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As finals are off the radar and summer break is in full swing, many of you are wondering how to spend your three months of serenity. Here’s a list of some amazing places that I’ve been fortunate enough to visit, and highly recommend you to also. These five hot spots won’t disappoint.
5. Castaway Cay, Bahamas
Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay is available only to those traveling on the Disney Cruise Line. This island alone boasts a private water park, multiple snorkeling areas, excursions, and much more! Experience the thrill of parasailing or snorkel and interact with the tropical, underwater creatures of the Bahamas. Disney Character Greetings is also one of the popular activities, especially for younger kids as they get to meet the characters they love and adore from screen. If you’re a runner, participate in the Castaway Cay 5K, a marathon that extends across the island amid lush palm trees and turquoise waters, making it a tropical, fun run in the sun! And don’t fret about not finding a beach chair–there are enough chairs to accommodate Disney’s two largest ships at the same time, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy (each with a passenger capacity of 4,000+). To top things off, a barbeque lunch (hamburgers and hotdogs, not Texas style BBQ) is offered on the island! It’s a very exclusive experience and that’s why it’s #5 on our list.
4. Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei, in many ways, is similar to Houston, in level of development and climate. First off, you might have trouble if you don’t speak Chinese, but there are still many people who speak English. It is a very urbanized city, and you’ll be able to find all your American needs there, such as Nike and Starbucks. A useful tip to know: the outlets are the exact same as in the US, meaning that you don’t need to buy an adapter! Taiwan’s food is about as authentic as it can get. Walking down the streets filled with vendor’s stands, why not indulge in new and different savors including stinky friend tofu or fried scorpion! Try visiting the Din Tai Fung, a world-renowned restaurant known for its xiaolongbao (soup dumplings). Why not visit the former world’s tallest building, Taipei 101? No matter what you do, you’re almost guaranteed an enjoyable experience. To sum things up, a Carnegie student describes Taiwan as “a cool place with good tapioca, friendly people, exotic fruits, wonderful night markets, tall buildings, and excellent city life.” Is there anything else more to say?
3. Jerusalem, Israel
Jerusalem is a city rich with culture, history, and religion. Visit the Mount of Olives and get a spectacular view of the entire city. Take a tour of the Old City and take an opportunity to touch the Western Wall, the last remnant of the Temple Mount, or travel through the Western Wall tunnels and see the amazing architecture of the time. Why not sign up for an archaeological dig? Take a trip to Masada, and visit one of Israel’s most popular tourist attractions. While you’re there, visit the Dead Sea and float in the extremely salty waters that everyone has been talking about. Don’t forget to take some mud for a Dead Sea facial treatment! But be wary about the tourist traps what you believe you can’t get anywhere else is most likely available in the US for cheaper! This is an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience that’s hard to forget!
2. Paris, France[masterslider id=”8″]
Who doesn’t want to visit here at least once in their life? It’s the “City of Lights,” and it’s given that name for a reason. Every evening, the Eiffel Tower shines bright in the dark, the Champs-Élysées never sleeps, and nothing ceases to move. Take a trip to the Louvre and view DaVinci’s “Mona Lisa;” immerse yourself in French culture or drop on by the Air France Headquarters to take a quick picture! Go shopping on the Champs-Élysées and visit the “American Embassy” AKA McDonalds. If you do ever find yourself in Paris, redeem the time to try some macaroons from the famous French bakery and sweet maker, Ladurée! Don’t forget the crêpes and escargot. I mean, if you’re there, do what you can’t do back home. While you’re there, why not take a 2 hour Eurostar journey below the English Channel to reach our next destination, London.
1. London, England
There’s a certain joy in riding the Tube over and over again; it’s just something that we can’t experience here in Houston on a day to day basis. London is infamous for its terrible traffic: don’t drive, just walk or take the Tube. Or, you can take the red double decker buses to view all the rich historic sites and buildings of London. Visit the British Museum to see the Parthenon (well, part of it), or visit the scenic London Bridge (the more impressive one is Tower Bridge, not London Bridge). If you’re willing to wait in line for over three hours, go ahead, take a ride on the iconic London Eye and get a spectacular view of the city and the Thames River. If you’re not interested in waiting, you can stop by the London Aquarium or the McDonalds right by the long queues for the London Eye, or walk for five minutes to see Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. Need ideas for a day excursion? Hop on a two hour train to tour the college city of Cambridge and learn about all of its history and charm. Who knows, you might even see Stephen Hawkings there! Another fun excursion is to take a ferry from Westminster to Greenwich to see the Prime Meridian! You get impressive, extra bragging rights for being able to “straddle” two different hemispheres at the same time. And Harrod’s at Knightsbridge is a must-do for first timers to the city. This is hands down my favorite international destination to. I highly recommend to any/all of the destinations mentioned, but I STRONGLY urge that you visit London as soon as possible to see what’s so amazing for yourself.
So enjoy your relaxing summer vacation that’s just in a few weeks, and give us a shoutout of any other places that you enjoy visiting!