MY TOP 5
I've been lucky to have traveled and lived around the world. These are my top 5 for each location. Enjoy!
1. Boracay Island
Boracay Island is the most fun and exciting island I've ever traveled to. It didn't hurt that the two times I went also fell on my birthday month, but it is absolutely a must see. I love a warm beach and the clear blue water feels like a bath. There are tons of little shops and restaurants along the strip, but it's equally known for it's nightlife. Clubs and lounges line the beach for what feels like miles. One of my favorite memories was jumping in the water with a group of friends after a night of dancing. I would definitely go back for a 3rd, 4th, and 5th time if I could.
2. Mount Luho, Boracay
This is the view from the top of Mount Luho. Boracay is already so beautiful, getting to see it from the highest point was just breathtaking! The overlook was amazing, but I also loved the horseback riding trail there and back. The ride was about 45 mins each way I believe, but it's hard to keep track of time when you are exploring and riding through paradise!
3. Loboc River
On my second trip to the Philippines I also went to Bohol. After a flight, a boat ride, a Jeepney ride, and a long scenic walk to Nuts Huts, where we stayed, we were just steps away from the Loboc River. It was quiet and serene. We had a private canoe ride and also got to walk along this handmade bamboo bridge seeing nature at its finest. During our ride it started to rain and we were able to find shelter with some local musicians. You can't make this stuff up!
4. Chocolate Hills
The Chocolate Hills are such a sight to see. There are over 1200 hills that are covered in grass and turn "chocolate" during the dry season and span over 20 miles! We took motorbikes to the main lookout point and were simply amazed!
5. Butterfly Conservation
There are several conservations in Bohol. We went to see the butterflies and the tarsiers. Both were amazing, but the butterfly conservation was my favorite. They had all kinds of insects, caterpillars, and butterflies. The guides were so nice, and the butterflies were beautiful and so well taken care of!
1. Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountain
If you come to Dubai, you can't miss the Burj Khalifa. It's the tallest building in the world. It seems unreal even in person. Never ending. There are 57 elevators and 8 escalators with tours that run to the top deck observatory. It was my first memory flying in and last memory flying out. No matter where you are in the city, you can see it. There is nothing like it. The Dubai Fountain is directly in front of the Burj Khalifa and combines music and lighting to make it the largest choreographed fountain show. Together they really make downtown Dubai. I was in Dubai for 5 weeks and we were able to perform and shoot a dance film in front of many of the landmarks. It was a dream!
2. Dubai Gold Souk
This is one of the few times I was strictly window shopping. Haha! It was such a sight to see. Gold after gold after gold. One cool thing we learned is that all the pieces are closely monitored by the government and everything is authentic. There were also diamonds, pearls, and some more affordable shops that sold clothes and accessories. I got a pair of local shoes and some spices. High or low prices everything is up for bargain, and it's really a sight to see.
3. Dubai Mall
When most people think of Dubai, they picture wealth and of course shopping. Dubai Mall is the second largest mall in the world. Aside from the multiple levels and 1,200 stores, there is also a built in aquarium and underground zoo, ice skating rink, luxury hotel, and some amazing restaurants. I had the opportunity to perform multiple times a day during Dubai Shopping festival, a month long festival held yearly bringing tourism, offering retail sales, car raffle giveaways, amazing performances, and nightly carnivals and firework displays.
4. The Water Front
Jumeirah Beach Park
Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
This was the most surprising part of the whole trip...who knew there were all these beautiful beaches?! Jumeirah Beach Park was my favorite. It is picturesque and offers the beach, swimming pools, volleyball nets, and picnic areas. I loved how clean it was, bathrooms and all. Fun fact: mondays are designated for women and children. The Burj Al Arab Jumeirah is a luxury hotel right on the beach with amazing views. The architecture is so unique and stands out for miles around. Dubai Creek is also such a staple and so fun. We went on multiple boat rides and even did a dinner cruise. It divides the city in half and the views are spectacular!
5. Desert Safari
One of my favorite experiences had to be the desert safari. It started with dune bashing, something I had never heard of prior to my trip. It's exactly what it sounds like: bashing dunes while driving a 4x4 Land Cruiser. I remember our driver was playing "I'm a barbie girl" and it was so wild, bumpy, and one of the craziest things I had ever experienced. We made it out alive. Haha! We met camels, had an amazing bbq dinner, henna painting, and we danced the night away after a belly dancing show. It was a night to remember.
1. Taj Mahal
You can't go to India without seeing the Taj Mahal. It lives up to all the hype and is so stunning! I got to go with one of my closest friends and this wonder absolutely made our trip. We were given the royal treatment arriving in a horse drawn carriage. I loved walking through the gardens and seeing the white marble and stones up close. It was a magical once in a lifetime experience.
2. Hawa Mahal
This remarkable site is also known as "The Palace of Winds." There are 365 rooms each filled with windows that allow a breeze to come through. It sits in the Pink City of Jaipur and fits right in being made of pink and red sandstone. The inside was amazing to see but the real show is definitely the outside. I have never seen any architecture like it!
Shopping in India is like nothing else. As you travel through the markets there are carriages, cars, camels, goats, men with cobras, and the most people I have ever seen! It was exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Once arriving in the stores it was breathtaking: handmade rugs that filled rooms, fabrics, and materials lining the walls. I had a shawl made into a shirt on the spot! It was amazing!
4. Fatehpur Sikri
This was the first time I have ever seen ruins. The entire town was abandoned in 1610. The city is mostly made of red sandstone. There is so much to see and explore: monuments, chambers, halls, a mosque, tomb, ornamented pillars, pavillions, courtyards, and more. Such a cool experience!
5. The Jaipur Observatory
This is one of the astronomical observatories from Jai Singh, whom Jaipur is named after. There are five in India and each has instruments for astronomical measurement. The projects are really interesting and have somehow stayed under the radar. I loved learning about this history and seeing all the different structures. This project is a hidden gem!
1. Phra Nang Beach
We stayed in Krabi, a beautiful town on the southern coast of Thailand. Krabi is known to have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. A lot of the the beaches are only accessible by boat. We took a boat tour and my absolute fav was Phra Nang Beach. Simply breathtaking.
2. Krabi Cookery School
Miss Ya's Thai Cooking Class was so much fun! Miss Ya is so warm, funny, and she is an amazing teacher. We learned about spices, ingredients, and how to make so many original Thai dishes. My favorite thing was making the curries from scratch. They tasted and smelled amazing. We even got a recipe book to bring home that doubled as a diploma! "bang! bang! chop! chop!"
3. Thai Massage
Thai massage has always been my go to, especially as a dancer. The massage really goes through all the aches and soreness while stretching you out. Thailand of course didn't disappoint! Thai massages were offered everywhere! I got a massage at the market, at my hotel, and even while laying on the beach. It was a dream come true!
White Water Rafting and ATVs through the rainforest
We did so many exciting tours, but these were def the highlights! I had never been rafting and the Phang-Nga Rafting Camp was a crash course! We were working as a team and the waves were massive. It was a wild adventure but such a fun ride! I must say the ATVs through the rainforest was the coolest activity I've ever done! 2 hours of excitement, beauty, and a super challenging course through mud, around cliffs, and some of the most beautiful scenery.
5. The Floating Market
The second half of my trip we stayed in Bangkok. The Damneon Saduak Floating Market is a little over an hour out of town. Once there you are riding in a boat down the canal and all the shops are literally floating around you. One of the most unique experiences I have ever had! My favorite moment was ordering pancakes that were freshly made and sent to my boat via a long stick. You can buy food, clothes, souvenirs, and most things found at the local markets. Unreal!