652 Chapters
Medium 9781743213872

Seville

Planet, Lonely Lonely Planet Publications ePub

Pop 703,000 / Elev 30m

Some cities have looks, other cities have personality. The sevillanos – lucky devils – get both, courtesy of their flamboyant, charismatic, ever-evolving Andalucian metropolis founded, according to myth, 3000 years ago by the Greek god Hercules. Drenched for most of the year in spirit-enriching sunlight, this is a city of feelings as much as sights, with different seasons prompting vastly contrasting moods: solemn for Semana Santa, flirtatious for the spring fiesta and soporific for the gasping heat of summer.

Like all great cities, Seville has historical layers. Roman ruins testify the settlement’s earliest face, memories of the Moorish era flicker like medieval engravings in the Santa Cruz quarter, while the riverside Arenal reeks of lost colonial glory. Yet, one of the most remarkable things about modern Seville is its ability to adapt and etch fresh new brushstrokes onto an ancient canvas.

AMar–May The best time to visit Seville is when its two major festivals – Semana Santa and the Feria de Abril – run back to back. This is when the city wears its personality on its sleeve and is alive with colour, warm weather, orange blossom and that famous pasión (passion).

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Medium 9781742208848

Riverside, Silom & Lumphini

Planet, Lonely Lonely Planet Publications ePub

Riverside, Silom & Lumphini

For more detail of this area see Neigbourhood Map»

Dining at nahm, quite possibly the best Thai restaurant in the city, and as of 2014, the best restaurant in Asia.

Soaking up the views at one of Bangkok’s most famous tower-top bars, Sky Bar.

Relaxing Bangkok-style among the exercisers and exercise-observers in Lumphini Park, the ‘lungs of the city’.

Confronting your fear of snakes at Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute.

Ending the day (or starting the night) with a dinner cruise on Mae Nam Chao Phraya.

Th Silom, with its towering hotels and office buildings, is Bangkok’s de facto financial district, while Th Sathon is home to many of the city’s embassies. Incongruously, lower Th Silom functions as Bangkok’s lush gaybourhood. There’s a dearth of sights in this part of town, so unless you’re heading to Lumphini Park – at its best in the early morning – take advantage of the street stalls and upscale restaurants and combine your visit with lunch or dinner. The BTS stop at Sala Daeng and the MRT stop at Si Lom put you at lower Th Silom, perfect jumping-off points for either Lumphini Park or the area’s restaurants and sights.

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Medium 9781743218570

Jordaan & the West

Planet, Lonely Lonely Planet Publications ePub

1Losing yourself in the labyrinth of narrow streets and charming canals while walking through the Jordaan, before spending the evening in the neighbourhood's atmospheric brown cafés (bars) – nothing is more quintessentially Amsterdam.

2Learning about the fascinating history and production of the country's favourite bloom at the Amsterdam Tulip Museum.

3Listening to rare jazz and classical tunes play on vintage pianolas at the Pianola Museum.

4Discovering what life is like on the city's waterways at the quaint Houseboat Museum.

5Pedalling around the unique mash-up of reedy wilderness and old gasworks buildings turned into cafes and theatres in Westerpark.

Though gentrified today, the Jordaan was a rough, densely populated volksbuurt (district for the common people) until the mid-20th century, and that history still shows. You'll discover that this neighbourhood is a curiously enchanting mix of its traditional gritty, hard-drinking, leftist character and its revitalised, trend-conscious sheen.

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Medium 9781742202990

Ulaanbaatar

Planet, Lonely Lonely Planet Publications ePub

Ulaanbaatar

011, 021, 051, 7035 / Pop 1,287,100 / Area 1368 sq km

If Mongolia’s yin is its pristine countryside, then Ulaanbaatar (UB) conforms nicely to its yang. An enormous city of pulsating commerce, wild traffic, sinful nightlife and bohemian counter-culture, the Mongolian capital elicits as much shock as it does excitement. The contrasts within the city can be exasperating too: Armani-suited businessmen rub shoulders with mohawked punks and del -clad nomads fresh off the steppes. One minute you’re dodging the path of a Hummer H2 and the next you’re mystified by groaning Buddhist monks at Gandan Khiid. It’s a wild place that bursts into life after slumbering through a long winter. This chaotic capital is not the easiest city to navigate, but with a little patience, travellers can take care of all their logistical needs, watch traditional theatre, sample international cuisine and party till three in the morning. This ever-changing city may be the biggest surprise of your Mongolian adventure.

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Medium 9781743603611

44 Ace Your Small Group Adventure

Planet, Lonely Lonely Planet Publications ePub

 44 

ACE YOUR SMALL GROUP ADVENTURE

Joining a group can be a great way to explore a country and make new friends

FUN FACTOR

1 As well as getting a taste of a different culture, you will be spending lots of time with a group of new people – so it pays to do your homework. Different companies and types of tour will bring together people of different nationalities and ages, so check you’re signing up for one that’s right for you.

2 Being on time on your trip is more than a common courtesy to your guide and fellow group members. It might be the difference between making an early morning bus or catching the greatest sunset of your life. Nothing will erode goodwill faster than missing agreed departure times.

3 Use the guide for local knowledge – they are there to do more than get you from a to b. They can help you get a good price on souvenirs, recommend a great bar for after-hours revelry or get you tickets for the big match in town.

4 Read the itinerary beforehand and check there’s enough free time. With a little wiggle room you can make time for solo jaunts as well as enjoying the pre-arranged plan.

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