me On Snapchat: — JonesATW

The Highlights of 26 Months Traveling & Living Around The World

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I’m currently 40,000 feet above earth flying from Brussels to Philadelphia.

I’m about three glasses of red wine deep, and it’s bringing out some serious emotions.

HOLY SHIT…I’M GOING HOME…

For those who haven’t been following along for that long, I haven’t been in America since June 2014.  That’s right — it’s been over 26 months since I’ve been stateside.  While that may not be too long for some travel blogging nomads I know – it’s a very long time for this guy.   

It’s pretty crazy for me to think about everything that has happened in the past couple years, and all the fantastic people I’ve had the pleasure to spend time with.  

Not to be too cliche — but the past two years of travel and living abroad have shaped me into the man I am today.  I’ve learned so much about the world, and what I want for my future.  

I’ve established goals, discovered new passions, and have realized that ambition is key to a successful life.  

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While my future plans are still somewhat up in the air –  I have a much more clear idea about the type of life I want to live.

As one of my favorite travel quote says:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.   – Mark Twain


I’ve pursed my dreams of traveling the world while I’m young….

I may not have a fancy car, a wardrobe full of designer clothes, or own any property…

But I’m filthy rich in life experience.


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So I’m going to utilize this flight to write down some of my most memorable travel highlights and achievements from the past 26 months of traveling, studying, working, and living abroad. 

I’m writing this post not only as a fun recap, but as a personal memoir to to reflect on these life-changing experiences.


To give you a general idea of where I’ve been, here’s the basic timeline:

June – August 2014 – Summer in Barcelona/ European Travels

September 2014-2015 – Full year backpacking around Asia

September 2015 – May 2016 – Life in Sydney

June 2016 – Singapore & Sri Lanka

July + August 2016 – Back to Europe / Balkans / Flight Home


So without further ado…let’s take a quick look and reminisce at the past couple years of my life…

#JONESAROUNDTHEWORLD


 Summertime in Barcelona

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Since I decided to complete my Master’s Degree online, it meant that I could choose to study anywhere in the world.  Well, when my backpacking trip to South America got cancelled, I immediately knew where I wanted to go.

On June 5th, 2014 — I flew on a one-way ticket to my favorite city in the world: Barcelona, Spain. 

This was the beginning of this epic 26 month adventure.  I spent 2.5 months in Barcelona, and had some of the craziest and most unforgettable moments of my life.  

Barcelona is known for it’s exceptional nightlife, so I was a tad bit worried about balancing my studies and my love for quality techno — but I managed to get straight A’s in my classes, and had the time of my life with some really awesome people. 

I’ve lived in Barcelona for two different summer seasons now (2012 & 2014), and I can confidently say it is the one of the best places in the world during this time of the year.  The amazing food, vibrant culture, and insane nightlife will always keep me coming back for more.

NOS VEMOS, BARCA


Sonus Music Festival

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After a very hectic “goodbye week” in Spain, I made my way over to Croatia to hit up one of the better music festivals I’ve ever attended.

SONUS exceeded all of my expectations.  The music was simply incomparable to any other festival I had experienced, the location on Pag island was stunning, and I spent the week with two of my best Dutch friends from Eindhoven (De Gekste!).    

Dank u wel Joost & Stijn.  Looking forward to our next reunion!    

Besides a lost iPhone and damaged liver – it was the perfect ending to my summer in Europe.


Launching This Website in Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

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First off — I actually didn’t even really care to visit Sri Lanka.

The only reason I flew there was because I was maximizing my United Airlines miles I obtained through savvy “travel-hacking”.  But I’m so glad I did, because Sri Lanka has now become one of my favorite countries to travel through.

During this first trip to Sri Lanka, I spent about 10 full days in Arugam Bay, and it was the first time I truly felt like a long-term solo traveler.  I stayed at this place called The Beach Hut (an absolute must for anyone traveling to A-Bay), and this is where I launched Jones Around The World

I had been preparing to do so for awhile, and finally got around to it.  This was almost two years ago now, and I can’t believe how far this blog has come. 

I had no idea what I was doing when I started blogging, but starting this website marked the beginning of a completely separate journey. 


One Month Exploring Bali & The Gili Islands

Bali life is the good life. #potatohead #beachclub #seminyak #Indonesia

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

I made it back to South-East Asia — and the first stop was Bali, Indonesia. 

This month was seriously awesome.  Not only did I get the chance to meet-up with some family, but I had such a blast exploring new parts of Bali and Gili Trawangan.  

It was also great that one of my friends that I met in Vietnam decided to fly all the way out from Hawaii to travel with me for a few weeks!  Shoutout to Elaine!   

From the moto explorations of Bali, the booze cruises and sunsets on Gili Trawangan, and the awesome fellow backpackers I had the pleasure of meeting — this month in Indonesia definitely had to be included in my travel highlights. 

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Becoming an Honorary Kuala Lumpur Expat

During my first trip to South-East Asia, I had the pleasure of meeting an extremely friendly Kiwi girl named Danielle, and older Aussie bloke named Hutchy.  I met them while backpacking in Langkawi, and I had no idea that meeting them would have such a drastic impact on my future. 

Because of these random travel friendships — I was able to see a completely different side of Kuala Lumpur, and I got the opportunity to become friends with a solid group of expats from all over the world. 

In the past two years, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Kuala Lumpur, and while I may have never had a full-time job there, I do feel like I became an honorary expat. 

To my KL / Regalia crew — thanks for all the good times, the poker games, and the mojito nights.

Water & Lights show at KLCC

Water & Lights show at KLCC


Wonderfruit Music Festival

Yoga Bass during the sunset during Wonderfruit day 2. What an awesome experience. Namaste.

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

I haven’t attended many music festivals in Asia, but I would defintely say that Wonderfruit is hands down one of the best parties you can find in the region. 

The vibe, the venue, the food, the people — everything was just perfect. 

Shoutout to Jesse & Scott for being absolute legends.  I’ll be seeing you lads out in Bangkok soon enough I’m sure!  

You can read my full Wonderfruit Review to get a better idea of what I experienced.


Christmas on Koh Tao

The idea of spending Christmas on a tropical island may sound a bit strange, but it was such an incredible experience.

The backpacking culture is very alive and vibrant on Koh Tao, and it was awesome to meet and party with some awesome people from all over the world, as well as be with one of my best friends Cathy on Christmas day!  If you ever get the chance to spend the holidays in Thailand, I would highly recommend it!

If I close my eyes, I can picture myself back there watching the sunset, with a beer in my hand and a santa hat on. 


NYE Full Moon Party & Jungle Rave Shenanigans on Koh Phangan

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Ohh, Koh Phangan – where do I even begin…?

I actually attended two different Full Moon Parties during my first trip to South-East Asia, so I definitely knew what I was getting myself into this time around. 

New Years Eve on Koh Phangan was absolutely mental, and while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing the NYE Full Moon Party – I am glad I experienced it for myself. 

This was one week full of neon colors, buckets of Thai whiskey, and dancing until the sun comes up with a global mix of friendly strangers.

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Purchasing My First DSLR 

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If you ask me now…when I really started being a travel blogger — I would tell you it was when I bought my first DSLR camera. 

niI spent a couple days researching the “best DSLR for beginners”, and the top result always seemed to come back to the Nikon D3300 

So I treated myself to an early birthday present — and shelled out close to $500 to purchase this bad boy.

I’ll be honest — I had no idea how to use this camera at first, but I knew that photography was something I wanted to get into, and did my best to learn how to use my new camera.

Looking back on my photos from my first few months of having it, I’m horrified about how truly awful I was.

Travel photography has become a passion of mine, and I’m looking forward to purchasing some advanced camera gear and improving my skills.  

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Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

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I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again — Hong Kong is one of the most vibrant cities in the entire world.

I found a $42 flight from KL – HK, and couldn’t wait to visit a new city during their biggest holiday of the year.  

It might have been ridiculously expensive week, but I think it was worth every penny.  The firework show was quite impressive, the Hong Kong Pub Crawl was a blast, and crossing off Hong Kong Disneyland (being from Anaheim) needed to be done.

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Backpacking The Philippines.  The best month of my life…? 

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I spent one month in the Philippines, and I have nothing but the fondest memories of those 30 days.  I really do think it’s the most beautiful country in South-East Asia, and the entire trip just went so perfectly. 

My Philippines Itinerary article is one of my most read blog posts, and it’s been amazing to help people plan their travels throughout the country.  I regularly receive comments, emails, and messages from people who are about to embark on a trip there, and I’m so glad that information that I have written has made a difference in their travels.

From the amazing island hopping experiences in Palawan, swimming with whale sharks in Cebu, and partying it up in Boracay – this was a month that I will never forget.

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Master’s Degree = Completed

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Most people thought I was crazy to travel the world while simultaneously studying for my Master’s Degree — but I realized is that all you need is a little bit of time management and responsibility, and handling the workload was completely possible.

After about 1.5 years — I finally finished my Master’s Degree in Business Management & Leadership.

I can’t even begin to explain how good of a feeling that was.  I submitted my final assignment in El Nido, Palawan — and celebrated by partying on a private island in the middle of this gorgeous archipelago. 

Don’t know how many other people can say they’ve experienced something like that before…


Loving Life in L-A-O-S

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When I think back on all of my travels through South-East Asia — Laos was easily the most surprising country of them all.

I have no idea why it took me so long to travel through Laos, but the experiences I had in this country were some of the most memorable.  

From relaxing on the 4000 Islands, waterfall explorations through the Bolaven Plateau, and the tubing madness in Vang Vieng — backpacking Laos was almost too much fun.

I also had the pleasure of traveling the country with two really amazing English girls!  Shoutout to Meg & Eliza for an incredible time!  Can’t wait to see you guys again sometime…


One Month in Chiang Mai & Songkran Water Festival

In the travel-blogging / digital nomad community, renting an apartment in Chiang Mai is extremely popular — and I wanted to experience what everyone else was talking about. 

So I found myself a nice studio apartment on AirBNB for $280 U.S.D for the month, and decided to slow down my travels a bit.  I had been on-the-go for quite awhile at this point, and was in desperate need of some rest & relaxation.

It started off with one of my all-time favorite travel experiences: SONGKRAN water festival.  This was just 3-days of epic madness running through the streets of Chiang Mai armed with a water gun.  Check out my Songkran Video below, to get a better understanding. 


Moto Ride from Chiang Mai – Pai

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While most people opt to take the $5 bus through the winding mountains of Northern Thailand, I knew renting a moto was going to be the best way to get to Pai.

Thanks to the power of Facebook, I met an awesome Aussie bloke to make this journey with, and even picked up a fellow backpacker on the road.  Shoutout to Damo & Ilona!  🙂

Everyone loves to talk about how amazing Pai is, and I finally understood what all the hype was about.  There’s tons of incredible things to do in Pai, the food is delicious (and cheap), and the nightlife is surprisingly hectic! 

It’s one of those destinations where you plan on staying two days, and end up staying two months.  I could easily see myself moving to Pai sometime in the future. 


The Paradise Lifestyle on Gili Trawangan

My favorite island in the world…

After a quick return visit to Bali with a friend from California, I decided that living on Gili Trawangan was something I desperately wanted to experience.

So I managed to land a job at the main party hostel on the island called Gili Backpackers.  This place is actually now called Gili Castle, as the island government made the decision to ban all hostels.  

I fell in love with the paradise lifestyle on Gili T.  I was constantly surrounded by wonderful people from around the world, going on epic booze cruises, and showing people around the nightlife hotspots. 

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My days were filled with swimming alongside turtles in perfectly blue waters, and my nights were filled with pub crawls and Joss shots. 

I even got a job offer to stay and work as a bar promoter as well as sell tickets for the booze cruise, but the time had come for me to leave.  I definitely wasn’t ready to go, but my time living on Gili Trawangan was absolutely perfect.  

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Sailing Through Komodo National Park

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This four day trip sailing from Lombok to Flores was easily one of my favorite things I’ve done in South-East Asia. 

The trip was jam-packed with idyllic islands, unbelievable snorkeling, and gorgeous sunsets.  I was also very lucky to share this experience with a stellar group of people from a dozen different countries.

If you ever get a chance to visit Indonesia — exploring Komodo National Park should be a top priority!

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Malaysian Island Adventures

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After returning back to Kuala Lumpur from an epic 2 months in Indonesia — it was time for me to actually explore more of Malaysia.

I spent almost two full months exploring the Perhentian Islands, Pulau Kapas, Tioman Island, and Langkawi.

This was when I truly fell in love with Malaysia.  I was constantly left stunned by it’s natural beauty, the delicious food, friendly culture, and budget travel options.  

I really do think Malaysia is the most underrated country in the South-East Asia.  

During this time was also when I decided to buy my Working Holiday Visa for Australia – probably the most influential decision of my life…

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Paradise…


California Visits

When two of my friends from high-school messaged me on Facebook asking to join me out in South-East Asia, I was so stoked to travel with them for a bit.

I spent two weeks with Rashad in Bali and the Gili Islands, and spent about one week with Gina in Kuala Lumpur & Langkawi.  It had been a long time since I had seen both of these awesome individuals, and we have some pretty epic travel stories together now.

Thanks for the visit guys.  We’ll definitely have to make traveling together a bigger priority!  I know that neither of you guys like long-haul flights, but I promise i’ll make it worth it.

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Moving to Australia & Getting Settled in Sydney

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To be honest — my life was kind of a mess when I initially moved to Sydney.

I had been traveling for so long at this point, finances were running extremely low, and I was just a bit of a wreck.  I didn’t have any decent clothes, was nervous about finding work, and made this huge life decision to move to another country.

I tried not to let it show, but I was dealing with quite a bit of stress.  It really took me awhile to get settled in Sydney, but I think that’s normal for anyone who just spent over a  year backpacking around Asia.

If it weren’t for the generosity of my mate Ed, and the Ferguson family, who let me stay at their house for the first 5 weeks I was in Sydney — I honestly don’t know what I would have done.

I started making decent money, found an affordable house to live in, and finally felt settled in Sydney.  I paid off my debt, was able to save money by utilizing websites like OZCodes, and started to feel like I was getting my life together…

I was no longer a backpacking nomad.  I found a home.  While my plans to move back to Sydney have been unexpectedly postponed, I know I’ll find myself living there again in the near future.

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There’s no place like home…


Halloween Forest Raving

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Being American — Halloween is a pretty big deal to me.  

Fortunately, the Sydney squad all rallied together, and we made the journey to a secret location for one epic party called The Afterlife.  

It was the first music event I attended in Australia, and was also the start of a beautiful festival squad.  We were missing a few key members, but we definitely made up for it at future events.  

Read my full Afterlife Event Review for a better idea of what this experience was like.    

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My First Press Trip as a Travel Blogger — INDONESIA

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I had been blogging for a little bit over a year and hadn’t really made too much money or gotten anything in return for all my hard work…

This website was started purely for hobby purposes, but it’s been really cool to see Jones Around The World grow into something much bigger. 

This was an all-expenses paid trip to Bali, Lombok, and Komodo National Park.  The trip was hectic to say the least, but it was such a solid experience with a wonderful group of fellow travel bloggers.  

If you guys are reading this — thanks for an epic trip everyone!  Was a pleasure traveling with you, and looking forward to our next press trip together! 

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New Years Eve Celebrations in Sydney

Since it was my first New Years Eve in Sydney, I knew that I had to check out the legendary firework display over Sydney Harbour.

So I joined my friends Ellie & Kenny (who were visiting from KL), and cruised out to the park at Mrs. Macquaries Chair.  It was a long day of eating, drinking, and taking photos.

We were all a bit surprised they packed in so many people into this small area to watch the fireworks, and didn’t really provide any entertainment.  But I will say that the firework display was the best I have ever seen.

Field Day

There’s no better way to start the year off right then to hit up an outdoor music festival in downtown Sydney.

We got the whole squad, looking good in our tye dye, and had one epic day dancing to Golden Features, Boys Noize, and Disclosure.

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The House of Shifting Sands

Rent prices in Sydney can get pretty ridiculous at times, so when I was offered a room in a house in Randwick for only 180 per week — I quickly accepted.  When I initially moved in, I was actually only supposed to stay for 3-4 weeks, but the tenant who was supposed to take the room no longer could.

Living in this house was one of the best aspects of my life in Sydney.  It was affordable, it was comfortable, and the house had such an amazing vibe.

But the only way to describe this house is — Organized Chaos

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Why?  Well, because we had a total of 9 people living in that one house.  We had 7 people sleeping in rooms, and 2 extras who used the house but slept in a tent outside, and a car in the driveway.  While it may have been slightly inconvenient, messy, and chaotic at times — it worked for us.

Everyone in the house got along really well, and had a few really epic family parties.  🙂

It was called the “House of Shifting Sands”, because there are always people coming and going, and moving out / moving in.  I’m sad to share that this house is no longer being leased by old my roommates, but I was so glad I got to share that house with them all.

Special shoutout to Tim, Kylie, Niels, Aidan, Rene, Daphne, Jarrod, Giorgia, Ben, Alistair, and Dennis!


The Yacht Social Club

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“Sydney Harbour Is Our Playground”

When it comes to last-minute decisions I made while in Sydney, this might have been the absolute best one.  The location, the music, and the atmosphere is unlike any other party in city.

But that should be expected, right?

Yacht Party in Sydney Harbour?  Yeah…count me in.

Read my full review of The Yacht Social Club, and I guarantee you’ll be adding it to your bucket list.


Buy Tickets for the 2016 / 2017 Season


Joining the GoPro Family

When you grab the attention of a company as big as GoPro, you know you’re doing something right.  I was so stoked to receive the invitation to join the GoPro family.  Having just recently attended their Launch event for the Hero5 and GoPro Karma, I’m excited to continue to use their amazing products are produce some stellar content.  #BeAHero

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Return to Rio

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Looking back on my time living in Sydney, I would have to say that my weekend of camping and dancing at Return to Rio was hands down my favorite weekend in Australia.

Not only did I hear some of the best music I’ve ever heard (DIXON crushed it), but I met some of the coolest people there.  The atmosphere at Return to Rio is hard to explain…I guess you just have to experience it for yourself.

The next Return to Rio is happening in November 11-13, and I’m seriously contemplating flying all the way back to Sydney just so I don’t miss it.  It was THAT much fun.  I’ll be rocking my Zebra Onesie when I get back…

Read my full Return to Rio review to get a better understanding.


#TuneSquad at Groovin The Moo

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This was the last music festival I attended while living in Sydney, and it was definitely good fun.

While there were a lot of aspects of Groovin The Moo I didn’t really enjoy – our squad totally crushed it with our festival gear.

Amazing day of dancing with good friends to quality tunes.  Safia, Golden Features, and Alison Wonderland played incredible sets.

TUNESQUAD–ASSMEBLE


Love & Loss in Sydney

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When it comes to dating – traveling had always kind of inhibited any type of long-term relationship.  But since I was living and working full-time in Sydney, I was able to start seeing someone.  While this relationship had turned into something quite serious, it has recently ended in a rather unexpected, immature, and shocking fashion.  These things happen though, and I’ve learned the hard way that people aren’t always what they seem to be.

As the saying goes…

“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

But sometimes I’m not too sure about that…


Sydney Going Away Party

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Was a bloody ripper mate…

I’ve always enjoyed throwing house parties, and my going away function in Sydney was one hell of a party.  It was great to get all my Sydney mates together in one place, and spend one final evening of debauchery with some of my favorite people in the world.

I hate goodbyes…but I’m already looking forward to my “welcome back” party.  🙂


Singapore in Style

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The first stop on my summer travels was the beautiful city / country of Singapore.

I had visited a couple times before, but this was the first Singapore visit with my DSLR — so I spent 3 whole days running around the city taking pictures of absolutely everything.

I gotta say– I think I got some pretty epic shots.

I was also hosted by the amazing Westin Singapore hotel during my stay, and lived it up in pure luxury.

Was the perfect beginning to my summer travels…

I also bought a new MacBook Pro at the Singapore Airport – which was desperately needed.

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June in Sri Lanka + #TBCAsia

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Sri Lanka was the first country I ever felt like a true “solo traveler”, and as previously mentioned, was where I launched Jones Around The World.

So when I got invited to be a hosted blogger for TBC Asia, I could not have been more stoked to return to where it all began.

I spent the entire month of June traveling around this stunning country, and I feel like I could have easily stayed another month or two.

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Read all about my Sri Lanka adventures:

Attending my first Travel Blogging Conference was definitely the highlight of this month though.  It was incredible to meet and travel with some awesome fellow bloggers!  I learned quite a bit, and left the country feeling inspired to achieve much more when it comes to this site.

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Photographing Paris

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Paris is a city I have visited on numerous occasions during my time working as a European travel guide, but I was excited to get back for a repeat visit to take photos of absolutely everything.

Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, and there’s a reason for that.  It really is a gorgeous place, and I had a solid 3-day stay running around the city.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the best weather when I was there, but I still managed to get some cool shots.

I stayed at an amazing hostel called Les Piaules, and enjoyed a nightly glass of wine on the rooftop terrace overlooking the city.

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Balaton Sound

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If you haven’t already, make sure you check out my article on why I think Balaton Sound is the best music festival I’ve ever attended.

I only went because I knew I needed to get out to Eastern Europe, and found a flight to Budapest for 40 euro the day the festival began.  So I applied for the press accreditation (after the deadline has passed), and received the amazing news that my application had been approved.  This last-minute trip was slowly coming together.

The issue then was that I had no friends to go party with, and no where to stay – but thanks to the power of Facebook, I got lucky and found an open spot with some truly incredible people.  They welcomed me into their little rave family with open arms, and we had such a solid time partying it up at the beautiful Lake Balaton.

Shoutout to Baywatch Crew!

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Exploring Budapest + Belgrade

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After an intense week of partying at Balaton Sound, I was looking forward to a bit of relaxation — but there is little down-time in the life of a travel blogger.  I spent the week re-discovering my love for Budapest, and then taking a night-bus down to Serbia.

Budapest – It definitely is one of my favorite cities in the world.  There’s so much to explore, delicious food (and beer), and it’s very cheap.

Belgrade

 I wasn’t too happy about my time spent in Belgrade.  I had awful weather the entire time I was there (mid-July), and the city just felt a little bleehhhh.  I did find some delicious food, and learned a bit about the city – but I do think I need to head back to the city again.  I had heard so many great things about this city, and I’m not quite sure what I missed.

Apparently Belgrade has some of the best nightlife in the Balkans, but I was still detoxing from the epic bender that was Balaton Sound.

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Three Week Balkan Road Trip

I honestly don’t even know where to begin…

The Balkans has been a region I’ve been dying to travel through for years now, and this road trip completely exceeded all my expectations.

I joined forces with two other travel bloggers, the devilishly handsome Dan Flying Solo and the ridiciously fun Lili’s Travel Plans, and we hit the road traveling through Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, and Greece.

Randomly enough, I had actually never even met them before this trip.  I think we all took a gamble to embark on this three-week road trip with strangers met through the internet, but it ended up working out perfectly, and I couldn’t have asked for better company.

The entire trip was jam-packed with beautiful sights, friendly people, and scenic drives.  I fell in love with the Balkans, and can’t wait to explore more of the area in the future.  🙂


BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA

Beautiful bridges, winding roads, and stunning landscape were three of the highlights of this amazing country.  Road tripping through Sarajevo, Konjic, various lakes and viewpoints, and Mostar.  This country was constantly surprising me.

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MONTENEGRO

This was definitely the country I was looking forward to the most.

Before visiting Montenegro, I had only really heard about the Bay of Kotor though, so everything else we saw was an added bonus.

Durmitor National Park was hands down my favorite aspect of traveling through Montenegro.

We got our car sorted all thanks to AutoEurope  and was left speechless while we drove through and marveled at the natural mountainous beauty.

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ALBANIA

I’ll be honest – the main reason I was looking forward to traveling through Albania was because I had heard it is one of the cheapest countries in Europe.

Albania completely blew me away.

We spent around 9-10 days going through Albania.  The highlights were Lake Komani, Berat, and driving along the entire coast of the Albanian Riviera.

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CORFU, GREECE

We all made our way down to Corfu because the flights were so much cheaper leaving from Greece.  I wasn’t even planning on exploring the island, because I had been to Corfu a couple times before…but WOW.

Corfu is absolutely gorgeous.  It’s a pretty massive island, and me and Lili spent two full days driving around the island checking out the best beaches and view points.

Oh…and the food.  I could easily live off of Greek food for the rest of my life.

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Flying Back Home

Over 2 Years and 2 Months.

Total:  805 Days…

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That’s me overlooking my hometown of Yorba Linda

The time had finally come to make my way back to Southern-California (where I’m currently writing the end of this blog post).  I’ll admit that it felt a bit strange at first, but now I’m thoroughly enjoying my time catching up with friends and family, eating In-N-Out, and saving up money for whatever adventures come next.

I’ve got some really exciting options for the next year or two, so I guess I’m just currently waiting to see how a few opportunities work out.


So to wrap up this massive 5000+ word blog post, I just want to give a massive shoutout to everyone I had the pleasure of spending time with these past couple years abroad.  You’ve all had an impact on my life in one way or another, and I’ll never forget all the incredible adventures we’ve shared.

Traveling is truly about the people you meet while on the road, and I’ve been fortunate to forge friendships with some fantastic people from all over the world.

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Love you guys!


THANKS FOR READING!


Follow my adventures Around The World on FacebookInstagram, Twitter 

& Add Me On Snapchat: — JonesATW

25 Tips for Backpacking Thailand

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Backpacking Thailand is like enrolling in “Backpacking 101”

It’s the absolute perfect destination for new backpackers.  It’s an amazing country with a little something to offer everyone!  With that being said, going to any new destination can be a little intimidating.

Hopefully these 25 tips will help you along your travels through Thailand.  

1.  Practice and Hone Your Bargaining Skills.  

Almost everything is negotiable in Thailand.  You will most definitely get ripped off at least once or twice, but the more you do it — the better you’ll get.  I always recommend the “walk-away” method.  Figure out what you want to pay, and if they won’t agree then start to leave and see if they will accept then.          

2.  Book in Advance for Big Holidays or festivals.

If you’re planning on going to a Full-Moon party, a music festival, or a famous holiday celebration like Songkran — then you need to take care of your accommodation in advance.  Places book up quick.

Check out my video I made of Songkran 2015 in Chiang Mai.  

3.  Shop Around & Compare Prices

When booking anything, check prices at least 3 or 4 different travel agencies.  This goes for island hopping tours, bus + ferry tickets, and hostels / guesthouses.   You can definitely get a better deal and bargain with them to get the best deal.          

4.  Join Facebook Groups with like-minded travelers.

I’m a member of multiple different Facebook groups for travel throughout South-East Asia.  You can post travel questions, share cool photos, make new friends, etc.

These are all groups that can be helpful and entertaining.

There’s honestly tons more if you just search in Facebook

5.  Bring an Unlocked Smartphone and get a local SIM

Purchase a one-month unlimited data plan.  You have no idea how much it will come in handy.  This goes for directions, looking up information, booking last-minute places, making calls, etc.

You can also tether it to your laptop or tablet, and use it on long bus journeys, train rides, or ferries.  

I personally recommend getting a SIM through the company AIS.  I always used them in Thailand, and it worked perfectly.  


Read:  The Ultimate Travel Guide to Thailand [Instagram Checklist]


6.  Street Food.  Eat it often.  

Thailand is the street food capital of the world (in my opinion).  

It’s very delicious, and also budget friendly to save you much some baht.

If you’re looking for the best cheap places to travel, then coming to Thailand and eating the street food is definitely a solid option.

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7.  Take a Sleeper Train

It’s actually a comfortable train, you save on a night of accommodation, and it’s a good experience.

I’ve taken two, and thoroughly enjoyed it both times.

A popular route is between Chiang Mai and Bangkok.      

8.  Debit & Credit Cards  

These tips are great for anyone planning on traveling a lot in the future.  

Try and plan ahead and have a debit card that refunds all ATM Fees.  I know it’s not very common, but to use any ATM in Thailand cost 180 Baht (Approx $5).  

The U.S best bank for this would be Charles Schwab

The same goes for Credit Cards without a foreign transaction fee.

I’d recommend applying for the Capital One Venture Card      

9.  Avoid Phuket & Koh Samui

They are extremely touristy, expensive, and there are much better places to be spending your time.  I know some people have had some good times there, but I wouldn’t bother.

Just skip them.

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10.  Fresh Coconut Water & Fruit Smoothies

It’s very important to keep yourself hydrated while traveling through Thailand.

The fresh coconut water is delicious, healthy, and great for curing hangovers.

There are also fruit juice & smoothie stands all over the place.  They are cheap and tasty.

Drink them often, and stay healthy while traveling.

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11.  Pack Light   

You’re traveling through Thailand, and there really isn’t that much need for a wide-variety of clothes.

Everything you’ll pretty much need can be bought for cheap while traveling as well.

You’ll just need some basic clothes that can be worn in a lot of different settings.

If you’re anything like me though, you’ll spend a lot of time on beaches and islands, and won’t need much.

12. Budget Airlines

While most backpackers prefer to travel overland, sometimes you can find a really cheap flight!  This could particularly come in handy if you need to get up to Chiang Mai quickly.

It can also be annoying traveling on bus and trains because you’ll always have to stop in Bangkok for the longer trips.  It just depends on your itinerary, but getting a budget flight can save some time, money, and energy.

13. Get Massages  

This is probably a no-brainer, but the Thai massages are just so cheap and amazing.  If you are an expert for finding the best deal, you can find them for as cheap as 150 Baht for one-hour.  These aren’t very common anymore, but you’ll never really pay more than 500 Baht for a solid massage experience.  If you’re in Bangkok or Chiang Mai, you could also check out Groupon Thailand.

I always like getting a quick 30-minute foot massage after a long day of walking / sight-seeing.

14.  Try the “Toasties” from 7/11

Trust me.  Just do it.  They are absolutely heavenly.

My personal favorite is the Ham & Cheese Croissant toastie, but there are ton of options.  

 They only cost 25 Baht, they’re insanely delicious, and perfect for a quick snack.

15.  Let’s Talk About Elephant Rides & Tiger Temples.

DON’T DO IT

Elephants aren’t meant to be ridden.  Simple as that.

The Tiger Temples are absolutely atrocious, and drug the poor tigers.  

Check out this great article for 8 Responsible Alternatives to the Tiger Temple.

I actually made the mistake of doing the typical “tourist elephant ride” once during my first time in Thailand, and I still regret it.    


Read:  The Best Hostels in Thailand


16.  Underwater Camera or GoPro

You’ll definitely be wishing you had one if you don’t bring one.  Thailand has some amazing underwater adventures that I’m sure you’ll want to document.    

My GoPro is one of my favorite travel accessories.  It takes some amazing photos, and your Instagram feed will be full of beautiful photos.   

Just jump in! Fan photo ?: @everchanginghorizon

A photo posted by Official Thailand Tourism (@thailandinsider) on

17.  Play Pool

I’ve seriously never played more pool in my life than my time spent backpacking in Thailand.

It can be a great way to meet people, relax around the hostel, or enjoy while enjoying some beers. 

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18.  Bring Sunscreen

 I’m not too sure why, but this essential item can get pretty expensive out in Thailand.  I saw one store trying to sell some sunscreen for 1200 Baht ($35!).

If you do purchase this in Thailand (or any other cosmetic), just be careful it doesn’t have the skin whitener added into it.       

19.  Buy the Lonely Planet Book  

It’s honestly full of useful information, and great to browse through while in transit.  If you don’t buy it, look out for it in hostel book shelves, and check it out.  Can definitely be a great asset. Buy it now               

Wat Tourist…

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on


Read:  3 Week Thailand Itinerary


20.  Get Off The Beaten Path

Make sure you do this at least once or twice.  There’s so many amazing places in Thailand, you don’t want to just be on the same tourist path as everyone else.  Thailand has become a pretty popular touristy destination, but there are still a few places that aren’t often traveled.  

I’d recommend checking out Koh Mook in the Trang province in southern Thailand.  People sometimes stop here on an island hopping tour from Koh Lanta, but it’s a beautiful place to spend a few days depending on how long you have.        

21.  Go to a Music Festival  

There are tons of music festivals in South-East Asia, and quite a few are in Thailand.

I’d recommend going to any of the full-moon parties, Songkran Water Festival in April, or Wonderfruit festival in December for an epic weekend experience.

Yoga Bass during the sunset during Wonderfruit day 2. What an awesome experience. Namaste.

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

22.  Get a Tattoo 

If that’s your thing?  It’s a pretty popular souvenir, and I’ve seen some pretty cool travel tatoos.

I never got one, but it’s definitely something I want to do when I get back to Thailand.  

Just make sure you plan ahead, and don’t do it when you’re planning on doing a lot of swimming. 

23.  Island Hopping Tours 

In my opinion, these are always a great decision.  They normally only cost around 500 Baht, and include a full-day of snorkeling / sight-seeing in beautiful places.  

Another cool aspect is that you’ll most likely meet some awesome people as well.  If you’re traveling solo, this can be a great opportunity to kick it with some fellow travelers.  

2 Americans, 2 Dutchmen, 1 Boat, 5 islands, 3 bottles of whiskey, and tons of fish. That was one epic snorkeling trip

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

24.  Stay In Each Destination for at least 4-5 days

This obviously depends on how long you have for your backpacking itinerary in Thailand, but getting from Point A – Point B in Thailand can take much longer than expected.

If you move too quickly, you’ll feel like you’re always in transit instead of enjoying your time in the country.

25.  Stay In Hostels 

Last but not least.  You’re backpacking so you gotta stay at hostels!

Hostels provide the perfect opportunity to meet fellow travelers from around the world.  It’s not about the destination, it’s about the people you meet and spend time with that make traveling so life-changing.

Agoda.com — This is easily my favorite site for finding the cheapest deals on hostels, hotels, and guesthouses in Thailand.

Hostelworld — Really easy to use, great hostel reviews, and you can always find a cheap place.  However, prices can be a bit more expensive than if you were to book in person.

Booking.com — It has tons of options, and is still a great resource for booking a place to sleep.  What is nice is you can often pay in full, or just reserve your spot without any credit card needed.  This can be great for price comparisons.  You never know where you’ll find the cheapest deal.

Hostelbookers — The alternative to Hostelworld.  It’s really great, and sometimes this is where you”ll can find the cheapest price.


BONUS TIP

Down at the bottom of this post you can download my Free E-Book “77 Amazing, Helpful, & Money-Saving Tips for Backpacking South-East Asia” below.  It goes over most of these tips, but includes a lot more information.  It’s a quick and easy read, and free to get just for signing up for my monthly newsletter.

Any questions?  Feel free to shoot me an email or comment down below and I’d be happy to help out.  


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Balaton Sound 2016 — The Best Music Festival I’ve Ever Attended

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As Jay Lumen played his final song at the Heineken stage on Sunday morning at 5:55 A.M, and the festival would shortly come to an end — I couldn’t help but smile when I thought about the past 5 days of festival madness that I had experienced at Balaton Sound.

The non-stop incredible music, the gorgeous location, the friendly atmosphere, the massive stages, the affordable prices, etc…

Truly, a perfectly organized festival…

It was an experience that I’ll never forget, and will recommend to absolutely everyone..


To be honest, I actually had never really heard too much about Balaton Sound.  I remember I included it in my 30 Music Festivals To Experience Before You Die article, but that was just from diligent research.  

My decision to come to this Balaton Sound happened solely because I found a 38 euro flight to Budapest!  That’s literally the only reason I came.  

I’ve been to some incredible festivals around the world like:  Coachella, Tomorrowland, Amsterdam Dance Event, Electric Daisy Carnival, Sonar, Mysteryland, Sonus, Stereosonic, etc

And I can confidently say that this is the best music festival I’ve ever attended.

Let me try and explain why.


Location, Location, Location

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Lake Balaton is about a 1.5 hour drive from Budapest, and it’s simply a gorgeous destination.  I quickly realized is the perfect location for a festival of this magnitude.  There’s plenty of open space, nearby accommodations, and amazing summer weather.

For a travel blogger and photographer such as myself — I could not have been more pleased with the picturesque sunsets every evening, and the jaw dropping sunrises every morning. 

When you’re not at the festival, you’re spending your days relaxing by the lake, having a cheeky swim, and enjoying the natural beauty you’ll find in Lake Balaton. 


Amazing, Massive, and Plentiful Stages

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Music Festivals are adult playgrounds — and Balaton Sound had entertainment absolutely everywhere.  There were 10 incredible stages all varying in size, vibe, and spread throughout the festival grounds. 

The most visually impressive would definitely be the MainStage.  With it’s vibrant colors, massive LED screens, and booming bass no matter where you are standing — everyone found themselves watching at least one or two sets at the Mainstage. 

I mean look at this.  WOW.  Not too shabby?

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The Telekom Arena was the second largest stage —  and was one huge tented beast.  This stage had amazing sound, plenty of space for the bigger acts, and really impressive lighting.  At times you’d find it insanely crowded, and at other times you could find it nearly empty.  

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The Jager Arena had a huge dome shape, and brought some big names to it’s stages.  I actually didn’t spend too much here, but I did see Tomsize lay down some filthy trap beats for about 20 minutes, and Sub-Focus drop some wicked drum-and-bass.  If you walked in this stage, you instantly felt the party vibes.  It was LOUD and people were always going crazy.   

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The Heineken Stage — *My Favorite*

If you were my friend and were looking for me at this festival, your best bet would be to head straight to the Heineken stage.

This gigantic pyramid perfectly built over the lake made it ideal for some epic sunset & sunrise photography, and was the ultimate stage for deep / tech house and techno tunes. 

If underground electronic music isn’t your preferred style, I doubt you spent too much time here, but that’s your mistake.  This stage had the best atmosphere of all them, and was full of people who truly know and appreciate their quality dance music. 

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The Jana Stage was probably the most unique of them all, as it was covered in sand and provided a really great beach vibe.  The tunes were always groovy as hell, the sunset views were spectacular, and it was never really overcrowded.  I came here almost every night to watch the sunset and met some really great people that I ended up kicking it with a lot throughout the festival.    

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Music from 10 A.M – 6 A.M

Party until the sunrise every night…

This was one of the biggest factors which made this festival the best I’ve ever attended.  There’s basically music playing 24 / 7 — which there actually is if you go to the after-parties. 

Listening to incredible DJ’s on Lake Balaton while watching the sunrise was truly an amazing experience.  You just can’t beat it.   

I’ve attended too many festivals that end around midnight or 1 A.M — and it’s just now how a festival should be.      


Cashless Payment & Top-Up Points

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It’s becoming more and more common at festivals these days to have cashless payments, and I definitely think it’s the best way to do it. 

I love how they give you an actual CARD, and not tokens that are easily lost.  There were top-up points spread out all over the festival, and it never took more than a minute or two to re-load your card with more value. 

There was a small deposit for the card, as well as a 500 HUF deposit that you could get back if you filled up a small bag of trash — which I thought was a really cool idea, and very easy to accomplish.       

Food & Drink Options Absolutely Everywhere

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Now that you’ve got some cash on your card — let’s go spend it.

When it comes to food options — I was amazed at all the variety this festival offered.  No matter what type of food you were in the mood for — Balaton Sound had you covered.

I typically went for the classic Doner Kebab, because well — it’s scientifically proven it’s the best drunk meal in the world.  But I enjoyed an occasional slice of pizza, and a bowl of delicious fried rice. 

Food prices ranged, but you’re looking to spend around $5-$8 per meal. 


Affordable Drinks

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630 HUF = 2 EUROS! 

I’m a beer drinker, and I was very pleased when I found out the price of beer was only 630 HUF.  

I’ve never been to a music festival with 2 euro beers.  Normally at festivals I’m worried about bankrupting myself just because of drink prices — but because this festival is in the wonderfully affordable country of Hungary — this was not the case.

For mixed-drinks you’re looking at spending around 1400 HUF (4.50 Euro) though, and a red bull would cost you about 1000 HUF (3.15 Euro). 

I am fully aware that these prices ARE EXPENSIVE for typical drink costs in Hungary, but I’ve been to festivals that charge 5-8 euro per beer, so I was definitely pleased with the Balaton Sound menu. 

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The Crowd

Incredibly friendly people from around the world who came to party, dance, and make new friends.

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Without a doubt, the best aspect of any music festival is the atmosphere — and Balaton Sound’s vibe could not have been any better.

There was a wide mix of people from all over the world.

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We need to discuss Belgium

If you asked some one at the festival where they were from — there was basically a 50% chance they were from Belgium.

I have never been to a festival in another country which had such an overwhelmingly amount of people from a different country. 

Don’t get me wrong — I love Belgians!!  I actually flew from Brussels – Budapest, and met some awesome Belgians on the plane — it was just a definitely a surprise to see how many attend Balaton Sound.  

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Yo Belgium — why is this such a popular festival for you guys?   

I also met heaps of awesome Hungarians, English, Irish, Austrians, Dutch, French, Spanish, Australians, Germans, etc. 

I even met a few other Americans (we were a rare breed at Balaton, but we were around)

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My Top 10 Sets

Sven Vath

Pappa Sven did what he does best and played a stellar techno set.  It was my first time properly seeing him, but it won’t be my last.   

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Martin Garrixx 

The Dutch superstar played a crowd-pleasing set that was a highlight of Friday night.  He really knows how to work the crowd, and keep the energy flowing throughout.      

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Lost Frequencies

I hadn’t heard too much about this guy was before Balaton Sound, but I’m really glad I made my way over to the Heineken Stage for his set.  If there’s one word to describe it’s set it’s simply FUN.  This dude was throwing out all types of genres, and keeping the dance vibes the entire time.  He dropped the instant hit “House Every Weekend” and I’ll never forget the crowd go crazy.  

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Dixon  

Hands down one of the best DJ’s I’ve ever seen.  When I saw him headline this small boutique camping festival in Australia called Return To Rio, he played a ridiculous 4-hour set, and I couldn’t wait to see him ever since.  Not to my surprise, he absolutely killed it again at Balaton Sound.  If Dixon is ever playing at a festival I attend, I will definitely be seeing him spin.

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W&W

Having seen W&W once before, I know that these guys don’t come to mess around.  They dropped banger after banger.  Hard-hitting stuff, and definitely crushed the Mainstage.  I watched and listened from afar, and was jamming the entire time. 

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Armin Van Buuren

I’ve honestly seen AVB play at least 6 or 7 times now, and every time he plays an amazing set.  He’s an absolute legend, and his skills behind the decks are truly impressive.  There’s a reason he was the #1 DJ in the world for 4 years.   

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Adam Beyer

Techno beast.  I had never seen Adam Beyer before, and he crushed the Telekom Arena.  Real proper techno set filled with heavy tracks.   

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The Chainsmokers

This favorite American duo seem to be dominating the festival scene this past year.  With hits like “Roses” and “Don’t Let Me Down”, Alex & Drew definitely know how to produce a good track.  I had never seen them DJ though, so I was stoked to finally see them play.  Needless to say, they played one of the best sets of the entire weekend.  A solid mix of beautiful progressive house, filthy electro drops, heavy trap beats, and even some throwback tunes.   

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Jay Lumen

Closing out the festival in style, Jay Lumen played a 2-hour set that was filled with nothing but the best techno tracks.  Watching the sunrise while recording him play backstage is a moment that I’ll never forget.    

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Worst Sets

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I honestly can’t believe I listened to a DVBBS set.  They are just the biggest douche bags in the festival scene.  They barely even DJ.  One of the guys pretends he’s doing so much complicated stuff behind the decks, but if you’re actually listening — they never even mix two tracks together.

He just cuts off the music while the other guy shouts some stupid shit on the mic, and then brings in the next song.  It was also pretty funny when the microphone guy would touch something on the mixer (as if he’s making any difference).  Straight up posers. 

Oh, and then when the one DJ stands up on stage and lights a spliff.  Such a douche…

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The music they played was alright.  Just heavy hitting trap / EDM stuff.  But god, they are just awful. 

They’ve also been all over the news recently because two unconscious girls were found in their dressing room at the festival.  Fortunately, they’ve already been dropped from the Sziget line-up.  Let’s hope more festivals stop booking these lame, fake, douche bags.  

Okay. Rant Over.  


Don Diablo

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I had never seen Don Diablo before, but had actually heard decent things about his sets.  I used to have a couple of his tracks in my iTunes library, and was excited to see him because his set-time perfectly fit the gap of the two main people I wanted to see.

But his set was simply terrible.  It would have been the same to play the radio.  There was just nothing special about it, and the song selection could not have been more vanilla. 

Go home, Don Diablo — you’re boring. 


Favorite New Artist

Nora Matisse

This local Hungarian female DJ smashed the Heineken stage after Lost Frequencies played.  I had never heard of her before, but her music was right up my alley.  I’m glad I discovered her, and I look forward to seeing her spin again. 

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Check out her 2016 Festival Promo Mix


The Boat Parties

Can’t believe I didn’t go on one…

The Boat parties were something I was very interested in when I came down to Balaton Sound, but unfortunately all the tickets sold-out well in-advance.  From what I’ve heard, they were a blast.  How could they not be?  Drinks, dancing, and music on Lake Balaton?  Sounds pretty great to me.  I’ll definitely be planning a bit better whenever I make it back to this amazing festival.


Shoutout To The Baywatch Crew
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You know how I told you that coming to this festival was a last minute decision?  Well, that also meant that I had no one to go to Balaton Sound with.

Well, thanks to the power of Facebook — I searched on the Balaton Sound group for the word “apartment” hoping to find people with a spare room to rent.

I instantly found what I was looking for, was added into a group chat, and was introduced to this amazing group of English and Irish ravers. 

I wasn’t sure how it was going to go — but I’m very happy to share that I had such an amazing time getting to know everyone in this group.  Such an awesome rave family they’ve built over the years, and I’m honored to have been welcomed into the crew. 

Thanks for everything guys.  Looking forward to meeting up at another festival or country around the world.  🙂 

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CONCLUSION

Out of all the festivals I’ve been to around the world (which is quite a lot), I definitely found Balaton Sound to be the absolute best.  It might not be the biggest or most popular festival in Europe, but it’s a unique experience that should not be missed.

  • 5 Long Epic Festival Days
  • The Line-up was stacked
  • Music Until 6 A.M
  • Perfect Location on Lake Balaton
  • Excellent Cashless Payment & Top-Up system
  • Food & Drink Everywhere
  • Plenty of Camping & Accommodation options
  • Helpful smartphone APP with map & schedule
  • + an amazing Festival atmosphere

CHECK OUT ALL MY PHOTOS HERE:   BALATON SOUND FACEBOOK ALBUM

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THANK YOU BALATON SOUND!   CAN’T WAIT FOR NEXT YEAR!

Have you ever been to Balaton Sound?  What did you think?  Leave a comment and let me know!


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BALATON SOUND

Making the Most of a Long Weekend in the Eternal City- Rome

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Rome, the eternal city, is also known as the city of love, meaning that it is not only the perfect place to visit with friends, but also with your loved ones. From its (world famous) gastronomic delights and ancient wonders of art and architecture, to romantic strolls along the Ponte Sisto and the many other bridges of the Tiber, Rome is a cosmopolitan centre yet still infused with the magic ancient civilizations. The only problem once you’re there is figuring out what to see in the short time you’re there. As the city is so full of treasures is absolutely impossible to visit (or even discover) everything, the numerous churches hidden in every alley, the designer shops in Via Veneto or Via del Corso, the restaurants, or the myriad of historic piazzas with their monuments, museums, art exhibits, and cultural events… and the list goes on. Here are my tips on how to make the most out of your short holiday in Rome.


1 )  Book tickets in Advance!- This way you can avoid waiting in long queues as Rome is always bustling with crowds of tourists daily. Buy your flight tickets early and possibly even weeks prior because prices tend to shoot up approaching the holiday seasons. This includes not only hotels or B&Bs but also entry tickets for museums, shows at cultural events, and of course for kids’ activities! Visiting the Colosseum will be a lot of fun for both couples and families, kids can take pictures with Roman Gladiators and even dress up like one (make sure you visit the local shops for toy swords and helmets!). The Vatican is another must, and you can snap up your Vatican Museum tickets long before your holiday to avoid wasting precious time and energy at the back of a long queue under the hot Italian sun! My advice to avoid crowds is to visit the Vatican in the afternoon, particularly on a Thursday or Friday if possible.


2 )Getting around in Rome can be a hassle for locals but if you’re a visitor then you may well enjoy the characteristic and authentic view of Roman life with a nice bus ride or on the metro. The metro is always your best option to get from A to B quickly and easily, but once you are in the historic center (like Trastevere) it is easy to walk to all the major sights; Campo de Fiori, the Pantheon, the Vatican, the Colosseum and the Roman Forum are all within easy reach.


3 )  If you like to relax and submerge yourself in local city life you might want to visit a piazza, like Piazza Navona with the fantastic mythological statues and fountains of Bernini and the Monuments of Borromini, Piazza Barberini, or the Pantheon Piazza. You can marvel at these ancient wonders while sitting at a cafè and sipping a glass of wine or enjoying an appetizer or an amazing gelato (for kids and adults alike!)


4 )  For the best panoramic experience, climb the Spanish Steps, or even better, the marble staircase of  the Vittorio Emanuele Monument to get the best view of the historical sights. At the top terrace bar you can take in the whole view stretching over the ancient Forum filled with arches and columns from the 6th Century B.C.


5 )  If you are not a first-time visitor and you’d like to see and experience something different, then check out hidden spots like the Romeow Cafe, a Vegan Cat Cafè where you can hang out with all your feline friends that roam around the area while you enjoy a healthy vegan cake! There are also the more mystical elements to Rome and one includes the Egyptian motifs that appear throughout the city (including the Vatican); the Egyptian influence on Roman culture dates to the time of Julius Caesar and a visit to the 2000 year old Pyramid of Cestius will be an unforgettable experience (and you don’t have to go to Egypt to see it!)


Ultimately, you may not get to see everything you had planned for so meticulously, but the important thing is that you have the opportunity to relax. Don’t spend your tome in Rome hurrying from monument to monument forgetting to take a second and just marvel in your surroundings, remember- you can always come back another time to see the things you missed!      

THANKS FOR READING!!    

10 Fun & Awesome Things To Do In Malaysia

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A visit to Malaysia is bound to be nothing less than a trip you’ll never forget! There are so many things to see and do in Malaysia, that wherever you go, you’ll surely run into something unique and surprising! Whether it is food, adventure, shopping, or entertainment, Malaysia never ceases to surprise its visitors. The country is blessed with astounding natural beauty too, including pristine beaches, the world’s oldest tropical rainfrest and the oldest national park, ideal for hiking enthusiasts.  Check out this list of 10 fun & awesome things to do during your next trip to Malaysia!

1) Snorkeling / Diving around The Perhentian Islands

Easily one of the most beautiful parts of the country, spending a day on a boat exploring the underwater life around the Perhentian Islands will be a highlight of your vacation.  You’ll be left speechless at the underwater life, beautiful corla, and you’re also pretty much guaranteed to see a couple turtles!

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2)  Genting Highlands, Kuala Lumpur

Welcome to the ‘City of Entertainment’ – Genting highlands – a magnificent resort perched on a hilltop, about 50km from the city of Kuala Lumpur, offering the coolest getaway to re-charge yourself! Home to the only casino in Malaysia, Genting Highlands also offers indoor and outdoor theme parks, over 50 fun rides and about 150 outlets comprising numerous restaurants and shopping centres.

3)  Exploring the Cameron Highlands

Just a bit further north from the Genting Highlands, you’ll find yourself mesmerized incredible green and luscious rolling landscapes.  Choose between jungle trekking, exploring tea plantations, or stunning view points.  The Cameron Highlands is a visit to

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4)  Butterfly Park Tour, Kuala Lumpur

Who wouldn’t want to recall childhood day trying to catch colourful butterflies, or trying to fly like one?! Serenity of nature, a beautifully manicured garden with lush greenery and colourful flowers, and a haven where one can relax on the benches or soak in the sweet incense of exotic flowers, the Butterfly Park in Kuala Lumpur is a must-visit! An ideal destination for photography enthusiasts and nature lovers, this is the largest butterfly park in Southeast Asia, where you can admire up to 6000 butterflies from over 120 species!

5) Pulau Payar Marine Park, Langkawi

Time to bid goodbye to all your worries and gear up for some excitement! Go snorkelling or swim with the colourful fishes at the Pulau Payar Marine Park. This uninhabited, well-preserved marine park, surrounded by coral reefs and ideal for an extensive array of water-sport activities, is one of the most exciting places to visit in Malaysia. If you are not a fan of water-sports, go and check out the surrounding hiking trails or simply sit back and admire the endless ocean – a diverse mix of shades of blue!

6)  Try Malaysia’s delicious Cuisine!

Do we even need to mention the food trails of Malaysia? Malaysian cuisine is not about a few particular foods, rather, it’s all about the country’s culinary diversity and dynamic mixture stemming from its multi-ethnic population of Indians, Malay, Chinese, Eurasians, and the indigenous people of Borneo. Malaysian food is all about letting your senses tantalise your taste buds by sampling the best dishes of Malaysia. Truly, feasting on the heavenly Malaysian cuisine on your holiday is a one-of-its-kind experience which shouldn’t be missed!

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7)  Experience Paradise on Pulau Kapas

While not one of the most well-known islands in Malaysia, Pulau Kapas might just be the most stunning islands I’ve ever visited.  This idyllic island is just a short 20 minute boat ride from the mainland, and will keep you there much longer than expected.  With no roads on this island, you’ll truly experience the laidback island lifestyle.  There’s amazing snorkeling just a short swim off the beach, crystal clear water, and a few amazing spots to eat!

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8)  Khoo Kongsi, Penang

One of the best things to do in Malaysia is visiting the famous Khoo Kongsi clan house. Hidden in a maze of alleys, this clan house was built more than 100 years ago. One of the country’s hidden gems, the grandest clan temple is surrounded by tall buildings, and inside clan temple, you will witness elaborate murals and carvings that reek of a rich history. Believers come here for religious reasons, while non-believers come to feast on its ornamental architecture. Whether it is a New Year’s celebration or a cultural show, the grandeur of this place has to be seen, in order to be believed.

 

9)  Cable-car ride and oriental village tour, Langkawi

Not a hiking enthusiast? Not a problem! Hop onto a cable-car that will take you to the peak of Mount Mat Chinchang, from where you can soak in legendary views of the fascinating island of Langkawi. The breath-taking scenery, the rustic ambience enhanced by rich flora and fauna, and the spectacular limestone formations – Langkawi is an idyllic retreat. Experience the thrill of speed while riding the longest free-span single-rope cable car ride of the Oriental Village through the virgin forest of Langkawi, and immerse yourself into in the serenity of the environment.

10) Rooftop Views in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur has made this list a few times already ,but for good reason.  Whether you’re enjoying a drink on a helipad, or swimming in one of the most amazing infinity pools, you definitely can’t miss the opportunity to get an amazing view of the city from up above.

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I collaborated on this post with the awesome people over at HolidayMe to promote some of their amazing tour packages in Malaysia!  As always, all opinions are my own, and think Malaysia is an incredible country that I strongly encourage people to visit!  

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The 15 Best Places To Party in South-East Asia

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Looking for the best places to party in South-East Asia?

You’ve come to the right place…

Whether you move over here to teach English, book a short vacation, or embark on long-term backpacking trip — you are going to fall in love with South-East Asia.  The food, the culture, the beaches, the islands, the cities, the hostels…and the epic parties.  This region of the world has it all.

I’ve spent over 18 months in total traveling around South-East Asia, and I’m always down for a good rager.  I’ve always said that I’m happiest when I’m on a tropical beach, listening to good music, and watching the sunset (or sunrise after a long night of dancing).

I’ve put together this list of which I believe to be the best 15 places to party in South-East Asia.  If you’ve been to any of these places, I’m sure you can agree that they are all amazing places to get a little boozy, meet fellow travelers, and have a solid night.  If you’re planning a trip to any of these destinations, feel free to Contact Me with any questions you have.  I’d be happy to help out anyway with any questions.

How many have you already visited…?


1)  Koh Phangan, Thailand

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While most people head to Koh Phangan just for the infamous Full Moon Party — this island actually has so much more to offer.  I like to refer to Koh Phangan as the “Ibiza of South-East Asia”, because there is literally a different party every night of the week.   If you’re planning a trip anytime soon, make sure you check out a website called the Phanganist.com.  They go over all the parties, hostel information, and other useful tips for visiting Koh Phangan.

Parties On The Island To Check Out Other Than The Full Moon Party  

  • Merkaba Beach Club — A really cool Ibiza style club with a pool, and amazing underground house music.  Check the FB page for upcoming party dates.  I actually went here one night instead of the FMP!  Located just a short drive away from Haad Rin Beach.
  • Maya — A beautiful and colorful venue in the jungle.  The type of music varies for each party, but it’s definitely worth a visit.
  • Guy’s Bar / Eden — An absolute must attend during your visit to Koh Phangan.  Tucked away in the deep part of the jungle, these are two of the best places to party on the island.  Known for it’s long hours, it’s the party that doesn’t stop.  It’s hard to get to, where you have to take a jungle taxi or boat to get to, but it’s well worth it!
  • The Jungle Experience — Normally happens before and after each Full Moon.  A bit expensive for the entry charge at 400 baht, but it’s a solid party with amazing music.  You’ll meet a ton of people, and see some pretty interesting characters dressed up in crazy body paint.
  • Sandcastle — A small club venue located in Haad Rin that is the best place to party during the Full Moon Party.  It’s not located directly on the beach, but definitely cruise here for a couple drinks.
  • Backyard Afterparty — If you go to the FMP and don’t see the sunrise, consider yourself a failure.  As well, part of the Koh Phangan experience is going to an afterparty.  Go to BACKYARD.  It’s amazing.

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2)  Vang Vieng, Laos

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The hedonistic party capitol of Laos has gotten a bad reputation in the past decade for being a destination fueled by booze, drugs, sex, and irresponsible backpackers.  Several years ago a few backpackers died in Vang Vieng, and the local authorities finally cracked down on the city.

While the current party status of Vang Vieng might be a little bit more tame than “the glory days”…have no fear– this place is still absolutely insane.  If you’re not careful — you will lose your mind.

Tubing in Vang Vieng is an absolute blast.  It’s basically a bar crawl, but instead of walking from place to place, you float down your tube (beer in hand), and get pulled back to the mainland with a rope at the next bar.  The backpacker vibe is awesome.  Everyone is here to meet people, drink, and have a good time.

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One of the bar stops while tubing in Vang Vieng

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When you’re not tubing,  you’ll most likely find yourself paryting at one place — SAKURA BAR.  The motto of this place is “Drink Triple, See Double, Act Single.”  This place gets ridiculous at night, and you’ll definitely love it.  They offer free alcohol every night before 8 P.M, decent drink specials, and sell large laughing gas balloons.

If you happen to find yourself in Vang Vieng on a Friday night — make sure you check out the weekly Jungle Party.  It’s about a 15 minute drive away from the main strip, but there is free transportation available outside Sakura bar.  The venue is really cool, the party lasts all night, and it’s amazing underground house music.  Don’t miss out!  They also sell mushroom shakes there if you’re feeling like taking a trip down the rabbit hole.

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3)  Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

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The largest of the three Gili Islands has been nicknamed “The Party Island” — and for a very good reason.  Gili Trawangan isn’t just one of the most beautiful places in South-East Asia, it’s by far one of the craziest places to get your drink on.  There is a “weekly schedule” on the island for which bars / clubs to go to, and each and every one of them is a pretty damn good time.

As well, Gili Trawangan has two booze cruise parties that are too epic for words.  You join dozens of other young backpackers on a beautiful boat, sail around idyllic islands, and listen to amazing music.  The booze can get really pricey, but it’s all worth it for the experience.  The atmosphere on the boat is awesome, and watching the sunset while sailing around Indonesia with a bintang in your hand is something you’ll never forget.

Gili Trawangan Booze Cruise

Gili Trawangan Booze Cruise

As well, Gili Trawangan throws their own version of the “Half-Moon” & “Full-Moon” Parties.  It’s basically just an all night beach rave about a 20 minute walk from the night market, but it’s hands down one of the best parties on the island.  If you’re feeling like getting a bit more crazy, there are (practically legal) mushrooms on Gili Trawangan that are guaranteed to take your night to the next level.

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4)  Halong Bay Castaway Island, Vietnam

Halong Bay.  Castaway Island tour.  Pure debauchery.  If you’ve been on this tour already — then you know what I’m talking about.  If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam and are keen for an intense 3-day booze bender while visiting one of the most stunning areas in South-East Asia, then you need to book this Castaway Island Tour.  If you’re a budget backpacker, than the price of the tour is probably going to piss you off.  Yes, it’s damn expensive — but it’s honestly a really great experience.

However, I was fortunate enough to go on this trip with an incredible group of people and two awesome tour guides (Shoutout to Emilio & Tom).  But just with any packaged group tour, I think a trip like this ALL depends on the people you travel with.  I think the majority of the time you’ll meet some great people, drink heaps, and enjoy sailing through one of Vietnam’s highlights.  With that being said, not everyone is lucky.

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5) Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

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If people give you advice to skip Koh Phi Phi because it’s become “too touristy”  — ignore them.  Yes, I’m sure visiting Koh Phi Phi 20 years ago was so much better, but it’s definitely still one of the most beautiful places in Thailand!  Oh, and Koh Phi Phi is one the craziest party island in South-East Asia.  

In my opinion, Koh Phi Phi is a backpacker’s paradise.  There’s tons of people everywhere, amazing and cheap food, and really great nightlife.  It’s not a big island, but there’s still plenty to do and explore.  The snorkeling trips are affordable and gorgeous, the view points are stunning, and you can’t leave Thailand without visiting “The Beach”…right?

Favorite Places to Party

  • Slinky’s Beach Bar — This is the place to be when the night comes to an end.  Loud house music, laughing gas balloons, dancing on stages; this place is wild.
  • Ibiza Beach Bar — This starts out as a really chill lounge bar during the sunset and couple hours after, but things start to pick up towards the end of the night.
  • Stones Bar — Located right next to Ibiza Beach Bar, another great option to chill, play pool, and start your night.
  • Banana Bar — Happy hour from 4:20-6:20, Movie’s play every night at 7:00 P.M, then after the movie the party starts with beer pong, loud music, and tons of people.
  • Stockholm Syndrome —  A great place to beer pong, meet people, and party before making your way to the beach.

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6)  Bali, Indonesia

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The “Island Of The [Party] Gods”.

Bali is one of those destinations people visit once, and will keep going back for another stint in paradise.  There’s a little bit of something for everyone, and that includes those looking for an epic night of partying.  There are basically two main areas to party in Bali:

Kuta, Legian, & Seminyak Area

Sky Garden — This legendary mega club is a place you need to party at least once during your time in Bali.  There are so many different areas and rooms, and there are often big name DJ’s that stop by and play.  If you get in early, there can be ridiculous drink deals as well.  Insider tip: Try to rooftop buffet for dinner…it’s incredible and affordable.

Potato Head Beach Club — This probably needs zero introduction.  Potato Head Beach Club is one amazing venue in Bali, and is definitely the best location for a bit of Bali day drinking!  It is probably one of the most expensive places in Indonesia, but sometimes you have to forget about the budget, and “treat yo self”.  The pool is the perfect place to have a few beers, watch the sunset, and chat up other travelers.  I’d recommend eating before you go there, because the food is heaps expensive.

Jenja — If you’re in Bali on a Friday or Saturday night, this is where you want to go for a night of excellent house music.  This is a much fancier and more elegant venue than the majority of other clubs in Bali.  So dress in your finest, be ready to pay an entrance fee, and prepare for a quality clubbing experience.  Check out their Resident Advisor page for upcoming DJ appearances.    

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Saturday Night Parties on Padang Padang Beach — Every Saturday locals, travelers, and head down to Padang Padang beach for an awesome night of live music, followed by DJ sets playing some commercial house tunes.  Who doesn’t love a beach party…?

Sundays Sessions at Single Finn — The absolute best party on Bali is found every Sunday night down at the beautiful Single Finn venue.  Perched at the top of Uluwatu Beach, this is the ultimate place to enjoy dinner, drinks, and the gorgeous Uluwatu Sunsets.  Around 9-10 P.M the place gets absolutely packed with beautiful people, and everyone dances to some top-notch electronic music.  You won’t be hearing any obnoxisous EDM here, just quality deep and tech house.  Definitely have a few drinks before you go in, because it can turn into a pretty expensive night.      


7)  Boracay, Philippines

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While Boracay might not be on the typical South-East Asia backpacker route, it’s hands down one of the best places to party in South-East Asia.  For starters, you have to experience The Boracay Pub Crawl.  It’s an absolute blast, and really does “Turn Strangers Into Friends!  ”

After that, you need to check and see if there is a party at Area 51:  Top Secret Party Facility.  It’s an amazing venue away from the all main action, but there are only parties twice a month for the full moon and half moon parties.  If this place isn’t having an event during your visit, then check out what EPIC Nightclub has got going on.    

There’s tons of bars and nightclubs in Boracay to discover; it really just depends on what you are into and where the night takes you.  Check out this Ultimate Guide to Boracay’s Nightlife  for a more comprehensive look at all your options.

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8) Koh Rong, Cambodia

“Nothing Can Go Wrong on Koh Rong” is the motto of this Cambodian paradise.  What is awesome about this place is that it can be exactly whatever you want it to be.  If you want to relax, do nothing, and forget about all your worries; that’s definitely possible.  But for those looking for a good time, Koh Rong has a lively and active party scene.  If there was one place to get to soon in South-East Asia, I would recommend Koh Rong.  Things are changing quickly on the island, but it currently still has it’s authentic charm.

Partying on Koh Rong is simply, all you have to do is walk up and down the main street, and follow the crowd.

When I was there, I spent a good amount of time at Vagabonds.  Definitely swing by there for a drink or two, and then see what else is going on.  The main stretch on Koh Rong isn’t large at all, so it won’t be too hard to find where the party people are at.  As well as the above two islands, Koh Rong does offer it’s own version of the Full Moon Party.  There’s no body paint or neon tanks, but there’s a party tucked away in the jungle with amazing underground house music.

No matter whether you want to party or not, just make sure you get to Koh Rong.  It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places in all of South-East Asia!


9)  Langkawi, Malaysia

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Two words come to mind when I think of Langkawi:  TAX FREE.  Yup, Langkawi is a “duty-free” island, which makes the price of alcohol extremely cheap compared to the rest of Malaysia.  During high-season, this place is packed with budget backpackers and vacationers looking for a good time.

While there may not be heaps of options of party locations, that doesn’t really seem to matter here.  There are a few beach bars located on Pantai Beach which can be a great place to start the night with a few cocktails.  My recommendation would be to grab dinner and drinks at Yellow Café.  It’s a popular spot on the island, and should be visited at least once during your time on the island.

After grabbing dinner and a few drinks, you pretty much one have option — Sunba Retro Bar.  This is where you will be doing the majority of your partying when you’re on Langkawi.  This is pretty much the only club on the island, and it’s a damn good time.  It’s not the biggest venue, but the music is excellent, and it’s a great atmosphere inside.  If you’re not feeling like heading inside the club, just check out the bar right next door to Sunba.


10)  Koh Tao, Thailand

While backpackers normally flock to Koh Tao for the affordable PADI Scuba-Diving courses and rich marine biodiversity, that is only one of the aspects that make this island a must visit during your travels in Thailand.

Koh Tao nightlife is serious business — and you’re in for a couple crazy party nights here.  For starters, you can’t go wrong the Koh Tao Pub Crawl.  This is a great way to see some of the best bars on the island, attend a Lady Boy Cabaret, and meet fellow travelers.  The pub-crawl guides always do an excellent job of keeping everyone entertained, there are drink specials at each stop, and you’ll be looking good rockin’ a “Koh Tao Pub Crawl” singlet.  Don’t miss out.

Maya Beach Club —  The only bar on Koh Tao that has real DJs every night and a “NO CHEESE” music policy, top shelf cocktails and an imported wine list.  Both local and imported DJs spin tunes every night from sunset till late from a variety of genres that aren’t crappy remixes.

The Castle —  Probably the most well-known and respected venu on the island, The Castle is where you go for a quality night of dance music.  It’s about a 10-15 minute drive from Sairee Beach, and they host events about 2-3 times per week.

The truth of the matter is that you really don’t even need any advice about partying on Koh Tao — it’s as simple as partying hopping up and down Sairee Beach.  There are so many different venues playing a variety of different styles of music, fire jump roping (be cautious), and heaps of people to meet.  It’s a damn good time.

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11) Sihanoukville, Cambodia

The main beach area of Cambodia “snookville” is definitely one wild and crazy party destination.  Start your evening with dinner & drinks at one of the many beachfront restaurants on Serendipity Beach.  Enjoy a beautiful sunset, a game or two of pool, and few pints of delicious Angkor beer.

The Two Main Party Hostspots in Sihanouvkville are the Dolphin Shack & JJ’s Playground.  There are several other bars and places to hang-out, but if you’re out partying in Sihaouvkille, there’s a 99% chance you’ll end up at one of two of these bars.  They both play similar music of EDM, hip-hop, and throwback classics.  The beers are cold, the drinks are cheap, and the backpacker vibe is amazing.  You’ll  drink, meet people, and will have one epic party night.

Both the Dolphing Shack & JJ’s Playground offer their own Booze Cruise — which I highly recommend.  Is there anything better than drinking while on a boat?   

12) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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The capital of Malaysia might not be the most popular place to party among South-East Asia backpackers — but this is one incredible city with an abundance of amazing nightlife options!  I’ve spent a decent amount of time in Kuala Lumpur, and I’ve had some really great nights out partying in the city.

Bar 51:  Welcome to your Kuala Lumpur starting point for the night.  Bar 51 is an upscale restaurant and bar located in the heart of Changkat Bukit Bintang, the main nightlife area in Kuala Lumpur.  There is one reason you come to this place — 5 MYR MOJITOS.  Yeah, that’s right.  You can get delicious mojitos for only $1.25 USD.   This special ends at 9 P.M every night, but you can order as many as you’d like right before the time ends, and they’ll keep bringing them out to you.  It’s an amazing spot, perfectly located, with very friendly staff.  If you’re going to Kuala Lumpur and fancy a delicious and cheap mojito, then definitely cruise over to Bar 51.

Heli Lounge This was once a helipad, but they turned it into a bar with amazing 360 degree views of the city.  Pretty cool concept, yeah?  While it might not be the best place to spend your entire evening, it’s definitely a must-visit during your visit to KL.  Go to the top about an hour or so before sunset, enjoy the views during the day and the night, and then head out for the night.

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Reggae Mansion Rooftop BarFor all the backpackers out there, this is definitely one of the most popular hostels in all of South-East Asia.  The rooftop bar is a perfect place to spend a night drinking, even if you’re not staying there!  There is a DJ playing some fun dance music, a pool table, and decent drink specials.

Zouk KL 

UnderNINE:  For underground house and techno fans — this is where you’ll want to go.  The crowd is really great, the music is excellent, and the venue is pretty cool.DSC_0805


13)  Pai, Thailand

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Haven’t you heard…?  Pai is incredible!  When you’re traveling around Thailand, it will be pretty damn hard to find someone who doesn’t think Pai is absolutely amazing.  That includes me.  The whole city is so relaxed and chilled out.  It’s truly a backpacker / hippy’s paradise.  While many will often claim that “Pai is not what it used to be” or “Pai has changed so much” — the Pai that I visited was still pretty awesome.  These were some of my favorite spots in Pai.

  • Pai Pub — A really great spot.  Decently priced beers and mixed drinks, a cool outdoor patio, a well kept pool table; a perfect place to spend a couple hours and start the night.  Located just a couple minutes away from the night market, you can’t miss the giant Kangaroo out front.
  • Sunset Bar — This a great place to chill and spend a few hours.  You’ll most likely encounter some people enjoying a joint, or maybe see some people tripping on a mushroom shake.  It’s a cool place, good music, and you’ll definitely enjoy having a drink or two.  It’s also a great place to watch the sunset (obviously).  Located on a quiet street about a 10 minute walk from the main area of Pai.
  • Don’t Cry Reggae Bar — This is the “after-hours” bar that does not close until really late at night.  When all the main bars and pubs close in Pai, the party crowd all flock to this one venue.  Awesome music and vibe, including a campfire — you’ll love ending your night at Don’t Cry.
  • Moon Parties — In the past few months, Pai has been throwing their own version of the full moon, half moon, and black moon parties.  They don’t happen all the time, but if you’re there, you should ask around or check online and see if there is one happening.

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14) Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia

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While the Perhentian Islands aren’t really a destination people normally visit for it’s crazy nightlife — there are still opportunities for amazing nights out drinking.

Perhentian Kecil is known as the “backpacker island”, and that means that it’s pretty damn easy to meet fellow travelers.  The last time I visited I only planned on staying for 4 or 5 days, but I ended up staying 10.  I met an amazing group of people, and practically every night we went out drinking!

 

What’s nice is that it’s just very simply to party here because people only really go to 2-3 different spots.

  • Panorama Bar:  Probably the most lively spot with a really great atmosphere.  They also have AMAZING PIZZA that you should try at least once.  They are kind of expensive at 25 MYR, but definitely worth it.
  • Monkey Bar:  This is just across the street from Panorama bar, and where I bought the majority of my alcohol.  You could buy a bottle of rum, cups, ice, and two mixers for 45 MYR — which is a really great deal there!
  • Pirates of Perhentian:  This is where the fire-show is held every night at 10:30 P.M.  The entertainment is really great, they play great music, and this is where pretty much everyone who is going to party for the night will be.  You sit down on the beach, order some beers, smoke some hookah, and watch some extremely talented people play with fire.

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15) Bangkok, Thailand

Last but not least, how could I write a post about partying in South-East Asia without mentioning “the Big Mango”.  Bangkok is the “Gateway to South-East Asia”, and there’s never a dull moment when you’re exploring the city, and the nightlife is guaranteed to make you come back for another round.

Khao San Road:  Street food, shopping, and tons of amazing restaurants and bars.  Partying on Khao San Road is something that every South-East Asia backpacker must do before the end of their trip.  You’ll drink towers of Chang Beer, listen to loud electronic music, and meet fellow travelers from around the world.

Sukhumvit:  This major road / district in Bangkok is your best option for when it comes to a good night out partying in Bangkok.  There are tons of different clubs in Sukhumvit , it’s almost intimidating trying to choose which one to go to.  My advice would be to check out Resident Advisor Thailand  to see if there are any special events coming up.  A few clubs I have been to and would personally recommend would be BASH, Insanity, and Spicy.

While you’re in Bangkok, make sure you visit all the temples, various shopping markets, and hit up a rooftop bar!

These are the Best 15 Places to Party in South-East Asia!!

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Agree?  Disagree?  Think I missed a certain destination?

Let me know in the comments sections!

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Singapore to Bangkok Overland Backpacking Itinerary

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Introduction

One of the most common routes for backpacking in South-East Asia is traveling from Singapore to Bangkok overland.  It’s an absolute amazing trip with tons of incredible places to see along the way.  From starting out in amazing metropolitan cities like Singapore & Kuala Lumpur, and then breaking away to gorgeous islands — this is definitely going to be a trip you’ll never forget.  This Singapore to Bangkok guide will go over my proposed route, travel tips, helpful websites, and some of my favorite blog posts I’ve written along my travels.

Brief Overview & Itinerary Route

  1. Singapore
  2. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 
  3. Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
  4. Penang, Malaysia
  5. Langkawi, Malaysia
  6. Koh Lipe, Thailand
  7. Koh Lanta, Thailand
  8. Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
  9. Ao Nang / Railey Beach, Thailand
  10. Koh Phangan, Thailand
  11. Koh Tao, Thailand
  12. Bangkok, Thailand

Starting in Singapore (2-3 Days)

Singapore is an absolutely gorgeous city, and it is often overlooked by South-East Asia backpackers.  This tends to be a very popular “layover” destination, and I always hear people who have only seen the airport, or max spent a day in the city.  I would personally recommend staying in this city for at least 2-3 nights!  There’s a lot of amazing things to see, places to visit, and incredible food to eat!

Check out this article written by fellow travel blogger Adventurous Miriam titled,” Top Free Things To Do in Singapore“.  This is a great starting point for planning your travels in this amazing city.

Note:  Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and definitely the priciest place in South-East Asia.  Try to limit your expenses here, or else you might break your budget here!  My personal advice — don’t go out drinking.  Maybe a beer here or there, but don’t go out partying.  It’s so expensive, and it will be better to save your party energy for other destinations on this itinerary 😉

 

Bus Or Train to Kuala Lumpur (3-4 Days)

From Singapore, it is incredibly easy to get up to the Malaysian Capital, Kuala Lumpur.  Your choice between Train, Bus, or Flight.

Train & Bus Bookings:  Easybook

Welcome to Kuala Lumpur.  This is truly a special place with friendly people, beautiful sights, and delicious food (just like the rest of Malaysia).  During my travels in South-East Asia , I was lucky enough to call this city home for awhile.  The first time I visited Kuala Lumpur I actually didn’t enjoy the city too much, but after spending more time there I discovered how special the city really is.

For more information on Kuala Lumpur, check out the following blog posts I’ve written:

This is one of my favorite cities in South-East Asia, and definitely worth the visit for a few days.  If you’re on a time crunch, you won’t want to spend too much time here.  Just make sure you cover all the city highlights.

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Bus to Cameron Highlands (2-3 days)

The Cameron Highlands is a stunning hill station in central peninsular Malaysia, and has become a popular destination for visitors in Malaysia. Roughly the size of Singapore, the Cameron Highlands covers a large stretch of land, and there’s tons to see, do, and explore.  You’ll fall in love with the beautiful green tea plantations, and will leave you speechless when you visit the highest peak in the Cameron Highlands

For more information on the Cameron Highlands, check out the guide below!

A Backpacker’s Guide to the Cameron Highlands

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Bus to Penang (2-3 Days)

Penang is the cultural hotspot in Malaysia!  You’ll fall in love with it’s busy streets, beautiful artwork, and enchanting history.  Oh, and the food is absolutely amazing.  Most people come to Penang only planning a few day stay, but end up staying much longer than they expected.  You can spend a day on Batu Ferringi beach, hike through the National Park, and take the journey up to Penang Hill for spectacular views of the entire city.        

Best things to do in Penang:

  • Beach day and sunset on Batu Ferringi Beach
  • Spend some time hiking through the National Park
  • Take a visit to Penang Hill for spectacular views of the city
  • Stroll through Georgetown and check out all the artwork
  • Eat at Penang’s famous hawker stalls
View from Penang Hill

View from Penang Hill

 

Ferry from Penang – Langkawi (4-5 Days) 

Officially known as Langkawi the Jewel of Kedah, Langkawi is an archipelago of 104 islands in the Andaman Sea, around 30 km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia.  It’s right at the border of Thailand, and is a popular place to visit for traveller’s going north/south between Malaysia and Thailand.  It is truly an amazing island with amazing things to do, cheap accommodations, tax-free booze, and beautiful landscape.

Check out some of my blog posts on Langkawi:

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Ferry from Langkawi – Koh Lipe, Thailand  *Seasonal (4-5 Days)

After spending some time on Langkawi, you’re ready to journey further north into Thailand.  You’ll start your Thailand Island Hopping adventures in Koh Lipe, which is known as the “Maldives of Thailand”.  Pristine beaches, incredible food, and amazing sunrises & sunsets.

Ferry from Langkawi – Koh Lipe only available from November – May throughout the year.  If you’re traveling during the low season, you’ll have to take the ferry to Satun, Thailand — and catch the bus + ferry combo ticket from mainland Thailand.  Traveling during this time can be a bit expensive, it just depends on your budget and time restrictions.  It might be best to skip this island if you can’t take the direct ferry. 

Check out this amazing post from my friends at Getting Stamped titled, “The Ultimate Guide to Koh Lipe, Thailand.”  This is one of the most informative guides I’ve ever seen, and will answer all your questions about traveling to this beautiful island.

Sunrise on Koh Lipe. Photo credit

Sunrise on Koh Lipe. Photo credit:  Bambo Corr

 

Ferry from Koh Lipe – Koh Lanta (4-5 Days) 

Also depends on time of the year.  You might have to catch ferry + bus combo ticket up to the Krabi Province. 

After you’ve explored Koh Lipe to your liking, catch a ferry up to your next Thai Island, Koh Lanta.

Check out this awesome travel guide from the crew over at Never Ending Voyage titled, “Finding the Perfect Balance: Our Guide to Koh Lanta“.  This post will go over all the information you need for your time in Koh Lanta.

You’ll fall in love with this incredibly relaxing island.  There’s incredible beaches, a beautiful national park, and loads of other stuff to explore.  My main recommendation would be to hire a moped, and explore the entire island.  It’s the best way to see the island.   You can pack a bag, take breaks at all the beaches, and see how beautiful the island is.

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Ferry from Koh Lanta – Koh Phi Phi (4-5 Days)

When you’re ready to leave Koh Lanta (which can be harder than you think), you’ll be on your way to one of the most beautiful, photogenic, and most well-known places in Thailand — Koh Phi Phi.  Known primarily for the nearby Maya Bay being the film location for the Leonardo DiCaprio hit movie — “The Beach”.

Some people criticize Koh Phi Phi for being too touristy now, and too focused on partying — but it is still an absolute must visit during your time in Thailand.

Read my following blog posts on Koh Phi Phi

Leaving Koh Phi Phi is no easy task.  The party vibe is solid, there is amazing food, and you’re guaranteed to make some amazing new friends!  I personally think it’s the most beautiful area in Thailand!

 

Ferry from Koh Phi Phi – Ao Nang, Railey Beach, & Krabi (4-6 Days)

After spending the past couple weeks on Islands, it’s time to cruise back to the mainland.  Ao Nang is a really beautiful beach area, has a decent nightlife scene, and is definitely worth a visit.  There’s an island hopping tour that goes to nearby places, and a really fun pub crawl at night.

Don’t spend too much time in Ao Nang though — make sure you get over to the beautiful Railey Beach & Ton Sai Bay.

You can also hire a mo-ped and explore Krabi town, and the surrounding highlights.

Read:  The Best Hostels in Thailand

 

Book a Bus + Ferry Combo from Krabi to Koh Phangan (5 Days)

There are loads of travel agencies around Ao Nang and the Krabi that will help you book this ticket.  I typically travel with Lomprayah .  It is by the most established and organized company out there, and enjoy my travels when I book with them.  During peak season, they can sell out tickets.  (Especially prior to a Full Moon Party.)

Koh Phangan is one of the craziest party islands in South-East Asia !  You’ll often hear bad things about the Full Moon Party, but too be honest — it’s a damn good time (if you’re with the right people).  There’s something really fun about getting dressed up in Neon, covering yourself in bodypaint, and dancing all night with fellow backpackers.

To be perfectly honest though, the best party on Koh Phangan isn’t the Full Moon Party.  There’s so many better clubs, venues, and events that you should look into!  If your trip doesn’t align well with a date for the FMP, definitely still go to Koh Phangan!  It’s a great place to spend some time, relax, meet people, party, and enjoy paradise!

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Ferry up to Koh Tao (4-5 Days)

Koh Tao is the very first island I visited in my travels in South-East Asia, and it is by far one of my favorite places in Thailand.  This is a scuba-diver’s paradise, and is the perfect location to get your PADI certifications.  If you don’t want to do the full course, make sure you at least do a “Discover Scuba” one-day course.  It’s one of the most affordable places to try out scuba-diving, and is absolutely beautiful.  When you’re not scuba diving, Koh Tao is an amazing island to explore by moto.  Just choose carefully where you rent it, because this island is notorious for rental places taking advantages of tourists and withholding passports until the pay ridiculous “damage fees”.  Also make sure you do a day-trip to Koh Nang Yuan, Mango View point, The Koh Tao Pub Crawl, and party hard on Sairee Beach!

Read:  7 Amazing Things to do on Koh Tao  

 

Ferry from Koh Tao to Bangkok

You’ve seen the best islands Thailand has to offer, now it’s time to finish your trip in the “Big Mango”.  Bangkok is truly an amazing city, and there’s tons of amazing things to do, see, and explore.  It’s the gateway to South-East Asia, and most backpackers out here find themselves in Bangkok more than once.  The street food is delicious, the people are friendly, and you’ll absolutely love exploring all the temples, malls, and rooftop bars.

ReadWhere to Stay in Bangkok

Read10 Amazing Things to do in Bangkok

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Congratulations!  You’ve just crossed off three amazing countries in South-East Asia, and some of my favorite spots in the world to visit!

Substitutions & Other Destinations

  • The Perhentian Islands:  When you are traveling up through Malaysia, you could easily head over to the stunning Perhentian Islands.  It’s all the way on the east coast of Malaysia, so it’s a bit out of the way for this itinerary- but it would be incredible.  You could get a bus + ferry here from the Cameron Highlands.  Then when you’re ready to leave, take a bus over to Penang to continue the itinerary.
  • Phuket & Koh Samui:  Two of the most popular touristy destinations in Thailand, but I always recommend people to skip them.  They are overcrowded, expensive, and you can find much better places to spend your time.
  • Thailand National ParksKo Yao Nai National Park & Ko Tarutao are both absolutely gorgeous, and could easily be worked into this itinerary during your time on Koh Lipe, and Koh Phi Phi.

Travel Tips & Suggestions

  • Travel slow.  I give a recommended time in each place, but if you’re in not on a time crunch, then take it slow and enjoy your time in each place.  Otherwise, you might be spending a lot of time in transit.
  • Buy a Local Sim Card.  This always comes in handy in Malaysia & Thailand.  There are really cheap data plans.
  • Download my Free-Book.  “77 Amazing, Helpful, Money-Saving Tips for Backpacking South-East Asia” for all my best backpacking tips.
  • Stay in Hostels.  This is such an awesome backpacker route, and the best way to experience these destinations is to interact with other travelers!
  • Eat often!  The food in all three of these countries is absolutely amazing!  There are plenty of places for cheap eats, and all the meals are delicious.

Check out These Articles About This Region

Malaysia Travel Guide: Trip Highlights, Destinations, & Itineraries

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Thailand (Instagram Checklist)

Thanks for reading my Singapore to Bangkok Backpacking Trip Itinerary!

If you’re planning a trip to South-East Asia and have any questions, feel free to Contact Me with any questions you have!  I’ve spent a lot of time backpacking around the area, and love helping people plan their travels!  Also, make sure you sign-up for my Newsletter below to download my FREE E-Book below that is full of amazing tips and information.

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The 5 Best Places To Trip on Magic Mushrooms in South-East Asia

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You might be surprised to find out that Magic Mushrooms are pretty common in several destinations around South-East Asia.

This hallucinogenic party drug shouldn’t be taken lightly though — the powerful components in these mushrooms can send you off on a wild and crazy experience!  I’m a firm believer that if you take these in good company and in comfortable setting (and don’t take too much), you’ll have an amazing time.  I’ve always said that mushrooms basically just turn you into a retarded baby.  Everything is hilarious, you’ll feel euphoric, and things just look much more vibrant and colorful.  With that being said, drugs effect everyone differently.  If you’re unsure, than maybe it’s best you pass on this recreational drug activity.

I’m not here to educate people on the drug, or convince people to try them.  I just want to inform those people who are interested in some recreational hallucinogenic fun.

If you’re curious about the these drugs, take a read through this thorough Beginner’s Guide to Mushroom Tripping.

“The Mushroom Shake”

Before I had backpacked around South-East Asia, I had never heard of people consuming magic mushrooms in “shake” form.  This basically just means that they blend the mushrooms together with ice, various fruits, and sometimes Coca-Cola.  Each place you’ll buy them at has their own special recipe.

Fair warning — these typically don’t taste too great, but sometimes you’ll find a person who can make them actually enjoyable.

So Where Can You Trip on Magic Mushrooms in South-East Asia?


1) Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

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When it comes to magic mushrooms in Indonesia, there’s no better place to take a trip than on the island paradise of Gili Trawangan.  Grab a couple friends, head over to the sunset side of the island, and chug down a delicious Mushy Shake.  Okay…they’re not delicious — but the experience you’re about to embark will be something you never forget.  The sunsets on Gili Trawangan are some of the best in the entire world — add the hallucinogen affects, and you’ll be feeling magical.

As well, when the feeling starts to wear off — you’re in one of the best party destinations in South-East Asia .  You can continue the party at one of the many bars and clubs, meet fellow backpackers, and share your stories with others.

Where to buy mushrooms on Gili Trawangan? 

You can buy mushroom shakes at tons of different places on the island.  While you walk around the island, you’ll probably see a couple signs advertising the mushrooms.

Check out the bar opposite Rudy’s Pub, Sunset Bar, or simply ask a local bartender (they can point you in the right direction).

Cost:  150K – 200K ($13-17 USD)






 (2) Koh Phangan, Thailand

Most widely known for the location of the notorious all night beach rave, “The Full Moon Party” — Koh Phangan is definitely one of the best places to trip on magic mushrooms in South-East Asia.  There is literally a venue nicknamed Mushroom Mountain!

Head down to Haad Rin beach and walk all the way to the left.  You’ll see a staircase leading you up to this hippy paradise bar.  There’s tons of comfy seating overlooking the beach, chill music, and is decorated really funky.  Even if you don’t want to take any mushrooms, this is still an amazing spot to check out during your time on Koh Phangan.

This is often a highlight of people’s visits to this epic party island, and shouldn’t be missed!

Cost:  500 Baht ($15 USD)


3)  Vang Vieng, Laos

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This party capitol of Laos has gotten a somewhat bad reputation in recent years for being a hedonistic destination ruined by drunken debauchery.  Well, I completely disagree.  Yeah, Vang Vieng is definitely a top party destination, but it’s also one of the most relaxed and beautiful places in Laos.

Vang Vieng will definitely be a highlight of your time backpacking in Laos, and it’s also a pretty perfect spot for a little bit of hallucinogenic fun.  The vibe in this town is really relaxed (in certain spots), the shakes are strong, and you’ll be surrounded by like minded travelers looking for a good time.  Read about this guy’s experience taking mushrooms in Vang Vieng .

Where to buy mushrooms in Vang Vieng

Definitely check out the Jungle Party every Friday.  Some friends of mine bought a shake there and had a wicked trip

Cost: 100K -120K Lao Kip


4)  Pai, Thailand

This hippy backpacker paradise in Northern Thailand is one of the most relaxing places in South-East Asia.  The whole town is super chilled out and slowed down.  Your days can be spent exploring the countryside by moto, chilling by the pool, or bathing with elephants.  Every night you’ll wander through the night market, eat some delicious (and cheap) food, and have a few beers at the various nightlife hubs.  There are plenty of things to do in Pai  , and taking a little mushroom trip can easily be done.

ReadA Backpacker’s Guide to Pai

Where to buy mushrooms in Pai?

Simple — Sunset Bar Pai.  It’s an awesome bar with plenty of seating (including hammocks), colorful decorations, a pool table, and friendly staff.  An awesome place to sit back, relax, and expand your brain a bit.

Cost:  500 Baht ($15 USD)






5)  Gili Air, Indonesia

While most backpackers searching for a good party head over to Gili Trawangan — taking the quick 10-15 minute boat ride over to Gili Air in search of a fun mushroom trip will definitely leave you satisfied.  This honestly might be the better option between the two islands, because it has a much more relaxed vibe.

When it comes to the Gili Islands:

Gili  Trawangan = Party  //   Gili Meno = Honeymoon // Gili Air = Mix of both

The best way to enjoy a mushroom trip on Gili Air is to start out on the sunset side of the island.  Take them about 30 minutes before sunset.  There are tons of beachside restaurants and bars with plenty of comfortable seating, cheap drinks, and delicious Indonesian food.  I’d definitely recommend taking a stroll around the island, some stargazing, and maybe a night swim if you’re up for it!

Where to buy mushrooms on Gili Air?

The majority of bars on the sunset side of the island can arrange mushroom shakes.  If you are near Matahari Lodge…walk down the street (away from the beach) towards the other side of the island, and there’s a bar that play PsyTrance.  Get them there!

Cost: 150K – 200K ($13-17 USD)


Magic Mushrooms Tips & Advice

  1. Take mushrooms in a small / medium group of people that you know and trust.  You want to feel comfortable and safe around your fellow trippers.
  2. Stay away from crowded bars and clubs.  If there are tons of strangers and loud music, it might spark some negative vibes.
  3. Music is essential to a quality mushroom trip.  If you can, find a quiet area to hang out where you can play your own music — or chill out a relaxed place with tunes you like.
  4. Always watch the sunsetIt’s magical, and the best way to start your hallucinogenic journey.
  5. Stay hydrated.  Drink some water, but don’t be scared to knock back a beer or two.
  6. Don’t eat prior to taking mushrooms.  This will lessen the effect of them.  Definitely have some food in your stomach, but don’t have a big meal, and then consume your mushroom shake.  It will be a waste of money.
  7. Eat some dark chocolate to intensify the effects.  I don’t think this is scientifically proven, but it’s a common theory that “cacao is an excellent synergist… most known is combining with psilocybin mushrooms.”
  8. Stay calm.  If your new to recreational drug use, then the feelings of mushrooms might be very intimidating at first.  Relax, breathe, and enjoy the feeling.
  9. Start with 1/2 a shake if you’re nervous.  You should still feel some minor effects of the drug, and will help you feel more comfortable with taking another half.
  10. Only take Magic Mushrooms if you’re happy.  You shouldn’t take these if you’re feeling depressed or going through a hard time.

If your backpacking South-East Asia and find yourself in one of these popular destinations, then definitely think about embarking on magic mushroom trip.  It’s actually pretty common among backpackers, and be a really amazing and memorable experience.  You’ll laugh a lot, things will look cooler, and you’ll feel pretty happy.

SAFE TRAVELS AND ENJOY YOUR TRIP

“TO THE MOON AND BACK”

Disclaimer:  Drugs can affect everyone differently.  Proceed with cautin.  I’m not writing this article to convince people to take drugs, I’m simply informing people who are interested in the topic. 

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Magic Mushroom in South-East Asia!