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Dare to Explore! Six Extreme Travel Destinations

For those who follow travel, extreme travel is fast becoming one of the most popular travel trends in recent years. As people are becoming more exposed to the world around them, there is a growing need for travelers to seek out the undiscovered places or test their limits.

extreme travel

We at LeafCanoe are all about seeking out and sharing unique travel experiences. For us, extreme travel fits the bill for an experience that is unique and worthy of sharing. Here are our picks for extreme travel destinations.

Petra
This ancient city in Jordan is high on the list of places to visit for many adventurous travelers. Characterized by its buildings carved directly into the sandstone rock, Petra personifies the idea of extreme with its location in the desert, with rugged canyons and mountains. Petra is considered a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is a great destination for travel buffs. For more ideas about what to see in Petra, check out the leaf, “Petra,” by LeafCanoer, grassrootsnomad. You can also read our blog post about Petra, called “Six Reasons to Visit the Ancient City of Petra.”

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Antarctica
Nothing can be more extreme than the South Pole. With temperatures that can drop down to -80 degrees Celsius, and no indigenous cultures that exist in the area, Antarctica can be quite the difficult place to be. Yet, despite the hardships, people still visit Antarctica, fueled by their desire to witness nature at its most extreme. For those wanting to visit Antarctica, the best option is to go through one of the many cruise companies that travel there. But travelers, be warned! These cruises do not come cheap, with prices ranging from $3,000 for budget cruises, to upwards of $20,000 and beyond for luxury ones.

extreme travel

Iguazu Falls
For another taste of nature at its extreme, visit Iguazu Falls, the world’s largest waterfalls, located in South America. Iguazu Falls is part of the Iguazu River, which forms a border between Argentina and Brazil. The falls are approximately 2.7km in length. A number of little islands dot the edge of the falls, which help to form smaller separate falls and cataracts. The falls are accessible by either going through Brazil or Argentina.

extreme travel

Machu Picchu 
If you’re in the mood for some adventurous hiking, set your sights on Machu Picchu. Located in the mountains of Chile, a visit to this ancient Incan city is a great way to test your endurance and strength. Many of the buildings at Machu Picchu no longer stand, but there are plenty of the ruins to explore. For ideas on what to do in Machu Picchu, check out LeafCanoer, daijie’s leaf, “Visit Machu Picchu.” You can also look at our blog post on Machu Picchu, titled “Out of the Box Travels: Explore Machu Picchu.”

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The Himalayas
These mountains, spanning across India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, and Pakistan, are a great starting off point to exploring the region. Many visitors come to the Himalayas to climb its peaks, the most popular of which is named Mount Everest. But the sheer beauty of the landscape is worth explore on its own, despite its close proximity to Mount Everest.

extreme travel

El Capitan
For the avid climber, El Capitan is the ultimate test of your climbing skills. Essentially a veritcal piece of rock, El Capitan is one of the most challenging mountains to climb, and few climbers have been able to complete it. The mountain, which rises almost 1km from the ground, is located in Yosemite National Park in California, and is visited by dozens of tourists each year.

extreme travel

Although extreme travel has been gaining in popularity and interest, it is more than just staying on top of the latest travel trend. For many, extreme travel is a way of life. It has the potential to shape who you are, and can help make your travel more meaningful and enriching.

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Eight Amazing Thailand Destinations to Put on Your Radar

When most travelers think of Thailand destinations, the places that often come to mind are Ko Samui, Chiang Mai, or Phuket. In actuality, the land of smiles has a lot more to offer than just these three destinations. LeafCanoer, Kim Fish, recently shared her experiences traveling to Nong Khai in her leaf titled, “A Weekend in Nong Khai.” She describes how there is so much more to explore in Thailand, when you’re willing to go off the beaten path.

Thailand destinations

Like Kim Fish, we believe there is so much more to see in Thailand than just the top three destinations. Here are our picks for eight amazing Thailand destinations that you should put on your radar:

Nong Khai
The city of Nong Khai lies in the north-eastern part of Thailand, along the Mekong River. Since local legend speaks of giant serpents, called nagas, inhagiting the Mekong River, Nong Khai is often known as the Naga City. Nong Khai is also located close to the Laos-Thailand border, and a popular attraction is the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, which spans the Mekong into Laos.

Isan
The north eastern region of Isan, of which Nong Khai is a part, is worth spending a few days exploring. The region contains 20 provinces, making Isan the largest region in Thailand. The culture of the region is greatly influenced by Thailand’s neighboring country, Laos, and the region is most known for its indigenous folk music and food, which is quite distinct from the more commonly found central Thai cuisine.

Thailand destinations

Kanchanaburi
Moving down to the western part of Thailand, you will find the town of Kanchanaburi, which sits 123 kilometers west of Bangkok. There is a lot of history associated with Kanchanaburi. The town is known as the birthplace of the Buddhist monk, Phrabhavanaviriyakhun. But more notably, it is the site of the Burma Railway, also known as the Death Railway. This railway, which also consists of a bridge, was built under the orders of the Japanese, who controlled the town in 1942.

Krabi
Further south along the western coast is the town of Krabi. Several national parks are found near Krabi, and its proximity to at least 80 smaller islands makes it a popular destination for yachters, scuba divers, and snorklers. Nearby Ko Lanta National Park has a number of well-known diving sites. Kayaking and sailing are also popular activities for visitors to Krabi.

Sukhothai
Another popular historic place to visit is the town of Sukhothai, which was the capital of the first Kingdom of Siam in the 1200s and 1300s. The name Sukhothai means “dawn of happiness” in Sanskrit, and is well worth a visit for its historic temples and monuments. The town has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1991.

Thailand destinations

Koh Lipe
If you’re looking for the perfect island experience, skip Phuket and Ko Samui, and head over to Koh Lipe. Located along the Andaman Coast in southern Thailand, Koh Lipe features beautiful beaches with clear and calm shallow water. It is still relatively unknown among tourists. Sea Gypsies occupy part of the island, so you can get a taste of the sea faring culture that permeates throughout this region.

Ko Chang
If a more remote and rustic experience is more to your liking, then visit the island of Ko Chang, also known as Elephant Island. The second largest island in Thailand, Ko Chang has a wide range of wildlife living on its shores, including snakes, birds, deer, and of course, elephants. Jungle hiking is a popular activity, as well as snorkeling and diving.

Trang Islands
CNN recently named the Trang Islands the next big island-hopping destination for Thailand, and it’s not hard to see why. With crystal clear waters and a number of small resorts popping up throughout the islands, the Trang Islands can be a nice retreat for those wanting to get off the beaten path. Islands within this island chain include Koh Libong, Koh Mook, Koh Kradan, and Koh Ngai.

Thailand destinations

These eight under-the-radar Thailand destinations are the perfect places to have an amazing traveling experience. Since the country is still relatively inexpensive to travel around, you can easily have a world class adventure for a fraction of the price. Travel is about stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new. These Thailand destinations can help you do just that.

Wanting to learn more about Nong Khai and other destinations in Southeast Asia? Download the LeafCanoe app.

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Seven Can’t Miss 2016 Travel Destinations

Traveling the world is not just about seeing a destination, it’s also about experiencing the culture. One of the best ways to experience a place is by attending a local festival or event. 2016 is full of international events, both large and small. From high profile events like the Olympics Games, to lesser known festivals like the International Festival in the Sahara, we’ve compiled our favorite events and destinations to experience for 2016.

2016 travel

So get your bags packed and cameras ready, here are the seven can’t miss destinations for 2016 travel.

Thailand
By far, one of the more playful festivals to experience this year is the Songkran Water Festival, which takes place all over Thailand in April. Songkran marks the beginning of the new year in Thailand, and is also the start of the summer season. Revelers traditionally celebrate the festival by splashing water on each other as a way to wish each other a year full of blessings. Bangkok has one of the largest celebrations of Songkran, but other cities such as Chiang Mai also have pretty big celebrations.

2016 travel

France
France has always been a destination on many travelers’ list. This year, it’s also the destination for the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament, also known as the Euro Cup, which will take place in June. In addition to Paris, matches will take place in cities like Bordeaux, Lyon, Nice, and Marseille. Even if you’re not planning on attending any of the football matches, there’s always a good reason to visit France and explore this beautiful country.

2016 travel

Pamplona, Spain
Every year in July, the city of Pamplona comes together for the eight day festival of Saint Fermin. Although the most famous event of festival is the Running of the Bulls, the festival of Saint Fermin has plenty of other events worth checking out. The city of Pamplona itself is also worth exploring, as it has several Roman ruins as well as ruins dating back to the early Middle Ages.

2016 travel

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Besides being the site of this year’s Olympic Games in August, Rio de Janeiro has always been known for its beaches, music scene, and Carnival, the city-wide celebration just before Lent. This seaside city in Brazil has a lot to offer its visitors, from high end upscale resorts to down-to-earth hotels. These days, Rio has also become a gathering point for LGBT travelers, who number over one million each year.

2016 travel

Albuquerque, New Mexico
The annual International Balloon Fiesta is a perfect excuse to visit the city of Albuquerque. Held every year in early October, the balloon fiesta showcases hot air balloons from all over the world, and provides a colorful addition to the already stunning background of the area’s mountainous landscape. Albuquerque itself is rich with Southwestern culture, and some of the nearby cities like Santa Fe or Taos are also worth visiting.

2016 travel

Mexico
For a deeper taste of Mexican culture, head south of the border to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead. Considered a national holiday in Mexico, Dia de los Muertos is a day to honor the deceased. This holiday is celebrated around the days of October 31 to November 2, and is characterized by the colorful sugar skulls and bountiful food that is served during this time.

2016 travel

Douz, Tunisia
The final event to cap off the year is the International Festival of the Sahara, which takes place in November in Douz, Tunisia. This festival began in 1910 and is a four day celebration of Bedouin culture. The event attracts over 50,000 people, with more and more Westerners attending each year. The highlight of the festival is the camel race, but there are also music and dancing, as well as a Bedouin marriage ceremony, all set within the backdrop of the desert sand dunes.

2016 travel

These are our top 2016 travel destinations and events to check out. To see what LeafCanoers have to say about these destinations, download the LeafCanoe app.

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10 Destinations to Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids

Whether we like to admit it or not, our kids are growing up in an age of privilege. With fast internet at their fingertips, and the latest technological advances readily available to them, today’s kids have been raised to think that life is relatively easy. In short, they are becoming spoiled kids.

One of the best remedies to unspoil your kids is through travel. Travel exposes your kids to different lifestyles, and can often challenge the ways they currently view the world. LeafCanoe has a plethora of leaves that can provide ideas of where to take your kids. However, here are our picks for 10 destinations to unspoil your spoiled kids.

Costa Rica
With its abundance of animals, beaches, rainforests, and outdoor activities, Costa Rica is the perfect destination to take your digitally connected kids and help them reconnect with the natural world. Pura Vida, which means pure life, is the country’s motto. That laid back attitude is evident in every inch of the country. Life moves at a slower pace, and the rich natural environment can turn even the most die-hard city-lover into a fan of the great outdoors.

Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids - Costa Rica

Paraguay
Today’s kids have been raised on constant stimulation from televisions, computers, video games, iPads, and iPhones. They aren’t accustomed to living life without these types of stimulation. A trip to Paraguay, where the majority of the population are subsistence farmers, can open your kids’ eyes to a much simpler way of life.

Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids - Paraguay

India
The structure and organization that our society’s kids have grown accustomed to can sometimes be at an almost detrimental level. In real life, kids must learn to deal with chaos and confusion. A country like India, with its frenetic energy, is a great chance to expose your kids to the chaos of life. With its cacophany of sounds, colors, and tastes, India is a rush to the senses.

Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids - India

Singapore
Spoiled kids can sometimes be picky in their tastes, especially when it comes to food. A great way to introduce your kids to diverse cuisines is to visit Singapore, with its melting pot of Chinese, British, Arab, Indian, and Malaysian influences. In Singapore, kids can sample samosas from India, goat curry from Malaysia, or Singapore’s own famous chili crabs.

Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids - Singapore

Ghana
In our society of excess, kids can often seem wasteful, demanding the latest toys and gadgets. A trip to Ghana, where kids have learned to be resourceful in their play, can turn your spoiled kid around and make them appreciate what they have. Though still considered a developing country, Ghana is surprisingly rich in natural resources, and has a fairly developed tourism industry, which makes it an accessible country for families and kids to visit.

Unspoil Your Spoiked Kids - Ghana

Turkey
In an age where internet memes and trends come and go every fifteen seconds, kids can sometimes lose sight of the importance of history. Turkey, a country with a diverse and storied history, is the perfect antithesis to today’s transient and ephemeral trends. Straddling the cultures of both Europe and the Middle East, Turkey’s history dates back to prehistoric days, and can be explored through the various historical landmarks scattered throughout the country. Check out the leaf, “My favorite spots of our Turkey trip” for ideas of where to go in Turkey.

Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids - Turkey

Philippines
Spoiled kids are used to living in comfort, and often forget that not everyone in the world lives this way. A trip to the Philippines, particularly to see the provinces beyond the big cities and resort towns, can help your kids see the disparity between the rich and the poor. Philippines is a beautiful country, and in the rural areas, kids can see families living in small huts on family farms. Such a stark difference from the bustling cities of Manila and Baguio.

Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids - Philippines

Cambodia
For parents wanting to expose their kids to an even more rural environment, consider the country of Cambodia. Known for the beautiful Angkor Wat temple complex, Cambodia is still very much a pastoral based society. Kids and families can witness this rural environment at a much slower pace by renting bicycles and exploring the temples and surrounding villages over the course of several days.

Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids - Cambodia

Thailand
A common complaint of parents regarding their kids is their disconnection to cultural traditions. In Thailand, kids can get a glimpse of Thai culture through the dance, food, temples, and religious ceremonies. A Buddhist country, Thailand has a large selection of temples throughout the country that kids and families can visit and learn more about. To get ideas of where to visit in Thailand, check out the leaf, “Thailand in 10 Days.”

Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids - Thailand

Poland
Kids who are spoiled sometimes forget how privileged they are. They forget that in many parts of the world, and throughout history, kids have been denied the opportunity to live a normal childhood. Places like Aushwitz camp in Poland, are a stark reminder of the dark sides of human history. Formerly a Nazi concentration camp, Aushwitz is now open to visitors, so that people may never forget what people are capable of doing to each other. To see a more nature-oriented side of Poland, check out the leaf, “Spring flowers – Botanic garden, Cracow, Poland“.

Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids - Poland

Travel is more than just going to a destination and checking activities off a list. It can be an opportunity to show your kids how people around the world live, and instill in them a deeper appreciation for the life that they have. By doing this, you can slowly begin to change your kids from being spoiled to being actively engaged global citizens.

For more ideas of where to take your kids, check out the various leaves on LeafCanoe by downloading the app.

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