Portugal highlights on a 2 week roadtrip

Portugal is a great country for visiting for 10/14 days as it has a heap of varied things to experience and not vast distances to cover.  By basing yourself in the 3 major areas of Porto / The Douro Valley, Lisbon, and the Algarve, you can use each as a hub for adventures nearby and also be able to stop off on a few places directly in between that are great for a couple of hours or so

 

Big highlights for me were actually some of the smaller places that I’d never heard of before I arrived in Portugal.  In particular the gorgeous Duoro Valley wine region, the hilltop town of Sintra and the beautifully charming streets of Cascais.  Plus, the more famous highlights of port tasting in Porto and various neighbourhoods of Lisbon

 

Each piece that makes up this itinerary has its own travel post, but I’ve also condensed the key points and listed some more general tips below

2 weeks itinerary for the highlights of Burma

Travelling in Burma (Myanmar) is a bit like being in a parallel world – like the rest of the world went one direction and Burma just took the other turn on the highway.  Whilst that may be starting to change a little bit as the country opens up more, you can be sure that there will be continued political swings that keep Burma as one of the countries firmly in the “unusual” bucket for travelers.  This, plus its series of genuinely world class attractions, makes it a superb travel destination for a 2 week trip

Burma for most people is all about the 4 key highlights of Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake.  All are definitely worth seeing and will form the core of any trip you make there.  Bagan, with its world-renowned temples spread in their thousands across the plain, and Inle Lake, with its stunning mirror effect and serene villages on stilts, are arguably the highlights, with Mandalay and Yangon as interesting cities that you need to fly into, but well worth the visit.  I’ve included them below in a 2 week itinerary that won’t be rushed whilst also making sure you get the most out of your time here

I’ve written below some further travel tips for travelling around Burma, but my 2 biggest tips are:

 

  • #1 Is it safe?  You will naturally have seen in the news Burma very often flaring up with the latest crisis and the story of the country is truly a sad one considering the repression in particular of the ethic minorities and continued belligerence of the military junta.  But, from a tourist point of view, such changes have not in the slightest stopped the country as it opens up more and more to overseas visitors.  Whilst it may sound like a country to avoid based on headlines, thousands more come to the country each year than the year before and flare ups occur only in the remote areas foreigners are not allowed in, and still with no tourists ever having come to harm because of the troubles.  There are far more countries in the world with far more dangers that receive far more tourists on a regular basis

 

  • #2 A feeling of real Burma.  Consider wandering off the beaten track just a little to see the real country that has been surprisingly untouched by the tourism wave of the 4 main sites.  One of the best adventures I’ve experienced was the 6 day trip down the Irrawaddy River by ferry in Northern Burma from Myitkyina (or you can start in Bhamo / Katha to reduce the time) to Mandalay.  Breathtaking mountainous jungle vistas, the chance to see the real local villages along the mighty Irrawaddy River, and the old echoes of the former colonial past.  A truly great travel experience and I’ve included the details in the travel entry – Exploring Northern Burma by train and ferry from Myitkyina, via Bhamo and Katha to Mandalay

10 days campervanning around the South Island of New Zealand

New Zealand’s South Island has some of the most rugged natural beauty of anywhere in the world with world famous sites such as the fjords of Milford Sound, the Frans Joseph and Fox glaciers, and the adrenaline sports of Queenstown, yet is also super accessible by road and very compact to get around.  The combination of these factors makes it one of the most appealing places for a roadtrip and I’ve listed below a great 10 day itinerary to get the best of the island