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Editor’s pick: Italy’s hidden gems

Here are our top five gems in Italy:

1. Tuscany: 

Explore the traditional Italian countryside, it is well renowned for its wine and food! Hiring a car is the best way to get to the vineyards, isolated villages and historic sites- such as San Gimignano for the many towers unchanged since the middle ages; Monteriggioni to spot the odd film star; and Bagno Vignoni to visit traditional Roman baths.

Sienna is a major spot and easily accessible.» >

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Italy: A trip to the Venetian Carnival

Courtesy of Emma Reeves

The City of artisan showrooms, bohemian-chic fashion, serpentine architecture, murano glass jewellery, masquerade balls, renaissance masterpieces and historic waterways. Venice is a city once visited and never forgotten. In February 2008 I embarked on a city break to Venice with my family, where we stayed four nights in the height of the worlds most renowned masked extravaganza the Venice Carnival; and ever since then I have been more than desperate to return.» >

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Editor’s pick: Thailand’s hidden gems

Here are our five other hidden gems of Thailand:

1. Pai, North Thailand – here’s where you can ride an Elephant at many of the Elephant camps they have; take a two/ three day jungle trek up into the mountains and stay with a hill-tribe for a night or two (drinking whiskey and trying their local cuisine). Another bonus is immersing yourself in the hot springs for a thorough exfoliation!
Also, have you ever fancied tubing in Vientiane, Laos?» >

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Thailand: The budget backpacker…

My love affair with Thailand began on my first trip around the world in 2010.  Bright eyed and eager I left the UK; human size backpack in tow, the world my oyster. My bank account (previously healthy) was drained by the delights of LA, New Zealand and Australia. It was not looking good for entering Asia.

So here it is, Thailand on a budget.

Where to go and how: 

Start in Bangkok: visit the notorious Khao San Road and experience the miss-matched ensemble of bright lights, crazy tuk-tuk drivers, thriving street sellers and charismatic lady boys.» >

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Don’t Worry – IT’S FIJI TIME!

The sound of the assembly hall coming alive with the children’s leaving song pricked tears from my eyes as it dawned on me that home was on the horizon. Home, it seemed a hazy memory after experiencing life in the remote south pacific. Home, where people wore shoes and were on time – what was that again? After a seven hour delay, the supposed welcoming sight of three Fijian’s merrily singing with guitars was suffocated by the lack of air conditioning.» >

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Interested in taking a year abroad?

This is for everyone planning their year abroad, or anticipating an upcoming adventure which will take them to unknown realms, in every way possible. Whether it is venturing to lands after, or simply getting your dissertation in on time. Change is on the horizon and you have every reason to be excited, although at present you may be terrified. This time last year, I did not think about my impending move to Germany (land of the sausage) too much.» >

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Vietnam: The Journey for South to North

An extract from Hannah Banks’ blog, ‘HanBanksy’:

My time in South-East Asia was coming to a close. I had three weeks left and these were to be spent backpacking from the south of Vietnam to the north. For the past month I had spent it in Cambodia teaching English at a primary school in Siem Reap. My journey through Vietnam began with a goodbye to the teaching and forest volunteers we left behind in Phnom Penh, before taking a short tuk tuk ride to the bus station and waiting for hours for our night bus to leave for Vietnam – we found out later that the driver had taken a nap.

» >

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Hong Kong – An Asian City of extremes

From the metro I caught flashes of skyscrapers reaching upwards and competing for space. Bright advertising lights painted in any gaps in the metropolis. The fauna of the hills loomed in the background, now a distant memory after spending a few days in the bustle of the concrete jungle; full of an array of sights, sounds and life. Hong Kong. Originally a stop over to break the longitude of travelling on to Australia as part of my backpacker adventure, I had not really known what to expect apart from a bustling city.» >

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