and talk to students
Hoàn Kiếm Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam

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First 24h in Hanoi – an introduction to the city by English-Students

“Are you busy?“, she asked us, and 6 more pairs of eyes were looking at us. We arrived in Hanoi, capital of Vietnam. We just slowed down from our first wander around the old town of iconic Hanoi. We got a first glance of the city, and tested the waters for buying a motorbike in Hanoi. After all, this is the plan: getting two motorbikes and drive them from the North to the South of Vietnam. We just bought a soft drink, and sat down at the famous Hoàn Kiếm Lake, when these 7 young Vietnamese approached us. “Are you busy?“, she

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The monk who didn't want money but silence
Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

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The monk who didn’t want money but silence

We were visiting Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, surrounded by hundreds of pilgrims all dressed in white. Suddenly we noticed a buddhist monk staying silently close to a Stupa: he was still, his eyes to the sacred monument in front of him, at his feet a handwritten sign: “Do not give me money, it’s no use for me. If you want you can take a picture, I don’t mind. But please do not speak to me“. We had the camera in our hands but decided to turn it off and respect this monk, his silence and his faith. His message made us think about the vacuity

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Meeting the nicest person in Lithuania

Meeting the nicest person in Lithuania

I arrived at Siarliai, a small Lithuanian town by bus to look at the „hill of crosses“. I had just missed the connecting bus that was supposed to take me there, so took a taxi, spending much more than I had planned. We drove through the fields, far away from the city. When we reached the hill the driver looked at me: „Wait? The bus is far away“ – „No, thanks, I can walk“ – „no, I’ll wait, you can’t stay here.“ – „No, thanks.“ I got out of the car and walked towards the hill, hoping I would find

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Get some energetic vibes in Bam - When an Earthquake hit Bam

Get some energetic vibes in Bam – When an Earthquake hit Bam

“Bam is still here!” said Mr. Panjalizadeh, owner of the Akbar Guest House in Bam, Iran. “We get energy from you people who visit us.” In 2003 a 6.6 earthquake hit Bam, devastating the city. Most of my Iranian friends thought I was crazy to drive all the way to Bam. “There’s nothing there,” they said. Nothing could be further from the truth. True, the place had been wrecked, but – after visiting the stunning citadel – I joined Mr. Panjalizadeh for tea in the garden of his guesthouse, seriously damaged by the earthquake and which still resembles a construction

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Travel with Rose-Colored Glasses

Travel with Rose-Colored Glasses – My Nicaragua Experience

Nicaragua was not kind to me. My luggage was delayed, I had a violent bout of food poisoning. My belongings were drenched with rainwater when a hostel roof collapsed, and I suffered through a debilitating, week-long illness. And when my prized dSLR was stolen from my hostel dorm room? I had thoroughly had enough. (Are hostels safe? Analyzing the safety) But if Nicaragua taught me nothing else, it’s that every single experience is valuable. Every experience shapes you; I learned from those hardships and am better off because of them. Travel comes with no guarantees except that it’ll be worth

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Tinos, Mykonos - what does it matter?
Tinos, Greece

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Tinos, Mykonos – what does it matter?

After 6 hours on a ferry from Athens to Mykonos, my best friend and I got off the ferry to realize our bus that was supposed to get us wasn’t there. Confused, we walked around to no avail. We approached an old Greek man and asked: “Mykonos?” He replied: “Oxi, Tinos.” We. messed. up. What do we do? Thank God for Greek police officers! They were SO helpful. They sent us to a nearby travel office and we were told to take the night ferry to Mykonos. Okay, so what do we do for the afternoon? Food! We went to Palaia

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The value of being spontaneous – Christmas Serendipity in York

Visiting a medieval town over the holidays should be a magical and postcard-like experience. However, the mad rush to buy all those gifts before it starts raining again is what I found in a recent visit to York in the northern United Kingdom. The retail stores have lines, the streets look like swarms of something scary, the restaurants are all packed to the windows, folks are dressed up like Vikings, and you can barely find a place for a nice scone and a hot tea. But, on our way to get a cab home after dinner at Drake’s, a local

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Varanasi, a City to Die - Travel Story India
Varanasi, India

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Varanasi, India: a terror attack in the city to die

I cannot imagine myself in a more awful yet interesting place than Varanasi. It is one of the oldest cities in India and the holiest city of Hinduism. Varanasi is also considered as Shiva’s favorite city which he never leaves. Above Varanasi hovers a mixed mist of smoke and fumes, so that at night no stars can be seen. The narrow streets are littered with garbage and feces, and cows, pigs, dogs and monkeys are roaming around. Drug dealers and pimps are standing near the Ghats, the stairs leading to the Ganges, looking out for tourists to scam. Many religious

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Wallyard Concept Hostel in Chinese
Berlin, Germany

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“Hostelgeeks” in Traditional Chinese – Wallyard Concept Hostel

Berlin in late November already gives you an idea of the cold winter the German capital is facing. It is a chilly Saturday evening when we arrive back to WALLYARD CONCEPT HOSTEL, the 5 Star Hostel in Berlin. On our way to the rooms, posters across the building tell us about a chill out DJ party this night, taking place in the stylish design lounge of the hostel. After a long day exploring Berlin, this sounds like a great idea for a tranquil night. We are sitting in the lounge, chatting with fellow travelers and neighbors while listening to the

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3 Travel Stories from the famous Camino de Santiago

3 Travel Stories from the famous Camino de Santiago

What is the first thing that pops in to your mind when you hear „Santiago de Compostela“? This smallish city in the North-West of Spain, is the final destination of thousands of pilgrims every year. They walk the Camino de Santiago, the world’s most famous hike. We, Anna&Matt from Hostelgeeks, ... read more

The little Asian Spot in Orsigna, Italy - Tiziano Terzani
Orsigna, Italy

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The little Asian Spot in Orsigna, Italy – Tiziano Terzani

Tiziano Terzani was a famous Italian journalist and writer. He traveled across Asia and he witnessed important historical events like the Vietnam War and the coup d’etat organized in Cambodia by Pol Pot. Old and ill, Terzani decided to spend the last years of his life back in Italy, in the ancient town of Orsigna. Here, in the woods, he found a big tree, decided to attach two small eyes on it and called it “the Tree with the eyes“, in order to teach his son that the trees are alive and they have a spirit. Nowadays people come here

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Rishikesh, India - meat, eggs and alcohol are forbidden
Rishikesh, India

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Rishikesh, India – meat, eggs and alcohol are forbidden

Located at the foot of the Himalayas, crossed by the river of Ganges, Rishikesh is an important pilgrimage city. From here the Ganges heads to the Himalayas, and from here pilgrims start their voyage to the holy places in Garhwal Mountains – like we did on our trip “On foot to India“ (originally in German: Zu Fuß nach Indien). Like in many sacred places in India meat, eggs and alcohol are forbidden in Rishikesh – an absolute dream destination for vegetarians and vegans. Lakshmana, this lion among men, one of three brothers of Rama, whose deeds are written down in

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In Paris I helped an elderly couple and they surprised me!

In Paris I helped an elderly couple and they surprised me!

I was moping in my French-speaking-blues on the metro en route to the 7th arrondissement. I decided to exit and walk off my foul mood. As I departed, I heard a mixture of laughter and Irish-accented bickering from an elderly couple in front of the metro map. I established they believed their destination was, “sortie,” which means, “exit” in French, much to my amusement. I located their hotel and guided them. They were exhausted and I left them to recuperate on a park bench. I proceeded trying on expensive boots. Flustered, the man interrupted asking me to find his vanished

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Walking solo in a GULAG of the Stalin Era in Russia
Perm-36, Russia

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Walking solo in a GULAG of the Stalin Era – crimes of the past

In Siberia you read a lot about GULAG and their unfortunate guests. So we had to go to Perm-36, a former soviet labor camp where “country enemies” were imprisoned. In a forest 100km northeast from Perm and closed for tick-borne encephalitis, as we discovered after 2 hours in a bouncy minivan, we managed to enter the camp thanks to a kind employee and walked through barbed wire fences and bare dorms with wooden beds. It’s touching to see how people had to live for minor crimes like being late for work or reading censored books.

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Off the beaten path in Baños, Ecuador
Baños, Ecuador

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Off the beaten path in Baños – My Maybe Drug Experience in Ecuador

I woke at 5.30am to get to Baños and took a 10 hour bus on a bendy road through the Ecuadorian countryside. I was tired, hot, and uncomfortable. On the next bus I was nearly falling asleep as I bought a bag of chopped mango from a trader onboard before we set off. Only when she left the bus did I notice the little bag of fine white powder nestled amongst the mango slices. I’ll never know if it was cocaine or simply icing sugar but I’ve heard horror stories of tourists having drugs planted on them. Feeling exhausted, I

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The Cathedral of Notre Dame for Two
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, Parvis Notre Dame - Place Jean-Paul II, Paris, Frankreich

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The Cathedral of Notre Dame for Two – My Paris Experience

My daughter and I spent a week in Paris together with my cousin and a work friend. We splurged on an evening boat ride on the Seine to celebrate my cousin’s birthday, we shopped, we walked, we ate croissants, and I took photo after photo of the City of Light. On our last day, my daughter and I woke up just before dawn so I could photograph the sunrise at the Cathedral of Notre Dame. It is absolutely my favorite spot in Paris. We arrived at 7:00 a.m. just as a janitor stepped outside the massive front door to smoke

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In a Mosque we discovered the Silence of Cairo

When I first visited Cairo with an old friend of mine, I immediately fell in love with its noise, food smells, and sense of identity. But it was almost too hectic at times, and in the afternoons when we were tired from having merchants constantly calling to us and children tugging at us, my friend and I would duck into one of the many mosques in the “City of Minarets”. Our regular haunt was the massive al-Azhar Mosque in the center of the city. We stayed out of the way, often just sitting in the shade, journaling quietly, people-watching, or

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What's not to like about Texas? I laughed

What’s not to like about Texas? I laughed

I stared out the window as the bus crossed the state that had the most pride. I tried to like Texas. I wanted to see why Texans were so proud of Texas. But I saw nothing but empty, parched land. I headed to the Backpacker Hostel in Irving. I saw an overweight girl with Texas stars dangling from her ears, wearing a Texas T-shirt that clung to her spare tires. At the hostel, I talked about it with my new friend Gabrielle, from Holland. She pointed to signs on the walls of the kitchen: “American by birth, Texan by the

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1 1/2 Month of Travel and Work in France

I was studying abroad in Strasbourg, France and wanted to do the travel around Europe and find myself deal. While I was planning, a friend in the programme introduced me to HelpX, a network that lets you work internationally for room and board. You typically work 4 days out of the week and travel for the rest. After some searching, I decided to go for it! For a month and a half, I worked at an organic hotel and restaurant in the tiny village of Tichville, France. Population: 10 people and hoards of ducks, chickens and cows. I worked as

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We learned our lesson in Seville's bull ring

We learned our lesson in Seville’s bull ring

It was whilst standing staring at the golden sand of the bull ring in the city of Sevilla, Spain that our sun burnt legs decided that they had had enough for the day and gave up on us. The remainder of our tour of the site was an informative half hour of agony. The day before we had decided to spend the day sunbathing on a deserted island near Faro, Portugal and as it was windy we had forgone all sun protection. The result was clear when we awoke the next day transformed into two lobsters. However, we only had

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Warned about the children of Cambodia

Warned about the Children in Cambodia

Be careful and judge each situation for yourself! We were warned about the children of Cambodia asking for hugs and stealing your watch yet we saw none of this. The children we’ve met so far are blind to prejudice, race, gender, religion… They simply wanted attention and we spent afternoons in Sihanoukville, Cambodia throwing them around the ocean, chasing them up and down the beaches, we taught them card games and they smiled proudly as they practiced their English. They had little but were content, it was beautiful to see. I don’t know what’s next but I’m so happy living

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This Self-Educated Highway Builder in China impressed me

This Self-Educated Highway Builder in China impressed me…

While taking a 20-hour train ride on the perimeter of the Taklimakan desert in northwestern China, I had the kind of humbling, education, and above all else, wonderful encounter with a local that all travelers crave. A young Han Chinese man approached me on the train. My new friend spoke virtually no English, so I gleefully relished this chance to practice my Chinese. Over several hours he would tell me about how he had attended a two-year professional school to quickly find a job building highways in order to help pay for his younger sister’s school fees. She was going

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How Istanbul put My Life in Order - Never give up

How Istanbul put My Life in Order – Never give up

I arrived in Istanbul with a negative bank balance and a dire need for employment. I was couchsurfing to tide me over and set out one day to explore the megapolis. Before I knew it I was on the Asian side – literally a different continent – in a giant bus hub with no English speakers in sight. Lost and overwhelmed with life in general, I asked for a sign that everything would work out OK. Then I looked up and saw my couchsurfing host – the only person I knew in a city of 20 million. We went back

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Walking a Waterfall and Meeting Up with Local Students
Dehang, China

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Walking a Waterfall and Meeting Up with Local Students

One of the best moments of our trip to China was in Dehang, a traditional Miao Village in Hunan. There we met a Chinese couple who led us along a trail to the tallest waterfall of China and we walked behind it: so exciting! Back to the village, we were looking for something to eat but nobody could speak English. Seeing us in troubles a class of students dragged us in a traditional restaurant with them: they ordered tons of food we never could have been able to, they were so friendly and they offered us some local rice wine

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Traveling to Jamaica To Record our 1st Reggae Song

Traveling Jamaica to record our 1st Reggae Song – Travel Story

Our adventure in Jamaica started with a wonderful mistake. My boyfriend and I had booked a hotel two hours away. Instead of paying $50US to sit with tourists on a charter, we paid $2US and traveled with the locals. Four days later, we stood on the side of the road to catch another $2US public bus to Ocho Rios. Bumping into a local couple we befriended, they set us up with some of their friends that were going to pick us up and drive us around to find a new hotel.  Rule #1 Always trust your gut. Our new friends

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Machu Picchu's Gigantic Aura - Reminder Why I Travel
Machu Picchu, Peru

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Machu Picchu’s Gigantic Aura – Reminder Why I Travel

On day three of the classic Inka Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru, we reached the summit of Abra de Runkuracay eager to take in the views around us. The day was unusually warm; wispy white clouds rolled in and out of the deep green valleys, aided by a gentle breeze. We scuttled up to the highest point we could find. Even though the clouds obstructed much of the view, I could feel the enormity of the valley we were perched above. I searched for snowy peaks in the distance, searched for the river far below. In that moment, I

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Shooting Stars in Wadi Rum (pun intended)

Shooting Stars in Wadi Rum (pun intended)

Jordan is a strange country. There are big cities, forgotten majestic mausoleums, mountains and depressions, but most of all there are deserts. My boyfriend and I traveled around Jordan in August (not so hot as people said) and we lived for more than ten days in a Bedouin tent camp in Wadi Rum desert, southern Jordan. We put ourselves in some awkward situation with our guest Kaled, who is quite a notable person in Bedouins village, especially struggling to eat with a single hand and annoying him with our Italian chitchat, but he was so kind not to kick our

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Gambia and my favorite part of it: The Children!

Gambia and my favorite part of it: The Children!

“During my trip to Gambia I found a lot of beautiful beaches and landscapes, but my favorite thing about one of Africa’s smallest country is its people…specially the children! They love to ask you to teach them things and some of then even learned how to do the rock sign!“

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A Paelle Pan and a Harpoon, please!
Malaga, Spain

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A Paella Pan and a Harpoon, please!

My very first backpacking trip by myself started in Malaga, Spain. It was also my first time at a hostel, so I was really new to all this travel scene. At the hostel I met lots of nice people, and two 18-year old guys from Berlin. We talked, had a beer or two and after a while they told me they were celebrating their high school graduation with a flight to Malaga to travel around Spain. They only had €80 with them for 2 weeks of travelling, and they spent already €15 on a paella pan and €25 on a

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Worst Tourist Tips Ever

The 14 Worst Travel Tips You Need To Know

We put together some extremely bad travel tips we heard from some people around the world, read on twitter, found in Facebook groups, and so on. Here is a top 14 list of things you do not need to know. Only in town for the weekend? Make sure you read ... read more