As some people mistaken the country of Georgia for the US state, the confusion makes it a less known country, leaving a lot of stories abo...

As some people mistaken the country of Georgia for the US state, the confusion makes it a less known country, leaving a lot of stories about it untold. Little do people know, it’s a beautiful country with an interesting culture, history, and people. Truly, it deserves to be visited by many.

Deciding to travel to Georgia was out of curiosity. Since it's quite unheard of, I wanted to learn more about it. A few days after traveling around, I realized that Georgia is an underrated travel destination. Here are my top reasons why it should also be included to one's bucket list:
Georgia is located west of Asia and east of Europe. Sandwiched by 2 continents (it's part of Eurasia along with Armenia and Azerbaijan), you get the best of both worlds in Georgia. It has a population of around 3.7 million (in 2017), majority of which are Orthodox Christians.

Its capital is like no other

The capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, is a mix of old and new. The century-old churches scattered around and cobblestone alleys truly give it a Middle Age look and feel.
At the same time, Tbilisi isn’t less of a modern city with the sight of futuristic architecture, including a cable car that they call a "ropeway" and a bow-shaped overpass named as the Bridge of Peace.
Tourists from Russia and Iran are the frequent visitors of Tbilisi. The center of tourism is in Old Tbilisi where most hotels, restaurants, and travel agencies are at. Local taxicabs, called as marshrutka, are also very much in the area.
Tbilisi is geographically gifted with breathtaking views. For one, the Kura River, locally known as Mtkvari, is a natural water that flows through Tbilisi. This river extends up to its neighboring countries Azerbaijan and Turkey and drains into the Caspian Sea.
Tbilisi is also a hilly capital. In fact, the historical Narikala Fortress sits on top of a hill, which can be reached by 20-30-minute elevated walking from the base or by 5-minute Tbilisi Ropeway ride that costs GEL 2.5 (USD 1) one way.

Tip: Metromoney Card is the only mode of payment accepted at the ropeway. To move around Tbilisi, it's best to get this card as it can also be used in taking buses and metros. The card costs GEL 2 (less than USD 1) and is refundable after use.

Also read: Why Traveling Like a Local is my Best Advice

Snow in springtime

By late March to April, snow may have started melting and flowers might have been blooming to mark the start of springtime in most cold countries. Georgia, on the other hand, is given a longer winter season, perfect for anyone who may want an extended time for winter sports and colder temperature.
Two hours away from Tbilisi, Gudauri is probably the most popular ski resort in Georgia. It’s an ideal venue for skiing, paragliding, and other winter activities as it’s surrounded by the great Caucasus Mountains.

Ski season usually runs from December to April in Gudauri. On heavy snow years, skiing at the highest 5th level lift is possible until May.
When I went to Gudauri in late March, I even caught a beautiful snowfall. Living in a tropical country, it was my first time to actually see a snowfall and touch the snow with bare hands! So while most of my Filipino friends and relatives have experienced first snow in either Japan, South Korea, China, or the United States, I can say that mine was a bit more unique after experiencing it in Georgia! ;-)

Also read: How to: Apply for Tourist Visa to Georgia for Philippine Passport Holders

Diverse Georgian cuisine

Khachapuri is regarded as Georgia's national dish. It’s basically baked bread with cheese and egg as its main ingredients. Interestingly part of the tradition, this bread is shaped in different ways, including a boat-shaped one with raw egg in the middle called as adjaruli khachapuri.
This is called a khinkali, the Georgian version of a dumpling. Its taste is very similar to the Chinese xiao long bao, but in a larger size with more stuffed meat inside.
Thought as a candle, it's actually a Georgian food called a churchkhela. It’s a popular dessert that tastes like candy. Its main ingredients include fruits (usually grapes), walnuts, almonds, and chocolates that are barbecued to a string, dipped into a fruit juice, and then dried to harden. A stick is usually sold for GEL 2 (USD 1) on the streets.

Century-old and beautiful churches

Georgia is home of the oldest Orthodox Christian churches in the world. Most of them are particularly found in Mtskheta, the former capital of Georgia.
The Svetitskhoveli Cathedral was constructed as early as the 4th century. Aside from being named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it also has a strong Orthodox Christian significance as a robe of Christ is said to be buried in this cathedral.

They say that a Georgian Jew named Elias was at Christ’s crucifixion in Jerusalem and bought the robe worn by Christ before crucifixion from a Roman soldier. When Elias went back in Georgia with the robe, his sister Sidonia strangely died after touching it, and the people started believing that it was indeed a sacred robe.
Also a 4th-century-old structure is the Jvari Monastery that's beautifully seated on top of a mountain. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important place for Orthodox Christians saying that an evangelist named Saint Nino placed a huge wooden cross on the site, believed to cause miracles. With this, a small Jvari Church was built for the pilgrims, which is now the Jvari Monastery.
The Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi, also known as Sameba, is a massive structure sitting on Elia Hill in Avlabari, Old Tbilisi. It’s the third tallest Orthodox Christian cathedral in the world standing 87 meters tall.

Though it isn't as old as the churches in Mtskheta with its construction only in 2004 and looks very modern, the architecture is amazing, not to mention that it's so huge it consists of 9 chapels inside with a spacious view deck at the entrance. Also, since it’s hilltop, the view from this cathedral is very stunning.

Have you been to Georgia? If you haven't, will you consider traveling to Georgia? Let's chat in the comment box below!

Let me show you around Georgia even more! View my Georgia vlog here.

While a lot of people mistaken it for the US state, Georgia is a beautiful country seated between Europe and Asia . I spent a few days exp...

While a lot of people mistaken it for the US state, Georgia is a beautiful country seated between Europe and Asia. I spent a few days exploring the capital Tbilisi and also its old capital Mtskheta. Plus, I caught my first ever snowfall in Gudauri, a known ski region located north of Georgia.

Watch my Georgia vlog below:

I traveled all the way from Manila to see the beauty of Armenia, which is truly, one of the underrated countries in the world. It may be l...

I traveled all the way from Manila to see the beauty of Armenia, which is truly, one of the underrated countries in the world. It may be less known but this first Christian country shouldn't be missed. This vlog features the adventures in Yerevan, the capital, and Kotayk province where the UNESCO Heritage Site Geghard Monastery and Garni Temple are at.

Watch below:

On my way to  Agra  coming from  Jaipur , I dropped by the small village of  Abhaneri  to visit a century-old structure that's beyon...

On my way to Agra coming from Jaipur, I dropped by the small village of Abhaneri to visit a century-old structure that's beyond amazing.
This is called Chand Baori, a water well constructed in the 9th century during the Nikumbh dynasty by King Chanda. As you can see, it isn't like the modern-day well where you get water from a small hole. Rather, it's a gigantic deep well with 3,500 steps and 13 storeys, an architecture that you can't imagine how it was done in the absence of technology before.
From afar, it looks like a maze surrounded by symmetrical stairs. It's so unique that some Hollywood movies featured this place already. If you've seen the movie Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, you might have recognized that the prison escape scene was shut here. A few other mainstream movies with the Chand Baori include: The Fall, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and local Indian movies Bhoomi and Bhool Bhulaiyaa.
On one side, there’s a 3-storey pavilion that was used as a resting area by the Indian royalty. With such humidity in India especially during summer, the bottom part of Chand Baori is said to be a bit cooler than the ground temperature. The pavilion consists of beautifully carved jharokhas (overhanging balconies), pillared galleries, and other sculptures.
Right next to the Chand Baori are ruins of another ancient structure. This is a temple called the Harshat Mata Temple, built between the 7th and 8th century.
Unfortunately, it was hugely damaged during the war. Some pillars tried to get renovated, but the entire temple isn't completely repaired.
While it’s mostly rubble, the surrounding seems relaxing with the spread of lush green. You can simply sit for a while and enjoy the view.

How to get there

It’s located in the district of Dausa, Abhaneri village, Rajasthan, around 95 km from Jaipur and on the way if cruising the Jaipur-Agra highway. Public transportation may be tricky since there’s no direct bus to get there. But the best way is that from Jaipur, ride a bus to Sikandra for INR 20 (USD 0.30) and then get a taxi to Abhaneri for around INR 250 (USD 4). Meanwhile, if you’re on a Golden Triangle package tour, note that it isn’t usually part of the tour. You can request the driver or the tour organizer to drop by the village. An hour or less is enough to cover the area.
There’s no entrance fee to the Chand Baori and Harshat Mata Temple. Neither is required to get a tour guide among the freelancers there. It's really up to you if you want to get one.

There are a lot of things to see and do in Taipei for any type of traveler. Whether you want to stay close with nature, visit historic place...

There are a lot of things to see and do in Taipei for any type of traveler. Whether you want to stay close with nature, visit historic places, or simply feel like a local, Taipei offers the variety.
What's amazing about Taipei is that everything is within reach by train. The Taipei Metro conveniently connects different districts, and even its suburbs are only a few stations away from the center. Consisted of 5 main lines, the Taipei metro is very accessible and tourist-friendly.
Taipei metro map (source)

A good tip when creating an itinerary in Taipei is to visit places by area or district. Doing so saves you big time, and money as well because you can cover different places by alighting at one or two stations only. In this sample itinerary good for 4 days, I divided each day per area or district namely: City Center, Tamsui District, Beitou District, and Wenshan District:

Day 1: City Center

1. Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall
2. Taipei 101


4. Ximending Night Market
Begin by alighting at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall station (BL 17) to visit the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. It's actually a good starter to briefly know Taiwan's history especially about China's national father, Dr. Sun Yat-sen.

Next, take a 15-minute walk to Taipei 101, which was once the tallest building in the world. If you want a 360-degree view of the city, head to the tower's Indoor Observation Deck at the 89th floor. Tickets are sold at the lobby. For complete information regarding Taipei 101 (ticket prices, operation hours, etc.), visit there official website.

After Taipei 101, walk to the Taipei 101 / World Trade Center station (R 03), then alight at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall station (R 08) to visit the complex of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial HallLiberty SquareNational Concert Hall, and National Theater. It's a huge area to cover, so allot the entire afternoon to go around the complex.

At night, walk back to the train station but take the other line (Songshan-Xindian line) of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall station (G 10) to alight at Ximending station (G 12). In Ximending, you'll see flashy billboard lights and waves of people crossing at the Ximending Intersection, which some people call as the "Shibuya of Taipei" for its huge similarity with the Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, Japan. Also, the Ximending Night Market is in the area that offers a local feel. Known as the king of night markets, Taipei is said to be the best at it and so a Taipei trip won't be complete without the experience of going to the night market.

Day 2: Tamsui District

1. Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf
2. Fort San Domingo
3. Consular Residence
4. Aletheia University

5. Tamsui Old Street

6. Shilin Night Market
This route covers a tour around Tamsui District at the northern tip of Taipei. Tamsui is generally a coastal area, but it can amazingly reached in just 30-40 minutes from the center, alighting at the Tamsui station (R 28) of the Tamsui-Xinyi line.

Start early to catch a beautiful sunrise at the Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf. The surrounding is very relaxed and it's possible to catch the elderly doing tai chi and the rest either biking or running with the view of the Taiwan River. Also, there are several game booths around that you should try, which are local versions of the games in the carnival.

Next, take a slow 20-minute walk to Fort San Domingo, a historical landmark that displays the short Spanish colonization in Taiwan. Right beside it is the Consular Residence, a former British building with stylish Victorian style that got converted into a museum. Then, head to the Aletheia University where you can see more British-inspired university buildings. Some of them are open to public and entrance is free.

In the afternoon, take your time exploring the long street of Tamsui Old Street and its neighboring alleys. It's where you'll find mostly local shops selling different products from souvenir shops to food stalls.

Also read: When in Taiwan: Tamsui District

At night, return to the train station and alight at Shilin station (R 16) to see one of the biggest and most popular night markets in Taipei, the Shilin Night Market.

Day 3: Beitou District

1. Beitou Geothermal Valley
2. Plum Garden
3. Beitou Hot Spring Museum

4. Taipei Public Library Beitou

5. Millenium Hot Spring (a public hot spring)

This route brings you closer to nature with Beitou District, a known hot spring district in Taipei. To get there, alight at Beitou station of the Tamsui-Xinyi line and then transfer to the short 2-line Xinbeitou line to alight at Xinbeitou station (R 22A).

From the station, walk for 15-20 minutes to see the Beitou Geothermal Valley, a sulfur-emitting hot spring surrounded by lush green. Note that swimming isn't allowed and it's merely for sight-seeing. Next, spend time visiting museums with traditional architecture including Plum Garden, a small Japanese style museum and the Beitou Hot Spring Museum. There are no entrance fees to the museums.

In the afternoon, drop by the Taipei Public Library Beitou, which you might see on the way to the geothermal valley. Aside from its unique wood architectural design from outside, wait until you see the huge collection of books inside.

Also read: When in Taiwan: Beitou District

Finally, cap off the night dipping in a public hot spring at Millenium Hot Spring. While there are sooo many private hot spring options in Beitou, doing it with the locals in a public bath is the best way to do it!

Day 4: Wenshan District

1. Taipei Zoo
2. Maokong Gondola
3. Maokong trekking (choose any trail you like)

4. Yao Yue Tea House
The Wenshan district is the mountain side of Taipei located in the south. To get there, alight at the Taipei Zoo station (BR 01) of the Wenhu line.

From the station, the Taipei Zoo is just downstairs. It's open daily from 9AM to 5PM. Entrance ticket is NT $60 for adults and NT $30 for students. For complete ticketing information and operating hours, visit their official website.

Next, ride the Maokong Gondola (cable car) to see a relaxing view of the mountains and tea plantations. It consists of 4 stations, and ticket prices vary depending on how far you'll go. For the best experience, go up to the last station (Maokong Station) priced at NT$ 120 for a 2-way ride.

Also read: When in Taiwan: Wenshan District

A good way to enjoy the village of Maokong is by trekking. Several trails are available, which may take hours depending on your pace. Maps are available at any gondola station and trail signs are visibly scattered in the area.

Maokong is well-known for its homegrown and quality teas. Tea houses are all over the place, among which the Yao Yue Tea House is the most popular. Go for an afternoon tea or bring home a tea bag as souvenir.

Have you been to Taipei? Which other places can you suggest? Share them below!

My trip to Morocco was an unforgettable experience with a lot of adventures and lessons learned. By far, it's the farthest country I...

My trip to Morocco was an unforgettable experience with a lot of adventures and lessons learned. By far, it's the farthest country I've gone to, the first country I visited outside Asia, and my first time in Africa. Spending 10 days in Morocco wasn't enough, but I spent the most out of it by exploring 2 places, Casablanca and Chefchaouen.

Watch my vlog below to sum up the entire trip:

The Middle East is a common transfer hub that connects Asia to the rest of the world. It's said that airports in the Middle East are ...

The Middle East is a common transfer hub that connects Asia to the rest of the world. It's said that airports in the Middle East are the busiest where the biggest airlines usually connect at.
On my way to Morocco, I flew with Saudia Airlines, an airline based in Saudi Arabia. The 2-way ticket both had stopovers at King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah and so I had the chance to stop by the Middle East for the first time.

Much that I wanted to explore Saudi Arabia though, I didn’t really have the luxury of time. Given the visa requirement to enter Saudi Arabia for Philippine passport holders, I opted out of getting one since the stopover was just short. I only stayed there for at least 6 hours.

Tip: As long as you stay less than 12 hours when transiting in any Saudi Arabian airport, no visa is required for Philippine passport holders. No need to pass through the immigration either. However, if it goes beyond 12 hours, it would be better to ask your airline company and the embassy of Saudi Arabia in the Philippines if a transit visa is needed. 

Also read: Shelly Viajera Travel tips on applying visas

I have to mention that it was a longgg 6-hour transit because there was really nothing much to do inside. Unlike most international airports, there’s no free WIFI in Jeddah airport. Though there was a WIFI router for rent in a souvenir shop, I didn't buy to the idea of the expensive and limited one-hour usage. So aside from taking a nap, what I did instead was to just check out the Duty Free shop and other smaller stores. A few more food stalls were around including a Tim Hortons and a Baskin-Robbins.
While going around, I caught a restaurant serving local food (Though I forgot the restaurant's name, I remember it's at the farthest left coming from the Duty Free shop). I tried khubooz, a round flat bread quite similar to naan and pita bread. Khubooz is said to be a common Middle Eastern food.
Jeddah airport’s boarding area seems smaller compared to other international airports. It got chaotic that some had to resort to sitting on the floor and toilets were a mess. I have to say that it isn't an airport you want to have a stopover at.

Tip: If your airline has its own lounge, stay there as long as you can to somehow get away with the crowded common area. Saudia Airlines, for example, has an exclusive lounge that I easily got access to after passing through the transfer desk. They gave a meal in a box for free (given to passengers with more than 4 hours waiting time in the airport) with free-flowing coffee and tea. Plus, I got to sit more comfortably on the couches and was entertained by their TV and reading materials. The lounge’s toilet was also cleaner compared to the common toilet. 

Despite all, I saw something interesting while in transit. For the first time, I saw passengers of the hajj, the religious journey of Muslims to the holy place Makkah (Mecca) in Saudi Arabia. I easily noticed these pilgrims as they went by groups, mostly aged ones, all wearing white clothes called as ihram. Some of them were even on the same flight as mine.

Have you been to the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah? What are your experiences there?

Singapore’s diverse culture makes in an interesting country to visit. For one, the Kampong Glam is an area in Singapore where you can expe...

Singapore’s diverse culture makes in an interesting country to visit. For one, the Kampong Glam is an area in Singapore where you can experience a taste of the Middle East and feel the Islamic vibes without really going out of Southeast Asia.

Arab Street

From lamps to carpets, from patterned floor tiles to colorful printed attires, the Arab Street is a stretch of shophouses selling products from the Middle East. It isn't a mandatory to buy anything in these shops, but a curious eye is always welcome. At night, more shops become available along Baghdad Street as some vendors pull out their products to sell in an outdoor setup at the Arabian night market.
Arabian restaurants can also be seen around, mostly designed with beautiful tiled walls and flooring, Moroccan inspired chairs, and lamps that look dramatic at night. Also, you might get caught by Middle Eastern waiters when walking along Bussorah Street who eagerly say "hello" and invite you to enter their restaurant.

Masjid Sultan (Sultan Mosque)

Located at Muscat Street and North Bridge Road, the Masjid Sultan is a standout in the area with its beautiful Malay-Islamic architecture.
This mosque was built by Sultan Hussain, the leader when the British came to Singapore in 1800s. When the British allocated Kampong Glam for the Malays and other Muslims living in Singapore, the sultan decided to build a mosque in the area.

The mosque is open to the public (including non-Muslims) during non-praying times.
Visiting hours:
Saturdays to Thursdays: 10:00AM-12:00PM and 2:00PM-4:00PM
Fridays: 2:30PM-4:00PM

Haji Lane

This mural is perhaps one of the most photographed in Singapore, which is popular among millennials for this portion of a colorful wall that clearly makes it Instagram-worthy. Haji Lane is an alley with side-by-side shophouses for fashion boutiques, and some were converted into restaurants, cafes, and pubs.

The neighboring alleys are also as interesting as Haji Lane. Street art is seen much in the area.
It’s best to visit Haji Lane in the morning before 9AM to avoid the flock of tourists. Nevertheless, it’s also interesting at night since it’s a good place for night life.

Where-to-eat tips

If you’re in a hunt for the cheapest restaurant in the area, the Kampong Glam Café serves affordable Asian dishes from hot noodles to rice dishes. The price starts at SGD 4.5 only, a meal price that’s honestly quite hard to score not only in Kampong Glam but in entire Singapore.

Also read: How I Spent Less Backpacking in an Expensive City Like Singapore

For example, this chicken char kway teow (stir-fried rice noodles) is only SGD 4.5 while warm teh tarik (milk tea) costs SGD 1. Very cheap la! Kampong Glam Café is located at Baghdad Street corner Bussorah Street.
Also, the oldest biryani restaurant can be found in Kampong Glam area. Located at North Bridge Road, the Islamic Restaurant has been serving the best biryani in town since 1921. A biryani set ranges from SGD 10 and up.

How to get there

The Bugis MRT station is the nearest train station to Kampong Glam. It’s served by Downtown (DT14) and East West (EW12) lines.

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