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Something for Everyone in Beautiful Bali

Even before it was made famous by Elizabeth Gilbert in her book, Eat, Pray, Love, beautiful Bali had always held a special allure to travelers. This tiny island in Indonesia is full of natural beauty and welcoming charm. Known as the island of the gods, Bali is a popular spot for surfers chasing after the perfect wave, luxury travelers looking for the perfect beach resort, and even artists seeking out the perfect creative retreat. No matter what type of traveler you are, there is something for everyone in beautiful Bali.

Beautiful Bali

LeafCanoer, ladyd, recently shared her tips on Bali in her leaf, “Bali Miracles.” Highlights of her leaf include exploring rice paddies in Ubud, visiting the island’s many temples, and sampling the local seafood in Jimbaran. Bali is a great choice for any type of traveler.

The Luxury Traveler
Luxurious beach resorts line the coasts of Bali, where white sands are as common as the motorcycles that zoom along the roads or the Bintang beers that are served at the restaurants. In Bali, luxury travelers can have their pick of resorts, including brand names like Four Seasons, Marriot, Westin, and Sheraton. In addition to the abundance of resorts, there is also an abundance of shopping opportunities in Bali, from the brand name stores around Kuta Square, to the famous goldsmiths and silversmiths in Celuk Village.

Beautiful Bali

The Budget Traveler
On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re the type of traveler who wants to minimize spending, there are plenty of cheap lodging and eating options for you. Indonesia’s currency, the rupiah, is relatively weak compared to the dollar, which makes the cost of living in the country quite inexpensive. Guest houses are a popular accommodation option for budget travelers, but there are also cheap hotels and hostels that you can choose from. As for food, you’ll find that places that serve local cuisine will be much cheaper than those that serve Western style food.

Beautiful Bali

The Adventure Traveler
The island of Bali is full of natural wonders, and as such, there is a plethora of outdoor activities available for the adventurous traveler. Since the 70’s, Bali has been known as one of the surfing capitals of the world. Besides surfing, there are plenty of other water activities to choose from, including snorkeling and scuba diving. On land, adventure travelers can take their pick from hiking, biking, and exploring the island’s many volcanoes and caves. After a long day of adventuring, you can also take some time to unwind at any of the yoga retreats that can be found throughout the island.

Beautiful Bali

The Cultural Traveler
Bali is a unique oasis of Hinduism in a country that is predominantly Muslim. Balinese culture centers around music, dance, and temple worship. Travelers who love learning about local culture will enjoy visiting the many temples that dot the island and are used on a daily basis by the Balinese. There are also plenty of opportunities to catch a dance performance or a shadow puppet show. These shows are often accompanied by a percussion ensemble known as a gamelan. The city of Ubud is known as the cultural center of Bali, and is a must-see for anyone who really wants to get to know the culture of Bali.

Beautiful Bali

The Family Traveler
Bali is not just a place for adults. There are plenty of activities geared towards kids throughout the island. In the Kuta area, the new water park, Waterbom, is a popular place for families who come to visit Bali. Many of the tourist activities in Bali are kid-friendly, and the hotels on the island are actually quite accommodating to traveling families. Kids especially love visiting the Monkey Forest in Ubud. There is also the Bali Safari and Marine Park, that includes both a safari and an aquarium, and the Bali Tree Top, which features zip line circuits for all ages.

Beautiful Bali

No matter what your travel style is, Bali is the ideal place to spend your next island vacation. There is truly something for everyone in Bali.

To see more of ladyd’s leaf about beautiful Bali, or to read up on other tropical destinations, download the LeafCanoe app.

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Five Beautiful Reasons to Visit Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is a land of enchantment. The name alone conjures up images of fancy resorts, stunning desert landscapes, and mythical stories. The capital and second most populous city of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi sits along the coast of UAE, with several of its islands jutting out into the Persian Gulf.

With a population of over 1.5 million people, and a cultural center that’s teeming with activities and attractions, Abu Dhabi is a growing and expanding metropolis. It is a popular tourist destination as well, with upwards of 3.5 million tourists visiting its shores each year. People who come to visit Abu Dhabi come for the glamour, the culture, and the scenery of the city.

visit Abu Dhabi

But travel to Abu Dhabi need not be restricted to the high end variety. There are plenty of things to do in the city that doesn’t require a lot of money. In the leaf titled, “Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque,” LeafCanoer, nitabulati, shared one of their favorite places to visit in Abu Dhabi.  In addition to the mosque, there are dozens of other affordable attractions for travelers to see as well.

Whether you are a budget traveler or a luxury traveler, here are five beautiful reasons to visit Abu Dhabi.

visit Abu Dhabi

The sunsets
The desert sun burns hot during the day. But as evening falls, the night time coolness brings a welcome respite to the desert heat. Since the city of Abu Dhabi faces west into the Persian Gulf, sunsets in the city are a spectacular sight. There are several companies that offer sunset cruises, but if you are not interested in spending money, you can simply walk along the Corniche, a long coastal road in Abu Dhabi, to observe the beautiful sunsets.

visit Abu Dhabi

The water
A perk of Abu Dhabi being a coastal town is its close proximity to water and beaches. Some of the best beaches in Abu Dhabi include Yas Beach, the beach at the Ritz-Carlton, and Saadiyat Public Beach. In terms of water sports, travelers to Abu Dhabi can enjoy jet-skiing, kayaking, fishing, kite surfing, and paddle boarding, and essentially every kind of water sport imaginable.

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The architecture
Abu Dhabi’s splendid architecture ranges from traditionally inspired designs to more modern and avant-garde concepts. Traditional architecture in Abu Dhabi was heavily influenced by the tribal groups that originally inhabited the land. These structures were simple in design and material, but were greatly suited for the hot and arid climate. As the country experienced a boom in its economy due to oil, traditional architecture soon was replaced by sleek sky scrapers and buildings with more modern designs. These days, some of the most popular buildings to admire are the Sun and Sky Towers on Reem Island and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Building.

visit Abu Dhabi

Etihad Towers
Another example of Abu Dhabi’s more modern architecture are the Etihad Towers. Consisting of five uniquely designed buildings of varying heights, the Etihad Towers are a collection of office spaces, apartments, and a hotel. One of the buildings, Tower 2, is the second tallest building in Abu Dhabi, and features an observation deck that lets visitors see stunning views of the city and water.

visit Abu Dhabi

Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque
The Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque is a popular place to visit among travelers, and is also a great example of Abu Dhabi’s beautiful architecture. Completed in 2007, the mosque is the largest in Abu Dhabi and features more than 1,000 columns, 82 domes, and chandeliers gilded with 24 karat gold. With its grand architectural design, it is a place that is both spiritual and opulent. Yet, thousands of worshipers come to the mosque every day, and the mosque is a space of spiritual importance to the people of Abu Dhabi.

There are a number of reasons to visit Abu Dhabi. The above listed are just a few. For more information on Abu Dhabi, or to get inspiration for other places to travel, download the LeafCanoe app.

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Eight Reasons to Road Trip Through Oman

Few countries can spark the imagination much like Oman. Located on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman is a land of vast deserts and beautiful beaches. It’s also full of friendly towns and lush oases. Leafcanoer, blogfromtheblue, recently posted about their travels to Oman in the leaf, “A scenic drive along the coastal road from Muscat to Sur.” As any visitor to Oman can attest, one of the best ways to see the country is by car. Here are eight reasons why you should road trip through Oman.

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The coastal scenery
Oman’s coastline stretches across over three thousand kilometers of beaches and rocky shores. There are a handful of beaches to visit and take in the scenery. Al Bustan Beach, located in Muscat, overlooks the mountains, while Dhofar beach has a number of lagoons filled with flamingos.

Al Mazara

The surreal landscape
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Oman is also home to the largest expanse of desert in the Arabian Peninsula. This desert is known as “The Empty Quarter,” and stretches out over more than 400,000 kilometers of land. Other notable areas of desert include A’Sharqiyah Sands, as well as Ramlat Tawq, an area filled with beautiful sand dunes.

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The wadis
Scattered throughout Oman are small oases, known as wadi in Arabic. These areas consist of small patches of greenery surrounding fresh water. Driving through Oman, you are sure to come across a wadi during your travels. Wadis worth visiting are Wadi Shab and Wadi Tiwi, located near Muscat. Another wadi to visit is Bimmah Sinkhole, which is connected to the sea through an underground tunnel.

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The towns
From the capital of Muscat, to the southern city of Salalah, taking a road trip through Oman lets you explore the vast diversity of towns throughout the country. The bustling city of Muscat is filled with white buildings, palm trees, and well-tended gardens. The coastal town of Sur, on the otherhand, has a more laid back beach town vibe.

Sur

The camping
One thing to keep in mind when embarking on a road trip through Oman is having a place to rest your head for the night. Aside from nature reserves, private establishments, and military bases, it’s easy to camp anywhere along the road. If you are interested in more specific camping areas, one such place is the A’Sharqiyah Sands, which stretches out over tenthousand kilometers, and is known to be one of the most beautiful camping areas in Oman.

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The people
Unlike traveling through a country by plane, taking a road trip through a country really gives you a closer glimpse of the people of that country. The majority of Omanis are of Arab descent, but there is also a large South Asian as well as African population within Oman.

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The pace of travel
Traveling across a country by car forces you to slow down the pace. Rather than jetting from one city to another, you can take your time and enjoy the places that you come across on your travels. This gives you a chance to get to know the tribal culture of Oman, as well as its rich maritime history.

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The lure of the open road
Oman’s roads have gone through a number of renovations the past few years. Many of the country’s roads are paved, which makes it easier for cars to traverse through the area and explore. Many travelers to Oman opt to road trip through the country, so you will undoubtedly be in good company.

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Whether you are taking a short jaunt from Muscat to Sur, or traversing through the whole coast of Oman, there are plenty of reasons to take a road trip through Oman. To get you started on your own road trip, download the LeafCanoe app and check out blogfromtheblue’s leaf.

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Seven Ways to Spend an English Holiday in St. Ives

The summer months may be long gone here in the Northern Hemisphere, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t still dream of warm sand and sparkling beaches. We often associate beaches with tropical destinations like Southeast Asia or Central America, but England actually has its fair share of excellent beaches. One of the best beaches in England can be found in St. Ives Bay in the county of Cornwall, England.

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Leafcanoer, declanbradley, recently posted a leaf titled “Things to do in St. Ives” about his visit to St. Ives. It’s packed with suggestions for activities to do and sights to visit in the town. For those planning a visit, here are seven ways to spend a holiday in St. Ives.

Soak in some art
St. Ives has long been a popular stomping ground for artists. Many of them are drawn to the town’s stunning landscape, and it is often reflected in the art that is produced, be it painting, sculpture, or photography. There are a number of art galleries worth visiting, including the New Millenium Gallery, one of the largest independent art galleries in Cornwall, and St. Ives Ceramics, which contains a collection of pottery from local and international potters. The Tate Gallery is also located in St. Ives.

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Lounge on the beach
St. Ives is best known for its beaches. Stretching over 50 miles along the coastline, the Bay of St. Ives has a number of beaches where you can enjoy a swim or a surf. The most popular beach is Porthmeor beach, which boasts amazing surfing and a great atmosphere for families.

Learn to surf
Because of the geography of St. Ives, the beaches in the area provide excellent waves for surfers. The St. Ives Surf School, popular among surfers, offers surfing lessons for surfers of all levels, as well kayaking and stand up paddleboarding.

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Stroll through a garden
No trip to England would be complete without a visit to an English garden, and St. Ives has no shortage of those. In town, there are five gardens that you can visit: Trewyn Gardens, Memorial Gardens, The Malakoff, Tregenna Castle Hotel Garden, and Chy-an-Gweal Gardens. Any of these gardens are worth checking out, and can provide a nice relaxing respite from a busy day.

Enjoy drinks at a pub
After a long day of playing on the beach, it’s nice to get a cold drink at the pub. The harbor has several bars and pubs to choose from, including St. Ives’ oldest pub, The Sloop. Nearby Fore Street also has a good selection of pubs.

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Sip afternoon tea
If alcohol is not your thing, perhaps you might enjoy a hot cup of tea instead. The Tearoom, located on the Wharf, is a favorite among visitors to St. Ives, as well as The Courtyard, located on Fore Street. Hotels like the St. Ives Harbour Hotel offers their afternoon tea on the hotel terrace, where guests can enjoy beautiful views of the water while sipping their tea.

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Take a boat tour
St. Ives Bay is a beautiful location, and worth exploring by boat. Many boat companies offer trips around the bay, including trips to Hell’s Mouth, Godrevy Lighthouse, and Seal Island. Excursions can be done via high-speed boats, or you can hire your own boat to explore the bay. For a more slow-paced option, many boat companies also offer kayak hire.

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St. Ives is a place worth visiting, with its wonderful beaches and abundance of activities and sights to see. Whether you’re there for a short weekend trip, or for an extended stay, you’re sure to enjoy all that St. Ives has to offer.

Ready for your own holiday in St. Ives? Check out declanbradley’s leaf by downloading the LeafCanoe app. Or explore the other leaves posted on Leaf Canoe for more vacation ideas.

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Ten Places for Exploring the Galapagos Islands

Off the coast of Ecuador, scattered along the Equator, lie one of the most famous islands in natural history. The Galapagos Islands, an archipelago of volcanic islands 906 kilometers west of Ecuador, was made famous by Charles Darwin, who spent years recording the animals living on the islands. These days, the Galapagos Islands have become a favorite destination for travelers who enjoy wildlife. Various species of mammals, reptiles, and birds live on the Galapagos Islands, with each island containing distinctive species. Leafcanoer, Daijie, recently shared her experience exploring the Galapagos Islands in her leaf titled, “Explore Southern Islands of Galapagos On Boat”.

As many travelers to the Galapagos Islands can attest, there are many great locations to visit on a trip to the Galapagos Islands. Below is a list of ten places that are perfect for exploring the Galapagos Islands.

North Seymour Island
With an area of 1.9 square kilometers, North Seymour Island is relatively small, but is a great place to see birds. In particular, this island is home to the blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls, as well as frigatebirds. You can also see sea lions, who love to spend their time lounging around the island.

North Seymour Island - Exploring the Galapagos Islands

Tortuga Bay
Located on the island of Santa Cruz, Tortuga Bay is famous for its white sand beaches. Popular activities to do in this area include surfing on the beach or snorkeling around the nearby lagoons.

Las Loberias
Las Loberias is also a popular spot to see sea lions. On the island of San Cristobal, Las Loberias reportedly has some of the best snorkeling in the Galapoagos Islands.

Charles Darwin Research Station
For those interested in biological research, the Charles Darwin Research Station is an excellent place to start that exploration. Operated by the Charles Darwin Foundation, the research station continues to engage in scientific research and environmental education.

Darwin Station - Exploring the Galapagos Islands

Las Tintoreras
Another popular snorkeling location is Las Tintoreras. Here, snorkelers can see and swim with Galapagos penguins, blue-footed boobies, and even sea turtles.

Sierra Negra
A large shield volcano located at the southern part of Isabela island, Sierra Negra is a well-visited destination for travelers to the Galapagos Islands. Even though Sierra Negra is an active volcano, guided tours are continually offered on a regular basis.

Cerro Bruijo
The beach at Cerro Bruijo is considered to be one of the nicest beaches in the Galapagos Islands. Like other parts of the islands, snorkeling is a common activity at Cerro Bruijo, and behind the beach is a lagoon where visitors can find egrets and blue herons.

Cerro Bruijo

Campo Duro
A safari camp located near Sierra Negra, Campo Duro focuses on eco-tourism and conservation. Campo Duro is also a nice place to see giant tortoises, who have a preserve located nearby.

Las Grietas
In Spanish, the word “grieta” means crevasse or crack. A popular activity to do at Las Grietas is to go swimming in the cool ocean water, surrounded by the tall cliffs of the island.

Leon Dormido
One of the most prominent landmarks in the Galapagos Islands is Leon Dormido, known as Kicker Rock in English. Leon Dormido consists of volcanic rocks formed into tall towers. It is located off the coast of Isla de San Cristobal.

Leon Dormido - Exploring the Galapagos Islands

These ten places for exploring the Galapagos Islands are an excellent starting off point for your own adventure in the Galapagos Islands. For more ideas of what to explore, read more of the “Explore Southern Islands of Galapagos on Boat” leaf. You can also download the LeafCanoe app to check out more travel ideas.

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