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Friendly Travel will be closed on 12 June 2017 (Queen’s Birthday)

by Dennis @ Friendly Travel

Dear Friendly Travel customers, Please note that for this coming Monday, 12 June 2017 our office will be closed for the day. We will reopen as per our regular hours on Tuesday, 13 June 2017. Wishing everybody a very happy long weekend! Kind regards, Friendly Travel Team 

Mystical Bhutan

by Fatboo @ Let's Get Fat Together

First instalment of my travel series covering Bhutan. Here, we spend two intimate days discovering the sights in & around Bhutan's capital - Thimphu.

Where You Should Travel In 2018 Based On Your Star Sign

Where You Should Travel In 2018 Based On Your Star Sign

by Marina Nazario @ The A List | The Urban List

It’s a new year, and that means a clean slate. This year could be anything, guys. We know you’re already strategically planning where and when to travel, but before you make any destination decisions, let’s see what the stars have to say. Crack open your diary and make room for one of these epic trips in 2018. Because, obviously, if a city is compatible with your zodiac, you have to go there. 

Here’s where you should travel in 2018, based on your zodiac sign. Bon voyage!

Aries

Queenstown, New Zealand

If anyone is going to bungee jump off in Queenstown or go zorbing down the hills of Rotorua, it’s you, Aries. You’re pretty freaking fearless and we can totally see you renting a kombi and road-trippin' your way through the North and South Islands of New Zealand. You don’t need much—just some comfortable clothes, your confidence and an optimistic attitude. Oh, and make sure you come back alive.  

Taurus

Utah, USA  

Taurus, fly on over the American Southwest and explore the beautiful and underrated state of Utah. You’ll appreciate that it’s pretty easy to travel through—especially if you visit during April-July for glorious weather and Bucket List adventure out the wazoo. Be sure to check out the mind-boggling beauty of Zion National Park, Antelope Canyon and Arches National Park. Pro tip: One of the world’s most epic slip ‘n slides opens on an Olympic ski slope during the (American) summer months. If you don’t do it, we will. 

Gemini

Djibouti, Africa

Oh Gemini, we know that you get bored easily. You can’t be bothered seeing another city with the same old H&M’s and Ralph Laurens. So you need somewhere unexplored. You need to go somewhere like Djibouti, a tiny corner of the world in East Africa. Lonely Planet reckons this is the #4 country to visit in 2018. We know you’re intrigued. And good news, there’s plenty to do in Djibouti. Whale shark diving or hike extinct volcanoes? Visit the salt lakes or the canyons?! You’re curious, like George. Go out and explore.

Cancer

Tokyo, Japan

Take your highly imaginative personality onto a plane, then take that plane straight to Japan. You need to let your creativity soar in a country that’s booming with color. Tokyo moves quick, but you can handle it. You, of all people, lurrrrv food, and Japan is the perfect place to stuff your face with all sorts of goodness. So slurp on ramen and nom on REAL sushi. You haven’t had a modern restaurant experience until your meal slips out of a machine #onlyinjapan.

Leo

Cape Town, South Africa  

Leo, you might not like taking holidays, but if you muster up a speck of wanderlust you're going to go somewhere that’s worth your time. And in 2018, it’s South Africa. (And no, not just ‘cause your star sign is a lion). You’re energetic, fearless and up for anything. Shark cage dive with Great Whites, visit the duck army winery and go on a safari. Simba wants to meet you.  

Virgo

Toronto, Canada

Virgo, step away from the office and onto a plane to Canada. You need a break! Toronto is calling your name. It’s a clean and artsy city, and Drake is from there—so, like, yeah. Go to the top of the CN Tower and splurge on a meal at the revolving restaurant. The city is thriving with music and art, so why don’t you exercise the right side of your analytical brain and let loose. Pro tip: if you can, catch a Raptor game in Jurassic Park (just Google it). 

Libra

Cinque Terre, Italy

Libra, you of all people know that balance equals a lot of walking plus heaps of pizza. That’s why you should go to the Cinque Terre in 2018. Being around friendly and freakishly attractive Italians meshes well with your gracious and social attitude. You like sharing and bringing balance to your surroundings, so gather some peeps and enjoy delicious antipasto and vino, plus a few clifftop hikes. 

Scorpio

Lahaul, India

ALLLL the way in the tip-top corner of India is the remote region of Lahaul and Spiti. If you haven’t heard of this place, look it up. Bet you didn’t think it would look like that! Small villages, large mountains, medieval monasteries and brilliant blue lake water is practically untouched by mass tourism, according to Lonely Planet. Use your resourcefulness to your advantage and navigate your way through this part of the world in 2018. There will be language barriers, exotic food and vibrant culture. Good thing you're up for a challenge, right? 

Sagittarius

Santiago, Chile  

Gear up for an adventure, Sag! You need to visit Lonely Planet’s number one destination of 2018: Chile! This is the year to do it, because the country is celebrating its 200th anniversary of independence, so there will be plenty of festivities to go around, especially in its capital, Santiago. Seriously, this country will keep you on your toes. You can explore one of the driest deserts on earth or freeze your butt off navigating your way through the glacial fields. Raise a glass of pisco sour and let’s go!

Capricorn

Mykonos, Greece

Turn off your emails and give your never-ending to-do list a break. It’s time to let loose in Greece, Capricorn! This country provides a great combination of history, relaxing on the beach and partying till the sun comes up (especially on Mykonos—AMIRIGHT?). Take a load off and come back to the office with an envious Mediterranean tan. You deserve it.  

Aquarius

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Aquarius, you’re a humanitarian, and San Juan needs your help. It got hit hard by Hurricane Maria and tourism will only help the country move forward. Go to San Juan in 2018 and explore this beautiful, Caribbean island. Hang out with the locals, eat your weight in Arroz con dulce and dance the night away in one of the crazy-good nightclubs. Heck, we’ll come with you. 

Pisces

Seville, Spain

Get out of bed and put on your dancing shoes, Pisces, it’s time to do the flamenco around Seville. Good thing you're go-with-the-flow (like most Spaniards) because it will be easy for you to make friends here. At home, you like your alone time, so why not challenge yourself and make this a solo trip. Meet people (maybe the love of our life), dance, eat good food and admire Seville's beautiful architecture. Let loose, Pisces, you gentle thing.

Now that you know where to go in 2018, the stars will tell you which dog to get.

Image credit: Benjamin Voros

Why Travel?

by Fatboo @ Let's Get Fat Together

Thought piece around why we're willing to put up with the cost, stresses & discomforts of travel just to be in another place for a few weeks each year.

Friendly Travel Holiday Seasons 2017 Trading Hours

by Kevin Vu @ Friendly Travel

Dear customers, Our trading hours this holiday season will be as follow: 25 December 2017 – Christmas Day – Closed 26 December 2017 – Boxing Day – Closed 27 December 2017 – Wednesday – 9:30am – 5:30pm 28 December 2017 – Thursday – 9:30am – 5:30pm 29 December 2017 – Friday – 9:30am – 5:30pm […]

Friendly Travel’s Holiday Season Trading Hours

by Kevin Vu @ Friendly Travel

Dear customers, Our trading hours over the next few days will be as follows – 26 December 2016 – Mon – Boxing day – Closed 27 December 2016 – Tues – Closed 28 December 2016 – Wed – Normal trading hours 29 December 2016 – Thur – Normal trading hours 30 December 2016 – Fri […]

by Dennis @ Friendly Travel

To our dearest Friendly Travelers, We are about to say goodbye to the year that was 2016 – it has been a busy and productive year as we have been busily covering many fascinating parts of this incredible world of ours. From the look of things, 2017 is shaping up to be a great time for […]

An updated map of the future Saigon Metro

by James Clark @ Nomadic Notes

[HCMC Metro Map (download full resolution image here.] Out of all the megacities of Southeast Asia, Saigon is the only city without any form of metro transport. Even the traffic-dystopias of Jakarta and Manila have a few rail lines between them. This will change when the first metro line in Saigon opens sometime after 2020 […]

Journeying Bhutan

by Fatboo @ Let's Get Fat Together

Second travel instalment covering my journey through Punakha Valley and Central Bhutan.

Steak Ministry Bar & Grill, Glen Waverley

by Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake @ Ichigo Shortcake

Since its opening back in June 2014, my family and I have already been countless times. As Glen Waverley had been my home for a good 20 years, even though I’ve just moved away, I still frequent the area for the good food that has now become quite renowned. Foodies will travel to the area […]

Qua’n 888

by Fatboo @ Let's Get Fat Together

Eatery inside Little Saigon Market (Footscray) with authentic regional specialities from Central Vietnam.

The Feed | All The News You Missed This Week

The Feed | All The News You Missed This Week

by Marina Nazario @ The A List | The Urban List

How’s that January clean eating cleanse going? Slipped up, did ya? Ah, that’s okay. We did too (obviously).

We hope you slid back into your weekly routine with ease after the holidays. We know you were nose deep with work all week, so take a breather and get updated on all the foodie news you missed.

Heading to the Australian Open? Roll up in style via water taxi down the Yara. Head to BearBrass to grab a breakfast package ($35) or lunch/dinner packages ($55), which includes a set menu, beer, wine or Aperol Spritz & return WaterTaxi Tickets. Sweet. 

On that note, if you haven’t got tickets to the Aus Open, head to Arbory Afloat and watch it in style. They somehow put a big screen on this 50-metre barge and will be screening events from 11am to 1am daily. Don’t you worry, the beer will be flowing.  

Tutto Bene is back at it again with limited edition gelato flavours. This time it’s for Australia Day weekend. Head there on 26 January to cool off and celebrate our glorious nation.

After you inhale a scoop of patriotic gelato, make your way to Caulfield Racecourse to continue Australia Day celebrations at a pop-up pool party. But you may want to leave your bathers at home…

ICYMI: The Chicken Big Mac is back at Maccas for a limited time only. We give you permission to cheat on your clean eating goals for this fast food masterpiece.

There’s a new Korean BBQ spot in town and you can’t miss it. Literally. Its suave architecture sticks out on a street lined with brick buildings. Yes, we said suave. 

FYI: There are a few awesome wine events happening in Melbourne right now, and we think you should hit them up before summer ends (let’s not talk about summer ending).

We checked out the brand new Hellenic Republic in Brighton, and it'll definitely help you stay on track with your #cleaneating goals.

You know when you go to a whiskey bar and make a mental note to buy a bottle of whatever you’re sipping on? Well, we found a whiskey bar that allows you to buy a bottle right off the shelves. 

Whip out the trendy flamingo tube and slather on the sunscreen because Section 8 is launching a beach party in CBD. It's free too, so obvs we'll see you there. 

Hold the phone! St Kilda Fest dropped their 2018 line-up, and we have cleared Sunday 11 February in our diaries. You can bloody well bet we’ll be at this epic FREE event.

Keep that diary out. We spoke to the stars about where you should travel in 2018 according to your zodiac. Kinda jealous of Aries...

Feeling a little lost? It’s probably because you just walk through a giant inflatable labyrinth in Fed Square. On until the end of the month.

Are you seriously telling us that you haven’t been to Uluru yet?! What are you waiting for? Its breathtaking field of light installation has just been extended, so you have time to check it out #fortheInsta.

In case you’ve been living under a rock this week, The Golden Globes were on and everyone wore black.

Alright so now that you’re up to speed, here are 17 FREE things to do this month.

Image credit: Arbory Afloat

Pho Hung (Springvale)

Pho Hung (Springvale)


Let's Get Fat Together

Pho adventures in Springvale. Had the pho bo dac biet, and it wasn’t too bad.

Saigon Star Travel Pty Ltd

Saigon Star Travel Pty Ltd


Australia Pages

Saigon Star Travel Pty Ltd Phone and Map of Address: Shp 35 268 Springvale Rd- Springvale VIC 3171, Springvale, VIC, Business Reviews, Consumer Complaints and Ratings for Travel Agents & Consultants in Springvale, VIC. Contact Now!

Turnabout Bhutan

by Fatboo @ Let's Get Fat Together

Final instalment of my Bhutan travel series. Here we head back to our start point in Paro and embark on the final ascent up Bhutan’s crown jewel - Tiger’s Nest.

Fever pitch excitement in Saigon

Fever pitch excitement in Saigon


Maples on mounties

  Sat 27 dec to mon 29 dec The plane to Saigon was uneventful. However, the minute we arrived it felt like Vietnam was against us. Our taxi driver from the airport looked like he hated his life and…

Milkcow, Melbourne CBD

by Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake @ Ichigo Shortcake

If you travel to Asia often you might already be familiar with the famous Korean chain Milkcow. They have in excess of 60 stores around the world (mostly in Asia) and now it has finally arrived on our doorsteps! With a chic and vibrant decor, a focus on premium organic produce and delicious soft serves, […]

Friendly Travel Office’s Easter Trading Hours

by Kevin Vu @ Friendly Travel

Dear customers, Friendly Travel office will be closed on the following days: 14 April – Good Friday 15 April – Easter Saturday 17 April – Easter Monday We will comeback as usual from Tuesday 18 April. Any enquiry, please kindly send us and email at sales@friendlytravel.com.au or leave us a voice message on (03) 9326 […]

Friendly Travel Office will be closed on Anzac day

by Kevin Vu @ Friendly Travel

Dear customers,   Friendly Travel office will be closed tomorrow 25/4/2017 (Anzac day) and will resume working regular hours on Wednesday 26/4/2017.   Please leave your message on our phone line (03) 9326 9899 and we will get back to you as soon as possible.   Friendly Travel Service

Wineries That You Can Crash At After A Few Savvy B’s

Wineries That You Can Crash At After A Few Savvy B’s

by James Shackell @ The A List | The Urban List

Wine tours are fun, but they’re less fun for the DD. Someone’s gotta be the responsible one, right? Well not at these places. These are wineries that double as hotels. No need for buses, designated drivers, or spitting into silver buckets. You can guzzle pinot and Savvy B’s to your heart’s content, then crash upstairs in a double bedroom with vineyard views.

Here are our favourite wineries with accommodation in Victoria.

Grapevine Glamping | Cofield

Wahgunya

It’s a nice image, right? Glass of Cofield Quartz Shiraz in one hand, good book in the other, kicking back in your own luxury bell tent surrounded by nature stuff. That’s what’s on offer at this boutique Rutherglen winery. They call it ‘Grapevine Glamping’. Pro tip: grab brunch at the Pickled Sisters Cafe.

Villas & Vines | Polperro Winery

Red Hill

Polperro is a working, 25-acre winery, tucked among the trees at Red Hill. A few years ago they built a series of luxury private villas. You get a complimentary brekky, a deck with vineyard views, roaring fires and your own personal spa. Ask the concierge about dining packages, and discounts for the nearby Peninsula Hot Springs.

Designer Luxe | Jackalope

Merricks North

Jackalope on the Mornington Peninsula has won just about every hotel design award there is in Australia. This isn’t your cute, B&B style accom. It’s more Blade Runner meets The Ritz. Super mod detailing, rain showers, double vanities, custom-made bath products—spend a bit more and you even get a deep-soak Japanese bathtub.

Vineyard Suites | Lindenderry Red Hill

Red Hill

After a day sipping vino at Red Hill cellar doors, this is probably the place you want to rest your head. Luxury Travel Magazine voted Lindenderry one of the most romantic hotels in Australia. We recommend a Balcony Suite or the Vineyard om, and make sure to order a hand-packed picnic basket.

Mornington Views | Port Phillip Estate

Red Hill South

Port Phillip has a renowned cellar door and six luxury suites, if you want to spend the night. Expect fancy flourishes like eggshell tubs, Missoni bathrobes and Aesop products in the bathroom (that’s when you know a place is luxe). Our tip? Wait till winter. They run discount romance packages during the colder months.

Private Lakeside Villas | Crittenden Estate

Dromana

These are pretty special. Crittenden Estate has built three luxury private villas, each of which sits over a tranquil lake. You can fall asleep to the sounds of water lapping outside your window, then wake up to a handmade breakfast hamper, stuffed with local eggs, bacon, tomatoes, Red Hill Muesli, bread, condiments and local Delgrosso apple juice.

Old-School Estate | Chateau Yering Hotel

Yarra Glen

There’s no school like the old school, right? Well about an hour out of the CBD, there’s a vineyard that looks like it’s been time-warped straight out of the 19th century. Chateau Yering sits on a 250-acre estate, and it’s got 32 suites which can only be described as ‘regal’. If you’ve seen the movie Marie Antoinette, you’ll know what you’re in for.

1920s Homestead | Oakdene

Wallington

There’s only three rooms at Oakdene winery, but they’re going for quality over quantity. Each one comes with breakfast at Mr Grubb (the vineyard’s cafe) and some pretty sweet views. Make sure you spend an afternoon at Oakdene’s ‘Upside-Down’ cellar door. Their Shiraz is pretty awesome.

Cute Cottages | Toms Cap

Willung South

You probably haven’t heard of Toms Cap. It’s a tiny little vineyard in central Gippsland, surrounded by the Strezlecki Ranges, the ninety-mile beach at Woodside and the stunning Tarra Bulga national park. Take your pick from four secluded timber-built cottages. They’re simple, but super cute.

Gourmet Escape | Lindenwarrah At Milawa

Milawa

Love this place. Lindenwarrah is a tranquil country house, deep in Victoria’s high country, surrounded by some of the best vineyards in the state (not to mention the best food). Set up camp in one of the beautiful suites, and spend your days drinking at Brown Brothers nextdoor, or stocking up at the Milawa Cheese Factory.

Spa & Shiraz | Balgownie Estate

Yarra Glen

Private spa baths overlooking the Yarra Valley? This place has got Valentine’s Day written all over it. Start with a trip to the famous Balgownie Cellar Door (the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Estate Shiraz are standouts), then chillax in your private suite, with views over the winelands.

Luxury On The Murray | Cape Horn Vineyard

Echuca

Cape Horn recently built a two-story, five-bedroom vineyard villa complex, and it’s looking pretty sweet. The private suites are all beautifully appointed, but it’s really the setting and the Murray River views that set this place apart. Keep an eye out for live acoustic sessions on the lawn.

Can't get away? We tracked down the cheapest wines in Melbourne that are actually good

Image credit: Jackalope 

Pho Hung Vuong 2

Pho Hung Vuong 2


Good Food

Despite the vast array of cheap eating options in Springvale, there’s often a

Melbourne’s LEGOLAND Is Throwing An Adults-Only Star Wars Night

Melbourne’s LEGOLAND Is Throwing An Adults-Only Star Wars Night

by Ben Tyers @ The A List | The Urban List

Hold onto your hats, because the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre at Chadstone is putting on a LEGO Star Wars adult night next week, and it’s definitely not in a galaxy far, far away.

Use every force available to you to make it to this one. On Thursday 18 January, the centre will be throwing its doors open to those who either don’t have kids to take usually, or just want to go nuts in a LEGO heaven for a night.

There’ll be Star Wars themed LEGO builds and competitions, a Minifigure scavenger hunt throughout MINILAND, and plenty of opportunity to snap a photo with a Stormtrooper.

On show is also the world’s largest built of the Millenium Falcon, which measures in at a whopping 5 metres wide, and is made from more than 250,000 LEGO bricks.

The Details

What: LEGOLAND Discover Centre’s Star Wars Adult Night When: Thursday 18 January, 7pm - 9pm Where: LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, Chadstone For more info head here.

Back at work and got the travel bug? Here's where you should travel this year based on your star sign.

Image credit: Daniel Cheung

10 Places You Wish You Were Instead Of At Your Desk RN

10 Places You Wish You Were Instead Of At Your Desk RN

by Shannon Coward @ The A List | The Urban List

Welcome to 2018. We bet you're wondering why the hell you're sitting at your desk right now, as your other (some might say, smarter) colleagues took an extra week to lounge around eating the last of the leftovers, or to swan off overseas to top up their tan. We feel you. The real world has rolled back around—and it feels remarkably like work in 2017...

Instead of doing actual work, spend your precious brain space fantasising of the 10 places you wish you were instead at your desk RN. 

#1. Whitehaven Beach

Australia

If there’s anything that screams perfect daydream material, it’s sitting on 98% silica sand while the crystal clear ocean laps at your feet. The incredible Whitehaven Beach, located a short boat ride from Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays Queensland, has all your tropical island dreams covered and then some with its mind-boggling beauty and location on the edge of the Great  Barrier Reef. There’s a reason this stunning natural wonder is plastered across every Australian tourism campaign and it really needs to be seen to be believed. Plus, you could totally combine your trip to Whitehaven with a stay at luxe accommodation on nearby Hamilton Island for the ultimate island escape. Throw in a palm leaf and we’re sold.

#2. Plitvice Lakes National Park

Croatia

A hidden gem more than worthy of a shout out, Croatia’s Plitvice Lake National Park is a nature-lover’s dream come true. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Plitvice Lakes National Park marks the point where 16 crystal-esque lakes flow into each through a series of waterfalls and cascades. An 18km wooden footbridge meanders through the water and butterflies do their thing all over the heavily-forested area. The water is so turquoise you’ll find yourself questioning whether they secretly dyed it and if you visit in winter, you might just find an ice-covered wonderland that would make for one sick ‘gram picture. Plitvice Lakes might also be as close as you’ll get to steeping onto the set of a real life Disney movie. Talk about magical AF.

#3. Gion

Japan

Located in Kyoto, Japan’s cultural hub and former capital, Gion is a must-see on any Japanese adventure. Referred to informally as the geisha district, Gion is a gorgeous slice of the Japan of ages past, nestled smack bang in the middle of a bustling, thriving city that effortlessly blends modern and traditional. Think wooden buildings, winding alleyways, traditional gift shops and the chance to spot a geisha or maiko (a geisha’s apprentice) making their way between appointments at the myriad teahouses dotting the district. Gion is also home to a number of sights, including the famous Kiyomizu-dera temple which offers to-die-for views over Kyoto, if you can’t get your fill just by wandering the stone pathways. BRB, looking up when the next flight leaves for Japan.

#4. The Alhambra

Spain

Topping many a “things you have to see before you die” list, the Alhambra is, well, actually something you have to see before you die. Let’s just say, it makes sitting at your desk sound pretty dang boring. Drawing heavily on its Arabic ancestry, the Alhambra is a fortress complex located in Granada that manages to blend historical significance with stunning architectural brilliance in all the right ways. To start with, the Alhambra offers killer views over the city of Granada and the surrounding meadows. It was built primarily in the 13th century when the first king of the Nasrid dynasty decided to make the fortress the royal residence. It’s from this period that much of the architectural elements –including wooden filigree archways and that iconic central fountain – that make the Alhambra so gorgeous are from. Oh and did we mention that the aim of the architects designing the Alhambra was to cover every single space with decoration, no matter how big or small said space was. Leave work early, head to the airport, fly to Spain, go to the Alhambra, thank us later.

#5. Edinburgh

Scotland

Ah Scotland, we might just have a tiny crush on you after binge-watching Outlander on Netflix. Which is why we just had to put Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city and voted the most walkable city in the U.K. (take that, London), on this list. Edinburgh is home to many a cultural monument, including the perfectly medieval Edinburgh Castle and the Museum of Edinburgh - which just so happens to be located inside a 16th-century house. If you’re more the type to emerge after the sun has gone down, spend your time exploring the haunted alleyways of Mary King’s Close or hit up the local pub for the best whisky you’ll ever taste. Just don’t forget to head out of town and climb Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano that also offers gorgeous views over the city below. Ugh, why can’t we be working in Scotland right now.

#6. Skaftafell National Park

Iceland

And here we were thinking that the rock formations of Ireland’s Giants Causeway were impressive when Skaftafell National Park came onto the scene and blew us all away. Located in gorgeous Iceland, Skaftafell is the epicentre of the largest national park in Europe, Vatnajokull National Park, and lies on the southern edge of the breathtaking Vatnajokull Glacier. The park is a land of contrasts, promising you the chance to see everything from active volcanoes to glaciers to flat, sandy plains to glacier rivers – all in the same place. Skaftafell is also home to the Kristinartindar Peaks, a dramatic rock formation from which a waterfall plummets one metre into the lush park below. And that’s all before we get to the variety of hiking trails that wind through the 5000 square kilometres of natural beauty that the park claims as its own. Psh, who needs a job anyway, if you need us we’ll be adventuring in Iceland.

#7. Old Havana

Cuba

Okay, okay, so the pinnacle of chilly northern wandering isn’t really your thing. What about the colourful, bustling, tropical flair of Old Havana, in Cuba? Old Havana is the second most populated borough of modern Havana and is contained within the original Havana city walls. It is also the best placed to be completely immersed in the Havana of long ago. This is a Havana where rumba music floats through cobbled streets, where narrow lanes meander past Cuban-Baroque-meets-Art-Nouveau buildings and where the locals sip coffee and chat like they’ve been doing for many a-year. In other words, it’s pretty wanderlust inducing. Stay in a hotel that once played host to Winston Churchill, explore the brightly hued Plaza Vieja or spend the day exploring Havana’s revolutionary past at Museo de la Ciudad. Whatever you choose, it’s got to be better than staring gloomily out the window at all the not-Old Havana you’re surrounded by. Yes, you can thank us later.

#8. Banff National Park

Canada

Located in the iconic Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park is Canada’s first national park and is home to some breathtaking examples of that alpine beauty we all know and love about Canada. Lake Louise, a turquoise pool of pure postcard perfect beauty, serves as the park’s main jumping off point before you move on to the too-pretty-to-be-real Sunshine Meadows (the name, guys, the name) or the jagged peaks of the Icefields Parkway. To help with painting the picture of how freaking incredible Banff National Park is, imagine that scene in The Sound of Music when Maria is singing her heart out to the rolling green hills around her. Banff makes that scenery look like your attempt at Pictionary after a few too many drinks. So, what are you waiting for?

#9. Chiang Mai

Thailand

Chiang Mai is a beacon when it comes to sought after travel destinations at the moment but the temple city of Thailand is attracting so much buzz for a very good reason. Serving as the hub of Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is the perfect place to kick back and get some much needed R&R while remaining in close proximity to activities galore. Pick from one of the many temples peeking out from behind every corner, thanks to the city’s position as the former seat of the Lanna kingdom, or spend your time wandering the backstreets and sampling the many flavours of Thai cuisine. Did someone say authentic pad Thai and grilled pork in banana leaf? Drool. Uh yeah, you can totally get away with chucking a sickie for a whole week (or four). We’ll see you at the airport.

#10. Ggantija

Malta

An underappreciated hidden gem good for more than just filming locations for a bunch of hit TV shows (Game of Thrones, anyone?), Malta is well-worth an addition to any perpetual wander-lusting daydreams. Malta, an island located between Malta and the North African coast, is home to a number of historic sites that remain as evidence of its former rulers, including the Romans, Moors, French and British. The most famous of these has to be Ggantija, a temple complex on the Mediterranean Island of Gozo that is older than the pyramids of Egypt. They are also the world’s second oldest existing manmade religious structures, losing out only to Gobekli Tepe in Turkey. You can actually wander through the ruins of the complex, marvelling at the ingenuity of construction from before society was really a thing. Getting to explore the almost-oldest structure in the world AND having the chance to live your best life on a Mediterranean island? Sign us the heck up!

Ready to pack your bags and get exploring? Make sure to check out our travel page for all the destinations worth knowing about.

Image credit: Augustin de Montesquiou

A Walking Tour of Copenhagen' Statues

by Horizon Hunter @ Travelista Club

Copenhagen is an amazingly vibrant city, with so much to offer for travellers. Between strolling down the rainbow street of Nyhavn, relaxing on the grass with locals in the Kings Garden, and eating freshly caught fish, you really can’t go wrong. One, perhaps underrated, feature of this gorgeous city, though, is that it is home […]

Friendly Travel office closed on 17 January 2017 (Tuesday)

by Dennis @ Friendly Travel

Dear Friendly Travellers, Due to further electrical works scheduled to be conducted in Richmond, Friendly Travel will be temporarily closing their office on Tuesday (17/1/2017) for the whole day. For any emergencies please reach us on the numbers below: (English) – 0432 989 585 (Vietnamese & English) – 0402 695 098 // 0421 775 112 […]

Friendly Travel 2018 Calendars are available for pick up at the office!

by Kevin Vu @ Friendly Travel

Dear Friendly Travelers, Our calendars for the upcoming year are now available for pick up! Visit our office to get your copy now as talking from experience, supplies won’t last long! Unfortunately, we will not be able to post out nor put the items on hold. This promotion runs on a first come first serve […]

Reykjadalur Hot Springs: An Icy Winter Hike

by Alyssa Conlee @ Travelista Club

In the past few years, travel through Iceland has spiked. Adventures from all over the globe have come to see the green summers and waterfalls as well as the icy winters and geothermal hot springs. This wide range of attractions has earned Iceland the reputation for being “the land of fire and ice.” When some […]

Increase to initial tour deposit effective 1 January 2017

by Dennis @ Friendly Travel

Dear Friendly Travel customers, Please kindly be advised that as of 1 January 2017, Friendly Travel will be increasing our initial deposit for all of our tour bookings to $400 per passenger. This is due to the rising costs associated with holding group related tour bookings which are unfortunately out of our control and are mandated by our suppliers. We ask you for your patience during […]

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