Everyone has heard of Amsterdam and all of the wild-but-totally-legal possibilities that go along with spending a few nights in this city. What you might not know is that besides hitting up the Red Light District at night for a good time (or a good laugh, or an uncomfortable walk through an alley way with far too many gawking tourists..) or heading to a local “Coffee Shop” to partake in illicit activities, there are surprisingly other touristy things one can do here.
Amsterdam’s bicycling culture is huge; cyclists have their own lanes and traffic lights. I’m pretty sure a requirement of living in Amsterdam is that you must own a bike, otherwise it’s off to the outskirts of the city for you. Because cycling is such a popular form of transportation and because the city itself is quite small, renting a bicycle during your stay in Amsterdam is a great way to spend a few hours or even an entire day exploring!
A trip to Amsterdam wouldn’t be complete without spending a few hours at the Heineken Brewery. “The Heineken Experience” offers a glimpse into the history of its world-renowned beer by taking visitors on an engaging tour in the building of their first brewery which was built in 1867.
Island hopping tours in El Nido are one of the main attractions in this charming town. When you head there, one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is which tour to go on. Fortunately, I was able to go on two incredible tours: Tour A and Tour C. If you’ve read up on island hopping in El Nido, you’ll probably know that Tour A is highly recommended if you can only do one during your stay. If possible, you should try to get around to going on both tours.
As I mentioned in my last post, El Nido is a must-visit destination with its incomparable beauty and small town charm. When you visit, you will undoubtedly go on an island hopping tour, as it is one of the main things to do here. There are four tours you can choose from, cleverly named Tour A, Tour B, Tour C, and Tour D. These tours are a great way to explore the islands of El Nido and take in all of its rare visual appeal. Tour A and C are the most popular tours, which I was lucky enough to have been able to do both. However, if you can only squeeze one tour in during your stay, I would recommend doing Tour A.
We had booked our day tour to see the Underground River, which has been declared a UNESCO Heritage Site as well as one of the new 7 Natural Wonders of the World. Unbeknownst to us, there was actually a morning stop at Ugong Rock before we made our way to the Underground River. Initially, I was annoyed that we would have to sit around and wait for an hour or so while the only person in our tour van who had paid for this ahead of time was to go up the rock and zipline down. Fortunately, the friend I was with convinced me to go as it was inexpensive and was better than doing nothing for an hour. Not that difficult to convince me under those circumstances, to be fair.
Like I mentioned in my previous post on stopping over in Puerto Princesa, there isn’t that much to do in the city center. If you have a day to spend wandering about the city, there are a handful of tourist attractions you can visit during the day and some great restaurants and bars to check out at night. They are all within walking distance, unless you’re incredibly lazy or are on the verge of heatstroke and can’t bear to walk another step. If that’s the unfortunate case, there are plenty of tricycles haphazardly about the streets that will take you to any of the locations below for a nominal fee.
After leaving the Gili Islands, we went back to Ubud for one night as we didn’t get a chance to do the Mt Batur sunrise trek when we were there earlier. I love hiking and didn’t want to miss what was to be an incredible hike up during the night (which I had never done before) in order to see the sun rise up behind the massive mountains of Agung and Rinjani on Lombok.
I highly recommend you visit a few tour stalls before settling on a price. We were being quoted between 550,000 – 750,000 IDR ($50 – $71 CDN) per person from a few companies. Then we came upon one tour agency that offered us 600,000 IDR for both of us. We were so glad we took the time to look around before making a final decision; this price was half the cost of all the other companies and the itinerary was the same. The name of the trekking tour company was Pineh Trekking and we had no complaints during our trek.