Sustainable Travel

Rabeang Pasak treehouse resort

Haven’t you always wanted to sleep in a treehouse? There is a place in a small town in the northern part of Thailand where your childhood dreams can come true. A treehouse resort called Rabeang Pasak has multiple different treehouses where you can spend some quality time with your family, friends, or even by yourself.

Rabeang Pasak is a family-run place that started in 2010. The houses were designed by former Architect Mr. Bullsiri Suwannachin, better known as Lee. When he retired, Lee decided to put his creative juices into designing a treehouse to live in, later expanding to a small collection of treehouses. Each house is a different design and has a unique name such as “Moon House” or “Bamboo House.” There are eight houses in total, six regular and two that are set aside for families.

Rabeang Pasak treehouse resort

When you think of a treehouse, you may imagine a haphazard pile of planks nailed together with a rickety latter. However, these treehouses are unlike anything you’ve ever seen or imagined. Lee transferred his passion as an architect into creating these magical houses within the trees of Thailand complete with stairs, showers, and windows.

Rabeang Pasak is located in Doi Saket, right outside of the popular city of Chiang Mai. When traveling to Thailand, stop in Chaing Mai, a city that has been around since the 1200’s to soak in some history and culture before driving to Doi Saket to enjoy the rural market village and experience beautiful nature of Thailand. The Treehouse resort is built in the Teakwood forest where you can hike around, wander within the trees, explore caves and more.

A couple of attractions near the treehouses include the Mae Ngat Dam and Reservoir and the Maetaman Elephant Camp. The Reservoir and Dam are great for picnics and for fishing and swimming. There is also a waterfall near the area that you ca hike to. The Elephant camp is a little bit more of a trek and might be worth renting a car for. The camp has mixed reviews. While some people truly love seeing such majestic creatures in real life, others worry about their treatment.

The Rabeang Pasak resort is truly a magical experience. Sleep and live in the trees just like you imagined as a kid on your next trip to Thailand.

Would you stay at the treehouse resort in Thailand?

Rocks are part of our everyday lives. They form the brick for buildings we work in, asphalt for roads we drive on, and are laying around in parks and nature everywhere. We often overlook them or tend to view them as dirty and dull. However, the Rock of Guatapé in Antioquia, Colombia is a rock not only worth noticing, but traveling to see.
The Rock of Guatapé is also known as “La Piedra” (rock in Spanish) or “El Peñón de Guatapé.” It is a huge 10 million-ton smooth rock that stands 200 meters tall, overlooking the countryside surrounding it. This giant rock was once worshipped by natives that inhabited the area called the Tahamies. It was a giant spiritual force in their region.
el Peñón de Guatapé
Flickr photo via Edgar Jiménez
The smooth 10-million-ton rock has one giant crack that runs from the bottom to the top of one side.  Even though The Rock of Guatapé was first scaled in 1954 by three brave men using only sticks Pedro Nel Ramírez, Ramón Díaz and Luis Villegas, there were eventually stairs built to help others reach the top. There are 649 steps built into the giant crack that runs up the rock for people to climb. From far away, the stairs look like stitches or some sort of mend to repair for the crack in the rock.
On the face that looks north, there are two large painted letters that look like a “G” and an “I”, which is just the first part of what was meant to be a “U.” The Rock of Guatapé was long fought over by the people of El Peñol and the people of Guatapé. Each region claimed ownership of the beautiful natural masterpiece. The residents of Guatapé attempted to claim ownership once and for all by scaling the rock and painting it with their town’s name. However, this was not a very stealth operation, and the people of El Peñol noticed and put a stop to the painting. Even still, the big white “G” and beginnings of a “U” exist on the rock today.
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Flickr photo via Tim Regan
Unfortunately, because the rock is so majestic, it has become a popular tourist spot. It is also located only 2 hours from a popular destination town of Medellin, and therefor many tourists drive to the rock to climb it. At the top, there is a small fenced in space with places to look out and buy refreshments and souvenirs. The view is breathtaking (literally, after climbing so many stairs) with the site of gorgeous andes, Guatapé lake and a 360 panorama of Colombia that will make you never want to leave. The best time to climb the Rock of Guatapé is in the morning right after breakfast before others arrive. Even though it has become somewhat of an attraction, there is nothing in the world quite like the Rock of Guatapé and it is still worth visiting.

Have you visited el Peñón de Guatapé?

 

Part of the beauty of exploring a national park is the feeling that you’re the first to discover it. But this is difficult to accomplish when you’re the umpteenth person to gaze over a scenic overlook. Want to escape to national parks where you can be at one with the surroundings? Below you’ll find five places where you can still hear birdcalls instead of camera flashes. They’re out there, and they’re waiting for you to find them.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – Michigan

national parks

 

Flickr photo via NOAA Photo Library

Located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Pictured Rocks spotlights the pristine shoreline of Lake Superior. Admission to the park is free, and a trek through the hardwood forest reveals waterfalls, sandstone cliffs and freshwater creeks. If you don’t wish to explore the park by foot, you can hire a boat and cruise along the 40-mile lakeshore. Don’t forget to look up – birds of prey frequent the park, and if you’re lucky, you’ll spot a bald eagle swooping overhead.

When people think of Vail, Colorado, they are likely to think of snowy mountains and incredible ski runs. While it is true that Vail has one of the best and largest ski areas in the world, making it a great tourist destination in the winter, there are also tons of things to do in this charming small town during the warmer months.

Beautiful mountains are just the beginning of what Vail has to offer during the summer. The wildflowers start to bloom, dotting the mountain with pretty colors such as red, purple, pink. A mixture of green surrounds you with lush grass, vibrant aspen trees and tall pine trees. Even though the wonderful mountain scenery is worth the trip itself, the activities on and around the mountain are what make it an exciting adventure for the summer.

Vail Mountain offers different activities for all types of people ranging from thrill-seeking outdoors fans to families with little kids. Take the gondola to the top of Vail Mountain to see amazing views and join in some fun activities. At the top, there is an adventure club that offers trampolines for kids, obstacle courses, horseback riding and more. There is also a nice restaurant to find some air-conditioning and great food, or a grill to enjoy the sunshine and some BBQ.

From the top, you can also find a range of hiking trails to explore including Eagle’s Loop, which is a short circle around the ridge. There are also a ton of other hiking trails that do not start where the gondola drops you off. For example, Booth creek is a gorgeous trail leading to two amazing waterfalls. For a list of hiking trails in Vail, head here.

vail mountain colorado

 

Flickr photo via Jeff Dzadon

For those seeking a little bit more of an adventure, the mountain is criss-crossed with mountain biking trails and there are lots of tours for all different levels of biking. For example, Hank’s Hideaway is a single track that provides a little bit of a challenge but is also enjoyable. Check out the rest of the trails here.

The adventure doesn’t stop with the mountains. Get your adrenaline flowing with a trip down the Colorado River. Vail and the towns surrounding it offer tons of rafting trips during the summer with high and low levels of difficulty. Some levels are better for families and first time rafters while others are for more advance and experienced groups.

colorado river

 

Flickr photo via Bill Gracey

After an exhilarating day on the mountain, walk the cute streets of Vail village or check out the farmer’s market. The cobblestone streets are fun to wander and are scattered with fountains that children often run through. Stop by the best candy shop in town, Fuzzywigs, grab a bag of candy and find a shady spot to relax and people watch.

Don’t forget about this magical mountain town when planning out your vacation. Summer/fall in Vail makes for a great adventure in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Have you visited Vail, Colorado in the summer?

Step back in time and into another world by visiting the breathtaking Incan civilization Machu Picchu. Sitting in the Peruvian Andes in Cusco, Peru, this hidden old ruin is the perfect place to go for an adventure of a life time.

Machu Picchu means “old peak” and is considered the biggest tourist attraction in South America. It was first discovered by a Yale lecturer named Hiram Bingham, although many farmers and locals had known about it before. The location of the city was actually kept a secret during the Incan rule as a defense mechanism. The steep mountains and deep valleys helped keep out threatening enemies. The site is also surrounded on three sides by cliffs dropping directly into the Urubamba River 1,480 feet below. The valleys that surround Machu Picchu have been cultivated over the past thousands of years by local people, imitating the way their Incan ancestors used to work with the land.

hiking machu picchu

 

Flickr photo via Guillén Pérez

The trail to hike to Machu Picchu takes four days. The best time to plan a trip is in May when it is less crowded and, if possible, during a full moon because the four day trek starts very early in the morning and it would be nice to hike with moonlight. In June through September, the busy months, there are flocks of tourists on the trail and it taints the experience a little bit. It is also best to avoid traveling there in the rainy season.

To hike the trail to the old Incan Ruins, you must hire a guide. This prevents the landmark, trails and nature from being destroyed along the way by reckless travelers. You can book a guide out of Lima or Cusco who will take a bus with you to the Andes in order to start the hike. The guides will provide tents and food to eat, and you provide your own gear.

The Inca trail goes along the Urubamba River as well as past other ruins on the way to the main UNESCO heritage site, Machu Picchu. Be prepared for long days, camping at night, and some of the most breathtaking views. Hiking to Machu Picchu is the adventure of a lifetime.

Are you planning on hiking Machu Picchu?

Hiking enthusiasts are always looking to push their limits to new extremes. Whether it be a higher mountain, a longer trail, or an unfamiliar terrain, some backpackers will never be satisfied until they can say, ”been there, done that.” In Zion National Park in Utah, one trail gives adventurous hikers an opportunity to experience the wilderness from a unique and thrilling perspective.

The Narrows is a 16-mile trek that takes hikers wading through Zion’s Virgin River. The “trail” winds through a gorge whose walls scale up to a thousand feet high and narrow twenty to thirty feet apart in some sections. With water levels sometimes reaching your chest, getting wet should be the least of your concerns. The park recommends checking the conditions and weather forecasts the day of your trek, as flash floods can be a very real and deadly possibility.

narrows zion national park

 

Flickr photo via Steve Dunleavy

Hiking the full 16 miles can take up to two days. When backpacking, make sure to waterproof your belongings because slipping is inevitable (the National Parks Service page compares the hike to “walking on slippery bowling balls”). For visitors looking for a tamer experience, there’s the option to hike up river for as far as you’re comfortable and double-back the same day. You can also enjoy The Narrows from a paved riverside path that follows the first mile of the trek. While each option is breathtaking, hiking the complete trail is the only way to soak in the canyon in its full glory.

The Virgin River you’ll be wading through is the very feature that makes Zion such a special place. In an oasis surrounded by the unforgiving Utah desert, the river breathes life into the plants and animals that make the park their home. The river is also the architect responsible for carving the stunning sandstone cliffs and towers that draw sight-seekers to Zion year after year.

During a hike through The Narrows, sharp-eyed adventurers may be lucky enough to spot colorful frogs along the bank or peregrine falcons soaring above. Dawn and twilight offer the truly exceptional sight of sunlight illuminating the gold and crimson hues in the canyon walls. This is an essential trail for any hiking fanatic, and it’s one that can’t be matched anywhere else on earth.

Have you hiked The Narrows at Zion National Park?

New York City is a fantastic place to live and to visit. With so much to do, it’s tough to be bored, but sometimes the non-stop energy and the humid streets can be too much. Sure, there are beautiful parks and squares to hangout in and relax, not to mention Central Park and Sheep Meadow where hundreds of people flock to play frisbee, picnic and get some sun. But if you are looking for a more active way to soak in some sun and fresh air, check out the two New York hiking trails below for ideas on where to go to recharge. These are a few of the closer and easier options (of the many!) to leave the city and get some exercise!

Breakneck Ridge Hike:

new york hiking

 

Flickr photo via Michael Rutkowski

Looking for a good work out and a great view? Breakneck is a strenuous climb lasting about 3 to 3.5 hours. To get to the trailhead, you can take the Metro North Hudson line from Grand Central to the Cold Spring Station and walk North on route 9D. Attempt this hike with good footwear, water and snacks because it’s a tough one. There are points on the trail where you will have to use both your hands and feet to propel yourself up the mountain. If you want to avoid some of the harder climbs, look for a spray painted X for an alternate route. Don’t stop though, the view is worth the trek!

Anthony’s Nose Hike:

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Flickr photo via WhatsAllThisThen

If Breakneck seems a little too intense, then try out Anthony’s Nose. This hike is still a good work out, but you don’t have to climb on your hands and knees. Instead, it starts off steep and then evens out a little bit and the view of the Hudson is incredible. Take the Metro-North Hudson line to Manitou Station just like Breakneck. Follow signs south to route 9D and turn right. Keep walking until you run into white blazes on the left leading you up the mountain. This one might be easier to drive to. Different sites offer different trails, check out the two below!

Do you know of any great New York hiking trails outside of the City?

 

unique honeymoon destinations

A honeymoon is a couple’s excuse to take a once in a lifetime trip. It should be something magical for the newlyweds, but it doesn’t hurt to make it a trip that’s brag-worthy either. If you and your partner march to the beat of your own drums, or are bored with the “usual” honeymoon spots, check out these untapped honeymoon destinations for a diverse range of offerings.

Myanmar (Burma)

If you and your partner are the adventurous type, and are seeking to avoid the tourist vibe, Myanmar might appeal to you. Due to recent political shifts, Myanmar has started opening its doors to international visitors. So why not be first in line? While the country is still in transition, conditions are improving. However, it is also a place with gorgeous scenery, friendly people and a unique opportunity to embark on new things together and enjoy the challenges that come along with that. It is also one of the most diverse and culturally rich countries in southeast Asia.

Stay: Belmond Governor’s Residence. A 1920s colonial mansion that has been converted into a luxury resort. Indulge in the spa, dine alfresco by lantern light, and take in the lotus ponds and gardens.

Cuba

For those who do things because they can. With a culture that has been unspoiled since the 1950s, white sand beaches, and turquoise waters, this trip is a brag worthy getaway.

Stay: Hotel Nacional. Located in the heart of Havana, it is one of the most historic hotels in Cuba. Enjoy views of the harbor and city, and add your name to the guest book alongside Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner’s signatures.

Iceland

Perfect for those seeking the best of both worlds. Exciting nightlife abounds in the capital of Reykjavik, but Iceland also provides plenty of rugged terrain and clear, open skies. Cross seeing the Northern Lights of your bucket list, bathe in natural hot springs, and enjoy the urban culture and emerging music scene.

Stay: ION Luxury Adventure Hotel. Stay in luxury accommodations in this unique architectural structure, while taking in the the natural beauty that surrounds it, just outside of Reykjavik. Take in a day of fly fishing, a trek on a glacier, or just soak in the heated outdoor pool.

Botswana

A safari lover’s paradise, Botswana is for the couple that takes their adventure with a side of refinery. Tucked away in remote corners of raw and wild beauty in South Africa, Botswana offers a range of outdoor options. See massive herds of elephants in Chobe National Park, take a boat cruise, eat under the star and end the day with a hot outdoor shower.

Stay: Sanctuary Baine’s Camp. This intimate and romantic retreat has just 5 suites, and is tucked in a grove of trees surrounded by papyrus beds. Soak under the stars in an outdoor bathtub, or lounge in the sky bed on the private deck.

Nicaragua

Perfect for the bohemian couple who want to enjoy a more natural and eco-friendly destination. A land of lakes, jungles, beaches, volcanoes and culture without the crowds, will afford you and your mate a travel experience like no other.

Stay: Mukul Resort and Spa. Visit the spa’s healer and receive energy readings, learn how to surf, take a helicopter ride to volcanoes, or visit nearby colonial towns.

Do you know of any unique honeymoon destinations?

Are you planning a trip to Los Angeles and want to do something other than eating and partying? Then, here is a list of fun outdoor activities you can do alone or with friends that don’t necessarily include food and you can even help you shape up in the process.

The Culver City Stairs

outdoor activities

Flickr photo via Daniel Pouliot

Located in Culver City, this fun and innovative exercise not only will tone your body, but it’s a fun thing to do with friends, and of course, considering you are going up, when you get there you will get a really amazing view of the city to enjoy while you rehydrate and rest a little before going back down the stairs again.

Malibu Grotto Trail Hike

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Photo via Meg Fog

Located in Malibu, this hike is perfect for a nature lover who will be able to enjoy beautiful scenery every step of the way. On this trail you will be able to see the incredible views from the mountains, a trickling creek and a lush forest. At the beginning of the trail you will also find a camping and picnic area to enjoy with your friends after the hike.

Pan Pacific Park

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If you love to exercise and have been doing that for a while now and are getting bored of the same old routine, at Pan Pacific Park in the Fairfax District, there’s many different things to do. For instance, there’s a ¾ mile path with stairs, inclines and declines so you will never get bored. There are also soccer and baseball fields and a lap pool.

Santa Monica Pier

outdoor activities santa monica pier

Flickr photo via Neil Kremer

If you miss being a kid in a playground, this will be perfect for you! Located at the foot of Colorado Avenue, there are ring swings, parallel bars and uneven bars. All of it so you can have the good old times fun and exercise while toning your body.

What are some of your favorite outdoor activities to do in Los Angeles?

Looking for a getaway this summer? Ever thought about traveling to Vancouver? This bustling Canadian city is filled with great restaurants, night life, museums, friendly people, and is surrounded with beautiful scenery. Visit Vancouver for an easy escape to the outdoors. While there is bigger and wilder terrain to explore, these four hiking trails in Vancouver are easily accessible from the city center and get you out into the open without too much of a hassle.

Stanley park:

hiking trains in Vancouver

Flickr photo via Taylor McBride

Stanley park is the largest urban park in Vancouver. This beautiful green paradise has everything including lush vegetation, unbelievable beaches, mini golf, swimming pools, natural wildlife, and cultural history. The park is very easy to get to from downtown Vancouver by bike, walking, or public transit—it just depends where in the large park you want to visit! One of the most famous attractions of the park is the Seawall—the longest unbroken path along the water in the world! For more information check out this site.

Pacific Spirit park:

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Flickr photo via Kyle Pearce

Pacific Spirit park is about ten minutes outside of Vancouver by public transport. It is located on the University of British Columbia endowment lands and touches the Pacific Ocean. The most common route is about a three hour loop through dense forest. However, when you arrive at the trailhead, you can pick a route that best suits you!

Dog Mountain:

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Flickr photo via Kyle Pearce

 

Dog mountain begins at Mount Seymour Ski Resort. The park is open all year round and is one of the only parks where dogs are allowed on almost every trail, hence the name! The road to the trailhead is beautiful and there are many trails ranging from easy to difficult. Goldie Lake and Mystery Lake are two of the easier options, while Mount Seymour is a more challenging trek to the top of Seymour.

Burnaby Mountain:

hiking trails in vancouver

 

Flickr photo via Marcin Chady

Burnaby Mountain is about 30 minutes outside of Vancouver by public transport. It is by Simon Fraser University and has many different routes. The network of trails in this park are fun to wander around. For a steep climb, try out the Velodrome trail to arrive at beautiful Japanese totem poles in front of Horizons restaurant where you might want to stop for a snack and a great view!

So if you are looking for a great summer vacation with a mix of city life and outdoors life, Vancouver is definitely a destination to consider. There are so many trails within only an half hour by public transit!

Do you have some favorite hiking trails in Vancouver?

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