Morocco

This was the absolute trip of a life time and definitely falls in my top three destinations! Starting in Marrakech and then doing a 3 day Sahara desert tour with RAK adventures, I have so much to recommend:

  1. When visiting Marrakech, make sure you stay in a riad, a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard. I stayed at Riad Alwachma where they welcomed me with Moroccan mint tea and I even had a traditional hammam spa for the first time there too.
  2. See the Kotoubia mosque and medina both in the day and at night because of the different atmosphere you can experience. Don’t get ripped off by the people trying to get you to tour around on horse carriages like I did because you can easily walk around yourself and make sure you bargain at the Medina. At the Medina you’ll be able to have the cheapest and freshest orange juice in your life! Other things to do but not a must in my opinion: Bahia Palace (had no signs to indicate what I was looking at) and Majorelle garden (completely man made).

  3. A restaurant I would recommend in the Medina is Le Marrakchi. It’s a bit more fancy and pricy but a good start to getting a full sample of Moroccan food. They gave you so much to try for a set price and there was a little band playing which was a nice touch.

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  4. Learn how argan oil is produced, carpets are made and the use of fire to change the colour of natural plant dye to use in art. Consider buying these local products!
  5. Join the 3 day sahara desert tour to
    • Explore the High Atlas mountains, seen as snowcaps in the background as well. 10872747_10153756255303849_8613450311875366887_o
    • Pass Berber villages10985615_10153756255833849_2754009657113032688_o10959619_10153747088013849_512952712867989933_n
    • View the Tizi n Tichka pass10921670_10153756255528849_4998867960803262710_o
    • Visit Unesco kasbah of Ait Benhaddou1014942_10153747110698849_4520530785395530840_o10866060_10153756253563849_6448495490924231833_o (1)
    • Visit Ouarzazate movie studios
    • Visit Dades and Todra Gorges
    • Camel ride in Merzouga desert
    • Sleep in a desert camp which included a bonfire, and traditional berber music playing under the stars. Try sandboarding too!
    • Wake up early to catch sun rise behind the dunes10560565_10153756257673849_6856786587372321284_o 

Others: Some people say it is worth visiting a tannery where they tan animal skin (leather) but I was too afraid of the smell!

Note: The only time I felt a bit uncomfortable was in Marrakesh where it was very crowded, dusty and people kept trying to convince you to buy stuff. But once I went out into the country side, my trip was just incredible.

 

Lima, Machu Picchu and Cusco, Peru

Conquering Machu Picchu was such a lifetime experience and am so glad I took a bold step to do this trail having only ever hiked in Hong Kong.  It made seeing Machu Picchu on the last day so much better because you earned it after hiking for 4 days 3 nights. I joined Intrepid Adventures (link) in order to guarantee being able to do the hike as they are extremely strict with handing out passes and you must always be accompanied with qualified guides. I also extended my stay beyond the 8 day plan to explore Cusco further as there is a lot you can do!

Tip: People found it helpful to take coca leaves or coca tea to help the altitude sickness. Don’t bother with water tablets or altitude pills! Don’t forget to get a bunch of injections to be safe even though I felt Peru was extremely clean and bug free compared to Asia.

Check out what I visited:

  1. Lima is the capital of Peru and a key place to visit is the The Plaza de Armas and the 16th-century cathedral at the heart of old Lima Centro. I only managed to see the buildings at night but they were so grand and beautiful regardless. Lima can get a bit intense and busy so always stay alert.

  2. Cusco. In my opinion, it is the most incredible and beautiful city in the world. Their flag happens to be the rainbow btw. Photos can’t capture what I saw and experienced!13138834_10155087580978849_2992228658144963619_n13055368_10155070515388849_6107906054222961856_n
  3. Inca Trail. The hike could not have been possible without our amazing porters who carried so much to make our lives as comfortable as possible on the tough but doable hike. The views were absolutely breath-taking and changed each day depending on where we were on the path. It definitely got pretty cold when we reached the peak. The hike is 26 kilometres long in total and its highest pass is at 4,450 meters above sea level.
  4. Machu Picchu. The end result of our hike and a memory the group of us will keep forever.
  5. Saqsayhuaman Horse riding from Cusco. This is actually the town of our assistant tour guide Sebastian. They are famous for horse riding and I can see why! The amount space to ride is huge and the horses are so free with plenty of greens.
  6. Salinas salt flats and Maras Moray from Cusco. The photos look nice but the tour to get there through a local company we booked through when we were at Cusco was awful. Try grab a cab instead if you can to avoid them trying to fill up a huge bus and go in circles.
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    Supposedly natural! Maras Moray

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    Salinas salt flats
  7. Zip-lining was sick! Definitely a bit dodgy but YOLO. They let you hold your mobile phone to film whilst on the zip-line which I definitely did haha. The views were to die for.

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    Ready to zip-line!

Extra: Fried Quinoa Chicken strips @ Seledonia’s Mesa Cusco. Literally could have eaten here everyday including trying all their other dishes. And of course… why not take a selfie with the lammas and alpacas you’ll see roaming everywhere, they are really cute.

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Alpaca Selfie