Just to the East of mainland Spain, there are four Spanish islands that make up the Balearic Islands. While they are classed as Spain, they are quite diverse and different from the mainland Spain. The islands are Ibiza, Menorca, Mallorca, and Formentera. With great beaches and great weather, it can be hard to know where to visit first. So here is a bit of a breakdown to the Balearic Islands, to help you choose where your next vacation may be.
The island of Ibiza has long been known as a bit of a party town, wih mentions in many pop songs and some world-renowned clubs and DJsperforming there. And while this is true, there is plenty more to the island than just clubbing. The north of the island has a very bohemain character and feel to it, with a very relaxed atmosphere, with many great places to eat and dine. Ibiza Town, the capital, has some unique history to explore, as well as being closer to the clubbing scene.
The largest island of them all, Mallorca has a lot to offer and is a popular spot for families. There are some of the clinches about being a Spanish island, with plenty of high-rise buildings by the beach. However, there is more to the island than that, especially if you go slightly more inland to stay somewhere like Marriott’s Club Son Antem in Llucmajor near Palma. There are some stunning mountains, beautiful coves, and some quaint old towns.
To the east of Mallorca is the smaller island of Menorca. It has a more relaxed feel to it than the previous two islands, and is much less of a party or clubbing destination. There are some adorable little port towns, like Ciutadella, and the port in the capital is actually one of the deepest in the world. There are some modern resorts, as well as plenty of options to stay closer to the sea or rent villas more in-lands.
The island of Formentera is a pretty tiny, and does often get forgotten about when you think about the Balearics. It has some of the best beaches out of the whole lot of them, though, so doesn’t deserve to be overlooked. While there isn’t a lot else to do there, the place has a certain rustic charm that can make it worth the trip. It is quite exclusinve as far as islands go.
The Balearics are easy to access from Spain by boat or flight, but there are many other places like the UK, that offer direct flights to them. Because the islands are smaller, and have to prepare for the tourists, they cna cost a little more than mainland Spain might. However, the islands are pretty small, and you may not even need to hire a car to explore it all. It can be pretty easy to go from each island too, so if you can’t choose which one to go to, then you might not have to.
Iceland has a story to tell. The beauty of Iceland travels far and wide and we knew in our hearts that it is a must to visit this country – someday. Reality cannot compete with imagination. The beautiful landscapes look so stunning in pictures and they were breathtaking during our trip there.
We kick off our Iceland’s travelogue by introducing the best way to travel. That is self driving. The Golden Circle covers more than 300 km and the Ring Road (the main national road) covers over 1,300 km. By self-driving, we get to travel at your own pace and explore Iceland’s majestic nature, with its national parks, beautiful waterfalls, striking glaciers, magnificent volcanoes and geothermal areas.
RENTING A CAMPERVAN
Driving in Iceland is a different ball game. The driver’s seat is on the left-side and driving is on the right lane. That’s 360 degree different from our driving in Singapore. We scouted many car rental companies and finally managed to rent a Fiat Ducato campervan which the best we could find. As it is winter season, renting any bigger vehicle may not be readily available as Iceland’s weather is erratic and unpredictable posing dangers to bigger vehicles.
Hey, back to driving manual gear after a long time.
After arriving at Keflavik Airport, we were picked up by our car rental company personnel and here we are, at the warehouse going through car inspection and briefing before hitting the roads.
One of the best features we love about renting a campervan is the availability of beds to sleep while we are on the go. For this trip to Iceland, we were adventurous and didn’t book any hotel accommodation before arriving at Keflavik Airport. We have many places to cover and having heard many stories of harsh weather conditions and impassable roads, we have no idea where we will be stopping at the end of each day. Thus, it doesn’t make sense to book hotel accommodation and realizing that we may not be able to reach the destination due to unforeseen circumstances. So, we take each step as it goes.
The campervan has sleeping facilities for up to four. It has a kitchen with a stove, sink, small fridge with a freezer and basic utilities including heater. Everything is included in the price, toiletries, kitchen appliances, covers for the bed and propan gas for the stove.
Mum’s little kitchen. We get to cook and eat along our way 🙂
We can also store our luggages at the back of the campervan.
8 TIPS ON DRIVING IN ICELAND
Singaporeans do not need to apply for international driving license to drive in Iceland. Some important tips to know if you decide to self-drive:
- Download 112 Iceland App.
The 112 Iceland app can be used for two things, both for added safety on your Iceland trip.
Red Emergency button – When you activate this red button, your location will be sent by text message to the 112 response center. Remember that even though your phone shows no signal there is a possibility that you can send text message.
Green Check In button – For you to leave your location for Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue if something happens they have more information to worked with. It is able to store your last 5 locations.
2. Apply for Maximum Car Insurance Coverage
Check here for more information on safe travel in Iceland. Better to be safe than sorry. Get the maximum coverage for a peace of mind. The conditions can be dangerous and unpredictable especially during winter. Even the most experienced driver may never know what will happen. We personally experience storms, blizzards, blind hills, blind curves and extremely low road visibility during the night that we need to use high beam for most of the journey. At times, strong winds were slapping the campervan vigorously at both sides that the steering wheel had to be held tightly before the vehicle veered off the tracks.
Accidents are real and can happen anytime. Our campervan almost flipped when the side tyres fell into the slope and couldn’t recover back to the road.
It was raining and we were in the middle of the forest. We thank the Lord for His protection as we met an Icelandic couple who helped us to call the farmers to use a jeep to pull our campervan out of the slope.
3. Credit Card Pin Number is Required
We never know credit card pin number is needed until this trip. The petrol kiosks in Iceland are self-service and you need to key your credit card pin number in order to activate the pump. The cheapest fuel station is Orkan.
4. Speed Limit / Speed Camera
The general speed limit is 50km/hr in urban areas, 80km/hr on gravel roads in rural areas, and 90km/hr on asphalt roads and 70km/hr in tunnels. There are speed cameras located all over the country monitoring the speed.
5. Road Assistance
The Road and Coastal Administration (IRCA) uses this website to circulate information about road conditions and the weather. Roads may become impassable the next moment and you may not be able to reach your hotel. No wonder it is more popular to visit Iceland during summer. Check here to get the updated information on road conditions and weather.
6. Local Weather Website
Click here to get updated latest weather forecast. You can plan your itinerary beforehand but always be prepared to change your course during the road trip due to changing weather conditions.
7. Aurora Forecast
Here’s the real deal. Aurora Borealis season in northern polar latitudes (Alaska, northern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Siberia) runs from August to April. Everyone is chasing the aurora and so are we! There is no guarantee of sighting the aurora but you can still refer to the forecast here to increase your chances. The white shaded part indicates the sky clear from clouds, increasing likelihood of aurora sightings. Green shaded part indicates the sky is covered with clouds, so very low chances of catching Ms. Aurora 🙂
8. Cheapest Grocery Stores
WE EAT, COOK & SLEEP OUTDOORS
Hey, we experienced brand new adventures everyday in Iceland! Thousands of miles were covered…
And for first time, we get to sleep outdoors in a campervan. No parking fee is required. We can park anywhere that is safe from other traffic. We rested at petrol station, next to motel, waterfalls, volcano, glaciers and many more.
Some say Iceland is the most beautiful country on earth. What do you think? You should be here too! Stay tune for more blog posts on our Iceland travelogue.
A must-see attraction in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, Ben Thanh market is a bustling attraction where tourists could just shop and taste real Vietnamese food. There is a number of vendors displaying eye-catching local handicrafts, apparels, souvenirs, silk fabrics, embroidery and brocade and many more cute gifts that tourists can bring back to friends and family.
Vendors and food stalls in the market food section that offers guests dishes freshly made to the order. Here, one can taste various kinds of local dishes.
The food court is open from dawn and the most vibrant at nightlife. Starting from 7 pm daily, over 170 stalls concentrate along Phan Boi Chau Street and Phan Chu Trinh Street.
Goods for daily use. Looking nice but Ben Thanh market is known for inflating the prices up to two or three times the original value.
Shops selling spices, grocery, cosmetics and colorful candies and great Vietnamese coffee bean/powder.
It is no secret that Ben Thanh Market is possibly the most visited place in Ho Chi Minh City. While it may not be the best location for shopping, every tourist knows their trip to Ho Chi Minh City cannot be completed without a visit to Ben Thanh market to experience Vietnam at its original.
Address: Ben Thanh Market, Lê Lợi, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam (Intersection of Le Loi, Ham Nghi, Tran Hung Dao Avenues and Le Lai Street, Ho Chi Minh City 70000, Vietnam)