A local guide to the top 10 things to do in Paris this spring

Paris, the all-time city of love, culture and food. Maybe the French capital is at the top of your bucket list, but you can’t decide when to go? If given the possibility to visit Paris, then April and May are for sure the best months to go. Some people may prefer to travel during France’s summer (June-August) but, truth be told, there are a lot of tourists in Paris during June and July. Spring (April-May) in Europe is the time when the sun is out, flowers bloom and there are simply more things to do in Paris! Swap out South Africa’s autumn season for a wonderful spring adventure in Paris. Experiencing this city is not only more pleasant in spring, but also easier and sometimes even cheaper. To inspire you, here is a list of the top 10 attractions in Paris that you’ll love in spring!

Museums

Indulging in the extraordinary French art scene is one of the best things to do in Paris. You’ll find that many museums and cultural spots are especially nice to visit during April and May.

1. Fondation Louis Vuitton 

If you appreciate modern art and architecture then make a visit to the Fondation Louis Vuitton. This museum may just be one of the best attractions in Paris. The museum is designed by the American architect, Frank Gehry, who also designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. The building itself is considered a piece of art and has nicknames such as “the Iceberg” and “the Glass Cloud”. The Fondation Louis Vuitton  is located in the middle of Paris’ biggest park – Bois de Boulogne – and when you see it from a distance, it seems to be floating like a glass ship over the grass. During your visit, you can go up to the roof for a great view of the park and the Eiffel Tower.

The entry ticket might be a bit pricey, but this is, without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Paris. The foundation hosts the best world-touring art exhibitions and the very best of modern art. Check which exhibitions are on display before visiting!

things to do in Paris

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2. Musée Rodin

If you’re interested in French sculptures and parks, make a visit to the Rodin garden! This picturesque garden is filled with statues by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Some of them are famous, like the statue “the thinker”. In the garden, there are mostly statues portraying mythological subjects and, of course, naked men. This unique attraction is one of the most peaceful and romantic places to visit in Paris. During the spring you’ll find rabbits in the garden, eating the flowers and grass. If you feel like learning more about Auguste Rodin, there is also a great museum in the park with more sculptures and a history of the artist.

things to do in Paris

Restaurants

Among all the many things to do in Paris, eating out is probably the greatest experience. There are many good restaurants in Paris but sometimes they may be hard to come by. Try to read some reviews before choosing a spot; focus on which area in town you want to visit. Otherwise just go with your gut, and don’t ever go to a place where they call you in from the street. Try to also avoid restaurants that are close to major Paris attractions, such as eating along the Champs-Elysées. 

During spring in France, many restaurants move tables out onto the street, and Paris’ evening ambience changes to become even more vibrant. There is something extra charming about eating out on the sidewalk, and if you feel cold, most places in Paris have heating lamps.

3. Chez Janou

Chez Janou is a favourite bistro in Le Marais. This restaurant was designed with a Provence kitchen in mind and has a charming bistro ambience. With old posters on the walls and around a wooden bar at the entrance, you feel like you’ve entered another era. Here you’ll get to try a range of food from ratatouille to steak and crème brûlée. If you visit, be sure to eat their famous mousse au chocolat, it is amazing!

things to do in Paris

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To get inspired by the best Parisian cafés and sweets, check out this Paris food guide.

Bars

4. Hôtel Amour

If you’re looking for a romantic bar in Paris, go to Hôtel Amour. This is an actual hotel, but they are more famous for their trendy restaurant and bar. If you do visit, make sure you’re sitting in the inner courtyard. You’ll be surrounded by so many plants, it’ll almost feel like you’re sitting in a greenhouse. It is definitely a top romantic spot and one of the best things to do in Paris. The food has a modern French feel and is very good, but you mostly come here for the atmosphere. It is a popular place among Parisians, so make sure you have a reservation if you’re going for dinner. You’ll find Hôtel Amour in Pigalle and one in the more upcoming area of Strasbourg St Denis.

things to do in Paris

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5. Le Perchoir

Do you like the idea of sipping drinks on a relaxed terrace in the middle of Paris? Then give Le Perchoir a visit. This rooftop bar is one of the best places in Paris when it comes to the view. Situated with a panoramic vision of the Seine, Eiffel Tower and much more, you’re almost guaranteed a great time. Get here early and watch the sun go down over the city with a drink in your hand.

things to do in Paris

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Markets

To all the food lovers out there, France is a dream destination.  If you know which places to visit in Paris, eating out does not have to break the bank either.

things to do in Paris

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6. Marché des Enfants Rouges

To visit the markets and explore new food is one of the best things to do in Paris. The city is filled with lively food markets and you must make sure to visit at least one! Marché des Enfants Rouges in the Marais area is one of the best markets in Paris. This gourmet food market offers you all the classic French products such as cheese, fish and honey. If you don’t feel like buying anything, just walking around here is a great experience. The market also has many cheaper food-stands where you can try a great variety of food. You’ll find an impressive range, from Italian and Lebanese to Moroccan and much more.

Don’t know where to eat in Paris? This area in the north of Marais is filled with fantastic restaurants. A local favourite is Café Charlot which is just on the opposite side of the street to Marché des Enfants Rouges. This bistro is especially known for its tasty burgers!

things to do in Paris

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7. Marché de Bastille

Do you feel like enjoying a classic Sunday market? This food market in Bastille is one of the best and central places to visit in Paris. The vibe here is very mixed and you’re offered everything from locally produced greens to more commercial goods. Many merchants and farmers from outside Paris sell their products here. The market is large and you can easily stay for hours. It is also a nice place to grab lunch, in between going through many of Paris’ tourist attractions. You’ll find crêpes, sandwiches, paellas and if you want to, you can even sit by the small harbour and share some delicious oysters and Champagne with the French fishermen.

things to do in Paris

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Parks

A major benefit of visiting Paris during April is that all the marvellous parks are in full bloom. Having a picnic is one of the best things to do in Paris, and it is a cheap option as well. The French love their parks which are often majestically constructed and always decorated with fountains, flowers and small ponds. You’ll find these parks all over Paris, and to visit at least one is a must. Try and enjoy picnics at several sites to feel the atmosphere of different areas. These types of experiences are so much greater and more authentic than rushing through the touristy Paris attractions.

8. Parc des Buttes Chaumont

This large park called Buttes Chaumont is definitely one of the most beautiful places in Paris. Located on a hill northwest of the city centre, the park has a panoramic view over all the spectacular monuments. Buttes Chaumont is a favourite park among locals. On weekends, you’ll find people enjoying a French picnic on the green grass, or just strolling around admiring the artsy touches of the park. Butte Chaumont is celebrated for its fine architecture, which dates back to the mid-19th century. Every time you visit the park you’ll find new places with spectacular scenery. Among the many places to visit in Paris, this is perfect if you feel like just taking it easy for a couple of hours. To sit at the top of the hill and watch the sunset with some good food and music is magical.

things to do in Paris

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Interesting spots

9. Place Dauphine

Sometimes you stumble upon hidden romantic spots in a city where everything moves. Place Dauphine is definitely one of those places in Paris. A small square of greenery on the islands Ile-de-la cité (in the absolute city centre), this charming square is surrounded by buildings that date back to the 16th century, which create a very picturesque setting. Take a moment to sit in the sun with a coffee and enjoy the beauty of this square. It is such a lovely activity amongst all the things to do in Paris. During France’s summertime, people come here to play boules (similar to bowls) under the trees and enjoy a glass of wine. Even though this spot is close to many of Paris’ tourist attractions, tourists don’t seem to find their way here which makes it more special.

To best escape the Paris tourist traps, check out this post with great tips from a local.

things to do in Paris

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10. Canal Saint-Martin

If you want to explore one of the hipper areas of Paris, visit the area around Republique and Canal Saint Martin. Canal Saint Martin is a canal that flows from the northeast of Paris into the Seine by the Bastille harbour. The streets around the canal are known for their upcoming food spots and older bars like Chez Prune which is almost like an institution. Visit this neighbourhood to have a little break from all the classical things to do in Paris! During spring and summer (April-August), people hang out alongside the canal with something to eat or drink from the places nearby. The vibe is very relaxed. Spend an evening here and you’ll soon enjoy the company of Parisian students.

A very popular food choice around here is to buy a pizza and beer at Pink Flamingo. You order at the restaurant near the canal and receive a pink balloon. The staff will come and deliver your food to you – very practical!

things to do in Paris

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What would be your favourite things to do in Paris? Sharing is caring, so if you have any great tips on the French capital, please share in the comments!

 

The post A local guide to the top 10 things to do in Paris this spring appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

Your Guide to the Best Time to Visit Bali!

The island of Bali welcomes visitors from around the world throughout the year. That’s no surprise when you consider all there is to do on the island. Deciding on the best time to visit Bali depends on your interests. There are Bali’s alluring beaches and coastal cities and towns. Then there are the many lively bars. Let’s not forget the incredibly serene and visually stunning religious sites. Whatever it is you’re looking for in a holiday experience, Bali has plenty to offer!

Bali is one of the southern islands of Indonesia. Thanks to the country’s close proximity to the equator, Bali experiences hot and humid conditions all year long. The climate in this tropical destination consists of two seasons, a dry and a wet season. You can expect to have a wonderful time, however, almost any day of the year!

Book your cheap flights to Bali with Travelstart and get the most affordable option for your ideal vacation.

Kelingking Beach Bali

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Average temperatures in Bali

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 23 22 23 22 23 22 22 22 22 23 23 23
High °C 29 30 30 32 33 31 31 31 31 31 31 30
Rainfall (mm) 90 90 90 70 70 50 40 40 50 60 70 90
Ulun Danu Temple Bali

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The Wet Season

Although Bali experiences plenty of rain during this time, the wet season won’t keep you restricted to spending your holiday indoors. This period falls between November and March, and you can enjoy average temperatures of around 30°C. While the island is said to experience monsoon-type conditions, there are rarely monsoon rains in Bali, even during the peak of the wet season! The beach areas get far less rain than the central mountains, with most of it coming down in the afternoons and evenings. You can then spend mornings hiking along one of the many hiking trails, relax at one of the island’s many beaches or enjoy delightful snorkelling and diving opportunities. When it does rain, there are plenty of wonderful indoor activities for you to enjoy, including numerous indoor games, many shopping adventures, yoga classes, cooking classes or jewellery making classes. Take note that during late December and early January, parts of Bali will get busier due to Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations. Visiting the island during this season is ideal for families travelling together. On average, Bali gets between 70 and 90 millimetres of rain per month for this period.

Water Park in Bali

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The Dry Season

Visiting the island during the dry season will get you the best conditions for outdoor activities. During this time, you can enjoy temperatures of around 32°C.  While the dry season is between April and September, July and August are more popular with tourists. You’ll be sharing the beaches and restaurants with more visitors. If you don’t mind such a busy atmosphere, however, get ready to enjoy Bali’s best weather! If you’re into the vibrant nightlife scene, then this season is the time to go, especially with evening temperatures ranging around 22°C with clear skies. The dry season is additionally an ideal time to visit Bali for single travellers, groups of friends looking for adventure and couples seeking that romantic retreat.

For the best time to visit Bali, take a look at our holiday specials for the best deals!

Bali Mynas

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Daylight Hours

Thanks to sitting close to the equator, Bali enjoys a consistent amount of daylight throughout the year. You can take pleasure in 11-12 hours of daytime fun, from as early as 05h50 to as late as 18h50.

Gallant Watercraft Bali

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How Much Are Flights to Bali?

Peak Season (April to October)

This is the most popular time to visit Bali; you can expect to pay up to 5% more for your flights and accommodation. Keep in mind that choosing to book your flights later may result in you paying more.

Off-Peak Season (November to March)

Despite the occasional showers and thunderstorms, booking your flights to Bali and accommodation could save you up to 10%. Please note that even during this period, it is still best to book your flights as early as possible for the best deals.

Resort in Bali

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Top Activities to do in Bali

Enjoying a Splash at the Water Parks

If you love the water parks, the dry season is the best time to visit Bali. It’s the best way to find relief from the high temperatures, and you can have fun while doing it! This activity is ideal for families and groups of friends visiting the island during the dry season. Some of the best water parks in Bali include Waterbom Bali and Circus Waterpark Bali in Kuta, Finns Recreation Club and Taman Segara Madu in Canggu, Surf & Turf in Nusa Dua, and Citraland Waterpark in Denpasar.

Catching Up with History at Beautiful Temples

The temples in Bali are some of the most iconic landmarks on the island. There’s the picturesquely situated Tanah Lot, sitting on a small island off the coast of the area of Beraban. Northeast of the town of Ubud, is the stunning 11-century Hindu temple of Gunung Kawi. In Central Bali, treat your eyes to the visual treasure of Gunung Kawi Sebatu, arguably one of the most beautiful on the island. When visiting the temples, dress appropriately by covering your upper and lower body and taking off your shoes before entering. You can get sarongs and sashes for rent at all the temple sites. Other temple codes of conduct to consider include avoid pointing your feet at shrines (according to tradition, feet are considered unclean), and standing lower than the priests (it is considered a sign of respect). Visitors who are bleeding from cuts or women menstruating may not enter the temples. Pregnant women or women who have given birth within six weeks of visiting the temples may not enter.

sunrise in bali

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Watching Animals and Appreciating Nature

Thanks to its complex ecosystem, you can look forward to discovering a multitude of amazing creatures on the island of Bali. This makes any time of the year the best time to visit Bali to discover the local wildlife. Get ready to catch sight of (but not get too close) the various monkey species at locations such as Ubud Monkey Forest, Uluwatu Monkey Forest, and Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest. In the Bali Bird Park (close to Kuta, Sanur and Ubud), explore walk-through aviaries and discover many rare or endangered species, including Bali starlings, purple swamphens, magpie-robins and grey parrots. Go on hiking and cycling tours and explore breath-taking landscapes near Ubud, Payangan, and Denpasar. Bali additionally boasts a wealth of spectacular waterfalls, including the Banyumala Twin Waterfalls and Sekumpul Waterfalls (near Singaraja), Nungnung Waterfall and Les Waterfall (near Tejakula). For even more magnificent sights, make sure to visit Mount Agung and Mount Batur.

Scuba Diving and Snorkelling

Bali has been a popular destination for diving and snorkelling for many years. The island’s popularity is all thanks to the surrounding warm waters. Discover beautiful coral reefs and catch sights of wonderful marine life, including turtles, manta rays, tropical fish, sharks and colourful tropical fish. Some diving sports even take you to shipwrecks! Some of the best spots for diving when in Bali include the southern part of the island, the east coast and the northwest coast. For snorkelling, heading to Menjangan Island (northwest), Tulamben and Amed (northeast), as well as Candi Dasa and Padang Bai (east). Take note that if you are a first-time diver, make sure to allow 12-24 hours after your last dive before flying. Doing this will help you avoid experiencing decompression sickness.

Enjoy Time at the Beaches

Of course, this should go without saying. What would a visit to Bali be without the experience of its stunning beaches? The beautiful coastal locations are ideal for whatever you desire, be it for surfing, sunbathing, people watching, bay watching and simply just relaxing. Bali’s best beaches include Seminyak Beach, Balangan Beach, Echo Beach, Sundays Beach Club, Padang Padang Beach, and many more!

Indonesian Food Bali

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Annual Events in Bali

January

Tumpek Kandang – this is the day in Bali when locals worship the god of animals, Sang Hyang Rare-Angon. Animals that play a special part in the daily life of Indonesians (cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, dogs, and birds) are dressed up in high-quality clothing and then fed with special foods, sprinkled with rice and holy waters. The locals then offer prayers. Staff at the zoos and wildlife preserves also honour the animals in captivity on this day.

February

Tumpek Wayang – this is a day dedicated to the traditional performing arts in Bali. The locals place special emphasis on the traditional Balinese shadow puppetry, known locally as wayang. The residents make a variety of offerings to numerous character puppets involved in this art type.

March

Pengrupukan, New Year’s Eve of the Saka Calendar – this is a loud and festive event, taking place before the day of silence. Celebrations take place during the afternoon, where ogoh-ogoh papier-mâché effigies are paraded throughout the streets. The fire torches, firecrackers and loud celebrations are meant to rid the land of malevolent forces in preparation for the day of silence.

April

Ubud Food Festival –  this is an exciting three-day culinary event in the city of Ubud. It is a celebration of the diverse Indonesian cuisine and local produce, and a gathering of Bali’s leading chefs. It’s made up of presentations, live cooking demonstrations and culinary tours.

May

Bali Blues Festival – this wonderful festival in Nusa Dua features some excellent local and national jazz and blues bands. Except to enjoy jazz festivals on beach sites and mountain tops regularly. This festival acts as a culmination of all the creative energy and passion of the Indonesian jazz scene.

June

Mekotekan Rituals – this event in Munggu Village is a traditional re-enactment of the triumphant battles of the Blambangan war. Male villagers brandish long stiff bamboo poles on the street. Each pole end is combined in mid-air to form a pyramid. Friendly opponents then climb up to face off at the top of these pyramids!

Nusa Dua Light Festival Bali

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July

Bali International Choir Festival – this is an event organised by the Bandung Choral Society. The festival features over one hundred choirs, several conductors and clinicians in a range of choir symposiums and competitions.

August

Sanur Village Festival – this is a fun-filled event in the village. It involves water-sport activities, the Sanur Run, creative expos, art and music performances, as well as a cultural street parade.

September

Tirta Empul Temple Piodalan Anniversary – this major event is one to witness. During this anniversary, pilgrims from all over Bali head to the temple for prayers, making for an amazing sight.

October

Nusa Dua Fiesta – this is a vibrant celebration of Bali’s culture. The event features a week’s worth of arts, culture, sports, music and exhibitions in and around the peninsula in Nusa Dua.

November

Makepung Buffalo Races – This racing tradition begins in July and runs until mid-November. It is a large event in the town of Jembrana. The festival usually starts with various preliminary races around the coastal tracks of Jembrana in July. The finals and festivities then take place in November. During the festivities, locals perform various other art forms too, including bull fashion shows and Jegog bamboo orchestras.

December

New Year’s Eve and Countdown to New Year – if you love the party scene, then this is the time to be in Bali. Various spots on the island come alive with parties. You can look forward to watching wonderful fireworks constantly launch in the countdown to the new year.

Bali is Safe

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With everything this incredible and affordable island destination offers, why not start planning a getaway to Bali? Subscribe to the Travelstart newsletter for the latest deals on the best time to visit Bali and get ready for an adventure!

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A seasonal guide to the best time to visit Thailand

Are you an adventurous traveller or a beach bum? Whether you’re more interested in a cultural trip or living the ultimate island life, Thailand has it all. With gorgeous mountain landscapes in the north, paradise beaches in the south, and cities brimming with cultural heritage, this country offers you a vacation with endless possibilities. So, when is the best time to visit Thailand?

Your best time to travel to Thailand depends on what kind of vacation you are dreaming of. We have highlighted some of the best things to do in Thailand, including the best weather conditions and top attractions such as islands, hiking, festivals, food markets and, of course, shopping. Since South Africans do not need a visa to enter Thailand, all that’s left to do is book your ticket and head east!

best time to visit thailand

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Thailand weather

Thailand’s tropical weather is comprised of warm, cool and monsoon seasons where north and south experience different weather patterns. For the best time to visit Thailand, first decide on which region you want to explore.

Northern Thailand weather

The northern parts of Thailand are surrounded by green tropical forests and staggering mountain landscapes. The weather in this area is defined by a rainy season, cool season and warm season.

October to February is the cooler period in the north and definitely the best time to visit Thailand for its incredible hiking and stunning sunrises. In the morning you can wake up to fresh air with temperatures peaking at 20-25 degrees Celsius during the day. This blossoming period is perfect for experiencing the countryside with its picturesque green mountains, rice terraces, and winter flowers.

The months of March to May experience the hottest weather in this area. With this heat, northern Thailand’s weather is similar to the south, just a little less humid! Be prepared for sweltering temperatures, so pack in extra sunblock and drink plenty of water.

Monsoon season up north starts from mid-June and stays until October. Keep in mind that rain showers generally occur sporadically, in short bursts, so always have a raincoat on hand and be flexible with your activities. While you’ll need to plan your hiking around these rain showers, the upside is you can enjoy much cooler temperatures.

best time to visit thailand

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Weather and Climate in Chiang Mai

Average temperature & rainfall per month:

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 13°C 14°C 18°C 21°C 23°C 23°C 23°C 23°C 23°C 21°C 19°C 15°C
High °C 29°C 32°C 35°C 36°C 34°C 32°C 31°C 31°C 31°C 31°C 30°C 29°C
Rainfall (mm) 8 6 16 52 152 136 168 230 241 124 36 15

Essentials to Pack

– Comfy hiking shoes

– Backpack

– Sturdy daypack

– Sunscreen

– Map of the region

– Insect repellent

– Light, comfortable clothing (cotton)

– Light raincoat

Central Thailand weather

The flat cultivated landscapes of central Thailand experience a tropical climate comprised of a cool season, warm season and rainy season.

The cooler season, from October to January, is the best time to visit the central parts of Thailand. In Bangkok, the temperatures range from 28-30 degrees Celsius and you can enjoy strolling around the vibrant streets of the capital city.

The warm season generally hits central Thailand from February until June, where you may get temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius in Bangkok. Some areas around central Thailand may be hot but still very humid –  a combination which can be challenging if you’re doing more physical activities. Feel free to laze by your hotel pool after a full day of shopping and sightseeing!

The months of July to October are affected by central Thailand’s monsoon season. If you do want to visit during these months, remember to bring a raincoat for the afternoon showers.

Weather & Climate in Bangkok

Average temperature & rainfall per month:

          Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 21°C 23°C 25°C 26°C 26°C 26°C 26°C 26°C 25°C 25°C 24°C 21°C
High °C 32°C 33°C 34°C 35°C 34°C 33°C 33°C 33°C 32°C 32°C 31°C 31°C
Rainfall (mm) 10 10 50 110 180 180 180 170 220 190 40 10

Southern Thailand weather

The southern part of Thailand, stretching down past beachy Phuket, is defined by two seasons: the rainy season and the dry season.

The dry season spans from December until May, and temperatures range from around 25 to 32 degrees Celsius. The best time to visit Thailand’s southern parts is during the dry season from around November to April. During this time, you get to soak in the tropical heat along the beautiful coastline while cooling off in the sparkling turquoise waters.

The rainy season in the south starts in around June and continues until October. The rains usually come in short spurts so, if you’re planning to visit Krabi and the surrounding islands, you’ll still get plenty of sunshine. You can also indulge in having the flawless beaches of Phuket and Koh Samui all to yourself!

best time to visit thailand

 Weather & Climate in Phuket

Average temperature & rainfall per month:

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 23°C 23°C 24°C 24°C 24°C 24°C 24°C 24°C 24°C 24°C 23°C 23°C
High °C 31°C 33°C 33°C 33°C 32°C 31°C 31°C 31°C 30°C 30°C 30°C 31°C
Rainfall (mm) 40 28 62 142 323 291 292 272 381 335 186 65

Essentials to pack

– Flip flops

– Backpack or waterproof bag

– Light, comfortable clothing (cotton)

– Water bottle

– Sunscreen

– Swimming costume

– Sun hat

– Insect repellent

Snorkelling and Scuba Diving

Southeast Coast

Between March and April is the best time to visit Thailand’s islands of Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Samui for the most incredible diving and snorkelling along the east coast. Enjoy the 26 degree Celsius warm waters and spot magnificent sea animals, including whale sharks!

best time to visit thailand

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Southwest Coast

The southwest coast of Thailand is known for its breathtaking islands and gorgeous beaches. Water temperatures here stay high all year round and the average sea temperature along the Krabi coastline is 29 degrees Celsius. As a diver, December to January is the best time to visit Thailand’s west coast. Swim between colourful reefs and spectacular fish species off the islands of Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi.

best time to visit thailand

How much are flights to Thailand?

High season (November-February)

The tourist peak season hits Thailand from December to January and also in April during the Thai New Year. During the festive peak period, prices on flights and accommodation can go up by more than 30% during low season, so this might not be the best time to visit Thailand if you’re looking to travel on a budget. However, if you do a little bit of planning and book early enough, you may just score some great deals on cheap flights and accommodation.

Low season (March-October)

Travelling during low season has the advantage of being a lot cheaper, especially if you visit places that aren’t busy all year around. Why not explore some off-the-beaten-track places and discover some of Thailand’s hidden treasures without the bustling crowds?

Take advantage of fewer crowds, lower prices, emptier hotels and having the beaches all to yourself! Stay updated on our latest flight specials to Thailand.

best time to visit thailand

Top things to do in Thailand

With so many incredible things to do in Thailand, you might need a little guidance. Here is a list of the top things to do in Thailand that you simply cannot miss out on.

Southern Thailand

Beaches  

The best time to visit Thailand’s beaches is ideally between November and March, but anytime is really a good time! The beaches in Thailand are famous for their dreamy palm trees, white sand, and turquoise waters. Explore the iconic Railay beach, just a boat ride away from Ao-nang. Or enjoy the silence and beauty of Kata beach on Phuket.

best time to visit thailand

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Island-Hopping

Explore the blossoming islands by Thailand’s famous longtail boats. From the city of Krabi, you can easily access and explore more than 200 beautiful islands of this western archipelago. Here you can find the most extraordinary secret beaches in Thailand. Among these are the paradise islands of Phi Phi where the iconic movie The Beach was filmed. Start early and you can easily spend an entire day island hopping amongst the majestic limestone cliffs.

Snorkelling

Snorkelling is, without a doubt, one of the greatest things to do in Thailand. The underwater life along the Thai coast offers a great variety of corals, fish, and anemones. By the Surin Islands on the east coast, you will find some of the most stunning reefs on the planet. Spot extraordinary clownfish living among colourful corals.

Floating Markets

If you are staying in Bangkok, make sure to visit a floating market. These charming markets are situated on narrow riverbanks where vendors and farmers sell exquisite products from their boats. Bang Kachao is one of the most famous markets and celebrated for its authenticity and fine organic products. This truly is shopping with a difference!

best time to visit thailand

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Northern Thailand

Street Food

One of the essential things to do in Thailand is to try its distinct and delicious street food. The street food culture is very diverse, and dishes are super tasty and cheap. Some common and simple Thai dishes are:

Poh Pia Tod – small, delicious spring rolls

Som Tam –  a classic fresh Thai salad

Phad Thai – the all-time noodle favourite

Tom Kha Gai – traditional chicken galangal soup

best time to visit thailand

Hiking

If you are an adventurer and intrigued by Thailand’s northern landscapes, go hiking in the area around Chiang Dao. This small town is a 90-minute drive away from Chiang Mai, and easy to access by bus or car. It is such a wonderful place to visit, just to experience the outstanding nature.

best time to visit thailand

Temples

Thailand is a Buddhist country and visiting the temples is a part of everyday life for many Thai people. Many temples are beautifully decorated and have a great history behind them, so make sure to visit one. In Chiang Rai, you find the temple Wat Rong Khun – a spectacular white building decorated with pieces of glass that sparkle in the sunlight.

A few things to keep in mind when visiting any of Thailand’s temples:

  • Be sure to always dress appropriately – ladies should cover their shoulders and skirts or dresses must extend below the knees.
  • Men can wear T-shirts, but no shorts.
  • You will also be required to remove your shoes before entering any temple or shrine so, if you’re planning on temple-hopping, it might be best to wear sandals.

best time to visit thailand

Chiang Mai’s Ancient City

The ancient city of Chiang Mai is a historical crown jewel for Thailand. Even though it is today the largest Metropol in the north, it has kept a grand cultural heritage and charm that is astonishing. It is also known for its food and vegetable markets, with locally produced goods.

To get more inspiration on things to do in Thailand, read up on green perspectives in Thailand!

Annual events and holidays

When it comes to religion, Thailand is first and foremost a Buddhist country, with 94% of its population practising Buddhism. Many national celebrations and public holidays are therefore due to Buddhist traditions. Some get celebrated throughout several days and are amazing to experience. For the best time to visit Thailand and experience its festivities, be sure to plan your trip around some of these events:

Chinese New Year: 16 January (date changes every year)

This New Year’s celebration is very festive, especially in the Chinese parts of town! On this day in Bangkok, you’ll find people dressed in red, partying in the streets and celebrating this occasion!

Songkran Water Festival: 13-15 April

This is one of the biggest festivals and is a celebration of the Thai New Year. The celebration is spread over three days, where on the first day people engage in massive water fights in the streets. Bring a water pistol and have some fun!

Phi Ta Khon:  late June-July

This is called the Ghost festival and is a 3-day celebration held especially in the town Dan Sai, bordering Laos. During the festival, people bring attention to the spirits of the dead. During the 3 days of celebration, you’ll find fireworks, games, and parades held throughout the city where people dress up as dancing spirits. Take a look at the beautifully decorated costumes!

Loy Krathong (Lantern Festival): November

Loy Krathong is a celebration of the river goddess “Mae Nam” and takes place on the night of the 12th full moon every year. People traditionally release decorated krathongs (lanterns) on to the water and glowing paper lanterns into the sky at night. It is an absolutely beautiful sight.

best time to visit thailand

Now that you have a complete guide on Thailand’s seasons and attractions, the best time to visit Thailand is generally between the cooler months of November to February, or between June and September if you’re looking for the best deals. Since peak season runs from December to January, we recommend you to travel just outside of this period. This will guarantee you both spectacular weather as well as cheap flight tickets for your holiday!

What is your idea of the best time to visit Thailand? Share your thoughts below on your ideal Thailand getaway.

Keep up to date with our latest flight specials by signing up for our newsletter, and you’ll soon be on your way to exploring the exotic flavours of Thailand!

This blog post was written by Beatrice Fröjd.

The post A seasonal guide to the best time to visit Thailand appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

Mauritius: The Year-Round Golfing Destination

The exquisite tropical island of Mauritius is well known for its enchanting white-sanded beaches, tropical sunshine and the laidback island life. It has fast become the mecca for golf enthusiasts in search of the ultimate golfing course. What makes the epic sport of golf on this island destination more appealing is the fact that many Mauritius golf resorts have alliances with each other, affording visitors the opportunity to use more than one golf course with ease. With the sport being one of the main attractions on the island, visitors are in for a spectacular treat. Before you book your flight to this sensational island getaway, here is a handy guide to all of the top golf resorts you can choose from.

It will delight you to know many Mauritius golf resorts offer their guests complimentary golf packages with green fees – fees charged for playing one round on the golf course – and (golf) range balls. For amateur golfers, some Mauritius golf resorts include learning opportunities and apprenticeships with world-class academies which will see you swinging birdies on the respective golf courses in no time. A golfing holiday in this tropical paradise will provide you with a calm, yet fun day out exploring these Mauritius golf courses, amongst picturesque sea and emerald forest views.

18-hole Golf Courses

mauritius golf course

Courtesy of @anahitamauritius via Instagram

Anahita Golf Course

The elegant 5-star Anahita Golf & Spa Resort is nestled on the eastern coast of the tropical island of Mauritius. It is considered one of the finest luxury golf villas on the island. The Anahita Golf Course was designed by prestigious golf champions, Ernie Els and Bernhard Lange, sporting six oceanfront holes with an enviable backdrop of epic emerald mountains and a stunning lagoon. Golfers will delight in the fact that the golf course was built to USGA (United States Golf Association) standards and is one of the first of its kind on this island.

The Anahita is mindfully integrated into the surrounding environment with large fairways and five sets of tees. If you’re a newcomer to the course, The Four Seasons Golf Academy Mauritius will happily assist you with perfecting your game. Do yourself a favour and be sure to visit the Mauritian-styled clubhouse where you’ll be served five-star cuisine. The Four Seasons Golf Academy at Anahita serves all levels of golfers, from beginners to novice players. The programme aims to address and enhance all features of the game such as the full swing, course management, mental training, fitness and properly fitted equipment.

Facilities: clubhouse, fitness centre, driving range, Pro Shop, golf academy and restaurant.

The golf cart and practice balls are included in the green fees.

Guests staying at Anahita Resort or The Four Seasons have free, unlimited green fees, including 55 free golf balls, golf cart, and GPS system.

Operating Hours: Daily from 07:30 am to 19:30 pm

mauritius golf course

Courtesy of @mauritius_golf_tours via Instagram

The Heritage Golf Club

This 18-hole Mauritius golf course covers an area of 100 hectares and was designed by South African golf architect Peter Matkovich. This island golf course is shared by the Heritage Resorts group, including Heritage Awali Golf & Resort and the Heritage Villas. This unforgettable golf experience offers scintillating landscapes with tropical trees, small lakes, and streams. The championship course is considered to be challenging. Advanced players will surely enjoy the challenge offered and beginners will enjoy the great experience of the magnitude of this Mauritius golf course. The final hole provides an elevated tee which opens up to stunning views.

  • Golfers are given a maximum of 4 hours and 30 mins for 18 holes.
  • Guests at Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort do not have to pay green fees.

Facilities: putting green (a smooth grassy area used for practice), driving range, Pro Shop, bar and restaurant, chipping facilities, caddies, locker rooms and shuttle service from the hotels (Heritage and Le Telfair).

Operating Hours: Summer (October – April) 07:00 am – 18:00 pm; Winter (May – September) 07:00 am – 17:00 pm

mauritius golf course paradis

Courtesy of @muriel.lvd via Instagram

The Paradis Golf Course

The golf course at Beachcomber Paradis Golf Resort & Spa is a spectacular sight to behold. You’ll see an incredible backdrop of glorious mountains and a beautiful bay. The Paradis Golf Course is nestled between Le Morne Mountain and Morne Peninsula’s turquoise lagoon, offering the most exquisite natural attractions. This unbelievable Mauritius golf course is home to The Paradis Golf Academy, suitable for amateur and professional golfers with facilities, including training spaces, a video system, and computer software all geared at improving your golf skills. This Mauritius golf paradise is truly something to marvel at with the golf course overlooking the surrounding turquoise waters.

Facilities: clubhouse with a storeroom, Pro Shop, practice balls, clubs and trolleys for hire, practice green, practice bunker and driving range.

Operating Hours: Summer (October – April): 6:30 am – 19:30 pm; Winter (May – September): 7:30 am – 18:30 pm

tamarina mauritius golf

Courtesy of @golfingmauritius via Instagram

The Tamarina Golf Course

Designed by architect Rodney Wright, The Tamarina Golf Course combines thrilling technical challenges with breathtaking views of Tamarin Bay and Rempart Mountain. You’ll find this amazing golf course on the west coast of Mauritius at Tamarina Golf & Spa Boutique Hotel. At the Tamarin Golf Course, there are five different teeing options at each hole. It is the longest golf course in Mauritius.

Facilities: practice area, lockers and showers, a bar and restaurant, a pro shop and golf courses for children and teenagers.

Operating Hours: 07:30 am – 15:00 pm

mauritius golf course

Courtesy of @chriswrighthq via Instagram

The Legend Golf Course

Set amongst one of the most beautiful beaches on the island of Mauritius, the Legend Golf Course is home to the Mauritius Open and “Johnnie Walker Classic” championship tournaments. This exquisite golf course was designed by the South African champion, Hugh Baiocchi.The Legend Golf Course is the Constance Belle Mare Plage’s first championship course. It is built according to USGA specifications. Nature enthusiasts will be enthralled by this magnificent Mauritius golf course as it is nestled in the depths of an indigenous forest. When you reach the 17th hole, you’ll be able to test your skills with the par-3 making use of a small stretch of the Indian Ocean and a particularly tough green. Professionals and beginners can enjoy The Legends Golf Course. Go ahead and putt away on the amazing Tifdwarf grasses. Guests at the Constance Belle Mare Plage have free unlimited green fees. Together with its sister golf course, The Links, it hosts the MCB Tour Championship. This Mauritius golf course is designed for beginners and professionals to enjoy.

Facilities: golf academy, golf carts, clubhouse, Pro Shop, video swing analysis, club rental, a restaurant, and bar.

mauritius golf course

Courtesy of @whitcombshaftesbury via Instagram

The Links Golf Course

Designed by Rodney Wright and Peter Allis in 2002, the Links Golf Course is the little sister of the Legends Golf Course. It is the second Constance Belle Mare Plage Championship Golf Course within the resort.  Many golfers consider it extremely pleasurable to play. Golf experts describe it as a very hilly course and using a club cart is strongly recommended. Expect challenging putts with some holes protected by water. The Links Golf Course is free to guests at Constance Belle Mare Plage and Constance Le Prince Maurice Hotel.

Facilities: golf clubs rental, golf cart with GPS, practice and putting green, a golf academy with lessons and coaching.

Operating Hours: 07:00 am – 18:00 pm

mauritius golf course

Courtesy of @ileauxcerfsgolfclub via Instagram

Ile aux Cerfs Golf Course

You’ll find the exquisite Ile aux Cerfs Golf Course off the east coast of Mauritius. All golfers can enjoy this incredible golf course while being surrounded by the best landscape views of this privately-owned island just off the mainland. This exotic golf course is miraculously nestled on its own tropical island across Ile aux Cerfs lagoon. You’ll see breathtaking topography, lakes and gullies, and spellbinding volcanic rock outcrops. The course designer, Bernhard Langer, created “a golfing experience that truly arouses all the senses”. Take in the exquisite white sandy beaches as you navigate across the tricky par-72 greens. Golfers will be thrilled to know that there is a total of nine lakes with a natural backdrop of lush vegetation and towering trees.The technical difficulty is considered moderate to hard.

Facilities: a clubhouse, restaurant, golf carts, locker rooms, bag storage, driving range, clubs and shoe rental, on-course refreshments, golf shuttles from Ile aux Cerfs (every 20 minutes between 6: 40 am and 8 pm)

Operating Hours: Sun – Mon: 06:40 am – 21:00 pm

9-Hole Golf Courses

mauritius golf courses

One & Only Le Saint Géran Golf Course

Breathtaking large fairways of Kikuyu grass are surrounded by a park while over 5000 coconut trees can be found at the Saint Géran. This exquisite golf course was designed by the renowned South African golf legend, Gary Player. The nine holes allow for all players to play irrespective of the weather conditions. This friendly and relaxed atmosphere is a great way to take in the surreal island sights while getting in a great game of golf. The One & Only Le Saint Géran Golf Course is designed for seasoned players and beginners. You do not have to be a guest at the Saint Géran Hotel to enjoy a game of golf on the 9-hole golf course.

Guests at the Saint Géran receive complimentary green fees.

Facilities: a golf academy (individual lessons with a professional player on the course or at the practice range as well as lessons for families consisting of all levels) and clubhouse with lockers, a Pro Shop, restaurant and bar.

Mauritius Golf Course

Courtesy of @sebastien.vedani via Instagram

Shandrani Golf Course

Located in the south of Mauritius, Shandrani’s “pitch and putt” golf course overlooks the Blue Bay lagoon, while nestled on a private peninsula. Golfers are treated to spectacular views as the golf course is adjacent to the beach. Shandrani Golf Course is quite small in size, which makes it an ideal course for beginners to practice and perfect their short game. It is a notably fun golf course to try. Guests at the Shandrani Resort & Spa and any other Beachcomber hotels do not pay green fees. The public can access the Shandrani Golf Course at a green fee.

Facilities: clubs and trolleys are available for hire and a clubhouse with store room.

Operating Hours: Summer (October to April) 08:00 am – 18:00 pm; Winter (May to September): 08:00 am – 17:30 pm

mauritius golf club

Courtesy of @ileauxcerfsgolfclub via Instagram

Maritim Golf Course

Designed by the renowned Australian professional golf player, Graham Marsh, Maritim Golf Course is located at the Maritim Resort & Spa Mauritius. You can find Maritim Golf Course on the north-west of the archipelago. It is considered ideal for beginner golfers. While on holiday on this magnificently beautiful island, players of all levels can harness their golf skills. Golfers have the option of two different tees at each hole. Expect an excitingly wide range of shots on this Maritim Golf Course. Golfers can request lessons from a professional golfer for both beginners and advanced courses.

Maritim Hotel residents do not pay green fees.

Facilities: practising putting green, driving net, golf lessons with a professional instructor and night driving range.

Operating Hours: Sun – Mon: 07:00 am to 18:00 pm

mauritius golf course

Courtesy of @anahitamauritius via Instagram

With the inside scoop on Mauritius’ golf courses, you are one step closer to making your golfing vacation an epic reality! Mauritius 18-hole and 9-hole courses will surely deliver the fun you’re seeking on your vacation. It’s time to tee off!

Map of where to find these Mauritius golf courses

mauritius golf courses

 

 

The post Mauritius: The Year-Round Golfing Destination appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

A seasonal guide to the best time to visit Thailand

Are you an adventurous traveller or a beach bum? Whether you’re more interested in a cultural trip or living the ultimate island life, Thailand has it all. With gorgeous mountain landscapes in the north, paradise beaches in the south, and cities brimming with cultural heritage, this country offers you a vacation with endless possibilities. So, when is the best time to visit Thailand?

Your best time to travel to Thailand depends on what kind of vacation you are dreaming of. We have highlighted some of the best things to do in Thailand, including the best weather conditions and top attractions such as islands, hiking, festivals, food markets and, of course, shopping. Since South Africans do not need a visa to enter Thailand, all that’s left to do is book your ticket and head east!

best time to visit thailand

image courtesy of @lestudiovagabond via Instagram

Thailand weather

Thailand’s tropical weather is comprised of warm, cool and monsoon seasons where north and south experience different weather patterns. For the best time to visit Thailand, first decide on which region you want to explore.

Northern Thailand weather

The northern parts of Thailand are surrounded by green tropical forests and staggering mountain landscapes. The weather in this area is defined by a rainy season, cool season and warm season.

October to February is the cooler period in the north and definitely the best time to visit Thailand for its incredible hiking and stunning sunrises. In the morning you can wake up to fresh air with temperatures peaking at 20-25 degrees Celsius during the day. This blossoming period is perfect for experiencing the countryside with its picturesque green mountains, rice terraces, and winter flowers.

The months of March to May experience the hottest weather in this area. With this heat, northern Thailand’s weather is similar to the south, just a little less humid! If possible, try to avoid going here during April, the hottest month of the year.

The rainy season up north starts from mid-June and stays until October. We don’t recommend travelling here during the middle months of this season, as outdoor activities are somewhat limited.

best time to visit thailand

image courtesy of @imshenytskyi via Instagram

Weather and Climate in Chiang Mai

Average temperature & rainfall per month:

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 13°C 14°C 18°C 21°C 23°C 23°C 23°C 23°C 23°C 21°C 19°C 15°C
High °C 29°C 32°C 35°C 36°C 34°C 32°C 31°C 31°C 31°C 31°C 30°C 29°C
Rainfall (mm) 8 6 16 52 152 136 168 230 241 124 36 15

Essentials to Pack

-Comfy hiking shoes

-Backpack

-Sturdy daypack

-Sunscreen

-Map of the region

-Insect repellent

-Light, comfortable clothing

Southern Thailand weather

The southern part of Thailand, including areas from Bangkok down to beachy Phuket, is defined by two seasons: the rainy season and the dry season.

The dry season spans from December until May, and temperatures range from around 25 to 32 degrees Celsius. The best time to visit Thailand’s southern parts is during the dry season from around November to April. During this time, you get to soak in the tropical heat along the beautiful coastline while cooling off in the sparkling turquoise waters.

The rainy season in the south starts in around June and continues until October. The rains usually come in short spurts so, if you’re planning to visit Krabi and the surrounding islands, you’ll still get plenty of sunshine. You can also indulge in having the flawless beaches of Phuket and Koh Samui all to yourself!

During the warm months from May to June, the heat increases and you might experience temperatures up to a scorching 40 degrees Celsius in Bangkok. While this may not be the best time to visit Thailand due to the uncomfortable heat, you can always cool off in the sea or spend your days lazing by your hotel pool.

best time to visit thailand

 Weather & Climate in Phuket

Average temperature & rainfall per month:

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 23°C 23°C 24°C 24°C 24°C 24°C 24°C 24°C 24°C 24°C 23°C 23°C
High °C 31°C 33°C 33°C 33°C 32°C 31°C 31°C 31°C 30°C 30°C 30°C 31°C
Rainfall (mm) 40 28 62 142 323 291 292 272 381 335 186 65

Essentials to pack

– Flip flops

– Backpack or waterproof bag

– Water bottle

– Sunscreen

– Swimming costume

– Sun hat

– Insect repellent

Snorkelling and Scuba Diving

Southeast Coast

Between March and April is the best time to visit Thailand’s islands of Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Samui for the most incredible diving and snorkelling along the east coast. Enjoy the 26 degree Celsius warm waters and spot magnificent sea animals, including whale sharks!

best time to visit thailand

image courtesy of @igor.kornachev via Instagram

Southwest Coast

The southwest coast of Thailand is known for its breathtaking islands and gorgeous beaches. Water temperatures here stay high all year round and the average sea temperature along the Krabi coastline is 29 degrees Celsius. As a diver, December to January is the best time to visit Thailand’s west coast. Swim between colourful reefs and spectacular fish species off the islands of Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi.

best time to visit thailand

How much are flights to Thailand?

High season (November-February)

The tourist peak season hits Thailand from December to January and also in April during the Thai New Year. During the festive peak period, prices on flights and accommodation can go up by more than 30% during low season, so this might not be the best time to visit Thailand if you’re looking to travel on a budget. However, if you do a little bit of planning and book early enough, you may just score some great deals on cheap flights and accommodation.

Low season (March-October)

Travelling during low season has the advantage of being a lot cheaper, especially if you visit places that aren’t busy all year around. Why not explore some off-the-beaten-track places and discover some of Thailand’s hidden treasures without the bustling crowds?

Take advantage of fewer crowds, lower prices, emptier hotels and having the beaches all to yourself! Stay updated on our latest flight specials to Thailand.

best time to visit thailand

Top things to do in Thailand

With so many incredible things to do in Thailand, you might need a little guidance. Here is a list of the top things to do in Thailand that you simply cannot miss out on.

Southern Thailand

Beaches  

The best time to visit Thailand’s beaches are ideally between November and March, but anytime is really a good time! The beaches in Thailand are famous for their dreamy palm trees, white sand, and turquoise waters. Explore the iconic Railay beach, just a boat ride away from Ao-nang. Or enjoy the silence and beauty of Kata beach on Phuket.

best time to visit thailand

image courtesy of @connor_crowdy via Instagram

Island-Hopping

Explore the blossoming islands by Thailand’s famous longtail boats. From the city of Krabi, you can easily access and explore more than 200 beautiful islands of this western archipelago. Here you can find the most extraordinary secret beaches in Thailand. Among these are the paradise islands of Phi Phi where the iconic movie The Beach was filmed. Start early and you can easily spend an entire day island hopping amongst the majestic limestone cliffs.

Snorkelling

Snorkelling is, without a doubt, one of the greatest things to do in Thailand. The underwater life along the Thai coast offers a great variety of corals, fish, and anemones. By the Surin Islands on the east coast, you will find some of the most stunning reefs on the planet. Spot extraordinary clownfish living among colourful corals.

Floating Markets

If you are staying in Bangkok, make sure to visit a floating market. These charming markets are situated on narrow riverbanks where vendors and farmers sell exquisite products from their boats. Bang Kachao is one of the most famous markets and celebrated for its authenticity and fine organic products. This truly is shopping with a difference!

best time to visit thailand

image courtesy of @madcocks_travels via Instagram

Northern Thailand

Street Food

One of the essential things to do in Thailand is to try its distinct and delicious street food. The street food culture is very diverse, and dishes are super tasty and cheap. Some common and simple Thai dishes are:

Poh Pia Tod – small, delicious spring rolls

Som Tam –  a classic fresh Thai salad

Phad Thai – the all-time noodle favourite

Tom Kha Gai – traditional chicken galangal soup

best time to visit thailand

Hiking

If you are an adventurer and intrigued by Thailand’s northern landscapes, go hiking in the area around Chiang Dao. This small town is a 90-minute drive away from Chiang Mai, and easy to access by bus or car. It is such a wonderful place to visit, just to experience the outstanding nature.

best time to visit thailand

Temples

Thailand is a Buddhist country and visiting the temples is a part of everyday life for many Thai people. Many temples are beautifully decorated and have a great history behind them, so make sure to visit one. In Chiang Rai, you find the temple Wat Rong Khun – a spectacular white building decorated with pieces of glass that sparkle in the sunlight.

Be sure to always dress appropriately when visiting Thailand’s temples.

best time to visit thailand

Chiang Mai’s Ancient City

The ancient city of Chiang Mai is a historical crown jewel for Thailand. Even though it is today the largest Metropol in the north, it has kept a grand cultural heritage and charm that is astonishing. It is also known for its food and vegetable markets, with locally produced goods.

To get more inspiration on things to do in Thailand, read up on green perspectives in Thailand!

Annual events and holidays

When it comes to religion, Thailand is first and foremost a Buddhist country, with 94% of its population practising Buddhism. Many national celebrations and public holidays are therefore due to Buddhist traditions. Some get celebrated throughout several days and are amazing to experience. For the best time to visit Thailand and experience its festivities, be sure to plan your trip around some of these events:

Chinese New Year: January 16th (date changes every year)

This New Year’s celebration is very festive, especially in the Chinese parts of town! On this day in Bangkok, you’ll find people dressed in red, partying in the streets and celebrating this occasion!

Songkran Water Festival: April 13-15th

This is one of the biggest festivals and is a celebration of the Thai New Year.

The celebration is spread over three days, where on the first day people engage in massive water fights on the streets. Bring a water pistol and enjoy a really funny thing to do in Thailand.

Phi Ta Khon:  late June-July

This is called the Ghost festival and is a 3-day celebration held especially in the town Dan Sai, bordering Laos. During the festival, people bring attention to the spirits of the dead. During the 3 days of celebration, you’ll find fireworks, games, and parades held throughout the city where people dress up as dancing spirits. Take a look at the beautifully decorated costumes!

Loy Krathong (Lantern Festival): November

Loy Krathong is a celebration of the river goddess “Mae Nam” and takes place on the night of the 12th full moon every year. People traditionally release decorated krathongs (lanterns) on to the water and glowing paper lanterns into the sky at night. It is an absolutely beautiful sight.

best time to visit thailand

Now that you have a complete guide on Thailand’s seasons and attractions, the best time to visit Thailand is generally between the cooler months of November to February, or between June and September if you’re looking for the best deals. Since peak season runs from December to January, we recommend you to travel just outside of this period. This will guarantee you both spectacular weather as well as cheap flight tickets for your holiday!

Are you also looking for the best time to visit Thailand? What’s your idea of the perfect Thailand getaway? Please share your comments below.

Keep up to date with our latest flight specials by signing up for our newsletter, and you’ll soon be on your way to exploring the exotic flavours of Thailand!

The post A seasonal guide to the best time to visit Thailand appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

Food of Mauritius: 9 unique things to try in Dodoland

One of the best ways to experience a country is through its food. And the food of Mauritius is some of the tastiest you will ever try. It is considered one of the great Creole cuisines and is famous for its exciting street food scene.

mauritius street food

Courtesy of @derek_andrew_67 via Instagram

Over the years, Chinese, French, European, and African migrants settled on the island of Mauritius and brought with them the flavours of their homelands. Wander through the streets of Port Louis and you will be greeted with some familiar and some downright peculiar dishes.

Also read: Authentic experiences in Mauritius

mauritian food

Courtesy of @taste.of.mauritius via Instagram

Some typical Mauritian dishes include:

Curry

Mauritian curries are in a league of their own in terms of flavour, but what makes them particularly exciting is the array of accompaniments and sides: achard, mazavaroo (chilli paste), lentils, rice, farata (roti), mine frite (fried noodles), and even dumplings. If you are feeling adventurous, try the hot Creole curry or head to Chez Rosy in Souillac for octopus curry (they are also known for their fresh lobster).

mauritian cuisine

Courtesy of @meluna0494 via Instagram

Fish vindaye

A traditional seafood dish that is fantastically flavourful and one of the most famous dishes of Mauritius. Although the seafood ingredients can vary it is usually a decadent dish of fried, pickled fish in a tangy onion, turmeric, mustard seeds, garlic, and ginger sauce.

fish vindaye

Courtesy of @steve.low.451960 via Instagram

Boulet (dim sum)

Mauritian-style steamed dumplings made with chayote (an exotic pear-shaped vegetable), chicken, seafood, or vegetables and served in a broth infused with chilli and spring onion. Boulet can be found at most market stalls and restaurants across the island and is made in various ways.

Where to go: Chinatown in Port Louis and Ti Kouloir in Grand Baie

bouillon boulettes

Courtesy of @tastingmauritius via Instagram

Bol renverser (upside down bowl)

This is one of the most popular dishes in Mauritius. Chicken or prawn, stir-fried vegetables, Chinese sauces, and rice is layered into a bowl and turned upside down when served. A fried egg is placed on top of the dome after the dish is turned upside down as a finishing touch.

bol renverser

Courtesy of @vanessdero via Instagram

Dholl puri

The national dish of Mauritius that locals and travellers alike go gaga over. Dholl puri is a yellow split-pea pancake that is griddled on a tawa and filled with cari gros pois (bean curry) and Mauritius’ famous rougaille (a spicy sauce of sweet tomatoes, thyme, garlic, and ginger). Sides include achard (pickled vegetables) and coriander satini (chutney).

Where to go: Dewa & Sons on Royal Road

mauritian dal puri

Courtesy of @angeliqued19 via Instagram

Salade palmiste

Also known as ‘millionaire’s salad’, this is a Mauritian delicacy and definitely one of the more unusual dishes. Salad leaves and some kind of seafood (usually smoked marlin) are tossed together with a delicious dressing and served with the sliced, raw heart of a palm tree. A dream dish for seafood lovers and salad savants.

palm heart salad

Courtesy of @kevina.25 via Instagram

Gato piments

Crispy on the outside and soft as snow on the inside, these tiny balls of fried chilli goodness are an iconic street food of Mauritius. Chana dal (split peas) is mixed with spring onion, turmeric, and chilli and served on a warm baguette with a drizzle of hot sauce. These are great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

gato piment

Courtesy of @kristou20 via Instagram

Tropical fruit salad

It is nothing like you know. Fruit salad in Mauritius is the usual mix of tropical fruits such as pineapple, mango, lychee, guava, apple, and even a bit of cucumber, but the Mauritian twist is lashings of zesty tamarind sauce and a sprinkling of chilli salt. It may sound odd, but it is delicious!

mauritian fruit salad

Courtesy of @koko_intheflex via Instagram

Coconuts

Drinking from a coconut may seem like a tropical cliché but you are in paradise and it is kind of obligatory, so you can’t leave Mauritius without drinking from one. Coconut vendors pepper the beachfront and are skilled in cutting them open. Ask for a ‘coconut spoon’ so you can eat the cream too!

coconut cocktail mauritius

Courtesy of @sublime_mauritius via Instagram

Relax hard, snack often

Popular Mauritian snacks to try: sliced Victoria pineapples or mangoes served with chilli flakes or marinated in vinegar, sugar, and chilli.

fruit stand mauritius

Courtesy of @koko_intheflex via Instagram

The best food markets in Mauritius

Port Louis Central Market

Address: Corderie Street, Port Louis, Mauritius

When to go: Get there in the morning before 9 am to avoid the crowds

Rose Hill Market

Address: Beau Bassin-Rose Hill, Mauritius

When to go: Anytime

Flacq Market

Address: Central Flacq, Mauritius

When to go: Wednesdays and Sundays

mauritius fruit

Courtesy of @mkspeter via Instagram

Beverages

For a little evening tipple on one of the amazing beaches of Mauritius or a chaser to a good lunch, try one of these popular Mauritian drinks:

  • Vanilla tea – hand-picked black tea blended with Ceylon tea and vanilla.
  • Rhum Arrangè – local sugar cane rum steeped in fruits and sometimes even chilli.
  • Alouda – a sweet milky beverage made with agar-agar, basil seeds, vanilla and almond essence, and tapioca balls.
  • Beer – Phoenix Beer is an award-winning lager and Flying Dodo is the only craft beer produced on the island.
beer mauritius

Courtesy of @mkspeter via Instagram

Things you should know

Most countries have their own quirks when it comes to food and Mauritius is no different. These tips will help make your culinary experience easier and perhaps spare you a blazing tongue.

  • Learn some of the basic terms before you go. Wild herbs are called “bredes” and pronounced “bread”, so if you want bread, ask for ‘dee pen’.
  • Try out a cooking class with a Mauritian family. It is a great way to meet the locals while learning how to cook traditional Mauritian food. And if you are lucky, you might be able to get your hands on a secret family recipe!
  • Another great way to get an intimate glimpse into the unique flavours of Mauritius is on a food tour.
  • Most dishes are served with chilli so be sure to say “no chilli” if you do not respond well to hot food. And if you do encounter them in your food remember: eat bread; the pips are the hottest; red chillis are more potent; and the smaller they are, the hotter they are.
  • If you do not want your food to be spicy say, ‘pah for’, which means ‘not hot’ in Creole.
  • Head to the beach at about four in the afternoon and you will find the freshest catches of the day laid out at the stalls.
fish market mauritius

Courtesy of @yink44 via Instagram

Just a spoonful of sugar

  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with a trip to L’Aventure du Sucre in Pamplemousses. It was once a sugar factory and is now a museum that offers sugar tastings of about nine different types of sugars.
  • Gato coco are deliciously sweet coconut cakes that come in various shapes, flavours, and colours. You can find these at many corner shops and patisseries across the island.
gato coco mauritius

Courtesy of @foodscribbles via Instagram

A trip to Mauritius is more than just a sojourn in paradise. It is a sensory experience that will give you a chance to explore the unique, exotic flavours of Mauritian food. So be curious and try as many things as possible!

Be a traveller of the world and an explorer of food. They are, after all, two of life’s greatest pleasures.

Find cheap flights to Mauritius and let your next big food adventure begin!

mauritian dal puri

Courtesy of @insta_shamz via Instagram

Have you tried the food of Mauritius? Or perhaps something weird and wonderful in another country? Share your foodie experience in the comments below!

And don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter and have a look at our holiday packages to stay up to date with the latest flight specials and find the best travel deals.

Featured image courtesy of @sublime_mauritius via Instagram

The post Food of Mauritius: 9 unique things to try in Dodoland appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

All the information you need to book your flights online!

When it comes to travel, we know that it can be daunting when there are a thousand things to consider and lots and lots of planning to do. There’s a 95% chance that you’re more interested in deciding which mountain peak you’d like to climb, or which brand of snorkelling goggles to purchase for your underwater sightseeing.

So, when it comes to booking your flights and knowing what is needed to make the purchase as simple as possible, Travelstart has jotted down all the information you’d need to book your flights online. From deciding if you want an aisle seat to checking where you can pick your tickets up from, let us guide you through this simple process!

Once you’ve decided on which fantastic destination, local or international, you’re already set to book your flights. Booking flights online is easy-peasy, though there are a few things that you will need to have at hand to streamline this exercise.

book-your-flights-airport-lounge

Flight and passenger details

First things first, to book your flights online, you will need some basic information of the destination you’ll be flying to and information like the exact date you would like to fly to your destination and return home. You will, of course, also need all of your personal details that will appear on your flight ticket. To speed up the booking, it’s a good idea to have all of these details at hand.

  • Trip details – Dates (one way or return), an airline of choice, airports flying to, number of travellers
  • Personal information – Full names (to be spelt exactly as it is in your ID or passport), date of birth, country of residence
  • ID number (local flights) or passport numbers (international flights)
  • Ideal departure times and length of flights
  • Ideal cabin class (Economy / Premium Economy / Business / First Class / Suites)

Domestic flights

In South Africa, to book a local flight you will only need your identity number (ID) to do so. Passengers over the age of 16 years old are allowed to travel within the country on their own and will only need to produce their original ID card and booking reference number to board a flight. Passengers under 16 years old will need written permission from their parents/guardians and their birth certificate. For more information on travelling with minors, have a look at Travelstart’s handy guide on flying with kids and information on unabridged birth certificates.

If you are flying locally and are a registered licensed driver, you may use this original form of identification to board your flight. Please note that your driver’s license will have to be valid for the dates you intend to fly domestically.

International flights

When flying abroad, you will need to produce your original, valid passport at the check-in counter, as well as any visa that the country you’re flying to may need. Please remember that visas need to be applied for long in advance, so make sure to set plenty of time aside for that.

book-flights-airport-view

Image courtesy of @mari.medel via Instagram

Make sure to check the validity of your passport, as you won’t be able to leave the country with an invalid one. Many countries also require that your passport be valid for a period of at least 3 – 6 months from the date of return to South Africa.

 

Do you need a passport when you book your flights?

No. You will not need to enter your passport number at the online booking stage of your trip, but you will need it when booking flight packages and when you check in for your flight.

If you are applying for a visa, you will need to fill in forms with your passport number, as well as provide a certified copy of it. Make sure to use the exact same spelling as in your passport when booking your flights, as many airlines do not allow, or charge a penalty fee for booking under an incorrectly spelled name.

Have a look at our page, how to book a flight without a passport number, for when booking your flights with Travelstart.

How to book a flight ticket for someone else

To book a flight for someone else is pretty simple. As with booking flights for yourself, you will need all of their personal information, as well as a list of preferences such as airline choice, preferred time of flight, and things like how much money they would be willing to spend on their flight ticket. Of course, you will also need their consent to book their flights for them.

Once you’ve booked your flights and theirs, you will have the option of emailing them all of the flight details so that they can also have these details. To make your life a lot easier when booking for someone else or a large group, contact the team at Travelstart Live. They can simplify your life and help you streamline the whole process, as well as find you the best travel deals!

Paying for your flight

There are numerous ways to pay for your flights! Once you’ve filled in all of your details and are ready to pay, you can use one of these convenient payment options to seal the deal:

  • EFT
  • SID Instant EFT
  • Online credit/debit card payment
  • Cheque
  • Bank cash deposit

To pay for your flight using any online options, you will need to provide the name on the credit or debit card that you’ll be using, the card number and 3-digit CVV code that’s found at the back of the card, as well as the expiration date of the card.

If you’re still unsure of your options to pay for your flight, or you don’t have a credit card but would still like to book your flights online, please have a look at Travelstart’s handy page on how book flights without a credit card.

Can you pay for your flight with cash?

If you’re not too keen on paying for your flight via an online transaction there’s no need to worry as you can always do this with a cash deposit. You can pay for your flights directly from your bank to the Travelstart account, and voila, your flight is booked. Once the deposit has been made, the bank teller will provide you with a stamped deposit slip, which would then need to be scanned and emailed directly to payments@travelstart.com, along with your booking number. Ideally, you will need to email this information on the same day, or as soon as possible.

book-your-flights-check-in

Should you print out your ticket ahead of arriving at the airport?

It is not necessary to print out your flight itinerary and ticket ahead of time. To check in for your flight, all that the airline officials at the airport will need is your form of identification and reference number. For international flights, you will also need to have your passport and any visas with you.

Many international airlines advise passengers to print out electronic tickets ahead of time to avoid long queues at check-in. You can do this if you wish.

There are quite a few airlines that have kiosks at the airports which allow passengers to print out boarding passes. This is usually made possible by either entering your flight booking reference number or scanning in your passport. You can also download your boarding pass onto your mobile phone, have it printed out, or simply mailed to your personal email address.

Where to collect your tickets

There are options to collect your flight tickets once you have purchased them. Nowadays, it is very popular to have your ticket sent to your email and print it from the comfort of your home or work office. Your e-Ticket will be sent to you, and some airlines even give you the option of printing out your boarding pass or sending it to your mobile device, making your check in process a relatively simple one! Please note that you may still have to queue at your designated airline’s check-in counter if you have checked luggage to declare.

Other options to collect your flight tickets are more traditional. Many people prefer to just print out their flight information and to collect their physical tickets from the airport. Alternatively, you can also collect your tickets from one of the airline offices in your city.

Visa-free countries (less paperwork)

The truth of the matter is that visas are often very expensive, and the extra paperwork when planning a trip and booking flights can be a nightmare. Especially so when all you want to do is be packing in your swimsuit and flipflops and getting on your way! With that in mind, here is a list of South Africa’s favourite visa-free countries to visit for your next vacation.

  • Botswana
  • Reunion Island
  • Tanzania
  • Indonesia
  • Hong Kong
  • Argentina
  • Colombia
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Peru
  • Brazil

For even more options, have a look at Travelstart’s list of our top visa-free countries for South Africans to visit. With so many options, you’ll be booking your flights (without all of the extra paperwork) in no time at all!

book-your-flights-online-island-destination

Image courtesy of @Lux.Life.Styl via Instagram.

For more details on how to book your flights online, head over to our online booking page for a step-by-step process on how to do so simply and conveniently from the comfort of your home or office.

So now that you’ve got nothing keeping you from booking your next flight, why not sign up to Travelstart’s newsletter for great deals and promotions – putting you first in line to book that amazing trip!

 

The post All the information you need to book your flights online! appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

Zanzibar Nightlife: Where To Go & What To Do!

Nightlife in Zanzibar can be as enticing as the cultures of the world coming together to dance, or as relaxed as watching the sun set over the ocean through rose-tinted sunglasses. It is what you make of it and this island destination caters to all. Zanzibar is known for many extraordinary things and is a traveller’s dream beach location. Visitors to the islands can look forward to snorkelling in the corals, swimming with marine life or lounging on the beach. And if that doesn’t suit your fancy, you can go on cultural spice tours through the villages, visit ancient palaces that once housed kings and queens or even try your hand at bartering at the local markets. The Zanzibar nightlife options are fun and unique, and you could easily spend your evening at a laid-back beach bar in Kendwa or an up-market nightclub in Stone Town – the choices are at your fingertips!

Book your cheap flights to Zanzibar online with Travelstart!

zanzibar-nighlife-cocktails

Nightlife locations in Zanzibar

City centre – Stone Town, Zanzibar City

As Stone Town is where you’ll find the urban buzz of the island, it is here that you’ll have the most options within an enclosed area. Less travelling around means more chances to really sit down (or get up!) and enjoy the town’s bars and restaurants. Enjoy putting on a nice pair of shoes as you’ll appreciate a more city-feel atmosphere at the restaurants and bars that you’ll come across.

Beachside bars and lounges – Kendwa, Paje, Jambiani, Nungwi

For more of a beach party scene, you would be right to assume that the best parties are held on the famous beaches of Zanzibar themselves! You can leave your fancy shoes at home and head down to bars that come especially alive after dark. You can tick ‘dancing under the stars’ off your bucket list as many of the beachside bars and lounges cater to the younger crowd and are known to play some good reggae and popular house music to get the crowds going. Just make sure to stay away from the water’s edge once you’ve had a drink or two!

zanzibar-nightlife-restaurants

Image courtesy of @pako_rosy via Instagram

Types of establishments

Restaurants

  1. Taarab restaurant, Stone Town

This restaurant is perfect for sampling some of the islands’ most tasty seafood and African delights, as voted so on TripAdvisor. Visitors can unwind on the restaurant’s rooftop after a long day of activities with a chilled beverage, while enjoying the sounds from the bustling streets below.

  1. Bahari Pizza Restaurant, Jambiani

This beachside restaurant is perfect for Italian pizza and other enticing flavours, as you enjoy your meal under the stars and listen to the sounds of the ocean. Be sure to come hungry as you indulge in good, authentic food!

  1. Kambakocho Bar and Beach Restaurant, Palumbo Reef Resort

Open until late in the evening, this evening bar and restaurant is located in a popular beach resort and is known for their lobster and crayfish dishes. The décor is a mix of African and Eastern influences, making it a beautiful location to dine.

zanzibar-nightlife-sunset-spot

Image courtesy of @amilliekay via Instagram

Sunset spots

  1. 6 Degrees South, Stone Town

Popular with tourists, this is your ideal location to watch the sun set as you relax and catch up with your travel buddies. Cocktails are known to be more than affordable at 6 Degrees South so you’ll be enjoying the finer things in life at a fraction of the price!

  1. Africa House Hotel, Stone Town

The hotel is well-known and can get crowded, so go early for the best seats to catch the sun go down. This restaurant is open all day and is especially active around town as one of the top sunset-watching spots with its colonial style architecture.

  1. Gerry’s Bar and Restaurant, Nungwi Beach

Gerry’s Bar and Restaurant has made a name for itself for its relaxed atmosphere and a great view of the sunset over the Indian Ocean. Food and drinks are affordable and after sunset, as the evening progresses, you can look forward to good music to get you into the island spirit.

zanzibar-nighlife-gerrys-bar

Image courtesy of @gerrysbarzanzibar via Instagram

Cocktail beach bars

  1. Kendwa Rocks Beach Resort, Kendwa

A popular Saturday night hangout, this Kendwa Rocks beach bar is located in the resort of the same name and is famous for its good grills, tasty cocktails, and music. The bar is loved for its rustic look as you can either spend your evenings in one of the bungalows or in one of its old wooden beach huts.

  1. The Rock, Pingwe

Possibly the most famous of all beach bars in Africa, The Rock is a great location and an experience all on its own! This beach bar is located in the waters of Michanwi Pingwe Beach and to get there, visitors wade through shallow waters to get to this unique location. Once there, visitors enjoy the views and drinks on offer.

  1. Paje by Night, Paje

The hotel of the same name has a beach bar that serves up delicious African, Spanish and Portuguese cuisine with a large array of cocktails to choose from. The hotel arranges a themed party once a week so you’ll be sure to meet lots of fun characters there.

zanzibar-nightlife-party

Image courtesy of @kenthewanderer via Instagram

Nightclubs

  1. Garage Club, Stone Town

For a proper night out on the town, you should visit Garage Club in Stone Town. The club plays a mix of urban fusions, depending on which night you find yourself there, and often gets known DJ’s from around the world to get the crowds pumped.

  1. Red Monkey Lodge, Jambiani

Monday nights are party nights at the Red Monkey Lodge! Here you will dance to local sounds and get to mingle with those who live on the island as well as lots of travellers too. Book your tickets ahead of time as the lodge is part of the resort.

  1. Coccobello, Nungwi

Twice a week, if you’re looking for a late-night party then head over to Coccobello in Nungwi for some local and reggae beats. The otherwise laidback bar comes alive on Sundays and Wednesdays and you’ll soon find yourself on the dancefloor, partying the night away.

zanzibar-nightlife-sauti-festival

Image courtesy of @mark_adem via Instagram

Zanzibar Nightlife Events and Festivals

Monthly

  • Full Moon PartyKendwa Rocks

Every month you can look forward to the biggest party on the island, the Full Moon Party. Held on the first Saturday after the full moon is sighted, you can look forward to a large and crazy evening where you’re sure to have an immense amount of fun! There are taxis from Stone Town to Kendwa Rocks, so you can easily get to the party and enjoy this Zanzibar nightlife activity without having to worry about getting lost.

 

Annually

  •  Sauti za Busara – February at the Old Fort, Stone Town

This festival has been going strong for more than 10 years and brings together artists from across Africa to celebrate! You can expect to experience the sweet sounds of 400+ artists and join in on a carnival parade too.

  • Zanzibar International Film Festival – July, Stone Town

Enjoy your vacation in July and take advantage of this one-week festival that showcases amazing films from across the world. There are also inspiring talks and other forms of entertainment throughout the week, with evening activities planned in too.

  • Jahazi Literary & Jazz festival – end of August/beginning of July, Stone Town

Spend your weekend days listening to well-known poets and book authors, and engaging in workshops during the festival. After, get ready to samba as you spend your evenings dancing away to jazz music during this Zanzibar nightlife annual event.

zanzibar-nightlife-streetfood

Image courtesy of @slawwalkowski via Instagram

Whatever your cup of tea, there are plenty of evening activities for you to engage in on the island. The Zanzibar nightlife scene is diverse and fun and you’ll be sure to have a good time after a full days’ worth of activities in the sun! Plan your days accordingly to visit the most beautiful beaches in Zanzibar and spend some time diving and snorkelling around the diverse coral selection, amongst other great daytime things to do.

So, ready to party the night away in Zanzibar? Sign up for our newsletter for the best deals to get your flights booked for your island vacation!

 

Feature image courtesy of @nat_yudina via Instagram.

 

The post Zanzibar Nightlife: Where To Go & What To Do! appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

All the information you need to book your flights online!

When it comes to travel, we know that it can be daunting when there are a thousand things to consider and lots and lots of planning to do. There’s a 95% chance that you’re more interested in deciding which mountain peak you’d like to climb, or which brand of snorkelling goggles to purchase for your underwater sightseeing.

So, when it comes to booking your flights and knowing what is needed to make the purchase as simple as possible, Travelstart has jotted down all the information you’d need to book your flights online. From deciding if you want an aisle seat to checking where you can pick your tickets up from, let us guide you through this simple process!

Once you’ve decided on which fantastic destination, local or international, you’re already set to book your flights. Booking flights online is easy-peasy, though there are a few things that you will need to have at hand to streamline this exercise.

book-your-flights-airport-lounge

Flight and passenger details

First things first, to book your flights online, you will need some basic information of the destination you’ll be flying to and information like the exact date you would like to fly to your destination and return home. You will, of course, also need all of your personal details that will appear on your flight ticket. To speed up the booking, it’s a good idea to have all of these details at hand.

  • Trip details – Dates (one way or return), an airline of choice, airports flying to, number of travellers
  • Personal information – Full names (to be spelt exactly as it is in your ID or passport), date of birth, country of residence
  • ID number (local flights) or passport numbers (international flights)
  • Ideal departure times and length of flights
  • Ideal cabin class (Economy / Premium Economy / Business / First Class / Suites)

Domestic flights

In South Africa, to book a local flight you will only need your identity number (ID) to do so. Passengers over the age of 16 years old are allowed to travel within the country on their own and will only need to produce their original ID card and booking reference number to board a flight. Passengers under 16 years old will need written permission from their parents/guardians and their birth certificate. For more information on travelling with minors, have a look at Travelstart’s handy guide on flying with kids and information on unabridged birth certificates.

If you are flying locally and are a registered licensed driver, you may use this original form of identification to board your flight. Please note that your driver’s license will have to be valid for the dates you intend to fly domestically.

International flights

When flying abroad, you will need to produce your original, valid passport at the check-in counter, as well as any visa that the country you’re flying to may need. Please remember that visas need to be applied for long in advance, so make sure to set plenty of time aside for that.

Make sure to check the validity of your passport, as you won’t be able to leave the country with an invalid one. Many countries also require that your passport be valid for a period of at least 3 – 6 months from the date of return to South Africa.

book-your-flights-passports-and-coffee

Do you need a passport when you book your flights?

No. You will not need to enter your passport number at the online booking stage of your trip, but you will need it when booking flight packages and when you check in for your flight.

If you are applying for a visa, you will need to fill in forms with your passport number, as well as provide a certified copy of it. Make sure to use the exact same spelling as in your passport when booking your flights, as many airlines do not allow, or charge a penalty fee for booking under an incorrectly spelled name.

Have a look at our page, how to book a flight without a passport number, for when booking your flights with Travelstart.

How to book a flight ticket for someone else

To book a flight for someone else is pretty simple. As with booking flights for yourself, you will need all of their personal information, as well as a list of preferences such as airline choice, preferred time of flight, and things like how much money they would be willing to spend on their flight ticket. Of course, you will also need their consent to book their flights for them.

Once you’ve booked your flights and theirs, you will have the option of emailing them all of the flight details so that they can also have these details. To make your life a lot easier when booking for someone else or a large group, contact the team at Travelstart Live. They can simplify your life and help you streamline the whole process, as well as find you the best travel deals!

Paying for your flight

There are numerous ways to pay for your flights! Once you’ve filled in all of your details and are ready to pay, you can use one of these convenient payment options to seal the deal:

  • EFT
  • SID Instant EFT
  • Online credit/debit card payment
  • Cheque
  • Bank cash deposit

To pay for your flight using any online options, you will need to provide the name on the credit or debit card that you’ll be using, the card number and 3-digit CVV code that’s found at the back of the card, as well as the expiration date of the card.

If you’re still unsure of your options to pay for your flight, or you don’t have a credit card but would still like to book your flights online, please have a look at Travelstart’s handy page on how book flights without a credit card.

Can you pay for your flight with cash?

If you’re not too keen on paying for your flight via an online transaction there’s no need to worry as you can always do this with a cash deposit. You can pay for your flights directly from your bank to the Travelstart account, and voila, your flight is booked. Once the deposit has been made, the bank teller will provide you with a stamped deposit slip, which would then need to be scanned and emailed directly to payments@travelstart.com, along with your booking number. Ideally, you will need to email this information on the same day, or as soon as possible.

book-your-flights-check-in

Should you print out your ticket ahead of arriving at the airport?

It is not necessary to print out your flight itinerary and ticket ahead of time. To check in for your flight, all that the airline officials at the airport will need is your form of identification and reference number. For international flights, you will also need to have your passport and any visas with you.

Many international airlines advise passengers to print out electronic tickets ahead of time to avoid long queues at check-in. You can do this if you wish.

There are quite a few airlines that have kiosks at the airports which allow passengers to print out boarding passes. This is usually made possible by either entering your flight booking reference number or scanning in your passport. You can also download your boarding pass onto your mobile phone, have it printed out, or simply mailed to your personal email address.

Where to collect your tickets

There are options to collect your flight tickets once you have purchased them. Nowadays, it is very popular to have your ticket sent to your email and print it from the comfort of your home or work office. Your e-Ticket will be sent to you, and some airlines even give you the option of printing out your boarding pass or sending it to your mobile device, making your check in process a relatively simple one! Please note that you may still have to queue at your designated airline’s check-in counter if you have checked luggage to declare.

Other options to collect your flight tickets are more traditional. Many people prefer to just print out their flight information and to collect their physical tickets from the airport. Alternatively, you can also collect your tickets from one of the airline offices in your city.

Visa-free countries (less paperwork)

The truth of the matter is that visas are often very expensive, and the extra paperwork when planning a trip and booking flights can be a nightmare. Especially so when all you want to do is be packing in your swimsuit and flipflops and getting on your way! With that in mind, here is a list of South Africa’s favourite visa-free countries to visit for your next vacation.

  • Botswana
  • Reunion Island
  • Tanzania
  • Indonesia
  • Hong Kong
  • Argentina
  • Colombia
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Peru
  • Brazil

For even more options, have a look at Travelstart’s list of our top visa-free countries for South Africans to visit. With so many options, you’ll be booking your flights (without all of the extra paperwork) in no time at all!

book-your-flights-online-island-destination

Image courtesy of @Lux.Life.Styl via Instagram.

For more details on how to book your flights online, head over to our online booking page for a step-by-step process on how to do so simply and conveniently from the comfort of your home or office.

So now that you’ve got nothing keeping you from booking your next flight, why not sign up to Travelstart’s newsletter for great deals and promotions – putting you first in line to book that amazing trip!

 

The post All the information you need to book your flights online! appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

Where to Find Culture, History, Food & Adventure in Hawaii

Hawaii’s resplendent nature is world-renowned, placing it near the top of most travellers’ bucket lists. However, this is just one of many things that contributes to Hawaii’s international appeal. Whether it’s high-flying adventure, fascinating culture

The post Where to Find Culture, History, Food & Adventure in Hawaii appeared first on HotelsCombined Blog.