France: A Fairytale Walk in the Woods of Huelgoat

Whilst on a holiday in France, Alan brought me to the Forêt de Huelgoat for an afternoon long stroll. It is located in the Northwestern France and it is considered as one of the hidden gems of Brittany. Huelgoat means “The High Woods” in Britton, which is a Celtic language close to the Welsh language.Before we went there, Alan described the place and showed some photos to me. I thought it was just an ordinary forest and I didn’t expect I would like it that much. But, when I first saw the woods, it was as good as the photographs and it exceeded my expectations.

When we reached the little town of Huelgoat, it looked sleepy and the lake was so peaceful, but it was full of character, with its lake, waterfall and honey and homemade ice cream shop.As we entered into the Silver Valley, we had to crawl under gigantic rocks, which was an experience by itself. The Chaos of Rocks or Le Chaos de Rochers is a jumble of hundreds of large boulders, into which the river vanishes. These huge boulders were moved and polished by glaciers tens of thousands of years ago.We were amazed by the wonderful landscape and the enchanting views of massive mossy boulders that have stirred the Britton imagination in fantastic ways. The woods were much bigger than I thought. The “jumble” of huge boulders, the granite formations, the deep green wood and the rushing creek are all astonishing, making it a truly magical place.Then we steep climbed down a 10 meters metal ladder bolted onto the rock facing to the “Devil’s Cave.” It was quite fun and it was interesting to see the river continue its trek under all these boulders. The nearby falls was very picturesque as it runs rapidly below a dark cave called the Devil’s Grotto.We then continued strolling all around the places we saw this trembling rock or La Roche Tremblante which attracted many tourists. It is a 137-tonne boulder. Alan and I were able to shake this enormous rock while some visitors didn’t know where to push no matter how hard they tried. The rock stands on a small spiky end, and will rock gently if you push it just right. A few millimeters away from the pushing spot, you’d just be trying to move 137 tonnes of granite.This is a stunning place that is not very well known to foreigners (in this place a foreigner is someone who was not born in Brittany) but it is a wonderful place to visit for a picnic or an easy good walk for anyone who is reasonably fit and at the same time it provides a great day out for both children and adults. There are plenty of lovely shady foot paths through a wonderland of giant rocks and streams. There are walks for miles if you are up to it, but if you wish to spend time around the main area, it is already very nice.We loved our fairytale walk in the Forêt de Huelgoat and in particular when we held our hands while walking through the woods and the chaos of giant rocks. To walk around, over, through and underneath this place was just awesome, as if some giant aliens had strewn the massive rocks along the river bed. It is idyllic, mystical, beautiful and calm. It feels tranquil, timeless and it seems that you discover something new practically every step of the way. To us, it is a fairytale forest where you expect animals such as snakes, monkeys, dwarves, wolves, etc to appear any time. It is also a wonderful place to go all year round because it gives you different marvelous views, feelings, different shades of green or black and it seems you expect to bump into a storybook witch during the dark of the winter, a unicorn during the soft spring, prince charming during the moist summer and Tatiana and Oberon during the wistful autumn. We experienced a storybook story while sitting on an enormous rock, eating yummy homemade ice cream, walking, crawling, visiting, wondering, breathing fresh air and enjoying the wonders of nature.We highly recommend this wonderful work of nature. So, what are you waiting for? Get your boots on and experience the beauty and seclusion of Foret de Huelgoat. For gentlemen out there, whisk you loved one away to that delightful hideaway that you and that special someone will never forget. 🙂

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Great Nature Getaway at Les Manguiers Resort in Kampot

After a long and busy month at work, we decided to go to this paradise which is a perfect spot to relax, unwind and of course to get away from the bustling city of Phnom Penh.

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Les Manguiers is situated by the river with a view on the mountains giving a perfect, magnificent setting. The place is peaceful and it is a good family hideaway. It is located a few minutes away from the town centre along a rough road which gives you an illusion of being far away from other civilization.

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This huge resort on the riverside is owned by a lovely French family. The owners and staff are friendly which adds to the cozy natural feel of Les Manguiers. The garden with lush spacious grounds is great for children. The food was all fresh and tasty. We ate and sat in the dining areas on stilts over river. The staff speak English quite well and some of them also speak French. Since it is located along the river; you can always have a nice view while reading. Apart from these, Les Manguiers offers several activities such as swimming in the river, canoeing, hammocks, bicycling, card games, board games, ping pong, ball games, etc.

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We stayed three nights and four days in a big bungalow. The bathroom and showers were clean. It was well organized and there were lots of outlets for charging things.

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We took canoeing on the Toeuk Chhou River along the “cathedral” path for about four hours (from 1 pm up to 5pm). I realized that it was not easy canoeing especially for that long plus I was not used to it. In short, it was Alan who did 90% of the canoeing. We had so much fun and we enjoyed it.

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We also took a boat trip in the evening. There were only two of us on the boat sailing on a chilly night to see the lovely fireflies. We were amazed and fascinated with the beautiful fireflies glowing up the trees on the river banks, turning them into real Christmas trees. It was hard to believe it was all natural. We highly recommend a night boat trip when the river is aglow with fireflies. Indeed, it was a romantic and exciting boat trip!

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On the next day, we went to a day trip to Bokor Mountain. We loved the cool climate on top of Bokor Mountain with an altitude of 1080 meters. We had a lot of fun exploring, all around Bokor, on a big motor bike.

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Les Manguiers also provided us with a romantic place where to watch the sunset, making it a special place. It was a magical feeling watching the sun saying goodbye to the world and watching it disappear with that special someone. I loved it!

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Since we had a good relaxing time at Les Manguiers, I absolutely recommend Les Manguiers if you wish to visit Kampot. Even though it depends on your traveling outlook, if you want a laid back, child-friendly, gorgeously located stay, authentically warm, open, relaxing and friendly, Les Manguiers is for you.

 

Les Manguiers Resort

Prey Thnot Village | Kampong Kreng Commune, Kampot BP 712 , Cambodia

092 330 050

 

Thailand: Beach Hopping in Koh Larn Island

We have traveled to many places without a plan. We wanted to explore the place not knowing what will come next…and we loved it! So, after we visited the crowded cities of Bangkok and Pattaya, we decided to head off to Koh Larn Island and relax on the beach.

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Koh Larn is a small beautiful lush green tropical island (about 4km in length and about 2 km wide) in the Gulf of Thailand. It is located approximately 7 km off the coast of Pattaya Beach, which is about two hours south of Bangkok. The terrain is mountainous and during the monsoon season the amount of rain fall is big.

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It is also called Coral Island. The Thai people who are living here are very welcoming and hospitable which is why many tourists choose to come back there every time they have a holiday. The island is famous because it boasts white sand and crystal clear blue water in very relaxing beaches which makes it suitable for a perfect day and weekend trips away from the bustle of the more crowded cities.

We took a 7.00 am ferry from Pattaya Bali Hai Pier and the ticket cost 30 baht per person for one way. There are many ferries available in Pattaya bound to Koh Larn, which leaves from 7.00 am to 6.30 pm and the return ferries leave Naban port from 6.30 am to 6.00 pm. It took us around 40 minutes to reach Naban, the main port of Koh Larn. Naban is considered as the front door and center of facilities of Koh Larn since you can find a range of restaurants, accommodations and shops there.

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We rented a motorbike for 200 baht for the day to explore the whole island. Most of the motorbikes have automatic clutch, which means you don’t need to shift gears.  If you wish to rent a motorbike, the shop will ask you to leave your passport while you are using the motorbike and you can get it back once you return the motorbike in good condition.

The island has mostly narrow roadways covered with brick pavers. There are also many road signs written in English to keep you from getting lost. The island is hilly and mostly very steep.  While strolling around the island, it was really cool every time we went down the hill and it was challenging every time we went up. There were times that we pushed the motorbike up. Indeed, it was fun!

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On the island, there are many beaches, but about six of them namely Samae Beach, Tawaen Beach, Nual Beach, Tien Beach, Tonglang Beach and Tayai Beach are popularly known because they are accessible and offer many water sports activities.

We headed first to the beautiful Nual Beach which is located on the far end of the island. As soon as we arrived on the beach, we immediately put on our swim wears, laid out on the beach bed while we were enjoying our drinks and listening to the sweet melodies of the waves as they hit the shores. It didn’t require us any steep hill climbs unlike for the other beaches when driving from the main pier. Water sports activities such as Jet Ski, Banana boat are also available there.  We heard that sometimes during the off season (April to October), this beach is empty.  If you are looking for this kind of beach, this place is good for you. If you wish to visit, just bring your own stuff such as towels, drinks and food because sometimes it is hard to find the staff to cater your needs. Overall, among the beaches that we went to, Nual Beach was my favorite for relaxing and reading as it was very quiet since there were only a handful of tourists at that time.

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Then we continued to Samae Beach since we learned that it was the most beautiful beach on the island as it is spacious and not crowded when compared to the other beaches. It has many good quality restaurants and souvenir shops. Unfortunately, when we were there it wasn’t so quiet since there were many tourists on a day trip. We saw many international travelers relaxing and worshiping the sun.

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Not far from Samae Beach, we proceeded to beautiful Tien Beach after we relaxed for about one and a half hour. It seems to be a continuation of Samae Beach only it is divided by huge rocks and trees. It is a white sandy beach with beautiful blue water. There are restaurants and souvenir shops available. It was quiet when we went there and the tourists who were there seemed to come in smaller groups. It offered some water sports activities such as banana boat and Jet Ski. To me, it is the best blue water and white sand beach on the island.

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Then we went to the most popular beach in the island, Tawaen Beach. This beach has a small harbor which makes it more accessible because some boats go directly here. It offers many water sports activities such parasailing, snorkeling, Jet Ski, banana boat, etc which capture the interest of the tourists who go there. It is the known to be the biggest and most visited beach among the beaches in Koh Larn. There are souvenir shops and restaurants which serve delicious seafood dishes. On the way to this beach, we passed several hilly parts which were quite tricky to negotiate by bike. We also noticed that it was more expensive there when compared to the other beaches.

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Our last stop was at Tayai Beach. The beach is also quiet since only few tourists visit this place. It is quite a small beach and tourists can just walk from one side to the other in about five minutes.  It takes approximately 15 minutes to go there by motorbike from Naban port. At the time we went there, there was only one shop available.

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I would say that traveling together is one of the sweetest things of all and our trip to Koh Larn Island was one of the brilliant excursions we had.