Hello Interliners! Glovis here, checking in from Kyoto, Japan. That’s right! We’ve jumped through a few countries since we spoke with y’all last (Israel, South Africa, India, and Thailand to name a few). We’ve been learning a lot while traveling, and have been taking some pretty serious adventure notes that we can’t wait to share!
Everyone knows that any old Joe can pull up a travelers guide and learn about the must-see monuments at their travel destination. So our goal was to take notes on little known, hidden gems in these countries. These little nook-n-cranny spots, tours, tricks are what really made our trip, so we can’t wait to share them with you. Hopefully they’ll make yours!
Israel is absolutely stunning. Its got such a rich culture and history that you’ll want to make sure not to miss a thing! Hence, tours are the way to go here. We went on the StreetWise Hebrew tour with Guy Sharret and highly recommend it. This unique street art, graffiti, and culture tour in Tel-Aviv is very cool. Your guide will lead you through the city’s streets discussing different graffiti, art, and the history of Israel, while also teaching you Hebrew! Guy was very friendly and knowledgeable (I mean, the man spoke 7 languages!). He did an awesome job of making sure everyone in the group felt comfortable, and was excellent at pushing us to get to know one another.
When it comes to Jerusalem make sure you go on one of the many free tours. Otherwise it’s hard to know what exactly you’re looking at, and you’ll miss some of the most important sights! There’s not one in particular that we would recommend, so just do your research. There’s plenty of options from free self-guided walking tours, to old city audio tours, to tours of the biblical side of the city.
Cape Town is such an eclectic experience; there’s so much going on in that city! We made sure to go to the Old Biscuit Mill Neighbourgoods Market on a Saturday morning in the Woodstock area, and you should too. It is the most amazing farmers market we have ever been to because they have food stands and dishes from all over the world. The market is perfectly designed, and everything you come past smells and looks delicious, and they also sell clothing and other goods that are all handcrafted in South Africa.
Next, make a trip up Table Mountain – it’s one of the Seven Wonders of Nature. It’s a 2-hour climb, but totally worth it (plus it’s a cheap workout to help you burn off all those calories from the market). It’s pretty cold at the top so make sure to bring a jacket. Once you’re up there (after a hike that’ll perfectly tone your bum) you’ll get an awe-inspiring view of the entirety of Cape Town.
After you come back down the mountain head on over to M’Zolis Place Braai (BBQ) Party, it’s one kick-ass party on a Sunday afternoon in the local township! Pick your meat and they’ll barbecue it right up for you, comparable to tailgating on the weekend in the states. They’ll have an amazing DJ and even a VIP area, so it’s definitely a cultural must-do.
While in India we visited Mumbai, Bangalore, and Madanapalle, and everywhere we went people stared. So I (Gloria) would recommend shopping at FabIndia! It’s the best place to go buy an outfit that is the perfect mix of western and Indian clothing if you’re new to the country. It helps you blend into the crowds, and (just like magic!) people begin to see you as an initiated visitor versus a tourist.
The next experience we would recommend in India is riding a train. Sounds silly we know, but India has one of the most expansive train systems in the world, and in many Indian cities is the number one means of transportation. It’s quite thrilling to ride a few stops on the train during rush hour, segregated into male and female cars going 60 miles an hour without doors! But if that’s too much for you, you can always enjoy a cross country train ride from one city to the next in one of their 6+ classes. Make sure you book an A/C car as early as possible, as most trains sell out quickly.
Finally, if you decide to visit Mumbai, make sure you visit Mahesh Lunch Home for their amazing Bombay Duck. We know, you’re confused. Bombay Duck isn’t actually duck at all, it’s a really delicious fish that’s unique to the region. So don’t be afraid and dig right in!
Thailand is so beautiful, and there is so much more to do than just sit on the beach! Thai people are some of the greatest hosts on this planet and they will easily make you feel right at home. Unfortunately, travelers from around the world have taken notice of this hospitality so expect to be surrounded by Westerners in the most popular locations. One of the secrets to getting to know some authentic Thai people is by spending time in Bangkok.
Bangkok is a very modern city but it also has strong roots in the royal and religious Thai culture. Some of the locals’ favorite sites that we would also recommend checking out are the JJ market, lunch in the Arie area, and grabbing some late night Roti (the Thai version of a sweet and savory crepe). You could easily entertain yourself for days in Bangkok with Temple tours, shopping, and visiting the Grand Palace.
However, there’s nothing quite so relaxing as enjoying island life. Unlike many visitors, we found ourselves enjoying the same island for 12 consecutive days (seriously people, stop island hopping and find one island to enjoy – you can thank us later). If you take time to get to know your island, the connections you make, the beaches you find, the food you eat will be that much better. Who knows, you might stay at the resort long enough that the owner will invite you to his eight-year-olds birthday party (ours did)!
The last thing we would highly recommend is getting a Thai massage, and not just one but as many as you can while you are in the country. The secret is making sure you find a good Thai massage. In order to do so, we recommend reading the reviews on Trip Advisor or going by a local’s recommendation. Don’t be fooled, a high price does not equal a good massage. In our case, the best massage we received was also the cheapest one (300 Baht or $8.50 for two hours). Just beware, traditional Thai massages are all about pressure. So if it’s too much make sure you speak up right away or you might be paying for it later. However, if successful, you will feel like a new person when it’s complete!
That’s all we have for now interliners! We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to hear about our experiences as much as we’ve enjoyed sharing them. We can’t wait to tell you more about what we learn on the next leg of our international adventure. So stay tuned! See you soon. Safe travels and keep your eyes on the skies.