Derek Freal

Derek Freal

" ǝʌıʇɔǝdsɹǝd ɹǝɥʇouɐ ɯoɹɟ sƃuıɥʇ ǝǝs oʇ ǝʌol ı "
Derek is a perpetual wanderer, cultural enthusiast, and lifelong traveler. He loves going places where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, as well as places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo (supposedly its healthier and more efficient). Say Hello On Twitter!

Hidden in the trees of a small hilltop along the coastline in between Koh Samet and Laem Mae Phim Beach is Chao Pho to Kong Shrine. It's one of the more than 40,000 temples scattered across Thailand and easy to drive past without even noticing. However Chao Pho to Kong Shrine is definitely worth visiting if you are in Rayong province, even if only for the amazing view.

Chao Pho To Kong Shrine in Rayong province, Thailand

Chao Pho To Kong Shrine in Rayong province, Thailand
This is most likely the only Thai navy ship shrine in the country.

The entrance to the temple and several small, colorful, elaborately decorated shrines are located at the base of the hill. Grab a handful of incense sticks, light them using the flame and then proceed to place three incense sticks at each of the three small shrines (in clockwork order starting from the shrine located furthest from the hill). The remaining incense are for the giant Buddha.

Chao Pho To Kong Shrine in Rayong province, Thailand

Chao Pho To Kong Shrine in Rayong province, Thailand

Chao Pho To Kong Shrine in Rayong province, Thailand

After finishing proceed up the stairs to the rest of the shrine. Even before this specific shrine was built, local fisherman have long since used this spot to pay homage before going out to sea.

Chao Pho To Kong Shrine in Rayong province, Thailand

Chao Pho To Kong Shrine in Rayong province, Thailand

Chao Pho To Kong Shrine in Rayong province, Thailand

As beautiful as the shrine is, don't forget to spin around 180 degrees and soak up the amazing view of Koh Samet island.

View of Koh Samet from Chao Pho To Kong Shrine in Rayong province, Thailand

Phoenix is a beautiful city and every year more and more color street art murals can be found all over town. From Roosevelt Row Arts District (affectionately known as "RoRo") to Calle 16 and Grand Avenue, Phoenix has become such a hotbed of artwork that it is impossible to see everything in one trip.

Phoenix street art photo collection

Of course not all the great Phoenix artwork is confined to exterior walls. At 285,000 square feet the Phoenix Art Museum is the largest visual art museum in the United States.

Here are some of my favorite Phoenix street art murals:

Phoenix street art

Phoenix street art

Phoenix street art

Phoenix street art

Phoenix street art

Phoenix street art

Phoenix street art

Phoenix street art

Phoenix street art

Phoenix street art

Want more street art?

The best street art in Malaysia is not in Penang, it is in Shah Alam just outside of Kuala Lumpur....welcome to Laman Seni 7!

Laman Seni 7: Malaysia' Most Amazing Street Art!

Let’s take you to the trip to Lucknow, the city of Nawabs. This multi-cultural city is widely known for its people’s courteous behaviour and language that is a sweet blend of Hindi and Urdu. It has also been one of the most tourist-attracting cities of North India. This is the reason that Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport at Lucknow is the second-busiest airport after Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi.

Take out your calendar, pick out your next vacation dates and book your flight tickets from the busiest airport in North India to the second-busiest airport in North India. You can find cheap and affordable flight tickets from Delhi to Lucknow on Yatra portal.

Now let’s have a quick look on the list of tourist attractions that make Lucknow a must-visit place for all.

Bara Imambara

The bara imambara also known as the Asfi Imambara after the Nawab who built it, attracts Muslims all over India during festivals, most importantly the muharram. Moreover, it attracts tourists for its spectacular maze that is popularly known as Bhool-Bhulaiya. This is said to be the world’s biggest unsupported structure that is built without the use of wood or any metal. Its central hall holds the position of the largest arched hall in the world.

Hazratganj Market

Modelled after Queen’s Street London, the Hazratganj Market is called the heartthrob for the shoppers. You can find the best quality and variety of chikan embroidery at Hazratganj Market. Apart from the chikan embroidery, Hazratganj can provide you with all types of things you can expect in a world class market. Don’t forget to treat yourself with Lucknowi cuisines when you visit Hazratganj Market (or anywhere else in Lucknow).

Lucknow Zoo

If you love nature and wildlife, you would love to visit the Nawab Wazid Ali Shah Prani Udyan (Lucknow Zoo) which is a house for 463 mammals, 298 birds and 72 reptiles representing 97 species. If you are on a tight schedule, you can take the toy train ride to have a quick glimpse of the major portions of the zoo.

Chota Imambara

Chota imambara, also known as Imambara Hussainabad Mubarak, is also one of the favourite monuments for the tourists who come for sightseeing. It is a congregation hall for Shia Muslims and a mausoleum for the Nawab of Awadh and his mother.

Rumi Darwaza

Adjacent to the Asafi Imambara stands the mighty and glorious Rumi Darwaza which was once built as the entrance gate for Lucknow. Now it is Lucknow’s icon and is a mark for the entrance of old Lucknow.

Hussainabad Clock Tower

India’s tallest clock tower, Hussainabad Clock Tower, resides in Lucknow. Built as a replica of BIGBEN clock tower of London, this tower attracts many tourists whole year long.

Ambedkar Memorial Park

Unlike the others in the list, Ambedkar Memorial Park is not a historical structure; it was established and opened in 2008. Despite being new, it attracts tourists with its unbeatable beauty. Apart from tourists, it has also attracted Bollywood film-makers for shooting.

Gomti Nagar Marine Drive

Lucknow develops itself to cater the needs of every coming generation, and the Marine Drive is the perfect example of this city of nawabs and palaces. This impressively built location attracts a younger lot of tourists to Lucknow.

Anandi Water Park

This water park too is attracting fun-loving tourists nowadays. This place also provides family-party facilities. Fun games and activities enjoyed by children and adults alike are the major attraction for Anandi Water Park of Lucknow.

You see Lucknow has old as well as modern tourist-attracting locations. This means you can have fun with your whole family. So, get your bags packed and visit the Yatra Portal. Without any hassle get your flight tickets from Delhi to Lucknow booked on Yatra.

Breathtaking natural beauty and enchanting sunsets. Iconic landscapes and rich Native American history. Welcome to New Mexico, also known as The Land of Enchantment. No state better captures the true essence of the American Southwest than New Mexico -- and the best way to experience this is to go off the beaten path in Ruidoso, New Mexico.

Certain Ruidoso spots are obligatory visitor destinations, such as Ruidoso Downs and the Lincoln National Forest. However make sure not to miss out on these unique and offbeat things to do in Ruidoso:

Ziplining at 11,489 feet up!

Ziplining gets exponentially more fun as the elevation increases, it's a scientific fact*
* may not be "scientific" or a "fact" but it is the truth

Ziplining at Grindstone Lake is one of the many unique and offbeat things to do in Ruidoso, New Mexico

Like any good ski company, Ski Apache offers plenty of adrenaline-pumping outdoor summer activities as well. These include mountain biking, hiking, a 9-hole disc golf course, and of course the star of it all, their impressive ziplines.

Ziplining at Grindstone Lake is one of the many unique and offbeat things to do in Ruidoso, New Mexico

Ziplining at Ski Apache is an unforgettable experience. Located over 11,000 feet above sea level (3,500 metres), this three-part zipline tours covers nearly two miles in distance (over 2.7 kilometres), offers "the most spectacular view in Southern New Mexico" and hits speeds of up to 65 MPH! (105km/hr!) Now tell you me that you don't want to experience this ;)

Best of all, ziplining is open year-round!

Gallop over to the Museum of the Horse

I have an unhealthy fixation with strange, unique and one-of-a-kind museums. No museum is too small or too quirky. Few museums are worth a second visit but every museum is worth one.

Spiderman says everybody gets one -- first on Family Guy, and then two years later he said it for the first time in the comics
"Everybody gets one" according to Spiderman in Family Guy S06E03. Little known fact: Two years later Spiderman said those same words in the comicbook for the first time.

The Museum Of The Horse in Ruidoso changed its name to Hubbard's Museum of the American West but the museum is no less interesting, especially to anyone fascinated by horses or the history of the American West.

The Museum Of The Horse is one of the many unique and offbeat things to do in Ruidoso, New Mexico
"Free Spirits at Noisy Waters" by Dave McGary is a collection of eight giant horse scupltures located on the grounds of the Museum of the American West. Photo via pamwood707

The Hubbards were a racing family, which explains why the museum is located next to the race track, Ruidoso Downs. It focuses on a wide variety of regional history, from wild horses and horse racing to Native Americans, pioneers and frontier life.

Although small, a lot is packed into the museum. Scultpures, horse carriages, weapons, art and a plethora of antiques, all of which have detailed descriptions. There are also seasonal exhibits as well.

  Entrance to the grounds is free, but the museum costs $7.

Don't forget to stop by Ruidoso Downs located next door!

Horse racing at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico
Ruidoso Downs

Try Something You've Never Done Before

When it comes to outdoor activities, that is where Ruidoso really shines, regardless of whether it is summer or winter.

Horseback riding around Grindstone Lake is one of the many unique and off the beaten path summer activities in Ruidoso, New Mexico

Summer Activities

During summer there is horseback riding, disc golf, hiking, mountain biking, cycling tours (on the road), fishing, ziplining, horse racing, camping and more. Pick one (or more) of these that you have never done before and give it a go. What better way to create some unforgettable memories in Ruidoso?

Snowboarding at Grindstone Lake is one of the many unique and offbeat winter activities in Ruidoso, New Mexico

Winter Activities

Cold weather means skiing, snowboarding, winter ziplining, tubing, sledding, and all sorts of other snow-filled activities. Decide on one that you've never done and make sure put it on your Ruidoso to-do list.

Go Mountain Biking Around Grindstone Lake

Ruidoso has nearly a dozen lakes, parks and recreation areas -- one for every 700 residents -- so outdoor activities abound. However the hiking trails around Grindstone Lake are some of the most relaxing, beautiful and enjoyable of all these activities.

Mountain biking around Grindstone Lake is one of the many unique and offbeat outdoor activities in Ruidoso, New Mexico

There are 18-miles of multiple use trails around Grindstone Lake and on into the neighboring Lincoln National Forest designed by the International Mountain Biking Association. In other words, sure they are suitable for hiking, but they were designed for mountain biking. ;)

Map of the 18 miles of hiking and biking trails around Grindstone Lake in Ruidoso, New Mexico
screenshot from discoverruidoso.com

Grindstone Lake also offers fishing and has a 27-hole disc golf course.

Disc golf at Grindstone Lake is one of the many unique and off the beaten path outdoor activities in Ruidoso, New Mexico

Unlesh the Beast at Pillow's Funtrackers

Go karts, bumper boats and miniature golf, oh my! Pillow's Funtrackers is a unique theme park that is fun for kids of all ages -- including our inner kid. (When was the last time you released that guy?) ;)

Open all year round, Pillow's Funtrackers attracts thrill-seeking guests from all of New Mexico, not just visitors to Ruidoso.

Pillow's Funtrackers is a unique and offbeat theme park in Ruidoso, New Mexico

All three go kart tracks, the bumper cars, miniature golf course and mountain maze are open year-round, however the bumper boats and gemstone panning are seasonal activities.

  Orlando's Most Offbeat Theme Parks

  Prices are suprisingly affordable as well. For $100 you can get 20 tickets, each good for one admission on any of the 20 rides.

Want More?     Offbeat Travel Guides   New Mexico Travel Guides   USA Travel Guides

  This article was sponsored in part by Discover Ruidoso, however it should go without saying that all experiences are my own opinion and were not influenced in any way.

  Know of any other unique and offbeat Ruidoso activities?

Jackson is a unique and famous city. The area, collectively referred to as Jackson Hole, is like a bubble of flat land surrounded 360° by forests, mountains and national parks. The high elevation keeps the entire region cold at night year round and thanks to the rugged yet scenic terrain, the area is also famous for skiing. However there is much more to do in and around Jackson than just that!

Jackson is entirely surrounded by the Grand Teton National Park and National Elk Refuge. Outdoor adventures abound! There are many great land- and water-based activities to be had nearby. Hiking. Wildlife. River-rafting. Fishing. Hot springs. There are countless day-trip adventures to be had -- or better yet check out Jackson Hole cabin rentals to spend an authentic night under the stars but without the work that comes with camping ;)

National Elk Refuge in Jackson, Wyoming
National Elk Refuge

Whatever you end up doing in and around Jackson, don't miss these unique and offbeat activities:

Visit an Intermittent Spring

Old Faithful isn't Wyoming's only time-based water attraction, just its most famous. That reliable hot water geyser has been Wyoming's claim to fame since the late 1800's. However the state also has a cold water feature that operates intermittently, hence the name -- Intermittent Spring. Also known as Periodic Spring, this natural occurance is the largest in rythmic spring in the world.

At Intermittent Spring, the water flows in 18 minute cycles. 18 minutes on, 18 minutes off.

Why the river flows like this is not as much of a mystery as one might first thing. There is a widly accepted as true scientific theory behind Intermittent Spring. Basically, cold spring water collects in underground cave and begins slowly filling up a narrow shaft that leads to the surface. Eventually water pressure builds up too great, forms a funnel and all the water gets sucked out. Incoming air then closes the waterway until water pressure builds up again.

Like Flushing A Toilet

Think of it like flushing a toilet. The funnel sucks the entire basin down a narrow tube in a flash. Only at Intermittent Spring, you get to watch the toilet water coming out, instead of filling back up.

Intermittent Spring, a rare natural formation that starts and stops on its own -- one of the unique and offbeat things to do in Jackson, Wyoming
Unique and offbeat enough for you?

Go to the Range

Growing up in Texas, I'm used to shooting and comfortable around firearms. But if you are not, consider checking out the Jackson Hole Shooting Experience. Here you can not only learn to shoot but also take a firearm education class and understand why so many people support gun ownership. Maybe even begin to grow a little more appreciative of them yourself.

Beginners can learn the basics about gun safety and go for their first shoot. Rather than just pick any random gun, an expert will pair a first-time shooting with the most appropriate gun. Already know how to shoot? Browse the massive arsenal and pick something new.

Those already familiar with handling various firearms at close range can improve their long range skills or learn a new one, such as mastering the shotgun or taking a tactical defense class. JH Shooting Experience even offers ladies-only classes and other specific courses, such as improving your hunting skills.

Still in doubt? Leave all of your precoceived notations and judgements at the door and come try for yourself. As a wise man once said, "Don't knock it until you try it."

See the Abandoned Mansion of Yellowstone

Everyone always talks about how great Yellowstone National Park is -- don't get me wrong, it is beyond great. It's stunning. Absolutely breathtaking. No trip to Wyoming is complete without a visit to the world-famous Yellowstone National Park. This obligatory stop sometimes referred to as "the first and still the best" is on every traveler's bucket list. There's a reason why America's first national park -- and the first in the entire world -- attracts over four million visitors per year. However what most people fail to mention is the unique, offbeat and out of place Smith Mansion, otherwise known as the Abandon Mansion of Yellowstone.

Smith Mansion, one of the coolest unique and offbeat things to do while visiting Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming

This handmade wooden structure tells the story of a man who loved a lady, but seemily loved carpentry more. In 1970 Lee Smith began making a house for his wife. After the first floor was complete, Lee kept building, kept adding on new floors, new balconies, and eventually even giant elaborate exterior staircases. He never stopped. After the divorce he kept building. It was not until his death in 1992 that construction ceased. Lee was only 48 when a strong gust of wind blew him off the roof while he was (you guessed it!) working on his house. He fell twelve feet and passed away from his injuries.

The Smith Mansion is truly one-of-a-kind. There are no blueprints. Everything came from Lee's mind. Unfortunately after he died the house became neglated and began rotting. Efforts are currently underway to preserve and repair the mansion by Lee's daughter, Sunny, and her husband. Although public tours are not regularly scheduled due to the disrepair the house has fallen into, the family is trying to raise funds to help pay for the preservation. Give them a shout and perhaps you can score a private tour.

It is impossible to miss the Smith Mansion if you are entering Yellowstone from the the eastern entrance. It is less than hour drive from Yellowstone Lake, and regardless of which entrance you used, definitely worth the drive just for the photos. Read more about the history of Smith Mansion.

  More Offbeat Travel Guides

  Any other unique or off the beaten path things to do/see/eat in Jackson?

  flickr   //   kenlund usfwsmtnprairie jimmydcanondslr

Traveling is an amazing adventure. There is nothing worse than your adventure getting put on hold or diminished due to a lost bag. That is why minimalist traveling is the only way to travel. With one carry-on bag, you can hit the ground running. This may seem daunting to the overly prepared traveler, but it actually takes some of the stress out of traveling. The key is versatile clothing. You need a few quality pieces that will go a long way.

Many people over pack because they are uncertain what they will encounter, and, without the aid of a full closet, afraid they will be without that perfect outfit they need.

You simply need to change your mindset and then take a leap of faith. Most of the time people only use a fraction of what they pack. What if you planned ahead and had outfits for multiple purposes? Once you realize you can work with what you have, the stress melts away. You throw on an outfit and you are ready for the beach, the trails, the market or dinner.

Navagio Shipwreck Beach in Greece
Navagio Shipwreck Beach in Greece

Pants

Decent pants can be one of the more bulky items to pack in your luggage so you want to keep their numbers to the bare minimum. One pair of casual pants should be enough, or two if the weather deems it necessary. When it comes to cooler temperatures and inclement weather such as rain and snow, pants that are durable, lightweight and weather resistant are priceless. Exponentially more so when it comes to outdoor activities such as trekking and hiking, where proper laundry facilities are not available. Gearweare recently reviewed the best pants for just such an environment -- read more here!

Dresses

For the ladies out there, travel dresses are one of the most versatile pieces in your minimalist arsenal. They dress up and down with the greatest of ease. If you add in a pair of slide shorts, you are prepared for almost any occasion. Almost every culture utilizes some kind of dress or skirt, so they are easy to adapt to different locals. You can wear one dress many ways, which makes it perfect for travel.

In the winter and fall, throw a scarf, some leggings and a warm coat in your bag and you are ready to go. If it gets warm out, ditch the warm accessories and don a pair of sandals. Accessories tend to pack down smaller than wardrobe pieces. You can pack a couple of dresses and not have to worry about making sure all your tops match all your bottoms. You simply throw on your dress for the day, and you are ready to go. Visit sites like tobi.com to find the perfect dress for your next adventure.

Fabrics

When choosing clothing, look for synthetic fabrics or natural moisture wicking fabrics. You want your clothes to wash and dry easily. This makes doing laundry while traveling as easy as finding a small sink. Merino wool is a great natural fiber. It is soft, unlike the wool of your grandparents’ days. It wicks moisture, is antimicrobial and dries quickly. Bamboo is another material that is great for travel. It is typically lighter feeling than merino wool with the same fantastic attributes. When possible, stay away from cotton. It takes a long time to dry and doesn’t maintain its thermal abilities once wet. There are many nice synthetics out there as well.

Hiking up Bohey Dulang in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo
Remember to wear appropriate clothes -- and shoes -- when hiking up Bohey Dulang in Sabah, Malaysia

Shoes

Keep your shoes to a minimum. They take up a lot of room in your bag. Wear a pair and pack a pair a most. Have a pair of sneakers of light hikers and a pair of sandals. This should cover most of your needs no matter what the adventure. Sandals are great for warmer climates and can double as dinner shoes with your dress if you’re a lady. Your sneakers or light hikers fill in the gaps. They can be used for outdoor adventures and workout sessions. These shoes should have more support than your sandals and be comfortable in case you are on your feet all day. Typically, these will also be your travel day shoes as well since sandals usually pack down smaller.

Underwear and Socks

There are many companies that sell travel underwear these days. If you invest in a couple of good pairs, you can lighten your load and still feel fresh. Good travel underwear resists odors and washes easily. With two pairs, you can always have a clean pair while you wash the other. Also, invest in a good pair of socks or two. A good pair of socks helps keep your feet happy and last a long time. Two pairs of merino wool socks are all most travelers need.

Traveling light has many advantages. With less stuff to keep up with, you are less likely to lose something important. Staying mobile is a lot easier when you can sling one bag on your back and head out the door. Choose quality products that are easy to wash and resist odor. When you travel with less, you can afford to spend more on quality items. Always go for versatility.

The popularity of offbeat travel is on the rise. Whilst most people will share some of their must-visit countries with thousands of others, there will be plenty of places that offer an authentic experience that appeals to them, but not always the masses. That’s great news for you.

If you want to get off the beaten track and get involved with local life, you’ll be rewarded with an experience unlike a typical tourist. That’s how some of the best travel memories are made, when we throw ourselves into the unknown rather than sticking to the same places. To get such an opportunity, try visiting these four countries:

1.   Mongolia

  East Asia

If you like adventurous travel, then Mongolia is for you. It’s a huge country, full of pristine landscapes, and home to nomadic people whose lives have barely changed in the modern day. Their survival depends on the wide-open spaces, untouched wilderness and fresh water supplies – all of the things that make Mongolia such an amazing place.

Mongolia, one of the last remaining countries for a truly authentic offbeat experience
Nadaam in Mongolia   //   bernd_thaller

Head to Mongolia’s best-known national park, Terelj. Here, The Secret Traveller says, you’ll be able to spend a night in a traditional yurt, watch demonstrations of archery and horse riding, and hike through some of the most spectacular scenery the world has to offer. What better way to experience local life? It’s no beach holiday, but that’s exactly why it’s great. You can get actively involved.

2.   Poland

  Northern Europe

Europe has a lot to offer keen travellers, but we love Poland because of its friendly population of hospitable people that are welcoming and genuine. The country boasts UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the popular Krakow’s Old Town, amazing food, an abundance of castles, and a musical heritage they’re proud of to this day.

Wieliczka Salt Mine, a unique UNESCO World Heritage Site in Poland
Wieliczka Salt Mine, a truly unique UNESCO World Heritage Site

You can easily find concerts for jazz to medieval to opera music – particularly impressive in the warmer months when they’re held outdoors in parks and squares.

According to Go East Europe, one of the best things about Poland is how each city in Poland has a distinct feel and social culture. From Warsaw’s urban pulse to Krakow’s historic pride, to Wroclaw’s whimsy, to Gdansk’s stately maritime heritage, each city has its own appeal. You’ll probably want to head to more than one.

3.   Brazil

  South America

Unless you live under a rock, you’ll know Brazil throws the best party in the world – the Rio de Janeiro Carnival. Full of colour and energy, it’s best described as an explosion of culture – but you’ve got to experience it for yourself. Whether you’re looking for a party experience or some relaxation, Brazilis a great place to visit. In this list of 100 reasons to visit Brazil (yes – 100), they point out it’s in the culture to greet everyone as if they were great friends.

Mongolia, one of the last remaining countries for a truly authentic offbeat experience
Rio De Janeiro   //   photographingtravis

So find a spot on one of the over 2,000 beaches along Brazil’s shoreline, and relax with great company, as well as a cocktail and some amazing fresh seafood. You could even watch the sea turtle hatching season in the village of Praia do Forte between October and March each year – such an experience is a once-in-a-lifetime sight, so don’t miss out.

4.   The UK

  Northern Europe

The UK’s capital city, London, might be the most popular spot for tourists – but it’s not the best place to go for an authentic experience. We promise you not everyone in the UK is as grumpy as those in London, who are constantly in a rush to get somewhere else. Nor is everywhere in the UK full of the same tacky souvenirs you’ll find on Oxford Street.

Mongolia, one of the last remaining countries for a truly authentic offbeat experience
Brighton   //   ben124

Stay out of the busy commuters’ way by heading into the countryside. Here, the UK really excels and people tend to be much friendlier. Amongst the suggestions for an authentic English experience is a trip to the Pantomime at Christmas time, a hike along the South Downs way, a visit to Brighton for some fish and chips or just heading to a traditional pub for a pint.

  What countries have you recently visited?   Share your suggestions for an authentic, offbeat travel experience.

Orlando may be the theme park capital of the world, but there is much more to do in the heart of Florida than just wander around a sprawling amusement park. There's art, food, nightlife, and culture. After all that, if you still have the time and energy to visit an amusement park, then I'll tip you off to the strangest offerings in Orlando that you've probably never heard of. So come with me, let's drop those bags at a hotel -- I recommend an IHG Hotel near Universal -- and then take a whirlwind weekend tour around town!

Get Your Museum On

With over two dozen museums, there's something for everyone here in Orlando. Fan of sports cars? Visit the Exotic Car Gallery. Fascinated by the history of the Titanic? Visit Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. Artwork more your thing? The Orlando Museum of Art is one of the top-rated in the city. Traveling with kids? Orlando Science Center is the place to go. Want to please the kids and the kid inside of you at the same time? Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Orlando is your answer.

Orlando Museum of Art in Florida
Orlando Museum of Art

Alternative: Don't like any of those? Then you'll absolutely love the Tupperware Confidence Center! Not only is it one of the most unusual museums in the entire United States, but it also wins my award for the most creative museum name ever. 100% refund if you don't leave here with more confidence in your Tupperware skills.

Frozen Fun With Alcohol

Ever visited an ice bar? They can be found in over 30 cities around the world and are absolutely amazing. After donning a jacket and gloves, guests are led into a frozen bar where everything is hand-carved from ice: walls, chairs, tables, glasses, decorations, and even the bar itself!

Shot glasses made of handcarved ice at the Orlando Ice Bar in Florida

Of course, if you're visiting Florida to escape the winter back home, this might not sound like an appealing idea. However, Icebar Orlando is the largest ice bar in the world and features over 70 tons of carved ice, making it the top dog in an already exclusive club. And for that reason alone, Icebar Orlando deserves a visit on a humid evening.

Alternative: Orlando Brewing has been creating "darn good beer" for over a decade now and offers free daily tours every day of the week (except Sunday). The bar features two dozen taps, so no matter what your poison, you can go straight to the source for the freshest brew.

What to Eat in Orlando

Given its reputation as an international family vacation destination, cuisines from around the world can be found in downtown Orlando and the theme park district of the southwest. There is no one dish or cuisine that is distinctly Orlando. However, there are some restaurants that are distinctly Orlandian.

The Cowfish, the first and only burger and sushi bar in the world, is one of the offbeat restaurants keepings Orlando unique

The Cowfish is proudly the first and only burger and sushi bar in the world. Step on in and try one of the signature creations: the Burgushi. Café Tu Tu Tango fuses global recipes with a Florida twist, using only local ingredients and serving meals in an art gallery showcasing local artists.

Alternative: Can't decide? Spend a few hours on an Orlando Food Tour to eat your way around town and have a couple drinks while doing it.

Visit a Quirky Amusement Park

Screw Walt Disney World. Go somewhere unique this trip, like Gatorland–home to all your alligator amusement needs–or better yet, the Holyland Experience–where the Bible comes to life. Hint: it's even more entertaining and over the top than the good book itself. ;)

Welcome to Gatorland, the only alligator themed amusement park in the world and one of the unique and offbeat things to do in Orlandom, Florida

Alternative: If neither of those sounds right for you, check out these other one-of-a-kind Orlando amusement parks.

  More Offbeat Travel Guides

  flickr // inazakira cindy sackerman519 hyku

Travelling solo can always be a challenge and a daunting experience. The sense of nervousness can be heightened when you are a female travelling going solo. While the world is a beautiful place, it can also be scary and you shouldn’t take security lightly as a female traveller.

Nonetheless, when the travel bug bites you need to answer to its call and you don’t need to be too afraid of travelling around the world as a girl. Here are some of the destinations you should keep in mind when looking for places to go.

Reykjavik, Iceland

If you want to see gender equality in action, then you should consider flying out to Iceland. The country has had its fair share of kick-ass women and you can be expected to meet plenty of great people in the Land of Fire and Ice. The natural beauty of this country is just breath-taking, but there are plenty of other things going for the country too. Reykjavik has quite a good nightlife and the culture on display is vibrant and fun. We also like the Icelandic food – don’t worry, it isn’t all about fish either!

Barcelona, Spain

Skyline view of Barcelona, Spain, one of the best destinations for solo female travelers

While Barcelona is a vibrant and big city, which means you need to be careful when travelling alone, it’s such a friendly and welcoming city as well. You simply can’t go through life without experiencing Barcelona. The city has plenty of shopping options from small boutiques to big brands on Las Ramblas. The architecture is stunning; thanks to Gaudi and the Spanish food is just a magnificent experience. The waterfront restaurants offer some fantastic paella, which you can enjoy while taking in the vibrancy of the city.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

You should get in on the latest tourist trends and find yourself in the beautiful coastal city of Dubrovnik. Croatia is a country with a low crime rate and the tourism industry is continuously developing, adding more excitement and opportunities for you to enjoy. The medieval city has plenty of amazing artisan shops to explore, as well as activities to enjoy. For instance, snorkelling is just a fantastic way to take in the crystal clear sea.

Okinawa, Japan

Japan is one of those countries that you just have to experience at some point in your life. While there are cities and town to explore on these magical islands, Okinawa is among the best for a solo traveller. The hustle and bustle is less confusing and chaotic, with the city offering super accessible and safe public transport. The city itself has anything from sandy beach to a market with stunning solo dining opportunities.

Seattle, the USA

Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington, one of the best destinations for solo female travelers
Pike Place Market in Seattle via michaelrighi

Solo travel can sometimes seem extra costly, but Seattle is a town that has understood the value of solo travellers. Therefore, you can find plenty of places in the city that offer special deals and entertainment for solo backpackers. There are plenty of exciting things to see aside from the fine dining and going out. You have the Space Needle, the EMP Museum and the Pike Place Market with its fantastic offerings.

Taipei, Taiwan

For technology-lovers Taiwan offers plenty to see. Taipei is a slightly less consuming and overwhelming city to some of its major Asian counterparts and therefore a great destination for a female solo traveller. The city even has a Safe Waiting Zone system on the metro platforms, making travel feel a bit less daunting. The city offers plenty of shopping opportunities, not to mention the amazing cuisine you can explore from street food to fine dining.

Washington D.C., the USA

Another great solo destination for women is Washington D.C. The place of political power has the right amount of iconic and historic buildings and places to explore, as well as modern establishments to visit. The city has a funky atmosphere to it that on its own is worth checking out. The public transport works well and finding a safe cab is never an issue in this welcoming city.

London, England

London, England is one of the best destinations for solo female travelers
London was one of the 14 most popular destinations in 2015

Finally, you could explore the charm of the British capital city. The age-old city should keep female travellers on their toes, but when you know where to be and when, you can explore some amazing things around the city. London offers culture and entertainment. If you utilize sites like Attractiontix.co.uk, you can get the best deals and options without breaking the bank. You must eat out at the 1,000 Borough Market and if you snack yourself through smartly, you won’t even spend a penny for the feast. You also must check out the pub life, which can guarantee you won’t need to sit in a corner all alone.

When you travel alone as a woman, you do need to be smart at where you stay and when you explore the venues around you. But if you keep a cold head and plan your actions in advance, you can explore the world and have fun while doing it. Hopefully, the above destinations will inspire you and help you get over the fear of travelling solo.

Montego Bay may not be the largest city in Jamaica, but it's certainly one of the most well-known, thanks to the classic 1970 song by Bobby Bloom, "Montego Bay." The city has been a popular tourist destination for decades, and for good reason. With year-round warm weather and gorgeous white sand beaches, Montego Bay calls!

Hit the Beach

After dropping off your luggage at the hotel, the obligatory first thing to do is hit the beach. Although Cornwall Beach and Doctor's Cave Beach are both nice spots, their central location right in the heart of Montego Bay means that they're also crowded. If you want to escape the herds and find a beach that feels more like a deserted paradise, head east just a few miles past Falmouth to Burwood Beach. Odds are that there will only be a couple dozen people there, and you can bet that more than half of them are locals.

Kiteboarding Jamaica in must do when in Bounty Bay!

Get Out on the Water

Although you can do water-based activities like Jet Skiing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and parasailing throughout the island, there's only one place in Jamaica where you can go kiteboarding: Bounty Bay. Kiteboarding Jamaica is located 20 minutes east of Montego Bay towards Falmouth. Here, kiteboarders of all skill levels can take to the water and get their adrenaline pumping. Never been kiteboarding before? Don't worry. The instructors can teach you all that you need to know with a five-part beginner's course.

Kiteboarding Jamaica in must do when in Bounty Bay!

Get Underneath the Water

Fun in the sun is nice, but exploring the underwater world is better! Chukka's Underwater Sea Trek can best be described as an underwater walk on the Caribbean Sea floor. Unlike scuba diving, which requires training and certification, anyone can do this sea trek after a few minutes of safety training. You'll receive a large helmet that fits over your head and sits on your shoulders. It contains a spacious air-filled chamber that's connected to the surface via a small oxygen cable. The helmet doesn't sit flush against the skin but rather nestles your shoulders like a suction cup. That allows you to walk unencumbered around the sea floor with a full view of the sea life around you. It's perfect for those who want an intimate underwater experience without the hassle or risks associated with diving.

Escape the Bay and Explore the Island

Scattered around the island are tons of other amazing adventures, such as the wildly popular Dunn's River Falls and Park in Ochos Rios. No trip to Jamaica is complete without a stop here. Ochos Rios is also home to Mystic Mountain, where you can explore the jungle three different ways: zip line, chair lift, or bobsled. Now you can get your "Cool Runnings" on in Jamaica!

Exploring Ochos Rios is one of the top things to do in Jamaica
Ochos Rios

Sometimes the best vacations happen when you do absolutely nothing. If that's the case, make sure to find yourself a top-rated hotel or resort and prepare to relax. With massages and poolside or beachside food and drink service, you can enjoy your days basking in the sun without a care in the world. What more can you ask for on a Caribbean vacation?

  flickr   //   Evgenii Klebanov (featured)   peter_trudelle   etnad2   smilla4

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