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Karneval der Kulturen

So there’s a carnival in Berlin. So it was only right we checked it out.

Where to stay: Kreuzberg (quality wasn’t amazing) or Blucherplatz

Karneval der Kulturen is a multicultural festival in Kreuzberg, Berlin, celebrated annually since 1996 around Pentecost weekend. It’s four fun filled days; the Carnival of Cultures occurs at Blücherplatz, in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district. 

It is described as: “A proud expression of hybrid cultural identities” – The organisers of the festival proclaim that “the Carnival of Cultures is open to everybody and all forms of cultural expression. It is regarded as a platform for a proud expression of hybrid cultural identities, containing traditional and contemporary elements. It includes and attracts all age groups, professional artists and amateurs, people from all walks of life.”

Carnival of Cultures is all about celebrating a peaceful co-existence between all the different culture’s that call Berlin home.

The carnival is fun but doesn’t top Notting Hill by any means, but I mean being abroad with your friends and the bacchanal – it could be worse!

We attended a range of events and the party didn’t stop until the early hours.

This year the festivities will be on the 15th August. So if you can why not make your way down. As opposed to the big street party it usually is it’ll be much smaller activities spread out across the area to keep inline with Covid guidelines.

Have a look at how we enjoyed when we went.

As always keep up with us on IG @trippinwithsj x

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Where should I eat in Singapore?

There are so many choices for places to eat:

  • Wild Honey – I think this is a midpoint on the spending scale, and it is worth every penny. We tried their brunch and the pancakes were heavenly.
  • Jumbo Seafood – if you really wanna ball out! But I think about this special fried rice often, it was a serious something. 10s across the board. I highly recommend.
  • Hawker Markets; the biggest one is Chinatown Market. Delicious food options, drink options and on the cheaper side
  • Eating out in SIN is expensive but the flavours are phenomenal. There are supermarkets so you can do some cooking of your own if you feel too and much cheaper prices restaurants, just check online.

Keep up with us on @trippinwithsj x

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What to see…

So, Crazy Rich Asians put Singapore on the map for us! It was always somewhere we’d wanted to go because of the Marina Bay Sands and Supertree Grove, but seeing it presented in such a beautiful way just made us want to go even more.

Singapore is such a beautiful city state, it houses over 60 islands! but only 3 are inhabited.

So what’s the lowdown on visiting Singapore? What should you do? Where do you eat?

We hear your questions and have a list for you, keep scrolling…

What to see:

  1. Changi airportbest airport in the world for 8 years in a row, it’s very rare that an aiport makes a must see list, but Changi deserves its accolades!
  2. Marina Bay Sands – is a hotel and the main attraction is its pool. If you are just looking for a nice hotel, there are other Singapore hotels that offer better value. If swimming in the pool is on your bucket list, then it is worth every penny!
  3. Garden by the bay – is an iconic attraction, it houses a range of attractions. It’s a must-do when in Singapore
  4. Sentosa Island –  is an island resort off Singapore’s southern coast, connected to the city by road, cable car, pedestrian boardwalk and monorail. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or a day of exploration, a world of adventure awaits you at Sentosa. (Trippin’ Tip: Keep an eye on bus times)
  5. Universal Studios – a theme park located within Resorts World Sentosa on Sentosa Island, Singapore. It features 28 rides, shows, and attractions in seven themed zones
  6. Little India – to explore delicious cuisine, visit a temple and do a bit of shopping too
  7. Amazing architecture – so much to see on every corner. Get the Hop on, Hop off bus to make your way around quickly.
  8. Orchard Road – to shop, to eat, to see, to people watch

Keep up with us on @trippinwithsj x

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Rome 101

  • Fly into Fiumicino (FCO), slightly more expensive than CIA but better connected.
  • Use your card everywhere, cash for souvenirs
  • Buy a city pass or stay centrally and walk around city instead

Here are our top sites to see in Rome, Rome is such a walkable city – things we love! So it’s easy to do a lot of these in one day.

  • Trevi Fountain – find out more about this amazing fountain here.
  • Pantheon – is a former Roman temple, now a Catholic church. A great spot to sit and people watch or grab a bite to eat at nearby restaurants.
  • The Colosseum – is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city and is the largest ancient amphitheatre ever built, and is still the largest standing amphitheater in the world today, despite its age!
  • Roman Forum – also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum, is a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the centre of the city.
  • Spanish Steps – are a set of steps, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. It’s a lovely sea of people; on their lunch breaks – a welcome break after a long day of walking.
  • Piazza Navona – is a public open space in Rome, Italy. It is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in the 1st century AD, and follows the form of the open space of the stadium.
  • St. Peters Basilica – is a church built in the Renaissance style located in Vatican City.
  • Sistine Chapel – a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the pope, in Vatican City. You could spend hours, literally in awe of the intricate and beautiful paintings on the ceiling.
  • Palatine Hill – which is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome, is one of the most ancient parts of the city and has been called “the first nucleus of the Roman Empire.
  • Vatican / Vatican City – you may get to see the Pope during a processions, it also gave me Twilight vibes – the Volturi and all.
  • Trastevere – is one of Rome’s most colourful neighbourhoods. While it may be less touristy when compared to the ancient town or Vatican City, it has to be said that it does remain firmly on the tourist trail – but that’s not to say it’s not worth a visit! Restaurnats, cinemas – lots of choices. 

Food to try: Pasta, Pizza, Gelato – bye-bye waistline.

Have you been to Rome? What’s your favourite thing to do there? If you found this useful, share and save it for later x

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Baraka Natural Aquarium

Baraka Natural Aquarium is located in the northern part of Nungwi. As with everything these days, I originally saw it on the gram and was very pleased that it matched up to my expectations 😻😻.WE LOVE TO SEE IT 🗣⁣

Baraka is a turtle rehabilitation centre run by local people; the turtles here have been rescued from fishermen capture. They are then nursed back to full health before being released back into the wild. You can wade through the shallow water in the low tide, and swim with fish and other small marine animals.

Price: $10 to get in and the seaweed needed to coax the turtles closer is provided. If you would like to snorkel, you can hire gear in destination.

Here are some tips for making the most of your time:

  • No prebooking – just arrive turn up and you will be directed to the location.
  • Arrive early just as they open to get a shot without other people – I say early rather than later because the sunlight hitting the water is something special.
  • The turtles are just trying to eat, so you can very easily bribe them with the seaweed provided 😂⁣
  • Seaweed is salty; so bring a towel and water to wash your eyes out. (I learnt the hard way 😂)
  • There are showers on site – so you can bring a change of clothes
  • It’s by no means a whole day activity.
  • The turtles will bite! Once they know you have the seaweed they’ll swarm.
  • The turtles have a rubbery texture and they don’t seem to mind you stroking them (follow any instructions given by the guides).
  • Don’t put on too much sunscreen if you plan to go into the water, it will contaminate the water and we don’t want that for the turtles.

Photo op tips:

  • When you walk in, find the cove to your right and coax turtles with seaweed. It’s a good point for a photo with no one else in.
  • If you want a picture on the podium in the middle, you’ll need someone high up to capture it for you.
  • If you’re a confident swimmer, go further out and again use the seaweed to coax the turtles

Most importantly, have fun! It’s an amazing experience.

As always, keep up to date with us on @trippinwithsj // @sarahambitious x

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Nungwi Beach

Nungwi Beach is one of the main areas you will find information about online when planning a visit to Zanzibar, and for good reason. It has powdery white sand, turqouise blue water that simply looks unreal – I remember standing in awe. I never get tired of looking at beautiful water.

Nungwi is all you expect from a tourist beach front; restaurants serving a variety of cuisines, water sports and regular party boats that include food, bottomless drinks and music you can groove to. I even got some beautiful henna done.

Here are 10 reasons you should visit Nungwi if you go to Tanzania:

  1. It’s an island paradise(!) 😍 (hyperbole?, yes but no)
  2. It’s warm all year round. Zanzibar is located near the equator and gets sunny weather most of the time, so tan me up please! (Averaging up to 32°C & 9 hours of sun) 🌞😎
  3. Beautiful sunset views. Again because Zanzibar is on the western coast at the top of the island, its perfect to get your insta moments and have people wishing they were laying up there too. You can enjoy a drink on a rooftop as the sun sets or get on a sunset cruise on a dhow. (Did someone say baecation criteria being ticked?) 🌅
  4. Experience nature up close. Baraka Natural Aquarium is a conservation site run by locals, but that deserves a blogpost all of its own. So keep an eye out 😉
  5. Nightlife! As the sun sets, the beach comes alive. Visit Cholo’s Bar – it’s the oldest in the village. 🥂
  6. Enjoy local flavours. There are countless restaurants that will cater to your tastes, you have everything from French inspired to classic Italian in addition to local flavours. 🥘
  7. Build a dhow. You won’t actually do the back breaking work yourself, but you can get a personal look at how it’s done. Dhows are used to catch fish and other seafood in Zanzibar, and some of the fisherman will give a ‘Dhow building 101’. 🚣🏾‍♀️
  8. Walk, walk, walk. Locals are used to tourists walking around, but please be respectful of the local culture and cover up – shoulders and knees. Try the village market and get the best in local fruits and veg. Try the local faves; date nut bread, fried plantains and octopus! Spice galore again – so much to take back home for friends and family.
  9. Melting pot of cultures. Nungwi beach is in Zanzibar which is an important location for the spice trade, trade always brings people together and as people pass through they leave bits of their culture behind. Asian, European and African cultures, can be seen in the religion, values and cuisine.
  10. Beach boys. The souvenirs will come to you, or maybe it’s a dhow cruise you’re after? Water sports? A picture. The Maasai people will try and sell it all, but they are not overbearing. A firm ‘no’, and they will leave you alone.

There are many beautiful beaches in Zanzibar, but Nungwi stays top 5 no debating. Nungwi has so much hustle and bustle, but you still feel secluded; I don’t know but it’s beautiful. 🧘🏾‍♀️

Best time to travel: All year round; June – October, January and February are the driest months

Places to eat: Le Macis Zanzibar

As always, keep up with us on @sarahambitious // @trippinwithsj x

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Mombasa

Mombasa is Kenya’s oldest and second-largest city. It sits along the coastline, so you’ll have access to fresh seafood! And beautiful coastline views.

Mombasa was one of those places that I found via Instagram, I love visiting as many places as possible in one trip. I love walking around old towns and learning all their old history, you see the things that were left behind and the parts that have been included into the present day-to-day life.

Places to visit:

13th century afro pick
  1. Fort Jesus. Mombasa offers a blend of cultures; due to the colonial past the mark of each group can be seen in the city walls. Fort Jesus which was built by the Portuguese – (well it was physically built by Kenyan slaves under the instruction of the Portuguese but I digress 👀). My guide explained how the Portuguese came very arrogantly, but their only motive was to trade. The British came and spread Christianity ✝️, the Omanis spread Islam ☪️ causing great divide amongst the coastal Kenyan people. ⁣It’s weird because a building that was used to oppress now offers a livelihood for so many in Old Town.⁣
a tortoise

2. Haller Park offers some more animal lovin’! It is the transformation of a quarry wasteland into an ecological area. Kenyans are serious about their nature conservation, (aside from it obviously making up for a significant amount of their GDP) they feel it’s their job to keep the animals and earth safe. Haller Park is a true marvel to me and one of the many things we LOVE to see. If you time your arrival well you’ll be able to see various animals at their feeding times – giraffes 🦒(not as phenomenal as the Giraffe Centre), crocodiles 🐊 , hippos 🦛 and some elderly buffalos 🐃 too. ⁣

⁣It’s a fun day out and can be tied on to the back end of your exploration of Mombasa. ⁣Insider tip: listen out for the story of the Haller millipedes.

3. Spice Market – spices, herbs, coffee or tea leaves. It would be silly to not grab a bag of something and bring it back home with you. I see it as extending your holiday ever so slightly, the Kenyan coffee and tea is the truth!

4. Moi Avenue – is known for two pairs of giant aluminium elephant tusks. The tusks were commissioned in the 50s for Queen Elizabeths visit to Kenya, they also serve as a reminder to Kenyan trade poachers that elephants should never be paoched for the ivory trade.

Places to eat: Cafesserie Mombasa

It’s also worth mentioning that if you are safari’d out, Mombasa is a great gateway to other areas of Kenya that allow you to experience some hiking and/or cycling. I genuinely think there’s something to do for every type of traveller in Kenya.

As always, keep up to date with us on @trippinwithsj // @sarahambitious x

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Maasai Mara

If you’ve watched Uncle Attenborough’s many animal documentaries, you will have heard of the Maasai Mara. The image of wildebeest and birds alike making the big migration.

Then if you love Lion King, I meannnnnn. I won’t go on too much, but my point is the idea of visiting this natural wonder has been in my mind and heart for a long time.

Now, in my experience of curating tailormade holidays; going on a safari is not cheap. So it was always a bucket list thing and I thought it would be unattainable for a while. However, when the opportunity to visit Kenya arose – I knew I couldn’t let the chance pass me by.

So, here they are – my tips on how to go on a safari in the most cost effective way. Hakuna Matata 😉

When to go: As with most trips, deciding what season you go will determine how much you spend overall.

  • December to February – it’s not dry season but when I went in December the weather was amazing, and we saw all of the Big 5 too. This time period will allow cheaper airfares, hotel stays and possibly discounted activities 🏌🏾‍♀️ (The weather was even good enough for a hot air balloon ride, but I’ll get into that later 😁)
  • June to October – is the ‘best time’ to visit Kenya as its during the Dry season. Late June to October are meant to be the the best wildlife viewing months. The wildebeest migration usually reaches the Masai Mara in August and remains until October when they move back to the Serengeti in Tanzania. 

As Kenya sits close to the equator, its seasons are the opposite of ours. So going in December I was greeted with at 26 degrees Celcius 😍😍

Where to stay: Outside

I would recommend setting aside 3 days minimum to make the most of your time in the Maasai Mara. This way if you miss animals on one day, there’s still more opportunities to see them. 

So, I’ve just told you to spend at least 3 days on the nature reserve. You’ve checked prices for lodges and you’ve come back to tell me I’m crazy 😜 

Relax friends, relax and walk with me 😂

I too, was impressed by the price of lodges on the nature reserve! If you have the funds to splash out, definitely stay on the nature reserve you save some time driving. However, if you want to save some coins – stay on a lodge just outside the gates of the Maasai Mara! They offer all the same services; game drives, glamping etc. but for a lot less. We even booked our hot air balloon tour with our accommodation. 

We were lucky enough to spot nearly all of the Big 5 during our game drive and we only needed to go on one day 🥺. A lot of the game drives will allow you to go again for free if you don’t see them on your first try. 

What to pack: Layersss

So I made a little song and dance about how warm it was in December. But, the temperature really does drop 🥶 as soon as the sun goes down and as it’s rising.

  • Hiking boots/weatherproof boots 
  • Hat 
  • Jumpers, cardigans (anything you can layer) 
  • Mosquito spray 
  • Water bottle
  • Camera
  • Torchlight 

Some people will go as far as hiring their own 4×4 and trying to drive the nature reserve themselves – you can do this and it will cut costs as you’ll only need to buy a ticket for entry. However, I wouldn’t recommend; I saw too many people stuck in the mud – literally. The guides who are local people, know the routes like the back of their hands and know how to navigate the plains. (You may also have the opportunity to visit one of the local Maasai families.)

Top site to see: Great Rift Valley

Other than the Maasai Mara itself, on your way there you will pass the Great Rift Valley.  The Earth moved when Kenya was created and the evidence can be seen with the Great Rift Valley, it cuts across the country’s length. There are lakes, savannahs and volcanoes that stretches from Jordan all the way to Mozambique. The drive from the city to nature reserve is quite long, so it makes a good stop for a photo op and a toilet break. The toilet is not anything fancy, so be prepared!

Stand-out excursion: Hot air balloon ride

Once in a lifetime means there’s no second chance…*clears throat* I’m all for saving your money on certain things so you can luxe out on others! We luxed out on a hot air balloon ride, and oh boy what a dream. 

You have to get up super early and it’ll be freezing, so driving around in a 4×4 with no heating sounds like a terrible idea. The ride you’re blessed with after you see the balloons being blown up tho? So worth it. 10/10 would recommend without a question.

After your flight you get to celebrate the succesful flight with everyone you flew with – there is a buffet breakfast and unlimited champage – (yes, I made myself countless mimosas). You get a certificate and a visual souvenir of the ride itself. Your guide is ready on the otherside to pick you up and take you back to base, or you can tie on a game drive since you’re already out there.

We hope this guide helps you get started on planning your own trip, or serves as a way back to fond memories of a safari trip.

Keep up with us on: @trippinwithsj x

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Tulum

An 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Cancun lies Tulum. I’d seen Tulum on the ‘gram and I would say it’s the ‘IT’ girl. Tulum has a rustic and chill vibe to it, but the time to turn up is still very much there.

Like most places there is a main ‘strip’ where all the action happens; in Tulum it’s also the Zona Hotelera. There are countless hotels, beach clubs and restaurants – not to forget the signs along the road that give you a dose of self love. I think Tulum is going for ‘eat, pray, love’ vibes and I’m not mad at it.

You get adequate doses of beach, food and views – one of the servers from a hotel on the strip told us their minimum spend was so high because you are getting the views. I appreciated the honesty, but it still didn’t justify spending so much for me.

Photo op on the beach

Where to stay:

  • Zona Hotelera
  • Centro
  • You don’t have to stay at a super expensive hotel, as everything is quite close to each other. Save your coin friends!
  • I stayed at the Mayan Monkey, as I am really glad I did. It’s a hostel with private rooms, they have a range of activities and its a great way to meet other travellers.

Getting around:

Regardless of how close your destination is in Tulum, you will pay $20 for the ride. So, getting around Tulum you will see people on bikes, quads, walking or driving – I’m a strong advocate for hiring a car as you have more freedom to do things. Something to note: parking on the main strip isn’t the easiest feat, so here are a few tips:

  • You may have to (or be better off parking) park further down and walking down.
  • You will have to pay for a parking spot each time you move, so find a central(ish) location to park and move from there.
  • The road to Zona Hotelera is small, there are many construction projects going on. So you can get caught up in some serious traffic as the day goes on.
  • Park by Coco Beach Tulum – it’s free parking!
  • The roads in Tulum are not the smoothest – so slow down.
Tulum sign (there’s a massage parlour right by this sign)
Beach views
Restaurant views

Places to visit:

  1. RAW LOVE – the open arm sculpture you are bound to have seen.
  2. Mia Restaurant – a chill vibe and a lovely photo op that makes you feel like you’re in Bali.
  3. IK LAB – an art gallery in the heart of Tulum (entry fee)
  4. The beach itself! – Go early to almost have it to yourself.
  5. Bagatelle – if you’d like something super boujie to do.
  6. La Eufemia – for a cheap and delicious eat on the strip. It’s a walk from the main sites
  7. Mistico – Restaurant and Shisha bar
  8. Chichen Itza – not exactly in Tulum, but close? enough.
  9. Tulum Ruins
  10. Countless cenotes, Tulum is located perfectly for exploration.
Tacos in central Tulum
Tacos from La Eufemia
Mia restaurant

There are supermarkets all around or if you are willing, you could go into the local community and buy some of their produce – an amazing way to give back! So whether you’re in an airbnb or hotel, you are covered.

I had amazing time in Tulum, and to think I was almost put off going! (Crazy)

Check our IG highlights to see some of these things live: @trippinwithsj // @sarahambitous

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Chichen Itza

We are avid World Wonder searchers, we’ve got a few under our belt – but still a fair few to go. So visiting Mexico, it was impossible to not visit the Chichen Itza. After reading so much about the Mayan civilisation, it was a dream come true to visit.

The Chichen Itza is a 2 hour drive from Tulum, and I highly recommend driving as opposed to getting on a tour with others. If you aim to get there for 9am, you’ll have the ruins to yourself for nearly and hour!

If you can go by yourself, DO NOT buy tickets online. They are inflated in price and it’s straightforward enough to do it yourself.

Price for the Chichen Itza on arrival

You have to pay 2 charges; one goes to the local government, the other is the actual admission fee. It comes up to roughly only £20!

Whilst it’s a good to save some money – I do recommend hiring a guide. There are many at the gate of the park and they wear an ID card so you can guarantee they’re official. If/when I do go back I will take the walk around alone and go at my own pace.

Remember to take a water bottle, hat and a waterproof jacket – it’s a lot of walking and there is no shade.

The most popular part of the Chichen Itza is no doubt El Castillo (pictured below)

However the Chichen Itza is much more than El Castillo. There is a cenote (you can’t swim in it), legend and science have it that it was used for disposing of human sacrifices.

Over the years human bones have been found inside. Another fun fact is that visitors were allowed to climb up the steps of the pyramid until a few years ago. It became forbidden after a woman fell to her death (!)

If you are not tired after a long day of exploring the park, I would recommend a stop in Valladolid. It’s a 45 minute drive from the ruins. It’s a quaint and colourful town; there are local jewelleries available to buy and an opportunity to try local food.

Every type of souvenir you could think of is also sold inside the park. Keychains, sculptures, bottle openers etc. As with everything – haggle, haggle, haggle.