Take an adventure with Travelling King through this series, showing you all the wonderful cities of the world from A to Z. We have joined up with countless amazing Travel Bloggers throughout this series to come up with some great experiences about these cities. We will tell you why we love these cities, what we love doing and suggest a few places to stay.
See the previous letter – Amazing cities around the world…. Starting with A
Beijing is the capital of China and dates back 3 millennia and is home to parts of the Great wall of China, the Forbidden city and of course the famous Peking Duck! (add post). Bejing receives 140 million Chinese tourists and 4.4 million international visitors per year!
I can remember my last trip to Beijing, we flew into Beijing airport, getting ready to land, the landing was aborted and we were redirected to Shanghai as the smog was so bad the pilots could not properly see the runway, needless to say when we touched down in Beijing a few hours later I was very impressed with the pilots as when I looked out my window, you could barely see the runway! We were however very lucky to be able to see the Great Wall China on one of the few blue sky days Beijing gets.
Karolina & Patryk tell us why they love Beijing –
Beijing is a city full of surprises. In contrary to most people think, it’s not extremely crowded and dark. Before we have visited this city, we thought that the air pollution is so high there, that we won’t be able to see the person we are talking to! We were wrong. The sun was shinning beautifully during 2 weeks of our stay and the air was pretty clean.
What we love about Beijing? Mainly the architecture. Forbidden City, Great Wall of China, Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square are only examples of the beautiful places to visit in this city. Can you believe that Peking is more than 3,000 years old? It has one of the richest history of all the capital cities in the world. We really loved everything about Beijing and we can’t wait to visit this place again.
Weird fact and outlandish Laws about Beijing:
Fact: 35,000 people still live in caves!
Law: Persons may only bear one child or risk paying a substantial fine. (Update – this has changed to a max of 2 children in 2015)
Paul from Boracay Compass tells us about Boracay
The vibe I feel especially in Boracay is way more positive then in other countries. When I travel outside of the country I notice the difference immediately. I haven’t travelled to a hundred countries though, so I can’t compare it to the whole world. But from the countries I’ve been to (10 or so) the Philippines is by far the friendliest and with the best sense of humour.
One of the things I love to do in Boracay is eat in the many different restaurants. Some people online say that the island is overdeveloped, and while this is true to some extend… But, it also comes with its advantages, like the many restaurants you can choose from, good internet, a great nightlife etc…
I eat out on a budget most of the time, so I’ve learned to enjoy the local flavours. A local meal can be had for about P50/$1 – P100/$2. The majority of restaurants serve international cuisine though, from Italian, to Korean to Moroccan etc. There’s a lot of choice.
Weird fact and outlandish Laws about Boracay:
Interestingly enough I couldn’t find anything weird about Boracay, hardly surprising its an awesome place!
Bulawayo is the city of my birth and where lived til early 2000, sadly the country went downhill, however it is still a lovely place to travel to (just don’t get any ideas of living there!).
Bulawayo is the second largest city in Zimbabwe, the city itself is beautiful, the streets are lined with Bougainvillea and Jacaranda trees that blossom beautiful purple flowers (which sadly play havoc with your senses if you are prone to hay fever).
One of Zimbabwe’s biggest and well known attractions is Victoria Falls and while not in Bulawayo, you can take a train (472km) on one of the classic British-built coaches. Fares are $15 for first class sleeper (worth it!).
If you don’t have time to go to Vic Falls you can still enjoy all that Zimbabwe has to offer by visiting the UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site Matobo National Park. Matobo National Park is also the site of the grave of Cecil John Rhodes as well as a breeding ground for white rhinoceros. Or check out the Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage and Research Centre, the home of animals which have been orphaned, abandoned, injured, born in captivity or brought up unsuccessfully as pets which have little hope for survival in the wild. You can make a small donation to help them continue their good work here
Weird fact about Bulawayo:
The first bank to be opened by the Standard Bank of South Africa (now known as Stanbic in Zimbabwe) was under a bell tent on 4 May 1894.
Sacha tells us about Berlin
Berlin is repellent, loud, dirty and grey. Construction and clogged streets wherever you – but I pity everyone who can not live here”*. I guess this quote is what you could call a veiled compliment, but it’s something almost everyone can agree with. We Berliners are considered rude, economically speaking we’re poor and until a few years ago I could count the decent restaurant using my digits. But and this is a big but, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else – and I tried, sure now that I’m back here and need to get out all the time, but nothing beats the feeling that I have, spotting Berlin through the windows of an airplane.
I could go on and on and on about our amazing history that is visible all over the city, from the Berlin Wall to Prussian palaces that tell a tale about our ruler’s tendency towards megalomania.I could tell you about the many parks and waterways that offer shade and refreshment, I could talk about the the uncounted museums and theatres, the famous landmarks or the incredible clubs where you can non-stop party from Thursday to Monday before having to change the location.
If it’s your first time in Berlin, I strongly advise to do a bike tour. My employer Berlin on Bike offers guided tours in English, Dutch and German every day of the week. Or you could just rent a bike in of 100s of stations and get lost on your own time. But one thing is for sure, the bike is simply the best and fastest way to get around town, the city is flat with less traffic then elsewhere.
If you like food, there are some regular Streetfood gatherings, like Street Food Thursday in Kreuzberg or Streetfood alf Achse in Prenzlauer Berg, right around the corner from Mauerpark where there is something like a festival every Sunday
*Annelies Bödecker, social worker
Weird fact and outlandish Laws about Berlin:
– On a daily basis the local pigeons in Berlin poop about 10,000 kilogram of excrements on the streets of Berlin (ew!).
– The East side Gallery is the longest open air gallery in the world, 1.3km along the Berlin Wall.
– Berlin is considered the greenest city in the Germany, with 44% of Berlin is made up of parks, rivers and wooded areas.
– It is illegal to wear masks if you go on strike or to a political demonstration
– A pillow can be considered a “passive” weapon, according to German law.
– It’s against the law to deny a chimney sweep access to your home if he or she demands it.
Anna from Adventure In You tells us about Bolzano
This small unassuming town surprised us by proving to be one of our favourite destinations when we were in Europe. I don’t know if it was the quite local feel of the town, the stunning scenery, or maybe it was the hospitality of our couchsurfing host and her lovely family. Spend your days hiking along the beautiful and famed dolomite mountains. Admire the natural phenomenon of the earth pyramids which are cone pyramid like shaped pillars made of clay with large boulders on top.The South Tyrol, the province that encompasses Bolzano has many hidden surprises waiting to be discovered.
It was a spur of the moment decision for us to head there but it was one that we do not regret one bit! The kindness of the locals make it the perfect location to couchsurf. Although there are plenty of hotel choices, we opted to go local and ended up enjoying it a lot. Our tip? Spend as much time as you can hiking the mountains and following the many trails!
Weird fact and outlandish Laws about Bolzano:
None to be found ?!
Bangkok is one of my favourite Thai cities and is actually the capital of Thailand. One of my favourite things to do was to sit on my hotels (Shangri-La) balcony and watch all the boats along the massive Chao Phraya River.
There’s no shortage of things to do in this thriving citty from visiting the Rattanakosin royal district, home to the opulent Grand Palace and its sacred Emerald Buddha temple. Nearby is Wat Pho with its enormous reclining Buddha and, on the opposite shore, Wat Arun with its steep steps and Khmer-style spire. After a day of touring head up to one of the many rooftop bars to enjoy a cold refreshing cocktail and amazing view of Bangkok (which goes on as far as the eye can see!).
Take a short day trip out to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Ayutthaya which was the former capital city of Thailand which was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767.
Weird fact and outlandish Laws about Bangkok:
– Bangkok hosts the world’s largest street water fight known as Songkran festival, even the police get involved in the fun!
– There is a dildo shrine located at the “Shrine of the Goddess Tubtim” on the grounds of the Swissotel Nai Lert Hotel.
– Leaving the house without underwear in Bangkok can land you a short stay in jail.
– Do not step on Thai currency as you will be stepping on the King. Just do yourself a favour and don’t mention anything about the King or royal family either.
– Do not touch someone on the head or point with your foot (while its not a law its considered a great insult).
Chasa from The Awkward Traveler tells us about Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain where people stay out late and party, but it’s not all partying! There are plenty of other things to do while you are there. The beach I swam in was the Balearic Sea which is a part of the Mediterranean Sea, which I thought was pretty cool! This beach was a topless beach, but there really were not that many topless women. The ones I did see were older people.
I also went at a place called LA LUNA, I can’t remember actually eating there, but I had my first chocolate martini and it was the worst thing I ever drank. It took us forever to find this place. We actually bumped into a group of guys, one was from New York, one was Russian, and maybe the other guy was form Spain. They all spoke English. I sort of freaked out when they first started talking to us because no one really made an effort to talk to us except the people at the hostels. They were the ones that pointed in the direction of the restaurant.
Weird fact and outlandish Laws about Barcelona:
– There were no beaches in Barcelona until 1992, all the beaches are made man!
– It’s common, people drop their napkin to the ground after cleaning their mouth to show their meal was enjoyable.
– The worst drivers in the world are considered to be Barcelona’s drivers. In the city an accident occur every 19 seconds !
– It’s against the law to wear swimming attire on public streets.
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, its considered one of the oldest cities in the world, dating back to more than 5,000 years ago. The first historical mention of Beirut is found in the ancient Egyptian Tell el Amarna letters dating from the 15th century BC
Stop off and gorge yourself on a platter of mezze or take a guide tour through Beirut Old City walk for a short history lesson. Or visit a A UNESCO World Heritage Site – the City of the Sun which was one of the most celebrated sanctuaries of the ancient world and end the day with either the 9 minute ride on the Téléphérique cable car from the Bay of Jounieh to the Our Lady of Lebanon shrine in Harissa is well worth taking, especially at sunset or take a stroll along the Corniche at sunset affords a glimpse of the city in all its glory.
Weird fact and outlandish Laws about Beirut:
– Lebanon is the only Arab country that has absolutely no desert.
– The city of Beruit has been destroyed and built as much as 7 times
-In springtime, and on the same day, you can ski in the mountains and/or swim in the sea
– Anyone who uses the name of God in vain will be jailed from a month up to a year.
– If a man catches his wife or any of his female relatives engaging in sex outside of wedlock, he can kill or injure her in a moment of passion and receive a lenient sentence.
– Car owners can be arrested and charged if someone steals their car and then has a heart attack and dies.
Jyotsna from Wander with Jo tells us about Bandung
Bandung is a lazy student/IT town in Indonesia. I lived there for 11 months and loved every bit of it – friendly people, scrumptious food and a lively nightlife. Bandung is also a cultural hub with a artistic side. Surrounded by mountains, volcanoes and tea plantations, this is one amazing city with a view and pleasant climate throughout the year. It is the capital of West Java district and even though a bit crowded there is always tons to do in / around the city.
Things to do – Go for hikes, explore caves or see volcanoes. Sometimes just a drive up north gives you excellent city views and is really enjoyable.
Where to Stay – North Bandung is surely the best place to stay with breathtaking views and away from the pollution and crowded city. In Resor Dago Pakar you can rent lavish villas for dirt cheap rates (Especially if you book for a month). That is surely the best place to live with lovely views and ample eating out options.
Weird fact and outlandish Laws about Bandung:
– Street vendor is a common scene in Bandung, especially at traffic light junctions. There are those who sell newspapers, cigarettes, toys, shampoos and some even perform monkey tricks.
I love Battambang! Not that I have regrets but leaving Battambang to spend a month in Siem Reap is a move I wish I could have back.
Battambang is between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh so most tourists overlook it, yet as soon as I arrived at Here Be Dragons hostel I knew it was going to be a happy place. Proven true when I returned a second time for 10 days.
The city is not overrun with people, it’s almost like a massive village. Everyone is friendly and Here Be Dragons is magical as they have everything you need there. A bar, TV, restaurant, heaps of chairs, ping pong tables and best of all…you can put it all on your tab and pay at the end of your stay.
The Bamboo Train is also one of the most random yet awesome tourist activities yet. Who wouldn’t want to trundle along at reasonably quick speeds on train tracks while sitting on a thing platform with a bamboo blanket….
Weird fact and outlandish Laws about Battambang:
– Battambang that has the most temples in Cambodia
Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Claudia from My Adventures Across the World tells us about Buenos Aires
Known as “The Paris of South America,” Argentina’s capital is a fantastic city that mixes European looks with a relaxed Latin vibe: here, state of the art modern buildings sit next to graceful colonial ones; large boulevards leave way to narrow, cobbled alleys; and the trendy Porteños carry around their mate wherever they go. Buenos Aires has something for everyone – art and museum lovers, shopaholics, football fanatics and foodies.
Every time I visit Buenos Aires I enjoy walking around, mixing with the local life. I sit at a café and observe life; I then make my way to Puerto Madero, one of my favorite areas in town where I can admire the Puente de la Mujer, a masterpiece of architect Calatrava. I also enjoy sitting in Plaza de Mayo, meeting point for the mothers of the desaparecidos – the many who disappeared during the dictatorship. I have also resolved that next time I am in town I will attend a futból match at La Bombonera, to hopefully watch a superclásico – Boca Juniors v. River Plate. I am not really into football, but I think watching a match in Buenos Aires must be an incredible experience.
My favourite area of town in terms of accommodation is San Telmo. It is one of the most charming barrios, and although it is right in the city centre, it has a great local atmosphere.
Weird fact and outlandish Laws about Buenos Aires:
– The Tango started as a risqué improvisation in Brothels in Buenos Aires
– On June 19, 1892, Francisca Rojas’s two children were found stabbed to death in their rural home in the Province of Buenos Aires. Rojas became the first person in the world to be found guilty through fingerprint evidence.
– At least 1 in 30 Argentines undergo cosmetic surgery, and due to the low costs of the procedures, it’s become a hub for cosmetic surgery tourism.
– The Argentine government doesn’t want you to get too comfy. Featherbeds were officially made illegal because lawmakers believed “such an indulgence induces and encourages lascivious feelings,”
– There is a pre-approved list of names that one can only choose from when naming a newborn, there is approx 13,800 names of the list.
– There are no right on red anywhere, unless posted. Also no left turns in 4 way intersections where there is no arrow allowing it.
– Blood tests are required before you get married, if you have an STD you are not permitted to get married.
Adelina from Pack me to tells us about Budapest
Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, made up of the quiet hills of Buda and the vibrancy of Pest, is a fantastic place to explore. From its quirky ruin bars to fantastic markets and majestic monuments, this city has captured my heart. For those wanting to be right in the middle of the action, I suggest staying on the Pest side of the Danube river. The Wombats Hostel is centrally located or if you’d like a more home-like setting the Nova Apartments are comfortable. Otherwise, a hotel on the Buda side will offer a quiet respite from the hustle of the city.
Budapest is a walking city. Once you’re in the centre, the best way to explore the city on foot. My favourite views are from Fisherman’s Bastion on the Buda side which overlooks the rest of the city and from the top of Gellért Hill. Be sure to book ahead for a tour of the beautiful Parliament buildings. The interior is beautiful and you get a glimpse of the Hungarian crown jewels as well. After a day of walking, there is nothing better than a good soak in some thermal water. Luckily, Budapest is built on top of lots of it, giving you plenty of options. Szechenyi is my favourite because the building it is housed in is so gorgeous, but other baths, like Gellért, are just as grand. To end the day, hopping from ruin bar to ruin bar is an experience unique to Budapest. Start at the most famous ruin bar, Szimpla Kert, before moving on to other favourites like Fogazház, Instant and Kuplung. Be sure to explore each of the different rooms which are all uniquely furnished, before moving on to the next bar.
Weird fact and outlandish Laws about Budapest
– There are sensor lights in public toilets in Budapest (can be a little scary when the light goes out mid-pee!)
– Budapest has the oldest subway-line in mainland Europe
– Headaches and bad moods are caused by the weather or by the wind blows
– When you get married your husbands last name becomes your first name and your first name becomes your last name
– There is a list of approved names you can use when you have children
Katie from Around the World in KT Days tells us about Burlington
If adventure in the outdoors is something that interests you, then Burlington is right your alley. Sitting on Lake Champlain in the northwest corner of Vermont is where you will find this picturesque New England town. It’s an amazing place to visit (and live) and no matter what season you find yourself in Burlington, there will be something to draw you in.
The laid back atmosphere, friendly people, proximity to mountains, incredible food and even better beer is what keeps me coming back to Burlington. No matter what season it is, there is something to fun to do; though summer is my favourite. Biking on the Burlington bike path, cliff jumping at Red Rocks, paddle boarding at Oakledge Park – the summers in Burlington are well deserved and super fun!
After a day of hiking, biking or skiing, my favourite thing to do is relax at the Farmhouse – a farm-to-table restaurant serving up some of the best burgers and beer around.
The perfect day in Burlington would include strolling along Church Street (the pedestrian promenade and epicentre of town) then exploring the downtown food scene. Once you are full of delicious food, head to the lake and go for a bike ride along the Shores of Lake Champlain. End your night watching the sunset over the lake and the Adirondack Mountains.
I would recommend staying at Hotel Vermont – a new-ish hotel in walking distance of almost everything.
Weird fact and outlandish Laws about Burlington
– Two towns in Vermont made history in 2008 when they passed resolutions calling for the arrest of then-President George W. Bush and his Vice President, Dick Cheney.
– Ben & Jerry’s (ice cream brand) give their ice cream waste to local farmers to feed to their hogs.
– At one point in history, Vermont had more cows than people.
– It’s illegal to undress in public in Vermont, but if you leave your house naked, it’s totally fine
– It is against the law to whistle underwater.
– It used to be legal to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole in Vermont (why!)
– It’s illegal to paint a horse
– In the city of Barre, all residents are required to bathe every Saturday night.
– If you’re a woman and you want to get false teeth, you’re going to have to ask your husband for a written letter of permission.
Hannah from Getting Stamped tells us about Banff
There are so many amazing cities starting with the letter B Bangkok, Berlin, Budapest, Barcelona, Boracay, but my favourite is Banff. Banff is located in Canada and should be on everyone’s bucket list. When most people think of Banff they think of skiing, well I don’t ski and I still love Banff. There are a ton of things to do in Banff for non-skiers as well. We like to stay right in town so that we can walk to the restaurants, bars, and shops. We have found the Red Carpet Inn has reasonable rates and a great location. Basing ourselves in town we like to get out and explore during the day and then back in town at night. My favourite things to do in Banff are kayak around Lake Louise, hike to Peyto Lake lookout, ride the Lake Louise Resort gondola to the top for amazing views, visit Lake Moraine, and just drive around the Banff area is so photogenic. I just love everything about Banff and know you will too.
Weird fact and outlandish Laws about Banff
– Often during the months of April and May, you could go skiing in the morning and rock climbing in the afternoon.
– The famous Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel was actually built backwards by accident. Renovations were made to put the front desk on the appropriate side
– Castleguard Caves in Banff National Park are the longest cave system in Canada.
– You can go scuba diving at Lake Minnewanka in Banff and visit an underwater abandoned town.
-Banff has a special law called the ‘need to reside’ clause which states that in order to live in the national park one has to have full time employment in Banff National Park.
Busan (South Korea)
Chris from Aussie on the Road tells us about Busan.
I was lucky enough to call South Korea’s second largest city home for six months, which was scarcely enough time to do justice to what a dynamic and beautiful city it is. Compared to bustling Seoul, it’s a laid back slice of beachy paradise with a Korean twist.
A university city, it’s got a great night life full of clubs, expat haunts, late night noraebang, and the ever-present twinkling neon lights that have become a Korean hallmark.
By day, the city offers up plenty to love. Haeundae Beach is its most famous tourist attraction, but I’m partial to quieter Gwangali with its beachfront cafes and the beautiful bridge that changes colours at night.
The massive Jagalchi Fish Markets are a cultural treat (and a mean feed), while seaside Yonggunsa Temple is one of the more striking temples in South Korea. It’s also one of the oldest, as many temples across the country were damaged during the Korean war.
Most people choose to stay in Haeundae when they visit, and it certainly has the biggest stretch of sand & surf and a huge selection of bars, restaurants, and malls – but I’m fond of the KSU area for backpacker prices and a more authentic side of Korea. Love the narrow alleys lined with bars and restaurants!
I’m excited to be headed back to Busan later this year as part of a three week trek around South Korea, and it’s definitely a place I tell anybody going to South Korea to add to their itinerary.
Weird fact and outlandish Laws about Busan:
– Hot dogs are sold everywhere and in all forms, even crinkle-cut fries-battered corn dogs. You can even get hot dogs at Starbucks.
– You can purchase yoghurt flavoured soft drink (why?!)
– You cant get out of the left hand side of a taxi (this is for your safety)
– South Korea bans children aged under 16 from playing online games between midnight and 6AM under a so-called “Cinderella Law”
Shannon from World Travel with Shannon tells us about Boston
If you’re from New England, chances are you’ve been to Boston at some point, but there’s so much to see and do that you’ve likely only scraped the surface. And if you’ve never been, you should! Personally, I am not a big city person, but I absolutely love Boston. Why? There’s so much history, culture, and great food! Boston is where it all began. Take a stroll through on the Freedom Trail, which winds its way throughout Boston. You can do this for free or take a guided tour and enter some of the most historic buildings in the country.
Be sure to stop at Faneuil Hall and check out Cheers, the inspiration for the popular TV show of the same name and head down the street to the North End to experience Mike’s Pastry (always super crowded but fir good reason; it’s delicious!). Don’t forget the clam chowdah! Spend some time strolling through Boston Common and ride around on the swan boats. Or, stop in one of the many different museums the city has to offer. Whether rain or shine, large budget or small, there are plenty of things to do and see in Boston!
Weird fact and outlandish Laws about Boston:
– Boston is actually named after a town in England
– The Fig Newton is named after a Boston suburb
– Christmas was once banned
– It is illegal to play the fiddle.
– Happy hour is against the law
– No more than two baths may be taken within the confines of the city.
– It is illegal to eat peanuts in church.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to this article 🙂