Local guide: Cinque Terre, Italy

Local guide: Cinque Terre, Italy

Adoration 4 Adventure’s local guide for visitors to Cinque Terre, Italy by A4A guest writer, Cinzia Ferri.

Local guide posts provide recommendations for destinations from locals who are currently living or have lived in that particular place. Including information on the top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around with an emphasis on saving money.

Overview of Cinque Terre

Well, let’s just say that Cinque Terre (literally Five Lands) is not a city but five. Or better, they are five small villages which together are not even the size of a small town. Perched on the hills above the sea, they are one of the most enchanting places in the world. Located in the north of Italy, in a region called Liguria, just one hour away from Genoa and less than three hours from Florence, they are five little gems in the midst of amazing nature: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.

Planning a trip to Italy? Read our 24 hour itinerary for Venice and local guide for visitors to Rome.

Top 5 places to visit

5. Corniglia

Located up on a hill, far from the sea and the train station, Corniglia is the lesser known and least visited village of Cinque Terre. Busy with visiting Cinque Terre in a day trip, many tourists skip this location, making it the most untouched and real of the five villages.

4. Monterosso

Monterosso is the largest village in the Cinque Terre. Unlike the others, it has quite a big sandy beach, tourist facilities and is divided into an old and a new village.

The most important sights to visit are:

  • Torre Aurora, built on a promontory to defend the village from the barbarians
  • The Statue of Neptune, called the Giant, which overlooks the coastline
  • The caruggi (narrow alleys typical of all Ligurian towns) of the historical center.

3. Manarola

Manarola is one of the two ends of the famous Via dell’Amore (way of love), a picturesque path with a breathtaking scenery which connects the village to Riomaggiore. It is perched on a little cliff which seems to tumble down into the sea, with the houses all close together, taking advantage of the little or no space available. The not-to-be-missed places are Punta Bonfiglio and the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora della Salute and their amazing views.

In December, a lovely presepe (nativity scene) is set on the hill around Manarola.

Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy. Photo credit: A4A guest writer, Cinzia FerrI

2. Riomaggiore

Being the first village you encounter if you come from La Spezia and the starting point of the renowned Via dell’Amore, Riomaggiore is probably the most famous – and most visited – village in the Cinque Terre. Exactly like Manarola, Riomaggiore is a group of tall houses built all together on a tiny stretch of land, with just one main road and a tiny harbour.

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy. Photo credit: A4A guest writer, Cinzia FerrI

1. Vernazza

All five villages are nice, but Vernazza is by far the most beautiful and elegant looking. It has a small bay lined by colourful houses, an harbour with old boats and some restaurants along the square which overlooks the sea.

The main sights to visit are:

  • The picturesque church of Santa Maria d’Antiochia, which is built by the sea (you can hear the sound of waves when you are inside)
  • The Castle of the Doria with its cylinder tower
  • The Sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Reggio, which you can reach with a nice scenic walk from the village.

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy. Photo credit: A4A guest writer, Cinzia FerrI

Eating and drinking

Food in Cinque Terre is great, I couldn’t describe it in any other way. The cuisine is mainly based on fish, with some vegetarian dishes as well. You can find many restaurants in each village of Cinque Terre, all of them equally good. If you decide to have lunch or dinner in a restaurant, do not miss pasta with pesto, which is typical of this area: Liguria is the just best place where you can try it. However, the star of the Ligurian cuisine is a very simple – and cheap – food: focaccia. A thin salty bread with salt and olive oil, it is sold most everywhere in bakeries and grocery stores. It is so filling that one big slice of focaccia will see you through the day, with just a few euros. If you want to feel like a local, try it at breakfast dunking it into your cappuccino.

Transport

Cinque Terre are little villages perched on tiny stretch of land, which means that visiting with a car is highly difficult. There are just a few parking spots where you can leave your car and then move around with either the train or the boat. Trains run back and forth the villages all day round, they can be crowded but are the easiest and cheapest way of moving from one village to the other.

Taking the ferry is another great – and very scenic – option of moving around. In both cases, you can buy a ticket and then hop on and off at every location. Another great option of visiting Cinque Terre is on foot, as all villages are connected by scenic paths. Unfortunately though, bad weather has caused some major landslides in the past and now some paths are closed (one of them is Via dell’Amore).

Scenic view of the water in Cinque Terre, Italy. Photo credit: A4A guest writer, Cinzia FerrI

Accommodation

Since villages are so small, the biggest accommodation problem in Cinque Terre is the scarcity of rooms available. Finding a room in a hotel during the summer can be very difficult – and expensive. You can have better luck with private rooms or apartments rented by locals, but the best option is still to find either a hotel or an apartment in a nearby town, like Levanto, Portovenere – amazingly beautiful as well – or even La Spezia, where you have plenty of accommodation choices.


Cinzia Ferri_bioA4A guest writer – Cinzia Ferri

Hi, Cinzia here! I live in Italy, I adore travelling and I am my own boss at Instantly Italy, where I help people enjoy Italy at its best. I teach Italian and create custom travel guides for independent travelers who want to see Italy with the help of a local.

Follow Cinzia at http://instantlyitaly.com/, on Facebook and Instagram.

All photos in this article are the property of A4A guest writer, Cinzia Ferri.


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Adoration 4 adventure's local guide for visitor's to Cinque Terre, Italy. Including top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around on a budget.

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Local guide: Washington, DC, U.S.A.

Local guide: Washington, DC, U.S.A.

Adoration 4 Adventure’s local guide for visitors to Washington, DC, U.S.A. by A4A guest writer, Hannah Bauman.

Local guide posts provide recommendations for destinations from locals who are currently living or have lived in that particular place. Including information on the top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around with an emphasis on saving money.

Overview of  Washington, DC

Besides being the capital of the US, Washington DC is a quaint city with an eclectic mix of history, monuments, museums, and a great local food scene. DC has something for everyone, whether you’re a history buff, an art fiend, or a foodie. Most of DC’s big attractions are free and great for families with young children.

Planning a trip to the states? Check out our other posts about destinations in the U.S.A.

Key Bridge that connects Georgetown and Washington, DC. Photo credit: A4A Guest writer, Hannah Bauman

Top 5 places to visit

5. Smithsonian’s National Zoo

The Smithsonian National Zoo is a great attraction for visitors of all ages. Now famous for the panda babies, the National Zoo is small enough to be seen in half a day and is home to plenty of species. My favorite attraction is the big cat area; the lions and tigers are always hanging out for visitors to watch. Entry is free year round.

4. The National Portrait Gallery

Though this is probably the least family-friendly of the attractions on this list, it’s a great museum for art enthusiasts and those looking to break away from throngs of tourists. This museum houses paintings and art spanning centuries and Western cultures. Entry is free year round.

3. The National Archives

Ever wanted to see the Declaration of Independence? Then you need to visit the National Archives! Though the wait to get in can be long, it’s worth it. Seeing America’s founding documents is an awe-inspiring experience. Entry is free year round.

National Archives. Photo credit: A4A Guest Writer - Hannah Bauman

2. The Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum

These are two of the most popular museums for families. Interactive exhibits and IMAX movies make it ideal for visitors with young children, though the information is great for everyone. These museums gets crowded quickly, so your best bet is to go early in the day. Entry is free year round, but I highly suggest paying for a planetarium show at the Air and Space Museum! They’re only $8 per person.

National Air and Space Museum. Photo credit: A4A Guest Writer - Hannah Bauman

1. The National Mall

Take a walking or biking tour of the National Mall to see all of the major sites in DC, including the White House, Congress, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the various war memorials. The mall is free year round but ideal for spring or fall when the weather is nice. It’s a long walk, so wear good shoes!

Lincoln Memorial. Photo credit: A4A Guest Writer - Hannah Bauman

Eating and drinking

If you’re near the National Mall, you’ll probably get stuck eating at a museum or food truck. But, if you’re willing to head out into the District more, head over to the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Close to Congress, Capitol Hill has great, cheap eats for the whole family, including burger joints and donut shops.

US Capitol. Photo credit: A4A Guest Writer - Hannah Bauman

Transport

The DC Metro has switched to metro cards only now, but that’s the cheapest way to get around anyway. If you’re using the Metro on the weekends, be prepared to wait as the trains only run every 20 minutes on the weekends. If you can’t figure out where you’re going, just ask someone on the platform or a Metro employee. People are friendly here!

Accommodation

The cheapest hotels will be found outside the center of DC. Some neighborhoods to consider are Arlington and Crystal City, as they’re still Metro accessible.

Georgetown Row Houses. Photo credit: A4A Guest Writer - Hannah Bauman


A4A guest writer – Hannah BaumanA4A guest writer – Hannah Bauman

I’m a blogger, editor, and writer at Cats & Coffee. I live in DC with my boyfriend and our cat, Iggy. When I’m not blogging, I like to explore DC, play tennis, and visit local wineries.

Follow Hannah at www.thecatsandcoffee.com, on Facebook and Twitter.

If you would like to work with Adoration 4 Adventure, contact A4A.

All photos in this article are the property of A4A guest writer, Hannah Bauman (except for the photo used in the vertical Pinterest image and feature photo which was provided by Destination DC).


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Adoration 4 adventure's local guide for visitor's to Washington, DC. Including top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around on a budget.

Have you visited Washington DC or planning to anytime soon? Tell us about it below!

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Local guide: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Local guide: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Adoration 4 Adventure’s local guide for visitors to Buenos Aires, Argentina by A4A guest writer, Ivana Leturia.

Local guide posts provide recommendations for destinations from locals who are currently living or have lived in that particular place. Including information on the top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around with an emphasis on saving money.

Overview of Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina. It is an autonomous district, this means it is not part of Buenos Aires Province. It is often called “the Paris of South America”, because of its beautiful European-style architecture.

Other nice places to visit close to the autonomous city are Tigre, San Isidro and Olivos.

Planing a trip to South America? Read our highlights of South America from travelers.

Top 5 places to visit

5. Avenida 9 de Julio

Take a stroll along 9 de Julio Avenue. It is the widest avenue in the world! Some buildings of interest located on this avenue are:

  • Colón Theatre – One of the world’s best opera houses, located in a beautiful building. I really suggest to do the guided tours.
  • Obelisco – The icon of the city, located in the intersection with avenue Corrientes. This is another nice street to stroll along and discover theaters and bookstores.

Obelisco, Buenos Aires. Photo credit: A4A guest writer, Ivana Leturia

4. Puerto Madero 

Puerto Madero is one of the newest barrios (districts) of Buenos Aires. It used to be a port and now it’s the area where all the modern and luxury buildings are. The landmark of this district is the Women’s Bridge by Calatrava.

Puerto Madero is also the place for all the fancy restaurants and hotels. But behind all the luxury, Puerto Madero is the location for Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve. A 865-acre reserve bordering the Río de la Plata River which shows a great contrast.

Puerto Madero. Photo credit: A4A guest writer, Ivana Leturia

3. Recoleta Cemetery

You may wonder why a cemetery is on the top places to visit. The mausoleums are elaborated with marble, decorated with art noveau and deco statues, and the graves of notable people like Eva Perón are here. This cemetery is actually a nice place to visit!

After this, you can walk Recoleta district which is one of the most beautiful and also priciest in the city. Floralis Genérica is located in this barrio: a giant flower made of steel that closes its petals at night and opens up again in the morning.

2. San Telmo & La Boca

The most traditional barrios and the origin of the city. You can start the visit at Plaza de Mayo, a square surrounded by all the main government buildings like Casa Rosada (Pink House). Then you can continue strolling along San Telmo quaint paved streets. This historic neighbourhood is really worth a visit: colonial houses, street antique markets, vinyls and tango.

La Boca is immersed in futbol (soccer) and of course, tango. Its most famous street is Caminito, attractive because of its tiny colorful houses, where the immigrants lived when they first arrived to the city. Some areas in La Boca are not so safe, so just try to be careful and stay in the touristic places.

La Boca, Buenos Aires. Photo credit: A4A guest writer, Ivana Leturia

1. Palermo

Palermo is the bohemian, chic neighbourhood of the city. It’s a great place to enjoy cool restaurants, bars, open- air markets, fashion boutiques and street art. Palermo is also home to a series of immense gardens worth checking out: Botanical gardens, rose garden, Japanese gardens and Palermo woods. If you’re into museums, MALBA (Museum of Latin American art) owns a unique collection of work by artists such as Berni, Diego Rivera, Frida Khalo and others.

Eating and drinking

Argentina has delicious food, and you can’t leave the country without trying the following:

  • Asado – It may look like a barbecue but it isn’t! Meat is cooked in a “parrilla”(grill) using carbon and wood. The best place to eat an asado is in a house really, because it is a social gathering for us, but there are many “parrillas” that also serve good asado.
  • Dulce de leche – A thick caramel, result of condensed milk. We put it in everything. Try dulce de leche ice cream.
  • Empanadas – A typical food served as entry. A pasty stuffed with beef, chicken, veggies, cheese, etc.
  • Alfajores – Sort of a biscuit, usually made with chocolate and dulce de leche. Try it in Havanna Coffee with a submarino (Argentine hot chocolate).
  • Milanesa – Basically breaded beef, chicken or soy. Everyone loves milanesas.

The best neighbourhoods to eat are Palermo and Belgrano. Try BurgerJoint for hamburgers, Guerrín for pizza, and NEGRO or AllSaintsCafe for coffee.

Transport

Public transport is the most common way to get around Buenos Aires. Buses (bondis or colectivos), subways and trains work with the SUBE card. The SUBE is a rechargeable card available at post offices, kioscos (small shops selling confectionery) and tourist assistance centers. The cost of the card is 25 pesos and they can be charged with credit at subways stations, national lottery spots and kioscos.

Accommodation

For budget accommodation, you’ll find cool hostels in Palermo and San Telmo area. Another neighbourhood with plenty of places to stay is Microcentro, but as it’s a financial area it is really crowded during daytime and there’s no one after 8 pm. A positive point is you will be within a walking distance to many main attractions.


A4A guest writer - Ivana LeturiaA4A guest writer – Ivana Leturia

I’m a 22 year old travel and photography lover from Buenos Aires. I study architecture and blog in my free time. While I’m not travelling, I’m discovering new places in BA.

Follow Ivana at http://www.postcardsfromivi.com, on Facebook and Instagram.

If you would like to work with Adoration 4 Adventure, contact A4A.

All photos in this article are the property of A4A guest writer, Ivana Leturia.


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Adoration 4 adventure's local guide for visitor's to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Including top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around on a budget.

Have you visited Buenos Aires or planning to anytime soon? Tell us about it below!

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Local guide: Aviemore, Scotland

Local guide: Aviemore, Scotland

Adoration 4 Adventure’s local guide for visitors to Aviemore, Scotland by A4A guest writer, Janice Hopper.

Local guide posts provide recommendations for destinations from locals who are currently living or have lived in that particular place. Including information on the top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around with an emphasis on saving money.

Overview of Aviemore

Aviemore is in the Highlands of Scotland. Its nearest airport is Inverness (30 minutes away). It’s also only 2 hours from Aberdeen, 2.5 hours from Glasgow and 2.5 hours from Edinburgh. So it’s easy to hook up with people travelling from different locations.

The biggest attraction is the Cairngorm Mountain which offers a range of snow-sports and hiking opportunities for novices and experts alike. Aviemore’s also renowned for its heady night life yet it simultaneously has a chilled out family friendly vibe so you can make the town work for you depending on what mood you’re in. VisitAviemore has a range of recommendations so visitors can craft a trip that creates the buzz they’re looking for.

Planning a trip to the United Kingdom? Check out our local guides on Camden and Plymouth.

Cairngorm Mountain. Photo credit: Cairngorm Mountain

Photo credit: Cairngorm Mountain

Top 5 Places to Visit

Aviemore, Scotland is the playground of the north. It’s the kind of place that Scots nip to for some high octane winter sports or a summer break in the great outdoors. I know many people who visited Aviemore as children and are now taking their own kids away to create memories in this wild location. It’s one of the those towns that works for everyone – from couples, to families, to backpackers, to big groups of mates seeking adventure.

These are my personal recommendations having visited as a single girl, then as a married woman and now as a family with two small boys.

5. Walking Trails

Take a walk around one of the lochs or woodlands in the areas. There are a lot of short hikes to do which take in some excellent scenery. We trekked round Loch an Eilein which is a two hour round trip.

4. Strathspey Steam Railway

The railway gives you the chance to board a beautiful old steam train that puffs through the countryside like something out of Harry Potter. The departure times from Aviemore station are very civilised – 1030, 1230 or 1445.

The train stops at Boat of Garten, then continues onto Broomhill, after that it simply returns the route it came, depositing you safely back in Aviemore. The entire round trip takes approximately one hour and twenty minutes. There’s a sense of old school excitement about the whole journey and it’s a novel way to see the local scenery.

Strathspey Steam Railway No 46512 leaves Broomhill Station. Photo credit: Strathspey Steam Railway

Photo credit: Strathspey Steam Railway

3. Reindeer Centre

In Aviemore you’ll find Britain’s only free-range herd of reindeer in their natural habitat. A great summer activity is hiking up the meet the herd – available every day at 11am and 2.30pm (additional 3.30 in July and August). Once you arrive at the mountain enclosure it’s possible to walk amongst reindeer, stroking and feeding them. The reindeer herder answers any questions and provides further information on these elegant beasts. For rainy days, or for if a twenty minute hike isn’t appealing, then it’s possible to meet a small group of reindeer in the paddock at the centre itself.

Reindeer Centre. Photo credit: Cairngorm Reindeer Herd.

Photo credit: Cairngorm Reindeer Herd.

2. The Highland Wildlife Park

The park is home to polar bears, red panda, an amur tiger, vicuna, eurasian crane, snow leopards and a wolverine to name a few. All these animals are possible to see on the self guided walking tour. After following the map to see the animals of interest take a break at the Antlers Cafe next to the Japanese macaque monkeys enclosure. Then there’s the opportunity to embark on the Main Reserve Guided Tour – you can self-drive this section of the park, as long as you follow the guidelines of not being absolutely stupid and getting out of your car/feeding the animals etc. Here you can see the larger beasts such as the deer, elk, ox and bison.

Throughout the day feeds and talks are given by the keepers. The food attracts the animals right up to the gate – they are SO close – and the keepers tell you lots of factoids about the beasts, the planned breeding schedule for the animals and individual stories about each character so it’s worth timing your day around these talks. The male polar bear feed, starring Walker and Arktos, at 1.15pm was a highlight for me.

Highland Wildlife Centre. Photo credit: A4A guest writer – Janice Hopper

1. Cairngorm Mountain

Take a trip up the UK’s highest funicular railway to reach the summit of the Cairngorm mountain. Here there are a range of ski/snowboarding runs, with lessons available for novices. There’s also ranger led guided walks and summit trails you can book. Whenever I go skiing I end up absolutely ravenous so the Ptarmigan Restaurant, the highest restaurant in the UK, offers great panoramic views of Loch Morlich and across to Ben Nevis as well as hearty meals that fill you up.

Loch Morlich from the Watersports Centre, Glenmore Forest Park, Cairngorm National Park, Highlands of Scotland Picture Credit : Paul Tomkins / VisitScotland

Picture Credit : Paul Tomkins / VisitScotland

Eating and drinking

The Old Bridge Inn somehow manages to combine excellent dining with a lively bar right next to the restaurant. Local produce is used where possible on the menu, including Aviemore wild mallard, Alvie brown trout, Morayshire venison and black-faced lamb. A log fire, live music and an array of ales and whiskeys make this inn a great spot to kick back.

The Old Bridge Inn - Aviemore. Photo credit: The Old Bridge Inn

Photo credit: The Old Bridge Inn.

Other recommendations include the Mountain Cafe for lunches, coffees and cake. And the Winking Owl, refurbished and now owned by the Cairngorm Brewery, is a great location for tasting local beer and exchanging tales from the slopes.

Transport

The nearest airport is in Inverness and the town is also provided with good rail transport links by Scotrail. The overnight Caledonian sleeper can take you straight from London to Aviemore.

Accommodation

The Pine Bank Chalets offer extremely comfortable self catering accommodation just a few minutes from the centre of town and a stone’s throw from the Old Bridge Inn. For big groups or families a large hotel like the Macdonald Hotel offers a range of hotel and self catering chalets along with a swimming pool and spa facilities.

Pinebank Chalets. Photo credit: Pinebank Chalets

Photo credit: Pinebank Chalets

The Aviemore SYHA Youth Hostel and the Aviemore Bunkhouse offer budget accommodation.

Aviemore Youth Hostel. Photo credit: A4A guest writer – Aviemore Youth Hostel

Photo credit: Aviemore Youth Hostel.


Janice Hopper. Photo credit: A4A guest writer – Janice Hopper A4A guest writer – Janice Hopper

Janice Hopper is a freelance travel writer and family travel blogger at Tots2Travel . Based in Scotland, with her two toddler sons and husband, she’s used to exploring the great outdoors with tots in tow.

Follow Janice at www.tots2travel.wordpress.com and on Facebook.

If you would like to work with Adoration 4 Adventure, contact A4A.

All photos in this article have been taken or sourced (with owner’s permission) by A4A guest writer, Janice Hopper. The feature image of Loch Morlich is ‘courtesy of Paul Tomkins / VisitScotland.


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Adoration 4 adventure's local guide for visitor's to Aviemore, Scotland. Including top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around on a budget.

Have you visited Aveimore or planning to anytime soon? Tell us about it below!

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Local guide: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Local guide: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Adoration 4 Adventure’s local guide for visitors to Siem Reap, Cambodia by A4A guest writer, Sam Walker.

Local guide posts provide recommendations for destinations from locals who are currently living or have lived in that particular place. Including information on the top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around with an emphasis on saving money.

Overview of Siem Reap

Siem Reap, affectionately known as Temple Town, is the third largest city in Cambodia. Located in the country’s north-west, it is home to many ancient temples, including Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world.

It is a town built on tourism and as cities go, it is pretty small – more like a country town. Despite the temples and the tourists Siem Reap province is one of the poorest in the country. English is widely spoken within the tourist areas but not in rural areas. Khmer people are genuinely warm and friendly and their beautiful smiles greet you everywhere you go.

Planning a trip to South East Asia? Read the top 7 things to do in Bangkok.

Top 5 places to visit

5. 60 Road

By day, 60 Road is where you go to get your temple tickets. By night, it comes alive, heaving with locals attending the market, food stalls and sideshow fun that sprout up as the sun goes down. From about 5.30pm you will find the road packed with vendors selling clothes and shoes; pop-up restaurants and a range of local foods. A variety of fun fair attractions including a rickety-looking Ferris wheel, dodgem cars and other games are great for the more adventurous.

This is not a tourist spot. In fact, it is possible you won’t see any westerners if you visit. It’s a very popular local hangout. Try and find a local to take you and the experience will be even better. 60 Road is about three or four kilometres north-east of the city centre and it’s open every night.

60 Road, Siem Reap. Photo credit: A4A guest writer - Sam Walker

4. Visit the countryside

One of my favourite things to do in Siem Reap is to get out of town and into the countryside. The best way to do this is to hire a tuk tuk and ask the driver to take you in to the country for a few hours or a day. If you have a good driver he will come up with some lovely places for you to visit. Depending on the season you could see rice being planted or harvested, meet locals weaving baskets or making local treats. You could hire a bike and do this yourself but will probably get more value going with a tuk tuk driver. The price will vary depending how far you go.

Rural Siem Reap. Photo credit: A4A guest writer - Sam Walker

3. War Museum/Landmine Museum

Cambodia’s recent history is tragic, brutal and raw. While many tourists don’t want to dwell on the war and its effects, these two locations help understand the tragedy that has passed and those still taking place. Each costs about US$5 to enter. You get a free guide at the war museum, where the guide’s story is often as interesting as the war information. The Landmine Museum is further out of town on the way to Banteay Srey temple but well worth a look and supports a good cause – the removal of landmines.

Landmine Museum. Photo credit: A4A guest writer - Sam Walker

2. Phare, the Cambodian Circus

Phare, is by far, one of the best attractions in Cambodia. Contemporary, vibrant and energetic, it is leading the way in Cambodian arts. It’s also one of the nation’s most successful social enterprises. No animals feature in this circus. Just talented young artists telling the stories of their country, their families and their history through drama, acrobatics, music and dance. They perform eight different shows, all with a different theme and story. Tickets start from $18. For more information visit pharecircus.org.

Phare, the Cambodian Circus. Photo credit: A4A guest writer - Sam Walker

1. Angkor Wat and the Angkor Archaeological Park

Siem Reap’s number one tourist attraction, Angkor Wat, dates back 900 years. This is not somewhere you come to visit for half an hour and move on. The site is huge and the history fascinating. If you can afford it, it is worth getting a guide.

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap. Photo credit: A4A guest writer - Sam Walker

Many people don’t realise Angkor Wat is just one of hundreds of ancient temples in the Angkor Archaeological Park, all offering something different. You will need a temple pass to visit them. They are US$20 for one day, $40 for three days and $60 for seven days. The cost of a tuk tuk will vary depending on which temples you see and how far away they are. You must wear appropriate clothes – knees and shoulders covered.

Trees overtaking the temple at Ta Prohm, Siem Reap. Photo credit: A4A guest writer - Sam Walker

Eating and drinking

Siem Reap has hundreds of restaurants featuring flavours from around the world. You can eat Khmer, English, German, Thai, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Indian, French, vegetarian and more.

If you are on a tight budget, try a local breakfast of rice porridge for about 75 cents or the popular bai sat cherook – rice and pork for about USD $1. You will find these breakfast restaurants on most streets outside of the tourist centre. Similarly, you can get rice dishes for about US$1.50 at local restaurants for lunch and dinner. Western meals average between US$3.50 and US$8.

Fish amok and lok lak are the two most famous local dishes. Lok lak is a beef dish. You won’t find these dishes at most of the cheap, local restaurants. Noir Mart and Coffee, next to Naga Guesthouse has great coffee at good prices.

Transport

Public transport in Siem Reap is predominantly tuk tuk or moto-dop. Tuk tuks typically cost US$1.50 to US$2.00 for up to about two kilometres. Moto-dops are a motorbike taxi. They are cheaper than tuk tuks and you jump on the back of them and they’ll take you wherever you need to go. There are also plenty of places to hire bicycles if you want to do some exploring on your own. Siem Reap is flat and easy to get around.

There is apparently a metred taxi in Siem Reap but I can’t see much point in using it when tuk tuks are so readily available, affordable and easy to get around in. If you are going further afield several bus companies and mini buses operate from Siem Reap to other cities at reasonable prices. Most guesthouses can book these for you.

Accommodation

Siem Reap has an abundance of accommodation aimed at all budget levels. You can find most of them on the popular booking sites.

Many people want to stay close to Pub Street and the Old Market in the town centre. Pub Street is very touristy with pubs, clubs and restaurants along with tourist shops and boutiques. We prefer being east of the river around Wat Bo Road, which is less touristy but still an easy walk to town. The Wat Damnak area is also popular.

Please note, many places will offer you free pick-up from bus stations or the airport. Often, the tuk tuk drivers are not paid for these pick-ups, based on the expectation you will book tours with them. If you are not going to book tours with them, then please consider paying them or giving them a tip. Fuel is not cheap and their wages are very low.


A4A guest writer - Sam WalkerA4A guest writer – Sam Walker

Hi! I’m Sam, the Journo from Journo and the Joker. In April 2015 we packed up our beach life in Australia and moved to land-locked Siem Reap, Cambodia for a year, where we devoted most of our time to various volunteering pursuits, cheap food and drink and exploring this lovely country.

For more information on Siem Reap, including recommendations on where to find the best burgers in town, check out Sam’s blog – Journo and the Joker. Follow Sam at http://journoandthejoker.com/, on Facebook and Instagram.

If you would like to work with Adoration 4 Adventure, contact A4A.

All photos in this article (except the feature image and vertical pin) are the property of A4A guest writer, Sam Walker.


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Adoration 4 adventure's local guide for visitor's to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Including top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around on a budget.

Have you visited Siem Reap or planning to anytime soon? Tell us about it below!

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Local guide: Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.

Local guide: Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.

Adoration 4 Adventure’s local guide for visitors to Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A. by A4A guest writer, Cameron Cobb.

Local guide posts provide recommendations for destinations from locals who are currently living or have lived in that particular place. Including information on the top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around with an emphasis on saving money.

Overview of Phoenix

To locals, Phoenix is known as the Valley of the Sun. It gets HOT in the summer so be aware when planning a vacation here. Reaching temperatures of 120 F (50 C) already in June this year, Phoenicians can be found escaping the heat in our air conditioned homes and offices for much of June through August.

Fortunately, there are a lot of swimming pools and barbecues to ease the pain when we do head outdoors in the warmer months. There are also a number of hotels with shaded areas for relaxing for summer visitors or those who want to take a stay-cation.

Planning a trip to the states? Check out our other posts about destinations in the U.S.A.

Top 5 things to do

5. Seasonal activities

If it’s the middle of summer, head to Scottsdale Fashion Square to stay cool. Check out the huge number of shops, grab happy hour at one of the many great restaurants and people watch. If it’s in the spring months, check out the Renaissance Festival about 40 southeast of downtown Phoenix where you can be transported back in time. Also, during non-summer months check out the Phoenix Zoo to see local wildlife. During the winter months Zoo Lights is on display.

4. Sports and games

Sports teams include the Suns, Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Coyotes. Tickets are all available during their respective seasons. If watching sports isn’t your thing, Phoenix has a large variety of public golf courses, tennis courts, indoor swimming pools and other ways of staying active.

3. Art

The First Fridays Art Walk is held downtown every month and showcases a vast number of local artists. It’s one of the busiest evenings downtown each month. Mix with locals and check out the downtown hipster scene. Try to take a taxi if you can as parking may be tough. The art walk is free.

The Phoenix Art Museum is also free to enter on the first Friday of each month and has free admission Wednesday nights. The Herd Museum focuses on Arizona’s Native peoples. The new Musical Instrument Museum is also supposed to be very good.

2. Watch a sunrise and sunset

Ask any local and they’ll tell you that the sunrise and sunset Arizona provides are some of the most beautiful you’ll find. Any of the hiking spots below will provide a great view. Another one of my favorite spots is from the top of the Clarendon hotel’s rooftop bar.

1. See the desert

The outdoors are beautiful for hiking during the cooler months or early mornings in summer. Camelback Mountain is in a protected area that will allow hikers to see the local wildlife and cacti as well as provide a great view of the valley from the top. Other great hikes include Piestewa Peak and the short hike to Hole in the Rock in Papago Park. The trails are free. Avoid longer hikes during the day in summer months and make sure to bring lots of water.

The Arizona Desert. Photo credit: A4A guest writer - Cameron Cobb

Another great way to get outdoors is to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s former Arizona residence, Taliesin West, in Scottsdale.

Eating and drinking

Phoenix is known for its Mexican food. It’s one of the best cuisines on a budget that you’ll find. Taco shops such as Atoyac Estilo Oaxaca has some of the best fish tacos around ($2.30 each), as well as delicious quesadillas and the massive tlayuda con carne ($10). Another new local favorite is Tacos Chiwas with namesake tacos of carne asada, ham, peppers and cheese ($2.50 each). The gordita with hatch chilis is also incredible for $3.
Local family-owned restaurant Los Dos Molinos is an absolute must. They’re known for traditional Mexican food with a bit of spice. Order the carne adovada ($9) and try both the red and green sauces. You won’t be disappointed.

Tacos Chiwas and a Gordita at Tacos Chiwas. Photo credit: A4A guest writer - Cameron Cobb

For pizza, head to nationally recognized Pizzeria Bianco or check out nearby Cibo, a quaint spot inside an historic home. If you like Chicago style, head to Spinato’s and try their thin crust. Each is around $15-25 per person.
To splurge on food, check out Durant’s Steakhouse for a Goodfellas-style steak and fine wine or scotch. Or, enjoy the city’s best sushi at James Beard Award winning chef Nobuo at Teeter House.

Spinato's Pizza to go. Photo credit: A4A guest writer - Cameron Cobb

For drinks, stop by Hanny’s for classic cocktails and local DJs with mini martinis for $5 all night, or catch a live act at Crescent Ballroom. If it’s Monday or Tuesday night, check out Postino’s plate of bruschetta and any bottle of wine for $20 after 8pm. It’s one of the best deals in town, and a great place to people watch.

Transportation

Phoenix is spread out and doesn’t have the greatest public transportation. The Phoenix Light Rail is good for the downtown area or linking to Tempe to the east, but it only has one line. For this reason, it’s usually best to rent a car or take an Uber wherever you plan to travel the area.

Accommodation

My favorite place to stay is a locally owned boutique hotel, the Clarendon. Their pool, décor, restaurant and rooftop bar will make it hard to leave and see the rest of what the city has to offer. Book them directly for the best rate. Ben Bethel, the owner, may even be the one who answers the phone. Hotel Palomar is also beautiful and has great views and is in close proximity to a number of bars and restaurants.

Day Trips

4. Sedona

Phoenix has a lot to offer but anyone who has time during their visit should consider a day trip to Sedona to see the beautiful red rock mountains. Sedona is only about 2 hours north of Phoenix by car and offers a number of jeep tours, hiking, restaurants and hotels.

Sedona Red Rocks. Photo credit: A4A guest writer - Cameron Cobb

3. Slide Rock

Natural formations make Slide Rock a fun place to enjoy natural water-slides and a chance to cool off in warmer months. Slide Rock is very close to Sedona.

2. Flagstaff

Further north is Flagstaff for skiing during winter months. This city is very laid back and is much cooler than Phoenix during the summer.

1. Grand Canyon

A 4-hour drive north of Phoenix lies the Grand Canyon, a must-do for every traveler’s bucket list.

Grand Canyon National Park (North Rim), AZ

 


A4A guest writer – Cameron CobbA4A guest writer – Cameron Cobb

I’m an Arizona native who has lived in Phoenix for most of my life. I recently traveled around the world for a year documenting my favorite street food, budget restaurants and travel tips. Now I’m back home continuing to write locally about great food and travel.

Follow Cam at www.CamEscapes.com, on Facebook and Twitter.

If you would like to work with Adoration 4 Adventure, contact A4A.

All photos in this article (except of the Grand Canyon) are the property of A4A guest writer, Cameron Cobb.


Pin it for the next adventure!

Adoration 4 adventure's local guide for visitor's to Phoenix. Including top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around on a budget.

Have you visited Phoenix or planning to anytime soon? Tell us about it below!

And if you liked the post – share it with your friends on social media.