Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Santorini Greece

The Greek islands always have a way to leave you breathless. Santorini, being one of the most famous islands, is truly magnificent. It's an island that attracts many tourists, but once you've been you truly understand why. 

The cheapest way there is usually from Athens. I paid 20€ round trip for my ticket on a low cost airline. However, depending on the season and when you buy your ticket, they are usually higher than this. Another option is to take a ferry from Athens or another island. 

Getting around is quite easy. For less than 2€ you can take the local bus to Fira or other cities around the island. Taxis are very expensive. Like many, I opted to rent a quad for the day. For 25€ including insurance I had my own wheels. Reasonable priced lodging is relatively easy to find and numerous depending on the season. The beginning of November was perfect for me because there were less tourists than at the peak of summer, the weather was still sunny and warm, along with lower prices. On a tight budget, Gyros for 2.50€ quickly become your favorite meal. 

Oia is the epic village that's best to be visited right before sunset and then find your perfect spot to enjoy the spectacular sunset show. Fira, Pyrgos, and Red Beach were my other favorites to check out, each with their own charm and not to be missed!

Monday, January 15, 2018


Bahrain is a small country comprised of 30 plus islands bordering Saudi Arabia. Our visa only cost about $13 at the airport. Flying into Bahrain you see beautiful turquoise waters that seem inviting. Yet upon arrival you learn that the hotels have created the nice beaches and you have to pay to go there... 

Airbnb was our best bet seeing that we couldn't find any hostels. Most all of the Airbnb locations were located in residence buildings that had access to a pool, gym, sauna etc. It gets very hot in Bahrain so being close to a pool is a necessity.

Bahrain is not really a cheap country but not super expensive, your average Western prices. The best way around is by taxi. They use the meter but be prepared to spend some money. Dinner in a restaurant can average anywhere between $10-$20. We went to the local grocery store and cooked in our apartment thus reducing how much money we spent. 

The main city of Manama doesn't have a ton of things to visit. Fortunately a local friend took us around to the ancient palace, the old city, and a drive out to the desert to see The Tree of Life. A car was definitely needed to go to the desert. There are numerous malls to go to, all with different special attractions. 

The Al Fateh Grand Mosque offers tours almost everyday. The largest in the country, this mosque is beautiful. The tour is Free and the tour guides are very informative and friendly.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Doha Qatar

I purposely planned an 8 hour layover in Doha so that I could go out and visit. This was my second time in Qatar. The visa is $28, however if you're flying with Qatar Airlines check to see what daily tours you can purchase from them to avoid buying a visa. Taxis are really the only way to get around the city. They use the meter and it's a fare price but obviously the price will be cheaper for you if you don't have to pay the tab alone. 

Our 8 hours were during the day on a Friday. In many Muslim countries, Friday is the holy day. A lot of stores were closed and don't open until late afternoon. Doha is more of a business town and, not including its many malls, doesn't really have much to visit. 

The downtown area looks really nice but it's mostly just tall office buildings and hotels. A walk along the Corniche is the best place to take pictures of the downtown area and the beautiful bay. The Islamic Cultural Center is free and gives a thorough history lesson of the Islamic faith. 

Souk Waqif is the local but also touristy area to go shopping. Many local crafts are available and some vendors are willing to barter. Fancy buying a falcon? The Falcon Souk is located close by and merits a visit. 

Like many big cities in the Middle East, Doha has many malls. It's a great place to go and cool off on hot days. You'll also find all of your favorite Western eateries. 

Monday, October 16, 2017


The country of Oman is my favorite underrated country! It's an region that not a lot of people think about visiting or even know about. When I told people I was going to Oman the response was usually, "Where's that? Oh you mean Amman Jordan? I've never heard of it!"  However, Oman is a huge melting pot of friendly people always willing to help, great food, reasonable prices and sunny weather. 
We took a bus from Dubai to Muscat, Oman. The bus was $15 and we left at 11pm arriving in Muscat around 5. You have to pay about $10 to leave the UAE and $50 for the Omani visa. 
Not finding any available hostels, Airbnb was the cheapest accommodations we found. Muscat doesn't have great public transportation and taxis get expensive real quick. Renting a car is the best and cheapest way to get around. However, be careful to check if you have restricted mileage. We thought we had unlimited mileage and ended up having to pay extra when returning the car. 
The Sultan Qaboos Mosque is spectacular. Allow yourself a good hour to visit it and the beautiful gardens. Be sure to dress appropriately or you might have to rent/buy something to cover yourself. Driving around the city you will see numerous picturesque mosques. 
Take a day trip out to visit Wadi Shab. This is a Must See while in Oman. From Muscat it's 1.5 - 2 hours. You'll pay less than $1 to cross the river by boat then you'll start hiking. You can hire a guide, but it's not really needed if you're up for an adventure. The hike can take a good hour or so, depending on your speed and how many pics you take. Bring WATER!! You eventually arrive at a body of water and will swim to the caves where you can cliff jump or just enjoy the scenery. 
The Wadi Dayqah Dam is very beautiful with its mountains and rugged terrain. Depending on the season they will open the dam and you can go swimming in the creeks at the bottom of the Dam. Not far away is the Bimmah Sinkhole. The water is a beautiful greenish blue and beckons to be photographed. Both of these attractions are FREE!!