Go to where where Andy and Red escape to in the Shawshank Redemption! Ixtapa is a planned resort community Mexico created in the 1970s in order to compete with Cancun. It’s next to a Mexcian beach village named Zihuatenejo which is pretty laid back and has a long history to explore.
Here are some things to do there:
Visit Zihuatenejo and it’s cobblestone streets and boutiques. And eat the fresh fish right out of the ocean. And go to Zih Galeria and see the art by famous Mexican artists. This town has a long history and it’s reflected in streets.
Ride on a dolphin’s belly or have them push you up in the air in Ixtapa. You can book this at any hotel.
Visit the horse ranches and ride horses along the beach. This can also be arranged through your hotel
Go snorkeling or scuba diving near Isla Ixtapa. Book this through your hotel.
Go kayaking through the mangroves.
Go to the beach! Playa Las Gatas (Cats Beach) and Playa La Ropa (Clothes Beach) are a bit further away, 10 or 15 minutes, but beautiful. Playa Troncones is a bit further away, but it doesn’t have the crowds that Ixtapa has. It’s considered “the real Mexico.”
One thing to note is the beaches closer to the towns. Make sure you check to see what beaches are currently open to the public and clean. This is a beautiful place to lay on the beach but due to the pollution caused by fishing boats and runoff, some beaches are not good to go swimming. Mexico has higher restrictions on water pollution then the US, and they will close beaches if the pollution is too bad.
Let me know if there’s something I missed in the comments below!
Laos was home to one of the largest kingdoms in Southeast Asia for four centuries, the Kingdom of Lan Xang Hom Khao, translated to the Kingdom of a Million Elephants Under the White Parasol. After that it broke into three different kingdoms and in 1893 became a French protectorate. It finally became independent in 1953, and after the civil war ended in 1975, the country was renamed the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Vientiane is their capital city.
Vientiane has a long and interesting history. It began as an early Khmer settlement but when the Lao people settled, they took over the city. It was made the capital city in 1563 to avoid a Burmese invasion. In 1707 it became the Kingdom of Vientiane, and in 1779 it was conquered by the Siamese. King Anouvong tried to rebel but was defeated and the city was burned to the ground and looted. In 1893, the French rebuilt it and made it the capital city. During World War II, it was occupied by the Japanese. During the civil war, it changed hands a few times before it was liberated symbolically by a group of Pathet Lao women in 1975.
Even though there’s a lot of history in this city, it’s very small, and you can actually see most of attractions in one day. Here are some attractions you can see in Vientiane:
Visit Xieng Khuan, the Buddha Park. It was built by Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat in the 1950’s combining the Buddhist and Hindu religions. The park has more than 200 sculptures.
Join an outdoor fitness class during sunset along the boulevard next to the Mekong.
Go shopping at the night market that pops up on the boulevard near central Vientiane for souvenirs and necessities alike.
Visit the National History Museum, which is a subjective look at the history of Laos.
Go on a Temple Tour. Unfortunately, due to the periods of conflict, none of the temples are very old. They are still very beautiful and many of them tell the stories of the Buddhist religion.
For a look at what happened in the aftermath of the Vietnam war and the Unexploded Ordinances (cluster bombs), visit the COPE Visitor Center.
Rent a bicycle to explore around the outside of the city. You can ride down the Mekong, pass by temples, and visit with the locals.
Visit the Patuxay Monument, or the Victory Gate, also known as the Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane.
Let me know if there’s anything else that you visited if you went to Vientiane in the comments below.
Bali, Indonesia is one of those places that people have always dreamed of going to. It’s part of the coral triangle which has the greatest biodiversity of marine species in the world. The beaches are amazing, the snorkeling is out of this world, and its steeped in culture and the arts.
Among the touristy activities like safaris, spas, fantastic and unique restaurants and bars, there are some more spiritual and off the beaten path things to do in Bali:
Get a traditional Jari Menari rhythmic massage at the Dancing Fingers School. On Tuesdays you can learn how to do it yourself, participate in a yoga class and have lunch.
Dine at Prince Ajoaes’ Tabanan Palace, a 17th century restored palace and following dinner, see the dance performance.
Take a day long tour to the 7 temples of enlightenment, A UNESCO World Heritage site, including Bali’s first Hindu temple dating back to the 10th century. privateconciergebali.com
If you go during Balinese New Year, there is a day of cleansing ceremonies, then villages hold huge processions, then on Nyepi, you will experience a day of silence, where everyone must stay inside and there is no noise and no lights in the houses.
Photo courtesy of Love Bali
Visit the rice terraces and water temples that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. combalirescentre.com
Photo courtesy of Indonesia Tourism Forum
This is only a sample of all the things to do in Bali. There is so much, both culturally significant and more light. Please let us know what you’ve seen and done in Bali in the comments below!