Burning Man. Temporary city build in the desert, the cult, a week long experiment focused on people, interaction between them and expression by art.
My favorite description of Burning Man 2019: Perception shapes reality.
Andilana is located on the north-west coast of Nosy Be and it is definitely its most beautiful beach, easy accessible by scooter or tuk-tuk. There is one big bar&restaurant just at the entrance and you can find another small place to eat between souvenir shops. Sunday is a popular day for local picnics so you can also find some food stalls. Don’t be fooled by the guy sitting right next to the parking — trying to charge you for the entrance to the beach – just tell him you are going to the restaurant. And just to let you know – Andilana beach is still nothing to compare to the beaches on the islands surrounding Nosy Be so your next ‘must do’ is to…
The best advantage of Nosy Be is the fact that it’s a perfect base to see paradise neighbouring islands. You can do it as a daily excursion or stay overnight in some of them.
Nosy Iranja – the most beautiful and idyllic beach close to Nosy Be. There are actually two islands connected together during the day with the sand strip (due to the tides it disappears at night). It’s really a ‘must see’ while you are in Nosy Be. You can go there as a daily excursion from Nosy Be (1.5 hour by boat) but I highly recommend staying there for one night. The island becomes so peaceful and quiet after 3 pm, when daily trip boats leave with most of the tourists. You can use this time to visit nearby village, discover the view point or enjoy the night on the beach.
There are two hotels in Nosy Iranja. One is called Le Zahir de L’ile and is located right on the main beach. The night there cost 240 Euro and includes 3 meals per day. More adventurous and budget friendly is the hotel located on another beach, behind the football field. There are very simple and tiny huts just in front of the sea and the cost is around 20 Euro per night.
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Nosy Sakatia – if you want to swim with the turtles or stay in a quiet resort on beautiful remote island, that’s the perfect spot.
Nosy Tanikely – a very small island, popular place for snorkeling. There are no hotels and restaurants there, but you can go to the top of the lighthouse and check stunning view. Don’t forget to look around on the way there, I noticed few creatures including a lemur family.
Nosy Komba – a good place to see friendly lemurs, there are a few accommodation options there. The island does not have electricity, so eco friendly hotels run on solar power.
If you want to see the lemur in its natural environment, Lokobe is a perfect place to spot them. The natural reserve is a home for black lemur and few other species. There are also tiny chameleons (the smallest in the world – around 1 cm big), owls, boa constrictors, many birds and plants such as ylang-ylang or vanilla. You have to have a guide to visit reserve – you can find them at the entrance or buy a package tour (around 90 000 Ar per person).
Madagascar is a paradise for snorkeling and diving. There are many schools around – we tried Oceans Dream in Ambatoloaka. The best spots are around Nosi Tanikely, Iranja and Sakatia.
Skipped by many guides, deserve your attention if you are in Nosy Be for a few days. Beautiful place, away from crowds. To get there turn right around halfway between Helle Ville and Ambatoloaka. Ask locals about “La Cascade” and follow the signs. If you are lucky local kids will do the show for you and jump to the water. The mosquito repellent is a must.
Dojazd: skręć w małą drogę po prawej stronie, mniej więcej w połowie pomiędzy Helle Ville i Ambatoloaka. Spytaj lokalesów o “La Cascade” i podążaj za znakami na niewielkiej polnej drodze.
The highest point of Nosy Be, great for sunset or admiring the view and crater lakes on the way there. Google maps show you two ways to get there. Don’t go thorough Dzamandzar as the road is almost impossible to pass, even by 4x4. Take the one going from Helle Ville.
Helle Ville is such a busy and vibrant city – mix of travellers, locals or foreigners who decided to stay in Madagascar. And all of this closed in bursting every day life, mainly centred around the port and main streets close to the market. This capitol of Nosy Be has little colonial charm which reminds me a bit of Stone Town in Zanzibar.
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Dzamandzar is a small village on the west coast, half way to the north of the island (on the way to Andilana beach). It’s known for Malagasy boxing competition called Moaringy which is an amazing experience to see if you are around. Just ask the locals about it and for less than 1$ for entrance you will enjoy your afternoon in Malagasi way.
Not very far from Helle Ville, behind the small village called Mahatsinjo there is a huge and stunning Sacred Banyan Tree. It was planted by the Queen of one of the tribes in 1836 and has grown its roots to the size of 5000 sqm. As it’s a place of ancestors and nature worship, you have to remove your shoes and cover your legs with sarong provided by the guide. And if you need a quiet and magical spot for meditation this is the place to be.
Nosy Be is a perfect island to discover on a quad or a scooter. It’s not very big so you can do the tour around the island within one day. The roads are slightly better than The Big Land and it’s easy to find rental places. Prices depend on the rental period and your bargaining skills (scooter around 10 Euro per day, 4x4 around 40 Euro).
It`s very difficult to present the beauty and the atmosphere of Burning Man away from its natural place. Though it`s not only art but also nature, the people, and relations between them. Combining all of them makes this incredible experience very hard to reconstruct. All 5 senses are moved at the same time.
I was very curious how is it going to look like when the tiny piece of Burning Man will be transferred to a closed building, right in the middle of the city. Surprisingly, it kept the spirit of it and became little representation of the big miracle which happens every year in the Black Rock desert.
No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man Exibition
March 30, 2018 – January 21, 2019
Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW)
Open Daily 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Shortly after leaving the airport we can notice the Middle Eastern ambience of the capital of Jordan. However, this is a different atmosphere than in Dubai or Muscat. The real one, unpolluted by too many tourists. There is a mix of new and old Jordan, as Amman was inhabited by not only Arabs, but also Romans, Turks and a few other warrior tribes.
The highest hill of Amman was inhabited already in ancient times, which you can see with your own eyes visiting a cave and an archaeological museum located in the same place. Next to them are the ruins of the Temple of Hercules and the Umayyad Palace. However, the biggest advantage of this place, is the amazing panorama with a 360 ° view of the entire city.
Admission: 3JD. The opening hours depend on the season. However, it is closed quite early (in summer it’s open to 6.30 p.m).
It was built in the second century, hewn in the hillside and restored in 1957. It is still used by the city as a place of events, accommodating up to 6,000 spectators. The square in front of the amphitheater (New Hashemite Square) is also a popular meeting place for Jordanians, so it is worth stopping for a moment and observing everyday local life. You can go to the amphitheater right after the citadel – it’s only a 15 min walk down the hill.
The cuisine of the Middle East, especially Jordan and Lebanon is a very healthy cuisine, rich in fresh vegetables. Meze is the equivalent of Spanish tapas, or small snacks. The most popular are hummus, falafel (chickpea chops), kebbeh (meat and bulgur groats), tabbouleh and fattoush salad and muttabal (mixed eggplant with spices). One of my favourite dishes in the Middle Eastern cuisine is fatteh, i.e. baked pieces of lamb or other meat and aubergine, poured with thick yogurt served with pine nuts and baked, crunchy bread pita on the top. The traditional alcohol in the Levant countries is arak.
Being in the city centre, it is worth visiting the local well-known restaurant Hashem Falafel to try the local cuisine. This very modest place, which was founded in 1952, hosted members of the royal family and diplomats. You usually have to wait a moment for a table.
The center of Amman is full of vibrant shops with perfumes, spices, antiques and souvenirs. Turning into one of the side streets you will find traditional bazaars. It is worth looking even only for the atmosphere, especially after dark. The oldest of them is the souk Al-Bukharieh, where you can feel the real Arabian ambience of this place. In the very center there is also one of the most-known mosques – Al-Husseini (admission only for Muslims).
I have already written about Arabic cuisine, however desserts should have their own separate position. Although they have nothing to do with diet, because they they are soaked in sugar (literally!), they deserve at least one cheat day. The most famous of them – knafeh, made of cheese (ricotta, yellow or goat), covered with pastry, pistachios and poured with rose syrup – served hot. There is a large choice of other Arab sweets, called baklava.
It is said that you cannot visit Amman without visiting the most famous pastry restaurant in the city – Habibah Sweets. And all this for about $ 2 for dessert.
It’s the most famous street for both – residents and tourists, with popular and vibrant pubs and cafes. There are also some worth visiting shops. When searching for a place for a drink, it is worth turning into side streets as well. We found Books @ Cafe – a pub and restaurant with a view of the city skyline and a bookstore in one.
Although Jordan is not that strict and conservative country as Saudi Arabia, during ramadan you may encounter some difficulties. Restaurants usually open after sunset, most of them do not serve alcohol at this time (does not apply to restaurants in the hotels). Some hotels use Ramadan time to carry out renovations, so it may turn out that the swimming pool is closed at this time.
When it comes to the sushi and Asian cuisine, the answer for me is always simple: I can eat it every day. I’m not joking. That`s why I considered the time I have spent in Malaysia as my food paradise – the hotel served dim sum and sushi for breakfast, so I literally have been eating it twice a day. I can call myself a connoisseur of sushi without doubt. Fortunately, plenty of sushi places appeared during my 4 years in Riyadh. I’m happy for the increased sushi-oriented awareness!!!
Considering prices and the quality, Kampai is absolutely my best option. I always tell myself that this time will be different and I won’t order crab salad but somehow this dish always lands on my table. That`s my fixed menu option, as well as rock shrimps. The food is always fresh and tasty.
Yes, Nozomi is expensive. But yes, it`s totally worth it. It`s still for me the best Japanese restaurant in Riyadh. Nice ambience and atmosphere – they play cool, pretty loud music, which is not regular thing in Saudi. It also offers professional service on the highest level. I definitely recommend for special occasion. Not only Japanese cuisine – try delicious, truffle infused mini burgers. I don’t like desserts, but I never went out from Nozomi without trying something sweet. Dress code applies.
It’s considered also as one of the best places to eat Japanese food in Riyadh. Live cooking, good option not only for sushi, but there is also a place, where you can eat tasty steaks. They don`t accept booking in advance, so make sure you are prepared to stand in the queue during weekends and holidays.
I called by this place during shopping. Without any expectations, as it`s just a restaurant in the mall. Surprisingly – the food was very tasty. Big portions and affordable prices. Maybe not the best place for a date (Oops! We are in Riyadh!), but it’s good enough to eat something while shopping or to take it home. I will come back for sure.
It’s quite new place in Riyadh, pretty known franchise restaurant all over Europe and United Arab Emirates. Nice, modern decor and good choice for food. It's OK, but for the same price I would go to Kampai. Unless you need a change.
One of the most famous and inexpensive sushi restaurants in Riyadh. Good choice for delivery and large selection of food. It’s worth checking for budget-friendly sushi dinner.
Delivery: yes. 4 branches around Riyadh.
We went there on the weekend and the restaurant was totally empty, which is definitely not the best sign. It`s one of the oldest sushi places in town, apparently its best times are over. However, the service was very friendly and there are the tables for live cooking. Good choice if you need a private and quiet atmosphere. For me it’s a bit too expensive for the quality and amount of food and to compare to competition.
Delivery: no. Restaurant inside of Radisson Blu hotel.
Thailand is a very diverse country. And quite touristic. Although you can still find some uninhabited paradise islands, the first thing that comes to my mind is the pilgrimage of tourists and the Hangover movie. You can not complain about the lack of nightlife in the most touristic places. I would even risk saying that Thailand is mainly divided into “a bit of” partying and “a bit of more”. If you are a supporter of Option No. 2, I recommend taking a look at the following locations.
Usually it`s the first place to reach in Thailand. The main bar attraction: Khao San Road. Mecca of backpackers, but not only. The best choice when it comes to low-budget partying. You can simply buy a bucket with a cocktail and sit on the street. Another place, Sukhumvit Road is the loudest and colorful street in Bangkok. Filled with clubs, cocktail bars and famous go-go clubs. And now the option for a bit more picky – sky bars, with a fantastic city view. You need to search them a bit, because they are scattered all over Bangkok. The best known ones are Sky Bar, Sky Train Jazz Club and Moon Bar.
And if you want to feel like in a movie, I recommend the Hangover Tour. You will visit bars mentioned in a show and some other popular clubs. I wonder if someone once finished it sober 😊
Known from the series of the most recognizable events in Thailand, Full Moon Parties, held on the beaches of the local town – Hat Rin. For a week, this small island is flooded with thirty thousand people from all over the world. However, if you could not make it at Full Moon Party, nothing is lost. Twice a month there are also organized Half Moon Parties taking place in the middle of the island, in the jungle. In addition, the island is full of cosy bars. If you like reggae and plan to stay in the north, I recommend Rasta Baby.
Homeland of whiskey and other cocktails sold in buckets. Open 24 hours a day, because there is always a hotel or a bar organizing the pool party. Clubs by the beach, clubs in the town, bars of all kinds. Due to the amazing scenery, it is the perfect place for an organized boat party. They take partygoers to the most beautiful places around the island, with the possibility of snorkeling or jumping from the rocks. Do not worry, with the life jacket, so you can only fall asleep in the water and forget that you hold a drink in your hand.
Next capital of go-go clubs and ping pong shows. A small Bangkok. There is always something going on in every part of the island, but the biggest party people should visit Bangla Road in Phuket Town. The place welcome you with loud music, neon lights, pubs, go-go bars, and beaters inviting you to ping-pong and lady boy shows.
P.S. If you have reached the end of this text and still have not found the answer – about magic mushroom shake ask in Koh Lanta or Koh Phi Phi.