Khiva, Uzbekistan

Khiva: The most beautiful place in Uzbekistan

Khiva was one of those cities that took me by surprise. I have no idea why I liked it most out of all places I visited in Uzbekistan, including the famous Samarkand and Bukhara. But Khiva just felt more authentic, the atmosphere felt more relaxing and you don’t have the pressure of walking the entire day because you can see everything within a few hours. The walled city in Khiva, which is the reason most people come here for, is really small. But perhaps that’s the charm of it- there’s no need to rush here. Samarkand might be bigger and there’s a lot more to see such as the impressive Registan square, but it also means more tourists. If you prefer more quiet and smaller places, Khiva is where you should go.

Best time to visit Khiva

The best times to visit Uzbekistan in general is either during spring or autumn. Summers in Uzbekistan gets hot. Real hot. Especially in Khiva. But if you go during spring or autumn, the heat is more dry and warm, but not so hot like in summer time, when you’re just walking around wishing you could hop in a pool.

What to do in Khiva

As was stated, the walled city in Khiva is generally what most people come here for and where all the attractions are. It’s here where you can visit the Pahlavon Mahmoud mausoleum, walk around the central bazaar to look for souvenirs, take in the view from the Islom-Hoja Minaret, get lost in the backstreets and eat in some of Uzbekistan’s best restaurants. The Kalta Minor Minaret was my favourite and you can easily spot it at the entrance to the walled city.

Where to eat

There’s a limited amount of restaurants in Khiva, but the ones that exists are great. My personal favorite was Khorezm Art Restaurant. Not only was the food great, the prices are fair as well and the outdoor terrace is delightful to sit in. The location itself makes it worth visiting this lovely restaurant, so even if you’re not hungry, come here for a drink. Otherwise, you have the popular Terassa Cafe & Restaurant, which caters mostly to westerners. They have some vegetarian options though, which isn’t the easiest to find in Uzbekistan.

How to get to Khiva

If you’re coming from Bukhara, you can take the train. It only departs 4 hours per week though, so plan well, otherwise you might find yourself stuck in Bukhara for an extra day. You can also take shared taxis, also known as marshrutkas. Go to the bus station in Bukhara, tell them you want to go to Khiva and wait for the taxi to fill up. One way ride to Khiva should cost about 120,000 som. If you arrive to Urgentj by plane, you can take a taxi to Khiva. It’s cheap and it’s very easy.

This post was made possible by Drywall contractors Edmonton.

Places to see in Vietnam

Must visit cities in Vietnam

Vietnam is one of Asia’s most beautiful countries. Thanks to it’s fascinating landscapes, golden sand beaches, metropole cities and colorful towns, it’s quickly become a favorite amongst travelers. The weathers always favorable in Vietnam – at least if you stick to the south – and you’ll always find a beach to relax on. But don’t forget about the cities in Vietnam. They’re ever vibrant, filled with life, events, shops, street art, and so much more. It’s always a joy wandering around the cities and you’ll be surprised by how much there is to do and see. Here are the cities you must visit when in Vietnam.

Hanoi

Most people either start in Hanoi or end here. But besides being a good starting point, the capital city is also a fun and exciting city to be in. You can wander around the old quarter and marvel at the French colonial buildings, go grab a cup of egg coffee (a specialty in Hanoi!), find a warm bowl of delicious pho, go souvenir shopping, try craft beer and much more. Hanoi is a pulsating city that never seem to sleep. There’s always something to do, something new to see and people to meet.

Da Nang

Often overlooked, Da Nang is actually a fantastic city that shouldn’t be missed when you’re in Vietnam. Not only is it really close to Hoi An, the famous little town where there’s almost more lanterns than people, Da Nang is also filled with tons of hidden gems. Since most travelers tend to skip this city, you’ll get a more authentic vibe when you come here. You won’t be seeing a bunch of tourists walking around the streets, instead you’ll be welcomed by locals. There’s plenty of cute cafe shops, restaurants, boutiques and sights to see here to keep you occupied. When the weather gets too hot, hop on a motorbike and drive to the closest beach. You’re always just a few kilometers away from one.

Ho Chi Minh City

The biggest city in Vietnam can feel a bit overwhelming at times, but once you get the hang of Ho Chi Minh, you’ll love it. Since it is a massive city, there’s always something to do. But if you want to stay in the touristy areas, go to “Bui Vien Street”, also known as the backpacker area. During day time, you can wander around in the small alleys and get a glimpse of the locals life. At night, Bui Vien turns into a big party street with loud music blasting from the bars and clubs. It’s a fun place to be at, if that’s what you’re into. If not, you can go to different neighborhoods far away from all the backpackers, where you can sit in a local Vietnamese restaurant, slurp on some noodles and drink a beer with the locals.

This post was made possible by Edmonton Exterminators.

Planning a 3 month trip

Preparing for a 3 month backpacking trip in 1 week

Most people tend to plan their backpacking trip months before departing. I only had one week. The reason was because I didn’t even know I was going to backpack before the thought hit me – I’m going to book a flight and I’m going to to be away for a while again! I had just come home from Southeast Asia where I was for almost 3 months and I must admit, it wasn’t my favorite trip. At all. I was frustrated with it being so touristy and I was craving some authenticity. I didn’t feel like I was making the most out of this trip and I just wanted to go home. I stuck out for a long time, I thought my feelings would change, but they never really did. So I finally went home.

When I was back in Sweden, my mind just kept thinking of traveling to a place that’s not really on the “tourist map”. I’ve always been very drawn to Asia but I knew I didn’t wanna go back to Southeast Asia, I had already traveled in East Asia and backpacking in India didn’t feel like an option to me as a female solo traveler. So I remembered that time I saw there were cheap flights to Almaty, Kazakhstan, but I felt a bit too afraid to go there alone so I didn’t. Central Asia has always been on my mind though, but I just never dared to go. Until now. I thought to myself “what could possible go wrong?” and just booked a flight. It wasn’t until after that I realized I only had one month to prepare.

I started doing research about which countries I wanted to visit and settled for three; Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Then I decided to give each country approximately one month, which leaves me with three months of traveling. Then I checked if I needed any vaccinations (very important!) but I had thankfully already gotten the most important ones. I got a travel insurance, I made an economic plan for these three months and I did a lot of research on what to bring to these countries. In the end, my bag became full with hiking clothes because you’ll want to go hike at least once when you’re there. This time, I didn’t want to bring a lot of baggage with me so I decided to only pack a small carry on. If there’s anything that can’t fit in there, it won’t come with me. Only the absolute necessary things. Usually I have to prepare myself mentally for a while but this trip felt different to me. I think this was what I’d been waiting for for a very long time. This was the trip I was supposed to go to. And I was so ready to go, prepared or not.

4 destinations for slow travel

The 4 best destinations for slow travel

Slow traveling is this small grassroots movement that encourages people to travel in a slower pace to not get burnt out and to truly connect with a destination. It’s becoming increasingly more popular as people are getting more time off from work and can travel for longer, and more are also quitting their job to fulfill their dream of traveling for months, sometimes even years. So when you have this amount of time to travel, why stress through it? We often make the mistake of traveling in such a fast pace that we burn ourselves out. But for what? When we travel, we’re taking a break from our “real” busy lives so we can unwind and connect with ourselves. Being stressed doesn’t sound like the way to do it, right?

So if you’d like to embrace slow traveling and find out why so many people love it, here’s 4 destinations that are great for it.

Lisbon, Portugal

For long, this European city has charmed people from all over the world and the expat community is growing ever bigger. Lisbon’s one of the more affordable cities as well so if you’re on a tighter budget, it’s a fantastic city to visit. There’s always something happening here, from festivals to cultural events, you’ll never find yourself bored in Lisbon. Thanks to its favorable location, you can also hop on a bus or train and head to the beach when the sun gets hot. Lisbon is a beautiful city so why not enjoy it to the fullest and stay for a longer time?

Budapest, Hungary

Another budget friendly destination in Europe, Hungary is a bustling city filled with charm and beauty. The city is home to a number of famous attractions such as the Parliament Building and the Szechenyi Spa. It’s a fantastic city to explore just because there’s so many attractions around the city, but also because it’s an aesthetically beautiful city to look at and wandering around will never bore you. When night falls, swing by one of the ruin bars in Budapest. Each of the ruin bars have their own personality, but they all have one thing in common: they’re hella fun to go to.

Pai, Thailand

There’s not many places in the world that are just as chill as Pai in northern Thailand. In recent years, it’s become somewhat of an iconic backpacking town, where people come to relax, unwind and explore the beautiful surroundings in Pai. Just make sure to avoid staying in Pai during burning season when the pollution gets crazy. Not only will you not be able to see Pai when it’s the most beautiful, the pollution will also give you a big headache.

Cartagena, Colombia

Colorful buildings, good food, excellent beaches and a lively culture – what’s there not to love? Cartagena has become a huge success amongst travelers and more people are starting to find their way to vibrant Colombia. The political climate has become much more stable in recent years and it’s no longer strange to see foreigners in Colombia. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. Cartagena especially is a loved destination thanks to the accessibility to beaches and the historical architecture surrounding the city. It’s a great city to settle down in for a while and practice slow traveling.