In a remote village in Thailand…

After renting a moped in Thailand, I stopped at a small shop to ask for a petrol pump/gas station. Instead, the shop owner handed me a bottle of gasoline for purchase.

“Must be a peaceful country where they can sell gasoline in bottles.”, I said to myself, “In most parts of the world, people would use this as a petrol bomb during violent protests and riots.”

Petrol/Gasoline sold in bottles in Thailand

Petrol/Gasoline sold in bottles in Thailand

Things to do in Cusco (Peru)

Cusco or Cuszo, an Andean city in South America, was the seat of the Inca empire and is home to world-famous Machu Picchu. I would recommend staying near the city center of Plaza De Armas (“Parade Square”). Most tourist activities are in and around the area.

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Barcelona (Spain) in four days

Barcelona

  1. Public transport is good, get a Metro card with ten tickets, it can even be shared simultaneously.
  2. Beware of pickpockets.
  3. Credit card acceptance is high, but not 100%.
  4. Paella, a rice dish, is famous in Barcelona

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Madrid (Spain) in two days

Madrid, originally Myrit, was set up by Moors in about 700 AD, to fight against Catholic Spanish stronghold of Toledo which used to be the old capital of the Castile kingdom.

  1. Public transport is good, get a Metro card with ten tickets, it can even be shared simultaneously.
  2. Beware of pickpockets.
  3. Credit card acceptance is high, but not 100%.
  4. Churros + hot chocolate are famous in Madrid.
  5. The city has pedestrianized itself over time, so the city center is entirely car-free.

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Vienna in two days

Vienna is a historic city. First, a pivotal battle between the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe was fought in 1683, and then, during the second world war, significant support to Hitler came from Vienna.

Some tips for the first-timers

  1. The dominant spoken language is German, but it is not hard to find English speakers.
  2. Public transport is great and a 24-hour pass costs 8 Euros.
  3. Most of the good spots are near the city center, so don’t stay too far away.
  4. Toilets inside shopping malls, big grocery stores, and restaurants are usually free. Outside ones charge 0.5 Euro.

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Maui (Hawaii) in 4 days

Maui is a small but beautiful island of Hawai’i. Here is a recommended 4-day itinerary for Maui. This itinerary is a slightly modified version of what I was able to do. The public transport on the island is poor. For solo travel outside the rainy season, I would recommend renting a moped to go around. Otherwise, rent a car.

The island has a much more developed western part consisting of Kaanapali and Lahaina, which have major resorts.

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Cruising in French Polynesia

We sailed on the Windstar cruise in French Polynesia. On a 7-day cruise, we stopped on six different islands, including two days in Bora Bora.

The cruise ship has a crew of 99 and 74 staterooms for~150 passengers. This ratio ensures exceptionally personalized service, and you get to know pretty much everyone else on the ship. The crew members learn everyone’s name pretty quickly, and, especially, in our case, we got custom orders for vegetarian food of our choice regularly.

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French Polynesia – the basics

Getting to French Polynesia

Getting from the US to French Polynesia used to be hard and expensive, with Air Tahiti Nui being the only option from the Los Angeles airport (LAX). In 2018, French Bee and United Airlines started direct flights from San Francisco (SFO) to Papeete (PPT). Papeete, the main island, is relatively dull, and there is nothing much to do on it. The two best islands are Moorea and Bora Bora. Alternatively, one can take a 10+ day-long cruise from New Zealand or Australia.

Do check whether you need a TOM visa or not on the official website. For some nationalities like India, a French Schengen visa suffices.

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