Exploring Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Recently, I have visited Mostar, a city in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, straddling the Neretva River. This small but beautiful town can easily be reached through a three-hour bus ride from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital.

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Philippine passport holders and other nationalities can visit Bosnia and Herzegovina without needing to obtain an actual Bosnia and Herzegovina Visa if you have a valid dual or multiple-entry Schengen Visa.

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Top reasons To Visit Mostar

It is cheap! With that being said, your dollar can go a long way in this city. An amazing dinner with one main course, one pint of beer and a plate of dessert would only cost you less than 10 Euros. Accommodations are very affordable as well, the average nightly rate for an airbnb apartment is only around 15 Euros.

It is a city like no other! Mostar is one of those places which instantly transports you back in time. Its stunning old town will make you feel as if you are in a medieval era.

Very Hospitable Locals! Mostar is one of those very few places which has made me feel very welcome during my stay. The hospitality of the locals are just beyond compare.

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Things to do:

Explore The Old Town

There are definitely tons of things to do in this stunning town. But if you are only spending a day or two then I highly suggest that you explore the old town and dine in one of the local restaurants and try some local cuisine.

Visit the Stari Most a.k.a Mostar Bridge

Stari Most, also known as Mostar Bridge, is a rebuilt 16th-century Ottoman bridge in the city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This spectacular bridge is basically Mostar’s most famous and beautiful landmark.

This year, the bridge was the backdrop for the spectacular Red Bull cliff diving competition. It was the tournament’s sixth stop.

Read Also: HOW I TRAVELLED ACROSS NORTH MACEDONIA, KOSOVO, BULGARIA AND SERBIA USING MY PHILIPPINE PASSPORT

Where to stay:

I stayed at ‘APART AS’ an amazing Airbnb apartment very close to the old town and I highly recommend it! Our host Almir even picked us up from the bus station for free, and not only that, he also served us some homemade fig cakes and a glass of homemade wild fruit juice to welcome us. Probably the best Airbnb Experience I’ve ever had. So when you are looking for an affordable and nice Airbnb apartment to stay at in Mostar, then this place is definitely a must.

Our Airbnb Host Almir.
Living room with kitchen and sofa bed
Photo courtesy of Apart AS
Bedroom with beds that can be conected from one to another
Photo courtesy of Apart AS
Apart AS Apartment 2
Photo courtesy of Apart AS

You can check the apartment on Airbnb here.

Here are more images to finally convince you to visit Mostar on your next travel 😀

I’ve spent a total of two days exploring and discovering everything this stunning town has to offer. I can say that it is one of the most underrated destinations in Europe. Maybe probably because of its past, but I am happy that I was able to visit this underrated gem and witness its Beauty.

Thank you for reading! Happy travels!

New to the blog? Click here to get to know me more. 😀

What I’ve Learned From Visiting Yick Cheong Building in Hongkong

Maybe it’s not a proper adventure, but if we are talking about deep feelings, my second time visiting Hong Kong was definitely the one. 

I’ve being living in Shanghai for more than a year now, working as a Head Chef de Cuisine, so I’m pretty used to big Asian cities… but HongKong has something different, and in particular, I would like to share my experience at the Yick Cheong Building.

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You need to know that the Yick Cheong Building is one of the most famous spots in the world for photographers. This building is, first of all an apartment complex, with lots of people living in it, like a lot! And for this reason, the locals sometimes close the entrance gate to avoid hundreds of tourists flocking-in to take a photo. 

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However, when I got there, the weather was not exactly the best, hence, there were no tourists, but despite this, the entrance was closed. Quite unfortunate as it could be, cause I needed to leave Hongkong the next day as well, so I just told myself to return next time on another trip. 

I’ve visited HongKong several times since then and on my second trip, I took the opportunity to head to the Yick Cheong Building  again. It was close when I arrived but I found a way in,  and sneaked to the courtyard, Italian Style! haha I will always remember that moment for life.

Inside, I was alone and the atmosphere was moody. The silence, interrupted by just the sound of some people cooking food or some children running around. It was cloudy, with only a weak ray of light hitting the façade, adding more drama to the atmosphere.

A place that is normally bombarded by loud tourists and photographers, but was so quiet during that time. Then I realized that I’ve  been staring at the building for quite some  time that I couldn’t tell how long I’ve been there already. And there it came the perfect moment for me to take the photo I have been dreaming to take. 

Timer was set, remote control from the phone was activated, and camera position has also been set! 

I took a photo, but I can’t seem to remember if I have heard any “click”, as my eyes were lost again staring at the wonderful but contradicting piece of architecture. 

Lost in thought, trying to think about the fact that Gucci has one of its stores just several meters away from the Yick Cheong Building… and that bus advertisement I’ve seen just a few minutes earlier on my way to Yick Cheong, with the ad of Cartier on it… and then this… people living in apartments as large as their mattress… often with no walls, just some cage-like barricades, and people eating on the corridor because they have no space inside their own home. . . It was just quite overwhelming.

Then a shout from somewhere broke the silence, and there I saw one of the security guards signaling that I wasn’t allowed to be there, so I left. Well, at least this time, I was able to achieve my purpose before being told to leave.

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Traveling is not just for fun. Traveling changes you, gives you opportunities to think a lot about what you have and how lucky you are, even if some days you don’t even realize it because you take everything for guaranteed. 

Traveling  leads us to places which often leave a huge impact in our lives. From my experience, traveling has brought me to Yick Cheong and it has strongly changed my view towards life. It is true, few minutes of observing something significant can really change our perspective towards all aspects of life, that’s what happened to me on that day. 

This Travel Story is written by Marco Erba. You can follow more of his adventure on his instagram @marco_erba
ALL PHOTOS IN THIS ARTICLE ARE FROM MARCO ERBA’S PERSONAL ARCHIVE.

Marco Erba is an Italian chef de cuisine, a traveler and a videography & photography enthusiast currently based in Shanghai. On his spare time, he likes to edit photos and videos which he took from his previous trip. He also travels a lot across Asia and often wanders around unfamiliar places in search for great photo locations. 

Marco’s Travel Essentials

Camera body: Sony Alpha 7iii

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CAMERA LENSES: Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 AND Zeiss 55mm f/1.8

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DRONE: DJI Mavic Air 

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How I Travelled Across North Macedonia, Kosovo, Bulgaria and Serbia using My Philippine Passport

Few weeks back, I traveled across several countries in the Balkan Region in Europe. I was able to cover four Balkan Countries in eight days. Well it took a few days of planning like booking all accommodations and transportations in advance to get the cheapest deal available. 

As a Philippines Passport holder, I needed to have a valid visa to be able to visit these countries. But fortunately, all of these countries allow passport holders from several countries to enter without having the need to obtain a visa for each, as long as they are holding a valid multiple-entry Schengen Visa. And obviously in my case, I used my valid Schengen Visa to travel across these countries. 

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Traveling to several countries in a single trip doesn’t need to be tough, especially when you are traveling across Europe. Whenever I go on a trip, I try to cross-out at least two countries in each trip to save on flight costs. And countries in Europe are pretty much situated near each other and can easily be accessed through land transportations such as buses, trains, etc. which makes it more easier. I travelled pretty much through buses across these countries with seven hours being the longest time.

Crossing the border to some of these countries can be quite tough though, especially to people who are holding passports from third-world nations. So I highly suggest that you should always have all the useful documents like onward tickets, accommodations etc.  ready with you whenever you cross a border to prove that your main purpose of visit is merely for tourism. 

Skopje, North Macedonia

My first stop was in Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia. Skopje is a pretty compact capital surrounded by beautiful mountains. I spent a total of two days exploring this city. It is also quite affordable to travel in this city, like a pint of beer ordered from a pub or restaurant would only cost you less than a Euro. 

So far, the best places that I recommend in Skopje are Canyon Matka and Skopje’s Old Town. Canyon Matka is one of the main highlight of North Macedonia, it is also one of the most beautiful canyon I’ve ever seen. It can easily be reached through a 20-minute taxi ride from Skopje’s Town Center. The old town is just located in the city-center itself. Here you can see countless different giant statues and stunning cobbled streets.

READ ALSO:

Top Things To Do in Skopje North Macedonia

Top Reasons To Visit Canyon Matka

Pristina, Kosovo

My second stop was in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. I arrived in Pristina through a two-hour bus ride from Skopje and spent a day exploring everything that this city has to offer. Crossing the border from North Macedonia to Kosovo is one of the quickest and easiest border crossings I’ve ever done in my whole life of traveling. 

Pristina is a beautiful city, you can pretty much explore everything in this city within a day. Mother Theresa Boulevard is a must-visit when in Pristina. Here you can find countless hip cafes and authentic local restaurants where you can have a taste of amazing Kosovo cuisines. The same as Skopje, this city is also quite affordable to travel to.

Sofia, Bulgaria

My third stop, Sofia! Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria and one of the most  beautiful European cities. I spent a total of three days exploring everything that this city has to offer. Sofia can easily be reached through a four-hour bus ride from Skopje in North Macedonia or Pristina in Kosovo.

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Sofia has so much history, and you can see it from the ruins which still remain intact until today. Some of the few things I recommend worth visiting in this city is the Vitosha Boulevard, their main street and the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the whole of Europe. 

READ ALSO: Top Things To See and Do in Sofia 

Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade or Beograd, the capital of Serbia is my final stop on this trip. I arrived in Belgrade’s main bus station after a seven-hour bus ride from Sofia, Bulgaria. From the bus station, the city center can easily be reached in less than ten-minutes by foot. I stayed for a total of four days exploring and discovering everything this city has to offer. 

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Belgrade is a big and beautiful city, I know it’ll be beautiful prior to visiting it but I wasn’t expecting it to be very vast. It has also been dubbed as ‘the city that never sleeps’. The capital has two main areas worth exploring, New Belgrade and Old Belgrade. New Belgrade is on the left side of the Sava river while Old Belgrade is on the opposite. 

Although the whole city itself is worth exploring, there are few things in Belgrade that I highly recommend worth visiting. The Knez Mihailova Street and the Belgrade Fortress shouldn’t be missed when you are visiting Belgrade. The Knez Mihailova Street is one of the oldest and most valuable landmarks of the city and there you can find countless shops, restaurants, cafes, pub, etc. While the Belgrade Fortress is one of the most beautiful spots in Belgrade for sunset viewing and it can easily be reached from the other end of the Knez Mihailova Street. 


Have you been to and of these countries? How was your experience? Share it with us through the comment section below. 

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10 Photos That Will Make You Wanna Visit Prague

Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic, a country bordered by Austria, Germany, Poland, and Slovakia. Prague is famous for its stunning bridges and gothic churches.

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Prague is one of the best cities out there. Also, it is one of my favorite destinations to travel to. It’s just so picturesque no matter what season it is . I have visited it many times and I still get the same excitement as if it’s my first time visiting each time. Definitely a city I would always suggest whenever someone asks me where the best destination is.

In this article, I will be sharing some of my favorite photos which I took from my previous visits in this beautiful city. Hope these photos will make you wanna visit Prague.

One of my favorite scenes whenever I cross the famous Charles Bridge were the musicians busking on the bridge. They just simply add to the magical vibe of Prague, especially during sunsets.

Aside from Prague’s stunning bridges and gothic churches, the city is also famous for its swans which reside at the Vltava River. These swans are not only an attraction but they are also the symbol of LOVE in Prague. You can find them on the banks of Vltava by the right side of Charles Bridge when you are facing the direction towards Prague Castle.

One of the many things I admire about Prague is the interior of their subway stations. It’s just stunning! I took this shot inside Malostranská Station on Line A.

Prague is a very busy city, no matter what season it is. But its just beautiful to see all these people from different parts of the world enjoy the beauty of Prague.

I would definitely say that Prague has one of the most beautiful sunsets in the whole world. Just look at the next two photos below! If you are looking for the best sunset location in Prague with a stunning view of the old town, head over to Riegrovy Sady Park, aka Sunset Hill. You can also order some beer to accompany your sunset-watching from the beer gardens in the area.

One of my favorite Arches in Prague, the Arch of the Malá Strana Bridge Towers. It is a gateway at the other end of Charles Bridge to Prague’s Lesser Town but definitely a site to behold. The details on the arch are just superb!

The Vltava River is definitely a site to behold when in Prague. You can basically get a wonderful view of the river from almost all the different bridges which intersect it. But for a magical view, head to one of its bridges during sunrise or sunset.

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I usually travel alone, hence I have my GoPro with me at all times to take some self portraits. And what is a more perfect backdrop than Prague’s beautiful streets. Almost all of Prague’s street in the old town are great locations for the perfect gram.

Prague’s Tram 22 is a must when in Prague. It is the most scenic tram route of em all. This line will take you to some of the major attractions in Prague.

The Old Town Square is one of the greatest tourist attractions in Prague, along with Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. Here you can find other attractions such as the Astronomical Clock, the gothic Church of our Lady Before Tyn, etc.

The ancient splendor and beauty of Prague, a city beyond compare, left an impression on my imagination that will never fade –Richard Wagner

Have you been to Prague? How was your experience? 😀 Share it with us through the comment section below!

New to the Blog? Click here to get to know me more.

10 Photos That Will Make You Wanna Visit London

London is one of my favorite of all the cities I have been to. Simply because of its captivating vibe and picturesque streets. When we think of London, we think of the London Eye, The Big Ben, The Tower Bridge, etc. But let’s skip those for now. In this blogpost, I will be sharing 10 unique photos that will make you wanna visit the English Capital.

Covent Garden is one of the most beautiful districts in London. I spent half-day exploring this gem when I was in London. Definitely a place I would like to explore again when I will visit London soon.

After a day of exploring, a pint of beer is the best idea! So why not head to Cafe Brood. I found this gem while exploring Borough Market on my second day in London.

If you’re looking for the best backdrop for your instagram photos, head over to the Southbank Skate Space, here you can find stunning graffitis and other street arts. Or if you simply wanna skate, then this is the best place for you.

I visited St. James Park on my second day in London. The views are breathtaking even though most trees didn’t have any leaves mainly because it was winter during that time. What mostly caught my attention though are the squirrels. They’re very cute and they seem to be really tamed, maybe because they got used with people giving them food.

If you’re visiting Greenwich in London, make sure to include the The Old Royal Naval College in your list. The Old Royal Naval College is an architectural center piece in Maritime Greenwich, a World Heritage Site in Greenwich, London. Definitely a must-visit for architecture lovers.

The Old Royal Naval College
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If you wanna travel back in time or simply want to admire a great piece of architecture, then Churchill War Rooms is the best place for you to go. The Churchill War Rooms is a museum in London the museum comprises the Cabinet War Rooms, a historic underground complex that housed a British government command centre throughout the Second World War, and the Churchill Museum, a biographical museum exploring the life of British statesman Winston Churchill.

reference: Wikipedia

Churchill War Rooms

I visited Columbia Road Flower Market on my third day in London. It was a Sunday and it is the only day where the market is open, so take note of that. Columbia Road Flower Market is located in Bethnal Green in London. But aside from flowers, you can also witness amazing street performers showing their respective crafts here.

‘People Watching’ is definitely one of the most therapeutic activities out there. Have you ever tried picking up on idiosyncrasies like language, expressions, clothing and activities to try to guess at another person’s story? Well, I always do and it’s pretty relaxing haha. Anyway, I took this photo between St. Pauls Church and the Millennium Bridge. I though it would be nice to add at here.

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Exploring Lisbon, Top Things to Do and See in this Capital

Portugal was one of the major destinations which I always wanted to visit. It has always been on top of my list for quite some time and being able to tick-it off my bucket is just quite a personal achievement. Growing up in the Philippines, they always teach in our social study classes as to how the Portuguese people has influenced our country. Well, basically, we were under the Spanish rule for 300 years and the famous Ferdinand Magellan who conquered the Philippines for Spain is indeed Portuguese. 

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Going back, I arrived in Lisbon from Paris, the flight only lasted for like around two and a half hours. After going through security at Lisbon’s Airport, I took an Uber straight to my accommodation, but upon arriving there, I was informed by one of the  staff that I could only check-in after one in the afternoon and I looked at the time and it was only nine-thirty in the morning, so I was like, really?! But fortunately, my accommodation has a bar, so I just ordered some beer, opened my computer and did some photo-editing. And after being able to check-in, I left my luggage and bags in my room and went out to explore Lisbon’s old town. 

It was summer when I visited Portugal, so aside from the great weather, there were also lots of interesting events happening during that time. The FIFA world cup for example, it’s like their religion. Since it wasn’t Portugal who was hosting it that year, Lisbon has set up giant screens to air the live football match in their main square! But that’s not the crazy part, the crazy part was seeing the square jam-packed with lots of people from different parts of the world wearing the uniform and waving the flag of the team they are supporting as they scream and cheer for them. 

In this article, I will be sharing some of the best things to do and see in this beautiful capital. 

JOIN A FREE WALKING TOUR

One of the best way to explore Lisbon and actually know the history of some of its monuments and landmarks is by joining a free walking tour. You can easily spot different guides offering free walking tours from Lisbon’s Squares.

EXPLORE LISBON’S ALFAMA NEIGHBORHOOD

Perhaps one of my favorite spots in Lisbon. Alfama is one of Lisbon’s oldest areas. Here you can find lots of shops selling traditional crafts and cozy cafes which offers some of the best coffees and pastries. You can also witness tons of artistic murals painted on walls here. 

TASTE THEIR FAMOUS PASTEL DE NATA

Basically, it’s a sweet custard tart. I just drool whenever I think of this. Basically one of my favorite pastries in the whole world. I basically had at least five of these per day when I was in Lisbon. 

photo courtesy of Pasteis de Belem

TAKE A SHOT OF THEIR FAMOUS GINJINHA

Your visit in lisbon woudn’t be complete if you haven’t tasted their tasty Ginjinha. Basically it’s one of the most well known alcoholic drink in Portugal. Traditionally, it is a go-to drink for those who are broken-hearted haha. 

INDULGE IN LOCAL CUISINES

Sardines and cod dishes are some of the dishes which I highly recommend, they just cook and present it in a totally different level. Portuguese cuisine is just one of the best in the world. To be honest, I haven’t tasted bad food when I was in Portugal. 

EXPLORE BARRIO ALTO

Barrio Alto is often dubbed as the Bohemian District of Lisbon. It looks amazing during the day cause you can see all the old houses in the neighborhood are decorated with vivid street art, definitely a great place to stroll and take instagram-worthy photos. And at night, a diverse crowd fill the streets and the pubs. I went bar-hopping one night and ended up tasting tons of different local beers! The ambience in this area is just indescribable, sort of like the high you get from smoking weed haha. 

ASCENSOR DA GLORIA

The Glória Funicular, sometimes known as the Elevador da Glória, is a funicular railway line in the civil parish of Santo António, in the municipality of Lisbon, Portugal. It connects the Pombaline downtown with the Bairro Alto, operated by Carris.

reference: Wikipedia

TORRE DE BELEM

Belém Tower, officially the Tower of Saint Vincent is a 16th-century fortification located in Lisbon that served both as a fortress and as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. 

reference: Wikipedia

PRACO DO COMERCIO

The Praça do Comércio is located in the city of Lisbon, Portugal. Situated near the Tagus river, the square is still commonly known as Terreiro do Paço, because it was the location of the Paços da Ribeira until it was destroyed by the great 1755 Lisbon earthquake. 

reference: Wikipedia

ELEVADOR DE SANTA JUSTA

The Santa Justa Lift, also called Carmo Lift, is an elevator, or lift, in the civil parish of Santa Justa, in the historical city of Lisbon, Portugal. Situated at the end of Rua de Santa Justa, it connects the lower streets of the Baixa with the higher Largo do Carmo.

reference: Wikipedia

PADRO DOS DESCOBRIMENTOS

One of Lisbon’s famous landmarks, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos is a monument on the northern bank of the Tagus River estuary, in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belém, Lisbon. 


MAAT

The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology  of Lisbon. A great place to visit if you are into any of those crafts.  You can also see a great view of the Tagus River from here. 


PONTE 25 DE ABRIL BRIDGE

Often referred to as the famous red bridge of Lisbon. This bridge connects the city of Lisbon to the municipality of Almada. It is also one of the longest bridge in Europe. 

Aside from the ones above, there are still tons of other things to do in this city. But yeah, I’m reserving that for my next visit. My trip to Portugal was one of the most memorable summers in my life. So, I’m definitely am looking forward to my next visit. 

Have you been to Lisbon? How was your experience? Share it with us through the comment section below!

New to the blog? Click here to get to know me more! 😀


Exploring Armenia, Top Things to See and Do in This Historic Country.

Armenia is a country in the mountainous Caucasus region between Asia and Europe. It is famously know for its monasteries as well as being the first-ever Christian nation. Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to. It is situated just at the foot of the famous Mountain, Ararat. I decided to visit it ever since it has became a trending destinations for expats who are residing in the United Arab Emirates. So I check for cheap flights going there from here in Dubai, and as a budget traveler, one thing I always look for whenever I travel to a new destination is the flight cost, as it’s what takes most of the percentage on the budget. 

I flew with Flydubai going to Armenia. I took a morning flight and I was able to arrive there in the afternoon. Flights to Yerevan from Dubai usually takes around three to three-and-a-half hour.  I went there on Spring time and it didn’t disappoint. Armenia basically has 4 seasons and I guess each season is unique on its own, but there’s just something about spring that made me want to visit it during that time. Uhmm I think maybe because it signifies new beginnings.

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So upon arriving and collecting my luggage, I took a cab from the airport to Yerevan, the main city. Seeing a glimpse of the city from afar, I instantly fell in love with it. It just has this vibe where you can sense so much history in it. Its streets and and all these old structures made it felt as if I have traveled back in time.  

In this article, I will be sharing some of the gems which I stumbled upon while exploring the city on my first day as well as the top things to see and do in Armenia.  

REPUBLIC SQUARE

Republic Square is the central town square in Yerevan. The best place to go during sunsets to see their famous dancing fountain play. Here, you can also witness some buskers showcase their talents.

YEREVAN CASCADE

The Cascade is a giant stairway made of limestone. If you to the highest point of the cascade, you can witness the stunning view of Yerevan from a bird’s eye view. Definitely a must-visit place when in Armenia. 

YEREVAN OPERA THEATRE

Designed by the Armenian architect Alexander Tamanian. This structure is also known as the ‘Armenian National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet’. Definitely a site to admire when you are exploring Yerevan. 

NORTHERN AVENUE

Northern Avenue is a pedestrian only avenue in the center of Yerevan. It is sometimes referred to as Yerevan’s high street.  Here you can find countless cafes, pubs and shops. 

YEREVAN VERNISSAGE

Yerevan Vernissage is a large open-air market in Yerevan, Armenia. The name of the market is the derived from the French word vernissage. The market lies along Aram and Buzand streets at a length of 350 metres, connecting the Hanrapetutyun street with the Khanjyan street. 

reference: Wikipedia

HISTORY MUSEUM OF ARMENIA

The History Museum of Armenia is a museum in Armenia with departments of Archaeology, Numismatics, Ethnography, Modern History and Restoration. It has a national collection of 400,000 objects and was founded in 1920.

reference: Wikipedia

VISIT GEGHARD MONASTERY

Your visit in Armenia wouldn’t be complete without being able to visit Geghard Monastery. Geghard is only an hour drive from Yerevan, but you also avail different tours that will bring you here which you can avail at your accommodation’s reception. 

photo by: @iamvh_

LAKE SEVAN

Definitely one of Armenia’s highlight, Lake Sevan. A large, high-altitude lake in eastern Armenia. A must visit place for nature lovers and landscape photographers. 

photo by: @iamvh_

GARNI TEMPLE

The Temple of Garni is the only standing Greco-Roman colonnaded building in Armenia and the former Soviet Union. An Ionic pagan temple located in the village of Garni, Armenia, it is the best-known structure and symbol of pre-Christian Armenia.

reference: Wikipedia

photo by: @iamvh_

TSAGHKADZOR TOWN

Tsaghkadzor, is a spa town and urban municipal community, as well as one of the most popular health resorts in Armenia, located north of the capital Yerevan in the Kotayk Province. 

reference: Wikipedia

When visiting Armenia, I highly suggest to first-time visitors to allot at least three full days to be able to see most or maybe everything that this country has to offer. There are just tons of things to love about Armenia! Beauty just overflows from its breathtaking landscapes to its historic streets.

What I love most about Armenia are its people, they are just one of the most hospitable people I’ve ever encountered in my entire life. They offer you wine and food whenever you go for a visit at their houses, they offer to tour you around the town for free, they give you great tips for the best places in town according to your own preference, etc. These alone are enough for me already to plan my second visit there anytime soon.

Have you been to Armenia? How was your experience? Share it with us through the comment section below!

New to the blog? Click here to get to know me more.

Top Things to do in Skopje North Macedonia

Recently, I visited Skopje (pronounced as ‘skawp-ye’) in North Macedonia.  Skopje is part of my Balkan Road-trip Itinerary and basically it was my first stop. I flew directly to Skopje from Dubai with Flydubai. Flydubai flies to Skopje every three days, the flight took approximately around five hours. So if you’re based in the United Arab Emirates, try to consider Skopje as your next destination! 

Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia is located in the Balkan Peninsular. Some of the highlights of this capital are their countless giant statues, magnificent canyons, breathtaking mountains, deep caves and ancient towns with Ottoman and European architecture.

Filipino citizens and some other nationalities can visit North Macedonia without having to apply for a North Macedonian Tourist Visa if they are holding a valid unexpired multiple entry Schengen Visa, UK Visa, USA Visa, or Canadian Visa. 

Going back, so I arrived in Skopje Alexander the Great Airport, Skopje’s main International Airport. It’s a pretty compact airport, so I managed to get to the passport-control desk immediately after disembarking. For some reasons, the immigration officers are ‘very very very’ strict with visitors who are possessing a third-world passport-unfortunately, that’s including me, so they held me on the side together with some other people while they let other people(obviously people with strong passports) pass with ease. How humiliating ey’?

So after they’ve finished letting everyone through, some officer went back to interrogate us furthermore individually. They just asked the basic questions like what is the purpose of visit, the next destination after, etc. Thank goodness I was traveling with my very good friend, Tom, who is a Scottish Expat based in Dubai. The officer might have noticed that we were traveling together so he just asked to confirm if we we’re traveling together, and we said ‘yes’ and there goes the funny part- the officer faced Tom and started asking questions about me, right in front of me as if I wasn’t there. And when I tried to interrupt to answer some of the questions, the officer just ‘sssshhh!’ me with a hand gesture to literally tell me to shut the F*** up haha. After Tom answered some of his questions, then the officer was convinced that our sole-purpose was just for tourism, so the officer gave my passport back to me with an entry stamp. 

In my case, I used my valid Schengen Visa to gain entry, although I could’ve used my Canadian Visa, but still, despite having different visas from highly-industrialized countries, the decision will still be upon the immigration officer. Sometimes, I really cannot blame them for being so strict, especially with people who are holding a passport from countries with a very bad reputation of overstaying in another territory. 

The key is to keep your cool whenever you are going through passport-control and facing immigration officials. As long as you are brutally honest with your intention of visiting a place, then I think there is nothing to worry about. They might held you for some reason, but that is just for their own security.

Well, That wasn’t a warm welcome, but that definitely didn’t stop me from discovering some of the great things that this City has to offer. 

Well, in this article, I will be discussing some of the main highlights of Skopje. Places I’ve seen and activities which I have done in this beautiful city that I highly recommend.

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Top Things to See and Do in Skopje

Canyon Matka

Canyon Matka is basically one of the main highlights of Skopje. It is one of those places which you shouldn’t miss when you are visiting Skopje and it’s pretty much easy to get there from town. From the city center, you can take a taxi directly to Canyon Matka for less than 10 euros, the same is with going back from the canyon to the city center. I highly suggest people who intend to visit Canyon Matka to spend at least three hours exploring this gem to actually admire its beauty from every angle. 

When in Canyon Matka, consider taking a boat tour to Vrelo Cave. Vrelo Cave offers different rock structures like stalagmites and stalactites and is believed to be the the deepest underwater cave in the whole world. Definitely a must visit place when in Canyon Matka. Other option to get to this cave is through kayaking, so if you are feeling adventurous, rent a kayak and paddle your way to Vrelo Cave. The boat ride only costs around 400 Macedonian Denar (around 5 Euros) per person while the kayak rent is around 200 Denar, so quite affordable. 


Macedonia Square 

Macedonia Square is North Macedonia’s main square. It is one of the famous spots in Skopje. A giant statue of Alexander the Great on a horse can be seen here. The square also has fountains which is usually filled with joyful children playing with the water. The music played that is heard from this monument complements the whole atmosphere of beauty in Macedonia. 

Stone Bridge

Located near Macedonia Square, this bridge can easily be reached by foot. This bridge connects the old and new part of the town. The bridge is also less frequently known as the Dušan Bridge after Stephen Dušan, Emperor of Serbia. Come and see it during dusk to admire its beauty with the colorful Macedonian sunset in the background. 

Museum of Macedonia

Stunning piece of architecture! That’s how I describe the Museum of Macedonia. It is situated on the other side of the Vardar River and it can easily be reached from the main square. Definitely a place to go if you wanna see some artifacts and different historical collections being exhibited or simply if you wanna know the in-depth history of North Macedonia. 

Vardar River

Vardar River is what separates the old and new part of Skopje. Along the banks are countless cafes and pubs that offers both local and international cuisines. Take a stroll at the Vardar River during sunset to admire its lively vibe and to appreciate its real beauty with the colorful sunset reflecting on its waters. 

Explore Skopje’s Old Town

One of my favorite things to do when visiting a city is to explore its old town.  Skopje’s old town didn’t disappoint, I pretty much just wandered around and admired its beauty. Here you can find countless souvenir shops, so a must-go place when you intend to take some souvenirs home. If you’re feeling hungry, the old town is home to several local restaurants where you can taste local cuisines. 

Go on a day-trip to Pristina in Kosovo from Skopje

I will be discussing my experience in Kosovo in a different blogpost though I just wanna highlight it here that you can pretty much go on a day-trip to Kosovo’s capital Pristina from Skopje as they are pretty much located quite near each other. The travel time from Skopje to Pristina takes around 2 hours, including the time it takes to get through passport control at the border. Buses from each city departs every hour, and one way ticket costs around 6 Euros.

The currency they use in Kosovo is Euro. So if you are not going for a day-trip and you’re leaving North Macedonia to Kosovo and not coming back, then I highly suggest that you change your remaining Macedonian Denar to Euros as most exchange centers in Kosovo doesn’t accept Macedonian Denar for some reasons. 

Have you been to Skopje? How was your experience? Share it with us through the comment section below.

New to the Blog? Click here to get to know me more. 

Top Things To Do In Budapest | Things to See | Best Eastern Europe City

Traveling can be tiring sometimes, especially when you need to endure long haul flights and long hour bus rides. Thank goodness with Europe, most countries are pretty much situated near each other, so you can pretty much visit several countries in a single trip. That’s what I did with my Eastern-Europe Itinerary, I visited Krakow in Poland, Budapest in Hungary, Vienna in Austria, Bratislava in Slovakia and Prague in the Czech Republic in a single trip.  But in this article, I will be discussing mainly about Budapest. 

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Budapest is the capital of Hungary, a country landlocked by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Austria to the northwest, Romania to the east, Serbia to the south, Croatia to the southwest, and Slovenia to the west. 

I arrived in Budapest from Krakow in Poland. It took roughly around seven hours to get here through bus. Quite long but it was all worth it when the site of Budapest has appeared from afar. And upon reaching the center, all I can say is that it’s one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe. 

Before, there were two cities in Budapest, mainly Buda and Pest, they are basically located on opposite sides of the Danube River. But then they decided to merge the two cities into one and then they decided to just join the name of the two cities together. Hence, it’s called Budapest. 

There are lots of things which Budapest is famous for, but often times, people come here to experience Budapest’s public Baths. They have what they called ‘SPArty’ here, which basically means ‘Party in a Spa’. So you can pretty much go to a rave party in a Spa in Budapest. Well, you know what they say, only in Budapest! 

Below are compilation of some of the best places which I visited when I was in Budapest. 

Top Things to Do and See In Budapest

Hungarian Parliament

The Hungarian Parliament is Budapest’s famous landmark. It is one of the most iconic structures in the city. The parliament is situated in Kossuth Square, in the Pest side of the city and on the banks of the Danube. Aside from being an icon, It is also one of the most picturesque landmarks in the city.

The view of the parliament from the other side of the Danube River is basically a view to die for, especially during sunset- it’s just freakin’ gorgeous, so if you’re in Budapest or if you’re planning to visit this beautiful city, make sure to include this in your to-do list. 

Margaret Island

Margaret Island is an island in the Danube River. It is a tranquil getaway within the city. Here you can see the ruins of a 13th-century Dominican convent, a musical fountain and a small zoo. Other attractions include jogging tracks, thermal spas and swimming pools. You can also experience a great view of the Hungarian Parliament from here. During the warm months, there are pop-up bars and restaurants, as well as live music to enjoy when visiting the island. Definitely one of the must-go places when in Budapest. 

Margaret Bridge

Margaret Bridge or Margit híd is a three-way bridge in Budapest, Hungary, connecting Buda and Pest across the Danube and linking Margaret Island to the banks. It is the second-northernmost and second-oldest public bridge in Budapest.  -reference: Wikipedia

Heroes Square

One of the major squares in Budapest, Hungary, noted for its iconic statue complex featuring the Seven chieftains of the Magyars and other important Hungarian national leaders, as well as the Memorial Stone of Heroes, often erroneously referred as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

-reference: Wikipedia

City Park

Budapest’s city park is located just after the Heroes Square. It is basically a place where everyone can find something to do. For me, I kinda enjoyed sitting on one of the benches here and just watch the duck swim on the pond.

Budapest Zoo

My favorite place in Budapest. The Budapest Zoo is the oldest zoo in Hungary and one of the oldest in the world. It has over  one-thousand animal species and is located within the city centre, which is unusual for a zoo. The zoo opened its doors on 9 August 1866.

Vaci Street

Often referred to as the tourist street. The Vaci Street is one of the most famous street in Budapest. It features a large number of restaurants and shops catering primarily to the tourist market. The best place to go when you plan to buy a few items for souvenirs. 

Liberty Bridge

In my opinion, I think this is Budapest’s most beautiful bridge. Come here during the night to see what I’m talking about. For photographers, make sure to bring your tripod with you-this is basically one of the best spots to do some long-exposure photography in the city. 

Have you been to Budapest? How was your experience?! Share it with us through the comment section below. 

New to the blog? Click here to know more about me. 😀

What’s Inside My Camera Bag | My Ultimate Travel-Photography Equipments

For the past days, ever since I posted my first post on this blog, I’ve been thinking of writing about the essentials I bring whenever I travel since a lot of people has been asking what camera body and lens I use- I’m not an influencer! There really are several people who have asked me this, lol. So here is what I came up with. But first, let me start with what camera bag I use.

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National Geographic Rucksack

I instantly fell in love with the design of this bag. It has a lot of compartments including a laptop compartment and several pockets which is ideal for photographers who has a lot of accessories. It’s comfortable and fashionable to carry around and It can accommodate one big DSLR Body with up to three standard-size lenses plus a 13-inch MacBook computer as well as one speed light together with other accessories. I have this bag for a year now, so far it’s still in-tack despite being used all the time and carrying almost 12 kilograms of weight each time. I can say that it will still last for the coming years. 

Click here for the latest price of the National Geographic Racksack

Camera Body Nikon D850

This is my main workhorse as of the moment and basically the best camera body I’ve ever used. Prior to this, I have been using a Nikon D610. The Nikon D610 is a great machine, its just that I needed to let it go since it’s so difficult to be bringing two full-frame camera bodies when traveling(just imagine the weight of the Nikon D850 and the Nikon D610 combined) and I don’t think I would ever need to use two camera bodies in my travels, only maybe when I have some gigs like an event or a wedding to avoid changing lenses all the time.

Click here for the latest price of the NIKON D850

Going back to the Nikon D850, I had this camera for almost a year now. So far I never had any complaints with it, basically living up to its name as the best DSLR camera in the market. If ever I would reach its shutter expectancy, I think I would still opt for the same model. 

Camera Lenses | Sigma 35 and 85 Art | Tamron 24-70 G2

Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art

Sharp, fast and just the perfect focal coverage. The Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM is a state of the art lens designed for full frame cameras but can also be used with APS-C sensors as well. It is also my very first ever full-frame lens. It accounts to most of the photos of my travels. Definitely one of my favorite lenses for Travel, portraiture, etc. 

Click here to check the current price of this lens.

Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art

As a portrait  and travel photographer, this lens is definitely one hell of a beast! Ultra-sharp, fast and beautifully designed. The Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art is an ideal lens for a variety of photographic subjects, particularly portrait photography, both in-studio and on-location. For me, I use it mostly outdoors and I’m always impress by the way it performs. The only issue I have is the weight of the lens, plus most of the time, it’s mounted on my Nikon D850 which is already a very heavy camera body.- So imagine my neck and my shoulders at the end of the day. Those are only minor issues, as long as I’m happy with the images I take with it, then I can endure the pain. haha

Click here for the latest price of the Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art Lens

Tamron 24-70 f2.8 G2

 I bought this lens to solve my problems of changing lenses all the time when I’m covering events. It looks amazing when it’s mounted on the Nikon D850. Performance wise, it doesn’t disappoint. It’s widest angle coverage is great for landscapes and interior photography. The highest zoom coverage can deliver sharply focused subjects with amazingly blurred background. Definitely a must-have lens for Travel and event Photographers.

Click here for the current price of the Tamron 24-70 f2.8 G2 Lens

See full technical specs here. 

Gopro Hero 5

I have this action camera for like almost three years now. I needed to have it since I have been traveling solo most of the time before, and you can conveniently take wide angle selfies with the Gopro attached to a GoPro stick. 

So far I’m not planning to upgrade it anytime soon, I’m still happy with the quality of the images it provides- not much of a difference from the latest model. 

Click here for the latest price of the Gopro Hero 5 Black

Tripod

Vanguard VEO 235AB Aluminum Travel Tripod 

Light, compact and heavy duty, basically one of the best tripods I ever owned. I always bring it when I travel as it is so portable and doesn’t add much weight on my luggage. It also comes with a very nice bag. A must for every travel photographer. 

Click here for the latest price of the Vanguard VEO 235 AB Aluminum Travel Tripod

Computer

Macbook Pro 13 2017 without touch-bar. 

I opt in with the 13-inch version since it’s more portable when traveling. I process pretty much all my images here through Lightroom and photoshop. I have this for almost two years now and I haven’t had any issues of it lagging, just overheating a bit- but that’s only when I run several application at once or deal with really high data media files, just like a normal computer which overheats when running multiple applications. I highly suggest that if you plan to buy an apple computer, better buy this than the latest Macbook Air. Though it has been released few years back, it still performs better than the new MacBook Air. 

Click here for the latest price of the MacBook Pro 2017 without touchbar

Accessories

128 GB SanDisk Extreme Memory Cards

I have three of these ultra-fast memory cards. It’s a necessity to have ultra-fast memory cards to keep up with  huge file sizes of DSLR images nowadays. As a photographer, we cannot let any delays to happen, especially when we are photographing crucial moments. 

4TB WD Passport Hardrives

I have two of these external hard-drives. I have been using them for almost a year now, and believe it or not, I think I will be needing another one soon. I love the portability 

Camera Flash V860II

An external flash like no other. Easy to carry along my travels. I use it most of the time when I’m covering events when the ambient light is not sufficient. I love its performance, I have been using it for a year now and no complaints so far. 

X1T TTL Wireless Flash Trigger

One of the most used accessories I have- I use this to trigger my flashgun wirelessly when I’m trying to be creative with the lighting. The same as my comment on the Godox Flashgun, It’s easy to bring when I’m traveling and I have been using it for like a year now and I have no complaints so far. 

So what are your travel essentials? Share it with us through the comment section below. 

New to this blog? Click here to get to know me.