Walk Through History - Krakow, Poland




Social Links:
Instagram: @andympics

Age Group:
 30-40 years


Travel Style:
 Casual, photography


Destination: Krakow, Poland - July 2018.


I had a few days available to travel and flicked through possible destination routes on the flydubai website to find one that looked interesting and had a good deal. Flights to Krakow were a great price and it was somewhere I hadn’t really thought too much about before but looked like a place to explore for a few days - booked a ticket and flew to Krakow! 

Getting There:

I flew with flydubai from Dubai to John Paul II International Airport. It is only a short distance outside from the main tourist area for Krakow – Old Town. The flight is around 6 hours and has you landing just before midnight. 
The airport is only relatively small with very few shops. After midnight, there is a Relax store that is open. Here you can purchase Orange sim cards with data (which is incredibly cheap – 6Gb for less than USD2). Have them activate your sim card. 
Currency in Poland is the Polish Zloty. It is easy to exchange money at any of the currency exchanges in Old Town or draw direct from an ATM.
I found in general that Uber worked extremely well in Krakow  - clean, efficient and not too expensive.  I was easily able to get an Uber from the airport to my hotel, which took around 25 minutes. 

Local Knowledge:

Krakow is a very old city, having been civilized for thousands of years. It has an incredible history – some colourful, some very sad and others full of tales that have been somewhat embellished over time. It is definitely worth doing some guided tours to learn more about some of these historical facts, myths and everything in between. Probably the most famous tale is that of the Wawel Dragon who, as legend has it, lived in a lair on the banks of the Vistula River. They would feed the dragon sheep to stop it from eating the city’s children. The dragon was eventually “slain” by a local cobbler who stuffed a lamb’s skin with poison. As reward, King Krakus offered his daughter’s hand in marriage. 

Where To Stay:

I stayed at Puro Krakow (map), which I found through booking.com. I chose this hotel mostly for the proximity to Old Town where I wanted to spend a lot of my time and the value for money.

Puro certainly represented great value for money and is perfectly suited for travellers. The design of the rooms is minimalist, yet has everything you need. It is very modern including tablets to control all the in room features.  It isn’t the sort of hotel I would recommend if you are looking to lounge around – but Krakow isn’t really the city for this anyway, its for getting out and exploring! I walked each day from the hotel to the North entrance of the Old Town, where a lot of the highlights an atmosphere of Krakow can be found. It is only around a 5-10 minute walk. 

Puro also have a new property in the district of Kazimierz (Puro Kazimierz), which is also a tourist highlight in its own right. This property is still only around 5-10 minutes walk from Old Town, but from the South end. The Kazimierz Puro has more features including fitness centre, spa and restaurants. It still represents excellent value for money and the rooms are really well set out. I did a tour of this hotel and would certainly recommend comparing each and deciding which suits your needs.

There are a huge number of hostels within Old Town and if this is your travel style, you will be well catered for. Hostels in the North East of the Old ~Town would be a great starting point. They are close to good places to eat and nightlife.

Some of the other chain hotels are further away from Old Town, however as a traveller looking to get the most out of a few days, I would suggest staying within walking distance of Old Town. 

What To Do:

 Krakow is a wonderful city to visit for people looking to really explore – there is a lot of fascinating history, both ancient and modern. Probably the best way to get to see and learn as much of the cities history in a short space of time is to go on one of the walking tours. I am not normally someone who goes on guided tours (I like to explore at my own pace), but I actually went on 2 of these walking tours with City Walks Krakow. They do a tour of Old Town and one for Kazimierz (The Jewish Quarter). The tours are “free” with a tipping system at the end. They are well worth it, you cover a LOT of the city in a relatively short space of time and they have loads of information about places to eat, other places to visit and helped getting my tours to Auschwitz and Salt Mines arranged. You can meet the guides everyday outside St Mary’s Bascilica (map).

1.    Old Town (Stare Miasto): (map)

This is a must visit area for anyone coming to Krakow - you almost can’t avoid it. It is the historical city centre and the history is incredible – some of the buildings have windows half below street level, because the ground of the city has been built up on top of itself so many times over the years, it has actually increased around 4 feet in some places. Much of the Old Town I covered with the City Walks Krakow guided tour..

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The highlights that you absolutely need to make sure you see include:

-      The Planty (map) is the park that surrounds the Old Town and is worth taking a walk around, especially on a summer weekend – there will be small concerts, entertainers and local people enjoying the park. It is a great place to ride around on a bike. Do make sure you stop at Chimney Cake Bakery (map) at the North of the Planty and get yourself a cake……..trust me!

-      At the North of the Planty is The Barbican (map) – a fortress that was used to defend the city from invaders. There is a famous story of the fort almost being sacked by an invading Russian army. The last remaining soldier, who had run out of bullets, used his coat button to shoot the Russian General and cause their retreat……….fact or fiction, the story is now infamous.

-      The walls that surrounded the Old Town were almost all torn down by the Austrian-Hungarian Empire in an effort to open the city up for trading. Only 3 towers and part of the wall at the North still stand, as locals were able to convince them that this would protect the city from the cold North winds in Winter. St Florians Gate (map) at the north is a great place to enter Old Town. On the right as you walk through is a colourful display of paintings for sale.

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-      St Mary’s Basciica (map): With its 2 tall towers built by 2 brothers, it is an architectural focal point of Old Town. Inside the cathedral has some amazing stained glass windows and murals. Climb up the stairs of the tallest tower for a great view over the city. On the hour a trumpet player plays a song from each window at the top of the tower, stopping abruptly at the point in the song where according to locals, a trumpeter was shot in the neck by an arrow as he attempted to warn the city of an impending attack. Tickets to enter the Bascilica and climb the tower can be purchased from a small information office opposite the South of the building (near to Hard Rock Café - map) – it is 10 PZL to enter the Bascilica (only after 11:30) and 15PZL to climb the tower (you will need to book a time for this so go early and reserve the time you want).

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-      In front of St Mary’s Bascillica are numerous horse drawn carriages, known locally as Dorozka. They are, as expected, a little touristy, but offer a unique way of seeing the Old Town.

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-      Rynek Glowny (map) is the Main Market Square in the Old Town and remains one of the largest Medi-evil market squares in the world. It is surrounded by some impressive architecture including St Mary’s Bacillica, Cloth Hall (map) and the shadows of Town Hall Tower. Whilst the square is relatively quiet in the mornings, it gets progressively busier during the day, especially on the weekends. By late afternoon and into the evenings there are stalls and entertainers. On the other side of Cloth Hall is an area where seemingly each week a new form of entertainment is arranged and numerous stall selling locally made crafts, sweets and food. In the middle of Cloth Hall is the old market, which now is largely filled with shops selling souvenirs. There is also an underground museum beneath Cloth Hall, which is a great representation of what the city was like centuries ago.

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-      The Town Hall Tower (map) provides an alternative view across the city and looks at the Bascilica Towers across the square.

-      The Jagiellonian University (map) is one of the oldest surviving universities in the world, founded in 1364 by Casimir The Great. Past students include Nicholas Copernicus and Pope John Paul II. It is a wonderful old building and academics will get nostalgic about walking in the footsteps of one of humanity’s great mathematicians.

-      Wawel Castle (map) is at the Southern end of Old Town and stands as one of the most impressive and significant buildings. On the guided tour there is only time to briefly pass through the grounds, however you can come back and do a full tour for only 14PZL – it is worth noting there are 2 ticket offices and everyone tends to use the first one, so use the 2ndone inside, its much quicker! The castle also has some fascinating history. Like many important buildings, it was commissioned by Casimir The Great during the 13thCentury, however the land on Wawel Hill had been a significant settlement for some 50,000 years, with it becoming an important trading site on the banks of the Vistula River. After its completion, the castle became the residence of Polish Royal Families until the capital was moved to Warsaw. The best place for photos of Wawel Castle is in front of the cafes on the South-West of the castle (Trattoria Wawel) – it looks across the lawn and is ideal at sunset. The castle closes at 5pm and the security might try and hurry you up, but I just pretended that I was packing up each time. Another nice spot to photograph Wawel Castle is from Grunwaldski Bridge (map), especially after sunset for some long exposures.

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-      Otherwise, Old Town is just a great place to walk around, with so many fascinating little streets, shops and stalls. I mention a few of the different places to try for food, but to be honest, there are countless and you might stumble across a gem!  

1.    Kazimierz (The Jewish Quarter) (map):

Kazimierz is known as the “Jewish Quarter” as for many years it is where a large Jewish community lived – prior to the Nazi invasion during World War II. In reality, the original Jewish area of Krakow was part of the Old Town, however, the Jewish people moved to in 1495 Kazimierz after a fire in Krakow and the subsequent rebuilding of that area of the city. Kazimierz became a district rich in Jewish culture. During WWII however, Jews from Kazimierz and all of Krakow were forced to live in a small area that became known as the Jewish ghetto. A tour of Kazimierz will include some of the history that relates to this awful time in the city’s history.

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There is some fascinating architecture and incredible street art through the winding alleyways of Kazimierz. There are also a number of museums that contain details of events that occurred during the time of the Jewish ghetto. As the history is quite involved, it is definitely worth taking one of the guided tours if you are interested in learning about the details.

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Plac Nowy (map) is a market square in Kazimierz that has a flea market in the mornings. There are some antiques and clothes and it is the same area that the Zapikanka’s are sold – these are a must try!


2.    Zalew Zakrzowek (Zakrzowek Lake) (map):

This was one of the most surprising places in Krakow – I had never heard of this place until I started looking up some good places to take photos. It is an old mine quarry with stunning blue water, sheer white limestone faces and surrounded by dense forest. It is close enough to the south end of Old Town that you could ride there (or even take a long walk), otherwise, its about a 10 minute car ride.  

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It is absolutely somewhere to visit in the Summer, in fact on a warm Summer weekend, this is a must! The weather is warm enough that you can go swimming and there are areas that are patrolled and very safe. Other places have edges that are “safe” for cliff jumping and many locals will take the leap. 

You need to pay a small entrance fee (20 PZL) to access most areas.

It is a beautiful place to watch the sunset and for photos, or flying a drone!


3.    Wieliczka Salt Mines (map)

This is one of the major tourist attractions in Krakow and huge numbers of visitors go down beneath the surface to explore the ancient salt mines that have produced the once expensive commodity for centuries.

It is best to book a guided tour and similar to Auschwitz, there are companies that will arrange collection from your hotel, a reserved spot in a tour of your language and return afterwards.

It is interesting to see how they used to mine salt and how the process has evolved. The carvings, especially the underground cathedral (established in the hope of warding off mine collapses by providing a place for miners to pray) are incredible – almost everything underground is made from salt and you are encouraged to taste it to confirm. Just don’t taste the ground, it is made of concrete!

I wouldn’t describe it as an absolute highlight and personally if I had to choose between a tour of Auschwitz or the salt mines, I would definitely choose Auschwitz.


4.    Auschwitz:

See below in “Must See” or visit a “Review of visiting Auschwitz

Where To Eat:

Especially around Rynek Glowny, almost every shop seems to be a restaurant or café. There is certainly no shortage of places to try and have listed as many as I went to. There is a heavy emphasis on pork, which I don’t eat, but if that is your preference, you will find no shortage of places serving pork knuckle.

There are lots of cafés around Rynek Glowny (The Main Square) and the close you get to the square, the more expensive they become. Within a short walking distance are many less expensive options.

-      Goscinna Chata: (map) Close to Rynek Glowny. The food is fantastic, with a long menu of pretty traditional cuisine. It is one of the best options to try authentic Polish food. It is not too expensive with a main and dessert costing around 50-60PZL. Definitely get the potato pancakes with apple & honey – this was my best dessert in Krakow! On the down side, the service is average at best, but the food makes up for the slow staff.

-  Kuchnia Starapolska U Babci Maliny: (map) Very unique place to go for dinner! Half the fun is finding it – you need to walk down a hallway, into a small courtyard and then down the stairs on the right side. You go underground through a quirky entrance. The restaurant is very fun, with traditional décor and photos on the walls. It is bar service only and the food is very traditional! The food itself is only fair, but its a fun experience, especially if you’re going with a group.

Potato Pancakes at Goscinna Chata.

Potato Pancakes at Goscinna Chata.

-      Milkbar Tomazsu: (map) Great café for breakfast or lunch, serving pretty traditional polish food, including the local delicacy, pierogi. I had pierogi at several places and this was the best I had. They also do pretty good pancakes.  The café is only small and you may end up needing to share a table.

-      Przpiecek 24hr: (map) This is a 24 hour pierogi café – very handy to note if you plan on having a few late nights at some of the local pubs! The pierogi aren’t the best I had in Krakow, but at 3am, the availability may be a greater factor than the quality. I found them a bit bland and soggy – like wet ravioli with no sauce.

-      Gospoda Koko: (map) This is a very traditional polish restaurant. There are actually several rooms within the restaurant, with the downstairs being much more like a tavern. The food is very basic, so don’t expect fine dining. If you’re on a budget and want some Polish fare, its worth a try!

-      Café Camelot: (map) This is by far the best café close to Main Market Square and it came highly recommended from locals. It is a beautifully decorated café with setaing inside and out. Be warned, it opens at 9am and if you want a table outside, be there before 9! The menu itself is really nicely done and has a huge breakfast selection, including healthy options. Both the food and the coffee are really good. This is definitely another great place to come for breakfast.

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-      Chimney Cake Bakery: (map) I’m told there are these places in a few other Eastern European cities, but I hadn’t found them – it is a game changer. Chimney cakes are like large cylindrical cinnamon coated doughnuts that have a coating of a spread inside (I went for nutella) and then a sprinkling of almonds. When they are fresh and hot, they are incredible! It makes me happy and sad just writing about the,. Chimney Cake Bakery are the place I would highly recommend and there is one at the North East of the Platzy outside the wall of Old Town. Go there!

-      The Spaghetti: (map) One of the restaurants that borders the Main Market Square. It is typically Italian cuisine, so if you want a change from the Polish and Eastern European fare, this is a place to come for pizza and pasta.

-      Slodki Wentzl: (map) Café right on the Main Square. The coffee is good without being great. The dessert selection is also pretty good, however I would choose Good Lood over here for ice cream! The big appeal of this place is you can sit drinking your coffe and enjoying your cake while you watch the action of the Main Square! It is a good choice if you want that atmosphere.

-      Goralskie Praliny Coctail Bar: Another place that came highly recommended but to be honest, I would suggest others. The service wasn’t great and the doughnuts cost more than a Chimney Cake and cant be compared to them!

-      Piecarnia Buczek: (map) Just outside the Old Town. Decent bakery if you need somewhere to grab some lunch on the go. They have a reasonable selection of wraps, rolls and sandwhiches as well as pastries.

-      Siesta Café: (map) Doesn’t have a large menu, but a nice place to come for coffee and cake. Not far from the Main Market Square and is perfect for an afternoon tea stop………just like a siesta!

-     Ambasada Sledzia: (map) Very laid back tapas bar, also close to the Main Market Square. It is a great place to come for an afternmoon drink and small meal. You probably want to like herring, as this place specializes in different varieties of herring dishes. I had the mustards and bread coated herrings and loved both……..but I love herrings! Really like this place!

-     Morskie Oko: (map) Really traditional Polish restaurant that has wonderful decor and the staff are dressed traditionally also - makes for a pretty unique experience. The menu is Polish with options like potato pancakes (which were admittedly a little bland). Definitely worth trying is the Oscypek, a Tatra Mountain cheese that is a local specialy.

-      Obwarzanek: These are the local bagels sold from street carts all around the city. They are almost identical to “simit” in Istanbul. A very traditional food to eat in Krakow and always available.

-      There are loads of ice-cream, shops in Krakow and if youre visitiong in Summer, you will want to know where they are! Good Lood (map) came very highly recommended and on a hot day, you will see why – the queues will be out onto the streets. They have a huge range of really unique flavours that are constantly changing. There was a green apple & cherry sorbet when I was there that was amazing! There are 2 famous shops in Kazimierz, one is in Plac Nowy. Another good option for ice cream is Krakowski Lodi and these can be found in lots of locations!

-      Zapikanka in Plac Nowy, Kazimierz: (map) Zapikanka are another local favourite in Krakow and there is really only one place to go and try them. The circle in the middle of Plac Nowy has around 20 window fronts that make these open baguettes with pizza topping. You can walk around and choose which one you think has the toppings you like the best. I actually went 3 times and tended to just go to the windows that looked busy! They take around 20 minutes to make, so place your order then have a look around at the flea market.

Good Lood ice cream!

Good Lood ice cream!

-      Wesola Café: (map) This café would not be out of place in Melbourne! Whilst it isn’t overly Polish, it is outstanding! This is a must visit for lovers of good a breakfast, coffee and that genuine café atmosphere. It is not far from Galeria Krakowska Mall and Puro Hotel. The food really is excellent including healthy options or a selection of cakes. The coffee was the best I had in Krakow. 

Must See: Auschwitz (map)

I can only describe Auschwitz as “ a place nobody will enjoy, but everyone must visit”. I have written a comprehensive review of Auschwitz, that includes all the information about booking guided tours, what you can take and some of what to expect. (LINK TO AUSCHWITZ REVIEW)

Essentiually, “Auschwitz” is a complex of concentration camps that were used by the Garman Nazi regimn during World War II. The main camps were Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II – Birkenau. The tours take you around tehse two faciliuties and give some insight into trhe autrcities that occurred there. It is quite a sad, depressing and humbling experience to learn to depths humnanity can  reach. However, it also serves as a critical reminder, in the hope we don’t make the same mistakes again.

Gallery of Auschwitz:

Must Do: Walking Tour with City Walks Krakow (map)

Krakow, and especially Old Town, is a wonderful city to explore by foot. There is such a fascinating history with many folk tales and stories that blur facts and fiction. The best way to appreciate this is by taking one of the many guided tours. Many companies offer a “free “ service with the option to tip accordingly at the end. I did walking tours of Old Town and Kazimierz. I would suggest doing at least the Old Town tour in your first day and then the Kazimierz if you have enough time. On the Old Town tour, you will get pkenty of information about some good places to eat, what other things are wiorth seeing and you can book tours for places like the salt mines and Auschwitz.

Excess Baggage:

I visited Krakow solo and found it a really safe and easy city to explore. It probably isn’t an ideal family destination for young children as there isn’t a whole lot for them to see or do. The major attractions aren’t really suitable for children and to explore the city there is a lot of walking! Krakow is perfect for couples, groups of friends (the nightlife scene is great) backpackers and solo travellers. 

3 Top Places to Visit:

1.    Auschwitz Concentration Camps (map): I cannot say this will be a pleasant experience, but it is an absolute must! It’s a humbling and emotional look at a very sad reminder of what humanity is capable of. (Link to Auschwitz Review)

2.    Zalew Zakrzowek: (map) The old quarry that is now a “hidden lake” is an absolute must in the summer, especially on a warm weekend, when locals come in larhe numbers to swim, sunbathe and jump from the steep limestone cliffs.

3.    Rynek Glowny: (map) The focal point of Old Town Krakow. You can sopend hours simply wandering in and around this historical market square. There are so many places to eat and things to see and do – you will be drawn here.

Very sad history at Auschwitz

Very sad history at Auschwitz

Hidden gem of Zalew Zakrzowek

Hidden gem of Zalew Zakrzowek

Rynek Glowny - the centre of Old Town

Rynek Glowny - the centre of Old Town

3 Instagram Photos in Krakow:

1.    Wawel Castel from in front of Trattoria Wawel. (map)

Wawel Castle sunset

Wawel Castle sunset

2.    Arches of Cloth Hall looking at St Mary’s Bascilica (map)

Arches of Cloth Hall

Arches of Cloth Hall

3.    Zalew Zakrzowek: (map) Such a unique place close to centre of Krakow. It’s a perfect spot for drones, action shots of cliff diving in summer and sunset of the white cliffs.

Evenings at Zalew Zakrzowek

Evenings at Zalew Zakrzowek

3 Top Places to Eat:

1.    Plac Nowy for Zapikanka: (map) These are like an open baguette with pizza toppings. You can choose from a large variety of toppings including cheese, mushrooms, vegetables, meats, spices and sauces. In the centre of Plac Nowy is a circle of windows that serve traditional Zapikanka and this is the place to come to try it! There are around 20 window fronts, try either Endzior or Zapiekanki.

2.    Wesola Café (map) & Café Camelot (map): Tough to split these 2 cafes. They are quite different, but both excellent. Wesola being a much more cosmopolitan style that reminded me so much of going to a great café in Melbourne. Café Camelot is a little more unique and traditional, but avoids being bland (at all), the décor is beautiful and its easily the best café close to the main market square. If youy are in Krakow for 2 mornings – spend 1 at each of these! 

3.    Chimney Cake Bakery (map): I have had similar versions of this before, but none come close to the cakes from these stores. Try the one at the north of Old Town – nutella with crushed almonds…………you’re welcome.

Kuching, Malaysia - Review of the Kuching Festival


Frequent contributor to The Travel Hub, Jane Hsu, talks about an amazing food event that takes place every August in Malaysia - The Kuching Festival. This is definitely one to put in the diary.




Social Links:
Instagram: @jojadan

Age Group:
19 - 30 years


Travel Style:


Destination: Kulching, Malaysia - August 2017


When one mentions the city Kuching, what comes to mind? Have you ever heard of Kuching?

Kuching is the capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo. It is a charming, diverse city of old colonial buildings and modern towers and noted not only for its interesting historical landmarks but also its rich multicultural society, numerous fascinating natural attractions and of course, a haven for glorious food!

Kuching means means “cat” in Malay. There are a number of stories as to how this name came about but it is unlikely that it has anything to do with cats. Haha! The two more likely explanations are that it derives from the Chinese word "Kochin", meaning “harbour,” or that it is named after the Mata Kuching or “cat’s eye” fruit, a close relative of the Lychee that grows widely here.

Kuching Festival is an annual event organised by Kuching South City Council to commemorate Kuching being elevated to City status on 1st August 1988 and held to boost local tourism and food industry.

Every August each year, Kuchingnites and tourists from near and far would look forward with much delightful anticipation to the annual Kuching Festival which has been happening for the past 29 years.

It is without a doubt the biggest food event that happens without fail in the city of Kuching. 

Do you know what you can get in Kuching Festival? 316 stalls selling exceptionally wonderful variety of food and drinks! One would definitely have to go on an empty stomach as there are simply too many choices of yummylicious food to buy and enjoy. Let's just say one will be spoilt for choices!

A one time visit to Kuching Festival, which lasts for only 3 weeks, is seriously not enough! Highly recommended that one has to go several times (yes, several times!) just to try as many types of food and drinks available every evening from 5pm till late at night which finishes at 11pm.

Besides the bustling sale of food and drinks at Kuching Festival, there are also a beautiful Garden Show of local flowers and plants, Fun Fair for kids and those young at heart, cool Exhibitions and awesome nightly Performances which are free of charge such as singing and dancing by local talented performers to entertain those going to the Food Festival.

This is why there is an average of 40,000 visitors going every day! Trying to find a parking spot can be a hassle but when one thinks of all the amazing delectable food and drinks waiting for you to savour, one can't help but exercise patience just to satisfy your tummy! Haha! 

However, if you are a tourist coming and seeking to indulge in an array of food and drinks at the convenience of one huge place ie. the Kuching Festival and you prefer to stay near, there are a few hotels at reasonable rates to accommodate you. The hotels are within the vicinity of the Kuching Festival and it takes just about 5 mins to walk which practically saves you transportation fee!

To end this review, I will just have to let the photos, taken during Kuching Festival, speak for themselves. So here's to good food! Enjoy! :)

Salalah, Oman - 6 Reasons to Stay at Anantala Salalah




Social Links:
Instagram: @gmr83
Website: www.georgerishan.com

Age Group:


Travel Style:
Photography, food, history


Destination: Anantara, Salalah, Oman. July 2017

Salalah is one of my favorite cities in the Gulf and Anantara is one of my favorite hotel brands so the fact that the city now has an Anantara hotel meant it was time for another visit.

Salalah is about two hours via a direct flight on flydubai whose schedule allows you to fly in on Thursday afternoon and fly out on Saturday evening to have more time to explore. Check out a previous post I wrote on why you should visit this city.

Anantara Salalah is one of the newest Anantara properties in the world, and has been open since late 2016.


Strategically located between the ocean and a fresh water lagoon, Anantara Salalah, or Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara as it’s officially called, has 30 premier sea view rooms and 10 deluxe rooms with sea or garden views in addition to 96 villas, including 88 private pool villas.. The streets surrounding the resort are filled with coconut and palm trees which you’ll certainly notice as you’re making your way to the entrance. A plantation belonging to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos is also nearby so you know you’re in a good neighborhood


As with other reviews, I will not focus on the factual information which you can find on the hotel’s website, but I will list the things that I thought were special about this hotel:

1. The Maldivian vibe: Salalah’s location on the Indian Ocean makes it the closest to the Maldives that we will be from Dubai. The fact that Anantara Salalah has villas with private pools overlooking the turquoise/azure waters of the ocean and the nearby fresh water lagoon certainly adds to that exclusive Maldivian vibe that we all crave and often cannot afford!


2. Food: I usually avoid hotel food like the plague but at Anantara, I know it’s always different from the standard hotel food. On Thursdays, Anantara Salalah hosts a seafood night at one of its three restaurants, which features a seafood component in everything from the soup all the way to the succulent lobster and delicious fish tajine. The hotel is also home to the Mekong restaurant which is probably the most authentic Asian restaurant that I have been to. It serves Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese food (separately, so none of that “fusion” monkey business!). Do not miss out on their delicious appetizers!


3. Meet the Gurus: I keep being impressed by how pioneering and innovative the Anantara brand is and Anantara Salalah is no different with their introduction of the “gurus” who are individuals each specialized in a certain domain. They now have a wine guru, a healthy juice and smoothie guru, and *drum roll* the Salalah guru. And they do not take the word “guru” lightly — I mean these people are real genuine experts in their fields. My experience was with the Salalah guru, Hussain, a fascinating Salalahlite (is that even a word?!) who may or may not have been born in a cave and who knows the area better than the back of his hand. How well is the “back of his hand” you ask? A day before our excursion I showed him a couple of shaky extremely low resolution pictures that I pulled of the internet of places that I wanted to go to and it literally took him three seconds to figure out where they were and exactly where the photographers were standing when they took the pictures. So if you’re staying at Anantara Salalah, make sure you book Hussain, and even if you don’t do your own research, he has a ton of suggestions for you on where to go based on your interests so have a chat with him before you head out.


4. Learn about the local history: Dhofar, the name of the province in which Salalah is located, not only has a unique climate to the rest of the Gulf but it also has a bit of history too with studies saying that humans settled here even before the Neolithic Age. A 5-minute drive away from the hotel is the city’s largest archaeological site and a frankincense museum which tells the story of the city’s history as a trade hub in the ancient world. Anantara Salalah not only has a complimentary shuttle to the site and museum, but you’ll also get free access by staying at the hotel. I honestly didn’t have high expectations for the museum at first, but it turned out that they have some really fascinating artifacts with a lot of info on every piece.


5. Spa: The spa at Anantara Salalah is located relatively separate from the rest of the resort but right across from the main entrance for a quieter experience. The minimalist design and deliciously refreshing beverages served there prepare you mentally for the treatment you’re about to get. I highly recommend the hotel’s signature massage which includes in addition to the actual massage, some stretching and focus on your body’s pressure points. The spa is also home to an aesthetically gorgeous Turkish hammam which wasn’t yet operational when I visited.


6. The personal and quirky touches: I’m not gonna lie, I do like it when hotel staff remember my name especially if it’s a large hotel. The staff at breakfast even remembered how and when I’d like my coffee and how I liked my eggs! I also liked the quirky subtle touches around the resort, like a customized doorbell with your name on it, and a funny coconut-based weather indicator.

If you’d like to know more about the hotel, you can check its websiteFacebook, or Instagram, or send me an email at hello@georgerishan.com

Prague, Czech Republic - 4 Days Sightseeing


Contributor : Nicola
Nationality  : Australian
Social Links : Web -  www.luggagelifestyle.com
                       Instagram - @luggagelifestyle
Age Group  : 19-30 yo
Gender        : Female
Trave Style  : Relaxed, Sightseeing, Food
Destination  : Prague, Czech Republic.
Date              : 2017. 4 days

Prague was the last destination in our travels before moving to Canada. After spending most of our time in Europe around the Mediterranean, it was great to mix things up with a historical and quintessentially European city like Prague.

The buildings were opulent, the Prague Castle was like peering into a fairy tale and the array of areas around the city made for a fun 4 days of exploring. Eager to see as much of the city was we could by walking, we focused our time on Prague Old Town, Josefov (the Jewish Quarter) and the Lesser Town. When we return to Prague, we’re keen to explore areas further out of the city centre.


We stayed at the Clarion Hotel Prague City. The rooms were a decent size and a relaxing place to return to each night. Located a 10-minute walk from Wenceslas Square, the accommodation was central, however, not right in the centre of things. I’d stay here again, however, I would also investigate options right in the centre of Old Town Prague for a more conveniently located option.


See and Do:

1. Walk to all the sites around the city:

Over two long days in Prague we explored all the sights around the city by taking a long walk through the city and stopping at each place we wanted to see along the way. Here’s one way to approach a walk around Prague to see all the sites around the city.

·      Start at Wenceslas Square for a quick look around.

·      Walk down to the riverfront where the Dancing House is located.

·      Enjoy a drink at Glass Bar located on the rooftop of the Dancing House building.

·      Walk across the Jiráskův Bridge and continue along the river and make your way up the hill to Petrin Tower.

·      If you’re okay with heights and lots of stairs, walk up Petrin Tower and soak in the views.

·      Continue walking along the signed path to Prague Castle.

·      After exploring Prague Castle, venture back down the hill to explore the Lesser Town.

·      Make your way to the Charles Bridge from the Lesser Town and cross back the Old Town.

·      Finish your adventure with a viewing of the Astronomical Clock.

2. Visit the seasonal markets

We were in Prague just before Easter so there were Easter markets in Wenceslas Square and throughout the Old Town. I know these markets can be touristy but it was still fun to walk through and look at the different stalls. If you’re looking for a sweet treat at the markets, try at trdelnik. This traditional pasty is cooked on rotating rods over hot coals. Apart from smelling delicious, the sugar-coated pastry and option of adding Nutella to the inside makes this a treat that’s hard to try just once.

Must Do:

Get lost in the historical streets of Josefov, the Old Town and the Lesser Town. Each area has it's own distinct feel and look.

Eat and Drink:

Fresh Nook

Fresh Nook is a great place to grab a quick breakfast, salad or snack. If you’re looking for fresh juices, a fresh sandwich, muffin or salad then this place is for you! We liked stopping by for a quick breakfast each morning before we walked around the city.


Yes, it’s a franchise and no, it’s not Michelin star dining but Paul had a wonderful selection of fresh savoury and sweet pastries. With several locations around Prague, if you’re feeling like a hangry meltdown is surfacing, Paul is a reliable spot to grab a quick snack before you continue exploring. The sour cherry tart and goats cheese, cranberry and rocket croissant were delicious.

U Pinkasu

One of the oldest pubs in Prague, U Pinkasu is a cosy spot where plenty of locals enjoy their beer. Settle in at one of the tables for a comfy few hours of drinks, animated conversations and a traditional pub meal.

Aloha Lounge

On one particularly rainy day in Prague, we went to Aloha Lounge. It’s the perfect spot for a late-afternoon drink and some bar snacks. Walking downstairs to look at the bar/club area, it looks like this place knows how to provide a great atmosphere for people to enjoy into the early morning hours.

Kafka Snob Food

Don’t be deterred by the name of this place. Kafka Snob Food had a relaxed vibe and it was a great spot to have a few drinks, people watch and see the rain pouring outside. There’s also a couple of lounges at the back if you don’t feel like sitting at a table.

5 Word Travel:

History, architecture, colour, quintessential Europe.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Prague and can’t wait to return and explore some areas further out of the centre. Have you done trips like this before? Visited a city for a short time and already making plans to see more upon your return?

If you’ve travelled outside the centre of Prague, what do you recommend seeing? I’d love to read your recommendations in the comments below.